February
Civic Center gym closed for open gym times
The Spring Hill Civic Center will no longer play host to open gym times due to an examination and upating of city policy.
Although signs declaring the gym is off-limits without a reservation and adult supervisionrequired are posted on Civic Center doors, city clerk Anna Marie Keena told council members the gym is not closed to visitors.
“The gym not closed,” she told council members at a meeting on Jan. 28. “It’s heavily reserved.”.

Businesses shutter doors
At least three Main Street businesses have shuttered their doors in the last two month Cheeseteak Grill closed its doors at the end of January. On Feb. 1, Chapala Mexican Restaurant closed its doors. Heidenreich Liquor store also ceased operations at the end of 2009.
State aid to schools late
It’s becoming a monthly tradition. The Gardner Edgerton School District receives a payment of $800,702 from the state sometime in the middle of each month. The challenge is traditionally the district receives double that – approximately $1.7 million on the first of each month. With the state in financial dire straits, the monthly payments are being divided in half and paid in two segments throughout the month.
“They’ve been late pretty regularly since October or November. It’s been a couple of months ongoing now,” district business director, Eric Hansen said.

Jerry Stricker, center, auctions items at Stricker's Auction in Gardner in 1970. The auction celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2010. File photo


NRDC files suit against Army Corps
Another organization has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its issuance of a 404 environmental permit for the intermodal facility.
According to a press release issued by the National Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, the organization filed suit against the Corps on Feb 10. The lawsuit cites the Corps’ failure to “address human health impacts from significantly increased diesel pollution.”
“There are homes and schools less than a mile away from this rail yard’s cargo transfer facility,” Melissa Lin Perrella, NRDC’s attorney, said in a press release.
SH approves 25 percent rate hike; institutes fee
The Spring Hill City Council unanimously approved a 25 percent wastewater rate increase and a $9 service charge during a special meeting on Feb. 4. More than 50 residents packed the meeting to protest the increases which will appear on February wastewater bills.
City finance director, Melanie Landis, explained why city officials were considering a rate and fee hike at the start of the special session.
In 2009, the city sewer fund brought in a little more than $1 million. The city spent $1.2 million in debt service and operational costs from the fund, creating a deficit of $200,058 last year. Without rate increases, projections show the fund will rack up a $400,000 deficit in 2010.
And Landis said, city officials have scaled back sewer operational costs and maintenance on the system as far as they possibly can.
“There are no reserves in the sewer fund,” Landis told the crowd.
New SH council member sworn in
With a 3-1 margin, council members approved Mayor Mark Squire’s nomination to replace former council member Steve Sebasto. Sebasto resigned from the council at the end of 2009, saying his resignation was a condition of employment for a new job.
Council member Chris Leaton opposed the nomination of Tim Pittman, in part, because there was only one applicant for the open position. Pittman was one of three candidates for two seats on the council during the 2009 election. He lost to Leaton and Sebasto.
“I think if people were a little bit more aware of it, we would’ve had more applications,” Leaton said. “We have plenty of 6-foot white guys up here.”
USD 230 hires consultant to consider bond issue
School officials will consider doing the research to float a bond issue for school expansions in the upcoming months. School board members agreed to do a little research before hiring a firm to help them with the process during a board meeting Feb. 8.
Andy Anderson’s organization, DLR group, helped the district prepare for the bond issue that saw the construction of Prairie Creek Elementary School and the new high school, and district superintendent Bart Goering suggested the board hire DLR to start preparations for a bond issue in the near future.
BNSF denied TIGER grant funds
The BNSF Intermodal Facility and Logistics Park will not receive the $50 million TIGER grant for which the Kansas Department of Transportation has applied.
According to a call to The Gardner News from Edgerton Mayor Don Roberts, KDOT and BNSF notified Edgerton Feb. 19 that the project would not receive the $50 million in funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation to proceed with the project. According to BNSF officials, without the TIGER grant, the intermodal project will be delayed until state and national economic conditions improve.
“The project is still a go. It’s just not a  go today,” Roberts said. “I’m sure we’ll figure out a way to finance the project and get it to start. I’m saddened to know we didn’t get the grant, but this isn’t the end of the project by any means.”