What’s in store

for us now?

Decision making for Chanute is complex and takes thoughtful, studied efforts from the decision makers – as it should. The lives of everyone in the city can be affected by a major decision by our city commissioners.

Back in December of 2013, the city’s general fund had diminished over several years. Numerous cars, trucks and equipment needed to be replaced or updated. The city commissioners voted to add a franchise fee to our utility bills to finance this. When the general fund was again healthy, it could be removed. This was a necessary fee to avoid a tax rate increase, but some of the citizens of Chanute thought that it was not a decision the commission had the right to make without a vote, so they campaigned for (and won) its reversal. 

After all of the gloating and the charged fees returned, Chanute still had failing equipment and vehicles with no way to pay for their repair or replacement.

This week, our current commission voted to approve a deal to bring an aerospace company that promised up to 150 jobs to Chanute. Chanute’s investment could exceed $4 million. The decision had to be made Monday night because the company said that 49 other cities wanted the business, and the company needed to be in production by the end of the year (a common sales pressure technique).

Our commissioners had no time to discuss it, no time to weigh the options, and no time to research it. The debate lasted about an hour, but the decision was a fait accompli – one made with no option but to accept – I knew it from the first half hour of the meeting. Chanute has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state and the prospective corporation knew we would be desperate to turn that around.

Where is the company prospectus? How do we know the company is who they say they are? Charlie Newell kept saying he had “skin in the game” – what skin? Where are some of the contracts they said they had? Is the company CEO willing to sign a Personal Guarantee? (We make others sign them on their contracts with the City.) Are there any hidden costs? Do we have a cap on the City’s responsibility? 

What difference would ONE week have made in voting to give the commissioners time do some investigation (could it be that the news release was already published)? 

I don’t think all of the commissioners wanted to vote for it, but they did. No commissioner in the room wanted to be the one to vote against bringing jobs to Chanute – I probably would have done the same thing. The deal was accepted with only the promise from our mayor that we’ll “figure out” the $4 million plus financing, plus a comment from one commissioner, “If it fails, it fails.” 

I hope this venture is wildly successful and the catalyst to turn our city around. But we need to brace ourselves. We still have to deal with the city equipment and vehicles, and now we have the additional burden of the costs of bringing this new company to our city.  We don’t yet know what form it will take –  property tax increases, budget cuts, utility rate increases, bonds, mill levies, local sales tax increases, city debt – singly or in combination. One franchise fee drew the indignation of a group of residents who persuaded enough people to vote to rescind it, but that’s nothing compared to what’s in store for us now.

Cindy Morrison


Bravo to what’s going

on in Chanute

Editor’s note: This was converted to a letter to the editor from a posting to the Class of 1961.

Just thought I would take a few minutes and recap some wonderful happenings in the old hometown my friends of the great Class of 1961. In these days when the perspective on life in small town America seems to always be negative “doom and gloom,” our Chanute offers a bit of different side of things, especially these past two weeks. One is sports related and two more are business/industry related. 

1. The Juco Baseball team had its best season record ever in 2016, finishing 51-11. And one player on that team, freshman Third Baseman Brylie Ware, from Sedgwick, Kan., was named National Junior College Player Of The Year by the Amer Baseball Coaches Assoc and Rawlings Corp. Wow, he has won almost every award available and is headed to Oklahoma Univ. next year. He led the nation in RBIs, runs scored, hits, .560 batting avg, .660 on-base pctg. plus had 29 homeruns for #2 (#1 only had 30), 29 doubles and 4 triples. And on defense he was no slouch either...101 assists and 35 putouts. Congrats to this great young man and good luck with the Sooners and beyond.

2.  Last week a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the new Love’s Truck Stop, Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Arby’s — all to begin construction this week on ground directly north of the (new to us) CHS. Expected to be completed in 2017 i believe. Badly needed in all aspects. If nor familiar with Love’s, they are the “up and coming” dominant new Truck Stop developer in the US today.

3. Last, but maybe long-term, most significant of all, was the announcement of a new industry/company coming to Chanute. Name is Orizon Aeroconstructors, mfgrs of aircraft parts, modules and accessories. They had previously been located in Fredonia under a different name and were sold.

So began new company and were looking for a site stragetically located between Wichita and KC. Forty-nine cities entered the bidding “war” for their business and Chanute was chosen as the winning location! They will be moving into the building just east of the airport at south end of the runway, previously occupied by Hitchhiker RV’s. They have already announced possible planned large expansion within a year or two. Anticipate 150 new jobs.

There are other things going on also on South Santa Fe but right now i do not have exact details in front of me and wanted to get this latest news out asap.

I think you will agree there is reason to show a bit of pride today in our hometown ... dont you think? Way to go to all those involved in getting these businesses to come to Chanute. And a hearty huge thanks to the very successful Juco Baseball Coach Murry and his staff!

I can truly say I am one proud former OLD Blue Comet and proud of my hometown, Chanute, Kansas USA!

Rolen “Casey” Casebolt 


Concerns about

decisions  at Allen County Regional Hospital

We submit this letter as a group of health care providers and citizens currently or formerly of Allen County, Kansas, out of concern for the care of the citizens of Iola, Allen County and the surrounding area. Over the last few years, the level of care available has shown a gradual decline at Allen County Regional Hospital (ACRH). Currently, the latest concern is in the area of anesthesia coverage. These providers direct sedation, regional or general anesthesia of patients for procedures and surgeries. In the Emergency Room, they help manage patient’s airway, to maintain adequate breathing function. This may involve placement of breathing tubes (ET tubes) if needed. This care has been provided for the past many years (29 years) by David Jordan, CRNA, a member of the local community. Other like-minded anesthesia providers have been enlisted by Mr. Jordan, to help insure local anesthesia care is provided in a professional and compassionate manner. Due to recent administrative decisions at ACRH, this level of care will no longer be available at Allen County Regional Hospital, and the cost of continuing to provide this range of anesthesia services will escalate significantly. This increased cost is not only due to these administrative decisions, but also an apparent lack of administrative planning. This not only affects the local Emergency Room, but also procedures in the Operating Room and epidural/general anesthesia availability/care for Obstetrics patients. Anesthesia services will no longer be provided by a member of your community, but rather by a group of locum tenens (traveling) anesthesia providers, with little or no investment in being a part of the Iola/Allen County community.

All details of the decisions made are not available to us or to the public. Due to confidentiality concerns, we realize some details cannot be publicly discussed. However, we believe the manner in which this change in care has been handled administratively is far less professional or compassionate manner than the citizens of this area deserve. The story passed on by administration members, to at least one provider being recruited by ACRH to replace the previous providers, was that the suddenness of the change in providers was due to Mr. Jordan’s health issues. There have been health concerns in his life in past years, but there have been no recent changes in that area to justify/support this sudden decision. If not for the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) designation for ACRH, with its level of additional reimbursement, this added expense would not be at all affordable. We believe this type of decision-making, rather than being based on sound business decisions, but depending upon the CAH system of reimbursement (which is not guaranteed by the Federal Government to continue indefinitely) is not only bad business, but also bad medicine.

Please take the time to discuss this issue and concerns with our local Hospital Board members and Administrative team, individually and/or at the next board meeting (next meeting is June 28 at 7 pm). Do not wait until you or your loved one needs this medical care in an emergency or urgent fashion, to raise concern about this part of medical care in the Allen County community. This matter deserves your attention now! Thanks for taking the time to read this letter, and thanks in advance for getting involved. 

Steven D. Newsome, CRNA

Daniel L. Myers, M.D.

David Jordan, CRNA.


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