State absorbs cost of replacement sewer
Tonganoxie -- Tonganoxie residents won't have to soak up costs for replacing a sewer pipe swept away nearly three months ago by a rain-swollen Tonganoxie Creek.
The Kansas Department of Commerce announced Wednesday that it would pump $99,500 into installing a new pipe to handle sewage from nearly 50 homes in the North Star subdivision, plus restrooms in nearby Chieftain Park.
A March 23 storm wiped out a 30-foot section of cast-iron pipe that crosses the creek. A temporary plastic pipe will handle the load until the new pipe is installed this summer as part of a new low-water crossing.
The grant will relieve Tonganoxie's 3,169 residents of what would have been an increase in sewer rates, said Kathy Bard, assistant city administrator. City residents already will be facing higher bills to pay for a new $4 million sewage treatment plant, now under construction and scheduled to open within a year.
Task force to probe suspected arson
Ottawa -- A task force has been formed to investigate what is considered a "suspicious fire" earlier this month that caused more than $1 million damage at the Ottawa Co-op.
The task force is made up of investigators from the Ottawa fire and police departments, Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Kansas Fire Marshal's Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They have not said how the fire might have started.
A $5,000 reward also is being offered by the Kansas Committee on Arson Prevention for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the fire.
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call (800) KS-CRIME. The fire began about 10:55 p.m. June 5.