Archive for Thursday, February 7, 2002

Public servants come through in time of crisis

February 7, 2002

Last Wednesday and Thursday, much of eastern Kansas found itself under siege by nature suddenly gone malevolent. The persistent rain threatened communications, power and transportation as it turned to ice on roads, electrical lines and tree limbs. Homeowners faced a threat of fire said to be 10 times greater than normal. Slick streets and sidewalks made any attempt to travel hazardous.

Standing between us and the further erosion of our 21st century lifestyles were the crews clearing the two-inch sheets of glazed ice from the streets, roads and highways; the police officers monitoring road conditions, working accidents and providing a visible reminder to drive safely; firefighters ready to respond to the myriad problems associated with the ice storm; and the electrical utility employees working exhausting hours at the dangerous task of restoring power in dreadful conditions.

City, county and state crews came to the aid of those who had to travel. The removal of downed branches and ice from area streets, roads and highways was potentially dangerous work. Conditions in the storm's early hours were worse than they were during the weekend when a number of Kansas City metro hospital emergency rooms were so busy they were forced to turn away ambulances.

Eudora's electrical workers did an admirable job in restoring power to the city-owned electrical grid. By Friday evening, the city had restored power to all service lines. Two days without electricity must have seemed interminable to the last to be restored, but anyone doubting the achievement of the Eudora crews has only to look to the east. Many Johnson County and Kansas City, Mo., communities remain in the dark a week after the storm. Had Eudora been dependent on one of the area's larger electrical utilities coping with that nightmare, the local outages surely would have been prolonged.

To a very large degree, local mill levies are about salaries. Eudora municipal employees gave us evidence last week our dollars are well spent.

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