Archive for Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Baldwin City stands by shelter decision, looks to schedule storm preparedness meeting

Although USD 348 Superintendent Paul Dorathy remains hopeful an agreement can be reached with the city to provide a community storm shelter, the Baldwin City Council is standing by its decision not to partner with the district in offering a community shelter at the Performing Arts Center and is looking to set a public meeting on emergency preparedness.

Although USD 348 Superintendent Paul Dorathy remains hopeful an agreement can be reached with the city to provide a community storm shelter, the Baldwin City Council is standing by its decision not to partner with the district in offering a community shelter at the Performing Arts Center and is looking to set a public meeting on emergency preparedness.

March 21, 2012

While maintaining their position that the city can’t be involved in community storm shelter with the Baldwin school district, Baldwin City Council members Monday called for a public meeting this spring on severe weather preparedness.

Discussion of the shelter issue at Monday’s council meeting was limited to Councilwoman Bonnie Plumberg’s report on the Community Development Committee she chairs.

The council’s brief discussion Monday was in contrast to two weeks earlier when the topic dominated the council meeting. That meeting came six days after an estimated 60 Baldwin City residents sought shelter at the school district’s new Performing Arts Center during a tornado warning only to find it the building locked.

At the earlier meeting, Mayor Ken Wagner (who didn’t attend Monday’s meeting) and City Administrator Chris Lowe apologized for the lack of communication that had so many residents heading to the Performing Arts Center after it had been decided the city couldn’t be a partner in offering it as a shelter.

Since January, Wagner and Lowe have been calling for the city to take steps to education the public on severe weather awareness and preparation. Council members agreed Monday the public meeting the Community Development Committee proposed would help address that need.

Councilman Shane Starkey, who is a member of the Community Development Committee, said the committee also suggested a emergency management professional attend the public meeting to explain the concerns that led the city to end involvement in a shelter at the Performing Arts Center.

That decision was made after city officials discussed the topic with Douglas County Emergency Management Director Teri Smith.

Wagner and Lowe cited Smith’s comments when two weeks earlier they explained the city’s decision to the four residents attending the council meeting who either went to the Performing Arts Center during the Feb. 28 storm or had family members who did.

The city doesn’t have enough full-time police officers or firefighters on duty to spare one to manage a community shelter during what would be a community emergency, they said. Therefore, the job would fall to a volunteer, and Wagner said it would be difficult to assure that person would be in town or otherwise available during a storm.

Wagner and Lowe explained terms of the Federal Emergency Management Grant that provided 75 percent of the $4.5 million to build the Performing Arts Center as a tornado safe room mandated its doors be locked 10 minutes after a tornado warning was issued and remain secure until the all clear was sounded. Enforcing those rules could put a volunteer in a very difficult position, Wagner said.

A possible volunteer scheduling problem and the mandate to lock the doors 10 minutes after a warning started could put those seeking safety at the Performing Arts Center at greater risk than staying in their homes, Wagner said.

Baldwin USD 348 Paul Dorathy said Monday he remained hopeful talks with the city can find a way the city and district can make a storm shelter available to the community.

Comments

Bloggerboo 2 years, 9 months ago

Sounds like Dorathy and the school district would really like for this to be used by the community, but the City Council can't spare one person during an emergency.

What kind of silly rule is it that the doors have to be locked 10 minutes after the warning and until the all clear is sounded? In ten minutes, that last tornado warning was OVER. And we seriously would have to tell a late family, sorry, sit out there and take it? I'm ok with not letting anyone leave until the all clear, but not letting someone in is ridiculous.

0

BaldwinDad 2 years, 9 months ago

I agree Blogger....I would just simply ignore that 10 minute rule....what are they going to do come back and take their 75% of the funding?

Also not sure if all that is needed is a volunteer to man, why the police or fire department can't handle this, i have already commented in other post about the excessive # of law enforcement we have in Baldwin given the complete lack of real crime.

0

LEMONBRAIN7 2 years, 9 months ago

UNFORTUNEATELY ME AND MY FAMILY WERE THERE THE NIGHT OF THE WARNING!I AM VERY UNHAPPY WITH THE LACK OF ANY COMUNICATION TO THE PUBLIC ABOUT DECISIONS ON SHELTER.THANK GOD NO ONE WAS HURT THIS TIME!!!WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO IN FUTURE HOPE THEY DO SOMETHING.I PERSONALLY THINK WE NEED TO HOLD THEM ALL ACOUNTABLE AND ELECT SOME ONE WHO WILL CARE ABOUT THE PUBLIC ALOT MORE.I JUST MOVED HERE 8 MONTHS AGO AND LOVE THE COMMUNITY BUT WE MAY HAVE TO MOVE SOME WHERE SAFER!I REALLY HOPE THEY GET OFF THERE HIND ENDS AND DO SOMETHING BEFORE ITS TO LATE!!!!!!!!!!!

0

Goldie 2 years, 9 months ago

Love the title of this piece, so fitting.

Baldwin City stands by shelter decision, ( We have decided to do nothing )

And this bunch was elected ?

0

kermit 2 years, 9 months ago

Please name another community that has an official community storm shelter that guarantees it will be open 24/7. I certainly cannot think of one.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.