Archive for Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Baldwin superintendent presents plan to open shelter to residents

Baldwin USD 348 Superintendent Paul Dorathy presented a plan at Monday board of education meeting that would make the Performing Arts Center available as a storm shelter to those living nearby.

Baldwin USD 348 Superintendent Paul Dorathy presented a plan at Monday board of education meeting that would make the Performing Arts Center available as a storm shelter to those living nearby.

March 27, 2012

Baldwin School Superintendent Paul Dorathy presented a plan Monday to the USD 348 Board of Education that would make available the district’s new Performing Arts Center as a storm shelter.

Dorathy said he was able to develop the plan after returning from spring break last week and thinking about the issues involved.

The plan as he presented addressed points Baldwin City officials raised when declining to partner in the operation of the Performing Arts Center as a shelter.

Dorathy said he started developing the plan with a call to the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency grant that provided 75 percent of the $4.5 million the Performing Arts Center cost. City officials have said the grant requires the arts center’s door be locked within 10 minutes of a tornado warning being sounded and remain so until an all clear was issued.

That’s not quite right, Dorathy said. It is true, as city officials have said, the Performing Arts Center safe room’s primary function was to be a shelter for students and staff of the high school and junior high and that grant terms mandate the 10-minute rule be followed during school hours, the superintendent said. There was enough room in the auditorium to allow residents in during a school-time storm, he said.

But the grant administrator added that during non-school hours, the Performing Arts Center was the district’s building to operate as it wanted and the grant terms didn’t apply, Dorathy said.

City officials have also balked at being involved with the shelter out of concern police or fire department personnel would not be available during a tornado to open the shelter and man it during an emergency. Dorathy said other communities have resolved that issue by placing battery-powered electronic locks on doors that can be unlocked remotely during a tornado warning or by entering a code obtained by calling a posted phone number.

The drawback of such a system is it would allow unsupervised entry into a district building, Dorathy said. A representative from the school’s insurance carrier said that problem has been addressed elsewhere with the installation of video cameras in buildings.

Dorathy said he presented his findings to Baldwin City Administrator Chris Lowe. He was told that although the city couldn’t assign a police officer to the shelter during a storm, one could come by the Performing Arts Center at some time during the emergency.

The superintendent received the endorsement from the board to work out the details of the plan.

“I applaud your effort,” board member Ruth Barkley said. “I’m pleased we’re not shutting the door on this. I’m all in favor of moving forward.”

Dorathy cautioned the district shouldn’t call the Performing Arts Center a “community shelter.” Those who couldn’t get to the building within 10 minutes of a tornado warning would be safer making other preparations, he said.

When Dorathy informed the board there was still enough FEMA grant money available to pay for 75 percent of the cameras and locks, board member Tony Wedel suggested the city pick up the remaining 25 percent.

“We provide the shelter, and they provide 25 percent for the lock and cameras,” he said.

Comments

LEMONBRAIN7 2 years, 4 months ago

I AM GLAD THAT THEY ARE ATLEAST MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.I LIVE NEXT DOOR TO PERFORMOING ARTS CENTER AND THIS WOUL BE GREAT FOR MY FAMILY AND NEIGHBORS.I JUST IT GETS DONE BEFORE ITS TO LATE AND SOMETHING BAD HAPPENEE!!

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Bloggerboo 2 years, 4 months ago

I appreciate Mr. Dorathy thinking outside the box on this issue, and potentially finding a solution for the community and the city. All of you who have bashed him should be singing his praises on at least this one issue. He got the building built, for 75% off, and now he is finding a way to make it useful not just to his school district (which is the only constituent he really had to work for), but to community members as well. This kind of stuff needs to be applauded.

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Julie Craig 2 years, 4 months ago

Kudo's!! Great news for the City.

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BaldwinDad 2 years, 4 months ago

It is nice to see this being resolved even if after the fact, but Bloggerboo, it's not built at 75% off...don't mislead and lie like that, the money came from the community, as well as a much larger community since it was derived from a Federal grant which we all have to pay for with our Federal Income tax/Inflation in the dollar's value.

Also last I checked the community was the school district and the school district is the community....the community helped pay for the building with their property tax, so they should have access to it.

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Bloggerboo 2 years, 4 months ago

Oh come on, be real. The dollars are mentioned right in the article. And FEMA paid for 75% of it, after we had already passed the bond issue on it and would have been on the hook for the full amount. Because of this venture, 75% came from the government, yes, but that pool of tax money is the entire US, and therefore the individual amount each Baldwin resident paid might not even reach a dollar. That is a direct savings to the district to do other things, in a very tight economic era.

Finally, yes, the Super's duty is first and foremost to the district students and staff and education of said students. Everything else, including community, is secondary. The community agrees to pay for certain items because they are sending their children there to be educated, but that does not make every district building or facility a community open-source opportunity. Your flawed logic is astounding.

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BaldwinDad 2 years, 4 months ago

Bloggerboo you are truly ignorant.....the COMMUNITY is the District, the Students and the Teachers they are all one in the same.....if you were not so blinded by your absolute worship of the State and Dorathy you would realize that.

The only flawed Logic in all of this is how you think there is any difference between School Board paying for something and the City paying for it....all their money comes from the same place!!

The residences and businesses that make up the COMMUNITY.

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BaldwinDad 2 years, 4 months ago

Also Bloggerboo this line is also another indication of your willful ignorance or just another lie...

The community agrees to pay for certain items because they are sending their children there to be educated.

The community meaning us the citizens have no choice but to pay...don't kid yourself into thinking I can CHOOSE or AGREE to pay, we the Community are not given a choice.

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NanCrisp 2 years, 4 months ago

+1 BaldwinDad. The misunderstanding or willful blindness of the source of FEMA funds (and any and all other "government" money) is one of the greatest travesties of American ignorance.

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hyperinflate 2 years, 4 months ago

How very rich for the School District to ask the City for funds, given that the cheapskates refused to pay for any improvements that would be needed along Elm Street when they put in their fancy new schools out there. They claimed it was the City's responsibility even though they (the School District) were the "developer" on the project. So after MUCH whining and much hate and invective directed at the City, the City relented on requirements that would be enforced on every other developer. Now you have to leave town in order to take your children to an in-town school.

The School District also refused to pay anything toward improving the intersection at Lawrence Street and Highway 56, saying that once again it was a City responsibility, even though it was their new development that caused a huge increase in traffic there. So the City is going to pick up the tab.

Now when it's clearly a School District resource, on School District property, they can't simply find the way to fund something that would be useful for the community as a whole. Far from being lauded, Paul Dorathy and the entire School Board should simply be ashamed. But that is something that I believe they are singularly incapable of being, especially when it comes to taxpayer funds.

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BaldwinDad 2 years, 4 months ago

Hyper...don't you read the Community is not the School district according to some....they are two different groups and must be made to despise each other and pay for the other's mistakes.

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Bloggerboo 2 years, 4 months ago

They did find a way. They are about to make it happen. Please remember, the City was the one who could not "find a way" to get a single officer or fireman to the building during an emergency. So, Mr. Dorathy is looking for ways to get that done. He finds one, offers to pay for 75% of it, and you still blame him? Ridiculous.

I cannot comment on the various street issues you mention as I don't know enough about them.

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BaldwinDad 2 years, 4 months ago

The point here is Dorathy as our employee and the school board as our elected officials touted the Building as a tornado shelter , but then didn't have any plan in place on how the community could use a building, they are ultimately responsible for.

This was not the job of the City, it was Dorathy's and the School Boards to make sure this was covered and a plan in place when they announced it to the Community, who is their employers and constituents.

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Bloggerboo 2 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Dorathy hoped it could be used that way, they ran into some obstacles, and he is working it out. For you to say the City has no responsibility in this issue, and it is entirely up to the District and Dorathy, shows what a complete ass you are. The City isn't responsible for community shelters? Get real.

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BaldwinDad 2 years, 3 months ago

LoL...Bloggerboo....you really like to be wrong obviously.

It's a School building, which the CITY has no rights to other then in matters of zoning

You also state Mr. Dorathy lives only to serve the students, staff and education, not the community/City.

So how is this any responsibility of the City to make sure a SCHOOL building with they don't own is open to the Community, whom according you Dorathy owns no allegiance to??

The City is only responsible for a Community Shelter if they are the ones that own it.

Please let me know when you remove your lips from Dorathy and the BOE's collective posteriors so we can have an intelligent conversation on the facts of the issue.

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Bloggerboo 2 years, 3 months ago

Because the city/community citizens want to use it in that fashion, outside of school hours and for non-school constituents? Makes sense to me that they help out with opening it up, at the very least.

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Goldie 2 years, 4 months ago

I for one would like to applaud Mr. Dorathy for his ideas and getting the job done for our community. This is great news for Baldwin and goes a long way toward building / mending community relations. My hope is the city follows Mr. Dorathy's lead and steps up to the plate to seal the deal by providing designated staff for the storm shelter.

Actions or lack of speak louder than words

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bcpromoter 2 years, 4 months ago

Shame on you, all you naysayers! I think it is terrific that Baldwin City has a man the caliber of Mr. Dorathy who seeks to find solutions to problems in his district AND the community rather than complaining about everything. How quickly we forget all Mr. Dorothy has done for the school district since he arrived in Baldwin City. Keep up the good work!

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kermit 2 years, 4 months ago

goldie, then can we assume you are ok with the one police officer on duty at the time of the tornado sirens leaves his patrol car to man the storm shelter? Can we assume that you are ok that the rest of the town is left without police protection while this officer is being the "designated staff" for the shelter? Can we assume you are fine if there is some kind of police emergency on your block but you have to wait for a police response since the closest officer we have is required to sit in the storm shelter? I think not. I think you will be ther first to rail against the big, bad city for not protecting YOU.

Let's say the city designates another staff member to be the storm shelter monitor. who would that be? Since the city has no Office of Community Safety perhaps we should create a new position for that. Uhmmmmmmmm, how much are you willing to raise your taxes to pay for that? If we send a current staff member, perhaps a public works guy or one of the office administration staff, welll they will need overtime pay...assuming of course they are even in town if the tornado sirens go off on a weekend, holiday or in the evening. Of course you could require that person on duty to be "on call" but that too would require additional compensation (read your Kansas Labor Laws). You willing to pay for that too by increased mill levies? Everything has a price. Nothing the government does is for free.

My point is that this issue is not as cut and dried as just "open the doors and let them in". I think it's good that the City and school district are trying to work things out but there is a reason that most communities do not provide community shelters for their residents. I have referenced a few of them above.

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hyperinflate 2 years, 4 months ago

It's really interesting, Kermit that so many of these folks probably are of the ilk that parrot the Limbaugh-esque railing against the "nanny state", yet here they are demanding that somehow the government protect them against big, bad Mother Nature. When growing up in Kansas we never expected to be able to go to a storm shelter. That was what a basement was for, or a cellar, or a designated storm shelter. Strange.

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Bloggerboo 2 years, 4 months ago

I tend to agree with hyper on this one. You haven't lived in Kansas very long if you don't realize you will need a tornado shelter at some point and still haven't made preparations. If your preparations are to use the newly build school building, then pressure the city admins to do their part in helping Mr. Dorathy and the district provide you an opportunity for shelter.

To Kermit: Why can't we have a volunteer of some sort? We have volunteer firefighters. There's no need to create a special position or department within the City to open a freaking door during a storm warning.

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BaldwinDad 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree hyper...simply refund my 4.5 million and you can call the PAC building anything you like....oh wait...you mean you can't give me my money back?? Well then deliver what you promised....

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Bloggerboo 2 years, 4 months ago

Here are the facts, plain and simple. The bond issue was passed before this notion of the auditorium ever being a shelter came about. So, the money was spent regardless.

As it turns out, Mr. Dorathy found significant savings if we had FEMA help pay for the majority of it, and we turned it into a shelter. So, we got savings such that some of that bond money allocated to the building went towards other projects.

Furthermore, it was never promised to be a "community" shelter, only a shelter for faculty/staff/students during school hours, with the hope being that maybe it could also double as a community shelter. If you find a promise from Mr. Dorathy or the District saying otherwise, in writing, please post it.

Finally, I understand that all of our taxes go into various pools and help pay for various things, but you seem to be unable to understand that for each split, there is a percentage involved. Sometimes we pay a higher percentage, say when we pay for the bond issue, and sometimes we benefit by paying a much lower percentage, say for the FEMA help on the auditorium, because the pool funding it is much larger than just Baldwin City residents. A much larger population is contributing, therefore our individual cost is significantly reduced. Can you grasp that concept?

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Goldie 2 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like the City council is responding to my post. Since you want to throw progress under the table and just say " we can't do that because......" Here a simple option, and no it is not a freebie.

 BCPD designates on call officers that would operate a rotating ( no pun intended ) duty during tornado season. On duty could mean during a thunderstorm watch and expires as does the watch. As anyone would expect if you work you are to be paid. What's it worth to you ? I would have no problem helping funding a program such as that.

What you are failing to acknowledge in your posts is Baldwin is a community. Community does not mean every man for himself especially when it hits the fan. Do you help out your neighbors ? I do

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kermit 2 years, 4 months ago

Bloggerboo-----A volunteer is precisely that A VOLUNTEER. That means that person has no legal, ethical or moral obligation to show up. They can quit whenever they want. I don't think its such a good idea to assure people that someone will be there to open the place up or man the shelter if you aren't 100% certain they will be there. What if the volunteer doesn't show and you have 50 people waiting outside instead of finding other shelter???

You can never be 100% certain a volunteer will show up. Not worth the risk. so we are back to paying someone to do it. How much is it worth on your mill levy?

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kermit 2 years, 4 months ago

Bloggerboo just so we are clear I am not, nor have I ever been, an elected official here in Baldwin.

However I pay attention to what is going on in this community and I think that many like you are having a knee-jerk reaction to this issue when there is so much more involved here that you are not taking into consideration.

Again, please name me one other community that has a designated Community Shelter that is open 100% of the time? I cannot think of one and I have lived in many small to large towns in Kansas and in other states.

I am not unsympathetic to those who don't have basements. In fact, I fear for their safety when they assume they can get into a shelter only to find out that the designated "volunteer" decided he/she couldn't make it to do the job. The only way to make 100% certain that it will ALWAYS be open is to pay someone to do it. That means you must pay them to be "on call".

This will get extremely costly since someone will certainly have to be on call all of March, April, May , June , July...heck it should be year round. Remember we just had a tornado siren in February. Don't you see the point? In order to be 100% certain that it is manned someone must be on call 24/7/365 days a year. That is not cheap. Taxes will have to go up or current services cut. Which will it be?

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Bloggerboo 2 years, 4 months ago

Kermit, I don't think you and I are on opposite sides of this issue. You don't like the volunteer(s) option, fine. Let's just do it Dorathy's way. I am fine with that. I am also fine with it not being open at all to the public. But, if enough people do want this to work, I don't think the City should be off the hook and allowed to be a bystander regarding getting this thing done. They need to cooperate, collaborate, whatever the case may be, just as much as the district is doing.

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kermit 2 years, 4 months ago

My apologies to Bloggerboo. My comments were mainly in response to Goldie. My mistake.

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Goldie 2 years, 4 months ago

@ Kermit

please name me one other community that has a designated Community Shelter that is open 100% of the time? None. Community shelters are open during bad weather.

This will get extremely costly since someone will certainly have to be on call all of March, April, May , June , July... Since you seem to be the resident expert tell me exactly how much this will cost or is it easier to just poo poo the idea and forget about getting facts.

Taxes will have to go up or current services cut. Which will it be? And your calling me knee jerk before you even know a dollar figure. Really ???

Whichever member of the council you are I suggest you do some fact checking. That's doing something before alot of nothing is done - again

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kermit 2 years, 4 months ago

goldie, again, I am not nor have I ever been an elected member of this city council or any other elected board. You may not believe me but it is the truth. I just happen to pay attention to what is going on here in Baldwin and I ask a lot of questions.

Again, name me one community that has a designated Community Shelter that guarantees it will be open 100% of the time in case of bad weather. I do not mean it's open 100% of the time just for kicks. I mean that they guarantee their citizens that in case a storm is coming the designated community shelter will always be open to them. Does Lawrence offer this to their citizens? No. What about any of the suburbs of KC? Nope. Eudora, Wellsville, Ottawa? I think you will find the answer is a NO there too.

I am just a realist. I know how the economy works. You cannot have something for nothing and that is exactly what you are asking for. In your perfect world you want to guarantee that the shelter at the PAC is open 100% of the time when it is needed ie. when a bad storm is coming. I am just saying that in order to guarantee that you have to PAY someone to make sure it's there and it is manned properly (as someone in this thread requested). When you pay someone that money has to come from somewhere. You are suggesting the city budget. The city budget comes from tax dollars. Tax dollars come from taxes levied against you, me and all of us in the City. I am assuming the city budget is extremely tight in these economic times. So logic tells me that either services are going to be cut to fund storm shelter personnel or new money has to be raised....taxes.

The idea of volunteer staffing is noble but not practical if you want to GUARANTEE that the shelter will be open whenever it is needed. The fact is a storm cannot be scheduled therefore you have to have someone on call 24/7 365 days a year just in case a storm brews up. All I am saying is that costs money. Real money. It isn't free.

contrary to what you might think, I am not opposed to getting "the facts". It would be interesting knowing the dollar amount attached to having this kind of 100% guaranteed staffing. However it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that it will be a whole lot more than most people think it will be. I am just pointing out that nothing government does is free. Nothing. If the citizens of Baldwin are willing to pay for it then by all means go for it. However I think you will find that charity in Baldwin stops at one's own pocketbook. If you put it to a vote I seriously doubt this city would raise taxes to pay for this kind of personnel. I could be wrong but I don't think so.

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Goldie 2 years, 4 months ago

DId you read my post at all

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kermit 2 years, 4 months ago

Oh brother. you are purposely missing my point. Probably because it seems heartless and all about the cold hard cash.

However I am neither heartless or uncaring for these folks. I just know that this isn't an easy solution and you seem to want to make it all about the emotion and the desire to do the right thing. Noble, but not very practical. What is the old adage, "the road to heaven is full of good intentions.."

Again, please give me an example of another community in the area that offers this to their citizens. Because if there is one (and I am pretty certain there is not) I think those are the first people we need to talk to. How do they make it work?

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hyperinflate 2 years, 4 months ago

kerm,

I think the adage is "the road to ruin is paved with good intentions". Probably more fitting with regards to the something-for-nothing crowd you are trying to educate.

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Goldie 2 years, 4 months ago

I suggest you seek a class in reading comprehension ( kompreehenshun ) to be able to read my post proposing an alternative idea, Your response(s) have little to do with that post

The idea of volunteer staffing is noble but not practical if you want to guarantee that the shelter will be open whenever it is needed. The fact is a storm cannot be scheduled therefore you have to have someone on call 24/7 365 days a year just in case a storm brews up. All I am saying is that costs money. Real money. It isn't free. 0

Where is that in my post???

I am just saying that in order to guarantee that you have to PAY someone to make sure it's there and it is manned properly (as someone in this thread requested).

Who could have said that ???

And finally - Again, name me one community that has a designated Community Shelter that guarantees it will be open 100% of the time in case of bad weather

Emporia KS. White Auditorium

Your time would probably be more productive posting against yourself

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