Sonic resumes operations after bathroom fire

By Eliot Sill
Hillsboro Star Journal – August 27, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 1, 2014

There was a small fire at the Sonic in Hillsboro on Saturday in the early afternoon. The fire was contained to a wall of the women’s restroom.

“We feel very fortunate that the damage was not more severe,” store owner Jason Sjorlund said.

Sjorlund said the cause of the fire, though still under investigation, appears to have been electrical. The damage was confined mainly to one wall.

Sjorlund didn’t know whether employees or patrons discovered the fire. The smell of smoke began permeating the restaurant and the fire department was called.

“The fire department did a great job of handling the situation as quickly as possible,” Sjorlund said.

Sections of a wall in the bathroom had to be removed to get to the source of the fire. Because the restaurant has two restrooms, it will continue to operate regularly, but with one uni-sex bathroom.

Sonic was closed for several hours in the wake of the fire, but was able to re-open before the scheduled closing time Saturday.

“I’d estimate that we lost about a half day’s business,” Sjorlund said.

The restaurant is now operating under its normal hours.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

George Jerome Frazee



Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Retirement ceremony

Junction City Daily Union – August 28, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 1, 2014

The Junction City Fire Department will be holding a retirement reception for Michael T. Brown from 3 to 5 p.m. September 12 in the Junction City Municipal Gymnasium. The public is invited. Brown has served the community for more than 29 years.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Air conditioner causes fire in Gas

Iola Register – August 9, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 1, 2014

Lenny Clark and his family are in need of some help.

Clark, 65, his stepfather; 85-year-old Ben Gregg, and his nephew, Chris Clark, 43, were displaced from their rental home in Gas after it burned Sunday evening.

The fire started when Lenny Clark and Gregg were home, and Chris Clark was about to return.

Lights in several parts of the home had gone out, and attempts to reset a breaker in the breaker box was unsuccessful.

“It kept kicking back off,” Lenny Clark said. “That’s when we knew we were in trouble.”

Chris Clark investigated the cause and found fire emanating from an upstairs air-conditioning unit.

Firefighters were called.

They were able to extinguish the blaze, but the upstairs portion of the house at 102 S. Humphrey St. was gutted. The rest of the house sustained heavy smoke and water damage.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

What if…active-shooter training

By Jackie Taylor
Linn County News – August 27, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 1, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

School safety isn’t just something that you hope happens–it’s something that comes about with lots of planning, strategizing and investing in the future. And, two years after the wheels were put in motion to practice a countywide active shooter scenario, many people left with lots to think about and more planning to do.

School shootings are nothing new in America; they just seem to continue and to escalate as they occur. Linn County Emergency personnel and school personnel took the bull by the horns and began working together to come up with a plan where all three school districts had the same emergency procedures the county was familiar with: all three would use the same emergency code words and each would use the same basic lifesaving techniques if facing a situation.

Monday, August 25, was the day to put those procedures to the test and find out where the holes were. County Emergency Management Coordinator Doug Barlet, USD 346 Superintendent Royce Powelson, UD 344 Superintendent Travis Laver, USD 362 Superintendent Chris Kleidosty, and Sheriff Paul Filla and Undersheriff Roger Holt started the planning process several years ago, but began actual meetings and tabletop exercises two years ago. In that time, the school districts found a date where they all could arrange an in-service on the same day to practice developing active shooter scenarios inside one of their schools.

Prairie View High School was the chosen site of the exercise, using approximately 300 teachers from all three districts to pose as students. Linn County Fire, law enforcement, various city police departments, American Medical Response EMTs and supervisors, observers from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and various emergency management personnel from other counties attended.

Emergency personnel were staged in a parking lot at the high school and “students” were assigned to classrooms, the library or other areas students would normally populate during a school day.

The scenario began with the school day being like any other day. But at approximately 8:55 a.m., Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Drennan posed as a disgruntled parent that was going through a divorce and losing custody of his son. Drennan entered the school, armed with a .22 caliber with real blanks so teachers would know what real gun shots actually sounded like, and moved to the front office.

Volunteers moving through the school earlier noticed plastic CPR practice dummies scattered throughout the upper level of the high school; the reason was now apparent as Drennan simulated firing on people–the dummies being the dead after he moved through.

Those personnel simulating gunshot victims lay on the floor in various rooms, each with a written description of what kind of injury he or she had received.

Drennan moved through the hallways yelling, “Where’s my son!” and continued shooting until he stopped in the cafeteria to reload and La Cygne Police Chief Tate West apprehended him, cuffing him and stopping the simulated carnage.

Various procedures during the active shooter scenario were initiated by the teachers showing them what they actually would do if faced with a real shooter.

Though the incident began at 8:55 a.m., all of the shooting was complete by about 9:05. At that point, law enforcement moved on the scene, simulating the actual response time it would take to get to Prairie View from La Cygne, ending with the apprehension of the shooter.

Next, calculated by Deputy Chris Martin, various other law enforcement officers, ambulances and the fire department began showing up in the school.

Several questioned, “Where were the first responders?”

Former deputy, now PHS ag teacher Darick Chapman, answered, “It’s a 10-15 minute response time–trust me.”

At approximately 9:38 a.m., rooms began to be cleared by police and deputies, with students finally being sent to a central location where they could meet parents or loved ones.

Most of the scenario went smoothly and holes in the plan showed up. Observers, including school superintendents, the Johnson County Sheriff’s officers, AMR personnel and more, each took notes for later planning.

Comments were shared about changes each would make for various reasons, but ultimately that they were glad they could practice the active shooter scenario in case something really did happen.

After the shooter was apprehended, Diana Oborny, teacher and EMT for 30 years, used her years of training. She began assembling automated external defibrillators (AEDs), first aid kits, etc., and began moving through the building. AMR had not moved through all of the injured and Oborny, with the assistance of health aids, began administering life-saving first aid to the gunshot victims. She made several observations on needs the district could assist with if they were ever faced with a situation.

After all of the students were moved to a safe spot and victims were treated, the exercise ended and everyone was asked to assemble in the auditorium. Barlet and all of the organizers of the exercise were on stage and introduced.

Following a question and answer period, Superintendent Kleidosty took the microphone and told the audience that it is far better to stop an active shooter situation before it starts. Talk to those kids who seem to be outcasts, stop that bullying that is going on in the hallway–be active in students’ lives.

He asked teachers to be aware of what is going on around them–helping to potentially thwart a future shooting incident.

With that, lunch was served, thoughts were shared and everyone was thankful it wasn’t a real incident.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Baptism by firefighters

By Jeff Guy
Newton Kansan – August 27, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 1, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Tuesday afternoon, it was the Kansan’s turn to get dumped on.

Twelve employees of the paper got soaked.

A Newton fire truck was parked on a closed Sixth Street outside the Kansan office at around 4 p.m. Fire/EMS personnel stood on top of the truck and administered the ice bucket challenge on Kansan staff members standing underneath them.

Most staff members gave money to the ALS Association. Some gave money directly to the Vince Garcia fund. Garcia, a Newton firefighter, has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

A crowd of around 25 people stood across the street.

“it’s a great cause,” Kansan Publisher Randy Mitchell said around 30 minutes before he got drenched. “It’s about raising awareness and funds. It creeps up on you and hits home as with Vince Garcia. It’s everywhere.”

Kansan Advertising Executive Rachel Wallace said, after getting splashed, “The ice pelted my head. It hurt, but it was worth it.”

Erin Welch, a graphic designer with the Kansan, was not among those getting dumped on. She joined the firefighters doing the dumping.

“I wanted to participate in some way even though I didn’t get wet,” she said. “And I got to climb on a fire truck.”

While, there was fun, laughs and screams, the ice bucket challenge had a serious side as well.

“Before the ice bucket challenge, nobody really thought about ALS,” Mitchell said. “This is a good thing.”

Anyone wishing to donate can go to the ALS Association’s web page at

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Area fire departments consolidate Monday

By Bob Johnson
Iola Register – August 5, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 1, 2014

Consolidation of Moran with Osage and Marmaton township fire departments, in the works for months, came about Monday evening by unanimous vote of Moran City Council members.

Bill McAdam, Moran, gave enabling information when he told council members Marmaton Township was willing to provide $15,000 for a new truck and also contribute $5,000 a year for operation of the merged departments. Osage Township officials earlier pledged $12,000 upfront and agreed to $5,000 in operating capital.

Mayor Phil Merkel–also Moran Fire Chief–noted not all of the $10,000 in operating funds from the townships likely would be needed most years, and that excess could be deposited in reserve for the day when a new fire truck was needed.

He predicted a truck’s purchase would occur in two or three years.

Funds raised by the two townships come from a property tax levy in each.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster