Water woes continue

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Allen County has about 2,000 miles of road ditches and when clouds open to dump three or four inches of rain, as they did Sunday night, it’s difficult for the ditches to dispose of the water as quickly as some residents would like.
Bill King, director of Public Works, told commissioners Tuesday morning he received several calls asking county crews to open ditches so water would flow more quickly.
“I’m sympathetic, but there’s only so much we can do,” King said. “There will be flooding when we get heavy rains. That’s a fact of life.”
Ditches are in place, he added, to keep runoff from scouring rock from roads and to drain adjacent fields and farmsteads.
Operation of the county’s rock quarry, a mile southeast of LaHarpe, was slowed by the rain. Under normal conditions, the crusher spits out 250 tons of road rock an hour. The total dropped to 150 tons when the process was complicated by water and mud.
“We’ve had two six-inch pumps going at the quarry since the big rain,” King said. “We’re out of road rock. We’re going to work at the quarry Friday and Saturday to catch up.”
County crews normally work 10 hours Mondays through Thursdays.
Commissioners accepted at bid of $652 from Troy Spencer for door frame repairs at the LaHarpe Senior Citizens Center. Spencer’s was the only bid.
Sheriff Tom Williams said Pam Beasley, Emergency Management Services director, was well aware of national and global concerns about swine flu.
“She’s in contact with state and federal officials,” Williams said. “We’re staying alert.”
Depending on how significant concerns about the virus becomes, Williams said Beasley and his staff might perform a readiness drill at the jail, “to make sure we’re prepared for whatever might occur. I wouldn’t want to do it, though, if it might cause people to think the virus was a genuine threat.”
Beasley said today that Allen Countians could check for updates on the swine flu by going to the sheriff department’s Web site, allencosheriff.org, and look under the emergency management tab.