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Dustin Steinhoff/Staff Photo  

Holden Holiday Lighted Parade participants make their way to Main Street. The parade capped off the Holden Area Chamber of Commerce’s Customer Appreciation and Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30.

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Johnson County Ambulance District to lease part of facility for new Emergency Management Agency office

WARRENSBURG — Johnson County Emergency Management Agency is set to relocate to a new office in December, having negotiated and signed a lease with the Johnson County Ambulance District, allowing JCEMA to operate out of one of JCAD’s preexisting facilities.

JCAD will lease the second floor of its House Two facility, located at 263 S.E. State Route 13, to JCEMA.

JCAD will remain in operation on the first level of the building.

JCAD Emergency Management Services Chief Shane Lockard said leasing the space to another emergency response organization such as JCEMA was, “exactly what we were hoping for.”

“Two public safety agencies being neighbors is always a plus in times of disaster,” JCEMA Director Troy Armstrong said.

Plans to relocate the JCEMA office began prior to Armstrong’s time as EMA director.

Former EMA Director Gloria Brandenburg began the talks with Lockard to discuss the possibility of JCEMA operating out of one of the JCAD facilities after Brandenburg recognized the current EMA building was not conducive to emergency management operations.

Armstrong also found that JCEMA would benefit from a new facility and continued talks with Lockard.

“The biggest advantage is that the [new] building is equipped with a generator, so we will have 100 percent back-up power,” Armstrong said. “If we’re trying to operate an emergency operation center and we ourselves don’t have power, how are we supposed to be responding to a disaster when we can’t even operate out of our own office?”

Armstrong said being located next to railroad tracks at their current location could potentially cause problems as well.

“If we had some kind of rail emergency that impacted downtown Warrensburg, this would not be an ideal place to have our emergency operations center,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong also said the new space is similar in size to the previous EMA office, but will have more “usable space” with a large room for the emergency operation center and a smaller room to use as a conference room.

Lockard said JCEMA’s relocation benefits not only JCEMA and JCAD, but the whole county as JCEMA operating in a space more conducive to its emergency response operations will allow the agency to be better equipped to respond to disasters.

JCEMA will make lease payments of $18,000 per year, including utilities such as electric, gas and sewer facilities.

JCEMA recently acquired a yearly, renewable $9,000 Emergency Management Performance Grant, a FEMA grant administered by the state, which will be used to alleviate the leasing cost.

Additionally, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the City of Warrensburg to have a joint emergency operations center, so the city will share the emergency operations center and contribute funds towards the remaining $9,000.

JCEMA has also agreed to provide full EMA services to the City of Leeton and will use the funds acquired to further offset the cost of the lease payments to the county.

“$9,000 a year for a building, including our utilities and lease, it was pretty much a no-brainer,” Armstrong said. “That’s a pretty good deal for a commercial structure.”

JCAD’s revenue from the lease will go towards its general revenue.

Lockard and Armstrong worked to draft the lease and its conditions to propose to the Johnson County Commission and JCAD Board of Directors for their approvals.

JCAD Attorney Doug Harris and County Attorney Rob Russell also discussed the legalities of the lease and made sure it was mutually agreeable between agencies and for the county.

“When you’re looking at getting two governing agencies to agree upon a lease, it can sometimes take a lot of work on the legal aspect of things,” Armstrong said.

The lease is set for five years and requires a 90-day notice for either agency to opt out of the lease, which Armstrong said is standard for governing bodies.

The agencies also decided EMA will carry contents and renters insurance while JCAD will carry building insurance.

The lease also outlined which agency is reliable for different types of maintenance, snow and ice removal and trash service.

The Johnson County Commission and JCAD Board of Directors both approved the lease conditions in November.

Internet, routers and wireless access points for JCEMA have already been set up in the House Two facility.

The County Commission signed a contract with Mytel to provide JCEMA its phone system, but Armstrong said it could take up to 30 days to port the agency’s current phone number to the system at the new facility.

When the phones are set up, Armstrong plans to move JCEMA into the facility completely, with hopes to complete the moving process by Jan. 1, 2020.

“I think it’s pretty phenomenal we were able to expedite the process that quickly,” Armstrong said. “It shows the support that we have from our county commissioners and Shane has from his Board of Directors. I think it went much smoother than some other lease signings could have.”

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Little food pantry aims to help those in need

WARRENSBURG — Where a little lending library aims to nourish the mind, a new little food pantry is intended to be used by community members to leave what they can and take what they need.

The new little food pantry is across the street from the Trails Regional Library Warrensburg Branch, 432 N. Holden St.

It is designed for non-perishable food items, such as crackers, baby formula, baby food, pull-tab canned goods, microwaveable popcorn bags, rice, granola bars, dried pasta, pasta sauce, boxed pasta mixes, cereal and peanut butter.

Malinda Wilkens, community outreach specialist with Missouri Valley Community Action Agency, said anyone with a need is encouraged to use the food pantry.

Wilkens said hygiene items are also being accepted, such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, bar soap, liquid soap and body wash.

MVCAA was awarded a Community Service Block grant, funding the creation of the little food pantry. 

Wilkens said funds were used to set up 10 pantries in six of the counties MVCAA serves.

Rise Community Services painted the pantry.

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Stormwater Repair Project to restrict access to Cheatham Court

WARRENSBURG — The Warrensburg Public Works advises residents and visitors of the community that the Stormwater Repair Project at the 1200 block of Cheatham Court will take place starting the week of Monday, Dec. 9, weather permitting.

The project is scheduled to be completed by Jan. 29, 2020.

During this time, through traffic will be restricted until the replacement of the storm inlets and storm line under the roadway is completed.

Residents and visitors located north of 1222 and 1227 Cheatham Court will need to utilize Grandview Drive for access into and out of the subdivision.

For more information about the project, contact the Public Works Department at (660) 262-4664 or email wgraves@warrensburg-mo.com