Wednesday, Sept. 29

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County entertains balloon thoughts, approves compliance with standardized disaster plan and offers harvest vehicle permits     Send a link to a friend

[SEPT. 29, 2004] 

Room for balloons

The Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce is looking for a different large outdoor space to host the balloon portion of the Lincoln Art and Balloon Festival next year. Mass balloon launching and glows were hampered at this year's event by the added half-mile car racetrack inside the horse track at the Logan County Fairgrounds.

Chamber director Bobbi Abbott is negotiating with the county airport committee in hopes of bringing the festival out to the Logan County Airport next year. There are many issues that would need resolved to be able to do that. If possible, the far south end of the airport grounds nearest Route 10 would be used for the balloons, she said.

Numerous aspects of using those grounds are now being looked into. The county would have to keep crops out of the ground for the year and would need compensation for that. Insurance is also being looked into.

The balloons would cause little interference to general aviation flights coming and going from the airport, and it would not need to shut down, but approval would be needed from the Aviation Division of the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Emergency responders to all talk the same talk

Terry Storer informed the board that the president has issued a directive to all emergency management agencies to develop a universal management plan. The National Incident Management System is a disaster management system that will be used throughout the United States during major or minor disasters. It combines everyone's separate plans to make one unified plan. This enables responders from other states to go to another state and talk the same language. Storer said, "They will know what to request and know what's coming."

It will take several years to develop the unified plan, but local agencies need to initiate compliance right away if they want to continue qualifying for U.S. Homeland Security grant funds.

 

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The first step was for Logan County to pass a resolution to use NIMS during a disaster within the local jurisdiction.

The board agreed and passed the resolution to be active members of the national Incident Command System.

Logan County is well ahead of the game on this matter, ESDA director Dan Fulscher said at the September Local Emergency Planning Committee meeting, as we already have a plan written that falls within the new guidelines, and that plan can just be expanded.

Logan County was the first county in the Illinois to comply with the requirement for a multi-jurisdictional weapons of mass destruction disaster exercise under U.S. Homeland Security guidelines.

The 12-hour exercise on May 8 this year not only involved all major aspects of emergency response, it also drew together community and disaster response leaders from throughout the county, other counties and from key state agencies.

Harvest permits

It is difficult for farmers getting crops out of fields to correctly assess weight loads on the trucks' individual axles while in the field, farmer and county board member Bill Sahs commented in a pre-meeting discussion. Last Tuesday county engineer Tom Hickman announced that a special 40-day permit that allows overweights on axles is being issued by the county highway department for use on county roads. The permit does not apply to township roads, Hickman said.

Farmers who would like to apply can come to the county highway office at 529 S. McLean St. in Lincoln. Everyone will receive a map of the county, it will be explained, and they will be told which bridges cannot be crossed even with the permit.

Chairman Dale Voyles declared the permits are effective Sept. 21 through Oct. 30 in Logan County. A permit costs $5 per axle.

[Jan Youngquist]

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