City hears from concerned citizen

The Sabetha City Commission met at 6 p.m. Monday, June 10, at Sabetha City Hall. Present for the meeting were Mayor Cody Bletscher, Commissioners Jason Enneking, Nick Aberle, Maridel Wittmer and Trevin Edelman, City Administrator Doug Allen, Assistant City Administrator Bill Shroyer, and City Clerk Steve Compo. Also present were City Attorney Luke Sunderland and Police Chief Robert Wahwasuck. Guests were Rachelle Wertenberger, Janice Strader, Betty Niehues, Steve Shafer, David Nonnast and Alan Meyer.

Wertenberger was present on behalf of United 4 Youth as the new director; she expressed her appreciation to the commissioners and requested monetary support. After discussion, the commissioners approved a $3,000 donation to support United 4 Youth.

Nonnast and Meyer were present on behalf of the Sabetha Fire Department to ask for the City’s permission to use the Sabetha Sports Complex at 10 p.m. Friday, July 5, to shoot off fireworks for the Fourth of July. In addition, he asked the City for monetary support. After discussion, the commission approved the use of the sports complex as well as a $3,000 donation. This is the same amount given during previous years.

The commission discussed the noise ordinance pertaining to the Fourth of July celebrations. According to the City of Sabetha noise ordinance, Allen said that from June 28 to July 5, there is a 10 p.m. shut off, except on July 4 and 5, then it’s midnight.

Wittmer has heard some complaints about the roads around the old Sabetha lake and inquired who is responsible for those roads.

“We are in discussions with the township… Today we hired one of our old workers who is good on a grader to smooth it out, it’s not a permanent fix, but it’s a start and it’s a lot better,” Allen said.

Street Safety

Strader came before the board to express her concerns regarding safety on the streets, especially Sixth Street, due to reckless and loud driving, electric vehicles, and children driving golf carts.

“Between Darin [Hartter] and I, we are being manipulated against. Darin comes home sometimes at one o’clock in the morning… These hotrod kids get out on Sixth Street where he lives and sit there and spin their tires and then take off – he’s chased them several times. They know who he is and they know who I am, and they have been coming by my house and spinning their tires and running. If I can find about five of them, I can point them out,” Strader said.

“I drive 20 [miles per hour] in town, and I slow down for the tracks no matter what,” Strader continued. “I went home, started to go north and as I get to the railroad tracks, I’m slowing down. This car from the other way flies over the tracks and when I go over the tracks, there’s two kids dressed in black in the middle of the street on my side. If it had been anybody else, they would have either got killed or whoever tried to miss them would have got hurt, and they just smiled and kept in the middle of the street until the others got by before I could go around them.”

Strader said that she has put out signs and she would like the City to do something before someone gets hurt.

“This has got to stop. People are letting their kids drive golf carts when they are not old enough,” Strader said. “I don’t know what’s wrong with people, they don’t care? I live on Roosevelt, it’s 30 miles an hour, it’s too fast, the street’s not wide enough… But what are we going to do, wait ‘til someone gets killed, before anybody does anything about this? I’ve put out these signs that are worthless, I’ve paid over $200 for signs — slow down, save a life — people like them, but they are not doing any good… And we gotta put an end to this.”

Chief Wahwasuck confirmed that he is aware of the traffic violators.

“I know that there are fast vehicles in town and we try to catch them whenever we can. We patrol as much as we can, Sixth Street is one of the heavier patrolled streets,” Wahwasuck said. “When it comes to traffic offenses, usually it’s something we have to witness in order to attest to it. Golf carts, from time to time I see people who are letting people underage drive, but they get pulled over and stopped and are told, ‘You must have a drivers license to operate a motor vehicle in the city of Sabetha.’”

Wittmer asked Wahwasuck to help clarify where electric vehicles are to be ridden.

“Electric vehicles, technically those are illegal to be on the street, they shouldn’t be having them on the street — electric skateboards and one-wheels. But the electric bikes actually should not be on the sidewalks,” Wahwasuck said. “Unless they [electric vehicles] are being a problem, I don’t usually give them a real hard time about it. I might stop and talk to them about it, but if it becomes a problem, we’ll have to crack down on them… And tell them they can’t do it.”

Police Report

Wahwasuck said that this last weekend was great with all the activities going on and he was happy to report that there was only one accident and no one was hurt.

Enneking asked Wahwasuck if there is a noise ordinance or decibel ordinance in Sabetha.

“There is a muffler ordinance, but not a sound/decibel ordinance,” Wahwasuck said.

Dogs

There have been 10 dog calls since April 8. Three of those were for noisy animal and officers responded, three were for dog at large and were picked up and impounded by city personnel. Three other dog at large calls were recovered by owner. One call was for vicious dog – the officer responded and took a report, the charges are pending.

Codes

1322 Roosevelt: Unfit structure, maintenance and repair. Roofing needs finished. Contacted them as half the job has been completed, they felt the hole repair was adequate and were informed the repair would only be adequate once the shingles were secured in place.

317 S. Fifth: Junk motor vehicle.

517 S. 11th: Junk motor vehicle.

615 Dakota: Weeds, abated by owner.

622 Dakota: Weeds, abated by owner.

1003 Harrison: Junk motor vehicle, in process, owners moved the vehicle promptly and are working to bring it up to code.

319 N. Ninth: Weeds, abated by owner.

516 Main: Weeds, abated by owner.

216 S. 12th: Weeds, abated by owner.

321 S. 8th: Weeds, abated by owner.

Department

• Prom weekend came and went without any issues, no wrecks, no one hurt in regards to students and prom. Officers assisted with breathalyzers before prom and at after prom.

• Interviewed a few new applicants, uncertified individuals but ready to start a new career in law enforcement. The department will continue to move forward with background investigations and secondary interviews.

• Lake patrols have increased – officers are encouraged to make it to the lakes at least twice during their shift.

• We lost one of our part time officers as they are finally ready to get out of law enforcement completely. As long as they maintain their certification, they are in good standing and would be welcome back.

• Officers attended a couple trainings; one was leadership class and the other became certified as a field training officer.

• We had 222 calls for service in the month of March, opened nine new criminal cases and investigated three accidents.

Also at the meeting:

The commissioners approved the minutes from the May 13 meeting.

The commissioners approved the EMT application for Sofia Kuenzi.

The commissioners appointed Julie Burenheide to the planning commission board. Allen said that they are still needing three members appointed to the planning committee, two of which need to be outside the city limits.

The commissioners approved Friday, July 5, as a vacation day for non-essential personnel.

The commissioners will meet again for their next regular meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, June 24, at Sabetha City Hall.

Julie Shafer64 Posts

Julie Shafer is a reporter for The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2021. Julie lives in Morrill with her husband and three of her five children.

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