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More cops in the ’hoods

That’s the one sure plan for Fake Patty’s Day

By The Mercury

Riley County emergency officials told county commissioners Monday that meetings later this week may resolve the plan for handling Fake Patty’s Day, next year if not this one.

Those meetings, which will involve the RCPD, other emergency agencies, and representatives of the Aggieville Business Association, are expected to help determine whether Aggieville business owners can agree on a plan for minimizing problems at the annual mid-March event.

The meetings are a follow-up on several held recently involving the city, county and law board. RCPD Director Brad Schoen told county officials he did not expect that any effort to make the thing more of a “controlled festival” could be implemented this year, although he left open the idea it might be implemented for next March.

For this year, Schoen told county officials, the focus is on many of the same steps that were utilized last year, with an added emphasis on concerns expressed by people living outside the Aggieville area.

“We were overwhelmed (by calls last year) in the neighborhoods as well,” Schoen said. He said patrols would be out early in the morning trying to identify and monitor potential trouble spots, including loud parties.

Commissioner Karen McCulloh told Schoen that she got calls of complaint last year about disturbances from as far away as the CiCo Park area.

“We’re going to make use of our tools and have more people out,” Schoen said. Those additional forces will include police from Emporia, Junction City, Pottawatomie County and K-State as well as the Kansas Highway Patrol. “It’s a question of how hard we come down and of manpower,” he said.

McCulloh voiced concern about “people wandering wildly drunk across Bluemont Avenue” last year.

Larry Couchman, director of the county’s EMS service, said calls have gone way up on Fake Patty’s Day. He said the department handled 53 calls for service that day in 2011, up from 35 in 2010. Of those 53, 49 were related to the drinking event.

Ending balances

County budget director Johnette Shepek told commissioners Monday that the county projects to end 2011 with a balance of about $4.43 million, up from $3.8 million last year. The $4.43 million figure would be the county’s largest ending balance since 2007, when it finished with $4.94 million. The highest ending balance on record was in 2003, at $5.3 million.


More free TVs

Dennis Peterson, the county’s solid waste officer, said the county has received another shipment of used televisions from Fairfield Inn that it is giving away. Peterson said there are about 21 TVs on hand, all 27-inch RCAs in working condition, and they are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the county shops.

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