A new bridge into Atchison could be the start to Atchison's "halftime in America" or as Clint Eastwood may describe it in a Super Bowl ad. Merriam-Webster defines a bridge: A) a structure carrying a pathway or roadway over a depression or obstacle. B) a time, place or means of connection or transition. I believe it is a pathway to transition as it is a structure that is capable of carrying far more vehicles per day than we can fathom. This new bridge opens the door for a new gateway into our county for visitors, businesses, and citizens to enjoy a pleasant way to cross the Missouri river. Let's face it, if you drive across the old Amelia Earhart Bridge today it is not an enjoyable experience. One or more things happen when you cross the bridge today. Either you are probably saying a prayer as you cross it, trying to hold onto the steering wheel, or you want to warn everyone you know not to cross the bridge into Atchison. Having a new span across the river will erase those bad memories of an old iron clad bridge and make you want to visit Atchison more often. Atchison needs more opportunities to entice people to do more business in our community. The new bridge will not be our magic answer, but it gives us a shot to show everyone that we are here, please come stay here. I believe some of the best actions our community can do to make this new bridge and it's transition smooth are pretty simple. Talk it up, celebrate it, use it! Think and talk positive because if you want to transition Atchison into a community of successful businesses, unlimited employment opportunities, and a vibrant culture. It begins and ends with our attitudes. The new bridge is simply a transition piece to convey our message. My question to our citizens is this. What is the message you are going to tell everyone?
The decision process in a countywide EMS is lengthy, never easy, and very important. Kansas Statute 65-6113 establishes counties to provide EMS related services with tax levy authority. We have been working on a solution since April and will have a solution in place by August.
Currently, we have heard from three different entities about EMS service. AMR Inc. and Techs Inc. are both for-profit EMS services. They have analyzed our current two systems provided by us Atchison County and the volunteer staff on the western half of the county and the Atchison Hospital system and full-time staff on the eastern half of the county. They are in the process of finalizing their request for proposals (bids). Our third option is doing a regionalization plan with Miami County, KS EMS. Miami County is evaluating the cost savings for them by sharing administration, but they are also weighing the time away of their personnel from our county. We will know more on the feasibility of this option over the next few weeks. Our fourth option is to hire our own EMS director and build a new countywide system that is consistent in performance and professionalism across our county. The key things we have had to study during this process are how many calls are made in the two halves of the county, how much money will it take to run the system successfully, where do we need EMS stations, and who do we want to model for success. We are very fortunate to belong to organizations that have experts in this field to give us guidance and knowledge. We are not creating anything new, just something ran a different level than what we have ever seen in Atchison County. The regionalization concept would be relatively new as it is an up and coming trend across the United States. But, this is a trend you will see more of in the future as revenues change and expenses always increase. Once we have a good overall economic picture of our ideal EMS system we will be able to implement its new start in January 2013.
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