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County Discusses Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management

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Wabaunsee County Commissioners are considering a program that would implement the use of native prairie plants along county roads.

Michael Stubbs, president of the Mount Mitchell Prairie Guards, approached the commission about the program during their Monday morning meeting. He said the Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management (IRVM) program is being utilized in Iowa and other states.

Benefits include less mowing, less spraying for noxious weeds and better control of snowdrifts during the winter.

He said that since the county is in the process of hiring a new supervisor for its road and bridge department, now would be a good time to include the program in the county's job description.

Stubbs shared an article about the IRVM progranm in Iowa and pointed out one paragaph in particular that he thought could pertain to Wabaunsee County. It read:

"This program will offer a variety of benefits for the county. The decrease in the amount of time needed for weed control and erosion reduction will be a cost-savings over the years, and the highly-diverse ecosystem that will be created in the right-of-ways will be more resistant to invasive species. The removal of brush and trees will also provide safer travel corridors for motorists. Plus, native vegetation will act as a snowbreak that will help reduce drifting over the roads during the winter."

"I want to see if there are more ways to manage our roadsides," Stubbs told commissioners. "Let's look at this,"

"This is really worth taking a serious look at," said Commissioner Jim Suber.

"I have no problem with it," added Commission Chairman Rodney Allen.

Commissioners took the plan under advisement. Commissioner Ervan Stuewe initiated a discussion about what will happen if current County Attorney Norbert Marek is appointed as a district judge. Marek is one of three candidates for an open judgeship. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will make the appointment.

"I think there is a better than average chance that Norbert will get this appointment. I want to know that everything is in place to find a suitable replacement prior to him leaving office, if he should be appointed," said Stuewe.

Register of Deeds Suzanne Simon was brought into the discussion because she is an officer on the Wabaunsee County Republican Committee that would select a replacement for Marek, if the need should arise.

Simon explained the process to commissioners and said the committee would have 21 days from the announcement of the new judge to meet and select a replacement for Marek, should he be appointed.

Also, if Marek is named judge, he would have to give up the 11 city attorney positions he currently holds, including McFarland, Paxico and Maple Hill.

The commission approved a resolution to cancel four county issued checks which have not been cashed.

The commission unanimously appointed Maxine Bronaugh to serve another term on the North Central Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging's Board of Directors.

Zoning Administrator David Stuewe presented a plat for a new four-lot subdivision on Stallion Road. The owner is Shelley Bond.

Commissioners signed monthly vouchers for payment of bills.

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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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