Q. With the reconfiguration of Newton middle schools next school year, will the district provide busing for children who live on different sides of town from the school they will be attending? What about for those who have one child at Santa Fe and one at Chisholm, both of which would need to be there at the same time?


Q. With the reconfiguration of Newton middle schools next school year, will the district provide busing for children who live on different sides of town from the school they will be attending? What about for those who have one child at Santa Fe and one at Chisholm, both of which would need to be there at the same time?

A. School’s barely out for this year, and it’s already time to start thinking about next year. Where does the summer go?
As you likely already know, rather than two sixth-grade through eighth-grade middle schools next year, the district will have one fifth- and sixth-grade school and one seventh- and eighth-grade school.
But since previously, students generally went to the middle school closest to home, it does create some logistical issues on how to get Sal and Sally to school.
Newton Superintendent John Morton said the plan for dealing with such logistics is to shuttle students between sites. Morton said students who live in the Santa Fe area but go to Chisholm would come to Santa Fe then board the shuttle to Chisholm. Chisholm students who need to be at Santa Fe will do likewise.  
Morton said the district does not believe this plan will result in additional transportation costs.


Q. My husband and I are avid walkers. Often, we walk down Kansas Avenue. Many months ago, the city put in an additional water meter in the 100 block of South Kansas. As a result, a large square of sidewalk was removed. Chunks of the old are piled beside an often-muddy, somewhat treacherous spot. Would you please check into this?

A. Newton is a pretty pedestrian-oriented community, and I applaud all you walkers out there. Personally, my idea of a long walk is the one I take between my computer and the fridge to get more Diet Coke. It’s a sad, sad state of affairs.
Now, back to the treacherous spot in question. Suzanne Loomis, city director of public works, said she believes the chunk of sidewalk was removed by the plumber for the service lines, not by the city. She said the city thinks the plumber has another line to install, and city inspection staff is checking into the matter. So, hopefully, it’ll be happy trails again soon.
And now, to expound on last week’s topic of emergency vehicles and how fast they travel, Fire/EMS Chief Gary Denny gave me some additional information I thought I would share, since I got it too late for last week’s column.
Denny reiterated the Newton Fire/EMS policy is for emergency vehicles to go no more than 10 miles over the posted speed limit and to come to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign before proceeding through. He also again said it is always the driver’s responsibility to arrive on scene safely.
He also said these apply in times of a “hot response,” when vehicles are using both lights and sirens. But sometimes the department utilizes a cold response — still responding to an emergency, but not with all the lights and sirens.
Denny said dispatchers are trained to evaluate the severity of 911 calls and to dispatch crews accordingly. For the EMS side, there are five response codes — Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Echo. Denny said such codes indicate which units will respond and what such a response should be. (In the Kansan newsroom, such codes also provided us a clue as to the severity of a situation, so I got used to listening for them.) With the fire department, it’s either emergency or non-emergency response, with correlating responses.
For example, a call to check a smoke detector deserves attention and response, but not an emergency response, Denny said. On a vehicle fire, perhaps one vehicle will respond with an emergency response, but the second vehicle might not be an emergency response, traveling at normal speeds without lights and sirens. But in a situation such as a house fire, it will, of course, be an emergency response.
And I think that bit o’ info makes this the longest Go-To Gal in a good long while. Thanks for sticking with me and have a safe and splendid Memorial Day!