Harvey County has chosen to not designate any cooling centers despite consistent temps more than 100 degrees.
Lon Buller, Harvey County director of emergency management, said there are liability issues surrounding having public buildings open outside of business hours. Those facilities would have to be staffed, he said.
Instead, Buller urged residents without air conditioning to make use of public buildings when they are open and frequent local businesses with air conditioning.
Marianne Eichelberger of the Newton Public Library said the library is not designated as a cooling center, but the library has seen an increase in foot traffic during this
“We have a lot of people in the library. We have a lot going on,” she said.
Brain Bascue, the director of the Newton Recreation Commission, urged residents who need relief from the heat to come to the Newton Activity Center, 415 N. Poplar St.
Bascue said he has not noticed an increase in residents using the center.
“We have kids who come in throughout the day and relax, go to the bathroom, but that is normal for any other year,” he said.
The activity center is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 12:30 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
There is no charge to use the center’s gymnasium, which is air-conditioned.
Seniors might consider a trip to the Newton Area Senior Center, 122 E. Sixth St.
There is no charge for admission. The center is open from 8 to 3 p.m. and is set up for residents 55 and older.
The center offers wireless Internet, billiards, games and puzzles.
Kathy Schwarzenberger said the center has a lobby with magazines and can serve as a place to just meet and talk.
A noon meal is offered with a $2 donations. Reservations must be made two days in advance, and participants must be 60 years or older.
If local residents are concerned about elderly or disabled members of the community, they can arrange for the Harvey County Senior Patrol to check on them.
The service is provided free by volunteers with the Harvey County limits. Call Melissa Flavin at the sheriff’s department at 284-6987 for more information.
The sheriff’s department also suggested checking with Salvation Army at 283-3190, Agape Resource Center at 283-1600 or the Et Cetra Shop at 283-9461 about getting fans if residents do not have air conditioning.