(Bruce Baker/McCook Daily Gazette)
Toy Box coordinator Barb Ostrum said that all toy guns, as well any other novelty weapons, had been removed from the donated items prior to distributing them to area children Sunday afternoon. The 2012 Christmas Toy Box give-away event was the 31st coordinated in McCook and provided toys to just under 600 children, as well as distributing more than 1000 coats.
Ostrum thanked the City Council for allowing the use of Memorial Auditorium to conduct the event.
Area resident Josh Hill expressed his sadness about to the event and said he thought a proactive approach by city staff would be helpful. Hill said he had heard that response time to the Connecticut school shooting was reported as being 12 to 15 minutes, which he believed would be far less for McCook responders.
Chief of Police Isaac Brown commented that local response time was under three minutes.
"Unfortunately bad people exist," said Mayor Dennis Berry, who added that we may not be able to stop them completely, but we should be able to reduce the impact of their actions.
Hill was attending Monday's meeting as part of a public hearing coordinated to discuss a final plat and proposed 20 acre minor subdivision on property he owned north of McCook on County Road 385. Councilors approved Hill's subdivision request, which had been recommended for approval by both city staff and the McCook Planning Commision.
Also during the meeting Utility Director Jesse Dutcher informed councilors that the purchase agreement between the city and Sevim Randel, for property adjacent to the waste water treatment plant, had been signed by the seller. Earlier this month councilors approved the purchase of the 10 acres at $35,000, to be used for the construction of two evaporation ponds to dissipate brine and hard water from the water treatment plant .
McCook Fire Chief Marc Harpham demonstrated to the council the use of a new cardiac support pump the fire department recently acquired.
"This is a very valuable piece of equipment and we are very fortunate to have it," said Harpham. The item typically has a price in the $15,000 range, according to Harpham, who said it was received as a free bonus with the city's recent purchase of three new cardiac monitors.
Harpham said manual compressions usually provide 20 to 40 percent of normal blood flow to the brain and the "Autopulse" provides 133 percent.
"More importantly, it frees up one person," said Harpham.
Harpham said that the risk of injury to the patient was close to none, far less than when manual compressions are administered. The item includes technology which takes the weight of the patient, which it uses to automatically determine how compressions are administered.
Councilors conditionally approved the mayor's signature on the certificate of significant completion for the new municipal facility being constructed on West Fifth Street as well as for the wildlife fence at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport.
Several items still need to be completed by construction crews working on the municipal facility. Councilors said that certificate would not actually be signed by the mayor until those items were compeleted.
Other items on the consent and regular agenda:
* The annual continuation of the fuel purchase agreement between the city, Red Willow County and Frenchman Valley Cooperative was approved.
* The bid for two new police package vehicles was awarded to Wagner Ford-Mercury-Toyota. The move authorizes the purchase of two new Ford Taurus, front-wheel drive vehicles, at $21,887 each. The purchase was budgeted for in the 2012-13 city budget.
* The automatic renewal of all retail liquor licenses in the City of McCook for 2013 was approved.
* The McCook Rotary International Organization was approved to close Norris Avenue from the north side of D Street to the south side of E Street, 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., on Jan. 1, 2013, for the annual First Night McCook event.
* The McCook Area Chamber of Commerce was approved for a special liquor license for their annual banquet at Memorial Auditorium on Jan. 19, 2013.