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Minatare council hears traffic complaints
January 22, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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Three of Minatare’s busiest stops in the downtown area are Prairie Sky Foods, the bank and the post office, and the traffic often becomes problematic.

Members of the Minatare City Council heard from resident Doris Nuss, who wondered what traffic laws are being enforced. She outlined many potential problems, from parking too close to other vehicles, to minor accidents, to making U-turns in areas not designated for it.

“Maybe we can get the police down there a couple of mornings each week to hand out tickets if what they’re doing is illegal,” Nuss said.

Police Chief Brian McFarland said that when drivers see the police out, they obey all the traffic ordinances. “In most cases we’ve just issued verbal warnings, but yes we are enforcing the city’s ordinances,” he said. “We can start pulling people over if that’s what the city wants.”

Mayor Jerry Harms said in his experience, warnings do little good as he sees the same people violating traffic ordinances on a regular basis. “I could understand if the people had handicapped stickers, but most of the people I’ve seen are younger than I am and could run across the street.”

The council’s consensus was to have police begin stricter enforcement of the city’s traffic ordinances.

Chief McFarland also presented his police report to council members. It included 18 traffic stops and an assist from the Gering Police Department to recover numerous stolen items, sending the suspect to jail.

Since McFarland took over last summer, his department had answered 318 calls, averaging about two calls a day. The department is also ramping up its surveillance on Highway 26 within the city’s 50 mph zone.

“It’s nice to come up on the highway and see one of our cars there,” said council member Bob Baldwin. “It’s been slowing down some of the traffic to where it should be.”

McFarland said because the state highway is within city limits, Minatare can take advantage of several state highway safety grants for more enforcement. He said the department has had some good stops there, including drugs, suspended operator and no operator’s license.

Council also agreed to wait until its February meeting to determine how to proceed on removal of the condemned High Plains Printing building in the downtown area. Matt Turman, Minatare’s new city attorney, still has to review the legal process before the city can have the building taken down.
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