Newest K-9 officer named after SEAL
Bellevue's newest canine officer is a 3-year-old Dutch shepherd named Axe.
Officer Jim Bartley, who heads the department's K-9 unit, said the dog is named in honor of Matthew Gene “Axe” Axelson, a Navy SEAL who was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005, three days after his 30th birthday.
“He's a warrior who was fighting for our country and got killed in battle,” Bartley said. “I read a little bit about his story and I thought the guy looks like a warrior. And what better way to pay tribute to the guys and women who are out there defending our country?”
Axe takes his place alongside the Bellevue Police Department's three other canine officers — Spike, Jerry and Rico.
“He tested very well,” Bartley said. “He did well at narcotics detection, retrieving, hunting and bite work. We know he'll do the bite, so now we just have to train him for what we want him to do.”
Axe is the fifth dog trained and handled by Bartley, who was present at the beginning of Bellevue's K-9 program in 1995.
Man no longer needs standalone sidewalk
The Bellevue City Council has reversed its decision ordering a Bellevue resident to install a sidewalk outside his home.
Homeowner Jeremy Kellner had been required to install a $5,000 sidewalk even though it would stand alone in an isolated area south of Fontenelle Forest.
The issue has troubled the City Council as it tries to balance making streets safer for pedestrians while not burdening homeowners.
The city has committed itself to becoming a pedestrian-friendly community. If the city continues to waive sidewalk requirements, council members said, a citywide sidewalk network will never emerge and the safety of children and the elderly will be at risk.
Kellner will not have to install a sidewalk for the time being. The city can order the sidewalk installed at some point in the future.
Councilman Steve Knutson, who earlier voted to require the sidewalk, said he had a change of heart.
“We need to tighten up how we do these waivers,” Knutson said. “We have to figure out a system so that we know what has been waived, and why.”
Sales tax funds will go to new splash pad
The City of Springfield has set its sights on the next project funded through a 1.5 percent sales tax: a splash pad.
Since the sales tax increased in April 2011, the city has largely completed work on Main Street with the funding.
The splash pad will be part of an overall plan for Springfield's Buffalo Park. Funding is budgeted for next fiscal year.
Mayor Mike Dill said the city would continue to set priorities for funding in collaboration with residents.
“When we're done with the splash pad, we'll move to the next item on the list,” he said.
— World-Herald News Service