Below we have tried to answer some of the frequently asked questions we are asked in the City Office or that involve general information about St. Francis. If you have a question you would like answered, please call City Hall at 332-3142.

Q:What animals need city tags?
A: Each January, dog owners should register any dog over six months of age with the city clerk. Owners must provide a certificate of immunization against rabies. The annual cost is $3.00 for spaded or neutered dogs and $10.00 for unneutered or unspayed dogs.

My son wants to get a snake. If you want to know if he can keep it in town, click on the link below and see article 3 for infomation on what animals are allowed in town. For more information on other kinds of animals, vicious animals, fines for animals running at large or kennels, please click here.

Q: I'm going to replace my fence and tear down an old garage. Do I need a building permit?
A: You will need a building permit to build or replace a fence, run concrete or anytime you change, enlarge or remove a structure. An application form is available at the City Office, must be completed and the fee paid (minimum $5.00) BEFORE THE WORK IS STARTED. After the building permit application is completed, we check your contractor's insurance policy. Next, the City Superintendent visits your property, usually within a few days of application, checking any drawings you have submitted and visits with you about your project. If everything is in order and all ordinances are adhered to, the superintendent signs the permit and presents it at the next council meeting for council approval. If the superintendent feels there is a problem with the permit and it can't be resolved, it may be necessary to have it reviewed by the city council before the homeowner can start the project. The council meets two times a month at City Hall .

For more information on building and construction, including codes, insurance and permits, please click here.

Q: My neighbor has weeds up to the fence and junked vehicles and weed up to the fence in their back yard. What can I do?
A: You will need to notify the City Superintendent at 332-3031. He will inspect the property and see if there are code violations. If there are violations, the owner will be notified and will have a certain amount of time to clean up the property. If it is not cleanup in a timely matter, a complaint may be filed in municipal court. The court may fine or imprison the owners up to 30 days. The may decide to have the City clean up the property and the owner charged with all the costs incurred by the City. See the Health and Welfare ordinances.

Q: My neighbor is adding on to his house and asked me to sign an easement. What does this mean?
A: If your neighbor has applied for a building permit and it was determined that the construction would be in your right of way (closer than 3 feet from the property lines at the drip line of the building), your neighbor will need an easement from you to proceed with his project. Your neighbor will need to prepare an easement describing the property measurements, etc. to be included in the easement. You and your spouse will have to sign the easement and it will have to be attached to the building permit and to the deed at the courthouse before he can continue construction. (If your neighbor does not have a written agreement, the next owner of your house could make them move the construction from the right of way.)

Q: What are the emergency snow routes?
A: The emergency storm routes are:
College Street from Highway 36 to North Street
Benton Street from Highway 36 to North Street
River Street from Highway 36 to Jackson Street
First Street from Quincy Street to Adams Street
Quincy Street from Highway 36 to Washington Street
Adams Street from First Street to Spencer Street
Washington Street from College to Valley (6:00 pm to 7:00 am)

For additional information, see article 5 in the 2003 Code of the City of St Francis.

Q: What is a variance? When would I need one?
A: If you would like to start a business in a residential area, you will need to apply for a zoning variance. Forms are available at City Hall.

After you have completed the form and had 80% or more of the property owners that would be effected by the zoning change sign your petition, the Clerk will present it to the City Council. The council will review it at the next scheduled council meeting.

If you would like more information on zoning variances, see Chapter 16-303.

Q: Where did St. Francis get its name?
A: There are several possibilities. In St. Francis' history, a man named Captain A.L. Emerson was instrumental in getting the railroad built at its present location. The theories of why the town was named St. Francis are as follows:
1) For Fannie, the wife of Captain Emerson,
2) For Frank, the deceased brother of Captain Emerson, or
3) For J. Francis, an official of the railroad.

Click here for more history of St. Francis.

Q: Are there any famous people from St. Francis?
A: The astronaut Ronald Ellwin Evans, Jr., the command module pilot of Apollo 17, was born in St. Francis. A memorial sits alongside the highway, although his house is no longer standing. Ron Evans was born on November 10, 1933 in a small house near Main Street. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kansas and went on to get his Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

Evans had been a part of the Navy ROTC program at KU, and for seven months flew sea duty in the Pacific during Vietnam. He had a total of 5,100 hours of flight time during his career, 4,600 of which were in jet aircraft. (He flew F-8 Crusader Aircraft from the carrier USS Ticonderoga during his Vietnam combat operations.)

Evans was selected for space operations with NASA, and served as a member of the astronaut support crews for the Apollo 7 and Apollo 11 flights, and as backup command module pilot for Apollo 14. Then, he was appointed the command module pilot of Apollo 17, the last scheduled manned mission to the moon for the United States. Evans was accompanied by Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt.

During the flight, Evan spent 12 days, 13 hours, and 52 minutes in space (an hour and six minutes of that outside the spacecraft), making him the world record-holder for most time spent in lunar orbit.

Evans left the Navy in 1976 after a 21-year career, then NASA in 1977, and started his own consulting firm in Scottsdale, Arizona. He died of a heart attack on April 7, 1990. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Click here to see a more history of Ron Evans at Wikipedia.com.

Q: Are there any famous people from St. Francis?
A: The voice of the famous Jolly Green Giant was a man known as Len Dresslar. Born Elmer Dresslar, Jr., in St. Francis in 1925, he is famous for pronouncing the booming "Ho, Ho, Ho," of the Green Giant.

Although he enjoyed a long career in music, Dresslar began by serving in the U.S. Navy in WWII. After he finished his time, he studied voice at the Kansas City Conservatory of Music. He spent several years acting in the Midwest before moving to New York City, where he appeared on Broadway and joined the national touring company of South Pacific. At 28, he settled in Chicago, where he was part of the cast of WBBM's series "In Town Tonight." Dresslar also did some work in ad jingles and voice-over spots, which would turn out to be the most profitable part of his career.

In 1959, he was hired to record a new television spot as the baritone voice of the Jolly Green Giant. Although being over 6 ft. tall, Dresslar never portrayed the Green Giant on TV, a role that went to Olympic ski jumper Keith Wegeman. Dresslar hadn't expected his success, but over the following years he went on to serve as the voice of "Snap" in Kellogg's Rice Krispies Snap-Crackle-and-Pop, and "Dig 'Em," the bullfrog touting Kellogg's Sugar Smacks product; he also worked for Marlboro cigarettes, Amoco oil and Dinty Moore canned beef stew.

During the 1960s, Dresslar also sang with the jingle vocal group the J's with Jamie before recording 15 albums with the a cappela jazz troupe Singers Unlimited. He periodically re-recorded the "Ho, ho, ho," as late as 1995, although he retired from performing in 1991. Dresslar died of cancer in a Palm Springs hospice on October 16, 2005.

Click here for a Washington Times article about Len Dresslar.
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