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Three more mine shaft sinkholes open in Galena, Kan.

GALENA, Kan. | Three more sinkholes were discovered Friday in Galena, which has been plagued with the problem because of abandoned mine shafts under the town in southeast Kansas.

The three newest mine voids were in the downtown area and a mobile home park just west of the city.

Police Chief Larry Delmont said recent heavy rain apparently weakened the ground above the mines and caused the sinkholes. No buildings or other structures were threatened.

Lead and zinc mines operated in and around Galena for decades, and the abandoned mines have caused a continuing problem in the town.

Delmont said one of the openings found Friday was likely 60 to 100 feet deep and had been filled in before. Another opening was next to a communication tower and near City Hall.

The third mine opening was in a mobile home park just west of the city limit on Highway 66. Delmont said he notified county officials and blocked access to the opening.

A crew from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment was expected on Tuesday to dig an area around the holes inside the city limits and fill them with large rocks and dirt.

A mine opening on July 31, 2006, caused the collapse of the Green Parrot bar on Main Street. After that, local, county, state and federal officials formed a Mining Task Force, which eventually made several proposals for solutions.

The town pursued a federal grant to identify and eventually fill the former mines. But in December of last year, the City Council rejected the grant. Mayor Dale Oglesby said at the time that the grant's provisions were too restrictive.

The City Council also bought a used drill rig for $3,500, with plans to drill 300 test holes around the downtown area in 18 months. But the program went nowhere. Oglesby said a demonstration of the drill rig for reporters and photographers was the only time the drill was ever used.

He said Friday that the federal government's requirements for the drill operator and for other provisions would have cost the city too much money.

Delmont dealing with the mine openings has become somewhat routine.

"It's an ongoing problem," Delmont said. "It's not going away."

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