Grounded but not gone

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Swiss Army knives go for a $2 a pop. Stockpiles of chrome-plated scissors are sold by mass, ranking in $1 for five pounds. There are bargain basement fingernail clippers here, a handful of irons, lighters, one University of Wisconsin letter opener, the occasional chainsaw.

And ice skates.

These are the items that have lined the shelves of the state Division of Surplus Property since it began accepting potential weapons confiscated by airport security several months ago.

"It's interesting to go through everything when we get back," says the agency's director, Chuck Geveden. "You wonder who would bring some of these things into an airport."

Pocket knives and cigarette lighters are innocent enough, says Geveden, sitting in his office attached to the surplus warehouse. Still, there remains a lingering sense of uncertainty about the person who travels with a chainsaw.

"It's amazing," he laughs.

Nonetheless, these surplus warehouses can be an invaluable resource for other public agencies, who re-purchase many of the items at discount rates.

"I have nothing but praise for them," says Lawrenceburg Fire Chief Robert Hume, whose department has purchased everything from a Chevy pickup to fire extinguishers. "It's really been helpful to us to have that availability."

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