Questions of the week — Readers ask about county board, accident, zoning administrator

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The following questions were asked recently by inquiring readers:


Q: Why do the county commissioners sometimes postpone making a decision when they say there wasn’t an action item on the agenda? What does that mean? 

A: The county commissioners had that very discussion this week about a topic. On the official agenda, it said they would be hearing information about a topic, but it did not say they would be taking action. Therefore, because it didn’t state that in the agenda, they couldn’t take a final vote on the matter or immediately activate their consensus.


Q: Has there been a determination as to the cause of the crash of a vehicle and a county motorgrader this last week, over by McCool?

A: The sheriff’s department hasn’t issued a final determination on the cause of that crash, as it remains under investigation.


Q: Which surrounding counties have smaller populations than York County?

A: York County’s latest population estimate, for 2022, is 14,354.

Polk, Hamilton and Fillmore Counties all have populations less than York County’s. Polk’s is 5,166. Hamilton’s is 9,429. Fillmore County’s is 5,553 – all the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.


Q: When will the street construction in the City of York end?

A: It will come to an end at the conclusion of the construction season – which is typically about Halloween.

Because so many projects are being undertaken this construction season, it will last for months. Mayor Barry Redfern has said on many occasions it is exciting seven years’ worth of projects will be finished in one year, while also asking for patience from residents.


Q: The county and the city officials talk about the new budgets pretty much all summer. When do they finalize them?

A: Budget hearings, for final approval, are held in the early part of September for both entities.


Q: My question has to do with my neighbor mowing in the evenings as I’m trying to go to sleep. The mower just goes and goes and it’s so noisy. Aren’t there city rules about when people can and cannot mow their lawns?

A: In York, mowing between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. is prohibited, according to Section 23-2 of the municipal code.


Q: Has Donald Trump always been a Republican?

A: Donald Trump registered as a Republican in 1987, switched to the Reform Party in 1999, went to the Democratic Party in 2001 and went back to the Republican Party in 2009. He has been a Republican ever since.


Q: How is the process coming for the county to hire a zoning administrator? Someone really needs to be hired so we can move forward with zoning regulations pertaining to solar fields and carbon capture pipelines.

A: The county commissioners have received “a couple of applications” and one interview was scheduled for this week with one of those applicants.


Q: What is the history of Lushton? I’ve heard it was once a much larger town.

A: Lushton was laid out and platted in 1887 when the Kansas City and Omaha Railroad was extended to that point. It was named for a railroad official. A post office was established in Lushton in 1887 and remained in operation until it was discontinued in 1965.

According to information from the history books of “Yesterday and Today” and “York County Centennial”, “the vast region which now surrounds the village of Lushton was once the roaming place for wildlife. Railroad companies advertised extensively in eastern papers about the land this side of the Rockies they called “The Great American Desert.” They told of the fine climatic conditions and the rich, fertile soil in this area. Many poor people had come through the grasshopper year of 1874 with barely enough seed to tide them over until a crop could be planted and harvested.

“It wasn’t long until heavily loaded white-capped wagons and prairie schooners containing discouraged settlers and their families came from the eastern states. Tied behind the covered wagons were horses and cows. These people were of different nationalities, with unusual ideals and characteristics and they were determined to investigate the opportunity of settling this locality. Because of the free Homestead Act of 1862, any honorably discharged soldier of the U.S. Army was entitled to a homestead of 160 acres. Soon a law went into effect that homesteaders could only homestead 80 acres. Many of those searchers entered claims along the Blue River and the surrounding flat plain. It wasn’t long until the country side was dotted with little sod shanties. Water was hauled from the river until wells could be dug.

“Dams were built on the West Blue River which paved the way for the building of grist mills. The Fillmore Mill was just over the York County line (south of Lushton) and was built in 1872 by C.M. Northrup a short distance from Fillmore City. Stagecoaches would come through, bringing mail and baggage to this area.

“Buffalo Bill Cody would come riding his horse from North Platte to meet the stagecoaches at Fillmore City. He was the hero of many a young man.

“With the coming of the railroad 4 1/1 miles south, the town of Fillmore City faded away. The Seeley Mill, later known as the Shephardson Mill, was built two miles west of what is now Lushton. People from as far away as 25 miles came with their ox-drawn wagons, had the millers grind their grain and for a small commission gave it back as flour and meal. They would stay overnight, returning the next day.

“Following the great blizzard of 1888, the town of Lushton was surveyed and started. The first residence was the home of W.C. Bussard. The lumber for building it was hauled from Grafton. W.P. Cookus moved two small buildings from Grafton, one for his residence and the other for a blacksmith shop. The first general store was built on the west side by the Dorsey Brothers.

“In 1890, there was a drought, crops failed and farm prices dropped. The drought lasted one season, then came the prosperous era of the ‘Gay Nineties.’

“Henry Grosshans and Philip Schwab of Sutton erected the first elevator.

“The pride of the community was when a temple for worship was built across from the cemetery in the summer of 1888. Some years later, this church building was moved to Lushton by using teams of horses and logs or poles for rollers.

“Lushton rapidly grew into a thriving village and soon 82 families had established homes. The population was nearly 300, in those most early days.”


Q: Can you tell us information about the Willa Cather statute that was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol? I’ve read all her books and have been to Red Cloud to see the places dedicated to her, in her home town. So I was thrilled to see her being honored in Washington D.C. in such a profound way.

A: Willa Cather, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Nebraska author renowned for her portrayal of the lives of pioneer settlers in the American heartland, was honored with the unveiling of a bronze statue in her likeness in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.

Speakers at the dedication of the statue included Congressman Adrian Smith and Senator Deb Fischer.

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told the crowd, “Nebraskans are lucky to call Willa Cather one of their own. But ultimately, her work belongs here because it is American to the core. Her authenticity, emotion, artistry spoke of Americans’ fundamental values. Ultimately, it reminds us that this is a land of opportunity.”



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