Questions of the Week – Readers ask about splash pad water, 4-H, ag society, Barbie

Questions of the Week logo

The following questions were asked by inquiring readers:


Q: is the water for the new splash pad in York treated and reused or just drained away?
A: York Public Works Director James Paul said, “The water is used once and then drained to the sanitary collection system.”


Q: There is so much Barbie craze right now. Who invented Barbie and when?

A: Barbie was created by businesswoman Ruth Handler and it was manufactured by Mattel, launched in 1959.

The story goes that Handler watched her daughter, Barbara, play with paper dolls and noticed she often enjoyed giving them adult roles. At the time, most children’s dolls were representations of infants. She suggested the idea of an adult-bodied doll to her husband, Elliot, a co-founder of Mattel. No one with the company was interested.

She found an adult-figured doll during a trip to Europe and when she returned to the U.S., she redesigned the doll with inventor/designer Jack Ryan. She named the doll Barbie after her daughter. It made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York City on March 9, 1959.

The first Barbie doll wore a black and white zebra-striped swimsuit and signature ponytail, available as either a blonde or brunette. The first doll was marketed as a teenage fashion model.


Q: The potato salad at the 4-H food stand is so good every year at the York County Fair. It seems like it is the same each year – is there a recipe they use each year?

A: Yes, there is a specific recipe that has been used for years to make the potato salad for the 4-H food stand at the York County Fair. It’s been the same for decades.

This writer does not have the recipe, but would love to know what’s in it, too.

If someone who holds the secret recipe wants to share, they can email the information to


Q: Who are the members of the York County Ag Society? They should be congratulated for their wonderful work on the county fair.

A: They are Brad Gloystein, Christopher Ziegler, Douglas Ziemke, Craig Heskett, Josh Chrisman, Nancy Heine, Charlie Hoffman, Lana Hoffschneider, Grant Jackson, Megan Johnson, Katie Quiring, Matt Rathjen, Barb Woodruff and Gary Zoubek.


Q: It’s amazing that the York County Fair has been going for 150 years.

My question is where in the United States has a county fair been going for the longest time?

A: The Topsfield Fair is an annual county fair located in Massachusetts. It is known as America’s oldest county fair. It started in 1818 and continues on today.


Q: My broccoli stopped producing when it got so hot out. Should I pull the plants out of the ground or wait for it to get cool again?

A: Leave them in the ground and wait for it to be cool outside again. Allegedly, they will start to produce broccoli heads again.


Q: What is the easiest way to can fresh green beans from the garden?

A: This is a tried and true method from expert, Eilene Westwood Fox, who was taught by her mom and then her mom before her.

Take a gallon of water, ½ cup of white vinegar and ½ cup canning salt. Boil.

Put your green beans in solution, return to boil, boil for 10 minutes.

Put the beans in jars, fill with the liquid, put on lids and rings.

They will seal – you will hear the pop.

Adjust amount of solution for the amount of beans you are canning.


Q: Has there ever been a real earthquake in Nebraska?

A: The strongest earthquake in Nebraska history occurred on Nov. 15, 1877. There were two shocks 45 minutes apart, the second was the strongest. At North Platte, the shock was reported to have lasted 40 seconds. Buildings rocked at Lincoln and walls were damaged in Columbus. The shock was strongly felt at Omaha. Cracked walls were reported at Sioux City, Iowa. The total felt area covered approximately 360,000 square miles including most of Nebraska and portions of Iowa, Kansas, the Dakotas and northwestern Missouri.

On July 30, 1934, a strong earthquake was centered in Dawes County, in the Nebraska Panhandle. In addition, some plaster fell and dishes and canned goods were thrown from shelves and cupboards. The shock was reported to have been felt in about 125 places, including Sterling, Colorado.

About 233,000 square miles of western Nebraska, South Dakota and border areas of Montana and Wyoming were jolted by a magnitude 5.1 earthquake shortly after 3 a.m., on March 28, 1964. Six hours earlier, a mild shock centered near Van Tassell, Wyoming, had been felt over a small portion of the same area. The early morning shock of March 28 caused many cracks in a road south of Merriman, Nebraska. Some steep banks along the Niobrara River tumbled. Plaster fell at Rushville and part of a chimney toppled at Alliance. Slight damage was also reported at Martin and Deadwood, South Dakota. The press reported this shock was felt as far north as Alzada, Montana.


Thanks for reading this article. content is free and never behind a paywall.
We believe in trustworthy, local journalism that is accessible to everyone.