Questions of the Week – Readers ask about tree program in York, auditorium usage, upcoming election details

The following questions were asked recently by inquiring readers:

Q: A few years ago, everyone was concerned about the Emerald Ash Borer and the need to take out Elm trees. Is this still a problem? Does the City of York still have to deal with Elm trees? 

A: The need to remove Elm trees and replace them continues here and other places.

The city continues to budget money each year for the removal of Elms and for replacement trees (of another species) to be planted.

Also, thanks to the Ten Free Trees program, an effort of the Nebraska Forest Service and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, the City of York Parks and Recreation Department has been awarded two grants for 10 trees for the Retree East Hill Park and Retree Beaver Creek Trail projects.

Trees will be planted in area parks where trees had to be removed due to decay. Tree location has been determined by the Parks Department and will be planted by city employees, board members and volunteers. The diverse tree assortment was chosen by the Nebraska State Arboretum’s Trees for Nebraska Town Initiative. This project provides the City of York a way to continue to be proactive in the fight again the Emerald Ash Borer. The City of York has over 550 Ash trees in the public right-of-way and within city parks.

Despite providing a wide range of social, economic and environmental benefits, most Nebraska community forests have been in steady and sometimes dramatic decline. Many challenges contribute, including extreme weather, insects, disease and lack of diversity. The Emerald Ash borer is the latest major challenge added to the list.

In an effort to stop this decline and increase community forest resilience, the Free Trees program grants up to 10 high quality trees for tree-related educational events and community celebrations promoting trees and fall planting.

In addition to simply planting more trees, the program goals include increasing appreciation and awareness of the value of community forests in Nebraska. Special emphasis is placed on species diversity and higher impact projects, especially street tree planting and projects in neighborhoods of highest need.

Ten Free Trees is supported by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum’s Trees for Nebraska Towns Initiative funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, and a U.S. Forest Service Landscape Scale Restoration grant received by the Nebraska Forest Service.


Q: Does the city still have open recreation hours at the city auditorium?

A: Yes, open recreation hours are still available at the city auditorium.

Auditorium Open Rec runs October through April 30. Included is the basketball court and basement with air hockey, ping pong, batting cages, pickleball and more. This is included in community center memberships or by daily admission.

The hours are Monday through Friday, between 5 and 8 p.m.; Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.; and Sundays between 1 and 5 p.m.

Those hours are not available when auditorium space is being rented for a special purpose or occasion.

Go to the city’s website at to see scheduled rentals, in order to know if the auditorium is closed to the public.


Q: Will we still vote in the same places as we did during the last election, when we cast ballots for the Primary Election in May?

A: Yes.

The following are the locations for voting in York County:

  • Stewart, Thayer Precincts: Gresham Fire Station
  • New York, Waco, Beaver, West Blue Precincts: Waco Community Building
  • Hays, McFadden Precincts: McCool Junction Community Hall
  • Leroy, Baker Precincts: York County Courthouse basement
  • Morton, Arborville, Bradshaw, Lockridge Precincts: 4-H Building at the York County Fairgrounds
  • Brown, Henderson Precincts: Henderson City Hall
  • Wards 1, 2A, 2B, 3, 4A and 4B: York City Auditorium


Q: What are the requirements for registering to vote?

A: You must be 18 years of age (if you are 17 and will be 18 by the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November of an election year, you can register.

To register, you must be a resident of Nebraska and of the county where you are registering. If you move to another county, you must re-register.

You must be a United States citizen in order to register to vote.

If you have been convicted of a felony, either in Nebraska or another state or in federal court, you cannot register to vote until two years after the completion of your sentence including any probation or parole term.

If you have been found by a court to be mentally incompetent, you cannot register to vote.


Q: With the Primary Election coming up in May, I’m sincerely hoping people register to vote and then actually cast ballots. It’s so important. How many people are already registered voters in York County?

A: According to the current figures with the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office, there are 9,246 registered voters in York County. Of those, 6,227 are Republican; 1,344 are Democrats; 118 are Libertarians; 33 belong to the Legal Marijuana NOW Party; and 1,524 are non-partisan.


Q: Certain towns in Nebraska (and probably nationwide) are called a Tree City USA. What are the requirements to being a Tree City USA?

A: To become a Tree City USA, a community must have a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita, as well as an Arbor Day observation with a proclamation of such.


Q: The other morning, I briefly caught a morning news show talking about how former Congressman George Santos is suing late night comedy host Jimmy Kimmel. For what? Telling jokes about him? As I remember, he was the topic of a lot of jokes because of the joke he is as a person, telling so many lies and misleading people. What is the nature of his so-called legal case against Jimmy Kimmel.

A: According to the Associated Press, Former U.S. Rep. George Santos alleged in a lawsuit that late-night host Jimmy Kimmel deceived him into making videos on the Cameo app that were used to ridicule the disgraced New York Republican on the show.

“The lawsuit filed in U.S. district court for the southern district of New York names Kimmel, ABC and Walt Disney Co. as defendants. A Disney representative listed as a media contact for the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show didn’t immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.”

The Associated Press reported further: “Santos, who was expelled from the House of Representatives last year after being charged with multiple counts of fraud and stealing from donors, is suing over alleged copyright infringement, fraudulent inducement, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

“Kimmel misrepresented himself to induce Santos to create personalized videos ‘capitalizing on and ridiculing his gregarious personality,’ the lawsuit alleges.

“Through Cameo, Santos received requests from individuals and businesses seeking personalized video messages. Unbeknownst to Santos, Kimmel submitted at least 14 requests that used phony names and narratives, according to the complaint.

“Starting in December the videos were played on a segment, ‘Will Santos Say It?’ the suit says.

“In one of the clips, Santos offers congratulations to the purported winner of a beef-eating contest, calling the feat of consuming 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms) of loose ground beef in under 30 minutes ‘amazing and impressive.’”

“Santos is seeking statutory damages totaling $750,000 for the five videos he created that were played on the show and various social media platforms. He also asks for other damages to be determined at trial.

“The ex-lawmaker faces a slew of criminal charges, including allegations that he defrauded campaign donors, lied to Congress about his wealth, received unemployment benefits while employed and used campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses like designer clothing. He also is alleged to have made unauthorized charges on credit cards belonging to some of his donors.”



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