The following questions were asked recently on the Wonderline:

Q: In the Letter to the Editor posted on Nov. 27, the author suggested that the mayor was responsible for her obtaining a building permit. Is this true, and should I be calling the mayor for building permits?

A: “It is not true,” says York Public Works Director Mitch Doht. “That building permit requested a fence to be placed outside of the property line, on city right-of-way. The Building Inspector, rightfully so, rejected that initial application. He then discussed the issue directly with the contractor, who revised the plan. The permit was issued on the new plan, which met all applicable City Ordinances. The Mayor and the Police Department have no role in building permits. The Building Inspector, with oversight by the Director of Public Works, reviews and either approves or rejects the application. Appeal of the decision can be heard by the Board of Adjustment. Please call City Hall at 402-363-2600 if you have any questions about building permits.”

Q: Why doesn’t the city water department accept electronic payments (online money transfers directly from someone’s bank account)?

A: York Public Works Director Mitch Doht says “the new software to make this happen is in the budget for this year, however, to get this service up and running will require an update of our accounting software. We are waiting until after the annual independent audit of our finances in January to update our accounting software. Once that update is complete, we will load the new software and start taking online payments. I think this will be very convenient for our customers and should be very popular.”

Q: When will the downtown water main project be finished?

A: “Excellent question!” says Mitch Doht, public works director. “Due to the unknowns involved with a project of this nature, it is very difficult to put an accurate timeline to it. So many things affect the productivity of the contractor. Some blocks go very quickly and others take more time. I can tell you that the construction contract with Van Kirk Brothers from Sutton requires that they are done by Sept. 30, 2019. Seems like they should beat that deadline, but how far into next summer they go is hard to tell at this point.”

Q: The other day, I was just driving through the Lincoln Avenue underpass and I suddenly wondered, “What did they do to make the pigeons go away?” Remember when there were all those pigeons living in the underpass and leaving behind all kinds of signs that they had been there? And if you look now, they just don’t hang out there any longer. What did city workers do to take care of the pigeon problem?

A: Back in July, 2014, the city repainted the underpass and made other improvements – including the pigeon proofing.

The otherwise roosting areas were blocked off, to make sure pigeons wouldn’t feel so at home.

They left and haven’t come back.

Q: What would happen if the city council doesn’t set a date for the recall election? What if it’s not done in the certain timeframe set by law?

A: According to state statute 32-1306 (3), “If the governing body of the political subdivision fails or refuses to order a recall election within the time required, the election may be ordered by the district court having jurisdiction over a county in which the elected official serves.”

Q: In the recent general election, how many total York residents voted?

A: Here is the break-down of votes in each of the different wards in York from the general election held earlier this month:

• Ward 4B: 419

• Ward 3: 245

• Ward 2A: 316

• Ward 1: 343

• Ward 2B: 339

• Ward 4A: 537

• Total: 2,199

It should be noted that there were also 908 early ballots in the county. The results sheets that we have do not break down the wards or precincts that those early pertained to.

Q: A few weeks ago, I read a story in the YNT in which two guys asked for bench trials. What is a bench trial? What’s the difference between that and a jury trial?

A: A jury makes the determination of guilt or no guilt – in a jury trial.

In a bench trial, that determination is made by the sitting judge.

Q: I was reading in the YNT about a shooting incident in another Nebraska town where two men broke into a house and one was killed and the other was wounded. My question is if you are a victim of a home invasion at 3 a.m., the bad guys have deadly weapons and are inside your house, what options do you have? Especially when the police can’t get there immediately? What if you, the homeowner, shoots one of them? Will you be arrested for protecting your family and home? I am just wondering what the state and local law is.

A: The state passed a law in 2012 that says if force is found to be justified in order to protect yourself and your family (including in situations of home invasion), there is protection under the law.

Nebraska Statute 28-1409 addresses self-protection and in what instances that allowance exists.

Q: Can old appliances be taken to the York landfill?

A: According to landfill information on the city’s website, appliances will be accepted at the landfill, but they must be separated from the general trash.

Q: I just love reading the Amish Cook in your newspaper. The recipes are wonderful. Years ago, the Amish Cook wrote about a family favorite of theirs called the pumpkin pie roll. Can you find that recipe and run it? It was probably 10 years ago, so I don’t know if that’s even possible. But if you can find it, I’d really appreciate it.

A: Yes, we found it! It ran on Nov. 16, 2010, but thanks to our fantastic online archives at, we were able to find it. Here it is.

Ok, here it is.

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2/3 cup pumpkin

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup pecans (optional)

Confectioners’ sugar

Whip eggs for five minutes. Add sugar, lemon juice and pumpkin. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients except pecans. Grease jelly roll pan. Place waxed paper in jelly roll pan, making sure waxed paper is extended beyond both ends of pan. Pour batter into waxed paper lined jelly roll pan. Cover batter with pecans. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. When baked, remove from waxed paper immediately and roll in a towel which has been sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar. Be sure to roll towel and cake together. When cool, unroll and spread with filling.


8 ounces of softened cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

1 cup of confectioners’ sugar

4 tablespoons margarine

Combine cream cheese, vanilla, confectioners’ sugar and margarine. Beat until smooth and creamy.

Now, once the filling has been spread, roll it back up. It can be then sliced into pieces.

Q: Do vines growing on brick do damage to the mortar? Do they do damage to siding?

A: We asked some people who specialize in this area of expertise and many said, yes, vines can trap moisture and over a period of time (probably considerable time) they could damage mortar. If there is a good coat of paint on wood siding under vines, it would probably be alright but the paint could be checked occasionally. And it’s not likely that vinyl siding would be affected by the trapped moisture created by vines, sources say.

Q: Is it true that Garth Brooks’ real name is not Garth Brooks?

A: His birth name is Troyal Garth Brooks.

Q: I was watching an old episode of “Top Chef” and they were cooking at a high altitude location. One of the cooks said something about the water not boiling because of the altitude. Is that true? That it is hard for water to boil at a higher altitude?

A: High-altitude cooking is the opposite of pressure cooking in that the boiling point of water is lower at higher altitudes due to the decreased air pressure. This may require an increase in cooking times or temperature and alterations of recipe ingredients. For example, at altitudes above 2,000 feet, water boils at approximately 208 degrees, so longer cooking times are required.

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