The following questions were asked recently on the Wonderline:
Q: Isn't the city supposed to update its comprehensive plan every 10 years? When was the last time the city's comprehensive plan updated? We heard about the process starting about two years ago and nothing has come to the council yet for approval.
A: The last time the city updated its 10-year comprehensive plan was in late September, 2006. So it is currently two years overdue.
Q: What is the city of York's policy on parking in a handicapped parking space, using a handicapped tag when you are only "handicapped" when you want to park close to your place of business? We have a person who uses a handicapped tag one day, then parks in a regular stall the next day. Sometimes they are handicapped in the morning, but not in the afternoon. Sometimes they're not handicapped in the morning, but only in the afternoon. It all depends on the availability of a parking space close to the business. If they are really handicapped, then why don't they please use one of the three designated handicapped spaces all of the time instead of taking up a regular stall when regular stalls are at a premium already? What gives?
A: We don't know the specifics of who this or where this – but as far as the city's policy . . . well, this is a state law. So it is against state law to illegally park in a handicapped stall.
And we would imagine that illegally obtaining and using a handicapped tag when not being handicapped is against state law as well.
With all that said, if this continues to be suspicious or cause problems, perhaps the reader should contact the local police when this is taking place and they can get to the bottom of it.
Q: I see fencing has been put up around the courthouse lawn area. Is this for the future construction area?
A: Yes. This fenced in area will be the construction area for the new addition to the courthouse.
Q: Since all the funding for the museum has been cut and Kent Bedient has been let go as curator, are special displays and presentations and events still happening or being planned or being publicized?
A: Since the city cut the funding for the museum and Kent Bedient was let go as the curator due to the lack of funding, we have not been notified about any more special displays or presentations or events or anything else happening at the museum. As far as we know, no one is doing any of those activities.
Q: Is it legal in Nebraska to buy CBD oil made from hemp?
A: We consulted with York County Attorney Christopher Johnson for this question. This is what he had to say:
"There are several things that can be defined as CBD. The most common is called Cannabidiol. That is a substance which is a derivative from a plant in the genus Cannabis. It is in the same classification of substance as Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, and THC and CBD are both considered cannabinoids.
"The law that controls illegal drugs in Nebraska is called the Controlled Substances Act, which has a definition section located at Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-405. In addition, the Drug Enforcement Administration administers a list of Schedule Drugs, which are illegal to possess in almost all circumstances (except by prescription, as in the instance of prescription painkillers and other drugs).
"In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration changed the definition of several Schedule I Drugs, one of which is marijuana extracts, which does include CBD under a definition "an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant." Nebraska law contains a similar definition of a prohibited extract of marijuana, which would include CBD, defined as "…substances contained in the plant or in the resinous extractives of cannabis, sp. or synthetic substances, derivatives, and their isomers…"
"Due to these definitions, both THC and CBD are classified in Nebraska (and Federally) as Schedule I Controlled Substances, and it is therefore a felony to possess them in Nebraska.
"That being said, there is also a special exemption for a medicinal CBD test pilot study conducted in Nebraska, which is located at Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-463 et seq. This is specifically as addressed in those statutes. Therefore, if someone is unfamiliar with those statutes, it is likely that possession of CBD by that person is illegal.
"There is also a prescription exemption related to CBD located in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-405 which specifically enumerates as a Schedule V Controlled Substance "Cannabidiol in a drug product approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration." This would seem to indicate that CBD is legal to possess under Nebraska law if "unless such substance was obtained directly or pursuant to a medical order issued by a practitioner authorized to prescribe while acting in the course of his or her professional practice."
"The long and the short of it is this: CBD's legal status on a state level is murky – if you have a prescription, you're good to go, but without a prescription, it's likely that it's a felony to possess. On a federal level, the DEA has enumerated that CBD is a Schedule I Controlled Substance, and therefore illegal to possess without a prescription, just like marijuana. However, it remains to be seen if the Federal Government will prosecute possession of CBD like it does other controlled substances, or if they will look the other way similar to how they look the other way with most marijuana cases. In any case, the only current way for any individual to possess CBD in a legal manner is with a prescription obtained by a licensed medical practitioner."
Q: I've been seeing in varying counties lately where they have been declared as Livestock Friendly. Is York County a Livestock Friendly county? And what exactly does that term mean?
A: York County officially became a Livestock Friendly County in 2016.
As explained by Sen. Mark Kolterman, shortly after York County's designation, "Counties that designate as Livestock Friendly not only send a clear message that they are open for business, creating an environment for growth, they also exhibit the potential to grow their local tax base. A 2014 University of Nebraska study suggests that there is much room to grow livestock production in Nebraska, and that the potential economic impact on the state's economy could be tremendous. For these reasons I support the expansion of this program and encourage other counties to consider it."
Also at the time of the designation, Megan Burda, extension educator for York County, said, "More than a decade after Nebraska created its "livestock friendly" designation, participating counties have gained more cattle farms and lost fewer hog farms than those that lack the designation, a new study by agricultural economists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows.
"Regression analysis showed the livestock friendly designation had a stronger positive correlation to livestock expansion than almost all other factors measured, including the nearby presence of meatpacking plants.
"The article, authored by Brian Mills, Azzeddine Azzam, Kate Brooks and David Aiken, is forthcoming in the Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy.
"The Livestock Friendly County Program was adopted in 2003, in the wake of controversy over large hog confinement operations being established in central Nebraska in the late 1990s. Some opponents of the hog facilities unsuccessfully sought to give counties emergency powers to block the development of large livestock facilities.
"By contrast, the livestock friendly program enables counties, on a voluntary basis, to seek a designation from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, declaring them receptive to new livestock developments within their counties. The program appears to be unique in the nation, although agriculture department officials say they have received inquiries from at least one other state considering a similar strategy.
"Greg Ibach, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, said they're pleased the study confirms that the program works. The designation is used to market Nebraska sites to the livestock industry nationally and internationally.
"'It signifies at the county level they're more open to projects and more open to growing their industry,'" Ibach said. "'Livestock Friendly Counties have made a commitment to transparency and consistence to their producers,'" Burda said in her comments.
"The agricultural economists studied 21 counties that achieved the designation between 2002 and 2012, comparing the numbers of farms reported in 2002, 2007 and 2012 censuses. In raw numbers, counties with the livestock friendly designation saw larger growth in cattle operations – a 12 percent increase in livestock friendly counties between 2007 and 2012, compared to an 8 percent increase in counties without the designation. More than three fourths of counties (16 of 21) with the livestock friendly designation saw a net increase in their cattle farm numbers.
"Although most Nebraska counties saw a decline in the number of hog farms during the study period, the decline was significantly slower in counties designated as livestock friendly. From 2007 to 2012, there was a 15.6 percent decline in the number of hog farms in participating counties. For counties without the livestock friendly designation, the decline was 62 percent," Burda wrote.
"It does seem to attract more farms," said Brian Mills, who studied the livestock friendly designation as his master's degree thesis. "For that, I think it's good. Where I'm from, the population's been going down and it's nice to have people come back and farm."
Co-author and thesis co-adviser Azzeddine Azzam, an agricultural economics professor, said the study's conclusions are more nuanced than the raw numbers show.
"It's not easy to tell what's going on just by the numbers," he said
"Other factors included population density; per capita income levels; cattle and hog prices; corn prices; the presence of a meatpacking plant in the county or a neighboring county; the presence of an ethanol plant in the county or a neighboring county; the concentration of livestock in the county, as measured by cattle per square mile and by percentage of the state's total cattle inventory; the county's geographic region of the state; and the number of years a county has been in the livestock friendly program. The study did not review farm sizes or zoning regulations. After controlling for other factors, on average, farm numbers in counties with livestock friendly designation are higher than those counties without the designation, the study concluded, Burda explained.