The following questions were asked recently on the Wonderline:

Q: If a York resident wanted to request four stops signs to be added to a current no-stop-sign intersection in York, would a petition be needed by all the residents within that neighborhood or what would be the proper means of making this request to the city?

A: “There are numerous intersections in town that have no traffic control,” responded Mitch Doht, public works director for the City of York. “If someone has an unsafe intersection in mind, they should contact city hall. If the request is warranted, a traffic/speed study would be required, the results of which would be presented to city council. Any new regulatory signage must be authorized by the city council.”

Q: My question is about the railroad bridge in York that goes over Nebraska Avenue. It looks really ancient. How often is it inspected? Does the city told the latest reports on its condition?

A: Mitch Doht, city public works director, explained “that bridge is owned, operated and maintained by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. The city has no records of any kind related to that structure. Federal law for public highway bridges mandates inspection at least every two years. Regulations for railroad bridges require inspection every year. The BNSF folks tell me they inspect all their bridges twice per year.”

Q: When all is said and done, how much will the quiet zone project cost the City of York? It’s just been going on for so long and some of it has already been paid for. I’m just curious what the end total is going to come out to be.

A: “In February of this year, the city authorized approximately $630,000 worth of work that is currently being completed by the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad,” says Mitch Doht, public works director. “In addition, the latest engineer’s estimate for the paving work at Division Avenue and County Road 14 is $230,000. So that is a total of $860,000. This figure does not include the work done at the Blackburn and Delaware crossings as part of the 19th Street reconstruction project, which was 80 percent federal money. It also does not include the original quiet zone study, or the city’s pain and suffering over the last decade.”

Q: Why aren’t the sewer and water funds financed by property taxes/sales taxes, instead of being fee-based?

A: “The water and wastewater departments, as well as the landfill, are operated through enterprise funds, which are completely separate from the city’s general fund (where sales and property taxes are deposited),” Mitch Doht, public works director, explained. “All revenues for those departments come strictly from user’s fees. Each year, we calculate actual costs to the city for operating each service and then set the next year’s rates to simply recoup the costs of the services. Inherently, the folks who use those services most pay the most in fees. Last fiscal year, the operating and debt service budgets for the three combined departments was approximately $4.6 million. With our sales tax rate currently at the maximum allowed by statutes, and with property tax rates also subject to a regulatory lid, we simply could not possibly generate enough revenue from taxes alone to provide these services to the city.”

Q: Who was responsible for putting the city’s budget together for the fiscal year that just ended?

A: The budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year was formulated by City Administrator Frei and Mayor Stahr, and then approved by the city council.

Q: The names Marshal & Cain, Barber, Wildman and maybe other names are on downtown York buildings. Who were those people?

A: We looked up the name Wildman in the “History of York County” book and found the following. Milton Wildman was an attorney in York, who had been the city attorney, county attorney and county judge about 1900. He was also the city clerk, on the city council and was on the school board. He was elected Representative to the State Legislature for three times, in 1919, 1925 and 1927 (during this time the present state capitol building came into being).

Holland and Blaine – Milton’s sons – were dentists who had a practice together on E. Sixth St. Holland later moved his dental office next to his father’s law office, at 619 ½ Lincoln Avenue (which at the time was above the building housing Metz Mortuary).

We haven’t been able to find information about the other names. If someone has that information and wants to submit it, just send it to the Wonderline and we will be happy to publish it.

Q: Is it true that Jesse James spent some time in York County? I don’t know if he actually lived here or just stayed for a while or just drove through or what.

A: We went to the old York County historical book (written in 1913 about the then-recent history about the county) called “Old Settlers’ Early History,” and on Page 121 there is a story called “A Mysterious Guest.”

The story saws that “hospitality was everywhere in evidence in the days of which we write. Doors were never locked. In the early seventies (1870s), a man riding a beautiful thoroughbred horse stopped at Elias Gilmore’s (which our research seems to indicate Gilmore lived in the McCool Junction area) and asked for entertainment overnight, which was, of course, granted. He was a well dressed man, keen and alert, differing in many ways from the travelers of that time. It was noticed that his right hand was usually held under the left side of his coat and though he was a good talker and well informed on current events, he was reticent regarding himself.

“The sleeping apartment in the house consisted of one large room for the men, containing several beds. The late S.N. Creech and other boarders occupied beds in this room and were startled when the stranger upon retiring unbuckled a belt containing several revolvers, one of which he calmly placed under his pillow and laid the belt on the table near his bed. The unarmed men in the room made no remarks but passed a sleepless night. The stranger was up early and after paying liberally for his entertainment, rode swiftly away. Mr. Gilmore remarked, ‘Boys, there’s something wrong with that man,’ a fact which became evident when they learned later that they had entertained the noted Jesse James.”

Q: I’m sitting here, just eating lunch, and wondering who invented the hamburger?

A: That’s going to be an open-ended question. There have been a lot of claims about the origin of the hamburger.

The book, “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy” by Hannah Glasse included a recipe in 1758 as “Hamburgh Sausage.” In that recipe, it was suggested to serve the meat “roasted with toasted bread under it.”

A similar snack, according to online sources, was also popular in Hamburg by the name “Rundstuck warm,” in 1869, which was said to have been eaten by many emigrants on their way to America.

“Hamburg steak” was reported to have been served between two pieces of bread.

On July 5, 1896, a Chicago newspaper published an article about “the hamburger sandwich.”

Some people say the hamburger was created in 1900 by Louis Lassen, a Danish immigrant, who was the owner of Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Conn.

Others have said they created it.

Then the hamburger gained national recognition at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair when the New York Tribune referred to the hamburger as an innovative food.

And then it just evolved from there.

Q: What are the most popular types of Christmas cookies?

A: In looking at a number of informal polls and articles from a lot of sources, it appears that the sugar cookie (cut out into Christmas-related shapes and decorated) and the gingerbread cookie are the top two when it comes to eating and making Christmas cookies.

Q: I saw that touching salute from Bob Dole during the visitation for President Bush. How old is Bob Dole now? And then I’m also curious about Jimmy Carter – how old is he?

A: Former United States Senator Bob Dole is 95. He was born July 22, 1923.

Former President Jimmy Carter is 94 years old.

Q: When did former President Gerald Ford pass away? It just seems like a long time since we had a presidential funeral.

A: Former President Gerald Ford died on Dec. 26, 2006.

Q: I always find it fascinating when all the living presidents are together at one time, as we saw this week with President Bush’s funeral.

My question is what is the greatest number of living current and former U.S. presidents at one time?

A: The greatest number of living current and former U.S. presidents at one time is six. It happened three times, once per century, starting in the 19th century.

From March 4, 1861 to Jan. 18, 1862, six presidents (current and former) were alive at the same time: Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln.

From Jan. 20, 1993, to April 22, 1994, the group of living presidents included Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

From Jan. 20, 2001 to June 5, 2004, the group of living presidents included Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

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