The following questions were asked recently on the Wonderline:

Q: What happened to the caboose that used to be at the York fairgrounds?

A: On Aug. 1, 2001, the caboose was moved from the York County Fairgrounds to McCool Junction as part of that community’s Iron Horse Station depot/historical spot.

The York County Fair Board donated the caboose to McCool Junction as part of the ongoing efforts to remember and preserve the railroad-related roots of that town.

The 20,000-pound caboose was moved with many volunteer efforts at that time, as all the equipment, labor and expense were donated.

This information was provided by a story written by then YNT reporter, Kerry Hoffschneider.

Q: Is there a plan in place for hiring a new public works director for the City of York? Mitch Doht resigned for a different job and I haven’t heard anyone say anything about what the hiring process will be, or how long of a period of time it will take to find his replacement.

A: Mayor Barry Redfern said, “Yes, the city will be replacing that position. We currently have a couple of open positions in our public works department and we are in the process of defining exactly what qualifications we are looking for in our next hires. In the short term we have capable people at the city to oversee departments and we will be outsourcing with our engineering firms if we need specific expertise.”

Q: How do certain groups or organizations qualify for tax exempt vehicles?

A: Non-profit organizations and institutions do not have to pay motor vehicle taxes if those vehicles are used for conducting the purpose of their existence.

Churches may ask for exemption, for example, if the vehicle is used by a pastor to visit the sick in area hospitals. Schools may ask for exemption if a vehicle is used to transport students to educational activities or events.

It’s up the county board to grant those exemptions – or deny those exemptions if they vehicle the vehicles do not qualify.

There are about 90 vehicles that are tax exempt in York County each year.

Q: I noticed the weirdest thing this week in my back yard. I went outside to water my garden and saw that all these brown leaves – or maybe they are sort of like seed pods I guess – are falling off my neighbor’s tree and literally covering my yard. The dirt in my garden is just covered. What is going on? It looks like the leaves falling in the fall – but it is spring. I thought maybe something was wrong with that particular tree, but then I noticed other trees in the area are doing the same thing and people’s yards are just suddenly filled with them.

A: We have seen them too.

This week, a story ran in the Omaha World Herald about this situation, in which maple trees are turning brown due to being overloaded with seed pods, commonly called “helicopters,” and formally called winged samaras.

They spoke with Scott Evans, horticulture program coordinator for Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties.

In that World Herald story, Evans said he “isn’t 100 percent sure why maple trees are overloaded with the pods, but he has a good idea. He says blame it on the trees’ long memories. Last spring, because of a late frost or freeze, the flowers of the maple trees were frozen. They did not produce any helicopters. Trees remember this; they know when seeds did not get dispersed. That is what we are likely experiencing. And with the hot weather this week, he said he expects the helicopters to dry up and start dropping – which will cause an explosion of helicopters in yards. He said those that fall on lawns can be mowed over, which will add nutrients back into the ground. Those that sprout in pots and vegetable beds will need to be hand weeded – don’t just leave them, he said, or you will be overflowing with maple tree seedlings.” It was noted that oak trees have also had this type of seed explosion.

Q: Where is the oldest grave at Greenwood Cemetery and whose is it?

A: This question was asked many years ago in the Wonderline and we found the answer as printed back then.

In that publication, Todd Gardner, caretaker at Greenwood Cemetery, said the earliest grave he has found is for Nellie May Reed, the eldest daughter of N.M. and M.A. Reed. She was buried on Feb. 28, 1863, at the age of one year, four months and 12 days. She is buried in Division B, Lot 90, Space 4.

Q: In York, who is responsible for trimming the trees and bushes that hang over sidewalks and/or streets?

A: It is the responsibility of the property owners to keep sidewalks and streets clear of branches, bushes, over-growth, etc. If there is a problem area, it can be reported to the city and officials will notify property owners about getting the necessary trimming done.

Q: Who is responsible for the care of Foster Park?

A: Foster Park is the responsibility of the city, as the property belongs to the city.

Q: Every community has a Relay For Life to fight cancer and I was just curious about how this movement started.

A: In May, 1985, Dr. Gordon Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Wash., raising money to help the American Cancer Society with the nation’s biggest health concern: cancer.

Dr. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at the University of Puget Sound. Friends, family and patients watched and supported him as he walked and ran more than 83.6 miles and raised $27,000 through pledges to help save lives from cancer. As he circled the track, he thought of how he could get others to take part. He envisioned having teams participate in a 24-hour fundraising event. The next year, 19 teams were part of the first Relay for Life event at the historical Stadium Bowl and raised $33,000.

The idea started with one man walking and running around a track . . . and it turned into a global fundraising phenomenon.

Q: The drain in my tub is becoming increasingly clogged. I’m not a fan of using chemicals in my house. Someone told me to try using vinegar. Will that work?

A: We have found numerous sources that say to mix 1/3 of a cup of baking soda with 1/3 of a cup of vinegar. It will fizz immediately and you should waste no time in pouring it down the clogged drain. The fizzing action will help to remove the gunk, hair and grime that has built up in the pipe. Let it sit for one hour or even overnight if you can. Flush with hot water.

See if that works.

If not, call a plumber.

Sign up for York News Times Email Alerts

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.