The following questions were asked recently on the Wonderline:
Q: When will the traffic lights at David Drive and Lincoln Avenue be replaced? Will it be this year yet or next spring?
A: James Paul, York’s public works director, said the Nebraska Department of Transportation has indicated to him that this project is scheduled for Nov. 1, 2022.
Q: I really have appreciated this year the different features about the history behind a number of our local churches.
Can you tell us anything about the history of the Council Union Church which is out in the country, southwest of York?
A: As historical accounts say, “Over 100 years ago, the spirit of a pioneer church was conceived. The brown brick veneer church, located one mile south and six miles west of York was not always called Council Union Church. On Feb. 10, 1872, a bad of people, which included Andrew and Sarah Browitt, William and Martha Thomas, William and Julia Hills, Joseph Browitt and Hanna Fuller, met at the home of William Mills to organize a church to be known as the Congregational Church of Council, Nebraska. While history does not record the settlement of Council, it does record that on April 10, 1878, the Articles of Incorporation were filed and on May 28, 1878, the Council Congregational Church was legally organized. Among the names of the first trustees are Andrew Browitt and William Thomas. During that same year, 10 acres of land was purchased from the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad Company. A campaign for funds to build was started and with the aid of the neighboring Methodist group, the church was dedicated in July of 1880. The first preacher was William Woolman.”
In 1885, the trustees deeded nine acres to the Council Cemetery Association. The one remaining acre was deeded to the trustees of the newly named Council Union Church. The church was a non-denominational church.
In 1922, the church was vacant and in need of repair. In 1924, funds were raised and the old church was torn down and usable lumber was salvaged. The new church will brown brick veneer and a full basement was dedicated in 1926. Ministers and students from the York E.U.B. College supplied the pulpit for many years. During those years, the church again prospered.
On Dec. 21, 1984, during an early morning snow storm, lightning struck. The ensuing fire destroyed the roof and did considerable damage to the interior and contents of the church building. The church was rebuilt.
Q: Unfortunately, snow is just around the corner. Soon it will be winter. I asked this last year, because we had issues with people covering fire hydrants with snow. So, even before the winter starts in 2021, I’m going to ask the question: In a residential neighborhood, is it legal to cover a fire hydrant when doing snow removal?
A: It is very important to make sure that snow is cleared away from fire hydrants so they are accessible as well as visible at all times.
It is very important to not ever intentionally cover a fire hydrant with snow, when doing snow removal.
It is recognized that in many cases, the snow may get pushed there by plows – so this winter, it is suggested that everyone look around their neighborhoods and if they see a hydrant that is covered or partially covered with snow, they just take the time to remove the snow around it as this is a safety issue for the community.
The fire department has very accurate maps showing them exactly where all the fire hydrants are located in the city – but in the event of an emergency like a house fire, it is very important that they can easily see the hydrants in order to provide best response. And firefighters need to be able to get hooked up to them quickly – minutes matter.
As explained in an earlier interview with local fire officials, “Remember, just because a fire hydrant is not necessarily directly in front of our house, but it’s just down the block . . . well, it’s still your fire hydrant and will be used if there’s an emergency at your house. So for the good of your family, your property and that of your neighbors, we are just asking everyone to take a couple of minutes to make sure the hydrants in their neighborhoods are clear of snow, that we can see them and get quick access to them.”
Q: There is a vacant house in my neighborhood. No one lives there. But I see the owner go over there pretty much once a week and it looks like he is throwing his garbage in that house rather than having it taken it away by our local garbage collectors. This summer, when it got pretty hot out, the smell coming from the house made it more obvious that he is probably collecting garbage in there. Isn’t that against the law?
A: Section 16-2 of the municipal code for the City of York says: “It shall be unlawful for any person to keep in, on, or about any dwelling house, building or premises in the city, any decayed vegetable or animal substance, garbage or refuse matter or any substance that may be injurious to the public health or offensive to the residents or inhabitants of the vicinity unless the same is kept in receptacles provided therefore.”
Q: I was watching a documentary last week about the last days of JFK Jr.’s life and the plane crash in which he was killed. My question is where that airplane wreckage was taken and if it is on display anywhere as a piece of history.
A: The wreckage was taken to Otis Air Force Base in Massachusetts for an investigation conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board. A spokesperson at the time described the wreckage as “twisted metal” and indicated not all of the airplane had even been recovered.
We haven’t found anywhere that the wreckage was taken anywhere special for safe keeping or for future display as a piece of history, likely because the airplane was so destroyed.