Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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Tiny Village of Seneca Ceases to Exist

Nebraska has lost a town.

The tiny Sandhills village of Seneca, just west of the line that divides the Central and Mountain time zones, ceased to legally exist as of 11:59 p.m. Monday.

But the demise of the 126-year-old village, which came after a 17-16 vote in a May election, didn’t come without last-minute acrimony.

A couple of Seneca supporters who wanted the town to remain an incorporated village claim that they were denied their day in court.

They maintain that the Thomas County Board moved quietly — and more quickly than necessary — to dissolve Seneca before their scheduled hearing before a judge Tuesday.

After a last-minute plea to delay the dissolution was rejected by the County Board on Monday, a group of Seneca supporters withdrew their lawsuit that had contested the residency of a woman who they said cast the deciding vote and the legitimacy of the petitions that led to the special election.

Three felony cases associated with the Seneca unincorporation vote will proceed but are not expected to reverse the town’s demise. Two people are charged with falsely claiming that they were qualified to vote, and another maintains that a petition circulator falsely swore that she had witnessed people signing the petitions.

A member of the Thomas County Board, as well as the county clerk denied that there was any funny business involved in the scheduling of the meeting that finalized the town’s demise.

Thomas County Clerk Lorissa Hartman said that, originally, the board had decided to vote Tuesday on when to dissolve the village. By state law, the board had 50 days after the vote to decide when to dissolve the village, and Tuesday was the 50th day after the May 13 vote, Hartman said.

But two of the three County Board members had scheduling conflicts Tuesday, so the meeting had to be moved. Hartman said that since it had not been determined if a new meeting could be scheduled before the 50th day, the decision was moved to June 17.

That’s when the board voted to dissolve the village effective at midnight Monday, on the eve of the scheduled court hearing.

Another member of the Thomas County Board, Norma Butler of Thedford, said she sympathized with the plight of Seneca, but she had little choice but to move forward with dissolving the town.

She said she would have felt the wrath of county taxpayers if she had voted to delay the demise of the town, because the county would have continued to pay the bills to keep streetlights burning in Seneca.

As it stands, the board is scheduled to meet July 15 to decide when to turn off the streetlights and how to dispose of around $50,000 in Seneca property that the county inherited. It includes a community hall that volunteers recently restored through donations of time and money. The county also gets about $26,000 from the village’s bank account.

Nebraska now has 529 incorporated cities, towns and villages — legal communities that have governing councils that can levy taxes, receive state funds and decide how to maintain streets.

- Excerpts of article written by Paul Hammel, Omaha World Herald


Upcoming Sales Tax Meeting

Residents of Valentine will have the opportunity on July 8th to have questions answered about the upcoming sales tax renewal vote on July 15th. Voters will decide whether or not to extend the current sales tax rate at 1.5%, which is the same rate that it has been since 2006. The tax would continue to be used by the city for infrastructure such as storm sewer renovations, curb and gutter work, and paving projects. It has also been used to support the fire and police departments and direct property tax relief.

On July 8th at 7 pm at the Valentine Public Library, there will be a discussion with questions and answers about the sales tax, including the proposed golf course and Mid Plains Community College expansion. Attend the meeting to become more informed about the sales tax issue.


4th of July Activities in Valentine

A fun-filled day of events are in store for Valentine for Independence Day. The parade kicks off the activities at noon. Participants will line up at the trail head on 1st and Main Street at 11:30.

There will be a co-ed softball tournament during the day.

The Let Freedom Ring program takes place at 12:45 at the VHS football field adjacent to the Badger Bell.

The Demolition Derby begins at 6 pm with the Calcutta. A car will be raffled off to be used in the finals, and tickets are going to be sold right up until the finale.

Wrapping up the evening, the Lions Club will be lighting up the sky with a fireworks presentation.

KVSH Radio wishes everyone a safe and Happy 4th!


Upcoming events include: City-Wide Garage Sale on July 12, Lady Wranglers Open Horse Show on July 13th, Minnechaduza Days & Turtle Races on July 19th and the Chamber Golf Tournament on July 29th.

Feel free to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with your event or activities!


Four New Nebraska Laws

Four new Nebraska laws go into effect today.

One law will require Nebraska school districts to publish superintendent employment contracts. Another will increase the state fees for certified copies of marriage certificates and for searches of death certificates.

A third law will officially create a state commission to prepare for Nebraska's 150th anniversary as a state in 2017. The Nebraska Sesquicentennial Commission will consist of 17 members appointed by the governor. Jeff Searcy, chairman of the Nebraska 150 Sesquicentennial Committee, says the new state commission will work to ensure statewide participation in the celebration.

The fourth establishes a program in the Department of Health and Human Services to help pay for treatment of certain allergies, a blood cell disorder and other ailments.


Let Freedom Ring Bell Ringing

On Friday July 4th, members of the American Legion family will sponsor the national Let Freedom Ring ceremony by ringing bells in honor of The Signers of the Declaration of Independence.

The ceremony will be held at the football field adjacent to the Badger Bell.  The first thirteen people to assemble will represent the original thirteen colonies and have the honor of ringing the Badger Bell to celebrate 238 years of independence.

As appropriate to celebrate July 4, middle and high school students will read the Declaration of Independence aloud.  Leo Brinda Post 90 is hoping to see members of the Boys Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girls Scouts and even members of the American Legion Baseball team to help out.   Little Miss Poppy Josie Kelly will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Volunteers are needed to help read the Declaration, and must be middle school age or older.

Time frame for the program: participants/readers assemble 12:30; the actual program will commence at 12:45 pm and usually lasts till 1:30 pm.


As they have done since 1999, the American Legion Family will also ring the bell in support of each young adult from the Valentine area who is currently serving in the armed forces, the bell will be rung as their name is recited.  Everyone is welcome, and everyone can play a part too.


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