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Wonderline: Readers ask about trains, horns, water and parking

Wonderline: Readers ask about trains, horns, water and parking

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The following questions were submitted recently on the Wonderline:

Q: I live in the northwest part of York and I hear the train whistles between 3 and 6 a.m. Why are they doing this when we are in a quiet zone?

A: Because the reader lives in the northwest part of York, she may be hearing train whistles coming from the western edge of the quiet zone. The quiet zone only encompasses the four crossings inside York – the trains are still able to blow their horns at the other crossings in the area.

Q: How many trains pass through York each day? How much money has been spent for the quiet zone in York? How many trains are still blowing their horns?

A: The latest average figure we have, of the number of trains passing through York each day, was 160. We weren’t able to get a more updated figure.

As far as how many trains are still blowing their horns through town, now that we have a quiet zone, there is no way to do that, unless someone would sit by the tracks and count for 24 hours. As we all know, they are not supposed to be blowing their horns inside city limits any longer due to the quiet zone – but from the number of Wonderline questions we’ve been receiving about this topic, it looks like some still are. How many that is, we just don’t know.

Q: Why are the trains blowing their horns now again, even though we have the quiet zone?

A: We don’t know. We received this exact question from 12 readers this week, so there is apparently a problem building. If there is, it is likely the railroad will have to be contacted about the issue.

Q: Who is the building inspector in York?

A: The building inspector in York is Chuck Hansen.

Q: Our faucet water tastes and smells terrible again. It’s overwhelmingly like rotten eggs. I thought with the treatment facility this would not happen again. Any ideas?

A: Well, first off, the new treatment facility for the city is for wastewater treatment, not water treatment.

And yes, this has been an ongoing issue at certain locations in York for some time now, occurring off and on.

Brandon Osentowski, water manager for the city, said, “The new treatment facility that the City of York has recently built is specifically for wastewater. This facility would have no direct effect on the drinking water, additionally we do not currently treat our drinking water.

“The wells that we have within our well field contain a small level of Iron Sulfite bacteria, which is what is causing the smell of rotten eggs. The city does complete a treatment to the wells that is designed to help combat the smell, unfortunately however, until we have a water treatment facility, we will most likely never be able to make the odor go away completely. In completing some additional research on this topic, I have found that homes and other buildings that use a lower quality/less expensive fixtures, fixtures that have plastic valves, or any type of rubber supply lines, seem to make the odor of the water worse.”

Q: How thick is the concrete in the stretch of I-80 between Omaha and Lincoln?

A: Interstate highway surfaces are 11 inches thick.

Q: How long has the Nebraska State Fair been in Grand Island?

A: The Nebraska State Fair opened in Grand Island in August, 2010.

Q: Are there any ordinances about street parking? On our block, a pickup sits there 24/7 with an occasional move once a week for maybe an hour or two. It is so close to the stop sign it is a hazard. How does one go about getting this stopped?

A: First, Section 36-219 of the city code says that “no motor vehicle shall be continuously parked upon any street within the city for more than 24 consecutive hours.”

Section 36-231 prohibits parked vehicles from being near stop signs and within 15 feet of an intersection.

That said, it sounds like the owner of this vehicle is going against municipal rules.

If it is creating a problem and this is a legal issue, concerned residents may contact the police. The phone number is 363-2640.

Q: First, I want to say thank you for that fun edition of the York News-Times where all that history stuff made up the bulk of the paper, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the county and the city.

Secondly, I want to say thank you to the York City Council for moving forward with the renovation/repair work at the city auditorium. It’s very exciting that this project is happening now.

That said, thinking about the auditorium and the work that’s being done – and seeing those old pictures of the former courthouse – I got to wondering.

Here is my question.

Was the former York County Courthouse placed on the national registry of historic places and yet still torn down?

A: According to the history book, “Yesterday and Today,” the courthouse “was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. However, the commissioners moved forward with plans to build a new courthouse. In June, 1978, the destruction of the old courthouse began and it was completed in September, 1980.”

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