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Authorities interview petition signers

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Vehicles await their owners outside the Hitchcock County Ag Complex this morning, while State Patrol investigators conduct voluntary interviews related to a recall petition.
(Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette)
CULBERTSON, Nebraska -- Bill Beiber of Culbertson, Nebraska, pulled away from the Community Building in Culbertson this morning after he and others who signed petitions seeking the recall of three members of the Hitchcock County Public Schools board of education answered questions from Nebraska State Patrol investigators.

Beiber said the plainclothes investigator seemed to be trying to "figure out who passed the petitions around ... if they read it to us."

Bill Weber of Culbertson, who visited with Beiber outside the community building, said the investigator asked him if it was indeed his signature on the petition. "I've never heard of something like this," Weber said of the investigation.

Interviews with State Patrol investigators were voluntary. In July 2011, petition circulator Shane Rippen of Culbertson -- who signed petition documents as sole circulator of the petition -- needed the valid signatures of at least 175 registered voters on each of three petitions circulated to oust board members Mike Baker, Larry Ferguson and Gary Matson.

In September, the school board voted 5-1 not to schedule a recall election. At that time, there were questions about whether Rippen was the only person who circulated the petitions and whether patrons were told that the petitions would save an old school building from demolition and/or reduce property taxes.

The recall effort followed a successful $7.4 million school bond election approving upgrades and renovations to existing facilities in May 2011.

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Investigating petitions? People trying to practice their Constitutional rights being investigated by State Police? Now you know part of the reason Nebraska has lost a third of its population while everywhere else has gained.

-- Posted by didereaux on Fri, Jan 13, 2012, at 9:03 AM

People are still expected to exercise their rights within the law.

As far as losing its population, I don't know where you pulled that figure from but Nebraska's population has been increasing.

-- Posted by bberry on Fri, Jan 13, 2012, at 11:58 AM

You still have to follow the law even with a petition. The petition itself isn't being investigated. How the petition was circulated is.

Funny how assumption and alittle bit of anger can lead to false ramblings being spewed.

-- Posted by carlsonl on Sat, Jan 14, 2012, at 7:08 AM

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