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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Six apply for council

Friday, January 13, 2012

McCOOK, Nebraska -- Mayor Dennis Berry will choose among six applicants to appoint two citizens to fill the vacant City Council seats, Monday evening, 7:30 p.m., during the council's semi-monthly meeting at Memorial Auditorium.

If the Mayor's appointments are approved by at least one of the two other city council members, the appointees will be administered the oath of office and fill the positions until Dec. 3, 2012. At that time candidates selected by the voters during the November 2012 election will take office.

Citizens who expressed interest in the city council seats and provided resumes to city staff include:

* 1982 McCook High School graduate Roger A. Henthorn. Henthorn is the plant manager at Gerhold Concrete and has more than 25 years experience in the construction industry.

* McCook public school teacher Janet Hepp. Hepp is the owner of JGR Rentals, LLC, and co-owner of Outdoor Sports, LLC.

* Former City Councilman Aaron Kircher. Kircher recently forfeited one of the two vacant seats as a result of a Nebraska statue that has already seen legislation introduced to modify it. The modifications introduced would amend the statute in a manner that would not have resulted in Kircher's forfeiture. Kircher had been a McCook City Councilman since 2004 and the Vice President of the City Council from 2006 to 2010.

* James McCarville of McCook. McCarville has owned and operated a janitorial business in McCook since 1996. McCarville also worked for Walmart for 20 years and spent his last 11 years with the company as an assistant manager.

* Retired Pacific Northwest Bell/US West/Qwest technician Bruce McDowell. McDowell is the Treasurer for the Norris Institute and the McCook Main Street group, as well as a member of the Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival committee.

* 1975 McCook High School graduate Fred Shepherd. Shepherd is the manager of American Electric and has been since 1987.

A public hearing will be coordinated during the meeting to discuss a final plat, known as A.M. Bishop Addition Plat, and a subsequent resolution will be considered for its approval. The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the plat during their Jan. 9, 2012, meeting. Agenda notes indicate that no city services will be provided to the property.

A public hearing and subsequent request for a special exception to allow a commercial welding repair shop in an Agricultural District will also be coordinated. That request comes from JLB Welding Shop and was also recommended for approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Other items on the consent and regular agenda:

* A purchase agreement between the city and the McCook Library Foundation will be considered for approval. The agreement pertains to property located to the north of the McCook Public Library that the foundation is gifting to the city, with the stipulation that it be utilized for purposes that benefit the city. A memorandum of understanding pertaining to the foundations donation toward the construction of an elevator at the library will also be considered.

* City staff has recommended that the proposal from Applied Connective Technologies to provide data and cabling services at the new municipal facility be accepted. If approved, city staff will proceed with negotiating a contract with the company for the services, which have been budgeted for $90,000.

* Weis Fire and Safety has been recommended to be awarded the bid for a new 4-wheel drive mini rescue pumper for the fire department. The Weis bid came in at $147,111 and $150,000 was budgeted for the item.

* Deveney Motors has been recommended to receive the bid for a new police vehicle. The Deveney bid came in at $21,790 for a 4 wheel drive Dodge Ram 1500. That bid was also within budgeted amounts.

* Approval of the Traffic Sign Retroreflectivity Maintenance Program for the City of McCook will be considered. Adoption of the program is required by the Federal Highway Administration and city staff has chosen the Visual Nighttime Inspection Method to perform required testing of traffic signs in 2012.

* Councilors will receive and file the financial report for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2011.

* Councilors will consider a proclamation designating January 2012 as "National Radon Action Month."

* Claims for the month of Dec. 2011, as published on Jan. 16, 2012, will be received and filed by councilors.

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Well I wonder who will be appointed, anybody have any thoughts out there?????

-- Posted by ruby4 on Fri, Jan 13, 2012, at 4:59 PM

My money would be on McDowell and Shepherd.

-- Posted by bberry on Sat, Jan 14, 2012, at 7:23 AM

I'll vote for Roger Henthorn & Janet Hepp as business owners, I hope they have good business sense!! Good luck to all.

-- Posted by Pierre on Sat, Jan 14, 2012, at 12:00 PM

I notice no one is voting for Aaron.

My vote is for Janet and Aaron, I think they would do the best.

-- Posted by citysupport on Sat, Jan 14, 2012, at 5:18 PM

Roger Henthorn is absolutely great at everything he has ever done. Has my vote.

Janet Hepp is a bit of a slumlord. Won't get my vote.

Aaron Kircher seem to believe he's entitled to this job. Won't get my vote.

Have never heard of McCarville and McDowell. Won't get my vote.

Have done lots of business with Fred Shepherd, always gets the job done. Has my vote.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Sat, Jan 14, 2012, at 6:27 PM


I don't know any of these people and from a non biased standpoint the prior two I mentioned seem to me to have the most credentials fitting to the role.

I would think it would be in the best interest of McCook to appoint those capable of management with the most experience. Though I wouldn't be suprised if Mr. Berry reappointed Mr. Kircher.

However, I don't mean to discredit the rest, just my opinion.

-- Posted by bberry on Sat, Jan 14, 2012, at 6:34 PM

I understand your point bberry, but if you are looking at it that way Mr. Kircher has been the opperating manager at Paramount Title & Escrow since it opened in 2004.

I don't want to aurgue; I do understand your point, just putting it out there.

-- Posted by citysupport on Sat, Jan 14, 2012, at 8:04 PM

I understand, and it's really not much to debate.

Shepherd has been a manager since 1987 along with Mcdowell being treasurer for several groups and another committee. Though it does not say how long Mcdowell has been in any of these positions.

-- Posted by bberry on Sun, Jan 15, 2012, at 7:02 AM

Also meant to ask, isn't Paramount Title & Escrow owned by the Kirchers?

-- Posted by bberry on Sun, Jan 15, 2012, at 7:06 AM

Okay let's think about this:

1.) Janet Hepp very nice person, school teacher. (Mr. Berry works for school system, Mike Gonzales past school board member, Jerry Calvin past was associated through law enforcement with the school don't exactly know what his title was)

2.)Aaron Kircher, 7 years as an elected councilman, manager of Paramount Title & Escrow, holds numerous insurance certifications, as well as studies issues from all points (some of which we all do not agree on)

3.)James McCarville, don't personally know him, might be nice to have new blood.

4.)Bruce McDowell, could bring some refreshing ideas, again do not personally know him.

5.) Fred Shephard, obviously long time resident and manager.

6.) Roger Henthorn, I don't think he would be a yes man, which is not a bad thing.

Personally I think anyone of them would or all of them would be okay, actually it's a tough decision. My vote Aaron Kircher let him fulfill, his term then let the people decide. The second seat it a tough one I wish Shane would have put his hat back in the ring, again so he could serve his term then let the people decide.

As it sits the council decides. So I guess we will know on Monday evening.

My hats off to all the people who chose to throw their hat into the ring, after all the bad p.r. it's nice to see some choices. Good Luck to all.

-- Posted by ruby4 on Sun, Jan 15, 2012, at 7:25 PM

Could you imagine the can of worms that may be opened if Mr. Kircher gets appointed?

-- Posted by blueCollarWorker on Mon, Jan 16, 2012, at 9:08 AM

Yes, Paramount is owned by the Kircher's but I'm not sure why that matters.


I'm not sure what can of worms would be opened. I, for one, think the experience on the council is worth consideration.

-- Posted by citysupport on Mon, Jan 16, 2012, at 9:12 AM

I agree that experience on Council is worth something however Kircher showed everyone the lack of maturity by continuously disobeying the law for over a year until finally caught. Is that what we really want? Don't we want someone who is respectful of our laws & neighbors? Besides that, Janet is solid & cares for the future of our community as she has with teaching our youth. Roger may not be a yes man as stated, but could bring a different perspective on things. The others, I don't know. whoever it may be, good luck.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Mon, Jan 16, 2012, at 9:49 AM

I think the can of worms has already been opened and sliced and diced.

-- Posted by ruby4 on Mon, Jan 16, 2012, at 9:49 AM

Trying to figure out what some one has to do to get the title 'slumlord' associated with their name? Have some rentals? Might be different if Hepp's apartments were dumps, but it seems to me all their properties are well kept and they are providing housing. I don't believe Mrs. Hepp would ever be a 'yes' person for anyone. Since Mrs. Hepp is retiring from teaching, she would have more time to dedicate to this job than other candidates.

-- Posted by Ladyg on Mon, Jan 16, 2012, at 5:30 PM

Congratulation to Janet Help and Bruce McDowell they are the newly appointed council members. I truly wish them the very best.

I did find it interesting that the council members made the comment about keeping our youth in the community. REALLY

-- Posted by ruby4 on Mon, Jan 16, 2012, at 9:32 PM

Congratulations to Janet & Bruce also! In Janet, excellent choice. I only question Bruce's intentions. He's not from here (moved here from Denver 5 years ago because he liked it), has no family here (lives back in Denver), what motivation does he have that the other's who most grew up here and has a true vested future? Well, at least the "entitled" one didn't get back in. He did show some true colors last night that all found quite comical. Good luck Janet & Bruce!

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 7:48 AM

In hindsight however, Bruce will bring a different perspective to the table by showing us WHY he came here and HOW we can make other's come here. Hopefully all the while retaining our youth. Congratulations to all!

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 8:50 AM

Congrats to Janet and Bruce! I think Janet was a good choice. I don't know Bruce, but hopefully they will both study the issues and ask the questions. Good luck to all the council members, I truly hope they do what is best for the tax payers.

-- Posted by citysupport on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 9:06 AM

Rural citizen, I must ask what you mean by "showed his true colors" if you mean by asking questions of the police chief regarding the new 4 wheel drive, I felt they were valid questions, are we replacing one which was budgeted for or are we the taxpayers adding an additional $21,000.00 to the budget? Also if asking whether it's a warranty deed or a quitclaim deed is a very valid question because each deed means different things, again looking out for the city, I guess that is showing his true colors. I totally understand that not all decisions made by the city or the council will agree with 100% of the people, but to say "the entitled one" showed his true colors is a little harsh.

I am so sick of the double standards, I realize that Mr. Kircher and Mr. Hilker broke the law okay they paid for it twice, once with the conviction and then being removed from the council, enough they get it. However what about the Mayor, who to this day is in direct violation of the zoning ordinances regarding having a business in your home, which is also a violation of the law, the same law used to remove two of our younger generation from their elected seats, do you honestly believe someone will actually file charges against him, and get this he knows he is in violation. So what does that make him? Oh I know it doesn't count unless convicted....so there is someone showing their true colors. He speaks of honesty and integrity and ethics but breaks the law anyway because why... he can.... good old double standards going on there. I watched once again as the council rolled their eyes when someone spoke, as if they were bored, with the exception of the newest members, they honestly were trying to get a handle on the issues at hand you could read it in their body language, and Jerry Calvin's little comment "I had four minutes to spare, and then something about can't get a ticket or there would only be two of you. I don't think any of this is funny or something to be laughed about. It is pathetic what is good for some is not good for everyone. Again double standards. So the "entitled one" asking legitimate questions gets the harsh treatment while others get to laugh about it and one gets to break the law. Way to go McCook......makes me proud. NOT and I am sure the gazette will only publish the negative parts, with the exception of the new members which they totally deserve positive comments. However will it publish the smirks the remarks and twist the questions as negative, I guess we will see. You will never see a word printed about the Mayor breaking the law because after all he is the Mayor and the rules don't apply if not convicted.....have a great day.....

-- Posted by ruby4 on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 9:24 AM

I don't think Kircher really gets it but that's besides the point. I just meant the difference between "nitpicking and common sense". The purchase of the 4 wheel drive is still under budget in what they were looking for to replace one of their higher mileaged vehicles. A 4x4 makes sense for rural America. Why question it for $400 & under budget? I felt Calvin, Berry & Gonzales were quite professional last night and represented our City well assisting the two new members & keeping the agenda on track. Again, good luck to all.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 9:43 AM

What is nitpicking and common sense? Asking a good solid question that quite honestly was not defined as replacement or addition, I think is a good question, no one was disputing the cost just needing clarification of replacement or addition. But I guess it is what it is, spend taxpayers money blindly and say yes sir...you may have what you want. I question why all the harshness towards Mr. Kircher but yet no comment on the Mayor and the law. I guess your idea of professional and mine will remain on the opposite sides of the fence. I don't feel any of this is a laughing, smirking matter or comments of such needed. My opinion. You say you don't think Mr. Kircher "gets it" I guess you don't know the man, or you might think otherwise.

-- Posted by ruby4 on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 10:14 AM

I have no opinion on the Mayor since I am unaware of his personal situation. About the "smirking & laughing", could it be that you misunderstood what it was towards? Nobody last night intended to spend taxpayers money blindly. It stated in the packet & budget, this vehicle was to replace. Yes, I do know Mr. Kircher. We'll just have to wait and see. How a person conducts his personal life flows over to his business life & unfortunately over the past year or so his morals & judgement have been in question. If he re-runs & wins, great for him, he'd earn it by his peers.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 10:59 AM

Ruby4,please check with the city on zoning issues for the Mayor's wife's business. To my knowledge there is NO violation. (Boy, there are a number of businesses in that area). Seems like you have it "out for" the three council members that remained after the others had to forfeit their seats. Maybe an apology is in order. On the other hand, thanks for your support of the integrity of the individuals appointed.

-- Posted by dennis on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 1:33 PM

Dennis, I do not "have it out" for anyone, but give me a break, are you going to tell me that everyone except the two who violated the law are perfect? I did check the zoning, I would not say such things unless I had done a fact finding mission first. Unless the council has changed things and not published them then there could be a zoning violation. However if not convicted it does not matter.

I am so upset that this vendetta has turned into a rash of BS. Does anyone and I mean anyone out there have any ethics integrity and just pure old fashioned honesty. Apologize for my opinions, apologize because I voiced my concerns, not just yet, as for the smirking & laughing I still say very inappropriate, may not personally like an individual but to make light of a very serious situation is in bad form in my opinion, everyone wants to believe the worst in all parties but no one, no one, wants to believe in the best. Yes I have made statements and voiced concerns but not before doing research and understanding what is going on and who it may or may not affect.

It's right back to the same thing what is good for some is not always good for all. It is who you know and possibly who you are whether or not the rules apply or are enforced. No one can answer why this has only come up a couple of times, one rushed through prior to being seated and now Mr. Kircher's and Mr. Hilker well would have never happened if Mr. Kircher's situation had not come up and the need to make sure that it went public. It should never have been covered up or swept under the rug, the law is the law, but it should apply to everyone, not just the ones you want to get rid of. As for Mr. Kircher's morals and judgement, do you rural citizen know the facts or are you just going off of the negative press and these blogs? Do you really know him as a person? Do you really know him as an individual a human being? My guess is no. As for the rest of this I have yet to decide if I am done responding and trying to make people understand the gravity of the damage done. I may read I may post I have to decide if it is even worth my time as most just want a fight. check the records folks, do your research, then make your decision.

-- Posted by ruby4 on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 3:55 PM

Um, yes. I do know for a fact, that's why some of us are concerned. But I also know, that if you don't like what has happened or is happening, then do somthing about it. Why don't you run for council and see if you can help the problem (if there is one as you state) instead of standing on the sidelines and doing nothing?

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 4:31 PM

Rural Citizen, believe me I am not standing on the sidelines and doing nothing, but no I will not run for city council. I will help my community in other ways, and no it is not by creating hate and discontent, sorry to disappoint, it will be in an honest and professional manner.

-- Posted by ruby4 on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 4:41 PM

Ruby4' , you are the one now doing damage. The city clerk and building inspector find NO zoning violations for the mayor. Check Ordinance No. 1580. Your talk of honesty and integrity ring hollow when you accuse the mayor of violating a law when he has not. I would venture to say if he or any of the other council members had police at his house in the early morning hours repeatedly, their judgement would be to fix the problem not continue it. Poor judgement, lack of maturity, Mr. Kicker feeling he was beyond the reach of the law or whatever, none of the issues you bring up would have surfaced had he stopped bothering the neighbors. This scandal is solely on his head. As to the police vehicle,, if the council followed his lead the city would have dropped another $400 over budget. Now the city has a better vehicle and at a lower price. And it was always going to be a replacement. People I visited with said faces were not made and that Mr.Kicher was treated very respectfully despite his questioning of the Police Chief. Thanks for pledging to be honest and professional.

-- Posted by dennis on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 5:32 PM

According to Ordinance 1580 a Home Office, by definition is allowed in Residential Medium Density Zoning, however, according to Article 9, it requires a special exception to be requested and approved by the city. I can not find an exception for the specific business. Is there one? If not then it is clearly a violation.

-- Posted by citysupport on Wed, Jan 18, 2012, at 10:01 AM

I pondered the response to Dennis all night, first anger then speechless, then, well yep now we are seeing true colors, I love how parts of the story are told parts are left out and then to have the courage to blame this entire thing on Mr. Kircher (which Dennis can't even spell his name) beyond the reach of the law, really you think that was his thought process again, you obviously spent no time trying to get to know him as a person, to lay the blame on Mr. Kircher is absurd yes he messed up yes the law is the law, and yes consequences have been served. Honesty, then tell us why the "law" only came into play when Mr. Kircher was convicted, tell us why the gazette was tipped off to the situation (verified) so it could be front page news, tell us why only when Mr. Kircher was convicted did the County Attorney feel the need to inform the City Attorney, when obviously there was a violation of the "law" months before Mr. Kircher. Tell us why the scandal is solely on his head? Easier to blame, easier to take the spotlight off the fact that this "law" has been "overlooked" let slide, pushed to the back and used only to be rid of someone, only this time it got rid of two very special someones. So yes true colors appear, yours as well. Blame me for the damage blame someone else for the scandal but please don't take any responsibility for anything that goes wrong on your watch, make sure it falls someplace else.

This for me was never about the remaining 3 council members at the time this started it was about placing the facts out there. The facts that in your words "doesn't matter". You want honesty, integrity, respect, but when it hits home, start the blame game. Mr. Kircher's questions were valid and are still valid, questions worth asking as I recall the original specs for a new police vehicle said nothing about 4x4, yes it's a good price, yes it will work, but it was not what was originally asked to be put out for bid, so valid questions.....just as the questions regarding the deeds on the purchase agreement, valid questions. So go ahead demean the people who ask, don't say he would have approved more $$ or something different he didn't have a vote.....remember the "law" forfeited his seat. It's to bad other people don't ask these very valid questions, but I can understand why they don't. True colors I've seen them all. Thank You Mayor.

-- Posted by ruby4 on Wed, Jan 18, 2012, at 10:31 AM

I'm not responding to any one particular post or person's response. I'm just posting my personal observations and hope no one takes offense to what they are. I'm not a revenge type person or one who seeks out to find fault with others decisions or actions based solely on what I read in an article or what I may here at the work place, on the street, or at my favorite restaurant. I respect those who are elected to serve on local city council, county boards, school boards, and any other volunteer or slightly paid position. Although I may not agree with every decision that these elected officials make, I trust that, based on all of the information that they have and faced with all of the facts of every situation that they have to decide on, they will make the best decision for the community or entity that they have been elected to serve. Sometimes, these decisions are difficult to make. Sometimes, they may not be popular with some constituents, however, the majority of the body that they represent have elected them to make these difficult decisions. It is much easier for some to read articles in the local newspaper, listen to co-workers during a coffee break, or go to the local coffee shop and participate in the morning gossip and develop an attitude about what should have been. It is this kind of attitude that brings communities down. These kinds of attitudes also discourage others from becoming involved in local government and other local entities that rely on volunteer boards for leadership and direction. In my personal observation and view of the events that led to the forfeiture of two council people, it seems that the city council and city attorney did exactly what they were elected to do. If the city attorney was made aware of a law that existed that states a council person convicted of a crime must give up their seat, their responsibility to the community is to protect the community. Not only that but to also serve their position with integrity, honesty, and trust. The same goes with each and every council member. It's sad in my view, to see people still not accepting this and bringing up other issues with the Mayor that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. If Mr. Kircher and Mr. Hilker disagree with what happened, they are not alone. But, the law is the law. They both should realize this and respect this as prior council members. Until the law is changed, it is what it is. One last comment. I do not know the Mayor personally. My thoughts tell me he is an honest person with all of the necessary traits to serve our community well. After all, how long has he been the Mayor? Those who may disagree, I would encourage you to file to run for a position on the city council and voice your comments about what you could and would do differently rather than continually delivering personal attacks via this blog. I really appreciate the decisions that they've had to make under such adversity. After all, the decisions that they make are made so that our community can grow, prosper, and be stronger. Thank you for your time.

-- Posted by New To McCook on Wed, Jan 18, 2012, at 11:32 AM


Your post was very well said, however the issue that is brought up with the Mayor is relevant. If he is, in fact, in violation of a zoning ordinance he could be convicted of a crime and then removed from his position. So it does fall in the same issue.

No one, to my knowledge, is disagreeing with the fact the two councilmen had to forfeit. What is being disagreed on is the way it happened.

I don't know the Mayor on a personal level either, but would like to see everyone held to the EXACT same standard.

-- Posted by citysupport on Wed, Jan 18, 2012, at 11:53 AM

citysupport, my question and my point, to be more direct is this: Is the Mayor, in fact, in violation of the zoning ordinance? Or, do we assume that he is simply because he has a business out of his home? If he is, rather than air it out on here, go through the proper channels to do so. If he is not, let's not assume and slander him on this blog over something that is rumor, false, and unfounded. This is not the place, in my own opinion, to be dealing with this totally separate issue. Besides, I think you may find that violation of the law is totally different than not being in compliance with a zoning ordinance. Thank you for your reply.

-- Posted by New To McCook on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 8:59 AM

"Besides, I think you may find that violation of the law is totally different than not being in compliance with a zoning ordinance."

No, not in the forfeiture of office. This was made by the case they brought against Mr. Hilker and Mr. Kircher. And though, Mr. Kirchers offense did appear under statue (though questionable in my mind), Mr. Hilkers I could not find.

And if the statue regarding such position is revised as planned, it would then hold the same as a violation of law and require them to forthwith forfeit their office.

-- Posted by bberry on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 9:24 AM


-- Posted by bberry on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 9:25 AM

IF, Mr. Berry didn't have the proper special exception before, I bet he does now, so how do you deal with that situation, since he wasn't cited for the violation then he can't be convicted of it right? I'm sure NO ONE in the city offices checked the day after the meeting. If his honesty and integrity come in to play and he finds he was in violation, I would think he would resign, just on the principle don't you? I hope citysupport keeps an eye on this situation to keep everyone honest and treated the same.

-- Posted by Ladyg on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 12:39 PM

The mayor is NOT in violation according the the city clerk, city manager, building inspector and an independent attorney. Stop trying to deflect the issue. It was not about the statue, the news paper, the Scottsbluff legal firm, the city attorney, the county attorney, the judge, the police that warned him, the police that ticketed him, the neighbors that were awakened multiple times with noise from the after bar parties, his views on police cars, his telling seniors to pay more and eat their veggies, his wanting citizens to pay for insurance for non married couples and gays. The issue is his and his alone, but unfortunately he did cause a scandal for McCook.

-- Posted by dennis on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 12:44 PM

If one has a beef with the home business, I suppose it needs to be taken to the proper channels as did those that have issues with Mr. Kircher.

I don't see how focusing on FURTHER council issues benefits anyone other than satisfying someone's personal grievances. Emptying yet another council seat isn't good.

Someone obviously had problems with Mr. Kircher.... the "Fair is Fair" thing is truly something my 1st grader uses as an argument. Why cause more problems for the City if it isn't needed?

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 1:33 PM

Because the law is the law. Atleast that is what you (Nick Mercy) preached during the Kircher event. I agree that it isn't good to keep things like this going. But if you are going to stand by the law with one then you have to by the other.

If what Dennis says is true and there is no violation with the business then this arguement is really obsurd to continue. I would suggest to Dennis that if the business is within the law he should post the findings in some way. It would settle the speculation and as a result maybe curve this downward spiral of finger pointing.

-- Posted by carlsonl on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 1:54 PM


I've never heard this called a scandal until I was alerted to this blog posting of yours. Your charge that I am solely responsible for a "scandal" is the exact opposite of all private conversations I've had with you. Frankly, I'm surprised it came from you of all people considering what you have said to me in private conversation.

I can't go anywhere in town without somebody asking if I've heard the latest thing you said on here. It's been like that for awhile now and I've chosen to ignore it, but enough is enough, Dennis.

You have my phone number, you have my email, you know where I work, yet you have never conveyed this position to me personally. Instead, you use a blog to spread this across the community. If you wanted to accuse me of causing a scandal then you knew where to find me and you still do.

I'm not going to bash you on a blog and get into the fruitless back and forth that it encompasses. However, I do invite you to contact me personally if you have anything to discuss that's troubling you.

-- Posted by Aaron Kircher on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 2:04 PM

Here's a zoning map.



-- Posted by bberry on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 3:08 PM


I also said that the statute was ridiculous and I didn't agree with it as written. The point I make is that someone had a beef with Mr Kircher and pushed through the channels.... I suspect. If those that think this pushing through is a horrible thing, then why are they doing the same thing by digging up yet further issues? What's the benefit? The motive is the same, personal vengeance.

The law is the law and I stand by that statement. There are no perfect people out there, so let's all jump on that bandwagon and proceed to dismantle this country. 2 wrongs don't make a right.

I've never been supportive of this statute as its written. I'm also not supportive of those which break the law with disregard for others.

Anyone which dis-condones the factors leading up to the situation at hand and screaming "Keep the standards the same for all!" Are dis-proving their earlier argument of "This is a ridiculous statute." I don't waiver my opinion, where do you stand?

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 3:33 PM

It is rediculas by todays standards. When it was written probably not so much. But in the best interest of the community now that this law has come to light would be to make sure no others are in violation. This protects the city and is why the two were asked not to vote on issues while this is going on.

Some may view it as vengeance others may view it as protecting the city. I think it would be wise for the city at this time to cover all bases with current members to avoid possible problems in future until this law can be fixed.

-- Posted by carlsonl on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 3:46 PM

It is rediculous, but I don't believe we shouldn't hold them to the same standard just because it might cause more problems for the city.

-- Posted by bberry on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 3:47 PM

I believe the difference here is that on Mr Kircher's case, someone found the statute and sent out the alert, with Mayor Berry, it isn't a matter of alerting the powers to be of the need to enforce a law of a conviction that has occurred but rather seeking down misappropriations, to provoke a citation which might lead to a conviction at which time the statute comes into the picture.

I've been told I don't know all the facts and this may well be true, but I do know that there was a conviction for Mr Kircher, and that single fact is what separates what happened with Mr Kircher and Mayor Berry, Mayor Berry hasn't been convicted of anything.... So in reality, Ruby has been arguing this issue in defense of Mr Kircher and Mr Hilker then takes a 180 degree turn, applies that same mindset, that he/she was arguing against, applied it to Mayor Berry, AND..... Stepped it up a notch and is now telling the authorities via blogs and opinions that he needs to be cited. Not just saying "he was convicted and the statute applies" but "Hey look, he could be issued a citation, so that the statute may apply..... With any luck".

Digging for problems is what that is.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 5:55 PM

It may be digging. But, would you agree that it is a citizens responsibilty to report crimes or possible ones. Although I will admit reporting the possibility to athorities would be a better choice then commenting on a blog about it.

-- Posted by carlsonl on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 6:23 PM


It seems to me both scenarios are stemmed from provocation.

The only difference I see is that Mr. Kircher had already plead guilty.

However, both provocations seem to seek the same result.

I would seem more feasible to me for any doubts to be directed to the city attorney, as done before.

Though I admit it is thought provoking (to me) that the mayors residence falls in Medium Density Zoning.

-- Posted by bberry on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 6:27 PM

It IS provocation, no doubt. But again, Mayor Berry is in no violation of the statute is he?

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 6:53 PM

Doesn't have to be, he only needs to be in (if convicted) violation of an ordinance. If this were untrue, Mr. Hilker would still be on the council.

-- Posted by bberry on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 7:23 PM

I'll answer that.... no he is not, as he has not been convicted. Uhhh, he actually hasn't even been cited.

Now the question is this:

Those that are "Digging", are they doing so for the protection off the City? or because they feel "It's Not Fair."? WE ALL KNOW THE ANSWER to that.

Why were Mr. Kircher and Mr. Hilker not allowed to vote? Because they were ALREADY breaching the law according to the statute. Their votes were possibly a liability to the City.

THAT'S how they were a danger in the system, their actions regarding City business could be held against the City.

bberry, "Mr. Kircher plead guilty"..... THAT'S the ONLY difference you see. You don't see that because Mr. Kircher was convicted he was in violation of the statute? You don't see that because the former Councilmen remained on the City Council that they were in violation of the statute? You don't see that Mayor Berry has neither been cited nor convicted of any form of crime while on City Council? You don't see that a direct comparison of the two would be the revealing of a convicted crime by Mayor Berry while he was in office? Can you see that the hunt for dirty laundry has crossed the line of exposing a convicted crime, to finding something to introduce a citation for?

These aren't the same thing in the least, frankly.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 7:26 PM

By the way, what do you mean he doesn't have to be in violation of the statute? By being convicted of any crime, be it a law or ordinance, he would be in violation of the statute. Otherwise we wouldn't be discussing this. If the former Councilmen were JUST in violation of an ordinance and not the statute, they statute wouldn't have dictated their forfeiture of council seat.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 7:36 PM

Hence the "if convicted" part.

As far as digging, do you believe the were doing so in the interest of the city with Mr. Hilker and Mr. Kircher?

I would say no, but that is subjective to opinion.

The difference of Mr Kircher pleading guilty is synonymous of him violating state statute. The point being the provocation of someone bringing it to the attention of the city attorney. I find this the same as someone pointing out (also provoking) Mr. Berry's possible zoning ordinance violation.

Mr. Kircher still maintained the right to contest the accusations against him while on city council.

Especially while waiting for opinion of the lawyer.

There is no difference of revealing a violation of ordinance when contesting compliance of state statute in my opinion. Again the only difference, Mr. Kircher had already plead guilty.

What you are telling me is that Mr. Berry couldn't be in zoning violation because he hasn't been cited.

You have to be in violation first to be cited.

In other words, it is still possible for him to be in zoning ordinance violation though he has not been cited.

This is not to be confused with an accusation of Mr. Berry being guilty of such, because neither would I know, nor really care.

-- Posted by bberry on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 7:51 PM

A violation of statute and a violation of ordinance are not the same, and in this case are only related in forfeiture of office.

The way I understand, many statutes allow provisions for cities to mandate certain ordinances.

The difference being the penalties inflicted after violation.

Not all ordinances are violation of statutes unless otherwise stated by state statute and in Nebraskas case I could not seem to find.

If you can, I'd appreciate the link.

-- Posted by bberry on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 7:56 PM

"By the way, what do you mean he doesn't have to be in violation of the statute? By being convicted of any crime, be it a law or ordinance, he would be in violation of the statute."

Rereading this I think I misunderstood you, but I was not referring to the statute for forfeiture of office. I was reffering to McCooks zoning ordinance, which is a provision under statute.

-- Posted by bberry on Thu, Jan 19, 2012, at 8:03 PM

I'm fairly certain dennis did not mis-speak when calling a spade a spade. Type "scandal" into dictionary.com and see which of the first six definitions don't fit, Aaron. I don't know that there is a high road for you to take. There was no bashing, only the truth being told.

The law IS the law, but the mayor hasn't been convicted of a thing and it would sure seem that we'd need new city clerks and managers, lawyers, and building inspectors.

I am by no means on anyone's side if I can help it, but for those of you posting zoning maps and trying to drum up drama, mind your business. I don't come throw rocks at you while you're mowing.

-- Posted by speak-e-z on Fri, Jan 20, 2012, at 11:23 AM

No one was throwing rocks at you.

As far as those questioning the zoning limits, I would imagine it is their business.

Though I admit stirring the pot posting the zoning map.

Have a good one.

-- Posted by bberry on Fri, Jan 20, 2012, at 12:25 PM

That was meant to be a broad statement. Not just at my pardner in grammar crime.

-- Posted by speak-e-z on Fri, Jan 20, 2012, at 2:44 PM

Just as a clarification, by the way, Mr. Kircher didn't plead guilty, I believe he went to court to argue his innocence, not that it's consequential at all to my point. Those that seem to be alerting of possible crimes vs those that have alerted of convicted crimes.

There are two ways to compare the Mayor's issue (if there is such an issue at all) and Mr. Kircher's issue.

1. Someone dug up a conviction of Mayor Berry..... A crime that he was already convicted for... Like that of Mr. Kircher's.

2. Mr. Kircher's neighbor, (which called in the disturbing the peace complaint) being the one that blew the whistle regarding the statute.

See, stirring to FIND a conviction results in not only the statute violation, resulting in the councilman getting kicked off the council, but ALSO the issue of receiving a citation, going to court, and paying a fine.

What happened to Mr Kircher, AND by extension, Mr Hilker, is that the whistle blower got them ultimately removed from council.

What is happening to the Mayor, is the whistle blower is trying to initiate a citation, and all the aforementioned repercussions, AND consequentially, the Mayors removal form his council position.

See the extent of the differences?

In the end, I hope that the current Councilmen won't be harassed and called in for petty things such as parking violations simply because "It isn't fair". After all, no one, so far as I have seen feels that one should be removed from council for petty issues, save perhaps one, the original whistle blower, whomever that may be. And it might be safe to say that he/she, doesn't even think so but it was just a way remove Mr. Kircher.

I have no idea, but I seriously doubt it was any of the current Council Members.

Again, just for clarification purposes.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Fri, Jan 20, 2012, at 9:16 PM

I would like to retract a bit of my last comment.

I don't truly know the facts of the "Disturbing the peace" citation as ruby has repeatedly informed me of, therefore I can not state that Mr. Kircher's neighbor called in the complaint. That should read:

2. The individual(s), (which called in the disturbing the peace complaint) being the one that blew the whistle regarding the statute.

My apologies on the assumption.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Fri, Jan 20, 2012, at 9:27 PM

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