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Never say ‘My vote doesn’t count,’ because it does

Never say ‘My vote doesn’t count,’ because it does

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A rose to ... the person who cast the deciding vote in a school bond election in northeast Nebraska. Patrons of the consolidated Laurel-Concord-Coleridge School District went to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether to approve or reject an $18.5 million school bond issue to fund a new high school and improvements for the elementary school.

The issue passed by a single vote, proving that every vote matters.

“I certainly anticipated it would be close, but I didn’t anticipate it would be a one-vote margin,” Superintendent Jeremy Christiansen said.

Officially, the measure passed 596-595.

It was a contentious issue, as suggested by voter turnout of 65%. The election was conducted via mail-in ballot, but Christiansen heard stories about some last-minute votes being cast by patrons who drove to the Cedar County Courthouse at Hartington to drop off ballots.

Election officials ran the ballots through the vote-counting machine a second time and canvassers declared the results official. Nebraska election law doesn’t provide for automatic recounts on issues elections.

Tuesday’s election wasn’t the only nail biter in the Laurel-Concord-Coleridge School District. In November, voters defeated a $23 million bond issue by 50 votes, 787-737.

A raspberry to ... those nasty blood-sucking ticks. Did you know that during the past 20 years there’s been a 2½ times uptick in tick-borne diseases? This includes an especially large increase in Lyme disease in the nation’s Midwest and northeast regions.

“With issues like climate change on the rise, as well as invasive species and woody plant encroachment, we might see further increases of ticks, expanding the chances of a further increase in case transmission,” said Dominic Cristiano.

A graduate student in applied biology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Cristiano is researching better ways to inform Nebraskans about potential risks of tick-borne diseases. Ultimately, he plans to use the data to compare Nebraskans’ perceptions of tick risks to the actual threat the arachnids pose.

Cristiano shouldn’t have a lot of trouble rustling up tick-haters in Nebraska. What’s not to hate about an arachnid that burrows its head into your skin, engorges itself with your blood, and, if that’s not enough, it leaves some of its victims seriously sick.


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