Lrnrd lowers boom in meter-tampering case _ news _ hastingstribune. com

ALMA — The owners of more than 1,100 acres of farmland in the Lower Republican Natural Resources District have lost their legal ability to irrigate that property following action Thursday by the LRNRD board of directors.

Board members took formal action Thursday to permanently revoke certified irrigated status for the 1,107.5 acres of farmland and cancel all future groundwater allocations for irrigating that property.

While the NRD board has the authority to impose such a sanction under Nebraska law, the property owners have recourse to state district court if they choose to appeal.

Thursday’s action, taken during the district board’s monthly meeting in Alma, affects farm ground in the Beaver City-Stamford area owned by the Gerald Schluntz estate and by Schluntz’s daughters, Julie Smith and Tamara Bishop, both of whom live out of state.

Schluntz farmed the property until his death in August 2016. Garden of words The NRD presented evidence at a recent public hearing showing that irrigation flowmeters on five Schluntz irrigation wells were found to have been tampered with that summer.

Thursday’s motion to permanently revoke irrigated status and cancel all future allocations passed the board by a vote of 8-1. What is pitch in english Terry Hoit of Red Cloud dissented. How to install chain link fence gate Directors Nelson Trambly of Campbell and Roger Nelson of Superior were absent and excused.

Board members didn’t debate or comment on the motion, which was to approve a 14-page cease-and-desist order and order imposing civil penalties that had been prepared in advance.

The order penalizes the property owners for actions by a Schluntz employee who admitted under oath to tampering with the meters, running bolts into the discharge pipes to stop the turbine blades on the flowmeters from spinning, and thereby stopping the meters from recording water flow while the wells were being pumped.

Meter tampering was discovered at one of the Schluntz wells during a routine stop there by an NRD technician on July 28, 2016. Landscaper definition As a result, NRD representatives checked several other Schluntz wells later that day and discovered a total of five that were tampered with in that manner.

NRD groundwater rules and regulations require that all high-capacity wells in the district be outfitted with operable flowmeters. Trellis definition Tampering with the meters is prohibited. Garden of eden maui The meters are read by district representatives once a year to verify compliance with the district’s restrictions on groundwater pumpage.

After discovering the meter tampering on Schluntz family property, the district formally notified Schluntz, who was ill and in the hospital at that time, that the practice must be stopped.

But during a public hearing on the matter last fall (it began in September and then was continued to Dec. Landscape design online 15, 2016), David Harbour of Stamford, manager of farm operations for Schluntz, testified that by the time Schluntz received his letter from the NRD’s attorney, he, Harbour, already had removed all the bolts, realizing his boss had been caught in violations.

Harbour testified that he had inserted the bolts in the first place, but said he did so on direct orders from Schluntz, who was seriously ill at the time and may have had impaired judgment.

Harbour testified that both he and Schluntz knew tampering with the meters would violate NRD rules, but that Schluntz was undeterred by the possibility of sanctions if they were caught.

Harbour said Schluntz himself had come up with the meter-tampering plan and he had tried to talk Schluntz out of it, but eventually complied with the boss’ order in July 2016.

The Schluntz estate, Smith and Bishop were represented at the NRD hearing by attorney Tom Lieske of Minden. Mono pitched roof construction details Lieske raised numerous objections to information presented by the district.

During the hearing, Lieske disputed a characterization by the district’s attorney that the meter-tampering case would meet the definition of “willful and wanton” misconduct, and said “enhanced penalties” as severe as permanently banning irrigation on the land in question were therefore unwarranted under the district’s rules.

In Thursday’s order, however, the NRD board specifically finds that the misconduct was both willful and wanton. Front yard landscaping images To support that finding, the order cites the fact that Schluntz had been warned concerning possible violations of district groundwater rules in both 2008 and 2010.

The board also cites information from Schluntz’s health care providers indicating that his mental faculties remained intact even as his physical condition deteriorated, and that he remained capable of making his own medical decisions as late as July 11, 2016.