Readers ask about sales tax receipts, marijuana, election signs | News

The following questions were asked recently on the Wonderline:

Q: What were the city sales tax receipts for the months of July, August, September, October, November and December of 2017? How did they compare to the same months from 2016?

A: The following sales tax receipts were recorded by the city for the following months:

• January, 2017: $284,892.87. January, 2016: $260,380.44

• February, 2017: $332,049.59. February, 2016: $308,756.32

• March, 2017: $253,733.25. March, 2016: $248,419.52

• April, 2017: $247,039.33. April, 2016: $244,748.66

• May, 2017: $288,546.20. May, 2016: $243,157.68

• June, 2017: $281,378.31. June, 2016: $291,374.76

• July, 2017: $297,915.80. July, 2016: $293,007.54

• August, 2017: $310,115.30. August, 2016: $305,694.39

• September, 2017: $302,690.96. September, 2016: $364,291.12

• October, 2017: $304,503.04. October, 2016: $371,253.58

• November, 2017: $299,493.08. November, 2016: $342,637.60

• December, 2017: $273,454.25. December, 2016: $292,544.57

For the most recent 12 months, the city has taken in $3,475,811.97 . . . compared to $3,566,266.18 for the previous 12 month collections, which is a decrease of 2.54 percent.

Q: Is it true that the elderly couple that continues to get caught in Nebraska allegedly trafficking marijuana and drug money are the parents of a man who is a lawyer in the Vermont Attorney General’s office?

A: According to USA Today and a large number of other media outlets, Patrick and Barbara Jiron (the elderly couple accused of driving marijuana across the country so they could give it away as Christmas presents) are the parents of Justin Jiron, the chief deputy Chittenden County state’s attorney.

Shortly after their arrest in York County, his boss, Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George wrote in an email to the Burlington Free Press that “Justin is in no way connected to this allegation other than by relation. Justin is and has been a dedicated public servant for over 15 years and I assure you he is as surprised and upset about these allegations as anyone.”

As a deputy state’s attorney, according to USA Today, the younger Jiron is responsible for handling criminal prosecutions in Vermont’s busiest state’s attorney’s office. He has worked on a number of the state’s highest profile cases during his career.

Q: I saw in a story you guys ran recently that somebody was caught transporting marijuana and they were caught with something called “shatter.” What is that? I’ve never heard of it.

A: “Shatter” is a marijuana concentrate that is a glassy substance that significantly more potent when smoked.

It is a form of marijuana concentrate that is produced by extracting cannabinoids like THC and CBD, the plant’s psychoactive chemicals.

The term “shatter” is derived from the fact that the leftover resin is cooled into a glassy sheet, similar to boiled caramel hardening into candy. When dropped, the sheet shatters.

It is then heated until it vaporizes and is smoked.

Q: As people have been filing to run for election in different races, I’ve started to see some election signs go up ahead of the Primary Election in May. My question is what are the rules when it comes to where the signs can be placed? I know they can’t be on public property, but just how far back out of the right-of-way do they have to be? And whatever other information you can give us.

A: All political signs must be placed on private property, with permission, and not in the public right-of-way.

The right-of-way areas are locations changing from property to property. But typically, a sidewalk denotes where the public right-of-way ends and private property starts.

If signs are kept behind sidewalks, there likely will be no issue. If there is a question about where the right-of-way is, on a certain property, they can all the city offices to find out.

Now, back to the permission aspect. If a sign is found on private property without permission, the property owner can remove it if they choose.

In the city, municipal workers and police officers can remove signs if they are in the right-of-way – although historically the process has just been simply moving the signs back in those types of situations.

Political signs cannot be placed within 200 feet of a polling place, which would include the auditorium and the courthouse.

It should also be noted that the Nebraska Department of Transportation says it is against the law to put political campaign signs on state highway right-of-way. The department says maintenance crews will remove signs found within those areas.

It should also be noted that there is one exception for signs to be in the right-of-way, which has been authorized by city ordinance – and that is for realty signs.

Q: So the issue of the state’s motorcycle helmet law came up again this year and as I understand it will not be considered for repeal again. My question is how many other states have the same motorcycle helmet law as we do?

A: Nebraska is one of 19 states that require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

Q: Weird question . . . who invented chili?

A: According to a website that is dedicated solely to National Chili Day, “While many food historians agree that chili con carne is an American dish with Mexican roots, Mexicans are said to indignantly deny any association with the dish.”

One story is that Canary Islanders who made their way to San Antonio, Texas, in 1723, used local peppers and wild onions combined with various meats to create early chili combinations.

Most historians agree that the earlier written description of chili came from J.C. Clopper, who lived near Houston, Texas. While his description never mentions the word ‘chili,’ he wrote about the poorer people using peppers and other ingredients to stretch out the small amount of meat they could afford.

According to, “in the 1880s, a market in San Antonio started setting up chili stands from which chili or ‘bowls o’red,’ as it was called, were sold by women who were called ‘chili queens.’ A bowl o’red cost diners such as writer O. Henry and democratic presidential hopeful William Jennings Bryan 10 cents and included bread and a glass of water. The fame of chili began to spread and the dish soon became a major tourist attraction. It was featured at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893 at the San Antonio Chili Stand.

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