Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Neighborly Horror Story

Since today does happen to be Halloween, and our entire staff hails from Nebraska originally, we thought it fitting to tell a Nebraska-based scary story today.

Sadly, this story isn't a fictional tale. Don Walton of the Lincoln Journal Star, along with Robynn Tysver and Matthew Hansen of the Omaha World-Herald relayed the details of what we're calling 'The Green-Eyed Next-Door Nebraska Neighbor's Tale' - also known as the Deb Fischer land grab - earlier this month.

In short, Fischer and her husband owned a parcel of land in the Northwestern part of Nebraska - Cherry County, to be specific - for many years, right next door to a perfect piece of property they coveted. The target of the Fischers' greed, their neighbors the Kime family, repeatedly refused to sell their land. The Kimes were more than generous though, allowing Fischer's cattle to graze on Kime's land for free, for many years.

After multiple unsuccessful tries at buying the Kime's land, the Fischers attempted to sue the Kimes out of their land. That was 17 years and $40,000 ago - the price the Kime family had to squeeze out to pay legal fees in order to keep the land they already owned.

This is no simple land dispute, as Ms. Fischer and her political campaign keep insisting. This is a good-old fashioned rich man's - or in this case, rich woman's - land grab. It's also an ugly display of Ms. Fischer's true character.

Our staff has family and political ties that go back in Western Nebraska over a hundred years. Our webmaster's great-grandfather was hung and killed in Cherry County over a century ago for speaking out about politics − so Ms. Fischer's land-grab tale isn't the only political horror story we have deep personal knowledge of from that area of the country.

What happened to the Kime family is a scary story of a different kind, though.

Les and Betty Kime did also end their days hung up - by legal strings. After their deaths, the Kime's children wanted to sell their land - including the parcel that the Fischers had unsuccessfully sued for - to a partnership of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Snake Falls Sportsmen's Club.

The legal hanging of the Kime family happened when Deb Fischer effectively blocked the gift purchase from the Kime family to all Nebraskans. Fischer was the leading state senator who closed the noose around a bill in Nebraska's legislature that would cut off the fiscal life for half of all Nebraska Game and Parks funding if the Kime deal went through.

Now that Deb Fischer is running for U.S. Senate, her campaign seems desperate to loosen the noose she'd draped around her own neck over the last two decades, including how it appears Ms. Fischer may have used her meager power in the state legislature to feed her own greed and petty vengeance against her neighbors.

This story hasn't ended yet - and it still could have a more favorable ending than most western tales of its ilk.

We only hope you remember the albatross that's hanging around Ms Fischer's own neck as you head to the polls next week.

After all, if Ms. Fischer wrung the financial lifeblood out of  her own next-door neighbors in her greedy quest for the land she coveted, imagine what she might do if given more power?

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