Atlantic’s Mayor faces charges for illegal dumping
October 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson
The Omaha World-Herald reports in today’s (Tuesday’s) edition, Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones faces two misdemeanor charges associated with illegal dumping of items into the Missouri River floodwaters. The 63-year old is accused of setting fire to items from a flood-damaged Nebraska cabin and dumping them into Missouri River floodwaters on September 24th, near Tekamah, Nebraska. Jones and Burt County, Neb., Attorney Daniel Smith told the paper the matter could be resolved with a plea deal as early as today (Tuesday).
According to Smith, the law requires a burn permit, and tossing debris into the river means someone else downstream will have to deal with the items later. He emphasized that the offenses fall short of meriting jail time or probation, saying instead a fine would be an appropriate penalty.
Jones said he didn’t realize he was breaking any laws but accepts responsibility. He told the newspaper – quote – “I need to pay for my stupidity.” Jones, who has served as the Mayor of Atlantic since 2009, said he and his wife purchased the roughly 1,100-square-foot cabin at Harbor 671 near Tekamah last August. It is located about 250 yards from the river, next to a slough or inlet. During this summer’s flooding, the cabin had four feet of water in it for three months.
On the morning of September 24th, while cleaning the cabin, Jones and friends and family members piled up flood-ruined mattresses and furniture and burned them. Jones said he placed the pile next to the water so if the fire got out of control the items could be pushed into the slough with a friend’s Bobcat. Some debris from the fire, including charred parts of furniture, slid off into the inlet — most likely when the remains of the fire were doused, Jones said. The parts that fell into the river were unsafe to retrieve, he said.
A neighbor called the Burt County, Nebraska Sheriff’s Office, which ticketed Jones that afternoon.