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Hicks: What to do if a golf ball breaks your car window

Hicks: What to do if a golf ball breaks your car window

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Becky Kramer was driving past Mahoney Golf Course back in April, minding her own business when an errant shot hit her windshield.

Kramer took immediate action. With concentric circles in her line of vision, she drove to the city golf course's clubhouse to report the incident. She was given a report to fill out and she asked one of the staff to take a picture of the damage.

The next day she followed up with a call to the head of the city's golf division, who suggested she send a letter explaining the incident and the repair receipt to the city attorney’s office.

However the city attorney’s office denied the $215 claim for a windshield replacement. The city was not negligent since no one had previously reported a golf ball from the course causing property damage at that location. The city does have nets at the driving range to keep golf balls from going onto Adams Street.

It is the golfer’s responsibility, not the city’s, to pay for the damage, the city attorney's office told Kramer.

But at no time did golf course staff tell Kramer that the golfer on the 10th hole was responsible. Nor did they make any attempt to locate the golfer that day, Kramer said in a letter to the City Council, asking the council to approve reimbursement.

No one suggested she go look for the golfer.

“There was never conversation about determining exactly which golfer had damaged my car,” she wrote.

Kramer was disappointed by the City Council’s decision Monday to deny the claim, as recommended by the city attorney’s office.

If she had known the golfer who hit the errant ball was responsible, Kramer said she would have gone onto the golf course that day to locate the person.

She would have lined up the men, if necessary, and asked, "Who did this to my car?"

"I’ve raised six kids. I know how to do that,” Kramer said by telephone Tuesday.

Even if she had been told the next day, she would have used course records to find who was golfing during that time period.

But she didn't round up the rascal because she didn’t know that's what she needed to do. 

The council members did discuss the claim -- calling it a big, bad shot off the 10th hole.

What would happen if the city paid this claim, asked Councilman Roy Christensen.

The city would have to pay every golf ball damage claim from Mahoney Golf Course, said City Attorney Rod Confer.

Is it posted in the clubhouse that golfers are responsible for damage caused by their balls, asked Councilman Trent Fellers.

It's pretty common knowledge that players are responsible, Confer said. 

Councilwoman Leirion Gaylor Baird suggested sending a notice to all golf course staff so they will provide the right information and try to find the person responsible the next time.

Horizontal wells to ease drought problems

Lincoln will put in its second new horizontal well this year at the well field adjacent to the Platte River in Ashland.

The city will put in the guts of the well -- the caisson and laterals -- but will not put in the pump house and other parts necessary to use the well for several years.

It’s a legal thing. In order to protect the city’s "induced recharge permits" Lincoln needs to have the capacity by 2018 to get all the water available under the permit.

Horizontal wells are costly -- about $10.8 million each in water ratepayer funds. But they also handle a lot of water. The city already has two older horizontal wells.

The two new horizontal wells can each deliver 10 million gallons a day during the height of a drought. 

When the two new horizontal wells both become functional, sometime in the next six years, the city will have increased its drought-day capacity by almost 40 percent from the current 55 million gallons a day.

Council tidies up pending list

Once there was a pending list -- 10 or more issues -- at the end of every council agenda. Most were issues that had been delayed and never resurrected.

Now there is just one item on the pending list.

A week ago the City Council agreed to remove three issues that had no legs.

All that remains is a 2007 proposal by former Councilwoman Patte Newman requiring registration and rehabilitation plans for neglected, deteriorating or abandoned buildings.

That proposal has a political constituency. It has the backing of neighborhood groups and others who should be consulted before it is removed, said Councilman Jonathan Cook.

Reach Nancy Hicks at 402-473-7250 or


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Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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