When the Going Gets Tough…Court Staff and Judges Get Going

When the Going Gets Tough…Court Staff and Judges Get Going

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Every month since March, Judge Kale Burdick has been taking an innovative path to the courthouse on the days he presides over Boyd County. He walks the flood-damaged bridge on Highway 11 between O'Neill and Butte where Clerk Magistrate Cathy Reiman picks him up on the Boyd County side of the bridge and takes him to the courthouse. The two hold court in Boyd County and Reiman drives the judge back to the bridge where he walks to his car left on the Holt county side. The now-walking bridge is about 5 miles south of Butte or 30 miles north of Atkinson. 

On any given day, there are about 20 cars on each side of the bridge. Some individuals have one car parked on each side for personal use and, more often, individuals have an arrangement much like Reiman and Burdick – where the commuter is driven to and from one side or the other. 

For a month or so, Judge Burdick drove the detour route, which added 55 miles one-way to his trip. Before the flooding, the direct trip between towns was a 38-mile drive.  

Highway 281 is the road that Burdick and Reiman had previously driven between the courthouses in O'Neill and Butte. Following flooding, the area near the Highway 281 bridge had lost the entire approach to the bridge, as well as the bridge itself. The area has not been repaired to date. Nebraska’s unprecedented 2019 flooding is said to have caused more than $1 Billion in damage. All residents have suffered, but the courthouses remain open.