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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 31, 1973)
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Tenant disputes find
home in new court
by Tim Anderson
Trouble frequently erupts between
landlords and tenants, oftentimes students,
concerning rent payments or the return of
But a new court system enacted in
Lancaster County-the small claims
court-may help settle some of the disputes.
Lancaster County's small claims court,
which held its first hearings last Wednesday,
provides a method of settling legal disputes
involving $500 or less, according to
Lancaster County Judge Jeff Cheuvront
"These small claims acts are being
enacted everywhere with just this kind of
dispute in mind-the tenant versus the
landlord and oftentimes the landlord versus
the tenant," Cheuvront said.
In his first day of hearings, the judge
listened to three disputes, one of which was
a tenant- landlord fight.
A student alleged he had paid $245 rent
and damage deposit to a Lincoln landlord
and that the landlord had rented the
property to another person and never
returned the student's money.
The student presented his case (lawyers
cannot be used in the informal court) with
evidence and witnesses. He then was
questioned by the landlord.
The evidence was examined, the witnesses
questioned and cross-examined. The
defendant delivered his testimony
concerning the incident.
After questioning both parties and
examining all evidence, Judge Cheuvront
ruled in favor of the student and ordered
payment of the money.
"The most important part of this case
was the evidence. This young man had
receipts for two payments and witnesses for
the other," the judge said. "I'm afraid that
many people are going to come in here
without good evidence.
In the small claims system, the plaintiff
completes a claim form, which may be either
delivered to the defendant by the county
sheriff or by certified mail. The defendant
can then file a couterclaim or a setoff.
In a counterclaim, the defendant says the
the plaintiff is ;at fault rather than the
defendant. In a set off , the defendant says
he may owe something, but that the plaintiff
also owes something to him.
The defendant also may ask for a jury
trial. If he does, the case will be transferred
out of small claims court into the county
-court, where the parties may have lawyers.
"I can't say that this system is going to
solve the problems of landlords not
returning damage deposits or tenants not
paying them, but at least it will give people a
chance to have their case heard by a judge,"
by Adella K. Wacker
"They were adults-they were drawing straight lines
between two points," former UNL Nebraska Opportunities
for Volunteers in Action (NOVA) director Gene Harding said
Friday. He was describing first year NOVA volunteers. Many
are students again.
Thirty-two students left in the fall, 1971, bent on changing
lives and working with low income people, minorities and the
disadvantaged throughout Nebraska. Second semester 10 more
volunteers joined them in the field.
The volunteers talk about the cultural shock they feel back
on campus, Harding said, where the pace is slower.
The volunteers didn't say they always felt power and
purpose in NOVA.
Volunteers John Mangimeli and Vickie Zessin said
"frustrating" in describing working between the city of
Alliance, Nebraska Indians and the schools, and between
Beatrice youths and the parole office.
"It was a very frustrating experience and I expected that-it
was a great learning experience and I expected that,"
Mangimeli said about his 1 1-month term as an Alliance public
school staff member. ,
He joined the second semester NOVA volunteers and
returned to UNL in January 1973.
He was a counselor and tutor in a town which had never
graduated an Indian from its high school, he said. He and two
other NOVA volunteers worked not in the schools but in the
Community Guidance Center.
Sometimes only four Indian children a day came to the
center which was originally designed for studying. The NOVA
volunteers turned the center into activities rooms-television,
movies and games-designed to teach Indians about their
Lakota Sioux culture and to also help them study. After the
changes, Mangimeli said as many as 40 people came to the
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MUSIC BUILDING ROOM 123
center each day.
Mangimeli said he had experience and ideas about Indian
feelings gained from two years of tutoring Winnebago Indian
- Now, he said, he feels he's lost some of the qualities it
would take to return to a similar job.
"I've learned more about myself than about what's out
there," he said.
There were times when he wasn't sure what he needed to
know, he said, such as explaining math methods.
That was part of NOVA learning, Harding said. Both
Mangimeli and Zessin stressed, "When you come back, you
know what you're going to need, and you get it."
Harding used adjectives like "self-sufficient, independent
and competent to describe NOVA volunteers who come back
from the field.
'The real payoff is in the lives of the 42 participants,"
Harding declared. "I don't think that's selfish."
NOVA volunteers are perhaps more "abrasive," he said,
"Well, at least not passive."
At the same time, Harding said, the volunteers themselves
felt that they'd mellowed during their year in the field.
Large numbers of the volunteers left as opponentsseeing
the government and law as oppressors of the poor, but thenx
learned to see both sides of the question, he said.
'They've learned to deal with the reality they find,"
Zessin, who worked for the Gage County Juvenile Court,
said learning to deal with law agencies was an integral part of
her NOVA year, and she learned the government is human and
changes are slow.
After being an assistant parole officer in the court, she and
another NOVA volunteer reopened a youth center in the
Beatrice auditorium basement and operated it 40 hours a
"When you think about it, she said, "it's crazy to think you
went into a program for one year to help other people."
She said she realized in Lincoln that one has to change his
lifestyle so that he's working all the time for change.
Zessin said NOVA didn't change her goals but it did change
her sense of the importance of time.
She went out with the first semester NOVA volunteers and
returned in March to her former nurses aide job at Tabitha
Home. She's now taking licensed practical nursing courses at
Lincoln Technical College instead of attending UNL.
Zessin has senior standing in the UNL Teachers College and
said she thinks she'll earn her teaching certificate in English.
Mangimeli said he learned that truly opening up and
accpeting Indians probably means not being close to them,
because it means honoring and not trying to change many
He said he found a few cases of housing descrimination
against the Indians he was aiding.
During his 11 months, Mangimeli said, the Alliance
townspeople and Lakota Sioux became more to him then
"redneck white and drunk Indians."
typical city Lincoln
Lincoln and several UNL students have been chosen as
subjects for a 90-minute National Education Television
documentary, The program, which will be televised tonight at
7 p.m. on channel 12, will examine the impact of the Vietnam
War on what a spokesman called "a typical American
According to Jim Jaffer, associate producer of the program
which is called "America '73", interviews have been conducted
this week with many Lincoln citizens. The tape will be shown
to a random audience of other Lincoln citizens and students.
Area citizens interviewed for the show include Diana Betts,
the wife of a dead serviceman; ex-serviceman Robert Kerrey,
who received the Congressional Medal of Honor; UNL ROTC
Cadet Commander Galen Jackman; UNL's Army ROTC
chairman Robert Pazderka; Police Inspector Robert Sawdun;
Lt. Gov. Frank Marsh; and Beatrice (Mike) Seacrest of Lincoln
and her son Ted, a draft evader living in Canada. Jaffer said the
people in the film will attend the afternoon showing also, so
that audience reactions can be answered for directly.
Wednesday, january 31, 1973
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