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NE town erupts over ‘AIDS, Ebola, Obama — Thanks Africa’ sign

By   /   November 18, 2014  /   News  /   No Comments

By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

LINCOLN, Neb. — The city of Minden was reeling Monday after someone put up a sign saying, “AIDS, Ebola, Obama – Thanks Africa.”

Facebook photo

SIGN: Minden, Neb., residents were in an uproar Monday after someone put up this sign along Highway 10. By Tuesday, it had been removed.

Word of the sign in the central Nebraska town of about 3,000 spread quickly on Facebook, where outraged citizens immediately began talking about vandalizing, tearing down or painting over the sign. By Tuesday morning, the sign had been removed.

One man asked what kind of poles it was erected on, saying “I need to know if I need a metal blade or wood blade for my reciprocating saw.”

“Who’s got a paintball gun I can borrow?” another man asked.

A third man had bigger plans for the sign, saying, “It needs to be blown off the face of the bloody planet…. I’d be issuing an executive order and scrambling something from somewhere.”

Others worried what kind of message the sign would send, especially this time of year, when Minden, which bills itself as “Nebraska’s Christmas City,” begins attracting visitors to see the 12,000 bulbs that light up the Kearney County Courthouse and square, which can be “seen for miles,” and attend “The Light of the World” Christmas pageant performed by local residents along courthouse square.

Brett Maline, a Minden native now living in Hollywood, spread the news of the “awful sign” on Facebook, saying he’s proud to be from Minden and the sign is not representative of the town.

“I fear that people driving through will not know this,” he wrote on Facebook. “This angers, saddens and embarrasses me and I hope it would you too. Let’s get something done about it.”

A city hall receptionist told Watchdog.org Tuesday morning, “It’s been taken down.”

The owner was contacted and told it probably wasn’t a good idea, and took it down voluntarily. The receptionist said she didn’t know who owned the property.

A quick Google search shows the phrase has shown up on Twitter, memes, a sign on the back of a Michigan truck and a bumper stickers sold in Nebraska.

In July, another Nebraska town made national news after a Fourth of July parade float depicted a zombie outside an outhouse with a sign calling it “Obama’s presidential library.” That prompted a visit by the U.S. Justice Department.

Updated 10:41 a.m. Tuesday

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Deena formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.