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DAKOTA CITY - The Dakota County Board of Commissioners got the message loud and clear: We want 70!

About 60 people turned up at the board's meeting Monday afternoon to protest its earlier decision to go to "alpha-numeric" vehicle license plates when the state issues new ones in 2011. That means letters, not the county's designator number "70", would have graced the left portion of the plates as they do in Iowa.

The board voted 5-0 to reverse its earlier decision to go alpha-numeric, retreating to the "70". The earlier decision was based on the time and money it would save the county treasurer's office in searching through its six-month supply of plates for the same number the resident previously owned, Board Chairman Bill McLarty said after the meeting.

The state of Nebraska issues new license plates every six years and will do so again for 2011. But this year for the first time, the state is giving all but three counties a choice: alpha-numeric or numeric only.

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The state's three largest counties - Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy - are required to mix letters and numbers.

McLarty said the reasons people gave for favoring the "70" included: knowing which county other folks are from; farmers letting Dakota countians hunt on their land, but not someone with an outsider's plate; and, traveling across the country, "I know it's somebody from home."

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