2007.08.15 Neil Hinkley

Written by David Green.

Tourism is a major economic asset for the state of Michigan. Our state offers 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams and 11,000 inland lakes—not to mention parks and woods for hiking, camping and sightseeing. However, if steps are not taken to regulate Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) one of Michigan’s greatest economic assets—our natural landscape—will be destroyed, to say nothing of the health and welfare of Michigan residents.

In his August 5 letter to the editor (Daily Telegram), Sen. Cameron Brown spoke of the need to support CAFOs, noting that they contribute to Michigan’s second largest industry—agriculture. However, he failed to mention that CAFOs are also the state’s leading polluter. If these factory farms were regulated like any other manufacturing industry, the problem of water, air, and ground pollution would be solved.

Instead Sen. Brown continues to write and push for laws (Senate Bills 447 - 448 and 501 - 504) that seem “green” but that really give CAFOs a license to pollute. In a speech to the Senate regarding these new, “strict” farm laws, Brown rebutted a fellow senator’s comment comparing North Carolina (where new open pit lagoons are banned) to Michigan. Brown asserted that North Carolina has been slow to regulate farm pollution compared to Michigan. The truth is a state ban is all the regulation North Carolina has needed. Not surprisingly a recent television news report stated that North Carolina has the cleanest beaches in the country. Compare that to tens of thousands of fish killed in Kent County’s Tyler Creek, as a result of a legal CAFO’s accidental discharge. Or compare it locally to the mysterious disappearance of fish and frogs from our streams or songbirds from our own backyards.

The field tiles coming from CAFOs run to our creeks, rivers and lakes. Concentrated animal waste, antibiotics, E-coli bacteria and who know what else are injected or spread on top of the ground for disposal. This concentrated waste does not quickly disappear like CAFO operators and certain senators would like you to believe. Michigan currently hosts more than 200 CAFOs and that number is growing, due to bans elsewhere in the country and world (e.g. the Netherlands). Hopefully the bogus laws mentioned above do not pass the State House. Watch closely to see how our representatives vote.

In future elections please vote for the well-being of our state and its residents—not, necessarily, along party lines.

– Neil Hinkley
Seneca Twp.
  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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