March 11 Edition: Letters to the Editor

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By The Staff

What’s wrong with this picture?

What's going on with Gadsden County when commissioners Doug Croley and Gene Morgan think they can scare employees into thinking they are politically right? Who ever heard of writing employees up for doing their jobs?

We do live in America where we have the right to speak, vote the way we want and not be punished for doing so. Maybe we need to have a tea party for the county.

It's a shame when employees are worried from day to day whether they'll have a job or not. That's no way to run a county. We don't need dictators running Gadsden County.

Commissioners serve at the pleasure of the citizens. They need to remember that. Employees are voters also, and they have friends and family that vote.

Commissioner Eugene Lamb, where do you stand? What happened to the county being run by doing business, not by politics or self gain?

Citizens, election time is coming. Be ready to speak up and vote. Let's show them we want our county back to doing the business of the people, and have employees who are proud of their jobs and not worried.

Angela Betton


No need to fence-sit, undecided

Anyone still on the fence about whether or not Gretna should welcome the biomass company ADAGE into the community should know, ADAGE is a partnership between France’s AREVA and the US’s Duke Energy. Here are some charges made about the environmental record of the two companies:

In France, AREVA was accused of covering up a toxic chemical spill for 14 hours while it contaminated rivers, drinking and bath water. Scientists believe the company’s radioactive waste contamination of the English Channel has reached as far north as the Artic Circle.

In Niger, Africa (one of the world’s poorest countries), where AREVA has been mining uranium for over 40 years, the country faces environmental pollution so severe that it has destroyed the lives and livelihoods of surrounding communities. Radioactive dust is everywhere. Water sources have been contaminated and depleted.

In 2007, dangerous levels of radiation were detected in a Niger town near an AREVA mine. Later that year, the company reported the contamination had been cleaned up and the streets (where children play) had been made safe. When soil was tested to verify their claims, radiation was still almost 500 times higher than normal levels!

Duke Energy recently paid a $1.75 million civil penalty to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act due to emissions from an Indiana coal plant. They were charged with illegally altering a smoke stack to emit more pollutants!

They are also paying $250,000 to the U.S. Forest Service to address acid rain in downwind national forests.

In North Carolina, Duke is being investigated for contaminating the state’s rivers, wetlands, creeks and groundwater with coal ash. Coal combustion waste has contaminated two landfill sites (Belews Creek and Craig Road), and local wells near the company’s coal plant.

All of this information (and much more) was gathered from a cursory online search using nothing more than the company names and the word “pollution.” Although I have not verified each and every claim, it is my experience that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And these companies sure do make a lot of smoke.

I support economic development in Gadsden County as much as the next person, but I don’t believe ADAGE is a trustworthy partner in this endeavor. It is no accident that the company’s environmental record has remained a mystery to everyone in this community, including city and county officials. Slick brochures and expensive public relations pros keep the truth hidden.

I think it would be a terrible mistake to trust ADAGE with this county’s precious natural resources.

Rachel  Bowden


Missing the one that got away

One got away…several years back Lake Talquin was blessed with a real keeper, a real trophy. Not a big shell cracker, not a big stripe, largemouth bass or even one of those huge Talquin slab crappie. Lake Talquin landed a fisher of men named Rusty Leverette.

Rusty, his wife Pat and their boys took over a place called Lake Talquin Lodge, now known by fishermen near and far simply as Rusty’s. Over the years, Rusty has made many a friend helping sportsmen enjoy the beauty and bounty of the lake he loved. Whether it is fish or friends, not all men or women can catch a limit.

I am sure that Rusty has landed his share of keepers. But, when it comes to friends, Rusty caught a limit and a lot more. You might say, his life's well is alive and welling over.

Unfortunately Rusty passed away and we all lost a real trophy of a man. I guess our good Lord has a bigger plan for Rusty, a bigger fish to fry.

So the next time you land a fish on Talquin, set your rod down for a moment and say thank you to the fish, thank you to Lake Talquin, and thank you to Rusty. We will miss you friend.

Jeff DuBree

Whippoorwill Sportsman’s Lodge

Lake Talquin

Can biomass plant ‘do no harm?’

I attended the bioenergy summit sponsored by ADAGE and the Gretna City Commission last week.  The most glaring omission on the panel was the lack of a medical doctor, because none were invited to participate. Three of our local doctors who came anyway and attempted to speak were dogged by security guards and repeatedly asked to leave the room.  

People were asking medical and health related questions and were very frustrated that there was not a real doctor on the panel, qualified to answer those questions.

These aren’t the only doctors against biomass.  They are but the tip of the iceberg; in the U.S. alone there are over 75,000 physicians in opposition and counting.  The figures are currently as follows: the Florida Medical Association (20,000+), Physicians for Social Responsibility (50,000+ members), Massachusetts Medical Society (21,291) and the American Lung Association (Mass.) all oppose biomass. This number continues to grow as more states are threatened by biomass facilities. As of only a few weeks ago, the American Lung Association of the Southeast (Florida, Georgia and South Carolina) sent out a letter warning about biomass emissions from the proposed facility near Gretna and the particle pollution from the accompanying truck traffic (Twin City News).

Why are doctors so opposed to biomass incinerators?  It makes little sense to me; biomass burning would increase their “business” and give them lots and lots of new patients to see.  They would have to expand their practices, hire more doctors and nurses and rent bigger offices.  Drug companies and medical supply companies would increase their profits too.  

The only explanation that I can think of is that the medical profession has sworn an oath to DO NO HARM.  Can  ADAGE say the same?

Ben Grenat


Look locally before hiring from

outside of Gadsden County,

says commissioner

During the March 2 Gadsden County Commission meeting I spoke against county commissioners threatening and speaking badly to county employees.  I have been told that if I speak in favor of employees it may cost me my re-election.  Well, I will speak up for all of the people of Gadsden County and not worry about my re-election.  The people of Gadsden County are the best and deserve the best life has to offer.  The employees of Gadsden County have contributed so much to our economy and family values by their efforts to improve this county.  Our employees are hard working people that have gone beyond the call of duty and job performance to help others.  County commissioners are to set policy to not threaten to fire or fire employees.

Gadsden County employees do not deserve to be harassed, demeaned or mistreated by county commissioners, their managers or anyone else. In the Roads and Bridges department, those employees had to work in the cold of this very hard winter and I have not heard one of them complain about the weather conditions.  What I have heard them say is they were not allowed to sit in the truck until the diesel engine machines heat up so the machines will not tear up during extreme cold once working on the roads. They are not allowed to go into a store to use the restroom even in case of emergencies.

That they are now working five 8-hour-day weeks which cost the taxpayers more than four, 10-hour-day weeks because of the extra cost of transportation of personnel and materials for the extra day.  

If the county commissioners and the managers do not stop the practice of mistreating employees I will name them in the media along with their unlawful deeds.  Being in charge of the county commission does not place you above God!

I have fought hard for grants and a grant writer, but before anyone new is hired, (grant writer or others), the county should follow its recall policy, recalling previously laid off employees first before hiring others.  “Do for mankind before oneself.”

Brenda A. Holt

Gadsden County Commissioner (Dist. 4)