Friday, October 22, 2010

I'm B-a-a-c-k

<$BlogMetaData$>Hi folks. It feels so good to be back writing for the ‘Hometowner’. There has been so much happening the last few months that I felt that I just had to return to the keyboard and let people know what is going on with Hyperion, the County officials, and anything else that happens to be going on that warrants being brought to your attention. I hope you won’t hold it against me that I took a well deserved rest.

Hyperion is still making fools of themselves. They renewed almost all their options and still pontificate that they will be starting construction next summer. I’m not sure they understand that it takes money to undertake a project as large as they are talking about. It also takes permission from the state in the form of air permits, water permits and God knows how many other permits. That is if you are going to do this on the up and up. Both candidates for governor have said publicly that they doubt the Hyperion project is going to happen.

Hyperion did come out and make a press release last week or the week before, I can’t remember exactly, that they have lowered the amount of carbon dioxide and particulate matter that will be expunged into the air. Carbon dioxide totals have dropped from 19 million tons per year to 17.6. (Whoopee!) One statement that the governor made to me a couple of years ago is still being repeated by Pro-Hyperion folks that ‘the amount of carbon dioxide is less than what is emitted per day by the cars in Sioux Falls.’ However I would like to add that if you take the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the cars in Sioux Falls and add the amount emitted by Hyperion, you have a whole lot of pollution or is it contamination? Nobody ever talks about that do they? I wonder why that is?

I was talking with Pam Kadous the other day and she has a terrific idea to have signs made pointing out the beauty of this area. Isn’t that a great idea? I would like to take this one step farther. Do you remember the Burma Shave signs from back in the 40’s and 50’s? There were signs posted on the highways advertising Burma Shave shaving cream and lotion.

Your shaving brush / Has had its day / So why not / Shave the modern way / With / Burma-Shave.

What would happen if everyone would make some signs and post them along the highway with NO reference to Hyperion. Everybody that would see the signs would know what we are referring to and it wouldn’t be giving free advertising for the refinery. Let’s take the song “America the Beautiful.”

Oh beautiful/ for spacious skies/ for amber waves of grain/ for purple mountains majesty/ above thy fruited plains/ America, America/ God shed his grace on thee/and crown thy good/ with brotherhood/ from sea to shining sea.

If this doesn’t bring a tear to people’s eyes, nothing will. Since there is a moratorium on signs, it won’t be illegal to do this. (Remember “Save Union County?”)

Did everybody see the picture in the paper last week showing the commissioners receiving a plaque from the State of South Dakota County Commissioners Association? The commissioners received this for their outstanding leadership and pushing the agenda to bring Hyperion to Union County. You gotta be kidding me! Outstanding Leadership? They must have been talking about some other county because I know they weren’t talking about ‘our’ commissioners. The plaque read in recognition of your total commitment to the citizens of Union County. Committed? Oh come on now, let’s get serious. One of the commissioners says the only reason he is on the commission is for the health insurance. That is what I call committed. I wonder if the rest feel the same way. Let me give you an example of committed to the people of Union county. On September 30th, they commissioners held their meeting to pass the budget for 2011. At the public input, I asked the commissioners why the budget for the commissioners was $209,000. The answer I received from them was this is public input time, not ‘questions and answers’. I said that as a resident of Union county and a taxpayer I was entitled to an answer. SILENCE! This is how they are committed to the citizens of the county. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I went to the auditor’s office and asked to see the budget. The final budget for the Commissioners was $182,000. Of the $182,000 over 2/3rds of the budget or $120,000 was for salaries ($59,000), Health, general insurance, liability, bonds, errors and omissions. Is it any wonder they didn’t want to tell me what the budget for them was? $182,000 for the privilege of having them in charge of the county; what a deal! I wonder if anyone has ever questioned this. The county is being charged $16,000 just for their health insurance. State law says that the commissioners must be offered health insurance, but it doesn’t say the county has to pay for it. Is this added to their salary? If it is that means each commissioner makes $16,000 a year for meeting 8 hours a month. 96 hours a year. $16,000. Of course they have to go to meetings outside of their regular meeting time, but they get another $8,000 allowance for that too. Stupid me, I should have tried harder to get elected. I want to quote Yakoff Smirnoff here: “America, what a country!”

Where else can you go and pay these ridiculous salaries to government service officials; to be patronized to and get treated like a second class citizen? Jeez!


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