I shall speak to the two very important articles that were published in the Jan. 24 issue of your paper. They are the DNR meeting at Eagle Rock and the survey proposed concerning alcohol issues. Although they are essentially unrelated, they both impact our area mightily.
I contacted the DNR Office and talked briefly with one of our county commissioners about the meeting. I did not attend it. My concern is much broader than one operation. I think it is time the county consider what distance these Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) should be from city limits and concentrated housing areas. It seems to me five miles would be a reasonable distance, with those closer than that at the present time, be "grandfathered" in. It is quite a paradox to me that these feeding operations can be "off limits" to visitors, and understandably so, yet there is no limit to their encroachment upon highly populated areas.
I do have some idea of the economic impact this industry has. I also think there is the possibility of pollution of both water and air, and the potential for health-related respiratory problems. It seems to me there is a need for a long range look to guard against this part of our economy becoming a false economy. Perhaps something is being done about this. Perhaps this is a planning and zoning ballot issue.
As to the alcohol issue, according to the 2006 juvenile cases, of the 1,038 cases cited in your paper, 118 of those related to drugs and alcohol. That is 20 more than the closest rival category. That calls for strong concern!
I believe the root of the problem is more adult related than child/young people related. Children come into this world as a relatively blank slate. We all learned from parents, guardians, teachers and other groups how to conduct ourselves. As adults in this generation, we cannot escape some negative contribution we have made to the younger generation. We are leaving too much "parenting" to teachers. We must find ways to do a better job of parenting at home. I do not mean to sound "preachy." I have a great concern in this area.
As a career Army man, I had it drilled into me: "Never present a problem without offering a potential solution." I therefore offer some of my time to meet with a group, or groups, to attempt to find ways for improving our collective living space and addressing our concerns.