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Tales from a small town

Short stories about life in a small town. Non-fiction. Great reading.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Someone at Vanderbuilt really likes me!

I've got that Site Meter on my blog, and there's someone from Vanderbuilt that spends alot of time on my blog. Good for you! Feel free to make a comment, if you'd like.

I don't know whether to make this blog serious or funny. I've got something major happening in my life right now that's taking up alot of time. There's a factory one street over from me that they're tearing down - a factory that's been making plastics since 1927! Well, there's alot of stuff in the air, and the EPA isn't doing much about it. That's the bad thing. The good thing is, our local newspaper is about as far from this demolition project as we are (but in the opposite direction) and they're breathing it everytime the wind blows cross-ways.

The EPA is giving them the run-around too, but not as bad - but it's still the run-around. I've found something out in the process of all this: the EPA is in the back pocket of corporate America; no doubt in my mind about that whatsoever.

My wife complained to the OEPA (Ohio EPA) and they told her that we'd have to call our city health department, because in alot of cases, the city can handle small complaints better than they can, as they (the OEPA) is terribly understaffed, this would really help them out alot. They told her if it was a big deal, our city's health department would contact them, and then they'd do something about it.

Incredible, isn't it? As they say in those $19.99 tv commercials, "Wait! There's more!"

You see, once that call was made guess what? The factory only did its demolition at night. But wait, there's more. My wife called the OEPA and seriously bitched about it. She said, "Look - at this point, there's nothing you can do to stop me from contacting our local media, but if you act quickly, you can make it look as though this was a simple oversight on your part, which will make you look less incompitent if you act now, and have something intelligent to say when the local media does contact you on this."

They (the OEPA) did something all right. They asked the factory if they'd be nice enough to provide them with a soil sample. Well, the factory complied - but not before contacting an Environmental Consultant firm so they could give this factory advise on which was the best lab to use, because - the OEPA allowed the factory to pick their own lab! But wait, there's more! The OEPA allowed this factory to pay for their testing, which meant the factory was the lab's customer, not the OEPA's. But wait, there's more! The last name of the person who owns the environmental consulting company shares a last name with a guy who's a partner at a local law firm - a law firm who represents our economic development agency. As the Church Lady would say, "Isn't that special?"

Since our paper got stonewalled everytime they turned around, they told us that we'd have to provide them with a petition of at least 60 people who'd be willing to put their signature on a testimony that they have either smelled an obnoxious industrial odor, or have gotten really sick since the demolition began. No problem - got it. Me and the Missus got all the signatures, then some.

Well, my wife puts a flyer up at a local supermarket in the neighborhood, and we get a call from a trailer that's on the opposite side of this factory, that's located on a "street" that looks like nothing more than the factory's employee parking lot. I found this trailer, and it's on the border between five different industries, 2 of which are oil companies. In fact, this trailer sits all by itself as a residential structure. Kind of a freak of zoning, if you will. The people who live there were telling me that they saw a blue, powdery substance on the ground near their trailer, and it was being mixed into the ground by front-end loaders that were working the area.

Our son has a major lung infection, and residents of the neighborhood have listed on the petition things like major sinus trouble, rashes and unexplained, occassional bouts of nausea.

Our paper has already done 2 stories: one on the front page, and one on the front page of the local section. Since we got the required 60 signatures, they said they'll make this a series until something gets done.

I just hope there isn't some cluster of some weird-ass cancer in five or ten years, because the smell that came out of that factory was nothing more than pure evil. I know industrial smells, because we have a tire factory, a refinery, another plastics factory, an oil storage facility, a stone quarry, a stone and asphalt recycling quarry, and a rail spur all in the area. Plus, I've worked at another factory on the other side of town for the last 15 years, and I've never smelled anything as bad as the smell that came out of that demolition project.

Well, enough of this - I've got an episode of American Idol to watch. I need something to get this off my mind! (Simon always cracks me up.)