Op-ed: San Juan drought has morphed from economic issue to one of public safety
I have lived my whole life in San Juan County, and, as a fifth-generation rancher, I know the meaning of hard work, grit and determination.
It has been a struggle to provide for my family at times, due to the strict and cumbersome regulations involving grazing permits on land around the county and the water rights within the county.
I’m not alone on this matter.
Now, as we are in the worst drought that I have ever experienced, that situation has grown even more dire.
Agricultural industry is the lifeblood of our economy; it is the main source of income for many individuals, and everyone in our community is affected when a drought or similar natural disaster hits.
As this drought continues to starve our cattle and wither our crops, we have decided to fight back.
We want to be able to work and provide for our families.
Since we are a small rural community, we have often felt left behind in many respects, namely not having adequate resources and personnel to deal with these types of issues.
We hope through these efforts that the appropriate resources will be directed to help our community and we can help save the livelihoods of many citizens in San Juan County.
Bruce Adams is a San Juan County commissioner, fifth-generation rancher and a devoted voice for agriculture, lands and community unity.
City of Moline Committee of the Whole met June 6.
City of Moline Committee of the Whole met June 6. Here is the minutes provided by the Committee: Present: Mayor Stephanie Acri (Chair) Alderman Quentin Rodriguez (Ward 1) Alderman David Parker, Jr. (Ward 2) Alderman Mike Wendt (Ward 3) Alderman Richard “Dick” Potter (Ward 4) Alderman Lori Turner (Ward 5) Alderman Kevin Schoonmaker (Ward 6) Alderman Mike Waldron (Ward 7) Absent: Alderman Sonia Berg (Alderman At-Large) Staff: J.D. Schulte, Public Works Director/Interim City Administrator Maureen Riggs, City Attorney Amy Saunders, Deputy City Clerk Ray Forsythe, Planning & Development Director Lori Wilson, Parks Recreation Director Nate Scott, Information Technology Manager Bryon Lear, Library Director Kim Hankins, Public Safety Director Todd Allen, Battalion Chief Jeff Snyder, Battalion Chief Scott Hinton, City Engineer Kathy Carr, Finance Director Jeff Anderson, City Planner Amy Keys, Deputy City Attorney Tony Loete, Utilities General Manager Shawn Christ, Land Development Manager Rhonda Bartz, Public Works Executive Assistant Anamaria Vera, Planning & Development Administrative Secretary Cole Neder, Planning & Development Intern Others: Susannah Baney, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP John VanDeVoorde, Resident Gerold Shelton, The Dispatch Mayor Acri called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers. Questions on the Agenda: Mayor Acri indicated that Item #1 on the Committee-of-the-Whole Agenda and Council Bill #1098-2017 (Item #7) on the Council Agenda were pulled due to Alderman Berg’s inability to attend tonight’s meetings electronically. Agenda Items: 1. A Resolution approving the remote electronic attendance of Alderman-at-Large Sonia Berg, at the Committee-of-the-Whole and City Council meetings of June 6, 2017, due to her travel out of town as part of her current employment. Maureen Riggs, City Attorney, indicated that Section 2-2200(e) of the Moline Code of Ordinances provides that any member of the City Council may attend and participate in any open or closed meeting of the City via electronic attendance provided that such attendance is in compliance with the rules set forth within said section and any other applicable laws. Alderman-at-Large Sonia Berg, (“Berg”) will be traveling out of town for purposes of her employment on June 6, 2017. Pursuant to Section 2-2200(e), absence due to employment purposes meets one of the prerequisites under which electronic attendance is allowed. A quorum must also be established and physically present at the meeting site following the roll call for each meeting to allow the electronic attendance to proceed at the meeting. During Berg’s remote electronic attendance, she shall be allowed to participate in the same capacity as those City Council members physically present at the meetings. This item was pulled from the agenda by Mayor Acri due to Alderman Berg’s inability to attend tonight’s meetings electronically. 2. A Resolution declaring the following Article 36 seized and forfeited vehicles as surplus property: 2006 Toyota Scion XB VIN# JTLKT324264103461 and 2001 Ford F150, VIN# 3FTPF18L61CA70906. Kim Hankins, Chief of Police/Public Safety Director, explained that the Illinois State statute provides that law enforcement agencies may seize vehicles used during the attempt or commission of specific crimes and subsequently initiate forfeiture proceedings on those vehicles. The above vehicles have been forfeited to the police department, and City staff is requesting that they be declared as surplus property and disposed of by the Chief of Police/Public Safety Director through the legal disposal process that is most advantageous to the City, whether sealed bid, auction, negotiation, or otherwise. However, Chief Hankins stated that there is an issue with the VIN number concerning the 2001 Ford F150, so he is not requesting that it be declared as surplus property at this time. A motion was made by Alderman Parker to approve this item as to the 2006 Toyota Scion XB vehicle only. Seconded by Alderman Wendt. Motion passed unanimously. 3. A Resolution authorizing the Chief of Police/Public Safety Director to execute an Intergovernmental Training Use Agreement allowing the police tactical unit to conduct training drills at the Marseilles Training Center in Marseilles, Illinois, on August 9, 2017, and indemnifying the Illinois Department of Military Affairs from any loss or liability that might occur during the training. Kim Hankins, Chief of Police/Public Safety Director, shared that the police department has asked to conduct Crisis Containment Unit tactical training at the Marseilles Training Center on August 9, 2017. The Illinois Department of Military Affairs has agreed to allow the training only upon receipt of an executed Intergovernmental Training Use Agreement stipulating the terms for the use of the center and indemnifying them from any loss or liability that might occur during the training. The estimated cost for use of the facility and assigned range personnel is $258.00. A motion was made by Alderman Schoonmaker to approve. Seconded by Alderman Turner. Motion passed unanimously. 4. A Resolution authorizing the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a Revenue Reciprocal Agreement on Exchange of Information between the City of Moline and the Illinois Department of Revenue. Kathy Carr, Finance Director, shared that this Resolution amends the current Reciprocal Agreement on Exchange of Information to add the City Administrator, Mayor, and replace the IT position. The Agreement must be approved to allow the City to continue receiving confidential sales tax information by its authorized personnel from the Illinois Department of Revenue. A motion was made by Alderman Schoonmaker to approve. Seconded by Alderman Wendt. Motion passed unanimously. 5. A Resolution accepting the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report prepared by Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP for the Fiscal Year January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 for all municipal funds. Kathy Carr, Finance Director, indicated that the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the City of Moline for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016, is submitted for City Council acceptance. The primary objectives of a financial audit are: (1) to express an opinion on the fairness of the financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles; and (2) to determine whether the City has complied with applicable legal requirements in obtaining and expending public funds. The audit for Fiscal Year 2016 was performed in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards by the accounting firm of Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP. These standards are required to obtain reasonable assurances that the general purpose financial statements are free from material misstatements. The opinion given in the Report on the Independent Auditors states that the general purpose financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial portion of the City of Moline at December 31, 2016, and the results of the City’s operations are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The City of Moline has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers’ Association for 23 consecutive years and will be submitting the 2016 report for award consideration. Copies of the CAFR will be made available to the public for reference at the Moline Library, Moline Finance Department, and via the City’s website. Susannah Baney from Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, presented a brief overview of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. A motion was made by Alderman Potter to approve. Seconded by Alderman Turner. Motion passed unanimously. 6. A Resolution accepting Quit Claim Deed from the United States of America. Ray Forsythe, Planning and Development Director, and Amy Keys, Deputy City Attorney, explained that the City of Moline and the United States of America (“USA”), acting by and through the Department of the Army, U.S. Army Engineer District, Louisville, have been working for many years to complete an exchange of land. The City executed an Exchange Agreement in 2003, agreeing to convey vacated right of way, located under the entrance/exit ramp to the Rock Island Arsenal at River Drive to the USA. In exchange, the USA agreed to convey two parcels of land, which are located on a portion of the Bass Street Landing area to the City. The City previously approved the execution of a Warranty Deed conveying the City owned property to the USA in Special Ordinance 4010-2016. This completed the City’s portion of the Agreement. The USA has now completed its Quit Claim Deed to the City, which contains restrictions that are…
Court Orders EPA to Close Loophole, Factory Farms Required to Report Toxic Pollution
Court Orders EPA to Close Loophole, Factory Farms Required to Report Toxic Pollution.
The DC Circuit Court ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tuesday to close a loophole that has allowed hazardous substances released into the environment by concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to go unreported.
But the public cannot protect itself from these hazardous substances if CAFOs aren’t required to report their releases to the public.
CAFOs are large-scale livestock facilities that confine large numbers of animals in relatively small spaces.
This waste is known to release high levels of toxic pollutants like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide into the environment.
The court’s decision closes a loophole that exempted CAFOs from the same pollutant reporting required of other industries to ensure public safety.
"People have a right to know if CAFOs are releasing hazardous substances that can pose serious risks of illness or death into the air near their homes, schools, businesses and communities," said Kelly Foster, senior attorney for Waterkeeper Alliance.
Nearly three-quarters of the nation’s ammonia air pollution come from CAFOs.
This decision forces these operations to be transparent about their environmental impact," said Paige Tomaselli of the Center for Food Safety.
"Animal factories force billions of animals to suffer dangerously high levels of toxic air pollution day after day for their entire lives," said Humane Society of The United States’ Chief Counsel Jonathan Lovvorn.