Resident considers DEQ investigation for home

Dear Editor,

Today as I was walking on North Monroe Street, I thought I saw dust emanating from a house. I’m not sure, but it could have been asbestos dust. I’ve been considering contacting the DEQ to have this investigated. If these people do not have asbestos in the house, they should be made to prove it. Also, this is an older house and should be inspected for lead-based paints.

This same house belonged to my dentist 40 years ago and he might have mentioned an oil tank buried between the house and garage. I think this could be dangerous and should also be investigated at the owners’ expense.

These issues are similar to the situation at the Wolverine property, so maybe we can get the EPA to investigate this property when they are in town.

Robert Winegar
Rockford resident


Reader discusses global warming topic, column

Dear mom…

I know you’re on the fence; you’re not sure what to believe. I want to thank you for listening—most people are so politically polarized, they don’t even listen. I understand that you respect Craig James; I agree that he is an expert meteorologist, but he is wrong about climate change. His facts are incorrect and he misrepresents science… but I won’t elaborate here, the philosophy is a little over your head. No offense, most of the public is scientifically illiterate. I often try explaining science to people and they get lost in semantics and I realize just providing opposing facts won’t induce them to reconsider. Mom, what will?

Someone with Mr. James’ credentials shouldn’t get a feature article to espouse his blog-style opinions; it makes you think there is still a debate among scientists, doesn’t it? You think it is a fair question to consider the cost when you hear climate change might not be something to worry about.

For example, Mr. James said that the earth has natural thermostats or controls to regulate its own temperature. You and I both agree that God is in control, so James’ comments seem to make sense. But mom, what James described is only half the truth. The traditional checks and balances of nature that keep natural systems in check can be trumped when humans cause un-natural perturbations.

We can’t abuse this world and think there will be no consequences. We as citizens need to put pressure on our government to regulate the corporations and implement the innovations and progressive (sorry, buzz word) ideas that will lead our country to the more resilient, healthy and happy living situations that have long been suppressed.

Mom, I am a biologist and I must say that a scientific consensus isn’t something to be wary of, but rather something to be heeded. Don’t be duped—there is a lot of money to be made by continuing life as normal, but it won’t trickle down to bring hope and restoration. Many less fortunate around the world already suffer the effects of climate change and the potential grows for many of us more privileged folk to also be sorely affected. This is a very involved topic; a skeptic can easily throw a bunch of cherry-picked data your way leaving you overwhelmed. James’ latest “summary” is some of that odious rhetoric. If you would like to discuss more details sometime… you know I’m willing. Thanks for asking questions.

Love, Your son
Derek Shiels Rockford resident

More comments on Wolverine tannery site clean up

Dear Editor,

I, too, was at the public meeting held by WWW at their corporate headquarters on September 21, 2011. I would like to express my thoughts in response to the meeting and to Rodd Blakeslee’s letter to the editor October 6, 2011. As a citizen of Rockford, I am appreciative of the involvement of WWW in and for the Rockford community past and present. While at the same time I would like my anxieties put to rest to the ecological soundness of the soils, ground water/surface water, and Rogue River and Rum Creek.

The three test wells are appreciated and helpful, but are not enough to give a complete picture of any potential contamination. Soils must also be tested. Ken Grady, Wolverine’s attorney, spoke quite a bit that night on how they had given soil the “eye and nose” test and “categorized” them. What does that mean? Does it mean they looked at the soils and separated it into “categories” such as weed filled soil, rocky soil, and just plain mucky soil? Mr. Grady was pressed to explain this and made no attempt to do so.

Questions still remain: was the soil tested; where was it tested; when did the testing take place and by whom? These are the questions many citizens have been asking all along. Several environment groups and CCRR have been deeply disturbed regarding the lack of information about the former tannery site. The meeting in September was an excellent beginning to communication with the community. There have been many months filled with research, interviews and detailed record-keeping with the end goal of getting the site properly and scientifically tested so that our minds can be put to rest not only for ourselves but for generations to come.

Wolverine has contributed a great deal to the growth and development of the Rockford community. I do not, however, want the community to be held hostage by this gratitude at the expense of our water sources both underground and above so that they are not protected and cared for. If it was a matter of just a “few disgruntled residents,” the EPA and the Lansing DEQ would have shooed them away like pesky little flies. They did not do that, instead they left other projects in order to give the Wolverine tannery site more immediate attention. Not just because citizens think that is what they should do, but because it is what they think they should do. It is my hope that Wolverine will man up, and thoroughly test and clean up the 100+ year tannery site.

Gail P. Mancewicz
Lover of the Rockford community past, present and future


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