Letter to the Editor: “I Can’t Do Anything…” Judge-Executive Micheal Hale
Election time is upon us. Now is when we need to ask Barren County Executives and Magistrates, “What are you going to do for the citizens of Barren County?
I as a voter have many concerns: Safe drinking water, county road repairs, and a noise ordinance for Barren County. A sawmill has been constructed near a storm drain on Bradshaw Road and Charles Turner Road. When we receive the heavy rains as we have this past year, I am seeing the sawdust washing down the hill and running into a branch that feeds into Barren Rive Lake that is a quarter mile away. The Barren County Lake is a source of drinking water for the communities and surrounding counties. I have contacted Bill Baker with the EPA about this mater several times over the past year. He was not concerned about the issue too much. After much research, I have found that sawdust is a toxic to our fish and environment. Now feeder cows are being placed on a small lot that contains the branch. Their waste is also washing into the branch. Where are our concerns for the environment being polluted? I feel water samples should be taken when it is felt that branches are being contaminated. We also are seeing large trash forming near the storm drains. I called Dennis at the Barren County Health Department who is over the trash piles in Barren County, three times by phone and two times in person over a year ago. Still haven’t seen any change. Now the sawmill is dumping the sawdust and wood scrapes on to the trash piles and burning it. Sawdust is very dangerous to burn because it allows high emissions of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the air. These dumps are beside a double wide that has small children. EPA has been contacted again about this matter. The mill was asked not to burn the sawdust. But it is still being burned and sawdust is still washing into the branch by the heavy rains. The sawmill has attracted large heavy trucks and equipment hauling in the heavy logs and semi’s taking the pallets that are made here out. Between the heavy trucks, heavy equipment with metal wheels and one-ton horses used by the Amish our secondary roads are not made for this. I have nothing against the Amish, but better care of roads needs done. We the taxpayers put a lot of money into our roads. For the last twenty years our county roads in this area are receiving band aid patching work. There are no drainage ditches being dug to prevent the water that is building up during heavy rains. Recently Charles Turner Road had band aid repair to it. Some potholes were fixed some were not, this I don’t understand. The next hard rain will wash the rocks, logs and sticks back into the road.
No ditches were cleaned out. On Bradshaw Road, water is running over black top because it has no drain ditches to run into. This has caused a serious situation of the black top washing our underneath. I personally told the school bus driver so she would not get that close to the edge and possibly turn over if it broke away. This sawmill is approximately four hundred feet from my home. When in operation its noise level is unbearable to us. Now after we retired, we cannot be outside to enjoy the outdoors. Windows cannot be opened due to the saw dust and the level of noise. Coughing has become our normal. If chicken barns must be one thousand feet from a residence, why don’t sawmills have this code for noise level. These mills are springing up all over the area due to the influx of Amish moving in. A noise ordinance should be established for our county. I asked our current Judge Executive Micheal Hale about this issue, but he just threw up his hands and said, “I can’t do anything with the Amish” and walked away. I asked Micheal Hale to come by any time it is in operation and see if he would want one by his home. Also, as I have worked for a surveyor for twenty-three years there was a code that buildings and setback lines had to be sixty feet for right of way. This is thirty feet from center line. Now building and fences are being placed on the edge of road, this is not how it should be. This can cause a safety hazard when snow or ice is on the roads. Our magistrates in each district should drive the roads there and check for hazards like this. Also, after heavy rains to check for areas of runoff to see if repairs need to be made and issues corrected. Simple problems like this can be fixed to save our roads if we catch it soon enough. I worked for the county road department years ago trimming right away limb off the road with ladders and chainsaws. It was a government funded program at that time. Are there not any grants or monies out there for this now to make our roads safer? I have provided documents, pictures and video to back up my statements. This next election please choose someone who will work to make our county a safer place environmental wise and our roads safer.