And quickly determine a day is just not long enough. These are my days. Many filled with facts that cannot be changed, no matter how positive a person's attitude may be and how sure the change can occur in this lifetime.
There have been times this year that have found me knocking on the door of strangers and leaving having made a friend. It happened again this week and I wish you this experience and these results. We don't put ourselves out there much anymore, as we hurry too quickly home to our familiar walls and ways.
Big Chicken kept me scrambling and struggling with how on earth to share information and how to challenge others to act on the chance we have to speak up, or write down our thoughts and get them turned in by December 10th. This led me here to share some thoughts and ask you for help. Imagine I am knocking on your door to tell you: We found out 3 weeks ago from the Secretary of Agriculture, James Reese that he would work with his board to establish some Emergency Rules to strengthen the weak rules we have now on where new poultry facilities can be built in relation to neighbors, private or public wells, highways, public schools and city limits. These proposed rules have been released and we need to celebrate the beginning of the process but the rules will not be as protective of our environment, our water and our health as we need them to be. So??
WE TELL THEM right now, do it later and you will forget, since as you know we fill our days to the brim, wedge this moment into your day to send your comment on The Emergency Rule for New or expanding poultry feeding operations and how close they can be to the following:
(1 ) Occupied residences:(A)More than 30,000 birds shall be ¼ mile; and (B) 30,000 or fewer birds shall be 1000 feet.
(C) All distances between occupied residences and poultry feeding operations shall be measured from the closest corner of the walls of the occupied residence to the closest point of the poultry feeding operation, excluding land application sites;
(2) Public school shall be ½ mile;
(3) Incorporated city limits shall be ½ mile;
(4) Public highways shall be 150 feet;
(5) Property line shall be 150 feet;
(6) Streams as identified on a current USGS 7.5 minute topographic map shall be 200 feet;
(7) Private wells not owned or used for the poultry feeding operation shall be 100 feet;
(8) Public wells shall be 500 feet; and
(9) The 100-year flood plain as designated by FEMA
Read it all on the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Food website.
Submit comments about the proposed rule until 8:00 a.m. December 10 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In your mind imagine your house in the country suddenly with a new neighbor with lots of chickens living in houses that are 600 feet long... buildings as long as 2 football fields, but six of them in a row, each full of as many as 50,000 chickens. Help us out on this. Have an attitude, want your well protected? want the value of your home diminished? How close to the city limits? is one half mile enough? Is 200 feet from a stream going to protect that stream? Show the Department of Agriculture we are not asleep, show your country cousins we stand with them. We SHOULD do this.
December 11 is another BIG day for the Department of Agriculture, decision day on the Emergency Rules and the public can attend that meeting in Oklahoma City. Are you saying back at me, "You SHOULD attend that meeting!" I think we all SHOULD.
But back to what we hope to all be able to do during the holiday season: we should laugh more. Two nights ago I read an email that had come in and as I read it that is exactly what happened. I was laughing out loud and now just thinking about it makes me smile. It was a message from Lauren Pelaia and her 2 friends who are theatrical types in New York City.
They have been studying and learning ALL about Picher, Oklahoma and our issues, this place and they are writing a MUSICAL. Now that is what we need! The serious work of environmental damages and hard times might be hard to rhyme, but boy do we have characters who could be represented in a musical! Musicals are rarely sad and serious through and through. They deal with issues but they SING about them, lots of times ALL TOGETHER.
We could benefit from being together more, imagine that we burst into song and maybe even DANCED! I was laughing because I could not believe they had discovered my weakness, my love for musicals. We have to help these folks tell our stories and we have to hope they will include the Picher Parade and how we moved on over to the Quapaw Parade and then later to the Miami Parade.
I smiled all Saturday, so many people lined up, and SO MANY PEOPLE IN THE PARADES. There has to be a song about them at least there SHOULD be.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim