Monday, February 2, 2009

Judge Rules in Favor of Plaintiffs Ted Keller and Leo Straley

The following article was published in the Foster County Independent on February 2, 2008. Since their newspaper is not online, I've copied it here for the convenience of Internet readers.

Judge Rule Favors Plaintiff--Court Case sought Copies of Letters in Support of Dairy by Leasa A. Lura for the Foster County Independent

In a hearing of Ted Keller and Leo Straley vs. Foster County Commission, Judge Greenwood ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but the damages they were seeking will not be paid.

During the hearing on Wednesday, January 28, attorney for the commission, Scott Porsberg attended the hearing by phone.

The hearing was for a summary judgment filed by Keller and Straley with a motion for summary judgment also filed by the commission.

Keller began by telling Judge Greenwood that he sent two letters to the county commission on June 9, 2008, requesting copies of the 346 letters that commissioner Jim Carr received from supporters of the Van Bedaf dairy.

After receiving no response, Keller said he sent another request on August 19, 2008, accompanied by an$86 certified check for the copies.

Keller stated that he still hasn't received copies of the letters and quoted the attorney general as saying that every person has the right to access records of government entities.

Porsberg said that he didn't receive copies of the letters because the request wasn't sent to the acting attorney.

He also said that Ellen Sherman sent a request to him for copies of the letters and received those copies.

Porsberg said he assumed that Sherman was acting as an agent for Keller and Straley and assumed that they would receive the letters from Sherman. Keller and Straley both testified that they had not received the letters from Sherman.

After a review of the case and the testimonies, Judge Greenwood said that Porsberg had no reason to believe that Sherman was acting as an agent of Keller and Straley.

Judge Greenwood ultimately denied the commission's motion for summary judgment and granted Keller and Straley's motion for summary judgment.

He said that the commission must provide copies of the letters to Keller and Straley in a reasonable amount of time.

Keller and Straley were also seeking at least $1,000 in damages, but Judge Greenwood denied that request, except for the filing fees to the county amounting to $80.

Judge Greenwood also said that he believes that the violation was not intentional.

Porn Shops Next to Churches and Homes?!

I just received an e-mail from someone who is very concerned about a bill that is being sponsored by Rep. Wrangham with the backing of Farm Bureau, LAND, and ND Policy Council. This bill would change zoning as we know it.

The goal of the above mentioned groups is to leave it up to the landowner to decide what is the best use for his land with no consideration for neighbors' quality of life or property values. This would potentially do away with any applications and public hearings for land uses such as landfills, concentrated animal feed operations, and other land uses that would bring down property values and harm the environment.

The following is an excerpt from the e-mail which I received:

"Today I talked to some of the lobbyists at the capitol about HB 1522. Most of them do not like the bill, but they seem to think that since there is only one sponsor it will probably not pass. This is dangerous thinking - I have seen this backfire in the past. Because people thought a bill would not pass and did not stand up to oppose the bill, the bill passed with no votes against it.

I am sure that Farm Bureau, LAND and ND Policy Council will have people to testify for the bill. Therefore, it is important that there is major opposition to this bill.

As one lobbyist (for the Catholic church) pointed out to me today - if it is left up to the landowner to decide what will make the most money on his piece of land, what is to keep Adult entertainment stores from popping up next door to schools or churches? How will we keep landfills and CAFOs from being built next to nursing homes, hospitals, churches, or subdivisions?

Remember that the Health Department does the EPA regulation stuff but does not deal with neighbor well-being or property values.

Comprehensive planning and zoning was started because industrial buildings were being built right next to apartments, neighborhoods and schools, causing health problems for children. This unregulated building of industry caused property values to fall, where one landowner could take money out the neighbor's pocket. Lawmakers decided that the health and welfare of the children and citizens was important and needed to be protected.They also decided that all landowners needed to have their property values protected.

Now Farm Bureau and ND Policy Council want to move backwards and make it possible for neighborhood, urban and rural, to become unhealthy again so that greedy landowners do not have to be concerned about their neighbors."

What do you think about this new bill? Would you like your neighbor to have no restrictions whatsoever on the use of his/her land?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Volunteering Is Prevalent in Carrington

"Down in their hearts, wise men know this truth: the only way to help yourself is to help others." -Elbert Hubbard, American Writer & Publisher

I was just reading a recent article in the Foster County Independent about the Carrington Health Center Auxiliary, the fact that they had honored their volunteers for 2008. I talked to Dorothy Fenske, who coordinates the volunteers at CHC, and discovered that she had a long list of people who help out all around the Carrington community.

Virginia March received Volunteer of the Year Award from CHC Auxiliary's Dorothy Fenske.

The two members who received top honors for 2008 from the CHC Auxiliary were Virginia March and Illa Zink. Not only have these two ladies volunteered countless hours at the Carrington Health Center, but they have also dedicated much time to their churches and other organizations in the community.

Illa Zink also received the Volunteer of the Year award - honoring her exceptional service to the Auxiliary and the Carrington community.

Take a look at the CHC Auxiliary web site, and you will see many other familiar faces, people who constantly spend time nurturing this community and endeavoring to make it a better place.All around our community, you can see people helping others in a true spirit of giving - not expecting anything in return, other than perhaps the pleasant feeling of doing a good deed. If you know someone who you think should be honored for their volunteer work and their helping others, this might be a good place to mention their names and give them a public pat on the back. Just click on the comment section below, and enter your thoughts.