Thursday Roundup: Two-Headed Trout?
[imgcontainer left] [img:427572_328139550561921_324540044255205_952929_803972463_n.jpg] The kids at the Gusty Michael School in Stoney Point, Alaska, are trying to save their school. They are raising money for a May trip to Washington, D.C., where they hope to meet with President Obama.
The Postal Service intends to increase security at mail processing facilities as the agency gets ready to announce the closing of hundreds of the mail sorting offices, the Washington Post reports.
Thousands of postal workers should know by the end of the day whether their facility will be axed. There are 487 mail processing centers and the Postal Service intends to close 252 of them.
The Postal Service fears adverse reaction from workers who are told of the closings — thus the increased security. About 151,000 postal employees work in the sorting centers.
Save The Post Office is keeping a running list of facilities that are being closed (or not). STPO appears to be having some programming problems, but keep checking here.
• Iraq is shifting its rice purchases from the U.S. to India, and that has rice farmers ticked.
In the past decade, Iraq has imported 10 to 15 percent of its rice from the U.S. But the country hasn’t bought any rice from the U.S. since late 2010.
“You would think with all that we’ve done over there, there would be a way to get them to do business with us,” said Ronald Gertson, who grows rice in Lissie, Texas.
• A bill that would put a two-year moratorium on new wind energy projects has made it out of a committee in the Idaho House of Representatives.
The complaints against wind are that it is increasing costs for utility customers and decreasing land values of those who live near the projects. The vote to move the legislation was 6-5.
• The New York Times has a discussion here of the Farm Bill. There are eight people who make comments. Only one, Roger Johnson of the National Farmers Union, is a farmer.
•Christo’s project to drape fabric across the Arkansas River in Colorado has been delayed until at least 2015. The project has had multiple hearings and studies, but still isn’t fully permitted.
• The Alaska Dispatch carries an inspiring story of students at the Gusty Michael School in Stony River, seven kids who are trying to save their school.
The kids have been campaigning for the past year. They’ve traveled to the Lower 48 to tell why their school should be saved in a village of 40 residents. They have a Facebook page and hope to meet with President Obama. The Dispatch explains their situation:
With only seven students, the school is three students below the minimum threshold needed for state funding to pay for the school’s operations, such as maintenance and heat. The Lime Village school 45 miles from Stony River closed in 2007 when its student numbers fell to six.
Schools are community centers in rural Alaska, and districts fight to keep them open because losing a school could mean losing a village if families with children move away. The Kuspuk School District is considering picking up the state’s costs — the district would still receive the state’s base student allocation for each student — and keeping the Stony River school open next year if the population doesn’t rise to 10. That’s a decision the board will make.
• A two-headed trout will get some attention.
Pictures of various deformed fish have come to light in a study commissioned by the J.R. Simplot Co., whose mining operation has polluted creeks in southern Idaho. It’s a phosphate mine and Simplot wants permission to release larger amounts of selenium. The two-headed trout aren’t helping the company’s case.
• The Oneida Nation is making cigarettes, selling them without paying the $4.35 a pack state tax. The sales bring in millions of dollars a year to the tribe.
“We tried poverty for 200 years,” the Oneidas’ leader, Ray Halbritter, said in an interview. “We decided to try something different.”
• John W. Boyd Jr. writes that one of the biggest problems facing Black farmers is seed monopolies. The head of the National Black Farmers Association writes:
For most of the NBFA’s history, racial discrimination was the biggest threat to Black farm ownership. More recently, however, anti-competitive conduct by monopolists and reduced competition for the biotechnology that we need has emerged as a major obstacle. Our strenuous efforts to sound the alarm on this very important issue continue to fall on deaf ears.