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Off The Editor’s Desk – 10-3-2012

Off the Editor’s Desk – 10-3-2012


Paula and I traveled to the movie theatre last Wednesday evening and watched the movie “2016”. It’s a must-see movie and see it before the November 6th election. Thanks.

It’s not the end of sand mining!

With the announcement that Vista Sand has withdrawn its rezone application in Dunn County for a railroad site to load sand for shipment south, that does not mean the end of the controversy over sand mining in this area.

Mining is going on south of Downing and in Chippewa County and I am sure that Vista Sand, or some other firm, will be back with a new proposal and the controversy will continue.

In last week’s edition, the Dunn County Board heard from a UW-Stout professor who called mining a “Boom and Bust” industry. I wonder what he calls the logging industry of the 1800s. Those are the ones that left so much history in Menomonie and cleared the land to create the farming industry that this area enjoys at this time.

We might add that there are always two sides to each story. A study conducted by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism estimates that 2,700 jobs will be created when all of the 106 frac sand mines and processing facilities are operational.

How can our elected officials turn down some of those jobs? Vista Sands has indicated that it would create “roughly 100 jobs in the area” with adding an estimated $20 to $25 million to the local economy. Forty of those jobs would be at the mine site near Glenwood City with 30 to 40 more truck drivers.

Some of the guys that I have coffee with in the morning feel that none of those jobholders would live in the area. I beg to differ with that statement. I feel that as the number of workers increase; many of them would seek shelter in communities near their job site. This would impact our housing market and increase the value of property. I might interject that recently our home in Glenwood City lost $33,000 of its value because of the condition of the economy. With more people looking for housing, that will increase the value of the current homes.

I do have concerns about the sand mining, but transportation is not one of them. I am concerned about people’s health and how the sand might impact residents’ and workers’ health. I have heard a lot of things, but I think even the health industry does not have an answer. Then there is a concern for property values for that property near the mine site.

I remember some people were saying that we would all die if an ethanol plant were constructed near Wheeler. I have not received any complaints about the plant since it opened and I see it as a great asset to our area. It has added needed jobs and helped farmers with increasing the price of their produce.

One thing that I have a problem with is being against the traffic that a sand mine might or will have and the trucks running to the ethanol plant. How can I say to a person that has spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase a new truck and trailer, paid the state for a high price license and pays the fuel tax and then tell them they cannot use the roads?

The state has the responsibility to provide us with good, safe roads. If you are as old as I am, you will remember Highway 12 carried all the traffic from Eau Claire to the Twin Cities. It got overloaded and I-94 was constructed. Now, a third lane is being added in spots to take care of the increasing traffic load. What would it be like if all that traffic was flowing through Menomonie, Knapp and Wilson?

I write this with mixed feelings. I have become complacent where I live and like others I’m fearful of changes in my routine. But a community cannot stand still, we will either grow and prosper or we will wither away.