FEBRUARY 17, 1997

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Wishes for the Valley

Valley wishes After 81 years, it amazes me each January that I am still around and capable of writing a letter to the editor.
   I'm sure all of us share the wishes for cures for cancer, AIDS, MS, diabetes--all these terrible diseases--food for the hungry, homes for the homeless, warmth for those who are cold, especially the thousands of children under 10 who live in poverty. Also a wish for enduring peace on earth, because war is never the answer. It is so devastating for the young and the old.
   Now, I have some wishes for Carnation, my home for 39 years, and this beautiful valley.
   First--more non-polluting businesses in Carnation to bring in some revenue. Main Street is like a baby's wide smile--lots of gaps. The no-growth element nixed a sewer years ago when grants were available. That has stopped some business and is a problem that should be dealt with.
   Flooding seems to be more frequent and more severe. Regulations against logging steep areas, logging to the water's edge, building in steep areas, filling in wetlands--must be completely enforced. People who live or have lived near the river most of their lives say dredging is essential; they should know.
   There is a report that the Army Corps of Engineers wants to straighten the river above the Falls. They tried that before and we stopped them. They straightened the Kissimee River in the Everglades in Florida. Drought and floods became so severe they had to put everything back like it was.
   A grand old lady (I believe here name was Marjorie Stoneman) spent her adult life fighting for the Everglades. She was honored at a ceremony. When asked about the engineers, she said their mothers probably stopped them from making mud pies. Couldn't the government find a vacant spot, wet it good into a giant mud pie, and keep the engineers there until they get it out of their systems?
   I suppose everyone knows about the high wind that lifted Dorothy and Toto out of Kansas. My wish is that a similar high wind would lift Pfeiffer sheep farm and slaughterhouse out of Carnation. Maybe to New Mexico; it is a dry climate, the sheep wouldn't have painful crippling foot disease. State government leases pasture for grazing at $1 an acre; the sheep could roam instead of having contamination of the soil and pollution of the water confined to a few acres.
   Pfeiffer paid a $50 permit of some kind after outside counsel made his report. She said she didn't have to. I keep hearing that she does not pay permits and taxes like other businesses in Carnation; there would be no loss of revenue. We would lose that terrible stench when the doo-doo gets so deep she spreads it on the weekend and the dubious distinction of having a working sheep farm and slaughterhouse in the city limits, a few blocks from City Center.

Marguerite Ensley, Carnation