January 5, 2013 9:36:47 PM
A thorn to the Caledonia Board of Aldermen, whose obstinate refusal to perform even the slightest degree of due diligence when considering the controversial practice of fracking continues to underscore the board's irresponsibility. At its meeting on Wednesday, the board signed a lease for $100 allowing Fletcher Petroleum Corp., to begin the hydraulic fracturing process -- commonly referred to as "fracking" -- on a small parcel of town-owned land.
Although the safety of the modern fracking process depends on who you talk to, there is enough evidence of environmental damage associated with the process to warrant scrutiny. The board appears to have done none of that. Neither representatives from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, the EPA or even the geology department from nearby Mississippi State were asked to share their views before the board during its board meetings. Nor did the board question Fletcher Petroleum on its safety record during its board meetings. It seems obvious that the board simply took the company's word that its fracking operations are safe.
Some board members said they were familiar with fracking, which has been used in Caledonia since the 1970s and were convinced the process was safe. But even a small measure of curiosity would have helped them realize that today's fracking is far different than the process used back then. The use of chemicals, horizontal drilling and an enormous increase the water pressure in today's fracking operations used makes modern fracking a far more violent process than what was used in the 1970s.
The Caledonia Board of Aldermen seem more concerned with the selling of beer by a downtown convenience store than the chemicals an oil company wants to pump into its soil.
A rose to Sam Kaye, who died Tuesday at the age of 72. Kaye, an architect by profession, used his talents to emerge as one of the state's most prominent preservationists. While none of the majestic and historically significant buildings in his native Columbus and elsewhere in the state bear his name, his fingerprints are all over them, in a sense. For that reason, Kaye's legacy will live not only in memory, but in the brick and mortar and wood of countless fine old buildings. Somehow, that seems the most fitting legacy of all.
A rose to Main Street Columbus and its sponsors for the New Year's celebration. The Fifth annual Having a Ball Downtown New Year's Eve Block Party proved successful, even under less than idea weather. A well-deserved rose goes to one of the event's sponsors, Glenn Machine Works, for again making sure the giant ball, which drops as the New Year is counted down, worked to perfection.
A rose to Chancery Clerk Lisa Neese, whose advocacy for enhanced security at the Lowndes County Courthouse will be addressed by the board of supervisors during Monday's meeting. "I have a huge concern about getting full-time security at the courthouse, especially with things that have happened recently and the bomb threats," Neese told the supervisors at their previous meeting. "It is time we do something." The supervisors will consider adding a full-time officer at the courthouse. Although the budget is tight, it's money well spent if it helps prevent a tragedy.
2. Our View: Nichols gets chance to correct 'unwritten rule of law enforcement' DISPATCH EDITORIALS
3. Slimantics: The news from Lake What-the-heck LOCAL COLUMNS
4. Mona Charen: A little too much reality in the show? NATIONAL COLUMNS