JAMES MADISON QUOTE - 1822

"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."

SCOTTSBORO WEATHER

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jackson County Commission Meeting



Commission Chairperson Ms. Sadie Bias makes awards presentation to Ms. Sierra Lewis of Scottsboro, next to Ms. Bias, and Ms. Karrington Aericko of Woodville on the right. The 2 young ladies distinguished themselves at a statewide bowling tournament.


Jackson County Commissioners, left to right, Mr. Clemmons, Mr. Stone, Ms. Bias-Chairperson, Mr. Allen, Mr. Smith and Ms. Kirkland our County Administrator.

There were 2 meetings held today at the Courthouse for the Jackson County Commission. The first being a work session and the second was the regular commission meeting. There was also a public hearing concerning the Jackson County Park which involved the swimming pool and moving of the play ground several years ago. Apparently there was supposed to be a public hearing held which was not performed until today, after the fact.

Prior to my outline of the Regular Commission Meeting I will highlight the important points of the work session.

Work Session Highlights: 1) The FY2010 Budget stands at 1.5 to 2 million dollars over budget. There has been a request to all department heads to decrease their budget by 5% to prevent layoffs from occurring. 2) Lack of financial controls was stated as the reason for budget overage. Many purchase orders were submitted and approved without any scrutiny or approval authority. ( Comment: Apparently the County does not have a comprehensive financial management policy. A financial management policy is desperately needed to insure efficient financial management within the County Commission.) Currently, due to a lack of control, all reserve funds have been completely exhausted, Jackson County has a current budget shortage of $946,613.34. Ms. Kirkland, the new County Administrator, indicated procedures have been adopted to insure all purchase orders, P.O's, must be scrutinized and approved. She stated individual department accounts will be closely scrutinized to insure the departments have money within their budgets. It was also recommended that a hiring freeze be implemented. 3) Jackson County Solid Waste Authority. Apparently the Jackson County Solid Waste Authority has problems. These problems are not something that has just recently occurred, the specific issues outlined as follows: (a) It was discussed that either rates must be increased or the waste service must be contracted out. Ms Bias stated she did not think rates should be increased. (b) Part of the financial problems were due to non-payment of services and some of those not paying arbitrarily had their accounts adjusted. (c) Aging fleet of vehicles with no replacement plan or money to replace the fleet. ( Comment: The Jackson County Waste Management System is poised for a complete financial meltdown. This system is required by law to be self supporting.) 4) The telephone audit was presented. The auditors of the Jackson County Courthouse Phone system displayed a savings due to the audit and recouping of excessive charges of $2400. per month. The auditors recommended that long distance service should be switched to Quest Communications which would result in a significant cost savings.

Regular Commission Meeting: 1) Mr. Jack Allen made award presentation to members of the Commission who attended the County Commissioners Training and Workshop. 2) Award presentation was made to Sierra Lewis of Scottsboro and Karrington Aericko of Woodville for outstanding performance in a statewide bowling tournament (picture above). 3) 9 items on the consent agenda were approved. 4) Resolution approved for T.I.G.E.R grant from Association of County Commissions of Alabama. 5) Special Election approved for the continuation of City of Scottsboro Schools Property Tax. Election will be Oct. 20, 2009. This is an election for the City of Scottsboro only. 6) Third party transportation services approved for The Council on Aging. 7) Change approved to the Sheriffs Department pay period and hours of work. Pay period will be based on an 84 hour 2 week pay period. 8) Approval to fill vacancy on Jackson County Health Care Authority, District 2, Mr. Kendall Story was approved. 9) Motion to approve hiring freeze was not approved and withdrawn. (Comment: There were several inconsistencies which occurred concerning points of order at the Commission Meeting. Motion was made, there was never a second, meeting control was lost by the Chairperson. Mr. Allen intentionally interjected his opinion to prevent a motion being seconded. Ms. Bias, Chairwoman, did not maintain order resulting in the issue not being carried forth. Mr. Allen interjected his issue into the malay which successfully defeated the motion on the floor. Mr Allen was out of order, however a point of order was never called by any member of the Commission nor did the Chairperson maintain order nor Commission decorum. Unfortunately this is not the first time this intentional disruption has occurred. The interjection by Mr. Allen was intentional and resulted in a complete failure of the meeting's integrity assisted by the failed leadership of the Chairperson. If Ms Bias is not going to display the proper leadership necessary to manage the meetings decorum maybe she should go ahead and turn the meeting over to Mr. Allen. To complement the festivities and obvious plans of the Courthouse White Rooster Democrats, also known as Floydz Boyz, Probate Judge Hambrick was seen and heard at Ruby Tuesday's telling all about how terrible the situation concerning budget and the county commission's problems. Such treacherous plans some lay! Wake up Ms. Bias and show the leadership you were elected by the citizens to perform! Maintain Commission order and decorum at all times, it is your responsibility, the citizens deserve professional leadership.) 10) Motion to approve waiting until January to fill the County Engineer position. I believe this issue was tabled. However, due to the lack of order and decorum who knows. 11) Mr. Porter reminded the chair there were 2 additional issues remaining, a) County Park resolution concerning public hearing issue, swimming pool being filled and playground being moved 9 years ago., it is now approved. b) approval of telephone auditors recommendation to switch long distance service. Article from the Huntsville Times on issues: http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/local.ssf?/base/news/1251191718326600.xml&coll=1

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

Scottsboro City Hall in beautiful downtown Scottsboro, Alabama
City Clerk Cathy O'Shields on the left, Council President Matthew Hodges, center and City Attorney Steven Kennamer, Esquire on the right.

Councilman Keith Smith, left and Councilman Thermon Bell, right.


Councilman Gary Speers on left, Councilman Terry Thomas on right.

Scottsboro City Council and Mayor. Mayor Potter is seated on the far left.




Ms. Sierra Lewis of Scottsboro, Collins Elementary School, receives an award from Council President Matthew Hodges and Mayor Melton Potter for her outstanding performance during a state bowling tournament for students. Congratulations goes out to this young lady.

There was no Old Business.

New Business: 1) Consider Special Events Liquor License for Country End Suites on John T. Reid Parkway. The issue was tabled due to no event date (s) were listed on the license. 2) Audit briefing for the period 2007-2008 for the City of Scottsboro's financial status by Don Croft. Mr. Croft thanked Mayor Potter for hiring him to perform the "07-08" audit. There was a problem with the Power Point Presentation, the visual portion to be displayed was not presented.
One of the most significant parts of the briefing concerned what was described as a technical error in the Debt Service, "receivable" funds concerning Goose Pond Colony. It was stated that there was no indication of $5.6 million dollars in debt payments from Goose Pond Colony. The presentation was quick and difficult to understand. Without the visual part of the presentation the level of effectiveness and quality of information for the public was limited. Hopefully the good folks at Mr. Crofts accounting firm will be allowed the opportunity to represent the visual portion of the briefing. 3) Consider $18,000 contract with KPS Group of Birmingham for the purpose of updating City of Scottsboro's Zoning Ordinance. The City Attorney stated the current ordinance was initially developed in 1976, the contract was approved. 4) Consideration of approval for a Scottsboro Commercial Development Authority, CDA. The issue was tabled until further information could be acquired. Mr. Bell made the initial motion for tabling of the issue. He stated that he needed more time to research the matter and was not ready to vote at this time. Mr. Smith stated he hoped the issue did not take as long as other issues before a decision could be reached. 5) Mayor's Report: a) The Mayor reported that the Alabama Department of Transportation will provide 10 Bicycle Travel Route signs placed in strategic locations throughout the city. b) The Mayor also reported he is in the process of formulating the budget. He will be meeting with all department heads for their input and requests. The Budget Hearings will be announced at a later date prior to 2010 Budget Approval.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Scottsboro City Council Meeting



Last weeks Regular Council Meeting was continued till August 17, 2009, current council meeting. Old Business: Scottsboro Financial Management Policy approved.
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New Business: Budget Amendment for Rec Com. Replace broken hot water heater with tank less hot water heater. Budget amendment in not to exceed $11,000.
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Work Session: 1) Allen Everitt of Scottsboro Tri-Sports made presentation concerning bicycle safety on city streets. Share the Road Safety Campaign program was presented. The purpose of this program is to save lives thru safety awareness. There is a safe travel space for bicycles that was described as 2-3 feet into the travel lane not on the shoulder. Bicycles in the travel lane generally have no debris and are more visible than on the shoulder. Discussion concerning the use of signage indicating bicycle travel on roadway. Huntsville Times article on this subject along with my commentary on "al.com Scottsboro Forum:" http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/local.ssf?/base/news/1250586956198860.xml&coll=1 Drivers must share the road with bicyclists. Safety of bicyclists is a serious concern due to inattentive drivers. If I had a child still at home I would not allow them to ride their bikes on any major, highly traveled street in Scottsboro. I have witnessed many inattentive/distracted drivers who fail to adhere to the rules of the road. Riding bicycles on any local major roadway in Scottsboro is a hazard which could result in death or serious injury.
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2) Discussion concerning updating of Zoning Ordinance for Scottsboro. KTS Group of Birmingham made presentation. A public hearing will take place if their are to be any zoning changes. The changes in the zoning will take some period of time.
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3) Public Discussion on Commercial Development Authority. Ron Baily and I, Garry Morgan, made presentation. Huntsville Times article on this subject: http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/local.ssf?/base/news/1250586919198860.xml&coll=1
In reference to this issue, it is important to point out once a Commercial Development Authority (CDA) is formed the board will have the full power of any governmental corporate entity of Alabama. To include hiring of employees and borrowing money to purchase property in behalf of the corporation. The government entity may invest in property, sell property make mortgages and institute leases. This is an expansion of government whose purpose will stress existing business. It infringes on existing business and requires existing business, by taxation, to support competition to their business. If formed the CDA will support the concept of government socialism not an open market capitalistic economy of the Republic applying marketing concepts to attract business and industry instead of concepts and ideology of socialistic government.
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4) Mayor's report on property appraisal for old Police Department building and 6.5 ac. of property located behind the old building on John T. Reid Parkway.
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5) The Mayor reports the Animal Control Shelter is coming along. The Department of Corrections who constructed the building will return to correct a few problems. The Kennels are in the process of being installed. It was stated it will be about 4 weeks prior to final completion of the new facility.
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POLL IN RIGHT COLUMN: Do you support a Scottsboro Commercial Development Authority?
Poll Results: 67% voted No, 33% voted yes, 3%+ or- margin of error.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Nuclear Power Is Not Safe nor Clean, 45 Day Nuclear Accident/Event Reports



Political leadership in Scottsboro and Jackson County are not concerned with citizen safety. They have blindly supported a nuclear Bellefonte so they may reap the rewards of increased TVA in lieu of taxes.
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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reports in the last 45 days the following Serious Incidents or as some say "Nuclear Accidents." Event notification reports may be read at this NRC address: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2009/index.html
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The NRC reports indicate 14 accidents/events within the past 45 days which in some cases resulted in radioactive contamination requiring the donning of protective equipment, extinguishing of fires in critical areas or reactor scrams. The 2 most serious being a fire and release of toxic gas at the Columbia, Wa. Nuclear Reactor (event #45245) and a release of toxic-radioactive uranium dust into a building where nuclear fuel was being manufactured at Metropolis, Il. (event #45195).
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The reports indicate several fires, drunk on duty, pressure leakages, failing equipment, failed communications, tritium leakage, failed cooling pumps and loss of critical safety controls. Event #'s 45245, 45255, 45183, 45013, 45193, 45195, 45196, 45200, 45203, 45207, 45208, 45210, 45228, 45328. There are several other events listed including those involving TVA personnel drunk on duty and less significant events not listed which reflect equipment failures. Less serious events did not require protective measures or reactor scrams. Redundant safety systems did appear to be in working order. However, in some cases it was reported backup safety systems and communications equipment had failed. In all cases of emergency conditions or the report of a critical event the reactors which were at 100% power did successfully trip to a 0% power state.
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Nuclear Power is not safe, it is not clean and it is very expensive. It is time the politicians and the nuclear industry stop lying to the public about the safety and cleanliness of nuclear power. Nuclear power is inherently dangerous, this is the reason for the many controls and redundant safety systems. Unfortunately the nuclear industries propaganda machine has consistently attempted to deceive the public concerning nuclear accidents and serious events.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scottsboro City Council Meeting



Before I present my outline of the meeting, sad news was received this morning. Former Scottsboro Mayor Louis Price died at age 81. http://blog.al.com/breaking/2009/08/former_scottsboro_mayor_louis.html God Bless the Price family in this time of sorrow.

City Council Meeting: No Old Business. New Business: 1) 10 year communications tower lease with Happy Thompson approved for 2% of gross revenue or $170.00 per year. 2) Award of fuel bid approved, the low bidder was Parman Oil Co. of Chattanooga, Tn. at the cost to the city of 4.29cents above their cost. Local bidders were over 10cents per gallon over their costs. 3) Oil, lubricants and non-fuel products bid was awarded to Jackson Oil Co. 4) Annual streets paving contract was awarded to Jackson Paving Company. 5) Consideration of approval for Marvin Holcomb to clean and mow around public ramps and boat docks within the City of Scottsboro. There was no motion made, the issue died due to a lack of a motion. 6) Budget Amendment was approved for the Cemetery Department for the purchase of a tractor attachment for a backhoe in the amount of $10250.00. 7) Financial Management Policy discussed due to upcoming visit from Standard & Poor concerning city bond rating. It was stated a Financial Management Policy does not exist for the City of Scottsboro. The City Council Meeting was continued until next week so this important issue may be voted on at that time. Of particular interest and discussed were the reserve funds amount the City of Scottsboro has for contingency operations. An 8 week reserve, 2 months was established at $500,000.
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The result of the Scottsboro Trails Poll: 57% participating in the poll agreed with the plan presented by Mr. Jim Olyneic of the Planning Commission, 43% voted no, they did not agree with the plan. There was a 5% margin of error + or - on this poll due to repetitive votes as demonstrated by IP addresses. The majority favors a trail system.




Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bellefonte Nuclear Project--Revisited

TVA's Bellefonte Dream, 4 nuclear power plants which estimates show will cost the citizens and rate payers of the TVA service area in excess of $20 billion dollars for the 4 proposed reactors It is important to point out that none of this project has been approved by the TVA Board. Yet, billions of dollars have been spent and the entire project has been wrapped in controversy and mismanagement since its conception over 30 years ago. Not one kilowatt of power has ever been produced from the reactors at Bellefonte.

Update Dec 1, 2015 - cost estimates are now between $10 billion and $15 billion per unit for construction and updates at this time. 6 years after my writing of this article the total costs are estimated at $40 billion for the 4 units at TVA's Bellefonte, Alabama.
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Units 1 & 2 were over 50% complete when construction was halted in the mid 1980's. When the construction permits were cancelled by the TVA a few years back the plant was stripped of usable and expensive metals which were sold as scrap or utilized at other facilities.
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Now, the TVA and nuclear construction contractors have unduly influenced the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NRC, to reinstate a cancelled construction permit in violation of NRC policy and protocol. The NRC Commissioners reinstated the construction permit with out one, 1, vote of approval from the NRC, The Commission voted 1-disapproved, 3 jointly approved-disapproved. This unprecedented and ILLEGAL vote, in contravention of Atomic Licensing Authority for construction of nuclear reactors, has resulted in legal action being filed against the NRC, the case has been filed in the Washington D.C. Federal Court of Appeals. This is where we are at now with Bellefonte.
The debate concerning Bellefonte and nuclear power will continue for many years. The TVA, the nations largest utility and one of the nations largest governmental, corporate, socialist organizations. The TVA was created by President Roosevelt during the depression in order to provide jobs and power in the southeastern U.S. The TVA program worked marvelously to help end the Great Depression.
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Unfortunately the government's premier example of socialism did not end after World War 2, it has continued and now masses an enormous debt load of over $26 billion, primarily due to mismanagement of enormously expensive nuclear construction.
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The TVA should have been sold to private enterprise after WW2, that has not happened and now the TVA has become a massive governmental bureaucratic monster which is not accountable to the people which it was designed to serve nor has Congress chosen to offer meaningful oversight of this bureaucratic crystal palace.
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There are positive aspects of TVA, they provide continuous power to the Tennessee Valley area. In economic troubled times the cost of power is increasing. The TVA was once the least expensive source of power in the southeast. It continues to provide economical power to customers of the southeastern U.S. in its service area.
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Unfortunately, with expensive nuclear power additions the economic benefits of TVA power will end as electric rates will soar to pay for the expensive nuclear power projects. Already power companies in Kentucky and Georgia are at par with TVA power rates
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The issue continues, in Scottsboro's local paper, The Daily Sentinel, this report was filed concerning a recent press conference with Congressman Parker Griffith at Bellefonte. http://www.thedailysentinel.com/story.lasso?ewcd=2d6a28bbd22452e6
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My reply to this report was sent as a Letter to the Editor which was published in today's The Daily Sentinel. Below is a copy of my letter in it entirety. Their title to my letter was "Totally Against Nuclear Power and Bellefonte," I prefer to think of my letter as " The Rest of the Bellefonte Story." Many thanks to the Daily Sentinel for publishing my letter. The Daily Sentinel News site link for todays article, weekend addition, concering Bellefonte. http://thedailysentinel.com/story.lasso?ewcd=c0c787b560976aa6
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Dear Editor,
"Bellefonte process progressing" is the headline in Fridays Daily Sentinel. "Griffith says clean, safe nuclear power is the key to becoming energy independent." Many would disagree with the statements made by the TVA and its supporter, Congressman Griffith.
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Inaccuracy and propaganda have been the continuing trend of those who support the construction of nuclear power plants at Bellefonte. It seems the truth of the risks are not told, politicians and TVA/nuclear construction propaganda meisters intentionally mislead the public. It would be nice if the complete story would be told. I submit the "rest of the story" for your consideration.
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Nuclear power is not safe nor is it clean. There are over 40,000 workers, many are our neighbors in the southeast, who are sick and dying from the nuclear fuels manufactoring process. The facts concerning the sick and dying workers are the "secret" which nuclear power proponents attempt to keep from the public. An act of Congress entitled Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act was passed in 2000. Facts concerning these good folks who have gave so much of their lives may be found on the Internet at http://www.wildclearing.com/ice-ages/the-exposed.html There are 163,000 claims that have been filed of which 43,000 have been approved by DOL, Department of Labor. God Bless the 1200, 1 in 17, and their families who have died before one cent of money was paid. Individual payments per claim is approxiamately $94,000 per worker. The claims involve atomic weapons materials workers and nuclear fuels workers.
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Other inaccuracies originating from the TVA and Congressman Parker Griffith. 1) According to Dr. Griffith, " The opponents of Bellefonte are usually from out of state." That statement is not true, there are 85 local citizens who reside within 45 miles of the Bellefonte facility who have signed legal documents in opposition to the proposed nuclear plant. Many of the 85 reside in Alabama. 2) Safety. The Bellefonte site sits on a geologically unstable area consisting of Karst Terrain, cave terrain and sinkholes. The construction of unit 3 is proposed to sit near a very large sink hole. Hydrology is a serious issue, the reactor vessels will actually rest below Guntersville Reservoirs low water lake level. Fissures and channels in the Karst Terrain would surround the reactor vessels. The reactors at Bellefonte are approximately 1 mile from the Sequatchie Fault Line, coupled with the Karst Terrain Bellefonte is being constructed over an unstable geological area. 3) Renewable fuel. Nuclear fuels are not renewable as Dr. Griffith suggests. However, there are proposals to reprocess spent nuclear fuels. Nuclear fuels reprocessing is a hazardous and dangerous business which results in the creation of plutonium which may be used in nuclear weapons. Does Dr. Griffith support Nuclear Proliferation? 4) Waste. What are you going to do with the nuclear waste that will be created. Is it Dr. Griffith, the TVA and local politician's wish to create a nuclear waste repository at Bellefonte. That is exactly what will occur. Nuclear Waste must be stored on site for an indefinite period of time. 5) Cost. No one likes to discuss the cost, not even the TVA. TVA is $26 billion dollars plus in debt, their debt is growing. How will the TVA afford the nuclear reactors? Completion of Units 1 & 2 will cost $4-$8 billion dollars, possibly more. The minimum cost of Units 3 & 4 will be $16 billion with cost overruns, units 3 & 4 may come in at $20 billion. The TVA has a $30 billion Congressional mandated cap on their debt. Where are they going to get the additional funds? Raise your electric rate to double or triple current electrical rates? 6) Approval of Construction. The reinstatement of the Construction Permits for units 1 & 2 violated the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's, NRC's, own policy and protocol. My military experience in Nuclear Reliability Programs makes me very, very concerned of the NRC's flagrant violation of protocols and policy in this matter. There was not one vote of approval for the reinstatement of construction permits for units 1 & 2 at Bellefonte. Again I repeat, the NRC Commissioners did not vote to reinstate the construction permit. They voted, 1 vote disapproved and 3 votes jointly approved-disapproved, an unprecedented vote and scheme to intentionally violate the NRC's own protocol and policy. This unprecedented action on the part of the NRC has landed them into a legal action in the Washington D.C Court of Appeals. From my stand point of military experience there can be no violations of law, policy or protocol concerning nuclear programs, including the construction process. If the very commissioners and authorities who are required by law to provide for nuclear safety and protect the public from unscrupulous actions of nuclear operators, contractors and government entities violate policy and protocol, they themselves stand as a liability to Nuclear Reliability and Safety programs. 7) There is no demand for the power that a Bellefonte Nuclear plant would produce. The TVA has reported its power demand and sales are down. This is the exact reason Bellefonte construction was previously ended. Do our political representatives wish to repeat the mistakes of 20 plus years ago and waste another $5 billion dollars or more?
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In summary, TVA is experiencing decreasing power demand according to their own reports. This is what led to the previous cancellation of Bellefonte Units 1 & 2. We who depend on TVA power cannot afford another series of poorly planned and unnecessary nuclear projects. The utilization of energy efficiency programs would end further expensive, risky nuclear expansion and will result in cost savings for customers and reduced impacts across the Tennessee River Valley. Use the money that Bellefonte would cost to update an antiquated power generation and distribution system and begin investing in Solar Power alternatives.
Garry Morgan, Scottsboro
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I am a member of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, BREDL, its local sub-chapter- Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team, BEST and The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, SACE.
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These organizations are concerned about our environment and the ecological impacts of nuclear power on our environment and other environmental issues. There is strength in numbers. Any meaningful effort in opposition to nuclear power or to assure the accountability of our government in nuclear licensing costs money. The nuclear industry has poured millions into the coffers of politicians and attorneys to insure nuclear construction continues, even if it is not warranted. The TVA has the backing of the U.S. Government in its efforts to continue with its unwise decisions concerning nuclear power. If you as a citizen believe that government accountability is needed concerning nuclear construction or oppose the continuation of nuclear construction at Bellefonte or other sites we welcome your participation in our cause. Information concerning BREDL and membership http://www.bredl.org/ information concerning SACE and membership http://www.cleanenergy.org/
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Other articles on my blog concerning the TVA and nuclear energy. http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/TVA
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A reminder of how nuclear power began, the Atomic Bomb. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1sS1TmXF38&feature=related


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Scottsboro Trails Poll


In the right column you will find a poll concerning the proposed Scottsboro Trails Program. The question, "Do you support the "Scottsboro Trails" plan submitted to the city council by Mr. Olyneic?" Please feel free to comment on this plan. The Daily Sentinel article on the trails program. http://thedailysentinel.com/story.lasso?ewcd=028453eab00115b9


Mayor Potter and Council President Matthew Hodges have both stated they support the project which is estimated to cost $5 million dollars. Mr. Olyneic has stated the city will have to pay 20% of the total cost. 80% will be acquired from state and federal grants according to Mr. Olyneic.


My apologies, there will be no report for the City Council Work Session last night as I was out of town.
UPDATE- Aug. 10, 2009: Poll results 57% voted yes, 43% voted no. There was a 5% margin of error due to repetitive IP address visits. However, the majority favors a Scottsboro Trail.