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Shady residents ask for support of commissioners

A group of Shady Valley residents who have banned together and formed the Shady Valley Neighbors for Clean Air and Water (SVNCAW) signed up to address the commissioners as they gathered for the April meeting.  Members of this organization came to the meeting to ask the commissioners for their support regarding past and present concerns since the spraying of the pesticide, metam sodium, in November of 2010 in Shady Valley.
Tony Barry, president of SVNCAW, explained that people have experienced health problems that began shortly after the November spraying of the arugula fields in Shady Valley by Highland Soil Fumigation Company.  The fields are leased by B&W Quality Growers out of Florida.
According to Barry, along with several adults, to date seven children have been reported as suffering severe coughing, respiratory problems and blisters on their faces after the November spraying.  Barry asked the commissioners to give their support as SVNCAW works with state agencies in investigating the problems associated with metam sodium.
“We want your support to keep industrialized farming out of Shady Valley,” Barry said. “We’re not asking for the commissioners to regulate, but we’re asking the support of the commissioners to protect the health of the people in Shady Valley.”
Shady Valley resident, Donna Reed, expressed concern over the ongoing health problems in the Valley and Shady’s water supply.  “People are thinking about leaving the Valley,” she said. “We don’t want this in Shady.  We don’t need this in Shady.  It’s going to destroy Shady.”
Commissioner Huey Long made a motion to pass a resolution that states:  “Be it resolved that the Johnson County commissioners support Shady Valley Neighbors for Clean Air and Water and their efforts to protect their community and its air and water from the misuse of toxic chemicals. Furthermore, we support their efforts in notifying both state and federal regulatory agencies for the purpose of investigating past, present and future incidents of the presence of toxic chemicals in the air or water of Shady Valley.”
A motion was made to adopt the resolution, but the commissioners were reminded of the rules by Chairman Freddie Phipps pertaining to the citizen comment guidelines wherein no votes will be taken on any items that were not on the agenda for the monthly meeting.  However, a motion was made and seconded to forgo the rules and allow Commissioner Long’s resolution to be voted upon.  The motion failed and will be on the May commissioner’s meeting agenda.
Commissioners Jerry Grindstaff also signed up to speak to the commissioners as part of the citizen comments time period set aside at the beginning of each meeting regarding the manner in which judicial commissioners issue warrants that was raised in the March 2011 meeting.
“There are regulations and we have some that aren’t being followed,” said Grindstaff.  Johnson County Attorney Bill Cockett was asked to study what jurisdiction the commissioners have over judicial commissioners. Cockett had previously been asked to report back on the issue in the May meeting.  After further discussion, Grindstaff withdrew his motion.
The commissioners approved the budget amendments and approved five notaries.
Quarterly reports from various departments had previously been submitted for review.  Trustee Sue Hensley reported, “Our collections for 2010 as of March 31 are at 87 percent.  It’s one percent over last year.”
Newly elected Mountain City Mayor Lawrence Keeble came before the commissioners and promised cooperation between the city and county government.  “I pledge as a member of the city council the best cooperation with county government,” Keeble said. “I hope and trust our two governments can work together.”
Michael Lewis, chief regulatory officer for SkyLine Telephone Membership Corporation/SkyBest Communications, Inc., headquartered in West Jefferson, North Carolina, asked for the approval of the commissioners for a video franchise ordinance.  “We are about to start a $2 million project in Shady Valley,” Lewis said.  State law requires approval from the county commissioners before the project can begin.  With the completion of this project, SkyLine Telephone will provide cable service for 400 customers in Shady Valley.  The project is set to begin this week. A motion was made by Commissioner Long and seconded by Commissioner Dean Stout and passed on a vote by the body.
Commissioner Stout brought to the commissioners’ attention that perhaps a more economical way of sending reports and communications among commissioners and committees could save the county postage money.  After some discussion, the item was tabled until next month.
The meeting was adjourned with a motion made by Commissioner Stout.