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Peat mining is subject of forum

Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

The Rock River Open Forum will feature a discussion with Sandra Hamm, who was one of the Garden Plain organizers heading the effort to deny a permit to mine topsoil in their area.

The meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Sterling Public Library. The public is invited to attend and learn more about this effort to preserve the rich farmland of our county and to safeguard it from huge corporations that want to take over all aspects of our lives for short-term profits.

Sandra and colleagues:

n Researched the process of peat and topsoil mining and its effects on the land and environment. 

n Organized their neighbors. 

n Distributed a petition that was signed by 43 residents.

n Skillfully presented their findings to the planning and zoning commission to deny a special-use permit, at which time five commissioners voted for a denial while two were in favor.

n Valiantly defended their findings after the final vote was made at the Whiteside County Board meeting on July 17.   

The Whiteside County Board members denied their efforts to stop the expansion of soil and peat mining, 23-3, as reported by the Daily Gazette on the July 17 front page.

The hard work of this group, guided and inspired by Sandra and her close friend Diane Engelkins, should be appreciated and emulated by local citizens who want to assert ourselves for what we believe to be right.

Please join us on Thursday at the Sterling Public Library.

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