Julie's Reports and Articles

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March  2000 Darby Update
Ohio Farmers & Homeowners versus US Fish & Wildlife "Service" On March 16, 2000, Part Two of the Senate Agriculture Hearings on Senate Concurrent Resolution 28 (SCR-28) were held. According to the Committee Chairman, Sen. Doug White, a vote on this Resolution should come as early as next week. While not a Federal Bill, this Resolution sends a strong message to the Department of the Interior that the citizens and legislators of Ohio DO NOT WANT OR NEED a second Federal Wildlife Refuge in Ohio, ESPECIALLY one targeted for from 21,000-223,692 acres of the BEST, PRIME FARMLAND. There are already 72 State-Owned Refuges within Ohio's borders. US Fish & Wildlife Service intimates that taking out of food production such a HUGE chunk of IRREPLACEABLE FARMLAND will save us from "urban sprawl," while studies indicate that the presence of a refuge actually ACCELERATES the growth of urbansprawl along the boundaries of a refuge. USFWS is presently under Congressional investigation for the alleged misuse and loss of over $45 Million in funds from the Dingell-Johnson and Pittman-Robertson Act Funds. USFWS is over $4 Billion in arrears on maintenance of currently-owned refuges, with 30 new refuges in the last 6 years, 6 new refuges in 1999 alone. USFWS publicly states that they pay whatever the loss would be to the local tax base, while the reality of their own figures for the past 20 years shows otherwise. Such payments have ranged from 53-100%, averaging 74% of what is owed. USFWS has only requested 54% of Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILT, or Revenue Refuge Sharing funds) in the year 2000 annual Federal Budget. Stewards of the Darby, a local citizens group comprised of farmers, homeowners, and local businesses, with members ranging in age from 12-82, is involved in this on an ever-growing knowledge basis. We believe that knowledge, not only of OUR situation, but every other private property rights scenario in America, is VITAL to our success in keeping our homes, farms and ag-related businesses safe from BOTH a "wildlife refuge" AND "urban sprawl." We are open to information and contacts from all over the country, whether it be a BLM, Forest Service, USFWS, Nat'l. Park Service, or ?-initiated land taking. We are not content to solve this problem ONLY in our part of Ohio, but committed to helping stem the tide of removing private property from Americans. Yes, we care about public lands, but we have shown, as have MANY resource-providing Americans, that our stewardship of the lands is GOOD for those lands, and for our American citizens and our American Republic. We believe, God-willing, that our knowledge, and thirst for knowledge, and patient but dedicated stance in this arena, will cause others to come forward, bravely, and join us! We are peaceful country folks, and love our God, our Country and our Flag, as well as all our friends, families and neighbors.

Plans currently in progress include the Fly-In for America in May, the Freedom Train and many, MANY local and state events such as fairs, festivals, historical events, etc. Any events/gatherings that you feel we should know about, please let us know!

We are already subscribed to Take Back Arkansas, PRC-Digest, American Policy Center, ALRA, and others, so, please, before sending us forwards of such postings, ask if we are already on the subscription list! This will save a lot of time and duplication! Please contact us today! The land you save may be your own!

January 2000 Darby Update
Dateline Monday, January 17, 2000
Lake Choctaw Lodge near London, Ohio
Chuck Cushman, private property rights advocate and co-founder of the American Land Rights Association, Battle Ground, WA, motivated a full house of 350+ citizens and political campaigners Monday evening, as the first snow of the winter season fell outside. Flyers had been distributed throughout the rural area for several weeks, and folks braved the impending weather event to attend an event comparable to a private property rights pep rally. Two local grassroots groups, Stewards of the Darby (SOD) and Citizens Against Refuge Proposal (CARP) were there, as were a sizable group of local Amish and Mennonite farmers and their families. A local E Pluribus Unum (EPU) patriot group used the venue for their weekly meeting. Reporters for the local London and Marysville newspapers were there, as was TV Channel 4 from Columbus. The meeting opened with two short speeches by State Senator Merle Grace Kearns, who has been quite helpful to the area's citizens with her involvement and recently introduced legislation; and State Representative (74th District) Christopher Widener, who was appointed to fill out Joseph Haines' seat. The general mood of the meeting was somber, but quickly warmed up with the spirited, rapid-fire commentary of Mr. Cushman, who engaged the crowd in a series of questions and answers, after some U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service stories of other areas of the country, and Mr. Cushman's efforts to thwart their refuge-achieving goals. Incidentally, Mr. Cushman is an"in-holder" (which he explained is someone living on their own private property within the boundaries of a National Park or other Federally-owned area) in Yosemite National Park in California. After speaking about refuges, Mr. Cushman made several suggestions as to how the area could stave off the refuge proposal: peaceful demonstrations, lobbying efforts in Washington, DC, fund-raisers to support opposition efforts and other likely solutions. He claimed to make no guarantees, but spoke of other locations where these actions had been of help. The meeting lasted approximately 2 and 1/2 hours, and wrapped up with the attendees filling out (or taking home to fill out later) comment questionnaire forms, which could serve to supplement individual public comment on the proposed Little Darby Nat'l. Wildlife Refuge, whose public comment period expires on 1-29-2000, when comments must be postmarked. Seeming to have caused much thoughtfulness on the part of the group, Mr. Cushman appeared to have been well-received by Madison and Union Counties. Other activities of late: much time, and super-human effort, has gone into the preparation of opposition reports and documents. The combined energies of both the SOD and CARP groups have been poured into this effort.

December 1999 Darby Update
I just got home from the first of the 3 "Open Houses" scheduled by USFWS: I got 113 opposition signatures on petitions from the attendees, and the numbers were overwhelmingly OPPOSED to ANY form of refuge. Did I miss it, or do you have any notice of these 3 meetings on the website? We had 11 farm tractors and 1 combine outside, and Channels 4, 6 and 10, plus the Columbus Dispatch and the Madison Press were all there to cover the story. I've got to hand it to our area residents: they are one VERY CLASSY BUNCH! Even when Thomas Larson and Wm. Hegge said that they thought the 273-page "DEA" was all right, they didn't get booed. However, a LOT more people than they expected, had READ and HAD TIME TO DIGEST that "DEA," and that surprised them, a LOT! Will you be at the Thursday meeting, Jim? There may be even MORE tractors there! Thanks again from SOD (Stewards Of The Darby) and all our neighbors for doing this website!

December 1999 Darby Update
Report on US Fish & Wildlife Service 'Open House' #2 from Plain City/Dublin, Ohio
Our trip to USFWS's second "Open House" was from the viewpoint of the rear of a 21-farm tractor, 1-combine, 1 pickup truck with a "covered wagon" trailer, 7 regular vehicles, and THREE tractor-trailers with grain trailers! We received police escorts through Plain City and the west edge of Dublin, and MANY horns blowing, "thumbs-up" and some SALUTES from those residents who gathered along the route, and from a construction crew and other motorists! Each vehicle displayed the now-familiar black-and-white "No Darby Refuge" signs, along with other patriotic and heartwarming signs, and with our lights blazing and 4-way flashers flashing, we outdid Rudolph and the sleigh for candlepower! The effect was emotionally powerful on participants and observers alike, and we feel the community is not only waking up to this issue, but is also strongly supportive of our stand for our private property rights! Both groups, Stewards Of The Darby (SOD) and Citizens Against Refuge Proposal (CARP) are working together to defeat this attack on our homes and chosen way of life, and we are making DEFINITE HEADWAY! Tonight's numbers are roughly the same as Tuesday's at London: about 6 or 7 to 1, in FAVOR OF THE FARMERS AND LOCAL HOMEOWNERS!

We are looking forward to next Thursday, and we can feel the momentum building from our group: WE are fighting this attempt, and we are TOGETHER and UNITED in our efforts! Someone told me tonight that our website has had over 900 hits! Keep up the GREAT WORK, Jim, and we'll keep you up-to-date on the latest happenings! We will be at J-D Equipment on Rt. 42 north of London on Saturday, with a booth set up for Customer Appreciation Day: THEY INVITED US! So, you see, even the Businesses know that we are staunchly supporting them with our efforts!