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FROM THE EDITOR: I’ll call your radioactive waste shipments and raise you a drone base

Several moons ago I wrote that it was a bit disturbing that Nye County, still suffering the after-effects of the economic calamity that struck the nation five years ago, was continuing to get the brush-off over Yucca Mountain, a multi-billion-dollar half-finished economic development gem just down the road from us, all the while new shipments of highly radioactive material were coming our way. Coming soon to a highway intersection near you, armed guards and all.

In fact, a public meeting was held last night at Nevada Treasure RV Resort in an effort by federal officials to allay public fears about the pending Uranium-233 shipments.

I’ll tell you, the shipments don’t really bother me all that much. They’re headed to the former test site, run by the National Nuclear Security Administration. It’s a highly secured, quasi-military facility, where I’m sure the U-233 canisters will be safely disposed of beneath the earth — probably only to the slight detriment of some far-off future generation of distant human relatives inhabiting an apocalyptic Earth that resembles a burnt marshmallow.

What bothers me is that Nye County taxpayers are getting nothing in remuneration for putting up with the extra nuclear baggage with which the feds are saddling us. I don’t care how safe the shipments are, or how many loopholes the U.S. Department of Energy finds to classify this highly radioactive material as low-level waste. No, I care that 40,000 people are getting more of this stuff in their backyard, but aren’t getting anything in return for the trouble — except, of course, the highly remote possibility something will go wrong.

None of the state’s major politicos supports Yucca Mountain. Their bullhorns drown out the weak voices of local leaders here who support the project and continue to fight for it. It seems the governor, our congressional delegation and others don’t think fondly of the nuclear waste shipments either. Here’s what Sen. Harry Reid’s press office said about the matter yesterday. “Following yesterday’s public meeting, I remain concerned about DOE’s plans to store Consolidated Edison Uranium Solidification Project (CEUSP) canisters at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). With the information I have today, I still do not support the transportation of these canisters.”

Well, thanks Harry, but how is it exactly that our wonderful senator, and I am a fan, can effectively shutter Yucca Mountain but can’t, or won’t, keep these shipments away? And just where does the president weigh in on this? After all, he went along with killing Yucca as much as anyone. But killing Yucca, only to allow these waste shipments is schizoid.

It just doesn’t make any sense to me. With Yucca, the county received payments in lieu of taxes. With these shipments, I’ve heard of nothing in the way of payments directly to the county. Maybe a few million dollars a year (or more) would help all this make more sense to me. Maybe a brand spanking new multi-billion-dollar drone base would make me think less of the canisters of deadly radio isotopes traveling at 55 miles per hour down our two-lane highways.

But all the waste and none of the gold is just a non-starter. It just is. Nye County is not your dumping ground — unless you pay and pay nicely. Then it makes sense to me.

RSVP needs your help

Talking about short on money, I have to say I was taken aback with the Pahrump Town Board’s decision this week to deny a request for financial support from RSVP, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.

RSVP’s Jan Lindsey requested $7,500 in assistance to keep her respite care program running. Respite care essentially provides volunteers to families who have a loved one suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. These are usually adult children caring for their elderly parents at home or even spouses caring for their ill husband or wife. They are doing this all alone in most cases, all while their loved one disintegrates before their very eyes. All while they try to maintain some sense of normalcy, both for themselves and their suffering loved one. It’s truly heartbreaking.

Pahrump is a retirement community for a lot of people. Retired couples come out here for the weather and the inexpensive living. Many end up living out their last days here. Some even find themselves caring for a spouse who all of a sudden has this serious personality-altering illness that requires 24-hour attention. Respite care allows the caregiver an occasional break. That’s it. It allows the spouse or caregiver to get some things done while someone else looks after their loved one for a few hours. That simple act means so much to these folks.

There are more of these cases right on your block than you know. Ask Jan. And, surprise, a lot of these people who need her help do not ask for it until the situation is so desperate.

I find it cruel and morally objectionable that not one single town board member even bothered to make a motion to fund this important program. What cowardice.

Of all the crap this town pays for, the tens of thousands of dollars wasted on that Godforsaken theme park study. The idiotic move a few weeks ago discussing hiring a town marshal. All that money fighting the county in court over the ballot question that voters passed. The paved parking lot in the middle of nowhere, the new soccer fields, and any number of recent expenditures or planned expenditures, or failed expenditures pale in importance to this one little, dinky program that needs your help.

I was ashamed when I heard this, especially when I learned that at the same time the board turned a cold shoulder to Jan and RSVP, it voted to give Allan Parker and his rural development nonprofit $10,000, which is not in the town’s budget either. What as a community are we saying here?

I’m not saying Parker’s request was any less valid than Jan’s, but the board’s position to me is just another disturbing display of official priorities that are way out of whack with the needs of this community.

Now Jan is going to try another way to raise the money she needs. Businesses will likely be getting letters and phone calls seeking financial support. I strongly, strongly urge you to help Jan and RSVP. The people her organization helps are your neighbors and mine. Who knows, it could be you or your family that needs her help next. Call Jan at 751-5282.

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