Thursday, August 9, 2012
Letter to The Editor
Reply to letter
My family moved to Hudsonville when I was 3 years old, 65 years ago. I have lived and made a living farming along Hwy. 313 ever since. There are many family farms in Hudsonville that have been in their families for 100 years or more, with some members of their families still living and farming this land.
We feel that we have contributed to the quality of the environment while making a living farming cotton, corn, what, soybeans, milo, hay, cattle and produce. We have not converted our pasture from Bermuda and fescue, but planted more to have better pasture and hay. There are a lot of people from Hudsonville who went on to college and got an education and went on to good jobs or started their own business, simply because their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents made sure they knew the importance of a good education, hard work, a good work ethic and the ability to get along with other people to make it happen.
I would like to reply to a letter to the editor in the Aug. 2 South Reporter, which stated that on July 24, a crew from Mississippi Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) tore into the trees along 313 brutalizing the trees as they cleared the right of way.
First, let me say that 90 percent of the trees and brush that they removed were dead and stopping up the side ditches, causing flooding when it rained, as well as dead branches falling into the roadway causing unsafe driving conditions to the residents of Hudsonville.
My family owns land on both ends of Hwy. 313 and I travel this highway at least eight or 10 times daily. I have had to pull over and stop to let school buses pass when I was pulling a cattle trailer or farm equipment. There were limbs so low that my hay mower would not pass under them without moving over to the middle of the highway.
I made the statement to one of my employees as we were waiting for MDOT to clear a section of this highway that “I sure am glad they were clearing the right of way,” and his reply was “It sure needed it.”
We have a beautiful church that was built along Hwy. 313 that has flooded three times in the past several years. My family farmed cotton where Hudsonville #2 MB Church is located for 50 years and we have never had any problem with flooding, because my daddy would have kept the ditch open that caused the flooding.
I am saying this because one of the pictures that was printed in the paper is of this creek that runs north and south from Hackamore Ranch north of Hwy. 7 through my property and that of other landowners, as well as Hopewell No. 2 property.
This creek was so stopped up with dead brush and live trees that had grown up in it and on the banks and fell into the creek that it was no way for it to carry the water when we had lots of rain. I have seen Hwy. 313 have water over it more in the last five years than I have in my lifetime. You can see in this picture a bridge that was built in 1917 (it is stamped on the side of the bridge). Where the water went under this bridge it was so stopped up there was no way for it not to flood.
This creek runs directly in front of Hopewell No. 2 MB Church, so I would be willing to say not a single person from this congregation, as well as myself and the other property owners affected when this creek floods, would have anything to say but thanks to Mississippi Dept. of Transportation for a job well done.
The other picture is at the corner of Hwy. 313 and my brother’s land. As you can see in the picture, there are still dead limbs where MDOT clear this side ditch of dead trees and limbs. This is where the writer stated that the ground was stripped of all vegetation. There was no vegetation to start with and I have seen this section of Hwy. 313 have water running across the highway because the ditches were so full of dead brush and trees. Again, I want to say thank you, MDOT, for a great job.
I have stated earlier that I was raised in Hudsonville all my life and know every person here by their names and nicknames. I have not heard a single person (and I have talked to several) complain about this road maintenance, only praise MDOT for something that was long overdue.
The writer of this letter is a personal friend of mine and a good neighbor, so this is nothing personal toward him.
My hope is that their environmental sensibility will not come before the safety of my friends and neighbors in Hudsonville as we travel to work and move our farm equipment over Hwy. 313. This highway was not meant to be a scenic highway but a farm to market road for the many people who travel to work, school buses and farm products daily. But it still is a beautiful road and safer.
In closing, I would like to say, in my opinion, the only thing very “over the top,” heavy-handed and brutal was the accusations against the MDOT and this highway maintenance crew and their job performance in temperatures of 100 degrees on July 24. I was living on Hwy. 313 when it was a gravel road and was later paved. This road work and clearing ditches was the best improvement since it was paved. Thanks again, Mississippi Dept. of Transportation, for making Hwy. 313 a safer and more beautiful highway.
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