Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

September 19, 2012

Letters to the editor - Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012

Why are zoning changes so easy?

Thursday’s issue of the Kokomo Tribune contains an article titled, “Plan commission approves additional developments”, i.e., adding gas pumps at the corner of Washington Street and Boulevard.

If this is a “controversial” decision, as pointed out in the article, why not pay some attention to the ones who live there and will be affected?

Some citizens of the local neighborhood where these developments are scheduled to be taking place were present at the meeting Sept. 11 and their comments, complete with well-researched facts and figures, were not even discussed among the committee members. They were only allowed to express opinions, then the vote was taken without further debate.

It would seem that apparently the vote was decided beforehand and, yes, there will be a convenience store, there will be gas pumps, there will not be any noise, there will not be any bright lights throughout the night, there will not be any traffic tie-ups and so, apparently, this convenience store will not be an inconvenience to anyone.

In fact, it was told that the area would prosper as a result. We’ll see.

When exactly did a convenience store ever make a neighborhood more attractive, quieter, more successful and safer? Gasoline and food are available at multiple venues within blocks already, so why another one?

Just because someone can request to rezone an area for one’s own benefit doesn’t mean it is the best thing to do. After all, why even have a zoning board if changes can be made so easily?

It is probably too late for residents to march on City Hall to protest this decision, however, I do feel that there would be many supporters even outside of the immediate area who would join in supporting fellow Kokomo citizens who may not be getting a fair hearing.

Loretta Sink, Kokomo

Be alert, drivers, it’s harvest time

National Farm Safety Week is Sept. 16-22. This week gives us the opportunity to recognize the fact that farming is a hazardous occupation.

In 2010, 22 Indiana agricultural workers died on the job. Twelve of these deaths were from transportation-related accidents, according to the state Department of Labor.

Farms are larger than in the past, so operators are forced to travel greater distances between fields. Yes, it is inconvenient to be “stuck” behind a combine or tractor, but if we follow simple rules, we can share the road safely.

Stay alert. If a car traveling 55 mph comes upon a vehicle traveling 15 mph, it only takes 5 seconds to close a gap the length of a football field. It is not always possible to load a grain truck in the field, so watch for trucks parked along the road. Watch for wide-turning vehicles as they enter a field.

Be patient. Farmers would like to pull over to let you pass, but it is not always possible. Stay at least 50 feet behind farm equipment and pass only when the way is clear. It is better to lose a little time than your life.

If we all drive with extra care during this harvest season, Howard County will not become a farm fatality statistic.

Iris Eller, Kokomo