From: Lynette Kerce
I thought you might like to get a flavor of the small town in the middle of Winona County that I call home. It has been around for quite a while. It boasted a number of businesses including: a creamery that churned 800,000 pounds of butter in 1963, much of which was sold in Chicago; two groceries that dated back to 1911; a lumber yard; a radio and TV repair shop; and auto repair shop. Many of the businesses have long since closed, but the community spirit remains much the same. If someone’s house burns down, we raise money to help them replace their losses; if someone has a terminal disease we hold a benefit. Adult and little league baseball games are still played to cheering crowds at the local ball field. The old schoolhouse has been repurposed into our Community Center. It is busy most weekends with a variety of activities such as 4-H, senior card parties, wedding showers, community suppers, reunions, and sports tournaments. The per capita income in Utica is about $20,000. While we might not have the monetary wherewithal of other communities, we are rich in many other ways, some of which I have shared with you in this letter. Ninety people out of our total population are under the age of 18, many of whom can be found playing ball, walking their dogs, or playing at the park during the summer. Forty-three people in the community are over 60, many of whom go to the local church on Sunday, use the community center regularly and visit the cemetery frequently. You can see then why it is a concern to have 140 trucks a day filled with sand traveling down the county highway that is our town’s main road. (We only have CT 33 and Main Street as thoroughfares.) Considering the potential danger to our children, our elders, as well as the whole community, it is difficult to understand the logic of those in county government who would allow the Nisbit mine to endanger Utica with frac sand trucks, especially with a legal appeal in the court system that has yet to be ruled on.