Disposal woes

Monday, June 9, 2003

Dear Editor,

In response to the person who complained about someone disposing of a refrigerator improperly, I recently checked into the proper channels for disposing of such items and found that if you live on a low or fixed income, it is no easy matter!

In our small town, it is simply not allowed. McCook's landfill requires an up-front fee, plus $20 to certify the draining of freon. (A local store) charges for each person they send out to pick up the item, usually two persons, plus $20 to certify the draining of freon. Others will pick up the item free, but you have to have a certification paper to show that the freon has been drained. Even if the reason for disposing of the item is lack of freon, they all insist that the certification must be done, no matter how apparent it is that there cannot possibly be any freon present. No matter how you try to dispose of a refrigerator, deepfreeze or air conditioner properly, you must have that $20 piece of paper for each appliance.

If you live in McCook, just paying the water bill is nearly impossible if you don't make over $50,000 a year. Those who live on less, no matter where they live, cannot afford any extra expense. Therefore, you find appliances and furniture in our ditches.

Recent studies have shown that freon, as well as secondhand smoke, are not nearly as destructive as formerly believed. Until our state and federal laws catch up, it seems to me that the solution to the appliance problem is to provide a place to take these items without a certification.

The cost of draining freon (or making sure there is no freon present) should come from the high taxes that are already pressed upon us. I assure you, that were this done, our ditches would be turned into dump sites less frequently.

We live in a society today where passing judgment is second hand. We tend to believe "If I can do it, so can my neighbor." In reality, we don't know what someone else can or cannot do. The adage, "Walk a mile in my shoes" comes to mind. If a friendly hand were extended instead of a judgement passed, everyone would benefit.

I would also like to touch upon the Gazette's tribute to our veterans for Memorial Day. The half page tributes to World War I, World War II, the Gulf War and now Iraq were very good. The tribute to our Vietnam veterans was despicable.

One short letter from a veteran is not a tribute, it is barely an honorable mention. More often than not, our Korean veterans are also shortchanged! Isn't it time that our local, as well as our national media, acknowledge the fact that Vietnam veterans served our country every bit as honorably as those in any other campaign in our history?

Any mistakes made during that campaign were political and not the responsibility of the men and women who fought and died following the orders handed to them. Failing to recognize the accomplishments of our Vietnam and Korean veterans is an affront not only to the veterans, but also to the families who lost loved ones who gave their lives serving in those campaigns.

Sandy Clevenger,

Proud wife of a Vietnam veteran,


EDITOR'S NOTE -- The Gazette solicited from readers letters and remembrances from and about veterans of all U.S. conflicts. The tribute included fewer mentions of Vietnam and Korea because fewer contributions were received.

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