Local station WOWT is running a story today focused on Omaha Public Power District’s attempts to control rumors surrounding the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant, which as I noted in an earlier post lies in an area heavily flooded by the Missouri river. In today’s story, the plant’s chief nuclear officer, Dave Bannister, admits that he requested the FAA declare the area a no-fly zone:

“I can ill afford at a time when I’ve got already a natural disaster going on to have an aircraft crash on site that could potentially affect one of my power sources.”

This story represents the fourth explanation for the airspace restriction around the plant that OPPD has offered to the media. Other explanations include work on overhead power lines, security concerns, and a claim on their own site last week that the FAA had ordered the restriction because the area is flooded. Today’s story directly contradicts that.

If OPPD has nothing to hide, one has to wonder: why the contradictory stories? Why the earlier, documented attempt to keep news media from showing flood waters encroaching on the plant? (See video at linked site.)

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This summer, I’m catching up with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, which airs Fridays on ABC. In progressive circles, at least, food is a hot topic these days, and one of Oliver’s questions for his viewing audience is one we find ourselves asking often as we deal with the task of feeding our families: Do you know where your food comes from?

I’ve been growing more of my own food each summer for a while now. Though I am by no means more than an amateur gardener, the process of starting seeds, planting seedlings, caring for the plants and harvesting what I’ve grown has been immensely rewarding. I’ve learned a lot about soil quality, planting, growing, and natural pest control. In addition, as it’s often noted, the quality of the food from one’s very first batch of plants is vastly superior in taste to what can be purchased at the grocery store. I heartily encourage those who have the space and time to take up gardening. Seeds are cheap, and seed-starting kits, which are available from nurseries and large retailers such as Walmart and Target, are surprisingly affordable.

However, for whatever reason, many can’t plant a garden, and most of us would have trouble planting gardens which offer the variety of foods to which we’ve become accustomed. Local farmers’ markets are of course an excellent place to turn. Another, which is often overlooked, is an organized cooperative of local producers. Consumers can not only buy seasonal produce through these co-ops, but also meat, dairy products, eggs, breads, jams, soaps, and household/gift items. Some, like the Nebraska Food Cooperative, offer online ordering systems which also enable consumers to connect directly with the farmers from whom they purchase goods, and producers must describe their facilities and methods in order to participate.

Perhaps best of all, making that choice to know one’s food’s life cycle, its producer, and buying locally allows consumers to put money directly into their local economies — into the pockets of their friends and neighbors. It’s even better when government policy encourages the same… I was very pleased to learn that the public housing development in my town gives its residents vouchers in the summer which they can use at the farmers’ market, which seems like a beautiful arrangement in which the local taxpayers receive some of their money back in a very real way. I’m also encouraged to read that, according to Open Harvest Natural Foods Cooperative, the practice of allowing customers to use EBT cards (food stamps) at local markets and co-ops is growing nationwide.

I can’t help but think that has very good implications for the health and eating habits of the poor, provided that they are made aware of their ability to use their funds in this way and encouraged to do so. I’d love to see Jamie Oliver focus on this. It would be a revolution, indeed, if everyone had equal access to quality, affordable food. Couple that with the informed decision-making that Oliver pushes and you’d have one empowered group!

OPPD, which owns and runs the Fort Calhoun facility, has posted a page to address the rumors surrounding the nuclear power plant. Judge for yourself. I am interested in knowing whether it’s common practice for the FAA to restrict airspace in flooded areas, as OPPD claims, and if so, why the entire region isn’t restricted…

Rising flood waters throughout the American midwest have been largely ignored in recent weeks, in favor of stories about Anthony Weiner’s narcissistic sexcapades. Thousands of people have already been displaced by the flood, and rescue organizations are struggling to accommodate the influx of abandoned animals. Perhaps most disturbing of all, though, is the failure of the media — both mainstream and local — to accurately report on the situation at the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant, which sits on the Missouri river about 20 miles north of Omaha. As a resident of the general area, I am particularly interested in why it isn’t being reported locally that OPPD, which owns and operates the plant, requested that the FAA issue a restriction of the airspace surrounding the plant.

Due to a lack of time, for now I’ll just list several relevant articles not already linked above:

Article at Business Insider

Truthout

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