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Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Old 05-17-10, 05:46 AM
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Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

The Department of Homeland Security sees Morses Line as a weak link in the nation’s borders, attractive to terrorists trying to smuggle in lethal materials. The government is planning an estimated $8 million renovation here as part of a nationwide effort to secure border crossings.

It intends to acquire 4.9 acres of border land on a dairy farm owned for three generations by the Rainville family. Last month, the Rainvilles learned that if they refuse to sell the land for $39,500, the government intends to seize it by eminent domain.

The Rainvilles call this an unjustified land-grab by federal bullies.
full article here
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Old 05-17-10, 07:11 AM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Honestly, this looks like a perfectly legitimate use of eminent domain to me. If the farmers can demonstrate that the price being offered is unfair (something suggested in the article), then they can protest that through established channels. Don't know if it will do any good.
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Old 05-17-10, 08:34 AM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

I understand why the family is upset, but as jfoobar said this is the kind of thing eminent domain was made for.

Although the family is upset over the price offered, and the fact that the loss of that land could jeopardize the farm.

The Rainvilles say the land, where they grow a portion of the feed for 150 head of cattle, is worth far more than the offer, and is critical at a time when the low price of milk has dairy farmers struggling to cover the cost of production.

“It’s like taking a leg off a stool. If you reduce the hay, you reduce the herd; if you reduce the herd, you immediately affect the viability of the farm,’’ Brian Rainville said. “Last year, the farm lost money. Right now, we are hanging on by our fingernails.’’
Perhaps the family can get a court to agree that the land is worth more than the $39k the government is offering, but beyond that I don't see where they have any recourse.
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Old 05-17-10, 09:01 AM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

An earlier article from our local weekly variety paper here:
http://www.7dvt.com/2009crossing-line
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Old 05-17-10, 09:45 AM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Originally Posted by jfoobar View Post
Honestly, this looks like a perfectly legitimate use of eminent domain to me. If the farmers can demonstrate that the price being offered is unfair (something suggested in the article), then they can protest that through established channels. Don't know if it will do any good.
This looks like a typical example of screwed up government priorities. Have we really taken care of all of the major weak spots on our border and this is next on the list? That's like having some 70 yr old Norwegian grandmother on the terrorist watchlist.
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Old 05-17-10, 10:08 AM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

5 acres in Bumfuck, VT worth "far more" than $39K? Please.
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Old 05-17-10, 10:10 AM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Originally Posted by sracer View Post
This looks like a typical example of screwed up government priorities. Have we really taken care of all of the major weak spots on our border and this is next on the list? That's like having some 70 yr old Norwegian grandmother on the terrorist watchlist.
What spot would you suggest be next?
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Old 05-17-10, 10:52 AM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
What spot would you suggest be next?
I asked the question because I don't know if it is reasonable that this town is next. Has DHS taken care of all of the higher risk / higher priority areas already? Is this VT town next on that list?
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Old 05-17-10, 12:08 PM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

They have to offer fair compensation, which means that an appraisal will end up being ordered, etc. It sucks for them, but this is what emminant domain is for.

It would be nice if they worried about the Mexican border, though. But I don't see any problem with this.
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Old 05-17-10, 12:32 PM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

I think they are more worried about Islamic terrorists than Mexican workers.
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Old 05-17-10, 01:45 PM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
I think they are more worried about Islamic terrorists than Mexican workers.
Is there something unique about the Mexican border that repels Islamic terrorists from crossing into the US?
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Old 05-17-10, 01:57 PM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Originally Posted by sracer View Post
Is there something unique about the Mexican border that repels Islamic terrorists from crossing into the US?
Why bother with hours or day long treks through the desert when you can move a traffic cone out of the way in North Dakota?

I have no problem with what is being done here. We need to better secure both our Northern and Southern borders. I know this makes me racist against Mexicans and Canadians. Oh well.
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Old 05-17-10, 02:22 PM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Originally Posted by sracer View Post
Is there something unique about the Mexican border that repels Islamic terrorists from crossing into the US?
Ask the terrorists.
http://global-economics.ca/911hijackers.htm
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Old 05-17-10, 02:42 PM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
Ah so the answer is that you're just throwing stuff out there to deflect kvrdave's comment. There was nothing in the link that you posted that referenced the Mexican border. So not only did you deflect kvrdave's comment, you did it in response to mine as well.

edit: *PLONK*

Last edited by sracer; 05-17-10 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 05-17-10, 03:49 PM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

WTF are you talking about? I have no interest in following up kvrdave's point, only following up on my very obvious point: We've had problems with terrorists in Canada and not Mexico.

Not really sure where you are seeing terrorists crossing the Mexican border. Perhaps I missed the coverage. If you are speaking of Mexican illegal immigration, I have no interest in that topic in THIS topic. There is a thread for that. This is about Vermont and the CANADIAN border.

Last edited by CRM114; 05-17-10 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 05-17-10, 06:39 PM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Originally Posted by sracer View Post
This looks like a typical example of screwed up government priorities. Have we really taken care of all of the major weak spots on our border and this is next on the list? That's like having some 70 yr old Norwegian grandmother on the terrorist watchlist.
Even if you were correct and this was a bad application of priorities by DHS (which I doubt), that wouldn't make a damn bit of difference as to whether or not it was a legitimate use of eminent domain.
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Old 05-17-10, 06:44 PM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Originally Posted by TallGuyMe View Post
full article here
I think the farmer should be allowed to treat the government the same way they would McDonalds. They want it bad enough they should have to pay for it.

And yes, I know its tax dollars, but I would rather see people like this "win" against the government than the b-crats.
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Old 05-17-10, 07:58 PM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
5 acres in Bumfuck, VT worth "far more" than $39K? Please.
My property (just the acreage) is valued at $20,000/acre (as judged by the town office: building = $80,000, total property = $130,000. 2 1/2 acres. You do the math.)

Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
Exactly. I don't care if that 5 acres doubles the hay available for "the herd"....tell him to use another 5 acres! I mean, he has 220 acres of land.
Yuh ahn't from 'round heah, ahh yuh flatlandah. Just because a farm's property is 220 acres does not mean that there are 220 acres of viable haying land. In fact, if you read the article, you will learn that there are only 60 acres that can be hayed.

It also sounds as though the feds are going cheap as the land produces $32,500 worth of hay. Hell, they close the port and barricade the roud, it will be just as safe as the closed border crossing between Listerville, NB and Mars Hill, Maine.



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Old 06-04-10, 09:10 AM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Finally, some closure.

Morses Line border crossing to close


The border crossing at Morses Line in the town of Franklin will close rather than undergo a controversial expansion, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Thursday — and the owners of an adjacent dairy farm are cheering.

Leahy said U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has agreed to his request to close the facility.The department confirmed the closure late Thursday.

The move is a victory for the Rainville family, which had been fighting the proposal by the federal government to expand and renovate the crossing. The renovations would have meant the government would take 2.2 acres from the Rainvilles, whose dairy farm sits near the crossing. The Rainvilles said the land seizure would have crippled the farm and possibly forced it out of operation.

Brian Rainville, the farmers’ son, said Thursday he was elated by news of the closure.

“It’s been a pretty amazing afternoon,” he said. “The process worked.”

Homeland Security received $420 million from the federal bailout to modernize land ports; about $5 million was allocated for the Morses Line project.

Customs officials initially wanted to take 10 acres from the dairy farm, then cut it to 4.9 acres, warning family members in a letter that if they didn’t agree to sell for $39,500, the land would be seized through eminent domain. Last month, officials reduced that amount they sought to acquire to 2.2 acres.

Rainville praised Leahy and the rest of the Vermont congressional delegation for asking questions about the proposal and pressuring Homeland Security to close the crossing, or at least to do something so the Rainville farm would be unaffected.

“I didn’t expect anything this quickly,” Rainville said.

A May 23 public meeting with federal officials in Franklin regarding the Morses Line proposal brought out a crowd who spoke against building a new port of entry. Rainvillle also testified last week at a Congressional hearing about the matter and won a promise of support from Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Oberstar said he would ask Napolitano to reconsider the project.

The closure will come after a public comment period, consultations with people and organizations involved in the border crossing and further assessments of safety and traffic patterns, Leahy said. The senator said Napolitano told him that process would take about a year. Homeland Security plans to evaluate how to secure the region after the station is closed, along with how best to reroute traffic to the nearest station some 15 miles away.

“The decision to close it is an appropriate conclusion to this process,” Leahy said in a statement. He noted the closure will save taxpayer money and preserve the Rainville farm.

The order to close the station came as “a result of extensive consultations with the local community and our partners in Congress, and based on independent analyses by security and constructions experts,” Homeland Security spokesman Clark Stevens said in a statement Thursday night to The Burlington Free Press. He added the port of entry is the oldest one operated by Customs and Border Protection, and without upgrades it “fails to meet the national security standards of today, leaving closure as the only appropriate course of action.”

The port of entry was built in 1934, a dozen years before the Rainvilles bought their farm. It is one of 15 ports of entry between Quebec and Vermont.

The Morses Line crossing had little traffic. An estimated 17,000 cars a year used the Morses Line crossing. As Rainville puts it, that works out to an average of about two vehicles per hour.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Matt Sutkoski at 660-1846 or [email protected].

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/a...ssing-to-close
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Old 06-04-10, 09:33 AM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Vermont, with its small 225 mile border with Canada has 15 points of entry? Michigan has four bridges or tunnels (there are some ferry crossings and points where boats can check in). In my Atlas, I can't even see 15 roads big enough to make the Atlas that cross the Vermont-Quebec border.

Probably a few more of 15 could close and reduce waste.
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Old 06-04-10, 09:39 AM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
5 acres in Bumfuck, VT worth "far more" than $39K? Please.
It depends on how productive the farm land is.
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Old 06-04-10, 10:41 AM
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Re: Feds bully VT farmer into selling off land for cheap

Originally Posted by OldDude View Post
Vermont, with its small 225 mile border with Canada has 15 points of entry? Michigan has four bridges or tunnels (there are some ferry crossings and points where boats can check in). In my Atlas, I can't even see 15 roads big enough to make the Atlas that cross the Vermont-Quebec border.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...rder_crossings

I know that some of these stations are ridiculously tiny. Interesting (to me) is that all but a couple of them -- including the one that will be closing per this new article -- are open 24 hours.

Originally Posted by OldDude View Post
Probably a few more of 15 could close and reduce waste.
Agreed
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