The outside temperature went up to 90 degrees, but CALM volunteers had free iced-cool water for the public, a fan-cooled tent, and some pretty cool displays at the downtown Hillsboro Old Settler’s street fair and celebration, August 21st and 22nd.
Thanks to a Heartland Coalfield Alliance
Grant, new brochures
were available for handouts. Information included health concerns from coal and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) phone numbers to call to report air issues. To alert the public before the Old Settler’s event, CALM also had a day-glow lime green information page insert in the Hillsboro newspaper with coal dust air quality concerns and a form to file an environmental quality complaint to the state. The Heartland Coalfield Alliance grant provided funding for these special efforts.
At Old Settler’s, a three-panel display board showed longwall mining impacts on flat farm ground. There was information on homes destroyed and historic farm families uprooted because of longwall mining. Issues regarding harmful health affects of coal were also listed. Aerial photos of the Refuse Disposal Impoundment #1 at the Deer Run Mine and large-format maps and information about the second Refuse Disposal Impoundment currently under consideration were also on display. Several photos showed the proximity of the mine processing plant to the Hillsboro Hospital and downtown. Other photos showed the coal slurry refuse impoundment areas and pointed out nearby neighborhoods in Schram City. The coal slurry impoundments are all High Hazard Dams, meaning that loss of life and or property are possible if a breach occurred.
Signs with “Water Is Life ! CALM Loves Clean Water, Too !” and other posters were around the tent. CALM had a Petition to the Mayor of Hillsboro to request an air monitor at the Hillsboro Hospital and one at the near-by nursing home, which gained a lot of interest and a very good response. Plans will be made in the next weeks to present the petition to the Mayor.
Special Thanks go to lead CALM volunteer in organizing the event, Mary Ellen DeClue. Her energy and enthusiasm kept everyone going. Many volunteers made this effort possible, with providing tables, chairs, and other support. In spite of the 10 p.m. finish on a very hot August 22nd, seven dedicated sets of volunteer hands made quick work of packing things up. Several CALM members stopped by the booth during the days to provide fans and support. Chocolate chip cookies were provided by Chair Cathy Edmiston, who helped staff the display and handed out water bottles. Cathy and volunteers handed out cold water to over 200 people.