THAILAND: Domestic soy sauces are safe, stresses
Public Health Ministry
28 Jun 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team
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Laboratory examination of all 28 brands of soy sauce produced within Thailand are safe for consumers and do not
contain dangerous levels of carcinogenic chemicals, according to the Public Health Ministry's Medical Sciences
The results of the long-term research were revealed yesterday, one week after UK food agencies warned consumers
away from allegedly cancer-causing soy sauce brands from Asia, and many months after the laboratory investigation
in Thailand began.
Britain last week placed a ban on 21 Asian-made soy sauces, including a Thai product called Golden Mountain, but the
director of the Medical Sciences Department, Dr Bhakdi Bothisiri, has stressed that extensive testing of samples has
failed to show up dangerous levels of either 3-MPCD or 1,3DCP, the carcinogenic chemicals claimed to be present by
"These sauce samples are proved to have far less than the levels believed to be at risk of causing cancer. Therefore,
we can say the products made in Thailand are safe from containing toxic chemicals," he said.
Part of the confusion, he added, is down to the accepted levels of the chemicals in food, which are different in Thailand
and the UK. "The British standard level - 0.01 mg/kg - [...] is not the real international safety standard," insisted Bothisiri.
In Thailand, the chemicals must not exceed the level of 0.1 mg/kg.
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Movie review: Lumumba
By David Hunter
Jan. 19, 2001
PALM SPRINGS -- "Nobody knows what happened that night
in Katanga," and so begins a tremendously important film
about the first elected prime minister of the Congo,
Patrice Lumumba, who served for mere months in 1960 and
was permanently removed under still-mysterious
circumstances 40 years ago Wednesday.
Incredibly, Haitian director Raoul Peck's often
brilliant, utterly absorbing "Lumumba" screened Monday
afternoon at the Nortel Palm Springs International Film
Festival in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Virtually at the same moment, Congolese President
Laurent Kabila, a Lumumba follower and controversial
strongman, was reported assassinated in what might be a
coup and what might escalate a three-year conflict that
some have called Africa's first world war.
A Zeitgeist Films release for summer that couldn't
possibly be timelier for educating American audiences
about the miserable legacy of European colonialism and
Cold War politics, "Lumumba" is serious and disturbing.
There's a large cast of historical figures, including a
chilling portrait of Mobutu Sese Seko (nee Joseph
Mobutu), the general who came to power in a 1965 coup,
changed the name of the country to Zaire and was finally
overthrown by the forces of Kabila in 1997.
The film opens with a depiction of Lumumba's ignominious
fate -- his body and the corpses of two companions are
hacked up and burned by two Belgian soldiers one windy
night far away from any witnesses. With a voice-over of
the French-speaking Lumumba (Eric Ebouaney) from beyond
death's door -- the film's one notable break from a
stringently realistic approach -- the nearly two-hour
film skips his early life and begins in earnest when the
passionate activist first becomes a popular leader in
Stanleyville (now Kisangani).
The very complex historical events are deftly
illuminated given the potentially huge cast (President
Eisenhower, President Kennedy, U.N. secretary general
Dag Hammarksjold, Ernesto "Che" Guevara) and mountains
of material. In the film's accompanying publicity, Peck
(who made the documentary "Lumumba, Death of a Prophet")
details how the project evolved, including early
screenplay drafts that worked in the cliche of a white
character to help open up the story to nonethnic
Thankfully, Peck and co-writer Pascal Bonitzer stay
focused on the key events and such relationships as that
of Lumumba with the Congo's first president, Joseph
Kasavubu (Maka Kotto), as the two try to hold the
country together against difficult odds. Lumumba and
Kasavubu were elected by popular vote in the large,
fractious country rich in natural resources soon after
independence from Belgium. As so horrifically burned in
Western conscience by Joseph Conrad's "Heart of
Darkness," Belgium ruthlessly exploited the Congo for
most of the 80 years it claimed it as a colony (think
the city of Los Angeles ruling over the state of Texas
in terms of size difference) and to this day has close
ties with the country.
After imprisonment and torture for organizing
opposition, Lumumba is allowed to attend the conferences
in Brussels that made independence a thorny reality.
With a faithful wife (Mariam Kaba) and child who he
fatefully refuses to abandon when his dream of leading a
united Congo comes crashing down, Lumumba becomes the
enemy of powerful regional strongmen Godefroid Munungo
(Dieudonne Kabongo) and Moise Tshombe (Pascal Nzonzi).
>From an immediate post-election problem controlling the
white officer-led national armed forces to an inability
to keep his enemies from making deals with the CIA and
other outside interests while himself reluctant to turn
to the USSR for aid because he fears for his own life,
Lumumba is swiftly and ruthlessly backed into a corner
with no hope of escape. The film pulls no punches in
placing the blame on Kasavubu, Kennedy and Godefroid
Munungo (Dieudonne Kabongo), whose Katanga province is
where Lumumba is taken to after a desperate flight from
house arrest in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa).
Despite the presence of new faces in nearly every scene
and a flurry of names and places, "Lumumba" rates as one
of the most accomplished and vital historical films to
be made in a long time that also succeeds as a fully
engaging moviegoing experience. The performances are
outstanding. Ebouaney is dominating, and one comes to
completely sympathize with this intelligent, principled
man. Among many stirring highlights is Lumumba's
broadcast speech in Brussels that addressed Belgium's
past crimes, though one can feel his fate being sealed
even at this triumphant moment.
In French and Lingala with English subtitles and filmed
in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Belgium, "Lumumba" premiered
at the Cannes Film Festival, but one sorely recommended
special engagement is an immediate screening for
incoming diplomats and national-level elected leaders,
including Secretary of State nominee Colin Powell and
Director: Raoul Peck
Screenwriters: Raoul Peck, Pascal Bonitzer
Executive producer: Jacques Bidou
Director of photography: Bernard Lutic
Production designer: Denis Renault
Editor: Jacques Comets
Costume designer: Charlotte David
Music: Jean-Claude Petit
Casting: Sylvie Brochere
Patrice Lumumba: Eriq Ebouaney
Joseph Mobutu: Alex Descas
Maurice Mpolo: Theophile Moussa Sowie
Joseph Kasavubu: Maka Kotto
Godefroid Munungo: Dieudonne Kabongo
Moise Tshombe: Pascal Nzonzi
Pauline Lumumba: Mariam Kaba
Running time -- 115 minutes
No MPAA rating
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Monday, June 18, 2001, updated at 12:57AM
Young voters gather for reform
Camp stresses importance of political issues
By Paige St. John
DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER
Political fire and brimstone rained down
Sunday at Florida A&M University as
seasoned activists tried to light the fire beneath
young people from almost 30 states.
"What we're about is a very serious
proposition," exhorted Ron Daniels, a former
campaign manager for the Rev. Jesse Jackson
who now is executive director of the Center
for Constitutional Rights. His arms waving high
in the air, pumping up a loud chorus of
agreements from the audience, Daniels urged the high
school seniors and college freshmen in front of him to reform the voting process.
"We want to make sure what happened in Florida never
The kickoff by Daniels and other liberal veterans,
including U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is the start of a weeklong boot
camp at FAMU.
The largest bloc of participants came from St. Louis.
Community worker Rick Le-Grand said he recruited
30 young adults, some headed to college and some
not, in the hope they would leave with a greater awareness
of political issues.
"It's almost like vocabulary building," LeGrand said.
"They're hearing concepts they've never heard before.
They're the next generation of leaders."
Return to the election
The session lasts through Saturday on the campus whose
students marched against the capital during the November election crisis. It is sponsored in
part by the Washington-based
Institute for Policy Studies and the NAACP. Throughout
the opening session, there was an atmosphere of having
returned to the scene of a crime.
Tallahassee was fertile ground for proving contentions of
civil rights violations and "injustice, ineptitude and inefficiency," seminar sponsors noted, quoting
the conclusion of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights final report.
The program promised that participants will learn of the
"widespread disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida," including
a Civil Rights Commission claim that 54 percent of disqualified votes
were cast by blacks, a population that makes up only 11 percent of the state's
But FAMU student body President Andrew Gillium cautioned
against adopting a belief that the vote was stolen by careful planning and
conniving. "It's not a conspiracy we were battling in this state," Gillium said.
"It was a culture."
When they leave Tallahassee, "Democracy Summer" participants will be able to join up for internships in
Florida and elsewhere in the country, working to revamp "our deeply-flawed, undemocratic electoral
system," the program asserts.
Also speaking at Sunday night's kickoff program was Dorris
"Granny D" Haddock, 90, who walked across the United States to call
for abolishment of private campaign donations.
Contact Paige St. John at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850)
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USA: Should diabetics eat less meat and sugar?
26 Jun 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team
A US research team working at the University of South Florida has suggested that eating less meat and sugar could help diabetes sufferers. Replacing animal protein with vegetable protein could also help, reports the BBC. After six months on a diet recommended by the research team, Type II diabetic patients were able to reduce the amount of insulin they took or in some cases cut it out altogether.
Type II is often exacerbated by obesity, so a healthy diet is a key component of the treatment process. The 51 patients who took part in the study reduced the number of times they ate meat from two or three times per day to just once, for a six-month period, and replaced it with equal amounts of vegetable protein. They also eliminated sugar from their daily food intake. Of 31 patients who managed to adhere to the diet for the full six months, three cut their insulin dose by 50%, two discontinued it altogether, and a further ten were able to come off other medications.
They also saw cholesterol levels improve, with total cholesterol levels down by an average of 32% yet "good" cholesterols up by around 10%. The study was presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.
For more information please visit: http://www.endo-society.org/
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Summer 2001 [Volume 4, Number 2]
Julie Quiroz-Martinez discusses the urgency of
connecting immigrant rights to racial justice.
By Julie Quiroz-Martinez <email@example.com>
Thinking back to his childhood working in the sugar beet
fields of Washington, Arnoldo Garcia recalls the complexity
of race, national origin, and immigration status in his own
life. Garcia, who was born in the U.S., holds vivid memories
of the INS harassing and deporting Mexican agricultural
workers, regardless of their immigration status. "The
difference between documented and undocumented doesn't make
much difference in a raid," recalls Garcia, now a veteran
immigrant rights activist. "It was all about your skin color
and whether you could speak English like an 'American.'"
Since most immigrants in the U.S. today are from the Third
World, racism and anti-immigrant sentiment often combine in
the way Garcia describes. However, as activists, we struggle
to link the distinct issues of race, national origin, and
immigrant status, thus failing to acknowledge the many
dimensions of experience of immigrants of color and to unite
them with people of color born in the U.S.
"This stuff is really painful for me," confesses Esmeralda
Simmons, the director of the Center for Law and Social
Justice in Brooklyn, whose parents immigrated from the
Virgin Islands in search of the "American Dream." "The U.S.
lures black immigrants by telling them they'll be welcomed,
that they are different from African Americans, who refuse
to 'pull themselves up by their bootstraps.'" Simmons
observes this superior attitude even among black immigrants
who have "the lowest earnings and status, where it makes no
sense in reality. But no one immigrates to the U.S. to
become part of a racially oppressed group, so it takes long
personal experience with racism for even black immigrants to
see that they are viewed as 'niggers.'"
For all our hard-fought alliances and hopes for unity,
delving into the dynamics between immigrants and U.S.-born
people of color remains a difficult and even risky
proposition. These dynamics challenge us to make sense of
extraordinary demographic and economic transformations, to
bend our minds in new forms of analysis, and to face the
delicate constructs that define our racial identity and
positioning within the world.
The Color of Immigration
Prior to World War I, most immigrants to the U.S. were white
and European. Many faced powerful nativist discrimination
but over time joined the melting pot of American whites.
Sometimes they became vociferous racists themselves in the
process, like the Irish in the Chinese exclusion movement.
Climbing on the racist bandwagon became a sign of
Americanization -- for whites.
The 1965 immigration law drastically changed the color of
immigration. This law, passed on the heels of the 1964 Civil
Rights Act, ended four decades of immigration quotas
favoring Western Europe and significantly increased legal
immigration opportunities for people from Asia and Africa.
The act also placed a cap (later modified) on legal
migration from the Western Hemisphere, including Latin
America and the Caribbean, which increased the undocumented
portion of immigration within the Americas.
Contemporary immigration is massive. According to the 2000
Census, there are currently 28.4 million foreign-born
residents in the United States, representing 10.4 percent of
the total population, mostly from Central and South America,
the Caribbean, and Asia. The Census numbers also show that
immigration played a major role in pushing Latinos ahead of
blacks as the largest minority in the country, and in
producing a remarkable new level of national origin and
immigration status diversity within the black population.
These are profound demographic changes. But their political
impact remains far from certain. Immigrants of color clearly
have the numbers to spark a strong racial justice movement.
But do we have the consciousness and strategy to seize that
Immigrant Rights Takeoff
The flow of immigrants since 1965 spurred the formation of
organizations that sought to protect their rights. Focusing
primarily on immigration policy, these groups led
community-based campaigns to stop the Simpson-Mazzoli bill
of the early '80s, and to oppose the punitive measures of
Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in 1986. With
IRCA's amnesty provisions, four million undocumented
immigrants living in the United States became eligible to
enter the years-long process of legalizing and potentially
becoming citizens. Thus began the development of an
immigrant rights infrastructure heavily based in helping
immigrants to become legal and, for some organizations,
continuing to fight to protect and expand the rights of
those who are not.
Understandably, immigrant rights organizing has focused on
those issues and institutions that make and enforce
immigration law: the INS, the border patrol, employer
sanctions, immigration policy, legalization, foreign
relations, and language rights. This organizing has often
remained isolated from fights for racial justice. Similarly,
racial justice campaigns -- such as exposing and remedying
discrimination in housing, employment, education, law
enforcement, insurance and bank redlining, and toxic dumping
-- focus on the principal institutions of racism, and have
seldom incorporated demands for "immigrant rights" -- even
when centered in immigrant communities.
"The same immigrants who didn't have papers in our
communities also lived in substandard housing, were harassed
by cops, and had kids in neglected schools. But we thought
that fixing immigration status was someone else's job.
'That's for the lawyers on the other side of town,'"
observes Juan Leyton, a Chilean immigrant and long-time
organizer in Roxbury, who now runs La Vida Urbana in Boston.
"Looking back at it, we failed to account for the totality
of our members' experiences. They were discriminated against
by racist housing policies, and were easily exploited by
landlords because they didn't have papers."
Immigrant rights organizations were also trying to keep up
with the explosion of amnesty applicants from the 1986 law,
and received and spent resources running service programs to
take advantage of the space that law created. Pancho
Arguelles, an immigrant rights activist from Houston who now
coordinates the National Organizers Alliance's Immigrant
Community Organizers Working Group, recalls: "We took a
service approach to respond to the new situation. On the one
hand, we had to meet the urgent needs of our base. But in
adopting this approach, we built a dependency in treating
folks as clients, rather than organizing them to become
active in all the issues that affected them. We missed an
opportunity to link their oppression as immigrants with
their oppression as racial minorities in this country."
The racial justice movement contributed to these divisions.
One of the biggest splits between immigrant rights and
racial justice occurred in 1986. Despite strong evidence
that "employer sanctions" in the proposed Immigration
Control and Reform Act (IRCA) would result in discrimination
against anyone who appeared "foreign," the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
supported those provisions, citing fear of African American
worker displacement by immigrants. Although the NAACP later
reversed this position, it had a widespread polarizing
Several years later, when a federal government study found
that employer sanctions had produced a widespread pattern
and practice of discrimination, the Leadership Conference on
Civil Rights ignored immigrant rights advocates and refused
to take a position against the provisions.
Of course, even with the best of intentions, the racial
justice movement has often had trouble linking to the
struggle for immigrant rights. For example, in a milestone
environmental justice campaign in Kettleman City,
California, organizers were slow to make the connection.
"Immigrants were leaders in the struggle against the
incinerator," says Luke Cole, an attorney who worked on the
campaign. "They experienced this issue as racism." Cole and
others were surprised, however, when the INS showed up for
the first time in years the night before a major rally in
1991, conducting street raids and deportations. "I realized
we were playing in a much bigger game than I thought we
were," remembers Cole, "when the interests working against
us could use the federal government as the instrument of
Alfredo DeAvila, a former United Farm Worker organizer,
recalls that union's anti-immigrant policies in the 1960s
and 1970s. "During the citrus strike in Yuma, Arizona, the
UFW ran its own 'wetline' -- physically stopping
undocumented immigrants, sometimes with violence." While the
UFW defended its position as protecting 'American' workers'
jobs, DeAvila believes the situation had even deeper roots.
"There was tremendous paranoia about immigration in the
UFW," argues DeAvila. "We Chicanos were scorned by Mexicans,
yet we weren't really 'Americans.' Chicanos acted out their
hang-ups by passing blame on immigrants."
In 1994 the dynamic tension between race and immigration
played out in California. The political fight around
Proposition 187 yielded important lessons in framing an
immigrant rights issue in racial justice terms.
Justice-minded Californians may have lost the election
(Proposition 187 won by 62 percent), but their experience
may help us win future fights.
The "Illegal Aliens" measure (as the official ballot summary
named the initiative, which sought to deny health care,
social services, and education to the undocumented) was not
originally perceived in racial justice terms. With ads
portraying Latinos rampaging across the U.S.-Mexico border,
its proponents framed Prop. 187 as a "reasonable" remedy to
curb illegal immigration from the south. The best-funded
opposition to the measure, led by white liberal political
consultants, tried to defend the positive role of immigrants
in the economy and society.
In the early polling, no population group, not even those
most likely to be negatively affected, opposed the measure.
Latinos came the closest, with 48 percent opposing Prop.
187. Both Asian Americans and African Americans heavily
favored the initiative. Over time, however, these numbers
changed. On election day, 77 percent of Latinos voted
against the measure and were joined by 53 percent of Asian
Americans and African Americans. (By contrast, white voters
didn't budge, with about the same proportion -- 63 percent
-- favoring 187 all along.)
Grassroots campaigns to galvanize voters of color were
largely credited with this electoral shift. By asking "Who's
Next?" on the white supremacy hit list and emphasizing that
racist authorities would inevitably scapegoat all people of
color, the grassroots opposition to Prop. 187 reframed an
immigrant rights issue into a fight for racial justice. By
showing that Prop. 187 jeopardized the rights and well-being
of all people of color, regardless of immigration status,
organizers were able to greatly widen opposition to the
Progressives in both immigrant rights and racial justice are
hoping that the current movement demanding legalization for
undocumented immigrants will become an important terrain for
linking race and immigration. "We need to develop some very
specific anti-racist goals for legalization," argues
Esmeralda Simmons. Two years ago, Simmons helped engineer an
important advance when the NY Black Census 2000 Coalition,
led by three black non-immigrant members of Congress,
announced its opposition to the use of census data by the
INS to plan raids, and its support for new policies to
legalize undocumented immigrants.
Without a strong racial justice analysis, legalization
proponents may fall into the trap of framing new immigrants
as "model minorities": hard-working, two-parent,
heterosexual families who have no need for government
assistance. It's the flip side of the "welfare queen"
stereotype, intended to align the material interests of
immigrants with existing racial ideologies. Simmons argues,
"We need to raise the question, 'Who will I become when I am
naturalized and how is that feeding racism?'"
Others are watching to see whether and how organized labor
will bring a racial justice consciousness to its booming new
immigrant organizing. "Organized labor creates a valuable
space for talking about the manipulation of workers through
race and legal status," asserts Katy Nunez-Adler, the former
organizing director at the Service Employees International
union (SEIU) Local 1877 in Oakland, California, who helped
lead the internal push for the AFL's immigration policy
reversal last February. "Workers really understand how
employers try to divide them. It's not difficult for people
to see." Nunez-Adler, a Jewish California native, believes
labor must "take race issues on in a more direct and
systematic way," and be willing to confront taboo subjects
like economic competition between U.S.-born black workers
and new immigrants. Nunez-Adler also challenges racial
justice organizers to recognize the opportunity that labor
presents. "There are 13.5 million union members in the
United States. A real emphasis on cross-racial organizing
and dialogue in labor could have big reverberations for the
whole social justice movement."
Welfare reauthorization, due in 2002, may also provide
organizers with the opportunity for new connections between
immigrant rights and racial justice. "The 1996 welfare
reform law was a real wake-up call for immigrants to see
that even people with a green card could be deported and
lose benefits," recalls Rini Chakraborty of the California
Immigrant Welfare Collaborative. "Welfare issues offer
immigrants a gateway to understanding oppression that is not
based on immigration status."
Chakraborty believes that welfare rights organizing on
issues such as federal restoration of benefits, state access
to food stamps, and language discrimination can build the
link between national origin oppression and racial
oppression by emphasizing that "the targets of the 1996 law
were people of color. In its intent and its impact, the law
was blatantly racist and anti-immigrant."
Why We Need Each Other
Obviously, the gap between immigrant rights and racial
justice offers the right a huge and powerful wedge. But the
mutual self-interest doesn't end there.
Without a well-developed racial justice consciousness and
set of organizing strategies, immigrant rights could devolve
into racist and ultimately self-defeating assimilationism.
And without a strong global migration analysis, racial
justice is likely to stagnate within a myopic and artificial
domestic framework that neglects huge numbers of people of
Finally, all of us need to take a long, hard look at painful
dynamics such as tension between U.S.-born and foreign-born
people of African descent, racial hierarchies among Latinos,
nationality distinctions among Asians, and legal immigrants'
hostility toward undocumented immigrants. Unless they are
connected, immigrant rights and racial justice will stumble
on their own internal contradictions, shattering the heart
of our movements, our families, and our selves.
Copyright (c) 2001 ColorLines Magazine. All Rights Reserved.
Back to Main News Page
Dairy Farm's Herd in Wisconsin
Produces Enough Power for 250 Homes
By Jo Sandin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel -- June 21
Fourth-generation dairyman Carl Theunis can lay claim to the
state's most productive herd -- each of his Holsteins each year
generates 26,000 pounds of milk, 9,855 pounds of manure and 417
watts of electricity.
After years of planning,
borrowing and building,
Theunis, his wife Sharon
and their four sons on
Wednesday watched Gov.
Scott McCallum flip the
switch that made their
family farm into
Here's how it works:
The 1,800 Holsteins feeding, ambling around and lying down in the
four curtain-walled barns at Tinedale Farm produce a pile of 48,600
pounds of manure every day.
Instead of being spread on Tinedale's 4,000 acres of cropland, all
that waste is loaded into a huge on-site chamber, where it is
digested by anaerobic bacteria at two different temperatures.
The result is 300,000 cubic feet of methane gas, collected at the top
of the chamber and piped to an on-site electric generator, where it is
burned. The burned methane produces a constant flow of 750
kilowatts of electricity, enough to power 250 houses.
Byproducts of the process, solid and liquid, can be spread as
However, Theunis already is planning for the next step. When he
can afford it, he will add treatment facilities to clarify the liquid
byproduct for reuse as water.
Crowd is impressed For most visitors to Theunis' farm Wednesday,
turning manure into electricity was sufficient unto the day. He
couldn't have stirred up much more hoo-ha if he had found a way to
take calories out of ice cream.
To a crowd of several hundred visitors gathered for the plant's
debut, the governor said: "This technology has the potential to
help transform rural economies, and is a stellar example of how we
can find innovative solutions here in Wisconsin."
McCallum not only praised the project, he also used the occasion
to unveil major parts of his energy policy, due to be released next
week. Three points in particular, he said, directly relate to
manure-to-energy operations: Seeking a possible expansion in the
amount of renewable energy required of each electric utility in the
state. Currently, the requirement is for less than 2 percent . Setting
up a renewable energy program showcasing new technologies.
Creating public-private partnerships to demonstrate and lower the
costs of on-farm energy production.
Citing the $400,000 low-cost loan from the state Commerce
Department and a $100,000 grant from Brown County used to
finance the digester, McCallum said: "Renewable energy provides a
good return on investment and creates three times as many jobs,
earnings and output than does investment in fossil fuels."
Secretary of Agriculture Jim Harsdorf called the plant an "example
of why Wisconsin is still the place for dairying."
He envisioned the spread of similar plants across the state, where
rural electric cooperatives might be able to bring together groups of
small dairy farmers in shared operations.
Dick Griggs, president of Wisconsin Electric Power Co., which will
buy the 750 kilowatts of power produced at the farm, was on hand
to congratulate Theunis for "having the vision and the drive to get
this project done."
He reiterated the utility's commitment to alternative sources of
energy, which already produce 140 megawatts of electricity for the
company, and expressed his willingness to buy more manure-based
power in the future.
According to calculations by Wisconsin Electric, if all the cow
manure in the state were collected and processed in manure
digesters, the resulting methane could produce 750 megawatts of
electricity, 1,000 times as much as the Tinedale plant and
three-fourths the amount produced by the Point Beach Nuclear
To the Iowa State University researchers who developed the
process used here, the proper term is "manure management by
temperature phased anaerobic digestion."
However, Theunis, 53, sees the technology as a just-in-time idea
capable of transforming many negatives about his beloved dairy
industry into positives, specifically: Removing pathogens and
pollutants from the manure; Providing a reliable stream of extra
income; Producing a dependable alternative supply of electricity;
Controlling odors that bothered his neighbors; and Keeping his
four sons on the farm.
In a warm welcome to his visitors Wednesday, he described a
conversation with his four sons that struck a responsive chord with
every farm family in the audience.
His sons came to him and said that they loved dairying and wanted
to stay on the farm, he said. But, they added, they also wanted a life
a little more like that of their city-dwelling contemporaries, one in
which they could have days off, could take vacations and could
spend time off the farm with their children.
Now, his sons -- Mike, 32, Scott, 31, Todd, 25, and Jim, 23 -- can
work the farm, each with separate responsibilities, and still count on
those rare commodities on traditional dairy farms, time off and
vacations. The farm's 16 full-time employees have similar benefits,
said Mike Theunis, who runs the herd while Scott takes charge of
the crops, Todd the computer operation and Jim the maintenance
A true believer in the process, Carl Theunis has given primary
responsibility for Tinedale Farm to his sons while he markets the
manure-to-energy technology to fellow farmers also trying to make
ends meet and keep their land in family hands.
As much as he, as a farmer, wanted to find a way for dairying to
survive price fluctuations and narrow profit margins, he said: "The
social issues are probably larger than the economic issues."
Those social issues include being a good neighbor to the 1,300
people of Wrightstown, located less than a half-milesouth of
Tinedale, which has been the home farm ever since
great-grandfather William Theunis started milking Holsteins there
When great-grandson Carl first expanded his herd to 400 and built a
modern curtain-walled barn to house the cows in 1993, a neighbor
told him, "You should have built the barn farther away."
The manure digester takes care of 90 percent of the odor, he said.
"Now, I can be a better neighbor," said Theunis, whose wife and he
still live in the two-story white farmhouse right across the gravel
road from the complex of four barns, digester and electric plant.
As for the smell-sensitive neighbors, Anne Ehnerd can see the
Tinedale barns from her back window. Her pleasant ranch house on
Broadway in Wrightstown is less than half a mile from the farm, yet
Ehnerd said: "It doesn't bother me at all, and I don't hear anybody
else talking about it."
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Black farmers say fight with government over discrimination not over
News & Record
RALEIGH (AP) -- A $1 billion agreement directing the U.S. Agriculture
Department to compensate black farmers who suffered lending discrimination
was hailed in 1999 as a civil rights watershed.
More than two years after the consent decree was signed, only about half of
the more than 21,000 farmers who filed claims have gotten their checks of at
least $50,000 dollars.
Some farmers have been told they are approved for payment but have waited
more than a year for their checks. Some legal experts also contend the
settlement did little to solve the problem of discrimination against black
farmers when it comes to USDA loans.
``I'm ashamed my name is on this case, considering the way it has turned
out,'' said Timothy Pigford, 49, a former Columbus County farmer who was the
Pigford received a settlement payment but is still battling the USDA over
past loans the agency is still trying to collect.
Of more than 1,430 cases filed by North Carolina farmers, a little more than
half have been paid so far, 90 are waiting for checks and 20 have had their
cases put on hold. The remaining claims in North Carolina either have been
denied or still are being processed.
About 8,300 black farmers have had their claims denied by court-appointed
judges, about 40 percent.
One reason the denials have been so high is that the settlement requires
individual farmers to produce specific evidence they were turned down for a
federal loan while a similarly situated white farmer was approved.
``The individual farmers are naturally having a hard time obtaining that kind
of evidence for their cases,'' said Jerry Pennick, director of the land
assistance fund at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, an Atlanta group
working with black farmers in the case. ``You are talking about
discrimination that occurred under the radar for decades.''
One expert on class-action lawsuits said the requirement appears onerous.
Black farmers ``are being asked to prove something that happened years ago
when the information isn't readily available,'' said Thomas Metzloff, a Duke
University law professor who has worked on a number of big class-action
suits, including the Dalkon Shield contraceptive case.
While the discrimination continued, more black farmers were forced off the
In the early 1900s there were nearly 1 million black farmers nationwide; now
there are less than 18,000. Black farmers represent less than 1 percent of
active farmers today.
USDA officials say the agency is doing its best to make reparations.
``It hasn't been perfect, but I don't think there is anybody at USDA who
thinks this process isn't working as well as it can under the
circumstances,'' said J. Michael Kelly, the agency's acting general counsel.
The settlement grew out of a lawsuit filed in August 1997 on behalf of black
farmers, primarily from the South, who alleged discrimination in the handling
of government loan applications.
USDA officials and Alexander Pires, the lead Washington lawyer representing
the farmers, signed the consent decree just before the case went to trial.
The agency acknowledged liability for past discrimination and agreed to a
settlement. Farmers who filed discrimination complaints between 1981 and 1996
could accept $50,000 in tax-free payments, plus debt relief and other
financial benefits, or seek more money in further legal proceedings.
In May, Pires' 14-member firm and several others missed a deadline for
processing the claims. Pires told the court his firm has been overwhelmed by
the volume of the claims it has had to process, as well as thousands of
U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman extended the deadline to Sept. 15,
but he also imposed a schedule of stiff fines should the lawyers miss any
Friedman also asked about a dozen big Washington law firms to take on some of
the most complicated claims without charging fees. The law firms agreed to
handle about 100 of the most-complicated cases.
At the level where loans are approved, little has changed.
Unlike most government programs, USDA loans are administered by nearly 3,000
county offices scattered across the country. Decisions including those
involving farm loans are made by committees elected by the county's farmers.
The committees hire a local executive director, who hires the county staff.
There were only 75 blacks among the nearly 7,900 voting members of county
committees in 1999, according to USDA. Many of the loan officers cited for
discrimination in the lawsuit still work at the same jobs.
Duke's Metzloff said it is unusual that the lawyers for the black farmers
didn't insist on major policy or personnel changes at USDA.
``Generally, the losing side is required to take some pretty substantial
actions to show they have changed the behavior that got them in trouble,'' he
said. ``It didn't appear that happened in this case, which is very
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