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Marilee J. Layman

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07:07 pm: Out of the Drought!

The DC area has been in a drought watch for quite a while, but the last couple of weeks got enough rain that we're out of the drought!

Last night I watched TV, then watched a tape, then read the paper. I got to reading in bed at 3:30am so I just left the alarm on for 1:00pm. I was still awake at 8am -- pain, lots of pain -- and turned off the alarm. I woke up at 3:30pm. Nothing else exciting today. I may try to push forward since I'm going so late, but I don't know if it will help with this much pain. I would be very sleepy and still hurt too much to sleep.

The nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute ran a poll comparing tea partiers to their religions. It turns out that tea partiers frequently overlap the religious right.

A mobile home was allowed to burn to the ground while the firefighters watched. The trailer owner lived outside the small city and hadn't paid the $75/year fee to get the firefighters. That certainly makes sense, as long as no people were hurt.

Our stupid Virginia Attorney General doesn't believe in climate change and is using a lot of our money to try to get an email that will make the science bad. That's impossible, but Tom Toles has a very funny cartoon about it.

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Comments

[User Picture]
From:heleninwales
Date:October 8th, 2010 09:59 am (UTC)
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The slightly longer article I saw yesterday about that trailer fire said that a cat and three dogs died in the blaze, which to me is totally unacceptable. I think it was outrageous that they didn't put the fire out; they were there and they had the equipment.

If the authorities are worried that if they help everyone, regardless of whether they've paid or not, then people will stop paying the fee, then all you need is a suggestion like that in one of the comments, namely you pay your $75 fee each year upfront or if you forgot to do it, you pay $1000 afterwards.

Thankfully our fire services are funded out of local taxes, so this couldn't happen here.
[User Picture]
From:mjlayman
Date:October 8th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I saw that about the pets later, and that is definitely wrong. Although this is rural and they may not have gotten enough people there in time. I also read that the wife wasn't upset about the trailer burning to the ground, which makes me think that he didn't forget to pay it, but chose not to. Are you familiar with mobile homes/trailers? They almost certainly don't have $1000, and the fire would have already been put out, so there's no reason for him to pay anything.

Those firefighters were also from their town taxes, which is why they don't charge to stop fires in town. This one wasn't in town and they could buy a yearly retainer, but didn't.

Ours is from local taxes, too, and we recently joined with the other city and the county around us so the 911 call goes to the closest center (people with cellphones aren't necessarily at home) and they dispatch the closest folks. But our city has 55K and I think that town has a lot fewer.
[User Picture]
From:capemaynuts
Date:October 9th, 2010 06:03 am (UTC)
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Wow, the towns around me have either city paid firefighters or volunteers. And the volunteers don't get paid by home owners or anyone. They stand out in intersections with buckets collecting spare change a few times a year.
In either case, they wouldn't let any structure burn down if they could put it out safely. The fear of a wildfire would be enough incentive to put it out.
[User Picture]
From:mjlayman
Date:October 9th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC)
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The family doesn't live in the town, they live in a rural area.

There are some new items now:

1. The grandson started the fire by leaving an oilcan fire alone.

2. They'd had the same thing happen a few years ago -- he "forgot" to pay the fee and the town firefighters came and took care of the house. He didn't pay after that, and the manager told them they'd have to have paid the fee if they wanted help with a fire again.

3. They tried to put the fire out with a hose before they called the firefighters.

Not quite what we got in the beginning.
[User Picture]
From:heleninwales
Date:October 9th, 2010 01:00 pm (UTC)
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I doubt that the town in question has fewer inhabitants than where I live, which has a population of around 2600. But we have our own small fire station with part-time crew funded out of our rates (the name for the local tax). Of course they don't just put out fires and they must spend more time extricating people from crashed cars than fire-fighting, but everyone is covered, wherever they live.

From comments on green_knight's post on Dreamwidth, it seems it was a bit more complicated than the article made it seem, also that the situation is something of an anomaly and in most parts of the US, there would have been no question of allowing people the option of not paying.
[User Picture]
From:heleninwales
Date:October 9th, 2010 01:02 pm (UTC)
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PS By part-time, I mean that they all have other jobs, but if there is an emergency callout, they rush to the station and then get paid for the hours worked.
[User Picture]
From:mjlayman
Date:October 9th, 2010 10:52 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I bought this condo 19 years and 10 days ago and back then, all firefighters were volunteer. Then we had to get some paid folks, and recently, over a period of a year, the city has had to work the volunteers into helping the paid staff members. The volunteers didn't want to give up their own policies and stuff.
[User Picture]
From:mjlayman
Date:October 9th, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC)
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Only slightly smaller than your town and that town does take care of all houses in the town of taxes. It's the folks out in the rural area that have the choice of paying or not. I know $75 is a lot for some folks, but it means you save all year.

In some places, the entire county has fire service, like the county around us. My city had a bad fire on 9/23 and not only did the new dispatch business work well, but they had firefighters from our group -- City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park, and Prince William County -- and others, too: counties around our county -- Fairfax, Loudon, Stafford, Fauquier -- and the Marine Base at Quantico.
[User Picture]
From:heleninwales
Date:October 11th, 2010 08:11 am (UTC)
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The thing is, over here you pay local taxes even if you live out in the middle of nowhere. My friend who lives nearly half an hour's drive from town still has to pay rates but therefore receives the same services as we do. Rubbish collection, emergency services etc.
[User Picture]
From:mjlayman
Date:October 11th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
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It depends here. A lot of rural places have people bring their garbage to a set of dumpsters and sometimes the county pays to have them picked up and delivered and sometimes you pay $5 or $10 each time you go. It really depends where you are in the US, and it's something to ask about if you want a nice rural cabin for weekends.
From:geekosaur
Date:October 11th, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)
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This is how fire and ambulance work around here: pay a smaller amount up front regularly, or a much larger amount per incident.
[User Picture]
From:mjlayman
Date:October 11th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
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Just three years ago, my city started charging for ambulances -- I can tell you what it is, since I had three rides for the stroke last year, $350 for the ride and $47 for material -- but they only actually take insurance. If you don't have insurance, you don't pay. If you have insurance, you don't have to pay the rest. They got less money from Medicare and Kaiser for those three last year because they filed too late. They had a really weird billing company that never answered its phone, even though they wanted info from me.

There's a county in Maryland that is voting on whether to charge for ambulances, same deal as ours, but there are people who say folks won't call a needed ambulance because they don't have insurance. They just need to let people know that you never pay; either your insurance does, or the county takes the loss.
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