MMBlog

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Flowers for your border woes

Note: You can read almost an exact copy of this story in July's LareDOS in Laredo, Texas, USA, or catch it, and a lot more, online at www.laredosnews.com.

By MIKE McILVAIN

If your border fence misery needs company there’s now a place to look and something to look for – flower pots.
Flower pots could be used in the tight knit community formed by Derby Line, Vermont and Stansted, Quebec, Canada. Sure, fences are being discussed, too, but they’re already old as far as talk down here goes.
Those starch-shirt and always-in-a-suit guys from Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, Canada are conspiring through their surrogates to split the intertwined, intermarried, and interesting conjoined towns of Derby Line and Stansted, Quebec.
There is no river there to offer any kind of natural separation and some people are not sure exactly which country they technically live in. They even have an international boundary line running through their shared library and opera house.
This situation could be more emotional than the separations along the U.S.-Mexican border, but we won’t know if we don’t keep an eye on them, too.
“This border has a long history of neighborliness, peace, and calm. The community is an example of the way that international relations should be,” writes Rosemarie Jackowski in an online editorial in the MWC news. “It is also an example of the way family relations should be. No one cared that Aunt Jenny’s is across an international border, which up until now has been just an invisible line in the snow.”
Scenesofvermont.com said the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee considered a 3,000-mile long wall for the Canadian border, but that idea was dropped.
“It’s clear to me that those who want to build an enormously costly barrier across it haven’t a clue about the character, the history and the day-to-day commercial importance of the northern border,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said. “It’s best to stop this foolish idea before the government starts shoveling taxpayers’ dollars at it.”
Sound familiar?
CTV.ca said local officials have narrowed their problem down to three side streets used as shortcuts by the locals. Law officers from both countries met with about 100 from both sides in the shared library and opera hall in late June, noting a heavy increase in illegal crossings through the little joined community.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Gregory Bishop said police made eight interceptions in 2005 involving 27 people, jumping to 15 interceptions with 44 people last year. So far this year, 10 interceptions with 32 people have been documented.
It was also Bishop who suggested placing large planters with flowers on the road to block vehicular access on those three streets used by smugglers.
Jackowski says the flower pot plan sounds too much like the duct tape plan of a few years ago when it was suggested that the tape and plastic could seal windows in case of attack.
“To old timers this makes about as much sense as the ‘duck and cover’ days when hiding under a desk was supposed to prevent injuries from an atomic bomb attack,” she wrote.
Maybe we could answer the northern border’s flower pot idea by simply gluing together that riverside carrizo the Border Patrol likes to cut down and moving it to low places where they might actually want a barrier – after painting flowers and happy faces on it?

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