February 21, 2011

To Reclaim a Family Farm—Or Not


Feb. 22, 2011—3:22 a. m.:

Carolyn clicked  the 90,000th hit

on Carolyn’s Compositions!


     After moving to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, I learned that one branch of my ancestors were from Hempfield Township, and that one of their sons, Michael Rugh (married Elizabeth Raymer/Reamer) and moved to Blacklick Township in Indiana County (same state) (see link in ADDITIONAL READING below: You Mean This New Englander is a Westsylvanian?).

     It wasn’t long before I arranged, with the current owners, to visit the farm where Michael and Elizabeth were raising their eight children.

     The current day farm is merely a piece of the original property. It was obvious that modernization had taken hold. As I stood in the front yard, overlooking Rte. 119, with the cars zipping by, I could see the towers of the Edison Mission Energy (EME) Homer City Generating Station in Indiana County in the not-so-far distance. White “smoke” was billowing from them, adding man-created clouds to the overcast sky.


         On February 10, 2011, six workers were injured when a six-inch steam pipe ruptured, spewing steam on the workers. I asked a local source (whose work is with nuclear power plants) about it, and he said ruptured steam pipes are the most common damage in nuclear plants. He almost shuddered as he spoke of the damage steam can do to a worker. In the case of the Homer City plant, three workers were in fair condition in a hospital burn unit, and three others were treated at another hospital. Plant operations were interrupted for a short period of time.


     Another disturbing report was published on February 14, 2011: An Indiana County power plant deemed one of the nation’s biggest polluters operated without federally mandated permits even though it was inspected more than 1,100 times by state officials during the past 25 years, according to state records. Despite those inspections, the coal-fired facility operated by EME Homer City Generating LP continued to spew pollutants at levels linked to Pennsylvania’s status as a leader in premature deaths, respiratory disease and heart attacks, according to court records.


     While I was visiting the farm, I mulled over thoughts of bringing the property back into a Rugh descendant’s ownership. If I were only younger, it would be neat to reclaim this property, I thought. However, at my age, and my husband Monte’s age, this was, and is, an impracticability.

     I glanced about the property where, still in existence, is a wall of the original house and the foundation of an original barn, dating back to about 1816. The original house burned, I believe I was told. The house standing on the property would need renovation, but is a handsome piece of real estate.

     The site is, not surprisingly, the location of the former Rugh train station. It was the point where the train coming from Indiana, and the train coming from Blairsville, met. Passengers switched trains here to reach their planned destination.

     Perhaps it’s good that Monte and I are too old to consider reclaiming the property. Although uphill from the power plant, I’m certain its spewing pollutants would reach the farm area. Yes, I know that, in this day and age, we cannot live anywhere that is unaffected by air pollutants. However, this would be a direct hit. Thanks, but no thanks!

     Still, there’s a little piece of me that would like to reclaim that farm!


Steam pipe break injures six at Homer City power plant

Hugely polluting power plant operated without mandated permits






February’s Prelude to Spring

Grog Recipes

Hungarian Carnival in Darlington, PA

Banish Writer’s Block

Are We Computer Addicted? A 1997 Prediction




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