Many concerned citizens of Thomas and Cherry counties attended the free-will donation soup supper and auction on November 15th, sponsored by Preserve the Sandhills.
Fine victuals were featured, especially three soups: classic chili made by Ann Manning-Warren, a hearty chicken noodle by Merrial Rhoades and an appreciated shrimp clam chowder by Barb Welch. Other fixings included corn chips, rolls and breads, jello as well as a variety of deserts representing the exceptional quality of sand hills’ cooking.
While enjoying the food, event attendees discussed views and ongoing activities, especially concerning the R-Project and the proposed Kilgore wind turbine facility. There were many tables where people sat and with various others their opposition to industrial energy facilities being imposed on the unique sandhills setting.
A particular topic mentioned was the impact of the R-Project industrial powerline on ranch operations, including wind mills. Windmills may have to be moved away from the powerline corridor, and in one instance, a central windmill would need to be replaced by two windmills. The Nebraska Public Power District indicated it would only replace one windmill. Also, one well company has said it would not work on windmills in the “immediate vicinity” of an industrial powerline.
The auction held along Highway 2 after supper offered a variety of donated items, including, for example, books, wagon wheels, cowboy ropes, a barbeque, art, furniture and eggs from ranch-raised chickens. Auctioneer Duane McCain, of North Platte, kept the auction active and fun, regularly reminding the bidders that “It’s not what you are buying, it’s what you are donating to.” A Valentine business also donated a feed bunk and discount on services. Among the last items purchased were homemade cinnamon rolls and pecan pies. Beef to be delivered in February, was also bought.
“People at the auction were gracious, kind and magnanimous,” said Merrial Rhoades.
It was estimated that more than 45 people attended the event, and a nice amount of money was raised to support the ongoing efforts of Preserve the Sandhills. An out-of-state couple staying at a nearby Thedford hotel, attended to get a perspective of the local activism.