By Crystal Howerton
Residents in and around Knox County have been protesting loudly to a proposed Class II CAFO within 1,000 feet of a soldier's home northeast of Edina on St. Highway AA. Parents of Chief Warrant Officer Randell Hettinger, who was deployed to Iraq last year, claim that Hettinger resided in the home prior to being deployed.
Approximately 15 people attended a spontaneous meeting in the Knox County Commissioners office on Friday morning, April 11, 2008 including representatives of Penn Farms, who argued that the house has been abandoned for years. However attempts to obtain comments later in the week were refused.
During the meeting, Commissioners heard from Ruth Hettinger, who appeared armed with letters from her son, his sergeant, as well as pictures portraying the residence, which appeared to have been lived in. WO1 Hettinger stated in his letter that he intends to return to his home upon completion of his tour of duty. He claims to have resided at that address from January 10 to July 31, 2007 and that his personal items still remain.
Commissioners Mayfield, McGinnis and Marble heard Hettinger's remarks, but maintained that that is was insufficient evidence that her son had resided in the house from January to July 2007. A public hearing has been scheduled for May 2, 2008 in the courtroom of the Knox County Courthouse to determine whether or not the residence was occupied at least 50% of the time in the twelve months prior to Hettinger's deployment.
The Commissioners have stated that both parties will have equal time to present substantial evidence during the hearing. Presiding Commissioner L.P. (Pete) Mayfield said that their attorney, David Brown, has requested that all testimonies be accompanied by a signed affidavit. Unless actual proof of residence is supplied during the hearing, the Commissioners will not make a decision then but consider the issue in a timely manner before handing down a decision.