Charter school thanks community

Dear Editor,

Cottonwood Valley Charter School would like to thank our community and Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores for their support of our hands-on science laboratory counter project.

We have been selected to receive a $5,000 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant to help fund the first phase of this project. In addition, seventy-two generous donors from Socorro and around the country have given $4,365 to the GoFundMe online campaign along with direct donations totaling $2,658. These donations will allow our students to have a higher quality science experience and education that they would not have had otherwise.

Cottonwood Valley students, staff, and their families are deeply grateful for the community’s investment in our children.

Kim Schaffer, Principal

Cottonwood Valley Charter School

Eagle Picher was horrible to Socorro

Dear Editor,

I was born in Socorro in 1946 and graduated from Socorro High in 1964 and moved in October of 1968

I would like to comment on the front page article (Eagle Picher testing expands) May 26, 2016 and the June 2, 2016 article EPA groundwater cleanup a year away.

For your information they also made batteries there before 1980 and several other products when I first started there.

I worked for Eagle Picher from 1966 to 1968. The first job I had was in the battery department. I don’t remember what they were called but my recollection was they were used by the Weather Service.

The first day on the job was very traumatic as this was the beginning of my learning what the real world was really like. I had to mix different liquid chemicals with several different chemical powders to make a paste, Since this was 50 years ago my recollection was the liquids were trichlorethelene, chlorothene and acetone.. In those days the barrels had a skull and cross bone symbol. Danger, do not breathe vapors and avoid skin contact, Death or serious injury can occur. This room also had ovens to cure the strips of cotton that used the paste that I had mixed. It was also extremely hot in there. Within 15 minutes I was starting to stumble, was incoherent and dizzy.

Just like I had been drinking alcohol. I went to my Supervisor and told him about the problem I was having. Basically his response was to go back to work. I eventually went all the way to the Plant Manager. Managements response was to go back to work or quit if I did not like it, there were many people looking for a job. I was told that I was the first person on the first day to bring up this issue. The point I am trying to make is that management could care less. Other employees would continue working there for awhile and eventually quit. All I asked for was for some type of ventilation to take the fumes out of the room. These fumes also went into the area where the batteries were assembled. So the people there were also exposed but not to the extent I was. I continued asking for ventilation and worked in that department for several more months. I used to wake up in the morning and my pillow would be green. My nose would bleed, and I would cough green. I started to have problems breathing through my nose and continue to suffer with that to this day, along with and now living with lung, liver and kidney problems.

Sometime between 1966-1968 they started making Nickel Cadmium batteries. I did not work in that department or know the process to make them. Don’t recall what they were used for but my recollection was they were used at Stallion Site and the Weather Service.

I was eventually moved to the Machine shop to be a janitor. When I walked in there the fumes were so strong that I just went from one bad situation to another. I never did any janitorial work but started learning how to do Machinist work. I was asked to go degrease some parts. It was a vapor de-greaser using Chlorothene that was heated to create a vapor. Those vapors were coming over the top of the tank. Within a minute I saw what the problem was and how to correct it. My supervisor told me that I was just a stupid Mexican and didn’t know anything.

I showed him where the water line had to be hooked up and convinced him I was right.

The cold water went around in a line about halfway up the tank and stopped the vapor from coming over the top. How long these men worked in there breathing fumes, I don’t remember.

The point I am trying to make is that Eagle Picher was a horrible employer. They cared nothing about their employees’ well being. They would only raise your pay when the minimum wage was raised by the government. I learned to do machinist work, but they wouldn’t increase my pay, so I eventually left there. Since they didn’t care about their employees, why would they care about the environment? So they were a horrible company to the citizens of Socorro.

When I read these articles about Eagle Picher being a Superfund site it made me very angry. Now the taxpayers have to clean up their mess. When the city leased this plant back to Eagle Picher in 1980 ,was there any safeguard put in place to contain any dangerous chemicals? Obviously not. For that I hold the politicians and bureaucrats at that time responsible. I am not a genius but why would the city put in a Septic tank that is supposed to collect solids and the liquids go into a leach line that releases the liquids into the ground? If there is a different type of Septic tank for hazardous chemicals that was used then I guess that did not work. Companies all over the country have been and continue to contaminate our environment for the almighty dollar and to hell with the people, land, water and air.

For this I hold the politicians responsible and negligent for making laws, but with so many loop holes the companies get away with their abuses to us and the environment, The companies should pay for cleaning up their mess, not the taxpayers. The people who work for these companies are to blame for being afraid to speak up.

“What good fortune for those in power that people do not not think and “a foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.”

All these abuses to the people and the environment for the almighty dollar, the root of all evil.

Thank you,

Stanley Chavez

Albuquerque, New Mexico