Editorial: Community rallies around Hellam Twp. farmer Marlyn Miller

York Dispatch

Thumbs up: To residents who rallied around the 84-year-old Hellam Township farmer who was surprised on Thursday with a new tricked out Mule — with heat and a full cab enclosure — after his was stolen on Christmas Eve.

Longtime Hellam Twp. farmer loses Mule in burglary

Marlyn Miller was greeted by 40 family members, friends and well-wishers at Don’s Kawasaki in Hallam and was taken aback to find that Kawasaki was giving him a brand new four-wheeler to replace the one that was stolen from him.

The money to customize the Mule came mostly from the net profit of a GoFundMe.com fundraising campaign started by Hellam Township resident Kevin Heiser — about $4,200, he said. That left a balance of about $600 or $700, which Miler’s son, Marlyn “Butch” Miller, is paying off, he said.

Miller saved up for about two years to buy the used 2002 Mule that was stolen from the East Ore Bank Road farm he and Butch run together. It was later found ditched in the Susquehanna River in Saginaw and is likely a total loss.

"It broke my heart when I heard about it," longtime friend Kerry White said. He accurately predicted he would shed a few tears when the surprise was sprung on Marlyn.

Long-time friend Kerry White hugs Marlyn Miller after Miller was presented with a brand new Kawasaki Mule at Don's Kawasaki in Hallam, Thursday Feb. 11, 2016. John A. Pavoncello photo

Isn’t that just like our local community to rally around a neighbor in need?

It might be cold outside but that’s a story that just warms the heart.

Thumbs down: To the Oregon occupiers of federal land who have needlessly tied up taxpayer-funded law enforcement resources for nearly two months.

Three of four armed occupiers turned themselves in Thursday, a day after authorities moved in to the property nearly six weeks into the takeover and arrested a figure in the fight against federal control of public lands.

The holdouts were the last remnants of the group that seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2, demanding the government turn over the land to locals and release two ranchers imprisoned for setting fires.

The four previously refused to leave even after group leader Ammon Bundy and others were arrested on a remote road outside the refuge on Jan. 26 in a traffic stop that also led police to shoot and kill an Arizona rancher, who the FBI says was reaching for a gun. Most of the occupiers fled the refuge after that.

FBI released video of fatal shooting of Oregon occupier

Bundy’s father, Cliven, joined his son behind bars late Wednesday after arriving in Portland from Las Vegas. The elder Bundy led an armed standoff with the government over grazing rights two years ago in Nevada.

Federal officials eventually backed away from seizing his cattle and he never faced charges. The FBI declined to provide a reason for his arrest, but federal authorities say the family has not made payments toward a $1.1 million grazing fee and penalty bill.

We are uncertain why this lawlessness is being tolerated and why the taxpayers are being stuck with the bill.

This is likely why this group did not experience a significant groundswell of support from other ranchers, or anyone, really.

Thumbs up: To the elementary students who submitted a video about the importance of trees that is poised to win them $10,000 and a tree-planting party for their outdoor classroom space.

Mazie Gable Elementary School's video for the Scotties Trees Rock video contest spent most of the competition perched in first place, and now the only thing left to do is wait for votes to be tallied to see if the top prize will be awarded to the Red Lion school.

The Red Lion elementary school earlier this year sent in a three-minute video submission to the Trees Rock contest hosted by the tissue company. The contest, for third- through sixth-graders, asked students to create a video describing the importance of trees, whether it be by way of poem, play or song.

First place is $10,000 cash and a tree-planting event and party totaling about $4,000. Should Mazie Gable take the top prize, the funds will be put toward its outdoor classroom area — a space which has been slowly growing over the past four years by way of community donations.

According to the Scotties Trees Rock website, the contest winner will be announced on Feb. 29.

Good luck!