Obama land grab.. but no help for the southern border.. This man just sucks

Vt. farmer draws a line
at US bid to bolster border

Homeland Security threatens to seize 4.9 acres

Clement Rainville (right) and his family at 
<br>Morses Line, part of Franklin, Vt. They say they need to keep the land 
<br>to grow hay for their farm’s dairy herd.
Clement Rainville (right) and his family at Morses Line, part of
Franklin, Vt. They say they need to keep the land to grow hay for their
farm’s dairy herd.
(Herb Swanson for The Boston Globe)


Globe Staff

May 17, 2010

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FRANKLIN, Vt. — The red brick
house sits unassumingly on a sleepy back road where the lush farmlands
of northern Vermont roll quietly into Canada. This is the Morses Line
border crossing, a point of entry into the United States where more than
three cars an hour constitute heavy traffic.

The bucolic setting of silos and sugar maples
has become the focus of a bitter dispute that pits one of America’s
most revered traditions — the family-owned farm — against the post-9/11
reality of terror attacks on US soil.

The Department of Homeland Security sees
Morses Line as a weak link in the nation’s borders, attractive to
terrorists trying to smuggle in lethal materials. The government is
planning an estimated $8 million renovation here as part of a nationwide
effort to secure border crossings.

It intends to acquire 4.9 acres of border
land on a dairy farm owned for three generations by the Rainville
family. Last month, the Rainvilles learned that if they refuse to sell
the land for $39,500, the government intends to seize it by eminent

The Rainvilles call
this an unjustified land-grab by federal bullies.

“They are trying to steamroll us,’’ said
Brian Rainville, 36, a high school government and civics teacher whose
grandfather bought the farm in 1946 and whose parents and two brothers
run it now. “We have a buyer holding a gun to our head saying you have
to sell or else.’’

Rainvilles say the land, where they grow a portion of the feed for 150
head of cattle, is worth far more than the offer, and is critical at a
time when the low price of milk has dairy farmers struggling to cover
the cost of production.

like taking a leg off a stool. If you reduce the hay, you reduce the
herd; if you reduce the herd, you immediately affect the viability of
the farm,’’ Brian Rainville said. “Last year, the farm lost money. Right
now, we are hanging on by our fingernails.’’

The family’s many supporters in the area
do not dispute that the Morses Line facility, some 50 miles southeast of
Montreal, is outdated. But they do not understand why the government
needs to spend millions on it.

whole thing is a perfect example of waste,’’ said Glen Gurwit of
Swanton, a customs inspector for 31 years who frequently worked at
Morses Line before retiring in 2004. He said the port is used mostly by
locals crossing to visit relatives, play hockey, or shop, and is notable
for its “peace, quiet, and isolation.’’

“We used to spend hours watching deer
graze,’’ he said.

Security officials counter that modernizing border facilities should be a
national priority. US Customs and Border Protection received $420
million in federal stimulus funds to renovate ports of entry along the
Canadian and Mexican borders.

Morses Line, one of
15 ports between Vermont and Quebec, was among the first in the country
slated for repair. It was built in 1934. Its only detention facility is a
set of handcuffs attached to a wooden bench. It has no place to inspect
vehicles, so customs officers have to do it in the middle of the road.
It has a road gate that they have to open and close manually. Its roof

“It is unsafe,’’ said
Marco A. Lopez, spokesman for US Customs and Border Protection.

Lopez said the government has been
cooperating with the Rainvilles, and responded to their concerns by
scaling back an earlier plan to use 10 acres of the farm.

Allison Stanger, director of the Rohatyn
Center for International Affairs at Middlebury College, said the
government is right to shore up aging, little-used border crossings.

“If there’s a weak link in the chain,
that’s precisely what our enemies would target for getting things into
the country,’’ she said. “It seems far-fetched to think that something
like this could happen in beautiful Vermont. But before it happened,
what American would have thought that someone would fly a plane into a

The Rainvilles
suggest that the Morses Line port, where only 14,811 vehicles crossed in
2009, could be shut down altogether. They say the stimulus money would
be better spent upgrading the busy Highgate Springs port 11 miles to the
west, where Interstate 89 connects with a Canadian route to Montreal.
Hundreds of thousands of vehicles cross there each year.

US Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont
Democrat who supports the family, raised the idea of closing the Morses
Line port with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano last month. Napolitano promised to hold a public hearing
Saturday in Franklin, Vt., the town that includes Morses Line.

Lopez said the government has already
hired a contractor, but he added that officials will hear out opinions
voiced at the meeting.

options are on the table,’’ he said. “If the community and the state and
whatever disagree with us, we will talk to Canada about closing the

The Rainvilles say
they have nothing against border officials. Two years ago, they closed
the farm so that law enforcement agencies could use it to conduct a
drill on the response to a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack. But
they were rankled by a recent government assessment that described the
4.9 acres as undeveloped and insignificant to their operation.

The plot is a fraction of their 220-acre
property, but it constitutes about one-twelfth of their available hay
land. It yields 1,000 bales of hay a year; without it, the family would
need to buy the hay at $3.25 a bale, and possibly reduce the number of
cows, said Craig Rainville, 32.

calculates that the cost would soon exceed the sum the government is
offering, and cripple a farm that has been named to the National
Register of Historic Places for its intact 19th-century buildings and
pristine landscape and designated a Dairy of Distinction by the Vermont
Department of Agriculture.

family recently put up a “Save This Farm’’ sign at the entrance to the

Last week Brian
Rainville stood on a field of alfalfa and indicated orange posts erected
by government surveyors to delineate the boundaries of the disputed

“They look at it like a
vacant lot,’’ he said. “They do not understand how vital that land is
to who we are and what we do.’’

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Top Opinion

  • ronbo51 2010/05/18 22:00:58 (edited)

    these pickled brain nerds dont have a clue on securing our borders,
    the damn border with Mexico is the problem you bunch of nitwit pencil pushers!!!
    please eat all of what she dumps below and die! damn border mexico eproblem bunch nitwit pencil pushers eat die

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  • Rogue-Wolf 2010/05/20 00:28:32
    DRAIN BAMMAGE!!!!! Do all those morons in DC get to work via the short bus??? Excuse me, I'm sorry. It was not my intention to offend the mentally handicapped, but from where I'm sitting, All of Americas mentally handicapped right now live and work in Washington DC!
  • iamnothere Rogue-Wolf 2010/05/30 19:28:00
    well the high priced ones certainly do
  • Charles E 2010/05/18 23:07:02
    Charles E
    Millions of illegal aliens are entering the US from Mexico so, instead of completing a wall in the desert, the government proposes to seize a family farm near the Canadian border more than 1200 miles from the major problem. No wonder rational people are deciding that the entire Obama administration is at best incompetent and more likely just plain stupid.
  • ronbo51 2010/05/18 22:00:58 (edited)

    these pickled brain nerds dont have a clue on securing our borders,
    the damn border with Mexico is the problem you bunch of nitwit pencil pushers!!!
    please eat all of what she dumps below and die! damn border mexico eproblem bunch nitwit pencil pushers eat die
  • none 2010/05/18 20:59:24
  • Sandy 2010/05/18 19:40:30 (edited)
    why are they worried about canada... they aren't near as crass or prolific as the mexicans...
  • iamnothere 2010/05/18 19:33:28
    Just as an aside.. this is the kind of governmental action that is the cause for right wing militia groups that the government worries about
  • ronbo51 iamnothere 2010/05/18 21:47:41 (edited)

    like this one? Hmmm! and soon to the rest of the US we come.....

    no problem. hope they squirm even more!!!
  • RubenRi... ronbo51 2010/05/25 20:30:06
    where do I sign!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...
  • Sandy iamnothere 2010/05/19 06:12:51
    I know it makes me want to join..
  • PDenoli 2010/05/18 19:25:34
    I find it entertaining to point out that a classic south american technique for silencing political critics is to seize their land and property when they speak out. One could easily imagine a situation where - the more the border states complain about the federal government's inaction on border security, the more land the federal government seizes in retaliation.

    I don't think that's happening here, but it's such a cliche move that someone out there is certain to recognize it, draw that conclusion, and make the accusation sooner or later. If federal land grabs start to happens on the southern border... say... in AZ? Lookout!
  • iamnothere PDenoli 2010/05/18 19:27:08
  • PDenoli iamnothere 2010/05/18 20:20:02
    Or just to keep it off the market.
  • Charles E PDenoli 2010/05/18 23:11:04
    Charles E
    I think it is happening here. Most of the car dealerships closed when General Motors became Government Motors had links to Republicans of non-Obama Democratic presidential hopefuls. Seize and destroy your opposition is the newest Chicago thug plan.
  • PDenoli Charles E 2010/05/19 02:21:21
    I've heard that before. Are there any national stats that show clear bias? That could be useful information, I think.
  • iamnothere PDenoli 2010/05/19 11:26:50
    other than news reports that is what I saw also
  • PDenoli iamnothere 2010/05/19 14:15:11
    In any given area, there's a good chance that republican-leaning or democratic-leaning dealerships could appear to be targeted.

    You only get a decent picture if you can capture this information on an nationwide basis... or if you can associate a specific area with a specific LEVEL of support. In other words, separate out democrats who were not favored because of conservative leanings or republicans who were favored due to progressive tendencies... but that's far too complicated to achive, and highly subjective.

    Easier better and faster to use national stats. If you can find anything on that, please let me know. Thanks!
  • BornToBeWild 2010/05/18 17:51:52 (edited)
    Our border problems is not up north with Canada...they are doing their job at the border lines but their focus should be more to the South where the biggest problem actually exists! Typical government playing a backward field of ignorance! They need a really good lawyer!
  • iamnothere BornToB... 2010/05/18 19:27:39
    one of those really Duh moments isnt it??
  • Charles E BornToB... 2010/05/18 23:12:14
    Charles E
    A government of idiots run by incompetents.

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