Saturday, September 17, 2005


You Know, it just dawned on me, I have not yet written a BLOG about our new business up in Pleasant Valley. This is sort of a Spin-Off from my Brother, Ron Northup's Company, Wayne's Lawn Service. We are trying to get a similar business going in PV, and the name is Pleasant Valley Solutions, Inc. We are incorporated, but the Corporate Structure is still not fully set up. The only stock-holder to begin with was me (Rick Northup). I initially pledged $25,000.00 and an additional $25,000.00 to be our fledging company's first customer. In addition, Uncle Dean wants to jump in with $25,000.00 in cash.

Before Shot of PVSI Pond and Front Office Area
Before Shot of PVSI Pond and Front Office Area

The plan being, that we would fix up the Home Place to be our Model Landscape Home. We are adding a Pond/Pool with waterfall and a sidewalk that runs from there to the front door of the house, bounded by various Landscape Features and gardens. There will be border gardens all around the house, and ornamental Trees and Shrubs planted over the North half of the property, including upgrading the present Orchard, North of the greenhouse.

The work was started in the middle of August, with Matthew Northup and Mark Binkley digging down along the foundation and installing Styro-foam for insulation and tearing off the Front Porch and the back entry in the process.

South End, After Back-Filling, Ready To Start Setting Landscape Blocks
South End, After Back-Filling, Ready To Start Setting Landscape Blocks

Curt Binkley was contracted to finish the siding.
Diana Morkassel and her Spruce-Up Nursery has been hired as the primary Plant design specialist. She will supply all plant materials and act as sub-contractor for the planting process.

South End, With Landscape Blocks Partially Installed
South End, With Landscape Blocks Partially Installed
East Side; Patio Area and on to the Pond
East Side; Patio Area and on to the Pond
North East Corner; Landscape Timber Border Garden
North East Corner; Landscape Timber Border Garden

Wayne's Lawn Service has been contracted as the primary construction Vendor with responsibility for the design and installation of the Pond and Landscape features, as well as prepping the PVSI Construction yard and burying all the Bargain Barn mess that was left after the fire.

Before Shot of PVSI Materials Area
Before Shot of PVSI Materials Area

Eventually, we expect Darien Northup to be our primary building construction General Contractor.
We also expect to involve David Samuelson as Architect, and as a secondary Construction General Contractor.
So far, there has been no interest shown by Cousin Gary Northup, who has a long history as Developer and General Contractor of homes and Commercial Building or by my brother-in-law, Tony Persinger, who also has been an Independent General Contractor in his own right.

My daughter, Cherly Ballek has fixed up their house in Bemidji and has it put up for sale. We are hoping proceeds from that eventual sale can be at least partially pumped back into this company to get us building houses.

Part of our philosophy is to put our people to work at a decent wage, with the prospect of investing a portion of what they earn back into the Company on a Stock Purchase Plan. If an employee is hired at $9.00/hr, he can invest up to $3.00/hr of that money into stock, whereby the company will equal that committment, in essence giving that employee a total value of $12.00/hour. Similar stock ownership plans will be put in place for the various Vendors. The vision is that all people who work for the Company will own a stake in the Company.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Predictions of Hurricane Katrina

There has been considerable discussion of late about the "Surprise" that Hurricane Katrina was to the residents of the Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana coast. There was no Surprise at all. They have been talking for years, that sooner or later this area would get a direct hit from a Category Five Hurricane. The only Surprise was that this hurricane weakened a little just before landfall and only hit as a Cat 4.

Path of Katrina crossing Florida, building strength in the Gulf and Striking just East of New Orleans

In September of 2001, the people of this country woke up for a few short months before they went back to sleep. The idea of a major Terrorist Attack on American Soil is now, as it was prior to 9-11, on the back burner.

In September of 2002, the article linked to on the top of this page came out. I, for one had never heard of it. I suppose the war in Afghanistan, and the looming threat of a similar attack on Iraq was taking up all the headlines, and no one was very interested in the possibility of any sort of natural disaster striking American Soil. We are a God-Fearing country, and God would not allow such a thing to happen.

Katrina Bearing Down on the Mississippi Delta

But, now it is September of 2005. The Anniversary of the Day the Terrorists came to America is looming large, and the disaster of Katrina is a week old today. The kibitzing and Politicizing has already started. So far, I have not heard anyone accuse President Bush of causing the Hurricane, but he has been accused by many of responding too slowly and the government at all levels has been accused of not being prepared for this. There is some truth to this accusation, but it is not the sole responsibility of the President or the Congress to act. This is a country Of the People, For the People, and By the People. It is time that We the People get concerned about some of the things that are going on. We bear the ultimate responsibility.

There are two primary reasons why the devastation was so bad in New Orleans by a mere Category 4 Hurricane. They are unrelated, except both were caused somewhat by a form of greed. It started over a hundred years ago when we started building dikes to keep the Mississippi from flooding.

This was essentially Land Greed.

The land that is in the most precarious location is the prime land, that people are willing to pay any price to have it. And they expect the government to step in and help them keep it safe. I have heard many complain that "The Welfare People" are expecting the Government to step in and help them because they are left homeless. The real problem is that the Wealthy Landowners on these lands are willing to pay any amount of Insurance money to guarantee the safety of their precarious mansions. And "We the People" are ultimately paying for it.

The Army Corps of Engineers has been ordered by the Federal Government to build the Dikes and Dams that are largely responsible for the condition the Mississippi Delta is in today. The other part of the equation, of course, is the huge Oil and Gas interests in the area.

This is Oil Greed.

Not only is the Gulf and the Delta covered with Oil Wells and their acompanying Pipe-Lines, most of the Oil coming in from the Middle East traverses these same waters. The canals dug by the Oil Companies into the marshes is the other primary reason this part of Louisiana is sinking into the sea and there is no longer a buffer region to calm the fury of the hurricanes, so they can hit New Orleans full force.

A city that was built by greed, ten feet below sea level and protected by 20 foot dikes that merely serve to hold the water for months after a thirty foot storm surge breaches those walls.

I urge you to click on the title of this BLOG and read the article in it's entirety, including listening to the radio clips. Remember that this dire warning was sounded in September of 2002, more than 3 years before Katrina formed in the Caribbean Sea.