Contributing Editors

Olsen Brothers Owe Following Grain Storage Stalemate in WI

by Winnie Hsiu October 30, 2009 9:27 AM
According to a recent post on (Madison, Wisconsin’s online news source), one of the behemoth’s of Wisconsin’s corn market - Olsen Brothers Enterprises - violated multiple laws regulating construction site storm water and erosion control during construction of their huge grain storage facilities (each hold roughly1.5 million bushels of corn) in Belmont and Boscobel. And those violations are going to cost them almost $200,000, according to Lafayette County circuit court Judge William D. Johnston.

Businessman Paul E. Olsen and Olsen Brothers David and Luther (a state senator from Ripon), began building the storage facilities without permits, although they knew permits were required. According to the judge, they also failed to take required steps to prevent environmental harm and conduct necessary inspections. The Department of Natural Resources had warned the company to comply, but, Johnston said in his decision, the company's "history in these operations appears to be that they would make the business decision, go forward with the project, and accept the costs for violation of the permitting procedure as a cost of doing business."

An Olsen Brothers spokesman admitted there had been some technical violations of regulations, but that no environmental damage resulted. He claims in one case, the Olsen Brothers were told by its construction contractors that a permit was not required.

An attorney for a Berlin contractor argues the state cracked down too hard on the company with a $194,271.50 fine for environmental violations on the 2 construction projects. [More]

Back to Their Roots: Cargill Acquires Nebraska Grain Storage Facilities

by John Stevens October 30, 2009 8:50 AM
With a long, rich heritage dating back to its first grain storage facility on the American frontier in 1865, privately-held U.S. agribusiness leader, Cargill, Inc., has acquired the rights to the land and grain handling assets of the former Altra Nebraska LLC ethanol facility in Carleton (which closed in November, 2007) through a local bidding process completed on Wednesday, October 28, according to an October 29 posting on

"While we will have to make additional enhancements to the facility to make it fully operational, we are determined to leverage this opportunity to offer more flexibility to area crop producers in terms of the delivery, storage, handling and marketing of their grain," said Robert Racek, regional farm service group leader for Cargill AgHorizons.

Construction on the Altra facility began in 2006, and was approximately half complete when, in November 2007, all work ceased because the owners were unable to secure additional financing.

The facility is located on the outskirts of Carleton in Thayer County and one-half mile from the existing Cargill AgHorizons grain handling facility. [More]

Storage Facility near Fresno, CA Approved

by Holly Robinson October 30, 2009 8:18 AM
Yesterday, October 29, Gill Ranch Storage, LLC (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northwest Natural Gas Company) received approval of its filing for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to build and operate an underground natural gas storage facility near Fresno, California’s fifth largest city. The new facility will be known as Gill Ranch Storage.

Fresno is located in the center of the wide San Joaquin Valley of Central California, roughly 200 miles north of Los Angeles and 170 miles south of the state capital in Sacramento.

“This approval by the CPUC is a key milestone in development of the Gill Ranch Storage facility,” said GRS’s Project Development Director Charlie Stinson,

“Following some additional permit approvals, which are expected soon, we anticipate breaking ground at Gill Ranch before year-end, and to remain on schedule for an August 2010 in-service date,” added Stinson.

With an initial capacity of 20 billion cubic feet, the Gill Ranch Gas Storage project is being developed by GRS and Pacific Gas & Electric Company (a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.) Both GRS and PG&E own portions of the overall project, holding undivided interests; GRS has 75% interest; PG&E with 25%, in the project’s initial development phase. [More]

Idaho – It’s Not Just For Potatoes Anymore!

by Tony Gonzalez October 30, 2009 7:46 AM
If you have always thought of Idaho as good potato country…well, you are correct. However, thanks to a far-reaching partnership involving Sage Community Resources, the Caldwell/Canyon Economic Development Council, the Idaho Grape Growers and Wine Producers Commission, USDA Rural Development and the University of Idaho (and $9,000 in funding from the 2009 Recovery Act), state officials believe a new facility – complete with a winery incubator - installed in Caldwell (in Canyon County) could make the area the Mecca for industry start-ups, right in the heart of the state's viticultural region, according to an October 29 posting on

The city of Caldwell is known by locals as the ”Treasure of the Valley,” whose motto, “More to Offer,” certainly fits, as the new facility offers smaller wineries access to climate-controlled storage coupled with industry-specific technical assistance. This project also offers space for Treasure Valley Community College's new viticulture program, currently offering 21 courses in their curriculum.

Within the past two months, Davis Creek Cellars and Fujishin Family Cellars have already moved into the complex, with more expected to join, soon.

"This incubator is key to industry growth," said Ron Bitner, owner of Bitner Vineyards near Caldwell. "This is an exciting time for us." [More]

FL Self Storage Execs Benefit From Retreat

by Winnie Hsiu October 29, 2009 9:02 AM
On October 23, in lovely Palm City (located on the southeastern coast of Florida in Martin County), a roomful of self storage owners and developers met at Walt Disney's Yacht Club optimize and strategize for 2010 business year. In fact, this meeting was the first annual Executive Retreat hosted by the Florida Self Storage Association (FSSA), headquartered in Palm City.

According to an October 29 posting on, 5 guest speakers led presentations and candid discussions about the happenings both inside and outside the self storage industry today, and forecasts for the future.

"The Board of Trustees has worked diligently over the past several months to put together a day that would bring our Executives together to share ideas and create a think tank. The success of this event is a direct result of our dedication and commitment to serve our members," stated Caite Corripio, FFSA’s Executive Director.

The Florida Self Storage Association is a non-profit organization comprised of individuals and business people who have an interest in the self storage industry in Florida. It was created to promote a standard of professionalism and enhance the performance and quality of the services the industry offers. Members include owners, operators, vendors, developers, investors, property managers and suppliers of products and services used in self storage. [More]

Trouble Comes in 3’s – Arrests Made in Storage Facility Break-Ins

by Kim Kilpatrick October 29, 2009 8:31 AM
In the land of all-things Wal-Mart, justice is served.

Rogers is a suburban city in Benton County, in northwest Arkansas. Rogers was the location of the first Wal-Mart store, whose corporate headquarters is located in neighboring Bentonville, Arkansas.

Yesterday, October 28, a Bentonville man was served a warrant by Rogers Police for 63 counts of breaking or entering. And, in the course of the investigation into the burglarizing of A to Z Self Storage facilities, police subsequently arrested 2 more people wanted for additional unrelated break-ins, according to Corporal Angel Murphy-Pearce.

As reported on October 29 by, 2 A to Z locations at 2707 W. Olive St. and 2851 Honeysuckle Lane reported multiple several burglaries during the months of September and October. The perpetrators damaged drywall while breaking in, and stole a variety of things including jewelry, electronics, tools, knives and camping equipment, and, to date, the police have yet to locate the majority of the stolen property.

Corporal Murphy-Pearce stated that during the case investigation, they police had several interviews with Jimmy Coles, 35, and served him with an arrest warrant on at the Benton County Jail. (Coles has been in detention since October 19, 2009, as the result of a previous parole violation.) [More]

IA Water Storage Dispute Could Result in Court Time

by Winnie Hsiu October 28, 2009 11:40 AM
In what could be compared to a David-and Goliath battle, Sioux City officials are attempting to bypass a local ordinance that would require a public hearing before the Woodbury county board of adjustment, according to an October 27 positing on

Sioux City is targeting farm land, located just off of Buchanan Avenue on 155th Street, for a future water reservoir to serve a large portion of Morningside.

Sioux City is the county seat for Woodbury County (which was originally established Wahkaw County, until the Iowa Legislature changed its name to Woodbury County in honor of Levi Woodbury, a senator and Governor of New Hampshire, in 1853.)

The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska (Ho-Chunk) also owns reservation land in Woodbury County.

While Sioux City officials claim to have done their “due diligence” in talking to neighbors and hold their own hearings, Woodbury County resident paint a much different picture, stating that city officials are employing “strong-arm” tactics on county leaders and forcing this project on county residents. [More]


Exodus Residents Battle Disappointment as Storage Facility Collapses

by Holly Robinson October 28, 2009 11:08 AM
Following an overnight torrential downpour, an already-weakened roof at the Exodus storage facility in Hickory, North Carolina, collapsed, resulting in water damage and/or ruin for the many holiday lights, decorations and a Nativity Scene that were to be used in less than 6 weeks for their Festival of Lights as reported on on Wednesday, October 28.

For some, the disappointment could result in using.

Exodus Works is a drug-free, supervised labor force with transportation that provides vocational on-the-job training for its residents in a variety of social enterprises that generate revenue to support their own programs. Exodus Workers serve their community, while learning job skills that prepare them for competitive employment.  

Exodus Homes is a faith-based United Way agency, offering transitional and permanent supportive housing for homeless recovering addicts, alcoholics, and formerly incarcerated people returning to the community from treatment programs and prison. Exodus Homes has a comprehensive array of services to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of its residents. [More]

Big Brother is Building: New Storage Facilities for America’s Private info

by John Stevens October 28, 2009 10:18 AM
As posted in an October 28 article on, the National Security Agency (NSA) is building new, multibillion dollar storage facilities in Salt Lake City (Utah) and San Antonio (Texas) to permanently store every American’s telephone calling habits and Internet traffic (which they have been doing – unconstitutionally – since September 11, 2001) because it has outgrown its current headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland.

According to its website, the core missions of the NSA/CSS (Central Security Service) are “to protect U.S. national security systems and to produce foreign signals intelligence information. “

Also, from their website: “The National Security Agency/Central Security Service is home to America's codemakers and codebreakers. The NSA has provided timely information to U.S. decision makers and military leaders for more than half a century. The CSS was established in 1972 to promote a full partnership between NSA and the cryptologic elements of the armed forces…NSA/CSS exists to protect the Nation. Our customers know they can count on us to provide what they need, when they need it, wherever they need it.”

These new storage facilities will be able to hold “yottabytes” of information. To provide some perspective, most computers sold at retail today measure their storage in gigabytes (i.e. billions of bits of data); a few newer systems may store a terrabyte (one trillion bits of information). Yottabytes is the highest number that has yet been named in computer information, and that number is septillions of billions of bits of data, or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bits of data. [More]

Shriner’s Storage Stolen: Atlanta Thieves Abscond Mini-Rides

by Tony Gonzalez October 27, 2009 2:57 PM
Atlanta Shriners are steaming following the theft of many of the mini-cars.

As reported in an October 27 posting on, Shriner officials told police thieves made off with 7 of their mini-cars, taken from a suburban-Atlanta storage facility, thus leaving the charity short on vehicles for their big season - upcoming holiday parades.

The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (commonly known as Shriners) was established in the U.S in 1870 and is an appendant body to Freemasonry. Although the group adopted a Middle Eastern theme and soon established Temples meeting in Mosques (though “Temple” has now generally been replaced by Shrine Auditorium or Center), the Shrine is in no way connected to Islam, but rather is a men's fraternity - not a religion or religious group. Its only religious requirement is indirect: all Shriners must be Masons, and petitioners to Freemasonry must profess a belief in a Supreme Being.

Shriners often participate in local parades, sometimes as rather elaborate units: miniature vehicles in themes (all sports cars; all miniature 18-wheeler trucks; all fire engines, etc), an "Oriental Band" dressed in cartoonish versions of Middle Eastern dress; pipe bands, drummers, motorcycle units, Drum and Bugle Corps, and even traditional brass bands. [More]
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