Firewater Tensions RisingOn Tuesday, a petition to preserve the agricultural tradition of Firewater was made available to the piloting community on the planet's landing pad. Overnight, the petition gained sixteen signatures, with more names coming in on the following day. The premise of the petition is that the Firewater mall, which ceased construction nearly a year ago, is harmful to the farming community. More information about the specific points on this issue can be found by visiting the spaceport itself.
The goal to be reached is seventy signatures. Tomato farmer Troy Cameron says, "And we don't plan to quit until we get those seventy names, no matter how long it takes."
But with the threat of an urban boom looming on the horizon, many farmers and cattle ranchers are becoming increasingly worried that their goal won't be met in a timely fashion. In a display of the mounting tension, an as yet unknown individual or group has let loose a number of cows into the spaceport and mall. The animals are creating quite the mess, wherever they go. This has caused a backlash from many mall proprietors who feel that the farmers are carrying the fight just a bit too far.
I had the opportunity to speak to two pilots this evening, both members of the ACE organization. Mr. Michael Vieraah and Gage Vieraah met with me at the Palace of Ambrosia to chat. I asked them first how they felt about the situation in general and what made them decide to sign. Mr. Michael Vieraah had this to say: "What made me decide to sign was mainly the fact that farming and agriculture, as well as expanding cities were being treated with less priority than a shopping mall. Not only that, but the single fact that the government threatened to seize people's farmland just so they could make more stores is completely wrong."
Mr. Gage Vieraah, when asked, responded, "I believe that there's not really much a reason why the mall has to be there when it can be easily relocated. It's not exactly as easy to relocate your crops."
Some farmers have expressed anxiety over the high number, (seventy) which is the goal of the petition. According to one rancher, they believe that seventy names will be enough to sway the government's decision. So I asked the Vieraahs if they believed the petition would acquire all the names.
Michael Vieraah: "I believe they will get the 70 signatures that they require, if us pilots spread the word and inform other people of the situation that's actively occurring on Firewater."
Gage Vieraah: "Active Pilot Jason Harkness has been working very hard to try and get other pilots to sign. If other pilots continue in this manner, I do believe the quota will be met."
And finally, I asked the pilots what their views were on the livestock let loose in the spaceport, as it's such an explosive issue between the farmers and store owners. Both Michael and Gage seemed fairly amused by the whole thing, and even hinted that it put the farmers and store owners on a bit of an equal footing - a tit-for-tat back and forth that creatively demonstrated peaceful protest.
The eyes of the galaxy will remain riveted on this situation as it continues to unfold. In the meanwhile, interested pilots will most likely continue to urge their friends and family members within the community to sign the petition.
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