A Stones Throw 4-9-15

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I have a boat dock for sale.

It isn’t in very good condition. It needs a lot of work.

It isn’t even mine.

But “hey” – the price is right – it is FREE.

Don’t worry about the boat dock owner. He doesn’t know I have it. I would tell him, but I don’t know who he is. And no – I didn’t steal it.

Perhaps I should explain.

I have a deed that says I own approximately nine-tenths of an acre of Ohio waterfront land. While I pay taxes on that amount of property, I really don’t have nearly that much usable waterfront land.

Not even on a good day.

The back property line runs down the middle of State Road 156. I decided early on that the State of Indiana probably would not allow me to build anything on that portion of the property. Add to that, the front property line is about 50 feet into the Ohio River. Other than a boat dock, I really can’t build anything on that portion.

Until recently, I didn’t have a dock. I really didn’t need one. I didn’t want one.

But now I have one – and you can have it for free – you just have to move it yourself.

With the boundary lines being what they are, on a good day I probably have about 1/2 acre of dry land that I can actually use. On some days, I have a lot less. I had a lot less a couple of weeks ago when the Ohio River decided it needed to use most of my entire property.

I didn’t mind letting the river use the whole property, but I always thought visitors should leave things the way they found them. I guess the Ohio River doesn’t agree with that philosophy. When its waters retracted to its normal depth, the river decided to leave me with that boat dock that I don’t want.

And a lot of other junk.

It is the other junk that bothers me. While I don’t need the boat dock, I really don’t need trash. And I mean trash – bottles, cans, cups, paper, food, and on and on. I understand why the river might have decided to take a boat dock and move it to my property – but, why bring all the trash with it?

After looking around, I decided maybe the river didn’t have a choice. It needed to expand its banks in order to take care of about an extra 20-foot depth of water. It needed to use almost all of my riverfront property. It needed to use the riverfront properties of a lot of other people.

It didn’t discriminate when it decided to overwhelm with several feet of water, what is normally dry land. Unfortunately, it also didn’t discriminate when it picked up loose “stuff” and moved it down the river.

That is how I got my boat dock.

That is also how I got seemingly tons of trash.

I am not alone. As I drive along the Ohio River now that it has decided to return to its normal banks, I see trash covering property after property I don’t understand why people would have so much loose trash in their yards and on their property. It had to already be there or the river would not have found it.

Would not have moved it.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t surprise me. With State Road 156 closed between Patriot and State Road 56 near Rising Sun due to bridge construction, most local residents use Antioch Road as a detour rather than taking the State Road 250 to State Road 56 detour recommended by the state.

Before Antioch became a preferred route it was simply one of many Switzerland County roads that were used by those who lived in the vicinity. It was a narrow, unmarked road with sharp curves and narrow, if any shoulders. In some cases, there is no shoulder and the drop off is measured in feet – not inches.

There wasn’t much the county highway department could do to prepare Antioch to become a major Switzerland County thoroughfare.

Except for two things.

Almost immediately, our highway department painted white lines on each side of the road. I don’t know about others, but I think the white lines on the side of the road are one of the most important safety measures available. I know I depend on them – especially in bad weather.

I applauded our highway department for quickly adding the white lines. I also applauded them for cutting back trees and brush to clear up sight lines – especially around some of the curves.

So – what does this have to do with my available boat dock? (Don’t forget it is available.)

Nothing – and everything.

Nothing in that most of Antioch road escaped the rising waters of the Ohio River – Everything in that it seems too many people who now use Antioch Road have decided it is a good place to throw their trash.

The county has done everything possible to make Antioch safe and usable while State Road 156 is closed. And, it seems for many the thank you is trash. What was a beautiful drive through the county has now become a drive littered with trash.

Why?

I really don’t understand why people have such disregard for others that they think everyone’s property can be used as a trash can, but it does explain why the Ohio River found trash to move from one property to another.

It does explain all the trash the river deposited on my property – and on others.

It doesn’t explain why people don’t care about their environment. Or, even worse, don’t care about my environment.

As beautiful as Switzerland County is, just think what it would be like if everyone treated it with respect.

Most do – but obviously way too many don’t.

- Mike Cooney