Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hard-luck Montana town pushes to house Gitmo detainees

HARDIN, Montana (CNN) -- The tiny town of Hardin, Montana, is offering an answer to a very thorny question: Where should the nation put terror detainees if the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is shut down by the end of the year as President Obama has pledged? Hardin, population 3,400, sits in the southeast corner of Montana, in the state's poorest county. Its small downtown is almost deserted at midday. The Dollar Store is going out of business. The Hardin Mini Mall is already shut. The town needs jobs -- and fast. Hardin borrowed $27 million through bonds to build the Two Rivers Regional Correctional Facility in hopes of creating new employment opportunities. The jail was ready for prisoners two years ago, but has yet to house a single prisoner. "It would bring jobs. Believe it or not, it would even bring hope and opportunity," Greg Smith, Hardin's economic development director, told CNN. The state's congressional leaders have lined up against the plan. "Housing potential terrorists in Montana is not good for our state," Max Baucus, the state's senior Democratic senator, wrote to Smith. "These people stop at nothing. Their primary goal in life, and death, is to destroy America."

Manicurist Donovan Lindsay says bringing the detainees to Hardin would bring more law enforcement, and that would make the town safer. She also believes it would generate jobs . "We are the poorest county in the state of Montana and we need all the help we can get," she says. Greg Smith thinks the prison would generate business for gas stations, restaurants, and other local enterprises, giving the entire region an economic boost. And, he says, it would benefit the country.

Editor Rozek’s Note:…So they couldn’t just put up a Walmart like everyone else? Isn’t that the nation’s answer to the struggling economy? They had to build a prison and can’t find anyone to live there? It is getting harder to fill prisons these days. I was going to put up a drug dealer/ice cream stand in my back yard but no one would come to mine either. I think it was something to do with my big sign in front! Whatever! There’s nothing that says “hope and opportunity” like a big jailhouse full of suicide bombers! Of course…they may have something about the fact that it would allow job opportunities to more people- …cause every 2 weeks 100 of them would get blown up and then they can offer the positions to the next 100 in line. In a mere 34 weeks, this whole controversy would be moot. It is truly a great answer that will have people moving to Montana in droves! You see it all the time…The dollar store goes out of business and then “poof! Like a magic Jeannie in a bottle- along comes the incredible opportunity of housing the nation’s terror detainees…2 miles from the one room school house! That’s really nice. I don’t know what Max Baucus’ problem is! What a buzz kill! Blah blah blah…destroy America! Aren’t we being a little dramatic Maxie waxie? I mean…come on. Let’s leave the opinions to the people who really know what they are talking about – the manicurists! At least she sees it the way it really is- an opportunity to make Hardin, Montana a safer town to live in!

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