|Then and Now|
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Then and Now!
December 1, 2007
By Julie Kay Smithson
The article below, Taking Life By Storm, was written in March 1998 and published in RoadStar magazine in its debut issue, January 1999. It is posted here at the About Us button to introduce readers to who I was then.
Who I am now:
Countless hours are cheerfully devoted to property rights research, working with responsible resource providers (farmers, fishermen, miners, ranchers, recreationists, and the folks that grow and harvest and process timber into products that each of us use every day -- our heroes, the American Resource Providers), learning and sharing knowledge.
From its humble beginnings in August 1999 to its demise in 2001, the original website known as NoDarbyRefuge.org was owned by Jim Slaughter. As he grew ill and felt less and less like keeping the site active, my contributions to the site in the form of editorials and articles about our successful rout of U.S. Fish & Wildlife 'Service' from our peaceful and fertile west-central Ohio farms were no longer posted. The site grew stale. On January 3, 2002, Jim offered to give me the site, as he was shutting it down.
What could I do? Knowing zero about websites, updating, webmastering, or anything 'computer technical', I emailed a dear rancher friend in New Mexico whose website I admired. She suggested her webmaster, he offered his peerless skills and time, and thus began www.PropertyRightsResearch.org -- a miracle for which I and many others give thanks every day.
The mindboggling amount of information available on the Internet about the many facets of property rights had really never been gathered into one place before.
There were -- and are -- websites about property rights, yes, but they are usually organizations, foundations, etc., and focus on parts of the whole.
To my knowledge, no one had put together all the various government entities, NGOs, and victimization tools like eminent domain, 'smart' 'growth', and so on. 'One-stop learning,' I guess you could call it!
From then until Friday, July 13, 2007, my website was entrusted to the capable hands and patriot heart of Gerald Ullery. On that day, after five and one-half years of being the best webmaster anyone could hope for, I took the reins of my website for the first time. Gerry was just too ill to continue.
From founding documents like the Bill of Rights, Constitution and Declaration of Independence, to my webmaster's suggestion of having all fifty state's Constitutions (and their state seals), the site appeals to all needing foundational knowledge of our Constitutional Republic -- to those needing to do a comparison study showing whose constitution separates church from state: http://europeanhistory.about.com/cs/communistrussia/ (the 1918 Communist constitution, in Article 13 of the Preamble) Article 13. In order to ensure genuine freedom of conscience for the working people, the church is separated from the State, and the school from the church: and freedom of religious and anti-religious propaganda is recognized for all citizens. http://europeanhistory.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.departments.
Other buttons appeal to parts of property rights, whether aimed at farmers (CREP, CRP, Conservation Easements, Restrictive Covenants, USDA), fishermen (NMFS), loggers (Forest Service), ranchers (BLM), or those with access issues (Inholders, Recreationists, Roadless). Many buttons are cross-posted and have appeal to others.
There are buttons -- like Klamath, Everglades, and No Darby Refuge -- that may at first glance appear to be local issues, but are actually examples of efforts to implement The Wildlands Project.
There are buttons like Maps, Links and Websites of Interest that direct you to other websites, believing that sharing information and networking is of paramount importance.
This is now 'what I do' instead of truck driving and raising horses. Those things became a past chapter in my life when this effort was committed to. The last horses and horse equipment left in August 2002; the job was resigned in the summer of 2000.
This website is not supported by grant funding or large foundations. It is not, as the search engines say, 'a coalition of US land and natural resource owners'. It is not an organization. It is run on faith and hope and the knowledge that a few can and do make a difference. It has been supported by my personal savings and is supported by the donations that readers like you send. The amount is not important, but keeping this effort in your prayers, sending a donation, ordering my property rights terminology CD or ordering from the Online Store -- these are what keeps this effort strong.
Only you know how important this website is to you. Your support shows me that you need this website and the help it offers you with no membership, registration, or fee strings.
PropertyRightsResearch.org will celebrate its sixth birthday on January 4, 2008. By that time, the 'hit counter' may well number seven million.
Your donations are greatly needed and vital to keeping strong the efforts and website you know as Property Rights Research. Please send whatever you can, today!
Julie K. Smithson
213 Thorn Locust Lane
London, OH 43140