Mike Lawrence: Cargo-gate hits Oak Creek

Opinions about town's mayor not hard to find

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Mike Lawrence

Call Mike Lawrence at 871-4203 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com.

Leonard Herzog said he's not sure where the stack of papers came from, but he doesn't mind that it's there.

Herzog is co-owner of Oak Creek's Super Select market, which - like the Colorado Bar & Grill across the street - is as much a community gathering place for the small Routt County town as it is a place of business.

The market also is a local forum.

Monday afternoon, the stack of papers by Herzog's cash register contained 85 signatures in support of Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman, the embattled present, former, or temporarily-on-leave mayor - depending on whom you ask - who resigned in October but has recently asked the Oak Creek Town Board if she can have her job back.

Just about everybody in town has an opinion about Rodeman. But not everyone will say it publicly, especially to a reporter carrying a big white notebook. Some people simply sign their name after buying eggs or a carton of milk.

"It showed up one day, and it has been there since," Herzog said about the petition. "I don't have a problem using our store in that way, if it's limited - there's not many places in Oak Creek where people can express themselves."

Beginning in April of 2002, citizens of Oak Creek have elected Rodeman three times to lead the town's government. She resigned in October amid questions about over-stepping her duties as mayor, not listening to co-workers and exacerbating the town's precarious financial position. Rodeman also reported "untruthful" hostilities from town staff.

When Rodeman reversed her resignation to the Town Board, some Oak Creek residents speculated that because the Town Board never publicly accepted her resignation, Rodeman still is their mayor.

Regardless, the Town Board will name a mayor from a pool of what is now four applicants, including Rodeman, during a special meeting Nov. 28.

"She did a good job (as mayor), but she over-extended her power, which she didn't have in the first place," Oak Creek resident Larry "L.A." Anderson said Monday at the Black Mountain Tavern on Sharp Avenue. "She thought the town was hers, and that's not the way things are here. She got some things done, but she stepped on a few toes."

Anderson has had a front-row seat for Cargo-gate. He helped make CDs of the Town Board's four-hour, closed-door conversation that Rodeman said led to her decision to resign.

After eight years living in Oak Creek, Anderson is still a newcomer by Routt County standards. But he has been around long enough to compare mayors.

"The last mayor didn't do half of what Cargo did," Anderson said. "She always tried to inspire the town."

Oak Creek residents have seen Rodeman take on small tasks, such as painting yellow lines on curbs at the town's gas station. They've seen her accomplish large tasks, such as securing $3.2 million in grants and loans to fund construction of a new wastewater treatment plant and replacement sewer pipes.

But during the years, they've also seen Rodeman cut corners, such as beginning construction of an ice rink without finalizing a building permit and eliminating the town manager position - only to take on many of the duties herself, eventually asking the Town Board for a pay raise as a result.

Herzog shrugged off the negatives Monday.

"You're going to have some gripes, no matter who it is," Herzog said. "I'm sure if (former New York City Mayor Rudy) Giuliani came in, he'd get some votes, but there's no perfect mayor."

Rodeman soon will begin a new job in McCoy, working in an administrative capacity for Freedom Sewer & Drain. She said Tuesday that if the Town Board takes her back as mayor, her role would be significantly reduced.

"They seem to not like having somebody there five days a week," Rodeman said about the board. "They said I was too involved. Now, I'll be a two-night-a-month mayor if they have me back."

Anderson said he would welcome Cargo's return, but acknowledged an inevitable change.

"Once you've gone over the line, things can't reverse themselves," Anderson said. "Yes, she should come back, but something about it is gone. It's sad, but it's gone."

Comments

embarressedtoknowOClocation 7 years, 5 months ago

Im not from Oak Creek, and saddly to say, the truth is I'm embarrassed to know where Oak Creek is. Not because of the towns folk but because of the hill billies that are "THE TOWN BOARD". I have heard the "secret tapes" and the board members and everyone else on them should be embarrassed, due to their sad atempted to put sentences together. Instead of running the good "MAYOR" Cargo into the ground maybe they should go back to school and learn our great language of English.

Not to change the subject or any thing but what is up with these notes all over town? Trying to hide from the people who want their voices heard? "Closing" town hall to save money. Why not just tell the truth? You want to hide from the state wide embarrassment you caused Oak Creek.

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embarressedtoknowOClocation 7 years, 5 months ago

sounds like you either have no clue what your talking about or your on the town board. Do us all a favor and listen to the tapes. With all the "ummms and ahhs" in them and if you can figure out the sentences that were never completed but they sure made some people excited. Then maybe what you say might be worth something but untill then i want to thank the hill billie who took the time to write the worthless, and pointless remark.

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bluntman 7 years, 5 months ago

yep.

keep on whip, whip, whipping the hide right off the smelly, old carcass and this sad little fishwrapper of a tabloid might stumble upon a story... but again, i'm not going to hold my breath for that to happen any time soon. the ones who should truly be embarrassed (cargo & the pilot's editor and reporters) keep shrieking the same stale rhetoric like brain dead zombies in a grade -f- horror film. plagarizing lines from old Beatles tunes (i, me, mine) does little to convince this observer that cargo is a "victim". she still fails to comprehend the most simple of guidelines under which statutory towns operate, which is known as the "weak" mayor system. why should any board allow themselves to be tormented by such an arrogant, totalitarian, egomaniac?

the fact is, cargo can still do plenty to be involved with the community... if that is what she truly wants. she might have to learn a bit of humility, and the hard part, how to keep her big yap shut so that the wounds (not just hers, by the way) may begin healing. she just needs to figure out that she can still do things- even without an "offcial" title attached.

embarrassed, your mastery of the english language leaves much to be desired, to say the least. something comes to mind about "spell check" as well. nice of you to join today, welcome to the forum.

something that Leonard (and cargo, for that matter) just doesn't seem to get, is that there IS an appropriate forum where residents may express themselves concerning town issues... that place would be called town hall and the venue would be any regular scheduled meeting. Leonard doesn't seem mind that the offensive pile sits on his counter next to the cash register, but there is a good chance that plenty of others DO. when they quietly choose to spend their hard earned dollars somewhere else, that might be the first big clue as to why his revenues are falling. i for one, will not be patronizing ANY local business that is promoting cargo's personal lament and months long funeral wake. it's waaay past time to move on, everyone.

Mike, you could do a lot better with the "investigative" aspect of your story than just dropping in at the local watering holes. of course that might involve a bit of work and critical thinking... oh well, never mind. just keep parroting the "cargo is a victim" mantra and maybe your wishes will come true. if you (or anyone else) really wants to know about the massive finacial liabilities that the town has incurred on behalf of the FORMER mayor, i would suggest reviewing the many documents that have been made public since she QUIT. you (or anyone) could also attend the budget meetings, and i know that the invitation HAS been extended to sp&t staff, yet no reporter has attended. why? until then, you might think twice before you claim that anything concerning cargo's previous tenure as "grant writer"- or was it mayor?... ummm... has "secured" anything, much less millions of dollars in grants.

bluntman

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dave reynolds 7 years, 5 months ago

I' ve helped Select Super out several times when Mike owned it..and "what goes around comes aiound and it did" had dealings with these people all for them selves will leave that

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bluntman 7 years, 5 months ago

spell check alert:

"finacial"; whatever the heck that is, should for the sake of clarity, have read "financial". next time, i will probably use it myself.

: - )

bluntman

p.s. whassat, paddlefish?

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upstream 7 years, 5 months ago

Town employees spoke in confidentiality to the townboard regarding a fellow town employee who was also an elected official...already a mess... They made matters worse by choosing to ask said employee/elected official to leave the room (so she sat in the hall moping, because she would NEVER do anything that was not strictly by the book! huh?). Next Cargo's campaign manager publicly refers to the townboard as the Ku Klux Klan, makes loosely veiled sexual references to our only female board member and portrays another town employee as a "slut" (very subtle Maynard- you PIG). Then, Cargo resigns in typical teenage drama queen fashion- before anything said in the infamous "secret sessions" was even known (perhaps she feared FAR WORSE would be revealed?). Finally, the mighty Steamboat Enquirer takes legal action to force the public release of the tapes which contained said confidences- none of which had been given credibility or acted upon in any way by the board. (Sadly, people actually a) buy and b) listen to them as if they were a bonus episode of Jerry Springer). Way to stir the pot you journalistic giants! You've once again succeeded in providing the pitiful Cargo- queen of all victims- a venue for her annual pity party. And, as per usual, you completely ignore the hundreds of Oak Creek citizens forced to endure it. I suppose your Oak Creek fest will come to a close next Tuesday when Cargo is NOT reinstated - afterall, nothing else that happens in Oak Creek seems capable of keeping Alexis De Le Cruz' or Mike Lawrence's attention for very long- ie- the long and complicated budget meetings, the endurance challenge of the planning commission, the proud slog of the historical society, the mounting victories of our students in the classroom, state leadership and athletics, the humble work of individual Oak Creek citizens building affordable and sustainable housing...on and on the list goes and, yet without Cargo to talk about we will likely once again become invisible in your arrogant eyes. I can hardly wait! Upstream

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aristocat 7 years, 5 months ago

b....employees spoke to trustees and were promised a pig in a poke....no way, under the CRS statue, which board members read, to enter into executive session, "there will be no discussion of any member of this body or any publicly elected official" did they not know these tapes would eventually come out! with or without the help of the paper. Cargo's attorney also filed for the release of the tapes. If it was about you, you would have wanted them released, also. It you were present at the illegal "secret meeting", go back and listen to the tapes, some of those people's comments make me think they sould not be walking upright!

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Slapper 7 years, 5 months ago

Get it straight for once. The ex-mayor who quit is not a victim. From the start this was an employee issue complicated by the association of an elected official being paid by the town for a service. An association that failed. Bluntman has done his homework as all who believe the one who quit should do, to see what the quitter left behind. I feel for those who are left with the cleanup. The only ones who have used negative hurtful adjectives are the quitter, Pilot and the slug Maynerd who is not even a resident. Oak Creek can not afford the results the quitter left in her wake. Many are relieved that there is now some oversight. I for one will be happy when this barfly saga is over.

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aristocat 7 years, 5 months ago

B.S......Cargo called. The knife was removed from her back. She will heal from her wounds. Call and you can make arrangements to pick up your property!

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Camo181 7 years, 5 months ago

Could someone please explain why all the hoopla over the ex-mayor of Oak Creek? She states in the "secret" tapes that she "wishes to God she could quit" but she "doesn't know how." Seems to me she found a way to quit-she wrote a letter of resignation. (NOTE: making "deals" was mentioned and she vehemently stated she can "make any deal she wants to," with certain citizens of the Town when these citizens don't want to abide by Town policies regarding their over due utilities, building matters, etc.) Doesn't anybody see that the Town Board of Oak Creek hasn't caved in to the threats of recall if they don't appoint the ex-mayor? She quit! It is evident from the "secret" tapes that no one at the time of the "secret meeting" wanted her to quit. It was apparent that all they wanted were some guidelines and boundaries about who does what. She refused getting together with the Commissioners, concerned staff members and the mediator as a group to work on this situation. It is also clearly evident that the ex-mayor wanted it done only under her terms. What happened to teamwork? So, again, because one person had to turn this into a soap opera and melodrama, fueled by the media and some viscous, misinformed individual by the name of Maynard, the Town is again being embarrassed, harassed and humiliated. The ex-mayor, her small band of groupies nor Alexis from the pilot was in attendance at the last budget meeting. Everyone at the previous Board meeting was encouraged to attend. A lot of us did.

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Camo181 7 years, 5 months ago

cont'd The Town Board is attending very well to important matters that affect the citizens of Oak Creek as a whole. The Town's auditor worked with them at the last budget meeting. Get a copy of those tapes-please-and see how well the meeting was run (audience actually asked questions and got some FACTS). Listen to what the auditor said about the grants and their administration and where we are (or aren't) financially. I have nothing for or against the ex-mayor, but would think that if she was so dedicated to this Town, she would have been at that budget meeting to keep up to speed on the present financial condition of Oak Creek, the grants that we have to eliminate or cut back on (because, guess what, we have no money), financial concerns about not replacing personnel in certain departments (because, guess what, we have no money), and a major cutback in employee benefits (because, guess what, we have no money). In spite of the fact that we have to really tighten our belts, there is a Resolution in the budget allowing $24K for the grant writer-under "employee" salaries. This document was authored and signed by the ex-mayor. Question: Aren't there State statutes prohibiting just this type of "financial gain" by elected officials? What is going on here? The ex-mayor of Oak Creek has stated that "we're better off financially than we ever were". However, the auditor has been trying to tell the Town Board, through the ex-mayor, for the last two years that we've got to stop the spending. We don't have the money. Get the budget meeting tapes-please. Maybe this is why the ex-mayor so strongly objected to anyone but her contacting the auditor, the insurance rep, etc. (back to the "secret" tapes again). Kudos to our current Town Board and staff who are diligently trying to make things right for our citizens. This whole dilemma has been a real eye opener for a lot of us-and it's about time!!! It doesn't matter where your feelings lay concerning the ex-mayor-at least look into the FACTS as they are, not what certain individuals want you to believe because you're too lazy to do a little research.

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aristocat 7 years, 5 months ago

Dear KKK, I seem to remember Cargo helping you and Blue both....alot! You should wonder what Blue would think.....not about Cargo, but about you using dead people to further your destructive agenda! Your entire posting is filled with lies and the mean spirit you are becoming famous for. Whatever "sewerpeople" you are referring to havegot to be vastly higher in the food chain than you. If you had a conscience, you'd be VERY ashamed of yourself.

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katrinkakelly 7 years, 5 months ago

Good Morning Oak Creek,

Have you folks been sleeping? Have any of you been around for the past thirty years? The Town of Oak Creek got what it asked for!!!! Cargo and the Cargettes have been running the town into the ground for YEARS!!! We must audit everything she did. Excuse me, but do any of the citizens know how many lives have been destroyed or permanently altered by our (hopefully never elected again) x-MAYOR! Do the homework FOOLS. She is never wrong, gets arrested multiple times for DUI's and drugs but never goes to jail, destroyed many a marriage, thinks she is above the law and proved it with her many assaults on people including minors without prosecution. Many of her X-friends have left the area, ended up addicted, divorced, in jail or DEAD! The comments that I have made have been a long time coming and if any citizen has been around long enough, then you all know it is true. !!!!!!!I wonder what BLUE would think of this??? Cargo, Go back to your sewer people and fall in.

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aristocat 7 years, 5 months ago

Camo181, Another new country heard from. Or is it you KH under yet another anonymous name? You ask "what ever happened to team work?" Good question. For Cargo's first 4 years there was teamwork and more got done in the OC than ever before. Noone can deny that! I wonder what changed? Jealous employees that were not getting the kudos for Cargo's work? I think you are the one not looking at facts!

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JQPUBLIC 7 years, 5 months ago

What an article...Cargo-gate. Mr. Lawrence do you ever wonder why Oak Creek citizens are afraid to voice their opinion, look at what is being done to the employees that finally did! Cargo says the Board members and employees used to be her friends and they just turned on her for no reason:.yeah, right! Whenever an educated, thoughtful opinion isn't available, head for the bars SP&T, the barflies are always ready to talk. It would be nice if the ex-mayor's drinking buddies would check facts and not just take her word for the status of the town and how great she is. The ex-mayor gets credit for painting the curbs at the local gas station but nothing is said about how much money she has invested in that gas station. All of this nastiness is happening because people are finally tired of the "I" and "me" mentality of Cargo and her "spend now, blame someone else later" attitude and decided to stand up to her. Fueling this fire is Maynard of Phippsburg, why is he wasting the time of the Oak Creek officials when he doesn't even live here!!! Solution: Have Maynard start a petition to appoint Cargo "Queen of P-Burg" (where he lives), Cargo could "rule" from her throne, her loyal subjects could kowtow befittingly and Oak Creek could move on.

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aristocat 7 years, 5 months ago

JQ, Too bad the Cargo-gate article didn't get into the 50 minutes of "missing" tape. I suppose you want to blame the missing minutes on Cargo too? By the way, Cargo painted curbs all around town, not just at the station. She has done a lot in many areas that you will never know or care about because it is good stuff and you don't seem to be interested in good anything.

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candylane 7 years, 5 months ago

It amazes me that a couple of mean spirited people, get on here and shoot poisen arrows at Cargo. The irony is, the arrows are missing their mark! The Town of Oak Creek, via Ms Halterman, placed an outrageous amount($800) on the town owned computor, that Cargo was using. They also were informed, via Ms Halterman, that town information was on that computor (only if she was connect to the town computors network) ie payroll and bank accounts. Cargo would have access to "sensitive" town information (again Ms H) That this computor should be saved, as a back up, in case of one of the town officecomputors went down. Right, there is a store room already, with that!
Cargo, who had given her home computor away a short time before stepping down, has no way of getting online, much less read all these nasty comment. If all this that is aim at her online, was aimed at her in the office, no wonder she felt that it was more that she could handle! So that leads me to believe, that they are aimed at any Oak Creek citizen (slug, barfly, pig, sewer people) that has a difference of opinion than yours! You are right, and if they do not fall in line with your opinions, they are wrong! You won't use their business! If you don't shop locally,(which creates sales tax that go into Oak Creek's general fund) don't expect those businesses to be there for you when you need them. That means you are boycotting Oak Creek! Now that's just scary.

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cargo 7 years, 5 months ago

cargo (anonymous) November 25, 2006 at 11:58 a.m. (Suggest removal) Let's get one thing straight. I am not the victim, the Town is. I have no computor and did not read any of your rantings until yesterday. I have intentionally refrained from telling my children anything about all of the ugliness associated with my resignation and subsequent rescintion. I found out this morning that someone had told my oldest son about the the infantile blubberings on this site and I am now compelled to chime in. (NOT anonymously) I was elected 3 times by the majority of Oak Creek voters as mayor and those elections were not intended to be a popularity contest with the employees. I could care less how many of you like me or approve of how I ran the office of mayor and I venture to guess most of you know little or nothing of what you speak. I have friends and acquaintances in all walks of life and virtually every occupation. The idiotic generalization that all my friends are various types of low-lives is absurd and midget-minded. If you spineless fools want to bash me, go right ahead. Leave the Town, my friends and MOST IMPORTANTLY,my children out of this. No one can take away all of the good that has occurred over the last four years. Those who insist the Town couldn't afford these many projects should get it through their impotent heads that the Town couldn't afford NOT to make these improvements. The ignorant statements about boycotting the local business that have the audacity to allow the support petitions in their establishments, need to realize that the sales taxes paid by those businesses go directly to the general fund. Remember, the general fund is the ONE fund that IS in deficit. If you don't shop locally, you will not only hurt the revenues of the general fund, you may not have that business available in the future when you wake up to your ignorance. If you have something you would like to say to me, my phone is 736-8529. If your thrill is seeing your uninformed puke in print and inciting hatred, I guess you'll continue as you have been. With all of the REAL problems in this world, your focus on me seems a waste of your obvious excess time and energy. If you all unite that time and energy towards the betterment of your world insteadof the belittlementof me, I'd imagine you could accomplish a positive effect in most any area. I wish you all peace, laughter and a wonderful holiday season with your families.

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Camo181 7 years, 5 months ago

Aristocat no, I am not Ms. Halterman, nor is KK. But, you really need to get the tapes of the last budget meeting. Get the facts. By the way, although I don't know Ms. Halterman personally, I find it hard to believe she would use her son Blue's name in this silliness. That's just my opinion.

And, Cargo, you started all this. Me thinks you doth protest too much. Happy holidays to you too.

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BrainQuest 7 years, 5 months ago

The dumbest people I know are those who know it all. Malcolm Forbes Looking at this page everyone here knows everything.

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JazzSlave 7 years, 5 months ago

cargo sez:

"I have no computor:"

Apparently, you are also without spellcheck.

cargo sez:

"I could care less how many of you like me or approve of how I ran the office of mayor:"

Riiight. You're so indifferent to what people in this forum say that you've posted the same rant not once, not twice, but THREE times in this forum; for a grand total of four appearances here despite the fact that you couldn't "care less". Four contributions to reinforce your apathy regarding what is posted here: the truest demonstration that you're above the fray. Why don't you copy and paste that same post a few dozen more times? You might even begin to believe your own bs.

cargo sez:

":I am now compelled to chime in. (NOT anonymously)"

Good for you. You seem to imply derision with regard to anonymous commentary. Virtually every government on earth has evolved and grown up amidst anonymous critics. Mother Teresa, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Clemens, Rudyard Kipling , Bob Dylan, Che Guevara, Joni Mitchell, and endless others have all anonymously criticized the polity of their times. Does their anonymity earn your derision as well? If not, why not?

cargo sez:

"If you spineless fools want to bash me, go right ahead." Another sparkling demonstration of how SO unconcerned you are with anonymous critics: the gratuitous insult. Most people (and by "people", I mean "grownups") who are unconcerned about criticism from certain quarters won't even bother to recognize, let alone respond to the source. That this has to be explained says more about you than you will probably ever understand.

I live in Routt County and work in Steamboat. I had never heard of you, cargo, until your public tantrum. I don't know what your positions are on the issues affecting Oak Creek, and I don't care.

True leaders stick to their guns. If you honestly believed you were in the right, you should have fought on behalf of that conviction and never resigned. If you were so disenchanted with the ":ungodly attitudes from members that were my friends a few months ago, made me certain that I never wish to sit at the table with them again", you should have stood by that principle. You can't have it both ways.

Nobody respects a leader who vacillates, and that is precisely what you are. Should the citizens of Oak Creek reinstall you as mayor, more power to them. They will have everything they deserve, and less.

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JQPUBLIC 7 years, 5 months ago

Hey Candylane,

Why would Cargo give her home computer away (shortly before stepping down), was she using town property for her own personal use? I guess that would be a lot cheaper than ink, paper, and internet at home. Also, how would anyone know what town information she had stored on that computer, let her buy from dell like the rest of us, she's made enough off of the people of Oak Creek.

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katrinkakelly 7 years, 4 months ago

Freedom Sewer & Drain and Cargo make, live in and clean up FECES! We should check out how much work was done on the Oak Creek pipes by them before they dumped us for McCoy?

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katrinkakelly 7 years, 4 months ago

ARISTOCAT! Let me clarify SEWER PEOPLE --- THEY ARE FREEDOM SEWER & DRAIN with CARGO doing WHAT?????? We all know who that is, sure they are higher on the food chain of getting high on the money they charged our town for shoddy repair work and GRANT writing!

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Camo181 7 years, 4 months ago

Whoa people! aren't we getting a little bit off track here? Freedom Sewer & Drain have done work in Oak Creek for years -- before, and during Cargo. They have some neat technology. Used to live here for years, too. Katrinkakelly, you have some good info. Tell us more.

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