March 2008 – AggBeat
This sparked the idea of “adopting” a school and educating students about what aggregates are and why they are important so Texas Aggregate decided to start an “Adopt-a-School” program for Lost Pines Elementary, also located in Bastrop, Texas, where Dobbs’ children, ages 6 and 8, attend school.
“We’ve tossed around the idea of having people come out to do a tour, and I thought it would be a good idea to educate the community and even the schools about what we do,” Dobbs says. “I’m part of the local volunteer fire department, and every year we do a fire prevention month. I thought we could do the same with what we do.”
At Aggregates Manager press time, Texas Aggregate was planning to hold the program Feb. 18-20 for third- and fourth-graders. Aggregates Manager’s “Cubee the Aggregate” coloring book will be used for the third-graders, and its “You’re on Rock” workbook will be used for the fourth-graders, who will also go on a tour of the operation.
“The curriculum promotes junior engineers, mining, and scientists,” Dobbs says. “As a company, we want community awareness of what we are about, what we do, and how it affects everyday life. We want the students to be aware that the roads they are driving on, the concrete buildings they use, and many other things come from materials made from aggregates.”
Dobbs says there will be a major focus on safety during the program. The children will be given real hard hats and safety glasses. “We want to implement the safety aspect out on the jobsite,” he says.
In the future, Dobbs says Texas Aggregate hopes to open up its program to schools countywide. As the program grows, it will adopt additional schools. “We’re hoping that people will understand the process and all the safety and regulations — that we are not just out here digging up the land, but we are providing a service to the community.”
MSHA Asking for $19 Million Budget Increase
The proposed fiscal year (FY) 2009 budget for Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is $332 million with 2,361 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, an increase of $19 million, or 6 percent, above the FY 2008 request, Richard E. Stickler, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, announced on Feb. 5. The budget proposal provides the agency with 2,361 FTE employees, including funding for 55 additional metal and non-metal enforcement personnel, some of whom will be hired during FY 2008, according to MSHA. The government agency says the new level of FTE, along with other budgetary increases in MSHA programs, “ensures that [it] can maintain the 100 Percent Plan announced in October 2007, with the goal of completing all annual mandatory safety and health inspections for the first time in the 39-year history of the agency.”
Under the FY 2009 budget proposal, 71 percent, or $236 million, would go toward the agency’s efforts to enforce federal mine safety laws, and $36 million would be focused on training efforts. An additional $29 million of the agency’s funding is focused on finding technological solutions to improve mine safety. The remaining $30 million will cover MSHA’s administrative and informational technology costs.
Shelly Employees Build Habitat for Humanity House