So, you really think you are free? Try this on for size. In Washington state, a famil$2,500y that runs a charity on their own property in which they cut, split and deliver firewood to the sick and elderly is now facing fines of $2,500 per day for their charitable contributions to their community.
Shane McDaniel is the man who operates the charity and is being nicknamed “Robin Wood” because of his labor of love.
Here’s the local story from KOMO News.
According to the report:
LAKE STEVENS, Wash. — There’s a store in Lake Stevens that has a giant rooster inside, and kegs, and corn dogs…and is home to 1,700 kinds of beer.
It’s called Norm’s Keg and Bottle, and might be the most interesting store in the world. Out front is a sign that says “now accepting firewood donations.”
That was Shane McDaniel’s idea, and he been a busy boy. To bring an axe crashing down onto chunks of wood, splitting them into two is clean, back-breaking work.
But there is something satisfying, and honest, and true about the work.
McDaniel, his sons and some friends have been cutting wood for months.
“I couldn’t even tell you (how much),” McDaniel said. “I’ve gone through more chainsaw blades than I have in a lifetime. But it took about 8-months of hard work; it’s about 40 cords that we did, starting in March and finishing in September.”
Additionally, he and his team didn’t even use a logsplitter! That’s right, they used axes. Now that’s a good way to stay in shape too!
His twin boys, Harrison and Henry, join in to lend a hand, as well.
So, when do they get time to do all of this?
“It’s anytime we get spare time,” Harrison McDaniel said. “It could be we chop wood all week and take the weekend off, or chop wood all weekend and take the week off. But it’s been almost non-stop.”
Henry adds: “It could be 15 minutes, 20 minutes, before dinner, after dinner…”
The great thing is that the wood is not for sale.
“I put a post out saying that we wanted to give the firewood away,” Shane McDaniel said. “We’ve had lots of offers to buy it, but there is no amount of money that would be worth swinging that axe 8,000… 8-million times. But donating it? That’s totally different.”
There are plenty of people who are elderly or poor and can’t afford heat and are dependent upon others like McDaniel. So, when it became known the wood was for those who really needed it, the story spread like wildfire, and McDaniel and his boys used their own truck and gas to deliver it to those in need.
Here’s what some people said.
“It was definitely needed,” Elizabeth, who is in her 80s, said. “Right now, I’ve been cold because I didn’t have a lot of wood.”
“Boy, I tell you, this is a godsend,” said Ken Jones.
“It’s a blessing from God, I believe,” Fred Yakalucci said.
“You guys are amazzzzing!” said Marie Bauer. “Thank you!”
“There’s a lot of sad stories,” Haylie said as she commented at the store. “People that are sick, elderly… that have no other options.”
And if the bureaucratic beast has its way, this won’t be a means of helping those in need.
McDaniel received a notice from the city threatening to fine him $35,000 every two weeks if he does not start delivering the wood soon.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” McDaniel said. “It’s just the bully mentality of the local government here.”
Again, from KOMO News:
Lake Stevens Mayor John Spencer says the woodpile is a fire hazard. He says fire crews would not be able to reach McDaniel’s home in an emergency, and the pile could create a massive blaze that spreads to other houses.
“We have a wood pile that represents a public risk,” Spencer said. “We have talked to him many many times, saying you need to move that pile but at this point he’s basically told us to blow off.”
McDaniel claims the city donated several logs a few months ago. Spencer denies that. McDaniel says he’s ready to go to court.
But the mayor says they have no plans to actually fine McDaniel – they just wanted to get his attention.
The mayor said he is willing to help deliver the wood.
“The whole goal here is to get the wood to people who need it,” he said. “That’s the point. And we’re asking him to do it. Let’s get on with it. If he needs help with it we’ll help him.”
McDaniel says he doesn’t need the help. He has a group of volunteers ready.
McDaniel claims this feud dates back three years. He thinks there’s a vendetta at City Hall over a reader board he put up at his store, claiming the city was misusing a building.
“That’s bull****,” Spencer said. “There’s no vendetta. What’s the vendetta? He’s a good guy. We’ve worked with him I don’t know what he’s talking about.”
McDaniel says most of the wood will be delivered by Christmas. If that happens, the city says there is no way they will fine him.
While one can understand a safety issue, are such fines really justified? On top of that, if he gets rid of the wood like he does each year, why would the city be sending a notice and threatening to fine him?
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