Letters
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Letter to the Editor: DeWitt County Governmental Bodies Stonewalling Alta Farms Wind Project Applicatiion

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted October 23, 2019

 

Dear Editor:


I am disappointed that the DeWitt County Regional Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals have been stonewalling Tradewind’s new Alta Farms application. It is the county board’s role to approve or deny applications, not theirs.

 

When I was a McLean County Board member, our commissions always scheduled meetings in a timely manner in order to get them to the County Board. By delaying the application process, the DeWitt County RPC and ZBA are attempting to take that important role away from our elected officials.

 

It is time for these boards to do their jobs.

 

Benjamin Owens
Clinton, IL
 

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Letter to DeWitt County Board on Tradewind Energy Project

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted October 1, 2019

 

Dear Editor:

 

The 5 DeWitt County Board members who voted against Tradewind's wind farm apparently think our county is flush with cash, and the impending Clinton Power Station closure is no big deal. Nonsense, it is definitely a big deal!

 

Without new revenue you can bet our DeWitt County taxes will go up and cuts to local services will be deep. These 5 board members claim to be fiscally responsible Republicans, yet they have not submitted an alternative plan to show fiscal responsibility. 

 

What is their plan for DeWitt County revenue if/when the Clinton Power Station closes?


Dennis Rich

Clinton

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Letter Supporting Tradewind Energy Wind Project

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted September 26, 2019

 

Dear Editor,
I am writing today in support of the Alta Farms II wind energy project in DeWitt County.  I am a Professor of Economics and helped create the renewable energy major at Illinois State University.  I also ran the Illinois Wind Working Group under the Department of Energy to help promote wind energy for many years. 

 

I was hired by the developer of the project, Tradewind Energy, to do an analysis of the property tax revenue and economic impact of the project to the local community.  My analysis found significant property tax revenue coming to the schools, county and other taxing entities as a result of the wind project. 

 

Furthermore, the construction and permanent jobs that will result from this project will boost the local economy and provide good-paying employment for union workers and students from programs such as the one at Illinois State. 

 

I want to encourage the DeWitt County Board to approve this project.

David G. Loomis, Ph. D.
Illinois State University
Normal, Illinois

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Letter Opposing Tradewind Energy Wind Farm Project

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted April 24, 2019

 

Dear Editor:

 

I would like to propose a ‘what if’ scenario to our community. You wake up to rain one morning. The sky looks dark and storms are predicted to last all day. You drop your kids at school and head to work out of town. A little later that morning you hear a severe storm is headed toward DeWitt County. Specifically, the city of Clinton. The National Weather Service and spotters are watching for tornados in the area. You think of your kids, one at Clinton High School, one at the Clinton Junior High and the other at Clinton Elementary. Three schools within a 3-block area.  You make sure your phone is set to go off with weather alerts, so you can keep track of the situation.

 

You are an administrator, principal, teacher at one of the schools in Clinton. You are aware of the impending severe storm. You remain vigilant to weather updates as you need to have time to get the children in your care to safety. You hear that a tornado watch has just been issued so you plan accordingly. A few minutes later someone comes running down the school hall saying a tornado has touched down.  You now have seconds, along with all the other school staff to get the children to safety.

Now you hear the sirens, that should have gone off minutes ago, start to sound.

 

You are a child at one of the schools in the middle of one of your classes. Your teacher is telling your class to calmly but quickly move to your ‘shelter in place’ and that you must go now. You can tell that they are very worried, and you start to get scared. You hear the wind and noise outside the building and someone says there is a tornado. You wonder why the sirens didn’t go off.

 

You are the parent at work monitoring the weather situation in Clinton. Suddenly on the news you hear a tornado has touched down near Rt 54 and Rt 51. Right by the schools. Due to interference by wind turbines the rotation was not spotted in time and the sirens went off too late. Your heart sinks – did our school staff, teachers, kids – all our loved ones – have time to get to safety?

Later that night on the news people in other counties hear about a tornado touching down in Clinton with no warning due to turbines that were allowed to be placed in the mitigation zone for the National Weather Service in Lincoln. They look at each other and say, “what were they thinking when they allowed that to happen.”

 

The residents of DeWitt County are now aware that we have a wind developer wanting to establish multiple wind farms in our area. Some residents are opposed for safety and quality of life reasons. Some residents are for the development because they have been told it will bring money to the schools and leaseholders. No matter your position I am confident we can all agree that the scenario above is something we never want to have happen.  And to those who say it would not occur, “never” happens every day somewhere in the world.

 

A wind developer who would redact information from the SUP regarding the weather information should not be allowed to do business in our county. A wind developer who failed to do the initial siting study properly and failed to note 23 of the proposed turbines are in the mitigation zone for the NWS radar should not be allowed to do business in our county. A wind developer who wants to move forward with a project knowing full well the danger it poses to our residents should not be allowed to do business in our county.  To me, this last fact alone, speaks to the makeup of this company.  

 

I am confident that our county board, made up of our friends and neighbors, who are intelligent and caring DeWitt County residents, would never compromise the safety of even one child for financial benefit.  

 

Sincerely,

Megan Myers
Clinton IL 

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Letter to the Editor Opposing Wind Farm Project

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted April 17, 2019

 

Dear Editor:
 

This letter is probably the most important letter that we have ever written.


We are asking you to contact the members of the DeWitt County Board to vote “NO” on the special use application from Tradewind Energy on the proposed Wind Turbine farm.  The three reasons that are important to us and to our community members are safety, drainage, and decommissioning.


Safety:  On May 15, 1968, a tornado struck Wapella, Illinois. My Powers family of nine hovered under a table in the basement listening to the crashing of objects and breaking glass overhead.  We had no warning of this tornado, (there was no Doppler radar) and we were just plain lucky that our family was gathered in the kitchen near the basement stairs when the windows starting blowing out. The beds upstairs were completely stripped by the force of the wind, leaving just the bare mattresses and bed frames.  Shards of glass were impaled in the east walls like knives.  No one could have survived that tornado if they were upstairs in those bedrooms.
As a result of this tornado, four people in the Wapella area died.


We understand that the ALTA Farms II wind project will have turbines that fall into the radar line of sight for the primary beam elevations used for radar detection from the Lincoln Doppler.  Wind farms create motion and turbulence that interferes with radar signals and corrupts data.  ALTA II falls in the Doppler radar classification of Mitigation Zone – moderate to high impacts on radar.  
We feel the redacted enclosure submitted in the application from Tradewind Energy regarding the mitigation zone was inaccurate and deceptive.


The National Weather Service has agreed that the wind turbines are in the wrong place and will affect radar detection of forming tornadoes.  However, the National Weather Service is prohibited by law from speaking out against the project.
If the Doppler cannot detect tornado activity, how will the folks of Wapella and surrounding residents downwind of the wind turbine areas be warned?


Drainage:  Since we own land in the ALTA II area, we are especially concerned about the drainage issue with the wind tower construction cutting through tiles and surface drainage, and also about the flow of water and water table when the concrete pad is 9 – 15 feet deep and 60 feet in diameter at the bottom, and 12 – 15 feet diameter at the top. 


Who completes the drainage repairs?  Who is held accountable that the drainage will be restored and crop yields for all adjacent landowners in the footprint of the towers are not impacted by faulty drainage?


Decommissioning:  Lastly, 25-30 years from now when we have departed this earth and Tradewind Energy has sold ALTA II to the new company owners who in turn have sold to another company and then another company in a foreign country, who is held accountable?  Where does the money come from for decommissioning?  Are these monstrosities left as a scar to mark a folly for all the future generations?


John M. Killian
Mary Pat Killian
Clinton, IL  61727

 

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Letter to the Editor Opposing Alta Wind Farm

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted March 16, 2019

 

Dear Editor:

 

The Dewitt county board will soon decide on allowing the Tradewind Energy Alta II wind energy conversion project to proceed in western Dewitt County. The Regional Planning Commission (RPC) and the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) have already studied the project and recommended disapproval. Principal among their concerns was the location of sixty seven 591’ tall towers (100’ taller than any in Illinois), each set in 30,000 tons of cement directly atop of the Mahomet Aquifer. The weight, vibration, and potential leaching into the aquifer wasn’t considered by Tradewind Energy in their special use application, and the project engineer heard of the aquifer for the first time during the ZBA hearings.

 

The ZBA heard testimony regarding the impact of these machines on the NWS Doppler radar in Lincoln. The impact was demonstrated on December 1 when the signature from the tornado that hit Livingston was lost as the system passed through the Radford’s Run complex in Maroa. Local weather broadcasters believed the system had dissipated and the channel returned to the regular broadcast, only to have the tornado reappear and cause more damage near Leroy Illinois.

 

These projects are a nuisance to the people forced to live within their footprint, they are a threat to a stable electric transmission system, and they effectively lock-in reliance on fossil fuel to compensate for intermittency. They’re only a symbolic gesture to climate change concerns and should be recognized as such.

 

The Dewitt County board should not approve the Alta II project.

 

Pat Ryan

Farmer City, IL

 

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Letter to the Editor on Proposed DeWitt County Wind Farms

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted December 30, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

Wind Energy Conversion is a Bubble ready to burst. During the space race, the US spent millions to develop an ink pen to be used in space. The soviets used a pencil. Simple? Quite.

 

Wind Energy Conversion uses massive quantities of pristine, often prime agricultural acreage to produce electricity with about 30% efficiency. Wind Energy Conversion industrial complexes displace other, more desirable economic development alternatives, some, permanently. Nor is Wind Energy Conversion sustainable. Not quite that simple. Nor free.

 

This global “Big Wind” build-out is the latest financial scheme in a long list of frauds dating back to the tulip mania of 1637. Bigger than the Junk Bond fiasco and the collapse of Drexel Burnham Lambert, and looms larger than the effects from the Dodd-Frank bill, which enabled the housing bubble, and lead to the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, and the financial freeze of 2008. Fannie Mae, and that means ‘You the Taxpayer” ate that one. Wind Energy is a bigger fraud than Enron, or at least a derivative thereof. And I would suggest that you stay away from derivatives as well.

 

Most if not all government regulations supersede the spontaneous order of “the invisible hand” of free market enterprise in a civil society, presupposing that governmental intrusion will improve upon an open free market. This pattern keeps recurring and no one seems to remember the earlier mistakes made on both sides of “the aisle”.

 

Using the Wind Energy’s own playbook, their NREL methodology known as “JEDI”, Wind Energy should create economic development, on a macro level. In theory, that’s arguably true. As an example, the parable of the broken window was introduced by a French economist (Frédéric Bastiat) in 1850. As the parable goes, if you break windows, that creates jobs for the guys who fix windows, and causes money to circulate.

 

On a microeconomic level, for example, let’s say, for example, we host a “Million Man March”. We get a million bottles of Perrier for free. We charge everyone $ 3.00 a bottle. As they enjoy the event, we ask that they “pursue” exchanging their bottle for someone else’s. Each exchange, using this “JEDI” methodology, counts the output of one entrant as an input for another. We have just created $ 21 Million in gross economic impact.

 

I urge you please stand up for your own best interests. We need to end this destruction in America. We need better economic development than this option, for DeWitt County, and leave a better legacy for our following generations.

 

Thank You,

Bradley D. Barnes, MBA

Clinton, IL                                  

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Letter to the Editor on Wind Farm Meeting

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted November 15, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

On October 30, 2018 I received an invitation to attend a landowners meeting hosted by Tradewind Energy. From the letter: “We look forward to sharing some new and exciting information regarding the Alta Farms Wind Project II and let you know what this means for you.” I RSVPed, and when I arrived at the meeting on November 14, 2018, I was told to leave by the Development Director, Tom Swierczewski. He informed me that Tradewind Energy already knew how I felt about the project, and that they had made a mistake in inviting me in the first place. 


I have testified at hearings concerning ordinance changes for the County. My concerns were (and still are) related to setbacks from non-participating landowners, how wildlife and migratory bird routes would be protected, what impact what may be the tallest land turbine towers in the US may have on hunting access and agricultural practices such as aerial spraying, and the potential for light pollution and aircraft safety due to the proposed height of the nearly 600 feet proposed per tower. This tower height is what they have submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval. Their applications can be found under Interim and Determined Cases at this point. Only the meteorological towers have reached the determined stage as yet-https://oeaaa.faa.gov/oeaaa/external/gisTools/gisAction.jsp?action=showWtBuildOutToolForm . Tradewind Energy looks at most of these concerns as project killers, and thus I am the enemy now, I suppose.


On Tradewind Energy’s website, they state: “At Tradewind Energy, our commitment is to listen to you, answer your questions honestly, and partner with you to make each project a joint success. We take great care to engineer and construct our projects to minimize impacts and maximize benefits for all involved, giving careful consideration to the needs of landowners and communities.”  https://tradewindenergy.com/wind-landowners/


It was obvious that this is not the case, and the manner in which I was treated after receiving their invitation in the mail, RSVPing and being told “We look forward to seeing you there”, and then being told very bluntly to leave, was crass to say the least. If they had made a mistake in sending invitations to landowners and residents that they had no intention of “sharing new and exciting information” with, then that was their mistake and they handled their response very poorly.

 

When this project was first proposed over 10 years ago, I attended the open house that was held in Heyworth. At that time the door was wide open. This time the door was slammed in my face. What a way to run a business.


Sincerely,
Elizabeth Burns
Clinton, IL 61727
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Letter to the Editor on Position on Wind Farms

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted November 2, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

I have seen my name lambasted on Facebook for daring to point out the lack of evidence provided by the residents of DeWitt County who oppose the wind farms based upon my testimony at a County Board land use meeting. I based my testimony on scientific fact because I can practice based solely on proven scientific fact and not on fear, hearsay or what we in the health care community call “Dr. Google”.  

 

I presented to the board evidence-based science which can be reproduced and dispels the notion that wind towers cause all sorts of health effects.  In their article http://ijomeh.eu/Evaluation-of-annoyance-from-the-wind-turbine-noise-a-pilot-study,2025,0,2.html, Pawlaczyk-Luszczynska et al concluded that if you have a negative attitude towards wind farms or turbines you are more likely to report negative health effects.  

 

In another research study of those who live around wind farms, Chrichton, Chapman, Cundy et. al stated in https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4227478/; “An analysis of the evidence concerning symptom reporting attributed to sound produced by wind farms supports the nocebo expectation hypothesis; that health complaints can be explained by the influence of negative expectations.”  

 

None of these studies have found any direct link of a wind tower causing negative health effects.  These symptoms were brought on by negative expectations which I normally see in patients with stress, anxiety and sometimes paranoia.  I have yet to diagnose anyone with “wind turbine syndrome”.  You may continue to throw your brickbats at me, however I do have scientific evidence on my side.

 

Sincerely,

Sara O'Brien, RN, BSN, MSN, APRN, FNP
 Wapella, Illinois 61777

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Letter to the Editor from DeWitt County Board Chair and Co-Chair

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted October 31, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

To the Residents of DeWitt County, 

 

It is hard to believe Election Day is upon us. November 6th is right around the corner.  We come to you as different people with different backgrounds and sometimes different views. But our common thread is that we are united in our vision for the future of DeWitt County. We love this County. It is where we have spent our lives giving back to our communities, raising our families, and trying to make it the best it can be for generations to come. 

 

Our bipartisan board has a lengthy list of accomplishments in the last four years. We have balanced the budget and done so while bringing our expenses in line with consistently diminishing revenues. Some of the Board’s accomplishments are:

 

    • Working with state officials and Exelon to pass the Future Energy Jobs Act. This bill kept the Clinton Power Station open and insured the continued employment for 750 people. 

    • We have gone from subpar to much needed state of the art animal shelter facilities. Soon the University of Illinois will be training students of their Veterinarian program at the new DeWitt County Animal Shelter.

    • This board developed the DeWitt County East Annex which houses the DeWitt County Ambulance Service next to the animal shelter. It is a benefit for all citizens of DeWitt County to have these centralized Emergency Medical Services.

    • Marina upgrades have been made including drafting and signing a new lease agreement for the marina, complying with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, a new septic system, and other projects in the works. 

    • Due to the aging of the county building, we have been modernizing the lighting, air-conditioning, roofing, and parking lot of the Courthouse and Jail facilities. 

    • We reached an agreement with the Landfill to keep toxic PCBs out, while at the same time recovering over a million dollars in tipping fees.

    • Four years of balanced budgets with the cooperation of elected officials and department heads. 

 

The future of this County is always our number one concern. 

 

We believe that what unites us as citizens is far stronger than the issues that divide us. As a county we continue to face challenges. As a board we have been transparent while supporting sound fiscal policies and promoted growth and prosperity here in DeWitt County. 

 

We understand that during some of our most partisan times as a nation, what we are asking is unconventional: to go beyond party lines and re-elect those that have delivered results as board members. 

 

We ask that you please re-elect these candidates so that we may continue to make a Better Government for DeWitt County. 

 

District B:

 

 

RANDY PERRING      

CHRISTY PRUSER 

TERRY FERGUSON

 

 

District D:

 

 

RITA SUE WHITTED   

CRIS ROGERS     

MELONIE TILLEY

 

Sincerely, 

David Newberg, Republican                     

Chairman DeWitt County Board                                 

District C                               

 

Camille Redman, Democrat

Vice Chair DeWitt County Board

District A

 

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Letter to the Editor: Progress Out of Fear is a Bad Choice for DeWitt County

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted October 30, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

I cringe when I hear support for the proposed wind farm project based on the minimal economic impact it will provide to our schools. Tradewind likes to throw out lots of numbers without any context behind them so let me put in perspective exactly what we will gain while greatly jeopardizing the health, safety and welfare of those who will live near the turbines day-to-day. 


Yes, the school district will receive some monetary gain. But let's break it down.

 

What will be received won’t be close to the level of funding provided by the power plant. We need to stop comparing the two. One will not replace the other.. Those who say we need this project because the power plant may not be here in the future haven’t done the math. They are actually signing a deal that will put our schools in great financial danger if the power plant went offline.


The amount of proposed benefit from the wind farm (all projected at this point since Tradewind’s special use permit is alarmingly vague) would be approximately 5% of the district's operating budget. That's it. Again, this will not "save" the school district if things go bad. There are other ways to gain 5% that will not reduce property values or negatively impact health and quality of life of residents.


Wind companies have historically targeted areas with struggling schools to prey on their fears. And after operation begins and the money comes in, the school district still finds itself in bad shape. Because again, it's not that much money. Take a look at other school districts who were hoping to be "saved" by wind farms. It doesn’t work.


And let’s not forget that our tax dollars are paying for the subsidies that build these wind projects. Our money is making Tradewinds millions, but comparatively we will only see pennies come back to our community. In 2016 a proposed 1% sales tax that would have directly benefited facility upgrades for our schools did not pass. Yet, now we are desperate for additional funds? This doesn’t add up.


Progress is great and vital. But progress for the sake of appearance, or done out of fear, will not net a positive result. Instead, we need to be taking a holistic approach to progress for the county. This SHOULD be happening through the new comprehensive plan being developed right now for DeWitt County and soon to be voted on by our county board. In reality, allowing wind farms to surround our communities actually limits any future progress in those areas where they are built. And that will limit progress for 40 years!


Let's not handcuff progress, let's be strategic. I support the County Board candidates who have shown genuine interest in doing what is best for the county:


District B

Terry Ferguson

Christy Pruser

Travis Houser


District D

Nate Ennis

Melonie Tilley

Dan Matthews

 

Sincerely,
Andrea Rhoades

Kenney, IL
 

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Letter to the Editor: Misrepresentation of Better Government for DeWitt County

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted October 30, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

It’s that time of year when election mailings are plentiful, along those lines I’m writing to clarify the position of Better Government for DeWitt County in regards to the recent direct mailings, letters, and advertisement in the local paper for the County Board races in District B and District D. 

 

In all of these ads the Better Government for DeWitt County logo was used in conjunction with a pro wind farm logo.  Let me be clear that Better Government has NO position on a potential Industrial Wind Facility and has committed to remain neutral on the issue.


The use of the Better Government logo by these County Board candidates was not only unauthorized but also very misleading to the voters that received the ad. 

 

ONCE AGAIN LET ME REITERATE THAT BETTER GOVERNMENT FOR DEWITT COUNTY HAS NO POSITION IN REGARDS TO A POTENTIAL INDUSTRIAL WIND FACILITY. 


Best Regards,
Tom Hieronymus
President- Better Government for DeWitt County
Farmer City, IL

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Letter to the Editor Opposing Tradewind Energy Wind Farm Project

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted October 29, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

I support truly renewable, safe “clean energy solutions" to replace our aging and rapidly closing power stations. However, the current and rapid build out of Wind Turbines from Sea to Shining Sea is destroying our Beautiful Country. All subsidized by our tax dollars. We're getting destroyed from within. This is absurd. 

 

For those few creative financial types out there, fresh out of a minimum security prison after that nasty Enron deal went south, here's the playbook behind this Wind scam. The production tax credit (PTC) or the investment tax credit (ITC) Then the fun starts. Securitization is the process by which contracts such as leases and loans are pooled and processed into financial securities which are then sold to investors. This will be substantially similar to the sub-prime mortgage meltdown.

 

Just to add a bit more ‘profit’ to this byzantine pyramid, renewable energy credits are traded like Al Gore’s “Carbon Credits”  Typically, all of this will be bundled and find it's way into our retirement accounts. Then, poof, it's gone. We got suckered. Didn't read the fine print, did we? Thought it was free and easy. Well, things are never quite that simple. We will reap the whirlwind, from this complex capital structuring scheme. I'm not making this up. But they seem to be. Sounds like Enron.

 

After massive foundations are implanted (forever) and Offshore scaled Turbines are obsolete in a decade or so, a new "disruptive" or innovative breakthrough technology will certainly emerge, and more quickly than imagined. I agree we need sustainable, clean carbon free and renewable energy. These Wind Farms are not farms; they are industrial pirates, threatening our National Security.

It is simply stunning to see how this sector is being 'securitized'.

 

Current 'renewable energy sources' have so many negatives, it is impossible to arguably defend their deployment. With such huge global impacts to our environment, critically important wildlife, public health, safety and welfare, property values, and the myriad of negatives all of us against these things are very well aware of, the "Environmental Lobbies" aren't doing their jobs anymore. They've been bought out apparently.

 

This isn't a Zero Carbon deal. We know that. Surely you know a good deal from a bad one, but Wind Farms off both coasts, Long Island, Block Island and all over the Heartland? Come on. This is looting the U.S. Treasury. If we don't stop Wind Energy Conversion, the only survivor that will utilize this energy will be artificial intelligence.

 

Bradley D. Barnes, MBA
Clinton, Illinois, 61727

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Letter to the Editor: Stop the Bullying

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted October 29, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

ARE YOU A BULLY?

 

Bullying is in the news daily. Children are committing suicide over being bullied in school.  I am not going to discuss that today.  I am going to discuss the adult bullying going on.

 

We have seen many examples of this nationwide with shootings and sending bombs in the mail. We, as adults, have set this in place. We make social media comments indicating that if you don’t believe as I do then you are an idiot.

 

I would like to bypass the National and state politics to address the local issues and bullying.  Here in DeWitt County the Wind farm has touched off a storm of opinions. I have seen neighbor hating neighbor for their stance concerning the wind turbines.  I have seen County board members being condescending to other board members and residents for their opinions.

 

I am seeing political signs being removed from public property and destroyed. In Farmer City one candidate’s signs were ALL removed, NO signs and other candidates’ signs removed.  There was even a case of a YES sign moved to a cornstalk so that if a combine had run over it there could have been major damage to the combine.

 

These are all forms of ADULT bullying.  We as adults must set the example for the kids if we can expect to help stop bullying among the kids. We must allow others to express their opinions. If the signs are not on your property then leave them alone.

 

                STOP BULLYING NOW

 

                Kathy Evans

                 Clinton, IL

               

 

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Letter to the Editor on DeWitt County Board Race and Wind Farms

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted October 27, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

I live in Farmer City and started attending county board meetings when I learned of their plans to bring industrial wind turbines to the western part of the county. I observed the board members hear, then dismiss the zoning ordinance changes recommended by the Regional Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals that would have exercised some reasonable control over the project.

 

One would expect that a tower could not be erected so close to a landowner’s property line that the safety perimeter recommended by the turbine vendor would overlap the landowner’s property. One would expect the board to limit the maximum height of the towers in consideration of the surrounding residents. Since the county board dismissed those recommendations, the county residents can now look forward to 600 ft. towers 660 feet from their property, with the whooshing noise, shadow flicker from the turning blades, and constant blinking red lights at night.

 

One needs only to listen to someone living in the teeth of the Macon county wind complex to understand what is coming to Dewitt county. The county board has upended a way of life that we came here for and stay here for.

 

The board members have no doubt done this because of the appeal of the bloated and unsubstantiated tax revenue projections that Tradewind Energy has submitted. I can’t speak to all of the claims, but I do know that state aid to the school district will decrease in proportion to the property tax gain from the project.

 

The Tradewind Energy Alta II complex will likely not be visible from my home in the country in the eastern part of the county, but phase two of the project will be, and more will come after that because of the decisions of this board.

 

I will vote for Travis Houser, Christy Pruser, and Terry Ferguson in District B, and urge others to vote for Melonie Tilley, Nate Ennis, and Dan Matthews in District D, for Dewitt county board with the hope that the county residents will be considered in future decisions.

 

Patrick Ryan

Farmer City, IL 61842

 

 

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Letter to the Editor on Potential Conflict of Interest by Clinton School Board Candidate

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted October 18, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

Dear Editor,
 
As a past County Board member I am very concerned about the potential conflict of interest of Clinton School Board member Dan Matthews as he is currently running as an endorsed member of the anti-wind turbine faction for the DeWitt County Board.

 

Given the fact that the schools would gain tens of millions of dollars over the life of the wind farm, why would he as a school board member say NO to money that will help sustain the education of children in this county?

 

As a realtor, land developer, and contractor I have seen how important schools are to bring people into this community over my lifetime. This community is the perfect place to raise your children, and the fact that we have excellent schools at lower tax rates than all surrounding counties is a seller to most home buyers coming in. 

 

Is Mr. Matthews like the group he is endorsed by, which is known as DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines, willing to sacrifice the education of our children because they "do not like the way wind turbines look." Will he recuse himself whenever a vote on wind towers or solar farms comes up, because it will be a direct conflict of interest financially for our schools?

 

Does Mr. Matthews expect the taxpayers of this county to carry the burden of paying higher taxes for our school district because he voted NO on the millions of property tax dollars from wind energy?

 

For your information as the reader, approximately 65% of your property taxes go to the schools. The power plant currently pays 11 to 12 million dollars in property taxes a year to this county, of which 7 to 8 million goes to the Clinton School District.

 

With our school district facing loss of revenue with the impending closure of the power plant in the next few years, what does Mr. Matthews plan to do not only for our children, but you as the taxpayer who will be paying higher property taxes as a result of his actions?

 

Sincerely,

Dennis Rich
Clinton, IL 61727

 

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Letter to the Editor: I'm Not a One-Issue Candidate

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted October 18, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

Since January, I have been walking door to door finding out what’s most important to my neighbors. If elected, I will continue listening and will voice those priorities on the DeWitt County Board. 


Some of the issues that I’ve heard are important include: fiscal conservatism, transparency, and the local economy. 


First, I believe we can cut taxes, hold the line on spending, and make county government more efficient. I have an Accounting degree and am excited to bring that skill set to the Board. Transparency is another key issue I’ve heard from my neighbors. We must hold all levels of government accountable for how our tax dollars are spent. And finally, we need visionary leaders that can bring new jobs and employers to DeWitt County. Our nation’s economy is booming, it’s time we see some of that growth here at home. 


I’m the furthest thing from a one-issue candidate. I love our community and believe that we can make it even better. 


I ask for your vote because I believe I’m the best person to represent District D on the County Board.


Nate Ennis

Clinton, IL

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Letter to the Editor: Get Out and Vote!

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted October 16, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

Exercise your right to VOTE!


When you do, please seriously consider who you are voting for. 


I suspect that some candidates are one issue choices. I say this because it appears that they are being supported by a very vocal group within the County. It is never a good choice to vote for a candidate like this, regardless of political affiliation.  The County just experienced a situation where the Board was consumed by such ideologies. It didn't turn out well. 


The other indications that the motives of these candidates could be suspect is that since they have been on the ballot, and knew that they could possibly be a part of the Board, I don't believe that any of them have attended a Board or Committee meeting.

 

It would only be logical that you would want to "get up to speed" as to what all of the current issues are the Board is dealing with, how the Board works, how the members interact, and what the protocol is for these meetings. Some of these candidates didn't even have the desire or dedication to take out petitions for candidacy and collect the required number of signatures to be placed on the ballot. It takes more than just one vote to represent the residents of DeWitt County. 


It has been stated that the Board members are not listening to their constituents, but that would be wrong. It is the responsibility of the Board members to listen to all citizens of the County, not just those who are the most vocal. The votes that are cast by Board members should be done with the best interest of the majority of residents considered. The unpopular votes are naturally the most difficult but the standard stays the same.

 

I have never been questioned nor have I ever heard any other member of the Board criticized by another member for the vote they cast. Integrity is a value highly respected among Board members and neither politics nor agendas have been an issue. 


The existing Board has accomplished much in the two years I have have been seated. We have had our disagreements at the Committee level as well as at the full Board, but we have worked together to ensure that all of the residents of DeWitt County have been represented fairly and justly.

 

We now have an animal shelter to be proud of, addressed all building maintenance, Marina, public safety, road and bridge, land use, and finance issues and the County budget only increased .01% for 2018.

 
With all of this in mind, when you vote, I would ask you to keep this Board intact so it can continue to move forward for the betterment of all the residents.

 

Please vote for the following, who are also endorsed by Better Government for DeWitt County:
Rita Sue Whitted, Cris Rogers, and Mellonie Tilley in District D. 
Randy Perring, Terry Ferguson, and Christy Pruser in District B.

 

Sincerely,
Lance M. Reece
District A
County Board

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Letter to the Editor Supporting Dan Caulkins in the 101st State Rep Race

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted October 16, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

The last few decades the 101st Illinois District has been well served by retiring State Rep. Bill Mitchell.  I would like to thank Rep. Mitchell for these years of public service and for the many things he accomplished for the residents of the 101st District not limited to being instrumental in keeping the Exelon Power Plant open in DeWitt County in which so many quality local jobs could have been loss.


To the voters of 101st District, I encourage you to join me in voting for Dan Caulkins as our next Representative.  I’ve been fortunate to get to know Dan and his lovely wife Jo over the course of the last year; I can attest that they are both outstanding and genuine people that I’m proud to call friends.  There are many reasons why Dan Caulkins is the right choice for voters this election. 

 

First of all, Dan Caulkins is in the race for the right reason which is serving his constituents.  That is why Dan is term limiting himself to 6 years, he is not taking a salary, health insurance, or a pension.

 

Dan Caulkins also brings with him many years of experience as a successful business owner.  This is the type of leadership we need in Springfield, someone fighting for lower taxes and less regulation to try and keep business in Illinois.

 

We can’t have more taxes as that will continue to encourage residents and businesses to continue moving to states that have more economic opportunity.


Please join me in electing Dan Caulkins as our next State Representative of 101st District along with supporting all of our Republican candidates at all levels of government as they fight to stop higher taxes and less regulation.


Sincerely,

Dustin A. Peterson
Clinton, IL 

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Letter to the Editor Opposing Wind Farms

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted October 4, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

I recently saw a letter posted where an employee of Trinity felt those opposed to an industrial wind complex in DeWitt County were posing a threat to his livelihood. I am confused by this statement because from the beginning Tradewind has never showed serious intent to employ any local business.

 

It is important to state that wind developers know the PTC will eventually end. They have had decades to develop a business model that would allow their companies to exist without this handout yet they have failed to do so. Their lack of action on this part is what threatens the long term opportunities for wind turbine component suppliers. Not the local citizens. 

 

During the research, siting and survey processes I, along with others, repeatedly saw vehicles with out of state license plates. I know for a fact there are capable businesses with industrial wind complex experience that are locally owned and employ people in DeWitt, Macon and other surrounding counties that were never contacted by Tradewind. Why did they fail to hire those businesses and help provide an income to feed and house those local families? 

 

It also would appear Tradewind never had any intent to utilize our local wind tower business, which makes no sense. This project could have been scaled from the beginning so that Trinity could have been a supplier. That hasn't happened. One of the things Tradewind keeps dangling in front of the board is the number of jobs this project would create. Yet they have failed to utilize local businesses that could certainly use the work with the current economy in Illinois.

 

Now this person wants us to re elect board members who have never questioned the lack of local businesses used by Tradewind; board members that did not work to ensure Trinity would be utilized on the project? 

 

Have these board members also never driven down to the Macon County wind complex to see what license plates and companies are on site each time a turbine needs repair? I have made a point to drive by the site during 4 of the recent repairs. Surprisingly I rarely saw an Illinois license plate. So where are the 10 permanent local turbine technicians that project was supposed to create jobs for?

 

If these wind turbines are truly 'green' they would be employing local resources to eliminate the additional fossil fuel needed to transport out of state employees and out of state components to the site. It seems inexcusable that we would end up with wind turbines in our county where the towers are not supplied by a company right here which actively employees DeWitt County residents. 

 

Sincerely, 
Megan Myers
Clinton IL

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Letter to the Editor: Support Pro Wind Farm County Board Candidates

Posted October 2, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

As an employee of Trinity Structural Towers, I am deeply disturbed by the group DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines. I’ve seen their billboard on Route 51 that says, “No Wind Turbines in DeWitt County”.

 

But upon visiting their Facebook page I learned they are advocating the elimination of the wind turbine subsidy, or Production Tax Credit, through mass post card mailings to the White House. Trinity is the leading manufacturer of wind towers in North America. By stopping this subsidy, employees like me will lose our job. Have these people even thought of what will happen to the employees and their families? Who will buy our groceries, pay our utilities, and ensure we have a roof over our head?

 

Am I to assume if jobs are lost at Trinity the DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines will foot our bills, feed and clothe our children? Have they thought about how the loss of Trinity will negatively affect DeWitt County?

 

This November I’ll be voting for the county board candidates that are for jobs, economic stability, and who will do what is best for EVERY citizen of DeWitt County.

 

Vote for Cris Rogers, Sue Whitted, and Randy Perring!

 

Sincerely,

 

Frank Igaravidez
Clinton, IL 61727
 

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Letter to the Editor: Compensation, Compensation, Compensation

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted August 21, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

Over the last several weeks, its become apparent that there has been a shift from the leadership of DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines concern for the “health, safety, and welfare” of DeWitt County citizens, to preaching how non-participating land owners should be compensated by the proposed wind farm.

 

The repeated theme of compensation has recently been brought up in sworn testimony before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), radio interviews, letters to the editor, and on the DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines Facebook page. If leadership of this group is truly concerned about the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of this County; monetary compensation would NEVER be considered. As someone who works in healthcare, a person’s health and safety is NEVER for sale.


When the current County Board was standing against polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) going into the landfill, negotiating a monetary compromise for the residents’ health was NEVER an option. That same County Board that worked to keep the PCBs out of the landfill, ultimately protecting our water source, is the same County Board that is now looking after the health, safety, and welfare of ALL DeWitt County residents.

 

Isn’t it interesting how soon a majority of the members of the anti-wind tower group forgot that the current County Board protected us all from this scientifically proven carcinogen? Given their history, do you really think this same County Board would knowingly vote on something that would hurt their family, friends, and fellow residents?  If the anti-wind turbine group is so worried about health and safety of all people in this county, why is it most of them never once showed up to meetings when our water source was threatened? Am I wrong in my assumption that to them wind turbines must be more dangerous than PCBs contaminating drinking water?


Regardless of what most of the anti-wind tower people say, it now appears that it has never been about the health, safety, or welfare of our citizens; it’s all about how much money this group can extort from the wind farm developers. So, the next time you listen to Dewitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines leadership and a few of their followers, you will eventually hear what it all comes down to “compensation, compensation, compensation.”

 

Logan Redman
Wapella, IL 61777
 

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Letter to the Editor: Concerns About Final Zoning Ordinance Amendments

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted August 15, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

I am writing this editorial concerning approval of the three remaining Wind Energy Ordinance changes that are to be considered in a special meeting of the DeWitt County Board on Aug 22, 2018.  The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) studied six changes:  noise limits, require IDNR wildlife recommendations be followed, electromagnetic interference, property line setback, shadow flicker limits, and aircraft detection lighting.  Only the last three were recommended by the ZBA.

 

I encourage the County Board to approve the last three recommendations, but also to revisit the other three.  During the ZBA hearing, it appeared to me that wording changes to the other three could be made by the Board to make them more legally palatable. 

 

The County Board should give more consideration to the residents who live near the proposed wind turbine locations but do not receive any compensation for the intrusion on their personal and property rights.  Contrary to the claims of the Wind Company, none of these changes will stop the construction.  Non-participating residents could be compensated if they so desire for a closer placement of the wind turbines to their property.  I encourage all residents of DeWitt County to attend this special meeting and speak your mind.

 

Terry Husted

Birkbeck, Illinois

 

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Letter to the Editor: Thanks to DeWitt County Board of Appeals For Their Service

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted July 21, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

I am writing to express my gratitude to the DeWitt County Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).  As was mentioned in a previous letter, the ZBA met on Monday evening July 16, 2018, to consider six proposed changes to the zoning ordinances for Commercial Wind Energy Conversion (wind turbines).  Following nearly three hours of testimony, thoughtful and probing questions by members of the ZBA, and much discussion, the board adjourned, having voted on only 2 of the 6 text amendments.

 

The board reconvened on Wednesday night, July 18, and spent nearly five grueling hours listening to additional research and testimony, asking questions and having thoughtful discussion on the remaining four text amendments.  As the night wore on and fatigue set in, I struggled to stay focused.  I remember looking up at the board as midnight approached, and the interest and attentiveness of the board was as strong as when the hearing had begun hours earlier.  I can still see the image in my mind of ZBA members leaning forward in their chairs and intently listening as speaker after speaker testified.

 

Many in the community will understandably be disappointed in the outcome of votes, as much time and energy has been spent by passionate citizens on both sides of the proposed ordinance changes.  However, I couldn’t be more pleased with the preparedness and effort of the majority of ZBA board members.  They have a difficult job, and they exceeded my expectations.

 

Regardless of how you feel on the issues discussed at the July ZBA hearing, I encourage everyone in the community to thank our ZBA members for their service to our community.   It would be a shame for them to feel unappreciated, because we have a group of people giving up their personal time and looking out for us.  The ZBA board members are:

 

Don Fugate, Andy Hedrick, John Griffin, Sarah Owens, Steve Perring, Mark Sterr and David Waters.

 

To the members of the ZBA, I thank you for your service!


Joe Witte

Waynesville, IL 61778

 

 

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Letter to the Editor: Disappointed in DeWitt County Zoning Board of Appeals Vote

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Posted July 17, 2018

 

Dear Editor:

 

I am writing to express my disappointment in the ZBA board’s vote.  Monday evening July 16, 2018, the DeWitt County Board’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) met to consider six proposed changes to the zoning ordinances for Commercial Wind Energy Conversion (wind turbines).  The County Board’s Regional Planning Commission (RPC) approved this change and sent it to the ZBA.  The first recommended change involved the absolute lack of any requirement in the Ordinances that the wind company adhere to recommendations of the environmental experts.

 

For example, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) submitted a letter to the Zoning Administrator outlining seven actions that need to be taken to provide barriers and protection from the wind turbine installation to surrounding environment, including wildlife.  IDNR has no way of enforcing these, only the County Board can make these common sense recommendations a requirement.  Some examples of the recommendations were to avoid siting wind turbines within one mile of Mettler Woods Nature Preserve, an Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) Site; requiring the applicant to document to the County its contacts with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service pertaining to potential adverse effects to Bald Eagles; to conduct three years of mortality monitoring to statistically quantify bird and bat mortality, by species, due to turbine operations.

 

These simple actions are not impossible, impractical or extremely costly to implement.  However, as pointed out by the Audubon expert during the ZBA hearing, history shows that the wind companies will find a reason not to perform these simple actions unless they are required to.

 

It is very unfortunate that this panel of appointed citizens disregarded the RPC board’s recommendation and does not appear to respect our environment enough to ensure it is protected to the best of their ability.  The vote to approve a change to the Ordinance to require the wind companies to adhere was six to one to NOT approve (Fugate,Griffin,Owens,Perring,Sterr,Waters-NO; Hedrick-YES).  This vote was shocking, to say the least, for those of us who have worked with DNR experts to understand what is best for our community and the environment.

 

We have a growing population of Bald Eagles in this county that we should be proud to host.  We have endangered and protected species of wildlife, native forests, and prairie in this rich agricultural area that we should do everything in our power to protect.  Yet, we are once again at the mercy of the BIG CORPORATION (foreign owned and government subsidized by your tax dollars) with only a hope and prayer that our community’s wildlife and nature will be preserved and protected.  And the wind company still refers to us as the “small group”, the vocal minority.  Are you part of the silent majority, or should you speak out…

 

Terry Husted

Birkbeck, Illinois

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