The Press-Dispatch

November 27, 2019

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The Press-Dispatch East Gibson News Wednesday, November 27, 2019 C- 9 SOMETHING NEWSWORTHY? Give us a call: 812-354-8500 Wood Memorial Above: Coach Connor Sevier talks to Brayden Neukam (10), Ev- an Bartley (33), Garrett Parke (11) and Elijah Schlottman (21) during the Wood Memorial seventh and eighth grade game. Sub- mitted photo Right: Will Morton (22) shoots a layup during the eighth grade boys' basketball game action. Submitted photo Far right: Seventh grader Garrett Parke (11) goes for the shot during the Wood Memorial Junior High boys' basketball game. Submitted photo Above: Axl McGowan (3) defends his team's basket during Wood Memori- al boys' basketball game action. Submitted photo Left: Hayden Mellette (12) ecclesiastically guards his player during the eighth grade boys' basketball game. Submitted photo Commissioners listen to arguments on wind farms By Janice Barniak Anti-wind farm constituents again addressed Gibson County Commissioners Tuesday; how- ever, no action was taken as the clock ticks down on the window of time during which commis- sioners could potentially enact a measure to stop wind farms—a measure one commissioner has said could only be effective by es- tablishing a county-wide zoning ordinance, and even then, only if zoning is established before the company begins construction. Zoning has been a hot-but- ton issue in the county since the 1970s; the most recent at- tempt ended spring 2018 after an exploration of the topic yield- ed widespread vocal opposition that dominated meetings for months, and ended abruptly, af- ter the establishment of an area planning commission and thou- sands of dollars was spent in le- gal fees, when then-commission- ers announced it was clear the public did not want zoning. As wind farm company RWE Supply and Trading, formerly E.ON, prepares to install wind turbines in south Gibson and Posey County, close to the Na- tional Weather Service's dop- pler radar facility, some opin- ions have changed. Billie Zehner Davis, from Gib- son County, said that when peo- ple previously opposed zoning, they were mostly opposed be- cause they saw it as a way for big government to make things diffi- cult for farmers, instead of think- ing of it as a way to keep big cor- porations in check. "But if they knew what it was, they wouldn't have voted against it," she said, (although there was no formal vote by the public for or against zoning, other than that of the three county commission- ers). Dr. David Utley, from Haub- stadt, urged zoning as well. "Zoning provides the tool we need to make big wind account- able to Gibson County," he said, after saying he expects an in- crease in seizures, anxiety and insomnia, among other issues, should wind farms successfully install turbines. "Now is the time to put in pro- tections. Not next spring," said Utley. "I respectfully ask we ex- pedite the zoning process." Beverly Adler said she was concerned about health effects on her two sons, who are hand- icapped. She said a neurologist told her that one son will have more sei- zures as a result. RWE's Karsen Rumpf, devel- opment manager for the Gib- son/Posey project, addressed the family directly, saying that the company can shut the wind turbines down in severe weather, within 30 to 45 seconds, and that a shadow-flicker analysis will limit the flickering to 30 hours a year, which averages out to five to 10 minutes per day, he said. "I take that personally because I have a brother who has sei- zures," Rumpf said. He said the company is looking at how to re- duce the effect on doppler radar. One audience member asked if the company was aware of the doppler before they started leas- ing in Gibson County, and Rumpf said they were. Commissioner Steve Bottoms said the talk was just that—talk. "Why is it just talk? Because we have zero authority...there's only one way to have any say about it, and that's zoning." Not everyone was against the wind farming either. Ken Brant wanted the charac- terizations of farmers as rich or greedy to stop. "They can't help it they have to pay $400,000 for a combine and $ 350,000 for a tractor. That's what it takes for them to work, it's what it takes for them to raise a family," he said. He said he's talked to people who live near turbines north of Gibson County and he likened the disturbance to that of the train going through Haubstadt. "I think the farmers deserve the right to do with their prop- erty what they need to," he said. Audience members disagreed. "When you put something on your property that is going to af- fect my property, that's when it's time to put zoning in place. We've got to do what's right for every- body, not just for the few that get it," one person responded. Rita Stone was most worried about the doppler. "I'm strictly speaking to the fear I have of not having the pro- tection of doppler. In February 2017, we were in the direct line of a tornado...had we not heard on the news when they told us, through the doppler radar, that the storm was coming, I might not be standing here." She was in favor of zoning. "I am scared to death these turbines will cause our doppler to malfunction." Jean Bittner was also pro-zon- ing. "The gentleman said it was like trains going through Haubstadt, but when trains go through, it's not constant," she said. "What's to stop the next business from coming in, the landfill, the por- no places or whatever. What's af- ter that? " RWE has estimated the tur- bines would bring 30 tech jobs and millions in additional reve- nue to Posey and Gibson Coun- ty schools. According to Bottoms, on- ly zoning would be able to stop wind turbine construction, and only if done before the company began construction. The zoning ordinance could also not single out one business in its rules. As to weather, an ordinance stating wind farms could not be built would not stop the project. Bottoms said that counties have lost in numerous cases that have gone to the Indiana Supreme Court. The next commissioners' meeting is at 8 a.m. Dec. 3, then at 6 p.m. Dec. 17, followed by a wrap-up meeting at 8 a.m. Dec. 22, to close out end-of-year bills. Gibson County Visitors and Tourism goes non-profit By Janice Barniak On the recommenda- tion of the State Board of Accounts, post-audit, Gib- son County Visitors and Tourism transitioned to a non-profit, instead of being a quasi-governmental enti- ty Thursday. With the assistance of Commissioner's attor- ney Jim McDonald, direc- tor Eric Heidenreich ex- plained the position of the new non-profit as essential- ly the child of the former commission, which will still set budgets and invest- ments for the board. Meanwhile, the non-prof- it will evaluate requests for funding and do the work of promoting the county. Oakland City Universi- ty's Brian Baker will be president of the non-prof- it board, but otherwise, all positions from the commis- sion will carry over. "Congratulations, you have a another job you didn't know about," said McDonald to the board. He recommended the board develop job descrip- tions so that when the cur- rent director of the board retires, they'll be able to write a job description for a new hire. Also, it will help when the board conducts his em- ployee evaluation. The next meeting is set for Dec. 19. IN OTHER ACTION • Approved $1,000 to help advertise a February tractor pull by the NATPA. • Heard a request for a second kiosk of attraction pamphlets at the court- house, pending the ap- proval of Mary Key, com- missioner. "Mary Key is the outside lawn commis- sioner. We have duties and that's hers. You want to move a shrub, that's who you go to," said Commis- sioner Gerald Bledsoe. WOOD MEMORIAL UPCOMING SPORTS SCHEDULE WEDNESDAY, NOV. 27 Boys' Varsity Wrestling Invitational vs. Central, A, TBA SUNDAY, DEC. 1 Boys' Varsity Soccer vs. NE Dubois, H, 5 p.m. MONDAY, DEC. 2 Boys' Varsity Soccer vs. NE Dubois, H, 5 p.m. TUESDAY, DEC. 3 Boys' Varsity Soccer vs. NE Dubois, H, 5 p.m. Free concert at Oakland City First G.B. Church There will be a free concert and dramatic presenta- tion of "For God So Loved…A Celebration of Christ's Birth" by The Company Community Christmas Choir on December 8 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. CST at Oakland City First General Baptist Church, 224 W Harrison St., Oakland City. net edition yeah, it's that fast! Z M It's The Press-Dispatch. No matter where you live. Delivered every Wednesday morning! Add it for $5 to your current print subscription or stand-alone for $35/year.

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