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WIND: Decision likely at next week’s meeting FROM PAGE A1

Barnett said in all of his research he’d never seen the setbacks decreased or the allowable sound levels decreased. Commissioner Doug Robidoux told the Daily News it is likely a decision on the main issues will be reached at the next meeting, which will take place next week at the ISD on either Monday or Tuesday, depending on room availability.

NOISE In order for the county to verify noise and flicker complaints, the 56 476-foot-tall wind turbines Consumers Energy has proposed for the area will have to be monitored. Commissioners said they aren’t sure how that will be handled. Some suggested sound monitors stationed throughout the wind farm to be paid for by Consumers Energy. Others suggested a third party monitor and record the decibel levels of the wind turbines so that residents with noise complaints will have an unbiased source recording the data. Suggestions were made to set allowable decibel-level guidelines at as low as 35 DBA at night and at 55 DBA during daytime hours for unpooled areas. Unpooled refers to a single parcel of land. The county allows for property owners to pool two or more parcels for a single unit for a special land use. The decibel levels or amount of noise will probably have to be measured at the property line of every unpooled parcel to make sure they do not exceed the guidelines, commissioners said. Many residents expressed concern about the noise levels particularly at night as they fear it will affect their sleep. Valerie Campbell said her entire life savings is in her house on 2 acres in Riverton Township and that she chose that location because it’s quiet. She said she has trouble sleeping and that she needs quiet to be able to sleep. Currently Consumers is planning for the county’s current setback of two times the height of the turbine, which could mean Campbell may have a turbine as close as 952 feet away from her bedroom window. Barnett proposed allowing 45 decibels at night and 50 during the day Commissioner Julia Chambers proposed allowing 50 during the day and 40 at night. Commissioner Bruce Patterson suggested 45 during the day and 40 at night. “some people can’t sleep


George Sadler suggests a sound system be used for the next planning commission meeting as statements by the commissioners were difficult to hear at Monday’s meeting at the Mason-Lake ISD building on U.S. 10.a well at night. I like it quiet,” he said and suggested that language reflect a daytimenighttime allowance for unpooled parcels. Barnett suggested that people who aren’t bothered by the noise could sign a waiver allowing higher levels.

‘This is a highly

emotional thing. This is my life, this is my husband’s life.’ Heidi Varenhorst

SHADOW FLICKER The commission also discussed setting guidelines for an acceptable number of hours of flicker and talked about 30 hours of allowable shadow flicker per calendar year. “If there’s a complaint, we’ll have to conduct a study. We can put someone on the property line to study it, but you can’t put them on the property,” said Commissioner Bruce Patterson. Some residents say the wind turbines will affect their health and safety because when the sun is shining, the moving turbine blades will create a shadow flicker. They said that flicker can have the same effects as a strobe light, which can trigger siezures in people with epilepsy or disorientation for people with vertigo. Flicker refers to the blocking of sunlight by the blades of the turbine as they go around, casting moving shadows on nearby property. Some call the claims irrational and emotional, and others suggest that the people who are against the wind turbines are just looking for a payout. “This is a highly emotional thing. This is my life, this is my husband’s life,” said Heidi Varenhorst, whose husband suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy and has had other health problems. “This is not something that is happening two states away. Consumers offered

Eric Jefferies talks about how he’s heard elderly people with vertigo would be affected by shadow flicker from the proposed wind turbines. me a turbine. How insulting. We don’t want a turbine. We’re trying to get away from them,” she said. Commissioner Jeff Barnett stated that he feels flicker should be zero for unpooled parcels and 30 hours per calendar year for pooled parcels. A study would have to be conducted and since areas subject to flicker are affected by so many variables, day to day and year to year, including cloud cover and position of the sun — determining an acceptable amount of flicker is not practical, he said.

COMPLAINTS It has been suggested that the procedure for complaining about the turbines’ noise will be similar to complaints filed within the guidelines of the Right to Farm Act, which gives neighbors three free complaints about a nuisance from a nearby farm. If those claims go unverified, then the complainant must pay for the fourth complaint. Commissioner Doug Robidoux believes the complainant should be given two chances to complain before having to pay to file a com-

plaint. Dennis McKee of Consumers Energy spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting and said it’s his job to make sure that people have quiet enjoyment of their homes and that there will be no adverse effects on anyone. If the people have complaints they can take it up with him personally, that they won’t need to go to the county, that Consumers intends to deal with each complaint that arises. “How much quiet do I need to enjoy life? Well my definition of quiet enjoyment might be different than someone else’s,” Campbell said.

CONCERNS Eric Jefferies bought the former Riverton School with plans to turn it into an adult foster care faciliy. He talked about three elderly residents with vertigo who won’t be able to stay there if there is shadow flicker because that aggrevates their condition. He is opposed to the wind turbines. “He’s got his entire life savings in that property,” said Walt Carrier Sr., who attended the meeting. Riverton Township resident Joni Sholtey said she lost an offer from someone interested in buying her property when she revealed

to the buyer that a wind farm is imminent. Cary Shineldecker has 17 acres of property and will have a neighbor’s wind turbine 1,100 feet from his bedroom window, he said, and 15 turbines within a mile of his Kistler Road property. He’s done some research and is convinced by the data he’s studied that he will suffer ill effects. He said he has been attending meetings in Claybanks Township in Oceana County where similar wind turbines have been proposed and that the people making the decisions there have stated repeatedly they are concerned with the health and safety of their residents. He criticized the Mason County Planning Commission because he feels its members do not have those same concerns. Claybanks proposed setbacks, or number of feet a wind turbine can be placed from the property line of an unpooled parcel, are 3,000 feet. “Forty percent of wind farms in Europe go to litigation,” Shineldecker said, indicating that people who suffer from health problems due to effects of the turbines sue the companies that run them — and that the setback requirements in Europe are significantly higher than two times the height of the wind turbines as the current ordinance calls for in Mason County. Riverton Township resident Rose Lessard read a prepared statement during the public comment portion of the meeting in which she stated that the World Health Organization recommends setbacks of 6,600 feet. “We are not guinea pigs,” she said. “We are human beings.”

Scoring victories, Gadhafi tells rebels: surrender

Kaiser among pets needing homes Kaiser is a young, energetic Lab mix that needs a home. In addition to Kaiser, Mason County Animal Control also has a red and white male Australian shepherd, a young Lab mix, a retriever puppy and a beagle mix puppy, a male husky, and a terrific hound mix. Cats include three declawed fixed cats, a calico, a marmalade, and a black. Mason County Animal Control is located on Meyers Road behind Walmart. Call 843-8644 for more information. MCAC hours are 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday and 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. All animals adopted from MCAC receive a free spay/neuter from Lakeshore Animal Friends.



TOBRUK, Libya (AP) — Moammar Gadhafi’s military blasted rebels with airstrikes and bombardment from warships, tanks and artillery in an overwhelming display of firepower Tuesday, trying for the first time to take back a city in the opposition’s heartland of eastern Libya. Rebel fighters rushed to the front as mosques in the city broadcast pleas for help defending the city. Rebels flocked to the entrances of Ajdabiya to fight after the pro-Gadhafi forces surprised them with attacks on two sides of the city. But the opposition was suffering from a lack of weapons. “They don’t have the arms, but they have the will to fight,” Lt. Col. Mohammed Saber, an army officer who defected to the uprising, said by tele-

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phone, with explosions and gunfire audible in the background. The assault on Ajdabiya in the east came after Gadhafi forces took back the last rebel town west of Tripoli. With the victory in Zwara, a seaside town about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the Tunisian border, the regime has largely consolidated its control in the west, where only weeks earlier his rule seemed to be crumbling. The only other opposition-held city in the western half was under a punishing blockade, its population running out of supplies. The dramatic turn in Gadhafi’s fortunes has outpaced French and British efforts to build support for a no-fly zone, which seemed to fall apart on Tuesday in the face of German opposition and U.S.

Ajdabiya is a crucial gateway to the eastern half of the country, which the opposition has held since the uprising began on Feb. 15. If Gadhafi’s troops are able to capture the city of 140,000, the way would be open from them to assault Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city and effectively the opposition’s capital, 140 miles away from Ajdabiya.

NOTICE TO BIDDERS MASON COUNTY ROAD COMMISSION MASON COUNTY, MICHIGAN The Board of County Road Commissioners of the County of Mason will receive Sealed Proposals at 510 East State Street, P.O. Box 247, Scottville, Michigan until 10:00 a.m., Local Time, Thursday, March 24, 2011 at which time and place the proposals will be publicly opened and read for the following: Equipment Rental Rates for 2011 Season Bid Forms and Specifications may be obtained at the office of the Mason County Road Commission. All bids must be submitted on forms provided and placed in SEALED ENVELOPES bearing the name of the Bidder and appropriately marked as Equipment Rental Rates for 2011 Season.

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TO NOTE • Jade and Michael Dreese of Ludington announce the birth of a daughter, Victoria Elizabeth Dreese, on March 13 at Memorial Medical Center. •Amie and Chad Inabinet of Ludington announce the birth of a son, Noah Edward Inabinet, on March 13 at Memorial Medical Center.

reluctance. Gadhafi said he expects victory in the fight, telling the Italian newspaper Il Giornale that the rebels’ options are closing. “There are only two possibilities: Surrender or run away.” He said he was not like the leaders, who fell after antigovernment protests. “I’m very different from them,” he said.

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The Commission reserves the right to accept any and all bids, in part or entirety; waive any informality in bids, and to accept the bid that in their opinion is in the best interest of the Mason County Road Commission and the County of Mason. The Mason County Road Commission is in compliance with the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended. BOARD OF MASON COUNTY ROAD COMMISSIONERS Nick Matiash, Chairman Doug Robidoux, Vice-Chairman Bill Schwass, Member


• Jade and Michael Dreese of Ludington announce the birth of a daughter, Victoria Elizabeth Dreese, on March 13 at Memorial Medical Center....