Monday, September 19, 2005

Much Ado About Silence

About three years ago, I worked for a short while in Princeton, Illinois, driving up from my place in Morton every morning. I explored different routes...I'm anal that way, I like to know many ways to get somewhere...and found tiny Tiskilwa, Illinois. I found, at that time, while I would have to pay $1.19 per gallon of gas in Peoria, and $1.15 in Chillicothe, and $1.12 in Henry, that I could by gas at the Casey's in Tiskilwa for $0.99 per gallon. It stayed this way for months. But I digress.

The point of this whole rant is this: While I was there, talk started of building a "wind farm" on high ground southwest of Tiskilwa...flat, treeless, ground. County board meetings in Bureau County became heated, sometimes physical, always loud. Much posturing, teeth gnashing, and snarling ensued as residents argued for or against the wind farm, now known as Crescent Ridge. The main beef...always...was the noise that would be generated from the giant blades and the generators below.

So, fast forward to this past Sunday...Diane, little Emily, and me are off to Rock Falls for a Sunday jaunt (actually, work for Di). After a necessary stop at Tanner's Orchard on Route 40, just north of Camp Grove (everyone should visit Tanner's!) it was off to Rock Falls. On the way back, a detour, over to Route 26, down through Ohio, Illinois - home of the Bulldogs - and into downtown Princeton, one of Diane's favorite little Illinois cities. We then went south right through Princeton to Tiskilwa, and I decided on a little reconnaissance work at Crescent Ridge. I drove right up to one of the towers, and I mean right up to it. Almost nudged it with the car. I shut the car off, got out, shushed everybody and stood outside the vehicle.

The starlings in the distance? Yep, heard 'em. Corn stalks brushing up against each other in the slight breeze? Heard that, too. My feet shuffling slowly back and forth, just grazing the crushed rock surface? I could hear that, too. All of those things were louder than the ever-so-slight "whoosh...whoosh...whoosh" of the giant blade turning rather swiftly overhead.

Noise pollution? Not.

It goes back to a fundamental problem we have in this country right now: Say it enough, and it becomes the truth. During the proceedings three years ago, one lady...ONE lady...who had relatives living near a wind farm in upper Wisconsin claimed that her daughter told her it was impossible to sleep at night due to the sound of the wind farm less than 2 miles from her house. Less than 2 miles?!?!?!?! I was underneath a tower within 2 feet and couldn't hear it over the obnoxious sounds of corn stalks rubbing together. So, the lady in question keeps harping on the noise, and pretty soon she had half of Tiskilwa up in arms, thinking they wouldn't even be able to sleep at night with this menace up on the hill. Say it enough, people believe it. Bush and Co. have been living by this credo since before the 2000 election. The masses are so stupid.

Final verdict: From Tiskilwa, you cannot hear, or even see, the giant towers to the southwest of town. Case closed. Energy being harnessed. Lady with daughter in Wisconsin? Shut up.


Josh Harris said...

This is good to hear. Thanks for the research.

Mahkno said...

There are lots of wind farms in europe. The locals there don't like them either. Not sure what the fuss was. They seemed quite elegent and made no noticeable noise or other ill effects. Which would you have, a smoke belching, coal fired power plant or a few windmills?

BJ Stone said...

I think it all boils down to the conservative mantra:

Change Bad.

No reason needed or found, just Change bad.

Anonymous said...

I went to High School in Tiskilwa, with the children of a guy named _ _ _ _ _ . His duaghters were nice, so I will not mention his name. He was on the school board then and shall we say, he was hard nosed. From what I've gotten from people back in Tiskilwa, _ _ _ _ _ _ was manipulating the stink about the noise, because he was not cut in on the deal and he was bitter about it. The reason that I believe this is because as a 14 year old kid, I detasselled and bought a Commodore 64 and disk drive. When I found out that this guy was selling the computers for Commodore and had sold the Commodore PET's to the School District, I called him up about getting software for my machine, only to be asked by him, why I was asking him about software when I had bought my computer and drive from someone else. For God's sake, I was 14! Needless to say, I went and made friends with other people who were happy to GIVE me all of the software they could illegally copy.