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Meet Corrine Fredrick, a new activist  

So it’s dead – or on life support, at best.

The news that three county commissioners went public this week against the Florida Power & Light Co. wind turbine project on Hutchinson Island effectively seems to have killed the idea. All we’re lacking now is the official obituary.

Paula Lewis was the latest to make up her mind, following Doug Coward, but it was the project’s chief proponent – Chris Craft – who turned a few heads Tuesday when he announced his opposition.

I’ll let the bloggers decide whether Craft’s change of heart was a true epiphany or political maneuvering (he’s up for re-election in November, as is Lewis). I was more struck by one of the sources of Craft’s turnaround.

He was moved, he said, by the heartfelt public comments made by Corinne Fredrick, 18, a senior at Port St. Lucie High School. Craft recalled speaking at a pinning ceremony at PSL High in January, urging the seniors to get involved in big issues. “More changes have been made in the world by people of your age than any other group,” he told them.

So Craft was impressed to see Corinne in the commission chambers and even more that she’d decided to use a senior “skip day” off school to attend a public meeting against the turbines.

She had to wait almost five hours to speak to commissioners, and was the last one to the microphone before the lunch break.

This is not the first time Corinne, 18, has stood up in public for her beliefs.

Three years ago, Corinne spoke out against FPL’s project of the hour: the coal plant in western St. Lucie County.

“Luckily, I got to speak toward the beginning of the night then (the meeting lasted until the wee hours of the next morning), but I’d have stayed all night if I’d had to – and if my parents had let me stay up!”

For someone so young, Corinne is remarkably self-assured. Her mother, Backus Gallery executive director Kathleen Fredrick, says her daughter has absolutely no qualms about standing up and expressing herself.

“Yes, I was pretty nervous,” Corinne confided. “I didn’t have a lot of time to get my points across. I’d done a lot of preparation, but when it came time to speak, it all kinda came off the top of my head.”

And very well it did. Corinne is serious about her role and that of her generation on environmental matters; she can be pretty critical about her peers, as well.

“My generation is the one that could make a real difference. They could really save the planet for future generations, but I don’t see enough of them taking a stand. It saddens me that my generation seems to be more interested in what reality TV show is on tonight.”

Corinne’s objections to the wind turbine project are based on a lot of research, both online and in the newspaper (you see why I like her). As she so sagely points out, “You always need to make sure you’ve got your facts right.”

She may be heading for a career where that’s important. After graduation, she’s planning to attend Indian River College for two years and then transfer to the University of Florida to study communications. A career in public relations, or even lobbying, could be in the cards.

Whichever way her life goes, it’s refreshing to meet caring, committed young people like Corinne. If there are enough of them with her heart and courage, the next generation might just surprise us.

Anthony Westbury
Associate Editor

TCPalm

8 March 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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