Home sweet home. What makes a house a home? For most individuals, it isn’t a particular feature of the building, but rather the feelings and memories associated with that house that leads to the nostalgia and fondness which spurs us to call it home. I grew up in Shellrock Township (south of Glenville), in a house my parents built 20 years ago on the same acreage my dad grew up on. After graduating from Glenville-Emmons High School, I moved to South Bend, Indiana, to attend college at the University of Notre Dame for four years (where I met my wonderful husband); Kirksville, Missouri for medical school for four years, and Grand Blanc, Michigan (outside of Flint) for my obstetrics and gynecology residency for four years. During that 12 years away from home, every time I would make the return trip to southern Minnesota, I would turn onto my parents’ gravel road and see the fields stretch out before me with a big, beautiful open sky and think, “I’m home.” Now, my husband and I are working to create that same feeling of security and country-living bliss for our two young children. We were able to purchase a small acreage and build a house, which will be our forever home. With our move to this homestead, we have created a century farm, as this little plot of land has been enjoyed by generations of our family for over 100 consecutive years.
However, this picture of calm, quiet country living is being threatened by the Freeborn Wind Energy Project, which is projected to place seven windmill turbines within one mile of our newly constructed home. We have read from reliable, credible sources; discussed with our friends and neighbors in Shellrock Township and surrounding townships, which are projected to be within the footprint of this plan; and learned from other individuals who have been impacted by windmill projects near their own homes. We have concerns about light flicker; constant noise; impact on cellphone, landline and television reception; environmental consequences such as windmill-associated eagle deaths; and possible health impacts. We have requested that the county commissioners investigate this issue further before allowing a plan that could significantly impact the quality of life of a large number of their rural constituents. To our representatives, please consider performing a survey to determine how this project will affect our community. Better yet, delay this project until the University of Minnesota completes their current study about windmill impact. If this project continues, listen to your people and consider a greater setback (distance from windmill to homes) as is being requested. We all deserve for our houses to provide the feelings of security, safety, well-being and comfort that make them a home.
Heidi J. Gaston
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