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Michigan representative holds community forum on wind turbine issue

CARO, Mich. – From lawsuits to change-out of board positions to family and friends not talking to each other, it’s safe to say that wind turbines have divided Tuscola County.

State Representative Gary Glenn was able to bring both sides together for a community forum Friday night.

“It was on the ballot in 20 different jurisdictions about two weeks ago and overwhelmingly by a 2 to 1 margin, local residents decided they did not want wind turbines in their backyard,” Representative Glenn said.

However, some don’t mind it.

“I m a landowner and I have two windmills on my property already,” David Russell of Elmer Township said. “I believe in them. They really boost the economy up.”

Others reflect that vote and are strongly against them.

“You should be able to see the stars at night, instead of blinking red lights,” Elizabeth Hiles of Dayton Township said. “It’s like living in an airport.”

Even though both sides disagree, they can agree on the fact it is creating a divide.

“It creates a lot of turmoil and a lot of contention in the community and really tears on the social fabric,” Jon Block of Marion Township said.

Representative Glenn brought those for and against together for a meeting at Caro High School to hear all voices.

“I wanted to come get first-hand evidence and first-hand testimony about what the feelings of the people who live here in Tuscola County were,” he said.

He said it is a chance for him to hear citizens’ concerns and take those back to Lansing.

“I mean we hear the technical issues and arguments back in Lansing, but the impact on not just the economy, but the social fabric… I think that was the line of the night that got more applause than anything else,” he said. “Obviously people feel strongly that’s the case and I’m going to make sure that message is communicated to my colleagues on the energy committee in Lansing.”

As for what’s next, Representative Glenn said the people of Tuscola sent a very strong message on the ballot box two weeks ago, so he doesn’t think those jurisdictions have anything to worry about in the near future.

Again, he said he plans to bring all the testimonies he heard back to Lansing.