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What will happen when wind turbines arrive in Fillmore County?


Fri, Dec 12th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Earlier this year EcoEnergy, a French-owned corporation with a regional office in Harmony, erected several wind measurement towers between Greenleafton and Harmony. More than 30,000 acres of Fillmore County farmland has been signed up to allow 400' wind turbines to be constructed, along with liberal easement rights to access them.

Driving through a wind turbine "farm" near McIntire, IA is quite an eye-opening experience. The towers are a looming foreign-like oddity, connected by a network of access roads through productive farmland. At night, hundreds of red beacons stretch to the horizon; all synchronized on then off, creating an extra-terrestrial look to the countryside. Locals near McIntire express regret and remain upset at the new landscape dominating the area.

Concern has gotten more serious closer to home as Fillmore County residents are discovering the shear enormity and proximity of EcoEnergy's proposed wind farm. Corporate salesmen have secured wind rights on farms and continue to aggressively seek more acres nearing "Bluff Country": rolling hills, streams, sinkholes, woods, and highly erodible farmland. Turbines will sprout from Greenleafton to Harmony and then on to Canton. Public hearings will be scheduled when the permitting process begins. This is the time to question the need for a wind farm that would violate the beauty-- truly unique beauty-- to this corner of Southeastern Minnesota.

Are there any benefits to those who reside here?

1. Wind turbines are a big visual problem during the day.

2. Red flashing lights will dominate the night-time skies.

3. Taxpayers foot the bill. The Federal Production Tax Credit subsidizes 1/3 of the break-even costs of wind turbines for 10 years. Add IRS tax breaks and the feds pays up to 2/3 of a wind power project. State incentives can pay for another 10%.

4. Commercial wind is not cheap. The electricity produced by this wind farm will not stay local and will not lower our bills in Fillmore County. Expenses may actually go up. Xcel Energy customers already see extra fees and charges on their electric bills to pay for expensive new upgrades necessary to absorb the complex grid balancing and transmission of power due to wind energy's intermittent and unpredictable nature.

6. Wind turbines reduce property values. There is a long, well-documented history of loss for those close to wind farms; up to 30-percent in the first 2 years after completion of th .....
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Forgetfulness and counting ballots

Fri, Dec 12th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

If you're like me the mind plays little tricks on you from time to time. Chalk it up to age, too many things to think about; in your mind one second, gone the next.

Is there a difference between forgetfulness and not remembering what you we ..... 
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An Invitation to Democracy

Fri, Dec 5th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

It's practically an American sport to criticize our elected officials. I probably did my share of thoughtless criticism, too, until I took a job "moonlighting" as a reporter and started regularly attending my local school board and city council meet ..... 
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Corporate Welfare in the Medicare Program

Fri, Dec 5th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

How would you like to have a health care insurance plan that allows you to help pay for your neighbors' healthcare insurance plans? That includes neighbors who have six figure incomes. Welcome to the world of Congressmen who succumb to the blandishm ..... 
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A Time to be Thrifty

Fri, Nov 28th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Because I was born in southwest Iowa in the very middle of the Great Depression, and have never been even moderately wealthy, some of my favorite places to shop are the Salvation Army stores, Saver's, Saint Vincent DePaul, and the Depot. Having grow ..... 
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Meet me in the poetry section

Fri, Nov 21st, 2008
Posted in Commentary

I must confess, I was a nerdy little kid. I didn't much like other kids; they always wanted to play outside, go to the park, and organize teams and clubs. My family forced me to answer the door when kids came to play, and made me go outside at least ..... 
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Political ruminations on Southeast Minnesota agriculture

Fri, Nov 14th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

As American families sit down at the supper table these next few weeks and chew over the collective political decisions we made in the voting booth this year, can we also take a moment to ruminate on agriculture?

It's a good time to realize ..... 
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Change is more than a word

Fri, Nov 14th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

It's over. The long, long, long campaign for the Presidency is behind us. The run for the top spot seemed to be a lifetime in length. Now we can relax. Or, can we?

The lightness of spirit many felt immediately after the election has been te ..... 
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A view from the other side

Fri, Nov 14th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Over most of my adult life, I have been a faithful follower of politics with my own strong held opinions. I've grumbled at times in disgust with some policy decisions and/or personal actions of people serving in public office at various levels.
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