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Selected Editorials from the Editor

Suns & Shields Christian Inspirational Writings by Rachelle Hamlin

Selected editorials from Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D.


The Roberts Trap is Sprung

By:  Bill Dunne
One of the most overlooked aspects of the year just ended is the vindication of Chief Justice John Roberts -- a vindication that showed up as the national catastrophe known as ObamaCare got rolling.  Roberts may have also doomed Hillary Clinton's chance to live in the White House again... click here to read whole editorial


Fort Fairfield Wind Power Committee Switches Gears on Ordinance


Group Visits Mars Hill Mountain Wind Site


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, December 24, 2014


   The Fort Fairfield Wind Power Technical Review committee met on December 1.  They have backed off from using the Montville ordinance as a working template for Fort Fairfield, as they previously had decided to use.  They are now using an adaptation of the state of Maine's guidelines and have already gone through the first seven sections.  They are now at the definition phase.  “That's a bigger job than it sounds,” said Richard Langley, chairman of the committee.  “Depending on the ordinance, it's three to five pages of fairly technical stuff.  We're going to tackle that at our next meeting which is December 29.  I'm not sure how fast that will go, there's a lot to talk about there.  I think it's, to a certain extent we're getting the cart ahead of the horse.  But, I think we'll plow through that, put something in print and we'll have to go back and revise it once we figure out the rest of the ordinance.”

   In lieu of the December 15 meeting, town manager and committee member, Mike Bosse set up a visit to the Mars Hill wind mill project for the committee to participate in.  “That was enlightening. We had a meeting with the general manager.  He was a bright guy, told us how the wind mills worked, a little bit about the finances, answered a lot of questions.  It was instructive,” said Langley. 

   After the meeting, the committee members went to see the turbines first-hand.  “When we were in the office he thought we weren't going to see any turbines turning because the wind wasn't blowing.  By the time we got out there five or ten minutes later they were turning slowly. 

We got inside of the gate and walked up to the base of the first turbine, talked about it and listened to the noise that you'd hear.  I don't know what percentage of its capacity it was turning at - 20 or 25 percent - I guess the faster it turns the more noise it makes.  So, it wasn't a real good indicator of what they sound like, but it was interesting.” 

Prior to the meeting, Mike Bosse and Fort Fairfield Public Works Director, George Watson re-conned the area to make some distance measurements.  “They had gone down to get some measurements to give us a perspective of what a thousand feet from the turbine looks like, fifteen hundred and twenty five hundred.  That was an eye opener.  One of the places we stopped was 2,400 and some-odd feet from the base of one of the turbines, which was just barely moving, and we weren't very far away - half a mile, but I was shocked by how close it seemed because these things are huge.” 

   Langley said the relative noise of the turbines was hard to gauge, considering all listening circumstances.   “The noise is a hard thing to make a read on because you walk up, shut your mouth and listen for ten seconds, or thirty seconds or a minute and you think you have a perception of what it's going to sound like, but I wonder if you were sitting on your back deck day after day after day that perception of how you processed that sound could be a lot different.”

   The Mars Hill project operates under a DEP permit since there isn't an ordinance regulating commercial wind turbines in Mars Hill.  “I think the manager indicated the permissible decibel limit was up to 55.  I don't think we've seen 55 in any of these ordinances.  They go down, most of them in the 45 to 50 range.  Some of them down as low as 32.  So, what they're licensed to do for noise in Mars Hill is, I don't know if it's the highest in the State but it's pretty high.” 

   To give a frame of reference for sound pressure level readings in decibels (db), 30 db is a quiet office, 40 db is subdued conversation, 50 db is an average office and 60 db is an average conversation.  (see The Recording Studio Handbook, John M. Woram, ©1982 ELAR Publishing Co., Inc. p. 30.)  The decibel scale increases logarithmically, not linearly so 100 db is not “twice as loud” as 50 db.  The loudest sound the human ear can respond to without incurring permanent damage is the roar of a jet engine at 130 db.  However, the sound pressure levels being dealt with in respect to the wind turbines is around the level one would expect of a normal conversation between two people, or quieter.

   The committee is scheduled to meet again at the end of December to continue the process of defining an ordinance to regulate and define standards for commercial wind power in Fort Fairfield.







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