DANVILLE, IL. (ECWd) -
Vermilion County Board Meeting, April 15th, 2014.
The February meeting began on time at 6 pm. Chairman Weinard started the meeting with 27 present, 2 absent and 1 vacant position. The vacant position in District 5 was filled tonight by Democrat Chad Turner. There were several Longevity Awards to honor those who have served many areas of the county. Chairman Weinard lets everyone know that the comment cards are not needed to speak but would be appreciated.
Under audience comments this week Nancy Goodall is the first to speak. She is from the Sidell area and speaks about the Middle Fork River which is the only designated a wild and scenic river in Illinois. She is concerned about the three coal ash ponds that remain from the closed Oakwood power station. They are located along the river and there has been some leakage. Ms. Goodall states the plan to cap the ponds are insufficient and is asking the board to pass a resolution to protect the river from this potential disaster.
Next to speak under public comments is Jean Miles, a wind turbine victim from the Vermilion county approved Invenergy project in Pilot Township. Jean Miles notes that of all the board members, only one lives in an industrial wind complex. (Board member Marron whose family has signed leases with Invenergy is the only board member in the project). Ms. Miles invites the board members to her home to truly experience the horror of living with industrial wind turbines. Ms. Miles lets the board know that her family has sent real time data of noise issues to Invenergy and to date they have done nothing. Invenergy noise continues to trespass on her property. She does not understand why the Invenergy lawyer is handling the noise complaints instead of an Invenergy engineer. It is doubtful that Invenergy has any plans to mitigate the noise, but only to cover their ass if they are sued. Ms. Miles asks the board why the industrial turbines are more important than her family and neighbors. She states that her intent is to revise the ordinance and stop the noise from the Invenergy complex. She will not allow the board to wash their hands of the issue that they have caused. WE WILL FOLLOW UP WITH JEAN MILES TO SEE HOW AND WHICH BOARD MEMBERS RESPOND TO HER CONCERNS.
The next public speaker is Brian Kedas, a veteran of the Vermilion County Highway Department after serving many years as a maintenance worker, truck driver, and equipment operator with good work and safety history. He is a union member who has been working without any contract for several months. During contract renewal negotiations, the highway department workers were told of the bleak outlook for the county and now Mr. Kedas does not understand how the county can be considering significant pay raises for county officials. He asks that the county officials lead by example
Mr. Arthur Cronkite is the next speaker and thanks board members Miller and Wright for standing up and asking some real questions for once. However there are still real issues with the county such as the nursing home sewer processing and the courthouse boiler bid process that still need investigated. Mr. Cronkite apologizes to the lap-dog media for his comment last month that they do not report on the issues brought before the board at these monthly meetings. He comments that they are getting better. BUT, it should be recognized that issues such as those brought forward by the wind turbine victims dominate the tone of the meetings almost every month. AND they are almost never reported by the lap-dog media when reporting on the county board meetings. Why is that? Mr. Cronkite comments that the people not making a living at reporting are doing a much better job that the lap-dog media. He suggest going to the Edgar County Watchdogs site for the true story on the issues that are relevant to the county residents. Mr. Cronkite notes that last month at the Mr. Blazer Invenergy circus that three times Blazer made an oral contract with the county and no one questioned it. He also questioned why no one on the board questioned Mr. Hankard about infra-sound when he brought it up, noting that it was an industry hot topic. Especially when it appears to be a major issue with the wind victims in Pilot Township. Mr. Cronkite ask why is the board here if they are not going to represent the people of Vermilion County. INDEED! This a question that is often brought up by the residents of the county. Mr. Cronkite notes that every month for years (yes for years) the public has come before the board to complain about industrial wind turbines and the board continues to do nothing. They continue to take no action on a situation that they have caused! Once again Mr. Cronkite has an accurate assessment of the county board. His chastisement of the board is rightfully directed.
The next speaker is Ted Hartke, another wind victim of the county approved Invenergy complex in Pilot Township. This is his one year anniversary of trying to help change the county wind ordinance to better protect other families in the county from becoming the next victims. Mr. Hartke mentions the county follow-up meeting of the wind energy review panel after the public hearing in Potomac regarding the many problems with the Invenergy cluster in Pilot Township. The industrial wind company Invenergy gave a letter to the county stating they were taking care of the Hartke’s. At that follow up meeting, Mr. Hartke raised his hand to refute Invenergy’s false claim, but was stopped from speaking by board member John Alexander (3022 Golf Circle, Danville, IL. 61832, 217-987-6490, [email protected]). Yet Invenergy was allowed to submit a letter of lies to the panel after the public hearing was closed. This would not be the last time that the county board would try to shut down public comment on the problems with the county approved wind turbines. Mr. Hartke tells the board that he had discovered last summer that there is no way to insulate his home from the low frequency sound produced by the Invenergy turbines. On Mother’s Day of last year, Mr. Hartke tells the board that at 2am he called the Vermilion county sheriff’s department to file a complaint about the nuisance. After the deputy hears the noise and makes note of the complaint, the Hartke’s are later told that the sheriff’s department will take no calls and not respond to any complaints to wind turbine noise. Mr. Hartke explains to the board that according to the Illinois Pollution Control Board, noise complaints will be taken by the local enforcement agency. The IPCB may lack enforcement capabilities, but the request was only to take the record of complaint. Once again wind victims are moved to the back of the bus and denied the state wide noise reporting standards. Mr. Hartke then points out another lie by Invenergy attorney Mike Blazer. In April of last year when the Hartke’s contacted Dr. Schomer, they were told he already was under contract with Invenergy. But in July, Blazer told the board that he tried to hire Dr, Schomer at the request of the Hartke’s. (You can contact Mr. Blazer about his lies at: Michael Blazer, 24 N. Hillside Ave. Suite A, Hillside, Ill. 60162, 708-236-0830, [email protected]). Mr. Hartke notes that on September 30th of 2011 Vermilion county assistant state’s attorney Bill Donahue wrote a letter to the county board to dismiss the repeated concerns of the Cambron’s about the many negative issues with industrial wind turbines. Mr. Hartke notes that Bill Donahue was terribly wrong to dismiss the claims. He states that he and his family experience the health issues predicted by the Cambron’s well before the first turbine was ever built in Vermilion County. Mr. Hartke tells the board that he will continue to come to the board to ask for their help to protect the families in Vermilion County. He begs for their help to prevent this disaster from happening to other in the community. One has to wonder what it will take to get any response from the board. At the close of Mr. Hartke’s comment his is asked by board member Bob Fox who surveyed the land for the wind cluster? Mr. Hartke responded that he worked for Daily & Associates that did the survey. Mr. Fox asks how much he is paid, but Mr. Hartke does not know since he did many survey jobs during his employment at Daily. I think the point that Mr. Fox is trying to make that (and a point that Mr. Hartke himself will admit) – is that Mr. Fox and many others (all?) on the board were fooled by the wind industry lies about the nature of their noisy machines. The question remains, now that the board realizes they were deceived, what will they do to correct the problem that they have caused? Mr. Hartke is asked by board member Ivadale Foster how long he has been coming to the board meetings (about the wind turbine problems). Mr. Hartke says it has been one year in April. It should be noted that the Cambron’s have been bringing this issue to the board for over 3 years, well before any industrial wind turbines were built in Vermilion County. County records will show that this board was well informed of the negative issues with industrial wind turbines and the problems with the county ordinance that allowed this to happen.
The next speaker is Kirk Allen from Edgar County. Mr. Allen points out that after the county has given so much time to speak before the board to the wind corporation, they should consider giving equal time to the wind victims to answer and ask questions. Mr. Allen rightfully points out the victims may know some things that are not evident to the board. For example, Mr. Allen points out that at the last meeting Mr. Blazer from Invenergy implied that he hired Dr. Schomer at the request of the Hartke’s. When in reality Dr. Schomer was already on the Invenergy staff as a paid consultant. Mr. Allen points out that is disgraceful that an attorney would come before the board and try to deceive them about the problems with the industrial wind turbines. The board would be well advised that if there is proven deceit about this issue, then it is almost certain that Invenergy is lying about other issues before the county. And don’t forget, Mr. Blazer is now the attorney for the IKEA Hoopeston cluster that the county approved in be built.
The person for public comment is Lynn McLinden from Danville. He is concerned about the coal fly ash ponds that are threatening the Middle Fork River. Mr. McLinden ask that the current owners of this threat to the river be held fully financially accountable for a responsible and permanent solution. Mr. Mclinden ask that the board be attentive to the owner donating the land to the state thereby passing the cost for cleanup on to the taxpayers.
The next speaker is Darrell Cambron from Rankin. He states that in the past he as submitted peer-reviewed studies that conclude that industrial wind turbines do indeed harm families when they are built too close to residents. Mr. Cambron points that out to refute a statement from Invenergy attorney Mike Blazer when he stated last month that he was not aware of any studies that showed his turbines are harmful to people’s health. Mr. Cambron further states that any wind representative that tells the board that they are not aware of any studies that wind turbines harm peoples health are either incompetent or lying or both.
Mike Camp is the next public speaker. He is concerned about the coal fly ash ponds. Mr. Kemp states that the ponds are leaking and his well is only 2 miles from the nearest pond.
Todd Alcorn speaks next. He is with Kickapoo landing and states that thousands of people use the middle fork river and he hopes that it will stay clean.
Kristen Camp is the next speaker from Vermilion County. She enjoys the scenic river and she hopes that the board will take steps to protect the river for her children and students.
Louis Kane is the next speaker from Urbana. She states that there are 21 contaminated sites in Illinois, 2 in Vermilion County. She hopes that we will have local control over the sites here in the county and will attend the health committee to answer more questions about the fly ash ponds.
Next speaker is Tyler Richie from Prairie Rivers Network. He states that Dynegy proposing leaving the coal ash ponds in place with a cap. He states that this is considered a risky proposal. Mr. Richie states that this is the opportunity to do the right thing. He will be available at the appropriate committee meeting to help the board write a resolution address the issue.
At this point, Chairman Weinard ends the public comment period, but vermilion county resident Gina Isabelli asks to be heard. Chairman Weinard graciously grants the request. Board member Bob Fox objects and once again tries to carry on a Vermilion county board tradition of doing whatever it takes to stop the residents of the county from speaking. Ms. Isabelli is a teacher in Champaign and has spoken to the board in the past about her personal issues with the industrial wind turbines that have been placed too close to her home. She updates the board about the health issues in her family that have occurred since the industrial wind turbines have been turned on. They are the same issues that families all across the country are facing when these large industrial machines are placed too close to family homes. Ms. Isabelli promises that more information will be forthcoming in this issue in the county. She asks that the land owners be prepared. This the end of the public comment portion of the meeting.
Executive/Legislative – resolution for delinquent taxes, amendment to the combined annual budget (county clerk software update for same-sex marriages), and participation is State of Illinois federal surplus property program all passed. Robert Fox was the only person who voted “no” when it came time for the same-sex marriage software licensing updates.
Finance/Personnel – traffic fee fund, amendment to the combined annual budget – general fund & health department passed.
Transportation – several resolutions for seal coat, bituminous material, standby generator and IDOT concurrence in reappointment of county highway engineer all passed.
No Executive session was needed.
Chairman’s comments – the Hoopeston wind debacle was purchased by IKEA. Apex will build the cluster, IKEA will fund and own the industrial complex. Planned renovation of the health department was curtailed since the county farm land did not sell. Farmland income will go to the capital improvement fund. There is discussion on salary increases for elected officials. Recommendations will come from the finance committee and if needed will come before the board for a vote next month.
Next meeting will be May 13th at 6PM at the Danville Courthouse annex. The next meeting may be exciting because there are issues with the APEX / IKEA wind farm documents filed by attorney Mike Blazer. There is conflicting information where the documents list or show different numbers and locations of wind turbines. The final turbine count could be 43, 49, 53, or 59 turbines depending on which document you are looking at. One of the documents (prepared by Burns and McDonnell Engineering Company) has wind turbine salvage values and tear-down costs which do not reflect common sense reality.
We encourage all Vermilion County citizens to turn off the TV, get off the couch, and start attending these public meetings.
Everyone is allowed 5 minutes to voice their concerns about county issues including our newest label for being “meth valley” in the “Urban Dictionary.”
This is what the website says about “Meth Valley”
“A nick-name to describe Vermillion County, Illinois. Especially the City of Danville and it's surrounding areas. Aptly named due to the fact that you cannot go more than 100 yards without being near a meth lab.”
The link to the meeting videos are located here: (High Quality and Low Quality) These are the videos that the county uploads. It would be much easier for the citizens if they would simply upload them to youtube or similar service, but at least they provide video and we thank them for that. Previous Vermilion County Board videos are located HERE. Agendas and minutes are located HERE.