Fulton County: Pledge to stop turbines signed by commissioners

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

(The following was originally published in The Rochester Sentinel of Rochester, IN on Thursday, January 18, 2018.)

BY WESLEY DEHNE
Staff Writer, The Sentinel

A local citizens group opposing a proposed commercial wind farm chalked up another win in Fulton County on Monday.

Two of three Fulton County Commissioners, Bryan Lewis and Rick Ranstead, signed a pledge stating that as long as they hold public office they will not allow commercial wind turbines in the county. Commissioner Steve Metzger refused to sign, saying he wasn’t interested.

“I mean, we’ve already voted to take it out,” he said, questioning, “What else do you want?”

Lewis and Ranstead signed a resolution in December that prohibits commercial wind energy conversion systems, or WECS, in the unincorporated areas of the county. Metzger did not participate in the signing of that resolution. He recused himself from any county business related to wind energy development. That resolution goes into effect today.

Lynn Plummer-Studebaker, who conceived of the pledge and has been fighting against a proposed three-county wind farm considered by Renewable Energy Systems, or RES, told Metzger the purpose of pledge was to give commissioners an opportunity to make their intentions known for the future.

“We’re thankful and relieved about the ban on industrial turbines, so we will forever be grateful for that,” she said, adding opposition efforts are now being undertaken in Cass and Miami counties. “We worry, of course, that RES is going to come back if this project goes through in either of the other two counties or if another company would come in and buy those leases, and they would approach you with a new project.”

She continued: “We do hear from our friends that we’ve made recently in Miami and Cass that they do hear from some officials there that this project is not dead in Fulton County … I think it would mean not only a lot to us, as your constituents, but also to other people who are worried about the project as well.”

She took her fight against commercial wind farms to the Indiana Statehouse on Wednesday to testify in favor of House Bill 1338.

If approved, the bill would make it a criminal offense for a public official to not disclose any conflicts of interests with the development of a wind farm. Secondly, it outlines that after June 30 the siting of any proposed wind turbine would first have to be approved by voters.

Wind farm developers would also be required to make certain disclosures regarding conflicts of interest involving elected or unelected officials. If they violate the law they could be subject to fines of $50,000 or more.

“We are pleased with this bill overall but a few things do need to be changed,” Plummer-Studebaker told The Sentinel in an email.

“The current language of the bill establishes a minimum setback distance of 2,200’ from a dwelling,” she continues in her email. “We have already expressed concern that this distance must be measured from a nonparticipant property line, not a dwelling.”

Fulton County resident Russ Phillips, who has been critical of the proposed wind farm from the outset, asked commissioners when the meteorological or “MET” towers, which have been collecting data for RES, would come down.

“I’m not sure,” Lewis responded. “I’m sure they have a contract for data gathering with the landowners … I’d say they’ve got a contract, and they’re going to leave them up as long as the contract is because we did what we did.”

Phillips responded: “When the MET towers do come down, I think that would just be a further indication to Fulton County that it’s not happening and it’s not going to be happening in the near future, as far as commercial wind energy.”

Phillips also asked when the county’s zoning ordinance, which regulates both commercial and noncommercial wind turbines, would be amended and made available online. County Attorney Greg Heller directed him to Area Plan Director Casi Cowles for that information.

Local roads would miss out in Gov. Mike Pence’s $1 billion spending plan

(A Presidential Debate schedule and transcripts are here. – Admin.) IndyStar.com By Tony Cook 10/15/15 Gov. Mike Pence’s proposed $1 billion spending plan on highways over the next four years would represent an increase over current spending — but it leaves out a … Continue reading

Jack Jordan launches campaign for District 17 of Indiana House

(District 17 includes all of Fulton County with the exception of Liberty and Union Townships and all of Marshall County. Candidate listing is here.– Admin.)

Jack Jordan launches campaign

The Rochester Sentinel
The Sentinel report
7/8/15

Republican Jack Jordan has launched his campaign for the District 17 Indiana House of Representative seat now held by Tim Harman, R-Bremen, who will not run for re-election.

Jordan describes his political philosophy as constitutional conservative, “built on a firm foundation of a solid Christian Worldview.”

When asked why he is running for the Indiana House seat representing Marshall and north Fulton counties, Jordan said, “Unfortunately, over time, even with its good intentions, an expanding government limits an individual’s freedom to pursue their dreams. I want to work with other conservatives to limit the government’s detrimental impact on our daily lives.”

Jordan is the seventh generation of his family to call Marshall County home. His wife, Hope, is a health care professional serving veterans’ needs. Jordan has two children. His daughter recently graduated from college and is beginning her teaching career. His son is studying engineering at Purdue University.

Jordan’s primary job is construction and rehabbing houses. In his non-construction work hours, he helps local businesses and serves several nonprofit organizations. He also served on the Bremen School Board for eight years and was president for most of that time.

As an adult, Jordan has been involved with missions. Most recently his travels have taken him to Romania and India where he has spent time working with orphans, pastors and church planting activities.

Jesse Bohannon announces candidacy (for District 17 of IN House of Representatives)

(District 17 includes all of Fulton County with the exception of Liberty and Union Townships and all of Marshall County. – Admin.) inkfreenews.com 5/20/15 Jesse Bohannon of Bremen has announced he is a candidate for the Republican nomination in district 17 … Continue reading

FEDCO helps with train depot, Times Cinema, Rochester downtown

12/6/14

FEDCO (Fulton Economic Development Corp.) serves as a growth and development partner for business and industry and as a community development partner for cities and towns of Fulton County.

Following are several recent newspaper articles of recent efforts of which FEDCO has been a part.
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