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Residents miss the sound of crickets

Complain about noise from existing turbines

DIXON – Two residents are blaming wind turbines for sleepless nights. 

Monday, residents Margina Schwartzbach and Catherine Guither said the turbines create either a pulsating or humming noise that bothers them during the day and keeps them awake at night. 

They testified before the Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals, which is having hearings on a proposal for 53 turbines in the southwestern part of the county. 

Schwartzbach, who lives in the West Brooklyn area, said she got no notice before Goldwind USA started building turbines near her property in October 2011. One is 1,400 feet to the west of her home. 

The wind farm went online in June.

“It’s very annoying,” Schwartzbach said, her voice shaking. “It produces loud humming sounds.”

At night, she said, it’s unbearable.

“We turn on the TV to drown it out, so we can fall asleep,” Schwartzbach said.

“We don’t hear the crickets at night or birds in the morning.”

Her husband sometimes wears earplugs at night, she said.

She said she has called the Lee County zoning office and the company for help, but has gotten nowhere. 

Guither, a Bureau County resident who lives in the Big Sky wind farm, said nearby turbines have “drastically” changed her and her husband’s lives. 

“Depending on the direction of the wind, they [turbines] can be so loud they can sound like a jet engine taking off,” she said. 

The noise is most prevalent at night, she said. She and her husband used to enjoy the breeze while sleeping, she said, but they can’t keep their window open now because of the noise. 

Guither said she hears a constant ringing in her ears when the wind turbines are running. 

“There are some days the windmills aren’t running. The first thing I say it, ‘It’s awesome today.’ Then I realize there are no windmills running,” she said.

Guither presented videos showing the shadow flicker from the turbines, which she demonstrated cannot be blocked by shades. It bothers both her and her husband, she said.

They could totally block all of their windows, she said, but “should I have to live in a cave?”

She said Mainstream Renewable Power’s proposed wind farm would be within 2 miles of their home. 

The zoning board’s hearings are expected to continue into next year. 

The zoning board will make a recommendation on the proposed wind farm. The Lee County Board will have the final say.

Mainstream also is planning nine turbines for southeastern Whiteside County, which the County Board has approved.  The company withdrew its proposal for 19 turbines in northern Bureau County, but is expected to submit a new application. 

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