Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 23, 2013

Public eye - Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013


Can you hear me now?

Members of the public have a difficult time hearing Tipton County Council members during discussions in the courthouse’s John Tipton Room, despite the presence of a sound system.

Two newly-elected members of the council, Jim Powell and Jim Ashley, asked Tuesday about converting a first floor room into a meeting room for all public meetings. They suggested that a sound system being installed by professionals so everyone can hear what is taking place.

Ashley and Powell requested that the Tipton County Commissioners look into the costs of converting the first floor space into a meeting room for the county council, commissioners, Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals.

The first floor room would need extensive remodeling since there are heating and air conditioning duct work and pipes hanging from the ceiling.

Commissioner Joe VanBibber said converting the space for a meeting room has been discussed, but with the support from the council the proposal would move forward.

“People make the effort to attend the meetings, they have a right to hear what is taking place,” Ashley said.

On the grid

One of the better questions concerning the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm in western Tipton County, is a simple one.

Why put a wind farm there?

During the past week juwi Wind officials have conducted two open houses, conducted a telephone conference call and met with the Tipton Chamber of Commerce.

Michael Rucker, CEO of juwi, was asked Tuesday why the company decided to bring the project to Tipton County?

Rucker said the process started with computerized wind maps of the entire U.S., access to transmission lines and capability to put power on the electrical grid. He said wind farm projects work better on land being farmed or ranched.

“When you put all the factors together, the viable areas for a wind farm becomes small,” he said.

Responding to another question, Rucker said a portion of the energy generated in Tipton County will be used in Indiana.

“We’re still negotiating contracts,” he said. “We’re looking for the longest and best contract.”

Indiana & Michigan Electric has purchased half of the output from the already operating Wildcat Wind Farm near Windfall with 40 percent staying in Indiana and the remaining 60 percent being sent to Michigan. The remaining electricity is being sold on the spot market, with much of that going to the East Coast.

Giddyup

Will this summer bring Kokomo Police riding horses in Foster Park? According to Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, there’s a good possibility it will happen.

During comments on WWKI-FM’s Male Call show Tuesday, Goodnight said the KPD is looking at having mounted officers patrolling at summer park events this year.

“We’re looking at having them for special events. Not buying [horses], but we’re looking at renting them for festivals and community events,” Goodnight said.

“Some of the officers are taking riding classes. Don’t be surprised if it happens this year.”

Who runs the show?

State Rep. Mike Karickhoff, R-Kokomo, presented an interesting theory this week as to why he thinks term limits are a bad idea. Exhibit A in Karickhoff’s case is the horde of lobbyists roaming the halls of the Indiana Statehouse.

“If you put a limit down there, you’re going to turn the state’s checkbook over to the lobbyists,” Karickhoff said.

Eliminating the brain trust held collectively by senior legislators, he said, would make the lobbyists the most knowledgeable individuals at the Statehouse.

Knowledge is power, as we know.

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