Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 17, 2013

Public Eye - Sunday, March 17, 2013

By Ken de la Bastide and Scott Smith
Tribune columnists

Wind farms topic of discussion

With the proposed wind farm in Tipton County attracting a lot of attention and wind farms proposed in the future for eastern Howard County, the local League of Women Voters are hosting a meeting on wind energy.

The meeting will take place 7 p.m. Thursday at the United Way building, 210 W. Walnut St.

Andy Melka, director of development for E-on Climate & Renewables, the company which is operating the Wildcat Wind Farm in Tipton County and is the developer of the sites in Howard County will discuss wind energy.

A representative from Northwestern Schools, which has a wind turbine on school property will also make a presentation.

Dumoulin gets a win

Kokomo strip club owner Dan Dumoulin gained a victory when his Filling Station bar on West Sycamore Street got Kokomo Plan Commission approval Tuesday to rezone a gravel lot at the corner of Sycamore and Berkley Road.

About a dozen people came to the commission meeting to argue against the rezoning, but commission members apparently decided a paved parking lot would be better than a weed-strewn gravel patch. The vote was 5-1.

Now the rezoning goes to the Kokomo Common Council March 25 for final approval.

Lake takes a stand

Howard County Auditor Martha Lake indicated last week she opposes State Rep. Mike Karickhoff’s “Privacy of law enforcement addresses” bill, which would require county officials to purge, on request, information from the county’s online property records database.

Lake is charged with maintaining the database, which realtors, banks, business owners and others use to get information on specific properties — tax assessments, past due taxes, dimensions, the name of the property owner, etc.

Karickhoff’s bill, HB1219, would set up a process whereby those connected with law enforcement could have their names removed from the online property records. Their names would still be available to the public at the auditor’s office.

County officials have expressed concerns as to how they’ll be able to maintain the database if different groups start getting privacy exemptions. The Hoosier State Press Association opposes the bill on the grounds that the property data should remain public record.

What a difference

Last month juwi Wind the developer of the proposed 150 megawatt Prairie Breeze Wind Farm in Tipton County, put into an operation a wind farm in Minnesota.

The Community Wind South project is a 30 megawatt wind farm in southwestern Minnesota in Nobles County. The energy is being sold to Excel Energy under a 20 year power purchase agreement.

Nobles County has a population of 20,000 people in an area of 722 square miles as compared to the 16,000 people that live in Tipton County, which has 260 square miles.

Ryan McGaughey, editor of the Worthington Daily Globe, said there was no much opposition to the wind farm that the newspaper heard about.

“There was not a single letter to the editor,” he said. “I’m sure there was opposition, but it wasn’t vocal.”

McGaughey said the Community Wind South project is “out in the middle of nowhere” and that there are numerous other wind farms in the area.

As opposed to Minnesota, juwi Wind is facing a vocal and organized opposition in their attempt to get a conditional use permit from the Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals.

Some help from Mr. Webster

During Monday’s meeting of the Tipton County Commissioners, a resolution was presented for adoption to name the county’s Americans With Disabilities Act coordinator.

Commissioner Phil Heron read the resolution and came to a word that he had difficulty pronouncing and none of the three commissioners knew the meaning.

The word was “promulgate.”

While the commissioners were voting on the resolution, Commissioner Joe VanBibber reached into a drawer and pulled out a copy of a dictionary.

VanBibber said the definition of the word was a public decree of adoption.