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Oakfield couple files PSC complaint over wind farm

For years, Jason and Ann Wirtz poured countless hours into transforming their country farmstead into a place where they could raise their family and grow old together. That dream has been blown away by the wind towers that sprang up around their County Trunk YY farmhouse located a half-mile north of Highway 49. Just 18 months after the 86-turbine Forward Energy Wind Center went online, the couple abandoned the home.

Family says turbines forced them from their home

OAKFIELD - For years, Jason and Ann Wirtz poured countless hours into transforming their country farmstead into a place where they could raise their family and grow old together.

That dream has been blown away by the wind towers that sprang up around their County Trunk YY farmhouse located a half-mile north of Highway 49.
Just 18 months after the 86-turbine Forward Energy Wind Center went online, the couple abandoned the home that had been a labor of love for the past 12 years.

In a complaint filed this month with the Public Service Commission, the Wirtzes contend that the wind farm cost them their alpaca-breeding business and created significant health problems that eventually drove the family out of their home. The couple's attorney, Ed Marion, is hopeful the PSC will require Invenergy LLC to compensate them for their losses.

"People told us we'd get used to (the noise and vibration). But you have no idea what it's like until you live with it," Ann Wirtz said.

Labor of love

The couple purchased the sprawling farmhouse with the wraparound porch in 1996. Rolling up their sleeves, they buried the remains of an old barn, razed... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Family says turbines forced them from their home

OAKFIELD - For years, Jason and Ann Wirtz poured countless hours into transforming their country farmstead into a place where they could raise their family and grow old together.

That dream has been blown away by the wind towers that sprang up around their County Trunk YY farmhouse located a half-mile north of Highway 49.
Just 18 months after the 86-turbine Forward Energy Wind Center went online, the couple abandoned the home that had been a labor of love for the past 12 years.

In a complaint filed this month with the Public Service Commission, the Wirtzes contend that the wind farm cost them their alpaca-breeding business and created significant health problems that eventually drove the family out of their home. The couple's attorney, Ed Marion, is hopeful the PSC will require Invenergy LLC to compensate them for their losses.

"People told us we'd get used to (the noise and vibration). But you have no idea what it's like until you live with it," Ann Wirtz said.

Labor of love

The couple purchased the sprawling farmhouse with the wraparound porch in 1996. Rolling up their sleeves, they buried the remains of an old barn, razed silos and spent every moment of spare time renovating their two-story home.

"We were committed to that property," Wirtz said. "We gave up a lot of nights and weekends over the years that could have been spent doing things with our kids as they were growing up. We sacrificed a lot of years thinking we were going to be there."

As news of the impending wind farm spread, Jason began attending meetings and gathering information. Unsettled at what he discovered, the couple made the decision to sell their home and eight-acre property appraised at $320,000.

"A lot of people told us to call them if we ever wanted to sell. But when they learned about the wind farm they were no longer interested," Wirtz said. "One Realtor told us we'd have to lower our asking price well below $200,000 just to get someone to look at it."

With nary a buyer in sight, in 2008 the couple took the property off the market.

No rest for the weary

While some contend the "whoosh whoosh" sound of the turning blades is restful, the Wirtzes say the reverberation of the wind turbines robbed the family of sleep.

"The first nights the turbines were on our sleep was immediately different," Wirtz said. "And it kept getting worse as time went on."

The wind turbine that tormented the family the most was the tower located 1,250 feet west of their home. Wirtz said the noise from it was especially intolerable when the wind was blowing out of the west or southwest. To escape the sound, Wirtz abandoned her bedroom and slept in the living room, hopeful that the sound of the fan on the wood pellet stove would mask the low, pulsing sound in her head.

She likened the constant feeling of pressure to the sensation experienced at the top of a roller coaster before it plummets over the edge.

Walking away

In spite of fatigue and anxiety, the Wirtzes continued to work full-time jobs. However, the toll it was taking on their children was something they couldn't ignore, especially when Ann's 16-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a severe stress-related illness.

"I was desperate to get out of there for her sake," Wirtz said.

The family's breeding herd of alpacas also experienced upheaval from the turbines. They said the quiet, docile animals became nervous and jittery and unable to carry pregnancies to full-term after the wind turbines arrived.
While the Wirtzes have had to file bankruptcy, their move to Oakfield has begun the healing process.

"Our sleep has returned to normal and I'm back to feeling like myself. My daughter is still dealing with the effects of stomach and intestinal problems, but it's under control and we're seeing improvements," Wirtz said.

Although they've lost their home, Wirtz feels no ill toward those who allowed the turbines to be erected on their property.

"I honestly don't blame them," she said. "If I had owned farmland, I might have done the same, not knowing how it would affect the people forced to live under them."


Source: http://www.fdlreporter.com/...

APR 18 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/25743-oakfield-couple-files-psc-complaint-over-wind-farm
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