How Is The Horse Creek Windfarm Still Being Entertained?

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For most of the frequent readers of my blog, this letter has little to do with what I normally post about. However, it does serve as an example of our need to voice our opinions to local municipalities (and further, our State and Federal governments). We each have a civic responsibility to pay attention to local happenings, and be vigilant. This matter concerns an ongoing endeavor by our Town Board to place industrial wind turbines around my family’s property, of which the nearest 479′ turbine is about 300 yards form our home.

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UPDATE 08.19.2013 – If you are a stakeholder for the Horse Creek project, of you want to read or post comments on the State’s Article 10 proceeding, please visit the public comment section of this site:

http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/MatterManagement/CaseMaster.aspx?MatterCaseNo=12-F-0575&submit=Search+by+Case+Number

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Clayton Town Board
Town of Clayton
Clayton, NY 13624
Phone: (315) 686-3512

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
*Request for inclusion in Town Meeting Minutes 08/14/2013.

Dear Clayton Town Board,

I’m a proponent of cleaner energy, but in the right locations and of the right kind.

The wide implementation of untested and unproven technologies is not only troubling to me, but something any right-thinking citizen should be vocal about raising awareness of if pursued by a governing, representational body. Similarly, and even more importantly, municipalities considering such implementations should be above board with their actions, intentions and dissemination of information, especially should they ever move to make or amend laws directly or indirectly provisioning such directives.

Putting aside the hasty arguments that rush for the development of green energy, especially those connected with a multi-national corporation or a political agenda who benefits from subsidies, tax credits and/or votes, the only two substantial motivators proposed to communities having already walked this road, are a) the monies generated for the land owners–most notably, farmers, whom I heartily support (and of all parties, are the most deserving of any benefits)–and b) the municipalities. Given modern research, any arguments that wind power somehow adds to the offsetting of existing power supply generated from fossil fuels is clumsy, and comes from entities who have not studied factual data, or have a purely political or economic agenda.

I have championed many causes in the name of progress, but as a non-particiapting resident who’s property line adjoins the intended overlay of the proposed Horse Creek Wind Farm, I am opposed to any further development, and have been since conducting my own research into the direct and indirect effects of these industrial turbines.

My wife and I intentionally purchased property outside of Depauville for the peace and serenity it provides our four children, and the respite it is from our busy international public life. To think that industrialization, at the expense of our property value, sleep, auditory senses, mental health and natural sight-lines is still looming over us is quite unsettling, and does little to strengthen my assurance that my local, elected officials have my family’s best interests in mind. While I certainly would appreciate higher revenue for both our farming communities and our municipalities, I will not abdicate my first responsibility of preserving the welfare of my wife and children for such an endeavor.

If I may be candid, I’m shocked this concept is still being entertained for our area, and that I’m once again writing letters of disapproval. Further still, I’m shocked that the Town has not listened to the recommendations of their own Citizens Wind Committee, made up of both pro- and anti-wind members.

I understand that the Town is duly burdened with evaluating competing interests of land owners. My intent is not to demonize any party, expect should any investigation expose those who are working subversively, or not painting the clearest picture for a community. The only motive of such individuals is personal gain at the expense of willfully ignoring the obvious negative ramifications endured by a community.

The current wind law noise ordinance does not have my family’s best interests in mind, nor does the larger prospect of altering the landscape and living conditions of our surrounding area with the Horse Creek Wind Farm. And if completely omitting the designation of our residence from either map I’ve been presented is supposed to strengthen my assurances of quality and care, the Town would be wrong.

The Horse Creek Wind Farm can be categorized as nothing but a nuisance—a dramatic, negative change in the living conditions of our area.

In Nevada State Supreme Court case Rick Sowers vs. Forest Hills Subdivision (February, 14th 2013), the court upheld a permanent injunction to ban the development of residential wind turbines, citing that the turbines were a “nuisance in fact.” This decision stemmed from extensive research that the turbines would interfere with the other residents of the Subdivision’s enjoyment of their property, as being “injurious to health, indecent and offensive to the senses, and/or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property.” If such a finding can come from a high court’s examination of turbines significantly smaller than the the new 479’ high ones proposed for the Horse Creek Wind Farm, how is our own Town moving forward with additional considerations?

I would hope that a well-educated Board is reading the same peer-reviewed health journals that I am, citing the rising and overwhelming evidences that wind turbines have on the health of residents living in proximity to them. As just one example, in the March 2013 edition of The Journal of Laryngology and Otology, the authors report, “There is ample evidence of symptoms arising in individuals exposed to wind turbine noise.” They go on to state: “The documented (medical) symptoms are usually stress disorder-type diseases…and can represent serious harm to human health.”

In the same report, Dr. Amir Farboud of Glan Clwyd Hospital in Wales is quoted as saying, “…there is an increasing body of evidence suggesting that infrasound and low frequency noise (caused by the wind turbines) have physiological effects on the ear.”

While the Town voted to reject its own Citizens Wind Committee’s recommendations of ensuring ambient sound levels rise no more than 6dBa above ambient, and included ample information on subsonic findings, why does the Town’s current ordinance’s reasoning entirely omit any findings on low frequency noise and the ensuing vibratory effects on the human body?

I would like to remind us that a 3dB increase in power is equal to a doubling in volume (10 * log10 (2) = 3.01 dB). As a record producer and audio specialist, my own acoustic measurements taken on my property show an ambient, night time measurement average of 25 dBa, and a daytime average of 35 dBa, where a 10mph wind establishes an average 55 dBa reading.

According to peer-reviewed health research, and the lack of satisfactory, technical reasoning behind the Town’s current noise ordinance, pursuing any wind farm—now, or in the future—certainly can not be motivated by the ensuring of my family’s quality of life. So I can only assume motivations are then financial.

The Board’s promise of local labor, construction materials and indigenous revenue are tentative at best, and grossly misleading when set within the context of Article 10, giving New York State permission to usurp any shortcomings of our local agencies provisions with that of the State’s own prerogatives, ones I doubt will ever be locally beneficial. For our leadership to even propose such promises, while fully knowing this legal loophole exists, is subversive at best, and insulting to those less informed on the issues at worst. The Board, in effect, could “promise” anything that appeases people, knowing full well it does not need to stand behind said promises as a higher authority is involved.

In all of the financial promises made to communities I’ve researched, no net figures are presented, only gross. Nor do the informing bodies ever explain that the windfall monies are generated by taxpayers and ratepayers of the locality. Likewise, deals between the wind industry and municipalities are premised on enormous property tax giveaways, something no other citizen gets. The reality is, there are profits for the developers, profits for the municipalities, and expenses for the taxpayers.

I greatly fear that our home value will drop significantly should this industrial wind farm be allowed to move forward. Who will assure we are able to retain the value upon immediate sale? The National Association of Realtors has amply recognized the definitive reductions on property values; is this something the Town is prepared to compensate my family for? Not only are the turbines taller than when I last wrote the Board in 2008, but there are additional poles for cabling, far higher than existing telephone cables.

Pursing this course any further jeopardizes the health, safety, welfare and property values of the residents living adjacent to this proposed industrial wind farm. I urge the Town to amend our local law noise ordinance to reflect the recommendations of their own Citizens Wind Committee, and desist in the pursuit of this political project.

As a job creator and owner of numerous restaurant franchises, a co-pastor of the area’s largest church, an executive in professional audio, publishing and marketing, and certainly as a husband and father of four, I have lived a life that esteems human life and seeks to generate revenue for worthy causes; as such, in my personal and professional opinion, I can not ascertain how the pursuit of this wind farm betters our community, strengthens relationships, or adds value to the next generation beyond the detrimental repercussions proven in previously tested environments. I look forward to further public communications from the Town as to why it esteems the advancement of any wind developer’s requests in our area.

Cordially,

Mr. Christopher K. Hopper

Make Your City Rejoice

2013-06-25 HEADER

Have you ever been excited to realize that you’re living something out in real life that you saw modeled in scripture?

My friend, Senior Pastor and business partner, Kirk Gilchrist, texted me this article early this morning:

Watertown-Fort Drum Ranks as 5th Best Micropolitan Area Based on Economic Strength

After reading the headline alone, something stirred in my spirit. I got really excited, and I immediately thought of this scripture:

When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy. @Proverbs 11:10

It’s Biblical that cities flourish. God instilled this dynamic as a holy charge when he first released Adam and Eve into the earth. And Jesus continued the pattern by commanding us to “occupy” until he returns.

It’s not enough for the Christian to simply roll over and suffer through dark periods. Built into our spiritual DNA from Christ is a divine drive to better that which we’re placed around. We have a Kingdom-call to promote prosperity, not from a “prosperity Gospel,” but a Gospel which causes things to prosper.

This is one reason I find so little time for entertaining Christians who constantly speak ill of the place they live, of the government above them, or the job they’ve been given. Because I have no time for it in myself. It’s carnal, reflecting my inferior human nature, not God’s divine nature.

At New Life, we’ve gone to great lengths to change how we speak about our region and one another. Our staff was addressed years ago about sarcasm and its dangers. From that poignant meeting, we all decided to stop talking about the weather; it’s pointless. We also decided to encourage one another constantly, and curb the careless barbs that point to physical attributes, behavior’s or past mistakes in jest. We’re still a lot of fun, we’re just not ugly anymore. And I would argue we’re more fun now since we’re more safe than we’ve ever been.

I still remember the day Kirk came back to the office and told me he responded to the Lord by pulling his car over and walking into a corn field.

“I started prophesying over the corn field,” he said.

“You did?” I asked, smiling. “What’d you prophesy?”

“I just started declaring life over the corn field. That I saw fruitful businesses there. That I saw lots of new jobs and housing and resources for our the people of our county.”

Today, that corn field is the Target Plaza of Watertown, which includes Target, Panera Bread, Old Navy, PetCo, Bed Bath and Beyond, as well as a brand new multi-story apartment complex.

Granted, we’re very clear in our church that “naming and claiming it” is a very first-world, Americanized view of declarative theology. But it does not dismiss the fact that God causes us to use our words carefully and speak life over situations and contexts currently in dysfunction.

I think the very next line in Proverbs sums it up elegantly:

Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed. @Proverbs 11:11

Decide with your mouth which side you’ll be on today; people will thank you for it. (Yeah, there’s a scripture for that too).

ch:

r

Calling All Northeastern Teens (and those who know teens)

We’re expecting the Lord to prove Himself powerful to teens yet again, and our staff is anticipating an even larger attendance than last year. If you can’t make it, then let us know who to contact and we’ll take care of the rest for you; we don’t want to miss anyone.

Here’s the deal:

I’ve learned to take advantage of and exploit every single opportunity I can to get myself and others into the presence of the Lord. My life has been so impacted by corporate gatherings of seeking God that I can’t imagine not trying to do everything in my power to put teens (and adults) I know in similar environments. In fact, I’m convinced God will hold me accountable for the things I failed to promote, and reward me for the endeavors I did.

So here’s the pitch:

1.) You have no idea what Redline is, why you should go, or what flavor of jelly beans you like. I can help you with the first two issues by sending you here; the last one you’re on your own. Sorry. If you, your church’s youth ministry, or teens that you know aren’t yet registered, I’m strongly recommending that you do, they do, and they do. (Nice).

2.) You’re reading this and you don’t live anywhere close to NY. That’s ‘ight. But you probably know someone who does. A crazy uncle in PA, a niece in NJ, an old youth pastor in CT, a pen-pal in Kingston, a grand-daughter in OH, an ex-boyfriend in NH (that you really shouldn’t be emailing, but sending him to Redline might still get him saved, which doesn’t give you license to get all crazy with him again ’cause he needs to grow up in Jesus for a few years first, so lay off). Please tell them about Redline, that includes those of you who live in NY and can’t make it. Help us get the kids Jesus wants into this venue for the last weekend of April; I know you’ll have an eternal reward because of it.

It’s going to be so un-real it’s real.

Bigger, badder, and bodaciouser than last year.

And the guest speakers may actually make up more words on the fly than I do. Which is probably the least of a hundred reasons why peeps should come to Redline.

And if you’d like fancy-shmancy posters and handbills sent to someone, please let me know in the comments section below, and I’ll have someone from the Redline Office Staff take care of it same-day. They’re here to serve you.

And I’m here to provide you with really cool words, like shmancy, bodaciouser, and double-independant uses of the word “they.”

You’re welcome. ch:

Watertown CiCi’s Opening Date

Given the number of Google searches asking when CiCi’s in Watertown, NY is opening, I though I’d satisfy them with direct information:

Monday, September 26th – 11am

There. That’s our “soft opening.”

Now save up $5.49 in nickels and pennies, and come join us. (Bring some quarters for the arcade).

Our “grand opening” will be two weeks later.

CiCi ya’ later! ch:

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Wiley Middle & FFT Costume Prep

This week I had the amazing privilege to speak at Wiley Middle School in Watertown to over 300 5th graders yesterday morning and over 300 6th graders this morning. What a blast! The subject was bullying, and how to confront them and then make them your friends. All bullies, after all, are in need of real friends because inside they are insecure, unstable, and afraid…they just act tough on the outside. We talked about standing together, sticking up for your friends, and even delved into the amazing world of what I call “crazy kindness” which is doing kind things for bullies, like buying them lunch or inviting them to your family’s house for dinner…ya’ know, stuff that really freaks bullies out.

I also had a lot of help from the DIBOR Step Team, and three stories from our DIBOR Disciples as well: one was a skit by Chrystelle, one was a story from Joe who experienced being thrown in a trash can, and Melinda who once was a bully! It was a very rich experience and we really felt like we connected with the kids and the teachers. God is continuing to open amazing doors for us here in northern NY, especially in the public school system.

The last bit of music news has to do with our gig in Jamestown, NY with JumpStart Generation tomorrow night at 7:00pm which we’re leaving for right after worship at 33 Live tonight. If you live in that area, please come on out and worship the Lord with us as we partner with the local area churches, Out of The Box Ministries, and Ron Hutchcraft Ministries.

And first thing Friday morning, Jennifer and I will be flying out to Seattle to join seven other authors and ground crew to embark upon the highly anticipated Fantasy Fiction Tour 2008 West Coast! If you haven’t check out the website lately, please do. I’m really looking forward to meeting all our fans in Washington, Oregon and California, and stoked to be traveling with all my author pals. We’ll be doing presentations at book stores, public and private schools, even a few TV and newspaper interviews, including an exclusive interview with TBN! We’ll also be streaming each event live onto the website, three times a day via Mogulus onto our Watch Live! page. You can even send us instant messages and ask questions that we’ll answer live! And when we’re not airing something live, you can watch re-runs of the tour’s daily video journals, so please travel along with us! This last picture is of me trying on my tour outfit. All our medieval swords and various pieces of garb and armor have once again been graciously provided by John Cooper over at Real Armor of God (.com). Please pay them a visit here and purchase something for the sword lover you know!

Thanks for reading, for all your prayers and encouragement, and for following along with us on this next tour!

CH

Switchfoot & Watertown Middle

ch-ichat-logo.png After 11 years of following Jon Foreman and the boys of Switchfoot, I finally went to see them live in concert. Last night my good buddy, John Brennan, and I drove down to Roberts Wesleyan College and caught them in the act. And my, what a show. The nifty part was meeting up with Wendy and Danielle, my old co-workers (buddies!) from Joshua Revolution, who now help head up Kingdom Bound. Amongst catching up after a few years of absence, they brought me and John upstairs to meet the band. And what humble guys. (And not nearly as tall a you think they are on stage!).

We got in at 2:00am this morning, just in time for me to grab four hours of shut eye before heading down to Watertown Middle School. By invitation of Principal LaBarr and Assistant Principal Fairchild, both marvelous folk, I performed a new song and then shared for 40 minutes on respecting one another and the affects of bullying. I supposse you know it went well when the principals both give you hugs afterwards. ;)

Needless to say, God is doing amazing things in the schools here in Jefferson County, NY.

Please keep me in your prayers as I prepare to leave for concerts in Metz, France this Thursday; back next Monday.

CH

Indian River Middle School

ch-ichat-logo.pngThis morning I was up at 5:30am. Not to catch a plane to Europe. Not to make a business appointment. Not even to catch the sun rise or spend time with God, as frequently my habit (my wife is the night owl). This morning Jennifer and I were up to speak for middle school students–one of my most important jobs in the world.

Indian River Middle School is the largest in Jefferson County with well over 700 students. Today I had the privilege of addressing the entire student body for a one-hour assembly at 8:00am. This is the second during-school assembly for me up here (you can read about the Thousands Islands High even here). Today’s assembly was focused specifically on bullying, a topic the staff asked me to address. As each school is unique, so too is each message I bring, custom fit to what the needs of the school are.

I challenged them with a new philosophy, that bullies are not brutes, meanies or menaces, but they are actually insecure, unstable and fearful, taking advantage of weaker individuals because they are the only “things” they can control in their lives.

Christopher at Indian RiverAs Indian River services Ft. Drum families, many of whom are deployed, as well as indigenous northern NY families who are trying to make ends meet, there are many kids who’s home lives are challenging. But equally notable is how many truly phenomenal kids there are, representing various socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, each pushing forward and giving their best. Today was not only about calling bullies on the carpet, but shining a light on those who are the true leaders of the school and empowering them through recognition. “This is your school. Own it.”

I was able to share much of my own stories about being bullied and work in a lot of humor. Jennifer and I both shared in song at the beginning and the end which they seemed to really enjoy. I interviewed one of the “worst bullies” in the 8th grade class and the “most picked on” 6th grader at the same time. It was funny, but also very powerful as I spoke into both of their lives, eventually pointing out that there was nothing keeping them from being friends but their own trust for one another.

Indian River Middle SchoolBy the time the assembly was over, we had numerous kids weeping, asking forgiveness from one another and even from their teachers (also crying)! The presence of the Lord was palpable; He never ceases to amaze me. And the fact that I was able to bring both the love of Christ and Biblical principles (like “you hold life in death in your tongue”) right into the school while never needing (or being allowed, for that matter) to mention the name of Jesus is really quite staggering. I believe it continues to stand as a perfect example of how we as Christians must be able to let the Light in us shine regardless of our Christianese language. As St. Francis of Assisi said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel, and when necessary use words.”

I have no idea what doors God is going to open next, but I had members of the PTO already asking me how they could get me in to two more schools in the county. Truly, the Lord is at work and I can only point to Him. All I did was say, “Yes.”

I would appreciate all yours prayers as I’m speaking at the Thousand Islands Middle School tomorrow at 12:30pm on “Overcoming Obstacles to Pursue Your Dreams.”

Many thanks to Principal Nancy Taylor-Schmitt, Assistant Principal Jeff Keruski and all the amazing teachers, parents and students at Indian River Middle School. One word: Wow.

Thanks for reading!

CH