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By Bonnie Hendrickson
Community Events, May 2016
As you may know, I served on the OPALCO Board for several years, but resigned last summer for health reasons. Numerous OPALCO members have asked me about the upcoming board elections, and I would like to express my recommendations. I strongly urge members to elect Jim Lett and Brian Silverstein in District 3 (Lopez) and Jerry Whitfield in District 4 (Shaw). Here's why:
While my two favorite candidates are discussing real issues that are very important to the vast majority of us, I believe that there is one issue that affects every living creature on the face of the earth: climate changes caused by our own actions and excesses.
I agree with Alex MacLeod that OPALCO/Rock Island should disclose the locations of existing and planned LTE/cell towers. According to a scientific article, there have been ten epidemiological studies of health effects on those living less than 500 meters (approximately 1500 feet) from wireless transmitters, including cell towers, and "eight of those ten studies reported increased prevalence of adverse neurobehavioral symptoms or cancer in populations living at distances less than 500 meters from base stations. None of the studies reported exposure above accepted international guidelines…."  A study of cell towers in Netanya, Israel found that the incidence of cancer in women living near the transmitters was four times that of the general population.  A 2002 study indicated that there was a significant increase among people living in the vicinity of cell towers of fatigue (300 meters), headache and sleep disturbance (200 meters), irritability, depression, loss of memory and dizziness (100 meters).  In addition to these epidemiological studies, a 2006-2007 study in Kempten West Germany of melatonin and serotonin in the blood of people living within 300 meters of a cell phone tower, before and five months after the installation of the tower, indicated that (1) daytime levels of melatonin increased, and nighttime levels decreased, after installation of the cell tower, which would lead to fatigue and drowsiness and reduced immunity; and (2)in 84 percent of people serotonin levels decreased by an average of 46 percent after the installation of the tower, which would lead to depression and mood disturbances.
With the important OPALCO election coming up, much is at stake. In the face of rising costs, a changing utility landscape, expensive submarine cables and fiber optic installations, we believe Brian Silverstein is the right person to help our electric co-op navigate a challenging path to keep electricity bills affordable and fair, manage co-op finances transparently, and encourage conservation & renewable energy. With these big issues surrounding us and on the horizon, competent, level-headed and democratic leadership is more important than ever.