The Golden West Wind Energy Center in Calhan, Colorado, which consists of 145 453-foot tall industrial wind turbines, has been fully operational since October 2015. Residents living within the wind farm project’s footprint have reported negative physical and psychological effects from the turbines. Concern has now shifted to the suspected effects the turbines are having on the animals in the area.
According to the September 2015 issue of “The New Falcon Herald,” the effects on humans range from dizziness and nausea to concerns about dirty electricity and the potential for the electromagnetic waves to cause an irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation.
Domestic animals are in grave danger, too, based on worldwide accounts.
According to an article published on the World Council for Nature’s website June 7, 2014, a mink farm in Denmark suffered a huge hit when 1,600 mink cubs were born prematurely following the installation of four industrial wind turbines less than 1,600 feet away. “Many had deformities, and most were dead on arrival,” the article states. “The lack of eyeballs was the most common malformation. Veterinarians ruled out food and viruses as possible causes. The only thing different at the farm since last year has been the installation of four large wind turbines only 328 meters away.”
C.C. (she requested the NFH use only her initials), a resident within the wind farm project’s footprint, said the aforementioned incident does not surprise her. Since Sept. 17, 2015, she and her family have lost 12 animals. Most recently, her horse gave birth to a stillborn foal.
She knew her horse was going to give birth soon but was not expecting it so suddenly, C.C. said. “I went out there to see that the mama had lost weight, and then I saw the baby out there on the ground,” she said. “The placenta and the baby were both lying there. Usually, with any animal like that, the placenta stays connected internally (to the mother) for about 30 minutes or so after the baby is born.”
Her vet examined the foal and determined that the baby had never taken a breath, she said. The baby was fully developed and just a bit premature, but what was notable was the unusual thickness of the placenta, C.C. said. “The vet’s notes say that she was stillborn and premature, due to placental thickening, but the cause is undetermined,” she said.
Aside from the stillborn foal, C.C. said she has noted multiple animals with various deformities or abnormalities. “We have one goat that is six weeks old and has four teats instead of two,” she said. “The gestational period for a goat is only five months so she was developing in her mother’s womb while the turbines have been going. We had a duck go totally blind. We had a rooster that was healthy one day and then dead the next. Our dog ended up with mastitis but she has not had puppies in eight years so the vet said there was no reason for that. The same dog developed a swollen liver and fluid around her heart so she was in congestive heart failure. Seventy-nine days after they turned these turbines on, she died.”
Sandy Wolfe, another resident living within the wind farm project’s footprint, said she has experienced many physical ailments since the turbines became operational, and noticed that her animals were experiencing some of the same ones. “My dog Hank was so strong, and everybody was amazed at how strong and agile and competent he still was,” she said. “When I started having nosebleeds in September, he did, too. Mine subsided because I started sleeping in my truck, but his never really stopped. When my ears started hurting, his ears starting hurting.”
Wolfe said Hank died this past winter. He was one of three dogs that has died since September, she said.
Psychological effects of wind turbines on animals have also been documented. In an open letter to the Australian Medical Association that was posted on the World Council for Nature’s website on March 31, 2014, the WCFN wrote about an episode at another mink farm in Denmark that occurred three months prior to the other mink farm incident. “The animals became aggressive, attacking one another, and resulting in many deaths,” the letter states.
Pam Phillips, another resident living within the Calhan wind farm’s footprint, said she has a turbine about 502 yards outside her front door and has noticed a marked change in the demeanor and behavior of some of her animals. “Our huge 135-pound Newfoundland dog will not go outside anymore unless we literally drag him out,” she said.
Phillips said she has a bull that she puts into the pasture with her cows, and he no longer seems to have any interest in interacting with them, which is unusual. He was always very active when the turbines were not around, she said.
Most disturbing is the sudden change in her 19-year-old mare, which she has had since the mare was 6 years old, Phillips said. “She is calm one minute and then, out of nowhere, she will blow up and take off, or buck or duck her head and dump me off the side,” she said.
Phillips said she used to let kids ride the horse but cannot any longer because it is not safe. “I have never had issues with her before,” she said. “It is not like I just bought her and she is trying to get used to me. It is completely out of character for her.”
Wolfe and C.C. both said it feels like their lives are falling apart around them. “I have lost all these pets since these things (the turbines) have turned on,” C.C. said. “Prior to that, we lost maybe one pet per year, if that.”
Gavin Wince, another Calhan resident who lives within the wind farm project's footprint, said,"Several acoustic and medical studies are being conducted. Infrasound pulses emanating from the Golden West wind turbine array have been confirmed by measurements made in several neighboring homes and along public roads. The soon-to-be-released infrasound health study findings are expected to vindicate many Calhan residents’ claims about health impacts.”
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Each year, thousands of motorcycle riders make their way across America on a journey of healing that also serves as a tribute to military members who risk and give up their lives in the line of duty.
On May 24, some of those bikers will pass through Falcon.
James "JWilly" Williams, who retired after 21 years serving in both the United States Army and U.S. Air Force, will be on one of those bikes as he participates in the annual Run for the Wall, a cross-country journey from California to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Williams completed the 2015 run; and plans to repeat this year.
"Run for the Wall really impacted me. I didn't think it would affect me that way,” Williams said. “There are a lot of Vietnam veterans who participate in the run, and I think it's very therapeutic for them because they did not get the homecoming they should have."
The annual 10-day-long ride began in 1989 when Vietnam veterans James Gregory and Bill Evans traveled across the country on their motorcycles. Today, three cross-country routes allow thousands of motorcyclists comprised of veterans, active duty personnel and their friends and family to honor veterans and military service members, to honor the memory of those killed in action, to call for the accounting of those missing in action or taken as prisoners of war and to support military personnel worldwide.
Williams said the ride can be "grueling," as he recalled dodging tornadoes and enduring rain and snow during his first ride.
"I thought of all the men and women overseas and thought, 'If they can do that, I can do this.' Then I remember looking up and seeing about 10 or 15 people on the overpass. I really came to peace," Williams said.
On their way to Washington, riders participate in parades, and visit schools, monuments and museums like the Special Forces Museum at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. First-time Run for the Wall bikers ride in procession through Arlington National Cemetery, an experience Williams described as "very somber and humbling."
Fuel teams, staging teams and road guards make sure the motorcycles are refueled and no one is left behind. People line the highways, roads and overpasses to get a glimpse of the riders and show their support by cheering and waving flags.
In Colorado, the riders on the central route refuel in Pueblo and ride through Colorado Springs and Falcon on their way to Limon. American Legion District 7's four American Legion Rider programs, including Falcon's American Legion Riders Post 2008, contribute to lunch and fuel expenses for the bikers, said Frank Serrano, a retired Air Force veteran and president of American Legion Riders Post 2008.
"This is the type of thing we support in the American Legion and in the American Legion Riders. To have that support system means so much to these guys," Serrano said. He estimated that about 60 percent of Run for the Wall is paid for by the American Legion institution.
"It's great to see the community out there with us, and the ride is the opportunity to be patriotic and honor the fallen," Williams said.
Dinah Carney, another Air Force veteran, also participated in last year's Run for the Wall and is preparing to participate again this year. It’s about camaraderie, she said.
"The military is something you sign up for, it's something you do,” Carney said. “But (the Run for the Wall) is something you do because you want to do it. People of all ages –- families –- come together as a group. It's very memorable.”
Williams added, "You learn about the warrior spirit and what it means to be a warrior. People may break down emotionally on this ride, but there's a support system. We don't leave anyone behind."
The 2016 Run for the Wall Central Route riders, which include riders from the local American Legion Riders Post 2008, are scheduled to ride through Falcon on Saturday, May 21. A gathering is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Rock Island Trail in Colorado Springs to support the riders on their way to Limon. For more information, contact American Legion Riders Post 2008 at 719-270-0896 or http://americanlegionpost2008.org.
For more on Run for the Wall, visit http://rftw.org.