Haubstadt family worried about effects of wind turbine on their special needs sons

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As a proposed wind farm project progresses in Posey and Gibson counties, people in both communities have started to voice their concerns in recent weeks.

A few weeks ago, Beverly and Mark Adler found out their neighbor signed a contract leasing the land behind their property for a wind turbine.

They are the full-time caretakers of their adult sons, and built their home specifically for them 22 years ago. They were beginning to make plans for the years ahead, which includes retirement.

Now, they are worried about their future in Haubstadt.

“We’re terrified,” said Beverly. “Absolutely terrified.”  She was referring to the unkown affects a wind turbine, and factors that come with it, might have on her sons.

Adam and Aaron Adler are non-verbal and suffer from sensory issues and grand mal seizures. They don’t have one particular diagnosed condition.

“I just am concerned in general, because of the things that we don’t know,” said Mark.

Part of what they don’t know is how a wind turbine near their home might affect their sons.

“If our sons are having seizures and we have to leave, that’s another concern. How do you do that?”

Even the slightest change can result in anxiety and seizures, especially for Aaron.

“If there’s a storm coming and the barometric pressure drops, he’s going to have a seizure,” Beverly explained. Mark says after those seizures, Aaron is down and asleep for up to 6 to 8 hours.

The Adlers worry that the very presence of a turbine, including low-frequency sounds which may not affect an average adult, could have detrimental results on Adam and Aaron’s quality of life, especially because their sons are more sensitive.  

“The thought of not knowing how bad that low frequency is going to affect him is terrifying to me, because our hands are tied.”

E.ON, the company behind the projects, has a policy to keep the turbines 1250 feet away from the nearest residence. But this turbine could still be placed near their property line, and now they say they don’t know what to do, because their neighbor is the one with the contract.

“We have no say in any of it. Apparently, the contract reads that anyone in the affected zone gives up all rights. Which, I don’t know how that could be we never signed anything,” said Beverly.

The Adlers say they’d at least like to see the turbine moved back.

“I have no problems with the wind energy, solar energy, I think it’s a great thing,” says Mark.

Eyewitness News reporter Amanda Mueller contacted E.ON about some concerns that residents have brought up, including “shadow flicker”, or the passing of light and shadows as the turbine blades turn in the sun.

In a statement, E.ON said “We take these concerns very seriously. While scientific studies do not indicate that shadow flicker from wind turbines triggers epileptic seizures, due to the low range speed of the rotating blades, we carefully design our projects to minimize instances of flicker as much as possible. We are happy this family and others in the community are coming forward with questions, and we look forward to getting in touch with them directly to work through their concerns. We look forward to working with the community to invest in a project that benefits Gibson and Posey Counties.”

– Brad King, Vice President of Development – Midwest, E.ON

The Adlers say they’re open to that conversation.

“We’d like to hear, you know, what their response is to these concerns of ours.”

They both say they’re driven not only by their love for their boys, but love for their neighbors and Haubstadt’s way of life.

“We’re focused on our children and keeping them healthy and quality of life. But we want that for everyone. It’s not just about our boys […] This is almost…. a little piece of heaven,” Mark said.

The wind farm is still in the early stages and a spokesperson for E.ON says they haven’t picked a model yet.

That means data on specific measurements and possible affects isn’t available.

This is a developing story. We will update you with the latest details as we get them.

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(This story was originally published on April 11, 2019)

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