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Residents make it clear: They don’t want internet tower

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POSTED March 8, 2009 6:06 a.m.
RIPON — A proposal that could place a communications tower on an elementary school campus is being met with opposition by some neighbors that are concerned about the safety of their children.

Clearwire – the internet provider that utilizes wireless technology to provide service to its customers rather than using traditional cable or telephone lines – has to only get board approval when they meet on Monday, March 9, before they’ll be able to move forward with plans to construct tower that has been in the pipeline since before former Superintendent Leo Zuber retired.

The item is a continuation of an item placed on the agenda in January and extended to allow for the public to comment and for Clearwire representative Jeff Leinert to respond to any concerns the board may have prior to rendering their formal decision.

Resident Lisa Weinstein – who has started an on-line petition against the “Clearwire microwave tower at Weston School” that has received almost 60 signatures since being posted – has requested to speak to the board on the item as well.

According to Weinstein’s proposal, recent studies indicate that those who live near cell phone or microwave towers have a higher rate of cancer and those who live near or attend schools near the sites claim to suffer from headaches, insomnia, fatigue, nausea, and dizziness.

But while the petition also states that the American Cancer Society listed on their web-site that the technology being proposed is too new to determine whether any detrimental health effects can be caused by it, their web-site – www.cancer.org – also includes a lengthy section that deals specifically with cell phone towers and says that they are “unlikely to cause cancer.”

While the does include a section stating that the technology is new and that full information on health effects are not yet known, the report also lists the outcome of animal testing that showed no carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects from prolonged exposure to radio waves, and claims there is no evidence that has been published in scientific journals to support the fact that health can be affected by the location of the tower.

Whether they’re fit for placement on school grounds and in the heart of a residential neighborhood, however, is a question that’s being posed.

“The safety of microwave towers has not yet been proven, which makes schools inappropriate places for their location,” Weinstein wrote in the petition. “Don’t let our children be guinea pigs in this experiment.”

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