Wind turbines causing illness? Really?

Wind power has had its share of problems of late, and now, to top things off, people are claiming they’ve been made sick by the hums and vibrations from nearby wind farms.

The Washington Post dug into this topic recently, citing a report that residents of a Massachusetts town complained of headaches, nausea and insomnia from a wind turbine.

The good news? Whenever public health researchers look into the issue, they find little evidence of “wind turbine syndrome.”

Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at University of Sydney, told the newspaper that reviews of available evidence about wind farms and health show that “wind turbines can annoy a minority of people in their vicinity, but there is no strong evidence that they make people ill.”

Keith Kloor of Discover Magazine surmises that wind turbine syndrome could result from the “nocebo” effect.

That means people who have heard accounts of wind turbines giving others’ headaches and nausea actually start feeling similar symptoms.

Sounds like a case of hot air.

We’re No. 1!

Fair Fort Collins has made yet another Top 10 list, this time bringing home the crowning achievement in the No. 1 spot on Livability’s Best Downtowns List.

Livability ranks America’s best places to live and visit, and every year releases a list of the best downtowns in the country. This year, as a result of an atmosphere “equally appealing to foodies and families,” Fort Collins topped that list.

The publication trumpeted the Mason Corridor project, the River District and downtown Fort Collins’ historic designation. Among the “don’t miss” attractions, according to Livability: New Belgium Brewing, the Lincoln Center and Old Town Square.

Fort Collins beat out the downtowns in cities like Charleston, S.C. and Alexandria, Va., which came in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. No other Colorado city made the list.

Livability compiled the list by first considering what would be the “optimal population for a ‘best experience’ and took a middle-of-the-road, Goldilocks approach of ‘not too big or small,’” according to Livability’s website. The list was narrowed down to cities with populations between 100,000 and 300,000.

“Then, to assess the current success and potential for these downtowns, we analyzed economic growth, unemployment and downtown vacancy rates, the distance between homes and downtown amenities, and residents’ average income levels,” the website said.

And so, after all of that number-crunching, The Fort came out on top.

Beet Street gains ground on fundraising

As it approaches the one-year mark since launching its Arts Incubator of the Rockies, Beet Street has added two large grants.

The first comes from the prestigious Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, according to Beth Flowers, executive director of Beet Street. The foundation granted the incubator $50,000 in each of the next two years.

The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation is the premier national founder for the arts, Flowers said, so it’s a “huge honor” to be given the grant.

Beet Street is also receiving a $25,000 innOVATION grant from Americans for the Arts for its support of local artists.

Beet Street and AIR will continue fundraising and is planning a membership drive before the end of the year, Flowers said. The incubator’s website, launched in September, hopes to attract 300 paid members and 1,000 unpaid members within a year.

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