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EDC and Chamber host community discussion about wind energy

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (March 29, 2011) – Nearly 100 Whitley County area residents gathered recently at Indian Springs Middle School auditorium to hear presentations about wind energy from three keynote speakers at Wind Development 101 – A Community Discussion about Wind Energy. The session was co-sponsored by the Whitley County EDC and the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and was emceed by Phil Shaull, host of Midday Matters on NIPR, 89.1 WBOI in Fort Wayne.

Travis Murphy, Business Development Manager – Renewable Energy at Johnson Melloh summarized the current status of wind energy in the United States and described his experience working with Indiana communities considering renewable energy projects while at the Indiana Office of Energy Development. “There is a tremendous opportunity for rural America to reap benefits from the movement away from fossil fuels,” said Murphy, “A host of incentives coupled with the development that is taking place in our state can lead to financial gain for property owners.”

Chad Martin, Renewable Energy Extension Specialist at Purdue University, shared an overview of the current research taking place at Purdue University along with a variety of technical data relating to wind turbines. “Purdue along with several universities within Indiana and beyond, are committed to engaging the state’s stakeholders with factual information generated from sound research based principles in order for local decision makers to make the best choices for their communities and Indiana’s future,” said Martin.

Todd Samuelson, Partner at H.J. Umbaugh & Associates, discussed the fiscal impacts of wind developments on local units of government and provided examples of tax incentives that other counties in Indiana are currently utilizing to encourage wind development. Samuelson also shared several key elements that are critical to the development of a successful wind ordinance.

“We are very appreciative of everyone who participated in this event and we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees,” said Alan Tio, President of the Whitley County EDC.

Following the presentations, event attendees submitted questions for a panel discussion. Unanswered questions, along with PDF copies of the speakers’ presentations, will be available at the EDC (www.whitleyedc.com) and Chamber (www.whitleychamber.com) websites.
About Whitley County EDC
The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is the lead economic development agency in Whitley County, Indiana. The EDC works closely with local, regional, and state partners to support our industry clients’ growth and success. Our mission is to implement a unified economic development effort and to expand employment and business opportunities for the benefit of the people of Whitley County by developing and maintaining cooperation of all individuals, groups, and organizations within the county. The Whitley County EDC was established in 1992 and represents Whitley County, Columbia City, and the Towns of Churubusco, Larwill, and South Whitley. For more information about the EDC, visit www.whitleyedc.com.

About Whitley County Chamber of Commerce
The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce was first founded in 1919 as The Commercial Development Club by H.B. Clugston and over the years has changed its name and mission to better serve the communities of the area. The most recent change was from the Columbia City Area Chamber of Commerce to the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce in March of 2010. With this change, the Chamber board and staff hope to develop a more unified, county-wide organization that increases the visibility and involvement of each community while creating a powerful force not only for the growth of business but the betterment of the Whitley County way of life. The mission of the Chamber is to support, promote, and advocate for business opportunities that provide value to its members and to the Whitley County Community in general. Besides serving local business, the Chamber also operates as the local visitor and information center for the county. For more information, visit www.whitleychamber.com.

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Media Contacts:
Alan Tio (Whitley County EDC) – 260.244.5506
Sara Goff (Whitley County Chamber) – 260.248.8131

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