The yellow marker shows the proposed location of the Cell Tower. The photo also shows the close proximity to surrounding homes.

Friday, May 27, 2016

MORE UPDATES


 EXPOSURE TO LOW-LEVEL RADIO WAVES CAUSES TUMOR IN RATS

Friday, August 8, 2014

NEIGHBORS SAY NO TO CELL TOWER AT JULIUS WEST MIDDLE SCHOOL

 

Full article at at Gazette.net 

A community group, Citizens Against a Cell Tower at Julius West Middle School, has started an online petition that requests “a permanent ban” on cellphone towers and is addressed to Superintendent Joshua P. Starr and Montgomery County Board of Education members.

Nadia Azumi, the leader of Citizens Against a Cell Tower at Julius West Middle School, said she and other group members collected more than 300 signatures opposing a cell tower when a proposal for one first appeared years ago from T-Mobile. While about seven years have passed since the last proposal, she said it’s the same group that stands opposed.“Things haven’t changed here,” she said. "Unlike the neighborhood residents, Azumi said, parents, students and staff at the school “come and go. It’s us who remain,” she said.  David Keaton, another group member, said the group is seeking a ban out of concern that the issue could keep resurfacing.

HOW CELL TOWERS AVOID PAYING PROPERTY TAXES

By using the Board of Education's tax account number cell tower vendors have avoided paying property taxes on cell towers erected on public school land.



Tuesday, May 31, 2011

UPDATED INFORMATION CONCERNING CELL PHONE RADIATION


EXPOSURE IS POSSIBLY CARCINOGENIC

IARC: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields Possible Carcinogenic to Humans (W.H.O PRESS RELEASE)
W.H.O: Cell Phone Use Can Increase Possible Cancer Risk (CNN REPORT)

(CNN VIDEO)
video


EXPOSURE ALTERS BRAIN GLUCOSE METABOLISM


(This is a wonderful detailed explanations of the study and includes detailed answers to questions posed by listeners)


Effects of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Signal Exposure on Brain Glucose Metabolism
(JAMA VIDEO)
video


Sunday, March 14, 2010

CHRONOLOGICAL BACKGROUND

On March 14, 2010, Dr. Alan Goodwin, the Principal of Walt Whitman High School, sent the following e-mail to Whitman parents:
[whitnet] Cell Tower
Sun, March 14, 2010 1:16:04 PM

From: Alan_S_Goodwin@mcpsmd.org
                                
To: whitnet@yahoogroups.com

To the Whitman Community,

For the past several weeks, segments of the Whitman community have been embroiled in discussions regarding the possible placement of a cell tower by T-Mobile on Whitman’s school grounds.  This possibility emerged when I allowed T-Mobile to examine the school grounds to test the viability of such a structure.  I did this because for the past several years, I have had some community members express dismay over the lack of service in certain sections of the area.

After T-Mobile made a proposal, I started the established steps that other schools have followed which essentially placed a tremendous burden on our PTSA leadership.  The procedure calls for the PTSA to provide open communication about the issue to the school community and to forward emerging opinions to me and ultimately to the MCPS central office.  I want to publicly thank them for assuming a challenging task.

The PTSA leadership and I have met several times lately to share the input that we have received, and it is strongly evident that the discussion about the cell tower is causing a great tension among neighbors as persons weigh in with opinions and concerns.  The PTSA has done a remarkable job of soliciting and posting both Pro and Con reactions despite not having a range of resources to assist them.  As the controversy has moved beyond the boundaries of the Whitman community, it has complicated the PTSA’s intent to facilitate a forum for input and a recommendation that accurately reflects its community’s input.

I am a strong advocate for civic discourse and for helping our students see a democratic process take place on controversial issues; however, we have several ways to educate our students, and watching portions of the Whitman community lose their collective sense of purpose and commitment to work together to educate our students has become the greater concern.

The possible placement of a cell tower is not worth fracturing the community with such discord, and I have concluded it is not in Whitman’s best interest to move forward with placing the cell tower on our campus.  Continuing the process will only add to the schism.  For that reason, I have asked the PTSA, and they have agreed, to cease the process and cancel Tuesday’s meeting.  Although this may understandably disappoint some members who wanted to share their views and vote on Tuesday at the PTSA meeting, I am instead asking the Whitman community to step back from this discussion and to refocus and reenergize our commitment to the partnerships we already have in our schools and to enhance them.  Let the adult energies move back to volunteering in the classroom, on the playgrounds, in booster organizations, to sharing professional expertise as guest lecturers, to attending extracurricular activities, to helping our students in numerous ways.  Let the Whitman community join together to continue to maintain what Bethesda Magazine once called the “Whitman Mystique,” a community dedicated to nurturing and promoting educational excellence.  Thank you.

On March 12, 2010, the Whitman PTSA leadership sent the following e-mail to Whitman parents:
[whitnet] REMINDER: Cell Tower Proposal on March 16 PTSA Agenda
Fri, March 12, 2010 9:55:17 AM
From:Whitmanmdptsa@yahoo.com
To:whitnet@yahoogroups.com; whitcom@yahoogroups.com


 
If you wish to participate in the formulation of the PTSA’s input on the T-Mobile proposal for a cell tower on the Whitman HS baseball field, please attend the TUESDAY, MARCH 16 PTSA Meeting, 7:30 pm in the Whitman Cafeteria. Check- in by members and by those wishing to join the PTSA will begin at 7 pm.


Please see the FAQs below for answers to some frequently asked questions about the meeting.  When there are references below to information or forms on the PTSA webpage, use this link: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/whitmanhs/parents/ptsa/ptsa.shtml and select the corresponding tabs.


We encourage you to attend the March 16 meeting and take part in this PTSA community discussion.


Posted by Sue Kanter and Vicky Strella , PTSA Co-presidents

March 16 PTSA Meeting FAQs


Why is the Whitman PTSA seeking input on the cell tower proposal?


It is important that the Whitman community understand what its PTSA’s role is in this issue. To date, the PTSA has taken no position on the proposal.  The PTSA is one constituency among many that may have input into the school system’s consideration.   In reviewing proposals to construct cell towers on school property, MCPS considers, among other things, the “[i]mpact on the school site and operations based on input from school staff, PTSA, community groups, and facilities staff.”  This is an excerpt from the MCPS BOE Policy ECN Telecommunications Transmission Facilities: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/ecn.pdf. The Montgomery County Transmission Facilities Coordinating Group is http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgtmpl.asp?url=/apps/ttfcg/home.asp


What is the format of the PTSA meeting?

* The meeting will begin at 7:30 with routine business including brief reports from the Principal, Student Government Association and the PTSA Co-presidents.  Limited copies of the minutes of the January 19 will be available.  You may print out a copy of the minutes from the PTSA meetings page of Whitman’s website

* One hour of the meeting (7:45-8:45) will be allocated for community members to make 2-minute statements in support of or in opposition to the proposal.

* At the end of the hour, PTSA members will have the opportunity to vote yes or no on the proposal.

* Votes will be counted and the results will be announced during the meeting.


What will the PTSA do with the results?
A summary of the public discussion at the meeting, and public comments received from late November 2009 through March 16, will be sent to the MCPS Office of the Superintendent as reflecting the input from the Whitman PTSA community regarding the proposal.


I don’t know enough about the proposal.  How can I prepare?
Please review the materials about the proposal on the Whitman website under the Parents/PTSA/Community tab.  These materials include information from T-Mobile and a community letter from opponents. 


The one hour allotted for statements during the meeting is not intended as a question and answer forum.  That was the purpose of the two meetings hosted by T-Mobile (Nov. 17 and Mar. 8).  If you have specific questions about the proposal before the meeting, you may direct them to T-Mobile (see the contact information in the T-Mobile “Invitation to the Open House”).  You may also contact the PTSA Co-Presidents at whitmanmdptsa@ yahoo.com.


Can people with no students at Whitman attend the meeting and vote?
The meeting is open to the public.  However, if you wish to vote, you must be a PTSA member.  PTSA membership is open to any individual. 


How do I join?
Membership forms are available in the school's main lobby. Forms and online membership instructions are also available on the school website. Dues are $25 for an adult, and $5 for a teacher or student. Online membership is available through Monday, March 15.  Anyone wishing to join after that date must use a paper form, available on the website, in the lobby, or they may join at check-in on the 16th.


What if I’m not sure I joined?
A list of all members  as of Mar. 4, 2010, is available on the PTSA's main page of the school's website.  See ROSTER at: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/whitmanhs/parents/ptsa/ptsa.shtml. At check-in on Mar. 16, our membership list will include those who have joined since Mar 4 as well. Questions about membership may be directed to PTSA Membership Vice President Debbie Flack at hfdt@aol.com.


I can’t attend the meeting but I’m a member and want to have input – what should I do?
Ballots will be available only to those members who attend the meeting.  PTSA bylaws prohibit proxy voting.  If you are unable to attend the meeting, or otherwise wish to send comments directly to MCPS, you may send them to the Superintendent’s Office.


What if I have questions not covered above?
Questions or comments may be directed to whitmanmdptsa@yahoo.com.   Since November 2009, we have encouraged all those who wish to register an opinion or discuss the issue to send comments to this PTSA mailbox or to use Whitcom, the Whitman parents' discussion list serve.

On March 3, 2010, Community members posted the following Open Letter:
March 3, 2010
Dear Fellow Member of the Whitman Community,
We are writing to convey to you the concerns of over 200 Whitman neighbors and parents regarding the proposed T-Mobile cell tower on the Walt Whitman campus. We strongly oppose the construction of the 120 foot cell tower and hope that you will join us in our efforts to locate the tower/antennas elsewhere.
The remainder of this letter summarizes some of our concerns.
One of the concerns expressed by many cell tower opponents relates to potential health and safety issues associated with the proposed cell tower. Professor Ted Litovitz of Catholic University, a physicist and expert on electro-magnetic radiation, offered his pro-bono services to Walter Johnson High School in that school's successful 2004 effort to block a cell phone antenna on its property. Professor Litovitz, Professor Martin Blank of Columbia University, Professor Reba Goodman of Columbia University and many other scientists have reported adverse health effects (headaches, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, leukemia and other cancers) from electro-magnetic radiation at levels well below the FCC guidelines. The National Research Council (2008) has called for additional studies on the long-term health effects of exposure to cell towers and has recommended the form that such studies should take.
In the interim, many scientists have urged policymakers to adopt the "Precautionary Principle" and avoid exposing children to cell tower radiation. Many other countries and some jurisdictions in the U.S. have prohibited cell antennas and towers near schools due to these health and safety concerns. In the case of Walt Whitman High School, potential health and safety issues are especially important not only because of the exposure to our children attending Walt Whitman High School, the staff who are employed there and the families with homes surrounding the school property, but in view of the proximity of the proposed tower to two nursery schools: the Kenwood Park Children’s Center, which is housed in a wing of the Whitman High School building and Montgomery Child Care at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation, which is adjacent to the Whitman campus.
We are also concerned that the placement of a 120 foot tower on the Walt Whitman campus would destroy the character of the established residential neighborhood that surrounds the campus. The goal of Montgomery County zoning laws that pertain to the location of telecommunication facilities (Zoning Text Amendment 95028) is to encourage the placement of antennas and towers at less intrusive sites, such as on industrial and commercial lands. Erecting a tower twelve stories high in the middle of a neighborhood of single-family homes is counter to the spirit of county zoning laws. In addition, the impact on property values that would likely result from an unsightly and potentially hazardous cell tower is unfair to the many homeowners who invested in the Whitman neighborhood precisely because of its current character.
We are also deeply concerned about the commercialization of Montgomery County’s public schools that the proposed Whitman cell tower represents. Other than as a source of funding there is no link between the cell tower and the educational mandate of MCPS. Whitman High School would be leasing public property solely to generate revenue. Pursuing such options distracts school officials from their mission to provide high quality education to the children of Montgomery County and moves them into the arena of making money for the school. As parents, residents and taxpayers in Montgomery County, we continue to provide funding to our public school system in the form of income taxes, property taxes and voluntary contributions. We do not want our public schools to be raising funds by renting land to commercial enterprises.
It is also the case that the amounts that would be received by MCPS from T-Mobile, were the tower to be built, are extremely small relative to the MCPS budget and do not justify building the tower on school property. Montgomery County Public Schools would receive rent of $24,000 per year from T-Mobile, $8,000 of which would go to Walt Whitman High School. These amounts need to be put in context: $24,000 is approximately 1/100,000 of the annual budget of MCPS, which is over $2.2 billion. The $8,000 to be received by Walt Whitman High School amounts to approximately $4 per student per year. When the costs of contract administration, insurance, third party verification of electro-magnetic emissions and potential liability costs are considered, the net amount received is even smaller.
We are not alone in opposing a cell tower on the Whitman campus. Several jurisdictions in the United States and abroad have banned the building of cell towers on school grounds. The European Union in April 2009 adopted a resolution encouraging the establishment of setback criteria for wireless antennas and other electro-magnetic emitting devices located near schools. In 2000, the Los Angeles Unified School District adopted a resolution opposing the siting of cellular facilities on or in close proximity to schools. Palm Beach, FL has adopted a similar resolution, as has Vancouver, British Columbia. In February 2010 a bill was introduced in the Connecticut legislature to prohibit the siting of a cell phone tower within seven hundred and fifty feet of school or day care center property. Several schools in Montgomery County--Walter Johnson and Thomas Wootton High Schools and Pyle Middle Schools have successfully fought the building of cell towers on their campuses.
We all appreciate the need for good wireless communication services in Bethesda. There, however, are alternate sites where T-Mobile can locate its antennas to provide these services. This may cost T-Mobile more than building a tower on the Whitman campus, but the appropriate use of school property is not to subsidize the profits of T-Mobile--it is to provide our children with an education that develops the student’s potential to be a lifelong learner and a productive global citizen.
Sincerely,
Yvette Gorog Boone
Member, Whitman Community
Maureen L. Cropper
Member, Whitman Community
Ilissa Flamm
Member, Whitman Community
Christine Ladd
Member, Whitman
Community
Christopher Ladd
Member, Whitman Community

On February 25, 2010, the Whitman PTSA leadership sent the following two e-mails to the Whitman community:
 
Forwarding T-Mobile Open House Invitation

February 23, 2010

Dear Walt Whitman High School Neighbor:

The T-Mobile Community Open House, originally scheduled for February 8, was cancelled due to the snow storm. We wanted to let you know that the new date for our event is March 8. The purpose of the Open House is for you to learn more about T-Mobile's plans to improve wireless broadband coverage in the area.

T-Mobile is working with the Montgomery County School system to replace an existing baseball field light with a new lightpole at Whitman High School. T-Mobile's antennas will be enclosed within the pole which will significantly improve wireless broadband communications in the community.

The Community Open House will be held on Monday, March 8, from 7 to 8:30 PM in the Whitman High School Multimedia Center.

T-Mobile and Montgomery County Public Schools representatives will be on-hand to share the plans and answer questions one-on-one in this informal gathering. Feel free to let your neighbors know about this meeting.

Should you have any further questions regarding this project please do not hesitate to contact me at 240.264.8606.

Sincerely,

Jason Campbell
Senior Development Manager
T-Mobile, USA
________

posted by Sue Kanter and Vicky Strella, PTSA Co-presidents
______________________________________________________________________
New Dates for Cell Tower Meetings

On Monday, March 8, from 7:00-8:30 PM, T-Mobile will host a Community Open House at Whitman, where it will share its plans and answer questions one-on-one in an informal setting.  This will be an opportunity for individuals to talk directly with T-Mobile representatives, and to follow up on matters raised at the T-Mobile meeting after the November 17 PTSA meeting.  The PTSA strongly encourages Whitman community members to attend T-Mobile's open house on the 8th.

For those who wish to learn about T-Mobile's proposal, use the link below to access T-Mobile material: http://montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/whitmanhs/parents/ptsa/community.shtml

On Tuesday, March 16, the PTSA meeting agenda will include consideration of the proposal.  The meeting will allow for further exploration and discussion of this topic among PTSA members, and will be the opportunity for Whitman PTSA members to have input into the decision whether the proposal will be accepted at Whitman.

Questions or comments on the proposal can be conveyed at any time via Whitcom or in an email to whitmanmdptsa@yahoo.com.

Vicky Strella and Sue Kanter, Co-Presidents, PTSA

On February 8, 2010, the Whitman PTSA leadership sent the following e-mail to the Whitman community:
T-Mobile has postponed its Community Open House that was planned for Wed. Feb. 10th, due to weather and school building closings.  A new date will be sent when available to the Whitman community via Whitcom and Whitnet. 

The February 16th PTSA meeting, which was to have had the T-Mobile proposal on the agenda, has been cancelled.  The next PTSA meeting will be on Tuesday, March 16. We will send updated information as it becomes available. Thank you. 

Vicky Strella and Sue Kanter
WWHS PTSA Co-Presidents
On February 6, 2010, the following Open Letter with important background information for the upcoming meetings with T-Mobile and the PTSA was posted on the Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland blog:

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Open letter on Whitman Cell Phone Tower

Dear Student, Teacher, Administrator, and Neighbor of Walt Whitman High School,
I write to you today regarding a proposal from T-Mobile to install a cell tower on the Walt Whitman School property. T-Mobile, along with many governmental agencies will tell you that there is absolutely no evidence of harm other than the thermal effects from exposure to the radiofrequency radiation (RFR) emitted by wireless communications transmitters. This is not true. There is much evidence on non thermal biological effects from such exposure. These non thermal effects are found at levels thousands of times below the FCCs RFR exposure standard.


I have written a report that provides a background and references as to how the FCCs RFR standards are not protective, which you can access here - CELL TOWERS AND WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS – LIVING WITH RADIOFREQUENCY RADIATION
http://www.scribd.com/doc/24352550/Cell-Tower-Rpt

Below is information on upcoming meetings, useful websites and contacts as well as a list of questions for T-Mobile.

Upcoming meetings:

T-Mobile Open House on Wednesday, 2/10/10 from 7 - 8:30 pm
at WWHS

The proposed format for this meeting is to break into groups to discuss specific aspects of the proposal. If people prefer they can request that the meeting be an open meeting where anyone who wants to speak may address the entire group.

WWHS PTSA Meeting on Tuesday, 2/16/10
in the Media Center

The PTSA meeting minutes from the January meeting say they may vote on the T-Mobile proposal at the February meeting. PTSA membership and meetings are open to anyone who wishes to join, however only members may vote.

Please find websites and contact information at the end of this email.


According to reports available at http://whitmanhighcelltower.blogspot.com/, the T-Mobile tower will be 120 feet tall rising above the tree top level, and will be approximately 400 feet from neighbor's homes with a peak RFR level of .44 micro watts per centimeter squared (uW/cm2). T-Mobile plans to rent out space for additional antennas which will further increase the RFR levels.


The RFR exposure standard in the U.S. is 1,000 uW/cm2. Russia and China have an exposure standard of 10 uW/cm2. The BioInitiative Report recommends 0.1 uW/cm2 as a protective standard for RFR exposure. The reason the U.S. RFR standard is so much higher than the standard in other countries is because our government denies that there are cumulative non thermal biological effects from RFR exposure.
According to Norbert Hankin, with the Radiation Protection Division of the EPA: "The FCCs current exposure guidelines…are thermally based, and do not apply to chronic, non-thermal exposure situations…. Therefore, the generalization that the guidelines protect human beings from harm by any or all mechanisms is not justified.”

Scientists, doctors and governmental agencies worldwide have issued warnings, restrictions and resolutions urging limiting exposure to EMF/RF. Due to the numbers of people suffering from symptoms of EHS, medical doctors and scientists have issued resolutions stating that there is a more sensitive population to RFR and that antennas should not be sited near homes, schools and hospitals. These run from the Vienna Resolution in 1998 through to the Porto Alegre Resolution in 2009.


In 2009 three U.S. Governors, of Florida, Connecticut and Colorado, declared Electrohypersensitivty Awareness months.


In May, 2009 the LA Unified School District, which restricts cell towers on school property passed a resolution attempting to restrict antennas near school property and in April, 2009, the EU Parliament adopted, by 559 votes to 22, with 8 abstentions, a resolution on health concerns associated with electromagnetic fields (EMFs) which includes criteria for setting up [Cell Towers] and high-voltage power lines. They state: “In this context, it is important to ensure at least that schools, crèches [nursery schools], retirement homes, and health care institutions are kept clear, within a specific distance determined by scientific criteria, of facilities of this type.”


The Vancouver School Board (VSB) passed a resolution in January 2005 that prohibits construction of cellular antennas within 1000 feet (305 m) from school property.

Palm Beach County, Florida, the city and county of Los Angeles, California, and New Zealand have all prohibited cell phone base stations and antennas near schools due to safety concerns. The decision not to place cell antennas near schools is based on the likelihood that children are more susceptible to this form of radiation.

In January 2008, the National Research Council (NRC), an arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, issued a report saying that we simply do not know enough about the potential health risks of long-term exposure to RF energy from cell phones themselves, cell towers, television towers, and other components of our communications system. The scientists who prepared the report emphasized, in particular, the unknown risks to the health of children, pregnant women, and fetuses as well as of workers whose jobs entail high exposure to RF (radiofrequency) energy. The report called for long-term safety studies on all wireless devices including cell phones, computers, and cell phone towers and states:

“Wireless networks are being built very rapidly, and many more base station antennas are being installed. A crucial research need is to characterize radiated electromagnetic fields for typical multiple-element base station antennas and for the highest radiated power conditions with measurements conducted during peak hours of the day at locations close to the antennas as well as at ground level.”
Please contact me if you have any questions or comments. The people who will have chronic long term exposure to the RFR from the transmitters, such as neighbors, teachers and administrators, will be the most susceptible to harm from the cell tower. Walt Whitman students and the children at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Nursery School are also more susceptible to harm as their skulls are thinner and absorb more radiation and the nearby transmitters will add to their cumulative life time RFR burden. Please take action to protect those who are most vulnerable.

Best regards,


Angela Flynn


Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. Albert Einstein (1879-1955)


Angela Flynn

Wireless Radiation Alert Network
WRAN301-229-0282
FAX 301-229-4752
On January 27, 2010, the PTSA sent the following e-mail to the Whitman community:
We have previously advised the Whitman community that T-Mobile has proposed to construct a replacement lightpole containing a cellular antenna on the Whitman baseball field.

The PTSA’s goal is to ensure an open, balanced and informed process that reflects the Whitman community’s views.  This process has included providing notices to the school community of the proposal.  Specifically, Whitnet and Whitcom postings since November have advised the community of the November 17 meeting when T-Mobile presented its plans, balloon tests in November and January, and the upcoming February 10 Community Open House.

The PTSA encourages the Whitman community to participate in the next steps in the process:

1.  Community Open House - T-Mobile will hold a Community Open House on February 10, from 7-8:30 pm at Whitman.  The Open House will include representatives who can share their plans and answer questions one-on-one. 

We strongly encourage members of the Whitman school community and neighborhood to attend the Open House.
 

2.  T-Mobile materials are available on Whitman website at http://montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/whitmanh s/events/ 2009/WALT_ WHITMAN_INFO_ SHEET_HSM_ REV_1-19_ FINAL1.pdf

3.  The PTSA continues to encourage comment through emails to whitmanmdptsa@yahoo.com and through posts on Whitcom by Whitcom subscribers.

4. The February 16 PTSA meeting agenda will include discussion of the proposal and a determination whether to support, oppose, or take no position on the proposal.  In making this determination, the meeting may include a vote by members who are present.   Results of the PTSA meeting will be communicated to MCPS and Montgomery County decision-makers.

Sue Kanter and Vicky Strella
Co-Presidents
On January 25, 2010, Whitman High School neighbors received a hand-distributed letter containing information and background on the T-Mobile cell tower proposal.

On January 23,  2010, the residents of Kenwood Park received their copy of the Kenwood Park Citizens Association newsletter that contained an article concerning the T-Mobile cell tower proposal.

On January 21, 2010, neighbors of Whitman High School received the following letter from T-Mobile concerning a new date for the Community Open House:
January 11, 2010
Dear Walt Whitman High School Neighbor:
You are invited to attend a Community Open House on February 10 to learn more about T-Mobile's plans to improve wireless broad band communications coverage in the area. T-Mobile is working with the Montgomery County School system to replace a baseball field light with a new lightpole. T-Mobile's antennas will be enclosed within the pole which will significantly improve wireless broadband communications in the community.

Following up on the November 17 meeting last fall, we want to give you the opportunity to learn more about our proposal in an informal setting where you can ask one-on-one questions.
The Community Open House will be held on Wednesday February 10, from 7 to 8:00 PM at Walt Whitman High School. T-Mobile and Montgomery County Public Schools representatives will be on-hand to share the plans and answer questions one-on-one in this informal gathering. Feel free to let your neighbors know about this meeting. Note
that the January 26 open house has been cancelled due to conflicts with
school events at Walt Whitman High School and Pyle Middle School.

On January 10, 7:30 - 8:30 AM, T-Mobile launched a balloon at the site to test for visibility. Photosimulations of th
e results will be available at the open house.
Should you have any further questions regarding this project please do not hesitate to contact me at 443-570-0014.
Sincerely,
Hillorie S. Morrison Network Building & Consulting Agent for T-Mobile

On January 19, 2010, the PTSA leadership sent the following e-mail to the Whitman community:
Due to conflicts with Whitman cluster events, TMobile's Community Open House, originally scheduled for Jan. 26, HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED for Feb. 10, 7-8:30 pm. Attendance by members of the Whitman Community is encouraged.
_____________________________________________________________________
January 19, 2010

Dear Walt Whitman High School Neighbor:
You are invited to attend a Community Open House on February 10 to learn more about T-Mobile's plans to improve wireless broad band communications coverage in the area. T-Mobile is working with the Montgomery County School system to replace a baseball field light with a new lightpole. T-Mobile's antennas will be enclosed within the pole which will significantly improve wireless broadband communications in the community.

Following up on the November 17 meeting last fall, we want to give you the opportunity to learn more about our proposal in an informal setting where you can ask one-on-one questions.
The Community Open House will be
held on Wednesday February 10, from 7 to 8:00 PM at Walt Whitman High School. T-Mobile and Montgomery County Public Schools representatives will be on-hand to share the plans and answer questions one-on-one in this informal gathering. Feel free to let your neighbors know about this meeting. Note that the January 26 open house has been cancelled due to conflicts with school events at Walt Whitman High School and Pyle Middle School.
On January 10, 7:30 - 8:30 AM, T-Mobile launched a balloon at the site to test for visibility. Photosimulations of th
e results will be available at the open house.
Should you have any further questions regarding this project please do not hesitate to contact me at 443-570-0014.
Sincerely,
Hillorie S. Morrison Network Building & Consulting Agent for T-Mobile

On January 16, 2010, the following message was sent to the Kenwood Park community via its Listserver:
Subject: [Kenwood Park Listserv] Cell Tower on Whitman Sports Fields (MSG:499326718)

Thank you for all your very thoughtful responses.

This email is to let you know that the Whitman PTSA has changed the agenda for its January 19 meeting.

Further exploration and discussion of the T-Mobile proposal to build a lightpole with cell phone antennas near the Whitman baseball field has been deferred until the following PTSA meeting.

That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 16, at 7:30 pm, in the Media Center.

Please mark your calendars and attend this meeting, AND MAKE YOUR VOICE COUNT.

It is important to note that you do not have to be a parent, teacher, or student to join the PTSA as all members of the community are welcome. If as a Kenwood Park resident you want to affect decisions reached by the Whitman PTSA that directly concern Kenwood Park, the only way to do it is to become a voting member of the PTSA. In the end, it's an all around win/win--the PTSA gets your much-needed dues and you get the power of a vote. It's easy to join--you don't have to go anywhere, just follow this link: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/whitmanhs/parents/ptsa/ptsa.shtml.

On January 12, 2010, via email, the PTSA leadership announced a change of plans for its meeting:
This is a reminder of the January 19 PTSA meeting and to inform you of a change to the January meeting agenda.
The January 19 PTSA meeting will take place in the Media Center beginning at 7:30 pm. Further exploration and discussion of the T-Mobile proposal to build a lightpole with cell phone antennas near the Whitman baseball field has been deferred until the following PTSA meeting. That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 16, at 7:30 pm, in the Media Center.
With respect to the T-Mobile proposal, the PTSA encourages parents/guardians, teachers and students interested in learning more about the proposal to attend the January 26 Open House hosted by T-Mobile at Whitman.

On January 11, 2010, T-Mobile sent an invitation to a “Community Open House:”
January 11, 2010
Dear Walt Whitman High School Neighbor:
You are invited to attend a Community Open House on Tuesday, January 26 to learn more about T-Mobile's plans to improve wireless broad band communications coverage in the area. T-Mobile is working with the Montgomery County School system to replace a baseball field light with a new lightpole. T-Mobile's antennas will be enclosed within the pole which will significantly improve wireless broadband communications in the community.


Following up on the November 17 meeting last fall, we want to give you the opportunity to learn more about our proposal in an informal setting where you can ask one-on-one questions.
The Community Open House will be
held on Tuesday January 26 from 7 to 8:00 PM at Walt Whitman High School. T-Mobile and Montgomery County Public Schools representatives will be on-hand to share the plans and answer questions one-on-one in this informal gathering. Feel free to let your neighbors know about this meeting.
On January 10, 7:30 - 8:30 AM, T-Mobile launched a balloon at the site to test for visibility. Photosimulations of th
e results will be available at the open house.
Should you have any further questions regarding this project please do not hesitate to contact me at 443-570-0014.
Sincerely,
Hillorie S. Morrison Network Building & Consulting Agent for T-Mobile

On January 10, 2010, in response to a report by wusa 9News Now, we took a photo of the cell tower at Tilden Middle School, which--according to the news reporter is identical to the proposed cell phone tower at Whitman High, in that it has the antennas mounted inside its shaft. To the right is the photo we took of the Tilden Middle School cell phone tower. Below is a video of the tower. The Tilden tower is considerably shorter (75 feet) than the proposed Whitman tower (120 feet), and is within only a few feet from the school building. We do not know whether the radio frequency emissions are directed away from the school building or not. (The direction of radio frequency emissions can be controlled.)


On January 10, 2010, (Sunday) in order to simulate the height of the cell phone tower, T-Mobile flew a balloon, between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. Below are two videos of the balloon test, taken at 7:40 am. The camera is facing west. As is evident from the videos, the wind was blowing the balloon to a location lower than the actual cell phone tower's height. 


video

video

Below is a video from an east-facing vantage point of the same T-Mobile balloon test held on January 10, 2010. In addition to the T-Mobile balloon, one can see, in the background, how close houses on Clearwood Road are. One can also see a journalist from Whitman's Black and White newspaper taking a picture as the balloon blows in the wind.



video



While we were filming, T-Mobile moved the balloon to a non-proposed location two light poles further west. The unannounced change took us by surprise. Below is a picture of the non-proposed location taken during the balloon test. The non-proposed location is highlighted by a red oval.


Below is a video of a west-facing vantage point of the non-proposed location balloon test.

video


Below is a video of a westerly view of the T-Mobile balloon test as seen from Clearwood Road. The balloon appears much lower than the actual proposed height of the pole because the wind was blowing it down and because it was not in the proposed location. T-Mobile never announced to the community that it would be changing the location of the balloon during the test.



On January 4, 2010, T-Mobile sent the following letter to neighbors of Whitman High:
January 4, 2010


Dear Walt Whitman High School Neighbor:
On November 17, 2009, T-Mobile representatives met with community representatives and Walt Whitman High School PTSA members regarding T-Mobile's plans to improve wireless broad band communications coverage in your area. T-Mobile is working with the Montgomery County School system to replace a baseball field light with a new lightpole. T-Mobile's antennas will be enclosed within the pole which will significantly improve wireless broadband communications in the community.
On January 10, 7:30 -8:30 AM, T-Mobile will launch a balloon at the site to test for visibility. (Bad weather date January 17, 7:30 - 8:30 AM). The early morning time is needed to minimize the possibility of higher winds which generally occur later in the morning. Feel free to let your neighbors know about the balloon test.
T-Mobile is also planning a Community Open House to give you the opportunity to learn more about our proposal in an informal setting where you can ask one-on-one questions. The meeting date has not been finalized. You will receive an invitation to the meeting.

Should you have any further questions regarding this project please do not hesitate to contact me at 443 -570-0014.
Sincerely,

Hillorie S. Morrison
Network Building & Consulting
Agent for T-Mobile

On December 7, 2009, the Whitman PTSA sent an email announcing: 
The January 19, 2010 agenda for the Whitman PTSA meeting will include the T-Mobile proposal to build a lightpole with cellular telephone antennas near the Whitman baseball field. The meeting will allow for further exploration and discussion of this topic among PTSA members, and will be the opportunity for Whitman PTSA members to have input into the decision whether the proposal will be accepted at Whitman.
For those who remember the proposal to build a cellular antenna at Pyle, please note that the process for approval has changed. The input of the school community is sought at an earlier stage of the process, and is taken very seriously at MCPS. Thus, no decisions have been made about the proposal by any entity, and no decisions will be made until after January 19.
The Jan. 19 meeting is a follow up to a community meeting held by T-Mobile representatives at Whitman on Nov. 17, attended by about 50 local residents and Whitman parents.
A description of the T-Mobile proposal and copies of the site plans are on the Whitman website at http://montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/whitmanhs/events/2009/T_mobile_2009.shtml
On the same day, the following message was sent to the Kenwood Park community via its Listserver:
Subject: [Kenwood Park Listserv] Cell Tower on Whitman Sports Fields (MSG:499325720)
On January 19, 2010, the Whitman PTSA meeting will include the T-Mobile proposal to build a cell phone tower between the Whitman baseball field and the Whitman Football Field. The meeting will be held in the Whitman High School Media Center at 7:30 PM.
The meeting is being held to further explore and discuss this topic. The Jan. 19 meeting is a follow up to the meeting held on Nov. 17 by T-Mobile representatives. That meeting fo
llowed a Whitman PTSA meeting.
The law requires that carriers in addition to T-mobile be allowed to co-locate on the same proposed tower for their cellular and other use; this will inevitably increase the intensity of the microwave emissions from that tower.
Kenwood Park residents are directly impacted by the microwaves (Radio Frequency) that will emanate 24/7 from the proposed T-Mobile tower. The cellular industry is evolving. Once the tower is in place, it will be impossible to predict its future use an
d how intense its microwave emissions eventually will be. Scientific studies of the biological effects of radio frequency emissions take about 40 years to complete. As of now, studies are at most 10 years old, so the law is silent as to the non thermal effects of radio frequency emissions.
It is important to note that you don't have to be a Whitman parent to join the Whitman PTSA or attend its meetings, as any member of the community is welcome to attend and to become a voting member.
Although Whitman High stands to earn a yearly income from this installation, it cares about its neighbors. Remember, MONEY is at stake, and in these strained economic times there will be many who are easily seduced by the prospect of an easy dollar. When weighed against easy money, potential health risks are sometimes ignored; don't let this happen. Put the date on your calendar and please attend this meeting.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) "there are gaps in knowledge still needing to be filled before better health risk assessments can be made on the POSSIBLE health effects of exposure to many parts of the frequency spectrum." http://www.who.int/peh-emf/research/en/
Already in 1999, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concluded (and it maintains this position to date) that "in general, while the possibility of 'non-thermal' biological effects may exist, whether or not such effects might indicate a human health hazard is not PRESENTLY known. Further research is needed to determine the generality of such effects and their possible relevance, if any, to human health. IN THE MEANTIME, standards-setting organizations and government agencies continue to monitor the latest experimental findings to confirm their validity and determine whether alterations in safety limits are needed in order to protect human health." http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Documents/bulletins/oet56/oet56e4.pdf
In the end, it is up to you to decide whether or not the possible health risks are worth the gamble, and whether or not easy money for Whitman High is just the right price. Again, put the date on your calendar and please attend this meeting.
A description of the T-Mobile proposal and copies of the site plans are on the Whitman website at http://montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/whitmanhs/events/2009/T_mobile_2009.shtml


On November 17, 2009, T-Mobile presented its proposal to the Whitman community after a PTSA meeting. Specifically, the proposal consists of taking down one of the school's 48-foot athletic light poles at the baseball field and erecting a 120-foot cell phone "monopole" tower--in its place. The monopole will have the height of a 12 story building and have a 12-foot circumference. In order to replace the removed baseball field light T-Mobile would attach lights to the monopole at 48 feet. Inside the monopole, T-Mobile, and co-locating carriers, would house their antennae. T-Mobile's site plan and zoning map show the location of the proposed monopole tower.
At the presentation, T-Mobile announced its intention to hold a follow up community meeting with no specified date. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

FRAUDULENT PHOTOSIMULATION

T-Mobile's photosimulation is a fraud.  The cell tower's location is false, its width is false, and the present light pole has been doctored:
  1. The photosimulation shows a false location for the proposed cell tower.  Rather than superimposing the proposed cell tower over the light pole that T-Mobile intends to replace, the proposed cell tower is shown set further back and further to the left, so that it appears lower and better hidden by trees.
  2. The photosimulation has been doctored.  The image of the light pole that T-Mobile intends to replace has been smudged to make it less obvious that the simulated cell tower is shown at a false location.
  3. The photosimulation shows a false width for the proposed cell tower.  It makes the proposed cell tower appear as if it had the same width as the existing light poles.  In fact, with a diameter of 47 inches, the proposed cell tower is more than three times as wide as the existing light poles, which have a diameter of 15 inches.
To access a larger version of this photo, click on photo.



To access T-Mobile's original photosimulation, please click this link.





AN ALTERNATIVE TO A CELL TOWER

Did you know that T-Mobile does not have to erect a 12-story-high cell tower on the Whitman school grounds in order to improve coverage in the area?  In fact, there are alternate locations at which T-Mobile can set up its antennas.  Also, an alternate technology exists that is visually much less intrusive and involves antennas operating at much lower power levels. It is called a Distributed Antenna System ("DAS").

The industry defines a DAS as "a network of spatially separated antenna nodes connected to a common source via a transport medium that provides wireless service within a geographic area or structure."  (http://thedasforum.org/)  What this means is that instead of having central, high-powered antennas emit from a single, tall cell tower (as in Diagram (a) to the right), a group of small, lower-powered antennas are mounted atop existing utility poles throughout the coverage area (as in Diagram (b)).

The photograph to the left shows such an antenna mounted on top of a standard utility pole.  You may view a larger copy of this photograph by clicking this link.

Using a DAS would have the following advantages over the proposed cell tower:

1. The antennas would be located away from the school grounds.  This would ameliorate the concerns that have been raised in the community related to a potential health risk for school-aged children.

2. This would avoid using school grounds for non-educational, commercial purposes.

3. It would avoid the industrial appearance of a tall tower, that would severely interfere with the character of the surrounding residential neighborhood.

4. The antennas would blend in with the existing utility poles and barely be noticeable.

5. Each antenna's power output would be lower.

In fact, T-Mobile and the wireless industry as a whole have in various ways endorsed and advocated using DAS:

  • T-Mobile is a founding member of The DAS Forum, which describes itself as "the only national network of leaders focused exclusively on shaping the future of DAS as a viable complement to traditional macro cell sites and a solution to the deployment of wireless services in challenging environments."  (http://thedasforum.org/about/who.php.)
  • In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the cell phone industry association CTIA recently emphasized that "placing wireless communications equipment on existing electric utility distribution poles is ... important in residential neighborhoods and areas where consumers expect wireless coverage but oppose the aesthetic impact of larger wireless towers."  (In the Matter of A National Broadband Plan for Our Future, FCC GN Docket No. 09-51, Reply Comments of CTIA-The Wireless Association at 14 (July 21, 2009); click this link to access this document.)
Using a DAS has already been considered in Montgomery County as an alternative to a T-Mobile cell tower on public school grounds.  In 2006, when T-Mobile applied to install a cell tower on the grounds of Julius West Middle School in Rockville, T-Mobile was asked to comment on the use of a DAS as an alternative, in order to minimize the visual impact on the neighborhood.  In that particular case, a DAS turned out not to be a viable option because all utilities in the area were underground and no utility poles existed to which a DAS could be attached.  (City of Rockville Planning Commission Staff Report re: Special Exception Application SPX2005-00364 (Nov. 9, 2006); click this link to access the Report.)  Faced with intense community opposition, Montgomery County Public Schools ultimately decided not to proceed with this cell tower application.

Moreover, when T-Mobile first proposed to erect a cell tower on the Whitman school grounds, it was already fully aware that this proposal would generate intense opposition in the community.  First, the Whitman community is notorious for such opposition ever since it defeated a cell tower proposal at Pyle Middle School in 2005.  Second, the neighboring communities of Wootton and Walter Johnson High Schools also successfully warded off cell tower proposals in 2005.  Third, T-Mobile itself has testified about its experience with "thousands of school boards about locating [cell towers] on their properties, and that where there is opposition in the community to the construction of a [cell tower], such opposition is likely to be intensified if the proposed location of the [cell tower] is on school property."  (T-Mobile v. City of Anacortes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, No. 08-35493 slip op. at n. 12 (July 20, 2009);  click this link to access the Court's Opinion.)

Against this background, one may wonder why T-Mobile has not proposed using DAS technology instead of a cell tower on the Whitman school grounds.  T-Mobile's reasons may include the following:
  1. Installing a DAS would require T-Mobile to lease space from Pepco at the top of the utility poles on which T-Mobile would mount the antennas;
  2. T-Mobile generates profits from leasing space on its cell towers to other cell phone companies, which it could not generate from a DAS.  In fact, under the standard lease form used by MCPS for cell towers, T-Mobile would recoup a significant portion of its costs in constructing the cell tower, as well as collect monthly rental payments, from colocating cell phone carriers.
  3. The Whitman school grounds include a relatively large area that could accommodate several additional cell towers while satisfying the set-back requirements under the Zoning Ordinance.  (Click this link to access our separate post containing a map of that area.)  As T-Mobile explained in a recent filing with the FCC, it holds licenses only in the upper frequency bands of the wireless spectrum, which require more antennas than lower frequencies.  For this reason, and in order to accommodate rapidly increasing wireless traffic and new types of applications (streaming video, data transmissions, etc.), T-Mobile may soon require additional antennas within the Whitman area. To that end, T-Mobile may be planning to erect additional cell towers on the Whitman school grounds once the first cell tower is in place.  At that point, it would be very difficult to convince the zoning authorities that adding a second cell tower next to an existing one would interfere with the character of the neighborhood.  Indeed, many examples of such "twin towers" already exist in our area.
We note, however, that T-Mobile's relative profits are not elements to be considered by the County authorities in the zoning process.  Maximizing the industry's profits also is not what Congress had in mind when it intended to encourage the deployment of wireless broadband service to all of America by passing such federal legislation as the Telecommunications Act of 1996 or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Indeed, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 expressly preserved local zoning authority over "placement, construction, and modification" of cell towers.  We have a right to use the zoning laws to protect our neighborhood.