Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hopefully the final article

Cell tower proposal for Tinton Falls withdrawn
Residents had opposed tower in residential area
Staff Writer

TINTON FALLS — The 100-plus concerned citizens who packed Borough Hall last year to oppose a proposal for a cell phone tower can now rest easy.

Tinton Falls Mayor Michael Skudera announced at the April 5 Borough Council meeting that the T-Mobile application for a cell tower in the borough has officially been withdrawn.

Skudera previously announced in February that the borough had reached a verbal agreement with the N.J. Turnpike Authority to change the site of the proposed T-Mobile tower from the grounds of the Church of Christ at 312 Hance Ave. to a site along the Garden State Parkway in Tinton Falls.

At that time, the application for the Hance Avenue site was not officially withdrawn from the borough’s Zoning Board of Adjustment agenda, but Skudera said last week that it finally is official.

“We have the letter from the attorney, so it’s official,” he said.

T-Mobile attorney James Pryor confirmed Monday that he did draft a letter withdrawing the application for Hance Avenue but would not comment further.

T-Mobile first appeared in front of the borough’s Zoning Board last July at a meeting that was attended by close to 100 residents, most of whom opposed the original location.

The main concern that has been raised in recent months about putting the cell tower in a residential neighborhood is that a proper safety study has not been done about the effects of cell tower-generated radiation.

Soon after the first hearing on the cell tower application, resident Nancy DeSimone formed a group named RACE (Residents Against Cell tower Exploitation) to oppose the proposed tower being located in her neighborhood.

Michael Laffey, attorney for RACE, said in an interview this week that his clients are relieved the fight is officially over.

“I’m glad for my clients’ peace of mind that the application has been withdrawn,” he said. “I don’t know the reasons why they withdrew it.

“I understood the mayor had some influence on it in that regard. Certainly my clients are very grateful to the mayor,” he added.

During the public portion of the meeting, resident Joseph Largey expressed cautious optimism until the Zoning Board officially approves the withdrawal.

“Back in February it looked like T-Mobile was withdrawing their application thanks to some good work from the borough,” he said. “I am just waiting until the Zoning Board meeting before I can celebrate.”

As of April 11, the Zoning Board had not officially accepted the withdrawal, and the next meeting is scheduled for April 21.

Largey went on to thank the borough for getting the application withdrawn.

“I want to thank everyone for their efforts on this,” he said. “That monstrosity would not have looked very nice on Hance Avenue for any of us.”

Skudera previously said that the council and borough administration endorsed the move to the parkway for the cell tower.

He also said that there are not a lot of other places in the borough that would work for both T-Mobile and the residents.

“It is something that gets the cell tower away from a residential zone and puts it in a better place — along the parkway — that is better suited for that,” Skudera said.

“This was an area that was best suited for a tower. The whole area where it is [proposed] now is residential; this was the closest suitable spot on the parkway, and it fits in very nicely.”

Skudera said the parkway spot probably isn’t ideal for T-Mobile, because the carrier would lose some coverage, but he estimated that the site would still allow for about 90 percent coverage.

The first hearing for the proposal started last July, and the Zoning Board heard a series of testimony on the proposal at several meetings since then.

T-Mobile was next scheduled to appear in front of the board in May, but that appearance has since been canceled.

A 2007 application by the Board of Education to build a cell tower at Mahala F. Atchison School also drew widespread opposition and was never built.

Contact Kenny Walter at

Friday, April 1, 2011

Withdrawal letter from T-Mobile Attorney (Looks like it's official!)

March 31, 2011

Doug Gottfredsen
Zoning Board of Adjustment
Tinton Falls Municipal Building
556 Tinton Ave.
Tinton Falls, NJ 07724

Re: T-Mobile; TFZB 2009-19; 312 Hance Ave.

Dear Mr. Gottfredsen:

I have been authorized by T-Mobile to advise you that the Applicant desires to withdraw this case, without prejudice. At the next board meeting, would you kindly have the Board accept our withdrawal without prejudice? I presume that our attendance would not be required, but please advise me if my attendance is requested for any reason. Obviously, this will render the May 5, 2011 hearing date moot.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

T-Mobile Cell Tower Application Withdrawn (article from Tinton Falls Patch)

The application to build a cell tower on Hance Avenue in Tinton Falls, which garnered significant opposition from residents, was withdrawn on Friday, according to Mayor Michael Skudera.

By Amy Byrnes | Email the author | April 1, 2011

Editor's Note: This article was updated to include comments from Tinton Falls resident Meg Rubinstein, who was active in opposing the cell tower application.

The application by T-Mobile to build a cell tower on Hance Avenue in Tinton Falls was withdrawn on Friday, according to Mayor Michael Skudera.

The wireless company filed plans to build the 120-foot tower on the property of the Monmouth Church of Christ on Hance Road in July.

Residents living near the proposed cell tower were very active protesting its approval, even picketing in front of the church on the weekends, posting signs in their yards and hiring an attorney, according to Dale Diamond whose home is a stone's thrown from the proposed site and who spoke to Patch about the issue in February.

"What a relief," said Tinton Falls resident Meg Rubinstein, who lives in the Greenbrier Falls development and was active in coordinating oppostition to the tower. "Residents, besides dreading the thought of having to look at such a monstrosity every day, were very concerned that property values would erode and theat there miay be negative health effects from the radiation emitted from the cell tower," she said in an e-mail.

Rubinstein also mentioned the cell tower fire along the Parkway in February as a cause for concern for residents as well.

The borough was contacted in February by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority with a proposal to replace a temporary tower on the Garden State Parkway at mile 108.3 with the T-Mobile tower.

According to Skudera, T-Mobile is also considering a site near the Monmouth County Reclamation Center on Asbury Avenue in Tinton Falls.

The borough council voted unanimously in February to support the relocation of the tower.

"We all rely on cell phones," said Rubinstein. "However, we need better technical solutions ... to cover transmission system gaps."

"The last thing that any of us needs is monstrous fake trees towering over residential developments," said Rubinstein.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Article from the New York Times

Cellphone Radiation May Alter Your Brain. Let’s Talk.


Published: March 30, 2011

In a culture where people cradle their cellphones next to their heads with the same constancy and affection that toddlers hold their security blankets, it was unsettling last month when a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that doing so could alter brain activity.

The report said it was unclear whether the changes in the brain — an increase in glucose metabolism after using the phone for less than an hour — had any negative health or behavioral effects. But it has many people wondering what they can do to protect themselves short of (gasp) using a landline.

“Cellphones are fantastic and have done much to increase productivity,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, the lead investigator of the study and director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health. “I’d never tell people to stop using them entirely.”

Yet, in light of her findings, she advises users to keep cellphones at a distance by putting them on speaker mode or using a wired headset whenever possible. The next best option is a wireless Bluetooth headset or earpiece, which emit radiation at far lower levels. If a headset isn’t feasible, holding your phone just slightly away from your ear can make a big difference; the intensity of radiation diminishes sharply with distance. “Every millimeter counts,” said Louis Slesin, editor of Microwave News, an online newsletter covering health and safety issues related to exposure to electromagnetic radiation.

So crushing your cellphone into your ear to hear better in a crowded bar is probably a bad idea. Go outside if you have to take or make a call. And you might not want to put your cellphone in your breast or pants pocket either, because that also puts it right up against your body. Carry it in a purse or briefcase or get a nonmetallic belt clip that orients it away from your body.

Some studies have suggested a link between cellphone use and cancer, lower bone density and infertility in men. But other studies show no effect at all. Given the mixed messages and continuing research, Robert Kenny, a Federal Communications Commission spokesman, said in an e-mail, “As always, we will continue to study this issue and coordinate with our federal partners.”

The phone used in Dr. Volkow’s study was a Samsung Knack, model SCH-U310, a flip phone that was in wide use when she began planning her experiments two and half years ago. But today’s ubiquitous smartphones emit even more radiation as they transmit more, and more complex, data.

You can get an idea of the relative amounts of radiation various cellphone models emit by looking at their SAR, or Specific Absorption Rate. This number indicates how much radiation is absorbed by the body when using the handset at maximum power. A cellphone cannot be sold in the United States unless an F.C.C.-approved laboratory says its SAR is below 1.6 watts per kilogram. In Europe, the maximum is 2 watts per kilogram.

The SAR number is not displayed when you compare cellphones at your local wireless store, and trying to find it in the fine print of your user manual is an exercise in frustration. The F.C.C. maintains that SAR values “do not provide sufficient information” to reliably compare cellphone radiation emissions because certain phones might rarely operate at maximum power. Still, the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization, has a comprehensive list of the SAR values for most cellphones available from major carriers on its Web site. (For instance, the Apple iPhone 4 is listed at 1.17 watts per kilogram, the Motorola Droid at 1.5 and the LG Quantum at 0.35.)

But more important than looking for a low-SAR phone is how you use it. Many cellphones emit the most radiation when they initially establish contact with the cell tower, making their “digital handshake.” To reduce exposure it’s best to wait until after your call has been connected to put your cellphone next to your ear.

During the ensuing conversation, it’s advisable to tilt the phone away from your ear when you are talking and only bring it in close to your ear when you are listening. That bit of teeter-totter works because the emission of radiation is “significantly less when a cellphone is receiving signals than when it is transmitting,” said Lin Zhong, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice University in Houston.

Moreover, your cellphone emits less when you are stationary because when you are moving rapidly — say, in a car or train — it must repeatedly issue little bursts of radiation to make digital handshakes with different towers as it moves in and out of range. (More cause to hang up when you buckle up.)

Want another reason to complain about your carrier’s poor coverage? Any situation where your cellphone has a weak signal indicates it has to work harder and thus will emit more radiation. “Fewer bars means more radiation,” said Om Gandhi, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Inside buildings and elevators, in rural areas, the Grand Canyon — these are not good places to make a call if you’re trying to reduce your exposure to radiation.

Of course, parents using their iPhones to pacify cranky kids might want to reconsider rattles. Children’s developing brains and tissues are thought to be most vulnerable to cellphone radiation. Health authorities in Britain, France, Germany and Russia have all issued warnings against allowing small children to use cellphones for extended periods, if at all.

There are cellphone attachments that purport to shield users from radiation, and most are “hoaxes,” said Mr. Gandhi. Beware of pendants that sellers claim snatch radiation from the air. Pong Research offers a cellphone case for iPhones and BlackBerrys that it says has been shown by an F.C.C.-approved testing lab to redirect radiation from the phone’s antenna away from the head.

While the manufacturer says it reduces radiation more than 60 percent, some electrical engineering experts question whether the case may have the opposite effect at orientations where your head is in the way of the cell tower because your phone may have to increase its transmission strength somewhat to compensate for the redirected signal. The company disputes this. Nevertheless, the net effect of using the device throughout the course of the day may be a reduction in total exposure.

Texting, instead of talking, might be safer. “The whole trend toward texting instead of talking on cellphones is probably a good thing,” said Mr. Slesin at Microwave News.

That is, if you don’t rest your cellphone against your body while typing out your message.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

AT&T Buys T-Mobile

By the way, on AT&T's coverage map for our area, the coverage is rated as "Best," so now how could there be any need for this tower??

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NEW YORK (AFP) – AT&T said Sunday it had agreed to buy T-Mobile USA from Germany's Deutsche Telekom in a $39-billion blockbuster deal enabling it to overtake Verizon as the biggest US wireless provider.

The cash-and-stock deal, which needs regulatory approval, will give AT&T 34 million new customers and lift its annual wireless revenues to around $80 billion from $58.5 billion in 2010.

It will add to AT&T earnings in the third year after the deal closes, the company said, and help it compete with market leader Verizon.

"This transaction represents a major commitment to strengthen and expand critical infrastructure for our nation's future," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive.

"It will improve network quality, and it will bring advanced... capabilities to more than 294 million people.

"Mobile broadband networks drive economic opportunity everywhere, and they enable the expanding high-tech ecosystem that includes device makers, cloud and content providers, app developers, customers, and more."

According to data from comScore, AT&T held a 26.6% market share of US mobile subscribers in December 2010, while T-Mobile accounted for 12.2% of the market. Verizon, meanwhile, accounted for 31.3%.

The deal will give AT&T a big boost in its rivalry with Verizon, which recently started selling the Apple iPhone with an end to the AT&T monopoly.

Analysts said the deal also helps AT&T in the so-called 4G sector offering more advanced wireless services.

"AT&T has been under attack for not being able to match the network capacity of larger rival Verizon," said MG Siegler of the technology blog TechCrunch.

"And when they won the majority of the bids for the open spectrum in 2008, Verizon also had a clear path to the future. Now AT&T is taking another path: buying T-Mobile."

Deutsche Telekom's flamboyant former boss Ron Sommer bought Voicestream more than a decade ago at the height of the dotcom boom, re-branding it T-Mobile, but leaving the German firm struggling under a mountain of debt.

For years it was Deutsche Telekom's main growth-driver but in recent years a string of poor results gave rise to speculation that it wanted to put an end to its US adventure.

"This is a very very valuable deal for Deutsche Telekom. This is a good day," chief executive Rene Obermann said. "The proceeds will give us the financial firepower to finance our expansion plans in Europe."

Deutsche Telekom will get $25 billion in cash and $14 billion worth of shares, making the German firm AT&T's biggest minority shareholder with an eight-percent stake and a seat on the board, based on the current share price.

AT&T has the right to increase the portion of the purchase price paid in cash by up to $4.2 billion with a corresponding reduction in the stock component, Deutsche Telekom said.

The cash portion of the purchase price will be financed with new debt and cash on AT&T's balance sheet. AT&T has an 18-month commitment of $20 billion underwritten by JP Morgan.

Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin said that the deal will mean that high-speed mobile broadband will improve in quality and coverage, including, in the long run, in rural communities.

"The bad news: the cost of that service won't come down nearly as fast as customers would like, since AT&T and Verizon Wireless combined would own nearly three out of every four wireless subscriptions in the US," he said.

"While clearly troublesome for Sprint and other smaller mobile competitors, it's also bad news for cable operators, whose incipient mobility products will suffer in comparison to what AT&T and Verizon can offer."