- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

BANGOR, Wis. (AP) - The village siren in a small La Crosse County community has been sounding at least four times a day for decades.

Now the 1,470 residents of Bangor will decide in a referendum if the village should silence the long-standing tradition. The village board voted last week to hold an advisory referendum in April to decide whether to pass a resolution calling for the end of the non-emergency whistle blowing.

“I knew (the siren) was going to be a big deal, even though it shouldn’t be,” said village board member Amanda O’Heron. “Most people say it’s part of their daily routine.”

Last month, the village ended what was supposed to be a 90-day trial without the siren due to complaints after only nine days. Several residents who opposed the move contacted the board, saying they were upset that the tradition was being tampered with.

“Please consider the residents of a lifetime in Bangor,” Lorraine Fiet said in a letter last month. “I am among many who have expressed their wishes that the whistle continue to blow as it does presently.”



As of Thursday morning, administrator Shelly Miller had talked to 18 people who want the siren blasts to continue and only two who want them to stop, she told the Wisconsin State Journal (https://bit.ly/1zoa9rd ).

One resident who opposes the siren, Ellie Menezes, has previously complained about noise from leaf blowers. In her letter to the village board, she speculated whether a local man’s fatal heart attack was connected to the siren.

“The village whistle profoundly affects quality of life in our neighborhood,” Menezes wrote. “A community that values noise over the wellness of its residents is not on the road to improvement.”

Other residents chose not to take a stance on the issue.

“I can live with it, and I can live without it. It doesn’t bother me,” said village president Gary Althoff, who has lived in Bangor since 1960. “I’ve had a ton of people contact me. For the people in town, it’s a big issue.”

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, https://www.madison.com/wsj

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