November 1, 2010
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Albany: Cumberland Valley Transmissions in Hagerstown, Maryland has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for blasting loud rock music, conducting a loud motorcycle contest, and holding a car stereo competition—all in the name of raising money for a sick seven month-old child, who was subjected to the noise festival.
Michael Whitacre, born on March 3, 2010, has been diagnosed with congenital heart failure. Also, a vessel in his heart was nicked during a surgery, causing paralysis of his diaphragm. He is deaf in one ear and lacks full function of his hands. His medical bills are mounting.
On September 23, 2010, 500 to 600 people showed up at a thunderously loud fundraiser for Michael, sponsored by Cumberland Valley Transmissions. The Hagerstown Herald-Mailreported, “If you didn’t notice a sign about the fundraising event Sunday, it might have seemed like you were at a rock ‘n’ roll show. Loud rock music blared from the sound system from one of three bands scheduled to play at the event.” Other attractions included “a loud bikes contest and a car stereo competition, where judges rated the loudest car sound system.”
This is not the first time that Cumberland Valley Transmission has sponsored a noisefest. Their Facebook page features numerous references to “loudest pipes” contests and block parties with “lots of nice cars, trucks, and motorcycles.”
“Cumberland Valley Transmissions’ sponsorship of a noisefest in the name of helping a sick baby is truly stunning,” said Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director. “Noise is very harmful. It is especially damaging to babies and children. Michael Whitacre’s immune system was under attack during the noisefest. Michael Whitacre’s heart was under attack during the noisefest. Michael Whitacre’s hearing was under attack during the noisefest. Michael Whitacre’s brain development was under attack during the noisefest.”
Rueter also noted that Michael Whitacre’s parents acted irresponsibly: “What parent willingly and gleefully subjects their child to a hazardous situation? Bringing a sick seven month-old child to an event with blasting music, loud pipes, and powerful car stereos is grossly ignorant. Parents should protect their children, not place them in physical danger. Michael Whitacre’s parents are guilty of gross negligence.”
Years ago, Rueter observed, “few people took the correlation between health and second-hand smoke seriously. Millions of parents harmed their children by smoking around them. Now everyone knows that second-hand smoke is physically dangerous. The public needs to recognize that excessive noise is also extremely damaging. Noise should be restricted—not celebrated.”
Noise Free America is a national non-profit organization devoted to opposing noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Washington, DC; the Virginia General Assembly; and Richmond, Virginia.