by Ed Runyan

Youngstown Vindicator

May 15, 2007

WARREN — Is a point being made about living here, or is it just more noise?

Warren joins the state of Alabama, city of Madison, Wis., airport terminals and grocery stores as the latest target of a national organization called Noise Free America.

Noise Free America, based in Madison, Wis., has awarded Warren the “Noisy Dozen” award for this month. It awards the distinction on a monthly basis.

Noise Free, which says on its Web site that it has chapters in Cleveland and Youngstown, also gave the Noisy Dozen award to Youngstown two times since 2002. Other communities singled out over the years include Pulaski, Va.; Savannah, Ga.; and Kokomo, Ind.

Noise Free,, states that it is dedicated to fighting noise pollution, especially from boom cars, car alarms, leaf blowers and motorcycles.

Warren resident Robert Carillo says in a news release from the organization that Warren suffers from noises from semi trucks, car radios, motorcycles, failing vehicle exhaust systems and devices such as gas-powered leaf blowers and trimmers.

Carillo could not be reached to comment.

But the organization said that Carillo has attempted to talk to city officials about the noise problem but that council members rarely return phone calls. Carillo is quoted as saying the Warren Police Department isn’t doing enough to stop the problem. He called for a comprehensive solution, including training, education, stake-outs, citizen involvement and stiff penalties.

Official’s response

Doug Franklin, city safety director, said he has been talking with Carillo about noise for quite some time, but had not been able to “go to the next step” on the problem.

Franklin said the city has been trying to solve the noise problem and has taken some steps.

Franklin said he gave information about a device called a noise meter to the city’s two municipal court judges, to see whether the devices could be used in court as evidence of a noise violation.

The judges are still studying the issue, Franklin said.

The police department also has one of the devices in its possession and has been testing it, he added.

The city has a noise ordinance but has had difficulty getting convictions because it relies on the testimony of officers on what qualifies as a noise violation, Franklin said. The devices should provide scientific evidence of the violation, he said.

Noise Free America’s director, Ted Rueter, stated that “what’s happening in Warren is happening all across the country. Noise levels are escalating, local officials are not acting, and a community’s quality of life is deteriorating. It is time that police and elected officials in Warren strictly enforce the noise ordinances. Otherwise, the cycle of noise and social decline will continue.”

Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Pioneer Electronics, Muzak and Harley-Davidson.