No wifi or phones allowed

On the third morning in her St. Petersburg apartment, she woke with a harsh thumping in her chest: heart palpitations.

Within hours, it felt as if someone had tied a thick rubber band around her head. Then came nausea, fatigue, ringing in her left ear—an onslaught of maladies, all at once, and she had no idea why. “I was trying to come up with every excuse in the world for what was happening to me,” she says. “Moving is stressful, but the symptoms just kept piling on.”

In 2012, after a decade as the owner of a Connecticut catering company and an office worker in finance and construction, Grimes had gone to Florida to be a speaker for a public-policy group. A week or two into the job, whatever was afflicting her still wasn’t abating, and before long her speech became so jumbled that she couldn’t form a complete sentence in front of an audience.

She saw an internist, a neurologist, then a psychiatrist, and still had no explanation. “If we can’t test it,” one said, “it doesn’t exist.” Grimes started poking around online and soon remembered reading an article about the potentially deleterious health effects of the new “smart” electricity meters that were rolling out across the country. The devices send customers’ usage data back to the utility over wireless signals. Did her building have them?

She went outside to inspect the place and found no fewer than 17 of the meters strapped to the side of the building.

Grimes’s sleuthing didn’t end there. She went back online and found herself scrolling through tale after tale of people all over the world getting sick from the devices. And it wasn’t just smart meters. It turned out there was a whole community of people out there who called themselves “electrosensitives” and said they were suffering due to the electromagnetic frequencies that radiate wirelessly from cell phones, wi-fi networks, radio waves, and virtually every other modern technology that the rest of society now thinks of as indispensable.

The affliction has been dubbed “electromagnetic hypersensitivity,” or EHS, and it involves a textbook’s worth of ailments: headaches, nausea, insomnia, chest pains, disorientation, digestive difficulties, and so on. Mainstream medicine doesn’t recognize the syndrome, but the symptoms described everything Grimes was experiencing.

She went back to her doctors with her newfound evidence of EHS, relieved to have sorted out the mystery. But she got no sympathy. As she puts it, “They look at you like you have three heads.”

Grimes moved to a new building, then another, and six more times, but at each turn a smart-meter rollout wasn’t far behind. “I sat down there in Florida,” she says, “and just prayed to God: ‘Where is my way out?’ ”

Green Bank is hunkered down in the Alleghenies about four hours from DC. Because no cell or wi-fi service is allowed, the only way anyone just passing through can reach the rest of the world is by using the pay phone on the side of a road in town.
That’s when she heard about a little town called Green Bank, West Virginia.

In Green Bank, you can’t make a call on your cell phone, and you can’t text on it, either. Wireless internet is outlawed, as is Bluetooth. It’s a premodern place by design, devoid of the gadgets and technologies that define life today. And thanks to Uncle Sam, it will stay that way: The town is part of a federally mandated zone where a government high-tech facility’s needs come first. Wireless signals are verboten.

In electromagnetic terms, it’s the quietest place on Earth—blanketed by the kind of silence that’s golden to electrosensitives like Monique Grimes.

And as she discovered, it’s become a refuge for them.

Over the last few years, electrosensitives have flocked to the tech-free idyll in West Virginia, taking shelter beside cows and farms and fellow sufferers. Up here, no one would look at them as if they had three heads. Well, except for the locals, that is.

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J-Lo street

A New York fan is calling on “every J.Lover in the world” to support his effort

Just over 1,300 people agree that singer, dancer and actress Jennifer Lopez should have a street named after her–where else but the Bronx.

Bronx resident Edgardo Luis Rivera launched a Change.org petition calling for one of the blocks in Jenny-From-the-Block’s old borough to be named in her honor.

Rivera has called on “every J.Lover and fan in the world” to get the district and city councils to consider naming a street after the “Luh You Papi” singer. The New York Daily News reports that Rivera wants part of Blackrock Ave., close to J.Lo’s home growing up, to adopt Lopez’s name.

Rivera announced recently that actress Kristin Chenoweth is among the 1,300 “Jennifer Lopez Way” supporters, but no word yet from the city. According to the Daily News, the city council has been reluctant to name streets after still-living people, though exceptions have been made in the past.

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Sharing parking spaces

The French start-up Zenpark has just launched the first service of parking spaces sharing in France.

The idea is great and costs almost nothing to implement. Simply register online with Zenpark and wait to receive a personal remote control that will allow access to various partner parkings, whether public or private.

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To increase the availability of parkings, the company talks with administrations, hotels, companies that know their availability of parking and can therefore easily rent them to Zenpark. In Paris, a half-dozen car parks are already available.

The service was inaugurated on January 29th in Strasbourg and Paris and will spread to other urban areas of France … According to Zenpark, looking for a parking space is responsible for 30% of the car traffic in European cities, and 20% of the CO2 emissions!

Registration is free and a deposit of € 29 is required to send the remote. For the launch of the offer, the subscription price is 20 € / month for 5 days per week regardless of the parking location. Spaces are available for day (9h to 19h) or night time (19h30 to 8h30) or even the weekend.

You must reserve a space in advance, then open the door with the remote and park in one of the Zenpark reserved space. A win-win situation: drivers benefit from an increased availability of parking spaces at an affordable price, parking owners make money, and cities have more space in the streets!

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