Health Fraud Crusader, Wind Expert Eulogy, and Other Profiles

An activist against health fraud and a wind expert are among the people profiled in this regular feature.

| March/April 1981

  • 068 wind expert - martin jopp
    Wind expert Martin Jopp was one of the nation's most respected authorities on wind energy when he died in July 1980.
  • 068 boat builder - bob coe
    Washington state boat builder Bob Coe began making watercraft from natural wood in the late 1970s.

  • 068 wind expert - martin jopp
  • 068 boat builder - bob coe

The following profiles celebrate little-known MOTHER EARTH NEWS-type folks from all over.  

Dr. Stephen Barrett: Health Fraud Crusader

In 1989 Allentown, Pennsylvania psychiatrist Stephen Barrett formed the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud, Inc.... a non-profit organization that has exposed and publicized countless swindles. "Very few people realize how often or how skillfully they're being cheated," says Dr. Barrett. "My guess is that Americans are wasting $10 billion a year on questionable health practices."

According to Barrett—who has edited a book called The Health Robbers: How to Protect Your Money and Your Life ($12.95, George F. Stickley Co.) and co-authored a volume entitled Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions ($12.95, C.V. Mosby Co.)—some of the more common frauds have included sex aids, hair analyses, fad diets, and spot reducers. The way to eliminate such deception, stresses the doctor, is to increase public awareness of the problem and solicit support for stricter healthcare laws. — Maury M. Breecher.  

Martin Jopp: Wind Expert Eulogy

In July of 1980 Martin Jopp—one of the nation's most respected authorities on wind energy—passed away. Martin began producing wind-powered generators during the 1930's ... and when America's two largest manufacturers of wind equipment—Jacobs Wind Electric and the Wincharger Corporation—went out of business in the 1950's, Jopp promptly bought up the majority of the companies' machinery and incorporated it into his own shop.

People from all over the country contacted the wind pioneer for parts and advice. In fact, folks often made "pilgrimages" to Martin's home (outside of Princeton, Minnesota) to observe the ingenious setup that still remains on his property today: Electricity is supplied by two 3,000-watt wind plants, which can be monitored by a battery-bank control panel that provides such information as the speed of the wind, its direction, and the number of watts and volts being produced. In addition, convertors switch the generators' current from DC to AC, and a circuit-breaker system allows only half the batteries in the bank to be charged when the wind is low.

Just over three years ago, Jopp was honored by Minnesota's former governor, Rudy Perpich when the statesman pronounced August 27, 1977 to be "Martin Jopp Day." The declaration was a way of giving thanks (that we should all share in) for Martin's many contributions to the development of energy alternatives and a tribute to "his genius, his warmth, and his foresight in realizing that energy is a precious gift to be cherished".— Joel Stottrup.  

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