Letter Box

Wednesday November 14, 2012

Newfane needs cell service

Editor of the Reformer:

I write in support of improving wireless networks in Newfane and the surrounding communities. Residents and businesses throughout the area, including me, need to have a stronger, more reliable wireless network with fewer dropped calls. In a community like Newfane improved cell phone connectivity is absolutely essential to keep us connected.

While some may worry that the radiofrequency emissions will harm the health of nearby residents, with a particular concern for children, countless scientific studies have been conducted worldwide and these concerns have long been laid to rest.

The Federal Communications Commission has ruled that local governments may not deny a permit on the basis of health concerns so long as the equipment meets federal standards.

Bad cell phone service makes us less competitive. It’s harder to do business here. We spend millions of dollars promoting tourism but our guests can’t use their cell phones in our state. And, there are also security concerns. People want to be able to call for help.

I love living in Newfane but I want to be able to use my cell phone.

Martin Cohn,

Brattleboro, Nov. 9

Let’s have a real plan in place

Editor of the Reformer:

I am writing to share my response to the article, "Forty Years and still not right" from the front page of the Reformer, Tuesday, Oct. 16. As a father, a healthcare professional and a young man who has lived in Brattleboro for more than a decade, I am, quite frankly, made to feel less than comfortable when I consider the implications of there being anything less than a feasible and fully funded plan, and and organization capable of carrying out such a plan, with respect to being prepared for the worst possible outcome at our local nuclear power plant.

Put very simply, I was raised to "hope for the best and plan for the worst," and I expect anyone charged with protecting my family to do the same. Let me be very clear in stating that I am not a protester by nature, and I work with, and for, some excellent individuals who are employed at this facility, and I bear these individuals no malice or ill will. As a businessperson, it seems quite reasonable to expect that the entity responsible for managing the risks of operating such a business, and reaping profits on such a risk, would also be held responsible, financially and otherwise, for being prepared to protect the local populace from a worst possible outcome, and offer a means of temporary survival should such an event occur. I have yet to be made aware of a feasible, funded plan, an organization capable of carrying out such a plan, that deserves my full confidence. As a result, I am left feeling uncomfortable, and wondering who will shelter and feed my daughter, should the place that I consider home suddenly become a fallout zone.

Let’s be responsible adults, and instead of standing on the street with a sign and shouting, let’s learn about the political process and play by the rules, and use our voices and our time and resources to become an integral part of demanding and developing such a plan. I hate to break it to you, but the power plant is not going anywhere any time soon. So, let us work effectively to obtain feasible outcomes, as opposed to garnering attention by making scenes that, at the end of the day, have accomplished nothing that can be documented. In short, let’s face reality and get involved. There is a lot of real work to be done; who will take responsibility? Who will earn the respect of the common person? Thank you for taking the time to hear my concerns.

Nicholas Gangel,


and Contoocook, N.H., Oct. 16

VY’s radioactivity a concern

Editor of the Reformer:

Bob Audette’s nine-part series on emergency planning in the Vermont Yankee evacuation zone was both informative and disturbing. The article on Oct. 23, however, quoted some misleading information about the containment of nuclear materials at the nuclear power plant. The article quotes Neil Sheehan of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, saying, "There are barriers between the fuel and the environment, including the cladding around the fuel pellets, the reactor cooling system and the containment building."

The spent fuel pools represent a major risk to this region. These pools contain more radioactivity than the reactor cores. The spent fuel pools at U.S. nuclear plants are outside of the reactor containment structures. In other words we are are storing vast quantities of nuclear "spent" fuel in highly vulnerable pools that must be continuously bathed in cooling water circulated by electrical pumps that run on electricity from "un-interruptible" power supplies.

Further quotes in the article from the NRC’s State-of-the-Art Reactor Consequences Analyses study are tantamount to quoting a Wall Street risk analysis of innovative real estate investments prior to 2008. It might have been helpful to note that Yankee is currently storing all of its "spent" fuel from the last 40 years on site.

The ongoing accidents in Fukushima were not actually caused by the tsunami. They were caused -- according to the Japanese legislature -- by failure to heed warnings and collusion between industry and government. The interruption of electrical power to the spent fuel pools led to major -- and ongoing -- radiation releases. Anyone who tells you that humans are capable of building something that is "un-interruptible" has not been paying attention to nature, war, terror or human fallibility.

The explosions that took place in Fukushima were caused by a build up of hydrogen gasses that resulted from the overheating and melting of the "spent" fuel. Explosions can happen. Why isn’t the spent fuel being transferred to dry casks at a faster rate?

I appreciate the Reformer’s attempt to keep this extremely important topic in the public mind. However, when misinformation -- or missing information -- is part of the attempt, no one is served. Vermont Yankee has the ability to completely undo the economy and culture of this tri-state region, and beyond.

Andy Davis,

Brattleboro, Nov. 6

On Co-op
union effort

Editor of the Reformer:

It’s wonderful to hear that some of the workers at the Brattleboro Food Co-Op are wanting to join a union. It is my understanding that the Brattleboro Firefighters, Brattleboro Police, Brattleboro Maintenance and Custodial Workers, Vermont Public School Teachers, Vermont State Workers and Vermont State Troopers all belong to unions.

I like beginning of the Declaration of Independence which states: "When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary ..." And I’m guessing for some of you it has become "necessary" to seek out another way of communicating with management, having grievances addressed, etc.

As a shareholder in the Brattleboro Food Co-Op, I wish you good luck in your efforts.

Eva Mondon,

Putney, Nov. 8

How about moderation?

Editor of the Reformer:

Regarding Brent Regan’s letter in the Nov. 6 Reformer titled "Climate Change: what can you do?" -- he suggests change your diet to soy. He hails all of the products associated with soy and promotes it as an antidote to the global warming effects of meat production.

I have another slant on this. I grew up in Paraguay, in an Eden of forest and prairie. Macaws, monkeys, tapirs, butterflies -- an absolute paradise of diverse habitat and wildlife. A friend recently told me about his visit there about 20 years ago. He described a vista of soybean fields from horizon to horizon, with nary a tree in sight. Native workers having to buy firewood from elsewhere. No birds, butterflies, or wild animals in the jungle. Nothing but soybean fields.

Soy is not a carbon sequestrator. I would guess that the amount of carbon-based energy used in growing these vast amounts of soy, never mind the implications of destruction of habitat, would end the argument of soy vs. cattle, at least from the greenhouse emissions point of view. We need better alternatives than Brent suggests -- maybe "moderation in all things?"

Rick Barron,

Halifax, Nov. 7


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