10 arrested in nuclear power protest
March 29, 2006
By Daniel Barlow Rutland Herald
BRATTLEBORO — Ten people were arrested Tuesday for blocking the main entrance to Entergy Nuclear’s corporate offices during a protest to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.
The activists crowded themselves inside the glass vestibule leading into the company’s main Brattleboro office after covering the building perimeter with yellow police tape. Protesters referred to the area as “a crime scene” as they read a list of charges they believe should be brought against the owners of Vernon’s Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.
“If Entergy believes that Vermont Yankee is safe, then, damn it, they should prove it with an independent safety assessment,” Bill Pearson of Brattleboro said. “If the plant is safe, then fine. If not, we have stopped a possible catastrophe.”
Brattleboro Police arrived at the scene within 30 minutes. They asked protesters to leave the vestibule. When the protesters refused, the police parked patrol cars alongside the building and began arresting the activists one by one. The exchange was brief and cordial; several officers complimented the activists on the folk songs they sang.
Each of the 10 protesters was charged with misdemeanor counts of unlawful trespass and disorderly conduct, and was released several hours later on citations to appear in court at a later date.
Entergy spokesman Rob Williams had no comment.
Activists from Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire have targeted Entergy’s offices in recent months and the peaceful protests have resulted in dozens of arrests. Windham County State’s Attorney Dan Davis has dropped charges against previous protesters and has said he would review each case before bringing charges.
But Tuesday’s protest included the added symbolism of the partial core meltdown of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, which occurred March 28, 1979. Occurring seven years before the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Russia, the Three Mile Island accident is credited with changing public perception of nuclear power.
To mark the anniversary of the first nuclear accident on U.S. soil, about 30 protesters walked three miles from a downtown park to Entergy’s corporate offices on Old Ferry Road. They waved signs, banged on drums, strummed guitars and sang peace songs as they walked down traffic-heavy Putney Road.
Deb Katz, executive director of the anti-nuclear group of the Massachusetts-based Citizens Awareness Network, said she recalls canceling a trip to Albany, N.Y., for fear of radiological fallout in the days following the nuclear accident.
Now she lives fewer than five miles from the decommissioned Yankee Rowe power plant and 16 miles south of Vermont Yankee. She said nuclear power continues to worry her.
“We need to pray for all those that suffered and pray that we don’t join them,” Katz said.
The protest against nuclear power began noon Monday, as a small group gathered outside Entergy’s offices on Old Ferry Road in Brattleboro. [Sunny] Miller continued the vigil overnight on a small plot of grass near one of the company’s parking lots.
She said she kept warm in the 20-degree evening weather with heavy blankets, warm soup brought by friends and a lot of thinking. “I found it very helpful to sit and contemplate the problem,” Miller said. “And I thought of several new ways to continue our protests.”
Arrested Tuesday were: Eric A. Schickedanz, 40, of Guilford; Daniel H. Sicken, 64, of East Dummerston; Walter Schwartz, 79, of Brattleboro; Jane Newton, 74, of South Londonderry; Eric J. Wasileski, 33, of Erving, Mass.; Jonathan “Thomas” MacLean, 80, of Greenfield, Mass.; Thomas A. Wilson, 72, of Shelburne Falls, Mass.; Stephen H. Cobb, 43, of Turner Falls, Mass.; Sandra M. Streeter, 63, of Bernardston, Mass.; and Jon R. Ward, 45, of Gill, Mass.
Contact Daniel Barlow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See Nuke Notes for updates at http://www.traprockpeace.org/nuke_notes/
10 arrested at VY protest
By ANDY ROSEN, Reformer Staff
Wednesday, March 29
BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro Police arrested 10 protesters, including four Vermonters, near Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee headquarters on Tuesday during a second consecutive day of demonstration.
Walter Schwarz of Brattleboro, Eric Schickedanz of Guilford, Daniel Sicken of Dummerston, Jane Newton of Londonderry, Eric Wasileski of Erving, Mass., Jonathan Thomas MacLean of Greenfield, Mass., Thomas Wilson of Shelburne Falls, Mass., Stephen Cobb of Turners Falls, Mass., Sandra Streeter of Bernardston, Mass., and John Ward of Gill, Mass., were all arrested around 1 p.m. for failing to comply with officers and failing to remove themselves from private property. All 10 protesters were taken to the Brattleboro Police Department and released on citation to appear in court.
Recently, the state’s attorney’s office has dropped charges against people arrested at Vermont Yankee protests.
There was no indication Tuesday about how the office will handle these cases. A woman who answered the phone said nobody was available to comment. Reached at home, State’s Attorney Dan Davis said he had the day off and couldn’t speak about the arrests.
Many of those arrested had walked from downtown Brattleboro in a march organized to commemorate the 27th anniversary of a nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.