SHUT IT DOWN BRINGS HEALTH FACTS TO ENTERGY HEADQUARTERS

BRATTLEBORO, Vermont—Carrying facts about the dangers of radiation and nuclear power and attired as medical professionals, women of the Shut It Down Affinity Group appeared at Entergy headquarters Monday to alert officials to the necessity of closing their Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.

Brattleboro police commanded by Lieutenant Robert Kirkpatrick arrested eight women when Entergy’s Larry Smith, a public relations officer, contacted police to have the women removed from the premises. When the women refused to leave, Lieutenant Kirkpatrick and his detail booked the women for unlawful trespass. They are scheduled for arraignment July 17.

Shut It Downers compiled eleven health facts outlining radiation dangers from the nuclear power plant based on official scientific studies. They read their list aloud in the vestibule of Entergy headquarters when their attempt to enter the building failed. In case Entergy officials were unaware of their presence in the vestibule, the women blew whistles and shouted to attract the attention of those inside the building.

An Entergy staffer appeared inside the door when the women called “Health emergency” to ask if anyone needed an ambulance. The women assured him that that was not necessary at the moment but that if Vermont Yankee has a nuclear accident, ambulances will be necessary.

Paki Wieland of Northampton, Massachusetts, one of the Shut It Downers, shouted to Entergy officials that the health emergency was exigent and ongoing and it is necessary for the power plant to be closed immediately to avoid another Fukushima-like disaster.

Earlier in the day, the women distributed the health facts in downtown Brattleboro. Each wore a sign with one of the facts.

Those arrested were, all from Massachusetts, Hattie Nestel and Marcia Gagliardi of Athol; Nancy First, Connie Harvard, Susan Lantz, and Wieland of Northampton; Ellen Graves of West Springfield; Priscilla Lynch of Colrain. Supporters, also from Massachusetts, were Judy Wolter of Northfield and Sherrill Hogen of Conway with Julie Levy of Wethersfield.

The health facts they distributed are:

There is no “safe” dose of radiation —Beyond Nuclear

 

  • Women/children 37-50% more vulnerable to radiation —US National Academy of Sciences
  • A 27.5% higher death rate from cancer for Nuclear plant workers than general population —Radiation Research 4/2007, ”The 15-Country Collaborative Study of Cancer Risk among Radiation Workers in the Nuclear Industry: Estimates of Radiation-Related Cancer Risks”
  • 14,000 people may die every year of radiation-induced cancers. —New York Times, 3/28/10, Gardiner Harris
  • 5 near “misses” in 2011 occurred at Entergy nuclear power plants —Union of Concerned Scientists 2/28/12
  • Radioactive Tuna arrives in California from Fukushima —Beyond Nuclear
  • Fukushima Fuel Pool #4 still threatens Planet Earth.
  • Navajos living near uranium mine tailings have higher rates of cancer —Eastern Navajo Diversity Against Uranium Mining, Beyond Nuclear)
  • Radioactive Emissions spike during refueling period —International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War in Germany 9/2011
  • Childhood leukemia occurs at 117% higher rates in children living within 5 kilometers of a nuclear power plant than the general populace —International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War in Germany and the ‘International Journal of Cancer’ 1/2012)
  • 16% rise in death rate due to breast cancer in Windham County, VT between 1989-2001 as versus a 17% drop in rest of VT —Vermont Department of Health

Photos by Marcia Gagliardi

Arresting Officer Lieutenant Robert Kirkpatrick of Brattleboro police, Connie Harvard, Hattie Nestel, Ellen Graves, Paki Wieland, Priscilla Lynch, Susan Lantz, unidentified Brattleboro police officer
Arresting Officer Lieutenant Robert Kirkpatrick of Brattleboro police, Connie Harvard, Hattie Nestel, Ellen Graves, Paki Wieland, Priscilla Lynch, Susan Lantz, unidentified Brattleboro police officer

 

Connie Harvard, left, and Nancy First leafleting in downtown Brattleboro
Connie Harvard, left, and Nancy First leafleting in downtown Brattleboro
 Hattie Nestel, Connie Harvard, Susan Lantz, Ellen Graves, Paki Wieland, Priscilla Lynch, and Nancy First, from left, read health facts in the Entergy headquarters vestibule
Hattie Nestel, Connie Harvard, Susan Lantz, Ellen Graves, Paki Wieland, Priscilla Lynch, and Nancy First, from left, read health facts in the Entergy headquarters vestibule

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VERMONT SCHEDULES TRIAL FOR WOMEN WHO WANT TO SHUT DOWN VERMONT YANKEE

The State of Vermont has scheduled a trial the week after Thanksgiving for civil resistance at Entergy Corporation’s Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. The actions of six women arrested August 30, 2011 for unlawful trespass when they padlocked the main gate will be weighed by a jury beginning November 27.

The state’s action represents the first time that anyone has been brought to trial in seven years of demonstrations at the Vernon nuclear power plant.

All part of the Shut It Down Affinity Group arrested 22 times for trespass or unlawful mischief at the Vernon nuclear facility, the six women acted in the immediate wake of Hurricane Irene and a then recent earthquake to demonstrate the imminent danger posed by a potential meltdown at the nuclear plant.

The women face penalties for unlawfull trespass, if convicted, of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $500 each. The women say they were obliged to lock the power plant gates because the catastrophe from a nuclear accident at Vermont Yankee would far exceed the individual burdens they may face if found guilty of trespass at the plant.

Those to be tried are Frances Crowe, 92, Paki Wieland, 68, and Nancy First, 81, of Northampton, Massachusetts; Betsy Corner, 64, of Colrain, Massachusetts; Ellen Graves, 69, of West Springfield, Massachusetts; and Hattie Nestel, 73, of Athol, Massachusetts.

Supporting the group during their action were Marcia Gagliardi, 63, of Athol; Mary-Ann Palmieri, 73, of New Salem, Massachusetts, and Sandra Boston, 71, of Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Assistant State’s Attorney Steven Brown will prosecute the women. A spokesman for the clerk of the superior court criminal division said that jury selection will occur Monday, November 26, followed by the trial November 27 and 28.

Only Crowe has previously faced a trial, despite the women’s 22 actions. Her case involving charges of unlawful mischief were dismissed by the judge when she maintained that she was not mischievous but instead acting seriously and responsibly with concern for potential consequences of a meltdown at Vermont Yankee.

During the August 30, 2011 incident, the women carried a banner reading, “VY Pollutes All / Shut It Down.”

The six, all from Massachusetts, expressed concern that pollution in the Connecticut River affects them more than Vermonters because the plant’s location in Vernon is just over the border. Massachusetts elected officials at all levels have expressed worry about Vermont Yankee’s radioactive discharges and record of leaks and maintenance failures.

Further, said Nestel, Vermont Yankee irresponsibly and untruthfully represents itself as clean, safe, and green. “Vermont Yankee leaks radioactive pollutants into the environment,” Nestel said. “The nuclear power plant poses profound risks to citizens of Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York in the event of a nuclear accident like the meltdown like Fukushima. It is hardly green: its every process relies on damaging the environment by exploiting minerals and fossil fuels with considerable carbon discharge into the environment.

“Recent earthquakes, hurricanes, and flooding are the canary in the mine warning us that future disasters can result from vulnerabilities of this nuclear power plant built according to exact specifications of reactors at Fukushima,” Nestel continued.

The group presented a statement to Vermont Yankee personnel:

“Tritium leaking into the Connecticut River from Vermont Yankee. Strontium-90 found in Connecticut River fish not far from Vermont Yankee. Earthquake detectors failing to register during a 5.8 earthquake. Floods. What more do we need to shut down Vermont Yankee? Another Fukushima? Shut it down now.”

Photos by Mary-Ann DeVita Palmieri:

Chief Mary Beth Hebert of the Vernon Police Department arrives at Vermont Yankee in Vernon to arrest women who have locked the nuclear power plant gate on August 30, 2011; the women are, from left, Nancy First, Ellen Graves, Frances Crowe, Hattie Nestel, Betsy Corner, and Paki Wieland.
Chief Mary Beth Hebert of the Vernon Police Department arrives at Vermont Yankee in Vernon to arrest women who have locked the nuclear power plant gate on August 30, 2011; the women are, from left, Nancy First, Ellen Graves, Frances Crowe, Hattie Nestel, Betsy Corner, and Paki Wieland.

 

The locked Vermont Yankee gate.
The locked Vermont Yankee gate.

HELEN CALDICOTT APPLAUDS SHUT IT DOWN AFFINITY GROUP’S EFFORTS TO SHUT DOWN VERMONT YANKEE

NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts—Applauding continuing actions of the Shut It Down Affinity Group to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont, Dr. Helen Caldicott of Australia had lunch with Shut It Downers on Sunday, March 24, before exhorting an audience of 200 in First Churches to close all nuclear power plants for good. Convening at the home of Frances Crowe, Shut It Downers, Chiho Kaneko whose parents live in Japan near the Fukushima meltdowns, and Dr. Caldicott discussed the urgency of ending Vermont Yankee’s operation with its radioactive leaks, age-compromised structures, and a 40-year-old Mark I General Electric boiling water nuclear reactor of the same design as those that melted down at Fukushima.

Radioactivity from nuclear power plants causes cancers, Dr. Caldicott said, and no dose of radiation is without potential health consequences.

With associated activists, Dr. Caldicott, a pediatrician who studied at Harvard University halted nuclear weapons tests over and near Australia in the 1970s. Crowe’s husband, Dr. Thomas Crowe, was a lifelong activist with the international antinuclear organization, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Dr. Caldicott was energetic president of PSR for many years.

The Shut It Down Affinity Group embraces some thirty women who, since 2005, have devoted themselves to creative civil resistance to shut down the Vermont Yankee Nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont. Shut It Downers have been arrested some twenty-five times at the power plant or its headquarters, and members of the larger antinuclear community recently paid more than $3,000 in fines levied on six of the women convicted of unlawful trespass at the nuclear plant in August, 2011.

Back row L to R: Nancy First, Hattie Nestel, Paki Wieland, Linda Pon Owens, Susan Lantz, Anneke Corbett, Priscilla Lynch, Mary-Ann DeVita Palmieri, and Marcia Gagliardi.  Front row L to R: Chiho Kaneko, Dr. Helen Caldicott, Frances Crowe, and Ellen Graves.  Crowe, First, Lantz, and Wieland are from Northampton; Corbett is from Florence; Nestel and Gagliardi are from Athol; Lynch is from Colrain; Graves is from West Springfield; Owens is from Brattleboro, Vermont.
Back row L to R: Nancy First, Hattie Nestel, Paki Wieland, Linda Pon Owens, Susan Lantz, Anneke Corbett, Priscilla Lynch, Mary-Ann DeVita Palmieri, and Marcia Gagliardi.
Front row L to R: Chiho Kaneko, Dr. Helen Caldicott, Frances Crowe, and Ellen Graves.
Crowe, First, Lantz, and Wieland are from Northampton; Corbett is from Florence; Nestel and Gagliardi are from Athol; Lynch is from Colrain; Graves is from West Springfield; Owens is from Brattleboro, Vermont.

A statement from the Shut It Down Affinity Group during the week of April 15-22, 2013 on the 50th anniversary of the Letter from the Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are here today, on the 50th anniversary of the letter from Birmingham Jail, the manifesto of Martin Luther King, Jr. as he invoked the necessity of repeated resistance to the evils surrounding him.

We are surrounded by the evils of Vermont Yankee: the invisible evils of radiation, stored spent fuel rods, leaks of radioactive isotopes into groundwater and arable soil of the beautiful countryside, leaks of radioactivity into the air we breathe.

We are here because of dangers caused by the repeated injustices of the lies perpetrated by Vermont Yankee’s corporate owners and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that protects them.

Entergy, Vermont Yankee’s corporate owner, perpetrates daily, constant, and dangerous injustice here at this nuclear power plant.

We are here in the spirit of nonviolence and imminent warning to Shut Down Vermont Yankee because of Entergy’s corporate greed at the expense of all living things.

As Dr. King said in his letter from Birmingham jail to colleagues in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, “I am here because injustice is here.”

We are here because injustice is here: the government protects corporations. Individuals are expendable. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission itself acknowledges the collateral damage of any nuclear power plant as at least 1 death per 257 persons.

We do not want our friends, neighbors, families, nor ourselves to be collateral damage.

Shut Down Vermont Yankee now!

CONTINUING PROTESTS AT VERMONT YANKEE, APRIL 15-22

Shut It Down Affinity Group actions in the week of April 15-22.

Shut It Down Affinity Group held actions daily at Vermont Yankee in the week of April 15-22. In small groups of 2, 3 or 4 women, they walked onto Yankee property and read statements at the inside gate before being arrested by Vernon police. Organizers chose this week in order to honor the 50th aniversary of Martin Luther King., Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” on the necessity of repeated resistance to evil. You can see a photo a read about each day here: www.evacuationplans.org/

NAMING OUR POWER

NAMING OUR POWER with featured Artist María Luisa Arroyo
An intergenerational event that brings together girls and women of all ages
Saturday Feb 15, 2-4pm Easthampton

Poet Maria Luisa Arroyo Joins Mothers and Daughters

Saturday Feb 15, 2-4pm Easthampton

NAMING OUR POWER with featured Artist María Luisa Arroyo is an intergenerational event that brings together girls and women of all ages.

The group will hear the poetry of Maria Luisa Arroyo and have a chance to write poetry on their own. Her poem, “Tell Me the Story of Your Name,” will be a source of inspiration for participants to identify the story of their own names.

You may have heard her share her poetry at First Night in Northampton.

All are welcome at this time of intergenerational sharing which will be held at:

Valley Women’s Martial Arts: Institute for Healing and Violence-Prevention Strategies.
One Cottage St. #319, (Button Factory)
Easthampton, MA 01027
#413-527-0101
www.vwma.org

Please bring a notebook and pen. Wheelchair accessible. Suggested donation: $5 but no one turned away. Women of all ages, fathers and brothers — all welcome. This is an opportunity for mothers and daughters, but they’ll be just one of the types of people attending.

María Luisa Arroyo is the author of Gathering Words: Recogiendo Palabras. She is an award-winning multilingual Puerto Rican poet and educator. Her poems have been published in many journals, including in the anthology, Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence. Educated at Colby, Tufts, and Harvard in German Language and Literature, María Luisa has performed widely, including in Chicago, DC, and Puerto Rico.

Janet Aalfs, artistic director of VWMA/HAVPS, will join with students to offer poems delivered as part of a movement meditation.

Sarah Pirtle, will share information about this series, called Peace Net for Girls and Women Building Peace.

For more information contact her at pirtle22@hotmail.com.

Where to park: There’s a mini-mall across the street from the Button Factory. Valley Women’s Martial Arts is on the third floor, on the side overlooking the water. As you walk toward the back, turn right at the bulletin board and go to the last room.

Peacemaker Awards – May 15 at 7:00, GCC

14th Annual Awards by the Interfaith Council of Franklin County and Traprock Center for Peace and Justice.
Nomination forms are due April 4, 2014.
Awards presentation – Thursday, May 15, 7 p.m. GCC

14th Annual Awards by the Interfaith Council of Franklin County and Traprock Center for Peace and Justice

Help us honor the peacemakers
Nominate a Franklin county teen who has worked toward justice and peace in our communities or the larger world

For a Flyer about this event click here
For a Nomination form click here

Nomination forms are due April 4, 2014

Awards presentation – Thursday, May 15, 7 p.m. GCC

For more information on our Young Peacemakers Program click here