As a town resident, registered voter, and Wood School parent, I am deeply concerned that our School Committee has dismissed requests to hear comments and concerns from residents regarding the documented health risks from Industrial wind turbines that will soon be 2,100 feet from the Wood School.
According to Chairperson Pam Kuechler in response to my request on 12/21 once again to be on the agenda regarding a discussion and presentation on the wind turbines, she states, “While I appreciate your concern related to the wind turbine project, the School Committee does not hold jurisdiction over the project, making it separate from the turbine project.”
Is it necessary to determine how jurisdiction has any relevance to the need to hear information, questions, concerns, and fears from parents whose children go to Wood School and live in the vicinity? As the town voted on the new school to be built at the Wood site a week before public news of the turbines, this project also now has more relevance to Rogers School parents who will be sending their children to the new building.
As Ms. Kuechler continues in her 12/23/11 e-mail to me: “Once the information from the forums is gathered, and after any meeting we determine necessary with either the Board of Health or the Selectmen takes place we will determine whether the item will be added to the agenda at one of our meetings. I am presently awaiting notification about the date of the forum that the developer will be a part of. The issues as you raise them appear to be best addressed by those who have the expertise to answer them, and I believe that the forum will be that place. In the meantime we will continue to gather the information and will analyze it all to make the best decisions as they relate to providing the best possible education to our children in a healthy and safe environment. Once those steps are taken, if we put it on the agenda it will be posted both on the website and at town hall.”
Ms. Kuechler makes it sound as if we have the luxury of time to let all of this fall into place. The pouring of concrete for the turbine footings is scheduled for Jan. 17 and the turbines are expected shortly thereafter. She states, “The issues as you raise them appear to be best addressed by those who have the expertise to answer them, and I believe the forum is that place.” Well, one of my questions is (and was at the 12/14 SC meeting), “Why weren’t the residents told about turbines before the new school vote?” I don’t believe Ms. Kuechler or Superintendent Baldwin will expect the turbine developers to answer that at the forum.
And has anyone heard about a date or time for a public forum yet? Mike Silvia, chair of the Select Board, stated that the developers would “be happy” to talk to people at a forum back at a recent selectmen’s meeting. I probably don’t need to explain the insult to the public’s intelligence here, as stated before regarding the health and safety information we are being given. Asking the developer whether 400-foot Industrial wind turbines are safe or pose any health risks is like asking the tobacco company if cigarettes are safe.
Well, for those of you who have questions or concerns regarding health and safety risks of IWT’s near the Wood School, the next School Committee meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the high school library. If you sign in just before the start of the meeting, you will be given three minutes to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting. This might be all the attention we will get from them. It seems unlikely that all the “steps” outlined by Ms. Kuechler will be done in time for the School Committee to consider putting this topic on the meeting agenda.
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