7 Bay Staters arrested at Vt. Yankee


BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) – Six women and one man – all from Massachusetts – were arrested Tuesday in the lobby of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant’s corporate offices as they tried to hand plant staff an “indictment” for putting “greed and lust for profit above the common good.”

It was the third arrest in the past six months at the nuclear plant for one of the women, Marcia Gagliardi, 58, of Athol, Mass., and she said several of the others arrested Tuesday had prior arrests as well.

Gagliardi said the group first went at 7 a.m. to the gates of Vermont’s lone nuclear plant in Vernon, where they hung a banner saying “Vermont Yankee: Weapon of Mass Destruction” over the granite Entergy Corp. sign that denotes the plant’s owner. They also made a sign saying “Danger Zone – Do Not Enter” and containing the radiation symbol.

Gagliardi said the participants in Tuesday’s protest were six of the seven members of the Shut It Down affinity group. The lone man, Harvey Schaktman, 62, of Buckland, Mass., is treasurer of another anti-nuclear group, the Citizen’s Awareness Network, but was asked to come along to videotape Tuesday’s protest, Gagliardi said.

After their stop at the reactor site in Vernon, the group went to Entergy’s offices in neighboring Brattleboro. Gagliardi said one of the women, Joanne Comerford, 42, of Florence, Mass., used the lobby phone and reached Louisiana-based Entergy’s top official at Vermont Yankee, Site Vice President Ted Sullivan.

Comerford said the group wished to deliver its “people’s indictment” and Sullivan told her he would send someone to meet the group, Gagliardi said. Brattleboro police soon arrived and arrested Gagliardi, Schaktman and Comerford, as well as four others: Francis Crowe, 87, of Northampton, Mass.; a woman whose full legal name is Dorthee, 77, of Wendall, Mass.; Harriet Nestel, 67, of Athol, Mass.; and Claire Chang, 49, of Sunderland, Mass.

The seven were given summonses to appear on trespassing charges at Vermont District Court for Windham County on July 11. Gagliardi said that when she was among groups of protesters arrested in December and April, the Windham County state’s attorney’s office ended up dropping the charges.

AP-ES-05-30-06 1844EDT