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(IAAC) Fwd: Threat to Stellafane skies



Forgive me for forwarding a US-specific, non-deep-sky item to our list. But then
again, Stellafane truly is more an international event than merely a "Vermont
star party", and dark skies ARE near and dear to all our hearts here...
PS: I already phoned VT authorities to voice my Out-Of-Stater's concern! :)
Clear (dark) skies,
Lew Gramer
------- Forwarded Message
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 17:57:50 -0400 (EDT)
From: Dan Green <dgreen@cfa.harvard.edu>
To: nelpag@harvee.billerica.ma.us
Cc: green@cfa.harvard.edu
A "heads-up" on the pending crisis at Stellafane:
Feel free to forward this message as far as it will go...
***********************************************************
Dear Friend of Stellafane,
What follows is an article that I have written to try and discourage the Town of
Springfield from placing a Vermont State Prison 3 miles Southeast of Stellafane.
The town vote will take place on June 29th 1999.  Time is of the essence.
After my article you will find a list of contacts of persons or agencies
which may be able to influence this decision.
	Here is a 'laundry list' of possible arguments:
1) The spoiling of the natural tranquil beauty of the night sky - something 
which should be considered a natural resource.
2) The damage to the skies over Stellafane, reducing the viability of the 
Stellafane Conventions, and the year-round observatories at Stellafane 
(Both the Porter Turret and the superb new Schupmann Telescope)  Stellafane 
Observatory is a National Historic Landmark, and very few observatories in 
the United States have been granted  that distinction.
3) The loss of tourism that the dark skies of the Stellafane Convention 
draws to Springfield and the surrounding areas.
4) The devaluation of real property values associated with becoming a 
Prison Town.
5) The strain that a Prison will put on city services such as police and 
social services.
6) The likelihood that the only jobs produced will be relatively low 
paying.
7)  The reduced likelihood that high tech companies and their employees 
would want to relocate to a Prison Town
8) Occasional prison breaks and transport of prisoners will become business 
as usual.
9) That the leftover land for the Town Industrial Park is may be too 
contaminated from toxic waste to be desirable. The other monetary 
concessions and other perks to the town have various stipulations that 
cannot be guaranteed.
10) With only 6 months notice the Prison can be turned over to private 
enterprise that will have no leverage to obtain those concessions.
11) That the prison will be filled up almost immediately and agreement says 
the State will be allowed to expand the facility footprint "if the need for 
increased bed space emerges."
IF YOU ARE RECEIVING THIS AFTER THE JUNE 29th vote and THE PRISON WAS 
APPROVED....
Our Fallback Position is to argue that the Prison must be designed with the 
most modest full cut-off (FCO) lighting available to minimize the damage to 
the sky at such a close distance. (newest IESNA specs)
Thank you for your concern for Stellafane.
Sincerely,
Maryann Arrien
President, Stellafane
Maryann V. Arrien
President
The Springfield Telescope Makers
Telephone/Fax 914-528-7420
marrien@computer.net
http:/www.stellafane.com
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/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Prison Threatens Historic "House of the Stars"
By Maryann Arrien
President, "Stellafane"
Back in 1924 I'm sure that Russell W. Porter never figured that the shrine 
<Latin - Stellar "fane"> to the Stars that he was building might ever have 
a huge State Prison built just 3 miles away.  It has 3 telescopes built 
into the house. In 1930 the world famous Porter Turret Telescope was added 
to the observatory.
The present day members certainly didn't figure on a prison either when 
they undertook 7 years work to build the world largest operating Schupmann 
Telescope and housed it in the newly dedicated McGregor Observatory at 
Stellafane.  We still carry on Russell Porter's tradition with free 
telescope making courses at the Community Center in Springfield.
But let's talk about the big Convention. For the last 75 years, people from 
all over the world have been making the pilgrimage to Stellafane.  Last 
year attendance was over 2000 people.  Many of them brought additional 
family members who did not attend the convention, but certainly patronized 
countless businesses in the area.  They came from England. Australia. 
Europe. Japan. Canada. South America. From all over the United States.  The 
economic impact from all these visitors should not be underestimated.
Why do they come?
The sky is still dark and magnificent.  The history of the place is very 
significant.  It is the oldest and largest gathering of amateur telescope 
makers and amateur astronomers in North America.  In 1989 it was granted 
National Historic Landmark status by the US Department of the Interior. 
There are only two other places in Vermont that are of sufficient historic 
national importance that they have been raised to the level of Historic 
"Landmark."
According to David Levy, co-discoverer of the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 which 
crashed into Jupiter:
"There are over 100 major Star Parties around the world, but there is only 
one Stellafane."
I have no idea why some other kind of industry can't be enticed to come to 
Springfield that would be 'nicer' and less light polluting.
If anything like a Prison is built at a distance like that from Stellafane, 
the reflected light alone off the surfaces will be enough to severely harm 
the night sky.
If that happens I, and others all over the world, will mourn that the 
"Mecca" of the amateur telescope makers and astronomers will be diminished 
forever.
I hope that when the residents of Springfield make their decision on June 
29th, they will remember these pictures of the "House of the Stars" and the 
beautiful priceless History of Springfield that is enshrined and revered at 
Stellafane.
Stellafane Observatory has been here for 75 years and there's one important 
thing to remember - it's not portable.
						***
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
////////////////////////////////////////
CONTACT LIST FOR RESPONSES:
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
////////////////////////////////////////
tom.torti@state.vt.us
Commissioner Thomas W. Torti
State of Vermont
Dept of Building and General Services
2 Governor Aiken Avenue
Drawer 33
Montpelier, VT  05633-5802
Phone # 802-828-3314
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////
jim.richardson@state.vt.us
Jim Richardson
State Engineer
802-828-5642
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
//////////////////////////////////////////
khoyt@admin.state.vt.us
Kathleen C. Hoyt
Secretary
Agency of Administration
State of Vermont
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609-0201
Phone # 802-828-3519
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
//////////////////////////////////////////////////
johng@doc.state.vt.us
John F Gorczyk, Commissioner
CORRECTIONS, DEPARTMENT of (HUMAN SERVICES, AGENCY of)
103 South Main St
Waterbury VT 05671-1001
802-241-2442
Fax: 802-241-2565
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
////////////////////////////////////////////
*****
Fax 802-828-3339
(no e-mail - must print out and fax or send by snail mail)
Governor Howard B. Dean III
State of Vermont
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609-0201
Phone 802-828-3333
*****
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
/////////////////////////////////////////
Bernie@mail.house.gov
US Representative
Bernard Sanders
202-225-4115
802-862-0697
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
//////////////////////////////////////
vermont@jeffords.senate.gov
Senator Jim Jeffords
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
//////////////////////////////////////////////
Senator Patrick Leahy
no e-mail address
web link page to his e-mail
http://www.senate.gov/leahy/mail.html
U.S. Mail: Patrick Leahy
433 Russell Senate Office Building
United States Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510
Telephone: (202) 224-4242
Vermonters may call 1-800-642-3193
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
/////////////////////////////////////////////////
jdumville@dca.state.vt.us
John P. Dumville, Historic Sites
HISTORIC PRESERVATION, DIVISION for (HOUSING & COMMUNITY AFFAIRS, 
DEPARTMENT of)
National Life Building, Drawer 20
(National Life Bldg., 6th Floor)
Montpelier VT 05620-0501
802-828-3051
Fax # 802-828-3206
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
//////////////////////////////////////////////////
canute.dalmasse@anrmail.anr.state.vt.us
Canute Dalmasse, Commissioner
802-241-3808
Fax: 802-244-5141
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION, DEPARTMENT of (NATURAL RESOURCES, AGENCY of)
103 South Main St,
1 South Waterbury VT 05671-0401
802-241-3800 (main #)
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////
gdavis@vhs.state.vt.us
Gainor Davis, Director
VERMONT HISTORICAL SOCIETY
109 State St,
Montpelier VT 05609-0901
802-828-2291
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
e-mail list:
tom.torti@state.vt.us
jim.richardson@state.vt.us
khoyt@admin.state.vt.us
johng@doc.state.vt.us
Bernie@mail.house.gov
vermont@jeffords.senate.gov
jdumville@dca.state.vt.us
canute.dalmasse@anrmail.anr.state.vt.us
gdavis@vhs.state.vt.us
(please note that Governor Howard Dean would need to be sent a fax
& messages to Senator Leahy would have to be pasted in at 
http://www.senate.gov/leahy/mail.html)
	***
- ---------------------------------------------------------
Daniel W. E. Green                   [green@cfa.harvard.edu]
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Cambridge, MA  02138, U.S.A.
_______________________________________________
Nelpag maillist  -  Nelpag@harvee.billerica.ma.us
http://harvee.billerica.ma.us/mailman/listinfo/nelpag
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