SOUTH OTSELIC – In 1988, the small South Otselic School District became embroiled in a heated battle with the state over the location of a low level radioactive waste facility. Now more than 20 years later, students are working to document the actions of the community and the role they played in preventing the facilities from being located in New York.
Students in Michael Foor-Pessin’s communications class started working on the project about three weeks ago. Foor-Pessin explained he decided to present the project to his students after talking with former school librarian Joyce Church. Church had been looking at a section of the school’s web site about the history of the area and couldn’t find any information about the radioactive waste facility or the protests that prevented it. “She wanted to know why there was no information on one of the most important things the school had done in recent history,” Foor-Pessin said. After giving it some thought, he decided to present it as a project for his communications class and see what skills they could take from it. Foor-Pessin teamed up with school librarian Sue LeBlanc who is helping with research and technology for the project.
In a statement released by the class, students explained that in 1988 areas in the towns of Otselic, Pharsalia, and Plymouth in Chenango County as well as Taylor in neighboring Cortland County were being examined as possible locations for low level radioactive waste sites. “Our ultimate research goal this semester is to conduct the necessary research so that we can produce a documentary film that chronicles the events as they unfolded,” the students said in the statement.