September 9, 2013

Cell tower signals change at Common Ground fair

Fair organizers say public pressure and safety demand better communication.

By Rachel Ohm rohm@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Spectators wait for sheepdogs to herd livestock at last year’s Common Ground Fair in Unity. This year, fairgoers will be able to text their observations, thanks to a large cellphone tower.

David Leaming/Morning Sentinel file photo

ABOUT COMMON GROUND FAIR

DATES: Sept. 20-22.

TIME: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

LOCATION: Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Fairgrounds, 294 Crosby Brook Road, Unity.

TICKETS: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, free for children 12 and younger, handicapped citizens and fair volunteers.

WEBSITE: mofga.org

PHONE: 568-4142.

FAIR ATTENDANCE 2012: Nearly 60,000 over three days.

LeCount said that a temporary cellphone tower doesn't pose some of the same concerns that a permanent tower would. However, he said, fair organizers are still trying to conceal the tower, which will be about 70 feet tall, by placing it behind a railroad car on the edge of the more-than-200-acre fairgrounds.

The temporary tower doesn't seem to be drawing the same controversy. Exhibitors and fairgoers said there is a definite need for increased communication.

"We don't have any objection. We appreciate that people are coming together and need to communicate while they are at the fair. It's a great event for people all across Maine to learn about important issues including environmental issues," said Emily Figdor, director of Environment Maine. "The need for people to communicate is important."

Ken Spalding, 61, a representative of RESTORE: The North Woods, has been attending the fair for the past 10 years. He said he enjoys how it brings a lot of things together that he is interested in, including environmental concerns booths, the food and the crafts tents.

"One thing in particular that I like about it are the things it does not have that other fairs have, like the midway with all the rip-off games and rides," said Spalding, who does not have a cellphone. "I like that they try to be healthy and organic and they stick to that. Whether a cellphone tower is a glitch in that philosophy, I don't know."

Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at:

rohm@mainetoday.com

 

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