Wendell’s No Assault & Batteries to host speakers on proposed battery storage facility

No Assault & Batteries, a local group formed last year in opposition to a proposed battery storage facility, is teaming up with the Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse to host a community dinner and reception on Saturday.

No Assault & Batteries, a local group formed last year in opposition to a proposed battery storage facility, is teaming up with the Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse to host a community dinner and reception on Saturday. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Jerry Barilla, a Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse volunteer and former board member, and current member Debbie Lynangale view enlarged copies of the Wendell Post that are on display at the Wendell Meetinghouse. The enlarged front pages will be available for viewing on Saturday at the reception and community dinner planned by the Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse and No Assault & Batteries, a local group formed last year in opposition to a proposed battery storage facility.

Jerry Barilla, a Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse volunteer and former board member, and current member Debbie Lynangale view enlarged copies of the Wendell Post that are on display at the Wendell Meetinghouse. The enlarged front pages will be available for viewing on Saturday at the reception and community dinner planned by the Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse and No Assault & Batteries, a local group formed last year in opposition to a proposed battery storage facility. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 02-15-2024 3:45 PM

WENDELL — A local group formed last year in opposition to a proposed battery storage facility is teaming up with the Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse to host a reception and community dinner on Saturday.

No Assault & Batteries is collaborating with the Friends for an evening of educational speakers, music and the current exhibit of 40 enlarged front pages of the now-defunct volunteer Wendell Post newspaper. The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.

Attendees are asked to RSVP at tinyurl.com/WendellRSVP. A suggested donation will be requested to cover the cost of the event and support the work of No Assault & Batteries and the Meetinghouse.

The event will be emceed by Court Dorsey, Wendell Meetinghouse president, who will play his song, “So Say the Green Green Trees.”

“Community potluck dinners have been a tradition in Wendell, one that was interrupted by COVID,” Dorsey said in a statement, “but we are reviving that tradition to relieve the cabin fever of February, and to educate ourselves about this proposed project that threatens this forested jewel of Franklin County.”

No Assault & Batteries formed last year as a citizens committee working against the 105-megawatt battery storage facility proposed by Lowell-based New Leaf Energy, a standalone business of Borrego Energy. The idea is to construct a facility at 68 Wendell Depot Road, which New Leaf Energy’s project website states is sited strategically adjacent to existing electrical infrastructure and is an optimal location for new energy infrastructure. But members of the group say the project would disturb 50 acres of forest and clear-cut 11.1 acres to install 25-foot walls and constant air conditioning to protect 786 lithium-ion batteries.

Due to the noise disruption to wildlife, the Wendell Conservation Commission refused to permit the project. In January 2023, however, New Leaf applied to the state Department of Public Utilities for a permit to proceed.

Saturday’s open reception will feature music by The Leftovers as well as finger foods, wine and beer, and free time to view the enlarged and mounted front pages of the Wendell Post, which was published from 1977 to 2001. The reception will be followed by a community dinner, a nature tribute musical meditation by guitarist John Sheldon and a series of speakers focusing on efforts to protect Wendell’s population and natural environment by preventing the proposed facility’s construction.

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Speakers include Delta Carney, a water commissioner in Ashfield who will give a first-hand account of an industrial-size lithium battery fire. No Assault & Batteries Co-Coordinator Anna Gyorgy and Dan Leahy will also speak.

For more information, contact Dorsey at courtcdorsey@gmail.com.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.