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Ashford Friends Coalition hopes to lead change

ASHFORD – Over the years, people in the Town of Ashford have expressed their opinions and have been fighting to fix problems caused by the West Valley Nuclear Plant. Recently, a group has been formed to help lead the charge in getting the town proper reparations for having to deal with the nuclear plant.

At the Sept. 19 Ashford Town Board meeting, Councilman John Pfeffer brought up the idea to the board about starting the Ashford Friends Coalition. The Ashford Friends Coalition would be made up of leaders from local businesses, churches and organizations that would work together on two main goals, getting the right financial reparations paid to the community for having the nuclear plant in the town and working on getting all the waste in West Valley reclassified as defense waste.

“I see our purpose as just taking on those two very large battles and getting as many people pushing behind the cart with the same effort as possible,” Pfeffer said. “We all need to come together at once and start pushing this argument and not just make it once a year and forget about it, but to continually make it.”

Pfeffer saw towns like Miamisburg, Ohio formulate a similar group and have success working toward one goal. He was able to gauge the Ashford community interest for the initiative and hopes to get the same results in the long run.

“It was a discussion I had with [Miamisburg’s] mayor, who said the only way you are going to succeed at this is if you are in Congress’ face constantly,” Pfeffer said. “I have been sending that agenda to people within the community and I think I finally have them on board.”

Since starting the Ashford Friends Coalition, Pfeffer has been talking with residents and organizations including the West Valley Central School and the West Valley Chamber of Commerce, with a positive reception.

Pfeffer is hoping to have the first meeting of the Ashford Friends Coalition in November.

Anyone is welcome to join, as long as they are willing to commit to the cause, which could be a one or two year process.

“As long as people are willing to commit the time and make the long term commitment … I will take as many people as I can get,” Pfeffer said.

For more information on the Ashford Friends Coalition or anyone interested in joining, email Pfeffer at townofashfordcouncilmanjp@gmail.com.

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