Press-Republican

Local News

February 10, 2010

Verizon pulls Duane plan, hoping for taller tower

DUANE — Another public-safety incident is raising serious questions about cellular-phone service in the heart of Franklin County.

On Sunday, a woman from Rainbow Lake in her late 60s went skiing along the Horse Brook Trails in Duane, according to Gil Paddock, second assistant fire chief for Duane Volunteer Fire Department.

“She went to walk her dog and got her vehicle stuck trying to get out.”

Hours later, at 9:30 p.m., the unidentified woman was found walking along Route 30 near the entrance to the Paul Smith’s Visitors Interpretive Center — three and a half miles from where her car was stuck.

The temperature at that time on Sunday was 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit. The woman suffered frostbite and hypothermia, said Brighton Town Councilor Jeff Levitt, who later helped pull her car out.

The driver of a passing car who saw the woman placed a 911 call, which was dropped and garbled just a mile from the new Verizon Wireless tower at Paul Smith’s College.



TOWER HEIGHT

This is just the tower-height contention that has been raised by Sen. Betty Little, (R-Queensbury), who met with the Adirondack Park Agency two weeks ago to discuss it.

Little — and others — say fewer, taller cell towers would work better and have less environmental impact than multiple, shorter towers.

Now, Verizon has withdrawn plans for a new tower in Duane in hopes that it can go with a higher structure.



CALLS PLACED

In the case of the woman stranded in Rainbow Lake, first-responders from Duane, Paul Smiths, State Police and the Department of Environmental Conservation were called in.

“Due to lack of communication, every resource available short of the Illinois National Guard was called to respond to this incident, because nobody could ascertain what the incident was,” Levitt said.

“The woman had been skiing earlier in the day on the ski trails in Hayes Brook and had backed her jeep into a snow bank. After attempting to free her vehicle by digging with her hands for at least four hours, she began to walk home toward Rainbow Lake.

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