Odd in­ter­sec­tion of ex­pe­ri­ences in frack­ing coun­try.

Celebrity visit to ru­ral Susque­hanna County high­lights con­trast on is­sue.

The Times-Tribune - - Front Page - BY LAURA LEGERE STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: llegere@timessham­rock.com

DI­MOCK TWP. — “Yoko, I’m Yoko,” one slight ac­tivist said to the other.

For years, Vic­to­ria Switzer has used the artist’s name as an email pre­fix and In­ter­net han­dle to post re­flec­tions on the drilling in­dus­try’s im­pact on her Susque­hanna County town.

On Tues­day, when Yoko Ono toured county sites and greeted peo­ple who feel harmed by the in­dus­try, the two met face-to-face in

“I want the cam­eras to show the rest of the town, be­cause where do you see an­other sign around here protest­ing this? You don’t. You have one very un­happy man.” Jodi Fiore, New Mil­ford Twp.

a muddy drive­way.

“My email ad­dress is not Yoko,” Ms. Ono said, as if to say: Have it.

The celebrity tour of Di­mock and other ru­ral area town­ships was an ex­pe­ri­ence of odd in­ter­sec­tions: Two Yokos at an auto re­pair shop. New York­ers hop­ing Penn­syl­va­nia grief can ward off the same in their state. In­dus­try pro­po­nents and op­po­nents tus­sling at the foot of a Mercedes bus.

“Su­san Saran­don,” pro- drilling film­maker Phe­lim McAleer shouted to the vis­it­ing ac­tress in the mid­dle of the road­side scrum. “How does it feel to rep­re­sent the 1 per­cent rather than the 99 per­cent of Di­mock?”

The bus was stopped at Ray Kem­ble’s yard, which is cov­ered with signs and ban­ners protest­ing the in­dus­try. His is one of the 19 Di­mock house­holds whose water was found by the state to be tainted with meth­ane tied to faulty gas wells in 2009. Drill- ing is still on hold in a sec­tion of the town­ship be­cause the state is still eval­u­at­ing whether meth­ane lev­els are low enough in res­i­den­tial water wells to lift the ban.

Across the road, New Mil­ford Twp. res­i­dent Jodi Fiore hud­dled with her hands in her pock­ets, irate.

“I had to come see it for my­self,” she said. “I thought this was done.”

Her hus­band was once em­ployed by a rail­road in a job that re­quired a three- hour daily com­mute. He was in­jured and would have been job­less if he had not found work with the gas in­dus­try.

“As long as wells are flow­ing, he has a job,” she said.

“I want the cam­eras to show the rest of the town, be­cause where do you see an­other sign around here protest­ing this? You don’t. You have one very un­happy man.”

Be­hind the bus, Mr. Kem­ble told Ms. Saran­don, Ms. Ono and her son, mu­si­cian Sean Len­non, about how he de­liv­ers re­place­ment water to his home and neigh­bors who need it.

“This is a di­vided town,” he said. “I used to have a re­pair garage here and I wasn’t get­ting rich but I made a de­cent liv­ing. Now we got noth­ing be­cause we’re to­tally black­balled. No­body will deal with us.”

“Hey, that hap­pened to me too!” Ms. Saran­don cheered and slapped him a high five. “I hear you. I’m used to be­ing can­celed.”

Ms. Ono nod­ded and en­cour­aged other ac­tivists to write down Mr. Kem­ble’s story so it could be shared.

“Now we heard about it,” she said. “Now it’s our prob­lem too.”

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