Defense attorney Mills said later, “It was the real world. The first trial was like a honeymoon. Now we’re facing the real world again.” In November, the real world was alsO introducing factors that weren’t present last June. Mavis Belisle’s retrial came right in the middle of the second occupation. Local citizens were starting to realize that such demonstrations will continue. For two days, Glen Rose itself was filled with 70 to 100 demonstrators and their supporters. whose long hair and painted faces provoked familiar speculation about drug abuse, communist conspiracies, and sidewalk panhandling. Two days after Belisle’s conviction, however, the atmosphere had calmed. The second person to be retried was Sister Patricia Ridgley, a Catholic nun from Holy Cross Church in Fort Worth. The courtroom benches were lined with sedate Sisters of Saint Mary from Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth instead of “flower children.” The defense was led by two new volunteer lawyers from Fort Worth. One of them, Jim Sawyer, was skilled in criminal defense and turned the prosecution’s argument to his own advantage, charging that it is the utility, not the antinuclear group, that is using the community for its own benefit. Instead of calling on scholars, the defense produced as its main witnesses a public health official from Colorado and a former quality assurance inspector for Texas Utilities. George Clancy, a veteran of the U.S. Navy submarine service, worked as an inspector at the plant for nearly two years and left with several letters of recommendation. Although Clancy was hired as a quality assurance inspector by Texas Utilities, the prosecution objected to him as an expert witness because he is not a nuclear engineer or physicist. Judge Freas ruled that he could describe to the jury what he saw while working at the plant but could not give them his opinion of the significance of what he observed. As a result, courtroom spectators at the hearing on this issue heard Clancy tell of shoddy construction practices and questionable inspection procedures, but the jury did not. Under these circumstances, the jury found Sister Ridgley guilty and again assessed the maximum fine. Another 46 people await retrial in the months ahead, and there will be another 103 trespassing charges against the November demonstrators. Before the second occupation, some local officials in Glen Rose wanted to charge the new crop of demonstrators under a new law the Legislature passed last session. The penalties for trespassing on utility company propertyintroducing the possibil 8 DECEMBER 14, 1979 ity of a six-month jail sentence and fines up to $1,000. The only witness to speak for the bill at the Legislature was from Texas Utilities, and it’s believed the bill was designed specifically to deter demonstrations at Comanche Peak \(Obs., Defense attorney Pitts says he consulted legal experts in Austin before the November occupation to get an informed opinion on the law and was told that it does not apply to power plants until they are in operation. But the county attorney has not yet decided on the charges to be filed in the new cases. So far, the people of Glen Rose and Somervell County have watched, waited, and, by and large, ignored. Around the courthouse square itself, however, businessmen are beginning to get angry. “Do you think you can just go out and break the law when you want to?” asks Carroll Gann, owner of a local insurance company. “Do you really think the power companies and the government want to pollute the air and water and build something that will endanger our lives? I don’t understand these demonstrations. If we had a Comanche Peak appreciation day, would the media come to see some well-mannered, nicely dressed people coming out?” But scattered through the county are people who have different concerns. Farmers who are worried about what will happen to soil and water once the plant opens. Parents who are worried about their children and nuclear waste. Old residents or “nesters” who resent the lack of local input into the decision to place the plant in Somervell County. And young men who have worked at the plant and have begun to wonder about the way it’s being built. One day, in the courthouse, this reporter asked three women whether people in Glen Rose had any feelings about the plant’s being so close. There was a heavy, dead silence for several minutes. No one looked at anyone else. Then the youngest of the women looked down at her typewriter and blurted out, as if trying to get rid of the words as quickly as possible: “Yes, people do have feelings. But they’re afraid to talk about it. I don’t like to talk about it either.” In part, it is the fear of alienating friends. In part, it’s the feeling of hopelessness when faced with the looming authority of government and big business. And, in part, it is the feeling of uncertainty, of not knowing what or whom to believe. There is also the memory of what happened when local citizens did try to speak out seven years ago. It began in the spring of 1972, during the presidential campaign, when a group of Wallace supporters objected to the way the Democratic county convention was being run. “We were a group of citizens, neighbors, men and women,” says Evelyn Adams, a thoughtful and well-informed woman in her mid-50s who married into an old Somervell County family and moved there from Dallas 25 years ago. She worked at the courthouse for many years and is now secretary to the county judge, Sam Freas. “The editor of our local paper wasn’t really interested in informing the public about what went on in the county,” says Adams. “In May 1972 we formed an organization called Operation Information. There were about 30 to 50 of us, and we decided to take out weekly $33 ads in the local paper to inform people about what was happening at county commission meetings, city council, and the chamber of commerce. “We got letters with questions about all kinds of things, and we tried to provide answers to them. We weren’t looking for the nuclear issue. It was really dropped in our laps.” According to Adams and others, it dropped into their laps rather suddenly, in the form of a letter from a Fort Worth doctor asking if they knew anything about a nuclear plant being built near Glen Rose. “It was the first time any of us heard anything about it,” recalls Adams, who was secretary of the organization. A query to the then-county judge, Temple Summers, produced the reply that representatives from Texas Electric Service Company, a subsidiary of Texas Utilities, had been to see him with word that Somervell County was among five areas being considered for a new power plant. On June 22, 1972. Operation Information’s fifth ad in the Glen Rose Reporter gave local residents their first news of the plant. County Judge Summers, it reported, said the utility people had told him: “The radiation to surrounding areas will be no more than received by people from natural elements in the mixture of mortars and bricks while living in a brick home.” The next ad stated that numbers of inquiries had been received and that the group would attempt to seek factual answers to them. Members of the group started to read up intensively on nuclear energy issues. The Adamses began to acquire the first of several thousand dollars’ worth of books on nuclear power, including studies for the Atomic Energy Commission and reports from international health symposiums. They also asked utility representatives to come down for several meetings. What they discovered alarmed them.