Monday, March 05, 2012

Military Helmets at Midway Studios Put on Hold

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Fort Point artists concerned for their health after equipment company moves in

Residents of a Fort Point artists’ community are expressing concerns for their health after a company that makes helmets for the military moved into a live-and-work art studio building in the neighborhood.
Tenants of Midway Studios at Fort Point in South Boston -- an artist community that resides and works in the studio building, say there was no public discussion before the Ops-Core safety equipment production company moved into the studios’ theater space. Residents are concerned about the health and safety risks associated with having the company in the building.
“There should be a public discussion of this before a decision is unilaterally made,” said Raber Umphenour, a resident of Midway Studios. “There are other people who should have a say in this as well.”
Ops-Core Inc. is a Boston-based company that was acquired by Gentex Corporation, a global electronics company, in January, according to an Ops-Core press release. Diana Pisiotta, a spokeswoman for the company, said it primarily produces equipment such as helmets used by the military and police departments.
“We will be doing light assembly work on the helmets,” she said. “They will be produced elsewhere. We customize them, add straps, padding, and the specialized pieces of equipment. It’s light assembly as opposed to manufacturing.”
The city’s Inspectional Services Department issued a stop work order to Ops-Core on Feb. 24 as a result of residents’ concerns.

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