Local News Round-up

On December 6 there will be two climate rallies. One is in Springfield at noon outside city hall. The other will be at 3:30 p.m. at the main entrance to Mount Holyoke College. The organizers of both rallies can be reached via www.facebook.com/SunriseSouthHadley.

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On December 1 in Keene there was a rally to impeach Trump. “There were around 30 people there,” Jim Murphy told the Valley Post. Pat Brady Martin told the Valley Post, “The music at the rally was great.”

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The state of Massachusetts is studying how to make passenger train service between Springfield and Boston much faster and more frequent. The study is six months behind schedule. State Senator Eric Lesser lives in the town of Longmeadow, which borders Springfield. In a phone interview on December 4, he told the Valley Post that the people doing the study claim “it's late because they got a lot more feedback and input than they expected. It's concerning.”

The train fare between Holyoke, Massachusetts and New Haven, Connecticut is $34. But from Springfield, Massachusetts to New Haven, Connecticut the fare is $13. “We should subsidize the fares,” Lesser said. “The Baker administration has refused to do that. If enough people contact their state legislators now we can override the governor's veto and have lower fares by August or September. We also need more money for marketing so people will know the train exists.” There is frequent train service to New York City from Greenfield, Northampton, Holyoke, and Springfield and daily service from Brattleboro. Details are at www.TrainsInTheValley.org.

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As of 2017, about 20 percent of students in Brattleboro public schools were people of color. On December 5, 2019 Brattleboro town manager Peter Elwell told the Valley Post, “The town of Brattleboro has 140 full-time, year-round employees. Two percent of those employees are people of color. Of the 15 members of our senior management team, one is a person of color.... Of 43 seasonal employees, 12 percent are people of color.” Activists who are urging the town to hire more people of color have a web site at www.VermontPartnership.org.

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The Canadian hydro-power industry is building new dams. Three new hydro-power transmission corridor extensions are planned to bring the power more than 1,000 miles from Canadian rivers to New York City and Massachusetts consumers via Maine, Vermont and upstate New York. Last month Native Americans who live near the dams went on a speaking tour with stops in New York City and Boston, among other places. They oppose the dams.

Meg Sheehan helped organize the tour. On November 30 she told the Valley Post, “The Tour exceeded our wildest expectations. Audiences were engaged and supportive. We were very successful in exposing the false narrative put forth by the Canadian hydro-power industry that its energy is 'renewable, clean and green.' Once audiences heard the first hand stories and saw pictures from our Indigenous speakers from Pimicikamak and Inuit communities and the Grand Riverkeeper they understood immediately that mega-dam hydro-power is an extreme form of energy production on par with fracking and tar sands.” More information is at www.NortheastMegaDamResistance.org.

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