1,400 Acres Saved

This spring, 1,400 acres of forestland near Keene will be permanently protected from development, Mark Zankel told the Valley Post on February 25. He runs the New Hampshire chapter of the Nature Conservancy. The land is in the New Hampshire towns of Gilsum and Surry, both of which border Keene. All three towns are in the Connecticut river valley. Keene is about 20 minutes from Brattleboro by bus.

Zankel said, “The property’s forests are unusually mature -- you see a lot of very large, old trees out there. This not typical of forests across the region. Also, there are nearly nine miles of headwater streams, and important water supply protection lands for the city of Keene.”

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There will be a rally for workers' rights on March 7 in Keene. The rally will be at 9 a.m. at Central Square. The rain date is the next day. Details are at:

www.facebook.com/events/225960115231143

About 130 tutors who are employed by the Keene public school system are organizing the rally. Kathy Twombly is president of the tutors' union. Twombly's union is part of a bigger union that has a web site at www.nea.org.

Last year she told the Valley Post, “Tutors in Keene earn about $15,000 per year on average, which is near the federal poverty level for an individual with no dependents. Keene tutors qualify for public assistance. (The Keene public schools human resources director is paid $105,000 per year.) We asked the board to consider paying tutors as much per hour as they pay custodians, and the board did not even acknowledge the discrepancy.... The school district has had to replace 34 percent of the tutor workforce in the past year.... One of the reasons for the high turnover rate is low pay and lack of benefits.”

She continued, “There is an alarming and increasing rate of assaults against employees by students, including punching, choking, and broken bones. In one Keene elementary school, 10 tutors quit over the summer due to the violence and poor working conditions.... The board was unwilling to work on any provisions that would address the rising number of injuries, health and safety concerns, workplace violence, or other threats to employee wellbeing. (The board seems to be) preoccupied with busting the union.”

In 2018, thousands of teachers went on strike around the nation. Many of the strikes were illegal and many were opposed by union officials in Washington, DC. But the teachers won huge gains and judges generally declined to punish the teachers.

Rick Cohen lives in Keene and is one of the richest people in the world. In 2013, he had a “net worth” of more than $11 billion, according to an article published that year in Bloomberg News.

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In Holyoke on February 21 there was a rally in solidarity with Native Americans in Canada who are fighting construction of a fracked gas pipeline. One of the groups that organized the rally has a web page at:

www.facebook.com/groups/WendellStateForestAlliance

The below photo of the rally was taken by Jodi Rodar.

More information about the pipeline is on the web site of the tribe that's leading the fight to stop it:

www.wetsuweten.com/territory/pipelines

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