Local News Round-up

In Springfield, pedestrian rights activists had a win May 30 when construction started on a $4 million project. “It's hard to imagine an intersection that is less friendly to pedestrians,” Stacey Beuttell told the Valley Post on June 3. She works for Walk Boston, a group that, despite its name, works statewide to make walking safer. Beuttell said the Springfield project is a victory. The intersection that will be fixed is at the corner of Alden, Walnut, Hancock, and Ashley streets. The mayor says it will be done by the end of next year.

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Workers Win

Hundreds of Stop and Shop workers in the Pioneer Valley went on strike and won. The strike started on April 11. On April 22, the strikers went back to work, victorious. One of the main reasons for the strike was low wages. The workers have a web site at www.ufcw1459.com.

Rally: Tax the Rich

On April 11 at 7 a.m., a bus will leave Springfield to bring people to a rally in Boston to call for raising taxes on rich people to help poor people and the environment. The bus will leave from 1381 Liberty Street. The Fair Share amendment is a proposal to amend the Massachusetts constitution. It would create a tax of an extra 4 percent on the part of a person’s annual income above $1 million. The new revenue, approximately $2 billion a year, would be spent on public schools, public colleges and universities, and public transportation, among other things.

Wins for Nature

On March 23 Brattleboro's annual budget for fighting climate change went from $10,000 to $100,000. Brattleboro is home to about 11,000 people. Once a year the town holds a meeting where 155 elected representatives can overrule anything the select board does. The select board is the equivalent of a city council. Brattleboro doesn't have a mayor.

Hundreds March

On March 15 in Springfield about 50 people attended a rally calling on politicians to pass stronger gun control laws. The first photo, below, shows the rally. James Debney is CEO of gun maker Smith & Wesson, which is based in Springfield. The photo is by Liz Steinhauser. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full size image.” The two groups that organized the rally have web sites at www.bPeaceForJorge.net and www.PioneerValleyProject.org.

Peace Action; 3,560 Acres Saved

On February 12 at 1 p.m. there will be a peace march and rally in Amherst. The event will start with a rally outside the main entrance to the Campus Center building at the University of Massachusetts.

Almost half of this year's entire federal budget of about $3 trillion is being spent on war. That’s according to:

www.WarResisters.org/FederalPieChart

With 4 percent of the world's population, the USA spends at much on the military as the rest of the world combined.

350 Acres Saved

On December 28 a land trust announced it had saved 50 acres of land in Harrisville, New Hampshire. Harrisville is about two miles from Keene.  The land trust has a web site at www.HarrisCenter.org.

On December 18, a land trust that has a web site at www.MonadnockConservancy.org announced it had saved 300 acres of land in Dublin, New Hampshire. Dublin is also about two miles from Keene.

The USA is losing about 6,000 acres of open space every day.

Victories: Fewer Prisoners, More Forests

In terms of incarceration rates, in the past decade Vermont went from being one of the worst states in the nation to one of the best. “We have a shortage of housing in Vermont and that affects people as they are released” from prison, Jeanette White told the Valley Post on September 21. She is a state senator for the county that's home to Brattleboro. “We are working on that.”

Of the 50 states, only Massachusetts keeps a smaller percentage of its people in prison than Vermont. New Hampshire is sixth best.

Locals Arrested for Native American Rights

The USA is on land stolen from Native Americans. Despite the best efforts of the government for the past 242 years to kill Native Americans, they are still alive, and fighting the system. Activists are calling on politicians to raise taxes on billionaires and give the money to Native Americans. In recent weeks, several people from the Valley were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience for Native American rights, and other issues, as part of the Poor People's Campaign.

Peace March

On March 18, there will be a march for world peace. The march will start in Amherst and end in Northampton. The public is invited to attend part or all of the walk. It will start at 9 a.m. outside the church at 165 Main Street, organizer Tim Bullock told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on February 28. More information is at:

www.NewEnglandPeacePagoda.org/walk-for-a-new-spring

Almost half (47 percent) of this year's entire federal budget of about $3 trillion is being spent on war. That’s according to:

www.WarResisters.org/FederalPieChart