In Amherst, Brattleboro: Protest War Taxes, Tax Evading Corporations

Taxes are due on April 18 this year. Activists in Amherst and Brattleboro plan to use the occasion to educate the public. About half the federal budget goes to war. The richest Americans and biggest corporations are able to avoid paying all or most of the money they owe the government.

Protesters will hand out a pie chart showing what the government does with the money that Americans pay in income taxes:

www.warresisters.org/sites/default/files/FY2012piechart-color.pdf

Workers' Rally Is March 2 in Amherst

Activists are asking the public to attend a rally in Amherst on March 2 to show their solidarity with government workers in Wisconsin. Tens of thousands of workers have been rallying at the Wisconsin state capitol in recent days to protest anti-union legislation proposed by that state’s governor. Similar legislation is pending in several other states. Experts say the trend will likely affect workers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Events Will Help People Get State Money for Home Energy Efficiency

A group of people in Springfield is helping Valley residents get state money to make their homes more energy efficient. The group, the Alliance to Develop Power, is hosting free, public evening meetings in: Amherst January 19, Easthampton January 20, Northampton January 26, and Greenfield February 2.

People at the meetings will learn how to sign up for a free energy assessment, get money for weatherization and other energy efficiency services, said Boone Shear of the Alliance.

The meeting will be in:

-Amherst, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Bangs Community Center, 70 Boltwood Walk;

81 Acres Near Amherst Saved From Development

The Kestrel Trust recently saved an 81 parcel of land in Pelham, near Amherst, from development. The land, at 339 Amherst Road, includes farm fields and 65 acres of forest and wetlands. Funding came from the town of Amherst, which gets some of its drinking water from the land, and the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The property is adjacent to nearly 2,000 acres of permanently protected open space.

Amy Ray in Amherst Nov. 17

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers founded the the Grammy Award-winning band the Indigo Girls. The first few seconds of Ray's latest CD, Didn't It Feel Kinder, are taken up by her voice alone. Throughout the album, Ray's voice is direct, unsentimental and free of irony.

This record sounds more like the Indigo Girls than Ray's first three solo recordings, which were more punk. The best song on the new CD is "Cold Shoulder," a celebratory rocker: "See that girl over there, she's gonna give me the cold shoulder/ she may be straight tonight, but last night she let me hold her."

Photo: Climate Activists Camp on Amherst Town Common

Dozens of activists spent the night in tents on the Amherst town common June 23 - 24 to call for action on global warming. The event was organized by The Leadership Campaign www.TheLeadershipCampaign.org photo by Mino Caulton

Amherst Prof. Cites Model Victories for Valley Workers

Dale Melcher runs the “labor extension” program at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. The program helps unions. She told MassLaborNews.com on May 4 about two groups that could be an inspiration to workers throughout Massachusetts. The first group is Community Labor United (CLU) in Boston.

Photos: The Valley and the Mountain

The first photo shows the Connecticut River and UMass Amherst. The second was taken on April 18 from the summit of Mt. Monadnock, near Keene. The first photo is by www.commons.wikimedia.org The second is by Matthew Hoffman. To enlarge the photos, please click on them, then scroll down and click "See full-size image."

March 31 Noon Rallies at Bank of America: 'Jobs Now!'

On March 31 at noon, union activists around the Valley will hold rallies asking people to boycott Bank of America. They say the bank has done little to reduce the state’s unemployment rate despite receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer money last year. The bank paid its CEO in 2008 some $9.9 million.

According to Jon Weissman, spokesman for Jobs with Justice www.jwj.org the activists will be at Bank of America branches in: Springfield at the corner of Main Street and Boland Way; Northampton at 144 Main Street; Amherst at 1 South Pleasant Street; and Greenfield at 208 Federal Street.

Local Peace Activists Prepare for April 15

Every year on tax day, April 15, activists around the Valley hand out fliers at post offices showing people how much of their taxes go to war. To join the local actions, contact the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee www.nwtrcc.org and/or the War Resisters' League www.WarResisters.org

Out of a federal budget of about $2,900,000,000,000 about half goes to war. Details are at:

www.warresisters.org/files/FY2011piechart.pdf