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

Photos: Climate Activists Camp on Amherst Town Common

Dozens of activists spent the night in the cold on the Amherst town common February 20 - 21 to call for action on global warming. More than 150 people attended a rally in support of the campers. The event was organized by The Leadership Campaign www.TheLeadershipCampaign.org The first photo was taken February 20 in Amherst. The second was taken at another recent "camp out" organized by the Campaign.

UMass to Northampton Buses Will Soon Beat Cars

Traffic congestion on the main route between UMass Amherst and downtown Northampton is often so bad that it’s faster to ride a bicycle than to drive the nine-mile trip. Soon, public transportation will also be faster than driving.

“Later this year, technology will be in place so that buses on Route 9 will be more likely to get green lights than cars -- similar to the technology that allows ambulances to always get green lights,” David Elvin told the Valley Post. He’s senior transit planner at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.

Patients and Doctors Discuss Free Health Clinics in Amherst

Benny Johnson has nagging injuries to his spinal cord and shoulder, products of a lifetime spent in the construction industry. Without daily medicine the pain is unbearable, something Johnson was reminded of several months ago after temporarily losing health insurance, and thus his medication.

Thanks to the Amherst Survival Center, Johnson, 63, was not in pain for long. The Center’s free health clinic recently received a $54,000 grant from the Attorney General’s office to provide medication for the uninsured and underinsured.

New Amherst Group Seeks to Aid Public Schools, Save Open Space

A group of Amherst residents is gathering signatures on a petition that would have the town spend more on public schools, open space protection, and other items. The petition supports a so-called "proposition 2½ override."

"When the roof is leaking you fix it to protect your home," Andrew Churchill told The Valley Post. Churchill is a supporter of the petition drive and assistant director of the UMass Amherst Center for Education Policy. He said recent cuts to the town budget have resulted in a situation like a leaky roof on a house.

Talking With Local Homeless People

I met Steve Cuoco last May as he sat on the sidewalk outside Thorne’s Marketplace, eating out of a Chef Boyardee can. His sign that read “homeless vet” leaned against a coffee cup full of coins, imploring people to part with any spare change floating around their pockets. He suspected many ignore him because “they think I’m just a derelict trying to get crack money.”