Springfield's Bad Cops; 160 Acres Saved

In Springfield, a police detective is being paid $70,000 a year by taxpayers, despite allegations that he beat people up without a good reason. Gregg Bigda has been on desk duty, or outright suspended, for 14 months. Among the alleged victims of his brutality were Latino teenagers and Bigda's former girlfriend. City taxpayers paid $500,000 in legal settlements to people in cases related to Bigda.

106 Rally

Despite snow falling, six African American people attended an outdoor rally in Springfield on January 12. A white man who allegedly killed a black woman in the city is free. “If a black man had killed a white woman, first degree murder, he would not be free,” Charles Stokes told the Valley Post in a voice phone interview on January 13. He was at the rally with the victim's family. Police say Frederick Pinney killed TayClair Moore in 2014. In 2021 he was released from prison.

Logging Rally

On December 15, Naia Tenerowicz told the Valley Post that at least 24 people spoke against a proposed fossil fuel pipeline in Springfield at a public hearing the day before. The hearing was held by state regulators. Tenerowicz is a spokesperson for the two groups that organized a May 31, 2022 rally in Springfield to stop the pipeline. The two groups were the Longmeadow Pipeline Awareness Group, and the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition. The pipeline would go about six miles from Springfield to Longmeadow, Massachusetts. The pipeline would cost around $65 million.

Farmland Saved

On December 4, a land trust in Amherst announced it has saved 210 acres of farmland in the neighboring town of South Hadley. “Located near the banks of the Connecticut River, these farm fields have provided valuable fodder for dairy cows, and local vegetables, for decades,” a spokesperson for Kestrel Trust told the Valley Post.

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Strike Vote is 34 -- 1

In Brattleboro, 37 school bus drivers and “monitors” voted to go on strike December 1 if they don't win a fair union contract by that date. The November 8 vote was 34 – 1 with two workers not voting, Curtis Clough told the Valley Post. He's president of Teamsters Local 597. Clough said he will put the Valley Post in touch with two of the workers to interview. Those interviews will be published in a future article.

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160 Rally

About 160 people attended an abortion rights rally in Northampton on October 8. One of the speakers at the rally was state senator Jo Comerford. On October 11, she told the Valley Post, “It was one of the most inspiring rallies I've ever attended. I'm still energized.”

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Reggae Singer from Jamaica to Play Near Brattleboro

When N.L. Dennis was singing in a recording studio with Toots and the Maytals, Bob Marley stopped by to listen. Marley praised Dennis's delivery. Today, Dennis lives in his native Jamaica and joins hundreds of Jamaicans who come to Vermont every summer in search of better paying work. Most of them work on vegetable farms and at apple orchards. Dennis works as a reggae musician. He will perform a public concert on July 15, 2022 at Kampfires in Dummerston, Vermont. Dummerston borders Brattleboro.

Wins for Nature, Justice; 500 March, Rally

In Brattleboro on June 24 about 150 people attended an abortion rights rally, Eileen Sullivan told the Valley Post. She works for Planned Parenthood. In Northampton on the same day about the same number of people attended a rally for the same cause, organizer Debby Pastrich-Klemer told the Valley Post. Two groups helped her: Valley Women’s March and Indivisible Northampton. “150 people is great for a last-minute event,” Pastrich-Klemer said. The protests were in response to a supreme court decision issued hours earlier. Now it's up to Biden and congress to over-rule the court.

Farm Worker Rally

In Brattleboro on May 1, dairy farm workers – most of whom are undocumented immigrants from Mexico – held a rally with their supporters. The rally was outside the Hannaford supermarket. About 20 people were at the rally. The workers have a web site at www.MigrantJustice.net. 

Workers Win

On April 22 a spokesperson for the union for Northampton public school teachers told the Valley Post that about 80 members of the union attended a rally outside Northampton city hall. The goal was fair wages for workers known as “educational support professionals.” The rally was on April 14. The union has a web site at www.nasemta.org.