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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450 at Abortion Rights Rallies

About 450 people attended rallies in Northampton and Brattleboro on May 21. The rallies were calling on politicians to guarantee women's right to safe, legal abortions. “We had a great turnout,” Debby Pastrich-Klemer told the Valley Post. She was the MC at the Northampton rally. About 300 people were there, Pastrich-Klemer said.

10 Arrested for Civil Disobedience

Two students at Keene State College were among a group of 10 people who were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience at the New Hampshire statehouse. They were protesting a Republican effort to make it harder for people to vote. “It went really well,” Robby St. Laurent told the Valley Post in a telephone interview. He is one of the Keene students. The other was Jackson Brannen. In a phone interview Brannen told the Valley Post. “There were over 100 people there supporting us. It was a powerful moment. We want Governor Sununu to sign House Bill 106.” The arrests happened on May 7.

Critical Mass is May 17

Critical Mass bicycle rides started in 1992 in California and have since spread around the world. Hundreds of people ride together in a group on roads, forcing cars to go at bicycle speed. They often chant, “Critical Mass, don't use gas!”

On May 17 there will be a Critical Mass bike ride in Brattleboro. The ride starts at 6 p.m. at the town common. The goal is to get politicians to deal with climate change, which the world's leading scientists say is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life. Details about the ride are at:

www.facebook.com/events/2144426155641240

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.

Climate March is April 22

In Northampton on April 22 there will be a march calling on politicians to do more to fight climate change. The march will start at 5 p.m. at 129 Main Street. Details are at:

www.facebook.com/events/249294522680797

On April 9, five people from the Brattleboro area were among hundreds who completed a 65 mile, five-day march to the Vermont statehouse calling on politicians to do more to fight climate change. Among the five were Tara Bossard-Kruger, Nancy Braus, Byron Stookey, and Ann Zimmerman. The march organizers have a web site at www.350vermont.org.

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.

Workers Unite

On March 10 in Chicopee, Massachusetts hundreds of Stop and Shop workers came to a union meeting and voted unanimously to give their elected union leaders the power to call a strike. Chicopee borders Springfield and Holyoke. Low wages are one of the main reasons workers voted yes. Stop and Shop is owned by a corporation based in Holland that has about 370,000 employees, including about 2,000 in western Massachusetts. Stop and Shop workers in the Pioneer Valley have a web site at www.ufcw1459.com.

Local News Round-up

In Springfield on February 26, there will be a rally calling on a local congressman to do more to fight climate change. As of February 25, more than 30 people had RSVP'd. The rally will be at 300 State Street at 4 p.m. Details are at:

www.facebook.com/events/2540018672738551