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

Vermont Nears Passage of Single-Payer Health Care; Rally May 1

In what could be a model for Massachusetts, New Hampshire and the nation, Vermont is poised to enact single-payer health care. A march and rally that will be held on May 1 in Montpelier is part of a mass movement that has earned the support of Vermont governor Peter Shumlin, and the state legislature. Shumlin lives in Putney, near Brattleboro. The insurance industry is working to kill the movement's momentum in the legislature.

Photos: Native American Rock Carvings

These photos were taken on March 27. They show rock carvings, made more than 200 years ago by Abenaki Native Americans, in Bellows Falls, Vermont. That's about 20 minutes by car or Amtrak from Brattleboro. It takes about 10 minutes to walk to the carvings from the train station.

In an interview with the Valley Post, Colin Calloway authenticated the carvings. Calloway is professor of Native American history at Dartmouth College, and the author of "The Western Abenakis in Vermont," among many other books. The paint was added much more recently.

600 at Vermont Yankee Protest Vigil

More than 600 people attended a protest vigil at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant near Brattleboro and Greenfield on March 20. The action was organized by www.NukeBusters.org "NRC" usually stands for Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency that has more than 1,000 employees and gets 98 percent of its money from the industry it regulates. There are 104 reactors at 65 locations in the U.S. Closing one of them would result in lay-offs at the NRC. More information on Vermont Yankee is at http://valleypost.org/node/536

Japan Quake Puts Valley Nuke in Local Spotlight

The massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 12 created a still-evolving disaster at several of Japan's nuclear power plants. Meanwhile, the Louisiana company that owns the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is trying to get permission from the government to run the 40 year old reactor until at least 2032. Vermont Yankee is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire.

Fight Over Valley Nuke Rages

Twelve months ago, the Vermont senate voted to permanently close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The New York Times published several long articles about the vote, which, the newspaper suggested, would mean the reactor’s owner, Entergy Corporation of Louisiana, would be required to close Vermont Yankee in March 2012. In the weeks after the vote, activists who had worked for decades to close Vermont Yankee celebrated. There were at least two victory parties in Brattleboro, one of which was attended by about 200 people, including Peter Shumlin.

Photo: Skating on a Frozen River

This photo was taken December 19. It shows people ice skating, and an ice fishing shelter, on the West river just before it enters the Connecticut river in Brattleboro. Skating conditions were especially good because of the absence of snow, and weather forecasters were predicting more good skating weather. To reach this spot from the Brattleboro town common, take Route 30 for about half a mile. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full-size image.” photo by Eesha Williams

Photo: Goldfinch Near Brattleboro

This photo was taken on August 15 in Dummerston, Vermont, near Brattleboro. It shows three goldfinches. In autumn, male goldfinches shed their bright yellow feathers and become drab like the female. Females build nests in trees. The nests are woven so tightly that they will hold water.

One goldfinch that was banded in Ontario, Canada was found in Louisiana. The vast majority of the food eaten by American Goldfinches is grain. They eat large numbers of weed seeds, which helps vegetable farmers.

Photos: Birds and Dragonflies

These photos were taken on July 11 at a lake near Brattleboro. By the numbers: one dragonfly can eat 300 mosquitoes per day. If you don't see any dragonflies on a lake or river, the water is probably polluted. This lake is full of them, which means it's clean. Loons can stay under water for five minutes and fly 75 miles per hour. Loons can be 30 years old.

Loons are mostly solitary birds. But they sometimes gather for short periods in small groups of up to 20 birds in late summer and fall, and loons are sometimes seen in groups in the ocean, where they spend the winter.

In Valley, a Crisis in Care for Mental Illness

Recent budget decisions by the governors and state legislators in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont have caused a crisis here in the Valley for people with mental illness who don’t have good health insurance. That’s according to Paul Gorman. He’s president of the New Hampshire chapter of a national group, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Gorman is also director of the Dartmouth College Psychiatric Research Center www.dartmouth.edu He spoke with the Valley Post on July 13.