At Capitol After 122 Miles, Marchers Say: Close Vermont Yankee

More than 150 people walked to the Vermont statehouse on January 13, completing a 122-mile march that began in Brattleboro on January 2. The protesters were calling on the state legislature to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power reactor. The reactor is owned by Entergy Corporation of Louisiana.

"We are tired of Entergy and their toxic waste," said a jubilant Chad Simmons of Brattleboro, one of the marchers.

Vermont Health Care Rally Is Jan. 6

Health care activists in Vermont are urging people to attend a rally at the statehouse in Montpelier on January 6. They are organizing carpools from Brattleboro. On May 1, 2009, more than 1,000 people attended a “Healthcare is a Human Right” rally at the Vermont statehouse. Organized by the Vermont Workers Center, it was the biggest ever weekday rally at the statehouse, according to organizers. Photos are at:

www.valleypost.org/2009/05/01/1000-vermont-rally-healthcare-right

The Vermont legislature meets annually from early January until April or May. The 2010 session starts January 5.

VT Governor’s Plan for Motorized Vehicles in Parks Is Rejected

This summer, Vermont governor Jim Douglas said he wanted more ATVs and other motorized vehicles in state parks. Immediately, hundreds of Vermonters contacted state officials to oppose the plan. As of this month, the state had heard from more than 2,000 people about the plan. Four times as many people opposed the governor’s plan as supported it.

On December 15, a committee of the Vermont legislature voted 7-0 to reject Douglas’s plan. “This is a huge victory,” said Elizabeth Courtney, director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council.

A Variety of Ways to Help the Homeless, and to End Homelessness

If you or anyone you know is homeless or hungry, call Bennie Johnson. He will house, clothe and feed anyone who shows up at his modest apartment. “Thirty Gatehouse Road, Apartment 308, Amherst, Massachusetts. Come by anytime,” he told me during our first encounter.

Many nights, one or two people stay with him, other times more.

“I’ve had this place full,” he said.

Bennie also cooks huge dinners on a regular basis. On a recent Wednesday, he prepared Southern fried chicken, fish, omelets, and finger foods for about 30 people.

Climate Actions Around the Valley Oct. 24

Activists are planning a mass bicycle ride, marches, rallies with speakers and live music, and other actions around the Valley on Saturday, October 24 to protest the government’s lack of meaningful action on climate change. Climate change resulting in large part from burning fossil fuels in cars, electricity generation, and heating and cooling buildings, is causing glaciers to melt, which in turn causes flooding of places where people live and grow food. Droughts and severe rainfall are both becoming more common, which makes it harder for farmers to grow food.

War Tax Resistance Forum Near Brattleboro Oct. 9

New Englanders who refuse to pay taxes that fund war will speak at a free public event Oct. 9 near Brattleboro. More than half of the $2.7 trillion federal budget was spent on the military in the most recent fiscal year, according to the War Resisters League:

www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm

The Oct. 9 discussion starts at 7:30 p.m. and will include time for questions from the public. It’s part of a three-day conference Oct. 9-11, in Williamsville, Vermont. The event is the 24th Annual New England Regional Gathering of War Tax Resisters and Supporters.

August 9 March and Bike Ride to Close Vermont Yankee

On August 9 at 10:30 a.m. two groups of anti-nuclear activists will meet at the gates of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The Walk for a Nuclear Free Future will march to Northampton. The Solar Rollers will ride bicycles to Burlington. Both groups welcome anyone to join them for all or part of their routes. For information about the march call Daniel Sicken at (802) 387-2798 or e-mail Hattie Nestel hattieshalom@verizon.net

Solar Rollers schedule:

Sun. Aug 9 - Brattleboro area
Mon. Aug 10 - Springfield, Vermont
Tue. Aug 11 - Randolph
Wed. Aug 12 - White River Jct

Latino Farmworkers Near Brattleboro

Two of these photos show Latino farmworkers harvesting blueberries near Brattleboro on August 1. The third, taken the same day, is of a peach tree laden with fruit, also near Brattleboro. To learn about farms where you can pick your own organic blueberries and peaches, visit www.nofa.org To learn about the challenges facing Latino farmworkers in the U.S., and how you can join in their fight for justice, go to www.floc.com and www.ufw.org To make the photos bigger, please click on them. photos by Eesha Williams

Audio: Police Crackdown in Downtown Brattleboro

The first edition of Valley Post Radio aired on WVEW Brattleboro Community Radio on July 21. Eesha Williams interviewed Ellen Schwartz, a public school teacher, activist, and long-time resident of downtown Brattleboro. Schwartz spoke about the recent police crackdown on people -- especially young people -- hanging out in downtown Brattleboro. Police began issuing $50 tickets for "loitering" following a drug-related murder on Elliot Street on June 15.

Photos: Mountains and Mergansers Near Brattleboro

These photos were taken in July in Putney, Vermont, near Brattleboro. They show hikers on Putney Mountain, and common mergansers in the Connecticut river. These common mergansers probably spend their winters in Mexico. One bird expert said she thought this photo is of a mother with her teenage ducklings. Male mergansers make a low croaking sound. Females say "carrrrrr." photos by Eesha Williams