500 at Rally Say 'Close Vermont Yankee'

About 500 people attended a march and rally to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant February 21 in Brattleboro. Organizers asked people to contact their legislators in advance of a key vote in the Vermont senate on February 24. One anti-nuclear group is seeking donations so it can run a television commercial about the vote. Details are at www.vpirg.org

-----------

This photo shows the February 21 march. Please click on the photo to enlarge it. photo by Eesha Williams

Local Organic Farmers Celebrate

On February 13, the head of the USDA, U.S. senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, and congressman Peter Welch all praised organic farmers in speeches at the annual conference of the Vermont chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA).

A Genre Soldiers On: Antonio Hart Quintet at Vermont Jazz Center

There was a brown door in a modest kitchen, scuffed by the onslaught of time, children and life's general maneuvers. It guarded a staircase leading down to a basement, spacious enough and made congenial, such that it was often strewn about with middle-aged men.

When closed, this door allowed a generous amount of space between it and the floor, and was not the most efficient muffler of sound. If one crouched by its bottom, the world it attempted to conceal came spilling forth like the secrets of some giddy deluge.

Vermont Yankee Leaking Nuclear Waste Into Connecticut River

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is leaking cancer-causing tritium, a form of nuclear waste, into the Connecticut River, a spokesperson for the Vermont Department of Health said on February 9. The river, a popular swimming and fishing area in summer, flows south from Vermont through Greenfield, Northampton, Holyoke, and Springfield. Vermont Yankee is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire.

Photo: Brattleboro Farm

Following the current thaw, the weather is expected to get cold again on Friday. This photo was taken on January 27 on Old Ferry Road in Brattleboro. To enlarge it, please click on the photo, then scroll down and click "see full-size image."

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.