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.
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.
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:
The Vermont legislature meets annually from early January until April or May. The 2010 session starts January 5.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Solar Rollers schedule:
Sun. Aug 9 - Brattleboro area
Mon. Aug 10 - Springfield, Vermont
Tue. Aug 11 - Randolph
Wed. Aug 12 - White River Jct
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