Two Victories for Union Workers in Greenfield

Gael Wakefield is a public transit bus driver in Greenfield. In 2008, she was elected president of Local 274 of the UE union. She still serves as president, while also working as a bus driver. The UE’s web site is www.UEunion.org

On May 5, Wakefield sat down with Eesha Williams of MassLaborNews.com to talk about her union.

March 31 Noon Rallies at Bank of America: 'Jobs Now!'

On March 31 at noon, union activists around the Valley will hold rallies asking people to boycott Bank of America. They say the bank has done little to reduce the state’s unemployment rate despite receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer money last year. The bank paid its CEO in 2008 some $9.9 million.

According to Jon Weissman, spokesman for Jobs with Justice www.jwj.org the activists will be at Bank of America branches in: Springfield at the corner of Main Street and Boland Way; Northampton at 144 Main Street; Amherst at 1 South Pleasant Street; and Greenfield at 208 Federal Street.

Greenfield Residents Fight Proposed Wal-Mart

A group of Greenfield residents who are fighting a proposed “big box” store which they say would be a Wal-Mart, released the following statement on March 4. Contact information for the residents follows the statement. Valley Post articles about the proposed store are at:

www.valleypost.org/2009/04/22/pro-big-box-greenfield-mayor-voted-out

www.valleypost.org/2008/10/02/big-box-battle

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Local Peace Activists Prepare for April 15

Every year on tax day, April 15, activists around the Valley hand out fliers at post offices showing people how much of their taxes go to war. To join the local actions, contact the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee www.nwtrcc.org and/or the War Resisters' League www.WarResisters.org

Out of a federal budget of about $2,900,000,000,000 about half goes to war. Details are at:

www.warresisters.org/files/FY2011piechart.pdf

Regulators Say They May Shut Vermont Yankee Now

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant may be ordered to close immediately by state regulators, according to a statement released on February 25 by the Vermont Public Service Board, whose members are appointed by the governor. Vermont Yankee is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire.

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.

Hundreds March in Greenfield for Library

Hundreds of people marched down Main Street to Greenfield town hall November 13 to protest a proposal by mayor William Martin to reduce the public library’s budget by $30,300 this month. The library recently reduced its hours in response to earlier budget cuts.

“I’m here to stand up for our library,” said marcher and Greenfield resident Ted Compton. “Having a library is civilized.”

Feds To Hold Hearing on Polluting Power Plant

On August 13 at 7 p.m. in Russell, Mass. – about a 30 minute drive from Northampton - the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public hearing about a plan by a Connecticut corporation that wants to build polluting power plants in Greenfield, Russell, Palmer, Fitchburg and Pittsfield.

Russell Biomass Corporation says it wants to discharge hot, contaminated effluent into the Westfield River, a federally-designated "wild and scenic river" that is home to endangered Atlantic salmon.

The hearing will be at the Russell Elementary School auditorium: 155 Highland Avenue.

Proposed Local Biomass Plants Debated

Biomass - burning wood and other organic products for energy and heat - has elicited intense passions throughout the Pioneer Valley as proposals to build plants in Greenfield, Springfield and Russell receive public airing.

Police Harass Citizens of Shelburne Falls

Several residents of Shelburne Falls, Mass., near Greenfield, told the Post on July 18 they had been harassed by police while swimming at a popular swimming area on the river near downtown Shelburne Falls. They asked to not be identified for fear of retribution.

Shelburne select board chair John Payne told the Post on July 22, "The police are not harassing people, they are enforcing town rules."

The swim area is known as the Potholes. It is located just downstream from the dam in downtown Shelburne Falls.