Vermont Emerges as a Guiding Star for Massachusetts, New Hampshire

From 2002 until last year, Vermont's republican governor vetoed almost all of the major initiatives passed by the state's progressive legislature. In January, governor Peter Shumlin, a democrat who lives near Brattleboro, took office. Already, Vermont is setting an example for Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Public Urged to Oppose Power Plant in Springfield

An appointee of Governor Deval Patrick announced recently that the state will not require a company that wants to build a wood incinerator and power plant in Springfield to submit an environmental impact report. The decision was made by Ian Bowles, secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

“During the campaign for governor, Patrick said he was against the big biomass incinerators. (Weeks after the election) he rolls out the red carpet for a big biomass incinerator,” said Chris Matera of Massachusetts Forest Watch on November 22.

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 He spoke with the Valley Post on July 13.

People Power Defeats Plan to Narrow Brattleboro's Downtown Sidewalks

Brattleboro residents defeated a plan by the administration of lame duck Republican governor Jim Douglas and lieutenant-governor Brian Dubie – the Republican who wants to be elected governor in November – that would have narrowed already-narrow sidewalks in downtown Brattleboro. The goal was to make cars, trucks, and SUVs drive faster through the world-famous, historic downtown on the shore of the Connecticut river. Dubie-Douglas also wanted to cut down trees on Main Street.

In Keene, Bicycle Thieves Active

Police say there has been a rash of bicycle thefts in recent days in Keene. Perhaps the nation's leading experts on how to prevent bicycle thefts, the staff of the group Transportation Alternatives (TA) in New York City, can help concerned Keene residents. From recommending the best bicycle locks, and the best way to use the locks; to helping draft local laws that require builders of apartment and office buildings to install indoor, locked bicycle parking; to ways to persuade cities and towns to install more on-street bicycle parking -- TA can help. Details are at

Photos: In Vermont, Thousands March for Single Payer Health Care

On May 1, thousands of people marched to the Vermont statehouse. "If Vermont passes single-payer health care, I will meet with President Obama and say, 'If Vermont can do this, so can the nation,'" U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders told the marchers. In the second photo, a blind man uses a cane while he marches.

Four of the five Democrats who are running for governor, including senate president Peter Shumlin of Putney (a few miles from Brattleboro) were at the march. Vermont votes Democratic more than almost any other state.

May 1 Rally for Single-Payer Healthcare

On May 1 at noon some 2,000 people are expected to attend a rally for single-payer health care at the Vermont statehouse. On May 1, 2009, more than 1,000 people attended a similar rally. Last year, May 1 fell on a weekday. This year, it will be on a Saturday.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders will speak at the rally. At last year's event Sanders said New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and the nation could get single-payer universal health care if Vermont leads the way. Every rich nation except the U.S. has universal health care. More information is at

Photo: Hundreds in Northampton March for Peace

Hundreds of people in Northampton marched for peace on March 20. The march and a rally were organized by the western Massachusetts chapter of the women's group Code Pink, and other groups. More information is available at


Patients and Doctors Discuss Free Health Clinics in Amherst

Benny Johnson has nagging injuries to his spinal cord and shoulder, products of a lifetime spent in the construction industry. Without daily medicine the pain is unbearable, something Johnson was reminded of several months ago after temporarily losing health insurance, and thus his medication.

Thanks to the Amherst Survival Center, Johnson, 63, was not in pain for long. The Center’s free health clinic recently received a $54,000 grant from the Attorney General’s office to provide medication for the uninsured and underinsured.

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:

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