Victory for Housing Advocates

In a win for activists who fight for affordable housing, downtown Brattleboro will get a new apartment building. “This project will provide beautiful new homes for folks wanting to live close to all the amenities available in downtown Brattleboro," Elizabeth Bridgewater told the Valley Post on March 8. She runs the non-profit group that will build the housing. Bridgewater's group has a web site at

The building will be constructed at 23 Flat Street, which is now a vacant lot, and will have about two dozen apartments.

Nurses Win

About 130 nurses in Westfield, Massachusetts voted to approve a new union contract. Westfield borders Holyoke. The nurses work at Noble hospital.

“We are proud of this agreement and what it will mean for our quality of patient care,” said Pam Fournier, one of the nurses. “By standing together, we were able to successfully negotiate a fair contract that values the patient care nurses provide and respects our contribution to the hospital.”

Workers Win

In a major win for workers' rights in the Valley, 230 school bus drivers and associated workers formed a union. "I support the union. Consistency between five towns and three garages is the main issue. There are five different towns being run five different ways," Annette LeBlanc told the Valley Post. For about five years, she has been a bus driver at the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative. “I am hopeful. But we’ve got a lot of work to do before we are finished.”

Westfield Nurses Vote to Authorize a Strike

About 130 nurses at a hospital in Westfield, Massachusetts have voted to authorize a strike. This does not necessarily mean they will go on strike; it means their elected union leaders have the power to call a strike. Westfield borders Holyoke. The nurses work at Noble hospital. They voted earlier this month.

Local News Roundup

On July 29 in Northampton, there will be a march for universal health care. The march starts at 1 p.m. at Childs Park, which is bordered by North Elm and Prospect streets, and by Woodlawn Avenue. As of July 26, more than 65 people had RSVP'd at:

Photo: View from Goat Peak

This photo was taken on April 9 from the summit of Goat Peak in the Mount Tom Reservation in Holyoke. It shows the Connecticut River and, in the distance, some of the buildings at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. The warmest temperatures in months are expected in the Valley in the coming days. The Reservation's 2,000 acres are open to the public for hiking. A trail map is at:

To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." photo by Eesha Williams

Civil Disobedience Planned

Activists in Brattleboro are planning to use civil disobedience to protest TD Bank, which is funding the Dakota Access Pipeline to move oil, which causes climate change. The action is set for February 22 at 3:30 p.m. at the TD Bank at 215 Main Street in Brattleboro. The activists are asking people to come and support them, without risking arrest. The Brattleboro chapter of is promoting the event.

Environmental Victories

Here in the Valley, solar is replacing coal and nuclear, and bicyle paths and sidewalks are being built. In related news, six people from the Valley recently traveled to North Dakota, where they helped Native Americans who are fighting a proposed oil pipeline.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band Concert is September 10

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band will play at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Saturday, September 10 at 7 p.m. The venue has a dance floor. You can hear the band's music at:

In the next few months, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band will perform in New York City, Chicago, and Hawaii.

Tickets for the Holyoke concert are $25 in advance. They are available at

photo by

Workers Unite

With Labor Day right around the corner, the Valley Post spoke with a worker at a Springfield-based union for an update. Grocery workers are negotiating their first union contract at Wild Oats Market in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Matt Szulborski told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on August 12. He works for United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 1459. In February, the 42 workers at Wild Oats joined the union, which has a web site at