English Beat Concert is October 11

The English Beat will play in Holyoke on October 11 at 8 p.m. The band plays ska. The audience dances. Members of the band include Deborah Troiano, King Schascha, and Dave Wakeling, who was born into a working class family in Birmingham, England, according to the band's web site.

The band has donated money to efforts to ban all nuclear weapons. In September 2018 they are playing in England and California. The photo shows Schascha. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." photo from www.TheKingSchascha.com

200 at Keene Rally

In Keene on September 8, more than 200 people attended a rally calling on politicians to deal with climate change. Millions of people die of starvation every year, increasingly due to climate-change-caused floods and droughts that make it hard for farmers to grow food.

A Victory for the Environment

The USA is losing 6,000 or so acres of open space every day. But here in the Valley, about 640 acres of farmland and forestland were permanently protected from development. A land trust based in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, about 9 miles from Greenfield, announced the news on August 2.

Local News Round-up

In Springfield, thanks to the work of housing activists, $10.2 million will be invested in renovating a 34-story apartment building at 10 Chestnut Street. The news was announced by city and state officials on July 27. The money comes from taxpayers. Raising taxes on billionaires is one way to create good-paying, union jobs for carpenters, painters, plumbers, and electricians. Women and people of color can get these jobs that have traditionally mostly been held by white men. Details are available by contacting union activists via their web site: www.LaborNotes.org.

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 www.w-wht.org.

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:

www.facebook.com/events/121333305132027

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:

www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/region-west/mount-tom-state-rese...

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