16 More Protesters Arrested

Sixteen people were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience between August 22 and August 27 at Wendell Massachusetts State Forest near Greenfield, bringing the total number of arrests to 25 since August 6. The goal was to stop planned logging of 80 acres of 110 year old oak trees on publicly owned land.

The USA is losing 6,000 acres of open space to development every day. Stopping logging on publicly owned land forces logging companies to buy their own land. If the loggers want to grow new trees after logging, the land can't be paved.

Activists Fight for Nature

On June 25 a group that is fighting planned logging on publicly owned land near Greenfield said the logging will likely start soon. “On June 24, the loggers began installing gates on Carlton Road and Dirth Road in Wendell (Massachusetts) State Forest. Installing the gates definitely means the beginning of logging,” said James Thornley, a spokesperson for the group. “Gates are not an independent, unrelated factor. The loggers are paying to have these gates installed — they would not spend this money if they were not about to commence cutting.”

200 at Rally

More than 200 people attended a rally in Northampton calling for raises for workers at the city's public schools. At Northampton public schools, starting pay for cafeteria workers is $11.64 an hour; for custodians it's $12.01. Teachers' pay is below the state average. The workers organized the rally. They have a web site at www.nasemta.org. The rally was on June 12.

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More than 100 people were at a Northampton rally on June 15 calling on congress to impeach Trump. The organizers have a web site at www.IndivisibleNoho.com.

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Local News Round-up

In Springfield, pedestrian rights activists had a win May 30 when construction started on a $4 million project. “It's hard to imagine an intersection that is less friendly to pedestrians,” Stacey Beuttell told the Valley Post on June 3. She works for Walk Boston, a group that, despite its name, works statewide to make walking safer. Beuttell said the Springfield project is a victory. The intersection that will be fixed is at the corner of Alden, Walnut, Hancock, and Ashley streets. The mayor says it will be done by the end of next year.

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10 Arrested for Civil Disobedience

Two students at Keene State College were among a group of 10 people who were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience at the New Hampshire statehouse. They were protesting a Republican effort to make it harder for people to vote. “It went really well,” Robby St. Laurent told the Valley Post in a telephone interview. He is one of the Keene students. The other was Jackson Brannen. In a phone interview Brannen told the Valley Post. “There were over 100 people there supporting us. It was a powerful moment. We want Governor Sununu to sign House Bill 106.” The arrests happened on May 7.

Climate March is April 22

In Northampton on April 22 there will be a march calling on politicians to do more to fight climate change. The march will start at 5 p.m. at 129 Main Street. Details are at:

www.facebook.com/events/249294522680797

On April 9, five people from the Brattleboro area were among hundreds who completed a 65 mile, five-day march to the Vermont statehouse calling on politicians to do more to fight climate change. Among the five were Tara Bossard-Kruger, Nancy Braus, Byron Stookey, and Ann Zimmerman. The march organizers have a web site at www.350vermont.org.

Workers Unite

On March 10 in Chicopee, Massachusetts hundreds of Stop and Shop workers came to a union meeting and voted unanimously to give their elected union leaders the power to call a strike. Chicopee borders Springfield and Holyoke. Low wages are one of the main reasons workers voted yes. Stop and Shop is owned by a corporation based in Holland that has about 370,000 employees, including about 2,000 in western Massachusetts. Stop and Shop workers in the Pioneer Valley have a web site at www.ufcw1459.com.

Activists Work to Make Roads Safe for Walkers

On March 2 at about 8:45 a.m. in West Springfield, Massachusetts a driver of a car drove into a pedestrian, killing the pedestrian. “This is at least the eleventh pedestrian who has been hit and killed by a driver in Massachusetts already this year,” Brendan Kearney told the Valley Post. He works for a group that has a web site at https://walkboston.org. Despite the group's name, Walk Boston works statewide. “We need to reduce illegal speeding to help prevent and/or reduce the severity of these crashes, and a way to do that is through road design,” Kearney said.

Local News Round-up

About 130 tutors who are employed by the Keene public school system are planning a rally to demand justice. They may even go on strike, even though that is illegal. “We currently have 128 tutors with 14 positions still not filled for this school year,” Kathy Twombly told the Valley Post on January 19. She is a tutor in Keene and she is president of the tutors' union. Twombly's union is part of a bigger union that has a web site at www.nea.org.

She wrote a powerful essay explaining the tutors' demands. The full essay is at:

www.facebook.com/kathy.twombly.3/posts/10157120253007948

350 Acres Saved

On December 28 a land trust announced it had saved 50 acres of land in Harrisville, New Hampshire. Harrisville is about two miles from Keene.  The land trust has a web site at www.HarrisCenter.org.

On December 18, a land trust that has a web site at www.MonadnockConservancy.org announced it had saved 300 acres of land in Dublin, New Hampshire. Dublin is also about two miles from Keene.

The USA is losing about 6,000 acres of open space every day.