Labor Rally in New Hampshire

On January 4 in New Hampshire, the day before a new, anti-union governor was sworn in, labor activists held a rally at the state capitol. The Republican governor-elect wants to make it harder for unions to exist. “The next few years are bound to be incredibly difficult, especially if these changes happen along with changes to voting rights,” Kim Schmidl-Gagne told the Valley Post on January 2. She works at Keene State College and was a leader of the successful union organizing drive among 300 or so workers there in April 2016. The college fought the workers' effort to form a union.

Environmental Victories

Activists in the Valley who have fought to save the environment are seeing their work pay off. Government money that exists because of their work is being used to protect land near Keene, Northampton, and Brattleboro. “It's 182 acres of land along and around the West Cliff trail,” Emily McAdoo told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on December 28. She is on the board of the Putney Mountain Association, which “recently signed purchase and sale agreements” for the land in Brookline, Vermont, near Brattleboro, according to a letter from the group's president to its members.

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.

139 Acres Saved

Activists on August 24 permanently protected 139 acres of forestland in Royalston, Massachusetts. Royalston is near Greenfield and Keene. The land includes several ponds. “Canoeing across this sheltered wetland is a dramatic experience,” said David Kotker. He works for the land trust that saved the land. It has a web site at www.MountGrace.org. “No signs of human habitation are visible.” Among the animals that live there are beavers, a breeding pair of bald eagles, and a rare juvenile golden eagle. A photo of the land is below.

March for Campaign Finance Reform

This photo shows a march for campaign finance reform August 13 near Keene. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." Members of Congress take millions of dollars from rich people to pay for TV commercials for the politicians' election campaigns. Most of these rich “donors” want something in return. If they have employees they often want to prevent increases in the minimum wage (the richest family in the world, the Waltons, own Wal-Mart).

Activists Rally at Exxon Gas Station

Activists held a rally outside an Exxon Mobil gas station on August 4 in Keene. They were protesting the company's efforts to persuade the public that climate change isn't a problem. The world's leading scientists say climate change is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life. It is caused mainly by people driving cars and trucks, and by using fossil fuels to generate electricity and to heat buildings.

Rallies July 21

The environmental group 350.org is promoting rallies on July 21 in Keene and near Springfield, in Hartford, Connecticut. The Keene rally starts at 6 p.m.; the Hartford rally is at noon. Hartford is about 30 minutes from Springfield by car; Amtrak and Greyhound provide non-stop service.

“If elected, Trump would be the only national leader in the world to outright dismiss the science of climate change,” said event organizer May Boeve.

The Keene rally is at 44 Central Square. The Hartford event will be at 31 Pratt Street.

Proposals for Vacant Buildings

These photos were taken on July 2 in downtown Keene. They show two vacant buildings that will become apartments and a performing arts center, if the city approves developers' plans. To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full size image.” photos by Eesha Williams

Most people who live in the Valley need a car to get to work or school, and to go shopping or visit friends.

688 Acres Saved

Activists saved 688 acres of forestland in Keene and the New Hampshire towns of Chesterfield and Swanzey. Chesterfield borders Brattleboro and Keene. Swanzey borders Keene and is about five miles from Massachusetts. Protecting land from development is one of the best ways to stop climate change, which the world's leading scientists say is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life. Most of the money for protecting land comes from the government; politicians decide how much to invest in saving land, versus tax breaks for billionaires, war, and prison for non-violent people.

300 Workers Form a Union

About 300 workers in Keene formed a union April 6. “Pay, benefits, and the grievance process are our key issues,” Kim Schmidl-Gagne told the Valley Post last year. She is one of the workers in the new union. They work at Keene State College. “New Hampshire is in last place among the 50 states in funding for higher education,” Schmidl-Gagne said. “We want a voice to advocate to change that.”