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 www.dartmouth.edu He spoke with the Valley Post on July 13.

Union Claims Victory for Shaw's Workers; Strike Over

On July 8, workers at Shaw's supermarkets voted to end a months-long strike. There is a Shaw's store in Keene. The union www.ufcw.org called the new contract a victory for workers. The contract includes "good wages, comprehensive and affordable health care, and a generous retirement plan," according to a union press release. The union did not make workers available for media interviews. Coverage of the strike is at:

www.valleypost.org/2010/04/27/photos-shaws-workers-strike

www.valleypost.org/2010/04/28/grocery-warehouse-strikers-speak-out

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 www.transalt.org

In Danger: Giant Park Near Keene, Brattleboro

Pisgah State Park, with thousands of acres, is the biggest state park in New Hampshire. It is in the town of Hinsdale, and two other towns. Hinsdale is directly across the river from Brattleboro. The following article was written by Jeffrey Scott and Marti Hobbes of the group Defenders of Pisgah. It was posted on a bulletin board at one of the entrances to the park on June 27. The only contact info provided for the group was:

P.O. Box 31
Spofford, NH 03462

Keene Congressman: Close Valley Nuke Now

On June 16, Keene congressman Paul Hodes blasted the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for its failures at the tattered Vermont Yankee nuclear power reactor, and called on the NRC to order Entergy, the Louisiana company that owns the reactor, to shut Yankee immediately.

In a formal complaint to the NRC, whose members are appointed by the nuclear industry funded President Obama, the Keene congressman demanded “public answers for the lax oversight that has allowed Vermont Yankee to continue operating despite a safety record featuring frequent, repeated radioactive leaks.”

In Keene, Activists Fight Motorcycle Corporations

Motorcycle noise is a problem every summer in the Valley, said Cliff Crowley. He is working to pass laws to limit the noise. He is a member of a national group, Noise Free America www.NoiseFree.org New Hampshire is one of the worst states for motorcycle noise. Keene has more motorcycles per capita than most cities in New Hampshire, according to the group.

Pavers Winning the Race in the Valley; Locals Push Back

Massachusetts loses some 40 acres of open space to development every day. Every year, about 8,000 single-family houses are built in the four counties of western Massachusetts. In Hampshire and Hampden counties alone, more than 1,500 acres of open space have been lost every year for the past 20 years. That loss is, for practical purposes, irreversible; the chances of a Wal-Mart or a McMansion being torn down and replaced with prime farmland or wilderness are slim to none.

Uprising by Vermont Prisoners

Some three dozen Vermonters were on “lock down” at a private prison in Tennessee on May 14 for non-violent civil disobedience on May 12. A prison official refused to tell the Associated Press when the prisoners would be allowed to make phone calls and have their other rights restored, for example, the right to exercise outside their cells. Guards used a "non-lethal grenade" to force the prisoners into their cells.

For Massachusetts Workers, Consumers Boycott Shaw's

On May 8, workers stood outside a Shaw's supermarket near Brattleboro and asked people not to shop at Shaw's until a strike is settled. Many customers said they would do what the workers asked. Some 300 workers at a Shaw's warehouse near Boston have been on strike for weeks. Shaw's is using the Keene-based C&S corporation to scab. C&S has warehouses in Brattleboro and near Northampton. The May 8 action, and recent pickets at the C&S warehouses in the Valley, were organized by the Massachusetts and Vermont chapters of www.jwj.org

Police Will Not Penalize Driver Who Hit Pedestrian in Keene

On April 25, a 19-year-old woman, Brittney Frank, was crossing Main Street in Keene in a crosswalk when a car hit her. She was taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock hospital in Keene, where she was treated for a leg injury. Police spokesman Steven LaMears told the Keene Sentinel newspaper that police would not file any charges or traffic citations against the driver who hit the pedestrian.