Striking Grocery Workers Will Rally in Keene on April 3

Workers at the Shaw’s and Star Markets supermarket chains went on strike March 8. There are Shaw’s stores in Keene and near Brattleboro in Wilmington, Vermont. Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 791 voted 288 to 8 to strike. The workers asked people to boycott Shaw’s until the strike is over.

The striking workers distribute perishable food like fruit, vegetables, milk, and meat to Shaw's and Star Markets stores throughout New England.

“Shaw’s has recruited C&S to scab,” said Jon Weissman of the western Massachusetts chapter of Jobs With Justice www.jwj.org

New Hampshire House Moves Toward Legal Marijuana

On March 10, the New Hampshire House voted to reduce the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The bill now moves on to the Senate. Matt Simon is director of the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy. "We are organizing people to attend the Senate's public hearing which will be in April or May," he told the Valley Post.

The bill would decriminalize possession of less than a quarter ounce of marijuana. Under the current law, marijuana possession is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,000 fine.

Granny D, 1910 - 2010, Fought for Democracy

Doris “Granny D” Haddock died on March 9 at her home near Keene. She was 100 years old. In 1999 and 2000, Haddock walked from the Pacific Ocean in California to Washington, DC to call for public financing of elections at the national level. Thousands of people, including several members of Congress and former Texas Secretary of Agriculture Jim Hightower, joined Haddock for the last few miles of her walk to the U.S. capitol building.

Maine and Arizona have public financing of state elections.

Local Peace Activists Prepare for April 15

Every year on tax day, April 15, activists around the Valley hand out fliers at post offices showing people how much of their taxes go to war. To join the local actions, contact the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee www.nwtrcc.org and/or the War Resisters' League www.WarResisters.org

Out of a federal budget of about $2,900,000,000,000 about half goes to war. Details are at:

www.warresisters.org/files/FY2011piechart.pdf

Regulators Say They May Shut Vermont Yankee Now

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant may be ordered to close immediately by state regulators, according to a statement released on February 25 by the Vermont Public Service Board, whose members are appointed by the governor. Vermont Yankee is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire.

Photo: Keene Mountain

This photo, taken in Keene on February 15, shows Mount Monadnock. To enlarge the photo, please click on it. The mountain, including thousands of acres of land, was protected from development by the collective action of ordinary citizens. Hiking trails lead to the summit. From there, one can see all six states in New England. A trail map is at:

www.NHstateparks.org/uploads/MonadnockHikingTrailsWeb.pdf

Keene Area Police Have Killed Four People in Under Four Years

A Keene police officer shot and killed a man who was using a knife to hold his ex-girlfriend hostage on February 2. A preliminary report by the state attorney general found that the shooting was justified.

The Keene Sentinel newspaper reported that three other people have been killed by police in the Keene area in less than four years. The attorney general found all three killings were justified.

Death Penalty Opponents Score Win in NH, Fight Bill in Massachusetts

On January 6, the New Hampshire House voted against a bill that would have allowed the state to execute people because they committed murder under a wider range of circumstances than allowed under current law. The vote was 201-161.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, a bill to reinstate the death penalty in the state is pending in the legislature. A group of people is organizing to fight the measure. They meet monthly in the Springfield area. For more information e-mail mcadp1@aol.com or cajowl66@aol.com or call (413) 567-3451.

Climate Actions Around the Valley Oct. 24

Activists are planning a mass bicycle ride, marches, rallies with speakers and live music, and other actions around the Valley on Saturday, October 24 to protest the government’s lack of meaningful action on climate change. Climate change resulting in large part from burning fossil fuels in cars, electricity generation, and heating and cooling buildings, is causing glaciers to melt, which in turn causes flooding of places where people live and grow food. Droughts and severe rainfall are both becoming more common, which makes it harder for farmers to grow food.

Keene City Council Votes Against Jail for Pot Users; Re-Vote Likely

The Keene city council voted earlier this month in favor of asking the state to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. But the council will likely vote again on the matter at its October 1 meeting, and the vote is expected to be close.

“The war on drugs is over and we lost,” Frederick Parsells told the Valley Post. Parsells is a member of the Keene planning commission, and a former Keene police detective. He served on the Keene city council for six years. It was a letter that Parsells recently sent to the city council that prompted the vote.