People Power Defeats Plan to Narrow Brattleboro's Downtown Sidewalks

Brattleboro residents defeated a plan by the administration of lame duck Republican governor Jim Douglas and lieutenant-governor Brian Dubie – the Republican who wants to be elected governor in November – that would have narrowed already-narrow sidewalks in downtown Brattleboro. The goal was to make cars, trucks, and SUVs drive faster through the world-famous, historic downtown on the shore of the Connecticut river. Dubie-Douglas also wanted to cut down trees on Main Street.

Natalie Merchant Will Sing in Northampton on July 13

Natalie Merchant, probably the world’s best female singer, will sing in Northampton on July 13. It will be her first concert in the Valley in at least a decade. Her lyrics, and the music on her albums, are often – but not always – excellent. But Merchant’s concerts are always great, thanks to her incomparable voice.

In the song “Motherland," Merchant sings:

Where in hell can you go
Far from the things that you know
Far from the sprawl of concrete
That keeps crawling its way
About 1,000 miles a day?

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

Photo: Climate Activists Camp on Amherst Town Common

Dozens of activists spent the night in tents on the Amherst town common June 23 - 24 to call for action on global warming. The event was organized by The Leadership Campaign www.TheLeadershipCampaign.org photo by Mino Caulton

Photo: Dogwood Flower in Rain

After months of virtually no rain in Brattleboro, on June 6 about an inch of rain fell. About four inches of rain per month is average in the Valley. Farmers celebrated and a dogwood tree blossomed near Brattleboro.

According to the book "Trees and Bushes in Wood and Hedgerow" by Vedel and Lange, dogwoods were first called dagwoods. Their hard wood is good for making daggers.

photo by Eesha Williams

Photos: Northampton Street Life

These two photos were taken on June 3 in downtown Northampton. Workers used a chemical solvent to wipe away graffiti that read, "You can't silence art." And a sign at the entrance to a parking garage proclaimed that Northampton's women and coffee are both strong. Northampton's mayor is a woman, and the city is home to Smith College, a famous women-only college.

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.

Photos: Volunteers Install a Solar Water Heater

On May 22, volunteers from the Greenfield-based group Co-op Power installed a solar water heater near Brattleboro. Farmer Elizabeth Wood showed one of the volunteers her dairy goats. To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "See full-size image." More information is at www.CoopPower.coop photos by Eesha Williams

Native New Zealander Might Sing in Northampton

Jess Harlen, a new singer from Australia with a stunning voice, has performed in Europe and Japan. Her next stop could be Northampton.

“I’d love to play there,” Harlen told the Valley Post recently. Her most popular single on YouTube, “Watch the Water,” was inspired while she was swimming in the warm ocean waters of Mexico – not too far from the U.S., she noted. A brilliant video of her performing that song is at:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvBAXq2Vdhw

Harlen writes all her own lyrics and music.

Photo: Newborn Dairy Goats

These goats were born on May 10 at the New Leaf CSA farm near Brattleboro. They are Nigerian Dwarf goats. They produce milk that makes excellent goat cheese. More information is at www.NewLeafCSA.com photo by Elizabeth Wood