Day Trip: See Record Number of Whales Off Boston

Thanks to the environmental movement, there are now more whales in the ocean near Boston than there have been in at least the past hundred years, scientists say. On April 19, 2010 scientists saw a group of right whales in Block Island Sound. Researchers at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center saw 98 North Atlantic right whales. There are about 400 right whales on earth.

These photos were taken on a trip guided by scientists from the Whale Center of New England www.whalecenter.org on June 5, 2009.

photos by Eesha Williams

Photos: The Valley and the Mountain

The first photo shows the Connecticut River and UMass Amherst. The second was taken on April 18 from the summit of Mt. Monadnock, near Keene. The first photo is by www.commons.wikimedia.org The second is by Matthew Hoffman. To enlarge the photos, please click on them, then scroll down and click "See full-size image."

800 Workers in Massachusetts Get Hefty Raises With Union

Some 800 warehouse workers in Worcester and Fall River, Massachusetts recently voted for a new contract that will boost their wages, benefits, and working conditions. They are members of the UNITE HERE union and they work for TJX Corporation. Their victory could be a model for workers in the Valley to follow.

“The workers’ first languages include Vietnamese, Albanian, Spanish, and Chinese,” said organizer Dana Simon. “The company tried to exploit those differences. They failed and the workers won."

Columbia University Professor Will Sing in Keene

Singer Philip Hamilton will perform a public concert in Keene on April 13 at 7:30 p.m. Hamilton teaches at Columbia University. Born in West Medford, Massachusetts, Hamilton graduated from Middlebury College and Berklee College of Music. In Keene, he will sing with his nine-person a cappella group. They will sing Gregorian chants, the blues, and miners' songs. They have performed at Lincoln Center in New York City. The concert will be at Keene State College, in the Redfern building at 229 Main Street in downtown Keene. Tickets cost between $12 and $23.

More information is at:

Keene Police Harass Striking Workers; Leave Girl Scouts

On April 3, the Keene police ordered protesters to leave the parking lot of a Shaw's supermarket in Keene under threat of arrest, but allowed Girl Scouts to keep selling cookies in the same parking lot. A spokesman for the UFCW union www.ufcw.org said his union and/or the ACLU might sue the city of Keene for violating the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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

Photo: Waterfall

This photo was taken at Hamilton Falls in Jamaica, Vermont on March 28. Jamaica is about 20 miles from Brattleboro. To make the photo bigger, click on it. Among the kinds of wildlife that can be seen near the waterfall are mountain lions, bears, and moose. The Vermont Land Trust www.vlt.org works to protect land like this. There is still snow and ice on the steep trail to the base of the waterfall, so it's a good idea to wear metal spikes on your shoes. These can be purchased for about $10 at Brown & Roberts Hardware in Brattleboro.

A photo of a mountain lion is at:

Photo: Hundreds in Northampton March for Peace

Hundreds of people in Northampton marched for peace on March 20. The march and a rally were organized by the western Massachusetts chapter of the women's group Code Pink, and other groups. More information is available at www.codepink4peace.org

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Photo: Building a Bridge by Hand

These photos show a worn out, wooden covered bridge in Newfane, Vermont, and workers building a new bridge about 100 yards from the old one. When the new bridge is ready, the old one will be removed and the new one slid into its place. The bridge builders are staying at a motel in Brattleboro, they said. They are from upstate New York. (To enlarge a photo, please click on it, then scroll down and click "See full size image.")

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.