Photos: Brattleboro Farm Life

These photos were taken about one mile from Brattleboro on two farms on April 28 and April 29. They show Jersey dairy cows and a blossoming pear tree and azalea bush. When there isn't snow on the ground, these cows live on pasture. In the photo, the cows are waiting to enter their barn to be milked while they eat alfalfa pellets or grain. The closer cow is drooling. Click the photos, then scroll down, to enlarge.

Photos: Shaw's Workers on Strike

Here are two photos from Methuen, Massachusetts. They were taken on April 27 of striking Shaw's warehouse workers. The workers were excited because the company called the union on April 27 and asked to meet on April 28. On April 28, they were to bargain a new contract for the approximately 300 workers who have been on strike for weeks. More information is at www.jwj.org -- follow the links to the eastern Massachusetts coalition web site. There is a Shaw's store in Keene. Click the photos, then scroll down, to enlarge.

Photos: Crayfish, Redwing Blackbird, Painted Turtle

These photos were taken near Brattleboro on the Connecticut river on April 25. To enlarge a photo, please click on it, then scroll down and click "See full-size image." There is a kayak paddle in the photo of the crayfish. The average crayfish is seven inches long. A mink was too fast for the photographer. photos by Eesha Williams

You can hear the song of a redwing blackbird at:

www.AllAboutBirds.org/guide/Red-winged_Blackbird/id

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: