150 at Rally Against Lay-Offs at Northampton Hospital

About 150 people turned out for a rally against lay-offs at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton on November 9. Hospital officials recently said they will soon lay off an unspecified number of workers, including nurses. The officials said the number of lay-offs could be around 10.

"The lay-offs are unnecessary," said Charlie Rasmussen of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, the union that represents 270 nurses at the hospital. “Cooley Dickinson has an $8.9 million surplus this year.”

Protesters Arrested at Vermont Yankee

Four women were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant Sept 28. Arrested for blocking the entrance to Vermont Yankee were Hattie Nestel of Athol, Mass.; Ellen Graves of West Springfield, Mass., and Frances Crowe and Paki Wieland, both from Northampton.

In recent years, dozens of people have been arrested for non-violent civil disobedience at Vermont Yankee and at the Brattleboro offices of Louisiana-based Entergy Corp., which owns the reactor.

The Budding Industry of Vintning in New England

Vermont is known for several aspects of the good life—breathtaking, mountainous scenery; a reduced focus on materialism; and a never-ending stream of organic, local cuisine. This cultural oasis with a northern clime is not, however, known for its wine or viticulture. In fact, the stereotype is that only tart, overly sweet, highly acidic fruit wines are produced here, because blueberries, apples, rhubarb and cranberries can thrive where grapes cannot.

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Fifty People at Hadley Whole Foods Boycott Rally

The CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, recently wrote an article that was published in the Wall Street Journal. In the article, Mackey argued that health care is not a right, and opposed universal health care. On September 12, some 51 local activists showed up at a rally in the rain at the Whole Foods store in Hadley, near Northampton, calling for a boycott.

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Officials Seek Help With Insects Threatening Valley Forests, Jobs

Officials are seeking volunteers to look out for two kinds of insects that could devastate the Valley’s forests and cost jobs in logging, maple syrup making, and related industries. The insects are the Asian longhorned beetle and the hemlock woolly adelgid.

Income from sustainable logging and maple syrup production often prevents land owners from having to sell their land for development.

Rally Against Racism in Northampton

A rally for Jason Vassell was held on August 6 in Northampton following an evidentiary hearing related to a Motion to Dismiss filed by Vassell’s attorneys at the county courthouse there. The former UMass student was involved in an altercation with two non-UMass students in the Southwest dormitory complex on February 3, 2008. The rally was in support of the motion filed on Vassell’s behalf and to hear further information regarding recent court finagling over the defense’s discovery process.

Latino Farmworkers Near Brattleboro

Two of these photos show Latino farmworkers harvesting blueberries near Brattleboro on August 1. The third, taken the same day, is of a peach tree laden with fruit, also near Brattleboro. To learn about farms where you can pick your own organic blueberries and peaches, visit www.nofa.org To learn about the challenges facing Latino farmworkers in the U.S., and how you can join in their fight for justice, go to www.floc.com and www.ufw.org To make the photos bigger, please click on them. photos by Eesha Williams

Police Harass Citizens of Shelburne Falls

Several residents of Shelburne Falls, Mass., near Greenfield, told the Post on July 18 they had been harassed by police while swimming at a popular swimming area on the river near downtown Shelburne Falls. They asked to not be identified for fear of retribution.

Shelburne select board chair John Payne told the Post on July 22, "The police are not harassing people, they are enforcing town rules."

The swim area is known as the Potholes. It is located just downstream from the dam in downtown Shelburne Falls.

Photos: Mountains and Mergansers Near Brattleboro

These photos were taken in July in Putney, Vermont, near Brattleboro. They show hikers on Putney Mountain, and common mergansers in the Connecticut river. These common mergansers probably spend their winters in Mexico. One bird expert said she thought this photo is of a mother with her teenage ducklings. Male mergansers make a low croaking sound. Females say "carrrrrr." photos by Eesha Williams

Nashawannuck Pond To Get Facelift

The city of Easthampton, Mass., near Northampton, and the federal Army Corps of Engineers have awarded a contract worth $1.5 million to Palmer Federal Constructors, Inc. for dredging Nashawannuck Pond. Slated to begin in August, the dredging is the first step of the Aquatic Habitat Restoration of Nashawannuck Pond project. At an approximate cost of $2.5 million dollars, the aim of the project is to repair the ecosystems for aquatic life and to minimize so-called “nonpoint source” pollution threats to the pond.