Photo: Hundreds March in Springfield for Immigrant Rights

On May 4 in Springfield, hundreds of people marched from the federal building on Main Street to City Hall. They were calling for passage of the so-called "Trust Act" by the Massachusetts legislature, which would reduce deportations of immigrants, and for federal reforms to help immigrants. More information about the Trust Act is at:

https://www.aclum.org/news_3.19.13

More information about the federal immigration reforms that march organizers are seeking is at:

www.jwj.org/blog/standing-workers-immigration-reform-may-day

Photo: Tulips

This photo was taken in Dummerston, Vermont, near Brattleboro on May 4. It shows tulip flowers growing outdoors. In Amsterdam between 1634 and 1637, "a single bulb of the most prized tulips fetched a price greater than the grandest canal houses in the city." That's according to:

www.pbs.org/thebotanyofdesire/tulip-beauty.php

To make the photo bigger click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." photo by Eesha Williams

Photos: Signs of Spring in Springfield

These photos were taken on April 16 in Forest Park in Springfield. They show blossoms of a red maple, and green shoots next to a beaver-chewed tree trunk. Beavers chew on big trees to sharpen their teeth, and to fell trees so they can eat the smaller branches. At more than 700 acres, Forest Park is the city's biggest park. It includes a lake, sports fields, a rose garden, and forestland with trails. A map is at:

www3.springfield-ma.gov/park/270.0.html

To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." photos by Eesha Williams

Vermont Rally for Justice Is May 1

Vermont's governor, a Democrat, and the state's Democrat-controlled House, are poised to approximately double the cost of health insurance for Vermont's poor and working class people. The governor is rejecting proposals to raise taxes on millionaires to provide free health care for poor people. The Vermont Senate, also controlled by Democrats, is debating its version of the health care plan. A final agreement among the governor, House, and senate is expected in early May.

Photos: 1,000 People March to Close Vermont Yankee

These photos were taken on March 30 in Brattleboro. They show about 1,000 people marching to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. After the march, there was a rally. Speakers included Vermont state senator Jeanette White and Deb Katz, director of www.NukeBusters.org. Reggae music was provided by DJ David Longsmith of www.wvew.org 107.7 FM in Brattleboro. More information about Vermont Yankee is at:

www.ValleyPost.org/node/803

To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "See full-size image." photos by Eesha Williams

Keene Photos: New Bike/Ped Bridge, New Food Co-op

These photos were taken on March 18 in Keene. The first two photos show a bicycle- and pedestrian-only bridge that opened in autumn 2012 near the corner of West Street and Route 9. It was funded by government programs that exist because of the advocacy of grassroots group like the Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire: www.bwaNH.org. Similar groups exist in Massachusetts and Vermont. They have web sites at www.MassBike.org and www.VtBikePed.org.

Environmental Victories

A garbage dump will close and 802 acres of farmland will be saved from development. The dump is in South Hadley, Massachusetts, which borders Amherst and Holyoke. The farmland is in Leyden, Massachusetts, near Greenfield and Brattleboro.

On March 11, the owner of the dump, Advanced Disposal Corporation (AD) of Jacksonville, Florida, said it will close the dump in March 2014. AD had $351 million in sales last year. The announcement came after anti-dump protests by South Hadley residents.

Victory for Bus Drivers

In Greenfield, public transit bus drivers recently voted to approve a new union contract that will result in higher wages. “The contract is the best we could have expected,” Gael Wakefield told the Valley Post. She is a bus dispatcher and president of UE Local 274.

Greenfield Bus Drivers' Rally Is Feb. 2

In Greenfield, public transit bus drivers will hold a rally for justice on February 2 at 2 p.m. The public is invited to attend the rally, which will be at the town common. The approximately two dozen workers drive and maintain buses for the FRTA or Franklin Regional Transit Authority. They are members of the UE Union Local 274. Even though the buses they drive have FRTA painted on them in giant letters, their employer is FirstGroup Corporation of Aberdeen, Scotland. As of 2010, FirstGroup had 136,000 employees in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Canada and the United States.

Photo: Vermont Forest and Lake

This photo shows the town of Somerset, Vermont, near Brattleboro. It was taken on January 14. The town has a population of three, according to the 2010 census. Somerset is approximately the shape of a rectangle and is about four miles by five miles. The town is in the Green Mountain National Forest, which is more than 400,000 acres and is open to the public for hiking. More information about the forest is at:

www.fs.usda.gov/gmfl

To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full size image.” photo by Eesha Williams