Local News Round-up

In Springfield, thanks to the work of housing activists, $10.2 million will be invested in renovating a 34-story apartment building at 10 Chestnut Street. The news was announced by city and state officials on July 27. The money comes from taxpayers. Raising taxes on billionaires is one way to create good-paying, union jobs for carpenters, painters, plumbers, and electricians. Women and people of color can get these jobs that have traditionally mostly been held by white men. Details are available by contacting union activists via their web site: www.LaborNotes.org.

Protesters: "No Human is Illegal"

In Greenfield on July 20 about 100 people attended a rally for immigrant rights. The rally was outside Greenfield's federal jail for undocumented immigrants. Two groups organized the event. They have web sites at www.jwj.org and www.pvWorkersCenter.org.

It's easy for people from Mexico to enter Canada legally. The number of undocumented people from Mexico entering Vermont from Canada has increased dramatically this year as Trump makes it harder for undocumented people to cross the USA-Mexico border. The Vermont-Canada border is much easier for undocumented people to cross.

Springfield Police Charge 21 Protesters

Police in Springfield on June 4 charged 21 protesters with trespassing on state property. The protesters were using nonviolent civil disobedience to bring attention to politicians' failure to address air pollution that makes Springfield the nation's worst city for people with asthma. The same air pollution – largely from cars – causes climate change, which the world's leading scientists say is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life. Solutions include raising the gas tax to European levels, and improving public transportation, sidewalks, and bicycle paths.

Photo: Great Egret

This photo of a Great Egret was taken in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Longmeadow borders Springfield. The photo was taken at Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge. Great Egrets eat mostly fish. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." The photo was taken on April 22, 2018.

Workers Unite

An uprising among the 500 or so workers at Springfield Technical Community College appears to have near unanimous support. The goal is to get rid of the college's leadership. “They wouldn't let us use electronic voting – you could only vote in person. We would have had higher turnout with electronic voting. As it was, 238 people voted. Of those, 202 voted in favor of removing the college's president. We are also seeking the removal of the chair of the college's board of trustees,” Nick Camerota told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on May 15.

Green Mountain National Forest in Danger

Unless people get active to stop the plan, thousands of acres of Green Mountain National Forest that are about 10 miles from Brattleboro will probably be clearcut logged soon. “They are coming hard with the chainsaws to Green Mountain National Forest,” Chris Matera told the Valley Post. “What a sorry site it will be to look down from the top of Mount Snow and see clearcuts instead of that beautiful intact forest we see now.” A photo of that view is at:

www.valleypost.org/2013/01/16/photo-vermont-forest-and-lake

Concert Review: Meninos de Minas

The band Meninos de Minas performed an outstanding concert on April 28. In the audience, dozens of people danced. The concert was free, outdoors, and in Hartford. It was the second year that the band played at the annual Samba Fest in Hartford. Hartford is about 30 minutes from Springfield by train. Next month those trains will get much cheaper and much more frequent, thanks to the work of activists in Northampton who have a web site at www.TrainsInTheValley.org.

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

People are taking to the streets for workers' rights and for gun control. On April 27 at 3 p.m. there will be a rally for gun control outside 2100 Roosevelt Avenue in Springfield. The event is being organized by a group that has a web site at www.PioneerValleyProject.org.

On April 20 in Greenfield, about 150 people attended a rally for gun control. On the same day in Keene, about 70 people attended a rally for gun control.

Rally to Shut Pipeline is January 10

In Agawam, Massachusetts at noon on January 10, there will be a rally to close a fracked gas pipeline in the Valley. Agawam borders Springfield. The rally will be at 1651 Suffield Street. The organizers have a web site at www.SugarShackAlliance.org. More information is available by calling Priscilla Lynch at (413) 522-5224.

Fracked gas causes climate change, which the world's leading scientists say is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life. One of the best ways to stop climate change is to protect open space.

Rally to Aid Homeless

In Springfield on December 21, there will be a rally calling on politicians to do more to help homeless people. The event starts at 3 p.m. and ends at 5 p.m. It will be at 310 State Street. As of December 20, more than 40 people had RSVP'd. Details are at:

www.facebook.com/events/322753608203042

In other news from the Valley, on December 19, Keene State College announced it had signed a union contract with 258 of its workers. More information is at:

www.valleypost.org/2016/04/08/300-workers-form-union