Public Urged to Oppose Power Plant in Springfield

An appointee of Governor Deval Patrick announced recently that the state will not require a company that wants to build a wood incinerator and power plant in Springfield to submit an environmental impact report. The decision was made by Ian Bowles, secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

“During the campaign for governor, Patrick said he was against the big biomass incinerators. (Weeks after the election) he rolls out the red carpet for a big biomass incinerator,” said Chris Matera of Massachusetts Forest Watch on November 22.

Logging or Wilderness: Public Hearing Nov. 16

Members of a local environmental group are urging the public to attend a public hearing on November 16 near Springfield about whether Massachusetts state-owned forest land should be logged or kept as wilderness. Forest Watch members say people should speak out in favor of wilderness at the 6:30 p.m. meeting with representatives of Governor Deval Patrick at 380 Southampton Road in Westfield.

Oct. 22 Noon March Against Police Brutality in Springfield

On October 22 at noon there will be a march to the Springfield police department to protest police brutality in Springfield. That day there will also be a conference on how to fix a variety of problems with police. The conference will be from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Basilica of the Holy Apostle at 339 State Street in Springfield. The march and conference are being organized by the Community Coalition for Justice.

March for Jobs is Sept. 15 in Springfield

There will be a march in Springfield at 4 p.m. on September 15 calling on Congress to raise taxes on the rich to create jobs for unemployed people. The jobs would include work building better trains and train tracks, making homes and other building more energy efficient, and installing solar panels and windmills.

Organizers are asking the public to meet at 1550 Main Street at 3:45 p.m. Putting the millions of jobless Americans to work would raise wages for workers who already have jobs because employers would be forced to compete for skilled workers.

Peace Action Is August 21-22 Near Springfield

A group of Valley residents is planning to rally for peace at a display of military might by the U.S. Air Force in Westfield, Massachusetts on August 21 and 22. The public is welcome to join the peace action. Westfield is near Springfield.

"We will be reminding people at the air show that these planes are weapons of mass destruction," said peace activist Daniel Sicken of Dummerston, Vermont, near Brattleboro. He plans to take part in the peace protest.

Out of an annual federal government budget of about $2,900,000,000,000 about half goes to war. Details are at:

Noon Rally to Save Democracy is August 10 in Springfield

On August 10 at noon, there will be a rally in Springfield to support a law that would help reduce the control that corporations have over politicians. The Fair Elections Now Act was introduced in the U.S. senate by senators Dick Durbin and Arlen Specter, and in the House by congressmen John Larson and Walter Jones, Jr. The bill would allow federal candidates to run for office without relying on big "donations" (also known as "bribes") from corporate lobbyists. The bill is supported by www.greenpeace.org and some of the nation's biggest labor unions, including www.afscme.org

In Valley, a Crisis in Care for Mental Illness

Recent budget decisions by the governors and state legislators in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont have caused a crisis here in the Valley for people with mental illness who don’t have good health insurance. That’s according to Paul Gorman. He’s president of the New Hampshire chapter of a national group, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Gorman is also director of the Dartmouth College Psychiatric Research Center www.dartmouth.edu He spoke with the Valley Post on July 13.

Local Postal Workers Fight to Keep Their Jobs

Joe Gonzales has worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Springfield, Massachusetts for more than nine years. (This is not his real name; the Postal Service has tried to fire workers who criticized it.) Now he’s afraid he will lose his job. “As it is, I live with my sister,” he said. “If I lost my job, I’m not sure I’d be able to feed and clothe myself.”

March 31 Noon Rallies at Bank of America: 'Jobs Now!'

On March 31 at noon, union activists around the Valley will hold rallies asking people to boycott Bank of America. They say the bank has done little to reduce the state’s unemployment rate despite receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer money last year. The bank paid its CEO in 2008 some $9.9 million.

According to Jon Weissman, spokesman for Jobs with Justice www.jwj.org the activists will be at Bank of America branches in: Springfield at the corner of Main Street and Boland Way; Northampton at 144 Main Street; Amherst at 1 South Pleasant Street; and Greenfield at 208 Federal Street.

Two Springfield Labor Rallies Set for Feb. 26

Sodexo food service workers are asking the public to attend a rally for justice on February 26 at 1 p.m. at 1295 State Street in Springfield. The workers plan to speak at the rally about "poverty wage jobs at multi-national corporation Sodexo," said Sodexo worker Noemi Nunez.

Sodexo provides food service, janitorial, and laundry services. It has about 120,000 employees in North America. Sodexo's 2009 profits were up 8 percent from the year before to more than $1 billion.