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.

The building has 489 apartments. It's home to more than 1,500 people. Multi-family housing is better for the environment than single-family housing. In New York City, millionaires live in apartments. The Springfield housing activists have a web site at www.AriseSpringfield.org.

The town of Southampton, Massachusetts borders Holyoke. On July 26, townspeople voted to buy 85 acres of forestland to protect it from development. The USA is losing 6,000 acres of open space every day. The special town meeting was attended by more than 200 people. They voted to spend $785,000 to buy the land at 111 Glendale Road.

Protecting open space encourages people to live in places like downtown Northampton, where it is possible to live car-free.

On July 29, Leigh Youngblood told the Valley Post that a group she runs has saved 10 acres of farmland in Northfield, Massachusetts from development. Her group has a web site at www.MountGrace.org. Northfield borders Vermont and the Massachusetts town of Gill, which borders Greenfield.

On July 28, seven people from the Vermont county that's home to Brattleboro were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience near Burlington, Vermont. They were protesting Trump's immigration policies. They were arrested for blocking a road in front of the ICE office in Williston, Vermont. Thirteen people were arrested. More than 100 people were there to support them. Brattleboro is in Windham county. The six adults from Windham county who were arrested are Mary Avendano of Newfane; Nancy Braus of Putney; Carol Davis and Peter Magen, both from Marlboro; and Ursula Nadolny and Ann Zimmerman, both from Guilford. A 16 year-old from Windham county was arrested too. Braus is co-owner of Everyone's Books, a bookstore in Brattleboro.

In Keene news, activists won the release of two people from an ICE jail. Jessica Garcia lives in Keene. Her sister-in-law is Jessica Baca Garcia, who lived in Honduras until this summer. Jessica Baca Garcia and her 12-year-old son Mario tried to immigrate to the USA but were imprisoned by ICE. Jessica Garcia of Keene started an online petition calling for their release. Thousands of people signed. On July 26, the Keene woman said, "Victory, we did it! We aren't totally out of the woods yet as Jessica still has a deportation order. But they have been reunited and released, which was our main goal. We are consulting with lawyers for the next step. For now, we can rest a little."

There will be an anti-nuclear march in Brattleboro on August 6. It will start at 10 a.m. outside the Brattleboro Food Co-op. The march will end outside the defunct Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, which is now a dangerous nuclear waste dump. More information is available via www.NukeBusters.org.

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