200 at Rally

More than 200 people attended a rally in Northampton calling for raises for workers at the city's public schools. At Northampton public schools, starting pay for cafeteria workers is $11.64 an hour; for custodians it's $12.01. Teachers' pay is below the state average. The workers organized the rally. They have a web site at www.nasemta.org. The rally was on June 12.

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More than 100 people were at a Northampton rally on June 15 calling on congress to impeach Trump. The organizers have a web site at www.IndivisibleNoho.com.

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On June 14, three people from Keene and nearby towns were among a larger group of people who went before a judge to face charges of non-violent civil disobedience at the New Hampshire statehouse. “We got no jail time and no fines,” Judy Reed told the Valley Post in a phone interview. “New Hampshire is a relatively wealthy state. We are in fifth place nationally in terms of per capita personal income, and ninth in taxable resources. Yet the state’s contribution to public education remains the lowest in the country.”

Patricia Martin lives in Rindge, New Hampshire. Rindge borders Massachusetts and is in the Connecticut river valley. In a phone interview, she told the Valley Post, “I am sounding the alarm and I will not stop until our state government commits to mobilizing for a livable planet for our children. New Hampshire ranks number 21 for energy efficiency by the ACEEE’s annual national rankings. Massachusetts ranks number one. Eight to ten thousand low income New Hampshire households are on a waiting list for weatherization services to reduce their energy consumption.”

The third person was Charlie Gibson of Marlborough, New Hampshire, which borders Keene.

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In Brattleboro activists are working to turn a defunct train bridge over the Connecticut river into a rail trail. The trail goes to Keene.

Jason Cooper is one of the activists. He told the Valley Post, “The owner of the warehouse next to the abutment doesn’t want a trail emptying out onto his property. It isn’t a good place to come out because it means you would then have to ride or walk up Route 142, which isn't safe. The better alternative is to go up the river bank. The town owns all the land there except the gas plant. That property is in flux as the new Route 119 bridge is being designed and built. We have been trying to get the Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) to build in a right of way across the gas plant land for a trail.”

Cooper continued, “The town of Hinsdale and the New Hampshire AOT both strongly support this project. They feel that this bike/ped connection would benefit both communities. The New Hampshire AOT owns that railroad bridge. Funding will eventually be an issue, but the first problem is a clear path into Brattleboro. We are trying to get the Genesee Wyoming Railroad to give us permission to put a bike/ped trail along the bank of the Connecticut River between the West River and the Whetstone Brook. It is a very feasible project that would connect the West River Trail to downtown. The only problem is dealing with the railroad, which is notoriously indifferent to community interests and usually won’t even respond to requests or inquiries.”

The Brattleboro activists have a web site at www.WestRiverTrail.org.

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Springfield, Massachusetts resident Matt Grillo works at Collective Copies, which is owned and democratically run by its workers, and has two locations in the Valley. Grillo told the Valley Post he likes Elizabeth Warren as a candidate for president because, “She isn't trying to play to the center and she has experience and concrete policies."

Farhad Manjoo is a staff writer at the New York Times. Last month he wrote, "Doubting a candidate’s electability because she’s a woman isn’t just unfair — it’s exactly backward. It’s the men whose electability you should doubt."

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