Local News Round-up

About 130 tutors who are employed by the Keene public school system are planning a rally to demand justice. They may even go on strike, even though that is illegal. “We currently have 128 tutors with 14 positions still not filled for this school year,” Kathy Twombly told the Valley Post on January 19. She is a tutor in Keene and she is president of the tutors' union. Twombly's union is part of a bigger union that has a web site at www.nea.org.

She wrote a powerful essay explaining the tutors' demands. The full essay is at:

www.facebook.com/kathy.twombly.3/posts/10157120253007948

Grocery Workers Win Big Raises

In Northampton, about 100 grocery store workers who are union members saw their minimum wage go up from $12.50 to $15 an hour on January 7. “I'm excited,” Brian Pamaylaon told the Valley Post in a phone interview on January 11. He has worked at the River Valley Co-op for two years. “This means I will be able to start saving to buy a house, or so I will have money in case of an emergency.”

Rally Set for January 12

On January 12 at 1 p.m., in Wendell, Massachusetts there will be a rally to stop proposed logging of a publicly-owned forest. Wendell borders Montague, which borders Greenfield. The rally will be outside 392 Montague Road.

Climate change caused by humans will create droughts and floods that will kill millions of people, unless people start using less gas for cars, oil for heating, and electricity generated from coal. That's according to the world's leading scientists.

Civil Disobedience Planned Near Greenfield

People seeking to stop logging of an 88 acre, publicly-owned forest of 110-year-old trees near Greenfield are asking the public to attend a training on how to use non-violent civil disobedience. "We strongly oppose logging the oak stand in Wendell State Forest," Michael Kellett told the Valley Post on December 15, 2018.

New Urban Park in Amherst

Thanks to the work of environmental activists, downtown Amherst is getting a new urban park. On December 3, Kestrel Land Trust announced the six acre park will be on East Pleasant Street, across from the University of Massachusetts. Urban parks "are not only safe and beautiful, but also serve as green engines to help address nearly every critical urban need from health to housing, to education and environmental justice, and countering sprawl to combating crime." That's according to:

www.cityparksalliance.org/why-urban-parks-matter

Wins for Workers and the Environment

About 80 workers at the Hampshire Gazette and Valley Advocate newspapers are forming a union. The out-of-state corporate chain that owns both papers is fighting the workers. The workers are asking the public to attend a rally on November 27 at 11 a.m. at 115 Conz Street in Northampton. The workers are also asking people to sign a petition at:

www.massjwj.net/news/2018/11/19/stand-with-the-workers-at-the-daily-hamp...

A Win for Local Journalism

The following local newspapers are owned by out-of-state corporations: Hampshire Gazette, Amherst Bulletin, Brattleboro Reformer, Springfield Republican, Greenfield Recorder, and Valley Advocate. The corporations that own these newspapers are run undemocratically. Other news organizations are run democratically. A group in Northampton that works nationally to improve local journalism had a major victory on July 1 when the governor of New Jersey signed a law that will invest $5 million a year in local journalism.

Peace Action

With 4 percent of the world's population, the USA spends as much on the military as the rest of the world combined. Cutting the USA's military budget is a goal of the Poor People’s Campaign. On June 11, four people from the Keene area were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience at the New Hampshire statehouse as part of the Poor People’s Campaign, Judy Reed told the Valley Post on June 19. The people who were arrested are Keene residents Reed, Charlie Gibson, and Eleanor Vander Haegen, and Patricia Martin of Rindge, New Hampshire.

CJ Chenier Concert Review

CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band performed an outstanding concert in Northampton on February 12. It was a Monday night but the dance floor was full. A highlight was "Don't Mess With My Toot Toot."

CJ Chenier was born in 1957. According to his web site, he “spent his childhood in the tough tenement housing projects of Port Arthur, Texas.” Chenier played with Ringo Starr on Paul Simon's album Rhythm of the Saints. Chenier performed with Simon on a concert tour. A video of CJ Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band performing live is at:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMMSv2WpYKw

Workers Win

Workers in Northampton, Brattleboro, and Keene have a new union contract. They work at AT&T. Matt Arnts lives near Keene and works at AT&T. “It was a tough fight,” he told the Valley Post on January 30. “I'm proud that we stuck together to get a fair contract.”

The contract boosts wages. To win the contract, the workers went on strike for three days. They have a web site at www.cwa-union.org.

AT&T's CEO makes $28 million a year.