Activist Teachers

Three famous activists will give free or low-cost public speeches, with question-and-answer sessions, in the Valley. In a profile published last month, the Los Angeles Times newspaper called Cindy Sheehan an “anti-war activist who rose to national prominence after her son was killed in the Iraq war in 2005.” She lives in California and is a war tax resistor. More information about war tax resistance is at

Valley Nuke Battle Is On

On December 12 in Brattleboro, protesters occupied a nuclear corporation’s board room. Meanwhile, activists seeking to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant are gearing up for a vote next month in the Vermont senate on whether the state’s top nuclear regulator – who many say has been too friendly to the industry – will get to keep his job.

Vermont Yankee is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone’s throw from New Hampshire.

Northampton Voters Will Decide Fate of Farmland, Forests

On November 8, the people of Northampton will decide whether farmland and forestland should be turned into parking lots, strip malls, ChemLawns, and other kinds of so-called development. “Northampton residents should save the Community Preservation Act by voting ‘no’ on Question 1," said Kristin DeBoer. She's director of

"The Act is one of the best tools towns have for conserving the farms, rivers, and forests of the Valley," DeBoer said.

Valley Marchers to Fight Fossil Fuels September 24

On September 24, in Northampton and Amherst, there will be marches to protest the use of fossil fuels. At 11:30 a.m., marchers will leave from the site of a proposed large group of solar panels at the UMass horse farm at 111 North Maple Street in Hadley. They will march to the park in front of the Amherst Town Hall. The march is scheduled to arrive at the town hall at 12:30 p.m.

At noon in Northampton, a march will start at 210 Main Street (in front of City Hall) and end behind the building at 150 Main Street. The march will go via Pleasant and Armory streets.

Northampton Company Mows Lawns With Sheep

A locally-owned company is offering sheep lawn mowing services in Northampton. The advantages of sheep over fossil fuel powered lawn mowers include: the animals are usually silent; they don’t emit lung cancer-causing air pollution; they fertilize the lawn; and they produce cheese, yogurt, wool, and meat.

One hour of gas-powered lawn mowing produces as much pollution as driving a car for four hours. That’s according to:

Dairy goats also work well for lawn mowing.

In Northampton, 175 Protest for Workers' Rights

On June 23, about 175 public school workers and their supporters attended a rally outside a meeting of the Northampton school board. They were protesting a decision by the board – also called the “school committee” -- to not raise the workers’ wages next year. Several of the workers spoke to the board to oppose the move, which amounts to a pay cut for the workers, when inflation is taken into account.

Tragedy, Celebration for Bicycle Riders, Walkers

On May 20, a mini-van gravely injured a woman who was riding her bicycle in Granby at about 5:30 p.m. It was a “hit and run” crime. Police are trying to find the driver. Granby borders Amherst. A police spokesperson said that the impact sent the woman flying off her bicycle and into a telephone pole. The bicycle rider was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Police are asking anyone with information about the vehicle or its driver to the Granby Police at (413) 467-9222.

There is also good news for local bicycle riders and walkers.

Northampton Group to Host Nobel Winner, Congresswoman

The public is invited to hear speeches by a Nobel prize winner, a congresswoman, and others at an event organized by a non-profit organization in Northampton. The three-day National Conference for Media Reform starts April 8 in Boston.

Joseph Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University. He won the 2001 Nobel prize for economics. In his 2010 book, “Free Fall,” Stiglitz says big banks pay their CEOs too much, and blasts the federal government for giving the banks billions in taxpayer money in recent years.

Vusi Mahlasela in Northampton

Vusi Mahlasela, a singer-songwriter, guitarist and activist who lives in South Africa, performed an outstanding public concert in Northampton on February 16. Mahlasela was active in the movement that overthrew the apartheid government in South Africa. In 1994, he performed at Nelson Mandela’s presidential inauguration.

"Vusi has a sort of profound beauty about him. He has a light on," said two-time Grammy award winner Dave Matthews.

Photo: Northampton Street Life

This photo was taken on February 11 in downtown Northampton. It shows a block of ice that was later turned into a sculpture. The ice sculpting event runs through February 14. To make the photo bigger, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full-size image." photo by Eesha Williams

More information is at