Activists Slow Pavers in Valley

On January 27, the Franklin Land Trust announced it had saved farmland and forest land from development in the Massachusetts towns of Ashfield (near Greenfield), Conway, Hadley (near Northampton), Heath, Leyden and Whately. In Ashfield, the Trust worked with landowner Peter Corens to conserve 81 acres of land, including pasture that was most recently leased to Sidehill Farm for their dairy operation. Also protected are critical woodlands and historic sites along Bear River.

Events Will Help People Get State Money for Home Energy Efficiency

A group of people in Springfield is helping Valley residents get state money to make their homes more energy efficient. The group, the Alliance to Develop Power, is hosting free, public evening meetings in: Amherst January 19, Easthampton January 20, Northampton January 26, and Greenfield February 2.

People at the meetings will learn how to sign up for a free energy assessment, get money for weatherization and other energy efficiency services, said Boone Shear of the Alliance.

The meeting will be in:

-Amherst, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Bangs Community Center, 70 Boltwood Walk;

Activists Likely to Save 100 Acres Near Northampton

A local land trust needs to raise just $500 more to permanently protect from development a 100 acre farm in South Hadley, near Northampton. A spokesperson for the Kestrel Trust told the Valley Post on December 28 that the fundraising effort was nearly complete.

The farm is known locally as McCray's farm. It is the last remaining dairy farm in South Hadley. From the farm, one can see Mount Tom and the Mount Holyoke Range.

More information is at

Nov. 29 Rally in Northampton to Stop U.S. Funding of Israeli Military

On November 29 from 4 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. in Northampton, there will be a rally to call for an end to U.S. government funding of the Israeli military. The rally will be outside city hall at 210 Main Street.

Between 1949 and 2008, the U.S. government gave the government of Israel about $114 billion, according to:

Currently, the U.S. gives about $3 billion annually to Israel, according to:

Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars Will Play in Northampton Sept. 14

The Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars band will play its soulful, dance-able reggae and Afro-pop music at the Iron Horse in Northampton on September 14 at 7 p.m. The members of the band lived in Sierra Leone until they fled the civil war there in the late 1990s. The uplifting story of their meeting in a refugee camp in Guinea is told in a documentary film that's named after the band. The DVD is available at your local public library, video store, or from Netflix. The band's new CD was released by the Vermont record label Tickets to the concert are available from

60 People Call for Peace at Northampton City Hall Rally

On August 7, about 60 people rallied at Northampton city hall to call for cuts in war funding and increases in government funding for jobs installing solar panels. Out of an annual federal government budget of about $2,900,000,000,000 about half goes to war. Details are at:

Frances Crowe spoke at the event. More information on Crowe is at: 
Among the groups working to promote peace and solar power are and

Northampton Nursing Home Workers Ask Public to Rally July 19

On July 19 at 2:30 p.m., Northampton nursing home workers will hold a rally for justice. The workers are asking the public to attend. The rally will be at 737 Bridge Road. Directions are at

Natalie Merchant Will Sing in Northampton on July 13

Natalie Merchant, probably the world’s best female singer, will sing in Northampton on July 13. It will be her first concert in the Valley in at least a decade. Her lyrics, and the music on her albums, are often – but not always – excellent. But Merchant’s concerts are always great, thanks to her incomparable voice.

In the song “Motherland," Merchant sings:

Where in hell can you go
Far from the things that you know
Far from the sprawl of concrete
That keeps crawling its way
About 1,000 miles a day?

Washington Judge: Valley Protesters Innocent

Four Valley residents were found not guilty of “unlawful assembly” in a Washington, DC court room on June 16. They were arrested with 21 other people for protesting torture at the U.S. capitol building in January.

Judge Russell Canan freed the arrested protesters.

The non-violent protest was organized by the group Witness Against Torture

Photos: Northampton Street Life

These two photos were taken on June 3 in downtown Northampton. Workers used a chemical solvent to wipe away graffiti that read, "You can't silence art." And a sign at the entrance to a parking garage proclaimed that Northampton's women and coffee are both strong. Northampton's mayor is a woman, and the city is home to Smith College, a famous women-only college.