120 Rally

Eighty or so people marched in Northampton to protest nuclear weapons. The January 22 march was organized by several groups, one of which has a web site at www.TheResistanceCenter.org. After the march there was a rally.

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On January 25 in Northampton there was a rally to demand Biden enforce a law that should be stopping corporations based in the USA from selling bombs and other weapons that are being used by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to kill people in Yemen. About 35 people were at the Northampton rally, Marty Nathan, MD told the Valley Post. About 250,000 people have died in the Yemen war, the UN web site says. The site says it's “the world's worst humanitarian crisis.”

Yoav Elinevsky lives in Amherst and is on the board of Massachusetts Peace Action, one of the groups that organized the rally. In a January 26 voice phone interview Elinevsky told the Valley Post, “The rally went really well. The biggest weapons makers in the U.S. sell billions in weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Leahy law, named after Vermont senator Pat Leahy, bans this. Biden needs to enforce this law.”

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Nurses at Baystate Noble Hospital and Baystate Home Health, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association union, held a “Light Brigade action” in downtown Springfield on January 27 calling on Baystate Health to reach fair contracts with the nurses.

“We only had a half dozen people but we weren’t looking for a big crowd. It was a enough folks to hold all the lighted signs over the highway so success,” union spokesperson Joe Markman told the Valley Post.

The nurses also delivered a public petition with more than 1,000 signatures to Baystate.

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On April 4, 2014, Brattleboro's current interim police chief, a white man, shot and killed an unarmed person of color in Brattleboro. April 4 is the date Martin Luther King was killed. Activists are asking the town to hire a woman of color to be the permanent police chief. On January 28 Brattleboro town manager Peter Elwell told the Valley Post, “The town manager makes the appointment. I will include members of the select board, staff, and community in the search process. We will begin our search in the next month or two and I hope to announce the appointment of the new chief in the late spring or early summer.”

Adam Marchesseault is a spokesperson for the group Brattleboro Common Sense. He said, “The equipment a police officer visibly carries on their body impacts both the manner in which their job is conducted and the way they are perceived by the public. To this end, our research suggests that the benefits from specifically limiting the role of police firearms to emergency use by immediately ending the practice of police carrying firearms at low-threat public events; ending the body-carry of firearms on routine patrols; and having officers in patrol vehicles keep their firearms locked in the vehicle unless needed, are numerous. These changes would improve trust, respect, and police legitimacy in interactions with members of the public who are fearful/distrustful of police, would curtail the risk of unnecessary fatal escalation – in favor of officers relying on their training and defensive capabilities to de-escalate and protect their safety in the field -- and would ensure officers have access to firearms in the event that they become necessary....” The group is asking the select board to make these changes.

Last year Time magazine published an article headlined, "What the U.S. Can Learn From Countries Where Cops Don't Carry Guns."

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The below photo was taken on January 22 in Brattleboro. It shows Putney Road, about 100 yards north of the West river bridge. Activists are working to get the state to install a proper sidewalk with a curb in this spot. Many people walk and ride bicycles there. The town of Brattleboro plows snow off of miles of sidewalks. The other side of the road is even worse for pedestrians and bicycles because there is a swale/ditch immediately next to the white line, and a low cliff next to that. One solution would be to bury the utility lines so there would be no need for telephone poles, and build a proper sidewalk with a curb where the poles had been. The activists have a web site at www.LocalMotion.org. To enlarge the below photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full size image.” photo by Eesha Williams

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A national group is supporting Brattleboro residents in their effort to get the state of Vermont to ban so-called “hounding.” Katie Stennes works for the Humane Society of the United States. She told the Valley Post, “The barbaric use of hounds to hunt down native carnivores like coyotes – but also bears and bobcats – is unfortunately allowed in Vermont. It’s an unsporting and unnecessarily cruel practice that also causes stress and distress to wildlife, including non-target species, and to the hounds themselves. Hounds can kill young wildlife, such as bear cubs or bobcat kittens, and the dogs can be injured or killed themselves. The dogs may even chase bears into roadways, where oncoming vehicles could strike either, and … hounds invariably trespass on lands, whether on private land or on special refuges such as national parks where hounds are not permitted. This creates conflict between landowners and hunters. Hound hunting is considered unsporting even among many hunters because it gives unfair advantage to the hunter, and should be banned in Vermont.”

“Hound hunting and other indiscriminate killing of coyotes can cause problems by disrupting coyote pack structure. While it sounds counter-intuitive, killing coyotes can actually increase their numbers and increase conflicts with livestock. But there’s no reason why we should kill coyotes—coyotes are a valuable member of Vermont’s ecosystem, providing a number of free, natural ecological services to both rural and urban communities. For instance, coyotes help control rodent and rabbit populations, which reduces the transmission of disease and helps protect gardens and crops.”

“Though predator-prey relationships are complicated, hound hunting certainly could have an effect on local deer populations. Coyotes are an important part of the predator-prey dynamic in the state and help keep deer gene pools healthy and keep deer populations in balance with the ecosystem. It’s important to recognize that every animal has a role in the ecosystem—even in urban areas—and cruelly, unnaturally, or unnecessarily removing coyotes not only disturbs a functioning system, but it can lead to other negative effects, including exacerbating conflicts with coyotes.”

More information is at:

www.humanesociety.org/resources/why-killing-coyotes-doesnt-work

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