Farmland Saved

On December 4, a land trust in Amherst announced it has saved 210 acres of farmland in the neighboring town of South Hadley. “Located near the banks of the Connecticut River, these farm fields have provided valuable fodder for dairy cows, and local vegetables, for decades,” a spokesperson for Kestrel Trust told the Valley Post.

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About 50 people attended a Black Lives Matter rally in Amherst on November 23. It was organized by Bedphiny Deng. She is a biology student at UMass Amherst. The Valley Post was unable to reach anyone in the UMass Biology department by phone during regular business hours to relay a message to Deng. The Valley Post left a voice message for the department secretary and will publish Deng's comments in a future article.

No nation keeps such a high percentage of its people in prison as the
USA. Europe's rate is a third of ours. The USA's prison system is
racist. That's according to the book “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander.

Vermont's prison system is one of the most racist among the 50 states. Just 1 percent of Vermonters are black but 9 percent of its prisoners are black. Vermont sends prisoners to a private prison in Mississippi.

The Vermont state legislature can raise taxes on rich people and use the money on programs that have worked in Europe to reduce the number of people in prison. The legislature – which has a Democratic and Progressive party super majority – can override the Republican governor's near-certain veto of this kind of program.

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On November 10, activists hand delivered 600 petition signatures to the Vermont governor asking him to improve health care for poor and working class people. In Vermont, where it's relatively easy for poor and working class people to get free care from doctors and hospitals, many kinds of medically necessary dental care are not covered.

The Vermont Workers Center – which organized the petition delivery -- is fighting to fix that. The Center's long time board president lives in Brattleboro. She's still active in the group.

In Massachusetts, a group that has a web site at https://masscare.org is fighting for single-payer universal healthcare.

“Across a group of 11 high-income nations... researchers rank the United States last overall in providing equitably accessible, affordable, high-quality health care.” That's according to:

https://www.commonwealthfund.org/press-release/2021/new-international-st...

The USA has $195 billion in medical debt held by individuals, according to Code Pink. One in 10 adults in the USA is in “significant” medical debt, the group says. Code Pink uses nonviolent civil disobedience to get politicians to cut the military budget and use the money for health care.

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