325 Rally

About 300 people were at a labor rally at UMass Amherst on March 6. “UMass Amherst is trying to privatize 100 jobs to evade oversight and regulations, undermine union contracts, and end benefits and pensions,” organizers said. The organizers have a web page at www.facebook.com/psumta/


In Springfield on March 5, about 25 people were at a rally calling on politicians to cancel all student debt. The organizers have a web site at https://wmalf.org.


Workers Win

About 350 workers in Springfield, Massachusetts had a major victory when they voted to approve a new union contract. “I feel great,” Iris Rivera-Medina told the Valley Post in a voice phone interview on February 9. “We fought hard. Everyone is happy with the contract.” She has worked making breakfast and lunch for children at the public schools in Springfield for seven years. Rivera-Medina works for Sodexo corporation. “We won a raise of $3.50 an hour over the three year contract. New hires make $15.92 an hour now. People who have worked here for a long time make more.”

150 Acres Saved

In Ashfield, Massachusetts, 150 acres of open space has been permanently protected from development. Ashfield is near Northampton and Greenfield. “The plan is for the Franklin Land Trust to embark upon an eco-restoration project to transform Edge Hill (golf course) into high-quality wetland and shrub-land habitat for species such as bobolinks,” Sebastian LaMontagne told the Valley Post. He works for Franklin Land Trust, which saved the land. “Otters are frequently seen playing in a small pond on the property.

Springfield's Bad Cops; 160 Acres Saved

In Springfield, a police detective is being paid $70,000 a year by taxpayers, despite allegations that he beat people up without a good reason. Gregg Bigda has been on desk duty, or outright suspended, for 14 months. Among the alleged victims of his brutality were Latino teenagers and Bigda's former girlfriend. City taxpayers paid $500,000 in legal settlements to people in cases related to Bigda.

106 Rally

Despite snow falling, six African American people attended an outdoor rally in Springfield on January 12. A white man who allegedly killed a black woman in the city is free. “If a black man had killed a white woman, first degree murder, he would not be free,” Charles Stokes told the Valley Post in a voice phone interview on January 13. He was at the rally with the victim's family. Police say Frederick Pinney killed TayClair Moore in 2014. In 2021 he was released from prison.

Logging Rally

On December 15, Naia Tenerowicz told the Valley Post that at least 24 people spoke against a proposed fossil fuel pipeline in Springfield at a public hearing the day before. The hearing was held by state regulators. Tenerowicz is a spokesperson for the two groups that organized a May 31, 2022 rally in Springfield to stop the pipeline. The two groups were the Longmeadow Pipeline Awareness Group, and the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition. The pipeline would go about six miles from Springfield to Longmeadow, Massachusetts. The pipeline would cost around $65 million.

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.


Strike Vote is 34 -- 1

In Brattleboro, 37 school bus drivers and “monitors” voted to go on strike December 1 if they don't win a fair union contract by that date. The November 8 vote was 34 – 1 with two workers not voting, Curtis Clough told the Valley Post. He's president of Teamsters Local 597. Clough said he will put the Valley Post in touch with two of the workers to interview. Those interviews will be published in a future article.


160 Rally

About 160 people attended an abortion rights rally in Northampton on October 8. One of the speakers at the rally was state senator Jo Comerford. On October 11, she told the Valley Post, “It was one of the most inspiring rallies I've ever attended. I'm still energized.”


Reggae Singer from Jamaica to Play Near Brattleboro

When N.L. Dennis was singing in a recording studio with Toots and the Maytals, Bob Marley stopped by to listen. Marley praised Dennis's delivery. Today, Dennis lives in his native Jamaica and joins hundreds of Jamaicans who come to Vermont every summer in search of better paying work. Most of them work on vegetable farms and at apple orchards. Dennis works as a reggae musician. He will perform a public concert on July 15, 2022 at Kampfires in Dummerston, Vermont. Dummerston borders Brattleboro.