Photos: Birds and Dragonflies

These photos were taken on July 11 at a lake near Brattleboro. By the numbers: one dragonfly can eat 300 mosquitoes per day. If you don't see any dragonflies on a lake or river, the water is probably polluted. This lake is full of them, which means it's clean. Loons can stay under water for five minutes and fly 75 miles per hour. Loons can be 30 years old.

Loons are mostly solitary birds. But they sometimes gather for short periods in small groups of up to 20 birds in late summer and fall, and loons are sometimes seen in groups in the ocean, where they spend the winter.

In Valley, a Crisis in Care for Mental Illness

Recent budget decisions by the governors and state legislators in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont have caused a crisis here in the Valley for people with mental illness who don’t have good health insurance. That’s according to Paul Gorman. He’s president of the New Hampshire chapter of a national group, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Gorman is also director of the Dartmouth College Psychiatric Research Center www.dartmouth.edu He spoke with the Valley Post on July 13.

People Power Defeats Plan to Narrow Brattleboro's Downtown Sidewalks

Brattleboro residents defeated a plan by the administration of lame duck Republican governor Jim Douglas and lieutenant-governor Brian Dubie – the Republican who wants to be elected governor in November – that would have narrowed already-narrow sidewalks in downtown Brattleboro. The goal was to make cars, trucks, and SUVs drive faster through the world-famous, historic downtown on the shore of the Connecticut river. Dubie-Douglas also wanted to cut down trees on Main Street.

In Danger: Giant Park Near Keene, Brattleboro

Pisgah State Park, with thousands of acres, is the biggest state park in New Hampshire. It is in the town of Hinsdale, and two other towns. Hinsdale is directly across the river from Brattleboro. The following article was written by Jeffrey Scott and Marti Hobbes of the group Defenders of Pisgah. It was posted on a bulletin board at one of the entrances to the park on June 27. The only contact info provided for the group was:

P.O. Box 31
Spofford, NH 03462

Photos: Volunteers Install a Solar Water Heater

On May 22, volunteers from the Greenfield-based group Co-op Power installed a solar water heater near Brattleboro. Farmer Elizabeth Wood showed one of the volunteers her dairy goats. To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "See full-size image." More information is at www.CoopPower.coop photos by Eesha Williams

Uprising by Vermont Prisoners

Some three dozen Vermonters were on “lock down” at a private prison in Tennessee on May 14 for non-violent civil disobedience on May 12. A prison official refused to tell the Associated Press when the prisoners would be allowed to make phone calls and have their other rights restored, for example, the right to exercise outside their cells. Guards used a "non-lethal grenade" to force the prisoners into their cells.

Photo: Newborn Dairy Goats

These goats were born on May 10 at the New Leaf CSA farm near Brattleboro. They are Nigerian Dwarf goats. They produce milk that makes excellent goat cheese. More information is at www.NewLeafCSA.com photo by Elizabeth Wood

For Massachusetts Workers, Consumers Boycott Shaw's

On May 8, workers stood outside a Shaw's supermarket near Brattleboro and asked people not to shop at Shaw's until a strike is settled. Many customers said they would do what the workers asked. Some 300 workers at a Shaw's warehouse near Boston have been on strike for weeks. Shaw's is using the Keene-based C&S corporation to scab. C&S has warehouses in Brattleboro and near Northampton. The May 8 action, and recent pickets at the C&S warehouses in the Valley, were organized by the Massachusetts and Vermont chapters of www.jwj.org

Activists in Mississippi: 'Close Vermont Yankee!'

On May 7, members of Greenpeace went to Entergy Corporation’s annual shareholder meeting in Jackson, Mississippi. They told company officials to close Entergy's Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor in 2012. Vermont Yankee is in Vernon, Vermont. It's three miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire.

Greenpeace spokesman Jarred Cobb told the Valley Post that, “The Vermont state senate voted in February 2010 to close Vermont Yankee in March 2012. The vote was 26-4. Entergy is ignoring the wishes of Vermonters.”

More information is at www.greenpeace.org

Photos: In Vermont, Thousands March for Single Payer Health Care

On May 1, thousands of people marched to the Vermont statehouse. "If Vermont passes single-payer health care, I will meet with President Obama and say, 'If Vermont can do this, so can the nation,'" U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders told the marchers. In the second photo, a blind man uses a cane while he marches.

Four of the five Democrats who are running for governor, including senate president Peter Shumlin of Putney (a few miles from Brattleboro) were at the march. Vermont votes Democratic more than almost any other state.