50 Mile March

On January 21, dozens of people from Keene completed a 50 mile march to the New Hampshire statehouse to call for campaign finance reform. Hundreds of people marched from other towns around the state and met at the statehouse for a rally. The marchers left Keene on January 17. The march was organized by www.NHrebellion.org.

Martin Luther King Day Rally in Springfield

In Springfield, a white man who makes about $20 million a year is trying to evict an African American woman from her modest home. On Martin Luther King Day, there will be a rally to protest the action by Chase Bank CEO James Dimon. Deb Graham is offering to buy her foreclosed home back from Chase at the home's current market value, rally organizers say. Chase is rejecting her offer.

The rally will be in front of Graham's home, 54 Warrenton Street, at 6 p.m. on January 19.

More information is available by calling the organizers at (413) 342-1804 or by visiting their web site:

Environmental Victory

At a dairy and beef farm in Hadley, Massachusetts, 123 acres of farmland has been permanently protected from development. Hadley borders Amherst. A photo of the farm is below. The farm is at 172 Hockanum Road and has a store that is open to the public. This environmental victory was made possible by www.KestrelTrust.org.

Most people who live in the Valley need a car to get to work or school, and to go shopping or visit friends.

Walmart v. Chicopee

In Chicopee, Massachusetts, more than 375 people showed up at a rally to protest Walmart's firing of a woman for her union activism. Aubretia Edick had worked at Walmart for 14 years. She worked as a cashier at the Chicopee store. “I was fired for speaking out,” she told the Valley Post on December 5.

A worker who answered the phone at the Chicopee Walmart declined a request to interview the store's manager about why he fired Edick. Chicopee borders Springfield.

1,700 Workers Strike

Telephone and internet workers are on strike. They are asking the public to join their picket lines in Brattleboro and Keene. More than 1,700 workers at Fairpoint Corporation are on strike in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The company is the monopoly provider of landline telephone and DSL internet in those states.

Fairpoint is based in North Carolina. It wants to cut wages for workers it hires in the future by 40 percent.

Activists Fight for Deaf School in Brattleboro

In Brattleboro, a 110-year-old school for deaf people closed this year. Deaf activists and their supporters are organizing to get the school, which had been funded by the state, re-opened. They recently held a rally at the state capitol in Montpelier. More than 300 people were at the rally.

Education Rallies

Recent rallies in Holyoke and Boston for better education were attended by Valley residents. On September 8 in Holyoke, activists held a rally in support of a public school teacher who the teachers' union says was fired for his union activism. Until he was fired, Gus Morales was a full-time English teacher in Holyoke, and part-time president of the Holyoke teachers' union, which is part of www.MassTeacher.org.

Grassroots Victory

In a grassroots victory, a coal fired electricity generating facility in Holyoke will close permanently in October. The Mount Tom Power Plant currently burns about 1,200 tons of coal every day. “Now we will have less air pollution,” said Vilma Vazquez, a Holyoke resident who attended rallies to close the facility.

The movement to close the coal facility was organized by www.n2nma.org and www.ToxicsAction.org.

12 Women Arrested at Valley Nuke

Police arrested 12 women for non-violent civil disobedience at the gates of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, which is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire.

One of the women who was arrested is Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of www.CodePink.org, a direct action for peace group with offices in California and Washington, DC.

Last year, Benjamin interrupted a nationally televised speech by President Obama and asked him to close the Guantánamo Bay prison. The United States government has been torturing people at Guantánamo, according to:

Greenfield Fracking Rally

On May 15, there was a rally on the Greenfield town common to protest plans for a fracked gas pipeline that would cross the valley. Massachusetts state Representative Denise Andrews of Orange, near Greenfield, told the Greenfield Recorder newspaper she is ready to risk arrest for civil disobedience to stop the pipeline. “The priority ought to be conservation, reduction, efficiency, renewables, and then the more challenging energy resources,” she said.