A Victory for the Environment

The USA is losing 6,000 or so acres of open space every day. But here in the Valley, about 640 acres of farmland and forestland were permanently protected from development. A land trust based in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, about 9 miles from Greenfield, announced the news on August 2.

1,000 Rally for Immigrants

In the Valley, more than 1,000 people attended rallies against president Trump's immigration policies June 30. The rallies were in Springfield, Greenfield, Brattleboro, and Keene. The same day in Boston, more than 15,000 people marched from city hall to the statehouse to protest Trump's immigration policies. People from the Valley were at the Boston march. “No borders, no nations, stop the deportations!” thousands of people chanted.

Workers Unite

On June 26 in Brattleboro more than 100 workers at a mental hospital attended a rally. They are protesting mandatory forced overtime, unfair scheduling policies, and other issues. They work at the Brattleboro Retreat and are members of a union. They have a web site at:

www.unap.org/about/contact-us-2

About 900 people work at the Retreat, about 600 of them are members of the union.

The below photo shows the rally. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full-size image.” photo by Eesha Williams

Valley to NYC Trains Get Faster, More Frequent, Cheaper

Next month, Amtrak will get faster between the Valley and New York City. Also next month, passenger train service between Springfield, Hartford, and New York City will get much more frequent and much cheaper. By December, there will be more frequent passenger train service between Greenfield, Northampton, Holyoke, and New York City.

Concert Review: Meninos de Minas

The band Meninos de Minas performed an outstanding concert on April 28. In the audience, dozens of people danced. The concert was free, outdoors, and in Hartford. It was the second year that the band played at the annual Samba Fest in Hartford. Hartford is about 30 minutes from Springfield by train. Next month those trains will get much cheaper and much more frequent, thanks to the work of activists in Northampton who have a web site at www.TrainsInTheValley.org.

Victory for Housing Advocates

In a win for activists who fight for affordable housing, downtown Brattleboro will get a new apartment building. “This project will provide beautiful new homes for folks wanting to live close to all the amenities available in downtown Brattleboro," Elizabeth Bridgewater told the Valley Post on March 8. She runs the non-profit group that will build the housing. Bridgewater's group has a web site at www.w-wht.org.

The building will be constructed at 23 Flat Street, which is now a vacant lot, and will have about two dozen apartments.

400 to Rally for Gun Control

As of March 7, more than 400 people had RSVP'd to a Northampton march for gun control that is planned for March 24. The march will start at noon at Northampton High School and end at city hall. More information is at:

www.facebook.com/events/170576480247420

As of March 7, more than 130 people had RSVP'd to a Keene march for the same cause, on the same day at 10 a.m., starting at Central Square. Details are at:

www.facebook.com/events/1351988534907262

CJ Chenier Concert Review

CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band performed an outstanding concert in Northampton on February 12. It was a Monday night but the dance floor was full. A highlight was "Don't Mess With My Toot Toot."

CJ Chenier was born in 1957. According to his web site, he “spent his childhood in the tough tenement housing projects of Port Arthur, Texas.” Chenier played with Ringo Starr on Paul Simon's album Rhythm of the Saints. Chenier performed with Simon on a concert tour. A video of CJ Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band performing live is at:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMMSv2WpYKw

Forest Fight

Forest protectors in New Hampshire had a win, while their colleagues in the Pioneer Valley took on a new battle. On February 1 state regulators heeded activists' demands and rejected a plan to clearcut thousands of acres of New Hampshire forest to make way for a power line known as the Northern Pass. Native Americans in Canada had fought the plan too: the power was to come from dams that flooded their forestland. They have a web site at www.pessamit.ca. The electricity would have gone to Boston.

March Route Set

More than 700 people had RSVP'd for the Women's March in Northampton as of December 27. The march is set for January 20, 2018 at 11 a.m. Since the Valley Post first reported on the march, organizers have announced the route: it will start at Sheldon Fields and end at city hall.

The event is being organized by the same people who organized the January 2017 Women's March. That drew about 3,000 people to Northampton and 3,000 to a sister march in Greenfield. Photos of those events are below. The march organizers' partners included Planned Parenthood, the AFL-CIO, and 350.org.