Thursday, February 28, 2013

"American Autumn" to be Shown March 7

"American Autumn", a film by Dennis Trainor Jr., documents the turbulent beginnings of the Occupy Movement. Why does a nice young man from New England end up getting repeatedly arrested? Find out when you see this movie. (Note: This film contains strong language.) Thursday March 7, at 6 PM in the State Conference Room, Hebard Building, Main St., Newport

Let's Go for Pizza

Jackie proposed an Occupy NEK Pizza Party (and meeting). Get together at Hoagie's at 2 PM Saturday for pizza and to discuss Town Hall Meeting March 4, container plant project for spring, and button fund raiser project.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Strength of the Storm" Tomorrow Thursday

NEK 99% will be showing the Vermont Workers' Center Film "Strength of the Storm" at 6 PM Thursday in the State Conference Room, 2nd Floor, Hebard Building, Main St. Newport. The film documents the transformation of Vermonters who experienced tropical storm Irene from victims into activists. FREE.

Monday, February 25, 2013

NEK 99% Sponsoring Town Hall Meeting and Potluck Supper March 4

Old-Fashioned Town Hall Meeting and Potluck Supper, Monday, March 4, 5:30 PM to 7 PM at the Gateway on the waterfront, Newport. Newport City residents come and share a meal with your neighbors and discuss issues on the ballot. Find out what some of our great community programs like the Goodrich Memorial Library, IROC, the Community Justice Center and the RCT are doing and share your ideas about how we can make community life better in Newport. Bring a main dish, salad or dessert to share. Sponsored by NEK 99%.

Friday, February 22, 2013

"Strength of the Storm" to be Shown Thursday February 28

NEK 99% is pleased to present a Vermont Workers' Center film “Strength of the Storm” Thursday February 28 at 6 PM in the State Conference Room, 2nd floor, Hebard Building, 100 Main St. Newport. The Strength of the Storm is a call to action. It gives a personal, human account of the actual, everyday struggles after Irene and the efforts of families to get back on their feet. The film shows the needs and voices of Vermonters after our most recent disaster, as well as thoughts about wide-spread poverty and effects of climate change. Ultimately, the film shows what people are doing to organize in response, so that people are not only able to recover from the storm, but make sure their communities Put People First in the days after the storm. Watch the trailer at:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Braving the Cold

Three of us braved the cold Sunday to stand in solidarity with the No Tar Sands Pipeline demonstration in Washington D.C. A 60 year old pipeline that goes right through the NEK (including under the Barton River) may be reversed to flow east to carry tar sands oil from Canada to the coast. We had a chance to talk with a couple of passers-by who were unaware (as are many) of this potentially hazardous project.

Thoughts on a Dysfunctional City Government

Our city council here in Newport has abdicated its function and all the important questions are being decided by special interests, mostly business. It's appalling to see the stuff that is dealt with at city council meetings, what I call "housekeeping issues" that could well be delegated to somebody else, working with a set of guidelines. The city council should be involved with long-range vision about the well being of residents. They should have a grasp of large systems and social process. They should do their homework. They should be presenting challenging issues to the electorate to encourage civic participation. If the people don't come to them they should go to the people. They should be working on increasing funding by means other than selling our soul to big business. Instead they work hard on "keeping taxes low" which is essentially starving out the democratic process. And they should know how to do these things without resorting to consulting "experts". If they can't, they shouldn't run for public office. Don't tell me it's a lot of work for no pay. These are folks who are supposed to believe in hard work. And they're mostly retired. It's a myth that we have any control over our future here in Newport. The process is broken.---Diane Peel, Newport, Vermont

Friday, February 15, 2013

"The Power of Community" to be Shown Next Thursday, February 21

Occupy the NEK will show the third in a series about shaping our future, "The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil" on Thursday, February 21 at 6 PM in the State Conference Room on the 2nd floor of the Hebard Building (100 Main Street) in Newport. In 1990 a major disaster struck the island of Cuba. It was not a hurricane or an earthquake, not a plague or enemy invasion. It was the fall of the Soviet Union. Cuba's economy was heavily dependent on the Soviet Union as a market for its goods and as a supplier of oil for the island's for-export plantation style agricultural system. There was much suffering. Food was scarce and the average Cuban lost 20 pounds of body weight. This film is about the remarkable recovery of Cuba's food production system through the development of sustainable, low input farming. In addition, Cuba put many hundreds of acres within urban areas into diversified food production. Ninety percent of Havana's food supply is now provided by urban farms. Those who fear chaos and social breakdown in the U.S. if our food supply and energy production were disrupted should see this movie. It is a testament to what can be done through "the Power of Community."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Empathy Gap

Those who have always known comfort and security don't have a clue as to what it is like to be poor, sick, mentally ill, or old and weak. Basically, to be down and out. You can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps when you haven't any. When you are down and out everything becomes exponentially harder. There is no money for pen and paper or a car or even a car ride to get them. Walking across the city to the store, everything becomes an impediment. The "free" ways for cars are almost impossible to cross on foot. There is no money for a bus, if there was the bus entails much waiting and missing your bus means walking again. Perhaps your shoes don't fit, are falling apart and your feet hurt. You are tired, hungry, thirsty. Perhaps you use drugs or have a record and a warrants for your arrest. Dodging the police becomes another impediment. If you have any small item and it is stolen, it is a major loss. A traffic ticket or jay walking ticket is enough to break you. And what if you have children? Maybe you are out of medication but you don't have money for the co-pay. Or you have it and must choose between medicine or eating. Trying to deal with government agencies is a nightmare without an address, a phone a car or a watch. Like the song says: "He only had a dollar to live on 'til next Monday but instead he spent it on something for his mind"-----Tom Farrow, Newport, Vermont

Friday, February 8, 2013

NEK 99% (Occupy the NEK) will be showing the award-winning documentary "Windfall" Thursday February 14 at 6 PM in the State Conference Room 2nd floor, Hebard Building Main St. Newport. More than just a movie about industrial wind, this is is a film about citizens using the democratic process at the grassroots level. Described in a Washington Post as a "genuine cliffhanger", Windfall documents the heightening tension within the community of Meredith, New York, and its surprising conclusion. Following the film, a resident of Newark, Vermont will lead a discussion of the very similar situation currently unfolding within our own Northeast Kingdom.

We Are Not a Product

A couple of us attended a "branding" meeting run by the Canadian firm hired to "market" us. Some us aren't particularly happy about becoming a product. We think we're people and the NEK is our home. We think people who come here should be willing to accept us as a with both great beauty and great challenges. But in an effort to get in the spirit of the thing, we came with our "brands" on.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Cousin Bobby" Thursday Evening

"Cousin Bobby" will be shown tomorrow evening, Thursday, at 6 PM at the Hebard Building, Main Street Newport, 2nd floor.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Community Meetings You Can't Afford to Miss

Community meetings are happening all over the place in response to or as part of the proposed sweeping changes to the character of the NEK due to the tourist and Walmart development. Everybody who lives and works here has an interest in making sure that the development benefits actual NEK residents as opposed to lining the pockets of big business. If we don't speak up we'll be left holding the short end of the stick. Higher rents and increased property taxes to pay for the infrastructure improvements, potential increased public service needs occasioned by a large influx of low wage workers, and low property tax deals generally exacted from municipalities by these businesses may mean the biggest burden fall on us, the average taxpayer. Check out the two meetings on Tuesday, February 5 (see Calendar)