hill country observerThe independent newspaper of eastern New York, southwestern Vermont and the Berkshires

December 2022-January Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE

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Endangered owls, meet solar panels

For the past dozen years, local conservationists have been working to preserve hundreds of acres of critical bird habitat in the area known as the Washington County grasslands. But members and supporters of the Grassland Bird Trust have lately been grappling with a new challenge to the group’s efforts: A developer has proposed a large-scale solar energy installation that would occupy up to 800 acres within the 2,000-acre grassland zone that the National Audubon Society designated as an “important bird area” in 1997.

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Classic diner, community hub

New book celebrates Bennington’s Blue Benn and its longtime owners.
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Tight labor market shifts area’s economic goals

Washington County officials cheered this fall when Amazon announced plans to establish a regional distribution center near the Vermont border in Granville. But local business owners wonder just where the company will find the 200-plus workers needed to run the facility, given a national labor shortage that is already being felt acutely in the region. As the labor market tightens, some economic development officials have shifted their focus from attracting new employers to helping existing businesses maintain and adequate work force.
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Election 2022: Results from across the region

Maura Healey becomes only the second Democrat in 32 years to win election as governor of deep-blue Massachusetts; Republicans flip a series of U.S. House seats in New York; and Vermont voters overwhelmingly re-elect a Republican governor while strengthening the hand of legislative Democrats.
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Roller coaster at center of new Mass MoCA show

The solo rider in the single cart drops a full story in a rush, lifting both arms overhead and shouting as the car swings into a wide arc. In “Brake Run Helix,” the newest exhibit at Mass MoCA’s cavernous Building 5, the Los Angeles artist EJ Hill has created an installation out of experience on an edge of terror and delight.
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