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


AUGUST 2014 Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Railroads become Oil Pipeline

Forced psychiatric medication: Drugged by court order

When Vermont legislators were considering a bill this year to streamline the state’s process for involuntary psychiatric commitment and medication, a series of former psychiatric patients and their allies spoke out against the idea. But the bill wound up passing, drawing support from hospitals, psychiatrists, the state Department of Mental Health and a group representing patients’ families. The face-off was just one example of a larger national conflict over forced psychiatric medication.
read more



Vermont Passover

A president’s last refuge

Its future unclear, mountainside cottage keeps Grant’s memory alive.
read more



Researchers find improved survival for bat species

Biologists have documented the first hopeful sign that the region’s bat populations may eventually recover from the devastation of white nose syndrome. The numbers of one species of bat affected by the deadly disease appear to be stabilizing, with some individuals having survived several years of exposure to it. read more


Saratoga becomes a juicing town

It wasn’t so long ago that there was just one choice for fresh juices in Saratoga Springs. But this summer, things have changed, with no fewer than five juice bars now operating within the city limits or just beyond.

read more



At the Bennington Museum, going beyond traditional

Up until two years ago, the Bennington Museum mostly focused on local history, arts and culture from the 18th and 19th centuries. Then Robert Wolterstorff signed on as the museum’s new director and set out to increase its involvement with modernism, including the works of some pioneering 20th century artists connected with Bennington College.
read more



Exhibit links artist’s experiences, Egypt’s turmoil

Julia Morgan-Leamon’s “Split/Level” takes a suburban housing style from the 1970s and reshuffles it into a metaphorical zone that’s part personal history and part global reality. The exhibition in Gallery 51 of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts draws on the artist’s personal experiences and her ties to the evolving arts scene in Egypt.

read more













Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron