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


December 2014-January 2015 Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Teaching Treadmill

Teaching treadmill? Area colleges turn to part-timers

After working as an adjunct instructor for five years and completing her second master’s degree, Rebecca Cash has been unable to advance to a full-time teaching position and is still trying to piece together a living while shuttling between four area colleges. Stories like Cash’s have become more common around the region as colleges increasingly turn to part-time instructors to fill out their course schedules. Despite their often-extensive academic credentials, these adjunct faculty members are paid far less than their full-time counterparts, and they typically receive no benefits.
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Vermont Passover

A passion for performance

In Dorset, community-theater tradition thrives in ninth decade. Janet Groom’s day job advising students at the Community College of Vermont in Bennington is a performance requiring dexterity in human relations and no small amount of creativity.
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In Pittsfield, a push for a wider preservation effort

The threatened demolition of a landmark former Catholic church has rekindled long-running concerns about whether Pittsfield as a community needs to do more to preserve the older buildings that collectively give the city its streetscapes and identity. read more



Hildene estate

Parking-garage plan raises ire in Saratoga

The idea was a simple one: Help Saratoga Springs keep pace with its growth by creating more parking spaces for the crowds of visitors driving into downtown. So the Saratoga Springs City Center, the local trade-show and convention hall, came up with a plan for a five-story, 511-space parking garage on Maple Avenue, a block east of Broadway. But even though many downtown merchants say the garage would be a boon, the proposal has faced mounting opposition in recent weeks as it has wound its way through city planning reviews.
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Election 2014: The pendulum swings to red

The Republican Party, diminished nearly to irrelevance in many parts of the region after the 2006 and 2008 Democratic waves, came roaring back this November. GOP candidates reclaimed some offices the party had last controlled nearly a decade ago and ran surprisingly strong races elsewhere.

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Modern landscapes, digitally refracted

In Anne Morgan Spalter’s world, physical structures take on spiritual dimensions literally.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron