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


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




In a town that said no, Wal-Mart tries again

For the town of Ballston, N.Y., it’s 2004 all over again. Back then, the town was in an uproar over Wal-Mart’s proposal to build a massive new superstore along Route 50, just south of the village of Ballston Spa. The store’s opponents successfully pushed the town to adopt new, tougher development rules, including a cap on retail store sizes that effectively blocked Wal-Mart’s plans. Today, however, Wal-Mart is back, with new proposal for a somewhat smaller store on the same property. The polarizing debate is back too.
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Vermont Passover

Vermont woman achieves ‘Mount Everest’ of long-distance swimming

Bethany Bosch, of Wallingford, Vt., had dreamed of swimming across the English Channel since childhood and finally completed the crossing Sept. 1. Bosch is given food and drink, while swimming, from a container tethered to the pilot boat that accompanied her, as a member of the boat’s crew looks on. The crossing took more than 10 hours, and Bosch covered about double the normal 21-mile distance as tidal currents repeatedly pulled her off course.
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On exhibit: A real-life rural town

When people think of the region’s big tourist destinations, New Lebanon doesn’t typically come to mind. Although it’s situated at the crossroads of two state highways and just across the state line from the Berkshires, the town lacks the quaint New England feel of Stockbridge or the boutique-lined streets of Hudson. But New Lebanon actually has lots of things going on that a visitor might appreciate, and lately the town has been testing a new way of presenting itself to the wider world. read more



Hildene estate

‘Vibroacoustic’ therapist taps healing power of music

The asphalt streets of downtown Glens Falls are only a few hundred feet from Dennis Dominick’s office, but in figurative terms the stressors of the outside world are a million miles away.
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Exploring the post-Civil War roots of Du Bois’ work

W.E.B. Du Bois wasn’t born until three years after the Civil War ended, but the war and its aftermath were crucial in shaping the views of one of the nation’s first prominent African-American scholars and civil rights activists.

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Spa City singer celebrates new CD
with Caffe Lena show

Singer-songwriter Judy Joy Wyle has been a fixture in Saratoga Springs for 30-plus years, but her second recorded album is only making its debut this month.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron