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

August 2015Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Corkscrew trail

Newly opened rail trail spurs dream of a wider network

This summer, walkers and bicyclists began using a small portion of an eastern New York transportation corridor that had been dormant for more than 60 years. The first section of the new Corkscrew Rail Trail opened in June, allowing recreational use of a 2.5-mile path along a former railroad line that once extended nearly 60 miles from Chatham, N.Y. to Bennington, Vt. Organizers say they hope the new trail section is just the first tangible step toward a longer trail through the towns of Stephentown and New Lebanon -- and eventually, perhaps, to links with a wider web of recreational trails across the region. read more




Makers Mill: New space for creators

Community creativity: North Adams’ new Makers Mill offers space, equipment for artistry.
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Saratoga preservation hall

In Saratoga Springs, alliance boosts a temple of the arts

A long-running effort to transform a grand old church building in downtown Saratoga Springs into a thriving performance and community center appears set to take a big step forward. Last month, leaders of the Universal Preservation Hall, the towering former Methodist church that the community rallied to save from demolition more than a decade ago, announced a new operating alliance with Proctors, the historic theater in downtown Schenectady that has served as a performing arts destination in that city since the 1970s.

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State caps put the brakes on solar power in Mass.

New solar energy projects have been stalled in parts of western Massachusetts since March because of state limits on the solar incentive program known as net metering. So in recent weeks environmental advocates and representatives of the state’s growing solar-power industry have been pressing legislators to act quickly to raise the caps and allow more power installations to go online.
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Museum highlights work of ‘grassroots’ artists

The paintings of renowned masters like da Vinci and Monet may be recognized around the world, but the Bennington Museum’s major exhibition of the year focuses on a much different class of artists. The show brings together nearly 150 objects, ranging from textiles and ceramics to paintings and sculptures, created by artists with little formal training who worked outside the framework of the traditional art world.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron