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

December 2015-January 2016Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Pride or oppression?

When Ann Townsend saw the Confederate battle flag prominently displayed at some of the vendor booths at the Washington County Fair this summer, she was appalled. Now Townsend and others are urging the board of the agricultural fair to prohibit vendors from selling the flag at next year’s event.. read more



Fruits of summer, all year long

Jam maker grows home business through farmers market sales.
read more



In Massachusetts, a hot debate over saving bees

Lucy Tabit’s bees keep dying from pesticide poisoning. So the beekeeper was naturally interested when she heard that the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation was working to draft the outline of a state “pollinator protection plan” to help bees like hers. But when she and other beekeepers asked to attend the group’s invitation-only meetings, they were told it was too soon for them to participate.

read more



Expanding the foam-free zone

There may a little less litter in Pittsfield starting in July. That’s when a citywide ban on polystyrene foam will go into effect. Pittsfield will join Great Barrington, Williamstown and six other Massachusetts towns in restricting the use of foam coffee cups and clamshell takeout containers.
read more



In a cyber age, buy-local movement sustains downtowns

In the shadow of ever-expanding online and big-box commerce, locally owned businesses around the region are still finding ways to draw customers downtown this year as the height of the holiday season nears.

read more



Artist’s vision: A community night of stargazing

Some artists create an object or performance, but Williams College Artist-in Residence Emily Johnson is working with scores of others to create a community experience: a night of stargazing, complete with a park-sized quilt for participants to lie upon.

read more


Election 2015: Final tallies from Mass. and N.Y.

Voters tossed out incumbent mayors in Pittsfield and Hudson but returned them to office in North Adams and Saratoga Springs.

read more