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

June 2016Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Refugee plan draws praise, backlash in Rutland

When the word got out in late April that Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras had volunteered his city as the new home for 100 refugees from Syria, the reaction from his fellow elected officials was swift and skeptical. Over the past month, many local people have stepped forward to help welcome the refugees, who will begin arriving in October if all goes as planned. But reaction from some Rutlanders has bordered on hostile.

read more



‘A ghost or an illusion?’

North Bennington celebrates centennial of writer Shirley Jackson
read more



Busy downtown is a destination -- for panhandlers

As the growth of Saratoga Springs has brought bigger crowds of pedestrians downtown over the past decade, the city has had to grapple with an unexpected sign of its success: an influx of street performers and panhandlers who see the city’s sidewalks as fertile economic ground. Now city officials are debating ways to crack down on “aggressive panhandlers.”

read more



Keeping a farm at the city’s edge

The freshly planted field at the western edge of Saratoga Springs is a developer’s dream: 100 acres within a short drive from downtown or Saratoga Spa State Park, and within walking distance of the city high school. But the Pitney family, which has owned the land since 1862, has a different vision: an active farm conserved in perpetuity, with facilities and programs for engaging the public in local food production and teaching the next generation of small-scale farmers.
read more



Oldcastle season spans musical comedy, worldly intrigue

Five years ago, the artistic director of Oldcastle Theatre Company wondered aloud whether a professional theater troupe would continue to exist in Bennington. But today, the theater is preparing for its fifth season at its new downtown home -- and working to build on a 25 percent spike in attendance last year

read more



At Images Cinema, staying true to the best in film

When Doug Jones took over as director of Images Cinema two years ago, he began to look into the history of the nonprofit venue as a way to size up its future possibilities. The Williamstown theater’s history is getting special attention this year as it nears its centennial in November.

read more










Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron