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

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



Growing cover crops for the sake of soil - and climate

In the dairy country of eastern New York, fall is traditionally the time when cornfields are shaved down to stubble -- to remain brown and lifeless until next year’s planting. But on a growing number of fields across the region, farmers are choosing instead to keep their soil blanketed throughout the winter with cover crops such as winter rye, oats and field peas. Healthy, productive soil is still the main goal for those who grow cover crops, but lately some see another important benefit to the wider world: These crops soak up carbon from the air and integrate it into the soil, thereby curbing the effects of climate change.

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Looking racism in the eye

In new book, Williams professor confronts his roots in the Jim Crow era.
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State seeks live-in curator for Susan B. Anthony home

The house where women’s rights advocate Susan B. Anthony spent her formative years has stood empty and decaying for more than a decade, but preservationists say better times may soon arrive for the historic structure. Under a recent amendment to New York law, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has embarked on a process to lease the vacant house to someone who would live in it and restore it. The exact terms of the arrangement, including how much if any public access would be provided to the property, remain to be worked out.

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Berkshires’ path to the future: A network of walking trails

The Berkshire Natural Resources Council has kicked off an ambitious campaign to create what it calls a “100 percent walkable Berkshires,” with an interconnected network of public walking trails extending throughout Berkshire County. The ultimate goal of the effort, known as the High Road Campaign, is a network of about 200 miles of trails. Tad Ames, the group’s director, compares the concept to long-distance trail networks elsewhere such as the California Coastal Trail, the Coast to Coast Walk in England, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
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Research center set to reopen at the Clark

A pair of new gallery spaces are among the features of the renovated Manton Research Center, which is set to reopen this month at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. The opening of the Manton center, which also includes an expanded bookshop and an upgraded auditorium, marks the end of the last phase of a decadelong reshaping of the museum complex.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron