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

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



Marijuana legalization debate heats up as vote nears

Four years after they overwhelmingly approved creation of the state’s medical marijuana program, Massachusetts voters are debating once again whether to ignore the advice of top state leaders and go even further -- by legalizing the drug outright for people over 21. The new debate echoes the one from four years ago, but it also is driven by the sense among some supporters that the medical marijuana program is failing.

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Local flavors with European flair

Hudson shop’s prepared foods make it a destination.
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Plan to protect bird habitat may face town veto

A retired farmer’s plan to conserve 180 acres of habitat for critically endangered grassland birds is in jeopardy after town officials in Fort Edward, N.Y., suggestred last month the might veto the state’s pending purchase of the property. Instead, some officials want the land to be included in a public water district that could fuel new development in the area.

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Syrian refugees get green light to head to Rutland

It’s official: The refugees will be coming to Rutland. The U.S. State Department has approved a plan to resettle about 100 Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the city over the next 12 months. The decision renders moot what had become a bitter debate within the city over the resettlement plan, which Mayor Christopher Louras developed with private aid organizations in near secrecy earlier this year.
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Fermentation festivals: Taste the culture

When many people hear the word fermentation, they think of beer and wine. But to organizers of last month’s Berkshire Fermentation Festival, and those behind similar event planned for Oct. 16 in Poultney, Vt., fermentation has a much more expansive meaning, encompassing everything from chocolate and coffee to cheese, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and more.

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Spotlight turns to artists of the Berkshires

After a summer cultural season that often depends heavily on imported talent, the Berkshire Theatre Group is prepaing an annual fall festival that focuses on the region’s homegrown creativity.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron