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

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



Still seeking the right to know

This was supposed to be the watershed moment for activists around the region who had long campaigned for labeling of genetically modified foods. On July 1, Vermont became the first state in the nation to require labeling. But by mid-July, Congress rode to the rescue of processed food, pesticide and biotechnology companies by nullifying Vermont’s law and barring states from setting their own labeling requirements.

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A cafe that mends the broken

At this cafe, repairs are on the menu. Pittsfield group counters throwaway society by fixing household items. Every month from March through October, the group gathers to fix household items that might otherwise wind up in landfills or remain stashed unused in attics and basements.
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County, towns skeptical of tax break for renewables

The question of whether solar power and other renewable energy projects deserve a property tax exemption has lately become a hot topic of debate around rural Washington County. New York state, which has set a goal of drawing 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, has for many years offered a property tax exemption for solar and wind power projects. But as the number projects has grown recently, some local governments are opting out of the program

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Saratoga Springs debates affordable-housing mandate

Faced with concerns that the city’s growing supply of luxury housing is beyond the price range of many people who currently live and work in Saratoga Springs, officials have dusted off a long-dormant proposal to require a certain number of affordable housing units in new residential developments.
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Celebrating Saratoga’s outpost of Louisiana cooking

Jasper Alexander makes it no secret that he’s a chef who’s happiest at the stove, adding his precise touch to Southern and Creole creations such as crawfish boil, chicken and dumplings and red beans and rice. So it was a significant sacrifice when he agreed to step away from the stove for some long stretches at the computer, assembling his recipes as well as details of the storied history of Hattie’s Restaurant.

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In MoCA show, a troubled heaven on earth

Chicago-based artist Nick Cave is concocting an installation for the football-field-sized Building 5 at Mass MoCA that will take visitors on a magical journey through a glittery wonderland. But as viewers are being dazzled, they’ll also be faced with some hard truths.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron