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

August 2017   Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



State line sets sharp contrasts in PFOA water crisis

It was around Halloween in 2015 that Michelle O’Leary moved from Columbia County to a Hoosick Falls fixer-upper with her husband and two children. Two weeks later, the village tap water in her new hometown was declared unsafe to drink because of contamination with perfluorooctanoic acid. Within a few months, PFOA contamination had also been found in water supplies in nearby Petersburgh and across the Vermont state line in North Bennington and Pownal. But the response to the water crisis on either side of the state line has been a study in contrasts.

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Capturing moments of life

Exhibit samples Vermont themes in vast oeuvre of photographer Kalischer
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In the Vermont woods, signs of a long-lost settlement

In the dense, rugged forest of southwestern Vermont, an area schoolteacher has been working with students to unearth a lost settlement created more than 200 years ago by a band of Massachusetts rebels. Steve Butz, who teaches earth science just across the state line in Cambridge, N.Y., says the long-abandoned community in the mountains of Sandgate was built by Revolutionary War veterans who participated in what became known as the Shays Rebellion. The uprising against the Massachusetts government was spurred by the state’s tax and debt-collection policies; when it failed, the rebels fled north to Vermont, which was then an independent republic.

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For cancer survivors, a retreat just for healing

When Letitia Wyatt opened the Barn at Bassett House on Hudson in 2009, she never dreamed the secluded property would become a place of solace for recovery from cancer. Then Wyatt was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. After making a full recovery, she decided she wanted to help other cancer patients and survivors -- and to honor the caregivers who helped her at Saratoga Hospital.
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At The Hyde Collection, new gallery adds modern element

The new Feibes & Schmitt Gallery at The Hyde Collection provides space to display some of the museum’s latest acquisitions -- a collection of modern and contemporary art built over the past 40 years by a Schenectady architect and his late partner.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron