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

December 2017-January 2018Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Cow power: N.Y. farms are slow to follow Vermont, Mass.

Vermont launched a program nearly 15 years ago that pays farmers to generate electricity from cow manure, and today the state’s Cow Power program, run by a supportive utility, generates enough power for 3,200 homes. A similar program has taken off in Massachusetts in the past few years, with a series of large dairy farm installing anaerobic waste digesters that break down manure and other agricultural and food wastes into methane that can be burned to run a generator. But despite a significant concentration of dairy farms in Washington, northern Rensselaer and eastern Saratoga counties, farmers in eastern New York have been discouraged by low power prices that make it difficult for the expensive waste-digesting systems to break even.

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Pub snacks with a purpose

New brand, Battenkill Bites, made by team of adults with disabilities.
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In time of division, local group flies flag of hope

At a time when optimism and unity seem in short supply, a group based in Columbia County has created a flag its members hope will symbolize those qualities. Cheryl Roberts of Spencertown, a former Austerlitz town justice and city attorney for Hudson, started the Keep Hope Alive project in the tumultuous weeks after the 2016 election. read more



Election 2017: Final results and analysis

Results from major races and ballot issues in western Massachusetts and eastern New York.

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Habitat for Humanity store: Buy stuff, build houses

Walk through the doors of the new ReStore in the northern Saratoga County town of Moreau, and you’re likely to find everything from pastel-colored mixing bowls, vintage lamps and pullout couches to plumbing fixtures, paint, windows and stoves. This collection of gently used home furnishings and building materials, which opened in October, is run by enthusiastic volunteers and a handfull of employees rallying for a charitable cause: It helps to raise funds for the Habitat for Humanity chapter that serves northern Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron