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

February - March 2017  Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Rutland, Bennington rank high in study of police bias

Black drivers who are pulled over by city police in Rutland are at least six times more likely than white drivers to wind up being searched. But police searches of black drivers in Rutland and elsewhere around Vermont are less likely than searches of white drivers to turn up drugs or other contraband. These are among the findings in a new study that offers the most comprehensive analysis date of racial disparities in policing in Vermont. The study, released in January, examined data from 29 law enforcement agencies across the state, including the Vermont State Police and municipal police departments in Rutland, Brandon, Bennington and Manchester.

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In Hudson, teaching to empower

After fire destroys would-be home, youth program changes plans.
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Door slams shut as first refugees arrive in Rutland

The first of an expected 25 to 30 families of Syrian refugees arrived in Rutland on Jan. 18, two days before the inauguration of President Trump. But only two families made it to Vermont before the new president shut the door on the rest. On Jan. 27, Trump signed an executive order suspending immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries -- and indefinitely banning the entry of Syrian refugees. The presidential order upended months of preparations by members of Rutland Welcomes, a local volunteer group. And Mayor Christopher Louras, who had volunteered the city as a resettlement site and spent more than a year championing the refugees’ cause, said the city’s two newest families would likely be the last refugees to arrive.

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Tuition-free SUNY? Private colleges fear they’ll pay

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to make state colleges and universities tuition-free for many in-state students is raising questions among officials at private and neighboring-state colleges who fear they could lose students as a result.
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In Mass MoCA show, sculptures that don’t sit still

With a new show at Mass MoCA, Elizabeth King is moving firmly along the path she started long ago. Her work is neither sculpture nor puppetry, but somewhere in-between, with the end result often captured in elegant animation by King. The Virginia-based artist creates half-scale wooden figures with features an movements that seem uncannily human.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron