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

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In the Berkshires, preparing for legal marijuana sales

Over the next several weeks, the first retail stores around the Berkshires are expected to receive state licenses to begin selling marijuana legally to anyone over 21. The start of retail sales -- in four stores from Great Barrington to Williamstown -- represents a major step in carrying out the policy of marijuana legalization that Massachusetts voters approved in a statewide referendum two years ago. But the changes under way in Massachusetts also pose new challenges for lawmakers and citizens in neighboring New York and Vermont

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Mount Equinox drive offers revelatory vistas near monks’ retreat

Funds raised from the 5.2-mile toll road up Mount Equinox, seen here just below the summit, help to support the monks cloistered in a nearby monastery, the Charterhouse of the Transfiguration.
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School radio station to get new start, broader mission

An FM radio station in Pittsfield that got started in 1969 by providing background music on a high school public address system is in the midst of a transition supporters hope will revitalize it as a voice for the community. WTBR-89.7 FM temporarily signed off the air in June after broadcasting since 1974 under a Federal Communications Commission license held by the Pittsfield School Committee. It is expected to sign on again in the coming months as a community-based, noncommercial station.

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Election 2018: A preview of area ballots

A roundup of state and federal races and ballot propositions across eastern New York, southwestern Vermont and the Berkshires.

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In group exhibit, artists explore gender and identity

Some of the images show love, and some show fear, anger or laughter -- or all of these things together. They are all deeply intimate, in one way or another. Thirty-eight works by contemporary artists examine a subject that has become a public conversation around the nation. The exhibit, “Spectrum: Exploring Gender Identification,” opened Sept. 27 and runs through Nov. 18 at Gallery 51 in North Adams.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron