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

September 2018 Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Tracking the fallout from PFOA

Four years after area communities began discovering the industrial chemical PFOA in drinking water supplies, a pair of new studies suggests the pollution and its health effects are more widespread than previously known. The two studies, released last month, detail the findings of field work led by a group of professors at Bennington College. One study found more cases of PFOA-related illnesses in the region than had previously been documented; the other revealed a plume of elevated PFOA concentrations in soils downwind of a North Bennington factory that released the chemical into the air before closing more than 15 years ago.

read more



Fruit and fulfillment

An orchard’s attractions keep growing, covering apples to art.
read more


From the blue Berkshires, a push for Faso’s defeat

If Republican U.S. Rep. John Faso loses his bid for a second term in November, a network of activists just across the state line in Massachusetts will be cheering. Democrats in the deeply blue Berkshires organized a political action committee more than a year ago in an effort to sway the vote in New York’s 19th Congressional District, which has emerged as one of the party’s top targets nationally in its effort to regain a House majority. Supporters say the money raised in the Berkshires reflects a broader engagement among grassroots activists on both sides of the state line.

read more


Pittsfield project aims to build alliances for change

When researchers for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston set out a few years ago to figure out why some faded industrial cities were able to reinvent themselves while others struggled, they concluded that “civic infrastructure” mattered more than geography, demographics or the local economic mix. The result is a new program that aims to strengthen civic ties in Pittsfield.

read more


Antiques that challenge assumptions

The Boston-based artist Pat Falco has gained attention for works that tackle issues like income inequality, gentrification and racism in his hometown. But now he’s bringing his work across the state to North Adams, where his new show, “Antiquitacky,” opens this month at Installation Space.

read more
















Opera at Hubbard Hall, cambridge ny


Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron