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

April 2019 Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Financial pressures spell doom for three area colleges

With three small private colleges in southwestern Vermont preparing to shut down at the end of the spring semester, students are scrambling to transfer to other schools, and hundreds of faculty and staff are about to lose their jobs. The closings have stunned local communities, and the loss of the colleges is raising questions about the shape of higher education across the wider region in the years ahead.

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At a summer retreat, new focus on spring

In bid to extend season, Naumkeag prepares first-ever daffodil festival.
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Rail-trail work to close gap in Columbia County

Work is finally under way to fill a major gap in what supporters home will one day become a 46-mile bicycling and walking trail through Columbia and Dutchess counties. The eight-mile section now under construction will connect two existing portions of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, resulting in 23 continuous miles of trail from Copake south to Wassaic, the northern terminal of Metro North Railroad’s commuter line to New York City.
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Artist’s mythical world takes physical form

Every art show is the result of the artist’s imagination pouring out into reality. But Trenton Doyle Hancock’s new show at Mass MoCA, “Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass,” is also an effort to pull visitors inside the artist’s imagination. Hancock’s “Moundverse” compiles characters and scenarios the artist has had in his brain since childhood, and the show offers a winding, multi-colored pathway that makes visitors feel like they’re walking a gameboard into Hancock’s thoughts.

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A month in the hills

The city of Hudson, N.Y., is updating its policy for how local police interact with federal immigration agents after an early March incident in which local activists thwarted the arrest of two immigrants from Central America. And voters in Great Barrington may soon be asked for a third time whether they support going forward with a townwide ban on plastic water bottles.

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Maury Thompson


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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron