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

December 2019 - January 2020Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Debate over New York bail system balances fairness, risk

Supporters of New York’s new bail reform law say it will end the wasteful and destructive practice of jailing poor people accused of nonviolent crimes. But critics of the new law, including many of the region’s top law enforcement officials, say the reform effort could pose new risks to public safety by mandating the release of many criminal defendants -- and by removing a financial incentive for these suspects to show up in court. Under the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, judges will no longer be able to impose bail or jail on people charged with most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. read more



Tale from a river town

Conflict over Hudson fishing shacks provides inspiration for novel.
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Advocates push to curb use of popular herbicide

A debate over whether and how to restrict the use of glyphosate, the weed-killer in the popular herbicide Roundup, has lately been heating up in the Berkshires and across Massachusetts. In Boston, legislators are weighing several proposals to limit use of the chemical, which some fear is a carcinogen. And at the local level, activists in Great Barrington are pushing to ban the use of glyphosate on town property.

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Curtain rises after restoration of long-dormant theater

The restoration of the nearly century-old Strand Theatre in Hudson Falls was made official with a series of celebratory performances this fall. But the building’s grand reopening was nearly a decade in the making.
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A casual setting for all kinds of art

In its first year, The Foundry in West Stockbridge has been broadening its space and programming in art, music and theater. read more

















Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron