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

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



Labor law arrives at the farm

A Guatemalan man who workers at a dairy farm in southern Washington County describes himself as tired. He and another man milk 1,000 cows twice a day, and he says he hasn’t had a single day off in several years. The day of rest -- a fundamental right for most workers since at least the 1930s -- is still not a right for farm workers in most states. But that will change in New York at the beginning of 2020, when the state’s new Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act takes effect. read more



Bottling the secret sauces

Chef’s wholesale line of condiments covers aioli to agrodolce.
read more


Two small schools weigh an interstate merger

When Vermont began a major push for school consolidation a few years ago, state officials suggested the small school in the town of Stamford merge with those in two other towns along the state’s southern border. But with the nearest of those towns 12 miles away over winding roads on the other side of a mountain, local voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea. Now Stamford is considering a different partner for a school merger -- across the state line in Clarksburg, Mass.

read more


In America, echoes of occupied Europe

In “American Underground,” the new thriller having its premiere this month at Barrington Stage Company, a new underground railroad has sprung up to aid Muslim Americans in a not-too-distant future.
read more

Professor explores local labor history, industrial decline

When Maynard Seider arrived in the northern Berkshires in 1977, he had no idea the region’s history would become the focus of his life’s work and lead to the publication of his new book, “The Gritty Berkshires: A People’s History from the Hoosac Tunnel to Mass MoCA. read more
















Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron