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

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Click the cover for the full issueHill Country Observer August 2020 issue


Colleges prepare for influx of students

When Castleton University begins its fall semester this month, some students will return to dormitories and resume the rhythms of campus living. But in July, with coronavirus cases spiking in much of the nation, the university reversed course and decided to cancel one major component of the campus experience: in-person classes. Across the region, however, many institutions of higher learning -- from Skidmore to Bennington to Williams -- are forging ahead with plans to resume many regular classes and campus living arrangements.
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Finding healing power — in burlesque

Berkshires-based performer sees dance form as path to empowerment.
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House race headlines primary races in Mass., Vermont

The November election may be shaping up as a referendum on the leadership of President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress, but some hotly contested primary contests under way in Massachusetts and Vermont will shape the tone and priorities of the Democratic Party. Primary elections are set for Aug. 11 in Vermont and Sept. 1 in Massachusetts, but mail-in voting has already begun in both states.

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Theater, music shows begin to return, mainly outdoors

This month Berkshire Theatre Festival will open a production of “Godspell” set in 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic and the protests against racial injustice. The show, which opens Aug. 4, is the first musical, and one of the first two plays in the nation, to win approval from Actors Equity since the pandemic hit. The other is also in the Berkshires: The one-man show “Harry Clarke” opens Aug. 5 at Barrington Stage Company.

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Through photos, an artist sheds light on her people

Wendy Red Star’s new exhibit at Mass MoCA tells the story of the Apsaalooke, a Native nation of the northern Plains.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron