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 July 2020 issue


Changing a culture of policing

When a team hired to review Bennington’s police practices issued its report this spring, town officials took comfort in one key finding: The team from the International Association of Chiefs of Police didn’t find any evidence of systemic racial bias. But the 55-page report, compiled over eight months based on extensive local investigation and interviews, also concluded that the town’s police department lacked any policies to prevent racial bias -- and that its practices have sown “deep distrust” among a significant portion of the community it’s supposed to protect. Now, against the backdrop of nationwide protests over racial bias and police brutality, the town is weighing a series of reforms recommended by the report.
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For restaurants, a menu of constant change

Covid-19 has caused sweeping change in local restaurants since it forced them to close their dining rooms in mid-March without warning. Restaurateurs around the region have adapted with varying degrees of success. Some remain closed, and some will not reopen.
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From hemp, cures for body and soil

A three-year-old growing operation in the Hudson Valley raises hemp for CBD oil, but its mission also includes boosting soil health through the practice of regenerative farming.

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Grounds, gardens become destinations at cultural sites

From Columbia County and the Berkshires northward into Vermont and Adirondacks, museums, arts center and historic sites have opened their gardens and grounds to visitors in the midst of the pandemic, and some are adding new outdoor attractions.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron