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

October 2020 Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE

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


With colleges gone, new plans for campuses take shape

When three private colleges in southwestern Vermont decided to shut down for good in the spring of 2019, the news was a big blow to the region. Southern Vermont College in Bennington, Green Mountain College in Poultney and College of St. Joseph in Rutland all closed their doors more than a year ago. Their students transferred elsewhere to finish their degrees, and hundreds of faculty and staff lost their jobs. In all three communities, campuses that had bustled with activity for decades went quiet. Now the focus is turning to how best to reuse these properties. In recent weeks, new owners or potential buyers have emerged for all three campuses, and townspeople and local officials are weighing the benefits and risks as plans take shape for transforming the colleges into something new.
read more



Local role in push for women’s rights

Show highlights friendship of Susan B. Anthony, Hubbard Hall founder.
read more


Election 2020 Preview

A list of federal, state and local races on ballots across the region, plus information about registering, voting by mail, and early in-person voting.

read more


Exhibit, events put focus on immigration

Family stories and experiences move deeply in the work Trinh Mai Thach, a n artist based in southern California whose parents fled to the United States from Vietnam as Saigon fell. This fall, she’ll talk with students in the Berkshires as she prepares for an exhibit at Gallery 51, the college-run art space in downtown North Adams. The show is an artistic collaboration and one part of a global conversation around immigration that the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts is hosting locally through the spring.

read more



















Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron