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 June 2021 issue


Push to rename school sports teams fuels bitter debates

When an alumnus of the rural Cambridge, N.Y., school district launched a petition drive last year urging the district to abandon the name and logo of its Cambridge Indians sports teams, the result was a polarizing monthslong debate and a political backlash. Last month, district voters overwhelmingly backed the election of two new school board members who had spoken out strongly against the name change. Similar debates have unfolded over the past year in school systems from Rutland, Vt., to Pittsfield, Mass., where sports programs relied on Native American names and imagery.
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Healthy food and fine art

Painter draws inspiration from herbs, ancient cultures.
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Stefanik’s new role will test her green credentials

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, recently elevated to the House Republicans’ No. 3 leadership post, has a significantly more moderate record on environmental issues than Liz Cheney, the Wyoming congresswoman Stefanik replaced. That’s prompting some environmental advocates and political observers to question whether the North Country representative might help to reshape her party’s stances on issues such as climate change -- or whether she’ll be under pressure to shift her own positions in a much more conservative direction.

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Summer sculpture shows return, expand across region

Outdoor sculpture is growing across the region this summer, as pandemic restrictions begin to ease and museums reach out to people eager for safe ways to come outside and find color and creativity. In Vermont, the North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show partners with the Bennington Museum, while Salem Art Works comes to the Southern Vermont Arts Center. And in the Berkshires, public art is growing far beyond the ongoing work at Art Omi in Ghent, N.Y., and Turn Park in West Stockbridge.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron