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

October 2021 Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE

Click the cover for the full issueClick to open issue


After bitter 2016 debate, Rutland revisits refugee issue

Of the tens of thousands of Afghan refugees now headed to the United States, at least 100 are expected to arrive in Vermont, and some could wind up in Rutland. Many local business leaders say the city, which has been losing population for the past 50 years, needs an influx of new blood to keep its economy growing at a time when the local work force is shrinking and aging. But supporters want to avoid the controversy that engulfed an earlier refugee resettlement effort five years ago.
read more



A farmstead cheese maker rebuilds

Consider Bardwell resumes scaled-down operation after safety scare.
read more


Election 2021:

A rundown of some of the major contests on the ballot in the Nov. 2 general election across eastern New York and in the cities of North Adams and Pittsfield, Mass..

read more


College galleries come back to life

In a Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts studio, bodies are moving in cloth as fluid as water -- arms and legs weaving together, sometimes solid and muscled, sometimes turning into shadow. A few miles away, in an octagonal room at the Williams College Museum of Art, abstract forms ring the walls like astral bodies, like baby stars half visible in a protoplanetary disc of gas and dust. College galleries are quietly reopening this fall after being shuttered for more than a year by the pandemic.

read more


Collector aims to share art -- and a globe’s cultures

Justin Bibee grew up in a multicultural neighborhood in Rhode Island and began collecting ethnographic art in high school. His collection kept growing through a two-year stint in the Peace Corps and a series of other global travels. Now he has set up new program to loan pieces from his collection for display in schools, libraries and other institutions.

read more
















Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron