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

May 2022Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE

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The Spa City’s push for police reforms

A new slate of city leaders in Saratoga Springs has been moving swiftly in recent weeks toward creation of a local civilian review board to investigate allegations of police misconduct. At the same time, the city’s new public safety commissioner has released a lengthy report on the case of Darryl Mount Jr., a biracial man who was mortally injured while fleeing from city police in 2013. The draft report acknowledges misconduct by a former city police chief in handling Mount’s case -- and recommends the city settle a civil suit brought by Mount’s family. These actions mark a sharp change in tone from the city government after two years of bitter local debate and protests over policing and racial justice.
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In sign of spring, new life on farms

Area events provide close encounters with piglets, lambs and more
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New York restores tuition aid for prison inmates

Every year since 1999, New York lawmakers have introduced legislation to make state college tuition grants available to students incarcerated at prison facilities. And every year until now, the legislation never made it out of committee. Now inmate education advocates are rejoicing, and some area colleges are preparing to expand their offerings for incarcerated students.

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Leaving urban life to run a bookstore in a barn

When the pandemic prompted Sydney Nichols and Eric Kufs to reassess their lives and careers in southern California, the couple ultimately decided to take a big leap. Now they’ve landed in upstate New York as the new owners of Owl Pen Books, a beloved 60-year-old institution with a bountiful inventory.

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Strands of history meet in a Hudson Valley home

The house where Martin Van Buren was married also claimed “Uncle Sam” Wilson as a tenant a few years later.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron