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





Building farms that build communities

On a quiet road in Egremont, Mass., is Indian Line Farm, a place where agricultural history was made. In 1985, farmers Robyn Van En and Jan Vander Tuin organized what is believed to be the first community-supportedagriculture program in the nation. Local people paid in advance to buy shares of the farm’s harvest, picking up produce once a week in season. In the years since, the CSA movement has grown and spawned a revolution in smallscale agriculture. read more



Chemical fire leaves a residue of distrust

Within 24 hours after a huge chemical fire erupted Aug. 1 at an industrial plant in Columbia County, state officials pronounced the surrounding areas safe from contamination. But in the days and weeks since the fire at TCI of New York, local citizens, environmentalists and independent experts have continued to question whether the state did enough testing -- and whether it did the right tests -- to support its claims that PCBs and other chemicals at the plant haven’t contaminated the wider environment. read more



Marriage vote echoes in state Senate primary

If there’s a political cost to state Sen. Roy McDonald’s pivotal vote to allow samesex marriage in New York, it will be measured this month when the senator faces a rare intraparty challenge from Saratoga County Clerk Kathleen Marchione. McDonald, R-Saratoga, has been a target of religious conservatives since June 2011, when he and three other Republicans joined most Democratic senators in supporting the Marriage Equality Act. The vote made McDonald a hero among gay-rights supporters across the state, but it infuriated some former allies in his home district. read more



Theater company moves downtown, expands season

When Oldcastle Theatre Company had to vacate its home of 18 years last fall, some feared for the future of the local theater group. But a blow that could have been fatal has turned instead into an exciting opportunity. Oldcastle is preparing to launch its 2012-13 season at a new space in the heart of downtown Bennington -- one that will allow it to expand its season and offerings.read more



An artist’s grand plans for Hudson

Old theater building seen as international center for performance art
HUDSON, N.Y. Within a few years, the hulking old Community Tennis building in Hudson could be transformed into new artistic hub under the guidance of one of the world’s best-known performance artists. read more



TCI’s history includes past fires, worker death


The Aug. 1 fire that destroyed the TCI of New York plant in West Ghent was not the company’s first, nor was the smaller fire earlier this year in which a trailer of oily rags at the plant ignited.

In the mid-1980s, fire broke out at TCI’s first PCB processing plant, an old mill at Renwick and South Colden streets read more




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