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


SEPTEMBER 2014 Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Railroads become Oil Pipeline

Diamond in the rough? Village lays ground for rebirth

Hoosick Falls Mayor David Borge admits that his downtown looks “sad,” with many of its classic 19th century buildings vacant and decaying. But lately the notion of restoring bustle to downtown Hoosick Falls is starting to seem plausible. A developer recently proposed filling the vacant corner lot with a new three-story building where a hotel once stood. Across the street, a local group hopes to renovate and reuse the upper floors a block-wide building, restoring a third-floor performance space that was once a stop on the vaudeville circuit.
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Vermont Passover

Buzz of the back yard

Beginner beekeepers find their sweet spot. When Alethea Morrison started keeping bees five years ago, she kept a journal that wound up being published as a book. Now she’s president of the Northern Berkshires Beekeepers Association.
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Formal review set for gas pipeline through Berkshires

A controversial plan to build a major new natural gas pipeline through Columbia and Berkshire counties is likely to advance to its next phase this month as the company that wants to build the line submits a pre-filing application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The project envisioned by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC would feed natural gas from the Marcellus Shale fields of northern Pennsylvania to New England, crossing the local counties on its way to eastern Massachusetts. Although an exact route has not yet been determined, the proposal has already drawn protests. read more



Breeder of grass-fed cattle challenges conventions

Morgan Hartman’s farm in the hills of eastern Rensselaer County produces grass-fed meats, and in recent years Hartman has earned a national reputation as a breeder of cattle suited to this tradition. But Hartman doesn’t mind challenging standard operating procedures, and he doesn’t bother with a lot of things most farmers take for granted as necessary.
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Carrying music from the past into the future

When the Carolina Chocolate Drops take the stage on the opening night of this year’s FreshGrass Bluegrass Festival in North Adams, they’ll be a different band than the one that performed at the festival in 2012. But Rhiannon Giddens, the banjo and fiddle player who is now the only founding member still in the group, says the Chocolate Drops are staying true to their roots-music mission -- and their broad sense of African-American musical styles and history.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron