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


April 2015 Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Saratoga Springs Greenbelt

Developers push to change Saratoga’s outer greenbelt

For more than two decades, Saratoga Springs has defined itself as a “city in the country,” with planning rules that steered new development into its urban center while protecting green space around its outer edges. But in recent months, as a city panel has been drafting revisions to its comprehensive plan, some local business leaders have begun to argue that development rules in the city’s outer greenbelt are too restrictive, while anti-sprawl advocates have been sounding the alarm that the city-in-the-country concept is under attack.
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Saving a special place. Group rallies to buy former Girl Scouts camp.

A group of women passionate about the former Girl Scouts camp where they spent their childhood summers has raised more than $440,000 to buy the camp and keep it going.
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Artist Tony Conner

Bennington artist goes from business to brushstroke

Tony Conner realized as early as the 1980s that he wanted to leave his corporate job to become a visual artist. But his transition to full-time professional painter took nearly two decades as he studied, practiced and built a reputation.

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Music built from snippets and sketches

The Columbia County-based cellist Paul de Jong is best known for his work as one half of The Books, a duo that created one-of-a-kind musical compositions that made extensive use of sampling, particularly of the spoken word. But since he and Nick Zammuto, his collaborator in The Books, parted ways four years ago, de Jong has stayed mostly under the radar. Now he has a new album, “IF,” that uses many of the signature sampling techniques of The Books but also expands into musical territory far beyond that.
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Life-altering transformation and the loss of 200 pounds

Contributing writer Stacey Morris tells how she eventually conquered a lifelong struggle with weight and dieting.

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Hyde Collection Art Camp for Spring Break

Tour of the Battenkill cycling race, April 18-19

Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron