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


February -March 2015 Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Young Farmers

Young farmers find common interest, band together

Lindsey Lusher Shute and her husband were in their fifth year of growing organic vegetables in the Hudson Valley when they came face to face with a huge hurdle. Like many young people starting out in agriculture, they had been working on rented property, and they found they needed long-term control of agricultural land. But finding a suitable property at an affordable price had become all but impossible in a region increasingly drawn into the outer orbit of metropolitan New York City.
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New Manchester library points a way forward for rural communities

Students enjoy a game of chess at the new Manchester Community Library, which opened in November after years of planning.
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In Bennington, a battle over fluoride

After a recent state survey found that students in two Bennington elementary schools had among the highest incidences of dental cavities in the state, a group of local health care professionals began pushing a proposal to add fluoride to the town’s drinking water. But the idea of fluoridated water, now scheduled for an advisory vote at the March 3 town meeting, has been rejected by the town five times previously, most recently in 2002. Opponents say fluoridation is at best unnecessary and amounts to “mass medication.” read more



McClellan Hospital

Former hospital, future resort?

When a developer came forward late last year and proposed converting the derelict Mary McClellan Hospital complex into a world-class resort, local officials in southern Washington County responded enthusiastically to what they predicted would be a huge economic boon to the region. But since then some have begun to raise concerns about the project’s potential impact on the surrounding community of Cambridge -- and about whether the developer is really able to make good on his plans.
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Photographer seeks out the reality of Facebook friends

The photographer Tanya Hollander spent New Year’s Eve 2010 ruminating about the nature of friendship in the digital age. Are Facebook friends really your friends? Does the way we communicate with friends make a friendship mean any more or less? To answer these questions, Hollander embarked on a still-ongoing project in which she has traveled to more than 40 states and five countries to meet and photograph more than 600 of her Facebook friends.

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Tango Exhibit

Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron