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

December 2016-January 2017Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



Meditation and yoga as tools for social change

Like other prominent institutions and retreats devoted to meditation and holistic health, the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health normally caters to the affluent. But about two years ago, Kripalu set out to share the benefits of yoga and meditation with people who might otherwise never have encountered them. The center launched a new program for “frontline professionals” -- people who work directly with those living in poverty or struggling with the effects of violence, abuse or addiction. Now techniques borrowed from yoga are showing up in schools and social-service organizations from Bennington to Great Barrington and beyond.

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‘Art you can eat’

Taste, history inspire Barrington’s keeper of cheeses.
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Tests turn up lead in N.Y. schools’ water

The scene at Salem Central School has become a common one this fall around eastern New York: Five water fountains at the school have been taken out of service after tests showed they were dispensing water with unsafe levels of lead. Salem was among the first wave of school districts in the region to learn the results of lead testing mandated by a new state law that took effect in September. By late November, about 30 districts across Rensselaer, Washington, Saratoga and Warren counties had learned that at least some of their water fountains and sinks had lead at unsafe levels, and many other districts were still awaiting test results.

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Pittsfield voters back community preservation surcharge

After a series of controversies in recent years in which developers demolished or threatened to raze historic structures in Pittsfield, city voters have approved a local property-tax surcharge that could help fund preservation of local landmarks.
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Election 2016 results

Detailed results from around the region

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Rediscovering the ‘Sage of Saratoga’

Forty years after his death, Frank Sullivan’s career as a writer is being rediscovered and celebrated in his hometown. Sullivan’s house on Lincoln Avenue in Saratoga Springs was recently designated a national literary landmark, and a series of local events are planned in 2017 to recognize his achievements. Sullivan wrote for many publications but became best known for his humorous articles and Christmas poems that ran in The New Yorker from 1932-74. 

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron