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

July 2016Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE



From water to blood

The grim results began arriving at the beginning of June: Tests confirmed hundreds of people in northeastern Rensselaer County, exposed to the toxic chemical PFOA through their drinking water, were carrying the substance in their blood at concentrations far above typical background levels. The new blood test results are adding to residents’ anger over what they see as a delayed, inadequate and sometimes deceptive state response to the water crisis.

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Foodie’s tour, from Hudson to Berkshires

Ruth Reichl, locally sourced. A world-class foodie finds a feast in Columbia, Berkshire counties.
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Plan to gut historic theater draws howls

A historic Saratoga Springs theater that has served as a community gathering space for 145 years may be nearing its last days. Saratoga Music Hall, which sits on the top floor of City Hall, has been targeted by city officials for conversion into new court space. The city’s plans have stunned local dance enthusiasts who use the space for monthly events and as one of the venues for an annual dance festival that draws thousands of visitors to downtown.

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Opponents push for referendum on refugees

With the prospect of 100 Syrian refugees arriving in Rutland this fall, some local activists are pushing for a citywide vote that would show whether Rutlanders really support the refugee resettlement effort put forth by Mayor Christopher Louras. Last month the opponents submitted a petition signed by 5 percent of the city’s registered voters calling for a referendum, but reaching that threshold doesn’t guarantee a vote will be held.
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Adirondack Theatre Festival: a stage only for new plays

Chad Rabinovitz is a crusader, a theater man who has devoted his professional life to navigating one of the most challenging paths in the industry: developing new plays. When he was looking for a place to call his home base, Adirondack Theatre Festival was a perfect fit.

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Common Folk collective builds community through art

With its new location on Main Street in downtown North Adams, the Common Folk artist collective hopes to widen its already considerable footprint in the city’s cultural scene.

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Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron