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





Companies see liquid gold in restaurants’ waste oil

Five years ago, restaurants around the region had to pay about $1 a gallon to have their waste cooking oil hauled away. But as gasoline prices surged in recent years, companies began competing to collect the waste oil for conversion to biodiesel. Today, these companies pay the restaurants for their waste. read more



Recovery takes shape in a town slammed by Irene

In the weeks after the remnants of Hurricane Irene set off epic flooding in southern Vermont, major towns from Bennington to Rutland quickly got back to business. But in Wilmington, 20 miles into the mountains east of Bennington, returning to normal won’t be so easy. read more



Mass. weighs a faster path for wind-power projects

The slow progress of wind-power projects in the Berkshires is prompting renewable-energy advocates to push for legal changes at the state level. The Legislature is considering a bill to streamline regulations so that large-scale wind projects could be built more quickly. But critics say the bill would circumvent local control -- and force wind farms onto communities that don’t want them. read more



Saratoga foodie destination is a ‘gallery’ for olive oils

It’s like a wine-tasting emporium that allows customers to sample and savor before they buy. But at Saratoga Olive Oil Co., the tastings are of extra-virgin olive oils, balsamic vinegars, salts and related products.read more



Artists pitch in to help preserve working farms

The open fields and rolling hills of Rensselaer and Washington counties have provided inspiration to artists for generations, and every October for the past 10 years, local artists have banded together to give something back....................................................read more



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