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





A clash of public health and parental rights

Lauryn Starkie Kreuder is among a small but growing number of Vermonters who’ve chosen not to give their children all of the vaccines normally required by state health officials. Citing philosophical objections, she and her husband obtained a waiver that allows their older child to attend school without the vaccines. But now state health officials and legislators are pushing to end the practice of granting philosophical exemptions, saying the state needs to boost vaccination rates to protect its citizens. read more



New maps reshape New York’s political landscape

The political ground is shifting across eastern New York, thanks to new district maps that were finalized last month for the state’s congressional and legislative seats. The congressional maps, imposed by a federal court after state legislative leaders couldn’t agree on how to eliminate two of the state’s 29 U.S. House seats, seem all but certain to set the stage for hotly contested election races later this year. read more



In age of super PACs, a grassroots revolt

On the shortest, darkest days of the year, activists in the Rutland area were out knocking on doors and collecting signatures. Now the results of their work are in: Last month, voters in 64 Vermont municipalities, including the city and town of Rutland, passed town meeting resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to limit corporate spending on political campaigns. read more



Sheep, alpacas slowly take the place of cows

Dairy cows may predominate on the farms of Washington County, but over the past two decades there’s been a quiet resurgence in fiber farming: raising animals for their wool or fur rather than milk or meat. The transformation will be on display this month during the annual Washington County Fiber Tour, scheduled for the weekend of April 28-29.read more



What corsets and petticoats reveal

A new exhibit at the Bennington Museum explores the connection between 19th century undergarments and the social status of the women who wore them. read more



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