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





For county nursing homes, a wave of privatization

County-run nursing homes in New York have become an ever-larger target for budget hawks in recent years. With Medicaid reimbursement rates failing to keep pace with rising medical costs, public nursing homes have posted progressively larger deficits that need to be covered by taxpayers. Across eastern New York, at least a half-dozen counties considering or pursuing plans to sell their homes to private operators. read more



In Vermont, compost buckets at the ready

Tucked away from the rows of groceries at the Rutland Area Food Co-op are fivegallon buckets with lids, filled with food scraps most customers wouldn’t want to take home. But the co-op’s food wastes are highly prized by local gardeners who use them to make compost. Other businesses will soon be getting into the act under the state’s new waste-reduction law, which covers organic food wastes.. read more



Professor’s sideline leads to a grass-fed flock

Jennifer Phillips’ farming career started a decade ago when she acquired a few lambs to mow what was then a 2-acre yard. Today, the Bard College professor has a flock of nearly 170 sheep plus a dozen cattle.. read more



Celebrating a pioneer of comedy

The name Totie Fields may conjure up a hazy memory or be totally unfamiliar, depending on when you were born. But to Nancy Timpanaro-Hogan, Fields played a key role in breaking the sexist barrier in stand-up comedy of the 1960s and ‘70s.read more



Art school extends it reach

IS183 Art School of the Berkshires has become well known over the past two decades for the classes and workshops it offers at the historic Citizens Hall bulding in the village of Interlaken. But the school has lately branching out geographically through off-site classes and other activities. read more



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