EDITORIAL: Say goodbye to neighbor

WE GOT SOME EXTRA advertising business this week and I wish we hadn’t. It’s not the money; we need every penny we earn. It’s not the customer, either. The Town of New Lebanon previously used us as one of its official town papers for publication of its public notices, and we appreciate being its official town newspaper again. So why not celebrate?

The reason for this small windfall is that another newspaper, The Eastwick Press, will cease publication this week. It has covered local news in five towns, a village and two school districts in eastern Rensselaer County. It also reported on, and carried notices from New Lebanon, which borders Rensselaer County.

Now we have to write the obituary of yet another local newspaper. The body count continues to grow. That grim fact makes me especially grateful that you’re taking time to read this. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Squealing flier is fake news

YOU WOULDN’T WANT to glorify it as a hate crime. It was more like a raw display of ignorance mixed with spite, hysteria and a hefty dose of cowardice. It takes a special talent to cram that much bad behavior onto an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.

But in the last week both the Chatham and Canaan town boards heard from one of the two targets singled out in an anonymous flier with exactly those characteristics. The targets are young farmers in Canaan near the boundary with Chatham. The couple grow vegetables and raise pigs. They have “about 20” pigs, says Eric Suquet.

Someone who dislikes their pig farm produced a flier that claims–falsely–that the pigs are being penned so that they have access to a nearby stream that eventually flows into Chatham and that this will threaten local water supplies. The flier writer is also fearful of flies from the farm and what might happen to property values if farming went on at this farm located on land zoned for… farming. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Diana Ladden

DIANA LADDEN, A COLLEAGUE of ours here at The Columbia Paper, died suddenly this week. We’ll publish an obituary in an upcoming issue. This is a remembrance of a journalist, businesswoman, public servant and friend.

At the time of her death she was selling advertising for this newspaper and website and doing well at it. Without display ad sales, we can’t survive. But she got her start in the newspaper business in 2002, when she applied for a job as a reporter at the now-defunct newspaper called The Independent. She was writing a novel at the time and submitted a few pages as a sample of her work. She talked me out of my skepticism. Read more…

EDITORIAL : Clean enough for you?

IT’S NICE TO HEAR that Scott Pruitt, commissioner of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, said last week that he’s created and EPA task force to speed cleanup of Superfund toxic waste sites. It wasn’t so nice that the EPA has also decided to suspend further cleanup of the largest Superfund site in the country, the Hudson River.

PCBs are industrial chemicals suspected of causing cancer and linked to other health threats to humans and wildlife. General Electric dumped tons of PCBs into the river from 1947 until the 1970s. After years of delays GE finally began in 2009 to dredge the chemicals from the river bottom north of Albany. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Fill it up with electrons

DID YOU EVER DRIVE AWAY from a gas pump before you removed the nozzle from your car? I don’t recommend it. But believe me when I tell you that whoever figured out how to make the world safe from–let’s just call them easily distracted drivers–did the world a great service.

The gas hose breaks free by design and the hose automatically closes at the pump. Little or no fuel leaks. It’s not only a brilliant safety feature. It’s also surprisingly inexpensive. And even if it was more expensive, it would still be a whole lot cheaper than cleaning up spilled gasoline and evacuating the neighborhood, which is a risk anywhere volatile fuel is stored.

Thoughts of fuel related concerns occurred to me recently because of the new electric car charging stations about to be installed in the Village of Chatham as part of a program developed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which is conducting this project with the help of the Towns of Chatham and Ghent and Chatham village. Read more…