EDITORIAL: Did you do No Mow May?

ONLY 6 DAYS TO GO and we can pull on the gloves and the hat and the sunscreen and pour the gasoline and, Yes! Mow the lawn again. Watch as the dandelions give way to disciplined corridors of greenery. We should congratulate ourselves that we have improved the economy and made the planet greener by participating in a month-long observance called No Mow May. You get it… right?

We have a small front lawn and when we bought our home I got out the gas mower. I knew the flap on the side was missing but it seemed to work alright. The mower sprayed whatever was beneath the blades. That worked until I reached the driveway of the guy who lived next door. Twigs and gravel and a little grass too were spraying from my mower into his car. A convertible. The roof was down.

He was understanding but we never got to know each other well.

My next mower was a push type. No motor. Good exercise. It was sleek and green and light weight. My father had one that worked the same way when I was a kid except that my father’s mower had thick steel wheels and weighed a ton. It was a second hand purchase left over from the Depression. It still carried the emblem “National Recovery Administration.” I hated my father’s mower. It was tough to cut the grass even when pushing downhill. I never warmed up to push mowers. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Where are workers?

WHEN I WALK AROUND THE VILLAGE of Chatham I notice a couple of things that have changed over the last few years. I can’t speak with certainty about the other three villages or the City of Hudson or any of the hamlets, like Copake, New Lebanon, Hillsdale and Germantown, for instance. Just Chatham. My observation suggests: there there are a lot more dogs.

This could be investigated through public records. Some of the trend might be traced to the pandemic or to the sense of security that comes with owning a dog, assuming the dog is big enough and menacing enough but not too aggressive.

Observation number two: I see a lot more babies. Clusters of strollers of them hang out with moms, dads and siblings. I won’t attempt to correlate dogs and infants. Maybe it’s an illusion. Have I misread the data? Yes, it seems I did. Not so serious. But what happens when it is? Here is an example of what it takes to document social and economic change. It’s a report called “The Great People Shortage and its Effects on the Hudson Valley” published by Pattern for Progress in April of this year. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Have you met Eco?

OK. WE GET IT. WE COMPOST. Our “system” is about 4’ by 4’ and made of thick plastic. That’s not too technical, right? It seemed like that would do the job. But now the county has gone and bought a bigger one. Much bigger.

The county composting machine even has a name: Ecorich Elite II Composter. What might prove even more important is Eco’s identity as an industrial machine: a “Digester.” Marvel comics, take note.

Our dog-house-size composter doesn’t have a name. But sometimes I’m obliged to empty the compostable food scraps that have filled the jar next to the sink and dump the scraps into the composter in the back yard. And if there’s no one around to hear me, I shout, I lecture, I growl in what I hope is a tone that would frighten away wild animals, especially skunks.

The extraction of scraps from the jar is followed by stirring the compost-in-progress, which is almost always warm. Don’t forget to mix in a thin blanket of leaves before you pop on the top of the composter in a way that avoids spilling rainwater or snow on your feet. All that and another day without skunks. Read more…

EDITORIAL: What’s going on?​

THE CHALLENGE: write short. The county is stirring. Here are a few examples.

•County and town elections will appear on primary and general election ballots. Look for county judges, district attorney, coroner, other office holders;

•The nine-floor high-rise called Bliss Tower in Hudson has moved a little closer to the wrecking ball or a make-over. Officials call Bliss apartments and the low-rise units next door “income-restrictive” housing. Next steps in the plan is to find temporary housing for displaced tenants and then to build new permanent homes for them;

•In Philmont there’s a battle of words, some on social media and some of those containing inaccurate or misleading information. It has separated residents who don’t want 16 new homes built near the edge of Summit Lake vs. two local developers who say they are ready to start building. The village Planning Board has approved the developers’ plan. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Is there a way?

HAVE YOU SEEN any of the solar farms sprouting up around the county? If not, have somebody else do the driving. Then cruise through Claverack, Kinderhook, Germantown. These communities host just a few of the local sites where solar panel farms have blossomed.

In this area it’s likely we’ll see more of these solar farms here and around the state in the immediate future due to a state law called Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). It says this state will generate 70% of our electricity by renewable energy and do it by the year 2030; and we’ll have to make all of our electricity with renewable sources by the year 2040.

There’s more to CLCPA, which was adopted in 2019, but for the moment let’s stay with the new regulatory agency the law created to “review” applications for new major renewable energy goals. The agency is called Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES). A few years ago applications for large scale renewable plants were moving slowly through the siting process. But ORES has a year to issue each permit. Or does it? Read more…