EDITORIAL: He thinks what?

THE COLOR MATCHED EXACTLY. The blood orange tint in photos of the California sky this week was the same as the color of the sun as it set here in Ghent. In California there have been days as dark as night. Here the sky was a cloudless gray.

The tints of sun and sky come from ash released by the fires on the West Coast, 3,000 miles away. The weather report says the particles from burning forests, homes, businesses and schools are so high in the atmosphere that they won’t affect our lungs. The forecaster didn’t predict whose lungs the particles would affect. Maybe it’s birds’ and fishes’.

Distance doesn’t insulate us from bad things that happen far away. In this case, the smoke from California echoes across a continent, so it’s not a big leap to imagine the same thing happening globally. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Where is the relief?

YOU DON’T NEED an economist to tell you the effect the pandemic is having on local business. Or maybe you do, depending on your business.

Some local restaurants look busy. People sitting outside mostly. Is it a sign of hope or a social distancing illusion?

People in the real estate business say the market is hot. They point to high-end home sales—folks moving up here to get away from New York City. Is it a bubble, a fantasy or a trend? Read more…

EDITORIAL: Mail your ballot

SEPTEMBER ARRIVED WITHOUT PROPER NOTICE. Blame the heat, the election, the virus. The trees in this part of Ghent remained solid green until Sunday, when a maple crowded alongside Route 66 waved a small orange flag. Two day’s warning?

Suddenly it’s time to plan. Time to think about doing something sooner, not later, about furnaces, tires, how we can make it through the winter. Add to the list: How will you vote?

This question of “how” is not the same as asking: “Who” gets your vote. And if you were surprised by how swiftly September showed up, just wait until you see how soon November gets here. November 3, to be exact. The General Election. Read more…

EDITORIAL: It’s not a big thing

IN TWO WEEKS, more or less, kids in Columbia County will return to school. Kind of. Each of the six public school districts in the county has its own version of the best way to teach the most kids with the least risk to the health of students and teachers. It is an awesome responsibility in the best of times. Now it looms like a nearly impossible task.

There isn’t a single right way to do this as far as we know. Some parents will opt to have their children receive a public education exclusively online. Other families don’t have that choice. Some parents can’t afford to stay at home with their kids, others lack the technology—internet service, computers, etc.—that kids need for schoolwork.

We regularly report on the two largest school districts in the county, the Ichabod Crane Central School District and the Hudson City School District. Over the last two months administrators, teachers, staff and parents in both districts have crafted complex but practical plans to keep teachers in front of students. It sounds so simple. The classroom was the setting for the education previous generations received. But now the classroom itself is a potential threat. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Let’s crowdsource

TIME FOR AN UPDATE. No, Wait! Don’t turn off your screen. Resist the temptation to swat flies with the newspaper you’re reading. This is an experiment in crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing is when someone like me enlists lots of people to come up with ideas to solve a problem. I don’t have time for that. You probably feel the same way. But if I can’t come up with new ideas, this paper is in jeopardy, again.

This sounds depressingly familiar, so let me clear the air: We’re not pleading for more individual contributions. Many of you recently gave us money—we raised over $20,000 in just a few weeks this spring after we suspended publication of the print edition as the pandemic exploded. Your generosity made it possible for us to resume publication in print June 11. Read more…