EDITORIAL: Where’s the crossword?

WHERE’S THE CROSSWORD PUZZLE? Several readers have asked. The last Los Angeles Times puzzle in The Columbia Paper appeared March 26, 2020. We didn’t publish a print edition for 10 weeks after that date.

We’ve also heard from readers who said they didn’t notice our absence. Ouch.

A lot of readers have said they’re glad we’re back in print. I can’t give you a more precise figure for what constitutes “a lot.” Using that term is bad journalism but the comment isn’t meant to make news. The statement comes up in casual conversations, usually at the end of a chat, like a substitute for “Okay, goodbye.” Read more…

EDITORIAL: Federal aid is essential

HOW WOULD YOU go about finding $13 million? Let’s assume you don’t have it in a shoe box under your bed. It might take a few seconds longer now to get your imagination in gear. That’s the toll a pandemic can take on our thoughts, never mind our bodies. So keep the focus on $13 million.

That’s what the leadership of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors and other county officials have been working on as the economic impacts of the coronavirus have mounted and local business is barely waking up from a near standstill. A release last week from the board’s chairman, Matt Murell (R-Stockport) explained why the county needs $13 million and where they intend to get it.

Nobody should be surprised that the county expects to lose at least that much from its main sources of revenue: the county’s share of sales taxes, unpaid property tax bills, and reimbursements from the state and federal governments that will somehow get lost in the mail. And $13 million is what’s needed assuming the impact of Covid-19 remains close to being under control. If not, the lost revenue could amount to $20 million or more. Read more…

EDITORIAL: What change teaches us

IT SEEMED SO DESPERATE when Governor Cuomo signed the executive order early in the spring authorizing municipal governments to conduct their meetings online. And so weird. The technology was available… kind of. So run your village, your town, your city and county on Zoom.

Online meetings were a sideshow at the outset of the deluge of facts and fake facts and changing facts about the pandemic. But despite the initial confusion and weak security that attracted hackers to work their disruptive mischief (just ask the Hudson Board of Education), government and we, the governed , are adapting.

That process will change our language and our sense of time. In the near future, will anyone “go” to a meeting and where citizens sit side-by-side? Would anybody “attend” the hearings on budgets or new local laws? And where would you go if not to some “virtual” space? The key players participate as images; they “Zoom” to the forum digitally from home or some undisclosed location. Does it matter whether anyone is where they say they are? Maybe with prisoners. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Protection starts here

THE LICENSE PLATE SAID FLORIDA. Not unusual when what we call hot weather here would seem refreshingly cool down there. The car’s passengers were getting out. The dog was eager to greet them but I steered him in the opposite direction. No use taking chances.

It’s come to that. Fearing others based on what state they’re from. What we know so far about the coronavirus gives us reason to be wary. Florida currently leads the list of 22 states most of whose residents aren’t welcome here unless they and their traveling companions are willing to self-quarantine for two weeks. That’s how threatening spikes in Covid-19 are.

Apart from their car, how could anyone know where strangers come from or whether they’re strangers at all? Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order authorizing civil penalties of up to $10,000 for violation of the self-quarantine requirement. This week he released a plan to enforce that order at major airports around the state. Airports? What about parking lots? Read more…

EDITORIAL: The pathway to reopening

INNOVATION SAVED THE DAY when it came to high school graduation. In Chatham a caravan of family vehicles carried individual grads and family members through the village, led by firefighting apparatus from around the district. Unforgettable sums it up.

Now it would be summer camp season except most municipalities have shut down their programs, creating another hardship for those parents who have a job and little choice but to lose it or abandon their kids on workdays.

And what happens in the fall? We’re about to find out. Read more…