EDITORIAL: G’town doesn’t need its cops

HEADQUARTERS LOOKS MORE LIKE a frat house bedroom than a police station, with trash spilling from desk to floor. Public documents tacked to the wall are out of date–their information useless. Police gear lies out in the open and, if officers did arrest someone, there’s no place suitable to process the alleged criminal.

That’s the description of the Germantown Police Department contained in a scathing report prepared at the request of the Germantown Town Board by retired New York State Police Superintendent Harry Corbitt. He says the best thing the Town Board could do right now is not let the Germantown force have any contact with the public.

That won’t be difficult. In fact the entire department is out of action right now. The officer in charge of the Germantown Police Department is currently on paid administrative leave. The GPD’s officer–there’s only one–was let go last month by the board for failure to take an oath of office this year. That oversight is sometimes cured by having the oath-less officer take the oath right away. Not in Germantown. Not now, anyway. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Ready for blue-green slime?

BEWARE THE BLUE-GREEN monsters from the deep. Except, they’re not monster-sized monsters but they can make you sick and can be real trouble for pets and livestock. Are they coming to get us?

You might have believed that they are if you followed how a routine advisory from the state Department of Environmental Conservation was misreported in some local media last week. Reports said state or the county had closed Kinderhook Lake to swimmers. The reason given was the alleged presence of a harmful algal bloom of cyanobacteria. Cyan is a blue-green color; the bacteria part you get, which brings us back to the monsters attacking Kinderhook Lake. Or, as it turned out, not so much.

The DEC monitors lakes all over the state for pollution and for the presence of harmful algal blooms (HABs). Four of those lakes are in Columbia County. In the scientific literature a bloom is described as “rapid, uncontrolled growth of algae.” Sounds icky and, based on photos of the massive bloom that choked Lake Erie last year, it can be. They may be microscopic, but when those cyanobacteria start to bloom there’s no telling where they’ll stop. Read more…

EDITORIAL: What will protect us?

OUR STORY LAST WEEK on the $15-million proposal by the Ichabod Crane School District for capital improvements began with a list of what administrators hope to accomplish. The first item cited was bullet resistant glass and “film” at the schools’ greeter stations.

A quick internet search provides pages of companies that make or install this plastic film. The film apparently doesn’t prevent bullets from penetrating a glass window or door; it prevents the glass from shattering, which stops (or delays) a shooter trying to get in.

This upgrade will likely receive broad support from district voters. But it won’t be cheap. A news story about an Illinois district that proposed a similar upgrade reported on a district that expected to spend a million dollars on glass upgrades and more secure entrances. Read more…

EDITORIAL: They’ll promise us anything

THE CABLE TV and internet company that has recently oozed its way into parts of Columbia County should change its name from Spectrum to “Suspect-rum.” Lying to the government regulators seems to be part of its business model.

Spectrum is re-branding of Charter Communications, an outfit that offered crummy cable TV service to parts of northern and eastern Columbia County for many years. Now the crummy service has a new name and the company, whatever you want to call it, is still failing to live up to its promise to deliver high speed internet service to underserved areas like ours.

Charter has grown over the last few decades by gobbling up other cable and internet companies to become one of the largest cable and internet service providers in the country. One of Charter’s most recent trophies is Time-Warner Cable. But approval for that deal came in exchange for a promise from Charter that the company would provide high speed internet connections to this and other counties where carrier pigeons are faster and more reliable than the web access they have now. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Do not be silent

IT SOUNDED LIKE “BA-BA”–what a toddler would want in a tense situation. But it could have been “Papa” or some other sound a terrified child would make. Hearing it on the radio with no image amplified the horror.

Every parent knows the sound. It triggers the urge to comfort and protect. The survival of our species depends on this impulse. That sound gets louder every day as the federal government, on the orders of President Trump, impounds more children at our border with Mexico.

Our distance from that border allows us the luxury of ignoring the impacts of immigration by desperate people from Central America. Or maybe not if you’re a Columbia County farmer or in the construction business or food service or need help doing jobs U.S. citizens don’t want. Read more…