EDITORIAL: Is efficiency really the problem?

YOU’LL BE GLAD TO KNOW that the county may be functioning more efficiently in 2022. Well, not necessarily the whole county, but the part of it that staffs Emergency Management, a “part-time department of five.”

Right now the dedicated and knowledgeable staff of Emergency Management is part of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. But the new efficiency proposal introduced as part of the county’s proposed 2022 budget will instead see the Emergency Management Department report directly to the chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, Matt Murell (R-Stockport). The budget for the Emergency Management Department will be divided between the board and the Sheriff’s Office. That sounds kind of efficient, doesn’t it?

The timing was efficient too, because Republicans hold a majority of the votes on the Board of Supervisors, and Sheriff David Bartlett is a Republican. But Sheriff Bartlett, who ran for a third term in the November election, was defeated by Donald Krapf, a Sheriff’s Office sergeant who ran against Sheriff Bartlett on the Democratic line. Sheriff-Elect Krapf will be sworn in January 1. Will making this change before the new sheriff is sworn in make the county more efficient? Read more…

EDITORIAL: Got any leftovers?

WHAT ABOUT THE LEFTOVERS? Now that you’ve eaten your fill take a moment to ponder where the not-so-popular items will end up. Favorite foods always accompany family and friends out the door. But what about that relative of a relative who politely agrees to accept the leftover rutabaga? Rutabaga? Aaaack!

You Like Rutabaga?! That’s okay. It’s not vegetables that are at issue here. The question before us is the fate of vegetables or other food items discarded after we humans are done with them. Mostly we toss them in the garbage. But that’s a wasteful way to treat a potentially valuable resource.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates how many tons of food Americans waste annually. By 2018 the number was 60 million tons. In one year. That’s not only wasteful, it’s bad planning. What if climate change leaves us with periods of smaller harvests—in other words, less food to waste? Read more…

EDITORIAL: Scare tactics aren’t science

AN OVER-SIZED POSTCARD appeared in our mailbox this week. On the postage side of the card the headline reads: “THE FACTS,” and below are five statements, some of which may be true and one which lists bad outcomes from the Covid-19 vaccine. Postcards seldom do a good job explaining context.

The postcard listed five different web addresses, but there was no one individual or group taking responsibility for the contents of the card. At the bottom of the card it says “This mailing was paid for by Caring people like you…” and sure enough, the website above that message takes you to a site where you can donate to others who say they are Caring People like you. But still no names. So let’s just identify them by their non-profit mailing permit: “Postal Permit No. 4” from Chatham.

These folks tell us that “Covid is less dangerous for children than the common flu” and adds a footnote to cite the source for this statement. This footnote, in tiny print that stretches half the length of the mega-postcard, is apparently a link to a National Public Radio broadcast transcript, which says: “In kids the risks of Covid 19 and the flu are similar but the risk perception isn (sic)” and it cuts off right there. Footnotes are used to support statements, not contradict them. So who should we believe, an unidentified Postal Permit holder or National Public Radio? Read more…

EDITORIAL: What do we want?

WE DON’T WANT NO CANNABIS around here. But of course we do. Or maybe not. Either way, the grammar of the first sentence is perfect if read the right way. So read on… carefully.

After months of negotiations in the state legislature and a hasty transition from one governor to another, the state finally has a Cannabis Control Board that can grant licenses for the retail sale of cannabis.

So on Monday, November 8, the Chatham Village Board approved a new village law opting out of authorizing “retail dispensary and on-site consumption of cannabis” within the boundaries of the village. The board says it’s the first step toward authorizing one or more retail cannabis businesses in the village. That’s not a misprint and this is not written by someone staring through a haze of cannabis. One way to opt into cannabis sales is to opt out of them. Far out! Read more…

EDITORIAL: Is the spirit still here?

HE’S LIVED IN THIS COUNTY longer than I have. So when he talks about what life was like decades ago, I listen. He said that plenty of people turned out for the Halloween parade in the City of Hudson but this year he didn’t see anyone he knew.

He didn’t frame his observation like a complaint or, worse, a lament for time gone by. It’s possible that people he knew walked by wearing masks that hid what was meant to be hidden. I said something about losing our sense of community. But somebody else will have to write that story. Instead, I invited him to visit Chatham some Halloween evening.

Halloween in Chatham used to start at dusk, except for the littlest goblins in their strollers rattling down Kinderhook Street. These early birds arrive in as extended family units of various components: Mom, Dad, grandparents, costumed brood. “Ooooh, cute,” we say from behind the candy table. Now and then a toddler dressed as a superhero launches an arm across the sidewalk to the candy bowl and lands a fistful of chocolate bars. That’s cute too. Read more…