EDITORIAL: What looms above us?

LOOK, EARTHLINGS! We… have… made… you… a… tree! That kind of low-budget sci-fi movie dialog comes to mind every time I drive by those lame attempts to camouflage cell phone towers as evergreens. Aliens are plotting to conquer planet Earth with fake shrubbery.

We earthlings have done a pretty good job of surrendering our brains and our wallets to the cell phone industry without extraterrestrial help, and with some exceptions the industry seldom has to hide its towers anymore, because people crave the service. Towers reassure us that wherever they are we can talk and text as much as we can afford. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Turn out the lights

THE GREAT BIOGRAPHER Robert Caro visited Albany a couple of weeks ago to receive a prize for his work. He started his career as a newspaper reporter, and one of his early assignments was at the state Capitol. His book “The Power Broker” explains how modern state and municipal government functions in New York; there’s still no better source. It’s a cautionary tale about how an unelected person with the best intentions, given too much power, can destroy communities.

Caro’s visit just happened to coincide with the reappearance in the Village of Chatham of officials from the state Department of Transportation responsible for a two-year project that repaved Main Street and built new sidewalks. Crews also rebuilt the drainage system to funnel storm water away from the center of the village. Read more…

EDITORIAL: You can’t have that

TO THINK OF ALL THE GIFTS on my Christmas list, and the one I never thought to ask for is a new election. But that’s what some folks in Copake want now that the results of the referendum authorizing the dissolution of the town Police Department have been certified by the county. Darn! I wonder if I still have time to email Santa.

The proposition on the November 8 ballot in Copake read: “Shall the Town of Copake be authorized to dissolve the Copake Police Department?” and voters could choose “Yes, Dissolve the Department” or “No, Retain the Department.” Those who want to dissolve the Police Department won by a mere 4 votes out over 1,000 votes cast. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Can the Postal Service survive?

THE CEO OF A HUGE technology firm once ridiculed consumer concerns that email might offer less security for private communications than first class mail. He asked his audience something to the effect: So you think it’s safer than email if you write down your personal thoughts, stick them between two pieces of paper, lick some glue and then give it all to the government for three days?

He got a big laugh. But the humor doesn’t play so well today, as hackers, cyber-scammers and online creeps of all kinds mount ever more sophisticated attacks on our wallets and identities. When you add in the ramped up capacity of government to monitor our digital connections, the Postal Service begins to looks more reliable and private than ever. So why’s the U.S.P.S. on the brink of bankruptcy? Read more…

EDITORIAL: Some of our papers are missing

ATTENTION SHOPPERS, here’s a tip: Some clever gift buyers have discovered that copies of this newspaper make a great stocking stuffers. How do we know? Because those shoppers went to stores where we sell papers in Ancram, Copake and Hillsdale and bought every paper on the shelf the day after they came out. One woman bought 91 copies at a single store. Imagine the joy on the faces of her kids Christmas morning!

These savvy consumers haven’t identified themselves so far, and though they delivered an unexpected and welcome gift to our bottom line, we may never get the chance to thank them. That’s one of the great things about a newspaper. You don’t have to explain why you bought it or what you plan to read. Read more…