Time for FBI in Copake

WHAT’S SO FUNNY? That’s what we wanted to ask Salvatore Cascino after seeing photos of him grinning on the way into the county courthouse last week to face a two-count indictment for illegal dumping.

He gave the impression in his court appearance that these charges of dumping hazardous materials at a site in the Town of Clermont are no big deal. Sad to say, he could be right. Read more…

What’s wrong with the census?

THERE’S NOTHING FUNNY about homelessness. But you had to wonder about the photo on our front page last week of a Census Bureau worker poking around an empty factory in Greenport, looking for people to count.

Maybe nobody told him that this county doesn’t have many forgotten corners where people can seek refuge. Owners, neighbors and police usually know if somebody moves in to a vacant building. Homeless people, many of them children, are more likely to be found bouncing from family to friends until their welcome wears out. Some pass through the motel rooms the county’s emergency housing program rents; some live in their cars. But the census is looking for all of them–for all of us, too. Read more…

What are teachers doing?

IT CAME AS A SURPRISE to learn this week that New York doesn’t rank as one of the most debt-ridden states. By one new measure, this state comes in at a mere 18th overall nationwide. So can we stop wringing our hands now and forget about the state budget crisis?

Not if you’re a teacher. For teachers the reality of the state’s huge budget deficit is about to hit home. The New York State School Boards Association estimates that as many as 14,800 teachers will lose their jobs statewide under the governor’s budget proposal. The total number of school district job cuts throughout this county, based on what school boards have planned for right now, comes to more than 150, a shocking number considering the county already has unprecedented unemployment. Read more…

Is an ambulance enough?

CHEST PAINS, a car crash, too sick to drive. These and many other conditions would cause most of us to dial 911. Sometimes police officers or firefighters arrive on the scene first, and they can–and do–save lives. But if you were desperately ill or injured, what you’d most want to see is a paramedic and an ambulance.

That’s what emergency services consistently provide in most Columbia County communities. In New Lebanon and half of Canaan, however, the Lebanon Valley Protective Association Ambulance service does not have state paramedic certification. Its volunteer members and paid staff have undoubtedly saved countless lives, and while their level of skill is welcome and useful in emergencies, it’s not the same as a paramedic’s. Read more…