Stop first, then talk

HOW DID WE EVER live without cell phones? The government first authorized them 30 years ago, so a significant portion of the population quite literally can’t imagine cell-less existence (unless you live in parts of Ancram and other service-deficient communities). But now it turns out we have a problem living with them.

Last week we reported on local two accidents where authorities say the use of mobile devices by drivers contributed to one death and several injuries. In the first case, a 44-year-old Greene County woman seen talking on her cell phone lost control of her car, which left the road–Route 9 in Greenport–and flipped over. She died of her injuries. It happened in the middle of the afternoon. Read more…

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…