EDITORIAL: A tale of two markets

THOSE DEADLY TROUBLEMAKERS Irene and Lee spawned an impressive stream along Route 66 in Ghent where Price Chopper plans to build its new supermarket. What’s normally a stripe of thick marsh grass rapidly lived up to its name as a wetland as the storms came through. The stream wasn’t as dramatic as the moat around a nearby bank branch. But it made me wonder what it will cost Price Chopper to avoid the need for life rafts in its new parking lot.

The Planning Boards of the Town of Ghent and the Village of Chatham, along with the state Department of Environmental Conservation are charged with anticipating the types of disasters that might happen if developers don’t take prudent steps to avoid foreseeable problems. Some people call that burdensome regulation. On the other hand, I’ll feel better when the company installs systems to prevent a future deluge from severing the main highway to Hudson, isolating the new Camphill retirement community or sending me scrambling to the second floor of our office in the downtown hamlet of Ghent. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Is this now normal?

THEY CALLED IT “Earth Science” and it was a brand new curriculum mandated by the state the year I entered 8th grade. It came along at the height of the “space race,” when the U.S. geared up to compete with the Soviet Union in the field of space exploration. Earth science was supposed to make us students smart, like those Communist kids. The really bright ones in my class got to study the Russian language. The rest of us took Spanish.

That Earth science class accounts for much of what I know about geology, climatology and astrophysics. The Reds had nothing to fear from me. But the course left me with a lingering curiosity about the physical history of the Earth, including the forces that created the landscape of the Hudson Valley. Read more…

EDITORIAL: See you at the fair

CALL THIS AN UNPAID advertisement or boosterism, cheerleading, blatant self-promotion or in-your-face marketing. However you look at it, I guarantee with absolute certainty that each and every one of you will have the time of your life — a never-to-be-forgotten, simply amazing experience — at the 171st annual Columbia County Fair.

And if for any reason you don’t go home entranced by this panorama of pleasures, let me assure you that the problem was not the fair. Oh no, my friends, the problem is that you needed to stay longer and see more. Think about it: You’ve already missed a day or two as you’re reading these very words! What are you waiting for? Read more…

EDITORIAL: How will we clean up the Hudson?

FOR THOSE WHO didn’t grow up near the Hudson River in the middle part of the last century, here are two things I learned as a teenager about that most prominent of local waterways: it can make you go wherever it wants even if you didn’t plan to go there, and it was very, very dirty.

I learned about both those attributes firsthand 50 years ago when my cousin convinced me we should launch my eight-foot-long, wooden sailboat for its maiden voyage from the Poughkeepsie ramp. It was late one afternoon about this time of year. There wasn’t much of a breeze, and we didn’t have a motor, just an oar (that’s right, one oar). As we left shore the wind died. I figured we’d drift downriver, and we did drift, but upriver and a quite a good clip. The Hudson is an estuary, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. The tide was coming in and we were being drawn to the center channel of a mile-wide the river heading straight to Albany.

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EDITORIAL: Is this what justice is about?

YEARS AGO AND far from here, a neighbor showed up one night at our door in tears. She said she’d been attacked by her companion. He was armed, she said, and she feared he would pursue her and her young daughter. She called the police and they arrested the guy.

I heard later that what upset her abuser was not that the police came for him but that they didn’t heed his demand to go before a particular town justice in our town. Instead, troopers brought him to court in a neighboring community to be arraigned before a complete stranger, someone the abuser had never done business with. The abuser was incensed: in his view, he had been denied his “rights” to special treatment.

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