Bullying stops at the top

SCHOOL OFFICIALS TAKE BULLYING seriously for good reason. Kids need to know it’s wrong to pick on those who are smaller, weaker or otherwise vulnerable. Schools understand that teaching by example has the greatest impact. But what do you do when school officials act like bullies?

During a board meeting last month Taconic Hills school board President Ronald Morales instructed district Superintendent Mark Sposato to call the police. Mr. Morales was upset by a labor union lawyer representing two bargaining units in the district. The lawyer, Pamela Melville, insisted on continuing when Mr. Morales asked her to stop speaking to the board at the public forum. Read more…

Thoughts on a tragedy

I CAN OFFER no more than another voice of sympathy to the families of the nine-year-old girl and the other five people killed as well as those injured with Representative Gabrielle Giffords in the Tucson rampage Saturday. You didn’t have to know anyone involved to recoil in horror at the news, but the description of the event at which the shootings took place, a “Congress on Your Corner” gathering, made that shopping plaza seem a little closer to home.

The term “Congress of Your Corner” surfaced here after the election of Representative, now Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand in 2006. Ms. Gillibrand hadn’t been in office but a few weeks when she announced her first Congress of Your Corner. It seemed like a novel catch phrase at the time. If you Google the term now, it pops up all over the country, used by many members of the House of Representatives as shorthand for public meetings with constituents with no limits on what gets discussed. Voters expect elected officials to operate this way. Read more…

Gimme that building

THERE IT SITS, like a present left under the tree that nobody wants to open because no matter how nicely it’s wrapped and how big the bow, it still smells like trouble. It’s the stocking stuffer every kid dreams of: an abandoned Walmart store.

The current asking price for the 125,000-square-foot building on Route 9 in Greenport is reportedly $2.7 million, marked down half-a-million dollars since it first went on the market when Walmart moved up the highway over a year ago. And that’s the price before the holidays, so think what a deal we could get during the big, post-Christmas, vacant building sales. Read more…

Business looks up for the county

THE SMELL OF WARM MOLASSES used to fill the air along Hudson Avenue in Chatham. It came from the row of silos on the railroad siding, where feed was mixed and stored. Especially in winter, the sweet aroma tickled your senses, softening the bite of frigid air.

That scent is gone, but there’s another, equally welcome one on the horizon: baking bread. The owner of Our Daily Bread is building a new bakery just down the road from the old silos. It occupies nearly 4,000 square feet and has a wing that connects to a house next door, where he’s putting a café. Read more…

What evil lurks at 401 State Street?

NOW CHILDREN! PLAY NICELY together. Remember, please, that we’ve just given you your allowance for 2011 and, frankly, that $150 million is a lot of money to spend here in Columbia County.

Actually it’s $149,271,586 that the county Board of Supervisors plans to spend in 2011 to operate all the services county government. The amount, along with where all that money will go, is laid out in the budget adopted last week by the board. It’s online at the county website, http://columbiacountyny.com. Read more…