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…

An apology

I MADE A GRAVE MISTAKE in the headline on the lead story in the November 25, 2010 edition of The Columbia Paper. The headline said: “Fired worker costs plenty” and the story made reference to the “firing” of an employee of the Town of Taghkanic Highway Department. The employee in question was not named in the story and he will not be identified here. The important fact is that he was never fired. He was laid off. The distinction is critical.

The headline and the part of the story that involved the employee’s situation were inaccurate, and on behalf of the paper and myself, I wish to tell him and our readers that I am deeply sorry for this error. Read more…

Change the assessment system

HOW MUCH is your home worth? You could ask a real estate agent or monitor prices for similar homes. But neither method is likely to match that often mysterious official value known as your assessment, often referred to by homeowners as “my %$@!#&!! assessment.”

Everybody in this state who owns property outside of New York City knows that depending on whose measurement you use the state has among the highest local tax burdens in the nation, and property taxes are the primary form of local taxation. Read more…

Library shots threaten whole community

PEOPLE WHO USE a library may be many different things, but they’re not stupid. People who shoot holes in library have brains as useful as a brick on a stick. And while it’s no crime to be stupid, acting stupid with a firearm is a serious violation of the law, and one that can’t be lightly dismissed.

But was it just stupidity? That’s the simplest way to look at last week’s inexplicable vandalism at the new Roeliff Jansen Community Library on Route 22, where some person or persons fired six shots into the entrance, breaking windows, smashing some exterior tiles and causing damage inside. The bill is expected to come to $5,000 on top of the $3 million in private donations and grants raised to pay for this remarkable facility. Read more…