EDITORIAL: What have we learned?

LAST WE HEARD, State Police were still investigating the accident that took the life of Valatie business owner Joan Archer. She was struck by an SUV in a pedestrian crosswalk in the village June 14. She died after being transported to Albany Medical Center. She was 77.

There wasn’t any obvious reason why this happened. The weather was not a factor. It was noon on a Monday. The crosswalk is at the intersection of Church Street and Main. It runs parallel to Main Street, and for all purposes it’s an extension of the Main Street sidewalk where it meets Church Street. Ms. Archer’s shop was on Main Street. People who knew her say she walked everywhere she went in the village.

The lines on the crosswalk were recently repainted, according to Valatie Mayor Frank Bevens. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Going down?

ONCE, IT WAS STEEPLES that defined the human contribution to the Hudson city skyline. They poked toward Heaven and not coincidentally advertised the relative wealth of the worshipers below.

The steeples remain, but like the mills and other factories of that time, their prominence was eclipsed in the 20th century by what’s now called Columbia Memorial Health—the hospital that sits on a ridge above the east end of the city. The hospital proclaimed the power of science and progress.

But by the 1970s even the Columbia Memorial’s height advantage couldn’t disguise an even bigger structure: Bliss Towers, a nine-story apartment building at the west end of the city, with 120 units and another 15 units in three standalone, two-story structures. Bliss Towers is the only object of its kind in the city when you consider its sheer bulk and its design, or lack of it. Despite its size, the exterior of Bliss gives no hint of the historic city that surrounds it. Read more…

EDITORIAL: New way or dead end?

HOW DO YOU TELL a Republican road from a Democratic one? It’s not a knock-knock joke. It’s a question.

When the subject is narrowed to local roads, the answer becomes clear: There is no way to know the political party of the highway superintendent just by taking a drive.

For sure the job of highway superintendent involves politics. By one estimate at least 80% of the towns and villages in New York State elect their superintendent of highways. There are over 900 towns statewide, so that’s a lot of officeholders. Most town highway superintendents are elected to a two-year or a four-year term. They have to work within the budget their town board approves, but otherwise the superintendents run their highway department the way they see fit. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Rebirthday wishes?

DON’T CALL IT A REBIRTHDAY. Technically speaking, the paper wasn’t dead. We were taking a Covid-19 break until we could be reasonably sure the people who deliver the print edition were not putting themselves and others at an excess risk of contracting the illness.

At the end of March 2020 we suspended publication of the print edition of The Columbia Paper. That’s a fancy way of saying we went into lockdown as far as the newspaper was concerned. We didn’t have to, because Governor Cuomo had declared that the press was an “essential service.” It seemed prudent at the time.

This week’s issue marks a year since The Columbia Paper emerged from our self imposed lockdown. It took 10 weeks of no papers to return to publishing on our old weekly schedule. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Roads and bridges, oh my!

WHAT ARE THE FIRST words that come to mind when an elected official says “infrastructure”? If it’s not “roads and bridges,” you might want to check your pulse.

Earlier this year President Biden proposed $3 trillion for infrastructure. That broadened the definition to “roads and bridges… and the other stuff we need.” It sounds almost too good to be true. It was also too much spending to win support in Congress. But that was part of the plan.

More recently the president has said he could sign a bill for a mere $1.3 trillion. And now he has given Republicans in the Senate one week to cut a deal or he will push through a law that funds the Democrats’ priorities. Read more…