EDITORIAL: The pathway to reopening

INNOVATION SAVED THE DAY when it came to high school graduation. In Chatham a caravan of family vehicles carried individual grads and family members through the village, led by firefighting apparatus from around the district. Unforgettable sums it up.

Now it would be summer camp season except most municipalities have shut down their programs, creating another hardship for those parents who have a job and little choice but to lose it or abandon their kids on workdays.

And what happens in the fall? We’re about to find out. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Why do they march?

HARD TO MAKE SENSE of these times. Protest marchers fill the streets of Chatham. That’s happened before. But it’s different now because of masks and social distancing on one hand and the desire for solidarity around “Black Lives Matter!” on the other. Both cry for our attention.

This week the county enters a new phase of the economy’s “reopening.” Phase 4 holds tremendous promise for rebuilding what we lost during the “Pause,” more commonly called the lockdown. Each step in the reopening comes with dangers too.

We can take pride that the pandemic has relented in the state for the moment. Comfort is another matter. Thirty-seven people have died in this county from Covid-19. We don’t yet have the option of exhaling in relief. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Copake needs panel discussion

WE’VE HAD TOO MUCH sunshine around here lately. Mini-showers barely wet the dust. No wonder there’s a plan to build a 60 MW solar farm in the Town of Copake.

Want a solar farm as a neighbor? Some folks already have panels on their roofs. Copake zoning allows small solar voltaic arrays. But a company called Hecate (pronounced HEK-a-tee) Energy has bigger plans. Fifty times bigger than the town allows.

If Hecate has to abide by local zoning it’s quite likely that the company would not receive approval for a 500-acre facility spread over a 900 acres in the hamlet of Craryville mostly south of state Route 23. The plan also calls for a bunch of quaint 53-foot-long shipping containers filled with Lithium-ion batteries that will store some of the electricity produced by the proposed 200,000 solar panels. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Maskless is clueless

WE HAVE A BIRD’S EYE VIEW of what has to be the hottest dine-out scene in all of Columbia County. I’m talking about the Moondog’s food truck parked across the driveway next to our office in Ghent.

The items on its chalkboard menus include a variety of sliders, french fries alleged by the owner to be the best in the region—a boast you won’t want to challenge once you taste them—“Ghent cheese steak,” multi-fruit lemonades and now soft ice cream, all at a price you can afford, literally. The sign on the window counter says it all: “PAY WHAT YOU CAN. IF YOU CANNOT, WE UNDERSTAND AND ARE HERE FOR THE COMMUNITY.”

The Moondog’s staff couldn’t be better neighbors. As you’d expect the operation is all take-out; there’s no place to eat-in except for a couple of socially distant picnic tables on the lawn where the truck is parked. So far, what has played out in front of our window has the feel of a time-lapse recording of the food truck’s popularity. It started in the chilly April rain, when an occasional car would cruise down the driveway as the occupants warily checked out the menu. Choosing a new place to eat isn’t simple in the age of the virus. Read more…

EDITORIAL: We’re back

THIS THING YOU’RE HOLDING in your hand; it’s a newspaper. You remember. (If you’re reading this online, just imagine a screen you don’t have recharge every night.)

For 10 long weeks we had only our website to bring you news of Columbia County. That digital exile reminded us how many of our neighbors still can’t afford high speed access to the internet. There are countless other local stories we want to share with you. But we had to wait more than two months to resume publishing those stories in print. And with your generosity, this is the day we can say: We’re Back!

The work of sustaining a print newspaper in the 21st century now begins in earnest. But first I offer a huge virtual hug to all of you who contributed to our appeal when we were on the brink of folding. What you did and how fast you did it stunned me. You had many worthy causes seeking your help as the pandemic and lockdown weighed on us all. And yet you made room for aid to The Columbia Paper. Read more…