EDITORIAL: A lawn time coming

WHO LISTENS TO SPEECHES ANYMORE? Does anybody read bulk mail cards for (or against) candidates? Seen any Russian social media disinformation lately?

We’re too sophisticated to fall for that. We want hard evidence of how democracy is working here. And what better measurement of the enlightened, thoughtful, committed and neighborly exercise of our rights than the theft of lawn signs for political candidates?

How people react to such lawn signs is determined deep in the recesses of the human genome… at least some humans’ genome. For folks with the gene that leads them to steal the signs of others, its a seasonal thing, like the horns of deer. Read more…

EDITORIAL: He thinks what?

THE COLOR MATCHED EXACTLY. The blood orange tint in photos of the California sky this week was the same as the color of the sun as it set here in Ghent. In California there have been days as dark as night. Here the sky was a cloudless gray.

The tints of sun and sky come from ash released by the fires on the West Coast, 3,000 miles away. The weather report says the particles from burning forests, homes, businesses and schools are so high in the atmosphere that they won’t affect our lungs. The forecaster didn’t predict whose lungs the particles would affect. Maybe it’s birds’ and fishes’.

Distance doesn’t insulate us from bad things that happen far away. In this case, the smoke from California echoes across a continent, so it’s not a big leap to imagine the same thing happening globally. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Where is the relief?

YOU DON’T NEED an economist to tell you the effect the pandemic is having on local business. Or maybe you do, depending on your business.

Some local restaurants look busy. People sitting outside mostly. Is it a sign of hope or a social distancing illusion?

People in the real estate business say the market is hot. They point to high-end home sales—folks moving up here to get away from New York City. Is it a bubble, a fantasy or a trend? Read more…

EDITORIAL: Mail your ballot

SEPTEMBER ARRIVED WITHOUT PROPER NOTICE. Blame the heat, the election, the virus. The trees in this part of Ghent remained solid green until Sunday, when a maple crowded alongside Route 66 waved a small orange flag. Two day’s warning?

Suddenly it’s time to plan. Time to think about doing something sooner, not later, about furnaces, tires, how we can make it through the winter. Add to the list: How will you vote?

This question of “how” is not the same as asking: “Who” gets your vote. And if you were surprised by how swiftly September showed up, just wait until you see how soon November gets here. November 3, to be exact. The General Election. Read more…

EDITORIAL: It’s not a big thing

IN TWO WEEKS, more or less, kids in Columbia County will return to school. Kind of. Each of the six public school districts in the county has its own version of the best way to teach the most kids with the least risk to the health of students and teachers. It is an awesome responsibility in the best of times. Now it looms like a nearly impossible task.

There isn’t a single right way to do this as far as we know. Some parents will opt to have their children receive a public education exclusively online. Other families don’t have that choice. Some parents can’t afford to stay at home with their kids, others lack the technology—internet service, computers, etc.—that kids need for schoolwork.

We regularly report on the two largest school districts in the county, the Ichabod Crane Central School District and the Hudson City School District. Over the last two months administrators, teachers, staff and parents in both districts have crafted complex but practical plans to keep teachers in front of students. It sounds so simple. The classroom was the setting for the education previous generations received. But now the classroom itself is a potential threat. Read more…