EDITORIAL: Ancram women speak

IT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN the town meeting Ancram officials were expecting a couple of weeks ago. Not the men, anyway. But it was one they needed to hear.

Exposed at the January 20 meeting was what appears to be widespread discrimination against women for no other excuse than that they are women.

At the meeting the chair of the town Ethics Board, Jack Lindsey, recited a grim litany of incidents told to him by women who say they had lost opportunities or been otherwise been treated poorly, even threateningly, by men in positions of authority in the town—men who must assume it is their right to behave that way. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Can you write?

SOME OF OUR READERS have noticed our announcement published last month that there is now a charitable fund in place where they, or anyone else, can contribute to The Columbia Paper and claim the donation as a tax deductible gift. Wait. Don’t turn the page quite yet. This might interest you even if you have no money to donate.

This newspaper remains a private, independent corporation that publishes local news in print and online. And now we are partnering with Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) on this new charitable fund, The Columbia Paper Journalism Fund. The partnering aspect means that with money from the fund we’ll expand and deepen our local coverage of stories on five subjects of interest to Columbia County residents: education, economic development, the arts/culture, the environment and healthcare.

Those topics are only part of what we consider local news, and we’ll continue to cover all sorts of stories from throughout this county. But this journalism fund presents us with a number of new challenges, not least of which is figuring out whether it’s possible that more money means more news. Read more…

EDITORIAL: What I can do

IF YOU GET your information on the Covid pandemic from a source that explains it in clear, easily understood terms, you can be certain you are getting bad information.

Since last fall the news about the pandemic has emphasized the omicron variant, which physicians, epidemiologists and other scientists tell us spreads much faster than two earlier mutations of the virus. What a windfall for the multinational media industry. There’s always a new twist to report, whether it’s medical breakthroughs, links to the economy, personal tragedies or body counts. It’s numbers and more numbers illustrated by endless images of hypodermic needles jabbing arms.

We’re part of this data matrix. We publish the county’s Covid data weekly. We would be remiss if we failed to inform our readers of the presence of the virus here, the toll it is taking on our neighbors, some of whom are frontline workers facing the risk of infection every day. For those with family members who provide care for Covid patients, the outcome of their effort to contain this virus… feels personal. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Mortar in mind

WOOD IS NICE. There’s plenty of graceful wooden frame homes here. Some businesses too. Not so many here are built of stone—you’ll see a lot of stone construction in and around Kingston. Over there the Catskill Mountains supplied endless raw materials for Dutch and English settlers.

What you don’t see there and you do find here is brick. Red bricks, brown bricks, yellow bricks, take your picks, but let’s focus, please, on the structures of traditional red bricks and what they say about where they came from and where we are today.

Some of the families who fled from the islands off Cape Cod to avoid the British during the American Revolution—the Proprietors—lived in brick homes along Warren Street. Then there are the 18th century Georgian mansions in Claverack and lining Route 9 in the Village of Kinderhook, to name only a few examples. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Take your pick

THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY on the Columbia County Board of Supervisors has flexed its political muscle and weakened the office of the new sheriff, who won election on the Democratic ballot line two months ago and took office this week.

Or…

THE DEMOCRATIC MINORITY on the Columbia County Board of Supervisors has flexed its political muscle by making a big deal about what should be a routine administrative action.

Which overheated tabloid lead paragraph is right? Probably both.

Here’s a quick recap of the story so far:

Last November voters elected Don Krapf to a four-year term as sheriff. He won with 54% of the vote running as an independent candidate with the support of the Democratic Party. Read more…