EDITORIAL: Big lie on little sign

THE BEST THING YOU COULD say about the sign is that it was made from recycled garbage, literally.

It was stuck in the ground in the middle of the night in front of a home in the Town of Ghent. It’s not clear why that particular home was targeted except that in the past the homeowners have placed lawn signs supporting Democrats. Some of those earlier signs were ripped up or thrown away.

A similar sign appeared at another Ghent home the same night.

As this political season grinds toward an off-year election in November, it looks like our local political sign snatcher has returned. Or maybe a new generation of political vandals has emerged. Whoever it is, he (or she or they) decided to craft a new sign from pieces of an old one—so the snatcher gets credit for recycling. And this time around he’s adding a sign to the roadside rather than stealing the signs that belong to somebody else. But this is an escalation that no one should ignore or applaud. It’s not a prank. This is a threat to one of our neighbors. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Double issue coming up

MARK YOUR CALENDAR. A month from now we’ll publish our annual summertime “double issue” and then we’ll take a week off. To be more exact, whatever else we’re doing August 11, 2022, we will Not be publishing a separate print edition Columbia Paper that Thursday.

We need a vacation and maybe our readers would like one too. You know, all that stuff about recharging your creative batteries and gaining new perspectives. It’s true. I’m planning to go get one of those new hips installed. I can’t guarantee that will make me any better at editing the news, but I might learn something new. It’s surprising how much you can accomplish in a week when you’re not locked into your workday routines.

Whenever we do take a short break (twice a year) we get phone calls, letters and email from readers irked about not receiving their paper. If the past is any guide, I expect that next month, when we explain why there was no August 11 paper, almost all the callers will change their tone from unhappy to sympathetic, except for a few who are disappointed they can’t blame the U.S. Postal Service. So in advance of the double issue I say a heartfelt thank-you to all our readers for caring so much about this newspaper. Read more…

EDITORIAL: The language of the right to choose

IT’S RELATIVELY EASY to rev up a crowd of like minded people with speeches condemning hot button problems. It’s a lot harder to stun a crowd into near silence. But late last Saturday morning that’s exactly what Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson did at the pro-choice rally at Seventh Street Park, when he labeled the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade “an act of terrorism.”

It was not that demonstrators had lost interest in the mayor or in the politicians and others who spoke. Nor, apparently, did they reject his characterization of the Court’s decision. It looked to me as if the crowd was thinking through the mayor’s words and found them true.

It’s not as if heated language is new in the struggle over abortion rights. Anti-abortion supporters often tar abortion providers as “murderers” while not applying the same description to the men (as far as we know it’s only men) who have murdered doctors who made the termination of an unwanted pregnancy medically safe. What made the mayor’s description so striking was the target—the six Republican justices who make up the super majority on the Supreme Court.

Regardless of the rhetoric, it’s not clear yet how far the high court and anti-abortion groups want to go in order to force states like New York to ban all abortions. This state had strong laws protecting abortion rights before Roe v. Wade. Earlier this year, when the draft of court’s decision was leaked to the press, Chelly Hegan, president of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, said New York was gearing up to provide abortions for women from states where abortion would be outlawed. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Remembering a colleague

HE WAS THERE at the beginning of this newspaper. Roughly half the pages we published between 2009 and the pandemic lockdown in 2020 reflected his work. It’s quite a legacy even before you add in the page creation he did earlier than that at the twice-weekly community newspaper The Independent.

John Laragh died June 14 at Columbia Memorial Hospital. His obituary appears on Page 20. He grew up and attended public school in Columbia County and eventually graduated from Bard College.

He wasn’t secretive but he didn’t care much for small talk. What he did have was tremendous skill in mastering our constantly changing digital layout tools. He took on that task because he knew we needed these tools to publish the newspapers that our neighbors would want to read.

He mastered so much software over so many years that it seemed sometimes like the the tools had mastered us. And still he persevered. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Does this bug you?

(Alert: This is a 2-paragraph rant followed by the editorial.—The Publisher) WITH ALL THE THINGS to worry about, why add poison ivy? It’s not even an invasive species. It’s an all-American menace. It produces an oil that causes prolonged, painful itching so intense that it could be weaponized.

Some lucky people aren’t allergic to the poison ivy oil, which is called urushiol. It’s also produced by poison oak and poison sumac. Those of us who believe we break out in a rash just looking at these creepy plants could easily believe there’s a secret government facility in the desert stacked with barrels full of urushiol.

The above reflects a personal phobia. But there are critters and plants, large and small, that do pose threats of various kinds. Some of the latest were reported last week in Diane Valden’s story on the ninth Invasive Species Awareness Week (“Who invited them to our place?” June 9, Page 1). The observance ended June 12. It turns out that the invasive insect making state Department of Environmental Conservation experts most worried is the brightly colored spotted lanternfly. This bug has bad manners. Like the ability to destroy crops like grapes, hops, apples, blueberries and more, including ornamental and woody trees.

After the spotted lanternflies picnic on fruit and leave damaged crops behind, then they poop in such volume that it leads to the growth of mold, which leads to more ruined crops and lost revenues. The state reports the yearly grape crop has a value $150 million. Read more…