EDITORIAL: What change teaches us

IT SEEMED SO DESPERATE when Governor Cuomo signed the executive order early in the spring authorizing municipal governments to conduct their meetings online. And so weird. The technology was available… kind of. So run your village, your town, your city and county on Zoom.

Online meetings were a sideshow at the outset of the deluge of facts and fake facts and changing facts about the pandemic. But despite the initial confusion and weak security that attracted hackers to work their disruptive mischief (just ask the Hudson Board of Education), government and we, the governed , are adapting.

That process will change our language and our sense of time. In the near future, will anyone “go” to a meeting and where citizens sit side-by-side? Would anybody “attend” the hearings on budgets or new local laws? And where would you go if not to some “virtual” space? The key players participate as images; they “Zoom” to the forum digitally from home or some undisclosed location. Does it matter whether anyone is where they say they are? Maybe with prisoners. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Protection starts here

THE LICENSE PLATE SAID FLORIDA. Not unusual when what we call hot weather here would seem refreshingly cool down there. The car’s passengers were getting out. The dog was eager to greet them but I steered him in the opposite direction. No use taking chances.

It’s come to that. Fearing others based on what state they’re from. What we know so far about the coronavirus gives us reason to be wary. Florida currently leads the list of 22 states most of whose residents aren’t welcome here unless they and their traveling companions are willing to self-quarantine for two weeks. That’s how threatening spikes in Covid-19 are.

Apart from their car, how could anyone know where strangers come from or whether they’re strangers at all? Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order authorizing civil penalties of up to $10,000 for violation of the self-quarantine requirement. This week he released a plan to enforce that order at major airports around the state. Airports? What about parking lots? Read more…

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…