EDITORIAL: Welcome to ‘Geezerville’

YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY, they drive too fast yakking on their phones, just look at those tattoos and piercings. They’re prisoners of technology…. How can they possibly take care of me in the way I expect if they behave as foolishly as I did when I was their age?

This is not an idle question when you live here in the third oldest county in the state. And that rank is an improvement over the last census, when Columbia County was the second grayest county in New York as measured by the part of the population 65 and older. The only counties that had a larger percentage of old folks are Hamilton, in the middle of the Adirondack forest, and Delaware, in the heart of the Catskills.  Must be the something in the water. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Face future, not past in 43rd S.D.

REDISTRICTING MAY PUT at least one unfamiliar name on the Columbia County ballot this fall, state Senator Roy McDonald. In the fall election the whole county joins the newly reconfigured 43rd District, which reaches north through Rensselaer and into Saratoga and Washington counties. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Get out your pencils

THIS IS A TEST. The subject is math. You, over there, sit down and stop groaning. First question: If John and Jane leave for school at the same time headed in opposite directions, how long will it take before county taxpayers spend $165 million?

News stories last week uncovered state exams with multiple choice questions that had no correct answer or, in some cases, more than one correct choice. But my question does have a right answer. If you said “One year,” you get a gold star. That $165-million figure represents, roughly, the total amount public school districts in Columbia County have proposed spending over the next school year. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Why lease a library?

WHAT DOES MICROSOFT’S decision to invest $1.7 billion in the Barnes & Noble Nook electronic book reader have to do with the Hudson Area Library’s new home? I admit it’s a stretch, but the deal does make me wonder just what kind of library the people of the city and the surrounding communities will need when, possibly very soon, digital screens outnumber printed pages.

Library service is a timely topic because the Hudson Area Library Board of Trustees has decided the library should get out of its historic but dilapidated former alms house at 400 State Street and move a whole block east to another historic, somewhat less dilapidated building called The Armory. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Minimum wage is bad for business

I HAVE NO SYMPATHY for poverty. You want to wallow in poverty? Suit yourself. But do it somewhere else. If I had my way, I’d stop it right at the border. I’d say to poverty: Go back wherever you came from. Good riddance.

I’m a capitalist, a media mogul wannabe. We’re trying to run a business here, and poverty is not part of the plan. It’s a distraction and it’s expensive. Think of how much it costs us to keep people poor. Plenty of people are involved when you talk about poverty, even here in Columbia County. The Census Bureau says that almost 10% of the county’s population between 2006 and 2010 lived on incomes at or below the poverty level. Do the math and you find that’s 6,000 of our neighbors who live in poverty as defined by the government. Read more…