EDITORIAL: Here’s where we’re at

THE TIME DIDN’T so much fly by. It simply disappeared. The Journal Register Company shut down a local newspaper called The Independent one morning in February 2009. A week later some of us who had worked at The Independent and lost our jobs launched a new community news website, www.columbiapaper.com. About five weeks after that, we published the first edition of The Columbia Paper. Looking back it feels like a movie where a title appears on screen saying: “Three years later….”

But here we are, beginning our 4th year in print. You might wonder what this says about our mental health. After all, the big newspaper chains that recently released quarterly earnings have once again reported declines in print advertising revenue, the lifeblood of this industry. The chains have seen more money from the sale of online ads, but it’s not nearly enough to make up for the amount they’ve lost as big advertisers move to the web and mobile devices. And what’s happening to the big guys could happen to us too. Read more…

EDITORIAL: What’s his plan for the city?

THE CLICHÉ that comes to mind is the one that fits those emails from royal relatives who have money waiting for me in a Swiss bank as soon as I email them my bank account number: “If it sounds too good to be true….”

But skepticism about the motives of others can also lead to misunderstandings about the good deeds of people who actually do have our best interests at heart. The trick is in distinguishing the good from the too good. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Kinderhook sewer line makes sense

A SHOW OF HANDS, please: what part of Kinderhook village wants to host a sewage treatment plant for the community? Oh, c’mon. It’ll look just like a miniature early American homestead… that gurgles.

No takers? Count your blessings if you live in the village, because you don’t have to make this tough choice. You don’t need your own sewage treatment plant. Not yet, anyway. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Thinking big was a big mistake

JUST WHEN YOU THINK big government has gone off the deep end, ignoring the public and rejecting common sense, somebody somewhere on the inside wakes up and says, hey, wait a minute, maybe we’re on the wrong track here. Mostly this happens in movies for pre-schoolers, but it can happen in real life too.

Skim this paragraph if you’ve followed the tale of the Big Bad DOT versus the plucky little Village of Chatham. But for those who missed it, our story began once upon a time not so long ago when the state Department of Transportation and the railroad company CSX concluded that the intersection of Main Street and state Route 295 at the heart of the community was too dangerous. The state had just spent a whole lot of money trying to improve the intersection, but CSX employees got worried because drivers were stopping on the tracks while waiting to turn from Main Street onto Route 295.

Read more…

EDITORIAL: The tale of a trail

THE VIEW FROM THIS OFFICE looks out on the railroad where trains first chugged past 160 years ago. The line originated in Manhattan and reached to Chatham, with connections to Boston, Albany or Vermont. Our building was once the Ghent Post Office, and a lot of letters over the years must have arrived with a film of coal dust.

Rotting railroad ties stick out here and there along the rail bed, and the brush hides derelict concrete objects that only a diehard rail buff could explain. But it’s not this industrial age archeology that stands out anymore. It’s the quiet. The woods close in quickly, broken by the occasional house or odd collection of debris.  Because it’s been so warm recently, you have to share the woods these days with ticks. Take care to protect yourself from those micro-vampires. And keep an eye out for the unexpected ATV or other small motor vehicles buzzing by. Read more…