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July 01, 2016
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Fighting homelessness with a model that works

On Monday, January 28, Sullivan County conducted its annual count of homeless people—both those with some kind of shelter and those without. This “census” data is compiled with the help of local government agencies and charitable organizations that provide various services to the homeless.  Read more

How to fix county government?

The frayed relationship between Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau and the majority of county legislators has been on display in public in recent weeks, as press conferences and news reports made clear that a majority of legislators are working to terminate his employment.  Read more

Tax abatements: Fuel for local economies, or welfare for businesses?

Tax abatements are often granted by communities to lure business, or to retain business, in hope of building local economies and creating jobs. When a company receives property tax abatement, its taxes are reduced by a certain percentage for however long the agreement specifies. This kind of incentive for economic development comes with potential advantages, but can also come with accompanying risks for communities.  Read more

Rural America’s potential

Reading this week’s My View op-ed piece in The River Reporter [see page 7] by retired dairy farmer Nate Wilson of Sinclairville, NY got us thinking about the challenges facing rural Americans, including many of us who live here in the Upper Delaware Valley.  Read more

A little moral outrage, please

Severe weather events in 2012 apparently have swayed a lot of skeptics about climate change in the U.S. One poll completed a month ago indicates that 80% of Americans now believe in global warming, another poll shows a 75% response.

And there are more changes in perception about climate change. Young people and businesses are coming to the table to advance the conversation in a way they have not done before.  Read more

The status quo is no longer acceptable

The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT casts a long shadow. Towns all across the nation have held candlelight vigils for the slain children, their teachers and principal and to mourn with the families who lost innocent loved ones. School districts everywhere are reexamining their safety policies and emergency plans. From state houses to the White House to Capitol Hill, an important debate about guns and gun control has begun, and this time around almost everyone is starting from the premise that the status quo is no longer acceptable.  Read more

Peace on earth and goodwill to all

Christmas is a time when (if we can put aside the crazy commercialism of the season) we willingly and freely talk about such lofty ideals as peace on earth and good will to all people. We hear the Christmas message of hope and its promises of redemption, forgiveness and healing. Then the season is over. The Christmas star goes off on its merry way, orbiting around the galaxy, and we go back to the world as we know it.  Read more

Punishing the poor

Somebody standing in line with you at the grocery store sometime this month likely will be paying with a SNAP Access card. SNAP is short for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, what we used to call food stamps. The Access card is like a debit card; once a month each state electronically deposits a predetermined amount of money in each recipient’s account. The funds for the program come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Read more

For Sullivan County, our own fiscal cliff

Sullivan County property owners face the likelihood that the county legislature will pass a 2013 budget with a double-digit tax hike. In these tough economic times, putting this burden on already financially strapped citizens seems just plain wrong. Legislators know that a 13.7% tax increase will be quite painful for many taxpayers, yet few other options appear.  Read more

What the Dairy Industry Really Needs

Editor’s note: Caught between the high price of feed and fuel and the low price they get for their milk, local dairy farmers lose money every time they milk a cow. Statistics show that nationwide, dairy farmers lost $10.05 for every hundred pounds of milk they sold in July; in August, -$9.52; and in September, -$9.40. It’s a wonder any of the small, family farms we know in our area can stay in business! (If this keeps up, some will not.)
  Read more