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July 28, 2016
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Investing in health and farming

Sullivan County has been in decline for a long time, and some prudent investments might help the county achieve a brighter future. That is the message Dr. Karin Hilgersom has been spreading at various meetings around the county as she tries to build support for a $22 million Healthy World Institute (HWI). Of course, this is the type of message that’s intrinsically difficult to convey: it’s precisely in times of decline that people tend to be most fearful about their pocketbooks and most unwilling to spend money on anything but the most pressing current needs.  Read more

Letting the banks make the rules

Last week in this space we printed an article that touched on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and how the terms of this far-reaching trade agreement were meant to be kept secret from the public until five years after the agreement had been signed or the agreement was abandoned by the 12 countries involved.  Read more

A separate law for corporations

In 2008, Congress passed meat labeling laws for beef, pork and chicken, in part so that consumers could know what country the meat came from. After a number of legal challenges, the labels started showing up in the past year. They might say, for instance, “born in Canada, raised and slaughtered in the United States.”

The country of origin labeling (COOL) was sought for many years by cattle ranchers in the West, and would seem like a reasonable feature to offer consumers who are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from.  Read more

Now, entering the game of life...

There’s something about hitting the 50th anniversary of one’s high school graduation that stokes a lot of juices. Add to that the current fundraising effort to fix the basketball court at Eldred Central School (ECS), my alma mater, and I feel like I want to say a few things to today’s students and athletes.  Read more

Universal health care evolves

Priscilla Basset, co-chair of the Sullivan County Senior Legislative Action Committee, recently stopped by a meeting of the Sullivan County Health and Family Services Committee to thank county legislators for their early backing of the New York Health Act (NYHA), which would provide single-payer health care for every New Yorker.  Read more

Those fracking headlines

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on June 4 released a long-awaited study on hydraulic fracturing. Both sides of the fracking debate claimed victory. The headline on the story from said, “Long-Awaited EPA Study Says Fracking Pollutes Drinking Water. The headline from the Washington Times said, “EPA finds fracking poses no direct threat to drinking water,” and called the study a “serious blow to environmentalists….”

After reading the 24-page executive summary of the report, it is hard to agree with the headline of the Washington Times.  Read more

Fine tuning Mysteryland

The tone of the town meeting following the Mysteryland Music Festival this year could not have been more different than the one last year.

In 2014, several people got up to complain about the excessive noise forcing them to keep their windows closed, and loud bass, thumping with such force that it knocked pictures off the walls of nearby homes.  Read more

The Cochecton voter question

The interpretation of voting law by the courts in New York State has lead to some interesting situations. There have been several cases involving different towns, for instance, where a board member has not lived in the town, but has owned a house or building in the town, and has therefore been allowed to serve as an elected official.  Read more

A Narrowsburg Bridge update

To all of the hundreds of concerned citizens in both New York and PA who signed letters to George Roberts, Dist. 4, PennDOT, and those who signed petitions sent to the governors, legislators and commissioners of both states, our voices have been heard and our efforts have generated positive results!

The legitimate concerns about the closing of the Narrowsburg Bridge and the potential dangers to the health, safety and economic welfare of our communities have been seriously addressed.  Read more

Developments in the GMO labeling wars

The fight over whether to require the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in the food supply has moved a step further in the direction of those who favor labeling, but before we get to that, a bit of review.

GMO labeling is already required in 60 countries, but not in the United States, where large companies that produce GMO seeds, such as Monsanto, have spent substantial sums of money to prevent labeling laws from being adopted. The argument is that GMO foods are as safe as their non-GMO counterparts, so there is no need to label.  Read more