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December 10, 2016
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Business as usual in Albany?

Now that former speaker of the New York Assembly, Sheldon Silver, lost that position because of allegations that he received some $4 million in bribes or kickbacks, and with reports that the majority leader of the New York State Senate, Dean Skelos, is also under investigation for corruption, this might be a time when some real reform in Albany is possible.  Read more

Ethics reform in Albany

Now that Sheldon Silver, as speaker of the New York State Assembly arguably one of the three most powerful people in Albany, has been arrested, there is bound to be renewed talk of ethics reform. The complaint filed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is sweeping and damning. It says, “Silver used the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income earned by Silver, as a private lawyer.”  Read more

What’s our brand?

There are some locations around the world that have found ways to brand themselves in such a way that their products and/or services can be sold at a premium: Champagne for wine, Gruyères for cheese, the Hamptons or Martha’s Vinyard for summer fun and second-home heaven. The relationship of brand to economic welfare is clear: a brand gives some place, business, or group a unique identity for the goods and services that it sells.  Read more

We too are Charlie

The words, “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) swept the Western world on the evening of January 7.

That morning, masked, heavily armed assassins broke into the offices of the Parisian weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo (“Hebdo” translates to “Weekly”) and murdered 11 people—for printing satirical cartoons they didn’t like.  Read more

Hiking the minimum wage in PA

On January 1, the minimum wage was increased in 20 states—but Pennsylvania was not one of them. The minimum wage in Pennsylvania is still the same as the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009.  Read more

Health, the environment, and fracking

Too often, products or processes that can generate billions of dollars for an industry are allowed to go forward even when there are concerns that those products or processes may have negative impacts on human health and the environment.  Read more

With community, anything is possible

I remember when I first heard about fracking. I’m sure you do, too. It was many years ago, I’m not sure of the exact date, when I was at a fundraiser for Damascus Citizens for Sustainability and a guy named Josh Fox was there to show clips from his upcoming documentary “Gasland.”  Read more

Green ideology is spreading

The concept that it’s a good idea for municipalities to move toward sustainability is spreading. In Sullivan County, as the chairman of the county legislature, Scott Samuelson, writes in the county’s Climate Action Plan, the process “began in 2005 with the creation of the Sullivan 2020 initiative and continued in 2007 with the County’s Green Vision Statement,” and led to a number of achievements such as the installation of an impressive solar array behind the Robert B. Travis Building in Liberty.  Read more

Create fair funding for Pennsylvania Charter Schools

Many educators agree that the formula for funding charter schools and cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania is broken. The Basic Education Funding Commission is currently holding hearings with the goal of creating a new formula for funding all schools in the state, and that may well involve the creation of a new scheme for funding charter schools.  Read more

The proposed expanded fishing access: Reinventing Long Eddy

Local residents and officials in Sullivan County have long complained about property being taken off the tax rolls, regardless of the reason, because when it happens it often makes the job of balancing the town’s books just a little more difficult. So it’s understandable that the supervisor of the Town of Fremont, George Conklin, and other officials are not particularly pleased that a half-acre parcel of riverfront property may ultimately be taken off the tax rolls as part of a plan to expand the public river access in Long Eddy.  Read more