Since taking office in 2012, the new mix of Sullivan County legislators has been working hard to improve government fiscal accountability by reining in expenses, ferreting out waste and redundancy, and by trying to deliver more value to citizens for the taxes they pay. Read more
The food fight over genetically engineered (GE) agricultural products in what we eat is heating up again.
Last week, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. It would require food manufacturers to clearly label any product containing genetically modified organisms (GMO), also called GE organisms, or risk having that product classified “misbranded” by the Food and Drug Administration. Senator Kirsten Gellibrand (D/NY) is one of nine co-sponsors of the Senate bill. There are 22 co-sponsors of the House version. Read more
One of our Upper Delaware Valley’s most beloved institutions, WJFF, appears to be in crisis. In case you did not know, all but one of Radio Catskill’s Board of Trustees (BOT) resigned last Friday. The week before, the station manager of the past four years resigned. These very personal decisions came after a number of public, standing-room-only BOT meetings where vigorous, even harsh, criticism boiled over concerning the management and governance of the station. Read more
For many people, Earth Day is for celebrating the beauty and diversity and everything else we love about our planet, and perhaps that is the way it should be. But on this Earth Day, we also know that the planet is in trouble and that far too little is being done to effectively address its many problems. Read more
Under regulations of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, streams and rivers (and their watersheds) require “special protection” when they are so clean that they carry the official label of high quality (HQ) or exceptional value (EV) waters. Wayne County (hardly one of the state’s largest counties) has so many HQ and EV waters that 425,474 acres—more acres than any other PA county—are designated as needing special protection. This is 93% of the county’s land mass. Pike County ranks fifth with 241,442 acres so protected. Read more
Last week the New York State (NYS) Senate approved two legislative bills to help farmers. The first concerns electricity generation and net-metering on farms (net metering is a policy for consumers with renewable energy producing devices, allowing them to receive credit for at least a portion of the electricity they generate). The second bill concerns the authority of industrial development agencies (IDAs) to allow technical and financial assistance to farmers.
The River Reporter urges the state assembly to pass companion bills and make this proposed legislation the law. Read more
The news two weeks ago about the declining numbers of monarch butterflies at a key butterfly preserve in Mexico gives one pause for concern. Reports from the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site, indicate that these beautiful creatures occupied 59% less land in December 2012 than the previous year, their colonies covering the smallest area recorded in 20 years. The area covered by monarch colonies has dwindled from 44.9 acres in 1997 to a mere 2.9 acres this winter. Read more
In Albany, the New York State (NYS) Assembly has approved a bill to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour, the same figure President Obama recommended in his January State of the Union address when he talked about the need to help America’s working poor. In his own budget address, Governor Cuomo also called for an increase to $8.75 in New York. Read more
As you might guess, there’s a lot of discussion on the Internet on each side of the gun rights/gun control showdown. Particularly revealing is talk about what the Second Amendment, which was adopted in 1791, means in the 21st century and how to apply it in our times. Read more