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August 02, 2015
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Restoring equity in education

Americans like to think of the United States as a land of opportunity. Everybody, regardless of birth or circumstance, ought to have an equal chance to make a good life for themselves. The record inequality of wealth and income that now exists in this country, however, suggests that this is not currently the case. And while a number of factors are responsible, our increasing failure to deliver equal access to a quality education is an important piece of the puzzle. One reason for that failure lies in the fact that we finance our public schools largely with property taxes.  Read more

About that lodging problem

Perhaps the most frequently cited obstacle to promoting the tourist economy in Sullivan County is the lack of lodging. Developer Ilwon Kang’s plans to turn the erstwhile Narrowsburg school building into a boutique hotel came to nothing; the few large, vacant leftovers from an earlier era, like the Stevensville Hotel in Swan Lake, are moldering into decay; and the only proposals for new large-scale hotels are linked to casino complexes that would most likely capture most of their guests within the facility, rather than providing a base for them to radiate into the county.  Read more

Sustainability: more than one kind of green

One of the many interesting things that struck us in Chris Fowler’s keynote speech for the Pure Catskills-sponsored Farm to Market Conference in Liberty on March 25 was the phrase “sustainable economy.” Fowler is founder and executive director of Syracuse First, an organization dedicated to the promotion of local businesses and products. The idea of localization vs. globalization is not new to us; indeed, we have argued for it on this page. But somehow “sustainable” is a concept we had always thought about mostly with regard to the environment. How does it relate to an economy?  Read more

Beyond zero sum

Community gardens seem to be one of the up-and-coming trends in our readership area. Transition Honesdale started one last year in Honesdale, PA, and last week, we printed an article about one being started this year in Hawley, PA. In Tusten, NY, there is a proposal to start a community garden in Narrowsburg, on the Fort Delaware property and the 14-acre field on Kirk Road that currently belongs to the school district (as of press time, it had not yet been confirmed whether the venues will be available).  Read more

Abolishing the plutocracy

If there’s one thing commentators across the political spectrum seem to agree on with regard to this year’s GOP presidential primary season, it’s the extent to which so-called “Super PACs” are dominating the course of the campaign. Super PACs are vehicles, created as the result of a long string of Supreme Court decisions with regard to the flow of money into political campaigns, that can accept unlimited contributions from companies, organizations or individuals and spend it in unlimited amounts.  Read more

Who shall guard the guardians?

It has been recently reported that Pennsylvania, one of five members of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), which are jointly responsible for the bulk of funding of the agency, has cut its payments to the commission by 40.7% this fiscal year.  Read more

Enriching the economic gene pool

A seemingly unrelated constellation of issues led us recently to a meditation on the value of diversity in human as well as ecological systems. The first, discussed in TRR’s February 23 article on Dairy Day, was the problem that, though growing switch grass as an energy crop seems like a good money-making idea for local farmers, high-quality switch grass may prove difficult to grow here. The second issue was the difficulty of managing manure, detailed in a recent series of TRR articles.  Read more

A tale of two states: now, what about the river corridor?

Recently there have been two important but very different legal developments on the two sides of the Delaware River. Both are related to the ability of municipalities to zone the location of natural gas drilling. Both have a significant potential to affect the health and welfare of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.  Read more

The calm before the storm

As domestic natural gas prices trend downward to new lows, and companies like Chesapeake Appalachia announce cutbacks in production, an increasingly common refrain with regard to natural gas drilling in our area is “what’s the hurry?” There’s obviously such a national glut of natural gas at existing production and consumption levels that it will be some time before new wells are needed—or indeed, become economic, with current gas prices well below the costs of production.  Read more

The little experiment that could

Some ideas presented at the last SkyDog Supper Club by architect and Pratt Institute adjunct associate professor Meta Brunzema provide an interesting framework within which to think about the possibilities for the Narrowsburg school property.  Read more