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September 21, 2014
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editorial

The art of the deal

A funny thing happened on the way to placing Proposition 1 on the ballot in New York State in the upcoming general election. Proposition 1 is the proposal to amend the state’s constitution to allow casino-style gaming.  Read more

Food safety: a tale of regulatory abuse

For most of the last 10,000 years people have farmed in a challenging give-and-take dance with Mother Nature. Over time, farmers sought to change the dance, to bend nature to produce more (quantity) and to create better (quality) results—from animal husbandry to plant biology to mechanization that made farm work easier. In the 20th century, industrial farming turned to chemistry—synthetic fertilizers and pesticides—and now genetic engineering to boost production. U.S.  Read more

If you build it, they will come; Infrastructure for a local farm/food system

Last week’s ground breaking in Liberty, NY for a red-meat processing facility is an important step forward for the economic development of agriculture in Sullivan County and a contribution toward building a more sustainable local food system.  Read more

Preparing for climate change; Reducing our region’s carbon footprint

This Friday the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will issue a formal statement based on its latest scientific assessment of climate change. Information about the report has been reported on since the end of September. The report, the first in six years, asserts that scientists are “more than 95% certain” that climate change is real, largely caused by human activities, and poses a grave global threat.  Read more

‘Let them eat cake’

Food stamps, now called SNAP (short for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), are in the news because the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to slash nearly $40 billion from the program, which provides some measure of food security for nearly 48 million low-income Americans.  Read more

‘Untreatable;’ A call for change

In a report titled “Untreatable,” the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) last week warned about serious health threats from infections that are increasingly resistant to antibiotics and pointed to the unnecessary use of antibiotics in contributing to the rising risk that one day “our medicine cabinet will be empty and we won’t have the antibiotics we need to save lives,” in the words of CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD.  Read more

Lost

Narrowsburg lost a little gem this month, with the closing of the National Park Service’s (NPS) information center and bookstore on Main Street. It was a fixture in the hamlet for more than 30 years. Opening in June 1981, the Narrowsburg site was chosen for its central location along the 73.5-mile stretch of river in the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. Its closure is a casualty of sequestration, the federal government’s across-the-board, automatic spending cuts totaling $1.2 trillion nationwide over 10 years.  Read more

Shortchanging postal customers; Closing regional sorting centers harms small businesses and postal patrons

Last week not a single New York State subscriber to The River Reporter who receives his or her newspaper through the mail got it on time, courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), and the U.S. Congress. Our phones rang off the hook with unhappy readers.

To our readers: we don’t blame you for being unhappy. The newspaper that you routinely expect to receive on Thursday was not delivered until Saturday or in some cases not until Monday.

So, first off, we would like to apologize to each and every subscriber who was disappointed and/or inconvenienced by this unwelcome situation.  Read more

Wasted

If you Google “drunken concert fans,” you’ll find that the problem of obnoxious drunks is not uncommon at large concert venues. From the U.S. to the U.K. to Australia and beyond, you’ll find YouTube videos posted of drunken fan behavior along with written postings by sober (or less inebriated?) concert goers, telling how their evening was ruined by the alcohol-fueled misconduct of someone seated or standing nearby.  Read more

Building bridges

How did it get to be this bad?

Pennsylvania has earned the nationwide distinction for having the largest number of bridges that have been left to fall into disrepair. Twenty-six percent of more than 31,000 bridges are deemed structurally deficient. While the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) hastens to point out that “structurally deficient” (SD) bridges are still safe to travel, the term nevertheless means there is deterioration to one or more of its major components.  Read more