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April 20, 2014
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editorial

Canaries in the coal mine

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

It’s time for a raise

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

Gaming the Electoral College

Once again Pennsylvania Republicans are proposing to change how their state allocates Electoral College votes in presidential elections.  Read more

The right to bear missile launchers; Where do we draw the line?

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

The fight against cancer: Imagine a cancer-free tomorrow

Residents of Northeast Pennsylvania (NEPA) are being offered the opportunity to do something to help fight cancer by volunteering to join a new landmark study in which researchers will look at the lifestyle, behavioral, environmental and genetic factors that cause, or prevent cancer. We at The River Reporter urge NEPA residents to consider enrolling.  Read more

Who can hear a silent majority? Should the will of the speaking majority be ignored?

The argument has been made that a “silent majority” of the residents of the Town of Callicoon favor opening the town to gas drilling, but who can hear a silent majority? Is listening to a silent majority like listening to the wind? We would argue that, by definition, a silent majority in this land of free speech cannot be heard, and that therefore their unknown and unknowable opinion should not be used as justification to determine an outcome particularly when important decisions are to be made.  Read more

Climate Smart Community Pledge—emphasis on ‘community’

An effort is currently underway to invite the boards of all Sullivan County’s towns to sign a Climate Smart Community Pledge, in keeping with a climate pledge the county itself signed in February of 2010. Enrolling them in the program is an essential step for the completion of any county-wide initiative, given that town governments not only set policies with regard to their own purchases and building standards, but also regulate land uses for the whole town via zoning, set an example for their citizens and serve as a point of contact with the households and businesses within their borders.  Read more

Infrastructure’s long economic shadow

The topic of our country’s aging infrastructure may seem far removed from our everyday lives, until some lifeline in our own backyard, like the Narrowsburg Bridge or the Skinners Falls Bridge, makes the list of decaying structures in need of emergency repair. In fact, emergency repair is only part of the story.  Read more

Fighting homelessness with a model that works

On Monday, January 28, Sullivan County conducted its annual count of homeless people—both those with some kind of shelter and those without. This “census” data is compiled with the help of local government agencies and charitable organizations that provide various services to the homeless.  Read more

How to fix county government?

The frayed relationship between Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau and the majority of county legislators has been on display in public in recent weeks, as press conferences and news reports made clear that a majority of legislators are working to terminate his employment.  Read more