The Millerton News Editorial

Public service pays, sort of

We all know that it takes a certain something to run for, or serve in, public office. Frequently criticized, often taken for granted and seldom fully compensated for their work, public officials don’t always have an easy go of it.

Walking through winter, with a little support

This Friday, Feb. 2, is Groundhog Day. Now that might not sound especially exciting to some, but for others hoping winter is on its way out, it holds promise. 

Each year, on Feb. 2, we wait and watch as Punxsutawney Phil descends on Punxsutawney, Pa., to look for his shadow. The custom began when German-speaking immigrants moved to Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries. According to local lore, if he sees it, it means we can expect six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, warmer temperatures and the arrival of spring aren’t far behind.

Where does religion fall in the health care debate?

Religious freedom is not to be taken for granted, but neither can it be used to discriminate.

That’s why we’re so concerned about President Donald Trump’s decision to institute a new Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The division was designed to protect those in the health care industry who refuse care, like abortions, to patients because of their moral or religious beliefs.

Troubling comments, troubling times­

When will we cease to be shocked by President Donald Trump? It seems with each passing day, he does something else to rankle us, to stun us, to disappoint us.

Last Thursday, Jan. 11, was no exception. The president reportedly made vulgar, disparaging remarks about (and please pardon our language) “shithole” countries in Africa, and asked why the U.S. would welcome immigrants from there and places like Haiti and El Salvador. 

Volunteer this new year

The new year has just begun — the ideal time to make resolutions or undertake new responsibilities. Why not, then, consider volunteering? There are so many worthy causes that could use the support, many right in our own backyard.

First and foremost, our local fire departments need volunteers. Around here, most are completely dependent on help from those residents who care enough to serve and protect, regardless of whether they’re helping neighbors or strangers. Brave and selfless, our fire department volunteers save lives. 

A look back, a look ahead

We have just entered 2018, and are about to embark on the unknown. Our families, our jobs, our communities, our health and our politics will all take the journey along with us — their fate as of yet undecided. Hopefully, there will be a lot of positivity for most.

Healthy waterways make for healthy citizens

The health of our waterways is vital to this region, which has the Ten Mile River watershed running through it. Thankfully, last month, the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) announced that the Ten Mile River Collaborative received a $64,000 Long Island Sound Futures Fund Grant to develop a watershed management plan.

Valid questions about concealed weapons crossing state lines

Gun safety is a real concern in this nation, where mass shootings happen with appalling regularity and gun violence erupts in big cities — and in small-town America — every day.

Most would agree that something needs to be done to curb the violence. But what? Certainly the Republican bill to allow concealed weapons to be carried across state lines isn’t helping the situation.

A single vote mattered

If ever there was a lesson in how government works in the real world, it’s this: One vote can make a difference. Prime example? Election results for the town supervisor’s race in Pine Plains look like they have changed since Election Day.

The change is due to the counting of affidavit and absentee ballots, which occurred on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the day before Thanksgiving.

When drivers put students at riskm

We all know the basics: look both ways before crossing, slow down when approaching oncoming traffic and come to a halt when you see a stopped school bus. Sounds simple enough. But surprisingly, there are those drivers who either don’t know or simply don’t care about safe driving laws — putting everyone in harm’s way and endangering the youngest in our community.