Morning, everyone. Here’s a sampling of the weekend opinion pages around the North Country. A lot of interesting stuff, but no broad themes. So let’s dive right in.
The Glens Falls Post Star goes hard against Republican efforts to strip power and influence from public employee unions.
While public unions may have gotten a bit too big for their britches lately, they still provide a necessary degree of protection for workers against low pay, overtime without compensation, dangerous or oppressive working conditions, and inadequate health and retirement benefits.
Meanwhile, the Watertown Daily Times is demanding that politicians intervene in the management of Jefferson County, pointing to problems that include a 50% increase in workers comp claims and a costly spat over road salt.
It is time for the political leadership of Jefferson County to get more engaged and more aggressive to resolve these problems of mismanagement in a timely manner rather than allowing them to drag on.
The Plattsburgh Press-Republican is boostering for an idea to give volunteer fire and emergency workers a 10% discount on their local property taxes as a way to encourage more involvement.
All over the state, communities are trying to dream up ways to restore firefighting to the status it once occupied. In the Northern Tier, officials may have assured one that can work. It’s tax breaks, which are allowed by the state if passed by the taxing unit.
The Adirondack Daily Enterprise is praising an effort by the Saranac Lake Central School district to expand language teaching, despite budget pressures.
We believe a workable arrangement is possible that makes languages a solid priority, on at least the same level of importance as art and music. But the speed at which the school district progresses with this initiative will probably correspond with how many people – especially parents – tell officials they want it.
And finally, the Burlington Free Press is arguing that despite recent demographic trends, Vermont remains a single state — not one divided between the population cluster around Burlington and the rest of the state.
Journey anywhere in this state on the hundreds of miles of country roads, and you will easily connect the dots in a way that says wholly “Vermont.”
You feel as comfortable in Jericho on a rural byway as you do in Wilmington.
Stitching us together are the mountains, the woods, the fields, villages and towns, and our values. Emotionally as well as politically, our entire population has much to share in terms of our vaunted independent nature, concern for the environment, a love of locally produced food, outdoors adventure in any season and a less complicated life.
So there it is. A lot to read and think over. As always, your comments welcome.