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Our final edit of 2016

Wed Dec 21st, 2016

Age and a sense of realism bring things to an end, and so with this message we announce that our news coverage ends at the end of this year.

For the nonce the website will continue as a place where postings and the occasional blog will appear, mostly on art and music and, perhaps, books.  We may issue an occasional Blast to announce new postings of interest.  What we will not do is to post news in an attempt to be a news organ. That requires diligence, journalism and a level of engagement from which we are retiring.   

Every community deserves a newspaper.  We attempted to be that newspaper and hope we served our purpose.  The need is not less pressing today than when we started in 2009.

We can look back on what seems like a long voyage in journalism.  We covered a master plan for the Town of Washington through long years of meetings that ended up with a classic compromise designed by committees.  We might have done better. We tried to point the way to higher ground.  Our land resources are as vulnerable today as they were under the older plan; our zoning sits on shaky ground.  The Village is not exactly a picture of financial health yet must add to its debt to undertake improvements in its water system. The cost of emergency services and fire protection loom as future problems.  The school district must deal with a declining enrollment.  Shared services with neighboring towns should become a dominant theme for the future.

We uncovered the mismanagement at the Homeland Foundation, the owner of Wethersfield.  We have every reason to believe that with a new board composed of local and family members that institution once again will receive community support and become a center of activities.  It has already made a difference.  It is without doubt the jewel in our crown.       

Our countryside, our singular heritage, is too little understood and too little appreciated.  The forests are ignored; our farms are assumed but have scant recognition and little protection.  The taxing authorities pose a serious threat to the countryside.  

We regret that we can’t continue our coverage of the many changes that are unfolding in Amenia.  That town is host to a major golf resort whose impact is just beginning to be felt.  So far the rapport between the town and Silo Ridge has been close.  We can hope that the promised benefits are realized.  The Wassaic Project has not only put Amenia on the art map, it has contributed an important measure of vitality and is a source of talent for the community.  With backing from community leaders, Amenia could once again have its own news organ.  It certainly deserves one.   

We carried the story of a local fire district whose flirtation with scandal and mismanagement drew our attention.  We were witness to democracy in action as the community in East Clinton realized they had to do something, and they did.  It serves as a reminder that the standards of good government apply to all levels of government.  Honesty, truth, fairness, transparency and accountability apply to even the smallest of governing bodies.  Leadership and competence are essential. 

Our art pages will continue to carry reviews, previews and interviews, depending on the motivation of our writers.  We invite others to add their voices and perspectives.  Just send us an email.  We will continue with Bill Schlesinger’s Citizen’s Scientist blog.  We face an uncertain future.  We know not if we will evolve or just fade away into the ether.   

The nature of a newspaper is a public service.  We know well its value, but times change.  The next phase of the media revolution is still uncertain.  What will be the next platform?  And how will it be financed?  

We leave this edit with a wish to all our staff and readers for joy, health and happiness in this Christmas season.