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The Millerton News Opinion/Viewpoint

Good car, bad car

The Country Curmudgeon

What makes a car good? It depends. Does it start or doesn’t it? This is the ultimate criteria.
If it starts up every morning, regardless of the temperature, I can forgive a lot. There is nothing more aggravating than a car that does not start reliably. You approach the vehicle with a tight chest and a knot in your stomach. If it doesn’t catch, well, jump-starting a car is simple, right? However, the owner’s manual does seem to indicate that it is possible to explode something if you don’t do it correctly. You might want to read that chapter again.

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Life on Earth: coral reefs

A View From The Edge

One-third of all marine life is found in, on and is dependent on coral reefs. However, coral reefs only occupy 1 percent of the seabed, or less than 0.7 percent of the surface of the earth. Think about it, one-third of all life in a vast ocean area covering two-thirds of the planet is crammed in right there on those tiny coral reefs.
Put another way, just over 20 percent of all the life on planet Earth resides in, on and around coral reefs, stuffed into an area less than 1 percent of the earth’s surface.

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It’s more than a start

The Millerton News Editorial

The hands that put the magic touch upon the once-decrepit Maxon Mills grain building and transformed it into Wassaic’s shining star have returned for a second act. That’s right, developers Tony Zunino and Richard Berry, collectively known as Zuberry, are back for what is actually their fifth property purchase in the tiny little hamlet of Wassaic — The Lantern Inn. (The other three properties are the Luther Auction Barn and two private residences.)

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The plastic chef

The Country Curmudgeon

I don’t cook fancy. I do cook. More accurately, I microwave. I really need two of these. Three would be better.
I never had a lesson. Mostly I just read the boxes. At times this slowed me down as I muddled my way through my on-the-job-training, much to the merriment of my mother-in-law, who asked me one day why I had potatoes arranged two-by-two on the counter. Well, the recipe said to used pared potatoes. Now I know why “pared” was misspelled.

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Environment facts are not so simple

A View From The Edge

On Feb. 23, a NASA satellite was launched, called Glory, to study the subtle ways solar radiance influences the planet’s climate. Why?
“We are trying to achieve better measurements of both aerosols and total solar irradiance in order to calculate the energy budget — the amount of energy entering and exiting earth’s atmosphere — as accurately as possible,” said Michael Mishchenko of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

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Wilderness a cool resource

EarthTalk

Dear EarthTalk: I understand that Congress passed legislation not too long ago that protected a few million acres of wilderness areas, parks and wild rivers, in part to help offset climate change. How does conserving land prevent global warming?
M. Oakes
Charlottesville, N.C.
The legislation in question is called the Omnibus Public Land Management Act. It was passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Obama in the spring of 2009.

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Zoning regulations must be enforced

The Millerton News Editorial

A town or village planning board has no easy task when processinging an application. It has to review site plans, architectural renderings, maps, septic and water specifications, environmental forms, endless reports — the list could go on and on. Its members, mind you, volunteer to do such work. So when they are faced with applications that sluggishly follow along, it can, understandably, be frustrating.

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An actor’s life for me

The Country Curmudgeon

Honest John, the fox, and Gideon, the half-witted cat, sing “An Actor’s Life For Me’” in the Disney cartoon, “Pinocchio,” while tricking the little wooden head into servitude to the evil showman, Stromboli.
Many of us believe that we could do that — act, that is, not trick people into servitude. (Not that tricking people into servitude is not a valuable skill. Ships’ captains and Big Business need this ability).

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Collapsed: The fate of Human Services may mirror that of the infirmary’s wing

The County Account

The recent demolition of the east wing of the county infirmary in Millbrook has renewed interest in its history, wherein it once served as the county’s poor house and later an infirmary. A snow-collapsed roof and asbestos infestation caused the east wing to be torn down in late February. That building is now gone, but the societal needs it once served remain.

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State budget shortfalls — not the worker’s problem

A View From The Edge

There is an old saying: If you borrow a couple of hundred thousand, it is your problem; if you borrow a couple of million, it is the loaner’s problem.
I called the New York State Dormitory Authority (NYDA) and the Office of Mental Health (NYOMH) and asked them a simple question: How much of their budget goes to paying the bonds raised to build the various NYOMH buildings across the state? The responses I got ranged from “we don’t have that information” to “why are you asking” all the way to “that is confidential information available through the governor’s office only.”

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