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Local Commentaries

Rethink Split School Vacations

Many local schools have just completed another year of split one-week spring-semester vacations. It may be time to rethink these. It used to be that during the spring semester, schools had one two-week vacation, plus assorted individual days off. That two-week vacation took place during ...

The Accused Deserve Fairness Too

An often-quoted passage from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland mocks the “stuff and nonsense” of the Queen of Hearts. Why? Because she’s eager to reach her desired conclusion without knowing the relevant facts or fairly applying the law to the facts. “‘Let the ...

Peace In The Valley, In The Pasture

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no ...

My Boy Bill ‘Didn’t Need No Shots’

Back in the old, old days when I was in grade school — the late 1940s and early 50s — we were taken as a class to the doctor’s office where we got ‘shots.’ Everyone was vaccinated against smallpox, diphtheria, and typhoid. But when it came to the “big four” — measles, chicken ...

County Democrats At A Crossroads

Recently, in this newspaper, was the headline “Times Remain Desperate for Area Dems.” There is a lot of truth in that statement. On the county level, Democrats now hold only 5 seats out of 19 on the county legislature. There are no county-wide Democratic elected officials. Even the ...

Church’s Silence Continues To Hurt LGBTQIA+ Catholics

The recently disclosed sexual abuse of young boys and girls by dozens of priests across the United States was shocking and disturbing especially since I personally knew some of these men. The physical and psychological damage done to the young persons abused is almost beyond comprehension. My ...

Congress Should Stop 10-Digit Dialing

Once in a while, someone comes up with an idea that’s just plain unnecessary. So it is with mandatory 10 digit dialing for telephone calls within your own area code. Readers of this column will recall that when this columnist’s mother was little, the family’s telephone number was five ...

Spring: Exit Astraphobia, Enter Acrophobia

While the return of springtime weather is welcome, it is not without its scary aspects, including the return of thunderstorms. As a child, I dreaded sky-brightening flashes of lightning and stomach churning rattles of thunder. Today, I respect lightning’s power, but I don’t fear it. ...

Congress’ Soft Spot For Rich Retirees

More than a generation ago, a bipartisan Congress added a clever new twist to tax breaks for the rich. It created a long, drawn-out tax break for rich retirees—and these days it’s getting even longer. Not even the pandemic could interfere. On the contrary, it gave lawmakers an extra ...

Getting Ready For Infrastructure

Years ago, I read about the career of Robert Moses known for his expertise in building public infrastructure like highways, bridges and hydroelectric plants in New York State. What I had not known before reading his biography is that he gotten an early start on such matters during the Franklin ...

Renewable Energy Vs. The Environment

The leading tory about why renewable energy projects were not being built quickly places the blame on rural opposition. The theory is that the projects were good but uninformed people caused problems. But what if there were flaws with the projects? What if there are legitimate environmental ...

Understanding The Country

I recently finished reading (again) the memoirs of Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant. These two men developed a tremendous trust, respect and friendship for each other at the Battle of Shiloh during the Civil War. It was a collaboration that would keep them together throughout ...

How Much Diligence Is Due?

How much diligence is due to constitute due diligence? Early in their deliberations about allowing Verizon to install hundreds of 5G “small cell” EMF towers throughout Jamestown, the city’s planning commission’s chairman observed that there is “no statewide [New York] legislation to ...

History Vs. Science

I spent my career largely as an organic chemist — but I also study history simply because I want to know who those people were that preceded us on this planet. I know it doesn’t make much difference that Franz Shubert died of syphilis at age 31; I still love his music. I’m staggered by ...

Are We Just Hearing Pawelski Palaver?

The politically correct police were active during a January board meeting for Jamestown Public Schools. All the current buzzwords were bandied about. The board will create a “positive and inclusive learning environment.” Additionally, “historically marginalized” students will hereafter ...

Trump Should Assess Chances

It’s common in other countries for heads of government to leave office and later return. Winston Churchill led the United Kingdom through World War II only to see his party lose an election afterward. Thereafter, the party won an election and Churchill returned as prime minister. Yet in ...

Tee Up New Election Law Challenges

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – on his way to being the longest-serving justice in American history – and fellow Justice Samuel Alito have the skill of writing clearly. One rarely has to read one of their sentences twice to understand it. So it was on Feb. 22 when each ...

Lessons From Texas

Recently, we saw in Texas what happens when the electric grid breaks down—chaos, confusion and human suffering. There is a lot of “finger-pointing” going on right now, but I think that a lot of the lessons learned from this will be based primarily upon common sense. The most obvious ...

Lessons From Texas

Recently, we saw in Texas what happens when the electric grid breaks down—chaos, confusion and human suffering. There is a lot of “finger-pointing” going on right now, but I think that a lot of the lessons learned from this will be based primarily upon common sense. The most obvious ...

The Effect That No School In The Ripley Community Would Have

A recent Editor’s corner (Feb. 3) by John D’Agostino offered his view on the public sector’s perception of the $16 billion deficit facing New York state. Quoting from his opening paragraph, “It can be summed up in three words: Ripley Central Schools.” He went on to reference the ...