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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Signs of the season

Much of my time the last two weeks has been spent preparing the Freeman's special "Election '09" supplement - it's in the print edition of today's paper - so blogging got moved to the back burner. Now, with the section finally done and in readers' hands, allow me to catch you up on what's been on my mind:

* It's nice to see far fewer campaign signs on lawns and along roadsides this year than in 2007 (not sure why the numbers are down, but I'm not complaining), but at least in the city of Kingston, I've noticed a disturbing new trend: signs for Common Council candidates that are placed outside their wards. I live in Ward 3 and drive through my own ward and Ward 1 to get to work each day, and I've seen signs along my route for council candidates in at least two other wards. Ugh! Yes, I understand the logic - people who live in one ward frequently drive though others - but this new campaign tactic means an even-more-cluttered landscape, and that's never a good thing.

* Strange foliage season this year - badly muted colors in some parts of the region, breathtaking reds and yellows in others. It caught our attention enough at the Freeman to make it the subject of a story, written by Patricia Doxsey, that will appear on the front page of this coming Sunday's edition. Be sure to check it out.

* A new element of New York's bottle bill goes into effect at the end of this week - a 5-cent deposit on each bottle of water purchased. On the surface, this seems like a sound policy: Encourage people to keep plastic bottles out of the waste stream by charging them extra money that they'll get back only if they turn in their empties. The reality, though, is that this is a money-making scheme for the state, evidenced by the official announcement last week that included estimates of how many millions of dollars New York hopes to reap by keeping each nickel that isn't refunded. The message from the state is, in effect, throwing out your plastic bottles will help the state close its budget gap. How sad.

* Nice to see most of this year's World Series games starting at 7:57 p.m. instead of 8:40, as has been the case for the last decade or so. Forty-three minutes may not seem like a lot, but it's a very big deal to East Coast newspaper editors who are facing deadlines around midnight. A nine-inning game that starts at 7:57 ends around 11:30. An 8:40 game is likely to last until 12:10 or 12:15. The earlier start time means readers virtually are assured thorough coverage of each night's game in the next day's paper. That's good for you and for us.

* Speaking of the World Series, how can anyone take the Yankees seriously? This is, after all, the only team in Major League Baseball with TWO admitted steroid users (Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte). I, for one, will not recognize the Yankees as valid champions if they win this thing. But if you're a Yankee fan and can live with a tainted title, good for you.

* I opened this post by mentioning the "Election '09" supplement that appears in this morning's Freeman. I read every word of this section in preparing it for print, and I lost count of how many candidates said in their platform statements that they want to ease the local property tax burden and bring jobs to the region. Great ideas. Sadly, though, not one person among the 800 or so we profiled explained how these goals can be achieved.

* Lastly, belated condolences to the family and friends of Phil Terpening, an Ulster County legislator and former town supervisor from Rosendale who suffered an apparent heart attack during a candidates' forum last week and died a short time later. Phil was a gentle giant who was loved by many and respected by all. Local government has been diminished by his loss, and he will be missed.



Blogger Paul said...

Being the Yankee hater that you are, you must hate the Freeman using the NY Yankee ALCS wallpaper as the background. Time to change it to World Champion wallpaper.

November 5, 2009 at 8:15 AM 
Blogger Jeremy Schiffres, City Editor said...

I don't hate the Yankees. I hate ANY athlete whose achievements are tainted by cheating.

November 14, 2009 at 3:26 PM 

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