Columns

Syrian showdown: Trump vs. the generals

With ISIS on the run in Syria, President Trump this week declared that he intends to make good on his promise to bring the troops home. “I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home,” said the president. We’ve gotten “nothing out of the $7 trillion (spent) in the Middle ...

Readers fill in the gaps

I have a file of responses to my columns from readers. Many I never get to use, but today will cover three interesting ones. The March 4 column told about Mark Fuller hitchhiking to Florida with his pal Brian Baker — taken from a feature story I had written about Mark’s trip carried in ...

Is gun control the answer?

I have read Prof. George Bryjak’s Guest Commentaries, sometimes with total dismay. I have never had the opportunity to mold young minds in the classroom, but I have a very good understanding of the Constitution of the United States and the fact that Americans are surrendering many of their ...

Find the right balance when fishing with kids

If there is one single piece of advice l would offer to parents who want to introduce their kids to fishing, it would be to leave their own rods at home, at least for the first few outings. The experience should be all about the child, and their natural surroundings. Trust me, they will ...

In the Lions’ den

While most performers have a lot in common with each other, magicians are in a class of their own. Let’s say you’re a vocalist giving a recital and you hit the wrong note. If your audience notices, it’s no big deal. They’ll give you a pass, and you’re still a singer. Or how ...

Nature’s great bird migration under threat by you-know-who

You could call it the Nebraska bird eclipse. At the first dart of morning light, so many sandhill cranes take off from the banks along the Platte River they darken the sky. This primeval spectacle, part of a massive spring migration from South America to the northern reaches, draws viewers ...

Fake news vs. ‘Fake news’

WASHINGTON — When fake news blasts traditional media for being “fake news,” how does one respond? Do you shout, “I’m not fake, you are”? Do you ignore the charge? If you don’t fight back, are you affirming the fool? If you do, doth thou protest too much? The risk of doing ...

Chateau Baker

George Iles was a Canadian journalist when he met Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson, “Fanny,” in Montreal, in the fall of 1887. The latter had just settled her invalid husband into Baker’s, in Saranac Lake, for the winter. Fanny’s trip to Montreal was her first escape from this isolated, ...

Escape the ‘Taken’ or ‘Pirate Plunder’ rooms

We are always on the search for different ways to get out of the house and away from the TV and video games. My daughter recently commented on how it was so much easier before we had phones. Now we are Googling event times and researching activities, but even though we aren’t using the phone ...

Beyond egg salad: Make way for spring

Spring has sprung. Rain is slowly melting the snow. Soon, flowers will bloom. Passover and Easter have come and gone. We’ve joined with friends and family to share food and fellowship, celebrate the miracles of Exodus and Resurrection, and the new life of spring. Then all the guests go ...

Calm advice for surviving temper tantrums

Parents have been crying out to me for help in managing their toddler’s tantrums. Well, I don’t want anyone pulling their hair out, so let me provide some information on toddlers and tantrums. Tantrums are an expected behavior for young children. They can happen when children are hungry, ...

Fresh, well-researched, readable — and important

When I first learned about publication of Sally Svenson’s book “Blacks in the Adirondacks” (Syracuse University Press), I found myself a bit surprised no one had tackled this important subject before. Now that I’ve read this extensively researched volume, I realize others will follow ...

It’s so simple — rush the shooter

The reaction of some conservatives to students activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, after the latest gun massacre was sadly predictable. Some students received obscene letters and death threats. South Carolina governor Henry McMaster bashed students who ...

Gender pay gap narrows at slower pace

For many, the gap between women’s and men’s wages is narrowing far too slowly. Others wonder why it is even an issue. Few if any issues in economics are more contentious, more misunderstood and more studied. The National Committee on Pay Equity, a coalition of more than 100 social ...

Somewhere, the sun is shining

Very little changes over time in New York state politics. One of the most enduring traditions is the “three-men-in-a-room” budget. I started in this business in 1972, so I have a fair perspective on state politics. And it hasn’t much mattered what party was ensconced in the ...

Car safety features have promise but are slow to come

New automobiles are now offering safety features that can significantly reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities, but it will take time to realize the results. It typically takes at least three decades before 95 percent of vehicles on the road have a given feature, the Highway Loss Data ...

Medical Aid in Dying Act updated

This legislation would allow a terminally ill, mentally capable adult to request life-ending medication from a doctor that the person can take at a time of his or her choosing, or never, should suffering become unbearable, so long as she or he can self-administer it. The Medical Aid in Dying ...

Our time-tested parties aren’t about to fall apart

Some days, the Republican Party seems on the verge of splitting up. Its congressional majorities couldn’t produce a health care bill and passed an omnibus spending bill its president regretted signing. Prominent never-Trumpers call for the creation of a new political party. Ohio Gov. John ...

Bill McLaughlin, ‘politician’ — not

The title of Bill’s column in the Lake Placid News was “The Last Take.” He was just about to be elected to the position of Saranac Lake village trustee. Today’s column in March 2018, and Bill’s column, published in March 1977 — 41 years ago — makes quite a difference in the ...

Rebirth, renewal and a few ‘woodsisms’

While winter weather will remain in command of the local landscape, there has been a slow but sure warming trend in the forecast. Although winter conditions will likely remain intact in the upper elevations, spring will burst first in the valleys as mud season gives way to the annual ...