Public Health tracks down cases
Bravos to Warren County Public Health for its aggressive efforts to track the sources of local coronavirus cases, quarantine people who could have been infected and prevent the disease from spreading. They are saving lives with this essential work. If cases are allowed to spread unchecked, the disease will shortly find its way to vulnerable populations, and people will die. Beyond that, keeping the number of cases low means businesses can continue to reopen, and the economy can limp along instead of standing still. The great work Public Health is doing is possible only because cases are low. It couldn’t handle the workload of contact tracing for scores of new cases per day. So everyone in Warren County who is following the pandemic precautions — wearing masks, avoiding large gatherings, social-distancing, washing hands — is helping the Public Health staff get this critical work done.
No one giving up on Adirondack diversity
Bravos to the head of the Adirondack diversity program, Nicky Hylton-Patterson, and the people of Saranac Lake and the broader Adirondack region who have expressed support for her and condemnation of the racist graffiti scrawled on a railroad bridge in Saranac Lake. The graffiti, including slurs, swearwords and “Go Back to Africa,” was written along Hylton-Patterson’s daily running route, and she is convinced it was aimed at her. Following the incident, she decided to stay in her job but move out of the village to a location she did not disclose. It wasn’t just the graffiti that convinced her to move, but her disappointment that the mayor and local chamber of commerce did not publicly condemn the graffiti and defend her. She said she felt unsafe in the village. Mayor Clyde Rabideau has apologized and said he is learning and wants to do better. Many others have expressed disappointment at the episode and pledged support for the work she is doing. We will always have people ignorant and angry enough to launch racist attacks. It is how we react to these attacks that matters, as Hylton-Patterson has pointed out, and it seems Adirondackers are working to do the right thing.
Some places still won’t insist on masks
Boos to the stores in Warren County not following the mask requirements to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic. Almost all stores are posting rules on their entrances, requiring customers to wear masks. But many have not been enforcing the rule. It seems, from our experience in going to local establishments, that independent stores are doing a better job than large corporate chains in this regard. Perhaps that is because the owners of independent stores are much more likely to be on-site and, therefore, take personal responsibility for the health and safety of their staff. The big chains are more likely, it seems, to put profit first and to avoid offending customers. But the offense originates with the customers who refuse to wear masks, potentially endangering everyone around them. Unless you were tested that day, you could be positive for COVID-19 and not know it, which means you could be spreading the disease. Wearing a mask is a simple way to prevent transmission. Unfortunately, some people are too selfish to take this simple step. They consent to following other store rules, but for some reason, balk at this one. So store owners and managers must be the responsible ones: Don’t let people in without their masks.
Making brine to keep roads safe
Bravos to Warren County for looking into the purchase of a mobile brine tank that will help municipalities keep roads clear and safe in winter while also cutting down on the use of sand and salt. The heavy use of salt on local roads over the past few decades has led to numerous environmental problems — killing of trees, salinization of lakes and contamination of wells. No one disputes the necessity of plowing the roads and making them as safe as possible. But putting excess salt into the environment is also dangerous. Municipalities should be embracing any alternatives they can find, and the tanks, which carry a brine saltwater mixture that gets spread on roads before storms, are a reportedly effective and cost-efficient way to make winter driving safer.