All Hail ye mountain solitudes! Ye wilds

Untrodden by the city’s noisy crowd!

I come to dwell with you

reject me not,

For I have lov’d you with an earnest love…

— Lysander, Spirits of the Wilderness, by Thomas Cole


It’s hard to evaluate an economic landscape whose prospects seem sunny at one moment and cloudy the next. Like ours.

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farm hub144

It used to be a sure sign of spring around here when the shutters came off and at least one of the Gills, I think it was usually Karen, would again be at the family farmstand on Route 209 in Hurley. It’s great to see you again. How are you doing? How’s the family? How was your winter?

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e-Magine Art_Pills

Like other regions, the Hudson Valley is struggling to find where it has comparative advantages for new economic activities. Its specialists in economic development have identified clusters in which they hope to build additional employment. Because these earnest efforts are based on an incomplete understanding of the opportunities in their regional economies, they often fail to help. They’re just wish lists.

A deeper understanding is essential. Here’s an illustration.

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“The Constitution only guarantees you the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”

— Benjamin Franklin

In the 2485 years since the birth of the iconic Athenian philosopher Socrates, people have struggled with the question of how to live a good and virtuous life. What can the digital age contribute to answering this question?

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“Even with the significant gains of the past couple of years, it is only now, six years after the recession ended, that the labor market is approaching its full strength. I say ‘approaching’ because in my judgment we are not there yet.”

— Janet Yellen addressing the Providence Chamber of Commerce, May 22

Though the Ulster County non-farm labor force increased by 500 jobs over the past year, the 60,900 total in April 2015 was still 2900 jobs fewer than it was a decade ago, according to state labor statistics. Using the same statistical source, the Hudson Valley regional labor force dropped by 27,700 in the past decade.

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photo by Eric Norris

“Which is why we have to pass all these policies before we kill ourselves.” That was member Tony Marmo’s vivid but not inaccurate explanation Monday, May 18, of impending organizational changes in the Ulster County Workforce Investment Board. Local WIBs are expected to finish the job of reconstituting their organizations to conform to new federal legislation by June 30 and then dissolve. County executive Mike Hein will then appoint the members of a new, more compact WIB for Ulster County.

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The winds of change are everywhere
And all the world must be aware
There’s nowhere left for man to go
The sands of time are running low.

— Judas Priest lyrics


It’s not unusual that a widely anticipated business deal collapses shortly before consummation. Such an event occurred last week when the sale for a rumored $400 million of the second largest newspaper company in terms of circulation in the country was called off. The holdings of Digital First Media, owner of 76 daily newspapers and 160 weeklies, include the Daily and Sunday Freeman of Kingston. DFM estimates its total audience at 67 million people.

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