Somethingís burning

One thing about this area: weíll probably never have to worry about wildfires engulfing our homes and leveling our communities. Nope, odds are weíll never have to go through what the people in California are going through (and seem to go through every few years).

We donít have devastating floods, tornados, or hurricanes, either. And there arenít any real earthquakes to speak of. It wouldnít surprise me if someoneís house ever went down the side of a hill in a mudslide Ė but that, also, never seems to happen around here.

Sure, we get some snow. But for all the harm it does, think about the benefits: sledding, snowmobiling, skiing, snowballs, snowmen, snowforts and snowangels (not to mention something pretty to look at on Christmas). Yeah, thatís not much. But itís better than the recreational opportunities youíll find in a firestorm.

People complain about the rain. But yet again, our grass is green, the crops grow and, importantly, neither of those readily burn. It seems like we have a pretty clean and abundant water supply, too. Especially compared to some places Iíve been, where the stuff from the tap looks and tastes like its source could be an old tire. Iím not really sure how much our rain has anything to do with our drinking water, but I bet itís pretty important.

Iíll admit the sun likes to hide more than it probably should. A few brighter days would be nice. But we can make the most of the sunny days we get, which is better than not making the most of the ones you get nearly everyday, like some people do in places where they are blessed with ďbetterĒ weather.

What are some of the real challenges people say they face in Chenango County? Our taxes are too high; there arenít many jobs; the jobs we do have donít pay well; many of our people are poor; we have more dollar stores than grocery stores; a lot of us are obese; our elected officials donít do enough to solve our problems; not enough of us vote; we donít like to volunteer; our young people wonít stay; a lot of teenagers would rather play video games and be on the Internet than go outside; teen pregnancy is up; drug and alcohol use is on the rise; our farmers are going broke; people throw their garbage out along the road; and there are always shopping carts strewn everywhere.

The good news: if Chenango County gets wiped out, it probably wonít be by a natural disaster. Nope, when it comes to Mother Nature, we have it pretty good.

Itís ourselves we canít get under control.

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