464 online
 
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 34 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
Positive News   

The story behind the name on the sign

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments

Bob Gaydos
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Bob Gaydos
Become a Fan
  (15 fans)

Maurice Hinchey. Excerpts from Congressman Maurice Hinchey's comments made during his meeting with the Times Herald-Record's editorial board.
(Image by YouTube, Channel: recordonline.com)
  Details   DMCA

By Bob Gaydos

With the virtual disappearance of local newspapers, the crisis-of-the-moment atmosphere of news on television, heightened in recent years by social media, it's easy for local happenings of note to sometimes slip by, umm, unnoticed. No cameras, no crowds, no name-calling, nothing going on here, folks. Just keep driving.

Well, the other day as we drove a familiar route on Route 17 in slightly upstate New York, passing from Sullivan County into Orange County, I noticed an unfamiliar sight--a sign reading "Welcome to The Maurice D. Hinchey Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area."

Where did that come from? I wondered. What does it mean?

Some research revealed that the entire Hudson River Valley, including counties bordering on both sides of the river, was designated by Congress in 1996 as the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area "to interpret, preserve and celebrate the nationally significant cultural and natural resources of the Hudson River Valley."

I assume I heard about it at the time and forgot. Considering the river's role in so much of this nation's history, from the Dutch settlers to the Revolutionary War, to the Hudson River School of Painters and the wealthy industrialists living in the valley, that designation makes a lot of sense. So, good for Congress.

The area was officially renamed in honor of Maurice D. Hinchey in 2019. Considering that Hinchey probably did more than anyone else to save and preserve the river, that makes even more sense. Even better for the politicians.

But what took them so long? And does just putting up a sign along the highway do Hinchey justice? I don't think so. People, especially those new to the area and those just passing through, ought to know something about the name on the sign.

So - Maurice Hinchey built a reputation in his 17 years in the State Legislature as the premier champion and defender of the environment in New York state. As longtime chairman of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, he cracked down on polluters, investigated organized crime control of waste hauling, made Love Canal and toxic waste a national issue and, perhaps most importantly, raised an awareness of the importance of protecting our natural resources as a key to economic growth.

Cleaning and preserving the Hudson River was one of his major priorities and no one worked more diligently at that.

In addition to his 17 years in the state legislature, Hinchey served 20 years in Congress, representing an area that stretched from his home county of Ulster to the Finger Lakes region. He was a vocal opponent of fracking and consistently fought to bring resources to the Hudson Valley region that would improve the environment and boost the economy at the same time.

A frequent visitor at the offices of The Times Herald-Record in Middletown, he spoke quietly and knowingly and dressed sharply. In sum, he was an impeccable champion for the region.

Hinchey died in 2017, in his hometown of Saugerties, in the Hudson Valley. He was 79. Having survived cancer, he succumbed to frontotemporal degeneration, a rare terminal neurological disorder, according to his family. I was saddened when I heard the news, but his legacy as the champion of the Hudson River Valley had already been assured many years earlier.

In fact, that legacy may be growing. Hinchey's daughter, Michelle, a Democrat like her father, was elected to the State Senate in 2020, representing much of the same area that her father did. Among other things, she has been focusing on renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. She appears to be well aware of why her father's name is on that new sign on Route 17.

Hopefully, now you are, too.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Bob Gaydos Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter Page       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Bob Gaydos is a veteran of 40-plus years in daily newspapers. He began as police reporter with The (Binghamton, N.Y.) Sun-Bulletin, eventually covering government and politics as well as serving as city editor, features editor, sports editor and (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

 
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Yes, Melania, I obviously care a lot

It’s time to un-dumb America

Take America out to the ballgame

Alt-Right: A trumped-up label for bigots

Look at me, would you believe 'the picture of health'?

Falling in love with squats, sort of

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend