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Saying goodbye to 2007, quite a year

I think the most fun I had on the job this year was at the big 250th anniversary reenactment of the French and Indian War in September. It was so exciting, that instead of doing what we in the biz call a shoot and scoot, I hung out most of the day and even came back on Sunday. Scott and I drove up with our dog Skye to get some photos and take a stroll along the lake, but when the cannons started booming, his sensitive ears didnt like it, and he got really nervous (Skye, not Scott). I was so entranced by the pageantry and realism of the battle - the scantily clad Indians - that I asked Scott to take the dog home and come back for me. Scott was so entranced - not by the Indians skimpy clothes -that he came back without the dog and stayed for the afternoon. My hat is off to Marisa Muratori and everyone else involved in this event. It was fabulous. I still wear the ring that I bought from the silversmith at the encampment and even had my picture taken with a British prisoner of war. When I head out to cover something, I usually have some pre-conceived notions of what to expect. One day early last year, I went to North Warren to take some pictures of some musician who was visiting the school. It didnt sound tremendously exciting, but when I got there, I was galvanized by the percussion work of Joe Sallins, who was teaching some students how to perform. He had them under his spell, and they soon played their instruments as one. It was really fun to watch. The year seemed to be filled with anniversaries. As I mentioned, it was the 250th anniversary of the battle and surrender of Fort William Henry in Lake George, but lots of other groups had their own anniversaries. The Horicon Free Library celebrated its 100th year of existence, starting as the Heintzelman Library. The Hudson River saw its 50th White Water Derby, despite many dire predictions over the years, and it appears to be alive and well. I photographed the 50th reunion of Warrensburgs class of 1957, where 17 of the original 30 showed up and the 50th reunion of the North Warren class, with six of the original nine graduates enjoying a Lake George cruise. It was the 40th anniversary of the Lake George Dinner Theater, and I went to their hilarious production of Shear Madness, where I sat with a group of senior citizens from Wells and we all laughed ourselves silly. Its been 20 years since Sister Connie Messitt decided to live alone on top of a mountain in Chestertown. She remains at the Priory Retreat House, along with Sister Francis Gilchrist and Pat Mousaw. Another 20-year anniversary I shared in was of Aileen Bakers 20 years at the Warrensburg McDonalds, which she said she has enjoyed all along. Warrensburg decided after much debate and many rumors to go with the county sheriff instead of its own police department and an updated mural on the museum building that shines with color and life. Zachary Smith, a seven-year-old from Warrensburg, took a limousine with is brother for a trip to New York City where he saw a Yankees game and even met the team, courtesy of the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The school gave them a send off worthy of Michael Jordan. I was at the top of a water tube at the Great Escape one summer day, although I wasnt in my bathing suit. I was interviewing Olympic lugers, recruiting young people for their sport, which is allegedly something like the waterslides in Splashwater Kingdom. I thought it was a stretch, but everybody seemed to be having fun. I had fun putting North Warren Elementary Principal Susan Bulmer on the front page of the Journal dressed as a punk rocker. She had issued a challenge for her students in character education, and since they succeeded, she came to school with pink hair. Ever seen a pug dressed as a Japanese Geisha? I have. Ive seen people dress their pugs as lobsters, man-eating cannibals, hula dancers and criminals. The Halloween Pug Parade in Chestertown just keeps on getting funnier and funnier. And how about those Russian librarians? The concept sounded kind of amusing, but they were very serious about sharing their experiences and hearing about ours when they came to Chestertown. And I sent them each a picture I took, and received return emails from Russia! How cool! The year saw some really good ideas beginning to take hold. Iv West, a man of great energy and ideas has begun to build Amoral, where young people at risk can live and work with animals, a proven therapy. I thought the swimmers who swam from Million Dollar Beach and almost made it to Hague were to be admired, as well as the triathletes who now compete each year in Lake George. I got a great shot of County Judge John Hall as he crossed the finish line of the running portion, and envied him and his knees. 2007 had its share of losses in the North Country, but the one most keenly felt by many, including myself, is that of Forrest Jones. I had the great pleasure of knowing Forrest for the last years of his life, and the community has a great void since hes been gone. God Bless, Forrest.

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