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Westport column 2/28/09

Here's a reminder that if you own your home, you're probably eligible for the STAR program, which gives an exemption on your school taxes. The deadline to apply is March 1, though, so you'll need to get on it. Sorry about the short notice!

But because March 1 falls on a Sunday, the assessor will take the forms on Monday, either by mail postmarked March 2, or by hand at the town office. Make sure you sign the form by March 1, though, which he'll take your word for.

The basic exemption for Westport is $40,040.00, and the enhanced exemption, for seniors making less than $75,000 combined, is $75,830.00. Even better, at least if you hate forms the way I do, the form is really simple, just one page, and it only takes a minute to fill out. Stop by the town office and pick one up during business hours Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Or, if you're reading this on the weekend, get the form online at www.orps.state.ny.us and fill it out by March 1, and then either drop it in the mail or at the town office on Monday.

Courtney and Keri Fair, owners of Dogwood Bread Company in Wadhams, will host their second community lunch at the bakery on Tuesday, March 3, at 12 noon. The last one was a lot of fun, but if you aren't getting out of the house much, call the bakery at 962-2280. A volunteer will be happy to deliver a lunch for you in the Westport-Wadhams area. On the menu: Baked pasta, sausage and peppers, salad, dessert, coffee or tea.

Next up at the Wadhams Free Library, on Wednesday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m.-Jen Kretser, director of programs at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, will offer an illustrated talk about Leave No Trace, a national and international program aimed at exploring how to be outdoors without messing it up-how to leave a smaller "footprint" and all that good stuff. If you like to hike, camp, or hunt, you're probably alert to the basic principles already, but Jen has some interesting angles to add based on her time building the program in the Altai Republic, a huge expanse of land where Siberia meets Mongolia.

Of course, she's going to have a hard act to follow after Shirley LaForest's fascinating standing-room-only double-feature on local farm history in February at the same library. Shirley sets the bar pretty high.

Next week: a report on the big public meeting at the school on the proposed joint-use municipal building, for those who couldn't make it. and, I suppose, even for those who could.

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