Downtown Essex is shaking off its long winter slumber with lots of activity at the Neighborhood Nest and a newly arranged Easter-themed window at ReNew.

Artists and athletes from our town are in the news. Sally Smith won the annual Cover Art Award contest sponsored by the Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks. Her winning piece is a photograph of a spiral she cut into ice on a pond, while Donna Sonnett took first prize in the two dimensional category with a folk art painting. There is a lot of competition in this contest, so to have two winners is quite an honor. Doug Peden wrote a paper titled "Polar GridField Geometry" which will be published and presented at a conference this June of the International Society of Art, Mathematics, and Architecture. His art is beautiful and abstract, but after studying polar geometry on the internet, all I can say is I'm glad there are people in this world who understand this stuff and are trying to find practical uses for the knowledge. Runners Tim Burke and Luke Barnes were in last week's 5 kilometer race in Elizabethtown. Tim, who is new to racing, won first place in his age group, trouncing several men only in their fifties.

The Essex County Office for the Aging is signing up eligible low-income seniors for help with reducing Medicare premiums and prescription co-pays. Call 873-3695 to see if you qualify.

The maple syrup season came to an early and disappointing close this week. The Frenches boiled less than half of last year's bumper crop of 22,000 gallons of sap. However, the new sugar house has a kitchen, where it's rumored that recipes for sugar coated walnuts are being tested. Your correspondent is most interested in this idea and hopes to soon have samples for tasting.

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