Ginny and I made a couple of trips to downtown Essex this past week, the first to get her properly licensed at the town clerk's office. All town residents should have gotten a mailing about dog licensing which explains the new state law and how to comply with it. Every dog over 6 months of age needs a license, and to get a license you need proof of a current rabies vaccination. If your dog has been spayed or neutered, bring proof of that. For fixed dogs, the annual fee is $5, while for unfixed dogs it's $13. Our town clerk, Audrey Hoskins, welcomed us to her compact office and offered Ginny a Milkbone. While we did the simple paperwork, Ginny sprawled out on the floor and crunched away. I paid the fee and in return got dog license number Five, meaning Ginny was the fifth dog in town to get a license this year. She's very proud of her shiny new tag.

Our second excursion to town took us to the post office, where we learned that earlier that day the ferry had left Charlotte but had gotten stuck in the ice part way across. Sure enough, you could see the boat out in the ice field. I'm not certain what became of the crew, but eventually this winter will end and getting to Vermont won't be such a problem.

Getting from Essex to Plattsburgh via the Willsboro Mountain route is particularly bad right now, with frost heaves churning up an already deteriorated road surface. Even the newly paved section isn't all that smooth. My technique is to go fast and float over the rough sections, rather than go slowly and feel each and every bump. Why the state DOT and our representatives allow this neglect on an important local road is beyond me. If you do get in touch with Teresa or Betty, remind them that many of us are still limited to dial-up internet service, another factor that hinders economic growth just as poor roads do.

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