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Essex

This Friday, the June 24, a film will be shown at the Whallonsburg Grange called "Bloom," which is about algae and its role in the declining quality of Lake Champlain. It starts at 7 p.m., there's no charge, and a discussion will follow.

I need to make a small correction to last week's column, in that Dianne Lansing spells her first name with two n's, and not one, as I had it.

The weather has settled down enough for haymaking to get under way. My neighbor Holly French reports that they are filling their barns and the equipment is holding together nicely. I like the sound of the old square balers with their rhythmic chunk-slot, chunk-slot, chunk-slot. George Sayward, over on the old Friend Cross farm, has fenced in his pastures and now we can see Holstein heifers grazing across the road. Thirty years ago, when we first came to Reber, there were many more cows than people, but as dairy farming evolved into the super farms of today, cattle mostly disappeared around here. I'm glad to see them back.

This Saturday, LeAnn Hoskins of Whallonsburg graduates with honors from Westport Central, and her grandmother Audrey Hoskins is throwing a big party for her, complete with a rented tent. LeAnn has been interning at the Essex town hall and on Monday will assume the official duties of clerk to the town supervisor.

The state comptroller just released a recent audit of the town's finances, and there is a lot of room for improvement. Past practices showed a distinct lack of good business sense and a casual attitude toward record keeping and oversight, which, as the audit states, can lead to abuse and fraud. One would hope that hasn't happened here, but it is certainly possible. Supervisor Boisen has been working steadily since she took office to run the town by the book, and her efforts are beginning to pay off with improved record keeping and compliance with state laws. In my opinion, the audit should have been more comprehensive, to cover matters like the incomplete wall on Lake Street, and the management of the town's many deteriorating properties. You can read the audit on line at the town or comptroller's site, or get a printed copy at the town hall.

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