Essex Column

The Oscar winning film “Lincoln” starring Daniel Day Lewis will be shown this Saturday night at the Whallonsburg Grange at 8. Described by newspaper critics as a thrilling masterpiece, the Champlain Valley Film Society is showing this movie free of charge, to celebrate 10 years of bringing high quality films to the valley.

On Sunday, April 28, a Canadian vocal trio called Finest Kind will perform at the Grange, starting at 7 p.m. They cover a wide range of traditional ballads, British folksongs, pop music and even a bit of the Carter Family and Hank Williams. They’re renowned for their harmonies and unpredictable live shows. Tickets are $10 in advance from the Essex Ice Cream Café or $12 at the door.

The last poetry round-up of the season will be held Wednesday, May 1, at the Essex library at 7 p.m. All poets and all sorts of poetry are welcome.

Connor Stedman, outdoor expert and ornithologist, will give a talk on bird communication and language on Friday, May 3, at the Grange. This is sponsored by local guide Elizabeth Lee and the Northeast Wilderness Trust, and a $10 donation is suggested.

Down in the hamlet, a major upgrade to the storm water drainage system is underway. The county crew doing the work will install a collection line under Main Street from south of Church Street to the top of Bull Run. This line will empty to the lake at Begg’s Park after passing through a vortex filter that will be underground. The vortex spins out grit and other pollutants as well as separating out oil in the storm water, reducing the amount of crud that runs into the lake. Drier basements should also result. There will be no above-ground structures with this project, and affected streets will be repaved.

Although daffodils are in flower along the lake, here in Reber they’re not quite out yet. We are seeing a good crop of coltsfoot along the roads, bright yellow flowers that are often mistaken for dandelions. Coltsfoot are not native to North America, but were brought from Europe as a medicinal plant that got loose. It turns out the plant contains toxic alkaloids so its main benefit these days is as a very welcome and colorful early sign of spring.

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