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Essex Column

The town board wants to hear your thoughts on whether the town should put the question of how to go about assessing property values on the ballot this November. The town currently uses a panel of three elected assessors. The town’s other option is to appoint a sole assessor, which is how the majority of towns in the state operate. There will be two public hearings on whether to put this question on the ballot: the first will be at the town hall on Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 6 p.m., and the second will be at the Whallonsburg Grange on Aug. 8, at 6 p.m.

Tom Mangano at the library is looking for volunteers to help catalog a slew of new children’s books. On the evening of Aug. 8 at 7:30 p.m., exchange student Josh Bridge will give a talk at the library on his recent experiences in New Zealand.

Downtown Essex Day is rolling around again this Saturday. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., crowds will throng the hamlet as vendors and shop keepers offer all manner of items for sale. There will be music and a big tent behind the town hall.

I got an inquiry from a reader about wild parsnip and the dangers thereof. It’s a common weed with nasty sap that, when exposed to sunlight, causes lesions and blisters, more serious than poison ivy. It’s a biennial and right now the second year plants are about finished flowering and will soon die. The first year plants are fairly wimpy and can be killed with mowing or digging or herbicide, if you’re so inclined.

This seems to be a very good year for Japanese beetles, and I’ve even seen them feeding on wild parsnip. Japanese beetle traps are available, but don’t work because they lure in many more beetles than they actually kill.

Several people have commented on late night howling in the hills near Whallonsburg, which they contend is not the usual source of other-worldly sounds, coyotes. Perhaps a cougar has taken up residence.

We’re very sorry to note the unexpected passing of Puss LaPine last week. His cheerful and wry demeanor made trips to the transfer station a pleasure, and he always made sure every dog got a biscuit.

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