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Essex Column

This Saturday evening, the film society will show a documentary on the giant screen at the Whallonsburg Grange called “Brooklyn Castle,” about a group of kids from a poor inner-city school who become champions at the game of chess. The movie starts at 8 p.m., costs $5 for adults and if I’m not mistaken, popcorn and other refreshments will be available.

On Sunday, the Grange hosts folk singers Anne Hills and Priscilla Herdman. Tickets are $12 at the door and the show starts at 7 p.m. They will be backed by guitarist Max Cohen.

Shirley LaForest, Essex town historian, gives an illustrated lecture at the Wadhams Free Library on Wednesday, Sept. 18. Her talk is titled “Back Home in Wadhams 1812,” and is about life hereabouts during the War of 1812. It begins at 7:30 p.m., although I would suggest you get there much earlier because Ms. LaForest always draws overflow crowds.

A new business has recently opened in town called the Grange Co-Packer Cooperative and based in the commercial kitchen at the Whallonsburg Grange. They take local fruits and vegetables and create value-added products like frozen soup, ketchup and jellies and jams. Co-packer is short for contract packer, which is an entity with the knowledge and insurance to produce and label foods for sale on behalf of others. Check out their very comprehensive web site, complete with photos taken in beautiful Reber, at grangecopacker.com. For you sports nuts, the Green Bay Packers got their name from the packing industry in Wisconsin, in this case meat packing.

This summer I’ve seen exactly one monarch butterfly. Usually they’re everywhere, but this year they are largely absent, for as yet unknown reasons. Monarchs migrate from Mexico to spots all over the eastern U.S. taking several generations to reach our area. No one butterfly makes the whole trip, and they only lay eggs in milkweed plants. Habitat destruction in Mexico and climate change negatively affecting milkweeds may be responsible for their dramatic decline, although butterfly population swings are common.

Finally, I’d like to wish a very happy retirement to Jim Morgan, Essex’s hard-working and cheerful highway superintendent.

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