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  • This week’s snow notwithstanding, this winter has been a letdown, at least as far as ice goes. For skating the only option has been to pay for time on one of the local rinks. Likewise, the chance that there will be iceboating this year declines every day that we get closer to March.
  • Time was that people here bent small oaks to mark property lines. They were called lop fences, and more than a few remain visible on roadsides if you know where to look. Or not look; what seems to be a lop fence can be found at the edge my house lot in Amagansett on a plot of land that has been in the family since the 19th century.
  • Sprinting down the asphalt path at Lowenstein Court in Montauk late Monday afternoon to get a look at the ocean before the light faded, I had a passing thought about how excited many of us who live on the East End get about a good northeaster.
  • A new house is going up across the street from mine. It is large, with separate two-story sections joined by a steel-framed atrium or what might be a barn-like social space or indoor swimming pool. It’s hard to say.
  • Board could ask voters to approve a geothermal heating and cooling system
  • Waiting for the traffic signal to change to green at Wainscott Northwest Road on Monday, a dark bird soaring far above drew my eye against the gray and empty sky. From its size and broad and fingered wings, it seemed a bald eagle, likely a first-year juvenile, according to illustrations in the Sibley guide I looked at later on.
  • Lax procedures in the East Hampton School District left sensitive personal data at risk of exposure for a period of at least a year and a half, according to a report announced yesterday by the New York State Comptroller’s Office.
  • The summer’s drought ended the last of whatever miracle had been holding up the old beech tree outside my office window. Two weeks before Christmas, Kevin Savastano and his crew arrived early on a cold Friday morning, as promised, to take it away.
  • I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Leo the pig. Regular readers know all about Leo, a supposed teacup pig that now, at age 4, has grown to what I estimate to be 130 pounds.
  • Mobutu Sese Seko was by the time I arrived in Africa as a college student in 1985 renowned as one of the globe’s most corrupt leaders. Zaire, as the Congo was then called, had withered under his rule. The story was that you could have driven a Cadillac from the Rift Valley in the east all the way to the Atlantic without hitting a single pothole when he assumed power in 1965. Twenty years later, only traces of the road remained, most of it sucked up into the jungle.

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