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Liberty 4-H Club member Danae Burbank (with brown cow) took first in Senior Showmanship (for members 12 and older) in dairy cow judging at the Western Weekend livestock show. Janelle Kehoe of Point Reyes-Olema 4-H Club (walking behind Burbank) took second, and Michele McClure of Point Reyes 4-H (foreground) took third. Judging their animals was Kelsey Cheda of Petaluma FFA. Cheda is also the dairy queen for District 3 of the California Milk Advisory Board.

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The Western Weekend that got underway Saturday in Point Reyes Station was strikingly different from the previous 57 celebrations. Some things lost; something gained.

The 4-H club members showing their cows in the opening livestock show, however, were as serious as ever. For weeks, 4-H’ers have been practicing showmanship: how to maintain poise while leading a sometimes-recalcitrant cow around a ring, how to groom it for competition, how to make it stand correctly for inspection (which includes keeping one hind leg well behind the other), and much, much more.

One youth was penalized when he could not tell the judge the exact date of his heifer’s birth.

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Michelle McClure took first in senior Holstein heifer competition, and Nathan Hemelt took second. Both belong to Point Reyes-Olema 4-H Club.

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Despite the extensive preparations that went into the livestock show, far fewer people showed up than in previous years. Those who did were mostly from West Marin’s ranching community.

The light attendance might be blamed on several things: overcast skies, no horseshow this year, no dog show etc. However, when I walked around Point Reyes Station’s three-block-long main street after leaving the livestock show, I discovered what was probably the main reason for the sparse attendance.

Nobody I encountered knew that the livestock show was occurring elsewhere in town at that very moment. Remarkable — given how small Point Reyes Station is.

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Western Weekend Queen Shelley Schreiber with her mother Patti Collins, manager of the Point Reyes Station branch of the Bank of Petaluma. Schreiber handed out awards to some of the livestock show winners.

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Instead of being held at the Red Barn, as it had been for decades, the livestock show took place in rancher Rich Giacomini’s large corral next to the Dance Palace. The West Marin press has to do a better job next year of letting people know where the livestock show is being held.

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Ed Brennan of Point Reyes Station looks over the new West Marin Pilot while rocking on the porch of Toby’s Feed Barn.

Of course, the West Marin press itself was the source of some interesting news this week. The West Marin Pilot published its “Volume 1, Number 0.9” issue on Friday.

The odd number of the issue reflects the fact that the paper won’t begin regular editions until the first week of July. And by then, the weekly may have a new name. The introductory issue, which describes itself as “of, by, and for West Marin,” asks readers to suggest a permanent name.

Much of The Pilot’s staff — editor Jim Kravets, office manager Missy Patterson, advertising representative Sandy Duveen, historian Dewey Livingston, obituary writer Larken Bradley, and cartoonist Kathryn LeMieux — worked for The Point Reyes Light when I owned it.

That fact has prompted a comment on this blog from Jan Tacherra, who suggests the new paper be called The Pilot Light.

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Point Reyes Light owner Robert Plotkin wrote in this week’s issue that his former bookkeeper Lashanda Goldstein was charming all the time she was allegedly embezzling from him.

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Meanwhile, The Light on Thursday confirmed what The Marin Independent Journal had reported May 26; a former bookkeeper has been arrested on charges of embezzling $62,000 from the newspaper. The arrest came almost six months after a credit card company alterted Light owner Robert Plotkin to what allegedly turned out to be $23,000 in fraudulent use of the paper’s account.

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The bookkeeper, who went to work for The Light in June 2006 as Lashanda Lewis, later that summer married Marty Goldstein and became Lashanda Goldstein. Just the champagne for her wedding probably cost $800, for among the charges on the company credit card last August was $800 for champagne.

When the charge was first noticed in January, Goldstein initially claimed I made the purchase. After I pointed out I had cut up my copy of the company credit card in front of Plotkin when I turned the paper over to him in November 2005, Goldstein suggested the purchase must have been made by her predecessor, but that didn’t hold up either.

Goldstein is alleged to have embezzled for everything from household expenses, to a laptop computer, to a new car — using the company credit card, writing checks to herself, and stealing petty cash, The Light reported.

In The Light’s account, which was written by Plotkin, he reported Goldstein was “lively, vivacious… and charmed Point Reyes Station.” Some of Plotkin’s staff, however, considered her more obsequious than charming. They have told me she put in short hours, failed to perform significant duties of the bookkeeper’s job, but continually fawned over Plotkin.

As an indication of the significance of the loss to The Light, which is published 52 times a year, The Independent Journal reported, “The $62,000 that was allegedly stolen is more than 56 times the amount of the newspaper’s top advertising rate — $1,102 for a full-page, color ad.”