Photos: Bear Hug

Sorrow and horror show in kids’ faces, lower left, as they watch a film telling Smokey Bear’s story: He was created in 1944, and now Smokey and his current motto — “Only you can prevent wildfires” — are recognized by 95 percent of Americans. The first living symbol of Smokey was a cub rescued in 1950 from a wildfire in New Mexico.

Smokey himself appeared on Monday, a day off from school for Columbus Day, and gave a big hug to a girl who had his portrait painted on her cheek, center. He exchanged high fives with a boy as a ranger looked on, below.

The annual event was hosted by the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center to teach visitors about wildfire prevention and the use of prescribed fire as a management tool in the Pine Bush Preserve. The day included races, games, and crafts — as the boy, at top, carefully colors a bookmark.

Photographs by Michael Koff

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County Legislator Herbert Reilly says he recalls the pain he saw in Clarksville years ago from polluted water and so has drafted a bill to protect public water supplies from blasting.

Teams of Belgian draft horses, owned by Kurt Johnson of Knox, will pull around the grounds some of the big old wagons owned by the fair that have not been taken out in years.