Seneca Harbor Station & Captain Bill's

To reach the website of the Seneca Harbor Station and Captain Bill's, click here.

For job openings, click here


Senka Agency

We pride ourselves on providing outstanding customer service.

We truly care about each and every client.

Give us a call or stop in and see why so many people have switched.

Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00.
After hours and weekends by appointment.

Always "Working to Serve YOU Better"

Main Steet, Odessa, NY Telephone 607-594-3335


Click on the ad above to visit the Visions Credit Union web site -- you deserve a financial partner that has your best interest in mind!


Watkins Glen Supply, Inc.

P.O. Box 70
2768 State Route 14


Pavilion, Picnic Area, BBQ Pit available with reservation.

Memorial Day Service
every Memorial Day 11 a.m.

Check out this beautiful park.

Forms for engraved bricks or benches are available at
visitors center or at schuyleramericanlegion.com

Questions? Call Clayton Snow


The Odessa File's
Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism

We also have a Business Card Page. Click here.

Odessa Wine
and Spirits

We are located on Main Street in Odessa, next to the Tompkins Trust Company branch.

Send us an email to sales@odessawinesandspirits.com to let us know what you would like us to have in stock.

Free wine tasting every Friday.


SCT Computers

Apple Certified Technicians
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers
A+ Certified Technicians

Visit us at 306 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen, 607-535-2495

Main St., Penn Yan
(315) 694-7399



Your authorized FedEx ship center
M-F 7:30-5:30 (Cut off time 3 pm)
Sat. 10-2 (no pickups)
306 N. Franklin Street
Watkins Glen NY 14891

Dealer/collector looking to buy groups of pre-1970 paper memorabilia: cards, magazines, posters, programs etc. Call Charlie Haeffner at 742-2772.

Click on the ad below to go to the United Way of Schuyler County website.


For your convenience, we have installed the link below to make donations to this website easier. Now you can utilize your PayPal account or your credit card.


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Curly's Restaurant is a page sponsor -- of our People Page. People.

Other page sponsors:

Business -- Sidle Insurance

Sports -- Cayuga Medical Ctr.

Features -- Cabins to Castles Real Estate

Government -- Specchio Ford

Schools -- Watkins Sporting Goods

Calendar -- Hi-Lites

Forum -- Warren Real Estate


To reach the FOWL website, click on the logo above.


To go to Jim Guild's Famous Brands website, click on the drawing above or here.


Our Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism


The IBEW Local 241 is a sponsor of this website


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Click below to go to the
Rotary Club website.


To reach the website of the Five Rivers Council, Boys Scouts of America, click here or on the logo above.



To reach the Watkins Glen School District website, click here


Check this out:



Contact this website at:




4 Novels by the editor

Island Nights

Excerpt here.

The Islander

The entire novel:

Prelude-Chapter 4

Chapters 5-13

Chapters 14-21

Chapters 22-29

Chapters 30-36

Chapters 37-44.

Cabins in the Mist

Excerpt here

The Maiden of Mackinac

Excerpts Maiden

and here and here. 







Click on ad below to reach Schuyler Hospital's website.


Carroll to step down from Glen Chamber post

Rebekah Carroll has submitted her resignation as Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce -- effective after "her replacement is selected, on-boarded, and trained," says a Chamber press release. Carroll, who joined the Chamber in 2008 as its Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer and was named President and CEO on May 17, 2010 (her title was changed to Executive Director in 2019), says she is leaving to pursue business goals that include her own accounting and consulting firm, to be located in Montour Falls. "I'm really excited," she said, noting that she had her own accounting business years ago and wants "to get back to it." She hopes to employ "10 or 12 people" in a business that also includes "strategic planning, document creation" and, possibly, medical billing. Chamber Board Chair Amanda Smith-Socaris said "we sincerely appreciate Rebekah's remarkable contributions to the Chamber during her time as CEO and Executive Director. We offer her our heartfelt appreciation and a blessing for her entrepreneurial success." The search for and installation of a successor, Carroll noted, could take until summer.

Photo in text: Rebekah Carroll (Photo provided)

Gabe Planty (in Syracuse University shirt) signs his Letter of Intent to attend SU as part of the cross country and track-and-field teams. Pictured with him are his brother Aaron, left, and parents Amy and Tom.


Watkins Glen's Planty signs to attend Syracuse

Watkins Glen High School senior Gabe Planty signed a Letter of Intent Thursday afternoon in a ceremony at WGHS to attend Division 1 Syracuse University as a member of SU's defending ACC champion Cross Country team and the school's indoor and outdoor Track squads. Planty, currently No. 1 in the state in the 2 Mile Run, recently set school records in that race and at the 3000 Meter and 3200 Meter distances. A longtime member of the WGHS cross country squad -- including when it won the state Class C title in 2016 -- Planty said he talked with coaches at Cornell and the University of Buffalo, but felt SU offered him "the best opportunity ... If I can help them win another ACC title, I'd be really excited." He noted that he had always wanted a signing ceremony, for which "I'm grateful."

Photo in text: Gabe Planty at the signing ceremony.


Thursday Scoreboard


Boys: WG 3, Notre Dame 1
Girls: Notre Dame 3, WG 1
Boys: O-M 4, Marathon 0
Girls: O-M 4, Marathon 0

Stories on Sports

Photo: Watkins' Makenzie Kellogg is congratulated after a strike


The passing of a journalist ...

The editor considers the life and legacy of a remarkable Elmira sports journalist, Al Mallette, upon Al's death at the age of 96. Column.


Anyone caring to advertise may contact the publisher, Charlie Haeffner, at publisher@odessafile.com for information.


Glen board OKs REOI for waterfront project

Approves Request for Expression of Interest, due back on March 17, looking for possible developers for a lease project on the waterfront sites of the treatment plant and Village Marina. Government.

Photo: Watkins Deputy Mayor Lou Perazzini at meeting Jan. 21.


A column by State Senator Tom O'Mara

New York State Senator Tom O'Mara provides us with a weekly column from Albany. This week: "What are they thinking?" Column

Left: State Sen. Tom O'Mara


Historic trek recreation subject of Jan. 25 talk

Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer will discuss his 2,000-mile trek last summer recreating a journey made in 1825 by fur trader Gen. William Ashley. The talk will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 in the Odessa Municipal Building Community Room. People.

Photo: Gerry Messmer (Photo provided)

And new inside ...

The Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity will dedicate its second house on Sunday, Jan. 26 in Montour Falls. Habitat.

Schuyler Hospital "celebrity chefs" will help raise funds for the hospital's Family of Friends Campaign and for the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility by serving pasta at Veraisons on Jan. 30. Business.


National Honor Society adds 9 at OM induction

Candles play a role as the Odessa-Montour High School chapter of the NHS holds a ceremony in the Fetter-Brown Auditorium. Schools.

Photo: This lighted candle was part of the NHS induction.


We honor...The Essentials of Schuyler County

A dozen women and a dozen men populate this committee-selected group of outstanding Schuyler County residents or natives who have impacted life here or elsewhere. None is in the Schuyler County Hall of Fame, but perhaps will be. Essentials.

An e-mail issue

One of my e-mails has developed a stubborn streak: most items don't seem to be coming through on it. Use this one, which I'm incorporating in the links at the bottom of each page:


Don't use Google to access this site

A few people have complained that they cannot access The Odessa File. If you know any of these people, tell them the problem is with Google, and that simply clicking on the Google link to this website often doesn't work. The screen comes up blank. Instead, have them type in odessafile.com (nothing more and nothing less) in the address line and hit refresh. That should solve the problem.

So ... avoid Google, at least for now.

Dealer/collector looking to buy groups of pre-1970 paper memorabilia: cards, magazines, posters, programs etc. Call Charlie at (607) 742-2772.




And inside

--The Mechanical Meltdown youth robotics team advances to the regional championship on March 14 at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Utica. People.

Funeral Director David Zinger has purchaed the Haughey-Wood Funeral Home, Watkins Glen. Business.

Part 1 of "Schuyler County and Me," reprised, Click here.
For Part 2, click here.
For Part 3, click here .
For Part 4, click here.
For Part 5, click here.

The Editor's


Death Notices on the Obituary Page.

Geraldine Elsie Shaul, 85, of Watkins Glen.
Eleanor R. Personius, 80, of Watkins Glen.
Ashley A. Jerzak, 33, of Burdett.
Vita J. Abate, 89, of Watkins Glen.
Cyril E. Grover, 80, of Montour Falls.
Kathryn M. Davis, 80, of Hammondsport.
Carol Ann Strauss, 79, of Weston.
Stephen M. Fundurulic, 87, of Beaver Dams.
Marie (Mason) Varner, 97, formerly of Watkins Glen.
Josephine L. Wigsten, 95, of Montour Falls.
Rose Ann O'Brien, 84, of Montour Falls.
Charles A. Densmore, 76, of Beaver Dams.
Eugene Charles Strouse, 82, of Elmira Heights.
Esther A. Hughes, 84, of Jacksonville, NY.

(For earlier Vedder & Scott obituaries, click here.)

Editor's Note

Debbie Stayer Kelly of Burdett -- a lifelong Schuyler resident, a single parent of two sons and a highly praised Cornell employee -- has Stage 4 cancer as well as a rare genetic mutation called Lynch Syndrome. She is facing a large financial burden as her battle continues.

Her Cornell colleagues have created a GoFundMe page for her that you can find right here. An update can be found by clicking on the Updates button on that site. I hope we all can help out.

Phoning The Odessa File?

You can reach us at (607) 742-2772

or reach us by email at chaef@aol.com

Among those at the Gala were, from left: Ken Wilson, Tiffany and David Zinger, and Linda and Jeff Confer.


Chamber's Gala features auctions, awards

The annual Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Winter Gala was held Saturday night at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel -- a gathering featuring a social hour, dinner, silent and live auctions, photos, character drawings, live music, blackjack, and the presentation of annual awards. Those went to Montour Falls Mayor John King (Community Spirit Award), Chicone Builders of Montour Falls (Leader in Business Award), Atwater Estates Vineyard owner Ted Marks (Lifetime Achievement Award), and Dennis Fagan, recently retired Chairman of the Schuyler County Legislature (the Max Neal Award, based on dedication to, and support of, the Chamber of Commerce.) Winter Gala.

Photo: Montour Falls Mayor John King, winner of the Community Spirit Award.

Left: The Harlem Wizards' Roscoe Johnson Jr. contends against the Odessa team's Curtis Harris for the game-opening jump ball. Right: Wizard Courtland Holloway entertains after dunking the ball for his team's first basket.


Harlem Wizards entertain crowd at O-M gym

The Harlem Wizards entertainment basketball team pleased a crowd in the Odessa-Montour High School gym Wednesday night as it played a team of local school-related personnel and interacted with the crowd, posing for selfies, selling merchandise and otherwise brightening a Schuyler County winter night. Profits from the event were earmarked for the school district's Parent-Faculty Organization.

Photo: The Wizards' Dwayne Simpson greets O-M team captain (and School Superintendent) Chris Wood at center court.


Annual Steps program kicks off in March

Schuyler Steps Out, the free community walking program presented by Schuyler Hospital, starts its 14th year in March. Teams must register by Feb. 14. People.

Queen of Hearts fundraiser set

The third annual Queen of Hearts fundraiser by The Slaydies Den and Seneca Sunrise Coffee will be held Feb. 22 at the Watkins Glen Community Center. Proceeds go to First Step Victim Services, the domestic violence program of Catholic Charities. Features.


A legal column from Ziff Law's Jim Reed

Attorney James B. Reed of the Ziff Law Firm in Elmira offers this regular column, tackling issues that you might encounter in your daily lives. This time: "For Ziff Law Firm paralegal, helping is a family tradition." Column.

Left: Attorney Jim Reed


Schuyler shares in NYS's annual REDC awards

New York State's annual Regional Economic Development Council awards, totaling $761 million, include more than $1.2 million for Schuyler County-based projects. Government.

Click the ad below to reach the Hazlitt 1852 website.

Click here to reach the Hazlitt 1852 Facebook page.

Want to phone The Odessa File?

You can reach us at (607) 742-2772


This week's deals at Famous Brands

We are carrying the weekly ad showcasing the latest deals available at Jim Guild's Famous Brands store on Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen. For a look, click here.

To reach the Famous Brands website, click here
or on the drawing above

Erin Gruwell, left, the teacher who inspired and compiled The Frredom Writers Diary 20 years ago -- leading to a feature film and a documentary -- was on stage Jan. 9 at the Watkins Glen Elementary School with two of those 150 writers, Sue Ellen Alpizar and Narada Comans.


Freedom Writers' history, hopes aired at WGES

The Freedom Writers' history -- told through a documentary flim -- and the goals and hopes of those 150 student writers whose diary entries gained fame 20 years ago and led to a 2007 feature film starring Hilary Swank, were featured Thursday night, Jan. 9 at a presentation in the Watkins Glen Elementary School auditorium. With the Freedom Writers' teacher, Erin Gruwell (portrayed by Swank in the film) moderating the gathering, an audience of about 75 people watched the nearly hour-long documentary and heard from two of the original Freedom Writers on hand for the evening, Sue Ellen Alpizar and Narada Comans, in a question-and-answer session. Their themes included education as an equalizer, and expression as empowering. Their message, said Comans, "is one of tolerance and hope." Gruwell and the two writers also interacted Friday with Watkins Glen teachers and students. Gruwell visited the district last year, and said she jumped at the chance to return -- that she sees the school district as "family."

Photo: Freedom Writers teacher Erin Gruwell on stage.

"Out of the darkness" ... a Column.


Rotary honors Planty as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Gabe Planty (right) was honored Jan. 9 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for January. Planty was introduced by teacher Karen Armstrong, who said he is "curious," "compassionate" and "quite the leader" -- a young man "responsible in his school work" who is a member of National Honor Society and involved in church work. A state-level competitive runner, a captain on his school's cross country team and a member of that squad when it won a state title, "his most notable trait," said Armstrong, is his humility -- "putting other people before himself." Planty said he has applied to several colleges and is "patiently awaiting acceptance at Syracuse University," where he hopes "to further my academic and athletic career."


2nd marking period Honor Rolls at O-M

Odessa-Montour Junior-Senior High School has unveiled its High Honor and Honor Rolls for the second marking period of the 2019-20 school year. Honors.


A column by Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer

The mayor provides us with his sixth in a series of columns on what is happening in Odessa. This time: "Odessa Water Quality, the elephant in the room." Column.


Photo: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer


Watkins Glen Library appoints new director

The Watkins Glen Public Library Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of Tracy Savard as its new library director. Savard began the position on October 28 after twelve years at the Rakow Research Library of The Corning Museum of Glass. She has been a longtime member of the American Library Association and the Art Libraries Society of North America. She holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Kent State University, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Le Moyne College, and graduated from Watkins Glen High School. Savard says she is eager to replant her roots in Watkins Glen and is looking forward to a long and fulfilling career serving her community at the same library she grew up frequenting.

Photo: Tracy Savard (Photo provided)


Available on Kindle:
The Maiden of Mackinac

This story -- which spans 700 years and ranges from our region to Northern Michigan -- tells of a quest for the truth behind a legend ... the legend of a Native American maiden reputed to be centuries old. It was written by Charlie Haeffner, and is available now on Kindle at Amazon.com. To see the ad, click here.

Left: Cover art by Jon Haeffner

Construction site across from the Jefferson Village apartments.


Preparation begins for 2nd Street apartments

Preparations have begun for construction of the planned apartment building-child care center on East Second Street in Watkins Glen. The facility, across the street from the Jefferson Village apartments, is under the guidance of Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, which has said it is "dedicated to helping people of modest incomes find -- and stay in -- high-quality housing throughout Central New York." In addition to nearly three-dozen apartments, plans call for the childcare center at the western end of the complex, with parking immediately outside its doors, and with an entrance to a playground from the building's rear. A larger parking lot will be positioned on the south side of the complex.

Photo: Sign on the fence that surrounds the construction site.

Schuyler County Judge Matt Hayden, right, shakes hands with Mark Rondinaro after swearing in Rondinaro and Gary Gray, left, to four-year terms as legislators at the Jan. 2 meeting.


Blowers takes over as Legislature Chairman

Carl Blowers was named Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Jan. 2 at the legislature's annual organizational meeting. Blowers was nominated by Legislator Phil Barnes, with a second by Jim Howell. The subsequent vote was unanimous. He succeeds Dennis Fagan, longtime chair who did not seek re-election in November. Blowers' election followed the swearing-in of Legislators Mark Rondinaro, re-elected in November, and newcomer Gary Gray. Reappointments through 2023 followed of Stacy Husted as Clerk to the Legislature and County Auditor; Steven Getman as County Attorney (with Legislator Michael Lausell opposed); and Wesley Roe as Public Defender. Named to one-year terms were Gary Emerson as County Historian and Katherine Conroy as Coroner.

Photo: Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers.

Smoke comes out of the house at 103 Maple Ave. in Odessa.


Fire call draws 4 departments to Odessa home

Firefighters responded January 1 to a fire at a two-story apartment house at 103 Maple Ave. in Odessa. When they arrived, they found two people on the roof who -- having been alerted by smoke alarms in the house -- followed an evacuation plan. They were helped off the roof, while "all other occupants were able to safely exit the building prior to the Fire Department's arrival," said a press release. Cause of the fire: an electrical malfunction. The fire was contained to the first floor, but there was heat and smoke damage throughout the building. Code Enforcement deemed the structure uninhabitable afterward, and the Red Cross assisted the building residents who were displaced. Firefighters from Odessa, Montour Falls, Watkins Glen and Burdett answered the alarm, which sounded at about 9:52 p.m.

Photo: Firefighters raise a ladder at the side of the house.

Matt Hayden, left, listens as his father, Carl, addresses spectators in the courtroom. Carl then administered the oath of office.


Hayden sworn in as Schuyler County Judge

Matthew Hayden was sworn in Dec. 31 as Schuyler County Judge before a large and enthusiastic gathering of supporters in the County Courtroom. The oath was administered by his father, Carl, Chancellor Emeritus of the New York State Board of Regents. For story and photos, see Goverrnment.


Legislature ends year, bids Fagan goodbye

The Schuyler County Legislature met Dec. 30 for its mandated year-end session, passing several minor resolutions and saying farewell to Chairman Dennis Fagan, who ended a 15-year run on the board, many years as its chair. He did not seek re-election. Said County Administrator Tim O'Hearn: "Congratulations and thanks for your leadership." Answered Fagan: "I certainly enjoyed ... working with my fellow legislators. We accomplished a lot." The legislators and half-dozen audience spectators applauded.

Chairman Dennis Fagan at his closing session.


Monthly column from Cooperative Extension

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County is providing a monthly column here on its ongoing educational activities and offerings. The tenth column -- "Free Summer REACH program offered at OMCS" -- is by O-M REACH Program Coordinator Melinda Brewster (left). Column.

For other recent Schuyler
County news, click here.


Visit Jerlando's Ristorante & Pizzeria

Three locations: in Watkins Glen, Horseheads and Montour Falls

Click here or on the photo at left to go to the Jerlando's website. There you will find information about all three locations, plus menus.

Left: The front of the recently renovated Jerlando's at Franklin and 4th Streets, Watkins Glen

To reach the Harbor Hotel website, click on the photo below

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel

16 N. Franklin St.
Watkins Glen, NY 14891-1221
(607) 535-6116

For other recent Schuyler
County news, click here.


Looking to advertise on The Odessa File?

We are always looking for advertisers to help promote their businesses and, by extension, our region. For a list of Odessa File Ad rates, click here.

Anyone wishing to contribute to The Odessa File -- which is dependent on advertising and donations -- may do so through a Paypal link in the left column of this page or by sending a check to The Odessa File, P.O. Box 365, Odessa, NY 14869.


One injured as vehicle strikes house in Falls

The driver of a car was injured Dec. 30 when the southbound vehicle went off the road at the corner of South Catherine and South Streets in Montour Falls and struck the two-story porch of a vacant house, demolishing the porch. The vehicle came to rest against a stop sign. The building, at 102 W. South St., has a January 2019 sign posted in a window that says "Do Not Occupy," citing state "fire prevention and building codes." The injured driver, not immediately identified by police, was taken to the hospital. Police believe the accident was caused when the operator had a medical emergency. Deputies were assisted by the Montour Falls Fire Department, Schuyler Ambulance, Montour Falls Code Enforcement, Montour Falls DPW, and Scotty's Towing.

The unoccupied house on South Catherine Street after the accident.


A selection of photos from Liz Fraboni

Watkins Glen photographer Liz Fraboni, whose work has graced these pages in the past, provides us with a new selection of scenes from her village and the surrounding area. Photos.

Public Health names Employees of Year

Four women -- two in Schuyler County and two in Yates County -- are honored for their efforts in 2019. People.


Watkins board votes 3-2 to sell spare fire truck

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Dec. 17 voted 3-2 to accept an offer of $60,000 from the Beaver Dams Fire Department for the 2001 pumper truck that had been purchased from Gang Mills for $78,000 as a fill-in for a Watkins fire engine that was damaged in a rollover accident during a fire call in November 2018. The damaged truck underwent extensive repairs that took most of a year, and is now back in service. Opposing the sale were trustees Laurie DeNardo and Nan Woodworth.

The board also accepted grant funds totaling "not more than $415,700" from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for use in the planned Clute Park redevelopment -- one of several grants to be used in the project. In addition, the board set Wednesday, March 18 as the date of the next Village Election, with voting to take place from 12 noon to 9 p.m. at the Watkins Glen Community Center; and approved an expenditure of $26,413 as part of the county's new $350,000 radio system software -- with the proviso that it is a one-time charge and can be included in the next budget.

Photo: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk at Tuesday's meeting.

Four Dragons Martial Arts students marched in the parade and demonstrated some of their lessons.


Watkins Glen holds its Village Christmas

The annual Watkins Glen Village Christmas was held Dec. 13 from 2nd to 7th Streets on the community's main thoroughfare, Franklin Street, which was closed to traffic that was rerouted up Decatur Street. The event featured vendors, music, a gingerbread house contest, cookie decorating, a chili cookoff, Santa and Mrs. Claus, a parade, and fireworks. The parade featured fire trucks, tractors, floats, and marching groups like the Glen Gators swimmers and the Four Dragons Martial Arts students. Features

Photo: Santa and Mrs. Claus were on the parade's final float.

Addendum: Winners of the parade: "Most Christmas Spirit" --Lakewood Vineyards; "Best Theme" -- Beaver Dams Fire Dept.; "Best Decorated Fire Truck" -- Montour Falls Fire Dept.; and "Judges' Choice" -- RJ Richtmyer Vintage Tractor.


Captain Bill's leveled; new structure coming

The old, iconic Captain Bill's gift shop at the foot of Seneca Lake was demolished Dec. 9 as part of the ongoing Downtown Revitalization Initiative in the village -- with a replacement structure -- a larger building, built several feet north and west, opening a view of the lake -- due "very soon," says Mayor Luke Leszyk. "They want it up and running by spring." The old building was, and the new one will be, part of a group of services provided by the Simiele family, including the Seneca Harbor Station Restaurant, the Seneca Legacy dining vessel, and the Stroller IV tour boat. Owner Mark Simiele said the new structure -- with expanded retail space, ticket-sale space, storage space and offices -- is expected to be "fully functional by mid-May."

Photo: Artist's rendition of the planned building.


Rotary honors Vondracek as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Grace Vondracek was honored Dec. 12th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for December. Vondracek was introduced by teacher Russ Gardner, who described the honoree as "well rounded ... active in the school community," and "one of O-M's top academic students." He also outlined her athletic exploits, which included First Team All-Star status this year in soccer and for the past four seasons in softball. She was also recently named an ESPN and Odessa File Athlete of the Week for her basketball exploits. She ranks third in her class academically, and is considering her college options, looking hard at both SUNY Cortland and SUNY Binghamton.

Photo: Grace Vondracek and O-M teacher Russ Gardner.


Legislature topics: Sales tax, internet service

The Schuyler County Legislature on Dec. 10 heard a report that sales tax is up, and discussed such matters as internet expansion in the western part of the county and vetting. Government.

Photo: Clerk of the Legislature Stacy Husted reads a Certificate of Recognition she presented to Chairman Dennis Fagan, who chose not to seek re-election after 15 years on the Legislature. His final term ends Dec. 31.

High-speed chase ends in arrest

A Beaver Dams man faces several charges after a motor vehicle chase through and outside Watkins Glen. Government.

The garage was fully engulfed and spreading to the house (right) when firefighters arrived.


Firefighters called out twice; fire levels house

Firefighters responded Friday night, Dec. 7, and again early Saturday morning to a house fire at 5190 County Road 14 outside Odessa, a structure owned by Robert Dupay, who called in the alarm at 8:16 p.m. The fire, which started in the garage before spreading -- and which rekindled around 1:30 a.m. amid high winds -- leveled the structure. No injuries were reported. The cause is under investigation, but one fire official said it might "have been a wood stove problem." The Odessa, Montour Falls, Watkins Glen, Mecklenburg, Beaver Dams, Van Etten, Millport and Town & Country Fire Departments responded, along with State Police and Schuyler Ambulance.

More than $21,000 has been raised for the Dupay family through a Go Fund Me page set up by Robert Dupay's sister-in-law. If you want to contribute, click here.


Morse, Kelly having standout season at CCC

Watkins Glen High School grads Hannah Morse and Taylor Kelly -- who helped WGHS to a Class C basketball state runnerup finish in their senior year (2018-19) -- are building some impressive statistics on the Corning Community College basketball team. Through the first 12 games (in which CCC went 5-7), Morse led the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III in Assists Per Game with 8.7. She also scored 14 points per game. Kelly, meanwhile, averaged 18 points per game, including a 40-point game (one point short of the CCC record) in which she tied the school 3-point basket mark with 8.

Photo: Taylor Kelly, left, and Hannah Morse while spectators at the WGHS girls varsity basketball game on Dec. 6.

Kids and some adults -- like the family of Odessa Fire Chief Mike Tomassi -- posed with Santa. Chief Tomassi's department stages the party each year.


Annual OFD Christmas Party delights the kids

The Odessa Fire Department's annual Children's Christmas Party drew a crowd of youngsters and their parents to the village Municipal Building Sunday afternoon, Dec. 8. Face-painting, drawing, cookie frosting, snacks, and visits with Santa Claus marked the occasion. Each child, after visiting Santa, received a present courtesy of the Fire Department, which pays for the gifts through fund-raising events.

Top photo: Hayden Price, 4, of Odessa had a snowman painted on her face.

Bottom photo: An elf handles some of the presents given to the children at the party.


Farewell to the Chef and the Wine Wench: Corneliuses relocating

Bill and Norrie Cornelius, celebrity chef and tasting-room fixture, are moving back to Ohio, the state they came from. Here is a look at the couple, what they've done here across 21 years, and what they're planning in the future. Farewell.

Photo: Bill and Norrie Cornelius on the front porch of their long-time Watkins Glen home.


Rotary Student of Month: Tristin Rose-Morley

Watkins Glen High School senior Tristin Rose-Morley (right) was honored Dec. 5 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for December. Rose-Morley was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who said the honoree -- a writer, editor, softball player, Varsity Club member, Food Bank volunteer, and employee at the Painted Bar Stables and the Lakeside Veterinary Services -- is "an exceptional student" and "an amazing person whose maturity level is beyond her years. She is kind and generous ... and has an amazing sense of humor, but never at somebody's expense." Tristin said she plans to attend SUNY Geneseo with an eye toward a career in veterinary medicine.

Lights adorn the base and shrubbery at the Odessa Municipal Building. Also lit: a tree planted last year near the road.


'Tis the Season at Odessa Municipal Building

The Odessa Municipal Building was the site Nov. 30 of vocal and instrumental Christmas music performed by students from the Odessa-Montour school district, with a sing-along by members of the audience on hand to hear them. Outside, the village's Christmas tree was lit, along with the shrubs and small firs fronting the building.

Photo: Musicians from the O-M school district performed at the Odessa Municipal Building.


Cayuta postal window closed; service limited

Services provided by the Cayuta Post Office were placed on a limited basis effective Wednesday, Nov. 27, the reason cited being an unspecified safety concern. The Cayuta site is located in a residence on the hamlet's main road, Route 224, with service until Nov. 27 accessible through a front door off the wrap-around porch.

On-site service was to be suspended, said a note posted on the door, although external mail delivery was to continue as normal. In the case of hold mail, mail requiring a signature, and packages that cannot be delivered, pickup is taking place at the Newfield Post Office.

No further explanation was available.

The Cayuta Post Office; the note displayed there.

The Odessa File All-Schuyler All-Stars

The Fall 2019 First, Second and Third Teams are unveiled, along with the season's MVP. Sports.

Watkins Glen High School student Mattie Yontz carries two packages from the truck to the back door of the church.


Hesselson's makes a Seneca Santa delivery

The annual Seneca Santa program, which provides Christmas presents to nearly 300 underprivileged children in Schuyler County each year, on Nov. 22 received its annual infusion from Hesselson's of toys, games and other items -- provided at cost -- to be used as gifts. The Elmira Heights firm sent a truck with two pallets of boxed merchandise to the First Presbyterian Church in Watkins Glen, where the items will be stored -- along with others donated and bought by the program -- in the church's old second-floor gym pending sorting and then delivery to area families by regional fire departments on Dec. 24. Offloading the truck Friday: about 20 Watkins Glen High School students, a volunteer effort provided by WGHS each year.

WGHS students pass a Hesselson's package up the stairs of the First Presbyterian Church.


WG water system fixes carry large price tag, but not all at once

A comprehensive study of the village's aging water distribution network puts the cost of upgrading at $16 million, but Mayor Luke Leszyk says "there is no way we will put that burden on the taxpayers." Instead, the study will serve as a road map over a number of years. Government.

Photo: Mayor Luke Leszyk

Santa and Mrs. Claus paid a visit to St. Mary's Holiday Bazaar.


'Tis the season: Bazaars held in Watkins Glen

Two annual holiday bazaars were held Nov. 16 in Watkins Glen: the annual St. Mary's Holiday Bazaar at St. Mary's of the Lake Parish Center and the Saint James' Holiday Bazaar and Luncheon at St. James' Parish House. Various vendors were on hand at St. Mary's, which also offered baked goods and pastas, a cafe lunch, a cake booth, a Money Tree raffle and Pot-of-Gold raffles. Santa and Mrs. Claus also visited. The Saint James' bazaar offered a raffle, specialty handmade items, Christmas figurines, sweets, breads and a lunch including homemade desserts.

Photo: One of the items available for sale at the St. James' Holiday Bazaar.


Ceremony signals
re-opening of Graft

Family and friends gathered Nov.15 at the grand reopening of the Graft Wine + Cider Bar, an eatery at 204 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen. The facility, first opened in 2015 and closed earlier this year, is now under the direction of Chef Orlando Rodriguez. A soft opening put the facility back in operation last week. Business.

Photo: Chef Orlando Rodriguez at ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Rotary honors Gardner as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Sara Gardner was honored Nov. 14 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as the O-M Student of the Month for November. Gardner was introduced by teacher and coach Greg Gavich, who described the honoree -- a three-sport athlete (soccer, basketball and tennis) and the school's Homecoming Queen -- as "a hard worker, dedicated," and "a leader by example." Gardner -- a High Honor student -- plans to attend college, play basketball there, and pursue a career in Sports Management or a related sports-based field.

Photo: O-M senior Sara Gardner at Thursday's Watkins-Montour Rotary Club luncheon.

Nominations sought

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its annual awards, to be presented at its Winter Gala on January 18. Business.

Gorge Around the Gorge Restaurant Week set. Business.


DA's office pleased with Horein case decision

The Schuyler County District Attorney's office says it is "extremely pleased" with the New York State Parole Board's rejection Nov. 14 of Joshua Horein's first request for parole. Horein -- who pleaded guilty at the age of 16 in 2000 to killing Watkins Glen school classmate Amber Brockway, and who was then sentenced to 20 years to life in prison -- appeared before the Parole Board in October under a Lmited Credit Time Allowance provision that can trim sentence time. He can apply again in April. "The District Attorney's office is extremely pleased that Mr. Horein's parole was denied," said a statement Friday from the office of DA Joseph Fazzary, adding: "Amber's family is very thankful for the outpouring of community support on behalf of Amber" that preceded the October hearing.

Photo: Joshua Horein in 2000 (Photo provided)

County Administrator Tim O'Hearn presented a power-point explanation of the budget.


Legislators approve 2020 Schuyler budget

The Schuyler County Legislature unanimously passed the 2020 county budget nov. Nov. 12 -- a $50.1 million spending plan with a tax levy of $11,318,117, an increase of less than 2%. The tax rate is $7.17 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, a decrease for the eighth straight year. County Administrator Tim O'Hearn outlined the budget in a half-hour presentation, capped with a musical video tribute to outgoing chairman Dennis Fagan -- who has been on the Legislature since 2004, and its chairman since 2011. He did not seek re-election.

The legislators also approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Village of Watkins Glen with an eye toward redeveloping part of Seneca Harbor Park and the site of the current wastewater treatment plant. That plant will be replaced next year by a new facility on the canal serving both Watkins and Montour Falls. The memorandum "sets forth a partnership to maximize the development opportunity" on the old WWTP site "and the adjacent Village Marina Bar & Grill site," the resolution read. The new WWTP is slated to go online in March.

Photo: Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan.


Vietnam Vet LaMoreaux recounts experiences

David W. LaMoreaux of Burdett, a Staff Sergeant during the Vietnam conflict, talked about his military experiences Nov. 11 during a keynote speech at a Veterans Day gathering at the Watkins Glen Community Center. LaMoreaux, who was in Vietnam for a year with the Army, returned to the U.S. 50 years ago, on Nov. 11, 1969 after a tour of duty that included combat and earned him a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Other speakers included Schuyler County Legislator Carl Blowers and Watkins Glen Village Trustee Lou Perazzini.

Photo: David LaMoreaux at the Veterans Day ceremony, hosted by American Legion Post 555.


Let's remember to thank Veterans year-round

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning), in his latest column, says Veterans Day (Monday, Nov. 11) "is, obviously, an excellent opportunity to thank our brave servicemen and women for everything they’ve done to keep us safe, but it’s also a reminder of what we should be doing all year." Column.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano


A column from the mayor of Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk presents the first in a planned series of periodic columns about the many things happening in Watkins Glen. Column.

Photo at right: Watkins Glen Mayor
Luke Leszyk


Rotary honors Burrows as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Zachary Burrows (right) was honored Nov. 7 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for November. Burrows was introduced by math teacher Christie Fedele, who described the honoree as "determined, dedicated, and creative," and as "one of the more respectful, kind hearted individuals I have ever met" -- one whose "perseverance, loyalty, manners and positivity shine through with everything he does." Burrows -- who has played football and lacrosse at WGHS and is competing this year in wrestling, as well -- said he hopes to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and wants a career in the military and in Computer Science. "I know I can make any of my dreams become reality," he said.

  Hayden wins Schuyler County Judge race; Rondinaro, Gray earn seats on Legislature

Matt Hayden (pictured at right) is the unofficial winner of the 10-year post as Schuyler County Judge. Hayden, currently the county's Chief Assistant District Attorney, outpolled three other hopefuls --Jessica Saks, Dan Fitzsimmons and Steven Getman -- in balloting around the county Nov. 5th. With all 38 districts reporting, the vote totals, which won't be certified until late this month, were as follows, along with each candidate's party affiliation:

Matt Hayden (Democrat, Working Families/Schuyler First, and Serve America Movement): 2,218
Steven Getman (Republican and Libertarian): 1,410
Jessica Saks (Independence and About Justice): 762
Dan Fitzsimmons (Home Town Law): 753

Meanwhile: incumbent Republican Mark Rondinaro turned back a challenge from Democrat Paul Bartow in the race for a Schuyler County Legislature seat in District 7, while Republican Gary Gray defeated Democrat Maggie Coffey as the two newcomers battled for a Legislature seat in District 8.

Mark Rondinaro (District 7) and Gary Gray (District 8).

Legislative District 7:
Mark Rondinaro (Republican): 343
Paul Bartow (Democrat)

Legislative District 8:
Gary Gray (Republican): 396
Maggie Coffey (Democrat):199

In other contested races:

Dix Justice: Kristina Vondracek def. Brian Eslinger, 520-404.
Catharine Town Supervisor: Rick Lewis def. John VanSoest, 226-202.
Cayuta Highway Superintendent: Thomas J. Beach def. Rocky Vail Sr., 107-64.
Orange Town Council: Norma Burris def. Darin Miller, 190-182
Tyrone Town Council (vote for 2): Edward Perry Sr. 237, Thomas R. Allen 219, Norman G. Knight 183.

Exhibit honors Burdett's Bicentennial

The Schuyler County Historical Society is honoring the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Village of Burdett with a special exhibit that opened Nov. 5, at the Society’s Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls. Features.


Watson will retire from Schuyler Hospital
in Feb.; Gould is appointed the next President

Jim Watson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Schuyler Hospital, has announced his plan to retire in February 2020. Rebecca Gould, Chief Financial Officer, has been appointed the next President by the Cayuga Health System Board of Directors. As part of the transition plan, Gould will step into the role of Chief Operating Officer on Oct. 14 and will assume the role of President in February. Watson was hired as President and CEO in Feburary 2016, after serving decades in hospital leadership roles elsewhere in the state.

"Working for Schuyler Hospital has been a great way to finish out my healthcare career," said Watson. "The support from the community is second-to-none here." Gould has worked at Schuyler Hospital since 2000, starting as a Medical Billing Representive and working her way up to CFO and Executive Director of Finance. She has a master's degree in Business Administration and an Advanced Certificate in Project Management from SUNY Empire State College.

Photo: Jim Watson and Rebecca Gould (Photos provided)

State Senator Tom O'Mara, left, and Montour Falls Mayor John King cut the ribbon at the ceremony marking completion of the newly reconstructed Mill Street Bridge above Shequagah Falls. Assemblyman Phil Palmesano is at right, with Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn next to him.


Ribbon-cutting marks reopening of bridge

A ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 25 on the Mill Street Bridge above Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls marked the reopening of that newly refurbished crossing. New York State helped finance the project through its BridgeNY program. On hand Friday were State Senator Tom O'Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Montour Falls Mayor John King, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, several county legislators, and various other officials. The bridge is owned by the county but located in the village of Montour Falls.

Photo: A 1949 Ford brought to the ceremony by Tony Specchio (with Dr. James Norton as passenger) was the ceremonial first vehicle to cross the bridge.


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Check out our Wine and Tourism page

We've updated our Wine and Tourism Page, with links to recent Chamber of Commerce blogs. Check it out here.

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You can write to: P.O. Box 365, Odessa, NY 14869

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And also:

Area schools' Honor Rolls are here.

Area historical photos can be found on History.

For full coverage of the 2013 Alice Trappler murder trial, you can click here.

For other recent Schuyler County news, click here.












This top corner space is available for advertising
by the month.


Click here or on the ad above to reach the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development website


Click on the ad above to reach the Rasa Spa website.




Would you like to help reduce underage alcohol use and drugs in Schuyler County? Then the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs is for you! We are looking for parents, students, concerned community members and professionals to join our cause in making Schuyler County a drug- free, safe environment for families and youth. We need you to help make this social change. Please visit our website here to find out how.

Still available: Tony Vickio's book, titled "Shifting Gears." You can order it on his website here.


Dealer/collector looking to buy groups of pre-1970 paper memorabilia: cards, magazines, posters, programs etc. Call Charlie Haeffner at 742-2772.

229 S. Catherine St., Montour Falls
(607) 210-6600

We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Read The Stoneware of Havana, N.Y. and Its Makers
by Allen F. Sweet.

A history of the manufacturing of Stoneware in that village (Montour Falls) from 1850-1888. More than 100 color photos.

Available at the Schuyler County Historical Society Museum.


A book of poetry by J.A. Bauman of Watkins Glen -- "words that God gave me to share with you." Available through Amazon.com.


A Christian-based autobiography written by Melinda Kreischer, pen name for a long-time Finger Lakes area resident. Ordering information can be found here.


My Wild Ride: The Untamed Life of a Girl with No Self-esteem, an autobiography by ex-Throughbred trainer Susan Bump -- who grew up in Montour Falls -- is now available in e-book formats at major retailers including Amazon.com


Click on the ad below to go to the Schuyler County Transit schedule.


The Elizabeth Amisano Ovarian Cancer Education Fund
Live Like Liz, Inc.
P.O. Box 434
Watkins Glen NY 14891


Contact us about our ad rates

E-mail publisher@odessafile.com



A novel by Steve Piacente about a military cover-up, and about the ethical boundaries of journalism. For a closer look, click here.


The author, J.N. Brown, is a 2005 graduate of Odessa-Montour High School. He works at Corning Inc. To visit his website, click here.


An account of a daughter's eating disorder and her mother's seeming helplessness and desperation in the face of it -- and yet a story of hope, love and survival, and a lifeline to other parents dealing with obsessive behavior. $17.95 from ecwpress.com


A self-help guide to understanding the role of emotions, this book offers a four-step path to emotional mastery and freedom. $15.95 from Infinitypublishing.com


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Yes, we're still seeking donations

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Sponsors' Page

Check out our list of readers who have contributed to keeping this site going. Sponsors.

The number of visits to this site has been steadily growing -- about 20,000 a week -- as readers in all 50 states and dozens of countries check out what's happening in Schuyler County.

Statistics are from an online tracking service, DeepMetrix Live Stats.


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here.


An eternal message of lights, hope and faith

The week following Susan Haeffner's passing was fraught with signs -- most of them light-based, and one in the form of a vision. Here the editor relives those days in an effort to pass along a message of hope and faith. Message.

Above: The Aurora Borealis (From the Internet--as seen in Scandinavia)


Oh, the famous faces I've seen

The editor has been thinking about fame (a commodity foreign to him personally), and about the famous people he has encountered. Some thoughts on the subject. Famous.


The Sound and the Silence: A Memoir

Some things in life can mean a great deal -- can embody hope and dreams ... and memories. The sailboat is one such thing for the author. Silence.



Some sports stories and essays inside

Check out our sports related stories and essays, located at the bottom of the Sports Page.


Some special feature packages

From stories of life years ago along Steam Mill Road, to stories by the editor -- you can find them at the bottom of Features.



The editor's long search for some childhood icons

When he was a child, the editor let fear get the better of him while he was watching a pair of beloved TV heroes in peril. The scar from that experience lingered for decades. For a journey through what the editor's son calls "a weird obsession," click here.

Above: One of the heroes in question.


A cabin in the woods

The editor travels, figuratively, back in time to an old haunt, familiar faces and warm memories. Cabin.




© The Odessa File 2019
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

(607) 742-2772

E-mail chaef@aol.com