Click on the ad above to reach the Glenora website.


Seneca Harbor Station & Captain Bill's

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


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


The Odessa File's
Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism

Click here or on the ad above to reach a Chamber of Commerce website.


Odessa Wine
and Spirits

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

Send us an email to to let us know what you would like us to have in stock.


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



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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 the ad below to reach the website.


Weekend Scoreboard

NY State Tournament

Schuyler Storm's Lucas Hoffman finishes 4th in 116-pound weight class.

Girls Basketball:
Sect. IV, Class C Tourney

Watkins Glen 42,
Bainbridge-Guilford 20

Stories on Sports.

Photo: Watkins Glen's Rachel Vickio shoots.


A point of positivity ...

The editor struggles with his writing in trying to make a point. Plus, a new project. Column.

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


A column by Assemblyman Phil Palmesano

Assemblyman Palmesano calls for action to address the rising number of assaults occurring inside New York's prisons, and urges the Hochul administration to treat correction officers and staff with respect. His column is titled "Prison closures: insulting and dangerous." Column.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano


Legislators seek comment period extension

State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano have sent a letter to Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos seeking an extension of at least 90 days in the period the DEC has set for public comment on the proposed expansion of the Padua Ridge gravel pit. Government.


Jim Scott, Rebecca Gould join The Essentials

Longtime youth basketball leader Jim Scott and Cayuga Health Vice President-Finance Rebecca Gould have been added to the list of The Essentials, a group of 40 outstanding Schuyler County residents or natives who have impacted life here or elsewhere. With the two latest inductees, there are now 20 men and 20 women among the honorees. None of The Essentials are in the Schuyler County Hall of Fame, but perhaps will be someday. Essentials.


A weekly column from
State Senator O'Mara

State Senator Tom O'Mara provides us with a weekly column -- this one titled "Pumping the brakes on NY’s all-electric school bus mandate.” Column.

Left: State Sen. Tom O'Mara


Repair Cafes planned in Montour Falls, Hector

The Village of Montour Falls and the Town of Hector are partnering to bring two Repair Cafes to Schuyler County -- one in April in Montour Falls, and one in June in Hector. Repair Cafes are locally run, pop-up events that promote the power of repair as an alternative to throwing things out. Repair.


And inside:

--Concert set at Saint James' Church. Features.
--O'Mara, Palmesano, colleagues: Let's pause electric bus mandate in state. Government.
--ARPA facade applications being sought. Business.
--'Inherit the Wind' to be presented in Trumansburg. Features.
--O'Mara seeks nominations for State Senate's Veterans Hall of Fame. Govt.
--O'Mara seeks nominations for Women of Distinction award. Govt.
--Mission Foods links with WGI race. Business.
--Public Health Fellows undertake project on Cancer Screening Paid Leave policies. People.


The Arc of

To find out about The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler -- it services, its mission, its vision -- check out its website here.

To reach the STATEMENTS website, click here.

The falls behind Dr. Kevin Field's office in Burdett.


Donations gratefully accepted ...

Since The Odessa File operates primarily on the strength of advertising, its economic well-being can become a bit tenuous, especially when advertisers opt not to continue on these pages.

Accordingly, any reader contributions are very welcome. Anyone wishing to send a donation can do so by mailing it to: The Odessa File, P.O. Box 365, Odessa, NY 14869.

Click on the ad below to register.


Take advantage of our Ad Rates ...

The Odessa File operates primarily on the strength of advertising, although a few readers send contributions to help the cause.

Ad space is always available, in different page locations, but currently key page sponsorships are also available: atop the Forum Page (at $75/month) and PSA Page (at $50/month).

For a look at our Ad Rate chart, click here. For more information, contact The Odessa File by email ( or by phone at 607-742-2772.

Looking to buy baseball, football, basketball, hockey, non-sports cards, mostly pre-1988. Call
Charlie Haeffner at (607) 742-2772.




And inside

Read the latest Letters to the Editor on the Forum Page.

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.

Bodizsar Francis Wood, infant baby, of Van Etten.
Patricia J. “Pat” Fell, 84, of Montour Falls.
Loretta Manning, 92, formerly of Montour Falls.
Thomas Michael Cheplick, 95, of Elmira Heights.
Donald B. Friends, 74, of Willseyville, NY.
Michael E. Learn, 73, of New Port Richey, Florida.
Rosemary E. Jenkins, 63, of Montour Falls.
Richard "Griff" Griffith, 80, of Burdett.
Karen Kress, 69, of Watkins Glen.
Dawn Renee Pennypacker, 55, of Montour Falls.
Linda Rose (Smolos) Smith, 65, of Beaver Dams.
Robert Joseph Baumgardner, Sr., 69, of Burdett.
Joan C. Kinner, 74, of Odessa.

To reach the Famous Brands website, click here.


Dozens voice concerns about gravel-pit plan

Two in-person hearings bring out dozens of residents and officials who oppose or want more time to analyze the Padua Ridge gravel pit expansion proposal. Padua.

Photo: One of the hearing speakers, Schuyler County Legislator Michael Lausell.


Road aid restoration sought by officials

A state senator, assemblymen and other area officials hold a Big Flats news conference opposing the cuts to road aid in Gov. Hochul's budget proposal. Government.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano at news conference.


Students wish Hoffman well at upcoming States

Odessa-Montour High School students, on their last day before a week off from classes, cheered wrestling standout Lucas Hoffman Friday -- their last chance to do so before he competes Feb. 23-24 at the NYS Wrestling Championships in Albany. Sports.

Photo: O-M's Lucas Hoffman after school Friday.

Students, staff bid farewell to Hanlon Elementary Principal Rob Francischelli, leaving after 9 years in the post. Schools.

From left: Rotary's Emily Peckham takes a photo of, from left, honoree Jenna Wolfe, O-M's Judy Kastenhuber and Rotary President Nan Woodworth.


Wolfe, Cowan honored as Students of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Jenna Wolfe and Watkins Glen High School senior Vey Cowan were honored Thursday by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Students of the Month for February.

Wolfe was introduced by O-M's Judy Kastenhuber, who described the honoree as "a kind and caring" person who loves animals and the outdoors. Wolfe, a member of Student Council, Rotary Interact, and Odessa-Montour's Diversity Club -- and who helped plan last year's prom and was on a recent Student Interview Committee in the search for the next O-M 7-12 principal -- plans to attend Corning Community College and then a larger school, keeping her options open as to a career.

Cowan was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood but nominated by teacher Melissa Kissell, who said in a prepared statement that the honoree "is a leader and great role model to all her peers. She acts and leads with compassion and kindness." Cowan, the best bowler on her school team, is involved in Art Club, National Honor Society, Student Council, Diversity Club, and the school's recently created food pantry called the Dub G Market. She plans to attend SUNY New Paltz in Fine Arts.

Photo: WGHS senior Vey Cowan at the Rotary luncheon where she was honored.


Fazzary wins key honor from state Association

Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph G. Fazzary has received the prestigious Frank S. Hogan Award -- the highest prosecutorial award in the state -- from the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York. People.

Photo: DA Joseph Fazzary at the winter conference of the District Attorneys Association.


In the sun along the canal ...

The photo at right was provided Feb. 4th by photographer Maggie Field, who snapped it in Watkins Glen and wrote: "Caught them yesterday afternoon in the sun along the canal ... I was about a football field away from them ... I'm thinking hatchlings in the spring."

Photo by Maggie Field


A column by Odessa
Mayor Gerry Messmer

The mayor provides us with another in his series of columns on what is happening in Odessa and the surrounding area. This time he discusses the village's upcoming water and sidewalk projects. Column.

Photo: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer

Lexi Strobel and her father, Skip, an O-M teacher and track coach who coached Lexi last fall when she was running cross country as the school's lone competitor. With School Board approval, the way is clear for a full team in the fall. Lexi's father plans to apply for the coaching job.


O-M Board OKs cross country, says farewell to Hanlon Elementary Principal Rob Francischelli

The Odessa-Montour School Board on Feb. 8 unanimously approved the formation of boys and girls cross country teams for next fall -- a goal of 7th grader Lexi Strobel, who had permission to run last fall as a one-person modified team for the school. Lexi, who lobbied the board for expansion of the sport, says 27 other students have expressed an interest in participating, with only three of them currently playing other sports. Most of the 27 students would compete on the varsity level.

The Board also: approved the resignation of Rob Francischelli, the Hanlon Elementary School principal for nine years, who is departing to become principal of the GST BOCES Coopers Plains campus. The board thanked him for his service, and approved educator Michael Siebert, a retiree from Campbell, as Hanlon interim principal. Siebert will take charge immediately after the district's February break.

Photo: Outgoing Hanlon Principal Rob Francischelli, left, and incoming Hanlon Interim Principal Michael Siebert.

  D'Alleva seeks help from O'Mara, Palmesano as district faces Executive Budget fallout

Watkins Glen School District Superintendent Kai D'Alleva has contacted State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano to enlist their aid in countering the education funding proposals -- the sizable cutbacks in state aid -- in Gov. Kathy Hochul's Executive Budget.

Photo: Superintendent Kai D'Alleva

O-M School Board President Rob Halpin, left, congratulates
Jim Nolan on his appointment.


Nolan selected as the next O-M superintendent

The Odessa-Montour School Board on Thursday, Jan. 25th approved B.C. Cate Elementary School Building Principal James P. Nolan as its next School Superintendent. The appointment, taking effect July 1, will initially make Nolan the Deputy Superintendent for a transition period covering the final six months of the calendar year. He will assume the superintendency on Jan. 1, 2025, succeeding Tracy Marchionda, who has been the interim superintendent for more than a year and will continue in that position to that date. Board President Rob Halpin said the selection was made by the board following an "internal evaluation" of the district's needs. Nolan, in his fourth year at B.C. Cate, has a background in law enforcement and as an elementary school teacher, and served for three years as the district's Tech Director. He lives in Montour Falls, where he serves on the Village Board.

Photo: James P. Nolan at the school Thursday evening.

  Italian Festival canceled for 2024; looks to '25

The Italian American Festival Committee issued a statement on Jan. 23 saying it "has decided to postpone the festival until 2025. We have exhausted our efforts to obtain an amusement ride company, but due to scheduling conflicts there were no available dates that worked for with our venue. We are committed to bringing a quality festival to the community and have listened to everyone’s concerns regarding the lack of rides, which has greatly impacted this decision. With that being said, the committee is not sitting back for a year, but will continue our efforts for planning a wonderful festival for 2025 and working towards obtaining rides. We will also continue our fund-raising efforts to help us move into 2025. Anyone interested in joining our small committee, please notify us through our Facebook page."

  Ice Bar ends its weekend run at Harbor Hotel

The annual three-night Fire & Ice celebration hosted by the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel concluded Saturday night, Jan. 27. The Ice Bar, as it is popularly known, featured sculpted dry-ice-formed drinking stations and other sculpted figures -- such as the seat in the photo. The sculptures were protected, between party hours, from the weekend's unseasonably warm weather by blanket coverings to maintain the dry ice's integrity. Inside the hotel, food and wine stations featuring local businesses were in abundance each night. The Fire & Ice event, which required advance tickets, raises awareness and money for the Schuyler Health Foundation.

  Fire damages home in Montour; cause probed

Firefighters from Montour Falls, Odessa, Beaver Dams and Watkins Glen were called shortly after 11 a.m. Sunday to a fire in a house on Owego Street in Montour Falls. Nobody was in the house, and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire, which was located in the rear of the structure and extinguished quickly, was under Investigation.

Congressman Nick Langworthy addresses veterans at Holy Cow.

  Langworthy meets with veterans in Watkins

Congressman Nick Langworthy mingled with, and spoke to, military veterans Friday morning, Jan. 26 in a meeting sponsored by the Schuyler County Veterans Service Agency at the Holy Cow restaurant in Watkins Glen. Langworthy discussed various issues of the day -- the budget deficit, border crossings, government shutdowns, and the need for term limits -- and told the two-dozen-plus veterans on hand that "if you have issues, we're here to help." He insisted the national Department of Veterans Affairs must be fully funded, and that accordingly, veterans should be provided with necessary services "as close to home as possible." The county VSA sponsors meetings with guest speakers at Holy Cow on the third Friday of each month.

Photo in text: Congressman Nick Langworthy, right, with Schuyler County Sheriff Kevin Rumsey, who served in the Marine Corps.

For more information, click on the ad below.

For more information, click on the ad below


Ariana Marmora named Asst. District Attorney

Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph G. Fazzary has announced the appointment of Ariana Marmora to the position of Assistant District Attorney. Marmora was born and raised in Schuyler County, and she still manages her family farm in Hector. She is a graduate of Watkins Glen High School, Cornell University (Summa Cum Laude), and the City University of New York Law School. She comes to the office from the Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted a full felony caseload. People.

Photo: Ariana Marmora

Moon Shot

Photographer Maggie Field provided this view of the moon that she recorded on the cold night of Jan. 21, 2024.


A placid winter day at Shequaga Falls ...

Watkins Glen photographer Marti Dense sent us the photo at left, snapped by her in early January at Shequaga Falls in Montour Falls.

"It's so worth a visit ... to listen to a few minutes of calm," wrote Dense of her time there.


--Photo by Marti Dense


St. James' medical mission continues

St. James’ Episcopal Church Senior Warden Kate LaMoreaux presented a $5,000 gift earlier this month (left) to the Friends of Bequia Hospital President Shaverne Ollivierre -- part of ongoing support for the hospital by the St. James' church, located in Watkins Glen. People.


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

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel
on the Seneca Lake waterfront.
16 N. Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY
(607) 535-6116

Upscale, contemporary rooms and suites plus an American restaurant, an indoor pool and a fitness center.


Pet of the Week: Charlie

Name: Charlie
Sex: Neutered Male
Age: 6 months
Breed: Pit Bull
Size: Medium to Large when grown.

Charlie is all puppy! Sweet, lovable, curious, puppy! Charlie hasn't had the benefit of a lot of training or structure, but at only 6 months old, he's like a little sponge and is trying hard to learn the rules and be the best boy he can be. Charlie has so much potential to be a great family pet for someone who will help him to learn his basic lessons and navigate the world. He is loving, affectionate and so much fun! He would love a home with an active family.

The adoption fee for puppies is $275. All have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies, kennel cough, DHLPP, have had a complete fecal analysis, been treated for internal and external parasites, are heartworm tested and on heartworm preventative and flea and tick preventative, and are microchipped.

Stop in on Monday and Friday from 11-1, Saturdays from 10-1, or Sunday from 3-5 without an appointment or call us at 607-594-2255 to schedule an appointment. Or visit our website at to fill out an adoption application to get the process started.

For other recent Schuyler County news, click here.

WGHS senior Drake Croft addresses the Rotary Club.


Rotary Club honors 2 Students of the Month

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club honored Watkins Glen High School senior Drake Croft and Odessa-Montour High School senior Aiden Summers Jan. 18 as its Students of the Month for January. Croft was introduced by teacher Tammy Kellogg, who called him "an exceptional human who embodies the Rotary motto of service above self." Croft, a member of the Odessa Fire Department for four years, said his goal is to become a New York State Trooper. Summers was introduced by his wrestling coach, Dan Batchelder, who described the honoree as "a leader and role model" who has "grown into a fine young man." Summers, who also played on the varsity football team this year, hopes to pursue a career in welding or attend college for mechanical engineering.

Photo in text: Odessa-Montour senior Aiden Summers.


Padua Ridge expansion planned; hearings set

A proposal filed with the State Department of Environmental Conservation calls for the expansion of the Padua Ridge sand and gravel mine abutting the Watkins Glen State Park from an existing 14.33 acres to about 75.38 acres.

The 60.95-acre expansion, which the developer, Martin Wojcik, president of It's Greener Now, Inc., says will not cause significant noise or have any impact on the state park, will be the subject of two public hearings: a virtual one at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 on WebEx Events, and an in-person one at 2 p.m. on Feb. 13 at the Seneca Lake Events Center at Clute Park in Watkins Glen.

Comments can be filed through email at through Feb. 24. The project details were unveiled in a DEC bulletin.

Want to phone The Odessa File?

You can reach us at (607) 742-2772

Click on the ad below to reach the
Seneca Harbor Station and the
Captain Bill's Seneca Lake Cruises site.

The Seneca Legacy dinner cruise ship.


Take advantage of our Ad Rates ...

The Odessa File operates primarily on the strength of advertising, although a few readers send contributions to help the cause.

Ad space is always available, in different page locations, but currently key page sponsorships are also available: atop the Schools Page (at $150/month), the Forum Page (at $75/month). and the PSA Page (at $50/month).

For a look at our Ad Rate chart, click here. For more information, contact The Odessa File by email ( or by phone at 607-742-2772.


Donations gratefully accepted ...

Since The Odessa File operates primarily on the strength of advertising, its economic well-being can become a bit tenuous, especially when advertisers opt not to continue on these pages.

Accordingly, any reader contributions are very welcome. Anyone wishing to send a donation can do so by mailing it to: The Odessa File, P.O. Box 365, Odessa, NY 14869.


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 To see the ad, click here.

Left: Cover art by Jon Haeffner

Firefighters exit the Longhouse after the fire was extinguished.


Fire damages rooms at Longhouse Lodge

Firefighters were called to the Longhouse Lodge Motel, 3625 Route 14 outside of Watkins Glen on Wednesday evening, Jan. 10th, in response to a fire there. Watkins Glen Fire Chief Jason Hudson told TV news that flames and smoke could be seen as firefighters arrived, and that a portion of the Lodge was damaged before the fire was knocked down. But affected rooms were empty and no one was reported injured. The cause was under investigation.


Schuyler Legislature handles short agenda

The Schuyler County Legislature on Jan. 8th breezed through an abbreviated agenda, more than half of the 16 resolutions dealing with appointments to various boards, commissions and committees. Legislators also heard from Administrator Shawn Rosno that the county is well ahead of 2023 sales tax revenue projections, and listened to a Meads Hill Road resident express frustration with a lack of information regarding a proposed housing development there. He was told that legislators have little information themselves-- that the matter, in the words of one, is "99 percent a town (of Dix) issue."

Photo: Legislators Michael Lausell, left, and Laurence Jaynes talk before the meeting.

WGHS senior Johnny VanScoyk and Athletic Director Rod Weeden as VanScoyk was honored at the School Board session.


VanScoyk honored; 1-year softball merger OKd

Watkins Glen High School senior Johnny VanScoyk was honored Jan. 8th at a meeting of the School Board for qualifying this past fall for the New York State cross- country championship tournament. VanScoyk also runs on the WGHS indoor and outdoor track teams.

The School Board also:

--Approved a request by Odessa-Montour to include O-M softball players on the Watkins Glen team this spring, as they were last year. The agreement is for one season, future action depending on O-M's ability to field a complete varsity squad.

--Preliminarily discussed a move toward creation of a girls' flag football team. Further study, including surveying students, will determine whether the sport is adopted, and if so, whether it is as a club sport or, perhaps, as a Section IV competitor.

Photo: Certificate honoring Johnny VanScoyk.

Ryan Willett inks the celebratory signing form from Alfred State College. Flanking him are his parents Stacie and Carl.


WGHS's Willett signs with Alfred State College

Watkins Glen High School senior football and basketball standout Ryan Willett (right) signed a celebratory form Jan. 4th committing him to Alfred State College, where he plans to play football in the fall. Willett -- who in the past two seasons gained 1,686 rushing yards and 338 receiving yards, scored 18 rushing touchdowns and intercepted 10 passes for the Schuyler Storm varsity football team-- plans to play the wide receiver position. His father Carl, who played a season of football for Alfred State during his college days, said his link to the school was not a factor in Ryan's decision to go there.


Blowers re-elected as Chair of Legislature

Republican Carl Blowers was elected on Jan. 3rd to his fifth consecutive year as Chairman of the Schuyler County Legislature. The vote, at the Legislature's annual reorganizational meeting, was unanimous. Legislators Gary Gray and Mark Rondinaro, re-elected to four-year terms in November, were also sworn in to office. Govt.

Photo: Carl Blowers

Members of the WGHS girls varsity soccer team, new inductees.


Spahalski, soccer team join lift Hall of Fame

Watkins Glen High School junior Julia Spahalski and the school's girls varsity soccer team have been inducted into the Lake Hawks (formerly Senecas) Weightlifting Hall of Fame. Spahalski set two state powerlifting records in 2019 -- in the deadlift and bench press -- with the World Natural Powerlifting Federation that have not been broken. The soccer team weight-trained three days a week in the summers of 2021, 2022 and 2023 to enhance stamina during the season, and won sectional championships in 2022 and 2023.

For other recent Schuyler
County news, click here.

Congressman Nick Langworthy, left, with Montour Falls Mayor Jim Ryan during their meeting.


Langworthy visits Hop Notch, Montour mayor

Congressman Nick Langworthy, as part of a visit to the Southern Tier on Dec. 28th, stopped by the Hop Notch Brewing Co. on Hayes Road in Montour Falls for a tour of that business conducted by owner Jeff Klossner, and then visited the office of Montour Falls Mayor Jim Ryan, where the two men -- along with other village and county officials -- discussed some of the village's ongoing projects and ways in which Langworthy might help. The Congressman, along with the rest of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, is on a break from the day-to-day rigors of Washington, D.C.

Photo in text: Hop Notch Brewing Co. owner Jeff Klossner, left, with Congressman Nick Langworthy on the brewery's second-floor balcony.

From left: Legislators Jim Howell, Gary Gray, David Reed and Michael Lausell at the year-end meeting.

  Legislature wraps up 2023 with year-end meet

The Schuyler County Legislature on Dec. 27th concluded its 2023 business with a brief (eight-minute) year-end session. Among 18 resolutions were ones:
-- Authorizing the creation and filling of a part-time investigator post in the Public Defender's Office;
-- Authorizing a salary grade for the post of Deputy County Administrator, a job which County Administrator Shawn Rosno will soon advertise to fill;
-- Authorizing an increase in the hours of Veterans Service Officer Dewayne Butler to full-time. That gives the agency two full-timers: Director Kristine Gardner and Butler.
-- Authorizing the appointment of John H. Terry and Laury E. Ward to three-year terms on the Schuyler County Industrial Development Agency.

Photo in text: Stacy Husted, Clerk of the Legislature.

  Youth robotics team advances to regionals

Mechancial Meltdown, the youth robotics team based in Watkins Glen, has advanced to the Excelsior Regional Championship for the 7th straight year. Features.

  At Clute Park ...

Photographer Marti Dense sent the photo above with this message: "Eagles have been active the last couple of weeks at Clute Park at the south end of Seneca Lake! You can't miss them this time of year! Picture taken 12/26/2023."

Left: Odessa-Montour honoree Gordan Janack. Right. WGHS honoree Thomas Field.

  Rotary honors 3 as Students of the Month

Watkins Glen High School seniors Thomas Field and Jaymes Forker and Odessa-Montour High School senior Gordan Janack were honored Dec. 21st by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as Students of the Month, Field for November and Forker and Janack for December.

Forker was introduced by teacher Mary DeBolt, who called him a "sincere" individual with "a positive attitude" who is a "good example for his peers" -- including those in his three varsity sports: soccer (where he was a divisional All-Star), wrestling and track. He is planning to study electrical engineering in college.

Field was nominated by WGHS's Ralph Diliberto, whose comments were read in his absence by Field's aunt, Maggie Field, the school's Library Media Specialist. Diliberto, who has for years weight-trained Field (who was a divisional All-Star on the WGHS/O-M football team), called him "selfless" and a "stellar performer." Maggie Field added that her nephew is a "polite, caring and knowledge-seeking person." His goal: to become a physical therapist.

Janack was introduced by O-M teacher Doug Chapman, who said the honoree has an excellent work ethic that was exhibited when he was employed last summer by the school custodial maintenance department. The honoree, Chapman added, is "a super polite, nice kid" who told Rotarians his goal after graduation is to "get a job," possibly as an O-M custodian.

Photo: Jaymes Forker at the Dec. 21 Rotary luncheon.

Retiring O-M employee Mary Crippen, left, and her successor, Jennifer Stevenson, who was appointed by the School Board at its meeting Thursday.

  O-M School Board bids Mary Crippen farewell

Mary Crippen, the Odessa-Montour School district's Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent and Board of Education Secretary who is retiring at the end of the month, was honored at the board's Dec. 14th session -- with Friday, Dec. 15 proclaimed as Mary Crippen Day in the district. Superintendent Tracy Marchionda read a board proclamation honoring Crippen, a district employee for 36 years whose last day in the office will be Dec. 21st. Crippen told the board it has been "a pleasure working here."

7th grader Lexi Strobel asks BOE to consider adding boys and girls cross-country teams at the school. Schools.

  Chamber holds its annual meeting at Glenora

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual membership meeting Dec. 12th at Glenora Wine Cellars' Veraisons restaurant, reviewing the past year and looking ahead to the next -- including approving a new budget and a new slate of officers, including 2024 Board Chair Kerry Keller, Glenora's general manager. Chamber Executive Director Nigar Hale and other officials spoke, and videos of interviews with the Chamber's recent Tribute winners were shown.

Photo: Kerry Keller, the new Chamber board chair. She led a toast to cap the meeting.

  Odessa-Montour voters OK capital project

Voters in the Odessa-Montour school district on Dec. 12th approved, by a 116-22 margin, a capital improvement project with a maximum cost of $22,514,000. The project calls for reconstruction and rehabilitation of existing structures, site improvements, furniture and equipment, with $3.2 million of the cost coming from a reserve fund. The rest will include annual tax levies offset by available state aid.

  Veterans Holiday Party held at Harbor Hotel

More than 100 veterans were on hand Dec. 12th for a Veterans Holiday Party at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The event was organized by the Schuyler County Veterans Service Agency, which strives to provide gatherings for those who have served in the armed forces. Included were free raffles of goods provided by local businesses, dancing, and a visit from Santa Claus.

Photo: Dancing was a feature of the Veterans Holiday Party. (Photo provided)

  Legislature appoints Rosno as administrator

The Schuyler County Legislature on Dec. 11th, in a 7-0 vote, approved the appointment of interim County Administrator Shawn Rosno as the Administrator for a term extending through 2024 at a salary of $160,929. Rosno, who has held the interim post for four months following the departure of his predecessor, Fonda Chronis, was one of four applicants. The Legislature opted not to interview the other three, a point that Legislator Mark Rondinaro opposed. He nonetheless voted in favor of the appointment. Rosno thanked the legislators, saying "I hope I live up to your expectations." He also reported that Schuyler reached its 2023 Sales Tax target by mid-November, and that any excess afterward "will be reserves."

Photo: Shawn Rosno at the Legislature meeting.


Members of sectional title teams honored

Watkins Glen High School's girls varsity soccer and swim teams were honored Dec. 11 at the district School Board meeting.

The two teams won Section IV, Class C championships, the soccer squad for the 2nd straight year, and the swim team for the 7th straight year.

Story on Schools.


Dawn Burlew named president of WGI

The search for the next president of Watkins Glen International has ended close to home. Long-time Corning Incorporated director and lifelong Southern Tier resident Dawn Burlew has been named the first woman to hold the position, taking office on January 3rd. Business.

Photo: Dawn Burlew (Photo by Sean Lukasik)


Seneca Santa receives annual delivery of gifts

The annual delivery of gifts purchased by Seneca Santa on a wholesale basis from Hesselson's of Elmira Heights occurred in Watkins Glen on Dec. 6 -- with WGHS students helping out. People.

Photo: Offloading the truck.

Santa & Mrs. Claus were the traditional highlight of the parade.


Watkins Glen holds its 30th Village Christmas

The 30th annual Watkins Glen Village Christmas started at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, just as the day's rain dwindled -- which added to enjoyment of the festival. The event included a tree lighting in Gifford Park, face-painting, fireworks, vendors, a petting zoo and an annual parade. Winners in the parade were:
Best Fire Truck: Montour Falls Fire Department.
Best Christmas Around the World Theme: Maguire Cars.
Most Overall Christmas Spirit: The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler.
Best Tractor:
Cub Scouts Pack 65.
Judge's Choice: Three Pond Ranch

Photo: An inhabitant at Santa's Toy Shop on Franklin Street.

(For story and more photos, see Features.)

--To see a collection of Molly Batrowny photos of the Village Christmas celebration, click here.


Village cops moving toward Ride-Along policy

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Dec. 5th heard from Village Police Sergeant in Charge Ethan Mosher on his department's plan to institute a Ride-Along policy whereby citizens who meet limited criteria could accompany an officer on his or her rounds on a day agreed to in advance. The intent, according to a 10-page memorandum: to provide an opportunity "to observe and experience, first-hand, various functions" of the department. "The term 'ride-along,'" it added, "includes riding as a passenger with an officer on patrol or observing the work day of members engaged in other functions." It includes an "Assumption of Risk," whereby the rider understands "the inherent dangers involved in police work" and understands "I may be exposed to such dangers." The board expressed support of the idea -- which Mosher said follows in the footsteps of many police units across the state -- with Mayor Laurie DeNardo instructing that the plan be sent to the village's insurance agents and lawyer for their opinions.

Photo: Mayor Laurie DeNardo at the meeting.


Moon over Schuyler

Marti Dense sent in this photo from Nov. 27th showing a Beaver Moon overlooking the hills of Schuyler County. The Full Moon in November is called a Beaver Moon, named because this is the time of year when beavers build their winter dams.


Marmor named Assistant County Attorney

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman has announced his appointment of Montour Falls resident Sophie Marmor as an Assistant County Attorney. Government.

Photo: Assistant County Attorney Sophie Marmor (Photo provided)


Skye Honrath repeats as Schuyler Fall MVP

Watkins Glen soccer standout Skye Honrath, who led her team to its second straight Section IV, Class C championship, has been selected for the second straight autumn as The Odessa File's Schuyler Fall MVP. She tops a list of All-Schuyler, All-Sports All-Stars -- First, Second and Third Teams -- that appears on Sports.


Photo: Skye Honrath


Watkins board tables move on truck financing

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Nov. 21 put on hold any decision on a new aerial ladder truck for the fire department while it gathers more information on possible grants or other options. On the table Tuesday was a potential lease/purchase plan, but Mayor Laurie DeNardo said she'd prefer to "sit down, talk and come up with a plan" before financing the $1.5 million vehicle. Added Trustee Peter Cherock: "We want to do it right." The truck would replace a 24-year-old vehicle now used.

The board also:
--Was told by Village Clerk Fred Warrick that live-streaming of board meetings has been delayed due to "a little snag," but should be operational soon.
--Altered financing of Phase 2 of the Water Systems Improvement Project, opting for a New York State EFC 0% interest loan as opposed to a Rural Development loan that carried an interest rate.

Photo in text: Mayor Laurie DeNardo at the meeting.


Veterans, families enjoy Thanksgiving meal

Almost 60 veterans and their families -- about 120 people in all -- were treated to a Thanksgiving dinner November 20th at Art & Nancy's eatery in Watkins Glen. First-graders at B.C. Cate Elementary School provided letters to the vets honoring them. People.

At right: One of the 48 B.C. Cate letters: "Thank you for your service. You are very brave."

From left in front of the Elks Lodge for the check presentation were the Elks' Foot Field, Evvie Amisano, Emily Amisano, D.J. Amisano, Luca Amisano, Christina Amisano, Mary Ellen Fraboni and Nancy Boyce from Live Like Liz, and Elks Exalted Ruler Louis DeBolt with his grandson Benjamin.

$800 presented to Live Like Liz

Watkins Glen Elks Lodge 1546 on Nov. 18 presented a check for $700 (raised through a chicken barbecue on Nov. 12) and $100 raised at the Elks Lodge bar to the Live Like Liz, Inc. organization. Live Like Liz was created in memory of Elizabeth Amisano, who died in 2005 at the age of 20, the victim of ovarian cancer. The foundation has raised funds since then to provide scholarships as well as grants for cancer research.

Chuck Franzese was one of many vendors at the bazaar. He was raising money for St. Mary's through the sale of racing memorabilia.


St. Mary's holds its annual bazaar in Watkins

The annual St. Mary's Holiday Bazaar was held Nov. 18 at St. Mary's of the Lake Parish Center in Watkins Glen. The event featured a Christmas Cafe; a Granny's Cupboard with baked goods, candies and pies; two raffles; antique and newer items; a cake booth, and a variety of vendors -- along with a visit by Santa Claus, who met with visiting kids in Santa's Workshop.

Photo: Two of the many bazaar workers: Joan Argetsinger, left, and Midge Franzese.

Dancers lean during a musical number on opening night of "Seussical the Musical" in the WGHS Auditorium Friday.


'Seussical the Musical' ends its Watkins run

The Lake Country Players' production of "Seussical the Musical" was presented for the third and final time Sunday afternoon, Nov. 19 in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. The show featured favorite Dr. Seuss characters like The Cat in the Hat (played by Alex Gill) and Horton the Elephant (Brenden Wendling) along with Gertrude and her one-feather tail (Kelsey Gill) and Amazing Mayze (Annabeth Wheaton). The play was directed by Enaw Elonge with musical director Jenn Kraemer and accompanist Brian Cerow.

Photo: Alex Gill as the Cat in the Hat and Anne Roney as JoJo during opening night.


Schuyler Legislature OKs $65,178,957 budget

Following a 20-minute talk by interim County Administrator Shawn Rosno describing the proposed 2024 budget, the Schuyler County Legislature on Nov. 13 unanimously approved it. The $65,178,957 spending plan calls for a tax levy of $10,934,051, down 2.25% from this year. The budget, compiled under Rosno's watch after he was installed to replace the departed Fonda Chronis, was described by Rosno as "solid," while the process in shaping it was termed by one Legislator as "seamless" and by another as "very nicely done."

Photo: Administrator Shawn Rosno at the Legislature session.


Rotary honors Barr as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Hannah Barr was honored Nov. 16 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Student of the Month for November. Barr was introduced by English teacher Holly Campbell, who described the honoree as "bright, hard-working and incredibly kind" -- qualities "she demonstrates in every aspect of her life, with her peers, in athletics and within her community." Barr, who Campbell said possesses "a quiet brand of leadership," is president of National Honor Society, Student Council and the Senior Class, editor of the school Yearbook, and a member of Rotary Interact and the school's Student Advisory Group. She is planning a career in veterinary medicine.

Photo: Hannah Barr with English teacher Holly Campbell.


Cornell Alumni Affairs selects Lakewood Vineyards Chardonnay

Cornell Alumni Affairs, which created a wine club to highlight the talents of its alumni, has selected Lakewood Vineyards' 2022 Chardonnay for its 2023 collection of Alumni Wine. Business.


Photo: A bottle of Cornell Finger Lakes Chardonnay from Lakewood Vineyards. (Photo provided by Lakewood Vineyards)

Seneca Lodge's Gloria Brubaker cuts the ribbon, with family and government officials on hand for the event.


Ceremony marks 75 years of Seneca Lodge

The Seneca Lodge's long history in Watkins Glen -- 75 years -- was marked Tuesday with a celebratory ribbon-cutting attended by State Senator Tom O'Mara and representatives of the village, Schuyler County and the office of Congressman Nick Langworthy. Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nigar Hale emceed, calling the Brubaker family-owned and -operated restaurant/bar/lodge "an integral part of the fabric of our region" and "a living testament to Finger Lakes history." O'Mara presented a proclamation from the state honoring the Lodge, while co-owner Brett Brubaker related how the main Lodge building was constructed in 1948. Other speakers included interim County Administrator Shawn Rosno, and Sharon Murphy from Rep. Langworthy's office.

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara at the ceremony.


'Reading Reading Project' book shed opens door

The Reading Center Community Church is inviting readers of all ages to visit its new book shed and to “take a book, leave a book.” Features.

Photo: Some of the Reading project's books. (Provided)

Keynote speaker Gerry Messmer, left, and Rev. Jeffrey Tunnicliff, right, who offered an invocation and benediction, hold hands with members of American Legion Post 555 during the playing of a recording of "God Bless America" at the end of the ceremony.


Veterans Day observed in Watkins celebration

A turnout of 100 people observed Veterans Day Saturday during a ceremony in the Watkins Glen Community Center. The event, organized by American Legion Post 555, offered a keynote speech by Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer, a retired Army Lt. Colonel, who praised the county Veterans Service Agency directed by Navy veteran Kristine Gardner. Messmer discussed the challenges facing returning service people, and urged everyone to thank a vet whenever the opportunity arises. A meal was provided afterward that was prepared by Erick Thorpe, with baked goods by Helen Specchio. People.

Photo in text: Keynote speaker Gerry Messmer.

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Watkins Glen's Annette Rodriguez has published her second book of poetry, titled "Surfaced. See me, Understand Me." It is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and on her website 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


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


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The Elizabeth Amisano Ovarian Cancer Education Fund
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Watkins Glen NY 14891


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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


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


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.




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Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

(607) 742-2772