Click on the ad above to reach a Fitzsimmons for Judge video.


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!


The Great Escape
Ice Cream Parlor

221 S. Franklin St.,
Watkins Glen

Family owned since 1982

Hours: 12 noon-8 p.m.

--Vegan Options
--Gluten-free Options
--Homemade Hard Ice Cream
--Homemade Chocolates

(607) 535-7354

Other locations in the
Finger Lakes where you can
find The Great Escape's homemade hard ice cream:

The Grist Iron, Wright's Beverages, FLX Wienery, Sunset View Creamery, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, FLX Fry Bird


Click on the ad below
to learn more.


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

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 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 Cayuga Health's website.


Monday Scoreboard

Boys Soccer

Trumansburg 5, Watkins Glen 0

Girls Soccer

Marathon 4, Watkins Glen 1


Stories on Sports


Photo: Watkins Glen's Collin Gaylord


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: "Honoring the heroes of emergency preparedness." Column.

Left: State Sen. Tom O'Mara


Morse sets CCC soccer mark with 7-goal game

Watkins Glen High School graduate Hannah Morse, a freshman soccer player at Corning Community College, set a school single-game goal-scoring record Sunday when she put seven shots in the net as her team defeated Jefferson Community College 7-1 in Watertown. She now has 13 goals in six games. CCC is 3-3.

Photo: Hannah Morse


Eslinger seeking Town of Dix Justice post

Democrat Brian T. Eslinger has announced he is running for the position of Town of Dix Justice in the Nov. 5 election. Eslinger, a member of the Watkins Glen Planning Board, narrowly lost when he ran for the Schuyler County Legislature last year. He lives in Watkins Glen. Government.

Photo at right: Brian T. Eslinger (Provided)

Click on the ad below to reach the Seneca Shine website.

Click on the ad below to reach the Saks For Judge website.


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:

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




And inside

--A ribbon-cutting is set for Sept. 12 at Lakeside Resort's newly opened restaurant, 3812 Bistro, along Rte. 14 north of Watkins Glen. Business.

--A League of Women Voters reception on Sept. 11 will focus on New York's new early voting law. Government.

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.

Frank H. Simpson, 71, formerly of Watkins Glen.
Bonnie C. Eberhardt, 79, of Cayuta.
Walter James Cunningham, 81, of Addison.
Wayne J. Simpkins, 72, of Odessa.
Charles Gregory "Harry" Herrick, 63, of Rock Stream.
Patrick W. McDaniel, 61, of Montour Falls.
Robert H. Lee, 74, of Watkins Glen.
Darlene C. Simpson, 81, of Cayuta.
Frank B. "Mort" Morton, 96, of Watkins Glen.
Christina M. Dean, 65, of Alpine.
James C. Preston, 92, of Hector.
Shirley Ann Wich, 93, formerly of the Town of Montour.
Robert Cooper Jr., 77, of Trumansburg.
Marilynn A. VanNordstrand, 97, of Odessa.
Lincoln B. Wager, 89, of Watkins Glen.

(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


Rotary honors Garrison as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Tassia Garrison was honored Thursday by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for September. Garrison was introduced by teacher Holly Campbell, who said the honoree -- who recenlty returned from a year in the Netherlands as a Rotary Exchange student -- is "a great role model" with "a zest for learning new things." Garrison, a member of Student Council and National Honor Society and president of her class, and who plays basketball -- plans to study biology in college with an eye toward becoming a dentist. She is considering attending SUNY Buffalo, Fordham or Boston University.

Photo: Tassia Garrison at the Rotary Club's luncheon.


Hayden receives nomination from SAM party

Schuyler County Judge candidate Matt Hayden -- already running with nominations from the Democratic, Schuyler First and Working Families parties, has received the nomination of the Serve America Movement party. According to a press release from the Hayden campaign, "The SAM party takes a centrist approach" and "believes in supporting honest, character-based candidates who demonstrate that they are the best candidate for the job." It also opposes "extremist candidates who seek to win upon engaging in underhanded or unethical campaigning."

Photo: Matt Hayden (Photo provided)

Vintage and sports cars paraded up Franklin Street at the festival.


Annual Grand Prix Festival held in Watkins

The village of Watkins Glen was alive with cars, motorcycles, vendors and spectators Sept. 6 at the 26th annual Grand Prix Festival. For story and photos, see Features.

Watkins Glen High School grad Hannah Morse, a CCC freshman, sends a shot toward the Erie net.


CCC soccer team has 4 players from Schuyler

Four of the Corning Community College women's varsity soccer team's players are graduates of Schuyler County schools -- two each from Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour. They all started Sept. 7 in a game against Erie Community College. Sports.


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: "The Catharine Valley Trail is a jewel of the FLX." Column.

Left: Attorney Jim Reed

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

WGHS senior Isaac McIlroy at the Rotary luncheon.


Rotary honors McIlroy as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Isaac McIlroy was honored Sept. 5th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Student of the Month for September. McIlroy was introduced by WGHS coach Ralph Diliberto, who said the honoree is someone who "academically and athletically always goes above and beyond," is "a model citizen" and "has a bright future." McIlroy, who competes in soccer, basketball and baseball, said he hopes to play basketball in college, where he will study psychology and criminal justice with an eye toward applying to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., for a career as a Special Agent.


High-speed police chase ends in man's arrest

A high-speed police chase that started in Montour Falls Sept. 4th and ended in Monterey resulted in the arrest of a Beaver Dams man, Nicholas S. Ingersoll, 24, on multiple charges. Ingersoll, arraigned in Montour Falls Village Court and remanded to jail in lieu of bail, faces counts that include Unlawfully Fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, Reckless Endangerment, Criminal Mischief, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, Reckless Driving, and Unlawful Manufacture of Methamphetamine. People.


Glen water story prompts mayoral response

An environmental story regarding water quality in Watkins Glen and Montour Falls prompts an assurance and firm response from Watkins Mayor Luke Leszyk at the beginning of the Sept. 3rd Village Board meeting. Government.


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


And here we go again ...

The editor looks ahead to another high school sports season, and sounds a cautionary note before closing with a football story. Column


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


Coffey's squad places 3rd, qualifies for Tokyo

A United States Women's Eight rowing team including former Watkins Glen resident Olivia Coffey, 30, placed third Sept. 1 at the World Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria. The U.S. -- which won the event last year -- qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics along with squads from four other countries in the race. New Zealand won the finale in 5:56.91, with Australia second at 5:59.63 and the U.S. third in 6:01.93. This marked the eighth World Championships competition for Coffey, dating back to an under-23 event in 2009. She has earned four career gold medals. She was a student-athlete at Watkins Glen schools through 9th grade before attending Philips Academy and ultimately Harvard University. She earned her MBA degree from Cambridge University last year, helping that school's team to victory in The Boat Race over rival Oxford. Her parents Calvin and Maggie live in the Watkins Glen area, with her mother currently seeking a seat on the Schuyler County Legislature.

Photo: Olivia Coffey (File photo)


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


O-M grad Zimmer nets Fulbright award for Iceland research, study

Odessa-Montour 2009 graduate Adam Netzer Zimmer (left) receives a Fulbright-National Science Foundation Arctic Research Grant for year-long study as part of his Ph.D. program. People.


Finger Lakes named Best Wine Region in poll

The Finger Lakes has -- for the second straight year -- been named America's "Best Wine Region" in a USA Today 10 Best online competition. The region, which has 140 wineries, four wine trails and 9,300 acres of vineyards, beat four finalists from California and one each from Michigan (the runnerup Leelanau Peninsula), Arizona, Washington, Virginia and Texas. "This recognition speaks to the dedication of the owners, tasting room teams, winemakers and vineyard managers," said Carmela Barbagallo, executive director of the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance.


Community leader, coach Bob Lee dies at 74

Robert H. Lee, former Watkins Glen policeman, former village mayor, former high school football coach at both Watkins Glen and Odessa, former coach of the semipro Southern Tier Warriors football team, and a retired longtime Recreation Therapist at the Willard and Elmira Psychiatric Centers, died Aug. 26 at his Watkins Glen home at the age of 74. He had been in declining health. Calling hours are Thursday, with a funeral service on Friday. Obituaries.


Board rejects an athletic Field name change

The Watkins Glen School Board on Aug. 26 rejected a request that the school's Alumni Field be renamed in honor of former Coach Bob Lee, who died that morning at the age of 74. The request came from football player Dominick Fazzary, who read a message to the board from his father, football assistant coach Jeff Fazzary. Board President Gloria Brubaker said a name change is against "school practice," adding that the rejection "doesn't diminish our respect." Schools.

Photo: Dominick Fazzary at the Board meeting.

A Cruise In For Christ car show was held on Odessa Wesleyan Church property at the west end of the village.


Autos take center stage at church Cruise In

Dozens of classic automobiles were featured Aug. 24 at a Cruise In For Christ car show sponsored by the Odessa Wesleyan Church on church property at the west end of Odessa. The event featured a chicken barbecue, other foods, vendors, state police and Odessa Fire Dept. demonstrations, Moe Knows Ice Cream, and a K-9 display by officers of the New York Environmental Conservation Police.

Photo: Conservation Police Officer B.N. Armstrong with his dog.


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


A column by Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer

The mayor provides us with his fifth in a series of columns on what is happening in Odessa. This time: "Summer is here, and Odessa is bustling." Column.



Photo: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer


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.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, left, and Congressman Tom Reed share a laugh at the Aug. 22 luncheon meeting.


Reed, Palmesano featured at Glen lunch

Congressman Tom Reed and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano were the guest speakers Aug. 22 at a joint meeting of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club and League of Women Voters at the Watkins Elk Lodge. Both men reported to a packed dining hall about ongoing trends and concerns in the state and U.S.

Photos: Congressman Tom Reed, left, and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (inset) at Thursday's luncheon.

Present at the Aug. 22 Rotary Club /League luncheon were the club's new Rotary exchange students: Nozomi Miyoshi of Japan, left, who will attend Odessa-Montour High School, and Kajsa Rolfes of Sweden, who will attend Watkins Glen High School.


Odessa librarian honored for her long service

Gayle Greuber, who has served the Dutton S. Peterson Library in Odessa for 30 years, including more than 25 as its librarian, was honored Aug. 22 at a picnic behind the library that also featured a presentation by Tanglewood Nature Center (see photo below). Greuber was presented a plaque from Odessa Deputy Mayor Tom Letteer proclaiming it Gayle Greuber Day in Odessa, while Library Board president Bonnie Schweizer surprised Greuber by announcing the honoree has won a Southern Tier Library System Sustainable Practices Award, to be presented in October. "Not many people can say they've enjoyed coming to work every day," said Greuber, who has no plans to retire.

Photo: Librarian Gayle Greuber receives a proclamation from Odessa Deputy Mayor Tom Letteer.

Kids got a chance to see a number of Tanglewood Nature Center creatures on Aug. 22 -- a feature presentation at a free Summer Picnic behind the Dutton S. Peterson Library in Odessa. In the photo, Tanglewood's Ian McLaughlin holds a Bearded Dragon.

Village trustee Lou Perazzini makes a point during the meeting.


Watkins Village Board approves one-year moratorium on short-term rental applications

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Aug. 20 unanimously appoved a Local Law that provides a one-year moratorium on applications for short-term rentals in the village. The move came after a public hearing and upon the request of the Planning Board, which had handled dozens of applications under a plan adopted by the village to regulate the growing trend.

The moratorium will take effect after the Local Law is approved by the state, which officials said should take about 30 days. Any applications filed before that time will be processed, the board said.

Mayor Luke Leszyk said the move gives the village time to "get a handle" on the process "and do some density studies" that might limit the number of such rentals in a particular block or area. One area, it was noted -- on South Madison and South Monroe Streets between 6th and 8th Streets -- now has nine such rentals advertised to accommodate 78 people. One resident hoped the density studies might lead to reestablishment of a residential character in that neighborhood.

Photo: Watkins Mayor Luke Leszyk at Aug. 20 meeting.

Wastewater treatment plant project proceeding. Project.


Addy Coolican wins talent competition at Fair

Watkins Glen resident Addison "Addy" Coolican, a student in the Watkins Glen School District, won first place among performers 12 years and under at a talent show Aug. 17 at the Steuben County Fair in Bath. She won for her performance of the song "Don't Rain on My Parade." The contest was held on the stage in front of the fairgrounds grandstand. Addy is known locally for her rendition of the National Anthem at occasional home basketball games at WGHS.

Photo: Addy Coolican with her trophy. (Photo provided by her grandfather, Mike Coolican)

  Kids' Jungle Book concludes its run at WGHS

A kids' presentation of Disney's Jungle Book ended its two-night run Aug. 17 on the stage of the Watkins Glen High School Auditorium. The play for 6-12 year olds boasted a cast of more than 30 kids, directed by Kim Laursen and Kelsey Johnson as a project of the Lake Country Players and the 21st Century REACH program. People.

Photo: A quartet of thespians on stage in Disney's Jungle Book. The lead of Mowgli was performed by Arloween Loucks-Scuteri, second from right.

Signs advertising the Watkinstock concert at Lafayette Park and subsequent Beach Party at Landon's were on display at the Lafayette bandstand.


Local concerts fill the absence of Woodstock

Two "stock" musical gatherings -- Watkinstock at Watkins Glen's Lafayette Park and Moosestock at the Montour Moose Lodge -- were held Aug. 17 ... a day that would have fallen in the middle of Woodstock 50, had it been held as originally proposed at Watkins Glen International.

Moosestock was a fund-raiser, with a portion of the $15-per-ticket proceeds to be donated to the Schuyler County Ambulance. Bands included Rukus, Doc Possum and Hot Dogs & Gin.

Watkinstock also raised funds -- through donations to the Sheriff's Camp Iroquois on Keuka Lake, which provides an outdoor summer experience to underprivileged kids from around the state. Performers included The Flunk School, country singer Rylee Lum, Patrick Cole and Seneca Jam.


Town of Montour mulls Chinese lantern fest

The Montour Town Board listens to proposal for a large, possibly long-term festival on Havana Glen Park grounds starting in 2020. Government.

Photo: Festival video scene.

United Way Campaign Leaders Rick Evans and Lydia Wickham. (Photo provided)


United Way taps two as Campaign Leaders

Rick Evans and Lydia Wickham have been named Campaign Leaders of this year's United Way of Schuyler County campaign to raise $123,000 to help 22 local agencies. Evans is a longtime Boy Scout leader and a winemaker for Castel Grisch Winery. Wickham is Director of Human Resources for Cayuga Addiction Recovery who volunteers for Boy Scout Troop 2674 in Watkins Glen and is a member of the Hector-area Lions Club. Said United Way of Schuyler County Executive Director Peggy Scott: "Deepest thanks go to Lydia and Rick. Our all-volunteer board of directors of United Way works hard every year for an outstanding campaign."

  Judge rejects Mack request for shorter term

Acting Schuyler County Judge Gerald A. Keene on Aug. 13 rejected a motion for a reduced sentence filed by Chad C. Mack -- who pleaded guilty in June 2004 to 2nd Degree Murder and 1st Degree Robbery in the August 2002 shooting death of Theresa Ford at her home in the Town of Orange. Mack, sentenced to 25 years to life, was seeking a lesser sentence that would allow him to appear before the Parole Board immediately. District Attorney Joseph Fazzary opposed the motion, and Keene concurred with the DA, saying the original sentence was not harsh or excessive, and was justified.


Italian-American Festival ends its 3-day run

The 39th annual Schuyler County Italian-American Festival concluded Aug. 11 with several events, including a cornhole tournament, a motorcycle show and live music. Features.

Photo: The ferris wheel is always popular.

Legislators David Reed, left, and Michael Lausell chat before the start of Monday evening's meeting.


Brief legislature meeting yields updates

The Schuyler County Legislature's monthly meeting on Aug. 12 was short -- 17 minutes -- and saw approval of just 18 resolutions, none of them major. But there was some information imparted:

--Chairman Dennis Fagan said Sales Tax revenue as of July was up $266,000 from the same point last year. Increases in the sales tax, he noted, "help us control property taxes." As for the rest of the year: "We'll keep our fingers crossed."

--County Administrator Tim O'Hearn said work has begun on the 2020 county budget, and that "it will be within the tax cap" and "we will be lowering the tax rate."

--O'Hearn said the planned 50-megawatt solar project in the Town of Dix -- called the Watkins Glen Solar Energy Center -- is "now moving forward" with the pending appointment by state Legislature leaders of two town residents (of eight nominated) as ad hoc members of a seven-person regulatory Siting Board. The project will "take two years" to complete, he said.

Photo: Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan at the meeting.


BBQ benefits WGHS girls varsity swim team

The Watkins Glen High School girls varsity swim team held a chicken barbecue Aug. 11 at the Montour Moose Lodge to raise funds for the swim program. Members of the team (left) -- one dressed as a chicken -- waved signs and urged motorists to turn into the lodge, where business was brisk as volunteers put together dinners in the kitchen, the centerpiece of each dinner being tasty chicken barbecued outside.


Cherry outlines energy savings programs, cautions on 'escalators' in solar group plans

Phil Cherry, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Schuyler County, outlined various energy savings and efficiency programs available to individuals and small businesses on Aug. 8 as guest speaker at the weekly luncheon of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club at the Elks Lodge in Watkins Glen. Cherry -- supportive of the savings available in solar panels installed by individuals at their homes -- cautioned anyone interested in group purchasing, noting that some of the opportunities available "aren't great opportunities. Read the fine print," looking in particular for "escalators" that boost the cost after a first year of savings. "My advice is to be very wary," he said, noting that the CCE website carries information on solar programs and on those other energy savings programs.

Photo: Phil Cherry addresses Rotarians.

O-M School Board President Rob Halpin, left, and Superintendent Chris Wood at Aug. 7 meeting.


Principals McCarty, Francischelli given tenure

The Odessa-Montour School Board on August 7 granted tenure to high school Principal Almon (Skip) McCarty Jr. and Hanlon Elementary School Principal Robert Francischelli. Superintendent Chris Wood outlined the achievements of the two men during their four years at the helm of the two schools, and then the board voted unanimously in their favor. Franciscelli was present, while McCarty, Wood explained, was at another meeting "representing the district." Tenure provides greater job security for its recipients. The board also:

--Heard Wood report that the most recent state audit of the district was a good one, with minor improvements needed in the area of transportaton. "I'll gladly take it," he said of the audit.
--Heard an update from Wood on the $16.9 milliion Capital Project now in the planning stage. Wood said he hopes for state approval of the project within a year and construction in the fall of 2020. The project involves renovation of the Jack Davis gym and of science, art and technology rooms; installation of new water stations; a new public address system; some window replacements; technology upgrades, and other improvements deemed necessary.
--Approved a 2019-2020 tax levy of $5,099,617.

Photos: Hanlon principal Robert Francischelli and new School Board member Alyssa Wixson at Wednesday's meeting.


Watkins Glen Village Board moves toward
12-month moratorium on short-term rentals

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Aug. 6 discussed a Planning Board request for a moratorium on short-term rental units in the village pending a density study. A public hearing, the board indicated, will be held at its next meeting preceding passage of a Local Law that would take effect once filed with the state. The moratorium -- in the face of an onslaught of short-term rentals -- would be for an expected 12 months. Applications filed before the law takes effect would be processed. The board also:

--Approved membership in the Greater Tompkins Health Insurance Consortium, which Mayor Luke Leszyk said would save the village $60,000, down from $300,000.
--Approved a bid of $133,828 from Panko Electric and Maintenance for erection of the new light poles and lights on Franklin Street. Poles are expected to be shipped starting Aug. 19.

--Approved the hiring of Barbara Peterson to fill the newly created position of Deputy Clerk Treasurer.
--Approved payment of $195,000 of grant funds for the Padua Ridge property, site of a planned new water tower. The cost includes improvements such as clearing of the land, road construction, tank-base construction and culvert work.

Photos in text: Mayor Luke Leszyk (top) and trustee Tony Fraboni at Tuesday's meeting.

The Terry Walker trio performed at the Clute Park pavilion.


Terry Walker Trio entertains in concert series

The Terry Walker Trio entertained scores of music lovers Tuesday evening, Aug. 6 with pop and jazz standards in the Clute Park pavilion as part of the Concert in the Park series, a staple of Watkins Glen summers. The concerts are normally held at Lafayette Park, but move to the pavilion in inclement weather. It stormed Tuesday afternoon and rained intermittently in the evening. Next up, on Tuesday, Aug. 13: Gentlemen of Song with Big Band, Swing and other music.


Hayden will appear on third ballot line

Matt Hayden (right), the Democrats' nominee for Schuyler County Court Judge in the November election, has secured a third nomination. Hayden, already backed by the Democrats and by the Schuyler First independent party, has now secured the backing of the Working Families Party. That makes him the only one of the four candidates with three party nominations. In addition to Hayden, Jessica Saks, Steven Getman and Dan Fitzsimmons are campaigning for the 10-year post, which includes Family and Surrogate's Court.


Elliott wins 2nd straight NASCAR race at WGI

Chase Elliott (pictured at right) held off Martin Truex Jr. on Aug. 4 to post his second straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Watkins Glen International, in the Go Bowling at The Glen 90-lap race. It was fifth career Series victory and second of the season. Elliott, whose first career win in the Series came last year at WGI, started Sunday from the pole position in his Hendrick Motorsports' Chevrolet, and won by 0.454 seconds. He was only the second driver to win from the pole position in the last 39 Series races.


Chef Orlando is new owner of Graft eatery

After a long run as Executive Chef of Veraisons, Orlando Rodriguez, along with wife Natacia, has purchased the recently closed Graft restaurant on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen with the intention to reopen in the fall. Business.

Photo: Chef Orlando Rodriquez

Odessa Fire Department personnel prepare the chicken.


Odessa fire department serves up BBQ meals

An annual rite on NASCAR weekend -- an Odessa Fire Department drive-through barbecue at the fire station -- was a hit Saturday as firefighters prepared 300 chicken halves. They followed that up with their annual Hit the Boot fund-raiser on Main Street in the village on Sunday, with passing motorists stopping to place donations in firefighters' boots held by department members at either end of the downtown.

Photo: Peggy Tomassi, left, and Anne Yessman helped serve up the barbecue meals.

Fire department representatives collected Hit the Boot donations Sunday from passing motorists along Main Street in Odessa.


Saks nets noms from
2 parties in judge race

Jessica Saks has gained the nominations of the Independence and About Justice Parties in her race for Schuyler County Judge. She faces three male opponents in the November election. Government.

Photo: Jessica Saks (Photo provided)


Cheese Festival draws crowd to Hoffman farm

The 8th annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival was held Saturday -- as it is each July -- at the Hoffman century farm at Catharine Corners, outside Odessa. Produce, live music, children's activities and other features attracted a large crowd. People.

Photo: At the festival.

Dusk at the Hector Fair on Friday. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)


Annual parade highlights Hector Fair

The three-day Hector Fair was highlighted on its second day Friday with the annual parade up Rte. 414, ending at the fairgrounds behind the fire station. The fair concludes Saturday with a car show, chicken barbecue, live music and fireworks. Features.


WGI places 2nd in Best NASCAR Track voting

Watkins Glen International finished second in the voting this year in the USA Today Readers' Choice contest for Best NASCAR Track after finishing first the past three years. The winner this time: Eldora Speedway in New Weston, Ohio, which hosts the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The winner was announced Friday, July 26. Third through fifth places went to Daytona International Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.


Historical Society honors Italian founders

A special exhibit and talk are focusing on the founders of Schuyler County's Italian community The exhibit opened Aug. 1. Founders.

Photo: Undated photo of workers at the International Salt Co., a major employer of Italian immigrants in Schuyler County. (Provided)


Court rules in favor of school in Hansen case

The U.S. District Court for Western New York has ruled on the side of the Watkins Glen School District and former Superintendent Tom Phillips, the defendants in a suit filed by Kristina Hansen relating to incidents on school grounds that twice included her being led away in handcuffs. Her attorney plans to appeal the decision. Government.

Photo: Kristina Hansen arrested at the WGHS tennis courts on May 4, 2016, the second time she was taken into custody.


Fitzsimmons gets Hometown Law Party nod

Daniel J. Fitzsimmons has accepted the nomination of the Hometown Law Party as candidate for Schuyler County Judge. According to a press release, Fitzsimmons received more than 800 signatures from Schuyler voters -- "with support from Republican, Democratic, Conservative, Green and non-party voters" -- to run as an independent candidate for the position. A Schuyler County attorney, Schuyler County Law Guardian, former Town of Hector Justice and Schuyler County Principal Court Attorney, he is one of four candidates seeking to succeed the recently retired Dennis Morris on the bench. Steven Getman has the Republican Party backing, and Matt Hayden the nomination of the Democrats. Attorney Jessica Saks, also running as an independent, is the fourth candidate vying for election in November.

Photo: Dan Fitzsimmons (Photo provided)


O-M lists 6th marking period Honor Rolls

Odessa-Montour Junior/Senior High School has unveiled its High Honor and Honor Rolls for the sixth and final marking period of the 2018-19 school year. Honors.


Dems back Hayden in battle for County Judge

The Schuyler County Democratic Committee has unanimously selected county Chief Assistant District Attorney Matt Hayden as the party's candidate for Schuyler County Judge in the November election. Hayden is one of four candidates in the race -- and the lone Democrat. Steven Getman has the Republican nomination, while Jessica Saks and Dan Fitzsimmons, both registered Republicans, are running as independents. The candidates are vying for a 10-year term on the bench, recently vacated by Dennis Morris upon his retirement before the end of his term.

"Not only is Matt the best qualified candidate," said Democratic Committee Chairperson Carolyn Elkins, "but he also exhibits the highest ethical standard, the greatest dedication to community and charitable efforts, and the most experience in upholding the laws of our county while protecting our families."

Photo: Matt Hayden and Carolyn Elkins (Photo provided)

Kennedey Heichel, center front, with a number of her former Odessa-Montour teammates at her signing ceremony. Back from left: Sage Garrison, Olivia Grover, Lexi Saunders, Autumn Garrision. Front from left: Nadia Simpson, Heichel, Maria Scata.


Heichel signs with Ithaca College; track ahead

Odessa-Montour graduating senior Kennedey Heichel signed a Division III Student-Athlete Celebratory Signing Form for Ithaca College Thursday in a gathering at the high school. Heichel, two-time Odessa File Female Athlete of the Year at O-M, two-time Odessa File Schuyler Spring MVP, two-time member of the Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athlete-citizens in the area, and the O-M selection as its Female Athlete of the Year this year, plans to compete in Track & Field at IC.


Officials agree to work on dog-sheltering pact

Members of the Schuyler County Legislature and Supervisors of a half-dozen towns in the county have "agreed to work together toward an agreement with the Humane Society of Schuyler County for dog-sheltering services when stray dogs are recovered in any of the towns in Schuyler County," it was announced Friday -- apparently ending a move by five towns to contract with a private service entity. Government.

O-M Valedictorian Kennedey Heichel accepts a hug and her diploma from School Board President Rob Halpin at Friday's Commencement.


O-M bids farewell
to its Class of 2019

Odessa-Montour School District officials distributed diplomas to the graduating seniors at a commencement exercise Friday evening, June 28, in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. A total of 65 students graduated, with many receiving scholarship awards during the ceremony. Graduation.

Photo: 2019 O-M graduate Maria Scata.

Bobby Rahal, right, receives the Cameron Argetsinger Award from one of Cameron's sons, former International Motor Racing Research Center president J.C. Argetsinger.


Rahal receives 6th annual Argetsinger Award

Team owner and former race car driver Bobby Rahal was honored Thursday night with the 6th annual Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports. He was honored by the Watkins Glen-based International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) during a dinner at the Corning Museum of Glass presented by Sahlen's, NASCAR, International Speedway Corp., IMSA and Watkins Glen International. The award memorializes Argetsinger, organizer of the first races at Watkins Glen and a founder of the Research Center. Longtime race reporter Dr. Jerry Punch was emcee. About 250 people attended, with proceeds going to the IMRRC, dedicated to the preservation of motorsports history. Sports.

Photo: IMRRC Historian Bill Green at the dinner, in front of a photo of Cameron Argetsinger.


Republican Committee gives nod to Getman

Schuyler County Atttorney Steven Getman (pictured at right) won the Republican nomination for County Court Judge Thursday night at a meeting of the Schuyler County Republican Committee. The nomination came over two other Republicans -- attorneys Jessica Saks and Dan Fitzsimmons -- both of whom have indicated they will run as independents. Schuyler County Chief Assistant District Attorney Matt Hayden is running on the Democratic line. "I am humbled and honored by the support of my fellow Schuyler County Republicans." Getman said. "I plan to run a clean, positive campaign, based on education, training and legal experience." The election is in November.

Incoming Rotary Club President Glenda Gephart, left, and outgoing President Rebekah Carroll with her daughter Ruby.


Rotary changes presidents, honors Carrigan

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club held its annual Changeover Dinner Tuesday at the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge, with outgoing President Rebekah Carroll "passing the gavel" to incoming President Glenda Gephart. This being Gephart's second time as Rotary President, she said: "Thank you so very much for allowing me to do this again."

The Paul Harris Fellow Award, given annually to a Club member who exemplifies "service above self," was presented to Dena Carrigan, an active club volunteer who serves as Membership Chair. She also serves as Membership Committee Chair at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, is assistant treasurer for the Italian-American Festival, secretary for the Spirit of Schuyler, a member of the merchandise committee for the Grand Prix Festival, a volunteer for the Montour Falls Fire department, and a volunteer for the Arc of Schuyler's annual 5K run. She began her banking career in 1986 with Columbia Bank, which was acquired in 1994 by Chemung Canal Trust Company. Dena and husband Sam have two sons, Kyle and Dale, and recently welcomed a grandson.

Photo in text: Dena Carrigan (Photo provided)

Potential exposure to Hepatitis A cited

While the risk of infection is low, Schuyler County Public Health, noting a potential exposure to the Hepatitis A virus at the Seneca Harbor Station restaurant in Watkins Glen, urges vaccination at upcoming clinics for those who ate there between June 12 and June 21. Clinics.

Alec Betts signs as his parents, Chris and Diana, and his sister Lillian watch.


Betts signs to attend, swim at St. Leo U. in Fla.

Odessa-Montour High School graduate Alec Betts, after delaying his college entrance for a year, signed a Letter of Intent Wednesday to attend Division 2 Saint Leo University in Florida this fall and participate in its swim program. Betts, a standout swimmer at O-M before his 2018 graduation, plans a course of study in Sports Business, with an eye toward becoming a coach, possibly on the college level. The signing ceremony took place in the O-M School Board meeting room. Pieces from a congratulatory cake (photo) were distributed to the friends and family in attendance

Vondracek earns All-State berth

Odessa-Montour softball pitcher Grace Vondracek, who led the team in hitting with a .700 average and 11 homers, is named to the NYSSCOGS All-State Softball Class C 4th Team. Sports.


85 receive diplomas
at WGHS graduation

The annual Watkins Glen High School Commencement Exercise was held Saturday afternoon in the school auditorium. Diplomas.

Photo: Graduates Kai Sutterby, left, and Annika Wickham.


Rondinaro honored at WGHS alumni banquet

Steve Rondinaro receives a Distinguished Alumnus Award at the 94th annual Watkins Glen High School dinner gathering. About 350 people attended. Schools.

Photo: Steve Rondinaro with his award.


Preparing for a 2,200-mile, old-school journey

Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer told Watkins-Montour Rotarians Thursday about his planned 2,200-mile, 90-day trek with several other men on a route traveled in 1825 by trapper, fur trader and frontiersman William H. Ashley on a return east with furs from Wyoming to Montana to St. Louis. The group will live as Ashley and his men lived, without modern conveniences, as they travel by horse, canoe and keelboat -- that last (30-foot) vehicle carrying them down the Missouri River. They will keep journals, and plan a book about the trip, comparing their efforts to those of Ashley. Messmer leaves for Wyoming on June 30; the trek -- not a re-enactment, but "truly a living history," he said, requiring "the same skill sets" possessed by mountain men in the first half of the 19th century and complete with discomfort and inherent dangers -- starts on July 7. Everything -- from clothing to the acquisition of food along the way -- will be "period correct,' he said, with a couple of safety valves: cell phones for occasional calls home (his wife, Cathy, will join him for a few days on the Missouri) and a link, if needed, to a medical helicopter.

Photo: Gerry Messmer in his journey clothing.


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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 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


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




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


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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.

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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