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.


Senka Agency

Our Summer hours for July and August:
Monday-Thursday 8:30-5 Friday 8-2

July 24-28

Stop by & say hello. We have many giveaway items and goodies.

Not a customer yet? Give us a call or stop in for a no obligation quote and see why so many people have made SENKA AGENCY their agency of choice in Schuyler County.

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 Odessa File's
Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism

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. 

The Great Escape
Ice Cream Parlor

221 S. Franklin St.,
Watkins Glen

Summer hours:
(Memorial Day-Labor Day)
11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Fall hours: 12-9 p.m.

--Vegan Coconut
& Soymilk-Base Ice Cream
--Fresh Gelato & Sorbet
--Homemade Hard Ice Cream
--Soft Custard

Saturday, June 17th
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Decorate a Cake for Dad Event!

And we are now sponsoring the American Pride Ride on June 24. We are a donation collection point and will be vending on the 24th at the American Legion in Horseheads from 2:30-6:00 p.m. Wink 104.9 will be doing a live broadcast for us from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, June 23.

To visit our website, 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
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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.


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

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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 go to the Schuyler Hospital website.


Note from the Editor ...

I've reached my vacation destination: Bois Blanc Island in Michigan's Straits of Mackinac. I will continue to report from here on happenings back home, and accordingly ask anyone snapping photos at upcoming events like the Hector Fair, the Schuyler County Italian-American Festival and the NASCAR race to send some along by email to me. An email link can be found at the bottom of this page. I will return home as the high school fall sports season gets under way.

Congressman Tom Reed and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at a Clute Park news conference early Monday afternoon.


Reed, Gillibrand announce push to designate Finger Lakes Region a National Heritage Area

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Tom Reed visited Clute Park in Watkins Glen Monday afternoon to announce legislation to authorize the National Parks Service to take the first step toward making the 14-county Finger Lakes Region a National Heritage Area. That would include a feasibility study in Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Livngston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne and Yates counties. According to Gillibrand, such a designation "would help boost local tourism and conserve and protect the region's natural, historic and cultural resources." She told a gathering of dignitaries at Clute that the legislation will be attached to another bill soon and will hopefully gain passage by the end of the year.

Photo in text: Gillibrand autographs a Clute attendee's copy of a book the Senator wrote, Off The Sidelines: Speak Up, Be Fearless and Change Your World.


Boil Water Notice lifted in Village of Odessa

A Boil Water Notice issued July 20 in Odessa for homes from 207 to 523 Speedway and along all of Mitchell Hollow was lifted Tuesday. The order had been issued while the village was "in the process of repairing" a valve broken during routine water-main flushing. "When water mains lose pressure, it increases the chance that untreated water and harmful microbes can enter your water," the Notice had explained when it was issued.


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: "Volunteer firefighters deserve this action." Column.

Left: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

News from Schuyler Hospital

--Schuyler Hospital, co-sponsor of the Schuyler Steps Out walking program, names Most Improved and MVP walkers. Business.
--The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary awards three $1,000 scholarships. Schools.
--Donors are urgently needed at a blood drive up the hill from Schuyler Hospital on Aug. 18. People.


Annual Cheese Fest draws thousands to farm

The annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival attracted thousands of people Saturday to the Hoffman Farm at Catharine Corners, where wine tastings, hayrides, animals (inset), live music and dozens of vendors awaited. Features.


'Rock of Ages' to be presented on July 28-30

Dream Barn Productions will present "Rock of Ages," a musical, in four performances on July 28, 29 and 30 at its building at 4991 County Road 14, outside Odessa. A cast of 16 -- eight young men and eight young women -- will tell the tale of the big, bad 1980s in Hollywood, where the party raged hard. The show is sold out, with a waiting list. For a cast list, see People.


About those bees, moths, flies and beetles

"Bees, moths, flies, and beetles are just some of many insects who are responsible for pollinating various plants in our backyards," writes Cooperative Extension's Danielle Wolleman, adding: "Instead of exterminating the bugs, you can support these beneficial creatures in simple ways." Column.


Schuyler Hospital awarded $10.3 million grant

Schuyler Hospital will be receiving $10,304,060 in grant funding from the New York State Health Care Facility Transformation Program toward construction of a new medical office building attached to the hospital and for renovation and modernization of the hospital's Medical/Surgical inpatient unit. Business.

Click on the ad below for more information

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




And inside

--Lakewood Vineyards' business alignment with Vance Metal Fabricators is applauded by State Senator Tom O'Mara. Features.

-- The Schuyler County Farm Bureau and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County are celebrating 100 years. People.

-- Schuyler keeps eye out for Powassan Virus. People.

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.

Nan L. Carey, 65, formerly of Watkins Glen.
Ryan D. Cleary, 32, of Albuquerque, NM.
Theresa Ann VanGalder, 83, of Montour Falls.
Michael Hess, 41, of Watkins Glen.
Hubert E. Webster, 65, of Odessa.
Kimberly Elaine Lovell, 47, formerly of Montour Falls.
Donald Ameigh, 70, of Montour Falls.
Crystal J. (Palmer) Lepp, 45, of Reading Center.
Richard J. "Dick" Drum, 88, of Alpine and Ovid.
Freda Millspaugh (Strong Shaver, Butler), 95.
George W. Bush, 69, formerly of Watkins Glen.
Mildred "Milli" Cleveland, 88, of Horseheads.

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


Now 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

For other recent Schuyler County news, click here.


WGI wins 'Best NASCAR track' title again

Watkins Glen International, adjudged America's best NASCAR track in a USA Today poll two years ago, won again Friday with announcement that it finished atop this year's poll, which concluded earlier this week. There were 20 finalists.

Said State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano in a press release: "Thanks to everyone who took a turn at the wheel and kept voting, day after day, to support WGI. It's a well-deserved national honor."

Meanwhile, the annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival recently held at WGI -- adjudged the best wine festival in America last year -- is in the running again this year. Click here.

In addition, the Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard in Dundee is in the running for the USA Today's Favorite Tasting Room (here), while the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel is competing for the USA Today Favorite Waterfront Hotel (here).

From left: Sam Norton, Bob Briggs and Megan Coates in a scene from "Peril of the Purloined Pirate Plunder."


'Pirate Plunder' opens at Courthouse Theater

The second play of the Old Havana Courthouse Theater 2017 summer season -- an original comedy from writer-director Jeff Hetzel -- opened Friday night on the second floor of the Montour Falls Village Hall. The play, titled "Peril of the Purloined Pirate Plunder" -- deals with the search by two competing groups for buried treasure. It was scheduled to be presented again at 7 p.m. July 22, 28 and 29, and at 2 p.m. July 23 and 30.

Photo: Jack Olcott as Captain Black Friday and his parrot.


Therapist's prop helps explain proper posture

Dr. Somer White, a physical therapist and an occupational therapist at Schuyler Hospital, gave Watkins-Montour Rotarians a lesson Thursday in posture and how it can alleviate back and shoulder pain. She utilized a skeletal model to outline the stresses that poor posture inflicts on specific parts of the body -- and distributed printed exercise instructions to help the Rotarians, most of whom indicated they suffer from such pains.

Left: Somer White and friend.


2 sentenced in sex case; one gets 21-to-life

Two area men found guilty last month by Schuyler County Judge Dennis J. Morris on rape-related charges were sentenced Thursday by Morris -- one of them, Jeffrey A. Forney, Jr., to 21 years to life in state prison. Government.

Photo: Jeffrey A. Forney, Jr. (Photo provided)

Editor's Note

For those familiar with Bonnie Seeley, retired Odessa-Montour teacher and, in past years, a frequent columnist on this website, she wants you to know she would appreciate cards and letters as she battles ill health and undergoes physical therapy.

Bonnie is currently at Elderwood, a rehabilitation facility. It is located at 37 N. Chemung St., Waverly, NY 14892.

Please. Drop her a line.


Of progress and prose ...

The editor focuses on two subjects: Watkins Glen's drive toward a possible $10 million infusion, and two upcoming novels by an author with local ties. Column.


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


The latest column from the Valicenti firm

The Elmira firm offers a look at one of its newsletter features -- a monthly column titled 'Bull and Bear Bulletin' -- along with a list of its services. Valicenti.

Take the Senior Survey

The Council on Alcoholism & Addictions of the Finger Lakes is conducting an anonymous and confidential survey through July regarding "the quality of a healthy life." Filling out the survey, the CAA says, "will help us to determine if there are issues affecting our friends and neighbors."

To reach the survey, click here.

Click the ad below to reach the Hazlitt 1852 website.

Click here to reach the Hazlitt 1852 Facebook page.

Aunt Sarah's Falls in Montour Falls were roaring -- and attracting spectators -- after Thursday's storm.


Storm knocks down limbs, knocks out power

A storm that moved through Schuyler County at about 3.25 p.m. Thursday brought down various tree limbs (right), roiled waterfalls and knocked out power -- including for three-and-a-half hours in Odessa. Among the damages: the Clute Park pavilion, which park staff reported "took a hit and is going to need some repairs." Accordingly, the Summer Recreation program held there is canceled on Friday.

Left: Rotary Club President Rich Greenberger takes a tumble in the sack race. Right: Bradley Gillett of the Seneca Lake Brewing Co. (back) and Ben Stamp of Lakewood Vineyards get tangled as they near the finish line in their race. Both fell, with Gillett rolling over the line first.


Summer Rendezvous draws crowd to park

The annual Summer Rendezvous hosted by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, July 19 at the Watkins Glen State Park's Iroquois Lodge attracted a crowd.

The gathering featured a tasty chicken barbecue prepared by The Bucket Bar and Grill; wine tastings from JR Dill Winery, Grist Iron Brewing and Lakewood Vineyards; ice cream from the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor; music from A Walk on the Wildside Entertainment; a traditional sack race; lawn games; live music by Sam Swanson, and plenty of camaraderie.


Left top: Amanda Smith-Socaris and defending champ Dave Sidle were declared co-winners of the sack race cup when their championship race finish was too close to call. Four brackets of two racers each competed.

Left bottom: Singer Sam Swanson of the group Handsome Young Ladies entertained.


Treatment plant rebid, rescue issue top session

A rebid on work at the planned wastewater treatment plant on the canal, and concern for rescue personnel responding to overdose cases highlight a Watkins Glen Village Board meeting. Government.

Left: Village Board member Tony Fraboni.


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.


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


Ben & Jerry's

The Ben & Jerry's store at 418 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen opened for business in April with a Free Cone Day -- which drew a large crowd. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

115 East Fourth Street, PO Box 30, Watkins Glen, NY 14891

Proudly Representing:

In order to visit the E.C. Cooper website, click here.
To visit the Erie and Niagara website, click here.

A toga contest was a highlight of the Launch of the Lakes Party on the first day of the Wine Festival. (Photos by Mike Stamp)


21st annual Wine Festival ends its 3-day run

The 21st annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival -- voted last year as the "Best Wine Festival" in America by USA Today readers -- concluded its three-day run Sunday, July 16 at the Watkins Glen International racetrack. The event, which opened Friday with a Launch of the Lakes party that included a toga contest (pictured at right), and which featured fireworks, continued Saturday and Sunday with wine tastings, food, live music, wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, pace car rides, ice carving, a Polynesian Dance Show, and a brass band from New York City called the Drumadics. Plus ... there were about 90 wineries on hand for tastings and for sales, often by the case.


Habitat for Humanity plans its 2nd home

Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity has purchased property at 306 Broadway in the Village of Montour Falls -- the site selected for its second Habitat home. The first is located on Havana Glen Road in Montour Falls. The building on the Broadway property will soon be removed for site preparation. People.


Hospital wins HANYS community health honor

The Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) presented its 2017 Community Health Improvement Award to Schuyler Hospital in recognition of an initiative designed to improve the health of the community. Business.

Odessa-Montour School Board president Rob Halpin, left, swears in vice president Scott Westervelt.


Halpin, Westervelt lead O-M School Board again

Rob Halpin was re-elected president and Scott Westervelt vice president of the Odessa-Montour School Board at the group's annual organizational meeting July 13. This marks Halpin's fifth year at the board's helm. Also sworn in: incumbent board member Jennifer Mosher and newcomer William Shrout. The board also discussed raising the price of school lunches by 25 cents, but took no immediate action. And it heard an update from Superintendent Chris Wood on the ongoing capital project, which he said is on schedule and within budget.

Left: Incumbent board member Jennifer Mosher, sworn in for another term, and board newcomer William Shrout.

From left: Retired Watkins Glen Public Library director Harriet Eisman and new library director Sarah Kurcoba, along with Montour Falls Library Board member Phil Archer.


Library directors past, present are honored

Recently retired Watkins Glen Public Library director Harriet Eisman and new library director Sarah Kurcoba were honored July 13 at the weekly luncheon meeting of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club, and presented bouquets of flowers by Montour Falls and Southern Tier Library board member Phil Archer, who was the club's guest speaker -- and who related how he entered the library field upon retirement from an education career on Long Island. The club also presented the library with $500 for use in its e-reader section -- one of several community donations the club is making this year.


Rt. 14 project through Watkins Glen outlined

The New York State Department of Transportation will repave Rt. 14 through Watkins Glen in 2018, as well as replace sidewalks and provide other improvements. A pair of informational meetings at the Watkins Glen Village Hall outlined the plans. Government.


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.

For other recent Schuyler County news, click here.

For other recent Schuyler County news, click here.

Want to e-mail this website? Just click below.


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.

Concert in the Park

WATKINS GLEN, July 12 -- The July 11 Concert in the Park, featuring Donna and the Country Mystics (above), was held in the pavilion at Clute Park rather than in Lafayette Park due to the threat of rain. The pavilion was packed with music fans, and many more set up their chairs outside.

Rotary Club members Meredith Williams (left photo) and Matt Hayden (right) became Harris Fellows at the club's annual Changeover Dinner, where the gavel passes from one president to the next -- in this case from Bill Phoenix to Rich Greenberger.


3 receive Harris Fellow honors from Rotary

Three members of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club were honored recently with Paul Harris Fellow awards during Rotary functions. Meredith Williams, membership services manager at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, and Matt Hayden, Schuyler County Chief Assistant District Attorney, were presented the honor during the club's annual Changeover Dinner, while Judy Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), was honored at the club's luncheon meeting the following week. The award is presented to those people -- whether club members or not -- who exhibit "service above self." Also cited: club member Nancy Peters, designated a "Paul Harris +2" for her cumulative Rotary Foundation financial contributions.

Photo in text: Judy Cherry receives Harris Fellow medallion from Rotary Club member Nancy Loughlin. (Photos provided)

From left: Alison Eldin, Mike Scullin, Jeff Hetzel and Michelle Benjamin in a scene from "The Terrible Time Twist."


Old Havana Courthouse Theatre opens season

The seventh summer season of The Old Havana Courthouse Theatre opened July 7th with the presentation of an original melodrama-comedy, "The Terrible Time Twist, or Let's Twist Again Like We Did Next Summer." Jeff Hetzel wrote the play and is directing (as well as acting, in the role of the evil Doctor DeNomolos).

The production, running two hours (with an intermission), was being presented again five times: July 8, 14 and 15 at 7 p.m., and July 9 and 16 at 2 p.m. on the Montour Falls Village Hall's second floor. Other plays will follow into August. Said theater founder Bill Christoffels: "I can't believe we've lasted seven years. I can't believe I've lasted seven years."

Photos: Pianist Donna Christoffels, and one of the signs used to prompt reactions from the audience.

The ribbon at Simply Your Best was cut by business owner JoAnna Sindone and her staff. From left: Odessa Wesleyan Church Pastor Ed Ross; Simply Your Best employees Ryan Hayes, Lovona Carrigan, Peyton Westlake and Lisa McKee; Sindone; County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, and Odessa Mayor Keith Pierce. Hidden behind Sindone is employee Jamie Colon. Also hidden is Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah Carroll.


Ribbon-cutting marks expansion of salon

A ribbon was cut July 6 to help celebrate an expansion of JoAnna Sindone's Simply Your Best Salon along Rt. 224 west of Odessa. The event also featured hors d'oeuvres, a bounce house, and cheese, coffee and honey products from area businesses. Raffles were also conducted, with proceeds going to the Humane Society. The ribbon-cutting featured remarks by Sindone, landlord Rob Halpin, County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, Odessa Mayor Keith Pierce and Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah Carroll. Sindone doubled the size of her business by expanding into the ground floor's previously vacant western half. "I feel truly blessed," she told supporters who gathered for the celebration.

Left: New board president Gloria Brubaker. Right: New board member Tracey VanSkiver is sworn in,


Brubaker named Glen School Board president

Longtime Watkins Glen School Board member Gloria Brubaker was elected Board President for the coming year July 5th at the group's annual reorganizational meeting at the school.

Brubaker, elected by the other board members unanimously, succeeds two-year board chief Kelly McCarthy, who maintains a seat entering the third year of her three-year term. Mark Franzese was named vice president. The meeting also saw the swearing in of incumbent board member Kris Clarkson to his second term, of Tracey VanSkiver to her first term, and of Deputy Superintendent Greg Kelahan (inset), who is succeeding Tom Phillips as Superintendent upon the completion of Phillips' contract in mid-October. Kelahan has moved into Phillips' office, while the latter is working out of the school library. Phillips said he expects to be on hand through July, then is vacationing in August and will be available for consultation if needed after that.

The board also accepted the resignations into retirement of music teacher Diana Groll and of physical education instructor and pool facilities director Cyndy Wood, along with that of teacher Deb Gleason -- all effective this past June 30th.

Photo in text: Greg Kelahan, the next superintendent.

A School Board meeting summary can be found here.

The first Movie on the Lake of 2017 was "Willie Wonka."


Movies on the Lake season opens at Clute

The first of the Movies on the Lake of the summer attracted about 80 people on July 5th to Clute Park in Watkins Glen to watch "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." The evening, sponsored by Global Taco and Rasta Ranch Winery, was preceded by a vendors' market offering fresh farm produce to sweets to dinner. Music was provided by the band Profuselies. Next Wednesday's movie is "Spaceballs," starting at dusk. The films are free to the public. Bring a lawn chair and blanket.

Blood shortage prompts call for donations

The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for blood donations across the country in the face of a shortage and a summer season that traditionally sees fewer donors. People.


Overcoming the fear of racing in the rain

Bob Brown of Montour Falls, who has been road racing motor bikes for a decade, faced his fear of competing on a wet track at a recent race weekend in West Virginia. For his entertaining description of that fear and of that weekend, just click here.

Photo: Bob Brown. (Photo provided)

The 42-foot boat parked in the Tops Markets lot in Watkins.


An impressive-looking visitor in Watkins Glen

A boat with the insignia of the "World Champion Cigarette Racing Team" was stationed for a while July 2nd in the Tops parking lot in Watkins Glen. A number of local people wandered over to talk to a young Williamsport man at the rear of the boat, who said it belonged to his father, who was busy on the phone in the pickup truck hauling it. They were on their way to Seneca Lake, a body of water they visit annually. The craft is 42 feet long, with a fuel capacity of 246 gallons and twin 800 engines. It goes over 100 mph. Each such boat, says the Cigarette website, is customized to the owner's wishes -- with the company evolving over the years from performance racing to production for anyone from new boaters to "serious powerboaters." Did anyone see it on the water?


Shared Services played role in storm recovery

The Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District teamed with various governmental units and highway workers to tackle a recovery project after the June 5 storm that struck Watkins Glen, closing Rt. 14 between Montour Falls and Watkins Glen. A key part of the project was clearing a clogged box culvert under Fairgrounds Lane in Watkins. Recovery.

Photo: At work on the project. (Photo provided)

Also: SWCD tackles wetlands project. Wetlands.


Reception welcomes new Glen library director

The Watkins Glen Public Library board hosted a reception on June 28 to say goodbye to longtime library director Harriet Eisman and welcome new director Sarah Kurcoba. From left in the photo above are Kurcoba, Eisman, Judy Phillips, current board president, and Brian O'Donnell, who served on both the library board and the board of the Friends of Watkins Library. Eisman is retiring after 30 years with the Watkins Glen library. (Photo provided)

Mark Specchio smiles broadly upon entering Murabella's for dinner. He found a surprise retirement party awaiting him.


Surprise party greets WG's retiring Specchio

The Village of Watkins Glen's Superintendent of Utilities, Mark Specchio, retired June 29 after 22 years working for the village. Accordingly, a surprise party staged by his family and attended by friends, family and co-workers was held Wednesday evening, June 28 at Murabella's Restaurant in Montour Falls. Specchio appeared surprised and was all smiles as he and his wife Bonnie entered the restaurant and encountered a loud "Surprise!" and then music by Robin Burnett. The first-floor room was packed with well-wishers as Specchio starts the next chapter in his life. Note: Specchio's wife Bonnie retired at the same time after 20 years as a teacher assistant in the Watkins Glen School District.

Photo in text: Robin Burnett provided vocals.


Schuyler Steps Out: Humane Society wins

The Humane Society of Schuyler County has successfully defended its 2016 Schuyler Steps Out title, winning the 2017, eight-week free community walking competition with an average of 1,035,032 steps from 14 walkers. The Humane Society, atop the leader board from early in the season, outdistanced runnerup Grand Prix Fitness (897,925 average), the Watkins Glen High School/Library (712,320), the Senka Agency (683,276) and Sidle Insurance (675,886). There were 11 teams. MVP and Most Improved Awards will be announced in the near future.


O-M's 6th marking period Honor Rolls

Odessa-Montour Junior-Senior High School has unveiled its High Honor Roll and Honor Roll for the sixth and final marking period of the 2016-17 school year. Honors.

Author Cynthia Neale's books were on display, along with a vintage hat reflecting the period she writes about.


Neale gives reading, touts her latest novel

Novelist Cynthia Neale, formerly of this area but now living in New Hampshire, was on hand June 26 in Montour Falls for a reading from her latest book, "The Irish Milliner," part of her series about Norah McCabe, an Irish immigrant in 19th century America. The novel -- available for sale at the reading -- deals with Norah as a young widow during the Civil War, and features a meeting with Abraham Lincoln.

Left: Author Cynthia Neale

To learn more about Neale's books, visit


WGHS says farewell to its Class of 2017

The Watkins Glen High School Class of 2017 graduated June 24 in a Commencement ceremony in the school auditorium. A total of 78 seniors received their diplomas. Graduation.

Right: Phebe Wickham of the WGHS Class of 2017.

The Watkins Glen High School Alumni Association honored its four $1,500 WGHS scholarship recipients at Saturday's annual banquet. From left, they are Liz Mason, Rong Hang Lin, Max Schimizzi and Brienna Solomon.


Alumni Association holds its annual banquet

The Watkins Glen High School Alumni Association held its annual banquet on June 24 at the Watkins Glen Community Center -- an event that drew more than 200 people. Honored as a Distinguished Alumnus was Larry Field (right) of the Class of 1952, who served for more than 20 years in the Air Force, retiring in 1978 with the rank of Lt. Colonel. He flew 5000 hours, including 1000 in support of the Vietnam War. He flew 210 combat missions, and earned seven air medals. Also honored was the late Frieda Scholtisek, Class of 1939, a fashion model who graced the covers of numerous magazines, including Life (May 8, 1944). She worked under the name of Lynn Davis, and appeared in a number of films, including one called "Baby Sitter's Jitters" with The Three Stooges. She later returned to Watkins Glen and worked part-time in the school business office. Few knew of her successes.

Photo: Distinguished Alum Larry Field.

Frieda Scholtisek, aka Lynn Davis, in "Baby Sitter's Jitters" with Stooges Moe Howard (back) and Larry Fine.


Odessa-Montour Class of 2017 graduates

The Odessa-Montour High School Class of 2017 graduated June 23 when its 42 members were handed diplomas and sent out into the world to make their marks. Valedictorian was Emelia Paulisczak. Salutatorian was Madison Morse. The keynote speaker was 1993 O-M grad Charlie Wood, partner in a cyber security consulting firm based in Rochester. Graduation.

Photo at right: Graduates Sage Garrison and Kyle Frasier pose for photos after the commencement ceremony.


Hotel plan is off: 'Pieces didn't come together'

A plan to turn the top two floors of the old three-story Peele Building at 214 N. Franklin St. -- home on the ground floor of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce -- into an upscale, four-diamond boutique hotel "is off the table," according to building owner Jim Guild. "There are a few reasons why we gave up on the project," said Guild, who expressed concern at "a rumor going around that the Chamber was holding it up. That is untrue." It was really just a case where "all the pieces didn't come together," he said, adding that the Chamber "still has a long-term lease with me, which I am very happy for."

Photo: The building at 214 N. Franklin St. (File photo)


Watkins-Montour Rotary Club has a busy day

The club's weekly luncheon meeting on June 22 saw two young women honored as Students of the Month, Paul Harris Fellow honors bestowed on a couple; a farewell talk from Swedish exchange student Angelika Friis (right) and a talk by Cooperative Extension executive director Phil Cherry on beekeeping. People.

Present for the press conference at Clute Park were, from left, Jennifer Bertron of the Food Bank; Sue Larson; Mayor Sam Schimizzi; park director Michelle Hyde; Wendy Wirth; and Rob Cole, who directs food preparation for the program in the WGHS kitchen.


Summer Meals Awareness touted at gathering

The free summer meals program provided at summer recreation programs and elsewhere in Schuyler County was publicized June 22 as part of a Summer Meals Awareness Day proclaimed by Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi. Members of the Schuyler County Chiild Hunger Task Force were present at the Clute Park Pavilion for the occasion. The summer program provides free meals for all kids and teens on Monday through Friday at the WGHS cafteteria from June 26-Aug. 17, at the Clute Park Pavilion from June 26-July 28, and at the Odessa-Montour cafeteria from July 10-Aug. 4, and at Reading Center's Paradise Park on Monday through Thursday from July 5-Aug. 3. Funding is mostly from the federal goverment. The task force includes a dozen partner organizations representing education, health, government and churches. Established in 2015, it battles child hunger in the county during the summer.

The Sheriff's Department says this car is being sought.


'Suspicious package' prompts hunt for car

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Department posted the picture above of a red car being sought by law enforcement "after a suspicious package was dropped off at the New York State Fire Academy in Montour Falls on Thursday morning, June 22. The building was reportedly evacuated and Route 14 near the Academy was temporarily closed off. The "package" was later identified as a metallic cooler, with a TV report noting that bomb experts determined by X-ray that it was empty. The red car reportedly had a male driver with a female passenger. Anyone with information was being asked to contact the Sheriff's Department dispatch center at 535-8222.


One-vehicle crash kills man in Town of Orange

An Elmira man died early Wednesday afternoon, June 21 as the result of one-car accident on County Route 16 in the Town of Orange. The Schuyler County Sheriff's Department said the victim, Paul Wagner, 26, was a passenger in a delivery truck when the northbound vehicle left the road and struck a NYSEG pole. The truck driver, identified as a 23-year-old from Elmira, was taken to Corning Hospital, treated and relaesed. The investigation is continuing.

Interior and exterior views of the gorge, near the entrance.


State Park gorge: Construction, but popular

The Watkins Glen State Park entrance off Franklin Street is undergoing extensive renovation as part of a $6.5 million upgrade project, but access to the gorge stairs is still available by following a route between two fences that starts near the parking pay booth on the west side of the road. In the photos above, taken June 21 and conceived by local photographer Liz Fraboni, the tunnel stairs (left) lead to the walking bridge from which the shot on the right was snapped. There was a continuous flow of visitors into and up through the gorge.


New pizzeria opens on Franklin Street

There is a new pizza outlet in Watkins Glen on North Franklin Street, across from the Village Hall. The Atlas Brick Oven Pizzeria offers sit-in and take-out meals, with seating on both the first and second floors. A bar is also located on the second floor. The restaurant opened on the June 18-19 weekend, and was drawing a steady flow of new and curious customers on Wednesday.

Photo: The entrance to the Atlas Brick Oven Pizzeria on Franklin Street.

Patrick Hazlitt signs his letter of intent to attend the University at Buffalo, where he will continue his running career. He is flanked by his parents, Doug and Cheryl.


Hazlitt signs with the University at Buffalo

Watkins Glen High School graduating senior Patrick Hazlitt -- who won two Class C state running titles this year (as a member of the WGHS cross country team in the fall and then, on his own in the 800 Meter Run this spring) -- signed a letter of intent June 19 to attend the University at Buffalo. He will continue his running career there while majoring in business. The signing ceremony was in the WGHS library.

Left: Hazlitt cuts a celebratory cake.


Watkins Glen School Board: a summary

The Watkins Glen School Board on June 19 accepted several retirements and bid farewell to Keith Caslin, right, who was at his final session after serving three years on the board. Said Caslin afterward: "I want to thank the Watkins Glen community for allowing me to serve. It was an honor helping to make it a better place. I enjoyed my time on the board." For a summary of the meeting, click here.


Site lists Glen among top 12 vacation stops

Watkins Glen has made another desirable list: one as a Destination Vacation: Top 12 Places to Bring the Family. The list was compiled by, which said it "chose places near national parks, locations on the shores of lakes, and even a town in the middle of the Pacific Ocean" (Hanalei Town, on Kaua'i, Hawaii). In including Watkins Glen, the website points to the village's lake, its gorge, and its reputation as "a world famous raceway."

The U.S.S. Recovery sank just as it reached the finish line.


24th annual Cardboard Boat Regatta held

Forty boats made of cardboard, duct tape and paint competed June 17 in two-craft heats at the 24th annual Cardboard Boat Regatta at the Seneca Harbor Park marina in Watkins Glen. A large crowd was on hand, cheering on their favorites and those unfortunate enough to sink along the course. Features.

One of the June 18 acts under the main tent was Phil Banaszak (left) and City Fiddle, a group from Buffalo.


Annual Fiddlers Gathering held at Lakewood

The 28th annual Old Time Fiddlers Gathering and Folk Arts Festival concluded June 18 at Lakewood Vineyards north of Watkins Glen. The two-day event featured various artists under a main tent, a jam tent, workshops, and food trucks.

Photo in text: In the Jam Tent at the Fiddlers Gathering.


Area author holds book signing in Odessa

Author Molly Bilinski, a Watkins Glen High School graduate now living and working near Buffalo, was on hand Saturday morning, June 17 at the Dutton Peterson Library in Odessa to sell and sign copies of her novel, Lady of Sherwood, about a female Robin Hood. Bilinski, who appeared at a similar session last month at the Watkins Glen Public Library, was also scheduled to sign her books Saturday afternoon at a Barnes and Noble store.

Photo in text: Molly Bilinski at the Odessa library.

The Seneca Harbor Pier was illuminated as night fell.


Annual Waterfront Fest features harbor lights

The 24th annual Waterfront Festival -- featuring an array of harbor lights, a food court, live music at three locations, and assorted vendors -- was held Friday evening, June 16 at Seneca Harbor Park in Watkins Glen. The festival was a prelude to Saturday's annual Cardboard Boat Regatta.

Left top: Among Friday's festival visitors: Judy Cherry.

Tru Bleu, of Ithaca, was among several musical groups on hand.

Harris Fellows: Heather Lodge, left, and Nancy Ruda were honored June 15 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as Paul Harris Fellows, given to area residents who exhibit "service above self." Both women are involved in various endeavors in which they help people in need.


Rotary Club: Harris Fellows, and a farewell

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club luncheon on June 15 saw a new member (Lindsay Wickham) join, a check presentation to Kate LaMoreaux for her Summer Swim program, two Harris Fellow presentations (see above), and a farewell speech by Japanese exchange student Moeko Oshima (right), who outlined her year as a student at Watkins Glen High School.

Some of her highlights: her arrival on Aug. 21, 2016 at Rochester Airport ("I was so excited and nervous"); her membership on the school swim team; her first American sandwich (at Glen Mountain Market, "so large I couldn't eat it all. Now I can."); dressing as a witch on Halloween; a Senior Trip to Washington, D.C.; a 3-day trip to New York City; "tons of presents on Christmas"; a chance to meet with her grandmother and sister when they visited Toronto; a Spring Break trip to North Carolina; the school's "amazing" prom; and the chance to get together with other exchange students in the region. One, O-M's Angelika Friis of Sweden, "I'm sure will be my lifetime friend."

"I love Watkins Glen so much," Moeko added. "This year is my treasure." She will return home in August after a bus trip around the country.

Among those at the Arc of Schuyler annual meeting were, from left: Harold J. Hoffmeier, Jr., who takes over as Board President from Mike Stamp; Jim Wilson, the organization's former executive director; and Willie Pittman, formerly of Schuyler County and now retired and living in Virginia. Pittman, a longtime supporter of The Arc, traveled north with his wife Brenda to attend the meeting and see old friends.


Arc holds annual session, taps board officers

The Arc of Schuyler board of directors has a new slate of officers, headed by Harold J. Hoffmeier, Jr., as President, succeeding Michael Stamp, who in turn had succeeded Hoffmeier five years ago and will now be vice president. The election came at The Arc's annual meeting and awards ceremony June 15th at the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen. Various recognitions were made, mostly relating to The Arc's renovation of its Canal Street home in Montour Falls, while a Direct Support Professional Excellence Award was presented to Beth Macri. The annual $1,000 Joanne S. Hayes Memorial Scholarship was presented to Destiny Decker, a senior at Bradford Central School who plans to attend Elmira College.

Photo: Outgoing board president Mike Stamp, right, with former Schuyler County Judge J.C. Argetsinger.

Check out our Wine and Tourism page

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

Want to contact us?

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

You can call: (607) 594-3594

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For other recent Schuyler County news, click here.

And also:

Area schools' Honor Rolls are here.

Area historical photos can be found on History.

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

For other recent Schuyler County news, click here.





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


To reach the Seneca Physical Therapy website, click on the ad above.


The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a Wine & Tourism Page. To reach the page, click here. To reach the Chamber website, click on the ad above. To reach the Chamber's recent blog, click here.


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 O'Shaughnessy Antiques in Watkins Glen and at the Schuyler County Historical Society Museum.


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


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Yes, we're still seeking donations

Click here

Sponsors' Page

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

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

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


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here.


An eternal message of lights, hope and faith

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

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


Oh, the famous faces I've seen

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


The Sound and the Silence: A Memoir

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



Some sports stories and essays inside

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


Some special feature packages

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



The editor's long search for some childhood icons

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

Above: One of the heroes in question.


A cabin in the woods

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




© The Odessa File 2017
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

(607) 594-3594