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


Our Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism


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


Click on the ad below for information about the Franklin Street Gallery.


Southern Finger Lakes Women, a Chapter of New York State Women, Inc. (formerly the Watkins Glen Business and Professional Women-BPW/USA), is
a local chapter of "Women Helping Women."
Its Vision: To be the leading advocate for working women.
Its Mission: Building Powerful Women, Professionally, Personally, Politically through advocacy, education, and information.
SFLW meets the third Monday of the month.
For more information contact Gloria Hutchings, Membership Chair, at 607/594-2489 or

The chapter's website is


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here.



Click on the Ad above to go to the Sidle Insurance website. Click here to send an e-mail to the Sidle firm.

Classic Chef's restaurant currently has carryout and curbside service, with hours of 11-6, open daily except Wednesday and Thursday.

See our Wine & Tourism Page here.

Roundtables are set for small businesses

Special to The Odessa File

Three Industry Roundtable sessions are scheduled for small businesses that need to know the state and federal programs that are available to them and where to get hands-on, "help desk" support.

The Roundtables are for Beverage & Food Producers; Hospitality and Personal Services; and Downtown Businesses (within our Villages). The schedule is as follows:

Monday, March 30th: 5:30 p.m. Beverage & Food Producers.
Tuesday, March 31st: 5:30 p.m. Hospitality & Personal Services.
Wednesday, April 1st: 5:30 p.m. Downtown Businesses (within our Villages).

Details for the ZOOM Call-in (businesses can conference call in even if they don't have a PC equipped with a camera & audio).

Monday, March 30th, 5:30 pm: Beverage & Food Producers
Meeting ID: 815 299 179
Password: 855520
One tap mobile
+19292056099,,815299179# US (New York)

Tuesday, March 31st, 5:30 pm: Hospitality & Personal Services
Meeting ID: 693 503 251
Password: 402752
One tap mobile
+19292056099,,693503251# US (New York)

Wednesday, April 1st, 5:30 pm: Downtown Businesses (Villages)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 871 413 483
Password: 243973
One tap mobile
+19292056099,,871413483# US (New York)

SBA application forms can be found on the SCOPED website (

Event to connect businesses to businesses

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 27, 2020 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will host a virtual, inaugural B2B Meet Up event at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, enabling businesses from Schuyler County and the Finger Lakes Region to share ideas and opportunities, and to work together finding innovative ways to thrive.

Said the Chamber in a press release: "During this challenging time it is imperative that our businesses continue to offer products and services that, despite many hampering factors, are still relevant to their customers while striving to be innovative, and developing an emergent success plan. This virtual meeting will begin with a 15-minute pep talk from Arel Moodie, CEO of ReedOak LLC, a member of Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30 List,” a best-selling author, and featured speaker at the White House.

"Following Mr. Moodie, participating businesses will have three minutes to share with the audience what services or products they are offering that can assist other businesses during these difficult days. Following the presentations, the audience will have 15 minutes to ask questions of the presenters. The virtual B2B Meet-Up will be moderated by Dusty Hewit, Founder and Principal of Long Run Communications."

Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rebekah Carroll is looking forward to this virtual meet up, observing “During this time, it is more important than ever to provide ways for our business community to continue to support each other, to provide innovative ways to network, and to provide inspiration and hope to our community.”

Businesses interested in briefly presenting their products and/or services at this B2B Meet Up can email Events Manager Liz Salamendra at, or call her at (607) 227-5370. All Finger Lakes Region businesses, whether they reside in Schuyler County or beyond, and whether they are a Chamber member or not, are invited to either present or be an audience member at this online gathering. Details are posted on the Chamber Facebook page,, or can be obtained calling the Chamber at (607) 535-4300.

Cayuga Health seeks mask-making vols

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, March 25, 2020 -- Cayuga Health (CH) started making masks earlier this week and is looking for individuals to help out both in person and at home. Volunteers need to sign up in advance so a schedule can be made. Contact information is below.

“We have learned through our surgical blanket project, that our sewing community is vast, and know there will be a critical need to get masks to front line medical staff, not only in our community but to those surrounding us,” said Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. “Those who are able can sign up to help make masks that will be used in our OR. Those who are unable to leave their homes can also help by sewing masks at home. The CDC has declared homemade masks acceptable in times of crises. Our team will provide the mask pattern and specifications.”

Production is taking place at Cornell University's Bartels Hall in the side basketball court. Sewing began on Tuesday, March 24 and will continue daily Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., until no longer needed.

There are many volunteer positions available and several things that can be provided to aid the volunteers.

Specific requests include:

-- Sewing volunteers who are able to bring personal sewing machines or make masks at home.

-- Four (4) to aid in the supply of materials and packing masks to be sent back to the hospital daily into the supply chain at both Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Medical Center. Patterns are being cut from blue wrap from surgical instruments being upcycled.

-- Sewing machines, rotary cutters with extra blades, cutting rulers, sewing needles (size 90), all-purpose sewing thread, pipe cleaners.

“The material we are using for the masks is surgical wrapping, the same material we use to make warm blankets for area residents in need," said Carol O’Driscoll RN, BSN, BS and Sr. Director Perioperative Services, Cayuga Medical Center. “The surgical wraps are 4-by-4-foot sheets used to heat-sterilize surgical instruments. They are durable, waterproof and sterile and they don't come in contact with patients.”

To sign up to volunteer, contact Crystal Barkman 607-274-4331 or Michelle Vallake 607-274-4535. An email has also been established for this project: that anyone can reach out to with questions about the project and volunteering at either their home or Cornell.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

Cayuga Health, Tompkins County open new COVID-19 sampling center in Ithaca

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, March 23, 2020 -- Cayuga Health (CH) and Tompkins County officials announced Monday that they are opening a new COVID-19 sampling center location for patients who meet screening criteria for testing to handle more widespread screening.

The Sampling Center will be open starting Tuesday, March 24 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday-Friday. A new website with on-line registration is at for patients to review the screening criteria and pre-register before their arrival, allowing greater efficiencies with patient volume and decreased wait times. In addition, a call center has been set up for patients who may not have access to Internet, need assistance registering, or have questions. The call center number is 607-319-5708. Individuals are strongly encouraged to pre-register prior to coming to the site.

“Testing for COVID-19 has rapidly evolved. Last week we were successful with opening one of the first COVID-19 sampling centers in New York State and we will continue to do what it takes to meet the healthcare needs of our community," said Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. "I want to thank The Shops at Ithaca Mall and our Tompkins County officials for their efforts and support in making this Sampling Center come together so quickly. I would also like to thank the entire Cayuga Health staff for their tireless dedication and hard work over the past several weeks.”

“This new sampling center is another way for us to do our part to flatten the curve, get people tested, and keep our community safe,” said Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County Public Health Director. “We recognize there are limitations to this sampling site and we will continue to work to find solutions to ensure that everyone who needs to get tested is able to receive this service. I would like to thank Dr. Stallone and his entire team for leading this effort for the Sampling Center.”

The criteria for testing includes two questions:

--Have you had a recent onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath, or body aches?

--Have you been in the same room with a person confirmed positive with COVID-19 in the last 14 days?

For those tested, they must go straight home, as they will be on mandatory home isolation as directed by the Health Department. Individuals will be contacted in about one week with the test result. Someone will contact individuals daily on behalf of the Health Department to ensure that there is compliance with mandatory home isolation.

The Sampling Center is located in portable structures at The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot and will be staffed by experienced and knowledgeable employees. Screening will include swabbing the throat and nose and will be sent to offsite designated testing centers for results. The new Sampling Center will replace the previous sampling facility, which opened on March 16.

Patients entering the screening location by car can tune into FM 96.3 to receive instructions about driving through the Sampling Center. In addition, signs will convey important information to assist with traffic control. If you do not have transportation, please do not take public transportation to the sampling center. Cayuga Health and Tompkins County officials are working closely to determine if mobile sampling is available or other transportation options. The public will be updated about these options.

As directed by Governor Cuomo, COVID-19 testing is free for all New Yorkers, regardless of health insurance.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

Few exceptions as hospitals suspend visits

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, March 18, 2020 -- Hospital visitation at Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital has been suspended except in specific limited instances, it was announced Wednesday by John Turner, Vice President of Public Relations at Cayuga Health.

In a statement released late in the afternoon, Turner said:

“Per today’s directive from the NYS Department of Health, effective immediately, we are suspending all hospital visitation to Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital except when medically necessary (i.e. the visitor is essential to the care of a patient) or for family members or legal representatives of patients that may be facing end-of-life situations.

"In addition, any visitors meeting these exceptions will be screened for symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, or fever) or potential exposure to someone with COVID-19 and the duration and number of visits should be minimized.

"We are encouraging our patients to use electronic communications when available, including cell phones, tablets, etc. We are working hard to provide alternative solutions for patients that may not have access to these devices.

"Thank you for understanding and for your efforts to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

About Cayuga Health System

Cayuga Health System (CHS) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences. It has also teamed up with the Family Health Network of Central New York to enhance care in the region. To learn more about the Cayuga Health System, visit

Hospital, Schuyler health officials provide update on the Coronavirus pandemic

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 17, 2020 -- Officials from Schuyler Hospital, Cayuga Health and Schuyler County held a press conference Tuesday to provide a COVID-19 update.

Speakers included Tim O'Hearn, Schuyler County Administrator; Deborah Minor, Director, Schuyler County Public Health; William Yessman, Schuyler County Sheriff; Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO, Cayuga Health System; and Rebecca Gould, President and CEO, Schuyler Hospital.

O’Hearn discussed how all county, state and federal agencies are working closely together to put preventive and responsive measures in place to minimize the effects of COVID-19 and limit the spread of the disease. “We have been following the guidance of the Schuyler County Public Health, the CDC, and the New York State Department of Health,” said O’Hearn. “The health and well-being of our community is our top priority. Last week we declared a State of Emergency for Schuyler County in response to COVID-19 to protect the health and welfare of our residence, and we expect everyone to take this seriously and approach every day with the utmost caution.”

"Although there are no confirmed cases within Schuyler County to date, this situation is rapidly evolving, and the threat is imminent,” Stallone emphasized. “Our entire health organization is and has been preparing for a surge in patient volume, to the best of our ability, based on the information that we are receiving.

“Senior citizens, those with immune-compromised situations, or underlying health conditions should be mindful of where they are going in the community because as you have already heard, they are the most vulnerable,” he added.

Gould confirmed that there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases at Schuyler Hospital. She asked anyone who believes he or she may have symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and meets risk factors to call their primary care provider for advice on actions to take.

“We have established a COVID-19 hotline at our Montour Falls Primary Care Center,” Gould said. “The Hotline phone number (607) 535-7154.”

In order to keep patients, residents, visitors and employees safe, Gould said the hospital has implemented the following measures :

--Limited entrances to the facilities (Emergency Department, Rehab and Seneca View main entrance).

--At those entrances, everyone who enters is being screened for symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19 (coronavirus).

--The screening includes a brief questionnaire.

--All staff are also having temperature checked, to protect the Seneca View residents -- the most vulnerable population

--All Seneca View staff are wearing masks, as required by the NYS Department of Health.

--No visitors are being allowed at Seneca View, except in limited cases, as defined by the NYS Department of Health.

--Visitors at Schuyler Hospital proper are being limited to one at a time, and that includes inpatients, Emergency Department, as well as any other ancillary services.

--No visitors under age 18.

--All non-essential meetings and events have been canceled until further notice.

“We are also working with all departments to put processes and procedures in place for the steps we would take if we receive a patient who tests positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus)," said Gould. "And, of course, we are in continual communication with our community agencies.”

About Schuyler Hospital

Schuyler Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital, with a 120-bed skilled nursing facility attached. Schuyler Hospital’s main campus -- on over-50-acre facilities overlooking Seneca Lake -- is located in Montour Falls, New York. For nearly 100 years, Schuyler Hospital has been the primary healthcare provider in and around Schuyler County. It has evolved over the years into a network of providers, programs, and services that reaches throughout Schuyler County and into neighboring counties to meet the healthcare needs of a population of over 32,000 residents. For more information on services available at Schuyler Hospital, please visit or call (607) 535-7121.

About Cayuga Health System

Cayuga Health System (CHS) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences. It has also teamed up with Family Health Network of Central New York to enhance care in the region. To learn more about the Cayuga Health System, visit

Photo in text:

Top: Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO, Cayuga Health System. (Photo provided)
Bottom: Rebecca Gould, President and CFO, Schuyler Hospital.

Cayuga Medical Center restricts visitors

In response to the first confirmed case of COVID-19 for Tompkins County, Cayuga Medical Center has established visitor restrictions for the hospital and offsite facilities.

ITHACA, March 14, 2020 -- Cayuga Medical Center has issued visitor restrictions "in light of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Tompkins County and in order to protect the safety of our patients, visitors, staff, and communities we serve."

The restrictions begin Sunday, March 15 at 3 p.m. and will "remain in effect until further notice." The restrictions are as follows:

--All patients, visitors, and employees entering the building will be screened.
One visitor will be allowed per inpatient. This will be the only daily visitor allowed for the duration of the patient’s stay.
You will not be allowed entry into any Cayuga Medical Center building if you are sick.

Any and all visitors, including family members, with symptoms of illness such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath will not be allowed in patient areas to help control the spread of illnesses. Cayuga Medical Center will work with families who have special circumstances, such as a critically ill or injured family member, on a case-by-case basis.

"We understand this will be difficult for some patients and apologize for the inconvenience," the Medical Center said in a press release. "We encourage everyone to make use of technology such as phones and tablets to communicate with people outside of the hospital.

"Additionally, we are aware that a number of people from the community come to the hospital to get meals, so in order to protect our staff and patients, our Garden Cafe, Express Cafe, and East Campus Cafe will no longer be open to the general public until further notice. We again apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences. It has also teamed up with the Family Health Network of Central New York to enhance care in the region.

About Cayuga Medical Center

Cayuga Medical Center [CMC] is a not-for-profit, acute-care medical center bringing state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services to the residents of Tompkins, Cortland, Seneca, and Tioga counties. CMC houses over 200 beds and employs 1,200 health-care professionals and has a medical staff of 200 affiliated physicians.

Rotary cancels its annual antiques show

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 13, 2020 -- The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club’s annual Antiques Show & Collectibles has been cancelled due to community health concerns.

The show is one of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club’s signature events. It had been scheduled for Sunday, March 22, at the Clute Park Community Center in Watkins Glen.

Infection threat leads Hospital, Seneca View to implement enhanced measures for visitors

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 11, 2020 -- Due to the increased risk to the elderly population for contracting COVID-19 (coronavirus), Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility and Schuyler Hospital have implemented enhanced measures for visitors, effective Friday, March 13, 2020, at 5 a.m.

Actions are being applied under the guidance of the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and are intended to limit exposure to illness.

Although there are currently no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in Schuyler County, hospital and nursing home officials are requesting that those with symptoms of illness such as fever, lower respiratory infection, shortness of breath, cough, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea avoid visiting the skilled nursing facility and hospital until symptoms have fully resolved for 24 hours.

Starting Friday, March 13, at 5 a.m., entrances to the hospital facilities will be limited to the Schuyler Hospital Emergency Department, Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility Main Entrance, or Rehab Entrance, where all visitors will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors.

Visitors are encouraged to be diligent about handwashing with soap and water.

Seneca View will be providing video tele-communications so that residents may continue to communicate with family and friends.

Said Schuyler Hospital President/CFO Rebecca Gould: “Out of an abundance of caution, we are implementing every safeguard we can to ensure the health and safety to our residents, patients, families and staff until the increased threat of infection passes.”

With questions, please contact Schuyler Hospital at (607) 535-7121 or email

Finger Lakes-themed silk lantern festival planned in Hector area starting in August

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 28, 2020 -- A Chinese-style silk lantern festival proposed last year and rejected for Havana Glen Park in Montour Falls is now on track to operate from August through October on wooded grounds owned by Grist Iron Brewing Company owner Bill Allington off of Route 414 in the Town of Hector.

The "Finger Lakes Fantasy of Lights" festival, with silk figures stories high affixed to metal frames and emanating colorful lights in a themed format, was announced this week by AllPark Solutions, Inc. at the annual meeting of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

The plan was outlined by Robert Montgomery of AllPark Solutions, the meeting's keynote speaker. He discussed his company's success with creating such festivals at various other sites around the world, and the planned timeline for this one -- which, assuming first-year success, envisions a longer operating period (say August through December) in future years.

Other similar efforts by AllPark -- in the U.S., United Kingdom, France and Japan -- have proved to be successful repeating events (with annually changing themes and sets) that have existed for up to nine seasons, he said, with a range of 150,000 to 300,000 visitors per year. "And looking at the opportunities in this market," he added, the attendance expectation would fall within that range.

Chinese lantern festivals date back some 2,000 years in China -- where the workers who create current-day festival structures are recruited.

The festivals have nothing to do with small lanterns draped along a walkway: these are huge displays, with some structures in AllPark festivals reaching four or five stories high. In the words of one article covering an Ohio festival, “while they are called lanterns, they are really huge sculptures created by hand using silk fabric, steel frames, and tens of thousands of LED lights.”

According to on-line accounts, the "lanterns" are not only huge, but colorful and thematic -- sometimes reflecting the history and architecture of China, and other times reflecting American or European culture. They require a large space -- hence a park like that proposed earlier at Havana Glen or the wooded terrain behind the Grist Iron Brewing Co. -- and an infrastructure, and paved walkways so the visiting public can walk easily through the panorama of color and soft music without getting stuck in muddy terrain.

The area selected behind the Grist Iron will, says Montgomery, entail "a one-mile illuminated night-time forest walk" past hundreds of seasonal, themed structures "and millions of lights." The walk, he said, could take "two-and-a-half to three hours" to complete, with participants stopping to take photos and marvel at the displays.

The aim is to build repeat business off a $21 or $22 entry fee, and to appeal to a regional audience, not to mention some of the many tourists who now visit the area for the Watkins Glen State Park gorge and for the dozens of wineries that have developed around Seneca Lake in the past 20 years.

AllPark, Mongomery added, hopes to "build partnerships with other businesses" in the area. One obvious one is the Grist Iron, which he said is hoping attendees eat dinner there before their walk and drink there afterward. "We think that's going to happen pretty naturally," he said.

These festivals are normally located in larger population centers, but Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director SCOPED, has envisioned this as something that can both play off existing tourist traffic, attract new visitors and succeed on its own smaller terms. While disappointed when rebuffed by the Montour Town Board on the Havana Glen proposal (the board oversees that park), she -- along with Montgomery (an Ottawa resident) -- simply started looking at other potential sites.

Enter Bill Allington, who Montgomery and Cherry thanked profusely at Wednesday's annual meeting for his support, with Cherry saying: "Hats off to you for taking us into a whole new event."

As part of the preparation, Montgomery noted, Allington is "shaping a parking lot" with a path "leading to the top of his property." From there, the festival, with many lighted structures, will wind on paths through a section of wooded land 18 to 20 acres in size.

Montgomery, Cherry and Lisa Ferraro, a member of the SCOPED board who heads up its Business Attraction Committee, expressed unbridled enthusiasm during the annual meeting regarding the festival and its potential economic ripple effects.

"This is the 31st or 33rd show we will have produced," said Montgomery, although "the first time we're coming to a smaller community." Despite that difference in community size, "we believe it's a great market." AllPark will be spending $100,000 in marketing as the opening nears, with a key target audience being other counties in the region.

Montgomery said the festival set-up would begin in June, and involve about 40 Chinese nationals brought to the U.S. on work visas (from a locale in China so far free of the coronavirus). They are artisans long experienced in silk lantern festivals. Once they are done, three or four would remain through the festival period for maintenance. A local work force would not likely exceed 15 people, with only a half-dozen on so needed on any festival evening.

"The first shipment of materials and lanterns has already arrived," he said, with three more shipments due in March and "the balance in June."

The size and scope of the festival "is difficult to describe," Montgomery told the meeting attendees, noting that it is something you need "to see live" to fully comprehend, for "it is really unique."

If the first year proves successful, he said, subsequent festival periods -- each year with new structures, new theme and new lighting -- would start with a July setup and run from August until possibly Christmas and beyond. The first year's theme will be Finger Lakes-related, he added, although he would not reveal what that specifically will be.

Marketing touting that theme will hit the media and social media outlets as the startup date nears. That, and word of mouth, should carry the experience into the realm of success, he suggested.

"We think we can have a successful show," he concluded.

Photos in text:

Top: Robert Montgomery delivers the keynote address at the SCOPED annual meeting.
Second: Scene from video presentation of a Chinese lantern festival.
Third: AllPark Solutions logo.
Fourth: SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry with Montgomery.
Fifth: Grist Iron Brewing Company owner Bill Allington shares a laugh at the meeting.

14th annual Business Expo calls for vendors

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 8, 2020 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is planning its 14th Annual Business Expo, and says it "now is the time for member businesses and organizations to reserve their booth."

Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Time: 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Where: Watkins Glen Community Center,155 S. Clute Park Drive, Boat Launch Road, Watkins Glen.

The Business Expo begins with a showcase that is open to the public from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

"This is a great opportunity for locals to learn about the goods, services, and products that are available to them in their community," said the Chamber, adding: "Attendees may also purchase local products during the event, as vendors may sell pre-packaged products. Participants and attendees also have the opportunity to network, build new business relationships, and learn about the unique products and services available from members of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and the community at large."

At 5:00 p.m. the event transitions into the Chamber’s monthly After Hours Mixer with a cash prize drawing, as well as a raffle for items from each participating vendor business or organization. Refreshments will be available during the mixer portion of the event.

“This highly anticipated event is one that every Chamber member should attend and participate in," said Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rebekah Carroll. "It is a great benefit that is completely free of charge for members. The networking and business-to-business opportunities are invaluable. Don’t delay registration, as space fills up quickly!”

Registration ends March 11th. There is no fee for Chamber members to participate. The fee for non-members is $150.

Registration forms, and other event details, are provided on the Chamber’s website at To submit completed registration forms, or if you have any questions about the event, contact Events Manager Liz Salamendra at (607) 535-4300 or

Schuyler Habitat to dedicate 2nd house

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 20, 2020 -- Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity will dedicate its second house on Sunday, January 26 at 2 p.m. The public is invited.

The house, located at 306 Broadway in the Village of Montour Falls, has been built over the past two years by a corps of volunteers and through the generosity of many area businesses.

The house has been constructed in honor of the late Carmen Nicastro, D.C. His widow, Marion Nicastro, and family will attend the dedication ceremony. Habitat Chair Robert Groll will speak of the community effort to build the house. The Reverend Deacon Rick Ray, Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Watkins Glen, and The Reverend Michael Hartney, retired Episcopal priest, will offer the prayers.

The second Schuyler County Habitat family, the Venderwerffs, will soon occupy the home.
A search is are underway to find property to build a third house. Persons who may have property or a home to be donated and renovated can contact Bob Groll at

Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity meets monthly at the Human Resources Complex in Montour Falls, at 7 p.m. on second Wednesdays. Interested persons are welcome to attend.

Photo: The second Schuyler County Habitat house, in Montour Falls. (Photo provided)

Hospital 'Celebrity Chefs' to raise funds

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS / DUNDEE, Jan. 20, 2020 -- Good food mixes with a good cause on Thursday, January 30 at Veraisons at Glenora Wine Cellars. That's the evening that Schuyler Hospital providers and "stars" will serve up pasta there as "celebrity chefs."

Already confirmed Schuyler chefs include Dorothy Elizabeth, PA; Dr. Michael Eisman; Dr. Ben Saks; and Schuyler Health Foundation Board members Brenda Warren-Fitch and Erin Thaete, along with Administrator of Provider Services Matt Rouff and the Cayuga Health System President and CEO, Dr. Martin Stallone.

The event will benefit the Hospital’s 2020 Family of Friends Campaign for Schuyler Hospital and the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility.

Pasta night -- a series at this time of year at the Veraisons restaurant helping to benefit various area organizations -- is $21.95 per adult, or $17.95 per child, plus tax and gratuity. Dinners will be served from 5-8 p.m. Reservations are strongly encouraged by contacting Veraisons at 1-800-243-5513.

Zinger buys Haughey-Wood Funeral Home

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Jan. 8, 2020 -- David Zinger, owner of the Vedder-Scott & Zinger Funeral Home in Montour Falls, has purchased the Haughey-Wood Funeral Home -- renamed the Haughey-Wood & Zinger Funeral Home, at 119 Fifth St. in Watkins Glen.

Haughey-Wood & Zinger will continue as a full-service facility, offering both burial and cremation services to the families of Watkins Glen and its surrounding communities.

Zinger is a graduate of the Simmons Institute of Funeral Service in Syracuse and has been a licensed funeral director for over 23 years. He resides in Montour Falls with his wife, Tiffany, and their children.

An open house is planned, with details to follow.

Cayuga Health team turns Surgical Wrap into blankets for area residents in need

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, December 11, 2019 -- Cayuga Health has announced that a team of employees from the Neurodiagnostics Department at Cayuga Medical Center came up with the idea to turn surgical wrappings, that are normally disposed of as medical waste, into warm blankets for area residents in need.

"A hospital in Florida was utilizing surgical equipment covers to make sleeping bags for the homeless. So, we got a team together and came up with the blanket idea to distribute to the needy in the community," said Deanna Jacobs, R.EEGT., Supervisor of Neurodiagnostics Department at CMC. "The project idea was internally met with overwhelming approval and excitement."

The surgical wraps are 4-by-4 foot sheets used to heat sterilize surgical instruments. They are durable, waterproof and retain heat. But once they’re removed in the operating room, they are discarded. "We collect a large bag of material just about every day, providing us with an endless supply of blanket material," added Jacobs. "As for safety, they are sterile wraps, they don't come in contact with patients, and all appropriate precautions are taken."

Jacobs and team developed two initial prototypes and took them to Quilters Corner in Ithaca, and a group of their charity sewers -- who look for community projects to partner in -- have created 12 blankets to date. They use twelve 44" x 44" squares to make one blanket and it takes about two hours to create one. The blankets are large and heavy and can be used as sleeping bags as well.

"We just received our official 'stamp' to label the blankets," added Jacobs. "It says Recycle the Warmth ... Cayuga Cares. We are so excited to begin distributing them!"

Jacobs and team have identified many uses for the blankets. They will be carried in the Ithaca Police Department squad cars, and available at the Tompkins County Shelter and the St. John’s Rescue Mission -- with other ideas in the works. As the need grows, the team would appreciate help from other sewing organizations and volunteers.

"I am incredibly proud of this effort and this team," said Dr. Martin Stallone, Chief Executive Officer of Cayuga Medical Center and Cayuga Health. "Not only are they putting to good use what otherwise would go to waste and making the day a little better for a person who is in need, but they are making our Operating Room as eco-friendly as possible. That is a win for all!"

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences. It has also teamed up with Family Health Network of Central New York to enhance care in the region.

About Cayuga Medical Center

Cayuga Medical Center [CMC] is a not-for-profit, acute-care medical center bringing state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services to the residents of Tompkins, Cortland, Seneca, and Tioga counties. CMC houses over 200 beds and employs 1,200 health-care professionals and has a medical staff of 200 affiliated physicians.


Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance Recognizes James Merritt of Glenora Wine Cellars for Excellence in Customer Service for 2019 Year

Excellence in customer service recognized and applauded at the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance annual holiday party

Glenora's Merritt earns honor for service

Special to The Odessa File

PENN YAN, Dec. 11, 2019 --The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance has presented the 2019 Excellence in Customer Service Award to James Merritt, Wedding and Events Manager of Glenora Wine Cellars.

The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is an association with over 600 tourism related businesses, and strives for regional tourism growth and sustainability in the Finger Lakes.

The online customer reviews of James are stellar, said the Alliance -- "just a few among many reasons why he was this year’s recipient." It said he topped a field of nominees "who exemplified excellence in customer service throughout the year."

Alison Hunt from Congressman Tom Reed’s office also recognized Merritt with a Congressional proclamation for his achievement.

Merritt, nominated by Administrative Manager Kerry Keller of Glenora Wine Cellars, was one of five individuals considered for the award. Others included Teresa Fico from Painted Bar Stables, Steve Bolger from Main Street Drivers, George DiTomasso from Dr. Frank’s winery, and Ed Wightman from the Finger Lakes Boating Museum.

Founded in 1919, the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is recognized as one of the oldest destination marketing organizations in the United States. FLTA is an association of private-sector attractions, tourism-related businesses and county tourism offices working together in an effort to enhance and promote visitor business for the 9,000-square-mile Finger Lakes region of New York State.

10th annual Small Business Saturday held

About Small Business Saturday:

November 30, 2019, marked the 10th Annual Small Business Saturday, a celebration of small businesses and the positive impact they have on communities across the country. American Express, having created Small Business Saturday in 2010, says it is working with organizations and independent businesses to provide solutions that support communities and uplift local economies.

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Dec. 1, 2019 -- Various activities were undertaken during Small Business Saturday, also known as Shop Small Saturday, in communities across the United States on Saturday, Nov. 30.

For example, the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a Small Business Saturday Shoppers Welcome Station at its Visitors Center at 214 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen. The welcome station included coffee, hot cocoa, snacks, and crafts for kids. Also available: a Small Business Saturday passport of deals and 24 Days of Shopping Small passport.

Since Small Business Saturday started in 2010, consumers have reported spending an estimated $103 billion. That’s $103 billion toward helping communities thrive, spent over just nine days alone.

Also in Schuyler County -- up in Odessa -- a vendors fair featuring crafts and products of various kinds was held in the Municipal Building community room and in the adjoining fire department bays. Food was available, served by Boys Scout Troop 50, and raffle prizes were available. Proceeds were going to the Boy Scouts and to the Odessa Community Celebration Organization.

While businesses throughout the Finger Lakes Region were actively participating in Small Business Saturday through their chambers of commerce, the following member businesses were engaged through the Watkns Glen chamber: Been There - A Community Cafe; Castel Grisch Winery; Chateau LaFayette Reneau; Distressed by Me Designs; Dragonfly Soul Craft; Earthy Imaginations; FLavor Studio and Gallery; Flower Divas of Montour Falls; Franklin Street Gallery and Gift Shop; Glenora Wine Cellars; Graceful Arts Fiber Studio; Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards; Hill Top Inn Restaurant, Banquets, & Catering; Inner Peace Floats; Jeanie's Variety Store; Lakewood Vineyards; Lane's Yamaha; Millport Landing; Montour Falls Library; Paradiso's Village Bakery; Rasa Spa; Rasta Ranch Vineyards; Samantha N Moon Photography; Sandlot Sports Academy; Schuyler County Historical Society; Seneca Signature Scents; Seneca Sunrise Coffee; Simply Your Best Salon/Spa; Sunset View Creamery; The Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars; The Windmill Farm and Craft Market; Thirty-One Gifts; Veraisons Restaurant at Glenora Wine Cellars; Warren Real Estate; Watkins Glen Promotions & Memorabilia; and WMF Design.

Photo in text: Simply Your Best Salon/Spa, one of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce member businesses involved in Small Business Saturday, had a table with a prize wheel set up at the vendors fair at the Odessa Municipal Building.

Ceremony marks the reopening of Graft Wine and Cider eatery in Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 15, 2019 -- The Graft Wine + Cider Bar restaurant and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated the re-opening of the popular eatery at 204 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen, now helmed by Chef/Owner Orlando Rodriguez, with a ribbon cutting Friday evening.

The ceremony featured speeches byWatkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn, and Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah Carroll.

Chef/Owner Orlando, best known for his 10-plus years of creative, locally sourced dishes as head chef at Veraisons Restaurant at Glenora Wine Cellars, also spoke -- thanking his family for their support and thanking Ted Marks, who was integral in the original opening (in 2015) and operation of Graft, for offering him the opportunity to buy the business, owned now by Orlando and his wife Natacia.

Leszyk, in his talk, said "it takes courage to try to go out on your own" as a small business person, but that "there is no better place to start -- or resume -- a business than right here in Watkins Glen."

O'Hearn praised Marks and Chef Orlando for their vision, and Orlando for "your willingness to take a risk."

Carroll said the grand opening marked "a brand new chapter with a little spin. It's a little bit different than we had before."

Chef Orlando, in a statement leading up to the grand opening, said: "For as long as I've wanted to be a Chef, long before I began my formal education at the Culinary Institute of America in the Hudson Valley Region, I have always wanted to own my own restaurant. And as was the case with the founders of this beloved establishment, Graft will continue to be a family affair, with my wife Natacia Rodriguez the co-owner, and my daughter, an aspiring media developer, helping out with our social media and marketing. We look forward to maintaining and growing the excellent reputation we've inherited with Graft, and continuing to serve locally-sourced, creative food to our neighbors, fellow residents, and visitors alike."

Graft continues to be a New York-focused Wine + Cider Bar with locally sourced tapas plates to pair and share, prepared in-house by Orlando. Graft will serve and sell a variety of New York State hand-crafted wines, beers and ciders accompanying its many locally sourced dishes, which will change regularly with the changing availability of those food sources.

You can learn more about Graft at

Photo in text: Chef Orlando Rodriguez and his family at Friday's gathering.

Noms sought for annual Chamber Awards

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 22, 2019 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will be presenting its 2019 annual awards at the 2020 Winter Gala on January 18. Nominations are being sought for four awards, including the Community Spirit Award, the Leader in Business Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Max Neal Award.

The award criteria for consideration are listed below. Community members are invited to nominate deserving individuals!

Community Spirit Award -- must be awarded to a business and/or individual that has demonstrated leadership and excellence in philanthropy; must have encouraged civic initiatives, and/or facilitated humanitarianism; made a significant contribution within the last five years; positively impacted the community in which the business operates.

Leader in Business Award -- must have made a dynamic contribution to the Schuyler County business community within the last decade; must have expanded the business mix in Schuyler County; continues to foster economic opportunity such as creating new job opportunities; must have assumed considerable risk; highly respected entrepreneur.

Lifetime Achievement Award -- may include a successful partnership of one or more persons; must own or manage a local business and have taken business risks to create jobs or trade over a period of time; must have demonstrated staying power as an established business; must be actively involved in community and civic organizations in Schuyler County over the last 15 years; must be of the stature as to keep the award prestigious and complement past/future winners; must be respected and recognized throughout the community; and must be a resident or own/manage a business in Schuyler County.

The Max Neal Award -- must have demonstrated consistent dedication, selflessness, faith, determination, and solid support in the future and well-being of the Chamber; must have made it clear to the Community that they recognize the Chamber as their Schuyler County organization of choice; is an amazing investor and mentor into the future leadership of Schuyler County; must be well-respected, highly honored and beloved by the residents of Schuyler County; and must have served on a committee or the board of directors or been employed by the Chamber for a minimum of five years.

Nomination forms can be found on the Chamber website:

Please note that past recipients are listed on the nominations forms. The deadline for the receipt of the nominations is October 31, 2019, and they should be emailed to

Gorge Around Gorge Restaurant Week set

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 22, 2019 -- Gorge Around the Gorge Restaurant Week is a week-long event that will celebrate the delicious offerings of restaurants within the Finger Lakes Region.

This event will take place October 28 through November 3 . Participating restaurants will partner with the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce to offer $15 lunch and $25 or $35 dinner specials during this first-time celebration.

The following restaurants are participating in this inaugural event:

-- 3812 Bistro at Lakeside Resort

-- Blue Pointe Grille Watkins at Glen Harbor Hotel

-- Sapalta at Plum Point Lodge

-- Hill Top Inn Restaurant, Banquets, & Catering

-- Been There - A Community Cafe

-- F.L.X. Wienery

-- Jerlando's Ristorante & Pizza Co.

-- Nickel's Pit BBQ

For more information, and menus from the participating restaurants, visit the Chamber’s website at

Reservations are not required.

The event is organized by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Visions Federal Credit Union. Check the Chamber’s Facebook page for the latest news about it. For more information, call the Chamber at 607-535-4300 or email the Chamber at

Cabezas opens new engineering business

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Oct. 9, 2019 --, After nearly twenty years in the engineering field, Howard Cabezas started Cabezas Engineering, PLLC in April 2019. Cabezas Engineering, PLLC has recently been certified by New York State as a Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE).

Cabezas Engineering specializes in mechanical, plumbing, and electrical engineering services.

Howard Cabezas has worked on construction projects from 5,000 to over 500,000 square feet. He has experience in designing hotels, higher education institutions, prisons, psychiatric centers, DOT facilities, K-12 schools, fire stations, office buildings, museums, and county buildings.

To learn more about Cabezas Engineering, PLLC, visit, call 607-227-7661 or email

Photo in text: Howard Cabezas (Photo provided)

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer poses with members of the Stamp family after his talk.

Schumer visits Lakewood Vineyards in drive to amend 'arcane' container rules

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 2, 2019 -- U.S. Senator Charles E. "Chuck" Schumer paid his annual visit to Schuyler County Tuesday afternoon, this time stopping in at Lakewood Vineyards.

According to a Lakewood representative, Schumer was "speaking in support of an effort that Lakewood has led" to change existing out-of-date and business-limiting rules regarding canned wine sizes.

Schumer, who visited Rochester in the mornng and was heading toward New York City later in the day, said he is lobbying to get the "arcane" rules in question altered so "people can have what they want" -- in this case readily accessible 12-ounce cans and single sales of popular 8.4-ounce cans. Currently the rules call for less popularly formatted (and thus difficult to obtain in small orders) 12.7-ounce cans, and require that 8.4-ounce cans be sold in groups of three or four instead of singly.

As the Lakewood representative said, "We are requesting to be allowed to have greater discretion in the sizes which we are allowed to sell."

Schumer, who like his Washington colleagues is on a two-week break from the nation's capital, said he also wants adjustment of what a press release issued by his office called "a lengthy and burdensome labeling process" now borne by wineries. To attain that would help "unshackle the Southern Tier winery industry and boost the regional economy."

Shumer was introduced to a gathering on a patio at Lakewood by Judy Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development. Also speaking was winemaker Chris Stamp, president of Lakewood and a son of Bev and the late Monty Stamp, the couple that built the business from humble beginnings -- a business that is now a tourist destination. Chris and his wife Elizabeth have carried on that earlier growth.

Schumer also acknowledged the presence of various dignitaries, including Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk; Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah Carroll; and Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.

After his talk, the senator posed for photos with the Stamp clan and various individuals before heading back out on the road, toward his next stop -- part of an itinerary that every year takes him to each of the counties in the state. This was his 21st annual visit to Schuyler County.

Photos in text:

Top: Senator Schumer with Judy Cherry, SCOPED executive director, who introduced him.

Middle: On hand were Doug Hazlitt and his sister Leah Hazlitt-Triner, who run Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards in Hector. Here they are shown greeting Senator Schumer upon his arrival at Lakewood.

Bottom: Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, listens to Senator Schumer's speech.

Senator Schumer (back to camera) discusses wines with the Stamp family during his visit to Lakewood Vineyards.

Cayuga offers new robotic surgical system

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Sept. 25, 2019 -- Cayuga Medical Center has announced the addition of what it says is "the latest, most advanced, robotics surgical system" to its growing portfolio of patient offerings. The fourth generation da Vinci Xi Surgical System is designed to enhance surgeon capabilities and advance Minimally Invasive Procedures.

The da Vinci Xi was developed by Intuitive, a global technology leader in minimally invasive care and the pioneer of robotic-assisted surgery.

“We are extremely pleased to offer our patients the latest technology and advantages of robotic surgery,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, Chief Executive Officer of Cayuga Medical Center and Cayuga Health. “For many patients, robotic surgery is a better, safer option than open surgery, as studies have found that patients experience shorter hospital stays, less blood loss, fewer complications, less need for narcotic pain medicine and a faster recovery.”

The da Vinci Xi offers advanced instrumentation, vision and features such as integrated table motion. It is versatile and flexible, with setup automation and guidance that promotes OR efficiency. "It provides multi-quadrant access and is used for a variety of complex procedures," according to a press release.

Local Boating Club backs new safety law

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 27, 2019 -- The Finger Lakes Chapter of America’s Boating Club supports a new boating safety law for New York waters.

The boating safety bill known as Brianna’s Law, named after a young girl tragically killed in a boating accident off the shore of Long Island in 2005, was signed into law by Gov. Cuomo on Aug. 6.

The new law requires everyone over the age of 10 to pass a state-approved boating safety course to legally operate a mechanically driven vessel on waters in New York.

An approved boating safety course is offered by the Finger Lakes Chapter of America’s Boating Club.

Brianna’s Law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020, and the course requirement will be phased in over a period of five years, starting with anyone born after Jan. 1, 1993. Older operators will be gradually affected by the law, with all operators of a mechanically driven vessel required to pass a boating safety course by Jan. 1, 2025.

The law applies to all vessels with a motor, including powered boats of any size, sailboats that have a motor and personal watercraft, also known as jet skis. Operators of sailboats, kayaks, standup paddleboards, rowboats, canoes and any other watercraft without a motor are not required to have a boating safety certificate to be on the water.

“All boaters should be aware of the requirements of this new law, which will make our local lakes and rivers safer places to enjoy,” Jim McGinnis, president of the Finger Lakes Chapter of America’s Boating Club, formerly known as the Seneca Sail and Power Squadron, said.

The club has for many years offered a state-approved boating safety class called America’s Boating Course. The course covers federal- and state-required safety equipment; how to determine a boater’s right of way on the water; safety measures for docking, refueling and trailering a boat; and much more.

“We will be offering America’s Boating Course in several locations next spring,” McGinnis said. “Classroom sessions will be supplemented by on-the-water practice. But those who want to get started early can take the course online.”

McGinnis said Brianna’s Law adds to the extra care that all boat operators should observe all the time.

“There are 450,000 powerboats just in New York State. Wear life jackets, don’t drink alcohol or use drugs, check the weather, and be careful around other boaters,” McGinnis said.

For more information about America’s Boating Course and to register online, go to and look under “Learn” and “In-Person Boating Courses” and “Find a Course Near You.”

America’s Boating Club is the nation’s largest non-profit boating organization, with nearly 30,000 members in more than 350 clubs. The local chapter of the United States Power Squadrons boasts members from across the Finger Lakes Region who enjoy their time on the water in vessels ranging from kayaks to power boats to sailboats. Boat ownership is not a membership requirement.

For more information about America’s Boating Club-Finger Lakes Chapter, go to or visit on Facebook.

Chef Orlando to take over Graft restaurant

The following was sent to The Odessa File by Ted Marks, owner of Graft -- an eatery on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen. It follows a letter in May from Marks announcing the closing of Graft on July 27 with the relocation to Philadelphia of partner and chef Christina Mckeough and her family and a desire by part-owners Ted and Katie Marks to "change gears." The restaurant closed, but a reopening is now planned in the early fall under new owner Chef Orlando Rodriguez.

Meet Orlando Rodriguez -- the new Chef and Owner of Graft!

After an outstanding twelve-year run as Executive Chef of Veraisons At Glenora Winery, Orlando along with wife Natacia has purchased Graft with the intention to continue to bring locally-focused cuisine and drink to Franklin Street in #WatkinsGlen.

At Veraisons, Orlando always creates connections with farmers for his menus and the cuisine is not only seasonal, but innovative, beautiful, daring and delicious.

Orlando’s philosophy of focusing on #local is the basis of what Graft was designed for; to give back to the community with local food and drink. He’s excited to bring his own unique style to Graft including dishes influenced by his Latin background!

Having his own restaurant with Natacia and their four kids was part of the family plan and while the timing may have been sooner than intended, the opportunity to take over the successful, existing kitchen and bar presented itself in an unlikely manner ... Last February at one of Veraison’s popular Pasta Nights, Ted Marks whispered to the Chef, “I’m going to sell Graft and you’re the first person on my list to take it over.”

And so it began. And so it goes!

With excitement for all involved, Graft will continue as a gathering place, a local hub for eating good food and drink. Orlando has great ideas for change and growth in the Graft space; more details will be revealed upon the completion of the sale.

In respect to Glenora Wine Cellars and their constant support, Orlando is planning to re-open Graft in early Fall.

Part-owner Katie Marks said about the change, “If I were to choose one person to take over what Christina and I have created here, I would choose Orlando. Not only for his commitment to local, but because I have loved the innovation and elegance he brought to Glenora -- he once made a chocolate mousse that was so good it brought tears to my eyes. I know he’ll shine in this space and this space will shine because of him."

--Ted Marks

Photo in text: Chef Orlando Rodriguez (Photo provided)

An undated photograph from the Brick Tavern Museum collections shows workers at the International Salt Co., one of the major employers of Italian immigrants in Schuyler County. (Photo provided)

Historical Society exhibit honoring Italian family founders to open Aug. 1 at Museum

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 26, 2019 -- A special exhibit and talk presented by the Schuyler County Historical Society are putting the founders of the county’s Italian community in the spotlight.

“Celebrating Our Italian Heritage – Honoring Schuyler County’s Italian Founders” opens Thursday, Aug. 1, at the Brick Tavern Museum at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls.

The first Italian immigrant to Schuyler County is believed to be Albert Pecoraro of Roccaromana, who settled in Watkins in the 1880s. Among his jobs was running the commissary at a laborers camp in Burdett for the Lehigh Valley Railroad, which hired many immigrants. The Italians also answered the call for workers at the two salt companies in Watkins.

The exhibit pulls from the Historical Society’s own collections, but the highlights are vignettes about 60-some of the Italian men and women who chose to live, work and raise their families here. The informational pieces were submitted by their descendants after an appeal to the community by the Historical Society.

The exhibit opening is timed for the annual Schuyler County Italian-American Festival at Clute Park in Watkins Glen, Aug. 9-11. A section of the display reports on the evolution of the festival, from a religious celebration in the first half of the 20th century to today’s hugely popular event that draws thousands to the shores of Seneca Lake.

The celebration continues on Sunday, Sept. 29, when Jim Scaptura, lifelong village resident, retired history educator and Watkins Glen village historian, discusses the Italian migration. The free talk will be at 1 p.m. at the Watkins Glen Elementary School auditorium.

The Schuyler County Historical Society captures the history of the county at the Brick Tavern Museum, Wickham Rural Life Center and Lee School. Hours at the Brick Tavern Museum and Wickham Rural Life Center are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 2-8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free. The Historical Society is supported in part by a TAP grant administered by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Photo in text: Luigi Beligotti and his wife, Maria Teresa Lappi Beligotti, both born in Saludecio, Italy, settled in Watkins Glen in the early 1900s. He was employed by the International Salt Co., and they raised nine children. The Beligottis are among the Italian family founders who will be included in an upcoming special exhibit at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum. (Photo provided)

Chamber launches Coffee Connections

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 23, 2019 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce recently launched its newest networking and information sharing, bi-monthly event called Coffee Connections, intended for both Chamber members and potential members.

Hosted at the Chamber’s conference room in downtown Watkins Glen at 214 N. Franklin St., the next Coffee Connections is set for Tuesday, August 6 at 9 a.m.

Coffee Connections are relatively short sessions where potential members can learn about the benefits of Chamber membership, meet other current and future members, and hear directly from them about their experience, as well as network with potential business partners. Current members can learn more about the benefits of Chamber membership to ensure that they are leveraging all of the benefits that are available to them, and also meet fellow members to explore potential partnerships and business connections.

Plus, say Chamber officials, "this is a wonderful chance to interact with Chamber staff and keep them informed of your business developments, needs, and more while sipping on a delicious cup of Seneca Sunrise coffee!"

Attendees are encouraged to bring business cards, questions about the Chamber, and ideas for how the business community can be enhanced. Participants are also encouraged to bring a sampling of marketing materials.

Past, present, and potential future members are encouraged to RSVP for this informal networking session by either calling the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce at 607-535-4300 or via email:

Saturday hours begin at Historical Society

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 3, 2019 -- Saturday hours have now begun at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum and Wickham Rural Life Center in Montour Falls.

The museums, located at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday through the end of September. Admission is free.

For more information, call the Historical Society at (607) 535-9741.

Hospital names WGI its Partner of the Year

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, June 13, 2019 -- Schuyler Hospital, at its annual Community Meeting on June 5, named Watkins Glen International its Community Partner of the Year.

The Community Partner Award is presented annually to an organization or individual in recognition of helping Schuyler Hospital achieve its mission. 

Watkins Glen International (WGI) donates to raffle and auction packages for the Schuyler Health Foundation November Splendor fundraiser, as well as partner organization Cayuga Medical Center’s Foundation Gala.

WGI, hospital officials said, has also written Letters of Support for grants and projects on the hospital’s behalf, and works closely with the hospital regarding emergency preparedness for large events.

The hospital has called upon WGI to host Employee Recognition Dinners and board meetings, as well as a past Foundation fundraiser.

Racetrack employees make up a perennial team in the hospital’s free community walking program, Schuyler Steps Out, and one employee recently was elected to the Schuyler Health Foundation Board.

Hospital employees volunteer with WGI for several events each summer, and in return WGI makes a donation to the hospital. 

Recently, the Cayuga Health System has started partnering with WGI for sponsorship opportunities, including a walking trail and kid-friendly activities.

The 2015 award went to Arcangeli Farm, 2016 to the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary, 2017 to Ken Wilson, and 2018 to Schuyler County Public Health.

Photo in text: Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup (second from left) accepts the Schuyler Hospital 2019 Community Partner Award from (left to right) John Rudd, Cayuga Health System President and CEO; Larry Baum, Chair of the Cayuga Health System Board of Directors; and Jim Watson, Schuyler Hospital President and CEO. (Photo provided)

WGI pulls plug on Woodstock 50 festival

WATKINS GLEN, June 10, 2019 -- There will be no Woodstock 50 festival at Watkins Glen International. WGI has "terminated the site license" for the planned Aug. 16-18 musical event "pursuant to provisions of the contract," WGI announced in a two-sentence statement Monday, adding: "As such, WGI will not be hosting the festival."

Meanwhile, a principal organizer has said the show will go on. Gregory Peck, a managing member of Woodstock 50 LLC, said: "We are in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50 on August 16th-18th and look forward to sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks."

The troubled event, for which the sale of tickets has been delayed for months, has faced significant monetary problems triggered when financial backer Amplifi Live announced it was canceling the festival -- later overruled in court -- and reclaimed about $18 million it had provided for the festival. Woodstock 50 later said it was linking up with investment bank Oppenheimer & Co. to raise replacement funds.

The festival had announced plans for 80 acts across three days on the expansive acreage of Watkins Glen International. Questions abounded in recent weeks as to the stability of the announced schedule, given the mercurial nature of the ongoing drama.

While WGI's move was no surprise, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, in a statement, said it "comes as a major disappointment to us," but added: "We commend WGI for their actions, which we feel are in the overall best interest of the community."

Meanwhile: Festival producer CID Entertainment said an hour after WGI's statement that it no longer has anything to do with Woodstock 50 "in any capacity." It had been "engaged to provide enhanced camping, travel packages and transportation for Woodstock 50," CID said.

DeRusha named IMRRC executive director

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 4, 2019 -- Daniel G. DeRusha of Corning has been selected as the new executive director of the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen.

DeRusha joins the IMRRC following a 13-year tenure with the Corning Museum of Glass. During his time at the museum he has held roles managing guest relations, strategic corporate partnerships, and outreach initiatives. He also played an important part in the planning and execution of the GlassBarge, which traveled across New York State in 2017 and 2018 in celebration of the bicentennial of the Erie Canal. Most recently, he served as Manager of Institutional Giving and Chief of Staff for the museum’s advancement department.

He has a BS in Transportation and Distribution Management from Syracuse University and an executive MBA from the Rochester Insitute of Technology's Saunders College of Business.

“I am honored to join such a professional and passionate team focused on preserving and sharing both our rich local history in motorsports and the expanding international archival collection," DeRusha said.

"On behalf of our Board of Directors, I am delighted to welcome Dan," said IMRRC Chairman John Saunders. "In addition to his leadership talents, Dan brings tremendous enthusiasm for motorsports history in Watkins Glen and throughout the world."

DeRusha brings a personal passion for vintage cars and Upstate New York automotive history to his new position. He currently owns and regularly drives a 1928 Franklin model 12B 5-passenger sedan (manufactured in Syracuse), and a 1977 MGB, which he inherited from his father and ran in several Stone Bridge Driver events during the Grand Prix Festival in Watkins Glen. DeRusha is also a past president of the H.H. Franklin Club.

The IMRRC Search Committee selected DeRusha to oversee a new era of transformation and growth at the Center. As executive director, he will have overall operational, administrative and financial responsibility for the IMRRC. This includes strategic and financial planning, leadership of the Center’s staff, and the management of annual fundraising and membership campaigns.

"The IMRRC establishes Watkins Glen as a center of excellence in the preservation of motorsports history," DeRusha said. "I look forward to collaborating with the organization's expert staff and our incredibly accomplished Board of Directors in the continued stewardship of our collections and expansion of our reach within the international motorsports community."

The IMRRC is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Spanning continents, eras and race series, the IMRRC's collection embodies the speed, drama and camaraderie of amateur and professional motor racing throughout the world. The Center welcomes serious researchers and casual fans alike to share stories of race drivers, race series and race cars captured on its shelves and walls and brought to life through a regular calendar of public lectures, special events and now online through its website,

Photo in text: Daniel G. DeRusha (Photo provided)

Montour, Burdett are offered CCA option

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, May 28, 2019 -- Many residents of the villages of Montour Falls and Burdett are receiving letters from the Village regarding their options in Community Choice Aggregation, a partnership with Constellation Energy and MEGA, the Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance.

Community Choice Aggregation is a New York State program that allows communities to combine the buying power of multiple households into an energy buying block. Currently, 40,000 households in central New York have combined to negotiate a fixed price contract with Constellation Energy to provide electricity for the next 24 months at a fixed rate of $0.05092/kilowatt hour. MEGA asserts that the pricing takes advantage of current low energy rates and protects consumers against energy price spikes that may occur during heat waves and polar vortex events.

The Montour Falls and Burdett Village Boards have reviewed and approved this action on behalf of Village residents in accordance with New York State Law.

According to a MEGA, CCA does not affect your delivery of electricity -- NYSEG will continue to maintain the power lines and emergency services, and provide billing services.  Residents will see a change in the lower half of their electric bill where Constellation Energy will become their energy supply company. MEGA further asserts that there is no cost for residents to take advantage of this program.

MEGA has provided the following contacts for obtaining more information about the CCA program and your options. To opt out of the program, call 833-866-9637.

Online: learn more at
Email: send an email to:
Telephone: 518-533-5399

Glen Chamber names new Events Manager

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 14, 2019 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the hire of Liz Salamendra, who will be responsible for planning and executing all Chamber events.

Those include monthly After Hours Mixers, the Winter Gala annual fundraiser, the annual Golf Tournament, Friday on Franklin, monthly Think Tanks, and the Health and Wellness Fair, to name a few.

Salamendra was raised in Dundee. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management from Paul Smith's College in 2013. In 2014, she returned to the area and worked for the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel in several positions over five years. She returned to the area in May, after spending the winter in Florida.

Salamendra says she is looking forward to being deeply invested in the community, both on a personal level and through her role as Events Manager. “I am so happy to have been able to return to Watkins Glen and leverage my knowledge of events and Schuyler County from my past positions,” she said.

She can be reached at The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce by telephone (607-535-4300) or by email:

Photo in text: Liz Salamendra (Photo provided)

Community Grant request guidelines set

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 3, 2019 -- The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club annually accepts requests for community grants, which are funded by a variety of efforts undertaken by the Club during the year. The grants are intended to help organizations in Schuyler County promote the quality of life in our community.

The financial assistance is awarded to organizations that have specifically identified projects or needs. Grants generally will range from $100 to $1,000.

Requests should be submitted in writing by May 28, 2019. Requests must be submitted on the organization's letterhead and limited to two pages. The following information must be included:

--A concise statement describing the specific project or need for which assistance is sought. The amount requested also should be specific.

--A description of efforts that have been made or will be made to obtain funds from other sources for the specific project or need.

--The legal name of the organization, a description of its mission, the names of the organization's officers, and the name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address of the contact person.

All grant requests must be for specific projects or needs in Schuyler County. Grants will not be awarded for operating budgets exclusively or for endowments. Grants are to be spent within one year of the date of the award, without further expectation of support.

Grant requests will be reviewed during the month of May. Awards will be made during the month of June.

Submit grant requests to:

Donations Committee
Watkins-Montour Rotary Club
P.O. Box 384
Watkins Glen, NY 14891

Frank to retire after 40 years; Schuyler Arc moving into partnership with Chemung Arc

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 23, 2019 -- After 40 years at The Arc of Schuyler, Jeannette Frank says she is ready to slow down and enjoy more free time in retirement. That will take effect on July 1, 2019.

Frank has served as executive director of The Arc of Schuyler for the past eight years, overseeing the organization’s many services for people with disabilities and their families including vocational training, social integration programs, and residential options. She was instrumental in the organization and advancement of community-based services such as Schuyler County Transit and Transportation Link-Line as well as social enterprises operated by The Arc of Schuyler: the Franklin Street Gallery and Gift Shop, and Glen Copack.

First employed as an Outreach Worker, shortly after The Arc of Schuyler’s formation in 1978, Frank met with families about new service options provided locally through The Arc and helped those families bring their loved ones with disabilities out of institutions and to their home communities.

“I love The Arc and all of the people associated with The Arc. I love the Schuyler County community,” Frank said.

The Arc of Schuyler Board of Directors considered its options for leadership transition and has chosen to enter into a management services agreement with The Arc of Chemung. The long-range plan is to unify the chapters.

“Not unlike other health care services, new regulatory expectations and funding shifts are putting pressure on smaller organizations,” said Jay Hoffmeier, President of The Arc of Schuyler Board. “Our agency has been well managed, is in good financial condition and has a track record of providing quality services. The Chemung chapter also is managed well and provides a variety of new opportunities and service options. Given our shared values, geographic proximity, and success working together, the Board believes this partnership will strategically place both organizations in a position of strength as the field of developmental disabilities continues to evolve.”

The two Boards and management teams have been working together to see how shared services would work. Both organizations are committed to keeping existing services in the Chemung and Schuyler communities.

"All of our current projects will move forward to provide more inclusive service options for people within the Schuyler County community,” Frank said. "I can definitely see additional opportunities for families in both counties as this partnership grows."

“Jeannette’s commitment to those supported by The Arc of Schuyler and their family members created a solid foundation for her team -- instilling a true understanding as to why we do what we do,” said Sean Eagen, Executive Director of The Arc of Chemung. “Jeannette’s many accomplishments pave the way for the work that still lies ahead of us; and, as we transition, we will continue to work hard to strengthen opportunities for the people we support in both the Schuyler and Chemung County communities.”

Frank’s retirement will take effect July 1, 2019. She will complete terms of service on local boards through the end of the year as The Arc of Schuyler’s representative and be available to help facilitate completion on the various projects underway.

“I couldn’t be happier about the selection of a partnership with The Arc of Chemung and with Sean Eagen as the Executive Director, who I know will follow through both Boards' vision of being better together," said Frank.

For information about The Arc of Schuyler or The Arc of Chemung, visit or

Photo in text: Jeannette Frank (Photo provided)

Historical Society's annual dinner will feature stories of Lake Champlain and Seneca Lake

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, April 21, 2019 -- Stories of the lakes, on and below their waters, will educate and entertain at the annual dinner of the Schuyler County Historical Society on Thursday, April 25.

“Shipwrecks -- What Lies Beneath? Stories from Seneca Lake and Lake Champlain” will be the keynote presentation by Art Cohn, director emeritus of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, Vermont.

Vintage sailors songs, performed by members of Uncle Joe and the Rosebud Ramblers, will entertain before and during dinner.

Cohn last summer led a team to begin the first systematic search for sunken vessels in Seneca Lake. The project was in conjunction with the Romulus Historical Society in Seneca County. With slides, Cohn will discuss the investigation, mapping and future plans involving the wrecks.

Cohn is a professional diver, historian, educator and advocate for the preservation of historical shipwrecks. He is internationally recognized for his research on the maritime history of Lake Champlain. He led the efforts to build a replica of the Lois McClure, an 1860s sailing canal boat. The boat was berthed in Seneca Harbor in Watkins Glen last fall for the Corning Museum of Glass’s GlassBarge celebration.

The dinner serves as the annual meeting of the Historical Society, but it is open to all, both members and non-members. A short business session to elect new board members and officers will be part of the evening.

The event will be at the Montour Moose Lodge, Route 14, south of Montour Falls. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with serving starting at 6 p.m. Reservations were required by April 16.

The Schuyler County Historical Society celebrates and honors the history of the county at the Brick Tavern Museum, Wickham Rural Life Center and Lee School. Hours at the Brick Tavern Museum and Wickham Rural Life Center are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday 2-8 p.m. Admission is free. The Historical Society is supported in part by a TAP grant administered by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Photos in text:

Top: An 1882 newspaper advertisement promotes the Onondaga, a 175-foot paddlewheel steamer that plied Seneca Lake. By 1898, the Onondaga had outlived its usefulness, and on Sept. 14, 1898, the owners scuttled the boat in the middle of Seneca Lake, south of Geneva. Thousands of people watched the explosions that sank the boat. Divers today can explore what little remains of the majestic steamer.

Bottom: Art Cohn, keynote speaker. He is director emeritus of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, Vermont. (Photos provided)

Cargill presents Arc's Copack with $20,000

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 13, 2019 -- The Arc of Schuyler hosted a public open house on April 16 for its new food manufacturing facility, Glen Copack, at its 203 12th Street location in Watkins Glen. Cargill storeroom manager and Cargill Cares community lead, Jerry Dunlavey, and Diana Warn presented The Arc of Schuyler a check for $20,000, the first installment of a three-year $60,000 pledge.

The Cargill grant will help with costs associated with the next phase of The Arc’s Glen Copack project, a safe food production and career readiness-training program. The Arc is collaborating with Watkins Glen School on the program, which will be open to people with and without disabilities and assist to develop a workforce with technical skills and work skills that regional businesses need in entry-level employees.

Director of Business Services Wendy Shutter and Sales Manager Kelly Miller received the check on behalf of The Arc of Schuyler.

“Renovations to the facility are almost complete and new equipment has been ordered,” Shutter said. “Once equipment is installed, production capacity will double. The space has been designed to also allow for future expansion.”

Glen Copack is certified by New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets to produce dry ingredient and acidified and low-acidified food products. The business currently produces about 40 products for a dozen customers, including local and international businesses. The facility is about 5,000 square feet and after recent renovations has separate wet-fill and dry-fill kitchens to increase efficiency and capacity. A new GMP Ready Room provides space for employees to participate in training and prepare for work in the secure production area.

The Glen Copack team led a tour for attendees through the new facility and thanked the many grantors and local donors of The Arc’s capital campaign still underway. Glen Copack is one of the projects supported by the campaign, which has about $100,000 remaining to raise. Tours are available for those interested by emailing or by calling (607) 535-6934.

For more information, visit or

Photo in text: From left: Jerry Dunlavey and Diana Warn of Cargill present check to Wendy Shutter and Kelly Miller of The Arc of Schuyler’s food manufacturing business, Glen Copack. (Photo provided)

Chamber sets breakfast for new members

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 13, 2019 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is welcoming 58 new members to the organization -- to be recognized during the 2019 New Member Breakfast on May 3 at Seneca Lodge. These businesses and organizations include:

Acme Benevolent Associates, Inc.
Admiral Peabody’s Lakeside Lodging
Apple Ridge Bed & Breakfast
Best Western Plus Vineyard Inn & Sweets
Branches Christian Rest & Renewal Center, Inc.
Community Dispute Resolution Center, Inc.
Corning Credit Union
Country Line Bar & Grill
Cranberry Creek Homestead
Crystal City Olive Oil, LLC.
Curlystitch Embroidery
Distressed by Me Designs
Edible Finger Lakes
Fathers Helping Fathers
Finger Lakes Boating Museum
Finger Lakes Fly Fishing
Finger Lakes Premier Properties
Finger Lakes Tiny Houses
GLN Tax and Payroll
Gravel Road Consulting
H & H Financial Group
Hampton Inn - Corning
Hayes Strategy
Highland Chocolates
I Love Honeycomb
INHS - Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services
Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning
Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport
JuneBug Lodge
Long Run Communications
Lucky Hare Brewing Company, Inc.
M. R. Hess Home Works
Mike's Bikes at Watkins Glen Bicycle Rental
Morgan Stanley (Erin Thaete)
North New York, LLC
Harris Hill Soaring Corporation
OnKeuka! Outings On & Off the Lake
Overlook Cottage
Paradiso's Village Bakery
Perry & Carroll
Plum Point Lodge
Ponzi's Antiques
Pudgies Pizza Watkins Glen
Quest Adventure Gaming
Rasa Spa - Watkins Glen
Samantha N. Moon Photography
Seneca Cheese Company
Seneca Sol Guided Wine Tour
St. Mary's of the Lake
Studio 33-55
Taylor - The Builders
Travel Host NY - Southern Tier
WYDC - Visions Communications
Watkins Glen State Park Gift Shop/The Glen Cafe
Weis Vineyards
Young Living Oil Me Healthy

The New Member Breakfast is an opportunity for Chamber staff and current members to welcome new members, and network with colleagues. A brief program will be presented by Rebekah Carroll, Chamber President and CEO. “It is always so exciting to welcome new, innovative organizations to our membership," she said, "and learn more about them during this annual event.” The program will include an overview of Chamber programs, new member benefits, and other opportunities available through the Chamber.

The event is sponsored by Finger Lakes Wine Country, Three Rivers Development, and Welliver and is hosted by the Chamber's Membership Committee. New members (up to 2 representatives per business) are invited to attend at no charge. Current members may attend for $20 per person. Advance registration is required. To register, contact Mary Beth Hollenbeck at the Chamber at (607) 535-4300 or

Thomas named Tourism/Marketing manager

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 8, 2019 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce has announced Paul Thomas as its newest Tourism and Marketing Manager.

Thomas will be responsible for managing the Chamber’s many marketing and communication initiatives with member businesses, communities, and residents. He will also be working closely with various tourism promotion agencies regionally, and throughout New York State, in support of the Chamber’s ongoing efforts to help promote Schuyler County.

A graduate of Cornell University’s Agriculture and Life Sciences school, majoring in Public Communications, Thomas brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Chamber, having most recently served for almost 15 years as Executive Director of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, and prior to that at the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and Corning Area Chamber of Commerce.

His experience in various media development, social media management, and public speaking, says the Chamber is a press release, "will be vital in maintaining and growing the Chamber’s ongoing efforts to help advance our county’s economic success through support, promotion, and education."

Added Rebekah Carroll, Chamber President and CEO: “The Chamber and Seneca Lake Wine Trail have always maintained a very positive partnership throughout our overlapping tenure at our respective organizations and me, my team, Board of Directors, and membership all are very excited to have Paul on our staff, and look forward to continued success across our many projects and initiatives.”

Photo in text: Paul Thomas (Photo provided)

6th Arc Grand Prix Run set for April 6

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 27, 2019 -- The Arc Grand Prix Run at Watkins Glen International, the biggest running event in Watkins Glen, returns for its sixth year on Saturday, April 6 at 8:00 a.m. during WGI’s Opening Weekend. Registration is open now at

The annual charity race, held on the world-famous 3.4-mile motor racing course, has attracted more than 3,000 participants and raised nearly $50,000 since 2014 for The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization that provides supports and services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Proceeds from this year’s race will support The Arc of Schuyler’s transformation plan that includes major renovations at its 203 and 210 12th Street buildings in Watkins Glen, the addition of a Neighborhood Center, and a safe food handling job training program for students and adults with and without developmental disabilities.

Registration fee is $30 for teens and adults, discounted $5 until March 11, and $15 for youth ages 5-12. Race-day registration and bib pick-up opens at 6:30 a.m. A non-competitive 1-mile Pit Road Walk course, sponsored this year by Schuyler Hospital, is available as an alternative to the timed 3.4-mile course. Medals are awarded to winners in multiple age divisions. An after party at Grist Iron Brewing Co. follows the event, starting at 10:30 a.m.

Watkins Glen International Opening Weekend activities and laps behind the pace car begin at 10:00 a.m. A limited number of Drive the Glen passes for Opening Weekend are available for advance sale at The Arc of Schuyler for $25 each. A portion of ticket sales through The Arc will also support the organization’s transformation projects.

For event details and registration, sponsorship, or volunteer information, contact The Arc of Schuyler’s Director of Community Relations, Holly Baker, at 607-535-6934. For more about The Arc, visit

Ward joins Schuyler Humane Society board

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 23, 2019 -- Patrick Ward has recently been elected as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of Schuyler County.

"His strong business development and financial experience will play a critical role in helping the organization to achieve the long-term financial stability necessary to serve the needs of the community," the Society said in a press release.

Ward earned his BS in Finance from Syracuse University, with a secondary major in Marketing. Following college he moved to New York City, where he served as a stock and commodities broker for Citibank, Paine Webber and Dean Witter Discover. He later served as the Assistant Vice President of Commodities at ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

Ward is currently Assistant Vice President/Prestige Banker in the Wealth Management Division of Chemung Canal Trust Company.

He joins board members Georgie Taylor (president), Susan Herbert (vice president), Chelsey Eberhardt (secretary), Tricia Barry, Margaret Coffey, DVM, Gita Devi, and Linsey Wig.

The Humane Society of Schuyler County is a not-for-profit, 501 C3 corporation dedicated to advancing animal welfare in the community since 1987. For more information, to donate, volunteer or adopt, visit or call 607-594-2255.

Photo in text: Patrick Ward (Photo provided)

Day-by-day lineup for Woodstock 50, on a display unveiled by promoter Michael Lang.

Woodstock 50 festival lineup announced

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 19, 2019 -- Promtoer Michael Lang on Tuesday announced the lineup he has planned for the Aug. 16-18 Woodstock 50 festival at Watkins Glen International.

The lineup includes a few artists who performed at the original Woodstock, held at Bethel Woods in 1969: John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwter Revival, Santana, John Sebastian, David Crosby, Melanie, Country Joe McDonald, and Canned Heat.

Headliners for Woodstock 50 include Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons, the Black Keys, and Chance the Rapper.

Also included: the Raconteurs, Robert Plant and the Sensational Shapeshifters, Run the Jewels, Gary Clark Jr., Cage the Elephant, Greta Van Fleet, Janelle Monae, Brandi Carlile, Maggie Rogers, Margo Price, Sturgill Simpson, Portugal the Man, Dawes, the Lumineers, Bishop Briggs, Pussy Riot, Courtney Barnett, Leon Bridges, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Common, Young the Giant, the Zombies, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, the Head and the Heart, Soccer Mommy, Vince Staples, Earl Sweatshirt, Bishop Briggs, and Amy Helm (the daughter of Levon Helm, who played at the original Woodstock with The Band).

The acts will perform on three stages, dubbed the Peace Stage, Love Stage and Music Stage, three key words used in the original festival, produced by Lang.. The 1969 event featured performances from Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Santana, Sly & the Family Stone, Joan Baez, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and others.

Another festival -- smaller in scope -- is being planned at the origninal site, Bethel Woods, on the same weekend as Woodstock 50. That Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival will feature such artists as Arlo Guthrie, Ringo Starr, Edgar Winter, and the Doobie Brothers.

'Drunk Bus' wraps filming in Montour

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 18, 2019 -- The movie "Drunk Bus" finished filming last week in Montour Falls. The cast and crew of the new film transformed Main Street into a small college town.

The film stars actor Charlie Tahan, who currently stars in the hit Netflix drama, "Ozark," and Kara Hayward from the movies "Moonrise Kingdom,"" Manchester by the Sea," and the upcoming film "Us" by Jordan Peele.

The Producer, Eric Hollenbeck, who resides in the Watkins Glen area, brought the film to Montour Falls from Rochester for its remaining four days of filming. Says Hollenbeck:

"It was a dream to be filming a movie in the community. This is just the beginning of more film and TV productions coming to the area as I continue working closely with other filmmakers, the Rochester and Finger Lakes Film Office, and the Governors Office of Motion Pictures and Television."

Readers can follow along and get updates on Facebook and Instagram @drunkbusmovie

Link to behind the scenes of Montour Falls work:

About the Movie:

A directionless young campus bus driver and a punk-rock Samoan security guard named Pineapple form an unlikely kinship, breaking out of their endless loop and into a world of uncertainty, excitement and incredibly poor decision-making.

The Mechanical Meltdown robotics team receives a $7,500 check from Cargill, Inc. (Photo provided)

Cargill donates $7,500 to robotics effort

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 17, 2019 -- Cargill Inc., in Watkins Glen, has donated $7,500 to Finger Lakes Area Robotics Education (FLARE) and to FLARE's team, Mechanical Meltdown.

The check was presented at Cargill’s administration building while the team was there doing a robot demonstration for interested employees. This is the fifth year running that Cargill has shown its support as a major sponsor of Schuyler County youth robotics. The money will be used primarily to upgrade the organization’s computer equipment and purchase robotics parts.

Each year the team is tasked with designing, building, and programming a new robot to perform different challenges. This is the second year in a row that the team has advanced to the World Championship, which will be in Detroit next month.

The FLARE program is open to youth in grades 7-12, attending any school in the region or homeschooled. The group meets regularly in Watkins Glen. For more information, call Kathy at (607) 546-2207 or e-mail

'American Pickers' plan trip to state

Area residents are being encouraged to provide detail on collections

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 14, 2019 -- Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz of the History Channel’s “American Pickers” fame are returning to New York in May 2019, and they’re looking for help from area residents to find hidden treasure.

"American Pickers" is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on the History Channel. It follows skilled pickers Mike and Frank as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.

As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, Mike and Frank are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, they want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items. The pair hopes to give historically significant objects a new lease on life, while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way.

"American Pickers" is looking for leads and is asking New York residents for the chance to explore their hidden treasure. Any area resident who has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the show’s team can spend the better part of a day looking through is invited to send an email to or call 855-OLD-RUST. Interested individuals are advised to provide their name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos. For additional information, contact the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce at 607-535-4300.

CMC to add robotics-assisted technology

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, March 13, 2019 -- Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) has announced the addition of a cutting-edge, robotics-assisted surgical system to its growing portfolio of patient offerings.

The NAVIO Surgical System provides the latest robotics assistance to surgeons with accurate and flexible real-time imaging. The NAVIO System was developed by Smith & Nephew, a medical technology company headquartered in the United Kingdom.

“We are extremely pleased to be the only medical organization in Ithaca to offer a surgical robotics program,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, Chief Executive Officer of Cayuga Medical Center and Cayuga Health System. “Real-time imaging simplifies the surgical process for patients and enables office staff to focus on patient care by eliminating the need to spend time managing payer approvals for preoperative imaging. In addition, NAVIO can be easily moved from operating room to operating room to support the demand for efficiency needed by our expanding orthopedic programs.”

“My experience with the NAVIO Surgical System has been phenomenal,” said Dr. Diedre Blake, Medical Director and Orthopedic Surgeon at Cayuga Medical Center. “It allows me more freedom as a surgeon, unlike other robotic options, because it is imageless. I can easily plan and correct for significant deformities and retained hardware with confidence. The direct interface with the system itself puts me in control, and ultimately improves the outcome for our patients.”

Dr. Blake will be offering patient seminars on March 18 at the Port Watson Conference Center in Cortland and on March 20 at Coltivare in Ithaca. In addition, Dr. Joseph Manni, Cayuga Orthopedic Surgeon, will offer a seminar at Glenora Wine Cellars in Dundee on March 25. All seminars begin at 6:00 p.m. and a buffet style dinner will be served.

The NAVIO robotic-assisted application, a CMC press release said "is designed to deliver consistent and accurate results through the utilization of a surgeon-controlled robotics-assisted hand piece, coupled with NAVIO specific cut guides. This unique combination yields an intuitive and efficient workflow for the entire surgical team. In addition, the versatile NAVIO planning software enables precise, patient specific implant alignment and ligament balance, without the need of a pre-operative CT scan. Eliminating the dependency on pre-operative imaging allows the surgeon to seamlessly plan for either a unicompartmental or total knee procedure at the time of surgery."

Cargill Salt construction is under way

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 5, 2019 -- Construction has begun on a 15,000-square-foot building at the Cargill Salt complex along Fourth Street in Watkins Glen.

The Taylor commercial contracting firm of Rochester was awarded the contract for construction of the warehouse and offices. Taylor is partnering with the Rochester-based T.Y.LIN International on the design and construction of the building, which is targeted for completion in June.

"We are proud to establish a new relationship with Cargill Salt," said Taylor President Karl Schuler. "As Taylor continues growing its own food manufacturing and distribution experience in construction, we do so with a company that's building a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture in more than 125 countries."

The addition is on the south end of the existing Mill Building, and will feature a two-story shipping and receiving office, driver lounge, break area, and four loading docks.

Chamber announces scholarship guidelines

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 15, 2019 -- The Business and Education Committee of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the guidelines for its 2019 scholarship competition.

Any graduating senior (class of 2019) who is a resident of Schuyler County OR enrolled at Bradford, Odessa-Montour, or Watkins Glen Central School Districts is eligible to apply for this $1,000 scholarship.

To apply, students must complete an application and submit a response to one of the three topics selected by the committee by April 30. Applicants may submit their response in one of three formats: a 1,000-2,000 word essay; a 3-5 minute video; a slideshow (Prezi or Powerpoint only) of at least 12 slides.

The three topics from which applicants may choose are:

1. What are some things Schuyler County can do to attract young adults and recent college graduates to move to and settle in the area?

2. Identify an opportunity to improve the quality of life for Schuyler County residents. Make recommendations for how that can be accomplished.

3. What do you think is the single greatest problem facing society today? Why?

Applicant responses may be sent to: Rebekah Carroll, President & CEO, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, 214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891 or to

Bond named president of Hunt Engineers

He is only the third in the Horseheads company’s 44-year history

Special to The Odessa File

HORSEHEADS, Feb. 12, 2019 -- Hunt Engineers and Architects has named Vice President Chris Bond, P.E. as its new president.

A Watkins Glen, NY resident, Bond takes over the leadership of the Horseheads-based firm from Dan Bower, who will remain as CEO and Chief Strategic Officer. Bond is only the third president of the 150-employee company, which was founded by Robert Hunt in the wake of the devastating 1972 Corning, NY floods.

Bond will manage the day-to-day operations of the firm while Bower will focus on corporate initiatives, strategic planning and business development, as well as the transition.

Bond is a familiar face in the Elmira, Corning, and neighboring municipalities. His engineering project experience has put him in front of innumerable planning and community groups, and he has held multiple leadership positions on the board of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACECNY), including the NYS Secretary in 2010, as well serving on the Watkins Glen Planning Board.

According to Bower, “As early as the drafting of our 2003 Hunt transition plan, Chris’s ultimate promotion to president was an integral ingredient. Even then we knew his knowledge, experience, and vision were exactly what we wanted in the next Hunt leader.”

Speaking in an interview at their Horseheads office, Bond asserted that “2018 was one of our strongest years, so I couldn’t have been luckier in regard to the timing of this appointment. Staying ahead of the curve when it comes to business practices and technology has always been a Hunt trademark, and at the same time my immediate priorities are going to be those cultural initiatives like personnel development and bolstering our project management capacity.”

Bond graduated from Clarkson University in 1988 and immediately joined Hunt’s Transportation Division -- then led by Chuck Franzese. He honed his skills as a structural engineer predominantly on bridges in upstate New York, and by 1995 was working on a variety of building structures. In 1993, Bond earned his Professional Engineering license, and subsequently rose within Hunt to Director of Structural Engineering in 2001, Principal (2004), Corporate Secretary (2006), and Vice President (2015).

Working on hundreds of horizontal and vertical design projects, Bond’s professional highlights include the structural design of additions and alterations at the Dansville Central School, the concrete design at the water filtration facility in the Village of Watkins Glen, and the horizontally curved, New York State Route 23 Bridge. Other projects included Cornell’s Beebe Dam Foot Bridge, Schuyler County’s Shared Service Building, and the Corning Nasser Civic Center Ice Rink renovations.

A longtime Finger Lakes resident, he and his wife, Michelle, have raised three daughters in Watkins Glen: Stephanie (teacher in Corning), Sarah (PhD candidate at the University of Penn), and Maggie (junior at RPI). They attend St. Mary’s Church.

Chris was raised on a wine grape farm, and he and his family enjoy DIY home improvement projects, traveling, and college sports (basketball, swimming and diving). A regular at the Army-Navy football game, Bond is known to travel all over the country for Cross Country, where his youngest competes at the national level.

Photo in text: Chris Bond (Photo provided)

The Arc reaches 50% of campaign goal

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 23, 2019 -- The Arc of Schuyler launched its first ever capital campaign in November to raise $1.75 million for renovations and equipment and update its services to be more inclusive for people with disabilities and the general public.

Dominick Franzese and Margaret Lawrence are co-chairs leading the effort to raise $375,000 locally toward The Arc’s capital campaign projects.

“The Arc is an important part of this community, adding to the quality of life and economy in Schuyler County,” said Lawrence. “Through the generosity of early supporters, half of the goal has been met, with $187,000 to go.”

Projects are beginning to take shape as the fundraising campaign continues. “People have been very interested in our plans,” said Jeannette Frank, Executive Director of The Arc of Schuyler. “Enhanced partnerships with the educational community and other nonprofits will result in new options available for area youth and adults interested in career exploration and job training.”

The plan has multiple phases. The first phase is to renovate The Arc’s former sheltered workshop which is required to close under new NYS regulations. The space is being modernized to expand food manufacturing services through The Arc’s social enterprise, Glen Copack. The project is funded through a USDA grant and requires a 50% match. Glen Copack is also developing a Power Skills and Food Safety training curriculum that will be used to prepare students for jobs in food-related industries.

The second phase is to renovate The Arc’s building at 210 12th Street in Watkins Glen and construct a 3,800-square-foot addition to the building for a Neighborhood Center.

“The space needs to be welcoming and versatile to address needs of area nonprofits to hold meetings and classes," said Frank. "People with disabilities will be involved in operating the Neighborhood Center and volunteering, making this a big win-win for The Arc and the community. The goal is to open our doors to the public at large and invite people with disabilities to take part in community activities.”

The Arc of Schuyler was awarded a grant from the NYS Dormitory Authority for the Neighborhood Center addition, but Frank adds that supplemental funds are still needed to finish the project.

For more information about The Arc’s projects, for a tour of the Arc facilities, and information on how to contribute, contact Jeannette Frank, 607 535-6934 ext. 141 or reach her by email, Visit and click on the Transformation 2020 banner for more information.

Photo in text: Phase 1 construction has begun at The Arc of Schuyler: the Glen Copack food manufacturing expansion. Top left: Entrance to future kitchen that will house two new kettles and will triple Glen Copack’s capacity. The new design will make operations and movement of materials more efficient. Bottom left: New dry fill kitchen interior will expand capacity. Bottom right: Former meeting rooms being converted into prep area for employees before entering food processing area.

Hospital Walk-In Clinic expanding hours

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Dec. 22, 2018 -- To better serve patients, Schuyler Hospital is expanding hours at its Walk-In Clinic at the Montour Falls Primary Care Center.

Starting January 1, 2019, the Walk-In Clinic will be open 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as 9 a.m.-12 noon on Saturday.

The Walk-In Clinic is located at 230 Steuben Street, Montour Falls, next to the hospital.

For further information, contact the Walk-in Clinic at (607) 535-7154 or email

Arc of Schuyler receives $25,000 grant

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 3, 2018 -- The Arc of Schuyler was recently awarded a grant in the amount of $25,000 from the Golisano Foundation, located in Pittsford, NY, to support renovations at The Arc’s 203 12th Street building in Watkins Glen.

In order to meet a New York State mandate to close or modify all sheltered workshops by 2021, The Arc of Schuyler will be transforming its sheltered workshop, Glen Industries, into an integrated food copacking business.

“Under today’s standards, sheltered workshops need to change because they can be considered a closed and segregated setting,” said Jeannette Frank, Executive Director at The Arc of Schuyler. “The Golisano Foundation has been a leader in supporting projects that contribute to an improved quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We are very thankful for their support and confidence in our plans.”

In addition to employing people with and without disabilities, the Glen Copack business will offer an inclusive job training component for anyone, people with and without disabilities, to acquire essential food safety skills to prepare them to work in growing, and highly regulated, food industries. 

The Golisano Foundation grant will supplement other fundraising The Arc of Schuyler has been pursuing to meet the agency’s Transformation 2020 goals. With the addition of this grant, The Arc has raised $1,506,000 of the $1.75 million needed.  

More information about The Arc’s plans can be found at Contact Jeannette Frank to assist in giving opportunities at 607-535-6934.

Nov. 8 event will kick off Arc campaign

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 30, 2018 -- The Arc of Schuyler hopes to raise $1.75 million to support renovation of its buildings at 203 and 210 12th Street in Watkins Glen. The changes being planned will allow new programs to be offered that are also open and available to the general public. The properties have not changed substantially since the 1990’s and are in need of modernization. (See followup story on Features page.)

Father and daughter Dominick Franzese and Margaret Lawrence will emcee The Arc’s Transformation 2020 Capital Campaign kickoff event on Thursday, Nov. 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Lawrence and Franzese say they understand the important role The Arc plays in the community and have been long-term volunteers and supporters.

RSVPs to attend the Nov. 8 event -- which will include live music, appetizers and local beverages -- are required. Contact Director of Community Relations Holly Baker at 607-535-6934 or email to make a reservation.

Since 1978, The Arc has been helping people with disabilities and their families address everyday challenges they may face that limit their social contact, independence, and access to opportunities to learn and grow. Over the past 40 years, a variety of support services that previously did not exist in Schuyler County have been made available including vocational, residential and community-based supports.

The Arc’s mission is to provide services for people with developmental disabilities. New state and federal standards now place an even higher emphasis on these services being inclusive, meaning people with and without disabilities having opportunities to learn, work, and take part in leisure activities together rather than in segregated settings.

To emphasize this point, the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities is requiring that sheltered workshops either close or transform into integrated social enterprises by 2021. The Arc of Schuyler, officials have explained, approached this challenge as an opportunity to modernize its services with the next generation in mind. A redesign plan includes (1.) updating The Arc’s services to be more inclusive, while (2.) developing a Neighborhood Center to address a need for community space where nonprofits can hold meetings, classes and special events, and (3.) expanding its food manufacturing service, Glen Copack, in keeping with other business growth occurring in the area.

“Our plans are built on what community partners communicated to us was needed and what we know we are good at," said Jeannette Frank, The Arc's executive director. "Our goal is to open our doors to provide more services to the general public, which in turn will give people with disabilities new and more inclusive opportunities.”

This is not a new model for The Arc, according to Frank, who cites Schuyler County Transit and Franklin Street Gallery as current examples of services used by both people with disabilities and the general public.

The Arc’s Capital Campaign, officials have said, is structured so that people can contribute to one or more specific target areas of their choice with naming and recognition opportunities. Funds are being raised through a combination of support from individual donors, grants, foundations and businesses.

“The generosity of our community continues to amaze us,” said Harold “Jay” Hoffmeier, president of The Arc of Schuyler’s Board of Directors. “Though nearly $1.4 million has been raised to date, we still need help to reach the goal.”

The goal of the campaign, an Arc flyer specifies, is to "raise $375,000 in community support."

For more information about the Transformation 2020 project or if you wish to donate, please visit

Photo in text: Co-chairs Dominick Franzese and Margaret Lawrence will emcee The Arc's Transformation 2020 Capital Campaign Kickoff event on Nov. 8. (Photo provided)

Presenters and panelists at the Locate Finger Lakes Summit. From left: Moderator Tracy Verrier, executive director, Cayuga County Economic Development Agency and Cayuga County Chamber of Commere; panelists Jim Fayle (Regional Director, Empire State Development, Central NY), Donna Howell (Regional Director, Empire State Development, Southern Tier), and Greg Albert (Economic Development Specialist, Empire State Development, Finger Lakes); keynote speaker Paul M. Barrett (Publisher, Finger lakes Times); presenter Jan Nyrop (Associate Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell AgriTech Director); and presenter Judy McKinney Cherry (Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development).

Economic Development summit scheduled for Oct. 30 in Auburn; Cherry to speak

Special to The Odessa File

AUBURN, Oct. 24, 2018 -- An experienced, notable and diverse line up of presenters and panelists scheduled to speak at the Locate Finger Lakes Summit later this month has been announced, highlighted by the event’s keynote address, which will be delivered by the Finger Lakes Times publisher, Paul M. Barrett.

Panel discussions on economic development initiatives at the state and regional level, the newly created New York State Center of Excellence in Food and Agriculture housed at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, and innovations in marketing the economic and business potential of the Finger Lakes region are topics that will be the focus of the Locate Finger Lakes Economic Development Summit.

Locate Finger Lakes will host the Summit from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30th at the Emerson Park Pavillon, on the shores of Owasco Lake in Auburn. Business leaders, economic development professionals, local community and regional leaders and interested citizens are all invited and urged to attend.

"Locate Finger Lakes is pleased to sponsor this important opportunity for our region’s economic development leaders to collaborate, network and discuss ideas and initiatives important to the future of our region,” said Mike Nozzolio, former New York State Senator of the Finger Lakes, who is directing the Locate Finger Lakes initiative. “We are especially grateful to present a forum with such diverse and experienced leaders in business and job development and whose focus is on the economic future of our Finger Lakes region. Locate Finger Lakes is dedicated to enhancing and promoting career opportunities throughout the Finger Lakes region.”

A highlight of the Summit will be the keynote address, to be given by Paul M. Barrett, publisher for the past decade of the Finger Lakes Times. Barrett is experienced in all aspects of the publishing business and led operations in the states of Texas, Mississippi and New York for Thompson Newspapers, American Publishing Company, Community Newspaper Holdings, and Community Media Group. He also has service as an active advocate for economic development and as an advisor to two Governors from his home state of Mississippi.

Said Tracy Verrier, Executive Director of the Cayuga Economic Development Agency and the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce: “We are excited to have the Locate Finger Lakes Summit hosted right here in Cayuga County and I am honored to participate in the event program. It is truly wonderful that the summit will highlight the impressive development work being done in our community and throughout the Finger Lakes, as well as examine some of the important resources that can help continue this work into the future.”

The Summit will kick-off at 11:00 a.m. in the Emerson Park Pavilion in Auburn with a panel discussion of state and regional initiatives centered in the Finger Lakes. Moderated by Tracy Verrier, the panel will be comprised of the leadership of the three Empire State Development regions that serve the counties in the Finger Lakes, including Greg Albert, Economic Development Specialist from the Finger Lakes, Jim Fayle, Regional Director of Central NY, and Donna Howell, Regional Director of Southern Tier.

The economic future of the Finger Lakes and the region’s critically important role in fostering innovative food production and delivery systems from field to fork will be the focus of the presenters from Cornell University. The presentation will be led by Jan P. Nyrop, Associate Dean of the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Director of Cornell AgriTech, which is the site of the newly created New York State Center of Excellence in Food and Agriculture. The proposed New York Food and Agriculture Competition initiative will also be highlighted.

Innovative marketing and the economic development potential of the Finger Lakes Region will be the subject presented by one of the most dynamic and diversely experienced job developers in the Finger Lakes region today. Judy McKinney Cherry is presently the Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development, and served in the State of Delaware Governor’s Cabinet for six years as Director of Economic Development for the State.

Because seating is limited, reservations are required by calling Locate Finger Lakes at 315-577-3796 or by clicking here.

Locate Finger Lakes is a Finger Lakes economic development initiative designed to assist and foster collaboration among the established Finger Lakes economic development efforts with targeted, proactive, marketing communications and networking.

Locate Finger Lakes is focused on directing local, national and international business leaders to Finger Lakes information and inspire them to look closely at the region’s assets enabling their businesses, their families and their employees' families to thrive.

A Rotary-Lions dinner

The two service organizations gathered Monday, Oct. 22, at The Arc of Schuyler for a joint dinner meeting featuring a presentation by Arc Executive Director Jeannette Frank, right above, and other Arc representatives. They outlined the fund-raising campaign the Arc is undertaking to expand its physical space to include a community-oriented center, and to renovate its food production and distribution facilities as it increases and alters those processes.

Rasa Spa opens at Watkins Glen location

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 22, 2018 -- Rasa Spa has opened a new space at 210 North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen.

Rasa at Watkins Glen provides the same care that clients find at Rasa's other locations: services including massage (sports, prenatal, medical), couples massage, the ananda, facials, and waxing.

Though there are no changing rooms at the new location, guests are encouraged to arrive early and/or stay late to experience the Tranquility Room space with a cup of tea, meditation or some self-led yoga.

Hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Rasa at Watkins Glen is bookable online via Or clients can call the location directly at 607-654-7112.

Rasa has been operating in the Finger Lakes since 2006, integrating -- according to a press release -- "a wide range of natural, healing therapies and treatments that encourage wellness. From waxing to massage, energy work to facials, and body scrubs and wraps to acupuncture, Rasa is a perfect synthesis of quality service and deep respect for natural healing."

Rasa was founded as a partnership between Rachel Hogancamp, Island Health & Fitness (IHF), and the Cayuga Medical Center (CMC). The spa opened its flagship location at the Cayuga Wellness Center in Ithaca in 2006 with six treatment rooms, and in 2012 when the Pilates Room moved out of the CWC building, the spa expanded by adding two more treatment rooms and a Community Space classroom for workshops and for meditation and yoga classes.

Rasa also added two treatment rooms at IHF at Community Corners in order to accommodate the Community Corners area of Ithaca, and staffs a private room at CMC where therapists provide massage to patients, employees, and visitors Monday through Friday. Rasa and the Inns of Aurora are currently in the design stages of a full-service spa to be located in Aurora.

Photo in text: Rasa Spa employees provide Couples Massage, a service offered at Watkins. (Photo provided)

The 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S won by Lee and Jeannette Apostale of Hornell. (Provided)

Hornell couple win Porsche 911 in raffle

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 12, 2018 -- Lee and Jeannette Apostale of Hornell were the winners of the 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S raffled by the International Motor Racing Research Center.

"This is the Center's 20th anniversary year. We're very excited that we are able to celebrate our successes and award such a beautiful classic sports car," said Kip Zeiter, IMRRC Coordinator of Visitor Services and Outreach.

"We sincerely thank everyone who purchased tickets and made this year's raffle of the Porsche and other prizes a successful fundraiser," Zeiter added. This year the Center sold 2,065 tickets and raised over $100,000.

The winning ticket was drawn at the Center on Oct. 6 as part of the IMRRC's "RacetoberFest" anniversary celebration.

The Apostales purchased the winning ticket at this year's Grand Prix Festival in Watkins Glen, where the IMRRC has a booth annually. Jeannette looked across the street to where the Porsche was parked, saw that the drawing was on Oct. 6, and said, "I'm going to win that; that's on my birthday." While the Apostales don't have any immediate plans to bring the Porsche back to Watkins Glen, Lee participates in the Grand Prix Festival every year and "the car will be back to Watkins eventually," he said.

Two other prizes were awarded at the event. Second prize, a set of four tickets to any 2019 SVRA event in the United States and a $500 Visa Gift Card, was won by Marcus Steck, of Newfane, NY, who plans to use the race tickets at his home track, Watkins Glen International. Andrew Wensel, of Rochester, NY, took home the third prize, a 50-inch Samsung Flatscreen Television.

Car raffles have supported the IMRRC's programming and operations throughout its history. An exciting array of cars has been raffled off over the years. Past raffles have featured both new models provided by the manufacturers or vintage cars donated by friends of the Center, including a 2017 MINI Cooper John Cooper Works, a 1982 Ferrari 308 GTSi, a 2013 Boss Mustang 302 and a 1967 E-type Jag Series 1.

Photo in text: IMRRC Chairman John Saunders, right, reads the winning raffle ticket before an enthusiastic crowd at RacetoberFest. (Photo by Anthony Bristol)

Humane Society receives Bo's Bones grant

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 8, 2018 -- The Humane Society of Schuyler County was one of three recipients awarded a $500 grant from Bo’s Bones at the 5th Annual Ithaca Dog Fest, organized by Bo’s Bones. The grant, funded by the sale of Bo’s Gourmet Organic Dog Bones, will be used for the spay and neuter of shelter dogs to ready them for adoption.

“We are thrilled to have been chosen as a recipient of this generous funding,” said Georgie Taylor, President of The Humane Society of Schuyler County. “We know how hard the folks at Bo’s Bones work to raise these much needed funds and truly appreciate their generosity and commitment to the work of area shelters.”

Founded in 2001, Bo’s Bones produces organic dog biscuits and is committed to supporting the work of shelters and rescue groups across the country. For more information, visit

The Humane Society of Schuyler County is a 501c3 not-for-profit animal welfare organization, dedicated to advancing welfare in the community for over 30 years. To adopt, donate or volunteer call 607-594-2255 or visit

Wine Trail names Gibson Executive Director

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 4, 2018 -- The Executive Committee of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail has announced that Brittany Gibson has been selected to lead the organization as Executive Director.

A native of Dundee, NY, and a graduate of Ithaca College, Gibson has years of experience in both the wine and tourism industries. She was Advertising Director and Wine Club Manager at Fulkerson’s Winery for 10 years before serving as Tourism and Marketing Manager at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Says Gibson: "I couldn't be more honored and excited to be selected as the Executive Director of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. The organization has enjoyed much success already under great leadership and an enthusiastic, creative membership. I look forward to continuing that trend and I'm eager to get to work!" Gibson will start with the wine trail the last week of November.

Elizabeth Stamp, President of the Wine Trail, notes “Brittany’s talent and passion will ensure the Seneca Lake Wine Trail members continue to be recognized as producers of high quality wines offering outstanding experiences for visitors.”

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail, founded in 1986, is an association of 34 member wineries located around Seneca Lake.

Photo in text: Brittany Gibson (Photo provided)

'RacetoberFest' to mark 20 years of IMRRC

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 24, 2018 -- The International Motor Racing Research Center is celebrating its 20th Anniversary along with the 70th Anniversary of racing in Watkins Glen on Oct. 6.

"RacetoberFest" will take place at the IMRRC Visitor's Center at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen. Admission is free. Hours will be 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The highlight of the event is the drawing for a 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, the grand prize of the Center's annual fundraising raffle. Other festivities will include a "meet and greet" reception with special guests and dignitaries, a "70 Years of Racing Memories" tribute slide show, and live music from renowned jazz guitarist Dennis Winge.

The IMRRC has also minted special two-sided dash plaques to commemorate the anniversaries. The plaques will be available for purchase.

"We are very excited to begin our third decade," said Michael Printup, IMRRC Governing Council Member and Watkins Glen International President. "The Research Center has made incredible strides during the last two decades as it has grown from an alcove in the local library to a world-renowned archive and respected research facility. It's a pleasure to open the doors to local folks, members, fans and racing heros alike to celebrate these successes."

Food and beverages will be served throughout the evening with offerings from local wineries and breweries and catering by Americrown and WGI.

Another high point of the event will be the unveiling of a cake created by Ithaca Bakery artisans Paige Bibble and Heather Charron. The cake is a scale replica of the Frank Griswold-driven 2.9-Liter B Alfa Romeo that won the 1948 Watkins Glen Grand Prix. Each guest will be able to taste a slice of racing history!

On display at the IMRRC during the event will be two cars that showcase the early years of racing in the streets of Watkins Glen. "Poison Lil," one of four Maserati V8RIs made, led the first competitive lap at Watkins Glen during the 1948 Junior Prix. The second car, a 1952 OSCA MT4, took the final checkered flag at the Seneca Cup in September of 1952.

Other special exhibits and the raffle car will also be on display during the celebration.

In addition to the Porsche 911 grand prize, the raffle includes additional prizes. Second place is a set of four tickets to any 2019 SVRA event in the United States and a $500 Visa gift card. Third place is a 50-inch Samsung Flatscreen TV.

The raffle is one of the primary annual IMRRC fundraisers. Tickets are still available for the raffle by calling the IMRRC at 607-535-9044 or by visiting the Center's website at

The Racing Research Center is an archival library dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the history of motorsports, of all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials.

For more information about the Center's work and its programs, visit or call (607) 535-9044. The Center also is on Facebook at "International Motor Racing Research Center" and on Twitter at "@IMRRCatWG

Images in text: A racing logo; two-sided dash plaques minted by the IMRRC to commemorate its 20th anniversary and the 70th anniversary of racing in Watkins Glen.

Students from Watkins Glen, one of several groups to visit the GlassBarge Thursday, listen to an announcer describing the glass-manufacturing process as another person demonstrates.

GlassBarge celebration ends its run at pier

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 16, 2018 -- The year 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the relocation of the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company from Brooklyn to Corning, New York. In celebration of this milestone, the Corning Museum of Glass launched GlassBarge -- a 30-by-80-foot canal barge equipped with CMoG’s patented all-electric glassmaking equipment -- in Brooklyn Bridge Park in May.

In addition to sharing the story of glassmaking in Corning, GlassBarge was the 2018 signature event for the statewide celebration of the Erie Canal Bicentennial.

The GlassBarge arrived in Watkins Glen Sunday, Sept. 9, docking at Seneca Harbor Pier -- where it remained through a three-day festival called Glass in the Glen that ended on Sunday, Sept. 16. It included live hot-glass demos, fireworks, live music, and a festival-like atmosphere with vendors and local artisans throughout Seneca Harbor Park. There was no charge to attend any portion of the event, but seats for the live hot glass demos had to be reserved in advance.

Private parties were held Wednesday, and students from area schools were bused to the GlassBarge on Thursday. The students also got a tour of the Lois McClure, an 88-foot canal schooner that accompanied the GlassBarge down Seneca Lake from the canal system. It was open for tours on the weekend, too.

Thursday night, a history talk about the Chemung Canal was presented aboard the GlassBarge by historian Gary Emerson.

A free shuttle service was available on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14-15, between Seneca Harbor Park and Clute Park, and from the High School/Arc parking lot to the State Park parking lot to Seneca Harbor Park.

Photos in text: GlassBarge workers conduct glass-blowing demonstrations at the Seneca Harbor pier. The barge, accompanied to Watkins Glen by an 88-foot schooner, the Lois McClure, was a focus of attention through the weekend of Sept. 14-16. (Top photo by George Rutledge)

The schedule of events included:

Thursday, September 13
History of the Chemung Canal
by Historian Gary Emerson aboard GlassBarge, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, September 14

Live Hot Glass Demos aboard GlassBarge -- 11 a.m. 6 p.m.
Glass in the Glen “The Market” -- 12noon-9 p.m.
Live Music: The Ende Brothers (Village Marina Stage) -- 12 noon-2:30 p.m.
Live Music: Nate Michaels (Village Marina Stage) -- 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Live Music: Donna the Buffalo (Seneca Harbor Park) -- 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Fireworks over Seneca Harbor Park -- 9 p.m.

Saturday, September 15

Live Hot Glass Demos aboard GlassBarge -- 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Glass in the Glen “The Market” -- 12 noon-9 p.m.
Live Music: The Sweats (Village Marina Stage) -- 12 noon-2:30 p.m.
Live Music: Telephone Party (Village Marina Stage) -- 2:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Live Music: The Destination (Seneca Harbor Park) -- 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
History of Chemung Canal by Historian Gary Emerson (RoosterFish Brewing) -- 6:30 p.m.
Fireworks over Seneca Harbor Park -- 9 p.m.

Sunday, September 16

Live Hot Glass Demos aboard GlassBarge -- 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Glass in the Glen “The Market” -- 12 noon-5 p.m.
Live Music: Horse Stories (Seneca Harbor Park) -- 12 noon-2 p.m.
Live Music: Sim Redmond Band (Seneca Harbor Park) -- 2 p.m.- 4 p.m.

When the weekend concluded, plans called for the GlassBarge to be towed back up the lake for a return to an Albany shipyard where it was first assembled -- the seating and ovens and other related materials belonging to the Corning Museum of Glass, which leased the barge itself.

The Lois McClure, an 88-foot canal schooner that accompanied the GlassBarge down Seneca Lake to the Seneca Harbor pier, hosted students on deck Thursday (above). Tours of the boat were provided through the weekend.

Schuyler Historical Society presents Chemung Canal talks at Glass in the Glen

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 14, 2018 -- Schuyler County Historian Gary Emerson reviewed the history of the Chemung Canal Thursday eveing in the first of two talks presented as part of the Glass in the Glen celebration at Seneca Harbor Park in Watkins Glen.

Emerson’s first talk, “The History of the Chemung Canal,” was held Thursday on the Corning Museum of Glass GlassBarge. About 70 people attended. The second talk was held Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Rooster Fish Brewing Tasting Room & Beer Garden on Franklin Street.

“The presentation tells about the creation of the canal and how it changed the local area by bringing a more vibrant economy, a more diverse population and new landscape,” Emerson said. A slide show of many pictures and maps illustrated his talk.

The Chemung Canal operated from 1833-78, providing a waterway from the Chemung River in Elmira to Seneca Lake. Steamboats towed the canal boats north to Geneva, where they locked into the Cayuga and Seneca Canal, and then into the Erie Canal.

Emerson is the author of “A Link in the Great Chain: A History of the Chemung Canal.” His Glass in the Glen talks are presented by the Schuyler County Historical Society.

The GlassBarge is a 30- by 80-foot canal barge equipped with the Corning Museum of Glass’s patented all-electric glassmaking equipment. CMOG launched the GlassBarge at Brooklyn Bridge Park in May to mark the 150th anniversary of the relocation of the Brooklyn Flint Glass Co. from Brooklyn to Corning.

The barge has spent the summer traveling north up the Hudson River, then along the Erie Canal, making many stops at ports along the way. In addition to sharing the story of glassmaking in Corning, GlassBarge is the 2018 signature event for the statewide celebration of the Erie Canal Bicentennial.

Glass in the Glen was a three-day celebration and community event welcoming the GlassBarge to Watkins Glen. Activities included hot-glass demonstrations on the GlassBarge, live music, fireworks and a festival-like atmosphere with vendors and local artisans throughout Seneca Harbor Park. Hours were noon to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The Schuyler County Historical Society celebrates and honors the history of the county at the Brick Tavern Museum, Wickham Rural Life Center and Lee School. The Society is supported in part by a TAP grant administered by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Photos in text: The GlassBarge during Gary Emerson's talk; and Emerson addressing the audience. (Photos provided)

Public Transit celebrates 8 years of operation

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 22, 2018 -- In August 2010 Schuyler County launched its first ever public transportation service with a route connecting the villages of Burdett, Montour Falls, Odessa and Watkins Glen along with a Dial a Ride service reaching rural areas of the County.

The service has grown to offer commuter bus service to Corning, Ithaca, and Cayuga Medical Center, as well as Transportation Link-Line, a free information and assistance service to help address “how to get there” for requests not covered by public transit. Public transportation routes now available include:

--Village Connections: Serves Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, and Odessa
--Tompkins Connections: Serves Montour Falls, Watkins Glen, Burdett, Mecklenburg and free connection to TCAT service in Tompkins County
--Corning Connections: Serves Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, Beaver Dams and connects to routes at the Corning Transportation Center
--Rural Connections: Serves Watkins Glen, Burdett, Hector, and Reynoldsville
--Rural Dial-A-Ride: Connects all rural residents with transportation to the villages of Watkins Glen or Montour Falls.

Check out our schedules at or call Transportation Link-Line at 607-535-3555. Schuyler County Transit is operated by The Arc of Schuyler, 203 12th St., Watkins Glen.

Glenora releases 2nd 'SpokesPup' wine

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, July 27, 2018 -- Glenora Wine Cellars released a new wine on July 26 called “GG’s Reserve,” which joins “Chase’s Reserve” in their SpokesPup series.

GG’s Reserve is a semi-sweet white blend featuring GG, the winery’s second SpokesPup, on the label. GG is a rescue pup from rural Georgia. A portion of each bottle sold will be donated to local animal charities across the United States, starting with Suncoast Animal League in Florida.

GG was rescued and adopted by the same great family in Florida that rescued Glenora's first SpokesPup, Hurricane Katrina survivor Chase. Physically and emotionally scarred and seemingly abused, GG was found in a rural Georgia construction dumpster in September 2015 trying to get food for her pups. She languished in a rescue shelter until January 2017, when she was re-rescued by Suncoast Animal League and taken to Florida, where she was adopted sight unseen.

GG and Chase’s owner Jeff Pursae, a native of Rochester, NY now living in Florida, began visiting Glenora in the early 1980’s with his parents. In 2011 Jeff discovered Glenora’s custom label program and began the “Chase’s Reserve” series, featuring Chase’s picture.

Over the years, Chase’s Reserve wine generated excitement to the point where people would ask for it at the winery, ultimately leading to Glenora’s decision in 2016 to officially create Chase’s Reserve, a semi-sweet blend of red native grapes, to honor Chase and his incredible story and to raise funds for the Humane Society of the United States.

Chase’s Reserve was an instant success and continues to be a top selling wine for Glenora. To date, over $4,000 has been donated to the Humane Society in Chase’s honor. Sadly, Chase crossed the rainbow bridge in October of 2016, but his legacy lives on through his wine and the continuation of the SpokesPup series.

Along with release of GG’s Reserve, Glenora hosted a Meet & Greet with GG, as it did with Chase, on Thursday, July 26 in the tasting room. Guests had the chance to meet GG and her family, taste GG’s Reserve, and enjoy light hors d’oeuvres from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

A pioneer in the renaissance of the Finger Lakes wine industry, Glenora Wine Cellars has been producing award-winning wines for over 35 years. In 1977 Glenora Wine Cellars was the first winery to open on Seneca Lake. Today, in addition to the winery and tasting room, the 40-acre estate offers the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars, with 30 rooms overlooking the vineyards and Seneca Lake, and Veraisons Restaurant, offering gourmet, locally-sourced dishes. For more information, visit

Photo in text: The GG's Reserve label.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony

The Anchor Inn and Marina on Salt Point Road in Watkins Glen celebrated the addition and completion of five new lakefront cottages on its property with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, July 20. Owner Gregg Bittler welcomed observers in the photo above. Beverages and finger foods from the Tiki Bar followed the program. (Photo provided)

McKinney Cherry earns recertification

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 22 2018 -- Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), has been awarded re-certification by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

McKinney Cherry first achieved the Certified Economic Developer designation in 2008. CEcD recertification, required every three years, was awarded after she met demanding requirements for continuing education and service to the profession. With 25 years of economic development experience, she has been instrumental in developing the Schuyler County Business Park, leading the Watkins Glen Downtown Revitalization Initiative effort, spurring entrepreneurial activity and facilitating the $300 million Project Seneca initiative.

The designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) is a national recognition that denotes a mastery of principal skills in economic development and professional attainment, and a commitment to professional growth. McKinney Cherry first earned certification by passing a rigorous three-part, two-day examination testing her knowledge, proficiency and judgment in the key areas of economic development.

McKinney Cherry and over 1,000 other Certified Economic Developers work with public officials, business leaders and community members to create and retain high-quality jobs, establish economic vibrancy, and improve quality of life for the people they serve.

Front portion of the Seneca Cheese Company ground floor, facing Franklin Street to the right. The entrance will be in the northeast corner. The rear of building, not shown on the left, will be a shipping and receiving area.

Plan for the front half of the Seneca Cheese Company second floor, with Franklin Street to the right. The rest of the second floor to the left is a continuation of the apartment shown partially here. On the right are covered and open decks for Cheese Company patrons.

Seneca Cheese Company concept taken
to Planning Board; fall opening is sought

WATKINS GLEN, June 20, 2018 -- The Watkins Glen Planning Board heard Wednesday night about the plan by Bob and Barb MacBlane to establish the Seneca Cheese Company in the former Eyes on Seneca building at 29 North Franklin Street in the village.

The MacBlanes, who were raised in Elmira and have been living in Horseheads but are in the process of moving to Burdett, presented a concept plan that the Planning Board received with enthusiasm. As soon as the concept is filled out with more detail, the couple will return to the Board with a Site Plan, and the Board will hold a Public Hearing, pass a SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) and presumably -- possibly after a few tweaks -- give its final blessing.

If that is all done in the near future, then Bob MacBlane hopes to have the business up and running in time "to catch some of the fall season." He and his wife recently bought the building from Dominick Franzese.

The Seneca Cheese Company will be a store that sells local cheeses, as well as local beers and wines, and trays of various cheeses that might be paired with beer and wine and enjoyed on site -- including on a second-floor deck.

The MacBlanes, according to a sheet they distributed, "plan on a complete and total renovation of the existing structure and landscaping." The building is currently about 2,000 square feet, but will be considerably larger with the addition of a second floor. That addition "will house outside seating as well as a separate two-bedroom year-round upscale apartment," the sheet noted.

The idea of the business is to partner "with many of the local creameries, wineries and breweries," the MacBlanes wrote. By doing so, "we see the potential to help create a destination that will promote Watkins Glen as the 'gateway' to the Finger Lakes on a year-round basis.

"We will offer cheese for sale on a retail basis from the local creameries as well as have a large selection of both local wines and craft beers available" for on-site consumption, the sheet said. "The Seneca Cheese Company will also offer cheese boards, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, cheesy pretzels, and cheesecake ..."

Planning Board member Brian Eslinger pressed Mr. MacBlane on their intention regarding parking, landscaping, building siding, and a second entrance/exit on the property. The main entrance will be into a parking lot just north of the building off of Franklin Street. The plan calls for another entrance at the rear of the property, where a section about 25 feet wide meets Madison Avenue.

Mr. MacBlane was until recently the Director of Physician Recruiting at the Arnot Ogden Medical Center, and before that served in the same role at Robert Packer Hospital. He left that career to pursue this one, and his wife said he has "been researching it since Labor Day."

Mrs. MacBlane is a pharmacist connected to the Gerould's store in Horseheads. The couple have two children, ages 18 and 19.

They have summered on Seneca Lake at a home they purchased years ago, and so told the Planning Board they are no strangers to Watkins Glen. "We have patronized all the restaurants," Mrs. MacBlane told the Board, and are familiar with the breweries and wineries.

"We are looking forward to living here, not just in the summer months," she said.

While they missed the opportunity to apply for Downtown Revitalization Initiative financing from the state, they said the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development is helping them apply for other grant funds.

The Planning Board's Eslinger told the MacBlanes that their project is "wonderful," and "will be as great for you as it is for the village."

Photos in text:

From top: Bob and Barb MacBlane in front of their building at 29 N. Franklin St.; Planning Board member Brian Eslinger talks to the MacBlanes; and the building in question, which will house the Seneca Cheese Company.

Lime Bikes have arrived in Watkins Glen

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 1 -- A new way to get around has come to this village: Lime Bikes!

Lime is a bike-sharing program that functions by a user downloading the app on his or her phone, locating an available bike, then unlocking it by scanning the QR code or entering the 6-digit ID on the bike. Users pay to use the bikes by entering their credit card info in the app. It’s just $1 for every 30 minutes you ride.

The distinguishing feature of Lime is that it is dock-free, meaning users can pick up and leave bikes in locations that are most convenient for them rather than having to take them back to a particular location. A Lime employee will round up bikes periodically and return them to their designated areas.

A few frequently asked questions:

--Can I reserve a bike? No. Lime operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you see a nearby bike on the map, it’s yours to ride!

--How do I pay for my ride? Simply enter your credit card information into the app and purchase credits you can use for future rides.

--How do I end my ride? Please make sure you’re parking in a safe, appropriate location. Dock-free bikes only work if we all take responsibility and park in places that don’t block car traffic, impede pedestrian access, or encroach on private property. To lock your Lime Bike, simply push down on the locking arm connected to the rear wheel to lock the bike.

Lime Bikes hit the streets of Watkins Glen on May 31. They’ll be grouped and waiting for you at Clute Park, LaFayette Park, and near the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center (214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen), as well as at a few other downtown locations -- such as across from the State Park.

Don’t worry, these bikes are easy to identify: True to their name, they are painted lime green and have reflective tires and built-in LED lights.

Lime was brought to the area through a joint effort between the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and the Village Board of Trustees.

Says Trustee Laurie DeNardo: “Lime has experienced huge success and high rates of ridership in Ithaca and we hope to see a similar trend emerge here in Watkins Glen and Montour Falls. It’s a great opportunity to get outside, get some fresh air, and explore your community.”

Brittany Gibson, the Chamber's Tourism and Marketing Manager, adds: “Lime is a forward-thinking, community-oriented company, and working with them to bring this opportunity to our area has been nothing short of refreshing. I am so thankful to Mayor Schimizzi and the Village Board of Trustees for seeing the value in this opportunity. I hope to see many bikes out and about, being enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.”

“Lime is committed to increasing access to affordable, convenient transportation and we look forward to becoming part of the community,” said Jeff Goodmark, Lime’s Ithaca Operations Manager. “We’ve seen tremendous success in Ithaca, and we’re excited to further expand our operations in New York.”

Photo in text: Lime bikes awaiting customers across from the Watkins Glen State Park.

Hospital names Public Health Partner of Year

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, June 1, 2018 -- At its Annual Community Meeting on May 3, Schuyler Hospital named Schuyler County Public Health their Community Partner of the Year.

The Community Partner Award is presented annually to an organization or individual as recognition for helping Schuyler Hospital achieve its mission.

Schuyler Hospital and Schuyler County Public Health partner to produce the Hospital’s Community Service Plan and Public Health’s Community Health Improvement Plan, setting appropriate goals and implementing programs to address identified needs.

To reduce obesity in children and adults, they implemented Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Schuyler. HEAL Schuyler includes Active Living Every Day classes, the Schuyler Walks website for hiking trail maps and a list of area walks and runs, printed trail maps distributed throughout county, Choose HEALth to help restaurants and worksites identify healthier options, and a monthly newsletter.

Public Health and the hospital meet monthly on community health issues, work collaboratively, and are able to call on other community partners as needed.

Currently, the two organizations are working together to bring back Schuyler County Strong Kids Safe Kids this fall as part of an overall Community Falls Fit Fest.

The 2015 award went to Arcangeli Farm, 2016 to the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary, and 2017 to Ken Wilson.

Atlas Brick Oven to mark 1st anniversary

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 1 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will join in celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Atlas Brick Oven Pizzeria in Watkins Glen on Friday, June 15 at 5 p.m.

Atlas Pizzeria’s original location in Corning served as inspiration for opening their second location in Watkins Glen in 2017. The celebration will be led by Chamber of Commerce Board President Paul Thomas, County Administrator Tim O’Hearn, and Watkins Glen Village Mayor Sam Schimizzi.

In addition to the short program on Friday evening, there will be in-house specials and a happy hour that will last all day Friday and through the weekend, including live music by PA Line on Friday from 8-10 p.m.

Says owner Peter Bennett: “We are so proud to be part of the community here in Watkins Glen. It’s been a great first year and we are looking forward to celebrating with our friends and neighbors!”

Chamber President and CEO Rebekah Carroll adds: “It’s always wonderful to mark these special milestones with our Chamber members. We look forward to seeing everyone come out to show their support and offer their congratulations to Peter and his team on a great first year ... and many more!”

The anniversary celebration is free to attend and open to the public. Atlas Brick Oven Pizzeria is located at 304 N. Franklin Street in Watkins Glen.

Humane Society names 3 new directors

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 31, 2018 -- The Humane Society of Schuyler County has announced the appointment of three new members to its Board of Directors for 2018. Joining the Board are Tricia Barry, Yan Chen, and Linsey Wig.

Tricia Barry has worked in communications, public relations, and marketing for more than 20 years, most recently in higher education. She joined Cornell University in March 2011, where she oversaw the content strategy for all Law School communications. In 2014, she became the Director of Communications for the College of Arts & Sciences. She manages a team of professionals specializing in brand communications, media relations, integrated marketing, crisis management, and web design, development and content strategy.

Before joining Cornell, Barry spent six years as the Communications Director for Farm Sanctuary, where she led the organization through a successful rebranding program. Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, Barry worked for Sterling Communications, an integrated marketing and public relations agency based on the West Coast, representing technology companies and venture capitalists. She worked with clients through initial public offerings and acquisitions and oversaw the public launch of a multi-billion dollar technology investment fund.

Yan Chen, the Humane Society's treasurer, currently holds the position of Business Controller for Emerging and Innovations Group at Corning Incorporated. In this role, she provides financial oversight to the organization’s programs including financial analyses, long-term business plan development and return on investment comparisons.

Before moving to Corning, Chen served as Finance Director for Corning Optical Communications China. In this role, Chen was the finance function lead of four manufacturing facilities in China and one based in Korea.

Chen has more than twenty years of experience in finance, including financial analysis, forecasting, budgeting, investment analysis, and project costing.

Linsey Wig attended Cornell University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science. Born in Pittsburgh, Pa., she spent summers and holidays in upstate New York, visiting relatives and working at the family winery, and has always considered the Finger Lakes region a second home. She has worked in the fields of floral design and art curation as she and her family traveled with her husband while he pursued his military career. Her passion; however, has always been animals.

Prior to moving to the Finger Lakes, Wig spent the last five years serving as a volunteer for animal shelters, providing transport and rescue operations, fostering and dog walking.

“All three women bring years of experience in their respective fields and a passion for improving animal welfare. Their commitment and guidance will help the organization to advance its mission and build a sustainable future,” said Georgie Taylor, Humane Society president.

Barry, Chen and Wig join Humane Society board members Kathy Cole; Margaret Coffey, DVM; Gita Devi, Secretary; Chelsey Eberhardt, Vice-President; Susan Herbert, and President Georgie Taylor.

The Humane Society of Schuyler County is a 501c3 corporation dedicated to advancing animal welfare in the community since 1987. To donate, volunteer, adopt or for additional information contact The Humane Society of Schuyler County at 607-594-2255 or visit

Hospital recognizes 675 years of service

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 14, 2018 -- Schuyler Hospital recognized employees for 5 to 45 years of service at its annual Employee Recognition Dinner on May 9.

In all, 41 employees were recognized for a total of 675 years of combined experience at the hospital and at the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility.

The evening’s celebration was held at Watkins Glen International’s Glen Club.

In presenting the years of service awards, Hospital President Jim Watson thanked everyone for how hard they work every day to take care of patients and residents.

Celebrating 45 years: Diane Candido.
Celebrating 40 years: Bruce Barrett, Winona Beebe and Pamela Palmer.
Celebrating 35 years: Cora Davis.
Celebrating 30 years: Joylee Cornish, Deborah Drake, Penny Hammond, Janice Layton and Carol Peters.
Celebrating 25 years: Patti Hardick and Katherine Richtmyer.
Celebrating 20 years: Mary Ellen Claypool and Kathryn Shaffer.
Celebrating 15 years: Mindy Ahouse, Annette Kocourek, Vallerie Franzese-Lynch, Jeanne Maine, Dr. Ashraf Sabahat, Noel Serfas and Kirk Smith.
Celebrating 10 years: Michelle Benjamin, Angela Jaynes, Debra Phelps, Apryl Smith, Diana Vaughn-Russell and William Vaughn-Russell.
Celebrating 5 years: Dale Campbell, Katherine Conroy, Cindy Durfey, Rosemary Fulcher, Tammy Hanmore, Susan Henley, Erica Kane, Cassandra Legg, Tammy Mcmindes, Christie Miller, Kathleen Moore, Monica Rice, Julia Smith and Dr. Sarra Solomon.

For more information or career opportunities, contact Schuyler Hospital at (607) 535-7121 or email

Photo in text: Diane Candido (center) celebrated 45 years at Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. She is pictured with her Unit 3 Manager, Brenda Murrell, and Schuyler Hospital President and CEO Jim Watson. (Photo provided)

Auxiliary names Forrest Volunteer of Year

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 14, 2018 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary named Sandra Forrest its Volunteer of the Year at its annual spring luncheon on May 8.

Forrest, the Auxiliary said, was honored "for consistently stepping forward and helping out with so many fundraisers and other activities, and serving on the Auxiliary’s Events Committee."

Unfortunately, Forrest was ill, so the award was announced to her over the phone.

The Auxiliary welcomes new volunteers. Download an application at To find out more, email, or contact Volunteer Coordinator Chris Updyke at 535-4445.

Photo in text: Sandra Forrest (Photo provided)

Twenty shovels were available, along with hard hats, for the symbolic groundbreaking.

Groundbreaking ceremony marks end of Schuyler Business Park's years of vacancy

Special to
The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 30, 2018 -- Richard Ball, New York State Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets, presided Monday afternoon over a groundbreaking ceremony in the long-vacant Schuyler County Business Park.

The first building will be a 19,000-square-foot beverage production facility with its first tenant -- Lucky Hare Brewing -- signing on because of a need for expansion capacity.

The facility will provide accelerated production for the Hector-based craft brewery, which is leasing 5,000 square feet.

The Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) has been actively marketing the site for more than 15 years. The facility will be owned and operated by the FLX Gateway Enterprises LLC, a subsidiary of SCOPED, which notes that the park is building a pre-treatment wastewater system to ensure future growth there meets the stringent requirements of the new regional wastewater treatment plant planned along the canal south of Seneca Lake.

More than 50 people attended the ceremony, which was marked with sun and a persistent wind. Among those present were various Schuyler County legislators.Assemblyman Phil Palmesano was represented by Sperry Navone, while State Senator Tom O'Mara was represented by Sharon Moore, and Congressman Tom Reed by Alison Hunt.

A half-dozen speakers addressed the assembled crowd. Among those speaking was Lucky Hare Brewing Company co-owner Richard Thiel, who said: “The Ultra-premium beverage production facility was exactly what Lucky Hare was looking for when we decided to increase production to keep up with the increasing demand for our products. The new state-of-the art facility allows us to continue to focus our efforts on producing high-quality beer while staying in Schuyler County.”

Added SCOPED Chairman Don Chutas: “This has been a goal of our organization for many years and it will be great to finally have production occurring in the business park. We look forward to having additional tenants in the building and also look forward to additional buildings there in the future.”

Elmira Savings Bank is providing loans, with other financial support coming from Empire State Development and the Schuyler County Industrial Development Agency.

Construction by Elmira Structures is expected to be completed by November. The construction project team also includes Nature’s Way, Foor & Associates, Fagan Engineering, LaBella Associates and Hayes Strategy.

Photos in text: From top: Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball, left, talks to winery owner Ted Marks; emcee Don Chutas; and Lucky Hare Brewing Company co-owner Richard Thiel.

Chamber welcomes 66 new members

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 9, 2018 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is welcoming 66 new members to the organization. New members will be recognized during the 2018 New Member Breakfast on May 4 at Seneca Harbor Station in Watkins Glen.

These businesses and organizations include:

401 Espresso
Altay Old Home Days Corp.
Alternatives Federal Credit Union
Alzheimer’s Association
Rochester Chapter
Appleridge Senior Living Organization
Arnot Realty
Atlas Brick Oven Pizzeria
Beth Decaro - Warren Real Estate
Black Sheep Inn and Spa
Bobby K Entertainment
BOSS Security and Automation
CASA of the Southern Tier, Inc.
Cayuga Lake Wine Trail
Clinical Associates of the
Southern Tier
Country Home & Gifts
Cybertech Automation USA
Damiani Wine Cellars
Domaine LeSeurre Winery
F.L.A.V.O.R. Studio
Finger Lakes Radio Group
Finger Lakes Sign & Design
Finger Lakes Soap Company
Flower Divas of Montour Falls
FLX Collaborative
Forge Cellars
Green Parasol Group
Haefele TV
Handsome Young Ladies
Help Coach Me, Inc.
Hickory Grove Apartments
Jen Oliver, Arbonne Independent Consultant
Kleen Sweep
La Bourgade on Seneca
League of Women Voters
Local 62
Longview Farm
Lyons National Bank
M&T Bank
Orchard Place
Phoenix Graphics, Inc.
Rasa Spa
Rasta Ranch Vineyards
Reel Stories Fishing Charters
Rock Stream House
Scale House Brewery
Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association
Seneca Signature Scents
Seneca Terrace Apartments
Short Hook Charter
Silver Key Yoga Studio
SJ Seneca Rentals LLC
Stompin’ Good Times
Sweet Sarah’s
Technology Research Council (TRC)
The Lamplighter
The Montour Falls 1860 Farmhouse
The Red Kettle Inn Bed & Breakfast
Tioga State Bank
Upstate Research Rocketry Group (URRG)
Warren Real Estate
Wheeler’s Catering
Wide Awake Bakery
William J. Sitzman Consulting Radio Engineer
Wine & Design

The New Member Breakfast is an opportunity for the Chamber staff and current members to welcome new members and network with colleagues. A brief program will be presented by Rebekah Carroll, Chamber President and CEO. The program will include an overview of Chamber programs, new member benefits, and other opportunities available through the Chamber. All new members should be prepared to give a brief overview of their business.

When: Friday, May 4, 2018
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Location: Seneca Harbor Station, 3 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY

 The event is sponsored by Chemung Canal Trust Company and hosted by the Membership Committee of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. New members (up to two representatives per business) are invited to attend at no charge. Veteran members may attend for $20 per person. Advance registration is required. Contact Meredith Williams at the Chamber at (607) 535-4300 or

Sidewalk, road construction is coming to Watkins Glen as DOT tackles Route 14

The following article was prepared by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, which is taking a proactive role in trying to minimize the effect on businesses of the upcoming Franklin Street reconstruction by the NYS Department of Transportation.

WATKIN GLEN, March 21, 2018 -- The village of Watkins Glen is at the heart of excitement, investment, and revitalization. Fittingly, the New York State Department of Transportation will begin construction on new sidewalks, along with improvements to crosswalks, signage, and signals in 2018, ahead of a mill and pave of State Route 14 in 2019.

On March 19, 2018, the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce partnered with the State Department of Transportation to host informational meetings for local businesses and community members to learn more. State DOT officials present included Mike Griffin, Assistant Regional Design Engineer; Susan Cook, Engineer-in-Charge; and Jeremy Ferris, Construction Supervisor. It was standing-room-only during both meetings, and officials shared a great deal of information -- but perhaps most importantly, they provided an idea of the project timeline:

1. The contractor plans to begin at Fairgrounds Lane in early April, working on new sidewalks and lighting conduit/foundations along the east side of Franklin Street. They plan to finish the east side sidewalks all the way to Captain Bill’s by June 22, 2018, at which time the downtown portion of the project will shut down for the summer.

2. Summer work will consist of pavement repairs and paving on the four-lane section of Route 14 from Reading Road to Gabriel’s Junction.

3. Beginning in the fall of 2018, work on the sidewalks along the west side of Franklin Street will begin at the Route 14/414 intersection and progress north until it is completed. New traffic signals will also be installed during this phase.

4. Beginning in the spring of 2019, the contractor is scheduled to perform a mill and pave of Franklin Street from Fairgrounds Lane to the northern gateway of the village of Watkins Glen, with completion scheduled for June 28, 2019.

Engineer-in-Charge Sue Cook shared this: “The DOT team was very pleased with the turnout at the informational meetings. We were encouraged by the community interest and happy to hear feedback from community members and business owners. I am looking forward to serving as the Engineer in Charge on this project and my door will always be open to the community. I am in the process of setting up a field office in the village and will share that location as soon as it is finalized. We look forward to partnering with the Chamber of Commerce to share information and updates on the project.”

Added Chamber President and CEO Rebekah Carroll: “The Chamber is proud to partner with the State Department of Transportation to help share information and updates, as well as to serve as a promotional arm for our downtown businesses. While we know that construction can present challenges, with the right information, proper coordination, and planning, our businesses will not only endure, but prosper through this process. Great things are ahead and we are proud to be a part of them!”

The Chamber of Commerce will house key information, including project timelines, updates, and shopping promotions on its website:

You can also follow along on Facebook and sign up for the chamber’s weekly e-newsletter to receive other periodic updates and announcements related to construction.

The $25,000 check was presented Friday during a ceremony at the Harbor Hotel. From left: Mary Diesel, hotel sales and catering administrative assistant; Nick Weinstein, a member of the Red Cross board; Heather Trizzino, hotel assistant food and beverage director; Liz Salamendra, hotel sales manager; Red Cross Finger Lakes Chapter Executive Director Brian L. McConnell; Carolyn Guyer, hotel general manager; Lisa DeSantis, hotel sales manager; Ruth Sprague, hotel executive administrative assistant; Rita Sherman, Red Cross volunteer; Betsy Morrissey, Red Cross regional philanthropy officer; and Chris Lynch, hotel executive housekeeper.

Hotel Ice Bar raises $25,000 for Red Cross

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 16, 2018 -- What happens when a community comes together full-force and throws the “hottest party in the coolest town” -- a three-day event known as an Ice Bar?

Good things happen.

The support and generosity from the seventh annual community-driven event at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel culminated Friday in the presentation by the hotel of a check to the American Red Cross totaling $25,000.

The Red Cross received the check during a ceremony in the hotel lobby.

The Red Cross, with several representatives on hand, including Finger Lakes Chapter Executive Director Brian L. McConnell, will use the donation to benefit the chapter’s Disaster Relief Fund, which provides food, clothing, shelter and other necessities for victims of fires, floods and other disasters in the chapter’s six counties: Schuyler, Steuben, Chemung, Seneca, Yates and Wayne.

“On behalf of our board of directors, volunteers, staff and most importantly, the families we serve, thank you to the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel for their continued support,” said McConnell. “I also want to extend our appreciation to the sponsors and members of the community who are essential to the success of this extraordinary event.”

The 2018 edition of the Ice Bar was the seventh annual one -- as always featuring regional wines and foods, along with ice-sculpted bars, ad signs, and a throne that has proved a popular spot for photos. Since its inception, the Ice Bar has generated $125,000 for the American Red Cross -- including $25,000 last year, as well.

Plans are already underway for next year's Ice Bar, said hotel General Manager Carolyn Guyer. Tickets will go on sale online on Dec. 1.

Schuyler Legislature backs wage tip credit

WATKINS GLEN, March 13, 2018 -- The Schuyler County Legislature Monday night by a 7-1 vote approved a resolution that expresses its opposition to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s move to possibly eliminate wage tip credits in effect in New York restaurants.

The vote came after three Watkins Glen restaurateurs -- Curt Connelly of Curly’s, Bill Tague of Jerlando’s and Gloria Brubaker of Seneca Lodge -- presented arguments for retaining the practice.

The vote came despite a motion by Legislator Michael Lausell to table the resolution in order to provide time to further study the matter, “in the interest of understanding the whole issue.” There was no second to his motion, and the resolution then passed with Lausell opposed. Legislator Jim Howell said it will now be taken to a regional Inter-County organization and, from there, sent to the Governor’s office.

Connelly and Tague spoke at length about the tip credit system, which they said helps keep menu prices down -- although some prices have edged upward in the past three years as the state has forced the minimum wage up.

Tague said he has 51 employees, and that they are concerned by the current trend, which has seen prices rise on such items as parmesan, which has gone from $15.99 to $18.99 in four years. “We can raise prices and wages,” he said, “but what good will that do” if customers -- many on fixed incomes -- are priced out of their ability to dine out with any frequency?

According to the state Labor Department, the wage tip credit is "the amount of tips earned by an employee that the law allows his or her employer to take as a credit against the minimum wage requirements." With the minimum wage rising step-by-step in the state under a 2016 ruling, that credit is currently $2.90, which combined with a minimum $7.50 cash wage, totals $10.40.

The cash wage is scheduled to rise to $8.35 on Dec. 31, 2020, and the credit to $4.15, for a total of $12.50. The amount of a further rise at the end of 2021 is yet to be determined. (Fast food workers without tips earn a minimum now of $11.75 per hour, going up in annual steps to $15 on Dec. 31, 2021.)

Tague said that if a wait staff member’s tips, combined with the cash wage, don’t reach the combined statutory minimum, it is up to the restaurant owner to make up the difference.

Cuomo recently directed the Commissioner of Labor to schedule public hearings to examine -- and evaluate the possibility of ending -- minimum wage tip credits in the state, arguing that they can be exploitative. The first such hearing was held Monday in Syracuse. Others will follow between now and June 25 in Buffalo, Farmingdale, Watertown, Albany and New York City.

The Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association, which supports the wage tip credit, said it expected the hearings "will be used to justify eliminating the tip credit and requiring all servers to be paid the full minimum wage. Our fears were not relieved in any way by the recent announcement of the hearing schedule in which the Governor uses more strident rhetoric including some of the language used by the advocates of eliminating the tip credit."

Connelly conceded that there have been related abuses reported elsewhere in the state, “but not at my place.” He has said that while his financial house is in order, he believes that “eliminating wage tip credit will increase menu prices up to 25%." The challenge is heightened, he said, by the brevity of the busy tourist season.

According to the Restaurant & Tavern Association, a move to impose the full minimum wage of $15 instead of the lesser amount currently in place at full-service restaurants, taverns and bars would end up costing wait staff more than it provides as rising wages and resultant rising prices leave wait staff with fewer customers and force owners to cut staff.

Brubaker said her business is not year-round, and that she has talented wait staff who earn enough in tips to keep them coming back year after year to what in most cases is a second job. If the tip credit system is disrupted, she said, there will not be the same incentive for them to return while bearing the sometimes rising costs of such things as child care.

While not present at Monday’s meeting, another Watkins Glen restaurateur, Mark Simiele, put the problem this way: “The unintended consequences of rising minimum wages and the proposed elimination of the minimum wage tip credit will result in the loss of tens of thousands of restaurant wait staff and support jobs. Good operators will survive, poor operators will go out of business, but the labor force that this proposed legislation is aimed at helping will find themselves without employment opportunities.”

Photo in text: From left, Watkins Glen restaurateurs Bill Tague, Gloria Brubaker and Curt Connelly after speaking at Monday's Legislature meeting.

Local restaurant owners back tip credit; urge Governor Cuomo to leave it alone

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 10, 2018 -- Local restaurant owners are joining forces to have their voices heard in opposition to Governor Andrew Cuomo's recent directive that could lead to the elimination of the minimum wage tip credit.

According to the state Labor Department, the credit is "the amount of tips earned by an employee that the law allows his or her employer to take as a credit against the minimum wage requirements." With the minimum wage rising step-by-step in the state under a 2016 ruling, that credit is currently $2.90, which combined with a minimum $7.50 cash wage, totals $10.40.

The cash wage is scheduled to rise to $8.35 on Dec. 31, 2020, and the credit to $4.15, for a total of $12.50. The amount of a further rise at the end of 2021 is yet to be determined. (Fast food workers without tips earn a minimum now of $11.75 per hour, going up in annual steps to $15 on Dec. 31, 2021.)

Cuomo, in his recent State of the State speech, directed the Commissioner of Labor to schedule public hearings to examine -- and evaluate the possibility of ending -- minimum wage tip credits in the state, arguing that they can be exploitative.

Curt Connelly (Curly’s Family Restaurant), Mark Simiele (Captain Bill’s Seneca Lake Cruises) and other local business owners say they are are concerned that the proposal, if enacted, will jeopardize their businesses.

Connelly said that while his financial house is in order, he believes that “eliminating wage tip credit will increase menu prices up to 25%."

Says Simiele: “The unintended consequences of rising minimum wages and the proposed elimination of the minimum wage tip credit will result in the loss of tens of thousands of restaurant wait staff and support jobs. Good operators will survive, poor operators will go out of business, but the labor force that this proposed legislation is aimed at helping will find themselves without employment opportunities.”

Another business owner who asked not to be identified looks at the challenge from the consumer’s perspective. He asked: “Where does the money for the wage increase come from? By increasing menu prices, are we also eliminating the fixed-income diners? How much can the consumer bear?” He also urged the governor to “leave the tip credit alone -- this system works!”

Connelly, Simiele, and their colleagues are expected to take their argument to the Schuyler County Legislature at its session Monday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Schuyler County Courthouse.

Transit bus draws raves from hospital reps

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 2, 2018 -- Schuyler County Transit's Tompkins Connections public bus route started in August 2017 and ridership numbers are steadily increasing, says Amber Simmons, Schuyler County Mobility Manager.

Three Schuyler Hospital administrators wanted to try the route themselves, and after taking the ride gave the service a unanimous thumbs up.

Jim Watson, the hospital President and CEO; Patrick Ryan, Administrator of Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility; and Michelle Benjamin, Executive Director of Schuyler Health Foundation & Community Relations, recently took the one-hour trip from Schuyler Hospital to Cayuga Medical Center, accompanied by Simmons.

“It was only a few minutes more than driving myself," said Watson. "Riding the bus allowed me to converse with others and take care of some business without the stress of driving. I travel to Cayuga Medical Center at least once a week and could see myself becoming a regular rider. What a great option when the weather is less desirable.”

Benjamin suggested patients of Schuyler Hospital with appointments at Cayuga Medical Center could benefit from the service.

“Buses are clean and comfortable, the drivers are professional, and other riders are friendly. It was a very pleasant experience,” she said.

Simmons explains that the Tompkins Connections route was developed to meet the needs of both employees and people needing to travel between Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Medical Center.

“The route operates five times per day, Monday through Friday, to connect people to appointments and employment shifts,” Simmons said. “There are also free transfers to TCAT (Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit) at the connection points of Enfield and Cayuga Medical Center.”

Simmons further shared that the rural public transportation system has made great progress since its launch in 2010.

“Schuyler County Transit operates routes that connect residents to the villages of Montour Falls, Odessa and Watkins Glen. The Rural Connections route links Reynoldsville, Burdett, and Hector to Watkins Glen, and there are now two commuter services to Corning and Tompkins County,” she said.

Schuyler County Transit reports that its 2017 ridership was over 22,000 trips, which is more than the Schuyler County population.

For more information, visit or contact Transportation Link-Line at 607-535-3555

Photo in text: From left, Jim Watson, Patrick Ryan and Michelle Benjamin of Schuyler Hospital board the Schuyler County Transit bus at Cayuga Medical Center to return to Schuyler County. (Photo provided)

The middle portion of the Mr. Chicken building was removed early in the demolition.

Mr. Chicken is reduced to rubble ...

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 13, 2018 -- The place closed in December 2016. A popular eating spot gone into history.

Mr. Chicken was sold to the state, presumably for parking space. The state was overhauling the State Park across the street, and had installed a block-long parking lot beyond the creek nearby. This was a logical extension.

And there the situation stood for more than a year, with various construction equipment and trailers in the old Mr. Chicken parking lot.

Then last week, a notice was posted on the former restaurant's west wall: demolition to come. The building's windows had been removed, with orange webbing in their place, presumably to discourage any entrance. The place was empty and ready.

Not long after, on Tuesday morning, Feb. 13, the planned demolition took place. The backhoe knocking it to the ground started on the north side of the structure, knocking out the middle section; then it carefully pulled the western part of the building eastward, away from the street. A dump truck was positioned on the sidewalk, guarding against any mishap that might send debris bouncing onto Franklin Street, where traffic was busily passing by.

A drone belonging to area resident Tony Vickio hovered above, recording the process for posterity.

Then the east end of the building came down -- the portion painted white, the last recognizable portion of a building iconic to generations of residents who ate many a meal inside. Chicken and biscuits came to mind, as did blueberry and lemon meringue pie. Or those really good cheeseburgers.

And then it was all flattened, the building now rubble, destined for removal to a landfill that handles demolition debris.

And all that remained was history.

Photos in text: A drone owned by area resident Tony Vickio floats above the demolition site, taking photos including the one shown here. (Aerial photo by Tony Vickio)

The western end of the Mr. Chicken building is pulled eastward, away from the busy street.

The eastern end of Mr. Chicken is knocked inward, the last step in the demolition.

Catholic Charities awarded total of $44,500

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 23, 2018 -- Catholic Charities of Chemung and Schuyler Counties was recently awarded $44,500 from the following foundations: Community Foundation of Elmira, Corning and the Finger Lakes ($17,000), The J.M. McDonald Foundation ($3,000), The Hardinge Anderson Evans Foundation ($3,500), The Anderson Foundation ($15,000) and The Hilliard Foundation ($6,000).

These grants, says a Catholic Charities spokeswoman, have provided the necessary funds to implement security improvements at four Catholic Charities’ locations. "These improvements will create a safe and secure environment for Catholic Charities’ employees and the public," she said.

Those four locations -- the Hoffman Street Apartment Complex, Second Place East Homeless Shelter, Catholic Charities’ Main Office and the Samaritan Center Emergency Services Center -- serve more than 5,700 people each year. Last year, 56 children and 276 adults came through the Homeless Shelter. New monitors, cameras and security features at each location "will ensure the safety of children and adults seeking services as well as the safety of the employees," the spokeswoman said.

Catholic Charities of Chemung and Schuyler says its mission is about "helping the most vulnerable members of our community and directly impacting their safety and well-being. Catholic Charities works to create change in the lives of individuals, families and the community."

Catholic Charities, the spokeswoman said, "is thankful for the support of the community, Foundations and individual donors who help them accomplish the mission of impacting the community every day. If you are interested in donating, please visit or call 607-734-9784, ext. 2133 for ways you can help. It’s amazing what we can do together."

The Schuyler County Public Health staff poses. (Photo provided)

Public Health receives Incentive Award

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 13 -- Schuyler County Public Health’s Chronic Disease Program has been awarded a New York State Incentive Award for meeting the statewide performance standards. It is one of 20 local health departments in the state to score high enough to be awarded the full monetary award amount.

“The community’s willingness to work with us made this award possible,” said Marcia Kasprzyk, Schuyler County Public Health Director. “We have been working with our community to improve the health of all.”

The award money will be used to further support Schuyler County Public Health and Schuyler Hospital’s work on the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The CHIP was developed by Schuyler County Public Health and Schuyler Hospital in partnership with the S2AY Rural Health Network and the community to address the health issues facing Schuyler County residents. One of the CHIP’s goals that will be supported by the award is to increase the number of residents who get needed screenings like mammograms, colonoscopies, and blood pressure checks.

Schuyler County Public Health says its mission is to protect and empower the community to be safe, healthy and prepared. Its vision: a connected community of healthy people and safe places.

For more information, visit Schuyler County Public Health online at or follow Schuyler County Public Health on Facebook and Twitter.

County government takes over operation of Arts Center in former Middle School

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 13, 2017 -- Schuyler County is going into the entertainment business.

The Legislature on Monday approved the termination of a one-year lease with Eric Hollenbeck one half of the way through its duration for management of the Watkins Glen Performing Arts Center -- the auditorium in the old Middle School.

Hollenback had been the sole respondent to an RFP -- Request for Proposals -- earlier this year after the county signed a long-term lease at $20,000 a year for the auditorium with the building owner, Two Plus Four Realty. “He stepped up,” said County Administrator Tim O’Hearn of Hollenbeck after Monday’s Legislature session. “You have to give him credit for that.”

But Hollenbeck asked to be released early from his one-year pact, which started at mid-year, and the Legislature agreed -- leaving unpaid his sublease of $30,000 per month for the remaining few months of the original agreement.

But Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn says he anticipates revenue from “other sources” will counterbalance that loss.

And O’Hearn is in a unique position from which to judge -- as county administrator and, now, as chief operator of the Arts Center, a job that has been handed to him.

Meet P.T. O’Hearn, the Barnum of the Valley.

“Yes, now we’ll try to operate it ourselves,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll leverage our contacts into art.”

In other words, reach the right people who can help provide the auditorium often with events ranging from musicals that might fill the cloth (lower level) and wood (balcony) seats in the old place to, say, flower shows.

“I’m going into the music business,” said O’Hearn, who conceded that it was not something he envisioned when the county took control of the auditorium.

The building, which offers senior apartments, is unique in that a portion of the building -- on its north end -- was retained for public use. Some state money was used to renovate that portion of the building, which offers among other things new restrooms.

O’Hearn said the village government was heavily involved in those early moves, but that eventually it fell to the county to lease the auditorium. The county turned to Hollenbeck, O'Hearn added, as a means of achieving "our commitment to make it a community asset.”

Now, with the Hollenbeck experiment ending by January 1st, O’Hearn is looking for ways to utilize a facility that seems to have possibilities: community theater, art workshops, big-draw musicals, and “a gathering place” for members of the community and visitors.

Both are key -- the visitors here during the summer months to climb the gorge steps or enjoy the lake, and who often want something else to occupy and entertain them; and the residents of the village and surrounding area, who might utilize the Arts Center in ways yet to be determined.

Key are events that will “increase feet on the street,” as O’Hearn refers to tourists and other visitors sampling Schuyler's economic wares. He foresees the county finding and managing those events, and imagines those feet making their way to the 850-seat auditorium.

O'Hearn said that Hollenbeck sought a CFA (state Consolidated Funding Application) grant for renovations that would include new lighting and the installation of air conditioning. But the latest round of such funding, announced Wednesday, did not include the theater. Hollenback also submitted a request for funding through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative -- the $10 million grant and investment program the state awarded last summer to Watkins Glen. That request will remain among the DRI proposals.

There is no intent at this time to put out another RFP -- to search for someone to oversee the auditorium and its use. Nor is there an intent to seek a salaried manager. The leadership role falls to O’Hearn, who jokingly remarked that he had been “getting bored, looking for something else to do.”

As the county operates the Arts Center, it will be looking to put any profits back into the facility -- for such things, eventually, as new seats. The wooden ones in the balcony are vintage, he said, while the cloth ones in the lower section are “maybe twenty years old.”

“We’ll look at that down the road,” he said.

Ultimately, he added, the county hopes that the Arts Center proves to be an economic engine -- a facet of the developing area that generates buzz and more visitors, and thus an infusion of the lifeblood of much of the business community.

O’Hearn, in the near future, will be the person who might make that happen. He has no Arts Center team, he said, for “this is just kind of new, a really recent development."

But move forward the county will.

"We’ll be flying by the seat of our pants for now,” he said.

Photo in text: County Administrator Tim O'Hearn

Visitors to Montour Falls were treated to a horse-drawn wagon ride around the village.

Small Business Saturday mingles with Christmas in Schuyler County villages

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Nov. 25 -- Local muncipalities joined in the spirit of the Small Business holiday sales day with schedules of activities Saturday that included a vendor fair, wagon rides, face painting and Santa Claus.

In Montour Falls, drop-in shops were open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with gift wrapping and other vendors available at the Historical Society's Brick Tavern Museum.

Horse-drawn wagon rides were available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and children's activities from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A tree lighting was held at 3:15 p.m., and a Holiday Cocktail Contest hosted by Sal's Bar & Grill ran from 3-6 p.m.

Santa was present, cozy and warm at 401 Espresso. The park was filled with trees, wreaths, alpacas, letters to Santa and more. The day's events were presented by the Montour Falls Business Association.

Meanwhile, in Odessa, 21 craft vendors set up in the Community Room at the Municipal Building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A raffle of items donated by the vendors raised $240 for the Spirit of Schuyler, a non-profit agency that serves county residents in need. In addition, kids were invited to the Bucket Bar & Grill to decorate sugar cookies from 12 noon to 2 p.m., while Curlystitch Embroidery (410 Church Street) and Odessa Wine & Spirits (where painted glasses were available) also participated in the day's sales.

Beyond that, there was a gingerbread house contest, letters accepted for Santa, and a tree lighting ceremony.

In Watkins Glen, the Chamber of Commerce promoted the day by urging area residents to "take the pledge to Shop Small this holiday season," and "pulled together over 30 local businesses" where shoppers could find special sales, discounts and promotions. Gift wrapping could be found at the Chamber office on North Franklin Street.

And in Hector, Hector Handmade hosted the food truck Sabores de Oaxaca and plant healer Mary Wittig of Xhosa Gardens at the shop, located along State Route 414. There were also Small Business Saturday sale specials there, and a Small Business roundup in which purchases of $20 or more came with a coupon package for discounts at other small businesses: Hector Wine Company, Rasta Ranch Vineyards, Grist Iron Brewing and The Elf in the Oak.

Photos in text:

Top: Many of the ornaments on the 24-foot-high Village of Odessa Christmas tree were made by Hanlon Elementary School students.
Middle: The Odessa tree, donated by Joe Barron of Bath (as he does each year), was lit in a ceremony in front of the Odessa Municipal Building. It was attended by about 50 people.
Bottom: Face painting was offered in both Montour Falls and Odessa as part of the day's festivities.

Participating in a symbolic sawing exercise were, from left, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, State Senator Tom O'Mara, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Vincent Chicone, and Montour Falls Mayor John King.

Lt. Gov. Hochul tours Chicone facility in Montour, site of state-aided expansion

MONTOUR FALLS, Nov. 15 -- New York Lieutentant Governor Kathy Hochul visited the Chicone cabinet-building business in Montour Falls Wednesday -- to view an operation where high-end furniture is made and to see where an expansion is under way aided by a state grant.

Hochul, 59, a former Congresswoman, stopped in Montour Falls midway between two other area visits Wednesday -- at Cornell University and in Yates County for a Small Business Roundtable discussion.

Said Judy Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development, the visit evolved after she was contacted by Hochul's office wondering if there was anything significant Hochul could visit in Schuyler County during her visit to the area. A member of Hochul's office said Wednesday that Hochul likes to visit each county in the state at least once a year, and hadn't been here since last year, when she was in Watkins Glen for a ceremony announcing the expansion and greening at the Watkins Glen State Park.

Cherry came up with the idea of a tour of Chicone Cabinetmakers -- and the visit, like last year's in Watkins Glen, proved a hit in Hochul's mind.

"I'm excited about your expansion, and I'll tell the governor about it," she told business owner Vincent Chicone and his wife Sarah after touring the cabinetry workshop off of South Street in Montour Falls, and after walking through the in-progress, 7,000-square-foot building at 118 Schuyler Street, behind Quinlans Pharmacy. The new structure will be used initially for storage, and "then we'll see. We need the space," said Vincent, grandson of Salvatore Chicone, founder of the Chicone Construction firm that still operates under Vincent's lead and which gave birth in 2002 to the cabinetry business.

Vincent's father David was running the construction firm at that time, in 2002, and now, in semi-retirement, still works daily helping to make chairs and other items in the cabinetry shop. He was there working Wednesday with employee Levi Clark, and talked briefly with the visiting Lieutenant Governor.

The expansion, with concrete for the ramps leading to the building just poured Wednesday, is what Vincent described as "an 80-20 deal" where the state pays 20 percent of the construction cost as long as the Chicone firm meets "a number of contingencies," among them an expansion in employment. Vincent said there are currently up to 15 employees, a number that will grow to "about 20" once the expansion takes further shape. "There were lots of hoops to jump through," he said, "and there are still some to jump through."

The project was, accordingly, "three years in the making," he said, with ground broken on Aug. 21, 2017, on the day of the solar eclipse. Says Sarah Chicone: "We picked that day deliberately," thinking that breaking ground in sync with an eclipse was "kind of cool" and hopefully a good omen.

Hochul, impressed by what she saw Wednesday, called Vincent and his family "rock stars" after learning that high-end, custom-made, hand-crafted items -- chairs and desks are a specialty -- have been placed in significant locations, including Presidential libraries and Monticello. She later, in an interview, said she was enthused that this "world-class operation" would be "expanding its market share. This is a gem, right here in Schuyler County."

Village Mayor John King, as Hochul was departing, yelled "We're very proud of what he's done." Hochul stopped, turned, and smiling, called back: "He's doing okay!"

To provide an idea of the value of these Chicone cabinetry projects, a beautiful Honeyoe Desk for sale on the website goes for $9,000; Windsor chairs go from $600 to $1,500. Also noted: "Cabinetmaker Vincent Chicone has been listed in Early American Life's Directory of Traditional American Crafts in the category of Windsors since 2010." The chairs, all produced in the cabinetry shop, use wood "from regionally harvested trees."

The company provides a five-day chair-making training on-site several times a year, including among its students a gentleman who came from South Korea to learn the trade.

It also offers a four-month "immersion program" which, the website says, is "an ideal alternative for college students looking for something beyond the traditional classroom environment, or mid-career professionals looking for a change -- all of those who want to learn by doing."

Chicone Cabinetmakers also, its site notes, "runs a registered cabinetmaker apprenticeship training program. At the successful completion of each registered apprenticeship, the Department of Labor awards the apprentice with a 'Certificate of Completion,' a nationally-recognized credential."

Accolades on site come from:

-- homeowners with Chicone cabinetry trim work and furniture in their houses;

-- a couple who "met Vincent at a local art show" and, after ordering and receiving "a mission oak-style end table," say it "is worth a visit to his workshop/studio where you can see his designs and fine workmanship in progress."

-- a Horseheads couple "so pleased with the beautiful oak Windsor chairs that you made for us."

As Vincent told the Lieutenant Governor, the wood the firm uses is "sourced. We know where it's coming from," and after receiving the wood it "is all cut here" and the various furnishings -- desks, chair, kitchen cabinets and so on -- "are made here." He showed Hochul the various work areas, a spray room, and alluded to an upstairs room that contained "equipment for building kitchens." But Hochul was in the middle of a time crunch, and was hustled to the expansion site and then away to Yates County without climbing those stairs to see that equipment, even though she expressed a desire to do so.

The firm's cabinetry has also been featured recently -- on May 3, 2016 -- in Period Homes Magazine. But to focus on the cabinetry is perhaps to overlook the overall operation, for the construction firm has been operating for more than 60 years. Salvatore, the son of Italian immigrants, and his brother opened the business in 1953, and Salvatore partnered with his son David after the brother retired in 1971.

Chicone Cabinetmakers, "a new journey" for the firm, opened when Salvatore's grandson and David's son Vincent joined the business. Salvatore died in 2011 at the age of 89, but -- says the website -- "his legacy and love of woodworking lives on in the work of his son and grandson."

Photos in text:

Top: Vincent Chicone and his wife Sarah, right, flank Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in the cabinetry workshop.

Second: Hochul talks with David Chicone, Vincent's father, in the workshop.

Third: Hochul signed a Chicone-owned saw just before leaving. It was her first saw-signing, she noted.

Fourth: Hochul with what Vincent described as a "New York-styled chair" in the workshop.

Bottom: Hochul talks with Vincent Chicone outside the cabinetry's spray room as State Senator Tom O'Mara listens.

In the new building: From left: Sarah Chicone, a worker, Vincent Chicone, Lt. Gov. Hochul, State Senator Tom O'Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and Mayor John King.

Celebration marks Jerlando's 20 years

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 5, 2017 -- Jerlando’s Pizzeria and Ristorante in Watkins Glen turned 20 this year and owners Bill and Serafina Tague, along with the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, are planning a celebration on Wednesday, September 13, from 4 to 6 p.m.

“My family and I," said Bill Tague, "are very grateful to be a part of the wonderful Watkins Glen community, which has offered tremendous support over the years. We cannot say thank you enough to our wonderful customers, our family, our friends, and most importantly, our dedicated staff, who work tirelessly to make Jerlando’s Ristorante what it is.”

The celebration will include appetizers and drinks. A celebratory toast will be offered, along with remarks by local officials, including Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rebekah Carroll.

Says Carroll: “Through hard work, phenomenal hospitality, and the great leadership of Bill Tague, Jerlando’s has become an area institution. In this day and age, hitting the 20-year mark is truly exceptional in the restaurant business. We welcome everyone to join in celebrating this amazing milestone and saying thank you to the Tague family, who have given so much to the community over the years.”

The restaurant will be closed from 4 to 6, said the Chamber in a press release, "to allow ample time for celebration and visiting with Bill and Serafina, their family, and the Jerlando’s staff. The celebration is free to attend and open to the public. Join us!"

--A Letter to the Editor from Jerlando's is on the Forum Page.

Forest proposes fee changes; hearing set

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, August 18, 2017 -- The Finger Lakes National Forest is interested in hearing the public's comments on proposed new fees at Backbone Horse Camp and Potomac Group Camp and Pavilion, and on a proposed fee increase at Blueberry Patch Recreation Area.

Recreation fee revenue would be used to provide services and improve these sites, say Forest officials.

"We are experiencing tremendous increases in recreation uses on the Finger Lakes National Forest. These new fees and fee increases will help us provide quality recreation facilities to meet this growing demand," said John Sinclair, Forest Supervisor.

Backbone Horse Camp and Day Use is an accessible campground with nine sites located around a wooded area with a graded road for access. The Forest is proposing a new campground fee of $15 per night per site for one vehicle and one horse trailer.

The Forest is also proposing a new day use fee of $5 per day per site for one vehicle and one horse trailer.

The Forest has implemented several recent improvements at Backbone Horse Camp by dredging the adjacent horse pond, providing controlled equine water access, adding several accessible picnic tables, building and repairing the corrals, regrading the road, adding gravel to the road to reduce very large pot holes, and adding interpretive signing.

The proposed new fees would help to improve the services and facilities. Planned improvements include replacing the outhouse, improving tie rails, grinding stumps out of the corrals, and improving an informational kiosk.

Potomac Group Camp and Pavilion is an accessible group use area with a pavilion that is only open to group use. The Forest is proposing a new fee based on the number of people using the pavilion.  Groups from 1-20 people will pay a $20 flat fee per day or night and a group of 21-40 people will pay a $40 flat fee per day or night with only one group per day or night.

The Forest has implemented several improvements to the Potomac Group Camp and Pavilion such as accessible fire rings and new large fire grills at the pavilion.

The proposed new fee would help to improve the services and facilities, officials say. Planned improvements include adding more accessible picnic tables, improving the day use information kiosk, and reshingling the pavilion roof.

Potomac Group Camp and Pavilion would be made available under the reservation system. People wanting to use the group use area must make reservations via toll free number (877) 444-6777 or online at

Blueberry Patch Recreation Area has 11 campsites located around a wooded campground loop. The Forest is proposing to change the current $10 fee to $20 per night per site per vehicle with a $5 additional fee for a second vehicle.

The Forest has implemented several recent improvements at Blueberry Patch Recreation Area such as a host for security, accessible tent pads with new gravel, new accessible fire rings, and accessible picnic tables. The proposed fee increase would help to improve the services and facilities. Planned improvements include painting and improving a day use informational kiosk.

The three areas are maintained by the Forest Service employees and volunteers. Eighty to 95 percent of the revenue collected at recreation fee sites remains on the Forest to operate, maintain, and improve the facilities.

In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA), which allows the Forest Service to retain funds collected at certain recreation sites and use these funds locally to operate, maintain, and improve these sites.

All new fees and fee change proposals will be presented before a citizen’s advisory committee, called the Forest Service Eastern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RRAC). Committee members represent a broad array of recreation interest groups to help ensure that the Forest Service is proposing reasonable and publicly acceptable new fees and fee changes.

The public meeting will be held from 6:30-8:00 p.m. on September 6, 2017, at the Hector District Office to gather comments on the proposed new and increased fees. The public is welcome to attend.

Please send comments on these fee proposals to Tim Noon, Finger Lakes National Forest, 5218 State Route 414, Hector, New York 14841. Comments will be taken until October 11, 2017.

For more information on the above sites or the Finger Lakes National Forest, visit the Finger Lakes National Forest website at: or contact the Hector Ranger District at (607) 546-4470.

Chamber's Williams earns IOM recognition

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 12, 2017 -- Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Membership Services Manager Meredith Williams has graduated from the Institute for Organization Management, the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and has received the recognition of IOM.

Awarded to all graduates of the Institute program, the IOM Graduate Recognition signifies the individual’s completion of 96 hours of course instruction in nonprofit management. Nearly 1,000 individuals attend the Institute annually.

"Meredith," said Chamber President and CEO Rebekah Carroll, “is an invaluable part of our Chamber team. The experience and knowledge she gained through the Institute for Organization Management will take her to new heights. On behalf of the staff, the board of directors, and our entire Chamber membership: congratulations Meredith!”

Since its commencement in 1921, the Institute program has been educating tens of thousands of association, chamber, and other nonprofit leaders on how to build stronger organizations, better serve their members and become strong business advocates. The Institute’s curriculum consists of four weeklong sessions at five different university locations throughout the country.

According to a press release, "Through a combination of required courses and electives in areas such as leadership, advocacy, marketing, finance, and membership, Institute participants are able to enhance their own organizational management skills and add new fuel to their organizations, making them run more efficiently and effectively."

Photo in text: Meredith Williams (Photo provided)

Chamber links with Better Business Bureau

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 1, 2017 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is now an official Community Partner of the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York (BBB).

According to the Chamber, the organizations entered into the partnership "to create better growth opportunities for the businesses in each organization by providing community events, presentations, and other types of resources."

The Chamber and BBB will work together for businesses, which are the economic drivers of local communities and active supporters of nonprofit and charitable organizations near and far.

Says Chamber President and CEO Rebekah Carroll: “As a growing Chamber of nearly 500 members, the time is right for us to partner with the Better Business Bureau. Their reputation as a leader in business complements the vision of our organization. We strive to be innovative, member-focused, committed to growth, and dedicated to excellence. We look forward to working with the BBB to continue to improve the business climate in Schuyler County -- and beyond!”

For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau "has helped people find businesses and charities they can trust," according to the Chamber, which added: "BBB has profiles on more than 5.3 million businesses and 11,000 charities, available at There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB of Upstate New York, founded in 1923 and serving the 48 counties of Upstate New York."

Schuyler ranks 7th in NYS business growth

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, July 27, 2017 -- A study released by placed Schuyler County in the top 10 counties in New York State for business growth.

Schuyler joins other well-known business locations such as Rockland, Saratoga and Queens in New York on the list. The study examined the growth of businesses over a three-year period, growth in GDP, new housing permits and federal funding per capita.

“This ranking documents the growth we have been experiencing in Schuyler County in the past several years," said Don Chutas, Board Chair of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED). "The efforts of the Southern Tier Regional Council combined with the efforts of the private sector, local governments, Chamber and public all positively impact our economic vitality,”

U.S. Department of Commerce County Business Patterns data is used to calculate the business growth.

“We are a small county and a few new businesses can impact our economy dramatically," said Judy McKinney Cherry, SCOPED Executive Director. "This is great affirmation for the work that everyone has been doing. We need to continue to work together to sustain our momentum.”

Steps Out names MVP, Most Improved

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 24, 2017 -- After wrapping up the 11th annual Schuyler Steps Out community walking challenge with a repeat winner -- the Schuyler County Humane Society -- last month, Schuyler Hospital is now awarding Most Improved and Most Valuable Walkers.

Nominated by their teammates, the awardees are Catharine Relation of the Schuyler Hospital team, Most Improved; and Miles Frederick of the Humane Society Team, Most Valuable.

Relation significantly improved her cardiovascular endurance and fitness level, while simultaneously enjoying the Finger Lakes spring outdoors.

Frederick logged the most steps, motivated his teammates by inspiring friendly competition, and encouraged everyone to increase their steps.

The Humane Society team has been a tough competitor in the program since 2011. This year, with 14 walkers, they totaled 13.8 million total steps over the course of the eight-week program. They averaged 17,681 steps per person per day. The Humane Society took the lead in Week 1 of the program and never looked back. In Week 3, they hit a high of 2.1 million steps, or 21,501 steps per person per day!

Coming in second place was a new team -- the “Muscle Bound SPINsters” of Grand Prix Fitness. With seven walkers, they totaled 6.2 million steps, or an average of 15,889 steps per person per day over the eight weeks. This team started out in eighth place, but quickly gained their footing, taking over second place in Week 4 and putting the pressure on the first-place team, but ran out of weeks to catch them.

In third was a perennial top finisher, the Wacky Walkers of Watkins High -- who started in third and kept their steps up high enough to hold onto that position. The 12-member team totaled 8.6 million steps, averaging 12,836 steps per person per day.

In all, participating teams tallied 103.2 million total steps, or over 51.6 thousand miles -- the equivalent of two trips around the Earth. Around 142 people from 11 teams participated in the program, developed to get people up and active in the late winter and early spring.

The program is sponsored by Schuyler Hospital and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

For more information on the Schuyler Steps Out program, contact Michelle Benjamin, Director of Community Relations, at (607) 210-1950 or go to

Photo in text: Schuyler County Humane Society’s 2017 Schuyler Steps Out Champion Team includes (left to right) Alice Learn, Kathy O’Hearn, MVP winner Miles Frederick, Diana Frederick, Lily Gold, John Herbert and Susan Herbert. Kneeling is Team Captain Melissa Clark. (Photo provided)

Schuyler Hospital awarded $10.3 million New York State Transformation grant

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 20, 2017 -- Schuyler Hospital will be receiving $10.3 million in grant funding from the New York State Health Care Facility Transformation Program.

Funds are designated for construction of a new medical office building that will be attached to the hospital, primarily for primary care. In addition, grant funds will be used to renovate and modernize the hospital’s Medical/Surgical inpatient unit.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the award -- specifically, $10,304,060 -- as part of a $491 million Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program. Roughly $40 was designated to six projects in the Southern Tier -- the others including $10 million to expand and renovate the Emergency Department at Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, and $7,965,102 for land acquisition and capital construction costs at the new St. James Mercy Hospital in Hornell.

The Schuyler project has no current time frame, although it is expected to take three to four years to complete. "We will know more once we receive the grant contract from New York State," said a hospital representative. The entire cost of the project is not yet known, although the grant will "most likely" not cover it completely, the representative said.

The future use of the existing Primary Care Facility up the hill from the hospital has not been determined, but might be used for hospital office space.

According to a hospital press release, the state program "is intended to improve patient care through the development of high-quality medical facilities and programs serving the inpatient, primary care, mental health, substance use disorder and long-term care needs of communities throughout New York State."

"Now, more than ever, we need to protect health care in New York and ensure the system in place is meeting the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers," said Governor Cuomo. "While others seek to decimate our hospitals and reduce access to quality healthcare, we are investing to help ensure a stronger, healthier New York for all."

Hospital earns community health award

Special to The Odessa File

BOLTON LANDING, NY, July 13 -- The Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) presented its 2017 Community Health Improvement Award to Schuyler Hospital, and an Honorable Mention to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in recognition of their initiatives designed to improve the health of their communities.

“We congratulate Schuyler Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for their exemplary initiatives aimed at improving the health of their communities,” said HANYS President Bea Grause.

“We congratulate the winners and salute all healthcare providers across the state who are engaged in countless similar examples of going the extra mile to serve their communities and make a positive difference.”

The Awards were presented at HANYS’ recent 49th Annual Membership Conference. The honorees’ award-winning initiatives are summarized below.

Schuyler Hospital

Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Schuyler

Residents of Schuyler County are eating better and moving more thanks to HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) Schuyler, provided by Schuyler Hospital and its partners.

To address the county’s high rate of obesity in children and adults, HEAL Schuyler implemented more than 15 programs and activities with various community partners that increase physical activity and healthy eating through a comprehensive, multifaceted approach.

Schuyler Hospital’s successful “Biggest Loser” employee wellness initiative helps staff eat healthier and lose weight -- and is a model for other workplaces. The hospital’s free community walking program, Schuyler Steps Out, now in its tenth year, encourages staff and the community to move more.

HEAL Schuyler also provides information about walking and hiking trails throughout the county online and in print. Other initiatives include: breastfeeding classes and support for new moms, training healthcare providers on talking with patients about their weight, and holding Active Living Every Day classes. HEAL Schuyler is also helping restaurants identify healthier options and is working to reduce or eliminate use of sugar-sweetened beverages at events and worksites.

The program is having a significant impact, according to HANYS officials. HEAL Schuyler points to a 27% decrease in adult obesity in the county, from 2008 to 2014. And, Schuyler County is approaching the New York State Prevention Agenda goal for 2018 to reduce the percentage of obese adults to 23.2%. Success is also being measured among youth, with a reported decrease of 10% in obese or overweight elementary school students, and an 11% decrease for middle and high school students.

Healthier children and adults are leading healthier lives, say HANYS officials, who add that together, Schuyler Hospital, along with Schuyler County Public Health, "are providing exemplary leadership through HEAL Schuyler, to improve the health and well-being of their communities."

Honorable Mention: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Family Preventing Early Adverse Childhood Experiences Trauma Treatment Center

Young children and families traumatized by violence and abuse have a safe place to go for mental health services in New York City’s Washington Heights community. The Family Preventing Early Adverse Childhood Experiences (PEACE) Trauma Treatment Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is dedicated to improving the safety and well-being of children and families exposed to traumatic violence and abuse. The Center provides treatment to very young children (from infants to six years old), their siblings, and caregivers through a holistic, evidence-based approach that aims to address the psychological impact of trauma exposure, improve the parent-child relationship, and strengthen the family’s sense of safety.


The Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) is the only statewide hospital and continuing care association in New York State, representing 500 non-profit and public hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, and other healthcare organizations.

HANYS established the Community Health Improvement Award in 1997 to recognize outstanding initiatives designed to improve the health and well-being of communities. The Award is presented to facilities and programs that target specific community health issues, demonstrate leadership, collaborate among diverse groups, and achieve quantifiable results.

Photo in text: Schuyler Hospital receives its award at the HANYS ceremony. From left: Deb Bailey, Schuyler Hospital Executive Director of Clinical and Nursing Operations; Jim Watson, Schuyler Hospital President & CEO; Chris Brink, Nurse Manager; and Stephens Mundy, Chairman, HANYS Board of Trustees, and President and Chief Executive Officer, The University of Vermont Health Network-Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, Plattsburgh, who presented the award. (Photo provided)

Hector Homemade diversifies Wine Trail

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, June 30, 2017 -- The newly renovated farm stand at 5344 State Route 414 in Hector has opened to the public as Hector Handmade, a Finger Lakes gift shop and gallery.

The new business is owned and operated by Watkins Glen High School Alumni Jennie (Cook) Scarbrough and Jesse (Ringsmuth) Beardslee, who are eager to promote and support local artists.

The two have many years experience in the wine and service industry, but are also artists themselves. Hector Handmade has leather goods, jewelry, candles, bath and beauty products, home decor, and more. A modest but wide variety of products includes a massive blown glass chandelier, organic cotton fashion, water color earrings, and refinished furniture, all made in The Finger Lakes.

A grand opening celebration is in the works, as are plans for many artists, crafts, services and events. Jesse and Jennie say they aim to nurture arts and community by bringing makers and guests together to foster a deeper connection to this area and with each other.

Business hours are Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday from 12-5. Hector Handmade can also be found on all social media channels.

Chamber names new Events Manager

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 8, 2017 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the new hire of Anna Rainous as Events Manager.

In this role, Rainous will be responsible for planning and executing all Chamber events, including monthly After Hours Mixers, the Winter Gala annual fundraiser, the annual Golf Tournament, Friday on Franklin, monthly Think Tanks, and the Health and Wellness Fair, to name a few.

Rainous was raised in Muncie, Indiana, but has lived in Nashville, Tennessee for the past seven years. She earned her Bachelor degree in Studio Art from Belmont University in 2014, after which she began working in arts administration and gallery management at several galleries in the Nashville area. Anna and her husband, Jonathan, moved to the Watkins Glen area in May.

Rainous says she is looking forward to deeply investing in the community, both on a personal level and through her role as Events Manager. She shares, “I am so excited to get to know the area and local businesses better through my position at the Chamber. I feel like this area has so much to offer, and I am thrilled to be able to make it my home.”

Rainous can be reached at The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce by telephone, 607-535-4300, or via email:

Photo in text: Anna Rainous (Photo provided)

Hoose named Lou Sand Award winner

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 19, 2017 -- At its annual Employee Recognition Dinner May 10, 2017, Schuyler Hospital announced the recipient of the 2017 Lou Sand Award.

The honoree,
Christina Hoose, Admissions Representative-Radiology Department, was nominated for the award by her coworkers.

Highlights from the nominations included: “Chris is deserving of the Lou Sand Award for the professional and efficient customer service she demonstrates on the job, for the friendly manner in which she greets and interacts with her fellow employees, and for the outstanding way she represents Schuyler Hospital and gives back to our community by taking the lead on Schuyler Hospital’s participation in a number of community events.”

“Chrissy always seems to go the extra mile. She is always pleasant and heads up numerous volunteer activities on her own time.” “Chris not only does an outstanding job admitting and greeting patients, but also goes above and beyond outside of her 'normal' work hours to help build community relationships. She exemplifies our values and mission as an organization.”

Schuyler Hospital officials said they annually give the award in memory of Lou Sand to an employee who demonstrates exemplary service to others, and whose compassionate commitment of service to their fellow employees, patients, residents and community brightens the lives of those they touch -- traits exemplified by Lou Sand.

For more information, contact Schuyler Hospital at (607) 535-7121 or email

Photo in text: Schuyler Hospital President Jim Watson presents the Lou Sand Award to Christina Hoose. (Photo provided)

Hospital donates 3,200 items of food

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 19, 2017 -- Each year, during Hospital Week in May, the staff of Schuyler Hospital and the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility donates items to the Schuyler County Food Pantry and Schuyler County Humane Society -- and decorates their boxes based on a theme for the week (this year’s theme: mystery).

This year, staff donated almost three times as many items as in previous years -- a total of 3,207 items.

Said spokesperson Michelle Benjamin: “We are proud to give back to our community!”

Photo in text: Just one of the creatively decorated donation boxes. (Photo provided)

Mammography services reaccredited

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 16, 2017 -- Schuyler Hospital has recently been re-accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) for mammography.

The 3-year re-accreditation, hospital officials said, "recognizes the Hospital’s mammography services for achieving high practice standards following a rigorous peer-review evaluation." Assessments included staff qualifications, equipment, quality control, quality assurance, image quality and radiation dose. The Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) requires all U.S. mammography facilities to be accredited.

In addition to mammography, Schuyler Hospital offers diagnostic imaging services including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), bone density scans, CT scans, fluoroscopy studies, ultrasound, and x-ray.

The ACR, headquartered in Reston, Va., awards accreditation following evaluations conducted by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. They assess the qualifications of the personnel and the adequacy of facility equipment. The surveyors report their findings to the ACR’s Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report.

The ACR is a national organization serving more than 38,000 diagnostic and interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, and nuclear medicine and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.

For more information, contact Schuyler Hospital at (607) 535-7121 or email

Health Foundation names board officers

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 16, 2017 -- The Schuyler Health Foundation Board recently elected officers to its Board of Directors for 2017-2018.

Elected officers are returning officers Brenda Warren-Fitch, Chair; Kathy Fragola, Vice-Chair; and Jerry Mickelson, Secretary/Treasurer.

Incorporated in 1987, the purpose of the Schuyler Health Foundation is to provide funds to or for the benefit of Schuyler Hospital and its related medical facilities. The Foundation’s goal is to create and maintain a steady, dependable stream of funds to accomplish the hospital’s mission, which is “to optimize the health and healing experience of all people we serve in a safe, compassionate, and respectful environment.”

For more information, contact the Schuyler Health Foundation at (607) 210-1950 or email

Food tours make their debut in Ithaca

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, April 30, 2017 --  Ithaca is Foodies Culinary Tours, a locally-owned tour company specializing in walking food tours, will offer its first public tours beginning May 6. Tours will run every Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

According to a press release, guests will enjoy six prepared tastings -- "altogether enough to replace a full meal" -- while learning about the food they are enjoying, the restaurants they’re visiting, and the history, culture, and architecture of Ithaca. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free diets are welcome.

Owner-operators Sarah Barden and Seth Wraight are Ithaca locals and self-professed foodies who were inspired to bring food tours to their hometown after participating in a tour in Bar Harbor, Maine.

“It was a fantastic introduction to what to eat and do in the town, and with Ithaca already having so many restaurants and so much to do, a food tour seemed like a natural fit,” explained Seth.

“We’ve designed the tour to appeal to locals and visitors alike,” Sarah added. “We grew up here so we made a point of including historical and culinary details that everyone would find interesting.”

Each tour, the press release said, is "a carefully curated experience designed to entertain, educate, and satisfy adventurous appetites." Food tastings were selected in collaboration with the restaurant partners and the result is a diverse menu which showcases Ithaca’s many cuisines.

"The leisurely tour format," the release added, "is excellent for travelers unfamiliar with the area, small groups in search of a unique activity, and long-time residents interested in gaining a new perspective on their town."

Visit for more information.

Dandy's Alpine store presents check to Arc

Special to
The Odessa File

ALPINE, April 25, 2017 -- Alpine Dandy Mini Mart employee Sue Mason (pictured at left), presents The Arc of Schuyler’s Executive Director, Jeannette Frank with a $540 donation check for The Arc.

Mason sold the most candy canes as part of Dandy Mini Mart’s 12th annual “Dandy Canes” fundraiser over the 2016 holiday season.

The Arc of Schuyler was one of the charities selected by the Dandy Mini Mart's Alpine staff to benefit from the fundraiser.

The Arc of Schuyler is a not-for-profit organization providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in Schuyler County.

Annual Business Expo boasts 60 vendors

WATKINS GLEN, April 10, 2017 -- A steady stream of people were on hand Wednesday at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce's 11th Annual Business Expo at the Watkins Glen Community Center.

The Expo, followed by a Chamber After Hours Mixer, was designed to let Chamber members and the general populace learn more about the services and products offered locally, as well as to network with area business people.

Said Rebekah Carroll, president of the Chamber: "The Expo achieved what it was designed to do."

Sixty vendors were on hand, filling the Community Center's main room. There were free items, such as pens and pocket flashlights, along with raffles. New this year, vendors were able to sell their pre-packaged products.

The Business Expo is hosted by the Business and Education Committee of the Chamber and is sponsored by Elmira Savings Bank. After Hours Mixers in 2017 have been sponsored by Chemung Canal Trust Company, so there was no fee to attend.

Photos in text:

Top: Among the vendor stands was that of My Place: A Play and Learning Center, overseen by My Place executive director Brooke Bennett.

Bottom: A cautionary sign was available at the table set up by Schuyler County Public Health.

An update on progress at the State Park

The following was prepared by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

WATKINS GLEN, April 15, 2017-- As you might know, there are big things happening at Watkins Glen State Park! The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to provide the following updates on behalf of our valued partners at Watkins Glen State Park.

Our beloved hometown park (an artist's rendition of the finished product is at right) is undergoing a $6.5 million facelift to “transform the main entrance to Watkins Glen State Park. The project will relocate the parking area away from the gorge, creating a less congested and more welcoming approach to this leading Finger Lakes tourism destination. The main entrance parking lot will be returned to green space, creating new park amenities and enhanced interpretation of Watkin Glen’s unique natural and cultural history.” (Source: Governor’s Press Room – Click here to visit the site and read more)

Updates as of April 15, 2017:

  • Construction is proceeding as expected and will not affect accessibility to the Gorge Trail, restrooms, or gift shop throughout the summer and fall season.
  • There will still be guided walks offered along the Gorge Trail twice per day in-season in 2017.
  • The Indian Trail is being stabilized. Restoration of that trail will take place with a future project.
  • The Main Entrance to the Gorge Trail is expected to open on May 20. By this time, visitors can also expect to see the traffic light at the current Main Entrance to the park removed and a new light installed at the intersection of Route 14/North Franklin Street and 10th Street.
  • New crosswalks will be installed with signals to facilitate pedestrians and park visitors crossing the street at Route 14/North Franklin and 10th Street. Visitors and locals alike are reminded to use caution and stay aware as this new traffic/pedestrian pattern emerges.
  • The majority of parking for the Main Entrance to the Gorge Trail (as well as to the Visitor Center, restrooms, and gift shop) will be in the 10th Street Parking lot. This lot will be “pay and display” and available no later than May 20. Visitors are encouraged to begin using it as soon as it opens.
  • A relatively small number of parking spaces will remain on the park-side of Route 14/North Franklin Street but the entrance to this lot will be off of Pine Street, with the exit for this lot onto Route 14/North Franklin Street at the light aligned with 10th Street.
  • Renovations to the restrooms will also be completed and ready for the May 20 opening date.
  • Walls for the new Visitor Center are being poured as we speak and building will begin shortly thereafter. The Visitor Center will open in 2018.
  • Later this fall, finish work will take place including trim, networking cables, sidewalks, and more.
  • The majority of renovation work is expected to be finished by the end of this year with finishing touches (such as landscaping) to come in 2018.
  • Project costs associated with renovations are being funded by Governor Cuomo’s Parks 2020 initiative.

Ice Bar raises $25,000 for Red Cross

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 21, 2017 -- The 2017 Ice Bar at Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel raised $25,000 for the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The donation is a portion of the proceeds generated by the Harbor Hotel’s annual Ice Bar event. Dubbed “the hottest party in the coolest town,” the Ice Bar features more than 25,000 pounds of ice meticulously carved into sculptures and working bars.

“On behalf of our board of directors, volunteers, staff and, most importantly, the families we serve, thank you to Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel for their continued support,” said Chapter Executive Director Brian McConnell. “I also want to extend our appreciation to the sponsors and members of the community who are essential to the success of this extraordinary event.”

Said a statement from the Harbor Hotel: "We would like to thank the businesses and the community for their generous contributions and tremendous support. The donations received along with the community’s support were instrumental in making this event, once again, a huge success."

The 2017 edition was the sixth year of the annual event. Since its inception, the Ice Bar has generated $100,000 for the American Red Cross.

Proceeds assist in providing relief to victims of disasters and helps residents prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

The Finger Lakes Chapter serves Chemung, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit

Photo in text: Alfredo Garcia of Elmira posed this winter on a large ice chair, a popular spot for pictures and centrally located among the ice sculptures at the Ice Bar. (File photo)

Auxiliary, Lions donate benches to hospital

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Feb. 14, 2017 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary and Watkins-Montour Lions Club recently donated benches to Schuyler Hospital.

The all-weather benches now sit outside the hospital’s main entrance and the entrance to the newly renovated Montour Falls Primary Care Center.

“We saw that there was a need for seating for patients and family members outside the hospital, and our members felt it was important to provide a bench,” said Anne Myers, Auxiliary President. “Through our partnership with the Lions, we discussed with them the possibility of adding a second bench at the Primary Care Center and they jumped on board.”

The Auxiliary raises funds for needs at the hospital and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility throughout the year with a variety of events, including the Festival of Lights, gift and uniform sales, jewelry sales, and a Pasta Dinner sponsored by the Watkins Glen-Montour Falls Lions Club and the Montour Moose Lodge.

Auxilians also co-sponsor the hospital’s largest fundraiser, November Splendor, operate the Gift Shop, and are the friendly faces at the Information Desk inside the hospital’s Main Entrance.

In addition, the Auxiliary donates to the hospital’s Chaplaincy Fund, assists employees in need through the hospital’s holiday “Schuyler Santa” program, and funds three $1,000 scholarships for two students and one employee furthering their healthcare education.

The Auxiliary welcomes new volunteers. Download an application at To find out more, email, or contact Volunteer Coordinator Chris Updyke at 535-4445.

Photos in text: A bench donated by the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary sits outside the hospital Main Entrance (top), and a bench donated by the Watkins-Montour Lions Club sits outside the Montour Falls Primary Care Center (bottom). (Photos provided)

Hospital releases community service plan

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Dec. 26, 2016 -- Schuyler Hospital has announced that its 2016-2018 Community Service Plan is now available on-line via their website at

The report, completed in December 2016, was the result of working closely with Schuyler County Public Health, as well as a number of community-based organizations and focus groups, and reviewing a variety of studies and data.

Schuyler Hospital and the partner agencies decided to tackle three areas under the New York State Department of Health priority of the prevention of chronic disease: 1.) Reduce obesity in children and adults, as well as increase access to high quality chronic disease preventive care and management in both clinical and community settings. 2.) Promote child health with a focus on dental health. 3.) Prevent substance abuse and other mental emotional behavioral disorders.

The document, prepared with the assistance of the S2AY Rural Health Network, was submitted to the State of New York Department of Health pursuant to Public Health Law 2803-1. Public Health Law 2803-1 requires hospitals to submit a comprehensive Community Service Plan every three years and an Implementation Report on each of the alternate years.

For more information, contact Schuyler Hospital at (607) 535-7121 or at

Fabrizi will become FLTA Board Chair

Special to The Odessa File

PENN YAN, Dec. 20, 2016 -- With the New Year, Heather Davidson’s term as Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance Board Chair will end along with the Vice-Chair term on FLTA’s Executive Committee.

Coleen Fabrizi of Corning’s Gaffer District will become the new Chair effective at the January Board Meeting on January 16, 2017. Alongside Fabrizi will be John Socha representing Yates County and the Showboat Motel taking over as vice-chair. Sarah Wiles and Gene Pierce will retain their positions as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. Heather Davidson will remain on the Executive Committee as the Past Chair to round out the Executive Committee.

The Board of Directors currently consists of 18 voting representatives, one representative from each of the 14 counties that make up the Finger Lakes and four At Large representatives. For a full list of FLTA Board Members, visit

The only member of the FLTA Board of Directors whose term is ending is Bonnie Hays of Historic Palmyra. The Nominating Committee is still in search of an appropriate representative from Wayne County to replace Hays.

Although FLTA Executive Committee and board members are selected by the Nominating Committee, any partner can participate in the FLTA Marketing Committee that sets the direction of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance marketing efforts. If an organization wants to become a partner business, it can call the FLTA offices at 315-536-7488 or email the Director of Sales, Marianne Rosica-Brand, at

Founded in 1919, the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is recognized as one of the first destination-marketing organizations in the United States. FLTA is an association of private-sector attractions, tourism-related businesses and partnering county tourism offices working together to enhance and promote visitor businesses for the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes region of New York State.

WGI, R.A.C.E. Foundation provide grants

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 11, 2016 -- Watkins Glen International and the R.A.C.E. Foundation (Racing and Community Enrichment) have announced $15,000 in grant awards to 10 area organizations.

As part of R.A.C.E.’s mission, annual investments are made back into the community with grants of varying sizes, designed to further the efforts of local youth-oriented, non-profit foundations in Chemung, Yates, Schuyler, and Steuben counties. Eligible and interested foundations were given a month to apply for the various awards.

The 2016 grant award winners are as follows:

Betty Jane France Award:
--Watkins Glen Central School District -- Summer Recreation Program
--Foodbank of the Southern Tier -- Backpack Program
--Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chemung County -- Creating Healthy Livings with the 5 C’s Program

Victory Lane Visionary Award:
--Schuyler County Youth Football -- Helmet and Shoulder Pad Refurbishment
--Cornell Cooperative Extension of Steuben County -- Robotics and Photography Program

Esses Award of Excellence:
--Tanglewood Nature Center -- Summer Science Drop-In Series
--Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) -- Prom Night
Safety Program
--Spirit of Schuyler -- Scholarship Program
--Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County -- Raised Garden Beds Project
--Dormann Library -- Summer Learning Program

“We are very pleased to announce these grant awards, going to many deserving organizations in our region,” Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup said. “During this first year of the R.A.C.E. Foundation, we have donated over $40,000 to area non-profit organizations.”

The winners will be honored during a reception at Watkins Glen International on Thursday, January 12 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Located within five hours (300 miles) of 25% of the U.S. population, Watkins Glen International was recently voted “Best NASCAR Track” by readers of USA Today.

Chateau LaFayette Reneau earns Cup win

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Dec. 1, 2016 -- Chateau LaFayette Reneau won a Jefferson Cup for its 2015 Semi-Dry Riesling at the recent 17th Annual Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition, which took place in Kansas City, Missouri on November 17 and 18.

With the addition of this recent award, winemaker Tim Miller celebrates a career total of five Jefferson Cups during his tenure at Chateau LaFayette Reneau.

"We are honored to receive the Jefferson Cup for our 2015 Semi-Dry Riesling,” said Miller. “As a winemaker, I'm proud to produce consistent, award-winning wines, and proud to be recognized by the Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition."

The Jefferson Cup is an invite-only wine competition in which over 700 wines are pre-selected to be judged, culminating with the awarding of the prestigious Jefferson Cups. The estate-grown and bottled 2015 Semi-Dry Riesling received one of five Jefferson Cups awarded to a white vinifera wine in the competition, and was one of two Finger Lakes wines to earn a Jefferson Cup. Twenty-four in total were awarded to vinifera and non-vinifera red, white, and dessert wines across nine states. For more information, visit

Auxiliary donates $18,000 back to hospital

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Nov. 28, 2016 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary recently announced an $18,000 donation to Schuyler Hospital, in addition to other smaller donations throughout the year.

The funds are being used for a new anesthesia machine for the Operating Room, and a bench for families and visitors outside the Hospital’s Main Entrance.

The Auxiliary raises funds for needs at the hospital and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility throughout the year with a variety of events, including the Festival of Lights, book and uniform sales, jewelry sales, and a Pasta Dinner sponsored by the Watkins Glen-Montour Falls Lions Club and the Montour Moose Lodge. Auxilians also co-sponsor the hospital’s largest fundraiser, November Splendor, operate the Gift Shop, and are the friendly faces at the Information Desk inside the Hospital’s Main Entrance.

In addition, the Auxiliary donates to the hospital’s Chaplaincy Fund, assists employees in need through the hospital’s holiday “Schuyler Santa” program, and funds three $1,000 scholarships for two students and one employee, furthering their healthcare education.

The Auxiliary welcomes new volunteers. Download an application at To find out more, email, or contact Volunteer Coordinator Chris Updyke at 535-4445.

Photo in text: Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary Events Vice-President Kitty Shallenberger, left, and President Anne Myers present the check representing the Auxiliary’s $18,000 donation to the hospital. (Photo provided)

Glenora wins honors at Calif. competition

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, Nov. 15, 2016 -- Glenora Wine Cellars has received an award for its 2015 Dry Riesling, which won both a Double Gold and "Best White Vinifera" honors at the 2016 American Wine Society (AWS) Commercial Wine Competition on November 2-3 in Costa Mesa, California.

The AWS is the largest consumer-based wine education organization in the United States and its Commercial Wine Competition is one of the longest running wine competitions in the country.

“I am pleased that our Dry Riesling received this very respectable recognition from the American Wine Society,” said Steve DiFrancesco, Winemaker at Glenora Wine Cellars. “The grapes for this wine were sourced from Glenora Farms, Dalrymple Farms, and Zugibe Vineyards on Seneca Lake, and Sunrise Hill Vineyard on Cayuga Lake, resulting in a blend that highlights the pleasing aromatic flavors that are making wines from the Finger Lakes famous."

In addition to the 2015 Dry Riesling accolades, Glenora Wine Cellars received the following awards:

Silver -- 2015 Black Diamond Express
Bronze -- 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015 Pinot Blanc

To learn more about the American Wine Society, visit. For a complete listing of competition results, visit

John Fitch drives an MG-TD at the June 10, 1950 races at Linden Airport in Linden, N.J.

IMRRC accepts the John Fitch archives

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 27, 2016 -- The remarkable life of racer and engineer John Cooper Fitch is reflected in the myriad of items that recently were presented to the International Motor Racing Research Center.

The gift from Fitch's sons, John, Christopher and Stephen Fitch, significantly enlarges the John Fitch Collection created at the Racing Research Center in 1999, when papers were donated relating to his career as a safety designer and consultant, with particular emphasis on the Fitch Inertial Barrier and the displaceable guardrail.

Fitch died on Oct. 31, 2012, at the age of 95.

"The collection reflects John Fitch's remarkable and varied life as a talented international race car driver, an innovative inventor of road and driver safety equipment, a designer of racing and production cars and an author who shared his exceptional story through his books," IMRRC archivist Jenny Ambrose said.

"We are honored to serve as the largest historical repository of materials related to John Fitch. He is a critical figure during the exciting years of post-World War II international road and sports car racing," Ambrose said.

"His impact is felt outside racing circles through his contributions to road safety and automobile design. We look forward to sharing artifacts and papers that celebrate his life with researchers, visitors to the Center and racing fans."

The Racing Research Center is an archival and research library dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the materials of motorsports, all series and all venues, worldwide. Researchers interested in the Fitch materials and other materials in the Center's collections should contact Ambrose at

The recent family donation was facilitated by Larry Berman, Fitch motorsport historian.

"Since I started going to Formula 1 races at the Glen in 1964, the preservation of history was obvious to me," Berman said. "To carry this forward, the IMRRC has developed a world-class reputation, which motivated me to obtain the Fitch archives donated by his family."

Souvenirs of Fitch's phenomenal success as a professional driver -- including boxes of trophies in the form of silver cups, bowls, platters and plaques marking his victories in more than 20 races throughout his 18 years of racing -- arrived at the Center's storage facility earlier this month.

Fitch became the first Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Champion in 1951, claimed a victory at 12 Hours of Sebring in 1953, won his class in Mille Miglia in Italy in 1955, and was awarded a golden jubilee Tourist Trophy at Dundrod in Northern Ireland the same year. He won five major international road races, including the first Buenos Aires Grand Prix in Argentina in 1951.

In addition to his trophies, the Fitch collection contains a series of race files containing photographs, clippings, entry lists and race programs reflecting his participation in almost 140 races on three continents, from the first post-World War II road race at Bridgehampton in 1949 to his last professional race at Sebring in 1966.

A significant portion of the Fitch material now housed on the Center's shelves documents Fitch's work as an inventor. Design drawings, technical specifications, patents, testing documents and marketing materials reflect his work on his most well-known innovations, including the inertial barriers, barrels that protect drivers from dangerous hazards at exit ramps and bridge abutments; the Driver Safety Capsule, a compartment in a race car that surrounds and protects drivers in the event of a collision; and his devices and treatments for improving fuel economy in cars and ships.

The collection also contains Fitch's proposals and correspondence promoting dozens of design concepts and plans for inventions never developed, including the Fitch Survival Vehicle designed in response to 9/11. Fitch's involvement with design, development and promotion of racing and production cars is documented by correspondence, technical reports and publicity and sales materials related to the Corvair Sprint, Phantom, Phoenix and Firebird cars.

Fitch shared his remarkable life story through his own writing and through collaboration with other authors. His collection contains numerous drafts of manuscripts as well as correspondence with writers, editors and publishers. His papers capture work in progress on Fitch's biography "Racing Through Life" (1993), authored by James Grinnell, and his own writing for his book "Racing with Mercedes" (2005), recounting his participation as the first American member of the extraordinarily successful Mercedes-Benz race team.

This donation from his sons to the Center of an additional 50 cubic feet of artifacts, documents and photographs joins and complements Fitch material in the Center's holdings acquired through previous gifts from other donors.

In 2000, Fitch historian Berman presented the Center with his detailed research documenting Fitch's race history, which he compiled as a result of working with Fitch to organize his papers.

"It was an honor to have been John Fitch's friend and his motorsport historian," Berman said.

Carl Goodwin, author of "They Started in MGs: Profiles of Sports Car Racers of the 1950s," has donated papers relating to Fitch's career as a safety designer, consultant and advocate. These materials contain extensive correspondence and articles reflecting Fitch's ongoing involvement with safety issues and product development, including his work on displaceable and compression barriers, his receipt of safety awards recognizing his contributions to the field, and his first press conference on racing safety devices in 1996.  

Fitch collaborator Ken Berg also has donated a collection of Fitch materials to the Racing Research Center. Berg co-authored papers with Fitch for presentation to the Society of Automotive Engineers in 2006 and 2007.

Most recently, lifelong friend Art Evans, a motorsports writer and photographer, has donated his collection of Fitch articles, materials and photographs.

For more about the work of the International Motor Racing Research Center, visit the website

Photo in text: John Fitch poses with his racing trophies, many of which are now in the John Fitch Collection at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen. (Photo provided)

Cargill donates $12K for nutrition program

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 21, 2016 -- Cargill presented a $12,000 grant to Catholic Charities of Schuyler County Friday to help implement Charities' Family Nutrition Program.  

Said Kris Morseman, Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry Coordinator:

“I want to thank Cargill for their willingness to help us break the cycle of poverty in Schuyler County. We are committed to using these funds to teach our patrons at the Pantry about menu planning, smart shopping strategies, and healthy cooking skills that will let them eat more nutritiously and live better lives. Only when basic needs are met can we make progress toward goals. Through education we will empower people to achieve more with the resources they have and pass these values along to their children.”

The program, officials say, seeks to ensure that families in need have enough food for the present time and work toward long-term changes that assist them in addressing hunger from a systematic approach. Providing food to the hungry is a short-term solution that aims to close the meal gap and decrease food insecurity. Providing nutrition education to help those in need learn to cook, shop, and budget their food dollars wisely addresses the issue of long-term hunger and helping families with food insecurity implement changes that will result in increased food security for life. This program, officials say, will contain both components.

“Cargill’s statement of purpose is to be the Global Leader in Nourishing People,” said Keith Klug, Cargill Salt’s Plant Manager. “This grant helps support that purpose and Catholic Charities’ mission of reducing poverty and promoting a healthy family life.”  

Photo in text: From left: Kris Morseman (Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry Coordinator), Deb MacDonald (Schuyler Agency Director), and Keith Klug (Cargill's Plant Manager) at the check presentation. (Photo provided)

About Cargill: Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. A press release says it "helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business." For more information, visit

About Catholic Charities of Schuyler County: Catholic Charities, the press release says, "is committed to fighting the effects of poverty and its root causes through its work." It provides a number of programs and services in the community with a priority toward the poor. "We work to ensure that people have food, clothing, shelter, medical services, and the ability to achieve a decent standard of living," says an official. For more information, visit or call 607-535-2050.

Cayuga Foundation Gala nets $110,000

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Sept. 16, 2016 -- The Cayuga Medical Center Foundation and John Rudd, CEO of Cayuga Medical Center, have announced that the proceeds from the Foundaton's Gala 2016 will benefit the new Cayuga Medical Center Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.

This unit will provide adult and pediatric inpatient epilepsy monitoring services to the Southern Tier in collaboration with the University of Rochester Medical Center. It will be located at Cayuga Medical Center -- the only hospital in the Southern Tier to have an epilepsy monitoring unit.

The gala raised a net of $110,000 to support the Foundation’s 2016 fundraising initiative -- the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit Project. Of that, $30,200 was raised by a live auction with auctioneer David Hall of Worth Asset Brokerage leading the way, assisted by Jean McPheeters. All of the auction items were donated by local businesses and members of the community.

Jan Hertel, Executive Director of the Foundation, said: “The Annual CMC Foundation Gala helps us fund specific projects at CMC. It is great to see how the Gala comes together. Each of the committee members does his or her part and makes the evening a great success.”

The fundraising initiative for the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit will continue to be a focus of fundraising for the CMC Foundation for the rest of this calendar year. Donations are being accepted. If you would like to make a donation, contact Jan Hertel, Executive Director of the CMC Foundation, at 607-274-4284 or

Hector apparel firm wins Green award

Special to The Odessa File

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept 10, 2016 -- A Hector, NY company is among three small green businesses offering ethical apparel that have been announced as winners of Green America’s “People & Planet Award.”

The winners of the $5,000 prizes are: Themis and Thread of Hector, NY; Fed By Threads of Tucson, AZ; and Fair Indigo of Madison, WI. The winners were selected by the public during a month-long online voting period.

The Award recognizes innovative U.S. small businesses that integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations.

Fran Teplitz, Green America’s executive co-director, said: “Choosing clothing made ethically and with consideration to the environment is one of the best ways to support social and ecological responsibility in your day-to-day life -- by literally wearing it on your sleeve. We at Green America applaud these small businesses for their work to help people and the planet with each garment they produce.”

Themis and Thread, said Green American officials, "creates clothing while taking great care not to adversely affect the environment, humanity or the economy. It offers a fully customizable fashion line of organic cotton and upcycled material, and uses exclusively American-made components."

Jesse Beardslee, founder of Themis and Thread, said: “Themis and Thread will use the prize money to purchase vintage and American-made sewing equipment to complement the current machine, a 1940's Singer Featherweight 221. Other plans include deepening our commitments to alternative energy, carbon neutrality and American-produced, organic and recycled fiber innovations. We will expand our current projects with recycled paper hang tags, posters and packaging, and our natural non-toxic dye method.”

The businesses that the public vote on are determined by public nominations and a panel of judges.

Hospital changing providers at Dundee

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 6, 2016 -- Staffing changes are underway at Schuyler Hospital’s Dundee Family Practice.

Since September 6, 2016, providers from the hospital’s Montour Falls Primary Care Clinic have been seeing patients at the Dundee location, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Providers include Dr. Jamie Coleman, Dr. Ben Saks, Dr. Jagmohan Singh, Dr. Sarra Solomon, Patrick Schamel PA and Jenna Wilkens PA-C.

The new providers include women’s healthcare providers -- a new feature at the facility. Also new, walk-ins are now welcome.

Because providers are rotating through the location until a provider dedicated full-time to the Dundee location begins later this fall, calling ahead is advised.

You might consider the Dundee Family Care Clinic for school physicals, vaccinations, chronic and acute illness, minor trauma and more.

Contact the Dundee Family Practice at (607) 243-8311 with questions or to make an appointment, or email

SCOPED hires Disney project developer

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 26, 2016 -- The Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) has hired Michael E. Whiteman -- a veteran Disney project manager -- as its Economic Development Specialist.

Within this role, Whiteman will work with Judy McKinney Cherry, CECD -- the SCOPED executive director -- and her team on their goal of "building a thriving and sustainable economy in Schuyler County."

Whiteman brings to the non-profit SCOPED organization 11 years of experience with Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla., specializing in project management and business development. "Within these roles," said a press release, "Michael has led new business projects, facilitated development classes for employees and marketed and recruited new employees for the top tourism destination in the world."

His job, Cherry added, included projects "all over the globe. He even did some work with Disney University as an instructor."

Whiteman holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Management, and a Master of Business Administration degree. He has also co-founded a political organization to improve voter registration and campaign for local and state representatives.

“As I continue to move forward in my career," the press release quotes him as saying, "my aspiration is to use my 11-plus years of multi-level leadership experience and diverse background to make a positive and economic difference in our community."

Added Jeff Confer, chairman of SCOPED: “Michael’s experience and talent will be instrumental in our efforts in Project Seneca, the Business Parks, the Community Development Corporation, and working to improve the economic vitality of our local communities.”

SCOPED, the press release notes, "is a private, not-for-profit organization that utilizes innovative ideas and initiatives to promote the formation, retention, expansion and attraction of target businesses in the area."

Wellness Center wins workplace honor

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Aug. 10, 2016 -- For the second consecutive year, Cayuga Wellness Center’s Cayuga Center for Healthy Living has been awarded an annual national recognition from the American Heart Association (AHA) for creating a culture of good health in the workplace.

The award names several of the entities of the Cayuga Wellness Center.

“These entities contribute to the wellness and healthy living for our employees: Cayuga Center for Healthy Living, Island Health & Fitness, Rasa Spa, along with the hospital’s nutrition and dining team," said John Rudd, president and CEO of Cayuga Medical Center. "This team has offered a long, varied list of healthy lifestyle programs to our employees that include exercise, healthy eating and cooking, weight loss programs, diabetes care, stroke rehab, and smoking cessation. We are grateful that their hard work has been recognized each year by this prestigious national award.”

The wellness center provides a wide range of health and wellness services for the community and surrounding region. It brings together a group of about 255 professionals across several specialties. Each entity within the Cayuga Wellness Center works in collaboration to provide a continuum of care.

The award, the Gold Level Fit-Friendly, is earned for providing programs for Cayuga Medical Center employees that meet the AHA’s strict standards. These standards include: physical activity, good nutrition, and a culture within the organization that offers and promotes a healthy lifestyle to its employees.

To learn more about Cayuga Center for Healthy Living, go to or call 607.252.3590.

Chateau LaFayette Reneau wins big

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, August 3, 2016 -- Chateau LaFayette Reneau won 10 top awards at the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association’s (ASWA) 12th Annual Seaboard Wine Competition.

The national competition took place July 23 through 24 at the Dominion Valley Country Club in Haymarket, VA. Professional wine judges from around the United States evaluated 495 wines from 92 wineries in 17 states.

Chateau LaFayette Reneau won the prestigious “Best of Category” for its 2015 Late Harvest Riesling, a sweet white vinifera with the character of candied apricots, peaches and pineapple. The estate winery was also awarded a Gold Medal for the same Late Harvest Riesling.

The winery was also bestowed with Silver Medals for its 2015 Dry Riesling, 2015 Semi-Dry Riesling, 2013 Meritage, 2013 Syrah, and its top-selling Seyval-Chardonnay blend. In addition, Chateau LaFayette Reneau was awarded Bronze Medals for its 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 Proprietor’s Reserve Chardonnay, and its 2014 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay.

“We couldn’t be happier after being honored with these awards from such distinguished competition," said Chateau LaFayette Reneau vintner Tim Miller. "It’s a testament to the dedication of our winemaking team, as well as our ongoing investment in our vineyards, cellar, and spectacular tasting room,”

About Chateau LaFayette Reneau

Located on the west-facing, gentle slopes of beautiful Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, the 140-acre estate receives optimal sunlight and air movement, ideal for consistently full-flavored grapes. For more than 30 years, Chateau LaFayette Reneau has produced estate-grown vinifera wines and received many accolades and awards, including three Governor’s Cups, four coveted Jefferson Cups, and Gold from Riesling du Monde.

New wine to raise Humane Society funds

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, July 14, 2016 -- On July 21st, Glenora Wine Cellars will release a new wine called “Chase’s Reserve” -- which features Chase, the winery’s “spokespup” and a survivor of Hurricane Katrina -- on the label. A portion of each bottle sold will be donated to the Humane Society of the United States, in hopes -- as Glenora officials say -- that all dogs and cats can live happily ever after like Chase has.

Chase spent 23 days on the streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. After being rescued, he was taken to Florida, where he was quarantined for 90 days with serious life and health issues before being adopted by his two-legged family, the Pursae family, in December 2005.

Chase’s owner, Jeff Pursae, a native of Rochester now living in Florida, began visiting Glenora in the early '80s with his parents. In 2011 Jeff discovered Glenora’s custom label program and began the “Chase’s Reserve” series, featuring Chase’s picture.

Over the years, with the advent of social media and a Facebook fan page for Chase  (created by Jeff, “Fur Love of the Pup”), Chase’s Reserve wine has generated enough interest that people ask for his wine at the winery.

Due to the popularity of Chase, his story, the custom-labeled wine, and the desire to raise funds for the Humane Society, Glenora decided to officially create a new wine, “Chase’s Reserve,” to honor Chase and his incredible story. This wine is a semi-sweet, pleasant blend of red native grapes.

Along with the wine release, Glenora will host a Meet & Greet with Chase on Thursday, July 21 in the tasting room. Guests will have the chance to meet Chase and his family, taste Chase’s Reserve, and enjoy light hors d’oeuvres from 5:00-7:00 p.m. All are invited to attend.

In 1977 Glenora Wine Cellars was the first winery to open on Seneca Lake, in the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes Wine Country. Today, in addition to the winery and tasting room, the 40-acre estate offers the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars, with 30 rooms overlooking the vineyards and Seneca Lake, and Veraisons Restaurant, offering gourmet, locally-sourced dishes. For more information, visit

Scott earns spot in BOCES Hall of Fame

Special to The Odessa File

ODESSA, June 22, 2016 -- Odessa-area hair stylist JoAnna Scott was one of five people honored recently with induction into the GST BOCES Hall of Fame.

All five are graduates of the GST BOCES Career and Technical Education programs.

In a press release, BOCES said of Scott:

"JoAnna Scott graduated from Watkins Glen High School and completed the Cosmetology program at the Bush Education Center in 2001. She has lived independently since she was 16 and managed to maintain honor-level grades as she pursued training in the career she had dreamed of since third grade.

"After graduation, JoAnna began working at Regis Smartstyle in Watkins Glen, where she accepted her first management position after only one year of being in the field. In 2005, she relocated to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and began working for Great Clips, Pompadour Inc. She was quickly promoted up the ranks to her final position of district manager, overseeing seven salons. After returning to this area, JoAnna worked as a salon manager at Ulta Salon, Cosmetics and Fragrance in Horseheads.

"In February 2011, JoAnna left Ulta to pursue her dream of opening a successful salon. She opened a small salon in Odessa. When the owner of the property sold the building later that year, she relocated on Route 224 outside of Odessa and opened Simply Your Best salon. The business opened with JoAnna as the only service professional. It has grown to include four employees and has extended its service menu to include hair, skin and nail services. JoAnna encourages a culture within her business that promotes strong customer service, great technical skills and a clean, family-friendly environment.

"JoAnna enjoys working with current GST BOCES students by offering internship opportunities in her salon. She has a love for her community and volunteers her time and talents as a hair stylist for local plays, musicals and fashion shows. She has been a member of the Village of Odessa Planning Board since 2015.

Photo in text: JoAnna Scott (Photo provided)

Glenora donates $2,620 from Pasta Nights

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, June 21, 2016 -- The 10th Annual Pasta Night Series at Glenora Wine Cellars concluded at the end of April with a donation of $2,620 to local charities by Glenora Wine Cellars and an attendance of nearly 1,200 people.

The 2016 series marked the 10th Anniversary of Pasta Night and included a season-long celebration, complete with commemorative glassware and t-shirts, and a 10th Anniversary Mix & Mingle kickoff event in January. The event included a silent auction in which the proceeds were awarded to the top attended evening at end of the season.

For the second year in a row, Live Like Liz, a local organization whose mission is to promote awareness of ovarian cancer through education, had the highest attendance and generated $718, including Glenora’s match and the silent auction proceeds. Other top grossing evenings included those featuring the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, Dundee Dollars for Scholars, and the Defense for Devon Foundation.

Over the past 10 years of Pasta Night, Glenora Wine Cellars has donated over $16,600 to charities in the Finger Lakes region.

“It gives us great pride to give back to the community,” said Gene Pierce, owner. “We thoroughly enjoy hosting the array of organizations and look forward to continuing this series for another 20-plus years.”

Pasta Night takes place every Thursday from January to April and features fresh pasta dishes that local celebrities help prepare as guest chefs. Each evening, a portion of the proceeds are donated to the charity of the celebrity chef’s choice, and at the conclusion of the series, Glenora Wine Cellars matches the donation to the charity that brings in the most patrons.

A pioneer in the renaissance of the Finger Lakes wine industry, Glenora Wine Cellars has been producing wines for over 35 years. In 1977 Glenora Wine Cellars was the first winery to open on Seneca Lake. Today, in addition to the winery and tasting room, the 40-acre estate offers the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars, with 30 rooms overlooking the vineyards and Seneca Lake, and Veraisons Restaurant, offering gourmet, locally-sourced dishes. For more information, visit

Great Escape wins 1st Curb Appeal honor

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 7, 2016 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee launched the Curb Appeal Contest in May. The contest was designed to beautify and improve the overall appearance of the area. It takes place monthly from May through September and the winner receives a $250 prize.

The contest is judged by members of the Tourism Committee. Judging criteria includes overall appearance, cleanliness and maintenance, landscaping and planters, and window displays where applicable. The Chamber worked with Stillman’s Greenhouse in Montour Falls to offer coupons to businesses to encourage them to shop locally for flowers.

After judging was completed for the month of May and scores were tallied, The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor came out on top with a total score of 92 out of a possible 100 points for the May contest.

Said Chamber President/CEO Rebekah LaMoreau: “We are so impressed with the way business owners have taken this contest as an opportunity to beautify their businesses. The Great Escape is a wonderful example with their hanging baskets, planters full of flowers and greenery, and welcoming atmosphere. We hope this will inspire others to remain diligent in caring for their storefronts. Perception is everything!”

J.R. Dill Winery honored at SBA event

Special to The Odessa File

SYRACUSE, May 21, 2016 -- A Burdett business -- J.R. Dill Winery, LLC -- was recognized during National Small Business Week at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 18th Annual Small Business Excellence Awards luncheon in Syracuse.

Small businesses are selected for the Excellence Awards based on their company’s longevity, innovation, sales growth, increased employment, ability to overcome adversity or community contributions.

REDEC/RCC honored the Dill operation with a 2016 Small Business Excellence Award. The business opened as a small production winery in an 1,890-square-foot facility, and expanded three years later with a 3,240-square-foot addition.

J.R. Dill produces a variety of wines including Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc along with Jabber Waulkie Blush and Jabber Waulkie White. The wines are sold at the winery and at over 75 outlets. J.R. Dill also hosts numerous events throughout the year.

"Owner Jeffery Dill," said an SBA press release, "is a shining example of a young entrepreneur who chose to return home and invest in his community.

“Entrepreneurs find success not by avoiding failure but by dreaming the impossible and taking chances. From Main Street stores to cyber merchants and all the companies in between, small businesses keep our economy innovative and vibrant.”

Photo in text: Jeffery Dill. (Photo provided)

Schuyler Steps Out has new champion

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 20, 2016 -- Schuyler Hospital has wrapped up its 10th annual Schuyler Steps Out community walking challenge, with a new winner -- the Humane Society of Schuyler County.

The team has been a tough competitor in the program since 2011. This year, with 15 walkers, they totaled 12.3 million total steps over the course of the 8-week program.  They averaged 18,125 steps per person per day. The Humane Society increased its total team steps from 112.7 thousand in week one, to 2 million in week eight -- overtaking first place in week 5 and not looking back.

Coming in second place were the Wacky Walkers of Watkins High -- who kept a steady pace to stay on the Humane Society’s tail to finish just steps behind them. The 15-member team averaged 16,500 steps per person per day. However, they increased their steps from an average of 17,536 per person per day in week 5 to 18,775 per person per day in week 6 to secure their second-place finish.

The Seneca Lake Buccaneers (FAHS Construction) finished in third place, after leading in weeks 1 through 4.

Still to be named: Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Most Improved Awards -- to be nominated by their teams.

In all, participating teams tallied 156.5 million total steps, or over 78.2 thousand miles -- the equivalent of 3.1 trips around the Earth. An average of 234 people from 17 teams participated in the 8-week program, developed to get people up and active in the late winter and early spring.

The program is sponsored by Schuyler Hospital, Walmart, and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

Hospital earns Gold Seal of Approval

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 20, 2016 -- Schuyler Hospital has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Hospital Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.

Schuyler Hospital underwent a rigorous, unannounced on-site survey in March. During the review, a team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated compliance with hospital standards related to several areas, including emergency management, environment of care, infection prevention and control, leadership, and medication management. Surveyors also conducted on-site observations and interviews.

“Schuyler Hospital is very pleased to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” added Jim Watson, Schuyler Hospital President and CEO. “Staff from across the organization is truly dedicated to developing and implementing approaches that are improving care for the patients in our community.”

The Joint Commission has accredited hospitals for more than 60 years. More than 4,000 general, children’s, long-term acute, psychiatric, rehabilitation and specialty hospitals currently maintain accreditation from The Joint Commission, awarded for a three-year period. In addition, approximately 360 critical access hospitals maintain accreditation through a separate program.

Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary President Anne Myers (near center) holds Schuyler Hospital’s Community Partner Award. She was joined by Auxilians present at the hospital’s Annual Community Meeting, where the award was presented. (Photo provided)

Schuyler Hospital names Auxiliary
its Community Partner of the Year

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 9, 2016 -- Schuyler Hospital has named the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary its Community Partner of the Year, and award presented annually to an organization or individual as recognition for helping the hospital achieve its mission.

The 2015 award went to Arcangeli Farm.

The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary received the 2016 award for all it does for Schuyler Hospital and the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility, as well as for its advocacy in the community.

The Auxiliary was officially formed in 1969, as a merger of the Odessa-Montour Falls Guild and Watkins Glen Guild.

In 1972, the Auxiliary boasted 120 members. Auxilians volunteered 5,422 hours in 1976-1977, and donated $20,475 back to the hospital from 1972-77. The Auxiliary now has 150 members. Since 1974, over 200,000 volunteer hours have been logged, and over $550,000 given back to the hospital.

The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary was recognized by the Healthcare Association of NYS (HANYS) for 3 years in a row (2012, 2011, 2010) with the Auxiliary Advocacy Recognition.

The Auxiliary’s mission is: To advance Schuyler Hospital’s welfare through service to the patients, their visitors and the medical, nursing and administrative personnel in ways approved by the Hospital Board of Directors.

The Auxiliary welcomes new volunteers. Download an application at To find out more, email or contact Volunteer Coordinator Chris Updyke at 535-4445.

Photo in text: The Community Partner Award. (Photo provided)

Auxiliary President Anne Myers with Marie Decker (photo at left) and Clara Greis (right).

Hospital Auxiliary names top Volunteers

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 9, 2016 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary, at its annual spring luncheon, named two of its members as Volunteers of the Year.

Members over age 90 were also recognized as Lifetime Members.

Clara Greis and Marie Decker were named Volunteers of the Year -- Greis as a former Auxiliary President who seems to step up to do whatever is needed, and has long chaired the Auxiliary’s pasta dinner fundraiser. Decker, a former hospital employee, shows her dedication in serving countless hours in the Auxiliary Gift Shop. Decker was actually working in the Gift Shop when Auxiliary President Anne Myers told her to close up shop and go to the luncheon -- to surprise Decker with the award.

Also recognized were members over age 90, who were given the “Lifetime Member” distinction, including: Jean Argetsinger, Mary Berry, Shirley Craver, Virginia Eaton, Clara Hoover, Helen James, Janeth Richards, and Joan Ward. Over age 100 is Marion Roberts.

The Auxiliary welcomes new volunteers. Download an application at To find out more, email, or contact Volunteer Coordinator,Chris Updyke at 535-4445.

Photo in text: Marion Roberts, an Auxiliary member over 100 years of age. She received the Auxiliary's Lifetime Member distinction. (Photos provided)

From left: The Arc of Schuyler's Wendy Shutter, Kelly Miller and Andrew Bhasker.

Arc of Schuyler promotes Shutter; hires 2

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 27, 2016 -- The Arc of Schuyler , a nonprofit organization providing services to people with developmental disabilities, has announced a promotion and two new hires.

Promoted was Wendy Shutter to the position of Director of Business Services. Shutter started at The Arc in 2010, bringing a wealth of project management and technical experience. Hired as Director of Information Technology, she soon advanced to Director of Support Services, taking on additional management responsibilities.

In her new role she will plan and coordinate all aspects of agency support services, including facilities maintenance, transportation, records management and oversight of the business enterprises associated with The Arc of Schuyler’s industrial division, Glen Industries. Glen Industries provides meaningful and productive vocational opportunities for people with developmental disabilities supported by The Arc. Shutter resides in Montour Falls.

Kelly Miller, of Watkins Glen has been hired as Sales Representative. She is responsible for customer and business relations for Glen Industries food co-packing and cleaning services. She has contributed toward updating Glen Industries business plans. Miller worked previously as the Retail Manager of Chateau Lafayette Reneau winery and was the owner of Blooming Creations. A new website for customers to learn more about Glen Industries services will be launched in spring 2016.

Andrew Bhasker joins The Arc of Schuyler’s management team as the new Director of Information Technology. Bhasker, a resident of Bath, has a degree in Security and Risk Analysis from Penn State University and worked previously at Corning, Inc.

“This restructure prepares our agency for changes underway in how vocational training programs will operate in the future,” said Arc Executive Director Jeanette Frank. “Integrated businesses with a focus on not only job training, but state of the art technology and efficiency in business services will give Glen Industries a competitive edge.”

For more information about programs or careers at The Arc of Schuyler, visit or call 607-535-6934.

SFLW warms the holidays for local seniors

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 23, 2015 -- The Southern Finger Lakes Women (SFLW), a Chapter of New York State Women, Inc., recently presented handmade hats, scarves and a variety of books to the residents of The Falls Home in Montour Falls.

The Falls Home is an assisted living facility for 92 persons. It provides residential care, activities, meals, recreation and health monitoring.

The hats and scarves were made by Sally Rigden of Watkins Glen and JoAnne Krolak of Elmira, both members of the SFLW organization. The hats and the books were presented on behalf of the SFLW by Suzanne Gigliotti and Krolak to Bonnie Hopper, who represented the Falls Home.

The mission of New York State Women, Inc., is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information. The organization includes women and men of every age, race, religion, political party and socio-economic background.

The Southern Finger Lakes Women Chapter meets on the third Monday of each month.  For more information, visit the chapter website at or contact Gloria Hutchings at (607) 594-2489.

Photo in text: The hats, scarves and books presented to The Falls Home by the SFLW. (Photo provided)

Ceremony marks start of project at Frozen Food Locker site in Watkins

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 6, 2015 -- The next move in the development of the shoreline along the south end of Seneca Lake received kudos Friday afternoon at a groundbreaking ceremony at the old abandoned Frozen Food Locker building in Watkins Glen -- a site that by late next year will become rental property.

County, state and regional officials and a representative from Congressman Tom Reed's office praised the rebuilding project for its vision and its importance to the development of the area.

The project, with a completion target of Nov. 1, 2016, will create seven vertical living units in what has long been an abandoned 15,000-square-foot building -- a building that will soon be 85% percent demolished before being built back up. Five of the units will have garage parking.

According to Watkins Brewery Holdings LLC Managing Member Dan Bower -- whose group has spearheaded the project -- the investors have committed "as part of the deal" to offer the structure's units on a rental basis for at least five years -- those rentals being "on a seasonal basis, and by that I mean weekly," with heaviest traffic coming "obviously during the summer months." Sometime after the five years, he added, the units might be sold as townhouses. Each unit will provide about 1,400 square feet of living space.

The project was largely made possible through a $500,000 Empire State Development loan, through an $800,000 grant, through funding from Corning Enterprises, and through a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreement with the Schuyler County Industrial Development Agency.

Without such help, "this doesn't occur," Bower told the crowd that gathered for Friday's ceremony, outside at the south end of the building. The project, he added, will be "respectful to the bulding's history," which dates back to 1860. The building has housed several businesses, including a couple of different breweries, was a mill that shipped its product by nearby rail and barge, and was a site owned by Welch's Grape Juice. The structure had changed hands more than once since those days as it continued to fall into disrepair that eventually would have resulted in "demolition by neglect," in the words of one of Friday's ceremony speakers, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.

Bower said the idea to buy the property had been in his mind since 2002, but that he and others thought it would serve as the site for a restaurant, not housing. But that wasn't feasible, he said, because of a lack of parking. "The dream," he said, segued over the years into a group effort with members of Hunt Engineers (where Bower is president) and some outside parties.

The Watkins Brewery Holdings group includes Bower and current or former Hunt employees Chuck Franzese, Gary Thompson, John Cakes, Charlie Woodcock and Chris Bond. Those outside of Hunt include Dr. Robert Wiley, owner of the Glen Theater; John Franzese, who works at Welliver, and Robert Franzese.

Work on the site has thus far involved asbestos removal, which one village official said is expected to be completed next week. The week after that, he said, demolition should begin. The streetside support wall built into the hillside will remain intact while most of the rest of the building comes down.

Then construction of the rental units will begin.

The name of the holding company, Watkins Brewery, reflects the building's history. Prohibition actually shuttered the brewery portion of the building back in the 1920s, and it remained closed until Prohibition ended.

Said Bower in an earlier press release: “Hunt Engineers & Architects reviewed this site for 10 different developers over the years, and none of them could make it work economically." Not, at least, until Empire State Development, the Schuyler County IDA and others stepped in to help.

"This," said Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council co-chair Tom Tranter, whose group helped arrange financing, "is transformational and a huge part of Project Seneca" -- the philosophical overview of development in the area that includes the planned construction of a new wastewater treatment plant on the canal between Watkins Glen and Montour Falls, and removal of the old plant from the Seneca shoreline.

The new building on the old Frozen Food Locker site, said the county's O'Hearn, will serve as "the gateway into Watkins Glen" from the north, and "a catalyst for growth, just as the Harbor Hotel has been."

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano said such a project "doesn't happen without a vision, a dream, and confidence in the community and the economy." And Thomas Hyland from Congressman Reed's office praised the "enormous sense of community" inherent in the project.

Bower, who had some gold-colored shovels on hand for the groundbreaking, decided "to break from tradition" and not use them, but rather have everyone raise a cup of wine from bottles brought to the ceremony -- "this being wine country" -- and toast the project.

"This building," he told his audience after the toast, "has served the community well. It's a little tired, and we want to bring it back to life."

Or at least raise a new version of it from the veritable dead.

Photos in text:

From top: Watkins Brewery Holdings LLC Managing Member Dan Bower, whose group is spearheading the project; Bower with Tom Tranter of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council; speaker Tim O'Hearn, Schuyler County Administrator; and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, speaking to Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah LaMoreaux. (Photos by Charlie Haeffner)

Medical Foundation gala raises $118K

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Oct. 15, 2015 -- The Cayuga Medical Center Foundation's 10th anniversary gala, An Evening to Care, raised $118,000 from the community -- with the highest attendance ever: 434 people.

The funds will support Cayuga Medical Center Foundation's 2015 fundraising initiative -- enhancement of the Neonatal Department. Of the $118,000, $36,000 was raised by a live auction with David Hall of National Book Auctions and Laurie Linn of Communique Design and Marketing presiding. All of the auction items were donated by local businesses and community members.

John Rudd, President and CEO of Cayuga Medical Center, said: "The Annual CMC Foundation Gala helps us fund specific projects at CMC. The proceeds from Gala 2015 will be used for the enhancement of the Cayuga Birthplace Neonatal Intensive Care Services. These enhancements will enable families to deliver babies at Cayuga Medical Center from 7 1/2 months to 9 months, or 30 weeks gestation to full term. This opens up possibilities for delivery at CMC of premature twins and potentially triplets."

The Neonatal Department will continue to be a focus of fundraising for the CMC Foundation for the rest of this calendar year. Donations continue to be accepted. If you would like to make a donation, call Jan Hertel, Executive Director of the CMC Foundation, at 607-274-4284.

11 county kids attending Sheriffs' camp

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 21, 2015 -- Schuyler County Sheriff William E. Yessman announced Tuesday that 11 children from the county are attending the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute’s 2015 Summer Camp -- a series of six weeklong sessions designed to provide a solid recreational program combined with the development of a sense of good citizenship.

This marks the 38th year of the camp’s operation.

The camp, located on Keuka Lake near Penn Yan in Yates County, is supported by the Sheriffs’ Association Institute’s Honorary Members through their contributions and annual dues. This year the camp is accommodating over 900 boys and girls, aged 9-12, from across New York State. The primary criteria for selection, says the camp website, are economic challenge and the need for positive interaction by participants with law enforcement personnel..

Said Yessman: “This is a great opportunity for our county youth, and I personally thank Schuyler County residents for donating and making this possible.”

The camp, he said, “is designed to provide a child, who ordinarily would not have the chance, an opportunity to go away during the summer. The primary objective is to create positive interaction between the kids attending camp and the Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs who participate in its programs. We have found from experiences during the first 37 summer camps that the kids develop a renewed respect and understanding for the men and women who enforce the laws. The deputies become their friends and in some cases are substitute parents for a week.”

Throughout their stay, the children observe special exhibits and demonstrations presented by Sheriffs’ Offices from across the State. Included are D.A.R.E. presentations, boat and bike safety programs, law enforcement equipment and technical demonstrations, archery competitions, and a talent shown.

Upon completion of their stay, all children are awarded a diploma for their participation in a program of “Good Citizenship and Law Enforcement Studies.”

Atwater Vineyards to celebrate 15 years

Special to The Odessa File

BURDETT, July 16, 2015 -- Atwater Estate Vineyards is raising a glass and a tent to celebrate 15 years since their tasting room doors opened to the public.

The rain-or-shine celebration kicks off at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 8 with live music from The Wiyos, followed by fireworks at sunset. A $15 admission fee includes a commemorative wine goblet and a glass of Atwater wine.

Food Truck Row, featuring Global Taco, Silo Farm to Festival Truck, and Murder Mike’s BBQ, will offer party goers an array of meal choices for purchase. The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor will be selling seasonal flavors plus a custom wine ice cream made from Atwater’s portfolio.

A large tent on the lawn overlooking Seneca Lake and the winery's vineyard will house a dance floor, band stage, wine bars and ample tables and seating. Tickets may be purchased in advance at or on the day of the event at the winery, located on Seneca Lake.

Atwater Estate Vineyards was born on land that has been cultivated as a vineyard since the early 1900s. Local entrepreneur Ted Marks purchased the established vineyards and opened the tasting room to the public in September 2000. The winery has since gained a solid reputation -- most recently listed in Decanter's travel guide as a must-see stop in the Finger Lakes wine region.

Lake Grove Park has CayutaCAM

Special to The Odessa File

ALPINE, July 14, 2015 – When people plan a trip to Cayuta Lake, some ask: “What is the weather?”

Most obtain local weather reports which are not specific to the lake. Lake Grove Park provides an answer through CayutaCAM, which presents a northern and southern view of the lake. The two cameras that compose CayutaCAM are located on the shore of the Park. They provide a continuous feed of non-recordable images suitable for weather evaluation. CayutaCAM is accessible through the Park’s website at

Over the last three years the Park has made a significant investment in electronic technology, says owner Jim Allen. "We now have a fiber-optic cable stretching throughout the Park with nodes at various points," he says. "Most of our campers use the Wi-Fi, so CayutaCAM is another step toward the electronic services that are becoming commonplace."

Lake Grove Park is a seasonal campsite located on the east side of Cayuta Lake. It includes an Historic Corridor that depicts the recreational history of the lake. The Park has been in continual operation since 1948, when it was established by James and Helene D. Allen.

Knapp Vineyard Restaurant honored

Special to The Odessa File

ROMULUS, June 30, 2015 -- Knapp Vineyard Restaurant was recently recognized as one of eight American Wineries With The Best Restaurants On Site, according to

Knapp Vineyard Restaurants was part of an elite group of restaurants from Virgina, Texas, California and Washington noted by Vinepair, which stated: "The Finger Lakes region of New York has become famous for its Riesling, and Knapp produces a really fantastic example. The restaurant sources from the local farms in the area, creating a wide variety of dishes that pair perfectly with their signature wine.”

At the helm of Knapp Vineyard Restaurant is Executive Chef John McNabb. “The creative freedom that has been granted to me," he said, "is what I particularly like best about working at Knapp. The monthly wine dinners, menus that change with the seasons, special events and so much more are the creative outlets that make what we do at Knapp unique.

“It is especially rewarding," he added, "to get this endorsement because a major part of our focus is pairing our quality driven wines with locally derived ingredients from the Finger Lakes. I have the opportunity to grow my culinary expertise in a region that is coming on the global stage.”

The Vineyard Restaurant is set next to the Tasting Room and offers patio seating when the weather allows. A full menu list is located on

Located on Cayuga Lake, Knapp is a boutique winery with 60 acres of some of the oldest vineyards in the Finger Lakes Region, producing grapes for a variety of Knapp wines since 1984.

Pasta Night charity donations total $2,394

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, June 11, 2015 -- Glenora Wine Cellars’ 9th Annual Pasta Night Series has come to a close for the 2015 season with a grand total of $2,394 donated to local charities. The series takes place every Thursday from January to April and features fresh pasta dishes prepared by local celebrities as guest chefs.

Each Thursday, a portion of the proceeds is donated to the charity of the celebrity chef’s choice, and at the conclusion of the series, Glenora Wine Cellars matches the donation to the charity that brings in the most patrons. To date, over $14,000 has been donated to local charities by Glenora Wine Cellars.

In 2015, local organization Live Like Liz, whose mission is to promote awareness of ovarian cancer through education, brought in the most patrons and generated $596, with Glenora’s match included. Other top grossing evenings included the Defense for Devon Memorial, Dundee Dollars for Scholars and Cobblestone Springs.

“When we started the Celebrity Guest Chef Pasta Nights, we never imagined the success and the amount of funds the series would generate for local charities,” said Gene Pierce, Glenora owner. “We’re very fortunate to be surrounded by such receptive and community-minded organizations in this area, and look forward to celebrating 10 years in 2016.”

Watkins Glen School District administrators and STEM teachers gathered in the STEM room at Watkins Glen High School to receive the grant from Keith Klug, Watkins Glen plant manager for Cargill (center, with his hand on the check). (Photo provided)

Watkins district gets $39,308 Cargill grant

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 10, 2015 -- The Watkins Glen Central School District recently received a $39,308 grant from Cargill to support “Bringing Unity to STEM Instruction.” The funds will be used to help teachers use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) principles in nearly all subject areas.

According to Keith Klug, Watkins Glen plant manager, a portion of the funds come from the local Watkins Glen Cargill Cares Council. Cargill’s Global Partnership Fund matches the local donation. The Global Partnership Fund supports non-profit organizations, giving priority to projects in nutrition, education and environmental stewardship. As part of the program, local Cargill management and employees are asked to take an active role in the project.

The funds will be used to purchase equipment to support the district’s STEM curriculum. The equipment will be used for the acquisition and analysis of data and includes tablets, Lego robotics kits and various probes for data collection. Funds also will be used to train teachers to incorporate critical thinking and data analysis skills into all areas of the curriculum.

“We are fortunate to have Cargill as an employer in our community,” said Jim Murphy, the science teacher who wrote the grant proposal. “They have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to STEM education in local schools.”

Schuyler Hospital President and CEO Andy Manzer recognizes outgoing Hospital Auxiliary Board members (l to r): Nancy Pratt, Clara Greis, Carol Bower, Joanne McLaine, and Kathy Fragola. (Not shown: Judy Caruso.) (Photo provided)

Auxiliary names new officers, Vol of Year

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 24, 2015 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary, at its recent spring luncheon, named its new officers for 2015-16, and recognized a number of their members, including their Volunteer of the Year.

New officers for 2015-16 include: Anne Myers, Chair; Kitty Shallenberger, First Vice Chair; Sharon Malick, Second Vice Chair; Marsha McElligott, Secretary; and Rita Tague-Carmony, Treasurer.

Sue Monnell was named Volunteer of the Year for the many hours she has put in over the years at the hospital’s Front Desk, greeting and assisting visitors. Monnell is moving out of the area, and will be missed, Auxilians said.

Also recognized were a number of longstanding members who are stepping down from the Auxiliary Board, though still remaining volunteers. They include Past President Carol Bower; Joanne McLaine, former Gift Shop Coordinator; Clara Greis, former President; Nancy Pratt, former Volunteer Coordinator; Kathy Fragola, former Public Relations Chair; and Judy Caruso, former Secretary.

The Auxiliary welcomes new volunteers. Download an application at To find out more, email, or contact Volunteer Coordinator Chris Updyke at 535-4445.

Photo in text: Sue Monnell, front, is presented the Volunteer of the Year award by fellow Schuyler Hospital Auxilian Midge Franzese. (Photo provided)

Daugherty earns Lou Sand Award

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 22, 2015 -- Schuyler Hospital has named Bryan Daugherty the winner of the 2015 Lou Sand Award. It was presented at the hospital's annual Employee Recognition Dinner.

Daugherty, a nearly 11-year Housekeeper who works all over the hospital and the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility, was nominated by a dozen co-workers for the award.

Highlights from his 12 nominations included:

“He charges around the hospital with a smile on his face and cheerful comments for those he passes. He is thoughtful and kind, quick to help, and a very hard worker.”

“He goes above and beyond to help anyone he can.”

“He is totally dependable and does an excellent job at whatever he is asked to do. He is a good listener and is very compassionate when he needs to be, a good leader and sets a good example for others.”

Schuyler Hospital annually gives the award in memory of Lou Sand to an employee who demonstrates exemplary service to others, and whose compassionate commitment of service to fellow employees, patients, residents and the community brightens the lives of those he or she touches -- traits, say hospital officials, that were exemplified by Lou Sand.

Photo in text: Schuyler Hospital President/CEO, Andy Manzer, right, presents the Lou Sand Award to Bryan Daugherty. (Photo provided)

Auxiliary donates $28,477 back to hospital

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 22, 2015 -- In celebrating 2014-2015 at its recent spring luncheon, the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary announced that its donations back to Schuyler Hospital in 2014 totaled $28,477 -- a new record for the volunteer organization.

Funds were raised through a variety of events, including the Festival of Lights, House Tours, and a Spaghetti Dinner sponsored by the Watkins Glen-Montour Falls Lions and the Montour Moose Lodge. Fundraising sales throughout the year included raffling a quilt donated by the Triple H Quilting Club, creating and selling a desktop calendar with photos by local residents, book and uniform sales, jewelry sales, Christmas in July, and Pearls & Purses.

Auxilians also co-sponsor the hospital’s largest fundraiser, November Splendor, and operate the Gift Shop – in a brand new space for 2014-15.

All of these efforts allowed the Auxiliary to fund a number of needs around the hospital and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility, including: monitors, a metro cart, and chairs in the new operating rooms; a blanket warmer and televisions for the Emergency Department; and wheelchairs for both facilities.

In addition, the Auxiliary gave back to the hospital’s Chaplaincy Fund, assisted employees in need through the hospital’s holiday “Schuyler Santa” program, and funded three $1,000 scholarships for two students and an employee furthering their healthcare education.

The Auxiliary welcomes new volunteers. Download an application at To find out more, email, or contact Volunteer Coordinator, Chris Updyke at 535-4445.

Photo in text: Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary Events Committee Chair Midge Franzese holds the check representing the amount the Auxiliary is donating back to the Hospital for 2014-15. She is surrounded by committee members (l to r) Kitty Shallenberger, Annabelle Specchio, Joan Argetsinger, Chris Updyke, Sandy Forrest and Anne Myers. (Photo provided)

Cargill presents check to Catholic Charities

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 11, 2015 -- Cargill recently donated $2,500 to Catholic Charities of Schuyler County -- a move that company officials said is part of the firm's longstanding commitment to support the communities in which it does business.

“We are honored to be chosen as a recipient of Cargill’s donation," said Deb MacDonald, Catholic Charities agency director. "Cargill’s tremendous support will help us meet the needs of those who come to us looking for help through a difficult time.”

The Cargill Team that worked on the recent Natural Gas Boiler Project at the Watkins facility won a Cargill Salt Internal Award called the “Diamond Crystal Award.” Part of the award was $5,000 in charitable donations to be disbursed as the Team saw fit. The Team distributed $2,500 to Meals on Wheels and $2,500 to Catholic Charities. The Team included: Matt Bollinger, Paul Clifford (project manager), Paul Compton, Pat DeLong, Jonelle Echert, Clay Furniss, Eric Hallman, Lee Kent, Steven Ketcham and Ryan Martin.

“Cargill’s statement of purpose is to be the global leader in nourishing people,” said Keith Klug, Cargill Salt’s Plant Manager. “This money helps support that purpose and Catholic Charities’ mission of reducing poverty and promoting a healthy family life.”

Photo in text: From left: Cargill's Jonelle Echert, Steven Ketcham, Paul Clifford and Keith Klug and Catholic Charities' Deb MacDonald with the $2,500 check. (Photo provided)

From beads to business

Joyful Adornments among our small-business successes

Special to The Odessa File

ODESSA, April 25, 2015 -- Have you seen this sign in Odessa? Ever wondered what’s going on in that building? It used to be a funeral home, right? Yes, it was the former Vedder & Scott Funeral Home, which closed the Odessa building over seven years ago, although business continues at its Montour Falls location.

The sign out front -- at 534 Church Street -- says Joyful Adornments Glass Studio and Gift Gallery but it’s hard to know what’s inside, right? Local artist Bonnie Scott moved her glass studio to this location in 2010 from just down the street and it was a perfect transformation for the building. The biggest challenge is location, location, location! Local people seem to drive by and the tourists seem to find the hill a bit off-the-beaten path. But for those brave souls who risk driving in to attend an event, come during open hours or make an appointment to bring family or friends, it can be a fun-filled experience.

Walking through the doors you’ll find a welcoming array of glass jewelry, beaded items and a wall filled with brochures raving about local attractions. Just a step into the next room and this is where the heart and soul of Bonnie’s creations begin. Visitors can sit and watch an interactive demonstration, or even try their hand at making a glass bead. For those who take a moment to enter the studio, it quickly becomes clear that it takes practice and talent to create a glass bead. This discovery is then enhanced when taking another view of all the finished product selections on display that must have taken untold hours for one person to create!

Bonnie’s story of discovering glass began in 2004 when she first decided to"just take lessons once a month for a year and then stop!’ Surely she would be tired of it by then and have all the beads she could possibly want. She certainly didn’t want to buy expensive equipment. As she tells it, that first decision turned into once a week for a year. Then her friends began to buy the beaded jewelry she was wearing, and now over 10 years later she still enjoys it, still takes classes to learn new skills and loves to teach other people.

Why does all this matter? It matters because small, local businesses in New York and especially in Schuyler County are struggling, and some are having to close. Small business owners are under pressure to pay high taxes while big business is lured into the state with the promise of no taxes for several years. Then these big businesses leave when the carrot is gone.

Small-business owners are people you see in the community day in and day out. They volunteer, they donate to local charities, they attend local events, and work to improve their community. It seems a small idea called “Shop Local” is helping people understand how we can improve our community and our economy by shopping our local businesses.

Customers turned out in steady numbers on Friday, April 24 at Joyful Adornments for a Spring Fling Open House that showed support not just for Bonnie Scott's business, but for the Humane Society of Schuyler County, as well. She was kept busy presenting glass-making demonstrations and creating beads to order, with proceeds going to the Humane Society.

For those who missed the Open House and want to learn more about Joyful Adornments, call 607-594-3016 or 1-800-517-6440 to check on its hours-- or visit its website at

Photos in text: The Joyful Adornments business sign and Bonnie Scott at work.

WGI's Printup assumes extra duties

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 31, 2015 -- International Speedway Corporation announced on Monday that Watkins Glen International racetrack President Michael Printup will assume additional responsibilities within the company, including managerial oversight of Americrown, effective immediately.

While continuing in his current role with the historic New York road course, Printup will -- according to an ISC press release -- "lead the Americrown team in strategy for profitability, a successful execution of Daytona Rising food and beverage, and enhancing overall value and operations." Printup will also continue with his oversight of Michigan International Speedway, the release said.

“I am very excited to take on this additional responsibility within ISC,” Printup said. “I look forward to working closely with all of those involved with Americrown, while moving forward with my role at Watkins Glen International.”

Americrown, formed in 1989, is a leader in motorsports catering, concessions and merchandise sales and service, the ISC release said. Operating at 12 NASCAR-sanctioned tracks nationwide, Americrown serves millions of race fans annually, it added.

Photo in text: Michael Printup

House of Hong business changing hands

WATKINS GLEN, March 26, 2015 -- The House of Hong Chinese restaurant business at 108 N. Franklin St., a staple of the Watkins Glen business community since 1991, has been sold by its owners, Gary and Clarissa Hong, but will continue with the same name and menu under the ownership of Orient Hibachi Buffet owner Mei Qing Chen.

Mrs. Hong, in announcing the business transaction Wednesday, said she and her husband are maintainiing ownership of the building and will serve as the restaurant landlords. They will also continue operating five apartments occupied by tenants on the structure's upper floors. Two more apartments await renovations.

The Hongs also own the Watkins Motel, 212 S. Franklin St., purchased in 2013.

Mrs. Hong and her husband first operated the Golden Dragon Restaurant in Horseheads beginning in 1988 before starting the House of Hong at the corner of Franklin and Fourth Streets in Watkins Glen in 1991. They then bought and moved to their current location at 108 N. Franklin St. several years ago.

She says they are now "tired" and decided it was time to sell their restaurant business while continuing to live in the community and maintain their apartment and motel businesses.

"We are retiring from the restaurant business," Mrs. Hong said, although her husband will help the new ownership during a transition period.

"I want to let people know we are officially done," she said, adding: "I also want people to know how much we have appreciated their business and their loyalty over the years."

No word was available on the future plans for the Orient Hibachi eatery located at 513 N. Franklin St., where a sign on the door Wednesday said "We are closed this week. Thank you!"

Visions treats 820 people to 'Cinderella'

Special to
The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 20, 2015 -- Visions Federal Credit Union paid the price of admission for more than 820 moviegoers attending four showings of Disney’s new live-action “Cinderella” film on March 14 at The Glen Theater.

"I was able to take my 5-year-old daughter to the afternoon showing and it was wonderful to see the theater full of families enjoying an afternoon together,” longtime Visions member Lori Asperschlager said.

Light promotion in Visions offices and around town drew many to the special community event. But several unsuspecting theater patrons were pleasantly surprised to learn the credit union was taking care of tickets for the highly anticipated release.

“Visions has been at our Watkins Glen location for over 10 years. During that time, we’ve watched the area blossom and shared its strong sense of community and local pride,” said Mandy DeHate, Visions marketing manager, in explaining the event. “When we made the decision to give back to the communities that support us in 2015, Watkins Glen was first on our list."

Photo in text: On hand at the theater from Visions Federal Credit Union were (from left) Jordan Fairchild, Danielle Burns, Sarah Yereb and Michel Ray. (Photo provided)

ESD issues RFP for Monterey site

Special to The Odessa File

ALBANY, March 19, 2015 -- Empire State Development Thursday announced it has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the purchase and redevelopment of the former Monterey Shock Correctional Facility, an approximately 25-acre site located in Schuyler County. The site was vacated in July 2014.

“Spring begins this week, and now is the ideal time for the renewal and redevelopment of the Monterey Shock site,” said ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “This RFP will generate new employment opportunity and spur investment in Schuyler County, which is known for its natural beauty, access to the Watkins Glen State Park, and world-famous wines and spirits.”

“Schuyler County appreciates the opportunity to partner with ESD to consider transformational proposals for adaptive reuse of this significant property,” said Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn. “We look forward to the eventual repurposing of this facility in a way that provides substantial economic development and employment opportunities for our region.”

The Monterey Shock site includes 40 structures totaling approximately 87,000 square feet of floor area and related infrastructure. The site is situated within the Sugar Hill State Forest, and is located within close proximity to more than six additional state or national forests, supporting a multitude of recreational visitors. The property maintains parking for at least 94 cars, and additional parking can be created on the perimeter of the site.

ESD has posted an adaptive re-use study, closure plan, environmental site assessments, and video of the site on ESD’s website at The materials provide a comprehensive analysis of the site, including descriptions and layouts of the site’s structures and infrastructure. Tours of the former Monterey Shock Correctional Facility will be offered on April 28, and responses to the RFP are due by May 18. Respondents to the RFP may propose uses that will create new jobs -- both permanent and construction -- stimulate economic activity in the local municipality and region, and satisfy selection criteria specified in the RFP.

In January 2014, ESD issued an adaptive reuse study for the site in consultation with State and local stakeholders. ESD has also met with a local advisory group to discuss ways to promote and partner in advancing the site’s redevelopment.

To support the communities affected by the closure of the facility, New York State has made available funding through the Economic Transformation Program (ETP) for development in and around the Monterey Shock site. Preference will be given to projects that create or retain jobs; prevent, reduce or eliminate unemployment or underemployment; or increase business activity. The site is also eligible to qualify as a tax-free area under the State’s START-UP NY program, which would require partnership with a sponsoring academic institution.

Photo in text: Sign that used to announce the presense of the Shock camp. (File photo)

Campaign raises more than $156,000

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 11, 2015 -- The Schuyler Health Foundation has announced that over $156,000 was raised in the 2014 Family of Friends campaign, with donations going to Schuyler Hospital and the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility.

“This is certainly a brand new Schuyler Hospital, compared to where we were two years -- or even one year -- ago,” said Michelle Benjamin, the Health Foundation's Executive Director. “Thanks to our affiliation with Cayuga Medical Center, major renovations completed last year, and new physicians in our Emergency Department, the Schuyler Hospital experience is completely refreshed. With ongoing community support such as this, we can keep the improvements coming.”

Specifically, 2014 donations are going toward new cardiac stress test equipment, as well as a multi-year project to purchase new beds in the Medical/Surgical Unit.

Funds for Seneca View are going toward a new electronic medical records system.

Though donations are welcome year-round, the Foundation will soon unveil the 2015 Family of Friends Campaign.

For more information, contact the Schuyler Health Foundation at (607) 210-1950 or donate on-line at

CMA neurosurgeon seeing patients

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 3, 2015 -- Earlier this month, Schuyler Hospital welcomed neurosurgeon Dr. James Metcalf, from Progressive Neurosurgery of Cayuga Medical Associates (CMA).

Dr. Metcalf is seeing patients at September Hill, 250 Steuben Street, Montour Falls, on the first and third Fridays of the month. Appointments should be made through Progressive Neurosurgery of CMA at (607) 269-0033.

Progressive Neurosurgery of CMA, clinically linked with the University of Rochester Medicine Center Department of Neurosurgery, specializes in the surgical treatment of conditions of the brain and the spinal cord. Dr. Metcalf uses the most advanced computer and imaging technology in the diagnosis of neurologic problems.

Neurologic issues may include:

• Cranial and Spinal Neurosurgery
• Brain and Spinal Tumors
• Sciatica
• Stenosis
• Herniated Disk
• Spinal Fusions and Fractures
• Vertebroplasty

Dr. Metcalf may refer patients to Cayuga Medical Center for surgery.

For more information, email or call (607) 535-7121.

Photo in text: Dr. James Metcalf (Photo provided)


Banner adorning a wall of the hotel lobby gives thanks to the Ice Bar's 20 sponsors.

Hotel's Ice Bar generates $20,000 for Red Cross

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 24, 2015 -- The Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen Tuesday presented a check for $20,000 to the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross -- proceeds from the hotel's fourth annual Ice Bar event late last month.

The Ice Bar, billed as “the hottest party in the coolest town,” features more than 20,000 pounds of ice meticulously carved into working bars and other sculptures and set on the hotel patio. The bars and other sculpted figures, including an ice throne, are still there, intact, thanks to continuing frigid weather.

The check was presented to Joel Robinson, Executive Director of the Red Cross Finger Lakes Chapter, by hotel General Manager Carolyn Guyer and Director of Sales Christine Peacock. Also present from the hotel were Anne Klingensmith, sales and catering assistant, and Ruth Sprague, executive administrative assistant. Present from the Red Cross in addition to Robinson was Colleen Kean, major-gift officer.

According to Robinson, the money -- which brings to $50,000 the amount donated to the Red Cross by the hotel in the Ice Bar's four-year history ($5,000 the first year, then $10,000, $15,000 and $20,000) -- "will help with our preparedness" in an atmosphere in which Red Cross responses have been increasing every year.

The chapter’s Disaster Relief Fund provides food, clothing, shelter and other necessities for victims of fires, floods and other disasters in the chapter’s six counties: Schuyler, Steuben, Chemung, Seneca, Yates and Wayne.

The Ice Bar, a concept first in effect in a Portland, Maine hotel in the same chain as the Harbor Hotel, was instituted in Watkins Glen to try and enhance what was for the hotel a slow time of the year. The event grew quickly, and now reaches its 1,000-person cap for both Friday and Saturday nights with advance reservations a couple of weeks in advance of the party. Opening night on Thursday attracted about 450 people this year.

The Red Cross, selected to benefit from the party the first year, has remained in that role because, said Guyer, it is "an amazing organization" that constantly contributes to the community through its actions.

Sponsors of the Ice Bar this year included: Exclusiv Vodca; Crestwood; Finger Lakes Wine Country; Watkins Glen International; Glenora Wine Cellars; Boundary Breaks Vineyard; Dr. Konstantin Frank; Fox Run Vineyards; Ithaca Beer Co., Fulkerson Estate Vineyards, Wagner; Standing Stone Vineyards; Shepard Niles; Chateau Lafayette Reneau; Lakewood Vineyards; Hazlitt’s Cider Tree; Starkey’s Lookout; Hector Wine Co.; Finger Lakes Beer Trail; and Iron Flamingo Brewery.

Photo in text: The $20,000 check to the Red Cross leans against one of the Ice Bar's serving bars, still standing on the hotel patio. From left: Hotel Director of Sales Christine Peacock; Red Cross chapter Major Gift Officer Colleen Kean; hotel General Manager Carolyn Guyer; hotel Sales and Catering Assistant Anne Klingensmith; Red Cross chapter Executive Director Joel Robinson, and hotel Executive Administrative Assistant Ruth Sprague.

Hospital now offering a 'Patient Portal'

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 28, 2015 -- Schuyler Hospital and its clinics have begun offering a “Patient Portal” -- an opt-in opportunity for patients to access personal health information on-line.

Patients can register when they visit their primary care physician, or when they are at the hospital for an in-patient stay or Emergency Department visit.

Accessible information varies, but may include details of the patient’s most recent visits, including blood pressure, heart rate, health care provider’s care instructions, medication list, and more. All information is provided in a secure record available only to the patient and hospital care team.

Those who have signed up with their primary care provider may also use the Portal to request an appointment with their provider – though this is not intended for same day or emergency needs.

The service is free to patients, and offered through RelayHealth. Additional tools and communication services may be added at a later date.

To learn more, visit Anyone with questions may contact RelayHealth Customer Support at: 1-866-RELAYME (1-866-735-2963).

To contact Schuyler Hospital, call (607) 535-7121 or email

Glenora hires Assistant Winemaker

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, Jan. 23, 2015 -- Glenora Wine Cellars has announced the hiring of Sean Gilchrist as Assistant Winemaker.

Gilchrist is a graduate of Villanova University and currently working toward his Winemaking Certificate through the University of California, Davis. He most recently served as Harvest Assistant Winemaker at Hyde de Villaine in Napa, California and as an Intern with ROAR/August West wines in San Francisco, where he produced a small batch of Pinot Noir under a personal label.

“Sean’s youth and enthusiasm are invaluable as Glenora strategizes for the future,” said Gene Pierce, owner of Glenora Wine Cellars. “We look forward to utilizing Sean’s previous experiences and approach toward winemaking to grow our red program.”

Prior to his work in California, Gilchrist traveled throughout the world working in hospitality and interning at wineries, including By Farr Winery in Geelong, Australia, Terroirs in London, and Domaine Dujac in Morey St. Denis, France.

Regarding his new position, Gilchrist said the following: “As the region continues to evolve, so does Glenora, and I’m excited to join a team that continues to innovate and push boundaries in the industry. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from Steve DiFrancesco as well, whose wealth of experiences with various climate conditions and production techniques over 25 years in Finger Lakes is endless.”

Glenora Wine Cellars, a pioneer in the Finger Lakes wine industry, has been producing award-winning wines for over 36 years. Owners Gene Pierce and Scott Welliver also own Knapp Winery & Vineyard Restaurant on Cayuga Lake. Knapp is a boutique winery with 60 acres of some of the oldest vineyards in the Finger Lakes Region, producing grapes for a variety of Knapp wines since 1982. In 2013 Pierce and Welliver purchased Chateau LaFayette Reneau on the east side of Seneca Lake. The 120-acre property contains 51 acres of meticulously maintained vinifera plantings. Pierce and Welliver maintain the three wineries as separate entities, each having its own distinct and unique identity.

Cargill awards grant to Arc of Schuyler

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 23, 2015 -- Michael Larkin was grinning ear to ear as he and the executive director of The Arc of Schuyler accepted a $5,000 check from Keith Klug, plant manager of Cargill in Watkins Glen.

This is the second consecutive year The Arc has received a grant from Cargill to help meets its health and wellness goals.

The grant will support The Arc’s health and wellness initiatives including hands-on training in nutrition, smart shopping, healthy cooking, and fitness opportunities like Zumba classes. Larkin is one of many people receiving supports through The Arc who has benefitted from the programs over the past two years.

“I’ve lost weight since I started eating better, drinking water, and walking more,” Larkin said. “I love Zumba too.”

“Obesity is a critical issue for people with disabilities across the country. We formed a health and wellness committee at The Arc to coordinate opportunities for people learn about healthy food choices, right-size portions, and have fun being physically active,” Frank said. “This is a great partnership with Cargill, and thanks to their support people are making healthier choices and moving more.”

The Arc of Schuyler is a not-for-profit an organization providing supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For more information, visit or call 607.535.6934.

Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 131,000 people in 66 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit .

Photo in text: The Arc of Schuyler in Watkins Glen received a $5,000 check from Cargill to use toward its health and wellness programs for people with developmental disabilities. From left, Keith Klug, Cargill plant manager; Michael Larkin, program participant; and Jeannette Frank, Arc of Schuyler executive director. (Photo provided)

Heavily Brewing Co. opens in Montour

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Nov. 21, 2014 -- Heavily Brewing Company (HBC) -- a new brewpub and brewhouse -- is open for business in Montour Falls.

Founded by partners Jason & Lindsay Dechow and Wayne & Laura Lynch, HBC says its aims to become the place to find and enjoy "the best craft brews the Finger Lakes has to offer." The brewpub has 15 taps which will have a variety of 10 beers from other local farm breweries and, soon, HBC beers and hard cider. The business locale is a countryside setting.

“We are strong advocates for craft beers, the Finger Lakes and New York State – what better place to build our dream?" said partner Lindsay Dechow. “If you want to taste what the Finger Lakes and New York State have to offer in craft beers, this will be the place to be.”

To celebrate, HBC will be hosting a Grand Opening party on November 29 at 6 p.m. Starting at 7 p.m., NEO Quartet will be performing a unique blend of blues, funk and jazz. "We’ll have specials," the owners say, and food available for purchase from Global Taco and Smoke-On-the-Water BBQ.

About Heavily Brewing Company

Heavily Brewing Company is located at 2471 Hayes Road, Montour Falls, NY 14865. Regular hours are Wednesday-Sunday from 12 noon-10 p.m.

For more information, call 607-535-BREW(2739), email, like them on FaceBook, follow them on Twitter (@heavilybrewing) or check them out online at

WGI plans to repave track in 2015

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, November 7, 2014 -- Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup announced Wednesday that the historic track will conduct a repaving project in the summer of 2015. It is the first time the track will be repaved since 1998.

The repave will begin with “The Boot” in July, followed by the short course immediately following the Cheez-It™ 355 at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend in August. The repave is slated for completion in advance of the 2016 race season.

“This is a significant project for Watkins Glen International, our competitors, fans and track rental customers,” Printup said. “The repave is a tremendous undertaking and next summer is the right time to begin this historic project and prepare The Glen for the future.”

Asphalt specialists and engineers conducted a thorough evaluation of The Glen’s entire circuit and recommended the current timeline. Further details and project specifics will be released at a later date.

As a result of the repave, the Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix presented by Welliver will take place July 24-26. Information regarding renewals and ticket sales will be shared with customers in the coming weeks.

Fans will be able to witness the project from the Fans R1st Viewing Area in the Argetsinger Grandstand. That area will continue to be free and open to the public through the end of October. Fans will also be able to follow the progress of the project via Facebook, Twitter and

Vickios donate sign to Humane Society

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 17, 2014 -- Tony and Harriet Vickio of Vickio Signs recently donated a sign to mark the new location of The Schuyler County Humane Society of Schuyler County at 124 Marina Drive in Montour Falls.

“We truly appreciate the Vickios' generosity and are pleased to have such a professional sign representing our organization," said Humane Society President Georgie Taylor. "The success of our organization is very much dependent on the generous contributions of members of the community like the Vickios."

Said the Vickios: "As avid animal lovers, we are very pleased to contribute to such a wonderful organization as the Humane Society.”

The Humane Society purchased the former Kurtz Enterprises building in October 2011 and has been working to raise the necessary funds to renovate the facility since that time. As the project nears completion, the organization will consolidate all of its operations into one centrally located facility to better serve the needs of the community. The facility will provide cat and dog sheltering and adoptions, low cost spay/neuter services for the pets of income eligible county residents and educational services under one roof. The $900,000 project is expected to be largely completed by year end.

Incorporated in 1987, The Humane Society of Schuyler County is the only full-service animal welfare organization serving the needs of county residents. A 501c3 corporation, it remains largely volunteer-based with a small shelter staff. Funding is through donations, memberships, grants and fund-raising events. To adopt, volunteer or donate, or for additional information, contact the Humane Society at 607-594-2255 or visit the website at

Photo in text: Present for the Humane Society of Schuyler County sign donation were, on the right, Tony and Harriet Vickio of Vickio Signs, along with Humane Society President Georgie Taylor. Also present at left were, from left, Robert Grotke, John Herbert and Susan Herbert of The Humane Society. (Photo by Don Romeo)

Chamber adopts LPG storage resolution

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 20, 2014 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Wednesday approved a resolution taking a middle-of-the-road approach to the controversy surrounding Crestwood's plan to store LPG gas in depleted salt caverns to the west of Seneca Lake.

The board approved 11-2, with one abstention, a recommended Government Affairs Committee resolution reading: "The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce urges its elected officials to make a timely decision on the proposed LPG Gas Storage Project in the Town of Reading in an environmentally sound manner."

According to Chamber President Rebekah LaMoreaux, the action was taken after the Chamber was asked "to take an official position against" the proposed storage project.

The committee recommendation, she added, "was based upon the following discussion items: the tremendous amount of conflicting data that exists on the proposed project and the chamber’s role in the community to unite its members."

A proposed amendment was defeated 9-3, with two abstentions. It read: "The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce supports Tourism Growth & Community Tradition and Growth (Strategic Plan 2015-2017, Values 4 & 6) and urges state agencies and the Governor to make the decision on the proposed LPG Gas Storage Project in the Town of Reading based on the environmental, safety, and economic impacts to Seneca Lake, State Route 14, the Village of Watkins Glen, Schuyler County, and the Watkins Glen State Park."

Chateau LaFayette Reneau celebrates victory in Governor's Cup competition

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Aug. 15, 2014 -- Chateau LaFayette Reneau is celebrating an outstanding achievement -- victory by its 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling in competition for the prestigious 2014 Governor’s Cup. The award was announced at the annual New York Wine and Food Classic award ceremony at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel on August 13.

“We are extremely proud to have been awarded the 2014 Governor’s Cup," said Gene Pierce (pictured at right), owner and partner. "This award continues the legacy of Dick and Betty Reno and the excellent reputation of the wines at Chateau LaFayette Reneau, and we couldn’t be happier. My partner Scott Welliver and I, along with the Team at Chateau LaFayette Reneau, have the utmost confidence in the future of the winery and its wines, both in the Finger Lakes and beyond, and we invite you to come and experience them.”

With the addition of this award, winemaker Tim Miller celebrates a career total of three Governor’s Cups during his tenure at Chateau LaFayette Reneau, the first of which came in 1998, followed by 2000, and again in 2014.

"Tim Miller has again proven himself as one of the premier winemakers in the Finger Lakes and New York with this Governor's Cup honor -- the latest in a long string,” said Jim Trezise, President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. “He is a great example of someone who has learned from the bottom up, starting 34 years ago as a cellar hand at Glenora Wine Cellars and over the years learning how to combine the science and art of winemaking. Even better, he is one of the nicest guys in our industry."

The award-winning 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling is an estate grown and bottled wine, coming from four different Riesling vineyards on the winery property, which is located on the east side of Seneca Lake. The wine is available in the tasting room and soon will be available at fine wine shops and restaurants.

Established in 1985, Chateau LaFayette Reneau has been a producer of premium, award-winning wines for the past 28 years, garnering both national and international recognition. Located on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake, the 140-acre property contains 51 acres of meticulously maintained vinifera plantings and The Inn at Chateau LaFayette Reneau, a fully restored five-bedroom farmhouse.

Photo in text: Gene Pierce

Schumer visits Arc of Schuyler

Special to
The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 9, 2014 -- U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer visited The Arc of Schuyler on Friday to express his support for the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.

The legislation would create tax-advantaged savings accounts for family members of persons with developmental disabilities to help cover critical education, medical care, support services, employment training, housing, and transportation services related to those disabilities.

“A great concern for families who have a child with a disability is: ‘How do I plan for their future?’,” said The Arc of Schuyler’s Executive Director, Jeannette Frank. “The ABLE Act would provide families with a new tool by allowing the establishment of tax-free accounts to help meet the extra expenses people with disabilities incur. It would be a great benefit for many people.”

Photo in text: From left: The Arc of Schuyler’s Executive Director, Jeannette Frank; The Arc of Yates Board President, Ann McMullen; Senator Charles Schumer; and Chemung ARC Residential Services Director Sean Eagan. (Photo provided)

Oncology Services to be available locally

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 26, 2014 -- Physicians from Oncology Services of Cayuga Medical Associates will soon be seeing patients at Dr. James Winkler’s office in Montour Falls, Schuyler Hospital has announced.

Beginning July 30, Timothy Bael MD, Charles Garbo MD, and Julie Campbell MD, will be seeing patients in the office at 216 Montour Street, Montour Falls.

To make an appointment, call Cayuga Hematology Oncology Associates at (607) 272-5414.

Dr. Bael earned his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (Pittsburgh, PA), and performed his Residency in Internal Medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center (New York City, NY). He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology.

Dr. Garbo earned his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Vermont College of Medicine (Burlington, VT), and performed his Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at Saint Vincent’s Hospital (Worcester, MA). He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Oncology.

Dr. Campbell earned her Doctor of Medicine from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Brooklyn (New York, NY), and performed her Residency in Internal Medicine at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center (New York City, NY). She is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Oncology.

Dr. Winkler is employed by the Cayuga Center for Wound Healing, while also seeing family medicine patients at his Montour Falls office.

Oncology Services of CMA at Schuyler offers patients a comprehensive approach to treating cancer close to home. Cayuga’s team of medical oncologists strive to provide coordinated, compassionate care. Their aim: to meet the needs of cancer patients and their families with an interdisciplinary team of professionals who deliver services from diagnosis through treatment.

Cayuga’s cancer specialists treat cancers of the breast, lung, digestive tract, colon and rectum, skin, prostate, genitals and urinary tract, pancreas, head and neck, bone, muscle, lymph nodes (lymphoma), and blood (leukemia).

From left at the Arc of Schuyler annual meeting: Glen Industries Sales Representative Joe Mullaney; Multi Media Services owner Dan Flat with his Customer Appreciation Award; Glen Industries Director Brian Bockelkamp; and Steuben County GOP Chair Joe Sempolinski, who is also Congressman Tom Reed's District Director. (Photo provided)

Arc opens doors, dispenses honors at its annual meeting

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 21, 2014 -- The Arc of Schuyler opened its doors to the public on Thursday, June 19 for an Open House and annual meeting.

Arc members and guests enjoyed tours and viewed displays of the range of services and opportunities offered through The Arc as well as its social enterprises: Franklin Street Gallery, Schuyler County Transit, Seneca Shine Auto Detailing, and Glen Industries.

Guests were greeted at the entrance by a vehicle detailed by Seneca Shine workers, on display courtesy of Maguire Chrysler in Watkins Glen. Chef William Cornelius provided hors d’oeuvres with his line of gourmet items produced and packaged through Glen Industries food co-packing service.

The Arc’s executive director, Jeannette Frank, introduced the theme of the evening -- “Communities Connected” -- citing many partnerships that make it possible for The Arc to provide meaningful volunteer, employment, and other opportunities for people with disabilities. Frank also referenced The Arc of Schuyler and Arc of Yates’ recent announcement that the chapters will merge sometime in 2015 and introduced leadership members of the Yates chapter.

Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) was the keynote speaker for the event.

Dan Flat, the owner of Multi Media Services in Corning, was presented with the Customer Appreciation Award for partnering with Glen Industries to provide valuable training and work opportunities. Multi Media Services frequently contracts with Glen Industries for both national and international mailing projects.

Steven Spina of Beaver Dams, a 12-year employee of The Arc, received the Direct Support Professional Excellence Award. The recognition is presented annually to a direct support professional who demonstrates leadership, creativity, and dedication to providing quality care to people with developmental disabilities.

Members of The Arc meet annually to elect board directors and officers. Directors elected were Harold J. Hoffmeier, Jr., Marcia Kasprzyk, Michael Stamp and Nancy Thomas to three-year terms ending in June 2017, and Veronica Lewis, Andrew Manzer and Donald Stocum to one-year terms ending June 2015.

Officers elected with terms ending June 2015 were as follows: President, Michael Stamp; Vice-President, Harold J. Hoffmeier, Jr.; Treasurer, Michael DeNardo; and Secretary, Matthew Hayden.

The Arc of Schuyler is a family based not-for-profit organization that provides residential, vocational, day support, job training, service coordination, advocacy and other supports to people with developmental disabilities. For information, visit or call 607-535-6934.

Photos in text:

Top: Steven Spina (center) accepted the Direct Support Professional Excellence Award alongside his son (right). Self-Advocate Teresa Higbie (left) nominated Spina and helped present the award.

Bottom: Keynote speaker Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of SCOPED. (Photos provided)

Hazlitt, Swedish Hill take top wine honors

Special to The Odessa File

SYRACUSE, June 18, 2014 -- Two Finger Lakes wineries have captured top honors in the New York State Fair's commercial wine competition.

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards of Hector won Best of Show for its 2012 Solera Sherry, which was also victorious in the Best Dessert/Fortified Wine category.

Swedish Hill Winery of Romulus won the Best Winery title for the second straight year after capturing 19 awards, including five "double golds," the top rating awarded to competitors.

In a new event this year, two days of seminars during the fair -- which runs from Aug. 21 to Sept. 1 -- will focus on wines from Hazlitt and Swedish Hill.

Twenty-five percent of the 330 wine entries earned awards, up from last year's 15 percent. The number of double golds tripled, to 43.

Among the winners was Glenora Wine Cellars, which won the Best White Award for its 2013 Riesling, and Earle Estates Meadery, which won for Best Mead.

Celebrity scooper Tim O'Hearn digs deep for some ice cream.

Ben & Jerry's holds Grand Opening

WATKINS GLEN, June 11, 2014 -- They came by the hundreds Tuesday -- customers seeking a scoop of free ice cream on Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream shop at 418 N. Franklin Street during its daylong Grand Opening celebration.

The shop, which held a soft opening on Memorial Day weekend and has been attracting a substantial number of ice-cream lovers since, offered a free cone to each customer Tuesday, many of the cones prepared by celebrity scoopers helping regular staff behind the counter.

The celebration featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony overseen by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and business owners Jim Guild and son Jamie 12 noon. Jim Guild used the occasion to present a check for $5,000 to the Humane Society of Schuyler County for its capital campaign. The Humane Society is renovating a building on Marina Drive in Montour Falls, which will serve as a shelter for cats and dogs, and as headquarters for all of the organization's operations.

Jim Guild, in his address before cutting the ribbon, touched on the nature of Ben & Jerry's, a company he said "is very supportive" and one "that gives back to the community." Reflecting that philosophy, he presented the check to Humane Society President Georgie Taylor on behalf of his family. "We're all animal lovers," he said, adding: "We think so highly of you and your organization."

Taylor responded that "Jim is a strong supporter of our organization," including in his role as "landlord of Wags to Riches," a Humane Society-run store on Franklin Street. Holding the check, she told the crowd that "this will go a long way to reach our goal in our capital campaign."

The Ben & Jerry's celebration ran until 8 p.m., with various celebrity scoopers helping scoop and hand the free ice-cream cones to customers. The store was periodically inundated with floods of customers descending all at once, keeping the help busy.

Celebrity scoopers in the first hour were Rev. Michael Hartney and County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, who each had a role in the ribbon-cutting celebration. O'Hearn addressed an audience on the sidewalk in front of the store, calling Jim Guild "a pioneer" who has "set the bar high and set the stage for what we have today" in the Watkins Glen downtown community -- "a string of new businesses."

After O'Hearn's address, remarks by Guild, and the check presentation, the ribbon was cut by Guild. Then Reverend Hartney concluded the ceremony with a prayer.

Then both he and O'Hearn entered the store, rolled up their sleeves and started working. They were followed in hour-long segments by various other locals of note, including Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah LaMoreaux, District Attorney Joe Fazzary, Watkins School Superintendent Tom Phillips, Watkins Glen High School Principal Dave Warren, and Phil and Mary Barnes, among others.

Before the first five hours had transpired, Jamie Guild, who manages the store, reported that five cases of cones -- with 200 cones per case -- had been used already, with three hours remaining in the Free Cone Day.

While the day was all about those cones, succeeding days and weeks and months will focus on an array of ice-cream products offered to hungry customers. Not just an ice cream store, Ben & Jerry’s also offers catering services and cakes for special occasions.

Photos in text:

Top: Jamie Guild hands a cone to a customer on Free Cone Day, part of the Ben & Jerry store's Grand Opening celebration.

Second: Business was brisk at the Grand Opening.

Third: Happy customers Peggy Tomassi, left, and Stacy Husted stopped by.

Fourth: Celebrity scoopers Phil and Mary Barnes served ice cream during the 5 p.m to 6 p.m. shift.

Ceremony welcomes Frozen Yogurt business

WATKINS GLEN, May 30, 2014 -- Since a soft opening nearly three weeks ago, the foot traffic at Finger Lakes Frozen Yogurt, 215 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen, has been gratifying for business owner Butch Monroe.

Thursday, the opening was made official with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the store.

Monroe, who with his wife Marilyn bought the building in March after selling a bed-and-breakfast they ran in Elmira, was front and center at the ribbon-cutting, thanking those who have thus far visited the shop and purchased yogurt as the business builds a customer base with an eye toward operating year-round.

"We've had tourists come in, and for that we are grateful," he said, "but it's the local residents who we will depend on. And we've been overwhelmed by the local support. We've seen far more local people than tourists."

Monroe said he got the idea for a non-franchise, self-serve yogurt shop from a similar operation he encountered on the Outer Banks. He talked to that operation's owner, and in an exchange of emails the man imparted ideas to Monroe for equipment purchases and other aspects of the business.

Monroe has as his manager his granddaughter, Brittany Oliver. He said she was "otherwise gainfully employed" when he approached her with the idea of the shop, and of her running it. She is a Watkins Glen High School graduate (maiden name Blaha) whose husband Steven works for the railroad in Corning. The couple and their two daughters live outside Watkins Glen.

Monroe used to work in Watkins Glen, back in the late '60s and early '70s, at the Glen National Bank. He and his wife reside now in Elmira.

At the Grand Opening ribbon-cutting, County Administrator Tim O'Hearn thanked the Monroes for their "vision and investment in our community." And O'Hearn, holding a cup of vanilla-and-orange yogurt in his hand, said he could "personally testify that the product is outstanding."

Business hours during the summer, Monroe said, are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. A room in the rear of the building is set up for meetings and parties.

On each third Monday of the month, Monroe added, 30 percent of the profits during a four-hour period (3-7 p.m.) will be designated for deserving groups, such as youth organizations or church groups. He said any groups interested in "getting on the list" may contact him by calling 607-210-4029.

Photos in text:

Top: Just before the ribbon-cutting. From left are Rebekah LaMoreaux, president of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, store manager Brittany Oliver with daughter Allyson, Butch and Marilyn Monroe, and County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.

Middle: Butch Monroe addresses those gathered for the ribbon-cutting.

Bottom: Inside the store. The self-serve yogurt is dispensed through the machines on the left.

Child care center has new director

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 10, 2014 -- Brooke Bennett of Corning has been appointed as director of My Place, A Play and Learning Center, located in the former Rural Urban Center in Montour Falls.

She succeeds Audrey Edmister, the director since the child care facility opened a couple of years ago. The rest of the building -- which formerly held offices and a community room -- now contains apartments.

Bennett will oversee daily operations of the non-profit center, which serves children ages 6 weeks to 12 years, Monday through Friday, year-round. Center hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bennett has worked in early childhood education and care for 12 years, including most recently five years at the Nonnie Hood Parent Resource Center in Corning. She has a master’s degree in education from Elmira College.

The community may meet Bennett at an open house on April 22 from 6-7:30 p.m. at My Place, 208 W. Broadway St., Montour Falls.

Parents interested in My Place may learn more by visiting the website or by calling (607) 535-8908.

Photo in text: Brooke Bennett (Photo provided)

Dandy Donation

Cyndi Bird, left, manager of the Dandy Mini Mart in Alpine Junction, presents Jeannette Frank, Executive Director of The Arc of Schuyler, with a donation check to help support The Arc in its mission to provide supports and services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. Dandy Mini Mart customers contributed throughout the holiday season, and donations were given to local charities, including The Arc. (Photo provided)

Floor plan of the renovated Schuyler Hospital. (Provided)

Hospital's new Main Entrance includes Centralized Outpatient Registration

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 20, 2014 -- With Schuyler Hospital’s new Main Entrance now open, hospital patients and visitors should be aware of several changes.

Monday through Friday, from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., anyone coming to the hospital for outpatient services (Lab, Radiology, Cardio-Pulmonary, Pain, and Surgery) should enter through the new Main Entrance to register, and then be escorted to those services by staff. Non-emergency registration is now centralized inside the new Main Entrance, and staff will assist patients and visitors in finding their way through the renovated facility.

Patients coming to the Emergency Department for Emergency Services should still enter at the Emergency Entrance on the west side of the hospital.

On evenings and weekends, registration for outpatient services will still be conducted at the Emergency Department Admissions Desk.

Orthopedics and Sports Medicine patients, as well as those seeing surgeons in-office, should enter through the Main Entrance and turn right, then left at the end of the new Public Corridor. Hospital visitors should also enter through the Main Entrance, and turn right, then right again at the end of the new Public Corridor to the Medical/Surgical unit.

The new Public Corridor now includes Lab Check-In, Information Desk, centralized Registration for outpatient services, a private consult room for surgeons to speak to family members of patients, a Meditation Room, expanded patient and family waiting areas, and a brand new Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop. Human Resources and other administrative offices are also being relocated to this new corridor.

A separate Service Corridor allows patients to transition seamlessly, and out of the public eye, from the Emergency Department to the Clinical Laboratory to Radiology to surgical suites that will be fully renovated by early this spring.

The $6.45 million project is possible thanks to a New York State Department of Health HEAL grant award. Funds will enable the hospital to deliver more efficient, higher quality care through restructuring and realigning operations, specifically in the outpatient areas of clinical laboratory, radiology, and surgical services, including the operating rooms. A new front face of the hospital and public hallway is also part of the project.

For more information, keep an eye on for project updates.

Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop is open

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 15, 2014 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary's new Gift Shop, located just inside the hospital's new Main Entrance, is now open for business.

Shoppers can stop in anytime Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. In addition to cards and gifts for patients and Seneca View residents, and snacks for visitors, the Gift Shop offers a wide variety of upscale items.

Current inventory includes jewelry, scarves, and a number of gift items for any occasion.

“We are so excited to open our new Gift Shop, and invite people to stop in, even if they are not visiting the hospital,” said Joanne McLaine, Chair of the Auxiliary’s Gift Shop Committee. “We are not your typical hospital gift shop, and we’d love the chance to show everyone that!”

The gift shop closed last year during hospital renovations, and was relocated from downstairs to upstairs in the newly renovated front lobby.

For more information, call Schuyler Hospital at (607) 535-7121 or email

Hospital announces winner of Dollhouse

Special to
The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 13, 2014 -- Just in time for the holidays, the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary pulled the winning ticket for a hand-crafted, three-story dollhouse.

The winner is Jan Augustino of Campell, NY. Augustino purchased her ticket at the office of Dr. John Carozza, DDS, who built and donated the dollhouse.

Proceeds from fundraisers such as the dollhouse raffle go to the Auxiliary, to help with projects and equipment for Schuyler Hospital.

Note: The new Schuyler Auxiliary Gift Shop, now located inside the hospital’s new Main Entrance, will be opening soon -- with many unique gift items.

The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary was formally organized in 1969, bringing together the hospital’s Pink Ladies (formed in 1952) with members of the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour Hospital Guilds, both active since the 1920s. The volunteer-powered Auxiliary continues to help the hospital to this day.

For more information, to donate or to volunteer, visit

Photo in text: Jan Augustino (left), shows her winning ticket for the hand-crafted, three-story dollhouse from the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary, with Auxiliary President Carol Bower at her side. (Photo provided)

Vedder & Scott business changes hands

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 6, 2014 - The Vedder & Scott Funeral Home in Montour Falls is under new management.

The new owner, David Zinger, says in a press release that he will continue to serve Schuyler County and its surrounding communities "with the same family tradition of quality and personalized service" established 64 years ago by Earl Vedder and Wendell Scott and maintained by Fred Scott to the present day.

"Fred," the release says, "will work alongside David to provide a seamless transition into this great community. Fred will also continue to assist with services as he eases into retirement."

Zinger, a licensed funeral director for over 17 years, "is committed to treating all families with dignity, integrity, and a high level of compassion," the release adds. He is a graduate of Simmons Institute of Funeral Service in Syracuse and has spent his career "helping people through the grief process with attentiveness and care."

Zinger and his wife, Tiffany, will reside in Montour Falls with their three young children.

The Scott family, the release says, "would like to express their gratitude to all those who have allowed them to serve their family’s needs for so many years. They are confident the community will appreciate and embrace David as he carries on the Vedder & Scott traditions and standards."

See our Wine & Tourism Page here.

Hospital's Dr. William Saks retiring

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Nov. 13, 2013 -- After 23 years of what Schuyler Hospital officials call "compassionate and dedicated service" – 15 of those with the hospital -- Dr. William Saks, D.O., has announced he will retire on December 31.

A long-term member of Schuyler’s medical staff, Dr. Saks has played a large part in the history of the hospital and in shaping and developing women’s health care services there.

Over the next two months, he will be working with his staff and others to ensure that the change for his current patients to other Schuyler providers will be a seamless and positive transition. He will also be providing his knowledge and advice as Schuyler explores OB/Gyn options.

In his years at Schuyler Hospital, Dr. Saks has delivered what he guesses to be over 10,200 babies, and has watched many of them grow. He is a strong advocate of women’s healthcare, and in 2009 was named the Dr. Gary Ogden Rural Practitioner of the Year by the New York State Association for Rural Health -- nominated by his peers. Dr. Saks was also honorary chair for the Schuyler Health Foundation’s 2012 Annual Campaign for Schuyler Hospital, along with his son, Ben, now also a D.O. and working at Schuyler Hospital since 2011; and Dr. James Norton, retired from Schuyler.

He is listed in the Marquis Who’s Who, and “The Leading Physicians of the World” North America edition 2011-12.

Prior to coming to Schuyler Hospital, Saks was an Assistant Clinical Professor of OB/Gyn at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathy. He was a Chairman and Treasurer of District 3 of the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association, as well as a member of the Pennsylvania State Osteopathic Medical Society, for which he chaired a number of committees.

A music lover and pianist, Dr. Saks was the organizer of Schuyler Hospital’s staff and family talent show in 2007 – a fundraiser for the hospital. He has poems published in two anthologies in the Library of Congress.

Well wishes may be sent to Dr. William Saks c/o Schuyler Hospital, 220 Steuben Street, Montour Falls, NY 14865, or via email at

Photo in text: Dr. William Saks. (Photo provided)

Hospital welcomes Hinterberger practice

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 28, 2013 -- Schuyler Hospital recently welcomed Joseph Hinterberger, MD, FAAFP, DABFM, and his Dundee-based family practice to the hospital’s network of providers.

“Dr. Hinterberger has long been an active physician and a huge supporter at Schuyler Hospital, and we are pleased to welcome him, Malia Compese, Amanda Cady, Shelly Moore and Carolyn Shaver to our Schuyler Hospital family,” said Andy Manzer, President/CEO of Schuyler Hospital.

Dr. Hinterberger’s office remains open in its current location with new signage denoting it as a Schuyler Hospital clinic. Patients of Dr. Hinterberger’s are now directly connected to all the services Schuyler Hospital offers, including new services recently added through the hospital’s affiliation with Cayuga Medical Center – orthopedics and sports medicine, anesthesia, pathology, cardiology and general surgery.

For further information, contact Dr. Hinterberger’s office at (607) 243-8311 or Schuyler Hospital at (607) 535-7121. Or email Schuyler Hospital at

Photo in text: Staff at the Joseph Hinterberger Family Practice (l to r): Malia Compese, Carolyn Shaver, Dr. Joseph Hinterberger, Shelly Moore, and Amanda Cady.

Ribbon cut at Flowers & Gifts store

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 14, 2013 -- Montour Falls has brought flowers to Main Street. The opening of Montour Falls Flowers & Gifts, a full-service flower and specialty shop at 314 W. Main St., occurred on Sept. 30.

The event was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 10 arranged by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Owners Yvonne and Ed Stone explain that "It is our mission to provide the customer with the highest quality flowers, artistically arranged, attractively packaged and delivered safely, in a timely fashion while never forgetting value.”

In addition to flowers, the shop will offer gift baskets made from New York products, fruit baskets, silk arrangements, gift glass items blown in the Corning area, personalized gift cards, and other gift items.

Montour Falls Flowers & Gifts delivers flowers the same day to all residents and businesses within Schuyler County.

Photo in text: Present at the ribbon-cutting were, from left: Carmella Hoffman of the Schuyler County Women's Small Business Collaborative, Chamber President/CEO Rebekah LaMoreaux, business owners Ed and Yvonne Stone, Mayor John King, and Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn. (Photo provided)

Congressman Tom Reed is interviewed by a YNN reporter during his Bergen visit.

Reed visits Bergen Farms, touts immigration reform

ODESSA, April 10, 2013 -- Congressman Tom Reed paid a visit Tuesday morning to Bergen Farms outside Odessa in order to focus attention on an effort he is backing to reform immigration law to help year-round farmers find "a stable, legal workforce."

The reforms will be included this week in what Reed said was a comprehensive reform package. "The broken H-2A program must be transformed to allow New York’s agriculture industry to reach its full potential," he said, adding:

“We recognize there are problems with the current program, so we’re focusing on reforms, not a program we already know is broken and fails to meet the needs of farmers. Our ultimate goal is ensuring farmers have access to a stable, legal, qualified workforce. It’s about whether or not our farmers can harvest their crops and it’s about helping the number one industry in New York.”

The H-2A program provides a means for seasonal agriculture employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring foreign workers to this country on a temporary "guest labor" basis. Year-round dairy operations are not included.

Saying the federal government should provide a solution to farmers’ worker needs, Reed will reintroduce the Family Farm Relief Act, a bill he previously introduced with Reps. Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Bill Owens (D-NY).

“Agriculture brings affordable, locally grown food to our families’ kitchen tables," he said, "and an effective system means our farmers can continue to produce a safe, abundant food supply.”

Reed is working on provisions to include dairy farms in the H-2A program and to move administration of the H-2A program from the Department of Labor to the Department of Agriculture -- and allow farmers to co-op workers with other farms.

“Operations like Bergen Farms here in Odessa are small businesses (that) need certainty in order to make decisions for their operations,” Reed continued. “A stable, legal workforce is central to that certainty and will have a positive economic impact felt locally. We need to put our farmers in a position where they have a reliable workforce to meet their demand and do what they do best.”

Both the House and Senate are currently working on immigration reform plans. For many, agricultural provisions will be essential in broader immigration reform.

Bergen Farms partner Jim Bergen said that while he hires immigrant labor outside of the H-2A program, it is limited to those with proper documentation. The system would be far easier, he said, with immigration reform along the lines Reed is seeking -- reducing paperwork and increasing both the available workforce and operational efficiency.

The Bergen operation has 2,100 milking cows and a total herd of 4,600 at its Odessa facility. It also operates two other dairy farms in the area. In order to run its business effectively, it needs about 50 employees -- not always an easy number to attain.

New York Farm Bureau Field Advisor Lindsay Wickham, present to greet Reed at Bergen Farms, said a stable workforce will be even more essential in the future, since consumer demand will continue to increase.

Photos in text:

From top: Stephanie Bergen of Bergen Farms listens to Congressman Reed; Stephanie's husband Jim speaks to a reporter; and Lindsay Wickham, Area Field Advisor for the New York Farm Bureau, who was also on hand for Reed's visit.

The backdrop for Reed's visit and for interviews with area media: one of the many dairy facilities that are part of the extensive Bergen operation.

Paige Quinlan welcomes a customer. Others pictured are, from left, Nancy Kenney, John Quinlan and Mike Rossettie.

Quinlan's Pharmacy opens its doors for business in Montour

MONTOUR FALLS, Aug. 22, 2012 -- Quinlan's Pharmacy opened for business Wednesday morning, welcoming customers who for years had utilized the Montour Pharmacy's services. The Montour Pharmacy, located a block east, closed last December.

On hand for the "soft" Quinlan opening -- accomplished with little fanfare, but with a ribbon-cutting ceremony planned sometime next month -- were the store's owner, John Quinlan of Wayland; his daughter Paige, a senior at Wayland High School; Jessica Pompeo, the store's operations director -- who works as a rule at the Quinlan's flagship store in Wayland -- and Supervising Pharmacist Mike Rossettie, who used to co-own Rossettie's Pharmacy in Corning.

There were also a number of familiar local faces.

Former Montour Pharmacy employees Janet Collins (front clerk), Nancy Kenney (medical equipment and pharmacy), Susan Crofoot and Melanie Blauvelt (pharmacy technicians), Sandy Stillman (pharmacy clerk), and Kevin Greuber (store manager) were all on hand, greeting incoming customers.

And there was a steady stream of those customers through the morning, although some just came by to wish the new venture well.

"It seems good seeing all our regular people here," said one customer, motioning to several employees. "It's like home."

Said another: "I'm so glad to see so many old friends we got to know at Montour Pharmacy."

The old pharmacy was closed in December 2011 when its owner, Henderson Drugs, sold the business to CVS, which promptly closed it. Pharmacy customers from Montour then had to switch to another locale, with many going to CVS (in Watkins Glen) and others to Walmart.

Local leaders reacted quickly to the closing, mounting a search that located the Quinlan's operation -- described as a "community-oriented" business -- and reaching an agreement for it to set up shop in a vacant building at 336 W. Main Street that had formerly housed the Office for the Aging.

Quinlan's finished its renovation there weeks ago, and then secured the necessary licenses for the pharmacy operation.

The new business looks and smells new. It has an array of merchandise, from gift cards to school and office supplies to seasonal items to gifts. It also carries soda pop, and will have newspapers in a couple of weeks. And, of course, it has a pharmacy, located in the rear section of the facility.

Quinlan's now has four stores -- its pharmacies in Wayland and Montour Falls, and medical equipment stores in Geneseo and Canandaigua. The Montour site has some DME's (durable medical equipment), and can take orders for equipment not on hand.

There is plenty of parking behind the store in a lot that was recently graded and filled with stones, and there is an easy-access rear entrance to the business.

The store's hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. It is closed on Sundays.

Paige Quinlan summed up the opening day -- a day of activity and optimism -- with succinctness. "We're glad to be here," she said.

(Meanwhile: Part of the old Montour Pharmacy building is being turned into The Village Bakery, which a sign on the front of the building indicates was supposed to open in late July, but which now is not expected to open until next month, at the earliest. Workers were busy inside Wednesday morning, renovating.)

Photos in text:

Top: Store workers on opening day included, from left, owner John Quinlan, his daughter Paige, pharmacy technicians Susan Crofoot and Melanie Blauvelt, pharmacy clerk Sandy Stillman, Supervising Pharmacist Mike Rossettie, front clerk Janet Collins, employee Nancy Kenney (medical equipment and pharmacy), store manager Kevin Greuber, and operations director Jessica Pompeo.

Middle: Montour Falls Mayor John King visited with store employees Melanie Blauvelt, center, and Janet Collins.

Bottom: Jessica Pompeo, left, and Kevin Greuber tape letters to the front windows that spelled out "We are open."

Cabezas joins Hunt engineering firm

HORSEHEADS, Aug. 21, 2012 -- Catharine resident Howard Cabezas has joined Hunt Engineers, Architects & Land Surveyors, P.C. as a mechanical engineer with a specialty in HVAC systems.

Cabezas has experience in designing complete mechanical heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, including digital controls. He has designed systems for a wide range of building types, including federal office buildings, K-12 schools, university facilities, commercial enterprises, and retail and manufacturing facilities.

Cabezas earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology at Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, Mass., and is a licensed professional engineer in New York State. He lives on a small farm in Catharine. He and his wife have four children.

Hunt is a 125-person professional consulting firm with offices in Horseheads, Rochester, and Towanda, Pa. offering engineering, architecture, and surveying services to municipal, commercial, and educational clients.

Photo in text: Howard Cabezas (Photo provided)

Quinlan's store manager Kevin Greuber.

Here comes Quinlan's

New Montour Falls pharmacy is set to open Aug. 22

MONTOUR FALLS, Aug. 17, 2012 -- Montour Falls has gone eight months without a pharmacy, ever since Henderson Drugs sold the Montour Pharmacy last December to CVS -- which in turn closed that longtime Main Street business.

Come Wednesday, Aug. 22, that hole in Montour's business community will be filled with the opening of Quinlan's Pharmacy in the former Office for the Aging building on West Main Street, a block from where the Montour Pharmacy used to reside.

The building housing the new pharmacy "was basically gutted," said Jessica Pompeo, Director of Operations for Quinlan's, which is based in Wayland. A wall in the center was knocked down, and a kitchen in the back was removed. New walls and lighting and flooring are in place, along with a bright new pharmacy area in the store's rear.

The pharmacy area will be operated by Supervising Pharmacist Mike Rossettie, who for years co-owned Rossettie's Pharmacy in Corning. He has been working in the pharmacy at Corning's Wegmans for the past 10 years.

The Quinlan's store manager is Kevin Greuber, who worked for Henderson Drugs in various capacities, including several roles at the Montour Pharmacy. He said Montour Pharmacy employees who will be working at Quinlan's include Janet Collins, the store's front clerk; pharmacy technicians Susan Crofoot and Melanie Blauvelt, pharmacy clerk Sandy Stillman, and Sue Dugo, who was semi-retired at the time of the old pharmacy's closing but will work part-time in the new one.

Greuber and Pompeo said they hope that a sizable number of the customers who switched to CVS at the time of the Montour Pharmacy closing will return to the Montour Falls fold. Greuber said the old pharmacy was processing 200-300 prescriptions a day, which Pompeo said probably translated to about 1,000 customers.

Pompeo conceded that it has taken longer than expected to get the new store up and running. The closing, she said, didn't occur "until February or March, and then we couldn't get our pharmacy license until we had a certificate of occupancy." And that hinged on completion of construction.

Now, though, the final touches are being applied, shelves stocked, the exterior appearance finely tuned, and the word about the opening circulated.

That opening will be a "soft" one, without fanfare, on Wednesday. A celebration in the form of a ribbon-cutting will come later, probably in the second week of September, Pompeo said.

Photos in text: The front of the new business, and Director of Operations Jessica Pompeo.

Quinlan's Supervising Pharmacist Mike Rossettie

New Image salon celebrates 25 years in business, raises $3,750 for Spirit of Schuyler

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 16, 2012 -- New Image Hair Net Work’s 25th anniversary celebration Wednesday raised $3,750 for the Spirit of Schuyler… all in conjunction with the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly mixer.

The fundraiser and anniversary began at 10 a.m. with community members pouring out to the salon’s grounds at 107 Eleventh Street in Watkins Glen for free food, wine, and live entertainment. Many purchased raffle tickets for $25.

Lorraine Hallenbeck, owner of New Image Hair Net Work Inc., worked with several businesses and organizations throughout the community to ensure the event’s success. Close to a dozen restaurants and wineries stepped up to provide food and wine tastings throughout the day. GST BOCES also sent student stylists to offer free manicures and pedicures. Live entertainment was performed by the local band Unusual Suspects.

The Spirit of Schuyler is a volunteer organization that is dedicated to improving the quality of life in Schuyler County. The organization uses donations from the community to provide financial assistance to county residents in need.

Hallenbeck said she was proud of how the community contributed to the celebration. Some of the donated prizes were high in monetary value: a hot air balloon ride (Liberty Balloon Company), a scenic fight over Seneca Lake (Mark Mahon), complimentary nights at two bed & breakfasts (Lake Valley Legends and Admiral Peabody Inn), a free night at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, dinner for two at Red Newt Cellars Winery & Bistro, and more.

“There is nothing in life more rewarding than giving to others and not asking for anything in return,” said Hallenbeck.

The Chamber’s monthly mixer concluded the evening with door prizes and raffle drawings. The announcement of the funds that were raised was made at the end of the evening, during the Chamber’s business after-hours event.

Photo in text: Spirit of Schuyler head Tony Vickio and New Image Hair Net Work owner Lorraine Hallenbeck at Wednesday's celebration. (Photo provided)

Scene at the Gorgeous View Motel ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Ribbon-cutting marks motel reopening

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 28, 2012 -- A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday afternoon at the Gorgeous View Motel, 3355 State Rte. 14, as it marked a post-renovation reopening.

The motel -- which offers a scenic view of Seneca Lake -- is owned by Alan and Stephanie Specchio. It’s been in the Specchio family for more than five decades, and with its renovation now has newly restored rooms.

The ceremony featured local dignitaries and an official welcome with remarks by Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah LaMoreaux and Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn.

Immediately following the ceremony, the motel staff offered a tour of the rooms. They also provided grilled hot dogs. Lakewood Vineyards provided and poured wine for guests.

“We're very excited about this new venture in our lives. It's a new experience for both of us,” Stephanie Specchio said. “Watkins Glen is home for both of our families, and this project wouldn't work without all of the help that our families have given us.”

Slicing the ribbon were, visible from left: Rebekah LaMoreaux, president of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce; REDEC Executive Director Diane Lantz; Watkins Glen Mayor Mark Swinnerton, District Attorney Joe Fazzary, Dr. Ashley Fazzary, and State Senator Tom O'Mara. Obscured are Community Bank Assistant Vice President Laurie Fox and County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.

Ceremony welcomes Eyes on Seneca

Ribbon-cutting marks grand opening of Fazzary eye-care business

WATKINS GLEN, June 26, 2012 -- Watkins Glen, Schuyler County and state leaders welcomed a new business to Watkins Glen at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday afternoon.

The business is Eyes on Seneca, an eye-care facility at 29 N. Franklin St. run by a native who has returned home: Dr. Ashley Fazzary.

The business opened its doors to patients on June 11.

The ceremony featured remarks by Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah LaMoreaux; Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn; Watkins Glen Mayor Mark Swinnerton; Schuyler County District Attorney Joe Fazzary; Community Bank Assistant Vice President Laurie Fox; Diane Lantz, executive director of REDEC (Regional Economic Development & Energy Corporation); State Senator Tom O'Mara, and Dr. Fazzary.

Most of the speakers congratulated Dr. Fazzary for her decision to return to Watkins Glen after several years away, with DA Fazzary -- Dr. Fazzary's brother -- noting that "she is bright and absolutely beautiful," prompting O'Hearn to add: "She is bright and she is beautiful; I'm not sure which one of you is adopted."

O'Hearn lauded the return of Dr. Fazzary to her hometown, the kind of move "we need for a rebirth of the county. You pursued your dream and came back. We're honored to have you back."

Added O'Mara: "Small-town America is all about small business. This is a great opportunity for you, Ashley, and for the community."

Dr. Fazzary thanked everyone -- scores of well-wishers -- "for showing your support by being here." She also touted her business, which has "the greatest, newest technology on the market."

In an earlier interview, she had commented about her return. “I was born and raised in Watkins Glen and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to this community,” she said. “I love being near family and friends. I look forward to providing excellent eye care to Watkins Glen and surrounding areas.”

Dr. Fazzary received a BS degree at Cornell University, attended the SUNY College of Optometry in New York City for four years, and gained practical experience in busy, private practices throughout Manhattan and at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn.

“Practicing in New York City," she has said, "helped me gain experience treating and managing a wide variety of eye conditions, including glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, conjunctivitis, ocular trauma and emergencies.”

Dr. Fazzary said that after living in New York City for seven years, she had missed the comfort of home and wanted to get back to the Watkins Glen community.

Immediately following the ceremony, the Eye Care staff provided facility tours. In addition to wine, well-wishers were also provided with fruit, cheese and hors d’oeuvres.


Photos in text:

Top: The sign fronting the eye-care business. The building is being leased from Dominick Franzese.

Middle: Dr. Ashley Fazzary with her brother, District Attorney Joe Fazzary.

Bottom: Jeff Dill of J.R. Dill Winery pours some wine as part of the celebration.

From left: Junior Specchio and Charlie Valent of Specchio Ford, and Shannon Palko and her husband Jeremy with the Mustang.

She's hitting it big with Mary Kay

WATKINS GLEN, June 23, 2012 -- Shannon Palko was handed the keys to a 2013 black Mustang Friday morning at Specchio Ford in Watkins Glen -- the keys to a company car leased and paid for by Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Palko, for the past 12 years a teacher at Broadway Elementary School in Elmira, hooked on about a year ago with Mary Kay to earn some extra money, and has made the most of it -- organizing a team of 34 women who have amassed enough in sales in the past six months to qualify her, as their senior sales director, to drive the Mustang. It was delivered to Specchio Ford, which in turn provided a "courtesy delivery" to Palko with a brief ceremony in front of the dealership.

On hand with Palko -- who earlier this year had earned enough in sales to warrant provision of a Chevy Malibu, and whose next goal is a pink Cadillac -- was her husband Jeremy. They have a daughter, Jaden, and toddler twin sons Preston and Micaiah.

"I was just looking to make a couple hundred dollars extra a month," Palko explained of her move into the world of Mary Kay. "I heard of this opportunity, and have made the most of it." It has gone so well, she said, that she is quitting teaching. In fact, Friday was her last day in that profession.

"This gives me the flexibility to be with my kids," she said. She also serves as a minister at His Tabernacle Family Church in Horseheads.

Mary Kay Cosmetics will cover all the lease payments on the Mustang, and pay 85% of the insurance on it.

"It's a fantastic company," Palko said. "I love it."

Photos in text:

Top: The Mustang, parked in front of Specchio Ford before the ceremony.

Bottom: Junior Specchio gives Shannon Palko a congratulatory hug.


The Glory Girls

A professionally bound, hardcover book was published two years ago to commemorate the state title won by the Odessa-Montour girls basketball team. Copies were given to each player on the team, and a number were sold to parents, friends and relatives.

There are still some remaining -- a limited-edition run of a high-caliber keepsake.

Titled "The Glory Girls," it contains 160 pages and nearly 200 photos. The book contains articles, interviews, game-by-game statistics, first person accounts from a couple of players (including state Class D Player of the Year Stefanie Collins), views from the players' parents, and much more.

If you wish to secure a copy, call the book's co-publisher, Charlie Haeffner, at 594-3594, and then send him a check or money order made out in his name for $29 plus $4 shipping. Mail it to: Charlie Haeffner, P.O. Box 365, Odessa, NY. Be sure to include your address and, if possible, a phone number.

There are also a handful of the books available with special, leather-like covers. The cost of those: $49 each plus $4 shipping.\

And for a look at one of the key chapters in the book, go to Features.





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