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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



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The Cycle Boats craft at rest alongside the Seneca Harbor Pier in Watkins Glen.

Ribbon cut for Seneca's Cycle Boat tours

WATKINS GLEN, May 30, 2024 -- A ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon at Seneca Harbor Park welcomed a new business, Finger Lakes Cycle Boats, a week after it started transporting passengers on Seneca Lake.

The company's boat, named the Seneca Siren, offers a combination of motorized travel and old-fashioned pedal power, with up to 10 people manning bike-like pedals to move the craft along. Co-owner Chris Marriott of Enfield said the boat will travel along Seneca's western and eastern shorelines and up the canal.

The ceremony featured welcoming speeches by Nigar Hale, executive director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce; Watkins Glen Mayor Laurie DeNardo; and Schuyler County Administrator Shawn Rosno. Cycle Boats co-owner Sam Hale of Burdett also spoke.

Marriott said he first saw the promise of such a business years ago, but only recently pitched it to Hale. Through "planning, negotiation and perseverance," Rosno said, the two men succeeded in achieving a business "unique" to the Finger Lakes -- "a great addition to our other fun options."

Marriott said he and Hale had considered building their own boat, but ended up buying this 7-year-old, 10,000-pound one from Buffalo CycleBoats. It originated on the West Coast, a custom-made craft built by Cascade Cycleboats of Bend, Oregon.

The boat can carry up to 16 passengers at a time. It will run each day of the week, weather permitting, possibly through October. It will not go out on excessively windy days (such as the condition Thursday), nor when there is lightning around. But it will go rain or shine if the wind is down and the lightning non-existent -- every two hours starting at 11 a.m.

Peddling, he said, is optional. The cost of a trip will vary from $45 to $59 depending on the day of the week and the height of the tourist season.

The trips -- which start and end at a dock in the harbor built by Schamel Construction -- started about a week ago, and thus far everything, according to Sam Hale, has been working out well.

According to the business's website, passengers are offered "comfortable seating, a bar, and a sound system, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable experience."

While the business currently has the one boat, Hale said he and Marriott hope to expand in the future, offering similar boating experiences elsewhere -- possibly on Keuka, Canandaigua and Cayuga Lakes.

And while the business gets its feet wet, so to speak, it is benefitting from positive word-of-mouth -- or as the Chamber's Nigar Hale put it:

"It is creating a buzz."


Photos in text:

Top: Chris Marriott (blue shirt) cuts the celebratory ribbon with business partner Sam Hale at his side as Hale's daughters Harper, left, and Jordan look on.
Middle: One of the 10 pedaling stations on the boat. Pedaling is optional, and the craft is also powered, as needed, by an engine.
Bottom: Sign at the entrance to the Cycle Boats dock.

HSSC names Smith its Operations Director

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 28, 2024 -- The Humane Society of Schuyler County has announced the appointment of Adam Smith as its Director of Operations.

"As the future of animal welfare is rapidly changing and being redefined," the Society said in a press release, Smith "will be responsible for the oversight of a wide range of operations. A key member of the management team, Adam will play an integral role in developing new policies and programs to shape the future of the organization."

"As we position the Humane Society of Schuyler County to serve the future needs of both the residents and animals in our community," added Chad Hendrickson, Chairman of the Board. "it's vital that we are staffed with skilled people, like Adam, to address both the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."

A native of the area, having been born and raised in Sayre, Pa., Smith holds a B.A in Art History and an M.A. in Business Management from Wake Forest University. Most recently he served as Director of Operations and Facility Manager for the Martha's Vineyard Museum, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

The Humane Society of Schuyler County has been advancing animal welfare since 1987. A not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation, the organization provides companion animal sheltering and adoption, offers low-cost spay/neuter services and serves as a resource for the residents and pets of the community.

Photo in text: Adam Smith (Photo provided)

WGI introduces new events for 2024 season

Bike The Glen, Tour The Glen, and Glow Party Track Walks unveiled

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 5, 2024 -- During a pep rally Friday to kick off Opening Weekend for the 2024 season, Watkins Glen International announced several new fan events designed to welcome more community members to the historic New York State road course.

While fans are used to seeing race cars speed around the famed track, for the first time they will be able to spin two wheels around the circuit as the track introduces Bike The Glen on May 15. Kids 12 and under can Bike The Glen for free, while adults pay $15 per person to ride their bicycles the length of the road course.

WGI is also introducing track tours for community members and fans traveling to the Southern Tier. Tour The Glen opportunities will occur once a month, beginning on May 18. Fans can ride around the facility and take pictures in Victory Lane, at the start/finish line, or sitting on the same stage in the media center where winning drivers conduct interviews after taking the checkered flag.

Tour The Glen passes can be purchased for $20 per adult, $15 per kid (with kids 4 and under are free). The 2024 Tour the Glen dates are May 18, June 29, July 20, Aug. 17, Sept. 28, and Oct. 29.

The Glen is also adding to the fan experience for community members during major event weekends in 2024. The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen race weekend in June will now feature an IMSA preview event on Wednesday, June 19, from 5-7 p.m. at nearby The Yard FLX, which opens this year. Fans will be able to participate in Go Kart races, collect driver autographs, listen to live music, and win VIP tickets to the weekend’s IMSA races.

Thursday night of both the NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen and IMSA Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen race weeks will feature Glow Party Track Walks. Live music will get the night started before fans get the opportunity to walk the track under the stars. Glow items will be available for purchase to enhance the fan experience. The event is free for all fans with a ticket to the weekend’s events.

Watkins Glen International is also revitalizing the WGI Celebratory Brick program, which allows fans to etch their name in history forever at the track. Community members and fans from near and far may purchase a brick to commemorate a milestone, honor a loved one, or just share their family’s love for WGI. Details will be available soon on Bricks will be displayed in a central location near “The Pyramid” souvenir store behind the Jackie Stewart Grandstands.

CCE, Reisinger's plan fruit tree workshop

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 1, 2024 -- Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and Rick Reisinger are offering a fruit tree workshop at Reisinger’s Summer Fruit on April 6th from 9:00 am-12:00 noon. The workshop is designed to be helpful to fruit growers of all levels.

The workshop will focus on caring for berries and stone fruits. Throughout the day instructors will cover selection, planting, establishment, training, pruning, tools, insects, diseases, animal control, and nutrient management. During the class there will be lots of Q&A time with CCE Schuyler Commercial Agriculture Educator Alec Moore (owner of Apples and Moore) and Rick Reisinger (owner of Reisinger’s Summer Fruit).

The workshop is $25 for a single registration or $40 for a double registration. Since it will be held outside (rain, snow, or shine), participants should dress for the weather.

Pre-registration is required and closes April 4th. For all information or to register visit:

Arnot Nursing School offers sponsorships

Special to The Odessa File

ELMIRA, April 2, 2024 -- The Arnot School of Nursing is announcing "full ride" sponsorships for eligible incoming nursing students for the class beginning in Fall of 2024.

Arnot Health, recognizing the need for registered nurses, says it is investing in students pursuing their education at the Arnot School of Nursing. A fund has been established to support deserving students and provide guaranteed employment upon graduation from the program. This sponsorship includes books, fees, and tuition incurred in attendance at the Arnot School of Nursing to complete the Associate Degree in Nursing program in two years.

The commitment from the student is three years of full-time employment as a registered nurse in a Medical-Surgical unit at Arnot Ogden Medical Center for the two-year program of tuition, fees, and books received.

Laurie L. Dunn, MS, RN, System Director of Education and School of Nursing, says if anyone has been considering a nursing career, this is the perfect opportunity.

"At Arnot we believe in our region, and we want to support the dreams of traditional nursing students, and those seeking a new direction later in life, to have careers in high-demand, high-impact fields," she said. "Becoming a registered nurse opens the door to countless ways to serve your community and use your talents to the utmost. And now, there are no financial obstacles to getting that education."

The deadline to apply for the sponsorship is May 31, 2024, but the deadline to apply for admission to the School of Nursing is May 15th. For full information, and the application, contact the School of Nursing Recruiter, Charade Kittle, at or at (607) 737-4294.

Lucky U part of Appleridge fashion show

Special to The Odessa File

HORSEHEADS, March 26, 2024 -- Appleridge Senior Living has announced its 2nd Annual Spring Fashion Show fundraiser, scheduled for Thursday, May 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Appleridge Senior Living, 168 Miller St., Horseheads. The show benefits Bampa's House Comfort Care of Corning.

The show will feature Appleridge residents and community members showcasing stylish attire from Lucky U Women's Clothing Outlet, the newest fashion destination in Watkins Glen. The runway will also sparkle with the return of Ray Jewelers, showcasing their fine jewelry pieces.

Attendees of the show will enjoy a preset lunch and receive an exclusive discount from Lucky-U and Ray Jewelers. Plus, they'll have the chance to win a variety of raffle prizes donated by local businesses. Tickets are now on sale for $20 at Appleridge Senior Living; cash or check is accepted.

In dedication to the cause, the Appleridge team is participating in the 4th Annual Bampa's House Golf Tournament at the Elmira Country Club, where proceeds from the Spring Fashion Show will be presented to Bampa's House.

For a visual glimpse of the Spring Fashion Show event, visit: or the Spring Fashion Show album on Facebook at:

Lead Renovation Training session set

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER, March 21, 2024 -- Schuyler County Public Health’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is hosting a Lead Renovator Training on April 25, 2024 from 8am-5pm at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls.

This class is possible thanks to a partnership with and funds from Cornell University’s Industrial Labor Relations School. This training offers area professionals the opportunity to earn their Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Renovation Repair and Paint Initial Certification at no cost.

“Being able to offer this training is very exciting,” said Brook Heichel, Schuyler County Public Health’s Lead Program Coordinator. “I would encourage anyone who works on older homes or is in the construction industry to get trained to safely renovate lead. More lead-safe renovations lead to healthier families in our community.”

The Lead Renovator Training is eight contact hours with classroom and hands-on activities and an examination. Federal law requires that contractors performing renovation, repair or painting (RRP) work that disturbs lead-based paint in homes, childcare facilities and schools built before 1978 follow lead-safe work practices. This training is appropriate for building contractors, maintenance staff, plumbers, electricians, and painters who may disturb more than six square feet of lead paint.

Lead is highly toxic to exposed people and animals. Schuyler County has an abundance of older homes built before 1978, before lead was no longer in paint. Renovation to older homes poses a risk of lead exposure when lead-safe means are not used.

Schuyler County Public Health thanks the Finger Lakes Lead Coalition and Art Wheaton, RRP Instructor from Cornell University, for providing this opportunity to the community. Call Schuyler County Public Health at 607-535-8140 for more information or to register.

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

Toss it? No way. Bring it to Repair Cafe

Events scheduled on April 20 in Montour Falls, and in June in the Town of Hector

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Feb. 16, 2024 -- Are you a friendly, handy, fix-it-type person who wants to minimize waste, keep the Finger Lakes a clean and beautiful place to live, and share your skills with others?

You could volunteer to be a Repair Coach! The Village of Montour Falls and the Town of Hector are partnering to bring two Repair Cafes to Schuyler County this spring. The first is set for Saturday, April 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Montour Falls Fire Department, 111 Lee St., Montour Falls. A second cafe will be held in Hector in June, with a finalized date and location to be announced.

Repair Cafes are locally run, pop-up events that promote the power of repair as an alternative to throwing things out. Volunteer repair coaches generally are able to fix around 80% of the items brought into a cafe. The most common repairs include lamps, vacuums, and small appliances; but mechanical and wooden items, textiles, jewelry, bikes, and computers are among other possible repairs offered. General repairs are offered free-of-charge, with some replacement parts offered at little-to-no cost.

The Repair Cafes in the two communities stem from the work of the Sustainability Committees in both locales. The village and town are each Bronze Certified Communities in the Climate Smart Communities (CSC) movement and working goward Silver Certificates -- and ultimately the Gold.

"Both communities," explained Nancy N. Doniger, the Montour Falls Sustainability Committee Volunteer Coordinator, "can earn four points for the cafes and three points for the partnership. The state-run CSC program provides valuable grants and technical assistance, as does the state Clean Energy Communities program. Montour Falls and Hector are actively involved in both of these programs.

"A subcommittee of both Sustainability Committees," she added, "has been meeting regularly in person at the North New York Coffee Shop in Montour Falls and over Google Meet since late last year. The Village Boards in both towns passed resolutions in support of the Repair Cafe initiative.

"In addition to advancing our CSC credentials," she said, "Montour Falls and Hector value ways to engage and educate residents about climate change and resiliency and to create strong community bonds. Repair Cafes are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things together with neighbors. We hope the Repair Cafe initiative spreads beyond our communities to other Finger Lakes towns and villages."

The two communities, Doniger noted, have many connections -- including that both have
been working on CSC programs with Brian Toy, senior planner with the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning & Development Board. And Suzie Fromer, coordinator for the Hudson Valley Repair Cafes, "has been an invaluable resource."

Mayor James Ryan chairs the Montour Falls Sustainability Committee, while Gary Judson chairs the one in the Town of Hector.

"As mayor, I am proud that Montour Falls will host the first Repair Cafe in our county," said Mayor Ryan. "This is an international movement brought to you by the Sustainability Committee volunteers and our partners in Hector. Repair Cafes are an important part of the circular economy -- they help keep things out of the landfill, and save resources, energy and money."

"I am delighted about this new, joint venture in our county to help us reduce waste, keep our landfills from overflowing and create a more sustainable earth for us all," said the Town of Hector's Judson.

Repair Cafes, say its organizers, are important community-building events and are fun for all involved. Additional volunteer support for the events, including greeters and other helpers, are needed.

Donations of funds or in-kind contributions of parts for fixes, and lunch for the volunteers, are greatly appreciated, Doniger said, and help Repair Cafes operate at a low-cost. The North New York Coffee Shop has offered to donate coffee, tea, and pastries in support of the first Repair Cafe in Schuyler County.

There are 3,000 Repair Cafes worldwide that strive to preserve repair skills in society and promote more repairable products. Besides the Netherlands, where the first Repair Cafe was held in Amsterdam in 2009, there are Repair Cafes in Belgium, Germany, France, India, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and dozens of other countries.

Repair coaches, organizers noted, can pass along invaluable practical skills. If you would like to offer your skills to repair things for your neighbors or assist with the Montour Falls event, contact You can find out more about the international Repair Cafe movement at

Photo in text: A Repair Cafe in the Hudson Valley. (Photo provided)

Applications being accepted for final round of Downtown & Business ARPA program

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 6 2024 -- The Schuyler County Legislature, in partnership with the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), is now accepting applications for the final round of the Downtown & Business ARPA Program, aimed at downtown revitalization with a match grant program to assist with building facade improvements.

This program has already invested $280,000 in matching grants for building owners for facade improvements to commercial and mixed-use properties in Schuyler County.

This downtown improvement program is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and was established by the Schuyler County Legislature in January 2022. The purpose of the program is to support small businesses and existing building owners in improving the environment within our downtown communities.

Properties located within one-half mile of the business districts of Watkins Glen, Odessa, Montour Falls, and Burdett are eligible to apply. Applicants can apply for a minimum of $5,000 up to $25,000 for their project improvements (total improvement costs of $10,000 - $50,000). Eligible properties include existing commercial or mixed-use buildings and exclude single, two-family, and multi-family homes. Applicants must show the ability to fund the project, as this is a reimbursement program and funds will not be disbursed until the project has been completed with all documentation provided as explained in the guidelines.

While the initial allocation provided by funds received through ARPA is nearly extinguished, the success of this program has prompted conversations about continuing this grant program with a few changes. Said Carl Blowers, Chairman of the Schuyler County Legislature: "This program has been hugely successful and all of the legislators can see the impact this funding has had in the communities of Odessa, Montour Falls, Burdett, and Watkins Glen. As we work to develop the next phase of this program, we will seek to expand the boundaries and broaden the scope to allow even more of an impact across Schuyler County."

Kerri Green, Senior Economic & Community Development Specialist at SCOPED who administers the program, noted, "The twelve property owners who have completed their improvement projects represent a total private investment of $850,000, offset by $190,000 of distributed grant awards. The data supports the success of this program by improving the look of our downtown buildings as well as providing an economic benefit to the community and property owners who continue to invest in their communities. All of us at SCOPED are looking forward to working with our partners at the Legislature to grow and expand this program in the future."

As the Economic Development Agency for Schuyler County, SCOPED will assist in the administration of this grant by reviewing the applications and working with each project sponsor.

For a list of past awards, the grant guidelines, the application, and more information, visit

Applications are due March 1, 2024.

Printup will oversee Trans Am Series

Special to The Odessa File

CHARLOTTE, NC, Jan. 25, 2024 -- NASCAR and Watkins Glen International veteran Michael Printup is assuming the role of chief operating officer of Parella Motorsports Holdings (PMH), overseeing the operations of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli and the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA).

"In his short time with Parella Motorsports Holdings, Michael has been using his vast experience to expand track relationships and enhance company communication,” said Tony Parella, owner of PMH. “We believe this experience will benefit the Trans Am Series and Parella Motorsports Holdings as a whole."

Printup joined PMH last year and has been serving as president of SVRA since July. The Hamburg, NY native previously spent nearly three decades working for NASCAR, most notably in the role of president of Watkins Glen International. He was also president of Americrown and, more recently, he oversaw the Levy food service contract for 12 NASCAR-owned racetracks, and directed the Mobil 1 show car program for Tony Stewart.

“It is an honor be named COO and take over the helm of Trans Am,” Printup said. “The accomplishments of John Clagett and his impact on Trans Am speaks for itself. The continued leadership from Tony has been and will be paramount for PMH moving forward.”

John Clagett, who is stepping down from the post, has served as President and CEO of Trans Am Race Company for 13 years and been affiliated with the Trans Am Series for 31-plus years. Under Clagett’s leadership, the Trans Am Race Company has generated a 10-fold increase in revenue over the past decade, while upgrading the series’ race operations, marketing, broadcast and social media outreach.

“I’m at the point where I can look at the culmination of all that hard work and see how the series has flourished," said Clagett. "I’m confident that now is the time that I can step back, turn my focus towards an advisory role, and leave Trans Am in capable hands.”

Photo in text: Michael Printup (File photo)

Mission Foods named entitlement partner
for NASCAR Xfinity Series race at WGI

The Mexican food company will also hold naming rights to the famous Esses Party Deck.

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 23, 2024 -- Mission Foods and Watkins Glen International are joining forces for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International. The track announced today that America’s No. 1 tortilla manufacturer will be the entitlement partner for the Mission 200 at The Glen, signing a multi-year agreement.

Mission Foods will also hold the naming rights to the famous Esses Party Deck, now known as the Mission Foods Party Deck, where fans can look out over the historic New York Track and watch as drivers climb the hill through the sharp turns against a backdrop of Seneca Lake.

“As we prepare for all the excitement that is to come in 2024, we’re proud to welcome our newest partner to The Glen, especially one who holds such passion for the motorsports industry and its fans,” said Dawn Burlew, President of Watkins Glen International. “Mission Foods demonstrates both variety and flavor through their wide range of products, and we couldn’t think of a better fit for both our Party Deck and our NASCAR race weekend.”

Mission Foods has extensive involvement across the motorsport industry, yet this is its first time partnering with NASCAR and its tracks. The multi-year agreement between WGI and Mission Foods will kickstart the tortilla company’s relationship in the sport.

Mission Foods began as a small tortilla factory in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles and is now the No. 1 tortilla manufacturer in the U.S., cooking up specialty tortillas, chips, baked products, snacks and more. Over the years, Mission has expanded across multiple countries and continents, becoming the global brand it is today.

“As champions of motorsports, we’re excited to be the title sponsor of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International, and we’re thrilled to be the official tortillas, chips, and wraps of Watkins Glen International for the next five years,” said Juan Gonzalez, Mission Foods Chief Executive Officer. “This sponsorship will provide tremendous opportunities to interact with all race fans in a fun and exciting environment.”

The NASCAR race weekend at Watkins Glen International kicks off just before the fall season commences on Friday, Sept. 13 with the ARCA Menards Series, followed by the Mission 200 at The Glen on Saturday, Sept. 14, the second-to-last race of the Xfinity Series regular season.

Then, on Sunday, Sept. 15, Watkins Glen International makes its NASCAR Cup Series Playoff debut in the Go Bowling at The Glen, with drivers battling it out on the 2.45-mile road course for the first time in the post-season.

2024 Watkins Glen International Schedule

April 6-7 -- Opening Weekend
May 31 -- June 2 -- SCCA Majors Super Tour
June 6-9 -- Historic Sportscar Racing
June 20-23 -- IMSA Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen
July 10-14 -- Ferrari Challenge North America
July 26-28 -- Finger Lakes Wine Festival
August 21-25 -- Hilliard U.S. Vintage Grand Prix
September 11-15 -- NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen

2024 Watkins Glen International NASCAR Weekend Schedule

September 13 -- ARCA Menards Series Race
September 14 -- Mission 200 at The Glen -- NASCAR Xfinity Series Race
September 15 -- Go Bowling at The Glen -- NASCAR Cup Series Race

Arnot Health to require some masking

Special to The Odessa File

ELMIRA, January 3, 2024 – Due to an increase in the prevalence of respiratory illnesses, including Influenza, RSV and COVID-19, Arnot Health is mandating the wearing of masks in certain patient care areas of its hospital campuses.

For two weeks beginning Thursday, January 4 until Thursday, January 18, employees, visitors, and volunteers in the following areas will be required to wear a mask to help protect patients and each other from infection.

--Inpatient Hospital Units
--Emergency Departments
--Skilled Nursing Units at St. Joseph's and Ira Davenport Hospitals
--Falck Cancer Center
--Infusion Center at Arnot Ogden Medical Center

Since the end of November 2023, the number of RSV patients has been increasing in both children and adults, doubling in December. Since the first influenza-related admission on December 1, 2023, Arnot Health has seen nearly 150 outpatients test positive for the flu, and 14 patients admitted to its hospitals. Finally, since October 2023, it has seen the number of inpatients with COVID-19 triple.

These trends and the prevalence of other respiratory illnesses led to the institution of the two-week mask requirement in patient care areas.

"We are making a strong recommendation that masks be worn" in all other areas on the campuses, said Arnot Health in a statement. "Patients who are medically able to wear a mask will also be expected to do so, and masks will be available in all areas.

"This action," the statement aded, "is being taken to safeguard the health of our patients, visitors, and staff, and will be re-evaluated in 14 days."

CMC ranked among best in maternity care

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Dec. 12, 2023 -- U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in hospital rankings and consumer advice, has designated Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) as one of just eight 2024 High Performing hospital for Maternity Care (Uncomplicated Pregnancy) in New York State. This is the highest award a hospital can earn for U.S. News’ Best Hospitals for Maternity Care.

Best Hospitals for Maternity Care is an annual evaluation designed to assist expectant parents, in consultation with their prenatal care team, in making informed decisions about where to receive maternity care that best meets their family’s needs.

Cayuga Medical Center earned a High Performing designation in recognition of maternity care as measured by objective measures of quality. These include C-section rates in lower-risk pregnancies, newborn complication rates, exclusive breast milk feeding rates, early elective delivery rates, birthing-friendly practices, and transparency on racial/ethnic disparities, among other measures.

“At Cayuga Health, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality care for families,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO of Cayuga Health. “Receiving this national recognition recognizes our staff’s efforts to exceed standards and provide optimal maternity care to the communities we serve. Thank you to each member of the Birthplace team for their unwavering dedication to our parents and newborns.”

Parents-to-be can research their local hospitals’ performance metrics for free at to help them choose where to have their baby.

The other New York hospitals receiving the distinction are Glens Falls Hospital, Mercy Hospital-Buffalo, Montefiore Nyack Hospital, Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital, New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, NYU Langone Hospitals, and St. Joseph's Health Hospital.

About U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report is a multifaceted digital media company with Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars, News, Real Estate, Careers and 360 Reviews platforms. It provides rankings, independent reporting, data journalism, consumer advice and U.S. News Live events. More than 40 million people visit each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Photo in text: From left: Sharon Berger, Lactation Coordinator; Summer Killian, RN, IBCLC; Clarissa Farrell, RN;Christina Vann, Unit Manager; Taylor Manwarren, RN; Hannah Pastrick, Social Worker; Elaine Noe, RN; Sue Mandl, RN;  Srisatish Devapatla, MD, Neonatologist. (Photo provided)

Dawn Burlew named president of WGI

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 8, 2023 -- The search for the next president of historic Watkins Glen International ended close to home, as long-time Corning Incorporated director and lifelong Southern Tier resident Dawn Burlew was named the first woman to hold the position, the track announced today.

Burlew was born in nearby Elmira and graduated from Horseheads High School before attending Cazenovia College and Keuka College in New York. She then launched her professional career at Corning Inc. Most recently, Burlew served as Director Government Affairs and Director Business Development at the multinational technology company based in nearby Corning, New York.

Retiring from Corning Inc. after 40 years, she brings a passion and commitment to the region in her new role at her home track.

“Part of my fabric is the community here in the Southern Tier and I’m proud to represent the region as the next president of Watkins Glen International,” said Burlew. “My personal and professional lives have often brought me to The Glen, including when Corning was involved with the ownership of the track. I have a tool chest of skills that I know will be beneficial to WGI and NASCAR, allowing me to contribute to the team from day one.”

While at Corning Inc., Burlew led the company’s New York State government affairs strategic network and advocacy initiatives to support, promote and advance corporate and regional economic sustainability.

Her ties to the motorsports community already extend to serving as a member of the governing council of the International Motor Racing Research Center located in the Village of Watkins Glen. She also serves as a board member of several other regional committees, including the Business Council of New York State, Chemung County Chamber, and Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council.

“No one knows the region better or brings more devotion to our community around Watkins Glen International than Dawn,” said Chip Wile, Senior Vice President and Chief Track Properties Officer at NASCAR. “Her authentic connection to the business and governmental communities in New York State will allow her to grow The Glen through its next phase as one of the premier racing facilities in the country.”

Burlew will assume her new responsibilities at Watkins Glen International on Jan. 3, 2024.

Photo in text: Dawn Burlew (Photo by Sean Lukasik)

Pie Palooza part of CCE annual meeting

Special to The Odessa File 

MONTOUR FALLS, Nov. 23, 2023 -- Pie, community conversations, and special award recognitions will be the focus of the 2023 Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Schuyler Annual Meeting from 5:30-7:30 p.m. December 6th at the Silver Spoon Cafe in the Human Resources Complex.

The annual meeting is an opportunity for the public to hear program highlights and community impacts, provide recognition for Friends of Extension Award recipients, recognize Extension Board members who have completed their terms, and elect new board members. All Schuyler County residents, 18 and over, are eligible to participate in the election.

It is also a time for highlighting a topic of community interest. This year’s guest speaker, Eric Thorton, a Commodity Specialist with McKeany-Flavel, will be presenting on “Agri-economics: Beyond the Fundamentals of Supply and Demand and into a Future of AI (Artificial Intelligence), Speculation, and Risk Management.” The topic is expected to foster dialogue and questions.

Appetizers and light refreshments will be available, in addition to the return of a Pie Palooza event featuring a variety of pies ranging from sweet to savory.

There is no charge for admission to the meeting. Registration is helpful, but not required. Visit: to register.

Lakewood Chardonnay selected as an Alumni Wine by Cornell Alumni Affairs

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 14, 2023 -- Cornell Alumni Affairs, which created a wine club to highlight the talents of its alumni, has selected Lakewood Vineyards' 2022 Chardonnay for its 2023 collection of Alumni Wine.

Chardonnay has been part of Lakewood Vineyards’ wine portfolio since the tasting room opened in 1989 with winemaker Chris Stamp ('83) at the helm. The winemaking talent has expanded to include Chris’s children, Ben Stamp ('11) and Abby Stamp Wilkens ('13). In addition, Lakewood Vineyards’ tasting room and sales are managed by two Cornell alums, Liz Stamp ('85) and Teresa Stamp Knapp ('90).

The tasting panel at Cornell composed these tasting notes on Lakewood’s 2022 Chardonnay: “Complex aromatics speak of pineapple, pear, and apple knitted in with notes of freshly baked biscuit. Texture is creamy and rich, finishing long with balanced acidity and just a hint of butterscotch.”

The Finger Lakes Chardonnay features an exclusive label with a detail from Sunflower II by Cornell alumni artist, Erik den Breejen ('06).

Alumni Wine by Cornell Alumni Affairs is now available through VinoShipper. Visit


Lakewood Vineyards, located in Watkins Glen on the west side of Seneca Lake, is a family owned and operated farm winery established in 1988. Lakewood’s 120-acre vineyard includes vines dating back to 1952 and currently consists of 14 varieties.


Photos in text:

Top: Lakewood's Cornell alumni include (from L to R) Abby Stamp Wilkens ('13), Teresa Stamp Knapp ('90), Chris Stamp ('83), Liz Stamp ('85) and Ben Stamp ('11).

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

Cayuga Health gets NY approval to offer real-time analysis of laboratory testing

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Oct. 30, 2023 -- Patients of Cayuga Health can now receive real-time analysis of laboratory tests -- including biopsies -- when needed, resulting in quicker diagnosis, peace of mind and improved quality of care.

Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) received approval by the New York State Department of Health to use a new digital slide scanning process to enable this improvement. The novel technology, validated at CMC, is only available in a few hospitals in New York.

“This process extends our reach as pathologists, allowing us to support multiple sites at once,” said Elizabeth Plocharczyk, MD, Director of Laboratories. “Our ability to provide real-time answers to our patients and colleagues is enhanced through the technology. Geography is no longer a constraint for quick turnaround time, especially important in a rural environment like ours where different patient care sites in the health system are separated by some distance.”

The high resolution, provided by the scanners, allows for getting a close-up look over any device without sacrificing the quality of the image. In cases where timeliness is critical, slides are scanned at bedside or in the lab and stored digitally, where a pathologist can review securely from any location using a tablet or desktop. Images can also be shared virtually with colleagues or other labs instantly, without the time delay and expense of physically sending materials to be read elsewhere.

One example offered by Dr. Plocharczyk is the bedside analysis of a biopsy or surgical sample, a process that before was limited by the physical presence of the pathologist at the same location as the patient. Digitally reading the slide allows for extension of service hours with the same quick diagnosis and opportunity to take another specimen if indicated, improving patient care.

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. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences. Visit for more information.

Photo in text: Dr. Elizabeth Plocharczyk evaluates a lab slide via a mobile device. (Photo provided)

Breast Health Webinar set for Oct. 24

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Oct. 17, 2023 -- During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, community members and health care professionals are being encouraged to join a free, interactive webinar on Breast Health and Cancer Prevention being offered by Cayuga Health on October 24 at 5:30 p.m.

The interactive seminar will feature a panel of healthcare experts offering valuable insights and allowing for questions from participants. Questions may also be submitted in advance during the registration process.

The expert panel includes Donna Sandidge, MD, speaking about nutrition; Cyndi Davis, NP, discussing smoking cessation; Hannah Potts, NP, talking about the importance of physical exercise along with survivorship; Hilary Deitz, MD, touching on the effects of genetics as well as chemoprevention; and Tran Tu Huynh, MD, rounding out the panel discussing risk factors. Carol Berlin, MD, will be master of ceremonies.

Participants are asked to register on-line for the Commission on Cancer-accredited program at

Cayuga Medical Center nationally cited for its Coronary Intervention Excellence

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Oct. 16, 2023 -- Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) was recently recognized with the Coronary Intervention Excellence Award by Healthgrades.

The award acknowledges hospitals throughout the United States that deliver superior patient outcomes in coronary intervention procedures. Procedures include angioplasty with stent. CMC was among just 170 hospitals in the country recognized.

“We are proud to be recognized for the lifesaving care we provide to our patients,” said Luke Byrnes, MD, FACC, FSCAI, Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab. “Patients and their families can be assured that they are getting advanced care leveraging the newest technology when they choose to have cardiac catheterization here in Ithaca.”

One of the procedures offered by CMC’s Heart and Vascular Center is Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI). PCI uses balloon angioplasty and stents to open clogged coronary arteries on an emergency basis during a heart attack. PCI is also used electively in treating patients with chest pain due to coronary artery blockages. Balloon angioplasty initially opens the blockage, and a tiny metal stent is then put in place to hold the blockage open while the artery heals.

CMC’s Heart and Vascular Center treats patients in Ithaca, Cortland, and Montour Falls.

Since 1998, Healthgrades has utilized objective measures to rate the quality of providers and hospitals, allowing consumers to make informed decisions about where to seek care. Quality measures include clinical outcomes, patient safety, and patient experience.

To see the full list, go to .

To find out more about Cayuga Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Center, go to , or call (607) 272-0460.

Photo in text: Dr. Luke Byrnes, Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab. (Provided)

Montour Falls awarded $60,000 to assist businesses with Sustainability Projects

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 11, 2023 -- Village Mayor James Ryan has announced the start of a new low-cost loan fund for businesses located in Montour Falls.

The village -- recognizing that an obstacle for businesses to make sustainability upgrades is fast and affordable financing -- applied for and has been awarded a grant through the Appalachian Regional Commission to create a Revolving Loan Fund Program. The Village is matching the grant with ARPA funds received from the federal government. The loan fund will enable the Village to provide low-interest rate, flexible-term loans to local for-profit businesses.

The loan funds can be used for most business activities and expenses. However, the businesses receiving the funds must include a climate adaptation or efficiency component. The Village Sustainability Committee says it will help each participating business identify its best sustainability project, with many options resulting in no cost or a very low cost to the business.

In announcing the loan fund, Mayor Ryan said, "As the mayor of Montour Falls and the Chair of the Sustainability Committee, I am excited to provide our businesses with the support they need to decrease their costs through increased efficiency. This fund is the latest example of Montour Falls' commitment to sustainability and our businesses."

For more information on the loan fund, contact the Village Climate Justice Fellow at or by phone at (607) 535-7367. More information can be found at

Arnot Health, Cayuga Health are seeking New York State approval of affiliation

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA and ELMIRA, Oct. 9, 2023 -- On April 14, Cayuga Health System (CHS) and Arnot Health, Inc. (AH) announced that they were exploring a collaborative relationship that would mutually benefit the communities they serve. On Oct. 9th, the Boards of Directors of AH and CHS announced that they are seeking New York State regulatory approval to affiliate as members of a parent company.

"Under this new structure," officials said, "each system will remain intact and dedicated to their missions of serving their local communities."

Pending approval, Dr. Martin Stallone, MD, MBA, CEO of CHS, will serve as the CEO of the parent company. Jonathan Lawrence, MHA, FACHE, CEO of AH, will serve as the executive vice president.

As explained in a press release: "After completing a period of study, AH and CHS expect their collaboration will improve access to high-quality medical services in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions. The affiliation will also assure vital services are delivered by an organization focused on benefiting local communities.

"At its inception, the new organization will oversee one billion dollars of medical services provided over a nine-county region. The organizations’ growing list of comprehensive services will continue to include emergency care, critical cardiac care, cancer care, acute care, labor & delivery and NICU care, outpatient physician care, outpatient and inpatient behavioral health services, substance use disorder rehabilitation, and long-term care, in addition to home nursing, durable medical equipment and supplies, and emergency transportation.

"Additional benefits of the affiliation include a commitment to continue to make capital improvements to facilities and ongoing investments in the health care workforce. During this time of worker shortages, AH and CHS will collaborate to build the healthcare workforce of tomorrow through substantial efforts in nursing, radiologic technology, medical school, physician assistant, graduate medical education, and other professional training initiatives. The Cayuga Health Professions Learning Center will be expanded to link training pipelines with job opportunities throughout the parent company and beyond."

Said Jonathan Lawrence, President and CEO of Arnot Health: “Arnot and Cayuga Health’s shared values, and the leveraging of our organization’s collective expertise will bring new benefits to our community. This partnership will ensure the essential, high quality health care services that community members and businesses across our region rely upon will continue to be delivered locally.”

Added Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO of Cayuga Health: "As Cayuga Health grows and the landscape of healthcare changes, we are eager to find new ways to nurture and enhance community-based health care services. Our study with Arnot Health uncovered innumerable ways a collaboration could improve the health care delivered across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions. We look forward to moving into the next phase of this process with New York State.”

Family Fit Zone joins Falls Harvest Fest

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 2, 2023 -- Cayuga Health has scheduled its annual Schuyler Family Fit Zone -- now part of the Falls Harvest Festival along Main Street in Montour Falls -- for Saturday, October 7 from 12 noon to 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

New for 2023 at the Family Fit Zone: the Teddy Bear Clinic. Kids are encouraged to bring their bears or other stuffed animals, dolls and action figures for a check-up with Cayuga Health medical personnel. The first 300 attendees 12-and-under who do not have a favorite toy to bring into the clinic can receive a free teddy bear.

The Fit Zone focuses on healthy living with education and hands-on activities for all ages. A photo booth will also be featured. More than 25 community organizations will be in the tent next to the Montour Falls Post Office.

Warning issued on Sunset View raw milk

The following was issued by
the NYS Department of Ag and Markets

ALBANY, Sept. 21, 2023 -- New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball this week warned consumers in Schuyler County and the surrounding area not to consume unpasteurized raw milk from Sunset View Creamer LLC due to possible Campylobacter jejuni contamination.

Sunset View Creamery LLC is located at 4970 County Road 14, Odessa. To date, no illnesses have been reported to the Department associated with this product.

A routine sample of the milk collected by an inspector from the Department was discovered to be contaminated with Campylobacter jejuni. On September 12, 2023, the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result. Further laboratory testing, completed on September 18, 2023, confirmed the presence of Campylobacter jejuni in the raw milk sample. The producer is now prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that the product is free of this harmful bacteria.

The Department recommends that any consumers who purchased raw milk from Sunset View Creamery LLC immediately dispose of it and call the farm at (607) 594-2095.

People with Campylobacter jejuni infection usually have diarrhea (often bloody), fever, and stomach cramps. Nausea and vomiting may accompany the diarrhea. These symptoms usually start 2 to 5 days after the person ingests Campylobacter and last about one week.

It is important to note that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization. Pasteurization is a process that heats milk to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time. Pasteurization kills the bacteria responsible for numerous illnesses and diseases. Pasteurization of milk is recognized internationally as an effective means of preventing outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, including campylobacteriosis.

Cayuga Health offers urology services

Special to The Odessa File

THACA, Sept. 15, 2023 -- Cayuga Urology is now open at Cayuga Medical Center at 201 Dates Drive, Ithaca.

Urologist Dr. Jason Cohen joined Cayuga Medical Associates (CMA), a member of Cayuga Health, from Northwestern Medicine. He offers advanced urologic care, including medical and surgical options.

According to a press release from Cayuga Health, "Dr. Cohen’s safe, effective treatments use the most advanced technology, with robotic-assisted procedures, holmium laser treatments and incisionless techniques. His goal is to minimize pain, shorten recovery times, and improve quality of life for patients."

“We are excited to welcome Urology as one of our Cayuga Health services,” said Jeff Penoyer, Vice President of Ambulatory Services at Cayuga Health. “While other communities lack urologists, we are fortunate to offer this much-needed care right here in our community to benefit our patients.”

Dr. Cohen’s practice focus areas include: BPH treatments, elevated PSA, hematuria, incontinence, kidney stones. erectile dysfunction, prostate and kidney cancers, vasectomy, bladder cancer, and robotic prostatectomy.

Dr. Melanie McNally will join Cayuga Urology in February 2024. To make an appointment, call (607) 319-5747, or go to


The ribbon was cut Wednesday afternoon at the Lulu-B Women's Clothing Outlet at 123 E. Fourth St. in Watkins Glen, in the former Watkins Sporting Goods store. This photo was snapped by Jon Haeffner, one of the celebration's attendees. The store carries a line of "colorful and comfortable" women's clothing that owner Jim Guild called "a really good, quality brand" at 75% off the retail price.


Cayuga Health returns to mandatory masks

ITHACA, Sept. 6, 2023 -- Cayuga Health System (CHS) has announced a return to required masking in response to current COVID community and transmission levels in the counties the health system serves, including Schuyler.

CHS said that effective September 7 at 12:01 a.m., masking would be be required for staff, visitors, and patients in CHS healthcare facilities except for brief periods while eating and drinking.

Additionally, CHS will continue to conduct Universal COVID testing for all patients admitted to the hospital, in addition to testing for clinical purposes.

The decision to reinstate mandatory masking is prompted by the emergence of a new COVID subvariant, EG.5, which is currently circulating in New York. This subvariant has led to an increase in several key indicators:

--Increased SARS-CoV-2 signal in community wastewater testing.
--A rising number of COVID cases within the community.
--A notable increase in staff members falling ill with COVID.

Fortunately, CHS officials said, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID has remained stable, but "it is imperative to take proactive measures to maintain this stability."

--Surgical masks will be available at the entrances to CHS facilities.
--Screening procedures and plexiglass barriers will not be implemented at this time.

CHS said it "appreciates the community’s compliance and help to protect patients and visitors."

Hospital Auxiliary sets volunteer reception

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Aug. 31, 2023 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary has scheduled a reception for present, past and future hospital volunteers on Wednesday, September 13, 2023.

The catered reception will be held in the hospital courtyard, off Belle Cornell Drive, 220 Steuben Street, Montour Falls, from 4-6 p.m.

Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO of Cayuga Health System, is the featured speaker, and hospital tours will also be offered.

“We would like to see any volunteers who are interested in helping us out with a variety of tasks around the hospital or nursing home,” said Kitty Shallenberger, Auxiliary President. “From working with patients or residents, to helping in the Gift Shop or with events, or even working in offices or on administrative tasks from home, there are many ways people can give a little bit of time to make a big difference.”

Shallenberger added that the Auxiliary is also seeking feedback on how to improve volunteer services. “That’s where our former volunteers can offer some truly valuable insight,” she said. “Plus, it should be a really fun social gathering.”

To RSVP, email by September 1. Attendees are encouraged to bring a guest.

Schuyler Hospital Specialty Clinic has
new oncology, hematology providers

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Aug. 29, 2023 -- Schuyler Hospital is welcoming new providers to its Specialty Clinic from Cayuga Hematology and Oncology Associates, part of the Cayuga Cancer Center. Dr. Timothy Bael is returning to Montour Falls to see patients, while Hannah Potts, NP, is new to the community. Oncology treatments are also being offered at Schuyler Hospital.

“I am pleased to be able to provide best practices in cancer care to both Montour Falls and Ithaca,” said Dr. Bael, Medical Director for Oncology Services at Cayuga Health. “The program continues to grow at Schuyler Hospital and meet a need for patients to be cared for right in their own community.”

Based in Ithaca, the Cayuga Cancer Center is a three-time consecutive recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer. This award acknowledges cancer programs that achieve excellence in providing the highest quality of care to cancer patients. This is important to local cancer patients because it recognizes a level of care that exceeds established baseline standards of care and places Cayuga Medical Center among benchmark hospitals. To make an appointment, call (607) 272-5414, or go to

Ithaca Plastic Surgery joins CMA

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, August 28, 2023 - Ithaca Plastic Surgery has joined Cayuga Medical Associates (CMA), a member of Cayuga Health. The practice has been renamed Cayuga Plastic Surgery and brings a new specialty into the CMA family of practices.

“Medical practice in the U.S. has evolved away from independent private medical practices toward an employed model,” said David Monacelli, MD. “The advantages of this system include economies of scale, better access to health information, easier assessment of quality measures, and smoother coordination of care.” Monacelli opened Ithaca Plastic Surgery on February 13, 1995.

“Cayuga Health is very pleased to have this practice join CMA and to support these important services to our patients,” said Jeff Penoyer, Chief Operating Officer for CMA, “We are adding patient services such as a patient portal, as well.”

Cayuga Plastic Surgery will remain at its current location, 22 Brentwood Drive, Suite B and maintain its current telephone number, (607) 266-0483.

An audience gathered at 204 N. Franklin St. in Watkins for the celebration. (Provided)

Ribbon-cutting marks completion of DRI project at Graft Wine+Cider Bar in Watkins

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 21, 2023 -- The Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), in partnership with the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, held a ribbon-cutting celebration Monday, recognizing the completion of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) project at the Graft Wine+Cider Bar, located at 204 N. Franklin Street.

Chef and owner Orlando Rodriguez received a grant of $73,592 and invested an additional $200,000 to make significant improvements to the Graft Wine+Cider Bar, purchased in October 2019. Improvements to this highly visible location in the heart of downtown Watkins Glen included:

--An upgraded and enlarged commercial kitchen.
--An exterior wall built to the first-floor rear wall.
--A dumbwaiter installed to deliver food to the second-floor patrons.
--Renovation of the second floor for indoor dining and events, which doubled seating capacity to 75-plus.

“This project demonstrates the important synergies between New York's robust local food, wine and craft beverage industries and the wave of downtown revitalization sweeping the State through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative,” said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “This is yet another example of how Watkins Glen has used its DRI award to support home-grown businesses, jobs, tourism, and economic vibrancy.”

When asked how the DRI grant helped the growth of his business, Orlando Rodriguez shared, "The DRI made it possible for Graft Wine+Cider Bar to expand our kitchen, add enhancements like a dumbwaiter to the second-floor event space and the ability to double our dining capacity. Now that we have expanded, we’ve been able to add additional staff to our team. We are proud of our team that works so hard to serve the community, and are grateful for this grant and opportunity.”

Watkins Glen Mayor Laurie DeNardo, who served as co-chair for the Watkins Glen Local Planning Committee on DRI projects, noted, “The expansion and enhancements at Graft Wine+Cider Bar achieved exactly what the DRI Grant was meant for. It assisted a small business owner with funding to help with site improvements which spurred additional private investment, job creation, and sustainability. As Mayor of Watkins Glen, I couldn’t be prouder of this project and look forward to many successful years ... and meals ... at Graft Wine+Cider Bar.”

Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director of SCOPED and Co-chair of the Regional Economic Development Council for the Southern Tier, added this: “I am very proud of this project and its economic development impact. The State of New York created the DRI program in 2016 to revitalize downtown communities and it's definitely working. We've documented a leverage of 508 to 1 for private to public monies invested in Watkins Glen since the local DRI projects began. The DRI has created unprecedented improvements to Watkins Glen and Schuyler County. Thank you to the State of New York for assisting rural communities like ours and thank you to Graft for making the investment in our combined future.”

Partnering with the Schuyler County Partnership in honor of this achievement was the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. Said Executive Director Nigar Hale: “As the head of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce I couldn’t be more delighted with today’s ribbon cutting. We are here to help support small business owners and Graft Wine+Cider Bar has surpassed expectations. When you think of quality food, drink, service, and community dedication you think of Graft and its talented owner, Orlando Rodriguez. We are so proud to be a part of today’s celebration.”

Photo in text: Chef Orlando Rodriguez prepares to cut the ribbon in front of the Graft Wine+Cider Bar. (Photo provided)

Cayuga Medical Center, Schuyler Hospital recognized for strong community investment

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Aug. 16, 2023 -- Both Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) and Schuyler Hospital (SH), members of Cayuga Health, were recently recognized for fair share spending by the Lown Institute. The Lown Institute conducts nonpartisan research to help inform consumers about their care.

Based on 2020 tax records, the Lown Institute determined that both CMC and SH had a “fair share” surplus in 2020, which means they spent more on financial assistance and community investment than the estimated value of their tax exemption.

“Part of the mission of Cayuga Health is to continuously support the communities that we serve, and we offer this support in a variety of ways including contributions and various health improvement activities in Tompkins, Cortland, and Schuyler Counties,” said Rebecca Gould, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance for Cayuga Health.  “We want to ensure that every member of our community has access to high quality care regardless of payment sources and we work diligently alongside other community organizations to address population health needs, right here.”

For community benefit, Lown Institute measured 1,700 non-profit hospitals in the United States providing charity care or subsidized health services, community health improvement activities, contributions to community groups, and community building activities. They are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

To see the full list, go to 2023, Fair Share Spending - Lown Institute Hospital Index ( .

To find out more about Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, go to .

The interior of the Two Cats Cakery at 109 Main St. in Odessa. (Photo by Jon Haeffner)

Two Cats Cakery adds to Main St. comeback

By Jon Haeffner

ODESSA, Aug. 7, 2023 -- With the arrival of Two Cats Cakery and Sweet Treats, another pulse beat has been added to Main Street Odessa’s reviving heart.

Last month, Nancy Connors opened her doors at a recently remodeled 109 Main St. with a wide variety of baked delights, after a decade of growing her craft as a side business out of her home. A few tables and chairs are found to the left as you enter the cozy blue-hued space, with a simple coffee bar in a cabinet to the right, accompanied by a small cooler with a few chilled bottle and can beverage options.

In 1998, Nancy opened Volpe Nails in Watkins Glen before joining forces with Younique Hair Salon of Burdett in 2008. Coinciding with Younique’s recent move to Watkins, Nancy -- still involved in that salon -- has been in the process of establishing her bakery since before Christmas, increasingly happy to relocate her focus on baked goods from her house with the full support of her husband.

“The Kitchen, the spare bedroom, the loft in my barn is full of totes with cake pans and other equipment," she said. "I didn’t realize how much stuff I had until I got here, and I wondered how I fit it all in my house.”

The building at 109 Main St. was, at many times in its history, a salon itself under various owners across the years (as well as being a mill in days long past. Nancy described to me how a giant gear that used to run the water wheel is permanently entrenched in the attic). And the irony of its rebirth is not lost on Nancy as she reflects on how her salon life is already providing lift under the wings of her new venture.

“Clients, customers, friends of customers from the salon have been coming in," she said. "They had all been talking about it. When Younique did its grand opening (in Watkins Glen), I made all of the desserts for the open house, and we used that to introduce myself and get my name out there.”

Among the offerings Nancy provides are cakes, cupcakes, bagels with cream cheese, fresh fruit, fruit cups, different kinds of cheesecakes, muffins, scones, and gigantic sheet cakes made of cookie.

“In the fall I plan on doing pies and dessert breads like zucchini, banana, and pumpkin," she said. "I love cooking in the fall; we’ll have lots goodies, lots of sugar!”

Gluten-free and vegan goods, while occasionally appearing in her antique display case at the Cakery, are better found by request, at least two weeks in advance. Also found in the case are macaroons from Antonella Purpura of Antonella’s Kitchen, featuring different assorted flavors each week.

“Wedding Cakes are my favorite thing to do, the bigger the better!” Nancy exclaimed. “Those are as many months in advance as you can give, and I do tastings with those cake flavors, fillings and frostings, mixing and matching to decide what they like."

Once the building and parts of Main Street have completed construction work, Nancy plans on having a grand opening for the Cakery in the late fall.

“I still work at the salon two days a week, and the rest of my time is here," she said. "I don’t sleep (she laughs). It’s overwhelming, but in a good way. I like it!”

Photos in text:

Top: Sweet offerings populate The Cakery's antique display case.
Middle: Sign above the entry at 109 Main St. in Odessa.
Bottom: Seating is available for Cakery customers. (Photos by Jon Haeffner)

Schuyler Family Fit Zone seeks exhibitors

Newly renamed annual event, sponsored by Cayuga Health, to join Harvest Fest

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Aug. 9, 2023 -- Cayuga Health has scheduled the fourth annual Schuyler Family Fit Zone -- previously known as the Schuyler Family Fit Fest -- for Saturday, October 7, 2023. The event will also become part of the popular Montour Falls Harvest Festival.

Schuyler Family Fit Zone will feature health-oriented activities, games and giveaways for kids and adults, combined with the food, entertainment and variety of other activities offered at the Falls Harvest Festival. The Family Fit Zone will take place rain or shine from noon-3 p.m. only at the all-afternoon Falls Harvest Festival and will be located next to the Post Office on Main Street in Montour Falls.

“We are so pleased to be partnering with the Falls Harvest Festival,” said Jasmine Canestaro, Assistant Vice President of Operations -- Lead Hospital Administrator for Schuyler Hospital. “We have long supported the festival and recognize its value in providing a quality family experience in our local community.”

The Family Fit Zone is currently seeking exhibitors. Exhibitors should have a health and wellness focus for kids, adults, or both, and have an interactive component.

To sign up or find out more, log onto or contact Marketing-Communications at (607) 210-1950 or .

National mag rates CMC 'high performing'

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Aug. 3, 2023 -- Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) has been rated high performing on three procedures and conditions by U.S. News and World Report.

The national publication rated CMC as high performing in stroke and hip replacement, as well as maternity care for uncomplicated pregnancy.

According to U.S. News, hospitals that place in the top 10% for a medical specialty earn a “High Performing” rating for that specialty. U.S. News bases their specialty area evaluations on in-depth, data-driven tools reflecting numerous quality measures.

"We take immense pride in our recognition as ‘high performing’ in stroke, hip replacement, and maternity care by U.S. News and World Report, affirming our commitment to delivering excellence across the entire spectrum of patient care, from birth through the whole of life,” said Dr. Andreia de Lima, Chief Medical Officer, Cayuga Medical Center.

"Our teams at Cayuga Health work very hard to provide the highest quality of care and the best results for our patients," said Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO, Cayuga Health. "The ‘high performing’ recognition for multiple specialties is an honor for our whole team. It reflects our commitment to clinical excellence across the breadth of services we provide to our communities every day."

To help patients decide where to receive care, U.S. News has evaluated hospitals for over 30 years. Their current rankings reflect assessments of nearly 5,000 hospitals. To see the full list, go to

CMC earns award for its stroke care

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, July 28, 2023 -- Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines Gold Plus Award for proven dedication to ensuring all stroke patients have access to best practices and life-saving care.

This quality achievement, CMC says in a press release, attests to its "commitment to ensure stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines, ultimately leading to more lives saved and reduced disability."

CMC earlier earned the American Stroke Association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a two-year period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines. The goal is speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

CMC also received the American Heart Association’s Target: Type 2 Honor Roll award. Target: Type 2 Diabetes aims to ensure patients with Type 2 diabetes, who might be at higher risk for complications, receive the most up-to-date, evidence-based care when hospitalized due to stroke.

“Our entire health system is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines- initiatives,” said Dr. Caelyn Bellerose, Stroke Director & Emergency Medicine Physician at Cayuga Health. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to ensure more of our patients can experience longer, healthier lives.”

“We are very pleased to have earned this level of recognition and achievement, once more, from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association for our efforts to provide the best possible care to our stroke patients,” said Dr. David Halpert, Neurologist at Cayuga Medical Center. “Consistent adherence to the latest scientific treatment guidelines improves stroke survival rates and can help patients recover better.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so brain cells die. Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability and accelerating recovery times.

Rain Barrel Workshop set for August 14

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, July 25, 2023 -- Installing a rain barrel is an easy way to protect our watersheds and save resources and money.

Accordingly, Ryan Staychock, Environmental/Natural Resources Educator with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations of Cayuga, Schuyler, and Seneca Counties, will present a workshop on the importance of rain barrels on Monday, August 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Room 120 of the Schuyler Human Services Building, 323 Owego St., Montour Falls.

The workshop will show how such barrels can help protect our natural resources. Participants will also build their own rain barrel to take home.

A rain barrel is a small above ground tank that can be installed next to a gutter downspout from a shed, garage, or house. Rain barrels are one example of a rainwater harvesting system. A rainwater harvesting system captures and stores stormwater runoff, to be used for non-potable water activities such as washing your car or irrigation of your flower bed.

Once home, participants will need to independently install the rain barrel, connect a gutter to the rain barrel input, and complete the overflow system. Rain barrels will include a garden hose adaptable faucet, 1 1/2” PVC overflow and 4” PVC input with mosquito screen.

Cost for this workshop is $35 per person. Registration is required. Please inform Cooperative Extension if you require any special accommodation. Register online at this site or at If you do not have access to the internet, please call 315-539-9251.

Dates: Monday, August 14, 2023
5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Location: Schuyler Human Services Building, Rm 120 at 323 Owego St., Montour Falls.
Cost: $35. Covers workshop & barrel to take home.
Registration: Required. Register online at: If you do not have access to the internet, call 315-539-9251.

Summer Rendezvous attendees climbed aboard the Lakeside Trolley for a group photo.

Watkins Chamber's Summer Rendezvous features Lakeside Trolley ribbon-cutting

WATKINS GLEN, July 20, 2023 -- The recent opening of Lakeside Trolley was celebrated Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony as part of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce’s Summer Rendezvous event held at the Seneca Lake Events Center at Clute Park.

Katrina Gonsorick and Joe Irwin, owners of Lakeside Trolley, offer the area's only hop-on and hop-off trolley tour service, connecting guests to top destinations in the Finger Lakes.

Their route travels along the eastern and western sides of Seneca Lake, connecting their guests to Watkins Glen businesses and hot spots. Stops include the Chamber's Downtown Visitor Center along with locations on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, such as Glenora, Damiani Wine Cellars, the Grist Mill and J.R. Dill Winery, among others.

Their trolley's ticket hub is located in Watkins Glen, at the Horseheads Brewing & Lakeside Eatery on the lake's southern shore.

Speakers at the ribbon-cutting included Nigar Hale, the Chamber Executive Director; Sharon Murphy, representing Congressman Nick Langworthy; Watkins Glen Village Trustee Nan Woodworth; Judy McKinney Cherry, the Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development; and the two business owners.

Gonsorick and Irwin were praised by McKinney Cherry for moving from Philadelphia to a small, "tight-knit" community like Schuyler County, without knowing anyone, and venturing to start a business that offers residents and tourists a service lacking until now.

Irwin said that he and Gonsorick had wanted a "small town feel" in their lives, and that the people of Schuyler have been "very welcoming."

Gonsorick, who described Irwin as "my partner in life and business," echoed his sentiment, saying they have received "overwhelming support" and want "to give back to everyone who has helped us."

The Summer Rendezvous, sponsored by Chemung Canal Trust Company, featured games, music by Bobby K Entertainment, and drinks from Barnstormer Winery and Diversion Brewing Company. Dinner was provided by the Bucket Bar & Grill. Dessert ice cream was provided by the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor.

Photos in text:

Top: Joe Irwin lifts partner Katrina Gonsorick next to their trolley, parked at Clute Park for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Irwin said they purchased the trolley and one other in Pittsburgh. The second one has not yet been activated.

Bottom: Sharon Murphy, representing Congressman Nick Langworthy, presented a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition to Irwin and Gonsorick.

CMC receives 2 Four-Star service ratings

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, July 20, 2023 -- Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) was recently recognized as a Four-Star hospital by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In addition, CMC received four stars for patient experience. Cayuga Medical Center is the only healthcare facility in the region to receive four stars or better for both the overall and patient experience scores.

The overall rating summarizes a variety of measures on common conditions that hospitals treat, like heart attacks or pneumonia. CMS considers whether or not a health care provider gives recommended treatment based on standards of care and evaluates the outcomes of all treatments provided.

The Patient Survey Rating measures patients’ perception of their hospital care. Recently discharged patients are asked about important topics like how well nurses and doctors communicated, how responsive hospital staff were to their needs, and the cleanliness and quietness of the hospital’s environment.

“Patients who choose Cayuga Medical Center for care can be assured that they will receive effective care in a healing environment. These CMS scores are evidence that our team is consistently focused on patient-centered care,” said Dr. Andreia de Lima, Vice President of Medical Affairs, Cayuga Medical Center at Ithaca.

“This four-star recognition is outstanding. The patient care teams at Cayuga Medical Center pride themselves in providing the very best and highest quality care for each of our patients, and it is rewarding to see that recognition on this level,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO, Cayuga Health. “This new four-star patient satisfaction rating exemplifies their continued determination for excellence every day. We are grateful to have such a talented and caring staff.”

The CMS Five-Star Quality Rating was created to help consumers, their families, and caregivers so they can easily identify areas about which they may want to ask questions before undergoing care. The 1- to 5-star rating helps to identify the best certified Medicare Acute Care Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals in each community as well as nursing home facilities.

Cayuga Health starts new visit program

MONTOUR FALLS, June 28, 2023 -- Cayuga Health is now implementing Patient Directed Visitation at Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Medical Center.

Patient Directed Visitation allows patients to give feedback on who they would like visiting them in the hospital and when, according to personal preferences and in consideration of their healthcare needs.

The program, an official said, is consistent with Cayuga Health’s person-centered care initiatives.

“We are pleased to be starting Patient Directed Visitation to support the healing process of our patients,” said Naph’tali Edge, Chief Nursing Officer, Cayuga Health. “This program has been shown to help patients balance their wish for the support of family and friends with their need for rest and privacy.”

Patient Directed Visitation, a press release explained, "aims to create an environment that provides comfort, promotes healing, and protects the privacy of all patients in the hospital."

The benefits of Patient Directed Visitation, it added, "include: reduces patient anxiety, provides comfort, promotes a smooth transition of care, fosters trust and collaboration between hospital caregivers and family caregivers, and facilitates more effective communication between patients, loved ones, and staff."

Find out more about Patient Directed Visitation at

Health Foundation has 2 new members

MONTOUR FALLS, June 28, 2023 --The Schuyler Health Foundation recently welcomed new Board Members, Dr. Joseph Mannino and Kathie Notarfonzo.

In addition, Board officers appointed were Brenda Warren-Fitch, Chair; Tom Phillips, Vice-Chair; and Jerry Mickelson, Secretary/Treasurer.

Dr. Mannino recently retired from orthopedics medicine. He cared for Cayuga Health patients for over 20 years. Born and raised in Brooklyn and Queens, he is a member of the Trumansburg community, and recently demonstrated his life-long commitment to service by signing up for the Army Reserve Corps.

Notarfonzo has been in the Watkins Glen area since the age of 11, and is a local business owner -- of Inner Peace Floats and Exercise Enterprise. Working for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for 37 years, she is currently Assistant Regional Director.

SCOPED plans craft beverage roundtable

Industry representatives to discuss inaugural Micro-Grant Program

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 21, 2023 -- The Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) will host a Craft Beverage Roundtable on Thursday, June 29 beginning at 3:00 p.m. at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

This informational session is for all craft beverage business representatives who are interested in the inaugural Craft Beverage Micro-Grant Program, available now through Empire State Development and the State of New York.

The Micro Grant Program aims to increase the production capacity, business infrastructure, and profitability of businesses licensed to produce wine, beer, spirits, hard cider, and mead by providing matching funds for equipment purchases and facility upgrades.

Program funding is available for capital grants of up to $50,000 each to support:

--New equipment purchase(s);
--New infrastructure and/or facilities expansion and/or upgrade;
--Clear expansion of existing equipment and/or a facilities upgrade.

Projects must take place at a licensed location where production occurs. Licensed or permitted locations that do not have any production taking place on-premises will not be eligible for funding.

Attendees will hear from state representatives; Omar Sanders, Southern Tier Regional Director of Empire State Development, and Stefan Fleming, Director of Industry Development, Craft Beverage. They will provide an overview of the program, answer questions and provide key input to businesses planning to apply for the grant.

Museum exhibit: 200 years of agriculture by Schuyler County farming families

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, June 18, 2023 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society has a new community exhibit, which will run until November 15th. “Farming Families of Schuyler County: 200 Years of Continuous Agriculture,” opened on June 16th in time for the Path Through History Weekend across New York State, June 17-19.

June is National Dairy Month but is also the month Rosé Day is celebrated, and when we have several Strawberry Festivals to kick off the summer growing season.

To the Iroquois, the area of modern-day Schuyler County was paradise, with ample amounts of hunting, fishing, foraging, and lush soil.

The modern Town of Hector was all military track plots given as payment to Revolutionary War soldiers. The remainder of the county was settled by land speculators who saw infinite potential for commerce.

To the Revolutionary soldiers, land tracts offered an opportunity for a fresh start with their families. These lands were rich in materials, bountiful in resources and where hard work meant survival, growth and endless possibilities. Today, that legacy continues.

Schuyler County boasts more than 408 farms, of which 97 are family farms. Of all these farms, 20 sell directly to consumers.

Various farms throughout Schuyler County provided family histories, photographs and family timelines for the exhibit. The exhibit also features one Military Lot from its creation in 1790 through current ownership in 2023.

The Historical Society will host an exhibit reception on Saturday, July 1st. The reception will be from 12 noon until 2 p.m. and is open to the public.

The Brick Tavern Museum is located at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls. Admission is free. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday 2-8 p.m. Museum exhibits and all operations of the Schuyler County Historical Society are supported by a Tourism Assistance Program grant administered by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, call the Brick Tavern Museum at (607) 535-9741.

Photo in text: A grape press, grape harvesting lug, and a fruit harvesting basket. These were all made in Schuyler County, where several businesses specialized in making various types of fruit harvesting items. (Photo provided)

Cayuga Health is new Wine Fest sponsor

Special to The Odessa Fil

ITHACA, June 11, 2023 -- Cayuga Health is the new presenting sponsor of The Finger Lakes Wine Festival, which will be held at Watkins Glen International (WGI) July 8-9.

The Wine Festival is the region’s largest and continues to be a destination tourism event in Upstate New York.

Cayuga Health has been supporting WGI with a variety of health living initiatives including being its Official Wellness Partner since 2017, and the presenting sponsor of the WGI Walking Trail.

“Cayuga Health is not only a great neighbor to us at WGI, but also a great partner,” said WGI President Michael Printup. “We have a unique relationship that allows us to take advantage of the acreage and ancillary events at the track to promote health, wellness, and fun throughout the season here.”

The Finger Lakes Wine Festival Presented by Cayuga Health is a weekend event, featuring on-site camping, music, and 90-plus wine and artisan food vendors from across New York State.

“Cayuga Health continues to be grateful for our partnership with Watkins Glen International and the opportunity to be part of The Finger Lakes Wine Festival,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO, Cayuga Health. “WGI is an integral part of the communities we serve, and this is a marquee event. Both are reasons we are pleased to offer our support.”

Fans can check out ticket and camping options for the Wine Festival at

My Place fundraiser carries a message

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 11, 2023 -- Seventeen wineries, breweries and eateries are pledging a portion of their sales to support My Place, A Play and Learning Center, while sending a message that quality child care is an important component of business success.

The “Cheers to Childcare!” fundraiser will be from June 19-25. Staff at half of the 17 participating businesses have children enrolled in My Place, located in Watkins Glen and the only child-care center in Schuyler County. Current full- and part-time enrollment in its two programs is 112.

“Quality child care is pivotal to our success as a community,” Kristine Brownell, My Place executive director, said. “We want to be sure that we’re growing our families, and there are many great reasons why this is a great place to be a kid.”

“This employee made possible because of child care,” is a message My Place supporters are sharing, Brownell said, because working parents in Schuyler County need the services of a local child-care center.

Proceeds from “Cheers to Childcare!” support day-to-day operating expenses such as rent, utilities and supplies. Jennifer Somer, My Place board vice president, had the idea to turn to the winery and brewery industry for help.

After a successful inaugural event in 2022, more breweries and wineries asked to participate this year, said Somer, owner with her husband Luke Fazzary of Scale House Brewery in Hector.

“We’re a community, and we acknowledge that tourism is our industry and that alcohol sales can support our children,” Somer said.

“We toast that we can do this because of child care,” she said.

Participants in “Cheers to Childcare!” are Bagley’s, Damiani Wine Cellars, Graft Wine + Cider Bar, Grist Iron Brewing Co., Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Hector Wine Company, Hop Notch Brewing Co., Lakewood Vineyards, Leidenfrost Vineyards, Lucky Hare Brewing Co., Rasta Ranch Vineyards, Scale House Brewery, Shalestone Vineyards, Solera Tap House, Stonecat Cafe, Toast Winery and Two Goats Brewing.

Other My Place events during June, which is National Children’s Awareness Month, include the raffle of a Traeger smoker, donated by Schamel Brothers Contractors. Tickets are available from My Place families and staff and at My Place. The drawing will be on June 30. Proceeds from the raffle will be shared with the Schuyler County Swim Program.

Finger Lakes RV Resort in Hector also hosted a weekend “Campfires for a Cause” fundraiser for My Place and the Burdett Fire Department will donate a portion of the proceeds of its Father's Day breakfast to My Place.

My Place, A Play and Learning Center is a non-profit organization located at 207 E. Second St., Watkins Glen. For more information about My Place and its after-school program, go to or call 607-535-8908.

Jerakah Heady (yellow shirt) with the team at Cayuga Birthplace. From left: Sharon Berger, Christina Vann, Brenda Lange, LeAnn Brown, Jerakah Heady (donor), Lisa Orinda, Ada Robinson, Katrina Deforrest, and Satish Devapatla. (Photo provided)

Cayuga Birthplace receives donation

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, May 23, 2023 -- The Cayuga Birthplace and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) recently received a meaningful donation from Jerakah Heady of Burdett, NY. Heady presented the $3,300 donation to the NICU in early May, commemorating work that is very personal to her.

An author and entrepreneur from the "Grit and Gratitude" organization, an initiative that focuses on grief and empowerment coaching, Heady hosted the "And She Rises" event in Watkins Glen in March, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the NICU.

Through her fundraising event, Heady was pleased to share how important it is to have NICU services available, and the benefit of donations to the organization.

Heady's books include her brand new "The Unsung Lullabies," telling her personal stories of her experience with love and loss.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be able to support CMC and the NICU with this event. Taking a tour and seeing exactly how they are going to use the funds to provide better services for the babies in this community warms my heart,” said Heady. “I look forward to working with Brenda and Dr. Satish in the future and thank them and the entire NICU staff for all that they do for our community. They are truly angels on earth.”

"We are so honored to have been chosen by Jerakah," said Brenda Lange, Director of Maternal Child Health for Cayuga Medical Center. "We at the Birthplace are in a unique position where we are let into our patients’ lives when they are at their most vulnerable. It is incredibly humbling to get to be a part of someone bringing a life into the world and for them to trust us with their newborn child. Sometimes these little lives need extra assistance and that is where my NICU team steps in and excels. The funds raised help keep our NICU equipment up to date and the team educated so that we can provide the best quality care to this vulnerable population."

To find out more about the Cayuga Birthplace and NICU services, call (607) 274-4011.

The former Clifford Motors building at the corner of Second and Franklin in Watkins Glen starts to tumble. A further sequence appears below.

Clifford Motors building comes down

WATKINS GLEN, May 15, 2023 -- The most recognizable of the former Clifford Motors buildings came tumbling down Monday afternoon.

Workers with Swarthout Recycling -- after knocking down other portions of the Clifford complex of buildings last week -- got to the brick-fronted structure on the property's southeast corner, facing Franklin Street.

The cloud from the building's fall carried across Franklin for a couple of minutes before a breeze wafted the dust away.

The site will be utilized in the future by the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC), serving (according to current, still developing plans) as home to a new building that will mark a “much needed expansion” for the Racing Center, according to its executive director, Mark Steigerwald. The IMRRC’s primary home has been on South Decatur Street for years in space rented from the Watkins Glen Public Library. There is no timeline for the new construction.

Photo in text: The demolition permit, buried in the building's debris Monday.

The demolition prompted this response:

My brother Ron Fraboni and I have watched with great interest the demolition of the building at Second and Franklin Streets in Watkins Glen. Long before it was Clifford Motors, for more than 30 years beginning in 1938, the building was the site of Glen Chevrolet, a Chevrolet and Buick dealership owned by our father, D.E. (Nick) Fraboni.

Our dad, who died in 1999, would be absolutely delighted to see the site become the home of the racing center. He was one of the original sponsors of Formula One sports car racing in the late 1940s in Watkins Glen, and served for many years on the Grand Prix governing board. I remember him telling us how he had gone from door to door to all Watkins businesses to convince them that a sports car race would be a boon to the village.

In those early days, the Ferrari and other Italian teams were housed at Glen Chevrolet, where my father could speak Italian with them. He also hosted Harley Earl and his Buick LeSabre concept car at the famous 1951 race that Earl credited with giving him the idea to design the Corvette, which debuted in Watkins Glen two years later and will be the subject of a celebration later this month.

We are very glad to see the property become a racing museum.

Rena Fraboni Bloom
Chalfont, PA

And the demolition sequence (continued):

Hospital Auxiliary offering scholarships

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 13, 2023 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary is offering scholarships to students who plan to enter the health care field.

Scholarships of $1,500 will be awarded to graduating high school students who are residents of Schuyler County, or to Schuyler Hospital employees advancing their education.

Applications may be found on-line at Applications may also be picked up at high school guidance offices.

Applications must be postmarked or submitted to by June 1, 2023.

For more information, email, or contact Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship Chairperson Alice Learn at (607) 594-3401.

Cayuga Health suspends mandatory masking

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, May 10, 2023 -- Cayuga Health announced Wednesday that mandatory masking for all Cayuga Health patients and visitors will be discontinued, effective May 11, due to reduced COVID community and transmission rates.

Self- screening will be in place at all Cayuga Health facility entrances. Questions include if you have symptoms, diagnosis or contact with someone known to be infected with COVID in the past 10 days.

Cayuga Health employees will continue to wear N95 mask + eye protection when caring for those patients who are suspected or known to be COVID-positive.

While not required in other cases, masking continues to be recommended to all patients, staff, and visitors. Individuals may choose to use masks based on personal preference, informed by their perceived level of risk for infection based on their recent activities, their potential for developing severe disease, or if someone in their household is at increased risk for severe disease.

Cayuga Health continues to monitor COVID community and transmission rates and will adjust the policy if cases increase.

$1 million gift supports Cancer Center

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, May 10, 2023 -- Thomas Seaman of Vero Beach, Florida has made a multi-year commitment of $1,000,000 to the Cayuga Medical Center (CMC), a member of Cayuga Health, to support the Cayuga Cancer Center (CCC). This gift, one of the largest ever made to Cayuga Health, will support the facility and equipment needs of the CCC and was made in loving memory of Mr. Seaman’s wife, Jean Seaman.

Prior to residing in Vero Beach, Mr. Seaman and his family were long-time residents of Tompkins County and continue to call Trumansburg their home. The Seamans were initially recruited to Ithaca in 1959 by Borg Warner. They then had stops in Detroit and the UK before returning in 1969. After serving as General Manager and overseeing the construction of the new plant in Lansing, Mr. Seaman left Borg Warner in 1983. Since then, he has been involved with many business ventures, including real estate development. Together the Seamans raised four children: Pat, Jay, Kate and Tom. With this much history, the family developed a tight bond with this community.

“Enhancing the capabilities of Cayuga Health, particularly its cancer care, to better serve the community is a worthwhile goal, and one that the Seaman family is pleased to contribute towards,” said Mr. Seaman. “This is a way to honor Jean’s memory in a manner that supports the health system’s efforts to care for a community and region that is so important us.”

“The support Mr. Seaman and the entire Seaman family are providing will have a meaningful and long-term positive impact for our patients and the cancer care we can provide,” said Dr. Timothy Bael, Medical Director for Oncology Services at Cayuga Health. “This investment will help to ensure that we continue to have the equipment and facilities to support the needs of our patients.”

The funds from Mr. Seaman's commitment will be utilized to secure equipment that improves the patient’s experience during diagnosis or treatment. Potential opportunities lie in vascular access, imaging, and surgical treatment.

Dr. Mato joins Cayuga Cancer Center

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, April 26, 2023 -- Cayuga Health has announced the addition of Dr. Anthony Mato to Cayuga Hematology and Oncology Associates, part of the Cayuga Cancer Center.

Now seeing patients in Ithaca and Montour Falls, Mato earned his MD from SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine, Buffalo, NY, and his MS in epidemiology and biostatistics from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia. He is board certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine.

“I am pleased to be treating patients in both Ithaca and Montour Falls,” said Mato. “With a program recognized by the Commission on Cancer, Cayuga Health System offers the highest level of cancer care. I look forward to strengthening our research-based care to bring new and innovative therapies to this wonderful community to continually improve outcomes.”

Dr. Mato was most recently an Associate Attending Physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and previously he was as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Photo in text: Dr. Anthony Mato (Photo provided)

Cayuga, Arnot explore collaboration

Study will identify potential ways the health systems can work together

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, April 14, 2023 -- Cayuga Health and Arnot Health announced Friday that they are exploring a collaborative relationship that would mutually benefit the communities they serve.

Over the next several weeks, the senior leadership of both healthcare organizations will undertake a feasibility study to identify potential ways to work together to enhance regional access to sustainable, high quality, and affordable healthcare.

“We are excited to begin a series of discussions with Arnot Health to better understand how we may be able to work together,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO of Cayuga Health. “At Cayuga Health we are continuously mindful of the changing landscape of healthcare delivery and the needs of the communities that we serve. We are a growing health network, and we are constantly exploring and researching new ways in which we can nurture and enhance health care services within our upstate New York communities.”

“We believe that community partnerships, with like-minded organizations, are imperative to ensure the quality and sustainability of essential health care services that community members and businesses across our region rely upon," said Jonathan Lawrence, President and CEO of Arnot Health. “We look forward to learning more and to seeing where this discussion may lead.”

Cayuga Health, based in Ithaca, serves Tompkins, Cortland, Cayuga, and Schuyler Counties. It operates two hospitals: Cayuga Medical Center (CMC in Ithaca) and Schuyler Hospital (Montour Falls). Arnot Health, based in Elmira, has one of the most historic health care facilities in the region. It operates three hospitals in The Southern Tier of New York and serve patients across multiple counties including Chemung, Schuyler, and Steuben, and the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania.

SCOPED goal: to help in revitalizaton of underutilized Schuyler County properties

The following was provided by the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED).

SCHUYLER COUNTY, April 8, 2023 -- Working with the Schuyler County Legislature, the Village of Montour Falls, and the Village of Watkins Glen, the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) facilitated three Restore NY applications in the most recent round of funding.

The Restore New York Communities Initiative (“Restore NY”) provides municipalities with financial assistance for the revitalization of commercial and residential properties. The program encourages community development and neighborhood growth through the elimination and redevelopment of blighted structures.

The Schuyler County Legislature supported an application to redevelop the abandoned church located at 127 East 4th Street in Watkins Glen. Under new ownership, plans for this property include a first-floor tavern, second-floor event space, and apartments on the upper level. The total rehabilitation of this space is nearly $3 million.

“There was just something about this building,” said Daniel Rafferty, property owner. “I have always admired this site and thought it was a shame for it to be empty for so long. It’s so close to Franklin Street, with lots of foot traffic and such a beautiful structure. When I learned it was for sale, I jumped at the chance to buy it with plans to restore and save it. I’m hoping this space will add to what is offered locally for food, and local wines and brews. This will be a place for locals and tourists, year around. Thank you to the Schuyler County Legislature for supporting this project.”

The Village of Montour Falls, in collaboration with Schuyler Redevelopment, submitted a Restore NY application for the environmental cleanup and site development of the former Shepard Niles parcel on North Genesee Street in Montour Falls. This former manufacturing facility sits on 20+ acres, steps from downtown Montour Falls; the environmental cleanup is estimated at more than $7 million. The future use of this site is unknown but has been discussed extensively at the Village Board level. With the recent NY Forward win of $4.5 million dollars, and this site being one of the future possible development projects, there may be a future for this abandoned site.

According to Montour Falls Mayor Jim Ryan, “The Schuyler Redevelopment site is crucial to the forward momentum of Montour Falls. This property sits close to our vibrant downtown and offers a unique opportunity for redevelopment and attraction to our village, and will be vital to our local economy. Through programs like NY Forward and Restore NY these once distant dreams can finally be a reality.”

The Village of Watkins Glen is seeking funding to demolish and rebuild the former Rooster Fish site (109-111 Franklin Street) in downtown Watkins Glen. The application includes plans to demolish the existing building and remediate the property. A new, approximately 24,000-square-foot building will be constructed to include an experiential attraction, archival facility, and educational component that will service existing and new global visitors.

Said Mayor Laurie DeNardo: “This is a great project that can spur additional investment in housing, retail, lodging, and other commercial activities in and around the Village.”

Finding grant programs and matching them with opportunities in Schuyler County is just one of the many services offered by SCOPED. For more information on programs, opportunities and membership opportunities with SCOPED, visit our website: or call (607) 535-4341.

IMRRC fund-raiser: Corvette E-Ray

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 31, 2023) –The International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) will have the new 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray 3LZ Convertible for its 25th Anniversary sweepstakes fundraiser. It will go to the lucky winner whose ticket is drawn on April 13, 2024.

“The E-Ray embodies cutting-edge evolution, securing the future of America’s sports car,” said IMRRC Executive Director Mark Steigerwald. The Corvette’s first-ever hybrid powertrain consists of a 6.2-liter V-8 that powers the back wheels and a 160-horsepower electric motor that powers the front wheels, creating an all-wheel drive setup with a combined 655 horsepower. As a result, the E-Ray is the fastest Corvette ever made, reaching 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds. The electric motor has allowed for the option to use the all-new Stealth Mode, during which owners can travel quietly up to 45 miles per hour for short distances.

Developed to be the Corvette that owners can drive anywhere, no matter the season, a combination of carbon-ceramic brakes and 20- and 21-inch all-season tires give the E-Ray the unique distinction of being the first production car to come standard with these features.

The IMRRC’s annual sweepstakes is a main pillar of its yearly fundraising efforts. Proceeds are used to support the Center’s mission of collecting, preserving and sharing the history of motorsports worldwide. Entries for the sweepstakes are currently being accepted, a year before the drawing.

Full Sweepstakes details can be found at

Seneca Physical Therapy to close its doors

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 25, 2023 -- Seneca Physical Therapy, located at 609 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen, will close its doors in the coming weeks after providing service since 2007.

In a letter to its patients past and present, the business owner, Amanda Smith-Socaris, PT, DPT, OCS, apologized while explaining the reasoning behind the move.

"It is with a heavy heart," her statement said, "that I write this letter to inform you that our physical therapy practice will be closing its doors permanently this year. We want to express our gratitude for the trust you have placed in us and the privilege we have had of serving your needs for 16 years. We will see patients as space allows for evaluations until April 7, and we will see patients for follow up visits until May 18.

"Since opening our doors in 2007, our team has worked hard to provide you with the highest quality of care possible. We are proud of the progress we have made with each and every one of you, and we are grateful for the relationships we have formed along the way.

"We know you will wonder why this is happening after so many years spent in this wonderful community. The reality is that the last few years of health care payment cuts to private practice physical therapy, combined with rising expenses, have made this a hard but necessary decision.

"We apologize for the impact this may cause and we want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to ensure a smooth transition for all of our patients. If and when you need to see a physical therapist, we can arrange to send your medical records to them upon request. If you would like a recommendation, please call our office.

"Once again, we want to express our deepest gratitude for the trust you have placed in us over the years. We will miss seeing you and being your partner in health."

Cayuga Health named Presenting Sponsor
of the July 8-9 Finger Lakes Wine Festival

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 23, 2023 -- A well-known family-oriented health system has been named the new presenting sponsor of a popular Western New York festival at Watkins Glen International as the Finger Lakes Wine Festival Presented by Cayuga Health System will return July 8-9, 2023, the track announced today.

Cayuga Health has served as the Official Wellness Partner for Watkins Glen International since 2017 and is already the presenting sponsor of the Walking Trail at Watkins Glen International.

“Cayuga Health is not only a great neighbor to us at WGI, but also a great partner,” said WGI President Michael Printup. “We have a unique relationship that allows us to take advantage of the acreage and ancillary events at the track to promote health, wellness, and fun throughout the season here.”

The Finger Lakes Wine Festival Presented by Cayuga Health System is a destination event, featuring camping, music, and 90-plus wine and artisan food vendors from across New York State.

”Cayuga Health continues to be grateful for our partnership with Watkins Glen International and the opportunity to be part of the Finger Lakes Wine Festival,” said Martin Stallone, MD, the CEO of Cayuga Health System. “WGI is an integral part of the communities we serve and this is a marquee event. Both are reasons we are pleased to offer our support.”

Fans can check out ticket and camping options for the Finger Lakes Wine Festival Presented by Cayuga Health System at

To purchase IMSA or NASCAR race tickets or for camping and additional information, call 1-866-461-RACE or visit Fans can view the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series schedules and purchase tickets at

Training set to help ID invasive insect

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, March 14, 2023 -- Volunteers are needed to help scientists find the invasive pest that is damaging hemlock trees in New York State. Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is an invasive forest insect threatening hemlock trees in the eastern United States.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler and Seneca counties in collaboration with the Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) are hosting a Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Survey Training on Tuesday, March 28 from 12:00 noon-2:00 p.m. at the Ravine Loop Trail of the Finger Lakes National Forest. This training will teach participants how to identify hemlock trees, HWA, and understand the process to report their findings to scientists.

Hemlocks grow on steep slopes in areas with moist soils and can be found along streams and lake shorelines. In the Finger Lakes, many gorges are lined with hemlock trees. Hemlock trees are the third most common tree in New York State, and they provide many ecosystem services.

“We need all hands-on deck, including volunteers, to help save important hemlock trees in New York State,” said Ryan Staychock, the Environmental/Natural Resources Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler and Seneca counties. “Dress for the weather and wear your hiking boots because this hands-on training is being held outside at the Ravine Loop Trail on the Finger Lakes National Forest,” he added.

HWA uses its mouthparts to feed on hemlock trees, and if gone untreated, the damage to the trees restricts the flow of water and nutrients to the ends of the twigs, killing emerging buds and preventing new growth.

“There is hope to save trees from dying if we can find the infestation, and that’s where volunteers, known as citizen-scientists, are really important,” said Matt Gallo, the PRISM Terrestrial Invasive Species Coordinator, who is housed at the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY.

Registration to attend this training is now open at either or or contact Ryan Staychock at 315-539-9251, or email

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid Survey Training
Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Time: 12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m
Location: Ravine Loop Trail Head, USFS Finger Lakes National Forest, 4490 Picnic Area Rd, Burdett, NY.
Cost: Free

New affiliate: Addiction Recovery Services

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, March 1, 2023 -- Cayuga Health has announced its newest affiliation, finalized on March 1,with Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services [C.A.R.S.]. Both organizations began the process of affiliating in April of 2021.

“We are excited to officially welcome Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services to the Cayuga Health family,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. “C.A.R.S. has been a valuable partner for many years. As we all work to address the growing problem of addiction in our communities, this affiliation enhances access and continuity of care. As health care providers, we need to make sure we have treatment and support resources available to the community. Although we have worked closely with C.A.R.S. for decades, this new relationship will bring a level of clinical expertise and services that provides continuity to patient care within the Cayuga Health System.”

Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services offers outpatient and residential Substance Use Disorder Services, an Opioid Treatment Program and a comprehensive, longer term residential treatment program for men at the 60-bed Residential Addiction Recovery Center in Trumansburg.

Added Tom LiVigne, Chairman of the Cayuga Health Board of Directors: “This is another example of our continued effort to develop partnerships and connections with community organizations to benefit our communities and provide greater access. This affiliation only serves to enhance the level of care we can provide for those in need of addiction recovery services.”

Interventional Oncology Program offered

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Feb. 27, 2023 -- Cayuga Health is implementing a new program in Interventional Oncology, beginning with a minimally invasive option for destroying tumors in sensitive tissues including the liver, kidneys, and lungs.

Microwave Ablation (MWA) is being
offered at Cayuga Medical Center, as a collaboration between Oncology and Interventional Radiology. Patients initially see their Oncologist to manage their malignancy, and if Oncology feels that ablation is a treatment option for their condition, the patient is referred to Interventional Radiology for MWA.

Cayuga Health is using the Neuwave microwave system for this alternative to surgery for patients with soft tissue lesions. In addition to the clinical benefits, most procedures last 1-2 hour with only 5-10 minutes of ablation time and a low complication rate. This allows many patients to leave the hospital the same day as the procedure or the following day with only a bandage at the probe insertion point. The procedure can be performed with conscious sedation or general anesthesia. Following a MWA procedure, patients can make a full recovery in just three or four days. Follow-up imaging is done in the upcoming months.

“Adopting this technology demonstrates our ongoing commitment to being at the forefront of seeking new treatments for our community,” said Dr. David Maldow, an Interventional Radiologist with Cayuga Health. “We continually focus on improving clinical outcomes and the quality of life for our patients.”

If they have any questions, patients are encouraged to speak with their oncologist.

Glenora marks 10 years on wedding list

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, Feb. 20, 2023 -- For the 10th consecutive year, Glenora Wine Cellars has been selected as a "Best of Weddings" venue by The Knot. In the wedding industry, this award is presented to the teams who have achieved the highest level of customer satisfaction within the field. Brides and grooms voted to give Glenora the "Best of Weddings" award, recognizing its 5-star ratings in service, location, communication and overall experience.

"We are so proud to be selected 'Best of Weddings' for the 10th year in a row," said General Manager Kerry Keller. "This achievement truly is a tribute to our exceptional team. We look forward to providing the best wedding experience, and continuing to be a premier wedding destination for couples in the Finger Lakes region."

Glenora Wine Cellars is currently booking weddings for the 2023 and 2024 seasons. For information on the venue, nearly weds can visit Glenora's website for pictures, testimonials, and introductions to the team.

Since 1977, Glenora Wine Cellars has been a leader in the Finger Lakes wine industry, creating award-winning wines for over four decades. Located on a 40-acre estate on the shores of Seneca Lake, the winery also boasts the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars with 30 rooms overlooking the vineyards and the lake, as well as Veraisons Restaurant that serves seasonal cuisine made with local ingredients.

Twiage to aid in emergency communications

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, February 16, 2023 -- Twiage, a secure and real-time communication application used by EMS agencies and the emergency departments they bring patients to, recently launched at Cayuga Health’s two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) in Ithaca, NY, and Schuyler Hospital in Montour Falls, NY.

When patients are having a medical emergency (like a stroke or heart attack), every second can make a big difference. Twiage helps CMC and Schuyler Hospital Emergency Departments communicate efficiently with EMS agencies so that patients get to where they need to go; it also empowers physicians by providing streamlined information to improve patient outcomes.

What distinguishes Twiage from other general healthcare communication systems is that it allows healthcare professionals to see real-time GPS tracking for ambulance ETAs, along with the ability to send HIPAA-compliant clinical data from the back of the ambulance.

“After using Twiage for a short time, our ED and EMS staff are talking about how much this technology makes things better for patients and EMS crews,” said Scott Goldsmith, Manager of Transfer Center and EMS Operations at Cayuga Medical Center. “I’ve asked different EMS crews for their feedback and it’s nothing but praise. Our team has seen first-hand how quick and easy Twiage is to use.”

“One recent example of how this technology saved precious minutes was when a patient was brought in after having suffered a stroke,” said Goldsmith. “The ED provider was able to witness the stroke assessment as it was performed in the ambulance, allowing them to be prepared to take the necessary life-saving actions upon the patient’s arrival.”

Twiage has earned innovation awards and recognition from major healthcare organizations, such as the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, American College of Emergency Physicians, and Cleveland Clinic Innovations. Its technology is being used by hundreds of hospitals and EMS agencies in multiple states and has powered more than one million emergency medical transports since its inception.

Lawton will succeed Kimble at FLTA

Special to The Odessa File

The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance (FLTA) has selected Meghan Lawton as its new President & CEO. She will begin her new role in mid-March 2023.

Lawton, the FLTA said, "has strong ties to the Finger Lakes region both as a resident and as a part of the tourism industry in both Wyoming and Cortland counties, as well as a strong affiliation within the industry statewide as a part of the New York State Tourism Industry Association."

“I am thrilled," said Lawton," to be selected as the next President and CEO of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance. The Finger Lakes region is the hallmark of New York State tourism. “I look forward to continuing the great work that FLTA has done thus far in promoting and supporting this beautiful area and the partner businesses. I will work hard as a steward for FLTA, directing my full efforts to the growth, promotion, and prosperity of the entire Finger Lakes region.”

The search for a new President & CEO began in early 2022 in preparation for the planned retirement at the end of March 2023 of the current FLTA leader, Cindy Kimble.

"Kimble," the FLTA said, "has served as the President since November of 2007 and has become known as a passionate ambassador for the Finger Lakes region and the spark that ignited the quest for the Finger Lakes Region to be named a National Heritage Area. She has been asked by the Board of Directors to continue on the National Heritage Area Committee and is excited to do so. Cindy’s tireless work to secure FLTA’s legacy as the premiere destination marketing organization for the Finger Lakes region and the oldest regional DMO in the nation has been extraordinary."

When asked about Lawton taking the reins, Kimble said, "Having worked with Meghan while she was at the Cortland CVB, I know Meghan will lead FLTA to continued success!"

Photo in text: Meghan Lawton (Photo provided)

Oncology services back at Schuyler Hospital

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 26, 2023 -- Schuyler Hospital has announced the return of oncology consulations to its Specialty Clinic in Montour Falls. Dr. Mufti Ahmad, Cayuga Hematology and Oncology Associates, from the Cayuga Cancer Center, has begun seeing patients at Schuyler Hospital.

Dr. Ahmad is board certified in Hematology and Medical Oncology. He is accepting new patients for cancer care as well as blood disorders.

“I am pleased to be seeing patients at Schuyler Hospital,” said Ahmad. “It is best when you can treat patients close to home; we know this convenience eases this type of treatment. We are also looking forward to expanding services soon by offering IV services at Schuyler.”

Based in Ithaca, the Cayuga Cancer Center is a three-time consecutive recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer. This award acknowledges cancer programs that achieve excellence in providing the highest quality of care to cancer patients. "This," said a hospital press release, "is important to local cancer patients because it recognizes a level of care that exceeds established baseline standards of care and places Cayuga Medical Center among benchmark hospitals."

To make an appointment, call (607) 272-5414, or email

Open house set for new Schuyler EMS

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 16, 2023 -- Schuyler County and Cayuga Health are inviting the public to an Open House for the new Schuyler Emergency Medical Service (SEMS).

The Open House will be held on Monday, January 30 at the Human Services Complex, 323 Owego Street, Montour Falls, from 4-6 p.m. The free event will include a meet and greet with the SEMS staff, brief remarks by representatives from Schuyler County and Cayuga Health, tours of ambulances, and refreshments.

“We are proud of this community service we have formed through the hard work of our staff and the support of agencies in Schuyler County,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, Chief Executive Officer of Cayuga Health. “We are eager to formally introduce the public to Schuyler EMS.”

“We view this Open House as a celebration of our contract with Cayuga Health Transport,” says Fonda Chronis, Schuyler County Administrator. “SEMS was designed to provide a greater level of service. It is already paying dividends for the residents of Schuyler County.”

Schuyler EMS launched full operations for Schuyler County’s residents on January 2, 2023. This community service is made possible by a contract between Cayuga Health and Schuyler County, through which Cayuga Health Transport provides ambulance services in the name of Schuyler EMS.

Schuyler EMS ambulances are dispatched through the county 911 system from stations in Watkins Glen, Odessa, and Tyrone.

Questions about EMS services may be directed as follows:

For Cayuga Health: Steve Savage, Assistant Vice President, Communications, (607) 274-
4284, Cayuga Health System, Ithaca.

For Schuyler County: Fonda Chronis, County Administrator at (607) 535-8106, Schuyler County Office Building, Watkins Glen.

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, and a network of over 400 providers with Cayuga Health Partners. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,500 employees serving multiple counties throughout Central New York and the Finger Lakes Region. Visit for more information.

Arc of Chemung-Schuyler names CEO

Special to The Odessa File

ELMIRA and WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 10, 2023 -- The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler’s Board of Directors has announced that Sal Garozzo has been named the organization's new Chief Executive Officer, effective February 1, 2023.

Garozzo is currently the CEO at UCP of Western Massachusetts and previously worked for The Arc of Ulster-Greene (now Arc of Mid-Hudson) serving in the roles of Associate Executive Director and Business Development Officer, Director of Vocational Services, and Director of Clinical Services.

“The Search Committee was especially impressed with the candidates who were interviewed and the process which took place to ensure we had the best in the field,” said Anita Lewis, President of The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler’s Board of Directors. “With Sal being our top choice, we are confident that he will continue to drive The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler’s important work.”

The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler is a family-based organization, providing supports and services to nearly 2,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families, across an 18-county service area, and is a chapter of the state organization, The Arc New York.

Upon accepting the position, Mr. Garozzo noted, “I sincerely want to thank the Board and Selection Committee for giving me the opportunity to return to The Arc family, where I spent 15 years of my career. I look forward to getting to know your loved ones, the great staff who support them, and families.”

The current Chief Executive Officer, Sean Eagen, announced his retirement in September 2022, with plans to depart on February 17, 2023. Eagen will be working closely with Garozzo to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

Photo in text: Sal Garozzo (Photo provided)

Ribbon cut at Pangea Global Teahouse

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 5, 2023 -- The Pangea Global Teahouse celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting celebration Thursday morning in front of the business, located in the former Watkins State Bank building at 221 N. Franklin St.

Suzanne Mathews and Keith Hill, Pangea Global Teahouse owners, and Corning Inc. engineers are achieving their entrepreneurial dreams. Pangea Global Teahouse is where Suzanne’s passion for cooking, baking, and hosting parties can be seen through the many themed rooms and through the menu. The Teahouse prepares teas and treats from all over the world, including exotic tea, bubble tea, scones, tea sandwiches, specialty global dishes, and one of Suzanne’s favorite desserts -- blueberry buckle.

In Suzanne's own words, "I have met so many people and everyone has been so warm and welcoming! I am thrilled to be here in Watkins Glen, and we can't wait to get started."

When asked to describe an experience at Pangea Global Teahouse, Suzanne said: "In my experience, so many friendships and bonds are made over food. At Pangea, the goal is to bring people the flavors of the world that they may not be able to experience themselves."

The Grand Opening festivities included brief remarks in the building lobby -- from Nigar Hale, executive director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce; Schuyler County Administrator Fonda Chronis; Watkins Glen Deputy Mayor Lou Perazzini; Watkins Glen Village Trustee Laurie DeNardo; Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry; and Matthews and Hill.

Those remarks were followed by the ribbon cutting outside, on the sidewalk fronting the old bank building -- a structure (built in 1911) that was purchased from Dan Fitzsimmons, whose law firm occupied it years ago. The ribbon cutting was attended by Mathews and Hill along with the various celebration speakers. Refreshments before and after included sandwiches, teas, and samples of specialty dishes.

Pangea Global Teahouse will be offering Grand Opening Specials throughout January:

-- Half Price Blueberry Buckle
-- $1 off Bubble Milk Tea
-- 20% off Dry Tea Purchase

The Teahouse can can be found online at

Photos in text:

Top: The dining area in the Pangea Global Teahouse.
Bottom: Owners Suzanne Mathews and Keith Hill at the celebration.

At the check presentation. From left: Steph Bailey, System Director for Philanthropy, Cayuga Health; Tom Phillips, Vice Chair, Schuyler Health Foundation; Michael Printup, President, Watkins Glen International; Rebecca Gould, President, Schuyler Hospital & Asst. CFO, Cayuga Health; Kim Sprague, Director, Schuyler Health Foundation; Rob Roessel, Director Corporate Sales, Watkins Glen International; Makenzie Peterson, Manager, Partnership Services, Watkins Glen International. (Photo provided)

WGI donates $5,000 for Health Foundation

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Dec. 21, 2022 -- Schuyler Hospital received a $5,000 donation earlier this month from Watkins Glen International for the Schuyler Health Foundation.

“Watkins Glen International has always been a great community partner,” said Rebecca Gould, President of Schuyler Hospital. “We are so grateful for their support and look forward to continuing to grow our relationship.”

“We recognize the intrinsic value in having a vibrant healthcare facility just miles away from the racetrack,” said Michael Printup, President of Watkins Glen International. “This donation is one way to demonstrate our commitment to ensuring we have the best local care here for our staff, fans and race teams -- and all those who come through our gates throughout the season.”

About Watkins Glen International

Located within five hours and 300 miles of 25 percent of the U.S. population, Watkins Glen International is the premier road racing facility in North America, four times voted “Best NASCAR Track” by readers of USA Today.

About Schuyler Health Foundation

The Schuyler Health Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization made up of a volunteer Board of Directors who govern all operations of the Foundation. The Foundation has a full-time Director to provide strategic direction and execute operations, based in Schuyler Hospital. The Foundation’s goal is to create and maintain a steady, dependable stream of funds to accomplish the Hospital’s mission.

Since 1987, the Schuyler Health Foundation has provided funds to Schuyler Hospital and its related medical facilities, including the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility, through major gifts and fundraising events.

Schuyler Emergency Medical Services begins; full county operation due Jan. 2

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Dec. 19, 2022 -- Schuyler County and Cayuga Health have announced that Schuyler Emergency Medical Service (EMS), operated by Cayuga Health Transport (CHT), is offering mutual aid, at the request of Tyrone Volunteer Fire Department, starting today, Dec. 19.

Schuyler EMS will launch full operations for Schuyler County’s residents on January 2, 2023. The community service is made possible through a contract between Cayuga Health and Schuyler County, for Cayuga Health Transport to provide ambulance service in Schuyler County. The contract will provide increased access to ambulance and other emergency medical services for local residents. The goals for the service, staffed by emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics, include quick response times, quality care, and operational efficiency, sustainability, and innovation.

Schuyler EMS ambulances will be dispatched through the county 911 system from stations in Watkins Glen (at the Schuyler Arc), Odessa (at the new village hall out Church Street) and Tyrone. An Open House/Ribbon Cutting will be held next month so that the public can view the rigs and meet staff.

“Cayuga Health is excited to leverage our experience providing quality care to our communities, to deliver emergency medical services that meet the needs of our residents, using national benchmarks as a guide,” said Rebecca Gould, President of Schuyler Hospital and Assistant Chief Financial Officer for Cayuga Health System.

“Cayuga Health System has been a strong and valued partner for the county through every step of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Schuyler County Administrator Fonda Chronis. "When we looked at all our options for emergency medical services, it was clear building on this relationship with Cayuga Health would yield us the optimal care and service for our county.”

Questions about EMS services may be directed to as follows:

-- For Cayuga Health: Steve Savage, Assistant Vice President, Communications, (607) 274-4284, Cayuga Health System, Ithaca, New York

-- For Schuyler County: Fonda Chronis, County Administrator at (607) 535-8106, Schuyler County Office Building, Watkins Glen, New York

Cayuga Medical designated a 2022-23 Best Maternity Hospital in U.S. News analysis

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Dec. 13, 2022 -- Cayuga Medical Center (CMC), a member of Cayuga Health, has been designated a 2022-2023 Best Maternity Hospital by U.S. News & World Report. CMC is one of only nine New York State hospitals to receive this distinction. This is the highest award a hospital can earn for U.S. News’ Best Hospitals for Maternity Care.

The annual evaluation is designed to assist expectant parents and their doctors in making informed decisions about where to receive maternity care.

Cayuga Medical Center earned a High Performing designation in recognition of maternity care as measured by factors such as newborn complication rates.

“This recognition is a testament to the committed members of our Cayuga Birthplace team at CMC and all who support them,” said Martin Stallone, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Cayuga Health. “We believe that every patient should have convenient access to safe, compassionate maternity care, at every stage of pregnancy. We are honored to provide such a high-quality service for new mothers in Tompkins, Cortland, and Schuyler Counties.”

“We are proud of the care our obstetricians, neonatologists, midwives, nurses, and entire maternal and child health team provides,” said Naph’tali Edge, Cayuga Health’s Chief Nursing Officer. “Our family-centered approach to prenatal care, labor and delivery through the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ensures our patients receive compassionate, collaborative attention at all levels.”

U.S. News evaluated nearly 650 hospitals that provide high-quality labor and delivery services for uncomplicated pregnancies for its 2022-2023 Best Hospitals for Maternity Care. Fewer than half of all hospitals that offer maternity care and participated in the survey received a High Performing designation.

The U.S. News Best Hospitals for Maternity Care methodology is based entirely on objective measures of quality, such as C-section rates in lower-risk pregnancies, newborn complication rates, exclusive breast milk feeding rates, early elective delivery rates and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) rates, among other measures.

Schuyler announces 3rd round of ARPA; $150,000 available for facade improvements

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 9, 2022 -- The Schuyler County Legislature, in partnership with the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) , is now accepting applications for round three of the Downtown & Business ARPA Program, aimed at downtown revitalization with a match grant program to assist with building facade improvements.

This downtown improvement program is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and was established by the Schuyler County Legislature in January 2022. The purpose of the program is to support small businesses and existing building owners in improving the environment within our downtown communities. From the initial allocation of $350,000, an estimated $150,000 is still available, and applications will be accepted through January 13, 2023.

Properties located within one-half mile of the downtown boundaries of Watkins Glen, Odessa, Montour Falls and Burdett are eligible to apply. Applicants can apply for a minimum of $5,000 up to $25,000 for their project improvements (total improvement costs of $10,000 to $50,000). Eligible properties include existing commercial or mixed-use buildings and exclude single, two-family, and multi-family homes. Applicants must show the ability to fund the project, as this is a reimbursement program and funds will not be disbursed until the project has been completed with all documentation provided as explained in the guidelines.

“The Schuyler County Legislature is pleased to reopen this grant program for a third round of funding,” said Schuyler County Administrator Fonda Chronis. “The visible integrity of our downtown area is vital to show progress and growth in our county. Making our downtown districts attractive and approachable will help our business owners and communities continue that forward momentum, and encourage additional private investment.”

SCOPED will once again assist with the administration of the grant, and will be reviewing applications on behalf of the County and working with each project sponsor. As the Economic Development Agency for Schuyler County, SCOPED is equally pleased that there is additional money for this program.

“The investment into our small businesses and properties is an appropriate and necessary avenue for these funds,” said Schuyler County Partnership Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry. “The American Rescue Plan Act was created to alleviate hardships imposed on our most vulnerable communities and businesses. The action of the County Legislature to create this program with a portion of their ARPA allocation was not only forward-thinking but shows the commitment Schuyler County has to support its businesses and property owners.”

Full a full list of requirements, grant guidelines and the application, go to: Applications are due by January 13, 2023.

Health Foundation names Sprague director, adds Carey and DeNardo to the board

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Nov. 1, 2022 -- The Schuyler Health Foundation recently welcomed Kimberly Sprague as its new Director, while Trevor Carey and Laurie DeNardo were appointed to the Board of Directors.

Since 2007 Sprague has been serving as Director of the Keuka Health Foundation, Gift Shop Manager, and Volunteer Coordinator at Ira Davenport Hospital in Hammondsport. "She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this position," the Foundation said in a press release, "and will play a pivotal role in continuing to grow philanthropy efforts at Schuyler Hospital and across Cayuga Health."

“I am excited to take on this role with the Schuyler Health Foundation and Cayuga Health, and to work with the Foundation’s very dedicated Board of Directors,” said Sprague. “Together, we will strive to achieve our mission and do our part to support the care here at Schuyler Hospital, Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility, and the Cayuga Health System.”

Carey was born and raised in Montour Falls and is a 2010 graduate of the Odessa-Montour Central School District. After high school, he received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2016 and currently is the Pharmacy Manager at CVS in Watkins Glen.

DeNardo was born and raised in Watkins Glen. She went to Empire State and Cornell University, studying Finance and Human Resources. She is currently the Human Resources Director for the College of Agricultural Sciences at Cornell. She has been at Cornell for 40-plus years. She is also a Watkins Glen Village Trustee.

Board terms are three years, and each director can serve up to three terms on the board.

About The Schuyler Health Foundation

Since 1987, the Schuyler Health Foundation has provided funds to Schuyler Hospital and its related medical facilities, including the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility, through major gifts and fundraising events. The Foundation has a strong focus on community integration.

Photo in text: Kimberly Sprague (Photo provided)

McClain joins Chamber of Commerce staff

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 1, 2022 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce has named Jessica McClain as its Marketing and Engagement Coordinator. She will manage the Chamber's social media channels, assist with tourism and marketing initiatives, and engage with new and existing members.

Born and raised in the Finger Lakes, McClain attended Keuka College and earned a Bachelor’s in Business Management. Shortly after graduation, she moved to San Diego, California. where she worked as the Marketing Director for Code Ninjas Encinitas, a fast-growing children’s coding and STEM center. After the birth of her son Anton, she decided to return to her roots.

“I’m so excited to be back home," she said, "and to use my professional experience and talents to promote our local region.”

Residing in Watkins Glen, she enjoys exploring with her always-energized toddler, hiking with her black lab Charlie, and binge-watching any new series on Netflix.

She can be contacted at

Photo in text: Jessica McClain (Photo provided)

Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers, left, and County Administrator Fonda Chronis at Thursday morning's committee meeting.

Schuyler County Legislature plans vote
November 9th on new ambulance service

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 27, 2022 -- The Schuyler County Legislature is planning to vote Nov. 9, in special session, to approve a contract with Cayuga Health System for the operation of an ambulance service in the county.

The Legislature's Public Safety/Criminal Justice Committee, meeting in a brief session Thursday morning, approved two resolutions for the full Legislature's consideration -- one that will, when the full Legislature votes on it, authorize a contract with Cayuga Health Transport, LLC, "a New York Not-for-Profit Corporation whose sole member is Cayuga Health System, Inc." The other will approve a schedule of fees to be charged to those people utilizing the new ambulance service.

The action was set in motion earlier this year, solidified when the Legislature, on Aug. 30, voted 6-2 in a legislative committee session to move in the direction of an agreement that would see the Cayuga Health System provide the service under an initial three-year contract.

Ambulance service has been offered for decades by the independent Schuyler County Volunteer Ambulance Association, Inc., a not-for-profit operation headquartered on South Decatur Street in Watkins Glen.

The land on which the Association HQ sits is county-owned, leased to it for $1 a year. County Administrator Fonda Chronis has said in the past that the long-term land lease was adopted "because they're supposedly providing service to our residents." The Association -- which owns the headquarters building -- consists mostly of paid personnel, despite its "volunteer" label.

Since early this year, plans were being developed by the county to change the longstanding arrangement -- to establish a services contract. This was prompted by the county's averred dissatisfaction with the response times and availability of Schuyler Ambulance, a situation that Chronis and Legislator Phil Barnes in August termed a "crisis."

The resolution approved Thursday, among its many "whereases," said that "whereas, the county ... has determined that there is a demonstrated absence, reduced availability or an inadequate level of care in ambulance or emergency medical service available to the County of Schuyler which is not readily correctable through the relocation or improvement of existing services..."

The lone objection Thursday to the pending contract -- a 14-page document to be signed by Legislature Chair Carl Blowers and Cayuga Health System President and CEO Martin Stallone once it is approved -- came from Legislator Michael Lausell, who asked if the move to the contract provisions couldn't be done in a transitional manner, with Schuyler Ambulance retaining a designated response area. But Rebecca Gould, the Schuyler Hospital President and CFO, said Cayuga Health (which oversees Schuyler Hospital) could not do that because the business model would be unsustainable -- basically a no-go.

Legislator Laurence Jaynes raised a specific instance of tardy Schuyler Ambulance response time that occurred at a Meet the Candidates Night earlier in the week at the Watkins Glen Elementary School, where a woman collapsed (reportedly from dehydration) and had to wait more than 20 minutes for the arrival of ambulance personnel, headquartered just up the street.

The chair at Thursday's committee meeting, Legislator Gary Gray, then called for a vote, and the contract resolution passed, followed soon after by the rate-fee resolution.

Schuyler County Emergency Services Director Kirk Smith started to voice a concern about any delays in action by the full Legislature (whose next regular session is Nov. 14), prompting Chair Carl Blowers to ask County Attorney Steven Getman how soon a conclusive vote might be taken. Getman said the soonest would be on the date of the next Legislative Resolution Review Committee (LRRC) meeting on Nov. 9th.

Blowers, in turn, set that morning for the special session and the vote to approve the contract. That session will follow meetings of the Board of Health Committee and the LRRC.

When asked afterward about the future status of Schuyler Ambulance, both Blowers and Gray said they hoped that that organization, an independent agency, would contract on a mutual-aid basis, providing an extra layer of emergency service.

Emergency Services Director Smith and the legislators have set Dec. 1 as a target date for a start of the new service, but need the contract activated before such things as hirings and equipment purchases can be effected. The contract calls for the Cayuga Health service to run three years at the outset, with renewals to follow assuming it all works out to the satisfaction of the county and Cayuga Health.

Plans call for service facilities in three different locations, now being examined, in the Tyrone, Watkins Glen and Odessa areas -- with the multiple locales offering a service more responsive than one with just a single headquarters.

Photos from the meeting: From top: Emergency Services Director Kirk Smith and Schuyler Hospital President and CFO Rebecca Gould; Public Safety/Criminal Justice Committee Chair Gary Gray; and County Attorney Steven Getman.

New York State small businesses have chance to 'bloom' with 'seed' program

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 12, 2022 -- If you started a business after September 1, 2018 and have operated for a minimum of six months, you may be eligible to receive a grant of up to $25,000 from the NYS Seed Funding Grant Program, through Empire State Development (ESD).

This program was created to help small, micro businesses in New York State who were ineligible or unable to apply for previous COVID-related relief programs. With a focus on rural, upstate New York, $200 million has been allocated to this fund.

Eligible businesses include small businesses, micro-businesses, for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations, and the agriculture industry. Ineligible businesses include all non-profits, churches or other religious organizations, government-owned entities or elected offices, businesses that engage in political or lobbying activities, landlords and passive real estate businesses.

Grant awards will start at $5,000 and businesses could receive as much as $25,000. Award amounts will be based on annual gross receipts as shown on your 2020 or 2021 tax returns. For businesses who have not yet filed a tax return, the minimum award of $5,000 will be granted, provided you supply the required documentation.

If your business received assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program, EIDL funding, SBA Shuttered Venue Grant or the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant, you are still eligible to apply. However, if your business qualified for the NYS COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program, you are not eligible for this program.

“The NYS Seed Funding Grant Program is a wonderful opportunity for our small businesses who were previously ineligible to receive funding,” said Leslie Connolly, Chairman of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED). “The state realized that some of the previous programs had barriers that made it difficult for some of our smaller businesses to qualify. This program was specifically designed to target those small businesses, remove barriers and provide a path for financial relief. A grant of $5,000 could make the difference for many of our small business owners.”

Businesses interested in applying can review the guidelines and apply online at or contact Kerri Green at SCOPED at (607) 535-6862 or

Village Lofts, fitness center opening in former VFW building in Watkins Glen

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 7, 2022 -- The Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), the Watkins Glen Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Local Planning Committee, The Krog Group and Hart Hotels Inc. have announced the official opening of Village Lofts at Watkins Glen, 30 N. Franklin Street in Watkins Glen.

A ribbon cutting has been scheduled for Tuesday, October 11 at 5:00 p.m. with a cocktail reception to follow at The Harbor House.

Tours of the new Village Lofts at Watkins Glen and Fitness Center, The Harbor House, and the newly opened Oak & Stone Sundry Shop featuring Staving Artists Woodwork in the Hotel lobby will be available to the community.

The Village Lofts at Watkins Glen features four recently completed market rate apartments and a state-of-the-art fitness center in the former VFW building. This project was made possible from funding obtained through the DRI grant that Watkins Glen was awarded in 2017 by the state of New York for a total of $10 million.

This specific project was funded through private investment by First Second Development, and a grant from Empire State Development for a total of $1.8 million of investment into downtown Watkins Glen. Since The Harbor Hotel opened in 2008, Krog and Hart have invested and estimated $26.7 million in Watkins Glen and Schuyler County. Their annual payroll has grown to nearly $3 million, creating a steady employment for the local community.

"The Krog and Hart partnership have experienced a lengthy history of success at the Harbor Hotel since opening in 2008. We enjoy doing business in Schuyler County and the Finger Lakes region," said David Hart, President and CEO of Hart Hotels Inc. "Once again we are leveraging assistance from New York State, Schuyler County and the Village of Watkins Glen to redevelop this building from vacancy to a multi-purpose community asset."

Laurie DeNardo, DRI Co-Chair and Trustee for the Village of Watkins Glen, said this: "On behalf of the Village Board and as Co-Chair of the DRI Local Planning Committee, congratulations on these amazing projects. The Krog and Hart partnership has made incredible investments in our community and we are so excited to see these projects come to fruition. Through the DRI, we identified the need for additional housing, a local gym, and boutiques. The addition of these entities aligns with those goals and the community can't be more excited."

Judy McKinney Cherry, Co-chair of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, added, "This project meets the goals of the DRI and provides much needed year-round housing, repurposes a beautiful building that formerly housed the VFW, and creates a welcoming gateway into the Village. We are thankful to the State of New York for their investment in our community."

Photo in text: Hart Hotels President and CEO David Hart. (Provided)

Community leader Green joins SCOPED

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 4, 2022 -- The Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) has announced that Kerri Green has joined the team as the Senior Economic and Community Development Specialist.

Her job duties will include grant writing, business consulting, advocacy, marketing and public relations, and she will be heading up various projects and initiatives throughout Schuyler County.

SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry said “Our community will greatly benefit from Kerri’s experiences. She is known throughout the New York State economic community as dedicated, hardworking, innovative and a 'rising star' among her peers.”

Green comes to SCOPED with over 20 years of economic development experience in a variety of capacities and roles. Most recently she led Commerce Chenango, the Chenango County economic development agency, which includes the IDA, the Local Development Corp. and the county Chamber of Commerce. During her tenure Green created a variety of programs and initiatives. She was a central figure during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating webinars, funding, and counseling to a hard-hit business community. In 2021, she led the process which yielded the City of Norwich a $10 million dollar Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant.

Green, said SCOPED in a press release, "is a fierce advocate for small businesses and strongly believes in doing business in New York State. She is an active participant with a variety of state agencies and has volunteered on many boards and committees focused on advocacy and access to services and funding for businesses."

“I am thrilled to join the team at SCOPED,” Green said. “This is a fantastic opportunity to take what I have learned and to bring that expertise to the businesses and communities in Schuyler County. I look forward to getting to know the community, our investors, and businesses. I thank Judy and the team at SCOPED for this amazing opportunity.”

Green is a U.S. Army veteran and has a marketing degree from SUNY Delhi College of Technology.

Photo in text: Kerri Green (Photo provided)

Ribbon cut for new shop in Harbor Hotel

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 27, 2022 -- A ceremonial ribbon was cut Tuesday marking the opening of a new shop in the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel: the Oak + Stone gift shop created by the owners of Staving Artist Woodwork, a business located in Penn Yan.

Dan Mitchell and Rachel Orlyk have undertaken the hotel venture, which opened its doors this summer. Their Penn Yan business focuses on unique gifts created by Mitchell using recycled oak wine barrels. Some of that art -- embraced by Mitchell with an emphasis on not just woodworking but on the environment -- can be found in the Oak + Stone shop.

According to a press release accompanying the ribbon cutting, Mitchell, a former wine industry worker, "became passionate about woodworking with old barrels as a way of artisic t expression as well as to reduce waste. Both he and Rachel have deep-rooted ties to the Finger Lakes region, and they are passionate about using reclaimed materials and partnering with local artisans to make unique and sustainable products."

The release quoted Rachel: “Dan started this business 17 years ago. He worked in the wine industry locally and didn’t like to see the wine barrels wasted.”

It goes on: "In 2017 Dan and Rachel opened a store in Penn Yan -- Staving Artist Woodwork -- featuring Dan’s woodworking items. In July of 2022 they opened Oak + Stone, a Finger Lakes oriented gift shop. Along with Dan’s woodworking, guests to the shop will be able to find hand-poured candles, local history books, clothing, home decor items, sundries, and necessities for hotel guests."

Rachel again: “We want this to be a place for both locals and visitors to enjoy unique Finger Lakes gifts. Oak + Stone will also be the only location in Watkins Glen where Sudsy's Hot Sauce will be available to purchase. Our shop will be ever changing as we rotate items for the seasons, so you’ll just have to stop by regularly and see what’s new!”

Oak + Stone will be open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with a lunch break from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Find it online at

Photo in text: From left: Schuyler County Administrator Fonda Chronis, Oak+Stone owner Dan Mitchell and Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nigar Hale cut the ribbon in front of Mitchell's shop in the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

Chamber taps Cheney for marketing post

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 26, 2022 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the appointment of Caitlin Cheney as its Marketing Communications Manager.

She will be responsible for communications, promotions and marketing the business of the Chamber, including membership, programming, community relations and tourism in Schuyler County.

Cheney’s roots are in Schuyler County, where she grew up. According to a Chamber press release: "Caitlin has been a busy entrepreneur from the very beginning, starting a successful art business when she was just a teenager. She attended the State University of New York at Oswego and earned a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design. Very soon after graduation, she and her husband began running a long-term and short-term rental property business."

Cheney has worked in the Watkins Glen community at The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler, in the Public Relations department for the last three years.

"She is excited to use her knowledge and talents to promote and honor our local region," said the press release

Added Cheney: “If there is one thing I am most passionate about, it is giving everyone visiting our region the most authentic experience possible. Our area is bursting at the seams with history, beauty, and adventure -- but our people are what really makes it shine! I am delighted to start my new role at the WGACC and can’t wait to get to know my community on a deeper level.”

Cheney resides in Schuyler County with her husband and two cats. She is an avid lover of history, nature, pop culture, and renovating old homes.

Photo in text: Caitlin Cheney (Photo provided)

Cayuga Health appoints Tourtellotte as V.P. of Marketing and Communications

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, August 25, 2022 -- Cayuga Health has announced the appointment of Melissa Tourtellotte as Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

Tourtellotte will oversee brand equity and development, internal and external PR and marketing communications, and philanthropic initiatives across the organization.

“I am thrilled to join Cayuga Health and to lead the marketing communications team,” said Tourtellotte. “Cayuga Health is a leader in innovative programs and is growing across the Finger Lakes region to offer care to more community members. My expertise in data-driven marketing and communication will enhance our effectiveness -- allowing Cayuga Health to further invest in the services our communities need for optimal well-being.”

Tourtellotte has over 10 years of experience leading rural health system marketing, communications, and recruitment teams. Her first day will be Monday, August 29. She will report directly to Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO of Cayuga Health.

“Melissa brings a level of skill and expertise that will allow us to achieve our goal of deepening the integration of marketing and operations across Cayuga Health,” said Stallone. “I am excited about her experience leading performance-driven teams and developing integrated and creative campaigns for diverse audiences, and I look forward to building on the strong, existing foundation we have in marketing and communications under her leadership.”

Previously, Tourtellotte was the Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications for The Guthrie Clinic, and Marketing Director at Bassett Healthcare Network (Cooperstown, N.Y.). Most recently she held the role of Senior Director of Physician Recruitment for the Guthrie Medical Group (Sayre, Pa.).

“Tourtellotte brings the experience needed to strengthen our health system’s brand, connecting more community members to life-improving care by integrating marketing with clinical operations,” added Stallone. “I believe she has the ability to build on the strong foundation of relationships that we have already developed, ensuring that our marketing strategy supports the needs of community stakeholders.”

Tourtellotte holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hamilton College (Clinton, NY) and a MS in Marketing from Walden University. She is the past Public Image Chair for Rotary District 7170 and volunteers as the secretary for the Charles H. Bassett Youth Foundation in Owego.

Photo in text: Melissa Tourtellotte (Photo provided)

Chamber luncheon pays tribute to Schuyler County businesses, individual

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 10, 2022 -- Three businesses and a business individual were honored Wednesday at a Schuyler Tributes awards luncheon at Clute Park's Seneca Lake Events Center.

On-line voting in the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce-run event drew more than 1,800 ballots in four categories: Best New Business, Resiliency in Business, Endurance in Business and Schuyler Samaritan.

The event was, in the words of luncheon emcee and Chamber Executive Director Nigar Hale, a "way of showing pride in the Schuyler County community."

A total of 15 nominees -- members of the Chamber -- were selected in the four categories. Each winner received a barrel stave with the award imprinted upon it, along with a proclamation from State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.

Best New Business:

This award went to Grandma's Kitchen, recently opened at 123 S. Catharine St. in Montour Falls and with the catch phrase "Tastes like Grandma's, only vegan." It is run by Mike and Casey Easterling, who moved here from the New York City area.

Other nominees were the 1897 Beekman House Bed & Breakfast, the Glen Theater (which reopened its doors in 2021), and the Seneca Cheese Company on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen.

Endurance in Business:

The winner was Schuyler Hospital, which the Chamber, in its program, said has "provided excellent care to individuals before, during and after the pandemic." The award was presented to Rebecca Gould, the hospital's President and CFO, who said the award belongs to her "team."

Other nominees were Captain Bill's Lake Cruises, Cargill Salt, the Famous Brands store on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen, and Watkins Sporting Goods.

Resiliency in Business:

The honor went to Sunset View Creamery, located on the Hoffman farm at Catharine Corners outside of Odessa. Accepting the award were Ron and Carmella Hoffman, the latter explaining that "we turned things around" during the pandemic, altering the cheese shop into a small grocery store with cheeses, milk from the farm's dairy cows, and other locally produced goods in a retail setting.

Other nominees were Glen Copack and the Graft Wine & Cider Bar.

Schuyler Samaritan:

The winner was Jacqueline Honsberger of the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor in Watkins Glen, who (the luncheon program related) "donates her time, money and ice cream from her establishment." While the pandemic was ongoing, "she went out of her way to provide ice cream multiple times to health care workers," and she "selflessly volunteers in the community."

Other nominees were Bruce Boughton, involved as a volunteer in many civic endeavors, and Kenneth Wilson, who the program said "is the first to speak up and say 'Yes, let's help."

Photos in text

From top:
Diners at the luncheon; Nigar Hale, right, Chamber Executive Director, with Mike and Casey Easterling of Grandma's Kitchen; Hale with Ron and Carmella Hoffman of the Sunset View Creamery; and Hale with Jacqueline Honsberger of the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor.

Hospital Auxiliary awards scholarships

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Aug. 4, 2022 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary has announced the presentation of two scholarships. The annual awards are going to a Schuyler County high school graduate planning to enter the healthcare field, and to a hospital employee continuing her education.

This year each scholarship is for $1,500, a $500 increase from 2021. The recipients:

Jordann Marie Simpson of Rock Stream, a recent Watkins Glen High School graduate. Simpson plans to attend Keuka College to study psychology on her way to entering the mental health field.

Hannah Nicole Hubbell, a current C.N.A. at Schuyler Hospital’s Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. She plans to pursue her nursing degree.

“Our members have made the scholarship program a priority, because it is important to them to support our future healthcare professionals,” said Kitty Shallenberger, Auxiliary president. “We are proud to recognize Jordann and Hannah and wish them well in their schooling.”

Awards are based on academic achievement, volunteerism, and personal essays. Previous recipients have represented such diverse fields as orthopedics, dentistry, physical therapy, optometry, speech therapy, and pharmacy.

The Auxiliary awarded its first scholarship of $250 in 1990. Funds for the awards are raised through the Auxiliary’s hospital gift shop and other fundraising events.

For more information about the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary, call (607) 535-7121 or email

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards enters seltzer market

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, July 27, 2022 -- Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards has announced the release of four new wine seltzers: Red Cat Splash, White Cat Splash, Pink Cat Splash, and Red Cat Dark Splash.

Using their most popular sweet wines, the Hazlitt family has created a new line of bubbly, low-alcohol wine seltzers made with only real wine. They are offered in convenient and stylish cans perfect for any-day enjoyment. Each wine seltzer is 6.1% ABV (alcohol by volume). They are a refreshing version of their namesakes (Red Cat, White Cat, Pink Cat, Red Cat Dark wines) with a touch of carbonation.

“Creating these seltzers was a fun project. The Labrusca grapes used for the ‘Cat’ wines have the perfect flavor profile to develop into a refreshing wine seltzer,” said Tim Benedict, winemaker for Hazlitt, who noted that each wine seltzer is a beautiful representation of the original wine’s flavor profile. The only differences they have from their namesake wines, he said, are less sugar and lower alcohol, which allows them to shine as independent dry seltzer products.

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards produces dry vinifera wines but is most famous for a sweet red known as Red Cat. “Making Red Cat into a wine seltzer was a no-brainer. It’s a perfect brand extension for this fun, party wine,” said Brad Phillips, Director of Sales and Business Development. “And, adding the other three popular 'cat' wines allows us to continue to expand our brand portfolio to a larger, new audience that we have not been able to reach yet.”

Leigh Hazlitt Triner, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Co-CEO, added this: “We have wanted to offer a low-alcohol option for years. With the ready-to-drink category exploding, it felt like a great time for us to enter the market with a product that allows us to remain unique and true to our fun approach to enjoying wine. We were able to be creative and maintain the integrity of our popular Catawba, Niagara, and Concord Finger Lakes wines.”

Red Cat Splash, White Cat Splash, Pink Cat Splash, and Red Cat Dark Splash retail in 250ml cans for $3.00 each. They are available for purchase at Hazlitt winery locations: Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards in Hector, NY and Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars in Naples, NY, as well as in New York State wine and liquor stores.

Schuyler Hospital is offering vaccine, boosters to kids 6 months to 11 years

MONTOUR FALLS, July 12, 2022 -- Schuyler Hospital is now offering Covid-19 vaccine and booster appointments for families of children ages 6 months to 11 years of age. Anyone eligible can receive the vaccine. Families do not need to be existing primary care clinic patients.

The Montour Falls Primary Care Clinic will be administering both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and boosters. The Pfizer is available for children ages 6 months to 11 years old and Moderna is available for ages 6 months to 5 years of age.

Clinics are being offered at the Montour Falls Primary Care Clinic, 220 Steuben Street, on Wednesdays, 8:00 a.m.-12 noon and 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. through the end of July and on Saturday, July 16, from 8:00 a.m.-12:00 noon. Appointments should be made in advance by calling 607-535-7154.

About Schuyler Hospital

Schuyler Hospital, part of Cayuga Health, is a 16-bed critical access hospital, with a 120-bed skilled nursing facility attached. Schuyler Hospital’s main campus is located in Montour Falls. For over 100 years, it 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.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates, and a network of over 400 providers with Cayuga Health Partners. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,500 employees serving multiple counties throughout Central New York and the Finger Lakes Region. Visit for more information.

Schuyler Family Fit Fest seeks exhibitors

Returning after 2-year hiatus; features Strong Kids Safe Kids

MONTOUR FALLS, July 8, 2022 -- Cayuga Health has scheduled its third annual Schuyler Family Fit Fest for Saturday, September 17, 2022. The free event is returning after a 2-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schuyler Family Fit Fest will feature Strong Kids Safe Kids and other health-oriented activities for kids and adults, combined with food, entertainment, games, and giveaways.

The event will take place rain or shine from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Montour Falls Fireman’s Festival Grounds on State Route 224.

Organizers are currently seeking exhibitors for the event. Exhibitors should have a health and wellness focus for kids, adults, or both, and have an interactive component. To sign up or find out more, log onto or contact Michelle Benjamin at (607) 210-1950.

From left: Schuyler County Legislator Mark Rondinaro, SCOPED Treasurer Rebecca Gould, and Bleachers owner Robert Decker with the grant check.

Ribbon-cutting marks the completion of the 1st ARPA project in Schuyler County

WATKINS GLEN, June 22, 2022 -- A ribbon was cut and a check delivered Wednesday at Bleachers Sports Bar and Grill -- the culmination of the first project to be completed under the Schuyler County Downtown & Business Improvement ARPA Program.

Bleachers utilized the grant program -- activated by the Schuyler County Legislature and administered by the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) -- to construct a new outside, covered dining facility: a patio adjoined to the south side of the longstanding business, now 20 years in operation.

The ceremony was emceed by Nigar Hale, Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. Speakers included Schuyler County Legislator Mark Rondinaro, Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk, SCOPED Treasurer Rebecca Gould, Schuyler County Administrator Fonda Chronis, and Bleachers owner Robert Decker., who received a check for $25,000 from the grant, which provides matching funds up to that amount for facade improvements to mixed-use and commercial buildings in the county's villages. .

The Bleachers project is one of eight in the county under the first round of ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding. The projects, within the Villages of Burdett (4 projects), Montour Falls (1 project), and Watkins Glen (3 projects), were awarded a total of $177,700 in funding leveraging $200,000 in private investment.

SCOPED has begun accepting applications for the second round of funding, with a deadline of July 31. The program still has $172,300 available to fund new facade improvement projects.

The link to the application is

Photos in text.

Top: Bleachers owner Robert Decker cuts the ceremonial ribbon.
Bottom: Among the speakers was Schuyler County Administrator Fonda Chronis.

The new outdoor dining area at Bleachers, attached to the building's south side.

Local family-run businesses partner
for a Spirit of Schuyler fund-raiser

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 15, 2022 -- In a recent check presentation ceremony at Perfect Cut Landscaping and Garden Center in Watkins Glen, Spirit of Schuyler board members were presented with a donation of $1,500 raised by two local businesses with family ties.

Perfect Cut Landscaping (PCL), owned by Randy and Kristy Thorpe, and The Bucket Bar and Grill, owned by Erick and Sarah Thorpe, partnered to host a Customer Appreciation Day at PCL complete with discounts, raffles, and food offerings to thank their customers and raise funds to benefit the local non-profit.

“Schuyler County has been very supportive of our families and our businesses," said Kristy Thorpe reflecting on the planning of the fundraiser. "We are very thankful, and collectively wanted to give back to our community by supporting Spirit of Schuyler. Knowing that our donation will help others, whether at a time of financial hardship, or through a scholarship to pursue higher education, is just one way for us to thank the community for their generosity and support.”

Spirit of Schuyler is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization serving Schuyler County residents in need by providing emergency financial assistance ranging from emergency car repair, to utility shut-offs, to security deposits, and a variety of other circumstances. The SOS mission statement emphasizes providing assistance for residents who fight for their financial independence, support themselves and their families, and are self-sustaining until unforeseen situations occur.

In addition to the general fund, Spirit of Schuyler also offers a scholarship program through an entirely separate fund, to provide opportunities for individuals looking to further their education or career, including vocational studies and certifications. The organization has confirmed three scholarship applicants from two Schuyler County school districts will be receiving awards this year, thanks, in part, to the increase in fundraising efforts by local businesses over the past year.

Tony Vickio, Spirit of Schuyler’s President, spoke at the check presentation at PCL, thanking the Thorpes for organizing the fundraiser. “It’s families like yours who come together to support others that really make a difference," he said. "Thank you, on behalf of the board and our local residents in need, for your generosity and community spirit.”

The Bucket Bar and Grill, located at 100 Church Street in Odessa, serves lunch and dinner daily with available catering options. Perfect Cut Landscaping & Garden Center, located at 3231 State Route 329 in Watkins Glen, offers seasonal flowers, vegetable and herb plants, bagged and bulk landscape materials, hand-crafted planters, outdoor furniture, garden decor, and more.

Photo in text: From left: Harriett Vickio, Spirit of Schuyler (SOS) Vice-President; Gary Whyman, SOS Treasurer; Renee Riley, SOS board member; Chris Wickham, SOS board member; Kristy Thorpe, PCL owner; Randy Thorpe, PCL owner; Tony Vickio, SOS President; Erick Thorpe, The Bucket owner; Sarah Thorpe, The Bucket owner; Louie Perazzini, SOS board member; Bob Dill, SOS board member, and Dena Carrigan, SOS Secretary. (Photo provided)

Chamber seeks scholarship applications

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 27, 2022 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for the 2022 Debra Harrington Scholarship.

The $1,000 scholarship is open to all graduating seniors in Schuyler County and will be awarded to the recipient at the appropriate graduation ceremony. Applications are due on or before June 10 and should be submitted electronically (

The scholarship is named in honor of a late Schuyler County resident, Debra Harrington, who is remembered as a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and passionate advocate for leadership development and for providing educational opportunities. She was a member of the Chamber's Business and Education Committee and was a founding team member of the iLead program at Watkins Glen Central School and the Spark Summit.

The winner will be a well-rounded individual who is community minded. The selection committee will rate applications based on responses to specific questions, including work experience, extracurricular activities, awards/honors. plans for the future, and thoughts expressed in a required essay that identifies an opportunity to improve the quality of life for Schuyler County residents.

Convenient Care Center hours expanding

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, April 19, 2022 -- Schuyler Hospital has announced that it will be increasing hours at its Convenient Care Center starting Monday, May 2, 2022.

On May 2nd, Convenient Care hours will increase to 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to improve access for patients seeking walk-in care. No appointment is needed.

Schuyler Hospital Convenient Care is located within the Montour Falls Primary Care Center at 220 Steuben Street, Montour Falls.

If you have questions, contact Schuyler Hospital Convenient Care at (607) 535-7121 or email

Cayuga Health acquires Ithaca Mall space

Special to The Odessa File

LANSING, March 16, 2022 -- Cayuga Health officials have announced that they have purchased 108,000 square feet of space at The Shops at Ithaca Mall, where they are planning to redevelop, relocate and consolidate existing practices into one location, making access more convenient for patients. Cayuga Health plans to lease some of the space to prospective new vendors.

The property, located at 40 Catherwood Rd. near NY-13, was purchased from an ownership group that includes Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group, two Long Island-based real estate investment companies that oversee leasing and management efforts at the mall. Cayuga Health has acquired, for $8.5 million, the former big box retail parcels where The Bon Ton and Sears once stood.

“We see this capital expansion as a necessary next step in our strategic plan as we continue to reimagine our operations by making health care more accessible to everyone in the communities we serve,” said Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. “This acquisition allows us to consolidate existing practices into one location for efficiency and improved patient access. We have been operating at The Shops at Ithaca Mall since the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic and it has been proven to be a valuable location within the community and for our health system.”

Cayuga Health has been occupying the retail space since March 2020, when it identified the facility as an ideal location for critical COVID-19 operations. Their partnership started with the opening of a Mass Drive-through Sampling Center which proved to be essential during the height of the pandemic. The partnership expanded with an indoor Vaccination Clinic (previous Sears retail location) when the vaccines became available for distribution.

Staff look forward to welcoming patients to experience the new CT technology and spacious suite. From left: Trisha Perkins RT (R)(CT), Brenda Godwin RT (R)(CT), and Erica Kane RT (R)(M)

Hospital launches Advanced Imaging Technology, lowering radiation dose

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALL, March 11, 2022 -- Schuyler Hospital recently introduced a new Computed Tomography (CT) suite within the hospital, including the addition of a new state-of-the-art CT unit.

Officials there say Schuyler Hospital has further solidified its commitment to higher diagnostic quality images at a lower dose to the patient with the addition of GE Healthcare’s leading CT imaging technology. The Revolution Maxima delivers high quality images, while delivering optimized dose levels with a quicker scanning speed.

This new CT unit offers the “gold standard” of care in today’s Radiology environment when it comes to the time the patient needs to be in the scanner for a CT scan, officials said, noting that it also offers a lower radiation dose as compared to the old CT unit.

This new CT unit, they said, is compliant with the “Image Wisely” program concept of providing the lowest possible radiation dose to the patient and, at the same time, being able to obtain superior CT images for diagnosis.

"This 'gold standard' of care is important," said Rebecca Gould, President of Schuyler Hospital, "for our pediatric patients as well, and has been a huge focus of the American college of Radiology (ACR) and the Joint Commission (JCAHO) of pediatric imaging.

“By bringing this new technology to our patients," she said, "we can ensure that they will receive an unmatched level of service, whether they are here for an emergency or for more routine diagnostics. We are grateful for the support of the Schuyler Health Foundation on this project.”

In April of 2021, the Schuyler Health Foundation donated $500,000 to Schuyler Hospital to renovate Imaging Services, including an upgrade to CT services.

“The Schuyler Health Foundation’s mission is to invest in the highest quality and equitable health care services at Schuyler Hospital, and this project meets that purpose,” said Erin Thaete, Chair, Schuyler Health Foundation. “We are proud to have funded this project, and to see the new CT Suite open and serving our community.”

“We are pleased to bring this technology to the very deserving residents of this community,” said David Vaccaro, Strategic Imaging Account Manager for GE Healthcare.

The Revolution Maxima is equipped with an exclusive low-dose reconstruction technology that can help physicians significantly reduce dose while maintaining the high image quality and low contrast detectability they need for accurate diagnosis.

The Revolution Maxima system is a 64-slice scanner that allows for fast, high-quality acquisition at optimized dose for patients young and old, large and small and can be used across a wide spectrum of procedures.

Photos in text:

Top: With staff looking on, the ribbon on the new CT imaging machine and suite was cut by Brenda Reynolds, Assistant Director of Imaging at Schuyler Hospital, and Matt Taylor, Director of Facilities.

Bottom: Brenda Reynolds, Assistant Director of Imaging at Schuyler Hospital, shows off the spaciousness of the new CT technology. (Photos provided)

Seneca Legacy is in drydock for inspection

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 16, 2022 -- Captain Bill’s Seneca Legacy cruise ship is well above water at the moment: about 12 feet higher than the surface of Seneca Lake, on land at the eastern edge of the Seneca Harbor Marina.

In addition to annual in-water inspections, commercial sailing vessels on federal waters must undergo dry-dock inspections every five years. It’s that time for the Seneca Legacy.

The boat's owner, Mark Simiele -- president of Captain Bill's Seneca Lake Cruises -- is used to the exercise and has learned that one of the keys to success is controlling as many variables as possible, which is easier to do when working with local talent.

“We used to take our boats through the Canal system for the dry-dock inspection,” said Mark. “We had to disassemble the deck to get it under the bridges, and we were never sure when we would be able to bring it back through the Canal to start our season.”

To execute the inspection locally, though, required specialized infrastructure. Mark worked with local community leaders and professionals to build an underwater trolley system so that the boat can be removed from the water using winches and placed in cradles waiting on shore.

The 110-foot, 59-year-old ship was removed from Seneca Lake in November 2021. The all-day event required two captains, two crew members, two divers, and a towing team from T and R Towing with two wreckers. Once ashore, team members went to work building an enclosure to protect the on-shore team from the cold winds of winter.

Inside the enclosure, Bob’s Welding and Fabrication, working with Captain Greg Updyke, First Officer Dan Kane, and welder Cody Lakomy, is replacing bearings, fabricating a new rudder post, and reinforcing a couple of spots on the vessel’s bottom with steel plates.

“The Coast Guard audio-gauged the boat using a one-foot grid, looking for areas of the hull that needed to be strengthened,” said Mark. “The technique is similar to an ultrasound. With the results in hand, the welders knew exactly which sections needed attention.”

While on land, the team will also scrape, sand, and paint the hull with antifouling paint that prevents marine organisms such as barnacles and zebra mussels, weeds, slime, and algae from attaching themselves to the hull.

And, all of this will be completed before the season starts in May!

Photo in text: The Seneca Legacy, in drydock in Watkins Glen.

Racing Center's Sweepstakes car displayed

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 27, 2022 -- For the third straight year, the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) has announced that its Sweepstakes Grand Prize will be a Corvette -- on display for the next few weeks at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

The car was stationed in the lobby there starting this week, timed to coincide with the hotel's annual Fire & Ice Celebration, a three-day event that began Thursday.

This year’s car is one of distinction: one of only 1,000 IMSA GTLM Championship Editions. This one commemorates Corvette Racing victories throughout the 2020 and 2021 race seasons. Corvette Racing, which fields the Number 3 and 4 C8.R Corvettes in IMSA's GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, won both the driver, manufacturer and team championships in 2020, the first year of the all-new, mid-engine C8.R.

The Championship Edition cars are built on the 3LT and Z51 trim and performance packages and are augmented with graphics that mimic the Accelerate Yellow and Hypersonic Gray of the two C8.R race cars. Additional exterior content includes a high-wing spoiler in Carbon Flash; yellow brake calipers; black Trident design wheels, and more. The interior features a Strike Yellow and Sky Cool Gray cabin that mimics the exterior yellow and gray racing theme, with standard GT2 seats along with yellow seat belts and a C8.R Special Edition numbered plaque.

“We are thrilled to be able to launch this year’s Sweepstakes at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel,” said IMRRC Executive Director Mark Steigerwald. “This special version of the iconic C8 Corvette will certainly prove popular with Sweepstakes participants.”

The Corvette will frequently be seen throughout the year at the hotel, as was last year’s car. In fact, last year’s Sweepstakes winner was a Harbor Hotel guest. The car will also frequently be seen at Watkins Glen International during race weekends in 2022, tempting thousands of race fans.

The winning ticket for the car will be drawn on December 22. All proceeds of the sweepstakes benefit the IMRRC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Full Sweepstakes details can be found at

Photo in text: This year's Sweepstakes Corvette, in the Harbor Hotel lobby.

About the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC)

Located in one of the premier racing towns in America, the IMRRC’s collection spans continents, eras, and race series, embodying 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 exhibitions and special events. The IMRRC is free and open to the public, no appointment necessary, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. More at

Hazlitt 1852's Keeler announces retirement

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Dec. 17, 2021 -- John Keeler, President of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, has announced that he will be retiring as of the end of this year.

“John has served the company well and led us through the transition from a small regional winery into a significant East Coast producer,” said Leigh Triner, Co-CEO. “We wish him the best as he moves into a well-deserved retirement.” Co-CEO Doug Hazlitt, Leigh’s brother, added: “I’m sure John will keep busy. There are plenty of fishing holes that need attention!”

Born and raised in Willard, NY, John Keeler has been a life-long resident of upstate New York. He graduated from South Seneca High School in 1975 and received an Associate’s Degree in Accounting from Bryant & Stratton College in 1977. Later, during his time in the workforce, John received his Bachelor's Degree in Accounting with honors from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

John began his career at Robeson Appliances, a manufacturer of small kitchen appliances in Castile, NY. In 1980, he took a position in the finance department at the EPD Division of Goulds Pumps in Seneca Falls, NY. Then in 1986, John became Controller at CCN International, a manufacturer of high-end office furniture, in Geneva, NY. Ten years later, he was hired as Controller at Monarch Machine Tool in Cortland, NY. There he was eventually named Co-CEO and took on an ownership position as well. One of the highlights during his time at Monarch, John successfully managed negotiations of employment contracts with the United Auto Workers Union (UAW).

John joined Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards as company President in February 2009. During his tenure, he was instrumental in the acquisition of Widmer Wine Cellars (now Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars) from Constellation Brands and the founding of East Coast Crush & Co-Pack in Naples, NY. Under John’s purview, Red Cat Cellars has grown from 14 to 53 full-time employees with an additional 10-12 temporary hires at any time. In addition, the facility has seen many upgrades to allow for a multitude of co-packing capabilities.

In retirement, John plans on volunteering at charitable organizations. In addition to pursuing the many outdoor sporting activities he loves, John is also looking forward to traveling and spending more time with his family.

Photo in text: John Keeler (Photo provided)

Wagner's Jankowski honored by Alliance

Special to The Odessa File

PENN YAN, Dec. 17, 2021 -- The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance (FLTA) presented its 2021 Excellence in Customer Service award to Alex Jankowski, Marketing and Public Relations Manager at Wagner Vineyards and Wagner Valley Brewing Co., during a virtual holiday party on December 14.

Serving as the hub of information, collaboration and education for growth of the area hospitality and tourism industry, the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is an association with over 600 tourism-related businesses.

FLTA reached out to partner businesses to receive nominations for individuals and/or teams who exemplified excellence in customer service throughout 2021.

"After careful review," it said in a press release, "Alex was selected based on his desire to create a welcome and fun experience for those that visit. It was noted that he is approachable and always arrives with a smile."

Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nigar Hale and staff said "he shares his talents, knowledge, and love of our community with all in the region. He is a true ambassador for the Finger Lakes, speaking passionately and from his soul about the wonders of our region.”

Erin Bailey, his coworker, said “He's been an incredible addition to our team and has been integral to sharing our brand values and mission as well as spreading the word about the Finger Lakes Wine region."

“This holiday event was a great opportunity to connect virtually and catch up, all while celebrating the holiday season with good cheer with a common wish that next year we can meet in person," said FLTA President Cindy Kimble. "We want to highlight the meaning of the season and use this time to recognize excellent customer service from front-line staff who have really made a difference throughout the pandemic.”

Hazlitt Red Cat marks 10 years in Naples

Special to The Odessa File

NAPLES, NY, Dec. 14, 2021 -- Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars, part of the Hazlitt family wine production holdings, is celebrating 10 years in business -- and its benefit to the workforce and economic growth -- in the Naples community.

The expansive facility is now home to multiple businesses. These include East Coast Crush and Co-Pack, Hazlitt’s custom beverage production services company, as well as an on-site retail and tasting room, a brewery, and a recreational hiking trail.

In 2011, at the time of purchase, the facility employed 14 people (full-time equivalents) and was producing wine at just a fraction of its full capacity. Along with significant investments by the Hazlitt family, Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars received an economic development grant from New York State that was administered through the Ontario County Economic Development office. As specified by the grant, the funds were used specifically to increase opportunities for the local workforce.

Currently, the company employs 53 full-time employees with an additional 10-12 at any time as temporary hires.

“One of the requirements of the grant was to reach a total of 26 full-time positions in the first 10 years. We reached that number within our third year!” said Leigh Hazlitt Triner, Co-CEO. “That’s a true success by anyone’s measure. Naples is now home to us. We care about the success of this area. We care about the people.”

“We are very excited to be part of the ongoing growth and success of the community,” said company President Dan DeBell. “We knew that purchasing the facility was a bit of a leap of faith on the part of the Hazlitt family 10 years ago. Their flagship brands, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards and Red Cat wines, needed a larger production facility to match market demands. But it was still a big gamble financially. It was really great that both Ontario County and New York State were able to lend a hand. Our success is their success.”

“Even more importantly, " he added, "we’ve been able to contribute to the local economy by adding, and keeping, employees in good jobs. Especially throughout the challenges of the last two years.”

As a long-time advocate and leader of organizations that strive to expand job opportunities, Lynn Freid, Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board, added this: “This is a great example of private-public partnership opportunity in this region -- the strength of local business with strong ties to local community agencies with sustainable careers and investment in long-term growth for the working families they employ.

“The Finger Lakes region," she added,"is ripe with employment opportunity. Building a strong workforce/economic/community eco-system is the foundation of these successes.”

Chamber Board taps officers, new members

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, Dec. 11, 2021 -- Three officers were appointed to the Board of Directors Executive Committee and three new Board Members were elected to three-year terms at the Annual Membership Meeting of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce held December 1 at Veraisons Restaurant at the Inn at Glenora.

Raymond Lincourt (Roadmasters) will serve as the 2022 Board Chair. Kerry Keller (Glenora Wine Cellars) will serve as the first Vice Chair. Wendy Shutter (Arc of Chemung-Schuyler) will serve as the second Vice Chair. Tracy Gates (Cayuga Health Systems) will serve as the Board’s Treasurer.

The following were appointed to the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

From left: Dena Carrigan, Carmella Hoffman
and Dr. William Mullaney

Dena Carrigan from Chemung Canal Trust Company. Dena has volunteered with Watkins Glen Promotions, helped with the Italian American Festival, assisted the Montour Falls Fire Department, and is a founding member of the planning committee for the Arc’s annual 5k Run. She has also served as Chair for the Membership Committees of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club and is the secretary for Spirit of Schuyler.

Carmella Hoffman from Sunset View Creamery. Recognized by Senator Thomas O’Mara as a woman of distinction and a producer of fine artisan cheese, Carmella operates with her family a 365-acre dairy farm in Schuyler County. The fifth generation farm milks approximately 50 cows daily with no hormones or antibiotics and produces hundreds of pounds of cheese weekly. Carmella has served as the Town Clerk, Collector and Court Clerk for the Town of Catharine and is a leader with many local and regional groups.

Dr. William Mullaney, SUNY Corning Community College. Dr. Mullaney assumed SUNY CCC’s presidency in 2019, with the immediate goal of continuing the steadfast commitment to the College’s mission. His belief that community colleges are an integral part of communities everywhere guides his decisions.

Hazlitt event supported Seneca Santa, HSSC

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Dec. 12, 2021 -- Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards rang in the holidays with a “Giving Back” weekend -- a two-day event on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 11-12, benefitting Seneca Santa and the Humane Society of Schuyler County.

The winery collected cash donations and “Wish List” gifts on both days for the Humane Society. A portion of food and drink sales on Saturday goes to Seneca Santa, with the same benefitting the Humane Society on Sunday.

To provide the perfect setting, the winery and its grounds were transformed into a winter wonderland. The theme for Giving Back weekend was “It’s a North Pole Fashion Show.” Guests were encouraged to dress like their favorite North Pole characters. Those who did were eligible to win prizes.

Other weekend activities included the opportunity for guests to take selfies with Santa and Mrs. Claus on both days. On Saturday, Mike Cavalier performed Acoustic Funk and Rock tunes in the Oasis from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dancing was encouraged. Sunday was “Doggy Photo Day.” Folks could bring their pets and use their phone to capture a special keepsake memory with jolly old St. Nick.

In the Oasis, Hazlitt’s post and beam party pavilion, there were specials offered all weekend. Along with usual selections of wine, beer, and hard cider, there was plenty of holiday-themed cocktails and seasonal foods to choose from.

To view the Humane Society of Schuyler County’s “Wish List,” go to or call directly at (607) 594-2255. For more information on the “Giving Back” weekend, visit or call the winery directly at 607-546-9463.

Transit adding Chemung-Schuyler service

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Dec. 2, 2021 -- A new service is being offered by Schuyler County Transit, effective January 2022 -- a route expansion that provides transportation connectivity between Chemung and Schuyler Counties.

Schuyler County Transit (SCT) was created in 2010 to meet the needs of people in Schuyler by providing Public Transportation; a Dial-A-Ride service; and a Transportation Link-Line, which is a free information and assistance service connecting people with transportation options.

As SCT became established, a long-term goal has been to offer an expanded route, to provide connectivity between Chemung and Schuyler Counties. SCT has already accomplished something similar, offering routes which connect to Steuben and Tompkins Counties.

According to Transit officials, the route expansion between Chemung and Schuyler Counties will provide people of all abilities with reliable transportation to increase access to employment, recreation, and health care. For more information, call the Transportation Link Line at 607-535-3555 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Information and details can also be found at

Schuyler County Transit is operated by The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler's Business Services Division, which provides businesses, government agencies, and local nonprofits with business solutions, including secure document destruction, commercial cleaning, food copackaging, auto detailing, and more.

Hazlitt announces leadership changes

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Nov. 21, 2021 -- Daniel DeBell and Marc Hurlbut have been named to leadership positions at Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. DeBell has been promoted to President and COO and Hurlbut to Chief Financial Officer.

John Keeler, who served as President starting in 2009, announced his retirement earlier this year. He will continue to serve during the transition.

“We are very excited to make this announcement.” Leigh Triner, Co-CEO said. “John has served the company well and led us through the transition from a small regional winery into a significant East Coast producer. We wish him the best as he moves into a well-deserved retirement.”

Doug Hazlitt, Leigh’s brother and Co-CEO, added, “With Dan and Marc leading the way, we are in very capable hands to move this company forward to even greater success. I’m sure John will keep busy in retirement. There are plenty of fishing holes that need attention!”

Before joining the Hazlitt team in 2011, Daniel DeBell worked for 19 years at the Goodrich Corporation, IRS Systems in Ithaca. Initially hired as General Manager, DeBell was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2015.

Marc Hurlbut was hired as Controller in February 2021 after 30 years of finance experience in the manufacturing industry. He has overseen financial operations at Hazlitt’s two production facilities and retail locations in Hector and Naples, NY, as well as the company’s custom wine production business, East Coast Crush & Co-Pack. Before working at Hazlitt, Hurlbut was the Executive V.P. Finance Administration at SYNTEC Optics, Wordingham Technologies in Rochester, NY.

John Keeler joined Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards as company President in February 2009. During his tenure, Hazlitt acquired Widmer Wine Cellars from Constellation Brands and founded East Coast Crush & Co-Pack. Before Hazlitt, he was Co-CEO at Monarch Machine Tool in Cortland, NY.

“John Keeler will be missed.” Daniel DeBell emphasized. “He’s been a great mentor and team leader. He laid the groundwork over the past 12 years that will allow Marc and I to really step up, take the reins, and drive the business forward.”

DeBell continued, “The industry is changing. It is evolving very rapidly. There are abundant challenges at every turn right now. From COVID and supply chain issues to staffing shortages. The Hazlitt family has been proactive and visionary. They have assembled a team, from top to bottom, that is configured for success.”

Photos in text:

From top: John Keeler, Daniel DeBell and Marc Hurlbut. (Photos provided)

Two Goats Brewing donates $8,500 to Spirit of Schuyler scholarship program

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Nov. 7, 2021 -- In a ceremony at Two Goats Brewing, brewery owners Jon and Jessica Rodgers presented Spirit of Schuyler with an $8,500 donation toward the non-profit’s scholarship program.

As with many non-profit organizations throughout the pandemic, Spirit of Schuyler experienced challenges with fundraising as a result of the cancellation of all of its annual fundraising events throughout 2020 and into 2021.

A large portion of the funds donated by Two Goats Brewing were sourced from a unique feature the brewery is known for. Two Goats’ ceiling is typically covered in dollar bills and, every so often, Jon and Jessica take the bills down, host a fundraiser, and donate it all to a local charity. The tradition of covering the ceiling in dollars began in 2010 when the brewery first opened. A local customer shared a trick where he stuck a tack in a dollar bill, put a fifty-cent piece behind it, folded it up like a dart and threw it up and into the ceiling. The trick stuck and a philanthropic tradition was born.

The “ceiling money” donated to Spirit of Schuyler was taken down in early 2020 and totaled $5,000. An additional $3,500 was raised during the brewery’s Celebration of Life event in honor and memory of its former brewer, Corey Drake, who passed away unexpectedly in 2021 at the age of 32.

“Donating these funds and partnering with Spirit of Schuyler’s scholarship program is such a great fit. Corey, a spirit full of generosity, would be happy to know this money was going to local people in need,” said Jessica.

Spirit of Schuyler is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization serving Schuyler County residents in need. Its stated mission is to improve the quality of life in Schuyler County for those who find themselves in need of emergency financial assistance. Ranging from emergency car repair to utility shut-offs, security deposits, and a variety of other circumstances, SOS assists residents who fight for their financial independence, support themselves and their families, and are self-sustaining until unforeseen situations occur.

In addition to its general fund, Spirit of Schuyler has been focused on growing its scholarship program, an entirely separate fund, to provide scholarship opportunities for individuals looking to further their education or career. The scholarship is open to any Schuyler County resident with established plans to take the next step in his or her education, development, or career, including vocational studies and certifications. In keeping with the spirit of the founders' wishes, preference is given to those pursuing advancement in the field of the Arts.

Beth Howard, one of Spirit of Schuyler’s vice presidents, expressed her gratitude. “We are blessed to live in a community with neighbors who want to take care of one another," she said. "We’re so thankful for our community partners, like Jon and Jessica Rodgers, who want to make a difference. It is an honor for Spirit of Schuyler to have the opportunity to carry on Corey’s memory.”

Spirit of Schuyler officials say SOS has plans to continue partnering with Two Goats Brewing, the Beerocracy, and Lucky Hare Brewing for future scholarship fundraisers in Corey’s honor.

Photo in text: From left, Tony Vickio, Spirit of Schuyler president; Harriett Vickio, Spirit of Schuyler vice president; Jon Rodgers, Two Goats Brewing owner; Jessica Rodgers, Two Goats Brewing owner; Gary Whyman, Spirit of Schuyler board treasurer, and Dena Carrigan, Spirit of Schuyler board secretary. (Photo provided)

Hale named Chamber's executive director

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 15, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and the Schuyler County Tourism Promotion Agency Board of Directors have appointed Nigar Hale as the Chamber's next Executive Director, effective November 1. Hale will succeed Michael Hardy, who is resigning at year's end.

“Nigar is a positive and energetic leader with strong credentials,” said Hardy. “I am thrilled to pass the baton to Nigar and to watch and support her as she makes strategic contributions to the positive momentum we’re currently experiencing. Her expertise and collaborative spirit will help to further solidify the Chamber’s commitment to advancing business and tourism and supporting our members.”

Hale's career experience includes seven years as Vice President of Marketing and Membership for the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County, NY, where -- the Watkins Chamber said in a press release -- "she was able to nurture her passion for creating collaborations to promote prosperity in the local economy. Her collaborations in the capital region include serving as President of a local community economic development organization that involved town governments, school districts, agriculture, and business leaders to create a strategic vision that would impact future development in southern Saratoga County." Hale’s experience also spans acquisitions, marketing, and sales management in the publishing realm for Wiley, Delmar Learning, and Thomson Publishers and included managing hospitality, culinary, and travel and tourism content portfolios.

“As the incoming Executive Director, I am humbled to bring my commitment, work ethic and my portfolio experience to lead the Watkin Glen Area Chamber of Commerce,” said Hale.

Hale moved from the capital region to the Finger Lakes in 2019 as founder and president of Blue Pepper Strategies, Inc., a marketing solutions provider for small business. At its core, the press release added, "Blue Pepper believes in the importance of driving the excellence of a brand experience throughout the customer journey, from discovery to fulfillment." She currently serves as Chair for the Board of Wharton Studio Museum where she helps to raise awareness of its mission and to celebrate Ithaca’s place in early cinema history. She is also the current President of the Finger Lakes chapter of PRSA (Public Relations Society of America).

Hale earned her Executive MBA from the University at Albany, and Institute of Organizational Management Certification by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for non-profit management. Her undergraduate degree was in American History and Sociology from the University at Albany. Hale resides with her husband in Ithaca, located between her two adult children with careers in the Capital Region and Buffalo. She says she is inspired by the pursuit of lifelong learning and is a voracious reader.

Photo in text: Nigar Hale (Photo provided)

IMRRC names new executive director

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 15, 2021 -- The International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) announced Friday that it has appointed Mark Steigerwald to be the IMRRC’s next Executive Director, replacing Dan DeRusha, who stepped down in June 2021.

John Saunders, Chair of the Governing Council, said, “We are very pleased to announce Mark’s hiring and return to the IMRRC to lead the Center as it continues its work collecting, preserving, and sharing the history of racing. Mark is uniquely positioned for this role, having started his career at the IMRRC many years ago before moving on to advance his leadership experience and fundraising credentials.”

Steigerwald is the Executive Director of the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento, CA, where he leads all aspects of the 72,000 sq. ft. facility and its mission presenting the history of the automobile with a collection of over 150 classic cars, race cars, muscle cars and early automobiles. He is also a self-described “gear head and racing fanatic,” having been involved in helping establish the IMRRC’s archives when he first worked at the IMRRC in 2000. He holds a Masters degree in Library Science from Syracuse University.

Said Steigerwald, “It is a terrific honor to be selected to return to the IMRRC and lead this important organization into its next chapter. My lifelong interest in racing, passion for the sport and love of the IMRRC’s mission have all come together in this opportunity. I look forward to working with the Governing Council and staff to advance the IMRRC’s programs and impact.”

Steigerwald was selected following a national search guided by senior search consultant Daniel Keegan of Museum Search & Reference, a firm in Manchester, NH and Boston, MA.

About the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC):

Located in one of the premier racing towns in America, the IMRRC’s collection spans continents, eras, and race series, embodying 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 exhibitions and special events. The IMRRC is free and open to the public, no appointment necessary, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. More at

Photo in text: Mark Steigerwald (Photo provided)

Cayuga Health Giving Day proves a success

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Oct. 5, 2021 -- Cayuga Health's 2nd Annual 24-Hour Giving Day Fundraising Campaign on September 14 raised $177,440, it has been announced.

“We are simply amazed at how generous our communities have been throughout the pandemic and by the tireless support of our providers in support of their communities and one another,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health.

“On behalf of the entire Cayuga Health System and from the bottom of my heart, I would like to once again extend my deepest gratitude to those who have provided so much during this pandemic, including their financial support, during our Giving Day.”

“Last year was our first experience with an exclusively online fundraising campaign, and we were thrilled with the outcome,” said Steve Savage, Executive Director, Cayuga Medical Center Foundation. “This year we are incredibly gracious for the continued support. The money we have raised will benefit our entire health care system and allows us to continue to provide the best care for our communities, right here.”

The funds raised on #CayugaGivingDay will benefit the Cayuga Medical Center Foundation, Schuyler Hospital Foundation and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. Like last year on Cayuga Giving Day there were generous matching gifts, multiple giving challenges, and videos and live streaming.

More can be found at Cayuga Health partnered with Ithaca-based GiveGab during the 24-Hour Campaign.

Cayuga Health CEO weighs in on mandate

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Sept. 27, 2021 -- Dr. Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health, issued the following statement Monday regarding the state mandate on vaccinations for healthcare workers.

“Last month, New York State announced that all healthcare workers in the state will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by today, September 27th. The announcement applies to all medical staff in New York State including Cayuga Health employees across our entire system and network of providers. The vaccine requirement from New York State will not seriously impact our health system operations with the vast majority of our employees vaccinated for COVID-19.

"I respect that the decision to get vaccinated is personal, but as a health system I want to recognize that we do recommend vaccination as the first line of defense against COVID-19 for most individuals. Like all other health care facilities across the state, Cayuga Health is following this mandate, and we knew when this was announced that we might lose several valued and loyal employees.

"It is not easy to see employees leave our organization due to this mandate. We hope that those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated will rejoin our organization when this pandemic is over or if they change their mind. We value every person and their individual decisions regarding vaccination.”

Chamber's Business Expo set for Oct. 6

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 24, 2021 -- Vendors are being invited by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce to showcase and sell their products at the 15th Annual Business Expo scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 6, at the Watkins Glen Community Center.

The event is sponsored by Cameron Manufacturing & Design. Vendors are invited to register online: The event begins with an hour open to the public from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

In addition to showcasing and selling their products, vendors can recruit for fall and winter workforce needs, and distribute promotional literature. Each vendor will receive a table and two chairs. Access to electric and the internet must be requested on the application.

Tabling at the Business Expo is included in Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce members' annual dues. Non-members are invited to participate at $150 per table. At 5:00 p.m., the event will transition into the Chamber's monthly mixer, with a cash bar, 50/50 drawing and a raffle for items from each participating vendor. (No ATM on site.)

Refreshments will be available at 5:00 p.m.

Members and non-members are invited to stay for the mixer to network with Chamber members.

One of the displays along the Festival of Lights wooded path. A sign nearby explains the scene: "Kyle and Sarah love helping out in the garden and being outdoors."

Launch Party marks opening of Finger Lakes Festival of Lights, located behind Grist Iron

HECTOR, Sept. 15, 2021 -- A grand opening Launch Party was held Wednesday evening off Route 414, behind Grist Iron Brewing Company, for the new Finger Lakes Festival of Lights, subtitled “Grandpa’s Attic.”

Remarks by various dignitaries preceded a lighting of the show, which stretches along a wide path through woods for three-quarters of a mile, the exit within sight of the starting point.

The site is located on Grist Iron property, up the hill behind that business. The show has concessions near its entrance, including beer and wine for adult guests. Lights go on at sundown to maximize the experience.

Launch Party speakers included Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry, Schuyler County Legislature Chair Carl Blowers, Town of Hector Supervisor Alvin White, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy, Finger Lakes Wine Country President Laury Ward, and festival Executive Producer Robert Montgomery. Guests were from local businesses across the region.

Refreshments were provided, including egg rolls, meats, fruits and vegetables.

Funding for the show -- which officially opened Sept. 10 and will run through November 2021 with the possibility of extension -- was provided by private investors, I Love NY, the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, and SCOPED. Organizers say that if the public response is as great as they anticipate, then the festival will be an annual event with the theme changing each year. They have said that they expect more than 100,000 visitors.

The Festival of Lights was brought to the area and organized by a newly established partnership, American Lantern Festivals Inc., which includes local winery Castel Grisch --which provided residents and visitors with its own light show production in winter 2020.

This year's festival is a new, professionally designed and engineered, illuminated lantern event that brings together concepts of fantasy and ancient artisanship in a larger-than-life, visually stimulating installation made up of over a thousand silk, porcelain and steel light sculptures.

The basic infrastructure, including all ground work, parking and electrical service, was completed by Grist Iron Brewing. All of the lanterns were manufactured in China and shipped to Hector. Local labor was used for installation.

The region was selected by show producers because of its natural beauty, which lends the show a majestic setting as guests wander along the three-quarter-mile-long, gravel path illuminated by thousands of LED lights. The light sculptures tell a story about children visiting their grandparents in Seneca Lake who use their imaginations to recreate scenes of adventure, dinosaurs, tropical animals and aquatic creatures as Grandpa tells tales from his past.

The festival’s Executive Producer, Robert Montgomery, says he is thrilled to finally have the show up and running in the Watkins Glen area. “Our Light Festivals have delighted guests across four continents and entertained millions of visitors of all ages and from all walks of life," Montgomery said. "We have been working hard to bring our show to the Finger Lakes Region. We are excited to offer a story that is meaningful to the area with culturally specific references that local people will recognize and appreciate.”

The festival officially opened on September 10th, but ran Preview Days starting September 4th.

Castel Grisch Winery owner Daniel Lai, part of the festival partnership, said he is particularly excited about the impact the festival will have within the community.

“Our new partnership of American Lantern Festivals has delivered a magical experience with a story that has roots in our community,” said Lai. “Building off of our successful drive-through festival at Castel Grisch in 2020, we’re excited about this all-new show, that will be even more spectacular and engaging.”

Photos in text:

Top: The gate at the entrance to the Festival of Lights path. An organizer pointed out that the gate suggests the shape of an opened book -- an entry to the story told along the way.

Bottom: Bright "plants" are situated along the path, with a display visible in the distance.

Among the many displays of the Festival is this submarine, with an octopus affixed.

TAP funding application process now open

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 9, 2021 -- The application period for 2022 Tourism Assistance Program (TAP) funding is now open.

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will be accepting applications through October 8, 2021, for projects that support and promote tourism in Schuyler County, New York. The source of dollars from which projects will be funded is the County’s share of taxes collected on overnight stays within the County (lodging receipts).

Interested individuals are invited to review detailed information and download the application from the Chamber’s website ( Hard copies of the application may also be picked up at the Chamber office, located at 214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen. Completed forms can be submitted in person at the Chamber office or emailed to All submissions must be received on or before October 8, 2021.

As Schuyler County’s designated Tourism Promotion Agency, the Chamber creates an annual tourism budget and allocates dollars to tourism programs and efforts throughout the county. Applicants must complete an application (including past recipients) and submit to the Chamber by the deadline.

Submissions will be reviewed by the TAP Committee, which is comprised of the chairperson of the Chamber Board of Directors, two members of the Chamber Board of Directors, the Schuyler County Administrator, the chairperson of the Schuyler County legislature, two members of the Schuyler County legislature, the Executive Director of the Chamber, and the Tourism/Marketing Manager of the Chamber (or designee). Applicants may be asked to make a presentation of no longer than 10 minutes to the committee. In this case, they will be advised as to the time and date. Final funding decisions will be made by the TAP Committee.

“We encourage our partners throughout the county to be creative with their proposals and submit plans that will address our community’s most pressing needs when it comes to expanding tourism,” said Michael J. Hardy, Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. “As we continue to adjust to an ever-changing and evolving landscape, we know that it will take every one of us pulling together to remain strong and competitive. We believe TAP funding will play a significant role in the County’s resurgence, and we look forward to seeing what our partners have in mind.”

Squires Drum and Bugle Corps featured in Schuyler Historical Society museum exhibit

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 4, 2021 -- The history of the Squires Drum and Bugle Corps, which earned national acclaim during its 17 years, is the focus of a new exhibit at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum.

“Echoes in the Valley: History of the Squires” comprises both the museum exhibit and online components. The museum exhibit will be in place through mid-March 2022. A photograph slideshow and interviews with Squires and Legion Cadets alumni can be seen on the Historical Society’s You Tube channel “Schuyler History.”

The Squires was formed in Watkins Glen in 1964, continuing a decades-long tradition in the county of marching units that included the Legion Cadets and the Seneca Chiefs. The teenage musicians and color guards brought home awards from across the state and nation, for a time consistently scoring in the top 10 of corps in the United States. The Squires disbanded in 1982, mostly a victim of its own success, according to Squires members and their adult leaders.

The project name is borrowed from the title of the book “Echoes in the Valley, Watkins Glen’s Squires, Pages, Legion Cadets and the Watkins Montour Seneca Chiefs, a Half Century of Drum and Bugle Corps Activity in Schuyler County, New York” by Jud Spena. The book is available for purchase at the Brick Tavern Museum.

The Squires history project is supported by a Building Capacity, Creating Sustainability, Growing Accessibility grant administered by the Museum Association of New York from funding in the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act managed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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.; Thursday 2-8 p.m.; and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the end of October. 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: Members of The Squires Drum and Bugle Corps, based in the Watkins Glen, perform in 1978. The history of the championship organization is presented in a special exhibit at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls. (Photos provided)

Cayuga Health issues new parameters due to increase of COVID-19 community cases

Pre-procedural mandatory testing required for surgery, endoscopy, and radiologic procedures, including patients fully vaccinated; hospital visitations limited

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Aug. 19, 2021 -- In response to an increase of COVID-19 cases, increased COVID-19 related hospitalizations, and recent exposures in the region, Cayuga Health has issued new protocols to assist in providing a safe environment for both patients and staff.

Beginning Aug. 23, Cayuga Health will now require mandatory COVID-19 testing for all patients, including those fully vaccinated, prior to any procedures such as all surgery, endoscopy, and invasive radiological procedures.

Cayuga Health also announced Thursday that beginning that day, they are changing its visitation policy at Cayuga Medical Center to two visitors as well as a support person per day.Visiting hours have also changed at Cayuga Medical Center and will now be from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Following COVID 19 guidelines:

  • Everyone entering the hospital or off-site location will be temperature checked (must be below 100 degrees) and screened for symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, fever, etc.) or potential exposure to someone with COVID-19. Failing, or not participating in the screening requirement, will preclude the visitor/support person from entry.
  • Patients undergoing same day procedures may be accompanied to the facility by a support person and that support person may remain with the patient through the initial intake process; and may rejoin the patient during the discharge process.
  • All visitors will be required to wear a mask for the entirety of their visit. Visitors who fail to wear a hospital issued mask and other PPE will not be allowed in the facility.

Testing for pre-scheduled non-emergency procedures needs to be done within five business days of a scheduled procedure or with a rapid test for emergency care. The testing will apply to all Cayuga Health locations in Cortland, Tompkins and Schuyler Counties offering the procedures listed above.

The Cayuga Health Sampling Center remains open at The Shops at Ithaca Mall at 40 Catherwood Road and is staffed by experienced Cayuga Health employees. Regular hours for pre-scheduled drive-through testing will remain the same: 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday. Patients getting tested in preparation for a surgery or procedure are encouraged to check that box online, and/or inform the individual on site that they are being tested as a precursor.

Any area residents seeking a test can go to to review the criteria and schedule an appointment. A call center has been set up for patients who may not have access to the internet, need assistance registering, or have questions. The call center number is 607-319-5708.

Need transportation to the testing site? Contact 2-1-1 (or 877-211-8677) for a list of options. Available 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. weekdays.

For additional information about cases or specific recent exposures, visit:

From left: Richard Decker, Loyal Knight; Thomas Phillips, Treasurer; Charles Franzese, Secretary, and Charles Fitch, Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge #1546 present a donation to Patrick Ryan, Seneca View Administrator; Erin Thaete, Schuyler Health Foundation Chair; Brenda Warren-Fitch, Schuyler Health Foundation Past Chair; Tiffany Bloss, Director of Schuyler Health Foundation; and Steve Savage, Executive Director, Cayuga Medical Center Foundation. (Photo provided)

Elks donate $4,000 for Health Foundation

MONTOUR FALLS, Aug. 3, 2021 -- Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Health (CH) officials received a donation Tuesday of $4,000 for the Schuyler Health Foundation from the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge.

The donation will be used to purchase a resident lift for Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility.

“The Watkins Glen Elks Lodge has stepped forward for the second time in a year to make a generous donation, and we are so grateful for their ongoing support,” said Rebecca Gould, President & CFO of Schuyler Hospital. “The lift will ensure that residents are comfortable and safe as nursing staff transition them from one space to another during the provision of care.”

The Watkins Glen Elks Lodge #1546 grant passed through from the Grand Lodge Elks National Foundation.

“We are so appreciative of our growing relationship with the Watkins Glen Elks Club. Their continued generosity supports our mission of investing in the highest quality and equitable health care services at Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View,” said Erin Thaete, Schuyler Health Foundation Chair. “Being able to purchase this lift for Seneca View meets a need that will enhance care for our residents.”

Hazlitt returns for 15th year as presenting sponsor of WGI 'Bog' Hospitality Area

WATKINS GLEN, July 20, 2021 – Watkins Glen International has announced that Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards has renewed as a presenting sponsor on “The Bog Sponsored By Red Cat” hospitality area for the upcoming Go Bowling at The Glen NASCAR race weekend.

“The Bog Sponsored By Red Cat is one of the most entertaining areas at the track and we’ve enjoyed Hazlitt’s long-term partnership on this exceptional hospitality area,” said WGI President Michael Printup. “Fans are close to the excitement of the final turn of the course and are treated to great entertainment along with Hazlitt wine.”

Founded in 1985, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards is part of a 160-year family farming legacy on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake. Best known for their flagship wine brand Red Cat, Hazlitt has been a partner of WGI for a decade and a half.

“The Hazlitt family and staff is proud to enter its 15th year as a partner sponsor of Watkins Glen International,” said Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Owner/Co-CEO Doug Hazlitt. “It’s a privilege to support world class road racing and the storied history of automotive racing in the Finger Lakes region. Our support of this track is about a contribution to our community and the generations of families who live here and work here and call this place home.”

Tickets are still available for The Bog Sponsored By Red Cat, which will have multiple NASCAR Cup Series driver appearances during the Go Bowling at The Glen race weekend. Previous Cup Series champions Martin Truex Jr. (2017) and Kurt Busch (2004), as well as Stewart-Haas Racing driver Aric Almirol, are currently scheduled to make appearances at The Bog Sponsored By Red Cat. (All driver appearances are subject to change without notice.)

Watkins Glen will host its NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen weekend Aug. 6-8. The Clean Harbors 100 at The Glen ARCA Menards Series race will be on Friday, Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. The United Rentals 167 at The Glen NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race will be on Saturday, Aug. 7 at 12:30 p.m. and the NASCAR Xfinity Series race is scheduled for 4 p.m. On Sunday, Aug. 8, the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling at The Glen takes the green flag at 3 p.m.

Glen Ale is back after an 80-year hiatus

Finger Lakes Distilling and Lucky Hare Brewing join forces to revive local brand

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, July 13, 2021 -- Two local leaders in the craft beverage movement have launched a new project to resurrect the Glen Ale beer brand that was brewed in Watkins Glen in the late 1930s.

Brian McKenzie, founder and owner of Finger Lakes Distilling, was intrigued by the brand and always hoped to bring the product back into the marketplace. “I came across these labels 15 years ago when I was researching our distillery and always had it in the back of my mind that it would be a fun project to pursue. The vintage feel of the label and regional branding made it very appealing,” said McKenzie. “We’ve been so busy making whiskey and other spirits that we had to put it on the back burner, but the pandemic allowed for some time to look at new initiatives like Glen Ale.”

McKenzie approached the owners of Lucky Hare Brewing, Ian Conboy and Richard Thiel, a brewery also on Seneca Lake, to discuss the concept. “They jumped on board right away and started brainstorming recipe concepts immediately,” said McKenzie. Lucky Hare Brewing and Finger Lakes Distilling have a history of collaborating on projects, sharing whiskey and beer barrels to finish their respective products.

“We are thrilled to be able to brew this classic style of beer at our brewery,” said Conboy. “The fact that we were able to source all the ingredients locally, which they would have done originally, truly makes Glen Ale a special beer.”

The beer is made under Lucky Hare’s Farm Brewery License which requires that the ingredients come from NYS farms. Glen Ale is a simple recipe of malted corn and 2-row barley from Murmuration Malts in Bloomfield, NY. Glen Ale is super drinkable and refreshing with a touch of sweetness from the malted corn. It finishes light and crisp with an abv (alcohol by volume) of only 4.3%.

“The diversity and quality of beer made in the Finger Lakes is something to be proud of right now,” said McKenzie. “Glen Ale is a departure from the super-hoppy IPAs and high gravity stouts available in local taprooms, however. We wanted to make a high quality, locally-sourced craft beer that goes down easy and appeals to a wide range of customers. A can of Glen Ale is something that you can’t wait to crack open after mowing the lawn or sitting on the deck after working a long day.”

Glen Ale is available on tap and sold in cans at both Finger Lakes Distilling’s tasting room and Lucky Hare’s taprooms. It will also be distributed throughout the area in stores, bars and restaurants.

More information about Glen Ale will soon be available at

CCE 'Composting at Home' workshops set

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, July 7, 2021 -- Uncover the benefits of composting with CCE Schuyler’s upcoming “Composting at Home” series. CCE Schuyler educators and Finger Lakes Compost are teaming up to deliver a series of workshops on how you can compost in your own backyard. Discover the power to create soil from waste, reduce your carbon footprint and make your community more sustainable.

Beginner workshops will be held on Saturday, July 10, or Saturday, August 14, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. An intermediate workshop on how to maintain and improve a home composting setup will be held on Saturday, September 11, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. All workshops cost $5 and will be held in the CCE Garden at 323 Owego Street, Montour Falls.

According to CCE Composting Educator and workshop co-presenter, Marissa Nolan, “Food scraps make up most of a household’s garbage. Composting these saves you money and helps the environment as well. It’s a win-win situation.”

Participants are encouraged to register as space is limited. Register online today by visiting: or contact Marissa Nolan by emailing: or calling: (607)535-7161 x3226.

For more details regarding this workshop and other CCE Schuyler events, visit:

Chamber of Commerce plans 3 sports events for summer; you can sign up now

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 1, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is registering players for three events this summer. Registration is open to members and non-members. Details for all events, including event agendas and online registration forms, can be found at

Alternatives Federal Credit Union Disc Golf Tournament: August 19, 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Castel Grisch; $70 per two-person team.

Disc golf is one of the nation’s fastest growing sports, with more than 5,000 courses across the country. Teams in the Chamber’s first-ever Alternatives Federal Credit Union Disc Golf Tournament will face off at the Wild Vines Disc Golf Course, located at Castel Grisch. Players will receive a trio of discs (a driver, mid-range, and putter) and will complete part or all the 18-basket course based on player skill level. Prizes will be given for a variety of accomplishments, including lowest score. Participants will enjoy refreshments and a catered banquet to top off the evening. Sign up today at

Corning Credit Union Cornhole Tournament: September 2, 2021, 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Toast Winery/Pompous Ass Wines; $70 per two-person team.

The Corning Credit Union Cornhole Tournament will be a double elimination event. FLX Wienery will cater the event and the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor will be on-site with frozen treats for all participants. Prizes will be awarded for various accomplishments, including lowest score. Cornhole, with roots tracing back to the 15th Century Germany, is now considered a professional sport with its own league called the American Cornhole League. The League was established in 2015, and the tournament is often covered by ESPN.

“We are pleased to present the Chamber’s inaugural Cornhole Tournament,” said Michael Hardy, Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. “Cornhole is a test of skill, strategy, and aim and is enjoyed by youth and adults. I’ve heard it described as Schrodinger’s Game, which captures the very real fact that players find Cornhole to be both simple and deceptively difficult at once. This Corning Credit Union sponsored event along with our first-time Alternatives FCU Disc Golf Tournament are terrific networking events for people who may feel a bit pressured to participate in a traditional golf experience. I know many members and their guests/clients and/or customers will enjoy these new options for business dealings and relationship-building.”

Chemung Canal Trust Company Golf Tournament: September 17, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Watkins Glen Golf Course.

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will host its 21st Annual Donald Brubaker Memorial Golf Tournament with a shotgun start at 10:10 a.m. Four-person team fees include registration fees, greens fees, hamburgers and hot dogs all day, dinner, and t-shirt listing. For additional fees, teams will receive four mulligans, one team skin, 40 raffle tickets, and 40 50/50 tickets. The day will conclude with a buffet-style dinner.

“Golf tournaments capture the thrill of competition and ramp up the significance of each and every shot in ways that a quick round after work just cannot do,” said Hardy. “The pressure to perform and to mirror the techniques and form of the pros is real, but doesn’t seem to dissuade people from stepping up to that first tee. Unlike many other sports, golf is unrushed and personal. The game allows for casual conversation and networking, with time between strokes often used to get to know your partners. An added plus: it's easier on the body than many sports. You know what they say: ‘A Bad day of golf can be better than (and maybe even more productive) than a good day at work!’”

Nearly 30 million people play golf, and traditionally, more than 75 percent of those players are male. According to, those stats are changing: more women are adopting the sport every year.

Glenora's is Official Champagne of WGI

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 24, 2021 -- Watkins Glen International Thursday announced Glenora Wine Cellars as the Official Champagne of WGI in a multi-year partnership that will bring the winery’s Brut Champagne to Victory Lane at the famed road course through 2023.

“The champagne spray is an iconic victory celebration and Glenora Wine Cellars is iconic in the Finger Lakes wine region,” said WGI President Michael Printup. “We’re excited to welcome them to The Glen and we know our race winners will be honored to celebrate with their champagne.”

Glenora Wine Cellars was the first winery located on Seneca Lake, opening in 1977. In addition to its award-winning wines, Glenora Wine Cellars also offers visitors a beautiful view of the vineyards from the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars and their restaurant, Veraisons

“We are very pleased to be the ‘Official Champagne of Watkins Glen International’ as Glenora Wine Cellars has had a long history of partnerships with all types of racing from cars and motorboats to sailboats,” said Gene Pierce, President of Glenora Wine Cellars. “It is an honor to have our Brut Champagne featured at this historic track, that is so invested in the Finger Lakes wine industry.”

The winery’s Brut Champagne will be featured in the celebration of all races at The Glen, beginning with this weekend’s IMSA Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, June 24-27.

Watkins Glen will then host the IMSA WeatherTech 240, July 1-2, and fans are welcomed to both IMSA race weekends with general admission access. The Glen will host its NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen weekend Aug. 6-8.

Cayuga Health System wins Gold & Silver Healthcare Ad Awards for Covid coverage

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, June 17, 2021 -- Cayuga Health announced Thurday that it is the recipient of two prestigious National Healthcare Advertising Awards -- a Gold for its COVID-19 Public Relations Campaign and a Silver for the Cayuga Health Giving Day Fundraising Campaign focused on COVID-19 recovery and response.

Over 4,400 submissions were received for the 38th Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards, making it the largest healthcare advertising awards competition and one of the ten largest of all advertising awards. Gold awards were given to 445 entries, silver awards to 322 entries and bronze awards to 245 entries.

“Although our main focus during the COVID-19 pandemic was responding to the public health emergency, ongoing communication with our community to help keep them updated and safe was imperative.” said John Turner, Vice President of Public Relations, Cayuga Health System. “Our entire PR team became a media newsroom during the onset of the pandemic to make sure news organizations throughout the region and nation received frequent updates on our pandemic response to testing, vaccines, mask making, PPE supplies, sending our team to support NYC efforts and more. We are truly honored to be the recipient of Gold and Silver awards from the Healthcare Advertising Awards organization.”

Most of the public relations outreach included press packets with photos and video since media outlets were short staffed and unable to send reporters due to lockdown. Much of the provided information was covered by local and national media outlets, including the NY Times, NPR, NY 1, Good Morning America, the Today Show, Yahoo News, The New Yorker, American Journal of Nursing, the Associated Press, The Economist, and more.

“Our regular communication throughout the pandemic journey acted as a lifeline to many in our region and broke beyond our normal boundaries,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health System. “Not only could they follow the big events like our NYC Healthcare Heroes and our partnership with Ithaca-based Rheonix for the first same-day turnaround testing in NY, but they could also easily and quickly find where to go to help make masks, get tested or get a vaccine.”

During the Giving Day campaign on June 30, 2020, Cayuga Health raised $146,260 from 220 donors. It partnered with Ithaca-based GiveGab to help replenish critical financial resources that were depleted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds that were raised on #CayugaHealthGivingDay benefited the Cayuga Medical Center Foundation, Schuyler Hospital Foundation and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility.

A national panel of judges was engaged in reviewing all Healthcare Advertising Awards entries based on creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design and overall impact. The Healthcare Advertising Awards is considered the oldest, largest and most widely respected healthcare advertising awards competition.

The complete listing of the Healthcare Advertising Awards winners can be found at

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 2,500. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences. Visit for more information.

Grant enhances STI's document destruction

Special to The Odessa File

ELMIRA and WATKINS GLEN, NY, June 16, 2021 -- The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler -- thanks to a grant from the Golisano Foundation -- has been able to purchase much needed equipment -- a paper baler, conveyer system, and stair clumber to aid in the safety and efficiency of its Southern Tier Industries (STI) -- to secure document destruction business.

With the addition of a state-of-art new baler, "we reimagined our whole workflow," said Joel Robinson, Buinsess Manager. "We eliminated a task that was labor intensive and slowed the overall process. Not only do we produce the bales more quickly, but they are 27% larger than the former bales. The new bales also require less time to tie off, reducing time when the shredders are not operating. With the increase in productivity, we have reduced the time it takes to build up enough bales for a truck. We needed 39 bales to fill a truck with the old baler but only 32 with the new, making us 18% quicker to reach the truckload quantity. We are also able to process received paper at a much faster pace, increasing the need to expand our customer base and incoming supply of paper to be destroyed."

"Since 2018, Southern Tier Industries has operated successfully, now with 130 customers, in 92 different locations around the region and this new equipment will allow for business growth," said Wendy Shutter, Director of Business Services. "We retained all our original staff, and cross trained people in every position. Our business is now preparing to become a fully integrated workspace for employees with all abilities. We also can offer learning skills for people exploring manufacturing jobs that will increase their chances of employment."

In early 2019, STI received NAID AAA Certification by the National Association for Information Destruction, which enabled STI to provide ongoing or one-time shredding services for both business and residential customers, in a certified setting, ensuring the confidential destruction of the documents shredded.

As a result, STI's demand for secure document destruction increased.

Museums open June 19 for History Weekend

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS , June 11, 2021 -- Two of the Schuyler County Historical Society’s museums will be open on Saturday, June 19, for New York State’s Path through History Weekend.

The Brick Tavern Museum and Wickham Rural Life Center, both at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.

The current special exhibit at the Brick Tavern Museum is the “Stoneware of Havana,” spotlighting the functional and beautiful pottery manufactured in the 1880s in Montour Falls, then known as Havana.

Path through History Weekends are organized by the state’s I Love NY program.

For more information, contact the Schuyler County Historical Society at (607) 535- 9741.

The ribbon is cut at the site of the Farm Friends mural on the Chamber building.

Two ribbons cut by Chamber, celebrating its new mural and students' Cheese Bus

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 11, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce cut two ribbons Friday morning to unveil the Farm Friends mural and welcome the Cheese Bus to the community.

The Farm Friends mural was painted by Filomena Jack, an artist from Elmira, and was supported with a grant from the ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes. On the southeast corner of the Chamber’s 214 N. Franklin Street location, the street art is a tribute to nature. Subtitled “Our landscape transforms us,” Jack hopes that her creations will inspire others and spark transformation.

“Thank you to the Chamber for choosing a whimsical and abstract painting for the side of this historic building,” said Jack. “Art is determination manifested and a willingness to do ‘it’ anyway, regardless of what ‘it’ is. If you hear a voice that says don’t do it, do it anyway. If it’s raining, do it anyway. If you’re afraid of heights and need to climb a ladder, do it anyway. This building used to be a bomb shelter. I hope that this art will shelter your dreams and that you do your thing … anyway.”

Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn congratulated the artist and all involved with breathing life into the Cheese Bus.

“In Schuyler County, we are all about collaborations,” O’Hearn said. “This is a perfect example of a partnership that brought together the art community, the business community, local government, the Chamber, and academics.”

The Cheese Bus is owned by two Watkins Glen High School seniors, Cale Sutterby and Silas Farrell. It was a New Visions class project that was one idea among many and took shape, according to class adviser Paul Richmond, with help from many in the community. The bus debuted in April and can be seen throughout the summer at Lakewood Vineyards. The bus serves local cheeses, meats, and a variety of snacks.

“Owning a business is different than just working for someone,” Sutterby said. “It’s nice to set our own hours, but we have to work until everything is done.”

Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy emceed the ceremony.

“We are pleased to support a phenomenal and inspiring arts trail in the Finger Lakes,” said Hardy, thanking Jim Guild, a local business owner and the building owner on which the mural was painted, for his support of the project. “And we’re always excited to welcome new entrepreneurs to the community. In this case, their spirit is amazingly contagious. We look forward to seeing all the great work that they will do in our community.”

Photo in text: The Cheese Bus, owned by Watkins Glen High School students Cale Sutterby and Silas Farrell. (Photo provided)

Statements, Alternatives Credit Union hold a joint ribbon-cutting celebration

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, June 12, 2021 -- Statements Accounting and Consulting Services and Alternatives Federal Credit Union celebrated their arrival in downtown Montour Falls and the Southern Tier with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, June 10 at the Montour House, 401 West Main St., Montour Falls.

In addition to Rebekah Carroll, owner of Statements Accounting and Consulting, Eric Levine, CEO of Alternatives Federal Credit Union, Michael Hardy, executive director of the Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce, and representatives from Statements Accounting and Consulting and Alternatives Federal Credit Union, a variety of elected officials offered remarks.

During the event, Alternatives Federal Credit Union Senior Business Lending Officer Branka Gligoric and Chief Lending Officer James Hunter presented checks for recently awarded grants totaling $30,000 to regional non-profit institutions. These grants are in addition to $70,000 that had already been awarded to private organizations in our region.

Guests enjoyed heavy hors d’oeuvres and tastings from Damiani Wine Cellars.

“Welcome to these amazing businesses,” said Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy. “We are fortunate to have the expertise, quality, and services offered by Statements Accounting and Alternatives Federal Credit Union right here in our county.”

Statements Accounting and Consulting provides accounting, bookkeeping, office management, and consulting services for private and non-profit organizations. Alternatives Federal Credit Union is a mission-driven, member-owned, locally-focused financial institution that serves Tompkins County and its six contiguous counties, including Schuyler.

“I am a life-long resident of this area,” said Carroll, owner of Statements Accounting and Consulting. “I know so many in this community and am thrilled to have the opportunity to help members of the local business community realize their financial goals. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch my clients thrive.”

“We consider ourselves to be change agents,” said Levine. “In that way, we believe that with the right resources and access to information, a community and its members can build and support one another in deeply meaningful partnerships. Our big picture goal is to contribute to a better society.”

Photo in text: Rebekah Carroll (File photo)

Cutting the ribbon: From left: Schuyler County Legislator Mark Rondinaro, Town of Dix Supervisor Harold Russell, SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry, Naturluxe & Stars owner Dawn Aprile, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi, and Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.

Ribbon-cutting celebrates opening of Naturluxe & Stars, a glamping experience

WATKINS GLEN, June 4, 2021 -- A celebratory ribbon was cut Friday morning at Naturluxe & Stars, a new glamping business alongside County Road 16 near the Watkins Glen International race track.

The new outdoor retreat -- scheduled to welcome guests this weekend -- drew a number of dignitaries to the ribbon-cutting, including New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. Various county officials were also present.

The glampground -- glamping being "glamorous camping," or camping with a modern bent to it, such as a comfortable bed on a raised platform, and perhaps indoor plumbing -- is located on 48 acres of land. It is, said owner and the project's driving force, real estate developer Dawn Aprile, designed to appeal to those folks who want to get away from the pressures of everyday life.

Lt. Gov. Hochul praised the vision and drive of Aprile, who received a $385,000 state grant to help finance the $1.9 million venture. Hochul said the grant represents "New York State's commitment to creating new and fun ways to promote healthy outdoor recreation as well as boost local tourism."

Speaking at the ribbon-cutting in addition to Hochul were Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), the New York State Executive Director of Tourism, Ross D. Levi, and the owner, Ms. Aprile.

Naturluxe & Stars, which Empire State Development Acting Commissioner Eric Gertier has said "takes the fun of camping to a new level," has eight highly visible safari tents arranged near one another on a flat area, with a nearby bathhouse boasting private showers. Platform tents can be found out in the woods beyond the bathhouse, while bell tents and platform tents can be found on the western edge of the property south and west of the 1600-square-foot Gathering Tent for guests. When fully built out, there will be 50 sites. Currently there are the eight safari tents, 14 platform tents and eight bell tents.

Burnished Larch is being used in all the structures. Beyond the buildings, there are 40 acres for private hiking -- to get closer to nature.

According to a press release, "concierge-style services are available on-site to assist with all facets of the visitor experience," and "guests are provided complimentary individually-packaged breakfast baskets and campfire s'mores. Recognizing the different accessibility needs of travelers, Naturluxe & Stars offers an accessible parking lot and ADA-compliant bathroom facilities."

Said Cherry: "This new facility is an exceptional jewel in the Southern Tier and adds to the incredible tourism experience our region offers."

Photos in text:

Top: The interior of one of the safari tents, one of eight positioned in the open, on a flat.
Middle: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul addresses the audience on hand for the ribbon cutting.
Bottom: Naturluxe & Stars owner, developer Dawn Aprile.

Speakers: SCOPED's Judy McKinney Cherry and Ross D. Levi, New York State Executive Director of Tourism.

A group of eight safari tents, with the bathhouse on the right. The bathhouse has seven individual bathrooms with private showers.



© The Odessa File 2022
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869