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Click on the ad below to go to the website featuring

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Be sure to visit

Watkins Glen
Winter Farmer's Market

November 1 to February 28
Fridays 3 to 6pm
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Fresh produce, meats and crafts

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We are open:
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Simply Your Best

Hair - Skin - Nails. JoAnna Sindone's salon at 4588 Route 224, west of Odessa, offers a variety of services:

Phone: 607-594-2811.

To reach the Simply Your Best website, click here.

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To reach the Seneca Design Studio website, click on the ad below.

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To visit the Schuyler County Historical Society website, click here.

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

For information on The Arc of Schuyler, click on the ad below or here.

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Click on ad below to go to the Lake Country Players website.

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To reach the Jeff's On-Site Services website, click here.

Providing Service Since 1985

The start of the parade heads up Decatur Street early Saturday afternoon.

Italian American Festival ends its 2-day run

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 6, 2022 -- The Watkins Glen Italian American Festival's two-day run came to an end Saturday night after a day that saw a blazing hot sun, some rain, a parade, a packed Clute Park and a fireworks show over the southern end of Seneca Lake.

The annual festival, prepared by the Italian Festival Planning Committee, featured food, family fun, vendors, music, and inflatable rides along with the parade and fireworks.

The parade moved up Decatur Street from 15th Street to 5th Street. It feataured fire engines from the area departments, old cars, trucks from various businesses, politicians seeking office in upcoming elections, a prince and princess, and Grand Marshals Peggy Scott and Jim Scaptura. Both Scott and Scaptura were presented plaques honoring the occasion by festival chairman Lou Perazzini.

The fireworks show to cap off the festival started at about 9:45 p.m.

The festival is a community event for all ages. It featured inflatable rides by Bobby K, a festival food row, a vendor marketplace, a beer garden, two performances from local bands -- The Variables on Friday night and Rukus on Saturday night -- as well as Italian music and entertainment.

Parking at Clute was $7.00 per vehicle. There was no cover charge for the bands. Beer tickets were sold at the event within the beer garden tent to those over 21 years of age. All other events within the festival were free and open to the public.

The Watkins Glen Italian American Festival, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit corporation operated by a volunteer staff of committee members, who donate their time, energy, and labor 12 months of the year to prepare for the annual event. In addition to the festival staff, volunteers help on the festival weekend. Proceeds from the festival are provided to local charities, and funds for scholarships for graduating seniors in all Schuyler County School Districts.

For more information visit Watkinsglenitalianfest.com or follow the Watkins Glen Italian Festival on Facebook.

Photos in text:

Top: The parade princess and prince, Marlena VanNess and Kingston Tomlinson.
Middle: Politicians on hand included State Senator Tom O'Mara, running for re-election.
Bottom: A member of the Williamson High School Marching Band.

The two parade grand marshals, Peggy Scott and Jim Scaptura. Scott displays a plaque presented to her by festival chairman Lou Perazzini. Scaptura also received one.

Left: Watkins Glen High School student-athlete Maddie Tuttle helped carry the banner at the head of the parade. She recently had surgery on a torn ACL. Right: The parade emcee, Jim Howell (right), greets Joe Sempolinski, who is running to fill out the unexpired portion of the term of Congressman Tom Reed. Reed resigned the post.

Left: New York State Police Officer Monica Sacco and her horse from Auburn. Right: John White, candidate for Hector Supervisor, was among the political candidates in the parade.

The Downbeat Percussion group entertained spectators with their drum performances.

And on Friday:

Left: A Beaver Dams trio provided music at the festival Friday afternoon. Right: One of the festival vendors secured siding on her tent as winds picked up and rain threatened.

Workers at the festival maneuvered a large tarp over equipment at Clute Park as winds from an approaching storm picked up Friday afternoon.

Society offers Embroidery for Beginners

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 8, 2022 -- A two-part workshop on embroidery for beginners will be offered by the Schuyler County Historical Society on Saturdays July 30 and Aug. 13.

The sessions will be at the Brick Tavern Museum, 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls, starting at 10 a.m.

Historical Society Board President Jean Hubsch, a noted embroidery artist, will lead the workshop. In the first session, participants will learn basic surface embroidery stitches and make a small stitch sampler. A clothing patch or a small piece of jewelry will be created in the second session, using stitches learned in the first.

The class size is limited, and pre-registration is required by July 21 by calling the Historical Society at (607) 535-9741 or emailing director@schuylerhistory.org. The cost is $5, which covers materials for both sessions. The fee may be paid on arrival.

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

Talk topic: Railroad Stone Arches of Hector

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 6, 2022 -- Trains haven’t made their way through eastern Schuyler County for more than 50 years, but reminders remain in the stone arch culverts built in the late 1800s to carry the lines.

“The Lehigh Valley Railroad and The Great Stone Arches of Hector” will be presented on Sunday, July 17, at the Valois-Logan-Hector Fire Department hall on Route 414 in Hector. The 1 p.m. program, sponsored by the Schuyler County Historical Society, will be followed by a guided walk to one of the arches.

Charles Fausold of Hector, Schuyler County Historian Gary Emerson and Burdett Village Historian Marty Evans will be the speakers. Fausold will focus on the stone arch culverts in Hector and Valois, and Evans will talk about the arches in Burdett. Emerson will discuss the Lehigh Valley Railroad’s service in Schuyler County.

“Beautiful to look at today, the bridges and massive culverts of cut stone were marvels of engineering, requiring 300 workers,” Fausold says. “The culverts were impressive at such a scale. Special Seneca Lake excursion boats were required to transport all of the people, hundreds at a time, who wanted to view the construction in progress.”

After the presentations, Leigh Hazlitt Triner will lead a walk to the arch site in Valois, which is on private property. Participants will drive to near the site and then walk on a moderate incline to the arch.

The program is free, and registration is not required. For more information, call the Historical Society at (607) 535-9741.

Photo in text: The double stone arches outside of Burdett on Satterly Hill Road were built in the late 1800s to carry the Lehigh Valley Railroad. These railway arches and two others in the Town of Hector in Schuyler County will be discussed at a talk on July 17 at 1 p.m. at the Valois-Logan-Hector Firehall. (Photo provided)

Robotics team to give away $2,500 in prizes

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 22, 2022 -- The local youth robotics team, Mechanical Meltdown, is holding The Sizzlin’ Summer Prize Calendar Raffle.

For a $10 donation, the buyer will get a calendar/ticket which will go into 31 daily drawings. One winner will be chosen each day throughout the month of July to receive that day’s prizes. Each prize package has a minimum value of $60 and an average value of $99.

More than 50 local businesses have donated over $2,500 in prizes, which consist of gift baskets, museum and amusement park passes, sports game tickets, and gift certificates to restaurants, ice cream shops, and grocery stores. Contest entry donations will provide funds for robot parts, competition entry fees, and other materials.

Drawings begin July 1st. Anyone interested in supporting the team through this fundraiser can get a ticket by visiting the Watkins Glen Public Library, Famous Brands, or Southern Finger Lakes Equipment. The team will also be selling tickets this Saturday at both the “Euro Meet” in Trumansburg and the “Wings of Eagles Car Show & Swap Meet” in Horseheads. Acceptable forms of payment are cash, checks made out to FLARE, PayPal, or Venmo. Questions? Contact the team via facebook.com/FTC12833 or email ftcflare@gmail.com.

Mechanical Meltdown and FLARE operate under Trumansburg Robotics, Inc., an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The group is open to students in grades 7-12 and meets regularly in Watkins Glen. For more information, e-mail ftcflare@gmail.com.

Four Cardboard Race entries -- one in the background almost capsizing -- make their way along the course in the Seneca Harbor Park marina.

Cardboard boats highlight chilly festival

WATKINS GLEN, June 18, 2022 -- The Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival has seen extreme heat, heavy rain and beautiful days in the past. Saturday, it got a dose of unseasonably cool weather made colder by a stiff north wind blowing in from the lake to Seneca Harbor Park.

The result was a Cardboard Boat Regatta -- the festival centerpiece -- with contestants moving more slowly than usual into the wind and through choppy water. "It's a slog," intoned the race announcer.

For those few whose boats didn't survive the course -- which ran north, west and then south to a finish line near the pier -- the water was no respite from the cold wind. The water temperature was 59 degreees, it was announced.

And while the chill kept a usual overflow crowd down a little, there were plenty of folks lining the shoreline, the pier and the breakwall -- with the crowd around the starting line tightly packed.

There were 30 cardboard boats in the lineup, going off from the starting line two at a time.

But there was a lot more to the festival than the boat races. There were food vendors lining both sides of the park's parking area, and vendor tents on the lawn with all sorts of products, services and information, interspersed by well-used picnic tables.

Later in the day, there was live music as the sun finally broke through.

Photos in text:

Top: A Viking ship rounds the corner into the southern stretch toward the finish line.
Bottom: The wind off the lake was disrupting table covers and loose items, and chilling the already cool air.

Festival-goers crowded the area at the end of the Seneca Harbor pier.

Left: TV was on hand for interviews. Right: Three youngsters piloted the "Tugsy" through the course.

The True Love sailing vessel passes by on the lake behind spectators positioned on the breakwall.

In the first race, the Argo, left, nears the finish line awaited by the SS Meep, captained by Kolton O'Konsky, which had already completed the course.

Not all vessels made it through the course. The Pink Flash capsized near the end.

The fate of cardboard boats after a race: Deposit in one of the dumpsters at the park.

Watkins Glen History Walks resume

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, June 1, 2022 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society’s popular Watkins Glen History Walks resumed on Saturday, June 18.

Schuyler County history experts are leading the walks, which include Saturdays July 16 and Aug. 13 and Sundays June 26, July 24 and Aug. 28. Walk leaders include Schuyler County Historian Gary Emerson, Village of Burdett Historian Marty Evans and Historical Society Board President Jean Hubsch.

The free, one-hour walks are enjoyed by visitors and local residents. Participants are asked to meet at the Seneca Harbor Park Pier at 10 a.m. The walks are conducted rain or shine.

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

A pair of horses ridden by State Troopers were a feature of the Main Street parade.

Parade highlights final day of festival

MONTOUR FALLS, June 11, 2022 -- The Montour Falls Fire Department's three-day festival -- back this year after two years off due to the pandemic -- concluded Saturday on a day highlighted by a Parade of Bands (and of fire trucks, classic cars, and tractors) along Main Street in Montour Falls.

Among the fire departments present in the parade were Montour Falls, Watkins Glen, Odessa, Burdett, Valois-Logan-Hector, Enfield, Millport, Beaver Dams, Wayne, Dundee, and Mecklenburg.

Spectators lined both sides of Main Street on a day that cleared -- almost 80 degrees and sunny -- for the parade. Clouds moved in later, along with a cooling wind.

After the parade, many of the spectators ventured to the carnival grounds -- with its music, food, bingo and rides -- for the festival's final evening.

Photo in text: A fife player in the Towpath Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps, a group based in Macedon.

The Montour Falls Fire Department Marching Band provided some of the parade music.

Schuyler County Legislator Jim Howell, as in previous years, was the parade announcer.

The Campbell-Savona High School Marching Band works its way along Main Street.

The Caledonian Highlanders bagpipe marching band is a traditional part of the parade.

Members of the Towpath Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps out of Macedon, New York.

Rides resumed on the carnival grounds after taking a break during the parade.

The winning billboard created by Odessa-Montour senior Haley Albertsman. (Provided)

Haley Albertsman wins billboard contest

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, May 11, 2022 -- Odessa-Montour High School senior Haley Albertsman has been named the winner of the second annual billboard contest for Schuyler County students in grades 7-12 conducted by the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking (SCCUDD).

All students attending the Odessa-Montour, Watkins Glen and Bradford school districts were eligible, including homeschool students residing in the county.

The contest was for substance abuse prevention messages targeting Prom and graduation. The winning billboard is now being displayed on Route 14 in Montour Falls (near the SPCA) until the end of June.

Billboard entries were to have a message that informed, persuaded, or stated facts about substance abuse. Messages could be about nicotine/tobacco/vaping, alcohol, and/or prescription drug abuse or illegal drug use and how it is harmful to youth. Students were encouraged to look up facts and statistics and gain knowledge of why these substances are harmful to youth.

Albertsman's billboard’s message -- Staying Drug and Alcohol Free is Key to Success -- "is the exact message that SCCUDD wants shared with young people in Schuyler County," SCCUDD said in a statement. "After graduating with honors in a few weeks, Haley will be attending Corning Community College, where she will be studying Early Childhood Development, with an eye toward becoming a teacher."

“In my spare time I love creating many kinds of art," Haley said, "including graphic design, chalk paintings, acrylic paintings, and rock art. I would like to thank SCCUDD for the opportunity to share this message.”

“Haley is the kind of student that every school district cherishes and is a valuable contributor to the culture that we strive to achieve," said Odessa-Montour High School Principal Almon “Skip” McCarty, who described her as "dependable, hard-working, pleasant, mild mannered, and engaging,”

“Haley," McCarty added, "is the kind of student who has made Odessa-Montour better while she's gone to school here, and will be tough to replace once she graduates.”

Photo in text: Billboard contest winner Haley Albertsman, left, with SCCUDD President Karen Thurston. (Photo provided)

Historic Lee School open house is May 14

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 5, 2022 -- Experience the days of learning in a one-room schoolhouse at the annual spring open house at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Lee School in Montour Falls.

Retired teachers Marty Evans and Judy VanSkiver will play the role of schoolmarms, welcoming visitors of all ages to the Lee School on Saturday, May 14, from 1-3 p.m.

The Lee School is located on Route 14, on the southern edge of Montour Falls. It was built in 1884 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The red, barn-style, painted clapboard building was typical to the mid-to-late 19th century farming communities of the area. It has a large wood-burning stove, school desks, books, blackboards and an antique world globe, all exhibited as they would have been used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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

Photo in text: Marty Evans, left, and Judy VanSkiver, both retired Watkins Glen school district teachers, will host the annual spring open house at the Historical Society’s Lee School in Montour Falls on Saturday, May 14, from 1-3 p.m. The one-room schoolhouse was built in 1884. (Photo provided)

Lawrence Chapel open house, talk April 30

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, April 9, 2022 -- The historic Lawrence Chapel, owned and managed by the Schuyler County Historical Society, will be open to visitors on Saturday, April 30.

The open house, from 10 a.m. to noon, will be followed by a barbecue lunch and talk about the Lawrence Chapel at the Bucket Bar and Grill in Odessa. The gathering also will serve as the Historical Society’s annual membership meeting. Reservations were required by April 23 for the lunch and talk.

Gary Emerson, Schuyler County Historian and Historical Society Board of Trustees member, will tell the story of the Lawrence Family, among the earliest settlers in the region. The Chapel was built in 1880 as a memorial to the family, several of whom are buried in the adjacent cemetery.

The Chapel is located on Route 228, about 3.5 miles northeast of Odessa. It has been used for weddings, church services, concerts and other community events almost continuously since it was built. The Historical Society will continue to offer the Chapel for public use between May 1 and Oct. 15.

Parking for the open house will be along Route 228. Accessibility to the Chapel is limited for persons with mobility challenges.

Photo in text: Interior of the Lawrence Chapel. (Photo provided)

Firefighters from four districts pose with Kookalaroc's owner Lorraine Menio (third from right) in the State Park parking lot across the street from the bar and grill (in background).

Fund drive seeks support for fire districts

WATKINS GLEN, April 16, 2022 -- A movement has begun to financially help the nine fire districts in Schuyler County -- courtesy of Kookalaroc's Bar & Grill on 11th Street in the village.

The fund-raiser -- through a raffle featuring a 20-gun safe provided by Kookalaroc's and Watkins Glen Supply, a kayak from Kookalaroc's, and a Whiskey Gift Basket from Finger Lakes Distilling -- kicked off Saturday with a breakfast gathering of representatives from four of the districts at the bar-and-grill.

The drive continues until June 11, and is being joined by a Go Fund Me page urging contributions to the fire districts. When all is done, the funds will be distributed evenly among the various fire departments at a meeting of their chiefs. The goal to reach: $5,000.

The gun safe has a value of $2,000, the kayak a value of $500, and the gift basket a value of $100.

The fund drive's origin comes primarily from Kookalaroc's owner S. Lorraine Menio, who says she has relatives in both the military and in emergency services, and sees Schuyler firefighters as military -- who through voluntary service provide protection of the area's communities.

"And each time they respond to a fire," she said, "they are risking their lives."

It is her position, and Kookalaroc's, she said, that the firefighters be paid back through a show of support for what they do and for the recruitment they need to continue functioning over the years. The drive will include a cornhole tournament at the bar and grill, and fund-raising at various department functions, culminating in the Montour Falls Fire Department carnival in June.

The nine districts in the county are Watkins Glen, Odessa, Montour Falls, Burdett, Valois-Logan-Hector, Tyrone, Monterey, Mecklenburg and Bradford.

In a letter to firefighters announcing the drive, Menio wrote in part: "Kookalaroc's is proud of your dedication and the loyalty it takes to commit yourselves and your families" to "the service you give to our communities."

To keep up with Kookalaroc's business and activities, you can visit its website here.

Photos in text: Kookalaroc's fund-drive flyer; and the 20-gun safe being raffled.

Opening weekend kicks off 2022 season

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 9, 2022 -- As the winter chill thaws to make way for spring flowers, Watkins Glen International welcomed fans back for Opening Weekend at The Glen Saturday -- the first of two celebratory days.

On Saturday, and again on Sunday, fans -- for a donation ($25 in advance, $30 at the track beginning Saturday) to the Racing and Community Enrichment (R.A.C.E.) Foundation -- are driving their personal vehicles around the iconic Watkins Glen road course. Individuals and car clubs interested in taking their turn around the track can get more information at https://www.theglen.com/events/opening-weekend-2022/.

All proceeds raised during Opening Weekend will benefit the R.A.C.E. Foundation, which distributed $84,450 in 2021 to a total of 32 organizations in Schuyler, Steuben, Chemung, Tioga, Yates and Tompkins counties of New York.

“It’s important to everyone at Watkins Glen and NASCAR that we give back to the communities where we race,” said Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup. “We really aim to help our neighbors in their times of need, so Opening Weekend is a great way to do that and also welcome the fans back to the track for the start of the racing season.”

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce joined in the Opening Weekend celebrations by co-hosting the second annual Pep Rally to kick off the 2022 event season at The Glen.

“We are thrilled to partner with WGI to ‘green-flag’ the 2022 season,” said Nigar Hale, Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. “Auto racing is part of this community’s DNA, and WGI is an internationally renowned treasure. We are excited to be a part of and support the energy that WGI brings to our community.”

With Opening Weekend marking the official beginning of the season for Watkins Glen, the track has a jam-packed lineup of racing and entertainment throughout the year. Below are the key weekends for fans to come check out the action at The Glen:

2022 Watkins Glen International Schedule

April 9-10 -- Opening Weekend
May 20-22 -- Ferrari Challenge North America
June 3-5 -- SCCA Majors Super Tour
June 23-26 -- IMSA Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen
July 7-10 -- Finger Lakes Wine Festival; Masters Historic Racing Weekend
July 21-24 -- GT World Challenge America
August 17-21 -- NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen
September 8-11 -- Hilliard U.S. Vintage Grand Prix
October 28-29 -- Finger Lakes Beer Festival Presented by Chemung Canal Trust Co.

Health chiefs: Vaccines are still important

SCHUYLER COUNTY, March 24, 2022 -- Public Health directors from around the region, quoting New York Yankees Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, have urged in a joint statement that the public not ignore the continuing availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

"New York Yankees Hall of Famer Yogi Berra’s famous quote 'It ain’t over till it's over' sums up perfectly where we are with the COVID-19 pandemic," the directors wrote.

The group included:

-- Paul A. Pettit, MSL, CPH, Public Health Director, Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments
-- Jennifer Rodriguez, DCS, MS, MSW, Livingston County Public Health Director
-- Mary L. Beer, RN, MPH, Ontario County Public Health Director
-- Nancy King, MD, Schuyler County Interim Public Health Director
-- Scott King, Seneca County Public Health Director
-- Darlene Smith, MS, CPH, Steuben County Public Health Director
-- Diane Devlin RN, MS, BSN, Wayne County Public Health Director
-- Sara Christensen, RN, BSN, Yates County Director of Public Health

"Case numbers among adults are decreasing," their statement said. "Mask mandates have been lifted. As much as it may seem like the pandemic is over, we aren’t quite there yet. Our work isn’t done. We still do not have enough people vaccinated, which is the best protection against serious illness and potential future variants."

In Schuyler County, they added, the vaccination rate among those eligible to be fully vaccinated "is just 56.2% (as of March 3, 2022). Fully vaccinated means having at least two Pfizer or Moderna shots, or one J&J shot, plus the booster for adults -- or two Pfizer shots for children and youth ages 5 to 17."

Those vaccines, they argued, "continue to be our best defense against passing along the virus to loved ones, becoming seriously ill or being hospitalized with COVID. Getting more people vaccinated, while using other tools like testing and isolation after potential exposure, will get us back to normal. But we are not there yet, and we need to keep Yogi Berra’s quote in mind."

They said that more information along those lines is available at www.GetYourAnswers.org

The mattresses upon which Princess Winnifred was supposed to sleep -- as a test of her sensitivity. The scene is from the final O-M performance.

'Once Upon a Mattress' ends its O-M run

ODESSA, March 13, 2022 -- The third and final presentation of the Odessa-Montour High School student production of the musical play "Once Upon a Mattress" drew an appreciative audience Sunday to the school auditorium

The production, forced by inclement weather to postpone a planned Saturday matinee to Sunday, drew about twice as many spectators as the Saturday night performance. Attendance at that second show had been limited by recurring snow squalls.

The cast list was as follows (presented alphabetically by student):

Cassie Allen: the Minstrel
Sarah Barr: Queen Aggravain
Kat Benway: Princess #12
Tori Brewster: Lady Merrill
Alex Campbell: Knight #1
Ben Campbell: Prince Dauntless
Abrianna Carrigan: Sir Studley
Dominick Elliott: Sir Harry
Lillian Halpin: Lady Rowena
Molly Heichel: Princess Winnifred
Casey Hines: Sir Luce
Ella Kramer: Knight #2
Delaney Paulisczak: the Jester
Eliza Starkweather: King Sextimus
Madison Stone: Lady Lucille/ Lady Mabelle
Sarah Strobel: Lady Larken
Aidan Thurston: the Wizard
Haylee Young: Lady H

The play is a musical version of the classic tale "The Princess and the Pea," whereby the mother of Prince Dauntless, Queen Aggravain, rules that nobody else can marry until her son does. She manages through impossible tests to sabotage every princess with an eye on Dauntless who comes along, until the arrival of a shy swamp princess, Winnifred -- who proves not so easy to undercut.

Photos in text:

Top: Molly Heichel, as Princess Winnifred, sings a a second-act song.

Middle: Tori Brewster as Lady Merrill leads the Nightingale of Samarkand on-stage for a "Nightingale Lullaby" to soothe Princess Winnifred as she tries to sleep. The Nightingale actor was not identified in the program, but was reportedly an O-M teacher and coach related to Miss Brewster.

Bottom: Delaney Paulisczak as the Jester performs a musical number in Act Two.

From left: Molly Heichel as Princess Winnifred, Lillian Halpin as Lady Rowena and Sarah Barr as Queen Aggravain in a scene from "Once Upon a Mattress."

Left: Eliza Starkweather as King Sextimus. Right: Aidan Thurston as the Wizard.

From left: Sarah Strobel as Lady Larken, Molly Heichel as Princess Winnifred and Ben Campbell as Prince Dauntless in a scene Sunday from "Once Upon a Mattress."

And on opening night:

From left: Delaney Paulisczak as the Jester, Eliza Starkweather as King Sextimus and Cassie Allen as the Minstrel in a scene from opening night of "Once Upon a Mattress."

A princess (right) is questioned early in the play to determine whether she is worthy to marry Prince Dauntless. She failed what amounted to an impossible quiz.

Ben Campbell as Prince Dauntless and Molly Heichel as
Princess Winnifred in an opening-night scene.

Sir Harry (Dominick Elliott) and Lady Larken (Sarah Strobel) wish to marry, but can't until Prince Dauntless finds a princess who can pass the Queen's impossible tests.

And earlier in the week, at dress rehearsal:

Cast members take part in a dance number in "Once Upon a Mattress."

Ben Campbell as Prince Dauntless and Molly Heichel as Princess Winnifred at the center of a dance sequence in "Once Upon a Mattress."

Exhibit to feature Lawrence Chapel events

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Feb. 20, 2022 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society is celebrating its acquisition of the historic Lawrence Chapel with a special exhibit at the Brick Tavern Museum.

The exhibit will open April 1 and will spotlight past events at the Chapel, including weddings. Families are invited to submit photographs of their loved ones’ events for the exhibit.

For information on submitting photos, email director@schuylerhistory.org or call (607) 535-9741. The deadline to submit is March 1.

The Chapel was built in 1880 as a memorial for the Lawrence family, among the earliest settlers in the region. It is located on Route 228, about 3.5 miles northeast of Odessa in the Town of Catharine. The Chapel has been used for weddings, church services, concerts and other community events almost continuously since it was built. The Chapel will be available for use between May 1 and Oct. 15.

For more information about the Lawrence Chapel, visit the Historical Society’s website at www.schuylerhistory.org

Photo in text: Lawrence Chapel

Rotary honors students, hears Rev. Kelly

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 17, 2022 -- The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club held an eventful meeting Thursday -- honoring two Odessa-Montour High School students after an almost two-year hiatus from the club's Student of the Month program due to the pandemic.

Honoree Camille Sgrecci was nominated by science teacher Doug Chapman, who said that Camille is "a stellar student, and a role model for her fellow students." Track coach Skip Strobel added that "I want my two daughters to grow up to be just like Camille ... she is a quality person in school and in life, and holds other students up above her own needs."

Camille is currently No. 1 in her class academically and plans to attend Lycoming College.

Strobel then introduced Aidan Thurston, describing Aidan as a "thoughtful young man" he has been proud to "watch grow and prosper." Aidan recently attended an event in Washington, D.C. as a longtime youth member of the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs , and was honored at the Capitol building for his accomplishments as an Eagle Scout. Aidan, who plans to pursue a degree in archeology, is undecided about what college he will attend, but has been accepted to Glascow University, Scotland.

Reverend Mike Kelly spoke to the group about his role as Chaplain for the Schuyler County Sherriff's Office, serving not just law enforcement officers and their families in Schuyler County, but also in Steuben, Tompkins and beyond.

Rev. Kelly currently serves the Montour Falls, Odessa-Catharine, and Beaver Dams United Methodist Churches, and holds numerous roles within the Mountain View District of New York.

The Club also welcomed two new members, Fonda Chronis and David Kimble. Chronis is the recently-appointed Schuyler County Administrator, and Kimble is a Registered Nurse and Infectious Disease specialist.

Photo in text: Reverend Mike Kelly (Photo provided)

Scene during the Cardboard Boat Regatta at the 2019 festival, the last time it was held.

After a 2-year absence, Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival is on again this June

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 10, 2022 -- The Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival will be back -- ON and IN the water -- this June!

Members of the Waterfront Festival Committee of Watkins Glen Promotions announced Thursday that after a two-year absence, the Cardboard Boat Regatta and other Festival fun will fill Seneca Harbor Park on Saturday, June 18.

The Festival will open to the public at 11:00 a.m. with a midway of food, beverage, and merchandise vendors and the nearly-famous Concourse De Cardboard -- the public display of the boats ready to compete for mildly valuable prizes and the all-important bragging rights! The boats and their crews will begin the racing heats at 2:00 p.m. and will continue until as many as possible cross the finish line and get soaking wet!

Laurie DeNardo, Chair of the Waterfront Festival Committee, urged cardboard crafters to “get to work” to build their sloops and barges for the Regatta. “While the covid pandemic put us on ‘pause’ for the last two years, we know that lots of mail-order cardboard has been piling up in basements and garages. Now is the time to use that material to build the ship to zip through our waterfront course,” she said.

DeNardo reminded boat builders that their entries must be constructed using ONLY recycled cardboard, duct tape, glue, and paint. Up to 50 boats will participate in the Regatta, competing for prizes in eight categories including “Fastest Time,” “Best Construction,” “Best Theme,” and the all-important “Best Sinking.”

Stacy Husted, President of Watkins Glen Promotions, noted that the Waterfront Festival will provide a full day of fun for everyone who attends. “We are thrilled to be back in action to kick off Father’s Day weekend with this wonderful event,” she said. “The Committee has arranged for the popular band ‘Rust’ to play at the Festival from 5 p.m.-8 p.m., so everyone can celebrate the results of the Regatta!”

Applicants for the Regatta can sign up now by calling Watkins Glen Promotions at 607-535-3003, or emailing Michaela Christensen, events@watkinsglen.com. Deadline for entries: Monday, June 13.

Here’s a brief schedule of the June 18 events at Seneca Harbor Park:

9 am-11 am: Boats arrive and are arranged for display by volunteers on site
11 am: Festival opens; Concours de Cardboard open to the public
1:30 pm: Captains’ Meeting
2 pm: Cardboard Boat Regatta begins
5 pm: Pop band “Rust” entertains
8 pm: Festival concludes

Watkins Glen Promotions is a non-profit organization producing four Schuyler County events each year. They include the Waterfront Festival in June, the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival in September, the Falls Harvest Festival in Montour Falls in October, and Watkins Glen Village Christmas in December. Visit www.watkinsglen.com for more information.

Photos in text: Scenes from the 2019 Waterfront Festival.

2 join Watkins-Montour Falls Zonta Club

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 30, 2022 -- The Zonta Club of Watkins Glen-Montour Falls recently inducted two new members, Karey Solomon of Hector and Sue Braunstein of Elmira.

The club has been meeting periodically since 1925 and is a member of Zonta International. A recent club project is work on the house and gardens at the Habitat for Humanity House in Logan.

If interested in joining, call 607-425-2835. Zonta helps women and girls around the world and locally.

Historical Society acquires Lawrence Chapel

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 22, 2022 -- The historic Lawrence Chapel in the Town of Catharine is now owned and managed by the Schuyler County Historical Society.

The Chapel was built in 1880 as a memorial for the Lawrence family, among the earliest settlers in the region. It is located on Route 228, about 3.5 miles northeast of Odessa. Lawrence descendants deeded ownership to the Chemung County Historical Society in 1972. The Schuyler Historical Society assumed ownership in November.

The Chapel has been used for weddings, church services, concerts and other community events almost continuously since it was built. The Historical Society will continue to offer the Chapel for use between May 1 and Oct. 15.

“The Society is thrilled to have the ownership returned to Schuyler County after the diligent safekeeping by the Chemung County Historical Society. Welcome home, Lawrence Chapel!” said Board of Trustees President Jean Hubsch.

“The Chemung County Historical Society is pleased that we were able to transfer ownership of the Lawrence Chapel to SCHS,” Bruce Whitmarsh, Chemung County Historical Society director, said. “We look forward to seeing the Chapel thrive under their stewardship and become an even greater asset for Schuyler County.”

A special exhibit about the Lawrence Chapel and the Lawrence family will open in the Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum on April 1. The public is invited to participate in the exhibit by submitting wedding and other event photos for display. For information on submitting photos, email director@schuylerhistory.org or call (607) 535-9741.

Built of local stone and slate, with suggestions of Gothic architecture, the Chapel and the surrounding trees are hemmed in by a low wall. The Lawrence family cemetery, much older than the Chapel, is part of the property. Wooden pews line the Chapel interior, and leaded glass windows with small flowerette designs adorn the walls. A marble plaque, consisting of three tablets, hangs at the front of the space, telling some of the Chapel's history.

For more information about the Lawrence Chapel visit the Historical Society’s website at www.schuylerhistory.org.

Photo in text: Lawrence Chapel

Firefighters hose down the charred remains of the house along County Road 14.

Photos from the fire scene ...

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Dec. 31, 2021 -- The photo above and those at right and below were snapped at the scene of a farmhouse fire on County Road 14 east of Catharine Corners Friday morning. The call to 911 came in at 8:03 a.m.

A press release from Odessa Fire Chief John Jelliff said: "Upon arrival of the fire department, we found a two-story wood frame residence with fire throughout the building. A second, and later, a third alarm were requested for additional tankers and additional firefighting personnel. The departments requested under mutual aid to the scene were Montour Falls, Watkins Glen, Mecklenburg, Burdett, Newfield, Millport, and Town & Country. The Valois-Logan-Hector Fire Company stood by in Odessa to cover calls.

"The house had been undergoing renovations, so many of the walls had been removed -- contributing to the quick spread of the fire throughout the house. All firefighting operations were defensive. One minor firefighter injury occurred during firefighting operations, but the firefighter did not require further medical treatment ....

"The cause of the fire has been determined to be a malfunction of an electrical panel box in the basement. The house was a total loss and was vacant at the time of the fire."

Holiday Lights-Schuyler Style votes invited

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Dec. 15, 2021 -- Community members and visitors are invited to vote in the second annual Holiday Lights - Schuyler Style competition presented by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Warren Homes, WENY, and Seven Mountains Media. It's a month-long contest, so make your plans now to visit Watkins Glen and Schuyler County sometime between now and January 10, 2022.

From silos and barns to grape arbors and house rooftops, locations in Schuyler County have decorated their houses, lawns, fields, and buildings in the quest for top prizes and bragging rights. View the locations and vote for your favorite light and holiday displays as a drive-by in vehicles or a stroll-by on foot. The locations and paper ballot can be downloaded (https://tinyurl.com/WGC-HLSS-ballot) or voters may use the online ballot (https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/sv/cmUZcwR/HLSS).

“This family-friendly activity is a fun way to enjoy the holiday spirit without the need to engage with large crowds,” said Nigar Hale, executive director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. “We’re delighted to present the contest, working with area partners, and look forward to some fabulous displays.”

More than $2,000 in cash prizes plus trophies and ribbons will be awarded to the winners, at the levels of first, second, and third place and honorable mention. Winners will be determined by the public and a panel of judges in the categories of Best Holiday Lights Residential Display (sponsored by Warren Real Estate), Business Display, Organization Display (non-profit or for-profit), and Farm/Barn Display. Additional public-vote awards will be granted in the categories of Best Holiday Lights Local Vote and Best Holiday Lights Visitor Vote (determined by zip codes). Winners will be announced at the Chamber's February monthly mixer on Feb. 2, 2022.

The Holiday Lights - Schuyler Style event is part of the Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions master calendar compiled by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. The symbols depicted in the Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions logo may serve as inspiration as it encompasses symbols of the many cultures of our region. Participants may feature their own holiday celebrations of this time of year, such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Chinese New Year, Los Ponchos, and Winter Solstice.

The Chamber and Watkins Glen Promotions also encourage the incorporation of natural items in displays when possible, such as trees and grapevines, and Watkins Glen Promotions' theme of Visions of Candy Land. Please note, simple and elegant displays are as welcome as grand electric-light displays.

During the 32 days of display, the lights will remain on between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. through Jan. 10, 2022.

"The Wedding Singer" band of (from left) Gavin Lewis (Sammy), Alex Gill (Robbie Hart, the title character) and Christopher Yerkes (George) perform in the opening scene.

LCP's 'Wedding Singer' ends 3-day run

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Nov. 14, 2021 -- What do dumpsters, Miatas and Flashdancing have in common?

All were part of The Lake Country Players’ production of “The Wedding Singer,” which opened in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium Friday night, Nov. 12, was presented again Saturday night, Nov. 13, and concluded its run with a Sunday matinee on Nov. 14.

The cast of about two dozen included people from ages 17-67 from many surrounding communities and a wide array of careers.

The show is based loosely on the Adam Sandler movie, with a lot more music (directed by Kim Laursen) and choreography (directed by Kelsey Johnson). It takes place in the 1980’s in Ridgefield, NJ, and tells the story of Robbie Hart (Alex Gill) and his band of Sammy (Gavin Lewis) and George (Christopher Yerkes), who have made a name for themselves singing at wedding receptions. Love triangles evolve with two waitresses at the reception hall -- Julia (Kelsey Johnson) and Holly (AnnaBeth Wheaton). Julia becomes engaged to wealthy, slightly slimey executive Glen Guglia (Matt Kelly), and Robbie is jilted at the altar by his gold-digger fiancé Linda (Kristin Heichel). Robbie’s Gramma Rosie (Gail Lewis) tries to comfort him when Linda dumps him, but he falls in love with Julia while acting as her wedding advisor. Robbie thinks that he needs to make a lot of money to win Julia’s heart as expressed in the ensemble number “All About the Green.”

Does Robbie really win Julia’s heart, or does she marry Glen for money? Robbie needs some help along the way from the impersonators: Ronald Reagan (Anthony Curren), Billy Idol (Chad Maurice), Tina Turner (Melissa Norton), Cyndi Lauper (Melissa Neufer) and Imelda Marcos (Ann Roney).

All Covid protocols applied, and the audience had to be masked.

Photo in text: Kelsey Johnson as Julia Sullivan sings in the opening act.

Backed by Spirit of Schuyler board members, the four young fund-raisers hold the check they presented Saturday. From left, they are Norah Stegner, Lydia Schubmehl, Lucas Schubmehl and Rowen Stegner.

4 Watkins Glen kids raise $1,001 for SOS

Spirit of Schuyler -- and county residents in need -- benefit from the effort

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Oct. 9, 2021 -- Talk about your civic-minded younger generation.

Four young Watkins Glen citizens -- three of them 9 years old and one 13 -- presented the Spirit of Schuyler organization with a check Saturday morning for $1,001 in a ceremony at McGillicuddy's Bar & Grill in Montour Falls. Spirit of Schuyler is a non-profit that provides emergency funding for county residents in need.

The kids raised the money through selling cookies and lemonade at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival in downtown Watkins Glen on September 10, at the busy corner of Fourth and Franklin Streets in front of the Cabins to Castles Real Estate.

The fund-raisers are Norah Stegner, 13, and her sister Rowen, 9, along with twins Lucas and Lydia Schubmehl, both 9.

Norah says she likes to bake, and decided she could raise some funds to donate to a worthy cause by making and selling cookies. Her mom, Stacey Parrish -- who runs Cabins to Castles -- suggested Norah might raise the money for the Spirit of Schuyler.

Norah made chocolate chip, oatmeal and half-moon cookies, which she said sold out fairly quickly on the day of the Grand Prix Festival.

Joining her on the busy corner -- with lemonade to sell -- were Norah’s sister Rowen and the Schubmehl siblings.

While the idea to raise funds was Norah’s, “she was kind enough to allow the other kids to sell lemonade,” said the Schubmehls' father, Jesse, who explained that his family lives just a block from the Stegner kids, and that the nine-year-olds are classmates in the Watkins Glen school district and friends. Jesse operates McGillicuddy's, where the presentation took place.

It seems like $1,001 would require a lot of cookies and lemonade, but the parents of the children (Dennis Stegner was on hand at the check presentation with Stacey, and Keri Schubmehl was there with Jesse) said many people donated extra funds, often $20, in reaction to the good cause chosen by the children.

The kids also drummed up business by carrying signs along Franklin Street directing festival-goers to the lemonade and cookie stands.

Accepting the check Saturday were officers of the Spirit of Schuyler, led by its president, Tony Vickio, and his wife Harriett, along with their daughter Beth Howard and board members Renee Riley, Dena Carrigan, Gary Whyman, Chris Wickham and Bob Dill.

The Vickios were effusive in their praise for what the kids had done -- how their act of civic kindness will have far-reaching effects for those in need who the Spirit of Schuyler helps.

And the kids?

“They were pretty excited,” said Jesse. “They didn’t know” about the check presentation until “people from the Spirit of Schuyler started arriving for it.”

Other than being the center of attention, they were excited later, he said, by “seeing their picture on Facebook.”

Photos in text:

Top: Lydia Schubmehl signs the check for $1,001 signed by all the kids and presented to the Spirit of Schuyler.

Bottom: Holding the Certificates of Achievement they received from the Spirit of Schuyler are, from left, Norah Stegner, Lydia Schubmehl, Lucas Schubmehl and Rowen Stegner. Each certificate read: "Spirit of Schuyler recognizes (name) for embodying the spirit of giving, putting others first, and giving back to community neighbors in need. The world is a better place because of you."

SCOPE, Getman give out 100+ gun locks

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 3, 2021 -- The Schuyler County Chapter of the Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE), in conjunction with the Office of Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman, gave away more than 100 free cable-style gun locks to Schuyler County families at the Montour Falls Harvest Fest on Saturday, Oct. 2.

According to Getman, the giveaway helps ensure that gun owners are in compliance with New York's strict firearms storage laws, which require them to lock up their firearms while living in a home with someone under the age of 16.

The locks can also be obtained from the county attorney's office by calling 607-535-8121 during normal business hours and scheduling a pickup time. One lock will be available per household and will be provided on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Supplies are limited.

"We encourage county residents to pick up a free lock so that they can securely store their firearm," said Getman. "The locks fit on most types of handguns, rifles and shotguns. The cable is threaded through the weapon and blocks the barrel or the use of ammunition. It's secured by a padlock and key. The goal is to prevent a young child or another unauthorized person from accessing a firearm in the home."

SCOPE is a non-partisan statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to educating the public about firearm ownership, second amendment rights and legislation. The Schuyler County chapter's meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. in January, March, May and October at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge, 2096 St. Rt. 14.

The Schuyler County Attorney is the legal advisor to the county legislature, county administrator and other county officials. In addition, the county attorney prosecutes family court cases of child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency and other civil matters on behalf of county officials.

Photo in text: Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman (right) with SCOPE members Dan Phillips, Les Wilson and Bob Edwards) handing out free gun locks at Saturday's Falls Harvest Festival in Montour Falls. (Photo provided)

Hear Street Racing stories on History Walk

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 26, 2021 --  Racing historian Bill Green and Watkins Glen Village Historian Jim Scaptura will lead a walk through the village’s street racing history on Saturday, Oct. 2.

The first races on the streets of Watkins Glen and the roads of surrounding towns were on Oct. 2, 1948.

Walk participants are asked to meet at 10 a.m. at the original start-finish line in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen. The one-hour walk will happen rain or shine.

It is free and sponsored by the Schuyler County Historical Society.

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

Photo in text: Sports cars raced on Watkins Glen streets and town roads from 1948-1952. In this photograph, a large 1950 crowd enjoys the view looking east onto Fourth Street from today’s Gifford Park at Milliken’s Corner. They’re watching the rolling-start pace lap of the Seneca Cup. Racing history experts will share racing history stories on a guided walk on Saturday, Oct. 2, the anniversary of the first race. (Photo provided)

Historic Lee School open house set for Oct. 2

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 24, 2021 -- As part of the Montour Falls Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 2, the historic Lee School will be open to visitors from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hosts from the Schuyler County Historical Society will help visitors understand the experience of learning in a one-room schoolhouse.

The Lee School is located on Route 14, on the southern edge of Montour Falls. It was built in 1884 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The red, barn-style, painted clapboard building was typical to the mid-to-late 19th century farming communities of the area. It has a large wood-burning stove, school desks, books, blackboards and an antique world globe, all exhibited as they would have been used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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

Cotton & Hanlon delivery trucks and drivers fill the service area at the business’s Odessa retail yard in this 1931 photograph from “The Cotton Hanlon Story.” Cotton-Hanlon is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Cotton-Hanlon's 100-year history will be presented in discussion on September 26

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 18, 2021 -- In 1921, B.J. Cotton and H.A. Hanlon formed a partnership to operate sawmills in East Smithfield and Columbia Cross Roads in Pennsylvania and North Chemung in New York.

One hundred years later, the Schuyler County Historical Society is hosting Cotton-Hanlon President Michael Hanlon on Sunday, Sept. 26, to discuss the company’s history.

The talk will be at 2 p.m. at the Odessa Municipal Building Community Room. The talk is free. Due to continuing concerns about community health, masks will be required. Cotton-Hanlon artifacts and photographs will be displayed.

H.A. Hanlon was a lumberman in Chemung County, and B.J. Cotton was a merchant and lumberman in Tioga County, NY, when they began to work together. Over the decades, Cotton-Hanlon has been a forest manager, lumber manufacturer and renowned retailer. Generations of Schuyler residents worked for Cotton-Hanlon across the region or shopped at the store in Odessa.

For more information about the talk, call the Brick Tavern Museum at (607) 535-9741 or email director@schuylerhistory.org.

Webcam showing Seneca is now online

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 14, 2021 -- A new webcam is online thanks to a partnership between BOSS Security & Automation, Seneca Harbor Station, and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

View the live feed here: https://www.ipcamlive.com/613a21ff4cf8d

“The lake is one of our region’s most important treasures,” said Chamber Executive Director Michael Hardy. “Community members and visitors alike relax and renew with activities on Seneca Lake. Boating, kayaking, tubing, fishing, sailing, swimming, sightseeing ... Seneca Lake offers something for everyone, even pets. We are excited to share Seneca Lake’s beauty with the world via this webcam.”

BOSS Security & Automation installed the system in a secure location on Seneca Harbor Station’s property. The webcam will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Seneca Lake has been a part of my life forever,” said Mark Simiele, owner of Seneca Harbor Station. “We enjoy the opportunity to share it with as many people as possible at our waterfront restaurant and aboard our cruises. Other than being a centerpiece for Schuyler County’s tourism industry, Seneca Lake serves many diverse and important purposes. It’s a haven for those looking to recreate. It’s crucial to our eco-system, supporting hundreds of species. It moderates the temperature, making our region ideal for viticulture.”

"This project was a great collaboration between the Chamber, Seneca Harbor Station, and us at BOSS Security and Automation,” said Matthew Putt, Director of Technology, BOSS Security and Automation. “For myself, this particular view of Seneca Lake has always been the first to come to mind during my travels when explaining to others the grandeur and beauty of Upstate New York and the Finger Lakes region.

"So many memories have been made in this very spot by so many, and now they have the opportunity to visit this view again no matter where they are in the world. I hope the memories put smiles on their faces, they are reminded of all our region has to offer, and are encouraged to visit us again."

Schuyler County Farm Trail Weekend:
10 of the area's farms will open for tours

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Aug. 31, 2021 -- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County will host the second annual Schuyler County Farm Trail Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25 and 26.

Ten of the finest farms throughout Schuyler County will open to the public, offering tours, tastings, hayrides, demonstrations, apple picking, shopping, and opportunities to meet the farm animals.

Admission to the farms is complimentary. Guests can purchase produce and goodies from the farms, including hand-crafted cheeses, apples, veggies, jams, cider, donuts, pies, and alpaca products. The event is supported with an award from the Tourism Assistance Program (TAP).

Participating farms are listed below.

Additional details are available online: http://cceschuyler.org/agriculture/schuyler-county-farm-trail-weekend-2021.

Participating farms:

Saturday, Sept. 25:

Cheerful Cherry Farm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
3723 County Road 2, Hector.
Highlights: This is a u-pick produce farm (as available), featuring tomatoes, cherries, apples, jalapenos, sweet peppers, cucumbers, and Italian stringless green beans.

Four Seasons Alpacas -- Celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4418 Six Corners Road, Dundee.
Highlights: Farm tours and an array of products for purchase including alpaca rugs, throws, wall hanging, hats, gloves, scarves, and pillows.

Hawk Meadow Farm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
5066 Mott Evans Road, Trumansburg.
Highlights: Farm tours, log-grown mushrooms, and mushroom products for sale; maple syrup and herbal skincare products also available for sale.

Muddy Fingers Farm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
3859 Dugue Road, Hector.
Highlights: Diverse vegetable production and produce for sale.

Ort Family Farm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2761 Yorski Road, Bradford.
Highlights: More than 100 flavors of fruit jams and jellies, herbal tea blends made from farm grown fruit and herbs, and potted fruiting plants. Bartlett Family Farm will also be on site with an assortment of maple products. Ford Farm will attend with a selection of fall vegetables and more.

Reisinger's Apple Country/Apples and Moore LLC: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
2750 Apple Lane, Watkins Glen.
Highlights: U-pick apples, pears, zinnia flowers, and pumpkins available. In the farm store: donuts, cider, maple syrup, honey, jams, and jellies.

Russell's Alpaca Acres -- Celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4047 Newtown  Road, Burdett.
Highlights: Take a tour, visit the newborn baby alpaca, and learn about raising alpacas. Alpaca products, yarn, and raw fleece will be available to purchase.

Seneca Valley Dairy Farm: Tours at 10 a.m., 12 noon and 2 p.m. only.
3758 County Route 8, Burdett.
Highlights: Visit a working dairy farm. See cows, milking parlor, and other farm experiences.

Shtayburne Farm Creamery: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2909 Chase Road, Rock Stream.
Highlights: An old-fashioned working dairy farm with cows and hand-crafted artisan cheeses, featuring cheese-making demos.

Sunset View Creamery: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4970 County Route 14, Odessa.
Highlights: A dairy farm nestled in the rolling hills of Schuyler County, offering tours, hayrides, activities for kids, and shopping. Hand-crafted cheese, locally sourced beef, free-range eggs, fudge, maple syrup, honey, jams, and jellies are available.

Sunday, Sept. 26:

Cheerful Cherry Farm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
3723 County Road 2, Hector.
Highlights: This is a u-pick produce farm (as available), featuring tomatoes, cherries, apples, jalapenos, sweet peppers, cucumbers, and Italian stringless green beans.

Four Seasons Alpacas -- Celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days: Noon to 4 p.m.
4418 Six Corners Road, Dundee.
Highlights: Farm tours and an array of products for purchase including, alpaca rugs, throws, wall hanging, hats, gloves, scarves ,and pillows.

Russell's Alpaca Acres -- Celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4047 Newtown Road, Burdett.
Highlights: Take a tour, visit the newborn baby alpaca, and learn about raising alpacas. Alpaca products, yarn, and raw fleece will be available to purchase.

Ort Family Farm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2761 Yorski Road, Bradford.
Highlights: More than 100 flavors of fruit jams and jellies, herbal tea blends made from farm grown fruit and herbs, and potted fruiting plants. Bartlett Family Farm will also be on site with an assortment of maple products.

Reisinger's Apple Country/Apples and Moore LLC: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2750 Apple Lane, Watkins Glen.
Highlights: U-pick apples, pears, zinnia flowers, and pumpkins available. In the farm store: donuts, cider, maple syrup, honey, jams, and jellies.

Seneca Valley Dairy Farm: Tours at 10 a.m., 12 noon and 2 p.m. only.
3758 County Route 8, Burdett.
Highlights: Visit a working dairy farm. See cows, milking parlor, and other farm experiences.

Sunset View Creamery: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4970 County Route 14, Odessa.
Highlights: A dairy farm nestled in the rolling hills of Schuyler County, offering tours, hayrides, activities for kids, and shopping. Hand-crafted cheese, locally sourced beef, free-range eggs, fudge, maple syrup, honey, jams and jellies are available.

New sponsorship marks GP Festival return

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Aug. 19, 2021 -- Drivers in one of the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival’s most popular events will have a new “starting line” this year as they gather at The Tasting Barn for the Ryan William Vineyard Founders Tour, one of the Festival’s Stone Bridge Driver events.

The Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival celebrates the history of U.S. road racing after World War II, which began in Watkins Glen with street racing from 1948-1952. This year’s festival will be held on Friday, September 10, and will bring back the crowds, the cars, and the excitement that fans missed with the absence of the event in 2020. Once again, Franklin Street in the village will be closed from 12:30 p.m to 8:00 p.m. as Stone Bridge Drivers and Sportscar Vintage Racing Association race cars take laps of the original road course through and outside the village.

One of those events, the Ryan William Vineyard Founders Tour, has a new look this year. The nearly 100 participants will start their day at the Ryan William Vineyard Tasting Barn on Rt. 414, overlooking Seneca Lake. There, they will enjoy meeting and greeting the Ryan William Vineyard staff, who will provide box lunches and complimentary wine before the drivers set off on cross-country rallye routes throughout the Finger Lakes area. They will re-convene in Watkins Glen later in the day for their scheduled two Cayuga Health System Laps of the Old Course.

Marianne Marts, Chair of the Grand Prix Festival, thanked Ryan William Vineyard for the new sponsorship. “For recent festivals, the Founders Tour has shared starting space with Chateau LaFayette Reneau winery, which also hosts our very popular Tour de Marque Road Rallye, featuring Alfa Romeo this year. We are thrilled that Ryan William Vineyard has become the sponsor of the Founders Tour, giving our drivers and participants a new rallye experience!”

The Ryan William Vineyard Founders Tour is one of the festival’s 13 Stone Bridge Driver events; owners of classic, vintage, and specialty cars participate in this event each year. Ryan William Vineyard is located just a short drive from Watkins Glen, on State Route 414, just past Tug Hollow Road.

The Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival, Presented by Chemung Canal Trust Company, is produced by Watkins Glen Promotions, a non-profit organization dedicated to producing special events in Schuyler County, N.Y.

A member of the Williamson High School Warriors band, which marched in the parade.

Italian American Festival highlighted on final day by parade, rides and fireworks

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 14, 2021 -- After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Watkins Glen Italian American Festival opened its two-day run Friday at Clute Park in Watkins Glen, and concluded with fireworks Saturday night. The rain or shine festival featured food, family fun, vendors, music, carnival rides, and a parade.

The parade, on Saturday at noon, celebrated our essential workers. It took place down Decatur Street in Watkins Glen, starting at 15th Street and ending on 5th Street. Grand Marshals were Junior Specchio and Vera Franzese, while Olympic women's eight rower and Watkins Glen native Olivia Coffey marched near the end of the parade, waving to and greeting cheering fans.

The emcee for the parade was Jim Howell, a fixture at such events. The parade of march included fire trucks from various area departments, the Williamson High School marching band, the two candidates running for Schuyler County Sheriff (Kevin Rumsey and Breck Spaulding), and other politicians, along with vehicles representing businesses in the region. Also on hand were employees from Schuyler County Public Health and Cayuga Health, among the essential workers being celebrated.

The Saturday fireworks show occurred over the south end of Seneca Lake starting at 9:30 p.m.

The festival was designed for all ages and featured carnival rides, a festival food row, a vendor marketplace, a beer garden, two performances from local bands -- The Ampersand Project on Friday night and The Variables on Saturday night -- and the fireworks show. The festival also partnered with Schuyler County Health and Arnot Health to host two walk-in vaccine clinics at the Clute Park Pavilion.

Highlights Saturday beyond the parade and fireworks included a cornhole tournament in the morning and Italian music in the park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Parking for the event was $5.00 per vehicle when parking at Clute Park, proceeds going to the Watkins Glen Italian American Festival’s community involvement and fundraising. Carnival ride bands and tickets were sold at the event. There was no cover charge for the bands. Beer tickets were sold within the beer garden tent to those over 21 years of age. All other events within the festival were free and open to the public.

The Watkins Glen Italian American Festival, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit corporation operated by a volunteer staff of committee members who donate their time, energy, and labor 12 months of the year to prepare for the annual event. Proceeds from the festival are provided to local charities and for scholarships for graduating seniors in Schuyler County School Districts (Watkins Glen Central and Odessa-Montour Central).

For more information, visit Watkinsglenitalianfest.com or follow the festival on Facebook.

Photos in text: Olympian rower Olivia Coffey, a native of Watkins Glen, was a featured highlight of the parade; food vendors populated the Italian American Festival walkways.

Parade Grand Marshals were Junior Specchio, left, and Vera Franzese, right. A blessing for the parade was bestowed by Father Jeff Tunnicliff across the street from St. Mary's of the Lake Church on Decatur Street.

This sign was carried near the front of the line of march along Decatur Street.

Among the fire trucks in the parade: this 1951 American LaFrance show vehicle owned by the Watkins Glen Fire Department.

Kids aboard the Zero Gravity ride at the Watkins Glen Italian American Festival.

Italian American Festival will partner with Public Health for COVID-19 vaccine clinic

Special to the Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Aug. 3, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Italian American Festival is partnering with Schuyler County Public Health to offer COVID-19 vaccinations during the event. The vaccine clinic will occur during the festivities on Saturday, August 14th, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Clute Park Pavilion.

“The Watkins Glen Italian American Festival Committee is pleased to be partnering with Schuyler County Public Health to offer COVID-19 vaccinations during this year’s festival,” said Louie Perazinni, IAF President. “The Schuyler County Public Health Department has played a key role in helping our organization determine whether we could put on this year’s event, and their support has been greatly appreciated. Our goal is to bring back family friendly fun to Schuyler County, but to do so in a safe way. Partnering with Public Health to provide this clinic just makes sense!”

“As we continue to seek additional venues to provide this lifesaving vaccine, I cannot think of a better opportunity than that presented by the Italian Festival,” said Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn. “Given the large crowds that enjoy this event, it is my hope that we will significantly increase the number of vaccinated, and thereby protected, individuals in our community. This is yet another example of the power of partnership and we offer sincere thanks to the festival organizers for their collaborative spirit!”

“I am thrilled the event is able to happen again this year!” said Schuyler County Public Health Director Annmarie Flanagan DNP, FNP-C. “The dedication of all the members of the Italian American Festival planning committee who worked so hard to make this event possible is truly appreciated.”

The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be provided at this clinic and walk-in appointments will be provided. Individuals must be 18 or older to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Department requests that individuals please bring their ID and should expect to wait about 15 to 30 minutes after getting their vaccine.

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

For more information, visit Public Health online at www.schuylercounty.us/publichealth or follow Schuyler County Public Health on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Alfa Romeo cars, drivers sought for festival

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 23, 2021 -- Alfa Romeo cars and their drivers will be the featured guests this September as the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival returns to the streets.

Marianne Marts, Chair of the Grand Prix Festival, is urging Alfa owners who were unable to participate in the cancelled 2020 events to “Fill The Festival” with Alfa Romeo vehicles on September 9 and 10, 2021.

Marts said, “While we and our participants were seriously disappointed by the Coronavirus cancellations last year, we plan to roar back this year with our full slate of road rallies and events, with Alfa Romeo leading the pack!”

The Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival, sponsored by the Chemung Canal Trust Company, celebrates the history of post-World War Two road racing in the United States, in the village where it all began. Alfa Romeo racers were part of the action during the “street years” of 1948-1952. The racing events on the original 6.6-mile course through the village and on nearby roads led to Watkins Glen’s prominence in auto racing.

For the 2021 Festival, Alfa owners are invited to join two featured events. On Thursday, September 9, the “Lakewood Vineyards FLX Alfa Romeo Journey To The Top,” which includes an Alfa show at Lafayette Park, will be followed by a road rally to Lakewood Vineyards and a final stop at the Top Of The Lake Restaurant in Penn Yan. On Friday, September 10, Alfas will be featured in the “Watkins Glen International Tour De Marque, Launched from Chateau Lafayette Reneau.” This event includes a road rally, visit to Watkins Glen International, and two Cayuga Health System Laps of the Old Course.

The Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival is produced by Watkins Glen Promotions, a not-for-profit 501 C-3 organization.

Rondinaro to again anchor live cinema event

Special to The Odessa File

FRENCH LICK, Ind., July 5, 2021 -- Watkins Glen native Steve Rondinaro will be live on more than 700 movie screens across the country the evening of July 15th with the DCI Celebration Countdown.

Rondinaro is a familiar face and voice in the marching music and pageantry arts world as broadcast host of the Drum Corps International World Championship since 1979. Twenty-six of those years were on PBS, followed by ESPN, and now in movie theaters across the country.

“This live show in July is special,” says Rondinaro. “It shows the world that our activity has survived COVID and sets the stage for a very special championship week in Indianapolis come August. A healthy DCI bodes well for the marching band community as well.”

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to once again set the stage for the world’s greatest marching music performers,” DCI CEO Dan Acheson said. “The ‘DCI Celebration Countdown’ will be the perfect way to launch an exciting summer of incredible performances.”

The show begins at 8 p.m. and will be carried live. The closest location offering the program is the Regal Ithaca Mall 14.

"We are proud to continue our longstanding 17-year partnership with DCI,” Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt said. “Movie theater audiences coast-to-coast always enjoy the exhilarating DCI programming, and we are pleased to present this celebration featuring a look towards the 2021 season and top performances from the past six years.”

Photo in text: Steve Rondinaro (Provided)

Sundaes & Shots at Great Escape on July 7

SCHUYLER COUNTY, June 29, 2021 -- Schuyler County Public Health and the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor are partnering to hold a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Great Escape, located at 221 S. Franklin St., Watkins Glen. The clinic will take place on Wednesday, July 7 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Attendees will receive the one-time Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine along with a sundae from Great Escape -- all at no cost.

“The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor is such a great partner to work with for this clinic and we can’t thank them enough for donating free sundaes for people who come to get vaccinated,” said Schuyler County Public Health Director Annmarie Flanagan DNP, FNP-C. “Come by to enjoy the summer weather, a free sundae, and protection from COVID-19.”

“This is but one more example of our community’s resilience and commitment to recovering and rebounding from the effects of this pandemic,” said Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn. “We hope that this collaboration between Public Health and the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor will encourage eligible individuals to get vaccinated and receive a free sundae!”

Peter Honsberger, the owner of The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor, shared that he partnered with Schuyler County Public Health for this event because “I am a big believer in vaccinations and I want to do it for our community and for the people coming here as visitors.”

Walk-in appointments will be provided at this clinic. Attendees must be 18 or older and should bring their ID with them. They should also wear a short sleeve shirt and should expect to wait about 15 to 30 minutes after getting their vaccine.

For more information, visit Schuyler County Public Health online at www.schuylercounty.us/publichealth or follow Schuyler County Public Health on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Walk to End Alzheimer's planned for WGI

WATKINS GLEN, June 17, 2021 -- Fill your tank and buckle up for the 14th annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which moves to Watkins Glen International for 2021. The Alzheimer’s Association event in the Southern Tier is scheduled for Thursday, October 14.

Leaders from the Alzheimer’s Association, Hilliard Corp. and Watkins Glen International made the announcement at a press conference Thursday at the race track.

“To move our event to one of the world’s most recognizable sporting venues is a vehicle to elevating the stature and impact of Walk to End Alzheimer’s across America,” said Teresa Galbier, chapter executive for the Alzheimer’s Association Rochester & Finger Lakes Region Chapter.

“We’re honored to call Watkins Glen International our new home and look forward to growing this relationship,” she said.

Participants taking part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s will walk on the same 3.45-mile asphalt road course that hosts races on the NASCAR, IMSA, SCCA and GT World Challenge circuits. The announcement is part of the plan to host Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s events in person this fall.

“The health and safety of participants, volunteers and staff remain the Association’s top priorities while continuing to monitor the pandemic and make decisions about event details in local communities,” Galbier said. “While planning to gather in person, the Alzheimer’s Association will continue to offer options to participate in Walk to End Alzheimer’s online and in neighborhoods across the country.

“Alzheimer’s did not take a hiatus during COVID-19 and neither did we,” Galbier continued. “It’s crucial that we continue Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and work with all participants to ensure they have a powerful and moving experience that is felt when we are together. Many of our constituents are at higher risk when it comes to COVID-19 and we know that our volunteers and participants appreciate our commitment to keeping all involved healthy and safe.”

The first Southern Tier Walk to End Alzheimer’s took place in 2008 and has been conducted in both Elmira and Corning. Its continued growth in the community necessitated a larger venue that offered the ability to participate safely with distancing between groups.

“I am happy to chair this wonderful event that will help continue the effort to find both treatments and a cure for this disease which affects so many people,” said Arie “Jan” van den Blink, CEO/Chairman of The Hilliard Corp. and chair of the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s-Southern Tier, NY. “We are very happy to have the walk this year at the world-famous Watkins Glen International race track, which will provide our supporters with a unique up close view of this great facility. I would like to thank Michael Printup and his staff for hosting us this year and we look forward to a great day in October to continue to raise funds and awareness in the fight against Alzheimer’s.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to host the very important Walk to End Alzheimer’s here at The Glen,” sad Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. “Our vast facility provides an ideal location to welcome the event’s growing participation while ensuring everyone is adhering to proper social distancing protocols.”

Watkins Glen International is the premier road racing facility in North America, four times voted “Best NASCAR Track” by readers of USA Today. The Hilliard Corp. is the local presenting sponsor for Walk to End Alzheimer’s-Southern Tier, NY and Wegmans is the lead sponsor for Walk to End Alzheimer’s events in the Finger Lakes (Canandaigua), Rochester and Southern Tier.

More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease — a leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more than 11 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In New York alone, there are more than 410,000 people living with the disease and more than one million caregivers.

To register and receive the latest updates on this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit: alz.org/walk

Curtiss Museum opens Art at War Exhibit, with rare aircraft squadron fabric insignia

HAMMONDSPORT, June 12, 2021 -- The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum has unveiled its new Art at War Exhibit , which will remain open to the public through the fall of 2021.

The Art of War: Squadron Insignia from the Curtiss Collection Exhibit started as part of a relatively simple, yet tedious effort to catalog a collection of 60 years in more detail. During the process museum officials came across some long, slim archival boxes containing a series of canvas rolls. As they gently unrolled each one from the first box, images began to peek out for the first time in decades: a parrot, a hound, a duck with an umbrella, an alligator and a beautiful ladybug. It wasn’t until they had them all together and rolled out that they realized the true scale of their collection of aircraft fabric art. But they had no details.

Early in 2020 they reached out to the National Naval Aviation Museum and began a "digital" excursion through aircraft insignia history with the NNAM team. They determined that the pieces were authentic vintage aircraft insignia, primarily from the golden age of early naval aviation when open-cockpit biplanes launched from the decks of the earliest aircraft carriers, U.S. Navy forward bases, and even battleships. Many can be directly connected to Navy units from the 1920s to as late as 1940. The titans of early American aviation are represented: Boeing, Vought, Martin, and of course, Curtiss. Some ships involved are equally astonishing: USS Lexington, USS Saratoga, USS Ranger, and perhaps the most unexpected, the USS Arizona.

There are six images representing French squadrons from World War I, roughly dating from 1914-1918. All but one are in fantastic condition for their age. Squadron numbers and iconic early manufacturers include: Salmson, SPAD, Farman, Breguet, Fokker, and Nieuport.

“In total, our collection of original aviation insignia has grown to nineteen unique pieces (with a few duplicates), each a window into the past,” said Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum. “As an unrepentant aviation history ‘nerd’ since childhood, I am genuinely astonished by what we found. From French airfields to the decks of the Saratoga, from interwar Hawaii to the seaplane hoist of the USS Arizona, these pieces survived over a century to end up in Hammondsport, New York. What stories they could tell!”

It is the finest collection of its type that I have ever seen in over 40 years, and I would be amazed if there is anything that currently exists that could rival it,” said Robert R. “Buddy” Macon, Deputy Director, National Naval Aviation Museum. “The fact that the collection has survived over 100 years and is being preserved to be made available for the next 100 is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Everyone should take the time, make the pilgrimage to the Glenn Curtiss Museum and take it all in.”

No matter how long one works in this field, the opportunity to identify a collection like this doesn’t happen very often,” added Johnson. “Though unseen for decades, they resurfaced at the exact right time, when the right combination of people and resources came together.”

About the Glenn Curtiss Museum

The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum is an educational and cultural institution that collects, preserves, and interprets transportation modes and regional history, and celebrates the innovations and accomplishments of pioneer aviator Glenn Hammond Curtiss. The museum contains a priceless collection relating to early aviation and regional history. The museum also features a 75-seat theater, large open area for special events and a museum store. In addition to seeing the museum displays and exhibits, visitors are welcome to visit the Restoration Shop, talk with volunteer craftsman and watch them work on historic craft. The museum is located at 8419 State Route 54 near Keuka Lake and the historic village of Hammondsport.

For more information contact: www.curtissmuseum.com or (607) 569-2160.

Photos in text:

A Curtiss Goshawk fighter plane, photographed in 1933-34 while serving with Fighter Squadron 1B, and below that a Top Hat fabric insignia. The squadron operated Curtiss F11C-2 "Goshawks" on the carrier USS Saratoga in the Pacific Fleet from 1933-39. The squadron has undergone many changes in designation over the years and is the oldest continuously active squadron in the U.S. Navy, now known as "VFA 14 'Top Hatters.'" (Provided)

Community Chorus sings "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at Veterans Park ceremony.

Memorial Day services held in Montour and at Schuyler County Veterans Park

SCHUYLER COUNTY, May 31, 2021 -- Sunny skies and moderate temperatures greeted the annual Memorial Day ceremonies Monday at Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls and at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park outside Odessa.

Both ceremonies had the same band (from Odessa-Montour High School), the same Taps bugler (Bernie Riley) and the same keynote speaker.

That was retired Naval Operations Specialist and retired North Carolina Special Needs teacher Marcel (Tony) Veilleux of Odessa, who spoke on the theme of "Citizenship" -- and how we in this country have lost that particular building block of democracy.

The first ceremony was in Montour Falls, emceed by Mayor Jim Ryan and featuring the OMCS band, a Montour Falls Fire Department Color Guard, an American Legion Post 676 Honor Guard, the National Anthem sung by O-M student Felisha Cook, a reading of "Flanders Field" by O-M student Ben Campbell, a reading of the names of recently fallen veterans by O-M student Sarah Barr, an invocation and benediction by Rev. George Norton, and the assistance in the ceremony by four young "honorary mayors": Chase Champion, Henley Colunio, Seth Janke and Henry Stephens.

The second ceremony, at the Veterans Park on Route 228, was emceed by Rick Lewis, Commander of the American Legion Cole-Hansenberger-Deland Post 676. It featured the OMCS Band, a keynote by Veilleux, a tribute to the late Post 676 Honor Guard bugler Thomas Darling, an opening prayer and closing benediction by Pastor Tammie Veilleux, and a performance of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" by a Community Chorus.

In his address at both ceremonies, Veilleux said that the concerpt of Citizenship, where neighbors cared for neighbors -- where one man might run into a burning building to help another -- has fallen by the wayside. We need, he said, to relearn "what it means to be a good citizen" -- one who, in the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, "pulls his own weight"; and one who, in the words of President Lyndon Johnson, participates in government, not merely counting on it to provide for him or her.

In that relearning, he said, citizens of the United States will find that not only are there many rights vested in them by the Constitution, but "many responsibilities." Among the measures that might be taken: reintroducing Civics in our schools' lesson plans; and a "reeling in" of social media, which he called "a bad experiment."

"A strong building requires a strong foundation," he said "Let's be strong citizens so our country can stand strong."

Photos in text: From top: Keynote speaker Marcel (Tony) Veilleux and emcees Jim Ryan (at Montour Falls ceremony) and Rick Lewis (at Veterans Memorial Park ceremony).

Left: Joshua and Brooke McCray prepare to place flowers at the base of a monument in Veterans Memorial Park as part of the service there. Right: O-M student Felisha Cook sings the National Anthem at the Montour Falls ceremony.

The Color Guards at the Veterans Memorial Park service (left) and at the one in Montour.

Shells eject during the 21-gun salute at the end of the Veterans Memorial Park service.

Seneca Harbor Cruises adds Seneca Spirit after recent retirement of the Stroller IV

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 21, 2021 -- Mark Simiele, owner of Seneca Harbor Cruises on Seneca Lake, welcomes the 2021 season with an additional vessel: the Seneca Spirit. This addition to Captain Bill’s fleet is a 64-foot Skipperliner that has sailed as a tour boat in Washington, D.C. for the past 20 years. A public christening is being planned.

“I anticipate that it will take 12 days to bring the Seneca Spirit home,” said Simiele, explaining that the route includes time on the Potomac, Chesapeake, and Delaware rivers, winds around the tip of New Jersey passing Atlantic City, and ultimately arrives in Watkins Glen via the Erie Canal.

“The 3-person crew sails from sun-up to sunset, with overnights in marinas along the way. We’re tracking her path in real-time, using an app [https://maps.findmespot.com/s/9YRX/QV] and enjoying daily updates from the crew.”

The 115-passenger boat has two levels, with the upper deck completely open-air, an acoustic system designed for narrated tours, and a whisper-quiet engine that travels at a steady 8 knots. It is currently sailing to Watkins Glen from its previous port of 20 years in the Washington, D.C. area.

“Captain Bill’s is an iconic attraction in Watkins Glen,” said Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy. “A favorite with tourists and a special treat for our residents, Mark and his crews highlight one of our region’s most treasured assets: Seneca Lake.”

This is Captain Bill’s first purchase since acquiring the 270-passenger Seneca Legacy in 2006. The 49-passenger Stroller IV, built in 1934 and limited by pandemic-related social distancing requirements, finished the 2019 season and was then retired. The Seneca Spirit will be Captain Bill’s main sight-seeing vessel, leaving port every 90 minutes for a 60-minute guided tour of the southern end of Seneca Lake. The Seneca Legacy will resume a pre-pandemic schedule for lunch and dinner cruises: lunch cruises will be offered three days a week; dinner cruises will sail six nights a week.

Simiele said it was a difficult decision to retire the Stroller, indicating that it was driven by a need to pivot business operations in light of the pandemic.

“Long-term, though, this is the right decision,” said Simiele. “Captain Bill’s is part of this community. It’s a family-run operation that is family-friendly and values-oriented. On the surface, we offer boat cruises. Dive just a little deeper, though, and we’re a conduit to a different reality where you can breathe deeply and move at your own pace.”

Photos in text:

Top: (From left) Captains aboard: Bill Darrow, Steven Naimoli, and Anthony Compese.
Bottom: The retired Stroller IV (Photos provided)

Historic Lee School open house is May 15

Special to
The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 5, 2021 -- Experience the days of learning in a one-room schoolhouse at the annual spring open house at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Lee School in Montour Falls.

Retired teachers Marty Evans and Judy VanSkiver will play the role of schoolmarms, welcoming visitors of all ages to the Lee School on Saturday, May 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Masks will be required.

The Lee School is located on Route 14, on the southern edge of Montour Falls. It was built in 1828 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The red, barn-style, painted clapboard building was typical to the mid-to-late 19th century farming communities of the area. It has a large wood-burning stove, school desks, books, blackboards and an antique world globe, all exhibited as they would have been used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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

Photo in text: Marty Evans, a retired art teacher and vice president of the Schuyler County Historical Society Board of Trustees, will be one of the hosts at the annual spring open house at the Historical Society’s Lee School in Montour Falls on Saturday, May 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The one-room schoolhouse was built in 1828. (Photo provided)

Hidden Valley 4-H Camp to reopen May 8

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 30, 2021 -- Campers, families and the community are invited to Hidden Valley 4-H Camp’s Grand Re-Opening on Saturday, May 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hidden Valley is located in Watkins Glen, adjacent to Watkins Glen State Park.

“We are opening our doors so that families can see our facilities and meet the staff,” said Camp Director Bruce Condie. “I will be there to lead tours and answer questions. Potential campers can take a look inside a bunk house, check out the dining hall, and hear about the many improvements we have made.”

Tours will be led by family group, so attendees should register for the event in order to allow for planning the schedule. To register for the Grand Re-Opening, email Dayna Karius at dk576@cornell.edu or phone 607-535-6812.

After being closed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hidden Valley 4-H Camp is open this summer for six week-long sessions for youths ages 6-16. Day camp and overnight camp sessions are both available.

“Camp sessions are filling rapidly, so we advise campers to sign up soon,” said Youth and Family Issue Leader Mel Schroeder. “This past year of isolation and reduced peer activities has been hard for children. At Hidden Valley, they can have fun and fulfilling childhood experiences, in a safe environment that emphasizes positive development.”

Hidden Valley has been in operation for 75 years, and is implementing safety measures this summer to protect campers from COVID as they explore their talents and discover the natural world.

“Just think what a refreshing break it will be for kids to be outdoors, taking part in games and sports, and making new friends,” said Condie. “We hope parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles will bring the young people in their lives on May 8 to take a look at what we have to offer.”

Families interested in signing up for Hidden Valley 4-H Camp can register online www.hiddenvalley4hcamp.org or by phoning 607-535-6812.

The Indian of the Lake

WATKINS GLEN, March 30 -- This photo -- an old aerial view of Seneca Lake -- was shown to the editor while he was visiting the Legislature office in the Schuyler County Office Building.

It was in the possession of an official there.

The editor didn't see it at first -- but does now: the unmistakable shape of the lake, a lake named after an native American tribe. The shape looks like that of an Indian, kneeling perhaps, with head bowed, and a feather at the upper, northernmost point of the visible profile.

"Cool," said the editor when he finally recognized the outline. And interesting. So he snapped a picture of the picture for presentation here.

Check out the feature below

 

Chased by a madman

When you hit the road for vacation, you aren't always assured of smooth sailing. Herewith a tale of terror on the highway -- as it really happened. Features.

 

© The Odessa File 2022
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

E-mail chaef@aol.com