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Thanks, United Way, for your help
The following was written to the United Way of Schuyler County in support of the latter's efforts on behalf of the Girl Scouts.
To the Editor on February 20:
I am writing in gratefulness for the support your organization has provided to our local Girl Scouts and council for the past 75 years -- and to thank you as we head into the next 75.
Through its work, the United Way of Schuyler County has provided countless opportunities for young women in your region. The funds we receive here at Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways directly support girls in Schuyler County. They are used for financial assistance toward annual Girl Scout membership fees, unlocking the opportunity for those who face financial hardship to have the chance to be immersed in our Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Girls are also able to take part in outdoor adventures and grow an appreciation for nature by attending our Girl Scout summer camps because of this relationship.
Our girls and volunteers are actively involved in their community because of your generosity and support. Making birthday cake kits, providing helping hands for local food pantries, wrapping gifts for Seneca Santa, and creating tray favors for local hospital patients are just a few examples of how our members are rooting themselves locally. Several girls are currently working on their Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award projects as well -- our Movement's highest-earned awards and through which girls make their communities, and the world, a better place.
I am confident that our continued partnership will continue to make a significant impact and positively change the lives of so many girls in Schuyler County by providing them with paths for emotional and social engagement in their local community.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
VP of Advancement and Retail Operations
Girls Scouts of NYPENN Pathways
Our work is far from finished ...
To the Editor on February 18:
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude and admiration for the remarkable display of resilience and unity demonstrated by the people of Schuyler County during last Tuesday's public hearings convened by the DEC concerning the proposed expansion of the Padua Ridge Gravel Mine by over 400%. The turnout at both sessions, despite the inconvenient timing of the initial 2 p.m. slot on a workday, was a testament to the unwavering determination of our community to protect its interests and preserve its integrity.
It is clear that the people of Schuyler County refuse to be sidelined or silenced when the well-being of our community and its residents are at stake. Since the inception of a similar proposal back in 2007, the DEC's handling of the matter has consistently leaned towards expediency at the expense of due process and community input. However, the overwhelming participation and vocal opposition at the hearings underscored the profound economic, environmental, scientific, and historical concerns surrounding this expansion. Moreover, the potential threat to the public drinking water intake of the village of Watkins Glen cannot be ignored.
The solidarity and collective action witnessed during the hearings evoked memories of our community rallying together in support of one of our own whenever faced with times of adversity. It is moments like these that remind us of the strength and resilience inherent in our community spirit. Yet, our work is far from finished, and the battle is far from over. I urge all concerned citizens to reach out to Senator Tom O'Mara's office at 607-735-9671 and Assemblyman Palmesano at 607-776-9691 to underscore the urgent need for our state representatives to vigorously defend our community against this looming threat.
Thank you to this proud community for your unwavering dedication and resolve. Let us stand firm and united, for our voices are our strongest asset in safeguarding the future of Schuyler County. Together, we shall never falter.
What do healing spring water, Franciscans, and gravel have in common? Well, Tuesday afternoon and evening, residents of the Village of Watkins Glen and local towns, business owners, farmers, and others held some very important respectful conversations about all three.
It isn't often in these polarized times that community residents can come together and have a respectful conversation. But they did. Long-time residents (some of several generations), new-comers, Republicans, Democrats, young people and some not so young, all came together to have a respectful conversation.
They were gathered at the Clute Park Community Center to meet with the Administrative Law Judge for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the proposal to expand the Padua Ridge gravel pit by almost four times its present size.
Resident after resident rose to speak respectfully to the law judge and to each other. That doesn't happen very much these days, but it did today.
Whatever the DEC decides, let it be known that our community can have a respectful conversation across parties, generations, and ages. America needs more of what we showed each other today. It just might heal our soul.
The Reverend Michael Hartney
How can DEC even consider this?
To the Editor on February 13:
The following was submitted to the New York State Department of Enironmental Conservation in Avon, NY by Dr. Cynthia Terry of Watkins Glen.
To the DEC:
I am a resident of 112 Seventh Street, Watkins Glen, town of Dix, Schuyler County.
I write to express my dismay and great concern about the proposed expansion of the Padua Gravel Pit in the Town of Dix to nearly five times its existing size.
I am alarmed at the length of time allowed for public comment, especially considering the enormous impact this expansion would have on quality of life for the residents, businesses and tourists who enjoy Watkins Glen. Surely a more in-depth study of the impact is needed to assess all the potential consequences to our treasured community.
The increased traffic anticipated on our already overburdened steep, windy roads deserves more consideration and careful study.
I am a retired physician whose previous duties included staffing the Schuyler County Hospital’s emergency room. Our public health and safety officials do a valiant job to stretch beyond the small village experience for the 4-5 month tourist season. However this expansion of traffic seems only to our detriment.
As a resident living only two blocks from the Watkins Glen gorge, I treasure its beauty and importance to our area. The increased noise, air pollution and water run-off are threats to property damage and property values.
The Padua property was once a beautiful tourist destination for the famed Glen Springs Hotel, attracting international tourism.
The Finger Lakes area is now recognized as a world class tourist destination.
How can this expansion enhance our area?
How could the DEC even consider the expansion given the stated mission of the DEC?.
Cynthia Terry, MD
We need at least 90 days for comments
To the Editor on February 11:
Below is another letter I sent to our state legislators regarding the Padua Ridge Expansion. If you feel it is fit ... I would like it published in The Forum.
Honorable Senator O’Mara and Assemblyman Palmesano:
Once again, I hope all is well and once again, I ask for your help.
Today (Sunday, 11 February) I attended a public meeting at the Watkins Glen Municipal Building regarding the Padua Ridge Expansion Plan.
It is my understanding that the DEC of NYS has opened a 25-day window for comments either for or against the expansion after the public hearings schedule for this coming Monday and Tuesday.
On Thursday, 8 February I spent the morning combing through the DEIS. Seven-hundred plus pages with all the maps, tables and charts. To say it was overwhelming is an understatement.
I tried to hone in on just a few issues that directly affect our residents -- those I represent as a village trustee: Reclamation, potential impact to water resources, potential noise impacts and potential drainage and erosion impacts.
I’m not an expert in any of these areas, but I can read. In any and all of these areas, the verbiage is vague. There are no definitive deadlines for reclamation, no definitive statements regarding oversight and quite frankly no relief for those living in the village who could be most impacted by any mishap that has occurred and could occur.
As a tourist community, the visual impact of this project is grossly and woefully underestimated. This also affects the economic impact of such a project in our tourist town.
All that aside or all that considered, once again I ask for your assistance to have the window of public comments be expanded from the 25 days set by the DEC to at least 90 days so that folks have the opportunity to digest the information, ask questions and let their voices be heard about this very important issue that will impact our village immensely.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration of this very crucial issue.
Thank you, United Way, for your support
To the Editor on February 6:
I am the Executive Director of Schuyler Head Start, Inc. and I'm writing to publicly thank Schuyler County United Way for always supporting our much-needed work through their generous donations year after year.
Schuyler Head Start is a federally funded early education program for preschool-aged children. The program offers 3- to 5-year-old children and their families health, education and social services, and there is no fee to participate. Early Head Start extends the services provided through Head Start to pregnant women, infant, and toddlers up until age three.
Children are eligible to participate in the programs if their families' income falls below the 100% of the federal poverty limit. Children whose families receive public assistance (such as TANF or SSI), children with disabilities or special health needs, homeless children, and children in foster care are categorically eligible regardless of family income. Up to 35% of a program's enrollees can be children whose families' income is between 100% and 130% of poverty. Those with lower incomes and those who are categorically eligible are accommodated first.
Schuyler Head Start is a stand-alone provider that serves children in Schuyler County. The program is funded to provided center-based services for 68 children, and 22 for Early Head Start.
The mission of Schuyler Head Start, Inc. is to provide quality education and health services to children and their families in an environment that enhances their strength, embraces their diversity, and encourages their creativity.
In order to fulfill our mission and meet our approved school readiness goals, we rely on donations from community agencies such as the United Way. We are blessed to have such an amazing organization that is made up of local volunteers. All money raised by the United Way is given back to the agencies in our community.
Thank you, Schuyler County United Way, for all the monetary donations. Your support truly helps our children to succeed and strengthen our families.
Schuyler Head Start, Inc.
How could anyone let this happen?
To the Editor on January 30:
I haven't lived in Watkins Glen in 40 years. But I still call it my home. My grandfather, Homer Ellison, and then my mother Frances ran the Ellison Souvenir Shop directly across from the Watkins Glen Gorge for over 50 years.
I can not imagine the tranquility of the Gorge being disrupted by what would be the noise and dirt of a gravel pit expansion that would be near the Gorge itself. This could possibly endanger visitors and eventually damage the beautiful gorge itself.
How could anyone let this happen to such a magnificent place that nature has created for the pleasure of mankind?
I encourage anyone who has the power to stop this, please act. You don't realize the absolute beauty of Watkins Glen until you move away from the area. You are gifted and blessed to live in such a beautiful place.
Cheryl Allison Edkin Arnold
Attached is an email I sent to State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmaseno this evening regarding the gravel pit expansion in Watkins Glen and the planned DEC public hearings. If you feel it is appropriate, I would like to request that you publish it in the Forum for public consumption.
Thank you in advance.
To: The Honorable Senator Thomas O'Mara and Assemblyman Philip A. Palmesano
Good evening and I hope you are doing well. I write to you tonight, not as a Trustee of the Village of Watkins Glen, but as a life-long resident who was raised here, raised my children here and now my children are raising their children here in Watkins Glen.
We are in serious need of assistance regarding the proposed expansion of the Padua Ridge gravel pit spearheaded by "It's Greener Now" Inc.
I have a feeling I don't need to go into great detail regarding the negative impact this expansion will have environmentally, economically, and aesthetically to the village of Watkins Glen. I know you are quite familiar with our little town, how we live ... and how we make a living, but I would like to provide a snapshot, so as to speak.
First, I think it is imperative to acknowledge the impact mining aggregate on a hill will immediately have on the folks who live directly below the gravel pit. The potential for run-off, the flooding of basements to the residents on the side hill, and quite frankly a landslide are all considerations that should and must be given serious thought before moving ahead with this expansion.
You are well aware that Watkins Glen depends greatly on tourism. Be it the wine industry, visitors to the gorge or just folks who enjoy Seneca Lake. This expansion would greatly compromise the natural beauty of our area. I remember growing up here and looking to the west to a beautiful building, rich in history, that eventually succumbed to deterioration. Now, I look to the west and see a gigantic hole in the hillside -- not pleasing to the eye, but worse, a potential catastrophe to our beloved town.
"It's Greener Now" cannot guarantee a mudslide won't occur or that folks' basements won't be flooded or that their runoff doesn't affect others' land (which has already happened) or even have a negative impact on our water source and our lives.
The DEC has scheduled two public hearings to discuss their findings regarding an environmental impact study and to take public comments regarding the expansion. One is in person (Feb. 13) and one will be virtual (Feb. 12). Unfortunately, the in-person public hearing is scheduled for 2 o'clock in the afternoon at the Clute Park Event Center. Hardly a convenient time for the working folks to attend and express their opinion of this proposal one way or the other.
I implore you as my representative to the State Senate and State Assembly to put forth any measures you can to at the very least have the DEC move the in-person public hearing to a time when the majority of the people in this village ... who will be impacted the most by this proposal ... can have an adequate opportunity to listen and to speak.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.
Margaret A. Schimizzi
Resident and Constituent
Postscript on Jan. 30: Tom O'Mara's office called me and Laurie DeNardo today to say he talked to someone at DEC ... I don't remember his name. We were told that the hours would be extended until 7:30 p.m. for the in-person public hearing.
I would like the public to know ... that our state legislators responded to my email swiftly and took appropriate action to make sure all residents have the opportunity for their voice to be heard on this very important issue. Now it is up to us.
Margaret A. Schimizzi
Proud to be a United Way agency
To the Editor on January 18:
In 2008 Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity became a local partner with Yates County Habitat for Humanity. Since then, we have built or renovated four homes in Schuyler County to provide decent, affordable, and energy-efficient housing for four families (fifteen individuals). We are now starting our fifth house, which is a renovation project. It will be like new when completed and will be called "home" by a single parent and her two children.
From the beginning, United Way of Schuyler County has been a financial supporter and a cheerleader for Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity. The United Way of Schuyler County works collaboratively with organizations in Schuyler County to improve the well-being of county residents and of the community. When community nonprofit organizations work together, everyone benefits. When individual community members offer their gifts of volunteer time and / or treasures, when local businesses offer donations of product or labor, and when we all support each other, everyone wins.
Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity is proud to be a United Way of Schuyler County agency.
Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity,
in partnership with Yates County Habitat for Humanity
Thanks to those who helped on raffle
To the Editor on January 5:
United Way of Schuyler County would like to thank and recognize those who participated in the cash raffle drawing held on November 30th at Wags to Riches.
1st prize: $1,000 to Kevin Rumsey, who graciously donated $500 back to United Way.
2nd prize: $500 to Cherie Kennison, who graciously donated $100 back to United Way
3rd prize: $500 to Mary Jo Roth of Horseheads
4th prize: $500 to Melody Lachut of Horseheads
5th prize: $500 to Alan Rowswell of Grand Island
Board members who sold the winning tickets were Jamie Rumsey (wife of Kevin), Deb Simpson (daughter of Cherie), Sharon Stadelmaier (mother of Melody), and Barb & Curt Connelly, who sold the other two winning tickets.
Some board members went above and beyond in their efforts to sell more than their allotted 10 tickets. Bill Yessman and Curt and Barb Connelly sold tickets at the Harvest Festival, Curly’s Family Restaurant, and the Burdett Craft Bazaar. Their efforts resulted in two of the out-of-town winners. Deb Simpson, Daryl Kelly, Sharon Stadelmaier, Tina Rappleye, Drew Guild, and family and many personal friends of mine sold additional tickets.
Deepest gratitude to those who purchased tickets on behalf of United Way of Schuyler County and the agencies we support. As we celebrate our 75-year anniversary, we know that none of it would be possible without the continued community backing. One gift works many ways and helps hundreds of our local family and friends. Donations can be mailed to: PO Box 270, Watkins Glen, NY 14891 or online at: unitedwayschuyler.org.
As the United Way of Schuyler County kicks off its 2023-24 campaign, we'd like to share our deep appreciation for the long-term support the organization has provided the Humane Society of Schuyler County.
Their generous support has enabled us to help families keep their beloved pets when faced with crisis, provided pet food for those in need, and helped to offset the cost of spay/neuter surgeries for income eligible residents.
This small but dedicated group of volunteers gives tirelessly of their time to make our community stronger through the support of numerous agencies who serve the needs of our community.
Did you know that The United Way reaches The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler, My Place, Habitat for Humanity, Schuyler Head Start, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, just to name a few? Surely, they have touched the lives of so many of us who call Schuyler County our home.
We hope that you'll consider supporting the United Way as the organization launches its 2023-24 fund-raising campaign.
Humane Society of Schuyler County
Seneca Santa served 225 kids this year
To the Editor on December 28:
Two hundred twenty-five children from one hundred five families were visited by Santa's elves delivering packages filled with an enormous assortment of gifts from Seneca Santa, Inc.
I woke up the morning following the "bagging" for the program to a very vivid visual dream. The dream consisted of a jigsaw puzzle of Schuyler County. Each piece of the puzzle represented someone who had contributed to the program. Whether it was money, toys, books, hats/mittens, or just time, each piece made a complete puzzle, and the puzzle would not have been complete without each piece in place.
I have been blessed with longtime friends, family, and supporters who helped make the program what it is today. I have been equally blessed with new friends and supporters who have made it possible for me to maintain this wonderful Schuyler County tradition. Every year is similar, but there are always adjustments and changes that are necessary according to the circumstances of the program for that particular year.
Several monetary donations made this year included notes attached from those who were either directly or indirectly affected by the Seneca Santa program. These are perfect examples of "paying it forward." I have always told everyone involved that if "one" child is made happy by this program, it is more than worth it. The reality is, there are thousands of children who have benefited from the generosity of so many others.
There is no way possible I could list each and every one who has contributed, but I hope they know that I thank God for them every day. I also hope they realize that their gift to the program, no matter how big or small, has brought joy and happiness to deserving children from Schuyler County. I am so humbled by all who make it happen.
Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man. No other words could convey more perfectly the success of the Seneca Santa program for 2023.
It's good to see the Hall of Fame honoring another class of Coaches and Athletes
Editor's Note: The Watkins Glen High School Athletic Hall of Fame is inducting six new members during the girls and boys holiday basketball tournaments in the WGHS Field House after Christmas. The inductees include coaches John Fazzary and Jeff Smythe, and athletes Courtney Warren-Manning, Patrick Hazlitt, Matthew Gill and Alexis Castellaneta. See story on Sports.
To the Editor on December 23:
So nice to see Watkins Glen High School honoring another class of Coaches and Athletes for Hall of Fame induction later this week. Seems appropriate at this time to speak to the inaugural Class of Coaches/Athletes and a bit of the history of the Hall of Fame.
Faculty Manager Bill Davis came to me in early 1990 with the idea to honor coaches, athletes and benefactors for an on-going and permanent Hall of Fame display in the high school. Together we made this happen and began the process for nominations and selections (mostly involving the Athletic Council). Parents and other community members were welcome to actively participate as well. Location for the display was on the wall space (mainly the northern side) of the auditorium hallway between the auditorium and what was then the gymnasium. There was no standard size for frames and pictures, but under each frame was a standard name plaque.
As the years passed it was determined to look toward a more standardized display (same size for all), and the addition of the Field House provided ideal space for a more permanent and appropriate display of individuals so honored. Former and retired coaches were always actively contacted, as were former athletes (with the oldest dating back to the 1920s). Since 1990 the Watkins Glen Athletic Hall of Fame has served as a way to honor and preserve athletic history and highlight those gifted individuals who were such a large part of that history and tradition.
During that first-year nomination and selection process, the WGHS Sports Boosters were very focused and interested in Bill Davis being honored also (the first person as an athlete and a coach). This was kept from Bill until the night of the formal induction.
The inaugural CLASS was:
*COACH JOE LEMAK
*JIM SCOTT (Also a long-time Coach through the years)
Again, congratulations to this year's honorees. So glad to see this tradition continue!
Brian J. O'Donnell
Former WGHS Principal and School Board Member
P.S.: I would also like to say what an important role Craig Cheplick played in implementing the display in the Field House and in keeping the Athletic Hall of Fame running for years.
Photo in text: The inaugural class of WGHS Athletic Hall of Fame inductees. From left: Bill Davis, Blaine Morehouse, Joe Lemak, Jim Scott, Bill Colunio.
Seneca Santa says 'Thank you'
To the Editor on December 14:
Due to the efforts of Cascata Events in Montour Falls (Dustin & Antionette D'Angelo-Corbett), Seneca Santa was the recipient of over $1,900.00 that was raised by their Friendsgiving 2023 event. The following were instrumental in making it happen:
Diversion Brewing Co. -- Mangus Ridge Winery -- Joe Hittenburg
Finger Lakes Soap Co. -- 2 Cats Cakery -- Bruce Boughton
Babes and Buds Coffee Lounge and Boutique
Watkins Glen Supply -- Dennis Winge Music -- Anonymous Donor
Althea's Finger Lakes Tavern -- Charcuterie Creations by Stacy -- Matthew VanEtten
Watkins Glen International -- Jessica Rae Photography -- Fionnagh Krenzer
Montour Falls Tea Co. -- Babies Breath Candle Co. -- Valerie Ann Snider
My own personal thanks to Dustin & Antionette for hosting this event that brought everyone together to not only have a good time but to also give back to the community. I am honored and humbled by the generosity of so many that made it happen.
Hundreds of children are provided a wonderful Christmas because of the long-standing tradition of Seneca Santa, Inc. in Schuyler County. God bless everyone who helps make it happen!
Cash raffle raises funds for United Way
To the Editor on December 1:
United Way of Schuyler County attended the recent festivities at the Wags to Riches store operated by the Humane Society of Schuyler County on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen, and drew the winning tickets for the United Way's fund-raising cash raffle.
Five tickets were drawn for a total of $3,000 -- a first prize of $1,000 and four drawings of $500 each. Funds raised go to benefit 21 local agencies the United Way helps support.
Pictured from left are United Way board members Sarah Matthews and Aimee Churchill, Quinn Stamp (who drew the winning names), and board members Peggy Scott and William Yessman.
The Humane Society is one of the 21 agencies that United Way supports. Donations can be made by check mailed to: United Way of Schuyler County, PO Box 270, Watkins Glen, NY 14891, or online at unitedwayschuyler.org.
United Way of Schuyler County
Youth Cheerleaders did great at Moravia
To the Editor on November 20:
This past weekend the Schuyler County Youth Cheerleading squad traveled to Moravia for our "Superbowl." Our Junior and Senior teams combined to compete as one, and with 22 girls we competed in the senior division in the Moravia High School-hosted event: the 2023 Youth Finger Lakes Cheerleading Competition.
We are happy to report that our Storm cheerleaders came home in 4th place with an impressive showing. It was an extremely tough competition, and our girls represented very well. Many of our cheerleaders chose to do the individual jump-off, where they showcase their individual skills, and our own Alayna Brown made it to the jump-off in impressive style.
I want to recognize the hard work that these young student athletes put in and also want to share their accomplishments with your readers. Youth sports are where we garner the next generation, and we have phenomenal youth sports here in Schuyler County.
Our team consisted of 21 girls from ages 7-12 years old, grades 2-6. These girls started practicing for sideline cheer in August alongside their Flag cheer counterparts and a few teammates who weren't able to continue through competition season. These teams cheered each weekend for the Schuyler County Youth Football Storm teams throughout the Southern Tier.
Competition practice started in Mid-September, with much of the credit going to two of our senior cheerleaders, Brie Turnmyre and Alayna Brown, for creating our choreography and routine. Their creativity created a stunning routine that wowed the crowd and the judges!
Thank you for allowing me to brag a bit about our team and the hard word that they do. We are always looking for new athletes. Signups for Football and Cheer will begin over the summer, and more information can be found on the Schuyler County Youth Football Facebook page. Information for Cheer and Football is available by messaging there.
Respectfully submitted by a very proud coach!
United Way: a tradition in Schuyler
To the Editor on November 14:
"Give ... Give enough!" was the rallying cry 75 years ago when community leaders launched the first effort to collect donations to support organizations serving Schuyler County residents.
The Schuyler County Community Chest joined similar programs across the nation, heralded by President Harry Truman as "practical demonstration(s) of the democratic faith we profess."
"When the people of a country like ours -- free to act selfishly in their own interest -- choose to act unselfishly in the common interest, this is democracy at its best," Truman said in a national radio address to launch October 1948 Community Chest campaigns in 1,200 communities.
In Schuyler County, Kathleen Golding of Watkins Glen was chairwoman of the undertaking to raise $17,000 for six organizations: Shepard Relief Hospital ($10,000), Boy Scouts ($2,119), Cancer Society ($1,500), Girl Scouts ($1,300), Salvation Army ($800), and the Cerebral Palsy Association ($500).
"What you donate will benefit you, your family, your neighbors and friends, your community, your county -- GIVE -- GIVE ENOUGH," urged the Watkins Express newspaper in its Oct. 6, 1948 issue.
The door-to-door campaign, enlisting upwards of 200 volunteers covering every community, fell short by $781. But that first October drive laid the foundation for a Schuyler County tradition that continues today under the banner of United Way, a name-change adopted in 1994.
In 2023, donations to United Way will help support 21 agencies serving Schuyler residents. The list includes Schuyler Hospital (re-named in 1954) and the Boy and Girl Scouts, each benefiting since the beginning.
This year's campaign goal is $123,000.
United Way of Schuyler County
Dinner raises $400 for Seneca Santa
To the Editor on November 9:
A dedicated group of community volunteers recently put on a spaghetti dinner at the Watkins Glen School Apartments, with the proceeds going to Seneca Santa, Inc.
Special thanks to Linda Mapes for making the initial contact, to Jeff Fazzary of Art & Nancy's for donating his time and materials to make the dinner, and to outstanding baker Marie Quintal for spectacular desserts. Over $400 was raised.
Pictured, from left: Gabby Fazzary, Linda Mapes, Dominick Madaffari, Jeff Fazzary, Beverly Mello, Frank LaFace, and Michelle Hyde (Photo provided).
President, Seneca Santa
The cast of "Seussical, the Musical" pose on the WGHS Auditorium stage. (Provided)
LCP's 'Seussical, the Musical' Nov. 17-19
To the Editor on November 8:
Whether you like Green Eggs and Ham or not, you will love the upcoming Lake Country Players' production of "Seussical, the Musical" to be presented November 17 and 18 at 7:30 and November 19 at 2PM at the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. The show features favorite Dr. Seuss characters like The Cat in the Hat (played by Alex Gill) and Horton the Elephant (Brenden Wendling) along with Gertrude and her one-feather tail (Kelsey Gill) and Amazing Mayze (Annabeth Wheaton).
The basic story line revolves around the unconventional "thinks" of young JoJo Who (Anne Roney) and the uncompromising loyalty of Horton to the distressed teeny tiny characters of Whoville. JoJo's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Mayor (Pam Kelly, Elizabeth Fresquez) are depending on JoJo to save their nearly microscopic planet from the clutches of the Wickersham Brothers (Della Diliberto, Grady Cole and Gavin Lewis) and the extreme negativity of the brassy Sour Kangaroo (Sami Cox), all of whom live in the Jungle of Nool. Much of the story is narrated by a trio of lovely young Bird Girls (Bri Holton, Edele Morgan, Peyton Dennis) and the Cat, with the assistance of Thing One and Thing Two (Natalie VanSkiver, Arloween Loucks-Scuteri).
After a short stint at boot camp under the command of General Ghengis Khan Schmitz (Phil Watson), JoJo revolts at the stupidity of war, and goes AOL. An eagle steals the clover upon which resides the planet of Who, but Horton is stuck on Mayze's nest hatching her egg while she dallies in Palm Beach and visits the circus where Horton has ended up.
Who will save the tiny planet of "Who" from destruction? Can anyone help Horton while he faithfully incubates the egg? What will actually come out of the egg? Will the citizens of the Jungle of Nool (Horton's home) convict Horton of fabricating his tale of Whoville? Come see for yourself in this energetic, fun show all about Seuss, directed by Enaw Elonge with musical director Jenn Kraemer and accompanist extraordinaire Brian Cerow. Tickets available at the door at WGHS by cash or check.
Members of the O-M boys varsity soccer team at the breakfast. (Photo provided)
Thanks to the fans and the Moose Lodge
To the Editor on November 6:
On Sunday, November 5th the Odessa-Montour High School boys and girls varsity soccer teams conducted their annual fund raising breakfast at the Montour Moose Lodge.
Again this year the kids had a good time serving drinks, busing tables, cooking food, cleaning and washing dishes.
The two teams want to give a huge thank-you to all of the fans who came out to support the two teams and to the Montour Moose Lodge, which is always so great working with our athletes, supporting our programs and all of our area's youth sports organizations.
O-M Boys Soccer Coach
Photo in text: Members of the O-M girls varsity soccer team at the breakfast. (Provided)
I'm running for Catharine Town Council
To the Editor on October 25:
An open letter to the Hector Town Board
To the Editor on October 20:
Dear Board Members:
The ongoing debate over zoning in Hector is often portrayed as a choice between government control and private property rights, but this is a false comparison in my view. Of course private property rights are important -- they are the foundation of land use in this country, unlike Europe, for example, where property rights historically derived from the Crown.
But communities have rights too. Specifically, as a collective group of citizens, we have the right to decide what kind of town we live in. For example, we have the right to expect that a quiet residential neighborhood will remain that way, and not turn into an entertainment district with outdoor music blasting a quiet summer evening to smithereens.
We have the right to make choices. Do we want to preserve our agricultural land base, or watch it get whittled away by low density residential lots that are too big to mow but too small to plow? Do we need economic growth? What kind? Where? Shouldn't we be concerned with the quantity and quality of water that runs off our steep slopes? Do we care about the scenic views from our public roadways that enhance our lives and also attract visitors?
Individual citizens will respond differently to such questions, but isn't it better that we work out matters ourselves rather than leaving them to chance or worse, have them decided for us by out-of-town developers or the lawyers for some big corporation?
Hector is changing rapidly, and the most compelling reason for zoning is that it lets the citizens who live here decide our own future.
A great deal of hard work and citizen input went into the draft zoning ordinance before you. Scaled back significantly from the first draft, it is flexible, amendable, and very much needed. It deserves your support.
Charles J. Fausold
United Way of Schuyler County served 306 spaghetti and meatball dinners on October 9, 2023 at the Moose Lodge in Montour Falls. All proceeds raised will go to the 21 agencies that support our friends and neighbors in Schuyler County.
The following volunteers made it possible:
Larry Scruggs, Andrew Yessman, Jan Granston, Demitrius Dillon, Johnathon Williams, Heidi Gardner, John Bouvier, Dustin Cummings, Drew Popovich, Brixton Fuller-Bianco, Broghan Fuller-Bianco, Holly Campbell, Ben Campbell, Alex Campbell, Andy Campbell, Sadye Halpin, James Halpin, Connor Foggie, Cara Reynolds, Katie Sirrine, Erik Rizen and Kristine Morseman.
The following board members contributed time and monies:
Debbie Simpson, Stacy Woodworth, Curt Connelly, Veronica Lewis, Daryl Kelly, Bill Yessman, Barb Connelly, Sharon Stadelmaier, Kai D'Alleva, Jamie Rumsey, Terri Orbin and Drew Guild.
Thank you to the Moose Club and Larry Scruggs for their community service in hosting the event. Thank you to all those who purchased tickets and supported the dinner. United Way has had the distinction of serving Schuyler County for 75 years. Donations may be mailed to PO Box 270, Watkins Glen, NY 14891 or online at unitedwayschuyler.org.
The community can help reduce the cost of a Watkins Glen High School Yearbook
To the Editor on September 30:
My name is Avah Wright. I hold the position of president of the Watkins Glen High School Yearbook Club Committee. I am writing to you today on behalf of the Yearbook Staff. We are seeking to reduce the cost of the book for all students. We ask you to share our message on The Odessa File.
As you know, the Yearbook is a cherished keepsake for students and families. It is a way to remember the special moments of their high school years. However, the cost of the Yearbook, like the cost of everything else, continues to rise. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly cost prohibitive for many families in our community.
According to information shared with us by the WGCSD business office, many families in our community are currently struggling more than the state itself.
For example, median household income for Watkins Glen alone is $43,393, where in NYS as a whole that amount is $75,157. Unfortunately, the poverty rate of Schuyler County is currently at 15.8% where the rate is 13.5% statewide. It is very difficult for some families in our community to purchase the yearbooks for their kids.
This year, the production cost of the Yearbook is $83, and including tax it would cost nearly $90. Last year, the costs were similar, and I decided not to buy one because the price was too much for me. Most families cannot afford to buy $80-$90 Yearbooks each year, which is why we are reaching out for your support for this year’s Yearbook to help lower the price.
I would like to reduce the cost of the Yearbook so that families who do have trouble with their financials could be able to buy one for their kids. I know that it's not easy to be one of the people who is struggling to try and keep up with inflation. To pay the bills and everything else while adding $90 for just a Yearbook is insane.
We believe that every student deserves to have a Yearbook to remember their high school years. That is why we are asking for help from our neighbors. We hope businesses and organizations will purchase an ad in our yearbook or sponsor the costs of the book.
Also, if they would prefer, we accept anonymous donations to cover the cost of a yearbook for a student at WGHS. For sponsorships, there are these levels of support: Platinum $1,000, Gold $750, and Silver $500.
Pledges of support can be made to “WGHS Yearbook” and mailed to the high school at 301 12th St., Watkins Glen, NY 14891.
The ads will be seen by hundreds of students, parents, and community members. It is a great way to promote a business and reach a new audience.
We offer a variety of ad sizes and prices to fit a budget. We also have a variety of ad designs to choose from.
I can be contacted directly for sponsorship, or the Josten’s site (they produce the yearbooks) can be contacted at: WATKINS GLEN CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL WATKINS GLEN, NY | Jostens
We would be honored to have our community sponsor our yearbook. Support would showcase a business, help make the yearbook more affordable for all students, and ensure that every student has a chance to remember his or her high school years filled with mesmerizing memories.
President, WGHS Yearbook
How are we fixing the raw milk issue? That, and other questions, are answered
To the Editor on September 28:
"When will you have raw milk again on your shelf?" This is the question of the day for the past week.
As you may or may not know we had to issue a recall on our raw milk that was sold September 12th-14th. Through our routine State mandated testing, a sample of our milk was taken on the 12th, and screened for several different pathogens. These included: Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, and Staphylococci. On the morning of the 15th at 9:04 a.m. I received a phone call from my inspector (who has been wonderful throughout this whole ordeal, I may add) that there was a presumptive positive for Campylobacter. All other pathogens tested negative. We voluntarily ceased milk sales immediately (the store wasn't open for the day yet). On the 18th, at 5 p.m., it was confirmed positive. Campylobacter is a 5-day incubation process. A press release was issued the next morning per NYS law and I implemented calls per our recall procedure.
Note: Our cheese is still safe to eat. This pathogen cannot live in cheese, and all of our cheese has to be tested regardless prior to us selling it!
How are we fixing this issue, you are going to ask? On the 15th when we received the phone call, we immediately went to work understanding more about this pathogen. Through consultations with the Quality Milk Services at Cornell and our herd Veterinarian, we determined that the most likely cause of the outbreak was an environmental (meaning milking system) issue vs. a specific cow issue. We started to go through the whole system that day, changing milk lines, gaskets, and doing a "shock" to the system -- basically a super deep clean that should break up any of the biofilm that may be causing the issue. We sent in our own samples last week to an independent lab, and one of the samples still came back positive (the milk) but our wash water sample came back negative. This means the system is cleaning properly to the tank where the milk is stored, but the storage tank or the physical milk may be an issue. Back to work deep cleaning the tank again. We will send in another official State sampled test today, as noted above it is a 5-day incubation process. If this test comes back positive, we know our system is cleaning correctly, so we need to start looking at each individual cow in our herd. We will have to sample them individually, and then wait for them to incubate, and find out who the host carrier is. Then, we can be retested again by the state. Hopefully, today's test will be good, but I want to be transparent that it may take us some time.
Making sure that we have a safe product is our number one concern. Please be patient with us as we work through this. It sucks, it's stressful, it consumes most of our brain space currently; sample testing is very expensive and it's a 5-day waiting period between tests. Being rude to any of our staff members in the store about not having the milk on the shelf isn't going to help the situation or make it any quicker.
In the meantime, I am working to source local, A2A2 whole milk (White and Chocolate) from another small, family owned, and trusted farm. We anticipate that this will be on the shelf by Friday. We know you all want raw milk back, but as you know in NYS you can only buy raw milk on the farm that it is from so I can not bring it in from another source.
Thank you for understanding. Please let us know if you have any further questions. I hope this helps clear up some of the confusion and rumors that have been spreading around.
Jeremy and Jessica Hoffman
Owners Sunset View Creamery
Sponsors, volunteers played key role
To the Editor on September 26:
The Hackers & Wackers Golf Tournament is a vital annual event that not only brings our community together for a day of friendly competition, but also plays a crucial role in raising funds to support the various initiatives and programs that the United Way of Schuyler County offers.
The community involvement ranged from donations from local businesses to the 16 teams that participated in this 13th annual event, which played a crucial role in the success of the tournament, raising $11,105 this year! This year's Platinum Sponsors were BMS Manufacturing and US Salt. Gold Sponsors were Cargill Salt, Catholic Charities and Sidle Insurance. And the Bronze Sponsors were Aimee Churchill ESQ, Franzese Real Estate, Lakeside Veterinary Services, Schamel Brothers, Burdett Hill Lakeview, Stewart P. Wilson, JG Franzese Enterprises, Franzese Disposal, and Aaron's Heating and Air Conditioning. Along with 24 hole sponsors and +30 businesses with gift donations for raffles!
This contribution to the United Way is pivotal in helping meet its goal for the year to support 21 agencies in our community. This tournament would not have occurred without the amazing volunteers who are listed below. United we can make a difference in our community!
2023 Committee & Volunteers:
--Phil Joe Smith
United Way Executive Director
Sunny and Michael Sandritter
Still seeking an early detection test
To the Editor on September 19:
In honor of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September, Live Like Liz (The Elizabeth Amisano Ovarian Cancer Education Fund) is participating in an awareness campaign in the Village of Watkins Glen. The Turn the Towns Teal campaign raises awareness about ovarian cancer by hanging up and distributing teal ribbons throughout the town -- the color that represents ovarian cancer.
Some background about our organization: In 2003, Elizabeth Amisano was a freshman in college when she started having stomach issues. After many visits to doctors and health care facilities, her symptoms were repeatedly dismissed by all health care providers. She stopped going to the doctor because she thought perhaps the symptoms were “all in her head.” They were not. Liz knew something was wrong, but no one would listen to her.
Thanksgiving weekend that year, she had such pain, she couldn’t even catch her breath. Her parents took her to a local hospital. Luckily, a doctor from one of the larger regional hospitals was filling in that holiday weekend and did a thorough battery of tests. The results? A 10-pound ovarian cancer tumor! Liz was immediately transferred to a hospital in Rochester, and three days later, had surgery to remove the tumor. After nearly two years of countless rounds of chemotherapy and four major surgeries, Elizabeth lost her life on October 12, 2005 at the age of 20 to the ovarian cancer that had spread. Why wasn’t it caught earlier? Because there’s currently no early detection test for ovarian cancer, and health care professionals didn’t think anything about an 18-year-old with stomach issues.
The Live Like Liz organization began shortly thereafter by a group of friends who wanted to spread the word about this deadly disease. We were heartbroken for Liz’s family and wanted to make sure we could help prevent other families from enduring loss from this disease. While we no longer organize 5K race/walks (an annual event for several years), we are still highly active for our cause. We present two scholarships to seniors in Schuyler County each year and grant funds to four organizations that provide services to women with ovarian and other cancers. Dr. Richard Moore’s research team at the Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester is focused on creating an early detection test for ovarian cancer. We continue to support this important research.
If you would like to donate to the Live Like Liz organization, we would be grateful. Our address is P.O. Box 434, Watkins Glen, NY 14891. Donations can also be made at LiveLikeLiz.org
In the Spirit of Liz,
Mary Ellen Fraboni
Live Like Liz
I read -- with great interest -- the recent letter from Joseph Fazzary nominating Charlie Haeffner for the "Essentials" and the 2nd to his nomination from Kathy Arcangeli. Charlie has been the leading journalist in Schuyler County for many years now, bringing the news and events of Schuyler County to so many -- to include those in and outside of Schuyler County, throughout New York State and even internationally for some. There is no better way to learn about Schuyler County than The Odessa File.
As you might imagine, it takes an unbelievable amount of time and energy, along with expertise and enthusiasm, to produce and maintain such an important and well-read site. Through a great sense of selflessness and untold volunteer hours, Charlie has become literally the "voice" of Schuyler County. Joseph Fazzary, Kathy Arcangeli and countless others know this and fully appreciate Charlie for everything he does.
While certainly a strong candidate for the "Essentials," I believe Charlie is an equally strong candidate for the Schuyler County Hall of Fame. The program for the very first induction to the Schuyler County Hall of Fame (October 27, 1995) stated that this is a very prestigious award, "recognizing and honoring dedicated individuals who have unconditionally contributed their energy, commitment, and persistence to achieving their vision for Schuyler County." That surely applies to Charlie!
My sincere hope is that the Chamber of Commerce will again sponsor another induction ceremony for the Schuyler County Hall of Fame and that Charlie Haeffner will receive the strongest possible consideration for induction!
Brian J. O'Donnell
Hall of Fame Member 2018
I would like to ditto all the remarks sent in regarding Charlie Haeffner.
It has been both a privilege and a pleasure to have made his aquaintance over the past two decades.
With heartfelt thanks!
His stories, photos have touched our lives
To the Editor on September 14:
In response to "We all know that he should be there" (see letter below): Joseph, I second your nomination.
Charlie is responsible for stories and photos that have touched all of our lives.
One photo stands out, as it remains a priceless memory and a cherished photo in my home. It is from senior football night 2018 at Watkins Glen High School, one of the last pictures I have of my late husband.
So to the powers that be: Charlie needs to be included in The Essentials.
As I scroll through the names of he "Essentials" on the list published in The Odessa File, I think back over the years with my memories recharged by the contributions the inductees have made to our area. As I think of the accomplishments they have made and continue to make, I wonder how our community would have shaped without them. I often remember a professor during my college days saying to be careful when making a list because you will invariably leave something out. That's what I would like to address now.
Over the last several years, I and many thousands of others have enjoyed immensely the limitless photos, articles, novels, and comments made by the founder and chief contributor of The Odessa File. As I think of the outstanding venue, without boundaries, allowing our residents, past and present, to keep in touch with the community they love no matter where they are, I wonder how different things might have been without this "Essential."
By now, you know that I am talking about Charlie Haeffner, the last of the true journalists and authors who seems happy to remain on the other side of the camera as he goes along day-to-day recongnizing others. I don't know if there is a mechanism for placing Charlie on the list, but as loyal viewers we all know that he should be there.
Traffic patterns set for race day
To the Editor on August 18:
On Sunday, August 20, 2023, we expect a large volume of traffic on County Road 16 because of the large influx of vehicles coming to the racetrack. As a result, it is necessary that we use County Road 16 as one-way traffic with three lanes of traffic going from State Route 414 to Gate 2 of the racetrack, and two lanes of traffic from Townsend Road to Kuhl Winner Way. There will still be one lane of traffic from Bronson Hill Road to Townsend Road. This will start at around 6:00 a.m. and last until 3:00 p.m. At 9:00 a.m., Kuhl Winner Way will be a one-way road southbound from County Road 16 to Gate #5, and northbound from Bronson Hill Road to Gate #6. It is necessary to make this a part of our traffic pattern due to the large number of vehicles that attend this event every year.
If you are attending church services, shopping, or going to Watkins Glen, and you live along this route, it is advisable if you live between County Road 17 and Meads Hill Road, you travel west in the traffic to Meads Hill and go north to State Route 329 and into Watkins Glen or left on Meads Hill Road to Wedgewood Road to State Route 414. Then you can turn right for Corning or left for Watkins Glen or Montour Falls. Persons living between Meads Hill Road and the racetrack are requested to get into traffic and go to Townsend and then take the Watkins-Townsend Road to Watkins Glen.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. on this Sunday afternoon, there will be only one-way traffic on County Road 16 with three lanes coming from the racetrack towards State Route 414 (traffic light) and then traffic will proceed two lanes down into the Village of Watkins Glen. This traffic is expected to last for more than 3 hours. There will also be one-way traffic, two lanes, going down Kuhl Winner Way from Gate #6 to State Route 414. There will also be two lanes of traffic going from Gates #5 and #4 on Kuhl Winner Way to County Road 16. All traffic coming off from Kuhl Winner Way will be three lanes and diverted in Townsend to County Road 16, County Road 19 or the Watkins-Townsend Road, preferably through the State Park, to the Station Road and down into the Village through Steuben Street.
Plans are in place with Emergency Services to respond to emergencies during the egress period for the safety of the residents in this area. Sheriff's patrols will also be in the area should there be any problems.
We apologize for any inconvenience this traffic pattern may cause you, but it is necessary for us to move a large volume of traffic in the shortest amount of time for the safety of everyone. Please remember that these times are approximate and can change due to weather. Traffic patterns on Monday will be normal, but there will be a large volume of traffic leaving the race track that day also, so delays will occur.
If you have any problems, please call me at (607) 535-8222.
Thank you and stay safe.
Sheriff Kevin P. Rumsey
Some good community news!
Earlier this year, the Montour Moose Lodge 426 held its Annual Golf Tournament. The Spirit of Schuyler was chosen as this year's recipient of a donation from the event.
Spirit of Schuyler was presented with a check for $3,000 from that event!
Jim Rockwell, organizer of the Golf Tournament, is shown presenting the check to me in the photo.
A big "Thank You" from all of us at the Spirit of Schuyler to the Montour Falls Moose Lodge 426 for its support of our community and the generous donation!
The Schuyler County residents who will be helped by the Moose Lodge donation will also be thanking you!
Spirit of Schuyler President
Photo above: From left, Robert Hartford (Moose Lodge President), Chris Wickham (SOS Board), Tony Vickio (SOS President), Harriett Vickio (SOS Vice President), Louie Perazzini (SOS Board), Bob Dill (SOS Board) and Jim Rockwell (Golf Tournament Chairman). (Photo provided)
Sponsors key to Italian Festival success
To the Editor on August 14:
The 2023 Italian Festival was a great success with the help of the following Sponsors:
Beavers Petroleum Equipment, Bleachers Sports Bar, Bullthistle Woodworking, Cabins to Castles Real Estate, Captain Bill's Cruises, Community Bank, Choice Auto Glass, Damiani Wine Cellars, EC Cooper Insurance Agency, Watkins Glen Elks Lodge, JG Franzese Enterprises, Franzese Real Estate, Franzese Disposal, Greenleaf Recycling, Hale Contracting, Inc, Hunt Engineers, Parmenter's, Sam's Club, Seneca Lodge, Southern Fingerlakes Equipment, Statements, Stewart P. Wilson, Taylor Precision Machining, US Salt, Visions Credit Union, Watkins Lumber, Watkins Glen Supply, Montour Moose, Schuyler County Hi Lites, and Rentals To Go.
They have gratiously supported your community. If you could support their business, please do. See you in 2024.
The Italian-American Festival Committee
The combined United Southern Tier Aquatics swim team that competed at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo provided)
20 from Gators competed at Jr. Olympics
To the Editor on August 4:
Twenty members of the Glen Gators Swim Team qualified to compete at the AAU Junior Olympic Games held July 27th-31st at the Wellmark YMCA Downtown-Des Moines, Iowa.
Competitors included Dillan Allyn-Nobles, Malina Butler, Genevieve Carro, MJ Carro, Mia Carro, Ryan Dean, James Fedele, Kendra Fish, Makenzie Fish, Alannah Klemann, Aubrey Klemann, Maria Kuksenkova, Karina Lapierre, Anna Lowe, Sibby Lowe, Thalia Marquez, Georgia Michel, Liam Smith, Juliana Varner, and Hudson Westervelt.
These qualifiers combined forces with several other swimmers from Central New York and the Finger Lakes to create United Southern Tier Aquatics (USTA). USTA had an excellent showing. Multiple swimmers qualified for finals and placed in the top 8 -- including Genevieve Carro, MJ Carro, Mia Carro, Dean, Fedele, K. Fish, M. Fish, Al. Klemann, Au. Klemann, Kuksenkova, Lapierre, S. Lowe, Marquez, Michel, Smith, and Westervelt.
The kids had an amazing meet. Almost every athlete made the top 8 in at least one event and several of our athletes placed in the top three within their age group. It’s a great lead into our fall season.
Glen Gators Coach
Photo in text: Front from left: Alannah Klemann, Kendra Fish, Georgia Michel. Back from left: Arianna Kuznia, Kaitlyn Thompson, Ivy Bascom, Thalia Marquez. (Provided)
Head Start program had flawless review
To the Editor on August 2:
Congratulations go out to Schuyler Head Start's Staff, Families, Policy Council, and Board of Directors!
As the Executive Director of Schuyler Head Start, I want to sincerely thank our Staff, Policy Council, and Board of Directors for participating in our required Federal Review that took place June 5-9. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) conducted a Focus Area Two (FA2) monitoring review for both our Head Start (ages 3 years-5 years) and Early Head Start (ages 6 weeks-3 years) programs.
The Focus Area Two (FA2) review is an opportunity for grant recipients to demonstrate their effectiveness in implementing a high-quality program to promote positive outcomes and school readiness for children and their families. This focus area is designed to broaden the Office of Head Start's (OHS) understanding of each grant recipient's performance and to determine if programs are meeting the requirements of the Head Start/Early Head Start Performance Standards (HSPPS), the Uniform Guidance, and the Head Start Act.
Based on the information gathered during the week-long review, it was determined that our program met the requirements of all applicable HSPPS, laws, regulations, and policy requirements.
We had a flawless review and I couldn't be prouder of each member of our dedicated staff, families, PC and Board. We have wonderful programs filled with loving individuals who are true professionals and who understand the commitment that it takes to ready our children and families for future school success!
I'm the luckiest Head Start Director in the Country, and feel extremely honored to work with this group of amazing educators!
Attorney's letter on Defender's Office contained inaccuracies, misconceptions
To the Editor on July 24:
The letter by Jessica Saks (below) related to a pending contract with Neighborhood Defender Service (NDS) for indigent defense services contained several inaccuracies and/or misunderstandings, some of which are surprising, given her experience as a local attorney. To the extent she chose to address the county attorney’s office by name, and subject to attorney-client privilege, I will try to correct them here.
Saks erroneously implied that the NDS contract originated with the county attorney’s office. However, Saks was sitting in the audience when a representative of NDS stated her agency was first approached about entering into this agreement by the New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services (NYS ILS). NYS ILS, as Saks presumably knows, is charged with the duty to monitor, study and make efforts to improve the quality of legal services provided to indigent persons. NYS ILS supported, and continues to support, the NDS agreement. That support includes anticipated grants and other financial incentives to the county which offset many of the cost concerns in Saks’ letter.
As a lawyer, Saks no doubt knows that the county legislature, not its attorney, is the policy making authority of county government. The legislature, as with any client, makes the ultimate decision whether to execute a contract. The duties of the attorney are simply to review and draft agreements and advise as to proper form, possible legal pitfalls and compliance with the law. As to Saks’ concern about “adversarial” litigation between the public defender’s and county attorney’s offices, she is no doubt well aware that the county attorney’s office represents the public defender's office in civil and contract matters, while also representing other county agencies in litigation involving the public defender. In fact, Saks frequently participates in such cases, and has done so for years, without ever once raising a concern as to some perceived conflict.
Finally, Saks’ argument that the county is not receiving “fair market rental value” is misplaced. Saks bases this on standard language in many real estate documents, that the price is “one dollar and other good and valuable consideration.” One would be hard-pressed to find an attorney who is unaware of that custom and it is odd that Saks would not have considered that custom in drafting her letter.
I regret that Saks felt compelled to weigh in with what appears to be partial facts or misconceptions. I hope this response will allay some of her concerns, as well as any from the public who may have been unduly alarmed by portions of her letter.
Steven J. Getman
Schuyler County Attorney
This morning, July 24, 2023, the Schuyler County Legislature’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee approved a proposed contract with Neighborhood Defender Service (NDS) for a whopping cost of between $1,266,646.00 for this year and $1,399,725.00 for next. There was only one dissent.
This contract, if approved by the full legislature, would serve to abolish the Schuyler County Public Defender’s Office and its present employees’ jobs. NDS would then be responsible for all personnel decisions, to include hiring one managing attorney, four staff attorneys, and other support staff such as secretaries, investigators, and social workers. The proposed contract increases county expenditures by approximately a half-million dollars as the present Public Defender Budget over the past several years has ranged from $800,000 to $882,000. Despite the significant increase in county costs, the proposed contract only requires NDS to pay $1.00 to rent office space from the county.
Furthermore, the Committee moved this forward knowing full well the position for Chief Public Defender was never advertised and that there were and currently are local attorneys interested in the position that has remained vacant since May 2023.
The Committee approved the contract on the advice of County Attorney Steven Getman, who introduced the contract during this morning’s committee meeting, despite the fact that Attorney Getman and his office are adversaries of the Schuyler County Public Defender’s Office on a daily basis. The proposed contract was upheld despite clear objection from members of the general public, including a request to table the matter for future discussion. Members of the Public Defender’s Office were also present and noted their objection to the proposed NDS agreement.
Schuyler County is a small, rural community where everyone knows everyone and outsourcing public defense services to an organization based out of New York City does not make sense. In many important respects, NYC is much different than Schuyler County and requires different solutions. Also, the NDS contract will effectively decentralize office management and add unnecessary layers to the management and decision-making process as all the NDS corporate officers will remain located in NYC.
The County apparently will go forward with this contract at significant cost to the county taxpayer, but without the taxpayers' voice being heard, despite knowing there are at least four qualified candidates for the position of Chief Public Defender and therefore no necessity to throw our hard-earned dollars in the pocket of a New York City-based organization.
I believe the public should be informed of this occurrence as this committee just voted to spend $1.3 million outside the county and is only charging $1.00 rent for county space.
I believe locals should have the opportunity to contact their local legislator and voice their opinion before it’s too late, as the Legislature and its legal advisor, Steven Getman, are trying to quickly push the NDS agreement through under all of our noses and with a special meeting of the full legislature which was just announced moments ago to be tomorrow at 10:30 AM, although with no agenda attached so no one is sure if this on the agenda yet. In my mind, this Committee, and the full legislature of Schuyler County will have failed their public service/fiduciary duties if they allow this contract to move forward not only costing the County HALF A MILLION dollars per year, but also not garnering a fair market value for rental space to this independent contracted organization.
The 96th annual Watkins Glen High School Alumni Banquet was held on Saturday, June 24, 2023 at The Watkins Glen Community Center. There were approximately 170 buffet dinners served to an enthusiastic group of alumni, invited guests, spouses, friends, past faculty, 2023 scholarship recipients, and our 2023 Distinguished Alumni from the class of 1995, Jessica Colon Bejarano. She was recognized in the field of Domestic and International Regulatory Compliance.
The Board of Directors would like to thank Famous Brands for its support and assistance in selling tickets, Bleachers Sports Bar & Grill for an outstanding buffet dinner, and Lisa Bellavigna of LVB Images for taking pictures of the graduates.
Special recognition was given to three graduates from the class of 1949: Ann Elder, Joyce Viola, and Nancy Yost. Class contacts were Judy Phillips ’58, Mary Ray King ’63, Hazel Roberts Kinney ’68, Margaret Schimizzi ’78, Mary Roberts Ames ’78, Sharron Scaptura Holland ’83, and Donna Beardsley ’73, who did an outstanding job of organizing and contacting her fellow graduates celebrating their 50th anniversary.
A total of $9,000 in scholarships were awarded to seven graduating seniors. Faye Mooney, Ross Pence, Kendall Gascon, and Nikhil Manakkal received $1,000, while Skylar LaGramada and Jenna Solomon received $1,500 each. Ava Barber received a $2,000 award from Bree Argetsinger ’95 in honor and memory of Bree's grandmother, Jean Argetsinger.
Jessica Colon Bejarano gave a heartfelt acceptance speech for her Distinguished Alumni Award, highlighting the nurturing environment and encouragement given by the staff and faculty of the Watkins Glen High School.
In addition to Jessica's family and friends, we were honored to have two prior distinguished alumni attending: Lawrence Field ’52 -- Military Service; and Kathleen Warner LaMoreaux ’67 -- Athletic Coaching/Community Service.
Personal thanks to our board of directors who graciously devote time and energy to making the banquet a wonderful event. Our banquet is unique in its concept of providing a forum for everyone to come together and celebrate various experiences with fellow graduates, faculty, staff, and school mates. Thanks to all who make this happen. Your support is vital to its success.
Peggy Doolittle Scott '70
Afternoon Club presents scholarships to 3
To the Editor on July 2:
The Ladies Wednesday Afternoon Club meets once a month and is very interested in obtaining knowledge and staying current with everyday society. Over the years its members have researched many topics and made presentations to the members. Because they value learning so much, each year they are proud to present scholarships to Schuyler County High School graduates who have worked hard and shown that they can succeed, and also plan on attending a college or trade school. This year the club awarded $150 to each of the three Schuyler County schools, as follows:
The scholarship winner this year from Odessa-Montour Central School is Dominick Elliott. Dominick struggled during middle school, but flourished once he enrolled in the BOCES fashion design program. He plans on attending Elmira College in the Fall for Fashion Marketing.
The scholarship winner this year from Watkins Glen Central School is Maia Kamakawiwoole. She was chosen because she is an outstanding and highly motivated student. Maia’s plan is to attend Purchase College, and major in Creative Writing.
This year’s scholarship winner from Bradford Central School is Matthew Hayden. Matthew has shown significant improvement each year, excelling in his CISCO Networking Class. He plans to attend SUNY Corning in the Fall to pursue his education in Information Technology.
The Ladies Wednesday Afternoon Club
Extension organizes compost bin sale
To the Editor on July 1:
Schuyler County residents have until Saturday, July 8th to preorder an Earth Machine Compost Bin at a discounted price. The compost bins are being offered at a special price of $59.95 because Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County is organizing the bulk sale and distribution, so the savings are being applied directly to the residents of Schuyler County. There is a limit of 1 compost bin per household.
Backyard composting provides a partial solution to an issue of great concern in many communities -- solid waste management. Landfill gas is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic material in landfills. Organic waste like vegetable food scraps when decomposed in a landfill create methane and co2. Composting provides a way not only of reducing the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of, but also of converting it into a product that is useful for gardening, landscaping, or house plants.
“Composting our food waste is one way to take responsibility for the waste we produce,” says Ryan Staychock, Environmental and Natural Resources Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension. “Cornell Cooperative Extension is here to help you compost correctly so you can feel good about doing your part to reduce organic materials in our waste stream.”
After resident’s pre-order and pay online for their compost bin, they will pick them up on Friday July 28th between 3:00pm-6:00pm at the Human Services Complex, 323 Owego St., Montour Falls. Cornell Cooperative Extension staff will help you load the compost bin into your vehicle and have educational materials for you to take home.
To learn more about the compost bin sale, visit the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County website at www.cceschuyler.org or contact Ryan Staychock at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-539-9251.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County
Quilting workshops have a time change
To the Editor on June 26:
The Beginning Quilting workshops with Betina King have changed times!
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, July 12th from 6-8 p.m. Please call or stop by the Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library in Odessa for more information. Or call (607) 594-2791.
Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library
Town highway super does a great job
To the Editor on June 16:
I am writing in praise of Town of Orange Highway Superintendent John Rappleye. I have owned property in the Town of Orange for over 20 years and the roads have never been better kept. I have been to the town board meetings and talked with my neighbors and we all appreciate Mr. Rappleye’s efforts on our roads.
It is nice to be able to talk with him if there is a problem on the roads. He takes care of those problems as he can fit the work in, and he returns phone calls when you call with a concern. Thank you, John, for all your good work!
WGHS Alumni Banquet tickets on sale
To the Editor on June 14:
Tickets to the 96th Annual Watkins Glen High School Alumni Banquet, to be held Saturday, June 24 at 4:00PM at the Watkins Glen Community Center, are on sale until Thursday, June 22nd at Famous Brands or by contacting Peggy Scott at 607-546-8268.
The price is $25, cash or check (no cards) and reservations are required. Jessica Colon Bejarano, Class of 1995, will be honored as the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award in the Field of Domestic and International Regulatory Compliance.
Graduating seniors will be awarded a minimum of $6,000 in scholarships. The banquet is presented by the WGHS Alumni Association. All are welcome. Please join us!
Change is a sign of growth and resiliency
To the Editor on May 23:
I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to you for opening your great mind, your sharing heart and your sage wisdom to us, to the vast community that tunes in to The Odessa File because of you. Your dedication and determination to inform us has no equal. None. The hours, days, months, years that you have spent at sporting events, meetings, happenings in Schuyler County are unmatched. Many reporters who have come and gone before you did not cover our communities in the breadth and depth that you do. Sometimes I get the impression that there are actually several of you! I thank you for your commitment to reporting things of our neck of the woods to keep us informed and, when possible, entertained. You have even provided a Forum space for whatever subject(s) anyone wishes to expound upon.
The subject of cultural appropriation has not been understood by some, understandable considering the template of the U.S. of A.'s beliefs. Dominance, conquerors, and notions of the like appear to be the directives that give permission to claim anything. As with this spring we are experiencing, new growth comes to cultures, too, shifting, adding, revealing more. Naming is one of the best indicators of how culture changes. Renaming sports teams is the current shift in thinking, in honoring the members of those teams and who they represent.
An explanation of this growing awareness might be shown in a kind of reverse manner. For example, we would not name our teams "The Irish" or "The Norwegians" or "The Brazils." No. Those are countries, cultures we acknowledge; we respect and honor their sovereignty. World organizations recognize and respect native, indigenous nations of the lands we reside upon. Indeed, native nations have their own languages, governance, even passports that are recognized.
Cultural appropriation does not honor sovereign nations. Cultural appropriation subsumes them, denies their sovereignty. There are better ways to name teams, a school district's distinct character.
So I thought of the qualities that identify our community, how we might be represented in name, for the Watkins Glen School District, their teams.
These characteristics come to mind: determination; strength; perserverance (I learnt to spell in schools in Maine); power; champions; excellence; care; and underestimated by rivals. The name that came up was Cougar. This name was not on the list you published from the district, yet all the qualities of the teams, the students, current and past, are embodied in that name: Cougar. This district has a multitude of champions that exceed the percentage that might be expected of a smaller school district. Watkins Glen's opponents may not believe our teams can win over them. Their mistake! Some think Cougars are "gone." They are not. They are still here, few and far between, still around. All this can be said of Watkins Glen students and teams, too.
My two daughters, Heather and Pam, graduated from Watkins Glen High School, were on sports teams and contributed much to their alma mater. They helped me recognize that this rural community was strong, determined, caring and strived for excellence.
Speaking as a parent, an advocate, activist, community development specialist, and as an anthropologist, I understand the reluctance to change the name of the school's team representation -- profound change is challenging -- and I also know that such a change is a sign of the growth and resiliency of the Watkins Glen School District and all the members thereof, past, present and future.
A blessing to you, A. Charlie Haeffner, and all your generations.
Mary Smallwood Churchill
Immigrants made Schuyler County great
To the Editor on May 14:
At the beginning of the last century immigrants from Italy arrived in Schuyler County in great numbers. They followed Irish and German immigrants who had come here before. They settled here, found jobs, raised families, and made our county what it is today.
The Schuyler County Legislature has passed an Executive Order fining anyone helping immigrants (aka migrants) from coming here $2000/person/day. Had the Legislature done that in the early 20th century, where would we be today?
For one thing most of you reading this would not be here. The migrants then would have been your grandparents.
Immigrants/migrants are historically the hardest working people. They often have risked their lives and given up everything to be here in the United States of America. They are thankful to be here where they can make a better life for themselves and their families. Their children excel in school and they often earn the highest academic honors. They work hard. Even today our county’s dairy farms and vineyards rely on migrants to do the work that no one else will do.
Legislators, please allow this Executive Order to expire in five days and do not renew it. It is an Order based in fear and not in compassion.
Matthew 25:40-45 should remind us:
Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me. Then he will say to those at his left hand,‘You who are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not take care of you?' Then he will answer them,‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ [NRSV]
We may not seem to have the resources in Schuyler County to welcome the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, or those in prison -- but given the chance the residents of Schuyler County will welcome them. We will welcome them just as we did for countless generations in the past. Immigrants and migrants have made our county what it is. Don’t sell us short.
Please do not renew this Executive Order.
The Reverend Michael Hartney
Retired, Episcopal Priest
Addendum: The county renewed its Executive Order for another five days on May 16, after the letter above was posted.
In praise of Town of Orange leadership
To the Editor on May 13:
I am writing to endorse the work of Norma Burris as Town of Orange supervisor and Maryann Friebis as Town of Orange council person.
One of the first things Norma did as supervisor was to present to the town council a proposal to change the town phone service that was costing $300 to $400 a month, to an updated, less expensive internet service which cost the town some money to switch, but is now saving $140 to $240 monthly!
She has also looked for other ways to save the town money. For instance, Norma does not heat the entire building when in her office in the town hall, she has changed the town trash hauling vendor, and has called other vendors requesting unnecessary fees be dropped. Because of these changes, the town is now on a trajectory to build a new town hall.
Norma was able to complete NYSERDA benchmarking and obtain a $5,000 grant for the town, which is to be used to make the town hall a bit more energy efficient. Norma worked with Southern Tier Central in an effort to secure grant funds to develop a new professional Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Orange. Through Norma’s relationship with Schuyler County Economic Development, she has been able to alert landowners of opportunities for grant funding if they grow some of the out-of-the-norm crops on a trial basis.
Further, under Norma’s leadership, the Town of Orange ended 2022 under budget! Pretty tough to do, considering the market today.
Thank you Norma Burris and Maryann Friebis for your excellent leadership!
I took this photo on Main Street ...
To the Editor on May 10:
I was not sure if you were interested, but I took this photo on Saturday, May 6th when I was traveling down Main Street in Montour Falls.
I thought it was pretty cool to see the Mayor of Montour Falls, Jim Ryan (center of photo), working right beside people to keep the town looking its best!
Law Enforcement Memorial service set
To the Editor on May 4:
The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office's fourth annual Law Enforcement Memorial Day Service will be held Monday, May 15th beginning at 11 a.m. in front of the Michael J. Maloney Public Safety Building on 10th Street in Watkins Glen.
In 1962 John F. Kennedy signed a declaration proclaiming May 15th as Peace Officer’s Memorial Day, a day set apart to honor our members of law enforcement who have fallen in the line of duty. Our service honors those from our agency and other local departments who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. It also includes those members who have died while in service to our communities, and this year will also honor those retirees who have departed since our last memorial service.
This service is open to the public as a reminder of the sacrifices that our men and woman give and have given to serve and protect our area. For added information call Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Michael J. Kelly at 607-220-7873.
Schuyler County Sheriff's Office
Library strategic planning under way
To the Editor on May 4:
The Watkins Glen Public Library is undergoing its first strategic planning process since before the pandemic. Information collected will shape the future of library services in Schuyler County. This process includes an informal survey, conversations with community stakeholders, and small focus groups.
One of the early steps in strategic planning is to conduct a survey of residents in the Watkins Glen Central School District and surrounding areas. Although the library is chartered to serve the WGCSD population, its patron base extends beyond that.
This process allows the library to highlight programs and services the community might not know about. For example, the WGPL has a Telehealth Kit available for checkout. The kit was provided by the South Central Regional Library Council and the National Library of Medicine. The kit includes a Chromebook, headset, Wi-Fi hotspot, and information on local virtual support groups.
New features at the WGPL include a Play and Learn Corner that encourages imagination play and the development of fine motor skills. Staff now offer Sensory Storytimes by appointment to address the needs of neurodiverse children who may become overstimulated in large groups. The library has a variety of educational resource kits for checkout ranging from mathematics to reading. Other initiatives include a Cookbook Club, mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, Seed Library, and a bi-monthly Art Club. Thanks to the Digital Justice 4 Disability Justice project, the WGPL has new accessibility tools including a handheld magnifier and a Bluetooth Large Print keyboard.
The first goal in the strategic planning process is to identify programs, services, and collections that are most successful and how to strengthen them. The second goal is to identify gaps in services that should be a focus over the next few years. The third goal is to reach non-users and determine why they do not use the public library. This data is then used to develop a framework with tangible objectives that library staff and trustees strive to meet.
Whether or not you are a library user, consider taking the WGPL Strategic Planning Survey found here: https://forms.gle/AUQFRsf934FyUgWH7.
The anonymous survey is also available on the library’s website, Facebook page, and in paper format. You may even spot the QR code on a drink coaster the next time you dine out in Schuyler County!
See all of the library’s upcoming events and subscribe to the monthly newsletter at watkinsglenlibrary.org.
Watkins Glen Public Library
Hometown Heroes to honor Vietnam vets
To the Editor on April 24:
We are proud to announce that this year, being the 50th anniversary of the Paris Peace Accord, we pay special honor to our local Vietnam Era Veterans and their families for their service. Thirty-nine Vietnam Era Veterans banners will line both sides of Fourth Street from Decatur Street east to the canal bridge. We want to remember these local veterans who served during the Vietnam Era (1955-1975), one of America's longest conflicts.
The Watkins Glen Hometown Heroes Banner Program is open to any Honorably Discharged Veteran who has resided in the village or who has attended the Watkins Glen School District. Currently there are 152 veterans banners representing peace and war-time service from the Civil War to present day. The banners can be found on First, Fourth, Ninth, Tenth, Twelfth, and Decatur streets within the village of Watkins Glen.
The Watkins Glen Hometown Heroes Banner Program is fortunate to be sponsored by SHOC (Schuyler County Housing Authority); the Watkins Glen Post 555 American Legion, which generously donated funds toward the purchase of pole bracket hardware with which to hang the banners; the Village of Watkins Glen mayors, trustees, and Electric Department who have supported the program and installed the banners and hardware for the past five years; the Schuyler County VA office staff, which has provided yearly application support; as well as the many private citizens’ donations. The Watkins Glen Hometown Heroes Banner Program Committee appreciates all for their support.
We are locals honoring, saluting and remembering our local veterans.
Watkins Glen Hometown Heroes Banner Committee
An update on Watkins Glen projects
To the Editor on April 23:
Watkins Glen Mayor Laurie DeNardo and the Village Board submitted this message to the community.
First and foremost, thank you for the support of our residents, businesses and community leaders. We remain committed to working for the benefit of the wonderful Village of Watkins Glen. In the first month in office, Trustees Carson, Cherock, Woodworth and Schimizzi and I have been busy settling in. My goal is to provide updates on what’s happening in the Village and to keep you all informed, especially for those who cannot attend meetings.
We continue to work to reconnect our video and sound equipment to allow for live broadcasting of all village meetings. We now have county animal control services in the Village to allow our already busy law enforcement to focus on community safety. This will be the first year the Summer Recreation Program will be back after many years to provide a wonderful program for our county children. You will start to see the beginning of one of the final Downtown Revitalization Initiatives come to fruition with LaFayette Park improvements and four new gateways as you enter the Village. We expect completion by fall 2023. Our very critical water system improvements are underway as you will note preparation of the property just north of the current water plant off of Steuben Street. Much more to come on these long-overdue water enhancements.
Other initiatives that I’m working towards with the Board: Enhancements to become a Clean Energy Community; Village Arborist to educate us and save our trees; updated zoning laws and regulations to protect us from illegal businesses; additional housing; working with the New York Power Authority on Village electric for the future; ADA compliance which never should be a question; new ADA playground in Clute Park; finalizing the updated street laws that are very outdated; seeking younger generations to get involved, and much more. There’s a lot happening and we are here to keep you informed, listen and do our best to pursue reasonable and timely solutions.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve the best community, Watkins Glen.
Mayor Laurie DeNardo and Village Board
Help keep our crews ... and you ... safe
To the Editor on April 19:
The weather breaking means construction workers are out building projects that enhance our community. Which means it’s time to discuss how you can work with us to keep crews and motorists safe.
But first, I want to discuss why we need to keep each other safe.
Did you know that, nationally, in 2020, there were roughly 102,000 work zone crashes? And those crashes resulted in roughly 44,000 work zone injuries? Or that there were 857 work zone-related deaths, 156 of those involving a pedestrian?
Not only that, but crashes through a construction project often go under-reported.
It unfortunately needs to be said that our crews are out along the roadway to ensure our transportation network is operating safely and efficiently. Our crews are not there to inconvenience you.
So we’re asking that you work with us as construction season begins. Below are the ways you can play a part to ensure you and workers get home safely each day:
--Slow Down in work zones. Work zones may have slower speed limits than usual.
--Move Over as much as you can. To implement necessary enhancements, crews need to be in the roadway which puts them at greater risk of injury. Moving over as much as you safely can helps keep everyone safe.
--Pay Attention. Distracted driving is on the rise and puts both motorists and construction crews in danger. Put your phone down when driving -- period.
A community is safe when our transportation network is safe, and that is what our crews dedicate their lives to.
I’m hoping you will work with us to keep everyone safe this construction season..
Eyesore needs to be addressed
To the Editor on April 19:
Can someone research the horrific eyesore of a building located on the corner of Franklin and 11th St. in Watkins Glen? Not only is it unfinished but it’s guarded by a decrepit fence and is a complete distraction from the beauty of the State Park and surrounding area.
I’ve heard several "reasons" why this building is still not finished but it would be nice to know the actual facts. I’m tempted to hang my own sign on the fence with the words “FIX it or TEAR it DOWN.” Several business owners have voiced their concern on this matter.
This is an outrage and needs to be addressed by one of our local officials.
To whoever stole my flowers ...
To the Editor on April 16:
I have spent the last four years being the target of someone's antics. The icing on the cake came a day and half ago. I went to my outdoor enclosure that had a lock and housed the flowers overwintering for the Memorial garden for my late husband. To my surprise, many were gone. I know critters eat plants all the time; I just never had them eat container and all. (I don't have goats.)
In your defense, you didn't know they were for a memorial garden; in my defense, they were behind a lock!
So to the person or persons responsible for this and all the other crap you've put me through since 1/16/2019, please crawl back under the rock you came from!!!! Or here's an idea: Take all the time and energy that you're using to make mine hell, and do something productive; help out humanity!
P.S.: Enjoy the carnations and other flowers.
Tobacco: Not an equal opportunity killer
To the Editor on April 16:
Even though the smoking rate in New York State has steadily declined in the past decade, smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease. And cigarettes are not an equal opportunity killer. New Yorkers with the least education and income are more likely to smoke than those with higher income and education.
There are many factors that contribute to this, and exposure to tobacco marketing is one of them. Did you know that the number of tobacco retailers is typically higher in low-income neighborhoods than in higher-income neighborhoods? The more tobacco retailers there are, the more exposure residents have to tobacco marketing. The more exposure to tobacco marketing, the more likely youth will start smoking, adult smokers will experience more cravings and impulse buying, and people trying to quit will be less successful.
Local municipalities have the authority to place restrictions on the sale of tobacco products, including decisions related to the type and location of stores that sell tobacco products. Learn more by visiting www.tobaccofreenys.org or contacting the Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition at (607)737-2858.
Our young people have seen enough
To the Editor on April 14:
It's time to recognize what tobacco companies have in store for kids. Each day in New York State the tobacco industry spends over a half-million dollars to market its products -- and 90 percent of it is devoted to in-store advertising.
To successfully recruit new young smokers and keep as many current smokers as possible, tobacco companies need to keep their deadly products affordable, accessible and attractive. Bright colors behind the counter. Large signs with special pricing. Rows and rows of cigarettes. Maybe you've never noticed them - but our children definitely have.
Young people are almost twice as likely as adults to recall tobacco advertising, and it makes them more likely to smoke. In-store advertising near schools and in low-income neighborhoods is particularly effective. The bottom line is, tobacco marketing is literally in the face of those most vulnerable to it.
Our kids have seen enough. It's time to take action and get tobacco out of sight in stores. Visit www.seenenoughtobacco.org or contact the Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition at (607)737-2858 to learn how you can take action.
Ward Brower, MSED
Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD)
A disservice to the Town of Hector
To the Editor on April 12:
The Town of Hector faces a number of land use challenges. They include: commercialization of the route 414 Scenic Byway; the incursion of nighttime entertainment venues into formerly residential neighborhoods; housing developments on steep slopes; fragmentation of the agricultural land base by low-density residential development; and the ever-present threat of some proposed regional-scale industrial facility such as neighboring communities have experienced. None of these issues is yet at a crisis stage, but there are many communities around the country that waited too long to manage their growth and came to regret it. Hector doesn’t need to be one of them.
Over the years several citizen-initiated efforts have helped Hector prepare for the future, resulting in a scenic byway designation, a comprehensive plan, a waterfront development plan, and other measures. Currently, the Sustainability Committee is focused on making Hector a climate-smart community.
One of the most significant recent efforts has been the development of a proposed zoning ordinance drafted by a Planning Committee composed of citizens appointed by the Town Board. Predictably this has met with significant opposition, but the committee (since disbanded) listened to the concerns and revised the proposed zoning bylaw accordingly. Key to the effort has been the even-handed leadership of former Town Supervisors Alvin White and Justin Boyette, who patiently listened to all sides of the issue.
Regrettably, the current Hector Town Board and new Supervisor John White seem to have brought the process to a screeching halt. This is a disservice to the town. Good leaders don’t hide from thorny issues, they bring people together, bridge divides and move forward. That’s the approach taken by previous Hector Town Boards, and that’s what we need from the current board.
Charles J. Fausold
Thanks to all who helped with Egg Hunt
To the Editor on April 10:
It takes a Village ...
This past Saturday Cabins to Castles Real Estate hosted the 7th Annual Easter Egg Hunt in Lafayette Park. Good weather contributed to another large turnout of families!
The amount of help that went into the event through donations and volunteerism was amazing this year. The Village of Watkins Glen Fire Department and Watkins Glen Police Department stepped in again to help escort the Easter Bunny to the park. The Watkins Glen Public Library generously donated their time and crafts to share with children who attended the hunt. Tom Strong has generously donated his time each year to MC the event and play music for the children. The Village of Watkins Glen donated the use of Lafayette Park. Barber and Bower farms donated all the straw that was used to hide the eggs. Eldridge Park donated free ride tickets for the hunt and Texas Roadhouse Ithaca graciously donated free kid meal coupons. The community as a whole stepped in and donated eggs and candy towards the 6,000 Easter eggs that were filled.
Thank you to Mayor DeNardo for helping at the hunt, our Easter Bunny Curt Parrish, and the Kelce-Brooks family for their financial donation. And to the Cabins to Castles team who filled eggs, set up and took down at the park, and put in endless hours of work to prepare.
A huge thank you to everyone who donated and volunteered their time to bring smiles to our local children. “It takes a Village to raise a child” ... I encourage everyone to promote and create events for our children in the community!
Lic. R.E. Broker/Owner
Cabins to Castles on Seneca Real Estate
I would like to thank the village residents, family and friends -- both in the community and outside the village -- local businesses and others I may have missed, who supported me in the recent campaign for Mayor. Many thanks, also, to those I have spoken with since the election, for their appreciation and support for me in my term as Deputy Mayor. A special thank you to Bob Carson, who was a big supporter and someone I enjoyed working with on the Board.
Sincere congratulations to Pete Cherock and Margaret Schimizzi, the new Board members, who I know will bring some needed integrity to the Board, and who I know will continue my focus on the Village residents as a priority.
God bless the Village of Watkins Glen.
By all means, keep it 'quaint & charming'
To the Editor on March 19:
In regards to the upcoming Village election and to whichever candidate wins the position of Mayor, please, let’s really take a look as to how to keep our village as charming and quaint as you both have stated.
What exactly is quaint and charming? Is it having plenty of trash cans on Franklin near the State Park entrance so the visitors have a place to dispose of their take-out containers? Maybe it’s Holiday decorations that look like they came out of a thrift store? Or is the quaint and charming the way homeowners take care of their properties? You know, the people who shovel their snow, mow their lawns (including the patch of grass between the sidewalk and the street), generally keep their property “up.”
Maybe figure out a way to keep the RVs and trucks hauling boat trailers off of Decatur and side streets, and more seating/picnic tables at Lafayette Park. That would definitely be “quaint and charming.”
And finally, who agreed to the final plan for the building on the corner of Franklin and 11th Street? That has to be the ugliest building I have ever seen and is far from being “quaint and charming.”
This is more than my two cents worth and with that being said, good luck to all the candidates, especially my sister Margaret and Peter Cherock.
DeNardo is the best choice for Mayor
To the Editor on March 17:
I am writing this letter in support of Trustee Laurie DeNardo as a candidate for the Village of Watkins Glen Mayor. It has been an honor to work closely with Laurie on the Board through numerous projects and sub-committees these last four and a half years as a Village Trustee. I have been grateful for this opportunity to serve our community, and though it is time for me to move on from an elected position, I am confident that Laurie, with her team of trustee candidates, Peter G. Cherock and Margaret Schimizzi, will provide strong, focused, community-centered leadership and work as a team with Trustee Carson for Watkins Glen.
There is so much to say about Laurie DeNardo and why she is the best choice for Village Mayor. Going into her eighth year as a Village Trustee, she has extensive knowledge about the needs of the people of our village, as well as what it takes to preserve the charm and history of the village. She is more informed about municipal law than any other candidate and what it takes to effect real change and/or preservation through legal steps and policy. Laurie cares deeply about all residents and there will be no hand-shake deals without fully informing the Board for decision-making. She is dedicated, focused, visionary, knowledgeable, articulate, caring, transparent, and ethical and tirelessly applies these traits to lead and care for our community.
Laurie’s willingness to collaborate with various agencies regionally and state-wide have resulted in numerous changes for our village -- many of which brought back to life those from our childhood memories. She was a member of the Village Board that collaborated with the county to receive the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Grant (DRI), which allowed for these vast improvements. Though the current Board was not involved in the initial grant and is somewhat less informed, Trustee DeNardo has readily kept us abreast of progress of the various projects. This collaborative effort with state and county is crucial to overall economic growth and infrastructure improvements. When delays have occurred or projects held up, she jumps in to assist with a resolution.
During these last seven months, the Village Board has been functioning without an Acting Mayor. All four Trustees have had to step up to work together to ensure that village business could carry on as usual, with all four of us bringing together the needs of our residents and staff. We have all stepped up in various capacities, but without Trustee DeNardo’s tireless efforts and global understanding of so many facets of the Village, including supporting our business office, it would not have been so easily done. Her approach is refreshing.
Trustee DeNardo’s extensive knowledge of municipal laws and resources as well as her expertise in human resources have been a true asset for the Village, both procedurally and fiscally. She demonstrates the skills necessary to stay focused on Village needs and lead a Board to be an active team coming from diverse perspectives. Please join me on Tuesday, March 21st, in voting for Laurie DeNardo as the next Mayor of Watkins Glen.
Village of Watkins Glen Trustee
Another Albany whim ...
So now we can’t be called the SENECAS. Does that mean the Albany committee will be renaming Seneca Lake too? I know it sounds ridiculous, but hey you never know?
What’s nextt ... Are we going to be told to take down the Squires Monument at the courthouse because the name “squire” was once a servant to a knight? Or maybe the Hon. William N. Ellison Schuyler County Courthouse and the Michael J. Maloney Public Safety Building will have to be renamed because it upsets some convicted felon. All three of these items are symbols of honor, respect, and pride in what they stand for in our community. Just like SENECAS.
We constituents pay the bill for these Albany whims with our numerous state taxes.. Politically appointed committees with their own private agendas are running rampant in Albany. It is basically the few telling the many how to live in your own backyard. (Don’t forget there’s a name for that type of decision making.) An appointed group telling an elected body what they can and can’t do in their own house doesn’t seem right to me.
I’d like to know what, if anything, the various unions within the educational environment (School Board Associations, Administrators Unions, Teacher Unions etc.) are doing about this continuing loss of local control. With all the dues monies that are paid, why not use some of those financial resources to fight these whims in court? If memory serves me correctly, I believe NYS Education Law lists one of the duties of an ELECTED Board of Education to set policy for their school district. Maybe a class action lawsuit might remind some Albany officials of that and alleviate some of these whims?
I realize our local educational leadership is NOT to blame for this situation, but there has to come a time to take a stand. Yes Albany controls the purse strings along with their unfunded mandates, but every now and then you just have to challenge government to be sure they are listening to the people who elected them. And the proper forum for that is our court system.
Remember ... From Ingenuity Comes Triumph!
I was saddened to learn that my alma mater, Watkins Glen High School, will soon no longer have the nickname "Senecas." I'm not confused as to why. I understand the why and the confusion and misunderstanding on both sides of the issue.
As an athlete, when I competed for Watkins Glen in sports, the names "Watkins Glen" and "Senecas" on my uniforms were reminders that my teammates and I weren't just competing and representing ourselves. We understood that by having "Watkins Glen" on the uniform, we were representing the community. Our wins were Watkins Glen's wins. The "Senecas" on our uniforms were a reminder of the great people who once inhabited the beautiful area. There was not a single ounce of disrespect toward the Seneca name, its meaning, or its origins by any of my teammates. We were paying homage.
I'll forever be a Watkins Glen Seneca. No state law will ever change that.
Moving forward, all I ask of those who will essentially be "the powers that be" when it comes to choosing a new nickname are two things:
1. Please do not choose a generic animal as the new nickname. No bucks, bobcats, coyotes, or bulldogs. Put some thought into this. The town has history. Lean on that history.
2. Consider the racing history of Watkins Glen in the nickname. There's a lot to work with there, both in terms of mascots and names. You likely won't land on something nobody else has, so I suggest Racers, Pacers, Pistons, and Crew (as in pit crew) to name a few. Mascots could range from drivers to cars, tires to oil cans, and even horses. And just looking around the country at other teams in the college and pro ranks that have these names, you should be able to get some ideas for some great logos.
To those in the community who are and will continue to be angry about the decision, I hear you. I understand you. Some of you know my father. You know we're going to have that conversation. I get it.
Anger will do nothing to help this situation. Embrace the change, even by trying to be part of it if possible. It'll be better for your heart, soul, and community in the long run.
But don't forget our past. Honor it, like my teammates and I honored the Seneca name.
Watkins Glen High School, Class of 1997
Winner of the 1996-97 Senecas Award
It is with great joy that you are invited to attend the Annual Easter Sonrise Service at the Watkins Glen State Park (pool entrance) Sunday, April 9 at 6:30 AM! This will be the 87th year that the Schuyler County Churches have joined together to greet the dawn on Easter morning. Pastor Mike Kelly will give the morning message.
Any and all singers are invited to sing in the choir. First rehearsal will be Sunday afternoon, March 19 at 3PM at the Montour Falls United Methodist Church. Music for our two anthems “What He’s Done” and “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death” will be available, along with a rehearsal CD.
Anyone who would like to sing, but can’t make the rehearsal should contact Kim Laursen at 607-857-5252. There will be 2 other rehearsals: Sunday April 5 at the Montour Methodist Church and at the park Saturday, April 8 at 3:30.
Bring your lawn chair (and a blanket) and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with singing and praise on Sunday, April 9 at dawn.
Board should, and must, be a team effort
To the Editor on March 14:
I am Lou Perazzini, currently Deputy Mayor of Watkins Glen, and I would be honored to be your next Mayor. On March 21, 2023 you will be voting for not only the new Mayor, but also for two seats on your new Village Board. This is a particularly important election for our Village. Experience as the Deputy Mayor will matter. I have been Deputy Mayor for four years, time when I was also a liaison to the Watkins Glen Police Department, Watkins Glen Fire Department, Watkins Glen Street Department and a Board Member of the JPC (new waste water treatment plant).
As a lifelong resident of the Village I have also, like many, been involved in other ways: Nearly twenty years with the the Watkins Glen Fire Department, forty years with the Watkins Glen Elks Club, and currently Festival Chairman/President of The Italian American Festival, on the Board of Directors with Spirit of Schuyler and on the Board of Directors WG/MF Rotary Club. I hope it is apparent from my involvement with these organizations that my dedication and commitment to this Village is for the benefit of its people and the community. My focus is on our Community.
For me, there is no “I” in Team. My opponent has often commended herself on accomplishments, without mentioning the other Trustees who have been involved in many of these accomplishments. The Board should, and must, be a Team effort, not an ego or power trip. Progress in the Village is not about any one of us. The Village Trustees have done their part in listening to concerns of our residents and getting things done, without requiring individual praise. Working together as a Village Board is very important to me--as a Team.
Our Village Police Department is exceptional. I will stay focused on the project of increasing Village Police presence so we can see Police Officers walking our streets.
The DRI projects were led by a Board member and two County representatives. Some have improved the appearance of the Village, but unfortunately others have been left as incomplete projects without good explanations at this time. These, of course, are a Village and residential concern. Future improvements to our Village need to have more control by the Village Board, and there needs to be better clarification between the County and the Village as to what is being done in our Village, with projects taken to completion.
Village growth and prosperity are good goals, but the quaintness and essence of our Village needs to remain. The Village residents come first! For example, one important issue that needs to be addressed is the need for reasonable and quality housing. What is more important to the growth and stability of this Village?
I have been going door to door and speaking with many residents face to face, answering their questions. and discussing concerns. I am also talking with many over the phone. This is the personal attention the residents of this Village deserve, and which I will continue as Mayor. How much better is it to speak “one on one” with them, than speaking to a television camera during a debate? I feel the village residents already know who I am and how I stand on many issues.
I encourage Village residents to contact me with any questions or concerns at 607.220.4918. or email me at email@example.com.
We can’t foresee all of the issues we will need to deal with in the next few years, but we know we can best face them if we do so together. Village residents have had the chance over the years to see how much I care for this village. I will use this love and appreciation of my hometown to work with this new Village Board that will be dedicated to the residents and their needs.
Together we can keep your Village as OUR Village. Please give me your vote.
Thank you for your support.
'Sense of community' seems to be fading
To the Editor on March 6:
One of the many reasons I chose to return to Watkins Glen two years ago to retire after being away for 41 years making a career for myself and raising a family, was the sense of community here. How we, as a community, look(ed) out for one another. That's how I remember it. Unfortunately, this "sense of community" seems to be fading away in this day and age in many places around the world.
The recent proposal to reclaim the playground property from the IMRRC for $62,500 when it was sold by the school district to them for $50,000 shows a profit to the IMRRC of $12,500. As I understand it the property was not developed as the IMRRC had originally intended. Whatever the reason for that is, I am not aware. I have not attended the meetings where that would have been discussed -- and that's on me.
I am feeling disheartened by the purchase price. Shouldn't the school district be supported, not profited from? I am concerned that the "sense of community" is fading here too. That would certainly be a shame. I am certainly in favor of the WGCS district reclaiming that property. However, I pray that all those involved with this transaction complete it in good conscience.
Our community is important to me
To the Editor on March 6:
As the Village of Watkins Glen nears an important election on March 21, 2023, I’m elated to be a candidate for Mayor. My 40 years of Human Resources Director experience at Cornell University afforded me the opportunity to lead people and develop several attributes that align with the role of mayor, some of which include: being a trained facilitator and conflict mediator, managing large budgets which include federal and state dollars, and serving on the university union negotiation and capital improvements teams.
I care and I listen.
Our community is incredibly important to me. Enhancing services to increase safety and secure funds for infrastructure for the future of our great village are at the forefront of my deliberations. Supporting our Police Services Unit while working with county and state officials on illegal business continues. When I see a problem, I work tirelessly to seek resolution.
I have the dedication and willingness to collaborate with various agencies regionally and state-wide that have resulted in numerous changes and improvements for the village (example, “Little Joe’s”). Throughout this collaboration, I have remained committed to doing what is best for the Village and its residents. I am a life-long resident of the community and care deeply about preserving its charm while improving infrastructure and promoting economic opportunities and growth. I am sensitive to the needs of all residents and immediately respond to all complaints and concerns that come to my attention, first researching while verifying the laws behind decisions, then communicating the facts clearly, yet with compassion for their concerns and needs.
The village will be faced with changes due to New York State mandates and we must be prepared. I have already begun discussions with the Electric Supervisor, School Superintendent (e-buses by 2035) and the NY Power Authority on the future of Village electric. Building a bipartisan Board that can work together and get work done is the only way to move forward. Listening to the public, aligning results that work for you are a priority, a few of which are: working with our team to secure grants to upgrade our water systems, requiring ADA compliance for all whether aging or disabled through direct oversight of our zoning and codes, preparing a compensation study for all staff levels to build on recruitment and succession planning, securing resources for additional long-term housing, bringing live recording back to all Village public meetings, partnering with our towns and county on issues that need to be addressed, including the Town of Dix water and fire concerns. Our village taxpayers cannot withstand paying for these services and maintenance.
Recently, I worked with our county officials to secure dog control in the Village at no cost to the taxpayers. This effort will not only allow the proper handling of dangerous situations, but free up the Police Agency to continue to keep us safe overall. I supported an additional full-time police officer to further advance this safety.
I have the village residents at heart, and my community is so important to me. I believe in giving back and have shown this commitment through my service on the Village Board for seven-plus years, as well as serving on Watkins Glen Promotions, Schuyler Health Foundation, and the Scenic Byway Boards, to name a few. Sustaining the quality of Watkins Glen through integrity, open communication, hard work and experience with fiscal accountability remains my mantra.
I would be humbled to continue to serve the Village of Watkins Glen as its next Mayor.
My team includes Peter G. Cherock and Margaret Schimizzi, who are committed to working together with Trustee Carson.
Please vote on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.
Thank you for your support.
Laurie Specchio DeNardo
Trio would work for community's benefit
To the Editor on March 6:
About the Watkins Glen vote on March 21st:
As I begin my 10th year serving our community on the Schuyler County Legislature, I appreciate the many elected officials, county employees and private citizens who through their combined efforts work to make our community a better place to live for all of us.
Particularly impressive are the citizens who volunteer in many ways, whether fundraising for local not-for-profits, serving as volunteer emergency responders, volunteering at local food pantries, or serving on boards and advisory boards for local community groups. All these activities involve giving back to our community.
And there are those of us who decide to go a step further, choose to run for office, to provide the stability and leadership required to create a stable and thriving government infrastructure. Laurie DeNardo has chosen that path, and over the last eight years has demonstrated her commitment to our community.
As the voters of the Village of Watkins Glen decide their path for the future, candidate for mayor Laurie DeNardo, and village trustee candidates Peter Cherock and Margaret Schimizzi, are running for office together. All three candidates share strong roots and involvement in our local community. I believe their decision to run together shows their dedication and commitment to work together, and that they can work together for the benefit of our entire community, reaching out to coordinate those efforts with the county and the state.
Schuyler County Legislator
About the former playground property ...
To the Editor on Feb. 24:
Contingent on voter approval, the Watkins Glen Central School District has agreed to pay $62,500.00 for a quarter acre of land it sold several years ago to the International Motor Racing Research Center. The vote takes place on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
A new kindergarten playground was built there in June of 1991. The entire project was funded by The Watkins Glen Community Playground Committee and built by volunteer labor. There was no cost to any taxpayers. Outdated equipment was replaced and provided an exceptional experience for the kindergarten wing of the school.
It is still unclear why the board of education at the time decided to sell the quarter acre parcel of land to the International Motor Racing Research Center for $50,000.00. Apparently, the Research Center’s intent was to utilize it for expansion of their facilities. It was a decision that was not well received by the community. And the expansion never took place.
Fast forward to now as the school wants to buy the quarter acre back for $62,500.00. I’m not sure where the asking price of $62,500.00 came from but it may be an independent appraisal. This is an increase of $12,500.00 for a parcel of land that has remained barren and unused, but which could have remained a kindergarten playground to this day.
The quarter acre is zoned as MDR (medium density residential). That delineation allows for a residential home, or medium density use such as a day care center, an art or dance studio, church or government use, some clubs, etc. It is not zoned for major commercial use. Information obtained from the county assessment office has the property listed with a total assessment value of $44,400.00 and a full market value of $52,200.00.
I still struggle with the fact that there was no good reason for the sale of the land to begin with. And the additional fact that the land remained unused for several years is an injustice to the hundreds of children who could have enjoyed the then existing playground. And I am reminded of it every time I drive down Decatur Street.
Veteran Historical Society plans book
To the Editor on Feb. 7:
We invite anyone interested in participating by submitting old / new black & white or color photographs of businesses and homes in the town. We also invite you to become a sponsor of the book -- contact us for details. The book will contain lots of photographs, interesting facts and folklore. The deadline for submissions of photos is May 1, 2023.
E-mail your photos to us at firstname.lastname@example.org; or mail them to the society's address: 777 Ridge Road, Horseheads, N.Y. 14845. You can also call us with questions regarding sponsorship.
Gloria Campbell 607-331-7333
Tim Rodabaugh 607-442-1370
Thanks to those who helped Seneca Santa
To the Editor on Feb. 6:
It was another amazingly successful year for 2022 Seneca Santa, Inc. A total of 246 children from 110 families were provided a wonderful gift package due to the generosity of so many.
First: Because of two Schuyler County natives, Mike Bond and John Compton, we were able to donate 80 bicycles and helmets to deserving children with the help of Jamis Bike Co. Mike selected Seneca Santa to benefit from his company’s non-profit organization that raised the necessary monies. John assembled the bicycles, and the office of Emergency Management (Kirk Smith and Jennifer Davis) with added support from Jason Kelly arranged the transport and delivery of the bicycles by the fire departments. Words cannot express the level of appreciation of this donation.
Second: Thanks to Bill Allington and Grist Iron Brewery for the annual fund raiser that provides the necessary monies to purchase products needed for the gift sacks. They provide a forum for a fun gathering while raising monies for Seneca Santa. We couldn’t do it without them.
Third: This community donated an incredible number of toys, books, puzzles, coloring books and various assorted items at the toy drop-off locations around the county. Thank you to the businesses that collected toys for us and thank you to everyone who donated toward this year’s package.
Fourth: A special mention of gratitude to Brandon VanHorn/The Glen Dairy Bar for, once again, donating gift cards. Thanks, too, to the students and athletic teams from the Watkins Glen School for unloading the truck carrying the main toys and for bagging the gifts for delivery. They add so much to the sense of community and volunteerism. Mary Coykendall and her Girl Scouts performed their magic wrapping the main gifts and have done so for years. And thanks to Kirk Smith and Jennifer Davis and the fire men and women who coordinate and deliver the gift packages.
Fifth: Personal thanks to Hesselson’s for their continued and on-going support, the Squires Alumni Association for a monetary donation, and to all the baggers and “station managers” (some of whom have been with me from the beginning of my tenure). They make a time-intensive program with so much work being done in the background come together and run like the well-oiled machine it has become.
The Seneca Santa program brings out the best in everyone and I am so grateful to play a small role in helping to provide the children of Schuyler County with a memorable Christmas. Thank you and God bless you always.
Time to add its founder to The Essentials
To the Editor and The Odessa File community on January 31:
When The Odessa File Essentials was established in 2018, it was described as a "compendium of outstanding Schuyler County individuals." The honorees were labeled as people who "impressed with their contributions -- historic, artistic and societal -- to Schuyler County over a wide swath of time. ... some among us who have made life a little better for the rest of us."
Since the first list was published, it has grown to include 32 people from the pages of history or who continue their commitment to trying to make life in Schuyler County "a little better."
It is time for the Essentials to include its founder -- Charlie Haeffner. Way past time.
Charlie, as you mark 20 years of giving us The Odessa File, honorees on your Essentials list want you to acknowledge your own contributions to life in Schuyler County and far beyond its borders.
Your exceptional reporting, noteworthy photographs and beautifully written columns have added a layer of communication to our lives envied by most communities. With no exaggeration, we can say that none of us on your Essentials have affected as many people as your Odessa File has for the last two decades.
You, Charlie, and your Odessa File are ESSENTIAL to our thriving Schuyler County community. And we insist that you put yourself on the list.
We're not as eloquent as you, but we respectfully submit this paragraph for your entry:
Charlie Haeffner: A long career in journalism prepared him to take the risk in 2002 to create a website that would report the news of Schuyler County. Twenty years later, The Odessa File -- free to all, but appreciative of paid advertising and donations -- is a vital resource for people across the county, former residents and untold numbers of family and friends around the globe. His commitment to the Schuyler County community is reflected in Odessa File news, sports and feature reporting, his outstanding photography and heartfelt personal columns. His talents also shine in his several published books and his passion for sports memorabilia.
Signed by 20 members of The Essentials.
Judy McKinney Cherry
Rev. Sheila Price
You single-handedly paved a new way
To the Editor on January 26:
Like you, I often to tend to procrastinate on things that aren't directly in my face. I had meant to send you a congratulatory note on hitting the 20-year mark with the Odessa File when it happened. Oh well, better late than never. It's a feat worth marking.
Like so many other people, I've long gone to the Odessa File to keep up with happenings in my hometown of Watkins Glen. I've appreciated the absence of a paywall and/or having to sign up for this or that in order to access the site.
However, I have a whole new level of appreciation for what you've done since I started teaching journalism at Coastal Carolina University (near Myrtle Beach, SC) last fall. As print publications have been disappearing or making drastic cutbacks, you single-handedly paved a new way in little Schuyler County. As I was discussing the transition in class one day, I realized that I had an "early adapter" to cite as an example in my hometown.
I don't know if you've been wildly successful from a financial perspective, but you've persevered for 20 years doing it your way. I can say unequivocally that you have succeeded journalistically, and for that I'm very grateful. Your efforts will be an example for 24 journalism students of community-based journalism done well in this internet age.
Please, keep up the good work.
Steve Rondinaro, MS
Dept. of Communications, Culture & Media
Coastal Carolina University
Thanks from the Garrison family
To the Editor on January 25:
The Garrison family would like to thank everyone for the support and best wishes given to Keyonna and our family over the last few weeks. There is a long list of many, many organizations and individuals that have reached out to us with kind words and generous donations! Individual Thank You’s are going out to each of you!
Special thanks to The Odessa-Montour Central School District, Greg Gavich and Family, Tracy Thompson and Family, The OM Varsity Girls Basketball Team (Go Grizzlies!), the many school districts OM Athletics plays (that went above and beyond in recognizing Keyonna) and the countless individuals that have reached out to us with gifts, food, visits and get-well wishes. We are very grateful and thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. We are truly blessed to be part of a community that has shown so much love!
You will be happy to hear that Keyonna is making great strides in her recovery, getting stronger every day and plans to be back in the game as soon as possible!
Best to you all.
Frank & Polly Garrison, Keyonna Garrison
and sisters Jocelyn, Sage, Nakiaha, Tassia, Autumn and Zuri
Elks Hoop Shoot District level update
To the Editor on January 23:
Just wanted to update you on the Elks District Level Hoop shoot competition held Saturday in Bath.
The District level contest is comprised of all the winners of the Watkins Glen, Horseheads, Elmira, Corning, Bath, Hornell, Wellsville and Olean competitions. All the kids did awesome again!
Cate Caslin won the 8/9 girls age group and Aaron Sutton won the 12/13 boys age group. Aaron again shot lights out, making 22 of 25 shots -- the best score of all the competitors in all age brackets.
Izzy Gomez-Fitzsimmons took 2nd place in the boys 10/11 age group, while Zion Tomlinson took 3rd in the 8/9 boys. Kathryn Planty took 3rd in the 10/11 girls, and Michaela Wheaton took 3rd in the 12/13 girls.
It was a pretty impressive showing for our small community. Cate and Aaron will continue on to the NYS West Regional Hoop Shoot which will be held in Lyons, NY on February 5th. We wish them continued success.
Watkins Glen Elks Lodge Hoop Shoot Director
Photo in text: From left, Zion Tomlinson, Cate Caslin, David Waite, Aaron Sutton, and Izzy Gomez-Fitzsimmons. (Photo provided)
Watkins Glen trophy recipients included, front from left, Allyson Oliver, Keira Ells, Izzy Gomez-Fitzsimmons, Lucas Schubmehl, Zion Tomlinson, and Catherine Caslin. Back, from left, Michaela Wheaton, Kathryn Planty, ES Principal Jeremy Leroux, David Waite, and Leon Lagramada. Missing: Dominic Lewis.
Elks Hoop Shoot contest held locally
To the Editor on Jan. 21:
We recently completed our local Hoop Shoot contest for the annual Elks Hoop Shoot, sponsored by the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge 1546. Students from Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour competed after preliminary shoots at their schools/communities.
The following competitors placed in their respective age categories:
8-9 yr. old girls: 1st - Catherine Caslin (WG), 12 of 25; 2nd - Sydnee McCormick (OM); 3rd - Zuri Garrison (OM).
10-11 yr. old girls: 1st - Kathryn Planty (WG); 2nd - Allyson Oliver (WG); 3rd - Keira Ells (WG).
12-13 yr. old girls: 1st - Michaela Wheaton (WG), 14 of 25; 2nd - Evvie Zinger (OM); 3rd - Vanessa Wood (OM).
8-9 yr. old boys: 1st - Zion Tomlinson (WG), 10 of 25; 2nd - Blake Sangprakarn (OM); 3rd - Seth Janke (OM).
10-11 yr. old boys: 1st - (after 2 tie-breaker rounds) Izzy Gomez-Fitzsimmons (WG), 11 of 25; 2nd - Lucas Schubmehl (WG); 3rd - Mason Smith (OM).
12-13 yr. old boys: 1st - Aaron Sutton (OM), 22 of 25 (one of the best scores we’ve had); 2nd - Dominic Lewis (WG); 3rd - Leon Lagramada (WG).
All winners of the respective age groups will now go on to compete in Bath at the District Level Hoop Shoot. Subsequent winners will go on to compete in the State, Regional, and then on to the National contest held in Chicago, Illinois, to determine a National Champion in each age category.
There are over 1 million kids who compete annually in the National Elks Hoop Shoot contest. The WG Elks Lodge would like to thank the WG and OM school districts for their continued support and assistance with the Hoop Shoot. We would also like to congratulate all the competitors on their success, and wish our winners good luck in their next round of competition.
Odessa-Montour trophy reccipients included, front from left, Blake Sangprakarn, Sydnee McCormick, Zuri Garrison, Seth Janke, Mason Smith, Evvie Zinger, Vanessa Wood, and Aaron Sutton. Back from left, Jen Signor, David Waite, and Jack McCauley.
You belong on the Essentials list
To the Editor on Jan. 16:
I agree with Dennis Morris.
I have said it before and I will say it again. You belong on the Essentials list! I agree100%.
You are amazing and provide a sense of community we wouldn’t otherwise have.
I am glad you printed that letter. I’m sure you considered not doing so.
You deserve all the accolades that go along with all the “trials and tribulations” you endure.
You are so appreciated.
Mid-Winter Vespers Service is set
To the Editor on Jan. 11:
If you enjoy getting Christmas gifts after Christmas, we have one for you! The Choir at the Odessa-Catharine United Methodist Church offers the gift of song at their Mid-Winter Vespers Service on Sunday evening, January 22, 2023 at 4:30 PM. The candlelight service is titled “Remembering Christmas” and will include lessons and carols and anthems celebrating the birth of Christ.
The Scripture lessons will be read by Mrs. Sue Sylhan, and the choir will be directed by Mrs. Kim Laursen, and accompanied by Ms. Beth Vann. Mrs. Alice Learn will also be reading as well as singing alto along with Emily Peckham and Jen Stevenson. Tenors are Jack Waltz, Pam Kelly, and Kim Messersmith. Wayne Shaffer will render the bass part, and the sopranos include three generations ranging from 20-something Alex Underdown, Dani Caldwell and Diane Karasevicz to nearly 90-years-young Betty Underdown.
Musical selections include “In the Bleak Mid-Winter,” “For Unto Us a Child is Born,” a lovely Scottish lullabye called “Baloo, Lammy,” “The Jesus Gift” and “Make My Life a Bethlehem.”
A free will offering will be taken, and all are invited to a reception in the fellowship hall immediately following the service.
We're honoring veterans with banners
To the Editor on Jan. 11:
Watkins Glen Hometown Heroes Banner Program Committee
Congratulations on 20 years of The Odessa File! I want to take this opportunity to thank you for 20 years of service to this community! With the demise of print media you have created a viable community bulletin board and a place where everyone in the county can feel like we are together, even during a pandemic.
I have often wondered why there are so few other communities that have such a vibrant web “newspaper.” After reflecting a bit it is clear to me that few communities have someone like you with the combination of a professional reporting background, and unmatched enthusiasm for the area which you adopted and adopted you. You are truly one of the “Essentials.”
Glen Gators Diving is recruiting
To the Editor on Jan. 2:
I was wondering if you could put in a write up about our Diving program. We are called Glen Gators Diving. We partner with Glen Gators Swimming. We started just over a year ago and are currently recruiting athletes!
Here is our mission statement:
"Our goal is to promote the physical and mental strength of athletes by enhancing their skill in the sport of diving! We aim to be competitive while also having fun! We teach good sportsmanship, safety on the diving board, and how to overcome fear. We have a family friendly environment, and encourage all people to try the sport of diving!"
Payment: Sessions go by month. One-month membership prices are as follow:
Beginner: 1x a week $85, 2x a week $100.
Advanced: 1x a week $100, 2x a week $125.
First Day Hike offers fresh start in 2023
To the Editor on Dec. 21:
Looking forward to a fresh start in 2023? Why not plan for something fun on New Year's Day!
Celebrate the new year in the outdoors with a First Day Hike at one of the many events across the state and nation. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) invite New Yorkers to kick off 2023 by participating in one of the many hikes being held at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, trails, and public lands across the Empire State.
The walks and hikes are family-friendly, and typically range from one to five miles depending on the location and conditions. The Friends of the Catharine Valley trail have planned an event starting at the Fairgrounds Lane entrance to the Catharine Valley Trail in Watkins Glen at 10 a.m. We will be raffling off an Empire Pass and handing out all kinds of swag to commemorate your First Day Hike.
Many New Yorkers thrive in winter and are eager for falling temperatures and consistent snowfalls. To these hardy adventurers, a few extra layers of gear combined with the snowy terrain of parklands is a winning recipe for fitness, togetherness, and outdoor fun. If you've never been on a First Day Hike, save the date and get out there!
Public Health Specialist
Schuyler County Public Health
Thanks to the Schuyler United Way
To the Editor on Nov. 15:
During the month of November, we reflect on that for which we are grateful. During this time of gratitude, we would like to express our thanks to The United Way of Schuyler County for their continued support of the Humane Society of Schuyler County. For over ten years their funding has enabled us to provide services to many residents and animals throughout our community.
Unlike many other United Way chapters, The United Way of Schuyler County is staffed by volunteers who work tirelessly to improve the lives of our residents and to better our community. While their work is largely in the background, The United Way funds 17 organizations whose work touches the lives of many in our community. The majority of every dollar donated is allocated to the work of these agencies, whether it be assisting the aging, children in need, at-risk youth, and other important programs.
As we enter this season of giving, we hope that you will take a moment to thank the dedicated volunteers of The United Way and consider making a donation to support their efforts.
Humane Society of Schuyler County
The Schuyler County Italian Festival Committee would like to publicly thank our financial supporters for this year’s Festival. Some of these have been with us for many years and we appreciate them so much. Without their help and support, we could not do what we do for you.
They include the Watkins Glen American Legion, Bobby K Entertainment, Bleachers Sports Bar, Captain Bill’s, Cargill Salt, Chemung Canal Bank, Community Bank, Damiani Wines, E.C. Cooper Insurance, Hunt Engineers, Jerlando’s Ristorante, John G. Ryan Distribution, Lakewoods Vineyards, Stewart P. Wilson Inc., US Salt, Visions Credit Union, Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, and Watkins Glen Supply.
We also receive help in other ways from the Village employees and our loyal volunteers who help with all the fun. We feel blessed to be able to put this together for the community and have the community support behind us that you have always shown.
Looking forward, Bleachers Bar & Grill will be hosting a buffet breakfast on Sunday, November 27 from 8-11 a.m, with proceeds to benefit the Italian Festival. Breakfast will include: scrambled eggs, French toast, bacon, sausage, homefries and danish. The cost is $12.
Next year’s Italian Festival will be August 11-13, 2023.
Schuyler County Italian Festival Committee
United Way thanks community
To the Editor on Nov. 7:
United Way of Schuyler County would like to say thank you to everyone that supported its annual campaign kick-off spaghetti dinner held Monday, October 10th at the Montour Moose Lodge. The dinner was held in memory and honor of Rick Evans, two-time co-chair with his wife Lydia Wickham and a tireless volunteer in our community.
With the help of Larry Scruggs and the Moose Lodge, we served 420 dinners in a few short hours. We would like to express our appreciation to those that made it happen:
The Moose Lodge and Larry Scruggs; board members Terri Orbin, Sarah Matthews, Mike Learn, Esther Heichel, Drew Guild, Aimee Churchill, John Franzese, Sharon Stadelmaier, Kai D’Alleva, Bill Yessman, Curt Connelly, Barb Connelly, Daryl Kelly, Stacy Woodworth, Roni Lewis, Fran Pierce, Jamie Rumsey, and Kyle Chedzoy; volunteers Kate Sirrine and Andrew Yessman; and 2022 campaign co-chair Theresa Butler.
Highest praise goes to those that bought tickets to the dinner, those that participated in the 50/50 drawing, and those that donated additional monies at the door.
We are a grass roots campaign that exists because of the generosity of individuals and small businesses, and a few corporate donations. All monies go to our friends and neighbors in Schuyler County.
You can contribute by sending donations to: United Way of Schuyler County, PO Box 270, Watkins Glen, NY 14891. You may also donate through our website: unitedwayschuyler.org. This year’s 2022 Campaign goal of $102,000 will help support 17 agencies that serve Schuyler County residents.
Thank you for your continued support. Please know that your “one gift works many ways.”
I question legislators' ambulance tactics
To the Editor on Nov. 3:
Regarding the October 27 article on New Ambulance Service for Schuyler County, in my opinion, while everyone can agree that the ambulance service could always be improved, the approach proposed by County Administrator Chronis seems to be an expensive, uncertain solution. While I respect and understand the legislature's goals to want to improve service, I would question their tactics as they move forward.
I would like to address some of the comments made by County Administrator Chronis. It is true that the Schuyler County Volunteer Ambulance Association (SCVAA) leases the land from the County for one dollar, but SCVAA does own and maintains the building with no help or compensation from the County (the County has provided very few resources to the existing service). The fact that the ambulance service has done so for more than fifty years speaks volumes of its commitment and dedication to the Schuyler County community. SCVAA continues to provide service to the community utilizing every means at its disposal. Administrator Chronis refers to this as a "supposed service," which is frankly insulting considering the achievements of the service to date.
It is also misleading to state that the organization is not volunteer-based; it has adapted to include more paid employees over time as the commitment to the EMS field requires more of a time commitment, but there are those of us who serve with no compensation (and we encourage community involvement). Schuyler Ambulance has not been immune to the volume and age of the EMS workforce available. It continues to try and remedy this with all tools at our disposal, and wish Cayuga Health System (CHS) the best as it attempts to work on this issue.
The comments made regarding response time seem to be made with little to no concern for accuracy: the response time from the EPCR for the event at the meeting of the candidates shows a four-minute response time from dispatch to a Paramedic on scene.
The future holds a lot of unknowns as the county has chosen an agency with much experience in the hospital setting, but no experience in the ambulance/transport business. It goes into the future arrangement with no EMT's or Paramedics on staff, and the county will be purchasing equipment at the taxpayers' expense and giving it to CHS after a period of time. Administrator Chronis's proposal takes away the main source of income for the SCVAA (from 911 calls and hospital transfers). The SCVAA intends to continue service, because we do hope that the strengths of the existing organization could be leveraged to help going forward.
Schuyler County Volunteer Ambulance Association
Here comes 'The Sound of Music': LCP musical set Nov. 4-6 in WGHS auditorium
To the Editor on Oct. 31:
It's that time of year again -- pumpkins, falling leaves and the Lake Country Players Fall Show! This year's production is a favorite of many -- Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music." Curtain goes up 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 4th for the first of four shows. The other three are Saturday, November 5 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and our traditional Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. November 6. There are four shows this year so that both of our casts of children each get to perform in two apiece! So many amazing kids auditioned that we double cast the seven VonTrapp children!
Casey Manzer-Smith of Corning is directing this gem set in pre-WW II Austria. Although the main character, Maria Rainer (Rachel Heselton-Corning), wants to be a nun, she is a bit too high-spirited for the convent. The Sisters Berthe (Jackie Osburne, Corning), Margaretta (Jennifer Kintz, Horseheads) and Sophia (Theresa Colomaio, Odessa) wonder how to solve a problem like Maria.
The Mother Abess (Nancy Kane, Cortland) sends her to be the governess for Captain VonTrapp (Matt Kelly, Montour Falls) and his seven children. At first, the children try to trick Maria into doing the wrong things, but they eventually grow to know and love her. Even 16-going-on-17 Leisl (Julianna Osburne, Corning and Mabel Kaufman, Hector), who gets caught in the rain after a secret tryst with her 17-going-on-18 boyfriend Rolf (Gavin Lewis, Watkins Glen, and Jack Muir, Watkins Glen) realizes that Maria wants only the best for the VonTrapp children.
The Captain's friend Max (Jack Carr, Cortland) is trying to convince Baroness Shrader (Anna-Beth Wheaton, Big Flats) to help him get the children to sing in the" Kaltzburg" Festival because he is so enchanted by their rendition of "So Long, Farewell" which Maria taught the children. Tension develops as the Nazi Germans are poised to take over Austria. Will the children sing in public against their father's wishes? Will Maria return to the Abbey and become a nun? What will happen to the patriotic Captain if the German Anschluss materializes? Come hear the beautiful sounds of music by the 14-voice nun's choir, directed by Kim Laursen, Montour Falls.
Amy Wysocki, Joan Kaufman, Katie Diliberto and Judy Fitcha are in charge of costuming this extravaganza, and Les Laursen, Dan Rounds and Jack Osburne have built the sets. The 37 members of the SOM cast invite you to come see the show at the Watkins Glen High School auditorium November 4-6. Business manager Jody Swarthout is managing ticket sales -- Adults $15, Seniors $12 and Students $8 at the door (cash or checks, please).
Photo in text: Cast members of the Lake Country Players' production of "The Sound of Music." (Photo provided)
Public understanding and feedback important in Ambulance Service plans
To the Editor on Oct. 21:
If you have been following the Schuyler County Legislative activities relative to Ambulance Service Plans, now is the time to voice any questions and participate as a member of the Schuyler County community.
As reported in the October 19th edition of the Review & Express, the Legislature approved a resolution at the regular meeting on September 11, 2022, to “create and fill one full-time emergency medical services coordinator position.” The article reported that the legislative resolution was necessary to enable the county to provide “operational support and expertise” to Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Health Systems relating to the legislature’s intention to “enter into a contract with Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Health Systems to provide ambulance services in the county.”
As a member of the Schuyler County community, I have wondered about absence of a Request for Proposal (RFP) and public hearings to allow for public understanding and input on these important decisions. Because no such contract for ambulance services has been in prior existence, there is no requirement of formal RFP and related public hearings by the county legislature. The absence of a requirement, however, does not preclude the county from practicing transparency and voluntarily offering opportunities for public understanding and feedback.
As community members, we all have a personal stake in the quality of public safety and emergency response, including ambulance response. In fact, you or a family member may be part of the current community response team through your participation in and or support of an existing ambulance service. It is important to have a full understanding of the impact of a contract, as proposed by the legislature, on current response teams and entities.
The article outlined the chronology of prior legislative activities and a summary of the proposals, including costs from: Cayuga Health System, Schuyler County, and the Schuyler County Volunteer Ambulance Association (SCVAA). I encourage readers to personally contact your legislative representative and to attend the next regularly scheduled legislative meeting at 6:30 p.m. on November 14, 2022. The rules for public engagement are published on the county website.
Gail M. Walker
Schuyler County Resident, Town of Hector
Thank you to Hackers & Wackers tourney players, workers and sponsors
To the Editor on Oct. 13:
The Hackers and Wackers golf tournament was held at the Watkins Glen Golf Course on Saturday, October 1st to benefit the United Way of Schuyler County. Thirteen teams and many local sponsors helped make this year's tournament a huge success. We raised over $10,000 this year. I’d like to say thank you to a few people who help make this tournament happen each year.
First is my amazing committee that works so hard each year to make this happen: Sarah Matthews, Esther Heichel, Mike Learn, Aimee Churchill, Lynne Cacciotti, and Jessica Smith. Without their hard work this tournament would never have happened. There have been many others over the 11 years we’ve been doing this tournament; I thank them all for their help. Jason Kelly and the Burdett Fire Department for cooking the hamburgers and hot dogs every year we’ve done this. Bleachers and Holy Cow who furnished dinners each year. The Watkins Glen Golf Course, Greg Coon and company for hosting our tournament each year.
A huge thank you to this year's sponsors:
Platinum Sponsors ($1,000): BMS Manufacturing (who’s donated a Platinum sponsorship every year), Seneca Sunrise Coffee, Cargill Watkins Glen
Gold Sponsors ($500): Nickel’s Pit BBQ, Sidle Insurance
Silver Sponsorship ($350): Aaron’s Heating & Air Conditioning
Bronze Sponsorship ($250): Veronica Rocchi, Stewart P Wilson, Inc., Aimee R Churchill, Esq., JG Franzese Ent, LLC. Franzese Real Estate, LLC. Franzese Disposal, LLC, RJCF Ent, LLC
Hole Sponsors ($100): Chicone Builders, Sarah Matthews, E.C. Cooper Insurance, Cabezas Engineering, PLC, Watkins Glen Sporting Goods, Fagan Engineers and Land Surveyors, Hale Roofing, Kathleen & Michael Amisano, Bleachers Sports Bar, Holy Cow, Welliver, Penn Yan Plumbing & Heating Supply, Famous Brands, Watkins Glen Lumber, Fingerlakes Distilling, LLC, Michael Learn, Schuyler Housing, Grist Iron Brewing Co., Stewart P Wilson, Inc.
Gift Sponsors: Carquest, Watkins Glen Promotions, Walmart, Lakewood Vineyards, Advanced Auto Supply WG, Glen Dairy Bar, Wags to Riches, Debbie Simpson, My Place, Perfect Cut Landscaping & Garden Center.
If I’ve missed any sponsors, thank you. I apologize for not keeping better track.
This was my 11th and final year running the tournament. It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. I want to personally thank everyone who’s donated, played, or helped along the way. I’m also happy to announce that Jessica Smith will be taking over the reins next year and ask that everyone please help Jessica continue the success we’ve had for so many years. And to please continue to support The United Way of Schuyler County in their work to help so many of our friends, family and neighbors in our community.
John G. Franzese
Perazzini announces run for Mayor of Watkins: 'I care about our community'
To the Editor on Sept. 30:
My name is Louis Perazzini and it is my privilege to announce that I am running for Mayor of the Village of Watkins Glen.
I am not running for personal reasons or self-importance, but rather because I truly love our village and its residents. I care about our community and I believe that our greatest legacy is what we leave behind for the next generation.
I have spent my entire life in service to the Village of Watkins and have always given back to the community from a young age -- from when I was with the Squires Drum and Bugle Corps at age 11 to my years as a volunteer with the Watkins Glen Fire Department. I now participate in the Rotary Club as a board member, Elks Club and Spirit of Schuyler. I am the President of the Italian American Festival committee and am involved with the church as a communicant at St. Mary’s.
I have served as Deputy Mayor for 3 1/2 years. Within two months of being a new Trustee and Deputy Mayor, we were able to switch the employees insurance to a consortium, something that could have been done by previous boards, to save the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars each year. We moved the Code Enforcer from rented office space we paid for, to unused space at the Village Hall -- which we own. I will continue to find ways to save the taxpayers money.
I came into office with a promise to start to fix our infrastructure. As a board member of the Joint Project Committee we oversaw the construction and start-up of the new wastewater treatment plant. We are in the process of a $21 million upgrade to our aging water system. We are doing this in phases and securing many grants as we go, so that we do not burden the taxpayers with tens of millions of dollars in debt as was done in the past.
As a former member of the fire department I understand the importance of a strong police and fire department to keep our community safe. I believe that we do not defund them but rather fund and support these departments. I believe that we have some of the best employees in all our departments and I respect and support them as there is no substitute for experience. As a former business owner, I understand how hard it is for small businesses and will always support them and the businesses that make up Watkins Glen and make it successful.
In closing, with the support of my wife, I would be honored if you would consider me for Mayor of the Village of Watkins Glen. I plan to run a clean and respectful campaign and would hope that others running would do the same. I will be out and about the next several months, so please feel free to ask questions. I am in my office every Friday morning from 9-10 -- so please stop by.
The need continues for United Way
To our dear friends and neighbors of Schuyler County, on Sept. 26:
The United Way of Schuyler County will begin its campaign year for 2022 on October 1st. This year’s campaign is for $102,000 to assist 17 agencies that serve Schuyler County residents.
United Way of Schuyler County is a total grass-roots effort. We do NOT benefit from tourism in the county, nor do we have many large corporations or businesses. We rely on donations from individuals, small businesses, and those that participate in payroll deduction through their employer/company.
We are grateful beyond words for the generosity that this community has shown for over seventy years. Although our state population continues to decline and many businesses have been forced to close, the need for United Way services continues to rise.
Our annual Hackers & Wackers Golf Tournament will be held October 1st at The Watkins Glen Golf Course. Please consider entering a team or sponsoring a hole in support.
Contact John Franzese at 607-481-1272.
Our annual spaghetti dinner will be held on Monday, October 10th at the Moose Lodge in Montour Falls. It will be drive-thru only from 4PM on. This year’s dinner is in memory and honor of Rick Evans. He, along with his wife Lydia Wickham, were co-chairs for the campaign years 2019 and 2020. They are known for their tireless support of several community non-profits. Please honor both by supporting this dinner.
Direct mailing solicitations will be sent out in October. If you would like to donate:
United Way of Schuyler County, PO Box 270, Watkins Glen, NY 14891,
With profound thanks,
We need people to volunteer for our
Fine Arts Boosters at Odessa-Montour
To the Odessa-Montour Community on Sept. 12:
Please consider joining the OMCS Fine Arts Boosters for our first meeting of the year: Tuesday, September 20th, at 6:30pm in the Jr/Sr High School, in room 310 (the chorus room).
The arts are a vital part of the OMCS community. As a teacher at O-M (and co-director of the spring musical), I listen to my students talk with enthusiasm about band, chorus, theater, and the visual arts. Every year I marvel at the amazing artwork lining the hallways for the year-end art shows. I beam with pride (and often tears!) during the musical. I applaud, in awe, for band and chorus concerts. Our students pour their hearts and souls into these pursuits, just as they do on the playing field and in the classroom, day after day.
Sadly, our arts program has shrunk in recent years, hobbled by both the pandemic and staffing turnovers in both the art and music departments, but we aren’t going to let that bring us down. We have several new staff members who, along with teachers who have been in the district for years, are eager to get your students on stage and backstage, behind the easel, and at the music stand. However, we cannot succeed in our endeavors without you.
The community is a key part of our artistic program’s success. You attend the art shows, the awards night, the concerts, and the musical. You volunteer at our fundraisers, or buy tickets for BBQs and breakfasts. You encourage your students to make art, in whatever medium their hearts desire. This is all vital, but we are asking you to help us build an even more successful program, and this will take a little more of your time and energy. We need people to volunteer for our Fine Arts Boosters. After recent staffing changes, our board has several unfilled positions, because, sadly, the entirety of our active membership, until fairly recently, was two or three staff members. Recently, it has been two or three staff members, plus a couple of parents (to whom we are so grateful!). This is not sustainable. We need parents, grandparents, alumni, and other community members to join us at our monthly meetings, to help ensure our students are able to have the programming they so richly deserve. We ask only an hour or two of your time, once a month for meetings and several other times throughout the year for our events, to provide the crucial assistance that will help our programs succeed. You don’t even need to make every single meeting! Your participation is entirely on your terms, but please know that any time you spend with us will be valued beyond measure, and we will endeavor not to waste that time you so generously give to us.
We hope to see you this Tuesday at 6:30 in the chorus room!
Your friend in the arts,
OMCS High School English Teacher
DeNardo announces run for Mayor of Watkins Glen: 'Our residents come first'
To the Editor on Sept. 12:
It is with great enthusiasm that I announce my candidacy for Mayor of the Village of Watkins Glen. I appreciate the incredible support I’ve received from our residents during the last few months and during the past seven+ years I’ve served as a Village Trustee and I’m counting on that support in my bid to become your next Mayor. Retiring from Cornell University with just shy of 40 years, I’m more than ready to work for the benefit of our residents and I’ll have the time to devote to this important position.
My experience with state and local governments have provided me with considerable fiscal wisdom, human resources management experience and capital project management, all of which have prepared me well for the role as Mayor. As the longest serving Village Trustee, I’ve seen and understand not only the complexities of the role of Mayor, but how a strong, transparent leader should lead. I’ve spent my entire life living in the Village and enjoy serving the community; my knowledge of our heritage and deep family history is always at the forefront of my deliberations. I am visionary, yet a pragmatic Trustee. Our residents come first, and I will continue to support initiatives that can secure a safe and prosperous future for us all.
Building a thoughtful, cohesive Board of Trustees, one that serves all our residents at the forefront of our priorities, is my first goal. In the coming months, I will continue to be available to residents and businesses to “hear you” as we approach the 2023 village elections in March. It is painfully apparent that we need an open, transparent, and ethical Board, including the Mayor, to serve the people of the Village of Watkins Glen. I will do all I can to ensure we listen to our residents and respond in a professional and caring manner, stressing honesty and fiscal accountability, and always looking to the future and the success of our community. I very much look forward to speaking to the many wonderful staff, residents, and business owners between now and election day on March 21, 2023.
I can be reached any time on my cell at 607.280.0243 or by email at TrusteeDenardo@watkinsglen.us.
Working for the People, I will ensure that you will be heard. This is our community ... let’s make it the best it can be!
Laurie Specchio DeNardo
Village of Watkins Glen Trustee
Coleman is NYS School Resource Officer of the Year, and we are lucky to have him
To the Editor on Sept. 3:
Good morning, sir. I was hoping you could do an article regarding Officer Jamie Coleman as he was awarded the NYS SRO of the year award! We are hoping to bring more awareness to the SRO programs. Attached are photos and the article I wrote on our Facebook page regarding Jamie and the award.
CONGRATULATIONS TO YOUR NEW YORK STATE SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER OF THE YEAR!
On Thursday, September 1, 2022 Officer Coleman -- the Watkins Glen School District School Resource Officer -- was recognized on the state level and received his award at the State of New York Police Juvenile Officers Association awards banquet in Syracuse.
Officer Coleman is a Watkins Glen Alumni who went on to graduate from Harvard University before graduation from Syracuse Medical School. Officer Coleman honorably served in the United States Army, climbing the ranks to Colonel, earning many medals and awards along the way. Officer Coleman spent a career in the medical field serving as a local family doctor here in Schuyler County before retiring a couple of years ago.
You can often find Officer Coleman greeting students and parents with a smile on his face at arrival and dismissal while he directs traffic. Officer Coleman is a positive role model that the students seek guidance and insight from. His leadership and commitment goes unmatched.
To say our community is lucky to have Officer Coleman would be an understatement. Our community and school district is safer, smarter, stronger and better off with him working in our community. We are proud of Officer Coleman for his commitment and dedication to our community and our Watkins Glen School District. Please join me on congratulating and recognizing Officer Coleman on being selected as the NYS School Resource Officer of the Year!.
Watkins Glen Police Dept.
Photo: SRO Jamie Coleman outside the Watkins Glen High School. (Provided)
Legislature should hold evening sessions
To the Editor on Aug. 31:
On August 30, 2022, I attended my first ever Schuyler County Legislative meeting, as I am retired and can attend 9 a.m. meetings. This time does not allow for many Schuyler County residents to attend due to work commitments. All other governmental groups in the county, i.e., Town Boards and Village Boards, hold meetings in the evenings to allow their constituents to attend. By having meetings in the evening, there is more transparency, and community members are better informed and are able to participate in their local governments.
Unfortunately, this was a very important meeting that will affect ALL residents of Schuyler County -- our ambulance services. Yes, this county legislature posted the information about this meeting on their website, but not all residents in our county have or can afford internet access. The majority of town and village boards will post important meeting information in our free papers in the county -- the Daily News and The Hi-Lites as they are aware of the lack of internet services in our community.
I would like to ask the Legislators to consider changing their meetings to the evening, instead of in the morning. This would allow for more transparency of government by allowing many in the community to attend and participate in our local government.
Please join us in voting for Max Della Pia
To the Editor on Aug. 13:
Our 23rd Congressional District was poorly served by our last House Representative. He resigned following a scandal with over 7 months remaining in his term, leaving us with no representation as he took a well-paying job in Washington,D.C., despite his public comments to serve out his term. Citizens of the 23rd deserve better.
How fortunate we are to now have a candidate with proven leadership, integrity, and commitment to duty. Max Della Pia, who pledged to defend the Constitution as he entered the U.S. Air Force Academy, built his career forming teams who worked together toward a common goal. His model of behavior has no allowance for those who seek to divide. Who better to help our nation come together and move forward? Max held command over an Airlift Wing in the Air Force, supervised multi-million dollar budgets, and retired after a 30-year career serving his country and honoring his pledge to our nation's Constitution. As a retired military officer, he is a gentleman who lives by the Honor Code of always being truthful
Max demonstrates his commitment to our community through his numerous volunteer activities, including Board President of the Racker Centers, church elder, and Chair of the Tioga County Democratic Committee.
Please join us in voting for Max in the Special Election to fill Tom Reed's unexpired term on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Consult your County Board of Elections for the dates and times of Early Voting. We will also be voting for Max in the November 8 general election.
We are neighbors and we are all in this together.
Town of Catharine, Schuyler County
Raise the Age law is at 'crisis level'
To the Editor on Aug. 12:
A lack of juvenile detention facilities for teenagers charged with violent crimes under New York’s “Raise the Age” (RTA) law has reached a crisis level, often forcing counties to release the accused into the public and placing communities and children at risk.
That’s the finding of a statewide group of county officials and probation administrators, in a letter sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul on August 8.
As noted in the letter, the 2018 RTA law created a new “adolescent offender” status for 16-and 17-year-olds who commit a felony-level crime. Under the law, instead of being tried as adults and placed in jails, the most serious offenders could be sent to specialized secure detention facilities.
However, despite mandating that counties operate or have access to those facilities (which never existed before RTA), the scarcity of these state-certified facilities has led to “severely negative consequences,” for the public and the counties who administer the law.
“Today, counties either have to transport youth far from home while they await trial, or the youth remains free in their community after having been charged with serious crimes that include murder, attempted murder, rape, and robbery -- many of which included the use of guns,” the letter notes. “Both scenarios, which are common occurrences in many jurisdictions, are a direct result of the state not being fully prepared for this hastily implemented legislation and its mandate that counties be solely responsible for detention.
“When secure detention space is not available, the Adolescent Offender, which is often a high-risk individual alleged to have committed a serious and violent crime, is released to be supervised by the probation department.”
To help resolve this crisis, the county officials are urging Hochul to transition some of the closed Department of Correctional and Community Supervision facilities to accommodate the lack of specialized secure detention beds.
The county representatives also suggested that the state allow the Finger Lakes Consortium to open a specialized secure detention facility.
That consortium, created via a 2018 Intermunicipal Agreement, drafted by the Schuyler County Attorney’s office, looks to establish a not-for-profit local development corporation to develop and operate a joint detention facility under RTA. Counties that have joined -- or are looking to join -- the consortium are Allegany, Chemung, Cortland, Livingston, Cattaraugus, Wayne, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins and Yates. The counties previously contracted with John Treahy, of Treahy and Associates Consultation Services, an organization experienced in juvenile justice and child welfare issues, job coaching and staff training.
RTA was intended as a shift from punishing to rehabilitating teens charged with crimes. While in custody, the suspects would be eligible for a variety of case services and programs to divert them from offending again and give them access to treatment for addiction or other problems.
The “Raise the Age NY Campaign” believes the law will be more effective in preventing re-offenses. They cite a U.S. Center for Disease Control study that found youth who are tried in the adult criminal justice system are 34 percent more likely to commit future crimes than those who remain in the youth justice system.
A complete copy of the letter to Hochul, signed by representatives of the New York State Association of Counties, Council of Probation Administrators and County Executives’ Association can be found here: https://www.scribd.com/document/586422122/Raise-the-Age-letter-to-Gov-Hochul-2022-08-10 .
Steven J. Getman
Schuyler County Attorney
Scavenger hunt helps HEAL fight obesity
To the Editor on Aug. 10:
This year HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Living) Schuyler is partnering with the Montour Falls Library and the Schuyler County Historical Society to do a photo scavenger hunt all summer. The hunt kicked off in July. You can pick up scavenger hunt pamphlets at the Montour Falls Library, the Schuyler County Historical Society or on the HEAL Schuyler website.
Walk the two-mile loop in Montour Falls marked in the pamphlet. Then look around at each numbered location and label each picture with the corresponding number on the map. Each correct answer gets an entry into a drawing for the prize. Submit your completed pamphlets to the drop boxes at the Montour Falls Library and the Schuyler County Historical Society by September 26, 2022. The winner of the drawing will be announced in the HEAL Holiday newsletter. The $50 gift card prize is sponsored by our Choose HEALth Gold Eatery and Jerlando’s Ristorante and Pizza. For more information on the Scavenger Hunt, visit the HEAL Schuyler website. http://www.schuylercounty.us/heal
HEAL Schuyler is made up of agencies, businesses, and concerned community members within Schuyler County. We work together to help reduce the rate of obesity among people within our county. HEAL Schuyler supports environmental changes that promote healthier eating and active lives for the people of Schuyler County.
Schuyler County Public Health Specialist
I was honored to be a Grand Marshal
To the Editor on Aug. 7:
Thank you to the Committee of the Italian-American Festival for asking me to be one of their Grand Marshals for the 2022 Festival. It was a wonderful surprise, and I was humbled and honored to be asked. And it was especially nice to share the honor with Jimmy Scaptura, for whom I have so much respect.
The best compliment was the fact that I was recognized for my volunteer efforts in Schuyler County. My current work with United Way of Schuyler County, Seneca Santa, Inc., and the WGHS Alumni Association and all the volunteer ventures of the past were and are made possible by the many friends and volunteers who contribute their time and expertise on behalf of these organizations. Nothing would be possible without the support and help of so many other individuals, businesses, and organizations.
I am blessed to live in a community that appreciates the volunteers and the work they do. Thank you so very much.
Help Bryce with cards, letters of support
To the Editor on July 22:
Thursday marked three weeks since Bryce started the United States Naval Academy's Plebe Summer. Three more to go! It’s upsetting to see the number of students that have decided to separate from the Academy.
It would be wonderful if we could rally the community to send cards/letters/words of encouragement to Bryce in order to get him through the next three weeks. His address:
MIDN Bryce Kelly
I Company 17 Platoon
Annapolis, MD 21412
Several post offices will say that the address is incorrect and lacks a street address. This is the exact address. Student housing has its own zip code, so they might have to manually enter the information.
Bryce was accepted to three military academies: United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy, United States Military Academy (West Point).
He received two Congressional Nominations -- from Congressman Reed and Senator Gillibrand.
Also graduated with his associate’s degree from Corning Community College in May 2021, one month before graduating from high school, with a 4.0 GPA, Dean’s List.
He completed the 2021-2022 academic year at Rochester Institute of Technology in Mechanical Engineering with a 3.9 GPA, Dean’s List.
Son of Deborah Stayer Kelly, Montour Falls, and David Kelly Jr., Burdett, NY.
Deborah Anne Stayer Kelly
Photo in text: Bryce Kelly at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park in Alpine. (Photo by Nicole Long)
Thanks to those who helped on banquet
To the Editor on July 18:
The 95th annual Watkins Glen High School Alumni Banquet was held Saturday, June 25, 2022. There were approximately 252 buffet dinners served to an enthusiastic group of alumni, invited guests, spouses, friends, past faculty, prior and current scholarship recipients, and the 2022 Distinguished Alumni honoree, Kathleen A. (Warner) LaMoreaux from the class of 1967.
The Board of Directors would like to thank Famous Brands and Holy Cow for their assistance in selling tickets, Cim Terry and David Stratton for selling 50/50 raffle tickets at the door, Mark Edsall for graciously donating his 50/50 winnings back to the scholarship fund, Bleachers Sports Bar & Grill for an outstanding buffet dinner, and Lisa Bellavigna of LVB Images for taking pictures of the graduates.
Special recognition to Mary Berry, class of 1938, celebrating her 84th reunion, Vera Franzese, class of 1946, celebrating her 76th reunion, Nancy Yost, class of 1949, celebrating her 73rd reunion, and Betty Calhoun, class of 1950, celebrating her 72nd reunion. Special thanks to class contacts Nan Woodworth ’72, Nancy Harnas Dickerson ’71, Ann Specchio Ames ’52, Nick Paradiso ’57, and John Updyke ’61 for contacting and coordinating their classmates' attendance. We welcomed past faculty John Vona, Dan Teed, Doug Chamberlain, and John and Chris Updyke. We were especially pleased to have Watkins Glen High School Superintendent Kai D’Alleva and Watkins Glen High School Principal Kyle Colunio as invited guests.
A total of $12,000 in scholarships were awarded to six graduating seniors. Association scholarships: Anya Simpson $2,500, Connor Karius $1500, Noah Gardner $1500. Additional scholarships: Gavin Bond, $1500 in memory of Bill Paradiso, a former board member and scholarship committee member thanks to Kirra Franzese from Bill’s estate and an additional $500 from the Alumni Association; Andrew Hayes $2,000 in memory of Jean Argetsinger donated by Jean’s granddaughter Bree Argetsinger; and Jordanmarie Simpson $3,000 in memory of JoPat Paradiso Wright donated by her classmates from the class of 1961.
Personal thanks to a board of directors that can make what appears to be a chaotic situation turn into a wonderful event. This banquet provides a forum for everyone to get together -- prior and future graduates, spouses, friends, faculty and staff, classmates, and school mates. Loyal supporters attend every year to reconnect and reminisce. They appreciate and value the excellent small-town education they received and all the memories that went with it. Thanks to all of you for your support.
Peggy Doolittle Scott '70
Sheriff has public's well-being in mind
To the Editor on July 14:
Is it possible to post a message of appreciation to Sheriff Rumsey for attending our community forum which followed the regular monthly board meeting on 13 July 2022?
I would like to make it known that our Sheriff has the well-being of our constituents in mind and is eager to alleviate any public concern for their safety and the integrity of their community.
Norma J. Burris
Supervisor, Town of Orange
Let's work together to meet our needs
To the Editor on July 12:
Last night, I was given the authority as Deputy Mayor to assume the responsibilities of the Mayor of the Village of Watkins Glen until the next election. It is my honor to serve the residents of Watkins Glen in this capacity. I want to thank the many people who contacted me and gave me their support -- to fight for this position -- but especially fellow trustee Bob Carson.
As was mentioned last night by two village residents, it is time to move forward, stop the animosity, and bring peace and harmony back to our village. Moving forward, let us all get back on track to what is important and necessary to keep our Village thriving, prosperous and meeting the needs of the residents. It is my goal to enforce these tasks and bring our quaint and beautiful Village to one of “community togetherness” and a Village where its residents can be proud to live. Our Village is unique with all it has to offer, and it is time for residents to take pride in what we have.
I know these goals can be accomplished by all of us working together, especially by the strong Village Board we have: Bob Carson as a successful businessman and concerned resident for years; Nan Woodworth with her background of working with people and teaching; Laurie DeNardo, who brings experience. It is time to positively move forward and get Village business back to normal.
From this day forward, I am available to the residents of Watkins Glen for concerns, complaints and positive ideas that will benefit the Village and its businesses and residents. Hopefully we can address these issues and give them the attention they deserve. Please contact me through the Village website, or call and leave a message for me at 535-2736. Also I will be available at the Village Office every Friday morning from 9-10 a.m.
Club awards scholarships to 3 students
To the Editor on July 10:
The Ladies Wednesday Afternoon Club meets once a month, and its members are very interested in obtaining knowledge and staying current with everyday society. Because they value learning so much, each year they are proud to present scholarships to Schuyler County High School graduates who have worked hard and shown that they can succeed, and also plan on attending a college or trade school. This year the club will award $150 to each of the three Schuyler County schools, as follows:
The scholarship winner this year from Odessa-Montour Central School is Molly Heichel. Molly has overcome many challenges throughout her high school career. Her true passion is in the performing arts. She plans on attending Ithaca College to study performance arts/theater management.
The scholarship winner this year from Watkins Glen Central School is Jade Scaptura. Jade is a very hard working student, and plans to attend Keuka College in the fall, to study Forensic Lab.
This year’s scholarship winner from Bradford Central School is Joseph Nowicki. Joseph has remained consistent in his grades and effort each year. He will be attending Corning Community College in the fall and furthering his degree within Education/Physical Education.
The Ladies Wednesday Afternoon Club
Odessa VBS theme is a World Tour
To the Editor on July 8:
VBS is Coming!
Kids of all ages are invited to join the fun at this year’s Community Vacation Bible School July17-21 in Odessa. A free Bouncy House at the Odessa Methodist Church Saturday evening July 16 from 5-7PM will be available, too. Families are invited to dinner Sunday-Thursday nights at 5:30. Lessons, Music, Crafts and Recreation will follow until 7:30. Supper and crafts will be at the Odessa-Catharine United Methodist Church, skits and the opening music will be at the Odessa Wesleyan Church, and the culminating picnic and program will be at the Odessa Baptist Church on Thursday.
This year’s theme is a World Tour, and kids will get their passports stamped every night as we travel to Nepal in Asia, West Africa, Central Europe, and the Amazon Jungle of South America. There will be skits every night featuring the amazing Phileous Mist (a play on Phineas Fog ...) and his gal reporter Abigail Stix. Scripture stories and verses will be shared, and there will be a fund drive to help sponsor a well in Africa as a mission. Mark 16:14 will be our guiding verse: Go and tell the good news to all the world!”
Alyssa Bleiler McCray is organizing the crafts, Carol Stone is in charge of the kitchen, Loueda Bleiler will be helping to make music, and Pastor Mike Kelly will teach an adult class while Kim Laursen, Phil Watson, Kelly Bliss and Brian Bleiler will help coordinate classes of kids Pre-K through those just finishing fifth. Teens are welcome, and will be asked to help wherever needed!
For more information, please contact Kim Laursen, director, at 607-594-6565.
In the threat's wake, a summary of events
To the Editor on June 23:
The following waas sent to WGCSD Families and the School Community:
I hope this message finds you healthy and at ease that our community is supported by such a capable and responsive police force and first responders. This message will act as a summary about today’s events as District officials have recently concluded a debrief with law enforcement.
To begin, I want to make it very clear that at no point was any WGCSD student or staff member placed in harm's way during today’s events. There have been rumors of an active shooter. Those rumors are untrue. Today’s response to campus safety was a result of a threat. There was no actual violence on or around our campus.
This afternoon our high school main office received a threatening phone call, requiring our District to be placed in lockdown. All students and staff were then placed in safe locations as law enforcement quickly responded. Throughout this event, we utilized our mass communication system to keep families and staff up to date via text message. After clearing the building of the threat, all students on campus were dismissed. Staff were dismissed to their vehicles shortly after. After all staff were clear of the building our School Resource Officers did a thorough re-check and clear of our buildings with the assistance of the Schuyler County Sherriff’s Department, The New York State Police, and Steuben County SWAT.
Our campus will remain in lockdown until early tomorrow morning when our system can be cleared and reset by authorized personnel. By 6:00 AM on 6.24.22 our operations will return to business as usual as it relates to entering and exiting our facilities.
Special thanks to School Resource Officer Champion, School Resource Officer Coleman, The Watkins Glen Police Department, the teachers and staff of the Watkins Glen Central School District, and the responding members of the following agencies:
Though this is not the way we wanted to conclude our school year, I am grateful that we live in a community that surrounds and supports those in need, and we are excited to celebrate the graduation of an amazing group of seniors that continue to persevere.
Thank you for your continued support, patience, and understanding.
Watkins Glen Central School District
Superintendent of Schools
Messmer will be tough act to follow
To the Editor on June 11:
I was sorry to read that Gerry Messmer is not going to run for mayor of Odessa in 2023.
I think Gerry has done an excellent job as the mayor. His integrity, military experience and his leadership skills have brought many benefits to Odessa's table.
The last few years have been challenging for us all but our dedicated mayor stepped up to the plate, swung for the fence and in my opinion he hit it outta the park!
Please join me in saying thanks to Gerry for his service to the Village of Odessa. He will be a tough act to follow!
Gail E. Carpenter
You can help end elder abuse
To the Editor on June 10:
As our population is growing and aging, we know that a rising number of older persons are enduring abusive conditions, often not knowing where to turn. Older adults are vital, contributing members of American society and their abuse or neglect diminishes all of us. America has confronted and addressed the issues of child abuse and domestic violence, but, as a society, we have for too long looked away from the issue of elder abuse.
Approximately 260,000 older adults are victims of elder abuse each year in New York State, yet for every reported case, as many as 24 cases go unreported, making it a hidden tragedy.
The consequences of elder abuse are grave: older adults who are abused are twice as likely to be hospitalized, four times as likely to go into nursing homes, and three times as likely to die.
This month, the Offices for the Aging in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties join with their respective Department of Social Services and our wider community to raise awareness. More importantly, we ask that members of our community partner with us to identify and resolve abuse challenges of vulnerable elders.
What can you do? If you have concerns about older person’s needs, contact the Office for the Aging in your county at 1-866-221-7324 (this number gives access to all county OFAs) for a confidential discussion about the help that is available. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15, 2022. You can play a role locally in ending elder abuse!
Beth Stranges, Director, Chemung Co. Dept. of Aging and Long Term Care
Tammy Waite, Director, Schuyler Co. Office for the Aging
Patricia Baroody, Director, Steuben County Office for the Aging
Tickets are on sale for Alumni Banquet
To the Editor on June 1:
Tickets to the 95th Annual Watkins Glen High School Alumni Banquet, to be held Saturday, June 25 at 4:00PM at the Watkins Glen Community Center, are on sale until Thursday, June 23rd at Famous Brands and Holy Cow or by contacting Peggy Scott at 607-546-8268. Price is $25.00 and reservations are required.
Kate Warner LaMoreaux, Class of 1967, will be honored as the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award in the Fields of Athletic Coaching and Community Service. Graduating seniors will be awarded a minimum of $6,000 in scholarships. In addition, there will be 3 separate scholarships presented in honor/memory of JoPat Paradiso Wright, Jean Argetsinger, and Bill Paradiso. The banquet is presented by the WGHS Alumni Association. All are welcome. Please join us!
Peggy Doolittle Scott '70
We could use your help on the Chapel
To the Editor on May 27:
As many people know, and for those who have not yet heard, the Schuyler County Historical Society has acquired the Lawrence Chapel from the Chemung County Historical Society.
We were approached by the Chemung County Historical Society back in January 2021. After much thought, discussion and some apprehension, the board voted 10-2 to assume stewardship of the Chapel. Our hope was that by charging for weddings and other events, the Chapel would be able to sustain itself without imposing any additional financial burden on the Historical Society. We are in the process of applying to get the Lawrence Chapel on the National Register of Historic Places, which would allow us to pursue grant money to help with restoration and preservation.
The response from the community thus far has been very positive. We had about 75 people stop at our first open house in April. While we are figuring things out and working through the National Historic Register process, there is much to be done in preparation for the first wedding on June 25. Board members have been at the Chapel working on cleanup, but we could really use your help.
We are having a work bee on Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to noon and would welcome volunteers from the community. If you are unable to give your time, perhaps you’d consider making a small donation to help with needed improvements. Contact the Historical Society at (607) 535-9741.
The Schuyler County Historical Society Board of Trustees
Celebrating Dr. Norton's 100th birthday
To the Editor on May 21:
Here is a picture I took today of the “Broken Cookie Coffee Club” honoring Dr. Jim Norton on his 100th birthday, which occurred May 15.
Dr. Norton came to Schuyler County in 1950 following service in Japan for the U.S. Army where he served as an Army surgeon. Dr. Norton attended the Upstate Medical School in Syracuse and interned in New York City before entering the Army. He served his community as a hospital physician, a member of the school board, and as a public health official. He was instrumental in construction of the Schuyler County Hospital.
Pictured are (seated) Joy Hoffman, Dr. Norton, and Betty Vinty. Standing left to right: Dominic Franzese, Midge Franzese, Carl Blowers, Joan Argetsinger, Ted Marks, J.C. Argetsinger, Martha Pierce, Jack Walsh, and James Scaptura.
Mark P. Taylor
American Pickers looking for leads
To the Editor on May 13:
My name is Lynneisha Charles and I work with the TV show American Pickers on the History Channel. I am reaching out because our show is planning to return to New York this August. We're looking for leads throughout the state, specifically interesting characters with fascinating items and lots of them! The way we find people and collections for our show is through spreading the word far and wide so that people know we’re coming to town. We hope you can help us let your community know about our search!
We at American Pickers are still taking the pandemic very seriously and will follow all guidelines and protocols for safe filming outlined by the state. However, we are incredibly excited to continue connecting with the many collectors in the area to discuss their years of picking! If you feel it appropriate, we really hope you can help us let the people in your backyards know how eager we are to hear their stories!
Keep in mind, we are looking for different, unusual, and unique items -- something we’ve never seen before with an extraordinary story!
Collectors interested in being considered for the show should reach out to us by phone at (646) 493-2184 or email at AmericanPickers@cineflix.com. Be sure to include full name, city/state, contact information, and a brief description of the collection.
Also, please note that the Pickers only pick private collections, so NO stores, malls, flea markets, museums, auctions, businesses, or anything open to the public.
Caslin is committed to our community
To the Editor on May 15:
My name is Barbara Schimizzi. I am currently the Watkins Glen Central School District Board of Education president and am endorsing Keith Caslin for our school board.
I served on our BOE with Keith from 2015-2017. He helped me as a new board member navigate the education system and procedures. His prior board experience is an asset to our community. He helped himself and our district by taking part in classes from the NYS Department of Education to become a better leader.
Keith is committed to our community. He will put our students first and he values our administration, teachers and staff. Keith will listen and make decisions based on the best information available.
Please vote for Keith Caslin on Tuesday, May 17. Polls are open from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m. in the high school BOE room. Our annual budget vote is also scheduled for the same day. Thank you.
I am endorsing Bianco for School Board
To the Editor on May 13:
My name is Barbara Schimizzi. I am currenlty the Watkins Glen Central School District Board of Education President and am endorsing Craig Bianco for re-election to our BOE. Craig is completing his third year on our board.
Craig brings a level head, solid leadership and great listening skills to the board. I appreciate his advice and his point of view. He is a coach for his boys' sports teams and also mentors others on the teams.
This is a tough job to volunteer for, as it requires more responsibility than most people think. And for Craig to want to continue this work shows his compassion and character that we need to have.
Please vote Craig Bianco on Tuesday, May 17. Polling is from 12 noon-8 p.m. in the high school BOE room. Our annual budget vote is also scheduled for the same day. Thank you.
Re-elect Bianco to the WG School Board
To the Editor on May 13:
I am writing this letter as an endorsement for Craig Bianco to be re-elected to the Watkins Glen Central School District of Board of Education. I served on the board with Craig for two years of his three-year term. I always felt Craig was open to all ideas. He listened to what others had to offer, did his due diligence, and made his own decisions.
Craig always had the best interest of our students a top priority. He also worked well with our administration and staff to try and help keep a cohesive work environment. As you all know, the challenges he faced his first term on the BOE seemed, sometimes, unsurmountable. He had to deal with all the mandates required by the state (which most people are not aware of) and follow CDC and local Public Health guidelines, dwindling substitute teachers and staff, all due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This caused a lot of unrest for our district among administration, faculty, staff, students, and parents. Through it all he kept his composure and his integrity. I witnessed that firsthand.
Craig is honest, he is loyal to our school district, to our community and always to our taxpayers. He does his homework and comes to board meetings prepared and with questions. This past year he has served as your BOE Vice President.
Every BOE member brings their own unique pluses to the board. For me, Craig's plus from the get-go is his position as a Law Enforcement Officer. Just think, he could go into a classroom as an officer of the law and teach our students, age appropriate, safety measures on several things if the need arose. While doing this our students would know he is also a very important part of their school system. His position in law enforcement offered another upside: When confidential questions arose in an executive session, he was often able to share his knowledge and give us good advice.
I hope you will join me in voting for Craig Bianco for the WGBOE on Tuesday, May 17. Craig is #3 on the ballot.
Vote for Caslin in School Board election
To the Editor on May 12:
Keith Caslin is running for a seat on the Watkins Glen Board of Education. I served with Keith when he was previously on the school board. Keith came to the board without a personal agenda. He came for the students and the district.
Keith was always very well prepared for every single board meeting. I don’t believe a word in his packet went unread. He never hesitated to ask questions and always made sure he understood the hows and the whys of what he was voting on.
I believe, when possible, every BOE needs someone on their board familiar with situations involving our buildings and grounds. This can be anything from leaky roofs to asbestos abatement to new fields and facilities. This is a real challenge for some board members and to have a Keith on your board is a win for all. He is very well versed and educated in this area.
I think the thing that always impressed me the most about Keith as a board member, was his knowledge of finance. It was the most challenging thing for me, personally, to truly grasp when we were building our budget. He knew every line item and what it represented and would take the time to explain it to me in laymen’s terms so I could truly understand it. I cannot tell you how important it is to have someone with such expertise on your board.
Keith will be dedicated to our students and our taxpayers. He is very active in our community and will be a positive choice for the WGBOE. On May 17, vote Keith Caslin. He is #4 on the ballot.
I'll keep students' best interests at heart
To the Editor on May 12:
My name is Keith Caslin, and I am running for the Watkins Glen School Board. For those of you who do not know me, I have been a lifelong resident of Schuyler County and lived in the Watkins Glen School District other than the years that I spent away serving our country in the United States Military. I reside in the Town of Hector with my wife Melanie, and my children. Samuel is a freshman and Catherine is a third grader. My daughter Ashley who is now in graduate school also attended Watkins Glen Schools.
I have served as the Town Justice for the Town of Hector since 2019. I was recently named Deputy Coordinator of Emergency Management for Schuyler County. I have coached and volunteered for many youth teams including CVSA Soccer, Small Fry Football and AAU Basketball. During the Covid shutdown, I monitored and maintained an open gym in the middle school apartment complex for the youth of our district to stay active and engaged. I am a member of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club and hold a Board seat. I serve as Assistant Fire Chief of the Burdett Fire Department and am also Commander of the American Legion Watkins Glen Post.
I previously served on the Watkins Glen School Board from 2014-2017. During this time, I attended as many training classes as possible that were available to make me the most proficient Board member I could be. In 2017, I received the New York State School Board Association’s Board of Excellence Award for leadership development. To me, serving on the School Board was truly an honor to represent our students, teachers, staff, and the community. I believe you should always represent with an open mind, and not be afraid or timid to make difficult decisions even if it is unfavorable to some. My belief is to do what is best for our children and not have personal agendas.
During the pandemic, I watched the students, teachers and staff all rise to the occasion, and go above and beyond to keep our school district moving forward and the students engaged. The students, teachers and staff should be applauded for the sacrifices and the efforts that were displayed and proved nothing short of miraculous. Even during those difficult times, the best came out in people.
If I am fortunate enough to get elected to the Watkins Glen School Board again, I promise to first listen to our students, listen to the teachers, listen to the staff, and listen to our community. I will always be prepared and gather the appropriate information in advance to make an informed decision. I will always use my voice to stand up and fight for what is right. We are all in this together, and together we can make our school the one that stands “in a lovely valley nearing Seneca’s deep tide.” We have a wonderful school with dedicated teachers and staff, and you have my commitment to keep the students' best interests at heart.
After Reed, nothing will change
To the Editor on May 12:
Re: Reed resigns; urges end to 'political posturing'
It is doubtful that Tom Reed is going to be able to accomplish anything to dampen the extreme atmosphere in D.C. Joining a lobbying group run by Charles Black, who used to be partners with Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, gives me no confidence; quite the contrary.
Our congressional district continues to be poorly represented by personal agenda-driven politicians. Watch out, because there’s a good chance we will end up with Claudia Tenney next. Tenney will spend most of her time catering to the extreme right, instead of all of her constituents, and nothing will change.
I am committed to the School Board
To the Editor on May 11:
My name is Craig Bianco and I am seeking re-election to the Watkins Glen Central School Board of Education for an additional 3-year term. I have served on the Board of Education for the past 3 years, most recently as Vice President. As everyone knows, the past 2 years have been very trying times in the education world, causing the Board to face circumstances that have never before been considered. The staff at Watkins Glen Central School has done an amazing job at navigating through these unprecedented challenges, and our students have worked hard to develop and adapt, making themselves better students as a result.
Over the past 3 years, I have been committed to the BOE, and have proven the qualities that I have to bring to the table, including honesty, integrity, dedication and a willingness to listen to each and every person’s concerns. As both a parent and a taxpayer of the Watkins Glen School District, I am fully aware of the effects that the BOE’s decisions have on our community. As a parent, I am vested in the students of Watkins Glen and make decisions based on the best interests of our students and their future, while at the same time being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of our District. In addition, as a Law Enforcement Officer, I have had the opportunity to bring my knowledge from that profession into our school district. I have been able to apply that knowledge by serving as a member of the Safety Committee, which I have also done for the past 3 years.
My desire to help our youth learn and develop does not stop with the School Board. I am an active member of our community, as well as being very involved with youth sports, including coaching youth baseball. I am dedicated to our youth, to our taxpayers and to the Watkins Glen School District as a whole. I have served the BOE over the past 3 years with dedication and integrity and would like to continue my service to our school district.
Please consider casting your vote for Watkins Glen School Board for me, Craig Bianco, on May 17th. Voting will be open from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m. in the Watkins Glen High School BOE room.
STTAC ready to help communities
To the Editor on May 10:
Tobacco marketing at retail stores is effective in capturing the attention of young people and making them more likely to smoke. Every day, the tobacco industry spends more than half a million dollars in New York State to market its products, more than the amount spent to market junk food, soda, and alcohol combined.
Tobacco companies place most of their advertising where young people shop -- in convenience stores, where 75% of teens shop at least once per week. The more tobacco marketing kids see, the more likely they are to smoke.
There are steps local communities can take to prevent tobacco companies from attracting new users, such as limiting the number of tobacco retailers near schools and other child-friendly locations. According to the Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition (STTAC) 2021 Community Tobacco Survey, Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben county residents continue to support policies that would prohibit tobacco sales at stores located near schools.
STTAC is available to work with communities who wish to implement evidence-based solutions. Learn more by calling (607)737-2858.
Sarah Welch, MPH
Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition
No contact tracing; testing still important
To the Editor on May 3:
Despite the fervent hopes of all, we find that we are still living in a world where a single invisible waft of air bearing COVID can make a major difference in our lives. We have all come to know this virus a little, have had to put much on hold, and have felt the squeeze on many freedoms of which we have become accustomed. We have all had effects of either the illness caused by the virus, vaccine side effects or the same suffering in our loved ones.
Since the cloud of COVID may not settle as quickly as we would like, this may be a good time to discuss how we will be reacting to it currently. A change in managing COVID is that Public Health will no longer be doing case investigations and contact tracing for every case. So, you may not hear from Public Health or the New York State Contact Tracers if you test positive. This does not mean that our concern for you is gone. We, along with your health care provider, remain at the ready to help you should you test positive!
Testing remains important so we can all know when we can breathe a true sigh of relief! And, if you do test positive (sometimes testing for several days is needed), there is the option to be treated with an anti-viral medication to shorten the suffering and symptoms of COVID. This is especially important if you are immunocompromised or in a vulnerable group, by age or other chronic illness. Masking still does help reduce chances of getting COVID, as well as the flu. As people are un-masking, the flu numbers are rising! Besides masking, washing hands and staying home if you are ill, our best protection is vaccine! The next Covid Vaccine clinic here in Schuyler will be on May 17th at the Community Center from 3-5 p.m.
In the meantime, free test kits are available in two sites in Schuyler County. The first is the Human Services Complex (old Jamesway building) in Montour Falls at the entrance. The second is at the front desk at the Mill Creek Center at 106 S. Perry Street in Watkins Glen. Test kits will be available during regular business hours.
Public Health wants to give a shout-out to the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) here in the County, as they have provided crucial response assistance in running all the COVID clinics here. They were recognized nationally with an Honorable Mention for Community Response-COVID-19 Mission Specific Vaccination Efforts. This was for above-and-beyond efforts in getting the vaccine out to the community. The MRC was also recognized by Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for Schuyler’s successful story of regularly using these volunteers to achieve the success we have! Thank you to all our dedicated volunteers! You made the success happen.
So, please stay safe, and be kind and understanding. Schuyler County Public Health will always be here for you!
Nancy King, MD
Interim Director of Public Health
Girl Scout organizes cookie donation
To the Editor on April 24:
Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility recently received a donation of Girl Scout Cookies from Daisy Troop 40041 out of Dundee.
While selling cookies, Daisy Giselle Gaboriault (pictured at right) asked people if they would donate a box to the nursing home. That resulted in a total of 27 boxes.
The residents at the nursing home are grateful for Giselle’s generosity and thoughtfulness..
Michelle LaDue Benjamin
Executive Director of Community/
An Odessa tradition continues
To the Editor on April 17:
A long-lived Odessa tradition continued with an Easter Egg hunt on April 9 at the Schuyler County Veterans Park. The Odessa hunt has been in existence for decades, resumed now after a two-year hiatus due to Covid. The event was sponsored by the Odessa American Legion and Auxiliary Post 676, whose many volunteers worked diligently to ensure the survival of this timeless tradition.
The April 9 event was the passing of the torch, so to speak. This very special annual event had been led by Odessa’s own Glenn Larison since 1962. Anyone who has met Glenn just once knows how special he is. He has been a leader and servant for all in Schuyler County for his entire life. Glenn served on the Schuyler County Legislature, New York Association of Counties, New York Association of Conservation Districts, Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District Board, and the New York State Forest Practices Board -- all for many, many years.
Glenn not only served these organizations but was a true leader recognized for his due diligence, impartial decision making, and the good of those he represented. He would tell you first and foremost that all he accomplished wouldn’t be possible without his loving and supporting wife Pat.
Although Glenn has had many accomplishments, awards and achievements throughout his life, there are none that quite held the same spot in his heart as the Odessa Easter Egg Hunt. He always made sure to have as much community involvement in the event each year as possible. He knew the event could be successfully carried out with fewer people, but he knew the event was bigger than him or a small group. It was bigger than a one-day event. It was about community and it was the community’s event -- an event that he longed to see continue well past his time.
Glenn’s foresight led to the passion in individuals and groups like the Odessa American Legion and Auxiliary. There is nothing that has brought more of a smile and fulfillment to Glenn Larison than to see this valued tradition carry on. The jellybeans (60 pounds) for this year’s event were donated by William and Meghan Field of Odessa. They did this out of the kindness of their heart and on behalf of and for all the selflessness Glenn Larison has showed his community for decades.
That alone tells you what kind of person Glenn Larison is, and all he has meant to this community. Although the weather was less than ideal, nothing could dampen the spirits of the more than 50 area children who participated in the event.
Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District
Photo in text: Glenn Larison and the Easter Bunny (Photo provided)
Easter Egg Hunt a hit at Veterans Park
To the Editor on April 11:
In spite of the cold and wet weather, 50 kids enjoyed the Easter Egg Hunt at the Schuyler County Veterans' Memorial Park on Saturday, April 9th. The event was sponsored by American Legion Post 676 and its Auxiliary, of Odessa.
There were candy-filled eggs and bags of candy which were given to the youngsters rather than scattered throughout the grounds. Photographs with the Easter Bunny were part of the morning's events along with coloring pages. Five lucky children took home oversized chocolate Easter Bunnies.
The Odessa American Legion and Auxiliary appreciate the support of the community in making this event a success.
Photo in text: The Easter Bunny (Gary Chapin) and participant Danielle Nelson, who was helping the Auxiliary. (Photo provided)
Diane Bassette Nelson
Easter Sonrise Service set at park
To the Editor on April 11:
It is with great joy that we invite you to attend the Annual Easter Sonrise Service at the Watkins Glen State Park (pool entrance) on Sunday, April 17 at 6:23 AM!
This will be the 86th year that the Schuyler County Council of Churches has organized this greeting of the dawn on Easter morning. Pastor Mike Kelly will give the morning message.
Bring your lawn chair (and a blanket) and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus with singing and praise on Sunday, April 17 at dawn.
Watkins Summer Swim Lessons offered
To the Editor on March 30:
We are happy to announce that Watkins Glen Summer Swim Lessons will once again be offered at Watkins Glen High School this summer!
Learning how to swim is such an important part of a person's empowerment and safety; it also provides peace of mind to the parent or caregiver. Watkins Glen Summer Swim has been providing low-cost swim lessons to the community for over 30 years. It was made possible last year through donations from community organizations such as the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club, Watkins-Montour Lions Club, the Town of Hector, the Watkins Glen Village Marina, and The Elmira Community Foundation. Donations and grants from these groups are what allows us to keep our cost as low as possible from year to year.
We had such a great year last year and we look forward to another summer session! Please see below for more information on this year's session.
Location: Watkins Glen High School Pool
Dates: June 27-July 15, Monday through Friday. (No lesson on July 4th holiday)
Times: 7:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. in half-hour increments.
Who: Open to all.
-- 6 months to 3 years - Parent/Child Class;
3 years to 18 years - instructor led lessons based on participants' level and ability, using Red Cross Swim Lessons curriculum. We also can offer adult lessons if there is interest.
Cost: $30.00 per participant (Discount for anyone signing up more than 2 swimmers from the same family.)
Sign-Ups: Sign-Ups will open April 18. We will be utilizing a digital sign-up again this year. They will close June 3rd at midnight. A sign-up link will be available on the Watkins Glen Central School website on the open date of April 18.
We will also be looking for instructors and lifeguards this season as well. We offer a competitive pay rate, a great experience, and the opportunity to pass on the gift of water safety to the people of our community. If you are interested in applying, please email Nichole Chaffee at email@example.com.
If you have any questions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you!.
WGHS alumni banquet set for June 25
To the Editor on March 24:
The Watkins Glen High School Alumni Association will hold its annual alumni banquet on Saturday, June 25, 2022 at the Clute Park Community Center after a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Doors open at 4:00 p.m., program at 6:15 p.m., and buffet dinner by Bleachers at 7:00 p.m. with a cash bar available.
The annual alumni banquet is primarily a social event. The association was formed to provide a forum for classmates, school mates, friends, faculty, and staff to get together. With the declining number of COVID cases, we will not be using any social distancing or mask requirements. We ask that you use your best judgment on if you are comfortable attending.
We will be honoring the 50-year classes of 1970, 1971, and 1972 along with any graduates and friends from the past two years while highlighting the 5-year increment classes with years ending in 2’s and 7’s.
We will be recognizing and honoring Kathleen Warner LaMoreaux, class of 1967, as our Distinguished Alumni for 2022 in the fields of Athletic Coaching and Community Service.
Reservations will be required. Tickets purchased ahead will be held for you at the door the night of the banquet. You can send monies, $25 per person, with the class you wish to be seated with noted in the memo area of the check to: WGHS Alumni Association, 301 12th Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891 or to my home address: 3455 County Road 9, Burdett, NY 14818. Tickets will go on sale locally after Memorial Day weekend.
Membership in the association is not required but encouraged and appreciated. Please renew your membership or consider joining if you are not already a member. Monies are used to cover expenses involved for the banquet. The $25 fee can be sent to the same two addresses listed above. Make sure you note in the memo area of the check if it is for the banquet or for membership and the class you graduated with or the class you wish to be seated with for the banquet.
Please join us as we look forward to getting together again.Thank you.
Peggy Doolittle Scott '70
SCCUDD announces billboard contest
To the Editor on March 20:
The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking (SCCUDD) is holding its 2nd annual billboard contest for Schuyler County students’ grades 7 through 12. All students attending Odessa-Montour Central School, Watkins Glen Central School, and Bradford Central School are eligible, including homeschool students residing in Schuyler County.
The contest is for substance abuse prevention messages with a “Prom or Graduation” theme. The winning billboard will be displayed during the months of May and June 2022.
Billboards created must have a message that informs, persuades, or states facts about substance abuse pertaining to teens and graduation and/or prom. Topic substances could include marijuana, alcohol, nicotine/tobacco/vaping, and/or prescription drug abuse or illegal drug use and how it is harmful to youth. The message can be about one or all of these topics/substances.
Students are encouraged to look up facts and statistics and gain knowledge of why these substances are harmful to youth. Students are encouraged to be creative and think about a message that would reach youth. They are also encouraged to NOT use scare tactics.
Billboard ideas will need to be submitted by April 11, 2022. Those billboards that are accepted will be displayed on the SCCUDD Facebook page and be voted on by the public. Voting will begin on April 12 and end on April 15. The billboard with the most votes will be announced the following week.
The 2021 SCCUDD 7-12 Billboard contest winner was Matt Irwin, a 12th grade student and race car driver from Watkins Glen, whose billboard warned of the dangers of drinking and driving. It was displayed on Rte. 14 in Montour Falls from May-June last year
Information regarding contest rules or entry will be provided at each school’s Main office or people can contact SCCUDD directly at 607-535-8140.
SCCUDD Project Coordinator Ward Brower
Note: SCCUDD is a group of dedicated community members, businesses, and agencies that work to prevent, reduce, and delay the onset of substance use among Schuyler County youth by collaborating with our community partners, promoting prevention education and substance-free activities, and implementing environmental strategies. For more information, or to become involved, visit online at www.schuylercounty.us/sccudd, or follow SCCUDD on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Masks can come off, but remain optional
To the Editor on March 1:
As most of you are aware, Governor Hochul has announced that the school mask mandate will be lifted on Wednesday, March 2.
Here’s what that means for students, staff and visitors in Schuyler County schools:
--Students, staff and visitors will no longer be required to wear a face covering while in school or on school grounds, but may continue to wear a mask if they wish.
--Masks will no longer be required on school buses or at school-sponsored events, including sporting events.
--If a student or staff member tests positive for Covid-19, he or she will be required to wear a mask on the sixth through tenth day following the positive test result.
Parents are encouraged to monitor their child for symptoms and keep children who are sick at home. Any families needing at-home testing kits may call their child’s school to make arrangements to obtain tests.
If there is a surge in positive cases in the community, a mask mandate may once again be put into effect.
As always, we thank you for your support as we navigate these difficult times together. Our first priority is the health and safety of our students and staff.
If you have any questions, please call the school to speak with a nurse or the superintendent.
John Marshall, Superintendent Bradford CSD
Chris Wood, Superintendent Odessa-Montour CSD
Kai D’Alleva, Superintendent Watkins Glen CSD
Editor's Note: The following letter was sent by Barbara and Andrew Seubert of Burdett to the Hector Town Board in the wake of a town hall meeting regarding Hector zoning that attracted a large audience to the Burdett Fire Station/Village Hall. The Seuberts asked that the letter be shared here.
We both attended the recent Town Hall meeting at the Burdett Fire House and would like to begin by thanking the Board for all the work they have done in putting together a document that must meet a great number of needs, and to the folks who turned out to express their opinions. This is how our country is supposed to work.
We gave a good deal of thought to what we heard and saw and emerged with one clear impression: many residents believe that their freedoms and way of life in our area are being threatened. Almost immediately upon entering the room, we could feel that we were in a bit of a war zone.
For this reason, we believe that these meetings should begin with a reminder that we do, in fact, want the same thing: to preserve the natural beauty and a way of life that we’ve always enjoyed in this area. We should remember that it is only by working together, rather than making an enemy of the other, and being clear as to the true nature of the enemy (more about that later), that we can achieve what we all want.
To this point, we would also suggest that after this reminder, the meeting begin by addressing the specific points that are upsetting many residents, rather than beginning with almost a 1.5 hours PowerPoint presentation, which, although well done, was an obstacle at 7:00 in the evening. We were both moved by the palpable fear of many residents. These fears were very present and needed to be addressed sooner. This might not only release the tensions in the room, but might also pinpoint the specific information that residents needed. In other words, begin by letting the questions and concerns guide the presentation of the content.
For us, as retired psychotherapists, there was something missing in both the presentation and the responses. Two omissions to be specific.
The first is that in forgetting what we all want, we tend to go black or white, all or nothing. Too many regulations or no regulations at all. There must be a both/and, or we all lose.
There is a danger, as always in government, of over-regulating. That was the predominant fear in the room. We agree that we must always be cautious and somewhat vigilant in making sure that government has checks and balances. The problem, as we see it, is that any regulation becomes immediately and innately suspect, and that is a fear that needs reality-checking.
The human element, often driven by greed (a word never mentioned at the meeting) and power can infiltrate government, but can just as easily infiltrate places where there is no government. And this is the other enemy we must face. Without common sense regulations, our township can so easily be taken over by those who have enough money to do what they want if there are no guidelines nor any forethought about the future. Imagine the 414 corridor looking like the “miracle mile” in Elmira. “Guideline” might be a word that bears attention given that it’s positive in its intention.
We must protect our township and our way of life together, as a collaborative force. The all or nothing, either/or approach simply won’t work. It needs both. First, protection from rigid overregulating by making sure that regulators listen to residents and provide, not only special use permits, but a user-friendly process to achieve them. Secondly, we must protect our other flank from greed, from an opening to unlimited and unrestricted business enterprise. Both government and business are essentially good and necessary, but both need boundaries.
Barbara and Andrew Seubert
North Falls Road, Burdett
Libraries expand access to materials
To the Editor on Feb. 21:
Schuyler County libraries are providing more access to materials than ever before!
In collaboration with the Southern Tier Library System (STLS), patrons now have access to NEW books, movies, and audiobooks in 30 different libraries. The Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library (Odessa), the EB Pert Memorial Library (Hector), the Montour Falls Library, and the Watkins Glen Public Library are thrilled to offer greater access to the community. Previously, materials labeled as “new” were only available to circulate within Schuyler County. This program will increase the availability of new items, and wait times should be less.
Did you know that you can borrow e-books and audiobooks using your library card and the Libby App? STLS has recently partnered with the Finger Lakes Library System and the Pioneer Library System to expand your access to all three digital collections. Visit watkinsglenlibrary.org for instructions or stop by your local library today for more information.
Watkins Glen Public Library
St. James' continues Medical Mission
To the Editor on Feb. 1:
Because there is great medical need still present in Bequia, a small island in the West Indies, St. James’ Episcopal Church in Watkins Glen has once again sent money to the Friends of Bequia Hospital in memory of Dr. Blanche Borzell. In January 2022, Kate LaMoreaux, Sr. Warden, presented a check for $1,500 to John Barnard, President of the Friends of Bequia Hospital, to assist the Friends in the purchase of medical supplies.
Dr. Lugo, a Cuban physician, has served Bequia for the past two years as an outreach from Cuba. She was recently recalled to Cuba, having completed her two-year service, leaving the island with no residential doctor. To achieve medical care, one must take a ferry to neighboring St. Vincent, a nine-mile, 1 hour trip. Emergency and night-time evacuations are often provided by the nation’s Coast Guard.
In early April 2021, a series of volcanic eruptions on neighboring St. Vincent, the capital island of the small multi-island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, created increased financial and medical need. The water supply is rainwater collected from rooftops and stored in cisterns. The volcano’s eruptions necessitated the disconnection of downspouts as gutters were filled with ash that blanketed crops, trees, and houses. The Minister of Agriculture estimates the crop damage at $200 million. The Friends of Bequia Hospital imported water to provide safe and accessible drinking water.
In April 2021, many friends with Schuyler County connections contributed funds to St. James’ to assist in the needs of the island’s people. In April 2021, St. James’ was able to send $2,500 to the Grenadine Initiative which provides food and essential supplies to locals in need, and $2,500 to the Friends of Bequia Hospital. Our community’s generosity is a source for great thanksgiving here in Bequia. The mission is ongoing, and donations can be sent to: St. James’ Episcopal Church, 112 Sixth Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891, and marked Medical Mission.
Human Trafficking Prevention Month
To the Editor on Jan. 27:
January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month and Catholic Charities is asking for your help recognizing human trafficking in our local community.
Human trafficking is a crime involving the exploitation of someone for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. Human trafficking affects individuals across the world, including here in the United States, and is commonly regarded as one of the most pressing human rights issues of our time. Human trafficking affects every community in the United States across age, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away in a year. While trying to survive on the streets, youth are exposed to countless dangers, with an increased likelihood of substance abuse, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a vulnerability to being trafficked.
Locally, Catholic Charities, in partnership with the Schuyler County Youth Bureau, operates the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program and the Safe Harbour Program serving anyone 10-24 years old who has run away, is at risk of running away, or has been a victim of human trafficking. The local 24-hour hotline can be reached by calling or texting 607-742-9629 at any time. A website with resources and help can be found at: SafeHarbourHelp.org.
For more information, please visit the Catholic Charities website at cs-cc.org or call 607-535-2050 and speak with Sophie. If you believe you may have information about a potential trafficking situation, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
Catholic Charities of Chemung/Schuyler
The Montour festival, parade are back, and we can use your assistance with them
To the Editor on Jan. 23:
After two years on hold, the Montour Falls Fire Department is pleased to announce our Annual Festival & Parade of bands scheduled for June 9th-June 11th, 2022.
At this time, we are seeking volunteers as well as updating our volunteer contact information. We hope you can assist us in one or more of the following areas:
--Chicken BBQ, set up, server, tear down
--Clams set up, serve, tear down
--Entertainment Tents & more
The festival is our primary fundraising event! Each year this event benefits our new equipment fund. To ensure a successful event, we are asking volunteers to dedicate their time and talents in helping the fire department in various areas festival weekend. We have appreciated your help in the past and hope you can help again. Any time you can spare would help tremendously. With your help and ours we can make this Schuyler County staple event successful.
Officers and Members
Montour Falls Fire Department
P.S.: Please contact us as soon as possible with your availability at: email@example.com (best option with details).
Call or Text @ 607-227-4135; please leave a detailed message.
You can make a difference in community
To the Editor on Jan. 9:
Schuyler County’s 18th annual Holiday Fire Prevention Program “Keep the Wreath Blue” has concluded for 2021. From November 25 to December 31, by replacing a blue bulb on our wreaths with a red bulb for each structure fire that occurred within the county during the holiday season, the firefighters of Schuyler County reminded county citizens to be safe. This year we replaced three (3) blue bulbs. During the same period in 2020 we posted four (4) red bulbs. Our goal is to keep the wreath blue for the entire season and promote fire prevention awareness.
This season there were three structure fire incidents. One home had minor damage, one unoccupied home was a total loss, and one hay storage facility was a total loss. One firefighter received a minor injury due to these incidents.
Emergency responders were very busy this holiday season. Between November 25 and December 31 emergency responders throughout the county had 461 non-structure fire responses.
The dedicated volunteer firefighters and EMS providers of Schuyler County are committed to providing the utmost service to their communities. The efforts continue even with all the added issues that first responders are facing as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the end of this year’s program, we are reminded of how devastating fire can be. It has never been more important to remind everyone that “Fire Prevention Starts at Home” and must be practiced year- round.
You can make a difference in your home and your community by volunteering with your local Fire Department and by practicing fire prevention in your home.
For more information on fire prevention, or how you can volunteer in your community, please contact your local fire department or the Schuyler County Emergency Management Office at 607-535-8200 or find us on the web at www.schuylercounty.us.
Schuyler County Emergency Management
Thanks to all of our Seneca Santa helpers
To the Editor on Jan. 7:
Due to the generosity of this wonderful community, volunteer fire men and women delivered Seneca Santa packages on Christmas Eve morning to 222 children from 97 families that reside in Schuyler County.
Thanks so very much to the following businesses for allowing us to use them as a toy drop-off location: Rose’s Cuttin Up, Dutton Peterson Memorial Library, E.C. Cooper Insurance, Curly’s Family Restaurant, Montour Moose Lodge, Dollar General Stores, Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office, Advanced Family Chiropractic, Kopykat Kollections N Redemptions, Parmenter Inc. Rt. 14, Lane’s Yamaha, Community Bank, Sidle Insurance, and Watkins Glen Elks Lodge. The quality and quantity of toys was beyond what was expected.
I dread trying to list individuals who went “above and beyond” for the success of the program because I am always afraid of leaving someone out. There are those who order, organize, and pass out the gifts from the individual stations. There are those who contact, pick up, and sort for the stations. There are those who, miraculously, show up the night we bag to prepare the sacks for delivery. And there are always those behind the scenes who knit and crochet beautiful hats and mitten sets. Add to these, those organizations that hold fund raisers or Christmas parties that contribute monies or physical gifts. Brandon VanHorn/The Glen Dairy Bar donates gift cards to each child and has done so for several years now, and Bill Tague from Jerlando’s has provided gift cards to the families at a discounted price for years as well.
Special mention deserves to be made to the students who unload the truck from Hesselson’s and those who form the bagging line. Also, Mary Coykendall and her Girl Scouts, who are wrapping “geniuses.” Bill Kennedy and Jennifer Davis from Emergency Management along with the volunteer fire departments throughout the county make sure the gifts get to the right places. And to the Hi-Lites that allows us to use their physical
building as a mailing address for supplies needed each year.
Words cannot begin to express the appreciation and gratitude I feel for this community. All of you make it possible for children in Schuyler County to have a wonderful Christmas. I love to close by saying, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” And its name (in Schuyler County) is Seneca Santa. God bless each and every one of you now and always.
The move away from Native American nicknames, mascots and imagery in sports
The following letter was sent by Watkins Glen School Superintendent Kai D'Alleva to district residents.
From the Superintendent on Jan. 4:
I hope this letter finds you happy, healthy, and energized for the new year! We at WGCSD are excited for a new and better normal in 2022!
I would like to take this opportunity to address a topic that was brought up during the summer leading up to the 20-21 school year. As you will recall, this was the season that we were introduced to the COVID-19 pandemic and all of its protocols. It was a year that brought many challenging political conversations to the forefront of the American political landscape. In the world of high-profile professional sports, several nicknames and mascots were questioned and changed. Leading the charge was the Washington Football Team, which abandoned its long-standing Native American nickname, mascot, and imagery. As a result, the Watkins Glen Board of Education tackled the topic of our District’s mascot, name, and imagery. The Board discussed the topic during a few summer meetings. However, as the reopening of school drew near, this topic waned as hybrid and remote learning took center stage.
As the summer of 2020 ended, in a Star Gazette article titled, “Seneca Nation Says Schools should stop using Native American Mascots,” Seneca Nation spokesman Joe Stahlman stated the “Seneca Nation views the use of Native American names, references and imagery for the logos and mascots of schools and their sports teams as blatantly offensive to the Seneca Nation and has no place in a multicultural society that values diversity.” He went on to state, "It is not an 'honor,' as many schools and teams assert, to be inaccurately portrayed by caricatures and references that have no connection to our history or our living cultures.” Though we knew this was a critical issue, the pandemic and student and staff health were at the forefront of all conversations.
In the article, Mr. Stahlman went on to specifically address the use of the name Seneca/Senecas by saying, "I think it is safe to say that Seneca Nation does not have an issue with the use of Seneca," he wrote. "It is how it is used. This is why football and sports are problematic. Sports culture has a tendency to rebrand words and other terminology to fit into their subculture. As a result, we have sensitive concerns like the dehumanizing of First Peoples through the use of sport names, symbols, mascots and nicknames."
As our current school year evolved, though still under pandemic protocols, the Board felt it was time to revisit the topic of our District’s name, image, and mascot. At the regular meeting of the Board of Education on Monday, November 1, 2021, the Board of Education provided the District with the direction needed to move forward. With that said, our name will remain the “Watkins Glen Senecas.” However, Native American imagery such as but not limited to Native American human likenesses, arrows, hatchets, spears, and feathers will no longer be used on any material representing the Watkins Glen Central School District. This will be a lengthy process. Nevertheless, we will work toward removing concerning imagery as we buy new uniforms, publish documents, and design capital improvement projects. In addition, the Board of Education has made a commitment to working with the Odessa-Montour Central School District to address and change the name/mascot/image of our joint sports programs, which is currently Seneca Indians.
Regarding our next steps, the District will shift its imagery to our unique geography. We will focus on Seneca Lake, which remains a historic and important part of our school community. We will seek input from students and the Board of Education to ensure that our name and image is reflective of our District’s vision, mission, and values, and our policy on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Again, I wish you a happy and healthy new year!
Watkins Glen Central School District
Covid testing site opening at State Park
To the Editor on December 28:
On December 24, Governor Hochul announced that Watkins Glen State Park would be the site of a state-run COVID-19 testing location beginning Wednesday, December 29. The location will operate Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"To get through this winter surge and protect New Yorkers, we will use every tool at our disposal," Governor Hochul said. "By mobilizing testing sites throughout the state, we will make sure testing is more accessible and convenient for New Yorkers. We will continue to expand testing availability to every corner of the state, evaluating where more capacity and additional sites are needed soon."
Starting on Monday, December 27, New Yorkers can now make an appointment for a COVID-19 test here, at the State Park. Above is a copy of the advertising flyer put out by New York State.
Schuyler County Deputy Administrator
First Day Hike offers fitness, outdoor fun
To the Editor on Dec. 26:
Looking forward to a fresh start in 2022? Why not plan for something fun on New Year's Day!
Celebrate the new year in the outdoors with a First Day Hike at one of the many events across the state and nation. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) invite New Yorkers to kick off 2022 by participating in one of the many hikes being held at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, trails, and public lands across the Empire State.
The walks and hikes are family-friendly, and typically range from one to five miles depending on the location and conditions. The Friends of the Catharine Valley trail have planned an event starting at the Fairgrounds Lane entrance to the Catharine Valley Trail in Watkins Glen at 10 a.m. There is also an option to participate virtually, just RSVP to the Facebook event and post a picture on the CVT event page on January 1. Each picture posted gets entered in a drawing for prizes.
Many New Yorkers thrive in winter and are eager for falling temperatures and consistent snowfalls. To these hardy adventurers, a few extra layers of gear combined with the snowy terrain of parklands is a winning recipe for fitness, togetherness, and outdoor fun. If you've never been on a First Day Hike, save the date and get out there!
Friends of the Catharine Valley Trail
Thank you for allowing the debate
To the Editor on Dec. 16:
That’s just the thing, isn’t it? None of this has anything to do with science. None of it. Masking, vaccinations, lockdown, quarantine, contact tracing, asymptomatic spread, none of it. Not participating doesn’t make me selfish or unpatriotic, it makes me informed. Not everyone is vaccinated, but many are. Yet infections exceed the same time period last year?
Cornell is vaccinated and masking. How is that going? Ask questions! Do your own due diligence! Don’t allow your freedoms to be doled out to you by those that exist solely to defend them.
I will share any information you request. Myersm3027@aol.com
I will debate anyone in an open forum regarding the above items. I will award 10,000 dollars to anyone judged to best me using the Socratic method. Merry Christmas to you all!
P.S. I forgot about the biggest fraud of all. PCR. Thank you for allowing the debate. I oppose no one, I have no political dog in the fight. I just want the truth! Hope you’re feeling well.
Michael R. Myers
We have to slow it down
To the Editor on Dec. 15:
Hang in there, and keep fighting Charlie! I had written a couple of paragraphs in response to the anti-mask comments, but in the end there are people that are going to feel the way they do, no matter what seems like common sense to others.
Keep up the good fight, keep encouraging vaccinations, and the belief in science. In the end we are a small community that must rely on each other. There will always be differing opinions, but at the end of the day we need to think about more than just ourselves, and our own fears. If we only focus on ourselves and not think of the greater good, then our community will fail.
I don't agree with your comment about "doing your own research" as I think that is dangerous. Who are we supposed to believe? A friend of a friend on Facebook who says it is "fact," or scientists who have devoted all of their resources, and minds, to studying a specific thing for their whole life? Science changes, not just because someone says so, but because they keep studying the problem with proper research.
Mask up, and do your patriotic duty for your country, people! In the end eventually everyone might be exposed, or this will turn more mild. Either way we have to slow it down. I don't want to see shops closed down, or schools shut again. Do you?
Join us for candlelight and Vespers
To the Editor on Dec. 14:
The year 2020 would actually have been the Seventieth Annual Vespers (Evening Prayer) Service at the Odessa United Methodist Church, but we are grateful to be able to do it this year on Sunday, December 19 at 4:30 p.m.
This lovely candlelight service of anthems and readings is the gift of the choir to the community. In this season of hustle and bustle, we would like to invite you to come and take a quiet hour from your busy schedule to contemplate the true Christmas story. Narrator will be Mrs. Wendy Underdown McGee. The choir will be accompanied by Mrs. Sarah Matthews of Watkins Glen.
This year’s choir may look a bit different from years past; it is comprised solely of women! Sopranos are Dani Rumsey, Betty Underdown, Trisha Underdown Post, Alex Underdown and Melanie Janke. Alice Learn and Emily Peckham will sing alto. Tenors are Kim Messersmith and Jen Stevenson. Anthems include several arranged by Elmiran Dan Forrest. The congregation will be included in the making of music with familiar Christmas hymns.
Please join us for candlelight and Vespers this Sunday evening, if you can find room in your heart.
Director Kim Laursen
Hang in there; your voice is valuable
To the Editor on Dec. 14:
Thank you very much for having the courage, in this most conservative area, to calmly and politely declare your support for masking. I’ve completely run out of patience with anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers, and am glad that you still are able to exercise that virtue.
Hang in there, and I’m glad you are recovered from your illness! Your voice is valuable around here.
Propaganda is what you're spewing
To the Editor on Dec. 10:
Charlie, there are numerous studies that show masks are ineffective, including a Dutch study with over 6,000 participants that showed zero difference in infection rate.
Dr. Fauci has outlined why masks are not necessary. There exists no study touting efficacy.
On the contrary, depriving one of oxygen creates an increase in the acidity of the blood causing a plethora of negative health impacts. Including Cancer!
There has never been a long term study on the effects of masking children. We do know that IQ has dropped markedly on the young. We know our kids are more depressed and killing themselves at an alarming rate.
Please try to deal in actual science not the voodoo narrative from the controlled press you love to parrot.
Lastly why are all these people suddenly dying of Covid and how many are “fully vaxxed”?
Propaganda is what you’re spewing.
Editor's response: I must assure readers that I disagree with the letter writer on almost every point. I suggest you each conduct your own research and reach your own conclusions.
We will all lose if the threshold drops
To the Editor on Nov. 30:
Gov. Hochul and the state's farm labor wage board must not lower the 60-hour overtime threshold for farmworkers. New York's diverse agriculture as we know it cannot sustain the substantially higher labor costs, estimated to be a 17% increase by Farm Credit East.
New York farmers pay good wages, the second highest in the nation. Worker advocates say just pay even more, that is easier said than done. Unfortunately, the way the food system works, farms operate under thin profit margins at best and cannot just pass along production costs to consumers. Instead, produce and nursery growers must compete in markets by selling their products for the lowest price. Dairy farms have no ability to set their own milk prices, which means no ability to recoup higher production costs, like labor.
Yes, we need a more equitable food system for all involved, but until consumers have the ability to pay more -- and have that extra income actually make it to farmers -- we should not expect them to pay more. And by lowering the threshold in New York State only, and not at the federal level, this puts our farmers at a competitive disadvantage and puts our food system at risk. We need food grown and processed in New York State. This is how we got food into food banks in the pandemic. This is how we support our local economy.
Ultimately, our diverse farms will make tough choices at 40. They will cap hours, like
other industries do, meaning less earnings for workers. They will switch to less labor-intensive crops or technology, meaning fewer jobs. And yes, some farms will decide that it literally isn't worth it to farm any longer. We will all lose if the threshold drops.
Schuyler County Farm Bureau President
Congratulations, Red Ribbon winners
To the Editor on Nov. 23:
Red Ribbon Week has taken place nationwide every October 23rd-31st since l988. The theme this year, “Drug Free Looks Like Me,” is a reminder that everyday Americans across the country make significant daily contributions to their communities by being the best they can be because they live Drug-Free!
To celebrate, the Council on Alcoholism & Addictions of the Finger Lakes holds an annual Red Ribbon Week Contest for grades 6-12 in every school of the five counties it serves: Schuyler, Yates, Seneca, Ontario, and Wayne. Prize winners are drawn from among the students who answered all quiz questions correctly.
Schuyler County has FIVE prize winners this year -- all from the Watkins Glen Central School District.
1st Place: KAY DAVIS, 10th grade, won a Lenovo laptop.
3rd Place: 7th graders Trinity DePree, Juliet Asperschlager, Ethan VanSkiver, as well as a 10th grade student; each won J-Lab wireless headphones.
Congratulations to our prize winners. Thank you to all who participated.
Council on Alcoholism & Addictions of the Finger Lakes
Photo in text; From left, Ethan VanSkiver, Juliet Asperschlager, Gretchen Silliman (Council educator), Trinity DePree, Kay Davis, and Margaret Swinnerton (health teacher). (Photo provided)
Where to drop off Seneca Santa gifts
To the Editor on Nov. 21:
Seneca Santa, Inc. will be accepting new unwrapped gift items for the program at the following locations:
Rose's Cuttin Up
E.C. Cooper Insurance
Curly's Family Restaurant
Montour Moose Lodge
Dollar General Stores
Sch. Co. Sheriff's Office
Advanced Family Chiropractic
Kopykat Kollections N Redemptions
Dutton Peterson Memorial Library
Parmenter Inc. Rt. 14
Watkins Glen Elks Lodge
Age appropriate gifts for children aged 2-12, as well as books, coloring books and crayons or colored pencils, hats, mittens, gloves, board games, puzzles, or family-oriented items are needed. The cut-off date for pick-up will be December 18th.
Seneca Santa, Inc. is a non-profit tax-exempt organization that has been in Schuyler County for over 80 years. Its sole purpose is to help provide a Christmas for children in need who reside in Schuyler County. We deal with five school districts and are all volunteer. Gifts are delivered Christmas Eve morning by the volunteer fire men and women.
Please help support this long-standing Schuyler County tradition. Thank you.
A 2021 spaghetti dinner thank you
To the Editor on Nov. 12:
The annual “kick-off” spaghetti dinner for United Way of Schuyler County was held Columbus Day, Monday, October 11th at The Montour Moose Club. The drive-thru/take-out meal was another successful event, serving 313 dinners. The 50/50 drawing raised $257.50 for United Way, and winner Jim Howell won the other portion and donated back $100 of his prize money.
Thanks begin with the Moose Club and Larry Scruggs and Mike Donnelly. Board members John Franzese, Debbie Simpson, Stacy Woodworth, Mike Learn, Esther Heichel, Curt Connelly, Daryl Kelly, Bill Yessman, Barb Connelly, Terri Orbin, Sarah Matthews, Drew Guild, Aimee Churchill, and Sharon Stadelmaier made it happen along with volunteers Jan Granston, Jerry LeBaron, and Andrew Yessman.
United Way would like to thank all those who bought tickets and supported the dinner. All proceeds will go toward the 2021 campaign goal of $123,000 to help support twenty agencies that serve our Schuyler County friends and neighbors.
United Way of Schuyler County
Congratulations on girls' U13 soccer title
To the Editor on
The Schuyler Soccer Club is shouting a HUGE congratulations to our U13 girls team, Division 2 BCSA Champs!
They brought home the division title on Saturday, November 6th
with a commanding 7-0 win over Maine-Endwell to finish their season 7-0-1. Michaela Wheaton and Natalee VanSkiver both had 3 goals and Leah Antes tallied one as well.
Schuyler Soccer Club
I am looking forward to getting started
To the Editor on Nov. 4:
I want to start by saying thank you to my wife, Jamie! None of this would have been possible without you beside me and supporting me through this entire process. You are my rock, and I love you!
To my sons, Isaac and Owen, you are the reason this was possible. You were my inspiration. I love you both.
To my mother, brothers and their families, my in-laws, extended family, friends, and colleagues, I do not have the words to properly thank you for always supporting me. I won't let you down!
To my fantastic committee consisting of fifteen of the most dedicated, loyal, and committed friends anyone could ask for, I'll never be able to thank you enough. I was blessed to assemble a diverse group of people from all walks of life, including law, law enforcement, medicine, and education, to serve on my committee. Despite differences, they were all professionals who worked toward a common goal. I think we hit it out of the park, if I say so myself! Finally, I cannot thank you all enough for the hard work, long hours, late nights, and late-night phone calls you dealt with over these past several months. I realize time is precious for us all, and I thank you all for your dedication from the bottom of my heart.
A heartfelt thank you to the long list of people who helped the campaign by carrying petitions, putting up signs, and going door to door.
Thank you for all your support and guidance over the past months to the Schuyler County Republican Party and the NYS Conservative Party Committees. It was greatly appreciated.
To the voters of Schuyler County: Thank you for putting your faith and trust in me by electing me as your next Sheriff. I will never forget who put me in this position, YOU! As I said throughout this campaign, the Sheriff and the Sheriff's Office are here for you, the voters and taxpayers of Schuyler County. I will never forget that I am the Sheriff of the people.
To the voters who didn't vote for me, I ask that you keep an open mind and give me time to adjust to my position. I promise that I will always be willing to listen to your concerns. It is now my goal to prove that I am the right man for this position. I'm your Sheriff, too!
Once again, thank you ALL! I am looking forward to getting started in January. God bless and be safe!
Kevin P. Rumsey
I'm invested, involved in our community
To the Editor on Nov. 1:
To the Schuyler County Community:
It has been a long 10 plus months on the campaign trail. I have had the pleasure of traveling extensively throughout the various towns, villages and hamlets in the county talking with many of you. The talks have been enjoyable, informative, and very positive. I have learned a lot and I will continue to do so if I am elected.
Schuyler County is a safe and beautiful place to live and raise a family. I believe that is why most of us live here. Looking at statistics alone will not give you the full picture of what our small community holds or what adversities it faces. By listening to all of you, I have learned so much. While you are in love with our area and the beauty it has within it, you also have concerns. In just about every town or village I have visited someone has said, “That house/area right there” is one to watch. You see the challenges in our community and you’re aware of the damaging effect it has on our youth and our citizens.
I am committed to providing the most up-to-date training for the deputies and staff at the Sheriff’s Office so we can best combat the problems that infect our home. I intend to have an open-door policy that allows you to continue to interact with me regarding your concerns because I believe that all good leaders are those who listen and then act.
I will be committed to working with the other law enforcement agencies that we have within our community as well. I have been endorsed by the Watkins Glen Police Department’s Police Benevolent Association and the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association. I was honored to receive these endorsements and I did so by being a team player. I have worked with these agencies for the past 17 years and have formed many relationships that will carry over and help me in my role as Sheriff.
I believe we are all committed to keeping Schuyler County a place people want to live in and raise their children in. Including these agencies in our training will not only make our Office more prepared to protect the community against threats, but it will also form more relationships and provide opportunities for our collective agencies to share information and work toward a common goal. Protecting and serving you, the residents of Schuyler County.
I have said many times that becoming Sheriff is something that I have always wanted to do. I feel I have been preparing for and focused on this opportunity for many years. Focusing on leadership, teamwork, communication, and having a strong work ethic for educating myself on what I am involved in have always been a top priority for me. I will continue this as the Sheriff of Schuyler County.
I am invested and involved in our community. From serving as a volunteer fireman, to being elected to the Watkins Glen School Board of Education in June of 2020, coaching youth football and helping with the youth wrestling programs have allowed me to form relationships and bonds with many of you. Additionally, this has allowed me to, in a small way, give back to my community. While coaching I have had the opportunity to interact with parents of our youth. They have expressed their concerns to me, and I have listened. As a parent myself, I have my own concerns. They are just as committed to keeping our community a safe place for our children as those of us in law enforcement are.
If I am elected to be your next Sheriff, I bring an array of life experience with me. While serving in the United States Marine Corps I had the opportunity to become a leader at a very young age. I learned valuable lessons from the men and women who mentored me. I still use the knowledge and skills I learned in my everyday life. I had the privilege to work with, for, and alongside people from all walks of life. I traveled to many different countries and experienced whatever I could to learn and gain any worldly knowledge I could. This provided me with true life experiences you cannot learn from a textbook or by sitting in a classroom. With that said, I very much value education and applied these life experiences to my formal education. After I finished my time in the Marines, I came home to earn my degree in Criminal Justice at Corning Community College.
My promise to you is that I will be just as committed to serving Schuyler County as I have been with my 17-year law enforcement career, my time in the military, my education, my community involvement, and, above all else, my family. It will truly be my honor to serve as your Sheriff. Tomorrow, I encourage you to exercise your right to vote and humbly ask that you place your trust in me by casting your ballot for me.
Investigator Kevin P. Rumsey
I will represent each resident equally
To the Editor on Nov. 1:
Hello Schuyler County Residents!
I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Breck Spaulding & I’m running for Schuyler Co. Sheriff. I have proudly served the Schuyler Co. Community for 27 years, working my way through the ranks; currently I hold the rank of Undersheriff. I’ve served as your Undersheriff for 16 years and I am one of the longest serving Undersheriffs in New York.
As Undersheriff I oversee the daily operations of Patrol, Corrections, Civil & the Communications Divisions. I also assist the Sheriff with developing a budget that provides professional, quality police & public safety services. There have been several instances that I have been acting Schuyler Co. Sheriff in Sheriff Yessman's absence. Additionally, I have directed all police operations for large-scale events at Watkins Glen International Raceway.
I am a registered Republican; however, it is my promise to you, if elected, that I will represent each resident equally, no matter what political party, demographic, ethnicity, or social status. I would represent all residents as the PEOPLE'S SHERIFF, elected by the people.
I chose to run on the party line “SAFE SCHUYLER.” I take great pride in the fact that Schuyler County has been identified as the second safest county in New York. It would be my goal, if elected, to put us at the number one spot, while protecting your Constitutional Rights and maintaining the safety & interests of the public.
In full transparency, I announced several months ago who my Undersheriff selection would be if elected. That selection is Lt. Investigator Matthew Maloney, a 22-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office. I can not stress enough the importance of this position, as the Undersheriff is in charge of the daily operations of the Sheriff's Office.
I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve you, the residents of Schuyler County, and I’m asking for your VOTE on November 2nd.
Breck A. Spaulding, Undersheriff
Rumsey is a leader in his profession
To the Editor on Nov. 1:
I am excited to endorse Investigator Kevin Rumsey for the next Schuyler County Sheriff. I have known Investigator Rumsey for many years, both in a personal and professional manner. Several members of our community have asked about Investigator Rumsey regarding his candidacy. I have enjoyed talking about our good friend and why he is the best candidate for Schuyler County Sheriff.
I am proud and applaud Kevin for reaching out to our community over the past several months. Those fortunate members who had an opportunity to meet Investigator Rumsey have witnessed that he is approachable, personable, and sincere. This is the type of character we look for in our community leader.
I have worked with Investigator Rumsey over the past several years as a Schuyler County Coroner. Having this opportunity has been invaluable in witnessing his professionalism. He is thorough, knowledgeable, and experienced in law enforcement. Kevin naturally expresses professional standards of a leader in various areas. This is evident by the respect from his colleagues and peers.
Investigator Rumsey is a leader in his profession:
--Was elected by his peers as the President of the Schuyler County Deputy Sheriff Association.
--Previously been elected President of the Schuyler County Road Patrol Association
Investigator Rumsey is a leader in our community:
--Elected as a board member for our Watkins Glen School District
--Kevin is a coach and mentor to our youth via the Schuyler County Tribe Football Team and the Glen Grapplers in the past.
Investigator Rumsey is an active member of our community:
--Member of the Watkins Glen Fire Department as a firefighter and EMT for past 16 years.
--Elected by his peers as Assistant Foreman for the Watkins Glen Fire Department.
--Member of the local Elks Club, Moose Club, and American Legion.
Probably one of his biggest and most valuable accomplishments is that of a husband and father. I do feel our community is fortunate to have a candidate like Investigator Rumsey running for Schuyler County Sheriff. Please join me during the upcoming election on November 2 to elect him as our next Sheriff. Please stay safe and be well.
Dr. Benjamin J. Saks
Breck Spaulding is the only choice
To the Editor on Oct. 31:
I have known Breck Spaulding since his career began in 1994, with many of those 27 years as his supervisor. When I was first elected as your Sheriff in 2005, I chose Breck as my Undersheriff due to his knowledge, experience and work ethic. The Undersheriff is the second in command of the Sheriff’s Office and it must be someone that the Sheriff can rely on to run the agency and make decisions in his absence.
In his 15+ years as my Undersheriff Breck has displayed his leadership in handling personnel issues, during major criminal investigations, organizing and supervising manpower from Law Enforcement Agencies from across New York State during events at Watkins Glen International, and most recently while I recovered from a major surgery. Breck’s knowledge of personnel issues, Rules from the New York State Commission of Corrections that regulate our jail, New York State Laws, Civil Practices, the Policies and Procedures of Schuyler County, The Sheriff’s Office Policies and Procedures, and his working relationship with other Law Enforcement Agencies, make him the only choice to be elected as your Sheriff.
As my Undersheriff, Breck and I have collaborated on many issues that face our residents, such as the New York State Safe Act, the current pandemic, and recently the Schuyler County Police Reform Initiative. When needed public meetings were held to better understand your concerns to better serve our residents.
In closing, I want to thank everyone for their confidence and support over the past 15+ years as your Sheriff, and I hope that you will join me in voting for Breck Spaulding as your next Sheriff.
Sheriff William E. (Bill) Yessman Jr.
Spaulding is the most qualified candidate
To the Editor on Oct. 31:
I have known Breck Spaulding for over 25 years. I hired Breck in 1994, at the beginning of his career with the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office.
Breck is an excellent police officer with experience as a road patrol officer, as a K-9 officer, as an investigator, and as a police academy instructor. In 2006, upon my retirement, Breck was appointed as Undersheriff by Sheriff William Yessman.
Breck has over 27 years of experience in all aspects of the Sheriff’s Office. In addition, he is responsible for supervising hundreds of law enforcement personnel from several counties across New York State for one of the largest sporting events held in the State, NASCAR at the Glen.
I believe Undersheriff Breck Spaulding is the best and most qualified person to lead the Sheriff’s Office as our next Sheriff of Schuyler County.
I hope you will join me in voting for him in the general election in November.
Michael J. Maloney
Retired Sheriff, Schuyler County
Rumsey is focused on future of Schuyler
To the Editor on Oct. 31:
I first met Kevin Rumsey in 2004 while he was attending the police academy with my son, Chad Lansing. Even at this early stage in his career, I was immediately impressed with his enthusiasm, communication skills and professionalism. It was evident, even back then, that he is a natural leader with strong moral values and limitless compassion for others.
Kevin's time in the United State Marines cemented the loyalty and commitment to his peers and to those he serves and protects. It also enabled him to sharpen his leadership skills. And as a great leader, he continually focuses on developing and honing leadership skills in others while simultaneously encouraging strategic thinking, innovation and action. I witnessed this time and time again throughout the last 16 years while working directly with him at various events at Watkins Glen International. More recently, before I retired, I worked in the same building with Kevin and had the opportunity to observe his interaction with co-workers and colleagues. I saw first-hand his unwavering work ethic, excellent interpersonal skills and dedication to all members of Schuyler County.
Kevin is a family man and his focus on the youth of our community is unrivaled. If you have children I am confident you are already familiar with the Rumsey name. I'm certain you have seen him at wrestling matches and tournaments, at football games, at Seneca Santa events, at Shop with a Cop programs, at Watkins Glen School Board meetings, etc. Maybe you didn't know who he was, but he was there. Kevin is a hands-on kind of guy who can and will talk to anyone; he is honest and approachable. He is focused on the future of this county; he's worried about your children just as much as he is worried about his own.
This gentleman is someone that his peers respect and seek guidance from. He is an essential part of the Schuyler County Sheriff's Department and always has been, regardless of his position as Deputy Sheriff, K9 Officer, Sergeant, or Investigator. Kevin was found deserving of each promotion and has excelled at each and every position he has held. He may not yet have the title of Sheriff but he has lived a life of experience. He is very well equipped and prepared for the challenges that are presented with the Sheriff's position.
I am honored to write a letter of endorsement for Kevin P. Rumsey and it is with utmost confidence that I recommend Kevin for the position of Schuyler County Sheriff.
Retired Cayuga Heights Police Chief
Retired Tompkins County Sheriff
Former Schuyler County Deputy Sheriff
Rumsey is compassionate and caring
To the Editor on Oct. 31:
As a retired member of the Schuyler County Sheriff’s office, I am writing this letter in support of Kevin Rumsey as the next Schuyler County Sheriff. It was an honor and a privilege to work with Kevin and get to know him both professionally and personally over the years we worked together. I met Kevin when he worked for the Village of Watkins Glen Police Department. He was subsequently hired for the Schuyler County Sheriff’s office, where he started as a Deputy before becoming a K9 Officer, a Sergeant and, presently, an Investigator.
Kevin is a very compassionate and caring individual. He cares for the safety and well-being of his fellow officers, as well as the safety and well-being of the citizens of Schuyler County. Kevin is a strong leader and I have no doubt he can live up to the challenges of the office of the Sheriff. He has all the capabilities to lead the Sheriff’s office and protect the citizens of Schuyler County for many years.
Kevin is an active member of the Watkins Glen Fire Department and Watkins Glen School Board, and is active in Schuyler County Youth Football, to name a few, as well as spending time with his wife and two sons. I am proud to call Kevin a friend. I encourage everyone to join me on Election Day, Tuesday, November 2, 2021 in voting Kevin Rumsey the next Sheriff of Schuyler County.
Retired Schuyler County Corrections Officer
Rumsey is open minded, approachable
To the Editor on Oct. 30:
I fully endorse and support Kevin Rumsey in fulfilling his personal and professional goal of becoming the next Sheriff of Schuyler County. Although I retired last year from full time 911 Dispatch with the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department, I continue to serve part time in the same capacity. Working in the Department for 20 years, I have come to understand the tremendous influence the office of Sheriff holds regarding outcomes for our community. Although I could easily repeat what many have said before me -- recounting Kevin’s military service record, community volunteerism, and his commitment to family -- I am just going to share what aspect has most positively impacted me day to day during 17 years of interaction with Kevin.
Kevin is always open minded and approachable, interacting with others, willing to listen first and seeking to fully understand, even when he has authority to simply direct the next action. It is his willingness to meet people where they are that contributes to good outcomes. When communicating and interacting with Kevin I can bring my best to the profession and be my best personally. Growing up I often heard adults important in my life repeat the adage “we are known by the company we keep.” I took that adage to heart and often repeated it to my own children. I am proud to count Kevin Rumsey in the company I keep.
Daniel H. Walker
I am delighted to support Breck Spaulding for Schuyler County Sheriff. I had the opportunity of meeting Breck at a Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce event. He was introduced to me by Kenny Wilson and Gloria Brubaker. We had a wonderful conversation about the County, Sheriff’s department, and the residents of Schuyler County. Breck’s insights were very interesting and he was very engaging. Many people wanted to speak with Breck and we ended our conversation because I did not want to monopolize him. I thanked him for talking with me and I went on to talk with other members of the Chamber.
What happened in the next few days impressed me, I received a call from Breck two days after the Chamber event. Breck said that we were not able to finish our conversation and asked if he could meet with me. Breck came to the house a few days later and we sat and spoke for about an hour. It was very evident that Breck is a man of great character and has great care and respect for the people in our County.
Breck Spaulding has the experience and community commitment to serve all the people in Schuyler County with dignity and character. He has been endorsed by Schuyler County legislators, business leaders, Sheriffs throughout our region, not to mention our current Sheriff. That is why I am voting for Breck Spaulding for Schuyler County Sheriff on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. Vote for Breck Spaulding for Schuyler County Sheriff on line “F” Safe Schuyler Party Line.
Join me in voting for Spaulding
To the Editor on Oct. 29:
I am writing in support of Breck Spaulding as our next Sheriff. As many of you know, Breck is a lifelong resident of Schuyler County and has dedicated his professional career to the Sheriff’s Department. Breck has over 26 years of experience with the Sheriff’s Department and has spent the last 16 as “second-in-command,” serving as our Undersheriff.
Breck’s experience, qualifications, position on community issues and commitment to the people of our County make him the best and most qualified candidate to serve as our next Sheriff. Breck is respected by his peers and is actively involved in our community with many different organizations.
I have known Breck and his family for many years and wholeheartedly endorse him as our next Sheriff. Please join me on election day in supporting Breck Spaulding!
Robert C. MacBlane
Seneca Cheese Company
Breck Spaulding is the best choice
To the Editor on Oct. 29:
I am writing in support of Breck Spaulding for Schuyler County Sheriff. One of the most important decisions a candidate for Sheriff can make is who their Undersheriff will be. Breck’s decision to choose Matt Maloney is evidence of Breck’s understanding of the character of our community. Matt comes from a family of law enforcement that is also truly invested in Schuyler County. I serve with Matt on the GST BOCES School Board and find him to be thoughtful and responsive to the needs of the Greater Region. There is no doubt Breck’s decision to choose Matt Maloney exemplifies Breck’s commitment to ensuring the Sheriff’s Office will be rooted in the needs of the citizens of Schuyler County.
Breck’s experience is without question exemplary. A member of the Task Force on Police Reform, he is Schuyler County DWI Coordinator, serves on the Substance Abuse Sub- Committee, serves on the Advisory Committee for the Office for the Aging, and is a Trustee of the Burdett Fire Department, just to name a few of his activities. These commitments are evidence of Breck’s commitment to providing a safe environment for our community while also understanding the need for reform, as well as his belief in rehabilitation for those who have experienced challenges in their life decisions.
Breck has served as Undersheriff and understands the demands of leadership. The fact that retiring Sheriff Yessman chose Breck to be his Undersheriff points to the quality of service and his ability to perform his duties in an exemplary manner. Breck Spaulding is committed to ensuring Schuyler County continues to grow and evolves as a safe community. Breck understands the culture of this community and is committed to providing the support necessary as part of the Schuyler County Leadership Team that will ensure we maintain our character as a safe and vibrant community.
I truly believe the team of Breck Spaulding and Matt Maloney is the best choice for the citizens of Schuyler County and am happy to publicly support them.
Why I chose Community First
To the Editor on Oct. 28:
I have been asked why I chose the title Community First for my Independent Party line. The answer is quite simple; in my eyes, Community First is synonymous with Family First.
Personally, I believe we all prioritize our nuclear families, but our families are also a part of the larger community family of Schuyler County. Our community has shaped who I am today, and it will shape the lives of my children as they continue to grow. The most important thing for all of us is the safety, security and health of our families. Our community is what binds us together through the good and bad times. We pull together as a unit when our community is affected by a tragedy and we celebrate together during athletic events or graduations. That is why we have chosen to raise our families here.
As your elected Sheriff, I will be every bit as committed to the responsibility of assisting you in the safety, security, and well-being of our community family, as I am for my own family. We all need to look out for each other and continue to make this county the best place to raise our children.
Please be safe, be kind to one another, and remember to vote RUMSEY FOR SHERIFF on November 2nd.
Rumsey is the best choice for Sheriff
To the Editor on Oct. 28:
I have known Kevin Rumsey for several years. Since Kevin started his career in Law Enforcement with the Village of Watkins Glen Police Department, I have seen him make a personal connection with the community. From walking the local streets for parking violations to handling calls, Kevin Rumsey was up for anything when it involved the community. Kevin then joined the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office and worked from a Road Deputy to Road Sergeant and now is an Investigator.
I can ramble on about the work that Kevin has done during his career. Still, I want to hit on Kevin Rumsey's characteristics that make him the most suitable candidate in the upcoming election for the Sheriff of Schuyler County.
Kevin is a current member of the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office and has been a lifelong resident of the area, but he is most importantly a husband and a father. I have had the pleasure of coaching alongside Kevin with the area youth football program and coached his son. Kevin has the utmost patience with others, and his son has excellent leadership skills instilled in him by his father. I know this may seem minor, but this county needs a leader from the front, not a manager from the back.
Kevin is a born leader, and that is what Schuyler County needs. It needs a change in leadership.
Kevin respects, and in return has the respect of, the group of men and women who will serve the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office. Kevin's vision and determination will provide a seamless transition that moves the department forward among the demanding changes in society and law enforcement -- changes in training for the members who handle calls, better and more efficient equipment, better communication with other law enforcement agencies. But, most importantly, there needs to be a change with the fast-growing narcotics problem that Schuyler is having.
Kevin has the ambition and the determination to make sure the Deputies who will work under him will reflect his values and passion with this County. Kevin wants the best for this community as well as for the many tourists who visit this area.
Kevin Rumsey, as Sheriff -- with his core values and belief of where the Sheriff's Office needs to be -- will benefit the members who work there and satisfy every person who resides in or visits this area.
Important meeting set on ballot initiatives
To the Editor on Oct. 26:
The Schuyler County Republican Committee invites all Odessa File readers to attend a very important meeting this Friday, October 29 at 4 p.m. at the Burdett Fire House. The New York State Republican Party Chairman, Nick Langworthy, will be explaining the ballot initiatives which are on the back of the ballot in this year's general election, and why approving these initiatives will lead to bad outcomes, especially for upstate NY residents.
Mr. Langworthy is coming as part of his "Just say NO!" tour across NY State to increase voter awareness of these referenda, which have received very limited exposure this election season. He is a very intelligent and politically astute speaker, who has a talent for making complex subjects understandable to a broad audience. I urge everyone who cares about the future of NY State, especially our beautiful Finger Lakes region, to attend this meeting.
For the Schuyler County Republican Committee
Vote for Spaulding for Schuyler Sheriff
To the Editor on Oct. 26:
My name is Drew Martin, and I am a retired Police Sergeant from the City of Ithaca Police and currently I am a Bangs Ambulance Supervisor in Ithaca New York. I am writing this letter in endorsement of Breck Spaulding's candidacy for the Office of Schuyler County Sheriff.
I have had the pleasure of working with and developing a personal relationship with Breck over the last 25 years. I know Breck to be a well respected Law Enforcement Professional with almost three decades of experience. The last 16 years he has been the Undersheriff appointed by and endorsed by the current Sheriff, William E. Yessman. Breck is also an avid sportsman, volunteer firefighter, proud father and grandfather. I’ve even known Breck to perform a wedding or two.
I believe Breck's greatest quality is his to the point, honest approach with people. He is not the person you have to worry about telling you one thing and then doing another. Isn’t honesty and transparency what we all want from our elected officials? I assure you Breck's character is solid and that he will not let you the voters and residents of Schuyler County down. He has the ability, drive, experience, and knowledge required to be your Sheriff.
This November you have the opportunity to vote for experience, and benefit from the intimate knowledge Breck has gained from being part of the Schuyler County Command Staff for 16 years. Don’t miss out on a seamless transition of operations at the Sheriff's Office. Thank you for your time and consideration of Breck Spaulding as the next Sheriff of Schuyler County.
Police Sergeant (retired)
Ithaca City Police
David Reed: I would appreciate your vote
To the Editor on Oct. 25:
Hello. My name is David M. Reed of the Town of Cayuta.
I am running for re-election for your County Legislator for District 1, which covers the
Towns of Catharine and Cayuta. I am endorsed by the Republican Party.
I have 22 years experience in local town government as Councilmember and later as
Supervisor. And the last 4 years as your Legislator.
I am a local business owner. I am very Conservative. I have been a resident of this area
all my life. I am not a transplant from outside the area. I believe in landowners' rights.
I also believe in local law local rule, a theory that was handed down to us from our
country's founders. I do not like the fact that now under the disguise of shared services
that we are giving up our Town rights and turning authority over to the County and the
State. They say that they can do things better and cheaper. Have you ever seen bigger
government do anything better than local government at the local level where the voters
have a say? I am concerned about how much the County depends on State and Federal
money and I believe this has to be addressed.
I am also in favor of Schuyler County becoming a Constititional Sanctuary County.
I am not a liberal. I do not think like a liberal. I have lived here all my life. I am going to
reiterate that, all my life. I am not from Ithaca, New Jeresy or NY City. I am what
I am. I do not lay down for people. I do have a certain ideology, which I am a
I really need your support and would really appreciate your vote. If you think like I do
and do not think that government is going to solve all your problems and should be in
control of every aspect of your life, I need your vote. If you think government is going
to solve all your problems and you do not mind them telling you what you can and
cannot do all the time on your own property, if that is what you want, I am not your man.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at 607-796-9558.
I would appreciate your vote in the General Election on November 2, 2021.
Thank you for your support.
David M. Reed
Thanks to all who made tourney a success
To the Editor on Oct. 23:
Although the weather was misty and it was an overcast day, it did not dampen the spirits of the seventeen teams that played Oct. 9 in the annual Hackers & Wackers Golf Tournament for United Way of Schuyler County held at the Watkins Glen Golf Course.
The First Place Team, with a 63, consisted of Dominick Smith, John Kessler, Tyler Moore, and Judson Smith. The Last Place Team, with a lot of laughs, was made up of Doreen Franzese, Darla Davis, Lynn Cacciotti, and Margaret Schimizzi.
The Tournament Committee, headed up by John Franzese, was assisted by Sarah Matthews, Mike Learn, Esther Heichel, Aimee Churchill, Lynne Cacciotti, and Laurie Scaptura. Hamburgs and hot dogs were cooked and served by Pam and Jason Kelly, a steak dinner was furnished by Holy Cow. There were thirty-four donors and many businesses that contributed to the success of the tournament. Mike Learn and Esther Heichel raised an additional $847 on the course, there were $300 in “skins” donated back, and raffles raised $620. Total proceeds were $8,206, all of which will go towards the 2021 Campaign Goal of $123,000 to help support twenty health and human service agencies that serve Schuyler County residents.
Thanks so very much to our players, supporters, loyal followers and the outstanding work of the committee to make this happen. Your efforts benefit so many of our friends and neighbors.
Why I am running for Dix Supervisor
To the Editor on Oct. 21:
I have been asked many times over the past couple of weeks why I am running for the Town of Dix Supervisor's position. So I thought I would put this together to let you all know why I should be elected the new Supervisor. I have been on the board for six years now and have been working to get us to a financial position where we do not rely on outside money to run our town. We are getting close, but there is still much to do. But over the past few months it has become clear that new leadership is needed in the Town to achieve this and many other items for you, the people. Below are a few examples as to why you should elect me.
We, the Town Board, have not received a Town Supervisor's report since June of 2020. We have been promised this and given a few verbal reports but nothing formal since then to review and approve as a Board (like you are supposed to). If you do not know what this report is, it is (per the State of NY Comptroller's Office) a document providing the Town Board, at the end of each month, a detailed statement of all monies received and disbursed during the month, as well as filing a copy with the Town Clerk (Town Law, Section 125(2)).
So, not having this, we are not sure what is going on with your money. There are many other duties that a Supervisor performs; however, this is one that is very telling of the job being done currently.
There is also an ongoing problem regarding a town-wide financial audit the Board wanted done after the close of the 2020 year. For months we were assured by the Supervisor that it was ongoing, but it has not been completed. Along the way, we were given conflicting information as to just who was doing it, and its status. Ultimately. I called the outside firm we have used in the past and they confirmed they started an audit in late April 2021 for the years ending in 2019 and 2020 -- but terminated the agreement because the Town was not responding appropriately with information.
We sit here at the time of writing this, October 21, 2021, still with no timetable for an audit. This behavior is not acceptable from an elected official, but can only be fixed through an election.
I also want to highlight that many times Mr. Russell, the current Supervisor, has done things or executed items on behalf of the Town that was not approved by the Board or to which they objected and he did it anyways. This is not a way we want our elected official carrying out Town business.
I will establish a town-wide 5- and 10-year plan that I have been asking be put together now for four years, but have not had the backing to make sure it happens. We do not have this or a replacement plan for anything. The current Town council members want things to happen but need a leader to make them happen and be accountable. I will bring both!
Other reasons to elect me are listed below.
Please provide me with your vote on November 2nd for Town of Dix Supervisor. I am someone you can count on and who has proven this in the past.
Spaulding is most qualified candidate
To the Editor on Oct. 21:
On November 2nd you will have the opportunity to vote for current Undersheriff Breck Spaulding to take over the Office of Sheriff for Schuyler County. If elected, not only would this allow a seamless transition, but it would be by the most qualified and experienced candidate, with Breck having 27 years of prior service with the Sheriff's Office, the last 16 of which he has been the second in command under Sheriff William E. Yessman.
I have had the pleasure of getting to know Breck over the last 30 years and watched him mature and evolve into the Law Enforcement Professional he is today. You are most fortunate to have a candidate with the experience, qualifications, character, and 27 years of relationships he has built in your community and the Law Enforcement field.
You can often tell the quality of a candidate by the members of the local and professional community who openly support that candidate. In Breck's case, he has the support of current Schuyler County Sheriff William E. Yessman and Retired Sheriff Michael J. Maloney. This in and of itself speaks volumes. Add names such as Chairman of the Schuyler County Legislature Carl Blowers, Former Watkins Glen School District Superintendent Tom Phillips, Former Watkins Glen School Board President and Business Owner Gloria Brubaker, longtime Schuyler County Professional Ken Wilson, and Schuyler County icon Tony Vickio along with his wife, Former Schuyler County Clerk Harriett Vickio. In addition, Breck is also endorsed by over two dozen respected active and retired Law Enforcement Professionals.
In closing, one of the criteria I use in evaluating a candidate/person is their pedigree. Breck Spaulding was born to and raised by two of the finest people I know, Max and Sandy (Arcangeli) Spaulding. Instilled in him by them is every value required to be your next Sheriff.
I fully endorse and encourage you to vote for Breck Spaulding as your next Schuyler County Sheriff on November 2nd.
William F. (Bill) Pierce Jr.
Police Chief, Retired
Watkins Glen Police Dept.
Spaulding will stand up for us
To the Editor on Oct. 19:
I stand with those who stand up for all of us.
Although this upcoming election is not a full slate, it does have one of the most important offices open for election, that is the county Sheriff. In addition to providing police services, a jail and other services, the county Sheriff is often looked at as our first line of defense -- not only regarding criminals and others that want to harm us, but also as someone to call upon to stand up to the state government, which is all too often overreaching and mandating the way we locals must live.
Over the past two years we have seen our rights infringed upon, almost on a daily basis. This is on the heels of one of the most rushed laws our state has ever seen, the SAFE Act. So how will these Sheriff candidates stand up against an oppressive government? If you have been following local school board meetings in Watkins Glen you would see that Mr. Rumsey has time and time again voted in favor of these overreaching state mandates. If he remains silent on so many important issues in regards to our children, what will he do when he needs to stand up for us citizens?
I will be voting for Undersheriff Spaulding, who has stood with Sheriff Yessman for many years against these mandates. I never heard the Sheriff announce an arrest for the mandates imposed over the last two years and I still haven't heard of a single arrest for a SAFE Act violation. The proof of these men standing up for us citizens is clear.
You're all invited to Republican dinner
To the Editor on Oct. 17:
The Schuyler County Republican Committee would like to invite everyone to attend our 2021 Fall Dinner and Fundraiser on Saturday, October 23 at Logan Ridge Estates, 3800 Ball Diamond Rd., in Hector, NY. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. with a cash bar, followed by a roast beef dinner buffet at 6 p.m. provided by Corning Catering. As always, the end of the evening will feature a live auction of a "Surf and Turf" dinner for 16 prepared by Corning Catering at your local location of choice. We are most grateful to Billy Spauding of Corning Catering for his continuing generous donations to our committee.
We are excited to announce that this year we will be having two keynote speakers, both of whom are candidates for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2022. Our speakers will be Rep. Lee Zeldin of the First Congressional District of NY and Rob Astorino, the 2014 Republican Party candidate for Governor. Both of these candidates are dynamic speakers and deep thinkers, and we are looking forward to hearing their ideas for streamlining government, enhancing personal freedom and reviving upstate New York's moribund economy.
Tickets for this event are $35.00 per person and $60.00 per couple. We also have table sponsorships available for $250, with dinner for eight people included with the sponsorship. If you wish to purchase tickets or have any questions about the event, please email GOPevents@zoho.com or call Charlotte Jaynes at 607-742-9133.
We miss all of you and invite you to come out and see the friends that you haven't seen since our last event in 2019. This will be an evening to remember and you will not want to miss it. We look forward to seeing you there.
Village Christmas is back after year away
To the Editor on Oct. 14:
The Watkins Glen Village Christmas, hosted by Watkins Glen Promotions, Inc., will resume again this year on Friday, December 10, 2021 from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen, with the theme of “Candy Land.” This event returns after being cancelled due to the pandemic last year.
The Village Christmas volunteer committee members say they are “thrilled to be able to host this event again, as it brings so much joy and hope to kick off the holiday season. We look forward to great attendance, happy faces, and continuing the tradition we have had for many years in our village.”
Franklin Street will be closed during the event, and open for vendors and the Village Christmas Parade. The committee is currently seeking vendors and float, fire truck, and tractor applications for the parade. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the event as well; however, they will not be available for sit-down pictures as they have been in the past.
Check out our Facebook page, Watkins Glen Village Christmas, or visit www.watkinsglen.com for more information.
Watkins Glen Promotions
S.C.O.P.E.: Those who showed get an 'A'
To the Editor on Oct. 14:
The Schuyler County Chapter of Shooters Committee on Political Education (S.C.O.P.E.) invited candidates for county and state office to attend its October 14 quarterly meeting as a “Meet the Candidates Night” at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge.
Candidates were given the opportunity to make a few brief remarks and answer questions from the membership. The public was invited to attend as well. Over fifty members of S.C.O.P.E. and the general public were in the audience.
Among the topics addressed were each candidate’s belief in the right to keep and bear arms, possible “Constitutional County” legislation for Schuyler County, pistol permit procedures, support for law enforcement, and related issues. Each candidate in attendance affirmed his or her strong support for the Second Amendment.
The following candidates attended and addressed the audience:
-- Kevin Rumsey, Republican Candidate for Sheriff
-- Breck Spaulding, Independent Candidate for Sheriff
-- Theresa Philbin, Republican Candidate for County Clerk
-- David Reed, Republican Candidate for County Legislature (District I)
-- Laurence Jaynes, Republican Candidate for County Legislature (District II)
-- James Howell, Republican Candidate for County Legislature (District IV)
Following the meeting, the S.C.O.P.E. executive committee determined that each candidate who attended should receive an “A” rating from the group, based on their presentations and/or responses to a written S.C.O.P.E questionnaire. An “A” grade means that S.C.O.P.E. believes these candidates will work to preserve, protect and defend the right to keep and bear arms, as enshrined in our Constitution.
The following candidates were invited but did not appear or send a representative in their place:
-- Joseph Fazzary, Republican Candidate for District Attorney
-- Howard Cabezas, Democrat Candidate for County Legislature (District I)
-- Michael Lausell, Democrat Candidate for County Legislature (District III)
-- Molly Fitzgerald, Democrat Candidate for Supreme Court Justice
-- Elizabeth Aherne, Republican Candidate for Supreme Court Justice
-- Patrick O’Sullivan, Republican Candidate for Supreme Court Justice
Because these candidates did not appear or submit responses to the written S.C.O.P.E. questionnaire, these candidates received a “No Grade-Incomplete” rating from the group. S.C.O.P.E. cannot say that these candidates will or will not work to preserve, protect and defend the right to keep and bear arms.
S.C.O.P.E is a non-partisan statewide organization dedicated to preserving Second Amendment Civil Rights through public education and promoting voter participation. Because of its non-partisan nature, S.C.O.P.E. does not endorse candidates, but does grade candidates, based on their perceived support for the right of the people to keep and bear arms as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
Schuyler County Chapter
New York State and the erosion of liberty
To the Editor on Oct. 8:
Early October signals another approaching election, and the course of events these last two years prompts some complex thought on the idea of what leadership at different levels truly means. This year, we will be electing mainly our local leadership, arguably our most important. Surely it's the level of leadership where the individual vote holds the most weight. In New York State, over the last two years it is an inarguable fact that our basic liberty has been restricted at a rate never before seen in American history, except maybe in this same time frame in California. Whether you support these decisions or not, the fact remains true, and with it a terrifying set of precedents can now be upheld from this time.
The reason I fought so hard in the spring against the restrictions and the mandates was not necessarily for the immediate impact, although I'd be lying if I said not having masking and social distancing mandates at my wedding was never a factor. The thing that scares me the most is what our state government will do with this newfound power in the future. Already, we're seeing the effects of a single-party state government stripped of its constitutional shackles. Mandates for vaccines for state workers and health care professionals were for the longest time last year just conspiracy theories that those of us looking forward were laughed at for mentioning. Now, I think we all know of a few people that have left their jobs in recent weeks simply for the fact that they don't want to put something in their body that the government is forcing upon them in order to simply keep their jobs.
What will the next step be? Covid will soon pass, likely next year; going into year three the pandemic will end as these things always do. We will simply add Covid to the list of yearly illnesses that just come around every winter like the flu and the common cold. What about the next time a super virus threatens? Or a natural disaster? Or whatever the next manufactured crisis may be? How long until a medical megacorporation decides to make up their own in order to force the government into ordering a billion vaccinations at $50 apiece? To some extent, isn't that what already happened?
Pfizer, Moderna and J&J -- the questions surrounding their track records notwithstanding -- are taking advantage of Covid because it represents a good business opportunity. They've done the work in the short term. They've dotted the I's and crossed the T's as the FDA and CDC have asked, but those are the same officials counting on Pfizer and Moderna for campaign dollars next fall to get back into office, so how much scrutiny can we really expect our leaders to give?
All of this is a long-winded way of saying that the local leaders, the ones who aren't seeing the massive corrupting campaign funding, the ones who we can all see and speak with on a day's notice, are the ones that we must uphold to the highest standard, and also the ones that we must rely on in the darkest hour. When you go to the polls this fall, with so much change and uncertainty on the horizon, ask yourself this: When the state or federal government is coming to your door, and forcing direct changes to your way of life, who is going to stand up for you? When the state mandates vaccines and you're about to lose your job, will your local leadership file direct legal action against the state to protect your job? Will they pass local ordinances in direct defiance of the state? Or will they stand by as their constituents are run over by virtue-signaling fearmongers in Albany and DC who couldn't care an ounce less about the effects and practicality of their policy on the ground, in the real world.
That is the responsibility of local government, not just to sign the budgets or supervise the departments and police force, but to be the voice of their people to a level that no state or federal official ever can. To plant themselves in the way of tyrants flexing their would-be muscles, and force them to reconsider or turn away. When you vote this fall, consider who would have the courage to take that stand. I for one, know for a fact that Kevin Rumsey is one of these people. In the face of insurmountable odds, he is one of the few who will hold fast in the name of our liberty and all that we know to be fair and just. When you consider the men and women of this county who have held power for years past, of how many can you say the same?
This is for you to decide.The local leaders for the next four years will not just impact that time frame, but will make decisions that can and likely will set precedent for the next century to come, in our county and every other in this state. Bring that weight with you to the polls this fall. The future of our county, our people and our way of life may just very well count on the handful of men and women we elect in the coming weeks.
Keith Rekczis Jr.
Library community focus group set
To the Editor on Sept. 24:
Join the Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library Board of Trustees and library staff on October 4, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. at the Odessa Village Hall for a community focus group to help us create our 5-year strategic plan. Questions to be discussed will be available prior to the meeting on the library's website or by visiting the library. A short reception will be held in the new Dutton S. Peterson Library Reading Garden following the event.
Please contact the library at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (607) 594-2791 with any questions.
Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library
Sustainability Showcase set for festival
To the Editor on Sept. 21:
As the Mayor of Montour Falls and the Chair of the Sustainability Committee, I have the honor and responsibility of leading the Village of Montour Falls in becoming a more sustainable community. Sustainability isn’t limited to climate change adaptation and mitigation but includes every aspect of our community including government operations, economic and community development, transportation, and individual homes.
Sustainability in Montour Falls means increasing the quality of living for all residents while also creating a more resilient community. Sustainability entails meeting the needs of today’s residents while also protecting the future for our children and future children. In Montour Falls, we believe that we can prosper today and prepare for the future!
In 2018, the Village committed to becoming a Clean Energy and Climate Smart Community. In 2019, the Village was designated a Bronze Climate Smart Community, but we are not done yet! We are on our way to Silver and then Gold.
Throughout the ongoing Climate Smart Communities Certification Process the Village has worked with local and regional partners, businesses, and residents. By embracing a collective impact approach to transform our Village, we are positioned to prosper far into the future. This robust position is pushing the present policy change of today and positively impacting our next generation of planning and investment.
We are very proud of the hard work that is going on in the Village to create a more sustainable community! We would like to share with you what the Village and community have already done, what we are currently doing, and what we are planning for the near future. Please join us for the first Sustainability Showcase during the Montour Falls Harvest Festival. Learn ways that you can make a difference in your community while also saving money.
What: Sustainability Showcase
Where: Village Hall at 408 W. Main Street, Montour Falls, NY
When: October 2, 2021 from noon to 7 p.m.
Mayor James P. Ryan
Village of Montour Falls
Incident at Junction under investigation
To the Editor on Sept. 13:
The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police are investigating an incident that occurred on September 12, 2021 involving the shooting of a firearm in the direction of Law Enforcement.
At around 10:15 a.m., a Schuyler County Sheriff’s Deputy and New York State Trooper were parked in a business parking lot at the intersection of State Route 13 and State Route 224 -- Alpine Junction in the Town of Cayuta -- when they heard a gunshot and then the impact of the bullet striking a building behind them.
The incident is still under investigation at this time, but appears that neither law enforcement nor the public were being targeted intentionally. The New York State Police are the primary investigating agency and any further inquiries should be directed to them.
Schuyler County Sheriff's Dept.
I would like to thank the Soccer Strikers organization for all their support for the well-being of Schuyler County soccer; namely Eric VanSkiver, Nick Kelly and the rest of the coaching staff.
Watkins Glen Modified Soccer Coach
Top 10 things to know about the Festival
To the Editor on Sept. 9:
Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy has provided a list of things to know regarding the 2021 Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival.
10) The Grand Prix Festival is September 10 in Watkins Glen. The Vintage Grand Prix Race weekend at Watkins Glen International racetrack is from September 9 through September 12.
9) The Grand Prix Festival is on Franklin Street.
8) Side streets (from 5th through 11th Street) will close at Noon on September 10.
7) Franklin Street will close for traffic at 12:45 p.m. from 2nd Street through 11th Street.
6) 1st Street, 4th Street, Decatur, and 15th Street remain open, allowing access to Route 14 and Route 414.
5) Visitors are encouraged to park at the Clute Park Community Center, take the FREE shuttle to Lafayette Park, and then walk to Franklin Street.
4) Grand Prix Festival events start at 9:30 a.m., with events and activities scheduled through 8:30 p.m.
3) Classic cars will arrive at the Concourse (State Park parking lot on Franklin Street) at 10 a.m., with more classic cars lining Franklin Street throughout the day.
2) The full program for the Grand Prix Festival is available online at (http://grandprixfestival.com/documents/Program2021.pdf
1) Please remind everyone to “call ahead” before visiting any and all organizations -- tasting rooms, retail, and restaurants -- to confirm hours, availability, and pandemic-related requirements.
Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce
Please exercise caution during festival
To the Editor on Sept. 7:
Notice to All Residents:
On Friday, September 10, 2021, the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival will again take place. As has been customary in recent years, the original race circuit will be closed to public traffic from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for the race re-enactments. In downtown Watkins Glen, Franklin Street from 1st to 11th Street will be closed from approximately 12:45 p.m. to approximately 8:00 p.m. for a variety of activities.
Also please note that various tours of the original race circuit will occur between
2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Please exercise caution as you travel during this time period.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Sheriff William E. Yessman Jr.
A thank-you from the festival committee
To the Editor on Sept. 1:
What a great festival weekend we had. We would like to thank the following:
Admiral Peabody's, Cargill, Central Asphalt, Chemung Canal, Colonial Inn, Community Bank, Dig Safely NY, E.C. Cooper Insurance, Economy Paving, Famous Brands, Hunt Engineers, John G. Ryan Distributing, Maguire Dealerships, Stewart P. Wilson, US Salt, Visions FCU, Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, Wicked Tees, Damiani Wines, American Legion 555, the Schuyler County Buildings and Grounds crew, the Village Park, Electric and Street Departments, Curt Connelly, Father Jeff Tunicliff, and Jim Howell.
It truly takes a community to make this happen and we thank each and every one of you. Whether it was a monetary donation or our wonderful group of volunteers, we are so grateful for all of you. See you next year!
Italian American Festival Committee
Get ready for heavy traffic on race day
To the Editor on Aug. 3:
To residents in the vicinity of the Watkins Glen International racetrack:
On Sunday, August 8, 2021, we expect a large volume of traffic on County Route 16 because of the large influx of cars coming to the race circuit. As a result, it is necessary that we use County Route 16 as one-way traffic with three lanes of traffic going from State Route 414 to Gate 2 of the Race Track, and two lanes of traffic from Townsend Road to Kuhl Winner Way. There will still be one lane of traffic from Bronson Hill Road to Townsend Road. This will start at around 6:00 a.m. and last until 3:00 p.m. At 9:00 a.m., Kuhl Winner Way will be a one-way road southbound from County Route 16 to Gate #5, and northbound from Bronson Hill Road to Gate #6. It was necessary to make this a part of our traffic pattern due to the growth of persons attending the event, as has been seen over the past several years.
If you are attending church services, shopping or going to Watkins Glen, and you live along this route, it is advisable if you live between C.R. 17 and Meads Hill Road, you travel west in the traffic to Meads Hill and go north to State Route 329 and into Watkins Glen or left on Meads Hill to Wedgewood Road to State Route 414. Then you can turn right for Corning or left to Watkins Glen or Montour Falls. Persons living between Meads Hill Road and the track are requested to get into traffic and go to Townsend and then take the Watkins-Townsend Road to Watkins Glen.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. on this Sunday afternoon, there will be only one-way traffic on County Route 16 with three lanes coming from the race track towards State Route 414 (traffic light) and then traffic will proceed two lanes down into the Village of Watkins Glen. This traffic is expected to last for more than 3 hours. There will also be one-way traffic, two lanes, going down Kuhl Winner Way from gate #6 to State Route 414. There will also be two lanes of traffic going from gate #5 and #4 on Kuhl Winner Way to County Route 16. All traffic coming off from Kuhl Winner Way will be three lanes and diverted in Townsend to County Route 16, County Route 19 or the Watkins-Townsend Road, preferably through the State Park, to the Station Road and down into the Village through Steuben Street.
Plans are in place with Emergency Services to respond to emergencies during the egress period for the safety of the residents in that area. Sheriff's patrols also will be in the area should there be any problems.
We apologize for any inconvenience this traffic pattern may cause you, but it is necessary for us to move a large volume of traffic in the shortest period of time for the safety of everyone. Please remember that these times are approximate and can change due to weather. Traffic patterns on Monday will be normal, but there will be a large volume of traffic leaving the race track that day also, so delays will occur.
If you have any problems, please call me at 535-8222.