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Adapting to changing times

The following is the first in a series of Odessa File columns from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County relating to ongoing CCE educational activities and offerings. The first column -- an introduction -- is by Executive Director Phil Cherry.

By Phil Cherry
Executive Director
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County (CCE Schuyler) has been providing services to Schuyler County for 101 years. Throughout that history CCE has provided quality, timely, science-based knowledge and educational assistance to the residents of Schuyler County on a myriad of topics and programs ranging from agricultural education and technical assistance to home economics, horticulture, youth development, energy literacy, and 4-H programming, which now includes our summer camp at Hidden Valley in the Watkins Glen State Park.

The way we communicate has changed dramatically since President Woodrow Wilson signed the Smith-Lever Act on May 18, 1914, laying the foundation for state-based Extension offices “to aid in diffusing among the people of the United States useful and practical information on subjects related to agriculture and home economics, and to encourage the application of the same.” The idea was to “help people help themselves” by “taking the university to the people.” Back when it all started, people were using letters and word of mouth and newspapers to communicate, and radio and telephones were still new. There was no internet, and there were no blogs, no podcasts, no Facebook, and certainly not The Odessa File!

When I moved to Watkins Glen and began my tenure as the Executive Director of CCE Schuyler, several folks said I needed to read The Odessa File if I wanted to know the latest on what was going on in Schuyler County. I couldn’t fathom at the time what the connection was between Schuyler County and the perilous, fictional adventures of an investigative journalist bringing war criminals to justice, but I quickly came to realize that it wasn’t the movie or book to which folks were referring. Similarly, it wasn’t the lead actor, Jon Voight, who played the very handsome and talented investigative journalist that folks were comparing to our own Charlie Haeffner (sorry Charlie!). It was the enduring Internet sensation that is The Odessa File, a community news service that has its finger on the pulse of Schuyler County and operates without a shred of paper clogging our front lawns and landfills. You know the value of The Odessa File because you’re reading it, and I’m guessing you read it every day, just like I do, thanks to Charlie's passion for journalism and his love for Schuyler County.

So, CCE Schuyler is continuing to adapt to the changing times to ensure that we utilize excellent community forums such as The Odessa File to meet Schuyler County’s need for science-based knowledge by educating its readers on our many educational activities and offerings. Charlie has graciously offered us space for a monthly column to be authored by the experts within the CCE system on topics we hope are of interest to you.

We will also be accepting requests for an “Ask An Expert” column, details to be announced next month. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out CCE’s website at or follow us on Facebook or Instagram. While the way we communicate with our community members has certainly changed, the quality and helpfulness of our programming has only gotten better with time. As always, we appreciate the opportunity to serve you and your community. Check us out, and we look forward to hearing your feedback!

Photo in text: Phil Cherry

© The Odessa File 2018
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869