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4 Novels by the editor

Island Nights

Excerpt here.

The Islander

The entire novel:

Prelude-Chapter 4

Chapters 5-13

Chapters 14-21

Chapters 22-29

Chapters 30-36

Chapters 37-44.

Cabins in the Mist

Excerpt here

The Maiden of Mackinac

Excerpts Maiden

and here and here. 







Recent Headline Stories


Burdett Mayor Dale Walter to step down Dec. 1

Longtime Burdett Mayor Dale Walter (pictured at right) has announced in a letter to village residents that he is resigning his post effective December 1st, 2023.

Walter, elected a village trustee in 1990 and then as mayor in 1997, says his long tenure is coming to an end because "I have come to the point in my life that I need to step aside for personal and family time. I also strongly believe that others (hopeful younger) need to get involved in the local government process. I hope that I will accomplish that with my decision."

In addition to his role in helping run the village government, Walter has served in various capacities (including chief) in the fire department.

"I wish the next leaders continued success and Godspeed," he wrote in his letter.


Lewis wins in Catharine, Boyette in Hector

Incumbent Richard J. Lewis (R) defeated Michael G. Burns (D) 159-144 on Tuesday in the race for Town of Catharine Supervisor. Republican incumbents Ronald W. Hoffman (198) and C. Michael Learn (175) retained their Catharine council seats, turning back Democrats Roxanne Leyes (110) and Sharon Bradford (97).

In the Town of Hector races:

--Democrat Justin Boyette defeated Republican John R. White, 986-686, in the race for Supervisor.
--Democrat Rebecca L. Wright (862) and Republican incumbent Michael J. Bergen (861) won 4-year council seats, outpolling Republican Ben R. Dickens (826) and Democrat Veronica Perina (794).
--Anthony J. Mansfield (D) defeated Bruno Schickel (R), 936-713, in the race for a 2-year council seat.

In the Town of Orange:

--Republican Heather A. Waters defeated incumbent Norma J. Burris in the race for Supervisor.
--Tara K. Garcia (R) defeated incumbent Maryann J. Friebis in the race for a 4-year council term. Joanne A. Randall (R) was unopposed for a 2-year term.


Watkins girls win 2nd straight Section IV title

The Watkins Glen High School girls varsity soccer team rode an Ava Kelly goal and a stingy defense to a 1-0 victory Oct. 27th over top-seeded Trumansburg in the Section IV, Class C Championship game at Chenango Valley High School -- the team's second such title in two years. The Lake Hawks advanced to a regional contest at 12 noon Saturday, Nov. 4 against Section III champion Sauquoit Valley at Herkimer County Community College. Sports.

Photo in text: Watkins' Natalee Oliver, left, fights for the ball.

Football: Storm tops Susquehanna Valley, 38-14. Sports.


Glen firefighters battle Lakeview Avenue blaze

The Watkins Glen Fire Department was dispatched to 104 Lakeview Ave. in the Village of Watkins Glen on October 25th for a structure fire with smoke and flames showing. Features.

Photo in text: Flames shoot through the roof at the structure on Lakeview Avenue.


Field, Marquez are Homecoming King, Queen

Thomas Field and Thalia Marquez were announced as the Watkins Glen High School Homecoming King and Queen Oct. 21 at a Homecoming Dance in the school's Field House. The rest of the King's Court consisted of Ryan Willett, Brandon Chiacchiarini and Alex Holmes. Other Queen candidates were Kay Davis, Sasha Honrath and Alannah Klemann

Photo: Thomas Field and Thalia Marquez pose at the WGHS Homecoming Dance. (Photo provided)

Diners were filling up the lodge during the hors d'oeuvres portion of the evening. Dinner was to follow.


Spirit of Schuyler holds its annual Gathering

The Spirit of Schuyler non-profit organization held its annual major fund-raiser, The Gathering, Saturday night, Oct. 21 at the Hidden Valley Lodge. Dinner was provided by Corning Catering. The event helps raise money for emergency funding provided by the Spirit of Schuyler (SOS) to Schuyler County residents in need. SOS is spearheaded by the Tony Vickio family, who started the effort years ago as a party in the garage at their home. Raffles play a big part in The Gathering, with items donated by various area businesses and individuals.

Photo: Live music was provided by Mike Lucey.


Sunset over Seneca Lake: Oct. 22, 2023

The photograph on the right was snapped by Liz Fraboni of Hector on Oct. 22, another in a long line of contributions by Liz to this website.

Her photos were first published here back in 2006. In a five-year span, we published 50 groupings of her pictures, and many individual shots since. Over the years we've presented nearly 1,000 Liz Fraboni photos.





(Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Odessa-Montour senior David Patterson performed Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" on piano.


Odessa-Montour show offers variety of talents

"O-M's Got Talent" -- an event showcasing a variety of talents by students in the Odessa-Montour school district -- drew loud applause Oct. 20th from appreciative spectators in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. The acts offered instrumentals, vocals, dance, and card tricks, along with a performance by the Senior High Chorus while the judges -- administrators in the district -- decided on the winners. Entertainers (and their graduating class year) included Lily Bliss ('34), Khloe Dean ('28), Noelle Freud ('33), Molly Mahaney and Saskia Dechow (both '30), David Patterson ('24), Mars Rogers ('25) and Alex Campbell ('26), Heidi Anderson and Leah Stigers (both '31), Grace Riker ('29) and Emma Harrison, Brooke McCray ('33), and Jaxson Pound ('31).

Photo: 2nd grader Lily Bliss performed a ju-jitsu and mixed martial arts routine.


Rotary honors Robertson as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Maisie Robertson was honored Oct. 19th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its first WGHS Student of the Month for the 2023-24 school year. Robertson was introduced by teacher Kaz Popovich, who described the honoree as "amazing," "top notch" and "even keeled" -- a student whose favorite subjects are History and English and who hopes to attend Cornell University and become a lawyer "and eventually a judge." She is president of Student Council, National Honor Society and Varsity Club as well as an officer in several other school clubs, and is a member of the two-time IAC champion and defending Section IV, Class C champion girls varsity soccer team. Says Popovich of Maisie's attitude: "Give her something to do, and she runs with it."

Photo: Honoree Maisie Robertson, right, with teacher Kaz Popovich at Rotary meeting.


Watkins Glen is looking for a new treasurer

The Village of Watkins Glen is looking for a new treasurer following the resignation of Angela Ventra -- a move announced by Mayor Laurie DeNardo at the Oct. 18 meeting of the Village Board. The village "will post soon," advertising for applicants, said DeNardo. Another post unfilled -- but for which action is expected soon -- is the Director of Parks and Community Development following the recent departure of Parks Director Craig Bond. The board also approved removal of a decaying cottonwood tree at the edge of the Clute Park lakeside parking lot, which will clear the way for expansion of the lot, described by DeNardo as "so tight." Also approved: a Special Event Application for the annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning -- a walk/run along village streets.

Photo in text: From left: Watkins Glen Village Clerk Fred Warrick and trustees Bob Carson and Nan Woodworth.


Glen Library's Edwards wins Advocate Award

Watkins Glen Public Library Trustee Stacey Edwards has been awarded the Southern Tier Library System's 2023 Outstanding Library Advocate Award. Says library director Kelly Povero, "This award recognizes a person who has made extraordinary contributions to the development, improvement, or expansion of library service to the residents of their community. The award also encourages and awards the tradition of citizenship and excellence. Stacey -- a trustee for eight years -- led the multi-year roof replacement initiative and is actively working to address additional facility needs to preserve the physical integrity of the library for future generations."

Photo in text: Watkins Glen Library Director Kelly Povero, left, and honoree Stacey Edwards. (Photo provided)


Sunset View Creamery on the raw milk recall

The owners of Sunset View Creamery explain what prompted a recall on its raw milk that was sold from September 12th-14th, and what is being done to reinstate that popular product. Also noted: "Our cheese is still safe to eat." Forum.

Odessa-Montour School Board member Dana Sgrecci at the Oct. 12 session. Each board member received a gift bag in appreciation of his or her service.


School Board thanked for its service to district

Each member of the Odessa-Montour School Board -- in advance of the upcoming New York State School Board Recognition Week -- received a gift bag containing soap, a water bottle and a shirt at their Oct. 12 meeting. The gifts came from Superintendent Tracy Marchionda (right), who praised the board for its dedicated volunteer service. The board also heard a favorable audit report, discussed upcoming capital project work and ongoing shared services, and reaffirmed the merger of certain sports with the Watkins Glen School District while preliminarily discussing a Watkins call for a 50-50 split in the shared-sports cost -- up from the current 40-60 OM-WG payment plan.

Photo: O-M Superintendent Tracy Marchionda


United Way holds its annual spaghetti dinner

The Schuyler County United Way sold more than 300 meals Monday evening at its annual spaghetti dinner at the Montour Moose Lodge. Some attendees utilized the lodge dining room (left above), while many used a drive-through option. Students like Cara Reynolds (right in photo at right) served those dining inside. The meals, sold at $12 each, provide funds toward the United Way's goal to help finance 21 member agencies.


Klemann qualifies for States in the 100 Yard Backstroke

Schuyler Storm swim standout Alannah Klemann -- a Watkins Glen High School senior -- meets the New York State tournament qualifying time in the 100 Back at the large Shenendehowa Invitational. Sports.

Left: Alannah Klemann (File photo)


Falls Harvest Festival draws a large crowd

The annual event in downtown Montour Falls started slowly while it was raining, but festival lovers turned out in force when the weather cleared. Features.


Left: Amazing Pete's Balloons was a popular festival spot.


WGI's NASCAR race now part of Sept. playoff

Watkins Glen International's big NASCAR weekend is moving from August to September in 2024, when it will host a race in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. Sports.

Sunrise on Seneca

The photo above was sent in by Marti Dense, who wrote: "In a matter of minutes the sunrise came and went at the south end of Seneca Lake! (Picture take October 6, 2023)"


Watkins Board OKs streaming of its meetings

The Watkins Glen Village Board Tuesday night approved live streaming of board meetings, to take effect in the near future. Two cameras will be used, one at the rear of the meeting room and one at the side, facing the audience. Trustee Peter Cherock voted no. In other action, the board:
--Rejected a fire department request for the purchase of a $161,000 Firehawk 20 emergency boat to replace a 2002 boat now used. Mayor Laurie DeNardo told firefighters the board would continue to seek funding, although she said the service should perhaps be shared by the county.
--Put off, until further information is provided, board consideration of the proposed purchase of a $1.5 million fire department ladder truck.
--Approved, subject to Civil Service approval, the position of Director of Parks, Planning and Community Development -- an expansion of the old Parks Director post, minus its maintenance component, which now resides with Buildings and Grounds.

Photo: Watkins Glen Village Trustees Peter Cherock and Margaret Schimizzi at Oct. 3 meeting.


Elks Lodge 1546 donates $550 to Head Start

The Watkins Glen Elks Lodge 1546 donated $550 to the Schuyler Head Start program Friday -- money raised through a chicken BBQ on Sept. 14. The money, said Head Start officials, will be applied to the organization's transportation costs -- a significant part of their expenses. Head Start is a federal program for pre-school children from 6 weeks to five years old.

Photo: Elks Lodge 1546 Exalted Ruler Lou DeBolt, left, and Stewart Field, chairman of the Elks BBQ fund-raising committee, present the check to Head Start 3- and 4-year-olds.

Max Heitner, Director of Conservation for the Finger Lakes Land Trust, left, and Bruno Schickel cut the celebratory ribbon symbolizing the opening of the 2.5-mile trail. The Land Trust financed half of the $35,000 purchase price of the land, while Schickel donated time, equipment and expertise in clearing the trail. The two knives used to cut the ribbon were each fashioned from a rail spike found along the trail.


Ribbon cutting marks Odessa rail trail opening

A ribbon-cutting celebration near the south end of a recently cleared 2.5-mile trail where trains used to run was held Sept. 23 in Odessa. The trail, part of the Lehigh Valley railroad service from the early 1890s to the late 1970s, was cleared free of charge of long neglected overgrowth and turned into a serviceable trail for hikers, bikers, horseback riders and snowmobilers by Bruno Schickel, owner of a construction firm who is devoted to trail development. He would like to see the trail -- which starts in Odessa on Brooklyn Terrace and stretches to Hayes Road -- eventually reach all the way to the northern edge of the Town of Hector. Saturday's event was emceed by Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer, who had the original vision for the trail and led an effort to purchase and clear it without using any taxpayer funds.

Photo: Sign on the trail lists the purchase and development donors: Schickel Construction Co., Finger Lakes Land Trust, Schuyler Glass Company, Chemung Canal Trust Co., and Ralph & Debra Daugherty. This 2.5-mile stretch was named in honor of Schickel, who spearheaded its clearing.

The 1951 GM LeSabre concept car, a popular feature at Sept. 8 Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival.


Annual Grand Prix Festival draws a crowd

The annual and always popular Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival drew a large crowd of motor-vehicle enthusiasts on Sept. 8, with spectators lining both sides of downtown Franklin Street to watch passing parades of vintage and modern cars. The focus -- the honored car -- was the Corvette, first produced 70 years ago. For a story and more photos, see Features.


Cayuga Health returns to mandatory masking

The Cayuga Health System has announced a return to required masking in response to current COVID community and transmission levels in the counties the health system serves, including Schuyler. The masking is scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 7. Masking.

The ribbon-cutting at the Lulu-B Women's Clothing Outlet celebration was a Guild family affair. Joining Jim Guild (center) were, from left, daughter-in-law and son Ally and Jamie, grandsons Eli and Brody, granddaughters Natalie and Chloe, and daughter Erin and her husband Andy. At right is Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nigar Hale.


Ribbon cutting celebrates Lulu-B arrival in WG

The Lulu-B Women's Clothing Outlet held a Grand Opening, ribbon-cutting celebration Sept. 6 at the store, located in the former Watkins Sporting Goods building at 123 E. Fourth St., Watkins Glen. The Outlet, specializing in "colorful and comfortable" women's clothing, is owned by Jim Guild, who also owns the Famous Brands store on Franklin Street in Watkins. The Outlet had a soft opening starting with NASCAR weekend. Open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, it offers what Guild called "a really good, quality brand of clothing" at 75% off the retail price.

Speakers at the ceremony included Nigar Hale, Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce; Watkins Glen Village Trustee Margaret Schimizzi; Schuyler County Legislator Mark Rondinaro; Sharon Murphy of Congressman Nick Langworthy's office, and Jim Guild, described by Hale as "visionary."

Photo in text: A certificate presented to the Lulu-B store by the office of Congressman Nick Langworthy.

For another photo from the ribbon-cutting, see Business.


Eslinger appointed Election Commissioner

The Schuyler County Legislature, in special session Wednesday morning, appointed Brian Eslinger as the new Democratic Commissioner of the county Board of Elections. He will complete the unexpired term of Carolyn Elkins, which ends on Dec. 31, 2024. Elkins -- who had served in the post since 2017 -- and her deputy, Kathryn Elkins, submitted their resignations in August, effective Sept. 6. Eslinger, whose salary will be $22,950, will start without a deputy. Finding one, a county official said, "will be up to Brian." Eslinger, co-owner of the Blackberry Inn Bed & Breakfast and the Blackberry Inn Kitchen in Watkins Glen, has in recent years been serving as a member of the Watkins Glen Planning Board.

Photo: Election Commissioner Brian Eslinger.

The Humane Society's Executive Director, Georgie Taylor, left, with her organization's Resiliency in Business award presented by Chamber Executive Director Nigar Hale.


Lodge, Hop Notch, HSSC, Haeffner win awards

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce unveiled the winners Aug. 23rd of its Schuyler Tributes -- awards in four categories: Endurance in Business (won by Seneca Lodge), Resiliency in Business (won by the Humane Society of Schuyler County), Best New Business (won by the Hop Notch Brewing Company) and Schuyler Samaritan (won by Charlie Haeffner of The Odessa File). The awards were presented during a luncheon at the Seneca Lake Events Center at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. A total of 3,600 ballots were cast in online voting, with one source saying the Samaritan category drew the most interest.

Photo in text: Odessa File Editor-Publisher Charlie Haeffner won the Chamber's Schuyler Samaritan Award. There were five nominees for the award, created to honor a person who was "a vocal champion in our region," appreciates its beauty and natural resources, and "advocates for inclusion, diversity and equity in Schuyler County." (Photo by Laurie DeNardo)

Chamber Executive Director Nigar Hale presents the Best New Business Award to the Hop Notch Brewing Company's owner, Jeff Klossner (left), and the Endurance in Business Award, won by Seneca Lodge, to Brett Brubaker, the Lodge's Vice President and Manager.


O-M has its 1st cross country runner in years

Seventh grader Lexi Strobel is running cross country for Odessa-Montour Junior/Senior High School, the first XC runner at O-M in about two decades. Tuesday, she was second among 24 girls competing in an IAC modified race at Trumansburg. To find out how she became a "team of one" for O-M, see Sports.


Photo: Lexi Strobel (Photo by Gail Sgrecci)


On the lakefront,
early in the morning ...

Area photographer Liz Fraboni's camera has captured hundreds of images published on these pages over the years, and she has added another wiith this shot along the eastern shore of Seneca Lake, snapped Saturday morning, Sept. 16, 2023.






Left: Photo by Liz Fraboni


Hector Harvest 5K held; raises funds for Lions

More than 100 people participated Sunday in the third annual Hector Harvest 5K, which helps raise funds for the service-oriented Hector Area Lions Club. For story and photos, see Features.


Bond leaving Glen parks post for theater job

Craig Bond has resigned his position as the Watkins Glen Superintendent of Parks and Recreation to take a position with the Clemens Center in Elmira. As Superintendent, Bond -- a Schuyler County native who moved back here from Colorado two years ago, and who has an extensive background in theater production -- has been in charge of Clute Park as it has grown with the addition of the Seneca Lake Events Center and a winter ice rink. He has also overseen the campers who congregate across the street from the park, as well as events at both Clute and Lafayette Parks. Mayor Laurie DeNardo said the resignation, efffective on Sept. 13, will be accepted by the Village Board at its next meeting, and that the village will soon advertise for a successor. "Change happens," she said. "We'll figure it out."

Photo: Craig Bond at Sept. 15 Schuyler Storm football game.


Legislature appoints new Public Defender

Schuyler County Legislators Monday night approved the appointment of Josette Colon, Chief Assistant Public Defender in Chemung County, as the next Schuyler County Public Defender at an annual salary of $118,000. Officials said Colon, who already had a deputy and a confidential secretary lined up last week, takes office on Sept. 18. She succeeds Nancy Farrell, who served as Public Defender from October 2022 until the end of May.

The board also heard from Interim County Administrator Shawn Rosno that sales tax revenue remains strong, and that 2024 budget projections are more positive than initially thought.

Photo: Josette Colon at Monday's Legislature session


Dundee approves Wood as its superintendent

The Dundee School Board, in an emergency session on Sept. 1, approved Chris Wood (pictured at right) as its superintendent of schools, effective Sept. 28. Wood served as superintendent in the Odessa-Montour school distirct for seven years before resigning last December, and then was named principal in the Bradford school district, where he has served since. He will succeed Christopher Barnard, who left Dundee upon accepting the superintendency of the Manchester-Shortsville school district.


A view of a Super Blue Moon on August 31st

The photo at right comes from Marti Dense. She wrote, upon emailing it on Thursday, Aug. 31, that this view of a Super Blue Moon -- the last until January of 2037 -- was "taken this morning between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes." A Blue Moon isn't blue, but is the term applied to two full moons appearing in the same month, while "supermoon" (according to an online article) "refers to a full moon that occurs when the moon is closer to Earth in its orbit, resulting in a slightly larger and brighter appearance."

Owner Jonathan Twombley cuts the ribbon celebrating the opening of The Hotel Laurel at Seneca. From left: Schuyler County Legislator Mark Rondinaro, Sharon Murphy from Congressman Nick Langworthy's office, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nigar Hale, Interim Schuyler County Administrator Shawn Rosno, Twombley's daughters Emma and Erin, Twombley with the scissors, Shiv Parbhoo, president of Victoria Falls Enterprises of St. Augustine, Florida (with whom Twombley partnered and which is overseeing the hotel's operation), and Twombley's wife Kaori.


Ribbon cut, celebrating renovated Hotel Laurel

The former Glen Motor Inn, purchased last year by Brooklyn real estate investor (and Penn Yan area summer-home owner) Jonathan Twombley and renovated and renamed The Hotel Laurel at Seneca, was the scene Aug. 30 of a celebratory ribbon-cutting. Twombley, who partnered with Victoria Falls Enterprises President Shiv Parbhoo in redeveloping the property (Victoria Falls is in charge of its operation), said the purchase price was "about $2 million" and the renovations another $1.8 million. The iconic inn was purchased from the Franzese family; one member of the family, Nancy, is providing continuity by serving as the hotel manager. The renovation, now all but completed, took eight months. The Franzese family opened the inn in 1948, making it at the time the only motel in Schuyler County.


Rail trail cleared from Odessa to Hayes Road

A trail on a 2.5-mile stretch of forest land that housed a Lehigh Valley rail line for decades from the late 1800s through the 1970s has been cleared from Odessa to Hayes Road through the efforts of Bruno Schickel. It will be used for hiking, biking, horseback riding and snowmobiling. A grand opening celebration is expected this fall. Features.

Photo: Sign at the Odessa end of the new, 2.5-mile trail.


Parental behavior at games prompts new rules

Watkins Glen Athletic Director Rod Weeden (pictured at right) is alerting area residents that an uptick in bad parental behavior at high school sporting events in New York has prompted a new state policy, with consequences. Sports.


Ribbon-cutting marks completion of project

SCOPED and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce hold a ribbon-cutting marking the completion of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) project at the Graft Wine+Cider Bar in downtown Watkins Glen. Business.

Photo: Chef and owner Orlando Rodriguez cuts the ribbon.

Richard Childress, right, receives the Cameron Argetsinger Award from Cameron's eldest son, J.C. Argetsinger.


Childress receives annual Argetsinger Award

NASCAR race car driver and team owner Richard Childress was honored Aug. 18th at a dinner at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel with the annual Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports presented by the International Motor Racing Research Center. Childress, who drove in 285 races in NASCAR's premier series before turning to team ownership, recorded several season championships with Dale Earnhardt driving his #3 car. The late Cameron Argetsinger conceived of and organized the first road racing in Watkins Glen -- in what would become the Watkins Glen Grand Prix. Previous winners of the award have included Chip Ganassi, Richard Petty, Roger Penske, Mario Andretti, The France Family, Bobby Rahal, Lyn St. James and Mike Helton. The emcee for Friday night's event, as in past years, was Dr. Jerry Punch, who concluded the ceremony by interviewing Childress on stage about the latter's storied career.

Photo: Honoree Richard Childress at the podium.

Left: Reverend Michael Hartney, who delivered the Invocation.
Right: John Saunders, former President of the International Speedway Corp., delivered a speech at the dinner.

Jud Spena with one of his fans who purchased his revised history of the Squires, "Echoes in the Valley."


Squires gather as Spena sells, signs new book

Jud Spena's revised version of his book "Echoes in the Valley" -- a 50-year history of drum and bugle corps activity in Watkins Glen and Schuyler County -- was the subject of a gathering Aug. 19th where Spena was selling and signing his book. The event was held on Durland Place in Watkins Glen, at the home of Margaret Scimizzi, who was a member of the Watkins-based Squires Drum & Bugle Corps brass section for a half-dozen years in the group's 1970s heyday. The event also served as a reunion for Squires members, several of whom were on hand, talking about the book and catching up with one another. People.

Photo in text: Sign fastened to host Margaret Schimizzi's front porch railing.

For other recent Schuyler
County news, click here.


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William Byron wins Cup Series race at WGI

William Byron led for 66 of the 90 laps Aug. 20th to win the Go Bowling at The Glen NASCAR race, his Cup Series leading 5th victory of the year. It also marked the 5th straight NASCAR Cup Series win for Hendrick Motorsports cars at Watkins Glen International. Second place went to Denny Hamlin, with Christopher Bell third, AJ Allmendinger fourth, and Ty Gibbs fifth. Kyle Larson, the defending back-to-back winner at The Glen, finished far back, in 26th place.

Congressman Nick Langworthy points toward the gorge where a creek overflowed on July 9th and flooded the US Salt plant. Next to him: plant official Paul Clifford.


Officials get update on July 9 US Salt flooding, subsequent cleanup and hopes for the future

Officials including New York Congressman Nick Langworthy, State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, County Legislator Jim Howell, County Administrator Shawn Rosno and County Emergency Services Director Kirk Smith were provided with a tour of the US Salt plant in Watkins Glen on Aug. 15 -- serving as an update on progress since the facility was flooded by heavy rains and overflowing creeks on July 9th. The update also served as a brainstorming session on future measures that might prevent a flood recurrence. Features.

Photo: Water flows into the plant on July 9th. (Provided)


Legislature names Rosno interim administrator

The Schuyler County Legislature Monday night appointed Shawn Rosno (pictured at right), the county's Director of Community Services, as Interim County Administrator effective Aug. 15 and in effect until the position is filled with a permanent successor to Fonda Chronis, or until "other arrangements have been made." The position became vacant when Chronis was placed on administrative leave on July 10 for reasons not specified. His permanent departure was announced three weeks later. The administrator duties had been shared since then by department heads led by Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers.


SCCUDD Project Coordinator Brower resigns

Ward Brower (pictured at right), longtime Project Coordinator for the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD), is resigning effective Aug. 30 and taking a job as an Academic Intervention teacher at Bradford Central School. Brower attributed his job change to the "uncertainty of employment after the Drug-Free Community grant that funds my position is set to end." He was lauded by several officials with whom he worked, including District Attorney Joe Fazzary, who thanked him "for your dedication to our community over the years. We at the DA's Office congratulate you on a job well done and hope that your new career path brings you happiness." SCCUDD's mission is to prevent, reduce and delay the onset of substance use among Schuyler County youths.

Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer, left center, accepts the sign from woodworker Seth Case. Looking on: Village Trustees Tom Letteer and Pam Cicconi. (Photo provided)


Sign donated to Odessa by area woodworker

Members of the Odessa Village Board on Aug. 14th were presented a sign reading "Welcome" above "Odessa Village Office" for placement in front of the Village facility on County Route 15. It was created and donated by Seth Case of Odessa, a full-time Corrections Officer who has started a business, Case Craft Woodworks, on the side. The sign, presented by Case during a block party in downtown Odessa, will replace a less formal-looking yard sign.

Trucks turn the corner from Fairgrounds Lane onto Decatur.


Fire trucks carry Camp Star kids in WG parade

Decatur Street in Watkins Glen, the scene on Aug. 14th of an Italian-American Festival parade, saw another parade -- made up of police vehicles and fire trucks -- on Tuesday in connection with Camp Star. That's a week-long camp at Watson Homestead (and sponsored by Rotary Club) whose participants -- kids aged 6-12 with a physical or developmental disability -- spent the day in Watkins Glen, mainly at Clute Park. Camp kids rode in parade vehicles from fire departments in Watkins Glen, Odessa, Montour Falls, Hector and Beaver Dams. The police cars and fire trucks gathered at Fairgrounds Lane and moved down Decatur, lights flashing and horns blaring, turning onto 4th Street on the way back to Clute Park.

Photo: A Camp Star rider waves from a Montour Falls truck.

Workers put the finishing touches on the Rt. 13 cleanup.


Diesel cleanup follows truck rollover on Rt. 13

A crane truck rolled over trying to avoid collision with a van on Aug. 14th on Route 13 about a mile north of Alpine Junction, resulting in a diesel fuel and hydraulic fluid spill. Firefighters from the Odessa and Montour Falls Fire Departments responded for the cleanup, with the roadway closed from the accident site to Alpine Junction for about four hours. Nobody was injured in the accident, and fire officials said there was no fresh-water contamination. The crane truck was towed from the scene.

Robin Burnett and Scott Muir provided music at the block party.


Chicken BBQ block party celebrates Bucket

The Bucket Bar & Grill in Odessa threw its second annual block party on Aug. 14th to celebrate its 8th anniversary of business at the corner of Main and Church Streets. The first block of Church Street was closed for a Bucket chicken barbecue, seating for the diners who bought out the 175 available dinners, and for various vendors. Music was provided by Robin Burnett and Scott Muir, ice cream by Ben & Jerry's, and caricatures by Jon Haeffner. Vegetables, insulated cups, scented products and other items were also available. Bucket owner Erich Thorpe said the event will be repeated each year on the Bucket's anniversary.

Photo: One man came dressed in keeping with the BBQ theme.


Veterans Agency's Cole-Scott honored at hotel

Schuyler County Veterans Service Agency Officer (and former Director) Joan Cole-Scott -- who will retire at the end of the year after 15 years of helping veterans and their families -- was honored Aug. 13th at a brunch at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel attended by 80 veterans and by members of Cole-Scott's family. She was presented a Quilt of Valor prepared by members of the Corning American Legion Post. Such quilts are awarded to service members or veterans as a thank-you for "service and sacrifice in serving our nation."

Photo: From left with the quilt: Joan Cole-Scott, Schuyler County Veterans Service Agency Director Kristine Gardner and agency Officer Dewayne Butler, and Marcia Dunlap, Quilts of Valor Coordinator in the Finger Lakes Region.

Italian-American Festival Grand Marshals Dominick and Midge Franzese are presented a plaque during Saturday's parade by Festival Committee President Lou Perazzini.


Italian-American Festival ends its 3-day run

The annual Watkins Glen Italian-American Festival concluded Aug. 13 with an afternoon of food, fun, music and camaraderie at Clute Park in Watkins Glen.

The festival was highlighted on its second day, Aug. 12th, by a parade on Decatur Street from the high school down to 5th Street, and by fireworks after dark over the south end of Seneca Lake.

Live music was provided Friday night, Aug. 11th by the Rusted Bucks, Saturday afteroon by the Doc Possum band, Saturday night by Right Turn Clyde, and Sunday afternoon by Muirimage. The weather, which featured light rain periodically Saturday, was sunny and breezy for the final day. For first-day photos, see Features. For parade photos, see People.

Photo in text: Large bubbles created with "Big Bubble Powder" -- a blend of non-toxic polymers that mixes with water and dish soap -- were a popular festival attraction.


$100K available for ARPA facade upgrades

That much money is currently available to some Schuyler County building owners for facade improvements to commercial and mixed-use properties under the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) matching-grant program. Government.


Mechanics Club gives $500 to help veterans

The Mechanics Club in Montour Falls has donated $500 to the Veterans for Schuyler group, a non-profit founded in 2022 to help veterans in Schuyler County in need of emergency funding. Features.

Left: Veterans for Schuyler board members hold the check.


2 Cats Cakery adds to Main Street comeback

Two Cats Cakery & Sweet Treats -- offering a variety of baked delights -- has opened at 109 Main Street in Odessa, a sign of a business comeback in the village's downtown. Business.

Left: Sign in front of the 2 Cats Cakery in Odessa.


Eagles resting on a dreary day in Glen

Marti Dense sent us this shot of a pair of juvenile Bald Eagles taking their rest near the Yacht Club along the canal south of Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen. The photo was snapped on an overcast, misty August morning. (Photo by Marti Dense)

Senator Chuck Schumer toured the Business Park's Lucky Hare Brewing Company, sampling its popular Glen Ale. Lucky Hare co-owner Richard Thiel is at right.


Schumer visits Business Park, says bill aims to return manufacturing jobs to Southern Tier

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer visited Schuyler County on Aug. 1st for what he said was the 25th time in 25 years in office -- this time at the Schuyler County Business Park to unveil a bill known as the ONSHORE Act designed to breathe new life into Upstate New York manufacturing and bring back "good-paying jobs from overseas to places like the Southern Tier." The legislation, he said, should be passed this year and ready for applicants in January -- vying for $100 million in grants per year for five years. The act, Schumer said, "will give municipalities federal assistance for workforce development, infrastructure, and site readiness for complexes like the business park" -- which currently houses the Lucky Hare Brewing Company but has 14,000 square feet available for lease. Other similar site-ready facilities in the region, he said, include a business park in Wayland and the former Chemung Foundry in Elmira. "I'm on board to help you," he told dignitaries on hand, including Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers, Legislator Michael Lausell, SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry, and Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nigar Hale.

Photo in text: Senator Chuck Schumer at the podium, with Legislator Michael Lausell in the background.

Lifeguard Hannah Nolan, right, is congratulated by Mayor DeNardo. Lifeguard Isabella La Face is in the background.


Lifeguards honored for response at Clute

Five Clute Park lifeguards were presented Certificates of Valor on Aug. 1st from Watkins Glen Mayor Laurie DeNardo at a meeting of the Village Board. Cameron Holland, Hannah Nolan, Isabella La Face, Giuseppe La Face and Nikhil Manakkal were cited for their action July 23 in responding to what DeNardo called "a swimmer in distress" -- a man who was injured when he dove from a boat into shallow water to the east of where the lifeguards were working. "They knew what to do," she said, noting that the village is "very proud of them. They did a heroic job" along with the village police and fire departments. "Kudos to all of you." DeNardo also recognized the long service of Joe Fazzary on the Village Planning Board, a post he is vacating under recently adopted term limits.

Photo: One of the Certificates of Valor issued by the village.

Village Board meeting summary: Government.


Can't Count Trio -- all 4 -- perform at LaFayette

The Can't Count Trio -- a quartet of jazz musicians -- were the performers at Tuesday night's edition of the summer LaFayette Park Concert Series in Watkins Glen. The group -- Bob Brown on drums; vocalist Christopher Schiavone on piano and tenor sax; Jerry Leonard on bass, and Kevin Hooey on trumpet and piano -- entertained an appreciative audience on a pleasant, sunny evening at the park. Next up: blues rock by Meg Williams and Travis Bowlin on Tuesday, Aug. 8.

The front page of the July 29, 1973 Elmira Sunday Telegram.


50th anniversary of Summer Jam has passed; some folks have sent along reminiscences

The famous Summer Jam rock concert is 50 years in Schuyler County's rearview, but so impactful that people still talk about it, usually shaking their heads at the sheer enormity of it. On Thursday, July 27, the 50th anniversary of the July 27-29, 1973 Watkins Glen event arrived. A call from this website for reminiscences prompted a few people to send along theirs, as recounted here. Does anyone else have memories to share? Write them down and send them to The Odessa File. Just e-mail us at

Photo in text: The Aug. 2, 1973 cover of Ithaca New Times.

A popular stop for Family A-Fair attendees was one where they could create bubbles galore.


Hector Family A-Fair: a sense of community

The Hector Family A-Fair -- advertised as "a reimagined Hector Fair" and launched by a group of young adults intent on re-establishing a sense of community that the pandemic had dealt a blow -- was held Saturday on the old fairgrounds field behind the Valois Logan Hector Fire Department. Though afternoon rain chased away some attendees as well as some service and product tents -- spokeswoman Abby Ganton (whose Family A-Fair organizing group operates separate from the fire department, which used to oversee the old fair) deemed the event a success. She pointed to a large early turnout and clearing skies that would draw fair-lovers back for an evening of games, music and fireworks. The fair featured a book sale, yoga class, hot dog eating contest, inflatable bounce houses, cake booth, axe throwing, kids' relay races, food trucks, dunk tank, and cornhole tournament. A portion of the proceeds, raised through sponsorships, vendor fees, game charges, and raffles, were earmarked for the fire department.

Photo in text: One of the event's inflatable attractions.

Product and service stands populated the fair's perimeter.


Chronis out as Schuyler County Administrator

Schuyler County Administrator Fonda Chronis (left), placed on administrative leave by Schuyler County on July 10 for reasons not specified publicly, will not be returning to the post. A joint statement from the county Legistlature and Chronis specified Chronis's "gratitude" and his "honor" in serving the county. "I am thankful," he was quoted as saying, "for the trust placed in me and the opportunity to serve. Together, we achieved significant milestones such as the new ambulance service, the NY Forward award, the ARPA facade program, and the establishment of stronger fiscal guidelines. ... Sometimes, however, parties move in different directions and view progress differently, and to ensure the team's future success, it is best for the Legislature to seek administrative leadership that more closely aligns with their vision for the future." Added Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers: "We extend our thanks to Fonda for his efforts and we wish him and his family the very best in future endeavors."

Photos in text: Fonda Chronis, left, and Carl Blowers


A 2nd guest column from
Rep. Nick Langworthy

Congressman Nick Langworthy (R-NY) provides us with a column regarding natural gas hookups and their importance to small business -- his second offering this week. Column 2. To read his earlier one, see Column1.

Left: Congressman Nick Langworthy


Woman dies in car-truck accident on Rte. 414

The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal accident that occurred Thursday afternoon when an SUV and a logging truck collided at the intersection of State Route 414 and Mathews Road in the Town of Hector. The Sheriff's Office said Angela Spang, 38, driving the SUV, failed to yield to the truck operated by Daniel Byler, who was traveling north on 414. Both vehicles traveled about 500 feet, leaving pieces of wreckage along the way, and came to rest on the west side of 414. Spang was pronounced dead at the scene.


Legislature tables move to hire NYC firm; will seek to advertise for Public Defender position

The Schuyler County Legislature, in a special session July 25th, tabled resolutions that would have employed a New York City-based service to replace the county's present Public Defender's Office, and approved a motion to advertise for a Public Defender to (in the words of Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers) "gauge interest from qualified attorneys" -- leaving to a future session any decision on which way to vote. The argument against abolishing the Defender's Office was put forth in a Letter to the Editor the day before by Attorney Jessica Saks, prompting a response from County Attorney Steven Getman (pictured). There was no word on whether the Saks letter prompted the tabling move, with one legislator commenting: "This is an interesting turn of events." To see the letters, visit Forum.


Ribbon-cutting celebrates Lakeside Trolley

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

Photo: Lakeside Trolley owners Joe Irwin and Katrina Gonsorick cut the celebratory ribbon, with Watkins Glen Trustee Nan Woodworth at left. Behind them is the trolley.

Holly Campbell, right, onstage at AGT with Kim Scadlock.


Holly and Kim receive 4 yes votes on AGT

Odessa-Montour High School English teacher Holly Campbell (right) appeared July 18 on America's Got Talent, a popular NBC variety show, singing a duet with Kim Scadlock of Oregon. Kim is the mother of the boy who received the heart of Holly's son, Jake, after Jake died in 2007 at 11 weeks of age. "We had a chance," Holly said of the taped AGT appearance, "to share the story of the very special heart that unites us," presented "through a very special song"-- "For Good" from the musical "Wicked," which was the last song Holly sang to Jake as she said goodbye, and the first song Kim sang to her son Beckham after he had received Jake's heart. The two women didn't know each other back then, but became friends years later. All four AGT judges -- Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel -- voted yes after the emotionally charged performance. For more details, click here.


Printup to oversee Vintage Racing Association

Parella Motorsports Holdings has announced that Michael Printup will join the company as President of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA). In his new role, he will oversee the day-to-day operations of one of the oldest and largest national vintage racing organizations in America. "When I heard that Michael was retiring from Watkins Glen International, I couldn't call him fast enough," said Tony Parella, CEO of Parella Motorsports, which purchased SVRA 10 years ago. Printup spent nearly three decades working for NASCAR, most notably in the role of President of WGI. In addition, he was President of Americrown, and more recently oversaw the Levy food service contract for 12 NASCAR-owned racetracks, and directed the Mobil 1 show car program for Tony Stewart. Printup will begin his new role later this month..

Photo: Michael Printup (Provided)

Some of the crowd filling the Burdett Fire Hall truck bays.


Benefit for Craig Kelly draws large turnout

The Burdett Fire Hall truck bays were packed with people on hand July 16 for a fundraiser on behalf of former Burdett Fire Chief Craig Kelly (right), who has been battling cancer with chemo and radiation treatments. A spaghetti-and-meatball dinner in the adjoining fire hall raised money, as did extensive raffles and a silent auction of donated items. The lot beside the fire hall was packed with parked cars, as were the sides of Rt. 79 in front of the hall, far in either direction. Kelly, on hand for the event, said he was "overwhelmed" by the show of support. Said attendee Tom Phillips, shaking his head in admiration: "Small-town life. You don't see this kind of thing everywhere."

Left: A raffle was part of the fundraising effort for Craig Kelly. Right: Donated items were available through a silent auction.

Town of Hector Historian Sandra Bradford and Logan's Landmark president James Jensen unveil the new sign.


Logan's Landmark historical sign unveiled

A sign commemorating the placement in 2001 of Logan's Landmark -- a former Methodist church and more recently known as the Logan Community Center -- on the National Register of Historic Places was unveiled in a ceremony outside the building on July 16. .The sign was funded through a grant from the Willliam G. Pomeroy Foundation. Speakers at the ceremony included James Jensen, president of the Logan's Landmark group that is actively restoring the building (focusing currently on the steeple and a choir loft), and Town of Hector Historian Sandra Bradford, who said the sign will encourage pride in the structure, and help attract tourists to the site. Among those present was Town of Hector Supervisor Ben Dickens.

Schuyler County Legislature Chair Carl Blowers at July 10 Legislature meeting, next to the empty County Administrator's chair.


Chronis's name removed from county website

The Schuyler County website has eliminated the name of Fonda Chronis as its County Administrator, listing the job as "Vacant" on one page and "TBA, Vacant" on another. Chronis was placed on administrative leave on July 10, but county officials have not said why or whether the move might lead to his termination. Carl Blowers, chair of the County Legislature, confirmed the leave Monday night, but said "no comment" when asked what prompted it, and -- when pressed on how long the leave might last -- said only that it would continue "for a while." Blowers, who will be assuming Chronis's duties, said that since the matter was a personnel issue, he could comment no further, but did say, when asked, that it is not a situation in which charges have been filed, and that the county was not advertising yet to secure a successor. When asked if the county would have a further statement, Blowers said: "Maybe sometime." Chronis succeeded Tim O'Hearn in the post, gaining appointment by the legislature a year and a half ago. The job carries a salary of $130,000.

Photo in text: Fonda Chronis (File photo)

Tracey VanSkiver is sworn in remotely by Watkins Glen School Business Administrator Kyle Percey.


Stansfield is president of WG School Board

Watkins Glen School Board member Joe Stansfield was elected president of the board July 10th at its annual organizational meeting, while Craig Bianco was elected vice president. The meeting also saw incumbents Theresa Butler and Jessica Saks sworn in for new terms on the board, and Tracey VanSkiver -- who won a seat in May but could not be present Monday--sworn in remotely. Stansfield, the lone nominee for president, succeeds incumbent Barb Schimizzi.

Photo in text: Joe Stansfield as he was sworn in by Watkins Glen School Business Administrator Kyle Percey.


Tburg theater troupe will present Spamalot

The Encore Players Community Theatre will present the lively, award-winning musical "Monty Python's Spamalot" on succeeding weekends -- from July 27-30 and August 3-6 -- in the Arena Theatre at 9706 Congress Street Extension, Trumansburg. Features.


Glen School District wins Schuyler Steps Out

The Watkins Glen School District's 15-member Wacky Walkers team has won the championship of the 17th annual Schuyler Steps Out walking competition. The Odessa-Montour School district finished second, while the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce was third. People.

Left: The Sprague Vineyards tent at the Launch of the Lakes featured workers in togas.
Right: The Launch included toga and costume contests.


Launch of the Lakes-Wine Fest weekend ends

The annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival at the Watkins Glen International racetrack concluded Sunday, July 9th after a busy Saturday that followed a Friday night Launch of the Lakes celebration on the WGI grounds. Togas and other ancient Roman garb were worn by many of the Launch party-goers, who were entertained by live music and sampled wines from various area wineries. The Saturday-Sunday Wine Festival featured more than 85 wineries, scores of other vendors, seminars, demos, live music and gourmet tastings.

Photo: Togas were worn by many Launch party-goers.

Congressman Nick Langworthy, left, talks to Schuyler County Legislator Mark Rondinaro during July 7th visit to Jerlando's Ristorante & Pizzeria.


Langworthy visits Jerlando's in Watkins Glen

Congressman Nick Langworthy dropped by Jerlando's Ristorante & Pizzeria in Watkins Glen July 7th as part of a swing through Chemung and Schuyler counties. His visit to Jerlando's was designed to discuss recent Congressional legislation aimed at preventing a ban on the purchase of future gas stoves -- a move afoot in New York and other states.

"We're trying to offset the nonsense coming out of Albany," said Langworthy, noting that such a ban would negatively impact pizzerias that depend on the intense heat generated by natural gas, a quality that Jerlando's owner Bill Tague said is lacking in electric ovens. Present to meet with the Congressman -- who also discussed the economy, the health of lake waters, proposals to mandate electric vehicles ("We're just not there yet"), and interest rates -- were Schuyler County Legislators Mark Rondinaro and Laurence Jaynes, along with Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nigar Hale.

Photo: Congressman Nick Langworthy examines a gas pizza oven at Jerlando's.


Friends throw 80th birthday party for Ed Clute

The gathering was a surprise for the talented and popular Watkins Glen pianist -- a party at Seneca Lodge featuring food, a cake and music at the piano by Mr. Clute. Features.

A red-tinged display lights up the sky above Seneca Lake.


Rain recedes in time for dry Watkins fireworks

The heavy rain that fell on Schuyler County on Sunday afternoon, July 2nd, passed through in plenty of time for a dry, almost breezeless fireworks display that night on the southern end of Seneca Lake. With Clute Park loaded with visitors and the Rte. 414 roadway full of parked cars, the fireworks show went off on schedule. For the first time, the fireworks were launched this year from a barge on the lake instead of from Clute Park.

Some of the area residents on hand for the meeting at the Montour Falls Fire Hall.


NY Forward subject of session; input sought

About 40 people were on hand Tuesday evening, June 27 at the Montour Falls Fire Hall for a Public Engagement Meeting #1 designed to elicit suggestions for individual projects to be included in the village's $4.5 million NY Forward development plan. Representatives from the consultant Cameron Engineering firm were on hand to discuss the program and receive recommendations from the public. Those who were unable to attend can provide input virtually through July 2nd at https://publicinput.com/l2676, where the project and its goals are presented in detail.

Flames shoot upward at the Brooklyn Terrace structure. (Photo by Maureen Letteer)


Firefighters knock down front porch flames

Firefighters from Odessa, Montour Falls and Watkins Glen raced to a residence at 112 Brooklyn Terrace in Odessa on June 29 after receiving a report of flames on the building's front porch. The report was called in at 4:39 p.m. by a tenant who escaped the building unharmed, as did two cats who disappeared into the nearby woods. Three other cats were rescued by firefighters and returned to their owner. The fire -- the cause of which was a cigarette butt, according to one official -- scorched the porch and worked through the front door and into the front foyer, but was stopped there. Other damage was from smoke and water. Also present at the scene were Schuyler EMS, fire coordinators and the county Fire Investigation Team. Mecklenburg firefighters were on standby at the Odessa station, and answered an EMS call while there.

Photo: Firefighters gather on the charred front porch.


Hay announces run for NYS Supreme Court

Deirdre L. Hay (right) has announced her campaign for New York State Supreme Court Justice, Sixth Judicial District, which covers 10 New York counties including Schuyler, Chemung and Tompkins. Hay has been a lawyer since 1990 and a member of the NYS Bar for 25 years. She points to her experience in complex, highly emotional and high-stakes cases as evidence of her preparedness for the Supreme Court bench. The State Supreme Court decides civil cases, from election law to construction and zoning cases, to contested divorces, personal injury cases, and medical malpractice. An Adjunct Professor at Cornell Law School teaching business law, a legal scholar, a law book author, and former Managing Editor of the American Bar Association's Antitrust Law Journal, she was also President of the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York, has served on statewide boards and organizations, and has received various law-related awards.


Watkins Glen High bids Class of 2023 goodbye

The Watkins Glen High School Commencement on Saturday, June 24, saw 73 seniors graduate. The diplomas were distributed in the High School Auditorium following speeches by Co-Salutatorians Nikhil Manakkal and Jenna Solomon and Valedictorian Katrina Ricca. Schools.

Photo: WGHS Valedictorian Katrina Ricca.


WGHS Alumni Banquet: 1995 graduate honored with Distinguished Alumni Award; seven 2023 graduates receive scholarships. People.


Odessa-Montour hands diplomas to 36 grads

The Odessa-Montour High School Commencement on Friday, June 23, saw 36 seniors graduate. The diplomas (right) were distributed before family and friends in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. Schools.


Watkins School Board adopts "Lake Hawks"

The Watkins Glen School Board on June 21 officially retired the school nickname "Senecas" and adopted a new one: "Lake Hawks." The retirement was forced by a state policy eliminating Indian mascots and imagery from high school team names. Schools.


The Odessa File's Tribute Award honorees

The Odessa File, with input from school administrators and coaches, announces the winners of its third annual Tribute Awards: 20 students -- 10 each at the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour high schools. The awards, co-sponsored by WETM-TV, are based on academics, athletics, character and citizenship, spotlighting some of the best and brightest that Schuyler County schools have in their midst in 2023. Awards.


Watkins Glen board gets positive report on Corvette Fest, rejects Italian Fest fee request

The Watkins Glen Village Board hears a positive report on the recent inaugural Corvette Festival in Watkins, rejects a parking fee request from the Italian American Festival, and deals with other issues at a meeting in the Village Hall. Government.

Photo: Watkins Glen Mayor Laurie DeNardo.


SCOPED plans Craft Beverage Roundtable

The Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development will host a Craft Beverage Roundtable on June 29 at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The session is for all craft beverage business reps interested in the Craft Beverage Micro-Grant Program. Business.


Childress to receive 2023 Argetsinger Award

Richard Childress, famed NASCAR team owner, will join a select group of recipients of the Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports. Presented annually by the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC), this year’s gala and award ceremony will be held on Aug. 18 at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Motorsports broadcast journalist Dr. Jerry Punch will emcee the evening’s festivities. Past award recipients include Chip Ganassi, Roger Penske, Bobby Rahal, Richard Petty, Lyn St. James and Mario Andretti. The award memorializes Cameron Argetsinger, often referred to as the father of American road racing.

The Three Amigos craft capsized almost as soon as it launched -- one of several boats that sank in the regatta.


Cardboard Boats draw crowd to Seneca shore

The annual Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival and its highlight, the Cardboard Boat Regatta, was held at Seneca Harbor Park and its marina on Saturday, June 17, drawing a large crowd. The festivities included food vendors, free children's activities, and live music. More details on the regatta, which featured some sturdy and some not-so-sturdy cardboard boats, can be found on Features.

Photo: April Ruda holds a paddle she won for being chosen by judges as winner of the Best Sinking category.

Members of the "Frozen JR." cast conclude a musical number.


Disney's Frozen JR. delights Glen audience

The Lake Country Players' production of Disney's musical "Frozen JR." was a success June 16 in its final of four performances -- in particular delighting children familiar with the hit 2013 film. The mullti-aged cast included 42 actors from five counties, led by co-directors Kim Laursen and Kelsey Gill. LCP utilized digital backgrounds which helped bring the Kingdom of Arendelle to life. The play was presented in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium.

Photo: Elsa (Mabel Kaufman) sings "Let It Go."


Rotary provides $5,000 in Community Grants

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club, at a luncheon June 15, disbursed checks totaling $5,000 to 10 organizations as part of its Community Grant program. Checks ranging from $150 to $800 were distributed to the Flare Robotics Club, the Watkins Glen Summer Swim Program, the Watkins Glen Public Library, the Glen Gators swim club, the Catholic Charities Backpack Program, The My Place childcare center, Habitat for Humanity, the S.A.F.E (Suicide Awareness for Everyone) Coalition, the Schuyler County Historical Society, and the Village of Watkins Glen Summer Rec Program.


Health Foundation gets $20K Ice Bar donation

A total of $20,000 in proceeds from the annual Ice Bar celebration held at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel have been donated to the Schuyler Health Foundation. A ceremony marking the occasion was held June 14 at the hotel. Features.

Photo: Hart Hotels President and CEO David Hart was on hand for the check ceremony.


Odessa Coffee Depot offers relaxed setting

The Odessa Coffee Depot is a recent addition to the Odessa business scene, a shop run by Evan Stewart in a large building at 205 Main Street in the village. The Depot -- in the past utilized as a hardware store and hobby shop -- now offers brewed coffee, a wide variety of Espresso drinks, baked goods such as cookies and croissants, plus WiFi access. Stewart, who offers his patrons a relaxed atmosphere, hopes the Depot instills a sense of community. People.

Photo: Evan Stewart in front of the Depot.


Foerster named Assistant County Attorney

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman has announced his appointment of Dina Foerster as an Assistant County Attorney, effective immediately. Foerster will join Getman in representing Schuyler County in civil litigation, family court prosecutions and social services law. Foerster, a graduate of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, has been serving as an assistant county attorney in Allegany County, and before that worked as Legal Process Manager at Dime Community Bank in Hauppauge, Long Island, as well as working at several downstate New York law firms.

Photo in text: Dina Foerster


Schuyler legislators hold monthly meeting

The Schuyler County Legislature, at its monthly meeting on June 12th, approved several resolutions and heard County Administrator Fonda Chronis caution that "money will be tight this year" as he prepares the next budget. For a closer look at the meeting, see Government.

Photo: Legislators Jim Howell, left, and Gary Gray converse before the start of the meeting.


Montour Falls holds its annual parade

The 65th annual Montour Falls Firemen's Parade was held on Main Street in the village Saturday, June 10, with fire trucks, marching bands, antique vehicles, floats and tractors in the line of march. Features.

Photo: Member of a Fife & Drum Corps from Macedon.

L to R: Hannah Nolan (Odessa-Montour), Tori Brewster (O-M)
and Faye Mooney (Watkins Glen).

From left: Jacob Yontz (Watkins Glen)
and Daniel Lewis (Odessa-Montour).


The Odessa File's Athletes of the Year

The Odessa File has named five high school seniors as its Athletes of the Year -- awards sponsored by E.C. Cooper Insurance in Watkins Glen. At Odessa-Montour High School, the honorees are Hannah Nolan (soccer, basketball, track), Tori Brewster (soccer, basketball, track), and Daniel Lewis (football, basketball, baseball). At Watkins Glen, the honorees are Faye Mooney (swimming, tennis) and Jacob Yontz (soccer, basketball). Each will receive a plaque commemorating the achievement.

Inside: Odessa-Montour High School names its Athletes of the Year and other award winners. Sports.


Schuyler Scholars honored at hotel dinner

Thirteen seniors in the Watkins Glen, Odessa-Montour and Bradford school districts were honored Thursday night at the 16th annual Schuyler Scholars dinner, held at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The honorees, ranked academically in the top 10% of their class, were presented plaques marking the occasion. To see who they are, click here.

Photo: A Schuyler Scholar plaque.


Odessa File unveils its spring All-Star teams

The Odessa File's Spring Schuyler County All-Sports All-Stars are topped by two Most Valuable Players -- teammates on the Odessa-Montour High School girls track team. Sports.


Chamber celebrates renovated phone booth

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday celebrated the completed renovation of its Red Phone Booth -- a 1930s structure located for years in front of the Rooster Fish Pub. The phone booth is located in front of the Chamber's Downtown Visitor Center at 214 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen. Features.

Photo in text: The renovated booth.

Sarah Stolpinski holds her celebratory signing form with her family at her side.


WG senior Stolpinski signs Celebratory Form

Watkins Glen High School senior Sarah Stolpinski, a member of the highly successful Schuyler Storm swim team (a combined WGHS and Odessa-Montour squad) throughout her high school career, signed a celebratory form Friday in the WGHS library affirming her intent to join the Saxon Swim Team at Division III Alfred University, where she has received a $76,000 academic scholarship. Family and friends were on hand for a party that included pizza and an ice cream cake (pictured) prepared by the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor.


O-M gives its State competitors a send-off

The student population of the Odessa-Montour School District gave a warm outdoor send-off Thursday to O-M seniors Hannah Nolan and Tori Brewster as the two departed for the New York State Track & Field Championships in Middletown, scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Schools.

Photo: Tori, left, and Hannah with their Odessa File Athlete of the Year plaques presented just before their departure to Middletown for the State tournament.

Festival-goers hustled toward shelter when heavy rain struck Montour Falls early Thursday evening.


Annual Montour Falls festival comes to end

The annual Fire Department Festival on the carnival grounds in Montour Falls concluded Saturday night -- preceded by a late afternoon Parade of Bands on Main Street in the village. The festival featured live music each day -- The Variables on Thursday, Bad Bear on Friday, and Still Kickin' on Saturday -- as well as a Chicken BBQ Friday and Saturday, bingo, raffles, and a cornhole tournament on Saturday. All proceeds from the festival benefit the Montour Falls Fire Department Equipment Fund.

Shea Young, seated in front of his signing sheet, with his family, including brother Kyren, like Shea a member of the WGHS track & field team.


WGHS senior Young signs Celebratory Form

Watkins Glen High School senior Shea Young inked a Celebratory Signing Form June 5th affirming his intent to play football next fall when he attends St. John Fisher University, a Division III college in Rochester. Young was praised by WGHS Athletic Director Rod Weeden as "a great asset" during his high school career, as well as "a great mentor and great leader." Young, a member of the varsity track & field team as well as a varsity football player, was lauded by track coaches Kelly Sterner and Travis Durfee, the latter saying Young was "dedicated to hard work that leads to success."

Photo: Shea Young with his Celebratory Signing Form.

Faye Mooney, flanked by her parents, listens to Athletic Director Rod Weeden talk about her before she inked a Celebratory Signing Form from Skidmore College.


Watkins' Mooney signs to swim at Skidmore

Watkins Glen High School senior Faye Mooney signed a Celebratory Form June 1st affirming her intent to participate in the Women's Swimming program when she attends Division III Skidmore College in the fall. Mooney, a state-level swimmer who helped the WGHS girls swim team to its 6th straight Section IV, Class C title this year, was praised at the signing by Athletic Director Rod Weeden and her swim coach, Jason Westervelt, for her strong work ethic. Each said she has served as a role model for younger swimmers, and both she "will definitely be missed."

Photo in text: Faye Mooney cuts into an ice cream cake prepared for Thursday's signing celebration by Jackie Honsberger of the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor. Athletic Director Rod Weeden is at left.


Montour Falls grant program seeks proposals

The next phase of the project triggered by a $4.5 million grant awarded through New York State's NY Forward Program to the Village of Montour Falls is an Open Call for Proposals to the village, according to the Local Planning Committee co-chairs, Montour Falls Mayor James Ryan and Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development.

A virtual informational session regarding the Open Call will be held on Monday, June 19 at 6:00 p.m. This is an opportunity for community members, building owners, and the public to learn more about how to submit a project, which may be included in the final Strategic Investment Plan submitted to the state later this year. All Open Call applications will be due no later than Friday, June 30 at 4:00 p.m. To register for the June 19 virtual meeting, for more information about the NY Forward Grant Award and to download the Project Application, visit: MontourFallsNYF.com.

Photo in text: Montour Falls Mayor James Ryan


Memorial Day observances held in Schuyler

Retired Army Lt. Col. Gerry Messmer, the mayor of Odessa, was the keynote speaker at Memorial Day services Monday in Montour Falls and at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park outside Odessa. For a look at those services and a copy of Messmer's speech, click here.

Photo: Gerry Messmer

The Section IV, Class C champion Schuyler Storm varsity baseball team poses after its victory in the title game.


Storm rallies for Section IV, Class C title, 6-4

The Schuyler Storm varsity baseball team -- a combined squad of Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glen High School athletes -- came from behind to defeat Bainbridge-Guilford 6-4 Friday in the Section IV, Class C championship game, played on the Union-Endicott High School baseball field. The sectional title was the first in baseball for WGHS, and the second for O-M, which won in 2007. Next up: A regional game against a Section III foe yet to be determined, played on Saturday, June 3 at a Section IV site and time to be announced. Sports.


Nolan featured in Guthrie Health campaign

Odessa-Montour High School senior Hannah Nolan (pictured at right) appears in a new Guthrie Health media campaign (billboards, flyers, and a TV commercial spot). Her father Jim said "they found her through a social media and internet search, and it led them to discover some of her accomplishments," which include school records in soccer, basketball and track. To see the TV spot, click here.


$2 million awarded for IMRRC property project

The state's Restore New York Communities Initiative has awarded a $2 million grant to the Village of Watkins Glen -- on behalf of the International Motor Racing Research Center -- for the redevelopment of property owned by the IMRRC at the corner of North Franklin and Second Streets in the village, site of the former Clifford Motors (and, later, Rooster Fish brewpub). The vacant buildings on the site were recently demolished to make way for establishment in the future of an IMRRC structure there that will serve, according to Racing Center Executive Director Mark Steigerwald, as "a much needed expansion" of the IMRRC, which is located in limited leased space on South Decatur Street. The new project is still in the planning stages, but reports indicate it could be museum-like, including interactive activities and a display of motor vehicles.

Photo: The former Clifford Motors as it was demolished.


O-M's Sarah Barr wins the 2023 Susan Award

Odessa-Montour High School senior Sarah Barr has been awarded the annual Susan B. Haeffner Sportsmanship Award by The Odessa File. The award, presented annually since 2005, is named in honor of Odessa File Editor Charlie Haeffner's wife, who died in 2004 after a battle with cancer. It honors one Schuyler County student-athlete each year who exhibits traits embraced by Susan: kindness, toughness, and a sense of fair play in competition and in life.

Photo: Sarah Barr with her Susan Award.


Printup plans retirement from WGI on June 26

Michael Printup, the Watkins Glen International track president for 14 years, has announced that he is retiring. His last day: June 26, the day after WGI hosts the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen. Printup, 58, has led the NASCAR-owned course since June 2009. He said he and his wife Stephanie had been discussing retirement for several months. "I'm going to relax," said Printup, a resident of Horseheads. "I've got a granddaughter down in D.C. with my son (Brendan) and his wife. I want to start spending some time with them." The Printups' other son, Matthew, graduated last year from Horseheads High School.

Photo: Michael Printup (File photo)


Vondracek's CCC softball team falls in finale

The Corning Community College softball team came within an out Saturday of winning the NJCAA D3 World Series, but yielded six runs in the bottom of the 7th inning to top-seeded North Dakota State College of Science en route to a 13-12 loss. The No. 2 seeded CCC entered the day needing one win over North Dakota, which it had beaten 3-2 earlier in the double-elimination tourney. But North Dakota forced a second game Saturday by winning an opener 11-4, setting the stage for the second-game slugfest -- which saw each team amass 18 hits. This was the third straight year that Corning finished as the runnerup in the Series. Odessa-Montour alum Grace Vondracek, the NJCAA Region III Player of the Year, went 6-for-8 in Saturday's two games and 13-for-18 in the Series.

Photo: Grace Vondracek (CCC photo)

Corvettes turn onto Route 329 off of Franklin Street -- the start of their tour of the old Watkins Glen race circuit.


Festival puts Corvettes on display in Watkins

More than 100 Corvettes toured the old Watkins Glen race circuit Sunday, May 21 on the second day of Watkins' inaugural two-day Corvette Festival. Sunny skies graced the event, and a sizable number of spectators were on hand to see the cars and hear related speeches. Features.


Author Cynthia Neale reads from "Catharine"

Author Cynthia Neale, a Schuyler County native who lives in New Hampshire, introduced her latest novel, "Catharine, Queen of the Tumbling Waters," during a reading and book signing Saturday afternoon at Havana Glen Park in Montour Falls. The novel is a story based on the life of Queen Catharine Montour -- an Iroquois leader who figures heavily in the history and legend of this region. Neale explained how she came to write the book, read a passage from it, and then signed copies that were purchased by area residents on hand for the event. Neale has written other historical novels, including "The Irish Dresser," "Hope in New York City," "Norah" and "The Irish Milliner."

Photo: Cynthia Neale signing copies of her latest novel.


Rotary honors Glen's Mooney, O-M's Elliott

Watkins Glen High School senior Faye Mooney and Odessa-Montour High School senior Dominick Elliott were honored May 18 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Students of the Month.

Mooney was introduced by teacher Liam O'Kane, who praised her "focus, determination and commitment to her academic obligations," calling her "a talented musician, a formidable athlete and a responsible leader." Mooney, president of the school's National Honor Society, Student Council and Varsity Club, is a state-level swimmer and skilled violinist. She plans to attend Skidmore College.

Elliott was introduced by teacher Holly Campbell, who pointed to his participation in school musicals and volleyball, and said he is always "encouraging to others and kind" -- a "true asset to the school." Elliott, in the Fashion Design program at BOCES, "always dresses in a snazzy way," she said. "He's a fashion icon" at O-M who is "never afraid to be himself" and is "a huge inspiration to others." He plans to attend the Tommy Hilfiger School of Business and Fashion at Elmira College.

Photo: Faye Mooney and Dominick Elliott.


School budgets pass at Watkins and Odessa

Voters in the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour school districts passed their proposed 2023-24 budgets on May 16, Watkins by a 176-48 margin, and O-M 228-38. Bus financing propositions easily passed in both districts, and O-M's separate library tax was approved 179-91.

Incumbent Jennifer Mosher (169 votes) and newcomer Kyle VanGalder (142) won three-year seats on the O-M School Board, defeating Jason Dechow and Erica Lohmeyer. Three candidates -- incumbents Jessica Saks and Theresa Butler, along with Tracey VanSkiver -- were elected to three available 3-year terms on the Watkins Glen School Board..


Schuyler extends its state of emergency

Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers has extended for an additional five days the county's state of emergency issued May 11 over the possible relocation of illegal immigrants within the state. Government.

Photo: Schuyler Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers

Building demolished

The former Clifford Motors building at the corner of Second and Franklin Streets in Watkins Glen came down May 15th. For a sequence of photos, click here.

Officers salute during the singing of the National Anthem.


Watkins Memorial Service honors fallen police

A Police Memorial Service was held May 20 in front of the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office in Watkins Glen -- an event that honored those in the region who have fallen over the years in the line of law enforcement duty.

The event began with a parade of officers led by Schuyler County Sheriff Kevin Rumsey, followed by the National Anthem sung by Mrs. Emily Peckham, and speeches by Schuyler County Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Hourihan -- who spoke of the impact of police "by just existing, by wearing uniforms and being present" -- and Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike, who commented on the bond that binds law enforcement officers together in a shared existence whereby, if one falls who another officer never met, the latter can say, "I knew him well."

Homage was also paid to the late Sheriff Michael Maloney, who passed away in March. Hourihan said Maloney was respected across the state, "inspiring many along the way." He said other officers are "ordinary people who take on extraordinary duty and responsibility in the most difficult job in the world." Monday's service, he said, was an apt time to honor those "who have given their lives in the course of an impossible job. We will continue to remember and honor their courage."

Photos in text: Assistant DA Jeremy Hourihan (top) and Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike.


Watkins Glen holds its prom at Logan Ridge

Watkins Glen High School held its annual prom Saturday night, May 13 at Logan Ridge, with an estimated 150 students on hand for an evening of fun and music. For a look at some photos from the event, see Schools.



Photo: Lois Hosley and Corbin Riddle arrive at Logan Ridge.


Pair of placid scenes from area photographers

The two photos above were sent to The Odessa File by area photographers. John Juhasz submitted the photo of the Seneca Lake shoreline, describing it as "peace and serenity." The springlike one on the right comes from Marti Bianco Dense, who snapped it early in May at Shequaga Falls following a rainfall.

A Watkins Glen firefighter shows Watkins Glen Elementary School students equipment on a fire truck.


Learn Not to Burn program pays visit to WGES

The Learn Not to Burn program at the Watkins Glen Elementary School reached its annual May climax Tuesday with a visit by Watkins Glen and Hector firefighters with fire engines. Kids from pre-K through 4th grade got a close-up look at the engines, explained to them by visiting firefighters. The program, which started in the 1970s, sees monthly visits by firefighters to area elementary schools, culminating in the visit with trucks. Fourth graders received a Learn Not to Burn drawstring backpack (pictured), while the younger kids received plastic fire helmets. The kids also presented colored drawings of firefighters to the visiting instructors.

Congressman Langworthy, right, discusses business issues with Schuyler County goverment and business leaders.


Langworthy visits Watkins, talking business

Congressman Nick Langworthy visited the Horseheads Brewing restaurant at Seneca Harbor in Watkins Glen May 8th, meeting there with local government and business leaders in conjunction with National Small Business Week. He toured the Arnot Ogden Medical Center and met with Southern Tier Economic Growth (STEG) officials beforehand. His Watkins visit was keyed to the subject of small businesses, with the Congressman speaking first to the national economic issues, including the debt limit. He also criticized the New York Democrats' plan to force electrification through measures including the future elimination of natural gas in homes, calling it "nonsense" and "not based in reality," and saying the state -- which built the plan into the recently adopted budget -- "will have to walk back everything they just passed because nobody can comply." The visit was arranged by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Photo in text: Congressman Nick Langworthy at Monday's Watkins Glen meeting.

Arriving at the prom, from left: Mary Collier, Allison Packer, Maddie Stone and Aidan Summers.


O-M holds its prom at the Ginny Lee Cafe

The Odessa-Montour prom was held Saturday evening at a new locale. The site chosen, for the first time, was the Ginny Lee Cafe along Route 414 north of Valois. The theme of the gathering was Las Vegas, with dice a prominent prop -- although no gambling was permitted. The weather cooperated -- with a bright sun and temperatures in the 60s greeting the students as they arrived, Prom.

Right: Gabe Williams and Katie Adams.


DeSarno named to IMRRC Governing Council

The Governing Council of the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) in Watkins Glen has appointed Phyllisa A. DeSarno (pictured at right) as its most recent member. The IMRRC’s Governing Council guides the organization and is composed of racing aficionados, library professionals and civic and community leaders from across the United States. “Phyllisa’s varied professional experience will benefit us considerably as we continue to celebrate our 25th anniversary, and beyond,” said IMRRC Executive Director Mark Steigerwald. DeSarno, of Watkins Glen, has worked in Community and Economic Development. She was employed by Corning Inc. and Corning Community College before retiring as the City of Ithaca’s Director of Economic Development. She has been a member of various community organizations, and currently sits on the Schuyler Health Foundation Board.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano addresses the Rotarians.


O'Mara, Palmesano rip 'frustrating' budget

State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano addressed the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club Thursday on the State of the State, with an emphasis on the state budget passed this week -- and predicted that the spending plan will add to an already sizable exodus of residents from New York. One Rotarian, describing the talk as "Gloom and Doom," asked if anything positive came out in the budget, prompting O'Mara to look down at the podium in front of him and respond: "I have a list of things here, and none of them are positive." The two legislators criticized the budget's lack of bail reform; its move toward a costly electrification of the state and a potential to overwhelm the grid; its largesse in doubling the Hollywood Film Tax Credit while ignoring a need to adequately support Direct Support Professionals caring for "our most vulnerable citizens," the developmentally disabled; its massive overall increase to $230 billion; its move to help immigrants in New York City, which O'Mara said will impact property taxes upstate, and so on. "It's a frustrating budget," said Palmesano. A document so large "is going to have some good things," but this one is taking New Yorkers "on an unsustainable path." For O'Mara's and Palmesano's responses after the budget was passed, see Government.

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara Thursday.


Students at WGHS building a race car

Watkins Glen High School students are incorporating the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math to build, market, race and sell a Shelby Cobra race car. Schools.


CCE Schuyler names new Executive Director

Melissa (Mel) Schroeder, who has had over 20 years of experience with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County, has been appointed its Executive Director. Schroeder, said CCE Board President Chad Hendrickson, "has consistently demonstrated her passion and commitment to the mission and programs of the Association." Schroeder said she looks forward "to following the strong mentors that I have had throughout the years." She will continue to serve as Issue Lead for CCE Schuyler, which includes the management and stewardship of 4-H Youth Development, Hidden Valley 4-H Camp, 21st Century Afterschool programs and Parenting Education projects.

Photo: Melissa (Mel) Schroeder (Photo provided)

Bald Eagle majesty

This photo, provided by Maggie Field, is of an eagle from the Watkins Glen canal nests off of Seneca Lake. This is the third such shot from Maggie that we have published, with eagles shown in trees near their nest, and in or across from Clute Park. "If you go to Clute Park, you can often see one in the trees at the lake's edge," says Maggie.

From left, Robin Burnett, Laurie DeNardo and Mary Barnes on barbecue roll duty. (Photo provided)


Lions BBQ raises funds for WG swim program

The Watkins-Montour Lions Club sold 200 dinners Saturday, April 29 at a chicken barbecue hosted by the Montour Moose Lodge that raised funds for the Watkins Glen Summer Swim Program. The dinners included ice cream certificates donated by the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor, Ben and Jerry's and the Glen Dairy Bar. "With the generosity of the Montour Moose Lodge and local ice cream shops," said a club spokeswoman, "the Lions Club earned a good portion of their $2,000 donation to the swim program." The program, under the leadership of Nikki Chaffee, is open to those as young as six months through adulthood. It runs from June 26 to July 14 mornings at the Watkins Glen Central School pool for a $35 fee. Sign-ups are open and information can be found on the school district website or by emailing nlchaffee@gmail.com.

Photo in text: David LaMoreaux, left, and Tom Phillips keep an eye on the grill. (Photo provided)


Rotary honors Murphy as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Jason Murphy (right) was honored April 20th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for April. The honoree, who was introduced by teacher Sam Brubaker, is the No. 1 Singles player on the school tennis team, and was also a member of the basketball squad. He said he plans to "enter the trades, most likely the building trades," after graduation. Currently participating in regional and state competitions for SkillsUSA -- an organization that partners with students, teachers and industry leaders to ensure America has a skilled workforce -- he holds supervisory roles in the Construction Program at BOCES, and is helping to build a home as part of his coursework. He is also active in the Glen Baptist Church.

L to R: Liam Smith, Ryan Dean, Maddie Tuttle, Vinnie Ocasio.


Section IV individual champs honored by BOE

Athletes who won individual Section IV titles this past winter were honored Wednesday evening by the Watkins Glen Board of Education. Receiving Outstanding Athletic Achievement Awards were Madison Tuttle, who took first place in the 1500 Meter Race Walk at the Section IV Division 2 track championships; and swimmers Liam Smith, Ryan Dean, Vinnie Ocasio and Jon Spencer, Section IV champions in the 200 Medley Relay. Smith also won the 200 Free and 500 Free, while Dean won the 200 Individual Medley. All were present except for Spencer at Wednesday's awards presentation.


Montour Falls wins Dept. of Energy award

The Village of Montour Falls has been presented a 2023 Better Project Award from by the U.S. Department of Energy for outstanding accomplishments in implementing energy and waste reduction projects that support the municipality’s sustainability and decarbonization goals. Government.

Photo: Montour Falls Mayor Jim Ryan with the Department of Energy award.

Jake Sullivan, formerly of Beaver Dams and now of Syracuse, was on hand at the IMRRC with a display of his model cars.


Racing Research Center hosts model car show

The 8th annual Model Car Show -- featuring various model and diecast cars from collectors around the region -- was held Saturday at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen. Members of the Rochester LEGO User Group were also on hand, with parts bins for visitors to make and race LEGO cars down a scale race track.

Photo: Some of the many model cars on display at the Racing Research Center.

This photo of the early Easter morning fire in Montour Falls was provided by Schuyler EMS, which snapped it while enroute to the scene down Odessa Hill.

  Fire destroys unoccupied home in Montour

The Montour Falls Fire Department was dispatched at about 2:55 a.m. on Easter morning after a Schuyler County Sheriff's Deputy discovered a fully involved structure fire at 307 S. Genesee Street in the village. A second alarm was requested, which brought in the Watkins Glen, Odessa, Burdett and Beaver Dams fire departments, along with Schuyler County EMS. The home, which was unoccupied, was a t
otal loss.  

From left: Burdett Trustee Judy Mangus, Trustee Linda Arcangeli, Attorney Connie Fern Miller with her tribute resolution, Trustee Marty Evans, Village Clerk Charlotte Jaynes, Mayor Dale Walter, and Trustee Larry Jaynes. (Provided)


Burdett Village Board honors attorney Miller

After several decades as Burdett Village Attorney, Connie Fern Miller has decided to step down from the position. Mayor Dale Walter says that through the years, Miller has offered advice and opinions on issues ranging from code enforcement to the federal USDA application process. The Village Board of Trustees recently presented Miller with a tribute resolution and wished her well on her retirement.


Bids sought on Harbor Park bath facilities

The Schuyler County Legislature, at its monthly meeting on Monday, April 10, voted to seek bids for the reconstruction and refurbishing of the men's and women's bath facilites at Seneca Harbor Park. Chairman Carl Blowers said the move will give legislators "an idea of the cost." The move came at a meeting full of housekeeping resolutions, including one seeking bids for the replacement and upgrade of the standby generator at the County Office Building, and another setting a public hearing at the May 8 Legislature meeting on a proposal to transfer $837,448 from the Facilites and Grounds Reserve Fund for use in the repair of the Seneca Harbor Park seawall.

Photo: Legislators David Reed, left, and Michael Lausell at the April 10 meeting.

  Goal: to help restore underutilized properties

The Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) reports how it, working with the Schuyler County Legislature and the Villages of Montour Falls and Watkins Glen, has facilitated three Restore NY applications in a recent round of funding. Business.


New Watkins Village Board members sworn in

Two recently elected trustees -- Peter Cherock and Margaret Schimizzi -- were sworn in April 4th at the first meeting of the Watkins Glen Village Board overseen by new Mayor Laurie DeNardo -- who in turn appointed a familiar face to fill out her unexpired trustee term. Government.

Photo: Mayor Laurie DeNardo


Watkins School Board reaching out to O-M about merger, pushes back on electric buses

The Watkins Glen School Board is reaching out to the Odessa-Montour district to discuss the possibility of merger. At the same time, it is showing resistance to the state's plans to put electric buses in every district -- its chief criticism aimed at the safety of such vehicles. Schools.

Photo: Watkins Glen School Superintendent Kai D'Alleva.

Left: O-M senior Jon Spencer. Right: O-M senior Katie Adams. (Photos provided)


Rotary honors O-M's Adams and Spencer

Odessa-Montour High School seniors Katie Adams and Jon Spencer were honored recently by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Students of the Month. Adams, a member of the school's soccer, basketball and track teams and a High Honor student, is planning to attend RIT or Clemson, focusing on Packaging Science. Spencer, who tackled the role of "Lurch" in the recent school play "The Addams Family," is also a High Honor student and plans to attend Roberts Wesleyan College in Engineering. An outstanding varsity swimmer, he recently committed to the Roberts Wesleyan swim program.

Watkins Glen Village Clerk Fred Warrick congratulates Laurie DeNardo after swearing her in as mayor.


DeNardo sworn in as Watkins Glen's mayor

Laurie DeNardo, who defeated Lou Perazzini in the recent village election for mayor, was sworn in to that post Tuesday afternoon, March 28, in a brief ceremony at Village Hall. The swearing-in had been scheduled for the next Village Board meeting on April 4th, but -- as DeNardo explained -- "the village clerk and attorney realized that because the mayor position was vacant, due to New York State law I should be immediately sworn in. This protects the Village since we have not had a mayor in eight months and there is work to be done." The other victors in the election -- Trustees-elect Peter Cherock and Margaret Schimizzi -- will be sworn in on April 4th.


Heather O'Grady-Evans is next SCHS Director

Heather O’Grady-Evans of Burdett has been appointed by the Schuyler County Historical Society (SCHS) Board of Trustees as the incoming executive director of museums.

She succeeds Glenda Gephart, who is retiring effective March 31. People.

Photo: Heather O'Grady-Evans (Provided)

The Tin Man, the Lion, Dorothy, and the Scarecrow in a scene from The Wizard of Oz.


WGHS's Wizard of Oz ends its 3-day run

“The Wizard of Oz” -- a musical presented by the Watkins Glen High School Class of 2023 -- was performed for the third and final time Sunday afternoon in the WGHS Auditorium. The show, a brisk, efficient production full of soaring voices and entertaining dance routines, opened Friday night and was presented Saturday night, as well. Features.

Photo: Sarah Schaffner, as Dorothy, singing "Over the Rainbow."


DeNardo tops Perazzini in Glen mayoral race

Democrat Laurie DeNardo (pictured at right) defeated Republican Lou Perazzini 289-198 Tuesday in the election for mayor of Watkins Glen, while her running mates for two trustee seats, Peter Cherock and Margaret Schimizzi, defeated Republican Jerri-Lynn Chronis. Cherock received 338 votes, Schimizzi 311, and Chronis 150. Steven Decker polled 317 votes in running unopposed for re-election as Village Justice. Perazzini, who congratulated DeNardo after the vote count was announced at the Watkins Glen Community Center -- where each mayoral candidate gathered with supporters -- will leave the board at the end of the month since his trustee term ends then. DeNardo's four-year term, and those of Cherock and Schimizzi, begin on April 1.

Elsewhere: In Burdett, where 17 votes were cast in uncontested elections, Mayor Dale Walter was returned to office with 13 votes, while incumbent trustees Linda Arcangeli (14 votes) and Judith Mangus (12) were re-elected.

In Odessa, 24 votes were cast in uncontested races. Mayor Gerry Messmer was re-elected with 21 votes, while Trustee Tom Letteer was returned to office with 20. Incumbent Trustee Kristine Gardner, who wasn't on the ballot, won her seat back with 12 write-in votes.


Spud Run draws 140 runners; VanScoyk 1st

More than 140 runners -- from the very young to a few members of the Watkins Glen High School faculty -- competed March 17 in the annual Spud Run on the Watkins Glen school grounds. The racers started and finished on the Alumni Field track, with a circuit around the school in-between. Sports.

Photo: WGHS junior Johnny VanScoyk nears the finish line -- the first runner to complete the 1.7-mile Spud Run.


Michael J. Maloney, former Schuyler Sheriff, dies at 82

Michael J. Maloney, 82, of Waneta Lake, NY, the longtime Sheriff of Schuyler County and a leader in law enforcement throughout the Southern Tier, died on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 after a long illness. Obituaries.


Artists-in-Residence concert spotlights talent

The annual Artists-in-Residence concert at Watkins Glen High School Wednesday night, March 15 showcased the musical talents of three-dozen Watkins students before a large and appreciative audience. The Artists program features professional musicians who mentor students leading up to the concert, and accompany them during it. Schools.

Photo: Student Topher Herforth on the alto sax.


Students weigh in on Schuyler's future

Seven students -- four from Watkins Glen High School and three from Odessa-Montour -- were guests March 15 at the annual meeting of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) at the Seneca Lake Event Center. Their role: to interact with community leaders at their tables in a discussion of the future of the area. People.

Photo: Watkins Glen High School student Sarah Jones


"Senecas" name fails to gain state approval; district to seek public input for a new name

The New York State Education Department's recently formed Indigenous Mascot Advisory Group has told the Watkins Glen School District it does not approve of the name "Senecas" -- the identifying nickname for generations of Watkins Glen sports teams. And under a State Ed decree adopted in December, that means the name must be retired by June. The district said it plans to seek input from students and the community on a new name. Schools.


Voters approve school parcel purchase, 88-77

Voters in the Watkins Glen Central School District Tuesday approved, 88-77, the purchase by the district of a quarter acre of land it sold several years ago to the International Motor Racing Research Center for $50,000. The district will buy back the parcel for $62,500. The parcel, once a school playground at the corner of Decatur and 15th Streets in Watkins Glen, was purchased by the Research Center with the intent to utilize it for expansion of its facilities. That expansion never happened, and the IMRRC recently offered to sell the land back to the school district. School Superintendent Kai D'Alleva said the district would now "start brainstorming for the best use of the property for the children of the community" and consult with engineers regarding site work. "It will probably be part of our next capital improvement project," he said.

Photo: School Superintendent Kai D'Alleva.


The Addams Family ends its run at Odessa

A large and appreciative audience was on hand Sunday afternoon, March 12, for the third and final performance of the Odessa-Montour Junior/Senior High School musical The Addams Family: School Edition in O-M's Fetter Brown Auditorium. The play, full of wry and funny lines and appealing musical numbers, opened with two shows Saturday after inclement weather forced postponement of a scheduled Friday night opener. Features.

Photo at right: Ben Campbell as Gomez Addams performs a dance number.

From left: O-M's Daniel Lewis, Hannah Nolan, Tori Brewster and Jon Spencer at the signing ceremony.


4 O-M athletes sign celebratory college forms

Four Odessa-Montour High School seniors participated March 9th in a celebratory signing in anticipation of college careers in sports in which they each excelled over the past few years. Daniel Lewis (who will play baseball at Alfred State College), Hannah Nolan (soccer at SUNY Cortland), Tori Brewster (track & field at Houghton University) and Jon Spencer (swimming at Roberts Wesleyan College) signed celebratory forms from their chosen colleges in a gathering at O-M in front of family, friends, coaches, school officials and the media. Such ceremonies have become traditional as each school year nears its end, but as many as four athletes participating at once was unusual for this area.

Photo: Tori Brewster inks her Celebratory Signing Form while observed by her father (and track coach), Burton Brewster.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano speaks at a news conference calling for increased road, bridge and culvert funding. (Provided)


Coalition calls for more road, bridge funds

State Senator Tom O'Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and more than 70 state Senators and Assembly members joined March 8th in Albany with county and town highway superintendents and other local leaders from throughout the state calling for increased state support for local roads, bridges and culverts. The group held a news conference at the Capitol. Hundreds of local transportation advocates are in Albany this week for their annual "Local Roads Are Esssential" advocacy campaign -- once again fighting for greater state investment in New York's transportation infrastructure. Since 2013, O'Mara and Palmesano have organized legislative colleagues to get behind the effort and raise awareness of the need.


The Odessa File All-Stars, MVPs unveiled

The Odessa File's Schuyler County All-Sports 1st, 2nd and 3rd Team Winter All-Stars -- along with the Schuyler Winter MVPs -- are announced in a story on Sports.


Rotary honors Barber as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Ava Barber was honored March 2nd by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month. Barber, introduced by high school secretary Alexis Bellavigna, is secretary of the school's chapter of National Honor Society and thus heavily involved in the soon-to-be-established Food Pantry at the school, which will add nutrition options for students. She is also vice president of Student Council and a two-sport athlete, in volleyball and softball. She has yet to decide upon which college to attend, but is considering pursuing study in either audiology or elementary education.

Photo: Honoree Ava Barber, right, with Alexis Bellavigna.

One of the Gala highlights was a silent auction of various packages ranging in value from $800 to $1,700.


Chamber holds dinner Gala at Harbor Hotel

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce held "The Gala: An Elegant Affair" March 4th at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel -- a gathering, the Chamber said, that celebrated its vision "to advance the Watkins Glen Area as a premier destination that intertwines its unique scenic beauty with economic diversity and prosperity." The event, which was on hiatus the past two years, attracted more than 200 diners and offered silent and live auctions, dancing, networking, and a casino annex featuring craps and blackjack.

Photo: Among the many guests at the gala was Ken Wilson. A networking social hour preceded dinner, which was followed by dancing.

  Montour selected for $4.5M Forward Grant

Governor Kathy Hochul announces that the Village of Montour Falls has been chosen to receive a $4.5 million grant through the inaugural NY Forward Grant Program. Such grants are highly sought by municipalities for revitalization projects. Government.


A tribute to the late Dr. James J. Norton ...

With the passing of Dr. James J. Norton early last week, Schuyler County lost one of its great men -- a county Hall of Famer who provided a great deal of service in a lifetime that lasted 100 years. Editor Charlie Haeffner takes a look at the man and his legacy. People.

Photo: Dr. James Norton attending a 2009 Schuyler Hall of Fame induction, which added three new honorees. He was already a member.


Congressman Langworthy visits Chef's Diner

First-term Congressman Nick Langworthy attracted a gathering of two dozen area government, law enforcement and emergency service officials to Chef's Diner Feb. 17 for a last-minute lunch as part of a swing by the recently elected representative through the eastern portion of his sprawling 23rd district. Langworthy, a Republican, discussed a range of issues he faces in Congress, among them a need to "change the spending behavior" of government, and fielded questions on subjects ranging from Medicare to marijuana dispensaries. He was particularly critical of New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, who he has known since she was County Clerk in his home county, Erie. Friday's gathering wasn't announced until Thursday, leaving little time for preparation. But Langworthy said he was pleased by the turnout.

Photo: Congressman Nick Langworthy during his visit.


O'Mara rips farm-worker overtime move by NY

State Senator Tom O'Mara has sharply crilticized the decision Feb. 22 by New York State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon to finalize controversial regulations lowering the overtime threshold for farm workers in the state from 60 to 40 hours. The new threshold, to be phased in beginning in 2024, was recommended 2-1 by a three-member Farm Wage Board last September. " Governor Hochul," said O'Mara, "and her Cuomo-appointed labor commissioner had the chance to choose the future of farming over the so-called ‘progressive’ ideology that is driving this state into the ground. They have rejected thousands of farmers, farm workers, farm advocates, agricultural representatives, community leaders, and legislators, including me, who have spoken in near-unanimous opposition to this move. They have rejected the industry’s top advocates. They have decided to undermine an industry and a way of life that has defined the regions we represent. It will change the face of New York State agriculture as we have known it for generations. It will spark the loss of more family farms and the livelihoods these farms support across the industry."

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Palmesano honored by American Red Cross

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano has been honored by the American Red Cross as a 2023 New York state "Legislator of the Year." People.


Photo: Phil Palmesano (Photo provided)


Rotary honors Lagramada as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Skylar Lagramada was honored Feb. 16 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for February. Lagramada was introduced by teacher Kathleen Popovich, who described him as someone she can always depend upon -- a student whose duties include management of a school store called the Snack Shack. Lagramada, a member of the National Honor Society, competes in track -- where he recently advanced to the State Qualifying Tournament. He said he plans to attend RIT in the field of Engineering Technology, with an eye toward possibly achieving a Master's Degree.

Photo: Teacher Kathleen Popovich and Skylar Lagramada.

Dandy's Sue Laughlin and SOS's Tony Vickio with the check.


Dandy donates $733.50 to Spirit of Schuyler

Sue Laughlin, Assistant Manager of the Odessa Dandy Mini Mart, recently presented the Spirit of Schuyler (SOS) a check for $733.50 raised through a fundraiser. "It is greatly appreciated and we are thankful of what a great county we live in," said Tony Vickio, president of SOS, a volunteer organization which (its website notes) provides "financial assistance for Schuyler County residents in time of emergency."


Tuttle 1st, sets school record at Sectionals

Watkins Glen High School freshman Maddie Tuttle set a school record and placed first among Division 2 competitors Feb. 10 in the 1500 Meter Racewalk at the Section IV Championships. Her time of 8:24.46 surpassed the old school mark of 8:26.63. Her time also qualified her for the New Balance national meet in Boston in March. Sports.

Photo: Tuttle with her 1st- place medal. (Photo provided)


Jan. 15 Town of Orange fire victim identified

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office has released the name of the victim of a January 15 fire in the Town of Orange. "Positive identification has been made," it said, "confirming the identity of Andy R. Mattison, 46, as the victim of the fatal structure fire in the early morning hours at 1811 Hornby Road, Beaver Dams. The New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control has determined the cause to be accidental involving a woodstove."


Personal touch added to tax collection effort

County Treasurer Holley Sokolowski and County Attorney Steven Getman (right) are sending personal letters to about 80 tax delinquent Schuyler residents urging payment of back property taxes before a deadline of Feb. 28. Government.

Dr. Martin Stallone, Chief Executive Officer of Cayuga Health and one of the Jan. 30th speakers, talks during the Open House to Kirk Estrada, one of the EMTs in the Schuyler Emergency Medical Service.


Open House celebrates ambulance service

The recent start of the Schuyler Emergency Medical Service was the subject of a celebratory cake-cutting and open house Jan. 30 at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls. The gathering gave area residents a chance to meet the EMS staff, listen to speeches by Cayuga Health and Schuyler County officials, and get a close-up look at the service ambulances, parked outside. Schuyler EMS launched full operations on Jan. 2. It was made possible by a contract between Cayuga Health and Schuyler County, through which Cayuga Health Transport provides ambulance services in the name of Schuyler EMS.

The EMS ambulances are dispatched through the county 911 system from stations in Watkins Glen (at the Arc garage off 12th Street), Odessa (at the new village hall out Church Street), and Tyrone (at the fire hall).

Top photo: Emergency Medical Technician Jason Overhiser displays a Proclamation presented to him and fellow EMT Thomas Benedict (rear right) Monday by a representative from the office of State Senator Tom O'Mara for their recent service helping the residents of snow-inundated Buffalo. Overhiser and Benedict, utliizing a Schuyler EMS ambulance, transported nearly 50 sick and injured patients to Buffalo area medical facilities.

Bottom photo: Among the many people on hand at Monday's Open House were Schuyler County Legislator Phil Barnes and his granddaughter, Cate Caslin.

  Vietnam War focus of Museum exhibit

A special exhibit honoring county residents' involvement in the Vietnam War opened Friday, Jan. 27 at the Schuyler County Historical Society's Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls. People.

Photo: A Vietnam Era U.S. Army uniform is among the exhibit items.


Wood hired as Bradford's interim principal

Chris Wood, who resigned as superintendent of the Odessa-Montour School District on Dec. 2, has been hired by the Bradford Central School District to serve as its interim principal through the current school year. Wood was hired to succeed Patrick Dunham, who resigned. Bradford Superintendent John Marshall, in announcing the hiring on the district website, cited Wood's "extensive and varied background in public education" -- seven years as O-M superintendent, and before that time as a high school principal, Dean of Students and Social Studies teacher. That experience, Marshall said, "will enable him to be a significant asset to our students, staff and district as a whole. Mr. Wood is excited to get back to serving as a principal, as he spoke extensively about wanting to work closer with children and to be able to help them succeed at Bradford Central and beyond."

Photo: Chris Wood (File photo)


O-M board puts superintendent search on hold

The Odessa-Montour School Board has decided to put the search for a permanent superintendent on hold until 2024. Board President Rob Halpin, in a letter to the "OM Team," said that interim superintendent Tracy Marchionda has been asked to continue in her role until significant "operational matters" such as capital improvements, budget development and "the challenges presented by the phase-out of federal grant revenue" can be addressed. "These matters," he said, "will require a lot of Board time and attention, and leadership and guidance from an experienced administrator. In consideration of these demands, and in order to give the appropriate time and attention to the superintendent search, the Board ... has decided to put the active search process on hold." The Board, he added, "is fortunate to have someone with (Marchionda's) expertise, knowledge and skill set, and she looks forward to continuing to work alongside all of you and the Board." Marchionda, a long-time administrator in the Bath and Geneva school districts, was named O-M interim on Dec. 8, following the resignation of Superintendent Chris Wood.

Photo: Tracy Marchionda

Drink service bars sculpted from blocks of ice occupied spaces in the patio behind the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.


'Fire & Ice' ends 3-night run at Harbor Hotel

The annual "Fire & Ice" celebration at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel -- an event generically known as the Ice Bar -- ended Saturday evening. The event featured local wines, beers, and food samples from local establishments available in the ballroom. On the patio behind the hotel, warming fires helped ward off the winter's chill, and were interspersed with drink bars sculpted from blocks of ice, an ice throne, and plenty of camaraderie. The event raises awareness of, and funds for, the Schuyler Health Foundation.

Photo: Tables in the hotel ballroom were laden with food for the large turnout of attendees.


Storm gridders honored at board meeting

Members of the 2022 Schuyler Storm football team -- a combined squad of Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour High School athletes -- each received an Outstanding Athletic Achievement Award certificate Monday night at a meeting of the Watkins Glen School Board. The team was being honored for winning the Section IV Class C Independent Football championship this past fall. Athletic Director Rod Weeden praised the team for its success, and then the certificates were distributed by Coach Trevor Holland. A photo of the recipients is on Schools.

Photo: One of the Achievement Award certificates.

  Rotary honors 6 as Students of the Month

Having fallen behind in its monthly Student of the Month award program, the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club honored six students Thursday -- three each from the Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glen High Schools. And the club welcomed a new member. Schools.

Photo: Each honoree received a plaque.


Crackdown urged on 'sticker stores' in state

State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (pictured at left) joined other area legislators and law enforcement officials Thursday at a press conference urging state passage of a law that would lead to a crackdown on "sticker stores" that have proliferated since passage of legislation permitting recreational marijuana use. Government.


Fatal fire in Town of Orange is being probed

The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal structure fire that occurred in the early morning hours of January 15. The Beaver Dams Volunteer Fire Department responded to 1811 Hornby Road in the Town of Orange for a garage fire. Firefighters discovered a body during fire suppression efforts. The identity of the victim is not being released at this time, pending positive identification. The Schuyler County Fire Investigation team and New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control are assisting in the investigation.


Houck to become superintendent at Bath

GST BOCES Superintendent Kelly Houck has agreed to become Superintendent of the Bath school district, effective July 1st. Houck, who secured a five-year contract, said she was "humbled and gratified" that Bath "reached out to me." She said she "thrives" in a job where she works closer with kids than the travel-heavy BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) job offered. The BOCES Board will meet soon to discuss finding her successor. She has been at BOCES for two years after serving as Superintendent in the Dundee school district, and before that as Superintendent in the Canaseraga district.

Photo: BOCES Superintendent Kelly Houck. (File photo)


Board honors WGHS girls soccer champions

The Watkins Glen High School girls varsity soccer team -- which won the Section IV, Class C title this past fall -- was honored by the district School Board on Jan. 9. Each member of the team received a certificate of Outstanding Athletic Achievement from Athletic Director Rod Weeden before Superintendent Kai D'Alleva praised the squad for the hard work it embraced in pursuing its goal of a sectional title. For a team photo and a look at one of the certificates, see Schools.

Photo: Michaela Wheaton, flanked by teammates Maddie Tuttle, left, and Natalee Oliver, holds the team's Section IV championship plaque.

The ribbon is cut in front of the Pangea Global Teahouse.


Ribbon cutting marks opening of Teahouse

The Pangea Global Teahouse celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting celebration Thursday morning in front of the business, located in the former Watkins State Bank building at 221 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen. Various dignitaries welcomed the business owners, Suzanne Mathews and Keith Hill, in brief remarks preceding the ribbon cutting. The Teahouse prepares teas and treats from all over the world. Business.

Photo: Teahouse owners Suzanne Mathews and Keith Hill.

County Judge Matt Hayden swears in Legislators Phil Barnes, foreground, and Carl Blowers, both re-elected in November.


Legislators re-elect Blowers as chairman; appoint Chronis to 4-year administrator term

Carl Blowers was unanimously re-elected by his fellow legislators to a fourth one-year term Wednesday morning as chairman of the Schuyler County Legislature. The governing body, meeting for a brief organizational session in its County Office Building chambers, also appointed Fonda Chronis, who has served as County Administrator for the past year, to his first four-year term in that post. Sworn in to four-year terms as legislators were incumbents Blowers and Phil Barnes, each re-elected by voters in November.

Photo: County Administrator Fonda Chronis at Wednesday's organizational meeting.


Schuyler EMS helps Buffalo after storm

Medical Technicians with the new Schuyler Emergency Medical Services are home after helping Buffalo first responders following the storm there. People.

  Keeping watch

New Year's Day 2023: Two mature bald eagles, George and Martha, keep watch for fish at the confluence of Catharine Creek and the Barge Canal. They are overwintering in the Queen Catharine Marsh. (Photo and description by Mark Taylor)


WGHS 2017 state title hoops team inducted into the Senecas' Weightlifting Hall of Fame

The 2017 Watkins Glen High School girls basketball state championship team has been inducted into the Senecas’ Weightlifting Hall of Fame, hall originator Ralph Diliberto -- who helped that team weight-train -- announced on Dec. 28. "All of the puzzle pieces fell into place that year under the guidance and direction of Coach Alicia Learn, assisted by Coach Harold Chaffee and Coach Scott Morse," said Diliberto. "Every member of the team took ownership of their strength and conditioning with great determination."

Photo: From left, WGHS Athletic Director Rod Weeden, Coach Alicia Learn with induction plaque, and Ralph Diliberto.


Schuyler Legislature holds year-end meeting

The Schuyler County Legislature on Wednesday morning held its annual year-end meeting, wrapping up resolutions that needed approval before the new year along with other measures. Among resolutions passed: approval of the appointment of Chad Hendrickson and Margaret Lawrence to SCIDA (the Schuyler County Industrial Development Agency) for the term of Jan. 1, 2023 through Dec. 31, 2025.

Photo: Legislators Mark Rondinero (foreground) and Phil Barnes at the year-end session.

From left: Christine Stierly, Carrie Youmans and Emily Miller of Schuyler Hospital Rehab Services pose at the lunch. (Provided)


Schuyler Hospital, Seneca View employees recognized; leadership serves them lunch

Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility senior leadership hosted their annual employee recognition lunch and celebrated "Ugly Holiday Sweater" day at both facilities on Wednesday, Dec. 14th.

This annual tradition, where senior leadership serves the employees as a thank-you for their hard work throughout the year, was put on hiatus during the Covid pandemic.

The senior leadership served roast prime rib, pork tenderloin, mushroom ravioli, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes and cake in celebration of the holidays and in recognition of their employees’ dedication and hard work throughout the year.

Photo in text: Schuyler Hospital President and Cayuga Health Assistant CFO Rebecca Gould serves food to the hospital's Chris Brink during the lunch. (Photo provided)

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, right, presents a Resolution from the state to retired Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman.


State resolution, proclamation honor Yessman

Retired Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman was honored at the Dec. 12 Schuyler County Legislature meeting with the presentation of a pair of certificates from New York State legislators, presented by Assemblyman Phil Palmesano on behalf of himself and State Senator Tom O'Mara. An Assembly Legislative Resolution said it was honoring Yessman "upon the occasion of his retirement after 36 years of distinguished service to Schuyler County Law Enforcement." A framed Proclamation "commemorating his retirement" extolled his "outstanding career achievements."

Santa Claus waves to the spectators lining Franklin Street during the Village Christmas parade.


Village Christmas draws crowd to Watkins

A heavy turnout of festival spectators wandered Franklin Street in Watkins Glen Friday night, Dec. 9 during the 29th annual Village Christmas. With temperatures in the mid 30s, outerwear ranged from winter coats to short-sleeve shirts as visitors bought crafts and food along the sidewalks, and voted in a Chili Cookoff outside the Cabins to Castles real estate office. A parade with fire trucks, horses, a hot-air balloon flame-shooter and creative floats entertained for a half hour, while a petting zoo was a popular stop throughout the three-hour festival. Also popular: a Pop-Up Shops array of businesses inside the Chamber of Commerce building, complete with music by the trio of Charles, Ed & Isabella. Features.

Photo: One of Santa's elves in the parade.


O-M Board appoints interim superintendent

The Odessa-Montour School Board on Dec. 8 named longtime educator Tracy Marchionda as the district's interim superintendent in the wake of last week's resignation by Superintendent Chris Wood. Marchionda, most recently Interim Director of Curriculum and Special Education in the Hammondsport School District, was to start her new duties Friday morning. Marchionda taught the 2nd and 5th grades in the Dundee School District starting in 1989. From 2000-2011 she served as a principal and then as Director of Curriculum and Instruction in the Bath School District, and from 2011-2022 was employed by the Geneva City School District, gaining the post of Assistant Superintendent in 2020. She retired from Geneva in August before taking the interim Hammondsport job. She will serve as Interim Superintendent for O-M until a permanent superintendent is found.

Photo: Interim O-M Superintendent Tracy Marchionda


Odessa Board OKs ambulance service pact

The Odessa Village Board on Dec. 5 approved a proposed agreement with Cayuga Health Systems for the use of the new Village Office Building at 1928 County Road 15 by Cayuga for the housing of an ambulance and crew as part of Schuyler County's new emergency response system. Plans call for ambulance facilities in three locations in the county: in Watkins Glen, Odessa and Tyrone. The village board agreed to a five-year lease with the receipt of monthly rental and utility charges. The 24/7 Odessa ambulance crew will have a vehicle bay in the primary building's garage, sleeping quarters in the building (a former home), and use of the structure's kitchen and restroom facilities, but will provide its own internet service. The agreement goes back to Cayuga Health for final approval.

Photo: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer at Monday's meeting.


Chris Wood resigns as O-M Superintendent

Chris Wood, who was in his 8th year as Superintendent of the Odessa-Montour School District, resigned Friday, Dec. 2, the departure to take effect immediately. Wood, saying that "physically, mentally and emotionally, I can no longer" do the job, announced his decision in a memo to staff members. In a phone conversation Friday night, he added this: "I love Odessa-Montour. It's been good to me and my family for many years. It has a great School Board, a great Administration team, a great staff and students who are second to none. I will miss all of those people." The text of his message to staff can be found on the Schools Page.

Photo: Chris Wood (File photo)

Dozens of packages were delivered by Hesselson's to the Seneca Santa storage room in Watkins Glen's First Presbyterian Church.


Seneca Santa truckload delivered in Watkins

More than 30 Watkins Glen High School student-athletes helped offload a truck from Hessleson's store in Elmira Heights Thursday that delivered scores of cases of Christmas gifts for the Seneca Santa program. The Hesselson delivery -- sold to the Seneca Santa program wholesale, an annual event -- included games, toys, sporting equipment and other items destined for delivery Christmas Eve morning to kids 2-12 in more than 100 Schuyler County families in need. Seneca Santa, which has operated since the early 1940s, is overseen by Peggy Scott. She has two dozen volunteer helpers, whose efforts lead to distribution of the gifts by the county's fire departments.

Photo: Ball that arrived in one of the cases.


The stark autumn beauty on Seneca Lake's shoreline

This photo was sent to us by Liz Fraboni, snapped along the shore of Seneca Lake, near Hector on Nov. 24th. The fading sun reminds us of the warm season past, and the nearly leafless branch foretells the winter season to come.






Photo by Liz Fraboni


The Odessa File All-Sports Autumn All-Stars

The First, Second and Third teams are unveiled, along with The Odessa File's Schuyler Fall MVP. Sports.

Storm football team wins postseason playoff. Sports.

Odessa-Montour Junior High School students participating in the food drive included Haley Young, Sidney Pike, Lauren Signor, Ella Kramer, Rianne Drake, Peter Dechow, Philip Coleman, Hannah Albertsman, Thomas Mace, and David Heichel. (Photo by Holly Faulk)


O-M Junior High students collect, donate food

The Odessa-Montour Junior High School Student Council on Friday delivered 500 cans and food items to the Food Pantry after a two-week 7th and 8th grade food drive. Students are shown at right loading a bus with the food outside the school.

The information and photos were provided by Junior High Student Council Advisor Holly Faulk.


Rotary honors Sarah Barr as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Sarah Barr was honored Thursday by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month. Barr was introduced by Physics and Chemistry teacher Doug Chapman, who said the honoree has done "a tremendous job in both" demanding classes while remaining "super dedicated" to other pursuits such as athletics and Student Council. She is, he added, a caring person who is "highly regarded" by her classmates and teachers. Barr, who plans to enter a nursing program at a college yet to be determined, said she's "always been involved in everything," and thanked Rotary, noting: "It's nice to have this validation."

Photo: Teacher Doug Chapman and Sarah Barr.


Schuyler Legislature approves 2023 budget

The Schuyler County Legislature on Nov. 14 unanimously approved a $59,124,384 budget for 2023. The approval followed a public hearing at which the spending plan was outlined by County Administrator Fonda Chronis (pictured at right). The tax rate will be $6.26 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The tax levy will be $11,180,310, up 1.26% from the current year.


Montour Falls names new clerk, new treasurer

Montour Falls Mayor James Ryan has announced the appointment of a new Village Clerk and a new Village Treasurer. Government.

Photo: From left, Village Clerk Emily Byers; Mayor James Ryan; and Village Treasurer Laurie Thompson.


Legislature approves new ambulance service

The Schuyler County Legislature, meeting in special session Nov. 9th, approved a contract with Cayuga Health System for a new ambulance service in the county. The Legislature passed two resolutions -- one that authorizes a contract with Cayuga Health Transport, LLC, "a New York Not-for-Profit Corporation whose sole member is Cayuga Health System, Inc." The other approves a schedule of fees to be charged to those people utilizing the new ambulance service. The contract is scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1 and go for two years, with a longer-term agreement expected by officials after that.

Photo: Legislature Chair Carl Blowers.


Odessa-Montour voters OK pool funding plan

Voters in the Odessa-Montour School District on Nov. 7 approved -- by a 190-17 margin -- a proposal to transfer $950,000 from a capital reserve fund to add to the $16.9 million capital project the district has been undertaking for many months. The money will be used to top off available funds for a new pool and related pump room, bleachers, records board and score board. Superintendent Chris Wood has said the bids for the capital project came in lower than expected, leaving money for the pool project. The shift of funds were needed to complete it. Wood, who has pointed to the educational value of the pool -- where kids in many grades learn to swim -- thanked the community for its continued support of "opportunities for our students," and said he was "excited for our kids," calling swimming "a great life skill to have."


Hochul wins; Langworthy going to Congress

Incumbent Kathy Hochul (pictured at right) was declared the winner on Nov. 8th in her campaign for election to her first full term as New York governor. Hochul, a Democrat who became the state's first female governor when she succeeded Andrew Cuomo upon his resignation, defeated Republican challenger Lee Zeldin. Republican Nick Langworthy defeated Democrat Max Della Pia for a seat from the 23rd District in Congress, while State Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, defeated Republican challenger Michael Henry. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer won another term in Washington, while incumbent State Senator Tom O'Mara and incumbent Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, both Republicans, ran unopposed.

Judy and Phil Cherry were among the 170 people on hand for November Splendor at the Harbor Hotel.


November Splendor fund-raiser returns

November Splendor -- the biggest fundraising event of the year for Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility -- returned Nov. 5th to the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel after a two-year COVID-19 hiatus. The cocktail-attire event, presented by the Schuyler Health Foundation and the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary, featured dinner, live music by Letizia and the Z Band, raffles and auctions. There were about 170 diners. Health Foundation Chairperson Erin Thaete thanked the community for "its continued support of the hospital and Seneca View." The Foundation's avowed goal is to create and maintain a steady, dependable stream of funds to accomplish the hospital's mission of delivering high quality health care in partnership with the community.

Photo: Schuyler Health Foundation Chairperson Erin Thaete at November Splendor.

A silent auction was among the evening's fund-raising events.


Autumn yields colorful photography

Autumn in the Finger Lakes region can yield some stunning photography, as exemplified by photos recorded in recent days by Watkins Glen's Liz Fraboni, a frequent contributor to The Odessa File. For a gathering of Fraboni photos, see People.

Rachel Heselton as Maria sings among the hills
in "The Sound of Music."


LCP's 'Sound of Music" ends its 3-day run

The Lake Country Players' production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music"was presented for a third and final day Nov. 6th, with a matinee performance in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. Casey Manzer-Smith of Corning was the director of the musical, set in pre-World War II Austria.


Watkins girls blank Tburg, win Section IV title

The Watkins Glen girls varsity soccer team -- led by two Skye Honrath goals and one by her sister Sasha -- defeated Trumansburg 3-0 on Oct. 28 on the Johnson City High School athletic field to win its first-ever Section IV, Class C championship. Next up: a regional contest Nov. 5th in Norwich. Sports.

Photo: Championship medallion

John Jelliff of Odessa lights a candle Oct. 31st in one of two-dozen pumpkins on display on shrubbery in front of his house on Church Street.


Parade, games mark Halloween in Odessa

Kids dressed in all sorts of Halloween costumes paraded Oct. 31st with their parents along the streets of Odessa -- led by local firefighters who organized the event. The children followed the firefighters to the side of the Wesleyan Church on Church Street for games before heading out to homes around the village to trick or treat.

Photo at right: The parade on Odessa's Maple Avenue on its way to the Wesleyan Church festivities.

The ribbon was cut by building owner Sally Scaptura-Clark, who grew up in the renovated building when it was her family's home and a service station run by her father, Joseph P. "Li'l Joe" Scaptura. He died in 1998, and his wife Ellen in 2006. Flanking Mrs. Scaptura-Clark were Watkins Glen Village Trustee Laurie DeNardo, left, County Administrator Fonda Chronis, and the day's emcee, Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry.


Ribbon-cutting marks Li'l Joe's renovation

A ribbon was cut Oct. 28th at the site of the former Li'l Joe's Service Station on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen to celebrate completion of a Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) project: renovation of the building into retail space and a three-bedroom apartment, and the complete overhaul of the Li'l Joe's garage into what will soon be an Upstate Brewing Company business leased from property owners Sally Scaptura-Clark, daughter of the late Joseph P. "Li'l Joe" Scaptura, and her daughter Margaret Clinch.

The apartment is rent-limited under DRI terms for a few years at $1,500/month. It was still available Friday, as was the ground-floor retail space, where the service station business operated until 1996. Friday's ceremony saw remarks by various dignitaries, including State Senator Tom O'Mara. The general contractor for the renovation project was John Franzese. The engineer was Howard Cabezas.

Photos: The former Li'l Joe's service station as it is today (top) and how it looked when a ceremonial ground-breaking was held on Aug. 20, 2021.

And back in 2009

Smoke pours out of the Village Variety Shop on North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen Oct. 18th. More photos at Fire.


Watkins Glen fire deemed accidental

The fire that struck two businesses on North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen Oct. 18th, 2009 was accidental -- caused, fire officials say, by "the thawing of a refrigerator" in the rear portion of the Village Variety Shop. For the update and the original story and photos, see Fire.

Left: Flames curl out of the rear of the Village Variety Shop shortly after the fire started. (Photo by Phil Barnes)


Some vocal magic on an Island hike ...

The editor encounters some strange conversationalists during a hike to a farflung lighthouse on his vacation. For those looking for some magic, herewith a tale that most will deem fiction. Hike.


Left: The Bois Blanc Lighthouse

Check out some WGHS videos

Maggie Edgley's Video Production Class at Watkins Glen High School boasts a creative group of artists. We've linked up with the class so that you can have access to their video accomplishments. To visit the class website, click here


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A list of our contributors can be found on the Sponsors Page.


Some old photos from the Kelly collection

We have some more photos from the collection amassed over the years by the late Bill Kelly. For a look, click here.


The What, When and Why of this website

Editor-publisher Charlie Haeffner updates readers on what makes this website tick. Site.

Left: Charlie Haeffner (Photo by Dave Haeffner)



We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


The Elizabeth Amisano Ovarian Cancer Education Fund
Live Like Liz, Inc.
P.O. Box 434
Watkins Glen NY 14891


An eternal message of lights, hope and faith

The week following Susan Haeffner's passing was fraught with signs -- most of them light-based, and one in the form of a vision. Here the editor relives those days in an effort to pass along a message of hope and faith. Message.

Above: The Aurora Borealis (From the Internet--as seen in Scandinavia)



The Sound and the Silence: A Memoir

Some things in life can mean a great deal -- can embody hope and dreams ... and memories. The sailboat is one such thing for the author. Silence.




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

(607) 594-3594

E-mail chaef@aol.com