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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


It was Prom Night for WGHS at Logan Ridge

Watkins Glen High School held its annual Prom May 14 at Logan Ridge Estates in Hector, with the theme of "Masquerade." The Prom was held on a pleasant, breezy evening, with music presented by DJ Anthony Curren.

Photo above: Johnny VanScoyk and Breanna Carl on the breezy Logan Ridge terrace as sunset neared.

For more WGHS Prom photos, see Schools.


Reed resigns; urges end to 'political posturing'

Longtime U.S. Representative Tom Reed resigned from Congress on May 10, with a press release from his office saying he is "joining Charlie Black at the Prime Policy Group," a Washington, D.C. government relations and public affairs firm.

Reed's office said it would "continue to serve the people of New York's 23rd District through the end of the year or until a new representative is elected."
Reed had already announced his intention not to seek re-election -- a decision prompted by an allegation from a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct while they were seated together at a party. Reed later apologized. In a statement to Congress on May 10, Reed said in part:

"After almost 12 years in Congress, today is my last day. It has been an honor to serve with you all from both parties. I love this institution as it still exemplifies what is best about our government; we are the People’s house. While I am proud that we put people before politics, there is much more to do. I am leaving to continue that work and hope to have a greater impact on our Country.

I believe the current focus on extremism demands us to heed the words of Abraham Lincoln uttered years ago as we face a similar threat to our existence today -- 'a house divided cannot stand!' But I add -- 'a house United will not fail.' It is time for petty political posturing to end."

Photo in text: Tom Reed (File photo)

Update: Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to call a special election to fill Tom Reed's seat in Congress. It will likely be held in late July or early August.

Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers, left, and County Administrator Fonda Chronis talk before start of the meeting.


Chronis cites strong sales tax at brief session

The Schuyler County Legislature held its monthly meeting May 9th and finished in 16 minutes, working through 25 resolutions quickly. There were no members of the public present, and no committee reports. The only report came from County Administrator Fonda Chronis, who among other things reported strong sales tax returns. He explained afterward that those returns are up 24% over last year through the first quarter -- and that while he expects that number might soften as 2022 progresses (reflecting strong summers in both of the past two years), "I would be shocked if we didn't see growth" this year -- "as long as nothing crazy happens with the economy."


Rotary honors Pastore as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Adam Pastore was honored May 5th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for May. Pastore, a three-sport athlete who was the IAC Large School South Division MVP after a basketball season in which his team won its third straight IAC title, was introduced by teacher Sam Brubaker. The honoree, Brubaker said, is not only outstanding in academics and sports, but someone who "gets it; he's compassionate to his fellow students" and approaches life "in a right frame of mind." Pastore plans to attend Corning Community College before pursuing a bachelor's degree at a 4-year college.

Photo: Adam Pastore, left, and teacher Sam Brubaker


O-M team is regional Envirothon champion

The Odessa-Montour High School Otters top a field of 29 teams from 11 regional schools at competition in Owego. Schools.

Delaney Paulisczak and Ben Campbell arrive at the O-M prom.


Odessa-Montour holds its prom at WGI Center

The Odessa-Montour High School Junior-Senior Prom was held Friday, April 29 at the Watkins Glen International Media Center, with a theme of "Enchanted Garden" and a ballroom bathed in green light. The following were named royalty:

King: Arden Heichel
Prince: Casey Keyes
Duke: Jacob Menzi
Queen: Raven Lott
Princess: Molly Heichel
Duchess: Jade Baldwin

King: Dominick Elliott
Prince: Ben Campbell
Duke: Daniel Lewis
Queen: Hannah Nolan
Princess: Tori Brewster
Duchess: Hannah Kinner

Photo: Jon Spencer poses in front of the Media Center.

Other photos are on Schools.

This shot of Seneca Harbor at sunset was snapped on April 22. (Photo by Carrie Watt)


Spring arrives in Schuyler: a trio of photos

The weather warmed over the weekend (at least temporarily), and with it came a couple of photos from contributors reflecting the placid nature of the season: Seneca Harbor at sunset (from Carrie Watt) and burgeoning flowers in Watkins Glen (from John Juhasz). And a sure sign of spring was construction work on College Avenue in Odessa.

Photo: Flowers at the corner of 1st and Decatur Streets in Watkins Glen. (Photo by John Juhasz)

Workers dig up a portion of College Avenue in Odessa.


Fund drive seeks support for fire districts

Fire districts throughout Schuyler County will benefit from a fund-drive being staged by Kookalaroc's Bar & Grill in Watkins Glen. The drive, through June 11, features a gun-safe and kayak raffle, along with a Go Fund Me effort. Features.


All for fun: WG school leaders' beards shaped

A Watkins Glen 4th grade teacher who first broached the idea, and three district administrators who joined in the fun, had their beards trimmed in wild and wacky ways April 8 on the last day of school before Spring Break. The stylings, from designs created by elementary school students, were effected by Mark Mortimer of Morty's Hot Spot in Watkins. Schools.

Photo: WG Elementary School Principal Jeremy Leroux with the design that dictated his cut. (Photo by Amanda Grinolds)

Left: Meeting with the Easter Bunny. Right: One of the many kids chasing after eggs in Lafayette Park.


Cold rain doesn't dampen egg-hunt spirit

The rain came Saturday, and temperatures were barely above 40, but children turned out in force for the sixth annual Easter Egg Hunt at Lafayette Park in Watkins Glen sponsored by Cabins to Castles Real Estate. The kids met with the Easter Bunny and picked up candy-filled plastic eggs scattered around the park. "It's a better turnout than I thought it might be," said one organizer, looking out from the park bandstand at the rain.


Model Car Show held at Glen Research Center

The International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen was the site April 9 of the 7th Annual Model Car Show. The event, with many model and die-cast cars on display from a wide range of collectors, also featured LEGO cars created by members of the Rochester LEGO User Group. For sale there; LEGO car kits, with the parts needed to build a small car.

Photo: One of several tables full of model and die-cast cars on display at the show.

WGHS seniors Isabella La Face and Matthew Swarthout.


Rotary honors WG seniors La Face, Swarthout

Two Watkins Glen High School seniors -- Matthew Swarthout and Isabella La Face -- were honored April 7 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Students of the Month for March and April, respectively. They were introduced during a club lunch at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel by teachers Ben Connolly (for Swarthout) and Travis Durfee (for La Face) -- each of whom extolled the study and communication skills of the honorees. Swarthout said he hopes to attend Corning Community College through a Corning Inc. tech pipeline program, and a four-year school after that, with an eye toward an engineering career at Corning Inc. La Face, a member of National Honor Society and the girls varsity swim team -- as well as a swim instructor and lifeguard -- said she plans to attend college for a career in architecture or engineering. Active in St. Mary's of the Lake Church, she said she hopes to live "a selfless future ... with passion and purpose," inspiring others.


Opening weekend kicks off 2022 WGI season

Watkins Glen International welcomed fans back for Opening Weekend at The Glen on Saturday and Sunday, when fans could drive their cars around the WGI track for a donation ($25 in advance, $30 at the track) to the Racing and Community Enrichment Foundation. Features.


O-M's Sgrecci signs Lycoming letter of intent

Odessa-Montour High School senior Camille Sgrecci -- a standout on her school's soccer team -- signed a letter of intent on April 7 to attend Lycoming College, where she plans to continue her soccer career. Sgrecci's O-M soccer coach, Burton Brewster, praised her IAC All-Star performances in a career at Odessa dating back to 8th grade. "I'm sure she will be successful in all she does," said Brewster, "because that's the kind of young woman she is."

Photo: Camille Sgrecci signs letter of intent with her mother Gail at her side. Other family members, coaches and friends were also present for the signing, held at O-M High School.


Tree felled as sewage treatment plan proceeds

The planned sewage treatment project underway in the Village of Odessa included removal of a large old tree on the corner of Main Street and College Avenue on April 6. The treatment facility on the south end of the village was connected last summer to the Odessa-Montour school. The project will soon extend up Main Street through the business district. Workers are currently operating on private property, where the tree's shallow roots were compromised by sewage and water pipes, leading to concern that the tree would fall, anyway. It was removed by Mattison's Tree Service of Waverly, utilizing a bucket truck.

Photo: A branch falls as the tree is brought down in pieces.

Daniel Ely prepares to sign as his parents, David and Irina, sit by his side in the high school library.


Ely signs letter of intent to attend Hartwick

Watkins Glen High School senior Daniel Ely, a standout four-year varsity football player at the school, signed a letter of intent April 1 to attend Hartwick College and play football there in the fall. The signing took place in the WGHS library, with scores of students attending. Hartwick, a Division III school located in Oneonta, provided what was described as substantial academic scholarships for Ely, who is an excellent student. His high school coach, Trevor Holland, praised Ely not only for his drive to be a good individual football player, but in particular a team player. Ely thanked "everyone who helped me along this road. I feel very fortunate to be in this situation."

Photo: Ely's high school football coach, Trevor Holland, spoke at the signing ceremony.


After 2 years off, Alumni banquet is on again

The Watkins Glen High School Alumni Association will hold its annual alumni banquet on June 25 at the Clute Park Community Center after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic. For a letter explaining the banquet details, see Forum.


Reed, colleagues: Let's repeal bail reform laws

Congressman Tom Reed has joined with other members of the New York Republican delegation in Washington, D.C., in sending a letter to New York Governor Kathy Hochul calling on her to repeal the state's bail reform laws. "We care about our law enforcement community and the citizens that they serve and protect," said Reed. "That is why we call on Governor Hochul to fully repeal the disastrous bail reform laws. These so-called reforms have led to lawlessness and an unprecedented crime wave in New York State. It is time to do what is right for the people of New York and end these failed and dangerous policies once and for all."

Photo: Congressman Tom Reed


Watkins-based robotics team is No. 1 in NYS

The youth robotics team Mechanical Meltdown, based in Watkins Glen and completing its fifth year, ended its season ranked Number One in New York State. For a look at the team and its season, see People.


"Cinderella" ends its 3-day run at WGHS

The musical "Cinderella," a production by the Watkins Glen High School Class of 2022, was presented for the third and final tiime Sunday afternoon, March 27 in the WGHS auditorium. The play was also presented on Friday and Saturday nights. "Cinderella" was directed by Michelle and Tim Benjamin, with Sarah Matthews serving as the Music Director. Schools.

Photo: Melanie Wysocki portrayed Cinderella.


Schuyler Hospital closes COVID-19 testing site

Schuyler Hospital says it has discontinued its COVID-19 testing site at 220 Steuben St., Montour Falls. The closing came after March 25 due to reduced demand. Should COVID-19 increase in the community, the hospital may re-open the site, which had been operating since the late spring of 2020. If you have questions, contact Schuyler Hospital’s COVID-19 Hotline at (607) 535-8602 or email info@schuylerhospital.org.


She's striving to bring GST BOCES into focus

Kelly Houck (right), the Superintendent of GST BOCES, heads an organization that provides many services to students and adults alike -- but which needs an upgrade of its aging infrastructure, and the construction of gyms on two of its three campuses. A capital improvement project vote was held March 22 on the three campuses (see result below). For a look at the superintendent and her job, at the capital project, and at BOCES, click here.

Photo: GST BOCES Superintendent Kelly M. Houck.

GST BOCES capital improvement project vote passes: According to BOCES, the $20 million "No tax impact" project was approved March 22 by a 654-65 margin.

From left: State Senator Tom O'Mara, Student of the Month Molly Heichel and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano at the Rotary luncheon meeting.


Rotary honors Heichel as Student of Month; O'Mara, Palmesano give legislative update

Odessa-Montour High School senior Molly Heichel was honored March 17 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for March at a luncheon meeting at the Harbor Hotel. Heichel was introduced by O-M English teacher Jana Leyden, who described the honoree as "curious and thoughtful" and possessing "a profound sense of ethics ... a really solid human being." Heichel, who had a major role in the recent O-M production of "Once Upon a Mattress," plans to attend Ithaca College and study theater production design, with a minor in marketing. She thanked family and friends, and O-M faculty "who believed in me when I struggled to believe in myself." She also thanked Rotarians for the award, saying "this means a lot to me."

Report: State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, both Republicans, were the guest speakers, providing an update on such state issues as energy, highway funding, crime, prison closings, and the state budget. Both hoped for the election this fall of a Republican governor, with O'Mara saying it is "a chance to bring back some sanity" to state government.

Photo in text: Molly Heichel, with her Student of the Month plaque, poses beside teacher Jana Leyden.


Artists-in-Residence 2022 focuses on students

Watkins Glen students performed vocal and instrumental selections March 16 at an "Artists-in-Residence 2022" concert in the high school auditorium. The program, which dates back many years, gives Watkins students a chance to work with professional musicians in preparation for a culminating concert. Schools.

Photo: Artist-in-Residence Katie McShane at the concert.


All Schuyler All-Star teams unveiled

The Odessa File's 2022 All-Schuyler, All-Sports Winter All-Star teams are topped by a Schuyler Winter MVP. To see who made the teams, visit Sports.


Odessa voters reject cannabis dispensary;
re-elect 2 incumbents to the Village Board

Odessa residents in the March 15 village elections voted down the presence of a cannabis dispensary in the village, 33-27, and rejected a related on-premises smoking facility, 42-17. So the village is opting out of both, preventing cannabis sales in the village.

Voters also re-elected incumbent trustees Pam Cicconi (47 votes) and A.J. Bailey (39 votes), while a write-in vote to fill the final year of Rob Tuttle's unexpired term ended in a 16-16 tie between Kristine Gardner and Tom Letteer -- requiring a run-off election on a date to be determined.


Newfield boys top Stillwater for state title

The Newfield High School boys varsity basketball team won its first-ever New York State Public High School Athletic Association basketball championship March 19 by defeating Section 2's Stillwater 87-62 in the Class C title game at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. Newfield, a member of the Interscholastic Athletic Conference, defeated IAC Large School champion Watkins Glen in a Section IV, Class C semifinal before topping Moravia for the Section IV crown, West Canada Valley in an intersectional contest, and then Pierson on Friday in a Final Four semifinal contest. The Trojans had been to two previous state championship games, both in Class D. They had lost both of them, in 1986 and 2017.


Legislature raises seasonal highway pay rate

Schuyler County legislators on March 14 approved a number of resolutions in a 25-minute meeting. Among them: they authorized pay of $18.25 per hour for seasonal highway workers, up from $13.50 since finding workers to fill the four slots has been difficult; and appointed Kirk Smith as the Director of Emergency Services, effective April 1 at an annual salary of $72,000, while abolishing the previous position of Emergency Management Coordinator with the retirement on March 31 of William Kennedy from that post. Smith has been working concurrently with Kennedy since January.

Photo: Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers at Monday meeting.


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

The Odessa-Montour High School student production of the musical "Once Upon a Mattress" -- which opened Friday night, March 11 and was presented again Saturday night, March 12 -- took the stage for the third and final time Sunday afternoon, March 13 in the school auditorium. Attendance was about twice the size of the show Saturday night, which had been limited by inclement weather. Features.

Photo: Delaney Paulisczak as the Jester performs a musical number in Act Two on Sunday.


Schuyler Hospital has new CT unit and suite

Schuyler Hospital has introduced a new Computed Tomography (CT) suite within the hospital, including the addition of a new state-of-the-art CT unit. Business.

Photo: The hospital's Brenda Reynolds demontrates the spaciousness of the new CT technology.


School bus in minor mirror-to-mirror accident; some kids treated in 'abundance of caution'

Some Watkins Glen School District students were taken to local hospitals Thursday morning, March 10 complaining of headaches following a minor school bus-pickup truck accident around 7:30 a.m. at the intersection of County Route 23 and the Irelandville Road outside Watkins Glen.

Kai A. D’Alleva, Watkins Glen School District Superintendent, said a passenger mirror on the bus struck and damaged a side mirror on the pickup. There were 23 students on the bus, on the way to school for the day.

D’Alleva said families of the students were notified and everyone on the bus was evaluated by school district medical personnel and local first responders. A few students were taken to local hospitals, he added, for further evaluation “out of an abundance of caution.”


Land Trust helps Odessa acquire land for trail

The Finger Lakes Land Trust -- through a grant and technical guidance -- helps the Village of Odessa acquire 43.8 acres of land for a two-and-a-half mile rail trail extending from the village to Hayes Road in the Town of Montour. People.


Illustration: Map shows location of the trail corridor. A larger version is on People.

Watkins Glen Patrolman Jamie Coleman stands guard at the entrance to Fat Daddy's.


Police execute search warrant at Fat Daddy's

State police, assisted by Watkins Glen Police, executed a search warrant Thursday, March 10 at Fat Daddy's Smoke & Gift Shop -- described as a marijuana sticker shop -- on North Franklin Street in the village. Police said four people had been detained, but that nobody was arrested. A village patrolman was stationed at the store entrance, keeping foot traffic out. Inside, plainclothes state police officers were examining items at the store counter, and were seen bagging some of them. There were also reports of items removed by police from two vehicles parked in front. There was no word available as to the goal of the search. The business owner said he planned to reopen the next day.


Watkins School Board OKs trap shooting club

The Watkins Glen School Board on March 7 unanimously approved formation of a Watkins Glen Clay Target Shooting Club, a trap-shooting club that will compete against other clubs in the region. Newfield and Dundee schools also have such organizations. The sign-up deadline is 12 noon on March 21. Practice weeks under the guidance of trained coaches will follow, along with safety training for participating students under state and national organization guidelines. The competitions, with Watkins students taking aim at targets at the Millport Hunting and Fishing Club -- comparing both team and individual scores with those of other schools shooting elsewhere -- will take place over several weeks this spring, normally one day a week. WGHS Athletic Director Rod Weeden said interest in the club -- for students 12 and older -- has thus far been expressed by 32 students.

Photo: Sean Wixson, a spokesman for the group that successfully sought the club status -- -- and one of its four coaches.


'Local Roads Are Essential' group urges greater state investment in NY roads, bridges

State Senator Tom O’Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and more than 60 state Senators and members of the Assembly on March 8 joined the call from county and town highway superintendents and other local leaders for increased state support for local roads, bridges and culverts. The advocacy group held a "Local Roads Are Essential" news conference in Albany. Govt.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano speaks during the news conference.


Rotary honors Holland as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Cameron Holland was honored March 3rd by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for February. Holland -- a High Honor student and a starter on the school's football, basketball and baseball teams -- was introduced by Ralph Diliberto, a coach and teacher at the school who has overseen Holland's weight training for years. Holland, said Diliberto, has made weight training "part of his life routine" by employing a determined "mindset that carries into every aspect of his life." He said the honoree also exemplifies the traits personified by the late Joel Stephens, an Elmira Notre Dame alum who was the subject of a book titled "5C Hero" by former Notre Dame Coach Mike D'Aloisio. Holland was a recipient this year of the annual 5C Award -- The "C" standing for Christianity, Courage, Compassion, Character and Commitment. Holland thanked his parents and Diliberto for their guidance, and said he plans to attend a four-year college in New York State with an eye toward a career in education.

Photo: Cameron Holland with his Rotary award.


Aidan Thurston honored for achieving Eagle

Odessa-Montour High School senior Aidan Thurston was honored March 1 by Montour Falls Mayor Jim Ryan for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. Ryan read and presented to Thurston -- a Montour Falls resident -- a proclamation designating March as "Aidan Thurston Recognition Month" in the village. The proclamation noted that among his achievements, Thurston "coordinated a team to serve the Burdett Presbyterian Church to clean its cemetery, fix gravestones and then digitally map them to link to a web-based genealogy site to preserve the resulting information" -- which "includes graves from as early as the American Revolution, and graves of formerly enslaved persons." Thurston recently committed to attend the University of Evansville, Indiana, where he will major in archeology.

Photo: Aidan Thurston with Montour Falls Mayor Jim Ryan at Village Hall.


Montour Falls buying new truck to replace old

The Village of Montour Falls has contracted to buy a new Rescue Engine for the Fire Department, built by Pierce Manufacturing Inc. of Appleton, Wisconsin and scheduled for delivery in mid-2023. The $801,653 vehicle will replace a 22-year-old truck now in service. Said Mayor Jim Ryan: "My administration is pleased to secure the purchase and look forward to the deployment of new fire apparatus to support our village department and firefighters to help keep Montour Falls residents and businesses safe." The vehicle will join the department's 2015 Quint vehicle and 2003 Tanker Pumper.


School masks can come off, but remain option

With New York Governor Kathy Hochul lifting the statewide mask mandate in schools, the superintendents of the Bradford, Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glen school districts have weighed in with what it means in their schools. A letter from the three superintendents -- John Marshall, Chris Wood (pictured at right), and Kai D'Alleva -- appears on the Forum Page.


Seneca Legacy is in drydock for inspection

The Seneca Legacy cruise ship is in drydock in Watkins Glen (as pictured at right) -- undergoing a mandatory, periodic inspection as well as work that will include the scraping, sanding and painting of the hull. And then, come May, the vessel will be back in service on the waters of Seneca Lake. Business.

Members of Seneca Physical Therapy, Watkins Glen, presented the check to Ashley Kerrick, left, director of Catholic Charities in Schuyler County.


Drive nets food items; check goes to Pantry

Seneca Physlcal Therapy, led by its founder, Amanda Smith-Socaris, PT, recently conducted a food drive, collecting food donations from the community, patients and themselves. The single-serving and no-cook items were for homeless in Schuyler County served by Catholic Charities. Beyond that, Seneca Physical Therapy then donated $250 to the Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry.

The longstanding overpass is gone over Rt. 224 in Odessa.


Overpass removal is completed in Odessa

Removal of the long-unused railway overpass across Rt. 224 on the east end of the Village of Odessa was completed Feb. 17. The overpass was owned by the New York State Department of Transportation, which had no funds to maintain the structure. The overpass removal had been expected last summer, but was delayed.

Photo in text: Pieces of the overpass, stacked at a nearby lot.


Rotary honors O-M students Sgrecci, Thurston

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club reinstated its Student of the Month program Feb. 17 after an almost two-year hiatus that was due to the pandemic. Honored were Odessa-Montour High School seniors Camille Sgrecci and Aidan Thurston.

The club also heard a presentation by Rev. Mike Kelly, and welcomed two new members. Features.

Photo: Rotary Club Students of the Month Camille Sgrecci and Aidan Thurston. (Photo provided)


Watkins students thank legislators for use, renovation of Middle School basketball court

A group Watkins Glen High School students attended the Feb. 14 meeting of the Schuyler County Legislature, with several of them thanking the legislators for the students' continued use over the past two years of the old Middle School basketball court, and for the renovated court floor. The county leases the space from the building owner, the Two Plus Four Management Group based in Syracuse. The WGHS students and younger kids, along with adult leagues, use the space by reserving it through the office of the County Administrator.

The board also decided in a straw vote to oppose a pending bill that would reorganize the Western New York OTB, shifting membership in its board based on population. Currently each member county has a representative. Under the reorganization, Schuyler would be forced to share a single representative with Cayuga, Chautauqua, Genesee, Livingston and Seneca counties. The legislators' oppposition will be voiced at an upcoming meeting of an Inter-County Committee.

Photo in text: WGHS student David Kelly addresses the Legislature, as other students listen.


Waterfront Festival will return to Glen this June

The popular Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival and its centerpiece -- the Cardboard Boat Regatta -- will return to Seneca Harbor Park on June 18 after a two-year absence created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Features.

Photo: Crowd on the Seneca Harbor pier watches a Cardboard Boat Regatta at a previous Waterfront Festival.


Racing Center's Sweepstakes car displayed

For the third straight year, the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) has announced that its Sweepstakes Grand Prize will be a Corvette -- on display for the next few weeks at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The car was stationed in the lobby there starting Jan. 27, timed to coincide with the hotel's annual Fire & Ice Celebration, a three-day event that began Thursday. Business.

Right: Sign in the hotel lobby.


After 2 years off, fest and parade are on again

The Montour Falls Fire Department, after calling off its Festival and Parade the past two years due to the pandemic, has scheduled the events this year from June 9-11. The department is looking for some volunteer assistance in various areas. Forum.


Historical Society acquires Lawrence Chapel

The Schuyler County Historical Society has acquired the historic Lawrence Chapel (right) along Rt. 228 outside of Odessa. It had been under the ownership of the Chemung County Historical Society since 1972. Features.

Schuyler County Legislator Phil Barnes organized and ran the meeting, held at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls.


Potential youth sports complex discussed

A group of two dozen Schuyler County leaders met Feb. 9 in the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls to discuss the possibility of a youth sports complex in the county, possibly on the old Shepard-Niles site in Montour Falls owned by Scott Welliver. The group settled on raising money for, and seeking, a feasibility study before any other necessary measures -- like land acquisition, grant funding, community involvement, engineering, and regulatory compliance, could be tackled. There was also talk of a need for officers and a board of directors. The group agreed to another meeting in the near future. County Legislator Phil Barnes, spearheading the project, was the emcee. On hand were fellow Legislators Jim Howell, David Reed, Laurence Jaynes and Michael Lausell, and County Administrator Fonda Chronis. Representing Montour Falls were its mayor, Jim Ryan, and trustee Jim Nolan. Representatives from various businesses were also on hand.

Photo in text: Montour Falls Mayor Jim Ryan was among the officials in attendance.

Left: BOCES Superintendent Kelly Houck. Right: Sean Wixson


Trap shooting club, BOCES get BOE attention

The Watkins Glen Board of Education on Feb. 8 received a report on GST BOCES and its services from BOCES Superintendent Kelly Houck, who was assisted by WGHS student Otto Hohle (pictured at right). Hohle told board members of his success in a welding program at BOCES and how it is preparing him for the future. The board also heard from Sean Wixson, who has coached swimming (for two decades with the Glen Gators), and lacrosse, and who now would like to see the School Board approve a clay-trap shooting club -- an activity popular in other districts in the region and, increasingly, across the nation. The board appeared receptive to the idea, and will discuss it at its next meeting, after Wixson -- who would serve as a coach -- submits more details through Superintendent Kai D'Alleva and Athletic Director Rod Weeden, with whom he has discussed the proposal.


Fire & Ice Celebration ends its three-day run

The third night of the annual three-day Fire & Ice Celebration was held Jan. 29 at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The event, benefitting the Schuyler Health Foundation, featured 20,000 pounds of ice carved into sculptures, ice bars and martini luges. They were located behind the hotel, while the ballroom featured hors d'oeuvres and local wines and beers.

Right: A drink of flaming 190 proof grain alcohol featured at a sculpted Ice Bar.


'Sticker Shock' campaign warns against drugs

The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) launched its 2nd annual “Pizza Box Sticker Shock” event on December 27. Over the course of the following two weeks, volunteers placed nearly 3,000 stickers (pictured at right) -- stickers that read “Pizza is Good. Drugs are Bad. Which will you choose?” -- on pizza boxes at businesses around the county. The program is part of an ongoing effort to warn about the dangers of drinking and drugs. People.

Student swimmers display some of the donated equipment at the School Board meeting.


Gators donate swim gear to school district

The Glen Gators swim team on Jan. 18 donated more than $7,000 in swim equipment to the Watkins Glen School District during a meeting of the Watkins School Board. Donation of the equipment, to be used jointly by school swim programs and the Gators -- who utilize the WGHS pool -- was announced by district Aquatic Director and Gators Head Coach Jason Westervelt, and displayed by more than a half-dozen student athletes. The gear, financed through fund-raisers, includes dozens of pull buoys, snorkels, tow tethers, tempo trainers, agility paddles, and fins, along with some medicine balls and junior kickboards. Westervelt told the board that the Gators wanted to repay the district for all of the support it has provided swim programs and youth sports over the years -- and especially the past two years, during the pandemic.

Photo in text: Jason Westervelt addresses the School Board.


Barnes outlines youth sports facility proposal

Schuyler County Legislator Phil Barnes -- the guest speaker at the Jan. 6 luncheon meeting of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel -- outlined a proposal that has been discussed with school and government officials in the area: construction of an indoor sports facility in Schuyler County, primarily for youths. He said a committee is filing for 501c3 nonprofit status, and preparing to submit paperwork by the end of January for grant money that would help in the construction of a 130,000-square-foot facility. It would need five or six acres to accommodate enough parking. Property owned by Scott Welliver in Montour Falls would be viable, said Barnes, noting that such a facility could be rented out to sports organizations from around the region, sparking economic development here. It would primarily serve the needs of Schuyler County youth whose options for using a sports complex are currently limited to trips to Rochester, Syracuse and elsewhere. Basketball, soccer and lacrosse would be the obvious sports for such a facility, he noted, while other sports could be practiced there. While fund-raising would be required beyond any grants, Barnes said the need for such a complex "is overwhelming." While the project is "a work in progress," he added, "it's a shot in the arm we need."

Photo: Phil Barnes at the Rotary meeting.


Legislature reappoints Blowers as its chairman

Schuyler County Legislature chairman Carl Blowers was unanimously chosen by his fellow legislators as chairman again Jan. 5th at the group's annual reorganizational meeting. This marks the third such one-year term for Blowers, who has served on the Legislature since 2015. He succeeded the retired Dennis Fagan as chairman two years ago.

Photo: Carl Blowers (File)

Schuyler County Judge Matt Hayden, left, administers the oath of office to new Sheriff Kevin Rumsey, who is resting his hand on a Bible held by new Undersheriff Andrew Zeigler.


Rumsey sworn in as Schuyler County Sheriff

Kevin Rumsey was sworn in as the new Schuyler County Sheriff January 1st in a ceremony in the Schuyler County Courthouse before scores of county dignitaries, family, friends and fellow law enforcement officers. Also sworn in: his Undersheriff, Andrew Zeigler. Rumsey -- who succeeds the retiring William Yessman as sheriff -- said that if elected in the future by the voters, he foresees the possibility of four or five 4-year terms in office. He is currently 45. He said his first order of business will be to attend to staff shortages, and to the training of department personnel. In assuming the Sheriff's post, he has resigned from his seat on the Watkins Glen School Board. Among the reasons: "I'll be busy enough doing this."

Photo in text: Watkins Glen businessman Junior Specchio, right, delivers a Bible to Kevin Rumsey for the swearing-in ceremony. Specchio volunteered to find one just before the ceremony, when it was discovered it was needed, and secured it from the altar of the nearby St. Mary's of the Lake Church.

The house on County Route 14 was decimated by flames.


Fire guts old farmhouse on County Route 14

Fire raced through an old farmhouse east of Catharine Corners on Dec. 31st, drawing fire departments from around the region: Odessa, Montour Falls, Watkins Glen, Burdett, Millport, Newfield, and Town and Country. The blaze at 5212 County Road 14 began about 8 a.m. The cause was determined to be an electrical panel box malfunction. Firefighters said flames were shooting high by the time they arrived, with a tree near the residence also aflame. One firefighter sustained minor injury. Other structures on the property were not damaged, but the house was a total loss, with only its framework standing.

Photo: Picture of the fire snapped by a bystander.

More photos on Features.


Brockway killer Horein denied parole again

Joshua Horein (pictured at right), convicted of second-degree murder for the 2000 beating death of Amber Brockway in Watkins Glen, has been denied release again -- the fourth time a parole has been rejected. Horein, formerly of Watkins Glen and now 37, was 16 when he bludgeoned the 15-year-old Brockway to death. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph Fazzary, notified of the denial Tuesday, said: "Obviously, we are pleased with the board's decision to keep Horein in jail. That is where he belongs. Amber's family is relieved and will continue to fight to keep Horein behind bars for many years." Horein is incarcerated in Fishkill Correctional Facility, Beacon, New York.


Legislators appoint Chronis as Administrator

The Schuyler County Legislature, in its year-end meeting on December 27th, unanimously approved Xenophondas "Fonda" Chronis as the next County Administrator, effective Dec. 31. The appointment is for a year at a salary of $125,000. Chronis, who has been serving as Assistant Administrator for most of this past year, succeeds longtime Administrator Tim O'Hearn, who is retiring.

Photo: Fonda Chronis

  Hanlon student wins box-sticker contest

Student Peter Dechow of Montour Falls creates winning SCCUDD-sponsored design for sticker that will be placed on 3,000 area pizza boxes in late December. His message: "Pizza is good! Drugs are bad! Which will you choose?" Schools.

Photo: Winner Peter Dechow (Photo provided)


Glen School Board delays action on vacancy

The Watkins Glen School Board on Jan. 3 discussed how it might proceed to fill the board seat vacated by Kevin Rumsey shortly before he was sworn in as Schuyler County Sheriff on Jan. 1. School Superintendent Kai D'Alleva outlined the options -- which include appointment, special election or a delay until the regular election in May -- but the board had some questions it wanted the school attorney to answer regarding the options. So the matter was put on hold pending receipt of the requested information.

Photo: Superintendent Kai D'Alleva at the meeting.

Watkins district residents updated on status of drive in sports to drop American Indian mascots and nicknames. Forum.


Food distribution is an ongoing effort locally

Volunteers are on hand monthly at the Watkins Glen Community Center to help distribute food from the Food Bank of the Southern Tier to area residents. The volunteer effort is coordinated by Beverly Mello of Reading Center, whose interest in food distribution goes back many years. People.

Photo: Volunteers distribute food at Community Center.

B.C. Cate pupils and teachers outside the Glen Theater.


B.C. Cate 1st graders get a special movie treat

Some students at the B.C. Cate Elementary School in Montour Falls received a special treat in late December: a surprise trip to the movies. As explained by first-grade teacher Heidi Fazzary later that day:
"I thought I would send you some pictures and share a little about the exciting day our first graders had today.
They went to the Glen Theater in Watkins Glen to see The Polar Express."
(Note: the film is a popular 2004 computer-animated Christmas musical adventure based on a children's book by Chris Van Allburg.)
"With a generous donation from an anonymous donor and the help of Julie Krause from the Glen Theater," Fazzary added, "our students enjoyed a morning of popcorn and fun! Special thanks to Ms. Krause for helping to make this possible and to the parents for keeping the surprise a secret for the children."

Photo in text: Preparing to leave school. (Photos provided)


Cameron Holland receives Stephens 5C Award

Watkins Glen High School senior Cameron Holland was one of three recipients Dec. 16th of the Joel Stephens 5C Award given annually by former Elmira Notre Dame Coach Mike D'Aloisio. The two other recipients -- in a ceremony at the Water Street Holiday Inn in Elmira -- were Caiden Williams from Canton High School and Luke Zawko from Corning High School. The 5C's represent the qualities shown by Stephens -- an outstanding Notre Dame Athlete who died of cancer in 1998 at the age of 22. They are Christianity, Courage, Compassion, Character and Commitment. D'Alosio wrote a book in 2009 about Stephens, titled "5C Hero: The Joel Stephens Story."

Photo in text: Cameron Holland holds his award while posing with Coach Mike D'Aloisio at the ceremony. (Photo provided)


Public Health's Dr. King: Seasonal guest column

The Interim Director of Schuyler County Public Health sends a holiday message commending the efforts of health officials and area administrators, and urging everyone "to be good to yourself and all the loved ones around you." Column.

Photo: Dr. Nancy King


WG girls swim team honored at session

Members of the five-time Section IV, Class C champion squad receive certificates from the school district honoring their achievement. Sports.


Village Christmas parade winners announced

The Village Christmas Committee has announced winners of the "Visions of Candy Land" parade held during the Dec. 10 festival in downtown Watkins Glen. Winners were:
Most Christmas Spirit: the "Believe” Float by Heather
Jovanelli and Wendy Brooks;
Best Theme: Montour Falls Fire Department;
Best Decorated Fire Truck: Beaver Dams Fire Department;
Judges' Choice: Lakewood Vineyards.
Susanne Vedder, chair of the Village Christmas volunteer committee: “This is the best Village Christmas turnout we have seen in a very very long time. The parade was great, and that was the most people we have ever had in attendance viewing the fireworks at the harbor!"

Photo: Montour Falls Fire Department float.

An Associate member hands a gift bag to a fire district family.


Odessa Fire Associates distribute gifts to kids

Members of the Odessa Fire Department Associates distributed Christmas gifts to more than 40 children from 21 families Sunday, Dec. 12 in the second annual drive-through gift-giving outside the fire hall. The drive-through concept, which replaced annual on-site parties due to the pandemic, is designed for kids within the fire district. This year, each gift bag included, among other things, a book donated by the Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library in Odessa.

Fire Dept. Associate members at the fire hall with the gift bags.

A gingerbread house contest at the Cabins to Castles real estate office was among the many attractions at Village Christmas.


Mild weather greets Watkins Village Christmas

The 28th annual Watkins Glen Village Christmas was held along Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Dec. 10 on an evening moderate in both temperature and wind off the lake. Plenty of food stands kept visitors fed, while recorded music and that of carolers provided a festive mood. A petting zoo from My Little Farm north of Penn Yan was set up next to Community Bank; a parade with floats, tractors, cars and fire trucks worked its way along Franklin, and fireworks were held off the pier.

Photo in text: Seasonal cartoon characters posed with Village Christmas attendees.

State Senator Tom O'Mara, left, congratulates Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn on O'Hearn's career, on his pending retirement, and on the state Assembly Proclamation honoring O'Hearn that O'Mara was presenting to him.


O'Hearn honored as his retirement approaches

State Senator Tom O'Mara (left) dropped in on a meeting of the Schuyler County Legislature Dec. 8 to present a surprise State Assembly Proclamation to County Administrator Tim O'Hearn on the occasion of O'Hearn's pending retirement. O'Mara, also representing Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, who was unable to attend, told O'Hearn: "You've done simply a fantastic job here in Schuyler County, in my and Phil's opinion. It's been a pleasure working with you through many accomplishments here. I'm not even going to try to start a list. Your management style has been very effective, working through some sticky issues over the years, and doing it with a professional, rational and reasonable -- and most importantly, a common-sense -- approach to government, to conflict resolution, and to getting the job done and moving the community forward. I wish you all the best in your future."

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara at the presentation.


Hazlitt event supported Seneca Santa, HSSC

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

Students gathered at the Presbyterian Church in Watkins Glen to offload the Hesselson's truck for the Seneca Santa program. (Photos provided)


Seneca Santa shipment arrives, is offloaded

The annual delivery of Seneca Santa presents provided at wholesale cost by Hesselson's arrived Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 8 at the First Presbyterian Church of Watkins Glen, which serves each year as the storage and sorting headquarters for the program. A large contingent of Watkins Glen High School students formed a line, passing boxes from the truck along a hallway and upstairs to the storage room. The Seneca Santa program, which provides Christmas presents for underprivileged kids from 2 to 12 years of age in Schuyler County, has received applications this year for 217 kids from 95 families. Packages will be delivered to the families' homes on Christmas Eve morning by volunteers from fire departments throughout the county.

Photo in text: The Hesselson's truck is offloaded.


Spaulding retires; Rumsey now Undersheriff

Breck Spaulding (pictured at right), the Schuyler County Undersheriff for Sheriff Bill Yessman across almost four terms of office, has retired, it has been confirmed by Yessman. Spaulding -- who lost to Investigator Kevin Rumsey in the race for Sheriff to succeed the retiring Yessman -- stepped down on Nov. 30 after more than 27 years in law enforcement. Rumsey was appointed to succeed him as Undersheriff, effective Dec. 6. Yessman will end his 16 years as Sheriff at the end of December, with Rumsey succeeding him on Jan. 1. Deputy Andrew M. Zeigler will be the next Undersheriff.


Watkins-Montour Lions Club mission: To serve

The Watkins-Montour Lions Club strives to contribute to the community in meaningful ways, and while it provides help in various venues, it has a passion for improving the lives of the visually impaired. Among its recent guest speakers was Kevin Waters, who lost his vision as a result of diabetes. With him was his guide dog, Saxton. People.

Photo: Lions Club member Kate LaMoreaux, right, greets Saxton. (Photo provided)

County Administrator Tim O'Hearn speaks at the ceremony honoring Schuyler County COVID victims. Each flag on the ground represents one such victim. In addition, "each bird on the wreath represents a deeply-felt loss by a family and the community," says Dr. Nancy King, MD, interim Schuyler County Public Health Director.


Ceremony for COVID victims held in Watkins

Schuyler County conducted a tribute Dec. 8 for the 20 community members who Public Health has reported lost due to COVID since the pandemic began. The event -- which attracted about 50 people -- was held in front of the County Courthouse in Watkins Glen.

Each COVID victim was represented by a flag affixed to the ground near the base of the building. A wreath with representational birds was placed on the wall.

Speaking was Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, who said the memorial was "a poignant reminder of the human element that accompanies the disease" whose victims are often treated as "a numbers game." In terms of infections and deaths, he noted, Schuyler is "experiencing our highest numbers ... ever."

Photo in text: Also speaking was Dr. Nancy King, MD, interim Schuyler County Public Health Director, who commemorated the 20 honorees. She has said the birds on the wreath representing the "deeply-felt losses ... remind us to keep working hard to protect each other."

The Chalk Couture table was one of two dozen vendor stands operating on the first day of the two-day Holiday Fair.


Holiday Fair offered array of crafts, gifts, fun

Two dozen vendors set up shop Friday evening, Dec. 3 in the new Seneca Lake Events Center at Clute Park in Watkins Glen for the first day of an inaugural two-day Holiday Fair there. The Artisan Market showcased vendors selling crafts, jewelry and other items. Outside, the new ice rink that opened earlier in the day featured a number of skaters, and beyond that, a horse-drawn carriage was providing rides in the park. The fair continued Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., featuring the same vendors, more skating, more rides, and activities for kids -- along with a visit from Santa late in the morning.

Photo: Jewelry designed by Kendra Shaw at her Plume Creations table at the Artisan Market in the Events Center.


Transit is adding Chemung-Schuyler service

A new service will be offered by Schuyler County Transit starting in January 2022: a route expansion providing transportation between Chemung and Schuyler counties. Business.

Photo: A Schuyler County Transit bus.

Dena Carrigan makes a point as she talks with Kai D'Alleva before the meeting.


Chamber holds annual membership meeting

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual membership meeting Wednesday evening, Dec. 1 at the Glenora Wine Cellars' Veraisons Restaurant, in conjunction with its monthly mixer. A 2022 budget was approved and a slate of directors elected, while new Executive Director Nigar Hale addressed the 50-plus people on hand. Also speaking were Chamber officials Stephanie Specchio and Abby Lane, along with board officer Raymond Lincourt of Roadmasters.

Photos in text: Chamber Executive Director Nigar Hale, left, and Raymond Lincourt, who ran the business meeting.

Among those at the Lions Christmas party were, from left: Mike Mize, Nancy Davis, Karen Edwards and Phil Edwards. (Photo provided)


Lions raise funds for Bath VA holiday program

The Hector Area Lions Club, at what it billed as a "Roaring Good Christmas Party" Nov. 29 at the Burdett Fire House, raised $1,521 for the Bath VA Medical Center's "Operation Making Spirits Bright" program in support of veterans and their families. Other Lions clubs from Campbell, Corning, Big Flats, and Ovid-Willard also attended. Fund-raising was largely through a White Elephant Gift auction. "With this money," said Hector Lions Vice-President Kim Karius, the Bath VA "will be able to help a couple of families in need. What better way to help those who served us and our country than at Christmas when a little help can go a long way?"

Photo: Sue Rochell at the party's food table. (Photo provided)


Hazlitt 1852 announces leadership changes

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards has announced the promotions of Daniel DeBell to President and COO, and Mark Hurlbut to Chief Financial Officer. John Keeler, who announced his retirement as President earlier this year, will continue to serve during the transition. Business.


West finally beats East in annual Davis game

The West was victorious Nov. 23 in the annual Ernie Davis Exceptional Senior Classic football game, defeating the East 41-7 at Johnson City High School. It was the first win for the West since 2009. Sports.

Photo: Seneca Indians Cayden Confer, left, and Daniel Ely played in the Davis Classic, with Confer scoring a West touchdown. (Photo provided)

Sheriff-elect Kevin Rumsey, right, shakes hands with his Undersheriff-designate, Andrew M. Zeigler.


Rumsey names Zeigler as his Undersheriff

Schuyler County Sheriff-elect Kevin Rumsey on Nov. 22 said a 28-year department veteran, Deputy Andrew M. Zeigler, will be his Undersheriff, effective when Rumsey takes office on Jan. 1. Zeigler, a member of the department's Road Patrol for 23 years and part of its K-9 corps since 2001, has been named Deputy of the Year twice. He and his wife Judy live in the Town of Montour, where they raise and train German Short Haired Pointers for hunting and search and rescue. Zeigler has also spent the past eight years as a volunteer with Schuyler Ambulance. "I believe that Deputy Zeigler has the experience, knowledge, and complete ability to excel in the role of Undersheriff," said Rumsey. "He cares about the people he works with, and he has their utmost respect."

Photo: Undersheriff-designate Andrew M. Zeigler.

All-Schuyler All-Stars

The Odessa File's All-Star picks from the fall high school sports season are unveiled -- along with the selection of two MVPs. For a story and listing of the All-Stars, see Sports.


Mooney places 13th in Breaststroke at States

Watkins Glen High School junior Faye Mooney finishes third in the Consolation Finals and 13th overall in the 100 Yard Breaststroke at the NYS High School Swimming Championships, held across two days at Ithaca College. Sports.

Photo: Faye Mooney before Saturday's race.


Lucky Hare plan goes before Planning Board

The Watkins Glen Planning Board gives preliminary site plan approval to external changes at the former Orient Hibachi Buffet (left), which the Lucky Hare Brewing Company plans to turn into a tap room and restaurant in 2022. Government.

Rotary Club President Judy Phillips, right, offered Special Recognition to longtime club Secretary Terri Orbin.


Local Rotary Club celebrates its first century

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club celebrated its 100th anniversary Nov. 19 with a dinner at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The club, which first met on Nov. 17, 1921, is dedicated to serving the community with the motto "Service Above Self." The event was emceed by club President Judy Phillips, and featured a number of speakers, including President-elect Ted Marks.

Photo: Peter Honsberger, right, makes a point with J.C. Argetsinger before the Rotary dinner at the Harbor Hotel.


Legislators oppose Hochul's prison closures

The Schuyler County Legislature, meeting in special session, passes a resolution strongly opposing Governor Kathy Hochul's prison closure plan, and debates the Constitutional County movement taking place in Schuyler. Government.

Photo: County Attorney Steven Getman at Monday's meeting.

'The Wedding Singer" lead characters Robbie Hart (played by Alex Gill) and Julia Sullivan (Kelsey Johnson) meet in the opening act.


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

The Lake Country Players -- with a cast ranging in age from from 17 to 67 -- presented the musical "The Wedding Singer" over the weekend in the Watkins Glen High School audiitorium. The play, which opened Friday night, Nov. 13 and was presented again the next night, concluded its run with a Sunday matinee. Features.

Great Escape co-owner Jackie Honsberger, left, and Desiree Groves, right, visited the Humane Society in Montour Falls Wednesday, Nov. 10 -- to deliver pet items Desiree was donating to the Humane Society, and $300 the Great Escape added through a Pints for Paws drive.


Birthday tradition benefits the Humane Society

For eight years now, 13-year-old Desiree Groves, daughter of Ron and Kara Groves of Watkins Glen, has donated pet food and other items to the Humane Society of Schuyler County as part of her birthday. She asks family and friends each year to give those items to her as birthday presents, which she then gives to the Humane Society. This year, for the second year, Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor co-owner Jackie Honsberger joined in the effort by raising money for the Humane Society through a mid-October Pints for Paws promotion whereby she donates to the Humane Society $1 for each pint of ice cream sold during the promotion, and $2 for each quart. Together with community donations at The Great Escape (pictured), that amounted to $250 last year, and $300 this year.

Objecting to state's prison plan

Legislator Phil Barnes (above) suggested at its meeting Nov. 8 that the Schuyler County Legislature ask the state to reconsider the upcoming closure of six prisons -- including the Southport Correctional Facility in Chemung County and the Willard Drug Treatment Campus in Seneca County (see Government). County Attorney Steven Getman asked for time to coordinate with affected communities in those two counties, after which legislators can expedite their request with a Special Meeting. "Criminal justice reform just doesn't fit," said Barnes of New York's recent reform actions. "Where is it going to end?"


County budget OKd; tax rate, tax levy decrease

The Schuyler County Legislature on Nov. 8 unanimously approved a 2022 county budget that calls for decreases in the tax rate (from $7.13 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $6.87) and in the tax levy (from $11,323,706 to $11,040,870). The 8-0 vote came after a 17-minute explanation of the $55.2 million spending plan by County Administrator Tim O'Hearn -- his 17th annual such presentation and his last one before retirement at the end of the year.

Photo: Administrator Tim O'Hearn at the meeting.


Two Goats Brewing donates to SOS program

Two Goats Brewing owners Jon and Jessica Rodgers present the Spirit of Schuyler with an $8,500 donation toward the non-profit’s scholarship program. Business.

Photo at right: Jon and Jessica Rodgers with the check presented to Spirit of Schuyler. (Photo provided)

  Watkins girls win 5th straight Section IV title

The Watkins Glen High School girls varsity swim team -- led by Faye Mooney, Thalia Marquez and Alannah Klemann -- wins its fifth straight Section IV, Class C Swimming Championship. Mooney was named the meet's Outstanding Performer. Sports.

Photo: Watkins' Faye Mooney.


Rumsey rolls to victory in the Sheriff's race

Kevin Rumsey, who defeated Undersheriff Breck Spaulding in the Republican Primary in the race for Schuyler County Sheriff, prevailed again Nov. 2 in the general election, unofficially garnering 61.2 % of the vote -- outpolling Spaulding 2,843-1,789. Rumsey was running on three ballot lines (Republican, Conservative and Community First), while Spaulding was on one (Safe Schuyler). Rumsey, a Sheriff's Investigator, will take office upon the retirement of current Sheriff William Yessman at the end of the year.

In other contests:

County Legislature: District 1 incumbent Republican David Reed defeated Democratic challenger Howard Cabezas, 339-162. Legislators running unopposed were Laurence Jaynes (District 2), Michael Lausell (District 3) and James Howell (District 4).

Town of Dix Supervisor: Democrat Dominick Smith defeated Incumbent Republican Harold Russell, 476-424.

Hector Town Council: Two female incumbents, Jessica Rodgers (865 votes) and Elizabeth Martin (794), both Democrats, won re-election in a four-person race for three seats. The third seat went to Republican Robert Mahaney (who received the most votes, 898). Democrat Katie O'Connor finished fourth (692).

Photo: Keven Rumsey (File photo)


Frustrations boil over; and a tour of new Hall

A discussion of the changing face of Odessa led to loud words at a Village Board meeting Nov. 2. After the session, the board toured the newly purchased property along Church Street that will serve as the next Village Hall (right). Government.


Contest winner

The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs unveils its K-6 billboard contest winner, one of 26 entries from Hanlon Elementary School. Schools.

The start of The Arc Grand Prix Run and Walk at WGI.


Arc Grand Prix Run and Walk returns to WGI

The annual Arc Grand Prix Run/Walk on the Watkins Glen International race course was held Saturday morning, Oct. 30 with 360 registrants. The fund-raiser for The Arc of Chemung and Schuyler saw Adam Piasecki of Burdett finish first on the 3.4-mile course in 22:38. Top female finisher was Leslie Dubrava of Watkins Glen in 24:03. Awards are presented to the top finishers, both male and female, in age groups: 9 and under, 10-19, 20-29, the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70-and-above. The race was back after being canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Photo at right: Overall winner Adam Piasecki after the race.

Left: Top female finisher Leslie Dubrava of Watkins Glen. Right: Skip Strobel of Odessa, second in the male 50-59 age group, finished in 27:14.


Former Oriskany principal awarded $484K in federal court in ruling against district, Kelahan

A federal jury has awarded $484,000 to a former Oriskany Junior/Senior High School principal in a discrimination lawsuit brought against the school district, its School Board and its former superintendent of schools, Gregory Kelahan. Kelahan (pictured at right) was later the superintendent of schools in Watkins Glen. Schools.

Halloween parade

Kids in Odessa, accompanied by their parents, marched in a Halloween costume parade late Sunday, Oct. 31 hosted by the Odessa Wesleyan Church. The parade, led along village streets by the Odessa Fire Department, began in front of the Odessa-Montour school and ended there. Trick or treating followed in the village from 6-8 p.m.


Hopefuls vie at Meet the Candidates forum

Candidates for various political races in Schuyler County were on hand Monday, Oct. 25 for a Meet the Candidates Night at the Watkins Glen Performing Arts Center. Four people running for three seats on the Hector Town Council were present, as were the two men running for Schuyler County Sheriff: Undersheriff Breck Spaulding and Sheriff's Investigator Kevin Rumsey. Government.

Photo: Moderator Judy Phillips posed questions to candidates.


Neale delivers reading from book on Catharine

Author Cynthia Neale -- a Finger Lakes native and a resident of New Hampshire who often visits Schuyler County -- presented a literary reading Oct. 25 at Lafayette Park in Watkins Glen where she shared insights and excerpts from her upcoming novel Catharine, Queen of the Tumbling Waters. She is currently editing the book, historical fiction about an Iroquois leader of regional import who is buried in Montour Falls. In it, says Neale, "Catharine meets Benjamin Franklin and other players who are forming this new country, and she and her people become an intriguing influence on a new democracy." The reading was presented by the Watkins Glen Writers Group.

Photo: Cynthia Neale in Lafayette Park before the reading.


WGHS Homecoming King and Queen unveiled

The Homecoming King and Queen at Watkins Glen High School are Douglas DiGregorio and Melanie Wysocki. They were announced Oct. 23 at a Homecoming Party at the Watkins Glen State Park Pavilion. Plans to unveil the winners at Friday's football game were delayed when the game was canceled. The King and Queen candidates were nominated by the senior class, with voting by the 9th through 12th grades. Other King nominees included Cameron Holland, Owen Scholtisek, Draven Hollenback and Ben Swinnerton. Other Queen nominees were Abby Gibson, Bailey Beaumont and Kimberly Smith Brown.

Photo: Douglas DiGregorio and Melanie Wysocki (Provided)


O'Mara rips current gas tax, possible increase

State Senator Tom O’Mara (right) has joined other members of the Senate Republican Conference in calling for the suspension of the state’s gas tax, one of the nation’s highest, and in continuing to voice opposition to legislation under consideration by the state Legislature’s Democrat majorities that he said could raise the gas tax by 55 cents and increase home heating costs by upwards of 25%. Government.


Tuttle resigns from the Odessa Village Board

Robert Tuttle, elected in March to a 3-year term on the Odessa Village Board, announced his resignation at the Oct. 18 board meeting, citing his intention to move in early November to North Dakota. Tuttle, a truck driver, says he has several job interviews lined up there. The board will seek an appointee to serve out Tuttle's term.

In other business, the board announced it is changing its meeting night from the third Monday of the month to the first Monday of the month, effective in November -- meaning the next regular meeting will be held on Monday, Nov. 1.

Before then, a special meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 20, for discussion of the state's new cannabis laws and how they might impact the village.

Photo: Robert Tuttle at Monday's board meeting.

Among the speakers were, from left, Schuyler County Undersheriff Breck Spaulding and Lieutenant Matt Maloney, and William Campbell, owner of the Schuyler Glass Company.


Viewpoints vary on marijuana dispensaries

About 20 village residents were on hand Oct. 21 at the Odessa Municipal Building for an information session on the effect of the state's liberalized marijuana law on localities -- whether or not they approve the establishment of dispensaries. The Odessa Village Board has indicated it will opt out of the state's dispensary plan, wishing to leave it to voters in March. Watkins Glen, by contrast, has decided to opt in to the program. Speakers at the meeting varied in their viewpoints, with Gretchen Silliman of SCCUDD (Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs) opposed to the concept in general -- the presence of marijuana presenting a threat to youths; and William Campbell of the Schuyler Glass Company in support of permitting such outlets in Odessa, indicating he wants to operate one. SCOPED (Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development) Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry told the meeting by phone that localities with dispensaries will benefit through sales tax and jobs, with "a positive impact on the bottom line."

Photo in text: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer at the meeting.


Hale named Chamber's next executive director

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

Left: Nigar Hale (Photo provided)

IMRRC names new executive director. Business.

Participants head out onto the track at the fund-raising Walk to End Alzheimer's held Oct. 14 at Watkins Glen International.


Walk at WGI raises funds to fight Alzheimer's

About 200 people registered for the Thursday, Oct. 14 Walk to End Alzheimer's at the Watkins Glen International racetrack. The event, one of many held annually around the country, raised more than $60,000 through registrations and sponsorships. WGI offered use of the facility as a charitable donation. Another walk is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at Elmira's Eldridge Park.

Photo: Among the walkers were Gracie, foreground, and Cookie, along with their owner, Gail Valentino of Dansville, who said this was her seventh such walk over several years.


4 young friends from Glen raise $1,001 for SOS

A 13-year-old girl who wanted to raise some funds for a worthy cause joins with three 9-year-olds to generate $1,001 for the Spirit of Schuyler, a non-profit that provides emergency funding for county residents in need. The money, raised at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival, was presented to the Spirit of Schuyler on Saturday, Oct. 9. Features.

Photo: Certificate presented by the Spirit of Schuyler.

Spaghetti dinner, take-out style

Volunteers at the United Way of Schuyler County's annual "Kickoff" spaghetti and meatball dinner at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge clean up the kitchen there on Monday evening, Oct. 11, after preparing about 300 meals sold as take-outs for drive-through and walk-in customers. The dining hall remained vacant -- a far cry from pre-Covid years when on-site dining was a large part of the evening's proceedings.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano addresses the audience attending the Firefighter Memorial Ceremony.


Fallen firefighters honored at memorial service

The three fallen firefighters whose names are on a memorial plaque in the Schuyler County Emergency Services Memorial Park outside the Sheriff's Office in Watkins Glen were honored Oct. 6 at the county's first annual Firefighter Memorial Ceremony at the park. Thomas J. Tobin of the Tyrone Fire Department (he died in 1992), Alton L. Lewis of the Montour Falls Fire Department (1999) and Dale E. Jaynes of the Burdett Fire Department (2019) were eulogized by Sheriff William Yessman, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, County Fire Coordinator Bill Kennedy and County Deputy Administrator Fonda Chronis in short speeches. The Memorial Park was the site of a similar ceremony honoring police in the spring.

Photo: A ringing of a bell was part of the memorial service.

Jackie Honsberger of the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor in Watkins Glen makes some ice cream with a liquid nitrogen machine at the Business Expo.


Vendors, services displayed at Business Expo

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce held its 15th annual Business Expo on Oct. 6 at the Watkins Glen Community Center, with many area businesses on hand to meet prospective customers, check out competitors, showcase their products, recruit for fall and winter workforce needs, and distribute promotional literature.


Watkins Village Board eyes Clute Park projects

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Tuesday night, Oct. 5th discussed expansion of Clute Park camper sites to a section designed for tents. Permission would have to be given by park owner Cargill, and the board wants to study the cost involving installation of water, electric and sewer service. It also discussed a preliminary proposal from an undisclosed vendor interested in operating food service out of the new Events Center at Clute, but needs more information. The plan would require construction of an addition, primarily to expand kitchen facilities. The vendor would bear the initial cost, with payback possibly through an extended and discounted lease.

Photo: Mayor Luke Leszyk at the meeting.

The Easterlings and their children, Noel and Emry, cut the ribbon. On the left are Farm Sanctuary co-founder Gene Baur and Montour Falls Mayor James Ryan. On the right is the Chamber of Commerce's Michael Hardy.


Ribbon-cutting welcomes vegan restaurant

A ribbon was cut at a ceremony Oct. 5 marking the opening of Grandma's Kitchen, a vegan restaurant at 123 S. Catharine St., Montour Falls. The restaurant is owned and operated by Mike and Casey Easterling, who moved here from the New York City area and want to "connect the past" -- recipes their grandparents utilized -- "with the present and future," in the words of Casey. Speakers at the ceremony included the Easterlings, Montour Falls Mayor James Ryan, Farm Sanctuary co-founder Gene Baur (who praised the growth of "plant-based agriculture" in this region), and Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy. Mike Easterling served up some snacks for the dozens of spectators on hand.

Photo: Grandma's Kitchen.

Food stands were a favorite stop Oct. 2 at the Falls Harvest Festival in Montour Falls.


Sunny skies greet
Falls Harvest Festival

Sunny skies and a sizable crowd were in evidence at the Oct. 2 Falls Harvest Festival in Montour Falls. The gathering on Main Street -- which featured food and craft vendors, entertainment, information tents and fireworks -- was presented by Watkins Glen Promotions. Title sponsor was the Cayuga Health System.

Photo: Nate the Great was one of the entertainers. He played guitar, sang and juggled.

Gun locks distributed at festival. Features.


Hector holds its inaugural Harvest 5K race

Nathan Trimer of Hector wins the inaugural Hector Harvest 5K race -- a fund-raiser to help the Hector Lions Club as it serves the community. More than 100 people registered for the event, held on a sunny autumn day. For a list of the winners and "Gold Sponsors," see People.

Photo: Overall 5K winner Nathan Triner. (Photo by Doug Yeater)


O-M Class of 1971 holds a weekend reunion

Members of the Odessa-Montour High School Class of 1971 gathered in Schuyler County over the Sept. 17-18 weekend for their 50th anniversary reunion. They met Friday night at the Seneca Harbor Station Restaurant, gathered at the O-M school Saturday afternoon for a tour of the facility, and ate dinner that evening at the new event center at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. Schools.


Launch Party marks Festival of Lights opening

A grand opening Launch Party was held Sept. 15 behind the Grist Iron Brewing Company off Route 414 for the new Finger Lakes Festival of Lights. The festival, on Grist Iron property, features thousands of illuminated, colorful lanterns along a wooded path and telling a story. The festival will run at least through November, and if successful is expected to return annually with a changing theme each year. Business.

Photo: A larger than life, illuminated bird is featured atop the gate leading to the wooded Festival of Lights path.

The Flats on Broadway, the former Union Grammar School and former Rural Urban Center at 208 W. Broadway, Montour Falls.


Flats on Broadway building, a former grammar school in Montour Falls, marks its centennial

The Flats on Broadway, an apartment complex in Montour Falls that was the Union Grammar School from 1921-1965 and then the Rural Urban Center (housing county offices) until 2008, marked its centennial Sept. 16 with a celebration in front of the building -- owned and operated by Bruce Nelson of the Nelson Development Group since 2010. Nelson, who oversaw renovation of the building into residential and commercial space, also renovated the Montour House in the village and the Municipal Light and Water Plant in Watkins Glen into residential complexes. Speakers Thursday included Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy, Montour Falls Village Trustee Jim Nolan, and Nelson.

Photo: Building owner Bruce Nelson, center, with Flats on Broadway residents Claude Cole (who has lived there for two years) and Beverly Martin (for three years). Both Cole and Martin graduated from the Montour Falls Union Grammar School that once occupied the building -- Cole in 1951 and Martin in 1955. They said they love their apartments.


Legislature approves "Social Host" law

The Schuyler County Legislature on Sept. 13 unanimously approved a "Social Host" Local Law that will hold "Social Hosts" criminally liable for providing alcohol or drugs to children under 21 or for hosting a gathering where children are permitted to drink or use drugs. It will take effect in about two months, after it is filed with the state. Govt.

Photo: Schuyler County Legislature Chair Carl Blowers.

A retired New York City firefighter, Lt. Steve Casquarelli, was the keynote speaker at a 9/11 memorial service Saturday, Sept. 11 at Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls.


Memorial service message: Never forget

About 60 people were on hand Saturday morning for a 9/11 memorial service at Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls, where fire department personnel recounted their memories of the attack on America by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, an assault that brought down the World Trade Center towers in New York City and killed nearly 3,000 people, including 343 firefighters. Speakers included Montour Falls Fire Chief Jake Burns; the village mayor, Jim Ryan, who has more than 40 years of firefighting experience; and retired Lt. Steve Casquarelli, who was a firefighter in New York City at the time of the attacks, and who was assigned to the scene after the twin towers collapsed. Each urged that we never forget the assault nor the heroes who gave their lives that day.

Photo: Fire Chief Jake Burns rings a bell in a 5-5-5-5 sequence signifying that a firefighter has answered his or her last alarm.

A 1980 Triumph TR7 is waved onto Franklin Street from 4th Street after traveling with a large group of other cars along the original Grand Prix race course.


2021 Grand Prix Festival held in Watkins Glen

The 2021 Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival took over downtown Watkins Glen Sept. 10 -- the 28th anniversary of the first Grand Prix Festival. A large turnout of drivers and spectators were on hand for a day full of activities including tours of the original Grand Prix Course by groups of cars, a Legends Speak discussion by racing great Brian Redman in Lafayette Park, and road rallies around the region by vehicles of varying vintage. Souvenir stands and food stations dotted the downtown sidewalks. Organizers expressed pleasure at the size of the turnout, which saw spectators lining Franklin Street, watching passing parades of cars throughout the day.

Photo in text: The owner (kneeling) of a 1929 Ford-Miller Indy race car inspects his vehicle, on display at the State Park.

Left: Watching a parade of vehicles on Franklin Street. Right: Former racer Brian Redman addresses a crowd in Lafayette Park.


Deputy Schuyler Administrator visits Rotary

Deputy Schuyler County Administrator Fonda K. Chronis was guest speaker Sept. 9 at the weekly luncheon meeting of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club. Chronis, in the job for three months, is training under Administrator Tim O'Hearn. A former businessman turned public administrator who came here from Schoharie County, Chronis said "it's always good to keep taxes as low as possible," and that he is a proponent (as is O'Hearn) of Shared Services, and of economic and community development.

Photo: Deputy County Administrator Fonda K. Chronis


Opioid suit brings Schuyler up to $121,000

Schuyler County will receive up to $121,000 from Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., to treat, reduce and prevent opioid use through a court settlement with the opioid maker. The County Legislature has voted to accept the settlement and authorized Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman to execute the necessary legal documents on the county's behalf. Government.

Photo: County Attorney Steven Getman


Squires featured in Schuyler museum exhibit

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

Photo: Members of the Squires performing in 1978.


Food Bank chief named 'Woman of Distinction'

State Senator Tom O’Mara has honored Natasha Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, as his 2021 New York State Senate “Woman of Distinction.” Thompson (right) represents O’Mara’s 58th Senate District as part of the Senate’s statewide 23rd Annual Women of Distinction celebration. People.


Gov. Hochul imposes school mask mandate

Newly sworn-in New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Aug. 24 announced a universal mask mandate for students in all public and private schools in the state, and said officials are examining the possibility of a vaccine mandate for school employees. The mask move came the day after incoming Watkins Glen Schools Superintendent Kai D'Alleva had outlined for the School Board a district plan -- developed in conjunction with neighboring district superintendents -- for the coming school year, which called among other things for optional masks when students were socially distanced (3 to 6 feet) from fellow students. But he noted that policy could change if Hochul mandated masks, something D'Alleva said the district would follow.

Photo: Gov. Kathy Hochul during a recent visit to Watkins Glen.

Window panes in the former business's repair-shop building.


Groundbreaking signals renovation in Glen

A ceremonial groundbreaking on Friday, Aug. 20 at the former Li'l Joe’s Service Station on the northern edge of Watkins Glen marked a symbolic step in the rehabilitation of the long-ago business into new retail and housing space. People.

One of the slides the mayor used in a power-point presentation.


Odessa holds marijuana information session

About 40 people attended a meeting Aug. 24 at the Odessa Municipal Building to hear Mayor Gerry Messmer (right) explain the New York State law legalizing marijuana and the right of a municipality to either “opt in” or “opt out” regarding the allowance of cannabis dispensaries within its border. Messmer is planning a second meeting in October where law enforcement personnel and economic development officials can discuss the ramifications of the new law, with a look at how communities in other states permitting marijuana have fared. Messmer and the Village Board opted for these meetings with an eye to having village residents vote in March whether to opt in or opt out.


Reed rips Biden in wake of terrorist attack

Congressman Tom Reed (right) issued the following statement Aug. 26 regarding the terrorist attacks in Kabul. "Our prayers go out to our men and women of the military in Afghanistan and specifically those heroic soldiers that were killed today in Kabul. This is a horrific reminder of the Biden Administration's failure in conducting the withdrawal from Afghanistan. This administration has American blood on its hands and must be held to account. Further, now is not the time for 'political spin' and 'poll-tested decisions.' These are real lives being lost that demand true leadership. Let's pray to God that this leadership emerges."


Povero is new director of Glen Public Library

The Watkins Glen Public Library has a new Library Director: Kelly Povero. She has succeeded Tracy Savard, who relocated. Povero (right), a 2008 graduate of Odessa-Montour High School, has a BA in Political Science from Pace University (2012) and an MS in Library Information Sciences from St. John’s University (2016). She worked at a public library in Garnerville, NY before moving back in 2018 to Schuyler County, where she took on the role of Assistant Library Director at the Montour Falls Library.

Povero, who a press release said is "incredibly passionate about libraries, public service, collections development, and programming," has, over the last three years, acquired over $122,000 in grant funding for library services, including a $95,000 NYS Construction Aid Grant. She said she hopes this skill will benefit users of the Watkins Library in coming months as staff begins to develop new, innovative program ideas.

“What I look forward to most is getting to know the Watkins Glen community, the patrons of the library, the wonderful staff, and the Board of Trustees," she said. "Our goal as a library is to continue meeting the needs of the community by providing a diverse collection, and offering programs for people of all ages.”

Incoming School Superintendent Kai D'Alleva, left, and outgoing Superintendent Greg Kelahan at Monday's School Board meeting. D'Alleva takes the post on Sept. 1.


D'Alleva outlines full attendance school plan

Soon-to-be Watkins Glen Schools Superintendent Kai D'Alleva outlined for the School Board at its meeting on Aug. 23 the district's plan -- developed in conjunction with neighboring district superintendents -- for the coming school year, which calls for full daily in-school attendance. By extension, there is no remote-learning option. Masks, under the plan, are optional when students are socially distanced (3 to 6 feet) from fellow students, including in the classroom. Masks are mandatory in congested areas. But that policy could change if incoming Governor Kathy Hochul mandates masks, something D'Alleva said the district would follow. He said while no mandates exist in the district regarding vaccinations, he thinks a mandate might be issued by the state soon calling for either vaccination or frequent testing for educational staff. The plan he outlined for the board -- which approved it -- was exprected to be finalized and released for public consumption Tuesday.

Photo: Board member Theresa Butler, right, consults with Board President Barbara Schimizzi before the meeting.

  Community input sought in Seeley homicide

The August 2020 Town of Orange death of Richard Seeley -- long considered "suspicious" but now deemed a homicide -- was the subject of a press conference Tuesday, Aug. 17 at which community input was sought regarding anything that might have been seen or heard in relation to the case. Government.


Watkins school leaders outline upcoming year

Administrative leaders in the Watkins Glen School District -- including soon-to-be-superintendent Kai D'Alleva -- outline to the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club the progress made on a capital improvement project, and look ahead to a challenging school year. Schools.

Photo: Kai D'Alleva speaks at Rotary Club luncheon meeting.


Palmesano: Assembly owes us transparency

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano presents a column: "The dropping of the Assembly impeachment investigation is a disservice."

Photo: Phil Palmesano

  Parade, fireworks highlight festival's final day

The Watkins Glen Italian American Festival -- after a year's hiatus due to the pandemic -- returned Friday, Aug. 13 and continued Saturday at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. It featured rides, food, vendors, a beer garden, two performances from local bands (one Friday and one Saturday), a Saturday noon parade down Decatur Street and a Saturday night fireworks show. The parade included a school band, fire departments (right), classic cars, two Grand Marshals and Tokyo Olympics rower Olivia Coffey, a native of Watkins Glen, Features.


Odessa-Montour capital project is in full swing

There is a lot of activity at the Odessa-Montour Central School this summer as a multi-faceted $16.9 million capital improvement project is under way. From a new parking lot to a new sewage system to a new communication-fire alarm system to new locker rooms to renovation of art rooms, wood shop and the Jack Davis gym -- workers are busy around the school campus. Schools.


Coffey serves as Honorary Official at race

Fresh off her trip to the Olympics in Tokyo, women's eight rower and Watkins Glen native Olivia Coffey (right) served as an Honorary Official for the Aug. 8th Go Bowling at the Glen NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International, which was won by Kyle Larson. "We are honored to have our local hero Olivia Coffey join us this weekend so we can recognize her accomplishments on the biggest stage in her hometown," said WGI President Michael Printup. Coffey raced in the Team USA women’s eight that finished fourth in Tokyo.

Olivia Coffey was greeted by family at the Rochester airport August 1st. From left: Nancy Kleintop (sister’s mother in-law), Roxanne Coffey (sister), Adam Pascoe (Roxanne’s boyfriend), Michael Blomquist (husband), Olivia Coffey, Maggie Coffey (mom), Calvin Coffey (dad), Gemma the dog. (Provided)


Olivia Coffey returns; will be in festival parade

Olympian rower Olivia Coffey -- a native of Watkins Glen and resident of Burdett -- returned home Sunday night, Aug. 1st, arriving at the Rochester airport at 9 p.m. She was greeted by family members cheering her Olympic experience in Tokyo, where the women's eight of which she was a member finished fourth. Said her mother, Maggie, on Monday: "Arrangements were made today for Livy to be in the Italian American Festival parade (in Watkins Glen) on August 14 at noon. It should be fun."


USTA wins AAU Junior Olympic championship

United Southern Tier Aquatics (USTA), with the Glen Gators as part of its contingent, captures the girls AAU Junior Olympic Swimming national championship in an annual four-day event in Houston, Texas. USTA topped a field of 22 teams to claim the title. Gators who finished in the top 8 during the final day of competition on Sunday, Aug. 1 are listed in a story on Sports.

Photo: Part of the championship team.

The first interior event at the Events Center: a Rotary dinner.


Rotary holds Changeover Dinner at new Center

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club held its annual Changeover Dinner Thursday evening, July 29 at the new Seneca Lake Events Center at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. The club, which normally changes its president at each such annual affair, this time welcomed back Judy Phillips for a second consecutive term. Guest speaker was Craig Bond, the Watkins Glen Park Manager, who said the Rotary dinner was the first such event at the center, which was completed recently with a mix of government funds. Rotary Paul Harris Fellow awards, presented for "Service Above Self," went to Kaz Popovich, Tracy McIlroy, Barb Coon, Diane Carl and Bonnie Howell.

Photo in text: Rotary President Judy Phillips.


U.S. women's eight team finishes in 4th place

The United States' women's eight rowing team -- with Watkins Glen native Olivia Coffey (right) a member of the squad -- started slowly and never seriously challenged July 30th, finishing off the podium, in fourth place, in the women's eight "A" championship finals at the Tokyo Olympics. Canada took the gold medal with a time of 5:59.13, while New Zealand won the silver medal in 6:00.04. The bronze medal went to China (6:01.21), with the U.S. fourth in 6:02.78, followed by Australia and Romania. Coffey, 32, an alternate at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was in the fifth seat this time for the U.S., whkch also had Ithaca College graduate Meghan Musnicki among its crew. The U.S. had won gold in the eight at three straight Olympics.

Sheriff Bill Yessman and other members of his department were thanking the community in front of the county courthouse.


Sheriff's Office, Public Health thank the public

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office, in partnership with Public Health, held a community thank-you in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse in Watkins Glen Wednesday, July 28, the second annual such event. Free hot dogs, cookies and bottled water (see sign at right) were distributed to visitors, including some attending for a Covid vaccination on-site. Sheriff Bill Yessman said the gathering was the department's way of expressing its appreciation to the community, which has been through a lot with the pandemic "and is always thanking us. We want to thank the people for their support of the Sheriff's Office."


CLASH triathlon festival set at Watkins in 2022

A CLASH triathlon festival weekend, with a tie-in to the Finger Lakes Wine Festival at Watkins Glen International, is planned for the Watkins Glen area on July 8-10, 2022. Sports.


Watkins Glen wins Summer League title

Watkins Glen won the Waverly Basketball Summer League Playoffs July 21 by defeating Athens 57-43 in the championship game. Sports.


WGI finishes 2nd to Road America in fan vote

Watkins Glen International has fallen short iin its bid to repeat as the top NASCAR track in fan voting in the annual USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Award competition. Road America in Plymouth, Wisconsin finished first and WGI second in the voting, a year after WGI had won the honor. A panel helped pick the nominees, with the top 10 tracks determined by popular vote. Sonoma Raceway in California was third, and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH was fourth. WGI had also won in 2016, 2017 and 2018.


Public urged to participate in redistricting

State Senator Tom O’Mara (right) is urging constituents to make their voices heard in the redrawing of state legislative and congressional districts to help ensure fair representation in state and federal government for the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, and statewide. For story, see Goverrnment.


Glen Ale is back after an 80-year hiatus

Finger Lakes Distilling and Lucky Hare Brewing team up to resurrect Glen Ale, a popular beer brand that was brewed in Watkins Glen in the late 1930s. See Business.


Guest column by County Attorney Steven Getman

Schuyler County Attorney Steven J. Getman asks: "Leasing your land for solar power? Know your rights before you sign." He presents an overview and specific issues to be carefully considered. Column.

Photo: Schuyler County Attorney Steven J. Getman


Rumsey officially tops Spaulding by 213 votes

Schuyler County Sheriff's Investigator Kevin P. Rumsey (left) officially outpolled Undersheriff Breck Spaulding (right) by an 815-602 margin -- by 213 votes -- in the June 22 Republican Primary, the Schuyler County Board of Elections announced on July 1. The Primary determined the GOP Candidate for Sheriff in the November election. Before absentee ballots and affidavits were counted, the margin had been 207 votes, 788-581. The campaign between the two men will continue, each camp saying in the runup to the Primary that its candidate would continue in the race (the Primary loser as an Independent) through to the general election. The winner in November will succeed retiring Sheriff Bill Yessman.


1 dead, 4 injured in Yates boating accident

One person was killed and four were injured July 10 in a boating accident on Seneca Lake near the Showboat Motel in Yates County. Deputies, marine patrol and the Himrod Fire Department responded to the 5:30 p.m. accident, which officials said occurred when a high-performance, 45-foot boat turned abruptly at a high rate of speed, ejecting the six people aboard into the water. A woman, Cynthia Stuck, 65, of Waterloo, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband and daughter were hospitalized, as were two Clifton Springs residents. The operator, a Seneca Falls man, was taken to the hospital but did not receive treatment. Deputies said no flotation devices were being worn, although present on the boat. The investigation is ongoing.


WGI, United Rentals forge race partnership

Watkins Glen International and United Rentals, the largest equipment rental company in the world, have forged an agreement on the entitlement for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Aug. 7. The official race name will be the United Rentals 176 at The Glen. See Sports.


Schimizzi is president of Glen School Board

Barbara Schimizzi (pictured at right) was unanimously elected president of the Watkins Glen School Board by the board at its annual reorganizational meeting July 6 at the school. Schimizzi, who served most recently as the vice president, succeeds Gloria Brubaker, who stepped down from the board at the end of June after serving on it for a total of 20 years. Named vice president Tuesday was Craig Bianco, winner in a close vote over Theresa Butler.


SCCUDD leads grad sticker shock event

The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs partnered with 10 area businesses to hold a three-day alcohol retailer sticker shock event. Schools.


Girl dies in car-pedestrian accident in Hector

A 6-year-old girl, Risha Rohith of Plainsboro, New Jersey, was pronounced dead at Schuyler Hospital on July 3rd after being struck by a car on State Route 414 in the Town of Hector. The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office said the accident occurred about 6:05 p.m. when Sidnee A. Turner, 57, of Painted Post, driving south on 414, was unable to stop her car in time when the child ran into the road. The Sheriff's Office was assisted at the scene by the Burdett Fire Department and Schuyler Ambulance.


10 graduate from Leadership Schuyler

Ten community professionals graduated from the annual Leadership Schuyler Program at a ceremony held on June 24th at Mangus Farms. People.


55 receive their diplomas at Odessa-Montour

Odessa-Montour High School bid farewell to its Class of 2021 in a ceremony June 25 on the school athletic field. Retiring teacher Russell Gardner was the keynote speaker. Valedictorian Megan Adams delivered the Class Message. Schools.


Odessa File Athletes of Year receive plaques

The three girls named by The Odessa File as Athletes of the Year at Odessa-Montour High School pose above -- from left, Tori Brewster, Autumn Garrison and Hannah Nolan. The awards were sponsored by the E.C. Cooper Insurance Agency of Watkins Glen. Similar plaques were also being distributed to the Watkins Glen High School Athletes of the Year, Owen Scholtisek and Thalia Marquez.


Glenora signs Victory Lane pact with WGI

Watkins Glen International has announced Glenora Wine Cellars as the Official Champagne of WGI in a multi-year partnership that will bring the winery’s Brut Champagne to Victory Lane at the conclusion of races at the famed road course through 2023. Business.


Hochul honors Clute Park project completion

Local, regional and state dignitaries gathered June 22 at Clute Park in Watkins Glen to celebrate completion of the $5.3 million project that is transforming the park with a new year-round pavilion, outside showers, a seasonal splash pad and an ice rink. Among those present: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (in file photo, right), who said it is"so refreshing to me to see the resiliency of this community, how people here came back, and you continue to project like this with a groundbreaking, and now a ribbon-cutting, all during this time of the pandemic." The project is part of the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative.


Magnificent Sevens

An Odessa File honors team -- with 7 students each from the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour school districts -- is unveiled. Seven.


Hanlon kids benefit from Foundation grant

Hanlon Elementary School, in partnership with Books in Homes USA, has been awarded $2,000 from the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes to support its "Countering Summer Slide-Year 2" literacy program. The grant, matched by community donations, will enable Hanlon to deliver 1,607 books to incoming 3rd-6th graders before summer break. Schools.


Rotary honors Hayes as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School graduating senior Briana Hayes was honored June 17 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for June. Hayes was intoduced by teacher Sheila Klemann, who praised the honoree as dedicated and a hard worker, with a strong commitment as managing editor of the school Yearbook. Hayes, a member of the Natiional Honor Society and the soccer and track teams, teaches dance and is a referee for youth soccer. She will study mechanical engineering at Alfred University.


WGHS graduates 65
in outdoor ceremony

The event was held at the school's Alumni Field under sunny skies and with a cooling breeze. Schools.

Photo: Cap worn by graduate Mattie Yontz reads: "Now it's my turn to teach." .

Tellers (from left) Laurie McCoon, Olivia Colón and Michelle Carey pose at the bank's 1930 sign just before wrapping up the branch's final day of operation.


Bank in Odessa completes its long, long run

The Odessa branch bank of the Tompkins Trust Company closed its doors at 5 p.m. Friday, June 18 -- its last day of operation after Tompkins Trust decided recently to close it. Longtime tellers Laurie McCoon and Michelle Carey were on the job, as was Olivia Colón, subbing for Evelyn Landmesser, who had just started a long-scheduled vacation. Colón was in from the Trumansburg branch, where Landmesser will be working going forward. McCoon and Carey are pursuing other options.

Photo: The bank, on Main Street in Odessa. It has operated under varying ownership since 1930.


Here comes the Seneca Spirit

A 64-foot tour boat (left) from the Washington, D.C. area will be plying the waters of Seneca Lake soon -- part of Mark Simiele's Seneca Harbor Cruises. Features.


The Odessa File's Athletes of the Year

Three females share the honor at Odessa-Montour High School, while a male and female are honored at Watkins Glen High School. For a look at the award recipients, see Sports.


Walk to End Alzheimer's set for WGI on Oct. 14

The 14th annual Southern Tier Walk to End Alzheimer's -- in the past held in Elmira and Corning -- will be held this October 14 at Watkins Glen International, on the same 3.45-mile asphalt road course that hosts NASCAR, IMSA and other races. Alzheimer's.


Schuyler County approves Youth Hunting Law

Schuyler has become the latest county in the state to allow the hunting of deer by 12- and 13-year-olds with a firearm or crossbow for the coming fall season. Government.


Curtiss Museum exhibit unveils fabric insignia

The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum has unveiled a new Art at War Exhibit featuring recently discovered aircraft squadron fabric insignia from the period of 1914 to 1940. The exhibit will run through the fall of 2021. Features.


Elks BBQ raises funds for Head Start program

The Watkins Glen Elks Lodge No. 1546 raises $900 for Schuyler Head Start's Helmets for Kids program. The check was presented on June 10. People

Photo at left: The check presentation.

  The Cancer Chronicles: A diary of sorts

Editor/Publisher Charlie Haeffner offers his account of the week leading to -- and culminating in -- his first chemotherapy treatment as he battles cancer -- specifically Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Chronicles.


Ribbons cut for mural, students' Cheese Bus

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce holds two ribbon-cuttings, one unveiling a mural on the side of its building, and one welcoming a student-owned Cheese Bus (right) into the business community. Business.


Colunio approved as next WGHS principal

Kyle Colunio, for the past two years the principal at Dryden High School, has been approved by the Watkins Glen School Board to succeed Kai D'Alleva as the WGHS principal. Colunio (right) -- a 1998 graduate of Odessa-Montour High School with teaching experience in the Corning-Painted Post school district, and a member of the Watkins school staff in 2017-18 as Intervention Specialist -- assumes his new post on July 1. D'Alleva, who succeeds retiring Greg Kelahan as Superintendent on Sept. 1, will be moving into Kelahan's office on July 1, while Kelahan serves in what Board President Gloria Brubaker described as a "cleanup" and transitional role. "That will give Kai a chance to set up school the way he wants to do it," she said.

Colunio's appointment capped off a lengthy session devoted to discussions of Special Education, capital construction and the potential uses of $3.5 million in federal funds over the next three years. The board also voted to keep tuition costs for non-resident students at $1,500 per year for students in grades K-6, and $3,000 per year for those in grades 7-12.


Regarding the Gypsy Moth: some information

Numerous reports have surfaced regardng the presence in our area of the Gypsy Moth (right) -- a pest that feeds on trees and shrubs. Cooperative Extension has provided some information regarding its history and management. Gypsy.


Ribbon-cutting celebrates Naturluxe & Stars

An outdoor glamping resort located near the Watkins Glen International race track draws New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul (pictured) and other dignitaries to a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the business, created by developer Dawn Aprile. Business.


Keep your home safe from outside fires

Schuyler County fire officials, after presenting their Keep the Wreath Blue messages on The Odessa File in December and January, continue with more fire prevention tips. Fire.


New Montour Falls foot bridge dedicated

The new foot bridge linking the Catharine Valley Trail extension and Marina Park in Montour Falls was dedicated April 30 amid speeches by state and local dignitaries. The bridge was named "King's Crossing" in honor of the man who initially spearheaded the project, former village Mayor John King. The ceremony also marked Arbor Day. Government.

One of the jewels on display: a 1958 Pontiac Star Chief.


Car show raises funds for youth football

Dozens of vintage and modern cars were on display June 5th at the Montour Falls Carnival Grounds -- an event benefitting Schuyler County Youth Football & Cheer. Adding to the attraction of the show were raffles and a chicken barbecue.

Photo: A 1931 Slant Window Ford Model A.

My Place Executive Director Kris Morseman, center right, and Assistant Director Noel Wheaton, center left, cut the ribbon. Holding it were Abby Lane of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, left, and Village Trustee Nan Woodworth.


Ribbon-cutting celebrates My Place facility

A ribbon-cutting ceremony June 1 celebrated the opening earlier this year of the new facility for My Place: A Play and Learning Center. The child-care center had operated for years at the Rural-Urban Center in Montour Falls. The new facility on Second Street in Watkins Glen has 7,341 square feet, including five classrooms, offices for staff, a commercial kitchen, and a dedicated playground. Full daily capacity is 63 children aged 6 weeks through 12 years. Speakers Tuesday included Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry, and Ryanna LaMoreaux, representing the office of State Senator Tom O'Mara.

Photo in text: My Place Executive Director Kris Morseman, left, holds commendation presented by Ryanna LaMoreaux, representing the office of State Senator Tom O'Mara.


Memorial Day ceremonies held in Schuyler

The annual services were conducted at Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls and at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park on Rt. 228 outside Odessa. Retired Naval Operations Specialist and retired teacher Marcel (Tony) Veilleux presented the keynote address at both services, and the OMCS Band performed at both. Features.

Right: A large U.S. flag flew high above Shequagah Falls.


Squires alumni stories sought for project

A Schuyler County Historical Society special project is focusing on the history of the Squires Drum and Bugle Corps. The Society is seeking Squires alumni participation. People.

Rotary guest

Schuyler County Undersheriff Breck Spaulding, above, who is running for Sheriff, was a guest speaker May 27 at the weekly meeting of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club. He discussed reforms being undertaken at the Sheriff's Office, changes he would like implemented, and the state of law enforcement today. "Schuyler is the 2nd lowest crime-rate county in the state," he said, "We must be doing something right." Kevin Rumsey, who is challenging Spaulding in the upcoming Republican Primary, will speak at a Rotary meeting in the near future.


Rotary honors Edmister as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Natalie Edmister has been honored by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for May. Edmister was introduced to Rotarians by her softball coach, Ralph Diliberto, who said she is "academically sound, constantly on the High Honor Roll" -- and that she possesses an "outstanding quality in sportsmanship. ... Her abilities and tenacity to overcome obstacles are stellar. ... Because of her will of steel, coupled with her compassion, she was given the nickname "The Iron Horse" exemplifying all of the attributes that Yankees great Lou Gehrig possessed." As she proceeds through life, he added, "she will succeed and bring honor to those around her."

Photos: Natalie Edmister and Coach Ralph Diliberto.


Leszyk: What's going on down at Clute Park

Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk explains about the three simultaneous projects that have temporarily upended the serenity and beauty of Clute Park. Leszyk.

Photo: Mayor Luke Leszyk

As in the past, Logan Ridge served as the prom site for WGHS.


WGHS returns to a favorite site for its prom

Watkins Glen High School held its prom May 22 at Logan Ridge Estates, site of many previous such proms -- before last year's was canceled by the pandemic. Students were required to follow strict health protocols this time -- with masks almost as prominent as gowns and tuxedos.

Photos: Gowns and masks mixed at Logan Ridge.

Posing on the patio during Watkins' prom at Logan Ridge.

The O-M prom site: A tent set up behind the school.


Gowns, tuxedos and masks mark O-M's prom

Odessa-Montour High School held its prom May 21 on school grounds, under and near a tent set up behind the school. The prom, canceled last year, and in previous years held at the Watkins Glen International Media Center, needed to follow strict health protocols this time -- with masks as prominent as gowns and tuxedos.

The Senior Prom Court consisted of:
King: Jared Rumsey
Prince: Brock Sgrecci
Duke: Devon Mahaney
Queen: Allison Heichel
Princess: Hannah Hoose
Duchess: Grace Collier
The Junior Prom Court consisted of:
King: Keith June
Prince: Dominick Fazzary
Duke: Ethan King
Queen: Molly Heichel
Princess: Raven Lott
Duchess: Kaetlyn White

Photos: Posing before entering the prom tent.


Schimizzi, Stansfield and Voorheis win seats

Incumbent Barb Schimizzi and newcomer Joe Stansfield won the two 3-year terms up for grabs May 18 on the Watkins Glen School Board, while Amanda Voorheis won 2 years. She will complete the unexpired term of departing Board President Gloria Brubaker. Schimizzi received 309 votes and Stansfield 274, while Voorheis had 223. Nobody else was close. In order, Jim Somerville received 128 votes, Brittany Oliver 123, Heather Dawson 93, Joseph Crane 70, and Michael Myers 65. The budget, meanwhile, passed 387-75.

In the Odessa-Montour district, the budget was approved 228-35, and propositions regarding buses and library funding also passed. The three men on the ballot, incumbents Dana Sgrecci and Rob Halpin, along with newcomer Kurt Anderson, received 218, 204 and 155 votes, respectively, to earn 3-year terms. Write-in candidate Erica Lohmeyer received 100 votes.

An old wood-burning stove dominates the center of the one-room Lee School, an historic landmark in Montour Falls.


Lee School Open House proves a success

The biannual Lee School Open House drew more visitors than usual on May 15, according to the "schoolmarms" hosting the event -- former teachers Marty Evans and Judy VanSkiver, dressed in early Americana garb. Two hours into the three-hour Open House, more than three dozen visitors had stopped in to see what life was like in the days of a one-room school. The Lee School is located on Route 14 on the southern edge of Montour Falls. The school, dating back to the 19th century, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Photo: Leah Miner of Newfield draws and writes with a Lee School quill pen. She and her sister Esther visited along with their mother during the school's Open House Saturday.


Remembering those
who gave their lives

A service honors those law enforcement officers, firefighters and other emergency service personnel who have fallen in the line of duty over the years in this region. The annual ceremony outside the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office featured solemn speeches by a number of officials. People.

Left: Part of the ceremony.

From left: State Senator Tom O'Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Hanlon Elementary Principal Rob Francischelli, O-M Director of Special Programs and Curriculum Veronica Lewis and O-M Superintendent Chris Wood observe a classroom at Hanlon Elementary School. (Photo provided)


O'Mara and Palmesano tour O-M schools

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and State Senator Tom O’Mara visited the Odessa-Montour Central School District recently to learn first-hand how O-M has kept school open for in-person instruction during the pandemic. They, along with O-M administrators, toured the Junior/Senior High School and Hanlon Elementary School and had the opportunity to interact with staff and students. They also discussed the district’s upcoming capital project improvements.


WGHS senior wins billboard contest

Watkins Glen High School senior Matt Irwin wins the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs message-based billboard contest. The winning entry is on display through June on Rt. 14 in Montour Falls. Schools.

Photo: Irwin and his billboard.


Legislature asks DEC for Bitcoin mining rules

The Schuyler County Legislature on May 10 approved a resolution calling on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to develop regulations for cryptocurrency mining operations, and calling on the DEC and state Legislature to require that such mining use only renewable energy like wind or solar. The issue has risen with approval of Bitcoin mining in Yates County, and rumors of possible future operations in waterfront municipalities such as Watkins Glen -- where the Village Board has already asked the DEC to develop cryptocurrency mining regulations, and has vowed to analyze new zoning laws to meet the challenges posed by such mining. The Legislature had tabled the resolution last month for minor adjustments which Legislator Mark Rondinaro said were recommended by Watkins Glen amid concern there that any local cryptocurrency mining operation -- with its high energy consumption -- could lead to an increase in electricity rates for village residents.

Photo: Schuyler Legislature Chair Carl Blowers.


Falls Fire Department festival, parade canceled

Organizers of the annual Montour Falls Fire Department Festival & Parade of Bands -- scheduled for June 10-12 -- have canceled the event for the second year in a row as safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic continue. The festival is hosted by the fire department and serves as its largest fundraising event of the year for the equipment fund. Said a spokesperson: "It would be challenging to have a safe and successful event. We look forward to the event in 2022 and want to thank our volunteers, supporters, businesses, high school bands and many more for standing by us through these challenging times."

Photo: Scene from a Parade of Bands in Montour Falls.


Ribbon-cutting marks new business opening

Mattress by Appointment opens in Montour Falls with vow to help local high school sports programs. Business.

Photo: Sharon and David Sidle at their new business.


WG School Board OKs honorarium for staff

A one-time "Pandemic Persistence Honorarium" of $750 each goes to members of the school district's five associations and non-member Civil Service workers. Schools.

Left: Superintendent Greg Kelahan.


4 Odessa bowlers win state youth team title

A quartet of Odessa-Montour High School students who bowl Saturdays in a Moose Youth league at Harborside Lanes in Watkins Glen win the Class B team title at the New York State USBC Youth Team Championships bowling tournament in Syracuse. Sports.

NYSEG workers at the affected pole, with debris from the tree on the edge of the road.


Fallen tree leads to power outage in Odessa

Power was out for about 40 minutes Saturday night, May 1 in downtown Odessa while NYSEG workers cleared a fallen tree from a power line on the north side of Catlin Mill Creek, alongside Brooklyn Terrace, and replaced burned insulators on a power pole. The power, shut off while repairs were made, was restored shortly before 10:30 p.m.

Photo in text: Part of a limb from the fallen tree smolders.


Utilizing the new foot bridge in Montour Falls

Mike Pizmoht -- a volunteer for the Humane Society -- and shelter dog Chance cross the foot bridge installed recently alongside Rt. 14 in Montour Falls. The bridge connects the Catharine Valley Trail extension west of the canal and the village's Marina Park to the east. A ceremony marking the installation was held Friday, April 30 at the bridge, with various dignitaries present. (Photo by Mark Taylor)


Elks BBQ raises $700 for young cancer patient

The Watkins Glen Elks Lodge No. 1546 held a Chicken BBQ on Sunday, April 18 at its facility, with the $700 proceeds donated to Mitchell Blaha. Mitchell is an 8-year-old Schuyler County youth with cancer. On Saturday, April 24, the Lodge presented Randy Nilson, Mitchell’s grandfather, with a $700 check to help offset the family's noncovered medical expenses. Pictured at the check ceremony, from left, are Charles Franzese, Elks Secretary; Randy Nilson, and Elks committee members Stewart Field, David Waite and Gordon Perry.

On June 6th, the Elks Lodge will hold another Chicken BBQ to benefit the Schuyler Head Start Helmets for Kids program. Tickets are on sale at the Lodge now.


Rotary honors O-M's Rumsey, Watkins' Kelly

Odessa-Montour High School senior Jared Rumsey and Watkins Glen High School senior Bryce Kelly were honored April 22 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Students of the Month for April.

Rumsey, introduced by teacher Russ Gardner, is 4th in his class academically, and a three-sport athlete -- in football, swimming and basketball. He plans to attend the University of Buffalo with an eye toward becoming a Physical Therapist.

Kelly, the class Salutatorian and President of the National Honor Society, was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood. She said Kelly, who plays soccer and basketball, "has a lot of integrity and is ... a leader of our school community."

Photos: Odessa-Montour's Jared Rumsey (top) and Watkins Glen's Bryce Kelly.


School Board OKs budget; rift with union aired

The Watkins Glen School Board approved a proposed 2021-22 budget on April 21 that goes to district voters on May 18. Tenures were granted to a dozen people. And the WGFA chief airs a rift that has developed recently between the union and the board over a union proposal. Schools.

Photo: Board member Kris Clarkson at Wednesday's meeting.

WGHS graduation date reset again -- to June 20. Schools.

Alumni Association cancels banquet

The Watkins Glen High School Alumni Association calls off the annual Alumni Banquet due to the pandemic, and is looking ahead instead to the 2022 gathering. Forum.


St. James', Girl Scouts help volcano victims

Girl Scouts have donated $500 in a drive by St. James' Episcopal Church in Watkins Glen to send funds to help victims displaced by volcano eruptions on the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent. St. James' is sending $2,500 to a non-profit organization on Bequia, an island of 5,000 people just 9 miles south of St. Vincent. People.

Photo: Members of Girl Scout Troop 41120


Somerville writes children's football book

Jim Somerville of Watkins Glen has authored a children's book about a young football player who excels through sheer grit -- winning the last game of the season with a touchdown generated by his "dipsy do" move. The book's title: "Danny Dudley Does the Dipsy Do." Danny's teammates were named Dawkins, Caldwell, Carpenter and Walters -- names of members of the undefeated 1958 Army football team. The Dawkins referred to is retired Gen. Pete Dawkins, who won the Heisman Trophy for that '58 season. Dawkins, in fact, has provided an endorsement for the book, calling it "a fun and wonderfully inspiring book for young children." It is available through Amazon.com.


The contrast between winter and spring ...

Area photographer Liz Fraboni's camera has captured images of the recent grip of winter and the contrasting views of the early spring with which we have been blessed. See Photos.



Left: Photo by Liz Fraboni


Hospital Foundation donates $500K to hospital

The Schuyler Health Foundation has donated $500,000 to Schuyler Hospital to renovate Imaging Services at the hospital. “When I learned of the Foundation’s tremendously generous gift, I was beyond grateful and excited for the Imaging Department,” said Rebecca Gould, President & CFO of Schuyler Hospital. “This donation will go a long way toward updating and modernizing imaging services for our community.” Funds will go toward a new mammography suite, upgrading CT services, and other department improvements. “On behalf of the Schuyler Health Foundation, I want to express our delight in being able to donate $500,000 to Imaging Services at Schuyler Hospital.” said Brenda Warren-Fitch, Chair of the Schuyler Health Foundation Board. “We are thrilled that our gift will enhance Imaging Services to better serve our community.”

Photo: Schuyler Hospital President and CFO Rebecca Gould


Chef Competition winners

The first-ever Harvest Schuyler Farm-to-Table Chef Competition, held virtually with the public voting, announces its winners. People.


Legislature sets salaries for new appointees

The Schuyler County Legislature on April 12 acknowledged the appointment by County Administrator Tim O'Hearn of Xenophondas "Fonda" Chronis as Deputy County Administrator, effective June 7, at an annual salary of $85,000. Chronis is currently Assistant to the Administrator of Schoharie County. His appointment is the culmination of a search for a successor to O'Hearn, who has technically retired but is continuing as Administrator while the county transitions to his successor, Chronis.

The legislators also:

--Approved the appointment by Public Defender Valerie G. Gardner of Nicole S. Pence as Assistant Public Defender at a salary of $75,000. Gardner was appointed last month to succeed Wesley Roe, who had resigned to take a job in Elmira.

--Tabled a resolution calling on the New York State Department of Conservation to study and develop regulations for Cryptocurrency mining. In proposing the tabling measure, Legislator Mark Rondinaro said he supports the resolution, but that more study is needed "to clarify any concerns."

Photo in text: Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn

From left: Franzese Real Estate's Shawna Carey (Owner/Manager), Ken Wilson (Salesperson) and John Franzese (Owner) at the event celebrating Wilson joining the firm.


Celebration held at Franzese Real Estate

A celebration marking the addition last month of veteran real estate salesperson Ken Wilson to the staff of Franzese Real Estate was held Tuesday morning, April 13 at the firm's offices at 607 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen. The event -- a surprise to Wilson -- was spearheaded by his friend Junior Specchio, whose auto sales business is located across the street. More than 30 people attended, including local notables such as Sheriff Bill Yessman, Undersheriff Breck Spaulding, Glenda Gephart, Brian Eslinger, E.C. Cooper Inc.'s Mike Stamp and Doug Hagin, and Seneca Santa's Peggy Scott. Wilson -- who has worked for 25 years as a licensed real estate salesperson, including the past 11 years for Keller Williams, the nation's largest such brokerage -- said that now it is "nice to be associated with a family-owned business in Watkins Glen." Franzese Real Estate opened last June.

Photo: John Franzese chats with Kate LaMoreaux, one of the people at the celebration.


State allows 3-foot distancing in classrooms

New York State has announced new guidance regarding classroom distancing, permitting students to sit within three feet of each other -- down from six feet -- as long as other safety protocols are followed and dependent on the rate of COVID-19 transmission in a given area. The ruling corresponds with that issued recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Superintendents Chris Wood (Odessa-Montour) and Greg Kelahan (Watkins Glen) said they would both need time to study the details of the guidance before determining its impact, although Keahan added: "Certainly any step forward to bring more students to school safely is welcome."

Photo: Superintendent Greg Kelahan

A welcome view

Watkins Glen photographer Liz Fraboni sent us this springtime view of a pussy willow snapped during one of her trips around the area. She said she thought it was "nice to see something beautiful" in this era of Covid-19.


Glen graduation date change draws some fire

The Watkins Glen School Board fields complaints from parents upset with the district's decision to move graduation from June 19 -- Juneteenth -- to June 26. Schools.

Photo: Superintendent Greg Kelahan


Convicted killer Horein denied parole again

Joshua Horein (pictured at right), who killed Watkins Glen classmate Amber Brockway in 2000, has been denied parole for the third time by the New York State Parole Board after a hearing granted due to an administrative oversight. Horein, 36, pleaded guilty in 2001 to 2nd Degree Murder in the bludgeoning death of 15-year-old Brockway. He is serving a sentence of 20 years to life. He wasn't due for another hearing until 2022, but was granted this one because of procedural issues.


Reed says he won't run for any office in 2022

Congressman Tom Reed, in the wake of an allegation of sexual misconduct on a trip to Minnesota four years ago, announces he will not seek re-election or run for any office in 2022. Government.

Photo: Congressman Tom Reed


A victim of the times

The decision by the Tompkins Trust Company to close its Odessa branch bank (left) has people upset -- and the firm's CEO talking. A look at reactions. Closing.


Cayuga Health reflects on the "Year of COVID"

Cayuga Health devotes its Winter issue of CH Magazine to look back on all that it has accomplished since the pandemic began. Business.


Rotary honors Odessa-Montour's Malnoske, Watkins' Brubaker as Students of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Emma Malnoske and Watkins Glen High School senior Maria Brubaker were honored on March 25 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Students of the Month for March.

Malnoske was introduced during Rotary's Zoom meeting by teacher Holly Campbell, who described her as "kind, compassionate and exceptionally hard-working," adding: "She has performed in several musicals, having just starred in 'The Wizard of Oz' as Aunt Em/Glinda. She's a stellar student with plans to pursue political science in college, with the ultimate goal of working in politics." Malnoske told Rotarians she plans to attend college at either SUNY Geneseo or Cazenoiva.

Brubaker was introduced by teacher Sam Brubaker, who described her as a "model student who sets goals" and "accomplishes what she sets." She has had lead roles in several musicals at the school, has earned high scores at NYSSMA musical competitions, and was the Section IV, Class C diving champion last year. A member of National Honor Society and the Senior Class treasurer, she has been accepted to attend Bucknell University

Photos in text: O-M's Emma Malnoske (top) and Watkins Glen's Maria Brubaker.

Firefighters at the scene of the house fire late Tuesday night on Cotton-Hanlon Road.


Firefighters respond to late-night Montour fire

Firefighters from Montour Falls, Watkins Glen, Odessa, Burdett and Beaver Dams, along with Schuyler Ambulance, answered a fire call at about 11 p.m. March 23rd at 4257 Cotton-Hanlon Road, Montour Falls. Water was brought in by tanker trucks as firefighters fought what appeared from the roadway to be smoke and some flames in the rafters of the house, which is set back about 100 yards from the road. No further information was available.

Photo in text: Water was delivered by tanker truck. It was pumped from the road to the house.


Pizza-box messaging: Keep youth alcohol free

SCCUDD partners with area businesses in holding a"Pizza Box Sticker Shock" event. Features.

Vincent Scuteri of Scuteri's Cannoli Connection, one of the participating businesses.

Sign on the front of the Odessa branch bank of the Tompkins Trust Company, on Main Street in Odessa.


Mayor decries planned Odessa bank closing

The Tompkins Trust Company plans to close its Odessa bank branch on June 18, "a bad move" in the opinion of Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer, who adds: "This is really another hit that Main Street Odessa cannot afford." Business.

What's your opinion on the closing? Let us know.
Mail your thoughts here.


Limited visitation approved at Seneca View

Schuyler Hospital has resumed visitation -- on a limited basis -- to Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility following a nearly year-long shutdown aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. “We are pleased that we are able to allow limited visitation to our Seneca View residents again,” said Rebecca Gould (pictured), President of Schuyler Hospital. “It has been very difficult for them to endure this shutdown without seeing family and loved ones. We hope this will bring comfort and happiness to them and their families.” Visitation.


COVID relief grant funds available in Schuyler

Grant funds of up to $4,000 for qualifying small businesses and non-profits located in Schuyler County are available due to a Federal Home Loan Bank of New York grant to Alternatives Federal Credit Union. Funds may be used for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred or to be incurred as a direct result of COVID-19. Business.


Palmesano calls on Governor to step down

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign. “The number of disturbing scandals surrounding Gov. Cuomo are very serious, can't be ignored, and must be addressed," Palmesano said in a statement. "From the nursing home tragedy cover-up to the ever-growing number of sexual harassment allegations, there is no question, this has become a major distraction in Albany which has severely compromised the governor's ability to govern our state. We have so many important issues impacting New Yorkers that need our immediate attention and action, now. For the good of the Office of Governor and for the good of our state, the governor should resign immediately.”

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano

Schumer, Gillibrand call for Cuomo resignation. Govt.


Lions Clubs donate $10K to Schuyler Hospital

Schuyler Hospital receives a $10,000 donation from the Watkins-Montour, Hector, and Ovid Lions Clubs and the Lions Foundation for the purchase of a diabetic eye camera, a RetinaVue 700, for Primary Care. Features.

Demolition under way at old treatment plant

Demolition of the former sewage treatment plant along the south shore of Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen has begun, with completion expected by the end of March. Salvage of surplus equipment has been completed, with demolition of the administration and lab building leaving rubble (pictured above). The property will eventually be leveled, awaiting an as-yet undetermined developer leasing long-term from the village. The plant was outmoded, and replaced last year by the new wastewater treatment complex shared with Montour Falls along the canal.


NPS seeks public input on Finger Lakes heritage study

The National Park Service is inviting public input on a study to determine the feasibility of designating the Finger Lakes region of New York State as a national heritage area. The 90-day comment period extends to June 1. Government.


Pedestrian bridge put in place over canal

A walkng bridge linking the Catharine Valley Trail Extension in Montour Falls to the village's Marina Park was installed by a crane March 3rd, completing a project that began in 2016. Features.

Photo at right: The bridge needs to be secured and finishing touches applied before walkers are allowed on it.


Messmer, Tomassi, Tuttle win seats in Odessa

Gerry Messmer (pictured at right) was re-elected Mayor of Odessa in the village election March 16. Messmer, running unopposed, received 24 ballots in voting at the Municipal Building.

Incumbent trustee Aubrey Tomassi was re-elected with 22 votes, while Robert Tuttle Jr. won the other available trustee seat with 14 write-in votes, succeeding Anne Centurelli, who did not seek another term.

Each of the seats carries a two-year term.


Walter, Mangus, Arcangeli win seats in Burdett

Dale Walter (pictured at right) was re-elected Mayor of Burdett in the village election March 16. Walter, running unopposed, received 20 votes.

Incumbent trustees Judith Mangus and Linda Arcangeli were re-elected with 23 and 22 votes, respectively.

Each of the seats carries a two-year term.


20 years ago: When O-M girls won a state hoops title

This month -- March 2021 -- marks two decades since the Odessa-Montour High School girls varsity basketball team won the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D championship. Here is a look back. Anniversary.

Left: Travis Long, Senior Project Engineer with JSA Companies, outlined the planned water system project in Odessa. Right: Mayor Gerry Messmer brieflly shed his mask to address the dozen residents on hand.


Odessa water project outlined for residents

A planned upgrade of the Village of Odessa's water system was outlined March 15 by an engineer from JHA Companies of Montrose, Pa., to about a dozen residents attending a Village Board meeting at the Odessa Municipal Building. Water quality has long been an issue in a system that still has about 50 percent of the water pipes first installed in 1938. The project would, as envisioned, include some new pipes, new loops, and a new treatment system in a new building housing state-of-the-art equipment and providing office, meeting and heated-garage space for the village's Department of Public Works. With the grant-funded preliminary plan created by JHA, another grant will be sought from USDA-Rural Development. Approval would be followed by design and permit work, bids and construction. The cost could be as high as $1.4 million, but no increase is expected in the village's water rates.

Photo in text: Part of a power-point presentation at the Village Board meeting.


Palmesano criticizes Cuomo prison actions

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano presents a column: "Governor Cuomo's prison closures and policies are creating a dangerous 'power keg' environment inside New York State's correctional facilities."

Photo: Phil Palmesano


O'Mara rips 'Dem Scam' on Cuomo powers

State Senator Tom O'Mara blasts the Democrat supermajorities in the Senate and Assembly for approving legislation that he and other Republicans -- including Assemblyman Phil Palmesano -- say will keep Governor Andrew Cuomo's COVID-19 powers in place indefinitely. Government.

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Legislature appoints Jaynes to succeed Harp

The Schuyler County Legislature, meeting in special session March 17, appointed Laurence Jaynes of Burdett to fill the vacancy on the Legislature created by the resignation Feb. 28 of Van Harp, a Republican who had represented District 2. Jaynes, a member of the Burdett Village Board, was endorsed by the Schuyler County Republican Committee. The vote on Jaynes was 6-1 in favor, with the Legislature's lone Democrat, Michael Lausell, opposed. Jaynes' appointment is through Dec. 31, the remainder of Harp's term. Election for the next four-year term occurs in November. Harp -- a member of the Legislature for seven years and a retired FBI Agent and security consultant who won re-election in 2017 by a single vote over Joseph Campbell -- did not announce the reason for his resignation.

Photo: Van A. Harp (File photo)

Cayuga Health to resume limited visitation at Schuyler Hospital, Cayuga Medical Center. Business.


D'Alleva to succeed Kelahan as superintendent

High School Principal Kai D'Alleva (right) will succeed the retiring Gregory Kelahan as Superintendent of the Watkins Glen School District on Sept. 1. The School Board approved his contract in a unanimous vote at its meeting March 15. Kelahan said he will remain as Superintendent through August, helping D'Alleva transition into the job over the summer. Kelahan has been Superintendent for four years. D'Alleva, who taught Social Studies at Watkins Glen starting in 2006, and served as an elementary school principal in the Spencer-Van Etten School District from 2011-2013, was principal of the Watkins Glen Middle School in its final year, 2013-14, and has been the high school principal at Watkins Glen since then. His new contract will extend to 2025.


CCE Schuyler welcomes Executive Director

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County has a new Executive Director, Nathan Scott -- formerly Executive Director of the Thrive Education Center, a community-based education program located outside Ithaca. He succeeds Phil Cherry, who retired. People.

Photo: Nathan Scott (Photo provided)


New business's focus: accounting, consulting

A recently opened business in Montour Falls -- STATEMENTS Accounting and Consulting Services, run by former Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Rebekah Carroll -- is expanding and has moved into the historic Montour House. Business.

Photo: Rebekah Carroll (Photo provided)


O-M's Adams honored as Student of Month

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club on Feb. 25th honored Odessa-Montour High School senior Megan Adams as its O-M Student of the Month. Adams, first in her class academically, is a student intern in a 4th grade class and a member of the varsity swim team and the Glen Gators. She plans to attend a SUNY University, majoring in Education.

Left: Megan Adams

Note: Rotary's Student of the Month program, shelved during the pandemic, was reinstated Feb. 18, when Watkins Glen senior Kayla Palmer was honored. Palmer, a standout student, has volunteered at the Elementary School and at church dinners, made masks for the hospital, and helped raise funds for the fight against cancer. She wants to be a cardiologist. She has been accepted at the Univ. of Buffalo and is hoping for other acceptance letters.


Sheriff's candidate Spaulding, if he wins, will appoint Matthew Maloney as his Undersheriff

Schuyler County Sheriff's Lieutenant Matthew Maloney will become Undersheriff if Breck Spaulding is elected Sheriff to succeed the retiring William Yessman, Spaulding has announced. Maloney has been with the Sheriff's Office for more than 22 years. People.

Photo: Matthew Maloney (Photo provided)


Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards unveils new podcast

The Hector-based winery releases Great Times Behind the Wines, hosted by Shannon Hazlitt Harts, daughter of Hazlitt's Co-CEO and owner, Doug Hazlitt. It looks at the people, methods and stories that have helped make the Hazlitt winery a success. Business.

Gravel truck accident in Watkins

The incident occurred Feb. 17 at Milliken's Corner in Watkins Glen, with the vehicle, shown above on its side, coming to rest near the front entrance to Landon's Pub & Pizza. For more photos and information, see Features. (Photo by Jenny Ambrose)


Kelahan plans to step down as superintendent

Greg Kelahan (right), now in his fourth year as Superintendent of the Watkins Glen School District, says he will retire as soon as the School Board finds a replacement and a "smooth transition" occurs -- "hopefully by September 1st." Kelahan, who will be 56 in June, has spent 32 years in education. He said he gave some thought to retiring last year, but decided he needed to stay on as the pandemic was gaining steam. He said he and his wife will remain in Watkins Glen, where they have purchased a home. Kelahan said he is looking forward "to the next chapter in my life," although he hasn't decided what that might entail.


Schuyler update: Vaccine supply still limited

"I know everyone is anxious to get vaccinated as soon as possible," says Schuyler County Public Health Director Deborah Minor, "but I ask that you please be patient. Vaccination locations are adding clinics and opening registration as soon as they have doses available. Update.


Rumsey to run for Sheriff; primary ahead

Schuyler County Sheriff's Investigator Kevin Rumsey is seeking the Republican nomination for Sheriff to succeed Bill Yessman, who will retire from the post at year's end. That sets up a GOP primary against Undersheriff Breck Spaulding, who threw his hat in the ring last month. Govt.

Left: Kevin Rumsey


Sports moves backed; Brubaker to step down

The Watkins Glen School Board approves joint Glen-O-M football and wrestling teams; Board President Gloria Brubaker to step down June 30. Schools.

Left: Superintendent Greg Kelahan at Monday's meeting.

A winter scene in Montour Falls

This placid view of Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls was snapped Feb. 4 by area photographer Mark Taylor. "It was such a beautiful morning, so I grabbed my 20 millimeter lens and tripod," Taylor said.


2 die in Burdett house fire; cause being probed

A house fire overnight Feb. 8 in Burdett, on Lake Avenue, took the lives of two occupants, identified by State Police as Kathy Winslow, in her late 60s, and Tim Bond, a man in his early 70s who had mobility issues. The fire broke out about 2:20 a.m. Monday after a neighbor heard an explosion. Firefighters from Burdett, Hector, Watkins Glen and Montour Falls responded. The single-family structure was deemed a total loss. State fire investigators were called to the scene to determine the cause of the blaze.


Emerging Workforce program seeks enrollees

The CSS (Chemung Schuyler Steuben) Emerging Workforce Program is looking for eligible out-of-school youths ages 16-24 who are interested in obtaining additional skills or education needed to obtain long-term employment. Business.


Schuyler Hospital capital project completed

Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Health officials held a virtual ribbon cutting Monday announcing the opening of the new Convenient Care and Primary Care center at the hospital -- the culmination of a nearly $11 million capital improvement project. Features.


What new rental law means for Southern Tier

A joint column from Congressman Tom Reed, State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblymen Phil Palmesano and Chris Friend explains the rental law recently passed in Albany -- cautioning that it has not canceled rent. Government.

Photo: Congressman Tom Reed

The beauty of the day was captured on a seasonal road on Connecticut Hill by Watkins Glen photographer Liz Fraboni.


A pretty day to explore Connecticut Hill roads

Watkins Glen's Tony and Liz Fraboni drove along seasonal roads on Connecticut Hill on Saturday, Jan. 30, with Liz snapping photos of the beautiful landscape along the way. Two of those photos are presented here.

Photo: The shadow pattern across a seasonal road on Connecticut Hill was captured by Liz Fraboni.


Public Health OKs high-risk sports in Schuyler

Schuyler County Public Health granted approval Thursday for the county's high schools to move ahead with high-risk interscholastic sports, effective Feb. 1. These sports include basketball, wrestling and volleyball. The move follows similar approval in Chemung, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins counties. Sports.


O'Mara: "Time for truth from Governor Cuomo"

State Senator Tom O'Mara reacts to a report from Attorney General Letitia James that says the Cuomo administration has undercounted Covid-19 nursing home deaths by as much as 50 percent. He and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano want subpoenas and some answers. Government.

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Check in memory of Dr. Blanche Borzell presented to Friends of Bequia Hospital

Kate LaMoreaux, Senior Warden of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Watkins Glen, presented $1,000 on Jan. 27 from the church to the Friends of Bequia Hospital to continue to honor the memory of Dr. Blanche A. Borzell, a long-time Watkins Glen physician who died in 2019. Bequia is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean. It is an island visited annually by LaMoreaux, who has helped lead an ongoing mission by St. James' to help the small hospital since the passing of Borzell. People.

Photo: Check presentation on January 27 to the Friends of Bequia Hospital. (Photo provided)

Left: Schuyler County Sheriff William Yessman.
Right: Undersheriff Breck Spaulding.


Sheriff Yessman to retire at end of year; backs run by Undersheriff Spaulding for the position

Schuyler County Sheriff William Yessman said on Jan. 25 that he will not seek re-election to a fifth term, instead retiring at the end of 2021. He endorsed his Undersheriff, Breck Spaulding, as the latter announced his candidacy for the four-year post. Spaulding -- now in his 16th year as Undersheriff --said he will seek both the Republican and Conservative nods. Yessman said he plans to spend more time with family and probably do some volunteer work in retirement. Government.

Photo in text: From left: Former Sheriff Michael Maloney, current Sheriff William Yessman and Undersheriff Breck Spaulding at press conference Monday in the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls.


2 of Schuyler's leading lights in the pandemic

In a year that above most cried out for calm, efficient leadership, Schuyler County was blessed with its share of people providing exactly that -- among them Odessa-Montour School District Superintendent Chris Wood and Schuyler Hospital President and Chief Financial Officer Rebecca Gould. We look at the job the two of them have done in this year of the pandemic. Honorees.

Photos: O-M's Chris Wood; Schuyler Hospital's Rebecca Gould


When a Senatorial candidate stopped in Glen

More than 20 years ago, Republican Rick Lazio (right) -- seeking the U.S. Senate seat ultimately won by Democrat Hillary Clinton -- stopped in Watkins Glen the day after securing the GOP nomination. Here, The Odessa File editor -- having unearthed his unpublished account of that day -- dusts off the story's cobwebs and presents it here. Blast from the past.


Lawmakers hail NY move to reinstate sports

State legislators from around the region (at right: State Senator Tom O'Mara) cheer the state's decision to allow local health officials to make the call on starting up high school sports seasons beginning February 1. Sports include the previously suspended basketball, wrestling, volleyball and competitive cheerleading. Sports.

O'Mara to Cuomo: Extend curfew for Bills game. Sports.


O'Mara, Palmesano rip Cuomo's budget plan

State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (right) criticize Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed 2021-22 state budget, announced Jan. 19. They see it as a high-deficit, high-spending plan that will leave future generations of already overburdened New Yorkers holding the bill and paying even higher taxes. Govt.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.


Reed signs letter with 3 Senators, 33 other Reps urging President to denounce violence

Representative Tom Reed (R-Corning) signed a bicameral letter Wednesday with three Senators and 33 other members of Congress urging President Trump to denounce violence and speak out against further attacks on democratic institutions. Government.

Photo: Congressman Tom Reed

Reed opposes impeachment. Column.
Reed co-sponsors Censure Resolution. Government.


Blowers reappointed as Legislature chairman

Carl Blowers was reappointed to the chairmanship of the Schuyler County Legislture when the legislators met virtually Jan. 6 for their annual organizational meeting. The Zoom session saw Blowers nominated by Legislator Mark Rondinaro and seconded by Van Harp. There were no other nominations, and the vote was unanimous.

The board also heard from Public Health Director Deb Minor, who reported on the early stages of Moderna vaccine distribution in the county -- a state-mandated process from which Public Health "can't deviate," she said. Distribution is currently in Phase 1A, which is expected to continue through January. It includes a lengthy list of high-risk workers and individuals.

Photo in text: Chairman Carl Blowers during Zoom session.


Cotton-Hanlon, Inc. is celebrating 100 years

Cotton-Hanlon, Inc. -- a forest products company with a long and fruitful history in the Odessa-Cayuta area -- is marking 100 years in business since the 1921 partnership between H.A. Hanlon and B.J. Cotton. The company takes a look back at that history on the Forum.


Above Montour Falls: a ring around the moon

The photo at right -- with a vivid ring of light showing around the moon -- was snapped at about 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 30 by Sarah Agan in Montour Falls. The unusual sight was captured with her cell phone camera. While stunning enough, the photo "does no justice," said Agan. "It was spectacular."


Photo by Sarah Agan


Glen Copack is coming off a challenging year

Glen Copack Food Manufacturing, part of The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler’s Business Services Division, is looking back on a challenging yet productive 2020. Glen Copack has implemented some new procedures as it looks ahead to 2021, continuing to offer employment and vocational training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Business


Look for SCCUDD message on pizza boxes

The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) has undertaken a project called “Pizza Box Sticker Shock.” It consists of youth-designed substance abuse prevention stickers placed on pizza boxes in local restaurants and convenience stores. Features.


CCE Column: Energy and the Environment

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County is providing a monthly column here on its ongoing educational activities and offerings. The 12th column -- Energy and the Environment" -- is by Executive Director Phil Cherry (left). Column.

Kai Sutterby, right, and Isabella Fazzary arrive at the prom.


WGHS holds prom at Logan Ridge Estates

The annual prom drew a large gathering of gown-clad young women and tuxedo-clad young men for an evening of fun, food, music and camaraderie. For photos of the night, see Prom.




Left: WGHS senior Amber Benjamin.

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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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