Our Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism


To reach the FOWL website, click on the logo above.


To reach the Odessa Government Page, click here or on the logo below.


Our Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


To reach the website of the Five Rivers Council, Boys Scouts of America, click here or on the logo above.


Click below to see Lottery Numbers


To reach the Watkins Glen School District website, click here


Check this out:



Contact this website at:




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


Perazzini announces run for Watkins mayor

Louis Perazzini, the Watkins Glen Deputy Mayor for more than three years, has thrown his hat in the ring for the post of Village Mayor. His campaign announcement appears on the Forum Page.

Photo: Louis Perazzini


O'Mara rips state for lowering OT threshold

State Senator Tom O’Mara has blasted a decision by state Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon to approve a controversial recommendation lowering the overtime threshold for farm workers in New York State from 60 to 40 hours. Government.

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara

The Butler family is serving as this year's chair of the Schuyler County United Way campaign, which is seeking $102,000 for 17 member agencies. Dewayne and Theresa Butler, pictured on the right, are joined by (from left) son Daine, daughter Malina and Theresa's mother, Barbara Malina.


Schuyler United Way launches its campaign

The Schuyler County United Way started its 2022-23 campaign with a luncheon Sept. 21 at the Montour Moose Lodge for volunteers and for representatives of the 17 agencies it serves. The United Way's campaign goal this year is $102,000, Serving as honorary chair of the drive is the Dewayne and Theresa Butler family, long involved in service to the county. United Way Executive Director Peggy Scott told the luncheon guests that the organization is facing financial challenges, and that greater promotion -- getting the word out that it helps support 17 agencies -- should be a focus going forward. As for fund-raising, a key component is the annual "Kick Off" Spaghetti Dinner at the Moose Lodge on Monday, Oct. 10. It will be in honor of the late Rick Evans, who with his wife served for two years as the United Way campaign co-chairs. Serving starts at 4 p.m. The price is $10.

Photo: United Way Executive Director Peggy Scott at the luncheon.


Monument honors achievements of Squires

A monument in honor of the award-winning Squires Drum and Bugle Corps of the 1960s-1980s was unveiled during a ceremony Sept 17 on the lawn fronting the Schuyler County Courthouse. People.

Photo: A vintage (1966) Squires drum head was affixed to the podium at Saturday's ceremony.


Bergen, Glenview Dairy sign on to RNG project

Bergen Farms and Glenview Dairy have entered into agreement with Cayuga RNG to produce renewable natural gas. The project -- which will include construction of a manure digester and gas upgrading equipment at each location -- is expected to produce about 150 million cubic feet of RNG annually that will be delivered to a local natural gas pipeline serving the regional distribution system. Government.

Dr. Benjamin Saks accepted a pushup challenge from Army representatives on hand at the Fit Fest.


Fit Fest offers health tips, live entertainment

The annual Fit Fest made its return to the Carnival Grounds in Montour Falls Sept. 17 after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The event, with a focus on healthy living, featured about 35 vendors representing various health facilities and service organizations. It featured various activities for kids and adults, combined with food, entertainment, games, and giveaways. The event, held under sunny skies, was free to everyone. It was presented by Cayuga Health, the Schuyler County Department of Health, and Strong Kids, Safe Kids.

Photo in text: Among the entertainers on the Carnival Grounds stage was singer Sarah Schlueter-Eisman.

Nearly three dozen vendors representing health facilities and service organizations were on hand dispensing information.


Chronis gives brief ambulance service update

Schuyler County Administrator Fonda Chronis told the county Legislature at its monthly meeting Sept. 12 that he had been urged to reach out "one more time" to the Schuyler County Volunteer Ambulance Association Inc. to see if there was some way it might be incorporated into the county's plans to revamp ambulance service in the county -- and that he had done so, receiving a proposal earlier that day from Association Vice President Steve Williams. Chronis said he had not had an opportunity to look at the proposal Monday, but would "jump into it tomorrow." Schuyler Ambulance has come under criticism from the Legislature, which has turned to Cayuga Health Systems to provide ambulance service under a proposed three-year contract. That pact has yet to be finalized.

Photo: Administrator Fonda Chronis at Monday's meeting.


DeNardo announces run for Watkins Mayor

Watkins Glen Village Trustee Laurie DeNardo is running for the post of Mayor of Watkins Glen, saying she is "more than ready to work for the benefit of our residents." Retiring from Cornell University "with just shy of 40 years ... I'll have the time to devote to this important position." Forum.

Photo: Laurie DeNardo

Three of the 75 Mustangs driving along Franklin Street during September 9's Tour de Marque. The drivers completed two circuits of the old road course, with the start/finish line in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse.


Grand Prix Festival draws crowd to Watkins

Mustangs were the featured vehicles this year, but there were plenty of other sports vehicles on display and traveling the village streets Sept. 9 at the annual Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival. A large crowd lined both sides of Franklin Street to observe the passing cars, and to enjoy various memorabilia and food vendors. A highlight was The Legends Speak question-and-answer session in Lafayette Park with racing legend Al Unser Jr., who is serving as Grand Marshal at the Hilliard U.S. Vintage Grand Prix this weekend at the Watkins Glen International racetrack. Unser, a two-time winner of the Indy 500, entertained a large crowd with stories of his career, including racing battles with Mario Andretti and Dale Earnhardt Sr. The event was hosted by the village-based International Motor Racing Research Center.

Photo: Al Unser Jr. at The Legends Speak gathering.

Among many cars on display in the State Park parking lot was this 1965 MK4 Roadster Cobra.


Glen's Coleman wins State SRO of Year Award

Watkins Glen School Resource Officer James P. "Jamie" Coleman has been presented with the New York State SRO of the Year Award for 2022 by the state's Juvenile Officers Association. Coleman, a retired doctor and Army veteran, received the award Sept. 1 at an Association dinner in Syracuse. The plaque lauds his "devoted service to the youth of New York State as a School Resource Officer." Watkins Glen Police Sgt. Ethan Moster outlines the award on the Forum Page.

Photo: Jamie Coleman with his award. (Photo provided)


Legislators turn to Cayuga Health in move toward new ambulance service in Schuyler

Schuyler County legislators took a large step Tuesday toward restructuring ambulance service in the county when they voted 6-2 in a legislative committee session to move in the direction of an agreement that would see Cayuga Health Systems provide the service under an initial three-year contract. Government.

Photo at right: Legislature Chairrman Carl Blowers directed the committee meeting.

Runners take off at the start of The Arc Grand Prix Run.


Triner wins The Arc Grand Prix Run at WGI

Hector 16-year-old Nathan Triner easily won the annual Arc Grand Prix Run Saturday evening, Aug. 27 on the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International racetrack. Triner, who is home-schooled, also won last year's inaugural Hector Harvest 5K. The last time he had run in the Arc race was three years ago, when he won his age group. His time Saturday -- in the Arc's first evening run (it had always been in the morning) -- was 19:04.77, more than three minutes ahead of runnerup Robert Moore of LeRaysville, Pa. The first female to finish was Emmy O'Neill of Hammondsport, in 25:23.09. A total of 270 runners registered for the event, which also featured a walking component.

Photo: Race winner Nathan Triner, who finished in 19:04.77

Left: Twins Moe and Evvie Zinger of Montour Falls ran together. Right: Wayne Pike of Watkins Glen finished 13th.


District aims for possible Summer Rec revival

Watkins Glen School Superintendent Kai D'Alleva got the go-ahead on Aug. 23 night from the School Board to join with the Village of Watkins Glen in talks that could lead to a revival of a Summer Rec program at Clute Park. The program, combining recreation and education, was a mainstay at Clute for many summers before falling by the wayside several years ago. D'Alleva said the village is interested in its return, and is looking for a monetary commitment by the school district to accomplish it -- an amount to be determined. "I would love for the district to be part of bringing the program back. My hope is we can help in some way," he told the board before its members gave the green light to pursue it further. Said Board member Craig Bianco: "I'm all for anything that gets kids off the couch and off the screen."

Photo: Superintendent Kai D'Alleva at Monday's meeting.


Threat prompts Watkins Glen school lockdown

A telephoned threat to the Watkins Glen High School main office on June 23rd -- one that Schuyler County Sheriff Kevin Rumsey said warned the district to "get people out" because the caller was ostensibly "gonna shoot up the school" -- prompted a lockdown of the school campus whiile law enforcement from Village Police, the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office and State Police secured the safety of any students in the building and conducted a perimeter search. Once the perimeter was secured, said School Superintendent Kai D'Alleva, the school staff and students on hand -- seniors practicing for graduation -- were led safely from the school grounds. Other students had been dismissed early, and so were not present when the threat was received at 12:52 p.m. A lengthy search of the school buildings was conducted by a SWAT team from Steuben County and School Resource Officers, ending at 6 p.m. Rumsey said there was never a sign of any shooter, and that the call in fact came from an out-of-state number using an app that blocked a call trace. Subsequent student activities that night were canceled, including a Senior All-Night Party at various regional venues.

A message from Superintendent D'Alleva. Forum.


BOE bids farewell to 9; cites Everyday Heroes

The Watkins Glen School Board says goodbye to 9 retiring staff members, and honors two 10th graders as "Everyday Heroes." Schools.


Certificates, awards presented at Watkins Glen

Certificates from an Assemblyman and State Senator were distributed June 23 to Watkins Glen High School students for their selection to the Roll Call of Excellence and Top Drawer honor programs. Sports.

Photo: Faye Mooney and Adam Pastore, Roll Call of Excellence honorees, also received T-shirts (pictured) from ESPN Ithaca for their selection during the school year as Athletes of the Week.


Ribbon-cutting marks project completion

A ribbon was cut and $25,000 in grant funds presented at Bleachers Sports Bar and Grill June 22 upon completion of a new outdoor dining area there as part of an ARPA improvement program. Business.

Photo: The ribbon is cut.


O-M Award winners treated to a picnic

Winners of Odessa-Montour High School Academic Awards enjoyed a picnic lunch adjacent to the school Tuesday.

A list of those award recipients, with photos from the picnic, are on Schools.


Photo: Award recipient Hannah Nolan at the picnic buffet table.


Cardboard boats highlight Waterfront Festival

The Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival was held June 18 at Seneca Harbor Park in chilly temperatures with a gusty north wind. The festival centerpiece: the Cardboard Boat Regatta. Features.

Photo at right: One of the larger Cardboard Boat Regatta entries.


Dub G Awards honor WGHS student-athletes

Athletes of the Year, Coach of the Year, Team of the Year among awards at multimedia event in school auditorium.

Story on Sports

Photo: WGHS swim standouts Alannah Klemann, left, and Faye Mooney.


O-M's Haley Albertsman wins Susan Award

Odessa-Montour High School senior Haley Albertsman is the recipient of the 2022 Susan B. Haeffner Sportsmanship Award presented annually since 2005 by Odessa File Publisher Charlie Haeffner in memory of his late wife. Each annual recipient is honored for his or her determination, fair play and core of kindness -- all traits of Susan in a life cut short by cancer. Haley plans to be a teacher. Award.

Photo: Odessa-Montour's Haley Albertsman


Rotary honors Cannon as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Mackenzie Cannon was honored June 16 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for June. Cannon was introduced by her O-M basketball coach, Greg Gavich, who said that two words -- "kind" and "courageous" -- describe the honoree. Cannon, also a member of the O-M softball team, has attended GST BOCES' STEM Academy in Corning during her high school career while enrolled at O-M -- earning an Associate's Degree in the process. She was recently honored on this website as a member of its Roll Call of Excellence, and by her school as recipient of its Charles Martin Sportsmanship Award. She plans to attend Alfred University, pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.

Photo: Mackenzie Cannon and Coach Greg Gavich.

From left: Tori Brewster, Cameron Holland, Hannah Nolan


The Odessa File names its Athletes of the Year

Watkins Glen High School three-sport senior Cameron Holland and Odessa-Montour High School junior record-setters Hannah Nolan and Tori Brewster have been named The Odessa File Athletes of the Year at the two schools. The awards are presented by E.C. Cooper Insurance. Holland was quarterback of the Seneca Indians football team, a starter on the 19-2 WGHS basketball team, the leading hitter on the Seneca Indians baseball team, and a three-time Odessa File First Team All-Star. Nolan and Brewster were both two-time First Team All-Stars (Nolan in soccer and basketball, and Brewster in soccer and track), both Odessa File seasonal Schuyler MVPs, and both school record-setters. Nolan set the career soccer goal-scoring record (59) while Brewster set school marks in track's 100 and 200 Meter Dashes.


O-M presents sports honors; Sgrecci, Fazzary win
Harold Lynch Athlete of the Year Awards. Sports.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony outside the Seneca Sunrise Coffee business on North Decatur Street. (Photo provided).

Ribbon-cutting marks Seneca Sunrise opening

Village and county officials were among the dignitaries on hand June 13 at a ribbon-cutting marking the grand opening of Seneca Sunrise Coffee in its new building at 806 N. Decatur St. in Watkins Glen -- the culmination of an $830,000 project funded in part with a $293,506 Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant as a portion of the village's $10 million DRI program. The new 1,400-square-foot building will serve as the coffee shop, while the former shop next door has been renovated into housing for the community.


Brewster finishes 4th in the 100 at State meet

Odessa-Montour High School junior Tori Brewster placed 4th June 11th in the Division 2 finals of the 100 Meter Dash at the New York State Track & Field Championships at Cicero North Syracuse High School. She posted a time of 12.61. She had set a school record of 12.30 in the 100 Meter prelims Friday. Sports.

Photo: O-M's Tori Brewster


Schuyler Scholars honored at dinner

Seniors in the top 10% of their class academically at the Bradford, Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glen high schools were honored June 8 at a dinner at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Scholars.

Photo: Each honoree received a Schuyler Scholars plaque.

Fire trucks from departments around the region, along with classic cars, were among the features at the parade.


Parade, BBQ, rides mark festival's final day

The Montour Falls Fire Department's annual festival -- absent the past two years due to the pandemic -- ended its three-day 2022 run June 11 with a chicken barbecue, a parade up Main Street, and rides, games, food and music on the carnival grounds. The parade, featuring fire trucks, old cars, tractors and marching bands, was held in front of spectators lining both sides of the street. Rukus, a country and classic rock band, performed in the evening. Features.

Photo: A vendor produces bubbles at the festival. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)


Youth Orchestra performs

Kirsten Marshall conducted as the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra (CCO) Youth Orchestra of Ithaca presented a Free Community Concert Friday night, June 10 in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. The Youth Orchestra, established in 2017, has a mission "to provide a high-quality symphony orchestra experience for youth in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes.


Vondracek earns NJCAA Player of Year honor

Odessa-Montour alum Grace Vondracek -- who batted .626 for the Corning Community College varsity softball team this past season as it finished second in the National Junior College Athletic Association Div. III Softball Championship -- has been named the NJCAA Division III Softball Player of the Year and an All-American First Team selection. Her batting average was the best across all NJCAA divisions, as was her .683 on-base percentage. The lefty-hitting Vondracek hit 9 homers, drove in 65 runs and stole 46 stolen bases for a team that amassed a 40-8 record despite a 2-5 start.

Photo: CCC's Grace Vondracek (Photo provided)

Keith Caslin is sworn in as a Watkins School Board member.


WG School Board adds Caslin, welcomes new Business Administrator; OKs coaching slate

The Watkins Glen School Board on June 7 appointed recently elected Keith Caslin to the board early, filling the vacancy created months ago by the resignation of Kevin Rumsey after his election as county sheriff. Caslin, sworn in by Renee Angle, Administrative Assistant to Superintendent Kai D'Alleva, will be sworn in next month for the three-year term he won in last month's board election. Incumbents Craig Bianco and Theresa Butler will also be sworn in at that time, Bianco for three years and Butler for one -- the unexpired portion of Rumsey's term.

In other business, the board:

--Welcomed new Business Administrator Kyle Percey, formerly of the Keshequa School District. He is actually employed by GST BOCES, and assigned to the Watkins district. He will be in charge of, among other things, preparing the annual budget.
--Approved coaching appointments for next school year. Of note: the appointment of Scott Morse to succeed the retiring John Fazzary as boys varsity basketball coach.
--Heard D'Alleva say logos for the sports teams should be ready for board approval next month: for the Senecas (minus any native American imagery, probably WG with something suggesting Seneca Lake); and for the combined WGHS-Odessa squads, to be known as the Schuyler Storm.

Photo: Kyle Percey, the new Business Administrator.


'Burned out' mayor: I won't seek re-election

Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer announced at the June 6 Village Board meeting that he is "burned out, exhausted" and that he will not, accordingly, seek another term as mayor in the next village election, set for March 2023. At that point he will have concluded five years as mayor. Messmer said his decision is based in part on the growth of his business, Powderhorns and More, and the effort required to keep up with that. He said Kristine Gardner, elected to the Village Board in March, has expressed an interest in running for mayor. Whoever is elected, he said, will have his full cooperation in the transition. He was asked by trustee Alijia Bailey: "You're not letting people bully you out of it, are you?" He responded: "No. I'm tired." Messmer has taken his share of criticism as the village has embarked on a number of initiatives, but said he was proud of his work -- "I feel like Odessa needed what I brought to the table" after his military career -- and praised the work of the board, which in recent years has approved $18 million in infrastructure improvements with only a minimal increase in taxes. "You guys did that," he told the board members present: Bailey, Pam Cicconi and Tom Letteer.

Photo: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer after the meeting.


Rotary honors Hayes as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Andrew Hayes was honored June 2nd by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for June. Hayes was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who described the honoree as a young man "with a really amazing capability -- to listen." She said that their discussions are "well thought-out, respectful," and that Hayes is "an incredibly hard worker" who is "kind and caring to everyone at school." Hayes, a member of the school's varsity golf team, plans to attend Corning Community College to start his path on the way to becoming a Mechanical Engineer.

Photo: Student of the Month Andrew Hayes with the Rotary Club's guest speaker, former Congressman Tom Reed, who discussed the troubling state of the world, the rise of China as a superpower, and the extremism that has gripped domestic politics.

All-Stars and our Schuyler Spring MVP

The Odessa File's seasonal choices for All-Star status, topped with its selection of the Schuyler Spring MVP (this time a standout in track-and-field), appear on Sports.


Sunset on Seneca

This photo of a sunset over Seneca Lake was snapped by photographer Liz Fraboni on Thursday, June 2, from her dock on the eastern shore of the lake in Hector.

Honor Guard from American Legion Post 676 presents one of three volleys of musketry at the ceremony outside Odessa.


Montour, Odessa services mark Memorial Day

Memorial Day was observed locally on May 30 with two services -- one at the Shequagah Falls Park in Montour Falls, and the second at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park outside Odessa. The keynote speaker at both was Daniel Phillips, a Schuyler native who served in the Navy as a Petty Officer, First Class. He outlined the history of Memorial Day, and noted the "never forgotten" bond among servicemen. The Odessa-Montour High School Band performed at both ceremonies, while the American Legion Post 676 Honor Guard issued three volleys of musketry and trumpeter Bernie Riley played "Taps" at each. The Montour Falls Fire Department provided the Color Guard at the Montour service, while Boy Scout Troop 50 served as Color Guard at the other one.

Photo: Navy veteran Daniel Phillips, shown here before Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls, spoke at both services.

Kim Laursen leads a Community Choir in singing "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the Veterans Memorial Park service.

From left: Alan Incorvaia, VP of Operations for Hart Hotels; Steph Bailey, interim Schuyler Health Foundation director and Cayuga Medical Center Health Foundation manager; Steve Savage, executive director of the Cayuga Medical Center Health Foundation; Carolyn Guyer, general manager of the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, David Hart, president and CEO of Hart Hotels; Erin Thaete, chair of the Schuyler Health Foundation, and Schuyler Health Foundation director Ken Wilson.


Health Foundation receives Ice Bar donation

The Schuyler Health Foundation was presented a check for $15,000 by the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel May 27 in a ceremony at the hotel. Donations like this have been generated through the hotel's annual Ice Bar program since its inception in 2011; for many years they were earmarked for the Red Cross. Donations over the years now total $230,000 in Watkins Glen, and another $190,000 at two other locations in the Hart Hotels chain with Ice Bar events, in Chautauqua Harbor and Clayton. The Ice Bar -- a 3-day event featuring regional wines and food, and highlighted by carved ice structures -- attracts about 2,500 attendees to the Watkins hotel each year.


Re-enactment sends sobering message

A mock DWI car accident complete with "corpse," "arrest" and Jaws of Life "extraction" was conducted May 26 at Watkins Glen High School, sending students a strong message entering graduation and the more carefree days of summmer. Schools.


Photo: This"arrest" was part of the mock exercise.


Clay trap shooting takes hold at Watkins High

The inaugural season of a trap shooting club approved by the Watkins Glen School Board is proving a success, fueled by the enthusiasm of its student participants. Schools.

Photo: Clay target used in trap shooting.


Life Jacket Trees contribute to boater safety

The Finger Lakes Chapter of America’s Boating Club is helping to ensure a safe water experience for area residents and visitors to Seneca Lake with two life jacket trees in Watkins Glen -- one at the Clute Park boat launch on the canal and the other at the kayak and canoe launch at the southeast end of the lake. They hold life jackets that may be borrowed at no cost. People.

Photo: Life jacket tree at Clute Park boat launch on canal.

Emcee Judy McKinney Cherry at the podium.


Project Seneca marks 10 years of success

About 35 Project Seneca supporters, including local and state officials, were on hand May 23 at the Seneca Lake Event Center in Watkins Glen to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the initiative's beginning.
Project Seneca was created when a group of local business leaders developed a waterfront redevelopment effort supported by, among others, Corning Enterprises, Community Bank, Chemung Canal Trust, Cargill, Welliver Construction and Famous Brands, and by private individuals. It has influenced the investment of $129.7 million in public and private projects -- including the Catharine Valley Water Reclamation Facility, Clute Park Event Center, Captain Bill's Terminal replacement, Seneca Lake Kayak Launch, and Northern Gateway improvements. Speakers included emcee Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development. Schuyler County Legislature Chair Carl Blowers, Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk, and New York Department of State planner Sarah Stern Crowell. A common theme: the success of private-public partnerships.

Photo: Part of the project display at the celebration.


Schuyler Habitat ready to build its 4th house

Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity is ready to build its fourth house in Schuyler County-- at 2360 County Road 17 in the Town of Dix. The site was bought last year.

The partner family has been chosen, and the property will soon be cleared and prepared for construction. People.


Rotary honors O-M students Patel and White

Odessa-Montour High School seniors Veer Patel and Kaetlyn White were honored May 19 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Students of the Month for May.

White was introduced by guidance counselor Dan Batchelder, who said the honoree "seeks out opportunities to prepare herself for life after high school," and "is nothing but a pleasure to work with." White, a member of National Honor Society and vice president of Student Council, plans to attend the Arnot School of Radiology with an eye toward procuring an Ultrasound Degree.

Patel, a member of Student Council and of the school varsity soccer team, was introduced by History teacher Skip Strobel, who described the honoree as "an exceptional young man and an outstanding student" who "I know ... will be incredibly successful." Patel plans to attend Penn State University, where he will major in engineering.

Photo: Veer Patel and Kaetlyn White with their Rotary plaques.


School budgets pass at Watkins, Odessa; Bianco, Caslin, Butler win Glen board seats

School budgets passed easily May 17 in the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour school districts, the $28.5 million spending plan in Watkins approved 294-65, and the $18.4 million plan at O-M approved 120-20.

Incumbent Craig Bianco (with 270 votes) and former Board of Education member Keith Caslin (with 235) won three-year terms on the Watkins school board, while incumbent Theresa Butler (234 votes) earned a one-year term to complete the unexpired term of Kevin Rumsey, who resigned from the board after his election as County Sheriff. Candidate Brittany Oliver totaled 168 votes.

Odessa-Montour saw the uncontested re-election of Karen Rock and Will Shrout to three-year School Board terms. Rock drew 120 votes, while Shrout received 115.

Photo: Theresa Butler and Craig Bianco, who earned board terms in Tuesday's vote, were on hand at the school when the vote count was announced.


Service honors police fallen over the years; Sheriff raps media

The memorial service was held outside the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Rumsey in a keynote address blamed a loss of respect for police on the Internet and media coverage. Government.

Photo: Bell played a role in honoring those police in the region who have died in the line of duty or while in service.


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

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


Join the sponsorship team!!

You can contribute to the operation of this website by clicking on a Paypal link at the top left of most pages, or here:

Or you can send a check or money order to:

The Odessa File, P.O. Box 365, Odessa, NY 14869

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


Some old photos from the Kelly collection

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


The What, When and Why of this website

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

Left: Charlie Haeffner (Photo by Dave Haeffner)



We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


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


An eternal message of lights, hope and faith

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

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



The Sound and the Silence: A Memoir

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




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

(607) 594-3594

E-mail chaef@aol.com