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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. 

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Recent Headline Stories

 

Memorial Day services held around Schuyler

Services were conducted in Montour Falls, Watkins Glen and outside Odessa May 29 on a rainy day. People.

Left: Rick Lewis, Commander of American Legion Post 676, was emcee at the Odessa service.

 

WGHS cross country champions honored

The Watkins Glen High School boys varsity cross country team was honored by State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano with a special Legislative Resolution May 26th during an assembly held in the school auditorium. The team won the state Class C title and the Federation championship in November. Schools.

Left: The cross country team's Patrick Hazlitt with a copy of the Legislative Resolution.

 

Hospital, Seneca View and Auxiliary news

--Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility employees are honored. People. --Chris Updyke is Hospital Auxiliary Volunteer of the Year. People.
--Christina Hoose is the Lou Sand Award winner. Business.
--Deadline nears for Hospital Auxiliary scholarship applications. Schools.
--Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View donate 3,200 food items to the Food Pantry and Humane Society in colorful, themed boxes (see photo). Business.

These two wine tasters happily posed for a photo.

 

Wine event draws large crowd to Clute Park

The sixth annual Seneca Lake Wine & Food event drew hundreds of patrons to Clute Park in Watkins Glen May 20th to sample wine and food from nearly 50 vendors, and to take home plenty of wine, often by the case. More than 1,200 people had filed through the entrance to the gathering midway through its 11 a.m.-5 p.m. schedule. More than two dozen wineries were represented, and nearly two dozen eateries. Live music was also provided. Unlike last year, when storms bedeviled the event, the weather was cool but mostly sunny Saturday.

Photo: Lakewood Vineyards' Bev Stamp pours a sample.

Odessa-Montour students -- members of the National Honor Society -- work on one of the many vehicles they washed.

 

Odessa NHS members raise funds with wash

Odessa-Montour High School students who are members of the school's chapter of the National Honor Society raised funds for the chapter May 20th by washing cars for $5 apiece and selling baked goods in front of the Odessa Village Hall. Funds will be used, among other things, to cover the cost of food, shirts and other items needed for NHS inductions.

Photo: NHS member Hailey Perraut

Molly Bilinski signs a copy of her novel, Lady of Sherwood.

 

Bilinski signs copies of her book at library

Watkins Glen High School and William Smith College graduate Molly Bilinski (right) was present at the Watkins Glen Public Library Friday evening, May 19 signing copies of her newly published novel, Lady of Sherwood -- a young-adult retelling of the Robin Hood story with Robin as a female. A steady stream of well-wishers stopped by to buy one or more copies of the book and have Bilinski sign them. The author, a chemist in the Buffalo area, is planning a sequel to the book while working on another, unrelated novel. She will also be selling and signing copies of Lady of Sherwood from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 17 at the Dutton S. Peterson Library, Odessa.

Photo in text: Molly Bilinski with a copy of her book.

 

O-M's 5th marking period Honor Rolls

Odessa-Montour Junior-Senior High School has unveiled its High Honor Roll and Honor Roll for the fifth marking period of the 2016-17 school year. Honors.

Carmella Hoffman addresses Rotarians at Thursday's luncheon.

 

Cheese Festival officials outline July 22 event

Representatives of the annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival held at the Hoffman farm at Catharine Corners, outside Odessa, discussed the July 22 festival during the May 18 luncheon meeting of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club. Carmella Hoffman, her daughter Niki Turnmyre and Heather O'Grady-Evans said a new pavilion will be available as the festival, in its 6th year, is expected to draw up to 7,000 people. When the festival began, said Hoffman, 1,250 people attended. Last year, despite scorching heat, there were 5,300 people. The family-friendly festival features music, children's events, hayrides, seminars, and many vendors with locally produced food. Advance tickets are $5; at the gate $8, plus $2 per semiinar.

Photo in text: O'Grady-Evans (left) and Turnmyre.

The National Honor Society candles representing Scholarship, Leadership, Service and Character.

 

National Honor Society inductions held at Glen

20 Watkins Glen High School students were inducted Wednesday night, May 17 into the school's chapter of the National Honor Society. The ceremony was held in the Watkins Glen Elementary School auditorium. Schools.

 

Budgets pass in O-M, Watkins Glen districts

Voters overwhelmingly passed school budgets in the Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glen school districts May 16th, by 167-34 in Odessa (a $16,642,703 spending plan) and by 334-100 in Watkins (a $27,220,200 spending plan). O-M also easily passed capital reserve and bus propositions, and saw incumbent Jen Mosher (168 votes) and newcomer William Shrout (146) elected to the School Board unopposed. In Watkins Glen, newcomer Tracey VanSkiver won one of three 3-year terms on the School Board, unseating incumbent Keith Caslin. Top vote-getter was Kris Clarkson (308), followed by Gloria Brubaker (291), VanSkiver (290) and Caslin (268). There were two write-in votes, one of them for Optimus Prime.

 

WG bands, choruses entertain at concert

Watkins Glen High School held its Spring Concert May 16 in the WGHS auditorium. The concert featured the 7th-8th Grade Band and Chorus, the High School Band and Chorus, and the 7th-8th and High School Choruses together. Highlights: "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" by 7th-8th Band, "Count on Me" (7th-8th Chorus); "Blackbird" (H.S. Chorus), and "Shenandoah" (H.S. Band). The concert program bid farewell to graduating seniors from Chorus and Band: Alexis Atchie, Mikenna Ayers, Abbie Chapman-Heichel, Aidan DeBolt, Dakota Evans, Ezra Evans, Elizabeth Mason, Kacey Samuels, and Brienna Solomon.

Left: Members of the High School Band.

Watkins Glen prom-goers included, from left: Jacob Carocci, Sam Hanley, Daniel Paradiso and Tanner Ryan. (Photo provided)

 

Watkins holds annual prom at Logan Ridge

Watkins Glen High School students dressed in gowns and tuxedos made their way to the Seneca Harbor pier and marina and elsewhere for photos on Saturday, May 13, before going to the annual prom at Logan Ridge in Hector, the event's chosen site in recent years. Before reaching that event -- highlighted by dancing, group photos and camaraderie -- they went, many of them, in pairs and groups to area restaurants for a special meal on a special occasion.

Note: The editor was out of town on prom night. Anyone with photos, please send them along, and we'll publish as many as we can on these pages.

 

Left top: WGHS students Cierra Barber, left, and Danielle Leszyk posed at the Seneca Harbor Marina.

Left bottom: WGHS students Mikenna Ayers, left, and Brienna Solomon, dressed for the prom. (Photos provided)

More WGHS prom photos are on Schools.

 

Italian-American fest launches Legacy Lane

The Schuyler County Italian-American Festival is partnering with the Village of Watkins Glen to honor the county’s heritage in the new Lafayette Park Legacy Lane. Features.

Left: The lane at Lafayette Park. (Photo provided)

 

Pike named Class C Player of Year in NY

Watkins Glen basketball standout Amanda Pike -- who led her team to the state Class C basketball championship -- has been named the Girls Class C Player of the Year by the New York State Sportwriters Association. Two other Watkins Glen players, Mariah Gonzalez and Hannah Morse, made All-State teams, as did Odessa-Montour's Gillian Clark. Sports.

 

Left: Amanda Pike

 

Simulation gives prom message to students

A simulated emergency Friday involving two crashed vehicles, injuries, death, DWI, rescue personnel, fire trucks and a helicopter provided an anti-drinking, anti-texting message to Watkins Glen High School students planning to drive to and from Saturday's prom. Schools.

Left: A Guthrie Air helicopter lands at WGHS.

 

Rotary honors Neira as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Brendan Neira (right) was honored May 11 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary as its WGHS Student of the Month for May. He was introduced by teacher Nancy Ruda, who said he had "overcome many challenges in his journey through academia" and that "he has taught me much about perseverance and never giving up." She also described Brendan as diligent and compassionate and "always looking out for his classmates." He "can be found on weekends and after school working on his grandmother's farm," she said, and "has shown great interest in planting seeds to grow in the school greenhouse and caring for the plants the last two years." He also works at the family business, the Smoke 'N' Bones restaurant in Burdett. Concluded Ruda: "I believe in Brendan, his ability to contribute to his family's business and the community he lives in."

 

Exchange Students update local Rotarians

The two current Rotary Exchange students in Schuyler County and an Odessa-Montour student soon to be an outbound Exchange student were guest speakers May 11 at the weekly luncheon meeting of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club. Moeko Oshima of Japan (attending Watkins Glen High School) and Angelika Friis of Sweden (now at O-M) spoke of their experiences here, while O-M junior Noelle Chamberlain looked ahead to her year in India that begins this summer. Highlights for Moeko and Angelika included a Spring Break trip to North Carolina. Angelika found the O-M prom fascinating, and Moeko was looking foward to the WGHS prom on May 13. Noelle has been learning the Hindi language, spoken in Mumbai, where she will be residing in India.

Photo in text: From left, Moeko Oshima, Noelle Chamberlain and Angelika Friis.

 

Hoffman honored as 'Woman of Distinction'

State Senator Tom O’Mara honored Carmella Hoffman, owner and operator of Sunset View Creamery at Catharine Corners outside Odessa, as his 2017 New York State Senate “Woman of Distinction" in a ceremony in Albany on May 9th. People.

Photo: Senator O'Mara and Hoffman


 

Storage: Natural gas out, LPG still proposed

Citing an unsuccessful effort to secure "long-term contractual commitments from customers," a subsidiary of Crestwood Midstream Partners, the Arlington Storage Co., says in a compliance report filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it has "discontinued efforts" to expand natural gas storage in salt caverns along the western shore of Seneca Lake, say published reports. However, while opponents Wednesday hailed this as a victory in the two-year-plus protest that has led to hundreds of trespass arrests outside Crestwood gates along Rt. 14 north of Watkins Glen, Crestwood is still moving ahead with its proposal to store liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in salt caverns, say the reports. That plan has been held up at the state level for several years.

State Senator Tom O'Mara, front left, and Asssemblyman Phil Palmesano, front right, with the Watkins Glen girls varsity basketball team Tuesday in the State Capitol.

 

Watkins basketball team honored in Albany

The Watkins Glen girls varsity basketball Class C state champions visited Albany on Tuesday, May 9, where the Senate and Assembly paid tribute to the team with a special Resolution. Government.

One of several gaming tables at the Watkins Glen Fire Department's annual Casino Night at the fire station.

 

Watkins firefighters hold a busy Casino Night

The Watkins Glen Fire Department bays were packed with people Saturday night, May 6 at the annual Casino Night there -- a fundraiser for the department. The community room was also in use for Bingo. Blackjack, Beat the Dealer, Money Wheels and Over-Under 7 were among the games of chance in the truck bays. There were also raffles for firearms, a $500 cash giveaway, door prizes, beverages, and various foods. Admission was any cash donation at the door.

Photo: A roll of the dice.

Among the night's event winners were South Seneca's Emily Lavarnway (100 Meter Hurdles and Long Jump) and Watkins Glen's Patrick Hazlitt (800 Meters).

 

O-M hosts the annual Legends of Night meet

More than 400 athletes from 21 schools competed May 5th at the Legends of the Night Track and Field Invitational at Odessa-Montour High School, braving cool weather and late rain. Sports.

 

Left: O-M's Andy Fudala on the podium after winning the 110 Meter Hurdles.

 

Ken Wilson honored with hospital award

Ken Wilson has been named recipient of the Schuyler Hospital Community Partner of the Year Award, presented annually to an organization or individual as recognition "for helping the hospital achieve its mission." Wilson served as Executive Director of the Schuyler Health Foundation from 2006-2008, co-chaired the Family of Friends campaign in 2011, raising $300,000 for the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility, and continues "to be one of our strongest supporters in the community," says Jim Watson, the hospital President and CEO. The 2016 award went to the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary.

Left: Ken Wilson and his award

Watkins Glen's next Superintendent of Schools, Gregory Kelahan, greets School Board member Gloria Brubaker at the May 2 board meeting. The board approved his contract. Pact.

 

Board introduces next school superintendent

The man selected recently by the Watkins Glen School Board to be the next district superintendent, Gregory Kelahan, was introduced during the May 2 board session. He spoke briefly, saying he had toured the school that day and was impressed by it. Current Superintendent Tom Phillips, due to retire no later than Oct. 16, said Kelahan had met with staff and with "the administration team, and the feeling was 'Wow! This is gonna be good.' We're off to a great start." Kelahan, who comes on board July 1, will serve initially with the title of deputy superintendent.

Check presented for Summer Rec. Schools.
Board meeting summary. Report.
Board approves contract with next superintendent. Pact.

From left: Watkins Village Trustee Kevin Thornton, Clerk Donna Beardsley, and Sergeant in Charge Steve Decker listen to Streets Superintendent Don Perry the May 1 Village Board meeting.

 

Board okays state champions sign request

The Watkins Glen Village Board on May 1st approved the placement of a sign observing Watkins Glen as home to Watkins Glen High School's state champion boys cross country team and state champion girls basketball team, both titleists during the 2016-17 school year. A request for placement of a sign was made by the school district. The board -- with suggestions that the sign might be afffixed to a "Welcome to Watkins Glen" sign -- left it to Streets Superintendent Don Perry to pick a suitable spot. "Use your judgment," said Mayor Sam Schimizzi (inset).

Casey Max belts out a song during concert April 29 at WGHS.

 

Concert features jazz, bluegrass at WGHS

The groups Casey Max and the DixieKats (dance, New Orleans jazz and Dixieland music) and Rebecca Colleen and the Chore Lads (bluegrass and Americana music) entertained for three hours April 29 during a Rotary Club-sponsored concert in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. The event raised funds for Rotary community projects.

Left: Rebecca McDonald

 

Odessa-Montour holds its annual prom at WGI

The prom season is upon us. Odessa-Montour held its annual party April 28 at the Watkins Glen International Media Center, the school's locale of choice for the gala in recent years. Prom.

Left: This group chose shades as its theme.

Lt. Michael A. Notarfonzo took his honorary "final walk out"from work -- between lines of fellow law officers -- as he left the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office into retirement on April 28. He will be back, though, working part-time as needed.

 

Lt. Notarfonzo honored upon his retirement

Schuyler County Sheriff's Lt. Michael A. Notarfonzo retired April 28 after nearly 39 years with the department, and greeting him upon his departure were two lines of fellow law officers lining the driveway outside the Sheriff's Office, providing him with a "final walk out" from work that honored his many years of service. On hand too were family members: his mother, two brothers and daughter-in-law. Notarfonzo -- the department's longest serving member ever -- began his career in the Sheriff's Office in 1978, and worked in the jail, on dispatch, on the road, as a sergeant and as lieutenant. "I figured they'd try to do something," he said of Friday's gathering. "This is pretty nice."

Above top: Lt. Notarfonzo after the honorary walk.
Above bottom: Lt. Notarfonzo greets the man who hired him nearly 39 years ago, retired Sheriff Michael Maloney.

 

Schuyler Envirothon title goes to Bradford

A team from the Bradford school district wins the Schuyler title during the annual Envirothon competition in Owego. Schools.

Left: Members of 2nd-place Martens team from O-M.

 

Rotary honors DeBolt as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Aidan DeBolt (right) was honored April 27 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for April. DeBolt was introduced by teacher Kelly Muir, who described the honoree as "a strong student" who is a class and club leader and a standout swimmer -- a three-time Section IV champion. "He is talented and smart," Muir said, noting that he plays the guitar and "sings beautifully." Another teacher, Karen Armstrong, sent word that DeBolt "is always polite, kind and hardworking" and is "a natural leader" and "a great student who takes pride in a job well done." DeBolt said he plans to attend Ithaca College and study Emerging Media -- "and from there, I guess I'll let life decide."

 

Vernyi-Kellogg is Assistant County Attorney

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman has appointed Olesya Vernyi-Kellogg as an Assistant County Attorney, effective April 24. She joins Getman in representing Schuyler County in civil litigation, family court prosecutions and social services law. She has served as a staff attorney with the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, and before that worked at the Maryland Attorney General's Office. She is a 2014 graduate of the Syracuse University College of Law. The County Attorney's staff also consists of deputy county attorney Kristin Hazlitt and secetaries Donna Hyer and Vickie Perrazini.

Photo: Olesya Vernyi-Kellogg.

The WGHS Model UN team poses before leaving for Cornell.

 

10 WGHS students participate in Model UN

Students from the Watkins High School's Model United Nations and Global Issues class traveled to Cornell University for the annual Model UN Conference attended by more than 1,000 delegates from around the country and the world. Conference.

 

School Board approves next superintendent

The Watkins Glen School Board voted unanimously April 18 to appoint Gregory K. Kelahan (right) as the next superintendent of schools, to succeed the retiring Tom Phillips. Kelahan, currently superintendent of the Oriskany Central School District, will start as Deputy Superintendent on July 1, taking the Superintendent's title when Phillips uses up his vacation and sick days, no later than Oct. 16. Schools.

Board approves budget plan; 4 candidates competing for 3 board seats. Schools.
Board weighs easement proposals for racing research center, wastewater treatment plant. People.
For a district summary of Tuesday's meeting, click here.

 

SWCD holds a spring tradition: its tree sale

The Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District held its 37th annual Green Arbor Program April 22 -- the distribution of bare root seedlings and transplants on Earth Day. Agriculture.

Photo: Dan Lewis of Montour Falls at the sale, with his family's trees and a bluebird house made by the SWCD.

From left at the Watkins Glen firefighters' banquet: Chaplain Tony Specchio, Deputy Chief Robbie DeDominick, Chief Charlie Scaptura

 

Watkins firefighters hold annual banquet

Firefighters and officials from around the area gathered April 22 at the Hidden Valley 4-H banquet hall for the annual Watkins Glen Fire Company banquet. The master of ceremonies was Paul Cartwright. Chief Charlie Scaptura delivered his annual report, and awards were given for training and response, as well as for years of service.

Left top: Bill Haeffner was honored for 20 years of service with the department. Among others honored were Dominick Smith (25 years) and Joe Matwiejow (60 years).

Left bottom: Among the many guests on hand were fire inspector Dale Jaynes and longtime fire official and EMT Rebecca Franklin-Guild.

From left: School Board President Rob Halpin, Superintendent Chris Wood, and board member Scott Westervelt.

 

O-M School Board OKs tenure for 7 teachers

The Odessa-Montour School Board approved tenure for seven teachers at a meeting April 19 at the school. Granted tenure were Ashley Cross (right), Elementary Education; Kara Dougherty, Mathematics; Molly Kinnetz, Foreign Language; Jennifer Kreamer, Music Education; Margaret Mortimer, Elementary Education; Jennifer Sarno, Elementary Education; and Kevin Tarbert, Science.

A pair of three-year seats on the board will be filled in the May 16 election. Running uncontested are incumbent Jennifer Mosher and newcomer William Shrout. Christian Maphis decided not to seek a second term.

Photo in text: Ashley Cross, along with the other teachers granted tenure, was present at the meeting.

At the Business Expo

From left: Watkins Glen High School teacher Kaz Popovich and students Sara McManus and Kayla Smith were on hand April 19 at the 11th Annual Business Expo at the Watkins Glen Community Center promoting their school's May 18 Job Fair. Sixty vendors were present for the Expo, organized each year by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. Business.

Seeking information on stolen excavator

The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft of a 1995 Caterpillar 320L excavator belonging to the Schuyler County Highway Department from a job site on County Route 1 near Lewis Road in the Town of Hector. It is believed to have been stolen Friday night or Saturday morning, April 14 or 15, and appears to have been loaded onto a lowboy trailer. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 607-535-8222.

 

And on The Odessa File's Agriculture Page:

Local farmer and forester Brett Chedzoy (pictured at right) earns a chapter service award from the New York Forest Owners Association, while a Watkins Glen coffee business plans a Meet the Farmer event on April 22nd. Agriculture.

Annual Report

The Village of Odessa releases its annual Drinking Water Quality Report. For a look, click here.

 

An update on the Watkins State Park project

With work well underway on the $6.5 million Watkins Glen State Park upgrade project (right), the Chamber of Commerce presents an update on the project's various aspects. Business.

Kids race to pick up eggs at the April 15 Lafayette Park hunt.

 

Egg hunts held in Watkins Glen and Odessa

Easter Egg hunts were held around the region and country on April 15 -- including at Lafayette Park in Watkins Glen and at the Odessa-Montour school's athletic field. The Lafayette Park hunt -- which started at 11 a.m. under a sunny sky -- was hosted by Cabins to Castles on Seneca Real Estate, and boasted a disc jockey, Tom Strong. This was the second year of the event, and attracted hundreds of people. The O-M egg hunt was sponsored by Odessa American Legion Post 676. It was held under darker skies at 1 p.m. as rain approached, and attracted fewer participants than in past years. The O-M hunt, once overseen by the Lions Club, has been a staple of Easter weekend for decades.

Photo: The Easter Bunny -- seen above at the Odessa-Montour event -- was present at both egg hunts.

 

A walk along the Catharine Valley Trail

The weather was chilling but the walk energizing on Monday, Jan. 30 along the Catharine Valley Trail between Watkins Glen and Montour Falls. Photographer Liz Fraboni hiked with a camera, and snapped some photos of nature's way along the trail. The photos by Fraboni, who has been featured on these pages many times in past years, are presented this time at right and on Features.

Left: Working on the traffic light. Right: Working on an extension behind the concession stand.

 

Watkins Glen State Park project progressing

Paving of the Watkins Glen State Park parking lot across Franklin Street from the park is well underway, as is installation of traffic lights at the corner of Franklin and 10th Streets and construction in the park itself -- including a new visitor center and an extension to the rear of the concession/restroom structure. The $6.5 million park enhancement project will include a green space fronting the gorge.

 

Official outlines Catholic Charities services

Charles Nocera, executive director of Catholic Charities of Chemung/Schuyler, was the guest speaker April 13 at the weekly luncheon meeting of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club. Nocera (right) outlined the services provided by Catholic charities in Schuyler County. A look at the organization and all it does for Schuyler residents can be found here.

Photo in text: Charles Nocera at Rotary

 

2 Montour Falls residents face meth charge

Richard A. Franklin, 41, and Rachel J. Pyhtila, 19, both of Montour Falls, were charged April 10 with Unlawful Manufacture of Methamphetamine in the third degree, a Class D felony. The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office said the pair were found in possession of "several items and chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine" when "a search warrant (was) executed at a Henry Street Apartment in Montour Falls." Both were both remanded to jail in lieu of bail.

 

Runners brave cold at Arc Grand Prix Run

Hundreds of people were on hand for the 4th Annual Arc Grand Prix Run/Walk at the Watkins Glen International race track on a cold April 8th morning. Race.

Left: Race medal.

One of the autocross competitors makes his way through a line of cones in the parking area outside the WGI garage.

 

Green Grand Prix turns white and very cold

Snow and a bone-chilling wind greeted the annual Green Grand Prix April 7 at the Watkins Glen International race track. The event -- despite the cold -- proceeded with its planned schedule, which included a fuel-efficiency challenge, a road rally, talks in the WGI Media Center, and an afternoon autocross competition near the WGI Tech Garage -- a first this year. The Green Grand Prix, which started in 2005, has an educational focus -- on motor technology with a cleaner environment in mind through creative fuel and driving efficiencies. It attracts students -- 20 of the day's 37 registered vehicles were from colleges and BOCES districts -- who it encourages to actively participate as the region moves toward cleaner energy.

Photo: Flag man signals the start of an autocross run by a fuel-efficient car. Said one GGP spokesman: "The intent of the autocross is to demonstrate the handling and performance capabilities" of such vehicles.

 

Hazlitt breaks school record at 400 Meters

Watkins Glen High School senior Patrick Hazlitt broke a 33-year-old school record in the 400 Meter Run April 6 during a non-league track meet at Campbell-Savona against the host school and Wellsville High. Hazlitt posted a time of 51.4 seconds, breaking the 52.0 mark set by Shawn Callahan in 1984.


Left:
Patrick Hazlitt after his run at Campbell-Savona. (Photo provided)

 

Rotary honors Povoski as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Collin Povoski was honored April 6 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for April. Povoski was introduced by Superintendent Chris Wood, who described the honoree as "a quiet leader with a positive attitude," "a strong communicator" and "a role model ... involved in everything" -- on the Summer Rec program staff, as a volunteer at school events, and in the Rotary-sponsored Interact program. Povoski, ranked sixth in his class with a 93 grade-point average, is a member of National Honor Society and Wood's O-M Leadership Council, and was an All-Star on the school's soccer team. He plans to attend Tompkins Cortland Community College in the fall for Liberal Arts.

Photo: O-M senior Collin Povoski at the Rotary meeting.

Foods of different lands -- such as French crepes, Norwegian meatballs, and Indian Samosa -- were featured at the International Night dinner prepared by members of the sponsoring Model United Nations class and their parents.

 

Other lands featured at International Night

The annual International Night held April 5th in the Watkins Glen High School cafeteria featured foods from other lands and speeches about various of those lands -- including two talks by current exchange students Angelika Friis of Sweden and Moeko Oshima of Japan. Both were scheduled to leave after the dinner for a trip to North Carolina for Spring Break. Angelika is attending Odessa-Montour High School, and will return to Sweden about a week after graduation. Moeko, who is attending WGHS, will travel through the U.S. after the school year before returning home in August. Also speaking at Wednesday's dinner was WGHS student Enqi Lin, who was born in China before moving to the U.S.

Photo: Exchange students Angelika Friis of Sweden and Moeko Oshima of Japan.

Karen Herron, left, and Barbara Hubbell are community ambassadors for the Friends of the Watkins Library (FOWL). (Photo provided)

 

FOWL picks its annual Reading Ambassadors

WATKINS GLEN, Apirl 6 -- To celebrate National Library Week and National School Library Month, Friends of the Watkins Library (FOWL) have selected Karen Herron and Barbara Hubbell as community ambassadors. Maggie Field, Watkins Glen High School Library Media Specialist, has chosen Junior Ashley Caslin (right) as school district ambassador.

National School Library Month and National Library Week are an annual celebration of the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians. All types of libraries -- school, public, academic and special -- participate. FOWL is an organization that supports the Watkins Glen Public Library.

Says FOWL: "When you see any of these ambassadors, ask them for information regarding membership in FOWL and how you can help in supporting your Watkins Glen public and school libraries. Memberships by area residents help sponsor programs for children, Books Sandwiched In, provide seasonal plants and flowers, give financial aid for computer classes, and provide financial support to unanticipated needs of the library."

The FOWL membership form can be found at the WGPL, the high school library, from the ambassadors, and at the following website: http://www.watkinsglenlibrary.org/

Photo in text: Ashley Caslin (Photo provided)

Enjoying free Ben & Jerry cones were four cast members of the recent Watkins Glen High School musical "Into the Woods": from left, Dakota Cole, Maria Brubaker, Scott Brubaker, Phebe Wickham.

 

Ice cream season arrives with free cones

It was Free Cone Day April 4th at Ben & Jerry's ice cream store in Watkins Glen -- its opening day of the season. A steady stream of customers were on hand, helping raise funds for this year's designated recipient -- the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club -- which had several members helping to scoop. Rotary will use the funds to help in its community service projects. Other ice cream outlets in the village are also open, including the Glen Dairy Bar, Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor and Colonial Inn -- all, like Ben & Jerry's, on Franklin Street.

Roche running for Steuben judge

Philip J. Roche of Painted Post announces his candidacy for Steuben County and Family Court Judge. Government.

 

Village Board celebrates mayor's birthday

Birthday hats and cupcakes were in evidence at the April 3rd Watkins Glen Village Board meeting, in honor of the 59th birthday that day of Mayor Sam Schimizzi. While only trustee Kevin Thornton was seen donning the celebratory hat, cupcakes were consumed afterward, although without a birthday song. The meeting, low-keyed, saw the board accept the resignations into retirement of:

-- Mark Specchio, Superintendent of Utilities, after 22 years with the village, effective June 30; and
-- Minard LeFever, Electric Department supervisor, after 34 years with the village, effective June 30.

Photo: Trustee Kevin Thornton, left, with a hat in honor of the birthday of Mayor Sam Schimizzi, right.

Congressman Tom Reed listens intently to one of his constituents following the town hall meeting in Tyrone.

 

Reed greeted by contentious Tyrone audience

Congressman Tom Reed held four town hall meetings April 1st, including one at the Tyrone Fire Hall, where he was challenged loudly by an audience of 130 people upset with the current moves by the government in Washington, D.C. Government.

Phebe Wickham as the Witch in WGHS's Into the Woods.

 

Into the Woods ends its 3-day run at WGHS

The musical Into the Woods -- presented by the Watkins Glen High School senior class and directed by veterans Tim and Michelle Benjamin -- was presented for a third and final time April 2nd in the school auditorium. It opened on March 31. The play followed a variety of fairy tale characters as they headed into the woods to fulfill their wishes, actions which led to haunting consequences. Songs included "Children Will Listen," "Giants in the Sky," "No More" and "Into the Woods." Features.

Photo: William Yeater as The Baker in Into the Woods.

 

Andretti to receive Argetsinger Award

Mario Andretti will be honored on Aug. 31 by the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) with the 2017 Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports. Andretti.

Drive underway for Sheriffs' Institute

Sheriff William Yessman announces the start of an annual drive designed to help support initiatives of the New York State Sheriffs' Institute -- including a Summer Camp for economically challenged children. People.

 

Concrete at Park

This aerial shot from Tony Vickio's drone snapped March 30th shows concrete being poured for a visitor center at the Watkins Glen State Park near the park's concession shop. It's part of a $6.5 million project that is turning the previous parking area into greened landscape with improved amenities, and establishing a block-long parking lot across Franklin Street.

 

Schuyler receiving communications funds

Schuyler County is among counties statewide that have been selected to share $45 million in state funding to help enhance and support local emergency communications systems. Government.

 

Capital project wins voter approval in Watkins

The proposed $12.6 million Watkins Glen School District capital project was approved by voters March 28th, 245-196. The project features roof replacements, Elementary School renovations, improved exterior lighting at the athletic field bleachers, an additional tennis court, and the establishment of a synthetic turf football field and turf infields on the baseball and softball diamonds. "I continue to be amazed by this community and the support it gives to the school," said Superintendent Tom Phillips afterward.

Photo: At the voting site: the School Board meeting room.

Two anglers tried their luck under a Montour Falls bridge.

 

1st day of trout season leaves much to desire

Anglers were out along Catharine Creek April 1 for the first day of trout season, but early reactions showed disappointment. The current was heavy, muddying the water. "It's chocolate," said one man. "You can't see the fish. Maybe it will be better in a couple of days." Said another: "I think it's a lost cause." All reported meager results -- mostly no fish at all. "It would have been better in January," said a third man about the thaw that month. "But if we'd been caught fishing then, we'd have gotten the hook."

WGHS girls team honored

Watkins Glen girls basketball players Amanda Pike, left, and Mariah Gonzalez spoke at the March 27 Lions Club dinner at the Chateau LaFayette Reneau in Hector, where the entire state championship team was honored. Sports.

Alicia Learn kicks the ball ... into the hands of Sam Brubaker.

 

Kickball fund-raiser held at Glen Field House

A "WG Kickball Classic & Family Fun Night" was held Friday evening, March 24 in the Watkins Glen High School Field House. The event, sponsored by the Watkins Glen Faculty Association, featured a team of high school teachers against one with elementary school teachers. Also involved: kids' games, a gift-basket silent auction, face painting, concessions, a book exchange, and a 50-50 raffle. The goal: to raise money for Ronald McDonald House charities.

Photo: Isobel Scheffey was among the students on hand.

Baskets full of themed gifts (movie night food, beach toys, toiletries, etc.) were available in a silent auction.

 

Rachel Vickio, born in 1913, turns 104

A woman who her family says might be the oldest person in Schuyler County -- and who is certainly at least one of the oldest -- turned 104 March 24. Rachel Vickio, born in Schuyler County in 1913 and the eldest of nine children of Thomas and Christina Martino Filippetti, has lived in Watkins Glen her entire life. She married her husband, Nicholas, in 1945, and they raised their two children, Tony and Nicholas ("Chip"), in Watkins Glen. She resides now with her grandson Mark, his wife Betty, and her great granddaughter and namesake, Rachel. Last year, when she turned 103, she was asked for the secret to her long life, and recalled a visitor in her 50s who, while climbing stairs, said she wished she were 30 again. Rachel laughed and retorted that she wished she was 80 again. These days, says a family member, Rachel "still makes meals, plays with her great grandchildren, writes to her loved ones, and is even active on Facebook to keep track of our family all over the world." A family celebration was held Sunday, March 26.

Photo in text: Rachel Vickio (Photo provided)

 

Glen police car towed after odd vehicle stop

A motorist faces numerous charges in a March 23 traffic-stop incident in which a Watkins Glen police car was disabled and three other cars struck, and which was followed by a high-speed chase. Government.

To view a Facebook video of the incident in Watkins Glen, click here.

 

Cuomo adding funds to budget for DSPs

State budget negotiations have resulted in an agreement by Governor Andrew Cuomo to provide increased funding in the final 2017-18 state spending plan to compensate direct service professionals for the work they do to support people with disabilities. Government.

 

Rotary honors Bryington as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Cameron Bryington was honored March 23 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for March. Bryington was introduced by teacher Pete Fitch, who described the honoree as "hard working" and "a bright young man who others look to for help." Bryington, a member of the school's bowling team and a member of Tech Club, said he plans to attend Corning Community College and then the University at Buffalo, studying engineering "with a focus on the mechanical and aerospace aspects of it," with the goal of a job at either Lockheed Martin or Boeing.

Photo: Cameron Bryington receives his Student of the Month plaque from Rotary Club president Bill Phoenix.

 

Man indicted on perjury, contempt charges

A Town of Montour man, Gary Kline, 61, is indicted on perjury and contempt counts in connection with a recent trial in Schuyler County Court. Officials say the charges stem from Kline's jury service on a rape case that ended in a hung jury and mistrial. Government.

The Watkins Glen girls varsity basketball team at Wednesday's gathering. (Photo by Don Romeo)

 

School assembly celebrates WGHS state title

The Watkins Glen girls varsity basketball team's state title prompted a school assembly March 22 featuring music, speeches and plenty of cheers. Schools.

 

WGHS holds annual Spud Run on a sunny day

More than 100 runners -- young kids, older kids and adults -- took part March 21in the annual Spud Run at Watkins Glen High School. The event, normally held on or closer to St. Patrick's Day, was delayed from last week by the weather. Tuesday was sunny and bordering on warm as participants ran from -- and to -- the area in front of the school's Field House, with two laps around the school in-between. WGHS cross country runners were the top finishers, with Gabe Planty first, Aaron Planty second, Shawn Rutledge third and Sam Hanley fourth. The top female finisher was cross country's Julya Slater.

Photo: Teacher Sam Brubaker and his daughter Sydney, a fifth grader who finished 38th in the Spud Run, well ahead of dad.

Village elections held in Odessa, Burdett

There were no surprises in the March 21 village elections in Odessa and Burdett. With no opposition -- and no write-in campaigns -- the following were elected:

Odessa -- 34 votes:
Mayor Keith Pierce: incumbent, 33 votes
Trustee Robin Thoman: incumbent, 30 votes
Trustee O. Anne Centurelli: newcomer, 32 votes
Justice Ron Goossen: incumbent, 32 votes.

Burdett -- 25 votes:
Mayor Dale Walter: incumbent, 17 votes
Trustee Linda Arcangeli: incumbent, 17 votes
Trustee Judith Mangus: incumbent, 22 votes

Hannah Morse is congratulated by her basketball coach, Alicia Learn, during distribution of award certificates Monday night.

 

State champs, other WGHS athletes honored

Members of the state champion Watkins Glen girls varsity basketball team were honored March 20 at a meeting of the Watkins Glen School Board along with other outstanding WGHS winter athletes: Patrick Hazlitt and Jacob Carocci from Indoor track, Kameryn Sheldon from wrestling, and Aidan DeBolt from swimming. Those four, along with each member of the girls basketball squad, received a school district Outstanding Athletic Achievement Award from his or her respective coach. The girls squad: Ryanna LaMoreaux, Hannah Morse, Makenna Fraboni, Clara Chedzoy, Amanda Pike, Katlyn Kernan, Emmie Bond, Taylor Kelly, Mariah Gonzalez, Julia Reilly, Mikenna Ayers, Kendra Larson and Jazmin Shea.

Photo in text: Patrick Hazlitt with his coach, Kelly Sterner.

The Watkins Glen girls celebrate after their last-second victory. (Photo provided)

 

Watkins Glen rallies, wins state title at buzzer

The Watkins Glen girls varsity basketball team rallied from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit March 19 and scored at the buzzer on a baseline floater by Hannah Morse to defeat Port Jefferson 65-63 for the Class C New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship. The title, the first for the Watkins Glen girls, saw Amanda Pike score 17 points, including 13 in the second half. Emmie Bond scored 12, while Taylor Kelly and Clara Chedzoy scored 9 each, Morse and Mariah Gonzalez 8 each, and Ryanna LaMoreaux 2. Sports.

Watkins Glen Athletic Director Rod Weeden posted the winning shot on Facebook. See it here.

And for a video posted by the NYSPHSAA, click here.

 

A column by Odessa Mayor Keith PIerce

Mayor Keith Pierce returns with another in a series of columns about life and issues in the Village of Odessa. This time the title is "Another favorable budget ... and get out to vote." Column.

Left: Mayor Keith Pierce

Check out The Odessa File's Village of Odessa page here.

 

The 7th installment of The Answers

Travis Durfee, President of the Watkins Glen Faculty Association, weighs in with The Answers, a monthly column dealing with education in the Watkins Glen School District. This is the seventh installment. Column.

 

 

Left: Travis Durfee

John Coates and Hannah Rosier perform a duet in Honk!

 

Honk! ends its 2-day run at Odessa-Montour

The musical Honk! -- presented by the Odessa-Montour Fine Arts Boosters and with roles filled by O-M students -- completed its two-day run with matinee and evening performances March 18 in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. The play is a story about a duckling named Ugly who doesn't fit in with the rest of the barnyard poultry and turns mistakenly to a villain, the Cat. He escapes the Cat's clutches, gets lost and encounters a goose squadron leader and other memorable characters, including a bullfrog who tells him "Someone's gonna love ya -- warts and all." And at the end, someone does.. Play.

Photo: Noah Brewster portrayed Drake in Honk!

Flames shoot out of a structure on Shaffer Road near Newfield.

 

Fire extensively damages Newfield-area home

The Odessa Fire Department was called out Thursday night, March 16 at about 11:30 to assist the Newfield Fire Company battling a blaze at 1399 Shaffer Road near Newfield. Also on hand were the Enfield, West Danby and Community fire departments. Firefighters worked for two hours to bring the blaze under control. It destroyed a wing of the home, and left the rest damaged.

A slot car track was part of the model car show at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen. At the table on March 17 were, from left, featured weekend speaker Frank Spena; Dave Van Duzer, co-owner of a slot-car shop in Horseheads, and photographer Angelo Lisuzzo.

 

Annual Model Car Show concludes at Center

The 4th Annual Model Car Show at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen started March 17 and continued through March 19. Featured March 18 was a talk by Frank Spena, a professional slot car racing champion. Details on Sports.

 

Parking lot work underway across from gorge

Work has begun (above) to prepare the parking lot at the corner of Franklin and 10th Streets in Watkins Glen for use by visitors to the Watkins Glen State Park across the street. With the demolition recently of structures on the east end of the street, workers have dug out much of the parking lot base, reportedly for the placement of gravel and a drainage system. Parking has been eliminated on the gorge side of Franklin, where a greenscape is being developed -- all part of a $6.5 million state project.

 

Rotary honors Hazlitt as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Patrick Hazlitt was honored March 9 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for March. Hazlitt was introduced by teacher Sam Brubaker, who described the honoree as a "hard working, respectful, dedicated student" and as "a man of high character and one who gives back to his community" through work with Seneca Santa, the Catharine Valley Trail Half Marathon and the United Way dinner. Hazlitt, who led the WGHS cross country team to a state title this year and recently placed 7th in the state in the 1600 Meter Run, is a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council, and was a member last spring of the Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding scholar-athletes sponsored annually by this website. He will attend the University at Buffalo, where he said he was recruited to run cross country, indoor track and outdoor track -- a future he called "exciting."

Photo in text: Patrick Hazlitt at Rotary.

Student William Yeater sings "Impossible Year" during concert.

 

Student talents showcased at WGHS concert

Student musicians from the 7th through 12th grades took the stage at the Watkins Glen High School auditorium Wednesday night, March 8 for a concert demonstrating their abilities and what they had learned from three visiting artists. Schools.

 

Capital project outlined; Summer Rec a 'go'

Watkins Glen School Superintendent Tom Phillips -- speaking at the March 6 School Board meeting -- outlined the $12.6 million capital project heading for a March 28 vote of district residents. He described its need, its three phases, and its 80.9% state aid. Only one question was asked by a resident on hand to listen: Why is the vote on March 28 and not in May with the budget? Said Phillips: "This is separate and apart from the budget" because "I didn't want people confused" by having to vote on the two issues at once.

Phillips also said that Cargill has approved a $15,000 grant for the Summer Rec program, which the school district and village of Watkins Glen have been trying to keep in operation. "So it's pretty much a 'go' right now. That is huge," he said.

Also: it was announced that three board seats are up for grabs for three-year terms in the May election -- those now held by Gloria Brubaker, Keith Caslin and Kris Clarkson. Potential candidates can pick up petition packets at the district office; deadline for submission is April 17.

Photo: Superintendent Tom Phillips prepares to present a powerpoint program on the proposed capital project.

Board meeting summary can be found here.

 

O-M hosts Exceptional Seniors games

The annual Interscholastic Athletic Conference Exceptional Seniors basketball games -- bonus games for players whose high school basketball careers have concluded -- were held Tuesday night, March 7 at Odessa-Montour High School.

In the girls game, the North players beat the South 54-46, while in the boys game, the South -- with two Watkins Glen representatives, Connor Seeley-Ion and Max Schimizzi -- came from behind to defeat the North, 87-79.

 

Left: O-M was represented on the South squad in the girls game by Sage Garrison, left.

 

Home a 'total loss' after Hornby Road blaze

An uninsured home on the Hornby Road in Monterey was, in the words of one official, "a total loss" Saturday morning after a blaze that started in the chimney. The alarm came at 10 a.m., with fire calls going out to the Monterey, East Campbell, Bradford, Burdett, Beaver Dams, Tyrone, Watkins Glen and Montour Falls departments. Schuyler County Emergency Management, state troopers, Sheriff's deputies and AMR Ambulance were also called. "Initial reports," said one official, "had an occupant still in the structure. He was safely evacuated. Water had to be trucked from the Watkins Glen International race track over five miles away," and additional tankers were requested. An attached garage was saved. Firefighters were on the scene for three hours "on a very cold day," the official said.

Photo: Firefighters battle the blaze. (Photo provided)

 

27 years later, Monks gets championship ring

Former Odessa-Montour High School wrestling standout Troy Monks, a three-time Section IV champion who went on to win a national title while wrestling for SUNY Cortland, finally receives a ring for that Division III championship. See story here.

 

Hazlitt wins 1600 heat, places 7th at States

Watkins Glen High School senior Patrick Hazlitt broke his own school record in the 1600 Meter Run, won his heat and finished 7th overall among public school runners and 8th among public school and Catholic runners March 4th at the New York State Indoor Track Championships on Staten Island. Hazlitt, who ran a time of 4:21.06, was also presented with the Section IV Sportsmanship Award at a morning ceremony.

Left: Patrick Hazlitt at States.

 

Collins inducted into Section IV Hall of Fame

Odessa-Montour alum Stefanie Collins was inducted March 4th into the Section IV Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton between sectional basketball title games there. Collins led O-M to a State Class D basketball title in 2001, when she was named the Class D State Player of the Year, and holds the all-time O-M scoring record with 2,204 career points. She played ball at St. Bonaventure University and has enjoyed a pro career in England and Europe for years. She was also the starting point guard on the 2012 Olympic basketball team representing Great Britain. Twenty-three people were inducted Saturday, including Elmira Notre Dame graduate and Olympic runner Molly Huddle and Candor graduate and basketball standout Megan Shay.

Photo in text: Stefanie Collins with her induction plaque

 

Fire levels old farmhouse on Hayes Road

Fire of undetermined origin destroyed a farmhouse on Hayes Road outside Montour Falls early Friday, March 3rd, bringing four fire departments to the scene. The structure, a two-story uninsured home with attached garage at 2510 Hayes Road, was reported on fire at 3:17 a.m. by its lone tenant, a man -- identified as a son of the building's owner, Ruth Hayes -- who was awakened by a smoke detector. Officials said the fire started in the area of the roof, and was thus above him; he raced outside and called 911. Firefighters from Montour Falls, Odessa, Watkins Glen and Millport responded to the scene, where they found flames 25 feet high upon their arrival. They were there for hours. Most of the building fell in on itself, into its basement, said an investigator. A portion of its framework remained. No injuries were reported. The investigator said the fire started at roof level in the area of the chimney, but that the cause is officially undetermined.

Photo in text: Framework of a portion of the structure was visible from the road later Friday.

Scenes of the Mardi Gras at the Watkins Community Center.

 

Humane Society holds 5th annual Mardi Gras

The Humane Society of Schuyler County's 5th annual Mardi Gras fund-raising party was held Feb. 25 at the Watkins Glen Community Center. Food and catering were donated by Nickel's Pit BBQ, and music was provided by Li'l Anne & Hot Cayenne (for the fifth straight year) and the Jess Novak Band of Syracuse. Patrons danced to both groups' tunes. There was also a silent auction with items donated by local businesses and individuals, caricature drawings, and a cash bar featuring local wines and craft beers. And as always, many of those in attendance wore masks, Mardi Gras-style.

Photo at right: Humane Society president Georgie Taylor

Li'l Anne & Hot Cayenne, one of two bands at the Mardi Gras.

 

SWCD bestows honors at its annual luncheon

The Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District showcases agricultural projects, presents Merit and Lifetime Service awards. Luncheon.

 

3 SWCD units combine forces on repair work

Soil and Water Conservation Districts from Schuyler, Yates and Chemung counties join together to repair and stabilize sections of the Keuka Lake outlet and Outlet Trail. Joint.

 

Rotary honors Crout as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Alyssa Crout (pictured at right) was honored Feb. 23 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for February. Crout was introduced by teacher/coach Greg Gavich, who described the honoree as "tough as nails" and "a very good student who takes her studies seriously." He said she is involved in numerous service organizations "and is president of virtually all of them," and is a member of Student Council and Interact, and vice-president of the Senior Class. She is a three-sport athlete -- volleyball, basketball and softball -- and an Honor Roll student. She plans to attend Corning Community College and enter the field of Nursing.

Map of proposed fast-food venture on vacant site in Watkins Glen where Pudgies Pizza once stood.

 

Developer tests water on fast-food venture

The Watkins Glen Planning Board on Feb. 22 heard from a representative of Kashyap Shah, who is interested in building a fast food restaurant on the now-vacant site that years ago held Pudgies Pizza. Shah -- the owner of the Franklin Plaza in Watkins Glen -- has an option on the vacant land, and wants assurances that he can obtain zoning variances to meet his needs before purchasing the property and building the business. For that and other items of interest at Wednesday's meeting, see Government.

Workers restore the Collier Stone to an upright position. (Photo by Tony Vickio)

 

Workers restore race course Collier Stone site

Watkins Glen International workers on Feb. 22 helped preserve a piece of Watkins Glen racing history by restoring the Collier Stone to an upright, solid position alongside the original Grand Prix course above the village. The stone, a native granite boulder, has a bronze plaque that says Samuel Carnes Collier (pictured at right) crashed there "while leading the Grand Prix 1950" -- a fatal accident in a Ferrari he had borrowed. His brother Miles, winner of the 1949 Grand Prix on the same course, never raced again, dying in 1954. The stone had in recent years been tipping and sinking. Tony Vickio, who snapped the photo above with his drone, said "Thanks to the WGI crew the stone now stands straight, marking a historic spot in the history ... of Road Racing in Watkins Glen."

The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel presented a $25,000 check Feb. 22 to the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross -- proceeds from the hotel's recent 6th annual Ice Bar celebration. From left: Hotel General Manager Carolyn Guyer; Finger Lakes Chapter board member Benita Nesbitt; Chapter Executive Director Brian McConnell; Chapter Major Gifts Officer Elizabeth Morrisey; and Hotel Sales Manager Liz Salamendra.

 

Ice Bar at hotel raises $25,000 for Red Cross

The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel's "hottest party in the coolest town" raises $25,000 this year and has now generated $100,000 in its six years for the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross. Business.

 

Above: Advertising pieces are among the ice sculptures at the Ice Bar event. (Photo provided)

Eric Hollenbeck addresses the Village Board, saying he would like to discuss the festival plans with them in the near future.

 

Village Board hears pitch on Film Festival

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Feb. 21 heard Eric Hollenbeck (right), a filmmaker and founder of the Finger Lakes Film Society, outline plans for the Oct. 20-24 Seneca Film Festival he is planning for Watkins Glen. He said he plans to screen films at The Glen Theater and hold events at other locales as a first step in attracting future film talent and production to this area, where they can take advantage of generous tax credits. Among his plans: utilizing talent in the high school. Hollenbeck, raised in Horseheads but a summer visitor to Seneca Lake growing up, says he recently returned to this area -- his "favorite place in the world" -- and hopes to spread his enthusiasm for it in the film community. He wants to make the festival an annual event: "I hope we can look back 50 years from now and see how big it has grown." His plan for October might involve a street closure -- "probably Second Street between the theater and Glen Mountain Market" -- and he urged beautification efforts at a couple of buildings he said need painting. "If I have to," he said, "I'll write letters to the owners offering to paint the buildings myself."

The Corning Museum of Glass will host a fundraiser for the Seneca Film Festival on Sunday night -- Oscar Night -- titled The 1st Annual Hollywood-Inspired Black-Tie Gala Celebrating The Academy Awards. See details here.

 

A message from our area's Assemblyman

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano takes a hard look at Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget proposal, and asks for your input on it. Palmesano.

 

Left: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.

O-M's Andy Fudala, left, and Watkins Glen's Aidan DeBolt.

 

DeBolt wins 50, 100; Fudala wins Breaststroke

Watkins Glen's Aidan DeBolt posts two victories at the Section IV, Class C Swimming Championships, while Odessa-Montour's Andy Fudala wraps up an unbeaten 100 Breaststroke season with a sectional title in his specialty. Sports.

 

Project eases flooding risk in Town of Cayuta

State funding enables the Jackson Creek flood attenuation and fish habitat project to proceed -- the intent being to eliminate a flooding risk to nearby County Route 13. Project.

Legislator Barbara Halpin talks to Legislator Mark Rondinaro before the start of the meeting.

 

Legislators OK 10-year underwater license

Schuyler County Legislators on Feb. 13, at their regular monthly meeting, approved a 10-year license with the State Office of General Services for the use by the county of state-owned underwater land at Seneca Harbor Park and beneath the marina there. County Administrator Tim O'Hearn explained that land underwater is controlled by the state, and that before this license the county had a 25-year lease at the park that extended to 2016. The new license, for a shorter period of time, costs a total of $10,795.42. "It allows us to continue using the park -- and the marina and docks -- for public purposes," O'Hearn said.

Legislators also:

--Approved the hiring of a third Assistant District Attorney, Jeremiah King of the Rochester area, at an annual salary of $62,000, effective this week.
--Acknowledged the appointment of Kate Bartholomew as the Town of Montour representative on the Environmental Management Council for a three-year term.

Photo in text: County Attorney Steven Getman makes a point at the Legislature meeting.

 

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The result of work at the park on Friday, Feb. 10.

 

Work on State Park involves Indian Trail

Work on Feb 10 at the Watkins Glen State Park -- site of an ongoing, yearlong $6.5 million project that will transform the park entrance -- included carving out a path to, and up, the old Indian Trail, closed to hikers for years. Among the project goals, which include returning the longstanding parking area to green space and expanding parking across Franklin Street, is a reopening of the Indian Trail.

Brrrrrrr!!

The Seneca Harbor Pier, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017: The wind was blowing, the waves were crashing, and the icicles were forming and growing.

 

Rotary honors Rong Lin as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Rong Lin was honored Feb. 9 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for February. He was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who said the honoree -- who came to this country from China four years ago and has been in her history classes for the past two years -- is "the most incredibly hard-working student" and has "been learning English while learning American history, American culture and American figures of speech ... He values learning in a way that is very unique." She said he is also on the varsity swim team, whose other members "love having him" there. "It has been a real privilege" having him as a student, she added, noting: "He is an amazing young man" who will do well in the world, and "is a true asset to the community." He plans to attend college in New York State.

 

O'Mara, Palmesano give update at Rotary

State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano paid their annual visit Feb. 9 to a meeting of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club at the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge.

The event was held in conjunction with the Schuyler County League of Women Voters.

The two men provided an update on state politics, touching on: (Click here)

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara, right, speaks as Assemblyman Phil Palmesano watches at Rotary session.

Drawing highlights the planned turf fields (the tan infield areas on the baseball and softball fields would be turf, too)

 

Watkins School Board OKs capital project

A $12.64 million project with "no impact on taxes" will go to Watkins Glen school district voters on March 28, the School Board decided Monday night, Feb. 6. The project includes elementary school and high school upgrades, a turf football field, turf baseball and softball infields, extensive school roof repair work, and other improvements. The project, in four phases, was outlined to the School Board by the Hunt engineering firm's Director of Architecture, Jeffrey Robbins, pictured at right. Schools.

Alfredo Garcia of Elmira poses on a large ice chair, a popular spot for pictures and centrally located among the ice sculptures.

 

Annual Ice Bar concludes at Hotel

The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel's mid-winter Ice Bar featuring ice-sculpted bars, ice-sculpted advertising signs and a large ice chair, ended its 3-day run Saturday night, Feb. 4. The event was sold out Friday and Saturday nights.

Left: Visitors could sample wines and various foods at the Ice Bar gathering.

One of the ice bars set up to distribute drinks behind the hotel.

 

Man faces multiple charges following rollover

An Indiana, Pa. man was charged with multiple driving offenses after his pickup truck crashed and overturned early Saturday, Feb. 4 following a traffic stop that he allegedly fled in the Village of Watkins Glen. People.

Green Arbor, Fish Stocking programs set

Every year -- and again in 2017 -- the Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District offers the Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale, also known as the Green Arbor Program, and the Fish Stocking Program. For details, click here.

Part of the act: Hanlon third grader Isaac Hough brandishes a plastic bat as he chases a Wizard who is hiding behind O-M Athletic Manager Greg Gavich.

 

Harlem Wizards pack gym on PFO's behalf

A capacity crowd filled the Odessa-Montour gym Tuesday night, Jan. 17 as the traveling and entertaining Harlem Wizards basketball team -- whose ads read "tricks, hoops and alley oops" -- met O-M faculty and administrators in a game full of fun that often interacted with the crowd. The event, organized by the B.C. Cate/Hanlon PFO, raised funds for that group's public events. Said a spokeswoman: The PFO wanted to provide "a community event," and that the turnout and support was "amazing."

Left: Dunks were plentiful; and the gym spectators, who packed the bleachers, were amused by the Wizard hijinks.

Tom Cook after receiving the Citizen of the Year Award.

 

Odessa Board honors Cook as Citizen of Year

Former Odessa Village Mayor Tom Cook (who served from 1989 to 1995), well-known locally for his construction business and a man often sought by the village for his knowledge and opinions regarding the water system there, was honored by the Odessa Village Board on Jan. 16 as the village's fourth annual Citizen of the Year. Cook, present at Monday's Village Board session to discuss water issues, had no idea he was being honored -- standard each year with the award presentation. The honor was previously bestowed on Charlie Haeffner, Jeff Parmenter and Bonnie Scott.

 

Rally: Hike Arc funds to offset wage increase

Rally participants at the Arnot Mall call on Governor Cuomo to increase state support for human-service agencies to help offset the effects of the minimum-wage hike. People.

Left: At the rally.

Schuyler Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan left, and Legislator Mark Rondinaro at Monday night's meeting.

 

County to take Cultural Center under its wing

The Schuyler County Legislature will meet in special session on Jan. 23 to approve a lease agreement to oversee the public-use portion of the renovated Middle School on Decatur Street, in the building's auditorium and former gym. County Administrator Tim O'Hearn (pictured at right) told the legislature at its monthly meeting Monday night -- and an hour earlier told the annual Project Seneca meeting at the Harbor Hotel -- that once the lease is signed with the Two Plus Four management firm and the county assumes oversight, a Request for Proposals will be issued to find professional management to bring in cultural events at the former school -- thereby enhancing options for tourists. That will lead to "more feet on the street" in Schuyler County and increased traffic for local businesses, he said, as "somewhat of a cultural void" is filled.

About 60 people were on hand to hear about area projects under way or envisioned under the Project Seneca umbrella.

 

Project Seneca session outlines projects

The annual meeting Monday of Project Seneca -- the name that serves as an umbrella for millions of dollars worth of water treatment, infrastructure, traffic, recreational and other enhancements aimed at improving life and tourism in Schuyler County -- attracted about 60 people, many of them community leaders, to the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. With Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry serving as emcee, several officials took the podium to describe progress on various projects, most notably the regional wastewater treatment plant on the canal, a facility that will serve both Watkins Glen and Montour Falls. Other projects, some nearing completion and some still concepts: a kayak and canoe project on Seneca Lake; a downtown revitalization initiative for Watkins; Montour Falls canal dredging; a Business Improvement District for Watkins; a boutique hotel in the Chamber of Commerce building; and the Seneca Terrace Apartments on the hill above the Elks Lodge, with expected completion in the summer.

Photo in text: Dan Bower of Hunt Engineers, who described the progress on construction of the Watkins Glen Brewery Vacation Rentals in the old frozen food locker building on the north end of the Watkins Glen business district. Expected completion date: April 2017.

 

How the Masonic mural came to be

Myrtle-Jefferson Lodge No. 131 tells how the mural on the east wall of its Masonic Temple in Montour Falls was created last summer. People.

Members of the Montour Falls Village Board listen at Thursday night's meeting. From left are Trustee Phil Smith, Mayor John King and Trustee Steve Lawton.

 

Rumor put to rest: No gas-storage stance

A rumor that had spread -- that the Montour Falls Village Board was going to vote in favor of the Crestwood LPG storage plan -- drew 20 people to the board's meeting on Dec. 15. But there was no resolution, and no position. "We haven't discussed the issue," said Mayor John King. "We're neutral on the subject. I don't feel we have the expertise" to issue a vote on it. "We don't even know what the residents of Montour Falls think on the subject ... We're not prepared to have a resolution on Crestwood, period."

One visitor, Michael Warren Thomas of Rochester, a radio personality and steadfast LPG storage opponent, said that "to be neutral would seem to go against what's best" for Seneca Lake, which project opponents worry will be ruined by an LPG accident. Another person, Marcia Douglas, presented the board with a sample resolution in opposition, much in the style of one passed a couple of years ago by the Watkins Glen Village Board. And county legislator Michael Lausell, also an opponent, said that even with amendments made to the storage plan, "there is still the issue of cavern integrity," salt caverns being the storage of choice in the LPG plan. When asked by resident Tom Weidemann if the village populace would be surveyed should the board decide to vote on a resolution, King said: "That's the best way. Can we close this subject?"

Photos in text: Michael Lausell and Michael Warren Thomas

Legislator Michael Lausell, left, and Chairman Dennis Fagan.

 

Fagan re-elected as Legislature chairman

The Schuyler County Legislature, at its annual organizational meeting January 4th, named incumbent chairman Dennis Fagan to another year in the post. There was no competition, although Legislator Michael Lausell criticized Fagan for his consistent support of the Crestwood energy firm's LPG storage proposal, something Lausell has staunchly opposed. Legislator Jim Howell in turn weighed in on Fagan's side for the solid economic footing on which the county finds itself. The vote re-electing Fagan soon followed.

 

Board topics: safety, special-needs student

The Watkins Glen School Board discusses the need for medical personnel at sporting events, and hears from the parent of a special-needs student. Board.

Left: Supt. Tom Phillips.

For a district summary of the Board meeting, click here.

 

This website has now operated for 14 years ...

The Odessa File was launched on Dec. 29, 2002 -- a day (I like to tell people, and which is true) on which it received three visitors, two of them being me. Much has occurred since, but little (I think) has changed about The File. And I mean that in a good way. To those who have helped keep it afloat, I thank you. I hope everyone -- members of our Schuyler County family -- continue to find it both useful and enjoyable.

--Charlie Haeffner, Editor & Publisher

 

Rotary honors Wickham as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Phebe Wickham (right) was honored Jan. 12 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for January. Wickham was introduced by teacher Maggie Field, who lauded the honoree's dedication and skill in video production at the school and her participation in school plays, as a photographer for the yearbook, and as a lifeguard.

Wickham, a member of National Honor Society, a High Honor student and a self-taught piano and ukulele player, hopes to attend college in the East to study film, a field she says she loves.

 

Man, snowmobile pulled from Cayuta Lake

An Alpine man was pulled from Cayuta Lake in Alpine Sunday, Jan. 29 after he fell through the ice while riding a snowmobile on it. Investigators said Wayne Simpkins had driven the snowmobile onto the lake when it fell through the ice a short distance from shore. He was pulled from the water by rescuers and transported to Robert Packer Hospital. The snowmobile was also pulled from the water.

The Odessa Fire Department, Schuyler Ambulance and the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office responded. The Sheriff's Office urged everyone "to use extra caution in the area of any ice-covered waterways due to the warmer temperatures."

A view of the Watkins Glen State Park entrance photographed Jan. 27 from a drone shows the parking area ripped up and heavy equipment at work. (Photo by Tony Vickio)

 

Work under way at Glen State Park entrance

The parking lot off of Franklin Street leading to the Watkins Glen State Park gorge has been ripped up as work has begun on the overhaul of the entrance area. The $6.5 million project announced almost a year ago will relocate the parking away from the gorge, creating a less congested and more welcoming approach to what is a leading Finger Lakes tourism destination. The former parking area will be returned to green space, as it once was, and new park amenities will be created, including a visitor center. Parking will be across the street in space now occupied by a dirt lot and by properties yet to be cleared.

The Stamp family's Lakewood Vineyards was honored with the Chamber's Leader in Business Award. Present from Lakewood at the Jan. 20 gala were, from left, Chris, Liz and Beverly Stamp.

 

Chamber holds its annual Winter Gala at hotel

The annual Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Winter Gala on Jan. 20 at the Harbor Hotel featured a social hour, dinner, keepsake photos, live and silent auction packages, a wine raffle, live music (by Top Shelf), dancing, a blackjack table, and programs honoring various Schuyler notables. Among the honorees were Jeff and Linda Confer (right), recipients of the annual Community Spirit Award; Lakewood Vineyards, recipient of the Leader in Business Award; Susan Silhan of Selah Yoga and Music, recipient of the Chamber's Ambassador of the Year Award; and the hotel general manager, Carolyn Guyer, recipient of the Max Neal Award for dedication to and support of the Chamber's efforts.

Photo in text: Community Spirit Award winners Jeff and Linda Confer at Friday's gala.

At the gala, from left: Max Neal, Jim Howell, and Betty Vinti.

 

Rotary honors Frasier as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Kyle Frasier was honored Jan. 19 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for January. Frasier was introduced by O-M teacher Russ Gardner, who said the honoree -- a High Honor student, a member of the school swim team and a member of "outside organizations like the Future Farmers of America" -- has a "positive outlook" that makes him "the kind of student that teachers love to have in the classroom, the kind of student we want in our schools, the kind of person other students want on their team." Frasier, who works on the Hoffman farm, hopes to have his own farm one day. He is undecided about college, but said that if he goes, it will be to Morrisville State for its agricultural program.

Photo in text: Kyle Frasier at Rotary Club, with teacher Russ Gardner watching in the background.

 

Community leader Jean Argetsinger dies

Schuyler County Hall of Fame member Jean Argetsinger, the widow of Cameron Argetsinger and a community leader in Watkins Glen for decades, dies at her home at the age of 97. Argetsinger.

 

Left: Jean Argetsinger

 

O-M volleyball coach Kayla Kelly, left, and honoree Paxtyn Brown, who was a captain on the volleyball team this year.

 

Brown honored as Rotary Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Paxtyn Brown was honored Dec. 15 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for December. She was introduced by school librarian Kayla Kelly, who has been Brown's varsity volleyball coach for two years. Kelly said the honoree -- president of her class, ranked 5th academically, and a member of the National Honor Society -- is "a student who will go above and beyond; someone you can always count on for help. She is an all-around great student and person." Brown plans to attend Daemen College.

The view Tuesday night after the decorative lights were turned on in the courtyard outside the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility.

 

Seneca View holds annual Festival of Lights

Lights on the trees and fencing in the courtyard outside the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility -- as well as decorative lights inside -- were turned on Tuesday night, Dec. 13 during the Facility's annual Festival of Lights ceremony. The festival generates donations to honor loved ones and recognize family members or friends, or special events. Proceeds go to the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary to support the hospital and Seneca View. The lights were turned on at a switch outside by Facility resident Kathleen Dempsey, assisted by Activities Director Sally Daniels.

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)

 

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We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 

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The Elizabeth Amisano Ovarian Cancer Education Fund
Live Like Liz, Inc.
P.O. Box 434
Watkins Glen NY 14891
www.LiveLikeLiz.org
LiveLikeLiz@yahoo.com

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We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 

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Click on the ad below to go to the Schuyler County Transit schedule.

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Yes, we're still seeking donations

Click here

Sponsors' Page

Check out our list of readers who have contributed to keeping this site going. Sponsors.

The number of visits to this site has been steadily growing -- more than 3,000 daily, and more than 20,000 a week -- as readers in 48 states and dozens of countries check out what's happening in Schuyler County.

Statistics are from an online tracking service, DeepMetrix Live Stats.

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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)

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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 2017
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

(607) 594-3594

E-mail publisher@odessafile.com