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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

 

High-speed police chase ends in man's arrest

A high-speed police chase that started in Montour Falls Sept. 4th and ended in Monterey resulted in the arrest of a Beaver Dams man, Nicholas S. Ingersoll, 24, on multiple charges. Ingersoll, arraigned in Montour Falls Village Court and remanded to jail in lieu of bail, faces counts that include Unlawfully Fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, Reckless Endangerment, Criminal Mischief, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, Reckless Driving, and Unlawful Manufacture of Methamphetamine. People.

 

Glen water story prompts mayoral response

An environmental story regarding water quality in Watkins Glen and Montour Falls prompts an assurance and firm response from Watkins Mayor Luke Leszyk at the beginning of the Sept. 3rd Village Board meeting. Government.

 

Photo: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk at Tuesday's meeting.

 

Coffey's squad places 3rd, qualifies for Tokyo

A United States Women's Eight rowing team including former Watkins Glen resident Olivia Coffey, 30, placed third Sept. 1 at the World Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria. The U.S. -- which won the event last year -- qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics along with squads from four other countries in the race. New Zealand won the finale in 5:56.91, with Australia second at 5:59.63 and the U.S. third in 6:01.93. This marked the eighth World Championships competition for Coffey, dating back to an under-23 event in 2009. She has earned four career gold medals. She was a student-athlete at Watkins Glen schools through 9th grade before attending Philips Academy and ultimately Harvard University. She earned her MBA degree from Cambridge University last year, helping that school's team to victory in The Boat Race over rival Oxford. Her parents Calvin and Maggie live in the Watkins Glen area, with her mother currently seeking a seat on the Schuyler County Legislature.

Photo: Olivia Coffey (File photo)

 

O-M grad Zimmer nets Fulbright award for Iceland research, study

Odessa-Montour 2009 graduate Adam Netzer Zimmer (left) receives a Fulbright-National Science Foundation Arctic Research Grant for year-long study as part of his Ph.D. program. People.

 

Finger Lakes named Best Wine Region in poll

The Finger Lakes has -- for the second straight year -- been named America's "Best Wine Region" in a USA Today 10 Best online competition. The region, which has 140 wineries, four wine trails and 9,300 acres of vineyards, beat four finalists from California and one each from Michigan (the runnerup Leelanau Peninsula), Arizona, Washington, Virginia and Texas. "This recognition speaks to the dedication of the owners, tasting room teams, winemakers and vineyard managers," said Carmela Barbagallo, executive director of the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance.

 

Community leader, coach Bob Lee dies at 74

Robert H. Lee, former Watkins Glen policeman, former village mayor, former high school football coach at both Watkins Glen and Odessa, former coach of the semipro Southern Tier Warriors football team, and a retired longtime Recreation Therapist at the Willard and Elmira Psychiatric Centers, died Aug. 26 at his Watkins Glen home at the age of 74. He had been in declining health. Calling hours are Thursday, with a funeral service on Friday. Obituaries.

 

Board rejects an athletic Field name change

The Watkins Glen School Board on Aug. 26 rejected a request that the school's Alumni Field be renamed in honor of former Coach Bob Lee, who died that morning at the age of 74. The request came from football player Dominick Fazzary, who read a message to the board from his father, football assistant coach Jeff Fazzary. Board President Gloria Brubaker said a name change is against "school practice," adding that the rejection "doesn't diminish our respect." Schools.

Photo: Dominick Fazzary at the Board meeting.

A Cruise In For Christ car show was held on Odessa Wesleyan Church property at the west end of the village.

 

Autos take center stage at church Cruise In

Dozens of classic automobiles were featured Aug. 24 at a Cruise In For Christ car show sponsored by the Odessa Wesleyan Church on church property at the west end of Odessa. The event featured a chicken barbecue, other foods, vendors, state police and Odessa Fire Dept. demonstrations, Moe Knows Ice Cream, and a K-9 display by officers of the New York Environmental Conservation Police.

Photo: Conservation Police Officer B.N. Armstrong with his dog.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, left, and Congressman Tom Reed share a laugh at the Aug. 22 luncheon meeting.

 

Reed, Palmesano featured at Glen lunch

Congressman Tom Reed and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano were the guest speakers Aug. 22 at a joint meeting of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club and League of Women Voters at the Watkins Elk Lodge. Both men reported to a packed dining hall about ongoing trends and concerns in the state and U.S.

Photos: Congressman Tom Reed, left, and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (inset) at Thursday's luncheon.

Present at the Aug. 22 Rotary Club /League luncheon were the club's new Rotary exchange students: Nozomi Miyoshi of Japan, left, who will attend Odessa-Montour High School, and Kajsa Rolfes of Sweden, who will attend Watkins Glen High School.

 

Odessa librarian honored for her long service

Gayle Greuber, who has served the Dutton S. Peterson Library in Odessa for 30 years, including more than 25 as its librarian, was honored Aug. 22 at a picnic behind the library that also featured a presentation by Tanglewood Nature Center (see photo below). Greuber was presented a plaque from Odessa Deputy Mayor Tom Letteer proclaiming it Gayle Greuber Day in Odessa, while Library Board president Bonnie Schweizer surprised Greuber by announcing the honoree has won a Southern Tier Library System Sustainable Practices Award, to be presented in October. "Not many people can say they've enjoyed coming to work every day," said Greuber, who has no plans to retire.

Photo: Librarian Gayle Greuber receives a proclamation from Odessa Deputy Mayor Tom Letteer.

Kids got a chance to see a number of Tanglewood Nature Center creatures on Aug. 22 -- a feature presentation at a free Summer Picnic behind the Dutton S. Peterson Library in Odessa. In the photo, Tanglewood's Ian McLaughlin holds a Bearded Dragon.

Village trustee Lou Perazzini makes a point during the meeting.

 

Watkins Village Board approves one-year moratorium on short-term rental applications

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Aug. 20 unanimously appoved a Local Law that provides a one-year moratorium on applications for short-term rentals in the village. The move came after a public hearing and upon the request of the Planning Board, which had handled dozens of applications under a plan adopted by the village to regulate the growing trend.

The moratorium will take effect after the Local Law is approved by the state, which officials said should take about 30 days. Any applications filed before that time will be processed, the board said.

Mayor Luke Leszyk said the move gives the village time to "get a handle" on the process "and do some density studies" that might limit the number of such rentals in a particular block or area. One area, it was noted -- on South Madison and South Monroe Streets between 6th and 8th Streets -- now has nine such rentals advertised to accommodate 78 people. One resident hoped the density studies might lead to reestablishment of a residential character in that neighborhood.

Photo: Watkins Mayor Luke Leszyk at Aug. 20 meeting.

Wastewater treatment plant project proceeding. Project.

 

Addy Coolican wins talent competition at Fair

Watkins Glen resident Addison "Addy" Coolican, a student in the Watkins Glen School District, won first place among performers 12 years and under at a talent show Aug. 17 at the Steuben County Fair in Bath. She won for her performance of the song "Don't Rain on My Parade." The contest was held on the stage in front of the fairgrounds grandstand. Addy is known locally for her rendition of the National Anthem at occasional home basketball games at WGHS.

Photo: Addy Coolican with her trophy. (Photo provided by her grandfather, Mike Coolican)

  Kids' Jungle Book concludes its run at WGHS

A kids' presentation of Disney's Jungle Book ended its two-night run Aug. 17 on the stage of the Watkins Glen High School Auditorium. The play for 6-12 year olds boasted a cast of more than 30 kids, directed by Kim Laursen and Kelsey Johnson as a project of the Lake Country Players and the 21st Century REACH program. People.

Photo: A quartet of thespians on stage in Disney's Jungle Book. The lead of Mowgli was performed by Arloween Loucks-Scuteri, second from right.

Signs advertising the Watkinstock concert at Lafayette Park and subsequent Beach Party at Landon's were on display at the Lafayette bandstand.

 

Local concerts fill the absence of Woodstock

Two "stock" musical gatherings -- Watkinstock at Watkins Glen's Lafayette Park and Moosestock at the Montour Moose Lodge -- were held Aug. 17 ... a day that would have fallen in the middle of Woodstock 50, had it been held as originally proposed at Watkins Glen International.

Moosestock was a fund-raiser, with a portion of the $15-per-ticket proceeds to be donated to the Schuyler County Ambulance. Bands included Rukus, Doc Possum and Hot Dogs & Gin.

Watkinstock also raised funds -- through donations to the Sheriff's Camp Iroquois on Keuka Lake, which provides an outdoor summer experience to underprivileged kids from around the state. Performers included The Flunk School, country singer Rylee Lum, Patrick Cole and Seneca Jam.

 

Town of Montour mulls Chinese lantern fest

The Montour Town Board listens to proposal for a large, possibly long-term festival on Havana Glen Park grounds starting in 2020. Government.

Photo: Festival video scene.

United Way Campaign Leaders Rick Evans and Lydia Wickham. (Photo provided)

 

United Way taps two as Campaign Leaders

Rick Evans and Lydia Wickham have been named Campaign Leaders of this year's United Way of Schuyler County campaign to raise $123,000 to help 22 local agencies. Evans is a longtime Boy Scout leader and a winemaker for Castel Grisch Winery. Wickham is Director of Human Resources for Cayuga Addiction Recovery who volunteers for Boy Scout Troop 2674 in Watkins Glen and is a member of the Hector-area Lions Club. Said United Way of Schuyler County Executive Director Peggy Scott: "Deepest thanks go to Lydia and Rick. Our all-volunteer board of directors of United Way works hard every year for an outstanding campaign."

  Judge rejects Mack request for shorter term

Acting Schuyler County Judge Gerald A. Keene on Aug. 13 rejected a motion for a reduced sentence filed by Chad C. Mack -- who pleaded guilty in June 2004 to 2nd Degree Murder and 1st Degree Robbery in the August 2002 shooting death of Theresa Ford at her home in the Town of Orange. Mack, sentenced to 25 years to life, was seeking a lesser sentence that would allow him to appear before the Parole Board immediately. District Attorney Joseph Fazzary opposed the motion, and Keene concurred with the DA, saying the original sentence was not harsh or excessive, and was justified.

 

Italian-American Festival ends its 3-day run

The 39th annual Schuyler County Italian-American Festival concluded Aug. 11 with several events, including a cornhole tournament, a motorcycle show and live music. Features.

Photo: The ferris wheel is always popular.



Legislators David Reed, left, and Michael Lausell chat before the start of Monday evening's meeting.

 

Brief legislature meeting yields updates

The Schuyler County Legislature's monthly meeting on Aug. 12 was short -- 17 minutes -- and saw approval of just 18 resolutions, none of them major. But there was some information imparted:

--Chairman Dennis Fagan said Sales Tax revenue as of July was up $266,000 from the same point last year. Increases in the sales tax, he noted, "help us control property taxes." As for the rest of the year: "We'll keep our fingers crossed."

--County Administrator Tim O'Hearn said work has begun on the 2020 county budget, and that "it will be within the tax cap" and "we will be lowering the tax rate."

--O'Hearn said the planned 50-megawatt solar project in the Town of Dix -- called the Watkins Glen Solar Energy Center -- is "now moving forward" with the pending appointment by state Legislature leaders of two town residents (of eight nominated) as ad hoc members of a seven-person regulatory Siting Board. The project will "take two years" to complete, he said.

Photo: Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan at the meeting.

 

BBQ benefits WGHS girls varsity swim team

The Watkins Glen High School girls varsity swim team held a chicken barbecue Aug. 11 at the Montour Moose Lodge to raise funds for the swim program. Members of the team (left) -- one dressed as a chicken -- waved signs and urged motorists to turn into the lodge, where business was brisk as volunteers put together dinners in the kitchen, the centerpiece of each dinner being tasty chicken barbecued outside.

 

Cherry outlines energy savings programs, cautions on 'escalators' in solar group plans

Phil Cherry, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Schuyler County, outlined various energy savings and efficiency programs available to individuals and small businesses on Aug. 8 as guest speaker at the weekly luncheon of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club at the Elks Lodge in Watkins Glen. Cherry -- supportive of the savings available in solar panels installed by individuals at their homes -- cautioned anyone interested in group purchasing, noting that some of the opportunities available "aren't great opportunities. Read the fine print," looking in particular for "escalators" that boost the cost after a first year of savings. "My advice is to be very wary," he said, noting that the CCE website carries information on solar programs and on those other energy savings programs.

Photo: Phil Cherry addresses Rotarians.

O-M School Board President Rob Halpin, left, and Superintendent Chris Wood at Aug. 7 meeting.

 

Principals McCarty, Francischelli given tenure

The Odessa-Montour School Board on August 7 granted tenure to high school Principal Almon (Skip) McCarty Jr. and Hanlon Elementary School Principal Robert Francischelli. Superintendent Chris Wood outlined the achievements of the two men during their four years at the helm of the two schools, and then the board voted unanimously in their favor. Franciscelli was present, while McCarty, Wood explained, was at another meeting "representing the district." Tenure provides greater job security for its recipients. The board also:

--Heard Wood report that the most recent state audit of the district was a good one, with minor improvements needed in the area of transportaton. "I'll gladly take it," he said of the audit.
--Heard an update from Wood on the $16.9 milliion Capital Project now in the planning stage. Wood said he hopes for state approval of the project within a year and construction in the fall of 2020. The project involves renovation of the Jack Davis gym and of science, art and technology rooms; installation of new water stations; a new public address system; some window replacements; technology upgrades, and other improvements deemed necessary.
--Approved a 2019-2020 tax levy of $5,099,617.

Photos: Hanlon principal Robert Francischelli and new School Board member Alyssa Wixson at Wednesday's meeting.

 

Watkins Glen Village Board moves toward
12-month moratorium on short-term rentals

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Aug. 6 discussed a Planning Board request for a moratorium on short-term rental units in the village pending a density study. A public hearing, the board indicated, will be held at its next meeting preceding passage of a Local Law that would take effect once filed with the state. The moratorium -- in the face of an onslaught of short-term rentals -- would be for an expected 12 months. Applications filed before the law takes effect would be processed. The board also:

--Approved membership in the Greater Tompkins Health Insurance Consortium, which Mayor Luke Leszyk said would save the village $60,000, down from $300,000.
--Approved a bid of $133,828 from Panko Electric and Maintenance for erection of the new light poles and lights on Franklin Street. Poles are expected to be shipped starting Aug. 19.

--Approved the hiring of Barbara Peterson to fill the newly created position of Deputy Clerk Treasurer.
--Approved payment of $195,000 of grant funds for the Padua Ridge property, site of a planned new water tower. The cost includes improvements such as clearing of the land, road construction, tank-base construction and culvert work.

Photos in text: Mayor Luke Leszyk (top) and trustee Tony Fraboni at Tuesday's meeting.

The Terry Walker trio performed at the Clute Park pavilion.

 

Terry Walker Trio entertains in concert series

The Terry Walker Trio entertained scores of music lovers Tuesday evening, Aug. 6 with pop and jazz standards in the Clute Park pavilion as part of the Concert in the Park series, a staple of Watkins Glen summers. The concerts are normally held at Lafayette Park, but move to the pavilion in inclement weather. It stormed Tuesday afternoon and rained intermittently in the evening. Next up, on Tuesday, Aug. 13: Gentlemen of Song with Big Band, Swing and other music.

 

Hayden will appear on third ballot line

Matt Hayden (right), the Democrats' nominee for Schuyler County Court Judge in the November election, has secured a third nomination. Hayden, already backed by the Democrats and by the Schuyler First independent party, has now secured the backing of the Working Families Party. That makes him the only one of the four candidates with three party nominations. In addition to Hayden, Jessica Saks, Steven Getman and Dan Fitzsimmons are campaigning for the 10-year post, which includes Family and Surrogate's Court.

 

Elliott wins 2nd straight NASCAR race at WGI

Chase Elliott (pictured at right) held off Martin Truex Jr. on Aug. 4 to post his second straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Watkins Glen International, in the Go Bowling at The Glen 90-lap race. It was fifth career Series victory and second of the season. Elliott, whose first career win in the Series came last year at WGI, started Sunday from the pole position in his Hendrick Motorsports' Chevrolet, and won by 0.454 seconds. He was only the second driver to win from the pole position in the last 39 Series races.

 

Chef Orlando is new owner of Graft eatery

After a long run as Executive Chef of Veraisons, Orlando Rodriguez, along with wife Natacia, has purchased the recently closed Graft restaurant on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen with the intention to reopen in the fall. Business.

Photo: Chef Orlando Rodriquez

Odessa Fire Department personnel prepare the chicken.

 

Odessa fire department serves up BBQ meals

An annual rite on NASCAR weekend -- an Odessa Fire Department drive-through barbecue at the fire station -- was a hit Saturday as firefighters prepared 300 chicken halves. They followed that up with their annual Hit the Boot fund-raiser on Main Street in the village on Sunday, with passing motorists stopping to place donations in firefighters' boots held by department members at either end of the downtown.

Photo: Peggy Tomassi, left, and Anne Yessman helped serve up the barbecue meals.

Fire department representatives collected Hit the Boot donations Sunday from passing motorists along Main Street in Odessa.

 

Saks nets noms from
2 parties in judge race

Jessica Saks has gained the nominations of the Independence and About Justice Parties in her race for Schuyler County Judge. She faces three male opponents in the November election. Government.


Photo: Jessica Saks (Photo provided)

 

Cheese Festival draws crowd to Hoffman farm

The 8th annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival was held Saturday -- as it is each July -- at the Hoffman century farm at Catharine Corners, outside Odessa. Produce, live music, children's activities and other features attracted a large crowd. People.

Photo: At the festival.

Dusk at the Hector Fair on Friday. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

 

Annual parade highlights Hector Fair

The three-day Hector Fair was highlighted on its second day Friday with the annual parade up Rte. 414, ending at the fairgrounds behind the fire station. The fair concludes Saturday with a car show, chicken barbecue, live music and fireworks. Features.

 

WGI places 2nd in Best NASCAR Track voting

Watkins Glen International finished second in the voting this year in the USA Today Readers' Choice contest for Best NASCAR Track after finishing first the past three years. The winner this time: Eldora Speedway in New Weston, Ohio, which hosts the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The winner was announced Friday, July 26. Third through fifth places went to Daytona International Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

 

Historical Society honors Italian founders

A special exhibit and talk are focusing on the founders of Schuyler County's Italian community The exhibit opened Aug. 1. Founders.

Photo: Undated photo of workers at the International Salt Co., a major employer of Italian immigrants in Schuyler County. (Provided)

 

Court rules in favor of school in Hansen case

The U.S. District Court for Western New York has ruled on the side of the Watkins Glen School District and former Superintendent Tom Phillips, the defendants in a suit filed by Kristina Hansen relating to incidents on school grounds that twice included her being led away in handcuffs. Her attorney plans to appeal the decision. Government.

Photo: Kristina Hansen arrested at the WGHS tennis courts on May 4, 2016, the second time she was taken into custody.

 

Fitzsimmons gets Hometown Law Party nod

Daniel J. Fitzsimmons has accepted the nomination of the Hometown Law Party as candidate for Schuyler County Judge. According to a press release, Fitzsimmons received more than 800 signatures from Schuyler voters -- "with support from Republican, Democratic, Conservative, Green and non-party voters" -- to run as an independent candidate for the position. A Schuyler County attorney, Schuyler County Law Guardian, former Town of Hector Justice and Schuyler County Principal Court Attorney, he is one of four candidates seeking to succeed the recently retired Dennis Morris on the bench. Steven Getman has the Republican Party backing, and Matt Hayden the nomination of the Democrats. Attorney Jessica Saks, also running as an independent, is the fourth candidate vying for election in November.

Photo: Dan Fitzsimmons (Photo provided)

 

Dems back Hayden in battle for County Judge

The Schuyler County Democratic Committee has unanimously selected county Chief Assistant District Attorney Matt Hayden as the party's candidate for Schuyler County Judge in the November election. Hayden is one of four candidates in the race -- and the lone Democrat. Steven Getman has the Republican nomination, while Jessica Saks and Dan Fitzsimmons, both registered Republicans, are running as independents. The candidates are vying for a 10-year term on the bench, recently vacated by Dennis Morris upon his retirement before the end of his term.

"Not only is Matt the best qualified candidate," said Democratic Committee Chairperson Carolyn Elkins, "but he also exhibits the highest ethical standard, the greatest dedication to community and charitable efforts, and the most experience in upholding the laws of our county while protecting our families."

Photo: Matt Hayden and Carolyn Elkins (Photo provided)

Kennedey Heichel, center front, with a number of her former Odessa-Montour teammates at her signing ceremony. Back from left: Sage Garrison, Olivia Grover, Lexi Saunders, Autumn Garrision. Front from left: Nadia Simpson, Heichel, Maria Scata.

 

Heichel signs with Ithaca College; track ahead

Odessa-Montour graduating senior Kennedey Heichel signed a Division III Student-Athlete Celebratory Signing Form for Ithaca College Thursday in a gathering at the high school. Heichel, two-time Odessa File Female Athlete of the Year at O-M, two-time Odessa File Schuyler Spring MVP, two-time member of the Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athlete-citizens in the area, and the O-M selection as its Female Athlete of the Year this year, plans to compete in Track & Field at IC.

 

Officials agree to work on dog-sheltering pact

Members of the Schuyler County Legislature and Supervisors of a half-dozen towns in the county have "agreed to work together toward an agreement with the Humane Society of Schuyler County for dog-sheltering services when stray dogs are recovered in any of the towns in Schuyler County," it was announced Friday -- apparently ending a move by five towns to contract with a private service entity. Government.

O-M Valedictorian Kennedey Heichel accepts a hug and her diploma from School Board President Rob Halpin at Friday's Commencement.

 

O-M bids farewell
to its Class of 2019

Odessa-Montour School District officials distributed diplomas to the graduating seniors at a commencement exercise Friday evening, June 28, in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. A total of 65 students graduated, with many receiving scholarship awards during the ceremony. Graduation.




Photo: 2019 O-M graduate Maria Scata.

Bobby Rahal, right, receives the Cameron Argetsinger Award from one of Cameron's sons, former International Motor Racing Research Center president J.C. Argetsinger.

 

Rahal receives 6th annual Argetsinger Award

Team owner and former race car driver Bobby Rahal was honored Thursday night with the 6th annual Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports. He was honored by the Watkins Glen-based International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) during a dinner at the Corning Museum of Glass presented by Sahlen's, NASCAR, International Speedway Corp., IMSA and Watkins Glen International. The award memorializes Argetsinger, organizer of the first races at Watkins Glen and a founder of the Research Center. Longtime race reporter Dr. Jerry Punch was emcee. About 250 people attended, with proceeds going to the IMRRC, dedicated to the preservation of motorsports history. Sports.

Photo: IMRRC Historian Bill Green at the dinner, in front of a photo of Cameron Argetsinger.

 

Republican Committee gives nod to Getman

Schuyler County Atttorney Steven Getman (pictured at right) won the Republican nomination for County Court Judge Thursday night at a meeting of the Schuyler County Republican Committee. The nomination came over two other Republicans -- attorneys Jessica Saks and Dan Fitzsimmons -- both of whom have indicated they will run as independents. Schuyler County Chief Assistant District Attorney Matt Hayden is running on the Democratic line. "I am humbled and honored by the support of my fellow Schuyler County Republicans." Getman said. "I plan to run a clean, positive campaign, based on education, training and legal experience." The election is in November.

Incoming Rotary Club President Glenda Gephart, left, and outgoing President Rebekah Carroll with her daughter Ruby.

 

Rotary changes presidents, honors Carrigan

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club held its annual Changeover Dinner Tuesday at the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge, with outgoing President Rebekah Carroll "passing the gavel" to incoming President Glenda Gephart. This being Gephart's second time as Rotary President, she said: "Thank you so very much for allowing me to do this again."

The Paul Harris Fellow Award, given annually to a Club member who exemplifies "service above self," was presented to Dena Carrigan, an active club volunteer who serves as Membership Chair. She also serves as Membership Committee Chair at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, is assistant treasurer for the Italian-American Festival, secretary for the Spirit of Schuyler, a member of the merchandise committee for the Grand Prix Festival, a volunteer for the Montour Falls Fire department, and a volunteer for the Arc of Schuyler's annual 5K run. She began her banking career in 1986 with Columbia Bank, which was acquired in 1994 by Chemung Canal Trust Company. Dena and husband Sam have two sons, Kyle and Dale, and recently welcomed a grandson.

Photo in text: Dena Carrigan (Photo provided)

Potential exposure to Hepatitis A cited

While the risk of infection is low, Schuyler County Public Health, noting a potential exposure to the Hepatitis A virus at the Seneca Harbor Station restaurant in Watkins Glen, urges vaccination at upcoming clinics for those who ate there between June 12 and June 21. Clinics.



Alec Betts signs as his parents, Chris and Diana, and his sister Lillian watch.

 

Betts signs to attend, swim at St. Leo U. in Fla.

Odessa-Montour High School graduate Alec Betts, after delaying his college entrance for a year, signed a Letter of Intent Wednesday to attend Division 2 Saint Leo University in Florida this fall and participate in its swim program. Betts, a standout swimmer at O-M before his 2018 graduation, plans a course of study in Sports Business, with an eye toward becoming a coach, possibly on the college level. The signing ceremony took place in the O-M School Board meeting room. Pieces from a congratulatory cake (photo) were distributed to the friends and family in attendance

Vondracek earns All-State berth

Odessa-Montour softball pitcher Grace Vondracek, who led the team in hitting with a .700 average and 11 homers, is named to the NYSSCOGS All-State Softball Class C 4th Team. Sports.

 

85 receive diplomas
at WGHS graduation

The annual Watkins Glen High School Commencement Exercise was held Saturday afternoon in the school auditorium. Diplomas.


Photo: Graduates Kai Sutterby, left, and Annika Wickham.

 

Rondinaro honored at WGHS alumni banquet

Steve Rondinaro receives a Distinguished Alumnus Award at the 94th annual Watkins Glen High School dinner gathering. About 350 people attended. Schools.


Photo: Steve Rondinaro with his award.

 

Preparing for a 2,200-mile, old-school journey

Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer told Watkins-Montour Rotarians Thursday about his planned 2,200-mile, 90-day trek with several other men on a route traveled in 1825 by trapper, fur trader and frontiersman William H. Ashley on a return east with furs from Wyoming to Montana to St. Louis. The group will live as Ashley and his men lived, without modern conveniences, as they travel by horse, canoe and keelboat -- that last (30-foot) vehicle carrying them down the Missouri River. They will keep journals, and plan a book about the trip, comparing their efforts to those of Ashley. Messmer leaves for Wyoming on June 30; the trek -- not a re-enactment, but "truly a living history," he said, requiring "the same skill sets" possessed by mountain men in the first half of the 19th century and complete with discomfort and inherent dangers -- starts on July 7. Everything -- from clothing to the acquisition of food along the way -- will be "period correct,' he said, with a couple of safety valves: cell phones for occasional calls home (his wife, Cathy, will join him for a few days on the Missouri) and a link, if needed, to a medical helicopter.

Photo: Gerry Messmer in his journey clothing.

 

Arc golf tournament raises more than $12K

The annual event generates funds to help individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities and autism. Sports.

 

Watkins Village Board handles various issues

The Board Tuesday night dealt with stop signs, noise, a brush pile, pools, the new treatment plant and the absence of a Code Enforcement Officer. Government.

Photo: Mayor Luke Leszyk

Olivia Grover signs while her parents and brothers look on.

 

Grover signs for basketball at Buffalo State

Odessa-Montour High School senior Olivia Grover -- the leading player on the O-M girls varsity basketball team -- signed an NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Celebratory Signing Form on June 17 in a ceremony in the O-M School Board's meeting room. Grover, a 1,000-point scorer in her career, plans to play basketball at SUNY Buffalo State, which she enters in late summer. On hand for Monday's signing were family, friends, coaches and O-M administrators, who all joined in devouring a celebratory cake.

Photos in text: Olivia Grover after signing.

 

Athletes honored at first Dub G Awards

Awards were presented in a dozen categories at the ceremony, held in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. Sports.

 

Cardboard Boats draw crowd to Harbor park

A total of 47 boats competed in various categories on June 15 at the 26th annual Waterfornt Festival and Cardboard Board Regatta in Watkins Glen. Features.

Photo: Batman was among the competitors.

The new Odessa Baptist Church at 111 Fowler Place.

 

Odessa Baptist Church celebrates new locale

The Odessa Baptist Church on June 15 hosted a service and open house, complete with picnic-style dinner, to celebrate its new building on the eastern edge of the village. The Baptist Church, for many years housed in the heart of residential Odessa, started services in March in its new building at 111 Fowler Place after a multi-year fund-raising and building project. The new structure, debt free, is on 4.1 acres of former farmland the church purchased from Billy Blaha. It is a single-level building, making ingress and egress much easier than in its predecesor, where steps predominated, and where the heating cost was exorbitant, the septic system aged, and parking a challenge.

In the 45 months between the exit from the old church and opening of the new church, worship services were held at the American Legion Hall on Route 228. Groundbreaking for the new building was on May 28, 2017, and with a combination of contractor and parishioner labor, the 5,000-square-foot structure was erected. Saturday's event attracted well in excess of 150 people.

Photos in text: Loueda Bleiler provided open-house music; chess kept some attendees busy.

 

Appeals panel affirms Trappler's conviction

A State Supreme Court Appellate panel has unanimously upheld the 2013 conviction in Schuyler County Court of Alice Trappler in the murder of Daniel Bennett in the Town of Dix the year before. Trappler, convicted of two counts of Murder, 2nd Degree, two counts of burglary and one of conspiracy, is serving a 25-years-to-life sentence. Her appeal to the Supreme Court's Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, was heard on April 25, with Schuyler County District Attorney Joe Fazzary -- who had prosecuted Trappler -- presenting the People's argument to the five judges. Their decision -- in a six-page ruling (click here) -- was summarized succinctly: "Ordered that the judgment is affirmed." Said Fazzary in response: "I'm very pleased with the decision, obviously. I've always felt she was guilty of this crime. The Appellate Division just affirmed that." He added, though, that Trappler will have other avenues of appeals still available, although this ruling makes her chance of success more unlikely.

Photo: Alice Trappler in the Schuyler County Court House during her trial in 2013.

E.C. Cooper Insurance President Mike Stamp, right, presented Odessa File Athlete of the Year plaques on June 3rd to, from left, Watkins Glen High School senior Hannah Morse; and Odessa-Montour High School seniors Zach Elliott and Kennedey Heichel. Also chosen but unable to attend: WGHS senior Joe Chedzoy. The awards were presented during the Top Drawer 24 celebration at the Watkins Glen State Park.

 

Party celebrates the Top Drawer 24 team

Two dozen of the Southern Tier's best and brightest student-athletes are honored at the Watkins Glen State Park. Party.

 

Odessa's Heichel is our Schuyler Spring MVP

Odessa-Montour High School senior track standout Kennedey Heichel has earned The Odessa File's Schuyler Spring MVP award, topping a field of impressive athletes on the All-Schuyler All-Star First, Second and Third teams. For a story on the MVP and a list of Spring 2019 All-Stars, see Sports.

Photo: Kennedey Heichel

Rotary honorees William Yeater (OM) and Nancy Jackson (WG).

 

Rotary honors students Yeater and Jackson

Odessa-Montour High School senior William Yeater and Watkins Glen High School senior Nancy Jackson were honored June 13 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Students of the Month for June.

Yeater was introduced by teacher Russ Gardner, who called the honoree "a great student," "a key member of the track team," and an actor with lead roles in a number of school plays. Yeater plans to attend Loyola University in New Orleans. Jackson was introduced by Dawn Harrell, who described the honoree as "a wonderful young lady" who participates in Girl Scouts and has played three sports at WGHS: soccer, bowling and softball. Jackson plans to attend Keuka College with an eye toward becoming a photojournalist.

Note: The Rotarians presented checks totaling $3,020 to a dozen organizations -- many of whom had representatives present to receive them. The groups included the Hometown Heroes Banner Program, Schuyler County Youth Football, the My Place daycare center, Labor of Love, Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity, Schuyler Head Start, the Mustard Seed Bradford Food Pantry, the Boy Scouts, the Schuyler County Historical Society, and the Summer Swim Program.

Photo in text: The Boy Scouts' Rick Evans at Rotary.

Bryce Erickson as Troy Bolton makes a point during a scene in "High School Musical."

 

'High School Musical' concludes run at WGHS

The Lake Country Players' youth production of Disney's High School Musical ended its three-day run June 15 before an appreciative audience in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. The show, which opened Thursday night, featured a cast of 38 kids, ages 13-19, from six school districts.

Photo: Nathan Epp and Katherine Larson perform.

 

Odessa-Montour presents its sports awards

The 52nd annual
O-M Sports Boosters Awards saw a break from tradition in the Male Athlete of the Year Award. Sports.

Photo: The Coach of the Year, Burton Brewster, with the two students who introduced him -- Nadia Simpson, left, and Kennedey Heichel.

 

3 track standouts get hallway greeting

The trio of Odessa-Montour athletes who competed in the NYSPHSAA Track and Field Championships are welcomed by students lining the district hallways. Sports

 

Photo: O-M senior Nadia Simpson, with junior Paden Grover and senior Zach Elliott behind her, greets kids in a school hallway.

O-M bestows academic awards. Schools.

 

WGI pulls the plug on Woodstock 50 festival

There will be no Woodstock 50 festival at Watkins Glen International. WGI has "terminated the site license" for the planned Aug. 16-18 musical event "pursuant to provisions of the contract," WGI announced in a statement Monday, adding: "As such, WGI will not be hosting the festival." Meanwhile, a Woodstock 50 spokesman says the festival is in talks with an alternate venue and will be "sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks." Business.

 

63rd annual parade held in Montour Falls

Fire units, bands, and floats march on Main Street under sunny skies. People.

Photo: A member of the Caledonian Highlanders

 

O-M's Elliott returns home with Shot Put title

Odessa-Montour High School senior Zach Elliott (pictured at right), along with two other State competitors -- O-M's Nadia Simpson and Paden Grover -- returned to Schuyler County from Middletown June 8th with a siren escort (two fire trucks and a deputy's vehicle) from Alpine Junction to the school. There, they were greeted by dozens of family, friends and fans. Elliott was the second O-M athlete to bring home a state title this year. Sports.

 

18 students honored
as Schuyler Scholars

Senior graduating in the top 10% of their class at the Bradford, Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour High Schools receive plaques at a Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel dinner. Schools.

 

Left: Schuyler Scholar plaque

 

6th graders experience outdoors at Field Day

Sixth-grade students from three school districts participate in the annual Conservation Field Day at the Millport Hunting and Fishing Club. Agriculture.

Photo: Brie Riesbeck of Tanglewood Nature Center explains Great Horned Owl biology to the Field Day students. She also showed and spoke about an Eastern screech owl and a Red-tailed hawk.

 

13 WGHS students join National Honor Society

The students were inducted in a ceremony in the Watkins Glen Elementary School auditorium. Schools.

Photo: Candle used in the NHS induction ceremony.

 

DeRusha is IMRRC's new Executive Director

Daniel G. DeRusha of Corning has been selected as the new executive director of the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen. Center.

 

 

Photo: Daniel G. DeRusha (Photo provided)

From left: Chris Houseknecht (Dylan's father), State Senator Tom O'Mara, Dylan Houseknecht, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Scott Houseknecht (Dylan's grandfather), and Coach Dan Batchelder. (Photo provided)

 

Albany officials welcome wrestling champion

State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano on June 5th welcomed Odessa-Montour High School senior Dylan Houseknecht (right) to the state Capitol. In February, Houseknecht captured the 285-pound Division II wrestling title at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships in Albany -- the first state wrestling title in his school's history. O'Mara and Palmesano sponsored a Legislative Resolution paying tribute to that victory. Dylan, it said in part, "has clearly utilized dedication, determination and teamwork in providing a lasting contribution to the spirit of excellence." He plans to attend SUNY Cortland, where he will wrestle and play football.

Allie Gibson, center, signs to swim at SUNY Cortland. Surrounding her are family members -- parents Lisa and Scott, and siblings Alex and Abby. (Photos provided)

 

Watkins Glen High holds 2 signing ceremonies

The Watkins Glen High School library was the site June 4th of two college signings -- by Allie Gibson, a Section IV sprint champion who will swim while attending SUNY Cortland, and by Cierra Barber, a successful high school goalkeeper who will continue playing soccer while attending East Mercyhurst College. Allie is looking to be an Elementary School teacher and will be working on her Early Childhood Education degree. Cierra has a goal of becoming a Sports Trainer and will start by getting her PTA (Physical Therapist Assistant) degree.

Photo at right: Cierra Barber.

 

Burdett kicks off its bicentennial celebration

Tours, vendors, live music, a fire-truck parade, dinner and fireworks highlighted the June 1 village activities. People.

Photo: NY Senator Tom O'Mara, right, and Mayor Dale Walter.

 

CCA option offered in Burdett, Montour Falls

Many residents of the two villages are receiving letters from Constellation Energy and the Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance regarding their option to utilize the Community Choice Aggregation, a law that allows communities to combine the buying power of multiple households into an energy buying block. Business.

 

Cargill check will help fund demo project

Cargill, Inc. has awarded the Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District $16,000 to assist with a unique state-of-the-art demonstration project that will be utilized on more than 250 acres of vineyard land surrounding Seneca Lake and is designed to reduce the occurrence of harmful algae blooms in the lake. Project.

 

Rotary honors Rosier as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Hannah Rosier (right) was honored May 30th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as the O-M Student of the Month for May. Rosier was introduced by teacher Danielle Rumsey, who praised the honoree as "insightful" and as an outstanding entertainer. Rosier, a member of National Honor Society, Drama Club and the varsity track team, performed in several musicals at the school. She plans to attend Emerson College in Boston to study theater education with an eye toward becoming a drama teacher while continuing to participate in musicals.

Habitat for Humanity holds groundbreaking

Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity has broken ground for its second home construction -- at 306 Broadway in the Village of Montour Falls. Features.

Watkins Glen High School honorees (from left) Joe Chedzoy, Hannah Morse, Wyatt Brower and Danielle Leszyk.

 

Introducing the 2019
Top Drawer 24 team

The 14th annual Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding area student-athlete-citizens contains 22 seniors and 2 juniors from 9 schools. To see who they are, click here.

 

Memorial Day services honor the fallen

Ceremonies held in Montour Falls, Watkins Glen and outside Odessa honor those who have died in defense of our freedom while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Plus: a speech by Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer. People.



Photo: A member of the Color Guard at the Montour Falls ceremony.

 

Sand Award winner, hospital workers honored

Schuyler Hospital Facilities Department employee Keith Crout is named recipient of the hospital's annual Lou Sand Award. Meanwhile, hospital employees wth 660 years of service are recognized. People.


Photo: Sand Award winner Keith Crout.

 

Fitzsimmons announces run for County Judge

Daniel Fitzsimmons (right) has become the fourth candidate to announce entry into the race for Schuyler County Judge. A press release announced that Fitzsimmons, a longtime Schuyler attorney, "has named a committee to advise and oversee his campaign." He joins Matthew Hayden, Jessica Saks and Steven Getman as candidates. The election is in November. Government.

 

Coffey is seeking seat on Schuyler Legislature

Dr. Margaret "Maggie" Coffey has announced her candidacy for Schuyler County District 8 Legislator representing the towns of Orange and Tyrone. She and her family have lived on Sugar Hill for many years. A retired veterinarian, Dr. Coffey volunteers at both the Humane Society of Schuyler County and the Food Bank of the Southern Tier while serving as board president for the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation. She is running for Legislature as a Democrat but, says the Schuyler County Democratic Committee, "Maggie will be an outstanding representative for everyone in District 8." Election day is Nov. 5, with early voting starting Oct. 26.

Photo: Dr. Margaret Coffey (Photo provided)

 

Budgets pass in O-M, Watkins Glen districts; Bianco, Butler elected to WG School Board

The Odessa-Montour school budget was approved Tuesday by district voters, 183-35, while a $16.9 million capital project passed 185-33. Other propositions involving buses and libraries also were approved. Two candidates ran unopposed for the board: Karen Rock (190 votes) and Alyssa Wixson (179).

The Watkins Glen school budget passed 338-87, and a bus proposition was approved 344-72.

In the race for a pair of three-year School Board seats, Craig Bianco (338 votes) and Theresa Butler (282) were elected, outpolling Mary Barnes (173).

Photos: Craig Bianco and Theresa Butler (File photos)

 

Trumpeter serenades on North Franklin Street

For those who heard trumpet music -- patriotic and religious tunes -- wafting along North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen Monday evening, here's the deal: The trumpeter was Richard Jacobson of Corning, who said "God called on me" to perform such music long ago in such far-flung locales as Europe (he says he lived in Germany for 15 years) and Pennsylvania and is continuing to call on him, now, to play around the Southern Tier of New York. He said he has visited Watkins Glen before, "but not often."

 

Watkins Village Board accepts Lee resignation

The Watkins Glen Village Board Tuesday night acted on a number of issues. It:

--Accepted the resignation of former mayor Bob Lee as chairman of the village's Zoning Board of Appeals, due to health issues, and in turn appointed Sue Olevnik to the ZBA. Lee wrote that he "hopefully will recover" and serve the community again.

--Tabled a request by the Watkins Glen School District for forgiveness of $3,652 charged for an overflow of 330,000 gallons of water in an incident involving the school pool that resulted in the basement underneath being flooded. The board wants more details.

--Approved plans to hold the Cardboard Boat Regatta in Seneca Harbor Park on June 15, and the Grand Prix Festival on Sept. 6 in downtown Watkins Glen.

Photo: Mayor Luke Leszyk at Tuesday's meeting.

 

Waverly boy, 8, dies in Schuyler ATV accident

An 8-year-old Waverly boy, Jagger J. Roberts-Wright, died Sunday, May 19 following an ATV accident at 10:45 a.m. in the Town of Montour -- in fields along Mills Road -- during a New York Offroad Association (NYOA) sanctioned event. The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office said the boy's ATV struck a tree during the race, ejecting him. He was transported by ambulance to Schuyler Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The investigation is continuing

Montour Falls Mayor John King, left, speaks to Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer at League of Women Voters luncheon.

 

4 mayors outline happenings in their villages

The mayors of Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, Odessa and Burdett were guest speakers May 20 at the annual luncheon meeting of the League of Women Voters of Schuyler County at the Montour Moose Lodge. Burdett's Dale Walter, Montour Falls's John King, Odessa's Gerry Messmer and Watkins Glen's Luke Leszyk each outlined projects underway in, and plans being made for, their municipalities.

 

GP Fitness wins Schuyler Steps Out program

For the eighth straight and final week, Grand Prix Fitness held on to first place to win the annual Schuyler Steps Out free community walking program presented by Schuyler Hospital. The program, in its 13th year, saw GPF's 26 Workout Warriors amass a cumulative average of 969,011 steps. The Watkins Glen School Steppers kept their hold on second place (848,268), and Cargill's Salted Steps finsihed in third place (724,269). There were 13 teams competing.

 

WGHS receives $15K grant from Cargill

Watkins Glen High School has been given a $15,000 grant from Cargill that will be used to purchase STEM equipment for the school. Diana Warren from Cargill presented the grant to school officials in a ceremony at the school. Karen Armstrong, a technology teacher who with coworker Bob Hogan developed a proposal for the grant, said the funds will be used to buy equipment for use by STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students.

 

SCOPED conducting survey for area planning

The Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) is conducting a survey of area residents for input that will "build on the planning efforts completed to date" in the area "and will contribute to creation of a Regional Economic Development Strategic Plan." The online interactive program can be found here.

Legislators Mark Rondinaro, left, and Van Harp share a laugh.

 

Legislature taps Clute consultant, tables resolution pertaining to Woodstock 50 festival

Schuyler County legislators on May 13 approved a resolution naming Stantec Consulting Services Inc. as development consultant for the planned Clute Park project. The resolution recognized the county's role "acting on behalf and as agent of the Village of Watkins Glen pursuant to an intermunicipal agreement." The $576,600 contract runs from April 1 of this year through June 2, 2020. Funding will come from Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NYS Historic Preservation grant funds.

The legislators also tabled a resolution containing a negative declaration of environmental impact -- a necessity if the Woodstock 50 festival planning is to proceed. "We are awaiting clarity," said County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, as the festival promoter, Michael Lang, and his former financial backer, Dentsu Aegis, sue and countersue over the latter's decision to exit and cancel the festival. "With each day that passes" with the matter unresolved, said O'Hearn, "it becomes less likely" that the festival can occur. (See articles here.)

Photo in text: Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.

Kathleen Clifford addresses the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club.

 

Rotary honors Clifford as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Kathleen Clifford was honored May 9th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for May. Clifford was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who said "I can't say enough about how hard she works." She added: "It's fun to teach her; she has so much knowledge of the world. It goes beyond the textbook. She will be very successful in life." Clifford, a member of the school's varsity basketball team that placed second in the State among Class C schools this year, and who plays doubles on the varsity tennis team, is the WGHS Salutatorian. She plans to attend Cornell University in the fall. She will study government with an eye toward a career in international law.

Photo in text: Kathleen Clifford, holding her plaque, alongside teacher Kelsey Wood.

 

Awards, policy proposals mark Board session

The Watkins Glen School Board meeting May 7 honored outstanding winter athletes and featured the presentation of policy proposals from Superintendent Greg Kelahan and from a pair of WGHS seniors. Meeting.

Photo: Award certificates (above) honored two track athletes and the WGHS girls varsity basketball team.

The WGHS valedictorian, Joe Chedzoy, poses with salutatorian Kathleen Clifford during the awards ceremony.

 

Chedzoy valedictorian; Clifford salutatorian

The Watkins Glen High School 9th-12th Grade Academic, Athletic & Top Ten Percent Recognition Ceremony was held Wednesday evening, May 8 in the school auditorium, culminating in the announcement of the valedictorian, Joe Chedzoy, and the salutatorian, Kathleen Clifford. A list of the many award winners can be found at Schools.

 

'Freedom Writers' teacher speaks at WG

Erin Gruwell, the teacher whose class work inspired creation of a book titled The Freedom Writers Diary and the movie Freedom Writers, spoke to Watkins Glen students at two assemblies on May 7, and then met with student leaders at a luncheon. Schools.

Photo: Erin Gruwell at Watkins Glen High School.

Casino Night attendees gather around one of the game tables.

 

Casino Night draws crowd to Glen fire station

The Watkins Glen Fire Company's annual Casino Night at the Fire Station May 4th was a success again as the department raised funds to help it operate. Games of chance were plentiful, along with raffles, food and beverages.

 

Schuyler Habitat is ready to build 2nd house

Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity is ready to build its second house in Schuyler County at 306 Broadway in the Village of Montour Falls.

The site was bought last year and the property has been cleared and prepared for construction. Habitat.

 

Photo: At the Habitat site.

 

Capital project prompts tours of O-M buildings

Odessa-Montour School Superintendent Chris Wood (right) offered an overview of the district's proposed $16.9 million capital project and a tour of the O-M campus for any interested district residents on May 3 and May 7 in advance of a vote May 21. The project, Wood said, will not have any tax impact.

A long list of items that need upgrade or renovation in the district's three schools are included. "It's nothing sexy or fancy," said one official. Key among the renovations would be the Jack Davis Gym, which will become unusable without project help, officials say.

The capital project is one of the propositions accompanying the school budget vote on May 21. Voter approval is needed before the project advances to Albany and a vetting process by the state. Voting will be from 12 noon-8 p.m. in Hanlon Elementary School Room 12. A budget hearing is set for 6 p.m. May 7 in High School Room 152.

 

WGHS students visit O'Mara, Palmesano

State Senator Tom O’Mara (left) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (right) on April 30 welcomed a group of Watkins Glen High School students to the state Capitol. Instructor Travis Durfee (top right) accompanied the group. As part of their debate studies curriculum, the students have researched and debated a variety of issues. They went to the Capitol to meet their state representatives, discuss a variety of ideas, visit the state government complex, and watch live sessions of the Assembly and Senate. The group also attended a Capitol news conference in support of legislation the area legislators co-sponsor known as the “Student Journalist Free Speech Act."

 

Mechanical Meltdown places 37th at Worlds

Schuyler County’s youth robotics team, Mechanical Meltdown, placed 37th among 320 competing teams -- and 2nd among 17 New York teams -- at the April 23-28 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Worlds in Detroit and Houston. For the second year running, the team earned the opportunity to meet in Detroiit with youth from across the globe and compete using the robot which they designed, built, and programmed over the past 7 months. The Detroit event drew a crowd of 43,000 people from 37 countries, making it the world's largest celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for youth.

There are 7,000 teams worldwide.The Schuyler team advanced through qualifying events against 56 other teams in the East. It is part of FLARE (Finger Lakes Area Robotics Education), open to youth in grades 7-12 attending any school in the region or home-schooled. The group meets regularly in Watkins Glen. For information, call Kathy at (607) 546-2207 or email ftcflare@gmail.com.

Photo: Members of the Mechanical Meltdown team.

 

Woodstock 50 investor pulls plug on festival, but Lang vows to find other financial backing

The Woodstock 50 festival scheduled for Aug. 16-18 at Watkins Glen International has been canceled, according Billboard magazine quoting Dentsu, one of the festival's main investment arms. The cancellation was confirmed by Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, who said that while there seems to be some dispute among the festival's various producers -- "It's been a multi-faceted effort" -- and while promoter Michael Lang had yet to acknowledge the cancellation, "as far as I'm concerned, it's canceled. We're extremely disappointed by the news. But it's their decision." But Lang (pictured at right) threw a curve Monday night when he wrote on Facebook that "we will of course be continuing with the planning of the festival and intend to bring on new partners. The bottom line is, there is going to be a Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival, as there must be, and it's going to be a blast." Said Dentsu in the morning: "Despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don't believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved."

Pulling the plug on Miley. Column.
Article in Pitchfork summarizes plight. Article.

 

Watkins holds its annual prom at Logan Ridge

The Watkins Glen High School prom was held Saturday night, April 27, at the Logan Ridge Estates in Hector. For a look at the evening, see Prom.




Photo: Students dance to the music at the annual WGHS prom.

 

Odessa-Montour holds its annual prom at WGI

The Odessa-Montour High School prom was held April 26 at the Watkins Glen International Media Center. This year's theme: Golden Splendor. For a look at the evening, see Prom.

Photo: Students arrive at the Media Center.

 

Envirothon: Bradford
is top Schuyler team

The "Bush Buddy Club" team from Bradford Central School wins the Schuyler County title at the Southern Tier Envirothon in Owego. Bradford's "Los Toros" team was second, and Odessa-Montour's "Martens" third. Envirothon.

 

Photo: Alivia Phenes of the winning Bradford team. (Provided)

 

Houseknecht honored as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Dylan Houseknecht was honored April 25 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for April. Houseknecht was introduced by wrestling coach Dan Batchelder, who said the secret of Houseknecht's success and popularity stems from one word: "Character. He's mature, and a very good role model in terms of work ethic and goal-setting." Houseknecht, an All-State football player, was crowned this year as the New York State Division 2 wrestling champion. He will attend SUNY Cortland, where he plans to play football and wrestle while studying criminology with an eye toward becoming a State Trooper. "I never would have dreamed I'd have a year like this," he said.

Photo: Dylan Houseknecht at Rotary

 

With future NASCAR changes, 'nobody is safe'

Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup told Watkins-Montour Rotarians Thursday at their weekly luncheon meeting that:

1. "Change is coming in NASCAR" with a reduction in races by 10 or 12 in 2022 or 2023. "Nobody is safe" from the track reduction knife, he said, although investments in the WGI track by owner International Speedway Corp. and the annual success of the track in drawing sell-out crowds might bode well for its continuation as a regular stop on the NASCAR circuit.

2. More than 300 acres of WGI land leased to a large Florida firm for the solar farm generation of 55 megawatts of alternative energy is on track for a groundbreaking in 2021. The energy has been sold in megawatt blocks to large customers like the SUNY system and Empire Development.

3. The Woodstock 50 organizers missed their scheduled ticket-sale date (April 22) because they failed to meet a permit deadline. The state Department of Health and Schuyler Legislature each hold 50% of the permit rights, he said. A big miss, he said, was a failure to provide a detailed listing of where State Police assigned to the festival would be positioned.

Photo: WGI President Michael Printup at Rotary

A covering is removed, unveiling the three-sided sign detailing the history of Watkins Glen as a canal town.

 

Waterfront sign extols Glen's link to Erie Canal

Representatives of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the New York State Canal Corporation were joined by local officials Wednesday to unveil a new three-sided sign at Seneca Harbor Park in Watkins Glen. The sign outlines the history of Watkins Glen as a canal town and includes a map to help visitors locate nearby services. Said emcee Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development: "This sign provides deep acknowledgement of the incredible impact the Erie Canal had in establishing Watkins Glen as a major economic center." The sign is one of 44 located in 32 communities around the state whose histories are linked to the Erie Canal. Also on hand: State Senator Tom O'Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Montour Falls Mayor John King, Schuyler Legislators Jim Howell, Mark Rondinaro and Carl Blowers, Watkins Village Trustees Lou Perazzini and Nan Woodworth, and Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.

Photo: Eric and Mary Beth Hollenbeck study the sign.

 

Red Cross launches free-smoke-alarm drive

The Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross held a Sound the Alarm Kickoff Wednesday at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel as part of a national drive to install 100,000 free smoke alarms to mitigate the threat of home fires. The Finger Lakes Chapter will, on May 11, have volunteers stage at the hotel and then go door-to-door to install free smoke alarms, and help families create home fire escape plans. Volunteers will also be visiting homes across the Chapter's six counties throughout the two-week period of the national program, April 27-May 13. For more information, you can visit www.soundthealarm.org/wcny.

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara spoke at the Finger Lakes Chapter kickoff at the Harbor Hotel. In the background: Brian McConnell, the chapter's Executive Director.

 

Groundbreaking kicks off hospital expansion

The $10.3 million project that will add a medical-surgical inpatient unit to Schuyler Hospital and lead to further renovations was symbolized with a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning at the hospital attended by officials from around the region. Project.

Photo: Schuyler Hospital President/CEO James Watson served as emcee.

 

Jeannette Frank to retire after 40 years at Arc; Schuyler and Chemung units joining forces

The Arc of Schuyler's Executive Director for the past eight years plans to retire on July 1. Meanwhile, the Arc of Schuyler Board of Directors, after considering its options for leadership transition, has chosen to enter into a management services agreement with The Arc of Chemung. The long-range plan is to unify the chapters. Business.

Photo: Jeannette Frank

 

Bartow plans run for Schuyler Legislature

Democrat Paul Bartow of Tyrone has announced his candiidacy for a seat on the Schuyler County Legislature. Bartow is president of the Schuyler County Historical Society, and a former educator. The election is on Nov. 5th. Government.

Photo: Paul Bartow (Photo provided)

Tom Carson dies:

Tom Carson has passed away. He died Monday evening, April 22, two days after he was visited (story below) by his fellow firefighters. Messages of condolence, and of thanks for the impact he had, have been growing on-line, notably at the Schuyler County FireWire on Facebook.

 

Scores of firefighters paid visit to Tom Carson

Firefighters from around Schuyler County, along with other emergency personnel, gathered in Montour Falls on April 20 and drove to Tom Carson's nearby house, to pay their respects to the longtime firefighter and former fire chief as he waged his battle with cancer. People.

Photo: About 60 visitors shook hands with or hugged Tom Carson as he greeted them from his wheelchair.

To reach Tom Carson's obituary, click here.

Dr. Benjamin Saks introduces his sister Jessica, right, on the Schuyler County Courthouse steps.

 

Saks starts judge run from courthouse steps

Republican Jessica Saks made her formal announcement of candidacy Monday for the post of Schuyler County Judge -- issuing it from the steps of the Schuyler County Courthouse. A crowd of about 60 supporters were on hand, cheering -- with one heckler who Saks said afterward had recently lost a custody battle in which Saks represented the man's wife. Saks was introduced by her brother, Dr. Benjamin Saks, who pointed out that if his sister wins, she will be the first female elected to the post in Schuyler. Candidate Saks, who said she brings "a sense of fairness and independence" to the campaign, promised to run as an independent if she fails to win the Republican Party nomination. That nomination will be decided by the party following the retirement June 1 of current judge Dennis Morris. Thus far, Democrat Matthew Hayden and Republican Steven Getman have announced runs for the bench, with Republican Dan Fitzsimmons expected to follow suit.

Photo: Jessica Saks on the courthouse steps.

 

Drawing determines ballot positions at O-M

The upcoming election for a pair of three-year seats on the Odessa-Montour School Board holds no drama -- there are two candidates running unopposed. But a time-honored tradition to determine ballot positions was held Monday in the district office when Superintendent Chris Wood drew the names from a cup, the first one drawn earning the top ballot spot. That went to newcomer Alyssa Wixson, while the second went to Karen Rock, who has held a seat on the board since 2004. The election -- along with the budget vote -- is May 21 from noon to 8 p.m. at the Hanlon Elementary School. A budget hearing and Meet the Candidates Night is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7 at 6 p.m. in the High School Distance Learning Room (#152).

Photo: Superintendent Chris Wood opens one of the sheets drawn from the cup on the table.

A Nissan Sentra is carried from the scene of the 5-car accident.

 

One injured in 5-car Alpine Junction accident

One person was sent to Schuyler Hospital and three cars were towed from the scene after a five-car accident at about 6 p.m. Sunday at Alpine Junction, the intersection of Routes 13 and 224 in the Town of Cayuta. Officials said a southbound jeep Wrangler driven by a Rochester man struck the rear of the first of three southbound cars slowing for a traffic light, glanced off to the right, struck the curb and veered back in front of the three cars and hard into the rear of a Nissan Sentra stopped at the light. The first car that was struck rammed the one in front of it, which in turn rammed the first of the three slowing vehicles. The driver of the Sentra, a 43-year-old Corning man, was taken by Schuyler Ambulance to Schuyler Hospital with minor injuries. The Sentra, Jeep and first car struck were towed. The other two cars were driven from the scene.

Photo: The Jeep and the Sentra. Both were towed.

 

Seneca Indians host BBQ at Moose Lodge

The Seneca Indians varsity baseball team raised funds Saturday through a chicken barbecue held at the Montour Moose Lodge. Team members took an active role in preparing the meals. Sports.

Photo: Chickens called attention to the barbecue by positioning themselves next to the road.

 

Easter Egg Hunts were popular stops

Easter Egg Hunts were held Saturday, April 20 at Lafayette Park in Watkins Glen (sponsored for the fourth straight year by Cabins to Castles on Seneca Real Estate, and expanded to include two bounce houses), at the Glen Baptist Church, and on Odessa-Montour High School's athletic field. As usual, the turnouts were large and enthusiastic. Features.

 

Photo: Beatrice Hayden, 7, gathered lots of plastic eggs, with plenty of candy inside them.

 

Fatal accident occurs near Alpine Junction

A 50-year-old Campbell woman, Annette M. Osborn, was pronounced dead at the scene April 18 following a three-vehicle accident at 12:56 p.m. on Route 13 in the Town of Cayuta, near Alpine Junction.

The Schuyler County Sheriff's office said Osborn's southbound car crossed the center line and struck the side of a car driven by Corrine B. Taylor, 25, of Elmira, and then struck, head-on, a truck driven by Douglas M. Collins, 34, of Cayuta. Taylor was transported to Cayuga Medical Center and treated for minor injuries. Collins and his passenger, Brian L. McClean Jr., 22, of Cayuta, were transported to Robert Packer Hospital for treatment of several fractured bones.

Responding to the scene were the Odessa, Montour Falls and Community Fire Departments; Schuyler County, Erway and Bangs Ambulances, and Guthrie Air Helicopter. A State Police Accident Reconstruction Team assisted in the investigation.

Photo: Traffic was directed at Alpine Junction away from the accident scene, located a mile north on Route 13.

 

Arc holds open house; Cargill presents check

The Arc of Schuyler hosted a public open house on Tuesday, April 16, for its new food manufacturing facility, Glen Copack, and received a check for $20,000 from Cargill, the first installment of a three-year $60,000 pledge from the company. Business.

 

Rotary honors Patel as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Kishan Patel (right) was honored April 11 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for April. Patel was introduced by teacher Travis Durfee, who described the honoree as "someone who embodies the spirit of effort and hard work" and who "exceeds teachers' expectations. He is a pretty unique individual." Patel, a member of the Robotics team competing later this month in the World competition in Detroit, will attend Yale University in the fall, majoring in Computer and Data Science and studying Artificial Intelligence. He hopes to eventually work for the government or "in my own start-up." He thanked Durfee and other teachers for challenging him, and his parents for their guidance and inspiration.

Burglar gets 12 years in prison

A 31-year-old Trumansburg man has been sentenced in Schuyler County Court to 12 years in state prison following guilty pleas to charges he burglarized two Town of Hector homes in 2018. Government.

A Ben & Jerry's employee, left, hands a cone to a customer during the Watkins Glen shop's Free Cone Day.

 

Annual Free Cone Day draws a crowd in Glen

The 40th annual Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day -- a staple at the ice cream chain's shops around the world -- drew a crowd April 9th to the Ben & Jerry's on Franklin Street. The 12-8 p.m. event often saw a line through the store and out the door -- a turnout encouraged, no doubt, by the sunny skies and relatively balmy temperatures.

 

Signings held at WGHS for senior athletes

Watkins Glen High School seniors Collin Baker and Taylor Kelly held signing ceremonies April 8 in the school library -- Baker signing a Letter of Commitment to SUNY Brockport, where he will play football; and Kelly a Letter of Intent to Corning Community College, where she plans to play basketball. Sports.

Flag at the finish line awaits runners on the WGI race track.

 

6th annual Arc Grand Prix Run is a chilly one

Hundreds of runners and walkers were registered for the 6th annual Arc Grand Prix Run at Watkins Glen International on what proved to be a chilly, 40-degree morning. Race.

Joe Bantelman of Fairport brought his Ford dealership model along with his die-cast car collection, a highlight of the Model Car Show.

 

Model Car Show is a hit at Research Center

The 6th annual Model Car Show drew a steady crowd April 6 to the host site: the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen. Model and die-cast cars from a wide range of collectors were featured, along with a new twist provided by the Rochester LEGO User Group: LEGO-built 1/8 scale race cars and a pinewood derby-like track for LEGO cars built by visitors of all ages from kits for sale ($6) at the event.

Photo: A Lego pinewood derby-like track with lego cars attracted kids of all ages.

An electric car maneuvers through the autocross course at WGI

 

15th annual Green Grand Prix held at WGI

The 15th annual Green Grand Prix -- an event that puts a spotlight on motoring technology that aims for a cleaner environment through engine and driving efficiencies -- was held April 5th at Watkins Glen International. It featured a panel discussion, a Fuel Economy Rally, and an autocross (above) in the parking lot outside the garage. All events were sanctioned and sponsored by the Sports Car Club of America. It all kicked off Opening Weekend activities at WGI, which include the annual Arc Grand Prix Run Saturday morning and race track laps by personal vehicles from 10 to 3 Saturday.

WGHS student Katie Losey throws from her knees during the Kickball Classic's BattleBall, between students and teachers.

 

Kickball Classic raises McDonald House funds

The third annual Watkins Glen Kickball Classic and Family Fun Night held April 5th at the Watkins Glen High School Field House drew a sizable crowd enjoying a number of activities: a kickball game involving faculty, kids games, raffles, face painting, a gift basket silent auction, a book exchange, a 50/50 raffle, and concessions. All proceeds go to Ronald McDonald House Charities. Travis Durfee, president of the Watkins Glen Faculty Association, said "several WGFA volunteers make the event happen, and a few others -- including Tracie McIlroy, who has helped coordinate the event every year" but now is nearing retirement. "She's a gem and we're going to have big shoes to fill in her absence next year."

Photo: A student reaches in vain for a ball while wearing goggles that disorient the sense of sight, along the lines of alcoholic impairment. The experience was part of the SCCUDD (Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs) booth at the Kickball Classic. For more on SCCUDD activities, see People.

 

Getman announces County Judge candidacy

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman has announced that he is campaigning for the position of County Judge, a job that will become vacant with the retirement at the end of May of the incumbent, Dennis Morris. Getman, a lifelong Republican, says he is "uniquely qualified" for the role by his experience. The election for the 10-year post will take place in November. People.

Photo: Steven Getman (Provided)

Linda Confer of Elmira Savings Bank, left, chats with Katie Strawser of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier during the Business Expo.

 

Networking takes center stage at annual Expo

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce's 13th annual Business Expo was held April 3rd at the Watkins Glen Community Center, offering businesses from the Twin Tiers an opportunity to showcase their products and services and to network, establishing new business connections. The first hour of the event was open to the public, and the last two, sponsored by Elmira Savings Bank, served as a mixer for Chamber members.

 

Mayor Leszyk, 2 trustees take oaths in Glen

New Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk was sworn into office April 1st along with trustees Lou Perazzini and Nan Woodworth and village justice Steven Decker. Government.

Photo: Luke Leszyk takes the oath of office as mayor.

 

O'Mara, Palmesano rip new state budget

The New York State budget approved April 1 by the Democrat-controlled Legislature comes under fire from State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano. The budget is "bad news for taxpayers," says O'Mara. It shows local roads don't matter, adds Palmesano. Government.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.

A sleepy Princess Winnifred (Maria Brubaker) leans on the Minstrel (Scott Brubaker) as the Jester (Nate Farnsworth) watches.

 

WG's Once Upon a Mattress ends 3-day run

The Watkins Glen High School Class of 2019's spring musical, "Once Upon a Mattress," was presented for the third and final time Sunday, March 31 in the WGHS Auditorium. Play.

 

Woodstock 50 info session draws crowd

Security, transportation and attendance numbers relating to the planned Aug. 16-18 Woodstock 50 festival at WGI were discussed at an informational session attended by about 300 people at the old Middle School auditorium. People.

Photo: Promoter Michael Lang

 

Rotary honors Lott as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior McKennah Lott (right) was honored March 28 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for March. She was introduced by teacher Greg Gavich, who described Lott as "dependable, caring and hard-working," ranking academically in the Top 10 of her class. A three-sport athlete (soccer, basketball and softball), she is a member of Student Council, Secretary of the National Honor Society and co-President of the Interact Club. "She doesn't seek attention," Gavich said. "She just does what needs doing." Lott plans to attend Tompkins-Cortland Community College, where she will major in accounting and play soccer. After that, she plans to attend a 4-year school -- possibly Columbia, she said, "but we'll see."

 

Ambassadors named for Library Week in Glen

To celebrate National Library Week (April 7-13), the Friends of the Watkins Library have selected Sue Baldwin and Joann Neal as community ambassadors, while Watkins Glen High School senior Kathleen Clifford has been named school district ambassador. Library.

Photo: Ambassador Kathleen Clifford

From left: Cast members Grace Wickham, Jack Muir and Maria Brubaker at the Rotary Club luncheon.

 

Cast performs 'Mattress' tunes for Rotary Club

The cast of the Watkins Glen High School student musical, "Once Upon a Mattress," performed songs from the show on Thursday, March 28 for the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club at its weekly luncheon meeting. The show opened Friday night in the WGHS auditorium, with other presentations Saturday and Sunday, March 31.

Photo: Wyatt Brower and Iris Elaina Rodriguez at Rotary.

From left: Assemblyman Chris Friend, State Senator Tom O'Mara, driver Colin Braun, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, and WGI President Michael Printup.

 

State Legislature recognizes WGI in Albany

Assemblymen Phil Palmesano and Chris Friend and State Senator Tom O'Mara on March 26 welcomed Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup, professional driver Colin Braun and WGI Public Relations Director Chris Banker to the State Capitol to celebrate the contributions of motorsports to the economy and culture of the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes region, and all of New York State. Together, the group officially opened a NYS Motorsports Exhibition in the Empire State Plaza, and the State Senate adopted a legislative resolution proclaiming March 24-30, 2019 as "Motorsports Appreciation Week" in New York.

 

Sheriffs' unit fund drive set; helps finance camp

Sheriffs' Institute drive will help finance programs, including summer camp on Keuka Lake for disadvantaged kids. People.

Photo: Summer camp

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel General Manager Scott Bell, left, hands a $25,000 check to Brian McConnell, executive director of the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross, as the Red Cross's lead Ice Bar volunteer, Diane Telehany, looks on.

 

Hotel's Ice Bar yields $25,000 for Red Cross

The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel -- for the 8th straight year -- has donated a portion of the proceeds from its mid-winter three-day Ice Bar celebration to the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross. A check for $25,000 -- bringing the 8-year total to $150,000 -- was presented March 21 by the hotel general manager, Scott Bell, to Brian McConnell, the Red Cross chapter's executive director. Diane Telehany of Corning, a member of the chapter's board of directors who led an Ice Bar force of 70 volunteers, was also present. McConnell in turn presented a plaque (pictured) to the hotel for its "dedication to the humanitarian mission of the American Red Cross." "We're fortunate to be considered" each year, said McConnell. "I'm humbled by the show of support." McConnell said the funds will be used to aid the Red Cross's disaster responses and disaster preparedness program.

 

Burdett 18-year-old faces several charges

Logan J. Teemley, 18, of Burdett, NY, has been charged by the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office with a Class D felony, Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, following a report of a house being shot in the Town of Hector -- with other charges added later that included a class E felony, Coercion in the Third Degree. Government.

Photo: Logan Teemley (Photo provided)

 

CCC taps Mullaney as its seventh president

The Regional Board of Trustees at SUNY Corning Community College has named Dr. William Mullaney as the next president of the College. Mullaney -- who has more than 20 years of experience serving in leadership capacities in academia -- will succeed current president Dr. Katherine Douglas on July 1. Douglas will retire on June 30 after serving CCC for eight years. People.


Photo: Dr. William Mullaney

From left: WGHS varsity basketball players Danielle Leszyk, Hannah Morse and Taylor Kelly at the dinner at El Rancho.

 

El Rancho provides dinner to WGHS girls team

The owner of El Rancho Mexican Restaurant in Watkins Glen honors the Watkins Glen High School girls varsity basketball team's second-place finish in the state by providing the squad with a taco dinner. Schools.

 

Woodstock 50 festival lineup is unveiled

The lineup for the Woodstock 50 festival at Watkins Glen International was announced March 19 by promoter Michael Lang -- and includes a handful of artists who performed at the original Woodstock, held at Bethel Woods 50 years ago: John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Santana, John Sebastian, David Crosby, Melanie, Country Joe McDonald, and Canned Heat. Headliners for the Aug. 16-18 festival will include Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons, the Black Keys, and Chance the Rapper. For a full list, click here.

Watkins Glen election winners: From left: Nan Woodworth (trustee), Lou Perazzini (trustee), Luke Leszyk (mayor) and Steve Decker (justice).

 

Leszyk elected mayor in Watkins Glen; Perazzini and Woodworth win board seats

Political newcomer Luke Leszyk, a military veteran and retired state trooper running on the Republican line, defeated Village Board member Laurie DeNardo (pictured at right) 330-269 on March 19 in balloting for a four-year term as mayor. Leszyk will succeed one-term mayor Sam Schimizzi, who was defeated in a Democratic caucus by DeNardo.

Earning four-year spots on the Village Board -- joining incumbents DeNardo and Tony Fraboni -- are Republican Lou Perazzini (360 votes) and Democrat Nan Woodworth (333), who was appointed late last year to the board seat vacated by the resignation of Kevin Thornton. Democrat Brian Eslinger fell short Tuesday with 309 votes. Steve Decker, running unopposed for Village Justice, received 448 votes. A proposition to approve a service award program for firefighters passed 414-156.

Messmer wins mayoral race in Odessa

Incumbent Gerry Messmer (pictured at right) -- appointed to the Odessa mayor's post last year -- was elected to a full two-year term on March 19, defeating challenger David Patterson, 75-30. Newcomer Aubrey Tomassi was elected to a two-year term on the Odessa Village Board with 86 votes, along with incumbent Anne Centurelli (69). Challenger Marcel Veilleux fell short with 30 votes.

Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi, left, and Trustee Gary Schmidt at their last Board meeting. Each served four years.

 

Schimizzi, Schmidt are lauded at final session

Thank-you's and compliments were the order of the evening as Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi and Trustee Gary Schmidt -- both elected four years ago -- attended their last regularly scheduled Village Board meeting in their official capacities March 18. Each of them, along with Watkins Police Sergeant in Charge Steve Decker -- leaving the force to become Village Justice -- were lauded for their service to the village by fellow officials and audience attendees. Decker officially resigned, effective March 29, saying it was "an honor to serve for the past 22 years" in the police department. A new mayor and two trustees elected Tuesday, March 19, will take office in April. The process is underway for selecting a successor to Decker.

Photo: Planning Board member and podcaster Stacy Gray expressed her sentiments on her shirt at Monday's meeting.

Short-term rental operators cautioned. Government.

 

'Drunk Bus' completes filming in Montour Falls

The movie "Drunk Bus"-- produced by Watkins Glen area resident Eric Hollenbeck -- finished filming recently with several days of shooting in Montour Falls. The cast and crew of the film transformed Main Street into a small college town. Movie.

Watkins' Hannah Morse drives into heavy traffic near the basket.

 

Watkins Glen girls fall in Class C state final

The Watkins Glen High School girls varsity basketball team stayed with Cambridge for three quarters before fading down the stretch March 16 and losing 57-43 in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C final at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. Danielle Leszyk and Adrienna Solomon each scored 11 points for the Senecas, while Taylor Kelly scored 10 and Hannah Morse 9. Leszyk and Morse were named to the All-Tournament Team, while Solomon was honored with a Sportsmanship Award. Sports.

Watkins girls welcomed home. Sports.
A great group of role models. Forum.

 

Guys and Dolls ends its 3-show run at O-M

Students at Odessa-Montour High School completed their two-day, three-show presentation of the classic musical "Guys and Dolls" Saturday night, March 16 in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. Opening night was Friday; the show concluded with 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. performances Saturday. For some photos from a performance, see Schools.

Photo: Rhys Stermer as Nathan Detroit and Hannah Rosier as Miss Adelaide. (Photo provided)

Next up: WGHS musical Once Upon a Mattress, set for March 29-31. Features.

 

Artists in Residence program leads to concert

The annual Artists in Residence program in the Watkins School District concludes with an evening concert in the WGHS auditorium. People.

Photos: Maria Brubaker sings You by Dodie Clark as part of the concert. (Photo by Ashlyn Karius)

 

Rotary honors Barrett as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Maggie Barrett was honored March 14 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for March. She was introduced by teacher Melissa Kissell, who described the honoree as someone unfailingly kind and helpful to others, who "it has been a pleasure to watch grow and blossom" as she has matured from a student lacking confidence to one "finding herself and beginning to believe in herself." This "amazing and awesome growth she has made through perseverance makes her the ideal" choice for Student of the Month, said Kissell. Maggie plans to attend Corning Community College in Environmental Science with a goal of attending Cornell and becoming a veterinarian

Photo: Maggie Barrett addresses Rotarians.

  Lexi earns gymnastics honors at Brockport

Watkins Glen High School 2018 graduate Lexi Castellaneta has been named Athlete of the Week at SUNY Brockport after earning National Collegiate Gymnastics Association East Region Rookie of the Year honors following Brockport's victory at the NCGA regional competition on March 10. Sports.

Photo: Lexi Castellaneta (Photo provided)

 

Legislature meeting: Woodstock fears aired

Residents once again -- at a Schuyler County Legislature meeting - voiced their concerns about a Summer Jam repeat at August's Woodstock 50 festival at Watkins Glen International. Government.



Photo: Legislator Phil Barnes, who chaired the meeting.

 

Boating club focus: education and family fun

The Finger Lakes Chapter of America’s Boating Club, formerly known as the Seneca Sail and Power Squadron, is strengthening its role in the community with renewed emphasis on education, safety and family involvement. Features.

Bill Green with some 1955 Watkins Glen race credentials.

 

Green gives history lesson on race credentials

Racing historian Bill Green of the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen -- the guest speaker March 7 at the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club's weekly luncheon -- brought with him a notebook full of credentials he has collected from Watkins Glen races in the 1950s. He showed many of them, sprinkling the demonstration with some tales of racing and racers of that era.

An artistically enhanced photo of Woodstock 50 promoter Michael Lang at the County Building March 6th.

 

Legislature hears police report; Lang weighs in

Three officials from the State Police in Albany presented a report on public safety to the Schuyler County Legislature in executive session March 6. Afterward, promoter Michael Lang commented on the festival, and County Administrator Tim O'Hearn said a public meeting on Woodstock will be held March 27 at the former Middle School in Watkins Glen. People.

Members of the committee that will select the firm to head up Clute Park renovations and new construction include, from left, County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, Clute Park Manager Michelle Hyde, Schuyler County Director of Planning Kristin VanHorn, Watkins Glen Trustee Laurie DeNardo, and SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry. Other members: Watkins Glen Trustee Gary Schmidt, and Watkins Glen Superintendent of Utilities Terry Wilcox.

 

2 finalists in Clute renovation meet the public

The two highest rated firms out of 15 that submitted proposals for renovation and new construction at Clute Park presented reports outlining their philosophies and experience to a Watkins Glen Village Hall board room packed with area residents Wednesday, March 6 in two hour-long meetings, at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. The firms were Stantec out of New Haven CT, and SWBR out of Rochester. Representatives of each -- Stantac at the first meeting and SWBR at the second -- fielded questions but could not provide specfiic plans since they have created none, not having yet been hired. The projects -- early plans have indicated a new pavilion, new bathhouse, a skating rink and a splash pad -- are being financed through three grants totaling $4.8 million. Selection of either Stantec or SWBR is expected soon.

Photo: Judy McKinney Cherry, Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development executive director, moderated.

Left: Gary Sorge of Stantec. Right: Don Naetzker of SWBR.

State Senator Tom O'Mara is at the microphones, with Assemblyman Phil Palmesano on the right, in the State Capitol. (Photo provided)

 

Legislators, local leaders rally for road funds

A group of state legislators, organized by State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, joined a statewide coalition of county and town highway superintendents and other local leaders March 6th to call for increased state support for local roads, bridges and culverts. The group of 600 highway reps have been in Albany this week as part of the annual "Local Roads Matter" advocacy campaign. They are calling for an increase of $150 million -- to $588 million -- in state CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) funding.

State approves $128 million in new state funding to repair local roads damaged this winter. Government.

Watkins Glen Republican mayoral candidate Luke Leszyk, left, and Democratic trustee candidate Brian Eslinger were working at the pancake supper.

 

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper draws crowd

The annual Shrove Tuesday all-you-can-eat Pancake Supper drew its usual hungry crowd to St. James' Parish House in Watkins Glen March 5th, with one difference: this time it was named in honor of Nick Dugo, a church and community leader who died Nov. 26. On hand as waiters were several candidates in the March 19 village election.

Photo: Watkins Glen Democratic mayoral candidate Laurie DeNardo was waiting tables at the supper.

 

Board urges passage of LOSAP program

The Watkins Glen Village Board approves a Local Law that would permit it to override the state's 2% tax-levy hike limit, if needed, as it backs passage of a firefighter reward program. Government.

Photo: Trustee Tony Fraboni

 

Lang denies Woodstock 50 financial woes

Woodstock 50 organizer Michael Lang says reports of financial problems with the Aug. 16-18 festival at Watkins Glen International are not true. The Variety publication, quoting the website Hits Daily Double, said "issues regarding the raising of money and venue capacity" had delayed the announcement of the lineup for the 50th anniversary celebration of the original Woodstock, which Lang co-organized. "We have excellent partners and an incredible talent lineup of over 80 artists which will be announced within the next couple of weeks," said Lang. "We're preparing a once-in-a-lifetime event." Hits Daily Double quoted "insiders" as saying acts slated to appear include Dead & Co., Miley Cyrus, Santana, The Black Keys, Chance the Rapper, Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons, and Halsey.

Photo: Organizer Michael Lang.

 

McKinney Cherry named co-chair of STREDC

Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), has been appointed co-chair of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council (STREDC), replacing Tom Tranter, president of Corning Enterprises, who has served as the business co-chair since the council's inception in 2011. The academic co-chair is Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger. "I am honored and grateful to Governor Cuomo for this appointment," said McKinney Cherry, who has served as a member of STREDC since 2015 and has been on its Executive Committee. STREDC focuses on projects to revitalize communities and improve the quality of life in the Southern Tier.

Photo: Judy McKinney Cherry (File photo)

 

Man in chase sentenced on earlier charges

The man who crashed his car at the end of a police chase on Jan. 17 was sentenced to 4-to-8 years in state prison March 4th on three felonies to which he was supposed to be sentenced on the day of the chase. Charges related to the chase are still "working their way through the criminal justice process," authorities said. People.

Photo: Damaged car at the scene of the Jan. 17 crash.

 

Deputy Sheriffs Association honors Dylan

Odessa-Montour High School senior Dylan Houseknecht, winner of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division 2 wrestling championship at 285 pounds, was honored March 1 in the O-M district office by members of the Schuyler County Deputy Sheriffs Association -- who presented him with a gift card. For details, and another photo, see Schools.

Photo: Dylan Houseknecht, left, receives a gift.

O-M's Jackie Vincent addresses Watkins-Montour Rotarians.

 

Rotary honors Vincent as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Jackie Vincent (right and above) was honored Feb. 28 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for February. Vincent was introduced by teacher Holly Campbell, who cited the honoree's tendency to help others and her "initiative" in addressing her duties on the school's National Honor Society, of which Campbell is advisor. Vincent, a High Honor student ranked fifth in her class, was an IAC First Team All-Star this past season in bowling, averaging over 170. She plans to attend either SUNY Cayuga or SUNY Erie to study Business Administration, with a minor in Sales and Finance. She plans after graduation to work for a business firm with an eye toward establishing her own business, a challenge she says she is ready to meet in order "to achieve my dreams."

 

Crowd welcomes home O-M's Houseknecht

Odessa-Montour High School senior Dylan Houseknecht was greeted upon his return to Odessa Sunday afternoon, Feb. 24 by scores of fans celebrating his victory Saturday at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships. Dylan won the Division 2 title in the 285-pound weight class. Sunday's celebration, with a siren escort from Alpine Junction, occurred in front of the O-M school. Features.

Photo: Dylan Houseknecht arrives at the celebration.

Houseknecht: Odessa File Athlete of the Week. Sports.

 

Sexual abuse case draws weekends sentence

A 33-year-old Tyrone man, Shawn M. Wheeler (right), was sentenced Feb. 21 in Schuyler County Court to 26 weekends in jail and 10 years probation after being found guilty in a November trial of sexually abusing his 13-year-old stepdaughter, who officials say has intellectual disabilities. According to the Schuyler County District Attorney's office, the sentence handed down by County Judge Dennis Morris was significantly different from that recommended by Chief Assistant District Attorney Matthew Hayden, who argued for 7 years in state prison. Government.

Photo: Shawn M. Wheeler (Photo provided)

Congressman Tom Reed speaks at a gathering of officers and board members at The Arc of Schuyler.

 

Reed tours The Arc of Schuyler's facility

Congressman Tom Reed visited the Arc of Schuyler headquarters on 12th Street in Watkins Glen Feb. 19 to meet with Arc officials, discuss their legislative needs, and receive a tour of projects under way there. The Arc is in the process of a capital campaign to raise $375,000 locally as part of a $1.75 million drive for renovations and equipment -- which will update its services as the Arc moves toward greater inclusion for people with disabilities and the general public. Reed, in his first visit there, said he was impressed by the Arc, which is expanding its food manufacturing service through its social enterprise, Glen Copack, and its civic engagement with the additiion of a Neighborhood Center.

Photo: Tom Reed gets a tour of the Arc facility from Arc Executive Director Jeannette Frank.

Former Odessa Mayor Keith Pierce with Board member Robin Thoman as she presented him with his Citizen of the Year plaque.

 

Keith Pierce named Odessa Citizen of the Year

Former Odessa Mayor Keith Pierce was honored Feb. 18 by the Odessa Village Board as the village's 2018 Citizen of the Year. The presentation was made by Trustee Robin Thoman, who recounted Pierce's service to Odessa as trustee (2005-2009) and mayor (2009-2018). Said Pierce, who initiated the award in 2013: "This means a lot to me." Previous winners included Charlie Haeffner, Jeff Parmenter, Bonnie Scott, Tom Cook, and Erick Thorpe.

Also: Pierce announced that his wife, Village Clerk Kristi Pierce, was leaving that post after 15 years. She will be leaving Friday, Feb. 22 for a job with an area attorney. She, along with Trustee Thoman -- a 25-year member of the board who is not seeking re-election -- were lauded by Mayor Gerry Messmer for their service.

Photo: Kristi Pierce, who is leaving the job of Odessa Village Clerk after 15 years.

 

Lafayette Park clock is a legacy born of love

The Victorian-style clock in Watkins Glen's Lafayette Park is a reminder of the importance of the park to people like benefactor Robert L. Paradiso and a visible example of ongoing upgrades at the popular village location. People.

 

Rotary honors Weeden as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Casen Weeden (right) was honored Feb. 14 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for February. He was introduced by the school's Library Media Specialist, Maggie Field, who described him as "a team player" who is "kind, respectful and reliable" and "a consistent High Honor student" with "a great sense of humor." Weeden competes in three school sports -- football, bowling and track -- and teaches Sunday School at his church. He volunteers at a Food Pantry and with the Lions Club, and plans to attend the Syracuse-based SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

 

Bond named president of Hunt Engineers

The Watkins Glen resident, a longtime Hunt employee who has been the company's vice president since 2015, is only the third president in the 44-year history of the Horseheads firm. He succeeds Dan Bower, who will remain as CEO and Chief Strategic Officer. Business.

Photo: Chris Bond

 

Summer Jam woes conveyed to Legislature

Dozens of area residents were on hand at the Feb. 11 Schuyler Legislature meeting, with several cautioning legislators about the dangers of embracing the Aug. 16-18 Woodstock 50 festival at Watkins Glen International -- using the 1973 Summer Jam as a sobering example. County Administrator Tim O'Hearn assured them that the process of approving the festival is in its early stages, and that the Legislature is listening. "We're taking this seriously," he said -- but allowing the process to play out, giving the promoter every chance to "prove he can do what he says." Government.

Photo: Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn

 

Women's March: calling attention to inequality

Watkins Glen High School senior Kathleen Clifford weighs in with a description of the 2019 Women's March in Seneca Falls and some facts and thoughts on gender inequality in the United States. People.

Photo: Kathleen Clifford

 

Cargill team donates $5,000 to United Way

A team of Cargill Salt employees recently completed Project KliC at the Watkins Glen Cargill Salt Facility, involving installation of a system to refine Potassium Chloride (KCl). The team won the Cargill Salt Diamond Crystal award, which recognizes exceptional team performance. Members of such winning teams receive gifts and a grant of $5,000 to be donated to a charitable foundation of the team’s choice. The team chose to donate the entire $5,000 to the Schuyler County United Way.

Photo: Paul Clifford, Project KliC Team Leader (and past United Way board member) and current United Way board member Jessica Smith with the Diamond Crystal award. (Photo provided)

 

Arc of Schuyler rallies for DSP wage increase

Direct support professionals, advocates, and legislators rallied at the Broome County Courthouse in Binghamton on February 8, calling on the New York State legislature and Governor Cuomo to include $55 million in the New York State budget to pay direct support professionals what they called a fair, living wage. Features.

Photo: At the rally: Mandy Jensen, a Direct Support Professional at The Arc of Schuyler. (Photo provided)

 

Woodstock worries? Barnes urges patience

The Dix Town Board --at a Special Meeting on Feb. 7 called to discuss concerns about the Woodstock 50 weekend planned at Watkins Glen International in August -- heard from Schuyler County Legislator Phil Barnes, who cautioned that people should wait for more information before rushing to any judgment about the big concert. People.

Photo: Legislator Phil Barnes at the Dix Town Board meeting.

 

Odessa residents approve fire truck purchase

The residents of the village of Odessa on Feb. 7 approved the purchase of a new pumper/rescue truck to replace an old one. The vote count was 64-18.The purchase will be done without raising taxes. About a fourth of the cost is covered by the Odessa Fire Department's capital equipment reserve account, with the rest bonded. Existing equipment used on the current pumper will be transferred to the new truck.

 

Rotary honors Simpson as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Nadia Simpson (pictured at right) was honored Feb. 7 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for January. Simpson was introduced by teacher Trina Shepherd, who described the honoree as "a well-rounded student" who "has made the most her high school career" while being "very polite, respectful, a leader, and helpful to peers and teachers." Simpson competes in soccer and track, is a cheerleader, and is president of Student Council and Interact and Vice President of the National Honor Society. She holds the school record in the 100 Meter Dash and excels at 200 Meters. She is planning to attend college, and is leaning toward SUNY Cortland, with an eye toward the field of Human Services.

Lou Perazzini enjoys a moment at his Meet the Candidate gathering Thursday evening at the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge. A Republican, he is seeking a seat on the Watkins Glen Village Board in the March 19 election. Two seats are up for grabs, sought by three candidates.

 

Perazzini, Leszyk greet public at Elks session

Lou Perazzini and Luke Leszyk -- running on the Republican ticket for Watkins Glen Village Trustee and Mayor, respectively, met with members of the public Feb. 7 at a Meet the Candidate Night organized by Perazzini at the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge. Perazzini, a graduate of Watkins Glen High School and part of the village community for 60 years, was employed by NYS DOT for 28 years, retiring in 2005, and later worked for the National Wild Turkey Federation, retiring in 2012. He and his wife Vickie then opened the Lake Valley Legends B&B on North Glen Avenue. He is also president of the Italian-American Festival. Leszyk, an Odessa-Montour graduate, was a New York State Trooper for 23 years -- the last 12 serving the people of Schuyler County -- before retiring in 2017. He and his wife Jane now own and operate Admiral Peabody's Lakeside Lodging on Seneca Lake. Also on hand at Thursday's gathering was Steve Decker -- Sergeant in Charge of the Watkins Glen Police Department -- who is running unopposed on the GOP line for Village Justice.

Photo in text: Luke Leszyk at the Elks Lodge Thursday.

 

'Ingenuity Night' draws crowd at high school

The Watkins Glen Central School District kicked off its Ingenuity Initiative with a ribbon-cutting and open house at the High School. Schools.

Left: School Board President Gloria Brubaker at the ribbon-cutting.

Schuyler County Judge candidate Matt Hayden, right, poses next to one of his signs with his father, Carl Hayden, well-known Chemung County attorney and Chancellor Emeritus of the New York State Board of Regents.

 

Matt Hayden announces run for County Judge

Schuyler County Chief Assistant District Attorney Matthew Hayden announced Feb. 5 at a press conference in the Watkins Glen Village Hall that he is seeking the post of Schuyler County Judge in the November election. The 10-year post is currently held by Dennis Morris, who has announced he will retire at the end of May. Hayden, a Democrat, has been Chief Assistant D.A. since 2004. In 2013, he won the "Prosecutor of the Year" award in New York State. Hayden is the first of several people expected to announce their candidacy for the bench. He was introduced at Tuesday's gathering -- attended by supporters from both parties -- by his campaign manager, retired school superintendent Tom Phillips.

Photo in text: Matt Hayden addresses his supporters at Tuesday's gathering.

 

Woodstock 50 to be held at WGI in August

The 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival will be held on the grounds of Watkins Glen International from Aug. 16-18. The original Woodstock organizer, Michael Lang (pictured at right), announced the plans -- detailed in a lengthy New York Times article here. WGI will be used instead of the Woodstock site in Bethel Woods, NY, which "simply doesn't have the capacity to host our official Woodstock 50 celebration," Lang said. No official musical lineup for the event has been unveiled, but Lang told Rolling Stone magazine that dozens of guests have been booked. Tickets -- a reported 110,000 --go on sale in February.

Schuyler "fully supports" Woodstock 50. Features.

 

Palmesano joins in tipped-wage credit rally

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) joins other lawmakers and restaurant industry representives for an Albany rally in support of the tipped-wage credit -- which proponents say helps keep restaurant employment up and costs down. Government.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, left, at rally

O'Mara votes against 'extreme action' on abortion. Gov't.
Palmesano rips Cuomo on funding cut to localities. Gov't.

One of the sculpted ice bars on the Harbor Hotel's patio.

 

Harbor Hotel's Ice Bar concludes 3-night run

The 8th annual Ice Bar event opened Jan. 31 at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel -- the first evening of a three-night run that sold out Feb. 1 and 2. There were about 500 ticket holders present the first night, with 1,000 on hand each of the following two nights. Sculpted ice bars, a sculpted ice throne and sculpted ice advertising populated the hotel patio, while area wineries and related food businesses were providing wine and food samples in the hotel ballroom. A portion of the proceeds goes to the American Red Cross.

Photo: F.L.X. Wienery was among the businesses on hand.

A sculpted ice throne was a popular spot for picture posing.

The Democratic Party ticket for the Watkins Glen Village Board in the March 19 election: Trustee candidates Brian Eslinger and Nan Woodworth flank mayoral candidate Laurie DeNardo

 

Dems pick DeNardo as their mayoral candidate

Watkins Glen Village Trustee Laurie DeNardo was chosen by registered village Democrats meeting in caucus Jan. 29 to be their mayoral candidate in the March 19 village election. She defeated incumbent Mayor Sam Schimizzi, 37-31, in a paper-ballot vote of Democrats meeting in the Watkins Glen Village Hall.

Schimizzi, who is completing a single four-year term as head of the Village Board, said afterward that he has no plans to seek any office in the near future.

The vote -- from 68 out of the 420 registered Democratic voters in the village -- followed short speeches by the two candidates after each was nominated. Speeches of support were also presented by Stacy Gray on behalf of Schimizzi, and by Phil Cherry on behalf of DeNardo.

The caucus also unanimously named Nan Woodworth -- a recent addition to the Village Board through appointment following the resignation of Kevin Thornton -- and Brian Eslinger (a recent candidate for the county Legislature) to seek the two available trustee seats. Incumbent Gary Schmidt earlier chose not to seek re-election.

DeNardo will be facing Republican Luke Leszyk, while Republican Lou Perazzini will be running for trustee against Woodworth and Eslinger. The top two trustee vote-getters earn the two trustee seats. The Democrats have no candidate for Village Justice to challenge Republican Steve Decker. Incumbent Justice Connie Fern Miller is not seeking a second term.

Photos: Caucus Chair John Vona (top) and Mayor Sam Schimizzi at Tuesday's gathering.

 

WGHS artists' work on display at museum

Art by selected Watkins Glen High School students will be on display at the Arnot Art Museum as part of the museum's annual Scholastic Art Winners program. For a sampling of the art and the museum's hours, see Schools.


Left: From Ashlyn Karius's The Nuclear Shadow.

Congressman Tom Reed, left, was on hand at the Gala, here with Rick and Rebekah Carroll. Rebekah is president of the local Chamber of Commerce.

 

Chamber holds its annual Gala at the hotel

The annual Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Winter Gala presented by the Visions Federal Credit Union attracted 270 people Jan. 26 to the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The night consisted of dining, socializing, auctions, blackjack, awards, and live music by Suspect. Awards went to Matthew Sharp of Cameron Manufacturing and Design (the annual Community Spirit Award) and Grist Iron Brewing LLC (the Leader in Business Award). Scores of businesses and individuals provided donations and other support for the evening.

Photo: Dr. Katherine Douglas, president of SUNY Corning Community College, was among the attendees.

From left: Gala attendees Kaz Popovich, Margaret and Jonathan Lawrence, and Ken Wilson.

From left: Village Treasurer Rhonda Slater and trustees Laurie DeNardo and Tony Fraboni at the Village Board meeting.

 

Village Board OKs plant bills, sets tax-sale list

The Watkins Glen Village Board handled a number of basic housekeeping matters Jan. 22, briefly discussed upcoming projects at Clute Park, and:
--Approved an ad seeking a Kayak Launch vendor.
--Approved a Joint Project Committee audit of invoices totaling $255,599.98, bringing expenses on the new wastewater treatment plant to $7 million, with $25 million to go.
--Heard a suggestion from resident Barb Cook for an addition to the Domestic Animal Protection Act regarding protective enclosures provided by pet owners.
--Approved a list of 28 properties with unpaid taxes of almost $29,000 to be advertised for tax certificate sale. The total is down from recent years.
--Congratulated Sergeant in Charge Steve Decker for being honored by WETM as a "Most Valuable Citizen."

Photo: Sergeant in Charge Steve Decker

 

Eagle Scout's exhibit looks at region in 1700s

A trove of family treasures was turned into an Eagle Scout project by a Bath resident, Griffin Bates (right), and his work is now on display at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum. People.

 

Photo at right: Griffin Bates

Museum plans Ancestry.com workshop on Feb. 9. Features.

 

High-speed chase ends in injuries, arrest

A Reading Center man was arrested Jan. 17 following a high-speed chase that ended on the north end of Watkins Glen when he crashed avoiding a roadblock and hit another vehicle, injuring two people in the second car. They were reportedly airlifted to Robert Packer Hospital. The man, identified as Jazmany Caraballo, 37, was hospitalized locally. Charges are pending. Authorities said the incident began with an assault that allegedly occurred in the Schuyler County Courthouse parking lot. They said Caraballo fled the scene in a vehicle later spotted in Yates County, which was chased by police back toward Watkins Glen. Police said the suspect swerved to avoid the blockade on Route 14 just north of the village's downtown, went off the road and hit a vehicle that had pulled over, injuring the two people inside it.

Photo: Damaged car at the scene of the roadblock.

 

Man dies in farm accident in Town of Hector

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office is investigating a fatal farm accident that occurred Wednesday morning on Dolphsburg Road in the Town of Hector. Deputies said Jay E. Arcangeli, 51, of Burdett, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Schuyler County Coroner's office after becoming entangled in a power take-off unit. The Sheriff's Office was assisted at the scene by Burdett Fire and Rescue and by Schuyler Ambulance.

Plea gives Schuyler boost in opioid lawsuit

County seeking reimbursement for expenses related to the opioid crisis as well as to gain financial aid to fight overdoses, drug-related crimes. Government.

Honoree Ashley Smith receives a Student of the Month plaque from acting Rotary Club president Tony Fraboni.

 

WGHS's Ashley Smith honored by Rotary Club

Watkins Glen High School senior Ashley Smith was honored Jan. 10 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for January. The honoree was introduced by teacher Kaz Popovich, who said Smith is "an incredibly responsible and conscientious student who always works hard and achieves at a high level. She has demonstrated in her classes that she is a very clever young lady and has good leadership abilities." Smith, president of the school's Year Book Club, said she plans to attend Corning Community College and study Accounting and Business Management.

 

Of Clute Park and the Italian Festival's future

The Watkins Glen Village Board discusses the upcoming Clute Park renovations and hears from Lou Perazzini (right), president of the Watkins Glen Italian American Festival, regarding the festival committee's commitment to a 40th anniversary celebration at Clute in August of 2019 -- but its doubts and questions regarding the festival's future after that. Government.

Work was underway Jan. 3 at the future Seneca Cheese Company site on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen.

 

Framing begins at site of Seneca Cheese Co.

Workers were erecting the ground-floor framing Thursday, Jan. 3 at the site of the former Eyes on Seneca building, 29 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen, home of the future Seneca Cheese Company. The building previously on the grounds was razed recently when it was determined -- after the roof was removed to make way for a second-floor -- that the existing building was structurally unsound. Owners Bob and Barb MacBlane still plan a two-story mixed-use building, where local cheese, beer and wine products will be sold, with consumption available on-site -- including on a second-floor deck. An apartment is also planned on the upper floor.

Schuyler County Judge Dennis Morris, right, administers the oath of office to re-elected legislators Phil Barnes, left, and Carl Blowers.

 

Barnes, Blowers sworn in; Fagan is chairman

The Schuyler County Legislature held its annual reorganizational meeting Wednesday morning, Jan. 2, with incumbents Phil Barnes and Carl Blowers sworn in to another term of office after winning re-election in November. Blowers ran unopposed, while Barnes narrowly defeated challenger Brian Eslinger. Legislator Dennis Fagan, who has served as chairman since 2010, was re-elected by his fellow legislators to that post for another year, with Democrat Michael Lausell opposed.

 

S. Tier, Finger Lakes regions awarded funds

The Southern Tier Region will be awarded a total of $65.4 million and the Finger Lakes Region $86.5 million under the eighth round of funding through the state's Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) initiative, it was announced Tuesday. "The Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions continue to stand out," said State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano in a joint statement. "This ongoing success is the greatest testament of all to the regional leaders ... whose hard work has been unmatched." For a list of projects benefiting from the awards, click here.

Foggy evening

Fog settled in the valley, enveloping Montour Falls, on Friday afternoon and evening, Dec. 21, before the temperature dipped and snow moved in. This photo was snapped on Havana Glen Road, looking down the hill as night fell.

Rotary exchange student Manuela Buffo of Brazil (attending Odessa-Montour High School) receives a Christmas present from the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club during its luncheon meeting Dec. 20. At right: club interim president Tony Fraboni.

 

Christmas by song delivered to Rotarians

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club -- at its Dec. 20 luncheon meeting -- was entertained with live Christmas music by Sarah Schlueter-Eisman, well-known locally for years for her soaring voice. Schlueter-Eisman performed several songs, starting with O Holy Night and including Let It Snow, Away in a Manger, Do You Hear What I Hear, and It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

 

Photo at right: Sarah Schlueter-Eisman at Rotary.

 

Watkins Board amends Zoning Code to control
short-term rentals

The Watkins Glen Village Board passes Local Law amending the Zoning Code, ponders how to finance the replacement of a damaged fire truck, listens to a former mayor complain about Clute Park plans, and honors the late Nicholas Dugo. Government.

 

Photo: Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi at Monday's meeting.

 

The 17th installment of The Answers

Travis Durfee, President of the Watkins Glen Faculty Association, weighs in with The Answers, a regular column dealing with education in the Watkins Glen School District. This is the 17th installment: "A successful service project." Column.

 

Left: Travis Durfee

3 finalists named for CCC presidency

The SUNY Corning Community College Regional Board of Trustees has selected three finalists in the search for a successor to Dr. Katherine P. Douglas as president at CCC. Schools.

 

Morris to retire June 1; sets up Nov. election

Schuyler County Judge Dennis Morris -- saying "it just seemed like it was time" -- will retire on June 1, 2019, well ahead of the end of the 10-year term he won in 2011. A new 10-year term will be up for grabs in a November election. Government.

 

Photo: Schuyler County Judge Dennis Morris. (File Photo)

 

Historic cuckoo clock donated to Museum

A double cuckoo clock with possibly royal lineage is donated to the Schuyler County Historical Society by Rick Evans, who said "it belongs to the people of Schuyler County. It's part of their history." People.

 


Photo:
The cuckoo clock on a wall at the Historical Society's Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls.

 

Students, coaches offload Seneca Santa truck

The annual delivery of a Hesselson truckload of Seneca Santa toys, games and other gifts for underprivileged children (ages 2-12) in Schuyler County was conducted Dec. 12 at the First Presbyterian Church in Watkins Glen -- with the truck full of goods (purchased at cost by the Seneca Santa organization) offloaded with the help of Watkins Glen High School student-athletes and coaches. Dozens of students tossed and handed packages from one to another as the boxes were maneuvered to a storage room upstairs, where they will be sorted and wrapped (with the help of Girl Scouts) before the delivery shortly before Christmas to about 120 families with about 300 children.

Photo: WGHS students hand packages up the church stairs.

Planning Board acting chairman Tom Fitzgerald at the meeting.

 

Planning Board gives go-ahead to Cheese Co.

The Watkins Glen Planning Board on Dec. 12 gave its blessing to the construction of the Seneca Cheese Company building at 29 N. Franklin St. -- on a lot where the building its owners, Bob and Barb MacBlane, had purchased and planned to renovate was instead razed last week when it was determined it was structurally unsound. The Planning Board -- told by County Planner Kristin Van Horn that a reading of regulations showed construction, if hewing to the footprints (size, shape and plans) of the original Planning Board-approved building -- required no further public hearings and no further board measures. Accordingly, the board told Mr. MacBlane -- who assured them the building would indeed be the same as the original -- to proceed. Construction, he said, will begin soon -- that despite increasing costs, "good things are happening" in Watkins Glen. "We want to be part of it." The building will be two floors, with one apartment. Local cheese, beer and wine products will be available, with consumption available on-site -- including on a second-floor deck.

Photo in text: Bob MacBlane studies some papers before start of the Planning Board session.

 

Village Christmas parade winners announced

The Watkins Glen Village Christmas Committee has unveiled the winners in its Visions of Dr. Seuss parade on Friday, Dec. 7.

The winners:

Most Christmas Dr. Seuss Spirit: Watkins Glen Post Office.
Best Dr. Seuss Theme: Glen Gators Swim Team.
Best Dr. Seuss Decorated Fire Truck: Montour Falls Fire Dept.
Judges' Choice: New Heights Dance Theater.

Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with an elf, ride on a float in the Watkins Glen Village Christmas parade.

 

Watkins Glen holds its Village Christmas

The annual Watkins Glen Village Christmas was held December 7th on Franklin Street. Vendors, a parade, music, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and fireworks off the pier were among the highlights on a cold night with temperatures in the mid-20s.

The parade featured cartoon characters (like the Cat in the Hat, right), floats, fire trucks, and organizations such as the Glen Gators and the Girl Scouts.

Vendors up and down Franklin Street offered a wide array of food, among them hot soups and warm beverages to help ward off the night's chill.

 

Rotary Club honors Reese as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Tori Reese (right) was honored Dec. 6 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for December. She was introduced by teacher Molly Kinnetz, who said the honoree -- a High Honor student and part of the New Visions program at BOCES -- is "a true example of how persistence, dedication and hard work pay off." Reese, an IAC and Odessa File All-Star swimmer, plans to attend a SUNY agricultural school with an eye toward a career in the dairy industry. She said she hopes to continue her swim career in college.

Rotary Club honoree Austin Voorheis receives his Student of the Month plaque from club Interim President Tony Fraboni.

 

Rotary honors Voorheis as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Austin Voorheis was honored Dec. 6 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for December. He was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who praised his "desire to learn and understand content" and said his participation in class makes him "almost like a co-teacher" and has "made me a better teacher." Voorheis, a High Honor student who said he plans to study computer science in college, praised his school for its "availability of success for all students."

 

3 inducted into National Honor Society at O-M

The Odessa-Montour High School chapter of the National Honor Society added three members to its ranks Wednesday night at an induction ceremony at the school. Joining the NHS were, from left in photo above, Madison Vogel, Dylan Houseknecht and Hannah Bruno. (Photo provided)

Santa Claus was on hand at the Odessa Fire Department party.

 

Firefighters' party draws a crowd in Odessa

The annual Odessa Fire Department Christmas Party at the Village Hall drew a large contingent of youngsters Dec. 2 who enjoyed face painting, drawing, visiting Santa, mailing Letters to Santa (right), and receiving (and playing with) gifts purchased and provided by the fire department. Food and beverage were also provided to attendees.

Left: O-M Hall of Fame inductee Kelly Legare. Right: Inductee Tom Lewis, right, with emcee Greg Gavich.

 

Odessa-Montour Sports Hall of Fame inducts 4

Four standout athletes from Odessa-Montour High School's past were inducted Nov. 30 into the O-M Sports Hall of Fame during a ceremony in the school cafeteria. The event, which included a buffet dinner provided by Jerlando's, honored the following inductees: the late Doug Cooper (Class of 1974, football, swimming and baseball), Kelly Legare (Class of 1984, baseball and football), Tom Lewis (Class of 1993, football, basketball and baseball) and Katie Taber (Class of 2006, soccer, basketball and track).

Photo in text: Inductee Katie Taber at the ceremony.

A display featuring highlights of James Hope's life are part of the exhibit, which includes several of his area landscape paintings.

 

Hope exhibit is the centerpiece of Open House

The Schuyler County Historical Society held its annual Holiday Open House Dec. 2 at its Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls -- with the centerpiece being an exhibit showcasing the life and work of 19th century artist James Hope, who created many works while a resident of Watkins Glen and whose 200th birthday celebration was Nov. 29. Refreshments were served to museum visitors.

Meeting summary

The Watkins Glen School Board met in a brief session on Nov. 29 at 7:35 a.m. For the school-provided summary, see Schools.

Watkins Glen's Allie Gibson, left, and Hannah Morse.

 

Our All-Schuyler Autumn All-Stars and MVPs

The Odessa File's First, Second and Third Team Autumn All-Stars have been selected, as well as the Schuyler Fall MVPs -- Watkins Glen High School swimmer Allie Gibson and WGHS soccer record-setter Hannah Morse. Sports.

Left: Pecans were among the many kinds of food available. Right: A kitchen worker prepares the "Street of Shops" lunch.

 

'Street of Shops' Bazaar offers foods, crafts

The annual "Street of Shops" Holiday Bazaar at the First Presbyterian Church of Watkins Glen on Dec. 1 drew a crowd for morning pastries and coffee, and then a lunch of soups, sandwiches, dessert and drinks. Homemade crafts and baked goods were available, along with homemade jams and jellies, peanut brittle, and fudge. Raffles offered a variety of goods donated by area businesses.

Photo at right: One of the many craft items available at the "Street of Shops" bazaar.

 

The Arc kicks off its Transformation 2020 drive

The Arc of Schuyler's Transformation 2020 fundraising campaign had its official launch Nov. 8 at a social gathering for Arc supporters at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Co-chairs Dominick Franzese and daughter Margaret Lawrence spoke after a poignant video featuring Steve Rondinaro, whose sister Cindy has received Arc services for years. Also speaking were Arc Board President Jay Hoffmeier and Executive Director Jeannette Frank, who outlined the projects the campaign will finance. Features.

Photo: The Arc's executive director, Jeannette Frank, right, and Watkins Glen Village Trustee Laurie DeNardo.

 

Rotary honors Grover as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Olivia Grover was honored Nov. 29 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for November. Grover was introduced by teacher Danielle Rumsey, who described the honoree as "a wonderful person" who "volunteers a lot" and is "amazing all-around." Grover, the National Honor Society president, the Student Council treasurer and a member of the Superintendent's Leadership Council, is an All-Star and team captain in both soccer and basketball. She was also a member last year of the Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athletes in the region.

Photo in text: Olivia Grover at the Rotary Club luncheon.

SCOPED Executive Director Judy Cherry and County Administrator Tim O'Hearn were among the officials at the meeting. Also present, in addition to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, were County Planning Director Kristin VanHorn, Deputy Mayor Gary Schmidt, SCOPED's Amanda Arnold Rodriguez, DRI project owner Jackie Honsberger (The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor), and Dr. Amanda Smith-Socaris, a member of the DRI Local Project Committee.

 

Hochul gets update on Watkins DRI projects

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Watkins Glen Nov. 29 for an update on the various Downtown Revitalization Initiative and related projects planned in the village. She met with officials from the county, village and Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) in the Village Hall board room. The meeting was requested by Hochul, who earlier in the day visited Hornell for a hospital ground-breaking ceremony. She praised a number of projects and a joint county-village effort that offers a "shared vision," and thanked "all of you for putting in the time to transform your community. Stay with it. It's gonna be unrecognizable."

Photo: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul at Thursday's meeting.

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services Real Estate Development Director Joe Bowes with a drawing of the apartment complex.

 

Planning Board OKs Apartments/Care Center

Watkins Glen's Planning Board -- following an hour-long public hearing at which several area residents expressed concerns -- gave Final Site Plan Approval Wednesday, Nov. 28 to a proposed 3-story, 35-foot-high apartment complex at Second and North Porter Streets, across from Jefferson Village, proposed by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services. The board added a condition that the INHS spokesman, Director of Real Estate Development Joe Bowes, meet with the village fire chief and code enforcement officer to discuss codes -- which he pointed out had to be met anyway before construction could begin. He said project completion is planned by the end of 2020. The building will house 24 one-bedroom apartments and 10 two-bedroom apartments, as well as a child-care center run by My Place.

The board also gave Final Site Plan Approval for the Glen Racing Grill on 11th Street, and Preliminary Site Plan Approval to Cargill for a pumphouse and tanks that will increase environmental safeguards in the handling of brine. A public hearing on that proposed "Salt Tank Farm" was scheduled for the next board meeting, on Dec. 12.

Photo in text: Planning Board member Brian Eslinger

 

Coffey named National Team Athlete of Year

Olivia Coffey (right) -- a member of the winning eights team at the Sept. 16 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and on the winning Cambridge team in the annual Boat Race against Oxford earlier this year in England -- has garnered the most votes to earn the USRowing Fan's Choice award for National Team Athlete of the Year. Coffey, 29, a one-time Watkins Glen High School student-athlete who went on to prep school, All-America status at Harvard and an alternate rowing spot at the Olympics, was among four finalists. The USRowing Fan's Choice Awards, in their eighth year, "are an important part of USRowing's longstanding tradition of bestowing awards for superior performance and contributions to the success of our sport," said the award website.

The walls of the barn were outlined by the fire burning within as firefighters battled the blaze on the Gates Farm.

 

Fire strikes large barn on farm near Burdett

Fire destroyed a 40-by-100-foot pole barn containing hay, straw, a tractor and tires late Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 27 on the Gates farm along the Dolphsburg Road outside Burdett, between County Routes 8 and 9. Thick black smoke caused by the tires rose high above the scene, visible for miles. There were no people or animals in the structure when it caught fire, said officials and family at the scene. The cause was being investigated.

Right: Two firefighters at the barn blaze.


 

Truck Rollover:

A Watkins Glen fire truck rolled on its side along County Rte. 9 near the juncture with State Route 79 outside Burdett Tuesday while responding to the barn fire on Dolphsburg Road. Officials at first declined comment on the incident, but Watkins Fire Chief Charlie Smith III issued a statement Wednesday. See Statement.

Photo: The truck on its side. (WENY photo)

 

Teacher, judge Nicholas Dugo remembered

Friends and admirers were lamenting the passing Tuesday of retired teacher and former Watkins Glen Village Justice Nicholas Dugo, whose death was announced Monday, Nov. 26 by St. James' Episcopal Church, where he was its senior warden. The church said it “praises God for the life of ... a profound and passionate teacher.”

Comments on Facebook included:

Sara Morton: “Mr. Dugo was a fantastic teacher who helped to send me on the path towards becoming a lawyer. The world is dimmer today, but brighter for him having been a part of it."
Rich Bitter: “Judge Dugo was both of my kids’ high school history teacher, and he was great. Especially on the annual senior class trips to DC. ”
Drew Guild: “I didn’t know Nick for but just a few years. I sang right next to him at St. James ... We kidded each other. Soft spoken, yet you listened to his knowledge. “
Marie Fitzsimmons: “My teacher, mentor, friend -- my gratitude for every gift."
Diane Wood: "RIP Nick. He was a great man and teacher respected and loved by his students and colleagues. It was an honor to work with him.”

Photo: Nick Dugo.

Nicholas Dugo's obituary can be found here.

Among 30 vendors on hand for Small Business Saturday at the Odessa Municipal Building was photographer Alyssa McCray.

 

Small business, Christmas mix in Odessa

Small Business Saturday, which stresses local shopping in communities around the country, was observed Nov. 24 in both Watkins Glen and Odessa -- the latter offering both a vendors' market and a student concert at the Odessa Municipal Building. That village's 7th annual tree lighting ceremony outside the Municipal Building alongside Route 224 was preceded by the 3rd annual vendors' gathering featuring 30 small-business operators and artisans. And for the first time, a concert featuring Odessa-Montour students was held as part of the Odessa celebration -- with the group directed by O-M's Jennifer Kraemer, with guitar and vocal accompaniment by Kim Laursen. The vendors' market drew a crowd, as did the concert -- standing room only -- and the tree lighting. Organizers plan to repeat the vendor and concert components in coming years.

Photo: The 7th annual Odessa tree lighting ceremony had a new tree, planted recently -- in place of cut trees used before.

Students from O-M performed Christmas music at a concert in the Odessa Municipal Building preceding the tree lighting.

Fire truck sits outside 119 Second St. in the early afternoon.

 

Fire strikes house on Second Street in Glen

Fire of undetermined origin extensively damaged a house at 119 Second St. in Watkins Glen on Nov. 22. The fire, which also damaged the exterior of houses on either side of it, broke out about 1:15 a.m. and rekindled on the second floor at about 11:30 a.m., bringing firefighters from Watkins Glen and Montour Falls back to the scene. Nobody was home at 119 or 117 Second St. during the initial blaze, while a resident at 121 Second St., was evacuated safely. Firefighters from Watkins, Montour, Odessa, Tyrone, Beaver Dams, Dundee and Mecklenburg responded to the initial blaze, which one firefighter noted could easily have destroyed all three structures.

Award Night

Watkins Glen High School swimmer Allie Gibson -- who won three Section IV, Class C races as her team won the sectional title -- holds an Outstanding Athletic Achievement Award from the school district, distributed at the Nov. 19 School Board meeting to each member of the squad. Flanking her from left: Coach Nikki Chaffee and Assistant Coaches Jason Westervelt and Steve Klemann.

Team photo and story on award presentation. Sports.
Kelahan firmly denies Special Ed shutdown plan. Schools.

 

3 from Seneca Indians play in Davis Classic

Seniors Wyatt and Wrett Brower and Dylan Houseknecht compete on the West squad in the annual Ernie Davis Classic East West football game. Sports.



Left: Wrett Brower's helmet.

Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi makes a point.

 

Watkins board tables action on short-terms

The Watkins Glen Village Board Nov. 19, after an hour-long public hearing on proposed amendments to the Zoning Law that focus in part on the regulation of short-term rentals, tabled action for further revisions. The proposed amendment to Local Law #4 0f 2016 (the Zoning Law) was thereby returned to a starting point that requires advertisement and another public hearing. Among suggested changes was one streamlining the process so that application for short-term licenses must be submitted within 30 days of enactment of the law, with time of approval dependent on the village. Another: licenses should be good for two years from the time of approval. Clarifications are also planned regarding building height limits. Attorney William La Forte, advising the board on the document, said he would work on the revisions this week and respond with alternative scenarios by next week. The board will then discuss changes it wants and advertise the next public hearing, but did not specify a date. Said Mayor Sam Schimizzi: "We're just trying to do the right thing."

Photo: Attorney William La Forte.

 

Rotary honors Stephani as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Emilee Stephani was honored Nov. 8 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for November. She was introduced by teacher Rebecca Gilfus, who described the honoree as "a leader, a planner and a person who walks the talk." She commended Stephani for a key role in the success of the recent Homecoming Dance, and said she "is kind and helpful toward other students and respectful toward adults." Stephani, a member of National Honor Society, Interact and the Student Council and a High Honor student, plans to attend Corning Community College and then transfer to a four-year school to pursue a degree in criminal psychology. She thanked Rotary for its interest in, and encouragement of, area students.

Photo: Emilee Stephani, left, and teacher Rebecca Gilfus.

 

Barnes is unofficial winner in DIstrict 6 race

Incumbent Republican Phil Barnes is the unofficial winner over Democratic challenger Brian Eslinger in the District 6 race for a seat on the Schuyler County Legislature. With all absentee ballots counted, the final totals show Barnes winning 496-488 -- totals expected to be certified on Nov. 20. Commissioner Joe Fazzary said that barring an unforeseen circumstance -- such as a court challenge -- the 496-488 total will hold. "And it looks like everyone is accepting of it," he said. Barnes had led by 17 votes after balloting on Nov 6. Absentees trimmmed his lead by nine, to the final eight-vote margin. This will be his third term on the Legislature.

Photos: Phil Barnes at the Board of Elections Tuesday.

 

Mitrano is planning 2020 bid for Congress

Democrat Tracy Mitrano, defeated Nov. 6 in her run for Congress against incumbent Republican Tom Reed, says she will seek the 2020 Democratic nomination again. She said in a press release that "a grassroots movement" that rose over the past two years will "continue to grow over the next two years," building on the just-completed campaign. "The last Democrat to win this district did so on his second run and I now understand why," she said, noting that she will launch her 2020 campaign with a Thank You Tour for volunteers and supporters, followed by a Listening Tour "to hear the concerns of constituents."

Photo: Tracy Mitrano at a recent town hall meeting.

 

Schuyler Legislature approves 2019 budget

Schuyler County legislators on Nov. 13 unanimously approved a $49 million 2019 county budget that calls for a tax levy of $11,116,913 -- up $57,969 from 2018 -- and a tax rate down .71% from the previous year. The budget was approved following a 40-minute presentation by County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, who outlined the many projects underway or planned in the county and, in conclusion, praised County Treasurer Harrriett Vickio, who he said was attending "her final budget meeting" prior to retirement. In four years, he said, Vickio has established "fiscal stability, accountability and control" in county finances and developed a strong staff that can carry on effectively after her retirement. His words triggered a standing ovation for Vickio, seated in the back of the room.

The board also, following a public hearing at which nobody spoke, approved adjustments in salaries for "certain public officials." Those salaries, in 45 days, will include: $99,064 for the Commissioner of Social Services, $94,675 for the Real Property Tax Collector, $93,887 for the Highway Superintendent, $110,351 for the County Attorney, and $97,985 for the Public Defender.

Photo: County Administrator Tim O'Hearn

 

Vietnam-era veterans honored at ceremony

The third annual event, sponsored by the Rotary and Lions Clubs, was held at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Each honoree received a lapel pin emblematic of "the nation's gratitude." People.

Photo: The keynote speaker, retired Col. A. Phillip Waite, Jr.

Veterans Day ceremony held in Watkins Glen. People.

 

Some more photos from dinner, musical

Here are a few more photos from the weekend of Nov. 9-11: from 'Shrek the Musical' and from the November Splendor dinner-dance. Features.

Left: At November Splendor: Ken Wilson and Stacey Parrish.

Camaraderie was in full swing at November Splendor, here with Phil Cherry (right) and wife Judy talking with Schuyler Hospital President Jim Watson.

 

November Splendor packs the hotel ballroom

The annual November Splendor dinner-dance at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel ballroom was a sold-out affair Saturday night, Nov. 10, with 290 attending. The event, featuring raffles and auctions and presented by the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary and Schuyler Health Foundation, is a key fundraiser for Schuyler Hospital. Music was provided by Letizia and the Z Band. Another feature: an open bar for the first hour of the 5-11 p.m. gathering.

Photo: Among the 290 people present were David and Tiffany Zinger.

Rhys Stermer portrayed Donkey, a humorous sidekick to Shrek.

 

'Shrek the Musical' completes its 3-day run

The Lake Country Players' production of "Shrek The Musical" was presented for the third and final time Sunday, Nov. 11 before an appreciative audience in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. From the editor, here is a short review of this play about an ogre who finds true love: Comedic; colorful; pleasing sets; lots of energy; lengthy but moves fast; great voices; exceptional pit band. Shrek is portrayed by new-to-the-LCP Alex Gill, with a powerful voice reminiscent of the great Glenn Yarbrough. Funny toss-off lines and great song from Donkey (Rhys Stermer). A mind-blowing showing by Lord Farquaad (Anthony Curren). Four different Princess Fionas, all exceptional. A great finale with "I'm a Believer." (I am a believer). Go. Enjoy." Now, if you didn't, it's too late.

Photo: Alex Gill as Shrek putting on a dance move.

Left: Anthony Curren portrayed Lord Farquaad. Right: Melissa Neufer was Princess Fiona.

12-year-old's "school shooter" comments draw Social Service ruling from Schuyler County Family Court. Government.

 

Watkins board reinstates 30 mph speed limit

The 20 mile per hour speed limit established on Watkins Glen side streets by Local Law in 2012 has been scrapped and the original 30 mph reinstated. The Village Board on Nov. 5 approved a Local Law altering the 2012 ruling, making the speed zone throughout the village 30 mph -- including a stretch of Rt. 14 north of downtown that has been 40. With that exception, state roads in the village have been 30 all along. Officials said the state notified Watkins recently that the 20 mph it had adopted was not enforceable -- although the 15 mph zone near the school remains in force. The new law takes effect upon filing with the state, whiich is expected this week.

The board also: decided to enforce existing odd-even parking rules from November through March instead of relying on "Code Red" calls; approved the annual Village Christmas celebration on Dec. 7 on Franklin Street; and approved the fifth annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning along village streets.

Photo: Mayor Sam Schimizzi, left, and trustee Gary Schimidt.

 

Ask Amy columnist draws crowd at Inn

Amy Dickinson presents a speech, answers questions and signs copies of her books as more than 100 turn out at the Fontainebleau Inn. The event raised funds for the Dutton Peterson Library in Odessa. People.

Left: Amy Dickinson, right, signs one of her books for one of her readers.

Gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro at Friday's GOP rally at the Seneca Harbor Station restaurant.

 

GOP faithful turn out for Molinaro visit

Republican gubernatorial candiate Marc Molinaro is cheered at a Watkins Glen rally attended by the area GOP. Government.

Left: Congressman Tom Reed was on hand.

 

ZBA: 3rd floor on proposed apartments is OK

The Watkins Glen Zoning Board of Appeals on Nov. 1 give its blessing, 4-0, to a third floor on a proposed apartment complex on East Second Street, across from Jefferson Village. The building, planned by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, would occupy what is currently a vacant lot in a residential area. It would include a child care center operated by My Place, a child-care business currently in Montour Falls. The structure's height would be 35 feet, within the parameters of the zoning code, which currently also specifies a maximum of two stories. Next up for the project will be the Village Planning Board, scheduled to meet Nov. 14.

Photo: ZBA Chair Bob Lee at Thursday's meeting.

 

Rotary honors Heichel as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Kennedey Heichel was honored Oct. 25 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for October. The honoree was introduced by teacher Doug Chapman, who said Heichel "has a desire for perfection that you rarely see." He also outlined her achievements: No 1 in her class academically, Interact vice president, Student Council president, member of the Superintendent's Leadership Cabinet, three-sport standout (soccer, basketball and track) and school record holder in the Pole Vault. She was The Odessa File's O-M Female Athlete of the Year last year, as well as a member of the Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athletes in the region. She hopes to attend Harvard, with Cornell and the University of Michigan as backups. She wants to pursue a degree in biological science and ultimately become a doctor.

 

Rotary honors Rose as WG Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior H. Nathaniel Rose was honored Oct. 25 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for October. He was introduced by school district Library Media Specialist Maggie Field, who described him as "respectful, smart, kind, caring, fearless, willing and energetic," as well as "a talented performer, with a great sense of humor." Rose, a member of National Honor Society, Chorus and Band, is a veteran theater performer in school and, recently, in the Dream Barn production of "Little Shop of Horrors," where he played a Venus Fly Trap. He plans to attend college, possibly Corning Community before transferring to the Rochester Institute of Technology, and says his "fantasy" career would be working in the field of quantum computers. He said he is inspired by theater, and enjoys the Watkins community -- "how everybody works together."

 

Rhodes, Willow gather honors at World Expo

Odessa-Montour sophomore Mallory Rhodes brings home awards from exhibiting her calf, Willow, at the recent World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. People.

 

 

Photo: Mallory Rhodes with her medal haul.

A few Schuyler County flood photos snapped from a drone camera by Tony Vickio can be seen here.

 

Planning Board OKs El Rancho facade plans

The Watkins Glen Planning Board on Oct. 17 gave its blessing to a facade design planned for the new El Rancho restaurant slated to open soon at 212 N. Franklin St., site of the former Unique Country Boutique store. The owner, Cynthia Ruiz, currently runs El Rancho at the former Garcia's Restaurant site on 4th Street, which she leases. But she has purchased the new site and, following renovations, will move the business there in the near future. Said Planning Board member Brian Eslinger: "Cynthia has worked herself up from waitressing at Garcia's to running her own restaurant, and now to owning it. She's the type of small-business owner we need -- one who works hard and has a commitment to excellence."

Photo: Planning Board member Brian Eslinger at Wednesday evening's meeting.

 

Board says Italian Fest can continue at Clute

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Ot. 15 put to rest rumors that the Italian-American Festival would be forced out of Clute Park with upcoming changes there, including an ice rink. "There will be plenty of room" for the festival, said Mayor Sam Schimizzi. "There's no intention to eliminate it," added Trustee Tony Fraboni, although the board said the festival might be laid out a little differently than in the past. The board also:

--Gave the go-ahead to Watkins Promotions for Village Christmas to be held on Franklin Street on Dec. 7 "provided all permits are provided."
--Heard Park Manager Michelle Hyde say the new Kayak Launch will be removed for the winter, although the method of removal is still being considered.
--Discussed an expected change soon in the 40 mph speed limit at the village's northern end on Rt. 14. The change will make it 30, in keeping with other state roads in the village.


Photo: Trustee Tony Fraboni at Monday's meeting.

California Toe Jam, a Florida band that specializes in 1960s-'80s music, was in concert Tuesday night at WGHS.

 

California Toe Jam performs at Glen school

The four-man Central Florida band California Toe Jam presented a concert Oct. 16 in Watkins Glen for the second time in two years. The group, which plays popular songs from the 1960s, '70s and '80s, played in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium, a change from last year's Middle School venue. Proceeds were earmarked for the Watkins Glen Rotary Club, a community service organization.

Photo: Among the concert fans were Ken Wilson and Max Neal.

 

O-M teacher Kimmerly wins national honor

Marc Kimmerly, an Odessa-Montour junior high school history teacher, earns a national award presented monthly by Honored, a nonprofit organization that celebrates life-changing teachers across the U.S. A story about Kimmerly and his impact on students -- one of them, Gabriel Grover, nominated him -- was written for Honored by Shaun Waterman, a journalist from Politico and the BBC. For a look at the article, click here.

Photo: Marc Kimmerly (From the Honored website)

The BFC Family Band -- with Jim Guild on bongo -- performed Sunday evening at The Glen Theater.

 

Glen Theater rocks with gospel-music concert

An evening of gospel music by opening act Sara Heit -- Worship Leader for the host Fresh Start Church Watkins Glen Campus -- and the BFC Family Band from Sebring, Florida drew almost 100 people to the Glen Theater on Oct. 14. The music, billed as "gospel with a classic rock vibe," was free along with various foods -- cookies, crackers and cheese -- and beverages, with "love offerings" accepted to help finance Fresh Start's Mission Fund. Fresh Start, which holds Sunday services at the theater, is a ministry of the Pennsylvania Avenue United Methodist Church of Elmira.

Photo: Opening act Sara Heit performed several songs.

An attendee at Thursday's Hall of Fame induction ceremony checks out inductee Georgie Taylor's plaque, which contains a list of some of her accomplishments.

 

4 added to Schuyler County Hall of Fame

Four people were inducted Oct. 11 into the Schuyler County Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Seneca Lodge: Georgie Taylor, Judy Phillips, Brian O'Donnell and Kate LaMoreaux. For story, see People.

The hosts of The Gathering, Tony and Harriett Vickio, who spearhead The Spirit of Schuyler.

 

Gathering raises funds for Spirit of Schuyler

The Spirit of Schuyler held its annual fund-raising Gathering Oct. 13 at the Hidden Valley lodge, attracting a crowd for food, music and prizes -- the latter provided through raffles and silent auctions. The event usually raises between $5,000 and $7,000 to help finance the organization's mission to help Schuyler residents who have emergency funding needs. The Spirit of Schuyler started as an annual party in the Vickios' garage, but eventually outgrew that venue and was moved to Hidden Valley.

Photo in text: One of the raffle prizes offered a mix of items donated by The Arc of Schuyler.

 

Rotary honors Brewster as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Noah Brewster (right) was honored Oct. 11 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for September. He was introduced by teacher Russ Gardner, who described the honoree as "well-rounded" -- No. 2 academically in his class; a member of National Honor Society, Student Council, Band and Chorus; a frequent performer in school plays; a distance runner in track, and active in his church youth group.

Left: Odessa-Montour Brazilian exchange student Manuela Buffo told Rotarians about her country's geography and culture, saying: "I'm proud of being Brazilian. I love my country." Right: Jackie Honsberger, at microphone, of The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor, presented Rotary's Camp Star program with $250 from a recent fund-raiser at her business. Another $250 was raised for the Watkins Glen Summer Swim Program. Pictured far right: Rotary Club president Rebecca Carroll.

 

Cayuga Health System CEO plans to retire

John Rudd, president and chief executive officer of Cayuga Medical Center and the Cayuga Health System, announced Tuesday his plans to retire in the fall of 2019. Martin Stallone, MD, vice president of physician operations at Cayuga Medical Center and president of Cayuga Medical Associates, will succeed him on Jan. 1, 2019 as president and CEO of Cayuga Medical Center, and then in the fall of 2019 as president and CEO of Cayuga Health System -- which has two hospitals, Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Medical Center, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates.

Photo: John Rudd, left, and Dr. Martin Stallone (Provided)

 

Wine Trail names Gibson Executive Director

The Executive Committee of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail has announced that Brittany Gibson (pictured at right) has been selected to lead the organization as Executive Director. She has most recently been serving as Tourism and Marketing Manager at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. Business.

The Moose Lodge was filled with Spaghetti Dinner diners.

 

Annual United Way dinner fills Moose Lodge

The usual crowd of diners turned out Oct. 8 to the Montour Moose Lodge for the annual United Way of Schuyler County Spaghetti Dinner -- a key fund-raiser for an organization that serves 22 agencies. The campaign goal: $123,000. On hand were servers from the Odessa-Montour High School National Honor Society, as well as various other volunteers. About 400 dinners -- possibly more with an early order from the Lions Club for two-dozen take-outs -- were expected to be consumed.

Inset: National Honor Society members from O-M -- like (L to R) Olivia, McKennah and Maria -- were on hand to help.

Busy in the kitchen were Jessica Smith (left) and Taylor Kelly.

The United Way campaign chairs -- the Dominick and Stacy Smith family, here with daughter Kayla -- ran a 50-50 raffle.

 

Falls Harvest Festival draws crowd to Montour

Montour Falls' Main Street was busy with foot traffic Saturday, Oct. 6 as a crowd ventured there to the annual Falls Harvest Festival, a celebration of the season featuring food, crafts and entertainment. For a story, see Features.

Left: Balloons were a staple of the festival's entertainment.

 

Penn Yan chosen for $10 million DRI Award

Penn Yan will receive this year's New York State $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award in the Finger Lakes region -- a year after Watkins Glen won a similar funding influx. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul made the announcement Friday morning in Penn Yan. "This award will help the village and all of Yates County move forward," said State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano in a joint statement.

 

Planning Board gives go-ahead to Cheese Co.

The Watkins Glen Planning Board gave Final Site Plan approval on Oct. 3 to Robert MacBlane (right) and his wife Barbara for creation of the Seneca Cheese Company in the former Eyes on Seneca building at 29 N. Franklin St. -- a business that will sell local cheeses as well as local beers and wines. It will have an added second floor, part of which will be long-term apartments. Construction is expected later this month, with an opening in March. Also approved: demoliton of a house at South Glen and Second Streets belonging to Al McMichael, who plans to replace it. Preliminary Site Plan approval was given the Glen Racig Grill -- a racing-themed eatery -- at 107 Eleventh St. A public hearing on that project will be held on Oct. 17.

 

FEMA aid for flood recovery is announced

Schuyler is among the counties named Oct. 2 as major disaster areas impacted by significant flooding in mid-August. Congressman Tom Reed's office announced that President Trump had named Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Seneca and Tioga counties and authorized Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance. The FEMA Public Assistance Program will provide grants to state and local governments, and certain non-profits, to assist with debris removal, emergency protective measures and permanent restoration of infrastructure. The federal government will cover 75 percent of the cost of approved recovery projects.

 

Woodworth appointed to Glen Village Board

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Oct. 1 welcomed a new member: Nan Woodworth, appointed to the vacancy created with the recent resignation of Kevin Thornton from the board. Woodworth, a retired educator, was sworn in for a period extending until the next election in March. If she wishes to continue on the board after that, she will need to seek election.

Meanwhile, the board canceled a public hearing on a proposed and controversial Business Improvement District. Village Clerk Lonnie Childs said it is "on hold until further notice. ... A lot of projects take precedence over that."

Photo in text: Nan Woodworth at Monday's meeting.

 

Glen wrestlers to compete under O-M banner

The Watkins Glen School Board on Oct. 1 approved a measure that permits WGHS varsity wrestlers to compete as part of the Odessa-Montour varsity wrestling team this season, with an eye toward reestablishing a team at WGHS in the future. The partial merger -- which involves four or five WGHS athletes -- is viewed as temporary, according to O-M Superintendent Chris Wood, and falls short of the mergers in football and baseball that have created Seneca Indian squads. This one will remain O-M in title.

 

Saunders to lead IMRRC Governing Council

John Saunders (left), president of the International Speedway Corporation, is the new chairman of the International Motor Racing Research Center. He was chosen by his fellow IMRRC governing council members at the Center's recent council meeting. He has served as vice-chair since 2002. He succeeds IMRRC governing council chair Bobby Rahal, elected to the position in 2014.

A musical puppet show was among the Fit Fest features.

 

Family Fit Fest draws a crowd to Montour

The turnout was steady, the weather cooperating, and the organizers pleased at the first Schuyler Family Fit Fest Sept. 29 at the Montour Falls Carnival Grounds along Route 224. The event, which included the Strong Kids, Safe Kids program that has been on-again and off-again in recent years (previously at Clute Park in Watkins Glen), featured dozens of tables under a large, long tent where various agencies and businesses offered information and games -- including one table where the Glen Gators were recruiting new swimmers, and another featuring massage therapy.

There was recorded music, and a puppet show, and free burgers and hotdogs provided by the Salvation Army, with accompanying healthy drinks. The inaugural event -- plans call for it to be held annually -- was presented by the Cayuga Health System (Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Medical Center), Schuyler County Public Health, and Strong Kids, Safe Kids.

Photos: Cooperative Extension offered some fun through large soap bubbles; and a pumpkin advertised the Glen Gators table.

Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer, left, makes a point in his meeting with State Senator Tom O'Mara.

 

Odessa mayor, O'Mara meet, discuss projects

Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer met one-on-one with State Senator Tom O'Mara Sept. 28 in the Odessa Municipal Building to discuss a wide range of challenges facing the village, and how O'Mara might help. Infrastructure -- including the village water system and a proposed sewage treatment system -- was discussed, along with available grant funds for various other projects, such as development of a park. Additional subjects: procuring natural gas for the village; addressing speeding, especially on Main Street, Church Street and Speedway; and the possible development of a logging industry museum.

 

Rotary honors Sutterby as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Kai Sutterby was honored Sept. 27 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for September. Sutterby, the school's Student Council president and a member of last year's Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athlete-citizens -- was introduced by teacher Sam Brubaker, who decribed her as "the epitome of what a Student of the Month stands for." Sutterby, a State-level cross-country runner for several years, and founder of a multi-school clothing swap program that Brubaker said "gives students the chance to enhance their wardrobe without draining their wallets," plans to pursue a career in medicine. She said she loves small-town life, but wants to "do good on a larger scale," becoming a surgeon "to save lives."

 

Planning Board OKs Franklin St. project

The Watkins Glen Planning Board, after much debate, gives Final Site Plan approval to a mixed use (commmercial and apartment) complex on the site of the former Clifford Motors. Government.

Photo: Representatives from Lakewood Development listen as Village Trusee Laurie DeNardo addresses the Planning Board.

 

Ribbon cutting

The Grand Opening Sept. 20 of the new Warren Real Estate office at 210 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen featured a ribbon cutting and speeches. On hand along with Warren employees were Schuyler County Legislature Chair Dennis Fagan, left, Village Trustee Gary Schmidt (next to him) and Rebecca Carroll, president and CEO of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce (right). (Photo provided)

Dominick and Stacy Smith -- with daughters Kayla, left, and Ashley, right --are the 2018 United Way of Schuyler County Campaign Chairs. (Photo provided)

 

United Way campaign sets goal of $123,000

The United Way of Schuyler County held its annual Agency Luncheon Sept. 19 at the Montour Moose Lodge, where 2017 Campaign Chairs Ron and Carmella Hoffman were honored for their service, and the new Campaign Chairs -- the Dominick and Stacy Smith family, long devoted to the Watkins Glen Fire Department -- were introduced. The campaign goal is $123,000 for 22 agencies that serve Schuyler County. The Marie Bailey Volunteer of the Year Award went to Glenda Gephart, a United Way past Secretary, of whom Executive Director Peggy Scott said: "Glenda was always there -- one step ahead of all of us to help meet our goals for many, many years." The annual United Way Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser will be held Oct. 8th at the Moose Lodge.

Photo in text: Marie Bailey Volunteer of the Year Award winner Glenda Gephart, right, with United Way Executive Director Peggy Scott. (Photo provided)

 

Glen Board tables action on short-term rentals

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Sept. 17 tabled action until its next meeting on a proposed Local Law designed to amend the Village Zoning Code in an attempt to deal with the rise of short-term rentals in the village. A standing-room-only crowd weighed in pro and con on the proposal, which the board decided needed "some tweaking" before any action is taken. Government.

Photo in text: Village trustee Tony Fraboni, seated, addresses one of the meeting speakers, Tony Compese.

 

Coffey helps U.S. win gold at World Rowing

Olivia Coffey, 29, a one-time Watkins Glen High School student-athlete who went on to prep school, All-America rowing status at Harvard and an alternate rowing spot at the Olympics, was on the winning U.S. women's eights team Sept. 16 at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Her team finished 2.08 seconds ahead of runnerup Canada in the finals to win the event for the 12th time in the past 13 years. It was Coffey's fourth career gold at Worlds. "It was," said Coffey, "a great way to end an incredible year" -- which included a spot in The Boat Race as she helped Cambridge beat Oxford in England. She had attended Cambridge as part of a Master of Business Administration program.

Photo: Olivia Coffey (File photo)

Glass blowing demonstrations were the order of the day on the GlassBarge Friday. They continued through Sunday.

 

GlassBarge visit triggers Glen celebration

The touring Corning Museum of Glass GlassBarge -- marking the 150th anniversary of the relocation of the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company from Brooklyn to Corning -- opened to the public Friday, Sept. 14 for the first of three days as Seneca Harbor Park turned into festival grounds with vendors and live music --including Donna the Buffalo (inset). The 30-by-80-foot canal barge -- equipped with glassmaking equipment -- was berthed at the Seneca Harbor Pier. The three-day celebration (which ended Sunday, Sept. 16) included live hot-glass demos, fireworks, music, vendors and local artisans. Business.

Historian Gary Emerson talks about the Chemung Canal. Business.

Troop leader Rick Evans with Boy Scouts from Troop 2674.

 

Inquisitive Scouts visit Legislature session

Eleven Boy Scouts from Troop 2674 in Watkins Glen had some questions for the Schuyler County Legislature Sept. 10 in an exchange designed as a civics lesson for the boys. Government.

Swim podium drive reaches goal

Watkins Glen High School's girls varsity swim team is hosting a multi-school invitational, IACs, and Section IV Class A, B and C Championships this year. Accordingly, a new awards podium is needed. A goal of $3,500 was set for it by interested parents, and had reached $3,655 as of Sept. 9th. For details on the donation drive, see Forum.

Cars line up for one of the day's tours of the original Grand Prix circuit, a course running through the hills outside Watkins Glen and back to the village.

 

Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival draws crowd

The annual Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival Sept. 7 in downtown Watkins attracted a large and enthusiastic crowd. This year the festival honored the Jaguar, with an XK120 that won the Seneca Cup Race in 1952 on display. Activities began at 9:30 a.m., and Franklin Street was closed to traffic at noon. Original course laps, vintage-car displays, a Legends Speak gathering at Lafayette Park, wine tastings, and various vendors and foods were all part of the celebration. Features.

A few Schuyler County flood photos snapped from a drone camera by Tony Vickio can be seen here.

 

Museum exhibit focus: 70 years of local racing

Schuyler County’s 70-year history of car racing is spotlighted in the newest exhibit at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum. Sports.

Photo: At the start-finish line of the 1948 race, in front of the Schuyler County Court House. The 6.6-mile race course ran through the streets of Watkins and the rural roads of the Town of Dix.

 

Thornton resigns from Watkins Village Board

Kevin Thornton has resigned his seat on the Watkins Glen Village Board, citing several reasons -- including dissatisfaction with board communications, disagreement with some of the projects chosen in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, and health. The vacancy might be filled by mayoral appointment that carries through to the end of Thornton's elected term, March 31. The next village election is in March; other terms expiring will be those of Trustee Gary Schmidt and Mayor Sam Schimizzi. Government.

Photo: Kevin Thornton (File photo)

 

Best Wine Region victor: the Finger Lakes

The results are in on a number of USA Today 10 Best Readers' Choice competitions, with the Finger Lakes finishing first in the America's Best Wine Region competition. In other contests, Veraisons Restaurant at Glenora was 8th in the Best Winery Restaurant competition; the Herman Wiemer Vineyard 7th among Best Winery Tours; and the Finger Lakes Wine Festival 5th among Best Wine Festivals. "It's a truly satisfying victory," State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano said of the Best Wine Region win, "that keeps the Finger Lakes region on the national map."

Tips to avoid scams in flood cleanup

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman shares some suggestions for homeowners to protect themselves while seeking a contractor to repair damage inflicted by the recent storm and flooding. Tips.

A few Schuyler County flood photos snapped from a drone camera by Tony Vickio can be seen here.

 

Schuyler Hall of Famer William Elkins dies

William C. Elkins, a World War Two veteran, a lawyer, an active community member, law clerk to two County Court judges and a member of the Schuyler County Hall of Fame, died Aug. 19 at the age of 95. Mr. Elkins, of Burdett, had resided in his final months at the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. Calling hours are Thursday, Aug. 23 at the Vedder and Scott Funeral Home in Montour Falls, with a service set for Friday at the Glen Baptist Church. Obituary.

Photo: Bill Elkins at his induction into the Schuyler County Hall of Fame in 2013.

 

Crowd turns out to raise funds in Tim's honor

Those who knew and loved Timateo Kamanga of Hector (right) turned out in force Aug. 21 at a gathering at Two Goats Brewing in Hector to raise funds to cover his funeral expenses. A celebration of his life was to be held Aug. 25 at Damiani Wine Cellars. Kate LaMoreaux of Hector, a teacher at Watkins Glen High School when Tim was there as an exchange student from Malawi years ago, described Tuesday's gathering in a posting on Facebook: "Hundreds of people...all ages...were there to remember how Tim touched their lives. His was a beautiful story with the wrong ending! He taught us to see the world with his eyes, appreciating the blessings of our lives as he learned to share them. He taught us to appreciate what is really important in this world...respect and human connection. Thank you Hector for loving Tim." Kamanga died Aug. 11 when he was struck by a vehicle while walking along Route 414 in Hector.

 

Bails posted in Phish concert drug arrests

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office charged six people with various drug violations during the gathering of fans at Watkins Glen International prior to the cancellation of the Phish concert -- called off due to health concerns. Those arrested, from New York, Pennsyvlania, Vermont and Texas, all posted bail and are expected to reappear at later dates in Town of Dix Court. The charges were a mix of misdemeanors and felonies involving heroin, psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy.

 

Health issues force Phish concert cancellation

Health concerns left behind by the Aug. 14 storm (see Boil Water Notice below) prompted state health officials and Schuyler County to cancel the following weekend's scheduled Phish concert at the Watkins Glen International racetrack. Government.

Dundee Fire & Rescue Team members remove cats from the Humane Society's "kitty kaboose" building at the rear of the animal shelter property in Montour Falls. At least two rooms were lost to the waters. (Photo provided)

 

Cleanup follows heavy rains, flash flooding

Cleanup was under way Wednesday, Aug. 15 on roads and various flooded properties following Tuesday's heavy rains and flash flooding -- conditions that led to road closures (including large portions of Routes 414 and 14, since reopened) and some evacuations -- including Peach Orchard Point in Hector. Various businesses also closed Tuesday, but were reopening Wednesday.

Photo in text: Flooding Tuesday morning around 8:30 a.m. on Summit Ave. in Watkins Glen. (Kathy Fragola photo)

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Flood view

A view Aug. 14 of the Humane Society shelter on Marina Drive in Montour Falls, taken by Tony Vickio with his drone following flooding caused by a heavy storm the night before. (Provided)

 

The challenge: to get involved, stay informed

Watkins Glen High School senior Kathleen Clifford (pictured at right) -- after attending the American Legion Auxiliary's Empire Girls State Program at SUNY Brockport-- weighs in with some thoughts on the education of today's youth. In particular, she says, the younger generation "needs to be educated on how to get involved and stay informed." Schools.

 

Sheriff's Office probes fatal accident on 414

The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal motor vehicle-pedestrian accident that occurred on State Rte. 414 in the Town of Hector about 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11. Deputies said the initial investigation shows the operator of the vehicle, Dewey L. Herren, 23, of Valois, was traveling south on Rte. 414 when his vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian identified as Timothy J. Kamanga, 30, of Bennettsburg, who was also southbound. The Burdett Fire Department, Schuyler Ambulance and New York State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit were also on the scene. The investigation is ongoing.

Photo in text: Timothy J. Kamanga.

  Italian American Festival ends its 3-day run

The 39th annual Schuyler County Italian American Festival, which opened Aug. 10 at Clute Park in Watkins Glen, concluded Aug. 12. It was highlighted Aug. 11 by its annual parade, with fireworks on tap after dark. The parade featured bands, floats, fire departments and a festival Prince and Princess, among other attractions. For details, see the story on Features.

Right: Festival parade Grand Marshal Tony Vickio. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)

 

DOH warns of potential Legionella exposure

The New York State Department of Health has announced that individuals who were guests at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel between July 16, 2018 and August 1, 2018 and were in proximity to the hotel's pool and spa may have been exposed to Legionella bacteria. Government.

 

Schuyler may join suit against Interior Dept.

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman says the county might join a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Interior for possible underpayment to Schuyler of payments in lieu of property taxes on federal lands within the county. The legislature will vote on the matter on Monday, August 13. Government.

Photo: County Attorney Steven Getman.

 

State gives Lakewood environmental honor

Lakewood becomes the first vineyard to receive the New York State Agricultural Environmental Management Award. Agriculture.

Sunset on Seneca

This view of the sunset over Seneca Lake on Friday evening, August 10, was snapped by photographer Liz Fraboni from in front of her cottage on the eastern shore near Hector.

  WGI wins best NASCAR track honor again

The Watkins Glen International racetrack has -- for the third straight year -- been voted the best NASCAR Track in a USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice contest. The designation comes on the track's NASCAR weekend. Twenty tracks were nominated, with balloting ending July 23. Said State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano in a joint statement: "It's a well-deserved national honor for track officials and staff, drivers and, most of all, the fans who help make The Glen one of the renowned venues in all of sports."

  Chase Elliott wins NASCAR race at The Glen

Chase Elliott, 22, son of 1988 Winston Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Aug. 5, posting a narrow victory over Martin Truex Jr. at Watkins Glen International. Elliott had 48 top-10 finishes in his first 98 NASCAR Cup Series starts, but never a first until Sunday -- in a 90-lap, 220.86-mile stock car event held on WGI's 2.45-mile road course. Elliott, the 2014 Nationwide Series champion and the Daytona 500 pole winner in both 2016 and 2017, held off Truex for the last 31 laps. Truex finished second, followed by Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones.

Photo: Chase Elliott (Photo provided)

 

WGHS pulls plug on the Watson Tournament

Watkins Glen High School's annual Mike Watson Wrestling Tournament has been canceled in the coming school year.

Athletic Director Rod Weeden, in an email to Athletic Directors, coaches "and others," cited a weakness in the current WGHS wrestling program, which had only a handful of participants last year.

"It pains me to send this email," he wrote, "but we really have to come to terms with the lack of wrestlers coming out for the program here at Watkins Glen. With that being said, I would like to get the word out early that we will not be holding the Watson Wrestling Tournament this year. I think it is only fair to get this out early, so you can make new plans with your wrestling schedules."

The longstanding two-day tournament -- which often attracted better than 20 schools to the WGHS Field House -- was named in honor of Mike Watson, a Watkins teacher and wrestling coach, following his death in August 2000.

 

3 from Watkins compete at Junior Olympics

A trio of Watkins Glen High School swimmers competed recently at the AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa. Amanda Wilbur, Sarah Swinnerton and Allie Gibson were part of the United Southern Tier Aquatics Swim Team, representing Watkins Glen, Horseheads, Owego, Ithaca and Waverly high schools. Sports.

Photo: From left, Amanda Wilbur, Allie Gibson and Sarah Swinnerton (Photo provided)

  Annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival is a hit

The 7th annual gathering of vendors, artisans, farm animals, musicians and an estimated 8,000 visitors enjoyed the Finger Lakes Cheese Festival Jul 28 at the Hoffman farm at Catharine Corners, outside Odessa. The event featured cheeses from the 12 members of the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance, as well as food products and crafts from 70 other vendors. Said Carmella Hoffman, owner of Sunset View Creamery, located on the farm: "We do it so that we give some benefit to our members of the Cheese Alliance." Added Mark Costa, the festival communications coordinator: "This event is a wonderful way for people to come out and experience all of the products of all of the members of the Alliance, all in one place."

 

Annual Hector Fair Parade marches up Rt. 414

A highlight of the 60th annual Hector Fair -- a parade along Route 414 -- went off under sunny skies Friday evening, July 27, its participants marching and riding and walking past an appreciative crowd lining the roadway. Bands, floats and firefighters led the way to the fairgrounds, where an evening of fun, food, music and rides followed. The fair continued through Saturday, July 28, with a fireworks display at 10:30 p.m. For more photos, see Features.

Photo: Members of the Montour Falls Fire Department.

  WG grad Littler performs with Zajac orchestra

Jessica Littler, a 2013 graduate of Watkins Glen High School and known as a talented fiddler, played in the 2nd Violin section July 22 during a concert at South Seneca Central School in Ovid featuring the 40-member Seneca Summer Music Festival Orchestra. It performed Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 in F Major, known as Pastorale; the first movement of the Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 1 by Richard Strauss; and three Pomp and Circumstance marches by Edward Elgar. The conductor and summer orchestra founder is 2011 South Seneca graduate S. Shade Zajac, who drew together Finger Lakes and Rochester area musicians for the performance, as he has for previous concerts in his hometown -- including one other this summer. Zajac, a 2015 graduate of Nazareth College and an accomplished cellist and composer, is Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra in Batavia -- the youngest conductor in the group's history. Littler, of Hector, plans to attend Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, this fall, majoring in early childhood education.

Photo: Violinist Jessica Littler and Conductor S. Shade Zajac.

 

Glenora releases 2nd 'SpokesPup' wine

Glenora Wine Cellars released a new wine on July 26 called “GG’s Reserve,” which joins “Chase’s Reserve” in its SpokesPup series. Glenora hosted a Meet & Greet with GG -- a rescue pup -- from 5-7 p.m. that day. A portion of each bottle sold in the series goes to animal charities across the U.S. Business.

Photo: The GG's Reserve label

The Warriors' third baseman, Saul Monroy, dives in vain for a sharp Pioneers hit down the line.

 

Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team defeats Pioneers with late-inning rally, 11-5

Watkins Glen High School 2004 graduate Desiree Ellison (right) is Executive Director of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, which travels the country playing slow-pitch games against established squads while raising money through donations to help fund an annual Kids' Camp for children with amputations -- an effort to show the kids that what has happened to them is something they can overcome as the players have; that they are not alone. The team played at Dunn Field in Elmira July 21 against the Pioneers, coming from behind by scoring the final eight runs -- five in the 5th inning and three in the 7th -- to win 11-5. The Warriors rapped out 20 hits to the Pioneers' 12 as both teams played error-free ball on a rainy night. The Warriors had arrived Friday from around the country, gathering that first evening for a picnic at the home of Ellison's parents, Will and Dodie Hrynko in Burdett.

The team has a roster of about 40 players, but not all play at each of the year's 25 or so events. About seven players, said one coach, are regulars, with the rest alternating. Eillison, who has previous experience with the Syracuse Chiefs baseball team, has been Executive Director since May, and said she loves the work. She lives in Norfolk, Virginia, where she went to college. Veterans attending the July 21 game were admitted free, and gathered on the field before the first pitch to welcome the Warriors, who rode in through a centerfield gate on motorcycles and pickup trucks. The game was sponsored by the Hilliard Corp. and Ziff Law.

Photos: Desiree Ellison; Josh Wege rounds third for home.

For a related column, click here.

 

Glen Planning Board has a busy meeting

The Watkins Glen Planning Board gives Preliminary Site Plan approval to two proposals, and hears about plans for two mixed-use apartment complexes. Government.

Photo: Hunt Engineers' Dan Bower and 2nd Street plan.

 

Coffey on bronze rowing team at World Cup

Former Watkins Glen resident Olivia Coffey (right) served in the stroke position for the United States women's eight team that finished in third place July 20 at the World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland. The U.S. team finished behind New Zealand and Canada. Coffey, an All-American during her college days and an Olympian, helped Cambridge University defeat Oxford in April in The Boat Race, an important competition held in England.

  Arc of Schuyler planning changes, fund drive

Jeannette Frank (right), the executive director of The Arc of Schuyler, on July 19 outlined to the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club a multi-pronged plan by The Arc to meet changing legal regulations. In essence, the moves will further integrate The Arc's clientele with the community. Included is an expansion of the building at 210 12th St., across from The Arc headquarters, where a Neighborhood Center will be developed. Renovations are also on tap in the main Arc building to its food manufacturing faciltiies. Well over $1 million in grants have been secured for the efforts, with a $375,000 fund drive planned in the coming months to make up the shortfall in the $1,750,000 price tag. The Arc provides support and services to people with developmental and other disabilities.

To learn more about The Arc's plans, click here.

 

Village, Walmart at odds over store colors

A new blue-and-orange color scheme on the Fourth Street store draws a stop-work order from the village and verbal jousting at a Village Board meetiing. Government.

Photo: Trustee Tony Fraboni

 

LPG storage plan along Seneca nixed by state

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos (pictured at right) on July 12 issued a decision denying the Crestwood Midstream energy firm's plan for the storage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in salt caverns along the western shore of Seneca Lake. Seggos denied the application -- a decision that took years to be issued -- on the grounds the facility would have a "significant adverse impact on community character." The caverns are north of Watkins Glen, which joined with most municipalities along the lake in opposing the plan. The Schuyler County Legislature backed it four years ago, but rescinded that approval earlier this week based on safety concerns recently raised by Crestwood. DEC.

The band Uncle Joe and the Rosebud Ramblers out of Ithaca entertained the audience at the Logan Center.

 

Logan Center honors Smith history book

The completion of a decades-long project by former resident Marsha E. Smith -- to collect, transcribe and publish Backbone Ridge family history that appeared in the Interlaken Review's Contributors' Column from 1917-1942 -- was celebrated July 15 at the Logan Community Center. Smith, who now lives in Washington State, was on hand to sell and sign copies of her book. Snacks and live music were part of the event.

Left top: Marsha Smith signs a copy of her book for one of the day's many buyers.
Left bottom: The Logan Community Center, a church built in 1832 and closed in 1975, has been under restoration since 1985.

 

Florida musician entertains Rotary Club

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club was entertained July 12 by Harry Havery, front man for the central Florida musical group California Toe Jam and often a solo artist. Havery is spending the summer in the Finger Lakes area, performing at various venues including the Grist Iron Brewing Company on July 12, Landon's Pub July 19, and the Seneca Legacy Dinner Cruise on Saturdays through Aug. 4, among others. Then, on Oct. 14 and 16, he will be back with California Toe Jam to perform in fund-raisers at either the Glen Theater or the Watkins Glen High School -- details to be determined. The same group appeared last year in Watkins and attracted a large crowd.

Photo in text: Harry Havery at Rotary Club.

 

Seneca Powerlifters set marks at National

Members of the Seneca Powerlifting Club (including Sarah Horton, left) set new national records by weight and age and took home first-place trophies July 14 at the World Natural Powerlifting Federation's national meet in Henrietta. Sports.

Rob Halpin, after his re-election by fellow board members as President, swears in Karen Rock as the Board Vice President.

 

Halpin re-elected as O-M School Board chief

Rob Halpin was renamed president of the Odessa-Montour School Board on July 12 at the group's annual reorganizational meeting. Karen Rock was elected vice president, while Dana Sgrecci was sworn in as a new board member, elected by district residents in May. Rock, who tied with Halpin in that May election for the third 3-year seat on the board (the others went to Sgrecci and Jeff Parmenter), agreed after that vote to take the lone available one-year term rather than pursue a costly revote. She accordingly was sworn in to that shorter term before being elected vice president. The board also named a long list of officers and depositories for the coming school year, and set the second Thursday of every month for its regular monthly meetings, and the fourth Thursday of every month for its monthly workshop meetings.

Photo in text: Dana Sgrecci, right, signs in after taking the board oath of office from Superintendent Chris Wood, left.

At the meeting, from left: Village Clerk Lonnie Childs, Village Treasurer Rhonda Slater, and Utilities Superintendent Lee Kent.

 

Village Board seeks $50,000 water-study grant

The Watkins Glen Village Board, meeting in special session on July 11, approved an application seeking a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant (for which the village would match just $2,500) from the New York State Office of Community Renewal. The funds would be used for a Water System Evaluation that could be utilized in village infrastructure improvements.

The board also heard from Trustee Laurie DeNardo (right), updating plans for a festival being planned in the village in September when the Corning Inc. GlassBarge (pictured top right and measuring 30 feet by 80 feet) visits Watkins Glen, one of 20 stops it is making around the state as it recreates the move by the Corning Glass Works from Brooklyn to Corning in 1868 along the Hudson River and Erie Canal. It will pull up to the Seneca Harbor Pier after being escorted upon its approach by a parade of boats. Once it docks, it will offer free glassblowing demonstrations from Sept. 14-16 as the focal point of weekend festivities before completing the final leg to Corning by land. (The original Watkins-to-Corning canal section is no longer functional.) Further festival details will soon be released by organizers.

Vocalist Cookie Coogan sang several selections with the Ageless Jazz Band behind her. The group is based in Ithaca.

 

Ageless Jazz Band performs at Lafayette Park

The second week of summer Concerts in the Park at Watkins Glen's Lafayette Park on July 10 featured the Ageless Jazz Band and its mix of classic swing to Latin jazz. Future Tuesday performances include Dean Goble & Friends on July 17 (country music); the Sgro Brothers on July 24 (featuring harmonicas); Gentlemen of Song on July 31 (Big Band and swing); Donna and the Country Mystics on Aug. 7; the Terry Walker Quartet on Aug. 14 (jazz and rock); and Diana Leigh & The Shorty Georges on Aug. 21 (swing and jazz).

 

Legislature rescinds support for LPG storage

The Schuyler County Legislature voted unanimously on July 9 to rescind its prior support -- from 2014 -- for the proposed storage of propane in local salt mines along the western shore of Seneca Lake. The move followed a report that one of the caverns might have leaks. "It comes down to a matter of safety," said Chairman Dennis Fagan. Government.

Photo at right: Legislator Michael Lausell, an outspoken critic of the storage plan.

 

Thousands attend funeral for fallen trooper

The funeral service for New York State Police Trooper Nicholas F. Clark (right) -- killed in the line of duty July 2 while responding to a 911 call regarding a suicidal subject -- drew thousands of people Sunday, July 8 to Alfred Unversity to pay their respects. Police said Clark was killed when he was struck with buckshot from a 12-gauge shotgun fired by Steven M. Kiley, a Bradford School District principal, at Kiley's residence at 10041 Welch Road in the Steuben County Town of Erwin, just south of Corning. Kiley later died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head after being wounded by law enforcement. Police said they recovered 12 illegal firearms owned by Kiley, including eight assault rifles, numerous high capacity magazines, and two silencers. Trooper Clark, 29, resided in Troupsburg. He had served in Ithaca, Auburn and most recently Bath.

 

Fireworks display draws crowd to Clute

A Chamber of Commerce-sponsored fireworks display Friday night, July 6 packed Clute Park in Watkins Glen and drew other spectators to surrounding hills to view the show. Young Explosives Corp. of Rochester produced the display.

Left: Friday's fireworks.

 

Mitrano pulls away for win; Della Pia concedes

23rd Congressional District candidate Tracy Mitrano of Penn Yan has come from behind to win the Democratic Primary, with opponent Max Della Pia conceding Tuesday afternoon. Della Pia, a retired Air Force General who led by 26 votes before absentee ballots were counted, fell behind by a reported 194 votes with absentees in Yates County -- Mitrano's home county -- the only ones left to count. Della Pia called for party unity as Mitrano, an educator and lawyer, turns to square off against incumbent Republican Tom Reed in November's election. The results of the Primary will be officially certified Thursday. Della Pia, of Owego, led 7,022-6,996 on election night, June 26, but soon fell behind as absentee ballots were tabulated. Mitrano reportedly won every county except Owego.

Photo: Primary winner Tracy Mitrano

Ed Clute's Dixie Five Plus in action Tuesday in Watkins Glen.

 

Tuesday concerts return to Lafayette Park

The weekly summertime Concerts in the Park series returned Tuesday evening to Watkins Glen's Lafayette Park with Ed Clute's dixieland band providing the music for the season-opener. Music fans brought their folding chairs to the park for the performance. The concerts are held on Tuesday evenings throughout the summer. Next up: the Ageless Jazz Band, with Big Band and Swing music, on July 10.

 

Brubaker re-elected president of School Board

Gloria Brubaker was elected by her fellow board members to a second one-year term Monday night as Watkins Glen School Board President. The group's annual reorganizational meeting also saw Mark Franzese renamed vice president, and Barbara Schimizzi sworn in after being elected in May to a second three-year term. Board member Kelly McCarthy, also re-elected in May, was absent due to an extended illness for which Franzese offered "thoughts and prayers." Meanwhile, board members will be interviewing finalists next week for an Assistant Principal position. Superintendent Greg Kelahan said the post is expected to be filled shortly thereafter.

Photo: Gloria Brubaker takes the oath of office.

Jim Somerville receives his Paul Harris Fellow award from Rotarian Nancy Loughlin at the Rotary Club's Changeover Dinner.

 

2 Rotarians honored as Paul Harris Fellows

Watkins-Montour Rotary Club members Jim Somerville and John King were honored at the club's Changeover Dinner on June 28 as Paul Harris Fellows. Each received a certificate, medallion and pin emblematic of the award, given to select people -- both club members and non-members -- deemed to possess a liviing philosophy of "service above self," a Rotary motto. Such presentations to members, the Rotary Foundation says, constitute a "way of expressing appreciation for a substantial contribution to Rotary's humanitarian and educational programs." The award is named after a Chicago lawyer who started Rotary International with three business associates in 1905.

The dinner, at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, marked the annual change in the club presidency -- in this case from Rich Greenberger to Rebekah Carroll, who is also president of the local Chamber of Commerce. She will serve as the head of the club until mid-2019.

Photo: John King receives a Paul Harris pin from his wife Lorna

 

France Family honored with Argetsinger Award

The fifth annual Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports was presented to the France Family during a dinner June 28 at the Corning Museum of Glass. People.

From left: O-M students Madison Moss, Aidan Thurston, Mackenzie Cannon and Gabriel Grover. (Photo provided)

 

4 Odessa students at Villanova STEM Week

Odessa-Montour school district students Mackenzie Cannon, Gabriel Grover, Madison Moss, and Aidan Thurston joined outstanding Middle School students from across the nation in a unique academic and career-oriented development experience, NYLF Explore STEM, during the final week of June at Villanova University in Philadelphia. Schools.

The Historical Society's Paul Bartow and Glenda Gephart.

  Historical Society names president, director

The Schuyler County Historical Society membership has elected Paul Bartow as president and the Society Board of Trustees has appointed Glenda Gephart as executive director. People.

 

Watkins graduates 89 in annual ceremony

The Watkins Glen High School Class of 2018 says farewell with a Commencement exercise in the school Auditorium. The Valedictorian and Salutatorian: Clara Chedzoy and Trevor Thurston, respectively. Providing the music: Ed Clute at the piano. Graduation.

 

Left: WGHS graduate Emmie Bond enters the school auditorium during the Processional.

 

WGHS Alumni group holds annual banquet

The Watkins Glen High School Alumni Association's annual gathering honors five scholarship recipients from the Class of 2018 and a Distinguished Alumnus. People.

 


Left:
WGHS Distinguished Alumnus Capt. Gary Voorheis, U.S. Navy, Retired.

 

O-M graduates 59 in evening ceremony

The Odessa-Montour Class of 2018 says farewell with a Commencement exercise in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium before a capacity crowd. Graduation.

 

Left: Valedictorian Hailey Perraut

 

Planning Board gets 1st look at Cheese Co.

Further steps ahead as new business owners prepare building on North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen for a possible fall opening. Cheese, wines, beer, and paired offerings ahead. Business.

Left: The front of the Seneca Cheese Company building.

 

Rotary honors Scheffey as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Isobel Scheffey was honored June 21 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for June. Scheffey was introduced by teacher Kelly Muir, who called the honoree a "delightful, hard-working, motivated" person who "will excel" at whatever she attempts and "achieve her goals." Scheffey, a member of this year's Top Drawer team of 24 outstanding student-athlete-citizens selected from 10 schools, is a High Honor student and an outstanding soccer player and runner. She set school records at 55 and 300 Yards in Indoor track this year, and at 400 Yards in Outdoor Track. She was also the Section IV, Class C champion in both the 200 and 400. She plans to attend the University of Albany, and would like to become a pediatrician. "Helping kids is what I want to do," she said.

Photo: Isobel Scheffey at the Rotary luncheon.

Community Grants

Watkins-Montour Rotary Club President Rich Greenberger, left, hands a check to Boy Scout leader Rick Evans at the June 21 Rotary luncheon as part of the distribution of thousands of dollars by the club to area service groups, an annual event. Other organizations receiving funds included the Watkins Glen Summer Swim Program, the Humane Society, Youth Football, Habitat for Humanity, the Historical Society, Cooperative Extension, Labor of Love, the Elizabeth Pert Library in Hector, the My Place Play and Learning Center, and the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial.

 

Douglas to step down as CCC president in '19

Dr. Katherine P. Douglas has announced she will retire on June 30, 2019 after eight years as President of Corning Community College. The school's 6th president, her tenure has been marked by expansion and public/private partnerships. Schools.

Left: CCC President
Dr. Katherine P. Douglas

School Board summary

The Watkins Glen School District office has issued a draft summary of the June 18, 2018 meeting of the Board of Education. To read it, click here.

 

State Park renovation ceremony held; NY unveils DRI projects

The dedication of the upgraded Watkins Glen State Park entrance area drew more than 130 people to the park's new amphitheater June 18, and served another function: the unveiling by the state of the 14 projects that have won funding under Watkins Glen's Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Government.

Photo: A ribbon was cut as part of the park dedication.

 

Border politics dog
a visit to La Bourgade

Congressman Tom Reed gets a tour of the "hillside village" being built -- and rented out -- by Bruno Schickel along Rt. 414. Reed also weighs in on tariffs and responds to questions about the President's "zero tolerance" immigration policy. Bourgade.

 

Left: Congressman Tom Reed, left, and Bruno Schickel.

 

Far away from Schuyler County, out West ...

Photographer Liz Fraboni of Watkins Glen -- a frequent contributor to this website in years past -- provides us with a look through her lens at the landscape -- and regional features -- of Arizona, snapped while she was visiting family out there. For a look at her offerings, click here.

 

Photo: One of the scenes that caught Liz Fraboni's eye on her Arizona journey.

  Grand Prix Fitness wins walking competition

Grand Prix Fitness is the champion of the 8-week Schuyler Steps Out walking competition, ahead of runnerup Watkins Glen High. The 2017 champion Humane Society was third. The walking program, in its 12th year and designed to get participants walking in the spring, had 13 teams. GP Fitness, with 16 walkers, had a cumulative average of 973,886 steps. Watkins Glen High, with 10 walkers, had a cumulative average of 889,659 steps, while the Humane Society, with 16 walkers, had a cumulative average of 889,390 steps. The program was sponsored by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

Sunset on Seneca

This photo of the Tuesday, June 19 sunset on Seneca Lake was sent by Joe Fazzary. It was snapped from the deck at his home, looking to the northwest.

 

WGHS champs, State qualifiers are honored

Watkins High School sectional champions and State tourney competitors are recognized by the school district at a School Board meeting. Four retirees are also honored. Schools.

  Glen Village Board OKs sewer rate increase

The Watkins Glen Village Board on June 18 approved a $1 increase in sewer rates -- to $15.50 per month from $14.50 -- to help maintain the village's distribution system. The increase -- which also includes hikes for usage above 300 cubic feet -- is effective July 1. The board also approved a Joint Project Committee audit showing 10 invoices totaling $939,000 in expenditures for the sewage treatment plant planned along the canal. Much of that money was for construction of a road leading to the site, bringing to just over $5 million the amount spent on the project thus far. Trustee and JPC member Tony Fraboni said almost $27 million remains budgeted for construction of the plant itself.

Photo: Watkins Glen Village Trustee Tony Fraboni.

Aaron Planty at his signing ceremony, and his Geneseo cake.

  Planty signing ceremony held at Watkins High

Watkins Glen High School senior Aaron Planty -- who will be attending Division III SUNY Geneseo in the fall and competing in cross country and track there -- was the center of attention June 18 at a celebratory signing ceremony in the WGHS Library. Friends and family watched as Planty signed a form in which he pledged to participate in those two sports at Geneseo. Aaron capped an outstanding high school career this year with The Odessa File WGHS Male Co-Athlete of the Year Award, shared with his brother Gabe, also a runner.

Tinker Bell (Jule Osburn) and Peter Pan (Molly Heichel) soar.

 

'Peter Pan Jr.' ends its 3-day run at WGHS

The Lake Country Players' production of Disney's musical "Peter Pan Jr." -- with flying provided by ZFX Flying Effects of Louisville, Kentucky -- ended its 3-day, 4-performance run with a matinee Sunday afternoon, June 17 before an enthusiasic audience of more than 260 people in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. The three-day attendance totaled about 1,000.

The flying rigging, installed last weekend, enabled several of the play's young actors to fly -- much to the delight of the audience.

Kim Laursen and Kelsey Johnson were co-directors. Features.

Photo: Emma Malnoske as Wendy Darling takes to the air.

Rosie Newton, left, and Lydia Garrison performed June 16.

  Lakewood hosts annual Fiddlers Gathering

The first day of the two-day 29th annual Old Time Fiddlers Gathering and Folk Arts Festival drew a larger-than-usual crowd June 16 to Lakewood Vineyards north of Watkins Glen. Musical acts featuring Old Time selections in the main tent highlighted the day along with various items for sale, such as quilts and handmade banjos. The event concluded Sunday with an Irish Folk Arts theme.

Photo: Jamming is a staple of the Fiddlers Gathering.

 

Legislators Blowers, Barnes seek re-election

Incumbent Schuyler County Legislators Carl Blowers (left) and Phil Barnes (right) -- both Republicans -- are seeking re-election this fall, running as a team. For a story on their announcement and background, see Government.

Schuyler opposes Seneca Army Depot incinerator plan. Government.

Youth Bureau holds annual celebration

More than 60 attend the event at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls. A mock trial and several awards highlight the gathering. People.

A boat rounds the final turn of the Seneca Marina course.

  25th annual Cardboard Boat Regatta held

The 25th annual Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival concluded Saturday, June 16 with the popular Cardboard Boat Regatta held in the Seneca Harbor Marina. The regatta, held under clear skies and warm temperatures, drew its usual large crowd lining the pier, the breakwater and the shoreline. The evening before, the festival featured live music, plenty of food, vendors, and Harbor Lights of various colors and effects. The regatta, featuring both solidly built and porous homemade crafts, resulted in various awards, such as Best Construction (a Flintstone-themed boat), Best Sinking (ironically, it was named Unsinkable), Best Name (Hull and Boats), and People's Choice (the Tiki Torpedo).

Photo: The breakwater was a great place to watch from.

Left: The Seneca Harbor Pier during the Harbor Lights portion of the Waterfront Festival on June 15. Right: The True Love's sails that night.

  Enrollment numbers look promising at O-M

The Odessa-Montour School Board on Thursday night, June 14 heard a report from an independent consultant -- Dr. Paul Seversky, a former school superintendent -- that foresees O-M's enrollment, now about 800 students, will stabilize or grow slightly in the next 10 years, to between 825 and 950 students. Seversky's report, presented for an hour in person to the Board, dealt with various subjects, such as enrollment, building use and optimum class sizes. Said Superintendent Chris Wood of the enrollment projection: "It's great news. The fact that we're not decreasing" -- a problem in some area schools -- "is pretty great."

Photo: Board members Jeff Parmenter, left, and Will Shrout.

 

Schuyler Scholars honored at dinner

The 11th annual Schuyler Scholars celebration at the Harbor Hotel on Tuesday night, June 12 honored 19 seniors from three school districts for their academic achievements. Schools.

Left: Each honoree received a plaque.

  Conservation Field Day teaches 6th graders

A total of 142 sixth-grade students from the Odessa-Montour, Bradford and Watkins Glen school districts attended the annual Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District-led Conservation Field Day on June 5 at the Millport Hunting and Fishing Club. Field Day.

Photo: O-M student Lily Bixby caught a largemouth bass at the Field Day's fishing station. The fish was released.

 

Erie Canalway Photo Contest is under way

The 13th annual Erie Canalway Photo Contest for professional and amateur photographers has begun. The Canalway Corridor reaches as far south as Montour Falls. Winning photos will be featured in the 2019 Erie Canalway calendar. For details on entering, see Features.

 

Montour parade draws crowd to Main Street

The 62nd annual Montour Falls Fire Department Parade of Bands -- featuring nearly a dozen musical groups and 21 fire departments, along with floats, tractors and vintage cars -- attracted a large gathering of spectators who lined Main Street through the village for the hour-long procession on June 9. Features.

 

Left: The Montour Falls Fire Department color guard.

One of the many carnival attractions.

  Fire Department Festival ends its 3-day run

The 62nd annual Montour Falls Fire Department Festival on the carnival grounds alongside Route 224 -- which opened on Thursday evening, June 7, concluded June 9th. The highlight that last day was an annual parade down Main Street in the village beginning at 5 p.m. and featuring firefighters, firetrucks, bands, floats and classic cars. The festival featured food, rides, games, bingo, clams, and craft beer. Admission was free. Live music Thursday was by Rusted Bucks. Friday it was classic rock by RUST; Saturday it was country music by Devon Franks.

Photo: One of the several rides available at the festival.

Ryanna LaMoreaux, center, at the celebratory signing with her sister Ali and mother Rebekah Carroll.

  LaMoreaux signing ceremony held at WGHS

Watkins Glen High School senior Ryanna LaMoreaux, who will be attending and playing basketball at Division III Lycoming College in Pennsylvania in the fall, was the center of attention June 8th at a celebratory signing ceremony in the WGHS Library. Friends and family, along with basketball coach Alicia Learn, watched as LaMoreaux signed forms in which she pledged to play basketball at Lycoming, where she will be studying pre-law. A letter from Lycoming official Mike Konopski, a 1981 graduate of WGHS, welcomed Ryanna to college "as she makes the transition from Senecan to Warrior. I invite fans from Watkins Glen and Schuyler County to make the short trip south to Williamsport to see her play and for underclassmen to perhaps consider joining her in attending Lycoming College in the future." LaMoreaux was a member of two Section IV championship basketball teams and a state titleist at WGHS.

Some of the members of the Top Drawer 24 pose for the team photo. The full team photo appears with a story inside.
(This photo by Hailey Perraut)

  Top Drawer 24 are honored at park ceremony

The 13th annual Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding high school scholar-athlete-citizens -- two dozen honorees from 10 area high schools -- were celebrated Monday evening, June 4th at a ceremony at the Watkins Glen State Park pavilion. Party.

Photo: Honoree Kai Sutterby of Watkins Glen High School.

Exchange students Beatriz Silva of Brazil (left, attending Odessa-Montour High School) and Arnaz Bhoruche of India (attending Watkins Glen High School) -- both of whom will soon be going home -- gave accounts of their school year and various travels when they appeared June 7th at a luncheon meeting of the sponsoring Watkins-Montour Rotary Club at Seneca Lodge.

  Rotary honors Tague as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Syria Tague was honored June 7th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for June. The honoree -- listed as a junior but completing her high school requirements a year early and entering Hartwick College in Oneonta in the fall -- was introduced by teacher Russ Gardner. He described Tague as "an excellent example ... of a well-rounded student" who carries a 96 average, has participated in swimming, tennis and cheerleading, and is a member of Interact and the National Honor Society. Tague, said Gardner, is a determined individual, never turning defensive or creating excuses "if she gets something wrong," instead digging in and figuring how to correct it. "She's a pleasure to be around," he added.

Photo: Syria Tague at the Rotary Club luncheon.

Watkins Glen High School's Female Athlete of the Year is Hannah Morse, pictured with WGHS Male Athletes of the Year Aaron Planty (center) and his brother Gabe. The awards were presented Monday at the Watkins Glen State Park pavilion.

 

Odessa File names its Athletes of Year

The Odessa File distributed trophies June 4th to its Female and Male Athletes of the Year from the Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glen High Schools: Kennedey Heichel and Curtis Harris at Odessa, and Hannah Morse and the Planty brothers, Aaron and Gabe, at WGHS. The awards were sponsored by E.C. Cooper Insurance.

Photo: O-M Athletes of the Year Kennedey Heichel and Curtis Harris.

Lime Bikes across the street from the Watkins Glen State Park.

  Lime Bikes have arrived in Watkins Glen

A new way to get around has come to Watkins Glen: Lime Bikes -- a bike-sharing program using apps on a phone for rentals at $1 per half hour. For details, see Business.

Hanley Elliott putts as Gabi Decker watches in practice round. (Photo provided by Steve Decker)

  Section 4 golfers finish tourney in 6th place

The nine-member Section 4 girls golf team finished near the middle of the pack at the two-day New York State Public High School Athletic Association Golf Championships on the par-72 Bethpage Yellow Course on Long Island. Sports.

 

WGHS distributes awards at assembly

Academic and athletic honors were handed out at an evening gathering in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. Awards.

 

Photo: Lexi Castellaneta with one of the awards.

 

Introducing the 2018
Top Drawer 24 team

The 13th annual Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding area student-athlete-citizens contains 16 seniors and 8 juniors from 10 schools. To see who they are, click here.

Top Drawer celebration held at State Park. Party.

Diners networked first on the Seneca Lodge porch. Here Liz Stamp of Lakewood Vineyards chats with Phil Cherry. Wine was provided by Lakewood, J.R. Dill Winery, Atwater Estates Vineyards and Chateau LaFayette Reneau.

  Ribs & Riesling draws crowd to Seneca Lodge

More than 80 diners attended the third annual Ribs & Riesling fund-raising dinner May 24 at Seneca Lodge in Watkins Glen. The event, sponsored by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club, was conceived by Rotarian Rebekah Carroll. It raised funds Thursday for the Montour Falls Library's Early Literacy Program. Rotarian Jim Howell was the emcee. Speaking briefly was Montour Falls Library Director Roxanne Leyes.

Photo: Emcee Jim Howell and Rebekah Carroll.

 

Montour earns Clean Energy designation

The Village of Montour Falls has been recognized for its leadership in reducing energy use and cutting costs. A related energy study could lead to a renovation of the Village Hall. Government.

 

A Track Day at WGI

Montour Falls' Bob Brown participates in a learning experience at Watkins Glen International racetrack that is popular among a diverse group of drivers. Track.

 

Memorial Day observed in 4 Schuyler ceremonies

Ceremonies in Montour Falls, Watkins Glen (two) and outside Odessa remember those who have given their lives in defense of our nation. People.

 


Left:
At the Montour Falls ceremony
.

  Watkins places 3rd for Small Town Adventure

Watkins Glen placed third in USA Today’s latest 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest! It finished behind Marquette, Michigan, and Florence, Oregon for Best Small Town for Adventure. Voting took place until May 14. Results were announced May 18. Twenty locales were nominated.

Photo: Seneca Harbor Pier.

  Ken Wilson is a Jefferson Award honoree

Schuyler County Hall of Famer and community leader Ken Wilson (pictured at right) was honored May 17 as a Jefferson Award recipient by the Chemung Canal Trust Company and Corning Enterprises during a luncheon at the Elmira Country Club. The award is presented for outstanding leadership and volunteerism over the years. Other recipients: David Biviano and Betty Hess, along with Elmira's Carl Hayden, who was named the "National Jefferson Award Representative." Hayden will represent the Twin Tiers region next month at a Jefferson Awards event in Washington, D.C. with about 80 other designees from communities around the nation.

Wine tasting and sales are a staple of Seneca Lake Wine & Food.

  Wine & Food event draws crowd to Clute Park

Wine and food lovers flocked on May 19 -- despite overcast skies and the occasional rain -- to the aptly named (and annual) Seneca Lake Wine & Food at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. About 1,500 people had passed through the entry gate in the first three hours, and another 500 or so were expected before the event ended. Tents with more than 40 area food and wine vendors were present selling their products, and there were wine and cheese seminars along with live music.

Photo: Organizer Jeff Dill.

Sara Caldwell was on hand running her Global Taco truck.

 

Ground broken for Kayak/Canoe Launch

A groundbreaking ceremony on May 18 drew village, county and state officials to the site of a planned Kayak/Canoe Launch at the eastern end of Clute Park. Government.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, center, and State Senator Tom O'Mara with Arc of Schuyler Executive Director Jeannette Frank. The Arc's 40th anniversary drew a proclamation and resolution of praise from Albany officials.

  Arc of Schuyler celebrates its 40th anniversary

Longtime Board member Harold J. Hoffmeier, right, was among the speakers May 18 as The Arc of Schuyler celebrated its 40th anniversary with a luncheon at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The main ballroom was packed with Arc supporters and local dignitaries. Said State Senator Tom O'Mara: "Nothing exemplifies community more than the Schuyler Arc does." Assemblyman Phil Palmesano praised The Arc for "improving the quality of life of our most vulnerable citizens. There can be no greater calling or greater mission." Arc Executive Director Jeannette Frank thanked both men for their recent efforts in securing improved wages for Direct Support Professionals, employees The Arc calls "the linchpin in a system of supports that empower people with disabilities to lead self-directed, meaningful, and productive lives."

Odessa-Montour High School senior Hailey Hoose at Rotary.

  Rotary honors Hoose as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Hailey Hoose was honored May 17 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for May. Hoose was introduced by O-M teacher Lisa Frost, who called the honoree "an amazing and unique individual" who has been "very active in the Odessa school community." Hoose has competed in swimming and tennis and has been part of school musicals for two years while also a student in the BOCES Dental Assisting program. She is known, Frost said, for "her perseverance and caring nature" and for always helping those in need.

Photo in text: Hailey Hoose receives her Student of the Month plaque from Rotary's John King.

The ribbon is cut at the expanded Sunset View Creamery.

  Ribbon-cutting held at expanded business

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday, May 16 at the Sunset View Creamery on the Hoffman farm at Catharine Corners -- marking the grand opening of a new tasting room and retail space for the long-estabished cheese business. "After years in a very humble tasting room," says creamery owner Carmella Hoffman (pictured at right), "we now have a full-size retail shop and tasting area." The ceremony was part of a Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce After-Hours Mixer -- a Chamber tradition offering networking opportunities. Notes Chamber President Rebekah Carroll: "The Hoffmans are an integral part of our agritourism and local food communities."

  Palmesano welcomes Bacalles to Albany

Special to The Odessa File

ALBANY, May 16, 2018 -- Assemblyman Phil Palmesano welcomed his predecessor, Jim Bacalles, back to the Assembly during a recent visit by Bacalles to the Capitol.

"It was a real privilege for me to welcome Jim back to Albany," said Palmesano. "Jim is a true friend to this institution. He was a principled legislator who set a tremendous example for all of us. I'm honored to follow in his footsteps."

Palmesano noted that he and Bacalles have maintained an excellent relationship over the years: "Jim was my mentor in government. I worked for him from 1995 to 2004, and during that time I learned so much. He epitomizes what public service should be all about."

Photo: Jim Bacalles, left, and Phil Palmesano. (Photo provided)

  Budgets pass easily at Watkins Glen, Odessa

Voters overwhelmingly approved budget proposals on May 15 in the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour School Districts. The $27.2 million budget passed 207-36 in Watkins Glen, while a proposition to lease buses passed 195-47. In Odessa, the $16.8 million budget passed 221-43, while propositions for the purchase of buses and for an increase in the library tax for the Montour Falls Library passed 209-54 and 165-104, respectively. Incumbent School Board members Barb Schimizzi and Kelly McCarthy ran unopposed for two seats in Watkins Glen, receiving 213 and 190 votes, respectively. Three incumbents -- Rob Halpin, Karen Rock and Jeff Parmenter -- and newcomer Dana Sgrecci ran unopposed. Halpin, Parmenter and Sgrecci will serve three-year terms, and Rock a one-year term.

 

WGHS holds its annual Spring Concert

Students in grades 7 through 12 perform an array of choral and instrumental music in the school auditorium. Schools.

 

Photo: The flute section in the Grade 7/8 Band.

  Legislature acts on coroner, bridge, noms

Schuyler County Legislators on May 14 approved the appointment of Patricia Kelly, NP, as one of two County Coroners to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Dr. James P. Coleman III "until such time (as) a general election can be held." The appointment runs from June 1 through Dec. 31.

In other businesss, legislators: --Accepted a bid for construction of a bridge replacement over Johns Creek on North L'Hommedieu Street in Montour Falls.
--Approved Harold J. Hoffmeier Jr. and John Terry as Schuyler County nominees for the 2018 New York State Office for the Aging Senior Citizen of the Year award.
--Heard Chairman Dennis Fagan say Sales Tax for the first four months of 2018 are 8.1% higher than the same period in 2017. "We are experiencing a strong local economy," Fagan noted.
--Approved an independent audit report that, for the second straight year, fournd no significant problems in county finances. The treasurer's office under Harriett Vickio, said Fagan, is doing "a fantastic job."
Photo in text: Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan at his computer during Monday's meeting.

  Glen teacher places 2nd in Jeopardy semifinal

Watkins Glen Elementary School Special Education teacher Rachel Niegelberg of Trumansburg -- who won a quarterfinal "Jeopardy" match aired May 8 in the popular TV show's annual Teachers' Tournament -- finished second in a semifinal aired May 15, ending her TV run. According to a "Jeopardy" fan website, she trailed Claire Bishop of Lexington, Kentucky by $100 entering Final Jeopardy, where both answered correctly -- Niegelberg betting $10,000 and finishing with $25,900, and Bishop betting $15,801 and finishing wih $31,801. The clue was in the U.N. Languages category: "Of the 6 official U.N. languages, it's the one that is written in cursive form only." The correct response: "What is Arabic?" Bishop moved on to the two-show finale in the quest for a $100,000 prize. The two-week tourney -- taped earlier -- has featured 15 teachers from around the U.S. Each received a $2,500 educational grant to help fund classroom projects.

Photo: Niegelberg with "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebek.

  Ground broken for new Burdett Fire Station

The long-awaited Burdett Fire Depaartment took a symbolic step toward completion May 11 with a groundbreaking ceremony on the site, fronting Rt. 79 at the eastern end of the village. Various dignitaries were on hand. Groundbreaking.

  Lausell to challenge O'Mara for Senate seat

Schuyler County Legislator Michael Lausell (right), a Democrat, has opened a campaign office in Montour Falls as he launches a challenge to incumbent Thomas O'Mara for the State Senate seat held by O'Mara in our 58th Senate District. O'Mara, a Republican and Conservative, was first elected to the Senate in 2010. Lausell has been a legislator since 2013, and was re-elected in 2017. The Senate term runs four years. Lausell, who held a campaign kickoff at his headquarters at 232 W. Main St. in Montour Falls on Thursday, May 17, says he believes voters should have a choice in picking their senator. The election is in November. Lausell is a lawyer, and raises beef cattle, selling some of his product at the Farmer's Market held Thursdays seasonally at the park in Montour Falls directly next to his campaign office.

School Board summary

The Watkins Glen School District has issued a summary of the School Board meeting held May 7. To see it, click here.

  Rotary honors Chedzoy as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Clara Chedzoy (right) was honored May 10 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for May. Chedzoy -- the class Valedictorian -- was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who called the honoree "a great scholar" and "a truly kind, lovely person. I can't think of a better person to go out in the world to make it better." Chedzoy -- a defensive standout on the school's girls basketball team that won the Class C state title in 2017 and reached the finals of the Section IV tournament this year -- plans to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, and study astrophysics and astronomy. She says she would like a career in Research and Development in the aerospace industry.

  Missing Montour Falls infant found safe

The infant girl missing from a Montour Falls residence on Rock Cabin Road -- Gionna K. Harter, 15 days old -- was located "safe and sound" along with her mother in the City of Geneva by Geneva and State Police Officers, the Schuyler County Sheriff's Department reported Thursday night, May 10. The Sheriff's office said the child was removed from the Montour Falls residence by her mother, Katrina M. Harter, over a court order that had granted temporary custody to a third party on May 9. The Sheriff's Department, which said no criminal charges are pending against the mother "at this time," thanked the public "in calling in tips and providing information to assist in the investigation. Law Enforcement followed up on over 100 leads in Schuyler, Ontario, Wayne, Monroe, Erie, Seneca, and Yates Counties."

Photo: Gionna K. Harter (Photo provided)

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

 

WGHS holds prom at Logan Ridge Estates

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

 

 

 

Left: WGHS senior Amber Benjamin.

And back in 2009

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

 

Watkins Glen fire deemed accidental

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

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

 

Some vocal magic on an Island hike ...

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

 

Left: The Bois Blanc Lighthouse

Check out some WGHS videos

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

 

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:

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

 

Some old photos from the Kelly collection

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

 

The What, When and Why of this website

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

Left: Charlie Haeffner (Photo by Dave Haeffner)

 

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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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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.

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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 chaef@aol.com