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4 Novels by the editor

Island Nights

Excerpt here.

The Islander

The entire novel:

Prelude-Chapter 4

Chapters 5-13

Chapters 14-21

Chapters 22-29

Chapters 30-36

Chapters 37-44.

Cabins in the Mist

Excerpt here

The Maiden of Mackinac

Excerpts Maiden

and here and here. 







Recent Headline Stories

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


Green Grand Prix turns white and very cold

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

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


Hazlitt breaks school record at 400 Meters

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

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


Rotary honors Povoski as Student of Month

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

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

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


Other lands featured at International Night

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

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

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


FOWL picks its annual Reading Ambassadors

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

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

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

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

Photo in text: Ashley Caslin (Photo provided)

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


Ice cream season arrives with free cones

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

Roche running for Steuben judge

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


Village Board celebrates mayor's birthday

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

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

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

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


Reed greeted by contentious Tyrone audience

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

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


Into the Woods ends its 3-day run at WGHS

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

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


Andretti to receive Argetsinger Award

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

Drive underway for Sheriffs' Institute

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


Concrete at Park

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


Schuyler receiving communications funds

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


Capital project wins voter approval in Watkins

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

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

Two anglers tried their luck under a Montour Falls bridge.


1st day of trout season leaves much to desire

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

WGHS girls team honored

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

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


Kickball fund-raiser held at Glen Field House

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

Photo: Isobel Scheffey was among the students on hand.

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


Rachel Vickio, born in 1913, turns 104

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

Photo in text: Rachel Vickio (Photo provided)


Glen police car towed after odd vehicle stop

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

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


Cuomo adding funds to budget for DSPs

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


Rotary honors Bryington as Student of Month

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

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


Man indicted on perjury, contempt charges

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

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


School assembly celebrates WGHS state title

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


WGHS holds annual Spud Run on a sunny day

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

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

Village elections held in Odessa, Burdett

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

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

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

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


State champs, other WGHS athletes honored

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

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

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


Watkins Glen rallies, wins state title at buzzer

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

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

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


A column by Odessa Mayor Keith PIerce

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

Left: Mayor Keith Pierce

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


The 7th installment of The Answers

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



Left: Travis Durfee

John Coates and Hannah Rosier perform a duet in Honk!


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

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

Photo: Noah Brewster portrayed Drake in Honk!

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


Fire extensively damages Newfield-area home

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

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


Annual Model Car Show concludes at Center

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


Parking lot work underway across from gorge

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


Rotary honors Hazlitt as Student of the Month

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

Photo in text: Patrick Hazlitt at Rotary.

Student William Yeater sings "Impossible Year" during concert.


Student talents showcased at WGHS concert

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


Capital project outlined; Summer Rec a 'go'

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

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

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

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

Board meeting summary can be found here.


O-M hosts Exceptional Seniors games

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

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


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


Home a 'total loss' after Hornby Road blaze

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

Photo: Firefighters battle the blaze. (Photo provided)


27 years later, Monks gets championship ring

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


Hazlitt wins 1600 heat, places 7th at States

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

Left: Patrick Hazlitt at States.


Collins inducted into Section IV Hall of Fame

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

Photo in text: Stefanie Collins with her induction plaque


Fire levels old farmhouse on Hayes Road

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

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

Scenes of the Mardi Gras at the Watkins Community Center.


Humane Society holds 5th annual Mardi Gras

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

Photo at right: Humane Society president Georgie Taylor

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


SWCD bestows honors at its annual luncheon

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


3 SWCD units combine forces on repair work

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


Rotary honors Crout as Student of the Month

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

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


Developer tests water on fast-food venture

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

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


Workers restore race course Collier Stone site

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

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


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

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


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

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


Village Board hears pitch on Film Festival

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

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


A message from our area's Assemblyman

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


Left: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.

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


DeBolt wins 50, 100; Fudala wins Breaststroke

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


Project eases flooding risk in Town of Cayuta

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

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


Legislators OK 10-year underwater license

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

Legislators also:

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

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


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


Work on State Park involves Indian Trail

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


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


Rotary honors Rong Lin as Student of Month

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


O'Mara, Palmesano give update at Rotary

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

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

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

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

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


Watkins School Board OKs capital project

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

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


Annual Ice Bar concludes at Hotel

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

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

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


Man faces multiple charges following rollover

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

Green Arbor, Fish Stocking programs set

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

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


Harlem Wizards pack gym on PFO's behalf

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

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

Tom Cook after receiving the Citizen of the Year Award.


Odessa Board honors Cook as Citizen of Year

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


Rally: Hike Arc funds to offset wage increase

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

Left: At the rally.

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


County to take Cultural Center under its wing

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

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


Project Seneca session outlines projects

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

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


How the Masonic mural came to be

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

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


Rumor put to rest: No gas-storage stance

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

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

Photos in text: Michael Lausell and Michael Warren Thomas

Legislator Michael Lausell, left, and Chairman Dennis Fagan.


Fagan re-elected as Legislature chairman

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


Board topics: safety, special-needs student

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

Left: Supt. Tom Phillips.

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


This website has now operated for 14 years ...

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

--Charlie Haeffner, Editor & Publisher


Rotary honors Wickham as Student of Month

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

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


Man, snowmobile pulled from Cayuta Lake

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

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

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


Work under way at Glen State Park entrance

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

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


Chamber holds its annual Winter Gala at hotel

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

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

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


Rotary honors Frasier as Student of Month

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

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


Community leader Jean Argetsinger dies

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


Left: Jean Argetsinger


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


Brown honored as Rotary Student of Month

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

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


Seneca View holds annual Festival of Lights

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


Upscale hotel planned in Chamber building

Plans are underway to turn most of the building at 214 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen (left) -- current home of the Chamber of Commerce -- into an upscale, four-diamond boutique hotel. Business.

Plan prompts memories of another hotel. Column.

Candy canes were distributed just before Monday's meeting. Legislature Clerk Stacy Husted watches as County Administrator Tim O'Hearn digs into the bag holding them.


Appointments, salaries among session actions

The Schuyler County Legislature on Dec. 12th appointed two election commissioners (Republican Joe Fazzary and Democrat Carolyn Elkins) to two-year terms effective Jan. 1; approved a Local Law establishing 2017 salaries for legislators ($9,000), Sheriff Bill Yessman ($82,500), County Treasurer Harriett Vickio ($70,000) and County Clerk Linda Compton ($69,000); and ordered the levy of the Lamoka/Waneta Lakes' Protection and Rehabiliation District taxes, which call for the first increases since 2003.

Legislators also voted to use the General Fund Balance to help pay off the debt balance of the Mill Creek Facility; and set their final meeting of the year for 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, and their 2017 Organizational Meeting for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4 in the Legislative Chambers.

Photos in text:
Legislators Carl Blowers, right, and Jim Howell talk before the meeting.
Bottom: County Attorney Steven Getman with a festive bow

Willie Hayes, left, and Lou Cicconi of the Seneca Santa Blues Band, which provided live music at the party.


Party raises funds for Seneca Santa program

The 20th annual fund-raising Seneca Santa party was held Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Grist Iron Brewing Co. north of Burdett. The event, held in conjunction with Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards -- which hosted the event for many years -- raises funds to purchase Christmas presents for underprivileged children aged 2-12 in Schuyler County. The event featured a live band, raffles and live and silent auctions.

Left: A seasonal hat, one of several at the party; raffles were part of the fund-raising.

Present at the party, from left: BOCES Superintendent Jim Frame, State Senator Tom O'Mara, Watkins Glen School Board member Mark Franzese.


Schuyler included in development awards

Schuyler County has been designated to receive about $2.5 million as part of the state's annual Regional Economic Development awards. It was a portion of $60.4 million awarded to the Southern Tier Regional Council encompassing the Binghamton-Elmira-Corning area. Government.


Post-election column: Leslie Danks Burke

The Democratic challenger for State Senate in the recent election looks back at her unsuccessful effort, draws positives from the experience, and urges voters to stay involved. Column.



Left: Leslie Danks Burke


Irwin honored as Rotary Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Courtney Irwin was honored Thursday, Dec. 8 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for December. The honoree was introduced by teacher Chris Clark, who described her as "an absolutely exceptional student" who works at the school Fitness Center, is a varsity golfer, and is a member of National Honor Society and other organizations. Irwin told Rotarians she believes in "always striving for better." She said she loves Science and "helping people," and plans to "put the two together and become a nurse." She plans to attend East Stroudsburg University and play Division 2 golf.

Photo in text: Courtney Irwin is congratulated by Rotary Club President Bill Phoenix.

Charges lodged in hunting incident

A 27-year-old man is charged in a Nov. 19 hunting-related incident in the Town of Dix. DEC investigators said the man shot his stepbrother, mistaking him for a deer on the opening day of the Southern Zone deer season, two hours before legal hunting time. People.


School Board: driver praised, consultant met

Fast thinkng by a school bus driver was praised Dec. 5th by Superintendent Tom Phllips at a meeting of the Watkins Glen School Board. Driver Skip Opdyke (pictured at right) was presented a Certificate of Merit and Appreciation for an incident Nov. 29 when he let two students -- a first grader and a kindergartener -- off the bus near their Hector homes and realized that only one of them was in his line of sight. He couldn't leave his seat -- state law prohibits it when he has passengers -- so he honked until the kindergartener, a girl, popped into sight after retrieving a dropped paper from underneath the front of the bus. Phillips praised Opdyke's alertness, averting "what could have been a disaster" had he not realized the girl's disappearance and had he moved the bus forward. The superintendent said additional training for students on exiting a bus and crossing the road -- and staying three feet back from the bus -- will be held in the school.

The board members also heard from Vincent J. Coppola (pictured at right), who was approved at their last meeting as a consultant in the search for a superintendent to succeed Phillips, who retires in 2017. Coppola, once a superintendent in the Corning-Painted Post district, has consulted in 90 such searches over the past 18 years. He said the Watkins school facilities are "astonishing" -- a sure draw for applicants -- and said Phillips' lengthy tenure (11 years compared to a statewide average of 4.5 to 5) will encourage applicants who realize they might be able to stay long term.

A meeting summary can be found here.


Village Christmas Parade winners announced

The parade held as a highlight of the Watkins Glen Village Christmas on Dec. 2 has generated the following winners announced by the Village Christmas committee:

"Most Christmas Spirit": Visions Federal Credit Union.
"Best Decorated": Elmira Savings Bank (photo above).
"Most Decorated Fire Truck": Watkins Glen Fire Dept.
"Judges' Choice": Lakewood Vineyards, which featured, in addition to a float, a small army of snowmen.

Said Committee Chair Susanne Vedder: "We were thrilled to see so many people come downtown to celebrate with us this year. It was a true community event."

William Yeater and Hannah Rosier perform a duet of "Baby, It's Cold Outside."


Youths welcome yule season with cabaret

Young actors -- members of the Dream Barn Productions troupe -- performed Christmas-themed skits, solos and other musical acts Dec. 2-3 in three "Holiday Cabaret 2016" performances at the Dream Barn headquarters, the former Methodist church near Catharine Corners. Participants: Maria Brubaker, Scott Brubaker, John Coates, Douglas DiGregorio, Gina Gavich, Marisa Hubbard, Kasey Lenzner, Emma Malnoske, Jack Muir, Kymerea Sparbanie, Hannah Rosier, Casey Underdown, Phebe Wickham and William Yeater. The performances were at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Left Top: Maria Brubaker sings "Let It Snow."
Left Bottom: Kasey Lenzner in a skit, "Judith of the Jungle."

Gina Gavich, left, and Kymerea Sparbanie were stockings in one of the cabaret skits.

Santa and Mrs. Claus brought up the rear of the Dec. 2 parade.


Watkins holds annual Village Christmas

Food stands with warming treats like chili, hot cider and hot chocolate, a manger scene, reindeer, a parade and fireworks highlighted the annual Watkins Glen Village Christmas on Dec. 2. The event was held on North Franklin Street.

Left: One of many Elmira Savings Bank snowmen; and a young Four Dragons Martial Arts member breaks a board.

Inset: Announcer Jim Howell.

Cartoon characters were among the entrants in the parade.

From left: Max Neal, Phyllisa DeSarno and Rebekah Carroll, current president of the Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce, at Friday's party. Both Neal and DeSarno also served in that role.


Max Neal returns to celebrate her birthday

Schuyler County Hall of Famer and former local Chamber of Commerce chief Max Neal was back in Watkins Glen Friday, Dec. 2, celebrating her 80th birthday with a party at the Harbor Hotel. Neal, who retired several years ago to move back to her old home in Vermont -- where she is, not surprisingly, overseeing the Chamber of Commerce -- was staying in this area through the weekend in order to also attend the funeral of retired Elmira College President Thomas Meier.


Former boxer warns of concussions' effects

Former middleweight boxer Ray Ciancaglini, a native of Geneva, tells the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club of the effects of untended concussions and how they have impacted his life. Features.

Ray Ciancaglini at the weekly Rotary luncheon.


14 join NHS at O-M

One junior and 13 sophomores are inducted into the Odessa-Montour chapter of the National Honor Society during a ceremony in the school auditorium. Schools.

Left: Candles are a part of the ceremony. (File photo)


Mr. Chicken provides details on its closing

The Mr. Chicken restaurant in Watkins Glen closes its doors on Dec. 17 after selling the property to the state, reportedly for parking for the Watkins Glen State Park. The Bond family that owns Mr. Chicken has explained the move in a Facebook posting: "After 50 years of operation, Mr. Chicken will be closing on December 17, 2016 due to health reasons. The Bond family and staff would like to thank their loyal customers for the years of support. It's been an honor to be a part of the Watkins Glen community. We take great pride in the fact that Mr. Chicken has been part of the 'you can't miss this' list for many years. Closing Mr. Chicken was not an easy decision for our family to make. When we learned that Watkins Glen State Park was going to be redone, we approached the Parks to see if they would be interested in purchasing the property. While our closing is sad, we will be a part of Watkins Glen State Park, a place that we love and was part of what made us successful all these years."


Dr. Thomas Meier, former EC president, dies

Dr. Thomas K. Meier, 76, former president of Elmira College and board president of the Five Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America, has died, according to a statement issued Nov. 30 by the Five Rivers Council. Meier served as Elmira College president for 25 years, retiring in 2012, and served on the boards of United Way, Southern Tier Economic Growth, the Chemung Canal Trust Company and the Arnot Art Museum. He previously was president of Castleton State College in Vermont.


Rep. Reed added to Trump transition team

Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, right) has been added by President-elect Donald Trump to the Trump transition team as a vice chairman, one of nine new ones and one of 13 total. Reed, first elected to Congress in 2010, represents the 23rd District, including Schuyler County. He was a stalwart supporter of Trump's throughout the campaign.

Binghamton State Senator Fred Akshar, left, and Senator Tom O'Mara with the Food Bank's Natasha Thompson during visit to the Food Bank in early November in support of the legislation vetoed this week by Governor Cuomo.


O-Mara, Palmesano blast Cuomo ag veto

State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano were highly critical Nov. 29 of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's veto -- for the second straight year -- of legislation to provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 to farmers who donate fresh produce to food banks and other emergency food providers. "This veto is incredibly disappointing and frustrating," said O'Mara, who co-sponsored the "Farm to Food Bank" legislation unanimously approved by the Senate and Assembly. The legislation "was a win-win for everyone," said Palmesano (pictured). "It was a win for emergency food pantries and other food security programs, for the hungry families who rely on them and for farmers who are struggling to make ends meet and keep their neighbors employed."

At November Splendor were, from left: Lori Welliver, Anne Myers, Joan Argetsinger and Brenda Fitch. (Photo provided)


November Splendor raises record $32,000

The Nov. 18 November Splendor fund-raiser at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel raised a record-high $32,000 for Schuyler Hospital and the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. The dinner-dance, which attracted 260 people and featured a live auction and raffles, was hosted by the Schuyler Health Foundation and the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary. The evening is the signature event of the Foundation's Family of Friends campaign. Said hospital President/CEO James Watson of the fund-raising success: "It is validation that you appreciate the improvements we are making and value the service we provide."

Photo in text: Donna DeGloria, left, receives assistance from Jessica Adams in carrying her prize package, won at the November Splendor dinner-dance. (Photo provided)


Lions honor 26 vets of Vietnam War at dinner

The Watkins-Montour Lions Club holds the ceremony at the Harbor Hotel, part of a national move to thank veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the country. Features.


Left: One of the table centerpieces at the dinner.


Winner drawn in
Labor of Love raffle

A total of $1,000 was the prize in a Labor of Love raffle conducted Nov. 22. Features.

Walkers and runners start out on the 5K at Fourth and Franklin.


3rd annual Turkey Trot raises food, funds

The third annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot was held in a cold rain early Nov. 24 on the streets of Watkins Glen. The 5K walkers/runners gathered at Landon's Pub & Pizza on Fourth Street to register before starting at the corner of Franklin Street, heading east to Lafayette Park, turning south on Decatur, and following that before turning west and returning to Franklin Street for the jaunt or walk back. Bottled water was provided by Sam's Club of Big Flats, which also presented a $750 gift card to Catholic Charities, whose Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry is the designated recipient of donations (non-perishable food items constituted the registration fee). The event -- started two years ago by its organizer, Kathie Notarfonzo of Exercise Enterprise -- drew a few dozen runners the first year, more than 130 last year, and probably more this time in 35-degree, rainy conditions.

Photo in text: Organizer Kathie Notarfonzo, center, receives a $750 gift card from Sam's Club's John Tuttle for presentation to Catholic Charities' Kris Morseman, left, for the Outreach program.

Food presented by participants as their registration fee for the 3rd annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. Donations go to the Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry. (Photo provided)

Diners line up for meals distributed at the church kitchen.


Burdett church feeds 250 on Thanksgiving

The Burdett Presbyterian Church's annual Thanksgiving dinner provided meals Nov. 24 for more than 250 people, including 150 people whose food was delivered to their senior citizen housing facilities in the county. The dinner, begun in 2005 when 37 people were fed, has grown to an operation with 40 volunteers -- kitchen workers, waiters, cleaners, delivery people and so on -- keeping the food moving out the door in styrofoam containers, or ladled onto the plates of those eating at the church. The meal was free, but donations were accepted. A posted note from the church read: "It's our way of saying 'Thank You!' for allowing us to be part of your community."

Above left: A welcoming church note and the dessert table.
Inset: Greeter Dick Evans.


School celebrates its recent sports success

Watkins Glen honors its runners, diver in a Field House ceremony. Sports.

Left: One of 11 stars on a paper "walk of fame."

Students pass along packages from Hesselson's, moving them from truck to hallway to stairway to storage room.


WG students help offload Seneca Santa gifts

About 40 Watkins Glen High School students -- members of the cheerleading and girls basketball squads and the wrestling team -- helped offload about 150 boxes of toys and games Nov. 22 that were purchased at cost by the Seneca Santa organization from -- and delivered by truck to Watkins Glen's First Presbyterian Church by -- Hesselson's store in Elmira Heights. The packages are part of the annual Seneca Santa effort to provide gifts for children from ages 2 to 12 in Schuyler County families in need during the holidays. The boxes were passed from student to student outside, along a church hallway and upstairs to a storage room, where they were stacked until further organization and then delivery by area firefighters to the designated families on Christmas Eve day.

Photo in text: Passing along the packages.


School Board hires search consultant

Vincent J. Coppola will help the Watkins Glen School Board in its search for a new superintendent. Schools.

Left: Cross country runners, including Kai Sutterby, were honored at the meeting.


Holiday Bazaars are a hit in Odessa, Watkins

Annual holiday bazaars featuring crafts, food and Santa Claus were a hit Nov. 19 in Odessa and Watkins Glen. Features.


Left: This tree adorned a craft table at the Odessa-Catharine United Methodist Church's annual bazaar.

From left: diner Chuck Franzese, dessert, a mirror that was among the many raffle items.


November Splendor draws 265 to hotel

The annual November Splendor dinner at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel -- a fundraiser for Schuyler Hospital -- attracted 265 people Friday night, Nov. 18 for an evening of camaraderie, raffles, a live auction and fun in an antique-style photo booth. Live music was provided by the group Atlas after the dinner, speakers and auction had concluded.

Schuyler Hospital President and CEO James Watson noted the growth of the dinner since two years ago, when "something like 180 were present." The sit-down dinner featured a platter of chicken and beef or a vegetarian lasagna.

The event was sponsored by the Schuyler Health Foundation and the Hospital Auxiliary.


Left: From top, Schuyler Hospital President James Watson; Allen and Emily Peckham; Fred Wickham and Kristin Hazlitt.

Among the 260 diners present were, from left, Don Spaccio, Esther Heichel and Mike Learn.


Rotary honors Sgrecci as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Nick Sgrecci (pictured at right) was honored Nov. 17 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for November. He was introduced by O-M teacher-coach Burton Brewster, who said Sgrecci fits the criteria of previous Rotary honorees -- students who "do things right for the right reason and do it that way all the time ... Nick is a hard-working, genuine kid" who "treats all people with kindness and respect. He is a quiet leader and role model in the classroom and on the athletic field." Sgrecci is a member of the National Honor Society and a three-sport athlete -- in soccer, basketball and track.


Legislature approves 2017 county budget

The Schuyler County Legislature on Nov. 14 approved without dissent a 2017 county spending plan totaling $46 million. It contains a tax-rate drop of 5.11%, from $8.17 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $7.75, and a tax-levy hike of .36%. Key factors: projected revenues from new casinos, a leveling of Medicaid and pension costs, and the retirement of debt from the Millcreek facility. Going up: law enforcement costs in the battle against drug use.

Left: County Administrator Tim O'Hearn outlines the budget at a hearing preceding the vote.

From left: Students Amber Updike, Alexus Niver and Kelsey Kernan, members of a SCCUDD subcommittee, received Shining Star Recognition (above) and a Certificate of Special Congessional Recognition from the office U.S. Rep Tom Reed for their work in the effort to combat drug use.


Drug traffic subject of SCCUDD discussion

District Attorney Joe Fazzary (right) was the keynote speaker Nov. 14 at the Fall Planning Retreat of the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) and Schuyler County Public Health at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Fazzary explained the ongoing meth and heroin challenges facing law enforcement, saying it will take a combination of education (earlier, starting in 3rd or 4th grade), continuing prosecution ("for every dealer we take off the street, one or two replace him") and drug treatment -- though the latter is expensive and thus difficult to mount.

Left: District Attorney Joe Fazzary addresses the dozens of county and health officials, SCCUDD representatives and students on hand at the Fall Planning Retreat.


Veterans honored at courthouse ceremony

An annual Veterans Day service was held Nov. 11 in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse in Watkins Glen -- an event sponsored by local veterans' organizations that attracted 150 people. Guest speaker was John R. Antes (pictured at right), retired Army Sgt. 1st Class. Various local dignitaries also spoke. Tony Specchio was coordinator of the ceremony, as he has been for many years. People.

Stephanie Friess as Eliza performs a song in Act One.


LCP's 'My Fair Lady' ends its 3-day run

The Lake Country Players' production of the musical "My Fair Lady" concluded its three-day run in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium with a matinee performance Sunday, Nov. 13. The play opened Friday night, Nov. 11 and was presented Saturday night, Nov. 12 as well. The 28-member cast and chorus sang such well-known songs as "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" and "I Could Have Danced All Night" in a play about a common street vendor transformed into a lady. Choreography was by Kelsey Johnson. The director was Kim Laursen.

Left: Joel Wilbur (let) as Colonel Pickering and Drew Guild as Professor Henry Higgins.

The pit band performs during "My Fair Lady."


Rotary honors Lokken as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Jacob Lokken (pictured at right) was honored Nov. 10 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for November. He was introduced by teacher Karen Armstrong, who described the honoree as "self-motivated and, beyond that, self-directed" -- a person who always has encouragement and a kind word for others. A member of the Burdett Fire Department, he also volunteers at the Saturday morning basketball program at WGHS, works with Seneca Santa, and "assists other students in class." Armstrong said Jacob is "honest and fair, and doesn't judge others." He plans to attend the University of Buffalo and study Architecture, and said he hopes "to settle down wherever I can find work."


School Board hears support for Holland

The Watkins Glen School Board receives strong support for varsity football coach Trevor Holland (in photo at right) from the Schuyler County Youth Football Association; approves another fund-raising effort on behalf of South Sudan water; hears two members apologize to the Boosters, and backs an effort by one member that could lead to a capital project. Schools.


Dollhouse raffle will benefit St. James'

A dollhouse (left) custom-built by parishioner Nick Dugo will be raffled Dec. 12 to benefit St. James' Episcopal Church in Watkins Glen. Features.

L to R: John White, Robert Barton, Dominick Smith, Gerald Purvis


White wins in Hector; Smith defeats Purvis

Incumbent Republican John R. White defeated Democrat Robert O. Barton Nov. 8 in the race for a 1-year unexpired term on the Hector Town Board, 1195-1021. In the Town of Dix, Democrat Dominick C. Smith defeated Republican Gerald H. Purvis, 782-666, in the race for a 3-year unexpired Council term.

Reed turns back Plumb; O'Mara wins

Incumbent Republican Congressman Tom Reed (pictured at right) defeated Democratic challenger John Plumb Nov. 8, carrying a 57-43% lead with more than 90% of the 586 precincts reporting.

In the State Senate race, incumbent Republican Tom O'Mara claimed victory late Tuesday night after pulling ahead of Democratic challenger Leslie Danks Burke, who he said conceded at about 11:30 p.m. O'Mara was leading 53,300-45,600 with just 25 of 266 districts yet to report.

State Senate candidate Leslie Danks Burke, left, with supporter Sue Brill during a lunch stop Tuesday at Glen Mountain Market in Watkins Glen.


On the day of the vote, students have their say

While New Yorkers went to the polls in the Nov. 8 election, Watkins Glen High School students were voting their presidential preference in a paper-ballot election in the school. Returns (251 out of 505 students) showed Donald Trump the preferred candidate, 46.2% to Hillary Clinton's 25,5%, Gary Johnson's 8.0% and Jill Stein's 6.0%. Meanwhile, Democratic State Senate candidate Leslie Danks Burke made two stops in Schuyler County, sharing sandwiches with supporters at Glen Mountain Market in Watkins Glen before visiting the Hector Wine Company. Her campaign gathered Tuesday night at the Hotel Ithaca to await returns. She ended up losing to incumbent GOP Senator Tom O'Mara.

Diver Lexi Castellaneta, right, greets WG teammate Jena Slater.


Lexi wins Section IV diving title again

Watkins Glen High School junior Lexi Castellaneta finished first among divers for the third straight year Nov. 5 at the Section IV, Class C Swimming and Diving Championships at Owego Free Academy. Watkins Glen placed second to Lansing in the swim meet, with the Senecas' Jill Kilcoyne and Peighton Cervoni finishing 3rd in the 100 Fly and 100 Back events, respectively. Sports.


Racing Center accepts John Fitch archives

The life of the late racer and engineer John Cooper Fitch is reflected in the many items recently presented to the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen. The gift from Fitch's sons significantly enlarges the John Fitch Collection created at the Racing Research Center in 1999, when papers were donated related to his career as a safety designer and consultant. Center.

Photo: John Fitch with his racing trophies. (Photo provided)


Rotary honors Garrison as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Sage Garrison was honored Oct. 27 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for October. Garrison was introduced by School Superintendent Chris Wood, who described her as "a fierce competitor" with "leadership skills and tenacity ... in everything she does." She also "marches to the beat of her own drum," he added, "and always does what's right." Garrison, ranked fourth in her class academically, holds the school's girls soccer record for career goals and points, and is a member of the varsity basketball team. She was named to last year's Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athlete-citizens, and has been an Odessa File Athlete of the Week three times this season for her soccer exploits. She plans to attend college in the field of health exercise.

Photo: Sage Garrison with her Student of the Month plaque.


O-M show displays Community Talent

Singers, dancers and pianists displayed their musical skills Oct. 21 at a Community Talent Show held in Odessa-Montour's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. Schools.

Left: Singers Alexis Ayers, left, and Maddy Vogel.


Rhoads named SFLW's Woman of the Year

Lisa Rhoads of Burdett is presented with the Southern Finger Lakes Women's annual Woman of the Year award --designed to recognize local women of achievement. People.


Left: Lisa Rhoads with her award. (Photo provided)

Robert O. Barton, left, running for Hector Town Council, was without a debate opponent since Republican candidate John R. White was unable to attend. Dominick C. Smith, right, was part of a debate for Town of Dix Council against Gerald H. Purvis.


O'Mara, Danks Burke square off at debate

A debate between GOP State Senator Tom O'Mara and his challenger in the Nov. 8 election, Democrat Leslie Danks Burke, highlighted a Meet the Candidates forum Wednesday night, Oct. 19 at the Watkins Glen Elementary School.

The event, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, saw the two Senate candidates debate -- often at stark odds -- on the subjects of how to handle the problem of lead in schools, the key challenges facing schools, and the role of the state in supporting childcare, and whether there should be term limits. Neither favored limits.

Also debating earlier in the evening were Town of Dix council candidates Dominick C. Smith (Democrat) and Gerald H. Purvis (Republican).


Left: Leslie Danks Burke and State Senator Tom O'Mara.

Check presented

Cargill has presented a $12,000 check to Catholic Charities of Schuyler County to help Charities implement its Family Nutrition Program. From left in photo: Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry Coordinator Kris Morseman, Catholic Charities' Schuyler Agency Director Deb MacDonald, and Cargill Plant Manager Keith Klug. For story, see Business.

Dutton S. Peterson, left, and William "Bill" Wickham IV.


Induction ceremony adds 3 to Hall of Fame

Tony Specchio and the late Dutton S. Peterson and William "Bill" Wickham IV were inducted Oct. 18 into the Schuyler County Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Seneca Lodge. Their induction brings to 44 the number of people in the Hall. People.


Left: Tony Specchio


Awards night revival; Glen enrollment down

The Watkins Glen School Board, told Oct. 17 that the district Booster Club had decided not to hold a sports awards banquet for the ongoing fall season, pledged that it will be held -- as will winter and spring banquets. The issue was raised by board member Barb Schimizzi, who said "the kids are upset about" the decision not to have the fall event. Superintendent Tom Phillips urged Athletic Director Rod Weeden to talk to the Boosters in an attempt to coordinate the effort, although "worst case" was that he would reach out to the Board so that it can oversee the banquet. Weeden said the annual cost of the three banquets -- of plaques -- is about $600, which Phillips said could be covered by grant funds. The Boosters have been covering the cost, but their decision, Weeden suggested, might be in part because of absenteeism at past events by some athletes being honored. Said Board President Kelly McCarthy: "The message from the Board is we want to support the kids each season."

The board also received an update on enrollment, down in UPK-Grade 12 this year to 1,096 (25 fewer than last year, which was 30 fewer than the year before) and down 237 from 2007-08. A drop of another 32 students is projected for 2017-18.

Photo in text: Board member Gloria Brubaker at the meeting.

Bob and Dee provided music at the beginning of the party. Later, Tom Bloodgood, Scott Muir and friends performed their music.


Spirit of Schuyler Gathering draws crowd

The annual Gathering -- a fundraiser for the Spirit of Schuyler (SOS) -- drew a large crowd of diners and donors to the Hidden Valley lodge on Oct. 15. The event featured food, beer, wine, raffle items, silent auction items, and live music. SOS -- a non-profit organization overseen by Tony, Harriett and Beth Vickio -- provides funds for Schuyler County residents in emergency situations.


Left top: A silent-auction painting.

Left bottom: State Senator Tom O'Mara converses.

Tony and Harriett Vickio of the Spirit of Schuyler were greeting diners at the door.


Rotary honors Gardner as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Ruthe Gardner (left) was honored Oct. 13 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for October. Gardner was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who described the honoree as "an incredible person" who is "supportive of others. She really cares about people." She also has "an unbelievable curiosity, always seeking answers." Gardner, a member of the school swim team and of National Honor Society, plans to attend college with an eye toward a doctorate in forensic anthropology.


Suicide ends Predatory Sexual Offense trial

The defendant in a Predatory Sexual Abuse trial committed suicide Wednesday morning, Oct. 12 on Rock Cabin Road in Montour Falls, bringing the trial -- which had been scheduled for closing arguments in Schuyler County Court that day -- to an end. It also terminated plans for a second, related trial on charges of Possession of Child Pornography. Government.

In other court action, a suit against Corning and Schuyler County involving a death by freezing is dismissed by a federal judge. Government.

National Arc leader visits Watkins

The Arc of the U.S. Chief Executive Officer, Peter Berns, visits The Arc of Schuyler to learn more about the agency's programs. He also pays a visit to Watkins Glen International. People.

Left: Drew Guild was one of the dinner workers. Right: Jim Howell arrives for dlnner.


United Way pasta dinner attracts a crowd

The annual United Way of Schuyler County's "kickoff" Pasta Dinner drew a hungry crowd Oct. 10 to the Montour Moose Lodge. The event, a key fundraiser for the United Way, is the starting point for a campaign that this year hopes to raise $123,000 for 24 agencies serving county residents. On hand to help were this year's campaign co-chairs, Dr. Ben and Marian Saks. The dining hall was full early, with a line of diners waiting for tables to open. The United Way agencies include libraries, Habitat for Humanity, Mustard Seed Ministries, children's educational and play centers, the Red Cross, the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts, Literacy Volunteers, CASA, Challenge Industries, FLACRA, the Community Dispute Resolution Center and others.

Photo in text: Odessa-Montour National Honor Society member Hailey Perraut serves at the United Way dinner. About 25 students from NHS and Interact helped at the event.

The United Way of Schuyler County co-chairs, Dr. Ben Saks and Marian Saks, pose at the dinner.

Nan Woodworth-Shaw, left, and Superintendent Tom Phillips.


Retirement gift

Nan Woodworth-Shaw, retiring as Director of Instruction and Student Services in the Watkins Glen School District, was presented by Superintendent Tom Phillips with a farewell gift -- a print of artwork by Don Maas -- at the Oct. 3 School Board meeting. The meeting was light on action and heavy on an executive session (closed to the public) that consumed 50 of the gathering's 65 minutes.

Jim Guild, a member of the church, was on hand with ice cream at the Lafayette Park tailgate party.


Fresh Start Church holds party in the park

The new Fresh Start Church, which held its Start-Up Service Sunday, Oct. 2 at the Glen Theater in Watkins Glen, held a Tailgate Party marking the milestone Saturday at Lafayette Park. Music, family games, a chili cookoff, balloons (right), movie trivia and ice cream were all part of the gathering. The Fresh Start Church, referred to as "a new kind of church," is also called "another location of the Pennsylvania Avenue United Methodist Church" of Elmira. "You're welcome just as you are," church organizers said in an advertising invitation to the public, adding: "Love God, love people, serve the world."

The Black Diamond Express performed at the Falls Harvest Festival Oct. 1 in downtown Montour Falls.


Falls Harvest Festival held in Montour Falls

The annual Falls Harvest Festival was held Oct. 1 in Montour Falls -- a gathering of live music, games, a pumpkin-carving contest and food vendors that celebrates the fall season. Afternoon rain affected attendance, but an early turnout was sizable, and organizers were already planning next year's festival.

Left: This scarecrow-like fest figure fit the Halloween season.

Smoke pours from a storage building at Bergen Farms.


Fire damages storage building at Bergen's

Fire at about 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30 heavily damaged a feed storage building at Bergen Farms outside Odessa. Fire officials said the blaze was caused by a defective bearing on a piece of farm equipment. Mecklenburg firefighters arrived first and knocked down the blaze with a deck gun, fast action which one official said saved the rest of the structure. Other departments responding included Burdett, Odessa, Trumansburg, Newfield and Enfield, called mostly for tankers. Firefighters were out for about three hours.

Photo in text: The storage building after the blaze. (Photos provided)


Rotary honors Carocci as Student of Month

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club on Sept. 29 honored Watkins Glen High School senior Jacob Carocci as its WGHS Student of the Month for September. Carocci was introduced by teacher Kelly Muir, who described the honoree (right) as "one of our future leaders" and a young man "with tremendous character." Carocci is president of the school's National Honor Society and a member of the WGHS cross-country team, which has a chance of winning a state title this year. "He's always doing what needs to be done," said Muir, noting that every teacher "is glad to see him walk through the door" of their classrooms. Carocci thanked his parents, Jerry and Val, for "teaching me values" that matter in life. He plans to attend a four-year university and then apply for medical school, with the possibility of entering the field of psychiatry.


Paulisczak honored as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour senior Emelia Paulisczak (right) was honored Sept. 22 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for September. The honoree was introduced by Superintendent Chris Wood, who described her as "incredibly intelligent" and as someone who "can change the world." Paulisczak, he said, "is one of the most accomplished individuals that I have ever presented" as a Rotary honoree -- a student who has "had the highest GPA (grade-point average) in her class 23 out of 24 times" while take "challenging course work" such as ACE Spanish, Physics and Calculus. Captain of the school's swim team, a member of the school's annual musical and ranked No. 1 in her class, she plans to attend college -- which one is as yet undetermined -- to major in biomedical engineering and public policy.

United Way campaign co-chairmen: Dr. Ben and Marian Saks.


United Way sets goal, names co-chairmen

The United Way of Schuyler County sets a campaign goal of $123,000 to help support 24 member agencies serving county residents, names Dr. Benjamin and Marian Saks as the campaign co-chairs, and presents longtime supporter Ken Wilson (right) with the annual Marie Bailey Award given each year to an individual or organization for outstanding support of the United Way effort. The annual campaign kicks off with a pasta dinner on Oct. 10 at the Montour Moose Lodge. Features.

Photo in text: Ken Wilson, winner of the Marie Bailey Award.


A Father's Day present of uncommon difficulty

Bob Brown, 57, is enrolled with his daughter Cathy and son Russ in a Spartan Super race in Massachusetts, and lives to tell the tale. Spartan.

Left: Cathy and Russ flank their father at Spartan race.


Watkins Glen man sentenced in meth case

ROCHESTER, Sept. 22 -- Christopher Coy, 48, of Watkins Glen was sentenced Sept. 21 by U.S. District Court Judge David G. Larimer to 18 months in prison on a conviction of manufacturing methamphetamine. Coy was arrested on July 7, 2015 at his apartment at 117 E. 2nd St., Watkins Glen, where police found what they identified as component parts of a meth lab, as well as a quantity of meth. Officials of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Schuyler Sheriff's Office, Village Police Department and State Police investigated.

Halves of a pirate ship greeted visitors at the entrance to the Under the Sea party at the Montour Falls Fire Department.


Library holds Under the Sea-themed Tea Party

The 5th annual Children's Tea Party sponsored by Odessa's Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library was held Sept. 17 at the Montour Falls Fire Department community room, this time with an Under the Sea theme. Two halves of a pirate ship greeted attendees at the party entrance, a treasure chest resided in a corner, a "Captain Mike" (Scullin) was present in pirate's hat, and there were games, face painting, crafts, raffles, costumes, books, photos, refreshments, and live entertainment by Kim and Les Laursen. Above all -- as is the goal in this annual tea party -- it was fun for kids of all ages.

Photo: A treasure chest -- presumably discovered in an Under the Sea shipwreck -- was on display at the tea party.


Schuyler methamphetamine trial ends in guilty verdict

Eric J. Storm, 44, is found guilty by a Schuyler County Court jury in a methamphetamine case that started with a dispute he was having with a Town of Catharine co-renter. People.

Left: Eric J. Storm

For a summary of the latest School Board session provided by the school district, click here.


Phillips makes it official: This is his last year

Back on June 20, Watkins Glen School Superintendent Tom Phillips said "I will be 55 in October 2017 with 33 years of service. Provided my life situation doesn't change, I will end my career sometime in that school year. I will give the (School) Board plenty of notice so they have sufficient time to complete a rigorous search" for a successor. Now, saying he has "done all I can do" in his career, he has announced his retirement will become official as he turns 55, so that this will be his final complete year as the district's superintendent. He said in a published account that his retirement will become official in October 2017 and that he hopes to help his successor -- whoever that might be -- transition into the job next summer. Phillips said his service of more than a decade at Watkins Glen "has been a privilege."

Alex Gibson with the Gifford Park sign he created.


Eagle Scout project enhances Gifford Park

Gifford Park, on West Fourth Street near the Watkins Glen business district, has been cleaned up and rejuvenated thanks to an Eagle Scout project by Alex Gibson, a Watkins Glen High School senior and son of Scott and Lisa Gibson. Alex, with instruction from sign master Tony Vickio, made and assembled the new park sign and, with help from Pat Gill, learned how to weld, fabricate and paint a new bench that Alex hopes will be used by many park visitors in the future. Other contributors included the Gifford family, which financed about a third of the $850 in cash raised by Alex; the Havell family, which donated a plant; and Bill's Machine Shop, which fabricated the sign mounts and donated them. A ceremony honoring the project was held Thursday, Sept. 8 at the park with various officials present.

Photo: Alex with Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah LaMoreaux at the park ceremony. (Photos by Scott Gibson)

Alex Gibson sits on the bench that was part of his Gifford Park Eagle Scout project.

Spectators lined Franklin Street for blocks to watch passing Grand Prix Festival cars.


Fans, cars turn out for Grand Prix Fest in Glen

The annual Grand Prix Festival drew thousands of race fans to downtown Watkins Glen Sept. 9th, where they saw classic cars of various kinds, hundreds of which were driven during the day on the original 6.6-mile race circuit in the hills above the village. The day-long fest also featured a Walk of Fame awards ceremony, a historical lecture called The Legends Speak, racing-related vendors, food courts, wine tasting, live music, family activities, and fireworks at dusk.

Photo in text: One of the hundreds of participating cars travels along Franklin Street. (Photos by Scott Gibson)

Classic cars were on display in the parking area of the Watkins Glen State Park.


Finger Lakes Wine Festival wins best-in-nation

The Finger Lakes Wine Festival -- a huge gathering each July at the Watkins Glen International racetrack -- has won a USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice contest as Best Wine Festival in the nation. It follows a similar win by the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel as the best waterfront hotel in the United States. "We did it again!" said State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano in a joint press release. "Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regional voters have once again put us on the national map!" The contest, which closed Aug. 15 with results announced Aug. 19, saw the Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival finish second and the BottleRock Napa Valley festival third.

Scott Dixon during IndyCar practice on Sept. 2 at The Glen. (Photo by Mike Stamp)


Dixon wins IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen

Pole-sitter Scott Dixon, who set a track-record in qualifying Sept. 3, won the Sept. 4 IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen, his fourth victory on the road course. He also won in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The IndyCar series, returning to Watkins Glen International for the first time since 2010, saw the New Zealander lead for 50 of the 60 laps as he posted his second win of the season and 40th victory overall, fourth on the career list. Will Power, the 2010 victor at The Glen, crashed midway through Sunday's race and finished 19th. Josef Newgarden was second and Helio Castroneves third.


Schuyler named part of drought 'disaster area'

Schuyler County is among a 24-county Western and Central New York region listed as a "natural disaster area" due to this year's drought, it has been announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo (right). Other Southern Tier counties -- each, like Schuyler named a "primary" natural disaster area -- include Chemung, Steuben, Tompkins and Tioga. The declaration means farmers in those those counties may be eligible to receive assistance, including emergency loans, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Government.


Arc of Schuyler golf tourney raises $21,000

The 16th annual Arc tournament at the Watkins Glen Golf Course sees the defending champion Watkins & Nichols team (left) repeat as tourney titleists. Funds raised will assist people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Sports.


Fed loan, grant to help treatment plant project

Montour Falls will receive a $500,000 federal grant and a $695,000 federal loan to help in the planned wastewater treatment plant project shared jointly by Watkins Glen and Montour Falls. The money -- from Congressionally appropriated funds -- was announced by Congressman Tom Reed (right). Government.

Leslie Danks Burke addresses farmers at a Burdett Roundtable.


Farmers meet candidate for Roundtable

New York State Senate candidate Leslie Danks Burke met Aug. 23rd with more than a dozen area farmers at Pine Meadow Farm in Burdett to discuss how New York State might better support farming in the Finger Lakes region. Key areas of concern, said the farmers, are high taxes and a bureaucratic regulatory structure. Danks Burke, a Democrat, has made agricultural support a focus of her agenda.

The McCarthy Family from Central Square performed at the Dutton S. Peterson Library's 30th anniversary party.


Odessa library marks 30 years with picnic

The Dutton S. Peterson Library in Odessa celebrated its 30th anniversary Aug. 25th with a party/picnic featuring a cake, book characters Elephant and Piggie and music by the McCarthy Family Singers of Central Square, NY. It was a hot day, noted a library spokesperson, but a fun day "with great entertainment."

Left: Festive cake and guest characters. (Photos provided)


IndyCar signs on at WGI for 2nd, 3rd years

The IndyCar racing series has extended its contract with Watkins Glen International from a one-year deal to a three-year commitment, it was announced Aug. 25. Governor Andrew Cuomo, WGI President Michael Printup, State Senator Tom O'Mara, IndyCar President Jay Frye and IndyCar driver Will Power gathered at the State Fair in Syracuse to make the announcement. IndyCar last competed at WGI in 2010. It was announced in May that it was returning Sept. 1-4, 2016 under a one-year deal. Said Power: WGI offers "the best racing in the world." Added O'Mara: The extension news "Is just outstanding."

The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, the USA Today contest winner.


Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel wins contest

The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel was announced as the winner on Aug. 5 among 20 nominees in the USA Today Readers' Choice Contest for Best Waterfront Hotel in the nation. The competition began July 5th and ended Aug. 1st. Second place went to the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida, and third place to the Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa in Lake Placid, NY. Readers were allowed to vote once per day.


Watkins Glen School Board meeting summary

The Board of Education met in public session on Monday, Aug. 15 at Watkins Glen High School. A summary provided by the district appears here.

Photo at right: School Board President Kelly McCarthy. (File photo)


Dix gets grant for water improvement project

The Town of Dix is among three municipalities in the 58th State Senate District receiving grants as part of the second round of funding being awarded under the state's Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015. State Senator Tom O'Mara, in announcing the grants, noted that the city of Hornell and village of Arkport in Stueben County were also among the selectees from his district. The Dix grant of $234,600 is for a drinking water infrastructure improvement project.


Italian American fest ends its 3-day run

The 37th annual, three-day Schuyler County Italian American Festival -- which featured a parade and fireworks Aug. 13-- ended its run on Sunday, Aug. 14 at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. A talent competition and motorcycle show highlighted the final day. Features.


Crestwood modifies its gas storage plan

Crestwood Midstream announces modifications in the propane and butane storage plan at its US Salt facility, a project that has long been hung up at the state level. The modifications include a reduction in storage capacity from 2.1 million to 1.5 million barrels. (See Letter to the Editor on this in Forum.) The Schuyler County Legislature brokered and backed the changes while opposition groups like Gas Free Seneca still say the project is not wanted here. Government.


Hamlin captures Cheez-It 355 at The Glen

Denny Hamlin led the final 10 laps Aug. 7 to win the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen on Watkins Glen International's recently repaved road course. Hamlin held on for the final four laps after a red-flag stoppage, the second of the day. Defending champ Joey Logano finished second and Brad Keselowski third. "It means a lot," said Hamlin about a victory that helped soften the disappointment of a last-lap loss in June on another road course, in Sonoma, Calif.

Lotus talk set at Racing Research Center. Sports.

From left at check presentation: Camp Director Dave Sherman; Sheriffs' Institute Executive Director Chris O'Brien; State Senator Tom O'Mara; Walmart's Public Relations and Government Affairs Director, Jason Klipa; and Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike.


Walmart donates $47,000 to Sheriffs' camp

Walmart, through its foundation's State Giving Program, has donated $47,000 to the New York State Sheriffs' Association Institute to assist with its youth summer camp nutrition program. The camp, run in six single-week sessions each summer on Keuka Lake, annually provides more than 800 disadvantaged and high-risk youths ages 9-12 from across the state with the opportunity to experience summer camp at no cost to their families. The donation will allow for the hiring of an educator to implement a nutrition curriculum and teach campers about the importance of heathy eating.

From left: Amber Updike, Kassandra Snyder, Kelsey Kernan.


Schuyler teens hone drug prevention skills

Three Schuyler County teens -- Amber Updike and Kelsey Kernan of Watkins Glen High School and recent Odessa-Montour High School graduate Kassandra Snyder, all members of the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) -- recently attended a CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) Mid-Year Training Institute in Las Vegas. While there, they learned about leadership and substance-use prevention during a National Youth Leadership Initiative. Said Kernan: "You have to take in everything you can learn from it." Added Updike: "I can't wait to return home to implement the drug-use prevention strategies I learned." Nearly 200 other youths took part -- a gathering for a single cause that Snyder found "eye opening ... I learned a lot."

The front of the new Sidle Insurance building in Montour Falls.


Sidle Insurance moves to a single locale

Sidle Insurance, a staple of the Watkins Glen community for 44 years and lately with offices in Trumansburg and Odessa as well, is consolidating its business into one locale, at 219 S. Catherine Street in Montour Falls. The 5,000-square-foot building -- in the past a bus garage, a video store and, most recently, an upholstery shop -- opened as home to the Sidle business on Monday, Aug. 1. President Dave Sidle, with the firm since 1991, said the office setting on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen -- established and owned by his father -- will be sold, as will the office opened three years ago in Odessa. He said changing times -- with business transactions often completed on-line -- called for a change in approach.

Christine Hilber of Watkins Glen was one of many fair-goers taking aim at DA Joe Fazzary (below) at the dunking tank.


Hector Fair completes its three-day 2016 run

A car show beset by a morning rain, a chicken barbecue in the Valois-Logan-Hector fire station, rides, games, vendor tents, animals, a book sale, music, a dunking tank and fireworks were among the features Saturday, July 30 on the final day of he annual Hector Fair on the grounds behind the fire hall. It followed by one day the annual fair parade on Rt. 414 in Hector.



Left top: District Attorney Joe Fazzary after being dunked.

Left bottom: A prize awaits a winner at one of the game booths.


Chedzoy family wins environmental award

Angus Glen Farm, owned by the Chedzoy family of Watkins Glen, is honored with an Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) "Farmers Partnering to Protect Our Environment" roadside sign recognizing the family's conservation of natural resources and commitment to environmental protection. Award.

Above: Maria and Brett Chedzoy. (Photo provided)


Schumer visits county, touts drug legislation

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer paid his 18th visit to Schuyler County on July 29, meeting with area law enforcement personnel to announce legislation aimed at making 22 synthetic drugs illegal. Government.

Left: Senator Schumer outside the County Office Building.


O-M board hires Johnston Jr. as hoops coach

The Odessa-Montour School Board on July 28 unanimously approved the appointment of Mike Johnston Jr. as the school's boys varsity basketball coach, succeeding Brad Clark, who stepped down from the job at the end of last season. Johnston, one of several candidates, has extensive basketball coaching experience at the varsity level with Corning high school teams. Superintendent Chris Wood apologized to the board and candidates for taking longer than intended in completing the search process. The board vote was without comment.

Photo in text: O-M Superintendent Chris Wood.

Kevin Greuber (left), Tessa Truesdail and Robert Lavarnway in a scene from the Old Havana Courthouse Theatre play.


Theatre wraps up 'Maraschino' run

The final performance of the two-weekend run of "Malicious Machinations of Marshal Maraschino" was held July 31 at the Old Havana Courthouse Theatre in the Montour Falls Village Hall. The play was one of several melodramas being performed there this summer.

Left: Writer-director Joe Edkin as Judge Deus X Makina in "Maraschino."


Hector Fair parade draws crowd to Rt. 414

The annual Hector Fair parade was held July 29 under a sunny sky and before an approving crowd lining both sides of Rt. 414. About 40 units, including many fire departments, participated. The fair was set to end Saturday, culminating in fireworks. Features.

Left: Mike Hines of the Montour Falls Fire Department

Part of the Paratrooper ride, looking straight up from the ground.


Hector Fair begins; annual parade tonight

The annual Hector Fair at the rear of the fire hall along Rte. 414 in Hector began Thursday, July 28. A highlight at 7 Friday evening, July 29: the annual parade along that roadway, with fire trucks, floats, politicians and other participants. Saturday: a farmers' market, a car show, a chicken barbecue, and fireworks.

Left: A boy tosses a ball at one of the game booths.

Food is a tasty part of the Hector Fair experience.

Members of the Stephens family were enjoying the fair.

Tony and Dom Sgro performing Tuesday at Lafayette Park.


Sgro Brothers entertain at Concert in the Park

The Sgro Brothers, Dom and Tony -- a staple for years in the Concerts in the Park series at Lafayette Park in Watkins Glen -- played their harmonicas there again Tuesday night, July 26 before an appreciative audience seated on the park lawn in front of the bandstand. The pair, who began their musical career in the early 1950s, have played around the country, including performances on the old Ed Sullivan Show on CBS-TV and, in 2004, at the White House for President George W. Bush and members of Congress.


Olivia Coffey heading to Rio as an alternate

The former Watkins Glen High School student, who left Watkins to attend prep school and then was an All-American at Harvard -- and later won World gold in rowing -- is an alternate on the U.S. rowing team heading this week to the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. Sports.


Left: Olivia Coffey (Photo provided)

Michael Larkin with some of the many kits he helped assemble.


Glen Industries preps NASCAR camping kits

Michael Larkin, pictured above, and his many co-workers have been hard at work helping Watkins Glen International prepare for thousands of guests camping at WGI when NASCAR returns Wednesday, Aug. 3 for the Cheez-It 355 weekend. Glen Industries employees have assembled 4,200 camping kits for WGI, each kit containing a trash bag, recycling bag, pamphlets and a weekend schedule rolled and banded into a neat bundle. Glen Industries is the business services and vocational training division of The Arc of Schuyler, providing job skills development to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Annual cheese festival draws a large crowd

The fifth annual gathering, held on the Hoffman farm at Catharine Corners, attracted thousands of people. Features.


53 arrested in continuing gas storage protest

Fifty-three protesters were arrested on disorderly conduct charges Monday, July 18 by blocking all incoming and outgoing traffic at the Route 14 gate to the Stagecoach (formerly Crestwood) facility north of Watkins Glen. Each was processed at the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office and released. The organizing We Are Seneca Lake group has long opposed the storage of natural gas and proposed storage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas in abandoned salt caverns west of Seneca Lake. The protesters came from 18 New York counties, with two from New Jersey and one from California.

An erroneous reference to the organizing group (corrected above) is addressed in a Letter to the Editor. Forum.

From left: Heather and Sarah French, Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi, and Chamber President Rebekah LaMoreaux.


Ribbon-cutting held at Beauty by Frenchies

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday, July 22 at Beauty by Frenchies, a styling salon opened recently by sisters Sarah and Heather French at 109 W. Fourth St. in Watkins Glen. The business offers haircuts, coloring, and styles for men, women and children, plus makeup and facial waxing. Off-site service is also available for formal occasions. "We have always wanted to open our own business, and we finally reached a point where the timing was just right," said the sisters.

Tom Phillips, foreground, hits the ground hard as he and Tony Fraboni tumble to the turf in the first round of the Summer Rendezvous sack race.


Chamber holds its Summer Rendezvous

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual Summer Rendezvous at the Watkins Glen State Park's Iroquois Lodge Wednesday, July 20, an evening of music, wine tasting, dinner and a sack race. The race winner: Dave Sidle of Sidle Insurance, who won three heats convincingly. He gets to keep the event goblet (left) until next year's race. Food was provided by the Bucket Bar & Grill, and music by A Walk on the Wildside Entertainment. The event's key sponsor: Fidelis Care.



Left: The goblet that went to the sack race winner, Dave Sidle; and Chamber board chair Chris Karam flies toward the turf in his heat against Sidle.

Kelly Cook of Horseheads, who helped operate a table for Fidelis at the Chamber's annual Rendezvous at the State Park, talks to A Walk on the Wildside Entertainment owner Shawn Makowiec, reflected in her glasses. Mokowiec provided music for the event.

The Profuslies provided musical entertainment at Movie Night at Clute Park Wednesday before the showing of the film "Jaws."


An evening at Clute, complete with a film

The movie "Jaws" was the feature of Wednesday's Movie Night at Clute Park in Watkins Glen on July 20, but there were plenty of other attractions: craft booths with a varied selection of goods; food vendors with dinners and desserts; a band playing through the dinner hour, leading to the film; raffle prizes; and a beautiful evening alongside a beautiful lake.


Above: Amy Thornton, who helped promote the showing of the movie "Jaws" by handing out prizes to raffle winners.

Craft vendors were among the attractions at Wednesday's Movie Night at Clute Park.


Former principal, legislator Yuhasz dies at 79

Michael A. Yuhasz (pictured at right), who capped a career in education by serving as principal at the Watkins Glen Elementary School and later served for several years as a Schuyler County Legislator, died Monday, July 18 at the age of 79. Calling hours and a memorial service are set for Thursday at the Royce-Chedzoy Funeral Home in Watkins Glen. For details, see his obituary here.

Watkins Glen Police Chief Thomas Struble, right, with Village Trustee Kevin Thornton and Village Clerk Donna Beardsley.


Glen board deals with street regs, grant funds

The Watkins Glen Village Board on July 18 tabled action on a Local Law that would update the village zoning because questions were raised about regulations regarding the street parking of recreational vehicles. The board also took under advisement a suggestion that the Decatur and 10th Streets intersection -- with increasing traffic from the State Park -- be turned into a 4-way stop, and that 2-hour parking be considered on 10th Street to dissuade long-term parking there.

Mayor Sam Schimizzi (right) said he has heard complaints about traffic congestion on Franklin Street on weekends, but Police Chief Tom Struble said there is nothing his department can do -- that turning traffic lights yellow with traffic patrolmen at every intersection would prove fruitless. "We're spoiled," he said "The worst case is we sit for a half-hour. The percepton is we're sitting there forever ... but we're really not in bad shape compared to other places." Traffic congestion, he added, "is, in my estimation, a good problem to have" in a tourist town.

The board also authorized applications in concert with the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development for grant funds for two projects -- one that would refine the Project Seneca vision for lakefront development, and one that would help in upgrading Clute Park -- in particular in financing a replacement of the restrooms there, holdovers from 1964.

Photos in text: Village Trustee Tony Fraboni; Mayor Schimizzi

Members of the Ageless Jazz Band performed at Lafayette Park.


Ageless Jazz Band performs at concert

The Ageless Jazz Band from Ithaca, which performs Big Band Jazz dance music, played July 19 at Lafayette Park in Watkins Glen as part of the summer Concerts in the Park series. An added feature: Rochester visitor James Ryan, walking on stilts and riding a plastic-tubed, three-wheeled vehicle he created at home. It employs two tricycle frames and one BMX frame, and has three speeds. Ryan was visiting relatives before heading to this weekend's GrassRoots Festival in Trumansburg with his vehicle and stilts. Ryan is an artist, entertainer, and creative project facilitator.

Left: James Ryan


The notable drive for $10M of state money

The executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development details the combined effort by many people to secure $10 million for Watkins Glen from a state Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The money went to Elmira instead, but not without a fight. Forum.

Harry Schulz of Horseheads with his 1939 Oldsmobile 4-door street rod, which he found in bad shape in 1997 and has restored with parts from various, more modern cars, and by utilizing part of a school bus and even a knob from a school intercom.


Cruise-In raises funds for area food pantries

The second annual Cruise-In sponsored by the Glen Regional Corvette Club attracted 76 cars July 16th to a closed-off Montour Falls Main Street. The event, which last year featured just Corvettes, had cars of various ages and makes this time, along with a DJ, hot dog and ice cream vendors, raffles, craft tents and a great mix of vehicles old and new, classic and sleek. Organizer Dennis Johnson said the money raised goes to food pantries at a Montour Falls church and a Horseheads church. "It's a lot of work," he said, "but it's worth it."

Photos at left: Sandie Sutfin of Ithaca downs an ice cream cone in the 2002 Thunderbird owned by her and husband George; a Club license plate; and action at Jim Ryan's hotdog stand.

A couple checks out a 1956 Chevy, one of 76 cars on display.


2016 wine festival concludes at WGI track

The annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival on the grounds of the Watkins Glen International racetrack concluded Sunday, July 17. It opened Friday night, July 15 with its traditional toga party, and continued Saturday and Sunday with scores of vendors in climate-controlled tents (new this year), and with live music, pace car rides, cooking demonstrations, and paid and free seminars. More information can be found at www.flwinefest.com.

Song and dance numbers populate "Cyrano de Burger Shack -- the musical" at the Dream Barn facility near Catharine Corners.


Packed house attends Dream Barn's 'Cyrano'

The Dream Barn Productions facility's seating was full Friday night, July 15 for the opening of 'Cyrano de Burger Shack -- the musical,' a play featuring teen performers. It continued Saturday afternoon and evening, and ended with a performance Sunday afternoon.

Left: Wiliam Yeater portrays Cyrano.

Left: Kelly Lewis and Zachery Swasta in a scene from "Wrongful Rustlings." Right: Alan Turner as Cookie.


Theatre troupe offers 'Wrongful Rustlings'

The Old Havana Courthouse Theatre, which performs on the second floor of the Montour Falls Village Hall, concluded its two-weekend run of the original comic play, 'Wrongful Rustlings at the Rhombus Ranch," on Sunday, July 17. The play, the first of the Old Havana season, was performed Friday and Saturday nights, and again Sunday afternoon. Next up was "The Malicious Machinations of Marshal Maraschino" for two weekends starting Friday, July 22 at 7 p.m.

Left: Pianist Donna Christoffels, and one of the interactive, prompting signs that appear on stage from time to time.

Re-elected O-M School Board President Rob Halpin, left, swears in re-elected School Board Vice President Scott Westervelt.


Halpin re-elected as O-M School Board chief

Robert Halpin was re-elected the Odessa-Montour School Board president without opposition July 14 at the board's annual reorganizational meeting.

Scott Westervelt, sworn in after winning re-election to his board seat, was then unanimously re-elected board vice president. Also sworn in was first-time board member Mel Switzer (pictured at right).

The board also named various officers, coordinators and committees before entering a regular monthly session where it rejected two bids -- deemed by Superintendent Chris Wood as about $250,000 too high -- for work on the auditorium portion of a capital project. He said the auditorium plan will be repackaged and a larger pool of bidders sought.

Wood (pictured at right) also said interviews are being arranged to find a successor for Business Official Bill MacDonald, who departed for a job in the York Central School District near Geneseo.

Tabled until a meeting on July 28 was a recommendation to hire Mike Johnston Jr. as the new boys varsity basketball coach. Board members indicated they wanted time to consider the appointment.

Photos in text: New board member Mel Switzer (top) and Superintendent Chris Wood at Thursday's meeting.

From left: O-M School Board members Jeff Parmenter, Christian Maphis and Jennifer Mosher.


Meth-bust arraignments held in County Court

Four defendants charged in the three-county meth bust in early May were arraigned July 14 in Schuyler County Court. In other cases, guilty pleas were entered in a burglary and in a Catharine Corners meth bust. Court.

Schuyler County Courthouse


Legal moves on both sides in Hansen case

Notices of Appeal are filed by the prosecution in the case involving Watkins Glen School District resident Kristina Hansen, who in turn signs off on another lawsuit involving her arrest on May 4 at a school tennis court. People.

Above: Artistic rendition of May 4th arrest.


After the storm

The scene at Clute Park in Watkins Glen was placid one recent evening after a storm that moved through the area on its way eastward. The park was the scene of vendors selling crafts and food, and later the site of an outdoor-movie night.

Fire and thick black smoke rise from the home on Mills Road.


Fire guts trailer home on hill outside Montour

Fire that started in a bedroom gutted a large trailer home at 2772 Mills Road above Montour Falls on July 12. The fire, the cause of which was still being investigated, started while the residents -- a woman and her two sons, 9 and 10 -- were inside, but they escaped along with a dog and some cats. However, the owner, John Fritzon, the stepfather of the woman and grandfather of the children, said some other cats might have died. He said the woman and boys would be moving to his home up the road until he could prepare a new home for them, and that they would be buying some new clothes. Firefighters from Montour Falls, Watkins Glen, Odessa, Burdett and Millport responded.

Left: Hosing down a hot spot, and a plastic lawn chair burns.

Legislators Carl Blowers, left, and Michael Lausell listen during the July 11 meeting.


Legislature delays Hazardous Waste collection

The Schuyler County Legislature on July 11 -- meeting in regular monthly session -- approved a number of resolutions. Among those, the legislators:

--Rejected the lone bid as excessive for a scheduled Sept. 17 Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day, and postponed the day until 2017.

--Rejected all bids for the rehabilitation of the Mill Street Bridge over Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls as excessive. The project cost was envisioned at about $500,000, but the lowest of four bids was $856,000. Officials hope, meanwhile, that state funds will be available since the bridge, while not on the historic register, has historic value and might be listed.

--Approved an Inter-Municipal Agreement to share Schuyler County assistant district attorney Seamus Donnelly with Steuben County at a cost to Steuben of $50,000.

Photo in text: Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan.

The lead boat in the Boating for a Cure parade pulls away from the Montour Marina. Several craft participated.


Boating for a Cure raises funds to fight cancer

The annual Boating for a Cure -- a cancer fund-raising cruise by Montour Marina boats up the canal from Montour Falls to Seneca Lake -- was held at noon Saturday, July 9. A year after organizers had announced that the 2015 cruise would be the last, the program was revived because, organizers said, "we were talked into it" as a continuing means of generating funds in the fight against cancer. The event -- which included a chicken barbecue, raffles and a bake sale later in the day -- will continue in future years as well, they said.

Photo: The Schuyler County Sheriff's Department boat led Saturday's parade up the canal.


Deputies report 2 personal-injury accidents

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office responded to two recent personal-injury accidents.

Deputies said Veronica Walmsley, 26, of Beaver Dams, was injured and flown by helicopter to Robert Packer Hospital for treatment after being ejected July 8 while a passenger on a motorcycle driven by Kevin Swarthout of Beaver Dams that veered off County Route 16 in the Town of Orange and struck a guardrail. Swarthout was taken by ambulance to Corning Hospital, treated and released.

On July 9, deputies added, two people were flown by helicopter -- one to Packer Hospital and one to Strong Memorial -- after a jeep left West Lake Road in the Town of Tyrone and struck an embankment and trees. Injured were the driver, Thomas Ladelia, 18, of Elmira, and a male passenger, 16.

Members of the O-M Class of '66 pose in the school auditorium during their visit to the school on July 9.


O-M Class of 1966 enjoys weekend reunion

Members of the Odessa-Montour Class of 1966 were gathering this weekend in Schuyler County for their 50th reunion. Events included a celebratory dinner Saturday evening, July 9 at the Montour Moose Lodge, and before that a Meet and Greet Friday evening at Jim Allen's Lake Grove Park, and a tour of the O-M facilities at midday Saturday.

The Watkins Brewery Apartments site, where the old Frozen Food Locker building, once a brewery, used to stand.


Apartment constructions advancing

The construction of apartments on two sites on the north end of Watkins Glen are moving steadily ahead. One is the 7-unit Watkins Brewery Apartments on the site -- at the north end of the village's business district -- where the old Frozen Food Locker building was demolished last year. The other is the 24-unit Seneca Terrace Apartments complex on the hillside behind the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge. A grouping of buildings high on the hill are being built in the wake of the construction of still-developing units downhill.

The Seneca Terrace Apartments construction site.


Time capsules old, new mark Cate ceremonies

B.C. Cate Elementary School uncovers a time capsule from 1965 and buries a new one to cap off its rededication observance. Schools.

Left: 1960s time capsule

Ed Clute at the piano during the July 5th Concert in the Park.


Concerts in Park series returns with Ed Clute

The annual Watkins Glen summer treat called Concerts in the Park kicked off the 2016 season Tuesday night, July 5 with an appearance by Ed Clute's Dixie Five Plus at Lafayette Park. The audience members, in folding chairs on a placid evening, were treated to the Clute group's pleasant sounds for two hours. The series was continue on Tuesday, July 12 with Dean Goble & Friends presenting "danceable classic country" music.

Kelly McCarthy is sworn in for another year as Board president.


McCarthy re-elected Glen School Board chief

Kelly McCarthy was unanimously re-elected to the post of president of the Watkins Glen School Board at the group's annual reorganizational meeting July 5th. Gloria Brubaker was re-elected vice president, also unanimously. Board members Mark Franzese and Kristin Hazlitt, re-elected in May to new three-year terms, were sworn in by Board Clerk Marie Keefer.

Meanwhile, new Elementary School Principal Rebecca J. Trank (pictured at right) was present for her first meeting, and outlined her educational background, which included years of various teaching assignments before she decided "a couple of years ago to pursue an administrative degree." She completed it this year at the University of Rochester, and applied for the Watkins Glen post. She said she is "excited" at now being part of the school district.

Photo at right: Rebecca Trank

For board meeting summary, click here.


Fatal agricultural accident investigated

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death on Sunday, July 3, of Phillip C. Harrington, 67, of State Rte. 224 in an agricultural accident. Deputies said Harrington's body was found about 10 p.m. following an incident at an unspecified time in which he was struck by a large branch and pinned to his seat while operating a tractor clearing brush along Rte. 224 in the Town of Catharine. The Odessa Fire Department, Schuyler Ambulance and New York State Police assisted at the scene.

Freedom Village's Victory Singers perform a patriotic song.


Patriotism, gospel songs blend at concert

An "I Love America" concert drew a crowd of 300 people to Lafayette Park Saturday evening, July 2 -- one of the 4th of July weekend celebrations in Watkins Glen. The program, featuring patriotic songs by the Sounds of Freedom Choir and The Victory Singers from Freedom Village at Lakemont, had as an added bonus several gospel songs performed by the Alabama-based Gold City Quartet.



Left top: Freedom Village leader Fletcher Brothers.

Left bottom: Flags were very much in evidence among the crowd at Lafayette Park.

Members of the Gold City Quartet sing a gospel selection.

The Burdett Fire Dept. receives $2,000 check from Crestwood.


Check presented to Burdett firefighters

The Crestwood energy firm presented a $2,000 check on July 1 to the Burdett Fire Department for the purchase of new equipment. Crestwood plant manager Frank Pastore, left above, handed the check to Assistant Chief Ryan Barr, with Chief Jason Kelly, right, and Assistant Chief Steve Crout observing.

Nancy Learn sings a song at the Montour Falls Library.


Learn performs as part of First Friday series

Local singer-songwriter-pianist Nancy Learn performed original songs July 1 at the Montour Falls Library as part of the library's First Friday Concert Series. Learn, playing the piano, sang a number of her many original selections, including "Seneca" and "Crooked Creek," a historical song about Hammond Dam. Her show, "Loving, Believing, and Life," included compositions about the environment, which she prizes.

From left: Cameron Argetsinger sons Duke and J.C., honoree Roger Penske, and IMRRC Governing Council chairman Bobby Rahal with the Cameron Argetsinger Award.


Penske receives Cameron Argetsinger Award

Racing legend Roger Penske -- whose teams have won 16 Indianapolis 500 races in a career that has spanned a half century and included success behind the wheel and as a team owner and business owner -- was honored June 30th with the third annual Cameron R. Argetsinger Award Recognizing Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports. The award was presented at a dinner -- a fund raiser for the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen -- attended by more than 200 Penske admirers at the Corning Museum of Glass. Said the honoree when interviewed by emcee Dr. Jerry Punch: "I'm humbled and honored and almost embarrassed by all the nice comments" made by speakers on hand and by associates in video tributes.

His philosophy? "I don't have a rearview mirror; I just look out through the windshield." And when asked what one word he would like to be remembered by, he responded: "I'm not ready to think about that yet. I have a lot more work to do." And the kind of work? He wants "to deliver more than is expected."

Photos in text: Roger Penske signs a photo before the dinner; and the late Cameron Argetsinger from a photo on display at the gathering. Argetsinger was the founder of Watkins Glen racing.

Emcee Dr. Jerry Punch, center, with famed Penske drivers Rick Mears, left, and Helio Castroneves during the celebration. Mears won four Indy 500 races, and Castroneves three.

Watkins Glen International president Michael Printup, left, and State Senator Tom O'Mara, right, talk to Helio Castroneves in the social hour preceding dinner.

Joseph Koczan, Rotary Assistant District Governor, was on hand as Holly Baker (left photo) and Midge Franzese (right, pictured with husband Dominick) were honored.


2 receive Paul Harris Fellow honor

A Rotary club member and the wife of another member were honored as Paul Harris Fellows June 27 at the annual "changeover dinner" of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club. The honorees -- selected for upholding the Rotary motto of "service above self" -- were club member Holly Baker, who prepares the weekly Rotary Bulletin for club members and handles community relations for The Arc of Schuyler, and Midge Franzese, wife of club member Dominick Franzese and long a volunteer leader in the community. The dinner, at the Montage restaurant in the Glen Motor Inn, also saw Chris Burns, club president for the past year, hand over the reins of office to Bill Phoenix.


Nominations sought for Schuyler Hall of Fame

The Advisory Committee of the Schuyler County Hall of Fame is seeking nominations for the Hall, which last held an induction ceremony in 2013. People.

Left: The late Charles "Monty" Stamp is among 41 honorees in the Schuyler County Hall of Fame.


75 graduate from Watkins Glen High

The 134th annual Commencement ceremony packs the WGHS auditorium as the school bids farewell to the Class of 2016. Graduation.

Left: WGHS graduate Maddie Ross with her plans, which include Niagara University.


53 graduate from Odessa-Montour

O-M's Commencement ceremony features speeches, awards, diplomas and airborne caps. Graduation.

Left: Odessa-Montour graduate Henna Herrmann.


Top Drawer 24 honored at State Park ceremony

Two dozen student-athletes from 10 area high schools were honored June 6 as members of the Top Drawer 24 team -- the 11th annual such squad. The event, as always, was held at the Watkins Glen State Park pavilion. Top Drawer.


Left: Top Drawer 24 honoree Mia Herlan of Notre Dame.

Odessa File Athletes of the Year Ian Chedzoy (left), Gillian Clark and Patrick Hazlitt pose with Mike Stamp of E.C. Cooper Insurance, which sponsors the awards.


Odessa File Athletes of Year announced

Sophomore Gillian Clark has earned The Odessa File Athlete of the Year Award at Odessa-Montour High School, while junior Patrick Hazlitt and senior Ian Chedzoy have earned the same honor at Watkins Glen High School. Plaques were presented to the three honorees June 6 by Mike Stamp of the sponsoring E.C. Cooper insurance firm at the Watkins Glen State Park Pavilion before the start of the Top Drawer 24 ceremony there. Each honoree is a three-sport athlete.


Watkins business stores wine, offers cigars

Finger Lakes Wine Lockers, a business started by the husband-and-wife team of Ken and Mandy May in December, offers short- and long-term storage of wines. Their store, in a former accounting office at 108 W. Fourth Street in Watkins Glen, has climate controlled wine storage in lockers whose numbers will be expanded in the coming months.

The Mays offer year-long rental rates on lockers, locker management, home deliveries of wine that it stores, and bottle pick-ups from wineries for those folks taking a wine tour. They also carry a supply of cigars from around the world, and provide a delivery service for those, too. For details on the business, visit the Mays' website at fingerlakeswinelockers.com.

Photo: Mandy and Ken May in front of their Fourth Street business in Watkins Glen.


Van Etten woman dies in motorcycle crash

Diane Dibble, 52, of Van Etten died Saturday afternoon, June 25 of injuries sustained when she was ejected from a motorcycle in a crash on Langford Creek Road in the Town of Van Etten. State police said the accident occurred when the southbound cycle, driven by Daryl Dibble, 55, of Van Etten rounded a curve and encountered a pickup truck towing a hay baler entering the road, prompting evasive action that ejected the woman. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Daryl Dibble was taken to Packer Hospital in Sayre, and listed in stable condition. The investigation is continuing, police said.

WGHS Alumni Association Scholarship winners (from left) Parker Pangallo, Cheyenne Stansfield and Tyler Jelenevsky, all 2016 graduates.


Distinguished Alumni honored at banquet

The Watkins Glen High School Alumni Association honored two people as Distinguished Alumni June 25th at the group's 91st annual banquet, held at the Watkins Glen Community Center. Late cartoonist Jim Whiting was honored with many of his family present, as was Joy Hyslop Mundy, a 1966 WGHS graduate who was a career police officer in Seattle, Wash., starting in 1980. She advanced to Sergeant in 1990 and Detective Sergeant in 1998. She retired in 2005.

Whiting, a 1944 graduate of WGHS, returned to Watkins after wartime Navy service and married his high school sweetheart, Bernita, to whom he was married for 69 years. His cartoons appeared in many mainstream magazines, and two of his syndicated comic strips were published regularly in newspapers. A longtime host on WFLR's "Morning Show," he moved to the San Diego area in 1984 and sold illustrations for years, working well into his 80s.

Left top: WGHS Distinguished Alum Joy Hyslop Mundy.
Left bottom: The oldest alum present June 25 -- Mary Berry of Liverpool, from the Class of 1938.

The late Jim Whiting and one of his many cartoons on display at the Alumni Banquet. He was one of two Distinguished Alumni being honored, and more than a dozen Whitings were on hand for the event. Jim died in 2015.


SFLW taps Rigden as its Woman of the Year

Sally Rigden of Watkins Glen -- who has a varied business background -- is named Woman of the Year by the Southern Finger Lakes Women, a chapter of New York State Women, Inc. People.


Left: Sally Rigden


Watkins BOE taps Trank for elementary post; Phillips contract set; State athletes honored

Rebecca J. Trank -- a teacher and administrator at Gorham Elementary School in Stanley, NY, part of the Marcus Whitman Central School District, and a recent Yates County Summer School Director -- was approved June 20 by the Watkins Glen School Board as the next principal of the Watkins Glen Elementary School. She was the choice among more than 20 applicants following a search that involved an 11-person committee of teachers, parents and administrators headed up by WGHS Principal Kai D'Alleva. Trank, who assumes her duties on July 1, succeeds Kristine Somerville, who will be moving to the post of district director of curriculum and instruction and student services.

In other business, the board approved a contract for Superintendent Tom Phillips that goes for four years and calls for a salary of $158,006 in the 2016-17 school year, and $162,746 in the 2017-18 school year. Says Phillips: "I will be 55 in October 2017 with 33 years of service. Provided my life situation doesn't change, I will end my career sometime in that school year. I will give the Board plenty of notice so they have sufficient time to complete a rigorous search" for a successor.

Photos in text: Top: WGHS sophomore Hanley Elliott and junior Patrick Hazlitt, each of whom competed in States this spring -- Hanley in golf and Patrick in track. Each received a certificate of achievement at Monday's board meeting. Bottom: Superintendent Tom Phillips.

Retirees honored. See meeting summary here.


Rotary gives its annual grants to 10 recipients

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club distributed grants to 10 organizations June 23 as part of its mission to provide service to others. The club, which provides thousands of dollars through grants, scholarships and other means to the community, presented checks to seven of its 10 recipient groups at its weekly luncheon.

From left with checks: Kris Morseman of Catholic Charities; Mel Schroeder of Cooperative Extension, representing its robotics program; Roxanne Leyes of the Montour Library; Ashley Learn of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier; Harriet Eisman of the Watkins Glen Library; Kate LaMoreaux, representing her Summer Swim program; club president Chris Burns; and Ellen Roemmelt of the Pert Memorial Library, Hector. Other recipients not present: The Arc of Schuyler, Movies in the Park, and Habitat for Humanity.


O'Mara to seek re-election to State Senate

New York State Senator Tom O'Mara has announced he will seek his fourth 2-year term in the Senate this November. O'Mara, first elected to that legislative body in 2010 after six years in the State Assembly, represents the 58th District, which covers all of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates counties, and part of Tompkins County (including Ithaca). He currently serves as chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, and as a member of nine other committees and three Senate Task Forces: Heroin and Opioid Addiction; Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases; and Workforce Development.

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara (File photo)

Center Speakers

Glenn Donnelly, right, president and CEO of the Syracuse-area Central New York Raceway Park, which is slated to be the Northeast's newest race track, speaks at the June 18 Center Conversations gathering of the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen. The track and other subjects were discussed. At left on the stage of the Watkins Glen Elementary School auditorium -- next door to the IMRRC -- is Peter Argetsinger, the track designer. Also on the panel was John Lehman, Raceway Park vice president.

Not every cardboard boat made it through unscathed. This one, Harbor Hound, capsized immediately, but was pushed and pulled the full length of the course. Here it crosses the finish line.


Cardboard boats draw crowd to waterfront

The annual Cardboard Boat Regatta -- part of the Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival -- was held June 18 under sunny skies and with a large crowd lining the Seneca Harbor shoreline and pier. Food, crafts and fun were part of the attraction for the event, broadcast by BigFox TV and set for rebroadcast July 2nd. Features.


Left: Hot dogs were a popular staple at the Waterfront Festival; and Brooke Bennett, executive director of My Place: A Play and Learning Center in Montour Falls, has the center's name painted on her arm during a break in festival face-painting. Doing the honors was Shannon Schamel, a member of the center's Board of Directors.

The pier was a colorful and popular spot during Harbor Lights.


Harbor Lights a hit

The 23rd annual Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival kicked off Friday night, June 17 with live music, lots of food, and the Harbor Lights show -- with strings of lights adorning boats and playing off of sails and off the Harbor Hotel. The big weekend continued Saturday with the Cardboard Boat Regatta.


Left: The schooner True Love

Left: WGHS alums Samantha Gill (left) and Lindsey Suddaby aboard True Love. Right: Lights play off of the hotel.

A painting of B.C. Cate stood alongside his granddaughter, Barbara Helpern, as she delivered her speech.


B.C. Cate marks 50 with rededication

The B.C. Cate Elementary School in Montour Falls celebrated its 50 years of existence with a rededication ceremony June 17 that included a picnic, ice cream, speeches, live music and an evening outdoor movie. Odessa-Montour School District Superintendent Chris Wood noted the influence of Bert Clarence Cate, whose legacy of excellence "has lasted 50 years, and will last another 50 years" as the district strives to follow Cate's goal to always "make the school a better place ... a mentality that has withstood the test of time." Giving the keynote was Cate's granddaughter, Barbara Helpern, who explained that her grandfather decided to use his initials at the urging of a college advisor who thought it carried more authority than "Bert" or "Clarence."

Left from top: Principal Veronica Lewis, singers Casey Underdown and Noelle Chamberlain. John Coates and the rest of the Odessa-Montour Honor Choir also performed.

The anniversary poster features every B.C. Cate student standing outside, forming the shape of the number "50"

Thefts at cemetery

The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office has received several reports of thefts of flowers and ornaments from the Hector Union Cemetery on State Route 79 in Burdett. Any people who have information about the thefts or want to report a theft are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 607-535-8222, or they can leave an anonymous tip at 607-535-8224 or email tips@co.schuyler.ny.us.

Harris Fellows: Watkins-Montour Rotarians Doug Hagin, left, and Rich Greenberger were surprise recipients June 16 of Paul Harris Fellow awards presented to people in and out of Rotary who exhibit "service above self." The two men, good friends, surprised each other at the weekly Rotary lunch: Greenberger presented a Harris award to Hagin (whose career is insurance, with E.C. Cooper), and then Hagin presented one to Greenberger, caught with his mouth open in shock. Rich and wife Keri operate Connections Retreat Center for People & Dogs outside Burdett.


Rotary honors Clark as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Tyler Clark (left) was honored June 16 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for June. Clark was introduced by O-M Principal Skip McCarty, who called the honoree "a fine young man" and "a great role model" who is a 3-sport athlete (soccer, basketball and golf), a member of Student Council and National Honor Society, and a youth soccer official and youth basketball coach. He plans to attend Tompkins Cortland Community College and study Computer Information Systems.

KOA campground owners Paul and Cam Friesen cut the ribbon symbolizing the designation of their facility as a KOA Resort, one of just nine in the country. It boasts a zip line, large inflated water slide, bumper boats, laser tag, and jumping pads, not to mention plenty of camping on its substantial acreage.


Ribbon-cutting marks KOA's rise to Resort

The KOA campground on Route 414 between Watkins Glen and Corning has earned designation as a KOA Resort, one of just nine in the U.S. A ribbon-cutting ceremony June 16 marked the occasion, with owner Paul Friesen -- who has built the business with wife Cam for the past 24 years -- delivering a speech about the facility's growth. On hand, too, was KOA rep Fred Prichard of the firm's Montana HQ, along with Alison Hunt representing Congressman Tom Reed, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, Sharon Moore of State Senator Tom O'Mara's office, and area Chamber of Commerce chief Rebekah LaMoreaux.

Left: The KOA Resort has a zip line among many attractions.


Hansen charge tossed; school rule 'not lawful'

The misdemeanor trespass charge lodged against Kristina Hansen for trying to attend a Watkins Glen School Board meeting is dismissed, and the school superintendent's edict leading to the arrest deemed not lawful. A related lawsuit against the School District, Village of Watkins Glen and various individuals is pending. Government.

Left: Attorney Ray Schlather

Art is available in different forms at the Clute Park Market -- such as paintings by Pam Rutledge and welded figures by Barbie The Welder of Erin.


Clute Market offers array of food, goods

The Clute Park Market that began running on Wednesdays starting June 1 offers a mix of food vendors, craft vendors and camaraderie -- a great place to gather and dine and share information. The brainchild of Global Taco business operator Sara Caldwell, the market drew a steady and enthusiastic crowd Wednesday, June 15, and will expand with the start July 6 of weekly Movie Nights at the Park, which will run in conjunction with the market for two months.


Left from top: Bonnie Scott of Joyful Adornments with some glass bead work; market chief Sara Caldwell; and one of the food vendors, Chef William, in deep conversation.


Annual parade draws crowd to Montour

The 60th annual Montour Falls Fire Department Parade -- despite a rainy forecast -- went off under mostly sunny skies June 11 on Main Street of Montour Falls. A crowd lined the street from its western end to a point well east of Route 14. Five high school bands performed, and 27 area fire departments were represented. For photos and a couple of stories -- including one about a 1988 police-styled vehicle in the parade -- see Features.

Left: Members of the Montour Falls Fire Department march up Main Street.

Scenes at the Montour Falls Firemen's Carnival.


Carnival ends run at Montour Firemen's Field

Rides, bingo, live music on a new entertainment stage, various food vendors, and midway games of chance were featured at the 60th annual Montour Falls Fire Department carnival, which ran from from June 9-11. The top draw Friday night, June 10 was an appearance by the popular band Nik and the Nice Guys. The Saturday highlights were a chicken barbecue and an annual parade on Main Street that featured five high school bands and representation from 27 fire departments.

Photo in text: One of the carnival's several food vendors.

The 26-foot, 16-passenger Remedy, docked at Seneca Harbor.


New boat offers Eco, winery, sightseeing tours

The owners of the schooner True Love, which plies the waters of Seneca Lake with tourists aboard, have put into service a smaller craft, Remedy, which they are employing in a series of lake and area tours. Josh and Lisa Navone are providing tours through September on Remedy along the Canal and southern points of the lake with a narrative focused on the history and importance of those water sources. And -- also using a van -- they are providing a winery, brewery and distillery tour, with Remedy taking its passengers north to the Hector area and its participating wine, beer, and distillery venues. This is on top of the 22-passenger tours they provide on True Love, a craft that was part of the 1950s film "High Society," starring Grace Kelly. Visit sailtruelove.com and mvremedy.com for more information on the tours.

Photo in text: Josh and Lisa Navone at Seneca Harbor.

O-M Athletes of the Year: April Dunn and Bryce Elliott.


O-M holds its Awards Night

The 49th annual Odessa-Montour Sports Boosters Awards were presented Thursday night, June 9 in the O-M High School auditorium. Awards for each of the year's sports were announced, leading to the evening's two big honors -- the Harold Lynch Female and Male Athlete of the Year Awards, presented to the outstanding senior athletes. As shown above, April Dunn and Bryce Elliott were the recipients. Sports.

Alice talks to the White Rabbit, who holds a timepiece in his hand and is lamenting that he's late.


'Alice in Wonderland' ends its 2-night run

The Lake Country Players production of the musical "Alice in Wonderland" ended its two-night run June 11th in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. The play, featuring 58 youths ranging from 7 to 18 years of age, opened Friday. Kelsey Johnson and Kim Laursen co-directed.


Left: Alice watches the Queen of Hearts stroll by.


WGHS Class of 2016 gathers for class photo

The Watkins Glen High School Class of 2016 got together outside the high school office entrance recently for a group photo -- a precursor to the school's annual graduation ceremony. Graduation is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, June 25 in the high school auditorium. For the full photo, see Schools.


Left: Part of the Class of 2016 at WGHS. (Photo by Don Romeo)


Fair offers line on Health & Wellness services

A Health & Wellness Fair presented by Cayuga Health System was held June 11 in the Watkins Glen High School Field House. The event, co sponsored by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, featured dozens of organizations and businesses demonstrating the products and services they offer related to the maintenance of health. Screenings were also provided.

Photo in text: Hula hoops were part of the display provided by Exercise Enterprise. A number of visitors tried twirling the hoops around their waists.

Rotary exchange students Danielle Fuschilo of Brazil (left) and Marie Bucher of France (right) told their sponsoring Watkins-Montour Rotary Club farewell June 9 as their visits to the United States near an end. Pictured with them: graduating Watkins Glen High School seniors Portia Wells and Lucas Wickham, who will be exchange students in the Netherlands and Chile, respectively, starting in August.


St. Julien honored as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior James St. Julien was honored June 9 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for June. St. Julien, a veteran of stage performances and music competitions, is working toward an Eagle Scout award. He is also a volunteer for TIES (Together Involving Every Student), which helps those with developmental issues enjoy social activities. The honoree, who recently took an educational tour of China, has been accepted at Massachusetts' Gordon College, where he plans to major in Physics.


Hunting club hosts education program

More than 150 sixth-grade students from area schools spend a day at the Millport Hunting and Fishing Club for an outdoor Conservation Field Day. Outdoors.

Left: Joe Nowicki of Bradford Central School caught a nice bass. The fish was released.


Reed: It's time to unite behind Donald Trump

Congressman Tom Reed urges Republicans to unite behind the presumptive GOP presidential candidate, although he's also saying he finds Trump's recent words regarding a federal judge to be 'problematic.' Government.


Photo at right: Tom Reed


Watkins High holds its Spring Awards Night

Sportsmanship, Most Improved and MVP awards are distributed at WGHS for Spring Sports achievements. Sports.

Left: WGHS golf MVPs included Parker Pangallo and Hanley Elliott (photo). Ryan Clark also was named a golf MVP.


Charities' Franklin Street property is for sale

Catholic Charities has put its Franklin Street property in Watkins Glen up for sale as it seeks to relocate to a larger space in Schuyler County. "We want to assure the community that while we are relocating our offices, Catholic Charities' services will not be interrupted," said Debra MacDonald (pictured at right), the organization's Schuyler County Agency Director, who added that "we ... look to expand and enhance our services in a new location." Whether Charities rents or buys "depends on the property," said a spokesperson, adding that the sale of the current locale "will be contingent on our finding a new home."


'Star Trek' actors among protest arrestees

Veteran Hollywood actor James Cromwell, 76, of Warwick, NY, was among 19 protesters arrested, processed and released Monday morning, June 6 on disorderly conduct charges for blocking the main Crestwood gate along Rt. 14 north of Watkins Glen. The group was protesting the storage of methane gas in abandoned salt caverns at the Crestwood site. Cromwell, whose film roles included one in Star Trek: First Contact, was joined in protest by actor John Hertzler, 66, of Ulysses in Tompkins County, who played a Klingon general in the TV series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Among the protest signs: "Trekkies Against Crestwood." Protest arrests since 2014 now total 604.

Photo: James Cromwell at the Crestwood site. (Provided)


Clark fires 84, Elliott 90 as tourney concludes

Odessa-Montour sophomore Gillian Clark shot an 84 on June 5 on the second day of the two-day New York State Public High School Athletic Association Girls Golf Championships on the Bethpage State Park Yellow Course on Long Island. The round gave her a 178 total, the best on the 9-member Section IV team and good for 44th place overall in the 81-golfer field. Hanley Elliott (Watkins Glen) shot a 90 for a 187 total, fourth best on the team and tied for 57th overall. The individual leader was Lindsay May of Section 3 with a 140 total.

Photos: Hanley Elliott (left) and Gillian Clark. (Photo provided)


Live Like Liz 5K crown goes to Gabe Planty

The Watkins Glen 8th grader finishes well ahead of the pack on a day that also featured music, speeches and prizes in the WGHS Field House, and a determination to defeat ovarian cancer, the disease that killed Elizabeth Amisano in 2005.


Story and photos on People.



Left: Gabe Planty crosses the finish line.

The ribbon separates at the ceremony marking the recent opening of Connections Retreat Center for People and Dogs. From left: Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah LaMoreaux, Montour Falls Mayor John King, Center co-founder Keri Greenberger, Schuyler County Legislator Jim Howell (obscured), Center founder and executive director Rich Greenberger, and County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.


Ribbon-cutting marks Retreat Center opening

The recent opening of the Connections Retreat Center for People and Dogs at 3325 County Road 7 outside Burdett was celebrated June 2 with a ribbon-cutting at the Center. The husband-and-wife team of Rich and Keri Greenberger are developing a nonprofit business which, promotional literature explains, aims on "improving overall health and well-being through interactions between people and dogs" -- the latter expected to number between 10 and 50 given "temporary and permanent homes ... in our specially designed environment that encourages dogs to interact with each other and with people." The owners hope to see visits from veterans, people with special needs, children with behavioral challenges and other groups, with goals of "healing and recovery from trauma," stronger "relationship abilities for those with special needs" and "making more dogs adoptable for loving homes."

Photo in text: Keri and Rich Greenberger.

Tom Weidemann meets with two of the dogs at the Retreat Center during Thursday's celebration.

A once-functional fireplace adorns a first-floor apartment. It is the only apartment with a fireplace, and was spoken for quickly.


Open House seeks signups for School Apts.

The Watkins Glen School Apartments in the old Middle School on Decatur Street -- after struggling to fill its 51 units in its first few months -- is moving toward that goal, with 32 units now filled and 10 others spoken for, a spokeswoman said at an Open House there on June 1. The Open House, designed to spur interest, offered tours of several of the apartments, available to people over 55 years of age making no more than $25,500 (for one person) or $29,000 (for two people). Savings and other assets are figured in with the income, but the spokeswoman said that amount is multiplied only by .06%.

"It doesn't cost anything to apply," she said, "and we'll calculate your income for you." As of mid-May, only 28 units had been filled, and SEPP, the property developer, decided to reach out to the community with Wednesday's Open House. All of the units are expected to be filled by summer's end, the spokeswoman said.

Photos in text: The building front; and a trio of visitors walk down a hallway at the Open House.


Memorial Day sees 4 Schuyler ceremonies

A ceremony in Montour Falls, two in Watkins Glen (along with a parade), and one at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park outside Odessa were held Monday, May 30 to honor America's war dead on Memorial Day. People.


Left: At the Veterans Memorial Park ceremony.


Flag's unfurling marks opening of park trails

The American Flag was unfurled in front of a rock face overlookng the entrance to the Watkins Glen State Park gorge Wednesday, May 25 -- a ceremony marking the opening of trails in six Finger Lakes Parks and a throwback to a practice from the 1930s. Government.



Left: The flag, secured by rigging on the 186-foot-high rock face.


Rotary honors Terry as Student of the Month

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club on May 26 honored Odessa-Montour senior James Terry (left) as its O-M Student of the Month for May. Terry was lauded by O-M Superintendent Chris Wood as "a standout in the classroom, in athletics and in society" who is "highly motivated" in his school work and on the school's swim, golf and soccer teams, and as a member of Interact and National Honor Society. "What makes him unique," said Wood, "is his positive demeanor, his sense of humor and his caring personality." Terry will attend CCC and major in Engineering.


2 men charged with meth manufacturing

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office reported two meth-related arrests on Wednesday, May 25: Kevin J. Tibbits (left), age 37, of Arkport, NY, and Jeffery R. Dennis (right), age 39 of Hornell, NY, charged with Unlawful Manufacture of Methamphetamine in the 3rd Degree, a Class D felony. Said a press release: "Deputies, responding to a suspicious persons report from a citizen, found Tibbits and Dennis walking on County Route 15 in the Town of Catharine. Deputies allege that Tibbits and Dennis were in possession of several items used to manufacture meth." The two were arraigned in Town of Catharine Court and remanded to jail in lieu of bail.


Loueda Bleiler receives CCC teaching award

Loueda Bleiler of Odessa, an assistant professor of music in the Corning Community College Communication Dept., was honored at CCC's recent commencement. She received the Regional Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Teaching. Loueda resides with her husband, Dr. Brian Bleiler, on Pertl Road. They have three adult children. Loueda is a graduate of Odessa-Montour High School, Roberts Wesleyan College, and the Hart School of Music. She is pictured with husband Brian.


Schuyler County earns high marks in audit

The annual audit of Schuyler County finances -- this time for 2015 -- drew praise from auditor Jerry Mickelson as he reported May 24 to the Legislature. The county, beset for years with audit issues, has cleaned up almost all of them in the two years since Harriett Vickio took office as Treasurer, said Mickelson, who reported "no significant deficiencies" this time. "A lot of the credit," he added, "goes to Harriett Vickio and her staff," who "paid attention to details." The Treasurer's office also drew praise from Legislature Chair Dennis Fagan and from Administrator Tim O'Hearn, who said the new audit -- equivalent to a report card -- "is one we can proudly put on the refrigerator."

Above: Auditor Jerry Mickelson and Treasurer Harriett Vickio

Author Cynthia Neale reads a passage from Annie Dillard's The Abundance before reading from her own The Irish Milliner during Monday's Watkins Glen Writers Group session.


Neale reads to Writers Group from new novel

Author Cynthia Neale, a Finger Lakes native living now in New Hampshire, gave a reading from her soon-to-be-completed new novel, The Irish Milliner, during a gathering Monday evening, May 23 of the Watkins Glen Writers Group held at the Montour House Cafe and Tapas Bar. The novel, set in the Civil War, provides further adventures of Norah McCabe, heroine of three previous Neale novels. Neale has also written a dessert and essay book, unveiled last year, titled Pavlova in a Hat Box.

This group clamored for their picture to be taken ... so it was.


Wine Fest at Clute draws large crowd

An estimated 1,200 to 1,500 people ventured to Clute Park in Watkins Glen on May 21 for the 5th annual Seneca Lake Wine and Food Festival there -- for the first time a one-day affair rather than two.

Threatening skies and occasional light rain didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of event-goers who purchased wine by the case. Also on hand: local foods, including some from a first-time booth presence: the Harbor Hotel, which was donating proceeds to the Food Bank.

The event is sponsored by the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and administered by Jeff Dill of the J.R. Dill winery. Advertising this year targeted potential customers from out of the area, a tactic Dill said might have been successful.


Left: Wine tasting; Allison Stamp waiting on customers at the Lakewood Vineyards booth; and musician Travis Durfee entertaining the Clute crowd.

Cancer Survivors marched around the WGHS track, joined along the way by cancer caregivers.


Relay for Life raises funds to battle cancer

The annual Relay for Life event aimed at combatting cancer drew a moderate gathering of survivors, caregivers and friends to the Watkins Glen High School athletic field May 21, where a Survivors' March around the track highlighted ceremonies held in a light rain. Preceding the march, The American Red Cross's regional Director of Special Events, Tiffany Zimmer, honored teams and individuals that had raised the most funds in the cancer fight. The event, which used to be an overnight affair, ran from 4 to 10 p.m. It was back at WGHS this year after struggling last year at a different site, Odessa-Montour High School -- which was beset by low turnout and by thunderstorms. Saturday's skies, while also wet, were milder -- and the gathering larger.

Photo: Donna Wilber, facing camera, is congratulated by Red Cross official Tiffany Zimmer for raising more than $4,700 in the fight against cancer. A total of 23 teams raised $18,970.


Arc of Schuyler honors vols at annual meeting

Two new board members are are also welcomed at the event, held at the Harbor Hotel. People.


Hansen cases: dismissal in one, delay in the other

Of the two Watkins Glen school trespass cases against Kristina Hansen in Watkins Glen Village Court, one was dismissed May 19 and the other delayed. The judge left open the possibility of charges being refiled in the dismissed case. And Hansen's attorney, Ray Schlather (left), said a planned suit would be filed in court next month. Government.

Photo above: Hansen attorney Ray Schlather of Ithaca.


School budgets pass in Watkins, Odessa; Westervelt returns to O-M board on write-ins

Voters easily approved budgets in the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour school districts on May 10th.

The $16,154,655 Odessa-Montour budget, calling for a tax levy hike of $23,278, passed 251-52. Four propositions also passed. There was only one candidate, Mel Switzer, for two School Board openings. He received 240 votes, while write-ins were cast for 24 other people. The person receiving the most write-ins, with 50, was Scott Westervelt (pictured), who is completing his 8th year on the board and had opted not to seek re-election. But with the support shown Tuesday, he was given the option of serving another three years, and has agreed to do so. "We had a huge turnout," said Superintendent Chris Wood. "I couldn't be happier with our community."

The $26,560,014 Watkins Glen budget, which calls for a tax levy hike of 2.71%, passed 242-103. Incumbent board members Mark Franzese and Kristin Hazlitt, running unopposed, received 288 and 263 votes, respectively. "Thanks to the community for supporting us once again," said Superintendent Tom Phillips.


BOE accepts Bartholomew resignation

The Watkins Glen Board of Education has accepted the resignation of science teacher Kate Barthlomew (at right), Board President Kelly McCarthy has confirmed. The move came at a special board meeting on May 12. Bartholomew had been suspended in May 2014 for providing a student with a plastic knuckles-shaped stun gun that the boy displayed on a school bus. Bartholomew was charged with weapon possession, but found not guilty by Schuyler County Judge Dennis Morris following a two-day trial in December 2015. But Morris, upon a motion by District Attorney Joe Fazzary, left unsealed portions of the records. That move, Fazzary said, would enable the School Board to utilize the testimony and trial exhibits with an eye toward terminating Bartholomew's employment. McCarthy said that while she could confirm the resignation, she couldn't comment on other related issues "due to nondisclosure terms."


Watkins Glen to provide police officer to Montour Falls on busy weekends

The Watkins Glen Village Board on May 16 approved an Intermunicipal Agreement that will provide a Watkins Glen police officer for Montour Falls on the evenings of busy weekends. The pact, to take effect on Memorial Day weekend, is in effect through the end of the year, at which time it will be reassessed to determine its effectiveness and need. Watkins Glen Police Chief Tom Struble (pictured at right) stressed that the cost will be borne by Montour Falls. Watkins has a flexible part-time group of officers, he noted, permitting the move with no strain on service to their home village. In times of emergency in Watkins, he added, the emergency needs will supercede the pact with Montour. Said Mayor Sam Schimizzi: "This is just us being a good neighbor."


It was Prom Night for WGHS at Logan Ridge

The annual Watkins Glen High School Prom was held May 14 night at Logan Ridge Estates in Hector, overlooking Seneca Lake. Gowns, tuxedos and music combined to create a special event on a chilly evening. Schools.



Left: WGHS's Patrick Hazlitt


Sand Award presented; employees recognized

Schuyler Hospital has announced the winner of the annual Lou Sand Award and recognized 54 employees for 655 years of experience at the hospital and at the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facililty. People.


IndyCar series returning to Glen in September

The famed IndyCar racing series, which last competed at Watkins Glen International in 2010, is returning to The Glen under a one-year contract. The deal was completed Friday afternoon in Indianapolis, with IndyCar and WGI agreeing to assess the race's future following this year's event, set for Sept. 1-4. IndyCar had developed a hole in its schedule on Labor Day weekend following cancellation of a Boston race. Said WGI President Michael Printup of the return: "We couldn't be more proud. This belongs at Watkins Glen International."


Rotary honors Osborne as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Bernadette Osborne (left) was honored May 12 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for May. The honoree was introduced by teacher Mary DeBolt, who described the honoree as "a hard worker" with "a wonderful personality" who is involved in "many activities" including National Honor Society, Student Council, Class Float, Interact, Music Club, Prom Committee and the School Play. She has also competed in soccer, softball and track. Osborne plans to attend the University of Buffalo to study biomechanical engineering.

County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, left, and Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan at Monday night's meeting.


Legislature sets stage for revamped EMC

The Schuyler County Legislature on May 9 approved the introduction of a Local Law -- to be approved next month -- that will "re-establish and reconstitute" the Environmental Management Council," reducing the number of EMC members and establishing term limits (four 3-year terms) for service on it. A public hearing on the Local Law will be held at the next Legislature session, at 6:30 p.m. June 13, prior to the vote on it. A second Local Law -- rescinding the original, 1974 Local Law that first established the EMC -- is also on the agenda for a vote that night.


Decorating ice-cream cakes for Mother's Day

The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor on South Franklin Street in Watkins Glen held its first-ever ice-cream-cake decorating classes May 7 for kids and adults wishing to prepare a special gift for Mother's Day. Sixteen cakes stored at -35 degrees were provided to "students" who pre-enrolled. Each paid for the cake at a basic cost, and decorated it with whipped cream and frosting applied in creative fashion. Each finished product was boxed and sent home for Mom. The program was deemed a success worthy of repeating next year.

Hattie Hwang of Watertown, in the Watkins Glen area visiting a relative, prepared a cake for her mother, Margaret, at the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor. Hattie is 12 years old and a 7th grader in the Copenhagen school district in Northern New York. She deemed the decorating "fun."


Meth raids in 3 counties netted 17

State police and other law enforcement agencies descended on May 4 on locations in Schuyler, Chemung and Steuben counties, including what police said was a meth lab on Campground Road in Beaver Dams. A total of 17 people in the three counties were charged during the week with felony conspiracy, a result of a five-month investigation. Six were from Beaver Dams, three from Montour Falls and one from Dix. Government.

From left: Gillian Clark, Kennedey Heichel and Sage Garrison.


It was O-M Prom Night at WGI's Media Center

The annual Odessa-Montour Prom was held May 6 at the Watkins Glen International racetrack's Media Center. Young women were dressed in gowns, and young men in sartorial splendor as they danced the evening away, many of them after dining at area restaurants. Prom.


Left: O-M's Andy Fudala


Envirothon's Schuyler title goes to O-M

"Martens" squad tops field of seven Schuyler teams, takes 2nd overall among 26 teams competing from five counties -- and earns spot at May 25-26 NYS Envirothon at Hobart & William Smith Colleges. People.

Left: Two members of the winning O-M team.


Humane Society wins Steps Out competition

The 12 walkers of The Humane Society of Schuyler County have won the annual Schuyler Steps Out walking competition by posting an average of 1,040,113 steps each. The 13 Wacky Walkers of Watkins High finished second at 957,328, with the Seneca Lake Buccaneers (10 walkers) third at 921,021. Seventeen teams with 238 walkers competed in the eight-week event.

Firefighters Brent Miller, right, and Anthony Nieves were operatng the Beat the Dealer dice table.


Watkins Fire Company holds Casino Night

The annual Casino Night hosted by the Watkins Glen Fire Company attracted a crowd May 7 to the fire station bays, where games of chance were set up. Blackjack, Bingo, a money wheel, and dice games like Beat the Dealer and Over-Under 7 had the money flowing, as did sales of raffle tickets, with a wide array of products donated by businesses. Door prizes were also awarded. Food prepared for the event was available for sale. Casino Night is a yearly fund-raiser -- held, the fire company said, "to help us help you."

Photo in text: Door prizes and raffles are a staple of the annual Casino Night. (From left: Mike Stamp & Judson Smith)


Hansen arrested while watching tennis match

Kristina Hansen, already facing a misdemeanor trespass charge following her arrest March 21 while trying to attend a Watkins Glen School Board meeting, was removed by a Village Police officer in handcuffs May 4th while watching a Watkins Glen High School tennis match on school grounds. Schools.

Photo in text: Hansen is handcuffed by Officer J. Walrath.

State Trooper P.A. Madaffari operates a revolving rollover device containing dummies and showing the effect of rollover accidents in which seatbelts are not utilized.


Festival raises funds for Relay for Life

Vendors, classic cars, a vehicle rollover display, a bounce house and a chicken barbecue were among the features Saturday, April 30 at the Montour Fireman's Carnival Grounds during the annual Paint the Town Purple festival held to benefit the Relay for Life program and help raise awareness of its fight against cancer.

Above: Chuck Vary with a classic car he owns and displayed Saturday -- a 1936 Dodge 4-door sedan.

Balloons afloat at the Carnival Grounds symbolize the Relay for Life drive to fight cancer.

Emergency light illuminates the misty accident scene. The two vehicles, including the one at left, sustained left-side damage.

1 taken to hospital after Rte. 224 accident

A woman was transported to the hospital with unspecified injuries Friday night, April 29 following a two-car accident on Rte. 224 in Odessa. Officials said the accident occurred about 10:45 p.m. near the Speedway-224 junction when the two passenger vehicles, going in opposite directions, clipped each other. The airbags deployed in the Hyundai Sonata driven by the injured woman, whose two female passengers were uninjured. The driver of the other vehicle, a man, reportedly sustained an injured knee, but declined transport. No further details were available.

Fire damages Schuyler home

A fire of unknown cause extensively damaged a home on Stilwell Road near Trumansburg in Schuyler County about 2:40 p.m. Sunday, May 1. Trumansburg, Mecklenburg and Enfield firefighters responded, and knocked the flames down within 10 minutes after one of the residents had tried unsuccessfully to fight the flames with an extinguisher. Officials said everyone in the house escaped without injury. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Kristina Hansen and her attorney, Ray Schlather, before her court appearance Thursday afternoon.


Not-guilty plea entered; dismissal sought

The second trespass case against Kristina Hansen -- the Watkins Glen School District resident who was arrested March 21 while trying to attend a School Board meeting -- reached arraignment on Thursday, April 28, when a not-guilty plea was entered in Village Court on her behalf by her attorney, Ray Schlather, who filed a motion to dismiss the charge. A previous trespass charge had been dismissed on April 7. The prosecution was given 20 days to respond to the motion, and Hansen was released on her own recognizance. Government.


Tree, shrub program conducted by SWCD

The Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) held its annual Green Arbor Program distribution of bare root seedlings and transplants on Saturday, April 23, with more than 130 residents purchasing 11,500 trees and shrubs for conservation plantings this year. In addition, dozens of bluebird boxes made by the District were purchased. Agriculture.

Photo at right: Jeremy Edmister of Watkins Glen and his daughter Natalie pick up trees on April 23 at the Soil and Water facility on Meads Hill Road. (Photo provided)


Trumansburg man charged with burglary

A Trumansburg man -- Joel M. Woodring, 35 (pictured at right) -- has been charged with Burglary, 2nd Degree, a Class C felony, following a probe into several daytime burglaries in the region. Woodring was arrested late Monday morning, April 25 by the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office and a New York State Police investigator who were conducting surveillance of him and his truck after it was reportedly seen in the area of some burglaries last week, said Sheriff William Yessman. The surveillance on back roads led to a private residence on Warners Corners Road in the Town of Hector where, said Yessman, the suspect was stopped as he was leaving. "Numerous Items of jewelry from the residence" were found in the suspect's truck, the sheriff said. Woodring was jailed in lieu of $15,000 cash bail. Also investigating the case: the Seneca County and Tompkins County Sheriff's Offices. The investigation is continuing with more charges expected, a press release said.


Rotary honors Wead as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Mechel Wead was honored April 21 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for April. She was introduced by history teacher Skip Strobel, who said Wead is the kind of person he hopes his children grow up to be -- one who listens to others' problems and helps solve them. Wead, in the top two of her class academically, is a member of National Honor Society, the Principal's Leadership Panel and Student Council, has participated in school musicals, and is a peer tutor. She has been a member of Youth Court for seven years, and volunteers for Reading Buddies, Fright Night, Strong Kids Safe Kids, the Food Pantry, and Relay for Life. She plans on becoming a history teacher, and returning to Odessa "to give back to the community that has given so much to me."

Photo in text: Teacher Skip Strobel and Mechel Wead.

Music teacher, piano tuner and performer Joe Silhan was one of 65 vendors present at the Business Expo.


Business Expo fills Community Center

The annual Business Expo presented by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce featured 65 vendors April 20 at the Watkins Glen Community Center. The Expo offered businesses a chance to promote their services and wares, and provided them and visitors with networking opportunities. The latter portion of the Expo doubled as a monthly Chamber After Hours Mixer with a raffle, cash prize drawing, hors d'oeuvres and wine tasting.

Left top: Rich Greenberger of the Connections Retreat Center for People & Dogs.

Left center: Chamber President Rebekah LaMoreaux.

Left bottom: Robert Hollenback, sales rep for Young Explosives of Rochester, manned his firm's Expo booth.


MUNAGI class attends Model UN Conference

Members of a Watkins Glen High School class get a taste of conflict, history, diplomacy and debate at a 4-day Cornell University gathering. Model.

Above: Cornell Model UN delegate Alex Gibson receives word of a "midnight crisis" as part of the conference experience. (Photo provided)


2 incumbents on ballot

Incumbent Watkins Glen School Board members Kristin Hazlitt and Mark Franzese are the only two candidates running for the two available seats on the Board in the May election, it was announced at the Board's April 18 meeting. Four people picked up petition packets to run, said Clerk Marie Keefer, but only Hazlitt and Franzese turned them in by the deadline.

The Board, among its actions Monday, approved Trevor Holland as varsity football head coach next season. He succeeds teacher Lou Condon Jr., who left the district.

Above: BOE member Mark Franzese, seeking re-election.


Market, Movie Night plans progressing

Sara Caldwell (right), who presented Movie Nights at Clute Park across four Wednesdays last summer, updated the Watkins Glen Village Board April 18 on this summer's plans -- which call for such evenings on Wednesdays in both July and August, each weekly film preceded by a Farmers Market at Clute running from 5:30 p.m. to dusk. The market, in fact, will begin June 1st and run every Wednesday through Sept. 28, with the exception of Aug. 10, Italian Festival week. More than a dozen vendors are lined up for the market, with wineries and breweries appearing on a rotating basis. "I figured why not go longer," Caldwell said. "It's a lot of fun."

New Watkins Glen Fire Chief Charlie Scaptura is congratulated by Village Mayor Sam Schimizzi after taking over as head of the fire department, succeeding Judson Smith, left.


A change of chiefs at Watkins Glen

Charlie Scaptura was installed as the new Watkins Glen Fire Chief April 16 at the annual Fire Company banquet at the fire department. He succeeds Judson Smith. The banquet, dedicated to the memory of firefighters Denis Amisano, Bob Olevnik and Frank Desarno, featured dinner, the introduction of guests, and the presentation of awards. The emcee was Tom Carson.

Start of the Arc race. No. 347 in the center, Timothy Stahlnecker of Waterloo, 27, won the 3.4-mile race in a time of 19:12.


More than 700 on hand for Arc Grand Prix Run

The third annual run on the Watkins Glen International racetrack -- a fundraiser for The Arc of Schuyler -- drew a large crowd under sunny skies Saturday morning, April 16. Awards were presented in various age categories, from 5 to 75-plus. The race was followed by an after-party at the Grist Iron Brewing Co., Burdett.

Top female finisher Sarah Paulson of Cayuta (in 22:54).

Left: Donuts were on hand for competitors like Russ Gardner after the race. Right: Wayne Pike finishes the race. He was first in the 50-54 age category.

Cleanup Day

The Village of Odessa filled three dumpsters and assorted other containers Saturday, April 16, during its semiannual Village Cleanup Day. The dumpsters were set up in the parking area next to the Odessa Municipal Building, taking appliances, air conditioners, mattresses, microwaves and a host of other discardables. Seneca Swim was also on hand, accepting bottles and cans donated to raise money for emergency services.

Race-car drivers Andy Lally, left, and Derek Bell were special guests at the WGI ribbon-cutting. Between them, they have 10 sportscar victories at the Glen track.


Ribbon-cutting celebrates WGI track repaving

The multi-million-dollar Watkins Glen International track repaving project was the focus of a ribbon-cutting ceremony and speeches Friday morning, April 15 at the track. Dignitaries representing federal, state and local offices were on hand for the event, part of the WGI Opening Weekend. People.


Rotary honors Shaffer as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Brooke Shaffer (left) was honored April 14 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for April. Shaffer was introduced by teacher Sam Brubaker, who called the honoree "a hard working, respectful student with a positive disposition, and a joy to have as a student." Shaffer has competed in cross country and both indoor and outdoor track, and has taken part in school plays on stage and as a member of the stage crew. She plans to attend Corning Community College and SUNY Cortland to pursue a career as an athletic trainer, and said she would "like to coach a college or pro team."


Watkins firefighters put new tanker into service

The truck replaces one retired and sold three years ago. It was bought largely through a FEMA grant, and carries 1800 gallons of water. People.

Above: Firefighter Dominick Smith with the new tanker truck.

The wreckage is taken from the scene of the crash along Rt. 13.


Three men airlifted after crash near Junction

Three men -- identified as members of country singer Luke Bryan's stage crew enroute home to West Virginia following a Bryan concert April 9th at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse -- were airlifted to hospitals Sunday morning, April 10th with injuries sustained when their vehicle left the road, went airborne and crashed along Rt. 13 north of Alpine Junction. People.


Move on EMC status tabled; plan altered

The Schuyler County Legislature on April 11 tabled a vote on rescinding the Local Law that created the Environmental Management Council in 1974 after an audience of nearly 30 people showed support for EMC, many speaking in its favor. But legislators also revealed that changes have occurred in the plans for the EMC. It won't be a subcommittee of the county Planning Commission as previously envisioned. Plans now see it as similar to the current EMC, although smaller, with term limits. Both the tabled Local Law and a new one establishing a revamped EMC are likely to be voted upon in the next couple of months. Government.

Photo in text: Chair Dennis Fagan listens to a speaker at Monday night's Legislature meeting.


Rotary honors Scata as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour senior Olivia Scata (left) was honored Thursday, April 7 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for March. Scata was introduced by teacher Holly Faulk, who called the honoree "a wonderful young lady who is passionate about dancing and wants to pursue it" in college along with Business Administration. Scata, a High Honor student, has been a class officer for four years; an officer in Chorus and Band; a member of Student Council, National Honor Society and O-M Leadership Cabinets; and a tutor for students in need of academic help.

Superintendent Tom Phillips and Board President Kelly McCarthy.


Watkins School Board OKs proposed budget

The Watkins Glen School Board on April 4th approved a proposed 2016-17 district budget of $26,560,014 that calls for an increase in the tax levy of $243,808, or 2.71% -- under the maximum allowable limit by $38,376. The tax rate is estimated at $12.16 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, a decrease of 3.1 cents from the current spending plan. Superintendent Tom Phillips said the plan -- which benefits from elimination of the costly state Gap Elimination Adjustment -- "includes all current positions being filled other than a Technology position and Director of Student Services." District residents will vote on the budget on Tuesday, May 17.

Photo in text: WGHS junior Patrick Hazlitt, left, was presented an Outstanding Athletic Achievement Award by Athletic Manager Erich Kramer. Hazlitt, an indoor track runner who qualified for States, was one of several winter athletes honored. Others included swimmer Matt Doppel, who qualified for States, and wrestlers Ian Chedzoy and Brandon Gould, who posted second- and third-place finishes at States, respectively.

Among student athletes honored at the School Board meeting were members of the WGHS girls varsity basketball team, Section IV, Class C champions. Those present were, from left: Taylor Kelly, Hannah Morse, Amanda Pike, Coach Alicia Learn, Clara Chedzoy, Emmie Bond and Hanley Elliott.

A bluejay poses for a picture. (Photos by Maggie Field)


Birdwatching on a wintry day

When the storm moved in on the weekend of April 2-3, Maggie Field chose to stay indoors in her home near Burdett "with a warm fireplace going, and birdwatched through my deck windows."

And she photographed the birds she was watching, too, as they dined at the feeders near her windows. Among them was a bluejay that she said was windswept, giving its crown a "punk" look, and a woodpecker with a tight hold on the feeder's framing.


WGHS event focuses on debate, speeches

The Watkins Glen Orators Guild hosted a speech and debate competition April 2nd at the Watkins Glen High School. The debate topic: presidential primaries. Schools.


Left: WGHS's Portia Wells (Photo provided)


Artists in Residence let talented kids shine

The annual Artists in Residence program in the Watkins Glen school district culminated March 22 in a concert featuring the musical talents of students in grades 7 through 12. People.

Left: Serafina Lopresti sings


Hansen to be re-arrested in trespass case; Notices of Claim served on village, school

Kristina Hansen, arrested on a trespass charge (later dismissed) on March 21 when she tried to attend a Watkins Glen School Board meeting, is to be re-arrested on Thursday, April 28 at 3 p.m. for the same incident, she has been notified by Watkins Glen Police Chief Tom Struble. The charge will again be Criminal Trespass, but more severe than the first -- a Class B Misdemeanor as opposed to a Violation. She is to turn herself in that day for processing and for arraignment in Watkins Glen Village Court, where the first charge was dismissed.

Meanwhile, Notices of Claim were being delivered by certified mail Monday to the school district and village. They list the village, the village police department, arresting officers Isaac Marmor and Jamie Coleman, the school district, School Superintendent Tom Phillips, and School Board President Kelly McCarthy as respondents. The papers were prepared and sent by Hansen's attorneys, Schlather, Stumbar, Parks & Salk of Ithaca. Schools.

Photo in text: Kristina Hansen and attorney Ray Schlather after her first trespass charge was dismissed on April 7.


Library Week, Month ambassasors picked

The Friends of the Watkins Library selected Dannie Brown and Sue Dugo as community ambassadors and WGHS sophomore Amanda Armstrong (left) as school district ambassador to help celebrate National Library Week and National School Library Month. Schools.

Left: Amanda Armstrong

Attorney Ray Schlather with client Kristina Hansen.


Trespass charge dismissed; lawsuits planned

The trespass charge against Kristina Hansen -- lodged when Watkins Glen Village Police arrested her on March 21 while she was en route to a School Board meeting -- was quickly dismissed in Watkins Glen Village Court Thursday afternoon, April 7. Hansen's attorney, Ray Schlather of Ithaca, said afterward that his law firm is planning to sue the school district, Superintendent Tom Phillips and the Village Police Department. Government.

The Seneca Legacy is eased down a track toward the water after a winter in drydock.


Seneca Legacy is returned to the lake

The Seneca Legacy dinner boat ended its winter out of the waters of Seneca Lake on April 1. It was eased down a track by T&R Towing to the water after a period -- necessary every five years -- in which it was inspected by the Coast Guard (which used ultrasound to check the hull), given minor repair, scraped, cleaned and painted for the upcoming boating season. Said owner Mark Simiele before the boat was returned to Seneca Lake: "It looks better than when it came out."

Left: Boat owner Mark Simiele, right, with a T&R Towing rep.

Anglers favored an area near and under a Montour Falls bridge.


Trout season opens with mixed results

The first day of trout season on April 1st offered mild temperatures and occasional rain for anglers anxious to land a fish.

While the area near Havana Glen Road in Montour Falls drew a lighter than usual number of anglers, other areas reported large turnouts.

Results on how they all fared were mixed, with some success stories and some unsuccessful.



Left top: A food-tent vendor raises his awnings in the hour before dawn.

Left bottom: Anglers tend to gather in groups on the first day of trout season.


County reaches accord on CSEA contract

The Schuyler County Legislature on March 29 unanimously approved a contract with its CSEA Administrative Unit #8600 -- representing 110 full-time county employees -- that provides wage increases of 2.5 3.0, 2.5 and 3.0% over the next four years. The vote followed ratification by the workers' unit last week. Said County Administrator Tim O'Hearn: "The cumulative impact of the fiscal portion of the agreement is covered in the current 2016 budget, and will not adversely impact the Legislature's ability to continue to develop budgets that both stay within the tax cap and lower the tax rate, as it has for each of the past five years. While neither side got everything they had hoped for, in the end I think we can agree that we have reached a fair agreement."

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


WG's Pike, Learn earn Section IV honors

Watkins Glen High School junior Amanda Pike has been named Section IV Class C girls basketball Player of the Year by the Basketball Coaches Association of New York, while her coach, Alicia Learn -- who has led the Senecas to two straight sectional titles -- was named Class C Girls Coach of the Year. Pike averaged 17 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 1.6 assists this past season, and netted 29 points in her team's Section IV title victory over Moravia.


Left: Watkins' Amanda Pike


Summer camp benefits from membership drive

The NYS Sheriffs' Association Institute is undertaking its annual Honorary Membership drive in Schuyler County, an effort that helps fund a summer camp. Features.

Kim Laursen leads the choir and congregation in a song.


Greeting Easter with a sunrise park service

Some 80 people braved the cold and the early-morning hour for the annual Schuyler County Council of Churches Easter Sunrise Service Sunday, March 27 at Watkins Glen State Park. Hymns and prayers, a choral group and a sermon by Rev. Sheila Price greeted the sun, which rose bright and as full of promise as Easter itself.

Left: Rev. Sheila Price

Schuyler Sheriff's Investigator Craig Bianco photographs the scene after the three injured occupants had been extricated from the car, and just before it was towed.


Mother, 2 children airlifted after car crash

Three people -- a woman from Mechanicsville, Pennsylvania and her two children -- were airlifted by helicopter to Rochester Friday morning, March 25 after sustaining injuries when their car went out of control and struck a tree on Route 414 near Johnson Hollow Road in the Town of Dix.

Schuyler County Sheriff's investigators said the accident occurred when Leeanne Eakin, 33, lost control of her northbound car, which left the road and struck a tree around 7:30 a.m. The accident was reported in a 911 call, sending Sheriff's Department personnel and firefighters from Beaver Dams, Watkins Glen and Montour Falls to the scene, along with Schuyler Ambulance and Rural Metro Ambulance.

Eakin and her two daughters, ages 9 and 11, were trapped in the car for almost an hour, but conscious and alert when rescuers got them out. A tree that the car had wrapped around had to be cut down. Three helicopters -- two from LifeNet and one from Mercy Flight -- landed in a zone at the Business Park up the road, and carried the injured to Strong Memorial Hospital. A TV report said the mother was later released from the hospital, but there was no immediate word on the condition of the two girls.

Photo in text: Helicopter starts liftoff at Business Park.

Remains of the barn as viewed from State Route 13.


6 cows die as fire levels barn along Rte. 13

A faulty electrical system in an ATV sparked a fire March 22 that destroyed a barn along Rte. 13 north of Alpine Junction, killing six cows housed in the structure. Firefighters from Odessa, Montour Falls, Mecklenburg, Newfield and Breesport raced to the scene to battle flames that started about 11:30 p.m. on farm property owned by Roger Staples at 6260 Rte. 13, Cayuta, about a half-mile north of Rt. 224. The ATV, fire officials said, had been in use during the day, but not running smoothly. The barn was fully involved by the time the first firefighters arrived, and they concentrated on keeping flames from a nearby trailer, farm equipment, another barn and a house. Embers started a fire in a field, but it was quickly doused. Firefighters cleared the scene at about 3:45 a.m.

Kristina Hansen is handcuffed on school property by Village Police Officer Isaac Marmor while officer Jamie Coleman observes.


Phillips critic barred from School Board meeting, charged with trespass, 'cuffed

A critic of Watkins Glen School Superintendent Tom Phillips was stopped on school grounds by Phillips on her way to a School Board meeting March 21 and arrested by waiting Village Police officers on a charge of trespass. Kristina Hansen was handcuffed and transported to police headquarters, where she was issued an appearance ticket and released. This is not her first run-in with the superintendent, who had recently banned her from school buildings without his written permission. She had subsequently issued a complaint against him to the School Board. Schools.

In Albany, from left: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, State Senator Tom O'Mara, Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor, Assemblyman Chris Friend, and Jon Beckman, a WGI Vice President. (Provided)


Watkins Glen International honored in Albany

State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblymen Phil Palmesano and Chris Friend on March 22 joined Watkins Glen International representatives and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor of Wayne Taylor Racing in Albany to celebrate the contributions of WGI to motorsports and to the economy and culture of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions. A weeklong event includes a WGI exhibit in the Empire State Plaza featuring various race cars. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at WGI in August is one of New York's largest sporting events, attracting fans from all 50 states and other countries.


'Chitty Chitty' ends weekend run at WG

The Watkins Glen High School spring musical, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" -- a story about family and a flying car -- completed its three-day run wlth a matinee performance on March 20. Schools.

Left: Phebe Wickham as Truly Scrumptious.


WG Spud Run: lots of fun, lots of green

The annual 1.7-mile Spud Run at Watkins Glen High School on March 17 -- featuring young students, older students and staff -- was an area highlight of St. Patrick's Day. Sports.

Left: WGHS senior Brooke Shaffer signaled she was ready for the race, which started at 3:17 p.m. on 3/17.


Reed backs Trump

Congressman Tom Reed (pictured at right) is calling for Republicans to unite behind the candidacy of Donald Trump for President. "As the people vote, it has become clear more Republicans favor Donald Trump than any other candidate," Reed said. "The United States simply cannot have someone in the White House that will continue the failed foreign policy and economic agenda of Barack Obama."

"Now is the time to unite behind the candidate who I believe will be our nominee, Donald Trump," Reed added. "We must move beyond the bombastic rhetoric to positive discussion about creating jobs and improving the lives of all Americans."

Letter: Reed embarrasses us by backing Trump. Forum.

Investigators suit up to enter the house near Catharine Corners.


Police: meth house found near Odessa

Law enforcement officers, firefighters and ambulance personnel descended on the sleepy crossroads of Catharine Corners -- south of Odessa -- Wednesday afternoon as an alleged methamphetamine operation was dismantled in a house there. Two men were arrested in the case, which netted what Sheriff's Deputies said was a supply of meth production-related materials, carried out of the structure by hazmat-suited investigators. Government.

Photo in text: Hazmat-suited law officers enter the house.

Law officers and firefighters outside the alleged meth lab.

At the Watkins Glen polling place: the Community Center.


No surprises in village elections in Schuyler

Incumbents were re-elected Tuesday in Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, Odessa and Burdett as all four villages held uncontested elections. No concerted write-in challenges emerged.

Watkins Glen: Laurie DeNardo (84 votes) and Tony Fraboni (73) won 4-year trustee terms. This is Fraboni's second term and DeNardo's first full one after being appointed to the Village Board last year. Write-ins: One vote each for Judy Phillips, Scott Gibson, Mark Swinnerton, Robin Burnett.

Montour Falls: Mayor John King (48 votes) and trustees Vincent Chicone (49) and Steven Lawton (46) were re-elected to 4-year terms. Write-ins: One vote each for Timothy Riley and Rocky Teeter.

Odessa: Incumbent trustees Thomas Letteer Jr. (24 votes) and Sally Hill (27) were re-elected to 2-year terms.

Burdett: Incumbent trustees Laurence Jaynes (28 votes) and Diane White (24) were re-elected to 2-year terms.

Photo: Watkins Glen trustee Laurie DeNardo after poll closed at Community Center.


Hearing set on law that could dismantle EMC

Schuyler County legislators on Monday voted 6-2 to set a public hearing during its next meeting, on April 11, on a Local Law that would rescind a 1974 Local Law that established the Environmental Management Council. The Legislature is considering replacing the EMC by forming a smaller subcommittee of the Schuyler County Planning Commission. The vote was preceded by a lengthy debate on the merits of such a move, with several EMC members or supporters urging that legislators not dismantle their group, which for years has taken an advocacy role in environmental matters. But County Attorney Steven Getman (pictured) said that Article 47 of the state Conservation Law under which the EMC was formed called for it to be an advisory group and not an advocacy one. A call by Legislator Michael Lausell to table the hearing resolution was defeated in a 5-3 vote. The EMC's longtime chair, Kate Bartholomew, submitted a letter of protest to the Legislature.


Municipalities aided by SWCD map services

The Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District utilizes GPS technology to help area towns and villages plan for upgrading and replacing aging infrastructure. Maps.


'Mary Poppins' ends run at Odessa-Montour

The Odessa-Montour High School spring musical, 'Mary Poppins," featuring the magical nanny of the title and a collection of popular songs, completed its two-day, three-performance run Saturday night, March 12 in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. Schools.


Left: Hannah Rosier as Mary Poppins, and Logan Barrett as Bert.

Concrete work was under way Friday at the site of the former Frozen Food Locker at the north end of Watkins Glen.


Work progressing on apartment structure

The old Frozen Food Locker building demolished recently at the northern end of the Watkins Glen business district along Rt. 14 is being replaced by a structure that will feature seven apartments that might later be sold as townhouses. The Watkins Brewery Holdings investment group behind the project has a completion target date of November 1.


Beaver Dams man drowns in accident

A Beaver Dams man, Raymond Goltry, 59, was found dead in a pond off State Rte. 226 in the Steuben County Town of Bradford Sunday, state police at Bath announced. Goltry, reported missing early Sunday, was found partially pinned under a utility vehicle in the water. The death, deemed a drowning, appeared to be accidental, troopers said.

Awaiting spring

The waterfront along the southern shore of Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen was placid recently after winter waned and as spring and summer beckoned.

Dignitaries do their duty at Watkins Glen School Apartments.


Ribbon-cutting marks opening of apartments

The renovated Watkins Glen Middle School -- home now to 51 moderately priced apartments for senior citizens -- was celebrated March 10 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that attracted dignitaries from the state, county and local level, and scores of area residents. Features.


Rotary honors Wells as Student of the Month

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club on March 10 honored Watkins Glen High School senior Portia Wells (left) as the WGHS Student of the Month for March. Wells -- an upcoming Rotary Exchange student in the Netherlands -- was introduced by teacher Marie Fitzsimmons, who called the honoree "a rock-star student -- truly an academic with an exquisite mind" who is National Honor Society president, a Rotary Interact member, a musician and "a dancer of grace, creativity and imagination." Wells said she is learning the Dutch language in preparation for her year abroad.


Monks named to HOF

Odessa-Montour High School and SUNY Cortland wrestling legend Troy Monks was inducted March 9 into the Friends of Section IV Wrestling Hall of Fame during a dinner at the Ford Hill Country Club in Whitney Point. Monks, a 3-time Section IV champion at O-M (1983, '84 and '85), was the New York State Collegiate champion (1990) at Cortland, a 2-time NCAA All-American (1989 and '90), and a 1990 NCAA champion.

Above: Troy Monks at the Hall of Fame dinner (Provided)

Members of the Model UN Class at WGHS. They hosted the International Night dinner.


International Night features other lands

Talks by exchange students and other young adults with experience in foreign lands highlighted the annual International Night Dinner March 10 in the Watkins Glen High School cafeteria. And foods from foreign lands were the menu. The event, sponsored by the school's Model United Nations and Global Issues class, attracted more than 100 diners.


Left top: WGHS exchange student Marie Bucher discusses her home country, France.
Left bottom: WGHS teacher Travis Durfee partakes of food from foreign lands.

Odessa-Montour High School exchange student Danielle Fuschilo of Brazil discusses her home.


DA's motion approved in stun-gun case

Schuyler County Judge Dennis Morris on March 9 ruled in favor of District Attorney Joe Fazzary's Feb. 11 motion to leave unsealed certain records in the Kate Bartholomew "stun gun" case.

Fazzary made the motion "in the interest of justice" because he wants to examine the trial record to determine if testimony by Bartholomew at her December trial on a weapon possession charge (a stun gun) warrants pursuit of a perjury charge.

He contends she contradicted herself from one day's testimony to the next in the two-day trial in December 2015. Bartholomew was later found not guilty on the possession charge by Judge Morris. People.

Photo in text: Kate Bartholomew (File photo)

Legislators and local leaders, including county and town highway superintendents, at the Capitol. State Senator Tom O'Mara is at the microphone. To the immediate left is Assemblyman Phil Palmesano. (Photo provided)


Commitment sought for local roads, bridges

ALBANY, March 9 -- A bipartisan group of 130 state legislators joined county and town highway superintendents and other local leaders from across New York state March 9 in a news conference at the Capitol calling for increased state support for local roads, bridges and culverts. The group, led by State Senator Tom O'Mara, urged an increase in the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) by $250 million, which would bring it to $688 million in the 2016-17 state budget. The group is also seeking the creation of a new, four-year, $600 million "State Aid to Local Bridge and Culvert Program" to tackle locally designated brildge and culvert improvement projects statewide.

Author and activist Bill McKibben, right, is put in a police car for transport to a local court.


57 arrested at Crestwood gates

A total of 57 protesters were arrested while blocking the gate of the Crestwood energy firm along Rt. 14 north of Watkins Glen Monday morning, March 7, bringing to 537 the number of arrests so far in the ongoing protest against the storage of methane and the proposed storage of LPG in salt caverns west of Seneca Lake. Among those charged with disorderly conduct was William McKibben, author, environmentalist and founder of 350.org, an international climate campaign. Fifty-six of those arrested were processed and released, with McKibben -- of Vermont -- taken at last report to a local court. Eight Schuyler County residents were among the arrestees, as were 11 Tompkins County residents and 3 from Yates County. Residents from 19 New York counties were involved.


Board wants more info on State Park plan

The Watkins Glen Village Board on March 7 decided it wants more information regarding the traffic pattern changes planned with the renovation of the Watkins Glen State Park entry area. Both Mayor Sam Schimizzi and Police Chief Tom Struble (pictured at right) said they thought the plan to move the existing parking light to Ninth Street -- and the number of park visitors crossing Franklin Street from a parking lot across the street from the park -- might not improve traffic flow, and in fact might worsen it. For this and other meeting matters, see Government.

Watkins Glen's Clara Chedzoy shoots. (Photo by Don Romeo)

Glen girls fall to Cooperstown, 62-44

The Watkins Glen High School girls' varsity basketball team was ahead at halftime 26-25, but defending New York State Class C champion Cooperstown pulled away from the Senecas in the second half Saturday, March 5, defeating Watkins 62-44 in a state quarterfinal contest at Whitesboro High School. Liz Millea led the Hawkeyes with 29 points. Amanda Pike led Watkins Glen with 19 points. Cooperstown advances now to the state Final Four. Sports.

Watkins Glen School Superintendent Tom Phillips and School Board President Kelly McCarthy at Wednesday's session.


Phillips lauds Donald Dryden; baseball a go

Former Watkins Glen School Superintendent Donald Dryden was praised by current Superintendent Tom Phillips at the March 2 School Board meeting in the wake of Dryden's death Tuesday in North Carolina of natural causes.

Phillips noted that Dryden -- superintendent through the 1990s -- spearheaded a Watkins Glen capital project that led to extra classrooms, the school pool and the Field House. "To say he left his mark here would be an understatement," said Phillips, who added that without that project, the district would not have had the facilities necessary to eventually "move to a single campus. Thanks to Don for his dedication to the kids of the community and to the district."

The Board also gave final approval to an Inter-District Baseball Agreement with Odessa-Montour High School. When board member Keith Caslin (right) asked what the status was on roster size, he was informed by Athletic Manager Erich Kramer that the varsity baseball program has 15 players -- 8 from O-M and 7 from WGHS, and that interest appears high for Modified baseball.

Firefighters unspool hose from a fire vehicle.


Grass fire scorches field outside Odessa

A grass fire on March 1st blackened two-and-a-half acres of field alongside Fitzpatrick Hill Road outside Odessa. Firefighters from Odessa responded, with mutual aid from Montour Falls and Millport The flames, accompanied by heavy smoke, were put out in about a half-hour. Officials said the blaze started when the property owner was burning papers, and the flames got away from him. Nobody was injured.

Left: Odessa Fire Chief Mike Tomassi on the scene.

A firefighter wades through thick smoke.

From left, NYACD President Dan Farrand (a Steuben County Legislator), Kyle Frasier of Odessa-Montour High School (a junior studying Conservation at GST BOCES); Elmira High School senior Nathan Ashburn; Horseheads High School senior Miranda Stansfield; Senator O'Mara; Horseheads High School senior Ashley Materne; Horseheads junior Emily Zine; and Watkins Glen High School senior Dakota Landon (studying Animal Science at GST BOCES). (Photo provided)


Students visit O'Mara in Albany

A half-dozen students from the Greater Southern Tier BOCES Career and Technical Education program -- they are also members of the Future Farmers of America -- visited Albany the week of Feb. 28 with local conservation leaders to help promote agriculture issues and promote ag products as part of the week's Legislative Advocacy Days at the Capitol sponsored by the New York Association of Conservation Districts (NYACD) and the New York Farm Bureau. The students posed with State Senator Tom O'Mara at the rostrum in the historic New York State Senate Chamber.

The Sim Redmond band provided dance music at the Mardi Gras.


Humane Society hosts annual Mardi Gras

The fourth annual Mardi Gras party hosted by the Humane Society of Schuyler County drew a large, sometimes masked and costumed crowd Feb. 27 to the Watkins Glen Community Center. Two bands -- Li'l Anne & Hot Cayenne and The Sim Redmond Band -- provided music, and New Orleans cuisine and desserts prepared by local chefs were provided. There were also wine and beer tastings, a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle and lots of dancing. Proceeds will benefit the Humane Society.

Photo in text: One of the Mardi Gras party-goers.


Woman dies in one-car Schuyler crash

Esther I. Cooper, 81, of Lowman died Sunday morning in a 10:45 a.m. crash on County Route 16 in the Schuyler County Town of Orange. Sheriff's investigators said Cooper was a passenger in a northbound vehicle driven by her husband, Vincent E. Cooper, 82, of Lowman, that crossed the southbound lane, left the road and struck a telephone pole. Vincent Cooper was airlifted from the scene to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa., where he was listed in critical condition. Esther Cooper was taken to Schuyler Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The investigation is continuing.


Rotary honors Furney as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Ashton Furney was honored Feb. 25 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for February. Furney was introduced by his wrestling coach, Bill Lindsley, who said the honoree -- who has also played football and will be competing in track this spring -- "is a great role model, is respectful to others and very active in his school and community," including serving as "an unofficial 'Big Brother' to struggling students." Furney will enter the Army in July.

Left: O-M's Ashton Furney.

At the forum: From left, Schuyler County District Attorney Joe Fazzary, Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike, and Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman.


Task Force probes heroin woes, solutions

A Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction gathered information Tuesday night, Feb. 23 at the Penn Yan Middle School as a panel of more than 20 people discussed the growing problem of heroin use and possible answers. The forum, sponsored by State Senator Tom O'Mara -- a member of the task force -- heard from prosecutors, sheriffs, judges, health care workers, educators, counselors, and recovering addicts. A common theme was a need for more funds for preventative and treatment programs, and harsher penalties for heroin dealers.

All agreed that the spread of heroin is epidemic, with Schuyler County District Attorney Joe Fazzary noting that there were 18 reported opioid overdose cases in Schuyler in "just four months, and six of those people died. It's a real problem not just for cities, but for (smaller) places like ours." On hand with O'Mara were the task force co-chairs, Senators George Amedore of Rotterdam, Terrence Murphy of Yorktown and Robert Ortt of North Tonawanda, task force member Senator Rich Funke of Perinton, and State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano of Corning. About 150 area residents attended, with some asking questions at the end.

Photos in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara (top) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano at the forum.


Philip C. Smith dies

Former Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Philip C. Smith, a decorated Korean War veteran, local businessman, director of the Veterans Administration of Schuyler County, and a member of many boards and committees, died Monday. Calling hours and a memorial service are set for Friday, Feb. 26. Obituary.


Left: Philip C. Smith

Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi, left, and Deputy Mayor Gary Schimidt at Monday night's meeting.


Board won't change stand on Crestwood

The Watkins Glen Village Board said Feb. 22 that it is standing by the vote taken by the board preceding it, in August 2014, opposing the Crestwood energy firm's LPG storage plan. That plan, long under consideration by the state, calls for the storage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas in abandoned salt caverns west of Seneca Lake. When urged by Crestwood and union representatives at a Feb. 1 meeting to reverse the earlier board's opposition, the current board did not take a stand either way -- which prompted talk in the community that a change might occur. But in answer to a question on the matter at Monday night's board meeting, Mayor Sam Schimizzi said that the preceding board -- headed by then Mayor Mark Swinnerton and Deputy Mayor Scott Gibson -- "made a decision. We're leaving that decision the way it is." Added Trustee Kevin Thornton (photo inset): "People are talking because Crestwood was here (at the Feb. 1 meeting) and invited us on a tour" of a company facility in Savona. "But nobody is changing position here. Spread it around."

For a look at the summary of that earlier Swinnerton-era meeting, click here.

Rescue personnel at the scene of the crash.


Odessa crash results in DWI charge

A Nissan Murano vehicle traveling on Cotton Hanlon Road in Odessa went out of control as it neared Route 224, struck a guardrail and hit a tree at about 5:45 p.m. Feb. 20, deploying the vehicle's air bags. The female driver and her female passenger were uninjured and crawled out of the car themselves. The driver, said a local rescue official, was subsequently charged by an investigating officer with driving whiie intoxicated. Both women, the official said, were from out of the area and unfamiliar with Odessa roads.


Prom gowns, tuxedos displayed at O-M show

The annual Prom Fashion Show in the Fetter-Brown Auditorium at Odessa-Montour High School displayed 20 gowns and an equal number of tuxedos available for the upcoming O-M prom, set for May 8 at the Watkins Glen International Media Center. Schools.



Left: O-M senior Chris Foote on stage in a tux.


DA asks that 111 cases be dismissed

Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph Fazzary on Feb. 11 asked Town of Reading Justice Raymond Berry to dismiss 111 pending cases against defendants arrested for trespassing on property allegedly owned by the Crestwood energy firm along State Rte. 14 north of Watkins Glen, but nearly 260 other cases remain active. Government.


Odessa man dies from crash injuries

Glenn Marsh, 58, of Odessa has died from injuries sustained Feb. 9 in a head-on crash on Route 13, State Police and a family member have reported. The crash occurred, police said, when a northbound tractor-trailer went out of control on ice near the Schuyler-Chemung County line, crossed the road and struck a small southbound sedan driven by Marsh, who had to be cut from the vehicle. Marsh sustained massive trauma and was taken to Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa., where TV news reports said he died overnight. The truck driver wasn't injured, police said. Route 13 was closed for several hours whiile the vehicle wreckage was removed.


IMRRC names Weidemann its executive director

Former Clemens Center executive director Tom Weidemann has been named to the same position at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen. People.


Left: Tom Weidemann

Artist's rendering of State Park gathering area near Franklin St.


State Park entrance makeover announced

Dignitaries, including New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, were on hand Feb. 11 for the unveiling of a $6.5 million plan to transform the Watkins Glen State Park entrance, moving the parking lot and turning the entryway green. Government.

Left: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul


Chedzoy honored as Student of the Month

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club honored Watkins Glen High School senior Ian Chedzoy Feb. 11 as its February WGHS Student of the Month. Chedzoy, introduced by teacher Karen Armstrong, is a standout three-sport athlete (football, wrestling and lacrosse), a High Honor student and a two-time member of the Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athlete-citizens. He plans to attend Alfred University and study ceramic engineering, as well as play lacrosse.

Left: Ian Chedzoy (Photo by Fred Hall)

Pancake Supper diners Frank Steber and Robin Burnett.


Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper held

The annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper was held Feb. 9 at St. James' Parish House in Watkins Glen -- and while the food was excellent as usual, attendance was lower than expected, likely thanks to the snowstorm that struck the region that afternoon, creating some traffic issues on the hills surrounding Watkins. For those who missed it, the dinner consisted of buckwheat and buttermilk pancakes, sausage, eggs, applesauce (that served well as a pancake topping), home-fried potatoes and beverages.

Montour Falls Mayor John King, left, and Watkins Glen Village Trustee Gary Schmidt were among the diners.

Legislators Carl Blowers, left, and Michael Lausell at Monday night's monthly meeting.


Animal cruelty ticket law OKd; sales tax up

The Schuyler County Legislature on Feb. 8 approved a Local Law that will streamline animal cruelty investigations by authorizing the county Animal Control Officer to issue appearance tickets in cases of dog licensing and cruelty cases, a move that county Humane Society president Georgie Taylor (right) told legislators "will serve to increase the number of animals being licensed," will "make cruelty / neglect investigations more efficient" and "bring animals to safety more quickly." Often in the past, the control officer has worked jointly with a deputy, says Taylor, who notes that under such a system, "there is the risk of one person assuming another is doing something and it slips through the cracks." With shared responsibility, she adds, "it is also difficult for all parties to stay current on (changing) state laws."

The meeting also saw mention of the 2015 sales tax revenue in Schuyler, which Administrator Tim O'Hearn noted was up about 1.5% from 2014 at $10,262,786. Between $500,000 and $700,000 of that total was attributed to the Phish concert last summer, he said, which helped counter losses tied to the Watkins Glen International track closure (for repaving) and the drop in gasoline prices. That drop, he said, led to a $308,000 reduction in sales tax revenue on gasoline from the previous year.

Photo in text: The Humane Society's Georgie Taylor


SWCD bestows honors at annual luncheon

The Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District provides Merit and Lifetime Service awards at its annual luncheon, held at the WGI Media Center. Awards.

Left: Three of the honorees.

Drinks were poured from the top of an ice sculpture, down into waiting glasses.


The Ice Bar weekend draws to a close

The annual Ice Bar at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel began Thursday night, Feb. 4, continued Friday night and concluded Saturday night, Feb. 6 with ice sculptures, fireworks and plenty of wine and food. The first night was Chamber of Commerce night, whereby members of the Corning, Watkins Area, Chemung and Yates Chambers received a complimentary drink. Friday saw a large increase in the crowd, and Saturday night was likewise a sell-out. Whereas the temperature in recent years has been frigid during Ice Bar, organizers this time faced the challenge of keeping the ice from melting in springlike conditions -- and used dry ice and thermal covers to accomplish it. A portion of the proceeds from the Ice Bar goes each year to the American Red Cross, where a spokesperson said the money realized from the event stays in the region and helps cover costs incurred when residents are forced from their homes by fire.

Photo in text: An ice sculpture on the patio behind the hotel

Half-court game-winner

Odessa-Montour 5th grader Daniel Lewis of Montour Falls sank a half-court basket at the buzzer Feb. 5 in a travel league basketball game in the Jack Davis Gym at O-M to defeat Watkins Glen. The moment was caught on video by Andrew Malaney, who posted it on Twitter. To view the video, click here.

The north wall of the Franklin Street Gallery is adorned with impressionist art.


Impressionism is on display at gallery

An opening reception was held Friday evening, Feb. 5 at the Franklin Street Gallery in Watkins Glen for an exhibit on display through the month of February featuring Impressionist works by regional artists. Most of the north wall of the gallery is covered by the artwork, which ranges from acrylics to oil to digital to photography. The works are for sale. The gallery's winter hours: Sunday through Tuesday by appointment, Wednesday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Above right: The Wanderer, an oil by Meaghan Troupe.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, left, and State Senator Tom O'Mara at the Rotary Club luncheon. Palmesano discussed the need for a better organ-donation system in New York because current shortcomings cost lives. "We can and must do better," he said.


Palmesano, O'Mara weigh in on Albany

State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano were guest speakers at the weekly Watkins-Montour Rotary Club luncheon Feb. 4 at the Elks Lodge in Watkins Glen, and each touched on the major issues in the current legislative session: a proposed hike in the minimum wage over five years to $15 an hour (which they fear will counter economic development in the state); the heroin epidemic across the country (officials are "really struggling to get a grip on it," O'Mara said); and the delay in a state decision regarding the proposed storage of LPG in salt caverns west of Seneca Lake -- a situation O'Mara termed "frustrating ... to do nothing is to exacerbate the situation."

Longtime O-M bus driver Chuck Vary has hung up his keys.


Vary wraps up 43-year career as bus driver

After driving more than a million miles with up to 72 passengers across an accident-free 43-year period, Chuck Vary stepped down Jan. 29 as an Odessa-Montour school bus driver. Vary began his driving career in 1973, so he served generations of students. Along the way, he also worked as a furnace repairman, operated concession stands at the state park, and owned an ice cream store/restaurant in Montour Falls. Chuck celebrated his retirement with family and friends Saturday at the Montour Moose Lodge as he nears his dream of escaping the New York winters by heading for sunny Florida.

Guest of honor Andy Manzer, left, speaks with one of the many people on hand to wish him well as he leaves his post as President and CEO of Schuyler Hospital.


Scores on hand to honor departing Manzer

Schuyler Hospital President and CEO Andy Manzer, who is departing soon for a job as Executive Vice President and network Chief Operating Officer at Bassett Health Care in Cooperstown, was honored by scores of friends and colleagues Tuesday evening, Feb. 2 at a reception organized by the hospital and held in the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Manzer, who has served at Schuyler Hospital since 2011, and recently led its affiliation with the Cayuga Health System in Ithaca, will be succeeded by James B. Watson, who has been serving as president and chief operating officer of the Arnot Health-Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital in Bath.

Left: One of the many well-wishers on hand at the reception was Ken Wilson.

Watkins School Board members Kris Clarkson and Gloria Brubaker


Baseball step OK'd; D'Alleva gets tenure

The Watkins Glen School Board Monday night, Feb. 1 approved submission of an application to Section IV officials "to let them know we are moving ahead" with combined Watkins/Odessa-Montour varsity and Modified baseball teams this spring, said Superintendent Tom Phillips. Official documents detailing specifics of the merged squad will be ready soon, he said.

The board also approved a tenure appointment as administrator, effective July 1, for High School Principal Kai D'Alleva, who was praised by Phillips "for his leadership" and for "the smoothest transition" melding a Middle School into a High School "that I've seen in my 30 years in education. What he's done with the high school is incredible."

Photo in text: Kai D'Alleva at Monday's meeting.

For a meeting summary, click here.


Watkins Village Board vote switch sought; Chief Struble weighs in on heroin 'epidemic'

The Watkins Glen Village Board was asked Feb. 1 to visit the Crestwood energy firm's propane facility in Savona. The invitation came from a US Salt rep who hopes to reverse the previous village administration's vote opposing propane storage in Crestwood salt caverns west of Seneca Lake -- a proposal hung up at the state level.

And Village Police Chief Tom Struble, asked by Mayor Sam Schimizzi to assess the heroin problem in the area, said it was an "epidemic" that far exceeded the boundaries of Watkins Glen. He said law enforcement needs the help of residents to help combat the drug's spread, which has resulted in several overdose fatalities. Government.

Left: Police Chief Tom Struble at Monday's board meeting.


Grand jury indicts 2 in rape case

A Schuyler County Grand Jury on Jan. 28 indicted two men on charges that they raped an 18-year-old female on Aug. 25, 2015 after providing her with alcohol which "rendered her physically helpless," according to the county District Attorney's office. Charged with First Degree Rape were Jeffrey A. Forney Jr., 21, of Watkins Glen, and Aaron G. Bowen, 22, of Beaver Dams. The crimes are alleged to have occurred at the home of Forney, who is also charged with two counts of Criminal Sexual Act, First Degree. Bowen was charged with one act of Criminal Sexual Act, First Degree.

Bowen's charges, described as B Violent Felonies, carry "a sentencing potential of 5 to 25 years in prison," the DA's office said, adding that Forney's charges -- described as "Predatory Sexual Assaults, A-II Felonies" -- carry "a sentencing potential with a minimum of 10 to 25 years, but a ... maximum of life in prison."

"The case came to the attention of law enforcement," the DA's office said, "when just after 6:00 a.m." on Aug. 25, "the victim was found face down and non-responsive, in a state of undress, in a grassy area next to a parking lot off the Old Ithaca Road in Horseheads."

Photos: Jeffrey A. Forney Jr. (top) and Aaron G. Bowen


Chamber holds its annual Winter Gala

Men and women in elegant attire, live music by the group Suspect, a fine meal, silent auction packages, a Stock Your Cellar Wine Raffle, a masquerade theme (left) and awards for Community Spirit and Lifetime Achievement were all part of annual Winter Gala Jan. 22 at the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen -- a fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce. Features.

The view of the Winterfest gathering from outside.


Various local artists and vendors were on hand with their wares Saturday night, Jan. 23 for Winterfest at the new Rooster Fish Brewing tasting room at 111 N. Franklin Street in Watkins Glen. There was live music by Evandjoe and Sean Farley for a sizable crowd that also filtered outside to a food truck and fire pits. Attendance was free. Organizers promoting the event described it as "a one-stop evening for drinks, dinner and fun," showcasing "what upstate New York has to offer in the winter."


Rotary honors Barrett as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour senior Logan Barrett was honored Jan. 21 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Student of the Month for January. Barrett was introduced by teacher Holly Faulk, who said the honoree -- a member of National Honor Society, Chorus and the school play, the Student Council treasurer and Senior Class president -- "stands up for what he believes in, and for others," and is "definitely deserving of this award." Barrett plans to attend college and study music and the law.


Bonnie Scott honored as Citizen of Year

Longtime Odessa resident and businesswoman Bonnie Scott was honored Jan. 18 with the third annual Odessa Citizen of the Year Award, presented by the Odessa Village Board prior to a public hearing and the board's regular monthly meeting. Scott, who operates the Joyful Adornments glass studio in Odessa and previously operated a Longaberger basket business as well as helping her husband, Fred, operate the Vedder and Scott Funeral Home, said she loves small-town living as embodied in Odessa. Scott, raised on the southside of Elmira, and her husband, now retired, will be moving in the summer to the Roanoke, Virginia area. Said Mayor Keith Pierce: Scott "has done a lot for the community but never goes out of the way for credit."

Photo in text: Bonnie Scott is presented her Citizen of the Year plaque by Odessa Mayor Keith Pierce.

Public Hearing: Brian Bleiler (above left) spoke on behalf of the Odessa Baptist Church at a public hearing Jan. 18 before the Odessa Village Board on the church's plan to build a new structure on a 4.8-acre parcel of land off Fowler Place on the village's eastern end. The original Baptist church in the village was sold in anticipation of the new, one-story, 50-by-100-foot structure, for which work is expected to begin this year, with occupancy a year later. Discussion at the hearing focused on drainage and plans for a parking lot with 35-40 spots.

Photo in text: A map outlining the new church and parking.


Watson named Schuyler Hospital president

The boards of directors of Schuyler Hospital and the Cayuga Health System have named James B. Watson (pictured at right) to the position of president of Schuyler Hospital and vice president of the Cayuga Health System, succeeding Andy Manzer, who is taking a job as executive vice president and network chief operating officer at Bassett Health Care in Cooperstown. Watson, the current president and chief operating officer of the Arnot Health-Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital in Bath, will assume his new duties in February. People.


Cain returns to O-M

Odessa-Montour School District Superintendent Chris Wood, right in the photo above, welcomes Kelly Cain back to the district as Assistant Director of Facilities. Cain -- approved by the School Board Jan. 14 -- worked at O-M from 1994-2011 as a bus driver and custodian/night maintenance supervisor before working for GST BOCES as a working foreperson. "I'm very excited to be back at Odessa-Montour," said Cain, who has continued to live in Odessa. Said Wood: "We had an excellent pool of candidates for this position," which opened with the retirement of facilities chief Red Lapierre. "The skills that Kelly has gained in his previous positions, along with his knowledge of our facilities, community and staff, will be great assets to our district."


Rotary honors Murphy as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Brenen Murphy (left) was honored by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club Jan. 14 as its WGHS Student of the Month for January. Murphy was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who said the honoree -- the kicker last fall on the Watkins/O-M varsity football team -- "looks at school as a scholar" who "values the whole thought process," and is a "true leader, a true moral compass." Murphy plans to become a math teacher.

White wall

We received these photos from Ted Marks, owner of Atwater Estate Vineyards along the east shore of Seneca Lake, with a note saying he snapped them "right out of my office window" as snow moved into the area Jan. 12.

Goals and priorities

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano weighs in with a column on the important subjects facing state officials in the 2016 Legislative Session in Albany. Palmesano.

Clear view

With the old Frozen Food Locker building demolished at the north end of Watkins Glen's business district, the view north from Rt. 14 gives an unobstructed look at the railroad tracks running close to where the building stood -- and close to where its successor will rise: a structure with seven apartments that might later be sold as townhouses. The Watkins Brewery Holdings investment group behind the project has a completion target date of November 1.

Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan, left, and new legislator Mark Rondinaro at Jan. 11 session.


Appointments, discussion mark meeting

The Schuyler County Legislature met for its regular monthly session Jan. 11 -- a meeting short on resolutions and long on discussion. Topics included the appointment procedure for the Industrial Development Agency; belt-tightening measures at Corning Community College; and the DEC's approach to the Crestwood LPG storage proposal. Appointments were made to various committees and boards; and legislators backed a Local Law that would authorize the county Animal Control Officer to issue appearance tickets. A public hearing on that law will be held at the Legislature's next monthly meeting, on Feb. 8.

The sunset on Jan. 7, as seen from Odessa.


Legislature names Getman to County Attorney post

Steven J. Getman, who has been serving as interim Schuyler County Attorney, was named Jan. 6 to a four-year term as County Attorney by the county Legislature. Government.

Left: Steven J. Getman

A Christmas poem

A story in verse called "Genesis," written by the editor in 2014 and published near the end of that year, is presented here once again in the spirit of the season. Genesis.


Bartholomew not guilty in stun-gun case

Schuyler County Judge Dennis Morris has found suspended Watkins Glen High School teacher Kate Bartholomew (left) not guilty. Barthlomew had been charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in a May 2, 2014 stun-gun-on-a-bus incident. The case, after several delays, was heard before Morris on Dec. 14 and 15 in Schuyler County Court. He had reserved judgment until Jan. 5. People.

Village trustees Laurie DeNardo and Tony Fraboni listen as Sara Caldwell outlines her summer Clute Park plans.


On a cold night, thoughts of summer films

Outdoor movie maven Sara Caldwell (pictured at right) proposed to the Watkins Glen Village Board Monday night, Jan. 4th -- a windy, snowy, bone-chilling night -- that her Movies on the Lake program at Clute Park (which debuted once a week for four weeks in the warmth of July last summer) run on Wednesday nights in both July and August this year (except for Aug. 10, Italian Festival week). She also wants the number of vendors on hand to expand into a Wednesday Farmer's Market at Clute from late spring through September, from 6-9 p.m. (and later in the evening once the movie shows start), and envisions the addition of live music. She has a list of family-friendly films, and says she will pick four of them, with the others to be picked by the public. The Village Board expressed enthusiasm, and asked her to file all necessary paperwork with details.

Photo in text: Sara Caldwell at Monday's board meeting.

The musical honorees at Monday's School Board meeting.


District recognizes musical achievements

Area All State Music Students from Watkins Glen High School were honored Jan. 4 by the Watkins School Board for their musical achievements. They included, from left in the photo above: James St. Julien, Ruthe Gardner, Gabi Decker, Hanley Elliott and Conlin Wysocki. The board also heard a lengthy explanation of the district's technology advancements, outlined by technology director Melanie Chandler. For a district summary of the meeting, click here.


A spike in Schuyler opioid overdoses

Schuyler County Public Health and the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs are citing an increase in opioid overdoses locally, and offering suggestions on how to deal with overdose emergencies. People.


Cargill donates money to Robotics Club

Keith Klug, left in the photo above -- representing Cargill, Inc. -- recently presented a donation of $4,185 to the Schuyler County 4-H Robotics Club, Deus ex Machina. Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County -- which oversees the 4-H program -- has been recognized by Cargill, Inc. for engaging local youth in Science, Technology, and Math skills and connecting them to careers in engineering.


Fitzgerald novel named to Best Books list

"Fracking Justice," the second novel published by Watkins Glen author Michael Fitzgerald, was named to the Kirkus Reviews list of Best Indie Books of 2015 in the magazine's mid-December issue. The novel, set in a fictional Pennsylvania town and dealing with the controversial issue of hydrofracking, "reads like an emergency manual for activists battling environmental despoliation," said Kirkus Reviews. "To be honest, I'm stunned -- and very happy too, of course," said Fitzgerald."Kirkus Reviews is the industry standard. (This) certainly sets the bar pretty high for my next novel." Fitzgerald has been a journalist for more than 40 years, and is a professor emeritus of journalism at California State University, Sacramento.

Photo in text: Michael Fitzgerald with a store display featuring his book.


WGFA leads holiday service project

The Watkins Glen Faculty Association collects packaged socks and underwear for people in need in our area. Schools.

Left: Collected items

Ian Chedzoy holds his Joel Stephens Award. From left, Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour football coach Lou Condon Jr.; Chedzoy, who helped the football team to seven wins; assistant coach Tom Struble and Modified coach Jack McCauley.
(Photo by Don Romeo)


Chedzoy receives Joel Stephens Award

Watkins Glen three-sport standout Ian Chedzoy was among four outstanding area athletes honored Dec. 17 with the annual Joel Stephens Award given to football standouts who reflect the commitment, courage and character of Stephens -- a record-setting Elmira Notre Dame athlete who died of cancer at the age of 22 in 1998. "It means a great deal," said Chedzoy. "It's an honor to be mentioned in the same category as him." The awards were presented by the Kiwanis Club during a luncheon at the downtown Holiday Inn in Elmira.


Manzer to take post in Cooperstown

Schuyler Hospital President and CEO Andy Manzer (right) will be leaving March 1 to take the job as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Bassett Healthcare Network. He succeeds Bertine McKenna, who left the organization in May. A national search resulted in a pool of 30 applicants that was whittled to six semifinalists and two finalists, with Manzer the top choice. He will be responsible for the operating performance of Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown and Bassett Healthcare Network, a system that provides care and service to people living in a 5,600 square-mile region in upstate New York. Manzer has served as President and CEO at Schuyler since 2011, and recently led its affiliation with Cayuga Health System in Ithaca, serving as system vice president since 2014 in addition to retaining his roles at Schuyler. He lives in Montour Falls with his wife, Michele, and daughters Mia and Emily.

Photo in text: Andy Manzer (File photo)

Sarah Schleuter-Eisman entertained Rotarians Dec. 17 by singing holiday songs at their weekly luncheon meeting at the Elks Lodge in Watkins Glen. Sarah, a theater major at Corning Community College and a veteran of regional plays, performed eight songs, including "Away in a Manger," "Silver and Gold" and "O Holy Night," and received a standing ovation.


Rotary honors Lodge as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Madison Lodge (left) was honored Dec. 17 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for December. She was introduced by teacher Holly Campbell, who called the honoree "compassionate" and "a gifted student and athlete ... who treats others with dignity and kindness." Maddie plans to attend Ithaca College and pursue a career in Physical Therapy.

WGHS Cross Country Coach John Fazzary hands certificate to team member Shawn Rutledge. The team finished second in New York State among Class C schools.


School Board honors Sectional champions

The Watkins Glen School Board on Dec. 14 presented certificates to Section IV champions and to State Tournament participants. They included the boys cross country team, No. 2 in the state in Class C; Lexi Castellaneta, sectional Diving champ and a State tourney competitor; Katherine Meehan, the Section IV Breaststroke champion; and Maggie Bond, who earned a spot at States in cross country.

Left top: Maggie Bond with State 2nd place plaque earned by the boys cross country team. She made States, too.

Left bottom: Katherine Meehan gets hug from her swim coach, Andrew Chouinard.

Raffles were a feature of the Dec. 12 Seneca Santa fund-raising.


Music, food, fun mark Seneca Santa party

The annual Seneca Santa fund-raising party -- held Dec. 12 at the Grist Iron Brewing Company in Hector in conjunction with previous longtime host Hazlitt's 1852 Vineyards -- drew a large crowd enjoying the warm weather, live music, raffles, wine, and food. The event generates thousands of dollars each year for the Seneca Santa program, which since the 1940s has provided presents at Christmas for underprivileged children in Schuyler County.

Left top: Lou Cicconi, part of the musical entertainment.

Left bottom: State Senator Tom O'Mara arrives at the party.

At the party were, from left, 2012 Watkins Glen High School grads Chelsea Lehman, Hannah Pastrick and Cassie Wait.

O'Mara: Southern Tier big winner in grants

State Senator Tom O’Mara applauded the Dec. 10 announcement that the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) are two of the three winners in this year’s Upstate Revitalization Incentive (URI) economic development aid competition. Each region will receive a $500 million portion of the $1.5 billion in URI grants being awarded for the first time this year. The URI awards will be distributed over the next five years. Government.

SCOPED finds grants exciting. Government.


Rotary honors Bond as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Maggie Bond was honored Thursday, Dec. 10 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for December. Bond was introduced by club president Chris Burns, who noted that the honoree is a three-sport athlete in cross country (where she earned a spot in the state tournament this past season), basketball and track. She is also secretary of the Student Council and Varsity Club, and treasurer of the school's chapter of the National Honor Society. (Photo in text: Maggie Bond receives her Student of the Month plaque from Rotary Club president Chris Burns.)


Winter Concert held

Seventh through 12th grade Watkins Glen students presented a Winter Concert (left) in the high school auditorium Tuesday night, Dec. 8. Concert.

Eslinger named to Watkins Planning Board

Brian Eslinger (right), innkeeper at The Blackberry Inn Bed and Breakfast on 6th Street in Watkins Glen, was named to the Watkins Glen Planning Board Monday night, Dec. 7 to succeed Tom Merrill, who resigned his seat at last month's Planning Board session. Eslinger was approved by the Village Board at its Monday meeting after he had -- following a similar plea by Colonial Inn & Motel owner Paul Marcellus -- urged the village to consider altering its signage laws to allow changeable message signs at local businesses. The law currently precludes such signs but is allowed at a couple of locations, he said, and thus is applied unevenly.

Photo in text: Brian Eslinger at Monday's Village Board meeting.

Santa and Mrs. Claus proved popular in the parade. Santa later appeared at the Famous Brands store.


Watkins holds annual Village Christmas

The weather cooperated -- mid 40s temperatures and almost no wind off the lake -- as Watkins Glen held its annual Village Christmas Friday night, Dec. 4. The event -- with vendors, reindeer, songs and a parade, and with stores open late -- drew a large crowd downtown. The parade offered trucks from various fire departments; floats; marchers representing Scouting, the Relay for Life and Four Dragon Martial Arts; and Santa and Mrs. Claus. The line of march was described to the crowd by annual announcer Jim Howell.


Left top: This dancer was one of several performing in the streets as a prelude to the Dec. 19 performance of Nutcracker in Motion by the New Heights Dance Theater at the Clemens Center in Elmira.

Left bottom: Odessa Fire Chief Mike Tomassi leads his department in the parade.

Floats like this one helped enliven the Village Christmas parade, which had Visions of a Wine Country Christmas theme. The parade was sponsored by Visions Federal Credit Union.

Check presentation

The USW Local 124604 at US Salt donated a check for $2,561 Saturday morning, Dec. 5th to the Seneca Santa program, which distributes presents each Christmas to underprivileged children in Schuyler County. Receiving the donation were Santa and his helpers during a USW Local-sponsored breakfast fund-raiser at the Mechanics Club in Montour Falls. The funds were from the breakfast and through raffles at the plant.

The Glenora sign that adorned the south side of the building for years was in two sections. Here, the second half is knocked down.


Frozen Food Locker demolition begins

Demolition of the old Frozen Food Locker building on the north end of the Watkins Glen business district -- a building with its origins in the mid-19th century -- began shortly after 8 a.m. Friday, Dec. 4th.

Swarthout Recycling did the honors, battling the strongly built building's southern half, with the steel-beamed northern portion targeted for next week. The building, which has served as a brewery, mill and Welch's Grape Juice facility in its long history -- and has been in disrepair for years -- will make way for a building with seven apartments that might eventually be sold as town houses.

"It's a tough old girl," said Brian Swarthout, the demolition equipment operator, during a break.

Members of the Watkins Brewery Holdings investment group behind the project said demolition should be done next week. The new building has a completion target date of Nov. 1, 2016.


Above: Equiipment operator Brian Swarthout tightens a nut, stopping a hydraulic fluid leak; and, later, debris tumbles to the ground.

Dust was a frequent component of Friday's demolition work.

National Honor Society ceremonial candles.


Induction held at O-M

An annual induction ceremony at Odessa-Montour High School welcomes 11 new members into the school's chapter of the National Honor Society. Schools.

WGHS students pass along boxes that ended up in an upstairs storage area of the Presbyterian Church.

WG students offload toys for Seneca Santa

Students from Watkins Glen High School formed an assembly line Thursday afternoon, Dec. 3, passing along more than 100 boxes of toys, games and dolls from a truck to the back door of the First Presbyterian Church of Watkins Glen, up stairs and along a hallway into a storage room. The gifts were provided to the Seneca Santa program at cost by Hesselson's in Elmira Heights and delivered by truck to the church, where the parcels are stored and organized for distribution to underprivileged children at Christmas.

Photo: Negotiating a stairwell.

The tree moments after being lit.


Odessa holds its 5th annual Tree Lighting

The lights on the Odessa Village Christmas Tree were turned on to the song "Oh Christmas Tree" Saturday evening, Nov. 28 -- the music provided by musician Kim Laursen and a group of children from the local Methodist Church. The tree -- from which 15 feet at the bottom were removed before it was put in place on the lawn fronting the Municipal Building along Main Street -- came from a tree lot in Bath. The Village Board provided hot dogs, cookies and beverage for the dozens of area residents attending the ceremony.

Photo in text: Kim Laursen sings a holiday tune in front of the Odessa Village Christmas Tree.

Activist Sandra Steingraber and Cornell professor Robert Howarth at the Watkins Glen State Park gorge. Both were going to Paris the followingweek for the Climate Summit, Howarth as a delegate and Steingraber as a journalist for the online magazine EcoWatch, where she is a longtime commentator.


Watkins Glen marchers back climate action

Nearly 350 people gathered at Seneca Harbor Park for speeches and then marched along Franklin Street in Watkins Glen Nov. 29 in support of global climate action and an end to gas transport over the State Park gorge and gas storage in abandoned salt caverns near Seneca Lake. Many of the marchers wore orange vests to symbolize the emergency that they say climate change represents. Among the speakers were New York Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, former Congressional candidate Martha Robertson, and Schuyler County Legislator Michael Lausell. The march reached from the lake to the gorge and back again.

Photo in text: One of Sunday's many signs.

Marchers lined up with a message at the State Park gorge.

Crowd of runners gathers at the corner of 4th and Franklin Streets just before start of the 2nd annual Turkey Trot.


Turkey Trot takes to streets of Watkins

A 2nd annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot run, jog and walk through Watkins Glen drew a crowd of participants Nov. 26 that organizer Kathie Notarfonzo of Exercise Enterprise noted was significantly larger than in the inaugural run of 2014. The group met at the Community Bank downtown and ran on the sidewalks of the village over a 5K course in what was described as "a pre-caloric burn" heading into heavy Thanksgiving feasting.


Left top: Runner dressed as a turkey.
Left bottom: Brenda Fitch and daughter Courtney Warren were on hand.

Tom and Carol Peters were among the many diners.


Burdett church hosts a Thanksgiving feast

Scores of diners made their way Nov. 26 to the Burdett Presbyterian Church for a free Thanksgiving meal and a shared camaraderie in the friendly confines of the church's dining hall. The meal -- the fifth annual such gathering -- consisted of traditional fare: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn, green beans, squash, fruit salad, rolls, pies, coffee, iced tea and lemonade.
Photo in text: Alexis Gonzalez and Billy Bacon at work in the kitchen during the Thanksgiving meal.

Note: The First Baptist Church of Montour Falls also conducted a free Thanksgiving meal Thursday.

WGHS Interact members before the dinner. (Photo provided)

A team effort leads to Thanksgiving dinner

Watkins Glen High School's Interact Club joined folks who run the Community Table to serve free Thanksgiving Dinners Tuesday evening, Nov. 24 to 125 people at St. Mary's Center in Watkins. Interact, with a long history of providing such Thanksgiving meals, joined forces this year under the guidance of chef Brud Holland (pictured at right) and Deacon Tom Ruda to set up, serve and clean up -- and baked pies, cupcakes and cookies in the bargain to supplement the complete turkey dinner. Every Tuesday at 5 p.m., the soup is on at the Community Table at the Center, and everyone is invited. There is no cost, no expectation -- just good soup and good company. As Interact advisor Marie Fitzsimmons put it: "Here's to many more ventures where our youth work hand in hand with our adults to create community. Perfect."

$25,000 raised

The annual November Splendor fund-raising dinner-dance at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel on Nov. 13 raised more than $25,000 for use by Schuyler Hospital and the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility in Montour Falls. Features.


WGHS autumn athletes honored at ceremony

The Watkins Glen High School Sports Awards Night sponsored by the Sports Boosters' Club is held in the school cafeteria, celebrating a fall season of athletic achievements. Sports.


Left: MVP plaque held by soccer's Matt Hulbert.

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr .....

It was a cold day Monday, Nov. 23 and especially so on the southern shore of Seneca Lake, whose water was steel gray. Air temperatures were in the 30s, and down into the 20s after nightfall.

Holiday Bazaar

Santa Claus was among the highlights Nov. 21 of the annual Holiday Bazaar at the Odessa-Catharine United Methodist Church. The event also featured a bake sale, art and craft vendors, door prizes and lunch.

Watkins Glen Planning Board Chairman Chris Bond, left, and board member Joe Fazzary at Wednesday's meeting.


Frustrated Planning Board member: 'I'm done'

Watkins Glen Planning Board member Tom Merrill (pictured at right) said "you will have my official resignation. I'm done" before leaving prior to the end of the board's monthly meeting Wednesday night, Nov. 18 at Village Hall. Merrill's move was prompted by what he called ongoing "frustration" with the board's ineffectiveness -- triggered at the meeting by a preliminary site plan approval granted on a project calling for construction of six apartments in a two-building complex on Old Corning Road. Government.


O'M's Eberhardt honored by Rotary

Odessa-Montour High School senior Luke Eberhardt (left) was honored Nov. 19 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for November. He was introduced by teacher Russ Gardner, who described the honoree -- a member of the soccer and track teams -- as "academically strong" with "a bright personality," and as "a great example for all of his peers." Eberhardt plans to attend Corning Community College in its Criminal Justice program.

Photo: Luke Eberhardt at the Rotary Club's luncheon, with teacher Russ Gardner in the background.

Three of the many pies arrive at Wednesday's Pie-Palooza -- a themed annual meeting of Cooperative Extension.


Buy local, eat local is theme at annual meet

The annual meeting of the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Schuyler County, held Nov. 18 in the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls, was billed as "Pie Palooza" -- and in fact featured sweet and dinner pies of various kinds as part of a buffet meal. The pies, all locally produced, reflected the evening theme of "buy local, eat local" -- the subject of a speech by Roger Ort of Cooperative Extension titled "CCE and Your Local Food Connection."


Top left: Cooperative Extension's Roger Ort serves himself some food at the meeting. Bottom left: One of the annual meeting's speakers, Brittney Loughlin, local chef at Atlas Bowl in Trumansburg.

Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi, left, and Trustee Gary Schmidt at Monday's Village Board meeting.


New Italian fest date; water rate hike OK'd

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Nov. 16 approved a Local Law that permits a hike in the village water rate by a minimum of $3 per month. The increase, the first since 2009, goes into effect Dec. 1 and will be applied to the January bills.

The board also gave its blessing to a change in the Italian American Festival date -- announced by festival chief Lou Perazzini (pictured at right) -- from its usual early August date to the weekend of Aug. 12-14. The change moves the festival away from the NASCAR weekend, which is earlier this year, on Aug 4-7.

And Code Enforcement Officer Greg Larnard told the board that the demolition of the Frozen Food Locker building -- which will make way for rental units -- will likely begin Nov. 23 on the building's north end. Demolition had been delayed for asbestos removal.

School Board summary

The Watkins Glen School Board conducted a meeting on Monday, Nov. 16. A summary of that session can be found by clicking here.

David Scott as Professor Harold Hill in "The Music Man."


LCP's 'Music Man' ends its 3-day run

The Lake Country Players' production of "The Music Man" was presented for the third and final time Sunday afternoon, Nov. 15 in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium after evening showings Friday and Saturday. The play -- popular on stage and screeen and full of well-known songs -- was directed by Kim Laursen.


Left: Sarra Solomon as the mayor's wife.

From left: Mia Manzer, William Yeater and Terry Neufer in a scene from"The Music Man."

Big Band Sound

The Hepcats Big Band out of Corning performed Saturday night, Nov. 14 at the Clute Park Community Center in Watkins Glen at a dance sponsored by the Hepcats and the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club designed to raise funds for Rotary's ongoing fight to eradicate polio in the world. An audience of 160 people were on hand, many of them dancing to the jazz music from the Big Band era.


Cross Country: Glen boys take 2nd at States

The Watkins Glen boys varsity cross-country team -- led by Patrick Hazlitt's 11th-place run -- finished second among Class C competitors Saturday, Nov. 14 at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Cross Country Championships in Woodbury, NY.

The Senecas posted a score of 89 points, second only to East Aurora's 36 and ahead of Mount Academy's 91 and Pleasantville's 95 in the 11-team, sectional-champions field. Watkins entered the race ranked third in the state behind East Aurora and Mount Academy.

In the girls' Class C race, WGHS' Maggie Bond -- the school's lone entrant -- placed 54th among 129 runners with a time of 21:33.6 She was also named recipient of the girls' Section IV Sportsmanship Award, based on a vote of section coaches.

Photo in text: Watkins' Patrick Hazlitt (Photo by Pamela Rutledge)

Alpacas from the Four Seasons farm in Altay attracted attention in front of St. Mary's Center, all part of the bazaar.


St. Mary's Bazaar raises church funds

Santa and Mrs. Claus were among the attractions Saturday, Nov. 14 at the annual Holiday Bazaar at St. Mary's Parish Center in Watkins Glen -- an event that raises funds for St. Mary's of the Lake Church. The bazaar featured a Christmas cafe, a cake wheel, raffles, baked goods and various vendor stands.

Top left: Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived at noon.
Bottom left: Among the visitors: Paul and Michelle Fuksman.

These cars were on display behind the Center -- representative of different eras of competition at the Syracuse Mile track.


Syracuse Mile cars, talks draw crowds

Nearly 100 people were on hand in Watkins Glen Saturday, Nov. 14 at both morning and afternoon discussions held as part of the International Motor Racing Research Center's Syracuse Mile day. Cars from different eras of competition at the historic Syracuse Mile track were on display, and a live radio show was broadcast from the center. Discussions included stories from drivers who have competed at the track, a facility that dates back to 1903. State and county officials have a $50 million plan to replace the track with an equestrian complex, hockey facility and RV park.

On hand in the crowd were, from left: Brenda and Tom Fitch, Kristin Hazlitt and Fred Wickham.


November Splendor raises hospital funds

The annual November Splendor fund-raiser at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel attracted a large crowd of diners Nov. 13 for an evening of great food, music, raffles and live auctions -- all for a good cause. Proceeds go toward the 2015 Family of Friends Campaign to benefit Schuyler Hospital and the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility

Left: The evening's auctioneer, Matt Hayden.

Among the many people present were Schuyler Hospital President Andy Manzer, left, and Attorney Josh Navone.


O-M Board gives baseball talks the go-ahead

The Odessa-Montour School Board on Nov. 12 approved a request from Superintendent Chris Wood (right) to proceed with negotitations with the Watkins Glen School District toward merging the two districts' varsity baseball, Modified baseball and boys Modified swimming programs. The mergers would be fashioned after the football merger effected this year, whereby Watkins Glen handles 60% of the cost and O-M 40%. Wood said he hopes to have a resolution on the Modified swimming merger for School Board approval in December, and an agreement on baseball for Board consideration in January or February. The mergers would take effect this school year.

Wood also commended retiring O-M maintenance chief Red Lapierre, who will complete a 16-year career at the school next Friday. Lapierre, Wood noted, has been at Odessa through five capital projects, four austerity budgets and several superintendents. Red will be honored at a barbecue luncheon at the school on his final day.


Rotary honors Teed as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Allison Teed (right) was honored Nov. 12 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for November. Teed was introduced by teacher Eileen Malaney, who described the honoree as a "creative thinker" who is "engaging, intelligent and responsible with a drive to excel" in classwork and in such pursuits as design work on the Yearbook. Teed, a three-sport athlete (soccer, basketball and softball) who is a member of the National Honor Society, the Business and Management Honor Society and the School Yearbook Club, plans to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology with an eye toward a career as an echocardiographer.

People's Choice award winner announced

The Franklin Street Gallery in Watkins Glen has announced artist Daniel Gallagher of Corning as the People’s Choice award winner of its 4th annual Homegrown Arts exhibit -- paintings and other works celebrating the landscapes and agriculture of the Finger Lakes. The exhibit is on display until Nov. 15.

Gallagher’s entry, “String of Pearls,” is a close-up image of a sequence of cascading pools with fall leaves. The high gloss metal printing technique gives the image a glowing effect.

Colleen Maas Pastore of Watkins Glen was awarded an Honorable Mention for her acrylic painting, “Autumn Mist.”

Left: Bernie Riley plays "Taps." Right: Boy Scouts from Troop 2674 raise the flag.


Veterans honored at Courthouse ceremony

Veterans past and present were honored in Schuyler County Nov. 11 with an annual Veterans Day ceremony in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse. The event, emceed as it has been for many years by veteran Tony Specchio, featured as its keynote speaker Jim Cutting of Watkins Glen, a 9-year Army veteran and a retired postal employee, who thanked veterans from "all walks of life" for their "courage, pride, integrity, selflessness, and call to duty." Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan presented a brief speech that is presented in its entirety on the Columns page. Other speakers included Watkins Glen Village Trustee Kevin Thornton; Joan Scott of the Schuyler County Veterans Service Office; and leaders of local veterans and service organizations.

Left: Keynote speaker Jim Cutting, an Army veteran.


Jim Scott checks off a Bucket List item

ORLANDO, Fla. -- With an upcoming “milestone” birthday (70, on Nov. 16) to celebrate, Watkins Glen High School basketball and softball Coach Jim Scott received a very special gift from his daughter Colleen, who resides in Florida. She knew that one of the items on Jim’s Bucket List was to meet golfing great Arnold Palmer.

With the help of a close friend, Mike Moss (in charge of food and beverage at Orlando's Bay Hill Country Club, where Palmer lives and plays golf), Colleen arranged a meet-and-greet with Palmer for her father, who flew down to Orlando specifically for the event. The two men posed for the picture above on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at the Bay Hill club. Jim said that Palmer is a gracious man who still gives his time and talent back to the people who've supported him through the years. 

Photo in text: Arnold Palmer, left, and Jim Scott (Photo provided)

Legislators Michael Lausell, left, and Van Harp study the budget report presented by County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.


Legislature passes 2016 county budget

A 2016 Schuyler County budget with a tax-levy hike of .34% and a tax rate of $8.15 per $1,000 of assessed valuation -- down 1.08% from this year -- was approved 8-0 on Nov. 9 by the County Legislature. Passage followed a public hearing that drew no comments, and which included a 47-minute outline of the $45,401,029 spending plan by County Administrator Tim O'Hearn -- who said that this budget was "not as challenging as some in the past, but none of them are ever easy."

Left: County Administrator Tim O'Hearn at Monday's session.


Meehan repeats as sectional champion

The Watkins Glen girls varsity swim team finished in second place at the Section IV, Class C Championships in Owego on Nov. 7. One of the Senecas, Katherine Meehan, captured her second straight sectional title in the 100 Breaststroke. Sports.

Left: Watkins' Katherine Meehan on the podium after winning the 100 Breaststroke.

Four of the Watkins Brewery Holdings LLC group spearheading the Frozen Food Locker project pose at the ceremony outside the building (rear). From left: Chuck Franzese, John Franzese, Gary Thompson and LLC Managing Member Dan Bower.


Toast marks start of Glen Locker project

A wine toast marked the start Nov. 6 of the Watkins Glen building project at the old Frozen Food Locker building, where 7 rental units will soon rise in place of the old structure. Business.

Left: Chuck Franzese lifts a ceremonial cup of wine to celebrate the project.

Left: Watkins Glen's Jena Slater. Right: Lexi Castellaneta.


Lexi wins Class C title; tops 'A' divers, too

Watkins Glen sophomore Lexi Castellaneta won her second straight Section IV, Class C championship Nov. 6 in a combined Class A/C meet at the natatorium behind Ernie Davis Middle School. She totaled 488.20 points on 11 dives to top Section IV competitors Meghan Matheny of Lansing (420.80), Sam Hatch of Dryden (245.75) and Jenna Slater of Watkins Glen (229.70).

She also outscored the 12 Class A divers, led by Elmira's Loren Sayers (487.40) and Ithaca's Jordan Lu (443.75). The top three scores all qualified for the State meet on Nov. 20 at Ithaca College, an event for which Castellaneta also qualified earlier this season.

Photos in text:
Top: Watkins' Lexi Castellaneta smiles after executing one of her 11 dives.
Bottom: Lexi (right) with Watkins Glen teammate and Section IV competitor Jena Slater.


People's Voice challenge turned back

Republicans carried the day in the Town of Reading on Election Day Nov. 3. Gary Conklin won the Supervisor's seat, defeating Democrat-People's Voice candidate William (Buzz) DeSarno, 350-149, and Stephen Miller turned back the challenge of Democrat-People's Voice candidates Gita Devi and Tamra K. Jankowski. Miller received 344 votes while write-in (and incumbent) Robert Everett received 217, Jankowski 175 and Devi 142. Alice Conklin retained the town clerk's job, defeating Muriel Osborne-Petryk, 326-169.

In the Town of Catharine (see the voting site, the Town Hall, in photo above), Democrat Supervisor John VanSoest defeated Republican challenger Richard Lewis 149-97.

In the Town of Hector, a tight race saw Republicans William T. Preston (697 votes) and John White (670) defeat Democrats Justin Boyette (658) and Debra Reid (632).

And in the County Legislature race in District 8, incumbent Republican and Legislature chair Dennis Fagan defeated Democrat challenger Sandra Rhodes 272-140.

For complete Schuyler County election results, click here.

A reason to celebrate

The Watkins Glen High School varsity volleyball team defeated Dryden 3-1 Tuesday, Nov. 3rd in an opening-round contest of the Section IV, Class C Tournament. Celebrating their win (above) were (from left) Taylor Kelly, Hanley Elliott, Nateah Cornish and Amanda Pike. The Senecas advanced to pool play two days later at Windsor, where they were eliminated from championship contention. (Photo by Charlie Haeffner)

From left: Watkins senior account clerk/typist Rhonda Slater and trustees Laurie DeNardo and Tony Fraboni.


Watkins to go dark for four hours on Nov. 12

Power will be out in the Village of Watkins Glen for four hours starting at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 12, Utilities Superintendent Mark Specchio told the Village Board at its meeting on Nov. 2.

The outage, overseen by the New York Power Authority and in conjunction with Watkins village crews, will permit system repairs, including replacement of burned-out transformers. "Hopefully people will go to bed and wake up and the only thing different," said Specchio, will be stopped clocks. Without power, he noted, Walmart will close during the repair hours. Similar electrical work was done during daytime hours about five years ago, he added, noting that "if the weather is too inclement, this will be rescheduled." Users of village power who live outside Watkins will not be affected, he said.

The board also approved a 2015-16 Water Department Budget which, in conjunction with a Local Law introduced by Village Clerk Donna Beardsley Monday and scheduled for a board vote next month, will raise water rates a minimum of $3 per month.

Streets chief Don Perry (pictured) said that paving is planned later this week on Perry Street between 7th and 10th Streets, where the road "is really pretty bad." And he said that leaf pickup is going well and will continue "as long as they keep coming down and people pile them up" by the road.


Rotary honors Brown as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour senior Courtney Brown was honored Oct. 29 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month. Brown was introduced by her volleyball coach, Kayla Kelly, who described the honoree as "a hard-working and determined young lady" who is also on the track team and secretary of the senior class. Brown plans to attend Corning Community College before transferring to a four-year school.


Above: Rotary honoree Courtney Brown, right, with her
volleyball coach, Kayla Kelly.


Homecoming King and Queen at WGHS

Watkins Glen High School seniors Ian Chedzoy and Katherine Meehan (left) were announced as the Homecoming King and Queen during halftime of the Watkins/O-M varsity football game Oct. 24 at Watkins Glen.

NASCAR commits to WGI through 2020

The NASCAR Sprint Cup series has agreed to run annually at the Watkins Glen International racetrack through 2020, the track said Oct. 26 in announcing a return date in 2016 of Aug. 7. Race weekend in 2016 will also include the NASCAR XFINITY Series Zippo 200 on Aug. 6.

Sheriff Bill Yessman discusses meth at an Oct. 26 information session. Other speakers: Danielle Tilden of FLACRA; Dr. Benjamin Saks, right; Schuyler County Social Services Commissioner JoAnn Fratarcangelo; and two area women in recovery who told their stories of addiction.


Meth subject of information session

About 40 people turned out Oct. 26 night at the Watkins Glen Elementary School to hear Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman and other speakers discuss the ongoing methamphetamine plague in our area -- the dangers involved in a meth lab, the drug's addictive effects, signs of usage, treatment options, and the role Social Services and the courts play in dealing with chiildren whose families are affected by it.

Among the speakers were two women who fought meth use and are now clean -- including one who said she once tried all sorts of drugs, "but none took hold of me like meth." She gave birth at 17, lost her son to a foster home because of the meth use, spent time in prison, temporarily lost a daughter born during incarceration, and finally "got it together, thank God. I've come so far, and if feels so good" now that she has her children, a job and an apartment, and is "sober. I know I can make it."

Photo in text: A visual part of Monday's presentation.

Watkins School Board summary

The Watkins Glen School Board met Monday night, Oct 26. A summary of the meeting appears here.


Rotary hears tales from author Vickio

Tony Vickio of Watkins Glen, Spirit of Schuyler founder, former race-car driver and longtime auto-racing sign painter, entertained the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club Oct. 22 with tales of his career told in a book he wrote, published last year, titled "Shifting Gears." It is available for $19.99 from Vickio or at Famous Brands or the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen.

Left: Tony Vickio at Rotary


Frozen Food Locker demolition expected soon

The Watkins Glen Village Board was told Oct. 19 that demolition of the vacant Seneca Frozen Food Locker along the bend of Rte. 14 at the north end of the village's business district is anticipated soon. Code Enforcement Officer Greg Larnard said the demolition could come within a month, following abatement of a small amount of asbestos found inside. The building, which Trustee Laurie DeNardo noted was seen recently being entered by area youths -- an ongoing concern, said Police Chief Tom Struble -- will be leveled and replaced by a new structure with 7 dwelling units, apartments at first, although that could eventually change to townhouses.

The new building, planned by a group of partners called Watkins Brewery Holdings and headed by Dan Bower of HUNT Engineers, will follow the basic shape of the current building: one story visible from Rte 14, and three stories visible from the lake. Four garages are included in the plan, which Larnard said would retain only the building's far-west retaining wall that ties into part of the Rte. 14 road structure. Approval has been granted by the New York State Department of Transportation to make the wall larger and stronger.

Photo in text: Village Trustee Laurie DeNardo, right, and clerk Rhonda Slater at Monday's meeting.

A customer at the Doug's Fish Fry mobile unit in front of the Odessa Fire Department.


Odessa Fire Dept. holds a fund-raiser

Doug's Fish Fry was on hand contributing a portion of proceeds Oct. 17 as the Odessa Fire Department hosted a fund-raiser. Also featured: local vendors, raffle items, a bake sale and a Chinese Auction. Fire extinguisher training was also provided.

Left: Mayor Keith Pierce poses with one of the day's sale items.

Spirit of Schuyler leader Tony Vickio affixes a wrist band to one of the visitors at The Gathering. (Photo by Doug Yeater)


SOS holds its annual Gathering

The Spirit of Schuyler, which provides emergency funding for county residents, drew a hungry crowd to the Hidden Valley Lodge Oct. 17 for its annual fund-raiser, known as The Gathering. Local residents and volunteers provided a large buffet, while local businesses provided raffle and auction items.

Left: One of the raffle tables; and musical performers Bob & Dee.


Schuyler tentative budget: small levy hike

Schuyler County's tentative 2016 budget calls for a tax-levy increase of 0.67% ($73,360) from 2015 and a drop of 0.75% in the tax rate, from $8.21 to $8.18 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, Administrator Tim O'Hearn announced at the monthly meeting of the Schuyler County Legislature on Oct. 13. The tax cap for the county is 1.77%.

And the levy hike might end up even smaller, said Legislature Chair Dennis Fagan, thanks to a robust sales-tax report that shows September's county share up by $171,000 over the same month in 2014 thanks primarily to the Phish concert weekend at Watkins Glen International. The year-to-year hike, he said, could be $250,000. "I feel very confident that we'll have a good outcome when the budget is finalized," he said. The full Legislature will tackle the tentative spending plan next week, and a public hearing date was approved: Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m. in Room 120 of the Human Services Complex.

Photos in text: Tim O'Hearn (top) and Dennis Fagan.

A large crowd was on hand early at the spaghetti dinner.


United Way holds annual kickoff dinner

The United Way of Schuyler County's campaign to raise funds for 22 human service agencies kicked off with a Spaghetti Dinner Oct. 12 at the Montour Moose Lodge -- and as usual drew a large crowd. To learn about the campaign, see Features.

Top left photo: United Way campaign co-chairs Tom and Jenny Lewis at the dinner.

Bottom left: A serving of the evening's specialty.

Student servers were out in force at the dinner, including, from left, Patrick Hazlitt, Daniel Paradiso and Clara Chedzoy.

O-M School Board president Rob Halpin listens to an audit report by Jerry Mickelson of Ciaschi, Dietershagen, Little, Mickelson and Company, certified public accountants.


O-M School Board meeting: good audit; baseball merger brewing

The Odessa-Montour School Board heard Thursday night, Oct. 8 from CPA Jerry Mickelson (right) that a review of the district's 2014-15 finances was positive, prompting "no comments regarding corrective actions." He said O-M is in "a good position going forward to meet the challenges of the 2016-17 budget."

Also highlighted at Thursday's session was a report by Superintendent Chris Wood, who said he would likely be recommending in November a merger of varsity (though not Modified) baseball with Watkins Glen in the spring since signups this week indicated a roster of only a half-dozen O-M players. "We have to do something about varsity or we won't have a baseball team," he said. "This is something that is coming. Have it on your radar." And the board, at Wood's urging, gave the go-ahead for the O-M boys Modified swim team to merge with the one at Watkins Glen. The Watkins Glen School Board approved a similar measure Monday.

Danielle Fuschilo of Brazil, left, and Marie Bucher of France during a question-and-answer period at Rotary Club.


Rotary Club honors local & exchange youths

It was Youth Day at the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club on Thursday, Oct. 8, with two Watkins Glen High School seniors honored as Students of the Month -- one for September and one for October -- and the area's two exchange students presenting power-point presentations about their homelands: Brazil and France.

The monthly honorees were Megan Chilson (for September) and Cheyenne Stansfield, introduced respectively by teachers Karen Armstrong and Eileen Malaney. Chilson was praised for being "so mature" beyond her years and for "putting others before herself" by constantly helping them with their studies or other projects. Stansfield -- a key part of the Yearbook staff and involved in sports, the school play, National Honor Society and Interact Club -- is "polite, engaging, steadfast, responsible and proactive," said Malaney.

The exchange students are Danielle Colpani Fuschilo of Brazil (attending Odessa-Montour High School and staying with Greg and Heather Lodge) and Marie Bucher of France (attending Watkins Glen High School and staying with Andy and Michele Manzer).

Photo in text: Megan Chilson, WGHS September honoree.

Cheyenne Stansfield, WGHS October honoree.

Watkins Glen School Board President Kelly McCarthy and board member Mark Franzese at Oct. 5 meeting.


More sports mergers ahead?

With the early success of the merged Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour football programs, the Watkins Glen School Board on Oct. 5 approved a measure that would enable a joining of the Modified Boys swim program at Watkins with that at Odessa-Montour. Also discussed was the possibility of a joint baseball program. The O-M School Board meets Thursday night, where reports "regarding" baseball and Modified Swimming are on the agenda. For a summary of Monday's board meeting, click here.

Watkins Glen Village Board members Gary Schmidt, left, and Kevin Thornton.


Schmidt returns to his Village Board seat

Gary Schmidt, elected earlier this year to the Watkins Glen Village Board but then hospitalized in Cleveland for four months for heart surgery and then lung and kidney complications, was back in his Village Board seat Oct. 5th, a week after returning home from Cleveland. "It was a long summer," he said, "but I made it. I appreciate the thoughts and prayers while I was in Cleveland. They meant a lot to me and my wife (Deb). I'm here."


Sports teams raising funds for teacher Brown

Edison and Watkins Glen sports teams are raising funds to help teacher/coach Zach Brown (right) in his battle against lymphoma. Brown, a teacher at Watkins Glen High School and the Edison varsity baseball coach, is on leave from school while undergoing treatment for the disease. The Watkins Glen-Edison volleyball match on Sept. 25 served as a lymphoma awareness night and raised funds for Brown's fight, and the Oct. 3 Watkins Glen-Edison football game at Edison did the same. Among the fund-raisers: the sale of T-shirts with a green lymphoma ribbon, the letter Z and the words "No one fights alone! Support Lymphoma Awareness." Says Brown: "It's amazing what people give ... in your time of need."

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball is flanked by State Senator Tom O'Mara, left, and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano at the Oct. 2 meeting.


State Ag commissioner meets with area unit

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball (left) sat down Oct. 2 with an Agriculture Advisory Committee formed by Assemblyman Phil Palmesano -- composed of area farmers and related agency reps -- to discuss current issues involving dairy farmers, wineries and other groups affected by state agriculture laws and regulations. The session, in the Watkins Glen Municipal Building, drew nearly 20 committee members and generated talk on milk pricing, a desire to expand wine sales to food stores, food safety, the Upstate economy and other subjects.

Left: Commissioner Ball



'Calling card' leads to jail for Penn Yan man

The Schuyler County District Attorney's office reports that Sean J. Hanes, 22, of Penn Yan has been sentenced to four months of weekends in jail, five years probation and restitution after pleading guilty in Schuyler County Court to Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree for "destroying property of a Watkins Glen resident." How was he caught?

"During the commission of the crime," said the DA's office, "Hanes left fecal matter containing his DNA. The crime was solved when the New York State Police Crime Laboratory in Albany matched the DNA sample from the scene to one contained in the New York State DNA Database."


Community leaders tour Schuyler farms

The Schuyler County Ag and Farmland Protection Board recently sponsored a tour of 3 Schuyler County farms for elected officials and other community leaders. Tour.

The moon as the eclipse progressed Sunday night, Sept. 27, and the blood moon that followed.


Blood moon over Schuyler

The clouds parted long enough Sunday night, Sept. 27above the southern portion of Schuyler County to provide a clear view of the lunar eclipse that led to a rare "blood moon." Such an event occurs when a full moon relatively close to the earth (called a super moon) is eclipsed as the Earth passes between the sun and the moon. The event generates a reddish glow around the eclipsed, darkened moon that lasts for about an hour. The last time a "blood moon" was seen was in 1982; the next one comes in 2033.


Watkins Glen, Hector and Burdett lose power

A large portion of Schuyler County -- including Watkins Glen, Hector and Burdett, but not Montour Falls or Odessa -- was without power Wednesday evening, Sept. 30. Early reports indicated a tree fell on a power line, triggering the outage at 5:13 p.m. With lights out in Watkins, police officers directed traffic at key intersections, while portable stop signs were installed at others. Stores normally open in the evening -- Walmart's, for instance -- were dark, and Watkins Glen High School junior varsity and varsity volleyball matches were called off. Power was later restored.

Photo in text: Directing traffic under a darkened light.

Rev. Beverly Karr-Lyon at Sunday's open house.


Friends bid farewell to 'Rev Bev'

Reverend Beverly Karr-Lyon oversaw her final weekly service Sept. 27 at the First Presbyterian Church of Watkins Glen, where she has served as minister for more than 18 years. "Rev Bev," as many call her, is retiring to a farmhouse she and her late husband Jeff purchased years ago, located near Arkport -- the area where she grew up. A dinner in her honor was held by her congregation after Sunday's service, and then scores of friends paid their respects at an afternoon open house at the church. She said she had one more duty to perform before leaving -- a wedding ceremony for a young woman she baptized shortly after arriving at the church those many years ago.

Photo in text: Art by Linda McIntyre depicting the Watkins Presbyterian Church was among the gifts given to Rev. Beverly Karr-Lyon Sunday.

Scores of cars from the 1920s to the present were on display at the Cruise In.


Cruise In features cars, food, games, music

The fifth annual Cruise In at the Choice Auto Glass parking lot along Rt. 13 near Alpine Junction Sept. 26 featured dozens of vintage and modern cars, a chicken barbecue by Boy Scout Troop 50, baked goods, various vendors, games for the kids, and live music. The event urged attendees to bring canned goods to benefit the local food pantry, and returnable bottles and cans to support Troop 50.

Photo above: Matt Stevenson, who performed with his drummer brother Andy at the Cruise In.

Montour Falls village and fire department officials hold the FEMA check for new air packs. The check was for $159,429.


Fire department receives grant for air packs

The Montour Falls Fire Department was presented a check Sept. 26 for $159,429 from FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) -- a grant for the purchase of 27 new air pack frames and bottles. Presenting the check was Alison Hunt from the office of Congressman Tom Reed. Fire Chief Billy Thomas said the air packs will replace those that have been used through "their pack life of about 15 years." The grant, he added, "will make us better equipped to serve the community. For that we are grateful." Montour Falls Mayor John King said the amount of the grant was "very significant" given that its size approaches that of the fire department's annual budget -- which is "just a little over $200,000." Also speaking at the presentation were Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn and Hunt, who said Congressman Reed was "proud to help secure the funding."

Photo in text: Alison Hunt of Congressman Reed's office. (Photos by C. Haeffner)

Lake Country Players actors promoted their upcoming performance of "The Music Man." In the background: the stage where the band Black Diamond Express later performed.


Harvest Fest draws crowd to Montour

The annual Falls Harvest Festival in Montour Falls -- featuring games, music, local foods, fireworks and other attractions -- drew a crowd to the village Sept. 26 under sunny skies and warm temperatures. Among the features was live music by Black Diamond Express, an appearance by several actors and singers promoting the Lake Country Players' upcoming production of "The Music Man," a pumpkin carving contest, a donut-eating contest, and a fireworks display above the 156-foot-high Shequagah Falls.

Photos at left: Nancy Kenney shops for a new handbag; and the Montour Falls Fire Department's new Quint Truck, which will be placed in service in October.

Bucket Bar & Grill owners Erick and Sarah Thorpe cut the ribbon at the grand opening of their business, located at the corner of Main and Church Streets in Odessa.


Bucket Bar & Grill holds grand opening

The Bucket Bar & Grill in Odessa celebrated its grand opening Sept. 25 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a chicken barbecue. On hand for the ribbon cutting in addition to the married business owners, Erick and Sarah Thorpe, were Schuyler County Legislature Chair Dennis Fagan, County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, Odessa Mayor Keith Pierce, and Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Rebekah LaMoreaux. All spoke, with O'Hearn thanking the Thorpes for helping "build the local economy in Odessa" -- part of a business trend, he noted, that has the county "on the cusp of great things." The Bucket opened in mid-August, and has proved to be a popular eatery.

Photo: Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn at Friday's celebration.

The Burns Sisters and Friends performed at the Gas Free party.


Gas Free Seneca celebrates at Hazlitt's

Gas Free Seneca, the group that has spearheaded opposition to the storage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas near Seneca Lake, held a fund-raiser Thursday evening, Sept. 24 at Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards in Hector to help it continue its fight. It's almost five years since Gas Free Seneca took up the battle, said co-founder Joseph Campbell -- which is "another reason to celebrate; we've held them off for five years." The gathering featured food, live music and a silent auction.

Left: Gas Free Seneca's Joseph Campbell; and checking out the silent auction.


Rotary student award goes to Peckham

Odessa-Montour High School senior Rosie Peckham (left) was honored Sept. 24 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for September. Peckham was introduced by teacher Doug Chapman, who said the honoree is "a great student, excellent example and extremely well-liked." Peckham, captain of the volleyball team and a member of the track team, has participated in school musicals and Art Club, painting murals and stage sets. She plans to attend Corning Community College, and says she hopes "to go somewhere in life, and show that Odessa is here."



Luncheon kicks off United Way campaign

The Schuyler County United Way's annual drive began Sept. 23 with a luncheon for agency members, held at the Montour Moose Lodge. The goal, as it was last year, is $123,000 for 22 agencies. Co-chairs are Jenny and Tom Lewis. The Marie Bailey volunteer of the year honor went to the workers at Schuyler Outreach/Catholic Charities.


Photo above left: United Way executive director Peggy Scott
Photo inset: Campaign co-chair Jenny Lewis


Marshall named new Bradford superintendent

John Marshall, superintendent of the Bolivar-Richburg Central School District in Allegany County since 2012, was named Sept. 22 as the next superintendent of the Bradford Central School District, succeeding Wendy Field, who is retiring after serving in the post for eight years. Marshall -- a graduate of St. Bonaventure and Bloomsburg universities and a former teacher -- is expected to assume his new position in November. "I am excited for this opportunity," he said. The Bradford School Board, in making the appointment, cited Marshall's "extensive background in school administration and experience as a classroom teacher."


Road-sealing work planned in Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen Streets Superintendent Don Perry told the Village Board Sept. 21 that sealing work -- using oil and stone -- will be done on several streets in the village soon, including Summit, Bath Street and Glen Ave., along with 12th and 8th Streets. Money is in the budget for it, he said. The board, meanwhile, approved a request from Watkins Glen Promotions to hold the annual Village Christmas downtown from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, with Franklin Street closed from 3rd to 7th Streets. The parade will run north on Franklin at 6:30 p.m.

Left: Streets Superintendent Don Perry at Monday's session.


Reports highlight School Board session

Reports from Principals Kai D'Alleva (left) and Kristine Somerville on student test scores dominated much of the time Sept. 21 at a workshop held by the Watkins Glen School Board. Board.

Left: Principal Kai D'Alleva

Executive Director search begins

The International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen has launched a search for a person to fill the newly created position of executive director. Business.


Soccer fundraising breakfast a success

A breakfast Sept. 20 at the Montour Moose Lodge on behalf of the Odessa-Montour High School boys and girls soccer programs generated a sizable turnout and a sizable amount of money for the programs. To see how much, visit Sports.

Left: From left: boys coach Dirk Stephens and girls team members Kennedey Heichel, Sage Garrison and Gillian Clark.

Squires charter members Jud Spena, left, and Steve Rondinaro were on hand at Friday's exhibit opening. Spena, owner of much of the memorabilia on display, has authored a book on the Squires. Rondinaro is a longtime Drum Corps International broadcaster.


Squires exhibit on display at museum

Programs, pennants, photographs, uniforms, bugles and other artifacts from the years of the Squires Jr. Drum and Bugle Corps are on display at the Schuyler County Historical Society Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls through September. The exhibit was unveiled Sept. 18, where some former Squires were on hand for a presentation by Squires historian Jud Spena, author in 2004 of "Echoes in the Valley," an account of the Squires' years of existence, from 1964-1982. The Squires had exceptional success in Drum and Bugle Corps competitions, in the days when many communities fielded such groups -- before changing social mores and centralization reduced the number. The exhibit opening was part of a weekend of Squires festivities, preceding an Alumni Reunion the next night at the Watkins Elks Club.

Charter members of the Squires Jr. Drum and Bugle Corps in 1964 included, from left, Robbie DeDominick, Bernie Riley and Harold (Bub) Chaffee, all present at the exhibit unveiling.

Queen Kim (Laursen) provided entertaining games and music for the dozens of kids on hand.


Tea party features knights, jesters, royalty

The fourth annual Royal Tea Party for kids and parents, sponsored by the Dutton S. Peterson Library in Odessa, was held Sept. 19 afternoon at the Montour Falls Fire Department. The event -- featuring a king, queen, princes, princesses, knights, games, food, a storybook reading and singing -- was held in its first three years at the Odessa Fire Department, but outgrew that site. The larger one in Montour attracted more than 80 people Saturday, each partaking of either tea, lemonade or water along with cake. There were face-painters on hand, along with raffles and a book for every participating child. The party was devised four years ago, said librarian Gayle Greuber, "in order to provide something different for the kids, and fun."

Photo in text: King Les (Laursen) bestows knighthood on one of the children at the Royal Tea Party.

Participants entered the Royal Tea Party across a "drawbridge" over a "moat" and through "castle" gates.

Homecoming Queen and King

The Odessa-Montour Homecoming Queen and King, Maddie Lodge and Bryce Elliott, were announced at halftime of the Sept. 18th Notre Dame-Odessa boys soccer game.


Odessa roadwork

The summertime upgrade and repaving of miles of Rt. 224 paid off with new blacktop Sept. 17 through downtown Odessa. State work crews had stripped the roadway and installed some curbing during the previous week. In the photo above, a work crew puts the finishing touches on blacktop on Main Street (224) near College Ave.


Fagan: Good news on the sales-tax front

Chairman Dennis Fagan (right) said at the monthly Schuyler Legislature meeting Sept. 14 that the sales tax projections for the county in August 2015 are up $53,000 from August 2014, and that to date the 2015 sales tax total for Schuyler is 2% above 2014 -- a pace that, if maintained through this year, would put the county $112,000 over the total envisioned in the budget. And that should go up, he said, when revenues from the August Phish concert at Watkins Glen International are tabulated.

Top left: Schuyler County Attorney Steven J. Getman at Monday's County Legislature meeting. He was appointed to the post last month, succeeding the departed Geoff Rossi. Getman previously served as Assistant County Attorney.
Bottom left: County Administrator Tim O'Hearn at meeting.


O-M board shelves thoughts of single campus

The Odessa-Montour School Board on Sept. 10 decided by consensus against pursuing a feasibility study into the suggested closing of B.C. Cate Elementary School in Montour Falls. Such a closing would have created a single campus at the school complex in Odessa. The closing idea was floated a couple of years ago, but Superintendent Chris Wood said Thursday night that a personal study of the Cate school, an elementary facility, showed it is "heavily used" with "little space wasted," and that closing it would require a building addition at the main district campus, with an attendant loss in land for sports on the 20-acre Odessa campus. B.C. Cate sits on 18 acres of land often used by district sports teams.

Board President Robert Halpin said he "advocated we look at (a possible B.C. Cate closing) when I joined the board, to see if it made sense." But now, he added, "from my perspective, I just don't see it." The board concurred.

US Salt: Generator wasn't destroyed

The firm debunks the extent of media reports on a smoky incident at its plant, and counters Gas Free Seneca claims. Forum.

Grand Prix Festival official John Flowers sends vehicles on their way around the original Watkins Glen road course from a starting point in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse.


Festival is a success

Sunlight and vintage cars, along with vendor stands and an enthusiastic crowd, made for a successful Grand Prix Festival Sept. 11 on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen. The crowd was down from past years due to the need for Watkins Glen International to hold its affiliated vintage races earlier this summer, but festival officials said they were pleased with Friday's turnout and festive atmosphere.

Above left: This Mercedes Benz drew a lot of attention.

A lot of photographers were taking a lot of pictures of cars on display in Watkins Glen during the Grand Prix Festival.


Marina mishap

This vehicle ended up in the water at the Seneca Harbor Marina on Sept. 7th when its owner attempted to offload a couple of jet skis from an attached trailer on the marina ramp. A police spokesman said the emergency brake on the truck released while the driver was outside the truck cab, and that the vehicle slid backward until submerged. Police said nobody was injured. The vehicle was pulled out about three hours later by a wrecker from Wolfe's Garage. (Photo provided)


SWCD lauds workers for June storm cleanup

The Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District commends the workers who helped in the wake of the June storm and flooding, and singles out one man in particular. Government.

Left: Jim Barrett operates an excavator. (Photo provided)

Family of Friends Campaign eyes upgrades

The Schuyler Health Foundation has chosen, for its 2015 Family of Friends Campaign, to upgrade facilities, equipment and technology in Schuyler Hospital and the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. Campaign.


28 protesters arrested at Crestwood gates

The number of arrests at Crestwood energy company gates on Rt. 14 north of Watkins Glen since October 2014 reached 400 on Sept. 4 when 28 people were taken into custody, charged with trespass, and released. The We Are Seneca Lake movement opposes the storage of methane and LPG gas in abandoned Crestwood salt caverns west of Seneca Lake. Two of those arrested Thursday were from Schuyler County, while 15 were from Tompkins County. Among the arrestees was Martha Hennessy, 60, of Manhattan, granddaughter of Catholic Worker co-founder Dorothy Day.


Coffey's team wins gold at World Rowing

Former Watkins Glen resident Olivia Coffey (right) earned a gold medal at the Sept. 5 World Rowing Championships on Lake Aiguebelette, France as her U.S. quadruple sculls team came from behind to overtake the favored Germans while posting a time of 6:27.07. Germany finished a half-length behind.

Thus Coffey and her teammates -- Megan Kalmoe of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin; Tracy Eisser of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and Amanda Elmore of West Lafayette, Indiana -- became the first-ever U.S. women's quad team to win a world rowing championship, and in the process qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"I thought we just went out there and laid it down from the first stroke," said Coffey. "We just wanted to be aggressive from the start. I could feel it for the first 500, when we were with the pack. I just had this sense that we were going for it, and it just went from there."

Coffey was a Watkins Glen High School varsity basketball starter as a freshman in 2003-04 before opting to attend the Phillips Academy prep school, where she specialized in hockey. She was later an All-American in rowing as captain of the Harvard-Radcliffe Crew while attending Harvard University, where she earned a B.A. in Economics in 2011. Her father, Cal, was a 1976 Olympic silver medalist in pairs rowing.


Cannon shrapnel kills man near Lamoka

James D. Whitney, 81, of Austin, Pa., died Sept. 5 after a homemade noise cannon exploded when it was set off at a Taylor Road residence near Lamoka Lake, according to a published report. The Schuyler County Sheriff's office was quoted as saying shrapnel struck and killed Whitney. No further details were available. The investigation is continuing.

My Place center director Brooke Bennett, left, and Crestwood representative Maureen Ball-Keene. (Provided)


Crestwood donates $15,000 to My Place

The My Place child care center in Montour Falls has received a $15,000 donation from Crestwood Midstream Partners that "will help with center sustainability and contribute to our mission for generations to come," said Center director Brooke Bennett. Crestwood helped contribute to the center's playground, shown in the photo above. Added Shannon Schamel, My Place parent and Board representative: "I am ecstatic that Crestwood has responded to our plea for local business to make a positive contribution to their community."


Schuyler Transit marks 5-year anniversary

Milestone celebration held at the operation's headquarters, The Arc of Schuyler. Transit.

A man survived the Washington State wildfire by remaining in his concrete domed house while the surrounding terrain was scorched. (Photo by Marsha Smith)


Former Schuyler resident seeks WA fire help

Marsha E. Smith of Omak, WA, a former resident of Hector, New York, has written to The Odessa File seeking donations for residents in her state who have lost their homes in a complex of blazes in the north-central part of the state. Together the blazes constitute "the largest wildfire in Washington State history," she said, noting that "I am not the only former Schuyler County resident here. Michael Liu, the former Finger Lakes National Forest Ranger, is the District Ranger for the Methow Valley District of the Okanogan National Forest. This is the area where three firefighters were killed."

The fires, near Omak, started Aug. 15 and spread by Aug. 25 to hundreds of square miles. Even with firefighting crews diverted from California, there have been inadequate resources to stop the fire's northeastward march. Two fund-raisers are underway: one for the Colville tribe, whose reservation has been hard hit (address North Cascades Bank, Grand Coulee Branch, 608 Midway Ave., P.O. Box G, Grand Coulee, WA 99133), and one run by the Okanogan County Community Action Council (OCCAC, P.O. Box 1067, Okanogan, WA 98840 or website http://www.occac.com/).

Photo in text: Volunteers at a distribution center set up by the Colville Tribe in their old casino, where everyone (tribal members and the general public) can go for donated supplies, water, clothes, and other items. (Photo by Marsha Smith)

Marsha Smith writes about the fire and her connection to Schuyler County. People.

Seneca Swim

Participants in the third annual Seneca Swim, a one-mile lake swim to raise funds for the Watkins Glen Fire Department, pose near the lakeshore in Watkins Glen on Saturday, Aug. 22, the day of the event. The swimmers, and paddlers in crafts alongside them, raise funds each year for designated emergency services in Schuyler County. (Photo provided)


Phish fatality ID released

The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office has identified the woman who died at the Phish Magnaball festival as Jennifer Cline, 28, of Indianapolis, Indiana, and said the death "was ruled accidental ... by aspiration." The death, which Sheriff Bill Yessman had said was "unattended," occurred Sunday at Watkins Glen International on the concluding day there of the three-day festival.

-- Meanwhile, the Sheriff's Office reported 23 arrests at Magnaball, 21 of them on drug-related charges, one for DWI, and one for Trespass. Sixteen of those people arrested were from out of state, and none were from Schuyler County.


Arc Golf Tournament deemed a success

The Arc of Schuyler's annual golf tournament, held Aug. 21, raised more than $22,000 for the organization's programs and services. Column.

Left: Arc Golf Tourney Honorary Chair Susan Buchtel -- flanked by Arc Executive Director Jeannette Frank, left, and Pat Wilcox -- welcomes golfers at the Watkins Glen Golf Course. (Photo provided)


A look at small-grain agriculture in Schuyler

Small grains such as winter wheat, winter and spring barley, oats and rye are grown in Schuyler County. A look on our Agriculture Page.


Substance abuse prevention conference provides strategies

Two adult and two youth leaders from the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) joined more than 1,500 substance abuse prevention specialists from across the country at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)’s 2015 Mid-Year Training Institute in Indianapolis recently. Schools.


Left: Youth leaders Kassandra Snyder, left, and Amber Updike on the first day of the Training Institute. (Photo provided)

The tractor-trailer at rest in the water. (Photo provided)


Tractor-trailer crashes, lands in Tyrone dam

A tractor-trailer westbound on County Rte. 23 went through a stop sign at the intersection with State Rte. 226 in the Town of Tyrone at about 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14, crashed through a guard rail, went airborne and landed in a dam and pond, the Schuyler Sheriff's Office said in a press release Monday. The driver, Liban W. Farah, 35, of Denver, Colorado, was uninjured, and ticketed for driving over the posted weight limit, failing to stop at a stop sign, and failing to use the designated lane. Tyrone Fire Department personnel responded, as did T&R Towing to recover the vehicle, and a state spill-response team to investigate any potential environmental damage.


Bleiler earns Baptist Man of Year honor

Schuyler County resident and local optometrist Dr. Brian E. Bleiler has been honored as the American Baptist Men of New York State “Man of the Year.” People.

Left: Dr. Bleiler, wife Loueda


It's kitten season, says the Humane Society

The Humane Society of Schuyler County has a message for the public about the proliferation of kittens in the area. Kittens.


Francischelli named principal at Hanlon

Robert Francischelli (left) -- a building administrator and school psycologist in the Bradford Central School District -- has been selected as the new principal of the H.A. Hanlon Elementary School in the Odessa-Montour Central School District. Schools.


Lakewood honored for conservation efforts

Lakewood Vineyards, owned by the Stamp family, was honored for its commitment to environmental conservation at the annual Schuyler County Farm Bureau Picnic Tuesday by the Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District. Award.

Left: Amelia Stamp and her father Chris. (Photo provided)

Watkins Glen High School basketball standout Amanda Pike applies some defense during Defense for Devon basketball tournament at Clute Park. (Photo by Don Romeo)


Hoops tourney raises funds for foundation

The second annual Defense for Devon 3-on-3 basketball tournament was held Aug. 15 at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. The event raises funds for the foundation set up in memory of Watkins Glen High School graduate Devon Shaw, who lost his battle with cancer two years ago.

Left: WGHS grad Matt Estes glides in for a layup. (Photo by Don Romeo)

2014 Cheez-It 355 winner A.J. Allmendinger, who started on the pole Sunday, is pushed to pit road after losing power following a restart on Lap 50. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)


Logano wins at Glen as Harvick runs out of gas

Joey Logano, who won Saturday's Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International, passed an out-of-gas Kevin Harvick on the final turn Sunday to win the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen NASCAR race. The victory for Team Penske marked owner Roger Penske's first win at WGI.

Left: Just before start of the race. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

A parachutist was part of the pre-race ceremony.
(Photo by Liz Fraboni)


Petty honored for racing contributions

Auto racing legend Richard Petty was honored Thursday, Aug. 6 at a gala dinner in Corning with the Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports. Sports.


Above: Petty, left, & Bobby Rahal. (Richard Bauman photo)

School Board members (from left) Mark Franzese, Kristin Hazlitt and Keith Caslin at Monday's meeting.


Glen district hits wall on merger talk

Watkins Glen School Board president Kelly McCarthy said at the Aug. 3rd board meeting that the district had received a negative response to a letter she sent to the Odessa-Montour school district regarding possible talks on consolidation beyond existing shared services, including in the area of sports. The response, she said, came in a phone call to Superintendent Tom Phillips (pictured) by his counterpart at O-M, Chris Wood. "They're not interested in further discussion at this time," she said. "Asked and answered." Added Phillips: "The letter was generic, and didn't really say merger. But the response was 'we've already been through this. Why go through it again?' But I can't help but think of what we could offer our students together, by melding our resources."

For a summary of the board meeting, click here.


3-day Italian American Festival draws to a close

The 36th annual Schuyler County Italian American Festival concluded Sunday at Clute Park. The event -- highlighted by a parade and fireworks on Saturday -- offered rides, food, and many attractions. New this year was "L'Osteria" at the Watkins Glen Community Center, marionette shows, and a "Salami Shack." New vendors and new musical performers were also part of the lineup. To see details, visit Features.

The musical duo Bob and Dee entertained.


Cheese Festival a hit at Catharine Corners

The 4th annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival drew a large crowd and long lines July 25 on the Hoffman farm at Catharine Corners, outside Odessa. The crowd purchased a wide range of food and drink -- with cheeses and wines the big attractions -- and enjoyed live music, a petting zoo, hayrides, seminars, exhibitors and a children's fun area. Early attendance topped 1,000 adults (plus many kids), and was expected to go much higher.

Left: At the wine tent; and visiting the barn.

A shopper waits inside an area store as a storm rages outside, splashing inside the doorways. (Photo provided)


Storms race through Schuyler

Storm cells that struck Schuyler County after 8 p.m. Saturday, July 25 left behind downed limbs and at least one tree fallen across a roadway near Odessa, and marred the final evening of the annual Hector Fair. Driving was tricky in some areas, with accumulated water on low-lying roads and poor visibility during periods of downpours and heavy winds.


Top Drawer 24 party proves a big success

The 10th annual Top Drawer 24 celebration of outstanding student-athlete-citizens was held June 8th before a capacity crowd at the Watkins Glen State Park pavilion. Speeches by Federal Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl and National Football League Umpire Bill Schuster highlighted the evening, which started rainy but soon cleared. Party.

Left: Top Drawer 24 honoree Callie Stillman of O-M.

For full information on team members, click here.

E.C. Cooper's Mike Stamp with Athletes of the Year Hailie Searles
(O-M) and Keith Rekczis (WGHS).


Searles, Rekczis are our Athletes of the Year

The Odessa File Athletes of the Year at Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glen High Schools were announced at the June 8th Top Drawer 24 celebration at the Watkins Glen State Park pavilion. The honors went to Hailie Searles (a 3-sport standout at O-M in soccer, basketball and track) and Keith Rekczis (a 3-sport standout at WGHS in football, basketball and golf). Both are also members of the Top Drawer 24. The awards were presented by Mike Stamp of the sponsoring E.C. Cooper Insurance agency.

Rides at the Hector Fair were operating Saturday night despite rain.

Left: Friday parade participant. Right: Bingo game caller.


Hector Fair ends its 3-day run

The Hector Fair ended Saturday night, July 25, marred by rains that struck a couple of times after 8 p.m. The weather on Friday was much nicer, with bright sunlight gracing the annual parade up Rte. 414 -- an event that included fire trucks, tractors, horses, a bagpipe band, baton twirlers, and floats. The three-day fair, located on the fairgrounds behind the Valois-Logan-Hector fire hall, featured rides, food, a petting zoo, midway games, live music, raffles, bingo, and a book tent. Saturday was highlighted by a car show from noon to 4 p.m., a chicken barbecue starting at noon, a bag sale at the book tent, and live music.

Photo at right: An American Legion Honor Guard marches near the front of the parade.

--More parade photos here--

The merry-go-round Friday night at the Hector Fair.

And Thursday, July 23:

Left: At the petting zoo. Right: Enjoying a ride.

"Movies on the Lake" organizer Sara Caldwell, left, and helpers set up the movie screen for showing of The Sandlot at Clute Park.


Movie night closes 1st season with a crowd

The fourth and final film of the 2015 "Movies on the Lake" outdoor series in Watkins Glen's Clute Park -- The Sandlot -- was presented under pleasant skies and before an audience of an estimated 300 people Wednesday night, July 22. The series of Wednesday films, which started with Back to the Future on July 1 and included The Princess Bride and The Goonies, was the brainchild of Sara Caldwell, owner-operator of the Global Taco food truck. She said the series -- outdoors on all but the third week (when wet, windy weather forced The Goonies show into the Watkins Glen Community Center across the street) -- was such a success that she's hoping for eight such nights next year. "I love doing this," she said of the series, adding that in 2016 she wants to add farm vendors and craft beer to the pre-movie mix each week. This year, food was available on site from Taco World, MuraBella's, Glen Mountain Market, Bleachers and Moe's ice cream. Wine was also available each movie night -- Wednesday from Barnstormer Winery. Also on hand: Linda Donelson's Moonlit Mehndi Henna Body Art.

Photo in text: Members of audience await start of The Sandlot.

Down at the Lake

There were a lot of visitors at Clute Park Wednesday night, July 22 -- most to watch The Sandlot, the final of four films in the 2015 "Movies on the Lake" series. Food was available from movie-night vendors, and some was brought to the park by picnickers. This photo of one picnic table was snapped at sundown.

Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Tourism and Marketing Manager Brittany Gibbs, right, distributes literature at the Village Board meeting outlining a new Chamber program: Friday on Franklin, whereby wine and beer tastings will take place at host locations downtown on the first Friday of each month, from 5-8 p.m., starting in August. Non-Franklin food vendors will also be featured.. The goal, said Gibbs: "Getting people downtown and into shops."


Watkins board tables move on clerk job

The Watkins Glen Village Board tabled action on a proposed Local Law July 20 that would separate the positions of village clerk and village treasurer, both currently held by Donna Beardsley (top left).

The board said it wanted more information on the tasks performed under the auspices of each title. "We want a better feel before we jump into an agreement on that," said Trustee Tony Fraboni. Beardsley said the idea to split her job into two posts is not new, noting: "I discussed it with (former mayor) Mark Swinnerton for a couple of years."

Current mayor Sam Schimizzi (bottom left) said one factor to consider is that Project Seneca, encompassing construction of a new wastewater treatment plant and waterfront development, will increase Beardsley's workload.

Left top: Donna Beardsley
Left bottom: Sam Schimizzi

One of the 460 Bon Ton Roulet participants sets up her tent outside the Watkins Glen school complex Sunday. Most of the tents were on the lawn west of the football field.


Bon Ton Roulet stops in Watkins overnight

The 19th annual Bon Ton Roulet bicycle tour of the Finger Lakes region started in Cortland July 19, with the first destination the Watkins Glen school complex for an overnight stay. The 7-day tour, which includes stops in Penn Yan, Geneva and Auburn before a return on Saturday to Cortland, raises funds for the YMCAs of Auburn and Cortland. While in Watkins Glen, the 460 participants received dinner on July 19 and breakfast on July 20 in the WGHS cafeteria served by local service groups. The bicyclists departed Watkins Glen after breakfast.

Left: The official T-shirt, and a trio of riders arrives at the Watkins Glen school camping site.

Two trucks deliver bicyclists' tents and other equipment from site to site. Watkins Glen was the first stop on the weeklong tour.

Left: Teaka with her Schuyler County Sheriff's patrol partner of 12 years, Andrew Ziegler. Right: Teaka wearing her badge.


Teaka earns retirement party

Teaka, a German Shepherd who served with the Schuyler County Sheriff's Department K-9 unit for 12 years with Deputy Andrew Ziegler, was feted at a party July 18 marking her retirement from active duty. The party, hosted by Sarah Agan and Robert Karsch at their home on County Road 7 above Montour Falls, featured a barbecue and a cake with a picture of Teaka. Ziegler and his wife Judy were on hand, along with Teaka. They live just down the road from Agan and Karsch. Ziegler, who has been with the Sheriff's Office since 1993 and in the K-9 division since 2000, obtained Teaka when she was 8 weeks old from a breeder in the Hammondsport area. Teaka -- trained in narcotics detection and in protecting Ziegler and attacking arrest subjects who might run -- was certified for duty at a year and a half. Age has caught up with her, so retirement has arrived, and with it "lots of biscuits," said Ziegler. Her replacement: Ria, a German Shepherd from Rumania by way of Hungary.

Some of the dozens of Corvettes lining Main Street in Montour.


Corvette cruise-in raises charity funds

Dozens of Corvettes made their way to downtown Montour Falls July 18 for a Cruise-In event designed to raise funds for local charities. The Glen Regional Corvette Club, along with club members from Binghamton and Muncie, Pa., parked their cars alongside Main Street for downtown visitors to examine. The event had music, and food, and raffles. On hand, too: an old-fashioned ice-cream truck built by Dick Ameigh of Horseheads from a 1946 Chevy stake truck. Ameigh -- who owns several antique autos -- said he serves ice cream at various gatherings of car clubs. Montour Falls Trustee Jim Ryan said the Glen Regional club approached the village with the idea for the cruise-in. Mayor John King said the event might be combined with the village's Falls Festival in the future.

Above: Under the hood; and club president Jim Stone.

Dick Ameigh's 1946 Chevy truck, converted into an ice-cream server. He said he built it two winters ago after deciding similar vehicles offered for sale cost too much.


John Senka dies at 68

Retired Odessa insurance agent John Senka, 68, author of the autobiographical book "Wounded Body--Healing Spirit" -- which told of his Vietnam War experiences and subsequent struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Clinical Depression -- died July 13 at his Wayland home following a brief illness. Obituary.

Left: John Senka

Sarah Schlueter-Eisman and Samuel Norton in a scene from the Old Havana Courthouse Theatre's "Hysterical History."


Melodrama offers 'Hysterical History'

The second offering of the Old Havana Courthouse Theatre's fifth season of melodramas -- "A Revised Hysterical History of Havana, or Everyone still Falls for Montour" -- completed its second and final weekend on Sunday, July 19 on the second floor of the Montour Falls Village Hall following performances there Friday and Saturday nights. The performances -- the play was written by area playwrights Jeff Hetzel and Joe Edkin -- drew enthusiastic audiences. Three other plays are on tap this summer.


Left: Michael Lavarnway as Chief Sagoyewatha

MuraBella's owner Bob Misuraca, right, and son Anthony cut the ribbon at Friday's ceremony.


Ribbon-cutting welcomes pizza service

MuraBella's Italian Steakhouse in Montour Falls marked the addition of pizza prepared by chef James Robertson to its menu Friday, July 17 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted at the restaurant by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. Speakers included Chamber President/CEO Rebekah LaMoreaux, Montour Falls Mayor John King, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, MuraBella's owner Robert Misuraca, and his son Anthony. MuraBella's opened in May 2013.


Eduardo, Rosa return to their halls of yore

Eduardo Gonzalez and Rosa WIckham, exchange students at Odessa-Montour Central School in 1967-68, pay a return visit with their spouses, touring the halls they walked so long ago. Visit.


Left: Eduardo Gonzalez


Former Rotary Club President John King, left, presents a check for $2,206.36 to Rev. Michael Hartney, representing Habitat for Humanity. The money was raised through the club's recent "Ribs & Riesling" dinner at the Fontainebleau Inn. The money will be used to help finance a Habitat home on Havana Glen Road.


Rotary gets update on Middle School project

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club speaker at the July 16 club luncheon was Tony Fiala, executive director of The SEPP Group, developers of the apartment complex going in where the Watkins Glen Middle School used to be. Fiala said the project, financed with state historic funds, will be completed by year's end. It will house people 55 and older in 52 apartments. Income requirements and rental costs won't be determined, he said, until more information is received from the government. Public tours are being planned. Unique aspects of the structure, per instructions from the state, are being retained, such as most of the hall lockers, a fireplace found behind a classroom wall, and a small stage that will be incorporated into one of the apartments. The old auditorium and gymnasium are being kept for public use, separated from the living units. Fiala said the unique nature of the facility -- with its combination of public and private use -- might attract Governor Andrew Cuomo when the Grand Opening celebration is held at a yet-to-be-determined date.

State Senator Tom O'Mara, left, and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano race in the evening's first Sack Race. Palmesano won the race, but lost in the finale to Bradley Gillett.


Chamber Rendezvous offers food and fun

The annual Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Summer Rendezvous, held July 15 at Iroquois Lodge in the Watkins Glen State Park, featured food, music, prizes -- and games, including the third annual Chamber Sack Race, with 8 local celebrities competing in 2-person heats. The defending champion, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, eliminated the first year's winner, State Senator Tom O'Mara, in the opening heat -- but ultimately lost in the final to Seneca Lake Brewing Company owner Bradley Gillett.

Left: Winner Bradley Gillett holds the Chamber Cup that goes to each year's Sack Race winner.

Watkins Glen Police Chief Tom Struble hits the ground in an opening-round sack race against Sheriff Bill Yessman, shown at right pulling away for the win. Yessman then lost in a semifinal.

Left: New board member Jeff Parmenter.
Right: Board Vice President Scott Westervelt.


Halpin, Westervelt
re-elected to posts

Rob Halpin (left) and Scott Westervelt were re-elected President and Vice President, respectively, of the Odessa-Montour School Board in a vote of board members at the group's annual organizational meeting July 14th. Sworn in to three-year terms of office were incumbents Halpin and Karen Rock, and newcomer Jeff Parmenter. Coming soon: a new meeting place, since the current one, Conference Room 12 at Hanlon Elementary School, is being converted to a classroom.

Above: Rob Halpin is sworn in as O-M Board President.

Attorney Sujata Gibson, flanked by fellow lawyers Gerald Kinchy, left, and Joseph Heath, addresses supporters outside the Reading Town Hall after moving in court for the dismissal of charges against 84 protesters "in the interest of justice."


Judge hears motions on 84 protest cases

Reading Town Justice Raymond Berry reserved judgment July 14 on motions to dismiss charges against 84 people arrested on trespass charges over a period of time at protests outside the Crestwood energy firm gates north of Watkins Glen. Ithaca Attorney Sujata Gibson, seeking the dismissals "in the interest of justice," claimed the office of District Attorney Joe Fazzary had "breached" a March agreement to drop the charges -- an accord reached with the understanding that the 84 -- in addition to dozens of others whose charges were dropped -- did not intend to be arrested again. The move to prosecute was reactivated following the Earth Day arrests of more protesters -- though none who had been charged previously. A decision by Berry is expected within a couple of weeks.

Left: Assistant DA John Tunney leaves court; protest leader Sandra Steingraber after the hearing.

Boating for a Cure founders Norman Knight, left and his wife Joyce, right, flank Tiffany Zimmer, a regional communications manager for the American Cancer Society. Boating for a Cure has raised funds for the fight against cancer for five years, but faces an uncertain future.


Was this Boating for a Cure's last call?

The Boating for a Cure parade of motorized craft negotiating the canal between Montour Falls and Watkins Glen, and out onto the lake, might have taken its final bow July 11th -- the fifth such annual event to raise funds, through registration fees and donations, for the fight against cancer. Founders and perennial organizers Norman and Joyce Knight say that age has slowed them enough so that the job of overseeing the event is something they no longer wish to tackle. Efforts to find a successor have failed. "It's the fifth year and last," said Joyce Knight. But a regional spokesperson for the American Cancer Society says efforts will be made to keep the event afloat. Anyone interested in taking over the organizational leadership can contact Norman Knight at 607-426-9046.

Photo in text: Norman Knight's boat leads the parade up the canal. Only a handful of boats participated.


Reed challenge comes from Dems' Plumb

John Plumb, 45, of the Jamestown area -- a former military aide in the Obama White House (as director of defense policy and strategy at the National Security Council) -- is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against incumbent Republican Tom Reed for the 23rd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. People.

Left: John Plumb


Michael Argetsinger dies

Motorsports author Michael Argetsinger, influential in the success of the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, died July 7th at his Chicago home. Argetsinger (left), son of Jean Argetsinger and the late Cameron Argetsinger, wrote books about racers Walt Hansgen and Mark Donohue, as well as about the Watkins Glen International racetrack. Obituary.


'Enough!' puts end to Crestwood discussion

Reading Town Supervisor Marvin Switzer -- faced at the July 8th town board meeting with a resident who was trying to discuss a group's ongoing drive against the storage of gas in Crestwood energy firm salt caverns in the town -- slammed his hand on the table. "Enough!" he said, raising his voice. That silenced the woman and brought the audience of three-dozen people to attention. Government.

Left: Supervisor Switzer


Meth bust at Watkins apartment house

A 47-year-old Watkins Glen man, Christopher S. Coy, was arrested at his apartment in the village Tuesday, July 7 and charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance, 3rd Degree, a Class B felony, and Resisting Arrest in an ongoing methamphetamine investigation. An official said Coy's apartment, occupying the front of the second floor at 117 E. Second St., contained "all the ingredients for a meth lab," though there was no such production under way at the time of the arrest. Village police, Schuyler County Sheriff's personnel and a State Police CCSERT (Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team) unit arrived at the apartment at 8 a.m. to arrest Coy, who was arraigned in Watkins Glen Village Court and sent to county jail in lieu of $7,500 cash bail. The criminal sale of meth allegedly occurred within the past month. Further charges are pending. The Response Team removed all hazardous materials from the building, and the determination was made that the other residents of the building could stay in their apartments since there was no ongoing health-and-safety issue remaining there.

Photo: The apartment house at 117 Second St., Watkins Glen


Meth spread to residential areas requires vigilance by communities, says police chief. Meth.

Board Clerk Marie Keefer (left) swears in Kelly McCarthy as the new Board president.


McCarthy elected School Board chief

Kelly McCarthy was elected unanimously July 6 as the new president of the Watkins Glen School Board by board members at their annual organizational meeting. McCarthy, who served the past year as the board's vice president, was nominated by Gloria Brubaker and elected without opposition. Brubaker in turn was elected vice president without opposition. McCarthy succeeds Mike Myers, who chose not to seek re-election after 12 years on the board, the last three as president. Before the vote, McCarthy was sworn in for her second three-year board term. Also sworn in: new board member Barbara Schimizzi, elected along with McCarthy in May.

Left top: Brubaker is sworn in.
Left bottom: New board member Schimizzi


Watkins' Caslin: Let's talk merger

Watkins Glen School Board member Keith Caslin (right) raised the subject of merger at the July 6 board meeting, asking Athletic Manager Erich Kramer to contact Odessa-Montour about the possibility of merging the two schools' baseball and softball teams, and opening lacrosse to a mix of students from both districts. "With football being merged," said Caslin, "we already have a template" for combining sports programs -- a reference to this fall's combined Watkins and O-M football squad, the Seneca Indians. Beyond sports, Caslin said, it's also time to look seriously at the merger of the two districts into one -- to take advantage of available state funds that would not be available should the state order consolidation. That theme was echoed by Superintendent Tom Phillips, who said he has "continually brought the (consolidation) discussion to the forefront. The reality is we have 8 towns, 4 villages and 3 school districts in a county with under 18,500 people. Can anyone tell me why?" Any move toward consolidation, Phillips added, "has been a slow process. I would have preferred it to be more accelerated." He indicated he will reach out to the O-M district on the matter.

The School Board meeting summary is here.

Flames shoot out of the kitchen window.


Fire strikes trailer home outside Odessa

Fire that started in the kitchen extensively damaged a trailer home July 6 at 1682 County Road 15, the Ridge Road, near Odessa. The structure, owned by Steve Bannister and rented by Autumn VanOstrand, caught fire shortly before 7 a.m. The blaze, with heavy smoke, was knocked down quickly as firefighters from Odessa, Montour Falls, Watkins Glen and Town & Country raced to the scene. A pole barn to the rear of the home was not damaged, nor was a shed to the immediate north. Flames were visible on the trailer's north end, at a kitchen window, as firefighters arrived. Investigators determined the fire was caused by an overheated condenser fan motor in the freezer portion of the home's refrigerator. Officials said nobody was home at the time of the blaze. The building, they added, was insured.

Left: Fire investigators Dale Jaynes, left, and Keith Caslin

Thick smoke swirls in front of the trailer home.


Fireworks display draws Clute crowd

Fireworks sponsored by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and Cayuga Health Systems attracted a large and enthusiastic crowd to Clute Park Friday night, July 3 -- an audience that gathered an hour ahead of time, enjoying the pleasant weather. Kids raced around with glow sticks while some lit sparklers, and pockets of conversation were carried on until, at 9:45 p.m., the fireworks began, turning everyone's attention skyward.

Glen beach opens in time for 4th

Just in time for the 4th of July holiday weekend, Watkins Glen got clearance Thursday, July 2 to open its Clute Park beach for the first time this season after it had been closed to swimmers because of an E. coli level -- created by the June 14 storm and runoff -- that had barely exceeded government standards. Park Manager Michelle Hyde said a water test July 1 came back safe on July 2, prompting the removal of no-swimming signs. "I'm a-grinning today," said Hyde just before removing the signs and prepping the park for a busy holiday weekend.

From left: Cargill's Bob Moore, Ken Hill and Thomas Gossett. Moore and Gossett were honored along with Cargill's Kevin Newell for helping to save Hill after he suffered cardiac arrest at work on April 28.


Gold Stars honor those who saved Ken Hill

Members of Cargill's first-responder team, along with Schuyler Ambulance and Watkins Glen Fire Department rescue personnel, were honored July 1 for helping save the life of Cargill worker Kenneth Hill after he collapsed with cardiac arrest. People.

Above: Gold Stars of Life were presented to the honorees.

The lawn west of the of Clute Park pavilion was full of movie lovers. "People just don't get together like they used to," said organizer Sara Caldwell in explaining her reason for Movie Nights. "And they forget how cool Clute Park is." Her take on the popularity of the first film gathering? "This is fun."


Movie Night at Clute proves a major hit

"I wanted to throw a party. And boy, did I throw a party," said Sara Caldwell (right) on July 1 about her first of four Wednesday "Movies on the Lake" nights at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. The first film, Back to the Future, drew more than 300 people to the park, and not just for the film. It was preceded by hours of outdoor dinners on the lawn and at picnic tables, with food sold by a variety of local outlets -- MuraBella's, Bleachers, and Glen Mountain Market -- and wine by the Hector Wine Company. "This is quintessential Americana," said one park visitor.

Above left: A couple of youngsters used a park slide as a point from which to watch the movie.

Food vendors reported brisk business. Next up:The Princess Bride on July 8. Food starts at 6 p.m., the movie at dark.

Members of the Seneca Indians football team at the fundraiser.


Breakfast raises $3,100 for grid team

A fundraising breakfast Sunday, June 28 at the Montour Moose Lodge raised $3,100 for the newly formed Seneca Indians high school football team -- a merged squad with players from the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour schools. The funds will be used by the gridders to purchase apparel. The team thanked the Moose Lodge, all those who attended, and Rolling Hills Produce and Watkins Glen Supply for donations. Merchandise with the team logo will be available for purchase by the public as the season nears.

The protesters posed in front of the Sheriff's Office in Watkins Glen after they were processed and released.


17 arrested at Crestwood gate; total now 296

The protests at the Crestwood energy firm's north gate along Rte. 414 north of Watkins Glen resumed Tuesday, June 30, resulting in the arrest of 17 people billed as "clergy and people of faith." One clergy member, Rev. Jane Winters of Elmira, and 16 people described in a We Are Seneca Lake press release as "members of Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and Islamic faiths," were arrested before 8 a.m. by Sheriff's deputies, charged with trespassing, processed and released. They were reading from the Pope's encyclical when arrested. The total number of arrests since October, when protesters starrted their movement against Crestwood's expanded storage of methane, is now 296. None of the 17 arrested Tuesday had been arrested before. Only two were from Schuyler County. Five were from Tompkins County.


Odessa firefighter receives award

Horseheads High School student Makayla Griffin (right) -- an Odessa Fire Department volunteer -- has received a $1,000 prize from First Heritage Federal Credit Union as part of its "Everyday Hero Award," an honor it has sponsored now for 10 years. Griffin, who has also done in-service training with Schuyler Ambulance, was nominated by teachers based on academic achievement and community service. Other honorees -- from schools around the Twin Tiers -- received a plaque; Griffin won the money through a drawing in which the honorees were entered. Griffin, described as "very active in the Odessa Fire Department," wants to be a career firefighter and paramedic.

Glenn Larison and wife Pat pose at their celebration. They were married July 1, 1950, and have three daughters and two sons -- all of whom were present at the Montour Moose Lodge party Sunday, June 28.


Larisons celebrate their 65th anniversary

Former Schuyler County Legislator Glenn Larison and his wife Pat celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary June 28 with a luncheon party at the Montour Moose Lodge. Glenn and the former Pat Gilmore of Elmira were married on July 1, 1950 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in West Elmira.

Left: Son Ted Larison welcomes family and friends

Gene and Pat Gardiner were on hand at the Larison gathering, a day after a reception celebrating their own 65th anniversary. Their daughter Dawn is married to a Larison son, Ted.


Renovation complete; Burger King reopens

The Burger King on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen reopened over the June 27-28 weekend, and was utilizing the Burger King king, who was trying to attract motorists to lunch (left) by calling to them from the sidewalk fronting the restaurant. "You know you want to stop in for a Whopper!" he was heard yelling Sunday. The interior and exterior of the building were renovated over the past month.


88 graduate as WGHS holds Commencement

The June 27 Watkins Glen High School graduation ceremony saw diplomas distributed to 88 seniors, and dozens of awards and scholarships presented. The valedictorian was Colin DeMeritt, and the salutatorian Lydia Myers. For a look at the ceremony, see WGHS.

Left: Tamijah Lawton-Stone

Winners of Watkins Glen High School Alumni Association Scholarships -- $5,000 divided three ways -- are, from left, WGHS graduating seniors Lucy Craig, Jon Brown and Noah Wigmore.


WGHS Alumni unit holds annual banquet

Many alumni were on hand June 27 at the Watkins Glen Community Center for the annual Watkins Glen High School Alumni Banquet. The Distinguished Alumni Award went to 1965 grad Carl Biagetti (left), whose career has included Aerospace Engineering and Astronomy Satellite Operations. Among his projects was the Hubble Space Telescope.

Left: Mark Swinnerton, WGHS Class of 1990, examines the vaunted Bucket that went to winners of the WGHS vs. Odessa-Montour football game each year -- a series now ended with merger of the two teams. Right: Class of 1976 members Paul Donnelly (left) and Phil Waite flank retired teacher Frank Steber.


Former County Judge John P. Callanan dies

Former Schuyler County Judge John Patrick "Jack" Callanan Sr. died Thursday, June 25 at Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility, Montour Falls, following a long illness. Callanan, who also once served in the State Assembly, was County Judge for 15 years in the 1980s and 1990s. Obituary.

Left: Judge John Callanan

Caps flew into the air at the end of O-M's Commencement.


56 graduate as O-M holds Commencement

Odessa-Montour High School distributed diplomas to 56 graduating seniors at the annual Commencement June 26 in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. The keynote speaker was Andrew Learn of the O-M Class of 1996, a licensed professional engineer who told the graduates to "be persistent when going after the things you want in life." Graduation.

Left: Andrew Learn


WGI is No. 1 in USA Today poll

The Watkins Glen International racetrack was victorious in USA Today's online competition to decide "America's Best NASCAR Track," it has been announced. WGI was chosen out of 20 nationwide finalists. State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano issued a joint statement thanking "everyone who took a turn at the wheel and kept voting, day after day, to support WGI," which they called "one of the renowned venues in all of sports and an absolute anchor of the culture and economy of our Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions. It was a great ride, and a great show of support for one of our own." The contest ran from May 25-June 22. NASCAR returns to WGI in August, a stop in the annual Sprint Cup Series.

The Odessa Baptist Church building, built in 1856.


Odessa Baptist Church is moving

The Odessa Baptist Church building on Maple Avenue in Odessa is being sold, with the congregation planning a new worship facility on Fowler Place on the village's east end. High maintenance and utility costs and inadequate parking are key reasons for the move. The final worship service at the old facility was June 28. Services will be held temporarily at the American Legion Hall on Rt. 228. People.

From left: Chamber President Rebekah LaMoreaux, County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, and Jim, Maya and Kristine Somerville.


Ribbon-cutting welcomes B&B

A ceremonial ribbon was cut June 26 at 104 Seneca St. in Watkins Glen, site of a new business, the Hudson Manor Bed and Breakfast -- formerly the Seneca Lake Watch Bed and Breakfast. The new B&B, owned by Jim and Kristine Somerville, is a historic property, built in 1890. It has five guest rooms with private baths, a guest parlor, guest kitchen and formal dining room. Issuing remarks at the ceremony were Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah LaMoreaux, and the Somervilles. Jim Somerville said the B&B, set to open in the next few days, is booked on every weekend in July and most of those in August.

Stef Collins and her father, Steve, at the Glen Mountain Market during lunchtime Friday, June 26.


Olympian Stef Collins visits family

Odessa-Montour and St. Bonaventure alum Stefanie Collins -- known internationally nowadays as Stef Collins following her participation with Great Britain's basketball team in the last Olympics, and who lives in England, playing and coaching basketball there -- was visiting her parents in Montour Falls recently. She will also planning to visit her sister Samantha in California before returning to Montour Falls for another few days prior to her return to England.

Some of the equipment in the fitness center at the Hanlon school.


O-M opens fitness center to public

The Odessa-Montour School District has opened the fitness center in Hanlon Elementary School to district residents during weekday evenings (5-9 p.m. Monday through Friday) through August at no charge. The center -- which was temporarily available for public use years ago, but at a charge -- is being staffed by qualified personnel, says Superintendent Chris Wood, who has said he wants the school to be more accessible by the taxpayers. If enough people utilize the center, he said, he hopes to add non-summer usage, and budget for additional equipment. The center currently has free weights, exercise machines, and cardio units. Participants are required to sign a waiver of liability and adhere to printed center rules. Anyone 13 and younger needs a parent present. The center opened Monday, June 29.

Photo in text: Entry to the fitness center is through the door at the center's southeast corner, near the Hanlon main entrance.

Carl P. Biagetti, left, a member of the Watkins Glen High School Class of 1965 and honored at Saturday's Alumni Banquet as this year's Distinguished Alumni Recipient, chats at Friday's golf-course gathering with Frank Steber, who taught at the school when Biagetti and his classmates were students there.


Watkins Glen Class of 1965 in town for 50th

More than 60 members of the Watkins Glen High School Class of 1965 were reunited Friday evening, June 26 for a dinner at the Watkins Glen Golf Course as part of an alumni weekend that included Saturday night's Alumni Banquet at the Watkins Glen Community Center. Classmates from all over the U.S., as well as a Swiss exchange student who spent her senior year with the class, traveled to Watkins Glen for the weekend events, which included a Sunday brunch. Of 128 graduates in the class, 104 are still alive, and 66 were present for the weekend. The weekend also marked the WGHS graduation of the Class of 2015, held Saturday in the high school auditorium.

Photo: A memorial table with photos and candles were set up at Friday's gathering to honor the two-dozen members of the Class of 1965 who have passed away.


Corridor designation eyed for Finger Lakes

U.S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced June 22 that she is introducing legislation that would authorize the National Park Service to take steps toward designating the Finger Lakes region as a National Heritage Corridor. Next up, if the legislation passes: a feasibility study. Govt.

Left: Senator Gillibrand

Michael Fitzgerald and the cover of his novel, which is set in our area and Pennsylvania and deals with the conflicts created by hydrofracking -- a controversial method of extracting natural gas from the earth.


Fitzgerald wins Green Book Festival award

Watkins Glen journalist Michael J. Fitzgerald's first novel, The Fracking War, won first place in the General Fiction category June 19 at the Green Book Festival in New York City. The festival honors published, self-published and independent publisher works that "contribute to greater understanding, respect for and positive action on the changing worldwide environment." Fitzgerald's second novel, Fracking Justice, was published June 2.


Coffey wins 2 golds at World Rowing Cup II

Former Watkins Glen resident Olivia Coffey was on the gold-medal winning United States squads June 21 in the Women's Four and Women's Eight events at the World Rowing Cup II event in Varese, Italy -- a precursor to the World Rowing Championships set for Aug. 30-Sept. 6 in France. The U.S. Fours squad finished the 2,000-meter race in 6:27.41, more than six seconds ahead of runnerup Australia, while the U.S. Eights team covered the 2,000 meters in 6:03.27, more than two seconds ahead of second-place Canada. Coffey -- in the Stroke position in Fours, and Seat 6 in Eights -- was a Watkins Glen High School varsity basketball starter as a freshman in 2003-04 before opting to attend the Phillips Academy prep school, where she specialized in hockey. She was later an All-American in rowing as captain of the Harvard-Radcliffe Crew while attending Harvard University, where she earned a B.A. in Economics in 2011. She has been a consultant with One Equity Partners since 2011. Her father, Cal, was a 1976 Olympic silver medalist in pairs rowing..

Photo : Olivia Coffey with her 2 gold medals. (Photo provided)

The Miss Americas boat capsizes yards from the starting line.


Cardboard boats vie for honors at marina

More than four dozen cardboard craft entered the water of Seneca Harbor Marina in Watkins Glen June 20 for the 22nd annual Cardboard Boat Regatta -- held as usual before a large number of spectators lining the shore, the pier and the breakwater, and perched on motorboats and sailboats in their marina berths. Among regatta winners:
Best Name: Knot a Yacht
Judges' Choice: Seneca Belle
Chairman's Cup: Game On!
Fastest Single Hull: Game On!
People's Choice: Wikiwiki Wa'a
Titanic Sinking: Going Down

Above: Bill Phoenix blasts the starting horn.

Left: The Seneca Lodge entry. Right: Big Fox camera operator. The regatta was taped for later TV viewing.

The Jerlando's boat rounds the final corner of the marina course.

The Mighty Ducky boat capsized early, but its determined crew
finished the race.


Namibia report from Marie Fitzsimmons

The Watkins Glen HIgh School teacher, on Peace Corps assignment in China and then Africa, sends her third report on her year's experiences, and her second report from Namibia. Report.


Left: Marie Fitzsimmons in Namibia.


Schuyler Notables:
Bob & Charlotte Collins

The Collinses have owned and operated the Collins Sawmill in Cayuta for years -- emblematic of an independent Schuyler County spirit. Notables.

Left: Bob & Charlotte Collins

Jackie Hobbs was among the June 20 performers.


Fiddlers' Gathering held

The 26th annual Old Time Fiddlers' Gathering ended its annual two-day run June 21 on the grounds of Lakewood Vineyards north of Watkins Glen. Performances by several groups marked both afternoons, as did jamming and instruction tents. Jackie Hobbs and the Clemens Tradition opened the main tent performances Saturday, followed by Jessica Boss Collins, George & Joe Harriger, and the Mark Allnatt Band. Sunday, the acts included Kit Fallon & Joe Dady, followed by the trio of Don Woodcock, Camilla Ammirati and Joe Harriger, and then Rosie Newton and Richie Stearns.

Above: Musician George Wilson conducts a class at the Gathering

The Old Cookie Shop villain, Joe Edkin (right), prepares to receive a face full of cream at the play's conclusion. It was delivered by actress Kate Nicole Hoffman, with Robert Lavarnway observing.


Old Havana Courthouse Theatre starts season

The Old Havana Courthouse Theatre opened its 5th season of melodramas Friday night, June 19 in the Montour Falls Village Hall by offering a reprise of its earliest first-season effort, The Old Cookie Shop, which it presented again Saturday night and Sunday. Four new -- and original -- plays will be performed in subsequent weeks: For details, visit oldhavanatheatre.com.



Left: Sarah Schlueter-Eisman sings a song.

An image of the American Flag adorned the mainsail on the schooner True Love at the June 19 Harbor Lights festival.


Weekend kicks off with Harbor Lights festival

The annual Harbor LIghts festival drew a steady stream of people June 19 to Seneca Harbor Park in Watkins Glen the day before the weekend showcase there: the 22nd annual Cardboard Boat Regatta. Music, food and lights highlighted the Friday gathering, with performances by the True Bleu trio; Tom Bloodgood singing solo; and the 43 Main Street band, a largely bluegrass group based in Dundee, but including members of the Schuyler-based Southwind group, too. Lighting of the pier and of the hotel was provided by Pro Audio LIghting.


Left: Michael Brooks (top), founder of the 43 Main Street band; and Tom Bloodgood were among the Harbor Lights performers.

O-M Athletes of the Year Hailie Searles and Joe Rorick.


Searles, Rorick win Athlete of Year honors

Senior Hailie Searles and Joe Rorick were named June 10th as winners of the Harold Lynch Athlete of the Year Awards at Odessa-Montour High School's year-end Sports Awards Night. Searles was a standout in soccer, basketball and track, while Rorick excelled in soccer and wrestling. Meanwhile, O-M's annual Charles Martin Sportsmanship Awards were presented to seniors Manley Gavich and Dana Roberts.

Left: Sportsmanship winners Gavich and Roberts.

Mess removed

Debris from last weekend's storm gathered Friday, June 19 at the edge of Seneca Harbor Park -- in particular at the ramp (above) where the cardboard boats would be entering the water during Saturday's annual Cardboard Boat Regatta. The debris was cleared away early Saturday.


Sunset over Seneca

The evening was cool and the sky colorful as the sun set Friday, June 19. This view was from the Seneca Harbor pier in Watkins Glen, during the Harbor Lights festival along the waterfront.


Exchange students enjoy final weekend

Area Rotary exchange students gather for one final monthly weekend together -- and emotional farewells. Features.

Left: Exchange students at the Seneca Harbor pier.


Rotary honors Coates as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Meghan Coates (left) was honored June 18 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for June. Coates was introduced by guidance counselor Holly McNelis, who described the honoree -- the valedictorian at O-M and a participant in school musicals and Lake Country Players stage producions -- as a "kind and compassionate" person. Coates will be attending the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles in the fall to study acting.


Eagle project gives Arc a bocce-ball court

An Elmira Boy Scout builds a bocce-ball court for the Arc of Schuyler as a project that helped earn him an Eagle Scout rank. People.


Left: Bocce ball at the Arc of Schuyler.


B.C. Cate teacher receives garden grant

James Nolan, a teacher at the B.C. Cate Elementary School, receives a $1,000 grant given by the New York State Retired Teachers’ Association. Grant.

Left: James Nolan, right, and NYSRTA's Vince Smith.


SFLW scholarship goes to O-M's Coates

The Southern Finger Lakes Women, a Chapter of New York State Women, Inc., awards a $500 scholarship to Meghan Coates, an Odessa-Montour High School senior. People.

Left: Meghan Coates, left, and SFLW's Kathleen Clark.

Main break fixed

Local workers (above) were completing a project June 17 on Main Street (State Rte. 224) in the Village of Odessa -- the repair of an old leak in a six-inch main that had been losing water for years. Water from the main had long been leaking under the road and down a bank on the north side of the road. But when last winter's bitter cold froze the ground deep, the flow was redirected and appeared atop the road, alerting authorities to the problem. Then, after the ground thawed, plans were filed, and permission was granted by the state, the main was fixed.


Board mulls need of streaming meetings

The Watkins Glen Village Board is looking at options on how it might present its sessions to the public. Government.


Left: Mayor Sam Schimizzi

Outgoing School Board President Mike Myers, left, receives a commemorative plaque from Superintendent Tom Phillips.


Board bids farewell to veteran Myers

Mike Myers, a 12-year member of the Watkins Glen School Board and its president for the past two years, oversaw his final board meeting Monday night, June 15. Myers -- who chose not to run for re-election in May -- told the board that among the most important things they do is this: "Listen and ask questions. It means you're paying attention." He was presented a plaque by Superintendent Tom Phillips with a gavel attached, signifying Myers' leadership.

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

Alpine Junction was blocked off Sunday in two directions due to road flooding -- toward Newfield on Rt. 13 and toward Van Etten on Rt. 224. The Dandy store is in the background above.
(Photo provided)

Cleanup begins in wake of storm

More photos on Features.

Schuyler County Sheriff William Yessman lifted the State of Emergency in the county at 5 a.m. Monday, June 15, but cautioned that while most main roads had reopened, some secondary ones were not -- particularly in the towns of Catharine, Reading and Tyrone. He said motorists should not drive around barricades, and that a boating advisory is in effect on all waterways due to high waters and floating debris. The State of Emergency had been declared at 6:38 p.m. Sunday, June 14 following a storm that left "substantial flooding" on numerous roads, some of which had been washed out.

Firefighters from around the county responded Sunday to reports of flooded roads, yards and basements -- and in one case a damaged foundation -- in the wake of the storm. A flash-flood warning was in effect until 4:30 a.m. Come Monday morning, businesses, homeowners and road crews were clearing away the debris and mud left behind. The Odessa Fire Department was on hand Monday evening at the Harley Davidson business at Alpine Junction, helping clean away mud and water that had covered the parking lot and gotten into the store.

Photo in text: Sunday flooding in Watkins. (Photo by Kevin LeRoux)

---More photos on Features---


Fire levels garage in Odessa

Firefighters were alerted by a passerby to a fire in a two-story garage at 520 Church Street, Odessa at 4:30 a.m. Monday, June 15, and found the structure fully engulfed when they arrived. They managed to douse a nearby tree that had caught fire, and otherwise prevented the blaze from spreading. All that was left of the structure afterward was charred remains (above). Fire officials did not announce a cause.

In need of funding

The My Place child care center in Montour Falls is in financial difficulty, and looking for help. See Forum.

Dana Roberts, right front, competes June 13 in the 800 Meter Run, one of the Pentathlon events. (Photo by Maia Rumsey)


Roberts places 2nd in Division 2, 8th overall

Odessa-Montour High School track standout Dana Roberts (right) finished 2nd among Division 2 competitors -- and 8th overall -- in the Pentathlon at the two-day New York State Public High School Athletic Association Track & Field Championships that ended Saturday, June 13 in Albany. Roberts -- after posting a 15.94 in the 100 Meter Hurdles (a school record, breaking Katie Taber's mark of 15.99), clearing 5'1" in the High Jump, and throwing the Shot 27' 7.5" on Friday to amass 1,827 points -- went 15' 2" in the Long Jump and ran a 2:43.07 in the 800 Saturday to finish with 2,824 points, just 12 points below her own school record. And she competed in those final two events with an ankle sprain sustained on a Long Jump run-through -- while trying to establish her steps for the event. Roberts was seeded 12th entering States among 27 Pentathlon participants and seeded third among 13 Division 2 competitors. Division winner Skylar Pastor of South Jefferson High School (Northern New York) totaled 3,221 points. The overall winner was Kathleen Cibula of Bayport-Bluepoint High School, with 3,425 points.

Photo in text: Dana Roberts with her silver medal. She also made the New York State All Star team for finishing in the top 8 overall. (Photo by Maia Rumsey)

Roberts named Odessa File Schuyler Spring MVP. For story and All-Stars, see Sports.


Phillips shoots another 90; ties for 45th

Watkins Glen High School senior Halle Phillips shot a second-straight 18-over-par 90 on Sunday, June 14 in the second round of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Golf Championship at SUNY Delhi -- giving her a 180 total and putting her in a tie for 45th place among 81 competitors. Phillips carded six pars -- including four on her final nine holes, where she shot a 42. The winner was defending champ Lindsay May of Section 3, who fired a 3-over-par 75 to finish at 1-under-par 143. Phillips' total score was the best posted by Section IV golfers, who had the highest team total (1,331) of the nine sections competing. Section 1 won the team title with 1,128 strokes.

Gillian Clark of Odessa-Montour registered a 97 Sunday for a 195 total, while other Section 4 tourney scores included a 183 by Waverly's Alex Tomasso, a 184 by Madalyn Owen of Horseheads, a 192 by Corning's Emily Cunningham, a 194 by Lansing's Olivia Longhouse, a 203 by Horseheads' Kristina Eisenhart, a 222 by Johnson City's Alice Zhang, and a 224 by Horseheads' Hailey Tetreault

Photo in text: Halle Phillips tees off Saturday. (Photo provided)

A member of the Canaseraga High School band, one of several musical units marching in the parade.


Parade highlights festival's final day

The 59th annual Montour Falls Firemen's Festival Grand Parade topped the list of events June 13 on the festival's final day. People.

Left: Vendors were part of the parade atmosphere.


School Board taps McCarty as principal

The Odessa-Montour School Board on June 11 tapped Almon M. "Skip" McCarty (left) as its junior-senior high school principal. McCarty, a 1986 graduate of O-M and a member of its Sports Hall of Fame, spent 23 years teaching History at Spencer-Van Etten and Corning, and has twice served as a summer school principal in Watkins Glen. He takes office on July 1, succeeding interim principal Mike Johnston, who succeeded Chris Wood when Wood was named O-M's superintendent.

Nik & the Nice Guys performed June 12 at the Montour Falls Festival.

Storm creates outages, impacts festival

Downed trees and limbs helped create power outages around the area -- including one in the vicinity of Cayuta Lake outside Odessa -- after a storm cell with high winds raced through Schuyler County shortly after 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 12th. A reported 1,200 NYSEG customers were temporarily without power in Schuyler, and 3,300 in Tompkins County. The storm, one of many around the state, also created problems for the annual Montour Falls Firemen's Festival, where rides were stopped and game awnings lowered for the storm, and where business on the midway was reduced to a crawl afterward. Post-storm music by Nik & the Nice Guys attracted a crowd in the entertainment tent, however.

A lone child was on a dragon ride at the festival after Friday's storm.


Rotary honors Jones as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Kalea Jones (left) was honored June 11th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for June. Jones was introduced by teacher Kaz Popovich, who described the honoree as"dedicated to academics" as well as "sincere, hard working and honest" -- "overwhelmingly chosen by faculty and staff" for this honor. Jones, also described as "responsible and achieving at a high level," is a member of National Honor Society. She plans to attend Corning Community College and then Keuka College or Cornell in pursuit of a business career.

O-M distributes academic awards

The annual Odessa-Montour High School Academic Awards Assembly was held June 8th in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. For a list of the winners, see Schools.


Holland, Kennard top Live Like Liz 5K field

Watkins Glen High School students Sean Holland and Taylor Kennard made their mark June 7th in the 10th annual Live Like Liz 5K race on the WGHS track and on the Catharine Valley Trail. Holland finished first overall, and Kennard was the first female to cross the finish line. The race raises funds to help in the fight against ovarian cancer. Live Like Liz.

Left: Holland (955) at start of the race. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Rainbow Warriors win walking title

The Rainbow Warriors team from the Rainbow Chasers Club of Watkins Glen finished as 2015 champion of the ninth annual 8-week Schuyler Steps Out walking competition run by Schuyler Hospital and sponsored by Excellus and Walmart. The Rainbow Warriors, with 11 walkers, posted a cumulative average of 1,453,334 steps per person. The Humane Society/WG Vet Hospital surged from fourth place to second with a cumulative average of 1,086,332 steps per person. Former champion Lakewood Vineyards finished third and the Wacky Walkers of Watkins Glen High School fourth. The 15 competing teams walked a total of 209,989,409 steps.


WGHS holds annual Awards Assembly

Awards and scholarships were presented June 4th to Watkins Glen High School students in an assembly in the school auditorium. Schools.

Left: Brenen Murphy receives a U. of Rochester award


6th graders get chance to study the outdoors

About 160 sixth-graders from the Watkins Glen, Odessa-Montour and Bradford school districts attend an outdoor education program featuring demonstrations, like one on tapping maple trees (left). Outdoors.


Rotary honors Taylor as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Autumn Taylor was honored June 4 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for May. Taylor was introduced by teacher Mary Kinnetz, who described the honoree -- a two-sport athlete, National Honor Society member and tutor who ranks 4th in her class academically -- as "kind, caring and humble ... truly genuine." Taylor will attend Corning Community College in the fall.

Left: Autumn Taylor


Spring sports honors presented at WGHS

The Watkins Glen High School Spring Sports Awards Night was held June 2nd. For a list of the winners, see Sports.

Left: Softball coach Jim Scott and athlete Amanda Cherock hug after she was honored for Sportsmanship.

7 more protesters arrested

Wearing surgical scrubs and lab coats, seven gas-storage protesters led by area healthcare professionals blocked the north entrances of Crestwood Midstream on Route 14 north of Watkins Glen June 1st morning, preventing traffic from entering or leaving the site. All seven were arrested, charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct, and released. The number of arrests now stands at 279 in the seven-month-old civil disobedience campaign against the expanded storage of methane by Crestwood in abandoned salt caverns. Protesters.

Teacher Tammy Kellogg and Superintendent Tom Phillips.


Kellogg honored for South Sudan success

Watkins Glen 7th grade teacher Tammy Kellogg was presented with a Recognition Plaque June 1st at the Watkins Glen School Board meeting citing her role in leading students in a project that raised $15,200 to be used to drill a water well in South Sudan. The project was inspired by a book, Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, relating the story of Nya, an 11-year-old girl in the African country of South Sudan who must travel two hours from her home twice a day to get the only water available for her family. The book also tells the story of Salva Dut, founder of the Water for South Sudan organization that received the Watkins-raised funds.

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


Ribs and Riesling for a cause

The second annual Ribs & Riesling fundraising dinner staged by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club was held May 29 at the Fontainebleau Inn in Alpine. The beneficiary of the evening's proceeds was Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity. Dinner was preceded by a Riesling Hour with wine tastings by Lakewood Vineyards, Atwater Estate Vineyards, Chateau LaFayette Reneau and Glenora Wine Cellars. Visions Federal Credit Union was the dinner's presenting sponsor. Co-sponsors included the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor, the E.C. Cooper insurance firm, and Ergogreen, Inc.

Photo: Diners Friday at Fontainebleau. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Cutting the ribbon were, from right: Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Rebekah LaMoreaux, County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, Seneca Lake Brewing Company partner Brandon Banks, company owner Bradley Gillett, and Gillette's fiancee, DeAnna Timmerman.


Ceremony welcomes new Schuyler business

A ribbon-cutting ceremony May 28th heralded the official opening this weekend of a new Schuyler County business: the Seneca Lake Brewing Company at 4520 Rte. 14 in Rock Stream -- which will be offering English-style ales and creating various wines after its licenses are approved. In the meantime, it is offering wine, beer and food from established, supportive businesses -- like Barnstormer Winery, the Heavily Brewing Company and FLX Wienery. They will be on hand for opening weekend and the start of Seneca Lake Brewing's Bubble Ball Soccer (pictured), which company owner Bradley Gillett says is trending across the country and will play a key role in his business's allure. (He is, in fact, developing a Bubble Ball Soccer league on site.) Also ahead: brush clearing on the 20-acre property to open a view of Seneca Lake, subsequent creation of another soccer field or two, and renovation and expansion of an existing barn-like structure into a pub specializing in cask ales.

Photo inset: Bubble Ball Soccer at the Seneca Lake Brewing Co.


Burger King tackles renovation project

The Burger King on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen is temporarily closed while a construction crew renovates both the interior and exterior of the building. The interior has been gutted, the northeast corner extended toward the sidewalk, and much of the exterior siding replaced.


Left: A piece of the overhang beneath the BK letters falls to the ground after being pried loose by a worker.


O-M students get loud lesson in Civil War

Odessa-Montour 7th-grade students learn about the Civil War by going outside the classroom, to a nearby site complete with re-enactors and booming artillery. Schools.



Left: Re-enactor Gary Chapin talks to O-M students


About the Cheese Trail and Sunset View

As part of a series on area wine and tourism businesses, we take a look at the popular Cheese Trail and one of its stops in particular, Sunset View Creamery at the Catharine Four Corners. Tourism.


O-M marks spring with concert

The Senior High Band and Chorus and a combined student-adult Women's Choir performed at Odessa-Montour's High School Spring Concert. Schools.


Fallen veterans honored at services

Memorial Day services were held in four Schuyler County locations May 25th to honor those military men and women who have sacrificed their lives in defense of our freedoms. People.


Watkins Sudan project leads to $15,200 check

The 7th graders in the Watkins Glen school district present a check for $15,200 to Water for South Sudan -- to be used to drill a well in that country. Ceremony.

Left: Logo on t-shirt.


WGHS presents its annual Spring Concert

Students in grades 5-12 perform instrumental and choral music at the Watkins Glen High School Spring Concert. Schools.


Left: WGHS senior Lydia Myers


WGHS students visit their reps in Albany

A group of Watkins Glen High School students visit Albany to meet their state lawmakers, discuss a variety of ideas and issues, visit the state government complex, and watch a live session of the State Senate. Govt.


WGHS honors Top 10%

Students in grades 9-12 at Watkins Glen High School are honored for finishing in the top 10% of their class academically this year. Schools.

Left: Sophomore Cambria Weeden is congratulated by Superintendent Tom Phillips.


School budgets pass; incumbents, Parmenter win at O-M; Schimizzi, McCarthy at Glen

The budgets in the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour school districts passed easily in balloting May 19, while incumbents fared well in School Board elections and a capital project passed at O-M.


--Watkins Glen's $25,557,076 budget, which raises the tax levy 1.9%, passed 307-101.
--Odessa-Montour's $15,552,182 budget, which reduces the tax levy by 1%, passed 198-27.
--O-M's capital project calling for replacement of the track and the bus garage roof, and upgrading of the auditorium, passed 187-36.

Board Votes:

Watkins Glen:
Four candidates sought two available seats. Results:
Barbara Schimizzi 305
Incumbent Kelly McCarthy 253 (right)
Kristina Hansen 146
Jim Somerville 122

Five candidates sought three available seats. Results:
Jeff Parmenter 190 (right)
Incumbent Robert Halpin 170
Incumbent Karen Rock 144
Todd Mertens 134
Debora Fellwock 61

Photos in text: Watkins incumbent Kelly McCarthy, O-M top vote-getter Jeff Parmenter.


Glen board OKs budget; no rise in tax rate

The Watkins Glen Village Board on May 18 approved a 2015-16 budget that calls for an increase of $68,707 in the tax levy but no increase in the tax rate, which stays at $7.80 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The levy hike, said Village Clerk Donna Beardsley, was the result of an increase in assessments due to full valuation. The tax levy will be $1,162,896. The new budget, which will be available for viewing on the village website, takes effect June 1.

Meanwhile, it was announced that village street sweeping will begin the week of May 26 after the sweeper is leased from a Syracuse firm. Lease is for a month, one week of which is utilized by the Village of Montour Falls.

Photo in text: Village Board member Gary Schmidt

WGHS senior Mikayla Elliott shares a laugh at School Board meeting. She gained board approval for a spaghetti dinner at 4:30 p.m. on June 4 in the high school cafeteria to raise funds for the Labor of Love charity organization, which coordinates with various Schuyler County agencies to provide financial assistance to residents in need. Labor of Love was founded in memory of Rosanne Paradiso and Lindy Bond, and designed to carry on their volunteer efforts. Its own fund-raiser was canceled this year due to a lack of volunteers. Elliott is Paradiso's granddaughter.


School Board OKs coaching appointments

The Watkins Glen School Board on May 18 approved a number of fall coaching assignments, including assistant football coaches for the new combined Watkins-Odessa team, the Seneca Indians: Lou Condon Sr., Mike Johnston, Brian Usiak and Tom Struble. A Volunteer Assistant slot went to Ward Brower, and a Modified Football Assistant job to Josh Cole. Previously named were Lou Condon Jr. as varsity head football coach, and Jack McCauley, Modified Football head coach.

Photo in text: Superintendent Tom Phillips at Monday's meeting. He wanted to remind voters that today's (Tuesday's) budget vote takes place in the new Board room, entrance to which is on the high school's north end, facing 12th Street. Directional signs were being posted.

American Pickers' Mike Wolfe in front of Glen Mountain Market with Market employee Ally DeWitt. (Photos provided)


American Pickers pass through Watkins

The stars of the American Pickers TV show stopped in Watkins Glen Thursday morning, May 14 on the way to visit sites reportedly selected for inclusion on the show, which airs on the History Channel. Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz visited the Glen Mountain Market at about 8:30 a.m. to pick up coffee and cookies, and then briefly wandered Franklin Street. Wolfe agreed to a picture with Glen Mountain Market employee Ally DeWitt, but Fritz was by then up the street, window shopping. "Be nice!" Wolfe called after him. After their stop, the pair were reportedly heading to Tyrone and Hammondsport, where collectors hand-picked for the show awaited them..

Photo: The American Pickers van, parked on Franklin Street.

The ribbon is cut by gallery business owners Kathleen Quinn and Joe Matus at the May 15 ceremony. From left: The Chamber of Commerce's Katie Strawser, Quinn, Matus, County Administrator Tim O'Hearn and Chamber President Rebekah LaMoreaux.


Ribbon cutting marks Glen gallery opening

A new art gallery, the Quintus Gallery on the ground floor of the Waterworks Building at 65 Salt Point Road in Watkins Glen -- adjacent to the recently built string of condos on the lakefront -- was welcomed May 15 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, featured speeches by government representatives as well as by the new business's owners, longtime Canandaigua couple Kathleen Quinn and Joe Matus, whose last names combined account for the gallery's name. Quinn said she and Matus are leasing the space from developer Bruce Nelson, and moving into one of the condos this summer. Seventy-six pieces of art by 10 artists around the region are on display and for sale.

Left top: A mobile sculpture.
Left bottom: Two pieces of art adorn the wall below a loft.

Three pieces of art by Elizabeth Leader adorn the north wall.


Rotary honors Craig as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Lucy Craig was honored May 14 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for May. Lucy was introduced by music teacher Diana Groll, who described the honoree as "a young lady with a strong work ethic" and as "a kind and compassionate" person "with a quiet confidence that will take her far in life."

Lucy -- a High Honor Roll student and a member of the school's varsity swimming and bowling teams, National Honor Society, Band, Chorus, Varsity Club and Music Club -- qualified this year for the State High School Bowling Championships; is pursuing the highest achievement in Girl Scouts, the Gold Award; and recently placed first in a HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) regional competition, earning a trip to California in June for the national event. She plans to attend Mount Aloysius College in Altoona, Pa. to study Pre-Med, and then attend Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine with a goal of becoming a pediatric surgeon.

Photo: Lucy Craig with Rotary President John King.


15 join NHS at WGHS

Watkins Glen High School holds a National Honor Society induction ceremony. For story and photos, see Schools.

Former Assemblyman Jim Bacalles, left, with current Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning). (Photo provided)


Palmesano welcomes Bacalles to Albany

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano enjoyed some time with his predecessor, Jim Bacalles, during a recent visit by Bacalles to Albany. Palmesano introduced Bacalles to the Assembly’s new membership during a formal recognition. “It was a great privilege for me to welcome Jim back to Albany,” said Palmesano. “Jim is a true friend of this institution and was a dedicated public servant.”

Palmesano said he and Bacalles have had an excellent relationship over the years. “Not only was Jim my predecessor but he was my mentor and is still a very good friend," said Palmesano. "I had the honor of working for Jim from 1995 to 2004, and during that time I gained a wealth of knowledge. He epitomizes what public service should be all about.”

21 protesters arrested

The ongoing protests at the gates of the Crestwood energy firm north of Watkins Glen continued May 13 with the arrests of 21 people on trespass charges. Each was taken to the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office, processed and released pending court appearances. The arrestees -- nine were from Tompkins County and only two from Schuyler County -- included filmmaker Josh Fox of Brooklyn, known best for his 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary "Gasland." Protesters oppose Crestwood's federally-approved plan to expand methane storage in abandoned salt caverns along the western shore of Seneca Lake.

The garage, fully engulfed, sent waves of black smoke skyward.


Blaze destroys garage, but house saved

Firefighters battled a garage fire on Winton Road in the Town of Montour Monday afternoon, May 11, knocking down the flames before they could spread to the attached house. The fire call, shortly before 4 p.m., sent fire departments from Odessa, Montour Falls, Millport, Mecklenburg and Watkins Glen to 4620 Winton Road, the home of Jennifer Joseph, who was alerted to the blaze by her daughter as the latter arrived at the house. Nobody was injured, nor were any of the Joseph pets. Cause of the blaze, said fire investigators, was an electrical short in a lawn tractor that had recently been used. It set the tractor on fire, which ignited three nearby containers of gasoline. The garage was engulfed when firefighters arrived a short time later. A car in the far side of the two-bay stucture was also destroyed. Damage to the house was limited to some smoke and water damage.The structure is insured.

Photo in text: The remains of the garage after the flames were knocked down by firefighters.

Finger foods and tea were the order of the day. Seated at right is the museum's new director, Irene Wilson.


Museum tradition:
annual Victorian Tea

The Schuyler County Historical Society Museum in Montour Falls was the site May 9 for the museum's 21st annual Victorian Tea, held for the benefit of the Historical Society. It has become a popular pre-Mother's Day gift.

Above: Waiter Jim Howell offers a sandwich to Betty Vinti.

Left: Village trustee Kevin Thornton pitched in, helping load dumpsters. Right: A furniture discard.


Glen Dumpster Day fills 6 containers

The Watkins Glen Dumpster Day at the boat launch near the Community Center proved popular May 9, as spring cleaning residents took advantage of the summer-like weather to tote loads of discards to the site in cars, trucks and trailers. Six dumpsters were filled -- one full of metal items. Some items were rescued from oblivion, such as a clarinet ... and a trophy held aloft at left by Mayor Sam Schimizzi. It can be recycled through a business that specializes in trophy sales, it was explained.

Left: Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi and the rescued trophy.


New theater group helps in cancer fight

March Hare Productions, a new local theater company, performed recently at the Old Havana Courthouse Theatre in Montour Falls -- and helped raise ovarian cancer awareness. Features.

Above L-R: Actors Tom Gottko, Alan Caum, Michael Truesdail.


16 female protesters arrested

Sixteen women from six counties -- each a mother or grandmother -- were arrested May 7th for blocking the Crestwood energy company gates along Rt. 14 north of Watkins Glen. The women, part of the ongoing protest against Crestwood's plans to expand its storage of methane in abandoned salt caverns, held signs reading such things as "Honoring Mother Earth." None of the 16 had been arrested in previous such protests.They were taken by Sheriff's deputies and state troopers to the Sheriff's office, charged with trespass and released. Only one was from Schuyler County.

DEC staff sides with LPG storage. For story, visit here.


Bergen Farms case draws guilty plea

ROCHESTER, May 7 -- Glenview Dairy, LLC, doing business as Bergen Farms, of Odessa, has pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci of attempting to harbor illegal aliens, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. has announced. The sentence: a $60,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley E. Tyler, who is handling the case, said that between 2012 and 2014, Bergen Farms employed 10 aliens while knowing that the individuals were in the United States illegally.

The plea and sentence are the culmination of a probe on the part of Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and of Homeland Security Investigations.


Watkins' Pike named to All-State hoops team

Watkins Glen High School sophomore basketball standout Amanda Pike (right) has been named to the New York State Sportswriters Association's All-State Class C 6th Team. Pike, a 5'10" guard, averaged 13.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game as her team won the Section IV, Class C championship, its first such title in 15 years. The Senecas finished with a 17-5 record.

For extra photos from the Legends of the Night Invitational track meet May 1st at Odessa-Montour, click here.

From left: Schuyler County Office for the Aging Director Tamre Waite, Ken Wilson, Judy Phillips and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.
(Photo provided)


Wilson, Phillips among senior vols honored

A half-dozen senior citizen volunteers from Schuyler, Chemung and Steuben counties were honored May 5th in Albany by State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano as part of the 2015 Senior Citizens Day Celebration sponsored by the New York State Office for the Aging. Honorees from Schuyler County were Kenneth P. Wilson (a career banker who specializes in community-based fund drives) and Judith Phillips (a former Schuyler County Director of Public Health and former mayor of Watkins Glen). Both have contributed thousands of hours to a wide range of volunteer efforts with various groups and organizations.


Woman killed in Newfield crash

A Newfield woman died and two people, one of them her fiance, were critically injured May 6 in a two-car, head-on crash on State Rte. 13 in Newfield. Tracey Snyder, 31, was dead at the scene. Deputies said she was driving southbound in a 2013 Ford Focus that clipped another car while changing lanes, sideswiped a pickup truck and collided head-on in the northbound lane with a 2011 Mazda driven by Sharon Darlow, 53, of Ithaca. Darlow and Snyder's fiance, Gary Macrabie, 46, of Newfield -- a passenger in the Focus -- were airlifted to Packer Hospital in Sayre. The pickup truck driver wasn't injured.

WGI's Jon Beckman presents $3,000 check to 4-H camp director Jennifer Sweet. They are flanked by Dick Peterson, left, and Michael Lausell, members of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County board of directors. Cooperative Extension operates the camp.


WGI presents check to 4-H Camp

The Watkins Glen International racetrack presented a $3,000 check May 6 to the Hidden Valley 4-H camp to help it in the wake of a theft on April 22 that saw 10 fishing poles stolen.. Also taken, but recovered last weekend -- found on park property by hikers -- were two canoes, some archery arm guards and a bike pump. There was also damage to four structures during the theft. Jon Beckman, WGI's Vice President of Business Development and Partnerships, presented the check to Camp Director Jennifer Sweet, saying that WGI likes to "look out for our neighbors." The camp is downhill from the track, and borders the original Watkins Glen road racing course. Said Sweet: "This is such a nice gift. Thank you."

Watkins School District business manager Gayle Sedlack outlined the proposed $25.5 million school budget at the School Board meeting May 5. The plan calls for a tax-levy hike of 1.9%, which is below the tax cap of 2.7%. There were no questions from the sesson's audience. The public vote on the budget is May 19 from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. in the School Board meeting room at the high school.


Tentative grid sked set; logo being developed

The combined Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour varsity football team -- the Seneca Indians -- has four home games listed in a tentative Section IV schedule, with two games at O-M and two at Watkins. Both Homecoming (Sept. 25 against Dryden) and Senior Night (Oct. 23 against Lansing) will take place on the Watkins field in the first year of the joint program, and "flip flop" the other way the next year, WGHS Principal Kai D'Alleva told the Watkins School Board on May 5. Games on the O-M field will be Sept. 11 against Notre Dame and Oct. 9 against Moravia. Other opponents: Owego in the opener Sept. 4, Whitney Point, Edison and Groton, with a crossover or playoff game on Oct. 30. A team logo is also being developed, and while not completed, one considered by both schools' student councils and shown the board is presented above.

A School Board meeting summary can be found here.

Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi at Monday's meeting.


Watkins Board green-lights treatment plant

The Watkins Glen Village Board on May 4th approved by a 4-0 vote the continuation of the joint regional wastewater treatment plant project with Montour Falls. The vote came after several residents at the meeting and in letters supported the project, which will see construction of a state-of-the-art facility on the canal, replacing aged plants in both villages.

The vote came in the wake of speculation that this board might not follow through with the project, begun during the administration that preceded it, led by former mayor Mark Swinnerton. The current mayor, Sam Schimizzi -- who is not required to vote except to break a tie -- was asked afterward where he stood on the issue. "If there'd been a tie vote, you'd know," he said. Government.

Photo in text: Trustee Laurie DeNardo, who issued the motion to approve continuation of the treatment-plant project.


Bradford is Schuyler Envirothon champ

Odessa-Montour team finishes second in annual competition in Owego. Schools.


Left: Championship plaque

A trampolining clown named Roger, and The Amazing Jonathan


Circus comes to town in WGHS Field House

The stands were full and the laughter loud May 5th as Billy Martin's Cole All-Star Circus visited the Watkins Glen High School Field House for a show full of acrobats, clowns, balloons and derring-do acts. The show was for the benefit of the WGHS Class of 2017.

Bicycles and hula hoops were among the props used in acts.

William Yeater as Prince Eric and Kara Fluman as Ariel in Mermaid.
(Photo provided)


Little Mermaid Jr. performed by Dream Barn

A cast of 22 young Dream Barn Productions actors performed Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr. on May 2-3 and May 9-10 at the former Catharine Methodist Church on County Road 14. Dream Barn Productions provides area youth with stage experience and a creative outlet. The Mermaid play had members in its cast ranging in age from 7 to 14 and from the Odessa-Montour, Watkins Glen and Horseheads school districts, as well as the Chemung Valley Montessori School.

Work underway

The ground has been broken and earth-moving equipment has been utilized for the past week and a half at the site of what will be the 24-unit Seneca Terrace Apartments on the hillside behind the Elks Club on the north end of Watkins Glen. The complex was first proposed to the village Planning Board on Jan. 16, 2013, and has undergone a number of revisions since then, including a reduction from the originally planned 28 living units.

Charles Sidle and Emelia Paulisczak at the prom.


O-M holds its prom at WGI Media Center

The young ladies were gorgeous in their gowns and the young men resplendent in tuxedos Friday night, May 1 at the Watkins Glen International Media Center, site of the annual Odessa-Montour High School prom. The event featured music, dancing, food and plenty of camaraderie. Prom.

Left: O-M's Tela Wittig

Lower portion of Gorge is open

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce has passed along the following; " It’s the long-awaited announcement that all Watkins Glen State Park lovers wait for each spring – a portion of the interior gorge trail is now open! Park visitors can now enjoy the lower half of the trail from the main entrance to the Cathedral. Park. Manager Ron Roney says that he anticipates a full gorge trail opening to showcase all 19 waterfalls to occur in about 2 weeks.


DA's stand upsets protesters

Crestwood gas-storage protesters and Schuyler County District Attorney Joe Fazzary accused one another April 30 of violating an agreement that had led to the dismissal of charges against dozens of protesters -- but had left 84 related cases still in court. Now, the DA -- who had explained weeks ago that he was not opposed to the dismissals "in the interest of justice" as long as protesters refrained from forcing more trespass arrests at the Crestwood energy company gates -- says that with the arrests April 22 of 19 new protesters, he is "no longer not objecting" to the dismissal of the remaining 84 cases. "I believe they breached" the agreement, he said of the protesters, who in turn claim they didn't because the April 22 arrestees had nothing to do with the earlier cases. Government.

Andrew Tompkins next to an Historical Society throw quilt, identical to one presented him Thursday as a goodbye gift.


Bidding farewell

Schuyler County Historical Society Museum Director Andrew Tompkins said goodbye April 30 with a farewell party in his honor at the museum in Montour Falls. Tompkins, who served here for seven years, soon starts a new job in his home village of Hammondsport, overseeing the Finger Lakes Boating Museum there. He is being succeeded at the Schuyler museum by Irene Wilson, who has been employed by the Red Cross and, says Tompkins, has management and non-profit experience that will help in her new post.

Brooke Bennett, left, representing My Place, accepts check from Elmira Savings Bank's Watkins Glen branch manager, Linda Confer.


Bank gives child-care center $5,000

Elmira Savings Bank, which recently opened a branch on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen, donated $5,000 April 29 to My Place: A Play and Learning Center in Montour Falls, located in the former Rural-Urban Center. According to County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, a proponent of the facility, My Place is "facing challenging times as it struggles to provide high-quality child care to the Schuyler community at an affordable price." Its board of directors, he said, has accordingly issued a plea for financial aid from the business community "to help keep this valuable community asset in operation for years to come. Elmira Savings Bank ... was quick to answer the call."


Rondinaro seeking seat on Legislature

Mark Rondinaro (pictured at right), an owner/employee of Lakewood Vineyards and a vocal fixture at Schuyler County Legislature meetings over the past four years, has announced his candidacy for a seat on that governing body. He will be running in the recently formed District 7, for the seat now held by Stewart Field, who will not be seeking re-election. For a letter by Rondinaro on his decision to run, see Forum.


Speakers set for annual Top Drawer 24 party

A National Football League umpire and a federal judge are among the speakers set for the June 8 celebration of the 2015 Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athlete-citizens. Speakers.

Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi at Monday's session.


Mayor: Decision due soon on treatment plant

Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi, at a meeting on the proposed regional wastewater treatment plant, said Monday, April 27 that the newly constituted Village Board will decide soon whether it wishes to pursue completion of the plant project the previous administration helped formulate. A decision was urged by Project Seneca spokesman Rick Weakland, who said a perceived lack of commitment on the part of the board could affect plant financing. Government.

Prom-goers arrived as singles, couples, and (as above) in groups.


Watkins High holds prom at Logan Ridge

The annual Watkins Glen High School prom was held with all of its finery and dancing and camaraderie April 25th at the Logan Ridge banquet and party facility in Hector. The girls wore a wide range of colorful gowns, and the boys put on a sharp array of tuxedos. Most of the students arrived at the prom after dining at area restaurants. Prom.

Left: Dancing was a centerpiece of the prom.

Left: One man heads for a belly flop.
Another enters Seneca Lake head first.


Taking the plunge; an annual Tiki Bar ritual

The 12th annual Polar Plunge off the dock fronting the Tiki Bar on Salt Point Road north of Watkins Glen drew its usual array of jumpers and divers April 25th, along with a sizable crowd there to watch, cheeer and drink. The day was for adventurers 21 and older, while another session on Sunday was to be for families. The water wasn't the only thing cold. The wind was, too, and participants ran for their towels after jumping into, and then exiting, Seneca Lake.

Left: A young bikini-clad woman gives the thumbs-up sign as she heads toward the water. She was mostly shivering afterward.

One of two dumpsters, both of which were more than full.


Cleanup dumpsters overflow with refuse

The April 25th Spring Cleanup Day in Odessa saw an unusual amount of discards placed in two dumpsters outside the Village Hall. Where in past years two was all that was needed, both were full this time quickly, with extra furniture and items piled nearby, to be placed in a third dumpster that would be delivered later.

Left: Helping offload throwaways from residents' vehicles was Village Trustee Thomas Letteer.

From left: A TV cameraman shoots video footage of J.C. Jelliff and Sam Pierce in front of a truck entered in the April 25th car show by Sam's father, Odessa Mayor Keith Pierce.


Car show among Relay festival highlights

A Paint the Town Purple festival designed to raise funds for the benefit of Relay For Life of Schuyler County was held April 25th at the Montour Falls Firemen's Carnival Grounds. It featured a Classic Car Show along with a flea market, a bounce house, a chicken barbecue, fire department and law enforcement displays, and a display of go-carts. (Pictured with a go-cart he built and races at tracks around the region is Andrew Hartford, an 8th grader at Odessa-Montour school.)

Sigmund, created and patented by Nitrocream LLC
of Washington state.


Say hello to Sigmund

An ice cream maker fueled by liquid nitrogen and designed to blend cookies, pies, fruit, candies and other flavored items with a liquid base such as custard, coconut milk and sugar-free, soy or vegan mix is being used to create special-order ice cream on Wednesdays from 7-9 p.m. at The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor, 221 S. Franklin Street in Watkins Glen. The tabletop Nitrocream LLC machine -- dubbed "Sigmund" by Great Escape owner Peter Honsberger -- can create such individualistic ice cream concoctions in three minutes. An added feature: a cold fog (photo inset) that is a byproduct of the liquid nitrogen feeding into the machine through a tube attached to a nearby tank. The Great Escape is also utilizing "Sigmund" as a catering device away from the parlor. The machine can make anywhere from a scoop to a gallon of ice cream at a time. One customer's order April 22: white chocolate truffles and Oreos with vanilla ice cream. Another mix: peanut butter and a brownie with custard mix.

Garage fire

Firefighters from Burdett, Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, Hector and Odessa were called out shortly after midnight Saturday morning, April 25 to a fully involved garage fire at 3148 County Route 7 outside Burdett. A dispatcher said a caller reporting the blaze had heard what sounded like an explosion. The blaze was knocked down before the flames could spread through the attached double-wide house, although there was minimal damage at one end of it.


Business Feature: Joyful Adornments

Bonnie Scott has taken a love of beads and translated it into a successful local business in Odessa -- a glass-studio business highlighted April 24 by an open house. For a look at Bonnie and her business, click here.

Photo: The sign in front of the Joyful Adornments studio.


DA says 'no deals' for new protesters

Schuyler County District Attorney Joe Fazzary (right) says the We Are Seneca Lake protest group -- by virtue of the 19 arrests April 22 at the Crestwood energy firm's gates along Rte. 14 north of Watkins Glen -- has broken the spirit of the agreement that led to the dismissal of trespass charges against many earlier protesters. The new group, he said, faces "all potential sanctions" that are now "back on the table." And the dozens of defendants still in the system from the previous arrests -- beyond those whose charges were dismissed "in the interest of justice" -- might or might not be let off the hook. Government.


Field House perceptions

Our pseudonymous columnist, A. Moralis, weighs in on the controversy surrounding a postgame celebration at the Watkins Glen High School Field House. Column.

Break-in at 4-H Camp

Break-ins occurred at several structures at the Hidden Valley 4-H Camp between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, April 21-22. The Watkins Glen State Park Police informed Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County -- which operates the camp -- that structures entered included a cabin, storage shed, pool shed and the old Rec Hall. Two canoes and 10 fishing poles were reported missing. Anyone with information is being asked to contact the New York State Park Police at 607-387-7081. Cooperative Extension lamented the incident, saying in a press release: "Hidden Valley 4-H Camp has been an institution in this community for 70 years. Thankfully the extent of the loss and damage was limited, but it’s very sad to see someone stealing from a program that benefits hundreds of children every summer." Photo: Sign at camp entrance.


Rotary honors Hickey as Student of Month

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club on April 23 honored Odessa-Montour High School senior Ashley Hickey as its O-M Student of the Month for April. Hickey was introduced by science teacher Doug Chapman, who described the honoree as "hard working, highly motivated, courteous and kind" and always "willing to learn." Hickey, a cheerleader, soccer player and, this past season, manager of the school's football team, plans to attend Russell Sage College to pursue a nursing degree.

Left: Ashley Hickey

19 protesters arrested

Nineteen people were arrested on April 22 for an Earth Day blockade of Crestwood energy firm gates along Rte. 14 north of Watkins Glen -- the first arrests there since Feb. 11 in the ongoing protest against Crestwood's methane storage expansion in abandoned salt caverns. None of the arrestees -- each charged with trespass and subsequently released pending a court appearance -- had been arrested in previous blockades, and none were from Schuyler County. A total of 235 arrests have now been made since the protest movement started in late October. Most of those charges were subsequently dismissed when the accused said they did not intend to repeat the violation.

Laurie DeNardo, left, is sworn in as a Watkins Glen village trustee by Village Clerk Donna Beardsley.


DeNardo appointed to Watkins Village Board

Laurie DeNardo of 312 N. Monroe St. in Watkins Glen -- Human Resources Director at the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a Democrat -- was appointed April 20 by Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi to fill the unexpired final year of Paul Clifford's term on the Village Board. Clifford resigned recently because he was moving from the village. His seat was temporarily occupied by Rick Evans under appointment by then-Mayor Mark Swinnerton. DeNardo, sworn in by Village Clerk Donna Beardsley, told the board "I appreciate the opportunity to work with you." The board also approved a request for use of Lafayette Park by the Farmers Market on summer Fridays starting May 27. Inset: Trustee Tony Fraboni makes a point.

WGHS senior Lucy Craig, who qualified this past season for the New York State Bowling Tournament, receives a certificate from district Athletic Manager Erich Kramer. Section IV champion and State Qualifying winter athletes were honored by the School Board.


School Board OKs budget; public vote next

The Watkins Glen School Board on April 20 approved a proposed 2015-16 budget that will be voted upon by the public on May 19. The $25,557,076 spending plan calls for an increase in the tax rate of about 11.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, bringing the rate to $12.21 per $1,000. The tax levy would be $8,987,998, up 1.95% from the current budget -- well within the allowable tax cap of 2.7%. The board also presented Outstanding Athletic Achievement certificates to Section IV champion and State Qualifying WGHS athletes from the winter sports season in wrestling, bowling, track, basketball and swimming.

Photo on right: Madison Gates, a member of the WGHS girls basketball team -- the Section IV, Class C champions -- with her certificate. She and her teammates were among the honorees at Monday's board meeting.

For meeting summary & more photos, click here.

Thurston named highway superintendent

The Schuyler County Legislature on April 23 approved in a 6-0 vote the appointment of Kenneth R. Thurston of Reading as county Highway Superintendent, filling the unexpired term of former Superintendent Greg Mathews through Dec. 31, 2017 at an annual salary of $70,000. The post has been vacant since Jan. 23, when Mathews resigned and moved south. Legislators had hoped the post would be overseen jointly with that of Yates County under the direction of the Yates Highway Superintendent, but the Yates Legislature balked at the move. Thurston, who will start the job on May 4, has been a plant superintendent in Geneva for Hanson Aggregates.

Photo in text: Legislators Carl Blowers, left, and Michael Lausell

The runners take off at the start of the race.


Hundreds turn out for 2nd annual Arc run

The second annual Arc of Schuyler Grand Prix Run/Walk drew hundreds of participants to the Watkins Glen International racetrack Saturday morning, April 18 -- and for the second year the event was run under sunny skies. Overall winners were Matthew Wilber, 29, of Columbia Cross Roads, Pa., who ran the 3.4-mile hilly track in 18:12, and Katherine Bellor, 30, of Corning (last year's leading female, too), who ran a 23:40. The event raises funds for the Arc through registration fees and pledges. The automatic timing device showed 486 runners and walkers out of an estimated 600 present completed the course.

Above left : Winners Bellor, Wilber

Among the walkers were Arc clients. Hundreds of people ran the course, and hundreds walked it.

Emcee Tom Carson, left, meets with firefighter Mike Stamp during the dinner hour.


Watkins firefighters hold annual banquet

Good food provided by Corning Caterers and high spirits -- some of it thanks to emcee Tom Carson's jokes -- marked the annual banquet April 18 of the Watkins Glen Fire Department. The banquet, at the fire station on Perry Street, featured speeches, awards for incident responses, and awards for training hours and years of service. Also featured: the installation of the line officers, led for the second straight year by Judson Smith as Chief. Others include 1st Assistant Charlie Scaptura, 2nd Assistant Charlie Smith III, Deputy Chief Derek Bacon, Deputy Chief Robbie DeDominick, and Captain Robbie Gruver.




Left from top: Junior Specchio, Chief Judson Smith, and Tony Specchio, who delivered the benediction.

Among the guests: Watkins Mayor Sam Schimizzi and wife Teresa.

One of the rally cars on the WGI racetrack during Friday's
annual Toyota Green Grand Prix.


WGI weekend kicks off with Green Grand Prix

The annual Toyota Green Grand Prix -- a showcase of motoring technology that aims for a cleaner environment -- returned to the Watkins Glen International racetrack Friday, April 17 the first event in the track's Opening Weekend. The Green Grand Prix -- which included a road rally, a lineup of speakers in the WGI Media Center, and a display of a new hydrogen-fueled and electric-powered Toyota Mirai fuel cell car -- was a prelude to a busy Saturday at WGI. First came the Arc of Schuyler's second annual Grand Prix Run/Walk at the track (at 8 a.m.), and then the opportunity for the public to tour the track in their own cars for three paced laps as WGI marked the beginning of the racing season.


Combined football program discussed

More than two-dozen student athletes interested in playing high school football in the fall in the newly combined Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour football program attended a meeting Thursday evening, April 16-- along with parents and other family members -- to discuss the program. Weight training, physicals, practices and the season opener -- tentatively Sept 4 at Owego -- were discussed in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium by head coach Lou Condon Jr. (pictured left), assistant coach Jack McCauley (pictured right) and Watkins Glen Athletic Manager Erich Kramer. A number of O-M students were unable to attend due to conflicting sports events. "I'm so excited," said Condon of the combined program, "I want Aug. 17 (the start of preseason practices) to be here tomorrow."

Amanda Smith-Socaris was on hand representing her Seneca Physical Therapy business. There were more than 50 Expo vendors


Chamber Expo offers displays, networking

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce's 9th Annual Business Expo proved a popular stop April 15, with more than 50 businesses on hand at the Watkins Glen Community Center. The Expo, which outgrew the site it occupied in recent years -- the Watkins Glen International Media Center -- offered the public and Chamber members a look at a wide range of businesses and programs, as well as networking opportunities. The public portion of the event, called The Showcase, ran from 3-5 p.m. and was sponsored by Elmira Savings Bank. It was followed by a 5-7 p.m. Chamber mixer with food by Nickel's Pit BBQ. WGI is sponsoring the Chamber's 2015 mixers.


Left top: The Liberty Balloon Company of Groveland, NY, featured a balloon basket.
Left bottom: Barb Cook of the Salty Dog Training Team with a client's pet, Apollo Thomas.

From left: Historian Gary Emerson and the Historical Society's Richard Owlett and Andrew Tompkins with the new sign.


Sign marks spot near Chemung Canal lock

A cast-iron sign installed alongside Rte. 14 in Montour Falls and dedicated April 14 afternoon marks a spot near the location long ago of the first of 51 locks in the Chemung Canal -- a waterway that linked our region with the Erie Canal. The sign, which cost more than $1,000, was financed through a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation -- a grant brought to the attention of the Schuyler County Historical Society by historian Alan Sweet. Society president Richard Owlett, with the help of the office of State Senator Tom O'Mara, tracked down the final pieces of historical information needed for the grant application. Ownership and care of the sign is now in the hands of the Village of Montour Falls. Said Owlett in a letter to Montour Falls Mayor John King: "The marker itself is a reminder of the importance of the Chemung Canal to not only the village of Havana, now Montour Falls, but to Schuyler County and the entire Southern Tier. It is also a reminder that the canal even existed, since by 1878 it was decommissioned and begun to be filled in, leaving virtually no trace of its existence to the casual observer." The sign, Owlett adds, is the first in Schuyler County that relates to the canal.

About 10% opt out in Watkins, Odessa


About 10% of the 3rd through 8th grade students scheduled to take English Language Arts state tests on April 14 opted out as part of a growing statewide movement reacting to the Common Core curriculum. Watkins Glen Superintendent Tom Phillips said 42 out of 437 students opted out in his district. Was he upset? "No," he said. "Honestly, I'm very pleased. That was, I believe, the second lowest percentage in our region. Others were in the teens and 20s. We also have a couple of parents who said they were opting their kids back in tomorrow, and others were asking about opting back in." Those re-entering the tests would complete Parts 2 and 3 with other classmates, and then take Part 1 on a makeup day. Odessa-Montour Superintendent Chris Wood said his district's percentage was about on a par with Watkins Glen's. "We did okay," he said, especially when compared to an anticipated statewide opt-out average of more than 20%. Math tests are next week.

Photo in text: Watkins Superintendent Tom Phillips

From left: Free-ice-cream recipients Tamijah Lawton-Stone, Rebekah LaMoreaux, Brittany Gibbs and Luke Flahive.


A sign of the season: Free Cone Day

The promise of free ice cream on Free Cone Day drew a steady, and sometimes packed, crowd April 14th to the Ben & Jerry's shop at 418 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen. Students flocked there after school, creating a line through the shop, out the front door and around the corner of the building. A highlight of the day: the presentation of a $250 check by the business to Habitat for Humanity.

Ally Guild, right, of Ben & Jerry's, presents a $250 check to Habitat for Humanity's Jim Gallagher and Jan Brown.
(Photo provided)

Emergency management plan approved 7-0


The Schuyler County Legislature on April 13 approved an updated Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan by a 7-0 vote. Several legislators praised the efforts of Emergency Services Coordinator Bill Kennedy and Deputy Coordinator Brian Gardner in updating the plan, as well as for their public presentation of the plan on March 18 before a gathering of more than 100 people, including dozens of firefighters and some plan critics. Monday, there were only a handful of the public present, without comment. Legislator Michael Lausell (pictured), while lauding the plan for addressing concerns about the transport and storage of liquid propane gas, next wants the Legislature to ask the Department of Transportation for help in "taming" the dangers of the Rte. 14 curve entering Watkins Glen from the north, where a truck carrying orange juice recently flipped -- and where the result would be much worse if something like LPG were spilled.

Photo in text: Legislator Michael Lausell at Monday's meeting.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, left, greets Odessa Fire Chief Mike Tomassi upon Palmesano's arrival, in time for dinner. He had come straight from the Wayne Fire Department's banquet


Awards mark Odessa Fire Dept. banquet

Food, speeches and awards were the highlighted items April 11 at the annual banquet of the Odessa Fire Department, held at the Montour Moose Lodge.

Awards -- and proclamations brought by Assemblyman Phil Palmesano -- went to Aubrey Tomassi (Top Fire Calls, 61, and Top Responder, 112 calls), Charlene Herrmann (Top Rescue Calls, 56, and Top Department Hours, 299.4), and Dasia Herrmann (Top Junior Responder, 19 calls). The first annual Ridgerunner Award for outstanding service was given to longstanding fire department member Tim Lindsley -- an honor met with a standing ovation.

Emcee for the evening was Dale Jaynes, while Chief Mike Tomassi presented an annual report, and various other honors -- for training and for years of service -- were bestowed.

The lineup of line officers remained intact, led by Chief Tomassi.

Left top: Emcee Dale Jaynes
eft center: Award winner Aubrey Tomassi
Left bottom: Tim Lindsley, winner of the Ridgerunner Award.

Dignitaries and animal shelter volunteers cut the ribbon.


Ribbon cutting marks HSSC Grand Opening

Scores of people were present April 10 for the Grand Opening of the Humane Society of Schuyler County's new animal shelter on Marina Drive in Montour Falls, and for an accompanying ribbon-cutting. The structure, home to many cats and dogs seeking homes, was praised in ceremony speeches for its quality. HSSC president Georgie Taylor, who oversaw the project from conception to completion, was also lauded. She in turn praised shelter supporters and the volunteers who helped build it. She tempered her remarks by saying that $300,000 is still needed to meet the cost of the structure, described by various speakers and guests as "an example for shelters in the rest of the country."

Left top: A curious cat. Left bottom: Georgie Taylor

On hand: Present for the ribbon cutting and Grand Opening were, from left, Montour Falls Mayor John King, Schuyler Legislature Chair Dennis Fagan, and Elizabeth Berliner of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

From left: O-M School Board members Scott Westervelt, Rob Tuttle and Christian Maphis at the April 9th meeting.


O-M Board approves grid team name, colors

The Odessa-Montour School Board gave its blessing April 9th to the new Seneca Indians name for the joint Odessa-Watkins Glen football team, just as the Watkins board had earlier in the week. It also approved the maroon, white and navy blue colors decided on by students, along with the team mascot: a Native American. The board vote, unanimous, came after Chris Wood, recently appointed as Superintendent, explained how students had decided on the name after 20 nominations had been reduced to three. A vote by 7th through 12th graders went heavily in favor of Seneca Indians over names that would have featured the words "Schuyler" or "Tribe."

Above: Superintendent Chris Wood (top) and football coach
Lou Condon Jr. at Thursday's session.

Watkins-Montour Rotary Club President John King presents Colin DeMeritt with a Student of the Month plaque.


Rotary honors DeMeritt as Student of Month

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club on April 9th honored Watkins Glen High School senior Colin DeMeritt (right) as its WGHS Student of the Month for April. DeMeritt is president of his school's chapter of the National Honor Society, and co-president of the Rotary-affiliated WGHS Interact Club. He was introduced by teacher Kelly Muir, who described him as "a great kid" and "very active when it comes to being involved in the community," helping out with such things as the Catholic Charities Food Pantry and providing Catholic Charities with donations generated by NHS-sponsored Teen Angel and Charity Ball fund-raisers. He plans to attend Corning Community College with an eye toward transferring to Cornell University to pursue a career in the health-care field, going to either medical or dental school.


Ambassadors picked for Library Week

To celebrate National Library Week, April 12-18, Friends of the Watkins Library (FOWL) selected Skip Ferris as community ambassador. Watkins Glen High School senior Courtney Perrone has been named the school district ambassador. People.

Left: Courtney Perrone

A display of photos, news items and charts were a focal point of the Schuyler County Public Health exhibit.


Exhibit featured Schuyler Public Health

A reception was held April 7th at the Schuyler County Historical Society Museum, which that week -- National Public Health Week -- is hosting an exhibit titled "The Past, Present and Future of Schuyler County Public Health." Photos, news clippings, scrapbooks, brochures and other items tell the story, says Public Health, of "how far we have come, how we got here and exactly what Public Health is doing to protect and empower the community to be healthy and prepared." Among those on hand at the reception were County Administrator Tim O'Hearn and Joe Sempolinski, a representative from the office of Congressman Tom Reed. The free exhibit was open from through April 10. The museum is located at 108 N. Catharine St. (Rt. 14) in Montour Falls.

Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi, elected in March, is sworn into office by Village Clerk Donna Beardsley.


Watkins Village Board members sworn in

The new mayor of Watkins Glen, Sam Schimizzi, was sworn into office at the April 6 Village Board meeting along with trustees Gary Schmidt and Kevin Thornton and new Village Justice Connie Fern Miller. An appointment to replace Rick Evans -- in the trustee seat vacated recently by Paul Clifford and filled by Evans two weeks ago -- was delayed, creating some confusion. Board.

Above: Connie Fern Miller is sworn in as Village Justice.

From left: School Board President Mike Myers, Superintendent Tom Phillips and Board Vice President Kelly McCarthy.


It's Seneca Indians; budget plan goes to board

The Watkins Glen School Board announced April 6th that the name for the joint Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour football team will be the Seneca Indians, a choice made by student leaders from several proposals. The team colors: maroon, navy blue and white. Coach Lou Condon Jr. (right), present at the meeting, said he was pleased with the selection, especially since a key official of the Seneca Nation of Indians -- contacted by Superintendent Tom Phillips -- had no objection.

The Board also received the administration's budget proposal -- for a $25,557,076 spending plan that features a tax-levy increase of $177,000 and a tax-rate hike equal to $24 on a $100,000 home. The recommended tax hike: 1.95%, below an allowable 2.7%. A final budget committee meeting will be held Tuesday, April 14 at 5:45 p.m., with board adoption set for April 20. The budget goes to the public for a vote on May 19.

For a district summary of the meeting, click here.


Tributes flow following
death of Jim Whiting

The passing on March 30 of former Watkins Glen resident Jim Whiting (left), noted cartoonist, has triggered a number of tributes. Whiting died in California, where he and wife Bernita had lived since 1984. A tribute piece, posted April 3rd, can be found here. An article about Jim from two years ago is here. Many personal tributes can be found here.

For Jim Whiting's obituary, click here.

Some of the scores of kids who raced onto the O-M baseball field in search of plastic Easter eggs. Everyone received a bag of candy, and those who found a gold-colored egg won a chocolate Easter bunny.


Annual Easter Egg Hunt proves a hit

The annual Easter Egg Hunt on the Odessa-Montour school's baseball field drew scores of kids and plenty of parents on Saturday, April 4th despite a persistent, cold wind. The event, held each year since 1962, was for decades under the auspices of the Odessa Lions Club. When the club folded several years ago, the event continued -- led by Glenn Larison as it has been every year since 1972, with help from other former Lions. "It's been an honor," Larison said Saturday, noting that this year, American Legion Post 676 served as sponsor. In the past, Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman has been the starter, but he was out of town Saturday. The role this time went to his son, Deputy Andrew Yessman, who first sent the youngest children out onto the field (inset) to gather plastic eggs and search for five gold-colored ones; each golden egg earned the finder a chocolate Easter Bunny. Then the older kids joined in, quickly reaching the far reaches of the field. The Easter Bunny was on hand, too, wandering the field, greeting the kids. At the conclusion of the event, every kid was handed a bag of candy at the exit gate.

Event organizer Glenn Larison chats with the Easter Bunny, portrayed this year by Ron Parmenter.

Public Service

... now have their own page. To see them, click here.

Cutting the ribbon with owner Shawn Hourihan, center, were Schuyler Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan and Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah LaMoreaux.


Ribbon cutting welcomes Outfitters

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 3 marked the official welcome by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce of a new business, Catherine Valley Outfitters, located at 1602 State Rte. 14 south of Montour Falls. Owner Shawn Hourihan, formerly operating as CNY Custom Rods and Reels, opened briefly last summer and had limited hours in the winter. But he took on full-time hours two weeks ago, just in time for the trout season, which has kept him constantly busy with sales of fishing supplies and with a Trout Derby he is running. All the hard work leading to this, he said, "is paying off." Meatballs, fruits, chips and dip were provided at the ceremony, along with wine from Lakewood Vineyards (inset).


Palmesano: Budget missed opportunities

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, in a statement issued April 1st, said the state budget approved earlier in the day -- while providing needed education aid and a reduction in the Gap Elimination Adjustment -- fails to provide tax relief "for our families and small businesses or mandate relief for our municipalities and school districts." For the full statement, click here.

Alongside Catharine Creek.


Trout season brings anglers out in force

Anglers were out at sunup April 1st for the first day of trout season on Catharine Creek -- gathering at several popular locales in and alongside the water as it churned its way north. On a morning that produced a hard frost, and with the temperature around 20 degrees, the long-dormant fishing poles were utilized by anglers setting up between Millport and Montour Falls. There were reports of numerous early strikes, but a slower rate of catches as the sun rose. One Horseheads resident said he caught a trout on his second cast of the morning ... and then little more. His father said that "even if I don't catch any fish, I'm going to catch me a cheese steak" from a food stand set up nearby.

Left: Two popular spots near Montour Falls.


WGI's Printup takes on additional roles in ISC

International Speedway Corporation announces that Watkins Glen International racetrack President Michael Printup will assume additional responsibilities within ISC, including managerial oversight of Americrown, while continuing in his current role at WGI. Business.

Left: Michael Printup


Fire damages home near Montour Falls

A chimney fire that spread to the wall of a house at 1916 Price Road above Montour Falls left wall, siding and smoke damage Monday, March 30. The fire, reported shortly after 1 p.m., was doused quickly by firefighters. The Montour Falls Fire Department was on the scene, along with firefighters from Watkins Glen .A fire official said nobody was home at the time of the incident.

Left: Firefighters work to eliminate final hot spots.

Some of the many model cars that were on display at the Center.

Model Car Show at Center ends

The International Motor Racing Research Center hosted its 2nd Annual Model Car Show from Friday, March 27 through Sunday, March 29. Oscar Koveleski, co-creator of Auto World, the beacon for model car hobbyists of all ages in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, spoke as part of the weekend program Saturday afternoon. Sports.

Photo at right: Oscar Koveleski


Rotary honors Rorick as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Joe Rorick (left) was honored March 26 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for March. Rorick was introduced by teacher Lisa Frost, who described the honoree as a young man with "strong character and outstanding sportsmanship" who exhibits a caring attitude toward others. Rorick, a member of National Honor Society, is a three-sport athlete -- in soccer, baseball and wrestling, the latter as a state-level competitor who in his junior year won a Section 4 title. It was the first sectional wrestling crown at O-M in 29 years.

Student Hannah Morse sings "The Games People Play" as part of the March 24th musical gathering at Watkins Glen High School.


Music soars as kids complete program

The annual artists-in-residence musical program at Watkins Glen High School culminated March 24 with a concert in the school auditorium featuring 7th through 9th graders. Schools.

Left: Program instructors Rosie Newton (left) and Katie McShane.


No Labor of Love dinner

The Schuyler County Labor of Love Committee has canceled its annual May spaghetti dinner for this year. The decision was necessitated by a lack of volunteers to promote, prepare, and organize the dinner. People.

Watkins Mayor Mark Swinnerton outlines some of the ongoing activities facing the new Mayor and Village Trustees


Passing the village torch

Watkins Glen Mayor Mark Swinnerton and Deputy Mayor Scott Gibson, both defeated in the March 18 village elections, read and expounded upon a lengthy outline Monday, March 23 that they prepared for the incoming mayor and trustees -- a list of ongoing projects and responsibilities to help in the transition process. The presentation came at a special Village Board meeting that also saw the appointment of a new trustee, Rick Evans. Government.

See the Village Board Transitional Roadmap here


Marie & Kirk: Teaching children in Namibia

Schuyler County residents Marie Fitzsi