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Seneca Harbor Station & Captain Bill's

To reach the website of the Seneca Harbor Station and Captain Bill's, click here.


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Watkins Glen Supply, Inc.

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4 Novels by the editor

Island Nights

Excerpt here.

The Islander

The entire novel:

Prelude-Chapter 4

Chapters 5-13

Chapters 14-21

Chapters 22-29

Chapters 30-36

Chapters 37-44.

Cabins in the Mist

Excerpt here

The Maiden of Mackinac

Excerpts Maiden

and here and here. 







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The Yard FLX on 414 celebrates its rebirth

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 12 celebrated the recent opening of The Yard FLX -- a go-kart (photo above) and mini golf destination long popular in years past but fallen on recent hard times. With new owner Aimee Barton leading the way, the facility has been reborn with a vision of reviving its legacy as an entertainment destination. Features.

Right: Aimee Barton


In praise of Sophie ...

The editor reacts to the tragic news of the passing of Sophie Fitzsimmons-Peters, a 2008 graduate of Watkins Glen High School. Column.

Anyone caring to advertise may contact the publisher, Charlie Haeffner, at for information.

Rob Halpin is sworn in as the O-M School Board president by District Clerk Jennifer Stevenson.


Halpin re-elected as School Board president
at organizational meeting; Dechow sworn in

Robert Halpin was unanimously re-elected by his fellow Odessa-Montour School Board members as board president at the group's annual organizational meeting Thursday night. Jennifer Mosher was re-elected without opposition as the board vice president. Before those votes, Halpin was first sworn in to a new three-year term on the board, as were incumbent Dana Sgrecci and newcomer Jason Dechow, all winners in the district's May election.

Photo at right: New O-M School Board member Jason Dechow.


Storm in the distance

Glenda Stermer-Simpson sent this photo that she snapped as a storm approached during July 10th's atmospheric turbulence. "Here is a picture of the storm, from Frost Hill Road, Montour Falls, looking west," she wrote, adding: "Pretty neat to watch it come across the hill."


Teaming to raise funds for women with cancer

The Schuyler Health Foundation and the Gorges Givers group have established a fund to provide emergency finanical aid to women diagnosed with cancer. Fund.


A weekly column from
State Senator O'Mara

State Senator Tom O'Mara provides us with a weekly column -- this one titled "NYS signals it might be going too fast on energy mandates.” Column.

Left: State Sen. Tom O'Mara


And inside:

--O-M/WG set Summer Wrestling Camp. Sports.
--New Talkin' History! talk set. Features.
--Cayuga Health affiliates with CRC. Business.
--A good season for Moose Youth Bowling. People.
--Suicide Prevention campaign underway. People.
--ABC-FLX focuses on water safety. Features.
--Adam Smith named Humane Society of Schuyler County Director of Operations. Business.
--Officials: Beware assessment dispute scams. Govt.
--Rotary installs 6 Little Free Libraries. Features.
--Historical Society names board president. People.
--Montour earns $175K grant. Govt.


Annual Glen fireworks display draws crowd

The annual fireworks presented by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce on July 4th (a sample is shown at left) attracted many onlookers to the launch site, Clute Park, and to surrounding hillside vantage points.


A column by Odessa
Mayor Gerry Messmer

The mayor provides us with another in his series of columns on what is happening in Odessa and the surrounding area. This time he discusses the village's water project and various rumors. Column.

Photo: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer

True Love

The photo above was provided by Watkins Glen's Marti Dense, who wrote: "A picturesque view of 'True Love' sailing by the Painted Rocks at the south end of Seneca Lake." True Love, based at the Seneca Harbor Park Pier in Watkins Glen, is a 67-foot schooner with a rich history, including inclusion in the 1956 movie "High Society."


58 earn their diplomas at WGHS graduation

Watkins Glen High School bids farewell to the Class of 2024 in a ceremony in the school auditorium. Schools.

Photo: Senior Class President Alyson Gibson


O-M bids farewell
to the Class of 2024

Forty-two students received their diplomas in a ceremony in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. Schools.

Photo: One O-M grad's cap.


Glen getting $4.6M water infrastructure grant

A $4.6 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant has been announced for the Village of Watkins Glen to improve water infrastructure and increase water capacity for the local business community. According to EDA, this grant will support the rehabilitation of Watkins Glen’s water storage tank and pump station, the replacement of water lines, and other water infrastructure improvements needed to increase capacity. The grant will be matched with $4.6 million in local funds and is expected to create or retain 120 jobs. "The EDA award will provide long overdue improvements to our water infrastructure, secure additional housing and jobs, and improve livability," said Watkins Glen Mayor Laurie DeNardo. Grant.

Photo: Watkins Glen Mayor Laurie DeNardo.


We present the 2024 Tribute Award honorees

For the fourth consecutive year, The Odessa File, in conjunction with administrators and coaches at the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour high schools, is honoring a group of student-athletes -- 24 of them -- with Tribute Awards based on athletics, academics, leadership, and character. To see who the honorees are, visit Tribute.


The Essentials honorees now total 40

Longtime youth basketball leader Jim Scott and Cayuga Health Vice President-Finance Rebecca Gould have been added to the list of The Essentials, a group of 40 outstanding Schuyler County residents or natives who have impacted life here or elsewhere. With the two latest inductees, there are now 20 men and 20 women among the honorees. None of The Essentials are in the Schuyler County Hall of Fame, but perhaps will be someday. Essentials.

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To reach the STATEMENTS website, click here.

The falls behind Dr. Kevin Field's office in Burdett.

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Donations gratefully accepted ...

Since The Odessa File operates primarily on the strength of advertising, its economic well-being can become a bit tenuous, especially when advertisers opt not to continue on these pages.

Accordingly, any reader contributions are very welcome. Anyone wishing to send a donation can do so by mailing it to: The Odessa File, P.O. Box 365, Odessa, NY 14869.


Take advantage of our Ad Rates ...

The Odessa File operates primarily on the strength of advertising, although a few readers send contributions to help the cause.

Ad space is always available, in different page locations, but currently key page sponsorships are also available: atop the PSA Page (at $50/month).

For a look at our Ad Rate chart, click here. For more information, contact The Odessa File by email ( or by phone at 607-742-2772.

Looking to buy baseball, football, basketball, hockey, non-sports cards, mostly pre-1988. Call
Charlie Haeffner at (607) 742-2772.




And inside

Read the latest Letters to the Editor on the Forum Page.

Part 1 of "Schuyler County and Me," reprised, Click here.
For Part 2, click here.
For Part 3, click here .
For Part 4, click here.
For Part 5, click here.

The Editor's


Death Notices on the Obituary Page.

Rose (Lachut) Cook, 71, of Odessa.
Wilfred F. (“Will”) Ross, 86, of Burdett.
Gary R. Cooper, 65, of Odessa.
Anthony Belmonte, 32, Watkins Glen.
George H. Hanville, 83, formerly of Montour Falls.
Sherry May Hubbard, 74, of Watkins Glen.
James Affeldt, 80, of Rock Stream.
Bruce Alan McClain, 55, of Watkins Glen.
R. Joette McBride, 88, of Burdett.
Neal R. McGonigal, 77, of Watkins Glen.
Roger Beardslee, 82, of Hector.
Ralph D. Pipe, 87, of Painted Post.
Donald William Cutton, 93, of Odessa.
Dennis Sharkey, 79, of Rock Stream.
Clifton E. Ray, 83, of Alpine.

To reach the Famous Brands website, click here.


Garrison wins the 20th annual Susan Award

Odessa-Montour High School senior Keyonna Garrison has been named winner of the 20th annual Susan B. Haeffner Sportsmanship Award, named in memory of Odessa File Editor and Publisher Charlie Haeffner's wife. The award is presented each year to one recipient who embodies the characteristics of fair play, kindness and courage exhibited by Susan, who passed away due to cancer in 2004. The first recipient was named the following year: O-M's Sally Wilcox. Keyonna has exhibited courage, kindness and determination in recovering from a stroke suffered in her junior year.

Photo: Keyonna Garrison with her Susan Award.

A total of $6,000 in Watkins Glen Alumni Association scholarships went this year to four WGHS graduating seniors. The honorees included (from left) Vey Cowan, Thalia Marquez and Keira Sulkey, shown at the Alumni Banquet on June 29. The fourth honoree was Brenna Pierce, who couldn't attend the banquet since she was out of town.


Aviation pioneer honored at Alumni Banquet

The Distinguished Alumni honoree at the annual Watkins Glen High School Alumni Association Banquet June 29th -- held at the Watkins Glen Community Center -- was Grace Pitkin Birge Mayfield, valedictorian in the Class of 1930. Mayfield, who passed away in 1994, was honored in the field of Army Aeronautics. Schuyler County's only female licensed aviator in the late 1930s, Mayfield served during World War II with the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), a group that helped ferry combat aircraft within the U.S. at 126 bases -- and which, years later, won full veteran privileges. She was later a flight instructor and flight controller in Denver, and taught science and aeronautics in the Denver Public School system. On a dare from her class, she took up skydiving at the age of 56. She was inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame in 1983.

Photo: Grace Pitkin Birge Mayfield


Dub G Awards ceremony honors Glen athletes

School year-ending athletic awards -- the Dub G Awards -- were presented June 22 at Watkins Glen High School. The ceremony, in the school auditorium, saw Athletes of the Year announced, as well as Coach of the Year and Rookie of the Year Award winners. For a list of all of the Dub G honorees and some photos, see Sports.

This cake was sliced into pieces and distributed to the dozens of friends and family members on hand at the Bucket Bar & Grill to celebrate Gary Emerson's doctorate.


Friends, family celebrate Emerson's doctorate

Schuyler County Historian Gary Emerson of Odessa was the focal point of a party June 22 at the Bucket Bar & Grill in Odessa, held to celebrate his doctorate in American History. Dr. Emerson achieved that educational goal recently after working toward it for nine years at Binghamton University following his retirement as a teacher in the Newfield school district. Emerson, an author, said he plans to continue writing history books as well as seeking a part-time position teaching at one of the colleges or universities in our region.

Photo: Gary Emerson at the Bucket Bar & Grill party.

Schuyler County Historical Society Museums Executive Director Heather O'Grady-Evans, right, with Rotary Club President Nan Woodworth upon the presentation of a grant by the club to the Historical Society.


Rotary distributes annual community grants

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club distributed its annual community grants June 20 to recipients at a club luncheon at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge along Route 14. While the club budgeted $3,000 in grants, it ended up distributing $5,550 as area organizations made requests for financial support totaling more than $20,000. Among the recipients were Habitat for Humanity, the Glen Gators, Friends of the Watkins Library, the Lake Country Players, the Schuyler County Historical Society, Catholic Charities, Gorges Givers, Schuyler Soccer, the Village of Watkins Glen, Friends of the Mecklenburg Park, the Hector Foundation, the Reading Community Church, the Odessa-Catharine United Methodist Church, the Humane Society of Schuyler County, and My Place-A Play and Learning Center.

Photo in text: Stacey Parrish, representing the Village of Watkins Glen, speaks upon accepting a Rotary grant for use in the village's Summer Recreation Program.

The Village of Montour Falls offered hayrides around the B.C. Cate Elementary School grounds.


B.C. Cate kids get close look at agriculture

It was Farm Day at B.C. Cate Elementary School in Montour Falls on June 21, with various aspects of agriculture on display for the students at booths set up in front of the school. Where last year the school held a Truck Day, this event offered interactive looks at beekeeping, wine-making, fruit tree planting, dairying, and other aspects of agriculture, with displays by the Forest Service, Cooperative Extension, Simmons Vineyards, Keuka Springs Winery, Sunset View Creamery, and Bee Fellas Honey, along with hayrides by the Village of Montour Falls and farm songs by Kim Laursen. Another, not yet detemined, theme is expected at the end of the next school year, with truck and agriculture themes to be repeated in future years.

Photo in text: Art teacher Michelle Walsh brought her Highland Cow to the Farm Day for kids to see close-up.

The craft STEM-Sail Research barely missed crossing the finish line, capsizing instead, both crew members eventually in the water.


Cardboard Boat Regatta draws a festive crowd

The 31st annual regatta, part of the Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival at Seneca Harbor Park on Saturday, June 15, attracted thousands of people who cheered Cardboard Boat captains and crews as the contestants paddled their way along a harbor marina course. For photos, see Features.


Awards bestowed at year-end WGHS assembly

Academic, fine arts and athletic honors are presented to Watkins Glen High School students at an assembly held in the school auditorium. Awards.


New historic marker unveiled at Jerlando's

Schuyler County historian Gary Emerson on June 13 unveiled an historic marker honoring the Freer Opera House, known today as the Jerlando’s Ristorante building in Watkins Glen. The marker is attached to the building on the Fourth Street wall. Features.


Schuyler Scholars honored at dinner

The top academic seniors in the Watkins Glen, Odessa-Montour and Bradford high schools were honored Wednesday night, June 12th at the 17th annual Schuyler Scholars dinner, held at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Schools.

Photo: Each honoree received a plaque.


Coffey to compete at Olympics in 8-oared shell

Schuyler County Olympian Olivia Coffey (right) will be rowing in the Women's 8-oared shell in the Paris Olympic Games this summer. US Rowing on Tuesday announced its full 12-crew roster -- 42 athletes, including 17 returning Olympians (one of those 17 being Coffey, who competed in the Tokyo Games and was an alternate before that, in Rio). Coffey, who earned a Paris Olympic spot more than two months ago but was unsure where she would be slotted, works (when she isn't training for the Olympics) for a firm in New York City, but resides in Burdett. Rowing in Paris will take place from July 27th to August 4th.


Gillis is The Odessa File's O-M Athlete of Year

Odessa-Montour High School senior Brad Gillis has been named The Odessa File's O-M Athlete of the Year -- an award sponsored by the E.C. Cooper Inc. Insurance Agency of Watkins Glen. Gillis had an outstanding year in football, basketball and baseball. He will attend Alfred University, where he plans to continue his football career. He joins Watkins Glen High School sophomore Rachel Vickio -- also a three-sport athlete -- as this website's Athletes of the Year.

Photo: Brad Gilllis with his O-M Athlete of the Year Award, sponsored as in past years by the E.C. Cooper Inc. Insurance Agency of Watkins Glen.


O-M bestows its year-end sports awards

Odessa-Montour High School presented its 2023-24 sports awards June 11th at the 57th annual Sports Awards Night held in the school cafeteria and auditorium. Sports.

Photo: O-M juniors Gavin Lohmeyer and Riley Brooks, recipients of Section IV Character Counts awards.

Kyren Young and Sasha Honrath at the signing ceremony.


Honrath, Young ink celebratory college forms

Watkins Glen High School seniors Sasha Honrath and Kyren Young inked celebratory signing forms June 12 with the colleges they will be attending. Honrath, a standout soccer player on two sectional championship teams at WGHS, will attend Elmira College, where she plans to continue her soccer career. Young, who holds several WGHS track sprint records, plans to continue in track at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. The signings took place in the WGHS library.

Photo: Cakes were part of the celebration for both Sasha Honrath and Kyren Young.

Matilda Jr. had scores of children in its cast. It was presented for the final time June 16 at Watkins Glen High School.


LCP's Matilda Jr. ends its 4-day run at WGHS

Scores of child actors, singers and dancers populated the stage for Matilda The Musical Jr., a production of the Lake Country Players that ended a four-day run June 16 in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. Based on the beloved book “Matilda” by Roald Dahl and adapted from the award-winning full-length musical, the play tells the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand, and change her own destiny.

Photo in text: Dancing played a key role in the play.

Representatives of the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel and the Schuyler Health Foundation gathered outside the hotel for the check presentation.


Foundation receives $20,000 Ice Bar donation

The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel on June 10 presented a $20,000 check to the Schuyler Health Foundation with proceeds generated by the hotel's annual 3-day Ice Bar event held in late January. Hart Hotels CEO and President David Hart, in remarks preceding the check presentation, said the Watkins Glen Ice Bar -- know as the Fire & Ice Celebration -- has resulted in donations of $240,000 since its inception in 2012. For years the annual donations went to the Red Cross, but more recently to the Health Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization that aims to provide funds to Schuyler Hospital and the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility.

Photo: Hart Hotels President and CEO David Hart at ceremony


Odessa File Spring MVP, All-Stars unveiled

With the spring high school sports season concluded, The Odessa File presents its choice for the MVP among all of the sports, as well as a listing of the Schuyler All-Sports All-Stars. See Sports.

--Vickio is Odessa File's WGHS Athlete of Year. Sports.

Horses were among the attractions at Saturday's Montour Falls Fire Department Parade on Main Street in Montour.
See story and photos on Features.


Annual 3-day Fire Dept. Festival ends its run

MONTOUR FALLS -- A final day June 8th of rides, food, music, bingo, a chicken barbecue and a beer tent -- along with a parade featuring 10 bands -- brought the annual Montour Falls Fire Department Festival to a close. The festival, on the carnival grounds along Route 224, opened Thursday night, June 6, continued Friday night and ran from noon to its closing Saturday night. The parade down Montour's Main Street at 5 p.m. Saturday featured floats, antique vehicles, fire trucks, horses, tractors and those 10 bands, including the popular Hitmen from Rochester.

Festival Chair Keith Pierce said the festival was the fire department's "only fund-raiser of the year." Live music was provided at the Parmenter Sound Stage each night and Saturday afternoon. The first musical group up Thursday night was Goin' South Entertainment. On Friday night, it was Clark Jackson; on Saturday afternoon, the Dean Goble Band; and Saturday night, Random Tangent.

Photos in text:

Top: A young girl sends a red dart (top left) toward balloons at one of the festival's games of chance.
Bottom: Festival visitors Leah Antes, left, and Sarah Strobel.


Ceremony marks Stonecat Cafe's 25 years

A ribbon was cut June 7 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Stonecat Cafe in Hector -- at a ceremony highlighted by speeches and the presentation of a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the office of U.S. Representative Nick Langworthy. People.

Photo: Cutting the ribbon.


Marquez inks celebratory SUNY Geneseo form

Watkins Glen High School senior Thalia Marquez, a member of the school swim team since 7th grade, signed a form on June 6th celebrating her upcoming attendance at SUNY Geneseo, where she plans to continue her swimming while pursuing a career as a Physician's Assistant. On hand were friends, family, swim coach Jason Westervelt, Athletic Director Rod Weeden and Superintendent Kai D'Alleva, who praised Marquez as "one of the most decorated swimmers in the history of our district." The event was concluded with a cake cut into squares by Marquez and distributed to the attendees.

Photo: Thalia Marquez at the signing ceremony.


Interns help village with sustainability efforts

Montour Falls Mayor Jim Ryan says that Montour Falls is fortunate to have two interns working this summer on the village's ongoing sustainability campaign. People.

Photo: Interns Helena Donnelly (left) and Emma Malnoske.

The ball caroms away from the basket in one of the boys' games at the 3-on-3 tournament in the WGHS Field House.


3 on 3 tourney raises funds for United Way

Twenty teams competing in five different brackets -- including males, females, young children and players who graduated from high school years ago -- raised money June 8th for the Schuyler County United Way through a 3-on 3 basketball tourney in the Watkins Glen High School Field House. Each player paid a registration fee of $20, which together with business sponsorships provided funds for United Way.

Photo: Hannah Morse looks for a shot.


Lou's trombone
goes to Normandy

A story from Steve Rondinaro about his father Lou's wartime and musical experiences, and about a D-Day anniversary opportunity. Trombone.

Photo: The late Louis Rondinaro and his trombone.


Kramer to succeed Weeden as AD at WGHS

Erich Kramer (right), who has been serving as Assistant Principal, will become the next Athletic Director at Watkins Glen High School, succeeding Rod Weeden, who is retiring in August. Kramer's title will be Director of Athletics, Physical Education, Health and Data, a job he will assume on July 1 -- taking full control in August. The position of Assistant Principal was eliminated in the recently approved school budget.


Parole denied again for convicted killer Horein

Convicted murderer Joshua Horein (right) has been denied parole after appearing April 11th before the New York State Parole Board at the Fishkill Correctional Facility. Horein murdered Amber Brockway, a 15-year-old girl, in the Village of Watkins Glen on August 5, 2000. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison on April 6, 2001. Government.

From left: Burdett Historian Martha Evans, Schuyler County Historical Society Museums Executive Director Heather O'Grady-Evans, Montour Falls Mayor Jim Ryan, and Sara Lattin, Chief of Staff in the office of State Senator Tom O'Mara, at the ribbon cutting.


Ribbon cutting celebrates Museum's 50 years

A ribbon-cutting celebration June 3rd marked the 50th anniversary of the Schuyler County Historical Society's Brick Tavern Museum at 108 N. Catharine Street in Montour Falls. Speakers included Alyssa Denger of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce; Sara Lattin, Chief of Staff in the office of State Senator Tom O'Mara; Montour Falls Mayor Jim Ryan, and the Society's Executive Director of Museums, Heather O'Grady-Evans -- who received a State Legislature proclamation from Lattin in tribute to the half-century milestone. Said O'Grady-Evans, after praising those who started the museum and those who have kept it thriving: "We're just getting started."

Photo in text: Lattin (right) presents a State Legislature proclamation to O'Grady-Evans.

Repair Cafe volunteer David Martin works on a cuckoo clock brought in by Cassandra Hinkle of Enfield, right.


Hector Repair Cafe helps recycle used items

The second of two Repair Cafes was held June 1st -- this one at the VLH Fire Department in Hector. As with the first one -- held April 20 at the Montour Falls Fire Department -- it had volunteers on hand to repair items brought in by area folks looking to recycle personal items free of charge rather than toss them in the trash. The Repair Cafes stemmed from the work of Sustainability Committees in both communities. The village and town are each working toward Gold Certification in the Climate Smart Communities movement, and earned points for the cafes. The state-run CSC program provides valuable grants and technical assistance, as does the state Clean Energy Community program in which Montour Falls and Hector are also actively involved.

Photo in text: Volunteer Chuck Wilke works on a lamp at the Hector Repair Cafe.


Coming soon: the 4th annual Tribute Awards

The Odessa File, with input from school administrators and coaches, will soon unveil its 4th annual Tribute Awards that go to 24 students -- 14 at Watkins Glen High School and 10 at Odessa-Montour. The awards are based on academics, athletics, citizenship, leadership and character, spotlighting the best and brightest of 10th through 12th graders that Schuyler County has in its midst in 2024. Stay tuned.

Cycle Boats co-owners Sam Hale, left, and Chris Marriott.


Ribbon cut for Cycle Boats business on lake

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Mauy 30 at Seneca Harbor Park welcomes a new business, Finger Lakes Cycle Boats, a week after it started transporting passengers on Seneca Lake. The company's boat, named the Seneca Siren, offers a combination of motorized travel and old-fashioned pedal power, with up to 10 people manning bike-like pedals to move the craft along on its travels. Business.

A bicycle course -- with chalked lines for each rider to follow -- tested the kids' control of their bikes.


Grizzly Bike Rally features riding safety, fun

The B.C. Cate Elementary School in Montour Falls held a Grizzly Bike Rally for its students Wednesday evening, May 29 -- the first of what organizers hope will be an annual event. Scores of students --accompanied by parents -- learned about bike safety while participating in bicycle games and following an obstacle course in the school parking lot. A Schuyler County Sheriff's Department representative was on hand to help at the event, which also featured helmet fitting, bike decorating, hot dogs, and information tables run by Public Health, Cooperative Extension, the Montour Falls Library and other organizations. Also on hand: the school district mascot, Grizzly the Bear.

Photo in text: Bike races were part of the rally's events.


Memorial Day services held in Schuyler

Threatening rain held off long enough May 27 for Memorial Day services to be held at Shequaga Falls in Montour Falls and at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park outside Odessa. People.

Photo: Sheriff and Marine Corps veteran Kevin Rumsey at Montour Falls ceremony.


Watkins, O-M school budgets pass easily

The voters in the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour School Districts approved 2024-25 budgets by wide margins on May 21, Watkins passing its $30,189,050 spending plan 195-43, and O-M passing its $21,258,665 spending plan 146-30.

Voters in the O-M Disrict also approved a library tax for the Dutton S. Peterson and Montour Falls Memorial Libraries, 125-49, as well as bus purchase and capital reserve fund propositions. Watkins voters okayed a proposition to lease diesel buses, 202-36.

In School Board voting, O-M elected incumbents Robert Halpin and Dana Sgrecci and newcomer Jason Dechow to 3-year terms. There were no challengers. Watkins Glen Board incumbents Joe Stansfield (156 votes) and Barbara Schimizzi (134) were re-elected to 3-year terms, defeating challengers Scott Yaw (82) and Jonathan Van Ness (58).


A baptism times three

Three young cousins -- the first grandchildren of Chris and Liz Stamp -- are baptized in an unusual ceremony at St. Mary's of the Lake Church in Watkins Glen. People.

Photo: Chris Stamp holds grandson Logan Wilkens.


O-M holds its prom
at the Ginny Lee Cafe

The Odessa-Montour High School Prom was held on a warm, sunny evening May 18 at the Ginny Lee Cafe along Rte. 414 north of Valois. See photos on the Schools Page.

Photo: O-M's Jackie Mace at the Prom.


State announces winning NY Forward projects

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul has announced the projects that will be included in the $4.5 million NY Forward funding awarded to the Village of Montour Falls in 2023. The projects were among those proposed by a Local Project Committee co-chaired by Montour Falls Mayor Jim Ryan (pictured at right) and SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry. Government.

Left: Watkins Glen High School senior Johnny VanScoyk.
Right: Bradford High School senior Kailey Yeoman.


Rotary honors 3 as its Students of the Month

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club honored seniors May 16 from the Watkins Glen, Odessa-Montour and Bradford high schools as its Students of the Month for May.
Watkins Glen: Johnny VanScoyk is captain of the cross country, indoor track and outdoor track teams, as well as 7th in his class academically. He plans to attend SUNY Cortland in Media Production, and continue his competitive running there.
Odessa-Montour: Kylie Austin was introduced by school counselor Dan Batchelder, who said she is "bright, with high goals," and that the award was "well deserved." Kylie, a High Honor student in the top 10% of her class, is on the Student Council and a member of Interact Club. She plans to attend Elmira College in the field of Psychology.

Bradford: Kailey Yeoman is a three-sport captain (soccer, basketball and softball), Student Council vice president, Class Salutatorian, and a member of National Honor Society. She plans to attend Alfred University in Education, and pursue a master's in School Counseling.

Photo in text: O-M honoree Kylie Austin with guidance counselor Dan Batchelder.


Watkins Glen, Pert Library budgets pass easily

The Watkins Glen Public Library and EB Pert Memorial Library budget vote had a record turnout of 216 voters on Tuesday, May 14th. With 213 YES votes and 3 NO votes, the budgets passed. Amanda Postma of Watkins Glen was elected as trustee for the Watkins Glen Public Library.


Veterans' turnout light at Legislature meeting

A light turnout of veterans -- estimated by a spokesperson to be "9 or 10" people -- attended the monthly meeting May 13 of the Schuyler County Legislature. And only one member of the group -- the wife of a Vietnam veteran -- addressed legislators regarding the April 18 dismissal of Kristine "Sparky" Gardner from her post as Schuyler County Veterans Service Agency director. After almost 50 veterans gathered last week in Odessa in support of Gardner, some observers had expected a large turnout Monday, when the Legislature allowed comments for up to 45 minutes. The one speaker said that despite the scant turnout, she had "a message from veterans: We're not going away." Legislator Phil Barnes also touched on the issue, saying he was upset that not all members of the Legislature had been apprised beforehand of Gardner's dismissal.

Photo: Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers, left, and County Administrator Shawn Rosno at Monday's meeting.


WGHS holds its annual prom at Logan Ridge

The Watkins Glen High School Prom was held on a rainy night May 11 at Logan Ridge Estates, the annual party's locale in recent years. But the rain didn't seem to dampen the students' party spirit. See photos on the Schools Page.

Photo: Watkins Glen's Katie Cook at the Prom.


Justice Center of the Southern Tier -- designed to help crime victims -- holds a Grand Opening

The Justice Center of the Southern Tier -- a haven for victims of crimes -- held its Grand Opening May 9th after a successful soft opening that Schuyler County District Attorney Joe Fazzary, who envisioned and was the primary force in the Center's creation, called a success. Features.

Photo: District Attorney Joe Fazzary at the Grand Opening.


Visit Jerlando's Ristorante & Pizzeria

Three locations: in Watkins Glen, Horseheads and Montour Falls

Click here or on the photo at left to go to the Jerlando's website. There you will find information about all three locations, plus menus.

Left: The front of the recently renovated Jerlando's at Franklin and 4th Streets, Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel
on the Seneca Lake waterfront.
16 N. Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY
(607) 535-6116

Upscale, contemporary rooms and suites plus an American restaurant, an indoor pool and a fitness center.


Pet of the Week: Sam

Name: Sam
Sex: Neutered Male
Age: 9 months
Breed: Lab Mix
Size: Large when full grown

Found lying on the side of the road, thin, lethargic with bloody diarrhea, "Sam" as he is now known, was taken to Cornell Vet Hospital by a good samaritan. Sadly, Sam tested positive for parvo and was admitted to the hospital, where he spent a week recovering. We're happy to report that Sam is now a happy, healthy 8-month-old puppy, ready for his new forever home. This handsome lad is as smart as a whip, eager to learn and always up for a new adventure. He's playful, enjoys a good game of fetch, will be a great running or hiking companion, and may even have the makings of a search and rescue dog, or other "professional career." And of course, he will be a great family dog. Sam walks well on a leash, is super friendly, and loves a good belly rub. Sam enjoys the company of other dogs.

The adoption fee for dogs less than a year old is $275. All have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies, kennel cough, DH(L)PP, have had a complete fecal analysis, been treated for internal and external parasites, are heartworm tested and on heartworm preventative and flea and tick preventative and are microchipped. Stop in on Monday and Friday from 10-1, Saturdays from 10-4, or Sundays from 2-5 without an appointment or call us at 607-594-2255 to schedule an appointment. Or, visit our website,, to fill out an adoption application to get the process started.

For other recent Schuyler County news, click here.


Forum at Clute touts benefits of DRI program

New York State Deputy Secretary of State Kisha Santiago visited Watkins Glen on May 9, leading a forum at Clute Park's Seneca Lake Event Center designed to interest community leaders around the Southern Tier in her department's flagship economic development programs -- the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and Forward New York programs. Government.

Photo: From left, Watkins Glen Mayor Laurie DeNardo: New York Deputy Secretary of State Kisha Santiago, and Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry at the forum.

Members of the Schuyler Storm swim team leap into the Odessa-Montour pool as part of the dedication ceremony.


O-M pool, after prolonged restoration, is open

The refurbished Odessa-Montour 4-lane pool was opened May 9th in a dedication ceremony featuring a ribbon cutting, speeches, snacks, and swims by current and alumni O-M swimmers. The pool area -- bright where it used to be dim, with a new deck, gutters, record boards and elevated scorer's deck -- was renovated over the past couple of years. School board members present indicated the pool -- overseen by teacher Jack McCauley -- will be utilized by classes, for adult swims, and maybe for occasional competition. There was no indication that the current Schuyler Storm boys and girls swim teams -- combined squads of O-M and Watkins Glen athletes who utilize the 8-lane WGHS pool -- would be altered by reverting to separate school teams.

Photo: Storm Swim Coach Jason Westervelt cuts the ribbon.

Among the dedication swimmers were alums Stephanie Stephens, left, and Alyssa McCray.

WGHS junior Naja Radoja with her winning entry in the 6th Judicial District art contest.

  WGHS trio finishes 1-2-3 in 10-county contest

Three Watkins Glen High School students -- juniors Naja Radoja and Abi White and sophomore Wendy Coleman -- were honored May7th for placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in an art contest held among students in the 6th Judicial District. Their art will be displayed in court houses around the 10-county district. Art.

Click on the ad below to reach the
Seneca Harbor Station and the
Captain Bill's Seneca Lake Cruises site.

The Seneca Legacy dinner cruise ship.


Take advantage of our Ad Rates ...

The Odessa File operates primarily on the strength of advertising, although a few readers send contributions to help the cause.

Ad space is always available, in different page locations, but currently key page sponsorships are also available: atop the Schools Page (at $150/month), the Forum Page (at $75/month). and the PSA Page (at $50/month).

For a look at our Ad Rate chart, click here. For more information, contact The Odessa File by email ( or by phone at 607-742-2772.


Donations gratefully accepted ...

Since The Odessa File operates primarily on the strength of advertising, its economic well-being can become a bit tenuous, especially when advertisers opt not to continue on these pages.

Accordingly, any reader contributions are very welcome. Anyone wishing to send a donation can do so by mailing it to: The Odessa File, P.O. Box 365, Odessa, NY 14869.


Available on Kindle:
The Maiden of Mackinac

This story -- which spans 700 years and ranges from our region to Northern Michigan -- tells of a quest for the truth behind a legend ... the legend of a Native American maiden reputed to be centuries old. It was written by Charlie Haeffner, and is available now on Kindle at To see the ad, click here.

Left: Cover art by Jon Haeffner


A column on budget from Phil Palmesano

Assemblyman Palmesano gives his take on the 2024-25 New York State budget, which he said represents uncontrolled spending. "The bottom line," he says, "is New York families and businesses continue to face a public safety, affordability and quality-of-life crisis." Column

Left: Assemblyman Palmesano at a recent Rotary Club luncheon in Montour Falls.

  Brown to receive Cameron Argetsinger award

Zak Brown, Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Racing, will receive the 10th annual International Motor Racing Research Center Cameron R. Argetsinger Award at a gala on Sept. 12 at the Corning Museum of Glass. The IMRRC said the award is in recognition of Brown's contributions advancing and improving the sport of motor racing. Established in 2014, the CRA Award -- named in honor of the man who, in 1948, conceived, organized and drove in the first post-war road race in America through Watkins Glen -- had been presented at gala events at the CMOG through 2019, honoring such legends of the sport as Chip Ganassi, Roger Penske, Mario Andretti, Richard Petty, the France Family and Bobby Rahal. When the pandemic hit, the event moved first to Watkins Glen International, then to the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen, recognizing Lyn St. James, Mike Helton and Richard Childress through 2023. The gala is open to the public. All proceeds benefit the IMRRC, a 501(c)(3) organization.

Photo in text: Zak Brown (Photo provided)


Storm's Holmes earns S-G Athlete of Week

Schuyler Storm baseball standout Alex Holmes (shown pitching, left) has been named the Elmira Star-Gazette Athlete of the Week for the period April 21-27 for hitting .692 across four games: 9 for 13 with 9 stolen bases, 10 runs scored and 4 RBIs as the team went 3-1. He received 52.7% of 22,421 online votes cast among a field of five nominees.

Seneca Sunset

Regular Odessa File contributor Marti Dense sent along this photo she snapped of a beautiful sunset viewed from Clute Park in Watkins Glen.


Schuyler addresses the Veterans situation

The County of Schuyler has issued a statement to "address the following points and correct misinformation appearing online and elsewhere about our Veterans Service Agency and its employees." For the statement, see Forum.


Repair Cafe offers alternative to 'trashing it'

The first of two Repair Cafes in Schuyler County was held April 20 at the Montour Falls Fire Department, and from the number of people bringing in items requiring repair, the event struck a positive chord and met a definite need.

A second such event is planned for June in Hector. Features.


Pep Rally celebrates reading achievements

The Watkins Glen Elementary School students had another pep rally April 19th in the high school Field House -- their second in two months -- to celebrate the reading goals they have met in an ongoing school program.

In the past four weeks, students in pre-K through 6th grade have read 143,276 minutes, which is 2,388 hours. And the program -- which was kicked off with a pep rally in the Field House on March 18 and has involved prizes for kids who excel at their goals -- will continue into May. The latest pep rally featured storybook creatures (costumes occupied by teachers) as well as games. The Field House was crowded (see photo) and the noise level of excited kids off the charts.

After the Dismissal: Schuyler County Administrator Shawn Rosno, left, and Legislature Chair Carl Blowers converse at a meeting on April 18 of the Schuyler County Council of Governments. A dozen veterans upset with the dismissal by Blowers and Rosno of Veterans Service Agency Director Kristine Gardner were on hand to praise her, with a couple demanding an explanation for the dismissal. None was provided, since laws prevent the discussion of personnel issues at a public meeting. Said one town official present: If Gardner wants to contest the matter, she can do so through a civil suit, at which point the complaints of veterans "would matter."

  Gardner is out at Veterans Service Agency; vets get no explanation at Council meeting

Schuyler County Veterans Service Agency Director Kristine Gardner (right) was dismissed from her job April 18 in a meeting with County Administrator Shawn Rosno. Gardner said that at the 10:15 a.m. session, Rosno told her she had failed to perform her duties. Gardner said she was given the choice of signing off on a letter in which County Legislature Chair Carl Blowers alleged job shortcomings under the provisional terms of her employment (in which case she would be fired), or she could resign. "And I chose the resignation," she said.

Efforts by The Odessa File to contact Rosno by phone failed; and there was no response to a message left requesting a return call. Nor did he and County Legislature Chair Carl Blowers respond with any explanation for the dismissal when confronted that evening at a meeting of the Schuyler County Council of Governments. (See photo above). One outspoken Marine veteran present at that meeting, Dan Heichel of Odessa (right), spoke forcefully in favor of Gardner, saying she was "a 1,000% asset to the county."

Gardner, a veteran who has worked at the VSA for five years and been its director for almost a year, said Thursday afternoon that her phone had been "blowing up" with calls from other veterans who had heard of her fate. She said she might apply for a job on the Bath VA campus -- a veterans benefits advisor position through the New York State Department of Veterans Services.

Rotary Club President Nan Woodworth with Anabelle Crippen.

  Rotary Club honors Crippen, Chiacchiarini

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club on April 18 honored Odessa-Montour High School senior Anabelle Crippen and Watkins Glen High School senior Brandon Chiacchiarini as its Students of the Month for April.

Chiacchiarini, co-salutatorian in the WGHS class of 2024, was introduced by teacher Lisa Jurusik, who said the honoree is "an awesome kid" who is "a self-starter and self-motivator." She called him "intelligent and kind, with a sense of humor." Chiacchiarini thanked Jurusik "and all the other teachers who have pushed me to be the best I can." He said he is undecided on which college to attend, but plans to enter the field of Accounting.

Crippen was introduced by O-M Director of Student Services Veronica Lewis, who said Crippen excels as an audio-media student through BOCES. She said the honoree "has overcome many obstacles in her young life and shows determination and perseverance that will carry her through many successes." Crippen, a member of the school's bowling team, is leaning toward attending Corning Community College, with an eye toward study in the field of animation.

Photo in text: Brandon Chiacchiarini


A column by Assemblyman Phil Palmesano

Assemblyman Palmesano reminds us that April is "National Donate Life Month," and urges everyone to consider donating their organs at the time of death -- an act that can impact many lives. Column.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano

The Marines provided career information as part of the Job Fair.


Schuyler Hires Job Fair held in Watkins Glen

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce conducted a Schuyler Hires Job Fair April 15th at the Watkins Glen Community Center, with 30 employers from a variety of industries on hand to help job seekers explore career paths. The fair was held in collaboration with the New York State Department of Labor and CSS Workforce New York.

A sliver of the sun could be seen briefly through the clouds above Clute Park in Watkins Glen during the eclipse. The clouds -- usually thick -- dominated.


Mother Nature sent a cloud covering our way

The long-awaited solar eclipse fell short of what locals hoped for on April 8, a cloud cover obscuring the phenomenon for all but brief moments above Watkins Glen. Adding to the day, though, was a Schuyler County Historical Society party at the Seneca Lake Events Center featuring a murder mystery presented by members of the Lake Country Players acting troupe. For more on that festive gathering, see Features.

Photo: WENY Meteorologist Joe Veres looks up during one of those brief moments when the sun appeared. He was at Clute Park with fellow Meteorologist Katherine Schwalm to report live from there, one of three regional locales visited by WENY.


Striving to bring a refugee family to Watkins ...

The Watkins Montour Lions Club, Hector Refugee Project, and at-large community members have joined with Lions Club International as part of the Engage to Change Co-Sponsorship Initiative to welcome a refugee family into the Watkins community. People.


Glen School Board OKs budget; vote is May 21

The Watkins Glen School Board on April 2nd gave its stamp of approval to a 2024-25 budget which -- despite adhering to Gov. Kathy Hochul's Executive Budget that called for significant cuts in state aid to education (which is still under debate as Albany wrestles with its own spending plan) -- calls for a tax rate decrease of $1.87 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, down from $10.59 in 2023-34 to $8.72. That decrease was aided, one school official said, by a significant increase in the valuation of property in Schuyler County. The $30,189,050 school plan represents a 2.58% increase in spending, with the tax levy up $298,000, which is below the maximum allowable limit. A public hearing on the budget will be held on May 7, with the public vote scheduled for 12 noon-8 p.m. on May 21.

Photo: Superintendent Kai D'Alleva at April 2 meeting.


WGHS announces its Top 10 in Class of 2024

Watkins Glen High School has unveiled its Top Ten academic students in the Class of 2024 -- led by valedictorian Maisie Robertson and co-salutatorians Malina Butler and Brandon Chiacchiarini. The remainder of the Top Ten, in no particular order: Johnny VanScoyk, Keira Sulkey, Thalia Marquez, Vey Cowan, Sarah Jones, Lukas Bower and Alyson Gibson.

Photo: Maisie Robertson with teacher Kaz Popovich when Maisie was honored in October as Student of the Month by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club.


Odessa board OKs budget at annual meeting

The Odessa Village Board on April 1st conducted its annual organizational meeting, issuing appointments (such as trustee Tom Letteer as deputy mayor again), and approved a 2024-25 village budget with a tax levy of $179,085 -- within the growth cap mandated by the state. Mayor Gerry Messmer also said the village water improvement project's first phase is under way on Merchant Avenue, and will spread to other streets from there, with thousands of feet of new water pipes replacing old. Phase Two will involve construction of a water treament facility that could take 18 months to complete.

Photo: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer makes a point.

From left: Rotary Club President Nan Woodworth and WGHS juniors Salvatore Purpura and Kendra Fish.


2 students honored for roles in Rotary contest

Watkins Glen High School juniors Salvatore Purpura and Kendra Fish were presented certificates in March by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club for their competitive roles in a recent Rotary International District 7120 Winter Oratorical Contest. The two students' contest presentations were on the subject ot Rotary's 4-Way Test -- which adheres to Truth, Fairness and Good Will in everything, and asks whether what is thought, said or done "will be beneficial to all concerned?" Purpura, who focused in the contest on Social Media and its effect on youth, placed 1st at Sectionals and 5th in the finals. Fish, who focused on the importance of teaching diversity, placed 6th at Sectionals. Club President Nan Woodworth, noting the "grueling" nature of the contest, thanked Purpura and Fish for their "strong presentations," adding: "We're very proud of you."

Left: Alisha Tolentino, named principal at Hanlon. Right: B.C. Cate's next principal, Erika Parisian.


Principals named at B.C. Cate, Hanlon schools

The Odessa-Montour School Board on March 27th approved new principals at the B.C. Cate and Hanlon Elementary Schools.

Erika Parisian, who has worked in the Romulus Central School District since 2014 in various teaching and administrative capacities, will be the B.C. Cate principal effective June 1, succeeding James Nolan, who will become the O-M district's deputy superintendent before moving up to superintendent on January 1.

Alisha Tolentino will become the next Hanlon Elementary principal on April 29, succeeding Rob Francischelli, who left for a job in the BOCES District. Tolentino has worked as a teacher in the Geneseo and Dansville School Districts, as Assistant Principal/Dean of Students in the Addison District, and as Assistant Principal in the Elmira Heights School District.


Coffey earns a spot in her 3rd Olympic Games

Olivia Coffey (right), who works for a firm in New York City but resides in Burdett, has been selected for the third time as a member of the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team, this time in Paris in late July. Coffey, an alternate at the Rio Games and a member of the eights at the Tokyo Games, earned her spot this time after a Selection Camp in Sarasota, Florida. For a closer look, see Column.


'Alice in Wonderland' ends its run at WGHS

The Watkins Glen High School Class of 2024's production of the musical "Alice in Wonderland" was presented for the third and final time March 24th in the high school auditorium. Features.

Photo: Lilac Cruz, left, as the Queen of Hearts, and Kay Davis as Alice.

O-M's Brad Gillis and Gina Gavich at the signing ceremony.


O-M standouts sign college celebratory forms

Odessa-Montour High School seniors Brad Gillis and Gina Gavich affixed their names to Celebratory Signing Forms on March 27th affirming their intent to compete in sports in college -- Gillis in football at Alfred University, and Gavich in basketball at Elmira College. Gilllis, who has also lettered in basketball and baseball at O-M, will study exercise science. Gavich, who has also lettered in soccer and golf, will enter EC's pre-med program. The signing ceremony was held before family and friends in the O-M High School cafeteria.

WGHS students and food their Dub G Market distributed.


School's Dub G Market distributes ham meals

The Watkins Glen High School's in-school Dub G Market distributed 96 Holiday Ham Meal packages to families in the school community the week of March 18-22. The distribution is supported by the Food Bank of the Southern Tier in cooperation with the WGHS National Honor Society and Junior Honor Society. Packages included choices of fresh potatoes, apples, onions, canned vegetables, dried split peas and lentils, vegetable broth, frozen butternut squash, frozen blueberries, rolled oats, raisins, almonds, soup, boxed mac & cheese, butter, eggs, and more. Said teacher Amy Planty, announcing the effort: "I am so proud of our school for providing this service to our school community."


Rotary Club honors 3 as Students of the Month

Three seniors -- one each from the Watkins Glen, Odessa-Montour and Bradford High Schools -- were honored March 21 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Students of the Month for March. This is the first time Bradford has been included in the Student of the Month program. The honorees:

WGHS: Alyson Gibson was introduced by teacher Marcy Brubaker, who said the honoree has "a wonderful disposition that makes her a strong role model." Gibson, a veteran of the school's volleyball team, is vice president of the WGHS National Honor Society, Class President and a member of Jazz Band. She said she has "a natural love for school," enjoys learning, and plans to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and major in Physics.

O-M: David Patterson was introduced by teacher Holly Campbell, who praised the honoree as "very insightful," noted his volunteer work with the Montour Falls Library, and pointed to his leadership roles as part of the Odessa-Montour Superintendent's Advisory Board, Student Council, and the school's chapter of the National Honor Society. Patterson, a three-sport athlete (soccer, basketball and track), plans to attend Syracuse University and major in Business Administration.

Bradford: Madison Sutryk was introduced by kindergarten teacher Tracy Parker, who said the honoree volunteers every day to help kindergarteners at lunch, and every other day in their class, "and does an amazing job." She said Sutryk, a three-sport athlete (soccer, basketball and softball), is "respected by her peers and younger students." Sutryk, who said she learned leadership skills in her position as the oldest of three children, plans to attend SUNY Brockport in its nursing program.

Photos in text: From top, Alyson Gibson, David Patterson and Madison Sutryk.

Watkins Glen Mayor Laurie DeNardo poses with Village Board victors Stephen Klemann, center, and Bob Carson


Klemann, Carson win in Glen; Arcangeli wins in Burdett; it's Saunders, Nolan in Montour

Stephen Klemann and incumbent Bob Carson won four-year seats March 19 on the Watkins Glen Village Board. Klemann received 138 votes, Carson 126, and Ian Ault 94 in the race for two available seats.

Burdett: Linda Arcangeli, a longtime trustee who became mayor upon the resignation of Mayor Dale Walter on Dec. 1, defeated Jerakah Heady 68-42 in the race to serve the final year of Walter's term. Janice Arcangeli, Linda's daughter, who was appointed to fill Linda's seat after Linda became mayor, defeated Robert Lovell, 63-47, in the race to serve the final year of Linda's trustee term. And incumbent trustees Martha Evans (68 votes) and Laurence Jaynes (61) were re-elected to two-year terms, defeating Lee Smith (47 votes) and Jennifer Fazzary (40).

Montour Falls: Incumbent Village Trustee James Nolan (97 votes) and newcomer Jody Saunders (80) won two available four-year terms on the Village Board, while incumbent Vincent Chicone fell short with 54 votes. James Ryan, running unopposed, received 104 votes to earn another four-year term as Mayor.

Odessa: Incumbent trustees Pamela Cicconi (14 votes) and Alijia-Jean Bailey (13), running unopposed, were re-elected to two-year terms on the Village Board.

Photo: Newly elected Montour Falls Village Trustee Jody Saunders with Mayor Jim Ryan.


Certificates awarded to WG sports standouts

Madison Tuttle and her track coach, Kelly Sterner, pose at right with a Certificate of Achievement presented to Tuttle at the March 19 Watkins Glen School Board meeting for her school-record-setting accomplishments this year in racewalking. Also honored: the WGHS boys varsity swim team, the IAC and Section IV, Class C champion. For a summary of the Board meeting, see Schools.

Watkins School Board works toward a budget. Schools.


Photographer Dense sends a view of the moon

The photo at right was sent to us on Saturday, March 16 with this note:

"This was a moon shot from Thursday that I captured while watching the space station fly over. And as the saying goes, ‘You don't have to be whole in order to shine!’"

--Marti Bianco Dense


WGES pep rally encourages students to read

The entire student population of the Watkins Glen Elementary School -- about 400 children -- gathered in the high school Field House Monday morning, March 18 for a pep rally designed to encourage them to read. Schools.

Photo: WGES Principal Jessica Reger at the pep rally, wearing a fish-related cap in keeping with a month-long school marine-related program and its theme, Hooked on Reading.


Tuttle wins Adidas Indoor Nationals Racewalk

Watkins Glen High School sophomore Madison Tuttle finished first Sunday morning in the One Mile Racewalk at the Adidas Indoor Nationals in Viriginia Beach, Virginia. She posted a time of 8:09.62 to earn the top spot on the awards podium. Sports.

Photo: Madison Tuttle at the Adidas meet.


Pinette is next O-M High School principal

Kelsey Pinette, an instrumental music educator in the Watkins Glen School District since 2017, has been selected as the next principal of the Odessa-Montour Central School District Junior/Senior High School, effective June 1. Schools.

Photo: Kelsey Pinette (Photo provided)


Exhibit celebrates 75 years of Road Racing

The Schuyler County Historical Society in partnership with the International Motor Racing Research Center has established a special exhibit at the Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls celebrating 75 Years of Road Racing in Watkins Glen. The exhibit will remain open to the public through October 31. Features.

Right: A 1949 poster from historian Bill Green's collection.


Concert puts spotlight on Watkins students

The annual Artists-in-Residence concert Wednesday, March 13 showcased the musical talent of Watkins Glen 5th through 12th graders. Schools.

Photo: WGHS student Nick Brusso sings "For the Beauty of the Earth."


'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown' concludes

The Odessa-Montour High School production of the Broadway musical "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" was performed for the third and final time March 17 in O-M's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. Alexander Campbell had the role of Charlie Brown, while Casey Hines portrayed his sister Sally. Sarah Strobel played Lucy Van Pelt, Lucas Barr was Schroeder, Abrianna Carrigan played Linus, and Mars Rogers was Snoopy. Director was Mrs. Holly Campbell. People

Photo: Alexander Campbell as Charlie Brown


Watkins school district holds annual Spud Run

The annual Spud Run at Watkins Glen High School attracted about 180 runners March 13 from pre-K through 12th grade on a day that saw the temperature in the mid-70s. Senior Johnny VanScoyk crossed the finish line first. Sports.

Photo: Johnny VanScoyk nears the finish line.

A firefighter hoses the ground and nearby trees at the fire site.


Grass fire chars acre off State Route 224

Fire apparently sparked by a cook stove charred about an acre of woodland grass on March 14 behind a home at 5962 State Route 224 near Alpine. Firefighters from Odessa and Montour Falls responded to the scene, while the Mecklenburg fire department oversaw a landing zone nearby for a helicopter that carried the male homeowner -- whose name was not immediately available -- to a Syracuse hospital for treatment of leg burns. The fire, in a thinly wooded area, crept close to the man's home, but did not reach it. A fire official said there was nothing unusual about the man's cookout, and that a wayward spark was the evident culprit.

Photo: The cook stove being utilized when the fire started.


A guest column from
Rep. Nick Langworthy

Congressman Nick Langworthy (R-NY) provides us with a column regarding "The Bipartisan Effort to Protect Americans from the Chinese Communist Party's Influence on TikTok." Column.

Left: Congressman Nick Langworthy


A column by Odessa
Mayor Gerry Messmer

The mayor provides us with another in his series of columns on what is happening in Odessa and the surrounding area. This time he discusses the village's upcoming water project. Column.

Photo: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer


Racewalker Tuttle 6th at New Balance meet

Watkins Glen High School sophomore Madison Tuttle finished in 6th place Friday, March 8th in the Mile Racewalk at the New Balance Indoor Nationals track meet, setting a personal best time of 8:07.72 and earning status as an All-American. Sports.


Photo in text: Watkins Glen High School sophomore Madison Tuttle.


School Board OKs Weeden Aug. 15 retirement

Longtime Watkins Glen School District administrator Rod Weeden has decided to retire from his multiple posts -- Athletic Director, Communications Director and District Data Coordinator -- on Aug. 15, a move approved March 6th by the School Board. Weeden, whose first post in the district, 20 years ago, was as Elementary School principal, moved to the AD and Data posts 11 years ago. He said he has no current plans, but is not ruling out another job elsewhere, and will likely relocate to be near his daughter in Astoria or near other family and friends in Arizona. He is staying through most of the summer to help the district transition to a successor, not yet named. He said he has "been thinking about this" move for a while, and decided in the past few days. He said if he pursues another AD job, "I think my record will help." During his tenure, Watkins has won state titles in girls basketball and cross country, and multiple sectional titles in girls soccer, girls basketball, girls swimming, and in the past year in baseball and boys swimming. Said one Board member: "We can't thank you enough for all you've done."

Photo: Rod Weeden at the School Board meeting.


Gravel pit comment period extended 45 days

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has extended the comment period on the proposed expansion of the Padua Ridge gravel pit to 5 p.m. on April 13. It had been set to expire on Feb. 28, but numerous speakers at a public hearing -- and State Senator Tom O'Mara and Phil Palmesano -- had urged an extension. Most wanted 90 days, but the DEC granted 45 days. The extension was granted, DEC said, "due to the amount of public interest received. ... Comments will be received through email or mail to: Frances Knickmeyer, NYSDEC Region 8 Headquarters, 6274 East Avon-Lima Rd Avon, NY 14414."

Left: Watkins Glen's Ryan Willett. Right: Odessa-Montour's Keyonna Garrison, left, and Gina Gavich.


Exceptional Seniors shine in twinbill at O-M

Outstanding senior basketball players from around the Interscholastic Athletic Conference got to show their talents one more time on a high school court March 5th at the girls' and boys' Exceptional Seniors All-Star games in the Odessa-Montour High School gym. Included on the girls' roster were O-M's Gina Gavich and Keyonna Garrison, and Watkins Glen High School's Lillian Ameigh. Included on the boys' roster were O-M's Brad Gillis and WGHS's Ryan Willett and Alex Holmes. The North won the girls' game, while the South prevailed 72-69 in the boys' game.

Photo in text: O-M's Brad Gillis takes aim for the South team.

  Watkins girls fall to Moravia in sectional final

The Watkins Glen High School girls varsity basketball team's season ended March 2nd with a 50-42 loss to Moravia in the championship game of the Section IV, Class C Tournament, held at Tompkins Cortland Community College. Sports.

Photo: Brianna Hatch, who led Watkins in scoring with 13 points

WGHS sophomore Maddie Tuttle sets school racewalking record, finishes 8th at States. Sports.

State Senator Tom O'Mara, left, talks with Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers during the Gala.

  Chamber holds Gala celebrating its 75 years

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce marked its 75 years March 2nd with a Diamond Gala at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The evening featured live music, dinner, dancing, raffles, a silent auction, and a live auction. Many leaders of business and government were on hand.

Photo: Max Neal, right, former head of the Watkins Chamber, is greeted by current Executive Director Nigar Hale after a speech by Neal.

The Harbor Hotel ballroom was filled with Gala diners.


Repair Cafes planned in Montour Falls, Hector

The Village of Montour Falls and the Town of Hector are partnering to bring two Repair Cafes to Schuyler County -- one in April in Montour Falls, and one in June in Hector. Repair Cafes are locally run, pop-up events that promote the power of repair as an alternative to throwing things out. Repair.


Legislators seek comment period extension

State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano have sent a letter to Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos seeking an extension of at least 90 days in the period the DEC has set for public comment on the proposed expansion of the Padua Ridge gravel pit. Government.


Dozens voice concerns about gravel-pit plan

Two in-person hearings bring out dozens of residents and officials who oppose or want more time to analyze the Padua Ridge gravel pit expansion proposal. Padua.

Photo: One of the hearing speakers, Schuyler County Legislator Michael Lausell.


Road aid restoration sought by officials

A state senator, assemblymen and other area officials hold a Big Flats news conference opposing the cuts to road aid in Gov. Hochul's budget proposal. Government.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano at news conference.

From left: Rotary's Emily Peckham takes a photo of, from left, honoree Jenna Wolfe, O-M's Judy Kastenhuber and Rotary President Nan Woodworth.


Wolfe, Cowan honored as Students of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Jenna Wolfe and Watkins Glen High School senior Vey Cowan were honored Feb. 15 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Students of the Month for February.

Wolfe was introduced by O-M's Judy Kastenhuber, who described the honoree as "a kind and caring" person who loves animals and the outdoors. Wolfe, a member of Student Council, Rotary Interact, and Odessa-Montour's Diversity Club -- and who helped plan last year's prom and was on a recent Student Interview Committee in the search for the next O-M 7-12 principal -- plans to attend Corning Community College and then a larger school, keeping her options open as to a career.

Cowan was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood but nominated by teacher Melissa Kissell, who said in a prepared statement that the honoree "is a leader and great role model to all her peers. She acts and leads with compassion and kindness." Cowan, the best bowler on her school team, is involved in Art Club, National Honor Society, Student Council, Diversity Club, and the school's recently created food pantry called the Dub G Market. She plans to attend SUNY New Paltz in Fine Arts.

Photo: WGHS senior Vey Cowan at the Rotary luncheon where she was honored.


Fazzary wins key honor from state Association

Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph G. Fazzary has received the prestigious Frank S. Hogan Award -- the highest prosecutorial award in the state -- from the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York. People.

Photo: DA Joseph Fazzary at the winter conference of the District Attorneys Association.


In the sun along the canal ...

The photo at right was provided Feb. 4th by photographer Maggie Field, who snapped it in Watkins Glen and wrote: "Caught them yesterday afternoon in the sun along the canal ... I was about a football field away from them ... I'm thinking hatchlings in the spring."

Photo by Maggie Field

Lexi Strobel and her father, Skip, an O-M teacher and track coach who coached Lexi last fall when she was running cross country as the school's lone competitor. With School Board approval, the way is clear for a full team in the fall. Lexi's father plans to apply for the coaching job.


O-M Board OKs cross country, says farewell to Hanlon Elementary Principal Rob Francischelli

The Odessa-Montour School Board on Feb. 8 unanimously approved the formation of boys and girls cross country teams for next fall -- a goal of 7th grader Lexi Strobel, who had permission to run last fall as a one-person modified team for the school. Lexi, who lobbied the board for expansion of the sport, says 27 other students have expressed an interest in participating, with only three of them currently playing other sports. Most of the 27 students would compete on the varsity level.

The Board also: approved the resignation of Rob Francischelli, the Hanlon Elementary School principal for nine years, who is departing to become principal of the GST BOCES Coopers Plains campus. The board thanked him for his service, and approved educator Michael Siebert, a retiree from Campbell, as Hanlon interim principal. Siebert will take charge immediately after the district's February break.

Photo: Outgoing Hanlon Principal Rob Francischelli, left, and incoming Hanlon Interim Principal Michael Siebert.

  D'Alleva seeks help from O'Mara, Palmesano as district faces Executive Budget fallout

Watkins Glen School District Superintendent Kai D'Alleva has contacted State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano to enlist their aid in countering the education funding proposals -- the sizable cutbacks in state aid -- in Gov. Kathy Hochul's Executive Budget.

Photo: Superintendent Kai D'Alleva

O-M School Board President Rob Halpin, left, congratulates
Jim Nolan on his appointment.


Nolan selected as the next O-M superintendent

The Odessa-Montour School Board on Thursday, Jan. 25th approved B.C. Cate Elementary School Building Principal James P. Nolan as its next School Superintendent. The appointment, taking effect July 1, will initially make Nolan the Deputy Superintendent for a transition period covering the final six months of the calendar year. He will assume the superintendency on Jan. 1, 2025, succeeding Tracy Marchionda, who has been the interim superintendent for more than a year and will continue in that position to that date. Board President Rob Halpin said the selection was made by the board following an "internal evaluation" of the district's needs. Nolan, in his fourth year at B.C. Cate, has a background in law enforcement and as an elementary school teacher, and served for three years as the district's Tech Director. He lives in Montour Falls, where he serves on the Village Board.

Photo: James P. Nolan at the school Thursday evening.

  Italian Festival canceled for 2024; looks to '25

The Italian American Festival Committee issued a statement on Jan. 23 saying it "has decided to postpone the festival until 2025. We have exhausted our efforts to obtain an amusement ride company, but due to scheduling conflicts there were no available dates that worked for with our venue. We are committed to bringing a quality festival to the community and have listened to everyone’s concerns regarding the lack of rides, which has greatly impacted this decision. With that being said, the committee is not sitting back for a year, but will continue our efforts for planning a wonderful festival for 2025 and working towards obtaining rides. We will also continue our fund-raising efforts to help us move into 2025. Anyone interested in joining our small committee, please notify us through our Facebook page."

  Ice Bar ends its weekend run at Harbor Hotel

The annual three-night Fire & Ice celebration hosted by the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel concluded Saturday night, Jan. 27. The Ice Bar, as it is popularly known, featured sculpted dry-ice-formed drinking stations and other sculpted figures -- such as the seat in the photo. The sculptures were protected, between party hours, from the weekend's unseasonably warm weather by blanket coverings to maintain the dry ice's integrity. Inside the hotel, food and wine stations featuring local businesses were in abundance each night. The Fire & Ice event, which required advance tickets, raises awareness and money for the Schuyler Health Foundation.

Congressman Nick Langworthy addresses veterans at Holy Cow.

  Langworthy meets with veterans in Watkins

Congressman Nick Langworthy mingled with, and spoke to, military veterans Friday morning, Jan. 26 in a meeting sponsored by the Schuyler County Veterans Service Agency at the Holy Cow restaurant in Watkins Glen. Langworthy discussed various issues of the day -- the budget deficit, border crossings, government shutdowns, and the need for term limits -- and told the two-dozen-plus veterans on hand that "if you have issues, we're here to help." He insisted the national Department of Veterans Affairs must be fully funded, and that accordingly, veterans should be provided with necessary services "as close to home as possible." The county VSA sponsors meetings with guest speakers at Holy Cow on the third Friday of each month.

Photo in text: Congressman Nick Langworthy, right, with Schuyler County Sheriff Kevin Rumsey, who served in the Marine Corps.


Ariana Marmora named Asst. District Attorney

Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph G. Fazzary has announced the appointment of Ariana Marmora to the position of Assistant District Attorney. Marmora was born and raised in Schuyler County, and she still manages her family farm in Hector. She is a graduate of Watkins Glen High School, Cornell University (Summa Cum Laude), and the City University of New York Law School. She comes to the office from the Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted a full felony caseload. People.

Photo: Ariana Marmora

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Area historical photos can be found on History.

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Click here or on the ad above to reach the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development website


Click here or on the ad above to reach a Chamber of Commerce website.


For more information about Public Health,
visit its website here.


Watkins Glen's Annette Rodriguez has published her second book of poetry, titled "Surfaced. See me, Understand Me." It is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and on her website here.


Read The Stoneware of Havana, N.Y. and Its Makers
by Allen F. Sweet.

A history of the manufacturing of Stoneware in that village (Montour Falls) from 1850-1888. More than 100 color photos.

Available at the Schuyler County Historical Society Museum.


A book of poetry by J.A. Bauman of Watkins Glen -- "words that God gave me to share with you." Available through


A Christian-based autobiography written by Melinda Kreischer, pen name for a long-time Finger Lakes area resident. Ordering information can be found here.


My Wild Ride: The Untamed Life of a Girl with No Self-esteem, an autobiography by ex-Throughbred trainer Susan Bump -- who grew up in Montour Falls -- is now available in e-book formats at major retailers including


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


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


Contact us about our ad rates




A novel by Steve Piacente about a military cover-up, and about the ethical boundaries of journalism. For a closer look, click here.


The author, J.N. Brown, is a 2005 graduate of Odessa-Montour High School. He works at Corning Inc. To visit his website, click here.


An account of a daughter's eating disorder and her mother's seeming helplessness and desperation in the face of it -- and yet a story of hope, love and survival, and a lifeline to other parents dealing with obsessive behavior. $17.95 from


A self-help guide to understanding the role of emotions, this book offers a four-step path to emotional mastery and freedom. $15.95 from


An eternal message of lights, hope and faith

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

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


Oh, the famous faces I've seen

The editor has been thinking about fame (a commodity foreign to him personally), and about the famous people he has encountered. Some thoughts on the subject. Famous.


The Sound and the Silence: A Memoir

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



Some sports stories and essays inside

Check out our sports related stories and essays, located at the bottom of the Sports Page.


Some special feature packages

From stories of life years ago along Steam Mill Road, to stories by the editor -- you can find them at the bottom of Features.



The editor's long search for some childhood icons

When he was a child, the editor let fear get the better of him while he was watching a pair of beloved TV heroes in peril. The scar from that experience lingered for decades. For a journey through what the editor's son calls "a weird obsession," click here.

Above: One of the heroes in question.


A cabin in the woods

The editor travels, figuratively, back in time to an old haunt, familiar faces and warm memories. Cabin.




© The Odessa File 2024
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

(607) 742-2772