Click on the ad above to reach the Glenora website.


Seneca Harbor Station & Captain Bill's

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


Senka Agency

Are you receiving the great customer service you deserve? If not, give us a call or stop in. We provide great customer service and are happy to help you with all your insurance needs.

Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00.
After hours and weekends by appointment.

Always "Working to Serve YOU Better"

Main Steet, Odessa, NY Telephone 607-594-3335


Click on the ad above to visit the Visions Credit Union web site -- you deserve a financial partner that has your best interest in mind!


The Great Escape
Ice Cream Parlor

221 S. Franklin St.,
Watkins Glen

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

--Vegan Options
--Gluten-free Options
--Homemade Hard Ice Cream
--Soft Custard
--Grape Pies

Celebrity Scoopers
Sept. 27th from 6-9 p.m.
Proceeds donated to the Watkins Glen Summer swim program and Camp Star.

(607) 535-7354

Other locations in the
Finger Lakes where you can
find The Great Escape's homemade hard ice cream:

The Grist Iron, Wright's Beverages, FLX Wienery, Sunset View Creamery, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, FLX Fry Bird

Click on the ad below
to learn more.


Pavilion, Picnic Area, BBQ Pit available with reservation.

Memorial Day Service
every Memorial Day 11 a.m.

Check out this beautiful park.

Forms for engraved bricks or benches are available at
visitors center or at

Questions? Call Clayton Snow


The Odessa File's
Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism

For your convenience, we have installed the link below to make donations to this website easier. Now you can utilize your PayPal account or your credit card.


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 

Odessa Wine
and Spirits

We are located on Main Street in Odessa, next to the Tompkins Trust Company branch.

Send us an email to to let us know what you would like us to have in stock.

Free wine tasting every Friday.


SCT Computers

Apple Certified Technicians
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers
A+ Certified Technicians

Visit us at 306 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen, 607-535-2495

Main St., Penn Yan
(315) 694-7399



Your authorized FedEx ship center
M-F 7:30-5:30 (Cut off time 3 pm)
Sat. 10-2 (no pickups)
306 N. Franklin Street
Watkins Glen NY 14891

Dealer/collector looking to buy groups of pre-1970 paper memorabilia: cards, magazines, posters, programs etc. Call Charlie Haeffner at 742-2772.

Click on the ad below to go to the United Way of Schuyler County website.


For your convenience, we have installed the link below to make donations to this website easier. Now you can utilize your PayPal account or your credit card.


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Curly's Restaurant is a page sponsor -- of our People Page. People.

Other page sponsors:

Business -- Sidle Insurance

Sports -- Cayuga Medical Ctr.

Features -- Cabins to Castles Real Estate

Government -- Specchio Ford

Schools -- Watkins Sporting Goods

Calendar -- Hi-Lites

Forum -- The Colonial Pottery & Creamery


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


To go to Jim Guild's Famous Brands website, click on the drawing above or here.


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


Our Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism


The IBEW Local 241 is a sponsor of this website


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Click below to go to the
Rotary Club website.


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



To reach the Watkins Glen School District website, click here


Check this out:


Contact this website at:



4 Novels by the editor

Island Nights

Excerpt here.

The Islander

The entire novel:

Prelude-Chapter 4

Chapters 5-13

Chapters 14-21

Chapters 22-29

Chapters 30-36

Chapters 37-44.

Cabins in the Mist

Excerpt here

The Maiden of Mackinac

Excerpts Maiden

and here and here. 







Click on the ad below to go to the Seneca View website.


A column by Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer

The mayor provides us with his second in a series of columns on what is happening in Odessa. Column.


Photo: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer


Tuesday Scoreboard

Boys Soccer

Newark Valley 5, O-M 0
Notre Dame 3, Watkins Glen 1

Girls Swimming

Watkins Glen 101, Lansing 69
S. Cayuga 58, O-M 35

Cross Country

WG Boys win 4-team meet;
WG Girls 2nd among 3 teams

Stories on Sports

Photo: WG's Sarah Swinnerton

The WGHS football field and baseball infield have new turf.


WGHS athletic field is about ready for use

The Watkins Glen High School Alumni Field's new artificial turf is tentatively ready for use by sports teams on Monday, Oct. 1. That day will, if plans hold (they are on the official schedule), feature two varsity soccer games on the new turf -- the Watkins girls at 4:30 p.m. against Odessa-Montour, and the boys at 7 p.m. against Trumansburg. Meanwhile, looking ahead to spring sports, the infield has been put in place on the baseball diamond, with the softball diamond soon to follow. Baseball and softball outfields will remain grass.


'RacetoberFest' will celebrate IMRRC's 20th

The International Motor Racing Research Center is celebrating its 20th Anniversary along with the 70th Anniversary of racing in Watkins Glen with "RacetoberFest" at the IMRRC Visitor Center on Oct. 6. Celebration.


A column by State Senator Tom O'Mara

New York State Senator Tom O'Mara provides us with a weekly column from Albany. This week: "One dollar of state investment that delivers." Column.

Left: State Sen. Tom O'Mara


Public Health Director Kasprzyk set to retire

Schuyler County Public Health Director Marcia Kasprzyk will retire at the end of September after working for the county’s health department for 32 years. People.

Click on the ad below for more information.

Click on the ad below for more information

Missing: Drone

A Promark Drone with GPS has gone missing in Odessa, near Merchant Avenue and Church Street. Black, with two blue propellers and two black propellers. Reward. Call 483-9114.

Dealer/collector looking to buy groups of pre-1970 paper memorabilia: cards, magazines, posters, programs etc. Call Charlie at (607) 742-2772.




And inside

--Schuyler, Yates counties to share public health director. Government.

--Schuyler County's public transit system marks its eighth anniversary.

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.

Mary M. Beligotti, 91, of Watkins Glen.
Matthew L. Welton, 42, of Newfield.
Archie L. Mack, 75, of Catlin.
Cora Cornish, 77, of Irelandville.
Ruth J. Collins, 73, of Cayuta.
Gary M. Palmer, 75, of Horseheads.
Randy H. Deal, 70, of Cayutaville.
Michael R. Donnell Sr., 97, of Watkins Glen.
Gordon A. Bauman, 85, of Watkins Glen.

(For earlier Vedder & Scott obituaries, click here.)

Editor's Note

Debbie Stayer Kelly of Burdett -- a lifelong Schuyler resident, a single parent of two sons and a highly praised Cornell employee -- has Stage 4 cancer as well as a rare genetic mutation called Lynch Syndrome. She is facing a large financial burden as her battle continues.

Her Cornell colleagues have created a GoFundMe page for her that you can find right here. An update can be found by clicking on the Updates button on that site. I hope we all can help out.

Phoning The Odessa File?

You can reach us at (607) 742-2772


Back in town, and at work ...

The editor returns from the Island, and gets right back into a heavy schedule. Column.


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

From left: Kate LaMoreaux, Brian O'Donnell, Georgie Taylor and Judy Phillips.


4 named to Schuyler County Hall of Fame

Kate LaMoreaux, Brian O'Donnell, Georgie Taylor and Judy Phillips have been named by committee to be inducted into the Schuyler County Hall of Fame in an Oct. 11 ceremony at Seneca Lodge. Membership in the Hall will now total 48: eight women and 40 men. People.


Planning Board OKs Franklin St. project

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

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


A legal column from Ziff Law's Jim Reed

Attorney James B. Reed of the Ziff Law Firm in Elmira offers this regular column, tackling issues that you might encounter in your daily lives. This time: "Good Samaritan to the rescue after bicycle crash." Column.

Left: Attorney Jim Reed

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

Have flood photos to share?

If anyone has flood pictures they want to share, send them to this website at

Click the ad below to reach the Hazlitt 1852 website.

Click here to reach the Hazlitt 1852 Facebook page.

Phoning The Odessa File?

You can reach us at (607) 742-2772


Ribbon cutting

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

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


United Way campaign sets goal of $123,000

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

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

115 East Fourth Street, PO Box 30, Watkins Glen, NY 14891

Proudly Representing:

In order to visit the E.C. Cooper website, click here.
To visit the Finger Lakes Fire & Casualty Company website, click here.


Glen Board tables action on short-term rentals

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

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


Coffey helps U.S. win gold at World Rowing

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

Photo: Olivia Coffey (File photo)

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


GlassBarge visit triggers Glen celebration

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

Historian Gary Emerson talks about the Chemung Canal. Business.


A monthly column from Cooperative Extension

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County is providing a monthly column here on its ongoing educational activities and offerings. The third column -- "21st Century REACH begins exciting second year" -- is by Matt Bramall, CCE's 21st Century REACH 4-H After School Program Coordinator for Watkins Glen. Column.

Photo: Matthew J. Bramall (Photo provided)


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


This week's deals at Famous Brands

We are carrying the weekly ad showcasing the latest deals available at Jim Guild's Famous Brands store on Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen. For a look, click here.

To reach the Famous Brands website, click here
or on the drawing above


Lausell falls short in try for Dem nomination

Schuyler County Legislator Michael Lausell of Burdett (pictured at right) lost his bid Thursday for the Democratic nomination for State Senate in the November general election. He lost the District 58 primary to Ulysses resident and Enfield native Amanda Kirchgessner, who won 54% of the vote. She will face incumbent Republican Tom O'Mara in November


Eslinger seeks seat on Schuyler Legislature

Democrat Brian Eslinger has announced he is seeking a seat on the Schuyler County Legislature in the Nov. 6 election from District 6, which covers the Village of Watkins Glen and parts of the Towns of Dix and Reading. He will also be running on "A United Schuyler" independent line. Eslinger, who with his partner runs The Blackberry Inn Bed & Breakfast, served a two-year term as chair of the Schuyler County Lodging and Tourism Association, and is a member of the Village Planning Board. "I believe in a bipartisan approach to county government," he said. "I will be committed to looking at every issue with an outside-of-the-box mentality, evaluating local policies on their merits." Incumbent Republican District 6 legislator Phil Barnes is seeking re-election.

Photo: Brian Eslinger at a Planning Board meeting (File photo)

Troop leader Rick Evans with Boy Scouts from Troop 2674.


Inquisitive Scouts visit Legislature session

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

Swim podium drive reaches goal

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

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


Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival draws crowd

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

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


Museum exhibit focus: 70 years of local racing

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

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


Thornton resigns from Watkins Village Board

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

Photo: Kevin Thornton (File photo)


Best Wine Region victor: the Finger Lakes

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

Tips to avoid scams in flood cleanup

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

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

For other recent Schuyler
County news, click here.


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

To reach the Harbor Hotel website, click on the photo below

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel

16 N. Franklin St.
Watkins Glen, NY 14891-1221
(607) 535-6116

For other recent Schuyler
County news, click here.


Looking to advertise on The Odessa File?

We are always looking for advertisers to help promote their businesses and, by extension, our region. For a list of Odessa File Ad rates, click here.

Anyone wishing to contribute to The Odessa File -- which is dependent on advertising and donations -- may do so through a Paypal link in the left column of this page or by sending a check to The Odessa File, P.O. Box 365, Odessa, NY 14869.


Schuyler Hall of Famer William Elkins dies

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

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


Crowd turns out to raise funds in Tim's honor

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


Bails posted in Phish concert drug arrests

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


Health issues force Phish concert cancellation

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

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


Cleanup follows heavy rains, flash flooding

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

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


Flood view

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


The challenge: to get involved, stay informed

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


Sheriff's Office probes fatal accident on 414

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

Photo in text: Timothy J. Kamanga.

  Italian American Festival ends its 3-day run

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

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


DOH warns of potential Legionella exposure

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


Schuyler may join suit against Interior Dept.

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

Photo: County Attorney Steven Getman.

Public Notice

Construction began on the replacement of the North L’Hommedieu Street Bridge over Johns Creek located at the intersection of Rock Cabin Road in the Village of Montour Falls on Monday July 9, 2018. The bridge is closed to all traffic. The designated routes of travel for the detour are utilizing the following roads; Schuyler County Road 8, State Route 79, State Route 14 and State Route 224. Construction is to be complete on approximately September 30, 2018.


State gives Lakewood environmental honor

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

Sunset on Seneca

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

  WGI wins best NASCAR track honor again

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

  Chase Elliott wins NASCAR race at The Glen

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

Photo: Chase Elliott (Photo provided)


WGHS pulls plug on the Watson Tournament

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

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

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

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


3 from Watkins compete at Junior Olympics

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

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

  Annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival is a hit

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


Annual Hector Fair Parade marches up Rt. 414

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

Photo: Members of the Montour Falls Fire Department.

  WG grad Littler performs with Zajac orchestra

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

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


Glenora releases 2nd 'SpokesPup' wine

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

Photo: The GG's Reserve label

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


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

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

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

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

For a related column, click here.


Glen Planning Board has a busy meeting

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

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


Coffey on bronze rowing team at World Cup

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

  Arc of Schuyler planning changes, fund drive

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

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


Village, Walmart at odds over store colors

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

Photo: Trustee Tony Fraboni


LPG storage plan along Seneca nixed by state

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


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Would you like to help reduce underage alcohol use and drugs in Schuyler County? Then the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs is for you! We are looking for parents, students, concerned community members and professionals to join our cause in making Schuyler County a drug- free, safe environment for families and youth. We need you to help make this social change. Please visit our website here to find out how.

Still available: Tony Vickio's book, titled "Shifting Gears." You can order it on his website here.


Dealer/collector looking to buy groups of pre-1970 paper memorabilia: cards, magazines, posters, programs etc. Call Charlie Haeffner at 742-2772.

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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 O'Shaughnessy Antiques in Watkins Glen and at the Schuyler County Historical Society Museum.


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


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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


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An eternal message of lights, hope and faith

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

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


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 2018
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

(607) 742-2772