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

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Click on the ad below for information about the Franklin Street Gallery.

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Southern Finger Lakes Women, a Chapter of New York State Women, Inc. (formerly the Watkins Glen Business and Professional Women-BPW/USA), is
a local chapter of "Women Helping Women."
Its Vision: To be the leading advocate for working women.
Its Mission: Building Powerful Women, Professionally, Personally, Politically through advocacy, education, and information.
SFLW meets the third Monday of the month.
For more information contact Gloria Hutchings, Membership Chair, at 607/594-2489 or gloriaj7@aol.com

The chapter's website is www.sflw.org

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Click on the Ad above to go to the Sidle Insurance website.
Click here to send an e-mail to the Sidle firm.

See our Wine & Tourism Page here.

Hazlitt 1852's Keeler announces retirement

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Dec. 17, 2021 -- John Keeler, President of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, has announced that he will be retiring as of the end of this year.

“John has served the company well and led us through the transition from a small regional winery into a significant East Coast producer,” said Leigh Triner, Co-CEO. “We wish him the best as he moves into a well-deserved retirement.” Co-CEO Doug Hazlitt, Leigh’s brother, added: “I’m sure John will keep busy. There are plenty of fishing holes that need attention!”

Born and raised in Willard, NY, John Keeler has been a life-long resident of upstate New York. He graduated from South Seneca High School in 1975 and received an Associate’s Degree in Accounting from Bryant & Stratton College in 1977. Later, during his time in the workforce, John received his Bachelor's Degree in Accounting with honors from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

John began his career at Robeson Appliances, a manufacturer of small kitchen appliances in Castile, NY. In 1980, he took a position in the finance department at the EPD Division of Goulds Pumps in Seneca Falls, NY. Then in 1986, John became Controller at CCN International, a manufacturer of high-end office furniture, in Geneva, NY. Ten years later, he was hired as Controller at Monarch Machine Tool in Cortland, NY. There he was eventually named Co-CEO and took on an ownership position as well. One of the highlights during his time at Monarch, John successfully managed negotiations of employment contracts with the United Auto Workers Union (UAW).

John joined Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards as company President in February 2009. During his tenure, he was instrumental in the acquisition of Widmer Wine Cellars (now Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars) from Constellation Brands and the founding of East Coast Crush & Co-Pack in Naples, NY. Under John’s purview, Red Cat Cellars has grown from 14 to 53 full-time employees with an additional 10-12 temporary hires at any time. In addition, the facility has seen many upgrades to allow for a multitude of co-packing capabilities.

In retirement, John plans on volunteering at charitable organizations. In addition to pursuing the many outdoor sporting activities he loves, John is also looking forward to traveling and spending more time with his family.

Photo in text: John Keeler (Photo provided)

Wagner's Jankowski honored by Alliance

Special to The Odessa File

PENN YAN, Dec. 17, 2021 -- The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance (FLTA) presented its 2021 Excellence in Customer Service award to Alex Jankowski, Marketing and Public Relations Manager at Wagner Vineyards and Wagner Valley Brewing Co., during a virtual holiday party on December 14.

Serving as the hub of information, collaboration and education for growth of the area hospitality and tourism industry, the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is an association with over 600 tourism-related businesses.

FLTA reached out to partner businesses to receive nominations for individuals and/or teams who exemplified excellence in customer service throughout 2021.

"After careful review," it said in a press release, "Alex was selected based on his desire to create a welcome and fun experience for those that visit. It was noted that he is approachable and always arrives with a smile."

Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nigar Hale and staff said "he shares his talents, knowledge, and love of our community with all in the region. He is a true ambassador for the Finger Lakes, speaking passionately and from his soul about the wonders of our region.”

Erin Bailey, his coworker, said “He's been an incredible addition to our team and has been integral to sharing our brand values and mission as well as spreading the word about the Finger Lakes Wine region."

“This holiday event was a great opportunity to connect virtually and catch up, all while celebrating the holiday season with good cheer with a common wish that next year we can meet in person," said FLTA President Cindy Kimble. "We want to highlight the meaning of the season and use this time to recognize excellent customer service from front-line staff who have really made a difference throughout the pandemic.”

Hazlitt Red Cat marks 10 years in Naples

Special to The Odessa File

NAPLES, NY, Dec. 14, 2021 -- Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars, part of the Hazlitt family wine production holdings, is celebrating 10 years in business -- and its benefit to the workforce and economic growth -- in the Naples community.

The expansive facility is now home to multiple businesses. These include East Coast Crush and Co-Pack, Hazlitt’s custom beverage production services company, as well as an on-site retail and tasting room, a brewery, and a recreational hiking trail.

In 2011, at the time of purchase, the facility employed 14 people (full-time equivalents) and was producing wine at just a fraction of its full capacity. Along with significant investments by the Hazlitt family, Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars received an economic development grant from New York State that was administered through the Ontario County Economic Development office. As specified by the grant, the funds were used specifically to increase opportunities for the local workforce.

Currently, the company employs 53 full-time employees with an additional 10-12 at any time as temporary hires.

“One of the requirements of the grant was to reach a total of 26 full-time positions in the first 10 years. We reached that number within our third year!” said Leigh Hazlitt Triner, Co-CEO. “That’s a true success by anyone’s measure. Naples is now home to us. We care about the success of this area. We care about the people.”

“We are very excited to be part of the ongoing growth and success of the community,” said company President Dan DeBell. “We knew that purchasing the facility was a bit of a leap of faith on the part of the Hazlitt family 10 years ago. Their flagship brands, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards and Red Cat wines, needed a larger production facility to match market demands. But it was still a big gamble financially. It was really great that both Ontario County and New York State were able to lend a hand. Our success is their success.”

“Even more importantly, " he added, "we’ve been able to contribute to the local economy by adding, and keeping, employees in good jobs. Especially throughout the challenges of the last two years.”

As a long-time advocate and leader of organizations that strive to expand job opportunities, Lynn Freid, Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board, added this: “This is a great example of private-public partnership opportunity in this region -- the strength of local business with strong ties to local community agencies with sustainable careers and investment in long-term growth for the working families they employ.

“The Finger Lakes region," she added,"is ripe with employment opportunity. Building a strong workforce/economic/community eco-system is the foundation of these successes.”

Chamber Board taps officers, new members

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, Dec. 11, 2021 -- Three officers were appointed to the Board of Directors Executive Committee and three new Board Members were elected to three-year terms at the Annual Membership Meeting of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce held December 1 at Veraisons Restaurant at the Inn at Glenora.

Raymond Lincourt (Roadmasters) will serve as the 2022 Board Chair. Kerry Keller (Glenora Wine Cellars) will serve as the first Vice Chair. Wendy Shutter (Arc of Chemung-Schuyler) will serve as the second Vice Chair. Tracy Gates (Cayuga Health Systems) will serve as the Board’s Treasurer.

The following were appointed to the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

From left: Dena Carrigan, Carmella Hoffman
and Dr. William Mullaney

Dena Carrigan from Chemung Canal Trust Company. Dena has volunteered with Watkins Glen Promotions, helped with the Italian American Festival, assisted the Montour Falls Fire Department, and is a founding member of the planning committee for the Arc’s annual 5k Run. She has also served as Chair for the Membership Committees of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club and is the secretary for Spirit of Schuyler.

Carmella Hoffman from Sunset View Creamery. Recognized by Senator Thomas O’Mara as a woman of distinction and a producer of fine artisan cheese, Carmella operates with her family a 365-acre dairy farm in Schuyler County. The fifth generation farm milks approximately 50 cows daily with no hormones or antibiotics and produces hundreds of pounds of cheese weekly. Carmella has served as the Town Clerk, Collector and Court Clerk for the Town of Catharine and is a leader with many local and regional groups.

Dr. William Mullaney, SUNY Corning Community College. Dr. Mullaney assumed SUNY CCC’s presidency in 2019, with the immediate goal of continuing the steadfast commitment to the College’s mission. His belief that community colleges are an integral part of communities everywhere guides his decisions.

Hazlitt event supported Seneca Santa, HSSC

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Dec. 12, 2021 -- Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards rang in the holidays with a “Giving Back” weekend -- a two-day event on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 11-12, benefitting Seneca Santa and the Humane Society of Schuyler County.

The winery collected cash donations and “Wish List” gifts on both days for the Humane Society. A portion of food and drink sales on Saturday goes to Seneca Santa, with the same benefitting the Humane Society on Sunday.

To provide the perfect setting, the winery and its grounds were transformed into a winter wonderland. The theme for Giving Back weekend was “It’s a North Pole Fashion Show.” Guests were encouraged to dress like their favorite North Pole characters. Those who did were eligible to win prizes.

Other weekend activities included the opportunity for guests to take selfies with Santa and Mrs. Claus on both days. On Saturday, Mike Cavalier performed Acoustic Funk and Rock tunes in the Oasis from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dancing was encouraged. Sunday was “Doggy Photo Day.” Folks could bring their pets and use their phone to capture a special keepsake memory with jolly old St. Nick.

In the Oasis, Hazlitt’s post and beam party pavilion, there were specials offered all weekend. Along with usual selections of wine, beer, and hard cider, there was plenty of holiday-themed cocktails and seasonal foods to choose from.

To view the Humane Society of Schuyler County’s “Wish List,” go to schuylerhumane.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2018-11-08-Wish-List.pdf or call directly at (607) 594-2255. For more information on the “Giving Back” weekend, visit Hazlitt1852.com or call the winery directly at 607-546-9463.

Transit adding Chemung-Schuyler service

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Dec. 2, 2021 -- A new service is being offered by Schuyler County Transit, effective January 2022 -- a route expansion that provides transportation connectivity between Chemung and Schuyler Counties.

Schuyler County Transit (SCT) was created in 2010 to meet the needs of people in Schuyler by providing Public Transportation; a Dial-A-Ride service; and a Transportation Link-Line, which is a free information and assistance service connecting people with transportation options.

As SCT became established, a long-term goal has been to offer an expanded route, to provide connectivity between Chemung and Schuyler Counties. SCT has already accomplished something similar, offering routes which connect to Steuben and Tompkins Counties.

According to Transit officials, the route expansion between Chemung and Schuyler Counties will provide people of all abilities with reliable transportation to increase access to employment, recreation, and health care. For more information, call the Transportation Link Line at 607-535-3555 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Information and details can also be found at www.schuylercountytransit.org.

Schuyler County Transit is operated by The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler's Business Services Division, which provides businesses, government agencies, and local nonprofits with business solutions, including secure document destruction, commercial cleaning, food copackaging, auto detailing, and more.

Hazlitt announces leadership changes

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Nov. 21, 2021 -- Daniel DeBell and Marc Hurlbut have been named to leadership positions at Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. DeBell has been promoted to President and COO and Hurlbut to Chief Financial Officer.

John Keeler, who served as President starting in 2009, announced his retirement earlier this year. He will continue to serve during the transition.

“We are very excited to make this announcement.” Leigh Triner, Co-CEO said. “John has served the company well and led us through the transition from a small regional winery into a significant East Coast producer. We wish him the best as he moves into a well-deserved retirement.”

Doug Hazlitt, Leigh’s brother and Co-CEO, added, “With Dan and Marc leading the way, we are in very capable hands to move this company forward to even greater success. I’m sure John will keep busy in retirement. There are plenty of fishing holes that need attention!”

Before joining the Hazlitt team in 2011, Daniel DeBell worked for 19 years at the Goodrich Corporation, IRS Systems in Ithaca. Initially hired as General Manager, DeBell was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2015.

Marc Hurlbut was hired as Controller in February 2021 after 30 years of finance experience in the manufacturing industry. He has overseen financial operations at Hazlitt’s two production facilities and retail locations in Hector and Naples, NY, as well as the company’s custom wine production business, East Coast Crush & Co-Pack. Before working at Hazlitt, Hurlbut was the Executive V.P. Finance Administration at SYNTEC Optics, Wordingham Technologies in Rochester, NY.

John Keeler joined Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards as company President in February 2009. During his tenure, Hazlitt acquired Widmer Wine Cellars from Constellation Brands and founded East Coast Crush & Co-Pack. Before Hazlitt, he was Co-CEO at Monarch Machine Tool in Cortland, NY.

“John Keeler will be missed.” Daniel DeBell emphasized. “He’s been a great mentor and team leader. He laid the groundwork over the past 12 years that will allow Marc and I to really step up, take the reins, and drive the business forward.”

DeBell continued, “The industry is changing. It is evolving very rapidly. There are abundant challenges at every turn right now. From COVID and supply chain issues to staffing shortages. The Hazlitt family has been proactive and visionary. They have assembled a team, from top to bottom, that is configured for success.”

Photos in text:

From top: John Keeler, Daniel DeBell and Marc Hurlbut. (Photos provided)

Two Goats Brewing donates $8,500 to Spirit of Schuyler scholarship program

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Nov. 7, 2021 -- In a ceremony at Two Goats Brewing, brewery owners Jon and Jessica Rodgers presented Spirit of Schuyler with an $8,500 donation toward the non-profit’s scholarship program.

As with many non-profit organizations throughout the pandemic, Spirit of Schuyler experienced challenges with fundraising as a result of the cancellation of all of its annual fundraising events throughout 2020 and into 2021.

A large portion of the funds donated by Two Goats Brewing were sourced from a unique feature the brewery is known for. Two Goats’ ceiling is typically covered in dollar bills and, every so often, Jon and Jessica take the bills down, host a fundraiser, and donate it all to a local charity. The tradition of covering the ceiling in dollars began in 2010 when the brewery first opened. A local customer shared a trick where he stuck a tack in a dollar bill, put a fifty-cent piece behind it, folded it up like a dart and threw it up and into the ceiling. The trick stuck and a philanthropic tradition was born.

The “ceiling money” donated to Spirit of Schuyler was taken down in early 2020 and totaled $5,000. An additional $3,500 was raised during the brewery’s Celebration of Life event in honor and memory of its former brewer, Corey Drake, who passed away unexpectedly in 2021 at the age of 32.

“Donating these funds and partnering with Spirit of Schuyler’s scholarship program is such a great fit. Corey, a spirit full of generosity, would be happy to know this money was going to local people in need,” said Jessica.

Spirit of Schuyler is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization serving Schuyler County residents in need. Its stated mission is to improve the quality of life in Schuyler County for those who find themselves in need of emergency financial assistance. Ranging from emergency car repair to utility shut-offs, security deposits, and a variety of other circumstances, SOS assists residents who fight for their financial independence, support themselves and their families, and are self-sustaining until unforeseen situations occur.

In addition to its general fund, Spirit of Schuyler has been focused on growing its scholarship program, an entirely separate fund, to provide scholarship opportunities for individuals looking to further their education or career. The scholarship is open to any Schuyler County resident with established plans to take the next step in his or her education, development, or career, including vocational studies and certifications. In keeping with the spirit of the founders' wishes, preference is given to those pursuing advancement in the field of the Arts.

Beth Howard, one of Spirit of Schuyler’s vice presidents, expressed her gratitude. “We are blessed to live in a community with neighbors who want to take care of one another," she said. "We’re so thankful for our community partners, like Jon and Jessica Rodgers, who want to make a difference. It is an honor for Spirit of Schuyler to have the opportunity to carry on Corey’s memory.”

Spirit of Schuyler officials say SOS has plans to continue partnering with Two Goats Brewing, the Beerocracy, and Lucky Hare Brewing for future scholarship fundraisers in Corey’s honor.

Photo in text: From left, Tony Vickio, Spirit of Schuyler president; Harriett Vickio, Spirit of Schuyler vice president; Jon Rodgers, Two Goats Brewing owner; Jessica Rodgers, Two Goats Brewing owner; Gary Whyman, Spirit of Schuyler board treasurer, and Dena Carrigan, Spirit of Schuyler board secretary. (Photo provided)

Hale named Chamber's executive director

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 15, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and the Schuyler County Tourism Promotion Agency Board of Directors have appointed Nigar Hale as the Chamber's next Executive Director, effective November 1. Hale will succeed Michael Hardy, who is resigning at year's end.

“Nigar is a positive and energetic leader with strong credentials,” said Hardy. “I am thrilled to pass the baton to Nigar and to watch and support her as she makes strategic contributions to the positive momentum we’re currently experiencing. Her expertise and collaborative spirit will help to further solidify the Chamber’s commitment to advancing business and tourism and supporting our members.”

Hale's career experience includes seven years as Vice President of Marketing and Membership for the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County, NY, where -- the Watkins Chamber said in a press release -- "she was able to nurture her passion for creating collaborations to promote prosperity in the local economy. Her collaborations in the capital region include serving as President of a local community economic development organization that involved town governments, school districts, agriculture, and business leaders to create a strategic vision that would impact future development in southern Saratoga County." Hale’s experience also spans acquisitions, marketing, and sales management in the publishing realm for Wiley, Delmar Learning, and Thomson Publishers and included managing hospitality, culinary, and travel and tourism content portfolios.

“As the incoming Executive Director, I am humbled to bring my commitment, work ethic and my portfolio experience to lead the Watkin Glen Area Chamber of Commerce,” said Hale.

Hale moved from the capital region to the Finger Lakes in 2019 as founder and president of Blue Pepper Strategies, Inc., a marketing solutions provider for small business. At its core, the press release added, "Blue Pepper believes in the importance of driving the excellence of a brand experience throughout the customer journey, from discovery to fulfillment." She currently serves as Chair for the Board of Wharton Studio Museum where she helps to raise awareness of its mission and to celebrate Ithaca’s place in early cinema history. She is also the current President of the Finger Lakes chapter of PRSA (Public Relations Society of America).

Hale earned her Executive MBA from the University at Albany, and Institute of Organizational Management Certification by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for non-profit management. Her undergraduate degree was in American History and Sociology from the University at Albany. Hale resides with her husband in Ithaca, located between her two adult children with careers in the Capital Region and Buffalo. She says she is inspired by the pursuit of lifelong learning and is a voracious reader.

Photo in text: Nigar Hale (Photo provided)

IMRRC names new executive director

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 15, 2021 -- The International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) announced Friday that it has appointed Mark Steigerwald to be the IMRRC’s next Executive Director, replacing Dan DeRusha, who stepped down in June 2021.

John Saunders, Chair of the Governing Council, said, “We are very pleased to announce Mark’s hiring and return to the IMRRC to lead the Center as it continues its work collecting, preserving, and sharing the history of racing. Mark is uniquely positioned for this role, having started his career at the IMRRC many years ago before moving on to advance his leadership experience and fundraising credentials.”

Steigerwald is the Executive Director of the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento, CA, where he leads all aspects of the 72,000 sq. ft. facility and its mission presenting the history of the automobile with a collection of over 150 classic cars, race cars, muscle cars and early automobiles. He is also a self-described “gear head and racing fanatic,” having been involved in helping establish the IMRRC’s archives when he first worked at the IMRRC in 2000. He holds a Masters degree in Library Science from Syracuse University.

Said Steigerwald, “It is a terrific honor to be selected to return to the IMRRC and lead this important organization into its next chapter. My lifelong interest in racing, passion for the sport and love of the IMRRC’s mission have all come together in this opportunity. I look forward to working with the Governing Council and staff to advance the IMRRC’s programs and impact.”

Steigerwald was selected following a national search guided by senior search consultant Daniel Keegan of Museum Search & Reference, a firm in Manchester, NH and Boston, MA.

About the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC):

Located in one of the premier racing towns in America, the IMRRC’s collection spans continents, eras, and race series, embodying the speed, drama and camaraderie of amateur and professional motor racing throughout the world. The Center welcomes serious researchers and casual fans alike to share stories of race drivers, race series, and race cars captured on its shelves and walls and brought to life through exhibitions and special events. The IMRRC is free and open to the public, no appointment necessary, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. More at racingarchives.org.

Photo in text: Mark Steigerwald (Photo provided)

Cayuga Health Giving Day proves a success

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Oct. 5, 2021 -- Cayuga Health's 2nd Annual 24-Hour Giving Day Fundraising Campaign on September 14 raised $177,440, it has been announced.

“We are simply amazed at how generous our communities have been throughout the pandemic and by the tireless support of our providers in support of their communities and one another,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health.

“On behalf of the entire Cayuga Health System and from the bottom of my heart, I would like to once again extend my deepest gratitude to those who have provided so much during this pandemic, including their financial support, during our Giving Day.”

“Last year was our first experience with an exclusively online fundraising campaign, and we were thrilled with the outcome,” said Steve Savage, Executive Director, Cayuga Medical Center Foundation. “This year we are incredibly gracious for the continued support. The money we have raised will benefit our entire health care system and allows us to continue to provide the best care for our communities, right here.”

The funds raised on #CayugaGivingDay will benefit the Cayuga Medical Center Foundation, Schuyler Hospital Foundation and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. Like last year on Cayuga Giving Day there were generous matching gifts, multiple giving challenges, and videos and live streaming.

More can be found at Cayugagivingday.org. Cayuga Health partnered with Ithaca-based GiveGab during the 24-Hour Campaign.

Cayuga Health CEO weighs in on mandate

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Sept. 27, 2021 -- Dr. Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health, issued the following statement Monday regarding the state mandate on vaccinations for healthcare workers.

“Last month, New York State announced that all healthcare workers in the state will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by today, September 27th. The announcement applies to all medical staff in New York State including Cayuga Health employees across our entire system and network of providers. The vaccine requirement from New York State will not seriously impact our health system operations with the vast majority of our employees vaccinated for COVID-19.

"I respect that the decision to get vaccinated is personal, but as a health system I want to recognize that we do recommend vaccination as the first line of defense against COVID-19 for most individuals. Like all other health care facilities across the state, Cayuga Health is following this mandate, and we knew when this was announced that we might lose several valued and loyal employees.

"It is not easy to see employees leave our organization due to this mandate. We hope that those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated will rejoin our organization when this pandemic is over or if they change their mind. We value every person and their individual decisions regarding vaccination.”

Chamber's Business Expo set for Oct. 6

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 24, 2021 -- Vendors are being invited by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce to showcase and sell their products at the 15th Annual Business Expo scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 6, at the Watkins Glen Community Center.

The event is sponsored by Cameron Manufacturing & Design. Vendors are invited to register online: https://tinyurl.com/WGC-BusinessExpo21. The event begins with an hour open to the public from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

In addition to showcasing and selling their products, vendors can recruit for fall and winter workforce needs, and distribute promotional literature. Each vendor will receive a table and two chairs. Access to electric and the internet must be requested on the application.

Tabling at the Business Expo is included in Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce members' annual dues. Non-members are invited to participate at $150 per table. At 5:00 p.m., the event will transition into the Chamber's monthly mixer, with a cash bar, 50/50 drawing and a raffle for items from each participating vendor. (No ATM on site.)

Refreshments will be available at 5:00 p.m.

Members and non-members are invited to stay for the mixer to network with Chamber members.

One of the displays along the Festival of Lights wooded path. A sign nearby explains the scene: "Kyle and Sarah love helping out in the garden and being outdoors."

Launch Party marks opening of Finger Lakes Festival of Lights, located behind Grist Iron

HECTOR, Sept. 15, 2021 -- A grand opening Launch Party was held Wednesday evening off Route 414, behind Grist Iron Brewing Company, for the new Finger Lakes Festival of Lights, subtitled “Grandpa’s Attic.”

Remarks by various dignitaries preceded a lighting of the show, which stretches along a wide path through woods for three-quarters of a mile, the exit within sight of the starting point.

The site is located on Grist Iron property, up the hill behind that business. The show has concessions near its entrance, including beer and wine for adult guests. Lights go on at sundown to maximize the experience.

Launch Party speakers included Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry, Schuyler County Legislature Chair Carl Blowers, Town of Hector Supervisor Alvin White, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy, Finger Lakes Wine Country President Laury Ward, and festival Executive Producer Robert Montgomery. Guests were from local businesses across the region.

Refreshments were provided, including egg rolls, meats, fruits and vegetables.

Funding for the show -- which officially opened Sept. 10 and will run through November 2021 with the possibility of extension -- was provided by private investors, I Love NY, the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, and SCOPED. Organizers say that if the public response is as great as they anticipate, then the festival will be an annual event with the theme changing each year. They have said that they expect more than 100,000 visitors.

The Festival of Lights was brought to the area and organized by a newly established partnership, American Lantern Festivals Inc., which includes local winery Castel Grisch --which provided residents and visitors with its own light show production in winter 2020.

This year's festival is a new, professionally designed and engineered, illuminated lantern event that brings together concepts of fantasy and ancient artisanship in a larger-than-life, visually stimulating installation made up of over a thousand silk, porcelain and steel light sculptures.

The basic infrastructure, including all ground work, parking and electrical service, was completed by Grist Iron Brewing. All of the lanterns were manufactured in China and shipped to Hector. Local labor was used for installation.

The region was selected by show producers because of its natural beauty, which lends the show a majestic setting as guests wander along the three-quarter-mile-long, gravel path illuminated by thousands of LED lights. The light sculptures tell a story about children visiting their grandparents in Seneca Lake who use their imaginations to recreate scenes of adventure, dinosaurs, tropical animals and aquatic creatures as Grandpa tells tales from his past.

The festival’s Executive Producer, Robert Montgomery, says he is thrilled to finally have the show up and running in the Watkins Glen area. “Our Light Festivals have delighted guests across four continents and entertained millions of visitors of all ages and from all walks of life," Montgomery said. "We have been working hard to bring our show to the Finger Lakes Region. We are excited to offer a story that is meaningful to the area with culturally specific references that local people will recognize and appreciate.”

The festival officially opened on September 10th, but ran Preview Days starting September 4th.

Castel Grisch Winery owner Daniel Lai, part of the festival partnership, said he is particularly excited about the impact the festival will have within the community.

“Our new partnership of American Lantern Festivals has delivered a magical experience with a story that has roots in our community,” said Lai. “Building off of our successful drive-through festival at Castel Grisch in 2020, we’re excited about this all-new show, that will be even more spectacular and engaging.”

Photos in text:

Top: The gate at the entrance to the Festival of Lights path. An organizer pointed out that the gate suggests the shape of an opened book -- an entry to the story told along the way.

Bottom: Bright "plants" are situated along the path, with a display visible in the distance.



Among the many displays of the Festival is this submarine, with an octopus affixed.

TAP funding application process now open

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 9, 2021 -- The application period for 2022 Tourism Assistance Program (TAP) funding is now open.

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will be accepting applications through October 8, 2021, for projects that support and promote tourism in Schuyler County, New York. The source of dollars from which projects will be funded is the County’s share of taxes collected on overnight stays within the County (lodging receipts).

Interested individuals are invited to review detailed information and download the application from the Chamber’s website (https://www.explorewatkinsglen.com/chamber-members/resources/tourism-assistance-program-funding/). Hard copies of the application may also be picked up at the Chamber office, located at 214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen. Completed forms can be submitted in person at the Chamber office or emailed to michael@watkinsglenchamber.com. All submissions must be received on or before October 8, 2021.

As Schuyler County’s designated Tourism Promotion Agency, the Chamber creates an annual tourism budget and allocates dollars to tourism programs and efforts throughout the county. Applicants must complete an application (including past recipients) and submit to the Chamber by the deadline.

Submissions will be reviewed by the TAP Committee, which is comprised of the chairperson of the Chamber Board of Directors, two members of the Chamber Board of Directors, the Schuyler County Administrator, the chairperson of the Schuyler County legislature, two members of the Schuyler County legislature, the Executive Director of the Chamber, and the Tourism/Marketing Manager of the Chamber (or designee). Applicants may be asked to make a presentation of no longer than 10 minutes to the committee. In this case, they will be advised as to the time and date. Final funding decisions will be made by the TAP Committee.

“We encourage our partners throughout the county to be creative with their proposals and submit plans that will address our community’s most pressing needs when it comes to expanding tourism,” said Michael J. Hardy, Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. “As we continue to adjust to an ever-changing and evolving landscape, we know that it will take every one of us pulling together to remain strong and competitive. We believe TAP funding will play a significant role in the County’s resurgence, and we look forward to seeing what our partners have in mind.”

Squires Drum and Bugle Corps featured in Schuyler Historical Society museum exhibit

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 4, 2021 -- The history of the Squires Drum and Bugle Corps, which earned national acclaim during its 17 years, is the focus of a new exhibit at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum.

“Echoes in the Valley: History of the Squires” comprises both the museum exhibit and online components. The museum exhibit will be in place through mid-March 2022. A photograph slideshow and interviews with Squires and Legion Cadets alumni can be seen on the Historical Society’s You Tube channel “Schuyler History.”

The Squires was formed in Watkins Glen in 1964, continuing a decades-long tradition in the county of marching units that included the Legion Cadets and the Seneca Chiefs. The teenage musicians and color guards brought home awards from across the state and nation, for a time consistently scoring in the top 10 of corps in the United States. The Squires disbanded in 1982, mostly a victim of its own success, according to Squires members and their adult leaders.

The project name is borrowed from the title of the book “Echoes in the Valley, Watkins Glen’s Squires, Pages, Legion Cadets and the Watkins Montour Seneca Chiefs, a Half Century of Drum and Bugle Corps Activity in Schuyler County, New York” by Jud Spena. The book is available for purchase at the Brick Tavern Museum.

The Squires history project is supported by a Building Capacity, Creating Sustainability, Growing Accessibility grant administered by the Museum Association of New York from funding in the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act managed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Schuyler County Historical Society celebrates and honors the history of the county at the Brick Tavern Museum, Wickham Rural Life Center and Lee School. Hours at the Brick Tavern Museum and Wickham Rural Life Center are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday 2-8 p.m.; and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the end of October. Admission is free. The Historical Society is supported in part by a TAP grant administered by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Photos in text: Members of The Squires Drum and Bugle Corps, based in the Watkins Glen, perform in 1978. The history of the championship organization is presented in a special exhibit at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls. (Photos provided)

Cayuga Health issues new parameters due to increase of COVID-19 community cases

Pre-procedural mandatory testing required for surgery, endoscopy, and radiologic procedures, including patients fully vaccinated; hospital visitations limited

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Aug. 19, 2021 -- In response to an increase of COVID-19 cases, increased COVID-19 related hospitalizations, and recent exposures in the region, Cayuga Health has issued new protocols to assist in providing a safe environment for both patients and staff.

Beginning Aug. 23, Cayuga Health will now require mandatory COVID-19 testing for all patients, including those fully vaccinated, prior to any procedures such as all surgery, endoscopy, and invasive radiological procedures.

Cayuga Health also announced Thursday that beginning that day, they are changing its visitation policy at Cayuga Medical Center to two visitors as well as a support person per day.Visiting hours have also changed at Cayuga Medical Center and will now be from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Following COVID 19 guidelines:

  • Everyone entering the hospital or off-site location will be temperature checked (must be below 100 degrees) and screened for symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, fever, etc.) or potential exposure to someone with COVID-19. Failing, or not participating in the screening requirement, will preclude the visitor/support person from entry.
  • Patients undergoing same day procedures may be accompanied to the facility by a support person and that support person may remain with the patient through the initial intake process; and may rejoin the patient during the discharge process.
  • All visitors will be required to wear a mask for the entirety of their visit. Visitors who fail to wear a hospital issued mask and other PPE will not be allowed in the facility.

Testing for pre-scheduled non-emergency procedures needs to be done within five business days of a scheduled procedure or with a rapid test for emergency care. The testing will apply to all Cayuga Health locations in Cortland, Tompkins and Schuyler Counties offering the procedures listed above.

The Cayuga Health Sampling Center remains open at The Shops at Ithaca Mall at 40 Catherwood Road and is staffed by experienced Cayuga Health employees. Regular hours for pre-scheduled drive-through testing will remain the same: 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday. Patients getting tested in preparation for a surgery or procedure are encouraged to check that box online, and/or inform the individual on site that they are being tested as a precursor.

Any area residents seeking a test can go to www.cayugahealth.org to review the criteria and schedule an appointment. A call center has been set up for patients who may not have access to the internet, need assistance registering, or have questions. The call center number is 607-319-5708.

Need transportation to the testing site? Contact 2-1-1 (or 877-211-8677) for a list of options. Available 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. weekdays.

For additional information about cases or specific recent exposures, visit: www.tompkinscountyny.gov/health.

From left: Richard Decker, Loyal Knight; Thomas Phillips, Treasurer; Charles Franzese, Secretary, and Charles Fitch, Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge #1546 present a donation to Patrick Ryan, Seneca View Administrator; Erin Thaete, Schuyler Health Foundation Chair; Brenda Warren-Fitch, Schuyler Health Foundation Past Chair; Tiffany Bloss, Director of Schuyler Health Foundation; and Steve Savage, Executive Director, Cayuga Medical Center Foundation. (Photo provided)

Elks donate $4,000 for Health Foundation

MONTOUR FALLS, Aug. 3, 2021 -- Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Health (CH) officials received a donation Tuesday of $4,000 for the Schuyler Health Foundation from the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge.

The donation will be used to purchase a resident lift for Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility.

“The Watkins Glen Elks Lodge has stepped forward for the second time in a year to make a generous donation, and we are so grateful for their ongoing support,” said Rebecca Gould, President & CFO of Schuyler Hospital. “The lift will ensure that residents are comfortable and safe as nursing staff transition them from one space to another during the provision of care.”

The Watkins Glen Elks Lodge #1546 grant passed through from the Grand Lodge Elks National Foundation.

“We are so appreciative of our growing relationship with the Watkins Glen Elks Club. Their continued generosity supports our mission of investing in the highest quality and equitable health care services at Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View,” said Erin Thaete, Schuyler Health Foundation Chair. “Being able to purchase this lift for Seneca View meets a need that will enhance care for our residents.”

Hazlitt returns for 15th year as presenting sponsor of WGI 'Bog' Hospitality Area

WATKINS GLEN, July 20, 2021 – Watkins Glen International has announced that Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards has renewed as a presenting sponsor on “The Bog Sponsored By Red Cat” hospitality area for the upcoming Go Bowling at The Glen NASCAR race weekend.

“The Bog Sponsored By Red Cat is one of the most entertaining areas at the track and we’ve enjoyed Hazlitt’s long-term partnership on this exceptional hospitality area,” said WGI President Michael Printup. “Fans are close to the excitement of the final turn of the course and are treated to great entertainment along with Hazlitt wine.”

Founded in 1985, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards is part of a 160-year family farming legacy on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake. Best known for their flagship wine brand Red Cat, Hazlitt has been a partner of WGI for a decade and a half.

“The Hazlitt family and staff is proud to enter its 15th year as a partner sponsor of Watkins Glen International,” said Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Owner/Co-CEO Doug Hazlitt. “It’s a privilege to support world class road racing and the storied history of automotive racing in the Finger Lakes region. Our support of this track is about a contribution to our community and the generations of families who live here and work here and call this place home.”

Tickets are still available for The Bog Sponsored By Red Cat, which will have multiple NASCAR Cup Series driver appearances during the Go Bowling at The Glen race weekend. Previous Cup Series champions Martin Truex Jr. (2017) and Kurt Busch (2004), as well as Stewart-Haas Racing driver Aric Almirol, are currently scheduled to make appearances at The Bog Sponsored By Red Cat. (All driver appearances are subject to change without notice.)

Watkins Glen will host its NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen weekend Aug. 6-8. The Clean Harbors 100 at The Glen ARCA Menards Series race will be on Friday, Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. The United Rentals 167 at The Glen NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race will be on Saturday, Aug. 7 at 12:30 p.m. and the NASCAR Xfinity Series race is scheduled for 4 p.m. On Sunday, Aug. 8, the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling at The Glen takes the green flag at 3 p.m.

Glen Ale is back after an 80-year hiatus

Finger Lakes Distilling and Lucky Hare Brewing join forces to revive local brand

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, July 13, 2021 -- Two local leaders in the craft beverage movement have launched a new project to resurrect the Glen Ale beer brand that was brewed in Watkins Glen in the late 1930s.

Brian McKenzie, founder and owner of Finger Lakes Distilling, was intrigued by the brand and always hoped to bring the product back into the marketplace. “I came across these labels 15 years ago when I was researching our distillery and always had it in the back of my mind that it would be a fun project to pursue. The vintage feel of the label and regional branding made it very appealing,” said McKenzie. “We’ve been so busy making whiskey and other spirits that we had to put it on the back burner, but the pandemic allowed for some time to look at new initiatives like Glen Ale.”

McKenzie approached the owners of Lucky Hare Brewing, Ian Conboy and Richard Thiel, a brewery also on Seneca Lake, to discuss the concept. “They jumped on board right away and started brainstorming recipe concepts immediately,” said McKenzie. Lucky Hare Brewing and Finger Lakes Distilling have a history of collaborating on projects, sharing whiskey and beer barrels to finish their respective products.

“We are thrilled to be able to brew this classic style of beer at our brewery,” said Conboy. “The fact that we were able to source all the ingredients locally, which they would have done originally, truly makes Glen Ale a special beer.”

The beer is made under Lucky Hare’s Farm Brewery License which requires that the ingredients come from NYS farms. Glen Ale is a simple recipe of malted corn and 2-row barley from Murmuration Malts in Bloomfield, NY. Glen Ale is super drinkable and refreshing with a touch of sweetness from the malted corn. It finishes light and crisp with an abv (alcohol by volume) of only 4.3%.

“The diversity and quality of beer made in the Finger Lakes is something to be proud of right now,” said McKenzie. “Glen Ale is a departure from the super-hoppy IPAs and high gravity stouts available in local taprooms, however. We wanted to make a high quality, locally-sourced craft beer that goes down easy and appeals to a wide range of customers. A can of Glen Ale is something that you can’t wait to crack open after mowing the lawn or sitting on the deck after working a long day.”

Glen Ale is available on tap and sold in cans at both Finger Lakes Distilling’s tasting room and Lucky Hare’s taprooms. It will also be distributed throughout the area in stores, bars and restaurants.

More information about Glen Ale will soon be available at www.glenale.com.

CCE 'Composting at Home' workshops set

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, July 7, 2021 -- Uncover the benefits of composting with CCE Schuyler’s upcoming “Composting at Home” series. CCE Schuyler educators and Finger Lakes Compost are teaming up to deliver a series of workshops on how you can compost in your own backyard. Discover the power to create soil from waste, reduce your carbon footprint and make your community more sustainable.

Beginner workshops will be held on Saturday, July 10, or Saturday, August 14, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. An intermediate workshop on how to maintain and improve a home composting setup will be held on Saturday, September 11, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. All workshops cost $5 and will be held in the CCE Garden at 323 Owego Street, Montour Falls.

According to CCE Composting Educator and workshop co-presenter, Marissa Nolan, “Food scraps make up most of a household’s garbage. Composting these saves you money and helps the environment as well. It’s a win-win situation.”

Participants are encouraged to register as space is limited. Register online today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/CCESchuylerCompost or contact Marissa Nolan by emailing: mn623@cornell.edu or calling: (607)535-7161 x3226.

For more details regarding this workshop and other CCE Schuyler events, visit: http://cceschuyler.org/events.

Chamber of Commerce plans 3 sports events for summer; you can sign up now

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 1, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is registering players for three events this summer. Registration is open to members and non-members. Details for all events, including event agendas and online registration forms, can be found at www.explorewatkinsglen.com/chamber-members/events/.

Alternatives Federal Credit Union Disc Golf Tournament: August 19, 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Castel Grisch; $70 per two-person team.

Disc golf is one of the nation’s fastest growing sports, with more than 5,000 courses across the country. Teams in the Chamber’s first-ever Alternatives Federal Credit Union Disc Golf Tournament will face off at the Wild Vines Disc Golf Course, located at Castel Grisch. Players will receive a trio of discs (a driver, mid-range, and putter) and will complete part or all the 18-basket course based on player skill level. Prizes will be given for a variety of accomplishments, including lowest score. Participants will enjoy refreshments and a catered banquet to top off the evening. Sign up today at https://tinyurl.com/WGC-DiscGolf21.

Corning Credit Union Cornhole Tournament: September 2, 2021, 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Toast Winery/Pompous Ass Wines; $70 per two-person team.

The Corning Credit Union Cornhole Tournament will be a double elimination event. FLX Wienery will cater the event and the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor will be on-site with frozen treats for all participants. Prizes will be awarded for various accomplishments, including lowest score. Cornhole, with roots tracing back to the 15th Century Germany, is now considered a professional sport with its own league called the American Cornhole League. The League was established in 2015, and the tournament is often covered by ESPN.

“We are pleased to present the Chamber’s inaugural Cornhole Tournament,” said Michael Hardy, Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. “Cornhole is a test of skill, strategy, and aim and is enjoyed by youth and adults. I’ve heard it described as Schrodinger’s Game, which captures the very real fact that players find Cornhole to be both simple and deceptively difficult at once. This Corning Credit Union sponsored event along with our first-time Alternatives FCU Disc Golf Tournament are terrific networking events for people who may feel a bit pressured to participate in a traditional golf experience. I know many members and their guests/clients and/or customers will enjoy these new options for business dealings and relationship-building.”

Chemung Canal Trust Company Golf Tournament: September 17, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Watkins Glen Golf Course.

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will host its 21st Annual Donald Brubaker Memorial Golf Tournament with a shotgun start at 10:10 a.m. Four-person team fees include registration fees, greens fees, hamburgers and hot dogs all day, dinner, and t-shirt listing. For additional fees, teams will receive four mulligans, one team skin, 40 raffle tickets, and 40 50/50 tickets. The day will conclude with a buffet-style dinner.

“Golf tournaments capture the thrill of competition and ramp up the significance of each and every shot in ways that a quick round after work just cannot do,” said Hardy. “The pressure to perform and to mirror the techniques and form of the pros is real, but doesn’t seem to dissuade people from stepping up to that first tee. Unlike many other sports, golf is unrushed and personal. The game allows for casual conversation and networking, with time between strokes often used to get to know your partners. An added plus: it's easier on the body than many sports. You know what they say: ‘A Bad day of golf can be better than (and maybe even more productive) than a good day at work!’”

Nearly 30 million people play golf, and traditionally, more than 75 percent of those players are male. According to AmericanGolf.com, those stats are changing: more women are adopting the sport every year.

Glenora's is Official Champagne of WGI

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 24, 2021 -- Watkins Glen International Thursday announced Glenora Wine Cellars as the Official Champagne of WGI in a multi-year partnership that will bring the winery’s Brut Champagne to Victory Lane at the famed road course through 2023.

“The champagne spray is an iconic victory celebration and Glenora Wine Cellars is iconic in the Finger Lakes wine region,” said WGI President Michael Printup. “We’re excited to welcome them to The Glen and we know our race winners will be honored to celebrate with their champagne.”

Glenora Wine Cellars was the first winery located on Seneca Lake, opening in 1977. In addition to its award-winning wines, Glenora Wine Cellars also offers visitors a beautiful view of the vineyards from the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars and their restaurant, Veraisons

“We are very pleased to be the ‘Official Champagne of Watkins Glen International’ as Glenora Wine Cellars has had a long history of partnerships with all types of racing from cars and motorboats to sailboats,” said Gene Pierce, President of Glenora Wine Cellars. “It is an honor to have our Brut Champagne featured at this historic track, that is so invested in the Finger Lakes wine industry.”

The winery’s Brut Champagne will be featured in the celebration of all races at The Glen, beginning with this weekend’s IMSA Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, June 24-27.

Watkins Glen will then host the IMSA WeatherTech 240, July 1-2, and fans are welcomed to both IMSA race weekends with general admission access. The Glen will host its NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen weekend Aug. 6-8.

Cayuga Health System wins Gold & Silver Healthcare Ad Awards for Covid coverage

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, June 17, 2021 -- Cayuga Health announced Thurday that it is the recipient of two prestigious National Healthcare Advertising Awards -- a Gold for its COVID-19 Public Relations Campaign and a Silver for the Cayuga Health Giving Day Fundraising Campaign focused on COVID-19 recovery and response.

Over 4,400 submissions were received for the 38th Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards, making it the largest healthcare advertising awards competition and one of the ten largest of all advertising awards. Gold awards were given to 445 entries, silver awards to 322 entries and bronze awards to 245 entries.

“Although our main focus during the COVID-19 pandemic was responding to the public health emergency, ongoing communication with our community to help keep them updated and safe was imperative.” said John Turner, Vice President of Public Relations, Cayuga Health System. “Our entire PR team became a media newsroom during the onset of the pandemic to make sure news organizations throughout the region and nation received frequent updates on our pandemic response to testing, vaccines, mask making, PPE supplies, sending our team to support NYC efforts and more. We are truly honored to be the recipient of Gold and Silver awards from the Healthcare Advertising Awards organization.”

Most of the public relations outreach included press packets with photos and video since media outlets were short staffed and unable to send reporters due to lockdown. Much of the provided information was covered by local and national media outlets, including the NY Times, NPR, NY 1, Good Morning America, the Today Show, Yahoo News, The New Yorker, American Journal of Nursing, the Associated Press, The Economist, and more.

“Our regular communication throughout the pandemic journey acted as a lifeline to many in our region and broke beyond our normal boundaries,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health System. “Not only could they follow the big events like our NYC Healthcare Heroes and our partnership with Ithaca-based Rheonix for the first same-day turnaround testing in NY, but they could also easily and quickly find where to go to help make masks, get tested or get a vaccine.”

During the Giving Day campaign on June 30, 2020, Cayuga Health raised $146,260 from 220 donors. It partnered with Ithaca-based GiveGab to help replenish critical financial resources that were depleted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds that were raised on #CayugaHealthGivingDay benefited the Cayuga Medical Center Foundation, Schuyler Hospital Foundation and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility.

A national panel of judges was engaged in reviewing all Healthcare Advertising Awards entries based on creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design and overall impact. The Healthcare Advertising Awards is considered the oldest, largest and most widely respected healthcare advertising awards competition.

The complete listing of the Healthcare Advertising Awards winners can be found at https://healthcareadawards.com/winners-list/winners-list-38th-annual/

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,500. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences. Visit www.cayugahealth.org for more information.

Grant enhances STI's document destruction

Special to The Odessa File

ELMIRA and WATKINS GLEN, NY, June 16, 2021 -- The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler -- thanks to a grant from the Golisano Foundation -- has been able to purchase much needed equipment -- a paper baler, conveyer system, and stair clumber to aid in the safety and efficiency of its Southern Tier Industries (STI) -- to secure document destruction business.

With the addition of a state-of-art new baler, "we reimagined our whole workflow," said Joel Robinson, Buinsess Manager. "We eliminated a task that was labor intensive and slowed the overall process. Not only do we produce the bales more quickly, but they are 27% larger than the former bales. The new bales also require less time to tie off, reducing time when the shredders are not operating. With the increase in productivity, we have reduced the time it takes to build up enough bales for a truck. We needed 39 bales to fill a truck with the old baler but only 32 with the new, making us 18% quicker to reach the truckload quantity. We are also able to process received paper at a much faster pace, increasing the need to expand our customer base and incoming supply of paper to be destroyed."

"Since 2018, Southern Tier Industries has operated successfully, now with 130 customers, in 92 different locations around the region and this new equipment will allow for business growth," said Wendy Shutter, Director of Business Services. "We retained all our original staff, and cross trained people in every position. Our business is now preparing to become a fully integrated workspace for employees with all abilities. We also can offer learning skills for people exploring manufacturing jobs that will increase their chances of employment."

In early 2019, STI received NAID AAA Certification by the National Association for Information Destruction, which enabled STI to provide ongoing or one-time shredding services for both business and residential customers, in a certified setting, ensuring the confidential destruction of the documents shredded.

As a result, STI's demand for secure document destruction increased.

Museums open June 19 for History Weekend

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS , June 11, 2021 -- Two of the Schuyler County Historical Society’s museums will be open on Saturday, June 19, for New York State’s Path through History Weekend.

The Brick Tavern Museum and Wickham Rural Life Center, both at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.

The current special exhibit at the Brick Tavern Museum is the “Stoneware of Havana,” spotlighting the functional and beautiful pottery manufactured in the 1880s in Montour Falls, then known as Havana.

Path through History Weekends are organized by the state’s I Love NY program.

For more information, contact the Schuyler County Historical Society at (607) 535- 9741.

The ribbon is cut at the site of the Farm Friends mural on the Chamber building.

Two ribbons cut by Chamber, celebrating its new mural and students' Cheese Bus

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 11, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce cut two ribbons Friday morning to unveil the Farm Friends mural and welcome the Cheese Bus to the community.

The Farm Friends mural was painted by Filomena Jack, an artist from Elmira, and was supported with a grant from the ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes. On the southeast corner of the Chamber’s 214 N. Franklin Street location, the street art is a tribute to nature. Subtitled “Our landscape transforms us,” Jack hopes that her creations will inspire others and spark transformation.

“Thank you to the Chamber for choosing a whimsical and abstract painting for the side of this historic building,” said Jack. “Art is determination manifested and a willingness to do ‘it’ anyway, regardless of what ‘it’ is. If you hear a voice that says don’t do it, do it anyway. If it’s raining, do it anyway. If you’re afraid of heights and need to climb a ladder, do it anyway. This building used to be a bomb shelter. I hope that this art will shelter your dreams and that you do your thing … anyway.”

Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn congratulated the artist and all involved with breathing life into the Cheese Bus.

“In Schuyler County, we are all about collaborations,” O’Hearn said. “This is a perfect example of a partnership that brought together the art community, the business community, local government, the Chamber, and academics.”

The Cheese Bus is owned by two Watkins Glen High School seniors, Cale Sutterby and Silas Farrell. It was a New Visions class project that was one idea among many and took shape, according to class adviser Paul Richmond, with help from many in the community. The bus debuted in April and can be seen throughout the summer at Lakewood Vineyards. The bus serves local cheeses, meats, and a variety of snacks.

“Owning a business is different than just working for someone,” Sutterby said. “It’s nice to set our own hours, but we have to work until everything is done.”

Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy emceed the ceremony.

“We are pleased to support a phenomenal and inspiring arts trail in the Finger Lakes,” said Hardy, thanking Jim Guild, a local business owner and the building owner on which the mural was painted, for his support of the project. “And we’re always excited to welcome new entrepreneurs to the community. In this case, their spirit is amazingly contagious. We look forward to seeing all the great work that they will do in our community.”

Photo in text: The Cheese Bus, owned by Watkins Glen High School students Cale Sutterby and Silas Farrell. (Photo provided)

Statements, Alternatives Credit Union hold a joint ribbon-cutting celebration

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, June 12, 2021 -- Statements Accounting and Consulting Services and Alternatives Federal Credit Union celebrated their arrival in downtown Montour Falls and the Southern Tier with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, June 10 at the Montour House, 401 West Main St., Montour Falls.

In addition to Rebekah Carroll, owner of Statements Accounting and Consulting, Eric Levine, CEO of Alternatives Federal Credit Union, Michael Hardy, executive director of the Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce, and representatives from Statements Accounting and Consulting and Alternatives Federal Credit Union, a variety of elected officials offered remarks.

During the event, Alternatives Federal Credit Union Senior Business Lending Officer Branka Gligoric and Chief Lending Officer James Hunter presented checks for recently awarded grants totaling $30,000 to regional non-profit institutions. These grants are in addition to $70,000 that had already been awarded to private organizations in our region.

Guests enjoyed heavy hors d’oeuvres and tastings from Damiani Wine Cellars.

“Welcome to these amazing businesses,” said Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy. “We are fortunate to have the expertise, quality, and services offered by Statements Accounting and Alternatives Federal Credit Union right here in our county.”

Statements Accounting and Consulting provides accounting, bookkeeping, office management, and consulting services for private and non-profit organizations. Alternatives Federal Credit Union is a mission-driven, member-owned, locally-focused financial institution that serves Tompkins County and its six contiguous counties, including Schuyler.

“I am a life-long resident of this area,” said Carroll, owner of Statements Accounting and Consulting. “I know so many in this community and am thrilled to have the opportunity to help members of the local business community realize their financial goals. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch my clients thrive.”

“We consider ourselves to be change agents,” said Levine. “In that way, we believe that with the right resources and access to information, a community and its members can build and support one another in deeply meaningful partnerships. Our big picture goal is to contribute to a better society.”

Photo in text: Rebekah Carroll (File photo)

Cutting the ribbon: From left: Schuyler County Legislator Mark Rondinaro, Town of Dix Supervisor Harold Russell, SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry, Naturluxe & Stars owner Dawn Aprile, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi, and Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.

Ribbon-cutting celebrates opening of Naturluxe & Stars, a glamping experience

WATKINS GLEN, June 4, 2021 -- A celebratory ribbon was cut Friday morning at Naturluxe & Stars, a new glamping business alongside County Road 16 near the Watkins Glen International race track.

The new outdoor retreat -- scheduled to welcome guests this weekend -- drew a number of dignitaries to the ribbon-cutting, including New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. Various county officials were also present.

The glampground -- glamping being "glamorous camping," or camping with a modern bent to it, such as a comfortable bed on a raised platform, and perhaps indoor plumbing -- is located on 48 acres of land. It is, said owner and the project's driving force, real estate developer Dawn Aprile, designed to appeal to those folks who want to get away from the pressures of everyday life.

Lt. Gov. Hochul praised the vision and drive of Aprile, who received a $385,000 state grant to help finance the $1.9 million venture. Hochul said the grant represents "New York State's commitment to creating new and fun ways to promote healthy outdoor recreation as well as boost local tourism."

Speaking at the ribbon-cutting in addition to Hochul were Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), the New York State Executive Director of Tourism, Ross D. Levi, and the owner, Ms. Aprile.

Naturluxe & Stars, which Empire State Development Acting Commissioner Eric Gertier has said "takes the fun of camping to a new level," has eight highly visible safari tents arranged near one another on a flat area, with a nearby bathhouse boasting private showers. Platform tents can be found out in the woods beyond the bathhouse, while bell tents and platform tents can be found on the western edge of the property south and west of the 1600-square-foot Gathering Tent for guests. When fully built out, there will be 50 sites. Currently there are the eight safari tents, 14 platform tents and eight bell tents.

Burnished Larch is being used in all the structures. Beyond the buildings, there are 40 acres for private hiking -- to get closer to nature.

According to a press release, "concierge-style services are available on-site to assist with all facets of the visitor experience," and "guests are provided complimentary individually-packaged breakfast baskets and campfire s'mores. Recognizing the different accessibility needs of travelers, Naturluxe & Stars offers an accessible parking lot and ADA-compliant bathroom facilities."

Said Cherry: "This new facility is an exceptional jewel in the Southern Tier and adds to the incredible tourism experience our region offers."

Photos in text:

Top: The interior of one of the safari tents, one of eight positioned in the open, on a flat.
Middle: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul addresses the audience on hand for the ribbon cutting.
Bottom: Naturluxe & Stars owner, developer Dawn Aprile.

Speakers: SCOPED's Judy McKinney Cherry and Ross D. Levi, New York State Executive Director of Tourism.

A group of eight safari tents, with the bathhouse on the right. The bathhouse has seven individual bathrooms with private showers.

Annual plant sale set for Hector on June 19

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, May 23, 2021 -- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County’s Master Gardener Program will hold its Annual Plant Sale and Farmer’s Market on Saturday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hector Fireman’s Grounds, 5736 State Rte. 414.

“This is the second year that we’ve combined our Plant Sale with the Farmer’s Market,” said CCE Schuyler Educator Roger Ort. “There isn’t a better spot for the public to find garden and orchard plants, tools, and great local foods all in one place.”

At the Plant Sale will be a choice selection of annuals, perennials, vegetables, fruiting plants, herbs, trellises, produce, tools, and pottery. The Farmer’s Market will offer some of our area’s best and healthiest foods. Some products donated by area businesses will also be for sale in support of the Master Gardener program. All proceeds benefit CCE Schuyler’s Master Gardener programming.

During the Plant Sale, the Hector Lions Club will be offering a Chicken BBQ.

Master Gardeners will be available throughout the day to provide advice on all your growing questions.

Master Gardeners receive instruction from experts at Cornell Cooperative Extension and elsewhere on a broad spectrum of subjects applicable to home gardening, such as plant nutrition, soils, vegetable and fruit culture, diseases and insects that affect plants, pruning, and much more. After certification, they serve as volunteers, teaching classes, answering questions, writing articles, and conducting other outreach.

For more information about the Plant Sale and Farmer’s Market or Master Gardeners, contact Roger Ort at (607) 535-7161 or on the web at www.cceschuyler.org.

Mattresses on site in the new showroom. Mattress by Appointment is a national brand, offering name-brand products made in America at wholesale prices directly to the consumer. (Photo provided)

Mattress by Appointment cuts ribbon, vows donations to high school sports programs

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 6, 2021 -- The ribbon was cut Thursday morning at the official grand opening of Mattress by Appointment of Montour Falls, located at 219 South Catharine Street.

During the ceremony, conducted by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, the business's owners, Sharon and husband David Sidle, announced that $50 from every sale during the month of May will be donated to an athletics program at either Watkins Glen Central School or Odessa-Montour Central School, buyer’s choice.

“Supporting community teams is important to us,” said Sharon Sidle. “We’ve always enjoyed being active ourselves, our children participated in many sports in high school and we know how important it is for kids to stay active. We are happy to help schools provide strong and successful athletic programs for today’s students.”

Mattress By Appointment is a national brand, offering name-brand products made in America at wholesale prices directly to the consumer. Customers shop by appointment, ensuring a safe and personal experience.

“Our model ensures that customers do not have to visit a busy showroom to choose the ideal mattress,” said Sharon Sidle. “People have my undivided attention and can consider all their options without being rushed. Everyone needs a mattress, but we all need something a little different to facilitate the best, most recuperative sleep possible for us.”

During the appointment, customers are invited to “test drive” options on the showroom floor. Although all mattresses are protected with plastic, the decision points -- firmness, your favorite position when sleeping, your partner’s sleeping habits, allergies, back pain, and other physical concerns -- are still easily demonstrated.

“The Goldilocks story always come to mind when I think about choosing a mattress,” said David Sidle during the ceremony. “One will be too hard, another too soft. Eventually, you’ll find your ideal mattress. That’s the one that needs to go home with you.”

With nearly 15 mattresses available in the showroom and additional inventory on-site, most mattresses are available the same day. Custom orders typically take between seven and 10 days. Delivery within a 25-mile radius is available.

“The Sidles have put a tremendous amount of thought and energy into this new business,” said Michael Hardy, Executive Director of the Chamber. “It’s exciting to have in our community the level of expertise that the Sidles bring to this important decision as well as their clear commitment to customer service.”

Photo in text: Sharon and David Sidle cut the ribbon at their new mattress business in Montour Falls. (Photo provided)

Chamber brochure exchange set for May 7

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 3, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is inviting area businesses to participate in the annual Brochure Exchange on May 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Grist Iron Brewery, 4880 Route 414, Burdett.

Online registration is open and required (https://tinyurl.com/vukdzmkx). Participants are invited to enjoy a 10% discount on lunch and all purchases from Grist Iron on May 7. This event is free and open to the public.

“The Brochure Exchange is the ideal opportunity to stock your guest services resources and share your products and services with others who can help communicate your offerings to visitors and guests,” said Michael Hardy, executive director of the Chamber. “Visitors come to the area looking for recommendations and advice. Understanding what our neighbors do is the best way to be a top resource for your customers and guests.”

You can hunt for history in Watkins Glen

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 26, 2021 -- Watkins Glen is a neighborhood full of history and stories to be told. This year HEAL Schuyler is partnering with the Watkins Glen Public Library and the Schuyler County Historical Society to sponsor a scavenger hunt all summer.

The hunt is being kicked off this April. You can pick up pamphlets at the Watkins Glen Library or the Schuyler County Historical Society, or download it on the HEAL Schuyler website until August 16, 2021.

Discover answers to the questions in the pamphlets by walking around Watkins Glen and exploring historical sites. Each correct answer gets an entry into a drawing for prizes. Submit your correct answers to the drop boxes outside the Watkins Glen Library or Watkins Sporting Goods. The winners of the drawing will be announced on Aug. 20.

Prizes are sponsored by Seneca Sunrise, the Montour Falls Library, and the Schuyler County Historical Society. For more information on the Scavenger Hunt, visit the HEAL Schuyler website: http://www.schuylercounty.us/heal

About HEAL: Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) Schuyler is made up of agencies, businesses, and concerned community members within Schuyler County. They work together to help reduce the rate of obesity among people within the county. HEAL Schuyler supports environmental changes that promote healthier eating and active lives for the people of Schuyler County.

My Place moves to new Watkins complex

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 16, 2021 -- Schuyler County’s only licensed child care facility, MyPlace -- A Play and Learning Center, is settling in to its brand-new home at 207 East 2nd Street, Watkins Glen. This brings a center-based child care option to the first floor of a new construction, multi-use apartment complex known as Glen Lake Apartments.

Glen Lake Apartments is part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant program sponsored by the Watkins Glen Housing Authority in partnership with Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS).

It is one block from downtown Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake. The newly completed Project, first envisioned in 2017, enabled MyPlace to make the move.

MyPlace serves families who live and work in and around Schuyler County. Since opening its doors in 2012, it has served hundreds of families and children. The new location has 7,341 square feet, including five classrooms, meeting/program space for families, a commercial kitchen for meals, offices for staff, and a dedicated playground. It accommodates 20 additional children daily from its former Montour Falls home, a 32% percent increase per day. Including the after-school program established in 2017, full daily capacity is 63 children, ages 6 weeks through 12 years.

Operating hours for MyPlace are Monday-Friday, year-round. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis and can be found online at www.myplace-aplc.org

Organized community efforts to address a lack of affordable, quality and reliable child care in Schuyler County began in 1988 when The Schuyler County Child Care Coordinating Council was established. Its purpose was to connect families, child care providers and the business community. This effort was enhanced with mentoring from The Early Learning Excellence Partnership based in Corning. In 2012 MyPlace opened on West Broadway in Montour Falls; in 2017, in coordination with the Watkins Glen Elementary School, after-school care for children up to 12 years of age was added.

“Opening a licensed child care facility during a pandemic was definitely the most challenging thing I have ever done professionally, but the need to expand our capacity was clear,” said Kristine Morseman, Executive Director, who joined the organization in October of 2020. “A new construction can be challenging at the best of times, but our design and construction teams worked diligently to bring this project to a reality despite multiple COVID-19 related restrictions and enhanced safety practices for their employees and subcontractors.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for June 1.

Photo in text: The MyPlace child-care facility is part of the Glen Lake Apartments Downtown Revitalization Initiative project. MyPlace is located on the west end of the complex, on the right in the photo.

Fundraiser to benefit Health Foundation

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 10, 2021 -- The annual Fire & Ice parties at Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen have drawn enthusiastic crowds and raised thousands of dollars for local non-profits for several years. However, this year, due to government restrictions and safety concerns, the annual celebration and fundraiser has moved online.

“We couldn’t bear the thought of not making our annual donation to a local charity,” said David Hart, CEO of Buffalo-based Hart Hotels. “This year, for obvious reasons, we’re not able to host our annual Fire & Ice event at our hotel. However, that will not stop us from coming together to celebrate as a community and supporting this important work.”

For more information and to enter to win visit:
https://schuyler-health-foundation.tapkat.org/winfingerlakesgetaway

GRAND PRIZE: Winner will enjoy a two-night stay in a lakeview suite at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. You’ll love the indoor pool with hot tub, alfresco dining, and landscaped patio with fire pits. Enjoy free admission to some of the area’s top attractions, dining at the Blue Pointe Grille, a dinner cruise aboard Captain Bill’s Seneca Legacy, plus more.

SECOND PRIZE: Winner will receive a one-night stay at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, dinner for two, a 30-minute massage, and more.

All proceeds from entries will benefit The Schuyler Health Foundation.

The Schuyler Health Foundation:

The Schuyler Health Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization made up of a volunteer Board of Directors and aims to provide funds to Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. The goal is to create and maintain a steady, dependable stream of funds to accomplish the Hospital’s mission of delivering the highest quality health care in partnership with the community, one person at a time.

Chamber seeks applicants to paint mural

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 9, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce is seeking applicants to paint a mural on the southeast side of the Chamber’s Information Center at 214 N. Franklin Street.

When completed, the mural should assist in attracting visitors to Watkins Glen, Schuyler County, and the Finger Lakes (Wine Country). Finished size should be between 150 and 200 square feet. The applicant selected to create the mural will receive $2,700 (inclusive of labor and supplies), presented by the ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.

Applications should be submitted to the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce by April 15, 2021. The winning artist will be notified by April 22, and expected to commence work on or before April 24. The mural must be completed by May 15.

To be considered, please submit the following:

-- Resume
-- Portfolio of previous work
-- Sketch of proposed mural that supports the mural’s theme: Farm Country’s Farm Friends
-- References

Submissions can be sent to the Chamber (214 N Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891) or emailed to stephanie@watkinsglenchamber.com.

Preference will be given to local artists. Submissions will be judged on the following:

-- Artistic merit of the design
--Appropriateness of the design for the location, including the scale, content, color and design in relation to the site
-- Concept promotes the theme (Farm Country’s Farm Friends Mural) and incorporates winged creatures (e.g., butterflies, birds, bees, dragonflies, and/or bats) with patterns made from local attractions (e.g., forest, park, lake, cars, grapes, crops, farm animals
-- Concept incorporates opportunity for selfies
-- Artist’s qualifications
-- Originality of the design

The selected artist will be expected to prime the surface, paint the mural using acrylic, exterior paint, and protect the mural against weatherization.

Carpenters Union representatives (left) and Schuyler Hospital representatives (right) -- with hospital President and CFO Rebecca Gould in the center -- pose with the dust containment unit donated by the union. From left: Frederick Swayze Jr., Council Representative; Brian Noteboom, Jim Mason and Tom Iorizzo, Council members; Gould; Tiffany Bloss, Schuyler Health Foundation Director; Brenda Fitch, Schuyler Health Foundation Board Chair; Tom Smith, Public Safety Assistant Manager; Deborah Bailey, BSN, Nursing Executive Director; and Christine Brink, BSN, Infection Prevention Manager.

Carpenters' Union gives Schuyler Hospital new dust containment unit worth $5,400

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 31, 2021 -- Schuyler Hospital accepted a donation of a dust containment unit Tuesday, valued at $5,400, from the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Local 277.

"We are so appreciative of this gift from the local chapter of the Carpenter’s Union, and for their ongoing support of Schuyler Hospital and the Schuyler Health Foundation," said Rebecca Gould, President & CFO of Schuyler Hospital. "This portable containment unit is a timely gift considering the pandemic we have been dealing with for the last year, along with the renovation projects we continue to bring forward."

The modular containment unit -- a Spycor Environmental Minti ECU4 -- is a collapsible, portable containment unit for temporary isolation during normal facility operation or during a public health emergency.

"The NASRCC Local 277 is happy to take this opportunity to say thank you," said Fred Swayze, Local 277 Council Representative, NASRCC, "and to give back to the hospital and community that provides quality healthcare and services, not only to those who live in the community, but to all of our membership and their families that receive their healthcare services from Schuyler Hospital. This donation will let the community know that patient safety is the number one concern."

The ECU line of products when paired with a HEPA-filtered negative air machine, will safely contain airborne contaminants and facilitate containment projects easier, while meeting all of the required codes and standards every time for all types of construction jobs, such as: communication / IT cabling projects, plumbing, pneumatic tubing installation and maintenance, HVAC installation and maintenance, electrical systems installation and maintenance, fire wall repair and fire inspection, professional A&E inspections, and lighting fixture re-lamping and ballast replacement.

About Schuyler Hospital

Schuyler Hospital (part of Cayuga Health) is a 25-bed critical access hospital, with a 120-bed skilled nursing facility attached. Schuyler Hospital’s main campus -- overlooking Seneca Lake -- is located in Montour Falls, New York. For 100 years, Schuyler Hospital has been the primary healthcare provider in and around Schuyler County. It has evolved over the years into a network of providers, programs, and services that reaches throughout Schuyler County and into neighboring counties to meet the healthcare needs of a population of over 32,000 residents.

About North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Local 277

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) trains, educates, and represents the next generation of skilled construction professionals. The UBC places a top priority on developing the total professional: tradespeople who are not only technical experts in their craft, but who also demonstrate effective communication and leadership qualities.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences. Visit www.cayugahealth.org for more information.

Photo in text: A member of the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Local 277, talks to hospital personnel (outside the photo, on the right) about the new dust containment unit (left) after it was delivered Tuesday to Schuyler Hospital.

Cayuga Health reflects on 'Year of COVID'

Dedicates much of CH Magazine issue to highlights and current status

ITHACA, March 19, 2021 -- Cayuga Health officials recently reflected on the difficult road and many successes since March of last year when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit our region, and they decided to dedicate much of the Winter issue of CH Magazine to the many highlights and accomplishments.

“Protecting the public’s health during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been the largest community health initiative ever undertaken by Cayuga Health together with our partners at the Tompkins County Health Department, Schuyler County Public Health, and Cortland County Health Department,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health, in that CH Magazine issue..

“I am awed by what we have accomplished since last March, when the first case of COVID-19 emerged in Tompkins County. Those achievements have contributed to the region’s low infection rate. Just 0.3 percent of the COVID-19 samples in Tompkins County have tested positive for the infection. The county’s infection rate has been the lowest rate in New York since early spring and is now 15 times lower than the state’s infection rate.”

Playing a key role in this achievement, the article said, are the six COVID Sampling Centers operated by Cayuga Health in coordination with county health departments in Tompkins, Cortland, Schuyler, and Onondaga counties. Rapid testing allowed those with confirmed or suspected COVID infection to be isolated and quarantined, thereby reducing the spread of infection. Working with health departments in Tompkins, Schuyler and Cortland counties, and other public health agencies in the region, the nurses and staff of Cayuga Health Partners ensured potentially infectious individuals adhered to infection control procedures.

Other points raised in the magazine article:

Creation of the new COVID Processing Center & Laboratory: By early February, Cayuga Medical Center’s Laboratory had tested hundreds of thousands of samples since mid-March 2020, when Cayuga Health and the Tompkins County Health Department launched the region’s first COVID Sampling Center. To handle increasing volumes of COVID tests and provide next-day results, they opened a 20,000-square-foot COVID Processing Center & Laboratory in the fall in the Cornell Business & Technology Park.

Their Brown Road facility operates around the clock, seven days a week with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment produced by Rheonix Inc., an Ithaca medical device manufacturer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Emergency Use Authorization in April 2020 for Cayuga Medical Center’s Laboratory to use the Rheonix technology. Skilled laboratory workers operate about 20 Rheonix units with a capacity to process about 8,000 tests daily. More units will arrive in the coming months as their testing program and lab staff grows.

COVID Vaccination Clinic: In late December, Cayuga Health and the Tompkins County Health Department opened a Vaccination Center at the Ithaca mall. The 40,000-square-foot facility is capable of administering 2,000 shots each day. Gov. Andrew Cuomo applauded the local program for administering 100 percent of the vaccines it received. Cayuga Medical Center was one of only eight hospitals in New York State to accomplish this.

“When I think about where we started at our first COVID ‘planning’ meeting in March of last year, it simply amazes me to see how far we have come, said Stallone. “Building a comprehensive pandemic program, developing the region’s comprehensive effort to screen, test, prevent COVID-19 infections, and launching the vaccination program required the agility, dedication, and coordination of our community partners and Cayuga Health staff. I could not be prouder.”

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences. Visit www.cayugahealth.org for more information.

The Odessa branch bank of the Tompkins Trust Company, located on Odessa's Main Street.

Odessa branch bank to close on June 18; Mayor calls it 'a hit' Odessa 'can't afford'

ODESSA, March 17, 2021 -- The Ithaca-based Tompkins Trust Company is planning to close its Odessa branch bank on June 18.

Notices to that effect (pictured at right) were posted at the Odessa bank after word was relayed to workers there Tuesday night.

While no explanation was immediately forthcoming from the Tompkins firm, one worker speculated that it has to do with changes in banking -- with the advent of internet banking and, possibly, with effects related to the pandemic.

While the ATM function in the lobby of the bank would remain open after the bank closes, speculation was that it might only be temporary.

All accounts would be transferred to the Tompkins Trust's Trumansburg branch.

"I think it's a bad move," said Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer, who added that he had been in touch with the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development to discuss the matter and seek possible options. He said he hoped the closing is reversible -- and that if not, an alternative might be found.

He suggested that might include locating another bank to buy this one; or reciprocal services between Tompkins Trust and other nearby banks in Montour Falls and Watkins Glen, where deposits could be made at those locations and transferred from there to the Tompkins system.

"This is really another hit that Main Street Odessa cannot afford," said Messmer. "I think a lot of people will leave this bank and go down the road" to Montour Falls or Watkins Glen. "It's terrible."

He cited the long history of the bank in Odessa. That includes one area resident who told Messmer he had been utilizing the bank's services since he was a child 70 years ago.

The bank building was built in 1929, and opened as the First National Bank of Odessa in 1930. Between then and 1996, when Tompkins Trust Company bought it, it was owned and run by Finger Lakes National Bank and then the First National Bank of Rochester.

Tompkins Trust Company branches are located in a number of locales in the Central New York region, including Auburn, Cortland, Fayetteville and Dryden. There was no word on whether any of those branches might meet the same fate as the one in Odessa.

What's your opinion on the closing? Mail your thoughts here.

AFCU small business and non-profit COVID relief grant funds announced

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, March 12, 2021 -- Due to a grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (FHLBNY) to Alternatives Federal Credit Union (AFCU), small businesses and non-profits located in Schuyler County will now be eligible to receive up to $4,000 apiece in grant funds.

Grant funds may be used for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred or to be incurred as a direct result of COVID-19.

Examples of eligible uses of funds include:

1. Personnel costs related to COVID-19, including payroll and benefits obligations jeopardized by lost revenue, or hiring temporary staff to cover shortages caused by employees who are ill, may have to quarantine, or stay home to care for family members or children during school closures.

2. Equipment to comply with public health measures designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, including safe workplaces, remote work and social distancing.

3. Working capital for inventory, equipment, business compliance, licensing renewal, utilities, business capacity, legal, financial services, rent, insurance, business taxes, supplies or most business-related items.

4. Payments on existing or new debt so the organization can support its employees and/or its continued operations.

Eligibility:

--Applications are open to both members and non-members of the credit union.
--Principal place of business to be located in Schuyler County.
--Non-profits will have a 501(c)3 designation and an annual operating budget of less than $20 million.
--The business was in operation on or prior to February 15, 2020.
--The business has 25 or fewer employees (including owners).
--Gross receipts of the business were less than $2.5 million in 2019.
--The business has suffered a documented 25% decrease in revenue due to COVID-19, measured by comparing a two (2) consecutive month revenue period against the same two (2) month period from the prior year (applicable pre-COVID, no earlier than September 1, 2019).
--The business or non-profit currently operating is supporting its employees while temporarily closed for business, or requires the grant funds to resume operations under a reasonable plan.
--A grant of up to $4,000 for working capital will help retain viability of the business or non-profit.

Telephone: (607) 273-4611
Toll free: (877) 273-AFCU
Fax: (607) 277-6391
Address: 125 N. Fulton Street, Ithaca, NY 14850

Ineligible businesses:

--Gambling concerns.
--Lending or investment concerns.
--Multi-level sales distribution (pyramid concerns).
--Loan packagers.
--Pawn shops.
--Real estate developers and brokers.
--Landlords.
--Insurance concerns.
--Concerns that derive 70% or more of gross receipts from sale of nicotine products and accessories.
--Concerns engaged in illegal activities.
--Concerns engaged in the sales of products and/or services of a prurient nature.
--Professional services such as legal, architecture, engineering services, unless a significant economic injury due to COVID-19 is documented.
--Concerns that are delinquent on property taxes or State sales taxes.
--Concerns considered as hobbies where the business generated 30% or less of the owner's income).

Information required:

--Complete application, https://bit.ly/SupportingSchuyler
--Documented 25% decrease in revenue due to COVID-19, measured by comparing a two (2) consecutive month revenue period against the same two (2) month period from the prior year (applicable pre-COVID, no earlier than September 1, 2019).
--2019 quarterly profit/loss statements.
--2020 quarterly profit/loss statements.
--YTD profit/loss statement.
--2019 tax return (if unavailable, provide IRS letter granting extension).
--2020 tax return (if available).

Cayuga Health to resume limited visitation at Schuyler Hospital, Cayuga Medical Center

ITHACA, March 2, 2021 -- Cayuga Health announced Tuesday that it will resume its limited inpatient visitation policy due to the decrease of COVID-19 cases and declining hospitalizations within the community.

Visiting hours at Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) are Monday-Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitation will be limited to one person per/day for a maximum of four hours at CMC.

Visiting hours at Schuyler Hospital are Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to Noon and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitation will be limited to two persons per/day, allowing only one visitor at a time, for a maximum of four hours at S. This does not apply to Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility at Schuyler Hospital, where visitation restrictions are still in place.

Following state guidelines:

  • Everyone entering the hospital or off-site location will be temperature checked (must be below 100 degrees) and screened for symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, fever, etc.) or potential exposure to someone with COVID-19. Failing the screening requirement will preclude the visitor/support person from entry. Visitors will also be asked about past travel practices based on the Governor’s announcement on new travel policies.
  • Patients undergoing same-day procedures may be accompanied to the facility by a companion and that companion may remain with the patient through the initial intake process; and may rejoin the patient during the discharge process.
  • All visitors will be required to wear a mask for the entirety of their visit. Visitors who fail to wear a hospital issued mask and other PPE will not be allowed in the facility.
  • All visitors must remain in the patient’s room throughout the visit.
  • All visitors must be 18 or older.

“We are pleased to be able to resume limited visitation for Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital with strict monitoring to help maintain the safety of our patients and staff,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO of Cayuga Health. “We recognize that visitors are a significant part of the healing process and we are very pleased to be able to allow patients visitation with friends and family once again.”

The new visitation policy was to go into effect on Tuesday, March 2. To learn more about visitation hours and rules, visit www.cayugamed.org or www.schuylerhospital.org.

New Montour Falls business offers accounting and consulting services

STATEMENTS run by Rebekah Carroll, former head of Glen Chamber

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Feb. 26 2021 -- STATEMENTS Accounting and Consulting Services is the newest addition to the business community in Schuyler County. President Rebekah Carroll is a familiar face, having served as the President and CEO of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce for a decade. The services provided by STATEMENTS include: bookkeeping, accounting, office management, and consulting.

Carroll launched STATEMENTS out of her home office on August 3, 2020, and quickly expanded, opening the doors to STATEMENTS's new location in the Montour House on January 4, 2021.

“Opening a business in Montour Falls has been my most rewarding professional experience to date," said Carroll. "As the CEO of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, I developed a passion for assisting our local business community. As the owner of STATEMENTS, I have been able to couple that passion with precise accounting expertise; and between the two, I have been able to help businesses survive the most challenging financial climate that we will hopefully ever see in our lifetimes.”

Statements hasn’t just survived the pandemic, they are thriving, Carroll said. The business just welcomed its 20th client, and Carroll recently added to her team, hiring Logan Polmanteer to fill the role of accountant. Polmanteer is a Finger Lakes native with many years of accounting and bookkeeping experience. With this addition, Carroll said, Statements will continue to expand its list of clients and services, adding to the business mix in Montour Falls and Schuyler County.

“As a business owner," said Carroll, "there have been a lifetime of lessons learned as a result of COVID-19; but these two lessons seem most meaningful as we work with our clients: first, you can’t treat your business or its financials as a hobby and expect your business to thrive. You must have a solid grasp on your accounting picture in order to be successful; and second, you don’t need an accounting expert in-house and on the payroll. Technology and the human mindset have advanced in the last year -- so much so that eleven of our clients I have never actually met in person (although I can’t wait to physically meet them one day!).

"Our most popular services are bookkeeping, accounting, PPP loan application preparation, office management, budgeting/forecasting and consulting services. Our clients look to us as their partner in the financial well-belling and growth of their business, and we love filling this void for them!”

Statements is located at 401 West Main St., Suite 110 in downtown Montour Falls. To reach the team, call 607-210-6066 or email rebekah@statementsaccountingandconsulting.com. Learn more on their website: www.statementsaccountingandconsulting.com.

Photo in text: Rebekah Carroll (Photo provided)

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards unveils podcast

Shannon Hazlitt Harts hosts interviews that give inside look at winery life

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Feb. 17, 2021 -- Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards has released a new podcast: Great Times Behind the Wines. The podcast is hosted by Shannon Hazlitt Harts, daughter of Hazlitt’s Co-CEO and owner, Doug Hazlitt.

Great Times Behind the Wines explores many topics, from wine tasting tips to harvest.

“Listeners will learn about the people, methods, and stories that have made Hazlitt winery a leader and, also, the collaboration and friendliness of the Finger Lakes wine region,” Harts said.

Each episode is meant to educate listeners in an informative, approachable way for anyone who enjoys or wants to learn about wine. The first few episodes feature interviews with Hazlitt’s Tim Benedict, V.P. of Cider & Winemaking; Michael Reidy, Vinifera Winemaker; and John Santos, Vineyard Manager. Future episodes will feature other members of the Hazlitt team, including Doug Hazlitt.

Hosting a podcast has been a dream of Harts’ for many years. “I’ve always believed there is something intriguing about the world of wine and I’ve always been inspired by how Hazlitt pours its passion into the process of winemaking,” she said. “I decided these were the perfect stories to tell on a podcast.”

“We are so excited for the opportunity to work with Shannon and to launch content on such a popular medium,” said Stephanie Jarvis, Hazlitt's Director of Marketing. “Also, it has been an absolute delight to work with her and I am so proud of the work she has done with her very first podcast!”

Great Times Behind the Wines is currently available to listen to on Apple Podcasts or wherever you download your favorite podcasts. A trailer and four episodes have been released, with eight more planned to be released throughout the year.

About Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards

The Hazlitt family has been farming on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake in New York for over 160 years. Established in 1985, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards continues the family tradition of sustainable farming and producing quality products. Hazlitt is best known for its flagship wine brand Red Cat, a popular sweet Catawba blend. Hazlitt’s wines also include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Franc. For more information, visit www.hazlitt1852.com.

Schuyler vaccine update: Adults with certain health conditions will be eligible to register

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Feb. 11, 2021 -- Schuyler County Public Health and Schuyler Hospital, in an update on vaccination efforts in Schuyler County, said Thursday that Schuyler County Public Health and Schuyler Hospital have provided 1,260 people with their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

“The number of vaccine doses local health departments, hospitals, and pharmacies are receiving is still very small,” Schuyler County Public Health Director Deborah Minor said, adding: “I know everyone is anxious to get vaccinated as soon as possible, but I ask that you please be patient. Vaccination locations are adding clinics and opening registration as soon as they have doses available.”

“Our partnerships with Schuyler County Public Health and Schuyler County have enabled us to vaccinate so many county residents to date,” said Becky Gould, Schuyler Hospital President. “By working together, we have systems established to meet New York State eligibility guidelines and distribute as many vaccines as we are provided at a time.

“We are also thankful for all of our community, business partners, and volunteers who have willingly donated their space and time for the good of the community,” Gould added. “I am proud of our county and the willingness to come together to make a difference.”

Schuyler County Public Health and Schuyler Hospital also provided the following updates:

-- Adults with certain health conditions will be eligible to register for Schuyler County clinics starting February 15. Visit https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/phased-distribution-vaccine for the full list of health conditions that make someone eligible to receive the vaccine. Individuals who are eligible due to health status will need to provide a signed attestation to document their eligibility.

-- Only individuals who are currently eligible can register to get vaccinated.

-- Registration is required to receive a vaccine. If someone shows up without an appointment, they will not be vaccinated.

-- Proof of eligibility -- whether it is due to employment as a 1B-eligible essential worker, age, or health status -- is required to receive a vaccine. Individuals without proof of eligibility will not be vaccinated.

Clinic details and links to register will be provided on Schuyler County Public Health’s website at www.schuylercounty.us/publichealth. New registration links can only be added when doses of vaccine are received from New York State. If no vaccine doses are received, or if fewer doses than requested are received, this will dictate whether clinics can be held that week. The website also includes pharmacy information for individuals 65 and older and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Schuyler County Public Health says its mission is to protect and empower the community to be safe, healthy and prepared. For more information, visit Public Health online at www.schuylercounty.us/publichealth or follow it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Photo in text: Schuyler County Public Health Director Deborah Minor (top) and Schuyler Hospital President Rebecca Gould.

Emerging Workforce program seeks enrollees

Special to
The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Feb. 8, 2021 -- The CSS Emerging Workforce program is seeking eligible out-of-school youths ages 16-24 who reside in the Chemung, Schuyler, and Steuben counties area who are interested in obtaining additional skills or education needed to obtain long-term employment.

CSS (Chemung Schuyler Steuben) Wokforce New York is a not-for-profit career and training center with Career Center locations and services in those three counties. One such center is located in the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls -- with availability virtual due to the pandemic.

"We have funding available to assist or cover the costs associated with training, education, and/or employment needs," CSS said in a press release. "Programs such as online training and/or education in trades, certificate programs, degree programs, as well as apprenticeships and work experience opportunities are available. We are here to help!"

You can inquire about the program by contacting: Email Keith.guthrie@csswfny.com, text or call (607) 346-2413.

Visit CSS Workforce at: https://www.facebook.com/CSSWFNY/ or at http://www.csswfny.com/

Schuyler vaccine update: Supply is limited

Clinic registration will open when vaccine is available, say health officials

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Jan. 22, 2021 -- Vaccination is currently open to individuals in Phases 1A and 1B in New York State, but the vaccine supply is currently limited. Schuyler County Public Health and Schuyler Hospital say they are prepared to hold clinics every week, but contingent on how many doses of vaccine are received from New York State.

To date, Schuyler County Public Health and Schuyler Hospital have vaccinated 859 people with their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

“We understand the high level of frustration everyone is feeling but ask that you be patient as current vaccine supply is severely limited,” said Schuyler County Public Health Director Deborah Minor (pictured at right). “We are requesting shipments of vaccine from the State every week, but we are not guaranteed to get the amount we request. Some weeks, we may not receive a shipment at all. Once we receive vaccine, we will open registration for more clinics and are fully prepared to quickly and efficiently administer vaccine.”

“We know that our community members are ready and willing to get the vaccine," said Becky Gould, Schuyler Hospital President. "We have a system in place to run vaccination clinics in partnership with Schuyler County Public Health. Right now, we are simply waiting for more vaccines to be shipped to Schuyler County. We appreciate everyone’s patience.”

Clinic details and links to register will be provided on Schuyler County Public Health’s website at www.schuylercounty.us/publichealth. New registration links can only be added when doses of vaccine are received from New York State. If no vaccine doses are received, or if fewer doses than requested are received, this will dictate whether clinics can be held that week.

“Community members who are 65 and older can also get vaccinated through their pharmacy, but please try checking their websites for updates,” said Minor. “Vaccination is also available for all eligible individuals through the New York State-run vaccination sites.”

Photo in text: Schuyler County Public Health Director Deborah Minor.

Chamber seeks annual award nominations

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 18, 2021 -- Nominations are being accepted now through Feb. 15 for the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Annual Awards.

The four awards are: Community Spirit Award, Leader in Business Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Max Neal Award. Community members are encouraged to nominate deserving individuals. The award criteria for consideration are listed below. Winners will be announced on March 3 at the Chamber’s virtual March After Hours Mixer.

Community Spirit Award: Awarded to a business and/or individual that has demonstrated leadership and excellence in philanthropy. The person or organization must have encouraged civic initiatives, and/or facilitated humanitarianism; made a significant contribution within the last five years; positively impacted the community in which the business operates. Click here to download nomination form.

Leader in Business Award: Awarded to one who is has made a dynamic contribution to the Schuyler County business community within the last decade. He or she must have expanded the business mix in Schuyler County; continues to foster economic opportunity such as creating new job opportunities; must have assumed considerable risk; and be a highly respected entrepreneur. Click here to download nomination form.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Awarded to a business owner/manager or a partnership that is respected and recognized throughout the community. Recipient must own or manage a local business and have taken business risks to create jobs or trade over a period of time; must have demonstrated staying power as an established business; must be actively involved in community and civic organizations in Schuyler County over the last 15 years; must be of the stature as to keep the award prestigious and complement past/future winners; and must be a resident or own/manage a business in Schuyler County. Click here to download nomination form.

The Max Neal Award: Awarded to an individual who has demonstrated consistent dedication, selflessness, faith, determination, and solid support in the future and well-being of the Chamber. Recipient must have made it clear to the community that he or she recognizes the Chamber as his or her Schuyler County organization of choice; is an amazing investor and mentor into the future leadership of Schuyler County; must be well-respected, highly honored and beloved by the residents of Schuyler County; and must have served on a Chamber committee or the board of directors or been employed by the Chamber for a minimum of five years. Click here to download nomination form.

Award nominations must be completed and sent to the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce by no later than Monday, Feb. 15. Nomination forms can be dropped off or mailed to 214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891, faxed to (607) 535-6243, or emailed to Michael Hardy, Executive Director, at michael@watkinsglenchamber.com.

Public Health, Schuyler Hospital announce COVID-19 vaccine distribution updates

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, January 13, 2021 – Vaccination is currently open to individuals in Phases 1A and 1B. Eligible individuals are encouraged to make an appointment to get vaccinated by reaching out to their healthcare provider or pharmacist or registering for a clinic through Schuyler County Public Health’s website.

Schuyler County Public Health (SCPH) and Schuyler Hospital will be partnering to organize and staff COVID-19 vaccination clinics in the community as vaccine doses are received from New York State. Eligibility will continue to expand as more vaccine becomes available, and SCPH will continue to provide updates through its website as new phases begin and further clinics are scheduled.

“Please register and get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible. Getting the vaccine will help keep you, your family, and our community safe and help us all return to normal sooner,” said Schuyler County Public Health Director Deborah Minor (pictured at right). “Our supply of vaccine is currently limited, so clinics are filling up quickly. We will open registration for more clinics through our website as we receive doses of vaccine from the State.

“I understand people have concerns that they may miss their vaccine or that they need to get their name on a wait list," Minor added. "Please rest assured that we will do everything we can to make sure you know when and where the vaccine will be available to you. Please be patient and stay tuned to the local news and our website for updates and for information on how to register for a clinic.”

Clinic details and links to register will be provided on Schuyler County Public Health’s website at www.schuylercounty.us/publichealth. New registration links will be added as doses of vaccine are received. Individuals should only register if they meet the current eligibility criteria, which can be found on SCPH’s website or by visiting https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/phased-distribution-vaccine.

“In Schuyler County we are extremely fortunate to have a strong partner in Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Medical Center," said Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn (pictured at right). "This collaborative effort positions us to quickly and efficiently administer the vaccine once we receive our allocation. In that demand is far greater than the supply we are receiving from NYS, I ask that you be patient. Rest assured that we are doing everything in our power to meet the health needs of our community.”

“Schuyler Hospital is honored to work alongside Schuyler County and Schuyler County Public Health to ensure our community receives COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible," said Rebecca Gould, Schuyler Hospital President. "We see this partnership as our proverbial light at the end of the tunnel and are excited to be a part of the solution.”

“The Public Health and Medical communities are confident that this vaccine is safe and effective,” said Director Minor. “While the process to develop these vaccines may seem fast, they were built on years of thorough research and work addressing other types of coronaviruses. All of the typical steps and safety measures were followed during its development and every study, every phase, and every trial was reviewed by the FDA and safety boards of medical experts. The speed of development was due to the sharing of research and massive collaboration on a scale never attempted before.”

Schuyler County Public Health says its mission is to protect and empower the community to be safe, healthy and prepared. Its vision is a connected community of healthy people and safe places. For more information, visit Public Health online at www.schuylercounty.us/publichealth or follow it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

About Schuyler Hospital:

Schuyler Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital, with a 120-bed skilled nursing facility attached. Schuyler Hospital’s main campus -- overlooking Seneca Lake -- is located in Montour Falls, New York. For 100 years, Schuyler Hospital has been the primary healthcare provider in and around Schuyler County. It has evolved over the years into a network of providers, programs, and services that reaches throughout Schuyler County and into neighboring counties to meet the healthcare needs of a population of over 32,000 residents.

About Cayuga Health:

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the University of Rochester for Neurosciences.

Photos in text: Public Health Director Deborah Minor and County Administrator Tim O'Hearn. (File photos)

Glen Copack looks back on challenging year

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 23, 2020 -- Glen Copack Food Manufacturing, part of The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler’s Business Services Division, is reflecting on a challenging yet productive year that saw implementation of some new procedures designed to enhance production in 2021.

Along with six other businesses that make up The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler’s Business Services Division, Glen Copack offers employment and vocational training opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We started 2020 with the goal of improving efficiency and reducing costs to become a sustainable business for The Arc," said Wendy Shutter, Director of Business Services. "The year started with us well on our way to meeting this goal; however, the COVID pandemic and subsequent shutdown brought this momentum to a screeching halt.

“We used this period to rethink our workflows and analyze our processes. Through some changes in how we manage food production, and the addition of some grant funded equipment, when people returned to work, we implemented these new procedures. The people we support are now able to independently run large portions of certain productions,” Shutter added.

A few notable accomplishments Glen Copack celebrated in 2020, an Arc press release noted, included: receipt of “A” ratings from New York State Agriculture and Markets during all inspections; new sales records; the purchase and installation of a 40-gallon braising kettle, heavy duty racking, an electric walkie stacker, and a semi-automatic dry weigh fill machine; and continued customer growth with the addition of new products.

“These small successes will become the focus of 2021 as we continue to expand our customer base and create work opportunities in food production for people with disabilities,” said Shutter.

“The impact of local food and agriculture on the economy in this region is quite significant and growing," said Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development. "Many economic development professionals in rural communities are desperately working to attract or develop a regional co-packing facility as part of their agricultural supply chain assets.

“Having a co-packing facility in our community is key for ensuring resiliency in our supply chain for agriculture and value-added food manufacturing," Cherry added, "and provides entrepreneurs an opportunity to grow or scale up quickly as it reduces their overhead costs. We are focused on growing our young businesses. Glen Copack not only is an asset for our new and growing entrepreneurial companies in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier, it also provides excellent jobs for our residents. I am so very grateful that we have Glen Copack in our community because it plays a significant role in our efforts to build year-round economic resiliency.”

To learn about how Glen Copack can meet your needs, visit glencopack.org or call (607) 535-6934 x132.

Cayuga Health receives COVID-19 vaccine and administers it to frontline CMC workers

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Dec. 23, 2020 -- Cayuga Health officials announced Wednesday that they have received both FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines and have begun administering them to their frontline providers employees.

On December 18, Cayuga Health started employee inoculations, as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Phase I approach, at Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, NY.

“We are pleased to have received both the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines at Cayuga Medical Center," said Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. "We have strategically identified patient-facing clinical and non-clinical employees as part of this first phase, and much like our attention to increased testing, we will remain vigilant in administering the vaccines in accordance with county and New York State Department of Health guidelines.”

For additional information about vaccines, cases, or recent exposures, visit: www.tompkinscountyny.gov/health.

To view statistical data and official numbers as they are released by the Cayuga Health Sampling Centers visit: https://cayugahealthsystem.org/coviddata/

To register to at any of three Cayuga Health County Sampling Sites: visit https://cayugahealthsystem.org/. Locations are in Ithaca (2) and Montour Falls (1).

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

Schuyler Hospital to offer COVID-19 saliva testing at drive-through location

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Dec. 22, 2020 -- Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Health (CH) officials announced Tuesday that they will now offer COVID-19 saliva testing at their drive-through location at the front entrance of Schuyler Hospital. The sampling location was opened earlier this year and until now only offered swab testing. Swab testing is still available.

The Schuyler Hospital Sampling Site has limited capacity and is by appointment only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Individuals seeking a saliva or nasal swab test will need to pre-register online. Once registered, individuals can arrive according to their appointed time. If an individual is registered for a saliva test, they cannot have any tobacco products or anything to eat or drink 30 minutes prior to their appointment.

“Being able to now offer both the nasal swab and the saliva test provides our community with options based on their own personal preferences or needs,” said Rebecca Gould, President & CFO of Schuyler Hospital. "I would like to thank the entire Schuyler Hospital staff and our Cayuga Health family for their tireless dedication and hard work during this pandemic.”

On-line registration for all Cayuga Health/Schuyler Hospital sampling sites is available at www.cayugahealth.org, where patients can review the screening criteria and pre-register before their arrival. This allows for greater efficiencies with patient volume and decreased wait times. Any patient who may not have access to the internet, may need assistance registering, or has questions can call the COVID-19 Hotline at 607-535-8602.

To view statistical data and official numbers as they are released by the Cayuga Health Sampling Centers (including the one at Schuyler Hospital) visit: https://cayugahealthsystem.org/coviddata/

About Schuyler Hospital

Schuyler Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital, with a 120-bed skilled nursing facility attached. Schuyler Hospital’s main campus -- overlooking Seneca Lake -- is located in Montour Falls, New York. For 100 years, Schuyler Hospital has been the primary healthcare provider in and around Schuyler County. It has evolved over the years into a network of providers, programs, and services that reaches throughout Schuyler County and into neighboring counties to meet the healthcare needs of a population of over 32,000 residents.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the University of Rochester for Neurosciences.

Holiday Lights--Schuyler Style is under way

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 20, 2020 -- The community is invited to enjoy a new holiday tradition that is safe, merry, and bright, as “Holiday Lights -- Schuyler Style!” illuminates the Watkins Glen area through Jan. 17, 2021.

The event, which is sponsored by Visions Federal Credit Union, serves as a festive and friendly contest as well as a source of holiday fun and joy. “Holiday Lights -- Schuyler Style!” is presented by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and Watkins Glen Promotions. The featured displays include 17 decorated residences and businesses that are welcoming viewing and voting.

The public will be able to view the light displays as a drive-by in vehicles or a stroll-by on foot, using a downloadable map and then an online ballot for voting -- online at ExploreWatkinsGlen.com under the “Things to Do” tab. Vote for your favorite display in the categories of Residences or Businesses/Organizations.

More than $2,000 in cash prizes plus trophies and ribbons will be awarded to the winners at the levels of first, second, and third place and honorable mention. Winners will be decided by the public, with overall public-vote awards for Best Holiday Lights Local Vote and Best Holiday Lights Visitor Vote (determined by zip codes).

During the 32 days of holiday lights -- which began on Dec. 15 -- the lights will remain on between the hours of 5 and 11 p.m. through Jan. 17, 2021.

Participating “Holiday Lights” Residences:

-- 3464 County Road 8 (Skyline Valley Rd.), Burdett
-- 5098 State Route 227, Burdett
-- 5650 Hosenfeld Road, Odessa
-- 4970 County Road 14, Odessa (house near Sunset View Creamery)
-- 436 S. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen (house behind Seneca Clipper Inn)
-- 122 Durland Place, Watkins Glen
-- 205 10th Street, Watkins Glen
-- 707 N. Porter Street, Watkins Glen
-- 115 7th Street, Watkins Glen
-- 203 Lakeview Ave., Watkins Glen
-- 2241 Irelandville Road, Watkins Glen

Participating “Holiday Lights” Businesses/Organizations:

-- Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, 5712 State Route 414, Hector
-- Glen Dairy Bar, 433 South Franklin Street, Watkins Glen
-- Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor, 221 S. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen
-- Seneca Sunrise Coffee, 806 N. Decatur Street, Watkins Glen
-- Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, 16 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen
-- My Place: A Play and Learning Center, 208 West Broadway St., Montour Falls

The “Holiday Lights -- Schuyler Style!” event is part of the “Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions” master calendar gathered by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. As with all holiday events during the COVID pandemic, in-person social gatherings are not encouraged and all federal, state and local laws are adhered to with regards to lights, sounds, and zoning. Also, a top priority is safety and respect for participants, spectators, and neighboring properties.

Map and voting at ExploreWatkinsGlen.com

Photo in text: Lighting at Hazlitt's 1852 Vineyards in Hector. (Photo provided)

The Arc's safety recognition is renewed

Special to The Odessa File

ELMIRA, Dec. 20, 2020 -- The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler has earned renewal of its recognition in the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).

The SHARP program recognizes companies for their effots to create a safe workplace, who have accident rates thar are below the national standard, and who go above and beyond the OSHA requirements to create a safe workplace.

When receiving its first SHARP award in 1996, the Arc of Chemung-Schuyler was the first Arc in New York State to receive the award. From the beginning, the Agency has implemented cutting-edge programs and opportunities for individuals with disabilities and its staff to participate in safety initiatives. Some milestones achieved during the period include:

--Creation of a safety committee that has met continuously for the past 21 years;
--Creation of an accident reporting and investigation process;
--Involvement of individuals with disabilities in reviewing and training others in safety topics;
--Receipt of the Donald G. Schell Safety Award for outstanding safety programs; and
--Development and Implementation of a train the trainer program to help individuals to recognize safe/unsafe conditions in their workplace.

Today, the Agency Safety Initiatives have expanded. The original Safety Committee has become the Risk Management Team. It oversees safety topics including: Workplace Violence; Slips, Trips and Falls; Lifting and Transferring; Vehicle Safety; and Fire Safety.

"Participation in safety initiatives have expanded," the Arc said in a press release, "and as an Agency we have remained engaged in creating a safe workplace."

Pierce stepping down at Watkins Promotions

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 16, 2020 -- Schuyler County’s premier events organization will be getting some new leaders in 2021.

After nearly 17 years, Carole Pierce will retire as Director of Events at Watkins Glen Promotions, effective December 31, 2020.

Pierce, who has worked on Watkins Glen Promotions’ four yearly festivals since joining the company in March 2004, said she decided recently that “It’s time to step back and spend more quality time with my family.” She won’t be leaving the Promotions activities completely, however, since she plans to volunteer for many of the events she’s organized over the years.

Watkins Glen Promotions produces the Seneca Lake Waterfront Festival and Cardboard Boat Race in June, the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival in September, the Falls Harvest Festival in October, and the Watkins Glen Village Christmas in December.

Over the years, Pierce estimates that she has processed tens of thousands of registrations for participants, volunteers, and vendors of these festivals. She says she has gotten to know many of the long-time festival fans and participants, especially from the community of auto enthusiasts who fill the streets for the Grand Prix Festival.

“I’ll miss talking with so many of our loyal friends who return each year for the events we put on,” she said.

Over the years, Pierce has helped the non-profit group move from a small office to its present location in the “Village Memorabilia” store at 211 N. Franklin St. In addition to her event work, she has managed the store, which sells locally-branded clothing, souvenirs, and Grand Prix Festival merchandise.

Marianne Marts, President of Watkins Glen Promotions, said, “Carole Pierce has been our steady and energetic go-to person for all of our events and our relationships with our vendors, participants, and fans. I’m thrilled that she will be able to take some time with her children and grandchildren, but even happier that she will continue to help us as we provide the quality festivals that our area has loved for years.”

Taking Pierce’s place as Events Director will be Michaela Christensen, formerly Vice President of Operations at the Three Brothers Winery in Geneva. Michaela has been a board member of Watkins Glen Promotions since 2016, most recently serving as Secretary. She has resigned from the board to take the job of Director, and says she is “very excited and energized” to have a management role in the organization.

Cindee Crosby of Watkins Glen, who has worked at the Village Memorabilia store in recent years, has been named Store Manager, and will take charge of sales and merchandise for the operation.

President Marts said she is “delighted to start 2021 with a terrific team and hopes for a pandemic-free season of great events in Schuyler County.”

Michaela Christensen can be reached at the Village Memorabilia store, at 211 N. Franklin Street in Watkins Glen, by phone at 607-535-3003, or by email at events@watkinsglen.com.

How to celebrate season and support locals

Diverse regional offerings provide perfect gifts for everyone on your list

(The Seneca Lake Wine Trail has provided the following article.)

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 12, 2020 -- Seneca Lake wineries have a wide variety of wine, experiences, and more to make gift-giving easy this holiday season. You can shop local, shop small, and support these local businesses as they continue to weather the pandemic. Here are a few ideas!

Holiday-themed labels are a fun and festive option for your holiday table or to give as the perfect host or hostess gift:

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards’ Red and White Cat in their “holiday attire” are a fun take on these popular favorites.

Glenora Wine Cellars' Frosty the Snowman Spumante, Rudolph’s Riesling, or Santa’s Bobsled Red bring seasonal spirit to any celebration.

Lakewood Vineyards' “mini” bottles of Bubbly Candeo make a great addition as a stocking stuffer or in a gift package for your mail person, hair stylist, or delivery driver.

Wagner Vineyards' Blitzen and Vixen, seasonal labels on their popular Alta B Red and White are fun and festive.

Wine, food, and more combine to make fabulous gifts including the following options:

Castel Grisch Winery has custom-made to order, beautifully arranged gift baskets, overflowing with local items. They’re also offering free delivery within 20 miles of their tasting room on $50 baskets or wine orders next Friday (12/18). Give them a call at 607-535-9614 or swing by their tasting room at 3380 County Road 28, just outside of Watkins Glen.

Bagley’s Poplar Ridge Vineyards is offering a wine and macaron package! They’ll gift wrap 5 bottles of your choice along with a variety pack of 5 macarons, plus you’ll receive 10% off wine and $5 shipping on this package! Give them a call at 607-582-6421 to place your order, or stop by their tasting room at 9782 Route 414 in Hector.

Give the gift of an experience with a reservation or gift card for one of the following immersive tastings:

Anthony Road Wine Company’s newest tasting flight features their award-winning wines paired with locally-crafted chocolates by CaryMo Chocolate Candies & Confections. These tastings are available Thursday-Monday; give them a call for more information: 315-536-2182.

Wine and Food Pairing Dinners at Belhurst Estate Winery are multi-course dinners, featuring artfully-prepared dishes, paired with Belhurst wines, and served with personal service and attention, with a wine educator sharing the details of each dish and its accompanying wine. To book yours or make arrangements to give this experience as a gift, email pairings@belhurst.com.

Remember that Seneca Lake Wine Trail wineries remain safe, compliant, and open for business. With tourism slowing down substantially during the winter, this is the perfect time for locals to check out the wonderful wineries in their back yard. For more information on winery hours of operation, tasting policies, and more, please visit: www.senecalakewine.com and click on “Current Winery Offerings” or call the Wine Trail Office at 607-535-8080 for expert planning assistance.

Schuyler Health Foundation names new members, announces 2020-2021 officers

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Dec. 8, 2020 -- The Schuyler Health Foundation recently elected new members to its Board of Directors and named its officers for 2020-2021.

Elected Returning Officers on the Executive Committee are Brenda Warren-Fitch as Chairperson and Jerry Mickelson as Secretary/Treasurer. New to the Executive Committee is Erin Thaete as Vice-Chairperson.

Newly elected Directors include Philly DeSarno, Tom Phillips, and Chris Stamp. These three join the following existing Directors: Marsha McElligott, Ken Wilson, Nanette Hanley, Jeff Dill, Josh Navone, and Linda Confer.

“We are grateful to our two transitioning Directors; Marian Saks for 8 years of service and Kathy Fragola for 16 years of service,” said Warren-Fitch. “Thank you so much for your time and dedication to the Foundation.”

The goal of the Schuyler Health Foundation is "to create and maintain a steady, dependable stream of funds to accomplish the hospital’s mission of delivering the highest quality health care in partnership with our community, one person at a time."

For more information, contact the Schuyler Health Foundation at (607) 210-1950, option 3 or email giving@schuylerhospital.org.

About the Schuyler Health Foundation:

It is a 501(c)3 organization made up of a volunteer Board of Directors who govern all operations of the Foundation. The Foundation has a full-time Director to provide strategic direction and execute operations, based in Schuyler Hospital. The Foundation’s goal is to create and maintain a steady, dependable stream of funds to accomplish the hospital’s mission.

Since 1987, the Foundation has provided funds to Schuyler Hospital and its related medical facilities, including the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility, through major gifts and fundraising events. The Foundation has a strong focus on community integration.

Holiday Lights -- Schuyler Style scheduled; 'new tradition' set for Dec. 15 to Jan. 17

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 6, 2020 -- The community is invited to take part in a newly created tradition this holiday season, as “Holiday Lights--Schuyler Style!” readies to illuminate the Watkins Glen area from Dec. 15, 2020 through Jan. 17, 2021.

The event, which is sponsored by Visions Federal Credit Union, will -- according to the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce -- serve as "a festive and friendly contest as well as a source of holiday fun and joy. Participation is currently being encouraged among businesses, residences, farms, wineries, and organizations."

“Holiday Lights--Schuyler Style” is presented by the Chamber and Watkins Glen Promotions. From silos and barns to grape arbors and house rooftops, neighbors are invited to decorate their homes, lawns, fields, and buildings. The public will be able to view the light and holiday displays as a drive-by in vehicles or a stroll-by on foot, using a detailed map, which can be downloaded beginning the evening of Dec. 15. The map, as well as details and contest rules, will be online at ExploreWatkinsGlen.com.

More than $2,000 in cash prizes plus trophies and ribbons will be awarded to the winners, which will be announced on Jan. 22, at the levels of first, second, and third place and honorable mention. Winners will be determined by the public and a panel of judges in the categories of Best Holiday Lights Residential Display, Business Display, Organization Display (non-profit or for-profit), and Farm/Barn Display. Additional public-vote awards will be granted in the categories of Best Holiday Lights Local Vote and Best Holiday Lights Visitor Vote (determined by zip codes).

The “Holiday Lights--Schuyler Style!” event is part of the “Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions” master calendar gathered by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. "The symbols depicted in the 'Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions' logo may serve as inspiration as it encompasses symbols of the many cultures of our region," said the Chamber in a press release. "Participants may feature their own holiday celebrations of this time of year, such as Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and Winter Solstice. The Chamber and Watkins Glen Promotions suggest the incorporation of natural items in displays, such as trees and grapevines, as simple and elegant displays are as welcome as grand electric-light displays."

As with all holiday events during the COVID pandemic, in-person social gatherings are not encouraged and all federal, state and local laws are adhered to with regards to lights, sounds, and zoning. "Also, a top priority is safety and respect for participants, spectators, and neighboring properties," the Chamber said.

During the 32 days of display, the lights will remain on between the hours of 5 and 11 p.m.. All participant registrations must be turned in to the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce at 214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen by 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Registration forms are online at ExploreWatkinsGlen.com

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Christopher Simiele, son of Mark and Michelle Simiele, cut the ribbon. From left: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk, County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, Village Trustee Laurie DeNardo, Mark and Michelle Simiele, Christopher Simiele, Lt. Gov. Hochul, State Senator Tom O'Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry, and County Planning Director Kristin VanHorn.

Ribbon-cutting celebrates waterfront's Port of Seneca Cruise Terminal Building

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 1, 2020 -- Local and state dignitaries gathered Tuesday morning at the new Port of Seneca Cruise Terminal Building -- the successor to Captain Bill’s tourist shop on the southern shore of Seneca Lake -- to cut a ribbon marking completion of the first private-sector Downtown Revitalization Initiative project in Watkins Glen.

The two-story building, which serves as a gift shop, ticketing outlet, event center and headquarters for Mark Simiele’s Seneca Lake cruises, was one of a number of projects in the village receiving funding from a $10 million DRI grant provided by New York State. It was financed in part with a $500,000 DRI grant administered by Empire State Development. The total project cost was $1 million.

Present for the ceremony were New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, State Senator Tom O’Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn, Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk, Village Trustee and local DRI planning committee co-chair Laurie DeNardo, and building owner Mark Simiele. Each spoke, introduced by emcee Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development.

The ceremony was held in the new building’s ground-floor shop and event space, which is also site of the ticket desk for cruises aboard the Seneca Legacy and Stroller IV. The second floor houses offices and more event space.

“News flash,” said Lt. Gov. Hochul as the first speaker. “Watkins Glen has been discovered.” She said crowds -- and the rest of the state -- have learned that the village is “a world-class destination” for recreation, hiking, boating and downtown charm. She praised the new building, which was angled to open the view of the lake for downtown visitors. “It looks like it belongs in the 21st century.”

She commented as well on the ongoing pandemic, cautioning that her hometown area -- in western New York -- saw its positivity rate jump quickly “from 2% and 3% to 8%. It can happen very quickly.” She attributed much of the ongoing and widespread increase to “living room spread,” where homeowners let down their guard, inviting company that can bring with them infections.

“I call on all of you with a sphere of influence to get the word out” that now is an especially important time to guard against the COVID-19 spread as it escalates throughout the country -- with vaccines making their way shortly into wide distribution.

Senator O’Mara called the ribbon-cutting celebration “another great day in Watkins Glen,” and said that the new building -- like the nearby Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel -- "is a great cornerstone of the Watkins Glen community. I wish you Godspeed with this.”

Assemblyman Palmesano praised Simiele and his wife Michelle for their investment, saying their waterfront businesses -- the Seneca Harbor Station Restaurant is among them -- “are a critical piece” of the area’s tourism. He also noted the latest project's collaborative nature, saying “projects like this don’t happen without public-private partnership.”

Mayor Leszyk praised the Simieles’ "tireless effort to invest in our community," calling what they have accomplished “a cornerstone of our businesses.”

DeNardo praised the community itself for its involvement through planning meetings as the DRI projects took shape, and O’Hearn said that Mark Simiele, along with his late father, William, have served as visionaries, seeing “not what is, but what could be.”

The ribbon-cutting followed, completing the morning’s event.

Photos in text: From top: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, and Village Trustee and DRI planning committee co-chair Laurie DeNardo.

Left: State Senator Tom O'Mara. Right: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk.

Left: New York Assemblyman Phil Palmesano. Right: Mark and Michelle Simiele flank son Christopher.

SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry with an Erie Canalway calendar available free of charge to ceremony attendees.

The Port of Seneca Cruise Terminal Building on the southern shore of Seneca Lake.

2 Kookalaroc's employees test positive for Covid-19; business closed for disinfection

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Nov. 18, 2020 -- Schuyler County Public Health said Wedneday that it had received notification that two Kookalaroc's Bar and Grill employees had tested positive for Covid-19, and that the bar and grill, located at 107 11th St., in Watkins Glen, was closed for disinfection.

"During contact tracing," Public Health said, "a public exposure risk was identified, and the business has been closed for disinfection per New York State Department of Health directive. The affected individuals worked multiple shifts during the time they were potentially contagious.

Public Health said that if you visited Kookalaroc's Bar and Grill in the last 14 days, please:

Get tested for COVID-19.

Schuyler County residents can get tested for COVID-19 by:

-- Registering for the Cayuga Health System Sampling site in Ithaca at cayugahealth.org or by calling 607-319-5708.

-- Calling Schuyler Hospital at 607-535-8602.

-- Contacting their healthcare provider.

-- Visiting https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you to find a testing location.

Self-quarantine in your home for 14 days from the last day you visited Kookalaroc's Bar and Grill.

Remain in quarantine for the full 14 days even if you test negative. To self-quarantine:

-- Stay home, except to visit a doctor or to get tested for Covid-19. If you must see a doctor, call ahead and avoid using public transportation.

-- Separate yourself in a room that is not shared with others.

-- Stay at least 6 feet from others in your home at all times.

-- Wear a face mask if you must be around others.

-- Don’t have visitors over.

-- Use a separate bathroom, if possible, and disinfect after each use.

-- Arrange for food, medicine, and other supplies to be left at your door.

-- Arrange for others to care for your children or pets if possible.

-- Wash your hands often.

Monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms.

If you develop symptoms at any point during the 14-day period, get tested -- even if you already tested negative earlier in your self-quarantine.

“Please get tested for Covid-19 and self-quarantine, even you don’t have any symptoms.” Schuyler County Public Health Director Deb Minor said. “By taking these steps, you can help protect the health of your friends, family, and our community. And if you do test positive for Covid-19, please answer when we call. Contact tracing is one of the most effective tools we currently have to slow the spread of the virus, but it only works when people are truthful about who they may have exposed to the virus.”

Saturday Covid testing set Nov. 14 in Ithaca

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Nov. 12, 2020 -- In response to an increase of COVID-19 cases and recent exposures in Tompkins County, Cayuga Health will be offering COVID-19 testing at the Mass Sampling Center in Ithaca on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

The Mass Sampling Center is located in portable structures at The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot, 40 Catherwood Road and is staffed by experienced and knowledgeable Cayuga Health employees. Regular hours for pre-scheduled drive-through testing will remain the same: 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Any area residents seeking a test can go to www.cayugahealth.org to review the criteria and schedule an appointment. A call center has been set up for patients who may not have access to the internet, need assistance registering, or have questions. The call center number is 607-319-5708.

Need transportation to the testing site? Contact 2-1-1 (or 877-211-8677) for a list of options. This service is available 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. weekdays.

For additional information about cases or specific recent exposures, visit: www.tompkinscountyny.gov/health.

Historical Society taking part in FLXGives!

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Nov. 6, 2020 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society will be participating in the second annual 24-hour, regional giving day, FLXGives!, on Friday, Nov. 13.

FLXGives! is presented by the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc.

Participating non-profit organizations across the region will be accepting online donations at www.flxgives.org during the 24-hour period.

“The Schuyler County Historical Society really appreciates this opportunity to boost our donor support. Like everyone else in the region, we have had to cancel several activities, including some fundraisers,” Jean Hubsch, president of the Historical Society’s board, said. “FLXGives! is a fun and easy way for all of us to support our favorite non-profits.”

The Schuyler County Historical Society operates three museums focused on the county’s history. The Brick Tavern Museum and Wickham Rural Life Center at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls, are open year-round. The Lee School Museum, also in Montour Falls, opens for special events and by appointment.

For more information, call the Historical Society at (607) 535-9741.

Photo in text: Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls. (Photo provided)

The exterior of the Hector Wine Company building on Rt. 414 in Hector. (Photo provided)

Hector Wine Company marks milestone

Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary, releases 2 new wines

Special to
The Odessa File

HECTOR, Nov. 3, 2020 -- On Saturday, October 31, Hector Wine Company, a popular Finger Lakes winery with deep historic roots, celebrated its tenth anniversary and marked the milestone by releasing two new wines.

The Hector Wine Company was founded in 2010 by seventh generation viticulturist Jason Hazlitt and veteran Finger Lakes winemaker Justin Boyette. The idea was to create a more stable and focused vision for Sawmill Creek Vineyards, Hazlitt’s family vineyard, and to make wines that were representative of the southeast side of Seneca Lake. In 2012, Alexandra Bond joined the winemaking team and has since become a partner in the winery as they continue to push the boundaries of winemaking and Hector hospitality.

On the special occasion, Hazlitt said this: “Hector Wine Company has become a community place for people to share their voice, art, music, and to celebrate life. The winery’s focus has always been on handcrafted wines and providing a friendly soulful place to enjoy them. We will continue our hands-on approach to growing and winemaking. The last ten years have been challenging and we have had to constantly change and tweak things to become better. We would like to give a big cheer to our club members, supporters, and new friends to come!”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a larger celebration had been planned to commemorate this milestone anniversary, but the plans were shifted to ensure the safety of customers and staff members. Instead, the winery served seated wine flights and released two anniversary wines: a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

“The 10th Anniversary Chardonnay was made from Chardonnay vines that Jason's family planted 40 years ago across the road from the winery at his seventh-generation farm," said Bond.

"It was fermented using indigenous yeast and made in 100% French oak and is a great example of the style of white wines that we are passionate about making. The 10th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon is actually the first of a series of reserve Cabernets that you can expect from us. We selected four barrels from the 2017 vintage that were truly dynamic, aged the wine in barrels for 18 months instead of the usual ten, and then bottle aged it for an additional year.”

The anniversary wasn’t the only cause for celebration, as Bond has also welcomed her first child.

The Hector Wine Company, at 5610 Route 414 in Hector, is open every day from 12 noon until 6 p.m. and serves seated wine flights every day until 5:30 p.m. To ensure the safety of customers and employees, the winery offers guests the ability to sit outside underneath a sided tent, along with a few socially distanced indoor seating options. The winery recently added heat lamps to their tent to keep customers comfortable as the weather turns cooler.

About Hector Wine Company

Hector Wine Company was founded in 2010 by a group of friends who are passionate about making inspired wine, working hard, and finding beauty in every experience. Together, they continue to make wines that represent the centuries old Sawmill Creek Vineyards, a legendary Finger Lakes farm that has seen generations of family make wine and farm alongside their loved ones. To learn more about the Hector Wine Company, please visit https://hectorwinecompany.com/.

Photos in text:

Top: The interior of the Hector Wine Company.

Middle: Founders Justin Boyette, left, and Jason Hazlitt.

Bottom: Alexandra Bond. (Photos provided)

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards' wines shine in '20

Its Rieslings receive 90+ wine scores, and Red Cat wins another Double Gold Medal

Special to the Odessa File

HECTOR, Oct. 27, 2020 -- Wine ratings of 90+ from Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits magazines and accolades at wine competitions in 2020 like the Double Gold medal for Red Cat wine have been “beacons of light” and inspiration for the winemaking team and owners of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards.

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards’ Rieslings received high praise this year from both Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits magazines. The Rieslings were scored/awarded the following:

2018 Homestead Reserve Riesling

> 92, Wine & Spirits, Year’s Best US Riesling Issue, June 2020

> 90, Wine Enthusiast, March 2020

2018 Dry Riesling

> 89 & Best Buy: Wine & Spirits, Year’s Best US Riesling Issue, June 2020

> 88, Wine Enthusiast, August 2020

2018 Riesling

> 90 & Best Buy, Wine Enthusiast, August 2020

“Riesling is a very versatile grape and it's fun for me to explore the different nuances and styles of wine this grape can produce,” says Michael Reidy, Hazlitt's Vinifera Winemaker. When asked about how he felt about the scores, Reidy said that “2018 proved to be a challenging harvest and to rise above the adversity and receive these great scores is a testament to our winemaking and vineyard crew.

“The scores are emailed to us a few months in advance of being published," he added. "So to see these high scores come in during the beginning of the pandemic when everything was so uncertain; they just meant a little more to me.”

Another notable wine score from 2020 was an 89 for the 2018 Gewürztraminer from Wine Enthusiast Magazine, March 2020.

The ever-popular Red Cat wine, Hazlitt’s flagship and top-seller, received a Double Gold Medal this year at the Finger Lakes International Wine & Spirits Competition held July 14-16.

“Although this is not Red Cat’s first Double Gold Medal throughout its 35 years of existence, it was an exciting one to receive because it was competing with wines from all over the world,” says Leigh Hazlitt Triner, Co-Owner/CEO of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. “Red Cat is our bestselling wine. It’s a high quality, sweet, red wine made from Catawba and red-hybrid grapes. Sweet wines don’t always get the best reputations in the wine world. So receiving this Double Gold medal supports that a sweet wine can be high quality and that Red Cat is a wine that you can be proud to have in your glass.”

“Receiving awards like this," she added, "not only boosts the winemakers’ confidence in their craft but it also continues to foster a sense of pride for what they are putting into the bottle. To receive the news that we won such an amazing award during this crazy time in our world was a bonus. We couldn’t be more proud of our winemakers!”

Other high accolades awarded to Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards’ wines in wine competitions this year include: Platinum Medals to the 2017 Cabernet Franc, 2014 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, and Port by the Great American International Competition, and Double Gold Medals to the Solera Sherry and 2014 Vidal Blanc by the Tasters Guild International Wine Competition.

For more information on other 2020 wine competition accolades and scores, please visit Hazlitt1852.com.

About Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards

The Hazlitt family has been farming on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake in New York for over 160 years. Established in 1985, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards continues the family tradition of sustainable farming and producing quality products. Hazlitt is best known for its flagship wine brand Red Cat, a popular sweet Catawba blend with a light-hearted reputation for bringing fun to any gathering, also, a top-selling New York wine in the state. Hazlitt’s internationally-renowned wines also include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Franc. For more information, visit www.hazlitt1852.com.

Cayuga Medical Center temporarily pauses visitation due to spike in cases

Special to the Odessa File

ITHACA, Oct. 19, 2020 -- In light of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the community, "and in order to protect the safety of our patients, visitors, staff, and the communities we serve," Cayuga Medical Center announced Monday that it was putting visitor restrictions in place at 7:00 p.m. that day -- to remain in effect until further notice. The restrictions are as follows:

-- No visitors will be allowed entry to the hospital during a patient’s stay until the temporary restrictions are lifted.

-- Exceptions will be made when medically necessary (including deliveries at Cayuga Birthplace) or for family members or legal representatives of patients in imminent end-of-life care.

-- With certain restrictions, Emergency Room (ER) patients may be accompanied by a single support person; however, support persons may not accompany admitted patients into the inpatient hospital units.

-- Everyone entering the building will continue to be screened.

"We understand this will be difficult for some patients and apologize for the inconvenience," officials said in a statement. "We encourage everyone to make use of technology such as phones and tablets, which the hospital has available for patient use, to facilitate communication with loved ones and patients in the hospital.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

About Cayuga Medical Center

Cayuga Medical Center [CMC] is a not-for-profit, acute-care medical center bringing state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services to the residents of Tompkins, Cortland, Seneca, and Tioga counties. CMC houses over 200 beds and employs 1,200 health-care professionals and has a medical staff of 200 affiliated physicians.

Business Mainstays

Jim Guild and his daughter, Erin Guild, pose at their Famous Brands store in downtown Watkins Glen May 29 on the first day of Phase 2 business. Jim is the founder and longtime public face of Famous Brands, while Erin is the store manager.

Cayuga Medical's Wound Healing Center recognized with clinical excellence award

Special to the Odessa File

ITHACA, Oct. 8, 2020 -- Cayuga Medical Center's Cayuga Center for Wound Healing was recently presented a national Center of Distinction award by Healogics -- the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services.

The Center achieved outstanding clinical outcomes for 12 consecutive months, including patient satisfaction higher than 92 percent, and a minimum wound healing rate of at least 92 percent within 28 median days to heal. There were 601 Centers eligible for the Center of Distinction award, and 367 achieved the honor.

“We are excited and incredibly proud to have received the Healogics Center of Distinction award for The Cayuga Center for Wound Healing,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, CEO of Cayuga Health. “Our partnership with Healogics has allowed us to move to the next level of providing outstanding, comprehensive wound care to our patients.”

The Wound Healing Center is a member of the Healogics network of over 600 Wound Care Centers and provides access to benchmarking data and proven experience treating approximately 2.5 million chronic wounds. The Wound Healing Center offers highly specialized wound care to patients suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections and other chronic wounds which have not healed in a reasonable amount of time.

Leading edge treatments at the Center include negative pressure wound therapy, total contact casting, bio-engineered tissues, biosynthetic dressings and growth factor therapies. The Center also offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which works by surrounding the patient with 100 percent oxygen to help progress the healing of the wound.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

Donations sought for Humane Society

Special to the Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Oct. 6, 2020 -- Beginning on October 7th, and on succeeding Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until noon, donations are being collected to benefit The Humane Society of Schuyler County.

Requested donations include cash, redeemable cans and bottles, and shelter supplies. The organization is in need of paper towels, toilet paper, bleach, dish detergent, laundry detergent, canned cat food, and clumping cat litter.

Donations may be dropped off at The Community Center in Watkins Glen. For specific questions regarding donations, contact The Humane Society of Schuyler County at 607-594-2255 or visit the website www.schuylerhumane.org/support.

The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler’s Vocational Program is assisting in this fund-raising initiative by providing volunteers to gather and return donated bottles and cans, sort through shelter supplies, and support the community through ongoing partnerships.

“We have enjoyed our partnership with The Arc over the last several years,” said Georgie Taylor, the Humane Society of Schuyler County’s Executive Director. “This donation drive is a wonderful example of two not-for-profit organizations working in partnership for the benefit of both. We are greatly appreciative of the efforts of The Arc on our behalf.”

“We are very excited about this collaboration and look forward to this being a success for our friends at The Humane Society,” said Chris Sulkey, Job Placement Coordinator at The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler. “We value our relationship with The Humane Society because for a number of years, they have allowed people in our program to learn meaningful work skills while providing their organization with much-needed assistance. This collaboration is just another way that we can support one another.”

The Humane Society is a 501(c3) corporation, dedicated to advancing animal welfare in Schuyler County since 1987. For additional information, or to donate, adopt or volunteer, contact the organization at 607-594-2255 or visit www.schuyler humane.org.

The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler is a family-based organization, providing supports to people with varying abilities. Creating opportunities for individual growth, while emphasizing choice, The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler is a member of the Collaborative of NY, Inc., a network of 13 not-for-profit The Arc New York agencies. Collectively, these agencies provide advocacy and a range of person-centered supports and services in 19 Western, Central and Southern Tier counties in Upstate New York.

Hospital parking lot paving prompts changes

Special to the Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 17, 2020 -- Schuyler Hospital has announced changes to vehicle access while its main parking lot is paved the week of September 21, 2020.

On Monday and Tuesday, September 21-22, all traffic to the main parking lot must enter north of Seneca View, via Belle Cornell Drive, and drive around to the front of the hospital by the access road behind the Emergency Department. Parking will be limited.

Those scheduled for COVID-19 testing at the hospital on Monday should note that testing will be relocated for that day only to the north side of the Emergency Department, under the canopy. Enter via Belle Cornell Drive and follow the signs to the testing location.

On Wednesday and Thursday, September 23-24, all traffic to the main parking lot may enter via Steuben Street, but parking will be limited.

If you have questions or need assistance with access from the parking lot, contact Schuyler Hospital at (607) 535-7121 or email info@schuylerhospital.org.

Tourism Alliance announces scholarship

Special to the Odessa File

PENN YAN, Sept. 20, 2020 -- The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance (FLTA) and partners of the Finger Lakes business community are working together to provide financial assistance to a college student in the form of a scholarship.

This scholarship, says the FLTA, "will go to a dedicated student who is in his or her second (or beyond) year of study for tourism and hospitality, and is from the Finger Lakes region."

The FLTA and Finger Lakes business owners, the FLTA added, "understand the importance of dedicated leaders within the tourism and hospitality industry, and want to provide some financial assistance to an undergraduate student as he or she continues to learn key fundamental practices in and out of the classroom."

For more information regarding qualifications and applications, visit https://www.fingerlakes.org/education/finger-lakes-region-scholarship.

The deadline to submit an application is November 15, 2020. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Founded in 1919, the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is an association of private-sector attractions, tourism-related businesses and county tourism offices working together to enhance and promote visitor businesses for the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes region of New York State.

TAP application process open until Oct. 9

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 3, 2020 -- The application period for 2021 Tourism Assistance Program (TAP) funding is now open and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will be accepting applications until noon on October 9, 2020.

As Schuyler County’s designated Tourism Promotion Agency, the Chamber creates an annual tourism budget and allocates dollars to tourism programs and efforts throughout the county. Applicants must complete an application (including past recipients) and submit to the Chamber by the deadline.

Those interested may download an application at www.watkinsglenchamber.com/resources. Hard copies of the application may also be picked up at the Chamber office, located at 214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen. Completed forms can be submitted in person at the Chamber office or emailed to michael@watkinsglenchamber.com. All submissions must be received no later than 12 p.m. (noon) on October 9, 2020.

Submissions will be reviewed by the TAP Committee, which is populated by the chairperson of the Chamber Board of Directors, two members of the Chamber Board of Directors, the Schuyler County Administrator, the chairperson of the Schuyler County legislature, two members of the Schuyler County legislature, the Executive Director of the Chamber, and the Tourism/Marketing Manager of the Chamber (or designee).

Applicants may be asked to make a presentation of no longer than 10 minutes to the committee. In this case, they will be advised as to the time and date. Final funding decisions will be made by the TAP Committee.

“We encourage our partners throughout the county to be creative with their proposals and submit plans that will address our community’s most pressing needs when it comes to expanding tourism,” said Michael J. Hardy, Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. “As we emerge from a truly challenging period, it will take every one of us pulling together to come back strong. We believe TAP funding will play a significant role in that re-emergence and we look forward to seeing what our partners have in mind.”

Hardy noted that the total amount may be different as a result of the COVID-19 impact on travel in the early part of the year.

“With the challenges of the pandemic, we do anticipate lower Bed Tax revenue for 2020,” he said. “Therefore, the amount available for TAP is likely going to be lower in 2021. But -- as in years past -- we are confident that requests, awards and expenditures are sure to drive the economy in a forward and positive direction.”

Photo in text: Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy.

Wine Trail wins Travelers' Choice Award

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 20, 2020 -- The Seneca Lake Wine Trail was recently named a Trip Advisor 2020 Travelers’ Choice Winner. The award recognizes businesses that earn consistently great user reviews.

Of the award, Executive Director Brittany Gibson said: “This was given to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, but it truly belongs to our 30 member wineries. The wineries have responded exceptionally to each and every challenge placed in their path by the COVID-19 pandemic. To meet reopening requirements, wineries have invested substantially in tents, patio furniture, umbrellas, and additional staff, training (and retraining) staff to meet guidelines and deploy required sanitization efforts.

"Despite the major changes brought on by the pandemic, visitors have discovered that this new way of doing things is, in many ways, better than ever. The high marks wineries continue to earn from visitors since reopening is proof positive of these efforts.”

Wineries on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, a news release notes, "remain open, compliant with all pandemic rules and regulations. Seated tastings, snacks with tastings, group restrictions, and extra cleaning efforts remain in effect. For complete details on planning a visit, the Wine Trail maintains a helpful summary page titled Current Winery Offerings on its website: www.senecalakewine.com."

Founded in 1986, the Seneca Lake Winery Association, known publicly as the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to promoting its member wineries; to developing a spirit of cooperation between members of the association; to developing an outstanding wine producing and tourism area; to stimulating interest in wine in general and the wines of Seneca Lake, specifically; and to gaining recognition of the Seneca Lake Winery Association as an independent leader in the grape growing, wine, and tourism initiatives.

Cayuga Health launches virus tracking tool

Special to the Odessa File

ITHACA, Aug. 17, 2020 -- Cayuga Health has launched a Coronavirus Tracking Tool on  the Cayuga Health System website that includes statistical data which is updated daily providing official numbers as they are released by the Cayuga Health Sampling Center in Ithaca. Officials will also periodically update demographic numbers as significant changes occur.

Tracking includes regional COVID-19 tests taken at the CH Mass Sampling Center, cases, hospitalizations, deaths, age and gender, along with Cayuga Health hospital capacity, supplies, and future planning as it pertains to COVID-19 and the greater surrounding communities. The Sampling Center data includes results from the following counties: Broome, Cayuga, Cortland, Chemung, Onondaga, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins and Yates.

“We are very pleased to be able to present this useful data to our local communities in order for our entire community to be able to monitor the ongoing evolution of this pandemic,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO of Cayuga Health.

The more recent data does show a recent uptick in testing which was expected due to Cornell University, Ithaca College and other regional students returning to universities and college campuses.

“Our state-of-the-art laboratory at Cayuga Medical Center and our experienced laboratory professionals and board-certified pathologists offer a level of service comparable to much larger facilities,” said Stallone. “In addition, our partnership with Rheonix, Inc. has given us the ability to perform rapid testing at our Mass Sampling Center and our Mobile Testing Unit with quick results from our lab.”

The Cayuga tracking data can be found at https://cayugahealthsystem.org/coviddata/

Cayuga Health is encouraging anyone to share this link on their websites as a quick reference tool during the pandemic. Cayuga Health has conducted over 65,000 tests to date and recently performed 1,625 tests in a single day.

The Mass Sampling Center is located in portable structures at The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot, 40 Catherwood Road, and is staffed by experienced Cayuga Health employees. It is available for pre-scheduled drive through testing from 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

Back Row (L to R): Chelsea Stamp, Schuyler Hospital; Barbara Schimizzi, Watkins Glen Central School Board of Education; Lacy Sandroni, Cameron Manufacturing & Design; Jackie Collins, Schuyler Hospital; Megan Cichos, Cargill, Inc.; Bruce Boughton, Chemung Canal Trust Company; Liz Salamendra, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. Front Row: Misha Dautlick, Cargill, Inc. Not Pictured: Kellie Christopher, CSS Workforce NY; Beth Macri, The Arc of Chemung/Schuyler; Taylor Paradiso, My Place: A Play and Learning Center; Christopher Ripley, Grist Iron Brewing Company; Clinton Treichel, Cargill, Inc. (Photo provided)

Leadership Schuyler graduates Class of 2020

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 7, 2020 -- The Leadership Schuyler program sponsored by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce graduated 13 students at the commencement ceremony held at Lakewood Vineyards on Tuesday, July 28. Business and government leaders joined in celebrating the Leadership Schuyler graduates.

Leadership Schuyler Program Facilitator Rebekah Carroll said, “This class of Leadership Schuyler participants were just great! They were inquisitive, eager to learn, and reactive to the unexpected changes that we're facing with the COVID-19 Pause. All students were just plain fun to work with and I am really going to miss them!”

Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy said “Leadership Schuyler is such a valuable program to our community, county and beyond. It provides something that no other program in Schuyler County can--a micro community of individuals focused on investing in their professional growth, as well as the growth of every other leader in the room! I am looking forward to joining this amazing group of Leadership Schuyler alumni.”

Since 2001, the Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the Leadership Schuyler program and helped prepare more than 220 participants for community leadership roles. The program helps area residents and employees of local businesses strengthen their knowledge and encourages them to take active leadership roles in the community. The Chamber will begin seeking applications for the 2020-2021 Leadership Schuyler program in mid- to late-August.

Graduates:

--Bruce Boughton, Chemung Canal Trust Company
--Kellie Christopher, CSS Workforce NY
--Megan Cichos, Cargill, Inc.
--Jackie Collins, Schuyler Hospital
--Misha Dautlick, Cargill, Inc.
--Beth Macri, The Arc of Chemung/Schuyler
--Taylor Paradiso, My Place: A Play & Learning Center
--Christopher Ripley, Grist Iron Brewing Company
--Liz Salamendra, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce
--Lacy Sandroni, Cameron Manufacturing & Design
--Barbara Schimizzi, Watkins Glen Central School Board of Education
--Chelsea Stamp, Schuyler Hospital
--Clinton Treichel, Cargill, Inc.

WGI inks partnership with Sony Electronics

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 6, 2020 -- Watkins Glen International announced Thursday that Sony Electronics has become the Official Camera of The Glen.

In addition, Sony will have the naming rights and branding to the photographers room in the Media Center and official Sony-WGI photography vests.

“It’s great to add this unique enhancement to the media covering our events, especially with one of the world’s most iconic photography brands in Sony,” said WGI President Michael Printup. “Watkins Glen International is certainly one of the most photogenic facilities in the world with the historic track and Seneca Lake, and we’re proud to showcase that.”

Sony Electronics is a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology -- from game and network services to music, pictures, electronics, semiconductors and financial services.

Located within five hours (300 miles) of 25% of the U.S. population, Watkins Glen International is the premier road racing facility in North America, four times voted “Best NASCAR Track” by readers of USA Today. Keep up with The Glen on Facebook and Twitter. For tickets, camping, and additional information, call 1-866-461-RACE or visit www.theglen.com

Photo in text; Entrance to the Photoraphers' Room in the WGI Media Center. (Provided)

Cayuga Health Covid-19 Sampling Center
at Ithaca Mall transitions to 'by appointment'

Special to the Odessa File

ITHACA, Aug. 5, 2020 -- Cayuga Health officials announced that beginning Wednesday, Aug. 5, that they will require scheduled appointments and advance registration for testing at the Covid-19 Mass Sampling Center at the Ithaca Mall parking lot.

“To enhance the testing experience for area residents, the Cayuga Health Mass Sampling Site will require scheduled appointments for everyone seeking and meeting the requirements for a Covid-19 Test,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, CEO of Cayuga Health. “Scheduling an appointment ahead of time will minimize traffic congestion and the wait times for people being tested.”

Those seeking a test can go to cayugahealth.org to review the criteria and schedule an appointment to be tested. For those individuals that do not meet the criteria for testing and would like to be tested, a $99 option will be available. A call center has been set up for patients who may not have access to the internet, need assistance registering, or have questions. The call center number is 607-319-5708.

The Cayuga Health/Tompkins County Sampling Center is located in portable structures at The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot, 40 Catherwood Road, and is staffed by experienced Cayuga Health employees. It is available for pre-scheduled drive-through testing from 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Rides are available in a sanitized vehicle to the Cayuga Health Sampling Site. After registration call 2-1-1 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to schedule a ride. There is no charge for the ride.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

Schuyler Hospital is changing its public entrance to main lobby, effective July 29

Special to the Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 24, 2020 -- Starting Wednesday, July 29, 2020, at 6 a.m., the entrance to Schuyler Hospital will be changed to the Main Lobby Entrance, where all outpatients and Medical-Surgical visitors will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors, and temperatures taken.

Emergency Department patients should continue to use the Emergency Department entrance.

The Hospital Main Lobby Entrance is to be utilized by all hospital outpatients and Medical-Surgical visitors Monday-Friday 6 a.m.-7 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Note that Medical-Surgical visitation is restricted to one person at a time, Monday-Friday 3-7 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Visitors must comply with Cayuga Health visitation guidelines.

Aside from these hours, outpatients and visitors should enter through the Emergency Department admissions area for screening.

For the answer to any questions, contact Schuyler Hospital at (607) 535-7121 or email info@schuylerhospital.org.

B2B Meetup features new Chamber chief

Special to the Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, July 20, 2020 -- This week's Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce B2B Meetup, scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 22 via Zoom, will be attended by Michael Hardy, the Chamber's new Executive Director.

Hardy, who succeeds Rebekah Carroll in the post, has most recently served as an independent business development consultant and the Director of Convention & Visitor Services for Visit Rochester, the official tourism promotion agency for Monroe County, New York. His experience also includes sales and marketing positions in New York City and Corning.

The event is part of a weekly series hosted by the Chamber and designed to provide information on best practices, skills development, and other content that is especially relevant to members and others in the time of COVID-19.

Attendees will also have the chance to share updates from their business or organization during a "Round the Screen" segment.

Photo in text: New Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy.

Giving Day raises $147,000 in hospital funds

Special to the Odessa File

ITHACA, July 8, 2020 -- Cayuga Health raised $147,210 from 227 donors during its Giving Day campaign on June 30. It partnered with Ithaca based GiveGab to help replenish critical financial resources that were depleted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cayuga Giving Day took place over the course of 24-hours.

“Our community is tremendous!" said Dr. Martin Stallone, CEO of Cayuga Health. "We were simply amazed and delighted by the generosity and support. On behalf of the entire Cayuga Health System and from the bottom of my heart, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude. I would also, once again, like to thank Mr. Mulligan and the GiveGab team for their partnership and teamwork leading to the success of this fundraising campaign.”

The funds that were raised will benefit the Cayuga Medical Center Foundation, Schuyler Hospital Foundation and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. Results and more information can be found at https://www.cayugagivingday.org/.

“This was our first experience with an exclusively online fundraising campaign, and we are thrilled with the outcome,” said Steve Savage, Executive Director, Cayuga Medical Center Foundation. “It was wonderful to be able to present this day of giving to benefit our entire health care system. I would like to thank our many donors, sponsors and our internal teams for their dedication and teamwork.”

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility in Schuyler County. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

Limited inpatient hospital visitation resumes

Special to the Odessa File

ITHACA, July 6, 2020 -- Cayuga Health announced Monday that it is allowing inpatient visitation at Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital. Visiting Hours are Monday- Friday from 3 p.m.-7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Following state guidelines:

  • Everyone entering the hospital or off-site location will be temperature checked (must be below 100 degrees) and screened for symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, fever, etc.) or potential exposure to someone with COVID-19. Failing the screening requirement will preclude the visitor/support person from entry. Visitors will also be asked about past travel out of state.
  • Visitation is limited to one person for a maximum of 4 hours per day/patient, which is the maximum amount of time allowed within NYS Department of Health guidelines.
  • Patients undergoing same day procedures may be accompanied to the facility by a companion and that companion may remain with the patient through the initial intake process; and may rejoin the patient during the discharge process.
  • All visitors will be required to wear a mask for the entirety of their visit. Visitors who fail to wear a hospital issued mask and other PPE will not be allowed in the facility.
  • All visitors must remain in the patient’s room throughout the visit.
  • All visitors must be greater than 18 years of age.
  • Dining Services at both hospitals will be closed for visitors/support people.

“We have been working diligently to create a policy that will allow visitors into Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital while maintaining the safety of our patients and staff,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. “We recognize that visitors are a significant part of the healing process and we are very pleased to be able to allow patients visitation with friends and family once again.”

Certain departments such as Behavioral Health and the Cayuga Birthplace have additional restictions in place. To learn more about visitation hours and rules visit www.cayugamed.org or www.schuylerhospital.org.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

Michael Hardy will succeed Rebekah Carroll as Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 2, 2020 -- The Board of Directors of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce has concluded its search for a new Executive Director and announced that Rochester native Michael Hardy will succeed outgoing leader Rebekah Carroll. Hardy’s official start date will be July 15.

“Michael has a proven track record of visionary leadership in tourism and hospitality in markets across New York State,” said Chamber Board President Matthew Sharpe. “Our organization and our region are fortunate to be welcoming someone with his experience and skill.”

Hardy has most recently served as an independent business development consultant and the Director of Convention & Visitor Services for Visit Rochester, the official tourism promotion agency for Monroe County, New York. His experience also includes sales and marketing positions in New York City and Corning.

“I’m excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work,” Hardy said. “There are so many people and groups out there who aren’t yet familiar with the treasures of this area. We have so many opportunities to collaborate inside and outside the Finger Lakes region, and I look forward to meeting and greeting everyone with a ‘Hardy Hello.’”

Carroll has served in the role for 10 years and announced her resignation in January. She is leaving the position to start her own business, an accounting and financial services firm called “Statements.”

“Rebekah has led our Chamber through several critical junctures as well as periods of growth and change,” Sharpe said. “We are grateful for her extraordinary skill and never-ending commitment to our members and our community.”

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce serves nearly 500 members and continues to grow. Its members include sole proprietors, small businesses, home businesses, corporations, and non-profits. Members hail from Montour Falls, Watkins Glen, Corning, Elmira, Hammondsport, Penn Yan, Geneva, Ithaca, Binghamton, and all points in between. For more information, visit www.watkinsglenchamber.com.

Photos in text: Michael Hardy and Rebekah Carroll. (Photos provided)

WGI, Gilligan's Ice Cream reach sweet pact

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 1, 2020 -- Watkins Glen International has announced a new partnership with Gilligan’s Ice Cream as the Preferred Ice Cream of The Glen, to satisfy the sweet tooth of race fans.

“This partnership is certainly a treat for all our fans,” said WGI President Michael Printup. “We are excited to not only have a preferred ice cream and unique flavors dedicated to Watkins Glen International, but being able to partner with another New York State company is fantastic to share their products with the community.”

The Sherburne, NY based company will feature a wide variety of ice cream and develop a custom flavor dedicated to the iconic 3.4-mile circuit. Gilligan’s has been specializing a variety of hard ice cream flavors including chocolate, vanilla, sherbet and sorbet for more than 20 years. Several years ago, Gilligan’s started experimenting with recipes to also make ice cream with beer, wine and hard cider.

“Gilligan's Ice Cream is excited to expand our premium line of ice cream by partnering with New York's premium raceway, Watkins Glen International,” Gilligan’s co-owner Andy Lagoe said. “As a new company, we understand by partnering with established businesses and venues we can grow our brand while giving our partner a high quality, made in New York product that will enhance their already successful business model. And what's better than watching a race on a summer day then with an ice cream.”

Gilligan’s offers a diverse range of ice cream flavors at several restaurants and wineries in Central New York. Visit www.gilligansicecream.com for more information.

Cayuga partners with GiveGab for 24-hour Cayuga Giving Day fundraising campaign

Special to the Odessa File

ITHACA, June 16, 2020 -- Cayuga Health is partnering with Ithaca-based GiveGab to help replenish critical financial resources that have been depleted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cayuga Giving Day will take place over the course of 24 hours on June 30 and will be based online from midnight-to-midnight at www.cayugagivingday.org.

Cayuga Health announced earlier this year that all of its annual in-person galas and fundraising activities in 2020 are canceled. This new virtual event will be hosted and organized by GiveGab, using its non-profit giving platform.

“We have all had to make significant changes during this pandemic," said Dr. Martin Stallone, CEO of Cayuga Health. "Not only did we take this fight head-on to make sure that our community was informed and prepared, we witnessed a significant decrease in patient volume and revenue across our health system. While we do expect our volumes to increase over time, we have set up response funds to aid with this burden. I would like to thank Mr. Mulligan and his team for their partnership. We are hopeful for a successful inaugural Cayuga Giving Day later this month.”

“Since GiveGab is Ithaca born and based, I reached out to Cayuga Health to offer our services pro bono in support of its foundations during this pandemic,” said Charlie Mulligan, GiveGab CEO, co-founder and board member. “Cayuga Health is our local health care resource and has been leading the COVID-19 response without delay, even while having its own struggles due to the Coronavirus.”

“We are very proud of our health system’s COVID-19 response rate, which ultimately aided in the recent reopening of our regional businesses,” said Steve Savage, Executive Director, Cayuga Medical Center Foundation. “When Charlie reached out to me to offer their platform for free, I was surprised and jumped at the opportunity. Cayuga Giving Day will be a 24-hour giving campaign for Cayuga Medical Center, Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. During this 24-hour period funds can be earmarked for specific giving. Minutes can make the difference in helping us to raise funds to continue to provide the best care for our communities.”

GiveGab powers hundreds of Giving Days locally and nationwide -- including FLXGives, Giving is Gorges, and the Purdue Day of Giving. It offers a place to give and to share or gab about philanthropy.

About Cayuga Health: Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CH is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

About GiveGab: GiveGab is a nonprofit giving platform, providing an easy and effective way for fundraising professionals to raise money online. It is designed for cause-based organizations, community foundations, and educational institutions. For more information, visit GiveGab.com.

Federal funds creating new jobs at Corning

Special to the Odessa File

ELMIRA, June 9 -- Corning Incorporated on Tuesday announced $204 million in federal funding that will expand production at the company's manufacturing facility in Big Flats, could double the number of jobs at the plant, and help Corning play a critical role in the ongoing COVID-19 response.

Said State Senator Tom O’Mara: “This news of investment and job creation in the Southern Tier could not arrive at a better time. The COVID-19 economic shutdown has delivered a tough blow to the regional economy and thousands of area workers and their families. We’re hopeful that our local re-openings will keep moving forward so we can keep bringing more and more employees back on the job as quickly as possible. Consequently, this announcement of new investment, ramped up manufacturing, and good new jobs at Corning Incorporated is a welcome dose of recovery and hopefully signals better economic days ahead.”

Corning announced earlier Tuesday that the funding is forthcoming from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which operates as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The aid will allow Corning to significantly expand its manufacturing of Valor Glass vials that will be used for the production and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

As part of Tuesday’s announcement, Wendell P. Weeks, Corning Incorporated’s chairman and chief executive officer said, “We’re delighted that BARDA has selected Corning as a packaging provider for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Our Valor Glass provides the strongest, fastest to fill, and highest-quality pharmaceutical glass vials ever produced. It helps protect patients and addresses existing bottlenecks. Corning is ready to do our part in the fight against the pandemic as well as to help prepare for future public health emergencies.”

Accoring to the announcement, Corning will immediately seek to fill 60 permanent manufacturing positions. Thirty-four additional jobs are anticipated to open as funding is released.

Arcs of Chemung and Schuyler merge

Special to the Odessa File

ELMIRA/WATKINS GLEN, June 5, 2020 -- The Arc of Chemung and The Arc of Schuyler are officially merged, to become The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler.

“The Board of Directors, along with the Leadership Teams of both organizations, have worked long and hard, and extremely well together, to make this transition happen,” said Harold J. Hoffmeier, Jr., President of The Arc of Schuyler Board. “We have already witnessed programmatic growth as well as increases in community support. The best is yet to come!”

“Today we celebrate our newly unified organization, our growth, and plans for our future, said Anita Lewis, President of The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler Board. “We look forward to a proper celebration when time permits, bringing together all who make our work possible: the people we support, families, and of course -- our staff.”

In 2019, the formalization of a strategic partnership between The Arcs of Chemung and Schuyler was announced, as the two organizations explored opportunities for shared services, shared staffing, and joint ventures. Both Chapters quickly recognized that they were stronger together, aligned by shared values and a commitment to deliver excellent services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and to our local communities. As a larger, unified organization, officials say, The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler is better able to leverage best practices and team skills "to enhance our supports and services."

“The success of our newly unified organization is thanks to our staff, who have worked hard to get us to where we are, have been patient, and open to change,” said Sean Eagen, Executive Director of The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler. “Thanks to our staff, The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler will be able to continue providing the same high-quality supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and local businesses.”

The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler has a $33.4 million budget and employs 671 people. The Agency provides supports and services to nearly 2,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families, across 18 counties, from Waverly in Tioga County, to West Seneca in Erie County. These services include housing supports, clinical supports, community supports and day services, and employment support services.

The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler also operates a Business Services Division, which includes Southern Tier Industries, Glen Copack Food Manufacturing, Franklin Street Gallery and Gift Shop, Seneca Shine Auto Detailing, and Transportation Link-Line.

The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler’s Board of Directors will include: Anita Lewis, President; Eileen Remec, Vice President; Michael Stamp, Treasurer; Margaret Lawrence, Secretary; Harold J. Hoffmeier, Jr., The Arc NY Board of Governor; Thomas Gough; Marcia Kasprzyk; Veronica Lewis; Kathryn Littleton; Lee Moran; David Ralph; Margaret Sisson; Donald Stocum; and Nancy Thomas.

Administrative offices will be located at 711 Sullivan Street, Elmira, NY 14901 and the main telephone number will be (607) 734-6151.

About The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler:

The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler is a family-based organization, providing supports to people with varying abilities and their families within an 18-county service area. The agency creates opportunities for individual growth, while emphasizing choice, and its passion for excellence is evidenced by family and community partnerships, quality supports, education, and advocacy. Learn more at www.arcofcs.org. The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler is a chapter of the state organization, The Arc New York, and is nationally accredited by The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL).

Photo in text: Sign in front of The Arc administrative offices in Elmira. (Photo provided)

Schuyler Hospital COVID-19 testing site changing hours; businesses must pre-register

Special to the Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, June 1, 2020 -- Schuyler Hospital has announced that it is changing the hours for its COVID-19 testing site starting Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

The testing site at 220 Steuben Street, Montour Falls -- available to essential businesses -- will be open Monday and Friday mornings, and Wednesday afternoons by appointment only. Businesses must pre-register by calling the Hospital at (607) 535-8639 extension 2718. Appointment times will be assigned during the call. An on-line application is also being developed.

Schuyler Hospital’s COVID-19 testing site is available to essential businesses reopening in the region under Phase 1 and Phase 2 of New York State’s guidelines. They will continue to offer drive-through services for anyone with a doctor’s order during this time.

Testing is required to meet NYS guidelines and ensure the safety of our workplaces and community. As directed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, COVID-19 testing is free for all New Yorkers, regardless of health insurance.

“Schuyler Hospital is proud to be a community partner in combating the COVID-19 virus,” said Rebecca Gould, Schuyler Hospital President and CFO. “We encourage business and front-line essential workers to be tested to ensure the protection of their staff, the business, and the community we serve.”

“Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Health have been an outstanding resource and partner, both for the county and the entire region during this pandemic,” said Tim O’Hearn, Schuyler County Administrator. “Expanding the hours and providing more tests in our county not only allowed us to meet the requirements by the Governor to reopen and start getting back to work, but will help to ensure that we can continue our phased-in approach to restarting our economy.”

Experienced and knowledgeable Schuyler Hospital employees provide the CDC-recommended PRC nasal swab test at car side. The sample process itself takes 10-15 seconds.

Who should get tested?

A list of essential workers is defined and frequently updated by New York State and can be found at (https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026).

If you have questions, contact Schuyler Hospital’s COVID-19 Hotline at (607) 535-8602 or email info@schuylerhospital.org.

Testing for COVID-19 is also available at the Cayuga Health Sampling Center located at The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot, 40 Catherwood Rd., between the hours of 10 am-3 pm Monday through Friday. Pre-register online at cayugahealth.org/ or through the Call Center, 607-319-5708. Sampling is to determine if you currently have COVID-19; this is not the antibody test.

About Schuyler Hospital

Schuyler Hospital, part of Cayuga Health, is a 25-bed critical access hospital, with a 120-bed skilled nursing facility attached. Schuyler Hospital’s main campus -- an over-50-acre facility overlooking Seneca Lake -- is located in Montour Falls. For 100 years, Schuyler Hospital has been the primary healthcare provider in and around Schuyler County. It has evolved over the years into a network of providers, programs, and services that reaches throughout Schuyler County and into neighboring counties to meet the healthcare needs of a population of over 32,000 residents.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences. It has also teamed up with the Family Health Network of Central New York to enhance care in the region. To learn more about the Cayuga Health System, visit cayugahealth.org.

B2B: Reopening update with Public Health

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 31, 2020 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its weekly, virtual B2B Meet Up event this Wednesday, June 3, enabling businesses from Schuyler County and the Finger Lakes Region to share ideas and opportunities, working together and finding innovative ways to thrive as the region continues to transition through the reopening process.

This next virtual meeting’s keynote speaker is a representative from Schuyler County Public Health providing an update on county COVID-19 cases, while reviewing the many ways their organization and others are helping to keep our communities safe. Liz Stamp, co-owner of Lakewood Vineyards, will be the meeting’s Skills Presenter, detailing the processes her winery has developed to help keep both employees and customers safe.

This series is designed to support business leaders and owners of all sizes and types, and attendees are encouraged to ask specific questions of the guest speakers. Each meeting ends with updates from the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director, Rebekah Carroll, with additional time for questions and answers.

All Finger Lakes Region businesses, whether they reside in Schuyler County or beyond, and whether they are a Chamber member or not, are invited to attend this online gathering. Details on how to participate in this Meet Up are posted on the Chamber’s official Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/watkinsglenareachamberofcommerce/, or can be obtained by emailing Events Manager Liz Salamendra at liz@watkinsglenchamber.com.

Regional initiative welcomes media partner

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 27, 2020 -- Inspire FLX, a regional initiative launched in early May designed to collect and publicize inspiring stories of kind actions large and small has welcomed WENY-TV, the locally-owned and operated ABC affiliate based in Horseheads, as the initiative’s official media partner.

“When we initially shared our press release with our media partners relative to this concept, we merely hoped they might perceive it as a newsworthy idea and help us get the word out to the community,” said Rebekah Carroll, Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. “But when Tammy Haskell, WENY-TV General Manager, reached out to me almost immediately after we emailed the station with a summary of the program, I knew that it must have resonated with both her and her company. I was delighted when they proposed such an in-depth and meaningful partnership. Now more than ever, it is important to celebrate all that is positive in this world. I can’t thank WENY enough for their partnership with this effort!”

Haskell, WENY's General Manager, also vividly recalled that moment. “All of us at the station," she said, "are peppered with pitches and stories many times a day, every day, and while we always carefully listen and do our best to convey those stories that are most crucial to our viewers, but sometimes a story is brought to us that is so timely, compelling, and meaningful to our diverse audience that it almost demands that we more actively assist in helping spread the word as broadly and often as possible. And the Inspire FLX program, created in cooperation with a variety of community partners, and shepherded forward by the Chamber, was one such story.”

Whether it’s someone who delivered a much-needed grocery item to their neighbor in the midst of a shortage or a church leader who rose to the occasion on behalf of fellow parishioners, Inspire FLX will give everyone in the Finger Lakes Region a way to both recognize and celebrate the many acts of heroism so many of us have witnessed over this difficult period of time. Residents are encouraged to use the simple form located at http://www.inspireflx.com to submit stories of kindness and generosity they’ve witnessed to be both shared and celebrated. Some stories may be shared on the Inspire FLX Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/inspireflx) and Carroll happily hints that some nominees will also be recognized at a regional celebration to be scheduled when gathering restrictions are lifted throughout the state.

The nomination form asks users to submit contact information for their nominees, and asks them to identify which Inspire FLX value the action aligns most strongly with: Kindness, Philanthropy, Generosity or Selflessness. Inspire FLX is open to everyone in the Finger Lakes Region.

Schuyler Hospital offering COVID-19 testing site to businesses for reopening

Businesses Must Pre-Register and Schedule Tests

Special to the Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 18, 2020 -- Schuyler Hospital is offering their COVID-19 Testing Site to essential businesses reopening in the region under Phase 1 of New York State’s guidelines. It will continue to offer drive-through services for anyone with a doctor’s order during this time.

The testing site at 220 Steuben Street, Montour Falls, will be open Monday and Wednesday mornings and Friday afternoons by appointment only. Businesses must pre-register by calling the Hospital at (607) 535-8639 extension 2718. Appointment times will be assigned during the call. An on-line application is also being developed.

Testing is required to meet NYS guidelines and ensure the safety of the workplaces and community. As directed by Governor Cuomo, COVID-19 testing is free for all New Yorkers, regardless of health insurance.

“Schuyler Hospital is proud to be a community partner in combatting the COVID-19 virus,” said Rebecca Gould, Schuyler Hospital President and CFO. “We encourage business and front-line essential workers to be tested to ensure the protection of their staff, the business, and the community we serve.”

“Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Health have been an outstanding resource and partner, both for the county and the entire region during this pandemic,” said Tim O’Hearn, Schuyler County Administrator. “Expanding the hours and providing more tests in our county not only allowed us to meet the requirements by the Governor to reopen and start getting back to work, but will help to ensure that we can continue our phased-in approach to restarting our economy.”

Experienced and knowledgeable Schuyler Hospital employees provide the CDC-recommended PRC nasal swab test at car side. The sample process itself takes 10-15 seconds.

Who should get tested?

A list of essential workers is defined and frequently updated by New York State and can be found at (https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026).

If you have questions, contact Schuyler Hospital’s COVID-19 Hotline at (607) 535-8602 or email info@schuylerhospital.org.

Testing for COVID-19 is also available at the Cayuga Health Sampling Center located at The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot, 40 Catherwood Rd., between the hours of 10 am-3 pm Monday through Friday. Pre-register online at cayugahealth.org/ or through the Call Center, 607-319-5708. Sampling is to determine if you currently have COVID-19; this is not the antibody test.

About Schuyler Hospital

Schuyler Hospital, part of Cayuga Health, is a 25-bed critical access hospital, with a 120-bed skilled nursing facility attached. Schuyler Hospital’s main campus -- on over 50-acre facilities overlooking breathtaking Seneca Lake -- is located in Montour Falls, New York. For 100 years, Schuyler Hospital has been the primary healthcare provider in and around Schuyler County. It has evolved over the years into a network of providers, programs, and services that reaches throughout Schuyler County and into neighboring counties to meet the healthcare needs of a population of over 32,000 residents.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences. It has also teamed up with Family Health Network of Central New York to enhance care in the region. To learn more about the Cayuga Health System, visit cayugahealth.org.

Hospital opens new Medical/Surgical unit

Special to the Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 15, 2020 -- Schuyler Hospital, a member of Cayuga Health, opened its new 15,000 square foot state-of-the-art Medical-Surgical inpatient unit on April 21. This is Phase 1 of a two-part construction project expected to be completed by later this year.

The project was made possible by a $10.3 million New York Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program (SHCFTP) Grant that was awarded in July of 2017. Schuyler Hospital also met the needs to restart elective surgeries per the Governor’s requirements since the novel Coronavirus pandemic was declared.

“We are excited to open this new inpatient unit during our 100th anniversary year," said Rebecca Gould (pictured at right), President and CFO of Schuyler Hospital. "While this year has not gone as planned based on COVID-19, we have been able to keep our project on-track with our patients and our community in mind. These improvements provide a new and enhanced healing environment and state-of-the-art technology that will allow our hospital’s staff to give more coordinated care and provide our patients and their families with the comfort and support that they need. We designed these improvements to meet our patients’ needs now and into the future.”

The new Medical-Surgical unit includes 12 large, single rooms and four semi-private beds. Improved monitoring allows nurses to check each patient’s status from a central station and quickly respond to monitor alerts detecting changes in a patient’s condition. The new design provides a pleasant, healing environment with an open central space that gives nurses an unobstructed view to private patient rooms located along the unit’s perimeter.

Phase II includes the complete renovation of the former Medical-Surgical unit into a 9,185 square foot new Primary Care Center -- a 53 percent expansion -- that is telehealth enabled and will offer improved care coordination. This move will enhance patient care by locating the Primary Care Clinic to the front of the building and adjacent to the Specialty Clinic and improve interdisciplinary coordination for treatment plans.

“Having Primary Care in our main building, and under one roof, will be a great convenience to our patients,” said Matthew Rouff, Executive Director, Outpatient and Support Services at Schuyler Hospital and the project’s manager. “When patients see their physicians and get an order for bloodwork or x-rays, they only have to walk a few steps to get the tests done that day in the same building.”

In anticipation of the expansion, work began in November 2018 on new and expanded parking lots to support the Transformation project. The Phase 1 project cost is primarily covered by the $10.3 million grant from New York’s Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program. The grant was the largest of six grants, totaling $40 million, awarded in 2017 to hospitals and health-care programs in the Southern Tier. The new project follows a $6.5 million renovation funded by a state grant in 2014 that improved the hospital’s clinical laboratory, operating rooms, out-patient registration area, and gift shop, as well as its main entrance and hallway.

The growth of specialty health-care services at Schuyler Hospital underscores how patient needs have been changing. In 2014, the hospital’s two specialists in orthopedics and general surgery had approximately 1,500 patient visits. By the end of 2019, nine specialists were at the hospital for over 4,700 patient visits. The range of on-site specialty care includes oncology, cardiology, gynecology, sleep/pulmonology, orthopedics, general surgery, wound care and ear, nose and throat care.

Photo in text: Schuyler Hospital President and CFO Rebecca Gould (File photo)

Chart presented at the Rotary meeting shows state regions and those regions that met the requirements to enter the Reopening's Phase One.

Reopening begins, with caution and hope

McKinney Cherry, O'Hearn discuss it with Rotarians

SCHUYLER COUNTY, May 14, 2020 -- The reopening of Schuyler County is beginning -- the start day: Friday, May 15 -- with a phased-in approach.

The Southern Tier region was one of four that met all of the metrics -- the necessary goals set by the state -- that permitted it to move forward to Phase 1 of a process designed to restart New York's economy from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.

This and subsequent phases -- and some other related matters -- were the subject of a talk presented online Thursday at the weekly Watkins-Montour Rotary Club by Rotarians Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), and Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn, who serves as the county’s representative on a Control Room panel overseeing the reopening of this region.

A total of 18 Rotarians were online for the meeting, which McKinney Cherry opened, with O’Hearn finishing up and answering some questions.

Those questions included one regarding enforcement of state rules regarding social distancing and face masks-- which O'Hearn said was a tricky subject given mixed signals from the state. Another dealt with whether hotels and motels have been and can be opened. The answer to that hotel/motel question is yes, they have and can be opened, as far as lodging goes, but no as far as food service is concerned.

McKinney Cherry outlined Phase 1, which includes construction businesses; agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting concerns; manufacturing; wholesale trade; and on a limited basis, retail businesses. Retailers are permitted to operate only in a curbside or instore pick-up fashion during Phase 1.

Phase 2 will come on May 29, and include retail stores, professional services, administration support, and real estate, rental and leasing operations. Phase 3, two weeks later, will include restaurants and food services, while Phase 4 will include the arts, entertainment, recreation and education. Schools are closed through the rest of the academic year, but await a decision on operating summer school.

These phases are all being implemented with a long list of safety and health regulations (including social distancing, cleaning and density-reduction plans) promulgated by the state -- a situation that reflects the approach in Schuyler, where McKinney Cherry said “we really need to guard zealously our health.” The county has been blessed with a mere smattering of coronavirus -- just 10 cases, with nine recovered and the tenth asymptomatic and currently isolated.

******

Schuyler County being dependent on outside visitors -- on tourism -- the matter of visitors bringing covid-19 in from other counties has been a source of concern. This was voiced by Rotary President Glenda Gephart, who said some local residents were alarmed at the relatively large number of visitors to the Watkins Glen State Park on a recent sunny Saturday.

O’Hearn addressed that issue, noting that Schuyler has been “very fortunate” to have just 10 cases and no fatalities “in the 70 days” since isolation became the norm. “It’s a testament to the community itself, which took to heart the Governor’s directives,” he said. Governor Andrew Cuomo has, in fact, issued 30 Executive Orders relating to the pandemic, including one basically giving him the right to renew all of the previous ones into June.

The move to reopen, O’Hearn said, is being carefully calibrated and studied. “We’re not just turning on the spigot, as the Governor likes to say. We’re slowly reopening the economy.”
But O'Hearn said that while he understands the concern of residents, “I’m glad to see the visitors. It’s a delicate balancing act, and I'm sensitive to both sides of the issue.” While the State Park is open, he added, mitigating measures are under way: campgrounds and the pool are not open, and other “density reduction measures” will soon be adopted, such as making park trails one-way.

The bottom line, he said, is Schuyler County needs visitors, the lifeblood of its economy.
“I do not agree with the parochial view,” where some people want “to build a wall around the county,” he said. While the pandemic has, and will, impact the county negatively, he said, welcoming visitors can help mitigate that. “As long as we continue to take steps to protect ourselves, and treat everyone as if they are infected, even if they're not, we’ll be fine. I’m not that concerned,” he said.

McKinney Cherry praised Schuyler Hospital for its generosity in offering covid-19 tests to business employers and their employees as they prepare to return to work -- an offer that she and O’Hearn said would not result in extra cost to the businesses or workers. “It will be picked up by insurance,” O’Hearn noted.

He said the county has been stockpiling face masks for use by the businesses -- but that the 10,000 on hand might only last a month or so. So the county is always seeking more.

In answer to a question, he said any restaurant offering a place outside where customers can eat food purchased at the restaurant are in violation of state rules, and will be until Phase 3 kicks in next month. He said, however, that if someone purchases food at, say, the Village Marina and then eats it at the adjoining Seneca Harbor Park -- spaced well away from other people -- then that’s okay. But eating on the grounds of the selling establishment is currently not allowed.

He also said that people awaiting hair and nail salons will have to wait indefinitely -- that they are not included in any of the planned state reopening phases. They were, he said, directly ordered closed by Executive Order, and that it will take a reversal by the Governor to open them. (Addendum on May 15: Governor Cuomo, after ducking a question May 14 regarding the reopening of hair salons, said Friday that they would be included in Phase 2.)

Anyone commenting on the pendamic on Facebook, he added, is being noticed by state officials. “The State knows what’s going on” in farflung places like Schuyler County, he said. “The things people put on Facebook get back to Albany. There is definitely monitoring going on.”

That prompted one Rotarian to remark that if you are using Facebook, you’d better not mention your hairstylist if you get treated to a forbidden haircut or dye session.

County Judge and Rotarian Matt Hayden mentioned that he has been trimming his own hair, and O’Hearn said he has been, too.

“That which I’m not losing, I cut,” O'Hearn said.

Photos from top: SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry; Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn; Schuyler County Judge Matt Hayden.

Chart showing the breakdown of the Reopening Phases in New York State. This was part of the presentation at the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club online meeting.

Face masks available to Schuyler businesses

WATKINS GLEN, May 14, 2020 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Schuyler County will, "commencing immediately," distribute disposable masks to businesses based in Schuyler County to assist them in the region’s phased reopening process.

Said Tim O’Hearn, Schuyler County Administrator: “While it is critical that we continue the social distancing protocols mandated by the Governor, we recognize that it can be a challenge to balance public health with customer relations. We are happy to assist in mitigating this conflict by supplying face coverings and thereby eliminating any excuse not to wear one.”

Rebekah Carroll, Executive Director of the Chamber, added this: “It is incredibly heartening to know that our region and county have been approved to commence Phase 1 of the state’s NY Forward Reopening plan. We welcome the opportunity to assist in this effort by distributing masks that have been provided by Schuyler County itself, to any and all businesses in Schuyler County that will need them as they begin hosting customers, and employees begin returning to work.”

Limited numbers of masks will be available, with the County doing all it can to help meet the mask needs of the business community in the coming days and weeks. The Chamber said businesses based in Schuyler County are invited to pick up the complimentary masks during specified hours at the Chamber offices at 214 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen.

While the offices have been closed for several weeks, with staff working remotely, beginning on Monday, May 18 at 10 a.m. a staff member will be present to distribute masks to businesses from that office. Masks can be picked up on the following days and times: Monday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Wednesday Noon-4 p.m.; Friday Noon-4 p.m.

Schuyler County businesses with questions about this program are encouraged to either visit the Chamber’s website at watkinsglenchamber.com/resourcescovid-19 or call (607) 535-4300.

Cayuga Health welcomes 'Heroes' home

Group returns from COVID-19 medical mission to NYC

ITHACA, May 8, 2020 -- Cayuga Health on Thursday welcomed home its "Healthcare Heroes" who left on April 8th for a medical mission to New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan to help fight COVID-19.

The Cayuga Health team, consisting of doctors, nurses and nurse-support staff, paired with teams from Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian. They spent several days learning the institutions’ standard practices and protocols. Once acclimated, they staffed an expansion ICU serving approximately 30-50 patients who needed additional care to manage severe pneumonia and other complications.

“We could not be prouder of our medical teams who have spent the past four weeks on the front lines of this pandemic helping our Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center counterparts to care for New Yorkers diagnosed with COVID-19,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO of Cayuga Health. “This sharing of humanitarian support certainly highlights the commitment of our community to the greater good beyond our own region.”

“Our committed physicians and healthcare staff have been on the front lines since this crisis began, working tirelessly to help heal and return home as many COVID-19 patients as possible,” said Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine and provost for medical affairs of Cornell University. “This heroic work requires all hands on deck, and we are profoundly grateful to Cayuga Health for its assistance in our hour of need.”

“We are extremely proud of our dedicated staff who have shown extraordinary courage, skill and resilience in caring for our patients through this crisis,” said Dr. Steven J. Corwin, president and CEO of New York-Presbyterian. “We are deeply grateful to Cayuga Health and to this remarkable team of doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals for stepping up to help us in this time of need. Their willingness to join our staff on the front lines of this pandemic is truly extraordinary.”

The Healthcare Heroes were welcomed home by family, co-workers and community members. In addition, a page on the website https://cayugahealthsystem.org/how-to-help/thank-you/ allowed people to create ‘Thank You’ messages that were then posted throughout Cayuga Health hospitals and practices. The page also has a downloadable We Love Our Healthcare Heroes banner that people could download, print and place on a door or window.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

Photo in text: Two busloads of Cayuga Health medical professionals are given a heroes send-off on April 8 on their mission to assist New York Presbyterian Hospital lin Manhattan with the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)

Wineries offering Mother's Day specials

Despite the pandemic, you can still celebrate mom in style -- as described here by the Seneca Lake Winery Association.

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, May 7, 2020 -- This will be a year to remember in many ways. But you can ensure that Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10) is little different through these unique offers from Seneca Lake wineries.

Lakewood Vineyards’ Brunch-in-a-Box contains three best-selling wines: Bubbly Candeo, Riesling, and Bubbly Catawba as well as two Belgian liege waffles from Send Me Waffles and maple syrup from Twin Brooks Maple for $45 plus tax and shipping. Order by calling 607-535-9252.

Miles Wine Cellars is offering a MOMosa Package, including two bottles of bubbly Riesling, Caché, two cans of pineapple juice, two stemless wine glasses, and a selection of assorted chocolates for $39.95. The package is available to have shipped via their online shop http://mileswinecellars.com/wineshop/ or for curbside pickup (email your order to info@mileswinecellars.com). In addition to the MOMosa package, enjoy 25% off all online wine sales and 25% off all curbside pickup wine orders. The MOMosa package price already reflects this discount.

Chateau LaFayette Reneau is offering a Mother’s Day Brunch Box -- choose sweet or savory! “Sweet” includes dark chocolate raspberry French toast, local maple syrup, fresh berry compote, fresh house-made yogurt, and local green salad. Brunch for four -- $42. “Savory” includes fresh spring asparagus and gruyere quiche, fresh fruit salad, local green salad, patatas bravas with aoli. Brunch for 4-6 is $46. There is also a slew of add-ons and a la carte items available. Order by calling 607-546-2062.

Wouldn’t mom love a famed Three Brothers slushie? Check out their slushie kits available online for just $29.95: https://www.shopthreebros.com/search?q=slushie+kit. Available in a variety of flavors and styles including wine and hard cider.

Leidenfrost Vineyards is offering some special discounts over Mother’s Day weekend including 10% off any purchase of 3 bottles, plus an extra 10% off on 6 bottles (stackable with the pre-existing 10% off 6 bottles) and 12 bottles (stackable with the pre-existing 25% off case discount). All orders come with a Mother’s Day card and two free tasting coupons to use on your next visit to the tasting room. These deals are available Friday, May 8 through Monday, May 11. Visit their online store: www.leidenfrostwine.com/store and use coupon code “MOTHERSDAY10”.

Fox Run is offering free shipping on 6 bottles or more (up to 2 cases). Use the coupon code “CompedShipping” at checkout in their online wine shop: www.shop.foxrunvineyards.com/storefront.aspx. They’re also offering a new Tierce Riesling vertical pack including 1 bottle of Tierce Riesling from 2015, 2016, and 2017. The cost is $90 and you can shop online to purchase.

Belhurst Estate Winery is offering “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” on their wines, mix and match from any of their historical collection, sparkling wines, reds, or whites. Call 315-781-0201 Ext. 8 or email wineshop@belhurst.com to place your order. Curbside pickup is available from their wine shop which is open from 11am to 7pm daily.

Bagley’s Poplar Ridge Vineyards is offering three-packs -- a sweet version for $29 or a dry version for $39. Each package includes 3 pre-selected bottles. Curbside pickup at the winery. Call 607-582-6421 or visit www.bagleysprv.com/shop to place your order online.

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards will celebrate all moms on Sunday, May 10 by offering $2 off slushies and $1 off slushy refills. Their definition of “mom” includes pet moms and “like-a-mom”/mother figures. Slushies are available for curbside pickup only. To receive the discount, mention “Slushy for Mom” when placing your order. Call 607-546-9463 for flavors and pricing.

Remember that Seneca Lake wineries are still operating, despite the shutdown, with ongoing promotions, virtual tasting experiences, and more. Visit www.senecalakewine.com to learn more and stay in touch!

Founded in 1986, the Seneca Lake Winery Association, known publicly as the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to promoting its member wineries; to developing a spirit of cooperation between members of the association; to developing an outstanding wine producing and tourism area; to stimulating interest in wine in general and the wines of Seneca Lake, specifically; and to gaining recognition of the Seneca Lake Winery Association as an independent leader in the grape growing, wine, and tourism initiatives.

Cayuga Health teams up with Rheonix to provide same-day turnaround for testing

Cayuga Medical Center is 1st hospital in NY to use this new technology

ITHACA, April 30, 2020 -- Cayuga Health and Ithaca-based Rheonix Inc. announced Thursday that they are now able to provide same-day turnaround for COVID-19 test results.

Rheonix received Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for the Rheonix COVID-19TM MDx Assay on Wednesday.. The rapid sample-to-answer test enables the fully automated detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, directly from respiratory samples. The test is designed to operate on the Rheonix Encompass MDx workstation, and will facilitate same-day results at distributed testing locations.

Rheonix Inc., a company based in Cornell University’s Business and Technology Park, and founded by Ithacan Greg Galvin, Ph.D., is built around the goal of addressing unmet needs for rapid, sensitive and specific molecular testing across a variety of markets. This idea led to the invention of the Rheonix CARD cartridge and Encompass family of workstations, fully automated, highly versatile and easy-to-use testing systems.

“We are thrilled to team with Rheonix, located right here in Ithaca," said Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. "Their technology and expertise has enabled us to be able to provide same day results for COVID-19 testing -- one of the quickest turnaround times in our region. We were successful with opening one of the first COVID-19 drive-through sampling centers in our state and will continue to do what it takes to fight this epidemic and meet the healthcare needs of our community, right here.”

“I am incredibly happy to be able to support Cayuga Health -- Rheonix’s hometown health system -- with their fight against this COVID-19 pandemic by giving them the ability to provide same-day test results to their patients,” said Greg Galvin, President, CEO & Chairman of the Board of Directors, Rheonix Inc. “Because our fully automated system is so easy to deploy and operate, it’s a perfect solution for rapid testing in hospitals like Cayuga Health. The faster people can get diagnosed, the faster they can get treated, and the faster we can turn the corner on this pandemic.”

“We typically see between 150-250 patients a day at the sampling center and before implementing the Rheonix system it could take a few days to get the test results back,” said Dr. Elizabeth Plocharczyk, Specialist in Anatomical and Clinical Pathology at Cayuga Health. “Until now, we had been sending the samples to a large commercial lab for testing. With this new test method we can process around 200 samples per day, right here in the hospital. ”

The Cayuga Health/Tompkins County Sampling Center, which opened March 24, is available for drive-through testing from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday. A new website with on-line registration is available at www.cayugahealth.org for patients to review the screening criteria and pre-register before their arrival, allowing greater efficiencies with patient volume and decreased wait times.

In addition, a call center has been set up for patients who may not have access to the internet, need assistance registering, or have questions. The call center number is 607-319-5708. Individuals are strongly encouraged to pre-register prior to coming to the site.

The Sampling Center is located in portable structures at The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot and is staffed by experienced and knowledgeable Cayuga Health employees. Screening includes obtaining respiratory samples, which are then sent to Cayuga Health Laboratory for results.

Patients entering the screening location by car can tune into FM 96.3 to receive instructions about driving through the Sampling Center. In addition, signs will convey important information to assist with traffic control. If you do not have transportation, please do not take public transportation to the sampling center. Cayuga Health and Tompkins County officials are working closely to determine if mobile sampling is available or other transportation options. The public will be updated about these options. Pre-registration is also available online at www.cayugahealth.org or by calling 607-319-5708.

As directed by Governor Cuomo, COVID-19 testing is free for all New Yorkers, regardless of health insurance.

Cayuga Health to resume elective surgeries

Cayuga Medical Center is prepared and ready to begin
servicing surgical patients the week of May 4th,
Schuyler Hospital May 12th

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, April 27, 2020 -- Cayuga Health says it has met Governor Cuomo’s requirements to begin performing outpatient elective surgeries.

Cayuga Medical Center will resume the week of May 4, 2020 and Schuyler Hospital on May 12th. The NYS requirements consist of fewer than 10 new hospitalizations of coronavirus patients in the county over the past 10 days. Patients also must test negative for COVID-19 before undergoing a surgical procedure.

“For the past seven weeks, COVID-19 has impacted our operation throughout Cayuga Health System. Per the Governor’s announcement last week, our team is preparing, and getting ready. Safety is our first priority on meeting the needs of our elective surgery patients,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO of Cayuga Health, adding:

“We are ready and able to resume elective surgery with an adequate supply of PPE, all infection control measures will be followed, and safety monitoring is already in place to make sure our patients are safe. Our team in surgical services has been working hard over the past several weeks to prepare for the reopening of outpatient elective surgeries and we are ready to resume.

“We want to thank our providers and employees for their dedication and support during this very challenging period,” said Stallone. “Throughout this public health emergency, I am very proud of the response, dedication, and flexibility of our entire team. Together, we have been able to meet the many challenges presented by COVID-19 head on and we will continue to make sure our patients feel safe under our care.”

Testing for COVID-19 is available at the Cayuga Health Sampling Site located at The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot, 40 Catherwood Rd., between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. A website with on-line registration is available at www.cayugahealth.org for patients to review the screening criteria and pre-register before their arrival, allowing greater efficiencies with patient volume and decreased wait times.

In addition, a call center has been set up for patients who may not have access to the internet, need assistance registering, or have questions. The call center number is 607-319-5708. Individuals are strongly encouraged to pre-register prior to coming to the site.

The Sampling Center is located in portable structures at The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot and is staffed by experienced and knowledgeable Cayuga Health employees.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

Cayuga Health sends 'Healthcare Heroes'
on COVID-19 medical mission to NYC

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, April 7, 2020 -- Cayuga Health filled two Cornell Campus-to-Campus buses on Wednesday with doctors, nurses and other professional staff embarking on a medical mission to Manhattan to assist with the New York City COVID-19 pandemic.

Cornell University provided the two buses to transport the teams from Cayuga Medical Center at 8:30 a.m. to New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.

“We are proud to be sending such outstanding medical professionals and true ‘Healthcare Heroes’ to assist hard-hit New York City in fighting this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. “Special thanks to Cornell University for providing the transportation of our teams.”

“These volunteers, and all of the health care workers at the forefront of this pandemic, are acting with courage and compassion in a situation that is both unprecedented and incredibly challenging,” said Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack. “Together with our essential workers, like police, firefighters, facilities workers, food and grocery workers and others, they deserve every support we can offer them as they help to meet the critical human needs in this crisis.”

“We will continue to do what it takes to fight this epidemic and meet the healthcare needs of our community and beyond,” said Stallone. “We may be a small community, but our employees have huge hearts and we know that we can step up and help out in a big way.”

Photo in text: Two busloads of Cayuga Health medical professionals were given a heroes send-off Wednesday on their mission to assist New York Presbyterian Hospital lin Manhattan with the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo provided)

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

B2B Meet Up connects area businesses

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 3, 2020 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its second, virtual B2B Meet Up event on Wednesday, April 8, enabling businesses from Schuyler County and the Finger Lakes Region to share ideas and opportunities.

"During this challenging time," the Chamber said in a press release, "it is imperative that our businesses continue to offer both products and services that are relevant in this radical new environment, while innovating and developing an emergent success plan, all while continuing to network and build business relationships -- and we are here to help!"

"This virtual meeting series is designed to support business leaders and owners of all sizes and types. Each session will begin with welcoming remarks, followed by our special keynote speaker covering a topic that is relevant to the immediate, ever-changing business climate we stride through every day. Attendees are invited to introduce themselves and their businesses, sharing ideas and growing their established network to help themselves and each other prosper.

"Each session will also feature a skills presenter who will discuss ways you can assist your businesses during this challenging time, followed by an inspirational presentation to help keep attendees grounded and focused. Each session will end with updates from the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director, Rebekah Carroll, with time for a question-and-answer session to wrap things up."

All Finger Lakes Region businesses, whether they reside in Schuyler County or beyond, and whether they are a Chamber member or not, are invited to attend this online gathering. Details on how to participate are posted on the Chamber’s official Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/watkinsglenareachamberofcommerce/, or can be obtained by emailing Events Manager Liz Salamendra at liz@watkinsglenchamber.com .

Scholarship named in Harrington's honor

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 1, 2020 -- For many years, the Business and Education Committee of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce has offered a $1,000 scholarship, which can only be applied towards higher learning expenses, to high school seniors in the Bradford, Odessa-Montour, and Watkins Glen schools, and home school students in the respective districts.

This year the scholarship program has been formally named in honor of Debra Harrington, a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and a passionate advocate for leadership development and enhanced educational programs for students.

Harrington (pictured at right), who died on Dec. 29, 2019 at the age of 54, was a member of the Chamber’s Business and Education Committee. She was also a member of the team that founded the iLead Class at Watkins Glen High School, and SPARK! Regional Leadership Summit. She was a supporter of, and volunteer for, the Chamber’s Annual Business Expo, and served for several years on the Chamber’s Board of Directors, and on the Board of Education in the Odessa-Montour Central School District.

"Through all of these commitments" the Chamber said in a press release, "Deb made it abundantly clear that her involvement with the high school and its students was her primary passion."

Added Rebekah Carroll, the Chamber's Executive Director , “Because of her involvement, and as way to keep Deb, her memory, and her passion alive, we are all honored to name this scholarship in her memory.”

Applicants are asked to identify an opportunity to improve the quality of life for Schuyler County residents and make recommendations for how that can be accomplished. To apply, students must complete an application form available at the Chamber’s website, and submit a 1,000-2,000 word essay on the chosen topic. Once the application deadline has been reached, three final candidates will be invited to present their essays to the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business and Education Committee, after which that committee will select the scholarship winner.

Completed applications and accompanying responses must be emailed as PDF files by April 30, 2020 to Liz Salamendra at liz@watkinsglenchamber.com. Questions about this opportunity can also be emailed to Salamendra using the same address. Additional scholarship details, and the application, can be found at: https://www.watkinsglenchamber.com/chamber-info/committees/business-and-education.

Photo in text: Debra Harrington (File photo)

Hospital setting up mask production site

Volunteers, equipment needed; Human Services Complex selected

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 31, 2020 -- Schuyler Hospital is setting up a procedural mask production site in Montour Falls, and volunteers are needed.

Volunteers are being asked by the hospital to sign up in advance so a schedule can be made. Email volunteer@schuylerhospital.org with availability, or call (607) 535-7121.

The location will be Room 120 in the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls (former Jamesway building), starting Thursday, April 2, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Volunteers are encouraged to work a 2-to-3-hour shift.

The production site is the second one being established by the Cayuga Health System.  Production is also taking place at Cornell University's Bartels Hall, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m..

Specific requests include:

--Non-sewing volunteers to aid in the supply of materials and to pack masks to be sent back daily into the supply chain at both Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Medical Center. Patterns are being cut from blue wrap from surgical instruments being upcycled.

--Sewing volunteers are asked to bring sewing machines, rotary cutter with extra blade, cutting ruler, sewing needles (size 90), all-purpose sewing thread, pipe cleaners, and Sewing cleaning supplies (lint brush/oil).

Each work area will maintain social distancing, and infection prevention measures will be in place.

“The material we are using for the masks is surgical wrapping, the same material we use to make warm blankets for area residents in need, “ said Carol O’Driscoll RN, BSN, BS and Sr. Director Perioperative Services, Cayuga Medical Center. “The surgical wraps are 4-by-4-foot sheets used to heat-sterilize surgical instruments. They are durable, waterproof and sterile and they don't come in contact with patients.”

Volunteers may also sew cloth masks at home, and should contact Tiffany Bloss at the Schuyler Health Foundation for details at (607) 873-3189 or blosst@schuylerhospital.org.

About Cayuga Health

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© The Odessa File 2021
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

E-mail chaef@aol.com