To visit the
Agriculture Page,
click here.

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

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Click on the ad below to go to the website featuring

Lakewood Vineyards

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Be sure to visit

Watkins Glen
Winter Farmer's Market

November 1 to February 28
Fridays 3 to 6pm
St. James Parish Hall
on Sixth Street

Fresh produce, meats and crafts

Find us on Facebook.

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

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We are open:
Tuesday-Friday 8-8
Saturday 8-2

Simply Your Best

Hair - Skin - Nails. JoAnna Sindone's salon at 4588 Route 224, west of Odessa, offers a variety of services:

Phone: 607-594-2811.

To reach the Simply Your Best website, click here.

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To reach the Seneca Design Studio website, click on the ad below.

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To visit the Schuyler County Historical Society website, click here.

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

For information on The Arc of Schuyler, click on the ad below or here.

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Click on ad below to go to the Lake Country Players website.

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

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To reach the Mattress website, click here.

To reach the Jeff's On-Site Services website, click here.

Providing Service Since 1985

Holiday Lights-Schuyler Style contest set

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Nov. 23, 2021 -- Business owners and residents of Schuyler County are being invited to participate in the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce (WGACC) second annual Holiday Lights - Schuyler Style contest.

The event is part of Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions, organized by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. Light displays must be in place by December 10, 2021, and remain in place through January 10, 2022. Voting begins on December 10, 2021, and extends through January 10, 2022.

Voting will be invited by Schuyler County residents and those visiting Schuyler County during the competition. More than $2,000 in prizes will be awarded to entries in the following categories:

  • Businesses in Schuyler County
  • Homes (Owned/Rented) in Schuyler County
  • Farms/Barns in Schuyler County
  • Non-Profits/Not-for-Profits in Schuyler County
  • Most votes from Schuyler County residents
  • Most votes from visitors to Schuyler County

The application and criteria for judging are available online at www.explorewatkinsglen.com/things-to-do/holiday-happenings-winter-traditions/holiday-lights-schuyler-style-participate/.

Complete Details Follow
To participate in the second annual Holiday Lights - Schuyler Style, complete the application form here. A map of all entries will be prepared and posted online for voters to download. Voters will be asked to consider the following when casting their ballot.

  • Did the entry incorporate the 2021-2022 theme of international holiday and winter celebrations in the display?
  • Did the entry incorporate symbols found in the Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions logo, for instance a Christmas tree, menorah, kinara, and symbols for winter solstice, Chinese New Year, and Los Ponchos?
  • Did the entry focus on the meaning of one symbol, represent a combination of the symbols depicted, or incorporate other symbols that represent additional holiday or winter traditions?
  • Did the entry incorporate Watkins Glen Promotion’s (WGP) Village Christmas theme of “Visions of CandyLand” in combination with an international holiday/winter tradition?

More than $2,000 in cash prizes (and some trophies and ribbons as well) will be awarded, including the following.

  • Home Display (owned or rented) - $200 for First Prize, sponsored by Warren Real Estate
  • Business Display - Free one-year WGACC Membership for First Prize
  • Non- or not-for-profit Display - $350 for First Prize
  • Farm/Barn Display - $250 for First Prize
  • Best of Contest Local Vote (In-County Zip Codes) - $500 - most votes online with zip codes
  • and Best of Contest Visitor Vote (Out-of-County Zip Codes) - $500 - most votes online with zip codes

In case of ties a committee of judges will break the ties by a majority of vote.

Participants must adhere to the following rules.

  • All Federal, State, and Local Laws are to be adhered to with regards to lights, sounds, zoning, and curfews, etc. WGACC and WGP cannot and will not be held liable for any infractions.
  • Safety and courteousness of, and to, participants, spectators, and neighboring homes, properties, and businesses must be a top priority. Viewing must be complimentary (no fee).
  • All registrations for participants must be turned into the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce (WGACC) at 214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891 by Friday, December 3, by 12pm (Noon). Registrations may also be emailed to katherine@watkinsglenchamber.com or faxed to 607-535-6243 by the same date and time. All participants must complete an online registration form with only one category selected. Email Katherine (katherine@watkinsglenchamber.com) for Registration Form or call 607-535-4300 to request a Registration Form.
  • All venues are discouraged from hosting social gatherings. Ideally, all viewing can and should happen by vehicle drive-by and/or a stroll that allows safe physical/social distancing on a public sidewalk. Displays need to be lit from 5pm to 11pm each evening and should look nice by day as well if possible and not have any dangerous elements to creators or spectators.
  • Displays must be available through January 10, 2022, at 11pm. Please refresh and maintain as necessary. Votes may be cast throughout the 32-day competition.
  • Most importantly, no matter how big or small the decorating/display is, keep the spirit of the season in mind as you create. Displays should embrace seasonal traditions. Organizers look forward to a fun, friendly, and safe competition!

"The Wedding Singer" band of (from left) Gavin Lewis (Sammy), Alex Gill (Robbie Hart, the title character) and Christopher Yerkes (George) perform in the opening scene.

LCP's 'Wedding Singer' ends 3-day run

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Nov. 14, 2021 -- What do dumpsters, Miatas and Flashdancing have in common?

All were part of The Lake Country Players’ production of “The Wedding Singer,” which opened in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium Friday night, Nov. 12, was presented again Saturday night, Nov. 13, and concluded its run with a Sunday matinee on Nov. 14.

The cast of about two dozen included people from ages 17-67 from many surrounding communities and a wide array of careers.

The show is based loosely on the Adam Sandler movie, with a lot more music (directed by Kim Laursen) and choreography (directed by Kelsey Johnson). It takes place in the 1980’s in Ridgefield, NJ, and tells the story of Robbie Hart (Alex Gill) and his band of Sammy (Gavin Lewis) and George (Christopher Yerkes), who have made a name for themselves singing at wedding receptions. Love triangles evolve with two waitresses at the reception hall -- Julia (Kelsey Johnson) and Holly (AnnaBeth Wheaton). Julia becomes engaged to wealthy, slightly slimey executive Glen Guglia (Matt Kelly), and Robbie is jilted at the altar by his gold-digger fiancé Linda (Kristin Heichel). Robbie’s Gramma Rosie (Gail Lewis) tries to comfort him when Linda dumps him, but he falls in love with Julia while acting as her wedding advisor. Robbie thinks that he needs to make a lot of money to win Julia’s heart as expressed in the ensemble number “All About the Green.”

Does Robbie really win Julia’s heart, or does she marry Glen for money? Robbie needs some help along the way from the impersonators: Ronald Reagan (Anthony Curren), Billy Idol (Chad Maurice), Tina Turner (Melissa Norton), Cyndi Lauper (Melissa Neufer) and Imelda Marcos (Ann Roney).

All Covid protocols applied, and the audience had to be masked.

Photo in text: Kelsey Johnson as Julia Sullivan sings in the opening act.

Backed by Spirit of Schuyler board members, the four young fund-raisers hold the check they presented Saturday. From left, they are Norah Stegner, Lydia Schubmehl, Lucas Schubmehl and Rowen Stegner.

4 Watkins Glen kids raise $1,001 for SOS

Spirit of Schuyler -- and county residents in need -- benefit from the effort

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Oct. 9, 2021 -- Talk about your civic-minded younger generation.

Four young Watkins Glen citizens -- three of them 9 years old and one 13 -- presented the Spirit of Schuyler organization with a check Saturday morning for $1,001 in a ceremony at McGillicuddy's Bar & Grill in Montour Falls. Spirit of Schuyler is a non-profit that provides emergency funding for county residents in need.

The kids raised the money through selling cookies and lemonade at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival in downtown Watkins Glen on September 10, at the busy corner of Fourth and Franklin Streets in front of the Cabins to Castles Real Estate.

The fund-raisers are Norah Stegner, 13, and her sister Rowen, 9, along with twins Lucas and Lydia Schubmehl, both 9.

Norah says she likes to bake, and decided she could raise some funds to donate to a worthy cause by making and selling cookies. Her mom, Stacey Parrish -- who runs Cabins to Castles -- suggested Norah might raise the money for the Spirit of Schuyler.

Norah made chocolate chip, oatmeal and half-moon cookies, which she said sold out fairly quickly on the day of the Grand Prix Festival.

Joining her on the busy corner -- with lemonade to sell -- were Norah’s sister Rowen and the Schubmehl siblings.

While the idea to raise funds was Norah’s, “she was kind enough to allow the other kids to sell lemonade,” said the Schubmehls' father, Jesse, who explained that his family lives just a block from the Stegner kids, and that the nine-year-olds are classmates in the Watkins Glen school district and friends. Jesse operates McGillicuddy's, where the presentation took place.

It seems like $1,001 would require a lot of cookies and lemonade, but the parents of the children (Dennis Stegner was on hand at the check presentation with Stacey, and Keri Schubmehl was there with Jesse) said many people donated extra funds, often $20, in reaction to the good cause chosen by the children.

The kids also drummed up business by carrying signs along Franklin Street directing festival-goers to the lemonade and cookie stands.

Accepting the check Saturday were officers of the Spirit of Schuyler, led by its president, Tony Vickio, and his wife Harriett, along with their daughter Beth Howard and board members Renee Riley, Dena Carrigan, Gary Whyman, Chris Wickham and Bob Dill.

The Vickios were effusive in their praise for what the kids had done -- how their act of civic kindness will have far-reaching effects for those in need who the Spirit of Schuyler helps.

And the kids?

“They were pretty excited,” said Jesse. “They didn’t know” about the check presentation until “people from the Spirit of Schuyler started arriving for it.”

Other than being the center of attention, they were excited later, he said, by “seeing their picture on Facebook.”

Photos in text:

Top: Lydia Schubmehl signs the check for $1,001 signed by all the kids and presented to the Spirit of Schuyler.

Bottom: Holding the Certificates of Achievement they received from the Spirit of Schuyler are, from left, Norah Stegner, Lydia Schubmehl, Lucas Schubmehl and Rowen Stegner. Each certificate read: "Spirit of Schuyler recognizes (name) for embodying the spirit of giving, putting others first, and giving back to community neighbors in need. The world is a better place because of you."

SCOPE, Getman give out 100+ gun locks

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 3, 2021 -- The Schuyler County Chapter of the Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE), in conjunction with the Office of Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman, gave away more than 100 free cable-style gun locks to Schuyler County families at the Montour Falls Harvest Fest on Saturday, Oct. 2.

According to Getman, the giveaway helps ensure that gun owners are in compliance with New York's strict firearms storage laws, which require them to lock up their firearms while living in a home with someone under the age of 16.

The locks can also be obtained from the county attorney's office by calling 607-535-8121 during normal business hours and scheduling a pickup time. One lock will be available per household and will be provided on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Supplies are limited.

"We encourage county residents to pick up a free lock so that they can securely store their firearm," said Getman. "The locks fit on most types of handguns, rifles and shotguns. The cable is threaded through the weapon and blocks the barrel or the use of ammunition. It's secured by a padlock and key. The goal is to prevent a young child or another unauthorized person from accessing a firearm in the home."

SCOPE is a non-partisan statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to educating the public about firearm ownership, second amendment rights and legislation. The Schuyler County chapter's meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. in January, March, May and October at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge, 2096 St. Rt. 14.

The Schuyler County Attorney is the legal advisor to the county legislature, county administrator and other county officials. In addition, the county attorney prosecutes family court cases of child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency and other civil matters on behalf of county officials.

Photo in text: Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman (right) with SCOPE members Dan Phillips, Les Wilson and Bob Edwards) handing out free gun locks at Saturday's Falls Harvest Festival in Montour Falls. (Photo provided)

Hear Street Racing stories on History Walk

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 26, 2021 --  Racing historian Bill Green and Watkins Glen Village Historian Jim Scaptura will lead a walk through the village’s street racing history on Saturday, Oct. 2.

The first races on the streets of Watkins Glen and the roads of surrounding towns were on Oct. 2, 1948.

Walk participants are asked to meet at 10 a.m. at the original start-finish line in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen. The one-hour walk will happen rain or shine.

It is free and sponsored by the Schuyler County Historical Society.

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

Photo in text: Sports cars raced on Watkins Glen streets and town roads from 1948-1952. In this photograph, a large 1950 crowd enjoys the view looking east onto Fourth Street from today’s Gifford Park at Milliken’s Corner. They’re watching the rolling-start pace lap of the Seneca Cup. Racing history experts will share racing history stories on a guided walk on Saturday, Oct. 2, the anniversary of the first race. (Photo provided)

Historic Lee School open house set for Oct. 2

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 24, 2021 -- As part of the Montour Falls Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 2, the historic Lee School will be open to visitors from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hosts from the Schuyler County Historical Society will help visitors understand the experience of learning in a one-room schoolhouse.

The Lee School is located on Route 14, on the southern edge of Montour Falls. It was built in 1884 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The red, barn-style, painted clapboard building was typical to the mid-to-late 19th century farming communities of the area. It has a large wood-burning stove, school desks, books, blackboards and an antique world globe, all exhibited as they would have been used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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

Cotton & Hanlon delivery trucks and drivers fill the service area at the business’s Odessa retail yard in this 1931 photograph from “The Cotton Hanlon Story.” Cotton-Hanlon is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Cotton-Hanlon's 100-year history will be presented in discussion on September 26

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 18, 2021 -- In 1921, B.J. Cotton and H.A. Hanlon formed a partnership to operate sawmills in East Smithfield and Columbia Cross Roads in Pennsylvania and North Chemung in New York.

One hundred years later, the Schuyler County Historical Society is hosting Cotton-Hanlon President Michael Hanlon on Sunday, Sept. 26, to discuss the company’s history.

The talk will be at 2 p.m. at the Odessa Municipal Building Community Room. The talk is free. Due to continuing concerns about community health, masks will be required. Cotton-Hanlon artifacts and photographs will be displayed.

H.A. Hanlon was a lumberman in Chemung County, and B.J. Cotton was a merchant and lumberman in Tioga County, NY, when they began to work together. Over the decades, Cotton-Hanlon has been a forest manager, lumber manufacturer and renowned retailer. Generations of Schuyler residents worked for Cotton-Hanlon across the region or shopped at the store in Odessa.

For more information about the talk, call the Brick Tavern Museum at (607) 535-9741 or email director@schuylerhistory.org.

Webcam showing Seneca is now online

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 14, 2021 -- A new webcam is online thanks to a partnership between BOSS Security & Automation, Seneca Harbor Station, and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

View the live feed here: https://www.ipcamlive.com/613a21ff4cf8d

“The lake is one of our region’s most important treasures,” said Chamber Executive Director Michael Hardy. “Community members and visitors alike relax and renew with activities on Seneca Lake. Boating, kayaking, tubing, fishing, sailing, swimming, sightseeing ... Seneca Lake offers something for everyone, even pets. We are excited to share Seneca Lake’s beauty with the world via this webcam.”

BOSS Security & Automation installed the system in a secure location on Seneca Harbor Station’s property. The webcam will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Seneca Lake has been a part of my life forever,” said Mark Simiele, owner of Seneca Harbor Station. “We enjoy the opportunity to share it with as many people as possible at our waterfront restaurant and aboard our cruises. Other than being a centerpiece for Schuyler County’s tourism industry, Seneca Lake serves many diverse and important purposes. It’s a haven for those looking to recreate. It’s crucial to our eco-system, supporting hundreds of species. It moderates the temperature, making our region ideal for viticulture.”

"This project was a great collaboration between the Chamber, Seneca Harbor Station, and us at BOSS Security and Automation,” said Matthew Putt, Director of Technology, BOSS Security and Automation. “For myself, this particular view of Seneca Lake has always been the first to come to mind during my travels when explaining to others the grandeur and beauty of Upstate New York and the Finger Lakes region.

"So many memories have been made in this very spot by so many, and now they have the opportunity to visit this view again no matter where they are in the world. I hope the memories put smiles on their faces, they are reminded of all our region has to offer, and are encouraged to visit us again."

Schuyler County Farm Trail Weekend:
10 of the area's farms will open for tours

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Aug. 31, 2021 -- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County will host the second annual Schuyler County Farm Trail Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25 and 26.

Ten of the finest farms throughout Schuyler County will open to the public, offering tours, tastings, hayrides, demonstrations, apple picking, shopping, and opportunities to meet the farm animals.

Admission to the farms is complimentary. Guests can purchase produce and goodies from the farms, including hand-crafted cheeses, apples, veggies, jams, cider, donuts, pies, and alpaca products. The event is supported with an award from the Tourism Assistance Program (TAP).

Participating farms are listed below.

Additional details are available online: http://cceschuyler.org/agriculture/schuyler-county-farm-trail-weekend-2021.

Participating farms:

Saturday, Sept. 25:

Cheerful Cherry Farm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
3723 County Road 2, Hector.
Highlights: This is a u-pick produce farm (as available), featuring tomatoes, cherries, apples, jalapenos, sweet peppers, cucumbers, and Italian stringless green beans.

Four Seasons Alpacas -- Celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4418 Six Corners Road, Dundee.
Highlights: Farm tours and an array of products for purchase including alpaca rugs, throws, wall hanging, hats, gloves, scarves, and pillows.

Hawk Meadow Farm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
5066 Mott Evans Road, Trumansburg.
Highlights: Farm tours, log-grown mushrooms, and mushroom products for sale; maple syrup and herbal skincare products also available for sale.

Muddy Fingers Farm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
3859 Dugue Road, Hector.
Highlights: Diverse vegetable production and produce for sale.

Ort Family Farm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2761 Yorski Road, Bradford.
Highlights: More than 100 flavors of fruit jams and jellies, herbal tea blends made from farm grown fruit and herbs, and potted fruiting plants. Bartlett Family Farm will also be on site with an assortment of maple products. Ford Farm will attend with a selection of fall vegetables and more.

Reisinger's Apple Country/Apples and Moore LLC: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
2750 Apple Lane, Watkins Glen.
Highlights: U-pick apples, pears, zinnia flowers, and pumpkins available. In the farm store: donuts, cider, maple syrup, honey, jams, and jellies.

Russell's Alpaca Acres -- Celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4047 Newtown  Road, Burdett.
Highlights: Take a tour, visit the newborn baby alpaca, and learn about raising alpacas. Alpaca products, yarn, and raw fleece will be available to purchase.

Seneca Valley Dairy Farm: Tours at 10 a.m., 12 noon and 2 p.m. only.
3758 County Route 8, Burdett.
Highlights: Visit a working dairy farm. See cows, milking parlor, and other farm experiences.

Shtayburne Farm Creamery: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2909 Chase Road, Rock Stream.
Highlights: An old-fashioned working dairy farm with cows and hand-crafted artisan cheeses, featuring cheese-making demos.

Sunset View Creamery: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4970 County Route 14, Odessa.
Highlights: A dairy farm nestled in the rolling hills of Schuyler County, offering tours, hayrides, activities for kids, and shopping. Hand-crafted cheese, locally sourced beef, free-range eggs, fudge, maple syrup, honey, jams, and jellies are available.

Sunday, Sept. 26:

Cheerful Cherry Farm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
3723 County Road 2, Hector.
Highlights: This is a u-pick produce farm (as available), featuring tomatoes, cherries, apples, jalapenos, sweet peppers, cucumbers, and Italian stringless green beans.

Four Seasons Alpacas -- Celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days: Noon to 4 p.m.
4418 Six Corners Road, Dundee.
Highlights: Farm tours and an array of products for purchase including, alpaca rugs, throws, wall hanging, hats, gloves, scarves ,and pillows.

Russell's Alpaca Acres -- Celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4047 Newtown Road, Burdett.
Highlights: Take a tour, visit the newborn baby alpaca, and learn about raising alpacas. Alpaca products, yarn, and raw fleece will be available to purchase.

Ort Family Farm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2761 Yorski Road, Bradford.
Highlights: More than 100 flavors of fruit jams and jellies, herbal tea blends made from farm grown fruit and herbs, and potted fruiting plants. Bartlett Family Farm will also be on site with an assortment of maple products.

Reisinger's Apple Country/Apples and Moore LLC: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2750 Apple Lane, Watkins Glen.
Highlights: U-pick apples, pears, zinnia flowers, and pumpkins available. In the farm store: donuts, cider, maple syrup, honey, jams, and jellies.

Seneca Valley Dairy Farm: Tours at 10 a.m., 12 noon and 2 p.m. only.
3758 County Route 8, Burdett.
Highlights: Visit a working dairy farm. See cows, milking parlor, and other farm experiences.

Sunset View Creamery: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4970 County Route 14, Odessa.
Highlights: A dairy farm nestled in the rolling hills of Schuyler County, offering tours, hayrides, activities for kids, and shopping. Hand-crafted cheese, locally sourced beef, free-range eggs, fudge, maple syrup, honey, jams and jellies are available.

New sponsorship marks GP Festival return

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Aug. 19, 2021 -- Drivers in one of the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival’s most popular events will have a new “starting line” this year as they gather at The Tasting Barn for the Ryan William Vineyard Founders Tour, one of the Festival’s Stone Bridge Driver events.

The Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival celebrates the history of U.S. road racing after World War II, which began in Watkins Glen with street racing from 1948-1952. This year’s festival will be held on Friday, September 10, and will bring back the crowds, the cars, and the excitement that fans missed with the absence of the event in 2020. Once again, Franklin Street in the village will be closed from 12:30 p.m to 8:00 p.m. as Stone Bridge Drivers and Sportscar Vintage Racing Association race cars take laps of the original road course through and outside the village.

One of those events, the Ryan William Vineyard Founders Tour, has a new look this year. The nearly 100 participants will start their day at the Ryan William Vineyard Tasting Barn on Rt. 414, overlooking Seneca Lake. There, they will enjoy meeting and greeting the Ryan William Vineyard staff, who will provide box lunches and complimentary wine before the drivers set off on cross-country rallye routes throughout the Finger Lakes area. They will re-convene in Watkins Glen later in the day for their scheduled two Cayuga Health System Laps of the Old Course.

Marianne Marts, Chair of the Grand Prix Festival, thanked Ryan William Vineyard for the new sponsorship. “For recent festivals, the Founders Tour has shared starting space with Chateau LaFayette Reneau winery, which also hosts our very popular Tour de Marque Road Rallye, featuring Alfa Romeo this year. We are thrilled that Ryan William Vineyard has become the sponsor of the Founders Tour, giving our drivers and participants a new rallye experience!”

The Ryan William Vineyard Founders Tour is one of the festival’s 13 Stone Bridge Driver events; owners of classic, vintage, and specialty cars participate in this event each year. Ryan William Vineyard is located just a short drive from Watkins Glen, on State Route 414, just past Tug Hollow Road.

The Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival, Presented by Chemung Canal Trust Company, is produced by Watkins Glen Promotions, a non-profit organization dedicated to producing special events in Schuyler County, N.Y.

A member of the Williamson High School Warriors band, which marched in the parade.

Italian American Festival highlighted on final day by parade, rides and fireworks

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 14, 2021 -- After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Watkins Glen Italian American Festival opened its two-day run Friday at Clute Park in Watkins Glen, and concluded with fireworks Saturday night. The rain or shine festival featured food, family fun, vendors, music, carnival rides, and a parade.

The parade, on Saturday at noon, celebrated our essential workers. It took place down Decatur Street in Watkins Glen, starting at 15th Street and ending on 5th Street. Grand Marshals were Junior Specchio and Vera Franzese, while Olympic women's eight rower and Watkins Glen native Olivia Coffey marched near the end of the parade, waving to and greeting cheering fans.

The emcee for the parade was Jim Howell, a fixture at such events. The parade of march included fire trucks from various area departments, the Williamson High School marching band, the two candidates running for Schuyler County Sheriff (Kevin Rumsey and Breck Spaulding), and other politicians, along with vehicles representing businesses in the region. Also on hand were employees from Schuyler County Public Health and Cayuga Health, among the essential workers being celebrated.

The Saturday fireworks show occurred over the south end of Seneca Lake starting at 9:30 p.m.

The festival was designed for all ages and featured carnival rides, a festival food row, a vendor marketplace, a beer garden, two performances from local bands -- The Ampersand Project on Friday night and The Variables on Saturday night -- and the fireworks show. The festival also partnered with Schuyler County Health and Arnot Health to host two walk-in vaccine clinics at the Clute Park Pavilion.

Highlights Saturday beyond the parade and fireworks included a cornhole tournament in the morning and Italian music in the park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Parking for the event was $5.00 per vehicle when parking at Clute Park, proceeds going to the Watkins Glen Italian American Festival’s community involvement and fundraising. Carnival ride bands and tickets were sold at the event. There was no cover charge for the bands. Beer tickets were sold within the beer garden tent to those over 21 years of age. All other events within the festival were free and open to the public.

The Watkins Glen Italian American Festival, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit corporation operated by a volunteer staff of committee members who donate their time, energy, and labor 12 months of the year to prepare for the annual event. Proceeds from the festival are provided to local charities and for scholarships for graduating seniors in Schuyler County School Districts (Watkins Glen Central and Odessa-Montour Central).

For more information, visit Watkinsglenitalianfest.com or follow the festival on Facebook.

Photos in text: Olympian rower Olivia Coffey, a native of Watkins Glen, was a featured highlight of the parade; food vendors populated the Italian American Festival walkways.

Parade Grand Marshals were Junior Specchio, left, and Vera Franzese, right. A blessing for the parade was bestowed by Father Jeff Tunnicliff across the street from St. Mary's of the Lake Church on Decatur Street.

This sign was carried near the front of the line of march along Decatur Street.

Among the fire trucks in the parade: this 1951 American LaFrance show vehicle owned by the Watkins Glen Fire Department.

Kids aboard the Zero Gravity ride at the Watkins Glen Italian American Festival.

Italian American Festival will partner with Public Health for COVID-19 vaccine clinic

Special to the Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Aug. 3, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Italian American Festival is partnering with Schuyler County Public Health to offer COVID-19 vaccinations during the event. The vaccine clinic will occur during the festivities on Saturday, August 14th, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Clute Park Pavilion.

“The Watkins Glen Italian American Festival Committee is pleased to be partnering with Schuyler County Public Health to offer COVID-19 vaccinations during this year’s festival,” said Louie Perazinni, IAF President. “The Schuyler County Public Health Department has played a key role in helping our organization determine whether we could put on this year’s event, and their support has been greatly appreciated. Our goal is to bring back family friendly fun to Schuyler County, but to do so in a safe way. Partnering with Public Health to provide this clinic just makes sense!”

“As we continue to seek additional venues to provide this lifesaving vaccine, I cannot think of a better opportunity than that presented by the Italian Festival,” said Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn. “Given the large crowds that enjoy this event, it is my hope that we will significantly increase the number of vaccinated, and thereby protected, individuals in our community. This is yet another example of the power of partnership and we offer sincere thanks to the festival organizers for their collaborative spirit!”

“I am thrilled the event is able to happen again this year!” said Schuyler County Public Health Director Annmarie Flanagan DNP, FNP-C. “The dedication of all the members of the Italian American Festival planning committee who worked so hard to make this event possible is truly appreciated.”

The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be provided at this clinic and walk-in appointments will be provided. Individuals must be 18 or older to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Department requests that individuals please bring their ID and should expect to wait about 15 to 30 minutes after getting their vaccine.

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 Schuyler County Public Health on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Alfa Romeo cars, drivers sought for festival

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 23, 2021 -- Alfa Romeo cars and their drivers will be the featured guests this September as the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival returns to the streets.

Marianne Marts, Chair of the Grand Prix Festival, is urging Alfa owners who were unable to participate in the cancelled 2020 events to “Fill The Festival” with Alfa Romeo vehicles on September 9 and 10, 2021.

Marts said, “While we and our participants were seriously disappointed by the Coronavirus cancellations last year, we plan to roar back this year with our full slate of road rallies and events, with Alfa Romeo leading the pack!”

The Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival, sponsored by the Chemung Canal Trust Company, celebrates the history of post-World War Two road racing in the United States, in the village where it all began. Alfa Romeo racers were part of the action during the “street years” of 1948-1952. The racing events on the original 6.6-mile course through the village and on nearby roads led to Watkins Glen’s prominence in auto racing.

For the 2021 Festival, Alfa owners are invited to join two featured events. On Thursday, September 9, the “Lakewood Vineyards FLX Alfa Romeo Journey To The Top,” which includes an Alfa show at Lafayette Park, will be followed by a road rally to Lakewood Vineyards and a final stop at the Top Of The Lake Restaurant in Penn Yan. On Friday, September 10, Alfas will be featured in the “Watkins Glen International Tour De Marque, Launched from Chateau Lafayette Reneau.” This event includes a road rally, visit to Watkins Glen International, and two Cayuga Health System Laps of the Old Course.

The Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival is produced by Watkins Glen Promotions, a not-for-profit 501 C-3 organization.

Rondinaro to again anchor live cinema event

Special to The Odessa File

FRENCH LICK, Ind., July 5, 2021 -- Watkins Glen native Steve Rondinaro will be live on more than 700 movie screens across the country the evening of July 15th with the DCI Celebration Countdown.

Rondinaro is a familiar face and voice in the marching music and pageantry arts world as broadcast host of the Drum Corps International World Championship since 1979. Twenty-six of those years were on PBS, followed by ESPN, and now in movie theaters across the country.

“This live show in July is special,” says Rondinaro. “It shows the world that our activity has survived COVID and sets the stage for a very special championship week in Indianapolis come August. A healthy DCI bodes well for the marching band community as well.”

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to once again set the stage for the world’s greatest marching music performers,” DCI CEO Dan Acheson said. “The ‘DCI Celebration Countdown’ will be the perfect way to launch an exciting summer of incredible performances.”

The show begins at 8 p.m. and will be carried live. The closest location offering the program is the Regal Ithaca Mall 14.

"We are proud to continue our longstanding 17-year partnership with DCI,” Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt said. “Movie theater audiences coast-to-coast always enjoy the exhilarating DCI programming, and we are pleased to present this celebration featuring a look towards the 2021 season and top performances from the past six years.”

Photo in text: Steve Rondinaro (Provided)

Sundaes & Shots at Great Escape on July 7

SCHUYLER COUNTY, June 29, 2021 -- Schuyler County Public Health and the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor are partnering to hold a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Great Escape, located at 221 S. Franklin St., Watkins Glen. The clinic will take place on Wednesday, July 7 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Attendees will receive the one-time Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine along with a sundae from Great Escape -- all at no cost.

“The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor is such a great partner to work with for this clinic and we can’t thank them enough for donating free sundaes for people who come to get vaccinated,” said Schuyler County Public Health Director Annmarie Flanagan DNP, FNP-C. “Come by to enjoy the summer weather, a free sundae, and protection from COVID-19.”

“This is but one more example of our community’s resilience and commitment to recovering and rebounding from the effects of this pandemic,” said Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn. “We hope that this collaboration between Public Health and the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor will encourage eligible individuals to get vaccinated and receive a free sundae!”

Peter Honsberger, the owner of The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor, shared that he partnered with Schuyler County Public Health for this event because “I am a big believer in vaccinations and I want to do it for our community and for the people coming here as visitors.”

Walk-in appointments will be provided at this clinic. Attendees must be 18 or older and should bring their ID with them. They should also wear a short sleeve shirt and should expect to wait about 15 to 30 minutes after getting their vaccine.

For more information, visit Schuyler County Public Health online at www.schuylercounty.us/publichealth or follow Schuyler County Public Health on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Walk to End Alzheimer's planned for WGI

WATKINS GLEN, June 17, 2021 -- Fill your tank and buckle up for the 14th annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which moves to Watkins Glen International for 2021. The Alzheimer’s Association event in the Southern Tier is scheduled for Thursday, October 14.

Leaders from the Alzheimer’s Association, Hilliard Corp. and Watkins Glen International made the announcement at a press conference Thursday at the race track.

“To move our event to one of the world’s most recognizable sporting venues is a vehicle to elevating the stature and impact of Walk to End Alzheimer’s across America,” said Teresa Galbier, chapter executive for the Alzheimer’s Association Rochester & Finger Lakes Region Chapter.

“We’re honored to call Watkins Glen International our new home and look forward to growing this relationship,” she said.

Participants taking part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s will walk on the same 3.45-mile asphalt road course that hosts races on the NASCAR, IMSA, SCCA and GT World Challenge circuits. The announcement is part of the plan to host Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s events in person this fall.

“The health and safety of participants, volunteers and staff remain the Association’s top priorities while continuing to monitor the pandemic and make decisions about event details in local communities,” Galbier said. “While planning to gather in person, the Alzheimer’s Association will continue to offer options to participate in Walk to End Alzheimer’s online and in neighborhoods across the country.

“Alzheimer’s did not take a hiatus during COVID-19 and neither did we,” Galbier continued. “It’s crucial that we continue Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and work with all participants to ensure they have a powerful and moving experience that is felt when we are together. Many of our constituents are at higher risk when it comes to COVID-19 and we know that our volunteers and participants appreciate our commitment to keeping all involved healthy and safe.”

The first Southern Tier Walk to End Alzheimer’s took place in 2008 and has been conducted in both Elmira and Corning. Its continued growth in the community necessitated a larger venue that offered the ability to participate safely with distancing between groups.

“I am happy to chair this wonderful event that will help continue the effort to find both treatments and a cure for this disease which affects so many people,” said Arie “Jan” van den Blink, CEO/Chairman of The Hilliard Corp. and chair of the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s-Southern Tier, NY. “We are very happy to have the walk this year at the world-famous Watkins Glen International race track, which will provide our supporters with a unique up close view of this great facility. I would like to thank Michael Printup and his staff for hosting us this year and we look forward to a great day in October to continue to raise funds and awareness in the fight against Alzheimer’s.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to host the very important Walk to End Alzheimer’s here at The Glen,” sad Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. “Our vast facility provides an ideal location to welcome the event’s growing participation while ensuring everyone is adhering to proper social distancing protocols.”

Watkins Glen International is the premier road racing facility in North America, four times voted “Best NASCAR Track” by readers of USA Today. The Hilliard Corp. is the local presenting sponsor for Walk to End Alzheimer’s-Southern Tier, NY and Wegmans is the lead sponsor for Walk to End Alzheimer’s events in the Finger Lakes (Canandaigua), Rochester and Southern Tier.

More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease — a leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more than 11 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In New York alone, there are more than 410,000 people living with the disease and more than one million caregivers.

To register and receive the latest updates on this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit: alz.org/walk

Curtiss Museum opens Art at War Exhibit, with rare aircraft squadron fabric insignia

HAMMONDSPORT, June 12, 2021 -- The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum has unveiled its new Art at War Exhibit , which will remain open to the public through the fall of 2021.

The Art of War: Squadron Insignia from the Curtiss Collection Exhibit started as part of a relatively simple, yet tedious effort to catalog a collection of 60 years in more detail. During the process museum officials came across some long, slim archival boxes containing a series of canvas rolls. As they gently unrolled each one from the first box, images began to peek out for the first time in decades: a parrot, a hound, a duck with an umbrella, an alligator and a beautiful ladybug. It wasn’t until they had them all together and rolled out that they realized the true scale of their collection of aircraft fabric art. But they had no details.

Early in 2020 they reached out to the National Naval Aviation Museum and began a "digital" excursion through aircraft insignia history with the NNAM team. They determined that the pieces were authentic vintage aircraft insignia, primarily from the golden age of early naval aviation when open-cockpit biplanes launched from the decks of the earliest aircraft carriers, U.S. Navy forward bases, and even battleships. Many can be directly connected to Navy units from the 1920s to as late as 1940. The titans of early American aviation are represented: Boeing, Vought, Martin, and of course, Curtiss. Some ships involved are equally astonishing: USS Lexington, USS Saratoga, USS Ranger, and perhaps the most unexpected, the USS Arizona.

There are six images representing French squadrons from World War I, roughly dating from 1914-1918. All but one are in fantastic condition for their age. Squadron numbers and iconic early manufacturers include: Salmson, SPAD, Farman, Breguet, Fokker, and Nieuport.

“In total, our collection of original aviation insignia has grown to nineteen unique pieces (with a few duplicates), each a window into the past,” said Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum. “As an unrepentant aviation history ‘nerd’ since childhood, I am genuinely astonished by what we found. From French airfields to the decks of the Saratoga, from interwar Hawaii to the seaplane hoist of the USS Arizona, these pieces survived over a century to end up in Hammondsport, New York. What stories they could tell!”

It is the finest collection of its type that I have ever seen in over 40 years, and I would be amazed if there is anything that currently exists that could rival it,” said Robert R. “Buddy” Macon, Deputy Director, National Naval Aviation Museum. “The fact that the collection has survived over 100 years and is being preserved to be made available for the next 100 is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Everyone should take the time, make the pilgrimage to the Glenn Curtiss Museum and take it all in.”

No matter how long one works in this field, the opportunity to identify a collection like this doesn’t happen very often,” added Johnson. “Though unseen for decades, they resurfaced at the exact right time, when the right combination of people and resources came together.”

About the Glenn Curtiss Museum

The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum is an educational and cultural institution that collects, preserves, and interprets transportation modes and regional history, and celebrates the innovations and accomplishments of pioneer aviator Glenn Hammond Curtiss. The museum contains a priceless collection relating to early aviation and regional history. The museum also features a 75-seat theater, large open area for special events and a museum store. In addition to seeing the museum displays and exhibits, visitors are welcome to visit the Restoration Shop, talk with volunteer craftsman and watch them work on historic craft. The museum is located at 8419 State Route 54 near Keuka Lake and the historic village of Hammondsport.

For more information contact: www.curtissmuseum.com or (607) 569-2160.

Photos in text:

A Curtiss Goshawk fighter plane, photographed in 1933-34 while serving with Fighter Squadron 1B, and below that a Top Hat fabric insignia. The squadron operated Curtiss F11C-2 "Goshawks" on the carrier USS Saratoga in the Pacific Fleet from 1933-39. The squadron has undergone many changes in designation over the years and is the oldest continuously active squadron in the U.S. Navy, now known as "VFA 14 'Top Hatters.'" (Provided)

Community Chorus sings "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at Veterans Park ceremony.

Memorial Day services held in Montour and at Schuyler County Veterans Park

SCHUYLER COUNTY, May 31, 2021 -- Sunny skies and moderate temperatures greeted the annual Memorial Day ceremonies Monday at Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls and at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park outside Odessa.

Both ceremonies had the same band (from Odessa-Montour High School), the same Taps bugler (Bernie Riley) and the same keynote speaker.

That was retired Naval Operations Specialist and retired North Carolina Special Needs teacher Marcel (Tony) Veilleux of Odessa, who spoke on the theme of "Citizenship" -- and how we in this country have lost that particular building block of democracy.

The first ceremony was in Montour Falls, emceed by Mayor Jim Ryan and featuring the OMCS band, a Montour Falls Fire Department Color Guard, an American Legion Post 676 Honor Guard, the National Anthem sung by O-M student Felisha Cook, a reading of "Flanders Field" by O-M student Ben Campbell, a reading of the names of recently fallen veterans by O-M student Sarah Barr, an invocation and benediction by Rev. George Norton, and the assistance in the ceremony by four young "honorary mayors": Chase Champion, Henley Colunio, Seth Janke and Henry Stephens.

The second ceremony, at the Veterans Park on Route 228, was emceed by Rick Lewis, Commander of the American Legion Cole-Hansenberger-Deland Post 676. It featured the OMCS Band, a keynote by Veilleux, a tribute to the late Post 676 Honor Guard bugler Thomas Darling, an opening prayer and closing benediction by Pastor Tammie Veilleux, and a performance of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" by a Community Chorus.

In his address at both ceremonies, Veilleux said that the concerpt of Citizenship, where neighbors cared for neighbors -- where one man might run into a burning building to help another -- has fallen by the wayside. We need, he said, to relearn "what it means to be a good citizen" -- one who, in the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, "pulls his own weight"; and one who, in the words of President Lyndon Johnson, participates in government, not merely counting on it to provide for him or her.

In that relearning, he said, citizens of the United States will find that not only are there many rights vested in them by the Constitution, but "many responsibilities." Among the measures that might be taken: reintroducing Civics in our schools' lesson plans; and a "reeling in" of social media, which he called "a bad experiment."

"A strong building requires a strong foundation," he said "Let's be strong citizens so our country can stand strong."

Photos in text: From top: Keynote speaker Marcel (Tony) Veilleux and emcees Jim Ryan (at Montour Falls ceremony) and Rick Lewis (at Veterans Memorial Park ceremony).

Left: Joshua and Brooke McCray prepare to place flowers at the base of a monument in Veterans Memorial Park as part of the service there. Right: O-M student Felisha Cook sings the National Anthem at the Montour Falls ceremony.

The Color Guards at the Veterans Memorial Park service (left) and at the one in Montour.

Shells eject during the 21-gun salute at the end of the Veterans Memorial Park service.

Seneca Harbor Cruises adds Seneca Spirit after recent retirement of the Stroller IV

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 21, 2021 -- Mark Simiele, owner of Seneca Harbor Cruises on Seneca Lake, welcomes the 2021 season with an additional vessel: the Seneca Spirit. This addition to Captain Bill’s fleet is a 64-foot Skipperliner that has sailed as a tour boat in Washington, D.C. for the past 20 years. A public christening is being planned.

“I anticipate that it will take 12 days to bring the Seneca Spirit home,” said Simiele, explaining that the route includes time on the Potomac, Chesapeake, and Delaware rivers, winds around the tip of New Jersey passing Atlantic City, and ultimately arrives in Watkins Glen via the Erie Canal.

“The 3-person crew sails from sun-up to sunset, with overnights in marinas along the way. We’re tracking her path in real-time, using an app [https://maps.findmespot.com/s/9YRX/QV] and enjoying daily updates from the crew.”

The 115-passenger boat has two levels, with the upper deck completely open-air, an acoustic system designed for narrated tours, and a whisper-quiet engine that travels at a steady 8 knots. It is currently sailing to Watkins Glen from its previous port of 20 years in the Washington, D.C. area.

“Captain Bill’s is an iconic attraction in Watkins Glen,” said Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy. “A favorite with tourists and a special treat for our residents, Mark and his crews highlight one of our region’s most treasured assets: Seneca Lake.”

This is Captain Bill’s first purchase since acquiring the 270-passenger Seneca Legacy in 2006. The 49-passenger Stroller IV, built in 1934 and limited by pandemic-related social distancing requirements, finished the 2019 season and was then retired. The Seneca Spirit will be Captain Bill’s main sight-seeing vessel, leaving port every 90 minutes for a 60-minute guided tour of the southern end of Seneca Lake. The Seneca Legacy will resume a pre-pandemic schedule for lunch and dinner cruises: lunch cruises will be offered three days a week; dinner cruises will sail six nights a week.

Simiele said it was a difficult decision to retire the Stroller, indicating that it was driven by a need to pivot business operations in light of the pandemic.

“Long-term, though, this is the right decision,” said Simiele. “Captain Bill’s is part of this community. It’s a family-run operation that is family-friendly and values-oriented. On the surface, we offer boat cruises. Dive just a little deeper, though, and we’re a conduit to a different reality where you can breathe deeply and move at your own pace.”

Photos in text:

Top: (From left) Captains aboard: Bill Darrow, Steven Naimoli, and Anthony Compese.
Bottom: The retired Stroller IV (Photos provided)

Historic Lee School open house is May 15

Special to
The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 5, 2021 -- Experience the days of learning in a one-room schoolhouse at the annual spring open house at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Lee School in Montour Falls.

Retired teachers Marty Evans and Judy VanSkiver will play the role of schoolmarms, welcoming visitors of all ages to the Lee School on Saturday, May 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Masks will be required.

The Lee School is located on Route 14, on the southern edge of Montour Falls. It was built in 1828 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The red, barn-style, painted clapboard building was typical to the mid-to-late 19th century farming communities of the area. It has a large wood-burning stove, school desks, books, blackboards and an antique world globe, all exhibited as they would have been used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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

Photo in text: Marty Evans, a retired art teacher and vice president of the Schuyler County Historical Society Board of Trustees, will be one of the hosts at the annual spring open house at the Historical Society’s Lee School in Montour Falls on Saturday, May 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The one-room schoolhouse was built in 1828. (Photo provided)

Hidden Valley 4-H Camp to reopen May 8

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 30, 2021 -- Campers, families and the community are invited to Hidden Valley 4-H Camp’s Grand Re-Opening on Saturday, May 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hidden Valley is located in Watkins Glen, adjacent to Watkins Glen State Park.

“We are opening our doors so that families can see our facilities and meet the staff,” said Camp Director Bruce Condie. “I will be there to lead tours and answer questions. Potential campers can take a look inside a bunk house, check out the dining hall, and hear about the many improvements we have made.”

Tours will be led by family group, so attendees should register for the event in order to allow for planning the schedule. To register for the Grand Re-Opening, email Dayna Karius at dk576@cornell.edu or phone 607-535-6812.

After being closed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hidden Valley 4-H Camp is open this summer for six week-long sessions for youths ages 6-16. Day camp and overnight camp sessions are both available.

“Camp sessions are filling rapidly, so we advise campers to sign up soon,” said Youth and Family Issue Leader Mel Schroeder. “This past year of isolation and reduced peer activities has been hard for children. At Hidden Valley, they can have fun and fulfilling childhood experiences, in a safe environment that emphasizes positive development.”

Hidden Valley has been in operation for 75 years, and is implementing safety measures this summer to protect campers from COVID as they explore their talents and discover the natural world.

“Just think what a refreshing break it will be for kids to be outdoors, taking part in games and sports, and making new friends,” said Condie. “We hope parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles will bring the young people in their lives on May 8 to take a look at what we have to offer.”

Families interested in signing up for Hidden Valley 4-H Camp can register online www.hiddenvalley4hcamp.org or by phoning 607-535-6812.

Friends of the Catharine Valley Trail will host I Love My Park Day event on May 1

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 16, 2021 -- Friends of the Catharine Valley Trail will host volunteers at two sites on the Catharine Valley Trail as part of more than 100 cleanup, improvement and beautification events happening statewide on Saturday, May 1.

I Love My Park Day is designed to improve and enhance New York’s state parks and historic sites and bring visibility to the entire state park system and its needs. Volunteers from across the state will participate in events at New York State parks and historic sites, cleaning up park lands and beaches, planting trees and gardens, restoring trails and wildlife habitat, removing invasive species, and working on various site improvement projects.

Friends of the CVT are planning to do some litter pick-up starting on the trail near the South Genesee Street trail entrance and are also planning on expanding the pollinator garden at the Huck Finn Entrance and clear out some invasive species.

The Catharine Valley Trail is a year-round, multi-use trail stretching 17 miles from Seneca Lake to Horseheads, New York. Its gentle grade and smooth surface provide easy access for myriad users, including those who are mobility impaired, connecting Watkins Glen and Mark Twain State Parks.

The trail provides users the opportunity to experience the scenic beauty and history of the glacially carved valley south of Seneca Lake. The compact stone dust trail surface accommodates walking, bicycling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

Scattered along the Catharine Valley Trail are remnants of the Chemung Canal towpath and locks, Northern Central Railway, and historic buildings that tell the story of the of the valley’s transportation history. The trail crosses through a variety of wildlife habitats as it meanders through the communities of Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, Millport, and Pine Valley

I Love My Park Day is coordinated at the statewide level by Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) in partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). Friends groups and park staff will oversee cleanup, improvement and beautification projects and work with volunteers.

Those interested in volunteering in the project at Catharine Valley Trail can register to volunteer by visiting www.ptny.org/ilovemypark or by calling Elizabeth Watson at 607-481-0584.

Opening Weekend on April 10-11 kicks off season at Watkins Glen International track

Charity laps and Online Auction designed to benefit local community 

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 31, 2021 -- Watkins Glen International announced Wednesday that its 2021 season officially kicks off during Opening Weekend, April 10-11. The event marks the first weekend that the track opens its gates and provides fans with a unique opportunity to experience the 3.45-mile circuit firsthand, with proceeds benefiting the facility’s R.A.C.E. (Racing and Community Enrichment) Foundation.

“Opening Weekend is a great way to begin the season here at Watkins Glen International,” WGI President Michael Printup said. “We are excited to welcome back some of the best racing in the world after last year, and it all begins with a day benefitting the R.A.C.E. Foundation. We look forward to seeing the best fans in motorsports back at the track next weekend.”

On Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11, for $30 per vehicle, guests can experience the twists and turns of The Glen’s road course for three paced laps from the driver’s seat of their very own vehicle. Fans are encouraged to print and complete the necessary waivers upon arrival at the facility.

For the first time, The Glen is partnering with The NASCAR Foundation to host an online auction April 5-12 featuring timeless racing artifacts, racing-themed art work, and motorsports memorabilia, including authentic race-worn NASCAR equipment. For more details, visit www.nascarfoundation.org/wgiopeningweekend.

To highlight the impact the R.A.C.E. Foundation continues to have on the local community, Make-A-Wish Foundation alum and Corning, NY native Liam Hickey will serve as the ambassador for the two-day event. The R.A.C.E. Foundation donated over $30,000 last year to help organizations in the Southern Tier and Upstate New York. A donor-advised fund of the NASCAR Foundation, The R.A.C.E. Foundation uses the backing of a close-knit community to foster meaningful fundraising efforts, as well as lean on support from the international racing family.

Tickets and on-track waivers are available for pre-purchase online at TheGlen.com.

About Watkins Glen International

Located within five hours and 300 miles of 25 percent 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, Twitter, and Instagram. For tickets, camping, and additional information, call 1-866-461-RACE or visit www.TheGlen.com.

2021 Watkins Glen International Schedule

April 10-11 -- Opening Weekend
May 21-23 -- Ferrari Challenge North America
June 18-20 -- SCCA Majors Super Tour
June 24-27 -- IMSA Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen
July 9-11 -- Finger Lakes Wine Festival
August 4-8 -- NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen
September 9-12 -- Hilliard U.S. Vintage Grand Prix
September 16-19 -- GT World Challenge America
October 29-30 -- Finger Lakes Beer Festival

2021 Watkins Glen International NASCAR Weekend Schedule

August 6 -- ARCA Menards Series Race
August 7 -- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race
August 7 -- NASCAR Xfinity Series Race
August 8 -- NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling at The Glen

Businesses help SCCUDD get its pizza-box word out on keeping our youth alcohol free

Special to
The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, March 18, 2021 -- In December 2020, The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) partnered with eight area businesses to thank community members for not providing alcohol to minors during the holiday season by holding a “Pizza Box Sticker Shock” event.

SCCUDD members developed the prevention awareness stickers -- they read “Thank you for keeping our youth alcohol free” -- that would be placed on 1,000 pizza boxes to be sent out to the community. Businesses that partnered with SCCUDD in making the project a success included  Linda’s Citco, McGillucuddy’s Bar & Grill, and Jerlando’s Pizza in Montour Falls, the Dandy Mini Mart in Odessa, and Jerlando’s Ristorante & Pizza Co., Scuteri’s Connoli Connection, Landon’s Pub & Pizza, and Pudgies Pizza in Watkins Glen.

To show appreciation, each business has been presented with the SCCUDD Shining Star award for their continued effort to make the community safe and drug free.

Due to social distancing, many places helped to get SCCUDD’s message out by placing the stickers themselves. “We wanted to make sure that we thanked all of these businesses and their staff members that went above and beyond to help, because they did the lion’s share of the work in making this a success,” said SCCUDD Project Coordinator Ward Brower. “It never ceases to amaze me how welcoming and helpful the people and businesses are in our community.It really is a great place to live.”

“We were happy to put these stickers on our boxes,” said Vincent Scuteri, owner of Scuteri’s Cannoli Connection in Watkins Glen.

But there was some help at some locales. “We are always happy to help, and I was surprised at how fast the kids were able to put the stickers on the boxes,” said Jesse Schubmehl, owner of McGillicuddy’s Bar & Grill in Montour Falls, referring to Schuyler Teens against Alcohol, Nicotine, and other Drugs (STAND) members.

Chaperoned by adult SCCUDD members, they visited three participating places in person to affix the stickers, but due to COVID-19, many other places agreed to place the stickers themselves.

*****

SCCUDD is a group of community members, businesses, and agencies that work to prevent, reduce, and delay the onset of substance use among Schuyler County youth by collaborating with community partners, promoting prevention education and substance-free activities, and implementing environmental strategies. SCCUDD works to reduce youth use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Its vision, says Brower, is a connected community where youth have education, resources, and drug-free options to help on their journey to happy, healthy adulthood.

For more information, or to become involved with SCCUDD, visit SCCUDD online at www.schuylercounty.us/sccudd, or follow SCCUDD on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Photos in text:

Top: Odessa Dandy Mini Mart workers (from left) Mariah Brisbois, Allison Willsey and Mandy Degraw display the certifiate their store received.

Bottom: Vincent Scuteri of Scuteri's Cannoli Connection in Watkins. (Photos provided)

Schuyler Hospital receives $10,000 donation from Watkins-Montour, Hector & Ovid Lions

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 10, 2021-- A joint effort between the Watkins Glen-Montour Falls, Hector, and Ovid Lions Clubs and the Bermuda Lions Foundation resulted in the presentation of a $10,000 check Wednesday to Schuyler Hospital for the purchase of a diabetic eye camera, a RetinaVue 700, for Primary Care.

“We are grateful for and humbled by this donation from the Lions Clubs local and national organizations, and for their continuous support of our community during this time, and always," said Rebecca Gould, President & CFO of Schuyler Hospital. “This new state-of-the-art diabetic eye camera is used for early detection of diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in diabetic patients. It will be an incredible asset to our medical team and our patients.”

The donation stems from a coordinated effort begun in early 2020 when Jackie Collins, LPN, Schuyler Hospital Primary Care, contacted Hector Lions Club member Rick Evans, which began the fundraising effort.

Evans coordinated with the Watkins and Ovid clubs during a challenging period when the Covid-19 pandemic greatly restricted fund-raising efforts. His and neighboring club members' efforts resulted in $6,000 from their clubs and $4,000 from the Lions Foundation matching program.

“We are extremely grateful for Rick Evans' efforts and beyond proud to be able to provide this funding for such a worthwhile cause,” said Phil Edwards, Kate LaMoreaux, and Paul McPherson, Presidents of the Hector, Watkins and Ovid Clubs respectively, in a joint statement. “Service is our Lions Club mission, and our members truly stepped up and showed their support in a big way.”

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 Lions Clubs International

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with more than 1.4 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world.

Photo in text: From left, Jackie Collins, LPN, Schuyler Hospital Primary Care; Tiffany Bloss, Director, Schuyler Health Foundation; and Rebecca Gould, President, Schuyler Hospital, receive a $10,000 donation for a diabetic eye camera from Phil Edwards, President, Hector Area Lions Club; Kate LaMoreaux, President, Watkins Glen-Montour Falls Lions Club, and Paul McPherson, President, Ovid-Willard Lions Club. (Photo provided)

The bridge is lifted across the canal. It was soon put in place, with public use days away. (Photo by Tony Vickio, using a drone)

Walking bridge installed over canal by crane

MONTOUR FALLS, March 3, 2021 -- Utilizing two huge haulers to deliver it and a crane to lift it into place, crews installed a 107-foot steel and wood pedestrian bridge Wednesday across the canal alongside Rt. 14 in Montour Falls, linking the Catharine Valley Trail extension and the village's Marina Park.

The bridge was delivered on two semi-trailer trucks, the two pieces joined together upon arrival and then lifted by crane and placed on the shoreline concrete bases already in place. A worker at the site said it would take a couple of days before the bridge was secured and open to walkers.

The bridge was approved by the Village Board "in anticipation of the decommissioning and removal of the wastewater treatment plant," according to a village government press release. The old plant has been replaced by a joint Watkins Glen-Montour Falls regional facility along the canal, across from the Watkins Glen School District property.

Since that foot-bridge decision, a hiking trail extension was constructed from the nearby Catharine Valley Trail to the canal. Now hikers will easily cross from the Trail to the Marina Park grounds, and vice versa, eliminating the need to walk on the shoulder of the adjoining highway.

"This project has been in progress since 2016 and concludes with the bridge placement," the press release said. "The Village would like to thank the contributors and applaud the diligent efforts of former Mayor John King."

The press release outlined steps in the project:

Fall of 2016: Canal Corp. Grant which funded $35,000 of the project.
December 2016: Larson Design Group began an engineering study.
Early 2017: NYS Parks and Recreation Grant for $120,000, and $15,000 from the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development.
2018: Grant through NYS Senator Tom O'Mara for $50,000.
2019: Wenzel Construction won the bid to build the walking path.
2020: Schuyler County Legislature awarded a grant of $50,000.
2020: Silverline Construction won the bridge construction bid.

"Welliver Corp. and C.P. Ward gifted to the Village the installation of the foot bridge," the press release noted, adding: "The Village's contribution to the $300,000 project was $26,000 toward engineering, which is budgeted annually."

Photos in text:

Top: Workers prepared the bridge by joining together its two 50-foot-plus sections. (Photo by Tony Vickio, with a drone)

Bottom: The bridge links the Montour Falls Marina Park with the Catharine Valley Trail extension, here viewed looking west.

The bridge, after being placed Wednesday by a crane. It will soon be open to the public.

The sand and gravel truck is set upright. (Photo by Jenny Ambrose)

Gravel truck rolls over in Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 17, 2021 -- A sand and gravel truck lost control going downhill at Milliken's Corner and flipped onto its side near midday Wednesday on West 4th Street in Watkins Glen.

The IGN Sand & Gravel truck came to rest near the front entrance to Landon's Pub & Pizza.

Village Police, who received notification of the accident at 12:17 p.m., said the driver sustained what were believed to be minor injuries. He was transported to the hospital.

The accident, police added, was possibly caused by mechanical or safety equipment failure. An investigation is under way by a New York State Police commercial vehicle enforcement officer to determine if there were any violations.

Reports from the scene said gravel was scattered "everywhere." The truck ended up on its passenger side, partially on the roadway and partially on the walkway in front of Landon's, located within sight of the Franklin Street intersection. Landon's sustained what was reported as minor damage, including a window broken by flying gravel. Gravel also inflicted minor damage to another vehicle.

The truck was lifted upright and towed from the scene by T&R Towing.

Photo above right: The sand and gravel truck rests on its side in front of Landon's Pub & Pizza, 110 West 4th Street in Watkins Glen, early Wednesday afternoon. Village Police Officer Jamie Coleman is in the foreground. (Photo by Rev. Michael Hartney).

Schuyler Hospital's $11 million project complete with opening of Care Center

New 9,185 sq. ft. renovation provides coordinated care under one roof

Special to The Odessa File 

MONTOUR FALLS, Feb. 1, 2021 -- Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Health (CH) officials held a virtual ribbon cutting Monday announcing the opening of the new Convenient Care and Primary Care center at Schuyler Hospital.

This is the final component of the Phase II Transformation capital improvement project, where nearly $11 million has been invested into the hospital. Fast web check-in is also now available for Convenient Care, and officials said all COVID-19 safety protocols are being implemented for patient safety.

"Phase II," the hospital explained in a press release, "included the complete renovation of the former Medical-Surgical unit into a 9,185 square-foot center -- a 58% expansion -- that is telehealth enabled and will offer improved care coordination. This move enhances patient care by having the new space in the front of the building and adjacent to the Specialty Clinic to improve interdisciplinary coordination for treatment plans. The new space also increases patient capacity so they can see an additional 50-60 patients per day. As part of this renovation, they now have the capacity to add additional providers in the future. The Primary Care Center was previously located above the hospital. Dr. Spaulding has also moved his practice from his original Main Street location."

The new Convenient Care, located at Schuyler Hospital, will offer non-emergency services, including minor injuries, sports/camp/work physicals and mild illness treatment and fast web check-ins and same day access for Lab and most Imaging Services. Appointments are not required. The high-tech exam rooms allow for regular and telehealth appointments, or for online family conferences.Convenient Care will be open Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Convenient Care replaces the previous walk-in service.

“We are very pleased to announce the finalization of an extensive expansion and transformation capital project at Schuyler Hospital,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO of Cayuga Health. “I could not be prouder of the team’s successful management of this project throughout an extremely difficult and challenging year”.

Schuyler Hospital opened Phase I of the Transformation Capital project, a 15,000 square-foot state-of-the-art Medical-Surgical inpatient unit on April 21, 2020. The full project was made possible by a $10.3 million New York State Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program (SHCFTP) Grant that was awarded in July of 2017.

“Having primary care and specialty care coexisting in our main building will provide more convenience and better care to our patients,” said Rebecca Gould, President and Chief Financial Officer for Schuyler Hospital. “When patients see their physicians and get an order for blood work or X-rays, they only have to walk a few steps to get the necessary procedures done that day in the same building.”

The new center will take all necessary precautions to help slow the spread of COVID-19 with an on-site call number and/or fast website check in, closed waiting room, and signage to direct patients to wait in their car until called. Upon entry at the screening desk, temperatures will be taken.

“Having Convenient Care and 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 and Phase II project cost was 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.

Photos in text:

Top: Preparing to cut the ribbon. From left: Rebecca Gould, President & CFO of Schuyler Hospital; Benjamin Saks, DO: Physician Leader; Matthew Rouff, Executive Director, Outpatient and Support Services.

Bottom: Applauding the ribbon cutting. From left: Rebecca Gould, President & CFO of Schuyler Hospital; Benjamin Saks, DO: Physician Leader; Matthew Rouff, Executive Director, Outpatient and Support Services; Matthew Taylor, CHFM, Support Services Director. (Photos provided)

Present for the check presentation to the Health Foundation were, from left: Elks representatives Tom Phillips, Chuck Franzese, Stewart Field, Fred Hall, Thomas Gossett, Elizabeth Gossett (behind Thomas) and Chuck Fitch; Schuyler Hospital President and CFO Rebecca Gould, and Schuyler Health Foundation Director Tiffany Bloss.

Elks present checks to Health Foundation, Schuyler Ambulance to help combat virus

MONTOUR FALLS, Dec. 29, 2020 -- Schuyler Health Foundation and Schuyler Ambulance received grant checks from the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge #1546 Tuesday afternoon in presentations held in front of Schuyler Hospital.

The Health Foundation check was in the amount of $4,000; the Schuyler Ambulance check was in the amount of $1,500.

Elks member Tom Phillips initiated the grants, obtained from the organization's national office in Chicago, Ill. Both were obtained to help battle the pandemic, said Phillips, who is also on the Health Foundation board.

The Health Foundation check was written for additional PPE for front-line workers at Schuyler Hospital and the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Home. The Schuyler Ambulance grant was also for additional PPE.

Said Gould: "We are grateful for and humbled by this donation from the Elks Lodge and for the continuous support of the community during this time, and always. Additional PPE for staff will be very beneficial as we continue to fight this pandemic to keep our community and the residents of Seneca View safe."

Present for the check presentation to Schuyler Ambulance were, from left, Elks representatives Tom Phillips, Fred Hall, Chuck Franzese, Elizabeth Gossett, Stewart Field, Thomas Gossett and Chuck Fitch; and Schuyler Ambulance's Operations Director Patti Miller and President Matthew Chapman.

Left: Carly Arnold at the Dandy Mini Mart in Odessa. Right: Melanie Wysocki at Landon's Pub & Pizza. (Photos provided)

Look for SCCUDD message on pizza boxes

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Dec. 23, 2020 -- The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) held an event on Saturday, December 19th called “Pizza Box Sticker Shock.” The project consisted of youth-designed substance abuse prevention stickers being placed on pizza boxes in local restaurants and convenience stores.

Schuyler Teens against Alcohol, Nicotine, and other Drugs (STAND) members, chaperoned by adult SCCUDD members, visited three places in person, but due to COVID-19, many other places agreed to place the stickers on themselves.

The message on the sticker reads “Thank you for keeping our youth alcohol free.” Businesses that partnered with SCCUDD in making the project a success included Linda’s Citco, McGillucuddy’s Bar & Grill and Jerlando’s Pizza in Montour Falls; the Dandy Mini Mart in Odessa; and Jerlando’s Ristorante & Pizza Co., Scuteri’s Connoli Connection, Landon’s Pub & Pizza, and Pudgies Pizza in Watkins Glen.

“There will be 1,000 pizza boxes going out into the community, thanking people for not serving minors alcohol,” said SCCUDD Project Coordinator Ward Brower, “Once again, our community businesses have stepped up in partnering with us, even offering to put the stickers on for us because of the pandemic.”

McGillucuddy’s Bar & Grill, Landon’s Pub & Pizza, and the Dandy Mini Mart in Odessa were able to provide enough space for some of the STAND members to put stickers on themselves.

“We are always glad to partner with SCCUDD. I’m glad we were able to provide space so the kids could enjoy putting the stickers on themselves. They worked fast; my son Isaac (McIlroy) even joined in,” said Jesse Schubmehl, owner of McGillicuddy’s Bar & Grill and a SCCUDD member.

SCCUDD is a group of dedicated community members, businesses, and agencies that work to prevent, reduce, and delay the onset of substance use among Schuyler County youth by collaborating with our community partners, promoting prevention education and substance-free activities, and implementing environmental strategies. SCCUDD works to reduce youth use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, as they can cause lifelong problems. SCCUDD’s vision is a connected community where youth have education, resources, and drug-free options to help on their journey to become happy, healthy adults.

For more information, or to become involved with SCCUDD, visit SCCUDD online at www.schuylercounty.us/sccudd, or follow SCCUDD on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo in text: Isaac McIlroy at McGillicuddy's Bar & Grill. (Photo provided)

WGI unveils Wine Festival Art Contest

Winner’s entry will be featured as official event poster for 2021 Festival

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 8, 2020 -- As planning for the 25th annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival gets underway, Watkins Glen International has created a unique opportunity for fans to get involved with the annual event’s branding efforts.

Starting immediately through January 31, 2021, artwork reflecting wine and the Finger Lakes Region with a “throwback style” to represent the Festival’s silver anniversary will be accepted, with one winning entry to be featured on the official event poster and other promotional mediums.

“This is a great way to get everyone involved in helping us reflect on the rich history and celebrate 25 amazing years of the Finger Lakes Wine Festival and Finger Lakes Region,” said WGI President Michael Printup. “We know Watkins Glen International has some talented fans out there and cannot wait for the entries to start coming in.”

Limited to one entry per person, the contest is open to anyone who is able to digitally submit their hand-drawn or painted art through www.FLWineFest.com until 11:59 P.M. EST, January 31, 2021. The artwork will be judged by the Watkins Glen International staff, and a winner will be selected and announced in February 2021.

In addition to his or her art being featured on the poster, the winner will also receive a pair of Two-Day Taster’s Passes to the Finger Lakes Wine Festival and booth space during the event to showcase art, greet fans, and sign posters. A 20th anniversary Festival poster contest was won by Canandaigua artist Meredith Mallwitz in 2016.

About Finger Lakes Wine Festival

The Finger Lakes Wine Festival, July 9-11, offers the largest showcase of New York State wines with over 90 wineries paired with regional artisans, music, and seminars all in one location. Tickets are available for the event voted “Best Wine Festival” by readers of USA Today by calling 866-461-7223 or at www.flwinefest.com.

OSFL holiday concert tradition continues

Special to The Odessa File

SOUTHERN TIER, Dec. 6, 2020 -- The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes (OSFL) will hold a series of holiday concerts and Beethoven talks during the month of December. The concert recordings will be scheduled on Facebook and YouTube each Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Beethoven talks will be presented by Maestro Toshiyuki Shimada on Facebook Live on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. December 9 and 16. All are free.

Managing Director Karen Dusek is spreading the holiday cheer with determination. "We will not let COVID halt the tradition of celebrating the holidays with the Orchestra," she said. "We are just moving it online so everyone can experience the OSFL Holiday Tradition this year for free in the comfort and safety of their own home. This is the OSFL's gift to the community."

The holiday concert series began on December 5th with the OSFL's archive performance of Handel's Messiah with the Chorus of the Southern Finger Lakes and soloists Ivy Walz and Amanda Kohl. The following video presentations will include other Holiday Concert favorites such as the annual holiday sing-along, Chanukah Festival Overture, and Sleigh Ride! Each of the holiday videos in the series this year is shorter (30-45 minutes) than the typical concert hall experience of nearly two hours.

Maestro Shimada and 12 musicians from the OSFL are recording a new holiday concert this year featuring Vivaldi's Winter from the Four Seasons, Corelli's Christmas Concerto, and Mozart's Serenade No 6, among others. The orchestra musicians must be socially distanced and wear masks, with no audience allowed. Reflecting the continued closure of stages in New York, Maestro Shimada explains: "It has been nine months since the OSFL has been able to perform a concert. We are eager to share this great music with the community. We all need the healing power of music in our lives right now."

The two lecture topics are "Myths Surrounding Beethoven's Life" and "Beethoven's Ninth Symphony." Maestro Shimada will address the myths about Beethoven's birth, death, and mysterious lifelong love: his immortal beloved. On Beethoven's 250th birhday (December 16), Maesatro Shimada will share insights from the conductor's perspective about one of the most beloved works in all classical music, the theme from which is sung in churches all over the world. Listeners will learn about the legend attached to the premiere of the Ninth Symphony and hear excerpts.

For anyone needing technical assistance viewing the concert videos and lectures, contact the OSFL office at info@osfl.org or 607-936-2873.

Photo in text: Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes (Photo provided)

Rev. Hartney among honorees at NYSOFA Older New Yorkers' Day virtual celebration

Retired teachers Fitzsimmons, LaMoreaux also honored for Learning Support Program

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Dec. 2, 2020 -- The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) recently celebrated Older New Yorkers’ Day virtually, recognizing 87 volunteers from 49 counties across the state who volunteer their time and energy to more than 460 different organizations throughout the year to help others.

This year’s Schuyler County honoree is Father Michael Hartney, recognized for his numerous contributions to the Schuyler community through Habitat for Humanity, the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD), the Schuyler County Youth Board, the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, Southern Tier Regional Development Board and Apalachian Regional Commission’s Human Services Committee.

It was noted that through his work, Father Hartney has served in areas that support older adults and that his contributions have exemplified this year’s Older Americans Month theme of Make Your Mark.

Also honored: Schuyler County residents and retired teachers Marie Ftizsimmons and Kate LaMoreaux for a Learning Support Program Pod they initiated to help Watkins Glen students during the pandemic.

The celebration traditionally takes place each year in May in Albany; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year it was premiered as a virtual event. To view the event video, please visit: https://bit.ly/ONYD2020.

“We have highlighted for years the significant contributions older New Yorkers make to their families, communities, and the economy," said NYSOFA Acting Director Greg Olsen. “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how important volunteers of all ages are, particularly those age 60 and older, as they have put themselves at risk to provide critical services to older adults in their homes to slow the spread of the virus. We recognize how essential our state’s older volunteers are -- without their efforts, many individuals would not have the food, supplies, and medications they need to help ensure their health and safety. Every day, these volunteers are saving lives. I could not be more thankful and proud.”

In New York, there are almost 1 million volunteers age 55+ who contribute approximately 500 million hours of service each year at an economic value of more than $13 billion.

Special awards were given to the following honorees, including one based in Watkins Glen:

More about that Pod Program: Schuyler County residents and retired teachers Marie Fitzsimmons and Kate LaMoreaux were honored for their work in recruiting volunteers and developing and facilitating a learning pod for Watkins Glen students who were in a hybrid learning system. Marie and Kate worked with a number of local entities to make this a reality.

Partners included the Watkins-Montour Lions Club, St. James Episcopal Church, the Watkins Glen Presbyterian Church, other retired teachers and retired school personnel, additional volunteers and Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program as well as the local REACH program. The learning pod recognition was endorsed by Watkins Glen Central School Superintendent Greg Kelahan.

The Schuyler County Legislature is recognizing the accomplishments of both Father Hartney and the Watkins Glen learning pod. The Legislature will be formally acknowledging both honorees via individual resolutions.

The Schuyler County Office for the Aging’s mission is to advocate for, educate and assist the senior population to live in their own homes as safely as possible for as long as possible. For more information about OFA services, please contact the Schuyler County Office for the Aging at 607-535-7108.

Photo in text:

Top: The Reverend Michael Hartney (File photo)
Bottom: Kate LaMoreaux, left, and Marie Fitzsimmons (File photos)

Tips to help keep COVID-19 from being
an uninvited guest at your Thanksgiving

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Nov. 23, 2020 -- Thanksgiving is a time when people typically gather with friends and family, but gatherings like these can easily spread COVID-19. With the virus spreading in our region, the safest way to celebrate the holiday is by limiting gatherings to people who live in your household or by celebrating with others virtually.

For community members who do plan to spend the holiday with people they don’t live with, Schuyler County Public Health and Yates County Public Health provided the following tips for community members to help make their Thanksgiving holiday safer:

Wear a mask, even with family and friends. Only remove your mask when you are seated to eat.

Always social distance by staying at least six feet away from people who do not live with you -- especially when you are seated to eat, as people can’t wear masks while eating.

Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.

Do not attend if you aren’t feeling well, especially if you have ANY of the following symptoms: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

Do not attend if you tested positive for COVID-19 or had close contact with someone with COVID-19 or are under an isolation or quarantine order.

If you plan to host a gathering, consider:

Location: COVID-19 spreads more easily in indoor areas, so consider holding the gathering outdoors if the weather allows or opening windows if you plan to be indoors.

Duration: Longer gatherings are more likely to spread COVID-19 than shorter gatherings. People are most likely to get COVID-19 if they spend 10 minutes or more within six feet of someone with COVID-19.

Number of attendees: Limit the number of people attending to 10 or fewer. The more people in attendance, the higher your risk that someone has COVID-19. Remember: people can be contagious for COVID-19 even if they don’t have symptoms.

Behaviors of attendees: Consider whether the people you would be inviting consistently wear a mask, social distance, and follow other precautions.

Risk level of attendees: Some people are more likely than others to get very sick if they get COVID-19. Consider your risk level and the risk to people you plan to invite.

If you or anyone planning to attend a gathering will be traveling, check for travel restrictions beforehand. For information about the NYS Travel Advisory visit: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory.

To learn more about celebrating Thanksgiving safely during COVID-19, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html.

"Sold" signs adorn the front of the Glen Theater, located at the corner of Franklin and Second Streets in Watkins Glen.

With Glen Theater sold, plans call for
its smaller venue to reopen with films

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 3, 2020 -- So what is next for the Glen Theater, now that it’s been sold?

The new owner, described by Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry as a local person and “new entrepreneur” -- who prefers to remain anonymous for this story -- plans to reopen the smaller of the two viewing units (on the northern end of the property) as the movie theater it has been.

The owner hopes to keep the larger, southmost theater architecturally intact, with plans for that remaining open.

But in the move to reopen the smaller theater -- hopefully, Cherry says, in time for Christmas, but with a pandemic limiter of a 25% capacity -- there is an understanding between the owner and SCOPED (which helped the owner “when the sale was jelling”) that there will be some form of community support. This will entail an effort to see that the theater is, indeed, utilized -- an effort that could take the form of an organization (perhaps a guild) that provides volunteer hours, including at the concession stand.

The previous owners, a Painted Post couple, had asked nearly $500,000 for the property, but the final price negotiated was below that. Cherry wouldn’t say how much below, but that she thought the final figure was “a very good price.” There are actually two buildings involved, but with shared infrastructure. (Addendum on Nov. 9: A real estate listing online posted the sale price at $375,000.)

“We need to get the community together to support this -- a volunteer group,” said Cherry. “Maybe members of Rotary and Lions, people interested in keeping that kind of activity in Watkins Glen.” The Chamber of Commerce, she said, will be helping in the effort.

The theater, closed for the past year, saw an effort nearly a year ago by a group of local residents who tried to raise funds to buy it. But investments fell short. So Cherry said she was very pleased when the new owner first expressed an interest in the purchase.

With the closing now complete, “there are a lot of details, such as licensing, to be worked out,” said Cherry. Among the obstacles: a projector that needs repair, which may be scheduled soon. (Another, she added, is a need for the county to get its rolling average of Covid positivity tests under 2%, a state stipulation.)

“I’m very pleased that we’re able to keep a theater in Schuyler County,” she said. “It’s a benefit to the residents. If they know what’s playing there, they’ll attend.” So advertising and communication will prove key.

The bottom line will be the bottom line. The new owner “will have to pay the bills,” said Cherry, noting that business will drive the owner’s future decisions.

“You don’t buy a business because you like the building,” she said. “It’s got to pay its way.”

Photos in text:

Top: The front of the smaller, northernmost theater, which the new owner plans to reopen.
Bottom: View of the theaters from the corner of Franklin and Second Streets.

'Stories with Music' to be presented online

Special to The Odessa File

WAVERLY, Oct. 25, 2020 -- Tubby the Tuba, performed by members of the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes (OSFL), will be aired on Wednesday, October 28 at 3:30 p.m. on a secured link through the Waverly Free Library. This showing of the OSFL's "Stories with Music" presentation is offered free to the public. Registration is required.

The OSFL's "Stories with Music" programs have traditionally been held in person at local libraries during the summer. These educational concerts are appropriate for all ages. This year, "Stories with Music" goes online with registration and access through your local library. Sign up at https://bit.ly/2HsFFmO or contact the Waverly Library at 607-565-9341 for more information.

"Stories with Music" brings the OSFL musicians to local communities to promote music and literacy together through educational concerts with storybook themes. Viewers will be introduced to the orchestra instruments with demonstrations and a few concert pieces performed by the OSFL musicians.

The storybook theme is "Tubby the Tuba," composed by George Kleinsinger with narration by Paul Tripp. This version was arranged by the OSFL's principal tuba, Dave Unland, who performs the part of "Tubby." The presentation will take 45 minutes, followed by time for questions and answers with some of the performers.

The October 28th showing is the first of several in partnership with local libraries. The next presentation will be Saturday, November 7 at 11 a.m. Registration details will be available at OSFL.org.

This program hosted by the Waverly Free Library is sponsored in part by the Floyd "Vic" Hooker Youth Fund at the Community Foundation for the Twin Tiers, Upstate Coalition for a Fairgame Arts Grant, and Decentralization funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.

Photo in text: A still frame from the video recording of "Tubby the Tuba." (Provided)

Montour Cemetery walk set on Halloween

Special to
The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 17, 2020 -- You can kick off Halloween -- Saturday, Oct. 31 -- with storytelling in the Montour Falls Cemetery by Schuyler County Historian Gary Emerson.

Emerson, a member of the Schuyler County Historical Society board, will share stories about some of the more interesting people buried in the cemetery above the village.

Participants will meet at 1 p.m. at the upper entrance to the cemetery on Mill Street. Mill Street is off of Steuben Street and goes over Shequagah Falls. The one-hour, downhill walk will take place rain or shine.

Return rides to the upper entrance will be offered. Pandemic masks will be required.

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

Photo in text: Montour Falls Cemetery (Photo provided)

Schuyler County teens learn new skills at CADCA's virtual Mid-Year Training Institute

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Sept. 7, 2020 -- Representatives from the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) recently attended CADCA’s (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) 19th annual Mid-Year Training Institute. The event was originally scheduled to be held in Nashville, Tennessee, but due to COVID-19 was held as a virtual event.

The four-day training teaches participants how to address drug use in their communities. CADCA’s Mid-Year Training Institute offers many two hour and half-day courses for adults, as well as event-long Youth Leadership Initiative training programs for teens.

CADCA’s Youth Leadership Initiative training includes two levels, Key Essentials and Advanced, which covers fundamentals of coalition building and strategic planning to evaluation and research. All are designed to help youth become strong community leaders and agents of change.

Schuyler County teens Melanie Wysocki and Skye Cummings completed Key Essentials training, while Aidan Thurston, who completed Key Essentials training in 2018, completed the Advanced Key Essentials training course. All three are members of SCCUDD’s youth group Schuyler Teens against Alcohol, Nicotine & other Drugs (STAND), and Aidan sits on SCCUDD’s Executive Board.

“Even though I was disappointed that we weren’t able to attend in person this year, I am still glad to have been able to take the course online,” said Thurston. “Everything was done virtual and interactive to make you feel like you were there in person. It was a great learning experience,” added Melanie Wysocki.

Adult SCCUDD members Amy Wysocki, Catherine Grover and Karen Thurston also volunteered their time to attend CADCA’s Mid-Year Training institute. “It is quite impressive that they would take time out of their hectic and busy schedules to learn about substance prevention so that they can help make our community a healthier and safer place to live,” said SCCUDD Project Coordinator Ward Brower.

SCCUDD is a group of dedicated community members, businesses and agencies that work to prevent, reduce, and delay the onset of substance use among Schuyler County youth by collaborating with community partners, promoting prevention education and substance-free activities, and implementing environmental strategies.

SCCUDD works to reduce youth use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs that can cause lifelong problems. SCCUDD’s vision, say its leaders, is a connected community where youth have education, resources, and drug-free options to help them on their journey to become happy, healthy adults.

For more information, or to become involved with SCCUDD, visit SCCUDD online at www.schuylercounty.us/sccudd, or follow SCCUDD on Facebook and Twitter.

Photos in text: From top: Melanie Wysocki, Aidan Thurston and Skye Cummimgs. (Photos provided)

Historical Society exhibit honoring Schuyler residents' World War II roles to open Sept. 2

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Aug. 29, 2020 -- A special exhibit presented by the Schuyler County Historical Society marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II by honoring county residents’ war involvement, both military and civilian.

“Schuyler Answered the Call” opens on Wednesday, Sept. 2, in the Gallery of the Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls. The special exhibit will be in place through the end of the year.

The Historical Society invited the community to participate in the exhibit by providing information about their loved ones who served. Seventy people are featured thanks to the community’s response, exhibit organizers said.

World War II ended on Sept. 2, 1945, when Japan signed surrender documents in a ceremony on the deck of the American battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo harbor.

Fighting in Europe had ended in May. Although World War II began with Nazi Germany's attack on Poland in September 1939, the United States did not enter the war until after Japan bombed the American fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941.

Brick Tavern Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday 2-8 p.m.; and Saturday through the end of September 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Health and safety guidelines will be enforced, including requiring all visitors to wear masks.

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

Photo in text: Seventy people who served in military or civilian roles in World War II will be featured in the Schuyler County Historical Society’s new exhibit, “Schuyler Answered the Call,” through the end of the year at the Brick Tavern Museum. Various families supported the exhibit by sharing information about their loved ones. (Photo provided)

Dignitaries on hand -- and masked-- brave a heavy rain to toss some dampened dirt. From left: Legislator Mark Rondinaro, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Julie Sweet of the NYS Department of State, County Planning Director Kristin VanHorn, SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry, County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk, and State Senator Tom O'Mara.

Groundbreaking ceremony marks start
of Clute Park's redevelopment project

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 4, 2020 -- A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Tuesday at Clute Park, celebrating the start of construction on the park's lakeside redevelopment project.

Judy McKinney Cherry, executivie director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), served as emcee, introducing speakers that included State Senator Tom O'Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk, County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, and Julie Sweet of the New York State Department of State.

The project, on the drawing board since 2010, was the leading public project for Watkins Glen during the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) public forums. It includes a new year-round, 6,000-square-foot pavilion, a 1,500-square-foot bathhouse, outside showers, a 2,000-square-foot seasonal splash pad, and a 10,000-square-foot seasonal ice rink.

The existing pavilion -- where Tuesday's ceremony was held, sheltered from a steady and sometimes drumbeating rain -- will remain, and at a later date will be refurbished, reflecting the style of the year, 1929, when it was constructed.

Said Leszyk in his remarks Tuesday: "This project will take our already beautiful park, enjoyed by thousands every summer, and enhance it into a park that can be enjoyed year-round by locals and visitors alike.”

The redevelopment and year-round activation of Clute Park is one of several key initiatives along the waterfront spearheaded by Project Seneca, a privately-funded regional initiative.

The project, valued at $5 million, is funded by several grants from New York State -- including from the Department of State, the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, the Department of State DRI, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The design and engineering was completed by Stantec; and Welliver is the general contractor. The construction is expected to be completed by Memorial Day 2021.

The ceremony, following social distancing guidelines and mass gathering rules, had 35 people in attendance.

The day was described by Leszyk as "a momentous occasion; a really special day," while O'Mara said the groundbreaking marked the start of "a great project." Palmesano said that despite the heavy rain, "the sun is shining through with this project," while Sweet said the project "offers a wide range of new and exciting opportunities." O'Hearn hailed it as "the culmination of a lot of effort" that showcases a "model" of local and state collaboration.

The groundbreaking itself saw various officials, with hard hats and shovels, turn the dirt -- somewhat muddied by the rain -- as the swirling storm continued to drench the recently parched park soil.

Said O'Mara just beforehand: "It's raining, but" -- and he waved toward nearby Seneca Lake -- "it's beautiful, and ... replenishing our fields and our brown lawns."

Photos in text:

Top: From left: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry, State Senator Tom O'Mara and Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk talk before the ceremony.
Middle: Artistic rendition of the planned project at Clute Park.
Bottom: O'Mara at the podium in the Clute Park pavilion, site of the ceremony.

Left: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk. Right: County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.

Concept drawing of the planned Clute Park Project, on display at the ceremony.

National Farmers Market Week will feature Give Back NY at Sunset View on Aug. 6th

Special to The Odessa File


SCHUYLER COUNTY, July 31, 2020 -- National Farmers Market Week is coming up from August 2-8. New York State farmers markets will be celebrating with Give Back NY at markets all across the state.

Give Back NY is an opportunity to honor all those who have supported farmers markets, local agriculture and food producers, and local food throughout the course of the current health crisis. Consumers have put their faith in farmers markets as a source for safe, healthy foods for themselves and their families.

"We want to celebrate that tremendous support," said the Farmer's Market Federation of New York in a press release, "by opening our markets during National Farmers Market Week to partner with local food pantries to collect both food and cash donations to help those who have been experiencing hunger, especially during our COVID 19 health crisis."

Farmer's markets will host local food pantries at their markets during the Farmers Market Week. At that time food pantries will accept donations while building awareness of food insecurity within local communities.

Sunset View Farmers Market will be coordinating with Catholic Charities/Schuyler County Food Pantry on Thursday, Aug 6 from 4-7 p.m. for the Give Back NY program. Catholic Charities will be set up at the market -- located at the Hoffman Farm at the Catharine Corners outside Odessa -- accepting donations of fresh foods and/or cash donations.

"We ask you to join our celebration," said the Federation, "and encourage donations to pantries. Some food pantries may have restrictions or guidelines on how donations can be accepted during the COVID 19 crisis, but below are suggestions on how you can participate.

-- Purchasing local food from farmers/vendors at the market for donation.
-- Donating dollars to the food programs to help them achieve their mission.
-- Farmers and vendors can donate to the food pantries at the end of the market day.
-- Bringing shelf stable products to the market for donation.

2020 Watkins Grand Prix Festival canceled

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 10, 2020 -- For 27 years, on the Friday after Labor Day, the streets and roads of Watkins Glen and the original Grand Prix Race Course have come to life with hundreds of sports cars, race cars, classics, and motorcycles participating in the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival.

This year’s Festival was scheduled for Friday, September 11, but has now been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

The decision to cancel the Festival this year was made by the board of directors of Watkins Glen Promotions, the overall producer of the Festival, and announced on July 10.

Marianne Marts, Chair of the Grand Prix Festival Management Committee, said the decision was extremely difficult, but necessary at a time when the virus is not yet under control.

“Our committee members worked for months to try and identify ways we could host our fans and participants while keeping them safe under health guidelines, but we finally had to join the ranks of so many other events that have been cancelled this year,” said Marts.

She added, “This is one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make, as it impacts our registrants, our volunteers, our many faithful sponsors, our thousands of fans, and the community. We are turning our attention to our planning for 2021, and we hope to see our fans and friends back at that time.”

The festival usually brings some 20,000 visitors to Watkins Glen for a day of racing history, celebrations, and Stone Bridge Driver rallies and fun.

Fans who have registered for any of the nine Stone Bridge Driver events in the Festival will be able to obtain refunds, roll their registrations over to the 2021 Festival, or treat their fees as tax-deductible donations to Watkins Glen Promotions.

The 2021 Festival is scheduled for Friday, September 10, 2021.

For more information, visit www.grandprixfestival.com.

Illustation in text: Map of the Old Course as originally drawn by New Yorker cartoonist Sam Cobean. (Provided)

Portion of 3rd Street in Watkins Glen blocked off, will serve pedestrian traffic

WATKINS GLEN, July 1, 2020 -- Village crews Tuesday placed heavy concrete barriers at the corner of 3rd and Franklin Streets in Watkins Glen, blocking motor traffic onto 3rd Street from Franklin as the village moves to establish "a pedestrian friendly 'Village Square'" on 3rd, in the words of Mayor Luke Leszyk.

The concrete barriers came from the new wastewater treatment plant. They were extras, Leszyk said, that the contractors didn't want to carry back home. So they asked if the village had a use for them, "which we did."

Plans for the pedestrian area are still being developed. It will have picnic tables, and lights strung overhead, and maybe music. And Leszyk said it will likely tie in nicely with the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce's Fridays on Franklin promotion.

The pedestrian plan is a joint project undertaken by the village with the Chamber.

“We are excited and believe it will provide an inviting environment while helping our restaurants and retailers by creating additional space in which to operate safely,” said Leszyk.

The move was approved by the New York State Department of Transportation, added Leszyk, who noted that the area is still without a name. "We have a number of suggestions," he said.

The pedestrian area will stretch from the 3rd Street-Franklin Street intersection to the rear of the Chamber building, which is located on that corner. No barrier was placed on the area's eastern boundary Tuesday because a BMW from Illinois was sitting in a parking space on the south side of the area, unmovable since it was missing its rear right tire.

"We might have to tow that out tomorrow," said Leszyk. Then barriers will be placed across 3rd Street from sidewalk to sidewalk at the pedestrian area's eastern boundary.

Two-way traffic signs were placed Tuesday at the east end of the 3rd Street block at Decatur Street, changing 3rd Street from a one-way boulevard. How long the pedesrian plaza season lasts is still under consideration. As a press release put it, "a portion of 3rd Street will be accessible to pedestrians only beginning June 30, until further notice."

“Many municipalities have taken similar steps and seen great results,” said Chamber Executive Director Rebekah Carroll. “Watkins Glen is already walkable and naturally beautiful. Now, we’ll have a park-like setting on 3rd Street that will help businesses and offer something new to shoppers and diners.”

State regulations regarding social distancing and building capacity "have limited operations for many businesses, " the press release said. "Providing access to previously unavailable street space can help many return to higher capacity in a manner that is safe and compliant with those regulations."

Photo in text: Looking up 3rd Street, over barriers placed at the corner of 3rd and Franklin. The pedestrian area will extend to the rear of the Chamber building at left. The car at right will be removed shortly.

Scavenger hunt offers search for history

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, June 15, 2020 -- Montour Falls is a neighborhood full of history. This year HEAL Schuyler is partnering with Montour Falls Library and Schuyler County Historical Society to run a scavenger hunt all summer.

The hunt is being kicked off this month. You can pick up pamphlets at Paradiso’s Village Bakery or download it on HEAL Schuyler website until September 21. Discover answers to the questions in the pamphlets by walking around Montour Falls and exploring historical sites. Each correct answer gets an entry into a drawing for prizes.

Submit your answers to the HEAL Schuyler website or in drop boxes outside of the Montour Falls Library or Schuyler County Historical Society. The winners of the drawing will be announced September 25, 2020. Prizes include a fun family yoga session from Selah Yoga, Elf and the Oak gift certificates, tour guidebooks by Gordon Cooper from the Historical Society, and a collection of books from the Montour Falls Library.

For more information on the Scavenger Hunt, visit the HEAL Schuyler website. shorturl.at/sHMS8

Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) Schuyler is made up of agencies, businesses, and concerned community members within Schuyler County. It works 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.

Historical Society exhibit will celebrate Schuyler residents' World War II roles

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, June 5, 2020 -- A special exhibit presented by the Schuyler County Historical Society will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and honor county residents’ war involvement, both military and civilian.

“Schuyler Answered the Call” will open on Sept. 2 in the Gallery of the Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls. The special exhibit will be in place through the end of 2020. With community participation, the focus will be on the individuals who served.

World War II ended on Sept. 2, 1945, when Japan signed surrender documents in a ceremony on the deck of the American battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo harbor.

Fighting in Europe had ended in May. Although World War II began with Nazi Germany's attack on Poland in September 1939, the United States did not enter the war until after Japan bombed the American fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941.

Nearly 40 men and women from Schuyler County died in service during the war. Many, many more who served returned home to Schuyler to raise families and build their communities.

The Historical Society is inviting the public to help create the special exhibit by providing information about county residents who served the war effort, either in military or civilian roles. A required form asks for details such as where the person served and what he or she did after the war. Exhibit organizers also are asking for a photograph.

All submissions for the “Schuyler Answered the Call” exhibit will be placed in the Historical Society’s permanent collections.

To request the form or for more information about the exhibit and how to participate, call (607) 535-9741 or email director@schuylerhistory.org. The form also is available on the Historical Society’s website at www.schuylerhistory.org.

Historical Society facilities are still closed to the public. When the Brick Tavern Museum reopens, the form will be available there, as well.

The forms must be returned to the Historical Society by July 17.

Photo in text: Schuyler County men in the same 1944 U.S. Navy recruitment class at Sampson Naval Training Station in Seneca County pose for a photograph. The men and women of the county who served in military and civilian roles in World War II will be honored in a special exhibit at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls. The exhibit will open on Sept. 2, the 75th anniversary of the end of the war. (Photo from the Schuyler County Historical Society’s collections)

HEAL contest encourages fun, family games

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, May 22, 2020 -- HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) Schuyler is encouraging people to invent a new physical education game with people in their own home as part of a contest.

The game, HEAL representatives say, can be played virtually or using social distance with people outside the home. The idea is to brainstorm ideas for a game that gets you up and moving. Write clear rules for the game. Demonstrate the game through video, pictures, storyline or paper napkin doodles.

Games will be judged on the following:

    • Players can decrease or increase the level of challenge in order to match their skills. (Game that a family can play.)
    • It must be safe and accessible for all players.
    • It must fun (with activities that involve skills and strategy).
    • It must be fair. (Success and scoring are not too easy or too hard.)

Prizes provided by Watkins Sporting Goods will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place selections. The contest is for Schuyler County residents only.

To enter, submit your game to scph@co.schuyler.ny.us with Subject: HEAL PE Game Contest Entry. Rules and games descriptions should be sent in by August 31, 2020. Winners will be announced in September 2020.

For more information on the invent PE contest, visit the HEAL Schuyler website here.

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.

Orchestra plans Facebook Live mini-concert

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, May 23, 2020 -- The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes (OSFL) will present a Facebook Live concert with OSFL principal violinist Max Buckholtz at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 31. The concert is free, but donations are appreciated to help the Orchestra and musicians through this uncertain time.

Listeners will be transported on a brief trip around the world with music from Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Romania, and Ireland. Repertoire will include Balad al-Mahboud, Hicaz Raks, Dilphon Oman/Syrtos, and an original by Buckholtz, Irish Aire.

Facebook Live mini-concerts by OSFL musicians take place approximately every two weeks during this time when the orchestra cannot perform on stage. To find out more, follow the OSFL on Facebook at facebook.com/theOSFL or check out the website at www.OSFL.org

About the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes:

Under the guidance of Music Director and Conductor Toshiyuki Shimada, the OSFL celebrates its 25th season during the 2019-2020 concert year, which also marks the 10th season under the baton of Shimada.

Support for the OSFL comes from the Corning Incorporated Foundation, Hilliard Corporation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Photo in text: Violinist Max Buckholtz (Photo provided)

Grist Iron to host memorial Blood Drive

Special to The Odessa File

BURDETT, May 5, 2020 --Grist Iron Brewing Company will host the Give a Pint, Get a Pint Memorial Blood Drive with the American Red Cross on Thursday, May 21 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the brewery, located at 4880 State Route 414 in Burdett, NY.

Since there is no known end date in this fight against coronavirus, donations of blood and platelets are needed to maintain a sufficient blood supply for the weeks to come. According to the Red Cross, donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with types O negative, A negative, and B negative. Additional safety measures will be in place during the drive and blood will only be collected from healthy individuals who meet all of the Red Cross’s eligibility requirements at the time of donation.

“With things being so uncertain right now, our entire team wanted to help our community and local healthcare systems the best we can,” said Bill Allington, Grist Iron Brewing Company’s president. “We’re also dedicating this blood drive in memory of my dad, Bill Allington, Sr., who passed away last fall. This cause was near and dear to his heart and gives our staff, community, family, and friends an opportunity to remember and honor him by helping save lives.”

As a special thank you, Grist Iron will also be handing out a chip to all donors aged 21 years and above to redeem for one free pint of beer at the brewery once it opens back up for normal business. “We couldn’t be more grateful to our community for their continued support,” said Allington. “We’re all in this together, so the least we can do is get a great beer in your hand to say thank you.”

With the current COVID-19 situation, pre-scheduled appointments are highly encouraged. For more information about the drive or to sign up to donate, visit rcblood.org/2VFzWyc.

About Grist Iron Brewing Company:

Opened in May 2015, Grist Iron Brewing Co. is an independently owned craft brewery based in Burdett, NY, overlooking Seneca Lake in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. Grist Iron produces a variety of craft beers from lagers to sours to IPAs to stouts, so every person can find something in the craft beer realm that they like to drink. Grist Iron is currently offering online ordering and curbside pick up for both beer and food on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays between 3-7 p.m.

Orchestra plays Facebook Live mini-concert

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, May 18, 2020 -- The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes (OSFL) presented a Facebook Live concert with OSFL duo Augusto Diemecke, violin, and Christine Lowe-Diemecke, cello on Sunday, May 17. The concert was free, but donations were appreciated to help the Orchestra and musicians through this uncertain time.

Repertoire for this mini-concert included JS Bach’s Duet in F Major, Cradle Song by Reinhold Gliere, Sonata in F Major No. 3 by George Frederic Handel, and J. Cohen’s Bahia Nortena, Tango Argentino, and Habanera.

In addition to his position as the OSFL’s concertmaster, Augusto is also the conductor of the Youth Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes. Sunday’s performance was a bittersweet watch party for students in the Youth Orchestra whose final concert of the school year was originally scheduled for May 17. With the current pandemic situation, that staged concert was no longer possible.

Facebook Live mini-concerts by OSFL musicians take place approximately every two weeks during this time when the orchestra cannot perform on stage. To find out more, follow the OSFL on Facebook at facebook.com/theOSFL or check out the website at www.OSFL.org

About the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes:

Under the guidance of Music Director and Conductor Toshiyuki Shimada, the OSFL celebrates its 25th season during the 2019-2020 concert year, which also marks the 10th season under the baton of Shimada.

Support for the OSFL comes from the Corning Incorporated Foundation, Hilliard Corporation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Photo in text: Violinist Augusto Diemecke and cellist Christine Lowe-Diemecke. (Photo provided)

Orchestra holds online live Mini-Concert

Special to The Odessa File

ELMIRA, May 5, 2020 -- The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes (OSFL) presented a Facebook Live concert with OSFL principal flutist Jeanne Sperber on Sunday, May 3 at 4:00 p.m. The concert was free. Donations were appreciated to help the Orchestra and musicians through this uncertain time.

Repertoire for this mini-concert included JS Bach’s Partita in A Minor (Allemande, Corrente, Sarabande, Bourree Anglaise), Image by Eugene Bozza, and Vals Venezolano & Contradanza by Paquito D'Rivera.

The OSFL’s 25th Season Grand Finale Concert was originally scheduled for May 3. With the current pandemic situation, that mainstage concert was canceled.

Facebook LIVE concerts by OSFL musicians will take place approximately every two weeks during this “Stay at Home” time. To find out more, follow the OSFL on Facebook at facebook.com/theOSFL or check out the website at www.OSFL.org.

About the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes:

Under the guidance of Music Director and Conductor Toshiyuki Shimada, the OSFL celebrates its 25th season during the 2019-2020 concert year, which also marks the 10th season under the baton of Shimada.

Support for the OSFL comes from the Corning Incorporated Foundation, Hilliard Corporation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Photo in text: Flutist Jeanne Sperber (Photo provided)

Watkins 2020 Waterfront Festival canceled

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 17, 2020 -- For 26 years, the Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival has brought thousands of landlubbers and cardboard sailors to town to enjoy the Seneca Lake waterfront, stroll a midway of dozens of vendors and music-makers, and watch or participate in the “almost-famous” Cardboard Boat Regatta held in Seneca Harbor Park. This year’s Festival had been scheduled for Saturday, June 20.

The Waterfront Festival Committee, part of Watkins Glen Promotions, announced Friday that this year’s planned Festival has been canceled because of the many concerns surrounding the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the Committee and of the board of directors of Watkins Glen Promotions said they made this decision after a great deal of discussion and evaluation of the health risks involved in any large gatherings which might spread the virus which causes Covid-19.

“The health and safety of our guests, our sponsors, our vendors, and our volunteers will always be our primary concern,” said Marianne Marts, Chair of Watkins Glen Promotions. “We are heartbroken to cancel an event which has brought so many people and so much fun to Watkins Glen each summer, but we hope this disease will be defeated and we will be able to bring this event back, better than ever, next year!”

Marts thanked the generous event sponsors and the hard-working volunteers who have been planning this year’s Festival. The highlight of the Festival each year is the Cardboard Boat Regatta, featuring dozens of handmade boats made only of cardboard and duct tape.

Watkins Glen Promotions is a non-profit organization producing four Schuyler County events each year. They include the Waterfront Festival in June, the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival in September, the Falls Harvest Festival in Montour Falls in October, and Watkins Glen Village Christmas in December. Visit www.watkinsglen.com for more information.

Photo in text: The scene along the backstretch of the Cardboard Boat Regatta during a previous Waterfront Festival. (File photo)

Rotary accepting annual grant requests

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, April 2, 2020 -- The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club is accepting requests for its annual community grants, funded by a variety of efforts undertaken by the Club during the year.

The grants are intended to help organizations in Schuyler County promote the quality of life in the area. The financial assistance is awarded to organizations that have specifically identified projects or needs.

Requests must be submitted in writing by May 1st on the organization's letterhead, and limited to two pages. The following information must be included.

--A concise statement describing the specific project or need for which assistance is sought. The amount requested also should be specific.

--A description of efforts that have been made or will be made to obtain funds from other sources for the specific project or need.

--The legal name of the organization, a description of its mission, the names of its officers, and the name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address of the contact person.

Once again, grant requests are for specific projects or needs in Schuyler County. They will not be awarded for operating budgets exclusively or for endowments. They are to be spent within one year of the date of the award, without further expectation of support.

The requests will be reviewed during the month of May, and the awards announced in June.

Submit grant requests to: Donations Committee, Watkins-Montour Rotary Club, P.O. Box 384, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

'FLX To-Go' will help spread the word about takeout, delivery, other new options

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 19, 2020 -- Businesses and organizations throughout the Finger Lakes region are invited to share updates to their operations directly with consumers through a new Facebook page launched Wednesday by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

“FLX To-Go” can be found at www.facebook.com/flxtogo and features a running list of posts and shares from restaurants, bars, farms, school districts, hospitals, and more of updates to their typical practices required by social distancing and mandated operations restrictions.

“People want to support small businesses through a difficult period like this, and they need to know how to access needed services when there are interruptions or changes to the way those services are provided,” said Rebekah Carroll, Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. “FLX To-Go is our way of helping connect businesses and organizations with the public quickly and effectively.”

Carroll said businesses and organizations with changes to announce should be sure to let the Chamber know. They can do this in one of a few ways:

1. Post the update on their own Facebook page and tag “FLX To-Go.”

2. Send the update to FLX To-Go via Facebook Messenger.

3. Send the update to the Chamber at rebekah@watkinsglenchamber.com.

From there, the Chamber will share all verified information on an ongoing basis.

For consumers’ part, Carroll says people should like the FLX To-Go page and share, like or comment on the content that’s posted. That will keep the information being shared at the top of users’ News Feed.

“Whether you’re adding a delivery option to meet the needs of people who aren’t able to leave their homes easily or safely, or changing the way important community services are being provided, FLX To-Go should be added to every business and organization’s media list so these important announcements can be shared far and wide,” Carroll added.

Contributors to FLX To-Go need not be members of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, nor do they need to be based in Watkins Glen.

“Our goal is to provide a channel for all area businesses because when we all work together through a challenging period like this one, the community emerges stronger in the end,” Carroll said.

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. The Chamber’s mission is to advance economic success through support, promotion, and education. Its vision is to be an invaluable partner and resource. For more information, visit www.watkinsglenchamber.com.

March for Meals dinner has been canceled

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 13, 2020 -- Each year, during the month of March, National
Nutrition Month promotes activities that focus on the importance of healthy eating in
older adults.

This March, in recognition of National Nutrition Month and as a member of Meals on Wheels America, the Schuyler County Office for the Aging was planning a March for Meals dinner event on March 19 at the Silver Spoon Cafe in the Human Services Complex, Montour Falls.

But due to the Coronavirus health concerns, the dinner has been canceled.

In addition, beginning Monday, March 16, all Office for the Aging Congregate Meal Sites will be closed until further notice.

Schuyler County Office for the Aging’s mission is to advocate for, educate and assist the
older adult population to live in their own homes as safely as possible for as long as
possible.

Exhibit honors 100 years of hospital care

Note on March 19, 2020: The Brick Tavern Museum has been temporarily closed due the coronavirus pandemic.

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, NY, Feb. 8, 2020 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society is honoring the 100th anniversary of the chartering of Schuyler County’s first hospital with a special exhibit.

“100 Years of Hospital Care in Schuyler County” is now open at the Society’s Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls. The exhibit will be in place through the end of April.

A talk about early Schuyler County doctors will be presented by Charles Fausold of Hector on March 21. The free talk, “A Tale of Three Doctors,” will be at 1 p.m. at the Brick Tavern Museum.

The county’s first hospital, the Shepard Relief Hospital, was chartered on Nov. 20, 1920, and the first patients were accepted in May 1921. It was located where the Falls Home is today on Schuyler Street in Montour Falls.

The hospital’s name was changed to Schuyler Hospital in 1951, and the facility moved to its current site on Steuben Street in 1972.

The centennial anniversary exhibit is composed of artifacts from the Historical Society’s own collections and materials on loan from Schuyler Hospital and the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary. The exhibit includes medical equipment, nurses’ uniforms, documents and many photographs of hospital staff and volunteers, who will be familiar to Schuyler County residents.

The Brick Tavern Museum is located at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls. Admission is free.

For more information, contact the Schuyler County Historical Society at (607) 535-9741 or director@schuylerhistory.org.

The Schuyler County Historical Society captures 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 and Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday 2-8 p.m. The Historical Society is supported in part by a TAP grant administered by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Photo in text: This late 1940s photograph shows the original Shepard Relief Hospital structure and its brick additions at the Schuyler Street, Montour Falls, location. The facility moved to Steuben Street on Montour Falls’ west hill in 1972. (Provided)

Present at the Gala, from left: Carl Blowers, Alison Hunt, and Judy and Phil Cherry.

Some photos from the Chamber's Gala

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 19, 2020 -- Diners filled the ballroom at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel Saturday night for the annual Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Winter Gala.

A social hour, dinner, silent and live auctions, live music, blackjack, photos, character drawings and the presentation of annual awards highlighted the evening.

Award winners were Montour Falls Mayor John King (the Community Spirit Award), Montour Falls' Chicone Builders (the Leader in Business Award), Atwater Estates Vineyard owner Ted Marks (the Lifetime Achievement Award), and recently retired Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan (the Max Neal Award, presented for dedication to and support of the Chamber of Commerce).

The theme of the evening was "Whimsical Night in the Woodlands," a prompt that led Eric Hollenbeck and his wife Mary Beth to wear headwear befitting forest creatures.

Photo in text: Among the Gala attendees were Heidi Pike, left, and Rebecca Gould.

At the Winter Gala, from left: Denise and Matt Hayden, and Rebekah and Rick Carroll.

At the Winter Gala, from left: Junior Specchio and Mike and Kaye Stamp.

Left: CCC President Dr. William Mullaney, left, and Congressman Tom Reed.
Right: Max Neal and Ken Wilson.

Left: Stephanie Monroe. Right: Eric and Mary Beth Hollenbeck, with woodland creature headwear.

Left: Dennis Fagan, winner of the Max Neal Award. Right: Table seating lists were posted just outside the dining hall.

The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel ballroom, site of the Chamber's Winter Gala.

Queen of Hearts fundraiser set for Feb. 22

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 13, 2020 -- The Annual Queen of Hearts Fundraiser, presented by The Slaydies Den and Seneca Sunrise Coffee, will take place on Saturday, February 22 at 6 p.m. at the Community Center in Watkins Glen.

Proceeds from this ladies-only event will go to First Step Victim Services, the domestic violence program of Catholic Charities of Chemung/Schuyler.

Heavy appetizers and a cash bar will be available at the event, along with music and a photo booth from Finger Lakes Entertainment Group. A silent auction will take place during the evening as well. Tickets can be purchased online at www.TheSlaydiesDen.com and will only be on sale until January 31, 2020.

“We are honored to know that The Slaydies Den is committed to helping women in our community," said Katie Rhodes, Development and Marketing Coordinator for Catholic Charities. "As the recipient of their fundraiser for the second year in a row, it is exciting to see the growth of this event! Being an entirely volunteer driven group, they are committed to raising over $3,000 to help those we serve as they leave abusive relationships and start their lives over.”

This is the third annual fundraiser hosted by The Slaydies Den. Last year the event raised $2,500 for First Step Victim Services.

The Slaydies Den is actively seeking sponsorship for this event. Volunteers are asking that the community shows support. For more details about the availability of sponsoring, email info@jerakahheady.com.

About The Slaydies Den: The Slaydies Den is a Women’s Empowerment Center which focuses on Gratitude, Self-Care and Giving Back to the community. The Slaydies Den offers a non-judgmental space for women to connect virtually as well as network via an array of in-person meetups. Please visit www.TheSlaydiesDen.com for more information.

Reindeer on hand near the Community Bank were a popular attraction for kids.

Watkins hosts its annual Village Christmas

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 14, 2019 -- The 27th annual Watkins Glen Village Christmas was held Friday night on Franklin Street, the community's main thoroughfare.

The road was closed to traffic from 2nd to 7th Streets, vehicles rerouted to side streets -- primarily Decatur.

The festival featured plenty of food from vendors, a gingerbread house contest, cookie decorating, recorded and caroling music, a chili cookoff, a parade, fireworks, and Santa and Mrs. Claus, both in the parade and later at the Famous Brands store on Franklin.

The parade featured fire trucks from Watkins Glen, Odessa, Montour Falls and Beaver Dams, floats, tractors, reindeer, and marching groups like the Glen Gators swimmers and the Four Dragons Martial Arts students.

Photo in text: This sign was carried near the front of the parade, announcing the march's theme.

Seasonal characters populated this float, one of several in the parade.

The Glen Mountain Market hosted cookie decorating, while outside, one of its elves juggled.

Among the parade participants was Lakewood Vineyards, the sign carriers seasonally attired.

A wagon full of kids stopped to see a Nativity scene alongside Franklin Street.

The Odessa Fire Department's parade participation included these letter carriers.

A Gingerbread House Contest was held at the Cabins to Castles real estate firm.

The Glen Gators swimmers gathered in front of Specchio Inc. before marching in the parade.

Holiday open house set Dec. 8 at Museum

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Dec. 13, 2019 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society’s annual holiday open house was held on Sunday, Dec. 8, from 2-4 p.m. at the Brick Tavern Museum.

The museum, at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls, is beautifully decorated for the holidays. Refreshments and tours of the museum and the adjacent Wickham Rural Life Center were offered.

For more information about the museum, call the Historical Society at 535-9741.

Photo in text: The Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls is decorated for the holidays. (Photo provided)

Elle Woods (Kelsey Johnson, front left) leads other dancers in a musical sequence. Johnson doubles as the play's choreographer.

LCP 's Legally Blonde ends run at WGHS

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 9, 2019 -- The Lake Country Players' presentation of the musical Legally Blonde was held for the third and final time Sunday afternoon before an enthusiastic audience in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium.

Twenty-eight community members had rehearsed their roles since Labor Day under the direction of Anthony Curren. The first show was presented Friday night, and the second Saturday night.

The Legally Blonde story begins at the Delta Nu Sorority house at Southern Cal where Margot (Edele Morgan), Serena (Casey Underdown) and Pilar (Amanda Frank) are celebrating the imminent engagement of their President, Miss Elle Woods (Kelsey Johnson), to Warner Huntington III (Tyler Stevens). Over a romantic dinner, Warner informs Elle that she’s not serious enough to be the wife of a future lawyer and politician, and her heart is nearly broken.

But, of course, she has a plan! She’s going to get into Harvard Law School so that she can prove how “serious” she is! The Brainiac of the sorority, Kate (Elaina Rodriquez), tutors Elle until she gets a score high enough on the LSAT and is at last able to enter Harvard.

On the first day of class we meet Professor Callahan (Mitchell Smith), who informs the class that a very few of them will actually have what it takes to be a good lawyer. This includes students Aaron Shultz (Alix Mathews), Sundeep Padamadon (Stephen Cole) and feminist agitator Enid Hoops (Rachel Porter). Professor Callahan’s right-hand man is Emmett Forrest (Alex Gill), who is amazed at Elle’s audacity and ignorant bliss. When Elle experiences a second rejection at the hands of Warner -- who has acquired a new, serious girlfriend named Vivienne (Melissa Neufer) -- she decides she doesn’t want to be a blonde anymore, and goes to visit The Hair Affair, where owner Paulette Buonafonte (Casey Smith) tells her all bad hair decisions are based on love, and that Elle should not change a thing, including her blonde hair.

Does Elle win Warner back? Could she ever settle down and be a serious law student? She may have to if she wants to win the case of accused murderer/exercise guru Brooke Wyndam (Katherine Larson).

Set designer/Prop chair Jennie Scarbrough of Hector Handmade also offered the services of her adorable little chiweenie dog Moxy to play the role of Elle’s dog Bruiser. Music direction was by Kim Laursen and costumes by Marty Evans.

Photo in text: Kelsey Johnson (as Elle Woods) and Tyler Stevens (as Warner) dine just before Warner dumps Elle, who had been expecting a proposal.

From left: Mitchell Smith as Professor Callahan, Alex Gill as Emmett Forrest, and Casey Smith as Paulette Buonofonte.

Cast members of the Lake Country Players' production of the musical "Legally Blonde."

Valois Castle talk set at museum on Nov. 16

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Nov. 9, 2019 -- Seneca County Historian Walter Gable will speak about the Valois Castle at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 1 p.m.

The talk is free, and all are welcome. The Brick Tavern Museum is located at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls.

Starting in 1899, Arthur Valois, a prominent Paris lawyer, spent his summers in an imposing 23-room mansion about 11 miles north of Watkins Glen on the east shore of Seneca Lake in the Town of Hector. He filled the mansion, referred to as Valois Castle, with furniture pieces from the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

One of those pieces, a cuckoo clock from Germany’s Black Forest, now hangs in the Brick Tavern Museum as part of its collections.

Following Valois’ death, the property operated for a few years as a restaurant and resort known as Valois Farms Castle. The mansion was destroyed by fire in 1932.

The Schuyler County Historical Society captures 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 and Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday 2-8 p.m. Admission is free. The Historical Society is supported in part by a TAP grant administered by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, contact the Schuyler County Historical Society at (607) 535-9741 or director@schuylerhistory.org.

Exhibit to honor Burdett's Bicentennial

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS,Nov. 4, 2019 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society is honoring the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Village of Burdett with a special exhibit opening Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the Society’s Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls.

A public reception to mark the exhibit opening will be Thursday, Nov. 7, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the museum. The public is invited. The exhibit will be in place through the end of January.

The Brick Tavern Museum is located at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls.

On Sunday, Nov. 10, Jack Walsh of Burdett and Elmira will speak about his Burdett ancesters. The talk, “Frosts’ Tails and Other Tales: Plus Jiminy Cricket at Hector Falls,” will be at 2 p.m. in the community room at the new Burdett Fire Department on Route 79. The talk is free and open to the public.

The talk is the second in a five-part series of talks about people, places and things from Burdett’s history. The Burdett Bicentennial Sunday Speaker Series talks all begin at 2 p.m.

Subsequent talks in the series:

--“Beautiful Burdett: Colorful Architecture & Enduring History” by Marty Evans. Jan. 12 at the Brick Tavern Museum.

--“Agricultural Paradise: Burdett’s Farming Heritage” by Heather O’Grady-Evans. Feb. 9 at the Burdett Fire Department.

--“The Lehigh Valley Railroad: Burdett at the Crossroads of Early Commerce & Transportation” by Gary Emerson. March 8 at the Burdett Fire Department.

Burdett was established in 1819. The 200th anniversary celebration began with a daylong event on June 1.

For more information, contact Marty Evans of the Burdett Bicentennial Committee at (607) 592-9696 or mdevans3@aol.com or the Schuyler County Historical Society at (607) 535-9741 or director@schuylerhistory.org.

History of barley, brewing wraps up series

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 18, 2019 -- The place of hops, barley and brewing in Schuyler County’s past, present and future were explored on Thursday, Oct. 17, in the final session of Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage, Conversations About Agriculture Across Time.

Schuyler County Historian Gary Emerson and Ian Conboy of Lucky Hare Brewing were the speakers. The event was held at Lucky Hare’s new facility in the Schuyler County Business Park, Route 414 South, Watkins Glen.

A free beer tasting preceded the talk.

Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage is a partnership of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County and the Schuyler County Historical Society. The free monthly talks have been about past agricultural endeavors in the county and what’s happening in those areas today. The eight sessions of Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage have been hosted at sites across the county.

Contact Cooperative Extension at (607) 535-7161 or the Historical Society at (607) 535-9741 for more information

Festivalgoers filled much of Main Street in downtown Montour Falls on Saturday, Oct. 5.

Sunny Falls Harvest Fest draws a crowd

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 6, 2019 -- Vendors offering crafts, food, information and knickknacks highlighted the annual Falls Harvest Festival held Saturday afternoon and evening in downtown Montour Falls.

Live entertainment, a book sale, storytelling from the Schuyler County Historical Society and evening fireworks filled out a busy day -- one graced by sunny and moderate weather that helped attract a steady crowd.

In addition, there was a formal presentation, complete with speeches, in front of the Village Hall as the village was designated a Climate Smart Community by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation -- one of only 34 in the state. The designation was the result of ongoing efforts by village officials, with the help of Cooperative Extension, to establish NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities projects.

The photos here were snapped during a walk up and down Main Street.

Photo in text: The festival fun included a Montour Falls Library "painting."

Cornell Cooperative Extension Schuyler County's executive director, Phil Cherry, was among the speakers at the ceremony at which Montour Falls received designation as a Climate Smart Community.

Left: Chef William Cornelius was one of the festival's many vendors. Right: The plaque honoring Montour Falls as a Climate Smart Community.

Warren Real Estate provided an information booth. Representing the firm were, from left, Heather Perko, Sharlyn Louch and Jody Saunders.

An aerial view of the festival along Franklin Street. (Tony Vickio drone photo)

Grand Prix Festival held in Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 7, 2019 -- The annual Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival was held for the 26th time Friday -- celebrating the history of post-World War II Road Racing from 1948-1952 where it all began, in Watkins Glen.

A full history and background can be found at www.grandprixfestival.com.

The day included:

--A Tech Inspection Re-enactment at Smalley's Garage on Franklin Street. Represented the tech inspections done by Flossie Smalley during the street racng years.

--The Hector Wine Company Glenkhana in the State Park parking lot -- a fun version of motocross, with crazy driving patterns and games.

--Walk of Fame Induction Ceremonies (dedication of stones to be placed in the sidewalks). Nineteen driver dedications were held this year -- including those of the Festival Grand Marshal, Hurley Haywood, along with Boris Said, Steve Park, and local resident Tony Vickio. The stones are located in different locations along Franklin Street.

--Cayuga Health Systems Two Laps of the Old Course, starting and finishing on Franklin Street. These started after the road was closed from Second to Tenth Streets.

The laps were not a "race," but gave drivers a chance to show off their vehicles in a tour of the original road course used from 1948-1952. These laps ran through the afternoon and included the following groups:

First group: Lane's Yamaha Motorcycle Rally bikes; Lotus cars from the Lotus Owners Of New York (LOONY) Lotus Rally, sponsored by Lotus of Western New York; and unusual cars from the Community Bank Concorso Speciale!

Second group: The Tour De Marque Triumphs, a wide collection of Triumph vehicles --about 100 in all.

Third group: Glenora Run, more than 100 sports cars at least 25 years old.

Fourth group: Chateau Lafayette Reneau Founders Tour, more than 100 sports cars, joined by cars from the Hector Wine Company Glenkhana.

Fifth group: Knapp Vineyards Sporting Roadster Tour, about 100 "roadster" or open-top sports cars.

Sixth Group: The Corning Concours d'Elegance vehicles -- the "cream of the crop," participating in the Festival's judged auto show.

In addition, the festival featured:

--"The Legends Speak," a collection of Grand Prix veterans with their memories -- this year featuring the Grand Prix Festival Grand Marshal, Hurley Haywood.

--The arrival on Franklin Street of SVRA vintage race cars that were parked along the sides of the street from Fourth to Ninth Streets before roaring into action, taking parade laps of the Old Course.

--An award ceremony for the Corning Concours d'Elegance winners, followed by the Festival's ceremonies. All of this at the stage at the Start-Finish line.

A shuttle bus service and parking were available at the Watkins Glen Community Center across from lakeside Clute Park from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Additional passenger drop-off and pick-up sites were set up along Porter Street on the east side of Lafayette Park, and near the Middle School Apartments.

Photos in text:

Top: Cars on display in the Elmira Savings Bank lot.

Second: Motorcyclists prepare to drive on the Old Course, starting from the Community Savings Bank.

Third: Seneca View residents got a taste of the festival when some of the festival drivers paraded their vehicles for them. Residents prepared signs and banners for weeks beforehand. (Photo provided)

Fourth: Tony Vickio of Watkins Glen, right, was inducted into the Watkins Glen Drivers Walk of Fame with a stone inscribed with his name that is embedded in the sidewalk in front of Maria's Tavern. With him were Jim Scaptura, Watkins Glen Village Historian, left, and Bill Green, historian of the International Motor Racing Research Center.

Police closed Franklin Street at 1 p.m. from Second to Tenth Streets for the festival.

Motorists get the green flag at the start of one of the scheduled tours of the Old Course.

Spectators watch as one of the many participating vehicles passes by on Franklin Street.

Left: Members of The Tribe youth football cheerleaders participated in the festival.
Right: Racing artist Robert Gillespie, left, talks to friends in a tent along Franklin Street where he was selling some of his work.

Spectators lined the roadway at the junction of Franklin Street and Route 329, at the beginning of the Old Course followed by racers from 1948-52. (Tony Vickio drone photo)

Touring cars gathered in the parkng lot outside the Chateau LaFayette Reneau above Seneca Lake in Hector Friday morning. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Left: A festival-goer makes her way across Franklin Street. Right: Schuyler County Legislator Jim Howell, with wife Bonnie (right), talking to Peggy Tomassi.

A festival participant makes his way up Franklin Street in his MG, at the start of a tour of the Old Course that winds through the hills ouside Watkins Glen.

A view from the sky, looking north up Franklin Street and into the State Park. (Tony Vickio drone photo)

Salt Production next Conversations topic

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 1, 2019) -- Salt production in Schuyler County and the region will be explored on Thursday, Sept. 12, in the seventh session of Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage, Conversations About Agriculture Across Time.

Paul Clifford of Cargill, Inc. in Watkins Glen will be the speaker. The free presentation will be at the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge, Route 14 North, starting at 6 p.m.

Refreshments, including salt potatoes and kielbasa,
will be offered beginning at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Salt was first discovered in Watkins Glen in 1882 during exploration for oil, gas and other minerals. The first brine-producing well in the village was put into service by 1890, providing a flow of mineral waters for the Glen Springs Hotel spa. Successful commercial production of salt didn’t get underway until 1893.

Today, Watkins Glen’s two salt production companies, Cargill, Inc. and U.S. Salt, manufacture a diverse list of salt products.

Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage is a partnership of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County and the Schuyler County Historical Society. The free monthly talks are about past agricultural endeavors in the county and what’s happening in those areas today.

The eight sessions of Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage have been hosted across the county. The final talk will be on hops and brewing in October.

Contact Cooperative Extension at (607) 535-7161 or the Historical Society at (607) 535-9741 for more information.

SOS to raise funds with Motorcyle Run

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 18, 2019 -- Spirit of Schuyler, a local non-profit organization, will host its annual Motorcycle Run fundraiser event on August 24 -- with a new addition this year.

Riders will have the opportunity to check out the custom Sahlen’s motorcycle built by and featured on Orange County Choppers. Sahlen Packing Company is celebrating 150 years in business and commissioned Orange County Choppers to build this old-school style bike. The company was founded in 1869 in Buffalo, NY. The bike was unveiled in early February 2019 and is making a special trip to Schuyler County for this event. The event will also feature Sahlen’s famous hot dogs for all participating riders.

Registration will be from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. at Matt’s Place in Beaver Dams. From there, riders will experience a rare opportunity to ride around the Watkins Glen International racetrack. The event also features a scenic ride, food, and live music.

Tickets and more information on Spirit of Schuyler are available at www.spiritofschuyler.org or on the Spirit of Schuyler Facebook page. All ticket sale proceeds from the Motorcyle Run benefit Spirit of Schuyler.

Spirit of Schuyler is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life and expanding meaningful opportunities for Schuyler County residents in times of need. The organization focuses on providing emergency financial assistance to residents who fight for their financial independence, support themselves and their families, and are self-sustaining until unforeseen circumstances occur.

SOS operates with an all-volunteer board and committee, is completely funded by donations and fundraisers, and returns funds raised directly back to the local community in the form of financial assistance. For more information, visit spiritofschuyler.org or facebook.com/spiritofschuyler.

Photo int text: Sahlen’s custom motorcycle built by Orange County Choppers. Pictured are Mike Eckert, Sahlen’s Brand Marketing (left), and Tony Vickio, Spirit of Schuyler President. (Photo provided)

Members of the Montour Falls Fire Department march in the festival parade.

Italian-American Festival wraps up its run

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 12, 2019 -- The 39th annual Schuyler County Italian-American Festival concluded its three-day run Sunday at Clute Park.

The festival's big day was Saturday, highlighted by a parade at noon and fireworks after sundown.

The parade down Decatur Street and then east on Fourth Street to the festival grounds featured bands, fire departments, politicians and floats. The fireworks show was dedicated to the memory of Rocco Scaptura, longtime festival leader. His widow Laurie served as the fireworks show "starter."

New to the Italian-American Festival this year was a cornhole tournament on Sunday. Competition began at noon, west of the pavilion.

Leonard and Shirley Salvatore, who served many years on the organizing committee as the festival’s co-treasurers,were honored as grand marshals of Saturday’s parade. Broghan Fuller-Bianco, son of Lisa Fuller and Mark Bianco, appeared in the parade as festival prince. Elliana Bacon, daughter of Kristen and Derek Bacon, appeared as festival princess.

New to the parade was DownBeat Percussion, a popular drumline group that entertains widely, including at Buffalo Bills games. The group offered a special performance on the festival grounds after the parade.

Odessa-Montour Central School state sports champions Dylan Houseknecht, wrestling, and Zach Elliott, shot put, were also in the parade.

The annual pasta-eating contest presented by Fidelis Care and Curly’s Family Restaurant was held Saturday, with the 4th Annual Kenny Larson Italian-American Festival Motorcycle Show held Sunday. The Robert Rogers Puppet Co. returned with marionette shows hourly on Saturday and Sunday on center court in front of the pavilion.

The entertainment stage musical lineup opened with Telephone Party at 4 p.m. Friday, followed at 8 p.m. by Tempting Scarlett. Saturday's entertainment featured Still Kickin’ at 4:30 p.m. and Rust at 7:30 p.m. The Ampersand Project performed at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Except for the carnival amusements and rides, all entertainment was free. No admission to the festival was charged, and parking on Clute Park grounds was only $5 per vehicle.

The festival celebrates the county’s Italian heritage, and funds raised by the organizing committee are donated back into the community, primarily to youth-oriented organizations.

Photos in text:

Top: The Symphonic Steel Drum Band from Dundee Central School performed in the parade.
Middle: Parade grand marshals were Leonard and Shirley Salvatore.
Bottom: Odessa-Montour High School graduates Zach Elliott (left) and Dylan Houseknecht -- the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Shot Put champion and 285-pound wrestling champion, respectively -- rode in the parade.

Left: Denise Hayden carries a sign in the parade in support of her husband Matt, who is running for the post of Schuyler County Judge. Right: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk rode in the parade.

Left: Abby Gibson marched in the parade in support of Schuyler County Judge candidate Jessica Saks. Right: Schuyler County Judge candidate Steven Getman tosses some candy to kids along the parade route.

Supporters of Schuyler County Judge candidate Dan Fitzsimmons carry a banner.

Watkins Glen High School student-athletes (from left) Ellie Clarkson, Aislinn Klemann and Amanda Wilbur were at the festival.

Left: A member of the Williamson High School band, among the parade participants.
Right:
The Penn York Highlanders bagpipe band from Athens, Pa., performed in the parade.

Left: Sign in the parade. Right: The festival prince and princess, Broghan Fuller-Bianco and Elliana Bacon.

Left: Schuyler County Judge candidate Jessica Saks. Right: The Montour Falls Fire Department's Jeff Confer.

A view of the lake is part of the charm of the festival site, Clute Park in Watkins Glen.

Among the many politically related parade participants were this woman and dog promoting the candidacy of Maggie Coffey for the Schuyler County Legislature.

New to the parade, and performing on the festival grounds afterward, was DownBeat Percussion, a popular drumline group.

The Caledonian Highlanders bagpipe band performed in the parade and later along the Seneca Lake shoreline.

On Friday:

Members of the band Telephone Party performing Friday afternoon at the festival.



Left: Ceci Gaines drums up some business for the Girl Scouts' bake sale booth.
Right: Festival worker Dena Carrigan on the festival's first day.

Left: Rides are an integral part of the festival. Right: WENY reporter Sierra Wright was on hand to report Friday from the festival.

The view from the shoreline, part of the Clute Park grounds, offers a soothing respite.

An artistic rendition of the Montour Falls Fire Department Band marching up Rte. 414 in the Hector Fair Parade. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Hector Fair highlight: its annual parade

HECTOR, July 27, 2019 -- The annual Hector Fair Parade -- a highlight of the fair weekend at the firemen's grounds here -- marched up Rte. 414 Friday evening.

The event, which as usual drew a crowd lining the roadway, included bands, floats, fire departments and political candidates. It ended at the fire station, host to the fair in the field beyond.

The fair started Thursday, and runs through Saturday. A highlight will be fireworks sponsored by WENY-TV after sunset on Saturday night.

Other features: rides, games, food, bingo, a book tent, a chicken barbecue (12 noon Saturday), a car show (12-4 Saturday) and music (Nick Kody & the Creek Road Band from 8:30-11:30 p.m. Saturday.)

Photo: The Red Cat truck was among the Hector Fair parade entries. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Other photos from Liz Fraboni:

Two entries in the Hector Fair Parade on Rte. 414 on Friday evening, July 26.

Left: Sunset at the fairgrounds. Right: Miss Climate Change strikes a pose.

Schuyler County Judge candidates Matt Hayden and Jessica Saks were at the parade. Also running are Dan Fitzsimmons and Steven Getman.

Left: Two girls lead the marching Caledonian Bagpipers. Right: Cornell Cooperative Extension was represented in the parade.

Grape, wine production next presentation in Harvesting Schuyler's Heritage series

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 3, 2019 -- Grapes and wine production in Schuyler County and the region will be explored on Thursday, July 11, in the sixth session of Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage, Conversations About Agriculture Across Time.

Tim Martinson of Cornell Cooperative Extension at Cornell and winery owner and operator Sayre Fulkerson will be the speakers. The presentations will be at Fulkerson Winery, Route 14 North, starting at 6 p.m.

Wine tastings and a cheese tasting from Shtayburne Farms of Chase Road, Reading, are part of the evening, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Martinson is a senior Extension associate with Cooperative Extension’s Viticulture Program. His expertise is in integrated management of grape insect pests and diseases.

Fulkerson graduated from Cornell University in 1975 with a degree in pomology, the study of fruit production, and worked at Glenora Wine Cellars. In 1979 he bought the Jensen Juice plant from Glenora and began selling grape juice to home winemakers. He and his wife, Nancy, opened Fulkerson Winery in 1989, and he now serves as winemaker. He is the sixth generation to work his family’s land.

Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage is a partnership of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County and the Schuyler County Historical Society. The free monthly talks are about past agricultural endeavors in the county and what’s happening in those areas today.

The eight sessions of Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage are being hosted across the county. The final two talks will be on salt production in September and hops and brewing in October.

Contact Cooperative Extension at (607) 535-7161 or the Historical Society at (607) 535-9741 for more information.

The Bat Boat rounds the bend on the way to the finish line in the Seneca Harbor Marina.

26th annual Cardboard Boat Regatta held

WATKINS GLEN, June 16, 2019 -- The 26th annual Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival and Cardboard Boat Regatta was held Saturday at Seneca Harbor Park before a large and enthusiastic crowd.

Pleasant weather -- with intermittent light showers -- greeted the competitors and spectators. There were plenty of food vendors on hand, meanwhile, to satisfy any appetite.

A total of 47 cardboard boats participated, in 23 heats. Water temperature was 50 degrees. Some of the competitors were longtime repeaters. A group from Rochester, for instance, was in its 12th regatta at Seneca Harbor Park -- where they have won prizes in the past. This time, there were 12 people in their Bat Boat, with each of the 12 dressed as a character from the Batman genre -- such as Batman, Robin, Alfred, the Penquin, the Riddler and Bane.

Winners of various categories were announced by the judges shortly after the conclusion of the races. Those results:

Fastest Elapsed Time Multi-hull -- two or more: Abandon Ship -- 3:02
Fastest Elapsed Time Overall Adult Class: Two Trips To The ER-- 2:50

Fastest KIDS Boat under 12: Unicorn Of The Sea -- 6:00
Fastest Elapsed Time Single Hull -- Single Crew: Sea Train -- 2:52
Fastest TEENS Boat (13 to 18): Bob’s Burgers -- 5:31
Don Brubaker Best Construction: M.A.S.H.
Best Sinking: Incoming Wounded
Best Boat Name: Port-ta-Potty
Best Theme: Jailbirds
William Croft Most Patriotic Award: Jutt -- In Memory of Justin Rogers
People’s Choice: Ship For Brains

After the conclusion of the races, live music was provided by Sim Redmond.

Watkins Glen Promotions was in charge of the event -- which this year did not include a Friday Night Harbor Lights gathering, a staple in the past. Major sponsors of Saturday's activities were O’Hara Machinery, Auburn; Geiger’s Marine Services Inc., Montour Falls; The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, and The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

As with all Watkins Glen Promotions events, all activities and entertainment at the Waterfront Festival were free.

Photos in text:

Top: The Harbor Hotel boat completes the race to cheers from the spectators.
Bottom: The sixth heat saw a good race between Sea Train (front) and Montour Missile.

Left: A prison ship from Ithaca called Jailbirds won for Best Theme. Right: On hand to race for the sixth year in the regatta were Olivia Paradiso, left, and Courtney Lakomy.

Left: This MASH boat won for Best Construction. Right: Among the spectators was Manuela Buffo of Brazil, an exchange student this year at Odessa-Montour High School.

Left: Among the spectators: Tom Primerano, a local thespian who is moving in a couple of weeks to North Carolina. Right: A sign on one boat told its story.

Left: Batman manned a paddle on The Bat Boat. Right: Two competitors are in the drink as the Bob's Burgers craft with Maria and Scott Brubaker aboard nears the finish line en route to the award for the Fastest Teens Boat (13 to 18).

The Horsin' Around cardboard boat starts to sink. It capsized moments later.

Crew members aboard the Two Trips to the ER cardboard craft celebrate as they pass the finish line. They won Fastest Elapsed Time Overall, Adult Class.

Honey production is next subject of series

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, June 5, 2019 -- Honey production in Schuyler County and the region will be explored on Thursday, June 20, in the fifth session of Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage, Conversations About Agriculture Across Time.

Ellie Andrews of Cornell University and Peter Borst, retired from Cornell, will be the speakers. The presentations will be at Lakewood Vineyards, Route 14 North, Watkins Glen, starting at 6 p.m.

Added attractions for the evening are a fruit salad bar with honey dressings and a honey tasting presented by Dancing Bees Honey of Cayuta. Serving will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Borst and Andrews will review the history of honey production and beekeeping in the region and look at the current industry, as well as what the future holds.

Borst is highly respected in the region as a beekeeping expert. He was senior apiarist at Cornell's Dyce Lab for Honey Bee Studies for seven years and worked as an apiary inspector for New York State from 2006 to 2008.

Andrews is researching how beekeeping is changing in response to ongoing honey bee health challenges, as it becomes ever more difficult to keep bees healthy and productive. Through participatory observation and interviews, her work shows how competing visions of “sustainable beekeeping” are being re-shaped by factors including the hybridity of honey bees as part-wild, part-domesticated creatures.

Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage is a partnership of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County and the Schuyler County Historical Society. The free monthly talks are about past agricultural endeavors in the county and what’s happening in those areas today.

The eight sessions of Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage are being hosted across the county. Future subjects will be grapes and wine in July, salt production in September and hops and brewing in October.

Contact Cooperative Extension at (607) 535-7161 or the Historical Society at (607) 535-9741 for more information.

Schuyler County Habitat breaks ground

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 30, 2019 -- Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity broke ground on Wednesday for its second home construction. It will be built at 306 Broadway in the Village of Montour Falls. The first home was built on Havana Glen Road, also in the village.

Attending the ground-breaking were Mark Pitifer, representing Congressman Tom Reed’s office; Sharon Sitrin-Moore, representing State Senator Tom O’Mara’s office; Tim O’Hearn, Schuyler County Administrator; and John King, Mayor of the Village of Montour Falls.
Rebekah Carroll, CEO/President of the Watkins Glen Area of Chamber of Commerce, acted as emcee.

Robert Groll, Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity president, spoke about the property and its preparation for construction over the last year. The Reverend Michael Hartney, Habitat treasurer, gave a brief history of Habitat in Schuyler County reaching back to the late 1980s. Marion Nicastro, chair of the Family Selection Committee, introduced the Partner Family who will live in the new home. She explained that the Partner Family is required to contribute many hours of “sweat equity” into the building project and carry a low-interest mortgage for the home.

Volunteers are welcome to help with the construction no matter what their skill set or qualifications. If interested, contact Bob Groll, bgroll@schuylerhabitat.org, to schedule your time. Work days will be posted on Schuyler Habitat’s Facebook page, and on the website www.schuylerhabitat.org.

Anyone can help pay for the home construction by making a contribution directly to Schuyler Habitat, PO Box 45, Watkins Glen, NY 14891, or see the list of individual construction materials available for sponsorship on the webpage that range from a box of nails to the roof shingles.

The ground-breaking ceremony concluded with a blessing of the land by The Reverend Jeremy Spencer of Odessa Baptist Church and with ceremonial first shovelfuls by the Partner Family and others.

Photo in text: Present at the Habitat for Humanity groundbreaking in Montour Falls were, from left: Rebekah Carroll, president of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce; Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn; Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity President Robert Groll; Mark Pitifer, representing Congessman Tom Reed's office; Sharon Sitrin-Moore, representing State Senator Tom O'Mara's office; Montour Falls Mayor John King; and Marion Nicastro, Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity Family Selection Chair. (Photo provided)

Book Sale proves a success at new location

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 2, 2019 -- The annual Friends of the Watkins Library Used Book Sale concluded Saturday -- a success, from all accounts, at a new location.

Thousands of books for all interests and all ages were offered for sale in the gymnasium of the former Watkins Glen Middle School, now known as the Watkins Glen Performing Arts Center.

The sale started Thursday, May 30, and ran through Saturday, June 1, coinciding with the weekend-long Watkins Glen Villagewide Rummage Sales.

Donations of books were accepted only during designated days this year. The last of those was on May 23.

Proceeds from the sale support programs at the Watkins Glen Public Library. For more information, call the library at (607) 535-2346.

Kolodner and Friends concert is May 3

Celtic, old-time and world music with one of the world’s best hammered dulcimer players

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 17, 2019 -- World-class hammered dulcimer player Ken Kolodner of Baltimore will return to Watkins Glen for his seventh year performing at St. James' Episcopal Church, 6th and Decatur Streets, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3.

Kolodner, also a well-regarded Appalachian-style fiddler, will be in Watkins Glen to teach at an annual four-day retreat for more than 25 hammered dulcimer players from the Northeast and beyond.

At the concert, he will perform a wide variety of traditioal world, old-time and Celtic music, joined by several outstanding retreat performers, including Mary Lynn van Deventer, a renowned player from North Carolina.

Concert tickets are $15, and $10 for children under 14. Kids under 5 are admitted free.

Photo in text: Ken Kolodner (Photo provided)

Bounce houses added a festive atmosphere to the Lafayette Park Easter Egg Hunt.

Easter Egg Hunts held at 3 Schuyler locales

WATKINS GLEN, April 20, 2019 -- Scores of kids -- with parents in tow -- turned out Saturday morning at Lafayette Park for the 4th annual Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by Cabins to Castles on Seneca Real Estate.

Kids 5 and under hunted for plastic eggs containing candy in a small areea south of the bandstand at 11 a.m., followed shortly thereafter by the older kids racing onto a larger straw-covered area in serach of their own treasures. Anyone finding an egg with a face on it received a chocolate Easter Bunny.

Northeast of the bandstand, two bounce houses drew a crowd in a festive atmosphere. They were available free of charge for three hours, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The emcee and egg-hunt starter was Tom Strong.

The Lafayette Park event was preceded by a 10 a.m. Egg Hunt at the Glen Baptist Church, and was followed by another Egg Hunt at 1 p.m. on the Odessa-Montour High School athletic field sponsored by Odessa American Legion Post 676.

Illustration in text: This computer treated picture shows the energy at the start of the Lafayette Park Easter Egg Hunt for older kids.

From left: The Easter Bunny at the Odessa-Montour Egg Hunt; DJ Tom Strong at the Lafayette Park Egg Hunt; eggs at Lafayette are gathered for future use.

Princess Winnifred (Maria Brubaker) shows her strength by lifting imposing weights.

'Once Upon a Mattress' ends 3-day run

WATKINS GLEN, April 1, 2019 -- The Watkins Glen Class of 2019's production of the comedic musical “Once Upon a Mattress” was presented for the third and final time Sunday afternoon in the Watkins Glen High School Auditorium.

In all, more than 20 students from the 7th to 12th grades rehearsed beginning in January, immersing themselves in the musical take on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea." Memorable songs included "Shy," "Yesterday I Loved You," "Song of Love," "Normandy," and "Very Soft Shoes."

Michelle and Tim Benjamin of Montour Falls directed, with Sarah Matthews as Music Director. Costume Director was Tammy Cole, and Choreographers included Michelle Benjamin, student Grace Wickham, and alum Kelsey Johnson.

Scott Brubaker narrated the story telling how Princess Winnifred -- played by Maria Brubaker -- arrives to win the hand of Prince Dauntless, played by Jack Muir. Twelve princesses have come and gone, unable to pass the impossible tests cooked up by Queen Aggravain, played by Grace Wickham, and the Wizard, played by Douglas DiGregorio.

Meanwhile, the King, played by H Nathaniel Rose, is silent due to a curse, and the Jester, played by Nate Farnsworth, is sad. No one can get married until the prince does, so Sir Harry, played by Wyatt Brower, sought out Winnifred hoping for a match, which will then allow him to marry Lady Larken, played by Iris Elaina Rodriguez.

Other featured performers included Kelsey Kernan, Sarah Schaffner, Sarai Wynkoop, Anya Simpson, Melanie Wysocki, Elliott Holland, Ashlyn Karius, Caitlyn Davis, Kayla Wood, Emma Tanner, Katharine Larson, Abby Lees and Ann Roney.

The pit band included Tom Bloodgood, Lou Cicconi, Pam Cicconi, Bernie Riley, Sam Riley and Kim Laursen, along with Sarah Matthews.

Producer was Sam Brubaker, and the show was presented by the Watkins Glen High School Class of 2019, in cooperation with Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatricals.

*****

Photos in text:

Top: Jack Muir portrayed Prince Dauntless.

Middle: Elliott Holland and Ashlyn Karius performed a medieval version of "Who's on First."

Third: Grace Wickham portrayed Queen Aggravain.

Bottom: H Nathaniel Rose portrayed the King, here exulting after regaining his lost voice.

Maria Brubaker as Princess Winnifred in a scene from "Once Upon a Mattress."

Wyatt Brower (Sir Harry) and Iris Elaina Rodriguez (Lady Larken) take bows after the play.

The Wizard (Douglas DiGregorio, left) with the Minstrel (Scott Brubaker, center) and the Jester (Nate Farnsworth).

Backstage crew member Manuela Buffo moves some onstage scenery.

The Queen (Grace Wickham) with some of her subjects.

Left: The Jester (Nate Farnsworth) concludes a song. Right: Sir Harry (Wyatt Brower).

Jack Muir, who portrayed Prince Dauntless, takes a bow after the play concluded.

Princess Winnifred (Maria Brubaker) struggles to find a comfortable position atop a pile of mattresses, under which is a pea placed there to test her sensitivity.

The King (H Nathaniel Rose, left) and the Jester (Nate Farnsworth) celebrate after the Queen (Grace Wickham) loses her voice and the King regains his.

Left: Scott Brubaker portrayed The Narrator. Right: The Jester (Nate Farnsworth) and Lady Larken (Iris Elaina Rodriguez).

Pit band members Lou Cicconi, left, and Tom Bloodgood before the curtain went up.

Queen Aggravain (Grace Wickham) relaxes with the Wizard (Douglas DiGregorio) serving as a foot stool.

Abby Lees as Princess No. 12 answers a question from the Wizard (Douglas DiGregorio).

Left: Wyatt Brower portrayed Sir Harry. Right: H Nathaniel Rose was King Sextimus.

Princess Winnifred is held aloft by her Ladies in Waiting (from left) Sarai Wynkoop, Sarah Schaffner, Kelsey Kernan and Anya Simpson.

And at dress rehearsal on Monday, March 25:

Wyatt Brower as Sir Harry, and Iris Elaina Rodriguez as Lady Larken.

A dance pyramid concluded a scene from "Once Upon a Mattress."

Queen Aggravain (Grace Wickham), right, makes a point with
Princess Winnifred (Maria Brubaker) and Prince Dauntless
(Jack Muir) during a Once Upon a Mattress dress rehearsal Monday.

Left: Grace Wickham as Queen Aggravain. Right: Maria Brubaker as Princess Winnifred is flanked by the Jester (Nate Farnsworth, left) and the Narrator (Scott Brubaker)

Among the pit band members: Bernie Riley and Samantha Riley.

Left: From left, Scott Brubaker as the Narrator, H Nathaniel Rose as the King, and Nate Farnsworth as the Jester. Right: Maria Brubaker as Princess Winnifred, and Farnsworth.

And at an earlier practice, on March 11:

Left: Grace Wickham portrayed Queen Aggravain. Right: Jack Muir played Prince Dauntless.

Left: H Nathaniel Rose portrayed the King. Right: Maria Brubaker was Princess Winnifred.

Political, religious movements of early 1800s will be the topic of March 31 talk at museum

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 20, 2019 -- The progressive political movements that developed from religious revivals and reforms in the region in the early 1800s will be discussed at a talk Sunday, March 31, at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum.

Tricia L. Noel, executive director and curator at the Yates County History Center in Penn Yan, will be the speaker at the 1 p.m. talk. The talk is free and open to all. The Brick Tavern Museum is located at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls.

Museum hours on March 31 will be noon to 4 p.m.

Women’s right to vote, abolitionism, temperance and utopian social experiments were among the political movements spawned by the Second Great Awakening, a time of religious revivals and reforms generally 1820-50.

The geographic center was a swath of central and western New York, roughly between the Finger Lakes Region and Lakes Ontario and Erie, north of Schuyler County and including Yates, Seneca and Steuben counties. It was known as the Burned-Over District, a term that signified the region had so many religious movements taking place there was no more “fuel,” or unconverted population, remaining to “burn,” or convert.

The Burned-Over District has been called one of the “oddest and most influential regions in American religious history.”

Noel has served as director and curator of the Yates County History Center since last year. She is a native of Geneva and graduated from Wells College. She received a master of arts degree in history at Virginia Commonwealth University. She lived in Virginia for 17 years, working at Colonial Williamsburg and the Library of Virginia.

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. and Thursday 2-8 p.m. Admission is free. The Historical Society is supported in part by a TAP grant administered by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Boating club focus: education, family fun

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 6, 2019 -- The Finger Lakes Chapter of America’s Boating Club, formerly known as the Seneca Sail and Power Squadron, is strengthening its role in the community with renewed emphasis on education, safety and family involvement.

Speaking at his recent installation as the new club president, Jim McGinnis of Watkins Glen said 2019 will be a year of change and transition for the organization.

The local chapter of the United States Power Squadrons was formed in 1960 as the Seneca Sail and Power Squadron. It boasts members from across the Finger Lakes Region who enjoy their time on the water in vessels ranging from kayaks to power boats to sailboats. In fact, boat ownership is not a membership requirement.

United States Power Squadrons is re-branding itself as America’s Boating Club with a motto of “For Boaters, By Boaters,” McGinnis said.

Instruction in basic to advanced boating skills will continue to be a major focus for the Finger Lakes Chapter. Expanded boating safety certificate programs, short seminars, online courses and on-the-water components will be geared toward the needs of busy recreational boaters and their families, he said.

The club also is planning to give back to the boating community by establishing free life jacket loaner stations on Seneca Lake.

McGinnis was installed as president at the club’s “Change of Watch” at the Holiday Inn Riverview in Elmira in January. Other new officers are Charles Fausold of Hector, director of education; Phil Cherry of Watkins Glen, administrative officer; John Flick of Hammondsport, assistant director of education; Fred Seip of Millerton, PA, secretary; and Marcia Taylor of Bath, treasurer. Tom Alley of Big Flats, Mark Erway of Breesport, Tom Taylor of Bath and Ray Margeson of Elmira were elected to the executive committee.

McGinnis thanked outgoing committee members Denis Kingsley of Horseheads and Don Kloeber of Big Flats for their many years of service. Special recognition was given to Erway and Alley for their outstanding contributions as past commander and past education officer, respectively.

From its origins in the early 1900s as an interest group for owners of new-fangled power boats within the Boston Yacht Club, the United States Power Squadrons soon grew into a national organization of local affiliates, providing instruction in topics such as rules of the road, boat handling and navigation. During World War I, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt called upon USPS for assistance in training volunteers for naval coastal defense.

America’s Boating Club is the nation’s largest non-profit boating organization, with nearly 30,000 members in more than 350 clubs. It is dedicated to promoting boating safety through education, civic service and fun.

For more information about America’s Boating Club-Finger Lakes Chapter, go to www.abc-flx.org or on Facebook.

'Grandparents scam' is targeting seniors

WATKINS GLEN, March 4, 2019 -- Schuyler County Office for the Aging Director Tamre Waite and Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman are warning area seniors that the “grandparents scam” and other frauds may be making the rounds of the area.

At least several local residents have reported being a victim of the grandparents scam, in which the scammer calls or emails the victim posing as a relative, usually a grandchild, in distress or someone claiming to represent the grandchild (such as a lawyer or police officer), they said.

“The scammer tells the victim he or she is in trouble and needs the victim to wire them funds or send a prepaid debit card that will allegedly be used for bail money, lawyer’s fees, hospital bills or another expense,” Getman said. “The caller adds enough details to make the story seem believable. Sometimes, the caller begs the victim ‘please don’t tell my parents.’”

The scam resurfaces every few years in various communities throughout the country, he noted. Scammers often mine emails, Facebook and other social media for the necessary information to pose as the grandchild, Getman explained.

Often, Waite said, the scammer works with a partner, who gets on the phone and pretends to be an authority figure, with instructions on where to send payment.

“Grandparents will do anything for grandchildren, so they’re a vulnerable target,” Waite said. “These scammers are very good at playing on our emotions.”

Waite and Getman said the scam can be avoided with a few simple steps:

1. Beware of any urgent solicitation of funds, especially if it is needed to pay for unexpected bills, such as bail money, lawyer’s fees, or doctor bills, especially if it comes late at night;

2. Beware of requests to send debit cards or wire money, as these are scam artists’ payment method of choice;

3. Verify the person’s identity by asking questions someone else couldn’t possibly answer, such as the name and species of the grandchild’s first pet;

4. Before sending funds, independently contact the grandchild or another relative at their regular phone number to verify the details of the story;

5. Check the privacy settings on your social media accounts and safeguard your email by using antivirus and anti-spyware software.

Seniors who have been victims of this scam, or who suspect a call is a scam should immediately report it to local law enforcement.

Other scams that may be targeting the area, Waite and Getman said, involve fraudulent Social Security and Medicare calls.

“Apparently callers are targeting Medicare recipients," Waite said, "telling them that their Medicare card has been suspended and must be reactivated and in order to do so, they must pay a fee.”

“They then tell the person they must provide their Social Security number and payment information. As another fear factor, they are telling people that their assets will be frozen until this is cleared up. People are complying out of fear they will lose their coverage.”

Getman warned seniors to be suspicious of any calls that seek personal information over the telephone.

“If you are a beneficiary of Social Security or Medicare, be aware these agencies do not call you to ask you to disclose financial information to get a new card,” he explained. “Never give out your Medicare number or any other personal information to someone you don’t know.”

“When in doubt, hang up,” Getman said. “Legitimate government agencies will usually follow up with a written request.”

Waite and Getman said Medicare consumers who provided information to these callers should review Medicare statements closely and call 1-800-MEDICARE or 877-272-8720 immediately if they see anything unusual or suspicious. They may also contact their local law enforcement agencies.

For more information on avoiding tricks and scams, click here: https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/

Photos in text: Steven Getman and Tamre Waite (Photos provided)

Dylan Houseknecht poses while holding a State Champion sign in front of the well-wishers who greeted him Sunday afternoon at the Odessa-Montour school.

Crowd welcomes NY wrestling champion Houseknecht home in celebration at O-M

ODESSA, Feb. 24, 2019 -- Scores of fans cheered Odessa-Montour senior Dylan Houseknecht's return home Sunday afternoon in a celebration in front of the school.

Houseknecht's arrival was signaled by sirens as deputies and trucks from the Odessa and Montour Falls fire departments accompanied him from Alpine Junction. The crowd in front of the school cheered him enthusiastically as he disembarked from a school vehicle and raised his hand in greeting.

This was a lovefest, personified by Houseknecht's words.

"I did this for the school," he said of his New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division 2 championship at 285 pounds Saturday at the State Wrestling Championships in Albany.

"I'm proud to be back. Thanks for all of your love and support."

After that, there were hugs aplenty -- as Dylan was greeted by teachers, coaches, administrators and fellow students who clearly rejoiced in his achievement: the first state wrestling championship by an Odessa-Montour athlete in the school's long history.

Standing off to the side, watching the celebration as it continued on for a half-hour, was the O-M wrestling coach, Bill Lindsley, along with his assistant, Dan Batchelder. When asked to describe Saturday night's title match, they recounted it round by round.

Round One: "It was a grudge match, a lot of hand fighting, on their feet the whole time." There were no points, but Dylan was given a stall warning that later led to a point in the favor of his opponent -- Trentyn Rupert of Newark Valley, who had defeated Dylan twice during the season before Houseknecht defeated him at sectionals.

Round Two: Dylan got the first two points on a reversal, but when he tried to turn Rupert with a half-nelson, a stalling point was assessed against him, cutting his lead to 2-1. Then, near the end of the round, Rupert picked up a point on an escape to tie it 2-2.

Round Three: They were on their feet again, "kept pummeling each other; Dylan did a great job of hand fighting." No points were scored, leading to:

Overtime: The one-minute overtime period yielded no points until the last second. With about 15 seconds left, "they broke apart, and then (Rupert) dove in and tried to tackle Dylan, who sprawled on him, pushed his body down to the mat and spun behind him, scoring the winning two points with one second left."

That account led back to Dylan, who was still circulating in the crowd, posing with various students.

"It's amazing," he said of the whole experience. The reception by his fans, he noted, "is just amazing. The love and support I have from the community here today just takes my breath away. Coming home to this makes it so much more."

He said it had been his goal to reach the State Tournament through four years of O-M wrestling.

And now that he did, he has made the most of it.

And his fans on Sunday afternoon appreciated it, and him.

Photos in text: Dylan with School Superintendent Chris Wood; Dylan with O-M alum Sage Garrison; and Dylan receiving a hug from teacher Holly Campbell.

Left: Dylan's state medals. Right: Dylan gets a hug from O-M Assistant Coach Dan Batchelder. Head Coach Bill Lindsley is at left.

Left: O-M wrestling coach Bill Lindsley. Right: Dylan Houseknecht gathers with other Odessa students for a group hug.

The exclamation point in the sign was appropriate for a day of enthusiastic congratulations for Dylan Houseknecht.

Arc of Schuyler rallies for DSP wage hike

Special to
The Odessa File

BINGHAMTON, Feb. 9, 2019 -- Direct support professionals, advocates, and legislators rallied at the Broome County Courthouse in Binghamton, NY on February 8, calling on the New York State legislature and Governor Cuomo to include $55 million in the NYS budget to pay direct support professionals what they called a fair, living wage.

The Arc Schuyler is a member of the #bFair2DirectCare coalition, a network of major voluntary developmental disability provider agencies in New York State. The chapter was represented by its board president, Harold J. Hoffmeier, Jr., Executive Director Jeannette Frank, and many of its direct support professionals.

“Direct support professionals are providing daily care and services to our family members and loved ones with disabilities 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Hoffmeier. “It’s a demanding job that requires continuous training and a high-level of responsibility and skill. These are not minimum wage jobs.”

Hoffmeier spoke publicly at the rally along with direct support professionals, Amy Faulkner and Joe Inthanongsak.

“We are responsible for the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, and the wages currently afforded to us by New York State do not compensate for that responsibility. They do not reflect the degree of skill required of us. They do not make the level of commitment required of us,” said Inthanongsak.

The Arc of Schuyler is among the many nonprofit provider agencies funded by NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities that collectively employ nearly 100,000 direct support professionals and deliver 85% of the needed services to approximately 130,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in New York State. Almost all funding for these agencies comes from the government at rates set by the government.

While the #bFair2DirectCare coalition was successful in 2017 in getting the Governor and Legislature to include $191 million in the enacted state budget to provide two consecutive 3.25% wage increases for direct support professionals, advocates argue it is not enough to fully fund living wages. According to The Arc New York, direct support professionals currently earn on average between $10 and $13 per hour.

“Statewide, reimbursement for direct support professional wages has increased just 1.4 percent per year over the last eight years,” said Executive Director Jeannette Frank. “We are losing direct support professionals to higher paying entry-level job sectors that can continue to increase their hourly wages. Recruitment and retention is difficult.”

State-run programs for people with developmental disabilities and their staff are reimbursed at a higher rate than those in the voluntary sector. If nonprofit programs are eliminated due to insufficient staffing, those still-needed services would likely be provided by state agencies, at a higher cost to taxpayers.

The #bFair2DirectCare coalition and its members continue to advocate to secure living wages for direct support professionals. For more information, visit www.arcofschuyler.org

Photos in text:

Top: From left: Amy Howard, CEO of ACHIEVE; Jeannette Frank, Executive Director of The Arc of Schuyler; Harold J. Hoffmeier, Jr., Board President of The Arc of Schuyler; and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano at #bFair2DirectCare rally.

Bottom: Direct Support Professionals of The Arc of Schuyler, Joe Inthanongsak and Amy Faulkner, spoke at #bFair2DirectCare rally at Broome County Courthouse on February 8. (Photos provided)

Schuyler 'strongly supports' Woodstock 50

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 9, 2019 -- Schuyler County officials are “excited” that Watkins Glen International has been selected as the site of the Woodstock 50 celebration in August, County Administrator Tim O’Hearn said Wednesday morning -- shortly after the news was released nationwide.

The event organizer, Michael Lang, was in Watkins Glen “a couple of months ago” to discuss the concert weekend -- Friday through Sunday, Aug. 16-18 -- but that the matter wasn’t decided until recently, O'Hearn said.

“Other sites were in consideration,” he added, noting that another concert is being held the same weekend at the site of the original Woodstock, in Bethel Woods, NY. But the event at WGI is the official Woodstock 50th anniversary celebration, he said, since Lang, who organized and promoted the original one, holds the rights to any Woodstock event.

He said WGI “has gained notoriety” for its recent Phish concerts,” and is “an ideal venue” -- and that the county “strongly supports” the Woodstock 50 plans.

While O’Hearn fully expects the concert weekend to happen, he pointed out that WGI is the applicant for a Mass Gathering Permit that addresses “a host of concerns ... borne out of the original Woodstock,” such as traffic congestion, public safety and health issues. The promoter and WGI will have to “submit a lot of information.”

The event will require the blessing of local agencies as well as state units such as the Department of Health and the Office of Emergency Management.

The number of tickets to be sold is yet to be determined, he said, as well as the lineup of bands -- "although I read that Carlos Santana is coming here instead of going to the concert in Bethel Woods.” The number of tickets will depend in part on “the infrastructure: how much of a crowd the site can handle in terms of water, sewer, law enforcement and emergency services.”

The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department is involved, he said, and will “rely heavily on State Police, and probably bring in other counties" -- much in keeping with its approach to traffic control and safety at the annual NASCAR weekends at WGI.

He said the County Legislature -- which is the body that approves Mass Gathering Permits -- is fully supportive of the event, as it has been of Phish gatherings at the racetrack.

But this one will likely be bigger.

“I think it’s safe to say that,” said O’Hearn.

But first things first.

“The conditions of the permit are a prerequisite” to Woodstock 50, he reiterated, but added: “I assume they can meet the requirements. There’s no reason to think they can’t."

Photo in text: Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn (File photo)

Some other photos from the weekend

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 12, 2018 -- Here are some more photos from two weekend events we covered. We ran out of time earlier to run them.

They include shots from the Lake Country Players' production of "Shrek the Musical," as well as a few from the November Splendor dinner-dance. The play was presented in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium, and the dinner-dance -- a fund-raiser for Schuyler Hospital -- at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

Photo in text: Princess Fiona appears at three stages in her life in this tower scene from "Shrek the Musical." Kyle Downing played Young Fiona, Amanda Frank played Teen Fiona, and Melissa Neufer was the grown Fiona.

Also from the play:

From left: Alex Gill as Shrek, Rhys Stermer as Donkey, Melissa Neufer as Fiona and the Three Blind Mice. They were portrayed by Lavon Finnefrock, Pam Kelly and Sue Larson.

Left: Alex Gill as Shrek and the Ogre Fiona, portrayed by Jennier Kintz. Right: H Nathaniel Rose as the Big Bad Wolf.

Melissa Neufer as Fiona and Alex Gill as Shrek break into a brief dance routine.

Left: The Bear Family. From left: Jim Price as Papa Bear, Havana Guild as Baby Bear, and Debra Manzer as Mama Bear. Right: Charlie Cole as the Bishop.

Kelsey Johnson as Pinocchio watches the nose grow after a lie.

And at November Splendor: some scenes:

Steve Rondinaro was the on-screen host of a video telling how much The Arc of Schuyler has meant to his family.

Gathering kicks off Arc capital campaign

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 8, 2018 -- More than 100 well-wishers were on hand Thursday evening at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel as The Arc of Schuyler launched its Transformation 2020 project that will position it for future generations.

The $1.75 million in projects are being funded partially by grants, leaving $375,000 as the local share to be raised through donations.

"We've been working behind the scenes," said Arc Executive Director Jeannette Frank -- getting an early start before Thursday's official and symoblic kickoff. The result: the funds needed were down to $280,000, with more to be trimmed through an anonymous donation.

"Someone here," Frank told the assembled Arc backers, "has anonymously offered to match any donations, up to $30,000," received between now and the end of the year. That would lower the remaining goal to $220,000. Beyond that, Arc volunteers at Thursday's gathering were accepting campaign contributions.

The Arc hopes to have one piece of its project -- an integrated Glen Co-Pack food production facility in The Arc's main building at 203 Twelfth St. -- ready by spring of 2019. That succeeds a segregated sheltered workshop -- marking part of a move to community/client integration being mandated by the federal and state governments.

Other pieces, Frank explained, include a job training program providing an avenue for clients and area residents to food-related industries.

And then there is the expansion of The Arc building at 203 Twelfth St., on the corner of South Porter Street. In keeping with the integration trend, the new facility will serve as a community meeting place and a site for training and educational events.

Those contributing to the campaign receive a butterfly pin signifying their involvement.

Photos: Arc Executive Director Jeannette Frank (top) and capital campaign co-chair Margaret Lawrence presented speeches.

The Arc's Wendy Shutter explains the projects to three of the many people on hand.

Speakers included capital campaign co-chair Dominick Franzese, left, and Arc Board President Harold "Jay" Hoffmeier.

Live music was offered by Mandy Jensen, the Arc's Day Program Activities Coordinator.

Left: BOCES Superintendent Jim Frame, left, and Watkins Glen School Superintendent Greg Kelahan were present. Right: Former Schuyler County Legislator Tom Gifford, left, chats with the Arc's retired and longtime executive director, Jim Wilson.

Historical Society schedules museum exhibit, discussion on Capt. James Hope

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 26 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society is marking the birth anniversary of artist Capt. James Hope with a special exhibit and talk at the Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls.

Hope was a talented artist of multiple styles who established a studio and art gallery in the upper reaches of today’s Watkins Glen State Park in 1872. While his Civil War depictions are viewed by thousands every year at the Antietam National Battlefield Visitors Center Museum in Maryland, his landscapes, particularly of the Watkins Glen gorge, are especially enchanting to all who see them.

Hope was born in Scotland 200 years ago on Nov. 29, 1818. The Historical Society is marking the anniversary of his birth with a special exhibit featuring original Hope pieces, including two owned by the Society: “Rainbow Falls” and “The Ramble.”

The exhibit, “The Life and Work of Watkins Glen Painter Capt. James Hope,” opens on Tuesday, Nov. 6, and will be in place through February. The Brick Tavern Museum is located at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls.

On Nov. 10, Tony Ingraham, author and retired New York State Parks environmental educator, will speak about Hope. His free presentation will be on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m. at the Museum.

Hope lived in Canada, Vermont and New York City before moving to Watkins Glen, where he lived until his death in 1892. He served as a captain in the Second Vermont Regiment in the Civil War as a scout and mapmaker. After the war, Hope used his sketches of battle scenes for a series of five large paintings.

The paintings were first exhibited in Hope’s gallery at the top of the Watkins Glen gorge. After his death, the gallery was closed and fell into disrepair. The 1935 flood destroyed much of Hope’s work and severely damaged the battle paintings.

The paintings eventually were purchased and exhibited in Irelandville, until their ultimate sale to the National Park Service. After restoration, the paintings were hung in the Antietam Visitors Center Museum, where they can be seen today.

For more information about the Hope exhibit or presentation, call the Historical Society at (607) 535-9741.

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. and Thursday 2-8 p.m. 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:

Top: Capt. James Hope, who served as a captain in the Second Vermont Regiment in the Civil War as a scout and mapmaker.

Bottom: "Rainbow Falls" by Capt. James Hope. It is owned by the Schuyler County Historical Society and displayed at the Brick Tavern Museum.

Brick Tavern Museum evening hours set

Special to The Odessa File

 MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 26, 2018 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum and Wickham Rural Life Center will be open on Thursday evenings beginning Nov. 1.

Thursday hours will be 2-8 p.m. Other days’ hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission to the Brick Tavern Museum and Wickham Rural Life Center is free. They are located at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls.

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

2nd annual Seneca Film Fest held in Glen

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 23, 2018 -- The second annual Seneca Film Festival, featuring 31 diverse films in competition, was held in Watkins Glen from Oct. 19 through Oct. 22.

The selected films included a cross-section of international and U.S. filmmakers and were curated from over 100 submissions from 20 countries throughout the world, according to festival chairman and artistic director Eric Hollenbeck. For the second year running, 35% of the selections were directed by female filmmakers. Represented this year: the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, Spain and the United States.

The films were presented in six distinct competition programs, which consisted of narrative, documentary, narrative short, documentary short, student narrative short, and student documentary short.

"For our program this year, we have curated a selection of filmmakers whose unique voices light up the world around us. These new perspectives, with diversity of tone and technique, may inspire people to expand their views and offer some exciting visions of our world today," said Hollenbeck.”

The Opening Night Film was Tomorrow, directed by Martha Pinson. Prior to this she has worked as a Script Supervisor for major directors including Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, Milos Forman, Oliver Stone, Iain Softley, Andrew Niccol, and Brian De Palma.

Says Pinson: “I've waited a long time to direct my first feature film and this was a script that really caught my attention. I immediately brought it to the attention of Martin Scorsese and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, who came on board as Executive Producers and have supported us ever since. I hope you enjoy this movie, which is a story about hope, passion, life and love.”

Pinson was in attendance and participated in a Q&A following the screening, which began at 6:00 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19 at the Glen Theater in Watkins Glen. A kickoff party followed the screening at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The full lineup of films and activities can be found at senecafilmfest.org

Photo in text: Festival chairman Eric Hollenbeck (Photo provided)

Food stands were popular stops at the Falls Harvest Festival. There were about 50 vendors of different kinds -- with crafts, food, services and entertainment.

Falls Harvest Festival draws a crowd

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 6, 2018 -- The rain cleared out and the day turned festival-like Saturday as the annual Falls Harvest Festival was held on Main Street of Montour Falls.

The street, closed off for the day to traffic, contained about 50 vendors of various stripes -- offering informational services, food, crafts, and entertainment like balloon figures, prize wheels and face painting.

The festival, which celebrates autumn in the Finger Lakes, was sponsored by Cayuga Health Systems. It offered:

--Barbie the Welder for seven hours in the afternoon.
--Chainsaw carving for four hours.
--The Mark Twain Chorus, singing on the Montour Falls Library's side steps.
--Magic by Paul Antonio on the Cayuga Health System Stage next to the Mechanics Club.
--Dream Barn Production actors performing songs from their upccoming play, "Little Shop of Horrors," as well as other numbers.
--The Sweats, a band performing on the Health System Stage.
--Fireworks over Shequagah Falls.
--A Kids Zone with games, bouncy houses, face painting and Amazing Pete Balloons.
--A pumpkin decoration contest.

Festival director Kim Pound was pleased with the festival turnout, which filled the Main Street with area residents out for a good time. Rain in the morning had given way to pleasant weather. More rain came later, and then clear skies again.

Plans are already under way for next year's festival -- essentially the last blast of a string of annual festivals that dot the schedule while the weather is friendly in Schuyler County.

Photos in text:

Top: Warren Real Estate had one of the dozens of vendor tents on Main Street. Jody Saunders, left, and Sharlyn Louch were on hand to help.

Bottom: Among the many festival-goers was Lydia Lynch, an Odessa-Montour High School student, seen here at one of the festival tents.

Dream Barn Production actors sang a number of songs in the parking lot near the Cayuga Health Systems stage, and then took to the street, joining festival-goers in song.

O-M sophomore's successful summer
has her heading to World Dairy Expo

Special to The Odessa File

ODESSA, Sept. 20 2018 -- Throughout the summer and around the east she has beamed with pride at shows and fairs as her hard work, dedication, and perseverance has been rewarded.

Be it a blue ribbon, a congratulatory word, or a hug from family and friends, a lot of memories have been made this year at the All-American Dairy Show this week in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.

Perhaps no youth is having a more memorable year than Odessa-Montour Central School sophomore, 15-year-old Mallory Rhodes, and her stunning fall calf, Ransom -- Rail Adhere Willow, or “Willow” for short.

Willow is from Lantland Farms on Middle Road, in rural Horseheads. Rhodes and Willow won third in the All-American Junior Holstein Show out of 36 on Monday, September 17. Wednesday, they won third in the Eastern National Open Show.

The All-American Dairy Show features nearly 2,000 of the top dairy cattle shown by over 1,000 of the best exhibitors in the U.S. and Canada. With 23 dairy shows in six days, including four days dedicated to youth shows, contests, and programs, the All-American Dairy Show is the premier place to show.

Rhodes chose to go to the All-American Dairy Show because Willow won Junior Champion of both the youth and open show at the New York State Fair in Syracuse. (Junior means the heifer is not yet a cow.) “Rhodes is a hard working, passionate young member of the Junior Holstein Club and the bond she shares with Willow is remarkable,” show officials said.

Because Willow swept the fall calf class on the local and regional level, she is off to Madison, Wisconsin for the World Dairy Expo the first week of October. Odessa-Montour School District senior Kirt Menzi and freshman Jacob Menzi are also showing at the “Worlds.”

Lantland Farms represents rural Chemung and Schuyler Counties.

Photo in text: Mallory Rhodes and Willow. (Photo provided)

Spectators study passing cars along Franklin Street during Friday's Grand Prix Festival.

Grand Prix Festival draws crowd to Watkins

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 7, 2018 -- Seventy years after the first sports car races on village streets, Friday's Grand Prix Festival of Watkins Glen marked its own 25th anniversary.

Since its debut in 1993, the Grand Prix Festival’s mission has been to evoke the sights, sounds and feel of the early days of sports car racing through the streets.

Racing began in Watkins Glen on Oct. 2, 1948, the first post-World War II road races in the United States. Race cars of every series have competed at Watkins Glen since.

This year’s Grand Prix Festival honored Jaguar, and the Jaguar XK120 C-Type that won the 1952 Seneca Cup Race was a featured car at the festival.

The car was driven to that victory by John C. Fitch and was among the restored cars showcased at the Corning Concours d’Elegance at Watkins Glen State Park.

The festival was sponsored by Chemung Canal Trust Co. and presented by the non-profit Watkins Glen Promotions. It also partnered with the Hilliard U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International to present the competition cars of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association in laps around the original 6.6-mile circuit through the streets and surrounding countryside.

The downtown activities began at 9:30 a.m. with a portrayal of race car technical inspections at Smalley’s Garage on Franklin Street.

Franklin Street was closed to traffic shortly after noon. Events then included original-course laps by sports cars and motorcycles participating in nine different rallies or groups. Cars from the rallies, including the all-Jaguar Watkins Glen International Tour de Marque, were parked for display throughout the festival area and at Lafayette Park.

At Lafayette Park at mid-afternoon, David Hobbs, celebrated driver in the Formula One, Le Mans and NASCAR racing series, motorsports commentator and the festival’s grand marshal, was honored at The Legends Speak, presented by the International Motor Racing Research Center.

At the microphone with Hobbs were Davy Jones, another versatile driver, and motorsports writer Ken Parrotte.

The SVRA race cars arrived on Franklin Street at 4:45 p.m. for display and their laps, which began at 6:30 p.m.

Throughout the day, the festival and local businesses offered tastings of acclaimed Finger Lakes wines. Motorsports vendors and a variety of food were also on tap.

Festival-goers could take advantage of parking and free shuttle bus service from the Clute Park Community Center on Route 414 east of downtown Watkins Glen. Shuttle buses also picked up on Porter Street on the east side of Lafayette Park and near the Middle School Apartments on Decatur Street.

Photos in text:

Top: A festival-goer carefully studies a 1932 Ford on display Friday.

Middle: Youth sports cheerleaders were selling food at the festival to raise funds for the youth football Tribe teams and the Schuyler Strikers youth soccer teams.

Bottom: Speakers at The Legends Speak included Davy Jones, left, and David Hobbs.

Making his way through the crowd along Franklin Street was musician Ed Clute, center.

The Kirby Band from Nichols, NY, was among the parade's musical attractions. (Photo by Lisa Harer)

Italian American Festival ends 3-day run

Special to
The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 12, 2018 -- Family fun was the focus at the 39th annual Schuyler County Italian American Festival, which ran Friday through Sunday at Clute Park.

The highlights Saturday were the annual festival parade on Decatur and Fourth Streets, and a fireworks display after sundown.

New vendors, more music each day and a host of special activities for children and adults were held on Sunday. Organizations involved in that special Sunday session included the Burdett Fire Department, Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department, New York State Police, Head Start and Reisinger’s Apple Country.

The Robert Rogers Puppet Co. returned to the festival with marionette shows, enjoyed by all ages. The performances were hourly on Saturday and Sunday on center court in front of the pavilion. This year’s title: “The Sorceress Alcina casts a Magic Spell.”

“Our goal is to put the focus on children having fun with their families and friends,” festival president Louis Perazzini of Watkins Glen said before the weekend. Don Stocum of Hector was the festival chairman.

“Young people have always had roles in the festival, with Boy Scouts helping to keep the park clean, kids marching in the parade or brave girls entering the pasta contest," Perazzini said, adding that he thought the festival would be "fun for everyone, and this year we’re really trying to emphasize that.”

Leading the parade at noon on Saturday were Festival Prince Tate Diliberto, 7, son of Joel and Katie Diliberto of Hector, and Festival Princess Arloween Loucks-Scuteri, 9, daughter of Daniel and Megan Scuteri of Watkins Glen.

Tony Vickio of Watkins Glen, sign artist, author, drone videographer and founder of Spirit of Schuyler, was honored for his contributions to the county community as grand marshal of Saturday’s parade.

Saturday’s other highlight was a fireworks show over Seneca Lake after dark.

“We think it’s the best show in the Finger Lakes,” Perazzini said.

Bingo, the pasta-eating contest presented by Fidelis Care (held Saturday afternoon), and a motorcycle show (Sunday) were all part of the festival weekend. The musical lineup led off with the Rusted Bucks Band and Guilty Pleasure Friday. On stage Saturday were The Ampersand Project and Rust. On Sunday, entertainment was by the Sam Pallet Band.

Proceeds from the annual festival, which celebrates the county’s Italian heritage, are donated back into the community, and groups serving young people are at the top of the list. Benefitting from a successful 2017 event were Schuyler Head Start, the My Place child care center, the Schuyler County Youth Football Association, the Labor of Love backpack program, Girl Scout Troops 41120 and 40807, the Spirit of Schuyler, the Watkins Glen Fire Company and the Humane Society of Schuyler County.

Except for the amusements, all entertainment was free. No admission to the festival was charged; while parking on Clute Park grounds was just $5 per vehicle.

As part of its emphasis on offering a family-friendly experience, the organizing committee prohibited all outside alcoholic beverages from the festival grounds. Coolers and bags were checked.

Local wines and ice-cold beer were available for purchase at the festival’s beer garden, a designated area designed to offer a relaxing atmosphere for festival-goers 21 and older.

Photos in text:

Top: Parade emcee Jim Howell, left, greets Grand Marshal Tony Vickio. (Photo by Lisa Harer)
Second: Festival Prince Tate Diliberto, 7, of Hector, and Festival Princess Arloween Loucks-Scuteri, 9, of Watkins Glen. (Photo by Lisa Harer)
Third: Among the fire departments present was the one from Montour Falls. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)
Fourth: Schuyler Youth Football cheerleaders marched in the parade. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)
Fifth: Congressional candidate Tracy Mitrano. (Photo by Lisa Harer)
Bottom: Bosses Bill Tague (Jerlando's, left) and Jamie Guild (Ben & Jerry's) take a break. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)

For more information, visit www.watkinsglenitalianamericanfestival.org

Winners in Sunday's third annual Kenny Larson Memorial Motorcycle Show at the festival included: Left: Lenny Danna, winner of the Kenny's Choice category, shown pictured with Kenny Larson's daughters Kendra, left, and Katherine, right, along with Kenny's mother, Susan. Right: Patrick Tomassi, winner of the "Committee's Choice" category. Also victorious was Dayne Hughey for "Most Unique Bike," which was blue and orange. (Photos by Lorry Johnson)

The Symphonic Steel Drum Band from Dundee Central School provided music.(Photo by Glenda Gephart)

Left: The My Place child care center marched in the parade. Right: A color guard. (Both photos by Lisa Harer)

Also in the parade: The Williamson Jr.-Sr. High School Marching Band from Tioga, Pa. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)

And from Friday's opening day:

Left: Pamela Rutledge, gourd artist. Right: The Watkins Glen Fire Department maintains an annual presence at the festival. (Photos by Glenda Gephart)

Left: Among the festival attractions is a cake booth run by the Lake Country Players.
Right: Two members of the Rusted Bucks band, which performed at the festival Friday. (Photos by Glenda Gephart)

Friday's sunset was a gorgeous event, viewed here from Clute Park, on the festival grounds. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)

The rides were under way at the Hector Fair Friday night, following the parade up Route 414. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

At the Hector Fair and its parade ....

HECTOR, July 27, 2018 -- The Hector Fair was conducted under sunny skies Friday evening, with bands, floats, fire departments and marchers making their way up Route 414 to the fairgrounds next to the Valois Logan Hector Fire Department.

Photographer Liz Fraboni was on hand to capture some of the images during the parade and on the fairgrounds afterward. They are presented here.

Photo at right: Rasta Ranch Vineyards offered a float led by a tractor.

-----All photos with this story were snapped by Liz Fraboni.-----

Spectators young and old enjoyed the parade on Route 414, leading to the fairgrounds.

Left: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano was marching. Right: Schuyler County Legislator Michael Lausell, running for State Senate, greets Watkins Glen Village Board member Laurie DeNardo along the parade route.

Left: One of the parade's bands. Right: Beekeeper Judy Cherry was part of the parade with the Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County.

The crowd -- and some marchers -- gathered at the fairgrounds after the parade. (All photos with this article are by Liz Fraboni)

John (Trey Bartoo), Michael (Jake Osburn) and Wendy (Emma Malnoske) soar.

'Peter Pan Jr.' ends its run at WGHS

WATKINS GLEN, June 17, 2018 -- The Lake Country Players production of "Peter Pan Jr." finished with a flourish Sunday afternoon -- the fourth performance in three days in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. It met with loud cheers after each scene and a standing ovation at the end.

The play, featuring scores of 18 and under thespians, offered the visual delight of characters flying from rigging installed by ZFX Flying Effects of Louisville, Kentucky. The intital takeoff of the three Darling children -- Wendy (Emma Malnoske), John (Trey Bartoo) and Michael (Jake Osburn) -- drew the most enthusiastic reaction, as it had at each of the three previous shows.

The play opened Friday night, and was presented again Saturday afternoon and evening, leading to Sunday's conclusion. One set of lead actors performed in the first two shows, and a second set in the final two shows.

As detailed in reviews below from the first two nights, this was a crowd-pleasing performance -- "fantastic" and "amazing" were two of the most-often heard reactions -- with stirring songs, nice comic timing and appealing groups of characters: Pirates, Lost Boys, Indians, Fairies and Mermaids.

Play organizers were grateful for the turnout -- a high of 360 spectators on opening night, and a total of about 1,000 for the four performances.

Next up for the Lake Country Players will be "Shrek the Musical," with auditions in August.

Photos in text:

Top: Captain Hook (Wyatt Brower) and Smee (Daniel Epp) study a map.
Bottom: Tinker Bell (Julie Osburn) sings early in the play.

The Crococile mixed it up with some of Captain Hook's pirate gang.

Left: Captain Hook and Peter Pan fight. Right: Cubby, played by Kellie Memoli.

Fairies were featured in several scenes of "Peter Pan Jr." There were more than 20 of them.

Mermaids also played a key role in the play. There were more than a dozen of them.

Tiger Lily (Brynn Smith, left) with Wendy (Emma Malnoske) at the Indian encampment.

From left: Two members of the Lost Boys; co-director Kelsey Johnson addressing the audience before the play began; and Michael (Jake Osburn) with a Neverland map.

Two members of Captain Hook's pirate crew join in as their gang sings.

Among the characters: Two of Captain Hook's pirate gang, and a member of the Lost Boys.

Left: Tinker Bell (Julie Osburn) and Peter Pan (Molly Heichel) lift off. Right: One of the Mermaids during a musical number.

The final scene had the full cast on stage with Tinker Bell and Peter airborne.

The pirates look down from above on the Lost Boys before attacking them.

'Peter Pan Jr.' nearing end of its run

By Charlie Haeffner
Editor/Publisher

WATKINS GLEN, June 16, 2018 -- The Lake Country Players' production of "Peter Pan Jr." drew more raves and enthusiastic audiences Saturday as it approached its final presentation -- today (Sunday) at 2 p.m. in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium.

Once again the cast -- with the leads switched after the Saturday matinee performance -- delivered the goods Saturday night in song and comedy and aerial bravado.

Everything said in a review from the opening night (see below) held true with the altered cast -- a scheduled change in the actors portraying Peter, Tinkerbell, Wendy, Michael, John, Hook, Smee, and Mr. and Mrs. Darling.

The audience, smaller by one-third Saturday after a 360-customer opening Friday, was just as supportive as on opening night, especially when the Darling children lifted off from the stage for the first time. The place erupted.

In any event, the Sunday matinee is your final chance to see this play. If you haven't, you're missing something pretty special.

As Hook's nemisis, the Crocodile, might say: Tick tock.

Time is running out.

Photos in text:

Top: The Darling children and Peter Pan soar as Tinker Bell (Jule Osburn) sings.
Bottom: Captain Hook (Wyatt Brower) and his associate, Smee (Daniel Epp).

Left: Mermaids perform a dance number. Right: Amanda Frank as Mrs. Darling.

Left: Some of Peter Pan's group of Lost Boys. Right: Nate Farnsworth as Mr. Darling.

Left: One of the Mermaids performs. Right: The Crocodile, portrayed by Julia Miller.

Captain Hook and Smee with their captive, Tiger Lily.

Left: Kellie Memoli as Cubby. Right: Indians hide behind a tree, awaiting the Lost Boys.

Indians, led by Chief Tiger Bamboo, perform a song-and-dance number.

Left: Captain Hook, played by Wyatt Brower. Right: Peter Pan (Molly Heichel) flies above Michael Darling (Jake Osburn).

H. Nathaniel Rose portrays Chief Tiger Bamboo.

Peater Pan (Molly Heichel) and Wendy (Emma Malnoske).

Left: Fairies (Sierra Morris here) played a key role in the play. Right: Tinker Bell sprinkles pixie dust on John Darling (Trey Bartoo).

John and Michael Darling watch as Wendy (Emma Malnoske) flies in after being shot by an arrow fired by the Lost Boys. She was okay, though.

'

Wendy (Emma Malnoske, left) and Tiger Lily (Brynn Smith).

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

The Darling children -- John (Conlin Wysocki), Michael (Andrue Mathews) and Wendy (Cheyenne Barrett) soar near their London home.

Fly, don't walk to see 'Peter Pan Jr.'

(Editor Charlie Haeffner sat near the stage snapping pictures and thoroughly enjoying "Peter Pan Jr." Friday night. His thoughts:)

WATKINS GLEN, June 16 2018 -- It was a big hit.

The Lake Country Players opening night production Friday of "Peter Pan Jr." drew a much larger than usual audience to the Watkins Glen High School auditorium.

There was an unofficial total of 360 people there -- not counting the scores of youngsters in the cast -- and the crowd responded at every available opportunity not only with approval, but with gusto.

This audience was into the play, and what the kids were achieving musically, comedically and aerially. When the Darling children first took off from the stage into the upper reaches above it, the audience erupted. And they greeted each musical number with similar enthusiasm.

The fact is, the singing was excellent, the kids (pirates, Lost Boys, mermaids, Indians) appealing, the sets and costumes colorful -- and the fun the kids were having was infectious.

It will prove interesting to see one set of leads swapped midway through the four-show run, but I have little doubt that nothing will be lost. The group Friday (repeating Saturday afternoon) was exceptional, and from the dress rehearsal I saw, the second cast (Saturday night and Sunday afternoon) will be, as well.

So, whether you make it to the auditorium with the first cast performing or the second probably won't matter.

For sheer fun -- and for community spirit revved up to the nth degree, this is the play to see this year. Even if you see no other, try to attend this one.

It's highly recommended.

"Best I've seen this group present," said one man.

"Isn't this fun?" asked a woman during intermission.

"This is amazing!" enthused another.

Indeed.

It was.

Photos in text: From top: Members of the pirate gang conclude a song; Allison Heichel as Tinker Bell; Alix Mathews as Captain Hook.

The large cast included Indians, not to mention Mermaids, Pirates and Lost Boys.

Left: Two of the many Mermaids who are in the cast. Right: Madaleena Isett as Tiger Lily.

Left: Cheyenne Barrett as Wendy. Right: The Raccoons, played by Grace Fryburger and Arloween Scuteri-Loucks.

Left: Peter Pan hugs his shadow, which he just found and had reattached to him. Right: The Crocodile, played by Julia Miller.

Left: Nathan Epp portrayed Peter Pan. Right: Members of the Pirate crew during a song.

From left: Bronwyn Stermer as Mrs. Darling, Krys Burke as Skunk, and Stephen Epp as Mr. Darling.

Smee (Rhys Stermer) threatens one of his crew members (Wyatt Brower).

From left: Peter Pan lifts off; Joseph Isett as Nana; Tinker Bell departs after being banished temporarily by Peter.

Members of the "Peter Pan Jr." cast perform the musical finale at Friday's performance.

 

Owner seeks lost cat

A 12-year-old male cat (shown at left) has been lost in Odessa, its owner reported on May 31. If you see the cat, please call Donna at (607) 228-7301.

Erie Canalway Photo Contest under way

Special to The Odessa File

WATERFORD, NY, June 12, 2018 -- Amateur and professional photographers are invited to submit images for the 13th annual Erie Canalway Photo Contest. Images should convey the wealth of things to do and see along the waterway and express the unique character of the canal and canal communities. Winning photos will be featured in the 2019 Erie Canalway calendar.

Images will be judged in four contest categories: On the Water, Along the Trail, Canal Communities, and Classic Canal. Judges will select first, second, and third place winning images in each category, as well as 12 honorable mentions.

Images must be taken within the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, which spans 524 miles across the full expanse of upstate New York. It encompasses the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego, and Champlain canals and their historic alignments, as well as more than 230 canal communities-- and goes as far south as Montour Falls.

Members of the Erie Canal Heritage Foundation Board include Schuyler County Legislator Carl Blowers and Judy Cherry, Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development.

Entries must be postmarked by August 31, 2017. Download official contest rules and an entry form at https://eriecanalway.org/get-involved/photo-contest

Photo in text: Photo contest example (Provided)

The Canisteo-Greenwood High School Marching Band was among the parade performers.

Firemen's Parade marches down Main St.

MONTOUR FALLS, June 9, 2018 -- The 62nd annual Montour Falls Firemen's Parade of Bands Saturday featured 22 fire departments, 11 bands, some floats, various antique cars, small and large tractors, a few politicians and a large crowd watching it all along Main Street through the village.

The procession took about an hour, with some of the bands and much of the crowd then walking the short distance to the Firemen's Field for the concluding night of the annual three-day carnival there.

Emcee for the parade was once again Jim Howell, who introduced each entry and greeted many of them as they passed before the judges' stand. Judges were Linda Confer, Tiffany Zinger and Cindy Cady.

They judged the Montour Falls Library float as the parade's best, with the Montour Falls Baptist Church float second. The Mayor's Choice award went to Freedom Village, which offered a patriotic theme, while the Enfield Fire Department won Most Men in Line and its auxiliary won Best Appearing Auxiliary. The Shortsville Fire Department was honored for coming the farthest distance, while the Ovid Fire Department had the oldest piece of motorized equipment, from 1932.

Fire departments on hand included: Watkins Glen, Odessa, Montour Falls, Wayne, Dundee, Tyrone, Beaver Dams, Millport, Branchport-Keuka Park, Trumansburg, Fairport, Gibson, Dresden, Pine City, Lodi, Enfield, South Corning, Burdett, Ovid, Newfield, North Corning, and Elmira.

Law enforcement was represented by the Watkins Glen Police Department, Schuyler County Sheriff's Office and New York State Police.

School marching bands were on hand from Corning-Painted Post, Jasper-Troupsburg, Canaseraga, Canisteo-Greenwood, and Addison. Dundee sent a steel band. The Fairport and Montour Falls Fire Departments also had marching bands. Other music came from the Savannah Cellar Savers, the Kirby Band from Nichols, and the Caledonian Highlanders bagpipe band.

Photos in text:

Top: A member of the Addison High School Black Knights Marching Band.
Second: The Fairport Fire Department Marching Band.
Bottom: The parade judges. From left: Linda Confer, Tiffany Zinger and Cindy Cady.

Left: Parade emcee Jim Howell, left, greets State Senator Tom O'Mara, one of the parade participants. Right: Bill O'Dell of Savona found a good place to park himself alongside the parade route.

The Odessa Fire Department was one of many fire units with a truck in the parade.

Left: The largest of many tractors on hand came from Bower Farms. Right: Sitting on the rear of the Ovid fire truck, a 1932 vehicle.

Left: Abe Lincoln (historian Gary Emerson) was in the parade as part of the Montour Falls Library float. Right: Lillian Halpin, an Odessa-Montour student, was among the parade spectators.

Left: A member of the Montour Falls Fire Department Marching Band. Right: Paul Cartwright, of the Caledonian Highlanders bagpipe band.

Left: The Jasper-Troupsburg High School Marching Band performed. Right: A member of the Canaseraga High School Marching Band.

Left: The Tyrone Volunteer Fire Department marched in the parade. Right: One of many trucks on hand was one from the host Montour Falls Fire Department.

The large Corning-Painted Post High School Marching Band performed.

Annual Used Book Sale ends at The Arc

WATKINS GLEN, June 3, 2018 -- Thousands of books for all interests and all ages were offered during the annual Friends of the Watkins Library Used Book Sale, which started Thursday and rab through Saturday.

As in past years, the Friends group partnered with The Arc of Schuyler to present this sale to the reading community.

The sale coincided with the weekend-long Watkins Glen Villagewide Rummage Sales.

Items such as audiobooks, DVDs and puzzles also were offered in the Friends sale.

The sale was at The Arc of Schuyler’s main building at 203 12th St., Watkins Glen, next to Watkins Glen High School.

Proceeds from the sale support programs at the Watkins Glen Public Library.

Photos in text:

Top: Books lined up and waiting for the opening of the annual Used Book Sale, which started Thursday.

Bottom: Sign on the door listing the kinds of items available at the sale.

Part of the cast of the Lake Country Players youth production of Peter Pan, Jr. poses on the stage at Watkins Glen High School, where the play will be performed from June 15 to 17. (Photo provided)

Lake County Players youth production of Peter Pan, Jr. set at WGHS on June 15-17

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 26, 2018 -- Rehearsals are well under way for almost 100 youth from Schuyler, Chemung, Yates and Steuben Counties who are part of the cast of Disney's musical "Peter Pan, Jr."

The Lake Country Players Youth production will feature a double cast in four performances Friday and Saturday evening, June 15 and 16, at 7:30, and Saturday and Sunday afternoon, June 16 and 17, at 2 p.m. at the Watkins Glen High School auditorium.

The group is still looking for donations to help cover the $8,250 cost of bringing in a company to rig up the flying magic. "Although Fairy Dust is supposed to help Peter fly, checks or cash would make it a reality!" says a press release, adding: "If you can help the kids, please contact Kim Laursen or Kelsey Johnson, co-directors of the show, at 607-594-6565."

The timeless tale of Peter Pan (Molly Heichel, Nathan Epp), the boy who won't grow up, and his favorite pixie Tinkerbell (Allison Heichel, Julie Osborn) begins in the Darling nursery where Wendy (Cheyenne Barrett, Emma Malnoske), John (Conlin Wysocki, Trey Bartoo), and Michael (Andrue Mathews, Jake Osburn) are being put to bed by their Nana dog (Joey Isett) and their parents, Mr. (Stephen Epp, Nate Farnsworth) and Mrs. (Bronwyn Stermer, Amanda Frank) Darling. Peter enters the nursery looking for his lost shadow, and when the children awake, he and Tinkerbell fly them off to Neverland.

While looking for the lovely Mermaids, Peter and friends engage in a skirmish with Peter's arch enemy, the elegant Captain Hook (Alix Mathews, Wyatt Brower), his first mate Smee (Rhys Stermer, Daniel Epp) and his band of 14 pirates. The Indians, led by Chief Tiger Bamboo (Collin Baker, H. Nate Rose) and his daughter Princess Tiger Lily (Leena Isett, Brynn Smith) have a mock battle with the Lost Boys, but it's all part of the make-believe fun.

When Hook captures Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys, the 23 Fairies all come to the rescue. Peter defeats Hook, who swims off chased by the Crocodile (Julia Miller).

Watkins Glen is nominated by USA Today in Best Small Town for Adventure contest

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 16, 2018 -- Watkins Glen has been nominated in USA Today’s latest 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest! An expert panel selected Watkins Glen as a contender for Best Small Town for Adventure.

The contest gives voters four weeks to vote for the candidate of their choice at: http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-small-town-for-adventure/. Each person can vote once a day, every day, for the run of the contest.

The full list of nominees for Best Small Town for Adventure includes:

Bar Harbor, Maine; Big Bend, California; Blowing Rock, North Carolina; Ennis, Montana; Everglade City, Florida; Florence, Oregon; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania; Kanab, Utah; Marquette, Michigan; Moab, Utah; North Conway, New Hampshire; Sedona, Arizona; Sitka, Alaska; Stowe, Vermont; Sun Valley, Idaho; Telluride, Colorado; Truckee, California; Watkins Glen, New York; Winthrop, Washington

Voting ends on Monday, May 14, 2018 at 11:59 a.m. EDT. Winners will be announced on 10Best on Friday, May 18 at 12:00 noon EDT.

10Best winners from Schuyler County in past contests include: Watkins Glen International (Best NASCAR Track), Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel (Best Waterfront Hotel), Watkins Glen State Park (#3 State Park), and Finger Lakes Wine Festival (Best Wine Festival).

The Mechanical Meltdown team's robotic creation, Renaldo, places an object outside the practice enclosure area in the clubhouse.

For a band of seven robotics enthusiasts,
it is now on to the World stage in Detroit

WATKINS GLEN, March 22, 2018 -- Next up: The Worlds.

The Mechanical Meltdown 12833 robotics team representing FLARE -- Finger Lakes Area Robotics Education -- advanced last weekend from a North East Super Regional competition in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to the Worlds, set for Detroit, Michigan in April.

They will be up against teams from countries around the world. There will be 128 teams in their particular class, their level, in Detroit.

They made the Worlds by placing among the top 6 of 72 teams from 13 states competing at Scranton. They are one of four teams (among 260) to make Worlds from New York State.

What is this team?

It took root last summer through a recruiting drive -- a team of 14- through 19-year-olds from Schuyler County and Ithaca. There are seven members, to be exact:

--Sean Thweatt, a 9th grader at the New Roots Charter School in Ithaca.
--Jill Stewart, a 12th grader at the New Roots Charter School.
--Trevor Dunn, a 12th grader at Odessa-Montour High School.
--Sam Stewart, a Watkins Glen 12th grader home-schooled.
--Dylan Markley, an 11th grader at Watkins Glen High School.
--Kishan Patel, an 11th grader at WGHS.
--Kaden Loucks-Scuteri, a 9th grader at WGHS.

They came together after a recruiting open house at their clubhouse last summer. "All but one," says one of the coaches, "has had experience on younger robotics programs." The clubhouse is an unused, former sign-in building at the Budget Inn along South Franklin Street in Watkins Glen. The complex is owned by team member Patel's mother, who is providing the clubhouse free of charge.

The Mechanical Meltdown -- a name chosen by team members -- is in one of four age classes; there are two younger classes and one older.The number affixed to the team name (12833) was assigned -- the larger the number meaning the newer the team.

Starting in September, the squad spent three months designing, building and programming its competitive robot from parts and materials which cost about $3,500. Then came competitions in Corning, at SUNY Polytechnic Institute and elsewhere before the Scranton event.

The group is overseen by coaches -- Roger Ort and Kathy Gascon , who have long been involved in robotics programs. Financial support has come from Cargill and Corning Inc., along with fundraisers such as a ziti dinner at the Reynoldsville United Methodist Church, a silent auction, and an Outdoor Expo.

It will require an estimated $6,500 for the journey to the April 24-28 World competition, to be held at the Cobo Arena and Ford Field in Detroit. Registration, travel and lodging, food and extraneous costs run high.

The team -- with parents and coaches Ort and Gascon -- were meeting Wednesday night at the group's clubhouse to discuss funding ideas.

*****

FLARE, run by Ort and Gascon along with a board of directors, also has the help of dedicated mentors and parents. Being non-profit, it relies on grants, donations and other fund-raising methods in order to operate and finance its participation in competitions.

Judging at those events is based on robot design, programming, team spirit, interview success, and an engineering notebook.

The team members, in demonstrating their robot (named Renaldo) for a reporter at Wednesday's meeting, explained how the robot is judged in competition with three other robots at the same time in a defined area. It has to recognize colors (choosing between a red and blue ball, knocking aside the one it is supposed to), move cubes from a pile in the middle of the enclosure to slots along the perimeter, and place (with an extended arm) a bowling-pin-shaped object on a spot outside the enclosure. It gets points for finishing its routine balanced atop a "stone" (a square platform with a ball bearing holding up its center), and is docked points if it collides during its routine with one of its competitors.

FLARE is under the auspices of FIRST, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) engagement program for kids worldwide, which oversees the World competitions. It stands for this: For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology.

The local program could lead to careers. For instance, Markley says he has been raised in an engineering family -- his father and two brothers are engineers -- and that this experience offers him "the best way to find out if I want to stick with it" and follow the family path.

Dunn is already on that path -- accepted in mechanical engineering programs at SUNY Polytechnic in Utica and at Alfred State. He hasn't decided which to attend.

There are actually two sites for the Worlds -- in Detroit from April 24 to 28 and the week before in Houston. There are, according to the Meltdown team coaches, 5200 robotic teams of this age group and competitive level around the world, with 128 qualifying at each of the World competitions. The northern hemisphere will be represented in Detroit; the southern hemisphere in Houston.

The numbers are daunting, but the Meltdown Seven have joined the elite in a short period of time.

Now all they need is some financial help.

Anyone wishing to send a donation may mail it to FLARE, P.O. Box 356, Trumansburg, NY 14886-0356, Attention Kathy Gascon.

For more information, visit the organization’s Facebook pages, either FLARE or Mechanical Meltdown, or email ftcflare@gmail.co

Photos in text:

Top: The Meltdown team members. Front from left: Sean Thweatt, Jill Stewart and Trevor Dunn; Back from left: Sam Stewart, Dylan Markley, Kishan Patel and Kaden Loucks-Scuteri. (Photo by Caitlyn O'Dell)
Second: Renaldo picks up blocks as part of the competition training.
Third: The robot moves onto a "stone," upon which it must balance.
Fourth: Team member Trevor Dunn arrives at the clubhouse with the robot, Renaldo.

The cast of "The Secret Garden" in a musical number at the end of the play.

'The Secret Garden' ends its run at O-M

ODESSA, March 16, 2018 -- Enthusiastic audiences enjoyed afternoon and evening peformances Saturday as the Odessa-Montour High School spring musical, "The Secret Garden," completed its two-day run in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium.

The story of a young girl orphaned and sent to live with her uncle, the struggles she has adjusting, and the friendships she makes form the nucleus of a play about her late aunt's garden, locked and untended but brought back to glorious life.

The play, as director Holly Campbell noted in the program, is as timely now as it was when written long ago, for it reminds us that "so often we get so caught up in what we are lacking, that we forget to appreciate what we have."

The lead of Mary Lennox was played by 8th grader Molly Heichel, heading a talented cast that also included vocals by senior John Coates as her uncle, Archibald Craven; sophomore Rhys Stermer as Mary's friend Dickon; junior Hannah Rosier as Martha; senior Bronwyn Stermer as Archibald's late wife, Lily; 7th grader Ben Campbell as Archibald's son, Colin; and junior William Yeater as Dr. Neville Craven.

Other cast members included Jaylin Rumsey as Mrs. Medlock, Noah Brewster as Ben Weatherstaff, Shania Austin as Mrs. Winthrop, Cheyenne Barrett as Rose Lennox, Casey Underdown as Capt. Albert Lennox, Hailey Hoose as Alice, Tyler Carson as Lt. Wright, Bailey Hornbrook as Lt. Shaw, Justin Andrews as Major Shelley, Emily Holton as Mrs. Shelley, Elisha Norton as Major Holmes, Kaelyn Arnold as Claire, Allison Heichel as The Cleric, Emma Malnoske as The Ayah, and Ensemble members Marisa Alton, Taylor Alton, Sarah Barr, Gillian Clark, Sara Gardner, Taryn Hoyt, Nakiaha Robinson, Ida Sidle, Beatriz Silva, Madison Vogel and Cheianne Webster.

The pit band led by Jennifer Kraemer included Tracey Ingerick and Lisa Frost on violin; Enaw Elonge on viola; Michelle Voorheis on flute; Sharon Anderson on clarinet; Bob King on trumpet; Pat Dunham and Hailee Empson on French horn; Julie Dombroski on trombone; Ian MacDonald and Alex MacDonald on keyboard; and Greg Hill on percussion.

Add to that all of the set construction workers, sound and lighting crew, makeup artists and costume designers, and you had what the audience agreed was a successful production.

Photos in text:

Top: Archibald Craven (John Coates) hugs his son Colin (Ben Campbell) after discovering that the boy, long bedridden, can now walk in the secret garden. Mary Lennox (Molly Heichel), catching a ride in Ben's wheelchair, smiles approvingly.

Middle: Archibald Craven (John Coates) performs a solo.

Bottom: Mary Lennox (Molly Heichel) and Dickon (Rhys Stermer) during a duet.

Left: Lily (Bronwyn Stermer) and Archibald (John Coates) sing a duet. Right: Hailey Hoose as Alice performs.

Left: Martha (Hannah Rosier) during a dance number. Right: Mrs. Medlock (Jaylin Rumsey) and Dr. Neville Craven (William Yeater).

Left: From left, Lily (Bronwyn Stermer), Rose (Cheyenne Barrett) and Capt. Albert Lennox (Casey Underdown) perform "A Bit of Earth." Right: Shania Austin as Mrs. Winthrop.

Left: In the pit band: Lisa Frost on violin and Jennifer Kraemer directing. Right: Noah Brewster as Ben Weatherstaff.

Left: Molly Heichel (playing Mary Lennox) sings. Right: John Coates (as Archibald Craven) and William Yeater (as Dr. Neville Craven) discuss Mary's future.

Left: Mary (Molly Heichel) jumps rope. Right: From left: Hannah Rosier (as Martha), Rhys Stermer (Dickon) and Ben Campbell (Colin Craven) sing.

From left: Noah Brewster, Rhys Stermer, Ben Campbell, Hannah Rosier and Molly Heichel.

Flowers, an integral part of any school production, were available to theater patrons outside the auditorium, at a student-operated table.

And from Doug Yeater:

Left: Mary Lennox (Molly Heichel) opens the door to the secret garden. Right: Molly Heichel, as Mary, on a garden bench. (Both photos by Doug Yeater)

Left: John Coates joins Bronwyn Stermer, left, and other cast members in a musical number. Right: Hannah Rosier as Martha sings "Hold On." (Both photos by Doug Yeater)

William Yeater plays Dr. Neville Craven in "The Secret Garden." (Photo by Doug Yeater)

And on the final night:

A first-act dance number from "The Secret Garden," bathed in a red glow.

Left: Director Holly Campbell addresses the audience before the start of the play. Right: Hannah Rosier (Martha) sings while dressing Mary Lennox (Molly Heichel).

Left: Mary Lennox (Molly Heichel) plays with a doll in opening scene. Right: Actors huddle onstage before the curtain was raised on the first act.

Mrs. Medlock (Jaylin Rumsey, front right) discusses matters with young Mary Lennox while various spirits hover nearby in first-act scene from "The Secret Garden."

Rows of wedding dresses were available at the bridal gown sale at the Harbor Hotel.

Bridal gown sale benefits Humane Society

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 12, 2018 -- They were waiting there long beforehand -- before the doors opened to the ballroom Sunday at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

Inside, waiting for them, were dresses -- about 150 wedding dresses and 200 or so prom and formal gowns, all donated to the Humane Society of Schuyler County. The wedding dresses and most of the gowns came from JBK Bridal's Janine Benjamin-Kuehl, recently retired. The rest came from Bonjullie's Main Street Bride, Prom & Tuxedo Bar in Horseheads.

The inventory was there at the hotel as a "Blow-Out Sale" fund-raiser for the Humane Society, which is also selling the formal gowns in its Wags to Riches resale boutique on North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen. The disposition of the wedding dresses remaining after Sunday's sale is up in the air.

The proceeds from the sale will be used to benefit shelter animals at the Humane Society facility in Montour Falls.

The sale featured new, designer gowns by Alyce, Maggie Sottero, Casablanca, Rhapsody, Symphony and more. In addition, shoppers found new mother-of-the-bride wear, bridesmaid’s dresses, formal wear and prom dresses by noted designers at drastically reduced prices. Bridal gowns retailing up to $2,795 were on sale from $100 to $500, and formal wear was priced from $75 to $125. Sizes ranged from 4-24. Tiaras, veils, and other accessories were also available for purchase.

Wags to Riches, which features the formal wear that was for sale Sunday, is a resale boutique benefitting the Humane Society of Schuyler County. Wags to Riches, located at 313 North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen, is in its ninth year of operation, offering new and gently used name brand and designer clothing, jewelry, accessories, decorative items, books and more at reduced prices. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Sunday noon-4 p.m.

The Humane Society of Schuyler County is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization, which has been advancing animal welfare in the community for over 30 years. For more information about the Humane Society of Schuyler County, visit www.schuylerhumane.org or follow the Humane Society of Schuyler County on Facebook.

Photos in text:

Top: A customer at Sunday's sale checks out her reflection.
Bottom: Humane Society President Georgie Taylor poses with one of the many dresses available for sale.

Some of the many customers on hand Sunday for the bridal gown sale at the Harbor Hotel. (Photo provided)

Annual Arc Spaghetti Dinner set for Feb. 19

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Feb. 4, 2018 -- Watkins Glen Postmaster Don Stocum will again chair The Arc of Schuyler’s Annual Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser on Monday, February 19 at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge, 2096 Route 14 in Montour Falls.

Service is 4-7 p.m., and takeout meals are available.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for youth under age 12. Meals include spaghetti with sausage and meatball, tossed salad, bread, beverage, and dessert. Tickets may be purchased at the event or in advance at the Montour Moose Lodge or The Arc of Schuyler, 203 12th Street in Watkins Glen.

“The Arc of Schuyler celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year,” Stocum said. “We’re grateful to the Montour Moose volunteers and our local students for working to make this a long-standing successful event for The Arc and help provide critical services and meaningful opportunities for people with developmental disabilities and their families.”

For more information, call The Arc of Schuyler at 607-535-6934 or visit www.arcofschuyler.org

Low lying

A ground mist hovered in the tree line at Havana Glen Park in Montour Falls Friday afternoon as the temperature topped 60 degrees before plummeting with the arrival of a winter storm that night.

The cast of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame' strike poses at Thursday night's rehearsal.

Rehearsals start for musical 'Hunchback'

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 4 -- Rehearsals began Thursday night in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium for the March 23-25 WGHS production of the musical "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

The cast is under the direction of Tim and Michelle Benjamin, now in their 14th year of leading student productions at the school.

Rehearsals will be held Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. and Mondays and Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m.

The cast list follows:

Claude Frollo: H. Nathaniel Rose
Quasimodo: Wyatt Brower
Clopin Trouillefou: Amanda Armstrong
Captain Phoebus de Martin: Conlin Wysocki
Esmerelda: Grace Wickham

Jehan Frollo: Gavin Lewis*
Florika: Claudia Parker*
Father Dupin: Alix Matthews*
Lt. Frederic Charles: Jack Muir*
King Louis XI: Elliott Holland*
Tribunal: Alix Matthews*
Madam Hannah: Jitomer-Rowland*
Saint Aphrodisius: Kelsey Kernan*
Gypsy: Anya Simpson*

Gargoyle 1: Scott Brubaker*
Gargoyle 2: Douglas DiGregorio*
Statue 1: Kathryn Losey*
Statue 2: Maria Brubaker*

*Congregants, Revelers, Soldiers, Choir, Parishioners, Priests:
Macy Fitzgerald, Ashlyn Karius, Ember Lewis, Erin McKenzie, Iris Elaina Rodriguez, Sarah Schaffner, Julya Slater, Nikole VanDyke, Sarai Wynkoop.

Photo in text: Wyatt Brower portrays Quasimodo in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"

The roadway on Bailey Hill in the Town of Tyrone was covered with mud after the storm. The Lamoka and Waneta Lake Roads had similar results. (Photo by Emily Grimmke)

Some scenes from the flood

SCHUYLER COUNTY, June 15, 2015 -- The rains passed, and the flooding receded in many areas of Schuyler County Monday, but damage was left behind.

Some roads were washed out or damaged, basements were still flooded, and the water on the lakes was up, carrying debris.

The photos here -- showing aspects of the flood and the damage -- were provided to The Odessa File by readers.

Photo in text: The Harley Davidson business at Alpine Junction was flooded. (Photo provided)

Left: Water rushing along an intersection above Watkins Glen. (Photo by Kevin LeRoux)
Right: Floodwaters chewed away at the road on Bailey Hill in the Town of Tyrone. (Photo by Emily Grimmke)

Swan Hill Road near Alpine was covered with water
after the storm passed through. (Photo provided)

Franklin Street in Watkins Glen was flooded at its northern end, below the curve into downtown. (Photo by Kevin LeRoux)

Monday cleanup included shoveling mud and gravel from the Valero gas station lot,
and then hosing it down thoroughly.

Various roads like this one, the turnoff above Watkins Glen leading to Tyrone,
were closed Monday for repairs by road crews.

Left: Meghan Coates as Pippin's grandmother, Berthe, sings. Right: Joseph Raymond, right, as Charlemagne, addresses Lewis (Justin Hickey) and Fastrada (Dana Roberts).

'Pippin' ends its run at O-M

ODESSA, March 14, 2015 -- The Odessa-Montour High School spring musical, "Pippin," ended its three-day run with matinee and evening shows Saturday in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium.

Twenty-five senior high school students worked with director Kim Laursen and choreographer Manley Gavich to prepare the show.

Its story is based loosely on the reign of one of France's greatest kings, Charlemagne, played by Joseph Raymond. His eldest son and heir to the throne, Pippin (Logan Barrett on Thursday and Saturday nights, and John Coates on Friday night and Saturday afternoon), spends the duration of the play trying to find his higher purpose in life, his "Corner of the Sky." His stepmother Fastrada (Cheyenne Barrett, Dana Roberts) does everything she can to get her son Lewis (Justin Hickey) to be next in line to the throne.

In Pippin's search for something extraordinary, he is helped every step of the way by the Leading Player (Manley Gavich, Emma Raymond), and also by his dear grandmother Berthe (Bronwyn Stermer, Maggie Coates).

After trying his hand at being a warrior, a partyer, a politico and a temporary king, Pippin almost gives up. A beautiful widow with a large estate to run and a son (Theo, played by Ben Campbell) is Pippin's next attempt to find something extraordinary. Is Catherine (Rosie Peckham, Sarah Norton) the answer to his dilemma?

For Director Laursen, this was the last show she will direct at O-M before retiring in July.

"Pippin" is presented with special permission from Music Theatre International of New York, NY.

Photos in text: Pippin (John Coates) addresses a rally with the character known as the Leading Player (Emma Raymond) at his side; a dance sequence in Act One.

Thursday night photos:

Cast members Rosemary Peckham (left) and Bronwyn Stermer.

Cheyenne Barrett and Justin Hickey in a musical number from "Pippin."

Left: Joseph Raymond as Charlemagne. Right: Emma Raymond.

Left: Nina Linton in a dance number. Right: Logan Barrett as the title character, Pippin.

On the Waterfront

This was the scene one pleasant day in Clute Park, along the southern shore of Seneca Lake.

The Indian of the Lake

WATKINS GLEN, March 30 -- This photo -- an old aerial view of Seneca Lake -- was shown to the editor while he was visiting the Legislature office in the Schuyler County Office Building.

It was in the possession of an official there.

The editor didn't see it at first -- but does now: the unmistakable shape of the lake, a lake named after an native American tribe. The shape looks like that of an Indian, kneeling perhaps, with head bowed, and a feather at the upper, northernmost point of the visible profile.

"Cool," said the editor when he finally recognized the outline. And interesting. So he snapped a picture of the picture for presentation here.

Check out the feature below

 

Chased by a madman

When you hit the road for vacation, you aren't always assured of smooth sailing. Herewith a tale of terror on the highway -- as it really happened. Features.

 

© The Odessa File 2021
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

E-mail chaef@aol.com