To visit the
Agriculture Page,
click here.


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


Now accepting applications
for enrollment:
ages 6wks - 12yrs

208 W. Broadway St., Montour Falls, NY 14865
Phone: 607-535-8908


Our Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism


We also carry a Business Card Page. Click here.


Click on the ad below to go to the website featuring

Lakewood Vineyards


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.


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


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.


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



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.


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


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


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 







To reach the Mattress website, click here.

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 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:

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: 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 [] 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 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 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 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

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

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

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, 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, 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 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

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 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:

“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:

To learn more about celebrating Thanksgiving safely during COVID-19, visit or

"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 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

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, 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

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.

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 The form also is available on the Historical Society’s website at

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 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 or check out the website at

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

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 or check out the website at

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 or check out the website at

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 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 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

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

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

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

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 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

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 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

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 or the Schuyler County Historical Society at (607) 535-9741 or

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

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 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 or

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.
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,, to schedule your time. Work days will be posted on Schuyler Habitat’s Facebook page, and on the website

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 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:

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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: 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

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 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

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"

Post will discuss 'Life in the Fast Lane'

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 11, 2017 -- From the pits to the towers, TV and radio racing personality Steve Post has experienced a lot in a more than 30-year career.

Post, a pit road reporter for radio and TV networks as well as an announcer at several race tracks, will share his stories in his talk “Speaking of Life in the Fast Lane” on Saturday, Dec. 16, at the International Motor Racing Research Center.

The 1 p.m. talk is the last of the Center’s 2017 monthly Center Conversations talk series. It is sponsored in part by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and is open to all. The Racing Research Center is located at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen.

A $5 donation for admission is requested to help defray costs.

The talk will be live-streamed at or via the Center’s website at The talk also will be archived on the Center’s You Tube channel to watch in the future.

Post has been involved with racing since landing a job at Pocono Raceway in 1986 after graduating from Penn State with a degree in marketing.

Today he is a pit road reporter for the Motor Racing Network covering NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series. He is co-host of “Winged Nation” on and MAVTV and a contributor to NASCAR USA.

“To me, Steve Post is the quintessential ‘small town’ guy who made good on the ‘big stage’ through years of hard work, drive, persistence and a considerable amount of talent,” said Kip Zeiter, IMRRC’s coordinator of visitor services and outreach and a friend of Post’s.

“Steve is first and foremost a race fan, and anyone who has ever met him or listened to him on the Motor Racing Network knows this instantly. We invite everyone to spend an afternoon sharing the excitement of motor racing with someone who has spent his career ‘Speaking of Life in the Fast Lane’,” Zeiter said.

Post has been the announcer at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Summer Shootout Series since 1998. He’s also on the microphone at Concord (N.C.) Speedway, Lincoln (Pa.) Speedway and Path Valley (Pa.) Speedway.

In January, Post will be the announcer at Indoor Auto Racing Series competition in Allentown, Pa., and Atlantic City, sponsored by Area Auto Racing News.

This series features TQ midget cars, and one of the cars will be on display at the Racing Research Center for Post’s talk. The Center is organizing a bus trip to the Albany, N.Y., Indoor Auto Racing Series race on Feb. 10.

Post’s reporting duties additionally include weekly contributions to “Raceline,” a nationally syndicated motorsports television program. He also does speaking engagements through his business, Steve Post Motorsport Communications. He lives in Concord, N.C.

The International Motor Racing Research Center is an archival and research library with the mission to preserve and share the materials of the history of racing, all series and all venues worldwide. Center Conversations is a monthly talk series focusing on issues and personalities from that history.

For more information about the work of the Racing Research Center, visit the website The IMRRC also is on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo in text: Steve Post (Photo provided)

The Elmira Savings Bank float drew applause and kudos from onlookers lining the street.

Watkins holds its 25th Village Christmas

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 1, 2017 -- Floats, fire trucks, marching Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, a martial arts school, cartoon characters and Santa and Mrs. Claus were featured in Friday night's parade as Watkins Glen hosted its 25th annual Village Christmas on Franklin Street downtown.

The festival, which drew a large turnout on an almost windless evening with the mercury in the low 30s, also boasted food vendors, craft vendors, live music, reindeer and a fireworks show off the Pier.

The parade -- sponsored by Visions Federal Credit Union -- drew kudos from spectators, who thought the floats and Christmas light-laden fire trucks were more than worth the trip to town. Most commented favorably about elaborate floats prepared by Elmira Savings Bank and Lakewood Vineyards.

Announcing the parade participants was, as usual, Schuyler County Legislator Jim Howell, a staple at Schuyler County parades.


Photos in text:

Top: Santa and Mrs. Claus were on the final float in the parade.

Bottom: Famous Bands, local musicians who play a variety of popular tunes, performed in front of the Famous Brands store during Village Christmas. Famous Brands owner Jim Guild in a member of the group, playing drums. Joe Silhan is on keyboard.

Left: One of a quartet of reindeer on display from an area farm. Right: Emcee Jim Howell.

Among the marching groups in the Village Christmas parade were Watkins Cub Scouts.

Left: Members of the Lake Country Players acting troupe marched in the parade, singing songs of the season. Right: A fireworks show was held over Seneca Lake.

Grape stompers were among the featured figures on the Lakewood Vineyards float.

Members of the 37-member Watkins Glen Elementary School chorus perform at the dinner.

Vietnam vets honored at Lions dinner

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 13, 2017 -- Vietnam Era veterans were honored Monday night at the second annual Watkins-Montour Lions Club dinner saluting them at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

A special treat for the honorees and Lions was a presentation by 37 Watkins Glen Elementary School 4th through 6th graders -- members of the school's chorus -- singing selections including the National Anthem, My Country 'Tis of Thee and God Bless America. They were led by teacher Megan Kelley.

Introductory remarks were issued by Navy veteran Glenn Bleiler, a past president of the Lions Club, who told those being honored that in their service, "you sacrificed, and for that we owe you a debt of gratitude."

John Antes of Veterans Service explained The Missing Man Table, a small, single-seat round table near the podium "also known as the Fallen Comrade Table ... a place of honor, set up in military dining facilities of the U.S. armed forces and during occasions" such as Monday's. Among its features was an inverted drinking glass "representing the fact that the missing and fallen cannot partake."

After dinner, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano -- a guest at the dinner, which was attended by almost 100 people -- delivered the keynote address.

The program, in its second year, was an outgrowth of a 2012 proclamation by then-President Barack Obama establishing a commemorative program whose "primary objective is to thank and honor our Vietnam Veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the nation."

Honorees Monday included 24 Vietnam veterans. Listed in the evening's program were Lawrence J. Baker, Wilbur A. Baker, Walter L. Bennett, Stephen Bond, David W. Boyle, Allen B. Brant, Claude L. Cole, Donna Davis, Frank L. Davis, Joseph Ector, Stewart F. Field Jr., G. Frederic Hall, Donald J. Kosty, Richard J. Lewis, David W. Lisk, Neal McGonigal, David C. Moat, Warren K. Moat, Larry Reynolds, David E. Ryan, David H. Smith, Clayton T. Snow, Warren J. Tharrett and Frederic L. Tucker.

Photos in text:

Top: From left: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, the dinner's keynote speaker; Stewart F. Field Jr., one of the evening's honorees; Glenn Bleiler, a Navy veteran and former Lions Club president who issued introductory remarks; and Bleiler's wife Susan, a Lions Club member.

Middle: Sign leading to the dinner in the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

Bottom: Members of the Watkins Glen Elementary School chorus gather in the hallway outside the dinner, awaiting their entrance. They marched in, sang several songs, and then marched out again to enthusiastic applause.

Monday evening's honorees posed for a group photo. Each also received a Lapel Pin from Red Cross Lead Volunteer Linda Conway. (Photo by Susan Bleiler)

Women in racing, Cuba drag racing are subjects of Research Center symposium

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 5, 2017 -- Women in racing and the resurgence of drag racing in Cuba are among the topics that will be discussed during an academic symposium on motorsports presented in November by the International Motor Racing Research Center and the Society of Automotive Historians.

The third annual Michael R. Argetsinger Symposium on International Motor Racing History will be Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 9-11. This year's theme is "The First Turn Meets the Cultural Turn."

This international academic forum offers graduate students, professors and historians an opportunity to present on any subject reflecting the rich cultural history of motor racing. The public is invited to attend, and pre-registration is not required. All events are free.

Joan Cuneo, the first female racer in the United States, who competed in the early 1900s, will be the subject of the keynote address on Saturday, Nov. 11, by Dr. Elsa Nystrom, professor emeritus of history in the American Studies Department at Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Ga. Nystrom is the author of the book "Mad for Speed: The Racing Life of Joan Newton Cuneo."

Three additional presentations will focus on women in racing.

The showing of the 2015 documentary "Havana Motor Club," covering the resurgence of drag racing in Cuba, also is a featured component of this year's symposium. The screening will be on Thursday evening, Nov. 9, followed on Friday, Nov. 10, with the presentation "Primer Plano Cubano de la Carrera de la Calle -- Cuban Street Racing Closeup: A Critical Analysis of the Documentary Movie 'Havana Motor Club'."

"Havana Motor Club" will be shown at 7 p.m. at the Racing Research Center. Friday morning's presentation about the film and a second set of presentations in the afternoon will be at the Watkins Glen International Media Center. Saturday's presentations will be at the Center.

All are free and open to the public.

Don Capps, chairman of the SAH International Motor Sports History Section, said this type of academic symposium, with a rich trove of topics to explore under the theme "The First Turn Meets the Cultural Turn," is needed and valuable.

"That motorsport history is a nuanced, complex topic reaching far beyond such items as race data and tales about personalities and events is beginning to finally be understood," Capps said. "That the cultural aspects of motorsport are now finally being brought into focus and discussed is, in great part, thanks to those who have participated in our previous symposiums. The door is now cracked a bit wider for those in academia and for independent scholars to explore this topic in great depth."

Other presentation topics:

--"Cultural Confusions: Maserati Serial Numbers"
--"Invaders and Invasions: The 1963 Motor Trend 500 at Riverside"
--"It is Alive! Monster Energy's Attempt to Revitalize NASCAR's Top Touring Series"
--"Win on Sunday & Sell Fifty Years Later: The Strange Competitive and Commercial Saga of Bentley"
--"A Moving Museum": Tourism, Pilgrimage, and the Iconic Route of the Mille Miglia"
--"Anne Cecile Rose-Itier, Overcoming Gender Barriers and Earning Legitimacy by Competing and Winning"
--"Speeding through a Man's World: Women Sports Car Racers in the 1950s and 1960s"
--"Women in Racing"

The keynote address on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m. and the three additional presentations on women racers that follow it will be live-streamed at or via the Center's website at The talk also will be archived on the Center's You Tube channel.

Pat Yongue, retired professor from the University of Houston English Department and an expert on women in racing, will be the symposium moderator. Yongue is a member of the SAH International Motor Sports History Section, which is partnering with the Racing Research Center.

A detailed schedule can be seen on the Center's website. All sessions are open to the public.

The symposium debuted in 2015 and originally was named in honor of the late Jean S. Argetsinger, who was present with her husband, Cameron, when he revived road racing in America after World War II and later brought the United States Grand Prix for a successful 20-year run at Watkins Glen. Jean was a founder of the Racing Research Center.

At her request, the symposium is re-named beginning this year in honor of her deceased son Michael R. Argetsinger, an award-winning motorsports author and a longtime member of the Racing Research Center's Governing Council.

Among the supporters of the annual symposium is the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, which provides financial assistance.

Photo in text: Cars are underway in this shot from the 2015 documentary "Havana Motor Club," covering the resurgence of drag racing in Cuba. Directed, produced and edited by Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, the film will be shown on Nov. 9, during the third annual Michael R. Argetsinger Symposium on International Motor Racing History, presented by the International Motor Racing Research Center and the Society of Automotive Historians. (Used with permission, "Havana Motor Club")

Rotary, Hepcats hosting dance on Nov. 11

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 17 -- The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club and the popular Corning-area swing band The Hepcats Big Band are partnering to present “Swingin’ on Seneca’s Shores,” a dance open to everyone.

The dance will be Saturday, Nov. 11, from 7-10 p.m. at the Clute Park Community Center, Route 414, Watkins Glen.

“Dancers in the region know that the Community Center, with its wooden floor, is a great venue,” said John King, organizer with the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club. “This is our third year, and we have learned that even if you don’t dance, it’s an extremely enjoyable evening of listening to the Hepcats and watching those who really know what they’re doing on a dance floor.”

The dance is a fundraiser for Rotary International’s ongoing mission to eradicate polio in the world.

“We think it’s very appropriate to continue our fight against polio by hosting an event that showcases joyful movement,” King said.

Tickets are $15 per person or $25 per couple and may be purchased in advance by calling (607) 962-4733 or (607) 351-2731. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Light table snacks and soft drinks will be offered at no charge.

This painting, titled "Canandaigua Campfire," is by Bill Mowson of Lansing, the "Artist in Focus" at the Franklin Street Gallery. (Image provided)

Gallery sets reception for its fall exhibit

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 5, 2017 -- Franklin Street Gallery will host an opening reception from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, October 6 for its 6th annual fall harvest exhibit, “Homegrown Art”. This is a people’s choice exhibit with “Best in Show” and “Honorable Mention” awards selected by ballot votes accepted until October 31, 2017. Winners receive cash prizes.

Franklin Street Gallery will also debut its first “Finger Lakes Artist in Focus” exhibit, featuring the work of a single artist for the month of October. The first “Artist in Focus” is Bill Mowson of Lansing, New York. Mowson retired from a 25-year career in engineering in 2001 to reside in the Finger Lakes region of New York to become a full time painter. Mowson will demonstrate his unique painting techniques during the open reception

“In my many years of travel, I have never found a more beautiful or diverse landscape than this area,” Mowson said. “One could spend a lifetime documenting these hidden treasures.”

The opening reception is taking place in conjunction with Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce’s Friday on Franklin event. Franklin Street Gallery will host Chateau Lafayette Reneau winery for tastings. The cost to participate is $10 and includes a souvenir wine glass. Event tickets may be purchased at the Visitor Center at 214 N. Franklin St.

Franklin Street Gallery is a community arts center operated by The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization providing support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. For more information, visit or contact the gallery at 607-535-2571.

Festival visitors watch from in front of the State Park as dozens of cars take to the original race course that starts and ends on Franklin Street.

Annual Grand Prix Festival held in Glen

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 8, 2017 -- The annual Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival drew a crowd of car and festival lovers to down Watkins Friday -- a gathering that featured autos of various classes traveling the original road course, starting and ending on Franklin Street.

The festival also featured:

--plenty of vendors with various (mostly racing-related) merchandise;
--foods of various kinds;
--wine from several area wineries;
--live music by a trio called Famous Bands, which played in front of the Famous Brands store and featured store owner Jim Guild on drums;
--a vintage motorcyle show;
--a Legends Speak gathering at Lafayette Park that featured 100-year-old racing icon Otto Linton and various presenters;
--a tech inspection recreation at Smalley's Garage, which used to be the tech inspection center for early Watkins races;
--a road rallye, as well as a sporting roadsters tour;
--a Walk of Fame induction ceremony on the courthouse lawn;
--an obstacle course contest in the parking area at Maguire's that usually holds dozens of new vehicles for sale; and
--a Watkins Glen Grand Prix tribute featuring more than 100 SVRA race cars participating in the weekend's Jaguar U.S. Vintage Grand Prix taking laps on the original road course.

Photo in text: A traffic director sends some cars left, and others right.

Two men perched alongside Franklin Street had a good view of passing festival vehicles.

Racing-themed artist Robert Gillespie had some of his work for sale in a tent set up in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse.

Left: There were many visitors from outside the area, and some local fans, including Isabella Fazzary, left, and Kai Sutterby. Right: Otto Linton, 100-year-old racing icon, was on the microphone during The Legends Speak gathering at Lafayette Park.

A trio calling itself Famous Bands performed live in front of the Famous Brands store on Franklin Street, with store owner Jim Guild on drums.

Mario Andretti waves to the crowd at the dinner honoring him at the Corning Museum of Glass. (Photo by Angelo Lisuzzo)

Andretti receives 2017 Argetsinger Award at Corning Museum of Glass dinner

Special to The Odessa File

CORNING, Sept. 1, 2017 -- International racing stars, captains of the motorsports industry, local dignitaries and race fans gathered to honor an American racing icon at the Corning Museum of Glass on Thursday.

Mario Andretti, motorsports' greatest ambassador, was presented with the Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports by the International Motor Racing Research Center. This was the fourth year the glass trophy has been presented. Previous honorees were Chip Ganassi, Richard Petty and Roger Penske.

Andretti was clearly moved by the outpouring of love, respect and admiration from the sold-out audience that included a number of his fellow competitors, friends and fans.

"This is the most amazing evening that I've ever spent. I've never ever experienced anything like this, ever," Andretti said after being presented with the Argetsinger Award by IMRRC Governing Council Chairman Bobby Rahal and Peter Argetsinger, one of nine children of the late Cameron and Jean Argetsinger.

Among the salutes throughout the evening were videos from Dan Gurney, Edsel Ford III, Scott Pruett, Danny Sullivan, Linda Vaughn, Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, James Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi and Bobby Unser.

Ganassi was on hand to honor Andretti, while other past award recipients Penske and Petty congratulated him on the big screen. Master of ceremonies Dr. Jerry Punch interviewed IndyCar star Dario Franchitti and longtime versatile racer Rick Mears in the audience.

Speaker after speaker told stories of being a young fan of Andretti and of the thrill of meeting him years later. Rahal set the stage when he said he was a teenage fan.

"Mario was the man," he said, continuing, "He's not just a great driver. He's a great gentleman. He's the greatest ambassador for the sport we love."

Ganassi recalled being an 11-year-old asking Andretti for his autograph when he saw the famous driver having lunch at the Glen Motor Inn in Watkins Glen. Their careers would intertwine.

"Any success I've ever attained in the sport, you can draw a direct line back to your mentorship," Ganassi said.

Franchitti was a fan at an even younger age. He recalled being a 5-year-old, dreaming of someday meeting Andretti. It happened 19 years later at a race track.

"I was so flummoxed, afterwards I pretty much crashed," he said.

A common thread of attributes was woven throughout the comments from Punch and other speakers: a master of motorsports, a gentleman and a family man, a humble man of high integrity, a man passionate about and committed to the future of racing.

A heartfelt question and answer session between Andretti and Punch followed the award presentation.

Andretti told of his childhood plan to race motorcycles -- a plan he thought was dashed when his family moved to Nazareth, Pa., as refugees from Italy. But one week after moving to the States in 1959, he and his brother, Aldo, discovered a race track nearby.

His competition career began four years later, racing underage at 19.

"I just wanted to drive and drive and drive," he told the audience.

Andretti's debut in Formula One happened at Watkins Glen -- on the pole in the 1968 United States Grand Prix. Ten years later he was on the pole again and World Champion.

"I felt so good in the car," Andretti said about that 1968 start. "It was an amazing day for me."

Since then, he said, he has raced in four different series at The Glen.

"There is no other track like it," said Andretti, 77, who's back at The Glen Sunday, behind the wheel of the American Honda two-seater, leading the field for the launch of the Verizon IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen at WGI.

Andretti posted victories at virtually every level of motorsports in a career that spanned five decades. He is the only driver in history to win the Formula One Championship, the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500.

"I feel so blessed. I've gotten so much out of the sport. You're living the dream, and I'm still living it," Andretti said.

When asked how he wants to be remembered, Andretti answered simply: "I'm just a racer."

The evening was supported by NASCAR, the International Speedway Corp., Watkins Glen International, IMSA, Sahlen's, Corning Incorporated, Bosch, Firestone and IMRRC Governing Council members Larry Kessler, Bob Newman and Archie Urciuoli. Several sponsor representatives also related stories of their relationships with the legend.

"You've been my hero since I was a little kid. It's an honor to work at Watkins Glen International, knowing that you raced here," Michael Printup, WGI president, said.

An original painting by famed artist Randy Owens, depicting the iconic cars Andretti drove in his decades-long career, was auctioned at the end of the evening, and a champagne toast and several standing ovations ended the gala evening.

Other event supporters were Honda, Chip Ganassi Racing, Team Penske, Sports Car Club of America, Smithfield Foods, AmeriCarna, Stone Bridge Gallery, Williams Auto Group, the Hilliard Corp., Elmira Savings Bank, Welliver, Corning Automotive Glass Solutions, Lotus WNY, Regogo Racing and Glenora Wine Cellars.

Andretti has supported the work of the Racing Research Center since its opening in 1999. He serves on the Center's Drivers Council and twice has been chairman of the annual membership campaign.

The Racing Research Center, located in Watkins Glen, is an archival library dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the history of motorsports, all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials. The IMRRC is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization.

For more information about the Center's work and its programs, visit or call 607-535-9044.

Photos in text:

Top: Mario Andretti, right, recipient of the International Motor Racing Research Center's 2017 Cameron R. Argetsinger Award, receives a champagne toast from Bobby Rahal, left, chairman of the IMRRC Governing Council, Peter Argetsinger, and the audience at the Aug. 31 award dinner.

Second: Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi presents a proclamation to Andretti naming Thursday, the day of the dinner, as Mario Andretti Day in Watkins Glen.

Third: Retired Schuyler County Judge J.C. Argetsinger, left, one of Cameron Argetsinger's sons, and Racing Historian Bill Green were among the dignitaries present. (Photos by Angelo Lisuzzo)

WETM-TV sports reporter Andy Malnoske interviews Mario Andretti before the dinner.

Vic and Linda Franzese of the Glen Motor Inn, where Mario Andretti has stayed, chat with Andretti before the dinner at the Corning Museum of Glass. (Photos by Angelo Lisuzzo)

Arc Golf Tournament raises $21,000

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 21 -- The Arc of Schuyler 17th annual golf tournament, held Aug. 18 at the Watkins Glen Golf Course, raised more than $21,000 to assist people with intellectual and development disabilities and their families.

The first-place team was a familiar one, winning for the third consecutive year: Watkins & Nichols, featuring Bill Spencer, Rocco Scaptura, and John and Josh Robinson.

This was the second year the tournament included a Hole-In-One putting contest, sponsored this year by Arnot Health. The contest offered one golfer the chance to sink a 50-foot putt for a $10,000 cash prize. Aaron Young, a member of the Empire Access team, was the lucky winner of the raffle to take the shot. Young was just short of the hole.

Winners of other contests held on the course were: Josh Robinson for men’s longest drive, Meg Scott for women’s longest drive, Jeff Cook for men’s closest-to-the-pin, and Anne Welliver-Hartsing for women’s closest-to-the-pin.

Relph Benefit Advisors returned as the Presenting Sponsor of the event. Birdie Sponsors were Empire Access, Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, and Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. "These sponsors and many other businesses, wineries, restaurants, and retail stores generously contributed through sponsorship or product donations," said an Arc of Schuyler press release.

“Many thanks to all the sponsors, patron supporters, and local businesses who donated items to make this year’s tournament another success," said Tournament Chair Dominick Franzese. "We really can’t do it without their help. The Arc’s tournament keeps going strong and continues to be one of the best tournaments in the area supporting a wonderful cause.”

The Arc of Schuyler conducts fundraising activities to support its mission in providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. To learn more about The Arc, visit

Photo in text: Watkins & Nichols was the winning team of The Arc of Schuyler’s Annual Golf Tournament for the third consecutive year. Team members were, left to right: John Robinson, Bill Spencer, Josh Robinson and Rocco Scaptura. (Photo provided)

The banner announcing the parade is carried up 4th Street. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)

Italian American Festival holds its parade

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 12, 2017 -- The annual Italian American Festival Parade marched down Decatur Street and up 4th Street to Clute Park Saturday as the annual three-day festival hit its stride.

Bands, fire departments, politicians, baton twirlers, cheerleaders and various floats entertained the crowd lining the streets on the second day of the festival. A fireworks display was on tap for that night.

The festival was set to conclude Sunday. To see the full list of events, click here.

Photo in text: Members of the Montour Falls Fire Department march in the Italian American Festival parade. (Photo by Lisa Harer)

The Italian American Festival Grand Marshal, Phil Simiele, is driven along the parade route. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)

Left: The festival Prince and Princess, Ethan Crane and Gabrielle Crane. (Photo by Lisa Harer) Right: Schuyler County Clerk candidate Theresa Philbin was among the parade participants. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

The Penn-York Highlanders Bagpipe Band was, um, stepping lively in this unusual photo. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

The Girl Scouts were among the parade groups with a float. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Left: Horses and riders were part of the parade. Right: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano was tossing candy to the spectators. (Both photos by Lisa Harer)

The military was represented at the Italian American Festival parade. (Photo by Lisa Harer)

Left: A patriotic-themed float. (Photo by Liz Fraboni) Right: Cheerleaders from the Schuyler Tribe youth football program marched in the parade. (Photo by Lisa Harer)

The Caledonian Highlanders bagpipe unit marches up 4th Street. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)

On one of the parade floats: a Symphonic Steel Band. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)

And at the carnival grounds on Sunday:

Left: Pasta sauce contest winner Margaret Lynch of Horseheads with judge Ken Delpapa. Right; The Rusted Bucks perform in the entertainment tent. (Photos by Glenda Gephart)

Rich Greenberger and Nan Woodworth at the Rotary booth.
(Photo by Glenda Gephart)

Motorcyles waiting to be judged at the festival's second annual Kenny Larson Memorial Motorcycle Show. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)

Spectators enjoy a festival puppet show on the Clute Park basketball court. (Photo by Lisa Harer)

And at the carnival grounds on Friday:

Among the vendors is a festival mainstay: Old fashioned soda. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)

The Over-Under game booth has been a popular stop for years. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)

Jerlando's Pizza is one of the festival food vendors. (Photo by Glenda Gephart)

A wide-angled look at the Italian American Festival vendor stands. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Legacy Lane dedicated at Lafayette Park

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 8, 2017 -- The Schuyler County Italian-American Festival is partnering with the Village of Watkins Glen to honor the county’s heritage in the new Lafayette Park Legacy Lane.

Located on the north side of Lafayette Park, the Legacy Lane starts at the two brick columns at the Fourth Street sidewalk and leads to the bandstand.

The Lane will provide opportunities to commemorate families, organizations or exceptional moments with engraved bricks. Funds raised by the sale of the bricks will help defray costs of the annual Italian-American Festival.

A kickoff celebration to honor the first group of installed bricks was held Monday, Aug. 7 at Lafayette Park, just a few days before the opening of the 38th annual Italian-American Festival.

“Lafayette Park is the perfect location for this Italian-American Festival project because the park was where the festival was revived in 1979,” says Festival Co-Chairman Louis Perazzini, one of the dedication speakers, “and in 1994, the festival committee was one of the organizations that sponsored the installation of the brick columns and beautiful gates.”

“This community is proud of its heritage, and the Legacy Lane will be a great way to show that pride,” said Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi, another of the dedication speakers.

“Everyone looks forward to the Italian-American Festival, and the board is glad to support the festival by giving the go-ahead to the Legacy Lane project,” he added.

The price of an engraved brick is $100. Orders will be taken year-round, and bricks will be installed in the walkway periodically between May and November.

“You can put your name on a brick. Or your ancestors’ names,” Perazzini said. “Your wedding date? Your graduating class? We want everyone in Schuyler County to look at the Legacy Lane as a permanent way to celebrate and remember someone or something important.”

Similar engraved-brick walkways, such as at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park, Route 228, outside of Odessa, and at the International Motor Racing Research Center on Decatur Street in Watkins Glen, are popular with both participants and visitors, Perazzini said.

The form for purchasing a brick is available at the Watkins Glen Village Office on Franklin Street and at businesses across the county, including Watkins Sporting Goods and Jerlando’s pizza shop in Watkins Glen. The form also can be found on the festival’s website at

The Schuyler County Italian-American Festival will be Aug. 11-13. Thousands of people, area residents and visitors alike, gather at Clute Park in Watkins Glen for three days that offer live music, contests for homemade wines and pasta sauces, a bocce tournament, carnival rides and a wide variety of foods.

The festival also features an eclectic parade and what many describe as the best fireworks show in the Finger Lakes.

Proceeds from the annual festival are returned to the Schuyler County community in donations to youth groups and other charitable organizations. More than $80,000 has been distributed over the years.

For more information about the Lafayette Park Legacy Lane or any aspect of the Schuyler County Italian-American Festival, visit the festival website at or contact Perazzini at

Photo in text:

Top: Italian-American Festival Co-Chairman Louis Perazzini speaks at the Legacy Lane dedication.

Bottom: One of the first bricks in Legacy Lane. (Photos provided)

Night descends on the Hector Fair. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Parade serves as highlight of Hector Fair

HECTOR, July 29 2017 -- The annual Hector Fair Parade -- a staple of the three-day carnival on the grounds of the Valois Logan Hector Volunteer Fire Company grounds -- marched up Route 414 from the Dandy Mini Mart to the firefighter's field Friday evening before an appreciative crowd.

Fire departments, police, bands, floats and local political dignitaries were among the participants in the march, held on the second day of the three-day fair.

The fair, which opened Thursday night and concluded Saturday night, featured rides, games, live music, bingo, a book tent, food, a chicken barbecue, a car show, an animal tent, fireworks, and other attractions.

Photo in text: The first participants in the parade come into view along Rte. 414. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

The Caledonian Highlanders pipe and drum corps marches up Rte. 414.

Some of the crowd at the Hector Fair, in the food-court area. (Photos by Liz Fraboni)

A tasting tent populated by many area wineries was a popular stop at the Cheese Festival.

Cheese Festival draws thousands to farm

CATHARINE CORNERS, July 22, 2017 -- Thousands of people attended the sixth annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival Saturday on the Hoffman farm outside Odessa, home of the Sunset View Creamery.

The festival -- featuring dozens of cheese, produce and other vendors; wine tastings; hayrides; seminars; live music; dairy princesses; a bounce house; a petting zoo; Tanglewood Nature Center creatures, and lunch stands -- also boasted a 40-by-80 foot open-air pavilion, recently built, that hosted music performances and served as a dining area.

A highlight, as always, was the selection of area cheeses produced by members of the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance, along with tents featuring jams, baked goods, framed art, peanut butters, jewelry, and granite cutting blocks. There were games for the kids, and self-guided tours around the farm facilities.

A dairy birthing area featured two new additions -- calves -- born on the Hoffman farm in the hours leading to the festival, with another birth expected during the day.

The Tanglewood representatives brought along a Great Horned Owl named Sophie and a Red-Tailed Hawk named Hank. Also on hand around noon, but not yet on display, was a Falcon named Merlin.

Sophie, explained Tanglewood volunteer Noelle Currier, was hit by a car near Anchorage, Alaska, and arrived at the Center injured. Sophie has been a Tanglewood resident since 2006.

The weather was cooperative, with temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s under cloudy skies -- a far cry from last year's scorchingly hot day.

A dozen Alliance member farms were represented with samples and sales, while a dozen or more wineries were present.

Forty other vendors of various kinds were on hand, such as the Village Bakery out of Montour Falls, Schweigart's Sugar Shack, the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor, Owl Ridge Alpaca, the Berkshire Hill Honey Bee Farm, Heavenly Treats, Seneca Sunrise Coffee, and the Saratoga Peanut Butter Company.


Photos in text:

Top: An artistic rendition of business at the Schweigart's Sugar Shack stand at the Festival. Many of the vendors on hand did a brisk business.

Middle: Tanglewood Nature Center's Noelle Currier holds Sophie, a Great Horned Owl that has been a Tanglewood resident for 11 years.

Bottom Left: Roger Ort is surrounded by products from the Ort Family Farm in Bradford, one of many vendors on hand for the Festival.

Bottom Right: Samantha Riley was on hand to pour at the Seneca Lodge tasting stand.

Left: Hank the Red Tailed Hawk from Tanglewood Nature Center. Right: Two calves born in the hours leading to the Festival.

Left: At the Petting Zoo. Right: Sons of a Beach were the first musical group of the day.

A half-dozen dairy princesses representing area agriculture were on hand for the festival.

O'Mara applauds Lakewood Vineyards' link with Vance Metal Fabricators, Inc.

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 20, 2017 -- State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) Thursday
raised a glass of praise to Lakewood Vineyards in Watkins Glen and Vance Metal Fabricators, Inc. in Geneva for their partnership in showcasing “the diversity and strength of Finger Lakes agriculture and manufacturing.”

O’Mara’s Senate colleague, Finger Lakes Senator Pamela Helming (R,C,I–Canandaigua) visited Vance Metal’s large-capacity metal fabricator and weld shop in Geneva Thursday to see Lakewood’s tanks begin to make their way to Watkins Glen.

Over the past decade, Lakewood Vineyards has purchased its fermentation tanks exclusively from Vance Metal, which works in diverse industries from heavy manufacturing to technology to agriculture. The company made its first winery tank in the 1990s and now makes tanks for distilleries, wineries, breweries, and cider houses in more than 20 states.

The custom-made, 2,500-gallon stainless steel fermentation tanks traveled 30 miles by truck from Geneva to the Watkins Glen winery Thursday, where Lakewood was commemorating the installation of the tanks with a “Toast FLX Tanks” viewing party from inside its new production area.

O’Mara, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “It’s fantastic to help celebrate this cooperation between two outstanding Finger Lakes industries working together to strengthen the American-made, locally produced movement. This high-quality partnership continues to showcase the diversity and strength of Finger Lakes agriculture and manufacturing.”

Lakewood Vineyards President and Winemaker Chris Stamp recently said, “We wanted to celebrate the collaboration that exists in the Finger Lakes. We’re incredibly lucky to have good friends and partners at Vance Metal Fabricators. Local wine tastes better from local tanks.”

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

The "Beverly Hillbillies" craft, which won the Best Theme Award.

Cardboard Boats ply marina course

WATKINS GLEN, June 17, 2017 -- The 24th annual Watkins Glen Cardboard Boat Regatta was held before an appreciative crowd Saturday at the Seneca Harbor Park marina under sunny skies and in mid-80s temperatures.

The event was preceded Friday night by the annual Waterfront Festival, featuring live music at three venues along the park, a food court, various vendor tents, and a Harbor Lights show.

Forty boats, in 20 two-craft heats, were featured at the Regatta, with Fox TV providing play-by-play on the public address system. Each craft followed a course from the shoreline boat launch north to the breakwall, west between the breakwall and boat slips, and then south to a finish line next to the Seneca Harbor pier.

Winners in various classes were as follows:

The Grist Iron Fastest Elapsed Time, Adult Class: "We'll All Float On," 2:03.
Fastest Kids Boat under 12: "Aqua Melons," 5:23.
Fastest Teens Boat, 13-18: "Toon Cruisin'," 4:27.
Don Brubaker Best Construction Award: "Back to the Tiki"
Best Boat Name: "Just for Ships and Giggles"
Best Theme: "Beverly Hillbillies"
William Croft Most Patriotic Award: "Showing Up is Half the Paddle."
People's Choice: "Tanks to Our Veterans"

A Seadoo was also raffled off after all available tickets were sold at $20 each. The raffle was a fund raiser for Schuyler Hospital and the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility.

Photo in text: Scott and Maria Brubaker, in their "Toon Cruisin'" craft, race past a submerged boat near the finish line.

The Red Cat cardboard boat -- officially named "The Bottle Boat, Powered by Red Cat" -- was large and impressive looking, but failed to reach the first turn of the Regatta course.

Cinderella (Cheyenne Barrett) starts on her way to the Royal Ball in her carriage.

LCP's 'Cinderella' ends its 3-day run

WATKINS GLEN, June 10, 2017 -- The Lake Country Players' youth production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's G2K "Cinderella," part of the Getting To Know Series of musicals adapted specifically for youth performers, was presented for its third and final time Sunday afternoon in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium.

Kim Laursen and Kelsey Johnson co-directed along with student director Trevor Keller. The musical opened Friday night and was repeated Saturday night, leading to Sunday's matinee.

A large crowd was on hand Friday for opening night, and the crowd was appreciative of the efforts of an enthusiastic and talented cast led by:

-- Cheyenne Barrett as Cinderella
-- Allison Heichel as the Fairy Godmother
-- Stephen Epp as The Prince
-- Bronwyn Stermer as the Stepmother
-- Sierra Morris and Madaleena Isett as the Stepsisters Portia and Joy
-- Rhys Stermer as The King
-- Katherine Larson as The Queen
-- H. Nathaniel Rose as The Herald
-- Conlin Wysocki as The Chef.

Also performing as Mice were:

-- Isabella Bacon
-- Kiera Cartwright
-- Gabi Crane
-- Della Diliberto
-- Grace Fryburger
-- Arloween Loucks-Scuteri
-- Sopheya Mathews
-- Krianna Rumsey
-- Kaylin Smith
-- Natalie VanSkiver

Performing as Fairies were:

-- Bailey Hazen
-- Mabel Kaufman
-- Erin McKenzie
-- Elizabeth Metris
-- Sophia Miller
-- Olivia VanSkiver
-- Lillian Welch

Performing as the Palace Staff were;

-- Declan Barry
-- Trey Bartoo
-- Kalila Beach
-- Kaylynn Burke
-- Macy Fitzgerald
-- Hannah Jitomir-Rowland
-- Andrue Mathews
-- Emmali Mathews
-- Pierce McKenzie
-- Karissa Rounds
-- Sarai Wynkoop

Performing as Maidens were:

-- Chesney Bartoo
-- Haylie Bartoo
-- Kylie Bartoo
-- Elisabeth Epp
-- Julia Miller
-- Faye Mooney
-- Mason Lampman-Roisen
-- Julie Osburn
-- Jackie Osburn
-- Sarah Schaffner
-- Anya Simpson
-- Brynn Smith
-- Haley Tuttle
-- Kayla Wood
-- Melanie Wysocki

The stage manager was Mindy Laursen with a crew that included Chris Barrett, Nicole Price, Rilee Kuparinen, Aiden Westlake and Molly Heichel.

Set construction was by Dan Rounds, Tony Miller, Ian Barry, Brian Barry, Chris Barrett, Dani Rumsey and Charles Beach.

Costumes were by Marty Evans, Kim Hurley, Judy Fitcha, Tracy VanSkiver, Heidi White and Kim Laursen.

Photos in text:

Top: Conlin Wysocki as The Chef leads his staff in a dance around the stage.

Second: Cheyenne Barrett, left, as Cinderella and Allison Heichel as The Fairy Godmother.

Third: The cast included many young actors.

Fourth: Katherine Larson as The Queen and Rhys Stermer as The King, who was trying to hide the fact that he was in his underwear.

Fifth: Stephen Epp, as the Prince, enters the stage juggling apples.

Cinderella with her mice.

Cinderella's stepfamily: From left, Sierra Morris as Portia, Madaleena Isett as Joy, and Bronwyn Stermer as the Stepmother.

Lifeguard qualifying set for Watkins

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 9, 2017 -- The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced a statewide qualifying procedure for lifeguards will be held at the Watkins Glen State Park Pool on Friday, June 16 at 10:00 a.m.

The Watkins Glen State Park pool is located at 3530 State Route 419, Watkins Glen.

The exam will begin at 10:00 am sharp. Candidates are encouraged to arrive one hour prior to the exam to register and for an opportunity to practice their CPR skills.

All exams are open to new candidates as well as returning lifeguards. The qualifying procedures evaluate practical lifesaving skills and cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills. All items of the examination are evaluated on a pass/fail basis.

Candidates are required to bring their picture ID and their own pocket masks for the CPR portion of the exam.

Starting pay for lifeguards is $13.27 per hour.

Candidates must pre-register by either calling the Finger Lakes State Parks Regional Office at (607) 387-7041, ext. 104 or by e-mail at

Festival launches Legacy Lane at park

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 12, 2017 -- The Schuyler County Italian-American Festival is partnering with the Village of Watkins Glen to honor the county’s heritage in the new Lafayette Park Legacy Lane.

The existing brick walkway on the north side of Lafayette Park will be named Legacy Lane. The walkway starts at the two brick columns at the Fourth Street sidewalk and leads to the bandstand.

“Lafayette Park is the perfect location for this Italian-American Festival project because the park was where the festival was revived in 1979,” Festival Co-Chairman Louis Perazzini said, “and in 1994, the festival committee was one of the organizations that sponsored the installation of the brick columns and beautiful gates.”

The Legacy Lane will provide opportunities to commemorate families, organizations or exceptional moments with engraved bricks. Funds raised by the sale of the bricks will help defray costs of the annual Italian-American Festival.

“This community is proud of its heritage, and the Legacy Lane will be a great way to show that pride,” Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi said.

“Everyone looks forward to the Italian-American Festival, and the board is glad to support the festival by giving the go-ahead to the Legacy Lane project,” Schimizzi said.

The price of an engraved brick is $100. Orders will be taken year-round, and bricks will be installed in the walkway periodically between May and November. Engraved bricks will replace existing bricks in the walkway.

“You can put your name on a brick. Or your ancestors’ names,” Perazzini said. “Your wedding date? Your graduating class? We want everyone in Schuyler County to look at the Legacy Lane as a permanent way to celebrate and remember someone or something important.”

Similar engraved-brick walkways, such as at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park, Route 228, outside of Odessa, and at the International Motor Racing Research Center on Decatur Street in Watkins Glen, are popular with both participants and visitors, Perazzini said.

The form for purchasing a brick is available at the Watkins Glen Village Office on Franklin Street and at businesses across the county, including Watkins Sporting Goods in Watkins Glen; and at Jerlando’s pizza shops in Montour Falls and Watkins Glen. The form also can be found on the festival’s website at

The Schuyler County Italian-American Festival will be Aug. 11-13 this year, the festival’s 38th year. Thousands of people, area residents and visitors alike, gather at Clute Park in Watkins Glen for three days that offer live music, contests for homemade wines and pasta sauces, a bocce tournament, carnival rides and a wide variety of foods.

The festival also features an eclectic parade and what many say is the best fireworks show in the Finger Lakes.

Proceeds from the annual festival are returned to the Schuyler County community in donations to youth groups and other charitable organizations. More than $80,000 has been distributed over the years.

For more information about the Lafayette Park Legacy Lane or any aspect of the Schuyler County Italian-American Festival, visit the festival website at or contact Perazzini at

Photo in text: The lane at Lafayette Park. (Photo provided)

Phebe Wickham as The Witch admonishes William Yeater, portraying The Baker.

Into the Woods ends 3-day run at WGHS

WATKINS GLEN, March 27, 2017-- The Watkins Glen High School production of "Into the Woods" completed its three-day run with a matinee presentation Sunday in the school auditorium.

The play opened Friday night and featured a Saturday night performance, as well.

The Sondheim musical follows a variety of well-known fairy tale characters as they head into the woods to fulfill their wishes -- the Baker and Baker's Wife wish to have a child; Cinderella wishes to attend the King's Festival; and Jack wishes for his cow to give milk, so that he can keep him, but finds himself heading up the beanstalk to help his family instead. The Baker and his wife set off on a journey to break a Witch's curse; and Little Red Riding Hood learns about life when she runs into the troublesome Wolf. Everyone's wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results.

In all, over 20 students from 7th to 12th grades rehearsed beginning in January, immersing themselves in the difficult Stephen Sondheim music and lyrics, and a book by James Lapine that is at times comedic and at other times dark and dramatic. Memorable songs include "Children Will Listen," "Agony," "Giants in the Sky," "No More," "No One is Alone," and the title song, "Into the Woods."

Michelle and Tim Benjamin of Montour Falls directed (their 13th show for Watkins Glen High School), with Sarah Matthews as Music Director. Costume Director was Tammy Cole, and Choreographer was Kelsey Johnson.

The Baker and Baker's Wife were played by William Yeater and Alexis Atchie. Jack was played by Dakota Cole, and Little Red Riding Hood by Maria Brubaker. Cinderella was played by Grace Wickham, and the Witch by Phebe Wickham.

H. Nathaniel Rose was the Narrator, Nate Farnsworth was Cinderella's Prince, and Conlin Wysocki was Rapunzel's Prince. Alix Mathews was the Mysterious Man, Douglas DiGregorio was Milky White, and Amanda Armstrong was Jack's Mother. Sierra Morris was Rapunzel, and Wyatt Brower was the Wolf.

Katherine Larson was Cinderella's Stepmother, Anya Simpson and Melanie Wysocki were the Stepsisters, Jack Muir was Cinderella's Father, and Kelsey Kernan was Cinderella's Mother. Scott Brubaker was the Steward, and Elliott Holland was the Prince's Valet. Anya Jitomer was Granny, and Wrett Brower was the Giant.

The pit band included Bernie Riley, Sam Riley and Simon Wigmore and Renee Riley, along with Sarah Matthews.

Hair was by Shear Designs. The producer was Sam Brubaker, and the show was presented by the Watkins Glen High School Class of 2017, in cooperation with Music Theatre International.

Photos in text:

Top: Grace Wickham as Cinderella sings with Nate Farnsworth as her Prince.
Middle: Wyatt Brower as the Wolf with Maria Brubaker as Red Riding Hood.
Bottom: William Yeater and Alexis Atchie as the Baker and the Baker's Wife.

Left: Sierra Morris as Rapunzel. Right: Amanda Armstrong as Jack's mother.

Left: H. Nathaniel Rose as The Narrator. Right: Dakota Cole as Jack and Douglas DiGregorio as Milky White.

Left: Maria Brubaker as Red Riding Hood sings a song. Right: Front from left, Anya Simpson as Florinda, Melanie Wysocki as Lucinda, and Katherine Larson as Cinderella's stepmother.

Left: Hannah Jitomer-Rowland as Granny. Right: Alix Mathews as The Mysterious Man, right, tries to hide from William Yeater as The Baker.

Left: Conlin Wysocki as Rapunzel's Prince. Right: Phebe Wickham as The Witch.

From left: Scott Brubaker as the Steward; Dakota Cole as Jack; and Grace Wickham as Cinderella.

And earlier in the week, at rehearsal:

From left: Alexis Atchie as the Baker's Wife, Douglas DiGregorio as Milky White and William Yeater as the Baker perform a dance number.

Left: Phebe Wickham, left, portrayed the Witch, and Sierra Morris was Rapunzel. Right: Dakota Cole had the role of Jack.

Left: Nate Farnsworth, left, portrayed Cinderella's Prince, while Conlin Wysocki was Rapunzel's Prince. Right: Grace Wickham was Cinderella.

Left: Phebe Wickham as the Witch intimidates Scott Brubaker as the Steward. Right: Alexis Atchie, left, as the Baker's Wife, with Maria Brubaker as Little Red Riding Hood.

Cast members perform a musical number during the opening night performance of Honk!

Honk! ends its 2-day Odessa-Montour run

ODESSA, March 17 -- The Odessa-Montour production of Honk! completed its two-day run Saturday in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium with matinee and evening performances.

The musical, sponsored by the O-M Fine Arts Boosters and featuring a wide age-range of O-M students, was under the direction of Holly Campbell, Jennifer Kraemer and Ian MacDonald.

Honk! tells the story of Ugly (portrayed by John Coates), a duckling who doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the duckyard gang, led by Maureen (Bronwyn Stermer), Henrietta (Shania Austin), the Turkey (Garrett Allen), Grace (Kaelyn Arnold), and the other poultry (Marisa Alton, Taylor Alton, Samantha Dudgeon, Grace Edger, Tassia Garrison, and Alyssa Lindsley).

Ugly’s mother, Ida (Hannah Rosier), loves him unconditionally, telling him to “Hold your head up high,” but after a lot of bullying from the other poultry, including his own father and siblings (Noah Brewster, Mackenzie Cannon, Ben Campbell, Victoria Brewster, and Lillian Halpin), Ugly decides to have lunch with the Cat (Rhys Stermer), the play's villain.

Mistaking the Cat’s intentions for good rather than evil, Ugly narrowly escapes (still unaware exactly what the Cat meant when he said “I’m having you for lunch”), and gets lost.

His adventure introduces him to:

-- the eccentric, goose squadron leader Greylag (Noah Brewster), his devoted wife Dot (Casey Underdown), and his sloppy squadron;
-- the spoiled housecat Queenie (Casey Underdown) and her loyal friend, the domesticated hen, Lowbutt (Cheyenne Barrett);
-- the beautiful swan, Penny (Hailey Hoose), and her parents (Tyler Carson and Jaylin Rumsey);
-- and the Bull Frog (Noelle Chamberlain), who tells Ugly, “Someone’s gonna love ya -- warts and all.”

They are all accompanied by a troop of froglets: Mackenzie Cannon, Ben Campbell, Victoria Brewster, Lillian Halpin, Jed Lynch, Kailynn Frasier, Dylan Hayward, Havana Guild, Olivia Rivera, and Alex Campbell.

Does Ugly manage to find his way back to the barnyard? Do the characters ever realize that “this duckyard would be so boring if we all looked the same?” At the end, yes..

The key cast characters included:

Ida -- Hannah Rosier
Ugly -- John Coates
Cat -- Rhys Stermer
Drake/Greylag -- Noah Brewster
Dot/Queenie -- Casey Underdown
Henrietta -- Shania Austin
Maggie -- Tassia Garrison
Maureen -- Bronwyn Stermer
Lowbutt -- Cheyenne Barrett
Turkey -- Garrett Allen
Penny -- Hailey Hoose
Grace -- Kaelyn Arnold
Bullfrog -- Noelle Chamberlain

Photos in text (from dress rehearsal):

Top: Hannah Rosier as Ida (Ugly's mother) is surrounded by her brood.
Second: Hailey Hoose as Penny in a scene with John Coates during Honk!
Third: John Coates as Ugly and Noelle Chamberlain as the Bullfrog perform a duet.
Bottom: Shania Austin, as Henrietta, sings during one of the show's many tunes.

Left: John Coates as Ugly, left, and Rhys Stermer as The Cat. Right: Cheyenne Barrett as Lowbutt unties John Coates as Ugly.

The Cat (Rhys Stermer) is pulled by Queenie (a cat portrayed by Casey Underdown), left, and Lowbutt (a chicken portrayed by Cheyenne Barrett).

Kids of all ages took to the stage as part of the Odessa-Montour production of Honk!

And on earlier days, during rehearsals:

Dancers during a musical number in Honk! -- during a rehearsal leading to opening night.

Left: John Coates as Ugly. Center: Casey Underdown singing a song in Honk! Right: Bronwyn Stermer as Maureen.

Hannah Rosier as Ida at the birth of son Ugly, a duckling played by John Coates.

Left: Casey Underdown and Noah Brewster. Right: Tassia Garrison as newscaster Maggie.

Arc Grand Prix Run registration is open

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 19, 2017 -- The Arc Grand Prix Run at Watkins Glen International, the biggest running event in Watkins Glen, returns for its fourth year on Saturday, April 8 during WGI’s Opening Weekend. Registration is open now at

The annual charity race, held on the world famous 3.4-mile motor racing course, has attracted more than 2,000 participants and raised nearly $40,000 since 2014 for The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization that provides supports and services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Registration fees are $25 for teens and adults and $10 for children. Early registration is encouraged to guarantee a shirt and avoid the $5 registration increase after March 11. Race-day registration and bib pick-up opens at 6:30 a.m. The race begins at 8 a.m. Prizes are awarded to the top pledge raiser and to the team with the most members. Watkins Glen International Opening Weekend activities and laps behind the pace car begin at 10 a.m.

The Arc is again partnering with Grist Iron Brewing Co. in Burdett to host an after-race party. The brewery and restaurant, located on the east side of Seneca Lake, will open at 11 a.m. with food, drink, and live music. Grist Iron will make a $1 donation for each pint ordered until 2 p.m. Race participants attending the party will be registered to win prizes.

"The entire team at Grist Iron Brewing is excited to be partnering with The Arc once again in support of the charity race," said Kate Fuller, Guest Relations Manager. "Giving back to the community is important to all of us here at GIB, so we hope to see lots of folks out running and at the after-party to help raise even more money for the wonderful programs that the Arc provides to our community."

For event details and registration, sponsorship, or volunteer information, contact The Arc of Schuyler Director of Community Relations, Holly Baker, at 607-535-6934. For more about The Arc, visit

This body of water bordering the swamp alongside the trail was cold and harsh, yet almost gave the appearance, in its simplicity, of being beach-like.

Along the Catharine Valley Trail

Photographer Liz Fraboni -- featured many times on these pages in years past -- recorded several images Monday during a walk along the Catharine Valley Trail between Watkins Glen and Montour Falls. We present those photos here.

Christmas Light Tour makes season bright

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 22 -- The Arc of Schuyler and Jefferson Village Apartments in Watkins Glen partnered to hold their annual Christmas Light Tour Wednesday evening, December 21 for Jefferson Village residents.

The first tour was initiated in December 2012 thanks to Floyd Wicker, a driver for The Arc of Schuyler and the public transportation system, Schuyler County Transit. Wicker proposed the idea for a one-hour bus trip that would allow residents of Jefferson Village apartments to see homes decorated for the season with lights and holiday displays.

“For people who don’t have their own vehicle, don’t drive at night, or don’t drive at all they may miss out on the beautiful festive displays in our neighborhood,” Mobility Manager Amber Simmons said. “It’s a fun opportunity that has become an annual tradition.”

Wicker continues to lead the Christmas Light Tour. He chooses the route for the year and fills the bus with holiday music to create a festive trip for riders.

The Arc of Schuyler is a specialized transportation provider for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as the operator of Schuyler County Transit and Transportation Link-Line, a free transportation information and assistance service for Schuyler County residents. For more information about charter services, visit or call 607-535-3555.

Photo in text: Bus driver Floyd Wicker (Photo provided)

Former fighter tells of concussions' effects

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 1 -- A former professional boxer, now 65 and with Parkinson's Syndrome and CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) as a legacy of too many concussions, was the guest speaker Thursday at the weekly luncheon meeting of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club -- offering a cautionary tale.

Ray Ciancaglini, a native of Geneva, a member of the Rochester (NY) Boxing Hall of Fame and the Genvea Sports Hall of Fame, a winner in his fighting days of the Golden Glove Heart Award, said the remnants of his varied achievements are days now where "it's a struggle to tie my shoes and remember names of friends" -- and where "I'm constantly in a fog. Now it's not what I want to do, but what I'm capable of doing."

Ciancaglini, who started his boxing career in the mid-1960s as a teenager in the middleweight ranks, says nobody ever knocked him out or knocked him down in his many bouts, "and I refuse to let dementia be the first one to do it."

After retiring from the ring, he decided to impart his cautionary message in speaking engagements around the nation at high schools, colleges, NFL Player Development Camps and youth organizations, all free of charge. His message: the possible ramifications of not addressing concussions when they occur.

"A lack of concussion education and peer pressure led me to my demise," he said -- a downward spiral that started when he sustained two concussions in two bouts held in one week, in Buffalo and Syracuse, when he was still a teenager. He failed to tend to the concussions, which led to what is known now as the Second Impact Syndrome, which altered his behavior from that of a good student to one who was often absent, sleeping excessively, and disdaining authority.

He said he tried to mask his symptoms -- chief among them headaches, from which he still suffers -- but was suspended from boxing in New York, fought in other less regulated states under pseudonyms, and lost the ability that had carried him to multiple decisive victories. Eventually he retired.

"This," he said, referring to his current state, "is the toughest fight of my life," alleviated by the knowledge that his message might save other young athletes from a similar fate.

While competition is great, he said, and injuries will necessarily occur in all sports, common sense must prevail.

"Hiding concussions is self-destructive," he said. "It's not a badge of honor."

Photo in text: Ray Ciancaglini speaking at the Rotary Club luncheon.

The honored Vietnam veterans pose for a photo at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

Lions honor 26 at Salute to Veterans

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 29 -- The Watkins-Montour Lions Club Monday night honored 26 Vietnam War veterans at a dinner ceremony held at the Harbor Hotel.

In prepared remarks, Sgt. First Class John Antes, a retired member of the U.S. Marines and U.S. Army, said: “We are here to do what we should have done 50 years ago.”

The ceremony opened with the Posting of Colors by the Cornell ROTC Brigade and a performance of the National Anthem by the Ithaca College Choir Quartet. Lion Glenn Bleiler, Lt. U.S. Navy, served as Master of Ceremonies, along with Sgt. Antes, a member of the Schuyler County Veterans Services.

Authorized by Congress and signed by President Obama in May 2012, the Vietnam War Proclamation extends through Veterans Day 2025, and marks the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. The primary objective of the Vietnam War Commemoration is to thank and honor veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the nation. All veterans who served between 1955 and 1975 are eligible for recognition.

The Watkins-Montour Lions Club organized the program in cooperation with the American Red Cross, an official Commemorative Partner. In addition to personal expressions of thanks, members of the Lions Club presented each veteran with a lapel pin with an eagle for valor on the front and an inscription on the back: “A grateful nation thanks and honors you.”

The Lions plan to repeat the salute to veterans next November and invite another group of the more than 1,200 Vietnam veterans in Schuyler County.

Veterans Honored in 2016: Daniel Ayers, Tom McGarry, Douglas Bingham, Thomas Merrill, Richard Brown, Mahlon Parker, Gary Conklin, Wayne Pelcher, John Dilts, John Pyhtila, Donald Foster, J.C. Robbins, Clair Gunning, Fred Scott, Harold (Jay) Hoffmeier, Charles Stevenson, Dale Jaynes, Phil Swaney, David LaMoreaux, Marvin Switzer, Jeff Lawton, James Tobey, Robert Lee, Donald Thompson, Steve LoPresti and David VanDyke.

Photos in text:

Top: Lion Dr. James Norton, right, presents a pin to Don Foster. Norton is a World War II veteran; Foster served in Vietnam.
Bottom: Guest speaker Sgt. 1st Class (retired) John Antes (Marines and Army) next to the POW/MIA table, with a place-setting for one and a table for all. (Photos by Susan Bleiler)

Lion George Roy, left, presents a pin to Vietnam veteran Marvin Switzer.

Winner chosen in Labor of Love raffle

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 22 -- The Labor of Love has conducted its first cash raffle, selling 200 raffle books of five tickets each for $10 apiece.

Half of the $2,000 raised was for the organization's benefit, with the other half going to a lucky winner chosen in a drawing Tuesday morning at the International Motor Racing
Research Center in Watkins Glen.

The name selected: Doug Habbershaw of Montour Falls.

The ticket was pulled from the container holding all of the raffle entries by an archival assistant at the IMRRC, Josh Ashby.

Labor of Love is a group of Schuyler County residents who provide ongoing financial outreach to Schuyler County residents. Collaboration is maintained with many county agencies that include Catholic Charities, Schuyler Outreach, the Department of Social Services, the Schuyler Housing Opportunities Council, the Office for the Aging, Adult Protective Services, and Mustard Seed Ministries. Needs have included hot water heaters, furnaces, propane, coal, minor home repairs, prescription costs, rent securities, and other emergency circumstances.

Labor of Love was initiated to continue the outreach ministry of the late Rosanne Paradiso of Watkins Glen, who died in 2006. Under the auspices of Saint James’ Episcopal Church of Watkins Glen, all financial donations are tax exempt. Gifts may be made to 210 Reading Road, Watkins Glen.

Photo in text: Josh Ashby, archival assistant at the International Motor Racing Research Center, draws the winning ticket from a jar held by Rev. Michael Hartney of the Labor of Love organization.

The north end of the St. Mary's Parish Center was a colorful blend of blankets at one of the many vendor tables at the bazaar.

Holiday Bazaars held in Odessa, Watkins

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Nov. 19 -- Annual Holiday Bazaars were held at two different facilities Saturday, one in Odessa and one in Watkins Glen.

The Odessa bazaar was held at the Odessa-Catharine United Methodist Church, where craft and art vendors sold their wares, and a bake sale nearly sold out in the first hour.

The fellowship hall was the site of a lunch, while Santa and Mrs. Claus met with children upstairs.

The annual bazaar at the St. Mary's of the Lake Parish Center in Watkins Glen also had its share of craft vendors, along with a food court, a cake wheel, raffles, a money tree and Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Crowds were thick at both locales, signalling the start of what is expected to be a brisk Christmas buying season.

Note: And they weren't the only craft shows in the area. Another was held at the Montour Moose Lodge -- all on an appealingly sunny day that turned colder in the afternoon and then wintry at night.

Photo in text: Santa Claus was on hand at the St. Mary's Parish Center, above, and at the Odessa-Catharine United Methodist Church.

Left: Alpacas were featured outside the Watkins bazaar. Right: Kevin Austin was manning the cash box for lunch orders at the Odessa church bazaar.

Left: Artwork was among the goods available at the Odessa bazaar. Right: Ellie Brown shows one of the books she has authored and was selling at the Watkins bazaar.

Dollhouse raffle to benefit St. James'

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 8 -- A custom-built dollhouse will be raffled to benefit St. James’ Episcopal Church in Watkins Glen.

Built by Nick Dugo, a member of the Parish, the dollhouse has four rooms on two floors, plus an attic. Each room is wallpapered and painted, with moldings and trim and hardwood floors; a staircase connects the two floors.

The dollhouse has a cedar-shake shingle roof and, of course, is painted dollhouse-pink.

Dugo has been building dollhouses since the 1970s. The first was built for his daughter, and then, over the years, he built others for several nieces in the family.

He built one which is a replica of his sister’s house in Bath, a Federal-style “mini-mansion.” That one is hinged, to open up all the rooms in the house. He previously built one for a St. James’ raffle, as well as one for his mother’s Church to raffle. This makes the 12th one he has built. All of them have been from scratch, and of his own design.

The dollhouse will be on display at St. James’ Bazaar at the Parish House, 112 Sixth Street, on Saturday, November 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets will be sold at $1 for one ticket and six for $5.

After that, it will be on display at Fiber Arts in the Glen, 315 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen, where tickets will also be available.

The dollhouse will also be shown at the Watkins Glen Village Christmas in front of Fiber Arts in the Glen on December 2nd. Raffle tickets will be sold then as well.

The drawing for the winner will be held on Sunday, December 12.

Photo in text: The dollhouse, to be raffled Dec. 12. (Photo provided)

Friends of the Watkins Library honored

Special to The Odessa File

PAINTED POST, Oct. 19 -- The Friends of the Watkins Library (FOWL) group has been honored with the Grass Roots Award, presented by the Southern Tier Library System.

The Watkins Glen Public Library support unit was honored for its partnership with The Arc of Schuyler for the annual FOWL used book sale.

The Grass Roots Award recognizes “outstanding library service to underserved community members,” including people with developmental disabilities.

The Arc has hosted the annual June book sale for 22 years. FOWL volunteers work side-by-side with people served by The Arc in setting up and sorting the donated books during the month preceding the sale.

“Everyone in the Watkins Glen and Schuyler County community involved with the book sale benefits from this partnership: the Friends, The Arc, the library and, of course, the readers,” Glenda Gephart, book sale co-chairman, said in thanking STLS for the award. It was presented at the STLS annual conference and dinner at Watson Homestead on Oct. 13.

Also accepting the award were Sue Dugo, sale co-chairman, and from The Arc of Schuyler Marie Scott, Carol Sullivan and Teresa Higbie.

“The Arc of Schuyler is thrilled to be a partner of the Watkins Glen Public Library,” Jeannette Frank, The Arc of Schuyler executive director, said after the award presentation. “The people we support truly enjoy being part of the book sale and the friendships that develop.”

The Arc of Schuyler interaction with the Watkins Glen library goes beyond the book sale, Marleah Denkenberger of the STLS Coordinated Outreach Services and Advisory Council said in presenting the award.

“People supported by The Arc visit the library several days a week throughout the year,” she said. “The library staff have developed warm and friendly relationships with them, know them by name, and know what they like. The Arc staff do a beautiful job of accompanying them and introducing them to the library.”

The Arc of Schuyler is a family-based, not-for-profit organization that provides residential, vocational, day support, job training, service coordination, advocacy and other support to people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Photo in text: From left, Marie Scott and Carol Sullivan, of The Arc of Schuyler; Harriet Eisman, Watkins Glen Public Library director; and Glenda Gephart and Sue Dugo of the Friends of the Watkins Library. In the front is Teresa Higbie of The Arc of Schuyler. (Photo provided)

United Way sets goal, names co-chairs

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Sept. 22 -- The United Way of Schuyler County began its annual campaign Wednesday with a luncheon for member agencies at the Montour Moose Lodge -- where Executive Director Peggy Scott announced a goal to raise $123,000 to help support 24 agencies serving county residents.

This year's campaign co-chairs were on hand and introduced: Dr. Ben Saks and his wife Marian. The couple, who live in Hector, have two young children.

Dr. Saks is in internal medicine at Schuyler Hospital, which is a United Way agency. He serves on the Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Health System boards, and is an elected county coroner. Marian is a structural engineer who serves on the development committee of the My Place, A Play and Learning Center, and is treasurer for the Montour Falls Memorial Library. Both My Place and the library are United Way agencies.

The campaign officially begins with an annual Kick Off dinner featuring pasta and meatballs on Monday, Oct. 10 at the Montour Moose Lodge. Serving starts at 5 p.m.

Photo in text: Dr. Benjamin and Marian Saks (Photo by Drew Guild)

Ken Wilson wins Marie Bailey Award

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Sept. 22 -- The United Way of Schuyler County has honored Ken Wilson of Watkins Glen with the annual Marie Bailey Award.

The award recognizes an individual or agency for support of United Way efforts in Schuyler County. It memorializes the late Marie Bailey, known as a “tireless volunteer,” Executive Director Peggy Scott said at the annual United Way agency luncheon on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Scott cited Wilson for serving as a United Way campaign co-chairman in 1983 and president of the United Way board in 1986-87 and for his support of the 2015 campaign led by his daughter and son-in-law, Jenny and Tom Lewis.

“He has a trifecta for United Way. There isn’t anybody else who has done this,” Scott said. “He has never wavered in his support for United Way.”

In accepting the award, Wilson noted that Bailey was among the first people to enlist his involvement with United Way. He was serving as board president when the award honoring her was created.

“Marie certainly did a lot for United Way,” Wilson said.

The 2016 campaign to raise $123,000 to support 24 agencies serving Schuyler County residents kicks off on Oct. 10 with the annual spaghetti dinner at the Montour Moose Lodge.

Photo in text: Ken Wilson with United Way of Schuyler County Executive Director Peggy Scott at the Sept. 21 luncheon at the Montour Moose Lodge.

Festival singing competition winners named

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 25, 2016 -- Organizers of the Gara Di Canto Singing Competition at the 2016 Schuyler County Italian American Festival have been announced.

Organizer Deb Switzer said the competition, moved this year after several years at the Firemen's Carnival in Montour Falls, was a success, and she thanked the Italian American Festival for hosting and sponsoring it.

Honorable Mentions went to:

Addison Coolican
Josh Markley

Ages 10-16:

1st -- Kassidy Samuels
2nd -- Noelle Chamberlain
3rd -- Hayley Burke with Hailey Ferguson on guitar

Ages 17 and up:

1st -- Kasey Samuels
2nd -- Darlene Fazzary
3rd -- Peggy Saunders and Harold Brown

One of the many units marching in Saturday's festival parade. (Photo provided)

Carnival rides are a staple of the annual Italian American Festival. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Italian American festival ends its 3-day run

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 15, 2016 -- The 37th annual, three-day Schuyler County Italian American Festival ended its run Sunday, Aug. 14 at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. A talent show and motorcycle gathering highlighted the final day.

Saturday had featured an annual parade, a fireworks show and a bocce tournament.

The festival, which attracted a large crowd, included live music on Friday and Saturday, “L’Osteria at the Park,” vendors, carnival games and rides, and Italian gift sales. On Saturday, a dominant feature was also the heat, as was a storm that night.

According to one festival spokesperson, Saturday's parade "went well, but nine units canceled or just didn't show up -- perhaps due to the very hot weather. And the fireworks were great, but they started almost an hour early and were shortened due to a heavy rainstorm." But she added: "They were still wonderful."

The festival president was Louis Perazzini of Watkins Glen. Don Stocum of Hector was festival chairman.

Histories of local families were displayed at L’Osteria at the Park, a gathering place on the festival grounds that also offered Italian music and gifts.

Local wineries were also hosting wine tastings at L’Osteria.

John Vona of Watkins Glen, for many years the organizer of the Italian American Festival parade, was honored Saturday as parade marshal. Joining him in the always-popular parade were festival Prince Vincent Ocasio, 8, and Princess Grace Roney, 7.

The parade route Saturday was improved this year with the shift of the parade’s viewing stand from Lafayette Park to Clute Park. The change helped with traffic flow and control. The parade started at noon at Watkins Glen High School and traveled north on Decatur Street and east on Fourth Street to Clute Park. The emcee, as in past years, was County Legislator Jim Howell.

The entertainment lineup included two bands on Friday evening. The Sam Pallet Band, a longtime festival favorite, returned for a 5-7:30 p.m. performance. The Cheyenne Band played from 8-11:30, presenting country music at the festival for the first time in a long time. Saturday’s musical entertainment was by Ruby Shooz from 8 p.m. to midnight.

The Gara di Canto, a community talent show with 25 acts, was presented Sunday at noon on the Entertainment Stage. The acts were judged, and prizes awarded.

The annual fireworks show, described by Perazzini before the festival as "still the best in the Finger Lakes," was held Saturday night -- though early and shortened because of the weather. This year’s show, produced again by American Fireworks Co. of Utica, was presented in memory of Stephen Treleaven, who worked for American Fireworks.

Carnival rides and games, bingo, a pasta-eating contest and a motorcycle show were also part of the festival’s weekend of fun. More than 20 food concessions and upwards of 50 craft vendors lined the midway.

Returning this year for Saturday and Sunday were continuous marionette performances by the Robert Rogers Puppet Company on center court in front of the pavilion. Also returning: the “Salami Shack,” a game that offered Italian meats and cheeses as the prizes.

The Tony Tallarida Memorial Bocce Tournament was played on renovated bocce courts throughout the day on Saturday.

Another of Saturday’s highlights was the pasta-eating contest, open to anyone of any age. It was held at 4 p.m. at the Entertainment Stage. "It had the best participation ever," said the festival spokesperson. "There were 10 kids and four adults. Curly's Family Restaurant donated all of the pasta for the contest."

The Kenny Larson Memorial Motorcycle Show was held Sunday. Motorcyclists and motorcycle fans were invited starting at noon. Parking was free for all motorcycles.

Except for the amusement rides and games, all of the entertainment was free, and no admission to the festival was charged. Parking on Clute Park grounds was $5 per vehicle. The festival had plenty of handicapped parking spaces available.

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 being 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.

For more information about any aspect of the festival, see the festival website at or contact festival president Louis Perazzini at

Photos in text:

Top: Military jeeps were part of the annual parade on Saturday. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Second: Boats were plentiful near the southern shoreline of Seneca Lake at Clute Park, site of the festival. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Third: The pasta-eating contest. (Photo provided)

Fourth: An American Diabetes Association bicycle was among the parade entrants. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

The Caledonian Highlanders marching bagpipers entertained boaters along the shoreline of Clute Park after the band participated in the parade up Decatur and Fourth Streets.

The Girl Scouts were among the festival parade participants Saturday. (Photo provided)

A Burdett Fire Department truck in the parade was carrying some young passengers.

Parade tops the Hector Fair's 2nd day

HECTOR, July 29, 2016 -- An enthusiastic crowd lined much of Rt. 414 in Hector between the Dandy store and the Valois-Logan-Hector Fire Department Friday evening, viewing the annual Hector Fair Parade.

The fair, now in its 58th year, opened Thursday, continued Friday evening and concludes today (Saturday) with a full day of activities including rides, displays, vendor stands, food and music, along with a car show and farmer's market. It ends after dark with a fireworks display.

About 40 units of various kinds participated in Friday's line of march, held under a bright sun but with a cooling breeze. Among them were fire department trucks from Hector, Ovid, Lodi, Interlaken, Odessa, Mecklenburg, Trumansburg, Enfield, Beaver Dams, Watkins Glen, Tyrone, Montour Falls, Burdett and the host Valois-Logan-Hector. Rescue operations included Schuyler Ambulance, South Seneca Ambulance, and Millport Rescue.

There were tractors, and classic cars, and marching units including the Montour Falls Fire Department Band and the bagpiping Caledonian Highlanderes. There was a color guard from the Odessa American Legion 676, and a restored police car driven by Schuyler Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Yessman.

Politicians were on hand, including Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and State Senator Tom O'Mara. A trio of people were carrying a sign promoting the State Senate candidacy of Democratic challenger Leslie Danks Burke, who they said could not attend due to a conflict.

There was a baton unit, Lily's Marching Hope of the NY Finger Lakes Region, which raises funds in the fight against Huntington's Disease (, and floats from Hazlitt's 1852 Vineyards, the Backbone Ridge History Group, Rasta Ranch Vineyards, and the Hector Presbyterian Church's Vacation Bible School.

Two Goats Brewery had a pickup truck with a couple, the Dahls, holding -- yes -- two goats. And Ehrhart Energy had a pickup truck display with its riders handing out Erhhart frisbees. And Smokey the Bear was riding another truck.

After the parade, many of the spectators adjourned to the fair itself, where food such as clams and shrimp awaited, as did games, rides, displays and a book sale.

Photos in text:

Top: A bagpiper performs as part of the Caledonian Highlanders.

Middle: A girl studies the passing crowd from atop a Valois-Logan-Hector fire truck participating in the parade.

Bottom: Former Montour Falls Fire Chief Jeff Confer, left, and current Chief Billy Thomas marched in the parade with other members of the department.

Lily's Marching Hope featured an array of baton twirlers ranging from teens to young girls.

Among the parade participants were Smokey the Bear and a woman seated on a Backbone Ridge History Group float.

One of the inhabitants of a Hector Fair display.

As the sun set, a rider was spotted high above the ground on the Paratrooper ride at the fair.

The line of cheese customers was steady through the day at this Cheese Festival tent.

Annual Cheese Festival draws a crowd

CATHARINE, July 24, 2016 -- The fifth annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival drew a clear, hot day and a crowd numbering in the thousands Saturday at the Hoffman farm -- home of Sunset View Creamery -- at Catharine Corners south of Odessa.

Sunset View is a founding member of the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance, which puts on this annual family-focus event. A total of 65 vendors were on hand, among them new ones as the event grows each year. Thousands of people made their way to the site, parking in the Hoffman farm field off of the Ridge Road. (The crowd last year totaled 5,000, and organizers were hoping to equal or surpass that.)

In addition to new vendors, there were new activities -- and many local businesses and organizations as sponsors. The event features a full farm market with all of the creameries of the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance present as well as many local food and farm vendors. Finger Lakes beer, wine and cider producers offered samples for attendees, and cheese and beverage pairing seminars were expanded to 120 seats each to accommodate a growing interest.

For the kids, there was a kids' craft corner, Barnyard Olympics, petting zoo, goat milking and games. For the whole family, there was music all day, featuring Sons of a Beach, Bob & Dee, and The Tarps. New this year was a guided milking parlor tour running four times during the day. There were also self-guided farm tours and hayrides.

The Planning Committee thanked the Watkins Glen/Montour Falls Lions Club, The Spirit of Schuyler, and the Odessa Fire Department for providing assistance at the festival.

In addition to all the activities, there was plenty to eat, sample and buy. Food vendors suiting every palate were at the festival, including Global Taco, FLX Weinery, Macarolin, Burke’s Bar-b-cue, and Heavenly Treats of Corning. There were wines from the Hector Wine Company, Lakewood Vineyards, Americana Winery, Stever Hill Vineyards and J.R. Dill winery; local ciders from Blue Toad Hard Cider and Eve’s Cidery, and beer from craft brewers. The freshest milk was also available.

Pairing Seminars began at noon. These were led by sommelier and wine writer Holly Howell and paired Alliance cheeses with wines, beers and ciders of the Associate Members of the Alliance. Seminars were expanded to accommodate 120 attendees for a fee of $2 each per seminar per person.

Other popular activities included the Cooking with Cheese Seminar with Chef Christopher Bates of FLX Weinery. A cheesemaking class was led by Chef Brud Holland from Finger Lakes Made.

Along with the food and drink, the Alliance invited neighbor artisans and farms to participate in the event, so there were also farm produce and products on hand, along with locally made products and wares.

"It's a great turnout," said Carmella Hoffman, owner of Sunset View Creamery and a member of the festival's planning committee, before the day was half done. "Next year," she added, "we're going to expand the site across the entrance driveway, to the field farther south," and utilize a new entrance.

Title Sponsor:
Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce

Platinum Sponsors:
New York Farm Bureau of Cayuga, Chemung, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben & Tioga Counties; Visions Federal Credit Union; O’Hara Machinery

Gold Sponsor:
Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance

Silver Sponsors: Elm Chevrolet, Simmons-Rockwell, Flynn Energy, Sidle Insurance, Farm Credit East, Tioga Downs

Bronze Sponsors: Amerigas Watkins Glen, Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, Community Bank NA, Curly’s Family Restaurant, Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty, Jeff’s Onsite Services

Activity Sponsors:
Finger Lakes Beer Trail -- Beer & Cheese Pairing Seminar
Seneca Meadows, Inc. -- Music Sponsor

Photos in text:

Top: Hayrides were among the Cheese Festival attractions.

Second: Animals of various kinds and size were on hand for petting.

Third: Drew Guild served as announcer.

Bottom: Festival T-shirts with Whey Cool on them were available at a tent.

Heavenly Treats of Corning has been on hand every year at the festival.

The Finger Lakes Wine Lockers business of Watkins Glen was on hand with, among its specialties, quality cigars.

Left: Gloria Brubaker examines wares at one of the many booths. Right: A girl watches as Bonnie Scott of Odessa works behind safety glass in her mobile hot-glass studio.

Bob & Dee were among the musical performers. Also playing: the groups Sons of a Beach and The Tarps.

A food wagon attracted a constant line of customers.

Three entrants approached the finish line at the same time. Game On won its category: Fastest Elapsed Time Multi-hull-two or more.

Cardboard boats draw crowd to harbor

WATKINS GLEN, June 18 -- The annual Cardboard Boat Regatta -- part of the weekend Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival -- was held Saturday under sunny skies and with high temperatures.

More than 40 entrant crafts -- going in heats of two around a course that ran from one end of the Seneca Harbor Marina to the breakwater, west to the pier, and then southbound to a finish line -- negotiated the water to the cheers of a large crowd lining the waterfront, pier and breakwater.

The event was broadcast by Fox TV, which will rebroadcast the event (see schedule here).

The race was preceded by a three-hour period in which spectators could view the boats in the parking area near the starting line. A Food Court -- featuring many vendors -- was also an attraction.

The races started at 2 p.m., with the following results provided by Waterfront Festival organizers:

Fastest Elapsed Time Multi-hull-two or more: Game On -- 2:49
Fastest Elapsed Time Single Hull-Multi Crew:
Geezers AKA Osage -- 1:58
Fastest KIDS Boat under 12:
Party Crashers -- 6:08
Fastest Elapsed Time Single Hull-Single Crew:
Snickers -- 10:17
Fastest TEENS Boat (13 to 18):
Star Wars “The Force Awakens” -- 4:03
Best Construction --
Boat Drinks
Best Lookin’ Boat --
BIG FOX “Titanic” Sinking --
to be announced soon
Best Boat Name --
Split Happens
Best “Theme” --
SS Minnow
Judges' Choice --
Bethany Bus
BIG FOX Goody’s Headache Award --
to be announced soon
Schuyler County Chairman’s Cup --
Geezers OKA Osage -- 1:58
People’s Choice --

Photos in text: From top: The Seneca Lodge entrant crosses the finish line: Game On is discarded after its race (a fate of most of the boats); and the Harbor Hound entrant capsized at the start of its race against Party Crashers, but its crew swam and pushed their craft all the way around the course, through the finish line.

A large crowd lined the Seneca Harbor Pier and breakwater, not to mention the shoreline.

Pre-race emcee Michelle Benjamin (left), and Renee Riley, singing the National Anthem.

The Party Crashers, winners of the first heat, near the finish line. The crew won its category: Fastest KIDS Boat under 12: Party Crashers -- 6:08.

The Hit Men, a brass band out of Rochester, were a hit with the crowd, playing both before and during the parade on Main Street.

Annual parade draws crowd to Montour

MONTOUR FALLS, June 11 -- Despite rumors of rain, the 60th annual Montour Falls Firemen's Parade was held Saturday under mostly sunny skies and a cooling breeze.

Five high school bands and 27 fire departments participated in the Main Street procession, along with various classic cars, antique tractors, floats and horses.

The parade was the highlight of the final day of the three-day Montour Falls Firemen's Carnival. A chicken barbecue was a popular stop earlier in the day at the carnival grounds, and the midway would be open until midnight, with a third straight night of live music.

Fire departments in the parade represented Pine City, Lodi, Wayne, Dundee, Hammondsport, Montour Falls, Dresden, Beaver Dams, Elmira Heights, Tyrone, Town and Country, Watkins Glen, Mecklenburg, Trumansburg, North Corning, Fairport, Penn Yan, Burdett, Odessa, Enfield, Horseheads, Valois-Logan-Hector, South Seneca, Branchport, Millport, Campbell, and Gibson.

School bands were from Jasper-Troupsburg, Dundee (a steel band), Odessa-Montour, Corning-Painted Post, and Addison.

Other musical groups included the Caledonian Highlanders (bagpipers), the Appalachian Grenadiers (drummers), and The Hit Men brass band out of Rochester.

Law enforcement was represented by the Schuyler County Sheriff's Department, State Police and Watkins Glen Village Police.

The parade drew a large crowd that lined Main Street from the Glorious T to a point well beyond Rte. 14. The line of vehicles and marchers took well over an hour to complete.

Photos from top: The Montour Falls Fire Department Marching Band; a truck from Elmira Heights, one of 27 departments represented; and Odessa scouts march up Main Street.

A Symphonic Steel Band from Dundee High School was transported on a float.

Left: A member of the 300-member Corning-Painted Post High School band. Right: A member of the Addison High School band.

Horses and horse riders were part of the Montour Falls Firemen's Parade.

State Senator Tom O-Mara (left) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (sharing candy) were among the parade participants.

Among the parade marchers were the Appalachian Grenadier drummers.

Left: Odessa Fire Department members Keith Pierce and Taylor Rounds. Right: A member of the Caledonian Highlanders bagpipe band.

The Odessa-Montour High School Marching Band performed along Main Street.

Left: An Enfield Fire Department rough-terrain vehicle. Right: Emcee Jim Howell.

A member of the Jasper-Troupsburg High School Marching Band.

A throwback car draws some attention

MONTOUR FALLS, June 11 -- A police car near the front of the 60th annual Montour Falls Firemen's Parade was a throwback to the 1980s.

The car, a 1988 Plymouth Gran Fury, was driven in the parade by Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman, who owns it with son Andrew Yessman, a Schuyler deputy. They purchased it privately about a year ago after finding it through eBay on Staten Island.

It has since been painted and striped by local artisans, with a rooftop bar of period police lights affixed. The bar was found, the sheriff said, in a barn.

The sheriff said his son had wanted to create a "period-correct car," and this offered the opportunity. The Gran Fury -- manufactured from 1975 to 1989 -- differs in name from the vehicles used in the '80s and early '90s by Schuyler road patrols (which were Dodge Diplomats), "but they are essentially the same car," said the sheriff, who drove one himself back in the day. "I was one of the last ones in the department to drive one," he said, explaining that he finally gave it up in 1994 "when it started falling apart."

This car is in no such danger. It was used first as an NCIS car, and then made its way to a Sheriff's Department in Virginia, where it was painted blue but little used. From there it was purchased by a retired policeman on Staten Island, who took good care of it. When the Yessmans picked it up, it was white. Minor restoration work remains, but it is parade worthy -- and car- meet worthy.

Sheriff Yessman said he and Andrew would be taking it the next day to the Chemung County Fairgrounds for a car gathering -- "a fun meet," he said. The weekend appearances, he noted, constituted the car's "coming out ... its debut."

Photo in text: Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman with the 1988 Plymouth Gran Fury, renovated to a state that cars like it possessed back in the '80s and early '90s.

The exterior of the apartment complex, as viewed from a sidewalk along Decatur Street.

Ribbon cut for apartment complex in former Watkins Glen Middle School

Portions of the following were provided special to The Odessa File.

WATKINS GLEN, March 10, 2016 -- It was ribbon-cutting time Thursday morning for the new apartment development in the former Watkins Glen Middle School, and it drew a crowd.

State, county and village representatives were on hand for speeches, and scores of area residents turned out for the occasion -- which culminated with the familiar ribbon-slicing ceremony.

Then came snacks and self-tours of the facility, where 20 of the 51 apartments -- designed for lower income senior residents -- were already occupied.

Representatives of New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), Two Plus Four Construction, the SEPP Management Group, and contributing partners were on hand to mark completion of the complex, known as Watkins Glen School Apartments.

Located at 906 N. Decatur Street, the newly created apartments are among the thousands of units that form the foundation of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s new, $10 billion House New York 2020 program to create or preserve 100,000 affordable units over the next five years.

The former school now consists of 44 one-bedroom apartments, and 7 two-bedroom apartments. The $14.3 million project includes an important extra benefit for the community in the form of civic space to be created by rehabilitating the former school’s existing auditorium and gymnasium.

The three-story building’s residential units are located on the first, second and third floors and are accessible by both stairs and an elevator. Laundry facilities are available on each floor, and the development provides a large community room with a kitchenette and a computer lab on the first floor. Two additional activity rooms are on an upper floor.

The building is located near downtown and the Watkins Glen harbor district. A grocery store, pharmacy and local retail shops are all within walking distance of the site.

On hand with speeches were:

Anthony F. Fiala, Jr. Executive Director/CEO of SEPP Management, which spearheaded the project. He said: “On behalf of SEPP, we are very pleased to be part of the Village of Watkins Glen and the County. It was a team effort with our partner Two Plus Four Construction and the result is an incredible project that will provide safe, affordable housing for generations to come.”

Susan M. Kimmel, President of Two Plus Four Construction, who said: “Watkins Glen School Apartments is a perfect example of a successful public/private partnership. In working closely with the development team, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has given the Village of Watkins Glen the opportunity to see the reuse of a historic landmark central to their Village while providing much needed housing to the seniors in their community.” Two Plus Four Construction served as the general contractor.

Senator Thomas F. O’Mara, who said: “What a fantastic, innovative project to help Watkins Glen address the critical need for more affordable senior housing, which remains a challenge across the region and state.”

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, who said: "What a great day. This is what partnership is all about."

Said County Administrator Tim O'Hearn -- who first brought the building to the attention of SEPP: "This is an exciting time in a community with a progressive vision. This project is a huge asset to the community."

Watkins Glen Deputy Mayor Gary Schmidt, who charmed the sizable crowd at the ceremony, said this: "This (turnout) is crazy. I thank everyone for coming. What a great project, and a quality development ... I wish Governor Cuomo was here because I wore a tie today."

As an historic landmark, features such as the school lockers, skylights, doors and woodwork, chalk boards and other original fixtures and details have been retained, as a reminder of the building’s original use. They also add decorative elements and character to the building.

HCR funding for this $14.3 million project -- which began in November 2014 -- was provided through the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) and Federal Low-Income Housing Credit (LIHC) Programs, which leveraged an NBT Bank loan; Federal and State Historic Tax Credit Equity; NYSERDA incentives, and a deferred developer fee. Citi Community Capital provided the construction loan. HCR’s Rural & Urban Community Investment Fund program and Empire State Development, through a Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council CFA grant award, are providing funding for the civic space.

Residents began moving in on Friday, Feb. 26. The building is expected to be rented to capacity by April. Applications are currently being accepted. The gross rents (rent plus utilities) range from $485 to $616 a month, and will be affordable to households with incomes at or below 50% of area median income. HTFC Project-Based Rental Vouchers will be provided for the eight apartments reserved for frail elderly renters. For applications call 800-838-0441 TDD 711 or visit

Photos in text:

From top: Dignitaries cut the ribbon; lockers populate a hallway; the kitchen in a two-bedroom apartment; and SEPP's Anthony Fiala, left, conducts a tour that included Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, center, and State Senator Tom O'Mara, right.

Ice Bar raises $25,000 for Red Cross

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 23 -- The 2016 Ice Bar at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel in early February -- an annual three-night party celebrating winter and the region's wine and food -- raised $25,000 for the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross.

"On behalf of the American Red Cross, I want to say thank you to the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, sponsors and members of the community for their continued generous support,” said Chapter Executive Director Carlos McCluskey. “This is an incredible partnership that benefits the entire region."

"This marked the fifth year of the annual event, which has become a highlight of the region’s social calendar," said the hotel’s Director of Sales Christine Peacock. "Since its inception, the Ice Bar has generated $75,000 for the American Red Cross."

Donations from the event assist in providing relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Photo in text: An ice sculpture that was part of the Ice Bar, an annual three-night party at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. (File photo)

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit or visit on Twitter at @RedCross.

Left: Bonnie Scott, recipient of the Community Spirit Award. Right: Peter Honsberger, honored by the Chamber of Commerce for Lifetime Achievement.

Chamber holds its annual Winter Gala

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 22, 2016 -- Men and women in elegant attire, live music by the group Suspect, a fine meal, silent auction packages, a Stock Your Cellar Wine Raffle, a masquerade theme, and awards for Community Spirit and Lifetime Achievement were all part of Friday night's annual Winter Gala at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel -- the largest fundraiser each year for the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

The event was presented by Visions Federal Credit Union and sponsored by Corning Enterprises.

The black-tie affair featured dramatic lighting and decor, not to mention stunning gowns. Event colors were white and gold. Attendees were invited to come masquerade style, including masks, and many did.

Cocktails were served from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and dinner from 7 to 8. The silent auction and Stock Your Cellar Wine Raffle was open from 5 to 8 p.m. After that came awards and speeches, and then the music from 9-11 p.m.

Honorees this year were Bonnie Scott (receiving the Community Spirit Award) and Peter Honsberger (for Lifetime Achievement).

Honsberger is well known in the business community, having operated the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor at 221 S. Franklin Steet in the village for decades -- a business his Facebook page says he is handing off to his daughter Jackie.

He is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, and involved in various local activities such as the Chamber of Commerce, where he is a member of the Executive Committee. He winters in Florida, but was present for Friday's Gala.

Scott has had quite a week. She was honored Monday by the Odessa Village Board as its third annual Citizen of the Year, and now by the Chamber with its Community Spirit Award. She was introduced by daughter Keri, who will be moving with her parents to Virginia in the summer. Bonnie's husband, Fred, is retired after a long career running the Vedder and Scott Funeral Home. Bonnie, often involved in local activities -- including the Chamber's Ambassador Program and its Membership Committee -- helped Fred with his business, and is past owner of a Longaberger basket business and current owner of a glass studio, Joyful Adornments.

Photos in text:

Top: Brian and Loueda Bleiler in their masks. Brian is an optometrist.
Middle: Montour Falls Mayor John King and Amanda Smith-Socaris, who operates Seneca Physical Therapy, chat before the dinner.
Bottom: Kent and Beth Duane.

From left: Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah LaMoreaux; Linda Confer, Branch Manager at Elmira Savings Bank in Watkins Glen, and Brian McKenzie of Finger Lakes Distilling.

Forum speakers air funding needs for people with developmental disabilities

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 23 -- Arc chapters in Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, and Yates Counties jointly held a legislative forum on Tuesday at The Arc of Schuyler in support of the “It Matters to Me” grassroots advocacy campaign organized by the local agencies’ statewide affiliate, NYSARC, Inc.

State Sen. Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano attended the forum to hear families, self-advocates, and staff members share their personal stories focusing on funding needs for residential housing and program development, employment choices, and preschool programs for people with developmental disabilities as well as for a wage increase for direct support professionals at nonprofit agencies.

Jeannette Frank, Executive Director at The Arc of Schuyler, remarked that nonprofits provide critical services that contribute to the quality of life of the community, providing supports for some of New York State’s most vulnerable citizens.

Amanda Jakubowicz was one of many speakers at the forum. Jakubowicz, a service coordinator at The Arc of Schuyler, shared the story of a young man with disabilities and his mother who twice applied to the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities for residential placement. Their request was declined. The man has since lost both parents and now relies on a non-relative caregiver who continues to struggle finding a more appropriate housing situation to meet his needs.

“There are many people I work with in situations like this and without funding in the 2016 state budget for residential developments, where will they go?” Jakubowicz said.

Terri Rogers spoke on behalf of her brother Mike. She voiced concerns that without state funding her brother will lose the opportunity to work in a job he’s been successful in at Arc of Steuben for years due to New York State’s efforts to move people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into community employment.

She said she would like to see her brother have the opportunity to have a choice of employment options based on his goals and interests and the guidance of Mike’s circle of support, the family members and human service professionals that work with him every day.

“There are approximately 8,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities working in sheltered workshops across the state,” Bernie Berns. Executive Director of Arc of Steuben said. “People should have a choice about where they work.”

Arc of Yates Executive Director Daniele Lyman addressed the need for funding preschool programs for children with disabilities. These programs are at risk of closure. This is the first year Arc of Yates’ Keuka Lake School has received a rate increase since 2010. Lyman was followed by Adam Campbell, a parent of a child with Down Syndrome, who credited Keuka Lake School for his daughter’s progress and successful transition into regular education for kindergarten.

Many family and staff members also attended the forum to advocate for a minimum wage increase to compete with the NYS Labor Commissioner’s approved plan to enact a $15 minimum wage for fast-food workers.

“In my 35 years as an agency executive, the single biggest structural issue in our field has been the lack of appropriate pay for our frontline staff and the work they do,” said Michael A. Doherty, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Arc of Chemung.

Three parents, a residential manager, and two staff members spoke on the issue, reasoning that direct support professionals should receive a comparable wage increase or they would be forced to leave for better paying jobs, and supports for people with disabilities will be reduced.

“The expectations on direct support professionals have increased substantially and we are under enormous pressure,” Pat Wilcox, a 30-year Arc employee said. “Direct support professionals need a wage increase. We need it to retain employees, to recruit new employees, and to ensure people with disabilities have the best people working for them.”

NYSARC, Inc. is the State’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting people with developmental and other disabilities. Arc chapters in Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates Counties support more than 2,000 children and adults with disabilities and their families.

Photo in text: (From left) Michael Stamp, Arc of Schuyler board president; State Senator Tom O’Mara; Jeannette Frank, Arc of Schuyler executive director; and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano listen as Arc of Schuyler board member and parent, Jay Hoffmeier, speaks on the issue of employment choices for people with developmental disabilities. (Photo provided)

Schuyler County Transit drivers pose in front of one of the buses during the 5-year anniversary celebration. (Photo provided)

Transit marks 5th anniversary

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 25, 2015 -- Schuyler County Transit celebrated its 5th anniversary on Tuesday, August 25 with a public event at its operation headquarters, The Arc of Schuyler. Members of the Schuyler County Coordinated Transportation Committee, the team responsible for the long-range planning and implementation of the public transit system, gathered for a celebration with legislative officials, bus drivers and riders.

In five years, Schuyler County Transit ridership has tripled, with about 18,500 passenger trips in the last year. Public transit opened in 2010 under a contract partnership between Schuyler County and The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization serving people with developmental disabilities.

“With 30 years of experience training drivers, providing specialized transportation service, and maintaining a fleet of vehicles, The Arc was a clear choice for partnership,” said Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn.

Public transit launched in August 2010 with a fixed-route service to the villages of Burdett, Montour Falls, Odessa and Watkins Glen as well as a Dial-A-Ride service.

“The transit service is an important asset to Schuyler County. Senior citizens and many others need transportation to supports at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls, the hospital, health care facilities, shopping, and more. This is an economical mode of transportation that is essential for our residents,” said Montour Falls Mayor John King.

The system made modifications over the years for rider convenience, installing bus shelters, adding stops, and adjusting the route to accommodate frequent riders, including people with disabilities and seniors. Said Tamre Waite, Schuyler County Office for the Aging Director and a member of the Coordinated Transportation Committee, “The public transit system is a safe, reliable and affordable means of getting to and from destinations. It is a great alternative when one must make that difficult decision to give up the car keys and allow someone else to transport them.”

Beth DeCaro, Property Manager for Jefferson Village Apartments in Watkins Glen, agreed and added: “Schuyler County Transit has allowed our tenants to maintain their independence for a longer period of time.”

In February 2014, the system opened additional routes to rural areas of the county, transporting riders from Bennetsburg, Hector, Reynoldsville and Valois to stops in Watkins Glen. The Corning Connections route was introduced later that year and has been utilized by Corning Community College students and employees of Corning businesses. Schuyler County Transit has also been contracted to offer shuttle services for events such as the annual Seneca Lake Wine & Food event at Clute Park and the recent Phish festival at Watkins Glen International.

“This is a time when public transport has never been more important in supporting growth and job creation,” said Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED). “For communities that can attract the right talent, the resulting wealth can be spread out across the economy. This is a win-win since there is a $4 economic return to a community for every $1 invested in public transportation.”

Speakers at the event included: O’Hearn; Waite; Jeannette Frank, Executive Director of The Arc of Schuyler; John Reel, NYS Department of Transportation; Dennis Fagan, Chairman of Schuyler County Legislature; representatives from the offices of Congressman Tom Reed and Senator Tom O’Mara; and frequent rider Debbie Ball of Watkins Glen.

“Schuyler County Transit has demonstrated an ability to serve riders and maximize existing transportation systems to benefit the whole community,” Frank said. “Public transit is a symbol of a community that is working together, and that’s what we’re celebrating.”

Photos in text:

Top: Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn enjoys a celebratory cupcake with Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan looking on.

Bottom: Schuyler County transit rider Deb Ball, who spoke about the importance of public transportation for people who do not or cannot drive. (Photos provided)

"It's Kitten Season"

A Humane Society message

The following article was provided by the Humane Society of Schuyler County.

So, here in Schuyler County (at least at the Humane Society) we don't have four seasons. We have six! Winter, spring, kitten season, summer, kitten season and fall. And, the Humane Society of Schuyler County is swimming with kittens (and adult cats) needing homes. Cute comes in all colors, shapes and sizes. We've got 'em all. All of our kittens are sterilized, fully vaccinated, treated for internal and external parasites, tested for feline leukemia and have received any other necessary veterinary care. The adoption fee is only $75! A bargain!

Unfortunately, we get calls every day asking us to take in unwanted litters of kittens and are pedaling as fast as we can to make space for all the requests. We're doing everything we can, but the most effective way to prevent this situation is early spay or neuter.

We've been providing low-cost spay/neuter clinics for income eligible residents of Schuyler County for 15 years and have sterilized over 11,000 cats. But, it only takes two to tango, as they say. Kittens can become pregnant at only 4 months old and have as many as three litters a year. The resulting math is pretty simple ... too many kittens and not enough homes. A cat can be spayed or neutered as young as 3 months of age. Sterilization will prevent unwanted litters of kittens, reduce male/female aggression and fighting, and can also significantly reduce the risk of certain types of cancers.

If you'd like more information about our spay/neuter program for owned, stray and feral cats, please contact us at 607-594-2255 and leave a detailed message. We'll call you back to schedule an appointment.

Here's a good video to watch about the importance of spay/neuter:

If you already have a litter of kittens that need your care, check out this great video, loaded with tips on raising kittens:

The Humane Society of Schuyler County is a not-for-profit 501 c3 corporation dedicated to advancing animal welfare in Schuyler County. For additional information please call 607-594-2255 or visit

Exchange students enjoy farewell weekend

WATKINS GLEN, June 18, 2015 -- The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club – along with the Corning, Elmira, Elmira Heights, Chemung Sunrise, and Horseheads Rotary Clubs – recently hosted 16 Youth Exchange students from District 7120.

Each year, monthly get-togethers are scheduled for the Exchange students in the district. The June weekend is emotional for the students, as it is the final time they are together as a group before heading back to their home countries after a full year in the U.S.

While the students stayed at Watkins Glen High School the weekend of June 11-14, they enjoyed activities in Elmira and Corning as well as in Watkins Glen.

On Friday, June 12, the international students visited the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rockwell Museum, plus shopped on Market Street and enjoyed an evening outdoors at Harris Hill.

On Saturday, June 13, the students were treated to a ride on Captain Bill’s Stroller IV on Seneca Lake, Thunder Road Tours at Watkins Glen International, a picnic at Watkins Glen State Park, and the Montour Falls Firemen's Festival Parade.

Sunday, June 14 featured a farewell picnic at the Big Flats American Legion.

Students represented countries including Japan, Thailand, India, Australia, Switzerland, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Belgium, Finland and the Netherlands.

Photos in text: Exchange students at the Seneca Harbor pier (top) and at the Watkins Glen International racetrack. (Photos provided)

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 2012
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869