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4 Novels by the editor

Island Nights

Excerpt here.

The Islander

The entire novel:

Prelude-Chapter 4

Chapters 5-13

Chapters 14-21

Chapters 22-29

Chapters 30-36

Chapters 37-44.

Cabins in the Mist

Excerpt here

The Maiden of Mackinac

Excerpts Maiden

and here and here. 







Recent Headline Stories


Seneca View reports upswing in COVID cases

Schuyler Hospital officials said Dec. 21 that they were experiencing an increase in COVID-19 positive cases at the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility: 18 known positive cases. Fourteen of those residents were experiencing no symptoms. People.

Front-line workers in the Cayuga Health system have begun receiving the Pfizer vaccine. People.


House a total loss after fire strikes in Hector

A fire at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16 left a house at 5209 County Road 4 (Logan Road) in the Town of Hector a total loss. In the photo above by Bob Groll, the shell of the house remains after the blaze. The family, which escaped the structure, called 911. Firefighters arriving on the scene found the house engulfed in flames. Officials said the blaze was caused by a wood stove.


Pierce stepping down at Watkins Promotions

Carole Pierce, the longtime Director of Events at Watkins Glen Promotions, will retire at the end of the year. Her successor will be Michaela Christensen, a Promotions board member since 2016. For the story, see Business.


Accident KOs power in Watkins for 2+ hours

The power throughout Watkins Glen was knocked out from 4 p.m. until after 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14. Mayor Luke Leszyk said the outage occurred when a truck backed into a light pole across the road from Clute Park, triggering a surge and then a safety shutdown in the village's metering station on Cass Road. Village crews restored power to the south end of Watkins at 6:20 p.m., and to the rest of the village 10 minutes later. One casualty, a Watkins School Board meeting, was rescheduled to Tuesday.


NYSPHSAA cancels all winter state championships, postpones high-risk sports

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has announced the cancellaton of all 2021 winter sports State Championships and the postponement of all high-risk sports until authorization is granted by state officials. Sports.

O-M looks at plans for bowling, boys swimming
and a school play. Schools.


Snowmobilers urged to exercise caution

Finger Lakes National Forest officials are recommending that snowmobilers use caution when operating on National Forest and other lands in New York this winter. People.

In the 2010 IAC Large Division championship game, Watkins players included, in white from left, Austin Stephany, Chris Duane and Ethan Roth.


Remembering a WGHS championship day

Ten years ago, a group of Watkins Glen High School soccer players won the IAC Large Division championship game over Trumansburg -- a memory that brings some pleasure in a pandemic era that has yielded neither local high school sports nor much to smile about. To revisit that game, see Soccer.

Hesselson's workers offload packages into the waiting arms of members of Boy Scout Troop 2674 of Watkins Glen. The Scouts carried the packages into the First Presbyterian Church building and upstairs to a storage and organizational room.


Truck makes its annual Seneca Santa delivery

The annual visit by a Hesselson's truck to the First Presbyterian Church of Watkins Glen was held Dec. 8th, its cargo being toys and other gifts bought by the Seneca Santa program for distribution to families in need in Schuyler County. The non-profit Seneca Santa program, which uses the church each this year to gather donated and purchased gifts, has requests this year from 106 families with 243 children. The presents are delivered by local firefighters to the recipients, ages 2-12, on Christmas Eve. Seneca Santa, begun more than 80 years ago, has been run for 30 years by Peggy Scott of Burdett, who said donations of new, unwrapped gift items are being accepted until Dec. 18. (See a list of drop-off locations on Forum.)

Photos: Kick balls were among the gifts purchased by Seneca Santa from Hesselson's this year.


Health Foundation elects new members

The Schuyler Health Foundation recently elected new members to its Board of Directors and named its board officers for 2020-2021. Business.


4 restaurants honored in placemat campaign

The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) has recognized 4 restaurants with which it partnered to educate area youth about the dangers of substance use. The four did so through the distribution of child-focused placemats containing crossword puzzles, word finds and other activities promoting SCCUDD's message. People.

Photo: Curt Connelly, owner of Curly's Family Restaurant


Distributing holiday toys and gifts in Odessa

The Odessa Fire Department, in lieu of an in-person Christmas party for area kids this year, was distributing toys and other gifts Dec. 6 in drive-through fashion to families living within the fire district. More than two-dozen families with more than 50 kids signed up to drive past the fire hall at the Municipal Building and collect gifts from fire department elves -- holiday gifts being something the department and its Auxiliary have provided for years. Just as the car drive-through began, officials marked the occasion by lighting the Village Christmas Tree on the lawn nearby.

Photos: Gifts distributed by Santa's elves were the order of the day Sunday outside the Odessa Municipal Building.


Sheriff's Office warns about scam phone calls

The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office has received several complaints of residents receiving phone calls originating in Texas but displaying the phone number of the Sheriff’s Office: (607) 535-8222. The caller is attempting to get Social Security numbers and other personal information.

Do not answer such a call. If you do answer, hang up if asked for personal information. Remember: the IRS and Social Security Administration will not call for information. If you suspect a call may be legitimate, hang up and look up the number for the agency and call them back. The Sheriff's phone number -- (607) 535-8222 -- is an incoming number only. Calls from the Sheriff’s Office will display a different number.


WG schools going virtual on Nov. 30, and then nearly full-time in school after Christmas break

The Watkins Glen school district will go fully virtual in its education on Monday, Nov. 30 in a move designed to bring students back into the classroom full-time (or nearly so) after the first of the year. Superintendent Greg Kelahan (right) said the period of virtual education will enable the district to adjust schedules, reconfigure classrooms and prepare transportation for the move to full-time in-school education on Jan. 4 -- away from the hybrid schedule it has been following this school year (in which students attending school have done so just two days a week). Students will have the options of virtual learning or in-school education, with PK-6th grade attending classes on-site five days a week and 7th-12th graders at least four days, with Wednesday likely virtual because of staffing issues. Schools.


Notarfonzo honored with Paul Harris award

Kathie Notarfonzo (pictured on the left with Rotarian Michelle Benjamin), has been named a Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow -- which celebrates "service above self" -- for her multiple involvement in the business and civic life of Watkins Glen. Kathie, a fitness instructor at Exercise Enterprise in Watkins since 1985, is also a yoga instructor, a trained health coach, and operator of Inner Peace Floats on 4th Street. She also started the annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving mornings in Watkins, encouraging participants to donate food to Schuyler Outreach's Food Pantry; is on the board of MR Hess Home Works, a local not-for-profit educating the community about suicide and prevention; and has been employed by the Finger Lakes State Parks since 1986, working her way up to the second in command. She lives with her husband Mark and three sons in Hector.


WGI announces Wine Festival art contest

Watkins Glen International has created an art contest to help celebrate the 25th anniversary in 2021 of the Finger Lakes Wine Festival, held at WGI. The winning art will be part of the official event poster. Entries will be accepted until Jan. 31, 2021. Features.


Hospital to provide telehealth services to CCC

Schuyler Hospital, a member of Cayuga Health, has partnered with SUNY Corning Community College to provide "augmented" telehealth and telemedicine services to SUNY CCC students, staff and faculty. Schools.


Along the canal

The sun was shining brightly as it started setting Friday, Dec. 11th, but there were dark clouds to the north over Seneca Lake. The water on the canal was still and reflective. The man who snapped this photo, Mark Taylor, said he liked how the scene "evokes this time of year."


OSFL's holiday concert tradition continues

The Orchestra of the Southern FInger Lakes (OSFL) is holding a series of online holiday concerts and Beethoven talks during the month of December, scheduled on Facebook and YouTube. All are free. For a schedule and more information, see Features.


Volunteers string lighted garland on Glen poles

With a biting wind blowing off the nearby lake, volunteers undertook the task on Saturday morning, Dec. 5th of wrapping strings of garland around dozens of light poles along Franklin Street in Watkins Glen. Mayor Luke Leszyk helped set the first garland on a pole in front of Village Hall, and then joined other two-and three-person teams tackling the other 80 or 90 poles stretching south from near the shoreline. Each garland contains strings of bulbs that plug into the poles, designed to make the holiday season that much brighter in downtown Watkins Glen.

Photo: A Garland goes up on a pole across Franklin from the hotel -- where coffee and donuts awaited volunteers afterward.


A guest column by Leslie Danks Burke

Leslie Danks Burke is a regional public advocate who recently ran for the New York State Senate in the 58th district. Here she provides a column titled "Beyond." Column.

Leslie Danks Burke


Hartney honored by NYS Office for the Aging

The Reverend Michael Hartney (pictured at right) is honored by the New York State Office for the Aging at its Older New Yorkers' Day virtual celebration for his contributions to his community, while retired teachers Marie Fitzsimmons and Kate LaMoreaux receive a special award for a Learning Support Program pod they initiated. Features.


Watkins Glen International unveils 2021 slate

The full slate of scheduled activities includes Opening Weekend, a loaded NASCAR Weekend, and Wine and Beer Festivals. Sports.


Ribbon-cutting marks Cruise Terminal opening

Local and state dignitariies were on hand Dec. 1st for a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the first private-sector Downtown Revitalization Initiative project completed in Watkins Glen, the new Port of Seneca Cruise Terminal Building -- successor to the old Captain Bill's gift shop on the southern shore of Seneca Lake. For a story and photos, see Business.

Photo: Mark Simiele, owner of the new Port of Seneca Cruise Terminal Building, speaks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Schuyler Toys for Tots campaign is under way

Check out Schuyler County drop-off spots and how to apply for toys. It's all in a Letter to the Editor. Forum.

Photo: Toys for Tots is part of a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Foundation program.

Seneca Santa accepting new gift items. Forum.


A foggy day outside Odessa

The fog settled in earnest Nov. 30 in the hills outside Odessa, eventually spreading to the village itself. This shot of the Hoffman Farm at Catharine Corners -- up the hill from Odessa, and the site for many years of a summer Cheese Festival -- was snapped coming down the Ridge Road by Liz Fraboni.

Cuomo veto welcomed by area state legislators

Area State Senators and Assembly members react after Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoes legislation that they said would have impeded, not helped, protection of our waterways. Government.


Watkins man charged with Grand Larceny

Louis A. Latorre, 46, of Watkins Glen has been arrested on a charge of Grand Larceny, 2nd degree, a class C Felony, after allegedly stealing over $50,000 from Watkins Glen Supply (right), a hardware business at 2768 State Route 14 in the Town of Dix. The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office said Latorre is accused of stealing the money over a 6-year period while employed at the business. He was arraigned in the Village of Watkins Glen court and released to reappear in Town of Dix court at a later date.


Danks Burke concedes State Senate election

Leslie Danks Burke (right), Democratic candidate for State Senate in the 58th district, has conceded the election to the incumbent, Republican Tom O’Mara. A press release said that while Danks Burke "significantly narrowed" O'Mara's lead during the absentee ballot count, "there are no longer enough outstanding ballots to fully close the gap." In a statement, she said: "Based on the numbers we have seen so far, it is clear that we will not see the outcome we hoped for. And out of respect for the voters and the principles on which our democratic republic is founded, we accept this outcome for the next two years." Looking ahead, she said: "Today's results are a disappointment, yet we know that this is a long game. ... As every ball player knows -- Good game, good game! And I'll see you on the field next time."

O'Mara thanks voters. Government.


Glen Gators cleared to use Community Center

The Watkins Glen Village Board Tuesday night unanimously approved a request by The Glen Gators swim club to use the Watkins Glen Community Center three evenings a week, with the usual facility fee waived. "This was really a no-brainer," said Mayor Luke Leszyk. Government.

Photo: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk during Tuesday's Zoom session.


O'Hearn: Yellow designation seems unlikely

Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn says that given the small size of Schuyler and the relatively low number of active Covid-19 cases here, it seems unlikely that the state would move the county into its Yellow Zone of pandemic restrictions. Government.

Photo: Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn (File photo)


Remembering Bill Davis ... by Brian O'Donnell

Historian and former Watkins Glen principal and School Board member Brian O'Donnell weighs in on the life and times of former Watkins Glen School District Athletic Director Bill Davis, who died recently in Florida. Forum.

Photo: Brian J. O'Donnelll (File photo)


BOE nixes 2 requests; super eyes remote plan

The Watkins Glen School Board on Monday, Nov. 16 rejected a request for a winter conditioning program, and turned down the Glen Gators' request to use the school pool. Board members also heard Superintendent Greg Kelahan (pictured at right) explain how he is considering transitioning the district to fully remote education through the holidays. Schools.


Danks Burke's Schuyler lawsuit is dismissed

A New York State Supreme Court Judge has thrown out the lawsuit filed by Democratic New York State Senate candidate Leslie Danks Burke against the Schuyler County Board of Elections. Government.

Garage burns on Beranek Road. (Photo provided)


Fire levels garage workshop in Town of Cayuta

Firefighters from around the area rushed shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday to the scene of a two-story garage fire at 1475 Beranek Road, just off Route 224 near Alpine Junction, in the Town of Cayuta. The blaze, fanned by high winds, was -- as one observer said -- "a-ripping" through the 30-by-40-foot workshop structure when firefighters arrived, They concentrated on saving a nearby house that sustained exterior damage, a propane tank and various vehicles. The cause of the blaze is under investigation. Firefighters from Odessa, Montour Falls, Burdett, Town and Country, Watkins Glen, Newfield, Millport, Beaver Dams and Mecklenburg responded. Also assisting were the Schuyler County 911 Center and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

Photo: Firefighters work the scene of the fire.

Seventh grader Desiree Groves, left, and the Great Escape's Jackie Honsberger, displaying the $200 check that went to the Humane Society to help in its operations.


7th grader and Great Escape donate to HSSC

A "Pints for Paws" fundraiser by the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor in Watkins Glen -- an effort based on a 12th birthday wish by Watkins Glen 7th grader Desiree Groves, who the Great Escape's Jackie Honsberger said "loves supporting the Humane Society" -- generated a check for $200 presented by Honsberger Saturday morning to the Humane Society of Schuyler County outside its facility on Marina Drive in Montour Falls. Also donated: Toys, collars, nail trimmers, and other goodies for the dogs and cats inside, provided by Desiree and her parents, Kera and Ron Groves of Watkins Glen. The Great Escape has also raised funds in the past for other local causes.


Lakeside Veterinary donates holiday food

The Montour Falls-based veterinary service provides 90 boxes of stuffing mix, 150 boxes of Jello and 150 cans of cranberry sauce to Catholic Charities' Food Basket Giveaway. People.

Photo: Dr. Martha Hawksworth of Lakeside Veterinary with the food donation. (Photo provided)


Mitrano concedes Congressional race to Reed

Tracy Mitrano, the Penn Yan Democrat who challenged incumbent Republican Tom Reed in the recent campaign for Congress, admitted defeat Friday. Mitrano, who a press release said was "confident that the absentee ballot count is moving ahead methodically and fairly," called Reed to congratulate him for again winning the 23rd Congressional District seat. She also thanked her supporters for their help and encouragement during her two runs for Congress -- this year and in 2018. She said she had planned on waiting to concede until the long absentee vote count was completed, but said "the math has long pointed to a clear victory for my opponent" -- a man who she also criticized for his campaign tactics. "Running an honest campaign against an opponent who is not reveals some of the worst aspects of electoral politics today," she said. "To be attacked personally when the campaign should be about issues tarnishes my reputation in the community for no more benefit than to place my opponent's venality in bold relief."

Photo in text: Tracy Mitrano

Elections Board files motion to dismiss lawsuit
brought by Danks Burke. Government.


WGHS alum Bascom is marketing stars, brands

Watkins Glen High School track standout and 2012 graduate Charles Bascom has become a marketing force behind some of today’s popular and rising social media influencers and athletes through his Los Angeles company, Wealth Garden Entertainment. Schools.

Photo: Charles Bascom (Photo provided)

Legislators Mark Rondinaro, left, and Van Harp at meeting.


Schuyler Legislature approves 2021 budget

The Schuyler County Legislature Monday night unanimously approved a 2021 county budget that includes decreases in the tax rate (from $7.18 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $7.13) and the tax levy ($11,323,706, down about $500 from 2020). The $48,471,887 spending plan avoided a tax hike, Administrator Tim O'Hearn said, primarily because all employees on the county payroll agreed to freeze their wages in 2021, rolling any scheduled increases over for a year. "If there ever was a year to go to the taxpayers to balance a budget" with a tax increase, he said, "this was it." But because of the employees' wage freeze "we're not."

Photo: County Administrator Tim O'Hearn outlines the budget.

Flames shoot out of the eastern end of the Carriage House at 3rd and Decatur Streets in Watkins Glen. (Photo by Kyle Chedzoy)


Fire strikes historic Carriage House in Watkins

Fire late Thursday afternoon, Nov. 5th destroyed a portion of the historic Carriage House at the corner of 3rd and Decatur Streets in Watkins Glen. The structure, built in three sections, dates back to the 19th century. It has been owned since 1991 by Chris and Angeline Franzese, who reside in a large and historic house nearby. The eastern section of the Carriage House -- a former horse stable -- was effectively destroyed. The two-story central section of the building sustained fire and smoke damage on the second floor, and smoke and water damage on the first. The largest section, the west end of the building, escaped any major damage. No cause was immediately ruled, although a fire investigator said the blaze started in the former stable in the vicinity of a lawnmower used earlier. Fire.

Photo: A firefighter checks the cupola on the largely unscathed western end of the building.


Hector Wine Company celebrates 10 years

The Hector Wine Company recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and marked the milestone by releasing two new wines -- a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. For a story on the business, on founders Jason Hazlitt and Justin Boyette, and on business partner Alexandra Bond, see Business.

Photo: New 10th anniversary wines. (Photo provided)


Gould: Let's all follow the guidelines on COVID

Schuyler Hospital President and CFO Rebecca Gould (pictured at right) says that "seven months into this worldwide pandemic, we are face-to-face with the enemy looming large at our gate" -- and that now is the time to work together toward "a common goal": to do everything we can to "get on the other side" of the still-spreading coronavirus. Forum.


Dr. Joshua Haentges joins Watkins dental firm

Joshua L. Haentges, DDS has joined the dental practice of Jeffrey Schultz, DDS at 703 S. Decatur Street in Watkins Glen. Dr. Haentges has three years of private practice experience and will be offering dental treatment to patients in all areas of general dentistry. People.

Photo: Joshua L. Haentges, DDS. (Photo provided)


Burdett firefighters: Always at the ready

A look at the award-winning fire department. Burdett.


Odessa honors two outgoing village trustees

The Odessa Village Board recently honored Thomas Letteer Jr. and Sally Hill for eight years of service as members of that board. Each was elected in 2012 and stepped down this year. Letteer, on the Dutton Peterson Library Board in Odessa before joining the Village Board, recently resigned after being re-elected to another 2-year term. Alijia Bailey was appointed to serve in his place. Hill did not seek re-election.

Photo: Tom Letteer and Sally Hill (Photo provided)


Danks Burke battling Elections Commissioner

A press release from Democratic State Senate candidate Leslie Danks Burke (58th district) said Tuesday that she is filing a petition in Schuyler County Supreme Court "in the wake of flip-flopping by the Elections Commissioner in preventing the campaign from inspecting affidavit ballots that the Board of Elections decided were invalid and so would not be counted."

"After first agreeing to allow me to inspect the affidavit ballots that the Board of Elections had decided would not be counted," Danks Burke was quoted as saying, "Commissioner (Joseph) Fazzary flip-flopped and refused to accept public inspection by the campaign. Mr. Fazzary said that he was being 'nice' to me before, and no longer felt like being 'nice.' But the decision about whether an affiidavit ballot gets counted has nothing to do with being nice, and is subject to rules and procedures. In our divided nation, the most important thing to do right now is be fully transparent to give every voter confidence that their votes are being counted and the electoral processs is working fairly. Preventing campaigns from reviewing rejected ballots just adds to more people believing the system is rigged and that they are being stopped from exercising their voice in our election."

Danks Burke trailed incumbent State Senator Tom O'Mara by about 23,000 votes after Election Day Nov. 3, with what she said were about 33,000 absentee ballots to be counted starting this week.

Photo in text: Leslie Danks Burke


Firefighters battle brush blaze along Gulf Road

The Odessa Fire Department responded at 3:53 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9 to a brush fire alongside Gulf Road in the Town of Catharine. When firefighters arrived, they found brush and woodland burning over about 5 acres and spreading toward the Connecticut Hill State Forest. Mutual aid was provided upon request from the Montour Falls, Beaver Dams, Mecklenburg, Watkins Glen, Trumansburg, Van Etten and Hector fire departments. The Millport Fire Department stood by at the Odessa Station. Odessa Fire Chief John Jelliff said that "due to the quick efforts of approximately 60 firefighters, the fire was contained after burning over 8 acres of woodland." The Schuyler County 911 center and New York State Electric and Gas also assisted. The cause of the fire, said Jelliff, was an arcing power line that ignited dry vegetation.

Photo: Flames on a hillside during Nov. 9 brush fire. (Provided)


Watkins Glen district staying remote Nov. 9-13

The Watkins Glen School District, whose instruction was completely remote last week after three positive Covid-19 tests, is remaining remote the week of Nov. 9-13. "Numbers in our county are not good," said Superintendent Greg Kelahan. "We have absences among staff that is making it hard to operate, two new positive students, and it's a partial week due to a Parent Conference day Tuesday nad Veterans Day on Wednesday." Before this past week, the district had been on a hybrid schedule that has had students in school two days a week and remote learning on three. The plan is to return to that schedule on Nov. 16.


What's next for the Glen Theater in Watkins?

With its sale complete, what is next for the Glen Theater? After being closed for a year, are films in the offing? SCOPED Executive Director Judy Cherry outlines the new owner's hopes and plans. Features.

Photo: Signs on theater front.


Congressman Reed declares win over Mitrano

Republican Congressman Tom Reed declared victory over Democrat Tracy Mitrano Tuesday night, Nov. 3, saying he was ready to get back to work in Washington.

Reed, who has served in Congress since winning election in 2010, declared victory at 11 p.m. after building a sizable 58.9-40% lead with 25% of the vote recorded. When 99% had been counted two hours later, the advantage was 63.1% to 35.8%. The vote count: 160,930 to 91,331, with absentee ballots to be counted.

"It's been a long, unusual campaign," said Reed, adding that "there are bright days ahead of us. We're gonna get Covid-19 in our rearview."

He called his victory "rewarding and humbling," and said "the sun will come up and we'll get right back to work."

Photo in text: Congressman Tom Reed.


Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards' wines shine in 2020

Wine ratings of 90+ and a Double Gold medal for Red Cat wine have been beacons for Hazlitt's in the year of the pandemic. Business.

From left: Legislators Phil Barnes, Mark Rondinaro and Van Harp at Oct. 13 meeting.


Legislature passes resolution expressing concern about Cayuta solid waste facility

The Schuyler County Legislature voted 7-1 on Oct. 13 in favor of a resolution seeking more state review of a planned solid waste material recovery facility in the Town of Cayuta, along Route 13. The lone "no" vote was cast by Legislator David Reed, who is from Cayuta. Among the concerns: heavy daily truck traffic and the facility's effects on "tourism, agriculture and human health." Speaking in the public portion of the meeting after the vote, Bob Mente, the head of Alternative Waste Services, Inc. of Newfield, the firm proposing the facility, said another company's waste transfer facility was approved in the recent past without such opposition. He said he wasn't against the resolution, but objected to information circulated by opponents "that has brought this situation to where it is." Also objecting was David Reed Jr. of Cayuta, who wondered "how the county can subvert home rule by even taking the matter up." To see the original resolution, amended slightly at the meeting, click here.

Photo: Bob Mente of Alternative Waste Services, Inc.

Other Legislature action. Government.

State Senator Tom O'Mara and challenger Leslie Danks Burke.


O'Mara builds big lead over Danks Burke

Republican State Senator Tom O'Mara has apparently turned back Democratic challenger Leslie Danks Burke in their race for O'Mara's 58th Senate District seat. The district encompasses Schuyler, Chemung, Steuben and Yates counties, and part of Tompkins.

Available statisitics showed O'Mara leading Danks Burke 61,743-38,561, or 61.6% to 38.4%. O'Mara led roughly 2-1 in Schuyler and Yates counties. With more than 25,000 absentee ballots reportedly yet to be counted, there was neither a victory declaration nor a concession, but the O'Mara lead was substantial enough to lead at least one TV news outlet to declare him the victor.

Meanwhile: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R-Corning) won another term by running unopposed.

--Joe Biden won New York State in the presidential race, capturing its 29 electoral votes.

-- In Schuyler County's Town of Orange, two races for Council seats were won by Republicans Heather A. Waters (a full term) and Maryann J. Friebis (to fill an unexpired term).

Photo in text: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano


Mayor, isolated with Covid, runs Zoom meeting

Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk is in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, he explained at the outset of a remote Village Board meeting Tuesday night, Nov. 3. That isolation was the reason the board, which had recently conducted its meetings in person, held the Zoom session this time. Leszyk said he was exposed at a family gathering by "someone who brought something they shouldn't have." He added: "Everyone's fine, I'm fine, but I'm a little tired of sitting in my house." The board, in a 37-minute session, approved a delay in odd-even parking on 2nd Street between Decatur and Porter due to construction, as well as conducting other housekeeping matters.

Photo: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk during meeting.


B.C. Cate goes to virtual learning Nov. 4-13

Due to possible Covid-19 exposure, two classes and associated staff at B.C. Cate Elementary School in Montour Falls are being placed in quarantine, although "no student or staff member has tested positive at this time," Odessa-Montour School Superintendent Chris Wood announced Tuesday afternoon. "After consulting with the Department of Health, the school physician and our school attorney," he said, "we have determined that B.C. Cate will transition to virtual learning from Wednesday, Nov. 4 through Friday, Nov. 13 in response to the staffing shortage caused by the quarantine." Hanlon Elementary School is already on remote learning through the same date. Wood said the move does not affect the Junior-Senior High School, where in-person classes will continue to be held five days a week.

Photo: O-M Superintendent Chris Wood.


Glen School Board gets Public Health update

The Watkins Glen School Board receives an update from Public Health Director Deb Minor on the current trend of the coronavirus, and sidesteps any discussion concerning a request by The Gators swim club to use the school pool for training. Schools.

Photo: Superintendent Greg Kelahan makes a point.


Hanlon Elementary School closes for 2 weeks

Hanlon Elementary School in Odessa is being closed Monday and its students transitioned to remote learning from Tuesday, Nov. 3 through Friday, Nov. 13 after a support staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Superintendent Chris Wood said no staff will be permitted in the school Monday unless otherwise directed while the building is thoroughly cleaned -- something he said is already done regularly. He was notified Sunday morning about the positive case, gathered his team in the district office and compiled a list for the Department of Health of those who might have been in contact with the individual. "I believe exposure was for one day," he noted. Teachers not quarantining will be permitted in the school starting Tuesday or can remote teach from home. Students at B.C. Cate Elementary and the Odessa-Montour Jr.-Sr. High School may attend school as regularly scheduled.

Left: Youngsters and their parents follow an Odessa fire truck along a village street in the Halloween Parade. Right: A trio of ballerinas in the march.

  Parade highlights Halloween in Odessa

A parade of trick-or-treaters and their parents marching behind an Odessa village firetruck kicked off trick-or-treating in the village Saturday evening. The truck, moving very slowly, started at the school parking lot and made its way up College Avenue to Speedway to Merchant Avenue to First Street and back to College.

Photo in text: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer and his wife Cathy were among the parade participants, riding their horses.


Porsche Club donates alarms to Habitat

The Finger Lakes Chapter of the Porsche Club of America has donated combination CO2/smoke alarms to Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity to be used in construction of the current Habitat build on County Road 4 in the Town of Hector. People.


Reed: 'Politics has taken a disturbing turn'

Congressman Tom Reed (right) on Oct. 23 issued a statement regarding a threat made against him and his family. It read:

"Today, my family and I were threatened at our home in Corning. The cowards used a dead animal and a brick with a family member’s name on it to try to intimidate us. We assure everyone such threats only energize us to stand stronger.

"We thank the local police and federal authorities, who are already investigating this disgusting attack against my family.

"Across the country, politics has taken a disturbing turn. We have to overcome this. I know that we can. We are all Americans first. What unites us is far greater than our political differences."


Court rejects Watkins school union's lawsuit

New York State Supreme Court Justice Christopher P. Baker on Oct.21 "denied and dismissed" a lawsuit brought by the Watkins Glen Faculty Association against the Watkins Glen School Board, the school district and Superintendent Greg Kelahan. The lawsuit asserted that the district has adopted a policy contrary to state executive orders and to the district's own reopening plan, effectively blocking teachers with vulnerable health conditions from working remotely during the pandemic. But Baker, in a 5-page ruling that followed a virtual hearing last week, concluded that the union "has failed to demonstrate an injury-in-fact."

“We are satisfied that Justice Baker recognizes the District's implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and that we have worked to support the needs of staff members in a reasonable manner," said Superintendent Kelahan.


Mosher given Sgt. role; Matthews is patrolman

Ethan Mosher was named Oct. 20 by the Watkins Glen Village Board as the Sergeant in Charge of the Watkins Glen Police Department. Mosher had held that post on an interim basis. Mosher, eligible for the job after attaining the permanent Civil Service rank of Sergeant, takes over the job that had been held on a provisional basis by Brandon Matthews, who failed to attain the Civil Service rank of Sergeant. Matthews was placed on administrative leave in August pending completion of an investigation by State Police on never-specified allegations, and is still on administrative leave after a Schuyler County grand jury declined to indict him or his wife on publicly unspecified allegations. The Board also voted Tuesday to reassign Matthews to his original position, that of patrol officer. Mayor Luke Leszyk said attorneys for the village and the police union continue to discuss Matthews' situation.

In other business: The board, without taking official action, recommended the hours of 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 31 for Trick or Treating in the village; and decided to soon open the western end of 3rd Street for the winter until reinstatement in the spring of the Village Square public seating area there. Traffic on the street will remain two-way.

Photo in text: Sergeant in Charge Ethan Mosher (Provided)


SCCUDD involved in two Schuyler projects

The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs announces a video competition for students in grades 6-12 in the county, and partners with the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office in encouraging community members to participate in National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 24. See the Video story on Schools. See the Take Back story on Government.


Area public libraries get construction grants

Various public libraries in the 58th State Senate District -- including the Watkins Glen Public Library (right) -- have been awarded state construction grants, it was announced Oct. 20. The Watkins grant is for new sidewak entrances. Govt.


Watkins Glen School Board eyes Gators' use of pool, but Kelahan opposes it: 'Not the time'

With Superintendent Greg Kelahan voicing opposition, the Watkins School Board decides to at least take a look at a proposal that would allow the Glen Gators swim club to use the school pool. Schools.

Photo: Board President Gloria Brubaker

  Cayuga Medical Center suspends visitations

In light of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the community, "and in order to protect the safety of our patients, visitors, staff, and the communities we serve," Ithaca's Cayuga Medical Center announced Monday that it was putting visitor restrictions in place -- to remain in effect until further notice. Business.

United Way campaign chairs Rick Evans and Lydia Wickham. (Photo provided)

  300 meals sold at annual United Way dinner

Rick Evans and Lydia Wickham, co-chairs of the Schuyler County United Way's annual campaign in 2020, were selling 50/50 tickets (above) at the United Way's annual kick-off spaghetti dinner held at the Moose Club in Montour Falls on Oct. 12. A total of 300 meals were sold at the event, a drive-through this year because of the pandemic. The dinner was, said Executive Secretary Peggy Scott, "very successful. We are so grateful for the continuous support of the community." (The United Way of Schuyler County has a new website. To see it, click here.)


No sports? Exercise the focus at OM, WGHS

Some students at Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glen high schools are participating in after-school conditioning programs utilizing sports whose games and meets were put on hold this fall by the IAC and Section IV. Sports.

In the pool Thursday at WGHS. (Photo provided)


Grand jury declines to indict Matthews, wife: Glen mayor says village is 'in holding pattern'

The case of Watkins Glen Police Department Sergeant in Charge Brandon Matthews (right) -- who was placed on administrative leave a couple of months ago pending completion of an investigation by the New York State Police -- is back in the hands of village officials after a grand jury voted not to indict Matthews and his wife. The charges considered and then rejected by the grand jury were never made public. While Defense Attorney Raymond Schlather is calling for an apology to Sgt. and Mrs. Matthews, the Watkins Glen mayor says no decision has been made on Matthews' reinstatement -- that "we're in a holding pattern" pending more information. Government.


Elderly COVID patient dies at Ithaca hospital

The Tompkins County Health Department announced Oct. 12 that an elderly patient had passed away at Cayuga Medical Center from COVID-19. The patient, 95 and considered high-risk, was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 6. This is the first loss of a Tompkins County resident to the coronavirus; two other people died from the disease in April after being transferred to Cayuga Medical Center from New York City. People.


Donations sought for the Humane Society

Donations of cash, redeemable cans and bottles, and shelter supplies are being collected on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon at the Watkins Glen Community Center. Business.

A firefighter hoses down a hot spot in the woodlands off Rt. 224.


Firefighters fight brush fire on hillside off 224

Firefighters from Odessa, Montour Falls, Newfield, Van Etten, Watkins Glen, Spencer, Lockwood and Erin responded about noon on Oct. 10 to a brush and woodland fire on three acres of a hillside off Rt. 224 in the Town of Cayuta, near Johnson Road.

An official said the fire began when a nearby resident was burning brush in his backyard. "Everything's so dry," said the official, that with the wind gusting and shifting, the fire spread up the steep hill behind that person's home and behind several others before it was brought under control in about 45 minutes. Some trees that caught fire were felled by firefighters, and overhead power lines were expected to be checked for possible damage. Firefighters remained on the scene for several hours, watering down hot spots. Assisting were New York State Police, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office, the Schuyler County 911 Center, the Schuyler County Office of Emergency Management and Schuyler Ambulance. Odessa Fire Chief John Jelliff said he wanted to remind everyone "that current weather conditions and dry ground and dead top vegetation makes open burning extremely hazardous at this time."

Photo: Emergency vehicles lined Rt. 224 near the fire.


Wood: In-person education is going well

Odessa-Montour School Superintendent Chris Wood (pictured at right) reports to the O-M School Board that students are glad to be back in the classroom, and that there have been just two issues involving the wearing of masks. He is encouraged, he said, but aware -- with the unpredictability of pandemic infections -- "that at any moment, things could change." Schools.

The box truck came to rest in a ditch alongside Route 224. 


Truck loses control on Rt. 224, ends up in ditch

A commercial box truck traveling west on Route 224 outside Odessa on Oct. 8th went out of control, veering off the road to the right at about 8 a.m. before crossing the highway and ending up in a deep ditch on the south side. The driver, whose load included boxes of merchandise, was taken to the hospital by Schuyler Ambulance, reportedly with nose and back injuries. He climbed into the ambulance under his own power. On the scene were the Odessa Fire Department and a Schuyler County Sheriff's deputy, along with TR Towing, which pulled the vehicle from the ditch.

Photo: The truck's right mirror was ripped off after the vehicle left the roadway to the right while traveling westbound.


Watkins board mulls holiday events, backing Village Christmas axing, waiting on Halloween

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Oct. 6 discussed the decision by Watkins Glen Promotions to cancel this year's Village Christmas because of the pandemic. Deputy Mayor Louis Perazzini said he had received a number of complaints about it, the general reasoning being: If thousands of tourists can flood to the state park, why can't a few hundred area residents gather on Franklin Street to celebrate Santa's season? Trustee Nan Woodward said part of the reason was liability -- which Mayor Luke Leszyk said included a possible fine from the state for an organized event drawing more than 50 people, a rule emanating from New York's pandemic response.

Tourism at the state park does not constitute an organized event, he said. Nor does Halloween, but the board hesitated to give the go-ahead to trick-and-treaters while it checks on what other villages might be doing. If other villages don't condone it and Watkins Glen does, he said, chances are Watkins would sustain an overflow of candy-seekers from those communities -- although (he added in a bit of pandemic humor) "I assume they'll all be wearing masks." He concluded by saying that even If the board fails to give the green light, "If people went out, there's nothing we could really do about it."

Photo: Mayor Luke Leszyk at Tuesday night's meeting.


Backbone Ridge trail re-opens with new bridge

HECTOR, Oct. 7, 2020 -- Finger Lakes National Forest officials say the popular Backbone Ridge Trail has re-opened in its entirety in the National Forest. A portion of the trail had temporarily been closed north of the Foster Pond intersection to Wardner Corners Road after a bridge had failed due to heavy rainfall in August 2018. Forest engineers determined that the trail bridge was unsafe, as the bridge abutments had been undermined by the storm. Recently, the Forest Service completed the design and a local contractor built a new bridge with concrete abutments that is now ready for use by forest visitors.

Photo: New Backbone Ridge Trail bridge. (Photo provided)


School Board okays conditioning plan, takes step toward bringing back PK-2nd full time

The Watkins Glen School Board, in a 4-3 vote, approved an "Off-Season Workout and Conditioning Program" Oct. 5th for "all Fall Athletes grade 7-12 beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 6 and running until Tuesday, Nov. 24 (weather permitting)."

The board voted unanimously to have Superintendent Greg Kelahan develop a detailed version of a proposal from teacher leaders in grades Pre-K through 2 that would see students in those grades, currently in school two days a week, return to classes for either four or five days a week. Schools.

Photo: Superintendent Greg Kelahan at Monday's meeting.


Ribbon-cutting ceremony

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul speaks Oct. 2 before cutting the ribbon at a gathering celebrating the new Catharine Valley Water Reclamation Plant located adjacent to the canal south of the Watkins Glen Community Center. The $32 million project is shared by the villages of Watkins Glen and Montour Falls. Ceremony.


NASCAR scheduled back at WGI in 2021

NASCAR will return to Watkins Glen International and New York State for the Go Bowling at The Glen race on Aug. 8, the sanctioning body announced as it released the schedule for the 2021 Cup Series. WGI's schedule for 2020 was upended by the pandemic, with the Go Bowling at the Glen race moved to Daytona. Sports.

Left: The start of a NASCAR race at WGI. (File photo)


Village Christmas falls to pandemic concerns

The annual Watkins Glen Village Christmas, a 27-year tradition, has been canceled for 2020 due to the coronavirus. The next Village Christmas is set for Dec. 10, 2021. Forum.

Santa and Mrs. Claus in a Village Christmas parade.

The two vehicles in the crash on 224 as they awaited towing. 


2 injured in accident at Rt. 224 and County 13

Two people were transported to the hospital on Sept. 28 with injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash at the junction of State Rt. 224 and County Rt. 13 near Van Etten. An official on the scene said a Jeep Gladiator exiting 13 collided with a Cadillac SRX that was northbound on 224. Schuyler Ambulance and Bangs Ambulance transported the two people, whose names and injuries were not available. Fire personnal from Odessa and Van Etten also responded, as did the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office.

Photo: Traffic was backed up on Rt. 224 after the accident. which involved the car in the foreground, a Cadillac SRX.

Cars gather for Victory Laps outside the WGI Media Center. (Provided) 


WGI hosts 3 days of fund-raising Victory Laps

Fans had an opportunity to drive three laps on the Watkins Glen International racetrack Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25-27, as WGI hosted Victory Laps presented by Stoner Car Care. Laps were held five hours each day. Admission was $25 per vehicle for the laps, behind a pace car, around the full 3.45-mile Grand Prix road course. A portion of the proceeds will benefit WGI's R.A.C.E.(Racing and Community Enrichment) Foundation, which supports local organizations and "healthcare heroes of Upstate New York during the pandemic."

Photo: A car on the WGI track Friday (Photo provided)


Schuyler Habitat is ready to build again

Schuyler Habitat for Humanity, which recently completed its second house in the county on Broadway in Montour Falls, was ready entering October to build its next one, on County Route 4 in the Town of Hector. The structure currently on the property will be renovated as part of the build. Work was to start immediately to close it up for the winter. Habitat is seeking applicants as the partner family, which Habitat officials say must meet certain financial obligations, help with the build, and be able to carry a low-interest loan. Habitat’s work trailer was placed at the site the last week of September, freshly painted by Vickio Signs. To volunteer to help with the build, contact Bob Groll at bgroll@schuylerhabitat.org. Information regarding becoming the partner family can be found on www.schuylerhabitat.org. Donations may be sent to Schuyler Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 45, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

Photo: Schuyler Habitat for Humanity work trailer on the site.

Left: Montour Falls Mayor Jim Ryan. Right: New trustee Jim Nolan as he was being sworn in.


Ryan sworn in as Montour Falls mayor; Nolan, Chicone and Confer sworn in as trustees

James P. Ryan, a member of the Montour Falls Village Board for more than nine years, was sworn in as mayor in a ceremony Wednesday evening, Sept. 23 at the Montour Falls Fire Department. He succeeds John King, who chose not to seek re-election and who Ryan praised for his leadership. Sworn in as trustees were incumbent Vincent Chicone and newcomers Jim Nolan (elected Sept. 15) and Jeff Confer (appointed by Ryan to fill Ryan's former seat). Swearing them in was Village Justice Donald Spaccio. Ryan presented a speech afterward, and then the 25 or so well-wishers present were treated to cheeses, vegetables and cake. Among the spectators was former trustee Steve Lawton, who chose not to seek re-election.

Photo in text: Montour Falls Village Justice Donald Spaccio

Trustees Jeff Confer, left, and Vincent Chicone as they were being sworn in.


The Confers: A 4th generation joins Fire Dept.

Jeff Confer poses in the photo above with his son Cayden, who recently advanced from junior firefighter to full-fledged volunteer in the Montour Falls Fire Department -- the fourth Confer generation to be a part of the department. Jeff's grandfather and father were both members, as was Jeff, who served as fire chief. Father and son posed after the ceremony Sept. 23 at the fire department where Jeff was sworn in as a village trustee.

The car and bus, tangled together at Fowler Place and Rt. 224.


Car-bus accident in Odessa sends three O-M students to Schuyler Hospital 'as a precaution'

A car-bus accident at the intersection of Rt. 224 and Fowler Place on the eastern edge of Odessa Wednesday morning, Sept. 23, resulted in three students, the bus driver and a driver's aide being taken to Schuyler Hospital "as a precaution," School Superintendent Chris Wood told district residents in a subsequent robocall. They were all later released. The accident occurred about 7:02 a.m. when, said an official at the scene, the westbound car lost control and struck the bus, which was waiting at the stop sign on Fowler, facing north. Schuyler Ambulance, Erway Ambulance and Valois-Logan-Hector Ambulance all responded, as did the Odessa Fire Department, the Schuyler County Sheriff's Department and Wolfe's Garage, which removed the car and bus from the scene. No word was available on the condition of the car driver.

Photo: Wolfe's Garage's David Wolfe oversees the removal.

The scene, looking down from a hillside to the east.

Newly elected trustee Bob Carson raises his hand as he is sworn in by Village Clerk Lonnie Childs.


Carson sworn in, joins Watkins Village Board

Bob Carson -- elected to the Watkins Glen Village Board a week earlier -- was sworn in as a member of the board on Tuesday night, Sept. 22. Carson, elected in balloting that was delayed six months by the pandemic, replaces Tony Fraboni, who did not seek re-election. Laurie DeNardo, re-elected in the Sept. 15 vote, also was sworn in Tuesday by Village Clerk Lonnie Childs.

At right: Trustee Laurie DeNardo.


Watkins School Board ponders hybrid woes

The board heard Sept. 21 from two parents and four teachers dissatisfied with the district's hybrid education plan, and considered letting students practice various low-risk sports after school. More discussion is planned on ways to counter the hybrid problems, while the board might vote at its Oct. 5 meeting on the "open practice" athletic plan. Schools.

Photo: School Board member Craig Bianco at the meeting.


Glen Gators squad completes its Seneca swim

Nine members of the Glen Gators Elite Group completed the final leg of their Geneva-to-Watkins Glen Seneca Lake swim Saturday morning, Sept. 19, arriving at the Kayak Launch adjacent to Clute Park. Coach Jason Westervelt said that "to my knowledge, this was the first time a team ever swam the entire length" of the lake. Sports.

Photo: Glen Gators Elite Squad member Amanda Wilbur signals success at the end of the swim.


Cherry retiring at end of year from Extension

Phil Cherry, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County for the past four years, plans to retire at year's end. The pandemic, he says, has driven home the message that "life can be too short." Retirement.

Photo: Phil Cherry (File photo)


Section IV supers make it final: no fall sports

The superintendents of school districts in Section IV made official Tuesday what the section's various leagues made clear last week, voting 59-10 with one abstention to move all fall sports to the spring because of the risks of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Sports.


St. John's Church observes 210th anniversary

St. John's Episcopal Church -- located within sight of the Catharine Four Corners -- celebrated its 210th anniversary with a special service Sunday, Sept. 20 that included a message from the Right Reverend Dr. Prince Singh, Eighth Bishop of the Episocopal Diocese of Rochester. The church was established after the Revolutionary War by settlers from Connecticut, some of whom are buried less than a half-mile from the church. Special music was performed Sunday by select members of the Caledonia Highlander Bagpipers. Strict Covid-19 protocols were enforced.

Photo: St. John's Episocopal Church of Catharine.


Positive Covid-19 test prompts the quarantine of 38 students, 6 teachers at Watkins High

Nine days after the opening of in-person classes in the pandemic-plagued 2020-21 school year, a Watkins Glen High School student's positive Covid-19 test result Sept. 17 led Public Health officials to announce the sizable quarantine order. Schools.

Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk, center, congratulates the two election winners in the race for Village Board seats: Bob Carson and Laurie DeNardo.


DeNardo, Carson win board seats in Watkins

Incumbent Laurie DeNardo and newcomer Bob Carson won the two Watkins Glen Village Board seats up for grabs in the Sept. 15 election. DeNardo was named on 217 ballots, and Carson on 174. Both won four-year terms (actually three-and-a-half, since the election was held six months late due to the pandemic). Finishing third was Kristin VanHorn with 156 votes, while Peter Widynski was fourth with 142.

In Odessa: Incumbent Tom Letteer won re-election to a two-year term on the Village Board, while Pam Cicconi was elected to the board by write-ins. A total of 14 ballots were cast, with Letteer receiving 13 votes and Cicconi 9.

Montour Falls had uncontested races, with Jim Ryan running for mayor, succeeding John King. Running unopposed for four-year trustee terms were Jim Nolan and incumbent Vincent Chicone.

Burdett: With two seats available, trustees Marty Evans (22 votes) and Larry Jaynes (21) were re-elected to two-year terms. Robert Mangus was named on three ballots.

Heavy machinery maneuvers a multi-ton granite block into position alongside Catlin Mill Creek in Odessa.


Project aims to cut Catlin Mill Creek erosion

The Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District started a project recently whereby large granite blocks from the Seneca Stone quarry near Seneca Falls were being placed by heavy machinery along the southern bank of Catlin Mill Creek in Odessa to curb erosion on the hillside behind the village's Main Street. The project genesis was the damage left by flooding two years ago. The project, paid for by Soil and Water and including the removal of fallen trees and other debris, was schedule to conclude the week of Sept. 14.

Photo: Granite is carried down a path to the creek.

  Dumpster Day in Odessa

Village workers haul a couch from the bed of a village resident's truck as part of Dumpster Day in Odessa on Sept. 12. Several dumpsters from Green Leaf Recycling were filled during the three-hour event with household debris ranging from furniture, old doors and windows to appliances, mattresses and toys. Mayor Gerry Messmer deemed it a success as residents cleared out unwanted items from their homes and yards.


Covid-19 church cluster larger than thought

Chemung County Executive Christopher Moss said Sept. 10 that the cluster of Covid-19 cases linked to Horseheads' Lighthouse Baptist Church is larger than thought with 19 test positives identified out of 40 parishioners tested Wednesday. Some Schuyler County residents reportedly attend the church, though that number was not specifed. Moss said anyone connected with the church should reach out to the Chemung County Health Department "and get tested."

Students gather in the parking lot fronting the O-M high school before the start of classes Thursday morning.


Odessa-Montour students return to classes

Students in the Odessa-Montour School District -- after a six-month absence due to the pandemic -- returned to in-person classes Thursday, Sept. 10. More than 600 of the district's 700-plus students opted for attending school in-person five days a week, while about 120 selected remote learning, which was instituted when the pandemic forced school closures in March. Schools.

Photo: Temperatures were checked for all incoming students. No problems were reported.


Montour Falls house fire being investigated

Fire officials in Schuyler County are investigating a fire that damaged part of a house on Cronk Road in Montour Falls Thursday, Sept 10. The fire, reported by a passerby at 11:32 a.m., was brought under control by 11:50 a.m. About 20% of the house was destroyed, said one official, who added that nobody was home at the time of the blaze, which occurred in the front section of the structure. The Montour Falls Fire Department was assisted by departments from Watkins Glen, Beaver Dams and Odessa, Schuyler County Emergency Management and the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office.

Schuyler County Judge Matt Hayden waves goodbye to daughter Beatrice, a 3rd grader, as he dropped her off at the Watkins Glen school for the first day of classes.


At last! First day of school at Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen students attended their first day of in-person classes since March when the new school year started Tuesday, Sept. 8. Half of the students who opted for in-person education attended Tuesday, with the other half set to attend Friday. In future weeks, the first group will attend Mondays and Tuesdays, and the second group Thursdays and Fridays under a hybrid schedule adopted by the School Board in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Schools.

Photo: Each student's temperature was checked before he or she was permitted to enter the building.


SCCUDD will hold K-6 billboard contest

The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking's contest is for substance abuse prevention messages with a seasonal theme. Schools.


Also: SCCUDD teens attend a virtual training institute. Features.


NYSPHSAA issues guide to high school sports

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association on Friday, Sept. 4 issued an almost 50-page guide for high schools titled "Return to Interscholastic Athletics: 2020-2021" For a look at the publication, click here.


Learning Pod to host
20 kids on Wednesdays

Community volunteers will host 20 Watkins Glen Elementary School students on Wednesdays in a program following the school's remote schedule. For details and a form, see People.


WGI to host Victory Laps, R.A.C.E. fundraiser

Fans will get the opportunity to drive three laps at The Glen on the weekend of Sept. 25-27 as Watkins Glen International hosts Victory Laps, a fundraiser for the R.A.C.E. (Racing and Community Enrichment) Foundation. Admission is $25 per vehicle, with tickets available online. Sports.


The Odessa File's Athletes of the Year

Top male and female athletes from the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour high schools for 2019-20 are honored. Sports.

Left: WGHS Female Athletes of the Year, from left: Amanda Wilbur, Faye Mooney, Thalia Marquez and Peighton Cervoni.


Introducing the 2020
Top Drawer 24 team

The 15th annual Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding area student-athlete-citizens contains honorees -- almost all seniors -- from 12 schools. To see who they are, click here.


2 Landon's workers test positive; risk ID'd

Landon's Pub and Pizza on West 4th Street in Watkins Glen has been closed for disinfection. Public Health urges self-quarantine for anyone there between August 19 and August 29. Government.


Glen School Board cuts $710,000 from budget, including several jobs and the sport of football

The School Board, facing financial uncertainty as New York withholds 20% of state aid, took action Aug. 31 to combat what could amount to a $2.9 million shortfall. Cut from the budget: football, cheerleading, a clerical job, three teacher aide positions, an administrator job, conferences, field trips, material and supply purchases, and transportation and maintenance purchases. Schools.

Photo: Superintendent Greg Kelahan makes a point during Monday night's board session.

O-M's Wood: Football move was "joint decision." Schools.


Exhibit to feature roles of locals in World War II

A U.S. Navy uniform worn by Jack T. Davis and newspaper front pages (right) are among the items in an upcoming exhibit, “Schuyler Answered the Call,” at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls.

The exhibit, opening Sept. 2, will be on display through the end of the year. Seventy people who served in military or civilian roles in World War II will be featured. Features.


Letter to Cuomo, Section VIII decision cast doubt on start of New York high school sports

The New York State Council of School Superintendents sends a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo asking for a delay in the high school sports season, and local superintendents react. Meanwhile, Section Vlll athletics are put on hold until January. Sports.

Paradiso's Village Bakery owner Kathy Paradiso cuts the ribbon. With her were several employees, along with officials representing the village and county government and the Chamber of Commerce.


Ribbon cut at new Paradiso's Village Bakery

A ribbon cutting Thursday afternoon at 224 W. Main St. in Montour Falls marked the opening of the second Paradiso's Village Bakery facility in the village -- this one featuring a cafe and a dinner menu. The first facility, just up the street, was short on dining space, and now serves a wholesale function. The new cafe was previously the site of the Harvest Cafe and then the Been There community cafe. Speakers at the ribbon-cutting included Montour Falls Mayor John King, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn and Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy, along with bakery owner Kathy Paradiso.


Powers marks retirement from Catharine Court

Ruth Powers retired Wednesday after 30 years working at Catharine Court Apartments in Montour Falls. Powers served as Administrator/Manager of the facility, which holds 32 HUD subsidized apartments for seniors aged 62 and older. "She put a lot of time and love into the building and people there," said one observer. "She improved the building over the years by getting the front porch added on and many other things. She became family to many of the tenants as well as the staff, and will be greatly missed."

Photo: Ruth Powers in her office Wednesday, during a retirement celebration. (Photo provided)


Reed assails 'extremism' after window broken

Congressman Tom Reed says "This extreme behavior is unacceptable" after an act of violence -- a brick thrown through a window -- occurs at his Corning campaign office. Government.


Glen-based band Sweats releases debut album

The Finger Lakes band known as Sweats has released its debut full-length album, "Caught in a Wave." For a look at the band and links to its music, see People.

Photo: Sweats singer-songwriter Travis Durfee.


Cuomo: Low-risk fall sports can start Sept. 21

Governor Andrew Cuomo (right) said Monday that at least five high school sports -- swimming, soccer, cross country, field hockey and tennis -- will be allowed to resume Sept. 21 -- the date set earlier by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association as a possible start date. But no teams will be permitted to travel outside their region or a neighboring region to play or practice until Oct. 19. With schools opening earlier than Sept. 21 -- many have selected Sept. 10 -- "there will be a little bit of a period to gauge what's happening," Cuomo said, before the permitted sports begin. Other sports considered full impact and a higher risk to transmit Covid-19 -- such as football -- can practice, but any games remain on hold, Cuomo added.

O-M, Watkins Glen school districts react. Schools.


Cuomo opens up absentee voting; fear of Covid-19 now a factor; voters can apply now

Governor Andrew Cuomo (right) Thursday signed into law sweeping election reforms that open up the absentee voting process to include as qualifying reasons for such a ballot a fear of voting in person due to the pandemic. The new regulations say ballots must be postmarked on or before election day, Nov. 3, if received by Nov. 10. Ballots without a postmark will be counted if received up until the day after the election. Said Cuomo: "The federal administration has ordered an unprecedented attack on the U.S. Postal Service, and with Covid-19 threatening our ability to have safe, in-person voting, these measures are critical to ensuring a successful and fair election at one of the most important moments in our nation's history."

Palmesano rips Cuomo on election orders. Gov't.

Fun on Seneca

Evvie and Moe Zinger, children of David and Tiffany Zinger of Montour Falls, head for the water fronting the cottage of Jeff and Linda Confer on Seneca Lake over the August 15-16 weekend. The area was blessed with warm, sunny weather, ideal for swimmers and boaters alike. (Photo provided)


Lt. Governor visits, meets with tourism leaders

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Watkins Glen Wednesday morning, Aug. 12, meeting at the Jack Daniels Club at Watkins Glen International with tourism leaders from around the region, and then visiting one of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative sites in the village, Captain Bill's Seneca Lake Cruises' new, operational and soon to be completed building on the waterfront. She then traveled to Penn Yan to view a DRI project there. Government.

Photo: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul at Seneca Lake, holding her mask while she answered a TV reporter's questions.

Watkins Sergeant in Charge placed on leave

Watkins Glen Sergeant in Charge Brandon Matthews has been put on paid administrative leave by the village pending completion of an investigation by the New York State Police. Government.


3 injured in motorcycle-car collision in Dix

The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a personal injury motor vehicle accident involving a car and a motorcycle that occurred Friday at 2:57 p.m. on Beaver Dams Moreland Road near Pearl Street in the Town of Dix. Andy Mattison, 44, of Beaver Dams, was westbound on Beaver Dams Moreland Road when the motorcycle he was operating collided with a vehicle that was exiting a private driveway. That vehicle was operated by Michelle Hanson, 61, of Buffalo. Hanson and a passenger, Oscar Hodge, 67, of Buffalo, were taken to Robert Packer Hospital for minor injuries. Mattison was airlifted by Guthrie Air to the same facility for serious injuries. The Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the Beaver Dams Fire Department and Schuyler Ambulance.


Police seeking information in suspicious death

The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a suspicious death that occurred at 2071 Templar Road in the Town of Orange. On August 7, 2020 the Sheriff’s Office received a call reporting the death of Richard E. Seeley, 43, of 2071 Templar Road. During the investigation it was found that Seeley died as a result of a puncture wound to his chest and lungs. The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about this incident or about Richard Seeley to contact the Sheriff’s Office:

Phone: 607-535-8222
Tip Line: 607-535-8224
Email: tips@co.schuyler.ny.us
District Attorney: 607-535-8383

Assisting in the investigation: the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Forensic Identification Unit, and Major Crimes Unit, and the Schuyler County District Attorney’s Office.

Photo: Richard Seeley (Photo provided)


O-M, Watkins supers outline reopening plans

The Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glen school district reopening plans were outlined for parents Tuesday night at a pair of sessions designed to answer questions. One was conducted online and in person (in the high school auditorium) by Watkins Superintendent Greg Kelahan (pictured at right) -- and the other online by O-M Superintendent Chris Wood. Kelahan says the proposed 3/2, 2/3 scheduling plan at Watkins Glen is "off the table at this point." Schools.


Cayuga Health launches Covid-19 tracking tool

Cayuga Health has introduced a Coronavirus Tracking Tool on the Cayuga Health System website that includes statistical data which is updated daily, providing official numbers as they are released by the Cayuga Health Sampling Center in Ithaca. Business.


CMOG trophy awaits winner of Daytona race

The winner of the Aug. 16 NASCAR Cup Series race on the trioval/road course at Daytona International Speedway -- the Go Bowling 235 At The Daytona Road Course, a race originally scheduled for Watkins Glen International -- will win a special, one-of-a-kind trophy, produced by The Corning Museum of Glass. Sports.

Photo: The race trophy

A stunning sunset

The sky looking northwest from the eastern shore of Seneca Lake in Hector was a thing of beauty at sunset Thursday evening, Aug. 13th. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Work at Watkins Glen's Clute Park has begun -- the early stage of a $5 million redevelopment project.


Redevelopment project is under way at Clute

Trees were being felled and backhoe digging was under way Wednesday, Aug. 12 at Watkins Glen's Clute Park -- early signs of a redevelopment project expected to be completed around Memorial Day 2021. The project, on the drawing board since 2010, is a Downtown Revitalization Initiative project that will include 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.

Photo: A tree is brought down by a worker manning a chainsaw at Clute Park.


Schuyler Legislature holds brief meeting

The Schuyler County Legislature met in monthly session Monday evening, Aug. 10 at the Human Services Building in Montour Falls -- and adjourned after 10 minutes. Legislators passed a handful of resolutions, received no comments during the public portion of the meeting (only two people, a county official and a reporter, were in the audience), and had no new business or administrator report. Legislator Mark Rondinaro did say a planned Festival of Lights on land behind the Grist Iron Brewing Company in Hector is on hold until 2021 due in part -- in the midst of the pandemic -- to a lack of both materials and needed Chinese workers who are skilled at constructing the festival, which incorporates traditional Chinese lanterns.

Photo: Legislature Chair Carl Blowers, right, with County Attorney Steven Getman before the start of the meeting.


Cuomo says schools can open, but meetings with parents and teachers are needed first

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (right) on Aug. 7 gave schools throughout the state the go-ahead to open this fall, but left the form of education -- in-person, remote or a hybrid of the two -- up to the individual districts. He also mandated that each district hold three meetings with parents by Aug. 21 and that each district meet with teachers, who have raised many questions and fears about returning to the classroom during a pandemic. Each district must also clearly publish its plans for testing, contact tracing and remote learning. The governor said the many decisions facing districts will be made individually by each, noting: "If it works for the district, the parents and teachers, it works." He said the infection rate in every region in New York is low enough to warrant this decision, saying "If any state can do this, we can do this." But he also said the state can't force students back into schools, nor can it force teachers who might fear for their health -- potential obstacles to in-person learning since "you need two things" for a school to operate on-site: "students and teachers."


Leadership Schuyler graduates Class of 2020

The Leadership Schuyler program sponsored by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce graduates 13 students at a commencement ceremony held at Lakewood Vineyards. Graduation.


Joint effort gathering school supplies for kids

Catholic Charities and the Economic Opportunity Program have joined with area businesses in gathering school supplies, backpacks and headphones for students as the school year nears. People.

Dignitaries participated in the groundbreaking ceremony.


Groundbreaking marks start of Clute project

The redevelopment of Clute Park along the Seneca Lake waterfront was kicked off Aug. 4 with a ceremony at the park pavilion, capped off with a groundbreaking east of the pavilion, in a persistent rain. For story and photos, see Features.

Photo: Sign on display at the redevelopment ceremony.


No Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen; race moved

The annual Sahlen's Six Hours at The Glen IMSA race weekend, scheduled for Watkins Glen International Sept. 3-6, has been moved to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta that same weekend due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event, originally scheduled for June 25-28 at WGI, had been twice rescheduled before this decision to move it. WGI's biggest weekend, the NASCAR Weekend called Go Bowling at the Glen, was moved earlier this racing season from WGI to the Daytona International Speedway road course on Aug. 14-16.

WGI inks partnership with Sony Electronics. Business.


School Board, residents discuss coming year

The Watkins Glen School Board and a half-dozen district residents discuss the coming school year and the challenges it presents -- while they all wait for Governor Andrew Cuomo to issue directives regarding what kind of education will be permitted in 2020-21. Schools.


Wastewater treatment plant is operational

The joint Watkins Glen-Montour Falls wastewater treatment plant along the canal between the two villages is now operational -- replacing antiquated facilities in the two municipalities. It has been named the Catharine Valley Water Reclamation Faciility, a name suggested by Montour Falls Mayor John King.


NYSPHSAA delays start date for high school sports season, cancels fall championships

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association officers have voted to delay the official start date of the Fall 2020 sports season, cancel the fall regional and state championships and prepare to implement a condensed season schedule in January 2021 if high school sports remain prohibited through 2020. Sports.

Sign on the north wall of the Watkins Glen High School gym.


Local school mascots' status being discussed

The Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour school districts -- home of the Indians (O-M), Senecas (Watkins) and Seneca Indians (in sports shared by the two schools) -- are looking at the future of those mascots as cultural change sweeps America. Schools.


School districts devise state-ordered plans

The Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glen School Districts have submitted detailed plans to the state regarding school reopenings in the fall -- whether with full, daily in-school attendance, a hybrid of in-school and remote education, or strictly remote learning. A look at the two districts, with links to the plans, can be found on the Schools page.

Banners and flags fly from a few of the many parade craft on Seneca Lake Saturday. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)


Pro-Trump boats parade up and down Seneca

It was a warm, dry, breezy Saturday on Aug. 1 -- a busy day of tourism in Watkins Glen and a heavy traffic day up Rt. 414 to the east of Seneca Lake. And on the lake there was a gathering of motor-powered crafts -- well over 100, and as many as 200 by one estimate -- flying American flags and pro-Trump banners.

They took what organizer Eric Castillo of Horseheads said was a "leisurely" trip from the southern end of Seneca, up the eastern shoreline to Peach Orchard Point, across the lake and then down the west side to Watkins Glen and across to the waters off of Clute Park, where they anchored. The purpose, other than to enjoy a pleasant day on the lake, was "to express pride in President Trump and his political views," said Castillo.

Photos: A Trump banner flies from one craft; lake resident Tony Fraboni jumped on his jet ski and joined the parade from his Club Seneca cottage to Peach Orchard Point before returning home. (Bottom photo by Liz Fraboni)


Sunset View to host Give Back NY on Aug. 6

The local Farmer's Market will join with Catholic Charities/ Schuyler County Food Pantry in seeking donations of fresh foods or cash "to help those who have been experiencing hunger" during the pandemic. Features.


O'Hearn offers update on Covid-19 rules, regs

Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn (right) provides "fact-based information to address questions and to correct the myriad number of incorrect assertions associated with enforcement of Covid-19 orders." And he issues a cautionary note that Schuyler County's low infection rate "has contributed to either a false sense of security or a rationalization that because we are largely disease-free, executive orders do not apply to us." Such a conclusion, he notes, "is absolutely not true," adding: "The State Legislature in March amended the NYS Executive Law and in so doing granted the Governor extraordinary emergency power in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic." Column.

Palmesano rips Cuomo on new rules. Government.


WGI reclaims title of "Best NASCAR Track'

For the fourth time in five years -- and after one year without it -- Watkins Glen International has won designation as the "Best NASCAR Track" in voting in the USA Today 10 Best Readers' Choice online competition. Said State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano in a joint statement: "It's a well-deserved honor for track officials and staff, drivers and, most of all, the fans who help make The Glen one of the renowned venues in all of sports." WGI also won the honor in 2016, 2017 and 2018.


All quiet on the waterfront ...

Just a handful of people were present late Thursday afternoon, July 23 at Watkins Glen's Seneca Harbor Park and out on the pier. This photo -- with nobody visible within its frame -- caught the peace of the afternoon.

The apartment complex is rising on Second Street in Watkins.


Apartment building construction under way

Construction of the Glen Lake Apartments and day-care facility on Second Street in Watkins Glen, across from the Jefferson Village housing complex, was in full swing the week of July 20, with walls and floors rising. The plan calls for 34 apartments -- two on the ground floor and 16 each on the second and third floors -- and a 7,300-square-foot child-care facility for kids up to age five. The building, with a mix of one- and two-bedroom housing units, will have an elevator, a community room and a laundry room. Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services has partnered with the Watkins Glen Housing Authority on the facility, which INHS says "will be affordable to renters earning between 47% and 80% of the Area Median Income," with six units "set aside for clients of the Schuyler County Arc."

Photo in text: A construction worker at the building site.


Watkins Board resumes in-person sessions

The Watkins Glen Village Board me Tuesday night, July 21 in public session for the first time in months. It had been conducting its meetings via Zoom. Among Tuesday's highlights:

-- The board heard from Village Treasurer Rhonda Slater that the income derived from users of the new wastewater treatment plant has fallen far short of expenses, and that another increase in the sewer tax might be required. Mayor Luke Leszyk noted that major users such as the Watkins Glen International racetrack have been limited by the pandemic, and that once the pandemic ends, chances are the hike -- should it be adopted -- might ultimately be reversed. The new plant (the old one on the lakefront is now off-line) was a $32 million project that has left the village with a large debt in bonds and loans.

-- A construction trailer will arrive at Clute Park next week, signaling the start of the long-planned $4 million-plus project there that will include a new bathhouse, a pavilion with an events space and a cafe tenant, park lighting, utility improvements, landscaping, and an ice rink. Financing is through a combination of grants.

-- The board approved an amended Inter-Municipal Agreement with Montour Falls that changes all references to the treatment plant to its new name -- the Catharine Valley Water Reclamation Facility, which was suggested by Montour Falls Mayor John King. "We couldn't just call it the treatment plant," said Leszyk.

Photo in text: Mayor Luke Leszyk at July 21 meeting.

A worker cuts away part of the tree that fell onto the wires.


Fallen tree KOs power in Odessa for 5 hours

A large section of a tree in the 500 block of Church Street in Odessa broke off in a Sunday, July 19 storm and fell on a power line, knocking out electricity in the village for almost five hours, from about 4:30 to 9:16 p.m. NYSEG workers were called by the village fire department and responded quickly, cutting the tree away from the line on which it still leaned, replacing some wiring and installing a new phone pole crossbar to replace one that had been destroyed.

The street was closed to traffic, and had to be cleared of tree debris -- limbs and branches -- by village personnel before the NYSEG workers began the laborious process of fixing the damage and restoring power. Other tree-and-power line incidents were reported elsewhere in the county, as well.

Photos in text: The tree trunk break; a new crossbar was brought to replace one knocked down.


A promising outlook on schools, with an "if"...

Governor Andrew Cuomo (right) signaled promising news for schools in New York State Monday. He said schools will reopen if their given region is in Phase 4 of the reopening process, and has a daily Covid-19 infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14-day average -- which currently applies to all regions outside New York City. That status could change in some districts by the time the state announces its decision on each region in the first week of August. If a region's infection numbers exceed the minimum at that time, openings in that region will not be immediately permitted. Schools will stay closed if the regional infection rate is 9% or more on a 7-day average. "All our numbers are good," Cuomo said, adding that "the bad news is we have to keep them that way, and there are challenges" with virus cases spiking around the country.


Sunset on Seneca Lake

The sky, as seen looking northwest across Seneca Lake from the eastern shoreline on Sunday evening, July 12th, was a work of art -- here captured by photographer Liz Fraboni from her Hector-area cottage.


2020 Watkins Grand Prix Festival canceled

The annual Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival has been canceled by Watkins Glen Promotions, the festival's overall producer, due to concerns about the ongoing pandemic. "We are turning our attention to our planning for 2021," said Festival Management Committee Chair Marianne Marts. Features


No NASCAR at the Glen this year; race moved

The NASCAR Weekend called Go Bowling at the Glen has -- because of the pandemic-- been moved from the Watkins Glen International racetrack to the Daytona International Speedway road course on the same weekend, Aug. 14-16. "This is an unprecedented time in the history of our nation," said WGI President Michael Printup. "The dynamic situation we are all confronting is impacting our daily lives and activities in unimaginable ways. While we are disappointed we will not experience NASCAR in New York this year ... we must focus first on everyone's safety and well-being as NASCAR seeks the best way to continue delivering a remarkable on-track product week after week."


Govt., school leaders seek reopening guidance

Area legislators and educators call on the state to give the go-ahead to school districts to begin implementing reopening plans. Schools are waiting for the state to issue guidelines developed through a Reopening Task Force. Schools.

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara during a press conference Wednesday at GST BOCES.


Chamber board taps Hardy to succeed Carroll

Rochester native and business development consultant Michael Hardy (pictured at right) has been selected by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors to succeed Rebekah Carroll as the Chamber's Executive Director, effective July 15. Carroll is leaving the job after 10 years to start an accounting and financial services firm. Business.


Sheriff's Department holds hot-dog gathering

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Department offered community members free hot dogs, cookies and icy bottled water Tuesday, July 7 during a two-hour period at midday in front of the county courthouse. Sheriff William Yessman was on hand along with various other department representatives, including Digit, the lone dog currently on staff (while a second one is being trained). Sheriff Yessman said the gathering provided the department with an opportunity to give back to the community after a difficult period of pandemic-caused isolation and national social unrest. People were stopping by at a steady rate, and Yessman said it might become an annual event.

Photo: Distributing hot dogs and cookies under a tent.


Horein denied parole in murder of classmate

The man serving a 20-years-to-life sentence for the August 2000 murder in Watkins Glen of high school classmate Amber Brockway has been denied parole again. The state Parole Board has rejected a bid by Joshua Horein (right) following a mid-June hearing. Horein, now 36, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in April 2001 in the beating death of Brockway. Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph Fazzary, who prosecuted the case, opposed Horein's release, as did the victim's mother, Joanne Brockway. Horein first appeared before the Parole Board last October under a provision that permitted application by inmates meeting certain criteria, and was turned down then, too. He is incarcerated at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon, NY.


Limited inpatient hospital visitation resumes

Cayuga Health is allowing inpatient visitation again at Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital -- with limited hours and under various state guidielines. Business.

Cayuga Giving Day campaign raises $147,000. Business.


Barriers mark village's pedestrian "Square"

Watkins Glen village crews on June 30 placed concrete barriers -- leftover items from the new sewage treatment plant -- at the intersection of Third and Franklin Streets, setting up a portion of Third as a "pedestiran friendly 'Village Square,'" in the words of Mayor Luke Leszyk. The "square," approved by the State Department of Transportation, will include the area from that intersection to the rear of the co-sponsoring Chamber of Commerce's building, located at that corner. To provide access to 3rd Street parking, the rest of the block was changed from one-way to two-way traffic. Features.

Photo: Concrete barriers at Third and Franklin Streets.


WGHS graduates 84 across 4 ceremonies

The Watkins Glen School District, which postponed its four planned graduation ceremonies from Saturday, June 27 to Sunday, June 28 and then rearranged them Sunday due to inclement weather, graduated 84 seniors that afternoon under sunny skies on the school athletic field. Each ceremony featured a speech by Valedictorian Collin Gaylord, along with remarks by High School Principal Kai D'Alleva and District Superintendent Greg Kelahan. Gaylord lamented the pandemic, but urged his classmates to "push past adversity, persevere and have grit ... It is our time to go out and make a difference." Grads.

Photo: 2020 WGHS graduate Madelyn Suddaby

Lions Club awards scholarships. Schools.

Co-Valedictorian Derrick Lewis addresses the Class of 2020.


O-M graduates 52 in sunny outdoor ceremony

The Odessa-Montour Central School District conferred diplomas on 52 students Friday evening, June 26 in a graduation ceremony under a sunny sky on O-M's Charles Martin Field. Speeches were presented by co-Valedictorians Derrick Lewis and Brooke Sikora. The salutatorian was Grace Vondracek. The ceremony was limited to 150 participants, in keeping with a regulation issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo in relation to the pandemic. Graduation.
Photo at right: G
raduate Karlee Dudgeon.

Odessa-Montour unveils its Academic Awards. Schools.


Brick Tavern Museum opens, has guidelines

The museum, closed during the pandemic, is following New York Phase 4 health and safety guidelines. Museum.

Left: Brick Tavern Museum

Alan H. Turner II, right, chief executive officer for the American Red Cross Western New York region, receives the $25,000 check from Hart Hotels president and CEO David Hart and Hart's wife Nancy in a ceremony on the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel patio.


Ice Bar donation to the Red Cross: $25,000

The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel presented its annual donation Thursday to the American Red Cross from proceeds derived through the Ice Bar celebration held from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 at the hotel. The ninth annual donation -- this time, as in recent years, for $25,000 -- brings to $175,000 the total presented over the years by the hotel to the Red Cross, which was represented Thursday in a ceremony on the hotel patio by Western New York Region CEO Alan Turner. Making the presentation was David Hart, president and CEO of Hart Hotels, who said the Ice Bar is "the event of the winter season."

Photo: Red Cross volunteers Donna and Frank Davis of Burdett were on hand for the check presentation.

Cars carrying O-M seniors circled the WGI track four times.


O-M seniors rehearse graduation, tour WGI

The Odessa-Montour High School Class of 2020 rehearsed Wednesday for Friday evening's graduation on the school athletic field, and then traveled to Watkins Glen International-- led by fire trucks through Odessa and Montour Falls -- to drive four laps around the famed racetrack. Schools.

Photo: Senior Tassia Garrison at Wednesday's rehearsal.

O-M announces Fine Arts Award winners. Schools


Schuyler Habitat completes house in Montour

Habitat for Humanity has completed its second house in Schuyler County, a structure in Montour Falls. The search for the next property has begun. People.


WGHS announces its annual student awards

A list of Watkins Glen High School academic and athletically related awards are unveiled, including several from colleges. The WGHS Rotary Students of the Month are listed, as are the Top 10 academic students of the Class of 2020. School Awards.


McIlroy, Kernan are Dub-G Athletes of the Year

Watkins Glen High School seniors Isaac McIlroy (left, soccer and basketball) and Kelsey Kernan (right, soccer and basketball) were named the school's "Dub-G" Male and Female Athletes of the Year Thursday night in a video presentation on the school website. Nominations and selections were made by WGHS head coaches, who were delivering awards to the winners at their homes after they were announced. Other honors:

Outstanding Individual Performance: Swimmer Thalia Marquez, who won four titles at the Section IV, Class C meet.
Coach of the Year: Nikki Chaffee, Girls Swimming.
Team of the Year: The sectional champion Girls Swim Team.
Best Record Performance: Gabe Planty, indoor 2 Mile.
Sportsmanship: Elliott Holland, Cross Country.
Unsung Hero: Bethany Rutledge, Cheerleading.
Leadership: Isaac McIlroy, soccer & basketball.
Excellence in Education: Sarah Swinnerton, swimming.


Odessa-Montour budget approved, 629-138

The Odessa-Montour School District's $16,904,975 budget and all propositions -- on reserves, bus purchases and the library -- passed easily Tuesday in write-in balloting mandated as part of the pandemic response. "It's nice to know the people, even in difficult economic times, still value schools and want to do what's best for the kids," said Superintendent Chris Wood. Three candidates ran for three School Board seats, with incumbent Jen Mosher (569 votes) and Kevin Murphy (540) earning 3-year terms, and incumbent Will Shrout (487) winning a 2-year term.

Hanlon teachers and staff, many holding signs, welcomed kids during the Summer Send-Off in Odessa. Family cars were preceded through the bus loop by three fire engines, sirens bellowing. Music added to the party atmosphere.


Elementary school kids get Summer Send-Off

Administrators and teachers at the B.C. Cate and Hanlon Elementary Schools in Montour Falls and Odessa provided a Summer Send-Off for students of those schools Wednesday morning. The kids -- forced out of classes in March by the pandemic -- were driven through the bus loops at their respective schools by their parents to wave goodbye to teachers and other school staff gathered there with signs and waves of their own. Recorded music added to the festivities. More than 100 cars drove through the B.C. Cate loop, and a similarly large number turned out at Hanlon. Kids and their families stayed in their cars, and the welcoming staff wore face masks -- all to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Photo in text: Hanlon teachers greet a passing student.


Watkins Glen school budget passes easily

The Watkins Glen School District's $26,478,877 budget passed easily Tuesday, 725-184, as this year's mandated write-in ballots were counted after a 5 p.m. mail-in deadline. Bus leasing and library propositions were also approved. Four of five candidates running for School Board seats were elected: Kevin Rumsey (739), Jessica Saks (725), incumbent Gloria Brubaker (700), and incumbent Kris Clarkson (697). Kristina Hansen tallied 363 votes. Rumsey, Saks and Brubaker won 3-year seats, while Clarkson will serve the final year of the late Kelly McCarthy's term.


Montour, Watkins will soon be using new plant

The Watkins Glen Village Board met June 17 in regular online session -- one at which Water Treatment Plant chief Martin Pierce updated trustees on the new Wastewater Treatment Plant facility on the canal between Watkins and Montour Falls. "Starting Monday," he said, "the flow from Montour Falls" will begin to the new facility. "A week after that, the Watkins Glen plant" on the Seneca Lake shoreline "will be taken off-line and the flow from Watkins Glen will be going to the new plant. Within two weeks, Montour Falls and then Watkins Glen will be sending everything to the new plant." The $32 million shared project has been under development for years, replacing antiquated facilities in both communities.

Photo: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk at Tuesday's meeting, held as in recent months online.


Grover, Harris, Vondracek win top O-M awards

Odessa-Montour High School seniors Paden Grover and Preston Harris were named winners June 17 of the school's Harold Lynch Male Athlete of the Year Award, while senior Grace Vondracek was named Female Athlete of the Year. The Charles Martin Sportsmanship Awards went to seniors Sara Gardner and Derrick Lewis, while Cheianne Webster earned the Jim Anagnost Memorial Award. The selections were announced online after coaches had revealed team awards in fall and winter sports. Awards.


O'Mara to Cuomo: Open up the graduations

State Senator Tom O'Mara joins other area officials in calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to lift an arbitrary 150-person limit imposed by the governor on upcoming high school graduation ceremonies. Of the 150-person cap, O'Mara said: "I think that's wrong." Government.

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Independence Day fireworks postponed

The Village of Watkins Glen's annual Independence Day fireworks have been postponed to the Labor Day weekend -- pending approval at that time on such gatherings in the state related to the pandemic. Fireworks.


HEAL Schuyler offers history scavenger hunt

HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) Schuyler is partnering with the Montour Falls Library and the Schuyler County Historical Society to run a scavenger hunt for history in Montour Falls this summer. Features.


Gen. Schuyler statue sparks call for relocation

Schuylerville, located in Saratoga County north of Albany, may be the next home of a statue of General Philip Schuyler (in painting at right) after Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan ordered the statue removed from her city to another location, possibly a museum, because of Schuyler's ownership of slaves. Schuyler County is named after the general; Schuylerville is named after the general's prominent family. Schuylerville Mayor Dan Carpenter said he is interested in securing the 1920s-era statue, a focal point now as the nation grapples with the history of slavery and key historical figures' roles in it. Philip Schuyler led the Continental Army's northern forces in the Revolutionary War, including a victory at the battle of Saratoga, considered a turning point in the war. Schuyler and his family owned 14 slaves in the Albany region.


Phase 3 is here; restaurant seating part of plan

Five Upstate regions, including ours, are beginning Phase 3 of the reopening process today (Friday, June 12). This includes permitting indoor restaurant seating -- half of what there was before -- along with opening nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors. Governor Andrew Cuomo (right) urged caution, though, saying businesses must exercise extreme caution since the coronavirus "is still out there. We have to be smart." Restaurant seating will incorporate social distancing, and patrons (like workers) must wear face coverings, except when seated.

Schuyler man faces charges in stabbing

Gregory Cunningham, 24, of Beaver Dams pleads not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges after a woman is stabbed multiple times in the Geneseo Walmart. Attack.


Falls Harvest Festival canceled due to Covid

The annual Falls Harvest Festival in Montour Falls -- a gathering featuring local craft and food vendors, fireworks and live entertainment that was scheduled for Oct. 3 -- has been canceled for 2020 due to the pandemic. Organizers -- recognizing "a need to ensure the health and safety of our community as a whole" -- said it will return on Oct. 2, 2021.

Left: At the festival


A day of speeches, day of unity in Watkins

About 200 people attended a combination protest and unity rally on Sunday afternoon, June 7th at Lafayette Park in Watkins Glen. Speakers included State Senate candidates, a congressional candidate, a congressional representative, a district attorney, an Assemblyman, and two officers of the Elmira-Corning NAACP. People.



Photo: Wearing a protest message.


WGHS Class of 2020 takes tour of WGI track

With the loss of key parts of their senior year, the 2020 Watkins Glen High School graduates-to-be take up Watkins Glen International on an offer to drive the track. Schools.

Photo: On the car driven by senior Sam Smith.


How the D-Day landing must've been: A column

A harrowing look at the landing on a Normandy beach on June 6, 1944, as imagined by the nephew (Tony Vickio) of a man who survived that day, but never made it home alive: Schuyler County soldier Ernest Fillipetti. Vickio calls him "the bravest man I never knew." Column.

Ernest Fillipetti


Exhibit to celebrate locals' World War II involvement

A special exhibit at the Schuyler County Historical Society Museum will focus on the civilian and military roles of county residents in WW II. It opens Sept. 2. Features.

Left: Naval recruits from Schuyler County, 1944.


Chemung, Schuyler Arcs officially merge

Form a "newly unified organization," The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler, with administrative offices in Elmira. Business.


4th marking period Honor Rolls at O-M

Odessa-Montour Junior/Senior High School has unveiled its High Honor and Honor Rolls for the fourth marking period of the 2019-20 school year. Honors.


A selection of photos from Liz Fraboni

Watkins Glen photographer Liz Fraboni, whose work has graced these pages in the past, provides us with a new selection of scenes from her village and the surrounding area. Photos.


Cuomo OKs outdoor dining at restaurants

Governor Andrew Cuomo (pictured at right) has announced that outdoor dining at restaurants is being permitted as part of the current Phase 2 reopening in seven regions -- including ours -- effective Thursday, June 4. Outdoor tables must be spaced six feet apart, all staff must wear face coverings, and customers must also wear face coverings when not seated, the governor's office announced.

Protesters lined Fourth Street at Lafayette Park in Watkins Glen.


Scores turn out for protest at Glen park

Dozens of protesters gathered June 2nd at Lafayette Park in Watkins Glen as part of the nationwide movement that has led to massive rallies in dozens of cities. The Watkins protest -- with as many as 50 people or more at any one time lining the curb along Fourth Street, wearing pandemic masks and holding signs, built from a handful on hand at the start of the day. The event was organized by 2018 Odessa-Montour High School graduate Alec Betts. People.

Photo: One of the protesters along Fourth Street.

Thanks from organizer to participants. Forum.


The essential workers ...

Watkins Glen High School graduate Annika Wickham, a SUNY Oswego student, presents a paper she has written for a reporting class -- a look at essential workers in the Schuyler County healthcare industry in the age of the coronavirus. Essential.

Photo at right: Annika Wickham.


Board backs parade proposal, electric refunds

The Watkins Glen Village Board on June 2nd backed one of three proposals offered by the Watkins Glen School District for graduation day -- tentatively set for June 20. The proposal calls for a post-ceremony parade, each of 84 graduates carried in a stream of 84 cars on 12th Street to Decatur, and north to 1st Street. The trustees -- who rejected proposals that would include Franklin Street in the parade -- suggested a return run on Decatur to the campus, too. The school district is expected to announce its specific plans soon, including what the graduation ceremony might consist of.
The Village Board also approved a refund of $569,000 to residents for overpayments made by them to the Electric Department -- an overcharge due to what was described as "a glitch" in billing caused by an inadvertent change of one number in a complex spreadsheet. The overcharge, accumulating since January, was discovered by village personnel. It will be repaid to residents at roughly $47,000 a month from June 2020 through May 2021.

Photo in text: Trustee Tony Fraboni during the Village Board's online meeting Tuesday.


Hector Fair falls victim to Covid-19 pandemic

The annual Hector Fair, held in late July, has been canceled due to the pandemic. Said organizers: "After much time, effort and thought the Valois Logan Hector Fire Company has made the necessary, albeit tough, decision to cancel the Hector Fair for 2020. Get ready for the best Hector Fair you've ever seen in 2021!"


Odessa library bids farewell to its director

A small gathering was held recently at the Dutton Peterson Library in Odessa to honor the departing library director of 26 years, Gayle Greuber, who is moving to North Carolina. People.

Photo: Gift for Gayle Greuber


WGHS seniors pick up their caps and gowns

Watkins Glen High School graduating seniors arrived at the school in cars -- and stayed in them -- Friday night, May 29, as school personnel handed their caps and gowns to them. Graduation plans are still being formulated. Schools.

Photo: The school's Ralph Diliberto carries a cap and gown to a senior's car.


Cuomo changes direction again, OKs Phase 2

After New York State advised local officials Thursday evening, May 28, that May 29's planned Phase 2 reopening of businesses in the five Upstate regions would be delayed, leaders in those regions pushed back, criticizing Governor Andrew Cuomo (right) for the last-minute flip-flop. Perhaps hearing that -- and saying he was responding to data "reviewed by all the experts" -- the governor Friday afternoon approved the opening of Phase 2, effective immediately. Retail stores, office workplaces and hair salons can reopen for business after two months of being shut down to help fight the pandemic. The five regions include the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, North Country and Mohawk Valley.

Local mayors were part of pushback. Government.


O-M budget hearing suffers technical woes

The Odessa-Montour School District's online budget hearing May 27 was interrupted by technical problems -- and as a result the budget messages from district officials was to be re-recorded and the questions received Wednesday from the public answered again, with airing soon on the school website.


WGHS unveils grad list, top two students

Watkins Glen High School is graduating 84 students, led academically by Valedictorian Collin Gaylord and Salutatorian Sarah Swinnerton. Schools.

WGHS Valedictorian Collin Gaylord (Photo provided)

Ed Clute, right, at Concert in the Park in Watkins Glen in 2016.


Ed Clute auditions for America's Got Talent

Look for blind Watkins Glen pianist Ed Clute on NBC-TV's America's Got Talent. Clute says he auditioned earlier this year in Pasadena and expects the performance to air soon. He couldn't say how the judges reacted or if he moved to the next round of judging. Clute, born blind, started playing the piano at 3, and began formal training at 6. He earned a degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. America's Got Talent airs Tuesdays from 8-10 p.m.

At the signing table: From left, ag property owner David Barber; his attorney, Mary A. Osgood; Max Heitner, director of conservation for the Finger Lakes Land Trust, and Robert Bensanceney, an FLLT attorney.


Development rights on key Skyline Drive ag land signed over to Finger Lakes Land Trust

David L. Barber sold the development rights to 518 acres of land (including a wide swath of property off Skyline Drive, south of Cass Road and overlooking Seneca Lake) to the Finger Lakes Land Trust Wednesday, May 27 -- effectively blocking use of the land for anything other than agriculture "in perpetuity." The Land Trust's mission is "to conserve forever the lands and waters of the Finger Lakes region." The $1.1 million deal concluded a lengthy negotiation. The purchase, financed by a Farmland Protection Implementation Grant through the NYS Department of Ag and Markets, involves ag land and forest on both sides of Skyline outside of Montour Falls, land to which Barber retains ownership. Land Trust spokesmen said the deal provides a permanent easement -- and a permanent ban on non-agricultural use -- no matter who might buy the land should Barber sell it.

Photo: Land Trust Attorney Robert Bensanceney holds a map showing the location of the agricultural land in question off of Skyline Drive. The signing was held on a porch at the home of County Legislator Jim Howell near downtown Odessa.


93-year-old leaves hospital after COVID battle

Cayuga Medical Center staff cheered May 26 as 93-year-old Margaret Melens of Horseheads left the Ithaca facility after a 43-day battle with the coronavirus. She is expected to fully recover while living with a daughter. Melens, a great-great grandmother, communicated with family during her hospital stay through Zoom and phone calls. Cayuga Health CEO Martin Stallone praised hospital staff. "It provides us all with a wonderful feeling of hope during this pandemic," he said.

Photo: Margaret Melens leaves the hospital. (Photo provided)

The Montour Falls Fire Department flew the American flag above Shequagah Falls during Monday's ceremony.
(Photo by Erik Holter)


Memorial Day ceremony held in Montour Falls

A trimmed-down Memorial Day service was conducted Monday morning, May 25 at the Shequagah Falls Park in Montour Falls. The event, planned by the Village Board with an eye toward safety during the pandemic, lacked the usual crowd (only a few spectators were present) and was without a keynote address, bagpipes, a singer or a school band -- all features in years past. Government.


Odessa banners honor Hometown Heroes

Thirty-eight photo-adorned banners, each honoring a village resident who served in the military, are the subject of a ceremony in Odessa. People.

Left: Sign on Main Street featuring Kristine Gardner.


Hammondsport man charged after chase

A 51-year-old Hammondsport man was arrested Sunday, May 17 and charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree and Reckless Endangerment, all misdemeanors, and multiple traffic offenses after a chase that started on County Road 16 in the Town of Orange. Schuyler County Sheriff's deputies allege that Billy R. Adams failed to comply when they tried to stop him on CR 16, and that he led them on a chase over several roads before he struck a Sheriff’s Patrol Vehicle head on and then crashed his car on Sugar Hill Road. Adams was processed for the charges and subsequently released to reappear in the Town of Orange Court at a later date.


Rochester man charged after car chase

A Rochester man was arrested May 17 after leading Schuyler County Sheriff's Deputies and New York State Police on a chase on roads in Schuyler, Chemung, Tompkins and Seneca counties before crashing in the Village of Trumansburg. Deputies said the chase began about 10 a.m. on Rt. 224 in the Town of Montour when they attempted to stop a white 2012 Ford Focus driven by Aaron Mason Jr., 27, who instead drove away. The pursuit continued on until Mason -- who "during the incident ... struck" two police vehicles -- crashed and was taken into custody. He was issued several traffic tickets "as well as appearance tickets" for "various courts within Schuyler County at a later date."


WGHS runner Planty sets school 3200 mark

The senior -- running in the MileSplit Virtual Classic on the O-M track -- breaks the old mark set by Matt Gill. Sports.

Photo: Gabe Planty during his run for the record.


Missing man's body recovered from Seneca

The body of Daniel Manganaro, 27, of Horseheads, who drowned in Seneca Lake after his canoe capsized on the lake on April 19, has been recovered. A search by officials ended on April 25, but the State Police Underwater Recovery Team kept using sonar on and off. Additional sonar cable purchased by the Manganaro family helped State Police find the body 571 feet down on May 15. The body was recovered with the use of a remotely operated vehicle on May 16. "The family," said Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike, "can now have some closure."


Auto, horse racing get OK, but no spectators

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that car racing at Watkins Glen International and horse racing at state tracks can be held starting June 1, but without spectators in the stands. WGI has already reset several events to later in the year, but the ruling might clear the way for the Aug. 16 Go Bowling at The Glen NASCAR race, minus spectators. "You want to increase economic activity as much as you can without spiking the infection rate," said Cuomo of the ongoing pandemic.


Wine Festival is latest casualty of pandemic

The annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival, set for July 10-12 at the Watkins Glen International racetrack, has been canceled due to the pandemic. The next festival will be July 9-11, 2021. The event typically draws representatives from 80 wineries in the region, not to mention thousands of fans buying wine and attending music and culinary classes.


Program seeks noms for pandemic heroism

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce has launched “Inspire FLX,” a program designed to collect and publicize inspiring stories of actions undertaken by Finger Lakes residents in support of friends, neighbors and co-workers. People.


Schools to stay closed through academic year

Governor Andrew Cuomo (right) has announced that schools in New York will remain closed through the end of the academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo said there was no way the state could reopen schools and ensure the safety of students and teachers under existing conditions. He said any decisions regarding summer school programming will be made by the end of May. Decisions on reopening in the fall will have to wait because "that's a long way away."


Rotary session deals with county reopening

SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry, left, and Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn outline the rules as Schuyler enters Phase 1 of the state's reopening process. Business.


O-M addresses grades and material drop-offs

Odessa-Montour Junior/Senior High School has written to elementary and secondary school families regarding the pickup and drop-off of academic materials and how grading has been altered to meet the needs of these uncertain times. Letters.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and 2019 NYS Shot Put champion Zach Elliott in front of the Odessa-Montour High School.


State champ Elliott receives legislative honors

New York State 2019 Division 2 Shot Put champion Zach Elliott finally received a state Assembly Proclamation and Assembly and State Senate resolutions honoring him May 12 when he met in front of his alma mater, the Odessa-Montour High School, with Assemblyman Phil Palmesano. The award presentation had been delayed the year before because of scheduling conflicts, and then Elliott graduated and entered the work force, and the presentation remained on Palmesano's to-do list. The Assemblyman, also representing State Senator Tom O'Mara, was in Odessa Tuesday and while there contacted Elliiott and met him in the O-M school parking lot to give him the Proclamation and resolutions and congratulate him. Elliott won the title at the NYS Track & Field Championships at Middletown High School in June 2019 with a throw of 55 feet 6 inches.


Local schools in the Age of the Pandemic

School administrators at Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glen face daunting challenges, which they are meeting with optiimism and praise for teachers, students and community members. Meanwhile, they await word on state aid while putting forth budgets for an absentee-ballot vote that concludes on June 9. For a look at a number of school matters -- including the 20-minute lighting of O-M's Charles Martin Field Friday night -- see Schools.

Odessa Fire Chief John Jelliff, foreground, waves as trucks and cars pass by his house, horns blaring in birthday greeting.


Horn blasts celebrate Fire Chief's birthday

Horns were sounding loudly along Church Street in Odessa May 3rd as a caravan of cars and fire trucks passed by the home of Village Fire Chief John Jelliff, wishing him a happy birthday, social-distancing style. The parade of vehicles -- a surprise to Jelliff, who was seated with his wife Lisa on their front porch -- started at the Odessa-Montour High School and wound a couple of times around village blocks. Jelliff, who said at first he was 21, finally admitted to 46. He was delighted with the parade -- which included fire vehicles from the Odessa, Mecklenburg, Montour Falls, Town and Country and Burdett departments.

Photos: Sign in one car; Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer and his wife Cathy joined the parade in their vehicle.

Fire Chief John Jelliff receives a birthday card from Peggy Tomassi, who stopped by with her husband, former Fire Chief Mike Tomassi, after the parade.

The rains came

A daylong rainstorm had area waterfalls roaring Thursday evening, April 30, including Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls (above). For some other photos of rising and rampaging waters, click here.


Hall of Fame postpones Jeter induction a year

The Baseball Hall of Fame induction of New York Yankees great Derek Jeter (right) will have to wait a year, thanks to the pandemic. The Hall of Fame said April 29 that Jeter, along with Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and late union chief Marvin Miller, will be inducted -- together with any new honorees next year -- on July 25, 2021. A crowd of 70,000 had originally been expected in Cooperstown, home of the Hall, for a July 26, 2020 induction.


Hubsch elected Historical Society board chief

Jean Hubsch of Tyrone is returning to the role of president of the Schuyler County Historical Society Board of Trustees. Hubsch has been associated with the Historical Society for 20 years and previously served as board president from 2015 to 2018. People.

Photo: Jean Hubsch (Photo provided)


Annual Montour festival and parade canceled

The Montour Falls Fire Department Festival Committee has announced that the planned 64th annual Festival and Parade of Bands set for June 11-13 has been canceled due to the pandemic. "We wish everyone to stay safe and healthy during this time," the committee said, noting that the tentative date for next year's event is June 10-12, 2021.

Left: At the annual parade.

Glen mayor: What do we do about recycling?

In the midst of the pandemic, Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk points to a big cost increase pending in the village's recycling program, and seeks input from residents. Forum.


Italian American Festival is called off

The annual Watkins Glen Italian American Festival slated for Aug. 7 and 8 at Clute Park has been canceled due to the uncertainty and possible limitations created by the pandemic. This would have been the 40th annual such celebration. Organizers were quoted as saying they hope the 2021 festival will be "the best one ever."


Watkins' Waterfront Festival is called off

The annual Waterfront Festival planned for June 20 at Seneca Harbor Park in Watkins Glen has been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Features.


2020 Susan Award winner is O-M's Minnier

The Susan B. Haeffner Sportsmanship Award, presented annually since 2005 to an area high school student-athlete, goes this year to Odessa-Montour senior JoLynn Minnier (right), who Odessa File publisher Charlie Haeffner says is remarkable for her determination on the playing field and in life. Award.


Robotics team pitches in, helps fight pandemic

With a shortened season and many uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, a local youth robotics team is rolling with the ups and downs -- and in the process is utilizing robotics skills to help produce protective face shields for hospital workers. People.


A letter and flyer to O-M district residents

Odessa-Montour Schools Superintendent Chris Wood sends a letter and a flyer to district residents outlining the current school closure situation and the district's plans and hopes moving forward. Letter.

Photo: Superintendent Chris Wood


Senko, Westervelt are Lifetime Award winners

Longtime high school coaches Dick Senko (left) and Scott Westervelt (right) have been picked to receive The Top Drawer 24 program's annual Lifetime Achievement Awards for their devotion to high school athletes and athletics. Sports


Seneca Lake wineries are getting creative ...

From unique virtual tasting opportunities to virtual vineyard tours, wineries along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail "are eager to remain connected to their wine-loving fans as well as those just looking to learn a little more about this world-renowned wine region," the Wine Trail reports, offering a listing of various online points of interest. Wineries.


Jelliff takes over as Odessa Fire Chief

John "JJ" Jelliff (left) ascended to the role of Odessa Fire Chief on April 1, succeeding Mike Tomassi, who said he was "stepping back" to a deputy chief position after 10 years in the job. Jelliff, the First Assistant Chief during Tomassi's tenure, lives in Odessa with his wife Lisa.


As the Coronavirus arrives, Schuyler Hospital prepares

Schuyler Hospital President and Chief Financial Officer Rebecca Gould talks about the hospital's coronavirus preparations and the community's support in an interview held on the day the first case of COVID-19 in Schuyler County was confirmed. Gould.

Photo: Rebecca Gould (Provided)


Hospital, Seneca View adopt visitor measures

Due to the increased risk to the elderly population for contracting COVID-19 (coronavirus), Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility and Schuyler Hospital have implemented enhanced measures for visitors. They were effective Friday, March 13. Hospital.

One dead in Town of Reading house fire

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Department and New York State Fire are investigating a fatal house fire that occurred about 7 a.m. April 5 at a home on Church Road in the Town of Reading. The Sheriff's Office said it was investigating the identity of the victim and the cause of the fire. One 63-year-old male was airlifted to Upstate Medical in Syracuse for treatment of burns, while a 56-year-old woman was treated at Schuyler Hospital and released. Fire departments from Watkins Glen, Dundee, Tyrone, Montour Falls, Burdett and Beaver Dams responded, along with State Police and Schuyler Ambulance.


Alleged killer from Georgia caught in Elmira

A 29-year-old man sought for a March 10 murder in Augusta, Georgia was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Task Force at about 3 p.m. April 2 in Elmira, NY. The Task Force, acting on a lead that Kenneth Green Jr. (right) was hiding in Elmira, apprehended him without incident. Green, being held as a Fugitive from Justice at the Chemung County Jail, was allegedly a participant with three other men in the shooting death of Donell Graham in Augusta. The three other men have been caught and charged with murder.


O-Mara rips NY budget as a burden to Upstate

New York State Senator Tom O'Mara says the final state budget should have concentrated on pandemic-related issues, but instead burdens Upstate unnecessarily and unfairly with actions that have nothing to do with COVID-19. Government.

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara

Hospital setting up mask production site

Human Services Complex in Montour Falls selected; volunteers sought. Production to start Thursday. Business.

Fire truck accident

An Odessa Fire Department pumper was involved in an accident on Middle Road in the Town of Veteran shortly after noon on Wednesday. Government.

Chamber scholarship honors Harrington

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce announces its annual student scholarship, and names it in honor of the late Debra Harrington, who was involved for years in education. Business.


Schuyler, in effort to slow virus, urges potential visitors: Stay home

Schuyler County officials say that while they welcome visitors, they are asking any potential ones to "follow state and federal instructions and stay home until our nation defeats the pandemic." Government.


U.S. Attorney Kennedy warns about scammers

Calls COVID-19 online fraud schemers people with "an affliction" that "seems to have rotted their hearts and souls." His department, covering Western New York, offers tips about the scams and urges they be reported. Government.

Photo: U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. (Photo provided)

New COVID-19 sampling center opening in Ithaca. Site.

Recovery Cabinet takes steps locally

An Economic Recovery Cabinet composed of Schuyler County leaders "is taking proactive steps to create an environment of support for our businesses during this time of uncertainty," the Cabinet members explain in a letter on the Forum.


SUNY schools transitioning to online courses; CCC 'will remain open' for some classes, labs

The State University of New York Wednesday directed its 64 universities and colleges, including Corning Community College, "to transition courses wherever possible to remote instruction" or online courses in response to the Coronavirus threat. CCC said it is "developing plans to shift as many classes as possible to online and distance learning by March 19." This will continue until "at least April 4. The main point of this precaution is to reduce campus density and limit potential exposure to the virus while ensuring the continuation of the academic semester of class instruction. After March 19, the College will remain open" for hands-on courses and labs "and those with special circumstances that cannot transition to remote instruction." Beyond that, CCC added, "the current plan is to keep Perry Hall, our residence hall, open" and provide housing, food and services to residential students.

Non-essential travel ban takes effect

Governor Andrew Cuomo (right) on Friday, March 20, announced a ban, effective Sunday evening, March 22, on all non-essential travel, and prohibited all workers from reporting to their workplace in person, except those in essential services. The order excludes pharmacies and grocery stores and other similar businesses. Cuomo called the decision "New York on Pause."
Meanwhile: Steuben County officials on Friday announced two confirmed cases of COVID-19 -- one in the Town of Hornellsville and one in the Town of Bath. Both people were in isolation and being closely monitored.

O'Mara providing info, updates. Government.


Sharing Shed opens; item donations sought

The Barnie Parker Sharing Shed was made available to the public at noon on Saturday, March 21 -- a small building at St. John's Episcopal Church at Catharine Corners that organizers say will provide basic necessities free of charge, a potentially bright spot in the face of the pandemic. Items are needed, though, with donations deliverable to the shed at any time. Just drive up and leave them on the shed shelves. For a story and list of items sought, see People.

Photo: The late Clarence "Barnie" Parker, a longtime teacher and St. John's parishioner after whom the shed is named.

'FLX To-Go' shares info

New Facebook page by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce offers an opportunity for restaurants, bars, farms and other sources to update us on actions, reactions and options in this time of social distancing. Features.

Watkins Mayor: We won't shut off utilities. Forum.

Speaking at the press conference were, from left, Schuyler Hospital President/CFO Rebecca Gould, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, and Sheriff Bill Yessman. Also speaking were Schuyler County Public Health Director Deborah Minor and Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO of Cayuga Health System.


Coronavirus updates: hospitals suspend visits

SCHUYLER COUNTY, March 18, 2020 -- The reaction of government and businesses to the Coronavirus pandemic continues as:

--All visitation to Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Medical Center has been suspended with limited, specific exceptions. Hospital.

--The Town of Catharine Clerk's office and Highway Department are closing until at least April 6. Officials say taxes and dog licenses can either be mailed or dropped in the mail slot by the office front door, adding: "For other Town business with the clerk's office you can schedule to meet with Diane Sidle, Town Clerk, by calling 607-227-4632. For Highway Dept. business you can contact Marty Vondracek, Highway Superintendent, at 607-207-6925."

--Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn (pictured at right) said the County Legislature, "in an effort to support the local lodging industry, has granted an extension for remittance of room tax to the County Treasurer. Affected businesses are still required to file their quarterly report by Friday, March 20. Payment may be remitted with no penalty up until April 20. The Treasurer will be notifying lodging establishments of this extension."

--Seneca Physical Therapy in Watkins Glen has closed its office until April 1, noting: "During the closure, we will continue to be available for billing, appointment, insurance and general questions" by phone or email.

--While restaurants are closed by state order, takeout can be ordered, and is at various eateries.

--The Watkins Glen Municipal Building will be closed to the public from March 23-31. Utility bill payments may be made online, by phone or by mail, including through the entryway drop box. Village Court services are closed until April 30. The Village Police will remain on duty. Call 607-535-8222 for all non-emergency reports, or 911 for emergencies.


Public Health officials give COVID-19 updates

Hospital and Public Health officials, along with Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn and Sheriff Bill Yessman, provided updates Tuesday at a press conference regarding the coronavirus. For a full accounting of actions taken in the county, click here.

Beyond that, Schuyler County Public Health Director Deborah Minor said there have been no cases of COVID-19 in the county yet, although results of tests on five people are being awaited. Results on five others came back negative. She said that there have been self-quarantines, but none mandated. By maintaining a 6-foot distance from people, staying home, and avoiding crowds, she said, people "will help slow the spread of the virus."

And Cayuga Health System President Dr. Martin Stallone and Schuyler Hospital President/CFO Rebecca Gould outlined precautions being taken at hospitals in Schuyler and Tompkins Counties and for long-term-care patients in Schuyler. For more information, visit the Schuyler Hospital website here.

For a longer story on the news conference, click here.


Books, belongings picked up at schools

Students and parents picked up the kids' books and belongings from Schuyler County high schools Tuesday as the districts embarked on a forced hiatus that officials hope will end on April 13. Schools.

Photo: Books and belongings awaited pickup in the Odessa-Montour gym.


Village elections postponed; jail bars visitors

The village elections planned for Wednesday, March 18, have been posptoned on order of Governor Andrew Cuomo (pictured at right) until April 28 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Absentee ballots already submitted will be held until the election; there is no need to re-submit. In other news:

--Jail visitation at the Schuyler County Jail has been suspended "to protect our corrections staff and inmates," said Sheriff Bill Yessman, who added: "Non-essential professional visitors will also not be permitted into the jail for group meetings. In an effort to lessen the impact on inmates and their families, inmates will be provided with several free phone calls per week." Also: Sheriff Dept. Procedural Changes.

--All local Social Security offices are closed to the public, effective March 17, for in-person service. However, Social Security said, "we are still able to provide critical services."

--The Brick Tavern Museum and Wickham Rural Life Center in Montour Falls are closed to the public until further notice. Phone calls and emails are welcome at (607) 535-9741 or director@schuylerhistory.org.


IMRRC is closing; WGI postpones its opening

The Inernational Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen is closing its doors and canceling its annual Model Car Show (see PSA), while Watkins Glen International is postponing its opening weekend, which had been scheduled for April 4-5. "We believe," said WGI in a statement, "it is best to take preemptive action out of an abundance of caution and for the safety of our employees, the community and our loyal fans." Rescheduling information will be provided at a later date.

All-Schuyler All-Star teams

The Odessa File unveils its 2019-20 winter sports First, Second and Third Team All-Stars from the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour High Schools, including Co-MVPs. Sports.


'This will be a real test of everybody's patience'

Watkins Glen School Superintendent Greg Kelahan and High School Principal Kai D'Alleva sit down to dilscuss the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on local schools, which are closing until at least April 13. Schools.

Photo: Superintendent Greg Kelahan

Watkins Glen School District Emergency Meal Plan. Schools.
O-M offers curbside meal pick-up for students. Schools.


Schuyler schools closing their doors;
state of emergency declared in county

The three school districts in Schuyler County -- Odessa-Montour, Watkins Glen and Bradford -- are suspending classes to April 13 (later moved to April 29 and then May 15).

In addition, Public Health officials declared a state of emergency in Schuyler County, with Emergency Services Director William Kennedy saying the threat of the virus is imminent. "This declaration provides Schuyler County with the flexibility to prepare and respond to this rapidly evolving situation," he said.


Also: Falls Home officials said that in accordance with Health Department regulations, there will be no visitors allowed for now at that Montour Falls facility, with the excepton of medical personnel and emergency situations.

Cayuga Medical Center restricts visitors. Hospital.


Rotary honors Minnier as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior JoLynn Minnier (pictured at right) was honored Thursday by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for March. Minnier was introduced by teacher Russ Gardner, who said the honoree is known throughout the school as "a hard worker" and "tough" -- attributes that have served her well in the classroom and in sports, where she has played key roles on the school's volleyball, basketball and softball teams. She is also Vice President of the Senior Class. Minnier plans to attend Corning Community College and pursue a Teacher Assistant Certificate with an eye toward becoming a Special Needs Assistant.

Schuyler Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers, right, converses with Legislator David Reed before the start of the meeting.


Land transfer request will get a closer look

A request by Peter Widynski of the Watkins Glen Housing Authority asking the Schuyler County Legislatiure to approve the transfer of a 14-by-200 foot section of land on the northern edge of the Jefferson Village Apartments property on 2nd Street in Watkins Glen from the county to the Housing Authority drew discussion at Monday night's monthly Legislature meeting. County Attorney Steven Getman ultimately recommended that the matter be taken up in further meetings to discuss the possible legal ramifications. Widynski said the unused land near passing railroad tracks would, if transferred, enable Jefferson Village to improve access to the waterfront from 2nd Street. However, one question raised by Administrator Tim O'Hearn was whether the land is part of Seneca Harbor Park, which would complicate the matter, requiring, among other things, state Legislature approval.

Photo: Peter Widynski addresses the Schuyler legislators.


WG's Vickio places 2nd in state in Hoop Shoot

Rachel Vickio, a 6th grader in the Watkins Glen School District, placed second last weekend at the Elks Hoop Shoot State Championship in Syracuse.

She was competing in the 12/13-year-old age category.

Rachel had reached the State Meet -- in which she faced finalists from New York's three other regions -- by winning on the local level, then in Penn Yan, and then in the state's Western Regional contest in Elmira.



Photo: Rachel Vickio with her Hoop Shoot certificate and medal.


Watkins Glen boys fall in sectional final, 63-60

The No. 1-seeded Watkins Glen High School boys varsity basketball team -- down 16-4 after five minutes of play, and behind by 19 points in the third period -- rallied but fell short March 7 against No. 3 Newfield, losing 63-60 in the Section IV, Class C championship game at SUNY Cortland. The Senecas ended the season with a 21-3 record. Sports.

Photo: Watkins Glen's Isaac McIlroy looks for a shot.


Rotary honors Rodriguez as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Miranda Rodriguez was honored Thursday by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for March. Rodriguez was introduced by teacher Kelly Muir, who -- quoting several students -- described Rodriguez as a hard worker, articulate, and "an activist who won't back down." Muir added that the honoree is creative, musically gifted, confident, polite, and a mature communicator. Rodriguez, Vice-President of the Student Council, President of Music Club, a member of Diversity Club and of the upcoming school play, and an intern with the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), said she is "an advocate for social justice" who believes "it is my civic duty to speak out against bullying," whether directed toward herself or toward someone else. She plans to attend New York University to study film and TV, with an eye toward becoming a director or screenwriter.

Photo: Miranda Rodriguez speaks to Rotarians.


Former Congressman Amo Houghton dies

Amory Houghton, Jr., who headed up Corning Glass Works (now Corning, Inc.) before his election to Congress in 1986 -- a moderate of long standing in the Republican Party -- died Wednesday at his Corning home. He was 93. Said current Congressman Tom Reed: "Washington still has much to learn from Amo's legacy -- a legacy of common sense governing through respected bipartisan friendship and political civility. A legacy where our country comes first and our political party a distant second. Our nation has lost a true hero, and our hometown of Corning has lost a great ambassador. He will be missed by all."

Photo: Amory Houghton, Jr. (Photo provided)

State Senator Tom O'Mara speaks at the podium Wednesday in the State Capitol. Assemblyman Phil Palmesano is at his left elbow.


Gathering proclaims that 'Local Roads Matter'

State Senator Tom O'Mara, Asemblyman Phil Palmesano and a group of state Senators and Assembly members joined Wednesday with a statewide coalition of county and town highway superintendents and other local leaders to call for increased state support for local roads, bridges and culverts. The representataives, from nearly every region of New York State, are in Albany this week for their annual "Local Roads Matter" advocacy campaign. Government.

From left: Sheriff William Yessman, Emergency Management Coordinator William Kennedy, and Deborah Minor, Schuyler and Yates County Public Health Director, at the Legislature meeting.


Legislature receives information on COVID-19

Schuyler County legislators, at their Legislature Resolution Review Committee meeting Wednesday morning, were updated by area emergency services leaders on the symptoms, containment, pharmaceutical plans and other aspects of the Coronavirus, COVID-19. The session, called by Chair Carl Blowers, was to provide the legislators with the best available informatiion going forward, should any county action be needed. "We've got to stop the rumors," said Blowers of reports embellishing facts and fueling fears. "We have to keep the facts in front of us -- get ahead of anything that might come."

Photo: Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers at the meeting.


Merit badge leads Scouts to board meeting

Nearly a dozen Boy Scouts from Troop 2674 attended Tuesday night's Watkins Glen Village Board meeting with Scoutmaster Rick Evans to pose questions to the board as part of an 8-week Citizen of the Community merit badge program. Among the questions asked, and answered by Mayor Luke Leszyk:

--Will there be an electric-rate increase? A rate study is looking at a "minimal increase" soon, and that in any event, "we will have to raise rates" as infrastructure upgrades are eventually undertaken.

--When will the new wastewater treatment plant be operational? Soon, phased in as part of "a progression, a procedure" that involves shutting down aspects of the old plant as the new one is brought on line.

--What will happen to the site of the old plant? A Request for Interest was sent out, with no response from developers; grants will be sought to tear the structure down. Then developers should be more interested in leasing the site for mixed use.

Photo in text: Boy Scouts enter the Village Board meeting.


Supreme Court denies Trappler review petition

The United States Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition filed by convicted murderer Alice Trappler for a writ of certiorari seeking a review of a June 2019 New York State Appellate Dvision, Third Department decision upholding her 2013 conviction. Trappler was convicted in the 2012 murder of Daniel Bennett in his Town of Dix home. Bennett was shotgunned to death by Trappler's ex-husband, Thomas Wesley Borden, who later died in Pennsylvania when he jumped in front of a moving train as police closed in on him. Trappler, who authorities said supplied Borden with the gun that was used, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Photo: Alice Trappler (File photo)

AllPark Solutions' Robert Montgomery addressed the SCOPED annual meeting at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.


Coming soon: Finger Lakes Fantasy of Lights

A Chinese-style silk lantern festival once proposed for Havana Glen Park is now on track to operate from August through October on grounds owned by the Grist Iron Brewing Company off Route 414 in the Town of Hector. The festival, with silk figures -- some stories high -- affixed to metal frames and with colorful lights in a theme format, was announced at the annual meeting Feb. 26 of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development. The meeting's keynote speaker, Robert Montgomery of the presenting company, AllPark Solutions, said the first-year theme will be Finger Lakes-related. Business.


Glen Baptist Church welcomes new pastor

The Glen Baptist Church, Watkins Glen, held an installation service on January 26 for its new pastor, Paul R. Brown. People.


Photo: Pastor Paul R. Brown with his wife, Rebekah, and their two daughters. (Photo provided)


Exhibit honors 100 years of hospital care

The Schuyler County Historical Society is honoring the 100th anniversary of the chartering of Schuyler County's first hospital with a speical exhibit. Features.

Kara Reese, Rotary's O-M Student of the Month for February.


Chapman, Reese: Rotary's Students of Month

Odessa-Montour High School seniors Hannah Chapman and Kara Reese were honored Feb. 13 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Students of the Month for January and February, respectively.

Both were introduced by the district's Dan Batchelder, who described Chapman as "not afraid to tackle anything difficult" and as a person who has high standards "and will do anything to achieve them." Chapman, a member of the O-M volleyball and basketball teams, plans to become a physician or Physician's Assistant.

Batchelder said Reese -- an O-M swimmer and basketball player and, like Chapman, an Honor Roll student -- is "a tremendous leader in sports or the classroom ... someone her classmates look up to." She plans to attend Keuka College to prepare for a career in Environmental Science.

Photo: Hannah Chapman, Rotary's O-M Student of the Month for January.

State Senator Tom O'Mara, left, and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano pose with Rotary Student of the Month Travis Hill after the Feb. 6 Rotary Club luncheon. The two veteran legislators were guest speakers at the annual joint Rotary Club-League of Women Voters gathering at the Elks Lodge, discussing "The State of the State."


Rotary honors Travis Hill as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Travis Hill was honored Feb. 6 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for February. Hill was introduced by teacher Nils Watson, who said the honoree "is a fine example of success at WGHS" and "a role model in the areas of work ethic, commitment and positivity." Hill, a member of the National Honor Society who competes in both soccer and baseball, "is a leader among his peers," said Watson, who has both taught and coached him. Hill plans to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology and study Computing Security.

Photo in text: Travis Hill addresses the Rotary Club.

This flying friend checks out the accumulation on a porch railing.


During the snowstorm ... the birds were posing

Maggie Field provided us with photos of birds at and near her feeders snapped during a Feb. 7 snowstorm -- a day when school was canceled and most humans had the luxury of staying indoors.

Photo in text: The snow was falling and the wind blowing.

Investigators were at the scene Wednesday morning following Tuesday's house fire.

Victims identified in Town of Reading house fire

Two people died Tuesday, Nov. 4 in a house fire at 3320 County Route 28 in the Town of Reading. The Schuyler County Sheriff's Department withheld the victims' names "pending positive identification," but a TV report Wednesday -- featuring family members sharing their grief on camera -- identified the two as 20-year-old Katlyn Kernan and her nephew, 2-year-old Duane Kernan.

The blaze -- the cause of which was still being investigated Wednesday -- was first reported about 10 a.m. Tuesday, with heavy smoke lifting from the scene. Tankers from multiple departments raced to the house, and parts of Route 28 were closed. The house is located near the Castel Grisch Winery.

Donations sought for grieving family. People.
GoFundMe account set up here.


Palmesano rises in Assembly GOP ranks

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) will be serving his colleagues and his constituents in a new leadership capacity. Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski) has tapped Palmesano to serve as the Assistant Minority Leader of the Assembly Republican Conference. Gov't.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.

A sculpted, red-lit ice bar was a popular stop at the Ice Bar festivities at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.


Ice Bar concludes at the Watkins Harbor Hotel

The annual three-day Ice Bar -- a popular celebration of food, wine and ice sculptures -- was held for the third (and this year's final) night Feb. 1 with hundreds of people gathering in and behind the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. A portion of the proceeds has gone each of the past eight years to the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross, and will again this year. Over those eight years, about $150,000 has been raised for the Red Cross by the hotel through this event.

Photo: Caricaturist Jon Haeffner was among the features at the Ice Bar.


Danks Burke launches bid for State Senate

Leslie Danks Burke visited seven cities and villages Jan. 28 on a "Whistlestop Tour" to announce her run for the 58th State Senate District seat held by Republican Tom O'Mara. Danks Burke, a Democrat, stopped in Penn Yan, Watkins Glen (at El Rancho Restaurant), Hornell, Bath, Corning, Elmira and Ithaca. "Our young people are leaving because they can't find a future here," she said. "Like everyone else in this district, I have a Senator right now who claims there are plenty of jobs in the Southern Tier if people worked harder -- while he gets a second paycheck from his side-job at a lobbying firm. I'm going to Albany to finally get us a seat at the table, because we need a Senator who sees our challenges here and will deliver." Danks Burke, an attorney, ran for State Senate in 2016, losing to O'Mara.

Photo: Leslie Danks Burke during a visit to Corning on her "Whistlestop Tour." (Photo by Benjamin Allen)


2nd Schuyler Habitat house is dedicated

Schuyler Habitat for Humanity dedicated its second home on Sunday, Jan. 26. More than 50 persons were in attendance. The home, at 306 Broadway in the Village of Montour Falls, is nearing completion. Volunteers are welcome to help on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Photo: From left: The Reverend Michael Hartney, Schuyler Habitat Treasurer; County Legislator James Howell; Marion Nicastro, Habitat Vice President; Bob Groll, Habitat President; Kayla Verderwreff, Partner Family; and John King, Mayor of Montour Falls. (Photo provided)


Mayor recounts his historic trek recreation

Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer on Jan. 25 discussed his 2,000-mile trek last summer recreating a journey made in 1825 by fur trader Gen. William Ashley. The talk, before about 80 people, was held in the Odessa Municipal Building Community Room. People.

Photo: Mayor Gerry Messmer addressing Saturday's audience.


Carroll to step down from Glen Chamber post

Rebekah Carroll has submitted her resignation as Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce -- effective after "her replacement is selected, on-boarded, and trained," says a Chamber press release. Carroll, who joined the Chamber in 2008 as its Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer and was named President and CEO on May 17, 2010 (her title was changed to Executive Director in 2019), says she is leaving to pursue business goals that include her own accounting and consulting firm, to be located in Montour Falls. "I'm really excited," she said, noting that she had her own accounting business years ago and wants "to get back to it." She hopes to employ "10 or 12 people" in a business that also includes "strategic planning, document creation" and, possibly, medical billing. Chamber Board Chair Amanda Smith-Socaris said "we sincerely appreciate Rebekah's remarkable contributions to the Chamber during her time as CEO and Executive Director. We offer her our heartfelt appreciation and a blessing for her entrepreneurial success." The search for and installation of a successor, Carroll noted, could take until summer.

Photo in text: Rebekah Carroll (Photo provided)


Glen board OKs REOI for waterfront project

Approves Request for Expression of Interest, due back on March 17, looking for possible developers for a lease project on the waterfront sites of the treatment plant and Village Marina. Government.

Photo: Watkins Deputy Mayor Lou Perazzini at meeting Jan. 21.


Schuyler shares in NYS's annual REDC awards

New York State's annual Regional Economic Development Council awards, totaling $761 million, include more than $1.2 million for Schuyler County-based projects. Government.

Gabe Planty (in Syracuse University shirt) signs his Letter of Intent to attend SU as part of the cross country and track-and-field teams. Pictured with him are his brother Aaron, left, and parents Amy and Tom.


Watkins Glen's Planty signs to attend Syracuse

Watkins Glen High School senior Gabe Planty signed a Letter of Intent Jan. 23 in a ceremony at WGHS to attend Division 1 Syracuse University as a member of SU's defending ACC champion Cross Country team and the school's indoor and outdoor Track squads. Planty, currently No. 1 in the state in the 2 Mile Run, recently set school records in that race and at the 3000 Meter and 3200 Meter distances. A longtime member of the WGHS cross country squad -- including when it won the state Class C title in 2016 -- Planty said he talked with coaches at Cornell and the University of Buffalo, but felt SU offered him "the best opportunity ... If I can help them win another ACC title, I'd be really excited." He noted that he had always wanted a signing ceremony, for which "I'm grateful."

Photo in text: Gabe Planty at the signing ceremony.


National Honor Society adds 9 at OM induction

Candles play a role as the Odessa-Montour High School chapter of the NHS holds a ceremony in the Fetter-Brown Auditorium. Schools.

Photo: This lighted candle was part of the NHS induction.

Among those at the Gala were, from left: Ken Wilson, Tiffany and David Zinger, and Linda and Jeff Confer.


Chamber's Gala features auctions, awards

The annual Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Winter Gala was held Jan. 18 at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel -- a gathering featuring a social hour, dinner, silent and live auctions, photos, character drawings, live music, blackjack, and the presentation of annual awards. Those went to Montour Falls Mayor John King (Community Spirit Award), Chicone Builders of Montour Falls (Leader in Business Award), Atwater Estates Vineyard owner Ted Marks (Lifetime Achievement Award), and Dennis Fagan, recently retired Chairman of the Schuyler County Legislature (the Max Neal Award, based on dedication to, and support of, the Chamber of Commerce.) Winter Gala.

Photo: Montour Falls Mayor John King, winner of the Community Spirit Award.

Left: The Harlem Wizards' Roscoe Johnson Jr. contends against the Odessa team's Curtis Harris for the game-opening jump ball. Right: Wizard Courtland Holloway entertains after dunking the ball for his team's first basket.


Harlem Wizards entertain crowd at O-M gym

The Harlem Wizards entertainment basketball team pleased a crowd in the Odessa-Montour High School gym Wednesday night, Jan. 15 as it played a team of local school-related personnel and interacted with the crowd, posing for selfies, selling merchandise and otherwise brightening a Schuyler County winter night. Profits from the event were earmarked for the school district's Parent-Faculty Organization.

Photo: The Wizards' Dwayne Simpson greets O-M team captain (and School Superintendent) Chris Wood at center court.


Annual Steps program kicks off in March

Schuyler Steps Out, the free community walking program presented by Schuyler Hospital, starts its 14th year in March. Teams must register by Feb. 14. People.

Erin Gruwell, left, the teacher who inspired and compiled The Frredom Writers Diary 20 years ago -- leading to a feature film and a documentary -- was on stage Jan. 9 at the Watkins Glen Elementary School with two of those 150 writers, Sue Ellen Alpizar and Narada Comans.


Freedom Writers' history, hopes aired at WGES

The Freedom Writers' history -- told through a documentary flim -- and the goals and hopes of those 150 student writers whose diary entries gained fame 20 years ago and led to a 2007 feature film starring Hilary Swank, were featured Thursday night, Jan. 9 at a presentation in the Watkins Glen Elementary School auditorium. With the Freedom Writers' teacher, Erin Gruwell (portrayed by Swank in the film) moderating the gathering, an audience of about 75 people watched the nearly hour-long documentary and heard from two of the original Freedom Writers on hand for the evening, Sue Ellen Alpizar and Narada Comans, in a question-and-answer session. Their themes included education as an equalizer, and expression as empowering. Their message, said Comans, "is one of tolerance and hope." Gruwell and the two writers also interacted Friday with Watkins Glen teachers and students. Gruwell visited the district last year, and said she jumped at the chance to return -- that she sees the school district as "family."

Photo: Freedom Writers teacher Erin Gruwell on stage.


Rotary honors Planty as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Gabe Planty (right) was honored Jan. 9 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for January. Planty was introduced by teacher Karen Armstrong, who said he is "curious," "compassionate" and "quite the leader" -- a young man "responsible in his school work" who is a member of National Honor Society and involved in church work. A state-level competitive runner, a captain on his school's cross country team and a member of that squad when it won a state title, "his most notable trait," said Armstrong, is his humility -- "putting other people before himself." Planty said he has applied to several colleges and is "patiently awaiting acceptance at Syracuse University," where he hopes "to further my academic and athletic career."


Watkins Glen Library appoints new director

The Watkins Glen Public Library Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of Tracy Savard as its new library director. Savard began the position on October 28 after twelve years at the Rakow Research Library of The Corning Museum of Glass. She has been a longtime member of the American Library Association and the Art Libraries Society of North America. She holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Kent State University, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Le Moyne College, and graduated from Watkins Glen High School. Savard says she is eager to replant her roots in Watkins Glen and is looking forward to a long and fulfilling career serving her community at the same library she grew up frequenting.

Photo: Tracy Savard (Photo provided)

Construction site across from the Jefferson Village apartments.


Preparation begins for 2nd Street apartments

Preparations have begun for construction of the planned apartment building-child care center on East Second Street in Watkins Glen. The facility, across the street from the Jefferson Village apartments, is under the guidance of Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, which has said it is "dedicated to helping people of modest incomes find -- and stay in -- high-quality housing throughout Central New York." In addition to nearly three-dozen apartments, plans call for the childcare center at the western end of the complex, with parking immediately outside its doors, and with an entrance to a playground from the building's rear. A larger parking lot will be positioned on the south side of the complex.

Photo: Sign on the fence that surrounds the construction site.

Schuyler County Judge Matt Hayden, right, shakes hands with Mark Rondinaro after swearing in Rondinaro and Gary Gray, left, to four-year terms as legislators at the Jan. 2 meeting.


Blowers takes over as Legislature Chairman

Carl Blowers was named Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Jan. 2 at the legislature's annual organizational meeting. Blowers was nominated by Legislator Phil Barnes, with a second by Jim Howell. The subsequent vote was unanimous. He succeeds Dennis Fagan, longtime chair who did not seek re-election in November. Blowers' election followed the swearing-in of Legislators Mark Rondinaro, re-elected in November, and newcomer Gary Gray. Reappointments through 2023 followed of Stacy Husted as Clerk to the Legislature and County Auditor; Steven Getman as County Attorney (with Legislator Michael Lausell opposed); and Wesley Roe as Public Defender. Named to one-year terms were Gary Emerson as County Historian and Katherine Conroy as Coroner.

Photo: Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers.

Public Health names Employees of Year

Four women -- two in Schuyler County and two in Yates County -- are honored for their efforts in 2019. People.


Watkins board votes 3-2 to sell spare fire truck

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Dec. 17 voted 3-2 to accept an offer of $60,000 from the Beaver Dams Fire Department for the 2001 pumper truck that had been purchased from Gang Mills for $78,000 as a fill-in for a Watkins fire engine that was damaged in a rollover accident during a fire call in November 2018. The damaged truck underwent extensive repairs that took most of a year, and is now back in service. Opposing the sale were trustees Laurie DeNardo and Nan Woodworth.

The board also accepted grant funds totaling "not more than $415,700" from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for use in the planned Clute Park redevelopment -- one of several grants to be used in the project. In addition, the board set Wednesday, March 18 as the date of the next Village Election, with voting to take place from 12 noon to 9 p.m. at the Watkins Glen Community Center; and approved an expenditure of $26,413 as part of the county's new $350,000 radio system software -- with the proviso that it is a one-time charge and can be included in the next budget.

Photo: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk at Tuesday's meeting.

Four Dragons Martial Arts students marched in the parade and demonstrated some of their lessons.


Watkins Glen holds its Village Christmas

The annual Watkins Glen Village Christmas was held Dec. 13 from 2nd to 7th Streets on the community's main thoroughfare, Franklin Street, which was closed to traffic that was rerouted up Decatur Street. The event featured vendors, music, a gingerbread house contest, cookie decorating, a chili cookoff, Santa and Mrs. Claus, a parade, and fireworks. The parade featured fire trucks, tractors, floats, and marching groups like the Glen Gators swimmers and the Four Dragons Martial Arts students. Features

Photo: Santa and Mrs. Claus were on the parade's final float.

Addendum: Winners of the parade: "Most Christmas Spirit" --Lakewood Vineyards; "Best Theme" -- Beaver Dams Fire Dept.; "Best Decorated Fire Truck" -- Montour Falls Fire Dept.; and "Judges' Choice" -- RJ Richtmyer Vintage Tractor.


Captain Bill's leveled; new structure coming

The old, iconic Captain Bill's gift shop at the foot of Seneca Lake was demolished Dec. 9 as part of the ongoing Downtown Revitalization Initiative in the village -- with a replacement structure -- a larger building, built several feet north and west, opening a view of the lake -- due "very soon," says Mayor Luke Leszyk. "They want it up and running by spring." The old building was, and the new one will be, part of a group of services provided by the Simiele family, including the Seneca Harbor Station Restaurant, the Seneca Legacy dining vessel, and the Stroller IV tour boat. Owner Mark Simiele said the new structure -- with expanded retail space, ticket-sale space, storage space and offices -- is expected to be "fully functional by mid-May."

Photo: Artist's rendition of the planned building.


Rotary honors Vondracek as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Grace Vondracek was honored Dec. 12th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for December. Vondracek was introduced by teacher Russ Gardner, who described the honoree as "well rounded ... active in the school community," and "one of O-M's top academic students." He also outlined her athletic exploits, which included First Team All-Star status this year in soccer and for the past four seasons in softball. She was also recently named an ESPN and Odessa File Athlete of the Week for her basketball exploits. She ranks third in her class academically, and is considering her college options, looking hard at both SUNY Cortland and SUNY Binghamton.

Photo: Grace Vondracek and O-M teacher Russ Gardner.


Legislature topics: Sales tax, internet service

The Schuyler County Legislature on Dec. 10 heard a report that sales tax is up, and discussed such matters as internet expansion in the western part of the county and vetting. Government.

Photo: Clerk of the Legislature Stacy Husted reads a Certificate of Recognition she presented to Chairman Dennis Fagan, who chose not to seek re-election after 15 years on the Legislature. His final term ends Dec. 31.

High-speed chase ends in arrest

A Beaver Dams man faces several charges after a motor vehicle chase through and outside Watkins Glen. Government.

The garage was fully engulfed and spreading to the house (right) when firefighters arrived.


Firefighters called out twice; fire levels house

Firefighters responded Friday night, Dec. 7, and again early Saturday morning to a house fire at 5190 County Road 14 outside Odessa, a structure owned by Robert Dupay, who called in the alarm at 8:16 p.m. The fire, which started in the garage before spreading -- and which rekindled around 1:30 a.m. amid high winds -- leveled the structure. No injuries were reported. The cause is under investigation, but one fire official said it might "have been a wood stove problem." The Odessa, Montour Falls, Watkins Glen, Mecklenburg, Beaver Dams, Van Etten, Millport and Town & Country Fire Departments responded, along with State Police and Schuyler Ambulance.

More than $21,000 has been raised for the Dupay family through a Go Fund Me page set up by Robert Dupay's sister-in-law. If you want to contribute, click here.


Morse, Kelly having standout season at CCC

Watkins Glen High School grads Hannah Morse and Taylor Kelly -- who helped WGHS to a Class C basketball state runnerup finish in their senior year (2018-19) -- are building some impressive statistics on the Corning Community College basketball team. Through the first 12 games (in which CCC went 5-7), Morse led the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III in Assists Per Game with 8.7. She also scored 14 points per game. Kelly, meanwhile, averaged 18 points per game, including a 40-point game (one point short of the CCC record) in which she tied the school 3-point basket mark with 8.

Photo: Taylor Kelly, left, and Hannah Morse while spectators at the WGHS girls varsity basketball game on Dec. 6.

Kids and some adults -- like the family of Odessa Fire Chief Mike Tomassi -- posed with Santa. Chief Tomassi's department stages the party each year.


Annual OFD Christmas Party delights the kids

The Odessa Fire Department's annual Children's Christmas Party drew a crowd of youngsters and their parents to the village Municipal Building Sunday afternoon, Dec. 8. Face-painting, drawing, cookie frosting, snacks, and visits with Santa Claus marked the occasion. Each child, after visiting Santa, received a present courtesy of the Fire Department, which pays for the gifts through fund-raising events.

Top photo: Hayden Price, 4, of Odessa had a snowman painted on her face.

Bottom photo: An elf handles some of the presents given to the children at the party.


Farewell to the Chef and the Wine Wench: Corneliuses relocating

Bill and Norrie Cornelius, celebrity chef and tasting-room fixture, are moving back to Ohio, the state they came from. Here is a look at the couple, what they've done here across 21 years, and what they're planning in the future. Farewell.

Photo: Bill and Norrie Cornelius on the front porch of their long-time Watkins Glen home.


Rotary Student of Month: Tristin Rose-Morley

Watkins Glen High School senior Tristin Rose-Morley (right) was honored Dec. 5 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for December. Rose-Morley was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who said the honoree -- a writer, editor, softball player, Varsity Club member, Food Bank volunteer, and employee at the Painted Bar Stables and the Lakeside Veterinary Services -- is "an exceptional student" and "an amazing person whose maturity level is beyond her years. She is kind and generous ... and has an amazing sense of humor, but never at somebody's expense." Tristin said she plans to attend SUNY Geneseo with an eye toward a career in veterinary medicine.

Lights adorn the base and shrubbery at the Odessa Municipal Building. Also lit: a tree planted last year near the road.


'Tis the Season at Odessa Municipal Building

The Odessa Municipal Building was the site Nov. 30 of vocal and instrumental Christmas music performed by students from the Odessa-Montour school district, with a sing-along by members of the audience on hand to hear them. Outside, the village's Christmas tree was lit, along with the shrubs and small firs fronting the building.

Photo: Musicians from the O-M school district performed at the Odessa Municipal Building.


Cayuta postal window closed; service limited

Services provided by the Cayuta Post Office were placed on a limited basis effective Wednesday, Nov. 27, the reason cited being an unspecified safety concern. The Cayuta site is located in a residence on the hamlet's main road, Route 224, with service until Nov. 27 accessible through a front door off the wrap-around porch.

On-site service was to be suspended, said a note posted on the door, although external mail delivery was to continue as normal. In the case of hold mail, mail requiring a signature, and packages that cannot be delivered, pickup is taking place at the Newfield Post Office.

No further explanation was available.

The Cayuta Post Office; the note displayed there.

Watkins Glen High School student Mattie Yontz carries two packages from the truck to the back door of the church.


Hesselson's makes a Seneca Santa delivery

The annual Seneca Santa program, which provides Christmas presents to nearly 300 underprivileged children in Schuyler County each year, on Nov. 22 received its annual infusion from Hesselson's of toys, games and other items -- provided at cost -- to be used as gifts. The Elmira Heights firm sent a truck with two pallets of boxed merchandise to the First Presbyterian Church in Watkins Glen, where the items will be stored -- along with others donated and bought by the program -- in the church's old second-floor gym pending sorting and then delivery to area families by regional fire departments on Dec. 24. Offloading the truck Friday: about 20 Watkins Glen High School students, a volunteer effort provided by WGHS each year.

WGHS students pass a Hesselson's package up the stairs of the First Presbyterian Church.


WG water system fixes carry large price tag, but not all at once

A comprehensive study of the village's aging water distribution network puts the cost of upgrading at $16 million, but Mayor Luke Leszyk says "there is no way we will put that burden on the taxpayers." Instead, the study will serve as a road map over a number of years. Government.

Photo: Mayor Luke Leszyk

Santa and Mrs. Claus paid a visit to St. Mary's Holiday Bazaar.


'Tis the season: Bazaars held in Watkins Glen

Two annual holiday bazaars were held Nov. 16 in Watkins Glen: the annual St. Mary's Holiday Bazaar at St. Mary's of the Lake Parish Center and the Saint James' Holiday Bazaar and Luncheon at St. James' Parish House. Various vendors were on hand at St. Mary's, which also offered baked goods and pastas, a cafe lunch, a cake booth, a Money Tree raffle and Pot-of-Gold raffles. Santa and Mrs. Claus also visited. The Saint James' bazaar offered a raffle, specialty handmade items, Christmas figurines, sweets, breads and a lunch including homemade desserts.

Photo: One of the items available for sale at the St. James' Holiday Bazaar.


Ceremony signals
re-opening of Graft

Family and friends gathered Nov.15 at the grand reopening of the Graft Wine + Cider Bar, an eatery at 204 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen. The facility, first opened in 2015 and closed earlier this year, is now under the direction of Chef Orlando Rodriguez. A soft opening put the facility back in operation last week. Business.

Photo: Chef Orlando Rodriguez at ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Smoke comes out of the house at 103 Maple Ave. in Odessa.


Fire call draws 4 departments to Odessa home

Firefighters responded January 1 to a fire at a two-story apartment house at 103 Maple Ave. in Odessa. When they arrived, they found two people on the roof who -- having been alerted by smoke alarms in the house -- followed an evacuation plan. They were helped off the roof, while "all other occupants were able to safely exit the building prior to the Fire Department's arrival," said a press release. Cause of the fire: an electrical malfunction. The fire was contained to the first floor, but there was heat and smoke damage throughout the building. Code Enforcement deemed the structure uninhabitable afterward, and the Red Cross assisted the building residents who were displaced. Firefighters from Odessa, Montour Falls, Watkins Glen and Burdett answered the alarm, which sounded at about 9:52 p.m.

Photo: Firefighters raise a ladder at the side of the house.

Matt Hayden, left, listens as his father, Carl, addresses spectators in the courtroom. Carl then administered the oath of office.


Hayden sworn in as Schuyler County Judge

Matthew Hayden was sworn in Dec. 31 as Schuyler County Judge before a large and enthusiastic gathering of supporters in the County Courtroom. The oath was administered by his father, Carl, Chancellor Emeritus of the New York State Board of Regents. For story and photos, see Goverrnment.


Legislature ends year, bids Fagan goodbye

The Schuyler County Legislature met Dec. 30 for its mandated year-end session, passing several minor resolutions and saying farewell to Chairman Dennis Fagan, who ended a 15-year run on the board, many years as its chair. He did not seek re-election. Said County Administrator Tim O'Hearn: "Congratulations and thanks for your leadership." Answered Fagan: "I certainly enjoyed ... working with my fellow legislators. We accomplished a lot." The legislators and half-dozen audience spectators applauded.

Chairman Dennis Fagan at his closing session.


One injured as vehicle strikes house in Falls

The driver of a car was injured Dec. 30 when the southbound vehicle went off the road at the corner of South Catherine and South Streets in Montour Falls and struck the two-story porch of a vacant house, demolishing the porch. The vehicle came to rest against a stop sign. The building, at 102 W. South St., has a January 2019 sign posted in a window that says "Do Not Occupy," citing state "fire prevention and building codes." The injured driver, not immediately identified by police, was taken to the hospital. Police believe the accident was caused when the operator had a medical emergency. Deputies were assisted by the Montour Falls Fire Department, Schuyler Ambulance, Montour Falls Code Enforcement, Montour Falls DPW, and Scotty's Towing.

The unoccupied house on South Catherine Street after the accident.


Rotary honors Gardner as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Sara Gardner was honored Nov. 14 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as the O-M Student of the Month for November. Gardner was introduced by teacher and coach Greg Gavich, who described the honoree -- a three-sport athlete (soccer, basketball and tennis) and the school's Homecoming Queen -- as "a hard worker, dedicated," and "a leader by example." Gardner -- a High Honor student -- plans to attend college, play basketball there, and pursue a career in Sports Management or a related sports-based field.

Photo: O-M senior Sara Gardner at Thursday's Watkins-Montour Rotary Club luncheon.


DA's office pleased with Horein case decision

The Schuyler County District Attorney's office says it is "extremely pleased" with the New York State Parole Board's rejection Nov. 14 of Joshua Horein's first request for parole. Horein -- who pleaded guilty at the age of 16 in 2000 to killing Watkins Glen school classmate Amber Brockway, and who was then sentenced to 20 years to life in prison -- appeared before the Parole Board in October under a Lmited Credit Time Allowance provision that can trim sentence time. He can apply again in April. "The District Attorney's office is extremely pleased that Mr. Horein's parole was denied," said a statement Friday from the office of DA Joseph Fazzary, adding: "Amber's family is very thankful for the outpouring of community support on behalf of Amber" that preceded the October hearing.

Photo: Joshua Horein in 2000 (Photo provided)

County Administrator Tim O'Hearn presented a power-point explanation of the budget.


Legislators approve 2020 Schuyler budget

The Schuyler County Legislature unanimously passed the 2020 county budget nov. Nov. 12 -- a $50.1 million spending plan with a tax levy of $11,318,117, an increase of less than 2%. The tax rate is $7.17 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, a decrease for the eighth straight year. County Administrator Tim O'Hearn outlined the budget in a half-hour presentation, capped with a musical video tribute to outgoing chairman Dennis Fagan -- who has been on the Legislature since 2004, and its chairman since 2011. He did not seek re-election.

The legislators also approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Village of Watkins Glen with an eye toward redeveloping part of Seneca Harbor Park and the site of the current wastewater treatment plant. That plant will be replaced next year by a new facility on the canal serving both Watkins and Montour Falls. The memorandum "sets forth a partnership to maximize the development opportunity" on the old WWTP site "and the adjacent Village Marina Bar & Grill site," the resolution read. The new WWTP is slated to go online in March.

Photo: Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan.


Vietnam Vet LaMoreaux recounts experiences

David W. LaMoreaux of Burdett, a Staff Sergeant during the Vietnam conflict, talked about his military experiences Nov. 11 during a keynote speech at a Veterans Day gathering at the Watkins Glen Community Center. LaMoreaux, who was in Vietnam for a year with the Army, returned to the U.S. 50 years ago, on Nov. 11, 1969 after a tour of duty that included combat and earned him a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Other speakers included Schuyler County Legislator Carl Blowers and Watkins Glen Village Trustee Lou Perazzini.

Photo: David LaMoreaux at the Veterans Day ceremony, hosted by American Legion Post 555.


Let's remember to thank Veterans year-round

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning), in his latest column, says Veterans Day (Monday, Nov. 11) "is, obviously, an excellent opportunity to thank our brave servicemen and women for everything they’ve done to keep us safe, but it’s also a reminder of what we should be doing all year." Column.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano


A column from the mayor of Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk presents the first in a planned series of periodic columns about the many things happening in Watkins Glen. Column.

Photo at right: Watkins Glen Mayor
Luke Leszyk


Rotary honors Burrows as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Zachary Burrows (right) was honored Nov. 7 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for November. Burrows was introduced by math teacher Christie Fedele, who described the honoree as "determined, dedicated, and creative," and as "one of the more respectful, kind hearted individuals I have ever met" -- one whose "perseverance, loyalty, manners and positivity shine through with everything he does." Burrows -- who has played football and lacrosse at WGHS and is competing this year in wrestling, as well -- said he hopes to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and wants a career in the military and in Computer Science. "I know I can make any of my dreams become reality," he said.

  Hayden wins Schuyler County Judge race; Rondinaro, Gray earn seats on Legislature

Matt Hayden (pictured at right) is the unofficial winner of the 10-year post as Schuyler County Judge. Hayden, currently the county's Chief Assistant District Attorney, outpolled three other hopefuls --Jessica Saks, Dan Fitzsimmons and Steven Getman -- in balloting around the county Nov. 5th. With all 38 districts reporting, the vote totals, which won't be certified until late this month, were as follows, along with each candidate's party affiliation:

Matt Hayden (Democrat, Working Families/Schuyler First, and Serve America Movement): 2,218
Steven Getman (Republican and Libertarian): 1,410
Jessica Saks (Independence and About Justice): 762
Dan Fitzsimmons (Home Town Law): 753

Meanwhile: incumbent Republican Mark Rondinaro turned back a challenge from Democrat Paul Bartow in the race for a Schuyler County Legislature seat in District 7, while Republican Gary Gray defeated Democrat Maggie Coffey as the two newcomers battled for a Legislature seat in District 8.

Mark Rondinaro (District 7) and Gary Gray (District 8).

Legislative District 7:
Mark Rondinaro (Republican): 343
Paul Bartow (Democrat)

Legislative District 8:
Gary Gray (Republican): 396
Maggie Coffey (Democrat):199

In other contested races:

Dix Justice: Kristina Vondracek def. Brian Eslinger, 520-404.
Catharine Town Supervisor: Rick Lewis def. John VanSoest, 226-202.
Cayuta Highway Superintendent: Thomas J. Beach def. Rocky Vail Sr., 107-64.
Orange Town Council: Norma Burris def. Darin Miller, 190-182
Tyrone Town Council (vote for 2): Edward Perry Sr. 237, Thomas R. Allen 219, Norman G. Knight 183.

Exhibit honors Burdett's Bicentennial

The Schuyler County Historical Society is honoring the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Village of Burdett with a special exhibit that opened Nov. 5, at the Society’s Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls. Features.


Watson will retire from Schuyler Hospital
in Feb.; Gould is appointed the next President

Jim Watson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Schuyler Hospital, has announced his plan to retire in February 2020. Rebecca Gould, Chief Financial Officer, has been appointed the next President by the Cayuga Health System Board of Directors. As part of the transition plan, Gould will step into the role of Chief Operating Officer on Oct. 14 and will assume the role of President in February. Watson was hired as President and CEO in Feburary 2016, after serving decades in hospital leadership roles elsewhere in the state.

"Working for Schuyler Hospital has been a great way to finish out my healthcare career," said Watson. "The support from the community is second-to-none here." Gould has worked at Schuyler Hospital since 2000, starting as a Medical Billing Representive and working her way up to CFO and Executive Director of Finance. She has a master's degree in Business Administration and an Advanced Certificate in Project Management from SUNY Empire State College.

Photo: Jim Watson and Rebecca Gould (Photos provided)

State Senator Tom O'Mara, left, and Montour Falls Mayor John King cut the ribbon at the ceremony marking completion of the newly reconstructed Mill Street Bridge above Shequagah Falls. Assemblyman Phil Palmesano is at right, with Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn next to him.


Ribbon-cutting marks reopening of bridge

A ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 25 on the Mill Street Bridge above Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls marked the reopening of that newly refurbished crossing. New York State helped finance the project through its BridgeNY program. On hand Friday were State Senator Tom O'Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Montour Falls Mayor John King, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, several county legislators, and various other officials. The bridge is owned by the county but located in the village of Montour Falls.

Photo: A 1949 Ford brought to the ceremony by Tony Specchio (with Dr. James Norton as passenger) was the ceremonial first vehicle to cross the bridge.


WG swimmers win 3rd straight Section 4 title

The Swimmin' Women win six of 11 races in claiming the Class C crown.

Story on Sports


Photo: Watkins Glen's Thalia Marquez, after one of her four victories.

Members of the Lansing Junior cheerleading squad performed.


Tribe hosts youth football cheer competition

The Watkins Glen High School Field House was a busy place Nov. 10, with cheerleaders 5 to 12 and their parents on hand for the inaugural Schuyler County Fall Classic -- a cheerleading competition hosted by Schuyler County Youth Football: the Tribe. Cheerleaders from Youth Football organizations around the region competed, with judges scorng their routines. Participants included cheerleaders from the Tribe and from Newfield, South Seneca, Lansing, Whitney Point, Trumansburg and Newark Valley.Vendors were also on hand in the hallway, with a silent auction held in an adjoining gym. Auction items included team-signed New York Giants and New York Jets footballs along with various gift certificates. Proceeds from the event were earmarked for Tribe programs.

Photo: Schuyler County junior cheerleaders performed.

Raffle items were on display in the lobby outside the grand ballroom. Inside, tables were adorned in white for the occasion.


November Splendor raises hospital funds

The annual November Splendor dinner dance Nov. 9 at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel attracted 291 diners helping to raise funds for Schuyler Hospital. The event is staged each year by the Schuyler Health Foundation and the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary. It featured auctions, raffles and live dance music.

Photo: Among the attendees were Tom Fitch and his wife, Brenda Warren-Fitch.

Kelsey Johnson in the lead role of Elle Woods and Alex Gill as Emmett, along with Moxy as Elle's dog Bruiser.


LCP's Legally Blonde ends its run at WGHS

The Lake Country Players' production of the musical Legally Blonde was presented for third and final time Sunday, Nov. 10 in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. Features.


A selection of photos from Liz Fraboni

Watkins Glen photographer Liz Fraboni, whose work has graced these pages in the past, dusts off her camera and provides us with a new selection of scenes and closeup images from her village and the surrounding area. Photos.


Sinking feeling: Undercurrents roil 1 campaign

The pseudonymous A. Moralis, who has graced these pages from time to time over the years, feels compelled to weigh in on the problems afflicting the campaign of one of the candidates running for the position of Schuyler County Judge: Steven Getman. Column.


Getman laments 'rumors, innuendo' in campaign

Steven Getman, Republican candidate for Schuyler County Court Judge, distributes a letter decrying "derogatory rumors and innnuendo about my character and experience." For the full text of his letter, click here.

Photo: Steven Getman (Photo provided)


Candidates Night draws crowd, pointed query

A Meet the Candidates Night Oct. 24 at the Watkins Glen Elementary School, sponsored by the Watkins Review, attracted 150 people, well above the usual turnout for such events -- and the reason was clear: a compelling four-way race for Schuyler County Judge. One of those candidates, Steven Getman, was asked to comment on news reports about his work in Seneca County while County Attorney there -- the subject of an undercurrent in the campaign. People.

Photo: Steven Getman at Meet the Candidates Night.


Trappler loses attempt to appeal conviction

The New York State Court of Appeals has denied Alice Trappler's application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals. This decision, says the Schuyler County DA's office, effectively exhausts Trappler's state court appeal remedies. Trappler (pictured at right) was convicted in 2013 by a Schuyler County Court jury in the 2012 shotgun slaying of Daniel Bennett. Government.


Howard Cabezas starts engineering business

Schuyler County resident Howard Cabezas has opened a new firm, Cabezas Engineering, PLLC, specializing in mechanical, plumbing and electrical engineering services. Business.

Photo: Howard Cabezas (Photo provided)

A young diner awaits her plate of spaghetti at the Moose Lodge.


United Way kicks off its campaign with dinner

The United Way of Schuyler County's annual "Kick-Off" spaghetti dinner drew its usual large crowd -- and plenty of to-go orders -- Oct. 14 at the Montour Moose Lodge. The dinner raises funds for the $123,000 United Way drive that helps 22 local agencies. This year's campaign leaders are Rick Evans and Lydia Wickham.

Photo: Jessica Saks, candidate for Schuyler County Judge, poses with well-wisher Bill Haeffner at the dinner.

Left: Schuyler United Way campaign co-leader Rick Evans.
United Way Executive Director Peggy Scott.


Rotary honors Lewis as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Derrick Lewis (right) was honored on Oct. 10 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for October. The honoree, introduced by teacher Danielle Rumsey, is a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and baseball), a High Honor student near the top of his class academically, a member of National Honor Society and Student Council, and a volunteer youth coach. He plans to attend college (he is looking at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Rochester and Clarkson University), where he hopes to play baseball and will study Mechanical Engineering.

Left: A young girl at the festival was dressed stylishly.
Various stands promoted Main Street businesses.


Beautiful weather for Falls Harvest Festival

The annual Falls Harvest Festival was greeted by sunny skies and moderate temperatures on Oct. 5 -- a great day to tour the vendors, food stands, book sale and information tents along Main Street in Montour Falls. Live entertainment was provided throughout the day, which concluded with fireworks in the evening.


Photo: Nate the Great from Ithaca delighted kids and adults with songs and juggling, including with fire.

More photos on Features Page.

The new village logo, left, and how it appears on a streetlight disk that was included on the plaque presented to the logo designer, Robert Kurcoba. There will be one disk on each of 167 streetlights installed soon in the village.


Glen Board presents plaque to logo designer

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Oct. 1 presented Robert Kurcoba with a plaque thanking him for creating the village's new logo. "It all started back in the spring when we were first ordering our streetlights," said Mayor Luke Leszyk. "The company making the lights, Spring City, advised that there was a 5-inch disk on each light that could have our village seal on it. The village never really had an official seal, so the idea of crossed checked flags or something similar was thrown around. Then we came up with the idea of having a logo contest. We advertised this contest and even sent requests to the school’s art department. We received about 15 or so ideas. One logo stood way out from the rest. This was the creation of our very own resident, Robert Kurcoba. The logo incorporates the race track, wine, waterfalls and our iconic Seneca Lake pier. This village seal will not only be on our street lights but is being used for our stationery, and eventually our village vehicles will carry this as well." Kurcoba's plaque reads: “Robert Kurcoba, 2019, Watkins Glen thanks you for creating the logo that will be the face of the village for many years.”

Photo: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk, left, presents a plaque to Robert Kurcoba. (Photo provided)


Rotary honors Brubaker as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Scott Brubaker was honored Oct. 3 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for October. Brubaker, nominated by four teachers at the school, was introduced by one of them, his uncle Sam Brubaker, who read comments from the other three. Those included observations that the honoree is "always prepared," "responsible and reliable," and both kind and respectful. He is president of National Honor Society, a member of Varsity Club, Ski Club, Student Council and the varsity swim team, and presents morning announcements. He is also a singer (heading to the NYSSMA Area All States in November) and actor (in school and Dream Barn productions). He plans to attend college (possibly Oswego) to study Broadcasting and Communications, with an eye toward a career as a news anchor.


Lewis seeks Catharine Town Supervisor post

Richard (Rick) Lewis has announced he is running for the position of Town of Catharine Supervisor in the Nov. 5 election. Lewis, Commander of the Odessa American Legion, has served twice as Town Justice. He is a West Point graduate with 20 years experience as an Officer in the U.S. Army. Government.

Photo at right: Rick Lewis (Provided)

Senator Chuck Schumer holds two 8.4-ounce cans, which are part of his drive to update wine container regulations.


Schumer visits Lakewood in drive to overturn 'arcane' rules regarding wine-can production

Charles E. Schumer, the senior U.S. Senator from New York and the Senate Minority Leader since 2017, stopped by Lakewood Vineyards October 1st to assure his support as he tries to overturn what he termed "arcane" rules limiting wineries like Lakewood from maximizing wine sales through the use of 12-ounce cans and through the individual sale of popular 8.4-ounce cans. This was Schumer's 21st annual visit to Schuyler County. He said he has visited every county in the state each year since being elected to the Senate in 1998. Business.

Photo: U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer at Lakewood Vineyards.


United Way receives donation from Cargill

The United Way of Schuyler County recently received $3007.51 from Cargill. The money was raised through an internal auction held at the Watkins Glen plant. Shown at right: Cargill employees Keith Klug, left, and Diana Warn turn the money over to United Way of Schuyler County President John Franzese. Any donations to United Way may be sent to PO Box 270, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.


Reed: Collapse was caused by pneumonia

Congressman Tom Reed says his collapse Sept 19 was caused by "a previously undiagnosed case of pneumonia" and that "I will return to work on (the following) Monday." Reed was treated at George Washington University Hospital after collapsing and falling in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. while awaiting an interview on the Fox Business Channel shortly after 1:30 p.m. Reed, who represents New York's 23rd Congressional District, had a health scare in 2009, just before joining the House of Representatives, when a pulmonary embolism put him in the hospital. He soon changed his lifestyle, opting for gastric bypass surgery that significantly reduced his weight in 2013.

Photo: Reed on a gurney Thursday (Photo by CQ Roll Call)


Firefighters extinguish blaze at village house

A residential fire with a person trapped inside ended well on Sept. 19 in Watkins Glen with "the subject rescued without incident," according to a Facebook post on the Watkins Glen Fire Department's Facebook page. The South Monroe Street fire -- at "a multiple dwelling" -- featured flames "from windows on the second floor," but was quickly extinguished. Fire units from Montour Falls, Burdett, Odessa and Beaver Dams assisted. The Schuyler Sheriff's Office, State Police and Village Police were also on hand.

United Way campaign co-chair Rick Evans (left, who is serving with his wife Lydia Wickham) and Marie Bailey Award winner Mike Donnelly (right) were on hand at the luncheon.


United Way holds annual luncheon at Moose

The United Way of Schuyler County's annual luncheon -- where it meets with representatives of the 22 agencies it serves -- was held Wednesday, Sept. 18 at the Montour Moose Lodge. The annual Marie Bailey Award -- presented to an individual or group that strongly supports United Way efforts -- was presented to Mike Donnelly, until recently the head of the Moose Lodge. As it has for many years, the campaign Kickoff Dinner will be held at the Moose Lodge, this time on Monday, Oct. 14 beginning at 5 p.m. The fund-raising goal this year is $123,000.

The Odessa Fire Department's new Rescue Pumper after its arrival Tuesday. It is replacing a 30-year-old vehicle.


Odessa's Fire Dept. receives its new truck

The Odessa Fire Department's new Rescue Pumper, HE-23, was delivered Sept. 17 -- a $756,000 vehicle ordered last year after gaining approval in a village referendum. The truck -- 33 feet long, 11 feet high and capable of carrying 1,000 gallons of water -- was driven from Syracuse by Jeff Fortino of CNY Emergency Vehicles, dealer for Ferrara Fire Apparatus, which built the vehicle in its Holden, Louisiana plant. A total of $200,000 of the price was covered by fire department reserve funds; the rest was bonded at "no fire tax increase to the community," said Fire Chief Mike Tomassi. The truck will be activated in a week or two, at which time its predecessor -- the old HE-23, which dates back to 1989 -- will be removed from Odessa service and sent to Millport, which has bought it.

Photo: The windshield and grill on the new Rescue Pumper.


Morse sets CCC soccer mark with 7-goal game

Watkins Glen High School graduate Hannah Morse, a freshman soccer player at Corning Community College, set a school single-game goal-scoring record Sept. 15 when she put seven shots in the net as her team defeated Jefferson Community College 7-1 in Watertown. She now has 13 goals in six games. CCC is 3-3.

Photo: Hannah Morse


Eslinger seeking Town of Dix Justice post

Democrat Brian T. Eslinger has announced he is running for the position of Town of Dix Justice in the Nov. 5 election. Eslinger, a member of the Watkins Glen Planning Board, narrowly lost when he ran for the Schuyler County Legislature last year. He lives in Watkins Glen. Government.

Photo at right: Brian T. Eslinger (Provided)


Rotary honors Garrison as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Tassia Garrison was honored Sept. 12 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for September. Garrison was introduced by teacher Holly Campbell, who said the honoree -- who recenlty returned from a year in the Netherlands as a Rotary Exchange student -- is "a great role model" with "a zest for learning new things." Garrison, a member of Student Council and National Honor Society and president of her class, and who plays basketball -- plans to study biology in college with an eye toward becoming a dentist. She is considering attending SUNY Buffalo, Fordham or Boston University.

Photo: Tassia Garrison at the Rotary Club's luncheon.


Hayden receives nomination from SAM party

Schuyler County Judge candidate Matt Hayden -- already running with nominations from the Democratic, Schuyler First and Working Families parties, has received the nomination of the Serve America Movement party. According to a press release from the Hayden campaign, "The SAM party takes a centrist approach" and "believes in supporting honest, character-based candidates who demonstrate that they are the best candidate for the job." It also opposes "extremist candidates who seek to win upon engaging in underhanded or unethical campaigning."

Photo: Matt Hayden (Photo provided)

Vintage and sports cars paraded up Franklin Street at the festival.


Annual Grand Prix Festival held in Watkins

The village of Watkins Glen was alive with cars, motorcycles, vendors and spectators Sept. 6 at the 26th annual Grand Prix Festival. For story and photos, see Features.

Watkins Glen High School grad Hannah Morse, a CCC freshman, sends a shot toward the Erie net.


CCC soccer team has 4 players from Schuyler

Four of the Corning Community College women's varsity soccer team's players are graduates of Schuyler County schools -- two each from Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour. They all started Sept. 7 in a game against Erie Community College. Sports.

WGHS senior Isaac McIlroy at the Rotary luncheon.


Rotary honors McIlroy as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Isaac McIlroy was honored Sept. 5th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Student of the Month for September. McIlroy was introduced by WGHS coach Ralph Diliberto, who said the honoree is someone who "academically and athletically always goes above and beyond," is "a model citizen" and "has a bright future." McIlroy, who competes in soccer, basketball and baseball, said he hopes to play basketball in college, where he will study psychology and criminal justice with an eye toward applying to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., for a career as a Special Agent.


High-speed police chase ends in man's arrest

A high-speed police chase that started in Montour Falls Sept. 4th and ended in Monterey resulted in the arrest of a Beaver Dams man, Nicholas S. Ingersoll, 24, on multiple charges. Ingersoll, arraigned in Montour Falls Village Court and remanded to jail in lieu of bail, faces counts that include Unlawfully Fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, Reckless Endangerment, Criminal Mischief, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, Reckless Driving, and Unlawful Manufacture of Methamphetamine. People.


Glen water story prompts mayoral response

An environmental story regarding water quality in Watkins Glen and Montour Falls prompts an assurance and firm response from Watkins Mayor Luke Leszyk at the beginning of the Sept. 3rd Village Board meeting. Government.


Photo: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk at Tuesday's meeting.


Coffey's squad places 3rd, qualifies for Tokyo

A United States Women's Eight rowing team including former Watkins Glen resident Olivia Coffey, 30, placed third Sept. 1 at the World Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria. The U.S. -- which won the event last year -- qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics along with squads from four other countries in the race. New Zealand won the finale in 5:56.91, with Australia second at 5:59.63 and the U.S. third in 6:01.93. This marked the eighth World Championships competition for Coffey, dating back to an under-23 event in 2009. She has earned four career gold medals. She was a student-athlete at Watkins Glen schools through 9th grade before attending Philips Academy and ultimately Harvard University. She earned her MBA degree from Cambridge University last year, helping that school's team to victory in The Boat Race over rival Oxford. Her parents Calvin and Maggie live in the Watkins Glen area, with her mother currently seeking a seat on the Schuyler County Legislature.

Photo: Olivia Coffey (File photo)


O-M grad Zimmer nets Fulbright award for Iceland research, study

Odessa-Montour 2009 graduate Adam Netzer Zimmer (left) receives a Fulbright-National Science Foundation Arctic Research Grant for year-long study as part of his Ph.D. program. People.


Finger Lakes named Best Wine Region in poll

The Finger Lakes has -- for the second straight year -- been named America's "Best Wine Region" in a USA Today 10 Best online competition. The region, which has 140 wineries, four wine trails and 9,300 acres of vineyards, beat four finalists from California and one each from Michigan (the runnerup Leelanau Peninsula), Arizona, Washington, Virginia and Texas. "This recognition speaks to the dedication of the owners, tasting room teams, winemakers and vineyard managers," said Carmela Barbagallo, executive director of the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance.


Community leader, coach Bob Lee dies at 74

Robert H. Lee, former Watkins Glen policeman, former village mayor, former high school football coach at both Watkins Glen and Odessa, former coach of the semipro Southern Tier Warriors football team, and a retired longtime Recreation Therapist at the Willard and Elmira Psychiatric Centers, died Aug. 26 at his Watkins Glen home at the age of 74. He had been in declining health. Calling hours are Thursday, with a funeral service on Friday. Obituaries.


Board rejects an athletic Field name change

The Watkins Glen School Board on Aug. 26 rejected a request that the school's Alumni Field be renamed in honor of former Coach Bob Lee, who died that morning at the age of 74. The request came from football player Dominick Fazzary, who read a message to the board from his father, football assistant coach Jeff Fazzary. Board President Gloria Brubaker said a name change is against "school practice," adding that the rejection "doesn't diminish our respect." Schools.

Photo: Dominick Fazzary at the Board meeting.

A Cruise In For Christ car show was held on Odessa Wesleyan Church property at the west end of the village.


Autos take center stage at church Cruise In

Dozens of classic automobiles were featured Aug. 24 at a Cruise In For Christ car show sponsored by the Odessa Wesleyan Church on church property at the west end of Odessa. The event featured a chicken barbecue, other foods, vendors, state police and Odessa Fire Dept. demonstrations, Moe Knows Ice Cream, and a K-9 display by officers of the New York Environmental Conservation Police.

Photo: Conservation Police Officer B.N. Armstrong with his dog.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, left, and Congressman Tom Reed share a laugh at the Aug. 22 luncheon meeting.


Reed, Palmesano featured at Glen lunch

Congressman Tom Reed and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano were the guest speakers Aug. 22 at a joint meeting of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club and League of Women Voters at the Watkins Elk Lodge. Both men reported to a packed dining hall about ongoing trends and concerns in the state and U.S.

Photos: Congressman Tom Reed, left, and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (inset) at Thursday's luncheon.

Present at the Aug. 22 Rotary Club /League luncheon were the club's new Rotary exchange students: Nozomi Miyoshi of Japan, left, who will attend Odessa-Montour High School, and Kajsa Rolfes of Sweden, who will attend Watkins Glen High School.


Odessa librarian honored for her long service

Gayle Greuber, who has served the Dutton S. Peterson Library in Odessa for 30 years, including more than 25 as its librarian, was honored Aug. 22 at a picnic behind the library that also featured a presentation by Tanglewood Nature Center (see photo below). Greuber was presented a plaque from Odessa Deputy Mayor Tom Letteer proclaiming it Gayle Greuber Day in Odessa, while Library Board president Bonnie Schweizer surprised Greuber by announcing the honoree has won a Southern Tier Library System Sustainable Practices Award, to be presented in October. "Not many people can say they've enjoyed coming to work every day," said Greuber, who has no plans to retire.

Photo: Librarian Gayle Greuber receives a proclamation from Odessa Deputy Mayor Tom Letteer.

Kids got a chance to see a number of Tanglewood Nature Center creatures on Aug. 22 -- a feature presentation at a free Summer Picnic behind the Dutton S. Peterson Library in Odessa. In the photo, Tanglewood's Ian McLaughlin holds a Bearded Dragon.

Village trustee Lou Perazzini makes a point during the meeting.


Watkins Village Board approves one-year moratorium on short-term rental applications

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Aug. 20 unanimously appoved a Local Law that provides a one-year moratorium on applications for short-term rentals in the village. The move came after a public hearing and upon the request of the Planning Board, which had handled dozens of applications under a plan adopted by the village to regulate the growing trend.

The moratorium will take effect after the Local Law is approved by the state, which officials said should take about 30 days. Any applications filed before that time will be processed, the board said.

Mayor Luke Leszyk said the move gives the village time to "get a handle" on the process "and do some density studies" that might limit the number of such rentals in a particular block or area. One area, it was noted -- on South Madison and South Monroe Streets between 6th and 8th Streets -- now has nine such rentals advertised to accommodate 78 people. One resident hoped the density studies might lead to reestablishment of a residential character in that neighborhood.

Photo: Watkins Mayor Luke Leszyk at Aug. 20 meeting.

Wastewater treatment plant project proceeding. Project.


Addy Coolican wins talent competition at Fair

Watkins Glen resident Addison "Addy" Coolican, a student in the Watkins Glen School District, won first place among performers 12 years and under at a talent show Aug. 17 at the Steuben County Fair in Bath. She won for her performance of the song "Don't Rain on My Parade." The contest was held on the stage in front of the fairgrounds grandstand. Addy is known locally for her rendition of the National Anthem at occasional home basketball games at WGHS.

Photo: Addy Coolican with her trophy. (Photo provided by her grandfather, Mike Coolican)

  Kids' Jungle Book concludes its run at WGHS

A kids' presentation of Disney's Jungle Book ended its two-night run Aug. 17 on the stage of the Watkins Glen High School Auditorium. The play for 6-12 year olds boasted a cast of more than 30 kids, directed by Kim Laursen and Kelsey Johnson as a project of the Lake Country Players and the 21st Century REACH program. People.

Photo: A quartet of thespians on stage in Disney's Jungle Book. The lead of Mowgli was performed by Arloween Loucks-Scuteri, second from right.

Signs advertising the Watkinstock concert at Lafayette Park and subsequent Beach Party at Landon's were on display at the Lafayette bandstand.


Local concerts fill the absence of Woodstock

Two "stock" musical gatherings -- Watkinstock at Watkins Glen's Lafayette Park and Moosestock at the Montour Moose Lodge -- were held Aug. 17 ... a day that would have fallen in the middle of Woodstock 50, had it been held as originally proposed at Watkins Glen International.

Moosestock was a fund-raiser, with a portion of the $15-per-ticket proceeds to be donated to the Schuyler County Ambulance. Bands included Rukus, Doc Possum and Hot Dogs & Gin.

Watkinstock also raised funds -- through donations to the Sheriff's Camp Iroquois on Keuka Lake, which provides an outdoor summer experience to underprivileged kids from around the state. Performers included The Flunk School, country singer Rylee Lum, Patrick Cole and Seneca Jam.


Town of Montour mulls Chinese lantern fest

The Montour Town Board listens to proposal for a large, possibly long-term festival on Havana Glen Park grounds starting in 2020. Government.

Photo: Festival video scene.

United Way Campaign Leaders Rick Evans and Lydia Wickham. (Photo provided)


United Way taps two as Campaign Leaders

Rick Evans and Lydia Wickham have been named Campaign Leaders of this year's United Way of Schuyler County campaign to raise $123,000 to help 22 local agencies. Evans is a longtime Boy Scout leader and a winemaker for Castel Grisch Winery. Wickham is Director of Human Resources for Cayuga Addiction Recovery who volunteers for Boy Scout Troop 2674 in Watkins Glen and is a member of the Hector-area Lions Club. Said United Way of Schuyler County Executive Director Peggy Scott: "Deepest thanks go to Lydia and Rick. Our all-volunteer board of directors of United Way works hard every year for an outstanding campaign."

  Judge rejects Mack request for shorter term

Acting Schuyler County Judge Gerald A. Keene on Aug. 13 rejected a motion for a reduced sentence filed by Chad C. Mack -- who pleaded guilty in June 2004 to 2nd Degree Murder and 1st Degree Robbery in the August 2002 shooting death of Theresa Ford at her home in the Town of Orange. Mack, sentenced to 25 years to life, was seeking a lesser sentence that would allow him to appear before the Parole Board immediately. District Attorney Joseph Fazzary opposed the motion, and Keene concurred with the DA, saying the original sentence was not harsh or excessive, and was justified.


Italian-American Festival ends its 3-day run

The 39th annual Schuyler County Italian-American Festival concluded Aug. 11 with several events, including a cornhole tournament, a motorcycle show and live music. Features.

Photo: The ferris wheel is always popular.

Legislators David Reed, left, and Michael Lausell chat before the start of Monday evening's meeting.


Brief legislature meeting yields updates

The Schuyler County Legislature's monthly meeting on Aug. 12 was short -- 17 minutes -- and saw approval of just 18 resolutions, none of them major. But there was some information imparted:

--Chairman Dennis Fagan said Sales Tax revenue as of July was up $266,000 from the same point last year. Increases in the sales tax, he noted, "help us control property taxes." As for the rest of the year: "We'll keep our fingers crossed."

--County Administrator Tim O'Hearn said work has begun on the 2020 county budget, and that "it will be within the tax cap" and "we will be lowering the tax rate."

--O'Hearn said the planned 50-megawatt solar project in the Town of Dix -- called the Watkins Glen Solar Energy Center -- is "now moving forward" with the pending appointment by state Legislature leaders of two town residents (of eight nominated) as ad hoc members of a seven-person regulatory Siting Board. The project will "take two years" to complete, he said.

Photo: Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan at the meeting.


BBQ benefits WGHS girls varsity swim team

The Watkins Glen High School girls varsity swim team held a chicken barbecue Aug. 11 at the Montour Moose Lodge to raise funds for the swim program. Members of the team (left) -- one dressed as a chicken -- waved signs and urged motorists to turn into the lodge, where business was brisk as volunteers put together dinners in the kitchen, the centerpiece of each dinner being tasty chicken barbecued outside.


Cherry outlines energy savings programs, cautions on 'escalators' in solar group plans

Phil Cherry, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Schuyler County, outlined various energy savings and efficiency programs available to individuals and small businesses on Aug. 8 as guest speaker at the weekly luncheon of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club at the Elks Lodge in Watkins Glen. Cherry -- supportive of the savings available in solar panels installed by individuals at their homes -- cautioned anyone interested in group purchasing, noting that some of the opportunities available "aren't great opportunities. Read the fine print," looking in particular for "escalators" that boost the cost after a first year of savings. "My advice is to be very wary," he said, noting that the CCE website carries information on solar programs and on those other energy savings programs.

Photo: Phil Cherry addresses Rotarians.

O-M School Board President Rob Halpin, left, and Superintendent Chris Wood at Aug. 7 meeting.


Principals McCarty, Francischelli given tenure

The Odessa-Montour School Board on August 7 granted tenure to high school Principal Almon (Skip) McCarty Jr. and Hanlon Elementary School Principal Robert Francischelli. Superintendent Chris Wood outlined the achievements of the two men during their four years at the helm of the two schools, and then the board voted unanimously in their favor. Franciscelli was present, while McCarty, Wood explained, was at another meeting "representing the district." Tenure provides greater job security for its recipients. The board also:

--Heard Wood report that the most recent state audit of the district was a good one, with minor improvements needed in the area of transportaton. "I'll gladly take it," he said of the audit.
--Heard an update from Wood on the $16.9 milliion Capital Project now in the planning stage. Wood said he hopes for state approval of the project within a year and construction in the fall of 2020. The project involves renovation of the Jack Davis gym and of science, art and technology rooms; installation of new water stations; a new public address system; some window replacements; technology upgrades, and other improvements deemed necessary.
--Approved a 2019-2020 tax levy of $5,099,617.

Photos: Hanlon principal Robert Francischelli and new School Board member Alyssa Wixson at Wednesday's meeting.


Watkins Glen Village Board moves toward
12-month moratorium on short-term rentals

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Aug. 6 discussed a Planning Board request for a moratorium on short-term rental units in the village pending a density study. A public hearing, the board indicated, will be held at its next meeting preceding passage of a Local Law that would take effect once filed with the state. The moratorium -- in the face of an onslaught of short-term rentals -- would be for an expected 12 months. Applications filed before the law takes effect would be processed. The board also:

--Approved membership in the Greater Tompkins Health Insurance Consortium, which Mayor Luke Leszyk said would save the village $60,000, down from $300,000.
--Approved a bid of $133,828 from Panko Electric and Maintenance for erection of the new light poles and lights on Franklin Street. Poles are expected to be shipped starting Aug. 19.

--Approved the hiring of Barbara Peterson to fill the newly created position of Deputy Clerk Treasurer.
--Approved payment of $195,000 of grant funds for the Padua Ridge property, site of a planned new water tower. The cost includes improvements such as clearing of the land, road construction, tank-base construction and culvert work.

Photos in text: Mayor Luke Leszyk (top) and trustee Tony Fraboni at Tuesday's meeting.

The Terry Walker trio performed at the Clute Park pavilion.


Terry Walker Trio entertains in concert series

The Terry Walker Trio entertained scores of music lovers Tuesday evening, Aug. 6 with pop and jazz standards in the Clute Park pavilion as part of the Concert in the Park series, a staple of Watkins Glen summers. The concerts are normally held at Lafayette Park, but move to the pavilion in inclement weather. It stormed Tuesday afternoon and rained intermittently in the evening. Next up, on Tuesday, Aug. 13: Gentlemen of Song with Big Band, Swing and other music.


Hayden will appear on third ballot line

Matt Hayden (right), the Democrats' nominee for Schuyler County Court Judge in the November election, has secured a third nomination. Hayden, already backed by the Democrats and by the Schuyler First independent party, has now secured the backing of the Working Families Party. That makes him the only one of the four candidates with three party nominations. In addition to Hayden, Jessica Saks, Steven Getman and Dan Fitzsimmons are campaigning for the 10-year post, which includes Family and Surrogate's Court.


Elliott wins 2nd straight NASCAR race at WGI

Chase Elliott (pictured at right) held off Martin Truex Jr. on Aug. 4 to post his second straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Watkins Glen International, in the Go Bowling at The Glen 90-lap race. It was fifth career Series victory and second of the season. Elliott, whose first career win in the Series came last year at WGI, started Sunday from the pole position in his Hendrick Motorsports' Chevrolet, and won by 0.454 seconds. He was only the second driver to win from the pole position in the last 39 Series races.


Chef Orlando is new owner of Graft eatery

After a long run as Executive Chef of Veraisons, Orlando Rodriguez, along with wife Natacia, has purchased the recently closed Graft restaurant on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen with the intention to reopen in the fall. Business.

Photo: Chef Orlando Rodriquez

Odessa Fire Department personnel prepare the chicken.


Odessa fire department serves up BBQ meals

An annual rite on NASCAR weekend -- an Odessa Fire Department drive-through barbecue at the fire station -- was a hit Saturday as firefighters prepared 300 chicken halves. They followed that up with their annual Hit the Boot fund-raiser on Main Street in the village on Sunday, with passing motorists stopping to place donations in firefighters' boots held by department members at either end of the downtown.

Photo: Peggy Tomassi, left, and Anne Yessman helped serve up the barbecue meals.

Fire department representatives collected Hit the Boot donations Sunday from passing motorists along Main Street in Odessa.


Saks nets noms from
2 parties in judge race

Jessica Saks has gained the nominations of the Independence and About Justice Parties in her race for Schuyler County Judge. She faces three male opponents in the November election. Government.

Photo: Jessica Saks (Photo provided)


Cheese Festival draws crowd to Hoffman farm

The 8th annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival was held Saturday -- as it is each July -- at the Hoffman century farm at Catharine Corners, outside Odessa. Produce, live music, children's activities and other features attracted a large crowd. People.

Photo: At the festival.

Dusk at the Hector Fair on Friday. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)


Annual parade highlights Hector Fair

The three-day Hector Fair was highlighted on its second day Friday with the annual parade up Rte. 414, ending at the fairgrounds behind the fire station. The fair concludes Saturday with a car show, chicken barbecue, live music and fireworks. Features.


WGI places 2nd in Best NASCAR Track voting

Watkins Glen International finished second in the voting this year in the USA Today Readers' Choice contest for Best NASCAR Track after finishing first the past three years. The winner this time: Eldora Speedway in New Weston, Ohio, which hosts the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The winner was announced Friday, July 26. Third through fifth places went to Daytona International Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.


Historical Society honors Italian founders

A special exhibit and talk are focusing on the founders of Schuyler County's Italian community The exhibit opened Aug. 1. Founders.

Photo: Undated photo of workers at the International Salt Co., a major employer of Italian immigrants in Schuyler County. (Provided)


Court rules in favor of school in Hansen case

The U.S. District Court for Western New York has ruled on the side of the Watkins Glen School District and former Superintendent Tom Phillips, the defendants in a suit filed by Kristina Hansen relating to incidents on school grounds that twice included her being led away in handcuffs. Her attorney plans to appeal the decision. Government.

Photo: Kristina Hansen arrested at the WGHS tennis courts on May 4, 2016, the second time she was taken into custody.


Fitzsimmons gets Hometown Law Party nod

Daniel J. Fitzsimmons has accepted the nomination of the Hometown Law Party as candidate for Schuyler County Judge. According to a press release, Fitzsimmons received more than 800 signatures from Schuyler voters -- "with support from Republican, Democratic, Conservative, Green and non-party voters" -- to run as an independent candidate for the position. A Schuyler County attorney, Schuyler County Law Guardian, former Town of Hector Justice and Schuyler County Principal Court Attorney, he is one of four candidates seeking to succeed the recently retired Dennis Morris on the bench. Steven Getman has the Republican Party backing, and Matt Hayden the nomination of the Democrats. Attorney Jessica Saks, also running as an independent, is the fourth candidate vying for election in November.

Photo: Dan Fitzsimmons (Photo provided)


Dems back Hayden in battle for County Judge

The Schuyler County Democratic Committee has unanimously selected county Chief Assistant District Attorney Matt Hayden as the party's candidate for Schuyler County Judge in the November election. Hayden is one of four candidates in the race -- and the lone Democrat. Steven Getman has the Republican nomination, while Jessica Saks and Dan Fitzsimmons, both registered Republicans, are running as independents. The candidates are vying for a 10-year term on the bench, recently vacated by Dennis Morris upon his retirement before the end of his term.

"Not only is Matt the best qualified candidate," said Democratic Committee Chairperson Carolyn Elkins, "but he also exhibits the highest ethical standard, the greatest dedication to community and charitable efforts, and the most experience in upholding the laws of our county while protecting our families."

Photo: Matt Hayden and Carolyn Elkins (Photo provided)

Kennedey Heichel, center front, with a number of her former Odessa-Montour teammates at her signing ceremony. Back from left: Sage Garrison, Olivia Grover, Lexi Saunders, Autumn Garrision. Front from left: Nadia Simpson, Heichel, Maria Scata.


Heichel signs with Ithaca College; track ahead

Odessa-Montour graduating senior Kennedey Heichel signed a Division III Student-Athlete Celebratory Signing Form for Ithaca College Thursday in a gathering at the high school. Heichel, two-time Odessa File Female Athlete of the Year at O-M, two-time Odessa File Schuyler Spring MVP, two-time member of the Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athlete-citizens in the area, and the O-M selection as its Female Athlete of the Year this year, plans to compete in Track & Field at IC.


Officials agree to work on dog-sheltering pact

Members of the Schuyler County Legislature and Supervisors of a half-dozen towns in the county have "agreed to work together toward an agreement with the Humane Society of Schuyler County for dog-sheltering services when stray dogs are recovered in any of the towns in Schuyler County," it was announced Friday -- apparently ending a move by five towns to contract with a private service entity. Government.

O-M Valedictorian Kennedey Heichel accepts a hug and her diploma from School Board President Rob Halpin at Friday's Commencement.


O-M bids farewell
to its Class of 2019

Odessa-Montour School District officials distributed diplomas to the graduating seniors at a commencement exercise Friday evening, June 28, in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. A total of 65 students graduated, with many receiving scholarship awards during the ceremony. Graduation.

Photo: 2019 O-M graduate Maria Scata.

Bobby Rahal, right, receives the Cameron Argetsinger Award from one of Cameron's sons, former International Motor Racing Research Center president J.C. Argetsinger.


Rahal receives 6th annual Argetsinger Award

Team owner and former race car driver Bobby Rahal was honored Thursday night with the 6th annual Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports. He was honored by the Watkins Glen-based International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) during a dinner at the Corning Museum of Glass presented by Sahlen's, NASCAR, International Speedway Corp., IMSA and Watkins Glen International. The award memorializes Argetsinger, organizer of the first races at Watkins Glen and a founder of the Research Center. Longtime race reporter Dr. Jerry Punch was emcee. About 250 people attended, with proceeds going to the IMRRC, dedicated to the preservation of motorsports history. Sports.

Photo: IMRRC Historian Bill Green at the dinner, in front of a photo of Cameron Argetsinger.


Republican Committee gives nod to Getman

Schuyler County Atttorney Steven Getman (pictured at right) won the Republican nomination for County Court Judge Thursday night at a meeting of the Schuyler County Republican Committee. The nomination came over two other Republicans -- attorneys Jessica Saks and Dan Fitzsimmons -- both of whom have indicated they will run as independents. Schuyler County Chief Assistant District Attorney Matt Hayden is running on the Democratic line. "I am humbled and honored by the support of my fellow Schuyler County Republicans." Getman said. "I plan to run a clean, positive campaign, based on education, training and legal experience." The election is in November.

Incoming Rotary Club President Glenda Gephart, left, and outgoing President Rebekah Carroll with her daughter Ruby.


Rotary changes presidents, honors Carrigan

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club held its annual Changeover Dinner Tuesday at the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge, with outgoing President Rebekah Carroll "passing the gavel" to incoming President Glenda Gephart. This being Gephart's second time as Rotary President, she said: "Thank you so very much for allowing me to do this again."

The Paul Harris Fellow Award, given annually to a Club member who exemplifies "service above self," was presented to Dena Carrigan, an active club volunteer who serves as Membership Chair. She also serves as Membership Committee Chair at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, is assistant treasurer for the Italian-American Festival, secretary for the Spirit of Schuyler, a member of the merchandise committee for the Grand Prix Festival, a volunteer for the Montour Falls Fire department, and a volunteer for the Arc of Schuyler's annual 5K run. She began her banking career in 1986 with Columbia Bank, which was acquired in 1994 by Chemung Canal Trust Company. Dena and husband Sam have two sons, Kyle and Dale, and recently welcomed a grandson.

Photo in text: Dena Carrigan (Photo provided)

Potential exposure to Hepatitis A cited

While the risk of infection is low, Schuyler County Public Health, noting a potential exposure to the Hepatitis A virus at the Seneca Harbor Station restaurant in Watkins Glen, urges vaccination at upcoming clinics for those who ate there between June 12 and June 21. Clinics.

Alec Betts signs as his parents, Chris and Diana, and his sister Lillian watch.


Betts signs to attend, swim at St. Leo U. in Fla.

Odessa-Montour High School graduate Alec Betts, after delaying his college entrance for a year, signed a Letter of Intent Wednesday to attend Division 2 Saint Leo University in Florida this fall and participate in its swim program. Betts, a standout swimmer at O-M before his 2018 graduation, plans a course of study in Sports Business, with an eye toward becoming a coach, possibly on the college level. The signing ceremony took place in the O-M School Board meeting room. Pieces from a congratulatory cake (photo) were distributed to the friends and family in attendance

Vondracek earns All-State berth

Odessa-Montour softball pitcher Grace Vondracek, who led the team in hitting with a .700 average and 11 homers, is named to the NYSSCOGS All-State Softball Class C 4th Team. Sports.


85 receive diplomas
at WGHS graduation

The annual Watkins Glen High School Commencement Exercise was held Saturday afternoon in the school auditorium. Diplomas.

Photo: Graduates Kai Sutterby, left, and Annika Wickham.


Rondinaro honored at WGHS alumni banquet

Steve Rondinaro receives a Distinguished Alumnus Award at the 94th annual Watkins Glen High School dinner gathering. About 350 people attended. Schools.

Photo: Steve Rondinaro with his award.


Preparing for a 2,200-mile, old-school journey

Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer told Watkins-Montour Rotarians Thursday about his planned 2,200-mile, 90-day trek with several other men on a route traveled in 1825 by trapper, fur trader and frontiersman William H. Ashley on a return east with furs from Wyoming to Montana to St. Louis. The group will live as Ashley and his men lived, without modern conveniences, as they travel by horse, canoe and keelboat -- that last (30-foot) vehicle carrying them down the Missouri River. They will keep journals, and plan a book about the trip, comparing their efforts to those of Ashley. Messmer leaves for Wyoming on June 30; the trek -- not a re-enactment, but "truly a living history," he said, requiring "the same skill sets" possessed by mountain men in the first half of the 19th century and complete with discomfort and inherent dangers -- starts on July 7. Everything -- from clothing to the acquisition of food along the way -- will be "period correct,' he said, with a couple of safety valves: cell phones for occasional calls home (his wife, Cathy, will join him for a few days on the Missouri) and a link, if needed, to a medical helicopter.

Photo: Gerry Messmer in his journey clothing.


Arc golf tournament raises more than $12K

The annual event generates funds to help individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities and autism. Sports.


Watkins Village Board handles various issues

The Board Tuesday night dealt with stop signs, noise, a brush pile, pools, the new treatment plant and the absence of a Code Enforcement Officer. Government.

Photo: Mayor Luke Leszyk

Olivia Grover signs while her parents and brothers look on.


Grover signs for basketball at Buffalo State

Odessa-Montour High School senior Olivia Grover -- the leading player on the O-M girls varsity basketball team -- signed an NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Celebratory Signing Form on June 17 in a ceremony in the O-M School Board's meeting room. Grover, a 1,000-point scorer in her career, plans to play basketball at SUNY Buffalo State, which she enters in late summer. On hand for Monday's signing were family, friends, coaches and O-M administrators, who all joined in devouring a celebratory cake.

Photos in text: Olivia Grover after signing.


Athletes honored at first Dub G Awards

Awards were presented in a dozen categories at the ceremony, held in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. Sports.


Cardboard Boats draw crowd to Harbor park

A total of 47 boats competed in various categories on June 15 at the 26th annual Waterfornt Festival and Cardboard Board Regatta in Watkins Glen. Features.

Photo: Batman was among the competitors.

The new Odessa Baptist Church at 111 Fowler Place.


Odessa Baptist Church celebrates new locale

The Odessa Baptist Church on June 15 hosted a service and open house, complete with picnic-style dinner, to celebrate its new building on the eastern edge of the village. The Baptist Church, for many years housed in the heart of residential Odessa, started services in March in its new building at 111 Fowler Place after a multi-year fund-raising and building project. The new structure, debt free, is on 4.1 acres of former farmland the church purchased from Billy Blaha. It is a single-level building, making ingress and egress much easier than in its predecesor, where steps predominated, and where the heating cost was exorbitant, the septic system aged, and parking a challenge.

In the 45 months between the exit from the old church and opening of the new church, worship services were held at the American Legion Hall on Route 228. Groundbreaking for the new building was on May 28, 2017, and with a combination of contractor and parishioner labor, the 5,000-square-foot structure was erected. Saturday's event attracted well in excess of 150 people.

Photos in text: Loueda Bleiler provided open-house music; chess kept some attendees busy.


Appeals panel affirms Trappler's conviction

A State Supreme Court Appellate panel has unanimously upheld the 2013 conviction in Schuyler County Court of Alice Trappler in the murder of Daniel Bennett in the Town of Dix the year before. Trappler, convicted of two counts of Murder, 2nd Degree, two counts of burglary and one of conspiracy, is serving a 25-years-to-life sentence. Her appeal to the Supreme Court's Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, was heard on April 25, with Schuyler County District Attorney Joe Fazzary -- who had prosecuted Trappler -- presenting the People's argument to the five judges. Their decision -- in a six-page ruling (click here) -- was summarized succinctly: "Ordered that the judgment is affirmed." Said Fazzary in response: "I'm very pleased with the decision, obviously. I've always felt she was guilty of this crime. The Appellate Division just affirmed that." He added, though, that Trappler will have other avenues of appeals still available, although this ruling makes her chance of success more unlikely.

Photo: Alice Trappler in the Schuyler County Court House during her trial in 2013.

E.C. Cooper Insurance President Mike Stamp, right, presented Odessa File Athlete of the Year plaques on June 3rd to, from left, Watkins Glen High School senior Hannah Morse; and Odessa-Montour High School seniors Zach Elliott and Kennedey Heichel. Also chosen but unable to attend: WGHS senior Joe Chedzoy. The awards were presented during the Top Drawer 24 celebration at the Watkins Glen State Park.


Party celebrates the Top Drawer 24 team

Two dozen of the Southern Tier's best and brightest student-athletes are honored at the Watkins Glen State Park. Party.


Odessa's Heichel is our Schuyler Spring MVP

Odessa-Montour High School senior track standout Kennedey Heichel has earned The Odessa File's Schuyler Spring MVP award, topping a field of impressive athletes on the All-Schuyler All-Star First, Second and Third teams. For a story on the MVP and a list of Spring 2019 All-Stars, see Sports.

Photo: Kennedey Heichel

Rotary honorees William Yeater (OM) and Nancy Jackson (WG).


Rotary honors students Yeater and Jackson

Odessa-Montour High School senior William Yeater and Watkins Glen High School senior Nancy Jackson were honored June 13 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Students of the Month for June.

Yeater was introduced by teacher Russ Gardner, who called the honoree "a great student," "a key member of the track team," and an actor with lead roles in a number of school plays. Yeater plans to attend Loyola University in New Orleans. Jackson was introduced by Dawn Harrell, who described the honoree as "a wonderful young lady" who participates in Girl Scouts and has played three sports at WGHS: soccer, bowling and softball. Jackson plans to attend Keuka College with an eye toward becoming a photojournalist.

Note: The Rotarians presented checks totaling $3,020 to a dozen organizations -- many of whom had representatives present to receive them. The groups included the Hometown Heroes Banner Program, Schuyler County Youth Football, the My Place daycare center, Labor of Love, Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity, Schuyler Head Start, the Mustard Seed Bradford Food Pantry, the Boy Scouts, the Schuyler County Historical Society, and the Summer Swim Program.

Photo in text: The Boy Scouts' Rick Evans at Rotary.

Bryce Erickson as Troy Bolton makes a point during a scene in "High School Musical."


'High School Musical' concludes run at WGHS

The Lake Country Players' youth production of Disney's High School Musical ended its three-day run June 15 before an appreciative audience in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. The show, which opened Thursday night, featured a cast of 38 kids, ages 13-19, from six school districts.

Photo: Nathan Epp and Katherine Larson perform.


Odessa-Montour presents its sports awards

The 52nd annual
O-M Sports Boosters Awards saw a break from tradition in the Male Athlete of the Year Award. Sports.

Photo: The Coach of the Year, Burton Brewster, with the two students who introduced him -- Nadia Simpson, left, and Kennedey Heichel.


3 track standouts get hallway greeting

The trio of Odessa-Montour athletes who competed in the NYSPHSAA Track and Field Championships are welcomed by students lining the district hallways. Sports


Photo: O-M senior Nadia Simpson, with junior Paden Grover and senior Zach Elliott behind her, greets kids in a school hallway.

O-M bestows academic awards. Schools.


WGI pulls the plug on Woodstock 50 festival

There will be no Woodstock 50 festival at Watkins Glen International. WGI has "terminated the site license" for the planned Aug. 16-18 musical event "pursuant to provisions of the contract," WGI announced in a statement Monday, adding: "As such, WGI will not be hosting the festival." Meanwhile, a Woodstock 50 spokesman says the festival is in talks with an alternate venue and will be "sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks." Business.


63rd annual parade held in Montour Falls

Fire units, bands, and floats march on Main Street under sunny skies. People.

Photo: A member of the Caledonian Highlanders


O-M's Elliott returns home with Shot Put title

Odessa-Montour High School senior Zach Elliott (pictured at right), along with two other State competitors -- O-M's Nadia Simpson and Paden Grover -- returned to Schuyler County from Middletown June 8th with a siren escort (two fire trucks and a deputy's vehicle) from Alpine Junction to the school. There, they were greeted by dozens of family, friends and fans. Elliott was the second O-M athlete to bring home a state title this year. Sports.


18 students honored
as Schuyler Scholars

Senior graduating in the top 10% of their class at the Bradford, Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour High Schools receive plaques at a Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel dinner. Schools.


Left: Schuyler Scholar plaque


6th graders experience outdoors at Field Day

Sixth-grade students from three school districts participate in the annual Conservation Field Day at the Millport Hunting and Fishing Club. Agriculture.

Photo: Brie Riesbeck of Tanglewood Nature Center explains Great Horned Owl biology to the Field Day students. She also showed and spoke about an Eastern screech owl and a Red-tailed hawk.


13 WGHS students join National Honor Society

The students were inducted in a ceremony in the Watkins Glen Elementary School auditorium. Schools.

Photo: Candle used in the NHS induction ceremony.


DeRusha is IMRRC's new Executive Director

Daniel G. DeRusha of Corning has been selected as the new executive director of the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen. Center.



Photo: Daniel G. DeRusha (Photo provided)

From left: Chris Houseknecht (Dylan's father), State Senator Tom O'Mara, Dylan Houseknecht, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Scott Houseknecht (Dylan's grandfather), and Coach Dan Batchelder. (Photo provided)


Albany officials welcome wrestling champion

State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano on June 5th welcomed Odessa-Montour High School senior Dylan Houseknecht (right) to the state Capitol. In February, Houseknecht captured the 285-pound Division II wrestling title at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships in Albany -- the first state wrestling title in his school's history. O'Mara and Palmesano sponsored a Legislative Resolution paying tribute to that victory. Dylan, it said in part, "has clearly utilized dedication, determination and teamwork in providing a lasting contribution to the spirit of excellence." He plans to attend SUNY Cortland, where he will wrestle and play football.

Allie Gibson, center, signs to swim at SUNY Cortland. Surrounding her are family members -- parents Lisa and Scott, and siblings Alex and Abby. (Photos provided)


Watkins Glen High holds 2 signing ceremonies

The Watkins Glen High School library was the site June 4th of two college signings -- by Allie Gibson, a Section IV sprint champion who will swim while attending SUNY Cortland, and by Cierra Barber, a successful high school goalkeeper who will continue playing soccer while attending East Mercyhurst College. Allie is looking to be an Elementary School teacher and will be working on her Early Childhood Education degree. Cierra has a goal of becoming a Sports Trainer and will start by getting her PTA (Physical Therapist Assistant) degree.

Photo at right: Cierra Barber.


Burdett kicks off its bicentennial celebration

Tours, vendors, live music, a fire-truck parade, dinner and fireworks highlighted the June 1 village activities. People.

Photo: NY Senator Tom O'Mara, right, and Mayor Dale Walter.


CCA option offered in Burdett, Montour Falls

Many residents of the two villages are receiving letters from Constellation Energy and the Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance regarding their option to utilize the Community Choice Aggregation, a law that allows communities to combine the buying power of multiple households into an energy buying block. Business.


Cargill check will help fund demo project

Cargill, Inc. has awarded the Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District $16,000 to assist with a unique state-of-the-art demonstration project that will be utilized on more than 250 acres of vineyard land surrounding Seneca Lake and is designed to reduce the occurrence of harmful algae blooms in the lake. Project.


Rotary honors Rosier as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Hannah Rosier (right) was honored May 30th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as the O-M Student of the Month for May. Rosier was introduced by teacher Danielle Rumsey, who praised the honoree as "insightful" and as an outstanding entertainer. Rosier, a member of National Honor Society, Drama Club and the varsity track team, performed in several musicals at the school. She plans to attend Emerson College in Boston to study theater education with an eye toward becoming a drama teacher while continuing to participate in musicals.

Habitat for Humanity holds groundbreaking

Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity has broken ground for its second home construction -- at 306 Broadway in the Village of Montour Falls. Features.

Watkins Glen High School honorees (from left) Joe Chedzoy, Hannah Morse, Wyatt Brower and Danielle Leszyk.


Introducing the 2019
Top Drawer 24 team

The 14th annual Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding area student-athlete-citizens contains 22 seniors and 2 juniors from 9 schools. To see who they are, click here.


Memorial Day services honor the fallen

Ceremonies held in Montour Falls, Watkins Glen and outside Odessa honor those who have died in defense of our freedom while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Plus: a speech by Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer. People.

Photo: A member of the Color Guard at the Montour Falls ceremony.


Sand Award winner, hospital workers honored

Schuyler Hospital Facilities Department employee Keith Crout is named recipient of the hospital's annual Lou Sand Award. Meanwhile, hospital employees wth 660 years of service are recognized. People.

Photo: Sand Award winner Keith Crout.


Fitzsimmons announces run for County Judge

Daniel Fitzsimmons (right) has become the fourth candidate to announce entry into the race for Schuyler County Judge. A press release announced that Fitzsimmons, a longtime Schuyler attorney, "has named a committee to advise and oversee his campaign." He joins Matthew Hayden, Jessica Saks and Steven Getman as candidates. The election is in November. Government.


Coffey is seeking seat on Schuyler Legislature

Dr. Margaret "Maggie" Coffey has announced her candidacy for Schuyler County District 8 Legislator representing the towns of Orange and Tyrone. She and her family have lived on Sugar Hill for many years. A retired veterinarian, Dr. Coffey volunteers at both the Humane Society of Schuyler County and the Food Bank of the Southern Tier while serving as board president for the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation. She is running for Legislature as a Democrat but, says the Schuyler County Democratic Committee, "Maggie will be an outstanding representative for everyone in District 8." Election day is Nov. 5, with early voting starting Oct. 26.

Photo: Dr. Margaret Coffey (Photo provided)


Budgets pass in O-M, Watkins Glen districts; Bianco, Butler elected to WG School Board

The Odessa-Montour school budget was approved Tuesday by district voters, 183-35, while a $16.9 million capital project passed 185-33. Other propositions involving buses and libraries also were approved. Two candidates ran unopposed for the board: Karen Rock (190 votes) and Alyssa Wixson (179).

The Watkins Glen school budget passed 338-87, and a bus proposition was approved 344-72.

In the race for a pair of three-year School Board seats, Craig Bianco (338 votes) and Theresa Butler (282) were elected, outpolling Mary Barnes (173).

Photos: Craig Bianco and Theresa Butler (File photos)


Trumpeter serenades on North Franklin Street

For those who heard trumpet music -- patriotic and religious tunes -- wafting along North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen Monday evening, here's the deal: The trumpeter was Richard Jacobson of Corning, who said "God called on me" to perform such music long ago in such far-flung locales as Europe (he says he lived in Germany for 15 years) and Pennsylvania and is continuing to call on him, now, to play around the Southern Tier of New York. He said he has visited Watkins Glen before, "but not often."


Watkins Village Board accepts Lee resignation

The Watkins Glen Village Board Tuesday night acted on a number of issues. It:

--Accepted the resignation of former mayor Bob Lee as chairman of the village's Zoning Board of Appeals, due to health issues, and in turn appointed Sue Olevnik to the ZBA. Lee wrote that he "hopefully will recover" and serve the community again.

--Tabled a request by the Watkins Glen School District for forgiveness of $3,652 charged for an overflow of 330,000 gallons of water in an incident involving the school pool that resulted in the basement underneath being flooded. The board wants more details.

--Approved plans to hold the Cardboard Boat Regatta in Seneca Harbor Park on June 15, and the Grand Prix Festival on Sept. 6 in downtown Watkins Glen.

Photo: Mayor Luke Leszyk at Tuesday's meeting.


Waverly boy, 8, dies in Schuyler ATV accident

An 8-year-old Waverly boy, Jagger J. Roberts-Wright, died Sunday, May 19 following an ATV accident at 10:45 a.m. in the Town of Montour -- in fields along Mills Road -- during a New York Offroad Association (NYOA) sanctioned event. The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office said the boy's ATV struck a tree during the race, ejecting him. He was transported by ambulance to Schuyler Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The investigation is continuing

Montour Falls Mayor John King, left, speaks to Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer at League of Women Voters luncheon.


4 mayors outline happenings in their villages

The mayors of Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, Odessa and Burdett were guest speakers May 20 at the annual luncheon meeting of the League of Women Voters of Schuyler County at the Montour Moose Lodge. Burdett's Dale Walter, Montour Falls's John King, Odessa's Gerry Messmer and Watkins Glen's Luke Leszyk each outlined projects underway in, and plans being made for, their municipalities.


GP Fitness wins Schuyler Steps Out program

For the eighth straight and final week, Grand Prix Fitness held on to first place to win the annual Schuyler Steps Out free community walking program presented by Schuyler Hospital. The program, in its 13th year, saw GPF's 26 Workout Warriors amass a cumulative average of 969,011 steps. The Watkins Glen School Steppers kept their hold on second place (848,268), and Cargill's Salted Steps finsihed in third place (724,269). There were 13 teams competing.


WGHS receives $15K grant from Cargill

Watkins Glen High School has been given a $15,000 grant from Cargill that will be used to purchase STEM equipment for the school. Diana Warren from Cargill presented the grant to school officials in a ceremony at the school. Karen Armstrong, a technology teacher who with coworker Bob Hogan developed a proposal for the grant, said the funds will be used to buy equipment for use by STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students.


SCOPED conducting survey for area planning

The Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) is conducting a survey of area residents for input that will "build on the planning efforts completed to date" in the area "and will contribute to creation of a Regional Economic Development Strategic Plan." The online interactive program can be found here.

Legislators Mark Rondinaro, left, and Van Harp share a laugh.


Legislature taps Clute consultant, tables resolution pertaining to Woodstock 50 festival

Schuyler County legislators on May 13 approved a resolution naming Stantec Consulting Services Inc. as development consultant for the planned Clute Park project. The resolution recognized the county's role "acting on behalf and as agent of the Village of Watkins Glen pursuant to an intermunicipal agreement." The $576,600 contract runs from April 1 of this year through June 2, 2020. Funding will come from Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NYS Historic Preservation grant funds.

The legislators also tabled a resolution containing a negative declaration of environmental impact -- a necessity if the Woodstock 50 festival planning is to proceed. "We are awaiting clarity," said County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, as the festival promoter, Michael Lang, and his former financial backer, Dentsu Aegis, sue and countersue over the latter's decision to exit and cancel the festival. "With each day that passes" with the matter unresolved, said O'Hearn, "it becomes less likely" that the festival can occur. (See articles here.)

Photo in text: Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.

Kathleen Clifford addresses the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club.


Rotary honors Clifford as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Kathleen Clifford was honored May 9th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for May. Clifford was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who said "I can't say enough about how hard she works." She added: "It's fun to teach her; she has so much knowledge of the world. It goes beyond the textbook. She will be very successful in life." Clifford, a member of the school's varsity basketball team that placed second in the State among Class C schools this year, and who plays doubles on the varsity tennis team, is the WGHS Salutatorian. She plans to attend Cornell University in the fall. She will study government with an eye toward a career in international law.

Photo in text: Kathleen Clifford, holding her plaque, alongside teacher Kelsey Wood.


Awards, policy proposals mark Board session

The Watkins Glen School Board meeting May 7 honored outstanding winter athletes and featured the presentation of policy proposals from Superintendent Greg Kelahan and from a pair of WGHS seniors. Meeting.

Photo: Award certificates (above) honored two track athletes and the WGHS girls varsity basketball team.

The WGHS valedictorian, Joe Chedzoy, poses with salutatorian Kathleen Clifford during the awards ceremony.


Chedzoy valedictorian; Clifford salutatorian

The Watkins Glen High School 9th-12th Grade Academic, Athletic & Top Ten Percent Recognition Ceremony was held Wednesday evening, May 8 in the school auditorium, culminating in the announcement of the valedictorian, Joe Chedzoy, and the salutatorian, Kathleen Clifford. A list of the many award winners can be found at Schools.


'Freedom Writers' teacher speaks at WG

Erin Gruwell, the teacher whose class work inspired creation of a book titled The Freedom Writers Diary and the movie Freedom Writers, spoke to Watkins Glen students at two assemblies on May 7, and then met with student leaders at a luncheon. Schools.

Photo: Erin Gruwell at Watkins Glen High School.

Casino Night attendees gather around one of the game tables.


Casino Night draws crowd to Glen fire station

The Watkins Glen Fire Company's annual Casino Night at the Fire Station May 4th was a success again as the department raised funds to help it operate. Games of chance were plentiful, along with raffles, food and beverages.


Schuyler Habitat is ready to build 2nd house

Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity is ready to build its second house in Schuyler County at 306 Broadway in the Village of Montour Falls.

The site was bought last year and the property has been cleared and prepared for construction. Habitat.


Photo: At the Habitat site.


Capital project prompts tours of O-M buildings

Odessa-Montour School Superintendent Chris Wood (right) offered an overview of the district's proposed $16.9 million capital project and a tour of the O-M campus for any interested district residents on May 3 and May 7 in advance of a vote May 21. The project, Wood said, will not have any tax impact.

A long list of items that need upgrade or renovation in the district's three schools are included. "It's nothing sexy or fancy," said one official. Key among the renovations would be the Jack Davis Gym, which will become unusable without project help, officials say.

The capital project is one of the propositions accompanying the school budget vote on May 21. Voter approval is needed before the project advances to Albany and a vetting process by the state. Voting will be from 12 noon-8 p.m. in Hanlon Elementary School Room 12. A budget hearing is set for 6 p.m. May 7 in High School Room 152.


WGHS students visit O'Mara, Palmesano

State Senator Tom O’Mara (left) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (right) on April 30 welcomed a group of Watkins Glen High School students to the state Capitol. Instructor Travis Durfee (top right) accompanied the group. As part of their debate studies curriculum, the students have researched and debated a variety of issues. They went to the Capitol to meet their state representatives, discuss a variety of ideas, visit the state government complex, and watch live sessions of the Assembly and Senate. The group also attended a Capitol news conference in support of legislation the area legislators co-sponsor known as the “Student Journalist Free Speech Act."


Mechanical Meltdown places 37th at Worlds

Schuyler County’s youth robotics team, Mechanical Meltdown, placed 37th among 320 competing teams -- and 2nd among 17 New York teams -- at the April 23-28 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Worlds in Detroit and Houston. For the second year running, the team earned the opportunity to meet in Detroiit with youth from across the globe and compete using the robot which they designed, built, and programmed over the past 7 months. The Detroit event drew a crowd of 43,000 people from 37 countries, making it the world's largest celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for youth.

There are 7,000 teams worldwide.The Schuyler team advanced through qualifying events against 56 other teams in the East. It is part of FLARE (Finger Lakes Area Robotics Education), open to youth in grades 7-12 attending any school in the region or home-schooled. The group meets regularly in Watkins Glen. For information, call Kathy at (607) 546-2207 or email ftcflare@gmail.com.

Photo: Members of the Mechanical Meltdown team.


Woodstock 50 investor pulls plug on festival, but Lang vows to find other financial backing

The Woodstock 50 festival scheduled for Aug. 16-18 at Watkins Glen International has been canceled, according Billboard magazine quoting Dentsu, one of the festival's main investment arms. The cancellation was confirmed by Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, who said that while there seems to be some dispute among the festival's various producers -- "It's been a multi-faceted effort" -- and while promoter Michael Lang had yet to acknowledge the cancellation, "as far as I'm concerned, it's canceled. We're extremely disappointed by the news. But it's their decision." But Lang (pictured at right) threw a curve Monday night when he wrote on Facebook that "we will of course be continuing with the planning of the festival and intend to bring on new partners. The bottom line is, there is going to be a Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival, as there must be, and it's going to be a blast." Said Dentsu in the morning: "Despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don't believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved."

Pulling the plug on Miley. Column.
Article in Pitchfork summarizes plight. Article.


Watkins holds its annual prom at Logan Ridge

The Watkins Glen High School prom was held Saturday night, April 27, at the Logan Ridge Estates in Hector. For a look at the evening, see Prom.

Photo: Students dance to the music at the annual WGHS prom.


Odessa-Montour holds its annual prom at WGI

The Odessa-Montour High School prom was held April 26 at the Watkins Glen International Media Center. This year's theme: Golden Splendor. For a look at the evening, see Prom.

Photo: Students arrive at the Media Center.


Envirothon: Bradford
is top Schuyler team

The "Bush Buddy Club" team from Bradford Central School wins the Schuyler County title at the Southern Tier Envirothon in Owego. Bradford's "Los Toros" team was second, and Odessa-Montour's "Martens" third. Envirothon.


Photo: Alivia Phenes of the winning Bradford team. (Provided)


Houseknecht honored as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Dylan Houseknecht was honored April 25 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for April. Houseknecht was introduced by wrestling coach Dan Batchelder, who said the secret of Houseknecht's success and popularity stems from one word: "Character. He's mature, and a very good role model in terms of work ethic and goal-setting." Houseknecht, an All-State football player, was crowned this year as the New York State Division 2 wrestling champion. He will attend SUNY Cortland, where he plans to play football and wrestle while studying criminology with an eye toward becoming a State Trooper. "I never would have dreamed I'd have a year like this," he said.

Photo: Dylan Houseknecht at Rotary


With future NASCAR changes, 'nobody is safe'

Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup told Watkins-Montour Rotarians Thursday at their weekly luncheon meeting that:

1. "Change is coming in NASCAR" with a reduction in races by 10 or 12 in 2022 or 2023. "Nobody is safe" from the track reduction knife, he said, although investments in the WGI track by owner International Speedway Corp. and the annual success of the track in drawing sell-out crowds might bode well for its continuation as a regular stop on the NASCAR circuit.

2. More than 300 acres of WGI land leased to a large Florida firm for the solar farm generation of 55 megawatts of alternative energy is on track for a groundbreaking in 2021. The energy has been sold in megawatt blocks to large customers like the SUNY system and Empire Development.

3. The Woodstock 50 organizers missed their scheduled ticket-sale date (April 22) because they failed to meet a permit deadline. The state Department of Health and Schuyler Legislature each hold 50% of the permit rights, he said. A big miss, he said, was a failure to provide a detailed listing of where State Police assigned to the festival would be positioned.

Photo: WGI President Michael Printup at Rotary

A covering is removed, unveiling the three-sided sign detailing the history of Watkins Glen as a canal town.


Waterfront sign extols Glen's link to Erie Canal

Representatives of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the New York State Canal Corporation were joined by local officials Wednesday to unveil a new three-sided sign at Seneca Harbor Park in Watkins Glen. The sign outlines the history of Watkins Glen as a canal town and includes a map to help visitors locate nearby services. Said emcee Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development: "This sign provides deep acknowledgement of the incredible impact the Erie Canal had in establishing Watkins Glen as a major economic center." The sign is one of 44 located in 32 communities around the state whose histories are linked to the Erie Canal. Also on hand: State Senator Tom O'Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Montour Falls Mayor John King, Schuyler Legislators Jim Howell, Mark Rondinaro and Carl Blowers, Watkins Village Trustees Lou Perazzini and Nan Woodworth, and Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.

Photo: Eric and Mary Beth Hollenbeck study the sign.


Red Cross launches free-smoke-alarm drive

The Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross held a Sound the Alarm Kickoff Wednesday at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel as part of a national drive to install 100,000 free smoke alarms to mitigate the threat of home fires. The Finger Lakes Chapter will, on May 11, have volunteers stage at the hotel and then go door-to-door to install free smoke alarms, and help families create home fire escape plans. Volunteers will also be visiting homes across the Chapter's six counties throughout the two-week period of the national program, April 27-May 13. For more information, you can visit www.soundthealarm.org/wcny.

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara spoke at the Finger Lakes Chapter kickoff at the Harbor Hotel. In the background: Brian McConnell, the chapter's Executive Director.


Groundbreaking kicks off hospital expansion

The $10.3 million project that will add a medical-surgical inpatient unit to Schuyler Hospital and lead to further renovations was symbolized with a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning at the hospital attended by officials from around the region. Project.

Photo: Schuyler Hospital President/CEO James Watson served as emcee.


Jeannette Frank to retire after 40 years at Arc; Schuyler and Chemung units joining forces

The Arc of Schuyler's Executive Director for the past eight years plans to retire on July 1. Meanwhile, the Arc of Schuyler Board of Directors, after considering its options for leadership transition, has chosen to enter into a management services agreement with The Arc of Chemung. The long-range plan is to unify the chapters. Business.

Photo: Jeannette Frank


Bartow plans run for Schuyler Legislature

Democrat Paul Bartow of Tyrone has announced his candiidacy for a seat on the Schuyler County Legislature. Bartow is president of the Schuyler County Historical Society, and a former educator. The election is on Nov. 5th. Government.

Photo: Paul Bartow (Photo provided)

Tom Carson dies:

Tom Carson has passed away. He died Monday evening, April 22, two days after he was visited (story below) by his fellow firefighters. Messages of condolence, and of thanks for the impact he had, have been growing on-line, notably at the Schuyler County FireWire on Facebook.


Scores of firefighters paid visit to Tom Carson

Firefighters from around Schuyler County, along with other emergency personnel, gathered in Montour Falls on April 20 and drove to Tom Carson's nearby house, to pay their respects to the longtime firefighter and former fire chief as he waged his battle with cancer. People.

Photo: About 60 visitors shook hands with or hugged Tom Carson as he greeted them from his wheelchair.

To reach Tom Carson's obituary, click here.

Dr. Benjamin Saks introduces his sister Jessica, right, on the Schuyler County Courthouse steps.


Saks starts judge run from courthouse steps

Republican Jessica Saks made her formal announcement of candidacy Monday for the post of Schuyler County Judge -- issuing it from the steps of the Schuyler County Courthouse. A crowd of about 60 supporters were on hand, cheering -- with one heckler who Saks said afterward had recently lost a custody battle in which Saks represented the man's wife. Saks was introduced by her brother, Dr. Benjamin Saks, who pointed out that if his sister wins, she will be the first female elected to the post in Schuyler. Candidate Saks, who said she brings "a sense of fairness and independence" to the campaign, promised to run as an independent if she fails to win the Republican Party nomination. That nomination will be decided by the party following the retirement June 1 of current judge Dennis Morris. Thus far, Democrat Matthew Hayden and Republican Steven Getman have announced runs for the bench, with Republican Dan Fitzsimmons expected to follow suit.

Photo: Jessica Saks on the courthouse steps.


Drawing determines ballot positions at O-M

The upcoming election for a pair of three-year seats on the Odessa-Montour School Board holds no drama -- there are two candidates running unopposed. But a time-honored tradition to determine ballot positions was held Monday in the district office when Superintendent Chris Wood drew the names from a cup, the first one drawn earning the top ballot spot. That went to newcomer Alyssa Wixson, while the second went to Karen Rock, who has held a seat on the board since 2004. The election -- along with the budget vote -- is May 21 from noon to 8 p.m. at the Hanlon Elementary School. A budget hearing and Meet the Candidates Night is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7 at 6 p.m. in the High School Distance Learning Room (#152).

Photo: Superintendent Chris Wood opens one of the sheets drawn from the cup on the table.

A Nissan Sentra is carried from the scene of the 5-car accident.


One injured in 5-car Alpine Junction accident

One person was sent to Schuyler Hospital and three cars were towed from the scene after a five-car accident at about 6 p.m. Sunday at Alpine Junction, the intersection of Routes 13 and 224 in the Town of Cayuta. Officials said a southbound jeep Wrangler driven by a Rochester man struck the rear of the first of three southbound cars slowing for a traffic light, glanced off to the right, struck the curb and veered back in front of the three cars and hard into the rear of a Nissan Sentra stopped at the light. The first car that was struck rammed the one in front of it, which in turn rammed the first of the three slowing vehicles. The driver of the Sentra, a 43-year-old Corning man, was taken by Schuyler Ambulance to Schuyler Hospital with minor injuries. The Sentra, Jeep and first car struck were towed. The other two cars were driven from the scene.

Photo: The Jeep and the Sentra. Both were towed.


Seneca Indians host BBQ at Moose Lodge

The Seneca Indians varsity baseball team raised funds Saturday through a chicken barbecue held at the Montour Moose Lodge. Team members took an active role in preparing the meals. Sports.

Photo: Chickens called attention to the barbecue by positioning themselves next to the road.


Easter Egg Hunts were popular stops

Easter Egg Hunts were held Saturday, April 20 at Lafayette Park in Watkins Glen (sponsored for the fourth straight year by Cabins to Castles on Seneca Real Estate, and expanded to include two bounce houses), at the Glen Baptist Church, and on Odessa-Montour High School's athletic field. As usual, the turnouts were large and enthusiastic. Features.


Photo: Beatrice Hayden, 7, gathered lots of plastic eggs, with plenty of candy inside them.


Fatal accident occurs near Alpine Junction

A 50-year-old Campbell woman, Annette M. Osborn, was pronounced dead at the scene April 18 following a three-vehicle accident at 12:56 p.m. on Route 13 in the Town of Cayuta, near Alpine Junction.

The Schuyler County Sheriff's office said Osborn's southbound car crossed the center line and struck the side of a car driven by Corrine B. Taylor, 25, of Elmira, and then struck, head-on, a truck driven by Douglas M. Collins, 34, of Cayuta. Taylor was transported to Cayuga Medical Center and treated for minor injuries. Collins and his passenger, Brian L. McClean Jr., 22, of Cayuta, were transported to Robert Packer Hospital for treatment of several fractured bones.

Responding to the scene were the Odessa, Montour Falls and Community Fire Departments; Schuyler County, Erway and Bangs Ambulances, and Guthrie Air Helicopter. A State Police Accident Reconstruction Team assisted in the investigation.

Photo: Traffic was directed at Alpine Junction away from the accident scene, located a mile north on Route 13.


Arc holds open house; Cargill presents check

The Arc of Schuyler hosted a public open house on Tuesday, April 16, for its new food manufacturing facility, Glen Copack, and received a check for $20,000 from Cargill, the first installment of a three-year $60,000 pledge from the company. Business.


Rotary honors Patel as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Kishan Patel (right) was honored April 11 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for April. Patel was introduced by teacher Travis Durfee, who described the honoree as "someone who embodies the spirit of effort and hard work" and who "exceeds teachers' expectations. He is a pretty unique individual." Patel, a member of the Robotics team competing later this month in the World competition in Detroit, will attend Yale University in the fall, majoring in Computer and Data Science and studying Artificial Intelligence. He hopes to eventually work for the government or "in my own start-up." He thanked Durfee and other teachers for challenging him, and his parents for their guidance and inspiration.

Burglar gets 12 years in prison

A 31-year-old Trumansburg man has been sentenced in Schuyler County Court to 12 years in state prison following guilty pleas to charges he burglarized two Town of Hector homes in 2018. Government.

A Ben & Jerry's employee, left, hands a cone to a customer during the Watkins Glen shop's Free Cone Day.


Annual Free Cone Day draws a crowd in Glen

The 40th annual Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day -- a staple at the ice cream chain's shops around the world -- drew a crowd April 9th to the Ben & Jerry's on Franklin Street. The 12-8 p.m. event often saw a line through the store and out the door -- a turnout encouraged, no doubt, by the sunny skies and relatively balmy temperatures.


Signings held at WGHS for senior athletes

Watkins Glen High School seniors Collin Baker and Taylor Kelly held signing ceremonies April 8 in the school library -- Baker signing a Letter of Commitment to SUNY Brockport, where he will play football; and Kelly a Letter of Intent to Corning Community College, where she plans to play basketball. Sports.

Flag at the finish line awaits runners on the WGI race track.


6th annual Arc Grand Prix Run is a chilly one

Hundreds of runners and walkers were registered for the 6th annual Arc Grand Prix Run at Watkins Glen International on what proved to be a chilly, 40-degree morning. Race.

Joe Bantelman of Fairport brought his Ford dealership model along with his die-cast car collection, a highlight of the Model Car Show.


Model Car Show is a hit at Research Center

The 6th annual Model Car Show drew a steady crowd April 6 to the host site: the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen. Model and die-cast cars from a wide range of collectors were featured, along with a new twist provided by the Rochester LEGO User Group: LEGO-built 1/8 scale race cars and a pinewood derby-like track for LEGO cars built by visitors of all ages from kits for sale ($6) at the event.

Photo: A Lego pinewood derby-like track with lego cars attracted kids of all ages.

An electric car maneuvers through the autocross course at WGI


15th annual Green Grand Prix held at WGI

The 15th annual Green Grand Prix -- an event that puts a spotlight on motoring technology that aims for a cleaner environment through engine and driving efficiencies -- was held April 5th at Watkins Glen International. It featured a panel discussion, a Fuel Economy Rally, and an autocross (above) in the parking lot outside the garage. All events were sanctioned and sponsored by the Sports Car Club of America. It all kicked off Opening Weekend activities at WGI, which include the annual Arc Grand Prix Run Saturday morning and race track laps by personal vehicles from 10 to 3 Saturday.

WGHS student Katie Losey throws from her knees during the Kickball Classic's BattleBall, between students and teachers.


Kickball Classic raises McDonald House funds

The third annual Watkins Glen Kickball Classic and Family Fun Night held April 5th at the Watkins Glen High School Field House drew a sizable crowd enjoying a number of activities: a kickball game involving faculty, kids games, raffles, face painting, a gift basket silent auction, a book exchange, a 50/50 raffle, and concessions. All proceeds go to Ronald McDonald House Charities. Travis Durfee, president of the Watkins Glen Faculty Association, said "several WGFA volunteers make the event happen, and a few others -- including Tracie McIlroy, who has helped coordinate the event every year" but now is nearing retirement. "She's a gem and we're going to have big shoes to fill in her absence next year."

Photo: A student reaches in vain for a ball while wearing goggles that disorient the sense of sight, along the lines of alcoholic impairment. The experience was part of the SCCUDD (Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs) booth at the Kickball Classic. For more on SCCUDD activities, see People.


Getman announces County Judge candidacy

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman has announced that he is campaigning for the position of County Judge, a job that will become vacant with the retirement at the end of May of the incumbent, Dennis Morris. Getman, a lifelong Republican, says he is "uniquely qualified" for the role by his experience. The election for the 10-year post will take place in November. People.

Photo: Steven Getman (Provided)

Linda Confer of Elmira Savings Bank, left, chats with Katie Strawser of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier during the Business Expo.


Networking takes center stage at annual Expo

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce's 13th annual Business Expo was held April 3rd at the Watkins Glen Community Center, offering businesses from the Twin Tiers an opportunity to showcase their products and services and to network, establishing new business connections. The first hour of the event was open to the public, and the last two, sponsored by Elmira Savings Bank, served as a mixer for Chamber members.


Mayor Leszyk, 2 trustees take oaths in Glen

New Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk was sworn into office April 1st along with trustees Lou Perazzini and Nan Woodworth and village justice Steven Decker. Government.

Photo: Luke Leszyk takes the oath of office as mayor.


O'Mara, Palmesano rip new state budget

The New York State budget approved April 1 by the Democrat-controlled Legislature comes under fire from State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano. The budget is "bad news for taxpayers," says O'Mara. It shows local roads don't matter, adds Palmesano. Government.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.

A sleepy Princess Winnifred (Maria Brubaker) leans on the Minstrel (Scott Brubaker) as the Jester (Nate Farnsworth) watches.


WG's Once Upon a Mattress ends 3-day run

The Watkins Glen High School Class of 2019's spring musical, "Once Upon a Mattress," was presented for the third and final time Sunday, March 31 in the WGHS Auditorium. Play.


Woodstock 50 info session draws crowd

Security, transportation and attendance numbers relating to the planned Aug. 16-18 Woodstock 50 festival at WGI were discussed at an informational session attended by about 300 people at the old Middle School auditorium. People.

Photo: Promoter Michael Lang


Rotary honors Lott as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior McKennah Lott (right) was honored March 28 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for March. She was introduced by teacher Greg Gavich, who described Lott as "dependable, caring and hard-working," ranking academically in the Top 10 of her class. A three-sport athlete (soccer, basketball and softball), she is a member of Student Council, Secretary of the National Honor Society and co-President of the Interact Club. "She doesn't seek attention," Gavich said. "She just does what needs doing." Lott plans to attend Tompkins-Cortland Community College, where she will major in accounting and play soccer. After that, she plans to attend a 4-year school -- possibly Columbia, she said, "but we'll see."


Ambassadors named for Library Week in Glen

To celebrate National Library Week (April 7-13), the Friends of the Watkins Library have selected Sue Baldwin and Joann Neal as community ambassadors, while Watkins Glen High School senior Kathleen Clifford has been named school district ambassador. Library.

Photo: Ambassador Kathleen Clifford

From left: Cast members Grace Wickham, Jack Muir and Maria Brubaker at the Rotary Club luncheon.


Cast performs 'Mattress' tunes for Rotary Club

The cast of the Watkins Glen High School student musical, "Once Upon a Mattress," performed songs from the show on Thursday, March 28 for the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club at its weekly luncheon meeting. The show opened Friday night in the WGHS auditorium, with other presentations Saturday and Sunday, March 31.

Photo: Wyatt Brower and Iris Elaina Rodriguez at Rotary.

From left: Assemblyman Chris Friend, State Senator Tom O'Mara, driver Colin Braun, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, and WGI President Michael Printup.


State Legislature recognizes WGI in Albany

Assemblymen Phil Palmesano and Chris Friend and State Senator Tom O'Mara on March 26 welcomed Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup, professional driver Colin Braun and WGI Public Relations Director Chris Banker to the State Capitol to celebrate the contributions of motorsports to the economy and culture of the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes region, and all of New York State. Together, the group officially opened a NYS Motorsports Exhibition in the Empire State Plaza, and the State Senate adopted a legislative resolution proclaiming March 24-30, 2019 as "Motorsports Appreciation Week" in New York.


Sheriffs' unit fund drive set; helps finance camp

Sheriffs' Institute drive will help finance programs, including summer camp on Keuka Lake for disadvantaged kids. People.

Photo: Summer camp

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel General Manager Scott Bell, left, hands a $25,000 check to Brian McConnell, executive director of the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross, as the Red Cross's lead Ice Bar volunteer, Diane Telehany, looks on.


Hotel's Ice Bar yields $25,000 for Red Cross

The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel -- for the 8th straight year -- has donated a portion of the proceeds from its mid-winter three-day Ice Bar celebration to the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross. A check for $25,000 -- bringing the 8-year total to $150,000 -- was presented March 21 by the hotel general manager, Scott Bell, to Brian McConnell, the Red Cross chapter's executive director. Diane Telehany of Corning, a member of the chapter's board of directors who led an Ice Bar force of 70 volunteers, was also present. McConnell in turn presented a plaque (pictured) to the hotel for its "dedication to the humanitarian mission of the American Red Cross." "We're fortunate to be considered" each year, said McConnell. "I'm humbled by the show of support." McConnell said the funds will be used to aid the Red Cross's disaster responses and disaster preparedness program.


Burdett 18-year-old faces several charges

Logan J. Teemley, 18, of Burdett, NY, has been charged by the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office with a Class D felony, Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, following a report of a house being shot in the Town of Hector -- with other charges added later that included a class E felony, Coercion in the Third Degree. Government.

Photo: Logan Teemley (Photo provided)


CCC taps Mullaney as its seventh president

The Regional Board of Trustees at SUNY Corning Community College has named Dr. William Mullaney as the next president of the College. Mullaney -- who has more than 20 years of experience serving in leadership capacities in academia -- will succeed current president Dr. Katherine Douglas on July 1. Douglas will retire on June 30 after serving CCC for eight years. People.

Photo: Dr. William Mullaney

From left: WGHS varsity basketball players Danielle Leszyk, Hannah Morse and Taylor Kelly at the dinner at El Rancho.


El Rancho provides dinner to WGHS girls team

The owner of El Rancho Mexican Restaurant in Watkins Glen honors the Watkins Glen High School girls varsity basketball team's second-place finish in the state by providing the squad with a taco dinner. Schools.


Woodstock 50 festival lineup is unveiled

The lineup for the Woodstock 50 festival at Watkins Glen International was announced March 19 by promoter Michael Lang -- and includes a handful of artists who performed at the original Woodstock, held at Bethel Woods 50 years ago: John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Santana, John Sebastian, David Crosby, Melanie, Country Joe McDonald, and Canned Heat. Headliners for the Aug. 16-18 festival will include Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons, the Black Keys, and Chance the Rapper. For a full list, click here.

Watkins Glen election winners: From left: Nan Woodworth (trustee), Lou Perazzini (trustee), Luke Leszyk (mayor) and Steve Decker (justice).


Leszyk elected mayor in Watkins Glen; Perazzini and Woodworth win board seats

Political newcomer Luke Leszyk, a military veteran and retired state trooper running on the Republican line, defeated Village Board member Laurie DeNardo (pictured at right) 330-269 on March 19 in balloting for a four-year term as mayor. Leszyk will succeed one-term mayor Sam Schimizzi, who was defeated in a Democratic caucus by DeNardo.

Earning four-year spots on the Village Board -- joining incumbents DeNardo and Tony Fraboni -- are Republican Lou Perazzini (360 votes) and Democrat Nan Woodworth (333), who was appointed late last year to the board seat vacated by the resignation of Kevin Thornton. Democrat Brian Eslinger fell short Tuesday with 309 votes. Steve Decker, running unopposed for Village Justice, received 448 votes. A proposition to approve a service award program for firefighters passed 414-156.

Messmer wins mayoral race in Odessa

Incumbent Gerry Messmer (pictured at right) -- appointed to the Odessa mayor's post last year -- was elected to a full two-year term on March 19, defeating challenger David Patterson, 75-30. Newcomer Aubrey Tomassi was elected to a two-year term on the Odessa Village Board with 86 votes, along with incumbent Anne Centurelli (69). Challenger Marcel Veilleux fell short with 30 votes.

Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi, left, and Trustee Gary Schmidt at their last Board meeting. Each served four years.


Schimizzi, Schmidt are lauded at final session

Thank-you's and compliments were the order of the evening as Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi and Trustee Gary Schmidt -- both elected four years ago -- attended their last regularly scheduled Village Board meeting in their official capacities March 18. Each of them, along with Watkins Police Sergeant in Charge Steve Decker -- leaving the force to become Village Justice -- were lauded for their service to the village by fellow officials and audience attendees. Decker officially resigned, effective March 29, saying it was "an honor to serve for the past 22 years" in the police department. A new mayor and two trustees elected Tuesday, March 19, will take office in April. The process is underway for selecting a successor to Decker.

Photo: Planning Board member and podcaster Stacy Gray expressed her sentiments on her shirt at Monday's meeting.

Short-term rental operators cautioned. Government.


'Drunk Bus' completes filming in Montour Falls

The movie "Drunk Bus"-- produced by Watkins Glen area resident Eric Hollenbeck -- finished filming recently with several days of shooting in Montour Falls. The cast and crew of the film transformed Main Street into a small college town. Movie.

Watkins' Hannah Morse drives into heavy traffic near the basket.


Watkins Glen girls fall in Class C state final

The Watkins Glen High School girls varsity basketball team stayed with Cambridge for three quarters before fading down the stretch March 16 and losing 57-43 in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C final at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. Danielle Leszyk and Adrienna Solomon each scored 11 points for the Senecas, while Taylor Kelly scored 10 and Hannah Morse 9. Leszyk and Morse were named to the All-Tournament Team, while Solomon was honored with a Sportsmanship Award. Sports.

Watkins girls welcomed home. Sports.
A great group of role models. Forum.


Guys and Dolls ends its 3-show run at O-M

Students at Odessa-Montour High School completed their two-day, three-show presentation of the classic musical "Guys and Dolls" Saturday night, March 16 in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium. Opening night was Friday; the show concluded with 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. performances Saturday. For some photos from a performance, see Schools.

Photo: Rhys Stermer as Nathan Detroit and Hannah Rosier as Miss Adelaide. (Photo provided)

Next up: WGHS musical Once Upon a Mattress, set for March 29-31. Features.


Artists in Residence program leads to concert

The annual Artists in Residence program in the Watkins School District concludes with an evening concert in the WGHS auditorium. People.

Photos: Maria Brubaker sings You by Dodie Clark as part of the concert. (Photo by Ashlyn Karius)


Rotary honors Barrett as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Maggie Barrett was honored March 14 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for March. She was introduced by teacher Melissa Kissell, who described the honoree as someone unfailingly kind and helpful to others, who "it has been a pleasure to watch grow and blossom" as she has matured from a student lacking confidence to one "finding herself and beginning to believe in herself." This "amazing and awesome growth she has made through perseverance makes her the ideal" choice for Student of the Month, said Kissell. Maggie plans to attend Corning Community College in Environmental Science with a goal of attending Cornell and becoming a veterinarian

Photo: Maggie Barrett addresses Rotarians.

  Lexi earns gymnastics honors at Brockport

Watkins Glen High School 2018 graduate Lexi Castellaneta has been named Athlete of the Week at SUNY Brockport after earning National Collegiate Gymnastics Association East Region Rookie of the Year honors following Brockport's victory at the NCGA regional competition on March 10. Sports.

Photo: Lexi Castellaneta (Photo provided)


Legislature meeting: Woodstock fears aired

Residents once again -- at a Schuyler County Legislature meeting - voiced their concerns about a Summer Jam repeat at August's Woodstock 50 festival at Watkins Glen International. Government.

Photo: Legislator Phil Barnes, who chaired the meeting.


Boating club focus: education and family fun

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. Features.

Bill Green with some 1955 Watkins Glen race credentials.


Green gives history lesson on race credentials

Racing historian Bill Green of the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen -- the guest speaker March 7 at the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club's weekly luncheon -- brought with him a notebook full of credentials he has collected from Watkins Glen races in the 1950s. He showed many of them, sprinkling the demonstration with some tales of racing and racers of that era.

An artistically enhanced photo of Woodstock 50 promoter Michael Lang at the County Building March 6th.


Legislature hears police report; Lang weighs in

Three officials from the State Police in Albany presented a report on public safety to the Schuyler County Legislature in executive session March 6. Afterward, promoter Michael Lang commented on the festival, and County Administrator Tim O'Hearn said a public meeting on Woodstock will be held March 27 at the former Middle School in Watkins Glen. People.

Members of the committee that will select the firm to head up Clute Park renovations and new construction include, from left, County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, Clute Park Manager Michelle Hyde, Schuyler County Director of Planning Kristin VanHorn, Watkins Glen Trustee Laurie DeNardo, and SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry. Other members: Watkins Glen Trustee Gary Schmidt, and Watkins Glen Superintendent of Utilities Terry Wilcox.


2 finalists in Clute renovation meet the public

The two highest rated firms out of 15 that submitted proposals for renovation and new construction at Clute Park presented reports outlining their philosophies and experience to a Watkins Glen Village Hall board room packed with area residents Wednesday, March 6 in two hour-long meetings, at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. The firms were Stantec out of New Haven CT, and SWBR out of Rochester. Representatives of each -- Stantac at the first meeting and SWBR at the second -- fielded questions but could not provide specfiic plans since they have created none, not having yet been hired. The projects -- early plans have indicated a new pavilion, new bathhouse, a skating rink and a splash pad -- are being financed through three grants totaling $4.8 million. Selection of either Stantec or SWBR is expected soon.

Photo: Judy McKinney Cherry, Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development executive director, moderated.

Left: Gary Sorge of Stantec. Right: Don Naetzker of SWBR.

State Senator Tom O'Mara is at the microphones, with Assemblyman Phil Palmesano on the right, in the State Capitol. (Photo provided)


Legislators, local leaders rally for road funds

A group of state legislators, organized by State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, joined a statewide coalition of county and town highway superintendents and other local leaders March 6th to call for increased state support for local roads, bridges and culverts. The group of 600 highway reps have been in Albany this week as part of the annual "Local Roads Matter" advocacy campaign. They are calling for an increase of $150 million -- to $588 million -- in state CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) funding.

State approves $128 million in new state funding to repair local roads damaged this winter. Government.

Watkins Glen Republican mayoral candidate Luke Leszyk, left, and Democratic trustee candidate Brian Eslinger were working at the pancake supper.


Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper draws crowd

The annual Shrove Tuesday all-you-can-eat Pancake Supper drew its usual hungry crowd to St. James' Parish House in Watkins Glen March 5th, with one difference: this time it was named in honor of Nick Dugo, a church and community leader who died Nov. 26. On hand as waiters were several candidates in the March 19 village election.

Photo: Watkins Glen Democratic mayoral candidate Laurie DeNardo was waiting tables at the supper.


Board urges passage of LOSAP program

The Watkins Glen Village Board approves a Local Law that would permit it to override the state's 2% tax-levy hike limit, if needed, as it backs passage of a firefighter reward program. Government.

Photo: Trustee Tony Fraboni


Lang denies Woodstock 50 financial woes

Woodstock 50 organizer Michael Lang says reports of financial problems with the Aug. 16-18 festival at Watkins Glen International are not true. The Variety publication, quoting the website Hits Daily Double, said "issues regarding the raising of money and venue capacity" had delayed the announcement of the lineup for the 50th anniversary celebration of the original Woodstock, which Lang co-organized. "We have excellent partners and an incredible talent lineup of over 80 artists which will be announced within the next couple of weeks," said Lang. "We're preparing a once-in-a-lifetime event." Hits Daily Double quoted "insiders" as saying acts slated to appear include Dead & Co., Miley Cyrus, Santana, The Black Keys, Chance the Rapper, Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons, and Halsey.

Photo: Organizer Michael Lang.


McKinney Cherry named co-chair of STREDC

Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), has been appointed co-chair of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council (STREDC), replacing Tom Tranter, president of Corning Enterprises, who has served as the business co-chair since the council's inception in 2011. The academic co-chair is Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger. "I am honored and grateful to Governor Cuomo for this appointment," said McKinney Cherry, who has served as a member of STREDC since 2015 and has been on its Executive Committee. STREDC focuses on projects to revitalize communities and improve the quality of life in the Southern Tier.

Photo: Judy McKinney Cherry (File photo)


Man in chase sentenced on earlier charges

The man who crashed his car at the end of a police chase on Jan. 17 was sentenced to 4-to-8 years in state prison March 4th on three felonies to which he was supposed to be sentenced on the day of the chase. Charges related to the chase are still "working their way through the criminal justice process," authorities said. People.

Photo: Damaged car at the scene of the Jan. 17 crash.


Deputy Sheriffs Association honors Dylan

Odessa-Montour High School senior Dylan Houseknecht, winner of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division 2 wrestling championship at 285 pounds, was honored March 1 in the O-M district office by members of the Schuyler County Deputy Sheriffs Association -- who presented him with a gift card. For details, and another photo, see Schools.

Photo: Dylan Houseknecht, left, receives a gift.

O-M's Jackie Vincent addresses Watkins-Montour Rotarians.


Rotary honors Vincent as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Jackie Vincent (right and above) was honored Feb. 28 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for February. Vincent was introduced by teacher Holly Campbell, who cited the honoree's tendency to help others and her "initiative" in addressing her duties on the school's National Honor Society, of which Campbell is advisor. Vincent, a High Honor student ranked fifth in her class, was an IAC First Team All-Star this past season in bowling, averaging over 170. She plans to attend either SUNY Cayuga or SUNY Erie to study Business Administration, with a minor in Sales and Finance. She plans after graduation to work for a business firm with an eye toward establishing her own business, a challenge she says she is ready to meet in order "to achieve my dreams."


Crowd welcomes home O-M's Houseknecht

Odessa-Montour High School senior Dylan Houseknecht was greeted upon his return to Odessa Sunday afternoon, Feb. 24 by scores of fans celebrating his victory Saturday at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships. Dylan won the Division 2 title in the 285-pound weight class. Sunday's celebration, with a siren escort from Alpine Junction, occurred in front of the O-M school. Features.

Photo: Dylan Houseknecht arrives at the celebration.

Houseknecht: Odessa File Athlete of the Week. Sports.


Sexual abuse case draws weekends sentence

A 33-year-old Tyrone man, Shawn M. Wheeler (right), was sentenced Feb. 21 in Schuyler County Court to 26 weekends in jail and 10 years probation after being found guilty in a November trial of sexually abusing his 13-year-old stepdaughter, who officials say has intellectual disabilities. According to the Schuyler County District Attorney's office, the sentence handed down by County Judge Dennis Morris was significantly different from that recommended by Chief Assistant District Attorney Matthew Hayden, who argued for 7 years in state prison. Government.

Photo: Shawn M. Wheeler (Photo provided)

Congressman Tom Reed speaks at a gathering of officers and board members at The Arc of Schuyler.


Reed tours The Arc of Schuyler's facility

Congressman Tom Reed visited the Arc of Schuyler headquarters on 12th Street in Watkins Glen Feb. 19 to meet with Arc officials, discuss their legislative needs, and receive a tour of projects under way there. The Arc is in the process of a capital campaign to raise $375,000 locally as part of a $1.75 million drive for renovations and equipment -- which will update its services as the Arc moves toward greater inclusion for people with disabilities and the general public. Reed, in his first visit there, said he was impressed by the Arc, which is expanding its food manufacturing service through its social enterprise, Glen Copack, and its civic engagement with the additiion of a Neighborhood Center.

Photo: Tom Reed gets a tour of the Arc facility from Arc Executive Director Jeannette Frank.

Former Odessa Mayor Keith Pierce with Board member Robin Thoman as she presented him with his Citizen of the Year plaque.


Keith Pierce named Odessa Citizen of the Year

Former Odessa Mayor Keith Pierce was honored Feb. 18 by the Odessa Village Board as the village's 2018 Citizen of the Year. The presentation was made by Trustee Robin Thoman, who recounted Pierce's service to Odessa as trustee (2005-2009) and mayor (2009-2018). Said Pierce, who initiated the award in 2013: "This means a lot to me." Previous winners included Charlie Haeffner, Jeff Parmenter, Bonnie Scott, Tom Cook, and Erick Thorpe.

Also: Pierce announced that his wife, Village Clerk Kristi Pierce, was leaving that post after 15 years. She will be leaving Friday, Feb. 22 for a job with an area attorney. She, along with Trustee Thoman -- a 25-year member of the board who is not seeking re-election -- were lauded by Mayor Gerry Messmer for their service.

Photo: Kristi Pierce, who is leaving the job of Odessa Village Clerk after 15 years.


Lafayette Park clock is a legacy born of love

The Victorian-style clock in Watkins Glen's Lafayette Park is a reminder of the importance of the park to people like benefactor Robert L. Paradiso and a visible example of ongoing upgrades at the popular village location. People.


Rotary honors Weeden as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Casen Weeden (right) was honored Feb. 14 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for February. He was introduced by the school's Library Media Specialist, Maggie Field, who described him as "a team player" who is "kind, respectful and reliable" and "a consistent High Honor student" with "a great sense of humor." Weeden competes in three school sports -- football, bowling and track -- and teaches Sunday School at his church. He volunteers at a Food Pantry and with the Lions Club, and plans to attend the Syracuse-based SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.


Bond named president of Hunt Engineers

The Watkins Glen resident, a longtime Hunt employee who has been the company's vice president since 2015, is only the third president in the 44-year history of the Horseheads firm. He succeeds Dan Bower, who will remain as CEO and Chief Strategic Officer. Business.

Photo: Chris Bond


Summer Jam woes conveyed to Legislature

Dozens of area residents were on hand at the Feb. 11 Schuyler Legislature meeting, with several cautioning legislators about the dangers of embracing the Aug. 16-18 Woodstock 50 festival at Watkins Glen International -- using the 1973 Summer Jam as a sobering example. County Administrator Tim O'Hearn assured them that the process of approving the festival is in its early stages, and that the Legislature is listening. "We're taking this seriously," he said -- but allowing the process to play out, giving the promoter every chance to "prove he can do what he says." Government.

Photo: Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn


Women's March: calling attention to inequality

Watkins Glen High School senior Kathleen Clifford weighs in with a description of the 2019 Women's March in Seneca Falls and some facts and thoughts on gender inequality in the United States. People.

Photo: Kathleen Clifford


Cargill team donates $5,000 to United Way

A team of Cargill Salt employees recently completed Project KliC at the Watkins Glen Cargill Salt Facility, involving installation of a system to refine Potassium Chloride (KCl). The team won the Cargill Salt Diamond Crystal award, which recognizes exceptional team performance. Members of such winning teams receive gifts and a grant of $5,000 to be donated to a charitable foundation of the team’s choice. The team chose to donate the entire $5,000 to the Schuyler County United Way.

Photo: Paul Clifford, Project KliC Team Leader (and past United Way board member) and current United Way board member Jessica Smith with the Diamond Crystal award. (Photo provided)


Arc of Schuyler rallies for DSP wage increase

Direct support professionals, advocates, and legislators rallied at the Broome County Courthouse in Binghamton on February 8, calling on the New York State legislature and Governor Cuomo to include $55 million in the New York State budget to pay direct support professionals what they called a fair, living wage. Features.

Photo: At the rally: Mandy Jensen, a Direct Support Professional at The Arc of Schuyler. (Photo provided)


Woodstock worries? Barnes urges patience

The Dix Town Board --at a Special Meeting on Feb. 7 called to discuss concerns about the Woodstock 50 weekend planned at Watkins Glen International in August -- heard from Schuyler County Legislator Phil Barnes, who cautioned that people should wait for more information before rushing to any judgment about the big concert. People.

Photo: Legislator Phil Barnes at the Dix Town Board meeting.


Odessa residents approve fire truck purchase

The residents of the village of Odessa on Feb. 7 approved the purchase of a new pumper/rescue truck to replace an old one. The vote count was 64-18.The purchase will be done without raising taxes. About a fourth of the cost is covered by the Odessa Fire Department's capital equipment reserve account, with the rest bonded. Existing equipment used on the current pumper will be transferred to the new truck.


Rotary honors Simpson as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Nadia Simpson (pictured at right) was honored Feb. 7 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for January. Simpson was introduced by teacher Trina Shepherd, who described the honoree as "a well-rounded student" who "has made the most her high school career" while being "very polite, respectful, a leader, and helpful to peers and teachers." Simpson competes in soccer and track, is a cheerleader, and is president of Student Council and Interact and Vice President of the National Honor Society. She holds the school record in the 100 Meter Dash and excels at 200 Meters. She is planning to attend college, and is leaning toward SUNY Cortland, with an eye toward the field of Human Services.

Lou Perazzini enjoys a moment at his Meet the Candidate gathering Thursday evening at the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge. A Republican, he is seeking a seat on the Watkins Glen Village Board in the March 19 election. Two seats are up for grabs, sought by three candidates.


Perazzini, Leszyk greet public at Elks session

Lou Perazzini and Luke Leszyk -- running on the Republican ticket for Watkins Glen Village Trustee and Mayor, respectively, met with members of the public Feb. 7 at a Meet the Candidate Night organized by Perazzini at the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge. Perazzini, a graduate of Watkins Glen High School and part of the village community for 60 years, was employed by NYS DOT for 28 years, retiring in 2005, and later worked for the National Wild Turkey Federation, retiring in 2012. He and his wife Vickie then opened the Lake Valley Legends B&B on North Glen Avenue. He is also president of the Italian-American Festival. Leszyk, an Odessa-Montour graduate, was a New York State Trooper for 23 years -- the last 12 serving the people of Schuyler County -- before retiring in 2017. He and his wife Jane now own and operate Admiral Peabody's Lakeside Lodging on Seneca Lake. Also on hand at Thursday's gathering was Steve Decker -- Sergeant in Charge of the Watkins Glen Police Department -- who is running unopposed on the GOP line for Village Justice.

Photo in text: Luke Leszyk at the Elks Lodge Thursday.


'Ingenuity Night' draws crowd at high school

The Watkins Glen Central School District kicked off its Ingenuity Initiative with a ribbon-cutting and open house at the High School. Schools.

Left: School Board President Gloria Brubaker at the ribbon-cutting.

Schuyler County Judge candidate Matt Hayden, right, poses next to one of his signs with his father, Carl Hayden, well-known Chemung County attorney and Chancellor Emeritus of the New York State Board of Regents.


Matt Hayden announces run for County Judge

Schuyler County Chief Assistant District Attorney Matthew Hayden announced Feb. 5 at a press conference in the Watkins Glen Village Hall that he is seeking the post of Schuyler County Judge in the November election. The 10-year post is currently held by Dennis Morris, who has announced he will retire at the end of May. Hayden, a Democrat, has been Chief Assistant D.A. since 2004. In 2013, he won the "Prosecutor of the Year" award in New York State. Hayden is the first of several people expected to announce their candidacy for the bench. He was introduced at Tuesday's gathering -- attended by supporters from both parties -- by his campaign manager, retired school superintendent Tom Phillips.

Photo in text: Matt Hayden addresses his supporters at Tuesday's gathering.


Woodstock 50 to be held at WGI in August

The 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival will be held on the grounds of Watkins Glen International from Aug. 16-18. The original Woodstock organizer, Michael Lang (pictured at right), announced the plans -- detailed in a lengthy New York Times article here. WGI will be used instead of the Woodstock site in Bethel Woods, NY, which "simply doesn't have the capacity to host our official Woodstock 50 celebration," Lang said. No official musical lineup for the event has been unveiled, but Lang told Rolling Stone magazine that dozens of guests have been booked. Tickets -- a reported 110,000 --go on sale in February.

Schuyler "fully supports" Woodstock 50. Features.


Palmesano joins in tipped-wage credit rally

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) joins other lawmakers and restaurant industry representives for an Albany rally in support of the tipped-wage credit -- which proponents say helps keep restaurant employment up and costs down. Government.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, left, at rally

O'Mara votes against 'extreme action' on abortion. Gov't.
Palmesano rips Cuomo on funding cut to localities. Gov't.

One of the sculpted ice bars on the Harbor Hotel's patio.


Harbor Hotel's Ice Bar concludes 3-night run

The 8th annual Ice Bar event opened Jan. 31 at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel -- the first evening of a three-night run that sold out Feb. 1 and 2. There were about 500 ticket holders present the first night, with 1,000 on hand each of the following two nights. Sculpted ice bars, a sculpted ice throne and sculpted ice advertising populated the hotel patio, while area wineries and related food businesses were providing wine and food samples in the hotel ballroom. A portion of the proceeds goes to the American Red Cross.

Photo: F.L.X. Wienery was among the businesses on hand.

A sculpted ice throne was a popular spot for picture posing.

The Democratic Party ticket for the Watkins Glen Village Board in the March 19 election: Trustee candidates Brian Eslinger and Nan Woodworth flank mayoral candidate Laurie DeNardo


Dems pick DeNardo as their mayoral candidate

Watkins Glen Village Trustee Laurie DeNardo was chosen by registered village Democrats meeting in caucus Jan. 29 to be their mayoral candidate in the March 19 village election. She defeated incumbent Mayor Sam Schimizzi, 37-31, in a paper-ballot vote of Democrats meeting in the Watkins Glen Village Hall.

Schimizzi, who is completing a single four-year term as head of the Village Board, said afterward that he has no plans to seek any office in the near future.

The vote -- from 68 out of the 420 registered Democratic voters in the village -- followed short speeches by the two candidates after each was nominated. Speeches of support were also presented by Stacy Gray on behalf of Schimizzi, and by Phil Cherry on behalf of DeNardo.

The caucus also unanimously named Nan Woodworth -- a recent addition to the Village Board through appointment following the resignation of Kevin Thornton -- and Brian Eslinger (a recent candidate for the county Legislature) to seek the two available trustee seats. Incumbent Gary Schmidt earlier chose not to seek re-election.

DeNardo will be facing Republican Luke Leszyk, while Republican Lou Perazzini will be running for trustee against Woodworth and Eslinger. The top two trustee vote-getters earn the two trustee seats. The Democrats have no candidate for Village Justice to challenge Republican Steve Decker. Incumbent Justice Connie Fern Miller is not seeking a second term.

Photos: Caucus Chair John Vona (top) and Mayor Sam Schimizzi at Tuesday's gathering.


WGHS artists' work on display at museum

Art by selected Watkins Glen High School students will be on display at the Arnot Art Museum as part of the museum's annual Scholastic Art Winners program. For a sampling of the art and the museum's hours, see Schools.

Left: From Ashlyn Karius's The Nuclear Shadow.

Congressman Tom Reed, left, was on hand at the Gala, here with Rick and Rebekah Carroll. Rebekah is president of the local Chamber of Commerce.


Chamber holds its annual Gala at the hotel

The annual Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Winter Gala presented by the Visions Federal Credit Union attracted 270 people Jan. 26 to the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The night consisted of dining, socializing, auctions, blackjack, awards, and live music by Suspect. Awards went to Matthew Sharp of Cameron Manufacturing and Design (the annual Community Spirit Award) and Grist Iron Brewing LLC (the Leader in Business Award). Scores of businesses and individuals provided donations and other support for the evening.

Photo: Dr. Katherine Douglas, president of SUNY Corning Community College, was among the attendees.

From left: Gala attendees Kaz Popovich, Margaret and Jonathan Lawrence, and Ken Wilson.

From left: Village Treasurer Rhonda Slater and trustees Laurie DeNardo and Tony Fraboni at the Village Board meeting.


Village Board OKs plant bills, sets tax-sale list

The Watkins Glen Village Board handled a number of basic housekeeping matters Jan. 22, briefly discussed upcoming projects at Clute Park, and:
--Approved an ad seeking a Kayak Launch vendor.
--Approved a Joint Project Committee audit of invoices totaling $255,599.98, bringing expenses on the new wastewater treatment plant to $7 million, with $25 million to go.
--Heard a suggestion from resident Barb Cook for an addition to the Domestic Animal Protection Act regarding protective enclosures provided by pet owners.
--Approved a list of 28 properties with unpaid taxes of almost $29,000 to be advertised for tax certificate sale. The total is down from recent years.
--Congratulated Sergeant in Charge Steve Decker for being honored by WETM as a "Most Valuable Citizen."

Photo: Sergeant in Charge Steve Decker


Eagle Scout's exhibit looks at region in 1700s

A trove of family treasures was turned into an Eagle Scout project by a Bath resident, Griffin Bates (right), and his work is now on display at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum. People.


Photo at right: Griffin Bates

Museum plans Ancestry.com workshop on Feb. 9. Features.


High-speed chase ends in injuries, arrest

A Reading Center man was arrested Jan. 17 following a high-speed chase that ended on the north end of Watkins Glen when he crashed avoiding a roadblock and hit another vehicle, injuring two people in the second car. They were reportedly airlifted to Robert Packer Hospital. The man, identified as Jazmany Caraballo, 37, was hospitalized locally. Charges are pending. Authorities said the incident began with an assault that allegedly occurred in the Schuyler County Courthouse parking lot. They said Caraballo fled the scene in a vehicle later spotted in Yates County, which was chased by police back toward Watkins Glen. Police said the suspect swerved to avoid the blockade on Route 14 just north of the village's downtown, went off the road and hit a vehicle that had pulled over, injuring the two people inside it.

Photo: Damaged car at the scene of the roadblock.


Man dies in farm accident in Town of Hector

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office is investigating a fatal farm accident that occurred Wednesday morning on Dolphsburg Road in the Town of Hector. Deputies said Jay E. Arcangeli, 51, of Burdett, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Schuyler County Coroner's office after becoming entangled in a power take-off unit. The Sheriff's Office was assisted at the scene by Burdett Fire and Rescue and by Schuyler Ambulance.

Plea gives Schuyler boost in opioid lawsuit

County seeking reimbursement for expenses related to the opioid crisis as well as to gain financial aid to fight overdoses, drug-related crimes. Government.

Honoree Ashley Smith receives a Student of the Month plaque from acting Rotary Club president Tony Fraboni.


WGHS's Ashley Smith honored by Rotary Club

Watkins Glen High School senior Ashley Smith was honored Jan. 10 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for January. The honoree was introduced by teacher Kaz Popovich, who said Smith is "an incredibly responsible and conscientious student who always works hard and achieves at a high level. She has demonstrated in her classes that she is a very clever young lady and has good leadership abilities." Smith, president of the school's Year Book Club, said she plans to attend Corning Community College and study Accounting and Business Management.


Of Clute Park and the Italian Festival's future

The Watkins Glen Village Board discusses the upcoming Clute Park renovations and hears from Lou Perazzini (right), president of the Watkins Glen Italian American Festival, regarding the festival committee's commitment to a 40th anniversary celebration at Clute in August of 2019 -- but its doubts and questions regarding the festival's future after that. Government.

Work was underway Jan. 3 at the future Seneca Cheese Company site on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen.


Framing begins at site of Seneca Cheese Co.

Workers were erecting the ground-floor framing Thursday, Jan. 3 at the site of the former Eyes on Seneca building, 29 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen, home of the future Seneca Cheese Company. The building previously on the grounds was razed recently when it was determined -- after the roof was removed to make way for a second-floor -- that the existing building was structurally unsound. Owners Bob and Barb MacBlane still plan a two-story mixed-use building, where local cheese, beer and wine products will be sold, with consumption available on-site -- including on a second-floor deck. An apartment is also planned on the upper floor.

Schuyler County Judge Dennis Morris, right, administers the oath of office to re-elected legislators Phil Barnes, left, and Carl Blowers.


Barnes, Blowers sworn in; Fagan is chairman

The Schuyler County Legislature held its annual reorganizational meeting Wednesday morning, Jan. 2, with incumbents Phil Barnes and Carl Blowers sworn in to another term of office after winning re-election in November. Blowers ran unopposed, while Barnes narrowly defeated challenger Brian Eslinger. Legislator Dennis Fagan, who has served as chairman since 2010, was re-elected by his fellow legislators to that post for another year, with Democrat Michael Lausell opposed.


S. Tier, Finger Lakes regions awarded funds

The Southern Tier Region will be awarded a total of $65.4 million and the Finger Lakes Region $86.5 million under the eighth round of funding through the state's Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) initiative, it was announced Tuesday. "The Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions continue to stand out," said State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano in a joint statement. "This ongoing success is the greatest testament of all to the regional leaders ... whose hard work has been unmatched." For a list of projects benefiting from the awards, click here.

Foggy evening

Fog settled in the valley, enveloping Montour Falls, on Friday afternoon and evening, Dec. 21, before the temperature dipped and snow moved in. This photo was snapped on Havana Glen Road, looking down the hill as night fell.

Rotary exchange student Manuela Buffo of Brazil (attending Odessa-Montour High School) receives a Christmas present from the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club during its luncheon meeting Dec. 20. At right: club interim president Tony Fraboni.


Christmas by song delivered to Rotarians

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club -- at its Dec. 20 luncheon meeting -- was entertained with live Christmas music by Sarah Schlueter-Eisman, well-known locally for years for her soaring voice. Schlueter-Eisman performed several songs, starting with O Holy Night and including Let It Snow, Away in a Manger, Do You Hear What I Hear, and It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.


Photo at right: Sarah Schlueter-Eisman at Rotary.


Watkins Board amends Zoning Code to control
short-term rentals

The Watkins Glen Village Board passes Local Law amending the Zoning Code, ponders how to finance the replacement of a damaged fire truck, listens to a former mayor complain about Clute Park plans, and honors the late Nicholas Dugo. Government.


Photo: Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi at Monday's meeting.


The 17th installment of The Answers

Travis Durfee, President of the Watkins Glen Faculty Association, weighs in with The Answers, a regular column dealing with education in the Watkins Glen School District. This is the 17th installment: "A successful service project." Column.


Left: Travis Durfee

3 finalists named for CCC presidency

The SUNY Corning Community College Regional Board of Trustees has selected three finalists in the search for a successor to Dr. Katherine P. Douglas as president at CCC. Schools.


Morris to retire June 1; sets up Nov. election

Schuyler County Judge Dennis Morris -- saying "it just seemed like it was time" -- will retire on June 1, 2019, well ahead of the end of the 10-year term he won in 2011. A new 10-year term will be up for grabs in a November election. Government.


Photo: Schuyler County Judge Dennis Morris. (File Photo)


Historic cuckoo clock donated to Museum

A double cuckoo clock with possibly royal lineage is donated to the Schuyler County Historical Society by Rick Evans, who said "it belongs to the people of Schuyler County. It's part of their history." People.


The cuckoo clock on a wall at the Historical Society's Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls.


Students, coaches offload Seneca Santa truck

The annual delivery of a Hesselson truckload of Seneca Santa toys, games and other gifts for underprivileged children (ages 2-12) in Schuyler County was conducted Dec. 12 at the First Presbyterian Church in Watkins Glen -- with the truck full of goods (purchased at cost by the Seneca Santa organization) offloaded with the help of Watkins Glen High School student-athletes and coaches. Dozens of students tossed and handed packages from one to another as the boxes were maneuvered to a storage room upstairs, where they will be sorted and wrapped (with the help of Girl Scouts) before the delivery shortly before Christmas to about 120 families with about 300 children.

Photo: WGHS students hand packages up the church stairs.

Planning Board acting chairman Tom Fitzgerald at the meeting.


Planning Board gives go-ahead to Cheese Co.

The Watkins Glen Planning Board on Dec. 12 gave its blessing to the construction of the Seneca Cheese Company building at 29 N. Franklin St. -- on a lot where the building its owners, Bob and Barb MacBlane, had purchased and planned to renovate was instead razed last week when it was determined it was structurally unsound. The Planning Board -- told by County Planner Kristin Van Horn that a reading of regulations showed construction, if hewing to the footprints (size, shape and plans) of the original Planning Board-approved building -- required no further public hearings and no further board measures. Accordingly, the board told Mr. MacBlane -- who assured them the building would indeed be the same as the original -- to proceed. Construction, he said, will begin soon -- that despite increasing costs, "good things are happening" in Watkins Glen. "We want to be part of it." The building will be two floors, with one apartment. Local cheese, beer and wine products will be available, with consumption available on-site -- including on a second-floor deck.

Photo in text: Bob MacBlane studies some papers before start of the Planning Board session.


Village Christmas parade winners announced

The Watkins Glen Village Christmas Committee has unveiled the winners in its Visions of Dr. Seuss parade on Friday, Dec. 7.

The winners:

Most Christmas Dr. Seuss Spirit: Watkins Glen Post Office.
Best Dr. Seuss Theme: Glen Gators Swim Team.
Best Dr. Seuss Decorated Fire Truck: Montour Falls Fire Dept.
Judges' Choice: New Heights Dance Theater.

Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with an elf, ride on a float in the Watkins Glen Village Christmas parade.


Watkins Glen holds its Village Christmas

The annual Watkins Glen Village Christmas was held December 7th on Franklin Street. Vendors, a parade, music, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and fireworks off the pier were among the highlights on a cold night with temperatures in the mid-20s.

The parade featured cartoon characters (like the Cat in the Hat, right), floats, fire trucks, and organizations such as the Glen Gators and the Girl Scouts.

Vendors up and down Franklin Street offered a wide array of food, among them hot soups and warm beverages to help ward off the night's chill.


Rotary Club honors Reese as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Tori Reese (right) was honored Dec. 6 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for December. She was introduced by teacher Molly Kinnetz, who said the honoree -- a High Honor student and part of the New Visions program at BOCES -- is "a true example of how persistence, dedication and hard work pay off." Reese, an IAC and Odessa File All-Star swimmer, plans to attend a SUNY agricultural school with an eye toward a career in the dairy industry. She said she hopes to continue her swim career in college.

Rotary Club honoree Austin Voorheis receives his Student of the Month plaque from club Interim President Tony Fraboni.


Rotary honors Voorheis as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Austin Voorheis was honored Dec. 6 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for December. He was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who praised his "desire to learn and understand content" and said his participation in class makes him "almost like a co-teacher" and has "made me a better teacher." Voorheis, a High Honor student who said he plans to study computer science in college, praised his school for its "availability of success for all students."


3 inducted into National Honor Society at O-M

The Odessa-Montour High School chapter of the National Honor Society added three members to its ranks Wednesday night at an induction ceremony at the school. Joining the NHS were, from left in photo above, Madison Vogel, Dylan Houseknecht and Hannah Bruno. (Photo provided)

Santa Claus was on hand at the Odessa Fire Department party.


Firefighters' party draws a crowd in Odessa

The annual Odessa Fire Department Christmas Party at the Village Hall drew a large contingent of youngsters Dec. 2 who enjoyed face painting, drawing, visiting Santa, mailing Letters to Santa (right), and receiving (and playing with) gifts purchased and provided by the fire department. Food and beverage were also provided to attendees.

Left: O-M Hall of Fame inductee Kelly Legare. Right: Inductee Tom Lewis, right, with emcee Greg Gavich.


Odessa-Montour Sports Hall of Fame inducts 4

Four standout athletes from Odessa-Montour High School's past were inducted Nov. 30 into the O-M Sports Hall of Fame during a ceremony in the school cafeteria. The event, which included a buffet dinner provided by Jerlando's, honored the following inductees: the late Doug Cooper (Class of 1974, football, swimming and baseball), Kelly Legare (Class of 1984, baseball and football), Tom Lewis (Class of 1993, football, basketball and baseball) and Katie Taber (Class of 2006, soccer, basketball and track).

Photo in text: Inductee Katie Taber at the ceremony.

A display featuring highlights of James Hope's life are part of the exhibit, which includes several of his area landscape paintings.


Hope exhibit is the centerpiece of Open House

The Schuyler County Historical Society held its annual Holiday Open House Dec. 2 at its Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls -- with the centerpiece being an exhibit showcasing the life and work of 19th century artist James Hope, who created many works while a resident of Watkins Glen and whose 200th birthday celebration was Nov. 29. Refreshments were served to museum visitors.

Meeting summary

The Watkins Glen School Board met in a brief session on Nov. 29 at 7:35 a.m. For the school-provided summary, see Schools.

Watkins Glen's Allie Gibson, left, and Hannah Morse.


Our All-Schuyler Autumn All-Stars and MVPs

The Odessa File's First, Second and Third Team Autumn All-Stars have been selected, as well as the Schuyler Fall MVPs -- Watkins Glen High School swimmer Allie Gibson and WGHS soccer record-setter Hannah Morse. Sports.

Left: Pecans were among the many kinds of food available. Right: A kitchen worker prepares the "Street of Shops" lunch.


'Street of Shops' Bazaar offers foods, crafts

The annual "Street of Shops" Holiday Bazaar at the First Presbyterian Church of Watkins Glen on Dec. 1 drew a crowd for morning pastries and coffee, and then a lunch of soups, sandwiches, dessert and drinks. Homemade crafts and baked goods were available, along with homemade jams and jellies, peanut brittle, and fudge. Raffles offered a variety of goods donated by area businesses.

Photo at right: One of the many craft items available at the "Street of Shops" bazaar.


The Arc kicks off its Transformation 2020 drive

The Arc of Schuyler's Transformation 2020 fundraising campaign had its official launch Nov. 8 at a social gathering for Arc supporters at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Co-chairs Dominick Franzese and daughter Margaret Lawrence spoke after a poignant video featuring Steve Rondinaro, whose sister Cindy has received Arc services for years. Also speaking were Arc Board President Jay Hoffmeier and Executive Director Jeannette Frank, who outlined the projects the campaign will finance. Features.

Photo: The Arc's executive director, Jeannette Frank, right, and Watkins Glen Village Trustee Laurie DeNardo.


Rotary honors Grover as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Olivia Grover was honored Nov. 29 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for November. Grover was introduced by teacher Danielle Rumsey, who described the honoree as "a wonderful person" who "volunteers a lot" and is "amazing all-around." Grover, the National Honor Society president, the Student Council treasurer and a member of the Superintendent's Leadership Council, is an All-Star and team captain in both soccer and basketball. She was also a member last year of the Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athletes in the region.

Photo in text: Olivia Grover at the Rotary Club luncheon.

SCOPED Executive Director Judy Cherry and County Administrator Tim O'Hearn were among the officials at the meeting. Also present, in addition to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, were County Planning Director Kristin VanHorn, Deputy Mayor Gary Schmidt, SCOPED's Amanda Arnold Rodriguez, DRI project owner Jackie Honsberger (The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor), and Dr. Amanda Smith-Socaris, a member of the DRI Local Project Committee.


Hochul gets update on Watkins DRI projects

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Watkins Glen Nov. 29 for an update on the various Downtown Revitalization Initiative and related projects planned in the village. She met with officials from the county, village and Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) in the Village Hall board room. The meeting was requested by Hochul, who earlier in the day visited Hornell for a hospital ground-breaking ceremony. She praised a number of projects and a joint county-village effort that offers a "shared vision," and thanked "all of you for putting in the time to transform your community. Stay with it. It's gonna be unrecognizable."

Photo: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul at Thursday's meeting.

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services Real Estate Development Director Joe Bowes with a drawing of the apartment complex.


Planning Board OKs Apartments/Care Center

Watkins Glen's Planning Board -- following an hour-long public hearing at which several area residents expressed concerns -- gave Final Site Plan Approval Wednesday, Nov. 28 to a proposed 3-story, 35-foot-high apartment complex at Second and North Porter Streets, across from Jefferson Village, proposed by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services. The board added a condition that the INHS spokesman, Director of Real Estate Development Joe Bowes, meet with the village fire chief and code enforcement officer to discuss codes -- which he pointed out had to be met anyway before construction could begin. He said project completion is planned by the end of 2020. The building will house 24 one-bedroom apartments and 10 two-bedroom apartments, as well as a child-care center run by My Place.

The board also gave Final Site Plan Approval for the Glen Racing Grill on 11th Street, and Preliminary Site Plan Approval to Cargill for a pumphouse and tanks that will increase environmental safeguards in the handling of brine. A public hearing on that proposed "Salt Tank Farm" was scheduled for the next board meeting, on Dec. 12.

Photo in text: Planning Board member Brian Eslinger


Coffey named National Team Athlete of Year

Olivia Coffey (right) -- a member of the winning eights team at the Sept. 16 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and on the winning Cambridge team in the annual Boat Race against Oxford earlier this year in England -- has garnered the most votes to earn the USRowing Fan's Choice award for National Team Athlete of the Year. Coffey, 29, a one-time Watkins Glen High School student-athlete who went on to prep school, All-America status at Harvard and an alternate rowing spot at the Olympics, was among four finalists. The USRowing Fan's Choice Awards, in their eighth year, "are an important part of USRowing's longstanding tradition of bestowing awards for superior performance and contributions to the success of our sport," said the award website.

The walls of the barn were outlined by the fire burning within as firefighters battled the blaze on the Gates Farm.


Fire strikes large barn on farm near Burdett

Fire destroyed a 40-by-100-foot pole barn containing hay, straw, a tractor and tires late Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 27 on the Gates farm along the Dolphsburg Road outside Burdett, between County Routes 8 and 9. Thick black smoke caused by the tires rose high above the scene, visible for miles. There were no people or animals in the structure when it caught fire, said officials and family at the scene. The cause was being investigated.

Right: Two firefighters at the barn blaze.


Truck Rollover:

A Watkins Glen fire truck rolled on its side along County Rte. 9 near the juncture with State Route 79 outside Burdett Tuesday while responding to the barn fire on Dolphsburg Road. Officials at first declined comment on the incident, but Watkins Fire Chief Charlie Smith III issued a statement Wednesday. See Statement.

Photo: The truck on its side. (WENY photo)


Teacher, judge Nicholas Dugo remembered

Friends and admirers were lamenting the passing Tuesday of retired teacher and former Watkins Glen Village Justice Nicholas Dugo, whose death was announced Monday, Nov. 26 by St. James' Episcopal Church, where he was its senior warden. The church said it “praises God for the life of ... a profound and passionate teacher.”

Comments on Facebook included:

Sara Morton: “Mr. Dugo was a fantastic teacher who helped to send me on the path towards becoming a lawyer. The world is dimmer today, but brighter for him having been a part of it."
Rich Bitter: “Judge Dugo was both of my kids’ high school history teacher, and he was great. Especially on the annual senior class trips to DC. ”
Drew Guild: “I didn’t know Nick for but just a few years. I sang right next to him at St. James ... We kidded each other. Soft spoken, yet you listened to his knowledge. “
Marie Fitzsimmons: “My teacher, mentor, friend -- my gratitude for every gift."
Diane Wood: "RIP Nick. He was a great man and teacher respected and loved by his students and colleagues. It was an honor to work with him.”

Photo: Nick Dugo.

Nicholas Dugo's obituary can be found here.

Among 30 vendors on hand for Small Business Saturday at the Odessa Municipal Building was photographer Alyssa McCray.


Small business, Christmas mix in Odessa

Small Business Saturday, which stresses local shopping in communities around the country, was observed Nov. 24 in both Watkins Glen and Odessa -- the latter offering both a vendors' market and a student concert at the Odessa Municipal Building. That village's 7th annual tree lighting ceremony outside the Municipal Building alongside Route 224 was preceded by the 3rd annual vendors' gathering featuring 30 small-business operators and artisans. And for the first time, a concert featuring Odessa-Montour students was held as part of the Odessa celebration -- with the group directed by O-M's Jennifer Kraemer, with guitar and vocal accompaniment by Kim Laursen. The vendors' market drew a crowd, as did the concert -- standing room only -- and the tree lighting. Organizers plan to repeat the vendor and concert components in coming years.

Photo: The 7th annual Odessa tree lighting ceremony had a new tree, planted recently -- in place of cut trees used before.

Students from O-M performed Christmas music at a concert in the Odessa Municipal Building preceding the tree lighting.

Fire truck sits outside 119 Second St. in the early afternoon.


Fire strikes house on Second Street in Glen

Fire of undetermined origin extensively damaged a house at 119 Second St. in Watkins Glen on Nov. 22. The fire, which also damaged the exterior of houses on either side of it, broke out about 1:15 a.m. and rekindled on the second floor at about 11:30 a.m., bringing firefighters from Watkins Glen and Montour Falls back to the scene. Nobody was home at 119 or 117 Second St. during the initial blaze, while a resident at 121 Second St., was evacuated safely. Firefighters from Watkins, Montour, Odessa, Tyrone, Beaver Dams, Dundee and Mecklenburg responded to the initial blaze, which one firefighter noted could easily have destroyed all three structures.

Award Night

Watkins Glen High School swimmer Allie Gibson -- who won three Section IV, Class C races as her team won the sectional title -- holds an Outstanding Athletic Achievement Award from the school district, distributed at the Nov. 19 School Board meeting to each member of the squad. Flanking her from left: Coach Nikki Chaffee and Assistant Coaches Jason Westervelt and Steve Klemann.

Team photo and story on award presentation. Sports.
Kelahan firmly denies Special Ed shutdown plan. Schools.


3 from Seneca Indians play in Davis Classic

Seniors Wyatt and Wrett Brower and Dylan Houseknecht compete on the West squad in the annual Ernie Davis Classic East West football game. Sports.

Left: Wrett Brower's helmet.

Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi makes a point.


Watkins board tables action on short-terms

The Watkins Glen Village Board Nov. 19, after an hour-long public hearing on proposed amendments to the Zoning Law that focus in part on the regulation of short-term rentals, tabled action for further revisions. The proposed amendment to Local Law #4 0f 2016 (the Zoning Law) was thereby returned to a starting point that requires advertisement and another public hearing. Among suggested changes was one streamlining the process so that application for short-term licenses must be submitted within 30 days of enactment of the law, with time of approval dependent on the village. Another: licenses should be good for two years from the time of approval. Clarifications are also planned regarding building height limits. Attorney William La Forte, advising the board on the document, said he would work on the revisions this week and respond with alternative scenarios by next week. The board will then discuss changes it wants and advertise the next public hearing, but did not specify a date. Said Mayor Sam Schimizzi: "We're just trying to do the right thing."

Photo: Attorney William La Forte.


Rotary honors Stephani as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Emilee Stephani was honored Nov. 8 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for November. She was introduced by teacher Rebecca Gilfus, who described the honoree as "a leader, a planner and a person who walks the talk." She commended Stephani for a key role in the success of the recent Homecoming Dance, and said she "is kind and helpful toward other students and respectful toward adults." Stephani, a member of National Honor Society, Interact and the Student Council and a High Honor student, plans to attend Corning Community College and then transfer to a four-year school to pursue a degree in criminal psychology. She thanked Rotary for its interest in, and encouragement of, area students.

Photo: Emilee Stephani, left, and teacher Rebecca Gilfus.


Barnes is unofficial winner in DIstrict 6 race

Incumbent Republican Phil Barnes is the unofficial winner over Democratic challenger Brian Eslinger in the District 6 race for a seat on the Schuyler County Legislature. With all absentee ballots counted, the final totals show Barnes winning 496-488 -- totals expected to be certified on Nov. 20. Commissioner Joe Fazzary said that barring an unforeseen circumstance -- such as a court challenge -- the 496-488 total will hold. "And it looks like everyone is accepting of it," he said. Barnes had led by 17 votes after balloting on Nov 6. Absentees trimmmed his lead by nine, to the final eight-vote margin. This will be his third term on the Legislature.

Photos: Phil Barnes at the Board of Elections Tuesday.


Mitrano is planning 2020 bid for Congress

Democrat Tracy Mitrano, defeated Nov. 6 in her run for Congress against incumbent Republican Tom Reed, says she will seek the 2020 Democratic nomination again. She said in a press release that "a grassroots movement" that rose over the past two years will "continue to grow over the next two years," building on the just-completed campaign. "The last Democrat to win this district did so on his second run and I now understand why," she said, noting that she will launch her 2020 campaign with a Thank You Tour for volunteers and supporters, followed by a Listening Tour "to hear the concerns of constituents."

Photo: Tracy Mitrano at a recent town hall meeting.


Schuyler Legislature approves 2019 budget

Schuyler County legislators on Nov. 13 unanimously approved a $49 million 2019 county budget that calls for a tax levy of $11,116,913 -- up $57,969 from 2018 -- and a tax rate down .71% from the previous year. The budget was approved following a 40-minute presentation by County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, who outlined the many projects underway or planned in the county and, in conclusion, praised County Treasurer Harrriett Vickio, who he said was attending "her final budget meeting" prior to retirement. In four years, he said, Vickio has established "fiscal stability, accountability and control" in county finances and developed a strong staff that can carry on effectively after her retirement. His words triggered a standing ovation for Vickio, seated in the back of the room.

The board also, following a public hearing at which nobody spoke, approved adjustments in salaries for "certain public officials." Those salaries, in 45 days, will include: $99,064 for the Commissioner of Social Services, $94,675 for the Real Property Tax Collector, $93,887 for the Highway Superintendent, $110,351 for the County Attorney, and $97,985 for the Public Defender.

Photo: County Administrator Tim O'Hearn


Vietnam-era veterans honored at ceremony

The third annual event, sponsored by the Rotary and Lions Clubs, was held at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Each honoree received a lapel pin emblematic of "the nation's gratitude." People.

Photo: The keynote speaker, retired Col. A. Phillip Waite, Jr.

Veterans Day ceremony held in Watkins Glen. People.


Some more photos from dinner, musical

Here are a few more photos from the weekend of Nov. 9-11: from 'Shrek the Musical' and from the November Splendor dinner-dance. Features.

Left: At November Splendor: Ken Wilson and Stacey Parrish.

Camaraderie was in full swing at November Splendor, here with Phil Cherry (right) and wife Judy talking with Schuyler Hospital President Jim Watson.


November Splendor packs the hotel ballroom

The annual November Splendor dinner-dance at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel ballroom was a sold-out affair Saturday night, Nov. 10, with 290 attending. The event, featuring raffles and auctions and presented by the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary and Schuyler Health Foundation, is a key fundraiser for Schuyler Hospital. Music was provided by Letizia and the Z Band. Another feature: an open bar for the first hour of the 5-11 p.m. gathering.

Photo: Among the 290 people present were David and Tiffany Zinger.

Rhys Stermer portrayed Donkey, a humorous sidekick to Shrek.


'Shrek the Musical' completes its 3-day run

The Lake Country Players' production of "Shrek The Musical" was presented for the third and final time Sunday, Nov. 11 before an appreciative audience in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. From the editor, here is a short review of this play about an ogre who finds true love: Comedic; colorful; pleasing sets; lots of energy; lengthy but moves fast; great voices; exceptional pit band. Shrek is portrayed by new-to-the-LCP Alex Gill, with a powerful voice reminiscent of the great Glenn Yarbrough. Funny toss-off lines and great song from Donkey (Rhys Stermer). A mind-blowing showing by Lord Farquaad (Anthony Curren). Four different Princess Fionas, all exceptional. A great finale with "I'm a Believer." (I am a believer). Go. Enjoy." Now, if you didn't, it's too late.

Photo: Alex Gill as Shrek putting on a dance move.

Left: Anthony Curren portrayed Lord Farquaad. Right: Melissa Neufer was Princess Fiona.

12-year-old's "school shooter" comments draw Social Service ruling from Schuyler County Family Court. Government.


Watkins board reinstates 30 mph speed limit

The 20 mile per hour speed limit established on Watkins Glen side streets by Local Law in 2012 has been scrapped and the original 30 mph reinstated. The Village Board on Nov. 5 approved a Local Law altering the 2012 ruling, making the speed zone throughout the village 30 mph -- including a stretch of Rt. 14 north of downtown that has been 40. With that exception, state roads in the village have been 30 all along. Officials said the state notified Watkins recently that the 20 mph it had adopted was not enforceable -- although the 15 mph zone near the school remains in force. The new law takes effect upon filing with the state, whiich is expected this week.

The board also: decided to enforce existing odd-even parking rules from November through March instead of relying on "Code Red" calls; approved the annual Village Christmas celebration on Dec. 7 on Franklin Street; and approved the fifth annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning along village streets.

Photo: Mayor Sam Schimizzi, left, and trustee Gary Schimidt.


Ask Amy columnist draws crowd at Inn

Amy Dickinson presents a speech, answers questions and signs copies of her books as more than 100 turn out at the Fontainebleau Inn. The event raised funds for the Dutton Peterson Library in Odessa. People.

Left: Amy Dickinson, right, signs one of her books for one of her readers.

Gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro at Friday's GOP rally at the Seneca Harbor Station restaurant.


GOP faithful turn out for Molinaro visit

Republican gubernatorial candiate Marc Molinaro is cheered at a Watkins Glen rally attended by the area GOP. Government.

Left: Congressman Tom Reed was on hand.


ZBA: 3rd floor on proposed apartments is OK

The Watkins Glen Zoning Board of Appeals on Nov. 1 give its blessing, 4-0, to a third floor on a proposed apartment complex on East Second Street, across from Jefferson Village. The building, planned by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, would occupy what is currently a vacant lot in a residential area. It would include a child care center operated by My Place, a child-care business currently in Montour Falls. The structure's height would be 35 feet, within the parameters of the zoning code, which currently also specifies a maximum of two stories. Next up for the project will be the Village Planning Board, scheduled to meet Nov. 14.

Photo: ZBA Chair Bob Lee at Thursday's meeting.


Rotary honors Heichel as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Kennedey Heichel was honored Oct. 25 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for October. The honoree was introduced by teacher Doug Chapman, who said Heichel "has a desire for perfection that you rarely see." He also outlined her achievements: No 1 in her class academically, Interact vice president, Student Council president, member of the Superintendent's Leadership Cabinet, three-sport standout (soccer, basketball and track) and school record holder in the Pole Vault. She was The Odessa File's O-M Female Athlete of the Year last year, as well as a member of the Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athletes in the region. She hopes to attend Harvard, with Cornell and the University of Michigan as backups. She wants to pursue a degree in biological science and ultimately become a doctor.


Rotary honors Rose as WG Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior H. Nathaniel Rose was honored Oct. 25 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for October. He was introduced by school district Library Media Specialist Maggie Field, who described him as "respectful, smart, kind, caring, fearless, willing and energetic," as well as "a talented performer, with a great sense of humor." Rose, a member of National Honor Society, Chorus and Band, is a veteran theater performer in school and, recently, in the Dream Barn production of "Little Shop of Horrors," where he played a Venus Fly Trap. He plans to attend college, possibly Corning Community before transferring to the Rochester Institute of Technology, and says his "fantasy" career would be working in the field of quantum computers. He said he is inspired by theater, and enjoys the Watkins community -- "how everybody works together."


Rhodes, Willow gather honors at World Expo

Odessa-Montour sophomore Mallory Rhodes brings home awards from exhibiting her calf, Willow, at the recent World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. People.



Photo: Mallory Rhodes with her medal haul.

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


Planning Board OKs El Rancho facade plans

The Watkins Glen Planning Board on Oct. 17 gave its blessing to a facade design planned for the new El Rancho restaurant slated to open soon at 212 N. Franklin St., site of the former Unique Country Boutique store. The owner, Cynthia Ruiz, currently runs El Rancho at the former Garcia's Restaurant site on 4th Street, which she leases. But she has purchased the new site and, following renovations, will move the business there in the near future. Said Planning Board member Brian Eslinger: "Cynthia has worked herself up from waitressing at Garcia's to running her own restaurant, and now to owning it. She's the type of small-business owner we need -- one who works hard and has a commitment to excellence."

Photo: Planning Board member Brian Eslinger at Wednesday evening's meeting.


Board says Italian Fest can continue at Clute

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Ot. 15 put to rest rumors that the Italian-American Festival would be forced out of Clute Park with upcoming changes there, including an ice rink. "There will be plenty of room" for the festival, said Mayor Sam Schimizzi. "There's no intention to eliminate it," added Trustee Tony Fraboni, although the board said the festival might be laid out a little differently than in the past. The board also:

--Gave the go-ahead to Watkins Promotions for Village Christmas to be held on Franklin Street on Dec. 7 "provided all permits are provided."
--Heard Park Manager Michelle Hyde say the new Kayak Launch will be removed for the winter, although the method of removal is still being considered.
--Discussed an expected change soon in the 40 mph speed limit at the village's northern end on Rt. 14. The change will make it 30, in keeping with other state roads in the village.

Photo: Trustee Tony Fraboni at Monday's meeting.

California Toe Jam, a Florida band that specializes in 1960s-'80s music, was in concert Tuesday night at WGHS.


California Toe Jam performs at Glen school

The four-man Central Florida band California Toe Jam presented a concert Oct. 16 in Watkins Glen for the second time in two years. The group, which plays popular songs from the 1960s, '70s and '80s, played in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium, a change from last year's Middle School venue. Proceeds were earmarked for the Watkins Glen Rotary Club, a community service organization.

Photo: Among the concert fans were Ken Wilson and Max Neal.


O-M teacher Kimmerly wins national honor

Marc Kimmerly, an Odessa-Montour junior high school history teacher, earns a national award presented monthly by Honored, a nonprofit organization that celebrates life-changing teachers across the U.S. A story about Kimmerly and his impact on students -- one of them, Gabriel Grover, nominated him -- was written for Honored by Shaun Waterman, a journalist from Politico and the BBC. For a look at the article, click here.

Photo: Marc Kimmerly (From the Honored website)

The BFC Family Band -- with Jim Guild on bongo -- performed Sunday evening at The Glen Theater.


Glen Theater rocks with gospel-music concert

An evening of gospel music by opening act Sara Heit -- Worship Leader for the host Fresh Start Church Watkins Glen Campus -- and the BFC Family Band from Sebring, Florida drew almost 100 people to the Glen Theater on Oct. 14. The music, billed as "gospel with a classic rock vibe," was free along with various foods -- cookies, crackers and cheese -- and beverages, with "love offerings" accepted to help finance Fresh Start's Mission Fund. Fresh Start, which holds Sunday services at the theater, is a ministry of the Pennsylvania Avenue United Methodist Church of Elmira.

Photo: Opening act Sara Heit performed several songs.

An attendee at Thursday's Hall of Fame induction ceremony checks out inductee Georgie Taylor's plaque, which contains a list of some of her accomplishments.


4 added to Schuyler County Hall of Fame

Four people were inducted Oct. 11 into the Schuyler County Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Seneca Lodge: Georgie Taylor, Judy Phillips, Brian O'Donnell and Kate LaMoreaux. For story, see People.

The hosts of The Gathering, Tony and Harriett Vickio, who spearhead The Spirit of Schuyler.


Gathering raises funds for Spirit of Schuyler

The Spirit of Schuyler held its annual fund-raising Gathering Oct. 13 at the Hidden Valley lodge, attracting a crowd for food, music and prizes -- the latter provided through raffles and silent auctions. The event usually raises between $5,000 and $7,000 to help finance the organization's mission to help Schuyler residents who have emergency funding needs. The Spirit of Schuyler started as an annual party in the Vickios' garage, but eventually outgrew that venue and was moved to Hidden Valley.

Photo in text: One of the raffle prizes offered a mix of items donated by The Arc of Schuyler.


Rotary honors Brewster as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Noah Brewster (right) was honored Oct. 11 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for September. He was introduced by teacher Russ Gardner, who described the honoree as "well-rounded" -- No. 2 academically in his class; a member of National Honor Society, Student Council, Band and Chorus; a frequent performer in school plays; a distance runner in track, and active in his church youth group.

Left: Odessa-Montour Brazilian exchange student Manuela Buffo told Rotarians about her country's geography and culture, saying: "I'm proud of being Brazilian. I love my country." Right: Jackie Honsberger, at microphone, of The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor, presented Rotary's Camp Star program with $250 from a recent fund-raiser at her business. Another $250 was raised for the Watkins Glen Summer Swim Program. Pictured far right: Rotary Club president Rebecca Carroll.


Cayuga Health System CEO plans to retire

John Rudd, president and chief executive officer of Cayuga Medical Center and the Cayuga Health System, announced Tuesday his plans to retire in the fall of 2019. Martin Stallone, MD, vice president of physician operations at Cayuga Medical Center and president of Cayuga Medical Associates, will succeed him on Jan. 1, 2019 as president and CEO of Cayuga Medical Center, and then in the fall of 2019 as president and CEO of Cayuga Health System -- which has two hospitals, Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Medical Center, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates.

Photo: John Rudd, left, and Dr. Martin Stallone (Provided)


Wine Trail names Gibson Executive Director

The Executive Committee of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail has announced that Brittany Gibson (pictured at right) has been selected to lead the organization as Executive Director. She has most recently been serving as Tourism and Marketing Manager at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. Business.

The Moose Lodge was filled with Spaghetti Dinner diners.


Annual United Way dinner fills Moose Lodge

The usual crowd of diners turned out Oct. 8 to the Montour Moose Lodge for the annual United Way of Schuyler County Spaghetti Dinner -- a key fund-raiser for an organization that serves 22 agencies. The campaign goal: $123,000. On hand were servers from the Odessa-Montour High School National Honor Society, as well as various other volunteers. About 400 dinners -- possibly more with an early order from the Lions Club for two-dozen take-outs -- were expected to be consumed.

Inset: National Honor Society members from O-M -- like (L to R) Olivia, McKennah and Maria -- were on hand to help.

Busy in the kitchen were Jessica Smith (left) and Taylor Kelly.

The United Way campaign chairs -- the Dominick and Stacy Smith family, here with daughter Kayla -- ran a 50-50 raffle.


Falls Harvest Festival draws crowd to Montour

Montour Falls' Main Street was busy with foot traffic Saturday, Oct. 6 as a crowd ventured there to the annual Falls Harvest Festival, a celebration of the season featuring food, crafts and entertainment. For a story, see Features.

Left: Balloons were a staple of the festival's entertainment.


Penn Yan chosen for $10 million DRI Award

Penn Yan will receive this year's New York State $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award in the Finger Lakes region -- a year after Watkins Glen won a similar funding influx. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul made the announcement Friday morning in Penn Yan. "This award will help the village and all of Yates County move forward," said State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano in a joint statement.


Planning Board gives go-ahead to Cheese Co.

The Watkins Glen Planning Board gave Final Site Plan approval on Oct. 3 to Robert MacBlane (right) and his wife Barbara for creation of the Seneca Cheese Company in the former Eyes on Seneca building at 29 N. Franklin St. -- a business that will sell local cheeses as well as local beers and wines. It will have an added second floor, part of which will be long-term apartments. Construction is expected later this month, with an opening in March. Also approved: demoliton of a house at South Glen and Second Streets belonging to Al McMichael, who plans to replace it. Preliminary Site Plan approval was given the Glen Racig Grill -- a racing-themed eatery -- at 107 Eleventh St. A public hearing on that project will be held on Oct. 17.


FEMA aid for flood recovery is announced

Schuyler is among the counties named Oct. 2 as major disaster areas impacted by significant flooding in mid-August. Congressman Tom Reed's office announced that President Trump had named Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Seneca and Tioga counties and authorized Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance. The FEMA Public Assistance Program will provide grants to state and local governments, and certain non-profits, to assist with debris removal, emergency protective measures and permanent restoration of infrastructure. The federal government will cover 75 percent of the cost of approved recovery projects.


Woodworth appointed to Glen Village Board

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Oct. 1 welcomed a new member: Nan Woodworth, appointed to the vacancy created with the recent resignation of Kevin Thornton from the board. Woodworth, a retired educator, was sworn in for a period extending until the next election in March. If she wishes to continue on the board after that, she will need to seek election.

Meanwhile, the board canceled a public hearing on a proposed and controversial Business Improvement District. Village Clerk Lonnie Childs said it is "on hold until further notice. ... A lot of projects take precedence over that."

Photo in text: Nan Woodworth at Monday's meeting.


Glen wrestlers to compete under O-M banner

The Watkins Glen School Board on Oct. 1 approved a measure that permits WGHS varsity wrestlers to compete as part of the Odessa-Montour varsity wrestling team this season, with an eye toward reestablishing a team at WGHS in the future. The partial merger -- which involves four or five WGHS athletes -- is viewed as temporary, according to O-M Superintendent Chris Wood, and falls short of the mergers in football and baseball that have created Seneca Indian squads. This one will remain O-M in title.


Saunders to lead IMRRC Governing Council

John Saunders (left), president of the International Speedway Corporation, is the new chairman of the International Motor Racing Research Center. He was chosen by his fellow IMRRC governing council members at the Center's recent council meeting. He has served as vice-chair since 2002. He succeeds IMRRC governing council chair Bobby Rahal, elected to the position in 2014.

A musical puppet show was among the Fit Fest features.


Family Fit Fest draws a crowd to Montour

The turnout was steady, the weather cooperating, and the organizers pleased at the first Schuyler Family Fit Fest Sept. 29 at the Montour Falls Carnival Grounds along Route 224. The event, which included the Strong Kids, Safe Kids program that has been on-again and off-again in recent years (previously at Clute Park in Watkins Glen), featured dozens of tables under a large, long tent where various agencies and businesses offered information and games -- including one table where the Glen Gators were recruiting new swimmers, and another featuring massage therapy.

There was recorded music, and a puppet show, and free burgers and hotdogs provided by the Salvation Army, with accompanying healthy drinks. The inaugural event -- plans call for it to be held annually -- was presented by the Cayuga Health System (Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Medical Center), Schuyler County Public Health, and Strong Kids, Safe Kids.

Photos: Cooperative Extension offered some fun through large soap bubbles; and a pumpkin advertised the Glen Gators table.

Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer, left, makes a point in his meeting with State Senator Tom O'Mara.


Odessa mayor, O'Mara meet, discuss projects

Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer met one-on-one with State Senator Tom O'Mara Sept. 28 in the Odessa Municipal Building to discuss a wide range of challenges facing the village, and how O'Mara might help. Infrastructure -- including the village water system and a proposed sewage treatment system -- was discussed, along with available grant funds for various other projects, such as development of a park. Additional subjects: procuring natural gas for the village; addressing speeding, especially on Main Street, Church Street and Speedway; and the possible development of a logging industry museum.


Rotary honors Sutterby as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Kai Sutterby was honored Sept. 27 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for September. Sutterby, the school's Student Council president and a member of last year's Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athlete-citizens -- was introduced by teacher Sam Brubaker, who decribed her as "the epitome of what a Student of the Month stands for." Sutterby, a State-level cross-country runner for several years, and founder of a multi-school clothing swap program that Brubaker said "gives students the chance to enhance their wardrobe without draining their wallets," plans to pursue a career in medicine. She said she loves small-town life, but wants to "do good on a larger scale," becoming a surgeon "to save lives."


Planning Board OKs Franklin St. project

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

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


Ribbon cutting

The Grand Opening Sept. 20 of the new Warren Real Estate office at 210 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen featured a ribbon cutting and speeches. On hand along with Warren employees were Schuyler County Legislature Chair Dennis Fagan, left, Village Trustee Gary Schmidt (next to him) and Rebecca Carroll, president and CEO of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce (right). (Photo provided)

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


United Way campaign sets goal of $123,000

The United Way of Schuyler County held its annual Agency Luncheon Sept. 19 at the Montour Moose Lodge, where 2017 Campaign Chairs Ron and Carmella Hoffman were honored for their service, and the new Campaign Chairs -- the Dominick and Stacy Smith family, long devoted to the Watkins Glen Fire Department -- were introduced. The campaign goal is $123,000 for 22 agencies that serve Schuyler County. The Marie Bailey Volunteer of the Year Award went to Glenda Gephart, a United Way past Secretary, of whom Executive Director Peggy Scott said: "Glenda was always there -- one step ahead of all of us to help meet our goals for many, many years." The annual United Way Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser will be held Oct. 8th at the Moose Lodge.

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


Glen Board tables action on short-term rentals

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Sept. 17 tabled action until its next meeting on a proposed Local Law designed to amend the Village Zoning Code in an attempt to deal with the rise of short-term rentals in the village. A standing-room-only crowd weighed in pro and con on the proposal, which the board decided needed "some tweaking" before any action is taken. Government.

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


Coffey helps U.S. win gold at World Rowing

Olivia Coffey, 29, a one-time Watkins Glen High School student-athlete who went on to prep school, All-America rowing status at Harvard and an alternate rowing spot at the Olympics, was on the winning U.S. women's eights team Sept. 16 at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Her team finished 2.08 seconds ahead of runnerup Canada in the finals to win the event for the 12th time in the past 13 years. It was Coffey's fourth career gold at Worlds. "It was," said Coffey, "a great way to end an incredible year" -- which included a spot in The Boat Race as she helped Cambridge beat Oxford in England. She had attended Cambridge as part of a Master of Business Administration program.

Photo: Olivia Coffey (File photo)

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


GlassBarge visit triggers Glen celebration

The touring Corning Museum of Glass GlassBarge -- marking the 150th anniversary of the relocation of the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company from Brooklyn to Corning -- opened to the public Friday, Sept. 14 for the first of three days as Seneca Harbor Park turned into festival grounds with vendors and live music --including Donna the Buffalo (inset). The 30-by-80-foot canal barge -- equipped with glassmaking equipment -- was berthed at the Seneca Harbor Pier. The three-day celebration (which ended Sunday, Sept. 16) included live hot-glass demos, fireworks, music, vendors and local artisans. Business.

Historian Gary Emerson talks about the Chemung Canal. Business.

Troop leader Rick Evans with Boy Scouts from Troop 2674.


Inquisitive Scouts visit Legislature session

Eleven Boy Scouts from Troop 2674 in Watkins Glen had some questions for the Schuyler County Legislature Sept. 10 in an exchange designed as a civics lesson for the boys. Government.

Swim podium drive reaches goal

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

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


Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival draws crowd

The annual Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival Sept. 7 in downtown Watkins attracted a large and enthusiastic crowd. This year the festival honored the Jaguar, with an XK120 that won the Seneca Cup Race in 1952 on display. Activities began at 9:30 a.m., and Franklin Street was closed to traffic at noon. Original course laps, vintage-car displays, a Legends Speak gathering at Lafayette Park, wine tastings, and various vendors and foods were all part of the celebration. Features.

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


Museum exhibit focus: 70 years of local racing

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

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


Thornton resigns from Watkins Village Board

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

Photo: Kevin Thornton (File photo)


Best Wine Region victor: the Finger Lakes

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

Tips to avoid scams in flood cleanup

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

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


Schuyler Hall of Famer William Elkins dies

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

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


Crowd turns out to raise funds in Tim's honor

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


Bails posted in Phish concert drug arrests

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


Health issues force Phish concert cancellation

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

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


Cleanup follows heavy rains, flash flooding

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

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


Flood view

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


The challenge: to get involved, stay informed

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


Sheriff's Office probes fatal accident on 414

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

Photo in text: Timothy J. Kamanga.

  Italian American Festival ends its 3-day run

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

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


DOH warns of potential Legionella exposure

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


Schuyler may join suit against Interior Dept.

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

Photo: County Attorney Steven Getman.


State gives Lakewood environmental honor

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

Sunset on Seneca

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

  WGI wins best NASCAR track honor again

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

  Chase Elliott wins NASCAR race at The Glen

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

Photo: Chase Elliott (Photo provided)


WGHS pulls plug on the Watson Tournament

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

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

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

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


3 from Watkins compete at Junior Olympics

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

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

  Annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival is a hit

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


Annual Hector Fair Parade marches up Rt. 414

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

Photo: Members of the Montour Falls Fire Department.

  WG grad Littler performs with Zajac orchestra

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

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


Glenora releases 2nd 'SpokesPup' wine

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

Photo: The GG's Reserve label

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


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

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

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

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

For a related column, click here.


Glen Planning Board has a busy meeting

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

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


Coffey on bronze rowing team at World Cup

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

  Arc of Schuyler planning changes, fund drive

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

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


Village, Walmart at odds over store colors

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

Photo: Trustee Tony Fraboni


LPG storage plan along Seneca nixed by state

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

The band Uncle Joe and the Rosebud Ramblers out of Ithaca entertained the audience at the Logan Center.


Logan Center honors Smith history book

The completion of a decades-long project by former resident Marsha E. Smith -- to collect, transcribe and publish Backbone Ridge family history that appeared in the Interlaken Review's Contributors' Column from 1917-1942 -- was celebrated July 15 at the Logan Community Center. Smith, who now lives in Washington State, was on hand to sell and sign copies of her book. Snacks and live music were part of the event.

Left top: Marsha Smith signs a copy of her book for one of the day's many buyers.
Left bottom: The Logan Community Center, a church built in 1832 and closed in 1975, has been under restoration since 1985.


Florida musician entertains Rotary Club

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club was entertained July 12 by Harry Havery, front man for the central Florida musical group California Toe Jam and often a solo artist. Havery is spending the summer in the Finger Lakes area, performing at various venues including the Grist Iron Brewing Company on July 12, Landon's Pub July 19, and the Seneca Legacy Dinner Cruise on Saturdays through Aug. 4, among others. Then, on Oct. 14 and 16, he will be back with California Toe Jam to perform in fund-raisers at either the Glen Theater or the Watkins Glen High School -- details to be determined. The same group appeared last year in Watkins and attracted a large crowd.

Photo in text: Harry Havery at Rotary Club.


Seneca Powerlifters set marks at National

Members of the Seneca Powerlifting Club (including Sarah Horton, left) set new national records by weight and age and took home first-place trophies July 14 at the World Natural Powerlifting Federation's national meet in Henrietta. Sports.

Rob Halpin, after his re-election by fellow board members as President, swears in Karen Rock as the Board Vice President.


Halpin re-elected as O-M School Board chief

Rob Halpin was renamed president of the Odessa-Montour School Board on July 12 at the group's annual reorganizational meeting. Karen Rock was elected vice president, while Dana Sgrecci was sworn in as a new board member, elected by district residents in May. Rock, who tied with Halpin in that May election for the third 3-year seat on the board (the others went to Sgrecci and Jeff Parmenter), agreed after that vote to take the lone available one-year term rather than pursue a costly revote. She accordingly was sworn in to that shorter term before being elected vice president. The board also named a long list of officers and depositories for the coming school year, and set the second Thursday of every month for its regular monthly meetings, and the fourth Thursday of every month for its monthly workshop meetings.

Photo in text: Dana Sgrecci, right, signs in after taking the board oath of office from Superintendent Chris Wood, left.

At the meeting, from left: Village Clerk Lonnie Childs, Village Treasurer Rhonda Slater, and Utilities Superintendent Lee Kent.


Village Board seeks $50,000 water-study grant

The Watkins Glen Village Board, meeting in special session on July 11, approved an application seeking a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant (for which the village would match just $2,500) from the New York State Office of Community Renewal. The funds would be used for a Water System Evaluation that could be utilized in village infrastructure improvements.

The board also heard from Trustee Laurie DeNardo (right), updating plans for a festival being planned in the village in September when the Corning Inc. GlassBarge (pictured top right and measuring 30 feet by 80 feet) visits Watkins Glen, one of 20 stops it is making around the state as it recreates the move by the Corning Glass Works from Brooklyn to Corning in 1868 along the Hudson River and Erie Canal. It will pull up to the Seneca Harbor Pier after being escorted upon its approach by a parade of boats. Once it docks, it will offer free glassblowing demonstrations from Sept. 14-16 as the focal point of weekend festivities before completing the final leg to Corning by land. (The original Watkins-to-Corning canal section is no longer functional.) Further festival details will soon be released by organizers.

Vocalist Cookie Coogan sang several selections with the Ageless Jazz Band behind her. The group is based in Ithaca.


Ageless Jazz Band performs at Lafayette Park

The second week of summer Concerts in the Park at Watkins Glen's Lafayette Park on July 10 featured the Ageless Jazz Band and its mix of classic swing to Latin jazz. Future Tuesday performances include Dean Goble & Friends on July 17 (country music); the Sgro Brothers on July 24 (featuring harmonicas); Gentlemen of Song on July 31 (Big Band and swing); Donna and the Country Mystics on Aug. 7; the Terry Walker Quartet on Aug. 14 (jazz and rock); and Diana Leigh & The Shorty Georges on Aug. 21 (swing and jazz).


Legislature rescinds support for LPG storage

The Schuyler County Legislature voted unanimously on July 9 to rescind its prior support -- from 2014 -- for the proposed storage of propane in local salt mines along the western shore of Seneca Lake. The move followed a report that one of the caverns might have leaks. "It comes down to a matter of safety," said Chairman Dennis Fagan. Government.

Photo at right: Legislator Michael Lausell, an outspoken critic of the storage plan.


Thousands attend funeral for fallen trooper

The funeral service for New York State Police Trooper Nicholas F. Clark (right) -- killed in the line of duty July 2 while responding to a 911 call regarding a suicidal subject -- drew thousands of people Sunday, July 8 to Alfred Unversity to pay their respects. Police said Clark was killed when he was struck with buckshot from a 12-gauge shotgun fired by Steven M. Kiley, a Bradford School District principal, at Kiley's residence at 10041 Welch Road in the Steuben County Town of Erwin, just south of Corning. Kiley later died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head after being wounded by law enforcement. Police said they recovered 12 illegal firearms owned by Kiley, including eight assault rifles, numerous high capacity magazines, and two silencers. Trooper Clark, 29, resided in Troupsburg. He had served in Ithaca, Auburn and most recently Bath.


Fireworks display draws crowd to Clute

A Chamber of Commerce-sponsored fireworks display Friday night, July 6 packed Clute Park in Watkins Glen and drew other spectators to surrounding hills to view the show. Young Explosives Corp. of Rochester produced the display.

Left: Friday's fireworks.


Mitrano pulls away for win; Della Pia concedes

23rd Congressional District candidate Tracy Mitrano of Penn Yan has come from behind to win the Democratic Primary, with opponent Max Della Pia conceding Tuesday afternoon. Della Pia, a retired Air Force General who led by 26 votes before absentee ballots were counted, fell behind by a reported 194 votes with absentees in Yates County -- Mitrano's home county -- the only ones left to count. Della Pia called for party unity as Mitrano, an educator and lawyer, turns to square off against incumbent Republican Tom Reed in November's election. The results of the Primary will be officially certified Thursday. Della Pia, of Owego, led 7,022-6,996 on election night, June 26, but soon fell behind as absentee ballots were tabulated. Mitrano reportedly won every county except Owego.

Photo: Primary winner Tracy Mitrano

Ed Clute's Dixie Five Plus in action Tuesday in Watkins Glen.


Tuesday concerts return to Lafayette Park

The weekly summertime Concerts in the Park series returned Tuesday evening to Watkins Glen's Lafayette Park with Ed Clute's dixieland band providing the music for the season-opener. Music fans brought their folding chairs to the park for the performance. The concerts are held on Tuesday evenings throughout the summer. Next up: the Ageless Jazz Band, with Big Band and Swing music, on July 10.


Brubaker re-elected president of School Board

Gloria Brubaker was elected by her fellow board members to a second one-year term Monday night as Watkins Glen School Board President. The group's annual reorganizational meeting also saw Mark Franzese renamed vice president, and Barbara Schimizzi sworn in after being elected in May to a second three-year term. Board member Kelly McCarthy, also re-elected in May, was absent due to an extended illness for which Franzese offered "thoughts and prayers." Meanwhile, board members will be interviewing finalists next week for an Assistant Principal position. Superintendent Greg Kelahan said the post is expected to be filled shortly thereafter.

Photo: Gloria Brubaker takes the oath of office.

Jim Somerville receives his Paul Harris Fellow award from Rotarian Nancy Loughlin at the Rotary Club's Changeover Dinner.


2 Rotarians honored as Paul Harris Fellows

Watkins-Montour Rotary Club members Jim Somerville and John King were honored at the club's Changeover Dinner on June 28 as Paul Harris Fellows. Each received a certificate, medallion and pin emblematic of the award, given to select people -- both club members and non-members -- deemed to possess a liviing philosophy of "service above self," a Rotary motto. Such presentations to members, the Rotary Foundation says, constitute a "way of expressing appreciation for a substantial contribution to Rotary's humanitarian and educational programs." The award is named after a Chicago lawyer who started Rotary International with three business associates in 1905.

The dinner, at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, marked the annual change in the club presidency -- in this case from Rich Greenberger to Rebekah Carroll, who is also president of the local Chamber of Commerce. She will serve as the head of the club until mid-2019.

Photo: John King receives a Paul Harris pin from his wife Lorna


France Family honored with Argetsinger Award

The fifth annual Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports was presented to the France Family during a dinner June 28 at the Corning Museum of Glass. People.

From left: O-M students Madison Moss, Aidan Thurston, Mackenzie Cannon and Gabriel Grover. (Photo provided)


4 Odessa students at Villanova STEM Week

Odessa-Montour school district students Mackenzie Cannon, Gabriel Grover, Madison Moss, and Aidan Thurston joined outstanding Middle School students from across the nation in a unique academic and career-oriented development experience, NYLF Explore STEM, during the final week of June at Villanova University in Philadelphia. Schools.

The Historical Society's Paul Bartow and Glenda Gephart.

  Historical Society names president, director

The Schuyler County Historical Society membership has elected Paul Bartow as president and the Society Board of Trustees has appointed Glenda Gephart as executive director. People.


Watkins graduates 89 in annual ceremony

The Watkins Glen High School Class of 2018 says farewell with a Commencement exercise in the school Auditorium. The Valedictorian and Salutatorian: Clara Chedzoy and Trevor Thurston, respectively. Providing the music: Ed Clute at the piano. Graduation.


Left: WGHS graduate Emmie Bond enters the school auditorium during the Processional.


WGHS Alumni group holds annual banquet

The Watkins Glen High School Alumni Association's annual gathering honors five scholarship recipients from the Class of 2018 and a Distinguished Alumnus. People.


WGHS Distinguished Alumnus Capt. Gary Voorheis, U.S. Navy, Retired.


O-M graduates 59 in evening ceremony

The Odessa-Montour Class of 2018 says farewell with a Commencement exercise in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium before a capacity crowd. Graduation.


Left: Valedictorian Hailey Perraut


Planning Board gets 1st look at Cheese Co.

Further steps ahead as new business owners prepare building on North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen for a possible fall opening. Cheese, wines, beer, and paired offerings ahead. Business.

Left: The front of the Seneca Cheese Company building.


Rotary honors Scheffey as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Isobel Scheffey was honored June 21 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for June. Scheffey was introduced by teacher Kelly Muir, who called the honoree a "delightful, hard-working, motivated" person who "will excel" at whatever she attempts and "achieve her goals." Scheffey, a member of this year's Top Drawer team of 24 outstanding student-athlete-citizens selected from 10 schools, is a High Honor student and an outstanding soccer player and runner. She set school records at 55 and 300 Yards in Indoor track this year, and at 400 Yards in Outdoor Track. She was also the Section IV, Class C champion in both the 200 and 400. She plans to attend the University of Albany, and would like to become a pediatrician. "Helping kids is what I want to do," she said.

Photo: Isobel Scheffey at the Rotary luncheon.

Community Grants

Watkins-Montour Rotary Club President Rich Greenberger, left, hands a check to Boy Scout leader Rick Evans at the June 21 Rotary luncheon as part of the distribution of thousands of dollars by the club to area service groups, an annual event. Other organizations receiving funds included the Watkins Glen Summer Swim Program, the Humane Society, Youth Football, Habitat for Humanity, the Historical Society, Cooperative Extension, Labor of Love, the Elizabeth Pert Library in Hector, the My Place Play and Learning Center, and the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial.


Douglas to step down as CCC president in '19

Dr. Katherine P. Douglas has announced she will retire on June 30, 2019 after eight years as President of Corning Community College. The school's 6th president, her tenure has been marked by expansion and public/private partnerships. Schools.

Left: CCC President
Dr. Katherine P. Douglas

School Board summary

The Watkins Glen School District office has issued a draft summary of the June 18, 2018 meeting of the Board of Education. To read it, click here.


State Park renovation ceremony held; NY unveils DRI projects

The dedication of the upgraded Watkins Glen State Park entrance area drew more than 130 people to the park's new amphitheater June 18, and served another function: the unveiling by the state of the 14 projects that have won funding under Watkins Glen's Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Government.

Photo: A ribbon was cut as part of the park dedication.


Border politics dog
a visit to La Bourgade

Congressman Tom Reed gets a tour of the "hillside village" being built -- and rented out -- by Bruno Schickel along Rt. 414. Reed also weighs in on tariffs and responds to questions about the President's "zero tolerance" immigration policy. Bourgade.


Left: Congressman Tom Reed, left, and Bruno Schickel.


Far away from Schuyler County, out West ...

Photographer Liz Fraboni of Watkins Glen -- a frequent contributor to this website in years past -- provides us with a look through her lens at the landscape -- and regional features -- of Arizona, snapped while she was visiting family out there. For a look at her offerings, click here.


Photo: One of the scenes that caught Liz Fraboni's eye on her Arizona journey.

  Grand Prix Fitness wins walking competition

Grand Prix Fitness is the champion of the 8-week Schuyler Steps Out walking competition, ahead of runnerup Watkins Glen High. The 2017 champion Humane Society was third. The walking program, in its 12th year and designed to get participants walking in the spring, had 13 teams. GP Fitness, with 16 walkers, had a cumulative average of 973,886 steps. Watkins Glen High, with 10 walkers, had a cumulative average of 889,659 steps, while the Humane Society, with 16 walkers, had a cumulative average of 889,390 steps. The program was sponsored by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

Sunset on Seneca

This photo of the Tuesday, June 19 sunset on Seneca Lake was sent by Joe Fazzary. It was snapped from the deck at his home, looking to the northwest.


WGHS champs, State qualifiers are honored

Watkins High School sectional champions and State tourney competitors are recognized by the school district at a School Board meeting. Four retirees are also honored. Schools.

  Glen Village Board OKs sewer rate increase

The Watkins Glen Village Board on June 18 approved a $1 increase in sewer rates -- to $15.50 per month from $14.50 -- to help maintain the village's distribution system. The increase -- which also includes hikes for usage above 300 cubic feet -- is effective July 1. The board also approved a Joint Project Committee audit showing 10 invoices totaling $939,000 in expenditures for the sewage treatment plant planned along the canal. Much of that money was for construction of a road leading to the site, bringing to just over $5 million the amount spent on the project thus far. Trustee and JPC member Tony Fraboni said almost $27 million remains budgeted for construction of the plant itself.

Photo: Watkins Glen Village Trustee Tony Fraboni.

Aaron Planty at his signing ceremony, and his Geneseo cake.

  Planty signing ceremony held at Watkins High

Watkins Glen High School senior Aaron Planty -- who will be attending Division III SUNY Geneseo in the fall and competing in cross country and track there -- was the center of attention June 18 at a celebratory signing ceremony in the WGHS Library. Friends and family watched as Planty signed a form in which he pledged to participate in those two sports at Geneseo. Aaron capped an outstanding high school career this year with The Odessa File WGHS Male Co-Athlete of the Year Award, shared with his brother Gabe, also a runner.

Tinker Bell (Jule Osburn) and Peter Pan (Molly Heichel) soar.


'Peter Pan Jr.' ends its 3-day run at WGHS

The Lake Country Players' production of Disney's musical "Peter Pan Jr." -- with flying provided by ZFX Flying Effects of Louisville, Kentucky -- ended its 3-day, 4-performance run with a matinee Sunday afternoon, June 17 before an enthusiasic audience of more than 260 people in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. The three-day attendance totaled about 1,000.

The flying rigging, installed last weekend, enabled several of the play's young actors to fly -- much to the delight of the audience.

Kim Laursen and Kelsey Johnson were co-directors. Features.

Photo: Emma Malnoske as Wendy Darling takes to the air.

Rosie Newton, left, and Lydia Garrison performed June 16.

  Lakewood hosts annual Fiddlers Gathering

The first day of the two-day 29th annual Old Time Fiddlers Gathering and Folk Arts Festival drew a larger-than-usual crowd June 16 to Lakewood Vineyards north of Watkins Glen. Musical acts featuring Old Time selections in the main tent highlighted the day along with various items for sale, such as quilts and handmade banjos. The event concluded Sunday with an Irish Folk Arts theme.

Photo: Jamming is a staple of the Fiddlers Gathering.


Legislators Blowers, Barnes seek re-election

Incumbent Schuyler County Legislators Carl Blowers (left) and Phil Barnes (right) -- both Republicans -- are seeking re-election this fall, running as a team. For a story on their announcement and background, see Government.

Schuyler opposes Seneca Army Depot incinerator plan. Government.

Youth Bureau holds annual celebration

More than 60 attend the event at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls. A mock trial and several awards highlight the gathering. People.

A boat rounds the final turn of the Seneca Marina course.

  25th annual Cardboard Boat Regatta held

The 25th annual Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival concluded Saturday, June 16 with the popular Cardboard Boat Regatta held in the Seneca Harbor Marina. The regatta, held under clear skies and warm temperatures, drew its usual large crowd lining the pier, the breakwater and the shoreline. The evening before, the festival featured live music, plenty of food, vendors, and Harbor Lights of various colors and effects. The regatta, featuring both solidly built and porous homemade crafts, resulted in various awards, such as Best Construction (a Flintstone-themed boat), Best Sinking (ironically, it was named Unsinkable), Best Name (Hull and Boats), and People's Choice (the Tiki Torpedo).

Photo: The breakwater was a great place to watch from.

Left: The Seneca Harbor Pier during the Harbor Lights portion of the Waterfront Festival on June 15. Right: The True Love's sails that night.

  Enrollment numbers look promising at O-M

The Odessa-Montour School Board on Thursday night, June 14 heard a report from an independent consultant -- Dr. Paul Seversky, a former school superintendent -- that foresees O-M's enrollment, now about 800 students, will stabilize or grow slightly in the next 10 years, to between 825 and 950 students. Seversky's report, presented for an hour in person to the Board, dealt with various subjects, such as enrollment, building use and optimum class sizes. Said Superintendent Chris Wood of the enrollment projection: "It's great news. The fact that we're not decreasing" -- a problem in some area schools -- "is pretty great."

Photo: Board members Jeff Parmenter, left, and Will Shrout.


Schuyler Scholars honored at dinner

The 11th annual Schuyler Scholars celebration at the Harbor Hotel on Tuesday night, June 12 honored 19 seniors from three school districts for their academic achievements. Schools.

Left: Each honoree received a plaque.

  Conservation Field Day teaches 6th graders

A total of 142 sixth-grade students from the Odessa-Montour, Bradford and Watkins Glen school districts attended the annual Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District-led Conservation Field Day on June 5 at the Millport Hunting and Fishing Club. Field Day.

Photo: O-M student Lily Bixby caught a largemouth bass at the Field Day's fishing station. The fish was released.


Erie Canalway Photo Contest is under way

The 13th annual Erie Canalway Photo Contest for professional and amateur photographers has begun. The Canalway Corridor reaches as far south as Montour Falls. Winning photos will be featured in the 2019 Erie Canalway calendar. For details on entering, see Features.


Montour parade draws crowd to Main Street

The 62nd annual Montour Falls Fire Department Parade of Bands -- featuring nearly a dozen musical groups and 21 fire departments, along with floats, tractors and vintage cars -- attracted a large gathering of spectators who lined Main Street through the village for the hour-long procession on June 9. Features.


Left: The Montour Falls Fire Department color guard.

One of the many carnival attractions.

  Fire Department Festival ends its 3-day run

The 62nd annual Montour Falls Fire Department Festival on the carnival grounds alongside Route 224 -- which opened on Thursday evening, June 7, concluded June 9th. The highlight that last day was an annual parade down Main Street in the village beginning at 5 p.m. and featuring firefighters, firetrucks, bands, floats and classic cars. The festival featured food, rides, games, bingo, clams, and craft beer. Admission was free. Live music Thursday was by Rusted Bucks. Friday it was classic rock by RUST; Saturday it was country music by Devon Franks.

Photo: One of the several rides available at the festival.

Ryanna LaMoreaux, center, at the celebratory signing with her sister Ali and mother Rebekah Carroll.

  LaMoreaux signing ceremony held at WGHS

Watkins Glen High School senior Ryanna LaMoreaux, who will be attending and playing basketball at Division III Lycoming College in Pennsylvania in the fall, was the center of attention June 8th at a celebratory signing ceremony in the WGHS Library. Friends and family, along with basketball coach Alicia Learn, watched as LaMoreaux signed forms in which she pledged to play basketball at Lycoming, where she will be studying pre-law. A letter from Lycoming official Mike Konopski, a 1981 graduate of WGHS, welcomed Ryanna to college "as she makes the transition from Senecan to Warrior. I invite fans from Watkins Glen and Schuyler County to make the short trip south to Williamsport to see her play and for underclassmen to perhaps consider joining her in attending Lycoming College in the future." LaMoreaux was a member of two Section IV championship basketball teams and a state titleist at WGHS.

Some of the members of the Top Drawer 24 pose for the team photo. The full team photo appears with a story inside.
(This photo by Hailey Perraut)

  Top Drawer 24 are honored at park ceremony

The 13th annual Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding high school scholar-athlete-citizens -- two dozen honorees from 10 area high schools -- were celebrated Monday evening, June 4th at a ceremony at the Watkins Glen State Park pavilion. Party.

Photo: Honoree Kai Sutterby of Watkins Glen High School.

Exchange students Beatriz Silva of Brazil (left, attending Odessa-Montour High School) and Arnaz Bhoruche of India (attending Watkins Glen High School) -- both of whom will soon be going home -- gave accounts of their school year and various travels when they appeared June 7th at a luncheon meeting of the sponsoring Watkins-Montour Rotary Club at Seneca Lodge.

  Rotary honors Tague as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Syria Tague was honored June 7th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for June. The honoree -- listed as a junior but completing her high school requirements a year early and entering Hartwick College in Oneonta in the fall -- was introduced by teacher Russ Gardner. He described Tague as "an excellent example ... of a well-rounded student" who carries a 96 average, has participated in swimming, tennis and cheerleading, and is a member of Interact and the National Honor Society. Tague, said Gardner, is a determined individual, never turning defensive or creating excuses "if she gets something wrong," instead digging in and figuring how to correct it. "She's a pleasure to be around," he added.

Photo: Syria Tague at the Rotary Club luncheon.

Watkins Glen High School's Female Athlete of the Year is Hannah Morse, pictured with WGHS Male Athletes of the Year Aaron Planty (center) and his brother Gabe. The awards were presented Monday at the Watkins Glen State Park pavilion.


Odessa File names its Athletes of Year

The Odessa File distributed trophies June 4th to its Female and Male Athletes of the Year from the Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glen High Schools: Kennedey Heichel and Curtis Harris at Odessa, and Hannah Morse and the Planty brothers, Aaron and Gabe, at WGHS. The awards were sponsored by E.C. Cooper Insurance.

Photo: O-M Athletes of the Year Kennedey Heichel and Curtis Harris.

Lime Bikes across the street from the Watkins Glen State Park.

  Lime Bikes have arrived in Watkins Glen

A new way to get around has come to Watkins Glen: Lime Bikes -- a bike-sharing program using apps on a phone for rentals at $1 per half hour. For details, see Business.

Hanley Elliott putts as Gabi Decker watches in practice round. (Photo provided by Steve Decker)

  Section 4 golfers finish tourney in 6th place

The nine-member Section 4 girls golf team finished near the middle of the pack at the two-day New York State Public High School Athletic Association Golf Championships on the par-72 Bethpage Yellow Course on Long Island. Sports.


WGHS distributes awards at assembly

Academic and athletic honors were handed out at an evening gathering in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. Awards.


Photo: Lexi Castellaneta with one of the awards.


Introducing the 2018
Top Drawer 24 team

The 13th annual Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding area student-athlete-citizens contains 16 seniors and 8 juniors from 10 schools. To see who they are, click here.

Top Drawer celebration held at State Park. Party.

Diners networked first on the Seneca Lodge porch. Here Liz Stamp of Lakewood Vineyards chats with Phil Cherry. Wine was provided by Lakewood, J.R. Dill Winery, Atwater Estates Vineyards and Chateau LaFayette Reneau.

  Ribs & Riesling draws crowd to Seneca Lodge

More than 80 diners attended the third annual Ribs & Riesling fund-raising dinner May 24 at Seneca Lodge in Watkins Glen. The event, sponsored by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club, was conceived by Rotarian Rebekah Carroll. It raised funds Thursday for the Montour Falls Library's Early Literacy Program. Rotarian Jim Howell was the emcee. Speaking briefly was Montour Falls Library Director Roxanne Leyes.

Photo: Emcee Jim Howell and Rebekah Carroll.


Montour earns Clean Energy designation

The Village of Montour Falls has been recognized for its leadership in reducing energy use and cutting costs. A related energy study could lead to a renovation of the Village Hall. Government.


A Track Day at WGI

Montour Falls' Bob Brown participates in a learning experience at Watkins Glen International racetrack that is popular among a diverse group of drivers. Track.


Memorial Day observed in 4 Schuyler ceremonies

Ceremonies in Montour Falls, Watkins Glen (two) and outside Odessa remember those who have given their lives in defense of our nation. People.


At the Montour Falls ceremony

  Watkins places 3rd for Small Town Adventure

Watkins Glen placed third in USA Today’s latest 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest! It finished behind Marquette, Michigan, and Florence, Oregon for Best Small Town for Adventure. Voting took place until May 14. Results were announced May 18. Twenty locales were nominated.

Photo: Seneca Harbor Pier.

  Ken Wilson is a Jefferson Award honoree

Schuyler County Hall of Famer and community leader Ken Wilson (pictured at right) was honored May 17 as a Jefferson Award recipient by the Chemung Canal Trust Company and Corning Enterprises during a luncheon at the Elmira Country Club. The award is presented for outstanding leadership and volunteerism over the years. Other recipients: David Biviano and Betty Hess, along with Elmira's Carl Hayden, who was named the "National Jefferson Award Representative." Hayden will represent the Twin Tiers region next month at a Jefferson Awards event in Washington, D.C. with about 80 other designees from communities around the nation.

Wine tasting and sales are a staple of Seneca Lake Wine & Food.

  Wine & Food event draws crowd to Clute Park

Wine and food lovers flocked on May 19 -- despite overcast skies and the occasional rain -- to the aptly named (and annual) Seneca Lake Wine & Food at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. About 1,500 people had passed through the entry gate in the first three hours, and another 500 or so were expected before the event ended. Tents with more than 40 area food and wine vendors were present selling their products, and there were wine and cheese seminars along with live music.

Photo: Organizer Jeff Dill.

Sara Caldwell was on hand running her Global Taco truck.


Ground broken for Kayak/Canoe Launch

A groundbreaking ceremony on May 18 drew village, county and state officials to the site of a planned Kayak/Canoe Launch at the eastern end of Clute Park. Government.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, center, and State Senator Tom O'Mara with Arc of Schuyler Executive Director Jeannette Frank. The Arc's 40th anniversary drew a proclamation and resolution of praise from Albany officials.

  Arc of Schuyler celebrates its 40th anniversary

Longtime Board member Harold J. Hoffmeier, right, was among the speakers May 18 as The Arc of Schuyler celebrated its 40th anniversary with a luncheon at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The main ballroom was packed with Arc supporters and local dignitaries. Said State Senator Tom O'Mara: "Nothing exemplifies community more than the Schuyler Arc does." Assemblyman Phil Palmesano praised The Arc for "improving the quality of life of our most vulnerable citizens. There can be no greater calling or greater mission." Arc Executive Director Jeannette Frank thanked both men for their recent efforts in securing improved wages for Direct Support Professionals, employees The Arc calls "the linchpin in a system of supports that empower people with disabilities to lead self-directed, meaningful, and productive lives."

Odessa-Montour High School senior Hailey Hoose at Rotary.

  Rotary honors Hoose as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Hailey Hoose was honored May 17 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for May. Hoose was introduced by O-M teacher Lisa Frost, who called the honoree "an amazing and unique individual" who has been "very active in the Odessa school community." Hoose has competed in swimming and tennis and has been part of school musicals for two years while also a student in the BOCES Dental Assisting program. She is known, Frost said, for "her perseverance and caring nature" and for always helping those in need.

Photo in text: Hailey Hoose receives her Student of the Month plaque from Rotary's John King.

The ribbon is cut at the expanded Sunset View Creamery.

  Ribbon-cutting held at expanded business

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday, May 16 at the Sunset View Creamery on the Hoffman farm at Catharine Corners -- marking the grand opening of a new tasting room and retail space for the long-estabished cheese business. "After years in a very humble tasting room," says creamery owner Carmella Hoffman (pictured at right), "we now have a full-size retail shop and tasting area." The ceremony was part of a Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce After-Hours Mixer -- a Chamber tradition offering networking opportunities. Notes Chamber President Rebekah Carroll: "The Hoffmans are an integral part of our agritourism and local food communities."

  Palmesano welcomes Bacalles to Albany

Special to The Odessa File

ALBANY, May 16, 2018 -- Assemblyman Phil Palmesano welcomed his predecessor, Jim Bacalles, back to the Assembly during a recent visit by Bacalles to the Capitol.

"It was a real privilege for me to welcome Jim back to Albany," said Palmesano. "Jim is a true friend to this institution. He was a principled legislator who set a tremendous example for all of us. I'm honored to follow in his footsteps."

Palmesano noted that he and Bacalles have maintained an excellent relationship over the years: "Jim was my mentor in government. I worked for him from 1995 to 2004, and during that time I learned so much. He epitomizes what public service should be all about."

Photo: Jim Bacalles, left, and Phil Palmesano. (Photo provided)

  Budgets pass easily at Watkins Glen, Odessa

Voters overwhelmingly approved budget proposals on May 15 in the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour School Districts. The $27.2 million budget passed 207-36 in Watkins Glen, while a proposition to lease buses passed 195-47. In Odessa, the $16.8 million budget passed 221-43, while propositions for the purchase of buses and for an increase in the library tax for the Montour Falls Library passed 209-54 and 165-104, respectively. Incumbent School Board members Barb Schimizzi and Kelly McCarthy ran unopposed for two seats in Watkins Glen, receiving 213 and 190 votes, respectively. Three incumbents -- Rob Halpin, Karen Rock and Jeff Parmenter -- and newcomer Dana Sgrecci ran unopposed. Halpin, Parmenter and Sgrecci will serve three-year terms, and Rock a one-year term.


WGHS holds its annual Spring Concert

Students in grades 7 through 12 perform an array of choral and instrumental music in the school auditorium. Schools.


Photo: The flute section in the Grade 7/8 Band.

  Legislature acts on coroner, bridge, noms

Schuyler County Legislators on May 14 approved the appointment of Patricia Kelly, NP, as one of two County Coroners to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Dr. James P. Coleman III "until such time (as) a general election can be held." The appointment runs from June 1 through Dec. 31.

In other businesss, legislators: --Accepted a bid for construction of a bridge replacement over Johns Creek on North L'Hommedieu Street in Montour Falls.
--Approved Harold J. Hoffmeier Jr. and John Terry as Schuyler County nominees for the 2018 New York State Office for the Aging Senior Citizen of the Year award.
--Heard Chairman Dennis Fagan say Sales Tax for the first four months of 2018 are 8.1% higher than the same period in 2017. "We are experiencing a strong local economy," Fagan noted.
--Approved an independent audit report that, for the second straight year, fournd no significant problems in county finances. The treasurer's office under Harriett Vickio, said Fagan, is doing "a fantastic job."
Photo in text: Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan at his computer during Monday's meeting.

  Glen teacher places 2nd in Jeopardy semifinal

Watkins Glen Elementary School Special Education teacher Rachel Niegelberg of Trumansburg -- who won a quarterfinal "Jeopardy" match aired May 8 in the popular TV show's annual Teachers' Tournament -- finished second in a semifinal aired May 15, ending her TV run. According to a "Jeopardy" fan website, she trailed Claire Bishop of Lexington, Kentucky by $100 entering Final Jeopardy, where both answered correctly -- Niegelberg betting $10,000 and finishing with $25,900, and Bishop betting $15,801 and finishing wih $31,801. The clue was in the U.N. Languages category: "Of the 6 official U.N. languages, it's the one that is written in cursive form only." The correct response: "What is Arabic?" Bishop moved on to the two-show finale in the quest for a $100,000 prize. The two-week tourney -- taped earlier -- has featured 15 teachers from around the U.S. Each received a $2,500 educational grant to help fund classroom projects.

Photo: Niegelberg with "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebek.

  Ground broken for new Burdett Fire Station

The long-awaited Burdett Fire Depaartment took a symbolic step toward completion May 11 with a groundbreaking ceremony on the site, fronting Rt. 79 at the eastern end of the village. Various dignitaries were on hand. Groundbreaking.

  Lausell to challenge O'Mara for Senate seat

Schuyler County Legislator Michael Lausell (right), a Democrat, has opened a campaign office in Montour Falls as he launches a challenge to incumbent Thomas O'Mara for the State Senate seat held by O'Mara in our 58th Senate District. O'Mara, a Republican and Conservative, was first elected to the Senate in 2010. Lausell has been a legislator since 2013, and was re-elected in 2017. The Senate term runs four years. Lausell, who held a campaign kickoff at his headquarters at 232 W. Main St. in Montour Falls on Thursday, May 17, says he believes voters should have a choice in picking their senator. The election is in November. Lausell is a lawyer, and raises beef cattle, selling some of his product at the Farmer's Market held Thursdays seasonally at the park in Montour Falls directly next to his campaign office.

School Board summary

The Watkins Glen School District has issued a summary of the School Board meeting held May 7. To see it, click here.

  Rotary honors Chedzoy as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Clara Chedzoy (right) was honored May 10 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for May. Chedzoy -- the class Valedictorian -- was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who called the honoree "a great scholar" and "a truly kind, lovely person. I can't think of a better person to go out in the world to make it better." Chedzoy -- a defensive standout on the school's girls basketball team that won the Class C state title in 2017 and reached the finals of the Section IV tournament this year -- plans to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, and study astrophysics and astronomy. She says she would like a career in Research and Development in the aerospace industry.

  Missing Montour Falls infant found safe

The infant girl missing from a Montour Falls residence on Rock Cabin Road -- Gionna K. Harter, 15 days old -- was located "safe and sound" along with her mother in the City of Geneva by Geneva and State Police Officers, the Schuyler County Sheriff's Department reported Thursday night, May 10. The Sheriff's office said the child was removed from the Montour Falls residence by her mother, Katrina M. Harter, over a court order that had granted temporary custody to a third party on May 9. The Sheriff's Department, which said no criminal charges are pending against the mother "at this time," thanked the public "in calling in tips and providing information to assist in the investigation. Law Enforcement followed up on over 100 leads in Schuyler, Ontario, Wayne, Monroe, Erie, Seneca, and Yates Counties."

Photo: Gionna K. Harter (Photo provided)

Kai Sutterby, right, and Isabella Fazzary arrive at the prom.


WGHS holds prom at Logan Ridge Estates

The annual prom drew a large gathering of gown-clad young women and tuxedo-clad young men for an evening of fun, food, music and camaraderie. For photos of the night, see Prom.




Left: WGHS senior Amber Benjamin.

And back in 2009

Smoke pours out of the Village Variety Shop on North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen Oct. 18th. More photos at Fire.


Watkins Glen fire deemed accidental

The fire that struck two businesses on North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen Oct. 18th, 2009 was accidental -- caused, fire officials say, by "the thawing of a refrigerator" in the rear portion of the Village Variety Shop. For the update and the original story and photos, see Fire.

Left: Flames curl out of the rear of the Village Variety Shop shortly after the fire started. (Photo by Phil Barnes)


Some vocal magic on an Island hike ...

The editor encounters some strange conversationalists during a hike to a farflung lighthouse on his vacation. For those looking for some magic, herewith a tale that most will deem fiction. Hike.


Left: The Bois Blanc Lighthouse

Check out some WGHS videos

Maggie Edgley's Video Production Class at Watkins Glen High School boasts a creative group of artists. We've linked up with the class so that you can have access to their video accomplishments. To visit the class website, click here


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Some old photos from the Kelly collection

We have some more photos from the collection amassed over the years by the late Bill Kelly. For a look, click here.


The What, When and Why of this website

Editor-publisher Charlie Haeffner updates readers on what makes this website tick. Site.

Left: Charlie Haeffner (Photo by Dave Haeffner)



We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


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


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