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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


USTA wins AAU Junior Olympic championship

United Southern Tier Aquatics (USTA), with the Glen Gators as part of its contingent, captures the girls AAU Junior Olympic Swimming national championship in an annual four-day event in Houston, Texas. USTA topped a field of 22 teams to claim the title. Gators who finished in the top 8 during the final day of competition on Sunday, Aug. 1 are listed in a story on Sports.

Photo: Part of the championship team.

The first interior event at the Events Center: a Rotary dinner.


Rotary holds Changeover Dinner at new Center

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club held its annual Changeover Dinner Thursday evening, July 29 at the new Seneca Lake Events Center at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. The club, which normally changes its president at each such annual affair, this time welcomed back Judy Phillips for a second consecutive term. Guest speaker was Craig Bond, the Watkins Glen Park Manager, who said the Rotary dinner was the first such event at the center, which was completed recently with a mix of government funds. Rotary Paul Harris Fellow awards, presented for "Service Above Self," went to Kaz Popovich, Tracy McIlroy, Barb Coon, Diane Carl and Bonnie Howell.

Photo in text: Rotary President Judy Phillips.


U.S. women's eight team finishes in 4th place

The United States' women's eight rowing team -- with Watkins Glen native Olivia Coffey (right) a member of the squad -- started slowly and never seriously challenged July 30th, finishing off the podium, in fourth place, in the women's eight "A" championship finals at the Tokyo Olympics. Canada took the gold medal with a time of 5:59.13, while New Zealand won the silver medal in 6:00.04. The bronze medal went to China (6:01.21), with the U.S. fourth in 6:02.78, followed by Australia and Romania. Coffey, 32, an alternate at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was in the fifth seat this time for the U.S., whkch also had Ithaca College graduate Meghan Musnicki among its crew. The U.S. had won gold in the eight at three straight Olympics.

Sheriff Bill Yessman and other members of his department were thanking the community in front of the county courthouse.


Sheriff's Office, Public Health thank the public

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office, in partnership with Public Health, held a community thank-you in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse in Watkins Glen Wednesday, July 28, the second annual such event. Free hot dogs, cookies and bottled water (see sign at right) were distributed to visitors, including some attending for a Covid vaccination on-site. Sheriff Bill Yessman said the gathering was the department's way of expressing its appreciation to the community, which has been through a lot with the pandemic "and is always thanking us. We want to thank the people for their support of the Sheriff's Office."


CLASH triathlon festival set at Watkins in 2022

A CLASH triathlon festival weekend, with a tie-in to the Finger Lakes Wine Festival at Watkins Glen International, is planned for the Watkins Glen area on July 8-10, 2022. Sports.


Watkins Glen wins Summer League title

Watkins Glen won the Waverly Basketball Summer League Playoffs July 21 by defeating Athens 57-43 in the championship game. Sports.


WGI finishes 2nd to Road America in fan vote

Watkins Glen International has fallen short iin its bid to repeat as the top NASCAR track in fan voting in the annual USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Award competition. Road America in Plymouth, Wisconsin finished first and WGI second in the voting, a year after WGI had won the honor. A panel helped pick the nominees, with the top 10 tracks determined by popular vote. Sonoma Raceway in California was third, and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH was fourth. WGI had also won in 2016, 2017 and 2018.


Public urged to participate in redistricting

State Senator Tom O’Mara (right) is urging constituents to make their voices heard in the redrawing of state legislative and congressional districts to help ensure fair representation in state and federal government for the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, and statewide. For story, see Goverrnment.


Glen Ale is back after an 80-year hiatus

Finger Lakes Distilling and Lucky Hare Brewing team up to resurrect Glen Ale, a popular beer brand that was brewed in Watkins Glen in the late 1930s. See Business.


Guest column by County Attorney Steven Getman

Schuyler County Attorney Steven J. Getman asks: "Leasing your land for solar power? Know your rights before you sign." He presents an overview and specific issues to be carefully considered. Column.

Photo: Schuyler County Attorney Steven J. Getman


Rumsey officially tops Spaulding by 213 votes

Schuyler County Sheriff's Investigator Kevin P. Rumsey (left) officially outpolled Undersheriff Breck Spaulding (right) by an 815-602 margin -- by 213 votes -- in the June 22 Republican Primary, the Schuyler County Board of Elections announced on July 1. The Primary determined the GOP Candidate for Sheriff in the November election. Before absentee ballots and affidavits were counted, the margin had been 207 votes, 788-581. The campaign between the two men will continue, each camp saying in the runup to the Primary that its candidate would continue in the race (the Primary loser as an Independent) through to the general election. The winner in November will succeed retiring Sheriff Bill Yessman.


1 dead, 4 injured in Yates boating accident

One person was killed and four were injured July 10 in a boating accident on Seneca Lake near the Showboat Motel in Yates County. Deputies, marine patrol and the Himrod Fire Department responded to the 5:30 p.m. accident, which officials said occurred when a high-performance, 45-foot boat turned abruptly at a high rate of speed, ejecting the six people aboard into the water. A woman, Cynthia Stuck, 65, of Waterloo, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband and daughter were hospitalized, as were two Clifton Springs residents. The operator, a Seneca Falls man, was taken to the hospital but did not receive treatment. Deputies said no flotation devices were being worn, although present on the boat. The investigation is ongoing.


WGI, United Rentals forge race partnership

Watkins Glen International and United Rentals, the largest equipment rental company in the world, have forged an agreement on the entitlement for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Aug. 7. The official race name will be the United Rentals 176 at The Glen. See Sports.


Schimizzi is president of Glen School Board

Barbara Schimizzi (pictured at right) was unanimously elected president of the Watkins Glen School Board by the board at its annual reorganizational meeting July 6 at the school. Schimizzi, who served most recently as the vice president, succeeds Gloria Brubaker, who stepped down from the board at the end of June after serving on it for a total of 20 years. Named vice president Tuesday was Craig Bianco, winner in a close vote over Theresa Butler.


SCCUDD leads grad sticker shock event

The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs partnered with 10 area businesses to hold a three-day alcohol retailer sticker shock event. Schools.


Girl dies in car-pedestrian accident in Hector

A 6-year-old girl, Risha Rohith of Plainsboro, New Jersey, was pronounced dead at Schuyler Hospital on July 3rd after being struck by a car on State Route 414 in the Town of Hector. The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office said the accident occurred about 6:05 p.m. when Sidnee A. Turner, 57, of Painted Post, driving south on 414, was unable to stop her car in time when the child ran into the road. The Sheriff's Office was assisted at the scene by the Burdett Fire Department and Schuyler Ambulance.


10 graduate from Leadership Schuyler

Ten community professionals graduated from the annual Leadership Schuyler Program at a ceremony held on June 24th at Mangus Farms. People.


55 receive their diplomas at Odessa-Montour

Odessa-Montour High School bid farewell to its Class of 2021 in a ceremony June 25 on the school athletic field. Retiring teacher Russell Gardner was the keynote speaker. Valedictorian Megan Adams delivered the Class Message. Schools.


Odessa File Athletes of Year receive plaques

The three girls named by The Odessa File as Athletes of the Year at Odessa-Montour High School pose above -- from left, Tori Brewster, Autumn Garrison and Hannah Nolan. The awards were sponsored by the E.C. Cooper Insurance Agency of Watkins Glen. Similar plaques were also being distributed to the Watkins Glen High School Athletes of the Year, Owen Scholtisek and Thalia Marquez.


Glenora signs Victory Lane pact with WGI

Watkins Glen International has announced Glenora Wine Cellars as the Official Champagne of WGI in a multi-year partnership that will bring the winery’s Brut Champagne to Victory Lane at the conclusion of races at the famed road course through 2023. Business.


Hochul honors Clute Park project completion

Local, regional and state dignitaries gathered June 22 at Clute Park in Watkins Glen to celebrate completion of the $5.3 million project that is transforming the park with a new year-round pavilion, outside showers, a seasonal splash pad and an ice rink. Among those present: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (in file photo, right), who said it is"so refreshing to me to see the resiliency of this community, how people here came back, and you continue to project like this with a groundbreaking, and now a ribbon-cutting, all during this time of the pandemic." The project is part of the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative.


Magnificent Sevens

An Odessa File honors team -- with 7 students each from the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour school districts -- is unveiled. Seven.


Hanlon kids benefit from Foundation grant

Hanlon Elementary School, in partnership with Books in Homes USA, has been awarded $2,000 from the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes to support its "Countering Summer Slide-Year 2" literacy program. The grant, matched by community donations, will enable Hanlon to deliver 1,607 books to incoming 3rd-6th graders before summer break. Schools.


Rotary honors Hayes as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School graduating senior Briana Hayes was honored June 17 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for June. Hayes was intoduced by teacher Sheila Klemann, who praised the honoree as dedicated and a hard worker, with a strong commitment as managing editor of the school Yearbook. Hayes, a member of the Natiional Honor Society and the soccer and track teams, teaches dance and is a referee for youth soccer. She will study mechanical engineering at Alfred University.


WGHS graduates 65
in outdoor ceremony

The event was held at the school's Alumni Field under sunny skies and with a cooling breeze. Schools.

Photo: Cap worn by graduate Mattie Yontz reads: "Now it's my turn to teach." .

Tellers (from left) Laurie McCoon, Olivia Colón and Michelle Carey pose at the bank's 1930 sign just before wrapping up the branch's final day of operation.


Bank in Odessa completes its long, long run

The Odessa branch bank of the Tompkins Trust Company closed its doors at 5 p.m. Friday, June 18 -- its last day of operation after Tompkins Trust decided recently to close it. Longtime tellers Laurie McCoon and Michelle Carey were on the job, as was Olivia Colón, subbing for Evelyn Landmesser, who had just started a long-scheduled vacation. Colón was in from the Trumansburg branch, where Landmesser will be working going forward. McCoon and Carey are pursuing other options.

Photo: The bank, on Main Street in Odessa. It has operated under varying ownership since 1930.


Here comes the Seneca Spirit

A 64-foot tour boat (left) from the Washington, D.C. area will be plying the waters of Seneca Lake soon -- part of Mark Simiele's Seneca Harbor Cruises. Features.


The Odessa File's Athletes of the Year

Three females share the honor at Odessa-Montour High School, while a male and female are honored at Watkins Glen High School. For a look at the award recipients, see Sports.


Walk to End Alzheimer's set for WGI on Oct. 14

The 14th annual Southern Tier Walk to End Alzheimer's -- in the past held in Elmira and Corning -- will be held this October 14 at Watkins Glen International, on the same 3.45-mile asphalt road course that hosts NASCAR, IMSA and other races. Alzheimer's.


Schuyler County approves Youth Hunting Law

Schuyler has become the latest county in the state to allow the hunting of deer by 12- and 13-year-olds with a firearm or crossbow for the coming fall season. Government.


Curtiss Museum exhibit unveils fabric insignia

The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum has unveiled a new Art at War Exhibit featuring recently discovered aircraft squadron fabric insignia from the period of 1914 to 1940. The exhibit will run through the fall of 2021. Features.


Elks BBQ raises funds for Head Start program

The Watkins Glen Elks Lodge No. 1546 raises $900 for Schuyler Head Start's Helmets for Kids program. The check was presented on June 10. People

Photo at left: The check presentation.

  The Cancer Chronicles: A diary of sorts

Editor/Publisher Charlie Haeffner offers his account of the week leading to -- and culminating in -- his first chemotherapy treatment as he battles cancer -- specifically Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Chronicles.


Ribbons cut for mural, students' Cheese Bus

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce holds two ribbon-cuttings, one unveiling a mural on the side of its building, and one welcoming a student-owned Cheese Bus (right) into the business community. Business.


Colunio approved as next WGHS principal

Kyle Colunio, for the past two years the principal at Dryden High School, has been approved by the Watkins Glen School Board to succeed Kai D'Alleva as the WGHS principal. Colunio (right) -- a 1998 graduate of Odessa-Montour High School with teaching experience in the Corning-Painted Post school district, and a member of the Watkins school staff in 2017-18 as Intervention Specialist -- assumes his new post on July 1. D'Alleva, who succeeds retiring Greg Kelahan as Superintendent on Sept. 1, will be moving into Kelahan's office on July 1, while Kelahan serves in what Board President Gloria Brubaker described as a "cleanup" and transitional role. "That will give Kai a chance to set up school the way he wants to do it," she said.

Colunio's appointment capped off a lengthy session devoted to discussions of Special Education, capital construction and the potential uses of $3.5 million in federal funds over the next three years. The board also voted to keep tuition costs for non-resident students at $1,500 per year for students in grades K-6, and $3,000 per year for those in grades 7-12.


Regarding the Gypsy Moth: some information

Numerous reports have surfaced regardng the presence in our area of the Gypsy Moth (right) -- a pest that feeds on trees and shrubs. Cooperative Extension has provided some information regarding its history and management. Gypsy.


Ribbon-cutting celebrates Naturluxe & Stars

An outdoor glamping resort located near the Watkins Glen International race track draws New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul (pictured) and other dignitaries to a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the business, created by developer Dawn Aprile. Business.


Keep your home safe from outside fires

Schuyler County fire officials, after presenting their Keep the Wreath Blue messages on The Odessa File in December and January, continue with more fire prevention tips. Fire.


New Montour Falls foot bridge dedicated

The new foot bridge linking the Catharine Valley Trail extension and Marina Park in Montour Falls was dedicated April 30 amid speeches by state and local dignitaries. The bridge was named "King's Crossing" in honor of the man who initially spearheaded the project, former village Mayor John King. The ceremony also marked Arbor Day. Government.

One of the jewels on display: a 1958 Pontiac Star Chief.


Car show raises funds for youth football

Dozens of vintage and modern cars were on display June 5th at the Montour Falls Carnival Grounds -- an event benefitting Schuyler County Youth Football & Cheer. Adding to the attraction of the show were raffles and a chicken barbecue.

Photo: A 1931 Slant Window Ford Model A.

My Place Executive Director Kris Morseman, center right, and Assistant Director Noel Wheaton, center left, cut the ribbon. Holding it were Abby Lane of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, left, and Village Trustee Nan Woodworth.


Ribbon-cutting celebrates My Place facility

A ribbon-cutting ceremony June 1 celebrated the opening earlier this year of the new facility for My Place: A Play and Learning Center. The child-care center had operated for years at the Rural-Urban Center in Montour Falls. The new facility on Second Street in Watkins Glen has 7,341 square feet, including five classrooms, offices for staff, a commercial kitchen, and a dedicated playground. Full daily capacity is 63 children aged 6 weeks through 12 years. Speakers Tuesday included Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry, and Ryanna LaMoreaux, representing the office of State Senator Tom O'Mara.

Photo in text: My Place Executive Director Kris Morseman, left, holds commendation presented by Ryanna LaMoreaux, representing the office of State Senator Tom O'Mara.


Memorial Day ceremonies held in Schuyler

The annual services were conducted at Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls and at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park on Rt. 228 outside Odessa. Retired Naval Operations Specialist and retired teacher Marcel (Tony) Veilleux presented the keynote address at both services, and the OMCS Band performed at both. Features.

Right: A large U.S. flag flew high above Shequagah Falls.


Squires alumni stories sought for project

A Schuyler County Historical Society special project is focusing on the history of the Squires Drum and Bugle Corps. The Society is seeking Squires alumni participation. People.

Rotary guest

Schuyler County Undersheriff Breck Spaulding, above, who is running for Sheriff, was a guest speaker May 27 at the weekly meeting of the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club. He discussed reforms being undertaken at the Sheriff's Office, changes he would like implemented, and the state of law enforcement today. "Schuyler is the 2nd lowest crime-rate county in the state," he said, "We must be doing something right." Kevin Rumsey, who is challenging Spaulding in the upcoming Republican Primary, will speak at a Rotary meeting in the near future.


Rotary honors Edmister as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Natalie Edmister has been honored by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for May. Edmister was introduced to Rotarians by her softball coach, Ralph Diliberto, who said she is "academically sound, constantly on the High Honor Roll" -- and that she possesses an "outstanding quality in sportsmanship. ... Her abilities and tenacity to overcome obstacles are stellar. ... Because of her will of steel, coupled with her compassion, she was given the nickname "The Iron Horse" exemplifying all of the attributes that Yankees great Lou Gehrig possessed." As she proceeds through life, he added, "she will succeed and bring honor to those around her."

Photos: Natalie Edmister and Coach Ralph Diliberto.


Leszyk: What's going on down at Clute Park

Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk explains about the three simultaneous projects that have temporarily upended the serenity and beauty of Clute Park. Leszyk.

Photo: Mayor Luke Leszyk

As in the past, Logan Ridge served as the prom site for WGHS.


WGHS returns to a favorite site for its prom

Watkins Glen High School held its prom May 22 at Logan Ridge Estates, site of many previous such proms -- before last year's was canceled by the pandemic. Students were required to follow strict health protocols this time -- with masks almost as prominent as gowns and tuxedos.

Photos: Gowns and masks mixed at Logan Ridge.

Posing on the patio during Watkins' prom at Logan Ridge.

The O-M prom site: A tent set up behind the school.


Gowns, tuxedos and masks mark O-M's prom

Odessa-Montour High School held its prom May 21 on school grounds, under and near a tent set up behind the school. The prom, canceled last year, and in previous years held at the Watkins Glen International Media Center, needed to follow strict health protocols this time -- with masks as prominent as gowns and tuxedos.

The Senior Prom Court consisted of:
King: Jared Rumsey
Prince: Brock Sgrecci
Duke: Devon Mahaney
Queen: Allison Heichel
Princess: Hannah Hoose
Duchess: Grace Collier
The Junior Prom Court consisted of:
King: Keith June
Prince: Dominick Fazzary
Duke: Ethan King
Queen: Molly Heichel
Princess: Raven Lott
Duchess: Kaetlyn White

Photos: Posing before entering the prom tent.


Schimizzi, Stansfield and Voorheis win seats

Incumbent Barb Schimizzi and newcomer Joe Stansfield won the two 3-year terms up for grabs May 18 on the Watkins Glen School Board, while Amanda Voorheis won 2 years. She will complete the unexpired term of departing Board President Gloria Brubaker. Schimizzi received 309 votes and Stansfield 274, while Voorheis had 223. Nobody else was close. In order, Jim Somerville received 128 votes, Brittany Oliver 123, Heather Dawson 93, Joseph Crane 70, and Michael Myers 65. The budget, meanwhile, passed 387-75.

In the Odessa-Montour district, the budget was approved 228-35, and propositions regarding buses and library funding also passed. The three men on the ballot, incumbents Dana Sgrecci and Rob Halpin, along with newcomer Kurt Anderson, received 218, 204 and 155 votes, respectively, to earn 3-year terms. Write-in candidate Erica Lohmeyer received 100 votes.

An old wood-burning stove dominates the center of the one-room Lee School, an historic landmark in Montour Falls.


Lee School Open House proves a success

The biannual Lee School Open House drew more visitors than usual on May 15, according to the "schoolmarms" hosting the event -- former teachers Marty Evans and Judy VanSkiver, dressed in early Americana garb. Two hours into the three-hour Open House, more than three dozen visitors had stopped in to see what life was like in the days of a one-room school. The Lee School is located on Route 14 on the southern edge of Montour Falls. The school, dating back to the 19th century, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Photo: Leah Miner of Newfield draws and writes with a Lee School quill pen. She and her sister Esther visited along with their mother during the school's Open House Saturday.


Remembering those
who gave their lives

A service honors those law enforcement officers, firefighters and other emergency service personnel who have fallen in the line of duty over the years in this region. The annual ceremony outside the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office featured solemn speeches by a number of officials. People.

Left: Part of the ceremony.

From left: State Senator Tom O'Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Hanlon Elementary Principal Rob Francischelli, O-M Director of Special Programs and Curriculum Veronica Lewis and O-M Superintendent Chris Wood observe a classroom at Hanlon Elementary School. (Photo provided)


O'Mara and Palmesano tour O-M schools

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and State Senator Tom O’Mara visited the Odessa-Montour Central School District recently to learn first-hand how O-M has kept school open for in-person instruction during the pandemic. They, along with O-M administrators, toured the Junior/Senior High School and Hanlon Elementary School and had the opportunity to interact with staff and students. They also discussed the district’s upcoming capital project improvements.


WGHS senior wins billboard contest

Watkins Glen High School senior Matt Irwin wins the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs message-based billboard contest. The winning entry is on display through June on Rt. 14 in Montour Falls. Schools.

Photo: Irwin and his billboard.


Legislature asks DEC for Bitcoin mining rules

The Schuyler County Legislature on May 10 approved a resolution calling on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to develop regulations for cryptocurrency mining operations, and calling on the DEC and state Legislature to require that such mining use only renewable energy like wind or solar. The issue has risen with approval of Bitcoin mining in Yates County, and rumors of possible future operations in waterfront municipalities such as Watkins Glen -- where the Village Board has already asked the DEC to develop cryptocurrency mining regulations, and has vowed to analyze new zoning laws to meet the challenges posed by such mining. The Legislature had tabled the resolution last month for minor adjustments which Legislator Mark Rondinaro said were recommended by Watkins Glen amid concern there that any local cryptocurrency mining operation -- with its high energy consumption -- could lead to an increase in electricity rates for village residents.

Photo: Schuyler Legislature Chair Carl Blowers.


Falls Fire Department festival, parade canceled

Organizers of the annual Montour Falls Fire Department Festival & Parade of Bands -- scheduled for June 10-12 -- have canceled the event for the second year in a row as safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic continue. The festival is hosted by the fire department and serves as its largest fundraising event of the year for the equipment fund. Said a spokesperson: "It would be challenging to have a safe and successful event. We look forward to the event in 2022 and want to thank our volunteers, supporters, businesses, high school bands and many more for standing by us through these challenging times."

Photo: Scene from a Parade of Bands in Montour Falls.


Ribbon-cutting marks new business opening

Mattress by Appointment opens in Montour Falls with vow to help local high school sports programs. Business.

Photo: Sharon and David Sidle at their new business.


WG School Board OKs honorarium for staff

A one-time "Pandemic Persistence Honorarium" of $750 each goes to members of the school district's five associations and non-member Civil Service workers. Schools.

Left: Superintendent Greg Kelahan.


4 Odessa bowlers win state youth team title

A quartet of Odessa-Montour High School students who bowl Saturdays in a Moose Youth league at Harborside Lanes in Watkins Glen win the Class B team title at the New York State USBC Youth Team Championships bowling tournament in Syracuse. Sports.

NYSEG workers at the affected pole, with debris from the tree on the edge of the road.


Fallen tree leads to power outage in Odessa

Power was out for about 40 minutes Saturday night, May 1 in downtown Odessa while NYSEG workers cleared a fallen tree from a power line on the north side of Catlin Mill Creek, alongside Brooklyn Terrace, and replaced burned insulators on a power pole. The power, shut off while repairs were made, was restored shortly before 10:30 p.m.

Photo in text: Part of a limb from the fallen tree smolders.


Utilizing the new foot bridge in Montour Falls

Mike Pizmoht -- a volunteer for the Humane Society -- and shelter dog Chance cross the foot bridge installed recently alongside Rt. 14 in Montour Falls. The bridge connects the Catharine Valley Trail extension west of the canal and the village's Marina Park to the east. A ceremony marking the installation was held Friday, April 30 at the bridge, with various dignitaries present. (Photo by Mark Taylor)


Elks BBQ raises $700 for young cancer patient

The Watkins Glen Elks Lodge No. 1546 held a Chicken BBQ on Sunday, April 18 at its facility, with the $700 proceeds donated to Mitchell Blaha. Mitchell is an 8-year-old Schuyler County youth with cancer. On Saturday, April 24, the Lodge presented Randy Nilson, Mitchell’s grandfather, with a $700 check to help offset the family's noncovered medical expenses. Pictured at the check ceremony, from left, are Charles Franzese, Elks Secretary; Randy Nilson, and Elks committee members Stewart Field, David Waite and Gordon Perry.

On June 6th, the Elks Lodge will hold another Chicken BBQ to benefit the Schuyler Head Start Helmets for Kids program. Tickets are on sale at the Lodge now.


Rotary honors O-M's Rumsey, Watkins' Kelly

Odessa-Montour High School senior Jared Rumsey and Watkins Glen High School senior Bryce Kelly were honored April 22 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Students of the Month for April.

Rumsey, introduced by teacher Russ Gardner, is 4th in his class academically, and a three-sport athlete -- in football, swimming and basketball. He plans to attend the University of Buffalo with an eye toward becoming a Physical Therapist.

Kelly, the class Salutatorian and President of the National Honor Society, was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood. She said Kelly, who plays soccer and basketball, "has a lot of integrity and is ... a leader of our school community."

Photos: Odessa-Montour's Jared Rumsey (top) and Watkins Glen's Bryce Kelly.


School Board OKs budget; rift with union aired

The Watkins Glen School Board approved a proposed 2021-22 budget on April 21 that goes to district voters on May 18. Tenures were granted to a dozen people. And the WGFA chief airs a rift that has developed recently between the union and the board over a union proposal. Schools.

Photo: Board member Kris Clarkson at Wednesday's meeting.

WGHS graduation date reset again -- to June 20. Schools.

Alumni Association cancels banquet

The Watkins Glen High School Alumni Association calls off the annual Alumni Banquet due to the pandemic, and is looking ahead instead to the 2022 gathering. Forum.


St. James', Girl Scouts help volcano victims

Girl Scouts have donated $500 in a drive by St. James' Episcopal Church in Watkins Glen to send funds to help victims displaced by volcano eruptions on the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent. St. James' is sending $2,500 to a non-profit organization on Bequia, an island of 5,000 people just 9 miles south of St. Vincent. People.

Photo: Members of Girl Scout Troop 41120


Somerville writes children's football book

Jim Somerville of Watkins Glen has authored a children's book about a young football player who excels through sheer grit -- winning the last game of the season with a touchdown generated by his "dipsy do" move. The book's title: "Danny Dudley Does the Dipsy Do." Danny's teammates were named Dawkins, Caldwell, Carpenter and Walters -- names of members of the undefeated 1958 Army football team. The Dawkins referred to is retired Gen. Pete Dawkins, who won the Heisman Trophy for that '58 season. Dawkins, in fact, has provided an endorsement for the book, calling it "a fun and wonderfully inspiring book for young children." It is available through Amazon.com.


The contrast between winter and spring ...

Area photographer Liz Fraboni's camera has captured images of the recent grip of winter and the contrasting views of the early spring with which we have been blessed. See Photos.



Left: Photo by Liz Fraboni


Hospital Foundation donates $500K to hospital

The Schuyler Health Foundation has donated $500,000 to Schuyler Hospital to renovate Imaging Services at the hospital. “When I learned of the Foundation’s tremendously generous gift, I was beyond grateful and excited for the Imaging Department,” said Rebecca Gould, President & CFO of Schuyler Hospital. “This donation will go a long way toward updating and modernizing imaging services for our community.” Funds will go toward a new mammography suite, upgrading CT services, and other department improvements. “On behalf of the Schuyler Health Foundation, I want to express our delight in being able to donate $500,000 to Imaging Services at Schuyler Hospital.” said Brenda Warren-Fitch, Chair of the Schuyler Health Foundation Board. “We are thrilled that our gift will enhance Imaging Services to better serve our community.”

Photo: Schuyler Hospital President and CFO Rebecca Gould


Chef Competition winners

The first-ever Harvest Schuyler Farm-to-Table Chef Competition, held virtually with the public voting, announces its winners. People.


Legislature sets salaries for new appointees

The Schuyler County Legislature on April 12 acknowledged the appointment by County Administrator Tim O'Hearn of Xenophondas "Fonda" Chronis as Deputy County Administrator, effective June 7, at an annual salary of $85,000. Chronis is currently Assistant to the Administrator of Schoharie County. His appointment is the culmination of a search for a successor to O'Hearn, who has technically retired but is continuing as Administrator while the county transitions to his successor, Chronis.

The legislators also:

--Approved the appointment by Public Defender Valerie G. Gardner of Nicole S. Pence as Assistant Public Defender at a salary of $75,000. Gardner was appointed last month to succeed Wesley Roe, who had resigned to take a job in Elmira.

--Tabled a resolution calling on the New York State Department of Conservation to study and develop regulations for Cryptocurrency mining. In proposing the tabling measure, Legislator Mark Rondinaro said he supports the resolution, but that more study is needed "to clarify any concerns."

Photo in text: Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn

From left: Franzese Real Estate's Shawna Carey (Owner/Manager), Ken Wilson (Salesperson) and John Franzese (Owner) at the event celebrating Wilson joining the firm.


Celebration held at Franzese Real Estate

A celebration marking the addition last month of veteran real estate salesperson Ken Wilson to the staff of Franzese Real Estate was held Tuesday morning, April 13 at the firm's offices at 607 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen. The event -- a surprise to Wilson -- was spearheaded by his friend Junior Specchio, whose auto sales business is located across the street. More than 30 people attended, including local notables such as Sheriff Bill Yessman, Undersheriff Breck Spaulding, Glenda Gephart, Brian Eslinger, E.C. Cooper Inc.'s Mike Stamp and Doug Hagin, and Seneca Santa's Peggy Scott. Wilson -- who has worked for 25 years as a licensed real estate salesperson, including the past 11 years for Keller Williams, the nation's largest such brokerage -- said that now it is "nice to be associated with a family-owned business in Watkins Glen." Franzese Real Estate opened last June.

Photo: John Franzese chats with Kate LaMoreaux, one of the people at the celebration.


State allows 3-foot distancing in classrooms

New York State has announced new guidance regarding classroom distancing, permitting students to sit within three feet of each other -- down from six feet -- as long as other safety protocols are followed and dependent on the rate of COVID-19 transmission in a given area. The ruling corresponds with that issued recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Superintendents Chris Wood (Odessa-Montour) and Greg Kelahan (Watkins Glen) said they would both need time to study the details of the guidance before determining its impact, although Keahan added: "Certainly any step forward to bring more students to school safely is welcome."

Photo: Superintendent Greg Kelahan

A welcome view

Watkins Glen photographer Liz Fraboni sent us this springtime view of a pussy willow snapped during one of her trips around the area. She said she thought it was "nice to see something beautiful" in this era of Covid-19.


Glen graduation date change draws some fire

The Watkins Glen School Board fields complaints from parents upset with the district's decision to move graduation from June 19 -- Juneteenth -- to June 26. Schools.

Photo: Superintendent Greg Kelahan


Convicted killer Horein denied parole again

Joshua Horein (pictured at right), who killed Watkins Glen classmate Amber Brockway in 2000, has been denied parole for the third time by the New York State Parole Board after a hearing granted due to an administrative oversight. Horein, 36, pleaded guilty in 2001 to 2nd Degree Murder in the bludgeoning death of 15-year-old Brockway. He is serving a sentence of 20 years to life. He wasn't due for another hearing until 2022, but was granted this one because of procedural issues.


Reed says he won't run for any office in 2022

Congressman Tom Reed, in the wake of an allegation of sexual misconduct on a trip to Minnesota four years ago, announces he will not seek re-election or run for any office in 2022. Government.

Photo: Congressman Tom Reed


A victim of the times

The decision by the Tompkins Trust Company to close its Odessa branch bank (left) has people upset -- and the firm's CEO talking. A look at reactions. Closing.


Cayuga Health reflects on the "Year of COVID"

Cayuga Health devotes its Winter issue of CH Magazine to look back on all that it has accomplished since the pandemic began. Business.


Rotary honors Odessa-Montour's Malnoske, Watkins' Brubaker as Students of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Emma Malnoske and Watkins Glen High School senior Maria Brubaker were honored on March 25 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Students of the Month for March.

Malnoske was introduced during Rotary's Zoom meeting by teacher Holly Campbell, who described her as "kind, compassionate and exceptionally hard-working," adding: "She has performed in several musicals, having just starred in 'The Wizard of Oz' as Aunt Em/Glinda. She's a stellar student with plans to pursue political science in college, with the ultimate goal of working in politics." Malnoske told Rotarians she plans to attend college at either SUNY Geneseo or Cazenoiva.

Brubaker was introduced by teacher Sam Brubaker, who described her as a "model student who sets goals" and "accomplishes what she sets." She has had lead roles in several musicals at the school, has earned high scores at NYSSMA musical competitions, and was the Section IV, Class C diving champion last year. A member of National Honor Society and the Senior Class treasurer, she has been accepted to attend Bucknell University

Photos in text: O-M's Emma Malnoske (top) and Watkins Glen's Maria Brubaker.

Firefighters at the scene of the house fire late Tuesday night on Cotton-Hanlon Road.


Firefighters respond to late-night Montour fire

Firefighters from Montour Falls, Watkins Glen, Odessa, Burdett and Beaver Dams, along with Schuyler Ambulance, answered a fire call at about 11 p.m. March 23rd at 4257 Cotton-Hanlon Road, Montour Falls. Water was brought in by tanker trucks as firefighters fought what appeared from the roadway to be smoke and some flames in the rafters of the house, which is set back about 100 yards from the road. No further information was available.

Photo in text: Water was delivered by tanker truck. It was pumped from the road to the house.


Pizza-box messaging: Keep youth alcohol free

SCCUDD partners with area businesses in holding a"Pizza Box Sticker Shock" event. Features.

Vincent Scuteri of Scuteri's Cannoli Connection, one of the participating businesses.

Sign on the front of the Odessa branch bank of the Tompkins Trust Company, on Main Street in Odessa.


Mayor decries planned Odessa bank closing

The Tompkins Trust Company plans to close its Odessa bank branch on June 18, "a bad move" in the opinion of Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer, who adds: "This is really another hit that Main Street Odessa cannot afford." Business.

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


Limited visitation approved at Seneca View

Schuyler Hospital has resumed visitation -- on a limited basis -- to Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility following a nearly year-long shutdown aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. “We are pleased that we are able to allow limited visitation to our Seneca View residents again,” said Rebecca Gould (pictured), President of Schuyler Hospital. “It has been very difficult for them to endure this shutdown without seeing family and loved ones. We hope this will bring comfort and happiness to them and their families.” Visitation.


COVID relief grant funds available in Schuyler

Grant funds of up to $4,000 for qualifying small businesses and non-profits located in Schuyler County are available due to a Federal Home Loan Bank of New York grant to Alternatives Federal Credit Union. Funds may be used for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred or to be incurred as a direct result of COVID-19. Business.


Palmesano calls on Governor to step down

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign. “The number of disturbing scandals surrounding Gov. Cuomo are very serious, can't be ignored, and must be addressed," Palmesano said in a statement. "From the nursing home tragedy cover-up to the ever-growing number of sexual harassment allegations, there is no question, this has become a major distraction in Albany which has severely compromised the governor's ability to govern our state. We have so many important issues impacting New Yorkers that need our immediate attention and action, now. For the good of the Office of Governor and for the good of our state, the governor should resign immediately.”

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano

Schumer, Gillibrand call for Cuomo resignation. Govt.


Lions Clubs donate $10K to Schuyler Hospital

Schuyler Hospital receives a $10,000 donation from the Watkins-Montour, Hector, and Ovid Lions Clubs and the Lions Foundation for the purchase of a diabetic eye camera, a RetinaVue 700, for Primary Care. Features.

Demolition under way at old treatment plant

Demolition of the former sewage treatment plant along the south shore of Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen has begun, with completion expected by the end of March. Salvage of surplus equipment has been completed, with demolition of the administration and lab building leaving rubble (pictured above). The property will eventually be leveled, awaiting an as-yet undetermined developer leasing long-term from the village. The plant was outmoded, and replaced last year by the new wastewater treatment complex shared with Montour Falls along the canal.


NPS seeks public input on Finger Lakes heritage study

The National Park Service is inviting public input on a study to determine the feasibility of designating the Finger Lakes region of New York State as a national heritage area. The 90-day comment period extends to June 1. Government.


Pedestrian bridge put in place over canal

A walkng bridge linking the Catharine Valley Trail Extension in Montour Falls to the village's Marina Park was installed by a crane March 3rd, completing a project that began in 2016. Features.

Photo at right: The bridge needs to be secured and finishing touches applied before walkers are allowed on it.


Messmer, Tomassi, Tuttle win seats in Odessa

Gerry Messmer (pictured at right) was re-elected Mayor of Odessa in the village election March 16. Messmer, running unopposed, received 24 ballots in voting at the Municipal Building.

Incumbent trustee Aubrey Tomassi was re-elected with 22 votes, while Robert Tuttle Jr. won the other available trustee seat with 14 write-in votes, succeeding Anne Centurelli, who did not seek another term.

Each of the seats carries a two-year term.


Walter, Mangus, Arcangeli win seats in Burdett

Dale Walter (pictured at right) was re-elected Mayor of Burdett in the village election March 16. Walter, running unopposed, received 20 votes.

Incumbent trustees Judith Mangus and Linda Arcangeli were re-elected with 23 and 22 votes, respectively.

Each of the seats carries a two-year term.


20 years ago: When O-M girls won a state hoops title

This month -- March 2021 -- marks two decades since the Odessa-Montour High School girls varsity basketball team won the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D championship. Here is a look back. Anniversary.

Left: Travis Long, Senior Project Engineer with JSA Companies, outlined the planned water system project in Odessa. Right: Mayor Gerry Messmer brieflly shed his mask to address the dozen residents on hand.


Odessa water project outlined for residents

A planned upgrade of the Village of Odessa's water system was outlined March 15 by an engineer from JHA Companies of Montrose, Pa., to about a dozen residents attending a Village Board meeting at the Odessa Municipal Building. Water quality has long been an issue in a system that still has about 50 percent of the water pipes first installed in 1938. The project would, as envisioned, include some new pipes, new loops, and a new treatment system in a new building housing state-of-the-art equipment and providing office, meeting and heated-garage space for the village's Department of Public Works. With the grant-funded preliminary plan created by JHA, another grant will be sought from USDA-Rural Development. Approval would be followed by design and permit work, bids and construction. The cost could be as high as $1.4 million, but no increase is expected in the village's water rates.

Photo in text: Part of a power-point presentation at the Village Board meeting.


Palmesano criticizes Cuomo prison actions

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano presents a column: "Governor Cuomo's prison closures and policies are creating a dangerous 'power keg' environment inside New York State's correctional facilities."

Photo: Phil Palmesano


O'Mara rips 'Dem Scam' on Cuomo powers

State Senator Tom O'Mara blasts the Democrat supermajorities in the Senate and Assembly for approving legislation that he and other Republicans -- including Assemblyman Phil Palmesano -- say will keep Governor Andrew Cuomo's COVID-19 powers in place indefinitely. Government.

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Legislature appoints Jaynes to succeed Harp

The Schuyler County Legislature, meeting in special session March 17, appointed Laurence Jaynes of Burdett to fill the vacancy on the Legislature created by the resignation Feb. 28 of Van Harp, a Republican who had represented District 2. Jaynes, a member of the Burdett Village Board, was endorsed by the Schuyler County Republican Committee. The vote on Jaynes was 6-1 in favor, with the Legislature's lone Democrat, Michael Lausell, opposed. Jaynes' appointment is through Dec. 31, the remainder of Harp's term. Election for the next four-year term occurs in November. Harp -- a member of the Legislature for seven years and a retired FBI Agent and security consultant who won re-election in 2017 by a single vote over Joseph Campbell -- did not announce the reason for his resignation.

Photo: Van A. Harp (File photo)

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


D'Alleva to succeed Kelahan as superintendent

High School Principal Kai D'Alleva (right) will succeed the retiring Gregory Kelahan as Superintendent of the Watkins Glen School District on Sept. 1. The School Board approved his contract in a unanimous vote at its meeting March 15. Kelahan said he will remain as Superintendent through August, helping D'Alleva transition into the job over the summer. Kelahan has been Superintendent for four years. D'Alleva, who taught Social Studies at Watkins Glen starting in 2006, and served as an elementary school principal in the Spencer-Van Etten School District from 2011-2013, was principal of the Watkins Glen Middle School in its final year, 2013-14, and has been the high school principal at Watkins Glen since then. His new contract will extend to 2025.


CCE Schuyler welcomes Executive Director

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County has a new Executive Director, Nathan Scott -- formerly Executive Director of the Thrive Education Center, a community-based education program located outside Ithaca. He succeeds Phil Cherry, who retired. People.

Photo: Nathan Scott (Photo provided)


New business's focus: accounting, consulting

A recently opened business in Montour Falls -- STATEMENTS Accounting and Consulting Services, run by former Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Rebekah Carroll -- is expanding and has moved into the historic Montour House. Business.

Photo: Rebekah Carroll (Photo provided)


O-M's Adams honored as Student of Month

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club on Feb. 25th honored Odessa-Montour High School senior Megan Adams as its O-M Student of the Month. Adams, first in her class academically, is a student intern in a 4th grade class and a member of the varsity swim team and the Glen Gators. She plans to attend a SUNY University, majoring in Education.

Left: Megan Adams

Note: Rotary's Student of the Month program, shelved during the pandemic, was reinstated Feb. 18, when Watkins Glen senior Kayla Palmer was honored. Palmer, a standout student, has volunteered at the Elementary School and at church dinners, made masks for the hospital, and helped raise funds for the fight against cancer. She wants to be a cardiologist. She has been accepted at the Univ. of Buffalo and is hoping for other acceptance letters.


Sheriff's candidate Spaulding, if he wins, will appoint Matthew Maloney as his Undersheriff

Schuyler County Sheriff's Lieutenant Matthew Maloney will become Undersheriff if Breck Spaulding is elected Sheriff to succeed the retiring William Yessman, Spaulding has announced. Maloney has been with the Sheriff's Office for more than 22 years. People.

Photo: Matthew Maloney (Photo provided)


Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards unveils new podcast

The Hector-based winery releases Great Times Behind the Wines, hosted by Shannon Hazlitt Harts, daughter of Hazlitt's Co-CEO and owner, Doug Hazlitt. It looks at the people, methods and stories that have helped make the Hazlitt winery a success. Business.

Gravel truck accident in Watkins

The incident occurred Feb. 17 at Milliken's Corner in Watkins Glen, with the vehicle, shown above on its side, coming to rest near the front entrance to Landon's Pub & Pizza. For more photos and information, see Features. (Photo by Jenny Ambrose)


Kelahan plans to step down as superintendent

Greg Kelahan (right), now in his fourth year as Superintendent of the Watkins Glen School District, says he will retire as soon as the School Board finds a replacement and a "smooth transition" occurs -- "hopefully by September 1st." Kelahan, who will be 56 in June, has spent 32 years in education. He said he gave some thought to retiring last year, but decided he needed to stay on as the pandemic was gaining steam. He said he and his wife will remain in Watkins Glen, where they have purchased a home. Kelahan said he is looking forward "to the next chapter in my life," although he hasn't decided what that might entail.


Schuyler update: Vaccine supply still limited

"I know everyone is anxious to get vaccinated as soon as possible," says Schuyler County Public Health Director Deborah Minor, "but I ask that you please be patient. Vaccination locations are adding clinics and opening registration as soon as they have doses available. Update.


Rumsey to run for Sheriff; primary ahead

Schuyler County Sheriff's Investigator Kevin Rumsey is seeking the Republican nomination for Sheriff to succeed Bill Yessman, who will retire from the post at year's end. That sets up a GOP primary against Undersheriff Breck Spaulding, who threw his hat in the ring last month. Govt.

Left: Kevin Rumsey


Sports moves backed; Brubaker to step down

The Watkins Glen School Board approves joint Glen-O-M football and wrestling teams; Board President Gloria Brubaker to step down June 30. Schools.

Left: Superintendent Greg Kelahan at Monday's meeting.

A winter scene in Montour Falls

This placid view of Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls was snapped Feb. 4 by area photographer Mark Taylor. "It was such a beautiful morning, so I grabbed my 20 millimeter lens and tripod," Taylor said.


2 die in Burdett house fire; cause being probed

A house fire overnight Feb. 8 in Burdett, on Lake Avenue, took the lives of two occupants, identified by State Police as Kathy Winslow, in her late 60s, and Tim Bond, a man in his early 70s who had mobility issues. The fire broke out about 2:20 a.m. Monday after a neighbor heard an explosion. Firefighters from Burdett, Hector, Watkins Glen and Montour Falls responded. The single-family structure was deemed a total loss. State fire investigators were called to the scene to determine the cause of the blaze.


Emerging Workforce program seeks enrollees

The CSS (Chemung Schuyler Steuben) Emerging Workforce Program is looking for eligible out-of-school youths ages 16-24 who are interested in obtaining additional skills or education needed to obtain long-term employment. Business.


Schuyler Hospital capital project completed

Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Health officials held a virtual ribbon cutting Monday announcing the opening of the new Convenient Care and Primary Care center at the hospital -- the culmination of a nearly $11 million capital improvement project. Features.


What new rental law means for Southern Tier

A joint column from Congressman Tom Reed, State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblymen Phil Palmesano and Chris Friend explains the rental law recently passed in Albany -- cautioning that it has not canceled rent. Government.

Photo: Congressman Tom Reed

The beauty of the day was captured on a seasonal road on Connecticut Hill by Watkins Glen photographer Liz Fraboni.


A pretty day to explore Connecticut Hill roads

Watkins Glen's Tony and Liz Fraboni drove along seasonal roads on Connecticut Hill on Saturday, Jan. 30, with Liz snapping photos of the beautiful landscape along the way. Two of those photos are presented here.

Photo: The shadow pattern across a seasonal road on Connecticut Hill was captured by Liz Fraboni.


Public Health OKs high-risk sports in Schuyler

Schuyler County Public Health granted approval Thursday for the county's high schools to move ahead with high-risk interscholastic sports, effective Feb. 1. These sports include basketball, wrestling and volleyball. The move follows similar approval in Chemung, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins counties. Sports.


O'Mara: "Time for truth from Governor Cuomo"

State Senator Tom O'Mara reacts to a report from Attorney General Letitia James that says the Cuomo administration has undercounted Covid-19 nursing home deaths by as much as 50 percent. He and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano want subpoenas and some answers. Government.

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Check in memory of Dr. Blanche Borzell presented to Friends of Bequia Hospital

Kate LaMoreaux, Senior Warden of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Watkins Glen, presented $1,000 on Jan. 27 from the church to the Friends of Bequia Hospital to continue to honor the memory of Dr. Blanche A. Borzell, a long-time Watkins Glen physician who died in 2019. Bequia is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean. It is an island visited annually by LaMoreaux, who has helped lead an ongoing mission by St. James' to help the small hospital since the passing of Borzell. People.

Photo: Check presentation on January 27 to the Friends of Bequia Hospital. (Photo provided)

Left: Schuyler County Sheriff William Yessman.
Right: Undersheriff Breck Spaulding.


Sheriff Yessman to retire at end of year; backs run by Undersheriff Spaulding for the position

Schuyler County Sheriff William Yessman said on Jan. 25 that he will not seek re-election to a fifth term, instead retiring at the end of 2021. He endorsed his Undersheriff, Breck Spaulding, as the latter announced his candidacy for the four-year post. Spaulding -- now in his 16th year as Undersheriff --said he will seek both the Republican and Conservative nods. Yessman said he plans to spend more time with family and probably do some volunteer work in retirement. Government.

Photo in text: From left: Former Sheriff Michael Maloney, current Sheriff William Yessman and Undersheriff Breck Spaulding at press conference Monday in the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls.


2 of Schuyler's leading lights in the pandemic

In a year that above most cried out for calm, efficient leadership, Schuyler County was blessed with its share of people providing exactly that -- among them Odessa-Montour School District Superintendent Chris Wood and Schuyler Hospital President and Chief Financial Officer Rebecca Gould. We look at the job the two of them have done in this year of the pandemic. Honorees.

Photos: O-M's Chris Wood; Schuyler Hospital's Rebecca Gould


When a Senatorial candidate stopped in Glen

More than 20 years ago, Republican Rick Lazio (right) -- seeking the U.S. Senate seat ultimately won by Democrat Hillary Clinton -- stopped in Watkins Glen the day after securing the GOP nomination. Here, The Odessa File editor -- having unearthed his unpublished account of that day -- dusts off the story's cobwebs and presents it here. Blast from the past.


Lawmakers hail NY move to reinstate sports

State legislators from around the region (at right: State Senator Tom O'Mara) cheer the state's decision to allow local health officials to make the call on starting up high school sports seasons beginning February 1. Sports include the previously suspended basketball, wrestling, volleyball and competitive cheerleading. Sports.

O'Mara to Cuomo: Extend curfew for Bills game. Sports.


O'Mara, Palmesano rip Cuomo's budget plan

State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (right) criticize Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed 2021-22 state budget, announced Jan. 19. They see it as a high-deficit, high-spending plan that will leave future generations of already overburdened New Yorkers holding the bill and paying even higher taxes. Govt.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.


Reed signs letter with 3 Senators, 33 other Reps urging President to denounce violence

Representative Tom Reed (R-Corning) signed a bicameral letter Wednesday with three Senators and 33 other members of Congress urging President Trump to denounce violence and speak out against further attacks on democratic institutions. Government.

Photo: Congressman Tom Reed

Reed opposes impeachment. Column.
Reed co-sponsors Censure Resolution. Government.


Blowers reappointed as Legislature chairman

Carl Blowers was reappointed to the chairmanship of the Schuyler County Legislture when the legislators met virtually Jan. 6 for their annual organizational meeting. The Zoom session saw Blowers nominated by Legislator Mark Rondinaro and seconded by Van Harp. There were no other nominations, and the vote was unanimous.

The board also heard from Public Health Director Deb Minor, who reported on the early stages of Moderna vaccine distribution in the county -- a state-mandated process from which Public Health "can't deviate," she said. Distribution is currently in Phase 1A, which is expected to continue through January. It includes a lengthy list of high-risk workers and individuals.

Photo in text: Chairman Carl Blowers during Zoom session.


Cotton-Hanlon, Inc. is celebrating 100 years

Cotton-Hanlon, Inc. -- a forest products company with a long and fruitful history in the Odessa-Cayuta area -- is marking 100 years in business since the 1921 partnership between H.A. Hanlon and B.J. Cotton. The company takes a look back at that history on the Forum.


Above Montour Falls: a ring around the moon

The photo at right -- with a vivid ring of light showing around the moon -- was snapped at about 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 30 by Sarah Agan in Montour Falls. The unusual sight was captured with her cell phone camera. While stunning enough, the photo "does no justice," said Agan. "It was spectacular."


Photo by Sarah Agan


Glen Copack is coming off a challenging year

Glen Copack Food Manufacturing, part of The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler’s Business Services Division, is looking back on a challenging yet productive 2020. Glen Copack has implemented some new procedures as it looks ahead to 2021, continuing to offer employment and vocational training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Business


Look for SCCUDD message on pizza boxes

The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) has undertaken a project called “Pizza Box Sticker Shock.” It consists of youth-designed substance abuse prevention stickers placed on pizza boxes in local restaurants and convenience stores. Features.


CCE Column: Energy and the Environment

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County is providing a monthly column here on its ongoing educational activities and offerings. The 12th column -- Energy and the Environment" -- is by Executive Director Phil Cherry (left). Column.

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


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here.


An eternal message of lights, hope and faith

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

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



The Sound and the Silence: A Memoir

Some things in life can mean a great deal -- can embody hope and dreams ... and memories. The sailboat is one such thing for the author. Silence.




© The Odessa File 2021
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

(607) 594-3594

E-mail chaef@aol.com