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Sealing, Striping
Crack Filling, Paving,
Patching, Consulting.
Commercial, Residential

207 Speedway
Odessa, NY 14869

Duff Terry
Roxanne Terry

Phone: 607-594-3856
Cell: 607-331-3182

Link to Website:



A Watkins Glen graduate, Jennifer J Heath, has recently released her third romance novel, You Alone Calm! To find purchase information, click here.


Little Folks Childcare Program

--6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
--Enrolls children 8 weeks to 12 years.
--Odessa school district (approximately 2 blocks from high school)
--Reasonable rates (DSS subsidy accepted)
--Full or part day spaces.
--Licensed early childhood program.
--25 years experience.

Structured developmentally appropriate programming.

Mission statement: To provide a safe learning environment that promotes social, physical, intellectual, cultural, creative and emotional development.

(607) 857-7698.


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Wine & Tourism


Mecklenburg United
Methodist Church

6063 Turnpike Road
Mecklenburg, NY
Pastor Kate Merriman
Children's Sunday School
at 9 a.m.
Sunday Service 9:30 a.m.
All are welcome!

Come worship
and sing with us!

Thrift Shop open
Fridays and Saturdays,
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To go to Jim Guild's Famous Brands website, click on the drawing above or here.





Curly's Family Restaurant, Watkins Glen

Sponsoring this People page:

Curly's Family Restaurant, located on Route 14 near the P&C Plaza in Watkins Glen. Phone: 535-4383.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Website!! To link to the Curly's Family Restaurant website, you can click on the photo at left or here.


Donation given to Friends of Bequia Hospital

SAINT VINCENT and THE GRENADINES, Jan. 11, 2022 -- Retired Watkins Glen High School English teacher Kate LaMoreaux recently presented a check to John Barnard, President of the Friends of Bequia Hospital, on behalf of the Dr. Blanche Borzell Medical Mission, sponsored by St. James Episcopal Church, Watkins Glen. 

LaMoreaux spends time in the winter on Bequia.

At the time of her death in 2019, Dr. Borzell’s family donated the medical supplies from her practice to St. James’. The church sent the items to Bequia to support the needs of the local hospital. Since then, the church has been able to support the mission with cash contributions which enable the Friends of the Hospital to purchase much-needed medications for the people of the small island.

Photo in text: Kate LaMoreaux presents check to John Barnard (Photo provided)

SCCUDD's 2nd annual 'Sticker Shock' reminds public of drinking, drug dangers

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Jan. 12, 2022 -- The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) launched its 2nd annual “Pizza Box Sticker Shock” event on December 27. Over the course of the following two weeks, volunteers placed nearly 3,000 stickers -- reading “Pizza is Good. Drugs are Bad. Which will you choose?” -- on pizza boxes at businesses around the county.

The sticker design was created by 11-year-old Hanlon Elementary School 6th grader Peter Dechow following a county-wide youth contest.

The goal of this youth-led initiative is to spread awareness of a critical community issue by placing the stickers designed by area youth on pizza boxes to remind everyone of the dangers of underage drinking and drugs.

The “Pizza Box Sticker Shock” campaign was done in collaboration with 11 Schuyler County businesses that serve pizza. Watkins Glen businesses included Jerlando’s Ristorante & Pizza Co., Pudgie’s Pizza, Landon’s Pub & Pizza, Scuteri’s Cannoli Connection, and Sinclair. Montour Falls businesses included McGillicuddy’s Bar & Grill, Jerlando’s Pizza, and Linda’s Citco. The Odessa Dandy Mini Mart, Burdett Dandy Mini Mart, and Hector Dandy Mini Mart also participated.

“By holding the county-wide youth sticker design contest and partnering with as many businesses that we can to put out a message, our hope is to bring as many people in the community together as we can in the name of youth substance prevention,” said SCCUDD Program Coordinator Ward Brower. “Our hope is to have the event grow each year.

SCCUDD is a group of community members, businesses, and agencies that work to prevent, reduce, and delay the onset of substance use among Schuyler County youth by collaborating with community partners, promoting prevention education and substance-free activities, and implementing environmental strategies. SCCUDD works to reduce youth use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, as they can cause lifelong problems.

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

Photos in text:

Top: Wrett (left) and Wyatt Brower apply stickers to boxes at the Hector Dandy Mini Mart.
Bottom: Isabel Foote of Jerlando's in Watkins Glen holds a stickered pizza box. (Photos provided)_

School of Nursing honor awards unveiled

ELMIRA, Jan. 5, 2022 -- The Arnot Ogden Medical Center School of Nursing has congratulated the following Class of 2023 Nursing students for obtaining honor awards for the Fall 2021 Semester.

Achieving High Honors with a GPA of 3.6-4.0 were Nicole Cecce, (Elmira, NY); Shannon Johnson, (Horseheads, NY); and Antaline Pecoraro, (Odessa, NY). Achieving Honors with a GPA of 3.3-3.5 were Julie Barnes, (Owego, NY); Hannah Dunlavey, (Elmira, NY); and Lacey Stanley, (Wellsburg, NY).

The Arnot Ogden Medical Center School of Nursing has a 140-year history of graduating over 2,400 nurses. The school of nursing offers a 2-year Associate Degree in Nursing and has had a 100% pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination, the Registered Nurse Exam, for the last four graduating classes.

Enrollment is underway for the next class, beginning August 23, 2022. The application deadline is May 15.

For more information about the Arnot Ogden School of Nursing, visit

Food distribution volunteers pose outside the Watkins Glen Community Center.

Reading Center woman, volunteers drive distribution of food to Schuyler residents

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 22, 2021 -- They gathered Tuesday morning outside the Watkins Glen Community Center, where they gather each month.

There were about 30 of them -- volunteer workers -- there to distribute two truckloads of food to 200 Schuyler County families who would, over the next couple of hours, arrive and line up their cars for drive-through distribution.

Each of the 200 families received an average of about 100 pounds of food, courtesy of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, which is headquartered in Elmira and gathers food through various programs -- such as that of the U.S. Department of Agriculture --and various agencies, and from large stores like Walmart, Wegmans and Sam’s Club. Tioga Downs is also a big provider.

The Food Bank, in operation since 1982, serves six counties: Schuyler, Chemung, Steuben, Tompkins, Tioga and Broome.

The Schuyler delivery -- in Food Bank trucks and under the guidance of coordinator Beverly Mello of Reading Center -- occurs on the third Tuesday of each month, no matter the weather.

On this day, the sun was out, but the temperature was just below freezing when preparations -- the offloading of two trucks (one 34 feet long, and the other 22 feet long) -- began. It warmed a little as the operation proceeded, drawing thanks from a couple of volunteer workers who said the weather has, on occasion, been very uncomfortable.

Volunteerism is the key to the operation. There were about 30 volunteers on hand Tuesday, a number that on occasion swells to 40. They are recruited by Mello, a woman originally from New England who had experience in food distribution before moving here and has been the Schuyler program’s driving force since a local agency decided for various reasons to drop the effort.

Mello heard about that decision, saw the continuing need, and affiliated with the Food Bank. The result Tuesday, as on other third Tuesdays, was the delivery of 17,000 to 20,000 pounds of food by truck to the Community Center.

Mello said she grew up poor on a farm in Rhode Island, and is therefore acutely aware of the need for food distribution to families in similar economic situations.

“It’s always been something I’ve been involved in,” she said.

The distribution has been in front of the Community Center for about three years, after moving from a site near the Office for the Aging, which had to relinquish available parking-lot space. That space is both necessary and present at the Community Center, a site embraced by Mello and the Food Bank with the blessing of Watkins Glen village officials.

With the arrival of a photojournalist at the distribution Tuesday, the group of volunteers paused for a moment to pose -- a group clearly enjoying the effort that goes into food distribution, and seemingly at ease with one another in the shared experience. The volunteers range in age up into the 80s.

More than one praised Mello, saying she is excellent at recruiting volunteers and instilling enthusiasm in them.

The affection was reciprocal.

“They’re wonderful,” Mello said of the volunteers.

Photos in text:

From top: Workers distributing food Tuesday; coordinator Beverly Mello; and varying cuts of meat available to area families as part of the distribution.

The Lions Club: Its mission is to serve

The author of the following article and her husband, Kirk, have been members of the Watkins-Montour Lions Club since 2019.

By Marie Fitzsimmons

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 6, 2021 -- The International Lions Club is made up of 1.4 million volunteers whose mission is to serve. Club members work to improve health and well-being, strengthen communities, support those in need and encourage peace and international understanding.

The Watkins-Montour Lions, with President Tom McGarry at the helm, strives to contribute to our community in meaningful ways, creating connections and assisting those in need. While club service is offered in many venues, there is a particular passion for improving the lives of the visually impaired. From collection boxes for eyeglasses, financial contribution to hospital technology, and individual support, the club plays an active role in helping on both a community and global level. Seeking to further its support for the visually impaired, the club invited Kevin Waters and his Guide Dog, Saxton, to speak to the club, sharing the process and impact of owning a guide dog. 

Kevin Waters lives with his third guide dog since losing his vision as a result of diabetes, and he cannot speak highly enough of both the organization that has provided his dogs and the dogs themselves. Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind was founded in 1992 to breed and train guide dogs with no cost to the visually impaired clients. When Kevin’s research led him to the organization, he was drawn to both the economic viability and the remarkable training.

Kevin explained the long process that the Freedom Guide Dogs organization undergoes before placement. Each potential guide dog undergoes puppy raising from their first eight weeks of life to 16 to 18 months, attends a graduate school of three months to become a professional guide dog, and then participates in a two-week training that occurs in the client’s own environment. After that lengthy process, the new owner and the guide dog are on their own to create a long-lasting and mutually satisfying relationship until the dog reaches retirement age. 

Kevin and Saxton are fairly new to each other, and Kevin refers to Saxton as his pandemic dog, having just arrived in March. Despite the relatively short time and the socialization limitations of the pandemic, the two have deeply bonded and have a devoted relationship. Saxton was totally relaxed and at ease the entire Lions meeting. Kevin Waters has a warm personality and is a gifted storyteller with a delightful sense of humor. His stories range from the serious tasks of his guide dogs -- where their attention to his health and safety are paramount -- to the hilarious moments that speak to the deeply connected relationship of dog and owner.

Not only have Kevin’s dogs been able to guide him safely all around town, they have also been able to alert him to low blood sugar events with astonishing accuracy. When asked how he knew it was time for his previous dog to retire, Kevin recounted a “sitting down” on the job incident that made it very clear! Kevin speaks of both of his previous dogs, Bounce and Norm, with the same deep appreciation and affection that he speaks of Saxton. While Kevin’s independence and safety are enhanced by his guide dogs, it is easy to tell that the dogs have also brought him joy and companionship.

The Watkins Montour Lions Club will continue to learn about the process and impact of creating dog guide partnerships with the hope of supporting another community member. Meanwhile, the club has been able to serve throughout the pandemic with awarding scholarships for high school graduates, sponsoring the Watkins Glen Learning Pod, packing up meals at the food pantry, volunteering at Meals on Wheels, delivering library books, donating financial support for community projects, cleaning up the highway between Watkins and Montour, and helping out wherever needed.

Currently, you will find Lions at the annual Christmas Tree sales hosted at the Sinclair Station on Franklin Street. Proceeds are all used to support community projects, and members are happy to share information on joining the club!

Photos in text:

Top: Kevin Waters, right, and his dog, Saxton, talk with Lions member Kirk Peters.
Bottom: Lion Kate LaMoreaux greets Saxton. (Photos provided)

A panoramic view of the new ice skating rink at Clute Park in Watkins Glen.

Watkins Glen to begin winter season with new ice rink; opening now set for Dec. 3

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 27, 2021 -- The Parks Department of the Village of Watkins Glen is set to begin the winter season with the inaugural opening of the Clute Park Event Center Ice Rink on Friday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. -- a new date after a scheduled Nov. 27 opening was delayed that morning.

An opening celebration will be held at 4 p.m.Friday, before the Holiday Fair event that runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Clute. Parking will be free. Children and adults are invited to join in the celebration with the opening of the ice rink for skaters beginning at 11 a.m., and skating will continue in conjuction with the Holiday Fair.

The ice rink is scheduled to be available for ice skating Thursday through Sunday beginning at 11 a.m., and hot chocholate and other warm beverages will be available within the Lakeside Café during business hours. Ice skates will be available for rental, and the cost for skating will be $7 a day.

The ice rink uses the same space as the summer splash pad popular with young children and their families this past summer. The skating rink was constructed with funds and support from the State of New York Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), Local Waterfront Redevelopment grants, the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, the Schuyler County government, Project Seneca and a private donor.

“Watkins Glen is proud to have a winter amenity that allows our families to enjoy Clute Park year-round," said Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk. "We expect both our residents and visitors will have lasting memories of their enjoyment of the ice skating, hot chocolate, fire pit and fresh air.”

Photo in text: A Christmas tree is situated near the entrance to the ice rink.

Bellinger-Via engagement announced

Mr. and Mrs. William T. and Jodi Lynn Bellinger Baker, both originally from Elmira Heights, NY, now residing in Corpus Christi, Texas, joyfully announce the engagement of their eldest son, Garrett William Bellinger, to Miss Carissa Anne Via, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carl and Stacie Liane Via, originally from Montrose, Colorado, now residing in Seminole, Texas. A May 2022 wedding is planned at The Pavilions in Rockport, Texas.

Garrett William, who attended school in Watkins Glen for several years, is a 2016 graduate of Bedford Area High School in Bedford, PA. He is employed by J4 Oilfield Services as a High Pressure Pump Operator. Carissa is a 2020 graduate of Del Mar Community College, Corpus Christi, Texas, where she earned an Associate Degree in Applied Science/ Occupational Safety and Health Technology. She is employed by United Safety as the Health, Safety and Environmental Manager. The couple will make their home in Odessa, Texas.

The bridegroom elect is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Norman H. and Carolyne Bellinger of Horseheads, NY and Sr. y Sra. Roberto Colon Ocasio and Nylsa Acosta de Colon of Guayama, Puerto Rico. He is the great grandson of Mr. David L. Matison of Horseheads, NY with the late Dorothy S. Matison and Mrs. Clara Bellinger of Elmira, NY with the late Norman Bellinger. The bride elect is the granddaughter of Mrs. Mary Jane and the late Pete Via of Clifton, Colorado and Mrs. Barbara and the late Mike Sullivan of Norwood, Colorado.

Food Bank's Thompson receives award

Special to The Odessa File

ELMIRA, Sept. 28, 2021 -- State Senator Tom O’Mara on Tuesday presented Natasha Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, with an award honoring her as a 2021 New York State Senate “Woman of Distinction.”

Thompson represented O’Mara’s 58th Senate District as part of the Senate’s 23rd Annual “Women of Distinction” celebration and joined more than 60 other honorees representing state senatorial districts from throughout New York who were recognized as part of a virtual “Women of Distinction” celebration in late August.

O’Mara visited the Food Bank to personally present Thompson’s award.

“It is a great honor," he said, "for me personally to pay this tribute to Natasha for her outstanding and steadfast commitment to our communities. The Southern Tier region is fortunate to have her leadership and tireless advocacy working on our behalf day after day, year after year. For more than two decades, Natasha’s unwavering belief in the mission of the Food Bank has stood out for so many of us, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic when the Food Bank has been a lifeline of hope for residents and families across this region.”

“It is truly an honor to be named a 2021 Woman of Distinction,” said Thompson, “and to know that the critical work of the Food Bank does not go unnoticed. I have been blessed to lead a smart, talented, and caring team, who consistently go above and beyond to feed our neighbors in need and build community around food. I am grateful to Senator O’Mara for the recognition, as well as for his consistent support of our work over the years.”

Photo in text: Natasha Thompson with her Woman of Distinction award. (Photo provided)

The start of the race. More than 100 people registered. (Photo by Doug Yeater)

Hector Harvest 5K helps support Lions

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Sept. 27, 2021 -- “The inaugural Hector Harvest 5K was a major success. Sunday was a picture-perfect autumn day and the runners showed up in droves to help support the Hector Area Lions Club,” said Lions President Walt Schuler.

There were a total of 113 registrants in the event, a fund-raiser to help the Lions Club better serve the community's needs.

On a challenging hilly course that wanders through the historic Dalrymple Farm Vineyards, Hector's own Nathan Triner was the top overall finisher with a time of 17:54, while Leslie Dubrava took overall top female finisher with a time of 22:29.

Other top division times from the Women’s Division:

15-20 age group: Lauren Lubenow 55:41;
21-30 age group: Gillian Hagen 28:07;
31-40 age group: Amanda Gray 30:12;
41-50 age group: Emily Peckham 31:19;
51-60 age group: Diana Crane 32:40;
60+ group: Marie Fitzsimmons 33:43.

In the Men's Division, the top times included:

14 and Under age group: Dylan Triner 33:05;
15-20 age group: Cameron Holland 24:39;
21-30 age group: Tyler Schaffhouser 25:25;
31-40 age group: Ryan Sinko 24:35;
41-50 age group: Greg Triner 23:08;
51-60 age group: Michael Myers 22:23;
60+ age group: Charles Fausold 30:00.

The race had significant local support from its “Gold Sponsors”: Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Dalrymple Farms, The Village Marina, Watkins Glen Supply, Keller Williams Realty, and Watkins Glen Dunkin Donuts, as well as support from over 40 other local and regional businesses.
Said Lions President Walter Schuler: “The Hector Area Lions Club helps to strengthen the Hector community and support those in need through humanitarian services and grants that impact lives locally. Successful events like this help us invest those monies directly back into our community where it is needed the most.”

The Lions, he added, are already looking forward to next year's race, building on what was successful and fun about this one.

Photos in text: Runners take a turn (top), and overall winner Nathan Triner (bottom). (Photos by Doug Yeater)

Roadside Cleanup

The Watkins-Montour Lions Club recently teamed up with Watkins Glen High School Cross Country athletes to clean the roadside as part of the Adopt- a-Highway program. The Watkins-Montour Lions Club is part of a worldwide organization that is devoted to community service. During the pandemic, members have assisted with vaccination clinics, delivered library books, sponsored the WG Learning Pod, cleaned roadsides, delivered Meals on Wheels, volunteered at the Food Pantry, awarded scholarships, and hosted drive-through chicken barbecues. The Club meets twice a month and volunteers on service projects throughout the year. New members are welcome. (Photo provided)

A family gathering

Five members of the Specchio family -- each of whom are Past Exalted Rulers of Watkins Glen Elks Lodge No. 1546 -- gathered recently at the Lodge. From left: Anthony Specchio, Sr., Raphael Specchio, Jr., Theodore Specchio, Lewis Specchio, Mark Specchio (Lewis's son) and Mark's wife Bonnie Specchio. All five of the men are Past Exalted Rulers, as was Lewis's brother Ted Specchio, who is deceased. Anthony and Raphael are brothers, the rest cousins.

Watkins history walks end in September

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 12, 2021 – The final Watkins Glen History Walks of the season will be on Saturday, Sept. 18, and Sunday, Sept. 26.

Presented by the Schuyler County Historical Society, the one-hour walks offer a glimpse into key events, people and places in the village’s past. Historical Society Board of Trustees Vice President Marty Evans will lead the Sept. 18 walk. Board President Jean Hubsch will share the stories on Sept. 26

The free walks are enjoyed by visitors and local residents. Participants should meet at the Seneca Harbor Park Pier at 10 a.m. The walks are conducted rain or shine.

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

Elks present check to Spirit of Schuyler

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 10, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Elks Lodge 1546 recently presented a check in the amount of $700 to representatives from the Spirit of Schuyler. The funds were raised through an Elks chicken barbecue benefit.

Elks lodge members Stewart Field and Gordy Perry presented the check to Spirit of Schuyler President Tony Vickio and his committee members (from left in colored shirts) Dena Carrigan, Beth Vickio Howard, Harriett Vickio, Chris Wickham, Lou Perazzini, Renee Riley and Bob Dill.

Chicken dinners were also donated to Schuyler County law enforcement personnel, including the Sheriff's Department, Watkins Glen Police and New York State Police.

At the check ceremony, from left: Elks members Tom Phillips and Chuck Franzese; and St. Mary's Community Table volunteers Dominick Madaffari, Father Jeff Tunicliff, Brenda Moore, and Beverly Mello.

Elks present check to St. Mary's food group

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 3, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Elks Lodge 1546 recently presented a $1,500 check to representatives from the St. Mary's of the Lake Catholic Church Community Table.

St. Mary's Community Table will resume providing dinners this fall to the needy in our community. It is staffed entirely by volunteers, with all proceeds going into food and supplies needed for the program.

The Elks, in a press release, thanked their treasurer, Tom Philllips, "for his grant writing to the Grand Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks" for a $5,500 National Foundation Beacon Grant awarded to the Watkins Glen lodge. Of that total, $4,000 was given earlier to the Schuyler Health Foundation for the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility.

O'Mara honors Food Bank of S. Tier leader
as a State Senate 'Woman of Distinction'

Food Bank President and CEO Natasha Thompson will represent region in NY Senate’s annual tribute to women making a difference for their communities.

ELMIRA, Aug. 27, 2021 -- State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) has honored Natasha Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, as his 2021 New York State Senate “Woman of Distinction.”

Thompson represents O’Mara’s 58th Senate District as part of the Senate’s 23rd Annual Women of Distinction celebration and joins more than 60 other honorees representing state senatorial districts from throughout New York.

The Senate's annual recognition program allows senators statewide to select one honoree from their respective legislative districts to be celebrated for their significant accomplishments, service, and contributions to the quality of life within and beyond their communities. Prior to COVID-19, honorees were recognized at an in-person awards ceremony and reception at the Legislative Office Building in Albany. Last year, the Senate honored its Women of Distinction through a virtual tribute.

The 2021 Women of Distinction were also honored virtually on Thursday, August 26, to coincide with Women’s Equality Day.

O’Mara said, “Natasha Thompson represents a remarkable commitment to our communities that highlights her recognition this year as a New York State ‘Woman of Distinction.’ For more than two decades, she has remained devoted to a life’s work of serving those in need throughout the Southern Tier region and I am proud to pay this tribute to her contributions as a leader and a tireless advocate. Natasha’s trademark optimism, selflessness, and unwavering belief in the Food Bank’s mission have always stood out for so many of us, but her leadership guiding the work of the Food Bank throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been an inspiring lifeline and an undeniable foundation of hope for residents and families across this region. I am truly pleased this year, on behalf of the 58th Senate District, to be able to extend this well-deserved and well-earned tribute of appreciation, gratitude, and respect. Thank you Natasha.”

Thompson has been with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier since 2001 and in her current position as President and CEO since 2008. She began her career as an Americorps VISTA volunteer at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank in 1997.

O’Mara’s annual Women of Distinction honorees have included:

--In 2012, Virginia “Ginny” Houseknecht of Watkins Glen, a longtime area Cornell Cooperative Extension educator and leader, and founder of the Southern Tier Parkinson’s Disease Support Group;

--In 2013, Beverly “Bev” Stamp, co-owner and operator of Lakewood Vineyards in Watkins Glen, a long-time and beloved ambassador of New York State’s nationally and internationally renowned wine and grape industry;

--In 2017, Carmella Hoffmann, Owner and Operator of Sunset View Creamery in Odessa (Schuyler County).

Shovelers, including family members and ceremony speakers, break ground on renovation.

Groundbreaking signals renovation of former service station into retail center

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 20, 2021 -- A ceremonial groundbreaking Friday at the former Li'l Joe’s Service Station on the northern edge of the village marked a symbolic step in the rehabilitation of the long-ago business into new retail and housing space.

A number of dignitaries were on hand for the ceremony, held near the corner of the primary of the property's two buildings. The structure used to be a gas station and residence for the owner, Joseph P. Scaptura, and his wife Ellen, along with daughter Sally.

The Scapturas, after renting another station nearby on Franklin Street, bought the business at 15 N. Franklin St. about 1946, according to their daughter, Sally Scaptura-Clark, who owns the building along with her daughter, Margaret Clinch. Sally's father died in 1998; her mother in 2006.

Under the guidance of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and local leaders like Judy McKinney-Cherry, Laurie DeNardo and Kristin Van Horn, the old service station and adjacent service garage have been positioned for a renovation that will result in commercial space and a three-bedroom apartment in the primary building and three commercial spaces -- including possible use by the arts -- in the old repair and service structure.

The buildings date back to the early 20th century, and were operated as a service station before Joe Scaptura -- a civic leader in Watkins Glen who served in such capacities as mayor and fire chief -- bought it in 1946. His daughter said the purchase and operation of his own service station at that very site was a major goal and achievement in his life.

The business operated until 1996, two years before Scaptura’s death. It has remained unused for many years, growing weather-worn in the winds blowing off nearby Seneca Lake, which is visible from the property.

When the state was gathering DRI input from the local community, the Li’l Joe’s property was at the top of the list of to-do’s because of its weathered condition and its location as a gateway structure -- one of the first visible to visitors coming into the village from the north.

It was also a dream of Joe Scaptura’s daughter Sally and granddaughter Margaret -- its current owners -- to renovate the structures and start their own operation there: The Crystal Sundance Emporium. That will be the overall operation's name.

Speakers at the groundbreaking included McKinney-Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development, who said the project thus far has undergone extensive engineering by Howard Cabezas, who is working in tandem on the project with general contractor John Franzese.

The renovation will include enclosing the open space under the main building’s second-floor front porch; vehicles used to enter there to gas up at pumps -- now just memories after their removal years ago. That newly enclosed area will include seating for the businesses that will occupy the first floor.

The second floor -- a three-bedroom apartment where Sally Scaptura was raised until she was about 20 and moved to Corning after securing a job with Corning Glass -- is a sturdy structure with a living room, dining area, sizable kitchen, the enclosed front porch and three bedrooms.

Sally said she never thought of it as an apartment -- it was simply her home -- until visiting friends commented on what a nice apartment she had. “It was the first time I ever thought of it like that,” she said. “It came as a culture shock.”

Sally, who resides now in Geneva, said she might consider moving back to her old home sometime in the future, “when I’m older, if I live that long.” She is now 72.

Cabezas, when asked if specific businesses were lined up for the buildings, said no -- that there had been someone, but not now.

There is time for that. With work just getting under way, completion of the renovation won’t come until late spring or early summer of 2022. At that time, a ceremony of a different kind -- a ribbon-cutting -- will take place there.

Speakers Friday besides McKinney-Cherry included Schuyler County Legislature Chair Carl Blowers; Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk; DRI co-chair and Village Trustee Laurie DeNardo; Gary Short of a financing arm of the project, Elmira Savings Bank; the general contractor, John Franzese; and Sally Scaptura-Clark, who reminisced about how much the property meant and means to her family.

Photos in text: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk addresses attendees at the groundbreaking, with the primary building behind him; owners Sally Scaptura-Clark (foreground) and Margaret Clinch; view of the lake from the second-floor apartment.

Attendees at the groundbreaking gather near the second of two buildings on the property -- this one an old repair shop that will be renovated into commercial space.

Schuyler Steps Out returns in September

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Aug. 12, 2021 – Schuyler Steps Out -- the free community walking program presented by Schuyler Hospital -- is back for its 15th year and will kick off in September.  

Open to anyone who works or lives in Schuyler County, teams must register with the hospital by Tuesday, August 31, 2021. The program kicks off on Tuesday, September 2, with a virtual information session and will run from September 6 to October 31.  

While many teams are workplace-based, service clubs, churches, and even scouts can form teams. All that’s required is walking daily for 8 weeks, logging steps walked, and reporting team steps to the hospital weekly. At the end of the 8-week program, awards are given for most team steps, most valuable “players,” and most improved.  

The program was designed to help get people moving and to implement healthier habits, and is a way for the hospital to promote the fight against obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other associated healthcare issues in the community. By encouraging walking regularly, the hospital hopes to foster healthy changes that last beyond the 8-week program. 

In 2019, participating teams tallied 150.6 million total steps, or over 75.3 thousand miles -- the equivalent of 3 trips around the Earth. An average of 277 people from 13 teams participated. The 2020 program was started, and then put on hold due to COVID-19. 

Schuyler Steps Out is sponsored by Schuyler Hospital and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.  

For more information, or to sign up your team, contact Tina Rappleye at (607) 210-1950, fax (607) 210-1951, or email

Moose Lodge donates $2,500 to OFA

MONTOUR FALLS, Aug. 13, 2021 -- The Schuyler County Office for the Aging (OFA) nutrition program recently received a $2,500 donation from the Montour Falls Moose Lodge #426. The donation came from proceeds from the Moose Lodge’s Annual Golf Tournament held in June.

Moose member Jim Rockwell coordinated the tournament, held at the Soaring Eagles Golf Course. Each year this event benefits a different charity or program that serves residents of Schuyler County.

Office for the Aging’s nutrition program provides home-delivered meals to Schuyler County
residents age 60 and older who meet program criteria, as well as to adults age 60 and older at congregate meal sites throughout the county. In addition, a registered dietitian provides nutrition education and 1:1 nutrition counseling.

With over 5,000 residents age 60 and older in Schuyler County, the needs are ever-increasing. Donations such as the gift from the Moose "help tremendously with rising food costs as well as supply and mileage expenses associated with the meal programs and delivery," say OFA officials.

There is no cost to program participants, but contributions toward the cost of the service are
accepted. The nutrition program is otherwise funded by federal and state allocated funds in
addition to local county dollars. The nutrition program is supported by volunteers who donate their time to deliver meals and assist at the congregate meal sites.

The Schuyler County Office for the Aging’s mission is to advocate for, educate and assist the senior population to live in their own homes as safely as possible for as long as possible. For more information about the nutrition program or to learn about becoming a nutrition program volunteer, contact the Office for the Aging at 607-535-7108.

The mission of the Montour Falls Moose Lodge #426 is to unite its members in the bonds of fraternity, benevolence and charity accomplished through social and recreational activities. For more information, contact Administrator Larry Scruggs at 607-535-4741.

Photo in text:
The check presentation. From left, Jim Rockwell, Golf Tournament Coordinator; Jennifer O’Rourke, OFA Cook; and Larry Scruggs, Moose Lodge Administrator. (Photo provided)

Odessa man faces charges in domestic case

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Aug. 10, 2021 -- An Odessa man was arrested by the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office Tuesday on several charges related to what investigators said were "multiple allegations of domestic violence occurring over the span of a few weeks."

Robert D. Stockstill, 36, of 5500 Hosenfeld Road, was charged with Robbery 2nd Degree, a Class C Felony; Attempted Burglary 2nd Degree, a Class D Felony; Grand Larceny, 4th Degree, a Class E Felony; Assault 3rd Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor; Coercion, a Class A Misdemeanor; Unlawful Imprisonment 2nd Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor; and Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a Class A Misdemeanor.

Stockstill was arraigned in the Centralized Arraignment program at the Schuyler County Sheriff’s office and is being held in the Schuyler County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Town of Catharine Court at a later date.  

Elks Lodge BBQ raises $700 for My Place

WATKINS GLEN, July 30, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Elks Lodge 1546 held a Chicken Barbecue on Sunday, July 18 for the benefit of the My Place: A Play and Learning Center. On July 29, lodge representatives presented a check for $700 to My Place.

From left in the photo above: back row, Elks members Beth Gossett, David Waite, Chuck Franzese, Gordy Perry and Stewart Field, and Exalted Ruler Chuck Fitch. Bottom row, from left: My Place Executive Director Kristine Morseman with the day care children and Assistant Director Noel Wheaton.

The Barbecue Committee included Chairman Stewart Field, Thomas Gossett, Beth Gossett, Steve Crout, Lou DeBolt, Mike Beach, David Waite, Gordy Perry, Sandy Bream, John Norman, John Callanan and Chuck Fitch.

Chicken dinners were also donated to the Schuyler Hospital Emergency Room crew.

On Aug. 29, the lodge will hold another Chicken Barbecue to benefit the Spirit of Schuyler. Pre-sale tickets are available at the Elks Lodge.

Genealogy Workshop set for August 19th

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 23, 2021 -- A workshop on genealogy for beginners will be presented Thursday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Schuyler County Historical Society’s Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls.

Historical Society board member and experienced researcher Jean Hubsch will be the presenter.

The cost for the 90-minute workshop is $10 per person. Space is limited.

To register, contact the Historical Society by email at or call (607) 535-9741. The Brick Tavern Museum is located at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14.

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

Earn your required safe boater certificate

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 21, 2021 -- The Finger Lakes Chapter of America’s Boating Club will offer a boating safety course in August that includes on-the-water instruction on Seneca Lake.

The boating safety course, now required by New York State to operate a power boat, will be offered on Thursdays, Aug. 5 and 12, from 6-8 p.m. at the Watkins Glen Yacht Club on Boat Launch Road in Watkins Glen, and on Saturday, Aug., 14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the water at the Village Marina at Seneca Harbor Park, Watkins Glen.

Successful completion of the course and exam will earn the state Boating Safety Certificate. Currently, New York law requires all motorboat operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1993 to have and carry a boating safety certificate. Additionally, personal watercraft, or jet ski, operators 14 years old and up must have and carry a boating safety certificate. No one under the age of 14 may operate a personal watercraft.

The $45 course fee includes a comprehensive course book. Register online at or email The number of students in the course is limited.

The Finger Lakes Chapter of America’s Boating Club, formerly known as the Seneca Sail and Power Squadron, is a non-profit organization based in Watkins Glen. Learn more about the organization and its commitment to boater safety and education at or on Facebook at America’s Boating Club - Finger Lakes Chapter.

WGI Job Fair will seek event workers

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 16, 2021 – Watkins Glen International will be hosting a job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 24, in the WGI Media Center in advance of the Go Bowling at The Glen NASCAR race weekend.

Applicants will be considered for positions on race weekend as guest services attendants, event operations staff, event staff, cleaners, and gate staff.

Attendees should enter through Gate 2 (2790 County Route 16, Watkins Glen). The fair will be held at the WGI Media Center.

Job fair attendees are reminded that they will be required to fill out an application in full, and supply two forms of identification to WGI. Resumes are encouraged, but not mandatory.

Watkins Glen will host its NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen weekend Aug. 6-8.

Public Health celebrates its volunteers

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, July 6, 2021 -- Schuyler County Public Health held a volunteer recognition event on June 25th to celebrate the hard work and dedication of volunteers who have helped combat COVID-19 by assisting with County vaccination efforts.

Speakers included Chairman of the Legislature Carl Blowers, County Administrator Tim O’Hearn, Public Health Director Annmarie F. Flanagan DNP, FNP-C, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Emily Warfle, and Schuyler Hospital Public Safety Manager Brian Gardner.

The Department’s volunteers – the Medical Reserve Corps or MRC – have given more than 1,200 hours of their time helping with the clinics. The event, which was held at Clute Park, included recognition of each volunteer, a token of appreciation, and a brief lunch

“We could have never managed all the work related to the COVID-19 vaccination efforts,” Flanagan said. “We are so very lucky to have so many wonderful volunteers in our county. Saying thank you just seems so small when you look at the amount of hours that have been given by these dedicated men and women. Thank you for being so willing to work with us and make this a priority in our county.

“For the past fifteen months our Public Health staff have worked tirelessly to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and protect our community,” shared O’Hearn. “In our response, we quickly realized that this unprecedented public health emergency far exceeded our capacity. Thankfully, we were able to call on our MRC to supplement our response and this volunteer group of medical professionals and community members rose to the challenge magnificently. From testing and contact tracing to administering lifesaving vaccines, the MRC efforts heavily influenced our largely positive outcomes in responding to and recovering from this emergency. As a community, we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude and I am so proud to be able to celebrate their contributions and success."

The MRC is a national network of medical and non-medical volunteers that work to improve the health and safety of their communities. MRC volunteers provide Schuyler County Public Health with manpower and technical skills during emergency and non-emergency events. They provide nursing and clerical support to Schuyler County Public Health during drills, and in the case of actual emergencies. MRC volunteers also help with community health screenings, rabies clinics, and other activities to protect the health and safety of the community. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with Schuyler County Public Health, visit or call Schuyler County Public Health at 607-535-8140.

Photo in text: Annmarie Flanagan (right), Public Health Director of Schuyler County and Yates County, and MRC Volunteer Kate LaMoreaux. (Photo provided)

Watkins Glen History Walks resume July 17

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 3, 2021 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society is resuming its popular Watkins Glen History Walks on Saturday, July 17

Schuyler County history experts will lead the walks on Saturdays July 17, Aug. 21 and Sept. 18 and on Sundays July 25, Aug. 22 and Sept. 26. Walk leaders will include Schuyler County Historian Gary Emerson, Village of Burdett Historian Marty Evans and Historical Society Board President Jean Hubsch

The free, one-hour walks are enjoyed by visitors and local residents. Participants are asked to meet at the Seneca Harbor Park Pier at 10 a.m. The walks are conducted rain or shine.

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

Cross-stitch beginner's class set at Museum

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 2, 2021 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society is offering a Beginning Cross Stitch Workshop on Saturday, July 17.

Participants in the free workshop will create a bookmark. All supplies will be provided

Jean Hubsch, president of the Historical Society Board of Trustees and a noted hand embroiderer, will lead the workshop

The workshop will be at the Brick Tavern Museum, 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls, from 10 a.m. to noon

The number of participants is limited, and pre-registration is required by emailing or calling (607) 535-9741. The workshop is appropriate for ages 10 and older. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult

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

From left: Wendy Shutter, Michaela Christensen, Amy Abbey, Michael Hardy, Tiffany Bloss, Clara LaBarr, Tim O’Hearn, Cynthia Williams, Kelly Miller, Tracy Savard, Kristine Morseman. (Absent: Benjamin Slaton and Diana Warn.) (Photo provided)

10 graduate from Leadership Schuyler

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, June 27, 2021 -- Ten community professionals graduated from the annual Leadership Schuyler Program at a ceremony held on June 24, 2021, at Mangus Farms.

To earn this distinction, each student completed  six months of two-hour virtual sessions held every other week. During sessions, students discussed management and leadership skills. Sessions were led by various invited speakers and facilitated by Michael Hardy, the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.

The graduates are as follows:

-- Amy Abbey, Retail Manager, Fulkerson Winery
-- Tiffany Bloss, Director, Schuyler Health Foundation
-- Michaela Christensen, Director of Events, Watkins Glen Promotions
-- Clara LaBarr, Assistant Clinical Manager, Schuyler Hospital
-- Kelly Miller, Business Manager, the Arc of Chemung-Schuyler
-- Kristine Morseman, Executive Director, My Place: A Play and Learning Center
-- Tracy Savard, Director, Watkins Glen Public Library
-- Benjamin Slaton, Production Manager/Engineer, Cargill Salt
-- Diana Warn, Administration/Production Clerk, Cargill Salt
-- Cynthia Williams, Career Program Specialist, GST BOCES

“One of the biggest benefits of this program is the opportunity to network and build relationships, both with your classmates, community leaders, and with alumni of the program,” said Hardy. “Leadership Schuyler graduates are the future of our community. I’m excited for you to take what you’ve learned in this class, partnered with the connections you’ve made, and grow – professionally and personally.”

At the graduation ceremony, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn reinforced the value of strong relationships and the power of creative thinking.

“It’s important to build strong relationships,” said O’Hearn. “You may be working with potential investors and interacting with future decision-makers. I hope that you will bring innovative thinking to all of these interactions and stay away from bureaucratic thinking. A lot of good work happens when we think creatively.”

Hospital Auxiliary names new officers

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, June 23, 2021 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary has voted in a new Board of Directors, including new officers.

Officers voted in at the event include:  President, Kitty Shallenberger; 1st Vice President and Membership, Pam Kelly; 2nd Vice President, Judy Phillips; and Secretary, Carole Gifford.

The Auxiliary Board will be rounded out by Debbie Lisk-Boutoille, Volunteer Coordinator and hospital liaison; Alice Learn, Scholarships; and Betty Vinti, Historian.

The Auxiliary welcomes new volunteers.  Download an application at  To find out more, email

Heights man charged after Schuyler chase

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 22, 2021 -- An Elmira Heights man is in custody with the Chemung County Sheriff's Office after being charged by the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office following a chase in two counties at over 100 mph.

The Watkins Glen Police Department said Richard Somers II, 35, is facing multiple charges, with more pending.

WENY TV, in a report, said: 

"According to the WGPD, around 12:30 p.m. police and other county law enforcement agencies received a "BOLO" (Be on the Lookout) for a suspect and car which had been involved in an assault and child kidnapping in Chemung County.

"About fifteen minutes later, WGPD says police located and stopped the suspect and car on N. Franklin Street and when officers approached the car, they reportedly noticed a small female child in the backseat. 

"Police claim the driver immediately became uncooperative with officers, refusing to speak to authorities and refusing to get out of the car. When police attempted to get the girl out of the car, the suspect reportedly drove off northbound with the child still inside, nearly hitting an officer.  

"WGPD says during a chase, the driver reached speeds over 100 mph on State Route 14 through Schuyler County, eventually reaching Yates County. 

"A Yates County Deputy was able to utilize stop sticks in the roadway ahead of the chase. A short time later, according to police, the suspect lost control of the car and went off the roadway into a ditch.

"The suspect was then taken into custody as members of the Watkins Glen Police Department removed the child from the car and brought her to safety

"WGPD says the child suffered what appeared to be minor injuries and was transported to the hospital for an evaluation, as a precaution."

Two police cars, a WGPD vehicle and one belonging to the State Police, were towed from the scene after the chase.

Somers is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, obstructing governmental administration, reckless driving, and unlawful fleeing a police officer, all misdemeanors, as well as speeding 91 mph in a posted 30 mph zone.

Vote for the Glen, say O'Mara, Palmesano

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 16, 2021 -- State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) are encouraging area residents to keep voting for Watkins Glen International (WGI) in USA Today’s 10 Best online Readers’ Choice competition to decide America’s “Best NASCAR Track.”

In a joint statement, O’Mara and Palmesano said, “Let’s keep running hard over the next several weeks and vote daily for Watkins Glen International as America’s ‘Best NASCAR Track.’  It’s an opportunity to keep the Finger Lakes region on the national map and to demonstrate regional pride in The Glen as a favorite destination for visitors from across the country, a cornerstone of our leading tourism industry, and a driving force for charity, community service, and economic development."

The area legislators stressed that anyone can vote once a day, every day, on every Internet-capable device they have until the contest closes on Monday, July 5, at noon.

This is the sixth consecutive year that WGI is in the running for the “Best NACAR Track” designation, which the track won in 2016, 2017, 2018, and last year.

The Glen is currently running in second in this year’s contest.  

The local legislators have long singled out The Glen for its unique contributions to American motorsports. WGI events annually generate over $200 million in economic activity across the region and account for more than 2,000 local jobs. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend in August is one of New York’s largest sporting events and attracts fans from all 50 states, as well as 16 different countries.

To vote in the “Best NASCAR Track” competition, go to

Elks BBQ raises funds for Head Start

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 12, 2021 -- The Watkins Glen Elks Lodge No. 1546 raised $900 through a chicken barbecue benefit Sunday, June 6 at the Lodge to benefit the Schuyler Head Start Helmets for Kids program. The check was presented to Head Start representatives on Thursday, June 10..

Pictured at the presentation, above, were, back row from left: Elks House Committee member David Waite; Head Start CFO Michelle Bond; Head Start Executive Director Tina Winchell; Elks Exalted Ruler Chuck Fitch; and House Committee members Stewart "Foot" Field and Gordy Perry. In the foreground are Head Start Day Care children.

The Elks issued a special thanks to the Benefit Barbecue Committee, which included Stewart Field as chairman, along with Thomas "Boomer" Gossett, Beth Gossett, Steve Acquire, Lou DeBolt, Dan Paradiso, David Waite, Gordy Perry, Erick Thorpe, John Norman and Chuck Fitch.

The Committee will hold another chicken barbecue on July 18 to benefit My Place: A Play and Learning Center. Pre-sale tickets are available at the Elks Lodge.

Contest seeks your healthy grilled recipes

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, June 5, 2021 -- Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Schuyler is having a recipe contest for amateur and professional chefs to showcase the creative ways people are eating healthy in Schuyler County.

Organizers are looking for recipes that meet the Choose HEALth gold standards, use local ingredients and sizzle taste buds from the grill. Prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place recipes. To learn about the Choose HEALth gold standards and nutritional requirements, visit the Gold Standards section of the HEAL Schuyler website:

To enter, submit your recipes to with Subject: HEAL Recipe Contest Entry. Recipes should be sent in by August 5, 2021. Winners will be announced in the Fall HEAL Newsletter .

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

Schuyler Health Foundation officers named

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, June 2, 2021 -- The Schuyler Health Foundation recently announced its new Slate of Officers for the 2021-2022 year.

The Foundation welcomes Erin Thaete as Chairperson, Tom Phillips as Vice-Chairperson, and Jerry Mickelson as Treasurer / Secretary.

These Executive Officers are joined by new members of the Board of Directors, Aimee Churchill and Chuck Franzese.  Current and renewing Board members include:  Brenda Warren-Fitch, Jeff Dill, Ken Wilson, Marsha McElligott, Nanette Hanley, Philly DeSarno, and Chris Stamp.

“I am so proud of the work the Schuyler Health Foundation Board of Directors is doing for healthcare of our community. I am honored to work with this dedicated Board of Directors team to help further the Schuyler Health Foundation’s mission. We continue to be so grateful for the support received from our community and this dedication allows us to continue to do our part to elevate the care here at Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility,” said Erin Thaete, Chairperson.

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

Members of the 1981 Squires Drum and Bugle Corps gather in this photograph provided by Jud Spena, a longtime Squires musician and instructor. (Photo provided)

Squires Drum and Bugle Corps alumni stories sought for Schuyler Historical Society project

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 28, 2021 -- The history of the Squires Drum and Bugle Corps, which earned national acclaim and prestige during its 17 years, is the focus of a Schuyler County Historical Society special project launching in June.

Participation by Squires alumni will be the cornerstone of the project, according to the Historical Society. The project is called “Echoes in the Valley,” borrowed from the title of the book “Echoes in the Valley, Watkins Glen’s Squires, Pages, Legion Cadets and the Watkins Montour Seneca Chiefs, a Half Century of Drum and Bugle Corps Activity in Schuyler County, New York” by Jud Spena.

“Echoes in the Valley” will include an exhibit at the Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls and several online components, such as a photo slide show and oral histories.

“Squires members’ stories are vital to the project,” Jean Gardner, Historical Society Board of Trustees member, said. “We’re urging Squires alumni to share their favorite memories from that important time of their lives.

An online form is now available for Squires members to use. The form can be found at Forms should be submitted by June 30. The forms also are available at the Brick Tavern Museum at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls.

Memorabilia on loan from Squires members will be displayed in the museum exhibit that Gardner will design and which is slated to open Sept. 1. The exhibit also will give an overview of the county’s many bands going back to the late 1800s and early 1900s that preceded the Squires, entertaining Schuyler residents and marching in parades in the region.

The Squires was formed in Watkins Glen in 1964. The teenage musicians and color guards brought home awards from across the state and nation, for a time consistently scoring in the top 10 of corps in the United States.

The Squires disbanded in 1982, mostly a victim of its own success, according to Corps members and their adult leaders.

“Echoes in the Valley” is made possible by the Historical Society’s selection to participate in a Museum Association of New York program designed to help museums share their collections and their communities’ stories digitally. The Historical Society was one of 98 New York State museum organizations chosen for the federally funded “Building Capacity, Creating Sustainability, Growing Accessibility” program.

For more information about the “Echoes in the Valley” project and how to participate, call the Historical Society at (607) 535-9741 or email

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

You can make your own 'Havana Pottery'

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 21, 2021 -- In conjunction with its current special exhibit “The Stoneware of Havana,” the Schuyler County Historical Society is offering a pottery class for beginners.

The class will be appropriate for children and adults. Participation is limited to 10 people.

Marty Evans, retired art teacher and vice president of the Historical Society’s Board of Trustees, will teach participants to make a pot that evokes the functional stoneware crocks produced in the 1880s in today’s Montour Falls, then called Havana. The special exhibit includes several pieces of stoneware. The exhibit is on display through Aug. 14.

The class sessions will be on June 5 and June 12, both from 1-2 p.m., at the Brick Tavern Museum, 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls. The pot will be created in the first session and decorated in the second. The $5 per person cost is for both sessions.

Anyone interested in the class should contact the Historical Society soon due to the class size limit. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

To register, contact the Schuyler County Historical Society at (607) 535-9741 or email

Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman, left, and Undersheriff Breck Spaulding flank the monuments after Friday's ceremony.

Remembering those who gave their lives

WATKINS GLEN, May 15, 2021 -- A Memorial and Dedication Service honorng police and First Responders who have given their lives in the line of duty was held Friday morning at a monument plaza outside the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office on 10th Street.

The service honored police, firefighters and other emergency personnel who have died over the years while serving in Chemung, Tompkins, Yates, Seneca and Schuyler counties. Flowers were placed in honor of each such honoree at the base of the monuments -- one of which honors Firefighters, EMS, EMO and 911 personnel who have died in the line of duty; one of which honors Schuyler County Sheriff's Office personnel who have similarly fallen; and one of which honors dogs who have died in service of the Sheriff's K-9 Unit. The monuments were erected last year.

Speakers at Friday's service included Undersheriff Breck Spaulding, who welcomed those in attendance. They were seated in rows of chairs or standing on a nearby sidewalk for the outdoor ceremony, held under a sunny sky.

After the National Anthem, sung by Kim Laursen, and an Invocation from Rev. Michael J. Kelly, speeches were presented by Sheriff Bill Yessman, Emergency Management Director Bill Kennedy, and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.

Each paid tribute to law enforcement, firefighting and other emergency services personnel for their selfless contributions to the safety of their communities.

"In my eyes, you are all heroes," Yessman said of such public servants.

Said Palmesano: "Never have we seen a more dangerous time to serve in Law Enforcement." But, he added, "Your community knows you have its back. We want you to know the community has your back, too."

"As for heroes," he said, "you have to look no further than the monuments" standing in the plaza behind him. The names of the fallen on those monuments, he added, "are our heroes, role models for our kids and grandkids to look up to."

And scanning those uniformed officers in attendance, he said: "You all represent the best hope for our future."

And in closing remarks, Rev. Kelly, the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office chaplain, said the names on the monuments "ensure they will never be forgottten."

Photos in text:

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano speaking at the ceremony.
Bottom: Flags representing the Sheriff's Department, the United States, and emergency services were flown at half-staff during the ceremony.

Law enforcement personnel march into the site of the ceremony on 10th Street.

Breakfast will benefit Historical Society

Special to The Odessa File

BURDETT, April 30, 2021 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society will benefit from a Mother’s Day Breakfast on Sunday, May 9, served by the Burdett Fire Department in the community room of its station at 4124 Lake St./Route 79, Burdett, or as take-outs.

Fire department officials have announced that the proceeds from the all-you-can-eat breakfast will be shared between the department and the Historical Society.

The menu will include pancakes, sausage, eggs, bacon, french toast, home fries and beverages. Serving hours are 7-11 a.m. The prices are $9 for adults and $5 for children 6 to 10 years old. Children under 5 are free.

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

Learn to be a boater with confidence

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 25, 2021 -- Confidence in boating skills is important, and a course is now being offered that will teach those skills to new boaters.

The Finger Lakes Chapter of America’s Boating Club, a non-profit organization based in Watkins Glen, is offering its boat handling class starting in May. The six-session course is ideal for newer recreational boaters who want to gain more knowledge, skills and confidence for safe boating in a variety of situations.

Safe boating means more fun on the water, organizers said.

Among the course topics are docking, anchoring, line handling and preparation for common problems.

Classes will be held Thursday evenings, beginning May 13, from 7-9 p.m. at the Schuyler County Human Services Complex, 323 Owego St., Montour Falls. Anyone unable to attend in person will be able to join online.

An optional review session on the water will be offered on Saturday, June 19.

Each of the course’s six topics also will be available as a free-standing seminar.

The cost of the full course is $70 for ABC-FLX members and $90 for the general public. Participants will receive a downloadable course book and the downloadable U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Rules and Regulations handbook. A print version of the student book is an additional $20. If taken individually, each seminar is $20.

For more information or to register, send an email to

Learn more about the Finger Lakes Chapter of America’s Boating Club, formerly known as the Seneca Sail and Power Squadron, at or on Facebook at America’s Boating Club - Finger Lakes Chapter.

Scholarships available for summer camp

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, April 24, 2021 -- Hidden Valley 4-H Camp in Watkins Glen has many more scholarships – or “camperships” – available to campers this year, thanks to an access grant from the National 4-H Council.

“We want all children to have the opportunity to attend camp. Unfortunately, access is often limited to families who can pay tuition. Equity is important to us, and this grant greatly expanded the funds available for camperships,” said Mel Schroeder, Youth and Family Issue Leader at CCE Schuyler.

“If families are concerned about the cost of summer camp, they should definitely apply for a campership,” said Camp Director Bruce Condie.

Hidden Valley has six week-long sessions beginning July 4. Campers ages 6-16 can attend as day campers or sign up for overnight camp.

“We have a wide array of traditional camp activities, from arts and crafts to canoeing,” said Condie. “Kids need the chance to be outdoors, to be challenged, and to make new friends. They may even want to sign up for one of our special theme weeks, such as rocketry or culinary arts.”

Hidden Valley has been in operation for 75 years and is implementing safety measures this summer to limit the spread of COVID. Experienced staff and an idyllic setting next to Watkins Glen State Park ensure that campers will have ample opportunity to explore their talents and discover the natural world.

The campership application is available on the Hidden Valley website. Camperships are reviewed by CCE's Program Advisory Committee and awarded based on meeting eligibility requirements around access and equity.

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

Girl Scouts join in as St. James' raises funds to help St. Vincent volcano victims

The following account is from Kate LaMoreaux, an annual visitor to Bequia, a seven-square-mile island that is part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadine Islands in the Caribbean West Indies.

By Kate LaMoreaux
April 19, 2021

Scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies showcase beautiful St. Vincent, lush tropical foliage contrasting with clear aqua seas; coral; lime, pink and blue houses dotting hillsides, and a towering volcano.

Current images of St. Vincent show an island buried in ash and pyroclastic rock as a result of the eruption of that volcano, La Soufriere, dormant since 1979.
After many explosive eruptions in the last two weeks, St. Vincent and many of the surrounding islands are covered in ash. Ash-covered trees and bushes have broken under the weight, as have roofs, eave troughs, and vegetable crops. There is little food or water available for livestock used to foraging on the vegetation of the lush hills of the island.

Drinking water, normally collected from roof tops and stored in cisterns, is in short supply.  Food is scarce. Several cruise ships, empty due to COVID, have arrived to transport refugees to other Caribbean islands for temporary shelter. Fortunately, many hotels and guest houses are also empty due to travel restrictions and are willing to help their brothers and sisters. 

However, cruise ship and hotel operators want their guests to be vaccinated against COVID.  Many Vincentians, treated by the country’s few doctors only in emergency situations, are suspicious of the vaccines and are reluctant to be vaccinated.
A small neighboring Caribbean island, Bequia, is 9 miles south of the capital island of St. Vincent, home of the now-active volcano La Soufriere. St. James’ Episcopal Church has sponsored a medical mission to Bequia in memory of the late Dr. Blanche Borzell since 2019. In an attempt to help the estimated 7,000 Vincentians now displaced from their homes, the parish has gathered monetary donations since the first eruption on April 9.

As the final numbers were tallied Saturday, a message came from a local Scout leader: “Is it too late to donate?” Scout Troop 41120, which meets at St. James’, wanted to donate an astounding amount: $500. The girls had voted to donate $50 per scout! Leaders Kristen Bacon and Nicole Smith made the donation happen.

Several non-profits have joined the government of St. Vincent in meeting the needs of the those 7,000 refugees. One such organization is Rise Up Bequia, a non-profit social organization founded in 2013 by Bequia locals. The organization is accepting donations of non-perishable food items and cash through local relief efforts that will give shelters more means to provide for those affected and displaced in the coming weeks and months.

St. James’ will wire $2,500 to the organization this week, due to the generosity of parishioners, community members, friends far and near and, of course, those Girl Scouts.

When someone asks “What’s the matter with kids these days?” the reply should be “Absolutely nothing!”

Photo in text: Girls Scouts from Troop 41120, shown at Lafayette Park in Watkins Glen. Their signs read "Stay safe Bequia." (Photo provided)

Community gardens under way at churches

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, April 16, 2021 -- Women Helping Women of the International Women’s Forum has begun community gardens at St. John’s Episcopal Church Campus in Catharine and St. James’ Episcopal of Watkins Glen at 112 Sixth St.

The gardens are a project envisioning fresh produce for the community in need. Project organizer Denise Switzer said, “We have appreciated the work and funds from the community to get this started. We always welcome more participation to help us grow.”

Reverend Father Abidhananthar John (Father Abi), priest in charge of St. John’s Episcopal of Catharine and St. James’ Episcopal of Watkins Glen, added, “I am amazed to see such great potential in our area churches and the hard work the Women Helping Women team has done lifting such a great project off the ground. God’s hand is certainly on the plow here. I am privileged to travel with my church family and the community in the process of building God’s reign.”

The Women Helping Women team realized a need, and the result was raised beds for ease of growing the vegetables. Jeremy Bergen and the Glenview Dairy graciously distributed the enriched soil.

If you would like more information, contact Denise Switzer, or 607-329-3067, or Father Abi, or 585-747-5515.  

Photo in text: Jeremy Bergen with one of the garden beds. (Photo provided)

Schuyler County's Farm-to-Table
Chef Competition announces winners

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, April 7, 2021 -- From March 22 to April 4, some of the region’s top chefs competed to make the most delicious and memorable dishes using farm goods produced in Schuyler County, in the first-ever Harvest Schuyler Farm-to-Table Chef Competition.

Votes from the public helped determine the outcome and which chefs won the prizes. The winners were:

-- Most creative dish: New Zealand Style Beef and Havarti Pies; chef Elin Dowd of Idlwilde Inn.

-- The dish voters would most like to try: Grass Fed Black Angus Beef & Veggie Potpie topped with Garlic Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits; chef Samira Baida of Ryan William Vineyard.

-- Best presentation: Upside Down Hamburger Pie with Root Vegetable Gravy; chef Hilary Niver-Johnson of Finger Lakes Wine Flour.

Also competing were chef Lisa Shrout of Hidden Valley 4-H Camp (Ying Yang Meatballs) and chef Nick Thayer of Nickel’s Pit BBQ (Beef and Verjooz Ricotta Ravioli and Maple Apple Dumplings).

The Harvest Schuyler Farm-to-Table Chef Competition was held virtually, with the chefs documenting their progress on the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County Facebook page and website ( Look for the “Harvest Schuyler Farm-to-Table Chef Competition” event.

Each chef was given a box of locally produced items from which they created a dish. The items included meat, dairy, vegetables, fruit, something sweet (maple, honey or preserves) and a liquid fruit-based condiment (such as wine, juice, or shrub). Ten local farms donated products for the competition.

One of the farms that donated, after seeing the entries, said, “I’m eager to try them all!”

The mission of Harvest Schuyler -- a cooperative effort among CCE Schuyler, the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and the Schuyler County Farm Bureau -- is to connect chefs, farmers, producers and consumers in Schuyler County.

Photo in text: Art provided by the Chef Competition.

Schuyler Habitat is building a house in the Town of Hector, and could use some help

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, March 26, 2021 -- Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity is building its third house in Schuyler County and it needs your help.

Habitat President Bob Groll said, "It is not money that we need, it is the willing hands of volunteers." He explained that it is not necessary to have a particular skill set to volunteer -- just an eagerness to give something back to the community. But, if you "have rough and/or finish carpentry skills," he said, that would be especially welcome.

The current build is near the intersection of County Roads 4 and 2 in the Town of Hector.

The interior flooring and room framing is complete. The electrical and plumbing installation is well underway. Basement preparation, window installation, drywall, trim, room painting, bathroom fixtures, a rear deck, front door entryway, and kitchen installation all remain to be done.

Individuals can volunteer, and volunteers from local organizations (businesses, fraternal organizations, service clubs) are welcome to help as a group project. There are plenty of specific tasks that can be done by individuals and/or a group of volunteers. Habitat provides all the raw materials. You can use Habitat tools or bring your own.

The partner family who will own the home is a mother with three children. She is an integral part of the corps of volunteers who have worked throughout the fall and winter while observing COVID precautions.

To volunteer, contact Bob Groll, Photos of the build can be seen on the website Donations for the build may be sent to Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity, Post Office Box 45, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

Photo in text: From left, Marion Nicastro, James Gallagher, Bob Groll. (Photo by Michael Hartney)

Farm-to-Table Chef Competition under way

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, March 24, 2021 -- From March 22 to April 4, some of the region’s top chefs are competing to make the most delicious and memorable dishes using farm goods produced in Schuyler County.

The first-ever Harvest Schuyler Farm-to-Table Chef Competition is being held virtually, with the chefs documenting their progress on the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County Facebook page and website ( Look for the “Harvest Schuyler Farm-to-Table Chef Competition” event.

Each chef has been given a box of locally produced items, and has had to create a dish using all of them. The items include meat, dairy, vegetables, fruit, something sweet (maple, honey or preserves) and a liquid fruit-based condiment (such as wine, juice, or shrub).

Agriculture educator Roger Ort noted, “We wanted to draw attention to the great variety and quality of farm products in Schuyler County. I think when people see what the chefs create, they’ll learn new ways to use local ingredients, and perhaps also be inspired to try other dishes from the restaurants where the chefs work.”

Your votes will help determine the outcome and which chefs win the prizes: most creative, dish voters would most like to try, and best presentation. You may learn some new techniques to try, and you may discover a new favorite ingredient from a local producer.

Chefs competing in this event include: Elin Dowd from Idlwilde Inn; Hilary Niver-Johnson, Finger Lakes Wine Flour; Lisa Shrout from Hidden Valley 4-H camp; Nicholas Thayer, Nickel’s Pit BBQ; and Samira Baida from Ryan William Vineyard.

The mission of Harvest Schuyler -- a cooperative effort among CCE Schuyler, the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and the Schuyler County Farm Bureau -- is to connect chefs, farmers, producers and consumers in Schuyler County.

Webpage: Harvest Schuyler Farm to Table Chef Competition

Facebook: Harvest Schuyler Farm to Table Chef Competition

For any questions about the competition, contact Roger Ort at or call 607-535-7161.

Seminar: Learn all about trailering a boat

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 19, 2021 -- Warmer weather sends boaters’ thoughts right to the water with anticipation for the first launch of the season. But getting to the launch site can be challenging even for experienced boat owners.

An online seminar on how to trailer a boat will be offered on Monday, April 12, by the Finger Lakes Chapter of America’s Boating Club. The session will be especially helpful for first-time boaters.

The two-hour seminar will be presented online from 7-9 p.m. using the FreeConferenceCall platform. Participation is limited to five people.

John Flick of the Finger Lakes Chapter will discuss how to select tow vehicles, hitches and trailers; how to safely and securely trailer a boat, launch it and retrieve it; and how to operate and maintain trailering equipment. The seminar includes video segments provided by the U.S. Coast Guard.

If participants are interested in a group, hands-on practice session with an instructor, one will be scheduled.

The cost of the seminar is $30. The fee includes a student guide. The book “Trailering Your Boat,” a U.S. Power Squadron guide, is also available for an additional $15.

To register, email Details will follow by email.

For more information about the Finger Lakes Chapter of America’s Boating Club, formerly known as the Seneca Sail and Power Squadron, go to the website or Facebook at America’s Boating Club-Finger Lakes Chapter.

America’s Boating Club is the nation’s largest non-profit boating organization, with nearly 30,000 members in more than 350 clubs. The local chapter boasts members from across the Finger Lakes Region who enjoy their time on the water in vessels ranging from kayaks to power boats to sailboats. Boat ownership is not a membership requirement.

Limited visitation approved at Seneca View

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 16, 2021 -- Schuyler Hospital announced Tuesday that it 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.  

New York State health officials recently announced the new rules for restricted visitation to facilities that have been without COVID-19 for more than 14 days. In addition, there must be a low prevalence of COVID-19 in the region.

Seneca View began allowing visitation on March 8th under the new state policy. Visitation must be limited and documented; visitors must be screened for COVID-19 and properly wear medical grade masks, which can be provided if needed. Visitation must be monitored and socially distanced. Seneca View staff is placing calls to resident families to arrange visitation appointments. 

“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 due to COVID-19 without seeing family and loved ones. We hope this will bring comfort and happiness to them and their families.”  

Residents in the facility will be allowed two guests at a time, and the visitors must undergo screening and temperature checks, properly wear face coverings and maintain social distancing during the visit. All visitors must be 18 years of age or older or accompanied by a responsible adult.  

“I would like to offer an extra special ‘Thank You’ to our Seneca View staff and nursing team for always going above and beyond, making every effort to help make our residents feel less lonely for their families,” adds Gould. “They have been very creative in their efforts to cheer everyone up and to keep the atmosphere as positive as possible.”  

About Schuyler Hospital  

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

About Cayuga Health  

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

Photo in text: Schuyler Hospital President Rebecca Gould.

CCE welcomes new Executive Director

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Feb. 26, 2021 -- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County has welcomed a new Executive Director, Nathan Scott.

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead an organization as comprehensive in its programming and as effective in its delivery as CCE Schuyler,” said Scott, who succeeds the retired Phil Cherry and began his role in late Janaury. “I am impressed by the ways that CCE is building a stronger and more resilient community for the residents of Schuyler, from youth engagement to family health to agricultural production and marketing."

Scott most recently served as Executive Director of the Thrive Education Center. Located outside Ithaca, Thrive is a community-based education program promoting sustainability and community resilience. He brings 18 years of experience leading non-profits, with particular skills in strategic planning, collaboration, program development, and fiscal management.

“I hope to build upon the great work already being accomplished by the talented CCE Schuyler staff, and to add new projects and capabilities that will bring more value to the people of the county,” added Scott.  “My goal is to help all residents of Schuyler thrive.

“I look forward to meeting and getting to know members of the community. I think CCE Schuyler can be a leader in helping Schuyler County meet the challenges of today and the future, from supporting economic development to addressing the impacts of climate change."

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County (CCE Schuyler) enables people to improve their lives and communities through partnerships that put experience and research knowledge to work. Extension staff and trained volunteers connect people with the information they need on topics such as commercial and consumer agriculture, nutrition and health, youth and families, energy conservation, and sustainable natural resources, by delivering education programs, conducting applied research, and encouraging community and university collaborations.

CCE Schuyler, which also operates Hidden Valley 4-H Camp, is a subordinate governmental body established under New York County Law 224 over 100 years ago.

Photo in text: Nathan Scott (Photo provided)

Spaulding, if he's elected Sheriff, will appoint Maloney as his Undersheriff

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 22, 2021 -- Breck Spaulding, candidate for Schuyler County Sheriff, Monday announced the selection of Lieutenant Matthew Maloney as his choice for Undersheriff if Spaulding is elected Sheriff.

Spaulding is in a Republican primary race with Kevin Rumsey, a Schuyler County Sheriff's Investigator. The primary election is in June, with the general election in November. Longtime Sheriff William Yessman is retiring at the end of the year.

In making the Maloney announcement, Spaulding said: “Sheriff Yessman's well deserved retirement brings with it the loss of over 36 years of experience and institutional knowledge.  To ensure a seamless transition and the maintenance of public safety standards that our community has come to expect, it is critical that not only the next Sheriff, but Undersheriff as well, have such experience. Matt makes a perfect addition to the team!”

Spaulding, who is in his 27th year with the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office, said he was looking for someone who could bring not only additional experience, but a proven track record of dedication to law enforcement and to Schuyler County. He said Maloney "best represents the ability to meet the administrative and operational needs of the office. I feel strongly that this announcement should be made as early as possible to provide the voters of Schuyler County a full accounting of the administration of this office, should I become the next Sheriff.”

Lieutenant Maloney, like Spaulding, was born and raised in Schuyler County. He has been employed with the Sheriff’s Office for over 22 years, has held several positions, including Deputy Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff K-9, Field Training Officer, Sergeant, K-9 Unit Supervisor and Department Safety Officer. In 2005, he was promoted to Investigator and again promoted in 2017 to Lieutenant of the Criminal Investigation Division. He has, said Spaulding, overseen the successful investigation of "numerous major crimes and is frequently called upon to testify as an expert witness."

Maloney has represented the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office as a member of several committees, including the Schuyler County Youth Board, Schuyler County Domestic Violence Committee, Child Abuse Response Team, Schuyler County Opioid Task Force, Schuyler County Police Reform Committee, as well as completing Leadership Schuyler.

Outside of the Sheriff’s Office, Maloney is an active member of the community. He has been a member of the Tyrone Volunteer Fire Department for over 30 years, serving as Chief of the Department for two terms, and currently holds the position of 1st Assistant Chief. He also serves as a Deputy Fire Coordinator and Intelligence Liaison Officer for the Schuyler County Emergency Management Office, is a member of the GST BOCES Board of Education, and is an Assistant Den Leader for Cub Scout Pack 25.
When not at work or volunteering in his community, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.

Says Maloney, son of retired Sheriff Michael Maloney: “I grew up in a Sheriff’s home. I have witnessed first-hand the hard work and dedication that it takes to be Sheriff and I have seen those same qualities in Breck Spaulding. I am ready and excited for the opportunity to become the next Undersheriff of Schuyler County and I am humbled and appreciative to Breck for believing in me and recognizing my dedication to law enforcement and to the Schuyler County community.”

Photos in text: Matthew Maloney (top) and Breck Spaulding

Friends of island hospital presented with $1,000 check in memory of Dr. Borzell

Special to The Odessa File

BEQUIA, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Jan. 28, 2021 -- Kate LaMoreaux, Senior Warden of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Watkins Glen, presented $1,000 Wednesday 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.

Dr. Borzell, the first female Family Practitioner in Schuyler County, grew up in Watkins Glen, graduating from Cornell University and SUNY Upstate Medical University.

"She had an insatiable desire to expand her medical skill and knowledge," said LaMoreaux. "She enjoyed the challenge of research to treat diseases that were new to her. In addition, she served as Schuyler County Coroner for over 30 years, a job which presented her the challenge of piecing together the cause of death."

Bequia, a seven-square-mile island that is part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadine Islands in the Caribbean West Indies, is populated by approximately 5,000 people. A small island hospital treats the usual medical emergencies with one physician, Cuban-trained Dr. Lupo, and a nursing staff of 16 headed by Sister Simmons. Several grants, including those from the World Health Organizaton and the government of Taiwan, have supported the staff’s challenges in dealing with Covid-19 on the small island.

LaMoreaux explains: "St. James’ started this mission in 2019, shortly after Dr. Borzell’s death. I had just returned home from Bequia -- where I have vacationed for the past 13 years -- and realized that all the medical supplies in Dr. Borzell‘s office would be thrown away. I asked the family to donate them and they readily agreed.

"The supplies donated from Dr. Borzell’s office, and some donated by Schuyler Hospital, were packed in barrels in September 2019 and shipped to Bequia. St James’ established a Medical Mission in memory of Dr. Borzell, held concerts to raise money and accepted donations to pay for the barrels and the shipping. The barrels arrived in Bequia in January 2020 along with the EKG machine from Dr. Borzell’s office, which we carried to Bequia.

"Sister Simmons told me Tuesday that they have used that! We did receive a grant from the Diocese Of Rochester for the mission in both 2019 and 2020. The church raised funds to match that grant. Last year we donated $500 in addition to the barrels. This year we donated $1,000 because Covid made it impossible to ship supplies."

As an annual visitor to Bequia -- "We have rented the same small house for 11 years now. The views are magnificent" -- LaMoreaux said, "I knew the need was great here, since it is very difficult to get medical supplies and medicine. It has improved, but it is still not a place to be seriously ill!

"According to John Barnard (president of the Friends of Bequia Hospital), there have only been three Covid cases on this island, although there are more than 600 cases in the country, primarily in neighboring St. Vincent. People here are quite frightened, and rightfully so. When you are on a small island with a four-room hospital and only one doctor, a pandemic is NOT a good idea."

LaMoreaux, who is planning to stay on Bequia until late February, said that each person entering Saint Vincent and the Grenadines must arrive with a negative Covid-19 PCR Test. Guests and returning nationals must quarantine for 14 days in a government-approved facility and test negative again before leaving quarantine. In addition, the hospital provides tests to those who are leaving the country to fly to the U.S., Great Britain, and other countries that require incoming travelers to hold a negative test. In addition, the staff has treated the three known cases of Covid-19 on the island. Sister Simmons describes these extra tasks as “quite a burden.”

Friends of Bequia Hospital was established with approval from the Vincentian government and the Ministry of Health. Its president, John Barnard, founded the group when his housekeeper returned from the hospital with her sick child, disheartened by the inability of the staff to provide even an aspirin for the child. Now the group imports pharmaceuticals quarterly and contributes to the hospital’s other needs.

Said LaMoreaux: Barnard recently "authorized the purchase of computer paper and ink to print the required Covid test results." Said Barnard: “Sometimes we paint or mow the grass. We do whatever they need ...”

Photos in text:

Top: The check presentation. From left: John Barnard, president of the Friends of Bequia Hospital; Kate LaMoreaux of St. James' Episcopal Church of Watkins Glen; and Sister Simmons, head nurse at the Bequia Hospital.

Bottom: A beach on Bequia. (Photos provided)

Mass Vaccination Clinic opens in Ithaca

5,132 Vaccines Have Been Distributed During Phase 1A and 1B  

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Jan. 14, 2021 -- Cayuga Health (CH) officials announced Wednesday that they have been working closely with the Tompkins County Health Department to open a Covid-19 mass vaccination clinic.

The 40,000-square-foot clinic is located in the former Sears department store at The Shops at Ithaca Mall. It has been opened for Phase 1 vaccination dispensing and in preparation for the progression of the vaccination distribution. So far, Cayuga Health has administered 5,132 vaccines, at approximately 650-800 per/day, as part of the Phase 1A and now 1B. With enough vaccines, the site is capable of administering 2,000 doses daily.

“Our mission is to dispense 100% of the allocated vaccine as it is received, and we have done this continuously since accepting our first shipment,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President and CEO of Cayuga Health. “It is our understanding that the more efficient that we are, the greater the allocation can become in the future. As additional groups are eligible for vaccination -- we will reach them quickly.”

During a teleconference last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the highest and lowest performing hospitals in the state as it pertains to vaccine distribution. Of those listed, Cayuga Medical Center received recognition as one of the Top 10 highest performers in New York State. The entire teleconference, as recorded by Governor Andrew Cuomo, can be heard here

“The partnership we have with Cayuga Health has been key through this pandemic,” said Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County Public Health Director. “We know it is going to take several weeks to months to get through this first phase. We are following New York State guidance for the phased distribution of vaccine.”

The mass vaccination clinic is staffed by experienced Cayuga Health and county employees. To register for the vaccine, visit or the Tompkins County Health Department website:

Last month, at the direction of the New York State Department of Health and in collaboration with the Tompkins County Health Department, Cayuga Health started to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in the community to health care workers and those with essential jobs. Cayuga Health’s vaccine rollout will continue to expand to others in the community in the weeks and months ahead.

Testing continues to be a priority to stop the spread of COVID-19. Last week, two additional Cayuga Health Sampling Sites were opened, one at Cayuga Medical Center and one at Gutchess Park in Cortlandville. Since the onset of testing in Tompkins County, and now the surrounding communities, 798,222 tests have been conducted as of January 11th. More information can be found on the Cayuga Health Coronavirus tracking site

“We are asking people to be patient and are encouraging anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested,” said Kruppa.  

Cayuga Health currently offers five COVID-19 testing locations:  

  1. The Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot, 40 Catherwod Road, Ithaca.  
  2. Schuyler Hospital, Montour Falls.  
  3. 412 North Tioga Street, Ithaca.  
  4. Gutchess Park, Cortlandville.  
  5. Cayuga Medical Center, Ithaca.  

“We know that testing will continue to play a critical role during this pandemic, even as the vaccine is being dispensed,” said Stallone.  “Just last week we opened two more sampling sites to support increasing testing demand.”

Individuals seeking a test at any of the Cayuga Health Sampling Sites will need to pre-register for an appointment. On-line registration for all of the Cayuga Health sampling sites, including Cayuga Medical Center, Schuyler Hospital, 412 North Tioga Street, Ithaca, Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot, and Cortland is available at For patients who may not have access to the internet, need assistance registering, or have questions, call 607-319-5708. If an individual is registered for a saliva test, he or she cannot have any tobacco products or anything to eat or drink 30 minutes prior to the appointment.  

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

For additional information about cases or specific recent exposures, visit:

Lakeside Veterinary welcomes Dr. Cary

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 8, 2021 -- Lakeside Veterinary Services, based in Montour Falls, has announced the addition of Dr. Collin Cary, a native of the Southern Tier, to its veterinary practice.

Dr. Cary is a graduate of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine and specializes in small animal care and exotics, such as birds, ferrets, guinea pigs, hedgehogs and reptiles.

Dr. Martha Hawksworth, owner and operator of Lakeside Veterinary Services, said, “We are very happy to have Dr. Cary joining us. He adds a dimension to our animal care that will serve a growing trend of pet owners who own an exotic pet.

"His compassion for animals, professional knowledge and energy are well received, and we are excited to have him join our team.”

Dr. Carey joined the Lakeside Veterinary team on January 5, 2021.

Photo in text: Dr. Collin Cary (Photo provided)

Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility reports increase in active COVID-19 positive cases

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Dec. 21, 2020 -- Schuyler Hospital officials announced Monday that they are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 positive cases at the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. Currently there are 18 known positive cases at Seneca View; 14 of these residents are experiencing no symptoms. 

Officials said the positive cases were detected due to rigorous testing that Schuyler Hospital has been doing since the pandemic started earlier this year. In addition, all Seneca View employees are tested twice weekly when active cases are identified on a specific unit.

Residents who have tested positive are separated from other residents and remain in comfortable rooms that have special air filters, officials said, adding that all Seneca View employees are in full PPE at all times. Additional safety measures, they said, include restricting visitation, continuous washing of hands, the installation of plexiglass shields in key areas, social distancing in all areas, hand sanitizing stations, enhanced cleaning throughout the facility, and more. 

Since the beginning of the first local cases of COVID-19, Seneca View leadership has been working in partnership with Schuyler County Public Health to increase testing and conduct thorough contact tracing in the community. In addition, hospital officials said, Seneca View has been in continuous contact with the families of its residents to keep them informed and to answer any questions. The New York State Department of Health has conducted five on-site visits and found no deficiencies by the team.

The Seneca View and Schuyler Hospital teams have been working closely with its partner hospital, Cayuga Medical Center, to transfer patients that require hospitalization.   

“Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility have implemented and continue to maintain stringent safety measures in compliance with the New York State Department of Health and the CDC guidelines to protect patients, residents of Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility, and our employees,” said Rebecca Gould, President & Chief Financial Officer of Schuyler Hospital.

“It is through these protocols and the testing of staff and residents that we identified a recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases of our residents. We have been in continuous communication with our residents and their families to keep them informed.” 

“We continue to maintain the highest level of infection control and prevention measures at Seneca View, and across the entire health system, for the protection of our patients, residents, and staff,” said Dr. Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. “We are working closely with Schuyler County Public Health and the New York State Department of Health for response coordination and follow-up contact tracing.” 

About Cayuga Health  

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

1st Cayuga Health employees receive vaccine

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Dec. 21, 2020 -- Cayuga Health officials announced Monday that Dr. Keith Lambert, ER Physician, Kate Rosa, RN, and Dr. Sushilkumar Satish Gupta, Pulmonologist and Critical Care Specialist, were among the initial Cayuga Health employees to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The frontline providers received the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Phase I approach, on December 18 at Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, NY. Vaccinations of additional Cayuga Health frontline providers will continue this week.

Recently, Governor Cuomo outlined a phased approach regarding vaccine distribution and administration. In Phase I, supplies are limited to those that may be at the most risk -- to include frontline, patient-facing healthcare providers. The first shipment of the vaccine for Phase I individuals meeting the criteria in our region was received by Arnot Ogden Medical Center last week.

“We are pleased to be able to offer the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine to our frontline workers at this time," said Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. "We know this is only the beginning of this fast-evolving process and we will remain diligent by doing our part for our own health care providers and within the community during the fight against this global pandemic.” 

For additional information about vaccines, cases or recent exposures, visit:

To view statistical data and official numbers as they are released by the Cayuga Health Sampling Centers visit:

About Cayuga Health

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

Gibson on SUNY Cortland's President's List

CORTLAND, Dec. 16, 2020 -- Allison Gibson, a graduate of Watkins Glen High School, has been placed on the President's List for the Spring 2020 semester at the State University of New York College at Cortland.

To be eligible for the President's List, a student must be full-time and have earned at least an A- in all courses. A virtual ceremony honoring the accomplishment was held in November.

Gibson (pictured at right), of Watkins Glen, is a daughter of Scott and Lisa Gibson. She is majoring in Early Childhood Education and is a member of the school's Women's Swim Team.

Snowmobilers urged to exercise caution

Special to the Odessa File

HECTOR, Dec. 12, 2020 -- Finger Lakes National Forest (FLNF) officials are recommending that snowmobilers exercise caution when operating on National Forest, and all lands, in New York this winter.

Snowmobile enthusiasts are being reminded to heed to all gates and signage, to stay on marked trails and adhere to COVID-19 precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with local and state health and safety guidance.
Weather permitting, snowmobile use is allowed on designated trails within the FLNF beginning on Wednesday, December 16, 2020, and ending on Monday, March 15, 2021.

“We are concerned about user safety. Monitoring trail conditions and providing visitor information will occur throughout the Forest,” said Jodie Vanselow, District Ranger for the FLNF. The FLNF will continue to work closely with State and local law enforcement agencies as well as the Twin Lakes Snowmobile Association (TLSA) to make sure users of the trail system are respectful, responsible, law abiding, and safe, Vanselow added.

The FLNF and TLSA cooperate to maintain more than 12 miles of National Forest system trails that are part of the larger statewide snowmobile network. TLSA is one of several snowmobile associations in the United States that has a cooperative partnership agreement with the U.S. Forest Service.

“All of these trails allow mixed uses, so people are snowshoeing, hiking and cross-country skiing as well as using snowmobiles. Snowmobilers should travel responsibly and yield to other users,” said Vanselow, noting that riders should travel at a reasonable and prudent speed for the existing conditions.

The Forest Service is also warning all snow travelers of the dangers in riding, hiking and skiing on frozen water bodies. Trail users are encouraged to be mindful of fallen trees and other hazards they may encounter. Operators must maintain control of their snowmobiles while riding; keep to the right at all times and stay on designated trails only. All snowmobiles must be legally registered and have liability insurance.

The New York Statewide snowmobile trail system operates on a sled registration system. There is no trail pass required, but all New York State residents and non-residents must register their sleds in New York to ride in New York. Helmet use is also required. Officials also encourage winter trail users to pack a flashlight, cell phone, food and extra warm clothing in case of an emergency.

SCCUDD honors 4 local restaurants
for youth substance education placemats

Special to the Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Dec. 7, 2020 --  Amid the pandemic last summer, The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) partnered with four Schuyler County restaurants to educate area youth about the dangers of substance use. 
SCCUDD developed child-focused placemats that included crossword puzzles, word find, dot-to-dot, and others all focusing on substance use prevention. The placemats also included data from the 2020 SCCUDD Youth Survey. During times of the COVID-19 pandemic when seating in restaurants was prohibited, these restaurants were able to send the placemats home to children with take-out orders.  

The four area restaurants that have been participating include The Bucket Bar & Grill located in Odessa, McGillicuddy’s Bar & Grill located in Montour Falls, as well as Curly’s Family Restaurant and Jerlando’s Ristorante & Pizza Co., which are both located in Watkins Glen.  

“Due to restrictions, it was much more difficult to reach people during the pandemic," said SCCUDD Project Coordinator Ward Brower. "We are very thankful that these businesses stepped up to help us to continue to inform and educate the community. This is a program that we hope to continue and expand by partnering with more area restaurants.”  

Each restaurant has been recognized by SCCUDD by being awarded their “Shining Star” for service to the community.  

“We are a family-owned business and believe in the message that SCCUDD is trying to share,” said Jesse Schubmehl, owner of McGillicuddy’s Bar & Grill and SCCUDD member.  “We are always happy to help get the word out to the community,” added Kurt Connelly, owner of Curly’s Family Restaurant.  

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

For more information, or to become involved with SCCUDD, visit it online at, or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.  

Photos in text: Curt Connelly (top) of Curly's Family Restaurant, and Erick Thorpe of The Bucket Bar & Grill. (Photos provided)

Jelliff graduates from basic training in TX

ODESSA, Dec. 22, 2020 -- Air Force Airman John C. Jelliff of Odessa, NY recently graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

He is currently attending technical school for Fire Protection at Goodwill Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas.

Jelliff is a 2020 graduate of Odessa-Montour High School and is the son of John D. and Lisa Jelliff of Odessa.

Photo at right: Air Force Airman John C. Jelliff (Photo provided)

Lakeside Veterinary donates holiday food

Special to
The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Nov. 15, 2020 -- Lakeside Veterinary Services, based in Montour Falls, has donated 90 boxes of stuffing mix, 150 boxes of Jello and 150 cans of cranberry sauce to the Nov. 20 Thanksgiving Food Basket Giveaway hosted by Catholic Charities of Chemung and Schuyler counties.

The Food Basket effort will help serve 150 families during this Thanksgiving season.

Dr. Martha Hawksworth, owner and operator of Lakeside Veterinary Services, said, “We at Lakeside Veterinary are happy to support our community during the Thanksgiving holiday. This is a small gesture of support during this challenging period with the COVID-19 pandemic. We know there are families in our community who are in need at the moment and thank Catholic Charities for their wonderful effort.”

Registration for the Food Basket Giveaway is required and can be done here: . Catholic Charities is also looking for generous donors to help create 200 Christmas Food Baskets. Find more information here:  

Photo in text: Dr. Martha Hawksworth, left, and Zach Marvin, Food Pantry Facilitator, with the food items donated by Lakeside Veterinary Services. (Photo provided)

Fire rages in the eastern section of the Carriage House. (Photo by Anna Franzese)

Fire strikes historic Carriage House in Watkins Glen, but most of building saved

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 5, 2020 -- Firefighters rushed at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday to the scene of a fire at an historic property -- the old Carriage House on the corner of Decatur and Third Streets in Watkins Glen.

By the time they had finished their work, the major portion of the building -- a three-story section on the structure's western end -- was saved with minor damage. The two-story central section sustained fire and smoke damage on the second floor, and smoke and water damage below. And the easternmost section, a former horse stable, was mostly charred, a clear loss.

The good news regarding that loss was this: Aside from the fact that it was insured, owners Chris and Angeline Franzese -- who live in a stately and historic house on the southeast corner of the block-wide property -- had planned at some point to level that stable section as part of a renovation plan.

They had hoped to get Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds to help in that effort, which envisioned apartments and shops in the historic old building. Despite falling short of DRI funding, Angeline said a renovation is still being planned. While watching as firefighters swarmed about the property, she said she didn't know the extent of the damage inside the central portion, although she had checked to see if a car stored in the western section was okay. It was. There was no immediate word available on the fate of five motorcycles belonging to a Franzese daughter that were stored on the ground floor of the central section.

Angeline's husband was mostly thankful that the flames had not devoured more of the building. "Our thanks go to the firefighters for saving the main structure.," Chris said. "I was afraid the fire would get in the main section and wouldn't stop. But they got it."

How fast the water started flowing was in dispute, with Angeline saying that nearby hydrants proved useless, and that it took 25 minutes to draw water along hoses from Franklin Street, farther away. But Fire Chief Judson Smith said his firefightters "put water on it" within a few minutes, knocking down the flames before they could reach the three-story portion of the structure. "We stopped it there," he noted.

Fire vehicles surrounded the structure -- some on Third Street, some on Decatur and some on the property itself. When the flames were at their height, a wind from the south was blowing them horizontally across Third Street, raising concern for homes across the roadway, said one observer. But the wind died down, as did the flames -- the firefighters' water sending thick plumes of smoke out over Seneca Lake mere blocks away.

The 911 emergency number was reportedly called by two different neighbors, and the Watkins firefighters -- their station just blocks to the east -- responded quickly, with the call for mutual aid bringing in departments from around the region.

The Franzeses, who have operated the nearby Villager Motel since 1986, purchased their house and the Carriage House in 1991. The Carriage House has a history dating back to the 1800s; a high point coming when Dr. Samuel Watkins -- after whom Watkins Glen is named -- inherited it from his brother John. (For a history of the property prepared by the Franzeses, click here.)

The Carriage House -- once housing horses, hay and carriages, and boasting a Carriage House keeper who lived on the second floor of the building's primary section -- served mostly as storage space in recent years while standing stately as a reminder of glory days of long ago.

It boasted a new roof put on in the past year, and hopes for a future of greater use. Those hopes are still alive, Angeline reiterated.

As firefighters roamed the grounds, dousing any stubborn embers -- with several dousings directed on one of two cupolas, this one in the central section -- fire inspector Tim Hudson was interviewing witnesses, trying to determine the cause.

He seemed interested in a lawnmower that had been used earlier in the day and then stored in the eastern section of the building, but would only say that the fire started in the vicinity of the lawnmower. "I haven't reached a determination yet," he noted.

Photos in text:

Top: A firefighter atop a truck ladder checks for any sign of fire in a cupola on the western end of the building. It was clear.

Second: A view of the flames from the street. (Photo by Denise Hayden)

Third: The smoke was thick as the flames were doused. (Photo by Laurie DeNardo)

Fourth: Firefighters direct water on a hot spot of the building.

Smoke wafts over Seneca Lake from the fire at the corner of 3rd and Decatur Streets.

Schuyler Habitat receives donation

Special to the Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Oct. 29, 2020 -- The Finger Lakes Chapter of the Porsche Club of America has donated combination CO2/smoke alarms to Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity. They will be used in the construction of the current Habitat build on County Road 4 in the Town of Hector.

Habitat, in a press release, said it is "extremely grateful for donations such as these" because they help its effort to provide low cost, quality housing to people of need.

This will be the third home that Schuyler Habitat has built in Schuyler County. The partner family selection process is under way. "Volunteers to assist with the build are always welcome," Habitat said, "whatever your skill set."

To volunteer contact Bob Groll, Information regarding becoming the partner family and the monthly meeting can be found on the website Donations for the build may be sent to Schuyler Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 45, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

Photo in text: Posing with the Finger Lakes Porsche Club donation are, from left,
The Reverend Michael Hartney, Habitat treasurer; Bob Groll, president; Steve Clendenin, volunteer; Ann Barford, volunteer; and James Gallagher, vice president. (Photo provided)

Dr. Haentges joins Watkins dental firm

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 26, 2020 -- Jeffrey W. Schultz, DDS has welcomed Joshua L. Haentges, DDS to his practice of general dentistry at 703 South Decatur Street in Watkins Glen.

Dr. Haentges received his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Pre-Health Studies from the University at Buffalo. He graduated in 2016 from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine with a minor in Pediatric dentistry and electives in sports dentistry and forensic and esthetic dentistry, and with certification in the use of diode lasers.

Dr. Haentges completed a year-long Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency at the Stratton-Albany Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albany, NY. In addition, he has had training in placement of both conventional and mini implants.

Dr. Haentges lives with his wife, Sherilyn, and their two children, Elorah and Autley, with a third baby boy on the way.

Dr. Haentges comes to Dr. Schultz’s practice with three years of private practice experience and will be offering dental treatment to patients at the Watkins Glen office in all areas of general dentistry, including restorative and cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, endodontics, oral surgery, and Invisalign orthodontics.

He is a member of the American Dental Association, the 7th District Dental Society, and the New York State Dental Association.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Haentges, call the Watkins Glen office at (607) 535-4666.

Photo in text: Dr. Joshua Haentges with his wife, Sherilyn, and their two children, Elorah and Autley. (Photo provided)

Schuyler reports 1st Covid-19 related deaths

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Oct. 19, 2020 -- Schuyler County Public Health received notification Monday that two Schuyler County residents who tested positive for Covid-19 have passed away. These are the first reported deaths related to Covid-19 in Schuyler County.

One of the individuals was a female in her 70s and the other individual was a male in his 80s. They were members of the same household.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of two of our community members,” said Deborah Minor, Schuyler County Public Health Director. “We send our heartfelt condolences to their family, friends, and loved ones.

“Covid-19 cases are increasing rapidly in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions.” Minor cautioned. “While many people who are infected with Covid-19 have mild illness, this disease can be devastating for others. We all have the power to protect each other and our community. Wear a mask whenever you are spending time with people you don’t live with -- including extended family or friends -- and limit how many different people you are spending time with.”

County Administrator Tim O’Hearn echoed Minor's expression of condolences, stating that “We mourn the loss of two of our citizens whose lives were cut short by this horrific disease. The family is in our thoughts and prayers.” O’Hearn added: “It is imperative that our residents and businesses take heed of the severity of this outbreak, and employ appropriate measures to protect themselves and others.”

Schuyler County Public Health says its mission is to protect and empower the community to be safe, healthy and prepared -- a connected community of healthy people and safe places.

For more information, visit Schuyler County Public Health online at or follow Schuyler County Public Health on Facebook and Twitter.

Dix man charged with marijuana possession

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Oct. 15, 2020 -- Raymond R. Brown, 42, of Townsend Road, Town of Dix, was arrested on October 14 on a Superior Court Warrant on a charge of Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Second Degree, a Class D felony.

According to the New York State Police, the arrest was "the result of a lengthy investigation ... into a marijuana growing operation on Townsend Road in the Town of Dix."

Police added: "On August 5, 2020, members of the New York State Police Violent Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Team executed a search warrant on Townsend Road and located 41 marijuana plants, scales used to weigh marijuana and equipment used to grow and cultivate marijuana. Approximately two pounds of marijuana was seized in total."

Brown was sent to the Schuyler County Jail pending his arraignment in Schuyler County Court.

Elderly COVID-19 patient dies at CMC

Special to The Odessa File

ITHACA, Oct. 12, 2020 -- The Tompkins County Health Department on Monday received notification of a confirmed COVID-19 death, the first of a Tompkins County resident.

The individual was admitted to Cayuga Medical Center on October 6, and died from complications related to the disease on October 12. The individual was a 95-year-old about whom "to maintain medical privacy, the Health Department will not be releasing additional information at this time."

Two other people died of the coronavirus in Tompkins County in April after being transferred from New York City.

“It is with deep regret that we announce the passing" of the 95-year-old patient, said Dr. Martin Stallone, CEO, Cayuga Health System. “Our hearts go out to the patient’s family during this difficult time. I would also like to recognize the dedication of our Cayuga Health team that continue to treat all COVID-19 patients. They remain well prepared and committed to their calling and commitment of treating all patients, no matter what the diagnosis.”

“Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family affected by this loss," echoed Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County Public Health Director. "This passing is a difficult reminder that COVID-19 is still having serious impacts on our community. I urge everyone to pay careful attention to what we can all do to stop the spread. While our ability to manage the disease in Tompkins County has increased, we’re tragically reminded that COVID-19 disproportionately impacts older adults, those who are immune-compromised and those with underlying health conditions.” 

Said Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Chairwoman of the Tompkins County Legislature: “My heart breaks for this loss. Losing a loved one and member of our community is never easy, and this terrible pandemic makes grieving all the more difficult. On behalf of the entire County Legislature, we grieve for the family and hold them close in our thoughts. We’ve come together as a community over the past eight months to do everything we can to fight this disease, and it is my hope that we will all join together in continuing to do all that we can to protect one another,” 

The staff at Cayuga Medical Center and across Cayuga Health have treated numerous COVID-19 patients since March. The Cayuga Health team has also conducted over 300,000 tests across the region and, hospital officials said, will continue to increase testing capabilities.  

About Cayuga Health  

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

2 Seneca View Nursing Facility residents, employee test positive for COVID-19

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Oct. 8, 2020 -- Schuyler County Public Health received notification Thursday that two residents at Schuyler Hospital’s Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility in Montour Falls tested positive for COVID-19 after being screened due to an employee testing positive on the nursing unit.

Schuyler County Public Health, Schuyler Hospital, and the New York State Department of Health are collaborating to ensure all close contacts are identified and placed in quarantine.

The employee is in quarantine at home. One of the two Seneca View residents is not currently experiencing any noticeable symptoms of COVID-19 and seems to be doing well, officials said in a press release, which noted that "this individual has been isolated from other Seneca View residents. The second resident is experiencing symptoms and has been transferred to Cayuga Medical Center as a precautionary measure.

"The entire unit has been placed in quarantine and residents and staff in that unit will be retested frequently to ensure any additional individuals who test positive or develop symptoms can be immediately separated from other residents. Retesting will occur until the facility goes 14 days without any new positive cases."

“It’s important we all continue to exercise caution, especially with COVID-19 cases rising in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions,” said Deborah Minor, Schuyler County Public Health Director. “Please consider shrinking your social bubble by limiting how many different people you are interacting with. This virus mostly spreads from person-to-person between people who are in close contact for an extended period of time, especially indoors.”

Schuyler County Public Health provided the following tips to stop the spread of COVID-19:

--Wear a mask when out in public places or when spending time with people you don’t live with.
--Social distance by keeping at least six feet between yourself and people who aren’t members of your household.
--Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially when you get home after being in public.
--Get tested for COVID-19, especially if you have symptoms or were in close contact with someone who tested positive. To find testing locations, visit:
--Stay home if you are sick -- even if your illness is mild.
--Shrink your social bubble by limiting how many different people you are interacting with. Community spread of the virus is occurring in the Southern Tier with cases rising rapidly in many counties in the region.

In the wake of positive Seneca View cases, hospital to temporarily suspend visitation

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 8, 2020 -- Schuyler Hospital officials announced Thursday that they are temporarily suspending any outside visitation to the hospital starting Friday, October 9 as a precaution in the wake of two residents of the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility testing positive for COVID-19.

Earlier this week a member of the Seneca View staff tested positive during a routine testing. On Thursday, the two residents also tested positive.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic both Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility have implemented and continue to maintain stringent safety measures in compliance with the New York State Department of Health and the CDC guidelines to protect patients, residents of Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility, and our employees,” said Rebecca Gould, President & Chief Financial Officer at Schuyler Hospital.

“It is through these protocols and the testing of staff that occurred this week," she added, "that we identified a confirmed COVID-19 case of an employee working at Seneca View. Once the positive test came back, we proactively tested residents of that particular unit where the employee had been working and identified two positive cases among our residents. We immediately notified all of our residents and families to keep them informed.”

The safety measures include restricting visitation, required use of daily PPE by staff, regular washing of hands, the installation of plexiglass shields in key areas, social distancing in all areas, hand sanitizing stations, screening of everyone entering the facility, COVID-19 testing of staff, enhanced cleaning throughout the facility, and more.

“We will continue to maintain the highest level of safety protocols, including ongoing re-testing of employees and residents, along with aggressive ongoing surveillance to minimize the risk of additional cases,” said  Dr. Martin Stallone,  President & CEO of Cayuga Health. “We are working closely with Schuyler County Public Health and the New York State Department of Health for response coordination and follow-up contact tracing.”

About Cayuga Health

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

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

Open House set at Lee School Museum on Oct. 10; Burdett breakfast slated for Oct. 11

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 2, 2020 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society is celebrating New York State’s Fall Path through History Weekend Oct. 10-11 with an open house at its Lee School Museum and additional hours at its Brick Tavern and Wickham Rural Life Center museums.

The weekend will be capped with a drive-through breakfast prepared by the Burdett Fire Department to benefit the Historical Society.

The Lee School Museum open house will be on Saturday, Oct. 10, from noon to 2 p.m. The historic, one-room school was built in 1884 and is furnished as it would have been in the early 20th century. It is located on Route 14, just south of Montour Falls.

Retired teachers Marty Evans and Judy Van Skiver will welcome visitors and share the one-room experience.

The Brick Tavern and Wickham Rural Life Center museums will be open on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The current special exhibit at the Brick Tavern Museum honors Schuyler County residents who were involved in World War II, in both military and civilian roles.

Masks will be required at all three museums. No admission will be charged.

On Sunday, Oct. 11, Burdett firefighters will offer a drive-through breakfast to benefit the Historical Society. A breakfast of eggs, pancakes, French toast, bacon and sausage will cost $10. The Burdett Fire Department is located on Route 79, north of Burdett.

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

Photo in text: The Lee School Museum (Photo provided)

History Walk to feature Street Racing Stories

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 27, 2020 -- Watkins Glen Village Historian Jim Scaptura and racing historian Bill Green will lead a walk through the village’s street racing history on Saturday, Oct. 3.

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

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

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

Masks will be required.

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

Scuba divers conduct an underwater cleanup

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 20, 2020 -- Scuba diving volunteers cleared the Seneca Harbor marina's underwater terrain Saturday morning during the Finger Lakes Clean Up event organized by Bobby Kurz, owner of Watkins Wine & Spirits.

The second annual such cleanup also included roadside cleanup around the region by other volunteers.

Kurz said that while surface pollution is easily noticeable, there is some underwater, as well. He and his team, for instance, found an old wagon underwater during Saturday's cleanup, an item that found its way to a large dumpster provided by the Casella firm and stationed in the parking lot adjoining the marina's docks.

"Whenever you're under the water," said Kurz, "you always see garbage down there and it's a shame it's out of sight, out of mind. But not for us divers.

"You know, we live in a beautiful region. And we all prosper by a nice clean Finger Lake. So why not do this?"

Photo in text: Scuba divers at the Seneca Harbor marina included, from left: Jim Phillips, Neil Freeland, Bill Bresser, Christeen Freeland, Judy Phillips, and Denise Bresser. They found the wagon underwater, and placed it in the dumpster behind them. (Photo provided)

Final Watkins Glen History Walks set

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 9, 2020 -- The last of the Schuyler County Historical Society’s 2020 Watkins Glen History Walks will be on Saturday, Sept. 19, and Sunday, Sept. 27.

The free, one-hour walks are enjoyed by visitors and local residents. Participants are asked to meet at the Seneca Harbor Park Pier at 10 a.m. The walks are conducted rain or shine. Masks will be required.

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

Learning Support Pod plans to host 20 Watkins Elementary students Wednesdays

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 4, 2020 -- A Learning Support Pod has been formulated by community volunteers to host 20 children on Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Sponsored by the Watkins-Montour Lions Club, the program will be held at St. James Parish House in Watkins Glen with as much outdoor learning as weather permits. Social distancing and safety protocols will be maintained.

Children attending Watkins Glen Elementary School whose families are in need of support are invited to apply for the full-day program, with priority given to those experiencing extenuating circumstances. There is no tuition cost.

The program will follow the school's remote schedule with volunteer certified educators assisting children. Afternoons will be held in conjunction with Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H and REACH programs.

The WG Learning Pod is scheduled to begin on September 16 with the hope that other community learning pods will evolve. Right-click on the form below or email program coordinators Kate LaMoreaux and Marie Fitzsimmons at

Robotics team is seeking new members

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 25, 2020 -- Schuyler County’s youth robotics team, Mechanical Meltdown, is accepting applications for the 2020-2021 season until Tuesday, September 8. Students in grades 7-12 from Schuyler and surrounding counties are invited to apply.

The program allows students to explore their interests in various STEM- and business-related topics as they design, build, and program a robot to perform specific challenges, which change every year. Youths will have opportunities to develop skills in technical areas like engineering, computer programming, Microsoft Office applications, CAD and 3D printing, as well as general life skills such as teamwork, problem solving, leadership, and marketing.

Mechanical Meltdown is part of FLARE – Finger Lakes Area Robotics Education.  The group meets regularly in Watkins Glen. For more information, e-mail or call Kathy at (607) 546-2207.

Watkins history walks are continuing

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Aug. 25, 2020 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society’s Watkins Glen History Walks continued in August and will be conducted again in September.

Schuyler County history experts will lead the walks on Saturday, Sept. 19 and on Sunday, Sept. 27. Walk leaders include Schuyler County Historian Gary Emerson, Village of Burdett Historian Marty Evans and Historical Society Board President Jean Hubsch.

The free, one-hour walks are enjoyed by visitors and local residents. Participants are asked to meet at the Seneca Harbor Park Pier at 10 a.m. The walks are conducted rain or shine. Masks will be required.

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

Watkins-based band Sweats releases debut full-length album, 'Caught in a Wave'

Special to The Odessa File

Listen to Caught in a Wave here.

The Finger Lakes band known as Sweats has released its debut full-length album, “Caught in a Wave.” 

Based in Watkins Glen, NY--the heart of the FLX--the band channels the spirit of the region with a rock that brings summer vibes to the decks of craft breweries and local wineries. (The group plays next at Diversion Brewing in Chemung on Aug. 14 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.) Sweats' home-brewed tunes span genres. Straightforward rock and roll, like “Dramamine” and “Your Man,” mingles with bass-driven grooves like “River.” The album also makes room for more ambitious arrangements, like the “Preyed Hard on It” and the title track, “Caught in a Wave.”

Originally recorded at Pyramid Sound Recording Studios in Ithaca with audio engineer, Mike Caporizzo, the album went on lockdown with the rest of the country in early March. 

“When we’re doing our job, we promote social gathering, which is basically the opposite of what the country needs right now,” said singer and songwriter, Travis Durfee. “Even as we need physical distancing for public health, the need for social connection is so necessary for everybody’s mental health. We hope our tunes help bring people together even though we may be apart.”

Tunes like “Breathing” offer listeners the easy breezes of simple moments with the ones they love. “Double Nay,” the first rock anthem of breastfeeding, channels the angst of the toddler yearning the instant gratification of mother’s milk. “Pressed Leaves” chronicles a love estranged in the images of autumn. 

Sweats has hosted livestreams during quarantine, which are archived on their Facebook page.

Durfee cut teeth with The Huddled Massives before joining forces with Sweats. His songwriting merges the diverse influences of his youth: outlaw country and '90s hip-hop, psychedelic indie rock and evocative '70s singer-songwriters.

Lead guitarist Nick D’Alosio bends the strings to suit the song. His guitar snarls a sustained rage or sings a soothing melody, whatever the tune requires. His chops range from chunky riffs to gritty leads, all delivered with a deft ear for tone. A journeyman player, he has livened the stage with Bigfoot and 5 Degrees North. 

JM Sincock’s command of the kit started in the early years playing along with recordings of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Years of playing since find JM exploring a spectrum of rhythms that include the swinging shuffles of the Dead and Phish to the lock-tight rhythms of Hall and Oates. He has also been sighted jamming with Bigfoot.

Bassist Rob Kurcoba draws inspiration through his deep roots in hip hop and jam bands. Kurcoba, a Subtle Butterscotch alum, has an active finger-style that evokes Floyd Pepper from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Kurcoba’s melodic bass lines lay the foundations for many Sweats originals. 

"Caught in a Wave” can be found on Spotify, Apple music, and other major streaming surfaces. CDs and limited run vinyl can be ordered, as well. The band is offering the music for contributions on BandCamp

“We hope to sell a few digital downloads to make up for what we’ve lost this year in live shows,” Durfee said. 

The Sweats band shows no sign of slowing down. In the absence  of live shows, it is currently working up the next crop of songs for another record to come soon.

Photo in text: Singer-songwriter Travis Durfee (File photo)

Beauty in the light

The editor's son David was enroute from Odessa to Morrisville when the rainbow on the right caught his attention northeast of Ithaca.

David tried several shots, and found with most of them that a rainbow is ethereal -- difficult to capture in a photograph unless there is a dark background for contrast. For a few moments, that contrast existed enough for him to capture this image ... an example of beauty in the light.


(Photo by David Haeffner)


Some links to people features

Here are some links to other pages on this website dealing with features about people:

A tale called "Bubba," about a childhood hero, can be reached by clicking here.

Tales of life along Steam Mill Road years ago, submitted by now-Australian resident Betty Appleton, can be reached by clicking here.

A story about the editor's family being menaced by a maniac on the highway can be reached by clicking here.

A story about the Lazio-Clinton campaign in Schuyler County, and its relationship to herbal remedies, can be found by clicking here.



The Odessa File 2022
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869