Click on the ad above to reach the Glenora website.


Seneca Harbor Station & Captain Bill's

To reach the website of the Seneca Harbor Station and Captain Bill's, click here.


Senka Agency

Are you receiving the great customer service you deserve? If not, give us a call or stop in. We provide great customer service and are happy to help you with all your insurance needs.

Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00.
After hours and weekends by appointment.

Always "Working to Serve YOU Better"

Main Steet, Odessa, NY Telephone 607-594-3335


Click on the ad above to visit the Visions Credit Union web site -- you deserve a financial partner that has your best interest in mind!


The Great Escape
Ice Cream Parlor

221 S. Franklin St.,
Watkins Glen

Hours: 12 noon-8 p.m.

Open until Thanksgiving Eve

--Vegan Options
--Gluten-free Options
--Homemade Hard Ice Cream
--Homemade Chocolates
--Grape Pies

(607) 535-7354

Other locations in the
Finger Lakes where you can
find The Great Escape's homemade hard ice cream:

The Grist Iron, Wright's Beverages, FLX Wienery, Sunset View Creamery, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, FLX Fry Bird


Click on the ad below
to learn more.


Pavilion, Picnic Area, BBQ Pit available with reservation.

Memorial Day Service
every Memorial Day 11 a.m.

Check out this beautiful park.

Forms for engraved bricks or benches are available at
visitors center or at

Questions? Call Clayton Snow


The Odessa File's
Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism

For your convenience, we have installed the link below to make donations to this website easier. Now you can utilize your PayPal account or your credit card.


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 

Odessa Wine
and Spirits

We are located on Main Street in Odessa, next to the Tompkins Trust Company branch.

Send us an email to to let us know what you would like us to have in stock.

Free wine tasting every Friday.


SCT Computers

Apple Certified Technicians
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers
A+ Certified Technicians

Visit us at 306 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen, 607-535-2495

Main St., Penn Yan
(315) 694-7399



Your authorized FedEx ship center
M-F 7:30-5:30 (Cut off time 3 pm)
Sat. 10-2 (no pickups)
306 N. Franklin Street
Watkins Glen NY 14891

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

Click on the ad below to go to the United Way of Schuyler County website.


For your convenience, we have installed the link below to make donations to this website easier. Now you can utilize your PayPal account or your credit card.


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Curly's Restaurant is a page sponsor -- of our People Page. People.

Other page sponsors:

Business -- Sidle Insurance

Sports -- Cayuga Medical Ctr.

Features -- Cabins to Castles Real Estate

Government -- Specchio Ford

Schools -- Watkins Sporting Goods

Calendar -- Hi-Lites

Forum -- Warren Real Estate


To reach the FOWL website, click on the logo above.


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


To reach the Odessa Government Page, click here or on the logo below.


Our Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism


The IBEW Local 241 is a sponsor of this website


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Click below to go to the
Rotary Club website.


To reach the website of the Five Rivers Council, Boys Scouts of America, click here or on the logo above.



To reach the Watkins Glen School District website, click here


Check this out:


Contact this website at:



4 Novels by the editor

Island Nights

Excerpt here.

The Islander

The entire novel:

Prelude-Chapter 4

Chapters 5-13

Chapters 14-21

Chapters 22-29

Chapters 30-36

Chapters 37-44.

Cabins in the Mist

Excerpt here

The Maiden of Mackinac

Excerpts Maiden

and here and here. 







Click on the ad below to go to the Seneca View website.


Morris to retire June 1; sets up Nov. election

Schuyler County Judge Dennis Morris -- saying "it just seemed like it was time" -- will retire on June 1, 2019, well ahead of the end of the 10-year term he won in 2011. A new 10-year term will be up for grabs in a November election. Government.


Photo: Schuyler County Judge Dennis Morris. (File Photo)


Historic cuckoo clock donated to Museum

A double cuckoo clock with possibly royal lineage is donated to the Schuyler County Historical Society by Rick Evans, who said "it belongs to the people of Schuyler County. It's part of their history." People.


The cuckoo clock on a wall at the Historical Society's Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls.


Students, coaches offload Seneca Santa truck

The annual delivery of a Hesselson truckload of Seneca Santa toys, games and other gifts for underprivileged children (ages 2-12) in Schuyler County was conducted Wednesday afternoon at the First Presbyterian Church in Watkins Glen -- with the truck full of goods (purchased at cost by the Seneca Santa organization) offloaded with the help of Watkins Glen High School student-athletes and coaches. Dozens of students tossed and handed packages from one to another as the boxes were maneuvered to a storage room upstairs, where they will be sorted and wrapped (with the help of Girl Scouts) before the delivery shortly before Christmas to about 120 families with about 300 children.

Photo: WGHS students hand packages up the church stairs.


A column by State Senator Tom O'Mara

New York State Senator Tom O'Mara provides us with a weekly column from Albany. This week: "The resurgence of meth." Column.

Left: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

A Christmas verse: Origin

The Odessa File's origins are recounted, tongue in Christmas cheek, in this poem by the website's editor. It is presented here annually at this time of year. Poetry.


A cardboard connection ...

The editor recalls a friend who recently died -- a Canadian who visited him annually in Schuyler County and shared a passion: card collecting and trading. Column.


Anyone caring to advertise may contact the publisher, Charlie Haeffner, at for information.

To learn more, click on the ad below.

Click on the ad below for more information

Dealer/collector looking to buy groups of pre-1970 paper memorabilia: cards, magazines, posters, programs etc. Call Charlie at (607) 742-2772.




And inside

--Calendars picturing area waterfalls are still available for sale -- part of a fund-raising effort by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club. Business.

Part 1 of "Schuyler County and Me," reprised, Click here.
For Part 2, click here.
For Part 3, click here .
For Part 4, click here.
For Part 5, click here.

The Editor's


Death Notices on the Obituary Page.

Clarence E. "Barnie" Parker, 83, of Odessa.
Norma "Jean" Eldridge, 93, of Tyrone.
Julia "Judy" Scaptura, 91, of Montour Falls.
John R. Viglione, 55, of Tully.
Nancy J. Kelce, 56, of Montour Falls.
Nicholas J. Dugo, 72, of Watkins Glen.
Harvey Bishop, 66, of Watkins Glen.
Julia Roccisano Simiele, 83.
June Rose (Ector) Estep, 88, of Montour Falls.
Margaret A. Elliott, 91, of Watkins Glen.
Henry "Hank" Kramer, 84, of Montour Falls.
Thomas E. Collins, 86, formerly of Millport.

(For earlier Vedder & Scott obituaries, click here.)

Editor's Note

Debbie Stayer Kelly of Burdett -- a lifelong Schuyler resident, a single parent of two sons and a highly praised Cornell employee -- has Stage 4 cancer as well as a rare genetic mutation called Lynch Syndrome. She is facing a large financial burden as her battle continues.

Her Cornell colleagues have created a GoFundMe page for her that you can find right here. An update can be found by clicking on the Updates button on that site. I hope we all can help out.

Phoning The Odessa File?

You can reach us at (607) 742-2772

  Honoring The Essentials: Schuyler standouts

A dozen women and a dozen men populate this committee-selected group of outstanding Schuyler County residents or natives who have impacted life here or elsewhere. None is in the Schuyler County Hall of Fame, but perhaps will be. Essentials.

Photo: Honoree Peggy Scott.

Planning Board acting chairman Tom Fitzgerald at the meeting.


Planning Board gives go-ahead to Cheese Co.

The Watkins Glen Planning Board on Dec. 12 gave its blessing to the construction of the Seneca Cheese Company building at 29 N. Franklin St. -- on a lot where the building its owners, Bob and Barb MacBlane, had purchased and planned to renovate was instead razed last week when it was determined it was structurally unsound. The Planning Board -- told by County Planner Kristin Van Horn that a reading of regulations showed construction, if hewing to the footprints (size, shape and plans) of the original Planning Board-approved building -- required no further public hearings and no further board measures. Accordingly, the board told Mr. MacBlane -- who assured them the building would indeed be the same as the original -- to proceed. Construction, he said, will begin soon -- that despite increasing costs, "good things are happening" in Watkins Glen. "We want to be part of it." The building will be two floors, with one apartment. Local cheese, beer and wine products will be available, with consumption available on-site -- including on a second-floor deck.

Photo in text: Bob MacBlane studies some papers before start of the Planning Board session.

From left: Legislators Dennis Fagan, Phil Barnes, Mark Rondinaro and Van Harp.


Legislators set year-end, organizational meets

The Schuyler County Legislature held a short meeting Dec. 10, at which it renewed agreement with Chemung and Yates Counties to share its Director of Weights and Measures for another five years; appointed Joe Fazzary (Republican) and Carolyn Elkins (Democrat) to two-year terms as Election Commissioners; and set its year-end meeting for 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 27, and its 2019 organizational meeting for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2.

The Legislature also heard from Chairman Dennis Fagan that sales tax revenue for 2018 is expected to end up at about $11.5 million, well ahead of the 2017 total of $10.7 million. "I don't believe I've ever seen it rise that much from one year to the next," he said. "It's all good news.

Photo in text: Chairman Dennis Fagan at Monday's meeting.


A legal column from Ziff Law's Jim Reed

Attorney James B. Reed of the Ziff Law Firm in Elmira offers this regular column, tackling issues that you might encounter in your daily lives. This time: "Here are a few winter legal tips." Column.

Left: Attorney Jim Reed

Bridge open

The North L'Hommedieu Bridge -- at the corner of Rock Cabin Road in Montour Falls -- reopened to traffic Dec. 6 after being closed for several months for reconstruction.

Click the ad below to reach the Hazlitt 1852 website.

Click here to reach the Hazlitt 1852 Facebook page.

Want to phone The Odessa File?

You can reach us at (607) 742-2772

115 East Fourth Street, PO Box 30, Watkins Glen, NY 14891

Proudly Representing:

In order to visit the E.C. Cooper website, click here.
To visit the Finger Lakes Fire & Casualty Company website, click here.


Village Christmas parade winners announced

The Watkins Glen Village Christmas Committee has unveiled the winners in its Visions of Dr. Seuss parade on Friday, Dec. 7.

The winners:

Most Christmas Dr. Seuss Spirit: Watkins Glen Post Office.
Best Dr. Seuss Theme: Glen Gators Swim Team.
Best Dr. Seuss Decorated Fire Truck: Montour Falls Fire Dept.
Judges' Choice: New Heights Dance Theater.

Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with an elf, ride on a float in the Watkins Glen Village Christmas parade.


Watkins Glen holds its Village Christmas

The annual Watkins Glen Village Christmas was held December 7th on Franklin Street. Vendors, a parade, music, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and fireworks off the pier were among the highlights on a cold night with temperatures in the mid-20s.

The parade featured cartoon characters (like the Cat in the Hat, right), floats, fire trucks, and organizations such as the Glen Gators and the Girl Scouts.

Vendors up and down Franklin Street offered a wide array of food, among them hot soups and warm beverages to help ward off the night's chill.


Rotary Club honors Reese as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Tori Reese (right) was honored Dec. 6 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for December. She was introduced by teacher Molly Kinnetz, who said the honoree -- a High Honor student and part of the New Visions program at BOCES -- is "a true example of how persistence, dedication and hard work pay off." Reese, an IAC and Odessa File All-Star swimmer, plans to attend a SUNY agricultural school with an eye toward a career in the dairy industry. She said she hopes to continue her swim career in college.

Rotary Club honoree Austin Voorheis receives his Student of the Month plaque from club Interim President Tony Fraboni.


Rotary honors Voorheis as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Austin Voorheis was honored Dec. 6 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for December. He was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who praised his "desire to learn and understand content" and said his participation in class makes him "almost like a co-teacher" and has "made me a better teacher." Voorheis, a High Honor student who said he plans to study computer science in college, praised his school for its "availability of success for all students."


A column by Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer

The mayor provides us with his third in a series of columns on what is happening in Odessa. Column.


Photo: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer


A monthly column from Cooperative Extension

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County is providing a monthly column here on its ongoing educational activities and offerings. The fifth column -- "The woods we call home" -- is by Brett Chedzoy of CCE Schuyler. Column.


Photo: Brett Chedzoy (Provided)

Watkins Glen Village Board weighs in on BID, tax limit. Government.


Available on Kindle:
The Maiden of Mackinac

This story -- which spans 700 years and ranges from our region to Northern Michigan -- tells of a quest for the truth behind a legend ... the legend of a Native American maiden reputed to be centuries old. It was written by Charlie Haeffner, and is available now on Kindle at To see the ad, click here.

Left: Cover art by Jon Haeffner


This week's deals at Famous Brands

We are carrying the weekly ad showcasing the latest deals available at Jim Guild's Famous Brands store on Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen. For a look, click here.

To reach the Famous Brands website, click here
or on the drawing above

Sunday, December 16 at 4:30 p.m.
Church Street, Odessa

For more information, contact Kim Laursen at 607-594-6565


3 inducted into National Honor Society at O-M

The Odessa-Montour High School chapter of the National Honor Society added three members to its ranks Wednesday night at an induction ceremony at the school. Joining the NHS were, from left in photo above, Madison Vogel, Dylan Houseknecht and Hannah Bruno. (Photo provided)

Santa Claus was on hand at the Odessa Fire Department party.


Firefighters' party draws a crowd in Odessa

The annual Odessa Fire Department Christmas Party at the Village Hall drew a large contingent of youngsters Dec. 2 who enjoyed face painting, drawing, visiting Santa, mailing Letters to Santa (right), and receiving (and playing with) gifts purchased and provided by the fire department. Food and beverage were also provided to attendees.

Left: O-M Hall of Fame inductee Kelly Legare. Right: Inductee Tom Lewis, right, with emcee Greg Gavich.


Odessa-Montour Sports Hall of Fame inducts 4

Four standout athletes from Odessa-Montour High School's past were inducted Nov. 30 into the O-M Sports Hall of Fame during a ceremony in the school cafeteria. The event, which included a buffet dinner provided by Jerlando's, honored the following inductees: the late Doug Cooper (Class of 1974, football, swimming and baseball), Kelly Legare (Class of 1984, baseball and football), Tom Lewis (Class of 1993, football, basketball and baseball) and Katie Taber (Class of 2006, soccer, basketball and track).

Photo in text: Inductee Katie Taber at the ceremony.


WGHS's 1st marking period Honor Rolls

Watkins Glen High School has unveiled its High Honor Roll, Honor Roll and Merit Honors for the first marking period of the 2018-19 year. Honors.


The 16th installment of The Answers

Travis Durfee, President of the Watkins Glen Faculty Association, weighs in with The Answers, a regular column dealing with education in the Watkins Glen School District. This is the 16th installment: "What's going on in Watkins?" Column.


Left: Travis Durfee

Rasa Spa opens Watkins location

The Ithaca-based business offers massage, facials, waxing and other services at 210 N. Franklin St. Business.

For other recent Schuyler
County news, click here.


Visit Jerlando's Ristorante & Pizzeria

Three locations: in Watkins Glen, Horseheads and Montour Falls

Click here or on the photo at left to go to the Jerlando's website. There you will find information about all three locations, plus menus.

Left: The front of the recently renovated Jerlando's at Franklin and 4th Streets, Watkins Glen

To reach the Harbor Hotel website, click on the photo below

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel

16 N. Franklin St.
Watkins Glen, NY 14891-1221
(607) 535-6116

For other recent Schuyler
County news, click here.


Looking to advertise on The Odessa File?

We are always looking for advertisers to help promote their businesses and, by extension, our region. For a list of Odessa File Ad rates, click here.

Anyone wishing to contribute to The Odessa File -- which is dependent on advertising and donations -- may do so through a Paypal link in the left column of this page or by sending a check to The Odessa File, P.O. Box 365, Odessa, NY 14869.

A display featuring highlights of James Hope's life are part of the exhibit, which includes several of his area landscape paintings.


Hope exhibit is the centerpiece of Open House

The Schuyler County Historical Society held its annual Holiday Open House Dec. 2 at its Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls -- with the centerpiece being an exhibit showcasing the life and work of 19th century artist James Hope, who created many works while a resident of Watkins Glen and whose 200th birthday celebration was Nov. 29. Refreshments were served to museum visitors.

Meeting summary

The Watkins Glen School Board met in a brief session on Nov. 29 at 7:35 a.m. For the school-provided summary, see Schools.

Left: Pecans were among the many kinds of food available. Right: A kitchen worker prepares the "Street of Shops" lunch.


'Street of Shops' Bazaar offers foods, crafts

The annual "Street of Shops" Holiday Bazaar at the First Presbyterian Church of Watkins Glen on Dec. 1 drew a crowd for morning pastries and coffee, and then a lunch of soups, sandwiches, dessert and drinks. Homemade crafts and baked goods were available, along with homemade jams and jellies, peanut brittle, and fudge. Raffles offered a variety of goods donated by area businesses.

Photo at right: One of the many craft items available at the "Street of Shops" bazaar.

Watkins Glen's Allie Gibson, left, and Hannah Morse.


Our All-Schuyler Autumn All-Stars and MVPs

The Odessa File's First, Second and Third Team Autumn All-Stars have been selected, as well as the Schuyler Fall MVPs -- Watkins Glen High School swimmer Allie Gibson and WGHS soccer record-setter Hannah Morse. Sports.


The Arc kicks off its Transformation 2020 drive

The Arc of Schuyler's Transformation 2020 fundraising campaign had its official launch Nov. 8 at a social gathering for Arc supporters at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Co-chairs Dominick Franzese and daughter Margaret Lawrence spoke after a poignant video featuring Steve Rondinaro, whose sister Cindy has received Arc services for years. Also speaking were Arc Board President Jay Hoffmeier and Executive Director Jeannette Frank, who outlined the projects the campaign will finance. Features.

Photo: The Arc's executive director, Jeannette Frank, right, and Watkins Glen Village Trustee Laurie DeNardo.


Rotary honors Grover as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Olivia Grover was honored Nov. 29 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for November. Grover was introduced by teacher Danielle Rumsey, who described the honoree as "a wonderful person" who "volunteers a lot" and is "amazing all-around." Grover, the National Honor Society president, the Student Council treasurer and a member of the Superintendent's Leadership Council, is an All-Star and team captain in both soccer and basketball. She was also a member last year of the Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athletes in the region.

Photo in text: Olivia Grover at the Rotary Club luncheon.

SCOPED Executive Director Judy Cherry and County Administrator Tim O'Hearn were among the officials at the meeting. Also present, in addition to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, were County Planning Director Kristin VanHorn, Deputy Mayor Gary Schmidt, SCOPED's Amanda Arnold Rodriguez, DRI project owner Jackie Honsberger (The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor), and Dr. Amanda Smith-Socaris, a member of the DRI Local Project Committee.


Hochul gets update on Watkins DRI projects

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Watkins Glen Nov. 29 for an update on the various Downtown Revitalization Initiative and related projects planned in the village. She met with officials from the county, village and Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) in the Village Hall board room. The meeting was requested by Hochul, who earlier in the day visited Hornell for a hospital ground-breaking ceremony. She praised a number of projects and a joint county-village effort that offers a "shared vision," and thanked "all of you for putting in the time to transform your community. Stay with it. It's gonna be unrecognizable."

Photo: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul at Thursday's meeting.

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services Real Estate Development Director Joe Bowes with a drawing of the apartment complex.


Planning Board OKs Apartments/Care Center

Watkins Glen's Planning Board -- following an hour-long public hearing at which several area residents expressed concerns -- gave Final Site Plan Approval Wednesday, Nov. 28 to a proposed 3-story, 35-foot-high apartment complex at Second and North Porter Streets, across from Jefferson Village, proposed by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services. The board added a condition that the INHS spokesman, Director of Real Estate Development Joe Bowes, meet with the village fire chief and code enforcement officer to discuss codes -- which he pointed out had to be met anyway before construction could begin. He said project completion is planned by the end of 2020. The building will house 24 one-bedroom apartments and 10 two-bedroom apartments, as well as a child-care center run by My Place.

The board also gave Final Site Plan Approval for the Glen Racing Grill on 11th Street, and Preliminary Site Plan Approval to Cargill for a pumphouse and tanks that will increase environmental safeguards in the handling of brine. A public hearing on that proposed "Salt Tank Farm" was scheduled for the next board meeting, on Dec. 12.

Photo in text: Planning Board member Brian Eslinger


Coffey named National Team Athlete of Year

Olivia Coffey (right) -- a member of the winning eights team at the Sept. 16 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and on the winning Cambridge team in the annual Boat Race against Oxford earlier this year in England -- has garnered the most votes to earn the USRowing Fan's Choice award for National Team Athlete of the Year. Coffey, 29, a one-time Watkins Glen High School student-athlete who went on to prep school, All-America status at Harvard and an alternate rowing spot at the Olympics, was among four finalists. The USRowing Fan's Choice Awards, in their eighth year, "are an important part of USRowing's longstanding tradition of bestowing awards for superior performance and contributions to the success of our sport," said the award website.

The walls of the barn were outlined by the fire burning within as firefighters battled the blaze on the Gates Farm.


Fire strikes large barn on farm near Burdett

Fire destroyed a 40-by-100-foot pole barn containing hay, straw, a tractor and tires late Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 27 on the Gates farm along the Dolphsburg Road outside Burdett, between County Routes 8 and 9. Thick black smoke caused by the tires rose high above the scene, visible for miles. There were no people or animals in the structure when it caught fire, said officials and family at the scene. The cause was being investigated.

Right: Two firefighters at the barn blaze.


Truck Rollover:

A Watkins Glen fire truck rolled on its side along County Rte. 9 near the juncture with State Route 79 outside Burdett Tuesday while responding to the barn fire on Dolphsburg Road. Officials at first declined comment on the incident, but Watkins Fire Chief Charlie Smith III issued a statement Wednesday. See Statement.

Photo: The truck on its side. (WENY photo)


Teacher, judge Nicholas Dugo remembered

Friends and admirers were lamenting the passing Tuesday of retired teacher and former Watkins Glen Village Justice Nicholas Dugo, whose death was announced Monday, Nov. 26 by St. James' Episcopal Church, where he was its senior warden. The church said it “praises God for the life of ... a profound and passionate teacher.”

Comments on Facebook included:

Sara Morton: “Mr. Dugo was a fantastic teacher who helped to send me on the path towards becoming a lawyer. The world is dimmer today, but brighter for him having been a part of it."
Rich Bitter: “Judge Dugo was both of my kids’ high school history teacher, and he was great. Especially on the annual senior class trips to DC. ”
Drew Guild: “I didn’t know Nick for but just a few years. I sang right next to him at St. James ... We kidded each other. Soft spoken, yet you listened to his knowledge. “
Marie Fitzsimmons: “My teacher, mentor, friend -- my gratitude for every gift."
Diane Wood: "RIP Nick. He was a great man and teacher respected and loved by his students and colleagues. It was an honor to work with him.”

Photo: Nick Dugo.

Nicholas Dugo's obituary can be found here.

Among 30 vendors on hand for Small Business Saturday at the Odessa Municipal Building was photographer Alyssa McCray.


Small business, Christmas mix in Odessa

Small Business Saturday, which stresses local shopping in communities around the country, was observed Nov. 24 in both Watkins Glen and Odessa -- the latter offering both a vendors' market and a student concert at the Odessa Municipal Building. That village's 7th annual tree lighting ceremony outside the Municipal Building alongside Route 224 was preceded by the 3rd annual vendors' gathering featuring 30 small-business operators and artisans. And for the first time, a concert featuring Odessa-Montour students was held as part of the Odessa celebration -- with the group directed by O-M's Jennifer Kraemer, with guitar and vocal accompaniment by Kim Laursen. The vendors' market drew a crowd, as did the concert -- standing room only -- and the tree lighting. Organizers plan to repeat the vendor and concert components in coming years.

Photo: The 7th annual Odessa tree lighting ceremony had a new tree, planted recently -- in place of cut trees used before.

Students from O-M performed Christmas music at a concert in the Odessa Municipal Building preceding the tree lighting.

Fire truck sits outside 119 Second St. in the early afternoon.


Fire strikes house on Second Street in Glen

Fire of undetermined origin extensively damaged a house at 119 Second St. in Watkins Glen on Nov. 22. The fire, which also damaged the exterior of houses on either side of it, broke out about 1:15 a.m. and rekindled on the second floor at about 11:30 a.m., bringing firefighters from Watkins Glen and Montour Falls back to the scene. Nobody was home at 119 or 117 Second St. during the initial blaze, while a resident at 121 Second St., was evacuated safely. Firefighters from Watkins, Montour, Odessa, Tyrone, Beaver Dams, Dundee and Mecklenburg responded to the initial blaze, which one firefighter noted could easily have destroyed all three structures.

Award Night

Watkins Glen High School swimmer Allie Gibson -- who won three Section IV, Class C races as her team won the sectional title -- holds an Outstanding Athletic Achievement Award from the school district, distributed at the Nov. 19 School Board meeting to each member of the squad. Flanking her from left: Coach Nikki Chaffee and Assistant Coaches Jason Westervelt and Steve Klemann.

Team photo and story on award presentation. Sports.
Kelahan firmly denies Special Ed shutdown plan. Schools.


3 from Seneca Indians play in Davis Classic

Seniors Wyatt and Wrett Brower and Dylan Houseknecht compete on the West squad in the annual Ernie Davis Classic East West football game. Sports.

Left: Wrett Brower's helmet.

Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi makes a point.


Watkins board tables action on short-terms

The Watkins Glen Village Board Nov. 19, after an hour-long public hearing on proposed amendments to the Zoning Law that focus in part on the regulation of short-term rentals, tabled action for further revisions. The proposed amendment to Local Law #4 0f 2016 (the Zoning Law) was thereby returned to a starting point that requires advertisement and another public hearing. Among suggested changes was one streamlining the process so that application for short-term licenses must be submitted within 30 days of enactment of the law, with time of approval dependent on the village. Another: licenses should be good for two years from the time of approval. Clarifications are also planned regarding building height limits. Attorney William La Forte, advising the board on the document, said he would work on the revisions this week and respond with alternative scenarios by next week. The board will then discuss changes it wants and advertise the next public hearing, but did not specify a date. Said Mayor Sam Schimizzi: "We're just trying to do the right thing."

Photo: Attorney William La Forte.


Harvest Schuyler Celebration set for Dec. 10

The Harvest Schuyler Committee of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is calling on farmers, restaurant owners, bed and breakfast owners, chefs -- anyone looking to supply local ingredients to local businesses OR looking to source local ingredients from local farmers -- to attend the Harvest Schuyler Progressive Celebration on Dec. 10 in downtown Watkins Glen. Business.


Rotary honors Stephani as Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Emilee Stephani was honored Nov. 8 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for November. She was introduced by teacher Rebecca Gilfus, who described the honoree as "a leader, a planner and a person who walks the talk." She commended Stephani for a key role in the success of the recent Homecoming Dance, and said she "is kind and helpful toward other students and respectful toward adults." Stephani, a member of National Honor Society, Interact and the Student Council and a High Honor student, plans to attend Corning Community College and then transfer to a four-year school to pursue a degree in criminal psychology. She thanked Rotary for its interest in, and encouragement of, area students.

Photo: Emilee Stephani, left, and teacher Rebecca Gilfus.


Barnes is unofficial winner in DIstrict 6 race

Incumbent Republican Phil Barnes is the unofficial winner over Democratic challenger Brian Eslinger in the District 6 race for a seat on the Schuyler County Legislature. With all absentee ballots counted, the final totals show Barnes winning 496-488 -- totals expected to be certified on Nov. 20. Commissioner Joe Fazzary said that barring an unforeseen circumstance -- such as a court challenge -- the 496-488 total will hold. "And it looks like everyone is accepting of it," he said. Barnes had led by 17 votes after balloting on Nov 6. Absentees trimmmed his lead by nine, to the final eight-vote margin. This will be his third term on the Legislature.

Photos: Phil Barnes at the Board of Elections Tuesday.


Mitrano is planning 2020 bid for Congress

Democrat Tracy Mitrano, defeated Nov. 6 in her run for Congress against incumbent Republican Tom Reed, says she will seek the 2020 Democratic nomination again. She said in a press release that "a grassroots movement" that rose over the past two years will "continue to grow over the next two years," building on the just-completed campaign. "The last Democrat to win this district did so on his second run and I now understand why," she said, noting that she will launch her 2020 campaign with a Thank You Tour for volunteers and supporters, followed by a Listening Tour "to hear the concerns of constituents."

Photo: Tracy Mitrano at a recent town hall meeting.


Schuyler Legislature approves 2019 budget

Schuyler County legislators on Nov. 13 unanimously approved a $49 million 2019 county budget that calls for a tax levy of $11,116,913 -- up $57,969 from 2018 -- and a tax rate down .71% from the previous year. The budget was approved following a 40-minute presentation by County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, who outlined the many projects underway or planned in the county and, in conclusion, praised County Treasurer Harrriett Vickio, who he said was attending "her final budget meeting" prior to retirement. In four years, he said, Vickio has established "fiscal stability, accountability and control" in county finances and developed a strong staff that can carry on effectively after her retirement. His words triggered a standing ovation for Vickio, seated in the back of the room.

The board also, following a public hearing at which nobody spoke, approved adjustments in salaries for "certain public officials." Those salaries, in 45 days, will include: $99,064 for the Commissioner of Social Services, $94,675 for the Real Property Tax Collector, $93,887 for the Highway Superintendent, $110,351 for the County Attorney, and $97,985 for the Public Defender.

Photo: County Administrator Tim O'Hearn


Vietnam-era veterans honored at ceremony

The third annual event, sponsored by the Rotary and Lions Clubs, was held at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Each honoree received a lapel pin emblematic of "the nation's gratitude." People.

Photo: The keynote speaker, retired Col. A. Phillip Waite, Jr.

Veterans Day ceremony held in Watkins Glen. People.


Some more photos from dinner, musical

Here are a few more photos from the weekend of Nov. 9-11: from 'Shrek the Musical' and from the November Splendor dinner-dance. Features.

Left: At November Splendor: Ken Wilson and Stacey Parrish.

Camaraderie was in full swing at November Splendor, here with Phil Cherry (right) and wife Judy talking with Schuyler Hospital President Jim Watson.


November Splendor packs the hotel ballroom

The annual November Splendor dinner-dance at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel ballroom was a sold-out affair Saturday night, Nov. 10, with 290 attending. The event, featuring raffles and auctions and presented by the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary and Schuyler Health Foundation, is a key fundraiser for Schuyler Hospital. Music was provided by Letizia and the Z Band. Another feature: an open bar for the first hour of the 5-11 p.m. gathering.

Photo: Among the 290 people present were David and Tiffany Zinger.

Rhys Stermer portrayed Donkey, a humorous sidekick to Shrek.


'Shrek the Musical' completes its 3-day run

The Lake Country Players' production of "Shrek The Musical" was presented for the third and final time Sunday, Nov. 11 before an appreciative audience in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. From the editor, here is a short review of this play about an ogre who finds true love: Comedic; colorful; pleasing sets; lots of energy; lengthy but moves fast; great voices; exceptional pit band. Shrek is portrayed by new-to-the-LCP Alex Gill, with a powerful voice reminiscent of the great Glenn Yarbrough. Funny toss-off lines and great song from Donkey (Rhys Stermer). A mind-blowing showing by Lord Farquaad (Anthony Curren). Four different Princess Fionas, all exceptional. A great finale with "I'm a Believer." (I am a believer). Go. Enjoy." Now, if you didn't, it's too late.

Photo: Alex Gill as Shrek putting on a dance move.

Left: Anthony Curren portrayed Lord Farquaad. Right: Melissa Neufer was Princess Fiona.

12-year-old's "school shooter" comments draw Social Service ruling from Schuyler County Family Court. Government.


Watkins board reinstates 30 mph speed limit

The 20 mile per hour speed limit established on Watkins Glen side streets by Local Law in 2012 has been scrapped and the original 30 mph reinstated. The Village Board on Nov. 5 approved a Local Law altering the 2012 ruling, making the speed zone throughout the village 30 mph -- including a stretch of Rt. 14 north of downtown that has been 40. With that exception, state roads in the village have been 30 all along. Officials said the state notified Watkins recently that the 20 mph it had adopted was not enforceable -- although the 15 mph zone near the school remains in force. The new law takes effect upon filing with the state, whiich is expected this week.

The board also: decided to enforce existing odd-even parking rules from November through March instead of relying on "Code Red" calls; approved the annual Village Christmas celebration on Dec. 7 on Franklin Street; and approved the fifth annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning along village streets.

Photo: Mayor Sam Schimizzi, left, and trustee Gary Schimidt.


Ask Amy columnist draws crowd at Inn

Amy Dickinson presents a speech, answers questions and signs copies of her books as more than 100 turn out at the Fontainebleau Inn. The event raised funds for the Dutton Peterson Library in Odessa. People.

Left: Amy Dickinson, right, signs one of her books for one of her readers.


Glen girls claim Section 4, Class C swim title

The Watkins Glen High School girls varsity swim team got wins from Allie Gibson in the 50 Free and 100 Free, from Peighton Cervoni in the 100 Back, and from the 200 Free Relay team of Gibson, Cervoni, Jillian Cantieni and Amanda Wilbur on the way to a lopsided victory in the Section IV, Class C Tournament in the WGHS pool. Sports.

Photo: The Section IV, Class C championship plaque.

Gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro at Friday's GOP rally at the Seneca Harbor Station restaurant.


GOP faithful turn out for Molinaro visit

Republican gubernatorial candiate Marc Molinaro is cheered at a Watkins Glen rally attended by the area GOP. Government.

Left: Congressman Tom Reed was on hand.


ZBA: 3rd floor on proposed apartments is OK

The Watkins Glen Zoning Board of Appeals on Nov. 1 give its blessing, 4-0, to a third floor on a proposed apartment complex on East Second Street, across from Jefferson Village. The building, planned by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, would occupy what is currently a vacant lot in a residential area. It would include a child care center operated by My Place, a child-care business currently in Montour Falls. The structure's height would be 35 feet, within the parameters of the zoning code, which currently also specifies a maximum of two stories. Next up for the project will be the Village Planning Board, scheduled to meet Nov. 14.

Photo: ZBA Chair Bob Lee at Thursday's meeting.

O-M Sports Hall to induct 4

The Odessa-Montour Sports Hall of Fame will induct Doug Cooper, Kelly Legare, Tom Lewis and Katie Taber in a dinner ceremony on Nov. 30. Sports.


A new method for youth political activism

Watkins Glen High School senior Kathleen Clifford (pictured at right) weighs in with some thoughts on how teens could gain power through careful, informed consumerism. "Teenagers have the ability to use their discretionary spending to influence corporations" and, by extension, politics, she writes. Schools.


Rotary honors Heichel as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Kennedey Heichel was honored Oct. 25 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for October. The honoree was introduced by teacher Doug Chapman, who said Heichel "has a desire for perfection that you rarely see." He also outlined her achievements: No 1 in her class academically, Interact vice president, Student Council president, member of the Superintendent's Leadership Cabinet, three-sport standout (soccer, basketball and track) and school record holder in the Pole Vault. She was The Odessa File's O-M Female Athlete of the Year last year, as well as a member of the Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athletes in the region. She hopes to attend Harvard, with Cornell and the University of Michigan as backups. She wants to pursue a degree in biological science and ultimately become a doctor.


Rotary honors Rose as WG Student of Month

Watkins Glen High School senior H. Nathaniel Rose was honored Oct. 25 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for October. He was introduced by school district Library Media Specialist Maggie Field, who described him as "respectful, smart, kind, caring, fearless, willing and energetic," as well as "a talented performer, with a great sense of humor." Rose, a member of National Honor Society, Chorus and Band, is a veteran theater performer in school and, recently, in the Dream Barn production of "Little Shop of Horrors," where he played a Venus Fly Trap. He plans to attend college, possibly Corning Community before transferring to the Rochester Institute of Technology, and says his "fantasy" career would be working in the field of quantum computers. He said he is inspired by theater, and enjoys the Watkins community -- "how everybody works together."


Rhodes, Willow gather honors at World Expo

Odessa-Montour sophomore Mallory Rhodes brings home awards from exhibiting her calf, Willow, at the recent World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. People.



Photo: Mallory Rhodes with her medal haul.

A few Schuyler County flood photos snapped from a drone camera by Tony Vickio can be seen here.


Planning Board OKs El Rancho facade plans

The Watkins Glen Planning Board on Oct. 17 gave its blessing to a facade design planned for the new El Rancho restaurant slated to open soon at 212 N. Franklin St., site of the former Unique Country Boutique store. The owner, Cynthia Ruiz, currently runs El Rancho at the former Garcia's Restaurant site on 4th Street, which she leases. But she has purchased the new site and, following renovations, will move the business there in the near future. Said Planning Board member Brian Eslinger: "Cynthia has worked herself up from waitressing at Garcia's to running her own restaurant, and now to owning it. She's the type of small-business owner we need -- one who works hard and has a commitment to excellence."

Photo: Planning Board member Brian Eslinger at Wednesday evening's meeting.


Board says Italian Fest can continue at Clute

The Watkins Glen Village Board on Ot. 15 put to rest rumors that the Italian-American Festival would be forced out of Clute Park with upcoming changes there, including an ice rink. "There will be plenty of room" for the festival, said Mayor Sam Schimizzi. "There's no intention to eliminate it," added Trustee Tony Fraboni, although the board said the festival might be laid out a little differently than in the past. The board also:

--Gave the go-ahead to Watkins Promotions for Village Christmas to be held on Franklin Street on Dec. 7 "provided all permits are provided."
--Heard Park Manager Michelle Hyde say the new Kayak Launch will be removed for the winter, although the method of removal is still being considered.
--Discussed an expected change soon in the 40 mph speed limit at the village's northern end on Rt. 14. The change will make it 30, in keeping with other state roads in the village.

Photo: Trustee Tony Fraboni at Monday's meeting.


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Would you like to help reduce underage alcohol use and drugs in Schuyler County? Then the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs is for you! We are looking for parents, students, concerned community members and professionals to join our cause in making Schuyler County a drug- free, safe environment for families and youth. We need you to help make this social change. Please visit our website here to find out how.

Still available: Tony Vickio's book, titled "Shifting Gears." You can order it on his website here.


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

229 S. Catherine St., Montour Falls
(607) 210-6600

We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Read The Stoneware of Havana, N.Y. and Its Makers
by Allen F. Sweet.

A history of the manufacturing of Stoneware in that village (Montour Falls) from 1850-1888. More than 100 color photos.

Available at O'Shaughnessy Antiques in Watkins Glen and at the Schuyler County Historical Society Museum.


A Christian-based autobiography written by Melinda Kreischer, pen name for a long-time Finger Lakes area resident. Ordering information can be found here.


My Wild Ride: The Untamed Life of a Girl with No Self-esteem, an autobiography by ex-Throughbred trainer Susan Bump -- who grew up in Montour Falls -- is now available in e-book formats at major retailers including


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The Elizabeth Amisano Ovarian Cancer Education Fund
Live Like Liz, Inc.
P.O. Box 434
Watkins Glen NY 14891


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A novel by Steve Piacente about a military cover-up, and about the ethical boundaries of journalism. For a closer look, click here.


The author, J.N. Brown, is a 2005 graduate of Odessa-Montour High School. He works at Corning Inc. To visit his website, click here.


An account of a daughter's eating disorder and her mother's seeming helplessness and desperation in the face of it -- and yet a story of hope, love and survival, and a lifeline to other parents dealing with obsessive behavior. $17.95 from


A self-help guide to understanding the role of emotions, this book offers a four-step path to emotional mastery and freedom. $15.95 from


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Sponsors' Page

Check out our list of readers who have contributed to keeping this site going. Sponsors.

The number of visits to this site has been steadily growing -- about 20,000 a week -- as readers in all 50 states and dozens of countries check out what's happening in Schuyler County.

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An eternal message of lights, hope and faith

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

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


Oh, the famous faces I've seen

The editor has been thinking about fame (a commodity foreign to him personally), and about the famous people he has encountered. Some thoughts on the subject. Famous.


The Sound and the Silence: A Memoir

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



Some sports stories and essays inside

Check out our sports related stories and essays, located at the bottom of the Sports Page.


Some special feature packages

From stories of life years ago along Steam Mill Road, to stories by the editor -- you can find them at the bottom of Features.



The editor's long search for some childhood icons

When he was a child, the editor let fear get the better of him while he was watching a pair of beloved TV heroes in peril. The scar from that experience lingered for decades. For a journey through what the editor's son calls "a weird obsession," click here.

Above: One of the heroes in question.


A cabin in the woods

The editor travels, figuratively, back in time to an old haunt, familiar faces and warm memories. Cabin.




© The Odessa File 2018
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

(607) 742-2772