Seneca Harbor Station & Captain Bill's

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

For job openings, click here


Senka Agency

We pride ourselves on providing outstanding customer service.

We truly care about each and every client.

Give us a call or stop in and see why so many people have switched.

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!


Watkins Glen Supply, Inc.

P.O. Box 70
2768 State Route 14


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 schuyleramericanlegion.com

Questions? Call Clayton Snow


The Odessa File's
Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism

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 sales@odessawinesandspirits.com 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 -- Jr. Specchio's Inc.

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.


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. 







5th positive Schuyler test confirmed

Public Health officials reported one new case of COVID-19 Saturday in Schuyler County, bringing the number to five -- two of whom have recovered. "The (fifth) individual had known exposure to COVID-19 and ... had already been limiting any unnecessary contact with other individuals," officials said. "The contact investigation has been completed for this individual and all reported contacts have been notified and placed in quarantine."

Drop-off spots to help out hospitals. People.


O-Mara rips NY budget as a burden to Upstate

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

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara


The gift of hope ...

The editor ponders the confusing nature of the situation we all are facing. Column.


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


Alleged killer from Georgia caught in Elmira

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


A guest column by Leslie Danks Burke

Leslie Danks Burke is running for the New York State Senate in the 58th district, which includes Schuyler, Chemung, Steuben and Yates counties, and part of Tompkins. Here she provides a column titled “Bandwidth Deserts.” Column

Left: Leslie Danks Burke

Hospital setting up mask production site

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

Seneca Harbor Station
starts grocery distribution center

The Seneca Harbor Station and Captain Bill's business in Watkins Glen is "converting its resources into a grocery distribution center," purchasing various products for resale to the public. The enterprise will include curbside pick-up. Forum.

More information is available at the Seneca Harbor station website.


We honor...The Essentials of Schuyler County

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.


Chef's has carryout and curbside service

Classic Chef's restaurant has issued a menu for these troubled times -- for carryout with curbside pickup. Business.

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




And inside

The work of Dr. William S. Gillmor, a doctor in the town of Hector in the 1800s, will be the focus of a talk May 2 at the Brick Tavern Museum. People.

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club is accepting requests for its annual community grants until May 1st. Features.

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.

Ronald L. Utter, 78, of Montour Falls.
Edward Lee Kimble, Sr., 85, of Painted Post.
Mary W. Solomon, 82, of Burdett.
Eugene Dupuy, 68, of Watkins Glen.
Guy P. Beebe, 81, of Montour Falls.
Joseph F. Stansfield, 75, of Beaver Dams.
Esther Church, 65, formerly of Watkins Glen.
Janet M. Ryall, 84, of Beaver Dams.
Francis Robert Bianco, 89, of Watkins Glen.
Josephine Patricia (JoPat) Wright, 77, of Watkins Glen.
Ruth A. Carlisle, 83, of Burdett.
Raymond Bailey, 62, of Watkins Glen.
Marjorie L. Field, 92, of Watkins Glen.
Kevin Kessler, 56, of Watkins Glen.
Elizabeth “Belle” Isbell, 87, of Montour Falls.
Robert E. Bump, 76, of Burdett.
Edith L. Eldridge, 88, of Rock Stream.

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

To see the full ad, click here.

To reach the Famous Brands website, click here.

Click on the ad below to reach the
Seneca Harbor Station website.

Seeking Library Director

The Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library in Odessa, NY seeks an enthusiastic, forward-thinking, and community-minded individual for the 32-hour-per-week position of Library Director. Please see the library website at duttonpetersonlibrary.org for complee job description.

"During this time of transition, we want you to know we are thinking of all of our students and their families. Please call your school if we can be of assistance."

Chris Wood, Superintendent, Odessa-Montour School District
Greg Kelahan, Superintendent, Watkins Glen School District

--This notice paid for personally by the superintendents

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.


Jelliff taking over as Odessa Fire Chief

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

Chamber scholarship honors Harrington

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


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

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


As the Coronavirus arrives, Schuyler Hospital prepares

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

Photo: Rebecca Gould (Provided)


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: "Staying focused, moving forward." Column

Left: State Sen. Tom O'Mara


Cooperative Extension looks ahead to Camp

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County is providing a monthly column here on its ongoing educational activities and offerings. The 11th column -- "Hidden Valley 4-H Camp update: 75 years & counting" -- is by Executive Director Phil Cherry (left). Column.


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: "Our tough times demand tough (and kind) souls." Column.

Left: Attorney Jim Reed

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


Palmesano: budget talks should focus on coronavirus response

"Alarmingly," says Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, "Gov. Cuomo and some Senate and Assembly Democrats are still treating state budget negotiations as business as usual" in the face of a public health crisis. Column.

Photo: Phil Palmesano

An e-mail issue

One of my e-mails has developed a stubborn streak: most items don't seem to be coming through on it. Use this one, which I'm incorporating in the links at the bottom of each page:


Don't use Google to access this site

A few people have complained that they cannot access The Odessa File. If you know any of these people, tell them the problem is with Google, and that simply clicking on the Google link to this website often doesn't work. The screen comes up blank. Instead, have them type in odessafile.com (nothing more and nothing less) in the address line and hit refresh. That should solve the problem.

So ... avoid Google, at least for now.

Fire truck accident

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

Schools will remain closed until April 15

Schools around the state will remain closed until at least April 15, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday. In Schuyler County, the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour school districts had planned to return to classes on April 13. Cuomo said he will revisit the issue as mid-April approaches.


U.S. Attorney Kennedy warns about scammers

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

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

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

Recovery Cabinet takes steps locally

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


A column by Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer

The mayor provides us with his sixth in a series of columns on what is happening in Odessa. This time: "Odessa Water Quality, the elephant in the room." Column.


Photo: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer


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 Amazon.com. To see the ad, click here.

Left: Cover art by Jon Haeffner


Hospital, Seneca View adopt visitor measures

Due to the increased risk to the elderly population for contracting COVID-19 (coronavirus), Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility and Schuyler Hospital have implemented enhanced measures for visitors, effective Friday, March 13 at 5 a.m. Hospital.

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.

Phoning The Odessa File?

You can reach us at (607) 742-2772

or reach us by email at chaef@aol.com


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

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

Non-essential travel ban takes effect

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

O'Mara providing info, updates. Government.


Sharing Shed opens; item donations sought

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

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

'FLX To-Go' shares info

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

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

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


Coronavirus updates: hospitals suspend visits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Public Health officials give COVID-19 updates

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

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

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

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


Books, belongings picked up at schools

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

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


Village elections postponed; jail bars visitors

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

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

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

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


IMRRC is closing; WGI postpones its opening

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

All-Schuyler All-Star teams

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


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

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

Photo: Superintendent Greg Kelahan

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


Schuyler schools will close their doors;
state of emergency declared in county

The three school districts in Schuyler County -- Odessa-Montour, Watkins Glen and Bradford -- will suspend classes effective Wednesday and continuing to April 13. The three districts' superintendents announced the closures Saturday afternoon. Schools.

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

The order does not at this time provide specific orders or prohibitions for residents.

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

Cayuga Medical Center restricts visitors. Hospital.


Rotary honors Minnier as Student of the Month

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

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


Land transfer request will get a closer look

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

Photo: Peter Widynski addresses the Schuyler legislators.


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

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

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

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



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


Watkins Glen boys fall in sectional final, 63-60

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

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


Rotary honors Rodriguez as Student of Month

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

Photo: Miranda Rodriguez speaks to Rotarians.


Former Congressman Amo Houghton dies

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

Photo: Amory Houghton, Jr. (Photo provided)

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


Gathering proclaims that 'Local Roads Matter'

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

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


Legislature receives information on COVID-19

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

Photo: Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers at the meeting.


Merit badge leads Scouts to board meeting

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

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

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

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

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


Supreme Court denies Trappler review petition

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

Photo: Alice Trappler (File photo)

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


Coming soon: Finger Lakes Fantasy of Lights

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


Glen Baptist Church welcomes new pastor

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


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


Exhibit honors 100 years of hospital care

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


3rd marking period Honor Rolls at O-M

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

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


Chapman, Reese: Rotary's Students of Month

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

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

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

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

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


Rotary honors Travis Hill as Student of Month

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

Photo in text: Travis Hill addresses the Rotary Club.

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


During the snowstorm ... the birds were posing

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

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

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

Victims identified in Town of Reading house fire

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

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

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


Palmesano rises in Assembly GOP ranks

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

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.

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


Ice Bar concludes at the Watkins Harbor Hotel

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

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


Danks Burke launches bid for State Senate

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

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


2nd Schuyler Habitat house is dedicated

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

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


Mayor recounts his historic trek recreation

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

Photo: Mayor Gerry Messmer addressing Saturday's audience.


Carroll to step down from Glen Chamber post

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

Photo in text: Rebekah Carroll (Photo provided)


Glen board OKs REOI for waterfront project

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

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


Schuyler shares in NYS's annual REDC awards

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

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


Watkins Glen's Planty signs to attend Syracuse

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

Photo in text: Gabe Planty at the signing ceremony.


National Honor Society adds 9 at OM induction

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

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

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


Chamber's Gala features auctions, awards

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

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

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


Harlem Wizards entertain crowd at O-M gym

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

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


Annual Steps program kicks off in March

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

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


Freedom Writers' history, hopes aired at WGES

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

Photo: Freedom Writers teacher Erin Gruwell on stage.


Rotary honors Planty as Student of the Month

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


Watkins Glen Library appoints new director

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

Photo: Tracy Savard (Photo provided)

Construction site across from the Jefferson Village apartments.


Preparation begins for 2nd Street apartments

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

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

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


Blowers takes over as Legislature Chairman

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

Photo: Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers.


A selection of photos from Liz Fraboni

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

For other recent Schuyler County news, click here.

For other recent Schuyler County news, click here.

Want to e-mail this website? Just click below.


Check out our Wine and Tourism page

We've updated our Wine and Tourism Page, with links to recent Chamber of Commerce blogs. Check it out here.

Want to contact us?

You can write to: P.O. Box 365, Odessa, NY 14869

You can call: (607) 742-2772

You can email: chaef@aol.com

For other recent Schuyler County news, click here.

And also:

Area schools' Honor Rolls are here.

Area historical photos can be found on History.

For full coverage of the 2013 Alice Trappler murder trial, you can click here.

For other recent Schuyler County news, click here.












Click on the ad above to reach the Ziff Law website.


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


Click on the ad above to reach the Rasa Spa website.




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 the Schuyler County Historical Society Museum.


A book of poetry by J.A. Bauman of Watkins Glen -- "words that God gave me to share with you." Available through Amazon.com.


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 Amazon.com


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


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


Contact us about our ad rates

E-mail publisher@odessafile.com



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 ecwpress.com


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 Infinitypublishing.com


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Yes, we're still seeking donations

Click here

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.

Statistics are from an online tracking service, DeepMetrix Live Stats.


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here.


An eternal message of lights, hope and faith

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

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


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 2019
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

(607) 742-2772

E-mail chaef@aol.com