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 -- 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.


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 ad below to reach Schuyler Hospital's website.


Watkins Glen Village Christmas set for Friday

The annual Watkins Glen Village Christmas will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday on Franklin Street in the village, from 2nd to 7th Streets -- which will be closed to traffic during those hours, vehicles detoured around it on 1st, Decatur and 8th Streets. Vendors, music, cookie decorating, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus (pictured at a previous Village Christmas), reindeer, a parade and fireworks highlight the evening.


Wednesday Scores

Moravia 42, OM/WG 37

Boys: Dryden 4, Watkins 0
Girls: Watkins 4, Dryden 0

Stories on Sports

Photo: OM/WG's Braiden Ventra (top) won at 170 pounds.


Captain Bill's leveled; new structure coming

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

Photo: Artist's rendition of the planned building.


Legislature topics: Sales tax, internet service

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

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


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: "State leaders eyeing higher taxes again?" Column.

Left: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

Counties awarded communications grants. Government.
Schuyler, Chemung prevail in tower-site appeal. Govt.


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.

Members of the Montour Falls Fire Department with the Letters to Santa mailbox.


Santa mailbox has
new location this year

Santa Claus has written in to let us know a change of location in the Letters to Santa mailbox -- from in front of the Odessa Municipal Building to in front of the Montour Falls Fire Department this holiday season. Santa explains in a letter on the Forum Page.


Photo: The Letters to Santa mailbox, which is available for use now.


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.

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.

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 Mechanical Meltdown youth robotics team based in Watkins Glen advances to the regional championship on March 14 at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Utica. People.

Cayuga Health team turns Surgical Wrap into blankets for the needy. 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.

Jean Louise (Fraboni) Parker, 82, of Montour Falls.
David S. Cheplick, 94, of Elmira Heights.
Franklin Lee Howard, 73, of Burdett.
Arthur "Art" Joel Peck III, 75, of Breesport.
Eugene "Gene" Hoose, 76, of Watkins Glen.
Wilfred S. Bush Sr., 76, of Montour Falls.
Cynthia Ann Robbins, 63, formerly of Odessa.
Leo Mark West, 57, of Trumansburg.
Yvonne L. "Bonnie" Stewart, 82, of Trumansburg.
Richard A. "Dick" McIlroy, 66, of Watkins Glen.

(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

or reach us by email at chaef@aol.com

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


Firefighters called out twice; fire levels house

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

A benefit for Robert Dupay and his family will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15 at Landon's Pub and Pizza in Watkins Glen. $10 at door includes a Baked Ziti Dinner. Raffles and 50/50.

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


A Top Drawer expansion ...

The program co-founded by the editor 15 years ago continues to grow -- with two more schools added to the mix. Column.


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


Morse, Kelly having standout season at CCC

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

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

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


Annual OFD Christmas Party delights the kids

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

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

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


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: "For Ziff Law Firm paralegal, helping is a family tradition." Column.

Left: Attorney Jim Reed

High-speed chase ends in arrest

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

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


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


Rotary Student of Month: Tristin Rose-Morley

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

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


'Tis the Season at Odessa Municipal Building

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

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


Farewell to the Chef and the Wine Wench: Corneliuses relocating

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

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


Cayuta postal window closed; service limited

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

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

No further explanation was available.

The Cayuta Post Office; the note displayed there.

The Odessa File All-Schuyler All-Stars

The Fall 2019 First, Second and Third Teams are unveiled, along with the season's MVP. Sports.


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


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)


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

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


Hesselson's makes a Seneca Santa delivery

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

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


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

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

Photo: Mayor Luke Leszyk


1st marking period Honor Rolls at WGHS

Watkins Glen High School has unveiled its High Honor, Honor and Merit Rolls for the first marking period of the 2019-20 school year. Honors.

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


'Tis the season: Bazaars held in Watkins Glen

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

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


Ceremony signals
re-opening of Graft

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

Photo: Chef Orlando Rodriguez at ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Rotary honors Gardner as Student of Month

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

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

Nominations sought

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its annual awards, to be presented at its Winter Gala on January 18. Business.

Gorge Around the Gorge Restaurant Week set. Business.


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 tenth column -- "Free Summer REACH program offered at OMCS" -- is by O-M REACH Program Coordinator Melinda Brewster (left). Column.

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.


DA's office pleased with Horein case decision

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

Photo: Joshua Horein in 2000 (Photo provided)

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


Legislators approve 2020 Schuyler budget

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

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

Photo: Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan.


Vietnam Vet LaMoreaux recounts experiences

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

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


Let's remember to thank Veterans year-round

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

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano


WG swimmers win 3rd straight Section 4 title

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

Story on Sports


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

Members of the Lansing Junior cheerleading squad performed.


Tribe hosts youth football cheer competition

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

Photo: Schuyler County junior cheerleaders performed.

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


November Splendor raises hospital funds

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

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

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


LCP's Legally Blonde ends its run at WGHS

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


A selection of photos from Liz Fraboni

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


A column from the mayor of Watkins Glen

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

Photo at right: Watkins Glen Mayor
Luke Leszyk


Rotary honors Burrows as Student of Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other contested races:

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

Exhibit honors Burdett's Bicentennial

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


Sinking feeling: Undercurrents roil 1 campaign

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


Getman laments 'rumors, innuendo' in campaign

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

Photo: Steven Getman (Photo provided)

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


Ribbon-cutting marks reopening of bridge

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

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


Candidates Night draws crowd, pointed query

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

Photo: Steven Getman at Meet the Candidates Night.


Trappler loses attempt to appeal conviction

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


Howard Cabezas starts engineering business

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

Photo: Howard Cabezas (Photo provided)


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

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

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

Photo: Jim Watson and Rebecca Gould (Photos provided)

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


United Way kicks off its campaign with dinner

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

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

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


Rotary honors Lewis as Student of the Month

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

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


Beautiful weather for Falls Harvest Festival

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


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

More photos on Features Page.

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


Glen Board presents plaque to logo designer

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

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


Rotary honors Brubaker as Student of Month

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


Lewis seeks Catharine Town Supervisor post

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

Photo at right: Rick Lewis (Provided)

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


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

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

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


United Way receives donation from Cargill

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


Reed: Collapse was caused by pneumonia

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

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


Firefighters extinguish blaze at village house

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

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


United Way holds annual luncheon at Moose

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

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


Odessa's Fire Dept. receives its new truck

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

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


Morse sets CCC soccer mark with 7-goal game

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

Photo: Hannah Morse


Eslinger seeking Town of Dix Justice post

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

Photo at right: Brian T. Eslinger (Provided)


Rotary honors Garrison as Student of Month

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

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


Hayden receives nomination from SAM party

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

Photo: Matt Hayden (Photo provided)

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


Annual Grand Prix Festival held in Watkins

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

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


CCC soccer team has 4 players from Schuyler

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

WGHS senior Isaac McIlroy at the Rotary luncheon.


Rotary honors McIlroy as Student of Month

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


Looking to advertise on The Odessa File?

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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.

For other recent Schuyler County news, click here.

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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) 594-3594

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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.












This top space is available for advertising
by the month.


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