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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.


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


Now accepting applications
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208 W. Broadway St., Montour Falls, NY 14865
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Click on the ad below to go to the website featuring

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Winter Farmer's Market

November 1 to February 28
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From left: Stylist Amy Holmes, owner JoAnna Scott, massage therapist Mark Hunter, stylist Jennifer Posten, and photographer Aszur Morgan.

Simply Your Best

Hair - Skin - Nails - Massage. JoAnna Scott's salon at 4588 Route 224, west of Odessa, offers a variety of services:

Aszur Photography.
Young Living Essential Oils.
Online Booking.

Now open seven days a week

Phone: 607-594-2811.

To reach the Simply Your Best website, click here.


To reach the Seneca Design Studio website, click on the ad below.



To visit the Schuyler County Historical Society website, click here.

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

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To reach the Cabins to Castles on Seneca Real Estate website, click here or on the ad below.

Kolodner to kick off 9th concert season

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 19 -- Widely regarded as one of the best-known hammered dulcimer players in the world and a well-regarded Appalachian style fiddler, Ken Kolodner returns to Watkins Glen for his fourth year performing at St James’ Episcopal Church for the first concert of the ninth season of the Schuyler County Concert Series.

The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 18 at St. James’ Episcopal Church, 6th and Decatur Streets, Watkins Glen.

Joining Kolodner will be several hammered dulcimer players who will be attending a master class offered by Kolodner earlier in the day. Kolodner will be performing a wide variety of original and traditional Celtic, old-time, Quebecois and world music on hammered dulcimer, hammered mbira and fiddle.

As a major part of the rebirth of the hammered dulcimer in the U.S., Ken Kolodner ( has been called “a world class instrumentalist” by Sing Out!, and is widely recognized as “clearly one of today’s most accomplished, musical hammered dulcimer artists and a hammered dulcimer player of great taste and sophistication.” (Elderly). His improvisational and expressive style has been described as "nothing short of astonishing" (The Connection), “outstanding” (The New York Times), “marvelous” (The Washington Post), “virtuosic” (Audio),“stunning in its musicality” (Dulcimer Player News) and “not to be missed” (USA TODAY). And Folk Tales Magazine writes: “…without a doubt, Ken Kolodner is one of the hammered dulcimer’s top exponents, playing with a dexterity which would stun many a would-be hammerer.”

Kolodner has toured for over 30 years as a soloist and in ensembles, performing world music with the trio Helicon (Robin Bullock, Chris Norman), and Irish, Scottish, Quebecois and old-time music with Quebec fiddler Laura Risk, with Scottish National Fiddle Champion Elke Baker, and with his son Brad for the last four years. (

The Kolodners' first recording, Otter Creek, was the most played instrumental recording on the Folk Charts in 2011. Their 2013 release Skipping Rocks debuted at #4 on the Folk Charts and in the top 20 on the Roots Charts. The Old Time Herald writes “Father and son have reached that musical telepathy that family members can sometimes achieve. The blend of the hammered dulcimer and banjo is exceptional.” Sing Out! writes: “There must be something special to that father-son thing!”

Ken has over 20 recordings and books featuring the fiddle and hammered dulcimer.

Tickets will be $15 general admission, $12 seniors, and $12 workshop participants. Students/children are free.

This concert is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts' Decentralization Program, administered locally by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.

Photo in text: Ken Kolodner (Photo provided)

To reach the Jeff's On-Site Services website, click here.

Phish returning to WGI in August

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 18 -- The musical group Phish will return to the Watkins Glen International racetrack from Aug. 21 to Aug. 23 for a musical festival titled "Magnaball," WGI announced Wednesday.

“We’re proud to welcome Phish and their fans back to The Glen,” said WGI President Michael Printup, who said the group's concert there in 2011 "opened a lot of eyes to what a positive influence a rock festival can have on our community. We can’t wait to show off Upstate New York and Watkins Glen International to a new group of fans.”

“This is great news for Schuyler County and our entire region,” added Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn. “Beyond the significant economic impact this event represents, it also provides the opportunity to welcome back Phish and their fans to our community. We look forward to working with WGI and the promoter in hosting what looks to be the best festival yet!”

Magnaball marks the first major concert at Watkins Glen International since Phish’s 2011 festival, Super Ball IX.

Tickets for Magnaball go on sale at noon Friday, March 20 at: Onsite camping is included in the price of admission. Like previous Phish festivals, the event will include numerous activities, attractions and art installations in addition to a series of performances by the band.

Mazda gains spotlight at GP Festival

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 19 -- This is the year that Mazda owners can proudly boast, “We Drive the Old Course!”

Mazda owners have long hoped to be named the featured marque for the annual September Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival, designed this year as a three-day celebration Sept. 11-13.

The festival’s focus on the early years of racing in Watkins Glen has, however, mandated that featured marques have historical significance.

Selection of a featured car has also been linked to criteria of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, which has traditionally been part of the vintage celebration with its three-day competition at Watkins Glen International.

“But things will be somewhat different this year, due to the repaving of the race track that gets fully underway in August,” said Carole Pierce, director of events for Watkins Glen Promotions, organizer of the Grand Prix Festival Weekend.

“So, in response to requests by Mazda owners and supporters of the festival’s Stone Bridge Driver events, this is the perfect year to be flexible in defining an appropriate marque to feature for the weekend,” Pierce said, addig:.

“The ball is now in the hands of Mazda drivers. We are hoping to see strong support at all appropriate events, especially the Tour de Marque. We are not limiting this to Miata, as we would love to get some gnarly-sounding Wankel rotary engines in the mix.”

The Tour de Marque, presented by Chateau Lafayette Reneau in Hector, is one of many driving, skill, scenic and historic events that will be part of the three-day 2015 Grand Prix Festival Weekend.

The opportunity to increase activities for both festival participants and observers is the result of changes to the SVRA’s 2015 schedule, which was altered due to the repaving project at WGI. SVRA will be at the track July 24-26 for the Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix presented by Welliver.

Festival Friday will offer a full slate of downtown activities, from the re-enactment of race car technical inspections at historic Smalley’s Garage on Franklin Street to the arrival throughout the day of hundreds of vintage and classic sports cars at the end of their road rallies through the region. Fireworks over the Watkins Glen State Park gorge will close the day, but not the fun.

Saturday’s schedule will include historic and scenic organized tour opportunities in the village and throughout the region and some “just for fun” parking lot competition at the race track.

The International Motor Racing Research Center, a Grand Prix Festival partner, will be presenting a daylong program on Can-Am racing, and the Glen Theater will be showing racing films.

Sunday’s schedule will offer more of the same.

Full details about the Grand Prix Festival weekend will be announced as they are finalized.

For more information and to register for events, as well as to take a look at past Grand Prix Festivals, go to the website

Left: Meghan Coates as Pippin's grandmother, Berthe, sings. Right: Joseph Raymond, right, as Charlemagne, addresses Lewis (Justin Hickey) and Fastrada (Dana Roberts).

'Pippin' ends its run at O-M

ODESSA, March 14, 2015 -- The Odessa-Montour High School spring musical, "Pippin," ended its three-day run with matinee and evening shows Saturday in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium.

Twenty-five senior high school students worked with director Kim Laursen and choreographer Manley Gavich to prepare the show.

Its story is based loosely on the reign of one of France's greatest kings, Charlemagne, played by Joseph Raymond. His eldest son and heir to the throne, Pippin (Logan Barrett on Thursday and Saturday nights, and John Coates on Friday night and Saturday afternoon), spends the duration of the play trying to find his higher purpose in life, his "Corner of the Sky." His stepmother Fastrada (Cheyenne Barrett, Dana Roberts) does everything she can to get her son Lewis (Justin Hickey) to be next in line to the throne.

In Pippin's search for something extraordinary, he is helped every step of the way by the Leading Player (Manley Gavich, Emma Raymond), and also by his dear grandmother Berthe (Bronwyn Stermer, Maggie Coates).

After trying his hand at being a warrior, a partyer, a politico and a temporary king, Pippin almost gives up. A beautiful widow with a large estate to run and a son (Theo, played by Ben Campbell) is Pippin's next attempt to find something extraordinary. Is Catherine (Rosie Peckham, Sarah Norton) the answer to his dilemma?

For Director Laursen, this was the last show she will direct at O-M before retiring in July.

"Pippin" is presented with special permission from Music Theatre International of New York, NY.

Photos in text: Pippin (John Coates) addresses a rally with the character known as the Leading Player (Emma Raymond) at his side; a dance sequence in Act One.

Thursday night photos:

Cast members Rosemary Peckham (left) and Bronwyn Stermer.

Cheyenne Barrett and Justin Hickey in a musical number from "Pippin."

Left: Joseph Raymond as Charlemagne. Right: Emma Raymond.

Left: Nina Linton in a dance number. Right: Logan Barrett as the title character, Pippin.

Auditions set for LCP's 'Aesop's Foibles'

Special to
The Odessa File

ODESSA, Feb. 13 -- Audtions have been set for the Lake Country Players' spring presentation of the play "Aesop's Foibles."

The production is open to children 5 to 18, with auditions at the Odessa-Montour High School auditorium on Friday, March 6 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. and in the O-M school cafeteria on Saturday, March 7 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

The play will be performed at the school auditorium on May 15 and 16, with a total of three performances.

Potential cast members will be asked to read from the script for a variety of parts. Anyone auditioning is asked to bring a full list of conflicts for the rehearsal period, which will begin mid-March and last until the performances in May. All children who are offered a role will be expected to miss no more than three rehearsals, and must attend every rehearsal during tech week (May 11-16). There are nine male roles, six female roles, and another four roles that can be played by either gender.

The play begins as young Aesop explains to the audience about his problem of constantly hearing annoying voices in his head, which come to life as characters onstage that only Aesop (and the audience) can see and hear. Aesop can hardly think straight, so his parents take him to the doctor. Freaking out with frustration, Aesop wields a cane at the poor old doc, who’s bent on sending him to the loony bin. Goddess Hera and her hen-pecked husband Zeus intervene by sending the muse Daphinity down to help Aesop take control of the characters in his head. She convinces him that the only way to freedom is to let the characters out and share them with the world. "Aesop’s Foibles" retells the fables in an offbeat way and offers a surprise ending to wrap up the play the way Aesop would’ve like it... with a meaningful moral. The play is presented with special permission through Pioneer Drama.

For further information, contact Holly Campbell, director, at 607-857-9109 or, or Beth Clark, business manager and LCP President, at 607-237-8817 or Or visit

Gallery accepting 'colorful stories'

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 23 -- The Franklin Street Gallery is now accepting artwork submissions from artists of the Finger Lakes region for its winter exhibit “Changing Hues: Colorful Stories.”

The exhibit opens with an artist reception at the gallery, 209 N Franklin Street in Watkins Glen, on Friday, February 20 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Entries will be judged by the public until March 20, and People’s Choice and Honorable Mention awardees will receive a cash prize.

The exhibit features bright and colorful works of art in contrast to the white winter season. Artists are encouraged to pair their work with a written piece such as a poem, story, or lyric. The written element can be original, collaborative, or cited and will be displayed alongside the artwork.

Franklin Street Gallery’s 2015 exhibit schedule and details to enter are at, or call the gallery at 607-535-2571. Images of artwork must be emailed to Gallery Manager Cynthia Hill at for approval by February 11. A maximum of three entries may be submitted with a $15 fee per entry.

Winter class offerings at Franklin Street Gallery include photography, ceramics, fused glass, bead making, felting, and free All Access Art classes. Registration is now open. View the schedule at

Franklin Street Gallery is a community arts center operated by The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Learn more at www.arcofschuyler or call 607-535-2571.

Photo in text: “Evening Web,” a watercolor by Finger Lakes artist Colleen Maas-Pastore, is featured in the Franklin Street Gallery’s “Changing Hues: Colorful Stories” exhibit. (Photo provided)

Italian American Fest dates set

Committee welcoming new members

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 1, 2015 -- The organizing committee of the Schuyler County Italian American Festival has set its 2015 dates for Friday, July 31, and Saturday and Sunday, August 1 and 2.

Louis Perazzini of Watkins Glen, 2015 committee president, said the group is putting together a long list of new activities and attractions for the festival, which will be in its 36th year.

“We want to enhance the ways we honor the community’s Italian heritage,” Perazzini said.

Don Stocum of Hector will serve as 2015 festival chairman.

Among the new offerings: amateur winemaking and homemade pasta sauce contests, presented, along with an historical exhibit, at the Community Center, which will be turned into an Italian osteria for the weekend.

“We’re also planning more entertainment and inviting some new vendors,” Perazzini said.

The organizing committee works year-round on festival details, and more members are needed, he said.

The first committee meeting of the new year will be Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 6:30 p.m. at the Watkins Glen Fire Department community room. Anyone interested in serving on the committee, or simply volunteering on festival weekend, is invited to attend.

Other 2015 committee officers are Kristen Bacon, vice president; Lorry Johnson, secretary; and Jim Adesso, treasurer.

For more information about the Italian American Festival, visit the website at or contact Perazzini at

WGHS rehearsals set for spring's Shrek

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 21 -- Auditions have been held and the cast list set for the March 20-22 presentation of the Watkins Glen High School presentation of Shrek The Musical.

Rehearsals for the show, which was opened to 7th through 12th graders, begin Jan. 4th and will be held Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. The play will be presented in the school auditorium.

Cast List:
Chase Richtmyer -- Shrek
Lydia Myers -- Fiona
Mikayla Elliott -- Pinocchio
Abigail Rundle -- Donkey
Alexis Atchie -- Farquaad
Justine Hulbert -- Gingy
Liz Reed -- Fairy Godmother
Phebe Wickham -- Dragon
Taylor Kennard -- Sugar Plum Fairy
Gabby LaRosa -- Witch
Megan DuPuy -- Mama Bear
Alixander Mathews -- Papa Bear
Scott Brubaker -- Baby Bear
Dakota Cole -- White Rabbit
Maya Palumbo -- Peter Pan
Mia Manzer -- Ugly Duckling
Keziah Fraboni -- Wolf
Portia Wells -- Humpty Dumpty
Darien Terry -- Elf
Sydney VanAlstine, Joelle Slater, Nateah Cornish -- 3 Pigs and 3 Blind Mice

Cheyenne Stansfield* -- Young Fiona
Ruthe Gardner* -- Teen Fiona
Victoria Blanchard* -- Mama Ogre
Dayne Hughey* -- Papa Ogre
Scott Brubaker -- Young Shrek
Mikayla Rhoads* -- Queen Lillian
Brooke Schaffer* -- Tweedle
Liz Reed -- Bluebird (voice)
Aidan DeBolt* -- King Harold
Emily Manzer * -- Mad Hatter
Wrett Brower* -- Bishop
Ward Brower* -- Thelonius
Andrew Likoudis* -- Captain of the Guard
Samantha Shea* -- Pied Piper
Mitchell Terry* -- Dwarf

*Also chorus, including: Knights (backup singers), Farquaad's Guards, Duloc Performers, Forest Creatures, Dancing Rat Tappers, Happy People/Mob, Greeter and Sign Bearer.

The musical is based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film, Shrek. It is a Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure featuring all new songs from Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Millie) and a book by David Lindsay-Abaire. Shrek brings all of the characters from
the film to life on stage.

'Keep the Wreath Blue' campaign begins

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 28 -- The Schuyler County Firefighters Association is again teaming up with all of the fire departments in Schuyler County, along with Schuyler County Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Schuyler County Emergency Management, to remind all citizens to have a safe holiday season.

Symbolic of the effort is the 10th annual “Keep the Wreath Blue” campaign. The participating agencies have a wreath in front of their stations this holiday season -- starting today, the day after Thanksgiving -- and running until December 31. The wreaths will be lit with blue lights. Whenever a structure fire occurs in the county, a blue light bulb will be replaced with a red bulb.

"We ask that the citizens of Schuyler County use these wreaths as a reminder that fire safety starts at home and to be vigilant in home fire safety," an Association spokesperson said.

For more information on fire safety, you can contact your local fire department or Schuyler County Emergency Management at 607-535-8200. Follow Emergency Management at one or all of these sites:


Artist Cynthia Cratsley Harrington, right, had some of her artwork available for purchase.

Bazaar a hit at Odessa Methodist Church

ODESSA, Nov. 23 -- The annual Holiday Bazaar at the Odessa-Catharine United Methodist Church proved a huge hit Saturday, with the kitchen selling out of lunch foods for the first time in the bazaar's history.

"Hot dogs, soup, desserts, they're all gone," said one kitchen worker, shaking her head in wonder. "It never happened before." And that came an hour before the close of the bazaar.

One possible reason: a new sign in front of the church, installed in the past couple of weeks. "It's an eye-grabber," noted one church member.

The bazaar featured, as always, various craft vendors, a table where library books and book bags were for sale, a bake sale, and a visit from Santa Claus.

By 1 p.m., with an hour remaining, the bake sale tables had been stripped bare of all but a few items, such as fruitcake. "You had to get here early," noted one worker there.

Photos in text:

Top: The church kitchen's serving window was a popular stop. The bazaar's food providers ran out of menu items.

Bottom: The new sign in front of the church.

Left: Handmade ornaments were among the items for sale at the bazaar. Right: Woodworker Per Navestad of Burdett models a hat he made that he calls "The Eagle Has Landed." Navestad, 89, was selling small wooden bird figurines he hand-carved, a business he started three years ago.

Arc's Grand Prix Run to return in 2015

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 7 -- The Arc Grand Prix Run at Watkins Glen International, a 3.4-mile run/walk on the world famous road course, will return for a second consecutive year on Saturday, April 18, 2015, during WGI’s Opening Weekend.

Introduced in April 2014, the inaugural Arc Grand Prix Run saw more than 500 participants from the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, Allegany, and northern Pennsylvania regions. The event raised more than $11,000 to benefit The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization in Watkins Glen that provides supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The race is organized by a committee of volunteers that includes Dena Carrigan, assistant branch manager at Chemung Canal Trust Company in Watkins Glen. “Watkins Glen International, our sponsors, and volunteers made our first-year event a huge success,” Carrigan said. “Together, we promoted healthy lifestyles and inclusion of people with disabilities while supporting a great organization in our community. Everyone had a great time and we expect next year’s race to be bigger and better.”

Mail in and online registration is now open at Early registration fees are $25 for adults and $10 for youth ages 5 to 12. Early registrants are guaranteed a race shirt. Prizes will be awarded to overall race winners and top finishers in their age brackets.

The Arc Grand Prix Run planning committee is now seeking business, club and individual sponsors. Sponsors can receive promotion on the race shirt, signage at the event and race course, ceremony recognition, and advertisement on The Arc Grand Prix Run website, social media, and printed program.

For sponsorship, registration or volunteer information, contact The Arc of Schuyler Director of Community Relations, Holly Baker, at 607-535-6934. For information about The Arc, visit

Friends of the Arts campaign begins

Editor's Note: The Arc of Schuyler, which oversees the operation of the Franklin Street Gallery in Watkins Glen, has provided the following article about its Friends of the Arts campaign -- an effort to help support the Gallery and all that it provides for the community and region.

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 1 -- Supporting the arts and artists is important in every community. The arts help communities celebrate diversity and talent as well as providing new ideas and insights.

Friends and supporters of the arts are people who help build stronger and more diverse communities. That's why the Franklin Street Gallery is kicking off its Friends of the Arts campaign this month, giving people who care about artistic pursuits the opportunity to help sustain the
Gallery and its programs.

“Our supporters are friends of the arts who want to make a difference and make more artistic opportunities available in our region. They’re artists, students, visitors, volunteers, and donors.” said Cynthia Hill, Gallery manager.

Specifically Franklin Street Gallery is looking for more people to help to support inclusive arts programs including its “All Access Art” series, a full year of ceramics and drawing classes offered twice a week with full scholarships.

“Our commitment to providing classes and programs that are inclusive of artists of all ages and at all levels, including people with disabilities, seniors, and people of different cultures is just part of what makes us so unique and a true community art center,” said Hill.

As Hill describes, the Gallery provides opportunities for beginner and professional artists from all backgrounds and life experiences to learn, exhibit and sell their work, participate in or teach classes, and network with other artists and people who just enjoy art in general.

Hosting public exhibit receptions and events, participating in area festivals, and offering affordable year-round classes are some of the ways the Gallery promotes the arts and cultural experiences for local residents and visitors to the Finger Lakes.

“This has been an exciting year for us,” Hill said. “Grant awards and donations have helped us to build a new art class studio and an accessible restroom and bring in a multimedia kiln for ceramics and glass arts workshops.”

Franklin Street Gallery operates under the oversight of The Arc of Schuyler, a non-profit organization providing supports to people with developmental disabilities. Funding for the Gallery includes commissions on artwork sales, tuition payments for classes and workshops, and grants. These cover just a portion of the full cost of the art center’s programs and operations and that's
why the Friends of the Arts Campaign is so important.

The Gallery welcomes volunteer assistance and monetary donations. Contact the Franklin Street Gallery at 607-535-2571, on Facebook or Twitter, or visit to make a donation online.

Photo in text: The Franklin Street Gallery at 209 N. Franklin Street in Watkins Glen is a community arts center kicking off its Friends of the Arts campaign this month. (Photo provided)

“Dewey Apples” painting by Curt Wright. (Image provided)

Gallery announces exhibit winners

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 10 -- The Franklin Street Gallery has announced artist Curt Wright as the Best in Show award winner of its 3rd Annual Homegrown Arts exhibit.

The exhibit, on display until November 3, features paintings, photographs, and other works celebrating the landscapes and agriculture of the Finger Lakes.

Wright’s entry, “Dewey Apples,” was awarded overall best in show by guest judge Sidney Mann, a former art teacher and President of the Board of Trustees for the Arnot Art Museum. Wright resides in Dundee, and is well known for his oil paintings of historic scenes of the region as well as boating, landscapes, and wine country themes.

Additional awards were given for Gina Pfleegor’s “Sweet Anticipation,” judged best in show for the “Homegrown Art” category, and to Bob Iever’s “Chemung River Branch, August,” recognized as Best in Show in the “Plein Air” category. Ralph Guasp received an honorable mentioned award for his piece, “Grapes on the Vine.”

Franklin Street Gallery is a nonprofit community arts center, owned and operated by The Arc of Schuyler. The gallery promotes Finger Lakes regional artists by recognizing their artistic accomplishments with professionally judged and publicly juried exhibits and provides inclusive art programs for youth and adults. Visit, stop by the gallery at 209 N. Franklin
St., Watkins Glen, or visit on Facebook to learn more about classes, exhibits, and special events.

Image in text: “Sweet Anticipation” by Gina Pfleegor. (Image provided)

“Chemung River Branch, August” by Bob Ievers. (Image provided)

Fire unit commits $85K for apparatus

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 19 -- The membership of the Montour Falls Fire Department voted at their September monthly meeting to commit $85,000 from fund raising efforts to the Village of Montour Falls to aid in the purchase of a new 105-foot quint fire apparatus.

This effort, a department spokesman said, supports the village plan to purchase the fire vehicle without increasing the fire department budget or raising property taxes. The fire district includes portions of the Towns of Dix and Montour.

"Due to proper fiscal planning by the Village Board and the department membership," the spokesman said, "the all-volunteer department will reduce its fleet by replacing two vehicles with one. This contribution allows the Village to continue to provide fire protection with the highest quality service, innovation and technology available to the fire service today."

Gallery announces exhibit winners

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 23 -- Artist Gina Pfleegor has been named the Peoples’ Choice award winner of the recent Midsummer Night’s Dream exhibit at The Franklin Street Gallery.

The exhibit featured 40 paintings, photographs and other works by 30 Finger Lakes artists. The selected artwork was in a variety of mediums and styles, but all with the underlying theme of dreams.

Pfleegor’s entry, “See You Later, Alligator” (right) is a painted portrait of her daughter smiling at a baby alligator suspended from a pink balloon. The painting not only received the majority of the votes to win the award, but also acclaim for its photorealistic technique.

Pfleegor teaches art at Hammondsport High School and also illustrates children’s books for various authors. More of her paintings and book illustrations can be seen at

Honorable mention for Midsummer Night’s Dream was awarded to Steve Duprey for the acrylic painting “Silver Bow,” an ethereal tree-filled landscape.

Duprey teaches communications at Finger Lakes Community College and directs the Newark
High School theatre program as well as the Geneva Theatre Guild. His portfolio can be seen at

The Franklin Street Gallery promotes Finger Lakes regional artists by recognizing their artistic accomplishments. That promotion includes four judged exhibits in 2014. The gallery’s final judged exhibit of the year is the upcoming Homegrown Art exhibit. This annual exhibit is expanding to include a Plein Aire category with distinct awards and cash prizes for best in show and honorable mention. A call to artists can be found at

The Gallery is a nonprofit community arts center, owned and operated by The Arc of Schuyler. The gallery provides inclusive art programs for youth and adults. Visit, stop by the gallery at 209 N. Franklin Street in Watkins Glen, or visit on Facebook to learn more about classes, exhibits, and special events.

Photo in text: “See You Later, Alligator” by artist Gina Pfleegor. It received the People’s Choice Award in the Franklin Street Gallery’s Midsummer Night’s Dream exhibit. (Image provided)

From left: Musicians Scott Muir, Lou Cicconi, Tom Bloodgood and Mark Stephany performed as part of the fund-raising celebration.

Gathering raise funds for Devon scholarship

Special to
The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 13 -- They came by the dozens Saturday afternoon and evening to honor the memory of a young man who had been embraced by the Schuyler County community during his fight against cancer.

The event was a fund-raiser at the Montour Moose Lodge to celebrate the life of Devon Shaw, who lost his battle a year ago. It was also a way to raise funds for the Defense for Devon Scholarshp Fund, which last month honored its first recipient, graduating senior Deven Bond of Watkins Glen High School, Shaw's alma mater.

The gathering Saturday featured raffles, a silent auction, music by The Unusual Suspects, finger foods, a chicken barbecue and outdoor games. Newly designed Devon T-shirts were also available for purchase.

Everyone present was in an upbeat mood in keeping with the celebratory nature of the proceedings. And all had a connection in one way or another to Devon Shaw, whose courage and kindness touched so many.

"It keeps his memory alive," said one observer, "and is for a worthy cause."

Photos in text:

Top: Chris Duane, who was a high school soccer teammate of Devon Shaw's, flings a frisbee as part of a game at Saturday's gathering. Watching ia another former schoolmate of Devon's, Brady Myers.

Bottom: Among those on hand were Watkins Glen High School students Amanda Pike, left, and Madison Myers.

Dave Warren (left, shown playing with a grandchild) and Tim O'Hearn were among those present.

Left: The silent auction featured some Fred Couples-autographed caps and a framed photo of golfers Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan. Right: Chelsea Lehman, Devon's girlfriend, was on hand along with a lot of other Devon friends.

A collection of photos featuring Devon Shaw was on display at Saturday's fund-raiser.

Concert Series features Orchestra members

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 13 -- The Schuyler County Concert Series, sponsored by the Episcopal Parishes of Schuyler County, presented a performance Saturday night at Saint James’ Episcopal Church, Sixth and Decatur Streets, Watkins Glen, featuring members of the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra.

The concert was a String Quartet (violin, viola and cello) under the direction of Richard Auldon Clarke, a native of Appalachin. The Orchestra presents a season-long series with the Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival, based in Penn Yan. This was a special independent concert especially for Schuyler County.

The Manhattan Chamber Orchestra is frequently heard on National Public Radio and has made many recordings of 20th and 21st century music. The program for the Saturday concert was: the Mozart Divertimento in D, the Ravel String Quartet in F, and the Prokofiev String Quarter No. 2.

This was the 8th consecutive season that members of the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra have been featured in the Schuyler County Concert Series.

The next concert in the series will be Saturday, September 13, when the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Carl Johengen will be featured -- the second appearance of the Ensemble in the concert series. The program will feature the music of Scotland.

The 2014 season continues October 17 with an organ recital by Organist Donald Ingram, former American Guild of Organists national board member and Chapter Dean, who presently resides in Latham, New York. The final concert of the 2014 season will be December 6, when the Cantata Chamber Singers of Elmira present a concert of Christmas music.

The series is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts’ Decentralization Program (, administered locally by the The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes (

Tickets are $15 for adults, and $12 for seniors. Students and children are welcome without charge.

Persons and businesses interested in becoming program advertisers or series sponsors may contact: the Episcopal Parishes of Schuyler County, 112 Sixth St., Watkins Glen, NY 14891 or

Photo in text: Manhattan Chamber Orchestra members (Photo provided)

3 Schuyler groups receive Arts grants

SCHUYLER COUNTY, June 19 -- The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) has announced recipients of the 2014 Decentralization (DEC) Grant programs. Included are Schuyler County recipients.

The ARTS Council administers the Decentralization Grant program with funds provided by NYSCA. Founded in 1978 following the mandate of the State Legislature to encourage increased participation at the local level in the state's cultural funding process, the DEC program is designed to foster continued development of local artistic and cultural resources that respond to community needs.

Receiving grants under the Community Arts category are the following Schuyler County organizations:

Episcopal Parishes of Schuyler County: $3,500 to present Schuyler County Concert Series VIII. This project produces concerts involving local and regional professional musicians. The Series is the only music series of any kind in Schuyler County.

The Lake Country Players, Inc.: $700 to present Zombeo and Juliet. The Lake Country Players, a community theater organization serving the lower Finger Lakes Region, recently presented the adaptation of the classic Shakespeare play "Romeo and Juliet" -- but with zombies.

Watkins Glen Public Library and Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library: $2,830 to present It's a Wonderful World @ the Library. Together the two libraries present professional storytellers, musicians, and folk & performance artists providing quality artistic programming.

Army National Guard (left) and Tip-Sea boat crews were splashing one another before reaching the first turn on the marina course.

Fiddlers, cardboard boats top weekend

WATKINS GLEN, June 15 -- Watkins Glen was abuzz with activity Saturday -- highlighted by the annual Cardboard Boat Regatta in the marina along the southern shore.

Up the lake, in a more laid-back atmosphere, music fans were treated to fiddle music at Lakewood Vineyards, site of the 25th annual Fiddlers' Gathering -- an event that was held in its early years at the State Park, but at the vineyard for years since.

The Cardboard Boat Regatta had about 70 entrants, with the hulls of all crafts constructed of recycled cardboard along with duct tape, glue, and paint. "No fiberglass, plastic, wood or flotation materials (are) allowed in hull construction," the rules read.

Each year the constructions are creative and colorful, and each year thousands of spectators are drawn to the scene, watching from the shoreline, the pier and the breakwater.

The Spirit of Schuyler was a beneficiary this year, with funds generated from "People's Choice" voting going to that organization, which provides emergency funding for residents of Schuyler County. Seas The Day, a double-hulled craft with a dragon head, received the most votes.

The fastest boats were Not Gonna Sink (multi-hulled, two or more people, captained by Brian Russell), Monkey Business (kids 12 or under, captained by Gabriel Shappell), The Malivan 2 (teens 13-18, captained by Ken Pipher), Geezers AKA Osage (single hull, multi-crew, captained by Bill Game), and Liquified Rat (single hull, single crew, captained by Eli Game).

Photos in text:

Top: The Big Dipper, captained by Heidi Casselberry, rounds the final turn.

Bottom: Crew members on The Scoopology appeared to struggle with their paddling, the webbing on their boat getting in the way.


Lincoln Cromwell (left) and Kit Fallon (right, as viewed through the Main Stage railing) were the first entertainers Saturday at the Fiddler's Gathering.

Fiddlers' Gathering

The crowd at Lakewood Vineyards was smaller than in recent years, likely the result of cool weather under gray skies, with a cutting north wind. Participants of one jamming tent were so chilled that they moved from the tent to an L-shaped corner of the winery that offered protection from the wind.

But those on hand were enjoying the music -- whether jamming or witnessing performances on the Main Stage at the south end of the winery. First up were Kit Fallon and Linc Cromwell, playing a variety of tunes that had spectators tapping their feet and smiling. Later in the day came Jackie Hobbs, Jessica Boss Collins and Don Woodcock with Gretchen Koehler.

In addition, there were workshops run by Fallon, Hobbs and Collins.

The gathering concludes today (Sunday) with more workshops and with performances by George Harriger and Son at 1 p.m., Jeff Wisor with Dave Hampton at 2:30, and Laura Orshaw with Tony Watt at 4 p.m.

Advanced Family Chiropractic wins again

Special to
The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, May 22 -- The eighth and final week is complete in the annual Schuyler Steps Out walking program -- with Advanced Family Chiropractic taking the championship for the second year in a row.

The competition had participants on teams record on pedometers the number of steps they took in a given week.

Advanced Family Chiropractic's three walkers -- who led the past couple of weeks -- finished in first place with 1,272,160 cumulative average steps, ahead of runnerup Walmart's 21 walkers, who had 1,207,563 cumulative average steps.

Lakewood's 10 walkers held steady in third place with 1,028,935 cumulative average steps, while the Watkins Glen Veterinary Hospital's 10 walkers moved up a spot to fourth with 967,319.

Twenty-one teams competed in the heart-healthy competition.

Arc of Schuyler helps Yates sister chapter

Special to The Odessa File

PENN YAN, May 20 -- In the aftermath of significant flood damage in areas of Yates County, The Arc of Schuyler has been providing equipment and assistance to The Arc of Yates in Penn Yan.

Both agencies provide critical supports and services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities including 24/7 residential programs and day programs.

“We are in regular contact with The Arc of Yates and are determined to help in any way we can,” The Arc of Schuyler’s Executive Director, Jeannette Frank, said.

Donations to help restore The Arc of Yates can be made online or delivered to 240 Powell Lane in Penn Yan.

Courthouse Theatre set to open 4th season

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 14 -- Five years ago, actor/singer Bill Christoffels gasped when he first saw the old theater above the Montour Falls Village Hall – it was so perfectly suited for melodrama.

Christoffels and his wife Donna, a concert pianist, promptly became impresarios. On May 30, 2014, the audience will also gasp -- and hiss, boo, applaud and give advice to the characters onstage -- as the fourth season of family-friendly melodramas at the Old Havana Courthouse Theatre begins.

This year’s offerings -- four original musical melodramas by area writers Joe Edkin and Jeff Hetzel -- will have viewers intrigued, inspired, involved ... and, as always, laughing. “For the Love of Pete” is a look at the first reality silent movie; “Dirty Deeds Done for Cheap Dirt” tells the story of a small business trying to hold its own against an attempted takeover; in “Villainy at the Villanova Vaudeville Revisited,” three potential leading ladies attempt to out-sing (and sabotage) each other and win the love of the silent pianist; and in “Today Spitzbergen, Tomorrow the World,” a mad scientist tries to take over a very small country with some of the silliest doomsday devices yet to be invented.

Season tickets are now available, enabling ticket-holders to see four different shows for the price of three. In June, July and August, performances take place Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. The box office opens 40 minutes prior to each show, with a musical pre-show and refreshments available half an hour before the main performance begins. Additionally, during July, the theatre will host special Sunday matinees featuring the Golden Age of radio, magicians galore and Women's Works of Ithaca.

For more information, or to pre-order tickets, call (607) 742-0850 or visit General admission tickets are $10 for any show. Senior, under-10 and group discounts are available.

Photos in text:

Top: Michael Lavarnway as Wallace Marten in “Dirty Deeds Done for Cheap Dirt.”

Bottom: Michelle Benjamin as Peony Penny and Thomas Primerano as Peony’s father CJ Penny in “Dirty Deeds Done for Cheap Dirt.” (Photos by Joe Edkin)

James Felli (right) discusses his piece, “Grapeful Harvest,” selected by guest judge Howard Kimball (left) as “Best in Show” in the Romancing the Vine exhibit. (Photo provided)

'Grapeful Harvest' judged Best in Show

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 24, 2014 -- James Felli of Watkins Glen received the “Best in Show” award for his oil painting “Grapeful Harvest” at the opening reception Friday of the Franklin Street Gallery’s exhibit, Romancing the Vine.

Felli is a retired orthodontist who has been painting for 15 years. He explained that the subject of his winning piece is a vineyard worker he photographed near Seneca Lake years ago during the harvest season. Felli’s piece was chosen and announced as the winner by guest judge Howard Kimball.

“Painting a person’s face isn’t easy to do, but Mr. Felli has done it remarkably,” said Kimball, a long-time president of the Arnot Art Museum in Elmira and co-founder of The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes. Locally, he is known as one of the co-founders of Seneca Lake’s first
winery, Glenora Wine Cellars.

“Seneca Lake, Near Glenora,” a painting by Bob Ievers of Big Flats, received the Honorable Mention award. Although this was Ievers’ first time presenting a painting at the Franklin Street Gallery, he has exhibited his works at art galleries throughout the country.

“I look to capture a scene that may be familiar but, because it’s a unique moment in time, when the light is just right, or the weather conditions are unusual, we’re actually seeing it for the first time,” Ievers said of his work.

The Romancing the Vine exhibit, on display until March 23, includes work from more than 20 area artists and celebrates the Finger Lakes' regional love for wine. The Gallery is located at 209 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen.

The Franklin Street Gallery is operated by The Arc of Schuyler, a non-profit organization providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For more information, call 607-535-2571 or visit

Photo in text: “Seneca Lake, Near Glenora” by Bob Ievers was awarded “Honorable Mention.” (Photo provided)

Spaghetti Dinner raises $2,000 for Arc

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 5, 2014-- Nearly 300 people were served at a Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser
held at the Montour Moose Lodge on February 3 to benefit The Arc of Schuyler.

Members of the Montour Moose, Watkins Glen Rotary Interact students, and volunteers from the Schuyler community teamed up for the annual event – a partnership of the Montour Moose and The Arc of Schuyler for more than 30 years.

The event raised about $2,000 through ticket sales and donations. Proceeds from the event assist The Arc of Schuyler in providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, in Schuyler County.

For more information about The Arc of Schuyler, visit or call 607-535-6934.

Schuyler Transit adds Corning bus run

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 7, 2014 -- Schuyler County Transit will be offering a new, Monday through Friday public transit service to the Corning Transportation Center on Denison Parkway beginning Jan. 20.

This service, Transit officials pointed out, will help connect people in Schuyler County to Corning Community College as well as the City of Corning.

The “Corning Connections” bus stops in Schuyler County will be at the Tops market in Watkins Glen and the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls. Two buses will stop at the Corning Transportation Center in the morning and afternoon, with return trips to Watkins Glen and Montour Falls.

Schedules can be found at Schuyler County Transit's website,, at various locations in Schuyler County and at the Transportation Center.

The new service will enable riders to access the Corning Erwin Area Transit System (CEATS) and C TRAN (formerly Chemung Transit) buses at the Corning Transportation Center for transportation to Corning Community College (CCC) and other stops made by those services.

Regular fare for the service is $2.00 per boarding in addition to CEATS or C TRAN fare.

Beginning February 1, riders may purchase Schuyler County Transit “Corning Connections” monthly passes for $50 to access CEATS and C TRAN’s CCC bus routes for no additional charge. Monthly passes for transfers to CEATS and C TRAN buses are available for purchase online on the Schuyler County Transit website and on Schuyler County Transit buses.

The additional service is made possible, transit officials said, by The Arc of Schuyler opening its semi-fixed route transit services for people with disabilities to the general public. The Arc is a not-for-profit organization in Watkins Glen providing, among other supports to people with disabilities, transportation to and from employment and other skill development services.

“This concept of coordination of transportation services not only makes financial sense in the current fiscal environment, but it also affords more community interaction and integration for people with disabilities,” said Arc of Schuyler Executive Director Jeannette Frank.

To access schedules, specific times, and monthly passes, visit, or call 607-535-3555 for more information.

Biathlon garners attention for Scouting

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, Dec. 30, 2013 -- Regional Boy Scouts of America organization Five Rivers Council is celebrating national recognition by way of the most recent January/February issue of Scouting, a nationally distributed leadership and programming development magazine.

The cover story and 5-page article highlights a unique Venturing winter biathlon event held at popular Five Rivers Council and Finger Lakes adventure facility Camp Gorton on Waneta Lake in Dundee, NY.

As described in the article and accompanying photos, the Venturing Biathlon is a series of outdoor shooting and skiing events. After completing a required NRA and BSA gun safety course, participants are exposed to a variety of pistols, rifles, and shotguns where they enjoy hands-on experience in a controlled shooting range.

Venturers are given a lesson on skiing and snowshoeing, and weather permitting, can use them in the competition.

The Scouting magazine article emphasizes the importance of staying fit in winter months and maintaining safety procedures as well as the dedication of local volunteer educators.

While the event brought in participants from all over the Northeast region, Venturers and leaders are featured from Athens, PA and Corning, Elmira and Dundee. The article can be found in the January-February issue of Scouting Magazine or read online here.

Venturing is a youth development program of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women who are 13 and have completed the eighth grade, or otherwise 14 through 20 years of age. Venturing's purpose is to provide positive experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults. Those interested in joining or learning more may go to

The Boy Scouts of America, more than a century old, is a youth development organization with more than 100 million youth and adult members. The local Five Rivers Council, a United Way Agency, serves youths across 10 counties in the Southern Tier of New York State and Northern Tier of Pennsylvania. Council camps Gorton and Brulé operate in New York and Pennsylvania, respectively, hosting year-round adventure and leadership development programming.

Streetscape project

Benches and an awning are in place on Third Street in Watkins Glen, alongside the building housing the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. Planters will be added, as will vines on the wall -- all part of a Main Street Program grant project. The $15,000 project was paid for by the grant, with the proviso that the Village of Watkins Glen maintain the setting for five years.

“Autumn Glory” by Curt Wright of Dundee. It received Honorable Mention. (Provided)

Troup wins Gallery's People's Choice Award

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 12, 2013 -- The Franklin Street Gallery and Gift Shop has awarded Meaghan Troup of Mifflinburg, PA, the People’s Choice award for her submission in its second annual Homegrown Arts exhibit.

Troup’s oil on canvas painting “The Calling” (right) was featured at the Gallery along with work by nearly 30 regional artists. From November 15 to December 6, Gallery visitors voted for their favorite piece in the exhibit. “The Calling” received the highest number of votes.

Troup is a graphic designer, photographer, and artist. Her work was also awarded “Best in Show” by guest jurors at the Franklin Street Gallery’s Earth & Fire exhibit in July.

Curt Wright of Dundee received Honorable Mention for his acrylic painting, “Autumn Glory.” Wright, well known for his oil paintings of historic scenes of the colorful New York State Finger Lakes, is the owner of Five Star Art.

A portion of the registration fees to participate in the exhibit benefit the continued operation of the Franklin Street Gallery. The Gallery is sustained by grants, fees for programs, commissions and donations from supporters and is now conducting its annual fund drive.

For information on winter 2014 classes, events, and how you can support the Gallery, call 607-535-2571 or visit

Photo in text: “The Calling,” oil on canvas painting by Meaghan Troup. It won the People's Choice Award. (Photo provided)

Glen Village Christmas names winners

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 11, 2013 -- The Village Christmas Committee has announced winners of the "Visions of Christmas Past" parade held during the festival on December 6 in downtown Watkins Glen.

The winners:

“Most Christmas Spirit" – Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards and Winery;
“Best Decorated” – Elmira Savings Bank;
“Most Decorated Fire Truck” – Montour Falls Fire Department;
“Judges Choice” – Monterey Fire Department

Said Christine Peacock, chair of the Village Christmas: “What a great way to kick off the holiday season -- good food, great shopping and fantastic fireworks! Thanks for all your support!”

Santa Claus and Odessa Mayor Keith Pierce at the tree-lighting ceremony. Santa gave the command to turn on the lights.

Odessa holds its holiday party

ODESSA, Dec. 9, 2013 -- The Village of Odessa Municipal Building was alive with exuberant children Sunday afternoon and evening for the annual Christmas party provided for the kids by the Odessa Fire Department.

Each of 70 kids visiting Santa was provided with a present, courtesy of the firefighters.

There were refreshments, and face-painting, and letters written by the kids to Santa. Outside the Municipal Building Community Room, site of the party, sat a red postal box for placement of those letters. By evening's end, there was quite a collection of Santa mail to be sent to the North Pole.

Letters to Santa, Mayor Keith Pierce says, will continue to be collected until Dec. 20. The postal box is located on the north end of the building, near the flagpoles.

At the end of the party, dozens of residents, along with village officials and Santa, gathered outside to watch the lighting of the village's Christmas tree. Santa gave the order to light it, and the kids on hand ran to the tree, dancing and jumping around it in delight.

Department of Public Works chief Steve Siptrott capped off the event by playing "Silent Night" on his guitar, with parents and kids singing along.

Photo in text: Kids dance around the village's Christmas tree after its lights were turned on.

Left: Gunner Herrmann places his Santa letter in the Santa mailbox. Right: The letters that accumulated during the day inside the mailbox.

Left: A young girls gets a close look at the village Christmas tree after the lights were turned on. Right: Kids and parents flocked to see Santa at the party.

Interact students were on hand to help with face-painting.

Guitarist Steve Siptrott performs "Silent Night" to end the evening.

Christian Harris of the New York State Department of Labor tells the Mentoring Program's student participants about the local job pool.

Mentoring Program teaches students some life lessons

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 4, 2013 -- Three-dozen high school students from Schuyler County were treated to some career-path wisdom Tuesday when they gathered in the Harbor Hotel ballroom for the seventh annual Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Student Mentoring Program.

Keynote speaker for the event was State Senator Tom O'Mara, who recounted his career and how it has taken some twists and turns he never anticipated. In fact, he said he has "changed my direction many times" and encouraged the students to "be flexible."

He said, for instance, that after attending college at St. John Fisher in Rochester and then Catholic University in Washington, D.C., after gaining a law degree at Syracuse University and after working in the Manhattan District Attorney's office, in private practice in Elmira and as Chemung County District Attorney and County Attorney, he was faced with an opportunity to serve in the State Assembly when a seat opened.

"I had never considered" such a possibility, he said, but he took that path, served for six years, and then ran for State Senate when the incumbent, George Winner, retired.

He also told the students that -- knowing now what he didn't know along the way -- they should not be afraid "to confront your fears." He said that while in college, he dropped courses that had "a component of public speaking" because he feared speaking in front of a group. If you confront such a fear, he added, "you'll get over it."

He also said that they should "concentrate on the basics: reading, writing, math and science" because those disciplines teach us "how to calculate things and understand concepts" that can help in tackling life's challenges.

Other speakers included Schuyler County Legislature Chair Dennis Fagan, who as head of his own engineering firm found that an important element to success was "the ability to communicate. You had better be good in communicating. You might be the best engineer in the world, but if you can't communicate" verbally and in writing, "you won't get jobs or retain clients. If you are inclined toward science or math, don't ignore your English classes."

Also featured in the program was Jared Campbell, a singer who tells life-affirming stories through his music. After lunch, the afternoon portion of the program featured a panel of experts including New York Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, CSS Workforce New York's Chuck Peacock, The Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes' Ginnie Lupi, and Scott Bloor of Corning Community College's Small Business Development Center.

Photos in text:

Top: State Senator Tom O'Mara delivers his speech at the hotel.

Bottom: Schuyler Legislature Chair Dennis Fagan speaks extemporaneously about the need for communication skills in life.

Left: Jared Campbell, who delivered a musical performance with a message. Right: Watkins
Glen student Tamijah Lawton-Stone, right, talks about the Mentoring Program with
YNN reporter Katie Husband.

November Splendor sets new marks

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 22, 2013 -- For the second year in a row, November Splendor -- Schuyler Hospital’s largest fundraiser -- broke records.

The “hospital ball” brought a record number of attendees (284), had a record number of raffle and auction packages (25), with donated items valued at $16,000; and raised a record amount of funds for the hospital ($28,000).

The Schuyler Health Foundation and Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary hosted the annual “November Splendor” fundraiser at the Harbor Hotel on November 15.

“I never cease to be amazed with the outpouring of support we receive from our community for this event, and for the hospital in general,” said Michelle Benjamin, Executive Director of the Schuyler Health Foundation. “Though we have many exciting things happening at the hospital and nursing home right now, the needs are ongoing and numerous, so we are so appreciative for the community’s generosity.”

Proceeds from the event go to the Auxiliary and the Foundation’s Family of Friends 2013 Campaign -- supporting Schuyler Hospital and the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. Donations are still welcome for the campaign through January 2014.

Event sponsors were also at an all-time high, and include the Schuyler Hospital Medical Staff, Harbor Hotel, Welliver, Jerlando’s, Bower Catering and Bower Farms, Chemung Canal Trust Company, Community Bank NA, Manning & Napier, George Lawson and the Watkins Review & Express / Dundee Observer, Pro Audio, Ciaschi, Dietershagen, Little, Mickelson & Co., LLP; Visions FCU, Hilliard Corporation, and Keegan Associates.

The event featured music by a band new to the event -- “Atlas” -- and a live auction led by Matt Hayden.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact the Schuyler Health Foundation at (607) 210-1950 or go on-line to

Brand named SFLW's Woman of the Year

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 19, 2013 -- The Southern Finger Lakes Women (SFLW), a Chapter of New York State Women, Inc., has presented its annual “Woman of the Year” award to Nancy Brand of Burdett.

The presentation was made Monday as part of New York State Women, Inc.’s observance of “New York State Women in Business Month,” which recognizes the accomplishments of women in business and the professions in New York State.

Brand, a mother of grown twin daughters, is employed by Catholic Charities, and serves on the Advisory Board for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and the Schuyler County Food Bank Coalition. She also works with the Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Nutrition Education Committee.

She was honored earlier this year by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as a Paul Harris Fellow -- an honor designed to recognize those who display "service above self."

The mission of New York State Women, Inc., is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information. The organization includes women and men of every age, race, religion, political party and socio-economic background.

The Southern Finger Lakes Women Chapter meets on the third Monday of each month. For more information about the chapter, contact Gloria Hutchings at (607) 594-2489 or JoAnne Krolak at (607) 732-1171.

Photo in text: From left: Honoree Nancy Brand; Mary Ellen Morgan, Status of Women Committee Chair, and Jan Brew, Status of Women Committee Member. (Photo provided)

Sky Masterson (Alan Caum, center) prepares to roll the dice.

'Guys & Dolls' ends its run

ODESSA, Oct. 17, 2013 -- The Lake Country Players' presentation of the classic musical “Guys & Dolls” completed its two-day, three performance run Saturday night in the Odessa-Montour High School Fetter-Brown Auditorium.

The acting troupe, after opening Friday night, held matinee and night performances Saturday.

The cast included Alan Caum as Sky Masterson, Lisa McKnight as Sarah Brown, Michael Truesdail as Nathan Detroit, Libby Bloodgood as Miss Adelaide, Tom Gottko as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Charlie Cole as Arvide Abernathy, Sam Norton as Benny Southstreet, Phil Kruk as Big Jule, and an ensemble full of memorable characters.

Termed “A Musical Fable of Broadway,” “Guys and Dolls” follows the trials and tribulations of a gang of gamblers in New York City, and the women they woo.

The show is well known for songs including “Fugue for Tinhorns,” “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” and “Luck be a Lady,” as well as the performance numbers of Adelaide and her dancers, including “Take Back your Mink” and “Bushel and a Peck.” There are also romantic melodies such as “Sue Me” and “I’ve Never Been in Love Before.”

The director was Tim Benjamin, who has participated in theater in the area – on stage and backstage – for more than 25 years. He and his wife, Michelle, are in their 10th year of co-directing the Watkins Glen High School spring musicals. For the Lake Country Players, Benjamin had previously directed “Babes in Arms,” “The Music Man” and “Kiss Me Kate,” as well as dinner theater. Michelle Benjamin was Choreographer.

Music Director was Tom Bloodgood, who was joined by musicians Lou Cicconi, Bernie Riley, Ed Lovell, Jenelle Bleiler, Pam Cicconi and Loueda Bleiler in the pit band. Accompanist was Donna Christoffels, with her pages turned by her husband, William. Costumes were by Beth Clark.

“Guys and Dolls” is based on a story and characters by Damon Runyon.

Music and Lyrics were by Frank Loesser, and the Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. It was presented in cooperation with Music Theatre International, 421 West 54th St., NY, NY 10019.

This project was made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts’ Decentralization Program, administered locally by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.

For more information, email

Photos in text:

Top: Tom Gottko as Nicely-Nicely Johnson belts out "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat."

Middle: Pit Band drummer Ed Lovell

Bottom: Holly Campbell (right) and Ashley Vann dance during the musical number "Take Back Your Mink."

Left: Pit Band guitarist Lou Cicconi. Right: Lisa McKnight as Sarah (left) and Libby Bloodgood as Adelaide sing "Marry the Man Today."

From left: Tesha Truesdail, Damita Chamberlain, Holly Campbell and Ashley Vann take a bow at the end of the show.

And Friday night:

Libby Bloodgood, as Adelaide, sings "A Bushel and a Peck."

Left: Nicely-Nicely Johnson, left, a gambler portrayed by Tom Gottko, is confronted by Lt. Brannigan (Michael Blasic). Right: Lisa McKnight, as Sarah Brown, sings "I'll Know."

Trumpeter Bernie Riley, part of the pit band directed by Tom Bloodgood (background).

Left: Actor Gene Holleran backstage. Right: Director Tim Benjamin addresses the audience before the start of the play

And during a dress rehearsal Wednesday night:

Sky Masterson (Alan Caum) prepares to roll the dice during scene in "Guys & Dolls."

From left: Charlie Cole, Lisa McKnight and Katherine Larson during a musical number.

Among the Pit Band participants are Jenelle Bleiler, left, and music director Tom Bloodgood.

Tom Gottko, who portrays Nicely-Nicely Johnson, belts out
"Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" during one of the final scenes.

Left: Phil Kruk performs the role of Big Jule. Right: Michael Truesdail and
Libby Bloodgood play Nathan Detroit and Miss Adelaide.

Scenic Byway seeking designs for signage

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER, Nov. 7, 2013 -- The Seneca Lake Scenic Byway Committee is asking all artists in the Schuyler and Seneca County area to help design the new 18-mile Route 414 Scenic Byway signs. The signs will be placed at the entrances of the Scenic Byway both North and South on Rte. 414.

According to the committee, the sign should encompass the theme of the Byway, which is:
1) Seneca Lake; 2) Agriculture; 3) Historic significance. The sign should be 24 inches by 24 inches, with the design in color.

Once the committee selects the design, it will be forwarded to the New York State Department of Transportation's Scenic Byway Advisory Committee to be approved and made.

Deadline for the designs is December 15. Send designs to Chris Kimball-Peterson, 6020 Searsburg Road, Trumansburg, NY 14886. If you want further information, contact her at: (607) 387-5486 or at

At the Wesleyan Church: A scary trick-or-treater poses near the Odessa Fire Department truck parked there; and a young firefighter enjoys a snack.

As always, the kids were out in force

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Nov. 1, 2013 -- The kids were out in substantial numbers Thursday night, led by their parents, making their way from door to door in communities around the country.

It was Halloween, a time of candy and trick-or-treating and costumes -- and Odessa was no different.

Highlights in the village included:

--Treats for kids handed out by the Odessa Fire Department, which had a truck -- with bright illuminating beams -- parked alongside the Wesleyan Church.

--Cider and donuts around the corner of the church building.

--Ghouls and goblins and jack-o-lanterns across the street, at the corner of Maple and Church Streets, attracting a steady stream of candy-seekers.

--And, of course, the doorways of scores of homes, lit and ready for the arrival of the kids, the homeowners waiting to distribute the always-prized candy.

Trick or treating ran from 6 to 8 p.m., in line with the time frame in other villages.

The weather cooperated for the most part -- raining at first and then clearing. A gentle wind wafted warmly, a far cry from the sleet and snow of some past Halloweens.

Photo in text:

Top: In Odessa, Julia Paulisczak, left, was dressed as a peacock, while Ida Sidle was in the garb of a princess.

Bottom: Gina Gavich at the Odessa Fire Department candy giveaway, next to the Wesleyan Church.

Colorful costumes (like the one at left) and ghoulish-looking characters (right) populated Odessa's landscape on Halloween.

Sunset at soccer game

The sun left behind a red sky on Wednesday evening, Oct. 9, 2013 as viewed here from
the sidelines of a Watkins Glen High School boys varsity soccer game.

Local artist featured on Institute calendar

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 22, 2013 -- A local artist’s work is being featured in the 2014 calendar produced by the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire.

“Fall Orchard,” created by Van Etten resident Stacy Burdick, was one of 13 images selected out of a record 483 pieces of art competing for a spot on the calendar. Since 2000, these calendars have been distributed to people around the world who are connected to the Institute on Disability’s mission of promoting full access, equal opportunities and participation for all.

“I’m really happy,” Burdick said. “It feels great to be recognized for my art.” Burdick created the piece at an art class offered through The Arc of Schuyler. “Fall Orchard,” along with several other pieces Burdick has created through this creative arts program, is on exhibit at the Franklin Street Gallery in downtown Watkins Glen.

“The piece has been admired in the gallery,” Gallery manager Cynthia Hill said. “I’m thrilled Stacy’s work will be appreciated outside the area now, too, and that more people can see her talent.”

The Franklin Street Gallery is a community arts center that promotes inclusive arts and cultural opportunities in the Finger Lakes region. For more information, visit the Gallery at 209 N. Franklin Street, call 607-535-2571, or visit

Photo in text: Stacy Burdick with her calendar painting. (Photo provided)

Left: Kim Laursen performs. Right: Balloons added to the festive occasion.

Kids, parents enjoy Pooh-themed tea party

ODESSA, Sept. 22, 2013 -- The Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library’s 2nd Annual Tea Party for adults and children -- with a "Winnie the Pooh" theme -- was a success Saturday.

The event was held in the Odessa Municipal Building Community Room, which was filled with "Pooh"-themed characters and greenery, with teapots full of various beverages, and with enthusiastic attendees.

The menu included tea sandwiches, teapot beverages, fancy cookies, and goodies galore. The fun included making a take-home craft, coloring placemats, and playing a game. Entertainment was provided by Dream Barn Productions and O-M music teacher Kim Laursen.

There were raffles, drawings, and giveaways too. Greenery was provided by Stillman’s Greenhouse in Montour Falls.

Photo in text: Teapots were an integral part of the "Winnie the Pooh" party.

Cargill grants $5,000 to Arc of Schuyler

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 19, 2013 -- The Arc of Schuyler has been given a $5,000 grant by Cargill to support The Arc’s Eat Smart and Move More health and wellness program.

The Arc is a leading provider of supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism in Schuyler County. Funding from Cargill will enable The Arc to partner with Schuyler Cornell Cooperative Extension for education services with a nutrition educator.

“Cargill’s statement of purpose is to be a global leader in nourishing people,” said Don Chutas, Cargill plant manager in Watkins Glen. “This gift supports Cargill’s purpose and a partnership between The Arc and Cornell Cooperative Extension, which will promote healthy lifestyles for people living and working in Schuyler County.”

Obesity rates for people with developmental disabilities across the country continue to be about 57% higher than adults without disabilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Arc initiated its Eat Smart and Move More program to provide continuing education on nutrition, healthy food preparation and cooking, and to increase physical activity levels of people
receiving supports and staff.

“There is a strong need for health and wellness education in our area, and people with disabilities need to be included,” said Jeannette Frank, Executive Director of The Arc. “People with disabilities often have mobility impairments and special medical needs that require a personalized approach to wellness activities. We are sincerely grateful to Cargill for helping The Arc’s employees and people we support achieve improved health.”

Photo in text: Don Chutas, Plant Manager of Cargill, Watkins Glen presents a $5,000 grant award to Teresa Higbie, center, Self-Advocate and member of The Arc of Schuyler’s Health and Wellness Committee, and Jeannette Frank, Executive Director of The Arc. (Photo provided)

Arc honors Harrison for volunteer service

Editor's Note: G. Thomas Harrison died on Aug. 31, 2013 at the age of 76. The following article was published the week before.

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 23, 2013 -- After eight years of service on The Arc of Schuyler Board of Directors, G. Thomas Harrison has stepped down from his position due to his health.

"Tom," said an Arc spokesperson, "has been a positive and influential force on The Arc’s Board and many committees over the years."

The Arc’s Board President, Michael Stamp, and Executive Director, Jeanette Frank, personally thanked Tom for his dedication and impact on The Arc. Below is their letter of recognition on behalf of The Arc’s Board of Directors:

Dear Tom,

On behalf of The Arc of Schuyler’s Board of Directors, staff and the individuals with developmental disabilities and their families that receive supports through our organization, we want to express our sincere appreciation for all you have done over the past eight years to help our organization and the people we support. We would like to thank you for:

· Being a strong advocate and never hesitating to speak up.

· Your role in our very successful Golf Tournament and making sure it has been a premier event year after year. The tournament has raised over $200,000 since its inception.

· Your sincere interest in encouraging young people to pursue opportunities to help others, including helping people with disabilities, by chairing our scholarship committee.

· Your understanding of the complexity of our business operations and your astute financial insight and recommendations while serving on our finance committee.

· Your dedicated years of volunteer Board service, not only acting in an advisory capacity but also as an involved volunteer at the annual Christmas party, dinners, fundraisers and special events.

· Your ability to attract talented people to the organization, Board committees, and the Board. Your enthusiasm and commitment to our purpose has always been clear to all with whom you come into contact.

With sincere thanks from all of us who you have touched with your strength, your wisdom and your whistle!"

Photo in text: Tom Harrison officiating The Arc of Schuyler Golf Tournament in 2007.

On the Waterfront

This was the scene one pleasant day in Clute Park, along the southern shore of Seneca Lake.

Kids' rides were a popular part of the festival's final day.

Italian-American festival ends 3-day run

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 5, 2013 -- The 34th annual Schuyler County Italian-American Festival completed its three-day run at Clute Park Sunday on a blustery but rain-free afternoon.

Highlights included a motorcyle show, a 2-person bocce tournament, skatepark competitions, live music by A Few More Faithful at the entertainment tent, and the usual mix of games, rides and vendor stands.

Where the first day of the festival was beset early by rainstorms, and where Saturday saw nearly perfect weather for the annual festival parade and for the fireworks after dark, Sunday was blustery and cool, with any threatening clouds moving by harmlessly.

The festival closed at 6 p.m.

More than 20 food concessions, upwards of 50 craft vendors and, of course, amusement rides offered something for everyone throughout the weekend.

All proceeds from the festival are returned to the community through donations and scholarships.

Except for the amusements, all of the entertainment was free to the public. There was no admission to the festival, but parking on Clute Park grounds was $5 per vehicle. The festival had plenty of handicapped parking spaces available.

As part of its emphasis on offering a family-friendly experience, the organizing committee prohibited all outside alcoholic beverages from the festival grounds. Coolers and bags were checked.

Local wines and ice-cold beer were available for purchase at the festival's beer garden, a designated area designed to offer a relaxing atmosphere for festival-goers 21 and older.

Photos in text:

Top: The climbing wall attracted a steady stream of customers Sunday.

Bottom: Judy Phillips uses a microphone to urge festival visitors to play the Rotary-sponsored Over-Under game of chance, located near the entertainment tent.

More photos from Friday and Saturday can be found here.

Marching bands were a part of the Hector Parade.

Hector Fair Parade is a hit

HECTOR, July 27, 2013 -- The annual Hector Fair Parade made its way up Rt. 414 to the fairgrounds Friday night before an appeciative audience standing and seated along the roadway.

More than a dozen fire departments were represented in the line of march -- from Hector, Montour Falls, Tyrone, Ovid, Lodi, Mecklenburg, Monterey, Beaver Dams, Trumansburg, Hammondsport, Watkins Glen, Odessa, Interlaken, Romulus and Burdett.

There were also floats, tractors, vintage cars, a few politicians, and marching bands.

When the parade was completed, some of the spectators headed home, but most headed for the fairgrounds and a good meal. Rides, games of chance, a book sale and bingo were also popular stops.

The fair concluded Saturday with a car show, a chicken barbecue, fun on the midway, and fireworks.


Photos in text:

Top: Tony Fraboni rides with Tom Kiernan in Kiernan's Cobra Kit Car as part of the Hector Fair Parade.

Bottom: A parade participant leaves bubbles in his wake. The parade featured fire units, bands, tractors, floats, politicians and vintage cars.

Participants included, from left: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, an orange marcher, and Schuyler County Deputy Sheriff Andrew Yessman, who led the parade.

The operator at the Hector Fair's Tempest ride keeps an eye on customers
as they twirl around in front of him Friday night, after the parade.

Among the floats was one from the Rasta Ranch Vineyards.

An Odessa Fire Department truck was one of many in the parade.

(Photos by Liz Fraboni and Charlie Haeffner)

Troup takes Best in Show at Exhibit

Special to
The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 22, 2013 -- Meaghan Troup of Mifflinburg, Pa., received the “Best in Show”
award for her piece “Resting In Your Shadow” at the opening reception of the Franklin Street Gallery’s exhibit, Earth & Fire, on July 12.

Troup is a graphic designer, photographer, and artist. She says of her work, “The beauty that surrounds me inspires me artistically, be it a majestic landscape, an arresting smile, or the play of light and shadow across objects on a table. These aspects of life are so overlooked as we go through our daily routines.”

Troup’s work was chosen by jurors Ann Welles and Brett Steeves. Welles is the owner and director of Exhibit A in Corning and is an active organizer in the arts community. She has lectured at various colleges and art organizations and presented professional development workshops for visual artists. Steeves is the owner of Somers Art & Frame in Hammondsport.

The jurors also selected “Forest Fire Coming,” a watercolor painting by CoraLee Burch of Dundee, to receive the Honorable Mention award. Burch is an experienced painter and sculptor whose work is displayed at galleries in New York, Massachusetts and Florida.

The Earth & Fire exhibit is on display at the gallery, 209 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen, until August 5. A portion of the registration fees to participate in the exhibit benefit the continued operation of the gallery.

The gallery is operated by The Arc of Schuyler, a non-profit organization providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and is sustained by grants, fees for programs, commissions, and donations. For more information, call 607-535-2571.

Photos in text:

Top: “Resting In Your Shadow,” oil painting by Meaghan Troup, which won “Best In Show.”

Bottom: “Forest Fire Coming” by CoraLee Burch of Dundee, which won “Honorable Mention.” (Images provided)

Members of the Leslie School of Dance perform at the picnic.

Fun, food, music highlight fundraiser

BURDETT, July 20, 2013 -- Arcangeli Farm on the Satterly Hill Road was transformed into a public, fund-raising setting Saturday with a Community Family Picnic to benefit Schuyler Hospital.

The event featured music by Uncle Joe and the Rosebud Ramblers; performances by students of the Leslie School of Dance, and exhibitions by members of Four Dragons Martial Arts and the Dream Barn Productions acting troupe.

There were also wagon rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, MomStar the Clown, food, bouncy houses, face painting, Cow Chip Bingo, raffles, a 50/50 drawing, display cars, Elmira Jackals mascot "Blade," and booths manned by community organizations such as the Lions Club and the Red Cross.

The picnic was presented by the Schuyler Health Foundation and sponsored by Eyes on Seneca, Visions Credit Union, Watkins Lumber, and Jeff's On-Site Services.

Photo in text: A member of Four Dragons Martial Arts demonstrates a kick move.

Left: Two members of Uncle Joe and the Rosebud Ramblers, a musical trio that entertained. Right: "Blade" from the Elmira Jackals hockey team poses with kids at the picnic.

New Lions officers: From left, Bob Mizzoni (Membership Chair), Delores Mizzoni (Secretary), John Terry (Treasurer), Jim Carmony (Director), Amedeo Fraboni (Director), Mary Barnes (1st Vice President), Glenn Bleiler (2nd Vice President), Tamre Waite (President), Rita Tague-Carmony (Past President), and Past District Governor David Rupright. (Photo provided)

Lions celebrate 25th anniversary

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 12, 2013-- The Watkins-Montour Lions Club recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of its charter. The celebration was held at the Seneca Harbor Station restaurant in Watkins Glen.

The club dates back to March 3, 1998, when a group of community individuals met to discuss the goals and purpose of a new adventure. Service to the community and the motto of “We Serve” was then and is still its goal.

The celebration was attended by 35 members and guests. Dignitaries included many of the club's Past Presidents, who were joined by: Past International Director Ed Cordes; District Governor Terry Hartzell; Immediate Past District Governor Dave Rupright; Past District Governor Bob Barto; Past District Governor Bob Mizzoni; Zone Chairperson from Region 2, Zone 2 Tom McGarry and Zone Chairperson from Region 1, Zone 2 Larry Strickland.

Club service has taken many forms. One long-running service: eye exams and eyeglasses for those without means to pay. Another: scholarships for senior students from the Watkins Glen, Odessa-Montour and Bradford school districts. Funds recently have been donated locally to the Boy Scouts of America, Schuyler Hospital Health Foundation, Salvation Army, United Way of Schuyler County, and the new WGHS Lacrosse Team. The club has also reached out to those in need outside the area with donations to: the American Diabetes Association; the Brandel-Murphy Foundation and the Lions Club International Foundation for Hurricane Sandy Relief.

The Club participates in the Adopt-a Highway twice a year, keeping free from litter a two-mile stretch of State Route 14, part of which runs between Watkins Glen and Montour Falls.

Well wishes came from Lions Club International President Wayne A. Madden in the form of a letter, a small flag and a distinctive anniversary patch for the Lions Club banner. The Club was also honored by proclamations and letters from State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.

Past District Governor David Rupright presided over the Installation of Officers for the 2013-2014 term. The incoming board consists of President Tamre Waite, 1st Vice President Mary Barnes, 2nd Vice President Glenn Bleiler; Treasurer John Terry, Secretary Delores Mizzoni, Membership Chair Bob Mizzoni and Past President: Rita Tague-Carmony. Directors are Lions Frank Steber, Jim Carmony and Amedeo Fraboni.

The Melvin Jones Fellowship Award established in 1973 to honor the founder of Lions International was presented to Lion Brian O'Donnell in recognition of his dedicated Club Service.

The Robert J. Uplinger Distinguished Service Award established in 1993 to award outstanding Lions and non-Lions for exemplary service to the Club was presented to Lion Gloria Brubaker for outstanding leadership in the vision screening program in Schuyler County.

Photos in text: Brian O'Donnell (top right) receives the Melvin Jones Award, and Gloria Brubaker receives the Robert J. Uplinger Award. Pictured with them is Tom McGarry, Awards Committee Chairman. (Photos provided)

Earth & Fire exhibit set at Gallery

WATKINS GLEN, July 6, 2013 -- The Franklin Street Gallery will host an opening reception of its
Earth & Fire art exhibit on Friday, July 12 from 5 to 8 p.m. The gallery is located at 209 N.
Franklin Street in Watkins Glen.

Guest jurors Ann Welles and Brett Steeves will select and announce the recipients for Best in Show and Honorable Mention awards at the reception.

Welles is the owner and director of Exhibit A in Corning and is an active organizer in the arts community. She has lectured at various colleges and art organizations and presented professional development workshops for visual artists. Steeves is the owner of Somers Art & Frame in Hammondsport. The shop offers printing and framing services and its gallery features work by artists from the Finger Lakes region.

The reception is sponsored by Raven’s Landing in Watkins Glen and its owner, Cindy Lane Newcomb. Newcomb will conduct Tarot card readings at the reception. Chair massage and oxygen bar sessions will also be offered. For more information about the sponsor, visit

The exhibit is on display until August 5 and includes a variety of work from artists in the Finger Lakes region.

The Franklin Street Gallery is a community arts center operated by The Arc of Schuyler, a non-profit organization providing support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. For more information, visit or contact the gallery at 607-535-2571.

Photo in text: Fire on the Water, an acrylic painting by Steve Duprey among those works of art to be on display at the exhibit. (Photo provided)

Chamber displays art of West, Schwabel

WATKINS GLEN, June 15, 2013 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce kicked off an art exhibition Friday evening with a celebration of the paintings of Lucretia West of Caton and the photography of James Schwabel of Hamburg.

Both artists were on hand to discuss their work, which adorns walls throughout the visitors' area of the Chamber office at 214 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen.

The works of West and Schwabel have often been featured at the Franklin Street Gallery across the street from the Chamber. In fact, the exhibition was arranged in cooperation with the Gallery.

West works mostly in watercolors and oils, as well as writing children's stories. She says she paints in many styles, though the works on display are largely scenics in bright colors.

Schwabel, in addition to producing scenic photos, also features race cars in his work. He says he has a collection of Watkins Glen race-car photos he snapped back in the 1960s and '70s which he utilizes in some of his art.

West's and Schwabel's work -- scenic studies, for the most part -- will be on display at the Chamber for at least a month.

Photos in text: Lucretia West and James Schwabel pose alongside some of their work on display at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Nearly 350 excavation and municipal workers attended the seminar at the Watkins Glen Community Center.

Digging seminar draws a large audience

WATKINS GLEN, March 8, 2013 -- About 350 excavation and municipal workers were on hand Thursday for a Dig Safely New York seminar on the need to adhere to rules and the dangers of short-cutting them when undertaking any digging project.

The Dig Safely New York 2013 Excavator Safety Seminar tour to nine sites around the state stopped at the Watkins Glen Community Center -- after stops earlier in the week in Buffalo and Rochester -- and the message reached a lot of ears.

The room was full of professionals listening to tour organizers explain the types of projects that require a call to 811 -- the phone number linked to a communications center in Rochester that handles 400,000 utility stake-out request calls each year.

According to a Dig Safely NY pamphlet, "with just one call to Dig Safely New York, Inc., you can notify several member utility owners in your area of an impending dig. Once notified, each utility must locate and mark their facilities within two full working days. If they have no facilities under your dig site, they will notify you of that as well." It adds: "Some underground facility owners may not be members; therefore you will need to contact them separately."

The main thread of Thursday's gathering was this: Always call 811 before starting any digging project, whether you are a professional or a homeowner.

Keynote speaker at the seminar was Brad Livingston of Kansas, who in 1991 was involved in two explosions, back to back, while working on a job involving a natural gas well. He was not expected to survive, and doctors considered amputating his legs -- but they didn't. He ultimately underwent 18 surgeries and still carries scars on his face that are constant reminders. Today he imparts his message to other professionals in the excavation and municipal fields:

"Success," he said, "is measured by going home safely to your family every night ... follow policies and procedures ... focus on your job; do not be distracted ... and do not take shortcuts."

Kevin Hopper, operations manager for Dig Safely NY -- a not-for-profit organization -- said a seminar tour is held late each winter in locales around the state to urge safety before the spring digging season arrives.

"There is more and more infrastructure underground," he said, requiring more and more caution -- even when digging a hole for a mailbox.

The response in terms of seminar attendance has been heartening, he said, with 450 on hand in Buffalo Tuesday, about 440 in Rochester Wednesday, and 349 in Watkins Glen -- with excavation professionals coming from roughly a 45-mile radius.

Many are returnees from sessions in previous years, Hopper said, "but every year about 50% are new attendees."

Photos in text:

Top: Kevin Hopper, left, operations manager of Dig Safely New York, and keynote speaker Brad Livingston, injured years ago in a double explosion.

Middle: Signs urging calls to 811 were in evidence on walls and windows at the Community Center.

Bottom: Vendors on hand promoted excavation equipment and such things as the signage pictured here.

Odessa unit graduates 6 junior firefighters

Special to The Odessa File

ODESSA, Dec 16, 2012 -- Six junior firefighters have graduated from the Odessa Fire Department's first annual junior firefighter training program.

The program consisted of 15 hours of training -- including CPR certification, an overview of the Odessa department, Incident Command, salvage operations, staging set up, knots, hose lays, and ladder and equipment familiarization.

The six junior firefighters are, pictured from left above: Henna Herrmann, Amy Fudala, Brian McClean, Brandon Wright, Dasia Herrmann and Frank Wood.

Rob Swinnerton's son Mark at the podium during the award presentation, while family members look on. The honoree is third from left. (Photo provided)

Rob Swinnerton honored by Lions Club

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 13, 2012 -- The Watkins-Montour Lions Club Monday awarded Rob Swinnerton a Life Membership Award. The honor was presented by his son, past Lion president Mark Swinnerton.

The award can be given to any Lions Club member who has maintained active membership for 20 or more years and has rendered outstanding service to the club and to his or her community. Rob has been a Lion for nearly 45 years, serving both in the Corning and Watkins-Montour Clubs.

In order to receive the award, which comes from Lions Club International, a person must be nominated by the local Lions Club. There are currently 1.3 million active Lions, serving in 45,500 clubs in 205 countries, and there have been 20 million Lions that have come and gone over the years. Thus, this award -- given thus far to 53,000 members across the years -- has been bestowed on only 1 in 400 Lions.

The elder Swinnerton was the driving force behind the formation of the Watkins-Montour Lions, serving several times as President of the group. He has received the 20 Year Long Term attendance award, not missing a single meeting for two decades. He is also the driving force behind the Lions' Christmas tree sale, coordinating the harvesting, displaying, selling and delivering of trees. He has been a key motivator in the biannual Adopt-a-Highway cleanup, rallies the Club members to fill numerous spots at the club's NASCAR Turn 11 grandstand fundraiser, and has chaired the club's Sight Committee for years, ensuring community members in need would have access to vision screenings and eyeglasses.

He has made the Lions a family affair, with son Mark, daughter-in-law Margaret, brother Jim, daughter Tammy, and son-in-law Kris also becoming active members of the club over the years, and he brought his brother-in-law Art Peck into the Corning Lions Club.

"Lion Rob embodies the Lions Club credo of 'We Serve,'" said a Lions press release, "and his club is very proud of his accomplishments, and proud to know him."

Photo in text: From left, brother-in-law and Corning Lion Art Peck; brother and Past President Jim Swinnerton; wife Jean Swinnerton; award recipient and Past President Rob Swinnerton; daughter Lion Tammy Clarkson; son and Past President Mark Swinnerton; granddaughter Sarah; and son-in-law Lion Kris Clarkson. (Photo provided)

Elks Club honors its 'Departed Brothers'

By Brian J. O'Donnell

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 25, 2012 -- On Saturday evening, November 24, the Watkins Glen Elks Club honored seven members who passed away in 2012. In an emotional and ritualistic ceremony in front of family members representing each departed member, the following were honored and remembered:

--The Honorable William N. Ellison: Former Town of Dix Justice, Schuyler County District Attorney, Schuyler County Judge/Surrogate/Family Court Judge and twice-elected New York State Supreme Court Judge; former Exalted Ruler of the Elks; and someone actively involved in so many community organizations;

--Neal O. Kelly: longtime Elks Club member and past Exalted Ruler; past Chief & Treasurer of the Burdett Volunteer Fire Department, and a good golfing buddy;

--William J. Franzese: U.S. Army Korean War veteran and a nine-year member of the Board of Trustees for Schuyler Hospital, as well as active with the Squires Junior Drum and Bugle Corps (in which all of his children participated!);

--Angelo Pangallo: a veteran and longtime past member of the Watkins Glen Fire Department and active member of American Legion Post #555;

--Robert E. Burnside: a veteran of the U.S. Navy in World War II and former Schuyler County Legislator & Town of Dix Councilman and a 26-year volunteer with RSVP who also served in numerous other organizations;

--Thomas D. Teemley: the consummate Florida Gator fan who also spent numerous years as a most active Church volunteer "doing for others who couldn't do for themselves";

--John F. "Piggy" Cherock: a veteran and longtime member of the Watkins Glen Fire Department, the Italian American Veterans Club, the VFW and the Seneca Chiefs Drum and Bugle Corps -- as well as a most ambitious and energetic Church and neighborhood volunteer.

These wonderful men, Brother Elks who lived a life of service and who were part of our lives on this earth for so long, were honored and remembered as outstanding contributing members of our community.

The official ceremony -- led by Chuck Franzese and Elks Officers, and organized and implemented by Raphael "Junior" Specchio -- honored the memory of those departed. It spoke to Charity (remembering the good that men do), Immortality (speaking to the just reward of true and upright lives) and Brotherly Love and Fidelity (recognizing the everlasting devotion to the memory of our departed brothers).

As the Exalted Ruled stated: "In reviewing our fidelity to the memory of our departed brothers, may we be inspired ever to a life of service to the living... and with God's help leave here today with renewed confidence in life everlasting."

As it was my privilege to give the Oration, I reminded everyone that "while their wit and wisdom, their happy laughter, their warmth and love, their dedication to family with the peace and security they brought, and all of their life accomplishments have gone from us, we tell them again today that they will always live on in our hearts and we will never forget them, knowing full well that one day we will be together once more."

Photos in text: Announcement board and cake honoring the seven "departed brothers."

Fire in the kitchen ... Put a lid on it

Note: The following is a public service announcement from the Schuyler County Office of Fire and Emergency Management.

Special to The Odessa File

The majority of accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen. Property damage could be drastically reduced if people only knew what to do when confronted with a kitchen fire. Schuyler County Emergency Management suggests the following steps when confronted with a fire in the kitchen.

If the fire is confined to a pan on top of the stove, slide the lid across the pan and leave it there. Do not attempt to move the pan outdoors because you may burn yourself or spread the fire.

-- Never throw water or flour on a burning pan. Water will spread the flames and flour will actually explode!

-- Do not turn on the exhaust fan over the stove. This would suck the fire inside the walls of your home. If the fire is in your oven, turn off the heat and leave the door closed to cut off the fire’s air supply.

-- Install a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Make sure its easily accessible in the event of a grease or oven fire. When purchasing a fire extinguisher for kitchen use, make sure the extinguisher is rated for Class ABC fires to insure its acceptability for use on kitchen fires.

If the fire is too large to safely cover, or for your fire extinguisher, leave the house immediately and call the fire department from a neighbor's telephone. Trying to fight a fire yourself when its too large can cause far more extensive damage and can result in more serious, unnecessary injury.

As a preventive action, keep your cooking appliances – including stovetops, burners, oven and broilers -- clean. Built-up grease can flare up easily, causing dangerous and damaging fires. And keep combustible materials – paper towels, dish towels, paper bags, cookbooks, and food packaging – away from the stove or other heat source. Keep your kitchen fire-safe.

For more information, contact your local Fire Department or go to this website on the Internet:

The Indian of the Lake

WATKINS GLEN, March 30 -- This photo -- an old aerial view of Seneca Lake -- was shown to the editor while he was visiting the Legislature office in the Schuyler County Office Building.

It was in the possession of an official there.

The editor didn't see it at first -- but does now: the unmistakable shape of the lake, a lake named after an native American tribe. The shape looks like that of an Indian, kneeling perhaps, with head bowed, and a feather at the upper, northernmost point of the visible profile.

"Cool," said the editor when he finally recognized the outline. And interesting. So he snapped a picture of the picture for presentation here.

Check out the feature below


Chased by a madman

When you hit the road for vacation, you aren't always assured of smooth sailing. Herewith a tale of terror on the highway -- as it really happened. Features.


© The Odessa File 2012
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869