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Simply Your Best

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

Phone: 607-594-2811.

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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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Friends of the Watkins Library honored

Special to The Odessa File

PAINTED POST, Oct. 19 -- The Friends of the Watkins Library (FOWL) group has been honored with the Grass Roots Award, presented by the Southern Tier Library System.

The Watkins Glen Public Library support unit was honored for its partnership with The Arc of Schuyler for the annual FOWL used book sale.

The Grass Roots Award recognizes “outstanding library service to underserved community members,” including people with developmental disabilities.

The Arc has hosted the annual June book sale for 22 years. FOWL volunteers work side-by-side with people served by The Arc in setting up and sorting the donated books during the month preceding the sale.

“Everyone in the Watkins Glen and Schuyler County community involved with the book sale benefits from this partnership: the Friends, The Arc, the library and, of course, the readers,” Glenda Gephart, book sale co-chairman, said in thanking STLS for the award. It was presented at the STLS annual conference and dinner at Watson Homestead on Oct. 13.

Also accepting the award were Sue Dugo, sale co-chairman, and from The Arc of Schuyler Marie Scott, Carol Sullivan and Teresa Higbie.

“The Arc of Schuyler is thrilled to be a partner of the Watkins Glen Public Library,” Jeannette Frank, The Arc of Schuyler executive director, said after the award presentation. “The people we support truly enjoy being part of the book sale and the friendships that develop.”

The Arc of Schuyler interaction with the Watkins Glen library goes beyond the book sale, Marleah Denkenberger of the STLS Coordinated Outreach Services and Advisory Council said in presenting the award.

“People supported by The Arc visit the library several days a week throughout the year,” she said. “The library staff have developed warm and friendly relationships with them, know them by name, and know what they like. The Arc staff do a beautiful job of accompanying them and introducing them to the library.”

The Arc of Schuyler is a family-based, not-for-profit organization that provides residential, vocational, day support, job training, service coordination, advocacy and other support to people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Photo in text: From left, Marie Scott and Carol Sullivan, of The Arc of Schuyler; Harriet Eisman, Watkins Glen Public Library director; and Glenda Gephart and Sue Dugo of the Friends of the Watkins Library. In the front is Teresa Higbie of The Arc of Schuyler. (Photo provided)

To reach our website, click here.

United Way sets goal, names co-chairs

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Sept. 22 -- The United Way of Schuyler County began its annual campaign Wednesday with a luncheon for member agencies at the Montour Moose Lodge -- where Executive Director Peggy Scott announced a goal to raise $123,000 to help support 24 agencies serving county residents.

This year's campaign co-chairs were on hand and introduced: Dr. Ben Saks and his wife Marian. The couple, who live in Hector, have two young children.

Dr. Saks is in internal medicine at Schuyler Hospital, which is a United Way agency. He serves on the Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Health System boards, and is an elected county coroner. Marian is a structural engineer who serves on the development committee of the My Place, A Play and Learning Center, and is treasurer for the Montour Falls Memorial Library. Both My Place and the library are United Way agencies.

The campaign officially begins with an annual Kick Off dinner featuring pasta and meatballs on Monday, Oct. 10 at the Montour Moose Lodge. Serving starts at 5 p.m.

Photo in text: Dr. Benjamin and Marian Saks (Photo by Drew Guild)

Ken Wilson wins Marie Bailey Award

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Sept. 22 -- The United Way of Schuyler County has honored Ken Wilson of Watkins Glen with the annual Marie Bailey Award.

The award recognizes an individual or agency for support of United Way efforts in Schuyler County. It memorializes the late Marie Bailey, known as a “tireless volunteer,” Executive Director Peggy Scott said at the annual United Way agency luncheon on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Scott cited Wilson for serving as a United Way campaign co-chairman in 1983 and president of the United Way board in 1986-87 and for his support of the 2015 campaign led by his daughter and son-in-law, Jenny and Tom Lewis.

“He has a trifecta for United Way. There isn’t anybody else who has done this,” Scott said. “He has never wavered in his support for United Way.”

In accepting the award, Wilson noted that Bailey was among the first people to enlist his involvement with United Way. He was serving as board president when the award honoring her was created.

“Marie certainly did a lot for United Way,” Wilson said.

The 2016 campaign to raise $123,000 to support 24 agencies serving Schuyler County residents kicks off on Oct. 10 with the annual spaghetti dinner at the Montour Moose Lodge.

Photo in text: Ken Wilson with United Way of Schuyler County Executive Director Peggy Scott at the Sept. 21 luncheon at the Montour Moose Lodge.

Hazlitt hosting benefit for Humane Society

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Sept. 25 -- Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards will host Doggie Date Night -- a fun evening for people and their dogs -- at its party pavilion, The Oasis, on Thursday, Oct. 6. The event is for the benefit of the Humane Society of Schuyler County.

Doggie Date Night is part of a series of events in Hazlitt’s new “Fall into October” special events calendar. It will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. -- an evening of revelry with snacks, drinks (doggie water bowls will be provided) and a 50/50 raffle throughout the evening to benefit the Humane Society.

The Humane Society of Schuyler County is a primary charity for Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. “We are always looking for new ways to give back to an organization that is near and dear to our hearts,” says Director of Marketing Brad Phillips. “We hope that Doggie Date Night will be a huge success -- raising awareness and funds for the Humane Society and, hopefully, becoming an annual event.”

For more information about Doggie Date Night or all the events for “Fall into October,” visit

The Hazlitt family has been growing grapes on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake for over 150 years. Established in 1985, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards has a tradition of award-winning viticulture and wine production. Most notably, Hazlitt is famous for its Red Cat and White Cat -- two of the most popular and best-selling New York State wines available.

Photo in text: Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards' Oasis. (Photo provided)

Festival singing competition winners named

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 25, 2016 -- Organizers of the Gara Di Canto Singing Competition at the 2016 Schuyler County Italian American Festival have been announced.

Organizer Deb Switzer said the competition, moved this year after several years at the Firemen's Carnival in Montour Falls, was a success, and she thanked the Italian American Festival for hosting and sponsoring it.

Honorable Mentions went to:

Addison Coolican
Josh Markley

Ages 10-16:

1st -- Kassidy Samuels
2nd -- Noelle Chamberlain
3rd -- Hayley Burke with Hailey Ferguson on guitar

Ages 17 and up:

1st -- Kasey Samuels
2nd -- Darlene Fazzary
3rd -- Peggy Saunders and Harold Brown

One of the many units marching in Saturday's festival parade. (Photo provided)

Carnival rides are a staple of the annual Italian American Festival. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Italian American festival ends its 3-day run

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 15, 2016 -- The 37th annual, three-day Schuyler County Italian American Festival ended its run Sunday, Aug. 14 at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. A talent show and motorcycle gathering highlighted the final day.

Saturday had featured an annual parade, a fireworks show and a bocce tournament.

The festival, which attracted a large crowd, included live music on Friday and Saturday, “L’Osteria at the Park,” vendors, carnival games and rides, and Italian gift sales. On Saturday, a dominant feature was also the heat, as was a storm that night.

According to one festival spokesperson, Saturday's parade "went well, but nine units canceled or just didn't show up -- perhaps due to the very hot weather. And the fireworks were great, but they started almost an hour early and were shortened due to a heavy rainstorm." But she added: "They were still wonderful."

The festival president was Louis Perazzini of Watkins Glen. Don Stocum of Hector was festival chairman.

Histories of local families were displayed at L’Osteria at the Park, a gathering place on the festival grounds that also offered Italian music and gifts.

Local wineries were also hosting wine tastings at L’Osteria.

John Vona of Watkins Glen, for many years the organizer of the Italian American Festival parade, was honored Saturday as parade marshal. Joining him in the always-popular parade were festival Prince Vincent Ocasio, 8, and Princess Grace Roney, 7.

The parade route Saturday was improved this year with the shift of the parade’s viewing stand from Lafayette Park to Clute Park. The change helped with traffic flow and control. The parade started at noon at Watkins Glen High School and traveled north on Decatur Street and east on Fourth Street to Clute Park. The emcee, as in past years, was County Legislator Jim Howell.

The entertainment lineup included two bands on Friday evening. The Sam Pallet Band, a longtime festival favorite, returned for a 5-7:30 p.m. performance. The Cheyenne Band played from 8-11:30, presenting country music at the festival for the first time in a long time. Saturday’s musical entertainment was by Ruby Shooz from 8 p.m. to midnight.

The Gara di Canto, a community talent show with 25 acts, was presented Sunday at noon on the Entertainment Stage. The acts were judged, and prizes awarded.

The annual fireworks show, described by Perazzini before the festival as "still the best in the Finger Lakes," was held Saturday night -- though early and shortened because of the weather. This year’s show, produced again by American Fireworks Co. of Utica, was presented in memory of Stephen Treleaven, who worked for American Fireworks.

Carnival rides and games, bingo, a pasta-eating contest and a motorcycle show were also part of the festival’s weekend of fun. More than 20 food concessions and upwards of 50 craft vendors lined the midway.

Returning this year for Saturday and Sunday were continuous marionette performances by the Robert Rogers Puppet Company on center court in front of the pavilion. Also returning: the “Salami Shack,” a game that offered Italian meats and cheeses as the prizes.

The Tony Tallarida Memorial Bocce Tournament was played on renovated bocce courts throughout the day on Saturday.

Another of Saturday’s highlights was the pasta-eating contest, open to anyone of any age. It was held at 4 p.m. at the Entertainment Stage. "It had the best participation ever," said the festival spokesperson. "There were 10 kids and four adults. Curly's Family Restaurant donated all of the pasta for the contest."

The Kenny Larson Memorial Motorcycle Show was held Sunday. Motorcyclists and motorcycle fans were invited starting at noon. Parking was free for all motorcycles.

Except for the amusement rides and games, all of the entertainment was free, and no admission to the festival was charged. 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 being 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.

For more information about any aspect of the festival, see the festival website at or contact festival president Louis Perazzini at

Photos in text:

Top: Military jeeps were part of the annual parade on Saturday. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Second: Boats were plentiful near the southern shoreline of Seneca Lake at Clute Park, site of the festival. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Third: The pasta-eating contest. (Photo provided)

Fourth: An American Diabetes Association bicycle was among the parade entrants. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

The Caledonian Highlanders marching bagpipers entertained boaters along the shoreline of Clute Park after the band participated in the parade up Decatur and Fourth Streets.

The Girl Scouts were among the festival parade participants Saturday. (Photo provided)

A Burdett Fire Department truck in the parade was carrying some young passengers.

Parade tops the Hector Fair's 2nd day

HECTOR, July 29, 2016 -- An enthusiastic crowd lined much of Rt. 414 in Hector between the Dandy store and the Valois-Logan-Hector Fire Department Friday evening, viewing the annual Hector Fair Parade.

The fair, now in its 58th year, opened Thursday, continued Friday evening and concludes today (Saturday) with a full day of activities including rides, displays, vendor stands, food and music, along with a car show and farmer's market. It ends after dark with a fireworks display.

About 40 units of various kinds participated in Friday's line of march, held under a bright sun but with a cooling breeze. Among them were fire department trucks from Hector, Ovid, Lodi, Interlaken, Odessa, Mecklenburg, Trumansburg, Enfield, Beaver Dams, Watkins Glen, Tyrone, Montour Falls, Burdett and the host Valois-Logan-Hector. Rescue operations included Schuyler Ambulance, South Seneca Ambulance, and Millport Rescue.

There were tractors, and classic cars, and marching units including the Montour Falls Fire Department Band and the bagpiping Caledonian Highlanderes. There was a color guard from the Odessa American Legion 676, and a restored police car driven by Schuyler Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Yessman.

Politicians were on hand, including Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and State Senator Tom O'Mara. A trio of people were carrying a sign promoting the State Senate candidacy of Democratic challenger Leslie Danks Burke, who they said could not attend due to a conflict.

There was a baton unit, Lily's Marching Hope of the NY Finger Lakes Region, which raises funds in the fight against Huntington's Disease (, and floats from Hazlitt's 1852 Vineyards, the Backbone Ridge History Group, Rasta Ranch Vineyards, and the Hector Presbyterian Church's Vacation Bible School.

Two Goats Brewery had a pickup truck with a couple, the Dahls, holding -- yes -- two goats. And Ehrhart Energy had a pickup truck display with its riders handing out Erhhart frisbees. And Smokey the Bear was riding another truck.

After the parade, many of the spectators adjourned to the fair itself, where food such as clams and shrimp awaited, as did games, rides, displays and a book sale.

Photos in text:

Top: A bagpiper performs as part of the Caledonian Highlanders.

Middle: A girl studies the passing crowd from atop a Valois-Logan-Hector fire truck participating in the parade.

Bottom: Former Montour Falls Fire Chief Jeff Confer, left, and current Chief Billy Thomas marched in the parade with other members of the department.

Lily's Marching Hope featured an array of baton twirlers ranging from teens to young girls.

Among the parade participants were Smokey the Bear and a woman seated on a Backbone Ridge History Group float.

One of the inhabitants of a Hector Fair display.

As the sun set, a rider was spotted high above the ground on the Paratrooper ride at the fair.

The line of cheese customers was steady through the day at this Cheese Festival tent.

Annual Cheese Festival draws a crowd

CATHARINE, July 24, 2016 -- The fifth annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival drew a clear, hot day and a crowd numbering in the thousands Saturday at the Hoffman farm -- home of Sunset View Creamery -- at Catharine Corners south of Odessa.

Sunset View is a founding member of the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance, which puts on this annual family-focus event. A total of 65 vendors were on hand, among them new ones as the event grows each year. Thousands of people made their way to the site, parking in the Hoffman farm field off of the Ridge Road. (The crowd last year totaled 5,000, and organizers were hoping to equal or surpass that.)

In addition to new vendors, there were new activities -- and many local businesses and organizations as sponsors. The event features a full farm market with all of the creameries of the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance present as well as many local food and farm vendors. Finger Lakes beer, wine and cider producers offered samples for attendees, and cheese and beverage pairing seminars were expanded to 120 seats each to accommodate a growing interest.

For the kids, there was a kids' craft corner, Barnyard Olympics, petting zoo, goat milking and games. For the whole family, there was music all day, featuring Sons of a Beach, Bob & Dee, and The Tarps. New this year was a guided milking parlor tour running four times during the day. There were also self-guided farm tours and hayrides.

The Planning Committee thanked the Watkins Glen/Montour Falls Lions Club, The Spirit of Schuyler, and the Odessa Fire Department for providing assistance at the festival.

In addition to all the activities, there was plenty to eat, sample and buy. Food vendors suiting every palate were at the festival, including Global Taco, FLX Weinery, Macarolin, Burke’s Bar-b-cue, and Heavenly Treats of Corning. There were wines from the Hector Wine Company, Lakewood Vineyards, Americana Winery, Stever Hill Vineyards and J.R. Dill winery; local ciders from Blue Toad Hard Cider and Eve’s Cidery, and beer from craft brewers. The freshest milk was also available.

Pairing Seminars began at noon. These were led by sommelier and wine writer Holly Howell and paired Alliance cheeses with wines, beers and ciders of the Associate Members of the Alliance. Seminars were expanded to accommodate 120 attendees for a fee of $2 each per seminar per person.

Other popular activities included the Cooking with Cheese Seminar with Chef Christopher Bates of FLX Weinery. A cheesemaking class was led by Chef Brud Holland from Finger Lakes Made.

Along with the food and drink, the Alliance invited neighbor artisans and farms to participate in the event, so there were also farm produce and products on hand, along with locally made products and wares.

"It's a great turnout," said Carmella Hoffman, owner of Sunset View Creamery and a member of the festival's planning committee, before the day was half done. "Next year," she added, "we're going to expand the site across the entrance driveway, to the field farther south," and utilize a new entrance.

Title Sponsor:
Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce

Platinum Sponsors:
New York Farm Bureau of Cayuga, Chemung, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben & Tioga Counties; Visions Federal Credit Union; O’Hara Machinery

Gold Sponsor:
Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance

Silver Sponsors: Elm Chevrolet, Simmons-Rockwell, Flynn Energy, Sidle Insurance, Farm Credit East, Tioga Downs

Bronze Sponsors: Amerigas Watkins Glen, Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, Community Bank NA, Curly’s Family Restaurant, Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty, Jeff’s Onsite Services

Activity Sponsors:
Finger Lakes Beer Trail -- Beer & Cheese Pairing Seminar
Seneca Meadows, Inc. -- Music Sponsor

Photos in text:

Top: Hayrides were among the Cheese Festival attractions.

Second: Animals of various kinds and size were on hand for petting.

Third: Drew Guild served as announcer.

Bottom: Festival T-shirts with Whey Cool on them were available at a tent.

Heavenly Treats of Corning has been on hand every year at the festival.

The Finger Lakes Wine Lockers business of Watkins Glen was on hand with, among its specialties, quality cigars.

Left: Gloria Brubaker examines wares at one of the many booths. Right: A girl watches as Bonnie Scott of Odessa works behind safety glass in her mobile hot-glass studio.

Bob & Dee were among the musical performers. Also playing: the groups Sons of a Beach and The Tarps.

A food wagon attracted a constant line of customers.

Three entrants approached the finish line at the same time. Game On won its category: Fastest Elapsed Time Multi-hull-two or more.

Cardboard boats draw crowd to harbor

WATKINS GLEN, June 18 -- The annual Cardboard Boat Regatta -- part of the weekend Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival -- was held Saturday under sunny skies and with high temperatures.

More than 40 entrant crafts -- going in heats of two around a course that ran from one end of the Seneca Harbor Marina to the breakwater, west to the pier, and then southbound to a finish line -- negotiated the water to the cheers of a large crowd lining the waterfront, pier and breakwater.

The event was broadcast by Fox TV, which will rebroadcast the event (see schedule here).

The race was preceded by a three-hour period in which spectators could view the boats in the parking area near the starting line. A Food Court -- featuring many vendors -- was also an attraction.

The races started at 2 p.m., with the following results provided by Waterfront Festival organizers:

Fastest Elapsed Time Multi-hull-two or more: Game On -- 2:49
Fastest Elapsed Time Single Hull-Multi Crew:
Geezers AKA Osage -- 1:58
Fastest KIDS Boat under 12:
Party Crashers -- 6:08
Fastest Elapsed Time Single Hull-Single Crew:
Snickers -- 10:17
Fastest TEENS Boat (13 to 18):
Star Wars “The Force Awakens” -- 4:03
Best Construction --
Boat Drinks
Best Lookin’ Boat --
BIG FOX “Titanic” Sinking --
to be announced soon
Best Boat Name --
Split Happens
Best “Theme” --
SS Minnow
Judges' Choice --
Bethany Bus
BIG FOX Goody’s Headache Award --
to be announced soon
Schuyler County Chairman’s Cup --
Geezers OKA Osage -- 1:58
People’s Choice --

Photos in text: From top: The Seneca Lodge entrant crosses the finish line: Game On is discarded after its race (a fate of most of the boats); and the Harbor Hound entrant capsized at the start of its race against Party Crashers, but its crew swam and pushed their craft all the way around the course, through the finish line.

A large crowd lined the Seneca Harbor Pier and breakwater, not to mention the shoreline.

Pre-race emcee Michelle Benjamin (left), and Renee Riley, singing the National Anthem.

The Party Crashers, winners of the first heat, near the finish line. The crew won its category: Fastest KIDS Boat under 12: Party Crashers -- 6:08.

The Hit Men, a brass band out of Rochester, were a hit with the crowd, playing both before and during the parade on Main Street.

Annual parade draws crowd to Montour

MONTOUR FALLS, June 11 -- Despite rumors of rain, the 60th annual Montour Falls Firemen's Parade was held Saturday under mostly sunny skies and a cooling breeze.

Five high school bands and 27 fire departments participated in the Main Street procession, along with various classic cars, antique tractors, floats and horses.

The parade was the highlight of the final day of the three-day Montour Falls Firemen's Carnival. A chicken barbecue was a popular stop earlier in the day at the carnival grounds, and the midway would be open until midnight, with a third straight night of live music.

Fire departments in the parade represented Pine City, Lodi, Wayne, Dundee, Hammondsport, Montour Falls, Dresden, Beaver Dams, Elmira Heights, Tyrone, Town and Country, Watkins Glen, Mecklenburg, Trumansburg, North Corning, Fairport, Penn Yan, Burdett, Odessa, Enfield, Horseheads, Valois-Logan-Hector, South Seneca, Branchport, Millport, Campbell, and Gibson.

School bands were from Jasper-Troupsburg, Dundee (a steel band), Odessa-Montour, Corning-Painted Post, and Addison.

Other musical groups included the Caledonian Highlanders (bagpipers), the Appalachian Grenadiers (drummers), and The Hit Men brass band out of Rochester.

Law enforcement was represented by the Schuyler County Sheriff's Department, State Police and Watkins Glen Village Police.

The parade drew a large crowd that lined Main Street from the Glorious T to a point well beyond Rte. 14. The line of vehicles and marchers took well over an hour to complete.

Photos from top: The Montour Falls Fire Department Marching Band; a truck from Elmira Heights, one of 27 departments represented; and Odessa scouts march up Main Street.

A Symphonic Steel Band from Dundee High School was transported on a float.

Left: A member of the 300-member Corning-Painted Post High School band. Right: A member of the Addison High School band.

Horses and horse riders were part of the Montour Falls Firemen's Parade.

State Senator Tom O-Mara (left) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (sharing candy) were among the parade participants.

Among the parade marchers were the Appalachian Grenadier drummers.

Left: Odessa Fire Department members Keith Pierce and Taylor Rounds. Right: A member of the Caledonian Highlanders bagpipe band.

The Odessa-Montour High School Marching Band performed along Main Street.

Left: An Enfield Fire Department rough-terrain vehicle. Right: Emcee Jim Howell.

A member of the Jasper-Troupsburg High School Marching Band.

A throwback car draws some attention

MONTOUR FALLS, June 11 -- A police car near the front of the 60th annual Montour Falls Firemen's Parade was a throwback to the 1980s.

The car, a 1988 Plymouth Gran Fury, was driven in the parade by Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman, who owns it with son Andrew Yessman, a Schuyler deputy. They purchased it privately about a year ago after finding it through eBay on Staten Island.

It has since been painted and striped by local artisans, with a rooftop bar of period police lights affixed. The bar was found, the sheriff said, in a barn.

The sheriff said his son had wanted to create a "period-correct car," and this offered the opportunity. The Gran Fury -- manufactured from 1975 to 1989 -- differs in name from the vehicles used in the '80s and early '90s by Schuyler road patrols (which were Dodge Diplomats), "but they are essentially the same car," said the sheriff, who drove one himself back in the day. "I was one of the last ones in the department to drive one," he said, explaining that he finally gave it up in 1994 "when it started falling apart."

This car is in no such danger. It was used first as an NCIS car, and then made its way to a Sheriff's Department in Virginia, where it was painted blue but little used. From there it was purchased by a retired policeman on Staten Island, who took good care of it. When the Yessmans picked it up, it was white. Minor restoration work remains, but it is parade worthy -- and car- meet worthy.

Sheriff Yessman said he and Andrew would be taking it the next day to the Chemung County Fairgrounds for a car gathering -- "a fun meet," he said. The weekend appearances, he noted, constituted the car's "coming out ... its debut."

Photo in text: Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman with the 1988 Plymouth Gran Fury, renovated to a state that cars like it possessed back in the '80s and early '90s.

Raceway Park to be subject of Center talk

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 4, 2016 -- Central New York Raceway Park, slated to be the Northeast's newest race track, is in the spotlight for the June 18 Center Conversations talk at the International Motor Racing Research Center.

Founders and developers of the state-of-the-art and multi-faceted racing facility north of Syracuse will speak at 11 a.m. at the Racing Research Center at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen. The Center staff notes that the starting time of the talk is earlier than the usual monthly time.

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is a sponsor of the talk, which is free and open to all.

On the panel of speakers will be Glenn Donnelly, Raceway Park president and CEO, owner and operator of DIRT Motorsports until its sale in 2004; John Lehman, Raceway Park vice president; Jerry Henderberg, Raceway Park general manager; and Peter Argetsinger, track designer, racing coach and racer.

"It is exciting to be able to hear the plans from those most intimately involved in this newest race venture in upstate New York," Racing Research Center Executive Director Tom Weidemann said.

Plans for the $50 million, year-round Central New York Raceway Park, CNYRP, are extensive. The 150-acre facility is slated to include a 5/8-mile synthetic dirt oval, a 2.2-mile road course, theater-style stadium seating for 4,980 spectators, a 50-bay NASCAR-style garage, a 350-seat, full-service restaurant, a 275-seat banquet room, VIP suites, observation deck and a full television and radio production studio.

CNYRP's dirt track construction is scheduled for completion in mid-summer. The EDF Energy Road Course, sponsored by Houston-based EDF Energy Services, the world's biggest electricity generator, is set for a spring 2017 opening.

Round 12 of American Motorcycle Association Pro Flat Track is confirmed for CNYRP on Aug. 20.

And, last September, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that CNYRP would be the new home for Super DIRT Week, which last October ended a 44-year run at the Syracuse Mile on the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. NAPA Super DIRT Week at CNYRP is scheduled for Oct. 5-9.

The International Motor Racing Research Center is an archival and research library dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the materials of motorsports history, of all series and all tracks, worldwide. For more information about the Center and its work, visit the website The Center is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Forty-two of the 58 cast members in the June 10-11 production of "Alice in Wonderland." (Photo provided)

'Alice in Wonderland' set for June 10-11

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 4 -- The Lake Country Players will present a youth production of "Alice in Wonderland" on June 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium.

Kelsey Johnson and Kim Laursen are co-directors of the play, for which tickets will be available at the door. Cost is $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.

Fifty-eight youths from ages 7-18 have been in rehearsal to prepare for this fast-paced Disney adaptation. The show starts with Alice (Portia Wells) and her sister Mathilde (Katherine Larson) at the park. Mathilde tries to cajole Alice into studying, but Alice chooses to immerse herself in a world of her own, including characters like the White Rabbit (Dakota Cole), Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee (Nathan Rose and Jack Muir), the Mad Hatter (Conlin Wysocki), the March Hare (Trevor Keller), Captain DoDo (Logan Barrrett), the Caterpillar (Julie Osborn), and the evil Queen of Hearts (Anna Shaffer).

As Alice magically grows and shrinks in size, Edie Stephenson plays Small Alice, and Becca Whitman plays Tall Alice. The story is narrated by the Cheshire Cat, a role so large it takes three people to play it: Rhys Stermer, Jackie Osburn and Angel Williams. There is even a bouquet of snobby, beautiful flowers played by Cheyenne Barrett, Becca Whitman, Bronwyn Stermer, Annie Stephenson and Sierra Morris. All of these actors and actresses are supported by choruses of flowers, lobsters, partiers and cards.

The Lake Country Players is an organization that has been promoting and producing theatrical experiences for people of all ages in and around Schuyler County since 1976. In this 40th year, the group will offer a Cabaret, a film of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," a traditional major musical in November ("My Fair Lady") and this youth production of "Alice in Wonderland."

Roger Penske, the Cameron Argetsinger Award recipient for 2016. (Photo provided)

Racing Research Center to honor Penske with 2016 Cameron Argetsinger Award

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 6 -- Roger Penske, one of auto racing's most notable team owners, will be honored in June by the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) with the 2016 Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports.

As Team Penske celebrates its 50th year in motorsports in 2016, Penske will receive the award at a gala dinner presented by NASCAR, International Speedway Corp., Watkins Glen International and IMSA. The dinner will be at the internationally renowned Corning Museum of Glass in nearby Corning, N.Y.

The June 30 dinner precedes the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen IMSA weekend at WGI, and is supported by Sahlen's.

This will be the third annual award presented by the IMRRC. NASCAR racing great Richard Petty was the 2015 Argetsinger Award recipient. Team owner and former driver Chip Ganassi was the inaugural winner in 2014.

The award memorializes Cameron R. Argetsinger, founder and organizer of the first races at Watkins Glen almost 70 years ago.

"I am honored to be selected this year to receive the Cameron R. Argetsinger Award from the International Motor Racing Research Center," said Penske, who also attained notable early achievements as a championship driver in the early 1960s. "The IMRRC does a terrific job of maintaining and documenting the heritage of motorsports, and we appreciate all they do to chronicle and preserve racing history.

"To receive the Cameron R. Argetsinger Award in Team Penske's 50th year in motorsports is truly a special honor and I am looking forward to a great evening with friends and colleagues on June 30."

Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International and a member of the Racing Research Center's Governing Council, congratulated Penske on behalf of WGI and the Center.

"Roger was the first person I worked for in motorsports," Printup said. "During my time at Auto Club Speedway, and over the course of the many years that I've known him, he has taught me so much about the industry, along with invaluable lessons about being a leader in today's world. We've all benefitted from the contributions that Roger has made to our sport, as his influence extends far past the race track every weekend."

The Cameron R. Argetsinger Award Dinner is open to the public, and tickets are limited. The ticket price is $250 per person.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the Racing Research Center at (607) 535-9044 or by clicking here. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For information click here.

Full details about the event can be viewed at

The Racing Research Center is an archival and research library and a 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the materials of motorsports, all series and all venues, worldwide. The Center established the Argetsinger Award to honor a person in the motorsports industry who is recognized universally for having advanced and improved the sport. The honoree brings prestige to motorsports and demonstrates commitment to the future of racing.

Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Beginning as Roger Penske Racing in 1966, competing in sports car and endurance events, Team Penske has produced more than 420 major race wins, over 480 pole positions and 28 national championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition.

Those totals include a historic 16 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 wins, overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring and the distinction of being the last American constructor to win a Formula One race, coming in 1976 with driver John Watson

Photo in text: Roger Penske in 1963. (Photo provided by CR Racing Memories)

Membership drive set for Sheriffs' group

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 24, 2016 -- The New York State Sheriffs' Association Institute will begin its annual Honorary Membership drive in Schuyler County within the next few days, according to Sheriff William Yessman.

The Institute was established in 1979. It is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization, and contributions to it are tax deductible.

It provides centralized training programs and services for all Sheriffs' Offices in the state, where those programs and services would be unavailable or impractical on a single county basis.

The flagship program of the Sheriffs' Institute is the Sheriffs' Summer Camp for economically challenged children. The Sheriffs' Camp, in its 40th year of operation, is located on Keuka Lake, and 840 children from across New York State attend each summer. The Sheriffs' Institute pays the entire cost of the camp stay and transportation. Most children attending wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity for vacation travel or a summer camp experience.

The Sheriffs' Camp program combines summer recreation with activities designed to teach an understanding of, and respect for, our laws and the men and women who enforce them. A strong camper to counselor ratio allows for individual attention with an emphasis on the development of self esteem.

"In these difficult economic times we cannot forget our youth who will not have the opportunity for a summer camp experience or a summer vacation," Sheriff Yessman said. "By becoming an honorary member you are supporting the Sheriffs' Summer Camp for economically disadvantaged children."

In addition, the Sheriffs' Institute operates a scholarship program that provides one scholarship to each of the New York State Community College Criminal Justice Programs. The scholarship program, said Yessman, "is designed to help attract the best and the brightest to the criminal justice vocation."

For more information about the Sheriffs' Summer Camp and other Sheriffs' Institute Programs, visit or simply google "Sheriffs' Institute kids" and it should be your first option.

Financial support for many of the Sheriffs' Institute programs comes from Honorary Membership dues. Anyone interested in supporting the efforts of the Institute by becoming an Honorary Member can download an application at

All donations made to the Institute are tax deductible. In addition, the Institute is registered with the New York State Attorney General's Charities Bureau.

Photo in text: Children at the Sheriffs' Summer Camp on Keuka Lake. This will mark the camp's 40th year of operation. (Photo provided)

The exterior of the apartment complex, as viewed from a sidewalk along Decatur Street.

Ribbon cut for apartment complex in former Watkins Glen Middle School

Portions of the following were provided special to The Odessa File.

WATKINS GLEN, March 10, 2016 -- It was ribbon-cutting time Thursday morning for the new apartment development in the former Watkins Glen Middle School, and it drew a crowd.

State, county and village representatives were on hand for speeches, and scores of area residents turned out for the occasion -- which culminated with the familiar ribbon-slicing ceremony.

Then came snacks and self-tours of the facility, where 20 of the 51 apartments -- designed for lower income senior residents -- were already occupied.

Representatives of New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), Two Plus Four Construction, the SEPP Management Group, and contributing partners were on hand to mark completion of the complex, known as Watkins Glen School Apartments.

Located at 906 N. Decatur Street, the newly created apartments are among the thousands of units that form the foundation of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s new, $10 billion House New York 2020 program to create or preserve 100,000 affordable units over the next five years.

The former school now consists of 44 one-bedroom apartments, and 7 two-bedroom apartments. The $14.3 million project includes an important extra benefit for the community in the form of civic space to be created by rehabilitating the former school’s existing auditorium and gymnasium.

The three-story building’s residential units are located on the first, second and third floors and are accessible by both stairs and an elevator. Laundry facilities are available on each floor, and the development provides a large community room with a kitchenette and a computer lab on the first floor. Two additional activity rooms are on an upper floor.

The building is located near downtown and the Watkins Glen harbor district. A grocery store, pharmacy and local retail shops are all within walking distance of the site.

On hand with speeches were:

Anthony F. Fiala, Jr. Executive Director/CEO of SEPP Management, which spearheaded the project. He said: “On behalf of SEPP, we are very pleased to be part of the Village of Watkins Glen and the County. It was a team effort with our partner Two Plus Four Construction and the result is an incredible project that will provide safe, affordable housing for generations to come.”

Susan M. Kimmel, President of Two Plus Four Construction, who said: “Watkins Glen School Apartments is a perfect example of a successful public/private partnership. In working closely with the development team, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has given the Village of Watkins Glen the opportunity to see the reuse of a historic landmark central to their Village while providing much needed housing to the seniors in their community.” Two Plus Four Construction served as the general contractor.

Senator Thomas F. O’Mara, who said: “What a fantastic, innovative project to help Watkins Glen address the critical need for more affordable senior housing, which remains a challenge across the region and state.”

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, who said: "What a great day. This is what partnership is all about."

Said County Administrator Tim O'Hearn -- who first brought the building to the attention of SEPP: "This is an exciting time in a community with a progressive vision. This project is a huge asset to the community."

Watkins Glen Deputy Mayor Gary Schmidt, who charmed the sizable crowd at the ceremony, said this: "This (turnout) is crazy. I thank everyone for coming. What a great project, and a quality development ... I wish Governor Cuomo was here because I wore a tie today."

As an historic landmark, features such as the school lockers, skylights, doors and woodwork, chalk boards and other original fixtures and details have been retained, as a reminder of the building’s original use. They also add decorative elements and character to the building.

HCR funding for this $14.3 million project -- which began in November 2014 -- was provided through the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) and Federal Low-Income Housing Credit (LIHC) Programs, which leveraged an NBT Bank loan; Federal and State Historic Tax Credit Equity; NYSERDA incentives, and a deferred developer fee. Citi Community Capital provided the construction loan. HCR’s Rural & Urban Community Investment Fund program and Empire State Development, through a Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council CFA grant award, are providing funding for the civic space.

Residents began moving in on Friday, Feb. 26. The building is expected to be rented to capacity by April. Applications are currently being accepted. The gross rents (rent plus utilities) range from $485 to $616 a month, and will be affordable to households with incomes at or below 50% of area median income. HTFC Project-Based Rental Vouchers will be provided for the eight apartments reserved for frail elderly renters. For applications call 800-838-0441 TDD 711 or visit

Photos in text:

From top: Dignitaries cut the ribbon; lockers populate a hallway; the kitchen in a two-bedroom apartment; and SEPP's Anthony Fiala, left, conducts a tour that included Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, center, and State Senator Tom O'Mara, right.

Ice Bar raises $25,000 for Red Cross

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 23 -- The 2016 Ice Bar at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel in early February -- an annual three-night party celebrating winter and the region's wine and food -- raised $25,000 for the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross.

"On behalf of the American Red Cross, I want to say thank you to the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, sponsors and members of the community for their continued generous support,” said Chapter Executive Director Carlos McCluskey. “This is an incredible partnership that benefits the entire region."

"This marked the fifth year of the annual event, which has become a highlight of the region’s social calendar," said the hotel’s Director of Sales Christine Peacock. "Since its inception, the Ice Bar has generated $75,000 for the American Red Cross."

Donations from the event assist in providing relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Photo in text: An ice sculpture that was part of the Ice Bar, an annual three-night party at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. (File photo)

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit or visit on Twitter at @RedCross.

WGI president Printup to speak at Center

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 17 -- With the start of its 2016 race season approaching, Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup will be at the podium at the International Motor Racing Research Center on Feb. 27.

Printup will discuss the famed race track's $12 million repaving project and the upcoming season. He also will look to the historic facility's future. WGI's Opening Weekend is April 15-17.

Printup's talk is part of the IMRRC's Center Conversations monthly speaker series. The free talk will begin at 1 p.m., and all are welcome. The Racing Research Center is located at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen.

"With so many things happening at Watkins Glen International this year, highlighted by the debut of our new racing surface in April, this is a great opportunity to update everyone as to what they can expect ahead of an exciting 2016 season, among other topics," Printup said.

Since its 1956 move from downtown streets and town roads to property in the town of Dix, the 3.4-mile road course has an unbroken history of hosting car races. Even during the 1980s, years when the facility had no public events, club racing continued.

For 20 years, Watkins Glen was the home of the United States Grand Prix, and today it boasts record crowds and television viewership for its annual NASCAR competition. Last year, Watkins Glen International was selected in a USA Today readers' choice online poll as the best NASCAR track in the nation.

Printup, originally from Hamburg, N.Y., has served as WGI president since June 2009. He also oversees Michigan International Speedway, where he was senior director of facility management before going to WGI. Both tracks are owned by the International Speedway Corp.

Printup first joined ISC in 2000 as vice president of Americrown Corp., a position he held until 2005. In March 2015, Printup was given managerial oversight of Americrown, ISC's motorsports catering, concessions and merchandise sales arm.

The Racing Research Center is an archival library dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the history of motorsports, of all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials.

For more information about the Center's work and its programs, visit or call (607) 535-9044. The Center also is on Facebook at "International Motor Racing Research Center" and on Twitter at "@IMRRCatWG."

Photo in text: Michael Printup (File photo)

Left: Bonnie Scott, recipient of the Community Spirit Award. Right: Peter Honsberger, honored by the Chamber of Commerce for Lifetime Achievement.

Chamber holds its annual Winter Gala

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 22, 2016 -- Men and women in elegant attire, live music by the group Suspect, a fine meal, silent auction packages, a Stock Your Cellar Wine Raffle, a masquerade theme, and awards for Community Spirit and Lifetime Achievement were all part of Friday night's annual Winter Gala at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel -- the largest fundraiser each year for the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

The event was presented by Visions Federal Credit Union and sponsored by Corning Enterprises.

The black-tie affair featured dramatic lighting and decor, not to mention stunning gowns. Event colors were white and gold. Attendees were invited to come masquerade style, including masks, and many did.

Cocktails were served from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and dinner from 7 to 8. The silent auction and Stock Your Cellar Wine Raffle was open from 5 to 8 p.m. After that came awards and speeches, and then the music from 9-11 p.m.

Honorees this year were Bonnie Scott (receiving the Community Spirit Award) and Peter Honsberger (for Lifetime Achievement).

Honsberger is well known in the business community, having operated the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor at 221 S. Franklin Steet in the village for decades -- a business his Facebook page says he is handing off to his daughter Jackie.

He is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, and involved in various local activities such as the Chamber of Commerce, where he is a member of the Executive Committee. He winters in Florida, but was present for Friday's Gala.

Scott has had quite a week. She was honored Monday by the Odessa Village Board as its third annual Citizen of the Year, and now by the Chamber with its Community Spirit Award. She was introduced by daughter Keri, who will be moving with her parents to Virginia in the summer. Bonnie's husband, Fred, is retired after a long career running the Vedder and Scott Funeral Home. Bonnie, often involved in local activities -- including the Chamber's Ambassador Program and its Membership Committee -- helped Fred with his business, and is past owner of a Longaberger basket business and current owner of a glass studio, Joyful Adornments.

Photos in text:

Top: Brian and Loueda Bleiler in their masks. Brian is an optometrist.
Middle: Montour Falls Mayor John King and Amanda Smith-Socaris, who operates Seneca Physical Therapy, chat before the dinner.
Bottom: Kent and Beth Duane.

From left: Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah LaMoreaux; Linda Confer, Branch Manager at Elmira Savings Bank in Watkins Glen, and Brian McKenzie of Finger Lakes Distilling.

Forum speakers air funding needs for people with developmental disabilities

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 23 -- Arc chapters in Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, and Yates Counties jointly held a legislative forum on Tuesday at The Arc of Schuyler in support of the “It Matters to Me” grassroots advocacy campaign organized by the local agencies’ statewide affiliate, NYSARC, Inc.

State Sen. Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano attended the forum to hear families, self-advocates, and staff members share their personal stories focusing on funding needs for residential housing and program development, employment choices, and preschool programs for people with developmental disabilities as well as for a wage increase for direct support professionals at nonprofit agencies.

Jeannette Frank, Executive Director at The Arc of Schuyler, remarked that nonprofits provide critical services that contribute to the quality of life of the community, providing supports for some of New York State’s most vulnerable citizens.

Amanda Jakubowicz was one of many speakers at the forum. Jakubowicz, a service coordinator at The Arc of Schuyler, shared the story of a young man with disabilities and his mother who twice applied to the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities for residential placement. Their request was declined. The man has since lost both parents and now relies on a non-relative caregiver who continues to struggle finding a more appropriate housing situation to meet his needs.

“There are many people I work with in situations like this and without funding in the 2016 state budget for residential developments, where will they go?” Jakubowicz said.

Terri Rogers spoke on behalf of her brother Mike. She voiced concerns that without state funding her brother will lose the opportunity to work in a job he’s been successful in at Arc of Steuben for years due to New York State’s efforts to move people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into community employment.

She said she would like to see her brother have the opportunity to have a choice of employment options based on his goals and interests and the guidance of Mike’s circle of support, the family members and human service professionals that work with him every day.

“There are approximately 8,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities working in sheltered workshops across the state,” Bernie Berns. Executive Director of Arc of Steuben said. “People should have a choice about where they work.”

Arc of Yates Executive Director Daniele Lyman addressed the need for funding preschool programs for children with disabilities. These programs are at risk of closure. This is the first year Arc of Yates’ Keuka Lake School has received a rate increase since 2010. Lyman was followed by Adam Campbell, a parent of a child with Down Syndrome, who credited Keuka Lake School for his daughter’s progress and successful transition into regular education for kindergarten.

Many family and staff members also attended the forum to advocate for a minimum wage increase to compete with the NYS Labor Commissioner’s approved plan to enact a $15 minimum wage for fast-food workers.

“In my 35 years as an agency executive, the single biggest structural issue in our field has been the lack of appropriate pay for our frontline staff and the work they do,” said Michael A. Doherty, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Arc of Chemung.

Three parents, a residential manager, and two staff members spoke on the issue, reasoning that direct support professionals should receive a comparable wage increase or they would be forced to leave for better paying jobs, and supports for people with disabilities will be reduced.

“The expectations on direct support professionals have increased substantially and we are under enormous pressure,” Pat Wilcox, a 30-year Arc employee said. “Direct support professionals need a wage increase. We need it to retain employees, to recruit new employees, and to ensure people with disabilities have the best people working for them.”

NYSARC, Inc. is the State’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting people with developmental and other disabilities. Arc chapters in Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates Counties support more than 2,000 children and adults with disabilities and their families.

Photo in text: (From left) Michael Stamp, Arc of Schuyler board president; State Senator Tom O’Mara; Jeannette Frank, Arc of Schuyler executive director; and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano listen as Arc of Schuyler board member and parent, Jay Hoffmeier, speaks on the issue of employment choices for people with developmental disabilities. (Photo provided)

November Splendor raises over $25,000

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 24, 2015 -- The Schuyler Health Foundation has announced that its annual fundraising event -- November Splendor, held Nov. 13 at the Harbor Hotel -- raised more than $25,000 for the hospital and Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. The event was hosted by the Schuyler Health Foundation and the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary.

The event attracted 250 diners, who bid on Live Auction packages and took their chance on various raffle packages filled with donated items from the local community and region, valued at approximately $12,000.

Proceeds will support new hospital beds, cardio-pulmonary testing equipment, and enhancements to the Skilled Nursing Facility.

Hospital President Andy Manzer said that “as Schuyler County’s sole provider of hospital and long term care, our success depends upon the support of the community. The level of generosity at this event, as well as throughout the year, demonstrates how much the community values the services we provide.”

Event sponsors were at an all-time high, and included the Schuyler Hospital Medical Staff; Welliver; the Harbor Hotel; Jerlando's Italian Ristorante; Bower Catering and Bower Farms; Chemung Canal Trust Company; Elmira Savings Bank; the Watkins Review & Express and The Observer; Pro Audio Consulting; Jim Herbst; Keller Williams Realty Southern Tier & Finger Lakes; Ciaschi, Dietershagen, Little & Mickelson, LLP; Community Bank NA; Hilliard Corporation; Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company; Visions Federal Credit Union; Keegan Associates, and Jeff's On-Site Services.

The event featured dancing to “Atlas,” a photo booth, and a Live Auction led by Matt Hayden.

November Splendor is the signature event of the Foundation’s annual Family of Friends Campaign. Donations to this year’s campaign can be made by contacting the Schuyler Health Foundation at (607) 210-1950 or online at

Dinner kicks off United Way campaign

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN – Tom and Jenny Lewis of Watkins Glen are the co-chairmen of the 2015 Schuyler County United Way campaign, leading the effort to raise $123,000 to support 22 human service agencies that serve Schuyler County residents.

The campaign kicked off Monday, Oct. 12, with the annual spaghetti dinner at the Montour Moose Lodge in Montour Falls.

Peggy Scott, Schuyler United Way executive director, said the 2014 campaign effort was a success.

“The board of directors is once again very appreciative of the continued support for United Way of Schuyler County,” Scott said. “The need for services provided by the agencies remains great. We are so fortunate to have a community that recognizes those needs and follows through with their monetary and voluntary support.”

She praised local businesses that have in-house campaigns to encourage their employees to support United Way, and also cited O’Susannah’s Quilts and Gifts in Watkins Glen for continuing its annual donation of a quilt to be raffled in the community as a fund-raiser.

That effort is coordinated by Susannah Knapp of O’Susannah’s and Barb Connelly of Watkins Glen. The quilt is on display at sites throughout the county, where tickets are being sold.

Scott said Tom and Jenny Lewis bring business leadership and strong commitment to the community to this year’s campaign.

Tom is manager of pharmacy business solutions for Wegman’s in Rochester and is familiar with United Way efforts. In addition to being active in United Way activities at Wegman’s, he’s a member of the Young Leaders’ Club of the United Way of Greater Rochester.

Jenny is a Hanlon Elementary School (in Odessa) third-grade teacher whose parents, Ken and Mary Wilson, are past Schuyler County United Way campaign chairmen.

“I’m hoping to bring a lot of my United Way experience in Rochester to this community,” Tom said. “I’d like to create some lasting relationships in the county with United Way.”

The 22 human services agencies supported by Schuyler County United Way with its 2015 campaign: Schuyler County Family Play & Resource Center; Schuyler Head Start; Schuyler Hospital; Schuyler Hospital Chaplaincy Program; Schuyler Housing Opportunity Council; Schuyler Outreach; Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library, Odessa.

Elizabeth B. Pert Memorial Library, Hector; Glen Industries of The Arc of Schuyler; Humane Society of Schuyler County; Montour Falls Memorial Library; Mustard Seed Ministries, Tyrone; Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.

American Red Cross; Boy Scouts, Five Rivers Council; Challenge Industries; Community Dispute Resolution Center; Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASA; Economic Opportunity Program’s Literacy Volunteers; Finger Lakes Addictions Counseling and Referral Agency; Girl Scouts, NYPENN Pathways; and the Southern Tier Association for the Visually Impaired.

Photo in text: Tom and Jenny Lewis with son, Tyler, and daughter, Emma. (Photo provided)

Schuyler County Transit drivers pose in front of one of the buses during the 5-year anniversary celebration. (Photo provided)

Transit marks 5th anniversary

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 25, 2015 -- Schuyler County Transit celebrated its 5th anniversary on Tuesday, August 25 with a public event at its operation headquarters, The Arc of Schuyler. Members of the Schuyler County Coordinated Transportation Committee, the team responsible for the long-range planning and implementation of the public transit system, gathered for a celebration with legislative officials, bus drivers and riders.

In five years, Schuyler County Transit ridership has tripled, with about 18,500 passenger trips in the last year. Public transit opened in 2010 under a contract partnership between Schuyler County and The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization serving people with developmental disabilities.

“With 30 years of experience training drivers, providing specialized transportation service, and maintaining a fleet of vehicles, The Arc was a clear choice for partnership,” said Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn.

Public transit launched in August 2010 with a fixed-route service to the villages of Burdett, Montour Falls, Odessa and Watkins Glen as well as a Dial-A-Ride service.

“The transit service is an important asset to Schuyler County. Senior citizens and many others need transportation to supports at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls, the hospital, health care facilities, shopping, and more. This is an economical mode of transportation that is essential for our residents,” said Montour Falls Mayor John King.

The system made modifications over the years for rider convenience, installing bus shelters, adding stops, and adjusting the route to accommodate frequent riders, including people with disabilities and seniors. Said Tamre Waite, Schuyler County Office for the Aging Director and a member of the Coordinated Transportation Committee, “The public transit system is a safe, reliable and affordable means of getting to and from destinations. It is a great alternative when one must make that difficult decision to give up the car keys and allow someone else to transport them.”

Beth DeCaro, Property Manager for Jefferson Village Apartments in Watkins Glen, agreed and added: “Schuyler County Transit has allowed our tenants to maintain their independence for a longer period of time.”

In February 2014, the system opened additional routes to rural areas of the county, transporting riders from Bennetsburg, Hector, Reynoldsville and Valois to stops in Watkins Glen. The Corning Connections route was introduced later that year and has been utilized by Corning Community College students and employees of Corning businesses. Schuyler County Transit has also been contracted to offer shuttle services for events such as the annual Seneca Lake Wine & Food event at Clute Park and the recent Phish festival at Watkins Glen International.

“This is a time when public transport has never been more important in supporting growth and job creation,” said Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED). “For communities that can attract the right talent, the resulting wealth can be spread out across the economy. This is a win-win since there is a $4 economic return to a community for every $1 invested in public transportation.”

Speakers at the event included: O’Hearn; Waite; Jeannette Frank, Executive Director of The Arc of Schuyler; John Reel, NYS Department of Transportation; Dennis Fagan, Chairman of Schuyler County Legislature; representatives from the offices of Congressman Tom Reed and Senator Tom O’Mara; and frequent rider Debbie Ball of Watkins Glen.

“Schuyler County Transit has demonstrated an ability to serve riders and maximize existing transportation systems to benefit the whole community,” Frank said. “Public transit is a symbol of a community that is working together, and that’s what we’re celebrating.”

Photos in text:

Top: Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn enjoys a celebratory cupcake with Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan looking on.

Bottom: Schuyler County transit rider Deb Ball, who spoke about the importance of public transportation for people who do not or cannot drive. (Photos provided)

"It's Kitten Season"

A Humane Society message

The following article was provided by the Humane Society of Schuyler County.

So, here in Schuyler County (at least at the Humane Society) we don't have four seasons. We have six! Winter, spring, kitten season, summer, kitten season and fall. And, the Humane Society of Schuyler County is swimming with kittens (and adult cats) needing homes. Cute comes in all colors, shapes and sizes. We've got 'em all. All of our kittens are sterilized, fully vaccinated, treated for internal and external parasites, tested for feline leukemia and have received any other necessary veterinary care. The adoption fee is only $75! A bargain!

Unfortunately, we get calls every day asking us to take in unwanted litters of kittens and are pedaling as fast as we can to make space for all the requests. We're doing everything we can, but the most effective way to prevent this situation is early spay or neuter.

We've been providing low-cost spay/neuter clinics for income eligible residents of Schuyler County for 15 years and have sterilized over 11,000 cats. But, it only takes two to tango, as they say. Kittens can become pregnant at only 4 months old and have as many as three litters a year. The resulting math is pretty simple ... too many kittens and not enough homes. A cat can be spayed or neutered as young as 3 months of age. Sterilization will prevent unwanted litters of kittens, reduce male/female aggression and fighting, and can also significantly reduce the risk of certain types of cancers.

If you'd like more information about our spay/neuter program for owned, stray and feral cats, please contact us at 607-594-2255 and leave a detailed message. We'll call you back to schedule an appointment.

Here's a good video to watch about the importance of spay/neuter:

If you already have a litter of kittens that need your care, check out this great video, loaded with tips on raising kittens:

The Humane Society of Schuyler County is a not-for-profit 501 c3 corporation dedicated to advancing animal welfare in Schuyler County. For additional information please call 607-594-2255 or visit

Watkins Glen Village Mayor Sam Schimizzi, left, and trustees (from left) Kevin Thornton, Tony Fraboni and Laurie DeNardo were among the parade participants. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Italian Festival ends 3-day run

Special to
The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 3 -- The Clute Park Community Center was transformed into an Italian oasis as one of the many new attractions for the 36th annual Schuyler County Italian American Festival, which started Friday night and ran through Sunday at Clute Park.

Marionette shows, new vendors, new musical performers and the “Salami Shack” were other additions.

“Our goal is to bring back the focus on the county’s Italian heritage,” festival president Louis Perazzini of Watkins Glen said before the festival. Don Stocum of Hector was this year’s festival chairman.

“L’Osteria” at the Community Center offered a long list of Italian-themed features including food, live music and vendors. Local wineries hosted wine tastings, and it was the site for judging new homemade wine and homemade pasta sauce contests.

Histories of local families were also displayed.

For the convenience of festival-goers, transportation across Fourth Street to “L’Osteria” was provided by free shuttle rides.

The ever-popular parade returned Saturday with many new units and Josephine “Pee Wee” Standish of Watkins Glen as grand marshal.

The Seneca Indians football team, a partnership of Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glen high schools debuting this fall, was among the parade features.

Also joining more than 60 units in the parade: Festival Prince Brixton Fuller-Bianco, son of Mark Bianco and Lisa Fuller, and Festival Princess Isabella Bacon, daughter of Derek and Kristen Bacon.

And the fireworks show, "still the best in the Finger Lakes," according to Perazzini, was held Saturday night.

Carnival rides and games, music, bingo, skate park stunts, a huge variety of food, a pasta-eating contest and a motorcycle show also were part of the festival’s weekend of fun.

New this year, on Saturday only, were continuous marionette performances from noon to 7 p.m. by Robert Rogers Puppet Company on center court in front of the pavilion.

Also new: the “Salami Shack,” a game that offered Italian meats and cheeses as the prizes.

Another of Saturday’s highlights was the pasta-eating contest presented by Curly’s Family Restaurant in Watkins Glen. The contest, open to anyone of any age, was held at 4 p.m. at the Entertainment Stage.

Sunday’s highlight was the Italian-American Festival Motorcycle Show. Motorcyclists and motorcycle fans were invited starting at noon. Parking was free for all motorcycles.

The Lakeside Skate Park Competition also got underway at noon Sunday. The competitors amazed spectators with their stunts on skateboards, rollerblades and bicycles.

The Tony Tallarida Memorial Bocce Tournament was back for the weekend, too, and more than 20 food concessions and upwards of 50 craft vendors offered something for everyone throughout the weekend.

Except for the amusements, all of the entertainment was free. No admission to the festival was charged, while parking on Clute Park grounds was just $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.

For more information about any aspect of the festival, see the festival website at or contact festival president Louis Perazzini at

Photos: Scenes from the parade. (Photos by Liz Fraboni)

Bagpipers and members of the joint Watkins Glen-Odessa Seneca Indians football team were among the parade highlights. (Photos by Liz Fraboni)

FASNY on fireworks: Leave them to the professionals

Special to The Odessa File

ALBANY, July 2 -- With Independence Day at hand, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) is urging New Yorkers to stay safe and leave the fireworks to the professionals.

Recently, a number of localities in the state have approved the sale of certain fireworks as part of Chapter 477 of the Laws of 2014. Although some fireworks may be legal to buy and use, FASNY is warning that the possibilities of injury and fire are very real and is recommending that New Yorkers take in one of the hundreds of public fireworks displays instead.

“Even though in some places certain types of fireworks are legal, we are urging New Yorkers to be smart and leave the fireworks to the professionals,” said FASNY President Robert McConville. “Don’t let an injury or fire ruin your Fourth of July holiday. Instead, take in one of the hundreds of public fireworks displays available throughout the State.”

In addition to producing scorching temperatures that can lead to severe burns, fireworks can cause fires, FASNY said, pointing to a recent house blaze in Washington County that was caused by recently legalized fireworks.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), thousands of people are injured while using consumer fireworks every July 4th holiday. The risk of fireworks injury is two-and-a-half times as high for children ages 10–14 as for the general population.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported for calendar year 2012 that six men were killed by professional-grade, homemade or banned firework devices and an estimated 8,700 consumers were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries. About 1,000 reported injuries involved sparklers and bottle rockets. Sixty percent of all fireworks injuries occur during the 30 days surrounding the July 4th holiday.

About FASNY: Founded in 1872, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York represents the interests of the more than 92,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York State. For more information, visit

Exchange students enjoy farewell weekend

WATKINS GLEN, June 18 -- The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club – along with the Corning, Elmira, Elmira Heights, Chemung Sunrise, and Horseheads Rotary Clubs – recently hosted 16 Youth Exchange students from District 7120.

Each year, monthly get-togethers are scheduled for the Exchange students in the district. The June weekend is emotional for the students, as it is the final time they are together as a group before heading back to their home countries after a full year in the U.S.

While the students stayed at Watkins Glen High School the weekend of June 11-14, they enjoyed activities in Elmira and Corning as well as in Watkins Glen.

On Friday, June 12, the international students visited the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rockwell Museum, plus shopped on Market Street and enjoyed an evening outdoors at Harris Hill.

On Saturday, June 13, the students were treated to a ride on Captain Bill’s Stroller IV on Seneca Lake, Thunder Road Tours at Watkins Glen International, a picnic at Watkins Glen State Park, and the Montour Falls Firemen's Festival Parade.

Sunday, June 14 featured a farewell picnic at the Big Flats American Legion.

Students represented countries including Japan, Thailand, India, Australia, Switzerland, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Belgium, Finland and the Netherlands.

Photos in text: Exchange students at the Seneca Harbor pier (top) and at the Watkins Glen International racetrack. (Photos provided)

The roadway on Bailey Hill in the Town of Tyrone was covered with mud after the storm. The Lamoka and Waneta Lake Roads had similar results. (Photo by Emily Grimmke)

Some scenes from the flood

SCHUYLER COUNTY, June 15 -- The rains passed, and the flooding receded in many areas of Schuyler County Monday, but damage was left behind.

Some roads were washed out or damaged, basements were still flooded, and the water on the lakes was up, carrying debris.

The photos here -- showing aspects of the flood and the damage -- were provided to The Odessa File by readers.

Photo in text: The Harley Davidson business at Alpine Junction was flooded. (Photo provided)

Left: Water rushing along an intersection above Watkins Glen. (Photo by Kevin LeRoux)
Right: Floodwaters chewed away at the road on Bailey Hill in the Town of Tyrone. (Photo by Emily Grimmke)

Swan Hill Road near Alpine was covered with water
after the storm passed through. (Photo provided)

Franklin Street in Watkins Glen was flooded at its northern end, below the curve into downtown. (Photo by Kevin LeRoux)

Monday cleanup included shoveling mud and gravel from the Valero gas station lot,
and then hosing it down thoroughly.

Various roads like this one, the turnoff above Watkins Glen leading to Tyrone,
were closed Monday for repairs by road crews.

Celebration set for Neale cookbook release

Special to
The Odessa File

BURDETT, May 25 -- Finger Lakes native and New Hampshire-based author Cynthia G. Neale will celebrate the release of her new cookbook, Pavlova in a Hat Box, Sweet Memories & Desserts, on Saturday, May 30 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Damiani Wine Cellars on Rt. 414 in Burdett.

Pavlova in a Hat Box is a collection of stories and meditations and classic and new dessert recipes and illustrations. Maggie Martin designed and illustrated Pavlova in a Hatbox with whimsical-style watercolor paintings and drawings inspired by "‘the love of everything Irish and tea" that is shared with the author.

Martin will have paintings and prints that are featured in the book available for sale. Further information can be found on her website: Accompanying this memoir cookbook: a CD of original piano music by Odessa native Linn Brown will be made available.

At 2:00 p.m., the author will read from her new book and serve tea and a variety of scone recipes from her cookbook.

Cynthia Neale is the author of the novels The Irish Dresser, Hope in New York City, and Norah: The Making of an Irish-American Woman in 19th-Century New York. These books will also be available for sale at the tea.

Further information can be found on her website:

Cast members include, front row from left,: Alex Campbell, Lilly Halpin, Krianna Rumsey, Anjeli Mangalagiri, Ben Campbell, Cole Koratsis, Sarah Strobel and Casey Dudgeon; and back row from left, Isabella Arlington, Ishani Sharan, Tassia Garrison, Joel Kelly, Jimito Williams, Mia Manzer, Emily Manzer, Madison Lodge and Samantha Dudgeon. (Missing: Julee Gillemot, Brianna Churchill)

Curtain to rise on 'Aesop's Foibles'

Special to
The Odessa File

ODESSA, May 14 -- Twenty talented area youths will perform on stage this weekend -- Friday and Saturday, May 15-16 -- in the Lake Country Players' Junior Players production of "Aesop's Foibles" at Odessa-Montour High School.

The play, in the school's Fetter-Brown Auditorium, features area youths between the ages of 6 and 17 bringing to life the classic characters from Aesop's Fables: the Tortoise and the Hare, the Aunt and the Grasshopper, and the Boy who cried Wolf, along with the Wolf herself!

The curtain will rise at 7 p.m. Friday, May 15 and again at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, May 16. The school is located at 300 College Avenue in Odessa.

Tickets, available at the door, are $8 for adults, and $5 for students and seniors. Children 4 and under are admitted free. For more information, visit or email

March Hare play tweaks Shakespeare, raises funds for ovarian cancer fight

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 10 -- March Hare Productions, a new local theater company, made its premiere May 1-3 at the Old Havana Courthouse Theatre in Montour Falls with a humorous take on the works of William Shakespeare. A portion of the proceeds was donated to raising ovarian cancer awareness.

The show ended its run this past weekend with performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

March Hare co-founders Tim Benjamin and Lisa McKnight have been working together in local theater since the early '90s, primarily with the Lake Country Players. After a brief hiatus when Lisa moved to Maine and then California, Lisa and Tim started talking about putting together a theater company that would use their passion for performing arts to help raise funds for local charities.

March Hare partnered with The Elizabeth Amisano Ovarian Cancer Education Fund (“Live Like Liz, Inc.”) for this first production, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)." The show featured three regional actors, Alan Caum of Athens, Tom Gottko of Corning, and Michael Truesdail of Horseheads, covering all of Shakespeare’s works in 90 minutes.

March Hare Productions is producing three other plays to finish out its inaugural season, the next presentation being "The Fall of The House of Usher" at the Elmira Psychiatric Center from June 5-7 and June 12-14. Speaking about the stage adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's gothic horror classic, director Benjamin said, "One of the goals that Lisa and I have is to produce shows that you don't normally see in the area, as well as little theater classics written by authors such as Neil Simon and David Mamet." March Hare Productions is also putting together an improv troupe that it plans on debuting soon.

Live Like Liz, now in its 10th year, is dedicated to raising awareness of ovarian cancer through education, as well as supporting men and women affected by this terrible disease. The organization makes annual financial contributions to regional medical centers, awards two scholarships to high school seniors each year, and conducts educational symposiums for healthcare professionals.

Live Like Liz’s largest annual event is its 5K Race held at the Watkins Glen High School track and the Catharine Valley Trail. The next 5K Race/Walk is Sunday, June 7. More information and registration can be found at

For more information about MarchHare Productions or any of this season's shows, call or email Tim Benjamin at 607-351-9260 or

Photo in text: Alan Caum, left, and Tom Gottko in the "Macbeth" portion of the Shakespeare show. (Photo provided)

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