To visit the
Agriculture Page,
click here.


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


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


Now accepting applications
for enrollment:
ages 6wks - 12yrs

208 W. Broadway St., Montour Falls, NY 14865
Phone: 607-535-8908


Our Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism


We also carry a Business Card Page. Click here.


Click on the ad below to go to the website featuring

Lakewood Vineyards


Be sure to visit

Watkins Glen
Winter Farmer's Market

November 1 to February 28
Fridays 3 to 6pm
St. James Parish Hall
on Sixth Street

Fresh produce, meats and crafts

Find us on Facebook.


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


Owner JoAnna Scott (left) and Amy Holmes, a licensed cosmetologist at Simply Your Best. The business offers hair, skin and nail services.

Simply Your Best

JoAnna Scott owns and operates a salon called Simply Your Best at 4588 Route 224, west of Odessa. She formerly owned and operated the Mane Street Hair Design business in Odessa.

The hours are Tuesday & Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 10-7, and Saturday from 9-2.

Phone: 607-594-2811.

To reach the Simply Your Best website, click here.


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



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



For information on The Arc of Schuyler, click on the ad below or here.


Click on ad below to go to the Lake Country Players website.


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


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 







Page Sponsor: Cabins to Castles

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

Gallery sets opening reception for exhibit

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 18 -- Franklin Street Gallery will host an opening reception on Arbor Day, Friday, April 25 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. for its new exhibit, Arboretum of Art.

The reception is sponsored by WaterWorks, a project of Nelson Development Group, and is free and open to the public. In celebration of Arbor Day, the first 50 attendees at the reception will receive a tree sapling for planting. Reisinger’s Apple Country will offer guidance and demonstrate the basic care of trees. Guests are invited to enjoy wine tastings provided by Lakewood Vineyards

“The theme of our spring exhibit honors Arbor Day,” Gallery Manager Cynthia Hill said. “It’s a day to plant roots, nurture growth, and celebrate the arrival of the spring season.”

Guest judge David Higgins will select and announce the recipients for Best in Show and Honorable Mention awards at the reception. Higgins is an artist, art professor, and head of the Corning Community College arts department.

Arboretum of Art will be on exhibit until May 25. It includes paintings, photography and three-dimensional works from professional and novice artists in the Finger Lakes region.

The Franklin Street Gallery is a community arts center operated by The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-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: “Birches in the Morning” by Steve Duprey, one of many paintings, photographs, and three-dimension works featured in the Arboretum of Art exhibit. (Photo provided)

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

Rotary Club is accepting requests for grants

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 16 -- The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club annually accepts requests for Community Grants, and this year is no different.

The grants, funded by a variety of efforts undertaken by the club, are intended to help organizations in Schuyler County promote the quality of life in the community. The grants -- generally ranging from $100 to $1,000 -- are awarded to organizations that have specifically identified projects or needs.

Requests must be submitted by April 30, each on the letterhead of the organization in question, and limited to two pages.

The requests must include a concise statement describing the project and the specific monetary need; a statement outlining efforts to secure funding elsewhere; the legal name of the organization and its mission; its officers' names, and the name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address of a contact person. The requests will be reviewed in May, and awards announced in May and June.

Grants are to be spent within one year, with no expectation of further support. Requests should be submitted to Donations Committee, Watkins-Montour Rotary Club, P.O. Box 384, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

Guidelines are available on the Rotary Club's website,

I Love My Park Day set for May 3rd

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 17 -- The Catharine Valley Trail, part of Watkins Glen State Park, will once again be participating in the cleanup, improvement and beautification events that are happening statewide on I Love My Park Day, set for Saturday, May 3rd.

Last year volunteers from the Horseheads Youth Bureau, Girl Scout Troop 40933, AmeriCorps Kids First Initiative and American Heritage Girls joined Friends of The Catharine Valley Trail volunteers sweeping, gathering litter, painting benches and trimming brush.

This year the Friends of the CVT have an ambitious amount of work planned, including clean-up and beautification of the park in Millport, Catharine Valley Trail brush and clean-up at locations along the CVT including between Smith Road and Millport, from Watkins Glen High School south to Rte. 14, the South Genesee trailhead going both north and south, and the Queen Catharine Mound and Cook Cemetery.

In addition, volunteers are being invited to a new nature and birding trail project at what will be the Mark Twain State Park Trailhead for the Catharine Valley Trail.

Volunteer work is being done under the guidance of Finger Lakes State Parks by volunteers from the Chemung Valley Audubon Society and Friends of the Catharine Valley Trail.

All work projects will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 12 noon. Volunteers should bring work gloves, wear sturdy shoes and appropriate outdoor clothing and bring bug repellant. Water, snacks and tools will be supplied. Pre-registration is necessary so that there will be support at each location.

Registration for I Love My Park Day is now open online. Visit the PTNY (Parks & Trails New York) website,, to volunteer online, or contact Caryl Sutterby, Coordinator, Friends of the Catharine Valley Trail at 607-426-4015 or Ron Roney, Watkins Glen State Park Manager, at 607-535-4511. Volunteers will be contacted with all necessary information prior to May 3rd.

Walmart takes the lead in Steps Out

Special to
The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, April 16 -- The third week is complete in the annual Schuyler Steps Out walking program -- with Walmart overtaking leader Lakewood Vineyards by a small margin.

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

Lakewood, which has won or been near the top in each of the Steps Out seasons, slipped to second place as Walmart's 22 walkers increased their cumulative average steps to 395,754 while Lakewood's 11 walkers were at 390,019.

Advanced Family Chiropractic remained third with 372,561 cumulative average steps (3 walkers), while Watkins Glen Jr/Sr High School's 12 walkers remained fourth with 330,672.

Twenty-one teams are entered in the heart-healthy competition.

Hospital Auxiliary to hold Jewelry Sale

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, April 12 -- Schuyler Hospital has a bright, new lobby and the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary will fill it with sparkles and spangles on Friday, April 25 at a Jewelry Sale.

Jewelry from Lia Sophia, Silpada, and Small Indulgences will be available for sale and orders, as well as selections from the Auxiliary’s Gift Shop, now located just inside the new main hospital entrance.

The sale will run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Proceeds will help the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary support the needs of Schuyler Hospital.

The Auxiliary reminds everyone that the Schuyler County Bus stops right at the main entrance.

For more information, email, or call (607) 210-1950 ext. 2.

Library to hold book sale at Parish House

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, April 10 -- The Montour Falls Memorial Library will be holding a book sale from Wednesday, April 16 to Saturday, April 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

The book sale will take place at St. Paul's Parish House, 108 Genessee St., Montour Falls. There will be a large selection of children's books, books from the early 1900s, large print books, general fiction books, and non-fiction books.

For more information, contact the library by phone at 607-535-7489 or visit its website at

Center to host Model Car Show and Talk

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 2 -- The popular hobby of model car collecting will be in the spotlight April 11-13 at the International Motor Racing Research Center.

Over the three days, the Center will host a model car show of hundreds of vehicles of all scales, focusing on race cars. The show coincides with two annual events at Watkins Glen International: the 10th annual Toyota Green Grand Prix on April 11 and the track’s own Opening Weekend activities April 12 and 13.

The Arc Grand Prix Run, a new Opening Weekend event at the track, will be on April 12. It’s an early-morning, 3.4-mile run on the race course to benefit The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization providing support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. Walkers will have a one-mile route.

Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, will be the recipient of funds raised by WGI fans driving their own cars around the track on Opening Weekend. The fee will be $25 per vehicle. The track opens to cars at 10 a.m.

Back downtown on April 12 at 1 p.m., the Center will host an informal panel discussion about the hobby of model car collecting. The panel will include award-winning model designer and builder Tom Clark and Rich Chernosky of Keystone Cards in Sayre, Pa., organizer of the Model Car Concours at the annual Grand Prix Festival in Watkins Glen in September.

Admission to the model car show and to the panel discussion is free and open to all. Car show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Among the special exhibits in the show will be a display of models of almost every car raced by the famed Briggs Cunningham team from the 1940s through the early 1960s.

The Center’s April events are part of the ongoing Center Conversations series. Upcoming talk topics include Formula 5000 racing, featuring legendary Sam Posey as the honored guest, on May 10; vintage car event organizer Murray Smith in June; Cary Agajanian, son of great racing team owner and race organizer J.C. Agajanian, in July; and the Milwaukee Mile in October.

Details will be announced as they are finalized.

Montour Library hosting bus trip to NYC

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 22 -- The Montour Falls Memorial Library is hosting a bus trip to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on Sunday, April 27

The bus will leave the Montour Falls Library at 5:30 a.m. and drop participants off in front of The museum. The bus will pick participants back up at 6:00 p.m. in front of the museum and return to Montour Falls.

Interested? Registration and payment of $100 per person is due to the library by Friday, April 4. In order to make this trip happen, organizers need at least 25 people to sign up. If the trip is popular, more will be planned to various destinations in the future. (Bus travelers do not have to go to the museum – they just have to be back by 6:00 p.m. to re-board the bus for home.)

For more information, contact the library by phone at 607-535-7489 or visit its website at

Montour Library to host First Friday music

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 28 -- The Montour Falls Memorial Library, 406 W. Main St., Montour Falls, will host a First Friday Evening Music Series beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 4.

The musical group Ash Grove, featuring Lauren Benesh and Rick Biesanz, will perform Irish folk, classical and improvised music on harp, flute, dulcimer and other instruments.

A small donation of $5 is suggested at the door to benefit both the musicians and the library. For more information, visit

Arc Grand Prix Run set for April 12 at WGI

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 16 -- The Arc Grand Prix Run at Watkins Glen International, a 3.4-mile run on the internationally acclaimed motor racing course, debuts Saturday, April 12 on WGI’s Opening Weekend.

The event benefits The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization in Watkins Glen that provides supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Watkins Glen International to hold this community event to support The Arc,” said The Arc’s Executive Director, Jeannette Frank. “Our purpose is to promote healthy lifestyles, support inclusion of people with developmental disabilities, and to give individuals and families a fun and unique opportunity to support The Arc.”

This one-of-a-kind event provides runners the opportunity to run the full length of the WGI road course. The event also includes a one-mile course for walkers. Individuals and families are invited to participate in the run and various WGI Opening Weekend activities held on Saturday.

Registration starts at 7 a.m. The race begins at 8 a.m. rain or shine, and ends by 9:30 a.m. The cost to enter the run/walk is $25 for adults and $10 for youths ages 5-17 until Saturday, March 29. Participants are encouraged to pre-register to receive a t-shirt and save $5 on the registration fee. The Arc will accept registrations during its normal business hours at 203 12th St., Watkins Glen and at the Corning YMCA on March 19 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. To pre-register online, visit

Prizes will be awarded to overall male and female race winners, and top finishers in their age brackets will receive award medallions.

For more information about The Arc of Schuyler or The Arc Grand Prix Run, visit To sponsor or volunteer at the event, call Director of Community Relations, Holly Baker, at (607) 535-6934.

CareFirst workshop canceled

Special to The Odessa File

CORNING, March 16 -- CareFirst, formerly Southern Tier Hospice and Palliative Care, has canceled a planned March 22 workshop in Corning for teens grieving the loss of a loved one.

Sometimes Life Sucks -- a one-day workshop for teens who have experienced the death of a family member or friend -- was canceled due to a lack of registrants.

Orgnizers ask that anyone with questions or concerns call 962-3100.

April 1 breakfast to benefit Food Pantry

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Catholic Charities of Schuyler County is inviting the community to celebrate the first day of fishing season with a hearty breakfast buffet on Tuesday, April 1 from 5-11 a.m. at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge, 2096 State Rte. 14, Montour Falls.

Proceeds will benefit Catholic Charities' Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry.

As part of The Feinstein Foundation’s Million Dollar Challenge to fight hunger, all donations to the Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry in Watkins Glen will increase Catholic Charities' share of a million-dollar fund. These donations can include cash, checks and food items (valued at $1 per item or pound).

The all-you-can-eat Breakfast Buffet costs $6 per person. There will also be opportunities to
win gift baskets, participate in a 50/50 drawing and learn more about Catholic Charities’ programs. Lunch will also be served from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Prices range from $1.50 to $8 for lunch items.

For pre-event breakfast buffet tickets, contact Catholic Charities' Schuyler Outreach at 607-535-2815, Catholic Charities' Main Office at 607-535-2050 or The Moose Lodge at 607-535-4741.

For more information, contact Catholic Charities at 607-535-2050, or visit Facebook or

Exchange student, travelers to speak

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 14 -- The Friends of Watkins Library will welcome a foreign exchange student and two students who travelled in China last summer to the next Books Sandwiched In session -- on Wednesday, March 19th at noon at the library. The session was rescheduled from March 12 due to inclement weather.

Juliette Barbay from Belgium will share her perspective on her home country and on her stay in our community. Local high school students Hannah Armstrong and Corey Flahive will discuss their experience of travelling and learning in several areas of China.

The program is free and open to the public. The Friends of Watkins Library will provide coffee, tea and dessert.

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 -- 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 -- 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.

Conservation Plants sale is under way

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Jan 18 -- Every year the Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District offers the Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale, also known as the Green Arbor Program, for landowners to purchase plants that not only encourage wildlife, prevent erosion, and protect water quality but beautify property.

The order deadline is March 10, 2014 and orders should be placed as early as possible to ensure availability. Tree order forms are available at 23 public places in the county or online at

The Conservation District offers a wide selection of evergreen trees, deciduous trees and shrubs (including apple and pear trees, blueberries, blackberry, raspberry, and grapes), groundcovers, and ferns.

The trees are bare root seedlings and transplants. The evergreen seedlings are sold in bundles of 25 trees while the evergreen transplants and the deciduous trees and shrubs are sold in bundles of 10 (except apple and pear trees, which are sold individually, and small fruit species in bundles of 3.)

Also offered are fertilizer tablets, rain barrels, bluebird houses, weed mats and tree tubes.

This year’s plant sale will give landowners an opportunity to conserve and enhance the natural resources of Schuyler County -- the mission of the Soil and Water District.

Call the District at 535-0878 or visit the website for the locations of order forms or for more information.

Schuyler Transit adds Corning bus run

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 7 -- 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 -- 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 adult 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 -- 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 -- 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 -- 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 -- 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 -- 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 --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 -- 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 -- 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.

PTO, Glen Industries to raise lax funds

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 25 -- The Watkins Glen Parent Teacher Organization has partnered with Glen Industries for a fundraiser to support the 2014 Watkins Glen Senecas Modified and Varsity
Lacrosse Teams as well as projects like scholarships, field trips, and yearbooks.

The PTO is collecting donations of gently used sports equipment, which will be cleaned and refurbished by PTO and lacrosse volunteers working with Glen Industries workers. Restored items will be available for sale in time for the holidays -- including during the Breakfast with Santa event on Saturday, December 14 at the Watkins Glen Elementary School.

As a self-funded program, Watkins Glen Junior High and Varsity lacrosse teams fundraise year-round to pay for transportation, coaches, and officials. Kelly McCarthy, Watkins Glen School Board Member and parent of a lacrosse player, leads the fundraising efforts for the teams.

“Grants, donations, events, and fundraisers keep our players on the field,” McCarthy said. “We sincerely appreciate the support of our local businesses, Glen Industries, and the community to make this sports equipment drive a success.”

Glen Industries is a division of The Arc of Schuyler that provides vocational training to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through a range of business services.

All types of sporting equipment are appreciated, including cleats, roller blades, helmets, bicycles, jerseys, sleds, and even large items like kayaks. No weapons, firearms, or ammunition will be accepted.

Donations may be dropped off until November 30. Collection boxes are located near the main office at each Watkins Glen School and at various other locations: Watkins Glen Promotions, New Image Hair Network, Watkins Glen Supply, and The Arc of Schuyler.

Sports equipment donations will also be collected at the Watkins Glen Village Christmas festival on December 6. Questions about donations and arrangement for a pickup of large items may be directed to Kelly McCarthy at 607-592-1653 or at

Contributions to the Watkins Glen Senecas Lacrosse 2014 expense fund can be mailed directly to Watkins Glen Central Schools, Attn: Gayle Sedlack, 303 12th Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

Sunset at soccer game

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

Flu clinic, veterans info fair set for Oct. 24

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 12 -- The Bath VA Medical Center, in conjunction with the Schuyler County Veterans Service Agency, will be holding a flu vaccination clinic and veterans information fair in Montour Falls on Thursday, October 24. The clinic will be held in the Human Services Complex, room 120, at 323 Owego Street from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Free vaccinations are available for eligible veterans currently enrolled for care at VA. If not enrolled, this is an opportunity to determine eligibility for care and, if eligible, receive a free flu vaccination. Veterans not currently enrolled should bring their DD214 and current income information. For more information, contact the VA Veteran Service Center at 664-4000, extension 44899.

In addition, Schuyler County Public Health will be present to administer flu vaccinations for non-veterans from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you have Fidelis or Medicare Part B, bring your card for billing. Cost for flu vaccination is $30. For more information, contact Public Health at 535-6431.

Resource Fair set for October 24

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 8 -- The first annual “Community Connections Resource Fair” will be held on October 24 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at St. Mary’s Community Center, 112 Tenth St., Watkins Glen.

This free, informational event is open to the public and hosted by Catholic Charities of Schuyler County and the Coordinated Community Response Team.

Community organizations will be on hand with giveaways, door prizes and information for the community. These resources are designed to answer some common questions that people may have after experiencing a crime: What about my children? Where will I live? How will I make money?, etc. There will also be resources for housing, child care, mental health, emergency services, women’s health and employment.

Many Schuyler County agencies will be on hand to answer questions and offer support. There will also be light snacks available and wellness workshops throughout the day.

For additional information about Catholic Charities’ First Step Victim Services, contact Catholic Charities of Schuyler County at 607-535-2050 or visit

Parkinson Support Group sets meeting

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 8 -- The Southern Tier Parkinson Disease Support Group will meet
Thursday, October 17 from 1:30 -3:30 p.m. in the Silver Spoon Café at the Schuyler County Human Services Complex, 323 Owego Street, Montour Falls.

Attorney Michael Martino will speak to Estate Planning and Preservation of Assets. Martino is a partner in the law firm of Rosettie, Rossettie and Martino in Corning. He is a specialist in Estate Trusts and Elder Law. His talk, including a question-and-answer session, will take two hours. The program is open to the public, not just those with Parkinson Disease.

Pre-registration is preferred. Contact Gretta Preston by calling 607-546-2167 or by emailing

Hospital serving up Pulos breakfast

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 8 -- Schuyler Hospital invites residents for a pancake breakfast in honor of Tony Pulos on Saturday, November 2 from 6-10 a.m. in the Watkins Glen Elementary School Cafeteria.

The breakfast is open to all, and is paired with the Field House-based AMBA Blood Draw, to also serve those who’ve fasted for the blood tests.

Cost of the breakfast is a $5 donation per person, with proceeds going to the hospital’s Tony Pulos Memorial Fund – used for landscaping around the facility.

For many years, Anthony “Tony” Pulos was the owner and operator of Chef’s Diner in Montour Falls, where he served meals to generations of Schuyler County residents. He also chaired Schuyler Hospital’s Board of Directors for more than 25 years. Since 2007, Schuyler Hospital has honored Pulos’ memory by serving a traditional pancake breakfast for the people of the county.

For more information, contact Schuyler Hospital at (607) 535-7121, or visit its website:

Odessa, Glen libraries plan 2 programs

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Oct. 8 -- The Dutton Peterson Library and the Watkins Glen Public Library will present two free cooperative programs this month.

The first one will be with storyteller Howard Edmond of the Rochester area, who will present a “Stir-Fry of Stories.” His tales will envelope fairy tales, Native American stories, myths and spooky stories just in time for the Halloween season.

He will be doing an after-school program at the Peterson library at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23 and will be appearing at the Watkins Glen Public library earlier in the day at 9:30 a.m.

Then, on Saturday, October 26, Kathy Gill, a local artist and school teacher, will be instructing a class on the creative media of Japanese Brush Sumi-e Painting. She will teach a class at the Peterson Library at 9: 30 a.m. and at the Watkins Glen library at 1 p.m.

Sumi-e painting is an ancient art form rooted in Zen Buddhism and originally practiced by monks. Using a fade (brush) and Sumi ink, the participants will be challenged with a new technique by using a few eloquent brush strokes on rice paper or washi (paper) to make their designs.

Classes are open to all ages, but you must pre-register at either the Odessa or Watkins Library -- or

Edmond’s storytelling is being supported in part with public funds from the NYS Council on the ARTS’ Decentralization Program, administered locally by the Arts’ Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.

Gill’s art class is being supported through a Quick ARTS Grant from the Community Foundation of the Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc., administered by the ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.

Baptist Church plans Oct. 20 piano concert

Special to The Odessa File

ODESSA, Oct. 2 -- The Odessa Baptist Church will host a concert by pianist Jim Hendricks of Chicago State University in the sanctuary of the church, 200 Maple Ave., Odessa on Sunday, October 20 at 7 p.m.

There will be a free chicken and biscuit supper prior to the concert, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend the concert for free.

Hendricks is a professor in the university's Music Department. He has performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and with other leading musical groups and performers. He has also been a featured symphonic orchestra soloist of Rachmaninoff's piano music and has participated in a number of piano competitions.

His performances of traditional Gospel and contemporary Christian music are known for both technical ability and passion. Since 1994, he has performed over 1,200 Christian piano concerts in churches across America, including three performances at the Crystal Cathedral in California.
His last concert at the Odessa Baptist Church was in September 2011, when he played to a full sanctuary.

Persons who want to listen to Hendricks' music or learn more about his ministry prior to the concert may visit his website at For more information about the concert, contact Pastor Jeremy Spencer at 607-594-2800.

Photo in text: Jim Hendricks (Photo provided)

Local artist featured on Institute calendar

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 22 -- 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 -- 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 -- 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 -- 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.

LCP to hold auditions for Guys & Dolls

Special to The Odessa File

ODESSA, Aug. 18 -- The Lake Country Players will hold open auditions and crew calls for
the classic musical, “Guys & Dolls,” on Wednesday, Aug. 28, and Thursday, Aug. 29, from 6-9 p.m. at the Odessa-Montour High School auditorium. They are open to people 16 years of age and up.

No experience is needed, and attendance by participants is required on just one of the two nights.

The show is being directed by Tim Benjamin, who has been involved in theater in the area -- on stage and backstage -- for more than 25 years. Benjamin 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 has previously directed “Babes in Arms” and “The Music Man,” as well as dinner theater.

Rehearsals will be Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. The show will run November 8-10.

“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 is being presented in cooperation with Music Theatre International, 421 West 54th St., New York City, NY 10019.

For more information, email

On the Waterfront

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

4th Schuyler Series concert set for Aug. 21

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 13 -- The fourth concert of the season in the Schuyler County Concert Series, sponsored by the Episcopal Parishes of Schuyler County, will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21.

The concert, at Saint James’ Episcopal Church, Sixth and Decatur Streets in Watkins Glen, will feature members of the Ithaca ensemble "Rockwood Ferry," Tenzin Chopak and Ethan Jodziewicz.

Chopak, the founder of the ensemble, is the vocalist and keyboard artist. Jodziewicz, who after graduating from Ithaca College will enter the Curtis School of Music in Philadelphia in the fall, plays the double bass.

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: Episcopal Parishes of Schuyler County, 112 Sixth Street, Watkins Glen, New York 14891 or

Photo in text: Ethan Jodziewicz (left) and Tenzin Chopak. (Photo provided)

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

Italian-American festival ends 3-day run

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 5 -- 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 -- 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)

Writing workshop set at Watkins library

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 29 -- The Watkins Glen Writers Group will present a writing workshop at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5 at the Watkins Glen Public Library, South Decatur Street. Writer Steve Coffman of Dundee will focus on creating books of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and memoirs.

Coffman has written and been published in many venues, such as plays, short fiction, political essays, poems, and history.

The event is funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. with public funds from the State Council on the Arts.

SOS hosting Motorcycle Run fundraiser

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 27 -- The Spirit of Schuyler is hosting the “Spirit of the Glen Motorcycle Run” on Saturday, August 17.

The ride will be held rain or shine, and is a fundraiser for the organization.

Registration begins at 11 a.m. at the Watkins Glen International racetrack. All riders must be at WGI no later than 11:30 a.m. The ride begins at noon with a lap around the WGI track, then continues on the old Grand Prix road course through Watkins Glen.

Ride participants will enjoy free food, live music, and raffles at the Village Marina following the ride.

Participants can pre-register on or before August 10 for $15 per rider and $10 per passenger. After August 10, registration is $20 per rider and $15 per passenger.

Checks or money orders should be made payable to Spirit of Schuyler and mailed (with registration form) to P.O. Box 294, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

Pre-registration can also be accomplished on-line at Click “donate” to make the payment, then email the form to Pre-registration fees are non-refundable.

Participation is limited to motorcycles/trikes. Other vehicles will be allowed only in the event of rain.

The next fundraiser for the Spirit of Schuyler after this one is “The Gathering,” to be held at Hidden Valley above Watkins Glen on Saturday, September 21.

The Spirit of Schuyler is a volunteer organization that is dedicated to helping improve the quality of life in Schuyler County. Working with all county organizations, the Spirit of Schuyler -- through donations from sponsors around the country -- provides financial assistance for Schuyler County residents in times of emergency.

Troup takes Best in Show at Exhibit

Special to
The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 22 -- 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)

Free batik classes set at Schuyler libraries

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, July 24 -- Free batik classes will be held at two Schuyler County libraries on Saturday, August 10.

Local artist and art teacher Kathy Gill will be teaching about the history and process at the Dutton Peterson Library in Odessa at 9:30 a.m. and again at the Watkins Glen Public Library at 1:30 p.m.

Batik is a method of dying fabric after it has had a design of wax applied. The wax is removed, leaving a design on the dyed fabric.

These classes are open to the public and are free. All ages are invited to participate, and sign-ups are being held at each library.

The classes are being supported with funding through a Quick ARTS grant from the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc. and is administered by the ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.

Contact the libraries at or 594-2791 for the Peterson library, and at or 535-2346 for the Watkins Glen library..

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

Fun, food, music highlight fundraiser

BURDETT, July 20 -- 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 -- 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 -- 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 -- 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.

Music was flowing in a Jamming Tent at the Old Time Fiddlers' Gathering.

2-day Fiddlers' Gathering concludes

WATKINS GLEN, June 16 -- The 24th annual Old Time Fiddlers' Gathering, sponsored by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, concluded its two-day run Sunday at Lakewood Vineyards, 4024 State Route 14 north of Watkins Glen.

The Gathering featured four performances on the main stage Saturday, and featured three more Sunday. There were also workshops with master musicians, an open Jamming Tent, and several smaller jams, including one for beginners. Two food vendors were present with hamburgers and fries, wraps and salads.

The event was free and open to the public. In addition, Lakewood's tasting room was open.

Saturday's lineup included Jeff Wisor with Dave Hampton at 1 p.m., Henry Jankiewicz with Curt Osgood and John Wobus at 2:30 p.m., Don Woodcock and Gretchen Koehler at 4 p.m., and George Harriger and Son at 5:30 p.m.

Sunday's lineup included Tom Fay and the Salt Potatoes at 1 p.m., Jackie Hobbs and the Clemens Tradition with Amber Nezezon at 2:30 p.m., and Jessica Boss Collins and the BossTones at 4:30 p.m.

There were free workshops Saturday with Wisor and Harriger and luthier John Hoffman. Sunday, workshops were with Harvey Nusbaum (subject: the banjo) and Hobbs.

Photo in text: George Harriger leads a workshop during the Old Time Fiddlers' Gathering.

Curt Osgood, left, and Henry Jankiewicz perform on the main stage at the Gathering.

A panoramic view of the Fiddlers' Gathering, from spectator tent to performance stage to vineyard.

20 fire units, 10 bands highlight parade

MONTOUR FALLS, June 9 -- The annual Montour Falls Fire Department Parade went off smoothly Saturday under partly cloudy skies and with pleasant temperatures that attracted a large crowd along Main Street.

The hour-long parade featured more than 20 fire departments and 10 bands. It was a highlight of the final day of the Fire Department Carnival.

The fire departments were from Montour Falls, Wayne, Pine City, Branchport, Beaver Dams, Watkins Glen, Campbell, Penn Yan, Mecklenburg, Millport, Dundee, North Corning, Enfield, Hector, Trumansburg, Odessa, Hammondsport, Dresden, Tyrone, Elmira Heights and Burdett.

The bands included the Fairport Fire Department Band, the Pittsford Fire Department Band, the Caledonian Highlanders, the Corning Area Community Concert Band, and units from the Jasper-Troupsburg, Corning East, Addison, Odessa-Montour, Canaseraga, and Corning West high schools.

There were also floats, vintage cars, antique tractors, Boy Scout troops, veterans units, an American Heritage Girls troop, and representatives from the Army. All told, there were more than 65 parade entrants.

Photo in text: A tractor makes its way up Main Street as part of the Montour Falls parade.

For more photos, click here.

The Beaver Dams United Methodist Sunday School class is pictured in the front row. From left are Michael McChesney, Sam Wakeman, Mackenzie Hart, Danica Hart, and Elijah “Pickle” Wakeman. Back row from left: Habitat's Bob Groll, Patti Butler and Kathy Chapman, and class teacher Cheri Dutton. (Photo provided)

Habitat receives Sunday School donation

BEAVER DAMS, May 26 -- The Beaver Dams United Methodist Sunday School class has presented a check for $400 to the Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity. The children raised the money in a six-month “Noisy Can Collection” for a local mission and they chose to make their donation to support Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity.

Said a Habitat spokesperson: "Our local Habitat chapter is very grateful for their amazing gift! This brings us one step closer to our goal for this summer -- to put in the foundation and construct the shell for our first Habitat Home in Schuyler County. The home will be located on our site on Havana Glen Road in Montour Falls (donated by Marcia Douglas). We were very pleased to see the excitement of these children when they attended our meeting to present their donation. This is what Community is all about!"

Arc of Schuyler celebrates 35 years

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 23 -- The Arc of Schuyler welcomed nearly 100 volunteers, members, and guests, including Senator Thomas O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, to its annual
meeting and reception at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel on May 16.

O’Mara and Palmesano presented a legislative resolution commending The Arc of Schuyler, a non-profit organization founded in 1978 by parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, for 35 years of providing quality supports to individuals and families in Schuyler County.

The Arc’s executive director, Jeannette Frank, presented several awards. Darlene Abidin, a seven-year employee of The Arc, was honored as the organization’s 2013 nominee for a statewide direct support professional excellence award.

“I love my job,” Abidin said upon accepting the award. “I only wish I started it sooner.”

Nick Anagnost of Montour Falls was recognized for serving as the charity’s 2013 annual fundraising campaign chair.

The Arc’s board of directors, members, and employees also applauded their Guardianship Committee members -- Barbara Frank, Reverend Beverly Karr-Lyon, Shirley Kohena, Joyce McKinney, Judy Philips, and Barbara Specchio -- "for the countless hours they have given to meetings and social visits with the many people who have been under The Arc’s guardianship over the years."

Board of Directors vice president Harold J. Hoffmeier and former Arc executive director Jim Wilson spoke to the evening’s theme – “Then and Now.” Hoffmeier praised The Arc’s founding families for their invigorated grassroots advocacy effort.

“For decades, parents were advised by medical professionals to institutionalize their children. Those that chose to raise them at home, struggled with a severe lack of community supports,” Hoffmeier said. “Those parents turned their frustration into passion. They worked together to educate their government and demand the resources they needed to empower people with disabilities to lead
purposeful and fulfilling lives.”

Referring to the 4.5% cut imposed on voluntary service providers in New York State this year by Governor Cuomo, Hoffmeier thanked both Senator O’Mara and Assemblyman Palmesano for speaking in defense of The Arc and similar agencies to mitigate what could have been a $120 million cut. “Thousands of voices, including our legislators, spoke against the injustice of this cut," he said. "That is the kind of grassroots advocacy that today’s families, friends, and self-advocates must be ready for.”

Members of The Arc meet annually to elect board directors and officers. Members elected Barbara Frank, Matthew Hayden, Barbara Specchio and Larry Tanner to three-year terms.

The following officers were elected to the Board of Directors with terms ending in May 2014: President: Michael Stamp; Vice-President, Harold J. Hoffmeier, Jr.; Treasurer, G. Thomas Harrison; Secretary, Matthew Hayden. The Nominating Committee for 2013-2014 includes Michael DeNardo, Matthew Hayden, Michelle Benjamin, Nancy Thomas and Don Stocum.

Photo in text: From left, Nick Anagnost, Darlene Abidin, Barbara Frank, Joyce McKinney and Barbara Specchio are recognized at The Arc of Schuyler’s 35th anniversary annual meeting and member reception. (Photo provided)

Forest unveils Fishing Derby winners

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, May 21 -- Officials from the Finger Lakes National Forest have announced the winners in the 18th Annual Fishing Derby held on Saturday, May 11 at Potomac Pond.

Sponsors included: American Legion Post 463, American Legion Post 555, Bass Pro Shops-Auburn, Buckskin Bowman Field Archery Club, Canoga Springs Rod & Gun, Finger Lakes Sports-O-Rama, Valois-Logan-Hector Volunteer Fire Department, Interlaken Sportsmen’s Club, Lodi Rod & Gun Club, Seneca County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs, Inc., Seneca Marine Bait & Tackle, Seneca Meadows, Inc., Tops Supermarket, and the Watkins Glen Walmart Supercenter.

“This year, we had 96 children participate in the Youth Fishing Derby," said Jodie Vanselow, District Ranger for the Finger Lakes National Forest. "Other than a couple of brief rain showers early in the morning, the weather cooperated and helped make this event a success. Every child seemed to really enjoy getting outside on the forest and fishing at Potomac Pond. We have already started to plan for the next derby."

2013 Annual Youth Fishing Derby Results:

Age Group 2-5
1st place: Kassie Clugstone, 3 years old, 9”
2nd place: Dallas Freitas 5 years old, 8 ¾”
3rd place: Chase Smith 2 years old, 8 ¾”

Age Group 6-9
1st place: Cole Dresser 8 years old, 11”
2nd place: Makayla West 9 years old, 9 ¼”
3rd place: Autumn Garrison 9 years old, 9 ¼”

Age Group 10-12
1st place: Jack Mott 11 years old, 8 ¾”
2nd place: John Moore 11 years old, 8 ¾”
3rd place: Cameron Cole 11 years old, 8”

First Fish Caught: Alexander Rappleye Neiss

Most Fish Caught: Sam Preston (13 fish!)

*All ties then went by most fish caught followed by total length of fish caught

Hammond named Lou Sand Award winner

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 15 -- Schuyler Hospital announced the recipient of the 2013 Lou Sand Award at its annual Employee Recognition Dinner on May 8.

The honor goes to Penny Hammond, Restorative Aide in the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility Unit 1, who was nominated by her co-workers.

Hammond has worked at Seneca View for 25 years, most of them on Unit 3 as a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Her nomination read, “Penny has always held herself to a high standard, is self-motivated, and has never lost her drive and enthusiasm for her work. In addition to always giving 110%, she takes responsibility, on her own time, to maintain the flower beds around the facility.”

Schuyler Hospital annually gives the award in memory of Lou Sand to an employee who demonstrates exemplary service to others, and whose compassionate commitment of service to their fellow employees, patients, residents and community brightens the lives of those they touch -- traits exemplified by Lou Sand.

Hammond’s co-worker, Carol Kruger, said she knew Lou Sand and that Sand had extended a helping hand to her. “This is perfect,” Kruger said. “It gave me chills when I heard that Penny won this award.”

Photo in text: Schuyler Hospital President/CEO Andy Manzer presents the Lou Sand Award to Penny Hammond (left), accompanied by Kelly Fitch, Seneca View Unit 1 Nurse Manager. (Photo provided)

Legends of the Glen nominations sought

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 17 -- Last season Derek Bell, Scott Pruett and (posthumously) James Hunt were inducted into the Legends of The Glen. It is time to determine who will comprise the next class, and Watkins Glen International wants to know what the fans think.

All nominations may be sent via email to or via mail addressed to Watkins Glen International, Legends of The Glen, 2790 County Route 16, Watkins Glen, NY 14891. Each nomination must include the individual’s name, a list of his or her accomplishments at Watkins Glen International and a brief example of why you, the fan, believe the nominee should be included in the Legends of The Glen.

Nominations must be sent before the Thursday, May 23 deadline. The 2013 class of the Legends of The Glen will be announced during the Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix presented by Welliver on September 6-8.

Fans may nominate anyone who has made a significant impact at Watkins Glen International. This includes: owners, former Watkins Glen International staff, race officials and any current or retired driver from any of the series that have competed at The Glen. Accomplishments included in the nomination must have taken place only at Watkins Glen International.

The Legends of The Glen began in 2008 as part of the 60th anniversary of road racing at The Glen. Eighteen people have been inducted into the program, including: Cameron and Jean Argetsinger, Jim Riesbeck, Phil Walters, Walter Hansgen, Bill Milliken, Graham Hill, Sir Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark, Mario Andretti, Al Holbert, Hurley Haywood, Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Scott Pruett, Derek Bell and James Hunt.

Historical Society holds 20th Victorian Tea

MONTOUR FALLS, May 12 -- The Schuyler County Historical Society reached a milestone Saturday in its traditional, once-a-year Victorian Tea program -- holding its 20th such annual event at the Historical Society Museum alongside Rte. 14 in Montour Falls.

As in the past, two tea sessions were held, at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Waiters carried pots of tea and various cookie-styled treats from table to table, where visitors were dressed for the most part nattily, often in old-fashioned garb and -- in the case of the ladies -- occasionally in stylish hats.

"It's a wonderful event," said one woman seated with family and friends at one of the many tables arranged throughout the museum's ground floor. "We come here every year."


Photo: Waiter David Lisk pours tea at one of the tables set up for the Historical Society's Victorian Tea.

Advanced Family Chiropractic wins Steps

The following report was provided by Michelle Benjamin, Schuyler Hospital's Director of Community Relations, regarding the concluding week of the Schuyler Steps Out walking competition.

MONTOUR FALLS, May 9 -- Advanced Family Chiropractic overtook longtime leader Walmart in the final week to capture the 2013 Schuyler Steps Out competition.

Walmart ended up in second place, with Rainbow Chasers third. Lakewood Vineyards moved up a spot to finish fourth. Watkins Glen High School was fifth.

The top 10 finishers among 25 teams in the 2013 Schuyler Steps Out competition:

1st Place: Advanced Family Chiropractic, 3 walkers, 1,188,295 average steps.
2nd Place: Walmart, 17 walkers, 1,174,962 average steps.
3rd Place: Rainbow Chasers, 10 walkers, 1,107,614 average steps.
4th Place: Lakewood Vineyards, 9 walkers, 953,600 average steps.
5th Place: Watkins Glen High School, 9 walkers, 947,537 average steps.
6th Place: Watkins Glen Veterinary Hospital, 16 walkers, 904,274 average steps.
7th Place: Watkins Glen Middle School, 12 walkers, 897,942 average steps.
8th Place: Salty Dog Rescue Team, 30 walkers, 884,976 average steps.
9th Place: Village Bakery, 7 walkers, 817,979 average steps.
10th Place: Humane Society, 18 walkers, 782,700 average steps.

Schuyler Transit adjusts hospital stops

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 9 -- Schuyler County Transit is rerouting its fixed route to travel on State Route 14 to Genesee Street and then to Schuyler Hospital.until the close of construction at the hospital.

During construction at the hospital main entrance and lobby, the only hospital bus stop will be at the entrance of Seneca View Skilled Nursing.

The temporary route will allow for a stop on North Genesee Street in Montour Falls at Welliver as well as a stop at Steuben and Genesee Streets, upon request.

For further information, call Schuyler County Mobility Manager Amber Simmons at 607-535-3555 or see the temporary schedule and map at

Humane Society gets Spay Neuter Grant

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 1 -- The Humane Society of Schuyler County has been awarded a grant of $7,600 from the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) to help fund sterilization services for stray cats harbored by income-eligible county residents.

“Population control has long been a cornerstone of the Humane Society of Schuyler County’s work,” said Humane Society president Georgie Taylor. “Since 2000, we have provided low-cost spay/neuter services for the pets of eligible residents of our community, for populations of feral cats and for shelter dogs, totaling more than 8,000 animals.”

The organization performs spay/neuter services largely through a partnership with Shelter Outreach Services, a not-for-profit mobile spay/neuter service based in Ithaca. The Humane Society also offers spay/neuter subsidies for eligible residents who have a relationship with area veterinarians.

“This generous grant will enable us to help more animals by providing financial assistance to a greater number of individuals seeking services through our clinics," said Taylor. “Sterilization not only reduces overpopulation but also helps to reduce certain cancers which can develop in both un-neutered canines and felines ...With seven dogs or cats born for each human being in the U.S., we need to sterilize as many animals as we can as fast as we can to keep the numbers in check.”

For general information about the spay/neuter program, to determine program eligibility for grant funding or for additional information about the organization, visit or contact The Humane Society at 594-2255.

Two men take different diving approaches as they enter Seneca Lake during the Polar Plunge.
(Photo by Don Romeo)

Polar Plunge draws a crowd to Tiki Bar

WATKINS GLEN, April 28 -- The 10th annual Polar Plunge at the Tiki Bar -- on the western shore of Seneca Lake, below Salt Point Road -- attracted its usual hundreds of spectators Saturday, there to watch 80 brave souls hurl themselves into the lake's cold water, one, two, three or four people at a time.

The event helped raise funds for various causes, including the Spirit of Schuyler, whose board of directors was on hand to witness the celebration of spring's arrival. The day was perfect, reaching into the 70s under a bright, sunny sky about the time the first of the participants jumped in.

The photos here -- and two on the Home Page -- were snapped by Don Romeo.

Photo in text: Jeff Learn and Beth Vickio Martino make it back to the dock after sustaining the shock of Seneca Lake's cold water. (Photo by Don Romeo)

Left: A participant hits the water while a diver -- on hand as a safety measure -- watches nearby. Right: A woman in a grass skirt enters the water. (Photos by Don Romeo)

A quartet goes in. (Photo by Don Romeo)

A Polar Plunger covers his mouth just before hitting the water. (Photo by Don Romeo)

Another participant reaches the water -- and the cold. (Photo by Don Romeo)

County reps to speak on possible merger

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 17 -- The Schuyler County League of Women Voters will host a presentation by representatives of Schuyler and Yates Counties on the possibility of a merger of the two counties.

The discussion is part of the League’s Annual Meeting and Luncheon and will be held on Wednesday, May 1 from noon until 1:00 p.m. at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

The cost of the luncheon is $20. Reservations are required and are due by April 24th to Donna Beardsley at 607-794-8465 or

Library program is a 'doggone' hit

By Bonnie Seeley

ODESSA, March 9 -- It was Friday, March 8th, at 3 p.m. No one had arrived yet for the After-School Program at the Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library, scheduled to begin at 3:15. Children's Librarian Bonnie Schweizer and her assistant, Bonnie Seeley, began to panic.

No need to worry, however, because, quite suddenly, the library was filled with younger attendees than are usually seen at After-School Programs. And a most appreciative audience it was, indeed!

A special guest was a very large costumed "Martha, the Rescue Dog." Mrs. Schweizer read several Martha stories to the assembled audience, and Martha stood wagging her tail vigorously and answered some questions. (Anyone who knows Martha knows that she is able to talk because her family feeds her alphabet soup!)

Following the session with Martha, a friend from the Humane Society of Schuyler County brought in another special guest, Ruby, a reddish-colored Pit Bull Mix. Wearing a bright pink HSSC neckerchief, Ruby charmed the children with her well-behaved demeanor.

Upon arrival, each child had been assisted in fashioning a dog-bone-chain paper bracelet to wear for the program. For refreshments, the children munched on "doggie bones" -- ginger snap cookies in the shape of big dog biscuits.

All in all, the After-School Program was a howling success. Children and adults alike enjoyed themselves immensely, and the Humane Society guests took a very large box -- filled with a wide variety of donated supplies -- home with them to help restock their Pet Pantry.

Photo in text: Martha the Rescue Dog entertains kids at the Peterson library. (Photo provided)

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 -- 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.

Sheriffs' unit starting membership drive

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 21 -- The New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute will begin its annual Honorary Membership drive in Schuyler County within the next week, according to Sheriff Bill Yessman.

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

While the Sheriff’s Office is a unit of county government, many of the concerns of Sheriffs and other law enforcement agencies are best addressed on a statewide level, says Yessman in a press release, adding:

"The Sheriffs’ Institute provides centralized training programs and services for all Sheriffs’ Offices, 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 37th 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. The 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 added. “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 the Criminal Justice Program at each of New York State’s Community Colleges. "This program is designed to help attract the best and the brightest to the criminal justice vocation," said Yessman.

"For more information about the Sheriffs’ Summer Camp and other Sheriffs’ Institute Programs," he said, "visit our website,, or simply google “Sheriffs’ Institute kids” and it will be your first option."

Financial support for many of the Sheriffs’ Institute programs comes from Honorary Membership dues. Invitations for Honorary Membership are extended on a non-partisan basis, and the invitees are selected at random. Any persons interested in supporting the efforts of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute by becoming an Honorary Member should contact the Sheriff if they do not receive an invitation in the mail, or visit to download an application.

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

Bozman wins 'Best in Show' at Gallery

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 3 -- Bruce Bozman of Hammondsport received the “Best in Show” award for his piece, “Red Keel with Water Rivulets,” at Friday's opening reception of the Franklin Street Gallery’s exhibit of art photography, Extension.

Bozman’s work was chosen by juror Andrea Inselmann, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Cornell University’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.

“In Bozman’s piece, photography becomes painting that is concerned with color and composition and not an accurate depiction of reality, expanding the parameters of what photography can be,” Inselmann said. “It is no longer concerned with the representation of the thing but has more to do with abstraction, even though it is based on something found in nature."

Inselmann selected “Passing Through” by Laura Nichols of Beaver Dams for Honorable Mention. “The composition of the image in camera is impressive without resorting to manipulation on the computer,” Inselmann said. “Even though it is a small print, the viewer feels like she or he is in the space by how the image is composed as it could extend forward into our space.”

Both awardees received prize money. A portion of the exhibit registration fees will benefit the continued operation of the Franklin Street Gallery.

The exhibit runs until March 8.

Photos in text:

Top: Bruce Bozman with his “Best in Show”certificate and his winning piece of art.

Bottom: Laura Nichols, who won Honorable Mention for her piece “Passing Through” (top right). (Photos provided)

Visit SchuyLines, The Odessa File's sister publication designed to celebrate all things good about Schuyler County, is now online. For a look at the features-oriented website, just click here or on one of the logos above.

Auxiliary donates $11,500 to Foundation

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 18 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary recently made its 2012 year-end annual donation back to the hospital, with this year’s donation totaling $11,500.

Funds go toward the Schuyler Health Foundation’s Family of Friends 2012 campaign, targeted at four areas around the Hospital – including Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility, capital construction, equipment, and technology.

Linda Confer, Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary Vice-President, said, “The Auxiliary has worked very hard this year to find new and creative ways to raise funds for the hospital. We are so appreciative of all our volunteers, and pleased to be able to make this donation to the hospital.”

The Auxiliary raises funds throughout the year, through the Hospital Gift Shop, a spring spaghetti dinner, raffles, bake sales, special events and holiday house tours, and by partnering with the Schuyler Health Foundation on events including November Splendor.

For more information about the Auxiliary, or to volunteer, contact Nancy Pratt, volunteer coordinator, at (607) 535-5129 or visit .

Donations are still welcome for the 2012 Campaign through the end of February. To donate, contact the Schuyler Health Foundation at (607) 210-1950, or give on-line at

Photo in text: From left: Rob Swinnerton, Chair, Schuyler Health Foundation Board; Rita Tague-Carmony, Treasurer, Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary; Linda Confer, Vice-President, Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary; Andy Manzer, Schuyler Hospital CEO/President; and Bill Kouwe, Administrator, Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. (Photo provided)

Racing Research Center has staff changes

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 11 -- Staffing enhancements are giving the International Motor Racing Research Center a strong start into the new year.

Glenda Gephart, long associated with the Center, has been appointed as director of administration and communications, and two former Center volunteers are filling positions to improve financial and administrative operations.

The Center’s archival and cataloguing capabilities are strengthened by the recent addition to the staff of professional archivist Evan Earle. Earle, a lifetime motorsports enthusiast and staff member of the Cornell University Archival Department, brings impressive credentials and knowledge to the Center.

Augmenting the communications department is the recent appointment of Judy Stropus as a consultant. Stropus is known internationally in the motoring world for her public relations skills as well as her background as a driver and race team manager. Working with Gephart, Stropus has already reached new levels of media recognition for the Research Center.

“These staff changes, coupled with continuing exemplary work by Historian Bill Green and Archival Associate Kevin Hughey, raise the quality of the Racing Research Center’s work to a higher level,” Center President J.C. Argetsinger said. "We've calculated that we have more than 300 years' worth of experience if we add up how many each person now on the staff has been involved in motorsports. Add that experience to individual professional expertise, and we have a staff to be proud of.”

Gephart was appointed to fill the position left vacant by the retirement of Max Neal. Gephart has been associated with the Racing Research Center since August 1999.

In 1978, as a reporter for the Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, she began covering races at the Glen. She is a former editor of The Watkins Review & Express in Watkins Glen and continues to work as a freelance reporter.

Gephart is a journalism graduate of Penn State University. She lives in Reading Center.

Kim Klein, new financial associate, attended her first race as a newborn. She has been involved with the Center as a volunteer since it opened in June 1999.

Klein has been a member of the Glen Region Sports Car Club of America since 1982, working with timing and registration, rally events and the social committee. For 16 years she operated her own business, Professional Career Services, working with state and federal contracts, job development and human resource services in Corning.

Klein graduated from Keuka College with an honors degree in organizational management. She lives in Corning.

Kip Zeiter is the Center’s new administrative support staffer, working primarily with the collections. He is a long-time motorsports enthusiast, and notes that his favorite series of all time was the Can Am. His favorite tracks: Watkins Glen and Oswego Speedway. He began volunteering at the Center last year.

Zeiter has more than 30 years in the travel industry as an agent and manager, as well as being founder and co-owner of AIM Travel & Tours in Ithaca from 1994 to 2002. He was among the first in the industry to package, promote and escort group tours to NASCAR races around the nation.

He lives in Ithaca.

Odessa unit graduates 6 junior firefighters

Special to The Odessa File

ODESSA, Dec 16 -- 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 -- 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)

Village Christmas winners announced

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 10 -- The Village Christmas Committee has announced winners of the Visions of A White Christmas parade held during the festival Dec. 7 in downtown Watkins Glen. The parade was sponsored by the Visions Federal Credit Union.

Winners were:

“Most Christmas Spirit" – Gizmo’s Landscaping;
“Most Decorated” – the Schuyler County Girl Scout Troops;
“Most Decorated Fire Truck” – Montour Falls Fire Department;
“Judges' Choice” – Lakewood Vineyards

"Thank you so much," the committee said in a press release, "to all the area children who entered our coloring contest. Winners were announced during Village Christmas on December 7th. Winner of the 3 and under age group was Isabella Bacon; winner of the 4 to 5 age group was Jennavieve Sykes; winner of the 6 to 7 age group was Alyson Gibson, and winner of the 8 to 10 age group was Dylan Von Neida."

All of the coloring entries are on display at the Watkins Glen Promotions storefront, 211 N. Franklin St. The contest was sponsored by Community Bank and the Hi-Lites.

Food vendors were set up along Franklin Street.

Annual Village Christmas

Rain relents; music, parade, fireworks highlight event

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 8 -- An all-day rain let up in time Friday for the annual Watkins Glen Village Christmas.

The event, presented by Watkins Glen Promotions, was an evening full of activities, food and crafts held on several blocks of Franklin Street in Watkins Glen.

There was live entertainment sponsored by Captain Bill’s, Jerlando’s Ristorante and Ultimate Sound throughout the evening at Learn Motors on Franklin Street. Included in the mix were musical groups from the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour school districts and Lakeview Assembly of God.

Dream Barn Productions presented a small play, “Rollin’ in dough in Mistletoe,” in the Village Hall throughout the evening. The Lake Country Players presented “Twas the Night Before Christmas” at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce building.

One of the highlights of the evening was the Visions of a White Christmas Village Parade sponsored by Visions Federal Credit Union. It moved from Specchio Ford north on Franklin Street to 1st Street and featured fire trucks adorned with Christmas lights, various yule-themed floats, groups of scouts, comic book characters and Santa and Mrs. Claus. The parade was judged by a panel that was to give awards for “Judges’ Choice,” “Most Christmas Spirit,” “Most Decorated” and “Best Decorated Fire Truck.”

Santa and Mrs. Claus were at Famous Brands to greet all the children at the festival following the parade. Santa’s Reindeer, sponsored by Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, were at Community Bank.

Santa’s elves were back this year personalizing Christmas ornaments at 211 N. Franklin Street – the Village Memorabilia shop.

The Winter Wonderland fireworks display, sponsored by Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, was held over Seneca Harbor Park.

Photos in text: The Hanlon 5th Grade chorus was among the performers in front of Learn Motors; one of Santa's helpers rode on the float that carried Santa Claus.

Left: Members of the New Heights Dance Theater, which was promoting its Dec. 15-16 performances of The Nutcracker at the Clemens Center in Elmira, dance in the display window of Cabins to Castles Real Estate on Franklin Street. The group performed earlier in the day at the Watkins Glen Middle School. Right: Reindeer were on display near Community Bank.

Jim Howell served as emcee for the Village Christmas parade.

Girls Scouts rode on one of the floats in the parade.

The Watkins Glen Village Christmas Tree.

Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Linus were among the parade participants.

Trail's southern end nears completion

Special to The Odessa File

PINE VALLEY, Dec. 5 -- The southern end of the Catharine Valley Trail -- the Pine Valley segment -- is close to completion, it was announced by Tim Joseph, Regional Director of the Finger Lakes State Parks Region.

“It’s been a while in coming," said Joseph. "I want to thank Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli for reaching out to us and providing equipment and operators to help complete the Pine Valley trail segment.”

As the CVT nears completion, administrative staff of the Finger Lakes State Parks Region made the final determination on the activities that will be allowed on the 12-mile trail. Authorized uses will be posted at trail access points.

“In reviewing the master plan and assessing on-the-ground conditions of the final trail alignment, we have determined that the allowable uses will include walking and bicycling,” Joseph said.

He noted that equestrian use on the southern third of the trail, Burch Hill Road, Millport to Pine Valley, will not be allowed due to maintenance and safety issues that arose during a pilot program to assess the viability of that trail activity. Trails for equestrian use are available in the northern portion of Mark Twain State Park in Horseheads.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors to this section of the Catharine Valley Trail and we thank all the partners who helped to make this trail a reality,” Joseph said.

The Pine Valley section of the trail is open to Smith Road, with the remainder expected to open by the spring of 2013. For information about the Catharine Valley Trail and other New York State Park facilities, visit

Santa Claus was on hand to ask children what they want for Christmas.

90 kids turn out for Odessa yule party

ODESSA, Dec. 3 -- The Odessa Fire Department's annual Children's Christmas Party Sunday attracted 90 kids brought by their parents to see Santa Claus.

The number of children was up a dozen from last year, and up more than 20 from two years ago. Each child 12 and under received a present compliments of the fire department.

There was also face painting, along with crafts and snacks.

The party is a tradition dating back at least to the 1970s, said a department spokesman.

The afternoon was capped off with the second annual lighting of the village Christmas Tree, which was donated by Joe Baran of Bath. It was installed outside the Municipal Building, alongside Rt. 224, late last week.

Between the end of the Santa visit and the lighting of the tree, several youths who are part of the Dream Barn Productions acting troupe performed a skit in the Municipal Building Community Room. The Dream Barn organization is led by Tracy Gavich.

Photo in text: Pictures were the order of the day as kids sat with Santa.

Elves J.C. Jelliff, left, and Sam Pierce helped distribute presents.

Left: Tim Lindsley provided Christmas music. Right: Visitors could create their own artwork.

Members of Dream Barn Productions perform a skit in the Municipal Building Community Room.

An ornament on the Village Christmas Tree following the tree-lighting ceremony.

Elks Club honors its 'Departed Brothers'

By Brian J. O'Donnell

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 25 -- 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."

The Northrup Foundation presents scholarships to 3 recent Schuyler grads

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 21 -- The Northrup Foundation, Inc. presented $2,000 scholarships Wednesday to three recent high school graduates -- from the Watkins Glen, Bradford and Odessa-Montour districts.

Receiving the scholarships in a ceremony at the Watkins Glen Middle School were:

--Maegan Robbins of the Watkins Glen district (now attending St. John Fisher College);

--Zachary Waters of the Bradford district (now at Finger Lakes Community College), and

-- Brittney Bennett of the Odessa-Montour district (now attending SUNY Morrisville).

Presenting the checks was Brian J. O'Donnell, president of the Northrup Foundation Board of Directors, who said the recipients were selected "to honor their achievements, both academically and socially" in high school, with an eye toward their "potential for continued success in college." The three were picked by the administration and guidance counselors at their respective schools.

Present along with the students and their parents were Kenneth Wilson and school superintendents Jim Frame of O-M and Tom Phillips of Watkins Glen. Wilson, Frame and Phillips are all members of the Northrup Foundation Board of Directors.

The Foundation was formed in 1937, with a mission "to assist worthy students who are residents of Schuyler County to procure a fundamental education."

The organization was led by the late State Supreme Court Judge William N. Ellison for 20 years before he stepped down shortly before his death in May 2012.

In the early 2000's, the estate of Marie Earl of Montour Falls gave the Foundation a gift of $150,000 plus stock to continue its mission. Marie Earl was a teacher in the Ithaca School system and a 22-year director of the Foundation.

Photo in text: From left: O-M Superintendent Jim Frame, Brittney Bennett, Zachary Waters, Maegan Robbins, Watkins Glen Superintendent Tom Phillips, and Kenneth Wilson.

A child is fascinated with one of the two alpacas on display Saturday in front of St. Mary's Parish Center. Inside the building was the annual St. Mary's Holiday Bazaar.

Odessa, Montour, Glen feature bazaars

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Nov. 18 -- With the holidays fast approaching, three bazaars featuring area crafts were held Saturday -- one in Odessa, one in Montour Falls, and one in Watkins Glen.

The Odessa bazaar was an annual gathering at the Methodist Church featuring crafts, baked goods, books, Santa Claus and lunch.

The Montour Falls Craft Fair was an event spread out from the community room to the bay area at the Fire Department. It advertised "handmade crafts, goodies, candles and namebrand vendors."

Santa also visited the annual St. Mary's Holiday Bazaar at St. Mary's Parish Center on 10th Street in Watkins Glen. It featured crafts, alpacas, a cake wheel, baked goods and lunch.

Photo in text: Betsy Austin tends to customers at the lunch window during the Odessa Methodist Church's Holiday Bazaar.

Left: Per Navestad of Burdett was selling his handcarved fan birds at the Odessa bazaar. Right: Jackie Leszyk and daughters Cassie, left, and Danielle examine some jewelry at the St. Mary's Holiday Bazaar in Watkins Glen.

Among the items for sale at the Montour Falls Craft Fair were artistically enhanced saws.

The Aladdin Jr. belly dancers. (Photo by Doug Yeater)

Aladdin Jr. ends its 3-day run

ODESSA, Nov. 16 -- The Dream Barn Productions presentation of Disney's musical Aladdin Jr. ended its three-day run Saturday with a matinee performance in the Odessa-Montour High School's Fetter-Brown Auditorium.

The play opened Thursday night and was staged again Friday night.

The production, under the direction of Tracy Gavich, featured Chris Knapp as Aladdin, Manley Gavich as the Genie, and Tyler Walrath as Jafar among a cast of 34 young actors and actresses.

Dream Barn provides area youths 6-18 years of age an outlet for creative expression. Further information can be found at the website or by contacting Gavich at

The cast was as follows:

Ashley Eck—Storyteller, Rock
Ashley Vann—Jasmine, Rock
Autumn Garrison—Villager, Rock
Ben Lucas—Guard 2
Brendyn Hammond—Village Thief, Prince Ganoush Suitor, Rock
Chris Knapp—Aladdin
Charlotte Chamberlain—Villager, Rock
Claire Cole—Villager, Rock
Dana Roberts—Belly Dancer, Magic Morph
Elisha Norton—Village Bread Vendor, Rock
Gina Gavich—Abu
Grace Wickham—Villager, Tiger Goddess
John Coates—Razoul
Kacie Wood—Village Scarf Seller, Prince “The Artist” Suitor, Rock
Kaila Hammond—Villager, Rock
Katherine Larson—Villager, Rock, Camel
Kasey Lenzner—Iago
Kendra Larson—Belly Dancer, Magic Morph
Lydia Myers—Belly Dancer, Magic Morph, Peacock
Manley Gavich—Genie, Village Puppet Master
Marah McCauley—Belly Dancer, Magic Morph
Maria Brubaker—Carpet, Villager
Maria Scata—Belly Dancer, Magic Morph
Mattie Yontz—Villager, Rock, Baton Twirler
Noah McCauley—Guard 1
Olivia Scata—Belly Dancer, Magic Morph, Baton Twirler
Phebe Wickham—Story Teller, Statue
Rachel Becker—Belly Dancer, Magic Morph
Renee Wolverton—Story Teller, Statue
Sarah Norton—Village Carpet Vendor, Statue
Scott Brubaker—Story Teller, Rock
Tassia Garrison—Villager, Prince Dadu Rahn Rahn, Rock
Tyler Walrath—Jafar
William Yeater—Sultan, Rock

Photos in text:

Top: William Yeater, left, as the Sultan, and Chris Knapp as Aladdin.
Middle: Chris Knapp as Aladdin gets to know the Sultan's daughter, Jasmine (Ashley Vann).
Bottom: Kasey Lenzner as Jafar's sidekick, Iago.

Maria Brubaker (left) as the Flying Carpet and Gina Gavich as Abu. (Photo by Doug Yeater)

Tyler Walrath as Jafar (Photo by Doug Yeater)

From left: Kasey Lenzner, Chris Knapp, Gina Gavich, William Yeater, Maria Brubaker and Manley Gavich in a scene from Aladdin Jr. (Photo by Doug Yeater)

Cast members do a dance step near the end of the play.

Eleven of the 34 members of the cast pose at the end of a musical number.

Confetti floats down in a scene from Aladdin Jr. (Photo by Doug Yeater)

The conclusion of the play. (Photo by Doug Yeater)

Members of the cast take a bow at the end of the play. From left: Dale Jacobs, Matthew Norton, Michael Blasic, Elizabeth Savage and Dinah Smith.

Charlotte's Web ends its 3-day run

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 11 -- The Lake Country Players production of Charlotte's Web: The Musical concluded its three-day run Sunday with a 2:30 p.m. performance.

The play -- about the friendship between a pig named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte, who helps save Wilbur from slaughter by writing messages of praise in her web -- starred Kimberly Camacho as Charlotte, Kateri Condon as Wilbur and Holly Campbell as Templeton the Rat.

Other key roles were held by the following cast members:

Dinah Smith and Matthew Norton as Edith and Homer Zuckerman; Elizabeth Savage and Michael Blasic as Martha and John Arable; Regina George and Wyatt Brower as siblings Fern and Avery Arable; Dale Jacobs as Lurvy; Kim Jacobs and Terry Neufer as Goose and Gander; Michelle Schaffer and Julee Gillemot as Sheep and Lamb; and Autumn Cervoni, Clara Miller and Phil Kruk as Owl, Bat and Uncle (a rival pig).

Preparation for the play began in late August. The production boasted a cast of more than three dozen adults and children, all under the direction of Cindy Scott. Danielle Camacho was the musical director.

Photos in text:

Top: Wilbur (Kateri Condon, left) and Charlotte (Kimberly Camacho) say a sad goodbye as Charlotte, dying, prepares to leave.

Bottom: Chorus members Charlie Cole and Sarra Solomon.

Wilbur (Kateri Condon) takes a bow after winning a special prize at the County Fair.


And on Opening Night:

Charlotte the Spider (Kimberly Camacho) in her web.

Dinah Smith and Matthew Norton portrayed Edith and Homer Zuckerman.

Templeton the Rat (Holly Campbell) examines some food.

From left: Julee Gillemot and Michelle Schaffer as Lamb and Sheep, and Terry Neufer and Kim Jacobs as Gander and Goose.

And earlier in the week, at a dress rehearsal:

Kateri Condon, left, who portrayed Wilbur, performs a duet with Kimberly Camacho as Charlotte.

Holly Campbell portrayed Templeton the Rat.

Left: Kateri Condon, left, as Wilbur, in a scene with Regina George, who played Fern Arable. Right: Julee Gillemot portrayed Lamb.

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