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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

"Remember: summer goes fast"

ALBANY, July 2 -- I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure how the calendar has so
suddenly turned to the month of July. But if the swiftness of 2012’s first six months is any indicator, summer’s going to be gone quicker than a jump in the lake – which means there’s no time like now to start getting out and about to take advantage of some of our enjoyable and unique summer offerings.

Throughout the past weekend, I had the opportunity to do just that by:

> joining the community of Hammondsport for a village-wide celebration of Hammondsport’s designation as Budget Travel magazine’s "America’s Coolest Small Town 2012." What a great occasion to help welcome another season of summer tourism in the Finger Lakes. It took a fantastic, region-wide show of support to help Hammondsport rise to the top, and it’s a real tribute to one of our great Finger Lakes towns. And we shouldn’t overlook the fact that it helps to remind the nation that the Finger Lakes region is alive and well, and still making unique and valuable contributions to America’s culture and economy; and

> helping celebrate the 50th Anniversary of one our legendary Finger Lakes wineries, Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars on Keuka Lake. Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and I helped commemorate Dr. Frank’s half century as New York’s most award-winning winery with a joint Legislative Resolution that reads, in part, “Dr. Frank's vision, knowledge and determination are credited with elevating the Finger Lakes wine industry to a level which commands world attention.”

Of course, the Finger Lakes wine industry and its vineyards and wineries have for so long been the hub of a statewide grape and wine industry that, especially over the past two decades, has emerged as one of New York’s great success stories (which you can read all about on or

What else? Over at Watkins Glen International, there was a Military & Veterans Appreciation Event in conjunction with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen to kick off another summer of exciting racing at The Glen (

There was news of a quieter opening of the Upstate Brewing Company, Elmira’s first craft brewery in about 80 years according to the owners, which promises to be a great addition to the Finger Lakes Beer Trail ( and New York’s overall efforts to keep
growing a vibrant craft brewing industry. This industry will strengthen local agriculture and tourism, and already consists of more than 90 breweries, accounts for thousands of jobs and generates more than $200 million of annual economic activity.

How about farmer’s markets? Late last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo helped jump-start the summer season across New York by noting the beginning of farmers' market season. The number of farmers’ markets in New York State has more than doubled over the past decade so that, this summer, we can boast of over 560 farmers' markets statewide. They benefit the residents of our cities, suburbs and rural villages and towns by offering access to fresh food and, at the same time, helping New York’s farmers sell directly to consumers. It’s a win-win offering. To say nothing of the fact that a visit to a farmers’ market is one great way to recall the cultural and economic importance of agriculture and farming not just across our region, but as a defining feature of New York State. Agriculture remains New York’s No. 1 industry, after all. Today’s farm economy
generates more than $4 billion worth of annual economic activity statewide and provides a livelihood for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. The state Department of Ag and Markets offers a convenient, online interactive map to help locate one near you: And you can
also find a listing on

In other words, we’re a great summer place to be and we should take all of the well-earned pride that that deserves across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions – where we’re fortunate to be able to offer some of the most popular and iconic cultural, recreational and scenic attractions anywhere in the world. One great place to read all about it, of course, is on the state’s I LOVE NY website: And visit my Senate website,, for even more tourism-related links and information.

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Thomas Gifford, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison

Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field


Legislature Chairman

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687

Legislature Members:

Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967

Doris L. Karius, 546-5544

Barbara Halpin, 594-3683

Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385

Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517

Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen 481-0482

Stewart Field, Watkins Glen 535-2335

County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133

Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222

Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222

County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 535-8181

District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383


State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County

Sen. Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address:

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451

State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)

Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976

Assemblyman Christopher Friend -- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Room 720, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4538


© The Odessa File 2011
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869