Click on the ad above to reach the Fitzsimmons website.


Seneca Harbor Station & Captain Bill's

To reach the website of the Seneca Harbor Station and Captain Bill's, click here.

For job openings, click here


Senka Agency

We are accepting resumes for a customer service representative. Please send resumes to or feel free to drop it off.

Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00.
After hours and weekends by appointment.

Always "Working to Serve YOU Better"

Main Steet, Odessa, NY Telephone 607-594-3335


Click on the ad above to visit the Visions Credit Union web site -- you deserve a financial partner that has your best interest in mind!


The Great Escape
Ice Cream Parlor

221 S. Franklin St.,
Watkins Glen

Family owned since 1982

Hours: 12 noon-8 p.m.

--Vegan Options
--Gluten-free Options
--Homemade Hard Ice Cream
--Homemade Chocolates

(607) 535-7354

Other locations in the
Finger Lakes where you can
find The Great Escape's homemade hard ice cream:

The Grist Iron, Wright's Beverages, FLX Wienery, Sunset View Creamery, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, FLX Fry Bird


Click on the ad below to reach the Saks For Judge website.


Click on the ad below
to learn more.


To reach the above ad's website, click here.


Pavilion, Picnic Area, BBQ Pit available with reservation.

Memorial Day Service
every Memorial Day 11 a.m.

Check out this beautiful park.

Forms for engraved bricks or benches are available at
visitors center or at

Questions? Call Clayton Snow


The Odessa File's
Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism

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


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 

Odessa Wine
and Spirits

We are located on Main Street in Odessa, next to the Tompkins Trust Company branch.

Send us an email to to let us know what you would like us to have in stock.

Free wine tasting every Friday.


SCT Computers

Apple Certified Technicians
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers
A+ Certified Technicians

Visit us at 306 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen, 607-535-2495

Main St., Penn Yan
(315) 694-7399



Your authorized FedEx ship center
M-F 7:30-5:30 (Cut off time 3 pm)
Sat. 10-2 (no pickups)
306 N. Franklin Street
Watkins Glen NY 14891

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

Click on the ad below to go to the United Way of Schuyler County website.


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


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Curly's Restaurant is a page sponsor -- of our People Page. People.

Other page sponsors:

Business -- Sidle Insurance

Sports -- Cayuga Medical Ctr.

Features -- Cabins to Castles Real Estate

Government -- Specchio Ford

Schools -- Watkins Sporting Goods

Calendar -- Hi-Lites

Forum -- Warren Real Estate


To reach the FOWL website, click on the logo above.


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


Our Primary Pages


Wine & Tourism


The IBEW Local 241 is a sponsor of this website


We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Click below to go to the
Rotary Club website.


To reach the website of the Five Rivers Council, Boys Scouts of America, click here or on the logo above.



To reach the Watkins Glen School District website, click here


Check this out:


Contact this website at:



4 Novels by the editor

Island Nights

Excerpt here.

The Islander

The entire novel:

Prelude-Chapter 4

Chapters 5-13

Chapters 14-21

Chapters 22-29

Chapters 30-36

Chapters 37-44.

Cabins in the Mist

Excerpt here

The Maiden of Mackinac

Excerpts Maiden

and here and here. 







Click on ad below to reach Schuyler Hospital's website.


Athletes honored at first Dub G Awards

Awards were presented in a dozen categories at the ceremony, held in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. Sports.


A column by State Senator Tom O'Mara

New York State Senator Tom O'Mara provides us with a weekly column from Albany. This week: "A bucket full of positive benefits." Column.

Left: State Sen. Tom O'Mara


Cardboard Boats draw crowd to Harbor park

A total of 47 boats competed in various categories Saturday at the 26th annual Waterfornt Festival and Cardboard Board Regatta in Watkins Glen. Features.

Photo: Batman was among the competitors.

Stories inside:

--Watkins Mayor Luke Leszyk (pictured at right) speaks at Flag Day ceremony. People.
--Photographer honored for harbor image. People.
--Schuyler Hospital names WGI as Community Partner. Business.
--O-M School Board lauds Westervelt. Schools.
O-M Fine Arts Awards presented. Schools.

The new Odessa Baptist Church at 111 Fowler Place.


Odessa Baptist Church celebrates new locale

The Odessa Baptist Church on Saturday hosted a service and open house, complete with picnic-style dinner, to celebrate its new building on the eastern edge of the village. The Baptist Church, for many years housed in the heart of residential Odessa, started services in March in its new building at 111 Fowler Place after a multi-year fund-raising and building project. The new structure, debt free, is on 4.1 acres of former farmland the church purchased from Billy Blaha. It is a single-level building, making ingress and egress much easier than in its predecesor, where steps predominated, and where the heating cost was exorbitant, the septic system aged, and parking a challenge.

In the 45 months between the exit from the old church and opening of the new church, worship services were held at the American Legion Hall on Route 228. Groundbreaking for the new building was on May 28, 2017, and with a combination of contractor and parishioner labor, the 5,000-square-foot structure was erected. Saturday's event attracted well in excess of 150 people.

Photos in text: Loueda Bleiler provided open-house music; chess kept some attendees busy.


Woodstock circles the drain ...

The 50th anniversary celebration of the iconic festival
is kaput, at least around here. Column


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


We honor...The Essentials of Schuyler County

A dozen women and a dozen men populate this committee-selected group of outstanding Schuyler County residents or natives who have impacted life here or elsewhere. None is in the Schuyler County Hall of Fame, but perhaps will be. Essentials.

Dealer/collector looking to buy groups of pre-1970 paper memorabilia: cards, magazines, posters, programs etc. Call Charlie at (607) 742-2772.




And inside

--A Montour Falls woman draws a probationary sentence after pleading guilty to two meth-related felonies. Government.

Part 1 of "Schuyler County and Me," reprised, Click here.
For Part 2, click here.
For Part 3, click here .
For Part 4, click here.
For Part 5, click here.

The Editor's


Death Notices on the Obituary Page.

Merle William Bedient, 52, formerly of Schuyler County.
Steven Liszka Sr., 58, of Bradford.
Charles H. Keach, 96, of Watkins Glen.
James L. Brown, 76, of Newfield.
Richard Eugene Collins, 83, of Alpine.
Alice Quinata-Eastwood, 83, of Watkins Glen.
Nathan C. Waite Jr., 12, of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Patricia Jean Redick, 80 of Watkins Glen.
Terence M. Vallely, 54, formerly of Alpine.
Jean Hallett Greenwood, 85, of Ithaca/Watkins Glen.

(For earlier Vedder & Scott obituaries, click here.)

Editor's Note

Debbie Stayer Kelly of Burdett -- a lifelong Schuyler resident, a single parent of two sons and a highly praised Cornell employee -- has Stage 4 cancer as well as a rare genetic mutation called Lynch Syndrome. She is facing a large financial burden as her battle continues.

Her Cornell colleagues have created a GoFundMe page for her that you can find right here. An update can be found by clicking on the Updates button on that site. I hope we all can help out.

Phoning The Odessa File?

You can reach us at (607) 742-2772


Appeals panel affirms Trappler's conviction

A State Supreme Court Appellate panel has unanimously upheld the 2013 conviction in Schuyler County Court of Alice Trappler in the murder of Daniel Bennett in the Town of Dix the year before. Trappler, convicted of two counts of Murder, 2nd Degree, two counts of burglary and one of conspiracy, is serving a 25-years-to-life sentence. Her appeal to the Supreme Court's Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, was heard on April 25, with Schuyler County District Attorney Joe Fazzary -- who had prosecuted Trappler -- presenting the People's argument to the five judges. Their decision -- in a six-page ruling (click here) -- was summarized succinctly: "Ordered that the judgment is affirmed." Said Fazzary in response: "I'm very pleased with the decision, obviously. I've always felt she was guilty of this crime. The Appellate Division just affirmed that." He added, though, that Trappler will have other avenues of appeals still available, although this ruling makes her chance of success more unlikely.

Photo: Alice Trappler in the Schuyler County Court House during her trial in 2013.

Rotary honorees William Yeater (OM) and Nancy Jackson (WG).


Rotary honors students Yeater and Jackson

Odessa-Montour High School senior William Yeater and Watkins Glen High School senior Nancy Jackson were honored Thursday by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its Students of the Month for June.

Yeater was introduced by teacher Russ Gardner, who called the honoree "a great student," "a key member of the track team," and an actor with lead roles in a number of school plays. Yeater plans to attend Loyola University in New Orleans. Jackson was introduced by Dawn Harrell, who described the honoree as "a wonderful young lady" who participates in Girl Scouts and has played three sports at WGHS: soccer, bowling and softball. Jackson plans to attend Keuka College with an eye toward becoming a photojournalist.

Note: The Rotarians presented checks totaling $3,020 to a dozen organizations -- many of whom had representatives present to receive them. The groups included the Hometown Heroes Banner Program, Schuyler County Youth Football, the My Place daycare center, Labor of Love, Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity, Schuyler Head Start, the Mustard Seed Bradford Food Pantry, the Boy Scouts, the Schuyler County Historical Society, and the Summer Swim Program.

Photo in text: The Boy Scouts' Rick Evans at Rotary.

Bryce Erickson as Troy Bolton makes a point during a scene in "High School Musical."


'High School Musical' concludes run at WGHS

The Lake Country Players' youth production of Disney's High School Musical ended its three-day run Saturday night before an appreciative audience in the Watkins Glen High School auditorium. The show, which opened Thursday night, featured a cast of 38 kids, ages 13-19, from six school districts.

Photo: Nathan Epp and Katherine Larson perform.


A legal column from Ziff Law's Jim Reed

Attorney James B. Reed of the Ziff Law Firm in Elmira offers this regular column, tackling issues that you might encounter in your daily lives. This time: "Seneca Lake boaters, do you have enough liability insurance?" Column.

Left: Attorney Jim Reed

Click the ad below to reach the Hazlitt 1852 website.

Click here to reach the Hazlitt 1852 Facebook page.

Want to phone The Odessa File?

You can reach us at (607) 742-2772


This week's deals at Famous Brands

We are carrying the weekly ad showcasing the latest deals available at Jim Guild's Famous Brands store on Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen. For a look, click here.

To reach the Famous Brands website, click here
or on the drawing above


Odessa-Montour presents its sports awards

The 52nd annual
O-M Sports Boosters Awards saw a break from tradition in the Male Athlete of the Year Award. Sports.

Photo: The Coach of the Year, Burton Brewster, with the two students who introduced him -- Nadia Simpson, left, and Kennedey Heichel.


3 track standouts get hallway greeting

The trio of Odessa-Montour athletes who competed in the NYSPHSAA Track and Field Championships are welcomed by students lining the district hallways. Sports


Photo: O-M senior Nadia Simpson, with junior Paden Grover and senior Zach Elliott behind her, greets kids in a school hallway.

O-M bestows academic awards. Schools.


WGI pulls the plug on Woodstock 50 festival

There will be no Woodstock 50 festival at Watkins Glen International. WGI has "terminated the site license" for the planned Aug. 16-18 musical event "pursuant to provisions of the contract," WGI announced in a statement Monday, adding: "As such, WGI will not be hosting the festival." Meanwhile, a Woodstock 50 spokesman says the festival is in talks with an alternate venue and will be "sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks." Business.


63rd annual parade held in Montour Falls

Fire units, bands, and floats march on Main Street under sunny skies. People.

Photo: A member of the Caledonian Highlanders


O-M's Elliott returns home with Shot Put title

Odessa-Montour High School senior Zach Elliott (pictured at right), along with two other State competitors -- O-M's Nadia Simpson and Paden Grover -- returned to Schuyler County from Middletown Saturday with a siren escort (two fire trucks and a deputy's vehicle) from Alpine Junction to the school. There, they were greeted by dozens of family, friends and fans. Elliott was the second O-M athlete to bring home a state title this year. Sports.


Honey production is next subject of series

Honey production in Schuyler County and the region will be explored on Thursday, June 20, in the fifth session of Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage, Conversations About Agriculture Across Time. Ellie Andrews of Cornell University and Peter Borst, retired from Cornell, will speak. The event will be at Lakewood Vineyards, Route 14 North, Watkins Glen, starting at 6 p.m. Features.


18 students honored
as Schuyler Scholars

Senior graduating in the top 10% of their class at the Bradford, Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour High Schools receive plaques at a Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel dinner. Schools.


Left: Schuyler Scholar plaque


6th graders experience outdoors at Field Day

Sixth-grade students from three school districts participate in the annual Conservation Field Day at the Millport Hunting and Fishing Club. Agriculture.

Photo: Brie Riesbeck of Tanglewood Nature Center explains Great Horned Owl biology to the Field Day students. She also showed and spoke about an Eastern screech owl and a Red-tailed hawk.


13 WGHS students join National Honor Society

The students were inducted in a ceremony in the Watkins Glen Elementary School auditorium. Schools.

Photo: Candle used in the NHS induction ceremony.

E.C. Cooper Insurance President Mike Stamp, right, presented Odessa File Athlete of the Year plaques on June 3rd to, from left, Watkins Glen High School senior Hannah Morse; and Odessa-Montour High School seniors Zach Elliott and Kennedey Heichel. Also chosen but unable to attend: WGHS senior Joe Chedzoy. The awards were presented during the Top Drawer 24 celebration at the Watkins Glen State Park.


Party celebrates the Top Drawer 24 team

Two dozen of the Southern Tier's best and brightest student-athletes are honored at the Watkins Glen State Park. Party.


Monthly column from Cooperative Extension

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County is providing a monthly column here on its ongoing educational activities and offerings. The ninth column -- "Hidden Valley preps for 2019 4-H Summer Camp season" -- is by Youth and Family Program Director Melissa Schroeder (left). Column.


Available on Kindle:
The Maiden of Mackinac

This story -- which spans 700 years and ranges from our region to Northern Michigan -- tells of a quest for the truth behind a legend ... the legend of a Native American maiden reputed to be centuries old. It was written by Charlie Haeffner, and is available now on Kindle at To see the ad, click here.

Left: Cover art by Jon Haeffner


DeRusha is IMRRC's new Executive Director

Daniel G. DeRusha of Corning has been selected as the new executive director of the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen. Center.



Photo: Daniel G. DeRusha (Photo provided)

From left: Chris Houseknecht (Dylan's father), State Senator Tom O'Mara, Dylan Houseknecht, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Scott Houseknecht (Dylan's grandfather), and Coach Dan Batchelder. (Photo provided)


Albany officials welcome wrestling champion

State Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano on Tuesday welcomed Odessa-Montour High School senior Dylan Houseknecht (right) to the state Capitol. In February, Houseknecht captured the 285-pound Division II wrestling title at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships in Albany -- the first state wrestling title in his school's history. O'Mara and Palmesano sponsored a Legislative Resolution paying tribute to that victory. Dylan, it said in part, "has clearly utilized dedication, determination and teamwork in providing a lasting contribution to the spirit of excellence." He plans to attend SUNY Cortland, where he will wrestle and play football.

Allie Gibson, center, signs to swim at SUNY Cortland. Surrounding her are family members -- parents Lisa and Scott, and siblings Alex and Abby. (Photos provided)


Watkins Glen High holds 2 signing ceremonies

The Watkins Glen High School library was the site June 4th of two college signings -- by Allie Gibson, a Section IV sprint champion who will swim while attending SUNY Cortland, and by Cierra Barber, a successful high school goalkeeper who will continue playing soccer while attending East Mercyhurst College. Allie is looking to be an Elementary School teacher and will be working on her Early Childhood Education degree. Cierra has a goal of becoming a Sports Trainer and will start by getting her PTA (Physical Therapist Assistant) degree.

Photo at right: Cierra Barber.


Burdett kicks off its bicentennial celebration

Tours, vendors, live music, a fire-truck parade, dinner and fireworks highlighted the June 1 village activities. People.

Photo: NY Senator Tom O'Mara, right, and Mayor Dale Walter.


O-M's 5th marking period Honor Rolls

Odessa-Montour Junior/Senior High School has unveiled its High Honor and Honor Rolls for the fifth marking period of the 2018-19 school year. Honors.


CCA option offered in Burdett, Montour Falls

Many residents of the two villages are receiving letters from Constellation Energy and the Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance regarding their option to utilize the Community Choice Aggregation, a law that allows communities to combine the buying power of multiple households into an energy buying block. Business.


Cargill check will help fund demo project

Cargill, Inc. has awarded the Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District $16,000 to assist with a unique state-of-the-art demonstration project that will be utilized on more than 250 acres of vineyard land surrounding Seneca Lake and is designed to reduce the occurrence of harmful algae blooms in the lake. Project.


Rotary honors Rosier as Student of Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Hannah Rosier (right) was honored May 30th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as the O-M Student of the Month for May. Rosier was introduced by teacher Danielle Rumsey, who praised the honoree as "insightful" and as an outstanding entertainer. Rosier, a member of National Honor Society, Drama Club and the varsity track team, performed in several musicals at the school. She plans to attend Emerson College in Boston to study theater education with an eye toward becoming a drama teacher while continuing to participate in musicals.

Habitat for Humanity holds groundbreaking

Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity has broken ground for its second home construction -- at 306 Broadway in the Village of Montour Falls. Features.

Watkins Glen High School honorees (from left) Joe Chedzoy, Hannah Morse, Wyatt Brower and Danielle Leszyk.


Introducing the 2019
Top Drawer 24 team

The 14th annual Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding area student-athlete-citizens contains 22 seniors and 2 juniors from 9 schools. To see who they are, click here.


Memorial Day services honor the fallen

Ceremonies held in Montour Falls, Watkins Glen and outside Odessa honor those who have died in defense of our freedom while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Plus: a speech by Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer. People.

Photo: A member of the Color Guard at the Montour Falls ceremony.


Odessa's Heichel is our Schuyler Spring MVP

Odessa-Montour High School senior track standout Kennedey Heichel has earned The Odessa File's Schuyler Spring MVP award, topping a field of impressive athletes on the All-Schuyler All-Star First, Second and Third teams. For a story on the MVP and a list of Spring 2019 All-Stars, see Sports.

Photo: Kennedey Heichel

For other recent Schuyler
County news, click here.


Visit Jerlando's Ristorante & Pizzeria

Three locations: in Watkins Glen, Horseheads and Montour Falls

Click here or on the photo at left to go to the Jerlando's website. There you will find information about all three locations, plus menus.

Left: The front of the recently renovated Jerlando's at Franklin and 4th Streets, Watkins Glen

To reach the Harbor Hotel website, click on the photo below

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel

16 N. Franklin St.
Watkins Glen, NY 14891-1221
(607) 535-6116

For other recent Schuyler
County news, click here.


Looking to advertise on The Odessa File?

We are always looking for advertisers to help promote their businesses and, by extension, our region. For a list of Odessa File Ad rates, click here.

Anyone wishing to contribute to The Odessa File -- which is dependent on advertising and donations -- may do so through a Paypal link in the left column of this page or by sending a check to The Odessa File, P.O. Box 365, Odessa, NY 14869.


Sand Award winner, hospital workers honored

Schuyler Hospital Facilities Department employee Keith Crout is named recipient of the hospital's annual Lou Sand Award. Meanwhile, hospital employees wth 660 years of service are recognized. People.

Photo: Sand Award winner Keith Crout.


Fitzsimmons announces run for County Judge

Daniel Fitzsimmons (right) has become the fourth candidate to announce entry into the race for Schuyler County Judge. A press release announced that Fitzsimmons, a longtime Schuyler attorney, "has named a committee to advise and oversee his campaign." He joins Matthew Hayden, Jessica Saks and Steven Getman as candidates. The election is in November. Government.


A cautionary column from our Assemblyman

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) says the "Democrats' destructive, misguided Farm Labor bill would destroy the family farm in New York State." Column.

Photo: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano


Coffey is seeking seat on Schuyler Legislature

Dr. Margaret "Maggie" Coffey has announced her candidacy for Schuyler County District 8 Legislator representing the towns of Orange and Tyrone. She and her family have lived on Sugar Hill for many years. A retired veterinarian, Dr. Coffey volunteers at both the Humane Society of Schuyler County and the Food Bank of the Southern Tier while serving as board president for the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation. She is running for Legislature as a Democrat but, says the Schuyler County Democratic Committee, "Maggie will be an outstanding representative for everyone in District 8." Election day is Nov. 5, with early voting starting Oct. 26.

Photo: Dr. Margaret Coffey (Photo provided)


Budgets pass in O-M, Watkins Glen districts; Bianco, Butler elected to WG School Board

The Odessa-Montour school budget was approved Tuesday by district voters, 183-35, while a $16.9 million capital project passed 185-33. Other propositions involving buses and libraries also were approved. Two candidates ran unopposed for the board: Karen Rock (190 votes) and Alyssa Wixson (179).

The Watkins Glen school budget passed 338-87, and a bus proposition was approved 344-72.

In the race for a pair of three-year School Board seats, Craig Bianco (338 votes) and Theresa Butler (282) were elected, outpolling Mary Barnes (173).

Photos: Craig Bianco and Theresa Butler (File photos)


Trumpeter serenades on North Franklin Street

For those who heard trumpet music -- patriotic and religious tunes -- wafting along North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen Monday evening, here's the deal: The trumpeter was Richard Jacobson of Corning, who said "God called on me" to perform such music long ago in such far-flung locales as Europe (he says he lived in Germany for 15 years) and Pennsylvania and is continuing to call on him, now, to play around the Southern Tier of New York. He said he has visited Watkins Glen before, "but not often."


Watkins Village Board accepts Lee resignation

The Watkins Glen Village Board Tuesday night acted on a number of issues. It:

--Accepted the resignation of former mayor Bob Lee as chairman of the village's Zoning Board of Appeals, due to health issues, and in turn appointed Sue Olevnik to the ZBA. Lee wrote that he "hopefully will recover" and serve the community again.

--Tabled a request by the Watkins Glen School District for forgiveness of $3,652 charged for an overflow of 330,000 gallons of water in an incident involving the school pool that resulted in the basement underneath being flooded. The board wants more details.

--Approved plans to hold the Cardboard Boat Regatta in Seneca Harbor Park on June 15, and the Grand Prix Festival on Sept. 6 in downtown Watkins Glen.

Photo: Mayor Luke Leszyk at Tuesday's meeting.


Waverly boy, 8, dies in Schuyler ATV accident

An 8-year-old Waverly boy, Jagger J. Roberts-Wright, died Sunday, May 19 following an ATV accident at 10:45 a.m. in the Town of Montour -- in fields along Mills Road -- during a New York Offroad Association (NYOA) sanctioned event. The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office said the boy's ATV struck a tree during the race, ejecting him. He was transported by ambulance to Schuyler Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The investigation is continuing

Montour Falls Mayor John King, left, speaks to Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer at League of Women Voters luncheon.


4 mayors outline happenings in their villages

The mayors of Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, Odessa and Burdett were guest speakers May 20 at the annual luncheon meeting of the League of Women Voters of Schuyler County at the Montour Moose Lodge. Burdett's Dale Walter, Montour Falls's John King, Odessa's Gerry Messmer and Watkins Glen's Luke Leszyk each outlined projects underway in, and plans being made for, their municipalities.


GP Fitness wins Schuyler Steps Out program

For the eighth straight and final week, Grand Prix Fitness held on to first place to win the annual Schuyler Steps Out free community walking program presented by Schuyler Hospital. The program, in its 13th year, saw GPF's 26 Workout Warriors amass a cumulative average of 969,011 steps. The Watkins Glen School Steppers kept their hold on second place (848,268), and Cargill's Salted Steps finsihed in third place (724,269). There were 13 teams competing.


WGHS receives $15K grant from Cargill

Watkins Glen High School has been given a $15,000 grant from Cargill that will be used to purchase STEM equipment for the school. Diana Warren from Cargill presented the grant to school officials in a ceremony at the school. Karen Armstrong, a technology teacher who with coworker Bob Hogan developed a proposal for the grant, said the funds will be used to buy equipment for use by STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students.


SCOPED conducting survey for area planning

The Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) is conducting a survey of area residents for input that will "build on the planning efforts completed to date" in the area "and will contribute to creation of a Regional Economic Development Strategic Plan." The online interactive program can be found here.

Legislators Mark Rondinaro, left, and Van Harp share a laugh.


Legislature taps Clute consultant, tables resolution pertaining to Woodstock 50 festival

Schuyler County legislators on May 13 approved a resolution naming Stantec Consulting Services Inc. as development consultant for the planned Clute Park project. The resolution recognized the county's role "acting on behalf and as agent of the Village of Watkins Glen pursuant to an intermunicipal agreement." The $576,600 contract runs from April 1 of this year through June 2, 2020. Funding will come from Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NYS Historic Preservation grant funds.

The legislators also tabled a resolution containing a negative declaration of environmental impact -- a necessity if the Woodstock 50 festival planning is to proceed. "We are awaiting clarity," said County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, as the festival promoter, Michael Lang, and his former financial backer, Dentsu Aegis, sue and countersue over the latter's decision to exit and cancel the festival. "With each day that passes" with the matter unresolved, said O'Hearn, "it becomes less likely" that the festival can occur. (See articles here.)

Photo in text: Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.

Kathleen Clifford addresses the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club.


Rotary honors Clifford as Student of the Month

Watkins Glen High School senior Kathleen Clifford was honored May 9th by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its WGHS Student of the Month for May. Clifford was introduced by teacher Kelsey Wood, who said "I can't say enough about how hard she works." She added: "It's fun to teach her; she has so much knowledge of the world. It goes beyond the textbook. She will be very successful in life." Clifford, a member of the school's varsity basketball team that placed second in the State among Class C schools this year, and who plays doubles on the varsity tennis team, is the WGHS Salutatorian. She plans to attend Cornell University in the fall. She will study government with an eye toward a career in international law.

Photo in text: Kathleen Clifford, holding her plaque, alongside teacher Kelsey Wood.


Awards, policy proposals mark Board session

The Watkins Glen School Board meeting May 7 honored outstanding winter athletes and featured the presentation of policy proposals from Superintendent Greg Kelahan and from a pair of WGHS seniors. Meeting.

Photo: Award certificates (above) honored two track athletes and the WGHS girls varsity basketball team.

The WGHS valedictorian, Joe Chedzoy, poses with salutatorian Kathleen Clifford during the awards ceremony.


Chedzoy valedictorian; Clifford salutatorian

The Watkins Glen High School 9th-12th Grade Academic, Athletic & Top Ten Percent Recognition Ceremony was held Wednesday evening, May 8 in the school auditorium, culminating in the announcement of the valedictorian, Joe Chedzoy, and the salutatorian, Kathleen Clifford. A list of the many award winners can be found at Schools.


'Freedom Writers' teacher speaks at WG

Erin Gruwell, the teacher whose class work inspired creation of a book titled The Freedom Writers Diary and the movie Freedom Writers, spoke to Watkins Glen students at two assemblies on May 7, and then met with student leaders at a luncheon. Schools.

Photo: Erin Gruwell at Watkins Glen High School.

Casino Night attendees gather around one of the game tables.


Casino Night draws crowd to Glen fire station

The Watkins Glen Fire Company's annual Casino Night at the Fire Station May 4th was a success again as the department raised funds to help it operate. Games of chance were plentiful, along with raffles, food and beverages.


Schuyler Habitat is ready to build 2nd house

Schuyler County Habitat for Humanity is ready to build its second house in Schuyler County at 306 Broadway in the Village of Montour Falls.

The site was bought last year and the property has been cleared and prepared for construction. Habitat.


Photo: At the Habitat site.


Capital project prompts tours of O-M buildings

Odessa-Montour School Superintendent Chris Wood (right) offered an overview of the district's proposed $16.9 million capital project and a tour of the O-M campus for any interested district residents on May 3 and May 7 in advance of a vote May 21. The project, Wood said, will not have any tax impact.

A long list of items that need upgrade or renovation in the district's three schools are included. "It's nothing sexy or fancy," said one official. Key among the renovations would be the Jack Davis Gym, which will become unusable without project help, officials say.

The capital project is one of the propositions accompanying the school budget vote on May 21. Voter approval is needed before the project advances to Albany and a vetting process by the state. Voting will be from 12 noon-8 p.m. in Hanlon Elementary School Room 12. A budget hearing is set for 6 p.m. May 7 in High School Room 152.


WGHS students visit O'Mara, Palmesano

State Senator Tom O’Mara (left) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (right) on April 30 welcomed a group of Watkins Glen High School students to the state Capitol. Instructor Travis Durfee (top right) accompanied the group. As part of their debate studies curriculum, the students have researched and debated a variety of issues. They went to the Capitol to meet their state representatives, discuss a variety of ideas, visit the state government complex, and watch live sessions of the Assembly and Senate. The group also attended a Capitol news conference in support of legislation the area legislators co-sponsor known as the “Student Journalist Free Speech Act."


Mechanical Meltdown places 37th at Worlds

Schuyler County’s youth robotics team, Mechanical Meltdown, placed 37th among 320 competing teams -- and 2nd among 17 New York teams -- at the April 23-28 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Worlds in Detroit and Houston. For the second year running, the team earned the opportunity to meet in Detroiit with youth from across the globe and compete using the robot which they designed, built, and programmed over the past 7 months. The Detroit event drew a crowd of 43,000 people from 37 countries, making it the world's largest celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for youth.

There are 7,000 teams worldwide.The Schuyler team advanced through qualifying events against 56 other teams in the East. It is part of FLARE (Finger Lakes Area Robotics Education), open to youth in grades 7-12 attending any school in the region or home-schooled. The group meets regularly in Watkins Glen. For information, call Kathy at (607) 546-2207 or email

Photo: Members of the Mechanical Meltdown team.


Woodstock 50 investor pulls plug on festival, but Lang vows to find other financial backing

The Woodstock 50 festival scheduled for Aug. 16-18 at Watkins Glen International has been canceled, according Billboard magazine quoting Dentsu, one of the festival's main investment arms. The cancellation was confirmed by Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, who said that while there seems to be some dispute among the festival's various producers -- "It's been a multi-faceted effort" -- and while promoter Michael Lang had yet to acknowledge the cancellation, "as far as I'm concerned, it's canceled. We're extremely disappointed by the news. But it's their decision." But Lang (pictured at right) threw a curve Monday night when he wrote on Facebook that "we will of course be continuing with the planning of the festival and intend to bring on new partners. The bottom line is, there is going to be a Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival, as there must be, and it's going to be a blast." Said Dentsu in the morning: "Despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don't believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved."

Pulling the plug on Miley. Column.
Article in Pitchfork summarizes plight. Article.


Watkins holds its annual prom at Logan Ridge

The Watkins Glen High School prom was held Saturday night, April 27, at the Logan Ridge Estates in Hector. For a look at the evening, see Prom.

Photo: Students dance to the music at the annual WGHS prom.


Odessa-Montour holds its annual prom at WGI

The Odessa-Montour High School prom was held April 26 at the Watkins Glen International Media Center. This year's theme: Golden Splendor. For a look at the evening, see Prom.

Photo: Students arrive at the Media Center.


Envirothon: Bradford
is top Schuyler team

The "Bush Buddy Club" team from Bradford Central School wins the Schuyler County title at the Southern Tier Envirothon in Owego. Bradford's "Los Toros" team was second, and Odessa-Montour's "Martens" third. Envirothon.


Photo: Alivia Phenes of the winning Bradford team. (Provided)


Houseknecht honored as Student of the Month

Odessa-Montour High School senior Dylan Houseknecht was honored April 25 by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as its O-M Student of the Month for April. Houseknecht was introduced by wrestling coach Dan Batchelder, who said the secret of Houseknecht's success and popularity stems from one word: "Character. He's mature, and a very good role model in terms of work ethic and goal-setting." Houseknecht, an All-State football player, was crowned this year as the New York State Division 2 wrestling champion. He will attend SUNY Cortland, where he plans to play football and wrestle while studying criminology with an eye toward becoming a State Trooper. "I never would have dreamed I'd have a year like this," he said.

Photo: Dylan Houseknecht at Rotary


With future NASCAR changes, 'nobody is safe'

Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup told Watkins-Montour Rotarians Thursday at their weekly luncheon meeting that:

1. "Change is coming in NASCAR" with a reduction in races by 10 or 12 in 2022 or 2023. "Nobody is safe" from the track reduction knife, he said, although investments in the WGI track by owner International Speedway Corp. and the annual success of the track in drawing sell-out crowds might bode well for its continuation as a regular stop on the NASCAR circuit.

2. More than 300 acres of WGI land leased to a large Florida firm for the solar farm generation of 55 megawatts of alternative energy is on track for a groundbreaking in 2021. The energy has been sold in megawatt blocks to large customers like the SUNY system and Empire Development.

3. The Woodstock 50 organizers missed their scheduled ticket-sale date (April 22) because they failed to meet a permit deadline. The state Department of Health and Schuyler Legislature each hold 50% of the permit rights, he said. A big miss, he said, was a failure to provide a detailed listing of where State Police assigned to the festival would be positioned.

Photo: WGI President Michael Printup at Rotary

A covering is removed, unveiling the three-sided sign detailing the history of Watkins Glen as a canal town.


Waterfront sign extols Glen's link to Erie Canal

Representatives of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the New York State Canal Corporation were joined by local officials Wednesday to unveil a new three-sided sign at Seneca Harbor Park in Watkins Glen. The sign outlines the history of Watkins Glen as a canal town and includes a map to help visitors locate nearby services. Said emcee Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development: "This sign provides deep acknowledgement of the incredible impact the Erie Canal had in establishing Watkins Glen as a major economic center." The sign is one of 44 located in 32 communities around the state whose histories are linked to the Erie Canal. Also on hand: State Senator Tom O'Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Montour Falls Mayor John King, Schuyler Legislators Jim Howell, Mark Rondinaro and Carl Blowers, Watkins Village Trustees Lou Perazzini and Nan Woodworth, and Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.

Photo: Eric and Mary Beth Hollenbeck study the sign.


Red Cross launches free-smoke-alarm drive

The Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross held a Sound the Alarm Kickoff Wednesday at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel as part of a national drive to install 100,000 free smoke alarms to mitigate the threat of home fires. The Finger Lakes Chapter will, on May 11, have volunteers stage at the hotel and then go door-to-door to install free smoke alarms, and help families create home fire escape plans. Volunteers will also be visiting homes across the Chapter's six counties throughout the two-week period of the national program, April 27-May 13. For more information, you can visit

Photo: State Senator Tom O'Mara spoke at the Finger Lakes Chapter kickoff at the Harbor Hotel. In the background: Brian McConnell, the chapter's Executive Director.


Groundbreaking kicks off hospital expansion

The $10.3 million project that will add a medical-surgical inpatient unit to Schuyler Hospital and lead to further renovations was symbolized with a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning at the hospital attended by officials from around the region. Project.

Photo: Schuyler Hospital President/CEO James Watson served as emcee.


Jeannette Frank to retire after 40 years at Arc; Schuyler and Chemung units joining forces

The Arc of Schuyler's Executive Director for the past eight years plans to retire on July 1. Meanwhile, the Arc of Schuyler Board of Directors, after considering its options for leadership transition, has chosen to enter into a management services agreement with The Arc of Chemung. The long-range plan is to unify the chapters. Business.

Photo: Jeannette Frank


Bartow plans run for Schuyler Legislature

Democrat Paul Bartow of Tyrone has announced his candiidacy for a seat on the Schuyler County Legislature. Bartow is president of the Schuyler County Historical Society, and a former educator. The election is on Nov. 5th. Government.

Photo: Paul Bartow (Photo provided)

Tom Carson dies:

Tom Carson has passed away. He died Monday evening, April 22, two days after he was visited (story below) by his fellow firefighters. Messages of condolence, and of thanks for the impact he had, have been growing on-line, notably at the Schuyler County FireWire on Facebook.


Scores of firefighters paid visit to Tom Carson

Firefighters from around Schuyler County, along with other emergency personnel, gathered in Montour Falls on April 20 and drove to Tom Carson's nearby house, to pay their respects to the longtime firefighter and former fire chief as he waged his battle with cancer. People.

Photo: About 60 visitors shook hands with or hugged Tom Carson as he greeted them from his wheelchair.

To reach Tom Carson's obituary, click here.

Dr. Benjamin Saks introduces his sister Jessica, right, on the Schuyler County Courthouse steps.


Saks starts judge run from courthouse steps

Republican Jessica Saks made her formal announcement of candidacy Monday for the post of Schuyler County Judge -- issuing it from the steps of the Schuyler County Courthouse. A crowd of about 60 supporters were on hand, cheering -- with one heckler who Saks said afterward had recently lost a custody battle in which Saks represented the man's wife. Saks was introduced by her brother, Dr. Benjamin Saks, who pointed out that if his sister wins, she will be the first female elected to the post in Schuyler. Candidate Saks, who said she brings "a sense of fairness and independence" to the campaign, promised to run as an independent if she fails to win the Republican Party nomination. That nomination will be decided by the party following the retirement June 1 of current judge Dennis Morris. Thus far, Democrat Matthew Hayden and Republican Steven Getman have announced runs for the bench, with Republican Dan Fitzsimmons expected to follow suit.

Photo: Jessica Saks on the courthouse steps.


A column by Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer

The mayor provides us with his fourth in a series of columns on what is happening in Odessa. Column.



Photo: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer


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Check out our Wine and Tourism page

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Area schools' Honor Rolls are here.

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For full coverage of the 2013 Alice Trappler murder trial, you can click here.

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Would you like to help reduce underage alcohol use and drugs in Schuyler County? Then the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs is for you! We are looking for parents, students, concerned community members and professionals to join our cause in making Schuyler County a drug- free, safe environment for families and youth. We need you to help make this social change. Please visit our website here to find out how.

Still available: Tony Vickio's book, titled "Shifting Gears." You can order it on his website here.


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

229 S. Catherine St., Montour Falls
(607) 210-6600

We also have a Business Card Page. Click here. 


Read The Stoneware of Havana, N.Y. and Its Makers
by Allen F. Sweet.

A history of the manufacturing of Stoneware in that village (Montour Falls) from 1850-1888. More than 100 color photos.

Available at the Schuyler County Historical Society Museum.


A Christian-based autobiography written by Melinda Kreischer, pen name for a long-time Finger Lakes area resident. Ordering information can be found here.


My Wild Ride: The Untamed Life of a Girl with No Self-esteem, an autobiography by ex-Throughbred trainer Susan Bump -- who grew up in Montour Falls -- is now available in e-book formats at major retailers including


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


The Elizabeth Amisano Ovarian Cancer Education Fund
Live Like Liz, Inc.
P.O. Box 434
Watkins Glen NY 14891


Contact us about our ad rates




A novel by Steve Piacente about a military cover-up, and about the ethical boundaries of journalism. For a closer look, click here.


The author, J.N. Brown, is a 2005 graduate of Odessa-Montour High School. He works at Corning Inc. To visit his website, click here.


An account of a daughter's eating disorder and her mother's seeming helplessness and desperation in the face of it -- and yet a story of hope, love and survival, and a lifeline to other parents dealing with obsessive behavior. $17.95 from


A self-help guide to understanding the role of emotions, this book offers a four-step path to emotional mastery and freedom. $15.95 from


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Sponsors' Page

Check out our list of readers who have contributed to keeping this site going. Sponsors.

The number of visits to this site has been steadily growing -- about 20,000 a week -- as readers in all 50 states and dozens of countries check out what's happening in Schuyler County.

Statistics are from an online tracking service, DeepMetrix Live Stats.


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An eternal message of lights, hope and faith

The week following Susan Haeffner's passing was fraught with signs -- most of them light-based, and one in the form of a vision. Here the editor relives those days in an effort to pass along a message of hope and faith. Message.

Above: The Aurora Borealis (From the Internet--as seen in Scandinavia)


Oh, the famous faces I've seen

The editor has been thinking about fame (a commodity foreign to him personally), and about the famous people he has encountered. Some thoughts on the subject. Famous.


The Sound and the Silence: A Memoir

Some things in life can mean a great deal -- can embody hope and dreams ... and memories. The sailboat is one such thing for the author. Silence.



Some sports stories and essays inside

Check out our sports related stories and essays, located at the bottom of the Sports Page.


Some special feature packages

From stories of life years ago along Steam Mill Road, to stories by the editor -- you can find them at the bottom of Features.



The editor's long search for some childhood icons

When he was a child, the editor let fear get the better of him while he was watching a pair of beloved TV heroes in peril. The scar from that experience lingered for decades. For a journey through what the editor's son calls "a weird obsession," click here.

Above: One of the heroes in question.


A cabin in the woods

The editor travels, figuratively, back in time to an old haunt, familiar faces and warm memories. Cabin.




© The Odessa File 2019
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

(607) 742-2772