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Phone: 607-535-8908



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Curly's Family Restaurant, Watkins Glen

Sponsoring this People page:

Curly's Family Restaurant, located on Route 14 near the P&C Plaza in Watkins Glen. Phone: 535-4383.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Website!! To link to the Curly's Family Restaurant website, you can click on the photo at left or here.


Obituaries may be found here and here.

Gold, Silver and Coins
Buying locally for 35 years


Gene Lane
buying by appointment only


Phone: 607-342-3606
Or write P.O. Box 221,
Burdett, NY 14818

Falls Harvest Festival set for September 26

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 20 -- The annual Falls Harvest Festival -- a gathering of area residents enjoying a day of music, cars, vendors, games, and local produce -- will be held Saturday, September 26 in downtown Montour Falls.

The event, which will conclude with a fireworks display above the 156-foot-high Shequagah Falls, will run from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

It will feature Donut Eating, Scarecrow, and Pumpkin Carving contests (see photo above), along with a petting zoo, a “jumpy” castle, and live music acts performing throughout the day -- capped off by a free outdoor concert by Black Diamond express from 3-7 p.m.

Sponsors include Welliver, Chemung Canal Trust Company, Visions Federal Credit Union, Montour Falls Fire Department, Finger Lakes Health Care FCU, Cannioto Builders, Galcan Development Corporation, The Montour House, Cronk Press, Sal’s Bar and Grill, The Falls Motel, Lakeside Veterinary Services, Schuyler Hospital, John King, Heavily Brewing Company, Village Bakery, Jeff’s On-Site Services, the Village of Montour Falls and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

The festival is brought to you by Watkins Glen Promotions.

Author Neale to speak at Glen books meeting

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 18 -- The Friends of Watkins Library will host author Cynthia Neale at Books Sandwiched In at 12 noon on Wednesday, November 4 at the library.

Neale will discuss her latest work, "Pavlova in a Hat Box, Sweet Memories and Desserts," as well as her earlier historical fiction novels, and episodes from her life as a writer. 

"Pavlova" is a poignant memoir of growing up in the area, accompanied by classic and new dessert recipes.

All are welcome to this free event. The library is located at 610 S. Decatur Street in Watkins Glen. For more information, call 607-535-2346 or visit

Woman swims the 38-mile length of Seneca

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 31 -- Bridgette Hobart Janeczko has spent the summer swimming the Finger Lakes, and over the weekend she conquered Seneca, arguably the toughest of them all.

Janeczko, 52, departed from Seneca Lake State Park in Geneva on Friday, August 28 at 6 p.m., expecting to arrive in Watkins Glen between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday. But wind and water conditions proved especially challenging and she arrived in Watkins at the Village Marina at 6:33 p.m. The swim took 24 hours and 33 minutes to complete.

She was the first woman to ever swim the length of the lake.

Originally hailing from Binghamton, currently residing in Hopatcong, New Jersey, a Nazareth College alum and a member of that school's board of trustees, Janeczko is completing “The Finger Lakes Challenge” -- swimming the length of nine of the Finger Lakes to raise awareness of Nazareth College’s new women’s resource center. Details on the Nazareth Finger Lakes Challenge can be found on Facebook: .

As Bridgette shared, “Seneca Lake surely brought out the meaning of challenge for me. We left expecting a moonlight stroll down the lake only to find what the wind gods are truly capable of. Long night, but I had the best support crew one can have, and they kept me safe.”

She has already conquered the other “major” Finger Lakes (Canandaigua, Keuka, Skaneateles, and Cayuga). Next up for Bridgette? “The Minors,” as she and her team have termed them. She is targeted to swim Conesus, Hemlock, Canadice, Honeoye, Owasco, and Otisco Lakes later in September.

Fire skirts the tribal Mission and school outside Omak, Washington. (Photo provided)

Reporting from Washington State ...

Former Schuyler County resident Marsha Smith wrote The Odessa File about the wildfires in Washington State, where she now resides. She also filled us in on her connection to our county in this letter sent Wednesday night, Aug. 26, 2015.

I grew up in Hector and attended Watkins Glen School, graduating in 1967. After graduating, I went to nursing school at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse. In 1971, I joined a Catholic volunteer organization called the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and was assigned to work as a nurse for the school at St. Mary's Mission, here in Omak, on the Colville Reservation. During my time here, the Jesuits turned the school over to the Tribe and St Mary's Mission became Paschal Sherman Indian School. I was here until 1980, when I returned to Hector to be with my aging parents and family.

I don't know if you know Joe Chicone, who lives over on Satterlee Hill Road in Hector, but he also was a volunteer here and has a very strong connection to Omak and the Native American community. He married a Colville tribal member. He has a musical group called Uncle Joe and the Rosebud Ramblers.

Getting back to my story ... I lived in Hector from 1980 until 1998. I worked at Schuyler Hospital on the OB unit, Stork's Landing. I attended the births of many of Schuyler County's babies during that time. In 1998, after both of my parents passed, I decided to return to Omak. Two of my Native American friends, Glenda and her sister Mickie, actually flew back to NY and helped me move back out here. They are my Omak family here.

I usually visit Schuyler County annually. Last October, my 83-year-old adopted mom, Leona, her daughter and my close friend, Glenda, and another friend, Lillian, and I all drove back to the Finger Lakes for a visit. I wanted Leona to experience the fall colors back there. They had a great time. I am sending you a picture of Glenda, Leona, and me at Taughannock Falls from last year.

So, there is a pretty strong connection with Joe Chicone, Michael Liu (former Finger Lakes National Forest Ranger and now District Ranger for the Methow Valley District of the Okanogan National Forest), and me all living in Hector and Okanogan County.

It was very smoky here today. Couldn't see the surrounding hills or mountains. Omak is the epicenter of the fires. They are still burning, with little containment on the North Star Fire especially. Today I figured out how many square miles have burned so far and I calculated 643 square miles in this county alone. Rhode Island is 1,215 square miles, so the fire has burned an area of over half the size of the state of Rhode Island! I spent my day running to our local Walmart and Dollar Store getting supplies for the Distribution Center to give to the firefighters. Glenda and I plan on helping out again tomorrow.

Hope this is helpful. There are some impressive maps of the fires available on-line. I hope to drive up to the Mission maybe tomorrow. The fire roared through that valley, but due to the efforts of firemen and local people, the Mission and the school there were spared. If there are some good photo ops, I will send more pictures, if you want. There is an impressive picture of the fire skirting the school. I am sending it to you. It was posted on Facebook and I don't know who took it.

Thank you for your interest in this story.

Best wishes,

Marsha Smith

Photo in text: Marsha Smith flanked by her good friend Glenda and Glenda's mother, Leona, during a visit last year to Taughannock Falls. (Photo provided)

Bleiler earns Baptist Man of Year honor

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY Aug. 16 -- Lifelong Schuyler County resident and local optometrist Dr. Brian E. Bleiler has been honored as the American Baptist Men of New York State “Man of the Year.”

The award, presented Aug. 8 at a dinner at Keuka College., was based on Bleiler's dedication to Christian service through The Odessa Baptist Church, where he has served in many leadership roles, and on his service to community.

Bleiler has served on two mission trips, using his eye-care skills in the Dominican Republic and Mexicali, Mexico. His family also worked with him in the Mexicali mission field.

The award is offered yearly to a layman who has shown dedication through service and living his faith.

Bleiler is a graduate of Odessa-Montour Central School, SUNY Albany, and Ohio State. He and his wife, Loueda Barrigar Bleiler, returned to Schuyler County after he received his degree at Ohio State. He is the son of Delmar and Jeanne Bleiler.

Photo in text: Dr. Brian Bleiler and his wife, Loueda. (Photo provided)

Schuyler County authors plan Alliance

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, July 30 -- Published authors who live in Schuyler County are being encouraged to attend an organizational meeting of the Schuyler Authors Alliance on Wednesday, Aug. 5 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, 214 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen.

The Alliance is an effort to promote and display the books of local authors through various businesses and organizations in the county, including the Watkins Glen Chamber.

Authors will also be listed on a Schuyler County Authors website.

Published works can include any book of fiction, nonfiction, poetry or photography. All local published authors are being encouraged to attend this important first meeting.

Authors who are expected to join the alliance include:

• Barbara Hale-Seubert, author of "Riptide: Struggling with and Resurfacing from a Daughter's Eating Disorder." (2011)
• Andrew Seubert, author of "The Courage to Feel: A Practical Guide to the Power and Freedom of Emotional Honesty." (2010)
• Peter Mantius, author of the non-fiction book "Shell Game: A True Story of Banking, Spies, Lies, Politics – and the Arming of Saddam Hussein." (1995)
• Thom White Wolf Fassett, author of "Giving Our Hearts Away." (2008)
• Michael J. Fitzgerald, author of the novels "The Fracking War" (2014, pictured) and "Fracking Justice" (2015).

For more information, please call Rosemary Petchell at 607-229-2390 or Sylvia Fox at 607-535-4941.

Keough among Radiologic Tech grads

Special to The Odessa File

ELMIRA, July 23 -- The fifty-eighth annual commencement ceremony of the Dr. Earl D. Smith School of Radiologic Technology was held on July 10 in the Petrie Conference Center at Arnot Ogden Medical Center. Among the graduates was Watkins Glen High School alum Angela Keough.

The opening welcome was presented by Dr. Edwin R. Acosta. Invocation and Benediction were given by Rev. Donna Miller, mother-in-law to Samantha Miller, a Class of 2015 graduate. The Commencement Address was delivered by Mr. Chris Crandell, Radiologic Technologist at Arnot Ogden Medical Center.

Diplomas and Pins were presented by Dr. Robert Lambert, CEO of Arnot Health; Ronald Woodard, Director of the School; and Clinical Instructors Bryan Clark and Vicki Bennett.

During the ceremony, the following awards were presented:

--Mrs. Ellen Richards Award for Scholastic Excellence: Angela Keough
--Katheen Emerson Memorial Award for Excellence in Radiologic Technology: Angela Keough
--Betty Jane Loomis Award for Excellence in Patient Care: Jessica Schuld
--Radiologist’s Award for Clinical Excellence: Jennifer Steadman

Photo in text: 2015 Graduates of the Arnot Ogden Medical Center School of Radiologic Technology. From left: Krystal Wilson, Jennifer Steadman, AnnMarie Seymour, Jessica Schuld, Shannon Monahan, Samantha Miller, Angela Keough. (Photo provided)

You can vote on Project Seneca logo

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 20 -- The Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) would like area residents and visitors to provide input on a proposed logo for Project Seneca.

Project Seneca, says SCOPED, "is a world-class sustainable/livable community redevelopment effort that will drive regional economic growth through investment in targeted initiatives along the southern shore of Seneca Lake and throughout Schuyler County."

Project Seneca was conceived in 2012 as an effort to revitalize the lakefront in Watkins Glen. Its first project, upgrading and relocating the wastewater treatment plant, became the impetus to enlarge the concept plan to include additional economic development efforts in the Village of Watkins Glen, along the canal and in the Village of Montour Falls. As a result, SCOPED said:

"Project Seneca became the umbrella effort under which multiple initiatives would be implemented over a 10-year period. In order to create a consistent, areawide economic development message, Project Seneca is now the brand for all economic development efforts in Schuyler County -- including initiatives within all four of the historic village downtowns, Towns, Camp Monterey, Economic Clusters (Fermentation, Value-added Agriculture and Hospitality & Tourism), the Schuyler County Business Park and the Montour Falls Business Campus."

Project Seneca has been trademarked through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is in need of an official logo.

Local resident Rob Kurcoba is the creative mind behind the four alternative logos for Project Seneca presented for your vote here. Polling will end July 26.

Western New York Democrat will challenge incumbent Reed

Jamestown-area's John Plumb, former military aide in the Obama White House, enters race

JAMESTOWN, July 8 -- A Jamestown native who served as a military aide in the Obana White House has thrown his hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 23rd Distirct.

John F. Plumb, 45 -- who recently returned to the Jamestown area to prepare for his challenge to incumbent Republican Tom Reed -- served recently as director of defense policy and strategy at the National Security Council. He is a U.S. Navy Reserve Commander.

His candidacy -- which he said was prompted by friends who think he will pose a strong challenge -- was greeted by Reed in a statement Tuesday that read, in part: "Choice is what democracy is all about."

Plumb's announcement was supported by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which helped arrange a Plumb interview with The Buffalo News -- an involvement, say some observers, that might mean Reed will find himself in a tougher race than he encountered last year.

Reed was challenged last time by Tompkins County legislator Martha Robertson, who was targeted by the Reed camp in a series of negative, sometimes mocking ads. The result was a rout of Robertson. The challenger before that was Nate Shinagawa, also a Tompkins County legislator, who came within a few percentage points of the incumbent -- prompting the more aggressive Reed campaign against Robertson.

While Tompkins County is heavily Democratic, the 23rd district -- encompassing a wide swath of the Southern Tier, from Chautauqua to Tioga counties, and north past the Thruway in Seneca and Ontario counties -- is decidedly Republican, by a 160,000-135,000 margin, giving Reed the obvious advantage.

Plumb, born in Jamestown, was raised in nearby Randolph and graduated from high school there. He attended the University of Notre Dame on a ROTC scholarship, earned a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado, did six years of active duty in the Navy, was a staff aide to Senator Ken Salazar, D-Colorado, and worked at the Pentagon on various defense and space issues before joining the National Security Council in the White House. He resigned that post to make his bid for Congress.

Plumb bought a house in June in Lakewood, west of Jamestown, as a base from which to make his Congressional run. He is single.

He said he has not yet started fund-raising, although a website has popped up seeking donations and volunteers to help in the campaign. When asked how much money he needs to raise, he said: "I don't have a number for you. It's basically as much money as you can raise."

Robertson spent $2.3 million in her failed campaign against Reed, who spent $3.47 million.

Plumb said he thinks Reed "puts himself before the region over and over" in his Congressional votes. Economic development, added the challenger, will be his top priority should he unseat the incumbent.

Photo in text: Congressional candidate John Plumb (Photo provided)

From left: Stephen Copp Jr. and Tim Hudson of Schuyler Ambulance, Watkins Glen Fire Department First Assistant Chief Charlie Scaptura, Kenneth Hill, and Cargill's Bob Moore and Thomas Gossett.

When Ken Hill collapsed at work, help arrived quickly

Gold Stars, Certificates of Recognition awarded

WATKINS GLEN, July 1 -- Ken Hill says he doesn't even remember it. He was working at Cargill that Tuesday night, April 28, 2015, at about 9 p.m., producing water softener pellets, and had just climbed onto a forklift and fastened his seatbelt.

And then there was nothing.

He slumped over onto the forklift's steering wheel, and by chance triggered its horn. That fortunate bit of fate alerted other workers that something was wrong, and within a short time Cargill's first-response team was on the scene, tending to Hill -- who had suffered cardiac arrest, the result of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which involves the thickening of the walls of the heart ventricles. That condition, sources will tell you, sometimes leads to sudden death in young athletes, but affects any age group.

Hill (pictured at right), 54, had a history of high blood pressure before his near-death experience. He was on medication for it, but says he "wasn't taking care of myself. I wasn't taking the meds like I should, and I was working way too many hours." He is a 13-year employee of the Cargill plant.

Of falling onto the steering wheel, and setting off the horn, and having the first responders act so quickly, he says: "If there were any other circumstances, this would have a different outcome. Considering what happened to me, everything went perfectly."

Hill, an Odessa resident, was present at a ceremony Wednesday outside the Schuyler Ambulance headquarters on South Decatur Street in Watkins Glen for the presentation of Gold Star of Life pins and Certificates of Recognition to those rescuers involved in saving him: Cargill's Bob Moore, Thomas Gossett and Kevin Newell, the Ambulance Corps' Tim Hudson and Stephen Copp Jr., and the Watkins Glen Fire Department rescue unit. About a dozen men and women from the fire department responded that night, and helped save Hill. Representing the fire department Wednesday was First Assistant Chief Charlie Scaptura.

Kudos also went out to the Odessa Fire Department, which prepared a landing zone in Odessa for a Guthrie Air helicopter that carried Hill to Arnot Ogden Hospital in Elmira. He was there for a week, and then transferred to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, where a defibrillator was installed in his body. Then he came home, where he rests and takes it a day at a time. He was telling a friend at Wednesday's ceremony how he had ventured recently to Walmart for some shopping, and how the effort had tired him.

But he says he feels fine. He does some walking, and is more mindful of the medications prescribed for him. He says he is not close to returning to work yet; that November is the target date. In the meantime, he is regaining his strength and enjoying life. And on some days -- and most especially on Wednesday -- he is looking back to April 28, and to the help he received.

"I'll tell you," he said. "I have a newfound appreciation of the word 'caring.'"

He motioned around him, at Moore and Gossett and the other medical heroes of that Tuesday night two months earlier.

Those responders received the Gold Star of Life Wednesday from the Southern Tier Regional EMS Council, which says the honor "is intended to recognize excellence and foster achievement by those in EMS Systems whose acts and deeds stand out from the day-to-day excellence of that system." The Ambulance Service added Certificates of Recognition.

Among that night's responders, Cargill's Gossett was the first to arrive on the scene to help Hill, who had no pulse. According to a Cargill incident report, Moore then arrived and helped Gossett get Hill to the ground. Newell (not present Wednesday) then arrived and was sent to get the trauma bag and AED (automated external defibrillator) while Thomas and Moore applied CPR. When the AED was delivered by Newell, it was applied and analyzed, and shock initiated. After some more CPR, the Watkins Glen Fire Department EMTs arrived and took over the patient care.

According to a Schuyler Ambulance report, that action by the Cargill responders "was the turning point in the saving of this man's life. They are truly heroes. ... It is our honor to say thank you for a job well done."

Photo in text: The April 28 victim, now recovering: Kenneth E. Hill Sr. at Wednesday's presentation ceremony.

Pastor Jeremy Spencer in the old Odessa Baptist Church.
The final worship service there is June 28.

Odessa Baptist Church building being sold;
new facility is planned on Fowler Place

Special to The Odessa File

ODESSA, NY, June 25, 2015 -- The Odessa Baptist Church is moving from its current location at 200 Maple Avenue in Odessa and planning a new worship facility -- all the result, church leaders say, of high maintenance and utility costs in the old building, inadequate parking, and handicap access limitations.

The last worship service in the current church building -- at the corner of Maple Avenue and Church Street in Odessa -- will be on Sunday morning, June 28, at 10:30 a.m. That service will conclude with a brief ceremony in the church building and a prayer circle on church land at 111 Fowler Place in Odessa -- the four-acre site of the planned new church building.

In preparation for the move and the pending sale of its current church building -- all that remains is the closing, said Pastor Jeremy Spencer -- the church has moved most of its records, supplies, and ministry equipment to a storage container.

The church plans in the near future to conduct worship services at the American Legion Hall across from the Schuyler County Veterans Park on Route 228 north of Odessa, meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings. The first service in this new location will be on July 5. Construction of the new church -- a one-story building with built-in handicap accessibility, and with plenty of parking -- will be completed "best case, in a year," said Spencer. "But maybe in a year and a half or two years."

The church offices are now located at 102 Maple Avenue -- Spencer's residence -- in the village of Odessa, just down the street from the old church. The phone number and mailing address of the church remain unchanged.

The sale, to an individual, includes the former parsonage next door to the church. It was last used in that capacity more than a dozen years ago, and more recently has been utilized for office space for a couple of agencies, and for Sunday School. The buyer reportedly anticipates apartments in that building; plans for the church are unknown.

According to Spencer and parishioners, the Baptist Church, which has more than 60 in its congregation and several multi-generational families attending regularly, has become too expensive, its maintenance and utility costs draining the church coffers of funds that could be used for programs benefitting the community.

The land upon which the new church will be built is located on the eastern edge of the village, between Fowler Place and Rte. 224. The new structure will be visible from both roads, adding to its appeal and approachability, said one member of the congregation. With all functions of the building on one level, said another, the new church will leave behind the problem of handicap accessibility. The current church is essentially on three levels -- the entrance foyer; the church proper, located up a stairwell to the left of the foyer (with access aided by a lift chair); and rest rooms, the church kitchen, a classroom and a fellowship hall down several steps from the foyer, without any chair aids.

With the old church being vacated, Bible Studies, Sunday School programs, meetings of the American Heritage Girls Troop 412, and other weekly programs and meetings of the church will continue at other locations. For more information about the locations of these programs, interested persons can call the church at 594-2800 or send an e-mail to

The Odessa Baptist Church was founded in 1841. It has occupied its Greek-Revival style church building and has used it to minister to the village of Odessa since 1856 -- for 159 years.

Photos in text:

From top: The Odessa Baptist Church as viewed from the southeast corner; a marker on the building; and Jeremy Spencer, who has been pastor for 13 years, and will continue in that capacity.

The American Legion hall alongside Rte. 228 outside Odessa will host the Baptist Church services following the church closing and before construction of a new church.

Gardiners renew vows; celebration set

Special to
The Odessa File

CATHARINE, June 23 -- On June 21st, Pat and Gene Gardiner renewed their wedding vows, celebrating their 65th Wedding Anniversary. The renewal took place at St. John's Episcopal Church in Catharine with their daughters by their side.

Patricia A. Lewis married Eugene A Gardiner on June 25, 1950 with Robert Hall and Joan Webster (Hall) as attendants.

Pat and Gene have made their home in the Odessa area since the early 1950s. They raised four daughters, Susan (Richard) Manges of Elmira, Dawn (Ted) Larison of Cortland, Karen Gardiner of Horseheads, and Denise (Mark) Switzer of Odessa. They also have eight granddaughters and eight great grandchildren.

Friends and family are invited to celebrate with Pat & Gene on June 27th from 2-4 p.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church in Catharine. Light refreshments will be served. No gifts, please!

Photo in text: Pat and Gene Gardiner (Photo provided)

Scout builds bocce-ball court for Arc

Special to
The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 18 -- Jack LaDouce, a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 101, recently built a bocce ball court at The Arc of Schuyler, a project that helped earn him an Eagle Scout rank.

LaDouce, 17, whose aunt receives services through The Arc, approached the agency in February about an Eagle Scout project that would allow him to have a positive impact on people with disabilities. The Arc suggested the installation of a bocce ball court, which would allow people with disabilities, including people who use wheelchairs, to enjoy physical activity outdoors.

“I was looking to do something that involved construction,' LaDouce said, "and my mom was really excited that I was working with The Arc since they have done so much for my aunt.”

As soon as the ground thawed, LaDouce set to work on his project – a 5-by-20-foot court complete with a drainage system to help maintain it. The project required LaDouce to propose a written plan for Scout Board approval, then to enlist the help of friends from his troop and obtain donated supplies and the services of an excavator.

In just 10 days, LaDouce had the bocce ball court assembled and ready for play at The Arc’s 210 12th Street property under the shade of a tree, near a picnic table where people can enjoy their lunch and play a game of bocce.

“Construction is my hobby and I’ve done small projects, but this is one of the bigger things I’ve built,” LaDouce said. "I was really happy to see it all done. It came out just the way I wanted it to.”

Carole Sullivan, The Arc’s Assistant Director of Day Services, has been LaDouce’s project liaison at The Arc. “We have been so impressed by Jack," she said. "We’ve been very lucky to get him and his friends and family involved with The Arc, and we look forward to a continued relationship with the Boy Scouts and local youth.”

LaDouce’s Scout Leader, Dan Carpenter, has been impressed too. “Jack has always been an exemplary scout,” Carpenter said. “He’s excelled in school, track, swimming, and now he’s following in his brother’s footsteps to Annapolis, Maryland.”

LaDouce graduates in the top 10 of his class from Elmira High School this month and will join the United States Naval Academy in July. He plans to serve as a Navy officer and pursue a Bachelor’s degree.

Carpenter reports that LaDouce received his Eagle Scout rank, the highest advancement rank in scouting, in May. With LaDouce’s encouragement, a fellow scout will continue working with The Arc to enhance the bocce court area by adding a cement pad this summer. The cement will make the court more accessible to people using wheelchairs.

“Before I met the staff and people at The Arc, I didn’t know much about it other than it was a place where people like my aunt could go to work, volunteer, and take classes," said LaDouce. "My family is thankful for all The Arc does.”

The Arc -- a not for profit organization that provides supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.-- is seeking volunteer assistance to add to its outdoor recreation space. Interested volunteers may call 607-535-6934. Learn more at

Photos in text:

Top: People at The Arc enjoy playing on the new bocce ball court.
Bottom: Jack LaDouce of Elmira earned his Eagle Scout rank by building a bocce ball court at The Arc of Schuyler for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

SFLW awards scholarship

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, June 17, 2015 -- A $500 scholarship was awarded to Meghan Coates, a Schuyler County high school senior, at the Leaders of Tomorrow Annual Celebration held June 15 by the Southern Finger Lakes Women, a Chapter of New York State Women, Inc.,

Meghan was accompanied by her mother, Mary Coates. The ceremony was held at the home of Lisa Rhoads, a member of Southern Finger Lakes Women

Meghan Coates is first in her class at the Odessa-Montour High School. She has been active in her community as well as school activities throughout her high school career. She has a love for theater, participating in 18 plays and directing one between 2005-2015. She will be attending the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles, California.

"The Southern Finger Lakes Women congratulate Meghan for her academic achievements," said the SFLW in a press release, "and are happy to help support her in her post-graduate plans."

New York State Women, Inc., provides members with professional development, networking, and career advancement resources. Its mission is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information.

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

Photo in text: Meghan Coates, left, the 2015 scholarship winner, and Kathleen Clark, SFLW Scholarship Chair. (Photo provided)

The Odessa-Montour High School Marching Band was among the parade participants.

Parade highlights final day of 59th annual Montour Falls fest

MONTOUR FALLS, June 13, 2015 -- Fire trucks, marching bands, floats, old tractors and cars, and an appreciative crowd marked the 59th annual Montour Falls Firemen's Festival Grand Parade on Main Street Saturday during the festival's final day.

A chicken barbecue started the day on the festival grounds, and music in the entertainment tent by Steve Southworth and the Rockabilly Rays topped the evening. Rides and games and food were popular throughout the day.

There were several participating bands in the parade, which drew a crowd that lined Main Street from start to finish. The bands came from the Fairport Fire Department, Canaseraga High School, Odessa-Montour High School, the Clyde-Saxton Fire Department, Addison High School, and Jasper-Troupsburg High School, and included the Caledonian Highlanders and the 250-member Corning-Painted Post Hawks Marching Band.

Firefighting and rescue vehicles in the parade came from Montour Falls, Watkins Glen, Odessa, Valois-Logan-Hector, Dundee, Himrod, Branchport, Elmira Heights, Burdett, Dresden, Big Flats, Tyrone, North Corning, Hammondsport, Wayne, Enfield, Pine City, Lodi, Millport, South Seneca, Mecklenburg, Campbell and Hornby. Also present: a privately owned 1944 tanker brush truck that was in service in Odessa for 50 years, from 1946-1996.

After the parade, the spectators left for home or ventured to the festival grounds, where rides, games, food and music awaited.

Photo in text: Members of the Montour Falls Fire Department march up Main Street.

Members of the Caledonian Highlanders (left) and the Addison High School band.

Firefighter Bill Haeffner rode in the parade aboard a Watkins Glen Fire Department truck.

The Pine City Fire Department brought a truck to Montour Falls,
one of many in the parade.

Montour Falls Fire Chief Billy Thomas (left) and parade announcer Jim Howell.

Horses led the Freedom Village parade entry.

Drummers in the 250-member Corning-Painted Post Hawks Marching Band.

An impromptu song with volunteers led by Kim Laursen (right) was held while the talent show judges decided on the evening's winning acts. The group sang Katy Perry's "Roar."

Opening night features games, rides, food and a talent show

MONTOUR FALLS, June 12 -- The rides started, the games of chance opened, the food booths sold burgers, dogs, cotton candy and a particular favorite -- fried dough -- and the 4th annual Expo Showdown talent show was held in the entertainment tent.

It was opening night Thursday of the 59th annual Montour Falls Firemen's carnival -- and everyone was happy to see the weather cooperating, with pleasant temperatures under cloudy skies. Rain was threatening on Friday and Saturday, so any favorable weather was prized.

The turnout was sizable, but there didn't appear to be any long lines, save at the fried dough stand. And quite a few folks ventured into the tent to watch the amateur acts -- with performers ranging from 12 years of age to a white-haired gentleman who won in the adult category.

The judging of the acts went like this:

Ages 12-16:
1st place: Kassidy Samuels singing "I Got the Boy"
2nd place: Hannah Rosier singing "Letter Bomb"
3rd place: Noelle Chamberlain singing "You Know I'm No Good"

Ages 17-21:
1st place: Matt and Andy Stevenson playing "Ole Red"
2nd place: Mitch McElroy singing "Feeling Good"
3rd place: Joe Raymond singing "Original Song"

1st place: Harold Brown singing "Sweet Caroline"
2nd place: Darlene Abidin singing "Stand By Your Man"
3rd place: Peggy Saunders singing "Just Another Woman in Love."

There were 26 acts, with Abidin, McElroy, Matt Stevenson, Saunders, Brown, Allison Heichel, Kacey Samuels and Sarafina LoPresti each performing twice, either solo, in a duet or both. Other performers included Sarah Norton, Hayley Burke (with Hailey Ferguson on guitar), Molly Heichel, Michael Monroe, Jasmine Monroe, Britney Visscher, Taylor Sykes, Julee Gillemot, Emma Malnoske, and Josh Markley.

The schedule on Friday called for the grounds to open at 6 p.m., with the evening's entertainment highlight being Nik & the Nice Guys. The grounds open at 12 noon on Saturday -- with highlights including a chicken barbecue, the annual 5 p.m. parade up Main Street, and entertainment at night by Steve Southworth and the Rockabilly Rays. For details, click here.

Photos in text:

From top: Harold Brown sings "Sweet Caroline"; Britney Visscher (left) and Taylor Sykes sing "Can't Fight the Moonlight"; Matt Stevenson (left) and Andy Stevenson perform "Ole Red."

Left: Sisters Allison (left) and Molly Heichel sing "Wanna Be."
Emma Malnoske had the crowd clapping with her rendition of "Wings."

And scenes elsewhere at the festival:

Aboard a ride.

A youngster throws a dart at a balloon. He hit it, and won a prize.

Posing for -- and reacting to -- the camera.

The Fun Slide was a popular stop.

Wine tastings and sales were plentiful Saturday at the Wine & Food gathering at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. The event concludes today (Sunday).

There were activities galore ...

SCHUYLER COUNTY, May 31 -- There were plenty of things to see and do around Schuyler County Saturday.

There was, for starters, the dedication of the barn-styled shed behiind the Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library in Odessa late Saturday morning. It is now the Carpenter-Sand Memorial Book Barn, in honor of the late Bob Carpenter and Bob Sand, both prominent members of the community. A nearby bench was also dedicated in memory of another civic leader, Charlie Richards. Representatives from all three families were on hand for the occasion.

Then there was the Schuyler County Relay for Life, held this year on the Odessa-Montour school athletic field and -- thanks to rain -- in the gymnasium for a while, too. The event, an annual gathering in the fight against cancer that was in past years held on the Watkins Glen High School athletic field, attracted a number of pledge-raising teams along with cancer survivors and their caregivers.

The first day of the two-day 2015 Wine & Food event at Clute Park in Watkins Glen drew a large crowd buying wine by the case. More than 1,000 people had entered the grounds quickly and filled the three large tents where wine sales and food stands awaited. Before tabulating numbers, organizer Jeff Dill said the one-day attendance might very fell surpass last year's two-day total. The gathering resumes today (Sunday), running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There was also a book launch Saturday afternoon at the Damiani winery up Rt. 414 north of Burdett featuring novelist Cynthia Neale, artist Maggie Martin and the newly published cookbook written by Neale and illustrated by Martin, Pavlova in a Hat Box. The gathering involved book signings, readings, and some tasty finger foods.

And come Saturday night, it was time for the first-ever Schuyler County Semi-Formal (pictured above) at the Watkins Glen Community Center. Men and women who perhaps wanted to revisit the magic of their high school prom dressed up for an evening of dancing and -- not available at their original proms -- drinking. The event -- featuring an open bar run by Mura Bella's and music by Mastermind Sound -- served as a fund-raiser for the Schuyler County United Way.

Photos in text:

Top: A youngster hugs the book character Splat the Cat during activities -- including a picnic and a book sale -- at the Dutton S. Peterson Library in Odessa.
Bottom: Four Schuyler County Semi-Formal attendees pose for a picture.

Left: Novelist Cynthia Neale at the launch of her new cookbook. Right: Drummer- singer Kevin Thornton of the band The Profuslies during a performance at the Wine & Food event.

Cancer Society signs with varying messages and sponsored by local businesses lined the track at the Relay for Life, held on O-M's Charles Martin Field.

Wine tastings are a popular staple of the Wine & Food event at Clute Park.

The new sign adorning the book barn behind the library in Odessa.

Left: Wine & Food event organizer Jeff Dill. Right: Chef William was creating some tasty dishes at one of the many food stands at Clute Park.

Artist Maggie Martin at Damiani Wine Cellars, in front of her originial watercolor used for the cover of the cookbook written by Cynthia Neale and illustrated by Martin.

The team representing Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Medical Center at the Relay for Life.

An open bar, a festive setting, music and dancing marked the Schuyler Semi-Formal.

Used Book Sale set for June 4-6

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 27 -- Thousands of books for all interests and all ages will be offered during the annual Friends of the Watkins Library Used Book Sale, Thursday through Saturday, June 4-6.

As in past years, the Friends is partnering with The Arc of Schuyler to present this sale to the reading community.

Items such as audiobooks, DVDs and puzzles also are offered in the sale.

Book sale hours will be Thursday, June 4, from 4-8 p.m.; Friday, June 5, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, June 6, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The sale is at 210 12th St., Watkins Glen, near Watkins Glen High School.

Proceeds from the sale support programs at the Watkins Glen Public Library.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano addresses the gathering at the Memorial Day service at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park near Odessa.

Honoring our fallen veterans

WATKINS GLEN, May 26 -- Memorial Day services were held in Montour Falls and Watkins Glen and outside Odessa Monday to honor those military men and women who have sacrificed their lives in defense of our freedom.

The annual ceremony near the base of Shequagah Falls in Montour came first, with the waters of the falls offering a placid backdrop to the music, speeches, volleys of gunfire and color-guard marching that marked the occasion.

The event was emceed by Montour Falls Mayor John King, who introduced the guest speaker, Dr. Stephen Spaulding, a West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran who operates a Family Practice of medicine with his wife, Theresa, in the Montour House.

Dr. Spaulding said his message to those gathered for the Memorial Day service was this: "Never forget how blessed you are to be an American."

He said he was "glad and honored to have been able to serve my country," and noted that every sacrifice made by our war dead was "a tragedy" that in its "longer-term effects" meant that there were "children never born. People who would (otherwise) be standing here, we never knew; (they were) neighbors we never had ... We salute and pray for our beloved dead, and consider what might have been" had they not sacrificed their lives.


There were two ceremonies in Watkins Glen, one at the Naval Memorial near the Seneca Harbor pier, where prayers were said, "Taps" was played, and a bouquet of flowers was dropped into the water from the pier in honor of fallen Navy veterans. The other ceremony was in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse. Both events were overseen by veteran Tony Specchio, a longtime emcee at such ceremonies.

Keynote speaker at the courthouse was retired Schuyler County Judge J.C. Argetsinger, who served in the Army as an infantry officer and was later a trial lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice and then Schuyler County District Attorney before being elected judge.

The theme of Argetsinger's speech was "the constant threat of totalitarianism," which he said is "like a brush fire that we keep putting out. There were the Nazis, and then the Soviets, and now the radical Muslim militants. We need to be ever vigilant."

The freedom created in our country by our forefathers "is only 240 years old," he said, which in the scope of world history constitutes "a blink of an eye ... Despots are always trying to centralize their power and take away our freedom. Unfortunately, in order for us to keep it, families and their young sons and daughters will always be called upon to protect it, often at great sacrifice."


The ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Park on Rt. 228 outside Odessa featured as its keynote speaker Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, who said we "need to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made" by so many veterans, and to "renew our commitment" to the principles and ideals of a free and democratic way of life made possible by those who sacrificed their lives in war.

He said it was important that the families of those fallen veterans know that "the bravery and sacrifice" of their loved ones "made an enormous difference in the history of the world."

He said we "should do a little bit more" to thank our surviving veterans -- whether by visiting them, sending care packages to those in need, "saying a prayer of thanks and appreciation, or walking up to them to say 'Thank you.'"

Photos in text:

Top: Montour Falls keynote speaker Dr. Stephen Spaulding.
Second: A parade down Franklin Street preceded the ceremony at the courthouse in Watkins.
Third: The Watkins ceremony's main speaker, J.C. Argetsinger (left), with emcee Tony Specchio.
Bottom: Some of the members of the Community Chorus as the group -- directed by Kim Laursen -- sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the Veterans Memorial Park ceremony.


Left: Bernie Riley performs "Taps" at the ceremony near the Naval Monument in Watkins Glen. Right: Bagpiper Tom Leslie performs "Amazing Grace" during the Montour Falls service.

A Memorial Day volley by members of American Legion Post 676 punctuated the Montour Falls ceremony, held near the base of Shequagah Falls.

And finally, from Joan Scott, comes the photo below of Dylan Hayward, a Cub Scout from Pack 3050 of Odessa, during the ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park:

The Arc recognizes Community Partners

Annual meeting held at Harbor Hotel

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 23 -- The Arc of Schuyler hosted its Annual Meeting and Member Reception on May 21at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

The Arc presented its first Partner in Health Award to Cargill in Watkins Glen for its generous support of Health and Wellness Committee initiatives that engage people with developmental disabilities.

People with disabilities statistically are more prone to obesity and correlated health problems. Through Cargill’s grant program, it aided advancement of The Arc’s Eat Smart and Move More objectives by sponsoring opportunities such as Zumba classes, nutrition trainings for staff and people receiving services, and in-home demonstrations of healthy meal planning and cooking.

The Arc also recognized Watkins Glen International with its Business Partner of the Year Award. Watkins Glen International is the title sponsor and host of The Arc’s newest fundraiser, The Arc Grand Prix Run at Watkins Glen International. Over the past two years the event has raised more than $20,000 in support of The Arc’s programs and has helped to broaden awareness of the needs of people with developmental disabilities, including autism, in the Schuyler County community.

Watkins-Montour Rotary Club received The Arc’s Community Partner of the Year Award. The civic service club has been a longtime sponsor of The Arc’s annual holiday party for people receiving supports and their families. Club members provide volunteer help for this annual celebration and other Arc events throughout the year.

The Arc’s annual Direct Support Professional Excellence Award was awarded to Patrick Pritchard of Elmira, an 11-year employee of The Arc. Pritchard was recognized for his leadership, creativity, and dedication to providing quality supports to people with developmental disabilities.

The awards ceremony was preceded by a short business meeting for the organization’s membership to elect directors and officers for the upcoming year.

The Arc of Schuyler’s 2014 Annual Report is now available on the agency’s new website,

The Arc of Schuyler is a family-based, not-for-profit organization that provides residential, vocational, day support, job training, service coordination, advocacy and other support to people with developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc is currently conducting its Annual Membership and Fund Drive. To make a donation and become a member or for more information, visit or call 607-535-6934.

Photo in text: Don Chutas of Cargill accepts the Partner in Health Award from Teresa Higbie (center), member of The Arc’s Health and Wellness Committee, pictured with support staff LaTrisha Gaboriault. (Photo provided)

Hospital recognizes 465 years of service

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 23 -- Schuyler Hospital recognized employees for 5 to 35 years of service at its recent Employee Recognition Dinner.

In all, 40 employees were recognized for a total of 465 years of combined experience at the hospital and skilled nursing facility.

The highlight of the annual celebration – held at Chateau LaFayette Reneau with Ithaca Bakery catering – was a tribute to one 35-year employee: Karen Storm, who worked her way up to Director of Dietary Services after starting as an aide in 1979.

In presenting the years of service awards, hospital President/CEO Andy Manzer thanked everyone for their dedication to each other, as well as to patients and residents.

Celebrating 35 years: Karen Storm.
Celebrating 30 years: Pearl Jayne and Kelly Stone.
Celebrating 25 years: Deborah Bailey, Heather Goossen and Wendy Marvel.
Celebrating 20 years: Susan Brague, Nanette Roberts and Roberta Winfield.
Celebrating 15 years: Lisa Blim, Daniel Karius and Cindy Linton.
Celebrating 10 years: Sandra Ceasar, Dr. James Coleman, Tracie Diefenderfer, Terri Minotti, Callie Narde, SueAnn Richards, Dr. Stephen Spaulding, Dr. Theresa Spaulding, Rhonda Stephani and Reta Trenchard.
Celebrating 5 years: Kenneth Allen, Karen Barnic, Darcie Chappell, Paula Fitzsimmons, Michelle Gaylor, Kathleen Havens, Ronald Havlen, Kayla Jones, Jennifer McKenzie, Nicholas Ramundo, Maria Riggles, Noreen Ruff, Carrie Schloerb, Cheryl Tingey, Kaye Utegg, Brenda Vance, Lonna Vandereems and Rebecca Winkler.

Photo in text: Karen Storm (center) celebrates her 35 years of service for Schuyler Hospital with Andy Manzer, President/CEO, and Jann Cady, CNO/COO. (Photo provided)

Friends of the Watkins Library ambassadors
Courtney Perrone and Skip Ferris. (Photos provided)

Ambassadors selected for Library Week

WATKINS GLEN, April 12 -- To celebrate National Library Week, April 12-18, Friends of the Watkins Library (FOWL) have selected Skip Ferris as community ambassador. Maggie Field, Watkins Glen High School Library Media Specialist, has chosen Senior Courtney Perrone as school district ambassador.

National Library Week is an annual celebration of the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians. All types of libraries -- school, public, academic and special -- participate. This year's theme is “Unlimited possibilities @ your library."The American Library Association website has all the info about NLW at

FOWL is an organization which supports the Watkins Glen public and school libraries. It sponsors programs for children and Books Sandwiched In events, and helps finance seasonal plants and flowers, computer classes, and unanticipated needs of the library.

When you see these ambassadors, you can ask them for information regarding membership in FOWL and how you can help in supporting the school and public libraries.

A FOWL membership form can also be found at, or by going to the Watkins Glen Public Library and asking for a membership form.

Dinner talk: Native Americans of area

Special to
The Odessa File

TYRONE, April 10 -- Many years ago, before the first white settlers moved to the Finger Lakes region, Native Americans roamed the hills, lived in villages, fished in the crystal clear lakes and rivers, hunted in woods filled with abundant game, and farmed the fertile soil. This was their home.

After the Revolutionary War, treaties were signed opening the land for settlement by some of the same men who fought in the war.

Last April the Dundee Area Historical Society put on a dinner program at which Dr. Kurt Jordan of Cornell University spoke on Native Americans in the Finger Lakes: An Archeological Perspective. Those who attended said they wanted to learn more about the life and customs of the Indian people who once lived here.

This year, G. Peter Jemison will speak on Native American Life and Customs at a dinner program/lecture on Tuesday, April 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the Tyrone Fire Hall, located at 3600 Route 226, Tyrone.

Jemison is a member of the Heron Clan, Seneca, a descendent of Mary Jemison -- the White Woman of the Genesee, a renowned artist, filmmaker and storyteller.

The ham dinner will be put on by Steve Owens of Dundee's Classic Cafe. Space is limited, and reservations are required no later than Friday, April 24 by calling the Dundee Area Historical Society at (607) 243-7047 or emailing The cost for members is $12 per person, and for non-members $16 per person. Join the Society at the dinner and receive the member price.

To learn more about the Society and see a listing of upcoming events, visit

Labor of Love cancels its annual dinner

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 24 -- The Schuyler County Labor of Love Committee has cancelled its annual May spaghetti dinner for this year. The decision was necessitated, the committee said, by a lack of volunteers to promote, prepare, and organize the dinner.

The dinner has been held at the Saint Mary's Center in Watkins Glen since 2007. Since that time it has raised over $17,000 to support residents of Schuyler County. Yearly, businesses and residents have contributed supplies and time to make the fundraiser possible.

Labor of Love coordinates with many county agencies to provide financial assistance to county residents. Among the agencies are: Mustard Seed Ministry, Office for the Aging, Adult Protective Services, Catholic Charities, Schuyler Outreach, Department of Social Services, EOP, and others.

Labor of Love has provided annual financial support to Catholic Charities' back-to-school program by purchasing the backpacks, and considerable financial support for their Christmas food distribution. The Committee's funds will continue to be a financial reserve for county agencies seeking to help county residents in need.

Labor of Love has sufficient financial resources on hand to meet the immediate needs that are anticipated in the short term. The committee will be meeting soon to plan for the future. Persons, organizations and businesses interested in making a contribution to make up for the shortfall can make a tax-deductable contribution. Contributions should be sent to: Labor of Love, 112 Sixth Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

Persons interested in joining the Labor of Love Committee should contact The Reverend Michael Hartney at the same address, or by phone message at 535.2321.

Protest cases dismissed in deal with DA

SCHUYLER COUNTY, March 19 -- Charges against many of the We Are Seneca Lake protesters were dismissed by Town of Reading Justice Raymond Berry Wednesday night through an agreement with the Schuyler County District Attorney's office designed to end gate blocking by the protesters at Crestwood energy firm sites along Route 14 north of Watkins Glen

The protest group, in a press release, said Judge Berry, in "three speedy hearings," granted a motion brought by 42 Seneca Lake protesters to dismiss all charges "in the interest of justice."

The agreement goes beyond the 42 defendants to encompass nearly 100 more who have been charged by police at the gates in the past several months.

The protesters had been arrested as part of a sustained civil disobedience campaign at the gates of Crestwood Midstream, where they would block traffic to and from company property. The We Are Seneca Lake group opposes the expansion of gas storage in abandoned lakeside salt caverns owned by Crestwood.

District Attorney Joe Fazzary said the agreement not only clears the court calendar, "but gives us more than we would have gotten had we gone to trial on all the cases." This way, he said, the protesters are free to protest all they want, as long as they don't disrupt the flow of Crestwood business. He said he wasn't sure if all of the protesters -- including 20 whose cases were shifted to other courts in the county -- will accept the deal, but the protesters' press release seemed to indicate they would.

The protesters hailed the move, with attorney Sujata Gibson calling it "a big moment in history, to have this many cases dismissed in the interest of justice. It affirms the importance of this cause and the ethical motivations of the protesters."

'Pickers' seeks leads in Glen

WATKINS GLEN, March 17 -- The "American Pickers" TV show might be coming to the Watkins Glen area, dependent on what it finds as it searches for leads for upcoming episodes in New York State.

A producer of the show has contacted the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, expressing an interest in Watkins because of its unique history and character. Accordingly, said Brittany Gibbs, the Chamber's Tourism and Marketing Manager, the show is looking for leads here that include not only unusual antique items, but owners with personalities that could translate to entertaining television.

"American Pickers" is a History Channel staple produced by Cineflix Productions and broadcast at 9 p.m. Wednesdays. The show has its leads, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, traveling in various regions of this country -- and, in one memorable arc, in European countries -- seeking treasure troves of antiques, often in barns or other outbuildings.

Those treasures include anything from old bicycles (a specialty of Wolfe's) to motorcycles, cars, movie memorabilia, advertising and military items, folk art, vintage clothing, early firefighting equipment and other items.

"We do not have confirmation that they will be in Watkins Glen," said Gibbs, although they might be. "No one will know exactly where they are going until Mike and Frank have all the leads. Then they will handpick the area."

But wherever it chooses to film, the show is specifically seeking leads in Watkins Glen and the surrounding area, and asking anyone with a large antique collection or knowledge of someone with such a collection to let "American Pickers" know about it.

To do so, email your name, phone number, address and description of the collection and photos to Gibbs at, or call (607) 535-4300.

Whether in Watkins Glen or elsewhere, the New York episodes are expected to be filmed in April.

NO MORE Week event planned

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 3 -- The First Step Victim Services Department of Catholic Charities is hosting an awareness event on Tuesday, March 10 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at its office, 607 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen. This event is in conjunction with NO MORE Week.

NO MORE Week, Catholic Charities officials say, is a national effort to engage every individual, organization, or corporation to say NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault and to make domestic violence and sexual assault awareness and prevention a priority year-round.

A total of "64% of Americans," the organization says in a press release, "say if we talk more about domestic violence and sexual assault, it would make it easier to help someone. One in three women and one in four men experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes. This is why it is so important to make awareness a priority year-round. Please join us in saying NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault."

Community participants, the event organizers say, are encouraged to drop in any time between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. There will be a photo station where visitors can make their own NO MORE statement. Light refreshments will be provided and there will be a drawing to win a prize for participation. The event is free to the public.

"If you can't make it to the office on Tuesday," says the press release, "you can still participate. Share your NO MORE statement by using #NOMOREWEEK on social media. Upload a picture telling us how you're saying NO MORE when it comes to domestic violence & sexual assault."

For more information, contact Bethany Worrey, First Step Victim Services Supervisor, at 535-2050, ext. 205 or via email ( For more information on the First Step Program, visit the Catholic Charities’ website (

NO MORE is a public awareness and engagement campaign focused on ending domestic violence and sexual assault. NO MORE seeks to break social stigma, normalize the conversation around domestic violence and sexual assault, and increase resources to address these urgent issues. For more information on NO MORE Week, visit

Photo in text: Bethany Worrey, First Step Victim Services Supervisor, making her NO MORE Statement. (Photo provided)

Noms sought for 'Woman of Distinction'

Special to The Odessa File

ELMIRA, March 3 -- State Senator Tom O’Mara has announced he is seeking nominations
for the Senate's 18th annual "Women of Distinction" program to honor local women making outstanding contributions to area communities

In addition to the local nominating process, the Senate will also unveil, in mid-March, an historical exhibit in the Legislative Office Building in Albany paying tribute to "Women of Distinction" from throughout New York’s history.

O’Mara and his Senate colleagues select one new “Woman of Distinction” honoree from their respective legislative districts annually. This year’s honorees will be invited to an awards ceremony and reception in Albany in early May.

"The ‘Woman of Distinction’ tribute is a meaningful recognition. I look forward to this annual opportunity to recognize an outstanding area citizen," said O’Mara, whose 58th Senate District encompasses all of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates counties, and part of Tompkins County.
"We all know someone who makes an enormous difference to the community at large. Whether she is a service provider, a teacher going above and beyond the call of duty, a businesswoman, or simply a community resident known for her good deeds, I'd like to see her recognized."

In 2011, his first year in the Senate, O’Mara honored Carol Berry of Hornell, a long-time regional library professional and director of the Dormann Library in Bath. Virginia “Ginny” Houseknecht of Watkins Glen, a local Cornell Cooperative Extension educator and leader, and founder of the Southern Tier Parkinson’s Disease Support Group, was the area “Woman of Distinction” in 2012. Two years ago O’Mara paid tribute to Beverly “Bev” Stamp, co-owner and operator of Lakewood Vineyards in Schuyler County, and a beloved ambassador of New York State’s nationally and internationally renowned wine and grape industry. Last year, O’Mara recognized Lauren R. Snyder of Penn Yan, a well-known public health professional in Yates County who served as the county’s Public Health Director for 28 years before retiring in 2009.

Nominations for this year’s award must be received no later than Monday, March 30, 2015. They can be submitted online through O’Mara’s Senate website, (click on the “Women of Distinction” icon in the left-hand column of the home page). A downloadable nomination form is also available on the senator’s website. Forms can also be obtained by emailing a request to, or by calling any of the senator’s offices in Elmira (607-735-9671), Bath (607-776-3201), or Albany (518-455-2091).

Registration open for Arc Grand Prix Run

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Feb. 27 -- Registration is now open for the second annual Arc Grand Prix Run at the Watkins Glen International racetrack, which will be held Saturday, April 18 during the track's Opening Weekend.

The community event and fundraiser is organized by The Arc of Schuyler in Watkins Glen, a not-for-profit organization providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc Grand Prix Run course is the 3.4 mile Watkins Glen International road course. Participants may run or walk the track, or walk a 1-mile course.

Participants who register by March 22 are guaranteed a race shirt. Participants can also purchase checkered running socks online. Male and female finishers who place 1st, 2nd or 3rd in their age bracket will receive award medallions. Race-day registration begins at 7 a.m., and the race start time is 8:00 a.m.

Registration for the race will be open online until April 16. For more information and to register for the race or to volunteer, go to

Photo in text: Some of the more than 500 participants from areas in New York State and Pennsylvania who ran or walked at the inaugural Arc Grand Prix Run at Watkins Glen International in April 2014. (File photo)

Long-term care Ombudsmen sought

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 26 -- Catholic Charities of Schuyler County is seeking committed, caring volunteers for the New York State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program currently serving Chemung, Schuyler and Tioga Counties.

Says Catholic Charities in a press release: "Our neighbors who live in Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Residences need your help to advocate on their behalf to ensure they experience the highest quality of care and quality of life while residing in these communities. The word 'Ombudsman' is Swedish and means 'one who speaks on behalf of others.' Residents often have little or no contact with the outside world or feel they lack control over their own lives. A certified Ombudsman is an important volunteer who works with the residents to resolve complaints and concerns. The Program’s mission is to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of the residents in long-term care facilities."

Every volunteer Ombudsman, the organization said, is provided with extensive training (36 hours total) by a local Coordinator. A certified Ombudsman is expected to make a commitment of 4 hours a week visiting and observing residents in their assigned facility. Regular contact and support is provided by the local Coordinator in order to assist with the initial orientation of becoming an Ombudsman and to promote ongoing coaching and supervision.

If you would like more information about the training and becoming an Ombudsman, contact Sue Makowiec at 607-535-2050, ext. 210 or email your questions to

For more information on the program, visit the Catholic Charities’ website (

SFLW to celebrate 75 years of service

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 13 -- Beginning on Monday, February 16 Southern Finger Lakes Women (SFLW), a chapter of New York State Women, Inc., will commemorate the organization’s founding in February 1940.

The celebration will begin with a dinner at the Marmalade Cat Bed and Breakfast in Watkins Glen. There will be exhibits of Southern Finger Lakes Women achievements and activities and what these have meant to the Schuyler County community, such as the SFLW scholarship programs for Schuyler County high school seniors and local women and the Youth Leadership program (designed to teach young women the skills they need to succeed in the world of work and how to make appropriate choices about career and lifestyle).

Membership information for the Southern Finger Lakes Women’s organization will also be provided. To make a reservation for the evening, ask questions or receive additional information, contact Southern Finger Lakes Women at

New York State Women, Inc., provides members with professional development, networking, grassroots activism and career advancement resources. Its mission is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information. The Southern Finger Lakes Women Chapter meets on the 3rd Monday of each month. For more information about the Southern Finger Lakes Women, visit the chapter website at or contact Gloria Hutchings at (607) 594-2489 or JoAnne Krolak at (607) 732-1171.

Stocum is chair for Arc Spaghetti Dinner

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 30 -- Watkins Glen Postmaster Don Stocum has been named chairman of The Arc of Schuyler’s Annual Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser at the Montour Moose Lodge. The dinner will take place on President’s Day, February 16.

Stocum (pictured at right) is an active volunteer in the Schuyler County community. He has served on The Arc of Schuyler’s Board of Directors for two years and is also chair of the organization’s fundraising committee.

“The Montour Moose Lodge has been very generous, partnering with The Arc for more than 30 years to host a fundraising dinner. I’m thrilled to be involved this year,” Stocum said.

“We listened to the feedback we got last year and we’re making changes to our set-up to ensure everyone has an enjoyable dinner whether they’re dining in or want a fast takeout meal. We’ll still have the great help of the Watkins Glen High School Interact Club students. Guests really enjoyed the art show created by people who receive supports through The Arc, so we’re bringing it back.”

Dinner service starts at 5 p.m. at the Montour Moose Lodge, 2096 State Route 14, Montour Falls. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for youths under age 12. Meals include spaghetti with sausage and meatballs, tossed salad, bread, beverage, and dessert. Takeout meals are available. Tickets may be purchased at the event or in advance at the Montour Moose Lodge or The Arc of Schuyler, 203 12th St., Watkins Glen.

Proceeds from the event support The Arc of Schuyler, a local charitable organization providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. For more information, call 607-535-6934 or visit

Photo in text: Don Stocum (Photo provided)

Donors needed for Feb. 20 blood drive

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 28 -- Schuyler Hospital will hold a blood drive on Friday, February 20 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at September Hill, 250 Steuben Street, Montour Falls – two buildings up the hill from the hospital.

Inclement weather and flu outbreaks are causing many donors to cancel appointments. Others can help ensure a steady supply of blood products for patients in need by scheduling a donation.

Anyone wishing to make an appointment to give can do so at or by calling the Schuyler Hospital Lab at (607) 535-7121 ext. 2207. All blood types are needed. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Platelet donors and blood donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially needed. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.

Historian Green to speak at Center Jan. 24

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 18 -- International Motor Racing Research Center Historian Bill Green will kick off the 2015 Center Conversations series on Jan. 24, launching a monthly schedule that will include programs on Can-Am, racing in the Pacific Northwest and the famed Syracuse Mile.

The Center's second annual model car show is also being planned.

Green (pictured at right), who additionally serves as historian for Watkins Glen International, will speak about "Racing Things: Patches, Programs, Credentials and Other Things."

The talk will be at 1 p.m. and is free and open to all. The Center is located at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen.

Green is a noted authority on Watkins Glen racing history and boasts a vast personal collection of "racing things" that was inaugurated when he bought a program at the first race in Watkins Glen in 1948. The collection today comprises more than 3,000 hard and soft cover books, racing posters, photographs, motorsports magazines and full race results at Watkins Glen 1948 to present.

Since 1948 he has missed only two Watkins Glen race seasons: 1966 and 1967, when he was stationed in Morocco with the U.S. Navy. He made up for the misses by attending Formula One races in England and Germany.

Green's presentation tops a diverse 2015 Center Conversations schedule:

Feb. 21: Watkins Glen resident Tony Vickio speaks about his new book "Shifting Gears, Tales of pistons, paint cans & personalities," which covers his story of growing up in Watkins Glen, his time as a race car driver and his continuing career as an insider in the world of motorsports.

April 18: The Center joins the celebration of opening weekend at Watkins Glen International with a talk by Martin Rudow, author of "Long Straights and Hairpin Turns, The History of Northwest Sports Car Racing" and publisher of Vintage Drift magazine for SOVREN, the Pacific Northwest's largest and most active vintage racing club.

May 9: Randy Cook discusses his new book "Bowtie Ferraris" about Chevrolet-engined Ferraris from the 1950s and 1960s.

Sept. 12: Oscar Koveleski and Jack Deren are the headliners for a program celebrating Can-Am racing. Deren was chief mechanic for Koveleski's Team Auto World McLaren.

Nov. 14: A panel of speakers will focus on the historic Syracuse Mile, the Syracuse, NY fairgrounds track which is one of the oldest continuously used tracks in the nation.

Photo in text: Bill Green (File photo)

Library to host author Mackin on Feb. 11

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 16 -- Jeanne Mackin will speak about her award-winning book "The Beautiful American" at the Watkins Glen Public Library, 610 S. Decatur Street, on Wednesday, February 11 at noon.

Her novel about Man Ray and his model-mistress Lee Miller has been said to "evoke the iridescence of 1920s Paris, taking readers from the giddiness of the flapper era to the grittiness of World War II."

Mackin, who lives in Ithaca, is also the author of "The Sweet By and By," "Dreams of Empire" and the "Cornell Book of Herbs and Edible Flowers," and she is a frequent contributor to arts magazines and newspapers.

This program is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Friends of Watkins Library, who will provide coffee, tea and dessert. For more information contact the library at 607-535-2346 or email

Photos in text: Author Jeanne Mackin and her latest book. (Photos provided)

'I know my life will always have challenges'

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 15 -- When Watkins Glen High School senior Alexis Gonzalez was honored Thursday by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club at its weekly luncheon as its WGHS Student of the Month for January, teacher Kelsey Wood described the honoree as "my hero" for all that Alexis has accomplished in overcoming serious health conditions, and for the positive attitude she has exhibited along the way.

Alexis prepared a speech for the occasion, but was unable to present it because of laryngitis. It was read to Rotarians by her mother, Michelle Simiele, with Alexis standing by her side, her trademark smile on her face. The text of that speech follows:

"I am truly honored to be receiving this award today. There were times when I wondered if I was ever going to get out of high school, and now I can't believe that my senior year is half over.

"I have enjoyed growing up in a small town and attending Watkins Glen High School. I plan on continuing my education close to home, either at Corning Community College or the Arnot School of Nursing.

"I decided to go into nursing after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As you can imagine, this diagnosis was devastating to me. I lost my vision almost completely on March 5, 2013. This condition is called Optic Neuritis and it left me temporarily blind. In combination with MS, I have another neurologic condition called Small Fiber Neuropathy. This causes excruciating pain, and in the beginning I was unable to walk. It took months for my doctors to identify what was wrong with me, and I was in and out of the hospital in the spring of 2013.

"These circumstances made school very difficult, but through the support of my teachers, friends and parents, I was able to persevere.

"I now know that my life will always have challenges, and I hope to someday help others through the field of nursing. I believe that through this experience I can give back some of what was given to me through my health care professionals. Their care is the reason why I am able to live a normal life and work toward my dreams and goals."

Photo in text: Alexis Gonzalez at the Rotary Club luncheon.

IC student plans 53-mile walk to school

Special to The Odessa File

GENEVA, Jan. 13 -- Rather than driving to school, 19-year-old Ithaca College sophomore Faith Meckley has decided to take 5 days to walk the 53 miles that stand between her home in Geneva and Ithaca College.

Her walk will begin January 14 and end January 18 when she arrives on campus and moves into her dorm in the Sustainably Conscious Living and Learning Community. Meckley says she plans to walk at a pace of about 10 miles a day, and will camp outside in her tent each night. She will carry everything she needs on her back. Her route can be viewed here, with approximations of where her campsites will be along the way.

Meckley -- a leading member of the We Are Seneca Lake group protesting the approved storage of methane and the proposed storage of propane and butane in abandoned Crestwood energy firm salt caverns along the western shore of Seneca Lake -- says the primary purpose of the walk is to deepen her relationship with the Finger Lakes Region, her lifelong home, as she walks along the shores of both Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. She says she hopes to inspire others to appreciate and care for their own home regions.

Meckley is returning to college after taking the Fall 2014 semester off to participate in the Great March for Climate Action. The Climate March traversed the country from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. between March and November of last year to demand action on climate change from both world leaders and everyday citizens. She participated for almost two thirds of the March from May to October, walking from Taos, New Mexico to Youngstown, Ohio.

“Before the Climate March I would have thought that walking from Geneva to Ithaca was crazy, but now it’s totally within the realm of possibility,” Meckley said.

The Climate March averaged about 15 miles a day across many terrains, including the Mojave Desert in Arizona, the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado and the Great Plains. The March also faced extreme weather conditions, including torrential rains, hails, a blizzard, and a few tornado warnings. Meckley said the March challenged her physically and spiritually and boosted her confidence in her physical ability.

“I had never been more impressed with the human body than I was while walking on the March,” Meckley said. “There was one marcher, Miriam Kashia, who was 71 and she walked every step of the 3,000 miles. And another, Jimmy Betts, walked about 40 miles in a 25-hour period to catch up with the March. With practice, you can get your body into a rhythm and it feels like you can do anything.”

Meckley says her time on the March inspired her to attempt walking to school. Her walk to Ithaca College will be different from the Climate March in that she will be doing it on her own and in the cold of an Upstate New York January.

Meckley is a journalism major at Ithaca College’s Roy H. Park School of Communications. She is also pursuing a minor in creative writing and has recently switched her second minor from international politics to outdoor pursuits -- also inspired by the Climate March.

Photo in text: Faith Meckley speaking at a We Are Seneca Lake rally. (File photo)

Youth Leadership program set for girls

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 11 -- Region VII of New York State Women, Inc., will offer a Youth Leadership program to local high school girls (grades 10 through 12) at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen on Saturday, March 7, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. .

The centerpiece of the event is the organization’s “Reality Store” experience, which is a simulation where participants select a career, make lifestyle choices and learn to budget their money to be able to support those choices.

Presentations will be given on résumé writing, interviewing, appropriate/inappropriate workplace attire, public speaking and social media. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to network with business and professional women.

The cost of the program is $30 and includes lunch and morning refreshments. Deadline to register is January 30. For more information on the Youth Leadership Program and the Reality Store, or to obtain a registration form, go to or email

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. For further information, go to

SCOPED team adds Carbone to lineup

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 6 -- The Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) has announced the hire of a seasoned economic development professional, Jason Carbone.

Carbone brings over eight years of experience in housing/community revitalization, real estate development, grant writing and grant administration.

He earned a Master’s Degree from Washington University in St. Louis and an undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. While a native of upstate New York, Carbone is relocating from St. Louis, Missouri, where he led an economic development organization and focused extensively on forming collaborative partnerships between diverse community organizations and local institutions.

“Jason brings the talent, experience and energy level we need to fulfill our mission of creating economic opportunities for the residents in Schuyler County and the region,” said Michael Printup, President of Watkins Glen International Speedway and Chairman of the Board of Directors of SCOPED.

Other service providers in the region agree.

"As an Economic Development partner with SCOPED since 2006, Community Progress, Inc. is very pleased to welcome Jason to the SCOPED team," said Julie Chevalier, Executive Director of Community Progress, Inc. "Schuyler County is on the edge of developing a bigger, more thriving, tourist-driven community. Jason's hire is a massive validation to SCOPED's commitment with Schuyler County."

Carbone joins Anne Mace on the SCOPED team under the leadership of Judy McKinney Cherry, CEcD.

Photo in text: Jason Carbone (Photo provided)

WGHS alum honored for emergency work

Special to The Odessa File

ROCHESTER, Dec. 29, 2014 -- Watkins Glen High School graduate Ryan Lokken, Fleet Maintenance Manager for Rural/Metro Rochester, NY is being recognized as a finalist in the 11th Annual Emergency Vehicle Technician of the Year Award, a national honor sponsored by News.

The EVT of the Year award was created to recognize the hard-working, dedicated technicians and mechanics working behind the scenes to keep emergency apparatus and first responders safe. Ryan placed 5th among 26 nominations submitted to a panel of judges, which included three previous EVT of the Year award winners and representatives from the EVT Certification Commission and the Fire Department Safety Officers Association.

The 1st-place finisher was Shop Supervisor David Cottingham Jr. of Chesterfield County, Virginia. Other top-five honorees are located in Cranston, Rhode Island; Greenville, South Carolina; and Overland Park, Kansas.

“Ryan is an outstanding member of our team. He is constantly looking for ways to optimize our efficiencies and improve the level of service provided by our Fleet Department,” said Thomas Bonfiglio, Regional Director. “More importantly, Ryan takes great pride in knowing that he and his team are helping to safeguard the lives of our patients and crews, as well as protecting the enterprise by ensuring that our ambulance fleet is always in excellent condition. He is most definitely a deserving finalist for the EVT of the Year award.”

Lokken is being recognized for his contribution to refurbishing ambulances for Rochester’s Sister City Responders of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and his ability to manage and implement cost-saving programs for the Rochester division.

After graduating from WGHS, Lokken earned a Bachelors of Technology in Agricultural Engineering from SUNY Cobleskill. In 2011, he became employed at Rural/Metro as a Fleet specialist and was quickly promoted to Fleet Manager in 2013.

He is the father two children, Emily, 7, and Andrew, 4. He enjoys restoring cars and tractors, and serves as a volunteer firefighter. He resides in Stafford, NY.

Photo in text: Ryan Lokken (Photo provided)

Students, vols help provide Merry Christmas

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 21 --Schuyler County residents with developmental disabilities will
celebrate a happy Christmas thanks to the generosity of Odessa-Montour students, St. Mary’s of the Lake Church in Watkins Glen, and supporters of The Arc of Schuyler.

A week before Christmas, members of the Odessa-Montour student Leadership Cabinet volunteered their morning at The Arc to wrap more than 100 Christmas gifts. Thanks to charitable donations throughout the year, The Arc of Schuyler budgets a Christmas fund to provide these gifts to every person residing at its staff supported homes in Schuyler County.

Parishioners of St. Mary’s of the Lake Church contribute as well, conducting a holiday gift drive and delivering wrapped gifts to The Arc. The gifts are based on “wish lists” created by residents, and thanks to St. Mary’s donations, The Arc is able to meet most of those requests.

Earlier in December, the Harvest Café in Montour Falls hosted an inclusive Christmas talent show, where people with and without developmental disabilities performed. The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club also sponsored an Arc Christmas party at the Montour Moose Lodge. Rotarians and Moose members volunteered at the event and A Walk on the Wild Side Entertainment donated DJ services for dancing and karaoke.

“Many of the people we support do not have family members in the state or family at all," said Arc Executive Director Jeannette Frank. "They spend Christmas day with friends, including direct support professional staff. Our annual Christmas party with Rotarians and the great gifts on Christmas day remind people that they’re part of the community and that they’re cared about. We
sincerely appreciate the volunteers and organizations that have helped create a wonderful Christmas for people with disabilities.”

The Arc of Schuyler is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that provides 24/7 residential supports to 50 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and a range of services to 200 individuals and families in Schuyler County. For more information, visit

Photos in text: Odessa-Montour students at The Arc, where they helped wrap presents; and Rotarians Chris Burns, left, and Don Stocum. Rotary sponsored an Arc Christmas party at the Montour Moose Lodge.

Montour Falls woman wins Fiat, Italy trip

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 18, 2014 -- Nancy Loughlin of Montour Falls is the winner of the Fiat 500 Abarth and trip to Italy offered by the International Motor Racing Research Center.

"This is the Center's 15th year of raising much-needed financial support with a significant raffle. We've had winners from all over the United States, but Nancy is our first winner from our own Schuyler County. We're thrilled," said Center President J.C. Argetsinger.

"We sincerely thank everyone who purchased tickets and made this year's raffle of the Fiat and the trip a successful fundraiser," Argetsinger said.

The winning ticket was drawn at the Center on Dec. 13 by Anthony J. Specchio Sr., grand marshal of the 2014 Italian American Festival in Watkins Glen.

Loughlin, who lives just a few miles south of the Center, is a retired Watkins Glen High School guidance counselor. She has purchased tickets in previous Center car raffles.

"Paired with the opportunity to travel to Italy, this one was very attractive," Loughlin said.

"I remember when Fiats were in the States before, and I've grown to admire them. They're cute little bugs," she said. "And this is a turbo! It purrs loudly."

Loughlin bought her ticket in September at the downtown Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival. Three months later she learned about her new car and trip when she listened to a voice mail message from Argetsinger.

"I could not believe it," Loughlin said days later. "I'm kind of still in shock."

Loughlin visited Venice, Italy, in 1999 and said she's looking forward to returning.

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

For more information about the Center's work and its programs, visit or call (607) 535-9044.

Photo in text: Nancy Loughlin of Montour Falls with the Fiat 500 Abarth she won in the International Motor Racing Research Center's 2014 car raffle. The prize includes a trip to Italy. (Photo by Kevin Hughey)

Sweet Tea debut helps Literacy Volunteers

MONTOUR FALLS, Dec. 14 -- Literacy Volunteers of Chemung and Schuyler Counties was the beneficiary of funds raised at Sweet Tea's debut tea party at Mura Bella’s Italian Steakhouse in Montour Falls on Dec. 6.

While guests enjoyed a traditional tea party, tickets were sold for drawings for donated prizes, including a gift certificate from Mura Bella’s. Money raised by ticket sales was donated to Literacy Volunteers.

“I’m thrilled that through the generosity of the tea party guests we were able to raise enough money to purchase study materials to help learners in our program pass the written exam for their driver’s license permit,” said Kris Morseman, program coordinator for Schuyler County. “Literacy Volunteers is part of the Economic Opportunity Program based in Elmira, and EOP’s missions include breaking through barriers of poverty. The ability to obtain a driver’s license significantly improves a person’s chances of gainful employment and economic independence.”

The tea party was the first for Sweet Tea, a new business in Montour Falls specializing in catering tea parties.

“I’m very thankful to Jennifer Mckee, owner of Sweet Tea, for choosing Literacy Volunteers as her charity of choice for this event," said Morseman. "I wish her well with her new business and hope to work with her again in the future.”

For more information about becoming involved with Literacy Volunteers as either a tutor or learner, call 607-481-3571 or email

Check presentation

Cargill Inc. recently presented a donation of $3,750 to the Schuyler County 4-H Robotics program, which prepares more than 40 youths in the Schuyler community for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers through the use of Robotics as a learning tool and in performance competitions. Representing Cargill at the presentation was Keith Klug. (Photo provided)

The Cantata Singers (Photo provided)

Concert Series to feature Cantata Singers

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 28 -- The Schuyler County Concert Series, sponsored by the Episcopal Parishes of Schuyler County, will present a Saturday concert at 7:30 p.m. December 6th at Saint James’ Episcopal Church, Sixth and Decatur Streets, Watkins Glen.

The concert will feature the Cantata Singers under the direction of Will Wickham. They will present a variety of Christmas-themed music and lead a carol sing at the end of the program. The program will include The Christmas Story by Hugo Distler, Nativity Madrigals by Daniel Pinkham, The Manger by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Carol of Joy by Dan Forrest, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart and arranged by Philip Kern, and two carols by P.D.Q. Bach.

The Cantata Singers were founded in Elmira in 1964 as a community-based choral organization dedicated to providing local residents the opportunity to perform in, and listen to, great classical choral works. Since the beginning, they have performed over 150 concerts throughout the Southern-Tier region. They rehearse Sundays, Labor Day through May, at the Parish Hall at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Horseheads.

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

Vickio book launch held at Center

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 28 -- Tony Vickio released the long-anticipated book about his career in motorsports on Wednesday, Nov. 26, at the International Motor Racing Research Center.

“Shifting Gears, Tales of pistons, paint cans & personalities” is published by Preston Woods Publishing of Los Gatos, Calif., owned by Watkins Glen native Gordon Cooper.

The book launch was from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen.

Vickio signed books, which were available for purchase at the Center.

The book presents Vickio’s story of growing up in Watkins Glen, his experiences as a race car driver and his continuing career as an insider in the world of motorsports.

“The most fun about writing the book was the reminiscing,” Vickio said. “Once I started writing, I’d remember things I hadn’t thought of in a long time. I was always going back to these different things I had done.”

Vickio spent four years on the project.

“It would have taken four months if I knew how to type,” he said.

For more information about the book, contact the Racing Research Center at (607) 535-9044 or at

Photo in text: Tony Vickio (Photo provided)

Veterans Day ceremony gives first-person account of WWI

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 11 -- The annual Veterans Day ceremony Tuesday in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse was held under a sunny sky, with pleasant temperatures -- unusual for a mid-November ceremony that in recent years has featured rain and wind and occasional snowflakes.

Also unusual Tuesday was the keynote address. Instead of a speech, it was a reading by veteran Mike Coolican from the diary compiled by his grandfather, Patrick Coolican of Watkins Glen, who was in repeated combat during the last few months of World War I.

Mike Coolican's remarks followed several speeches -- by Watkins Glen Mayor Mark Swinnerton, Schuyler County Legislature Chair Dennis Fagan, and present and past American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars commanders. There was also a flawless recitation of The Gettysburg Address by Casey Underdown of Odessa.

Coolican read excerpts of the diary from typed pages. The diary itself, he showed later, is a pocket-sized book with pages full of small lettering. Many of the pages are loose within its worn covers. He keeps it stored, wrapped in plastic, inside a small box.

The diary, which Coolican noted is 96 years old, was presented to him by an aunt three years ago. He said he had no idea of the events that were described in it until he read the booklet. His grandfather, he said, was a quiet man who married upon his return to Watkins Glen after the war, raised four children, and lived peacefully on South Decatur Street. He died at the age of 68.

Patrick Coolican, said his grandson, was born in 1891, one of nine children. He was working in the coal mines at 14, and taking night courses at the high school, for which he played football. He later worked for the railroad, "but then World War I happened." He left Elmira in early 1918 for training in Suffolk County, and then shipped out for France. Once there, his group sailed along the coast toward Dover, England, sustaining some damage on the way from a submarine attack.

After England came Calais, France, and the diary describes days of long hikes, overnight stays in fields or in barns -- one from which "we chased out 15 cows." More training followed, and then came a position near the front lines. Pat Coolican was attached to the Royal English Engineers, which was charged with putting up barb wire "with bombs dropping around us."

Hunger was a factor early on, but soon became a way of life. So was fatigue and filth. Pat's unit eventually made it to the front, where "more than one of our boys went down." That too became the norm, as friends and comrades died at the hands of German machine guns and bombs. One assignment -- to "blow up German wire" -- had him writing later that "I did not expect to come back."

Along the way he and his fellow soldiers picked up a few prisoners, but always faced the threat of German assault. At one point, after a long hike during which they "passed lots of dead Germans ... we relieved the 4th Division. Jerry (the Germans) gave us a big welcome ... shelling the hell out of us." It was, he noted, "hell on Earth. I thought our goose was cooked." In that engagement, he lost "my best friend," killed by a sniper.

At that point, he wrote this: "I haven't changed my clothes in 27 days. Sleeping is a thing of the past, and I have forgotten how to eat ... Oh, what I'd give for a bath."

His unit was relieved by Italians, but he and his comrades still were dodging German bombs as they hiked through the woods. Eventually, in September, they were back on the front lines, and were hit by "a barrage at midnight ... Oh, what a noise at 1 a.m." His unit went "over the top" toward the enemy and met "heavy resistance ... the Germans raised hell" with a machine gun and by "dropping bombs on us." Coolican helped "take out a machine gun nest," easing the situation.

After he was sent to headquarters with a message, he found his way back to combat. "Jerry is entrenched again," he wrote, prior to being ordered out to "blow up some wire." He encountered heavy machine gun fire, which he called "a warm welcome." Many men, he wrote, were dead or wounded around him, and "the groans are something terrible."

Coolican soon sustained mustard-gas burns and lost his voice, and was relieved, earning a break and an accompanying shower. He was promoted to corporal, and was soon back at the front, fixing his bayonet and going "over the top" again ... and waking up in a hospital. "I didn't get very far," he wrote later, "when Jerry got me" in the neck and knee. This was in early November, just a few days before the Armistice was signed ending the war on Nov. 11.

"I was very sick," he said. "I was in bad shape ... and pain." He didn't get on his feet until the end of the month, and then only by "holding onto the hospital bed."

A few weeks later, just before Christmas, he had recovered enough to return to his company, but found he didn't "know most of the fellows ... Most of the guys were gone."

A short time later, he was promoted to Sergeant. And soon after that, he returned to the United States and a life of peace, serving, among other things, as a Scoutmaster.

"He was," Michael Coolican concluded, "a kind and gentle man."

Photos in text: From top, keynote speaker Mike Coolican; emcee Tony Specchio; Boy Scouts raise the flag; Casey Underdown recites The Gettysburg Address.


Bernie Riley performs Taps at the end of the Veterans Day ceremony.

9 are training to be CPR instructors

Special to The Odessa File

WAVERLY, Nov. 7 -- Nine area residents and emergency responders spent Saturday, Nov. 1 learning to be American Heart Association CPR instructors.

Jordan Welch, Pam Newton, Jessica Price, Eric Benjamin, Susan Ferrito, Sheila Merril, Nicole Turnmyre, Vanessa Pierce, and Matt Horton successfully completed both the online and classroom training components at the Waverly-Barton Fire Department with Lifesaving Outreach Services, LLC instructors Jeff Rosenheck and Colby Holbert.

The students gave numerous reasons for taking the class, some personal, but all recognized the importance of CPR education and want to help support the community through education.

“The students know first-hand the incredible need for immediate CPR, quality CPR, and lay person training,” said LOS CEO and Instructor Jeff Rosenheck. Added LOS Operations Manager Colby Holbert: “I am excited to see these new instructors in the field."

The nine students will now observe a full CPR course and teach one on their own while being observed by a long-time instructor in order to become certified. “They have spent many hours and worked very hard to reach this point. I have no doubt they will easily complete the remaining components,” said Rosenheck.

Lifesaving Outreach Services, LLC is a CPR training organization based in Pine City, offering community and private classes in Community First Aid and CPR and Healthcare Provider CPR. For more information, visit, email, or call 607-731-4217.

Photo in text: New CPR instructor students, from left: Pam Newton (Chemung County Nursing Facility); Susan Ferrito (Guthrie Health); Jeff Rosenheck (Course Instructor); Eric Benjamin (Bradford County 911); Nicole Turnmyre (Schuyler County Health); Jordan Welch (Memorial and Mansfield EMS); Vanessa Pierce (Ulster Fire); Sheila Merril (Guthrie Health) and Matt Horton (Wysox EMS). Not pictured: Jessica Price (Arnot Health) and Colby Holbert (Assistant Course Instructor, Lifesaving Outreach Services). (Photo provided)

Fire shoots through a window on the building's north end while smoke billows from the cupola.

Fire strikes, heavily damages historic building in Montour

MONTOUR FALLS, Nov. 3 -- Fire of undetermined origin struck the historic Cook Mansion -- also known as the Barton House -- Sunday night in Montour Falls, leaving behind heavy damage.

Firefighters from around Schuyler County, as well as from Horseheads, Elmira Heights, Town & Country and Dundee, responded to the scene, located at 203 South Genesee Street. The building has recently been serving as a Bed & Breakfast.

Nobody was reported injured in the blaze, which started around 7 p.m. on the third floor, or attic area, of the structure. Officials said the grown son of the owner was present, as were at least four Bed & Breadfast guests. One, Ramon Milo of Manhattan, had checked in to the B&B with his wife an hour before the fire began. They stopped here on a return trip home after visiting Toronto, and had sampled wineries in our area earlier in the day. Another guest, Curtis Robinson of Colorado, said he smelled smoke as he and his wife drove off to dinner, but thought it was coming from some other location. They discovered upon their return that it had emanated from the B&B, and that they had likely lost their travel belongings.

The building, on the National Register of Historic Places, is located in what is known as the village's Glorious T of historic structures. It was built in the 1870s by Elbert Cook, brother of the man often referred to as the Father of Schuyler County, Charles Cook. The building passed to the distinguished Barton family near the turn into the 20th century, and remained in the family for almost 100 years. It has since been owned in turn by artist Joyce Stillman, artist Jill Drummond, John and Gerri Benedict, and Carol Pardini Hagopian and family. She was reportedly in Europe at the time of the blaze, traveling with her sister.

When firefighters arrived, flames were seen shooting from an attic window on the building's north end. It was difficult to fight, one said, because of the limited access -- a narrow stairway leading to the attic through the building's cupola. At one point, flames suddenly shot from the west side of the building, above the roof. Smoke was thick in the attic and cupola.

Nonetheless, the fire was knocked down before the flames could spread farther, prompting Montour Falls Fire Chief Jeff Confer to call it "a good stop."

Fire and smoke damage were primarily limited to the building's upper section, although officials said there was extensive water damage on the first two floors of the structure. The building is insured, and its basic structure was not considered compromised. Renovation, various officials said, was a likelihood.

The Manhattan guest, Mr. Milo, said he and his wife had found alternate lodging for the night at a motel in Corning. Their room had been on the south end of the B&B, on the second floor -- well away from the fire. Their belongings, including their luggage and an iPad and iPhone, were retrieved by firefighters and delivered to them.

It was not clear where the Robinsons were going to stay, although they were scheduled to depart the next morning for Colorado Springs. The couple had been in the area to visit their daughter, a freshman at Cornell University. They had spent three nights in the B&B, in a room directly beneath where the fire struck. Robinson (right) was told it was unlikely any of his possessions, including a laptop, had escaped damage.

The Red Cross was on hand to determine lodging needs for members of the Hagopian family who had been present. It was not clear how many were there, but one of the guests, Mr. Milo, said a couple of children were present with the owner's son.

This was not the first time fire had touched the building. According to one longtime firefighter on the scene, there was a fire in the building -- also in its attic area -- back in the 1970s that left extensive damage. This jibed with what one area resident familiar with the structure had said -- that charred timbers were visible in a portion of the attic in recent years.

The building, with nine bedrooms and eight bathrooms, contains 5,828 square feet of space. Built in the Victorian Italianate style, it sits on a 5-acre lot.

Photos in text: Flames flare above the building; the sign with the building's current title; and B&B guest Curtis Robinson of Colorado.

Firefighters attacked the blaze with water from ground-based and ladder-based hoses.

Forest supervisor Madrid accepts post

Special to The Odessa File

RUTLAND, VT. (October 31, 2014) – Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forest officials have announced that Forest Supervisor Colleen Pelles Madrid has accepted a position as Deputy Director of Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air and Rare Plants in the Forest Service’s Washington D.C. office.

Madrid recently occupied this position in a temporary capacity. In her new Forest Service role, she will interphase with other state and federal natural resource agencies to provide direction and policy interpretation to Forest Service field units and partner organizations.

“I have truly enjoyed my time in Vermont and New York and I am proud of the work that we have been able to accomplish with the support of our local, state, federal and non-profit partners,” said Madrid.

Dee Hines, a Deputy Forest Supervisor on the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, will replace Madrid and serve as the Acting Forest Supervisor for the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests until the position is permanently filled.

Auxiliary plans Autumn House Tour

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 29, 2014 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary has combined a diverse selection of places for the public to visit on Sunday, Nov. 9 as part of its Autumn House Tour.

All tours begin at the Watkins Glen Public Library, opening at 11:30 a.m. for registration and a snack of cookies and beverages. The self-guided, self-driven tours may be travelled in any order after ticket holders exchange tickets for admission wrist bands and descriptive brochures with map at the library. All locations are open from 12 noon until 4 p.m.

Four bed and breakfasts are featured on the tour, including two in Watkins Glen and two in Hector. A new lakefront condominium will be toured at another stop, plus an over-sized Gettysburg Diographic Diorama displayed in an historic barn offers something for the history buffs.

Advance purchase tickets at $15 each can be purchased at several local outlets: Unique Country Boutique (212 N. Franklin) in Watkins Glen; Stillman’s Greenhouse (251 Route 14) and Quinlan’s Pharmacy (336 West Main), both in Montour Falls, and the Schuyler Hospital Gift Shop in the hospital’s main lobby.

Tickets are available at the library on the day of the tour for $20 per person.

For further information, and to purchase tickets for the Autumn House Tour, contact Chris Updyke at 607-535-4445 or email

Frein timeline in Schuyler outlined

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 31 -- Eric M. Frein, captured by police in Pennsylvania Thursday almost seven weeks after the ambush shooting of two state troopers -- one fatally -- on Sept. 12, was a resident of the Schuyler County Jail for a period in 2006.

The office of District Attorney Joe Fazzary recently released the following account and timeline of Frein's case in Schuyler County:

"On June 22, 2006, Eric M. Frein (pictured at right) pleaded guilty to Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the fifth degree, a Class A misdemeanor. The defendant had been charged with Grand Larceny in the third degree and Burglary in the third degree. The charges were based upon the theft of World War II uniforms and memorabilia from an enclosed structure, which was located at a WWII reenactment event being held near Odessa, NY. The date of the crime was September 11, 2004.

"The matter was scheduled to proceed to trial on April 3, 2006, but the defendant failed to appear. The defendant’s father said that the last time anyone had seen him was at a family function several days prior. He also indicated that his son had been purchasing a large amount of camping gear during the preceding month. A warrant did issue for his arrest, but the defendant turned himself in to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department on April 10, 2006, prior to being apprehended by law enforcement. He remained incarcerated pending a trial date, which was set for July.

"Because he was incarcerated pending trial, the defendant was permitted to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, upon the condition that he pay restitution in full at the time of sentencing. On the date of his plea, June 22, 2006, he paid $3,120.00 restitution and was sentenced to a Conditional Discharge, and jail -- with credit for time served -- which meant he was incarcerated for 109 days.

"It is understood that the Schuyler County conviction represents the only conviction on Eric M. Frein’s criminal history. Additionally, it is understood that when a recent search warrant was executed at the home of Eric M. Frein, his nightstand had papers on it which included documents associated with his arrest and conviction in Schuyler County."

Photo in text: Eric M. Frein (Photo provided)

Several of the cast of 33 sing a song. At right is Kasey Lenzner, who had the role of Belle.

'Beauty & the Beast Jr.' ends 3-day run

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 12 -- The Dream Barn Productions presentation of "Beauty and the Beast Jr." -- a play featuring 33 young actors from six different school districts and three counties -- ended its three-day run Sunday.

The curtain went up on the musical at 7 p.m. Friday in the Watkins Glen High School Auditorium, and rose again at 2 and 7 p.m.Saturday. The final performance was at 2 p.m. Sunday. The show was under the supervision of Dream Barn founder Tracy Gavich.

Dream Barn, as its website notes, is an organization designed to "provide area youth with an outlet for creative involvement in the world of theatre ... and an exciting stage experience." It is headquartered at the former Catharine Methodist Church.

The actors ranged in all but one instance from the ages of 10 to 17. The exception was 8-year-old Gina Gavich, Tracy's daughter, who played Chip.

A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales are going to Watkins Glen Senecas Lacrosse. Tickets, available at the door, were $10 for ages 10-adult, and $8 for ages 4-9. Children 3 and under were admitted free.

Cast List

Belle - Kasey Lenzner, Horseheads
Beast - Chris Knapp, Dundee
Lumiere - Manley Gavich, Odessa
Cogsworth - Logan Barrett, Montour Falls
Mrs. Potts - Brittany Rinker, Bradford
Chip - Gina Gavich, Odessa
Babette - Phebe Wickham, Hector
Madame de le Grande - Sarah Norton, Montour Falls
Gaston - Justin Allen, Dundee
Lefou - William Yeater, Hector
Monsieur D'arque - John Coates, Odessa
Maurice - Chris Materne, Horseheads

Silly Girls:
Alexis Atchie, Watkins Glen
Bronwyn Stermer, Odessa
Cheyenne Barrett, Montour Falls
Casey Underdown, Odessa
Hannah Rosier, Montour Falls
Kara Fluman, Horseheads

Ensemble - Villagers, Wolves, Enchanted Objects, stunts, etc
Alison Heichel, Montour Falls
Emma Malnoske, Odessa
Evan Underdown, Odessa
Faith Sempler, Horseheads
Hailey Sempler, Horseheads
Justin Hickey, Odessa
Kailey Kirkwood, Horseheads
Kaylana Reickes, Watkins Glen
Maria Brubaker, Watkins Glen
Molly Heichel, Montour Falls
Rachael Spaulding, Millport
Rhys Stermer, Odessa
Scott Brubaker, Watkins Glen
Taryn Hoyt, Odessa
Tassia Garrison, Odessa

Photo in text: Manley Gavich as Lumiere during Friday night's performance.

Parmenters lead United Way campaign

Drive kicks off with successful spaghetti dinner

MONTOUR FALLS, Oct. 14 -- -- Jeff and Amy Parmenter have deep roots in the community, and they’re hoping those roots will help reap a successful harvest for the United Way of Schuyler County.

The Parmenters are the co-chairmen of the 2014 United Way campaign to raise $123,000 to support 23 human services agencies. The campaign officially kicked off with a traditional spaghetti dinner on Monday, Oct. 13, at the Montour Moose Lodge, Route 14, south of Montour Falls. The event attracted hundreds of hungry diners.

The Parmenters are both graduates of Odessa-Montour Central School. Their sons, Phoenix and Drew, follow in their footsteps as students in that school district.

Jeff works in his family business, Parmenter Inc., also long established in Schuyler County. Parents Ron and Donita, who are both still active in the business, started with a gas station in 1974. Today the business extends into tires, automotive repair and construction, with six locations.

Jeff carries the title of vice president. His resume also lists four years with the U.S. Air Force.

Amy teaches sixth-grade at Beecher Elementary School in Elmira. She got there by way of SUNY Cortland and Elmira College.

Ask Amy about her community activities and she’ll agree she’s a “Gaters Mom.” She’s also involved with the Parent-Faculty Organization at both Beecher, where she teaches, and in the Odessa-Montour school district, where Phoenix, 11, is in sixth grade and Drew, 7, is in second.

Both admit they’d heard of United Way, but, like many people, their knowledge was limited.

“I didn’t know that much about United Way, other than a thermometer on a building,” Jeff said in a news release. “But I’ve learned it’s a good cause, and I’m happy to be a chairman.

“What I didn’t know is that all the money stays locally. That’s important to me.”

With this lesson in mind, the Parmenters said informing their Schuyler County neighbors about the goals and successes of United Way is their mission as campaign chairmen.

The $123,000 to be raised will be shared by 23 agencies serving Schuyler County residents.

The agencies: American Red Cross, Five Rivers Council Boy Scouts, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Challenge Industries, Community Dispute Resolution Center, Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library, Elizabeth B. Pert Memorial Library, Finger Lakes Addictions Counseling and Referral Agency, Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways, Inc., Glen Industries of The Arc of Schuyler, and the Humane Society of Schuyler County.

Also: Literacy Volunteers, Montour Falls Memorial Library, Mustard Seed Ministries, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, Schuyler County Family Play & Resource Center, Schuyler County Health Check, Schuyler Head Start, Schuyler Hospital, Schuyler Hospital Chaplaincy Program, Schuyler Housing Opportunities Council, Schuyler Outreach, and the Southern Tier Association for the Visually Impaired.

For more information about United Way of Schuyler County and to learn how to donate, visit the website

Photo in text: Jeff and Amy Parmenter are co-chairmen of the 2014 United Way of Schuyler County campaign to raise $123,000. They are with their sons, Phoenix, 11, left, and Drew, 7. (Photo provided)

SFLW scholarship applications available

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 29 -- Southern Finger Lakes Women, a chapter of New York State Women, Inc., (NYSWI) has announced the availability of application forms for its 2014-2015 Women’s Scholarship Program.

The program provides financial assistance to a woman towards furthering her education or seeking a professional certificate or license. To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants must be:

--A female and at least 25 years of age by November 1, 2014;
--Demonstrate financial need;
--Be currently enrolled or accepted into a higher education institution leading to a degree OR enrolled in a program working towards a professional certificate or license during the 2014-2015 school year;
--Demonstrate clear career plans.

Preference will be given to applicants who are residents of Schuyler County and/or are employed by a business or agency in Schuyler County.

Completed applications must be received by November 1, 2014. Failure to submit a complete application may result in elimination from consideration. For further information, or to obtain a copy of the application, contact Southern Finger Lakes Women at The Scholarship winner will receive her award at the November 17 meeting of the Southern Finger Lakes Women at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge.

New York State Women, Inc., provides members with professional development, networking, and career advancement resources. Its mission is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information. The Southern Finger Lakes Women Chapter meets on the 3rd Monday of each month.

For more information about the Southern Finger Lakes Women, contact Gloria Hutchings at (607) 594-2489 or JoAnne Krolak at (607) 732-1171. For more information about the Women’s Scholarship Program, contact Southern Finger Lakes Women at

Hospital Auxiliary is raffling a quilt

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept 17 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary is selling tickets now through December 19, 2014, for a quilt handmade and donated by the Triple H Quilting Group.

Tickets for the 65-inch square, 2-sided quilt are just $1 each or 6 for $5, and can be purchased at the Auxiliary’s Gift Shop inside the Main Entrance of Schuyler Hospital. The quilt is on display in the Hospital lobby.

Proceeds from the sale benefit Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View programs and projects.

The winning ticket will be drawn on Friday, December 19, the day of the Auxiliary’s popular Cookies by the Pound fundraiser.

Also coming up for the Auxiliary:

--October 14, Fall Luncheon Meet and Greet, Glen Motor Inn, Watkins Glen;
--October 24, Bags, Baubles & Beads Sale, Hospital Main Lobby;
--November 7, November Splendor dinner-dance, Harbor Hotel, Watkins Glen;
--November 9, House Tours, Starting at Watkins Glen Public Library;
--November 21, New Jewelry Sale, Hospital Main Lobby.

For more information about the Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary, email or go to

Photo in text: The quilt being raffled.(Photo provided)

Episcopal Churches donate refrigerator

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 17 -- The Episcopal Parishes of Schuyler County -- Saint James’ Church in Watkins Glen, Saint John’s Church in Catharine, and Saint Paul’s Mission in Montour Falls -- have purchased a commercial refrigerator for the Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry.

A grant from the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester and outreach funds from the churches have made the purchase possible.

The commercial refrigerator will provide additional cold storage space for fresh vegetables and other food supplies at the pantry.

“The Episcopal Parishes of Schuyler County are happy to continue their strong relationship with the Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry,” said Father Michael Hartney, Rector of the parishes. This is the second commercial refrigeration unit that the parishes have purchased in recent years.

The Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry is located at Saint Mary’s Center in Watkins Glen, 112 Tenth Street, and provides food for moderate to low-income families through its own pantry and six others throughout Schuyler County. The Pantry is open Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.; on Thursdays from 7 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Fridays from 12 noon-4 p.m.

Labor of Love donates backpacks

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 17 -- Labor of Love, a Schuyler County outreach fund under the auspices of Saint James’ Episcopal Church in Watkins Glen, donated more than 225 backpacks to Catholic Charities of Schuyler County for a recent back-to-school supplies giveaway.

Labor of Love is a group of Schuyler County residents who provide ongoing financial outreach to county residents. Collaboration is maintained with many county agencies that include Catholic Charities, Schuyler Outreach, Department of Social Services, Schuyler Housing Opportunities Council, Office for the Aging, and Mustard Seed Ministries.

Labor of Love conducts two fund-raising events every year. The annual spaghetti dinner is in May at Saint Mary’s Center in Watkins Glen and the annual breakfast is in September at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge.

Tax-exempt financial donations are always welcome at 112 Sixth Street, Watkins Glen.

The Grand Prix Festival drew a crowd Friday to Franklin Street. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Spectators flock to Watkins' annual Grand Prix Festival

Crowd fills Franklin Street; MG is highlighted car

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 6 -- The crowd was thick, vintage autos in abundance, and the heat index high Friday as the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival returned to the streets of this village for its annual celebration of auto racing, an event that accentuates the allure of sports cars.

The festival, sponsored by the Chemung Canal Trust Company, highlighted the MG, a British car that has been racing in the Glen since the very first competition through the streets there in 1948.

This was one of a number of MG anniversary celebrations this year -- among them: the 60th anniversary of the Collier Brothers Memorial Trophy Race; the 55th anniversary of the first full, all-MG races held in the United States; and the 50th anniversary of the New England MG-T Register, which sends many members to the Grand Prix Festival each year.

The national MG Vintage Racers organization selected the Watkins Glen weekend as its focus event for 2014.

Hundreds of iconic cars -- MG and otherwise -- were brought to Watkins Glen Friday from near and far by owners who wanted to display them, enjoy the camaraderie with other vintage-car owners and auto fans, and drive the original 6.6-mile road-race course on the streets of Watkins Glen and in the hills outside it.

Racing history aficionados and sports car fans were treated to the presence of many striking and memorable cars throughout the day.

The historic Smalley’s Garage on Franklin Street was the site of the day’s first event at 9:30 a.m. -- a portrayal of race car technical inspections. The day ended at 8 p.m. with a fireworks display at Watkins Glen State Park, with the world-renowned gorge as a backdrop.

In between, the Corning Concours d’Elegance at the Franklin Street entrance to Watkins Glen State Park offered beautiful cars on display. A panel discussion by MG experts and owners was presented in Lafayette Park by the International Motor Racing Research Center.

The festival’s day-long centerpiece: laps by sports cars and vintage race cars around the original race circuit. That course was used in the first race in Watkins Glen on Oct. 2, 1948.

Cars of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association arrived in the village in the late afternoon from the Watkins Glen International racetrack, where they were competing in the weekend’s Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix.

Those vintage race cars were on display on Franklin Street until 6:30 p.m., when they got the green flag in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse for “tribute” laps on the original road circuit.

Other participant events included five road rallies, including one for MGs only and one for vintage motorcycles only, and a just-for-fun parking lot obstacle course. Rally cars arrived downtown during the afternoon and parked in designated areas along Franklin Street – another opportunity to see some notable vehicles.

The Festival offered tastings of Finger Lakes wines presented by the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, a variety of food, and several motorsports vendors. The village’s restaurants, shops and gathering places also joined the spirit of the day’s celebration.

Free shuttle-bus service all day allowed visitors to park away from downtown traffic congestion.

The Festival was organized by a volunteer committee of the non-profit Watkins Glen Promotions.

Festival sponsors in addition to Chemung Canal included Glenora Wine Cellars, Lane’s Yamaha, Community Bank, Hector Wine Co., Watkins Glen International, Red Newt Cellars, Knapp Vineyards, Jerlando’s Ristorante & Pizza Co., Hagerty Classic Car Insurance, Rooster Fish Brewing Co., and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. The fireworks were sponsored by Maguire Chrysler of Watkins Glen.


Photos in text:

Top: A pair of cars come around the corner onto Franklin Street after traveling on the old race circuit.

Second: It was a Dog Day, with the temperature topping 90 on the Chemung Canal Trust Company thermometer.

Third: Santa made the festival, color coordinated with his car.

Fourth: Cars were on display in the State Park parking lot.

Fifth: Looking north on Franklin Street, which was filled with autos and festival fans.

Bottom: Some drivers wore head gear that embodied the festival's vintage theme.
(All photos by Liz Fraboni)

Festival participants come around the turn onto Franklin Street after completing a lap of the old 6.6-mile race circuit. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Cars and crowds mixed all day long. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

A car mirror catches the passing festival action. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

This colorful festival entry caught the eye of the spectators lining the streets.
(Photo by Liz Fraboni)

The scene Friday along Franklin Street in Watkins Glen. (Photo by Liz Fraboni)

Medical Center named in honor of Thurston

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, August 8 -- Watkins Glen International dedicated its infield care center Friday morning to the late Ernie Thurston, an area native and long-time safety and emergency services leader who passed away in November. The naming of the Ernie Thurston Medical Center took place at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

A native of Watkins Glen, Thurston (right) returned to his hometown after serving as an Airman First Class in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. Shortly thereafter, Thurston served as deputy sheriff and fire coordinator for Schuyler County, and held public office as a county legislator. In 1985, he became Director of Race Operations at WGI, and eventually moved to Daytona Beach, FL and International Speedway Corporation headquarters, where he oversaw all race facilities and events as Corporate Coordinator of Track Safety and Emergency Services.

Thurston was posthumously named the 2014 Jim Bockoven Lifetime Achievement Award winner by NASCAR. The award recognizes the contributions an individual makes to the improvement of track services over the course of a career spanning 10 or more years.

“Ernie’s spirit and dedication were beyond compare and his name will forever be synonymous with American motorsports,” said WGI president Michael Printup. “Although often working behind the scenes, Ernie’s efforts were never taken for granted and will continue to ensure a safe experience at our facilities. No award or dedication can ever express our appreciation for his passion, which was a genuine gift to motorsports.”

Photo in text: Ernie Thurston

Hospital Auxiliary buys wheelchairs, TVs

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 29 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary recently purchased nine wheelchairs for use around the hospital, and six televisions for the patient rooms in the Emergency Department.

.The Auxiliary works year-round to not only provide volunteer assistance in and around Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View, but also staffs The Gift Shop and sponsors a number of events to raise funds for various hospital and nursing home needs.

Auxilians are the do-ers for and at various hospital and Schuyler Health Foundation events. And they host fundraisers ranging from raffles, to book and uniform sales, to spaghetti dinners, to Cookies by the Pound and Christmas in July.

Proceeds from their efforts benefit Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View programs and projects.

“The Auxilians are a treasure and a resource for all of us,” said Jann Cady, CNO/COO for Schuyler Hospital. “There is much that we could not accomplish without our Auxiliary volunteers and all that they are able to make possible.”

For more information about the Auxiliary, go to

Christopher Scott Post Office bill passes House, awaits President Obama's signature

Special to The Odessa File

TYRONE, July 15 -- The bill introduced by Rep. Tom Reed and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to rename the Tyrone Post Office after Specialist Christopher Scott passed the House Monday and now heads to President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

Specialist Scott, a son of Kenneth M. And Tammy L. Trank Scott of Tyrone, was a 2009 graduate of Dundee Central School. He was killed on September 3, 2011 while on patrol in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan. He was 21 years old.

“A young member of such a close-knit community, Specialist Scott gave the ultimate sacrifice for us and for our country,” Reed said. “Specialist Scott was the true definition of patriotism and I am honored to be a part of recognizing him in the House of Representatives and at home where we can preserve his legacy as one of this country’s brave heroes.”

“Specialist Scott is a true hometown hero who will always remain in the hearts of his loved ones and the Finger Lakes community,” Senator Gillibrand said. “He answered the highest call and made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, serving with bravery, honor and integrity. Designating the Tyrone Post Office in his name will honor his legacy in the community he loved for all to remember.”

Specialist Scott began his service in the United States Army in 2009. He was assigned to the 561st Military Police Company, 716th Military Police Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade.

While serving in the Army, he earned the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, and the Overseas Service Ribbon. Posthumously, he was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, NATO Medal and the Combat Action Badge.

The bill would rename the post office, located at 815 County Road 23 in Tyrone, New York, the “Specialist Christopher Scott Post Office Building.” The bill has already passed the Senate and now goes to the President to be signed into law.

Photo in text: Christopher Scott

Bacalles is chair of Arc membership drive

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 9 -- Former New York State Assemblyman James Bacalles has been named chairman of the 2014 annual membership and fund drive for The Arc of Schuyler, a charitable organization providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental

“Jim is well recognized as a dedicated leader in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions," said Jeannette Frank, the Arc's executive director. "We are truly fortunate to have him as a friend and champion for The Arc. Jim’s interest and involvement emphasizes the importance of The Arc’s role in the community and will help inspire the support we need to remain a provider of choice for people with disabilities and their families.”

Bacalles served from 1995 to 2010 as Assemblyman for the New York State Assembly 136th District. Throughout his political career, he was a legislative advocate for many organizations and groups of people, including The Arc of Schuyler and people with developmental disabilities. He continues to provide support to and volunteers with agencies in Schuyler County and surrounding communities.

“I’m proud of what The Arc does for people in Schuyler County," said Bacalles. "Everyone seems to be connected to The Arc in some way. It provides critical services to vulnerable people in our community and is a valuable community partner.”

The Arc of Schuyler and Arc of Yates announced last month that the two chapters intend to merge in 2015. Said Bacalles: “I know both Schuyler and Yates Counties very well. The communities and these chapters are very compatible, and as changes on the state level continue in regards to Medicaid and health care, this is a very smart partnership.”

To support The Arc’s 2014 Membership and Fund Drive or learn other ways to make The Arc your charity of choice, visit or mail your donation to The Arc, 203 12th Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

The Arc of Schuyler is a chapter of a statewide association, NYSARC, Inc., and an affiliate of the national Arc.

Arc barrels brighten community gardens

Special to
The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 10 -- Volunteers from The Arc of Schuyler recently donated two hand-painted rain barrels to community gardens in Montour Falls and Watkins Glen.

Both barrels were painted by people with developmental disabilities and college students during a workshop at The ARTS Experience, a festival celebrating inclusion and the arts at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Participants at the workshop learned about the environmental benefits of using rain barrels and painted several to be donated to community organizations in the region.

One of the barrels was gifted to the Schuyler County Cornell Cooperative Extension Teaching Garden at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities receiving supports through The Arc volunteer twice a week at the Teaching Garden, assisting Horticulture Program Educator Roger Ort with planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting a variety of plant species.

“We truly appreciate the help we get from a great group of volunteers at The Arc,” said Ort. “The barrel looks exceptional and we are honored to have it in our garden.”

Volunteers from The Arc also assist at the Watkins Glen Community Garden, next to the elementary school. The Arc donated the second rain barrel for use at the garden, part of the Catholic Charities Community Food Project. The garden is utilized to teach individuals and families how to raise their own food and provides fresh vegetables to the Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry.

The Arc of Schuyler is a family-based organization providing supports to people with developmental disabilities and their families. For more information, visit or call 607.535.6934.

Photos in text:

Top: Arc volunteers (left to right) Kyle Collins, James Frank, Chris Locke and Stacy Burdick donate a painted rain barrel to the Watkins Glen Community Garden.

Bottom: The rain barrel donated to the Schuyler County Cornell Cooperative Extension Teaching Garden was hand-painted by artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities, along with Hobart and William Smith college students. (Photos provided)

Arcs of Schuyler, Yates look toward unification in 2015

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 16, 2014 -- On April 25, NYSARC, Inc., a statewide non-profit organization supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, gave approval for its Schuyler County and Yates County Chapters to proceed with plans to unify the Chapters and become The Arc of Schuyler-Yates sometime in 2015.

"Both The Arc of Schuyler and the Arc of Yates provide quality services in their communities and are the service provider of choice for many families and people with developmental disabilities,” says Marc Brandt, Executive Director of NYSARC, Inc. “Unifying the Chapters provides for the potential for expanded and enhanced services in a time of otherwise dwindling funding from Federal and State sources.”

The NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the State agency that provides oversight of developmental disability service providers, has indicated support of the effort as the plan is consistent with the direction of changes in the field.

In 2013, New York State and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began to identify a series of shared goals to improve opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities in the areas of employment, integrated living, and self-direction of services, resulting in what is referred to on the OPWDD website as a “transformation agreement”. Anticipated changes in service options and how they will be funded in the future provided impetus for the two agencies to begin talk of working together.

“It is the right time to think about new ways of providing services,” says Ann McMullen, President of the Arc of Yates. “Our Boards of Directors have been engaged in joint planning for about a year and we have concluded that consolidation will serve the best interests of all of our stakeholders. The recent flooding of our North Avenue building in Penn Yan and our ability to bounce back lets you know how resilient and dedicated our staff are to ensure continuity of service for people with developmental disabilities that need this support. We know we can rise to any challenge.”

Mike Stamp, President of The Arc of Schuyler, agrees that a consolidation of the Chapters should move forward. “Schools, hospitals, and county governments are all looking at how to do things more efficiently and effectively with less money," he said. "We know there are new expectations and organizations need to adjust accordingly. We are proud that the leadership at both organizations are being proactive and forward thinking in this environment.”

Kate Ring, Executive Director of the Arc of Yates, and Jeannette Frank, Executive Director of The Arc of Schuyler, will co-lead the effort of consolidation. “There is a lot of work to be done and we want to ensure that people are receiving the best services possible as we move forward,” says Ring. Adds Frank: “I know that by working together we can continue to be the premier provider of services for current and future generations in our area.”

The Arc of Schuyler (based in Watkins Glen) and the Arc of Yates (based in Penn Yan) are both not-for-profit organizations providing a range of supports and services to children, adults, and seniors with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Services and supports will continue to be provided through these locations. Visit and for information about the chapters, programs, and services.

The Odessa Fire Department marches up Main Street in Montour Falls.

Excellent weather, great parade

MONTOUR FALLS, June 8 -- Two dozen fire departments, eight marching bands, floats, tractors, horses and assorted classic cars combined Saturday for an entertaining hour-long-plus 58th Annual Montour Falls Firemen's Parade on Main Street in this village.

With emcee Jim Howell describing the marching units and on occasion interacting with them, and with clear skies and a bright sun to accompany the proceedings, the event went off without a hitch ... almost.

Emergency personnel were called out just before the scheduled start of the event to tend to a woman who had apparently been felled by the heat alongside the parade route. After she was taken by ambulance to the hospital, the parade began, signaled by the fire department's siren.

Once it began, the crowd lining both sides of Main Street were treated to a long and varied parade, with marching bands from the Canaseraga, Jasper-Troupsburg, Odessa-Montour, Addison and Corning East high schools, and with the Corning Area Community Band, the Caledonian Highlanders and the Clyde-Saxton Fire Department Band out of Savannah, New York.

Twenty-four fire departments were represented, some with marchers. They came from Montour Falls, Elmira Heights, Burdett, Tyrone, Hammondsport, Dresden, North Corning, Odessa, Enfield, Pine City, Valois-Logan-Hector, Beaver Dams, Branchport/Keuka Park, Watkins Glen, Himrod, Dundee, Gibson, Clyde-Saxton, Penn Yan, Cohocton, Campbell, Mecklenburg, Millport and Wayne.

Judging resulted in several awards, including the following:

Best Float: 1st place, First Baptist Church of Montour Falls; 2nd place, the Harrington Family.
Mayor's Choice: Freedom Village.
Best Appearing Color Guard: Enfield Fire Department.
Oldest Piece of Equipment: Dresden Fire Department.

At the end, the crowd dispersed, many heading over to the festival grounds. There a chicken dinner and other foods awaited, along with rides and games. Later on, live music was provided in the entertainment tent by Steve Southworth and the Rockabilly Rays.

Photos in text:

From top: The Jasper-Troupsburg marching band; the Freedom Village float; and a member of the Addison High School marching band.

Left: Michelle Benjamin was among Old Havana Courthouse Theatre actors in the parade.
Four Dragons Martial Arts members marched, and displayed self-defense techniques.

Left: Members of the Montour Falls Fire Department marched near the front of the parade.
Right: Assemblyman Phil Palmesano distributed candy to the kids along the parade route.

Hayley Guild leads the Odessa-Montour High School band along Main Street.

Left: A member of the Canaseraga Central School marching band. Right: Passengers in the Tyrone Fire Truck wave to the crowd.

Left: Sgt. Steve Decker drove a Watkins Glen Police Department vehicle in the parade.
Right: A member of the Odessa-Montour marching band.

A girl tosses candy to the crowd from atop a Burdett Fire Department truck.

Left: Parade emcee Jim Howell. Right: Members of the American Heritage Girls Troop 412 of Odessa were among the marchers.

Steve Southworth (right) and the Rockabilly Rays provided entertainment Saturday night.

Bright lights dominated the festival grounds as business wound down on the final night.

Hayley Guild belts out "Bound To You" from the movie "Burlesque." She won first place in the 17-to-21 age category.

Expo Showdown a hit as festival begins

MONTOUR FALLS, June 6 -- The 58th annual Montour Falls Fire Department Festival got underway Thursday evening at the carnival grounds along Route 224 in Montour Falls, with rides, games, food and musical talent highlighting the evening.

With the midway opening for business at 6 p.m., the festival drew a crowd under threatening skies.

The entertainment tent drew a sizable audience for the third annual Expo Showdown, featuring local singing talent vying for prizes and glory before a three-judge panel. A total of 29 acts took the stage to deliver their music, many of them students from the Odessa-Montour School District, along with some adults.

The crowd favorite early on was a duet of "Soul Man" by Phil Humphries and Mitch McElroy, both O-M seniors, dressed as the Blue Brothers. They took second place in the 17-to-21 age group.

Other hits included Ashton Stadelmaier's rendition of "A Thousand Years" (third place in the 17-to-21 age group); Tess Visscher's "Lilac Wine"; Amanda Pyhtila's "I Never Told You"; Hayley Guild's "Bound To You" (first place in the 17-to-21 age group); Matt Stephenson's "Folsom Prison Blues"; Pam Kelly's "That's What I Like About You"; Josh Markley's "She Will Be Loved" (first place, adults); and a duet by Julee Gillemot and Maria Scata of an original song they composed and arranged, "Alone With You" (second place, 12-to-16 age group).

Friday night, the entertainment tent would be filled with the music of Nik and The Nice Guys, and on Saturday night by Steve Southworth and the Rockabilly Rays.

The annual firemen's parade along Main Street in Montour Falls was set for Saturday afternoon.

Photos in text:

Top: Josh Markley sings "She Will Be Loved." He won firt place among adult contestants.
Bottom: Maria Scata (left) and Julee Gillemot perform an original song, composed and arranged by them, titled "Alone With You."

A trio on one of the festival rides.

Phil Humphries, left, and Mitch McElroy perform "Soul Man."

Left: Food is one of the attractions of the festival. Right: Taylor Rounds exhibits a fish she won.

Left: Emma Raymond sings "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay."
Right: Tess Visscher performs "Lilac Wine."

Rides were underway through Saturday at the festival.

Nik and the Nice Guys performed in the entertainment tent Saturday night.

Fund for Women distributes grants

BIG FLATS, June 4 -- Two Watkins Glen High School seniors were among 20 individual grant recipients at the Fund for Women of the Southern Tier's annual awards ceremony Tuesday night at the Big Flats Community Center.

Natasha Patel and Megan Daigle were each presented a grant totaling $500, as were 18 other individuals on an evening in which the Fund for Women distributed another $13,500 to non-profit organizations, including the Career Development Council ($1,300) and the Food Bank of the Southern Tier ($2,000).

The mission of the Fund for Women is to help girls and women achieve self-sufficiency and realize life goals. Said the group's president, Elisabeth Corveleyn, to the grant recipients: "Please know that you have the trust and confidence of a whole community of women who support and believe in all of you and your goals."

Photo in text: Natasha Patel and Megan Daigle, second and third from left, respectively, were among the grant recipients. (Photo provided)

The Clute Park shoreline along Seneca Lake was a good place for reading Saturday.

A day at the park ... sunny and cool

WATKINS GLEN, June 1 -- The sunny weather has been most welcome after a cold winter and wet spring -- and folks were outdoors in force Saturday despite a strong, cool breeze coming in from the north.

There was plenty of activity at Clute Park, with most of the crowd on hand for the Wine & Food 2014 event, featuring wines and foods from area vendors, along with live entertainment.

But some folks were there to simply enjoy the charms of the park itself and the lake.

Out on the water, sailboats were cutting through persistent waves -- an appealing summertime sight. Among them was the craft in the photo above, as seen through the breezeway of a Clute Park building.

Keynote speaker Bob Lee, left, and Mayor Mark Swinnerton before the start of the Memorial Day ceremony in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse in Watkins Glen.

Memorial Day services held in
3 locations in Schuyler County

WATKINS GLEN, May 27 -- Three Memorial Day services in three Schuyler County communities were held Monday to honor those military men and women who have sacrificed their lives in defense of our freedoms.

The first ceremony occurred near the base of Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls, with the flowing falls setting a placid backdrop to a somber occasion.

The emcee was Mayor John King, who introduced the guest speaker, Chuck Tarshus, a longtime resident of the Town of Orange who recently moved to Watkins Glen. Tarshus served in the Air Force during the Korean War, and later served in the Strategic Air Command, helping to refuel fighter bombers.

He said he has been as far north as "north of the Arctic Circle. How many people have been north of there?"

And he quoted from an Arlington National Cemetery service that addressed the issue of people who think America's best days are behind it. "There is no threat we cannot meet, no challenge we cannot overcome," he read. "Our best days are ahead."

Music at the ceremony was provided by Kim Blaha, who for the third straight year sang the National Anthem; by the Odessa-Montour High School Band, which performed two musical selections; and by bagpiper Tom Leslie, who played "Amazing Grace" and "When the Battle is Over."

The Watkins Glen ceremony was held, as it always is, in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse. And, as it has been for decades, it was emceed by veteran Tony Specchio.

The service was preceded by a parade up Franklin Street, while traffic was rerouted along Decatur Street. The ceremony's keynote speaker was Bob Lee, who commended Specchio for his recent induction into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.

Lee spoke of the need for our younger citizens to remember those men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. "It's not really the kids' fault" that they don't celebrate patriotism and freedom, Lee said. "They're not taught about those things anymore."

Lee also reflected on how Memorial Day services used to fill the lawn in front of the courthouse, but how in recent years the number of spectators has been limited to 50 or 75.

The importance of such celebrations was also raised at the annual Memorial Day Program at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park, where guest speaker Joseph Porter -- a veteran of the Marine Corps and now branch manager at the Tompkins Trust Company in Odessa -- said this: "We are a people who love freedom. We gather ... sing our songs ... remember. Some communities have stopped" doing that, he added. "All I ask is we continue" those ceremonies, carrying on the tradition of remembering, and caring.

The Odessa-Montour School Band also played at that service, performing "Armed Forces on Parade" and "Eternal Father," and a Community Chorus led by Kim Laursen sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic." O-M student Mitch McElroy played "Taps," as he did at the Montour Falls ceremony.

Photos in text:

Top: Joseph Porter addresses a gathering of 150 people at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park outside Odessa.

Middle: The color guard departs Shequagah Falls Park at the conclusion of the ceremony there.

Bottom: Watkins Glen ceremony emcee Tony Specchio arrives after riding to the courthouse site in a parade up Franklin Street.

At Montour Falls: Bagpiper Tom Leslie and the emcee, Mayor John King.

Part of the Community Chorus at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park ceremony.

Left: Kim Blaha sings the National Anthem at the Montour Falls service. Right: Mitch McElroy plays "Taps" at the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park gathering.

Boy Scouts arrive at the County Courthouse after marching in the Franklin Street parade.

Lupi leaving ARTS Council for N.H. job

Special to The Odessa File

CORNING, May 24 -- Ginnie Lupi, The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes Executive Director, has submitted her resignation, effective July 11.

Lupi was recently nominated by New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan and confirmed by the Executive Council to become Director of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. She has led the local ARTS Council since March 2006 and will assume her new role in early August.

"Although Ginnie will be missed both professionally and personally, I think the timing of this change couldn't have been better. Ginnie is leaving us stronger than ever with a solid foundation to build upon," said Kamala Keeley, The ARTS Council's board president. "We have experienced phenomenal growth during her tenure here and I'm excited to see what the future holds for The ARTS Council. I have no doubt that the extraordinary work Ginnie has accomplished here is what made her such a desirable candidate for her new position and I wish her all the best."

"Working for The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes has been a labor of love, and it will be very, very difficult to leave," Lupi said. "I am honored to have been able to serve the region's exceptional arts community, and am deeply grateful for the support of our Board and the countless individuals who have guided me and enabled our team to accomplish so much. I know The ARTS Council will continue to grow and thrive long into the future."

Keeley said that Connie Sullivan-Blum, Ph.D., The ARTS Council's folk arts coordinator, will lead the organization as interim executive director upon Lupi's departure and that a search committee will identify a permanent successor.

Information about the search can be found at

Photo in text: Ginnie Lupi (File photo)

Catholic Charities plans Garden Soiree

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 25 -- Catholic Charities’ First Annual Garden Soiree -- a fund-raiser for that organization -- will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 21 at Lakewood Vineyards.

Attendees are urged to wear their favorite garden party attire and enjoy the longest day of the year with music by "The Unusual Suspects" and "An Artist’s Depiction." Also featured: high-end auction items, including a handmade Adirondack chair, jewelry, wine and artwork. Check out the auction listing pre-event at

Proceeds will go to Catholic Charities, a local partner in poverty relief. A limited number of tickets will be sold -- at $60 per guest. They can be obtained by calling 607-535-2050 or visiting

Catholic Charities works to ensure that people have food, clothing, shelter, medical services, and the ability to achieve a decent standard of living.

The two vehicles involved in the crash where Steam Mill Road intersects Rte. 228.

Man airlifted after 2-car crash on 228

ODESSA, May 23 -- An Alpine man was airlifted to a hospital Thursday night after he was injured in a two-vehicle crash where Steam Mill Road meets Rte. 228 outside Odessa.

Police said Wyatt Bowen of Alpine was injured when he ran a stop sign while exiting Steam Mill Road from the north and collided with a westbound Nissan Titan pickup truck driven by Michael Clark of Beaver Dams..

After the collision, the van ran off the road and ended up resting against trees and brush, its motor running loudly.

A passing motorist said he arrived on the scene shortly after the accident, and raced to the van to try and turn it off because the engine was "whining loudly" and "smoking." He said he had trouble finding the key because the dashboard had been "mangled" in the collision, but eventually did find it. The driver was slumped in the seat and was having trouble breathing, he said.

Odessa Fire Department rescuers were on the scene quickly, and extracted Bowen from the van. While awaiting the arrival of a rescue helicopter, they tended to him alongside the road. As the helicopter neared, he was placed in an ambulance and transported up the road to a field alongside the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park, where the chopper landed to transport him to Robert Pcker Hospital in Sayre..

Clark and his passenger, Caitlin Harter of Corning, exited their vehicle on their own, and were resting on the side of the road until taken by ambulance to Schuyler Hospital for examination. They were treated and released. The front of their truck was smashed.

The Odessa Fire Department, Schuyler Ambulance, the Schuyler County Sheriff's office, State Police and the Mecklenburg and Montour Falls Fire Departments were on the scene.

Police said the investigation was ongoing and that charges were pending against Bowen.

Photos in text: Rescue personnel extract the van driver from his vehicle; and place him in the ambulance.

The helicopter arrives, setting down in a field near the Schuyler County Veterans Memorial Park.

In pursuit of a career in opera

Special to The Odessa File

MACON, Georgia, May 22 -- Maggie Bergmark -- whose father, Michael Bergmark, is a Watkins Glen High School alum, and whose grandparents, Kimp and Sherron Horner, live in Watkins Glen -- will spend her summer following graduation from Stratford Academy preparing for a career in opera.

She will spend her post-high school summer in Italy, singing in the opera "La Rondine" as part of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music's summer program. She will then attend Westminster Choir College in New Jersey in the fall, seeking a degree in music and performance. After that will come graduate school, and then, she hopes, a career in opera.

She says she got her first taste of opera at a high school summer program in North Carolina, where she participated in two of such performances.

While opera is considered a difficult art form to pursue, Bergmark says she has the support of friends and family. And she says it is like any passion in life.

"If you truly love it," she said, "then you try your best and go out and follow your heart."

SFLW names officers for 2014-15

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 22 -- The new officers of the Southern Finger Lakes Women (SFLW), a chapter of New York State Women, Inc. (NYSWI), were installed at the chapter’s May 19 meeting at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge.

The Installing Officer was Karen Hunter, Vice Chair of the NYSWI Communications Committee. The new officers for 2014-2015, pictured left to right in the photo on the right, are Mary Ellen Morgan, President; Carole Shay, President-Elect; Judith Phillips, Vice-President; JoAnne Krolak, Secretary; Brenda Gill, Treasurer, and Margaret Jensen, Parliamentarian.

New York State Women, Inc., provides members with professional development, networking, and career advancement resources. Its mission is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information.

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

Auxiliary officers, Volunteer of Year named

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 11 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary has unveiled its Board of Directors for 2014-15, and announced its Volunteer of the Year.

Sandra Forrest and Becky Bond were voted in as 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President. All the other officers remain the same -- Carol Bower as President, Marsha McElligott as Secretary, Rita Tague-Carmony as Treasurer, and Gretta Preston as Corresponding Secretary.

The Auxiliary honored Joanne McLaine as its Volunteer of the Year. McLaine worked closely with hospital staff to close the Auxiliary Gift Shop in February 2013 and design a new gift shop in the hospital’s new main entrance area that opened in March 2014. She organized Auxiliary volunteers to select a variety of unique items for the new shop, and trains volunteers to work there.

In 2013-14, the Auxiliary’s 156 members volunteered 4,428 hours in and around Schuyler Hospital and Seneca View, and donated $13,700 to the hospital through the 2013 Family of Friends Campaign. With funds raised throughout the year, the Auxiliary is purchasing televisions for the emergency department patient rooms, as well as nine new wheelchairs for use around the hospital.

The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary was formally organized in 1969, bringing together the Hospital’s Pink Ladies (formed in 1952) with members of the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour Hospital Guilds, both active since the 1920s.

For more information, to donate or to volunteer, go to

Photo in text: Joanne McLaine (right) is honored as Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary Volunteer of the Year by Auxilian Rita Tague-Carmony (left), who surprised McLaine with the recognition at the organization's recent annual spring luncheon. (Photo provided)

The Bloodgoods perform together: from left, sons Benjamin, Jesse and John with father Tom.

Concert raises funds for Food Pantry

WATKINS GLEN, May 5 -- It was called Concert for the Community, and it certainly served the community.

The concert, held Sunday afternoon for two-and-a-half hours at St. Mary's Parish Center on 10th Street in Watkins Glen, raised more than $300 for the Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry.

"We can buy 1900 pounds of food with that," said Schuyler Outreach Director Nancy Brand, on hand to witness the musical effort.

The brainchild of Jesse Bloodgood -- one of three musical sons of Tom and Libby Bloodgood of Watkins Glen -- the event drew about 50 people to the Parish Center.

Those on hand were privileged to witness an always entertaining -- and at times captivating -- series of performances. There was, for starters, a trio named Don't Panic, featuring Josh Cuomo of Corning, John Bloodgood and Nick Dalrymple.

Then came Braedan Fitch, home from college to perform several of his songs on this day. Fitch made a name for himself at talent shows back in his Watkins Glen High School days.

Watkins Glen School District teacher Travis Durfee presented several of his own songs, like Fitch accompanying himself on guitar, and was both preceded and followed by sets from Jesse Bloodgood and his brother Benjamin, who compose Alternative Rock as the two-man band An Artist's Depiction.

The show stopper came near the end, when Jessica Littler, who moved here from Tasmania during her high school years, performed several lively Tasmanian tunes, and one from Ireland, on her violin. She doesn't just play the instrument; she makes it wail and shake and sing until the audience is dancing in its seats. When she finished, she received a standing ovation.

Tom Bloodgood was next, playing some of his folk-rock compositions accompanied by his own guitar, and by friends Scott Muir on bongo and Terry Oakden on guitar. "Thanks for putting me on after the violin," he said, smiling and shaking his head. It was a tough act to follow..

During his set, and for the conclusion, Bloodgood summoned his three sons -- John, Benjamin and Jesse -- to sing backup. And they closed with some rousing music that left the audience clapping and satisfied.

"It's so refreshing," Schuyler Outreach's Brand said afterward, "to see young people put on something like this. Jesse arranged the whole thing. I just came and enjoyed it."

Photos in text:

Top: Jess Littler performs on her violin. She received a standing ovation.
Middle: The group Don't Panic. From left: Josh Cuomo, John Bloodgood and Nick Dalrymple.
Bottom: Jesse Bloodgood, who organized the show to raise funds for the Food Pantry.

Concert performers Travis Durfee (left) and Braedan Fitch.

Painted Bar Stable's Eckstrom wins 2014
SBA district Young Entrepreneur Award

Special to The Odessa File

SYRACUSE, May 2 -- The U.S. Small Business Administration Syracuse district office has selected Erika Eckstrom, owner of Painted Bar Stables in Burdett, N.Y., as the winner of its 2014 SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Nominated by Corning Federal Credit Union, the 29-year-old Eckstrom was chosen for the award based on her company’s increase in sales and profits and her demonstrated long-term potential as a successful business owner, the SBA said..

When Erika Eckstrom was just five years old, she knew she wanted to spend her life working with horses. She bought her first horse at 13 and then adopted and rehabilitated rescue horses throughout high school. After completing two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree in Washington, D.C., Eckstrom returned to the Southern Tier to pursue her childhood dream of owning her own stable.

In 2008, 23-year-old Eckstrom purchased Painted Bar Stables, a 22-acre horse property outside Watkins Glen. Eckstrom renovated the barns and business model to provide a range of programs for individuals to develop horsemanship with trail riding adventures, lessons, seminars, boarding and even specialized, hands on breeding programs. Her skill with people and horses has grown the business 31 percent over the past three years and led to the addition of two new employees.

The stable’s picturesque location on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and adjacent to the Finger Lakes National Forest offers Eckstrom’s trail riders breathtaking views from the saddle. Painted Bar clientele can enjoy more trails to ride and more adventures with Eckstrom’s purchase of 95 acres of land in 2012 using an SBA-backed loan from Corning Federal Credit Union.

Eckstrom will receive the Syracuse District award at SBA’s annual awards luncheon on May 5 at The Doubletree Hotel in East Syracuse.

Volunteers clean mess on Rock Cabin Road

Special to
The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 30 -- Earth Day was on April 22 this year and to remember the importance of taking care of our environment, the Schuyler County Environmental Management Council (EMC), the Water Quality Coordinating Committee (WQCC) and the Watkins Glen Central School District provided volunteers on Saturday, April 26 to clean up a pile of garbage dumped at the north end of Rock Cabin Road.

About two weeks before, another community group picked up garbage all along Rock Cabin Road. Kate Bartholomew, Chair of the EMC, would love to know who did that extensive pick-up.

“Rock Cabin Road is a truly lovely, seasonal-use road that is used by bikers, joggers, walkers and birders, and unfortunately by some who selfishly use it as a trash dump," she said. "There was a big pile of refuse that we picked up, over 15 garbage bags full, at one spot and we wanted that mess gone.”

The Town of Montour Highway Department, which maintains the Rock Cabin corridor next to the Queen Catharine Marsh, picked up the bags and disposed of them. The town tries to keep the road pristine, said Bartholomew and her co-cleaners. But, they added, it is a constant battle with inconsiderate litterers.

There are a few other spots along the road that still need some attention, and anyone interested in helping with another pick-up day should contact either Bartholomew at 228-7371 or Elaine Dalrymple, Chair of WQCC, at 535-0878.

Photo in text: From left: Bill Fearn, David Armstrong, Karen Armstrong, Amanda Armstrong and Kate Bartholomew near bags of garbage they filled on Rock Cabin Road. Elaine Dalrymple, not shown, also participated. (Photo provided)

Tourist season

Two tour buses pulled up in front of Shequagah Falls in Montour Falls on Thursday, April 17 and offloaded, their passengers taking pictures of the falls and of nearby homes. One member of the group, her leg raised like the Karate Kid about to strike, balanced for awhile, writing something, before rejoining the group.

From left: Fire Chief Judson Smith, Past Chief Dominick Smith, Crestwood CEO Robert Phillips, Jim Adesso and Byron Thompson pose in front of one of the fire department's trucks.

Crestwood gives $10,000 to WG Fire Dept.

WATKINS GLEN, April 8 -- The Watkins Glen Fire Department was presented with a check for $10,000 Tuesday by U.S. Salt's newest parent company, Crestwood Midstream Partners.

The fire unit has traditionally received a check from U.S. Salt, but this one, department representatives said, was considerably larger than in the past -- at their request. The funds will be used to purchase interactive programs for indoor training of firefighters during cold-weather months.

"It's just so difficult to get training in during those five months of the year when it's cold," said Past Fire Chief Domiick Smith, who was presented the check by Crestwood CEO Robert Phillips.

Phillips, making his first trip to the Watkins Glen plant since Crestwood merged with previous parent firm Inergy, was scheduled after the ceremony to take a tour of the plant and meet its employees.

"This industry," he said to Smith, "is one that is focused on giving back to the community. We understand and appreciate how dedicated you are. We are happy to be able to help you."

The former chief responded by saying the money "is going to good use. This will help put us in the right direction" in purchasing technology equipment that "will be a large part of our training and safety efforts."

"Good," said Phillips. "I hope we're being a good neighbor, and I hope we are for another 100 years."

Also on hand from the fire department were Jim Adesso, new Chief Judson Smith, and Byron Thompson, who also works at U.S. Salt. Judson Smith said Dominick, his brother, accepted the check because Dominick had, assisted by Adesso, requested the donation before stepping down recently as Chief.

Photos in text:

Top: Crestwood CEO Robert Phillips presents the check to Past Fire Chief Dominick Smith.

Bottom: U.S. Salt President Mitchell Dascher, who introduced Phillips at the check ceremony.

SFLW to hold BBQ for scholarship fund

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, April 6 -- The Southern Finger Lakes Women, a chapter of New York State Women, Inc., will hold a chicken barbecue on Sunday, May 18 at the Montour Moose Lodge.

The proceeds will benefit the SFLW scholarship fund. For $8, diners receive a half chicken dinner, complete with baked beans, salad, rolls and dessert. A chicken snack, consisting of a half chicken and roll & butter, is also available for $6. Takeouts are available.

The barbecues will be served starting at noon and continue until sold out. Advance ticket holders must pick up dinner by 1:00 pm. For tickets or further information on the barbecue, contact the Southern Finger Lakes Women at

New York State Women, Inc., provides members with professional development, networking, grassroots activism and career advancement resources. Its mission is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information. The Southern Finger Lakes Women Chapter meets on the 3rd Monday of each month. For more information about the SFLW, visit the chapter website at or contact Gloria Hutchings at (607) 594-2489 or JoAnne Krolak at (607) 732-1171.

Hospital sets blood drive for April 18

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, April 3 -- Schuyler Hospital’s next Red Cross Blood Drive is scheduled for Friday, April 18 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at September Hill, 250 Steuben Street, Montour Falls (two buildings up the hill from the hospital).

According to hospital offiicals, each donation can help save up to three lives. Donating also helps the hospital, they said, by keeping blood supply costs down. Eligible donors can give double red cells.

Find out more about double red cells, or pre-register to donate, at, or call the Schuyler Hospital Lab at (607) 535-7121 ext. 2207. Drop-ins are also welcome.

MacKenzie Stone earns Eagle Scout rank

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, March 30 -- Boy Scout Troop 2000, sponsored by The First Baptist Church of Montour Falls and led by Scout Master Tammy Cole, has announced its newest Eagle Scout, MacKenzie Stone.

He is the son of Kelly Stone of Rock Stream and is currently a senior at Dundee Central School.

Stone’s project was to lead a group of boys in placing many quarter-mile markers on the Catharine Valley Trail from Watkins Glen to Millport. They dug deep holes and cemented the poles in to keep them from being pulled up by vandals.

The Catharine Valley Trail is enjoyed by the community and by many visitors who want to enjoy a bike ride or hike. Stone worked closely with the Watkins Glen State Park Ranger.

The Eagle Ceremony will take place in the near future.

Photo in text: MacKenzie Stone and Scout Master Tammy Cole. (Photo provided)

2 youths represent Robotics team in Albany

Two area youths -- Madeleine Gurecki from Steuben County and Mitchell Gascon from Schuyler County -- are shown in the photo at right with State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and State Senator Tom O'Mara in early March in Albany. The two youths won a scholarship to represent New York State 4-H robotics and the Schuyler regional 4-H robotics program at the 4-H Capital Days in Albany. They also played robotic hockey with Senators and Assemblypersons. Both youths are members of the 4-H regional robotics team called Servo Slammers. (Photo provided)

Krossin' Keuka is gearing up

The enthusiastic group of volunteers pictured above is anxiously anticipating the annual Krossin' Keuka swim event, a major fundraiser for the benefit of the Keuka Comfort Care Home. This year’s swim is scheduled for Saturday, July 26 off the beach at Keuka College. Participation will be limited to 200 swimmers, so those interested in participating are being urged by organizers to make their reservations early at (Photo provided)

County Court sentencings, arraignments

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 7, 2014 -- The following sentencings and arraignments occurred in Schuyler County Court on Thursday, March 6. The information was provided by the District Attorney's Office:

--Eileen Little, 34, of 6th Street, Elmira, pled guilty to Class C Felony Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the third degree, as an attempt. The indictment alleged that she sold more than 1/8 ounce of methamphetamine. She was sentenced to 5 years in State Prison, with post-release supervision of 3 years.

--Chad Jones, 23, of Edwina Street, Dundee, and Joshua Holden¸ 29, of Mill Street, Tyrone were both sentenced upon their pleas of guilty to Class D Felony Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the second degree, as an attempt. The indictment alleged that both defendants were found in possession of stolen handguns. They both received a sentence of 3 years in State Prison with post-release supervision of 3 years.

--Justin Kraus, 30, of County Route 23, Dundee, and Kyle Menio, 31, of County Route 14, Alpine, were both arraigned on charges associated with an alleged methamphetamine lab fire on Sept. 16, 2013 at 4425 State Route 224 in the Town of Montour. The two indictments allege 15 charges against the defendants, with the maximum charge a Class B Felony: sale of a Controlled Substance: Methamphetamine.

--Justin Brand¸ 32, of Baker Hill Road, Watkins Glen, was arraigned on charges associated with a traffic stop that occurred on November 1, 2013, which resulted in the alleged discovery of methamphetamine and laboratory components necessary for the manufacture of methamphetamine. The indictment alleges 7 counts, with the top count being Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, which is a Class A-II felony.

State Parks set Lifeguard Exam schedule

Special to The Odessa File

SCHUYLER, Marach 5 -- The Finger Lakes State Parks will be holding their annual NY State Lifeguard Exams at two separate locations this year and on the following dates.

Friday, March 14, 2014 -- Odessa-Montour High School
Friday, April 11, 2014 -- Ithaca College Athletics & Events Center
Friday, May 2, 2014 -- Ithaca College Athletics & Events Center
Friday, May 16, 2014 -- Odessa-Montour High School
Friday, June 6, 2014 -- Ithaca College Athletics & Events Center

Odessa Montour High School is located at 300 College Avenue, Odessa, while the Ithaca College A&E Center is at 953 Danby Road, Ithaca.

The exam will begin at 5:30 p.m. sharp. Candidates are encouraged to arrive one hour prior to the exam to register and to practice their CPR skills.

New candidates and returning lifeguards must pass the exam in order to be considered for a position in the upcoming season. Candidates are required to bring their picture ID and their own pocket masks for the CPR portion of the exam.

The New York State Parks have had a shortage of guards in the past few seasons and hope that the newly negotiated hiring rate will encourage candidates to apply for positions.

Visit for a list of all the qualifying procedures and prerequisites to employment or for other exam dates and locations.

Candidates are encouraged to pre-register by either calling the Finger Lakes State Parks Regional Office at (607)387-7041 x 113 or by e-mailing

Advocacy groups: Don't ignore workers
who care for people with disabilities

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 28 -- NYSARC, Inc., which includes chapters throughout New York State, and Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York are urging legislators to include a 3% wage increase in the State budget for the direct support workforce.

While Governor Andrew Cuomo has implemented changes to make the protection of people with disabilities a top priority, the 2014 State budget does not include a wage increase for the more than 75,000 direct support workers in New York. In addition, cuts continue to be made to these supports and services.

“This is the fourth consecutive year that disability service providers have had reimbursements reduced while expectations increase. Ultimately, this hurts the direct support employees who we all depend on to keep people with developmental disabilities safe while encouraging their independence. It can be a tall order for staff to fulfill,” said Jeannette Frank, Executive Director at The Arc of Schuyler. A Cost of Living increase, or COLA, advanced by some groups to be included in this year’s State Budget does not include all workers who support people with disabilities.

The Arc of Schuyler, a chapter of NYSARC, Inc., is one of the largest employers in Schuyler County and the majority of its employees are direct support workers. “These direct support professionals must be highly trained, perform extremely difficult work, and are expected to meet the standards of a professional code of ethics,” said Frank. “Still, they are near the bottom of the wage scale, and that makes it difficult to recruit and retain these specialized workers.”

“Direct supports are paid a salary that may not be much more than minimum wage, forcing many to work more than one job," said March Brandt, Executive Director of NYSARC, Inc. "That puts them and their families under even greater strain and can undermine their ability to care for the people with developmental disabilities who depend on them.”

The issue is in the national spotlight. Both Republicans and Democrats have recognized the needs of low-wage earners, their families and the people they support.

“Not funding a wage increase is unfair to direct support professionals, their families, and to people with developmental disabilities,” Brandt added.

“It undermines the State’s promise to families, legislators and the federal government to fully include and protect people with developmental disabilities in New York State’s communities,” said Susan Constantino, President & CEO of Cerebral Palsy Associations.

The Leadership Schuyler graduating class includes, left to right standing: Katie Roller, Wagner Vineyards; Kate Fuller, Welliver; Michelle Gaylor, Schuyler Hospital, Inc.; Kathie Nortarfonzo, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; Anthony Scaptura, Cargill Salt, Inc.; Kevin Greuber, Quinlan’s Pharmacy; Joseph Porter, Tompkins Trust Company; Toni Monroe, Padua Ridge, LLC; Susan Larson, Catholic Charities Schuyler County; Wayne Hill, Wagner Vineyards; Cheryl Sheffield, Chemung Canal Trust Company; Veronica Lewis, Odessa-Montour Central School District; Jordan Young, Welliver; Scott Bronstein, Barnstormer Winery; James Frame, Leadership Schuyler Presenter. Left to right sitting: Andy Taylor, Leadership Schuyler Program Facilitator; Victoria Young, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. Not pictured: Don Chutas, Cargill Salt, Inc.

Leadership Schuyler Class to graduate

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 21 -- The latest class enrolled in the Leadership Schuyler program will graduate at a ceremony from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, March 13 at the Watkins Glen International Media Center.

The program, designed "to give today’s managers the skills they need to become tomorrow’s leaders," has helped prepare more than 200 participants since it began in 2001. This year's class has 16 members.

Said Executive Coach and Program Facilitator Andy Taylor: “This class of Leadership Schuyler participants was just great! They were inquisitive, eager to learn, action-oriented, and just plain fun to work with. I am really going to miss them!”

Added Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO, Leadership Schuyler Advisor
board member, and 2009-2010 Leadership Schuyler graduate Rebekah LaMoreaux: “Leadership Schuyler is such a valuable program to our community. It provides something that no other program in Schuyler County can -- a micro community of individuals focused on investing in their professional growth, as well as the growth of every other leader in the room!”

The program helps county residents and employees of local businesses to strengthen their knowledge of community issues and encourages them to take active leadership roles. The Chamber will begin seeking applications for the 2014-2015 Leadership Schuyler program in July.

Admission to the ceremony is free for graduates, business sponsors and one guest. The additional-guest fee is $5.00. Hors d’oeuvres will be available as well as a cash bar. If you plan to attend, RSVP by emailing or by calling (607) 535-4300 by Monday, March 4.

The class members:

Scott Bronstein, Barnstormer Winery
Don Chutas, Cargill Salt, Inc.
Kate Fuller, Welliver
Michelle Gaylor, Schuyler Hospital, Inc.
Kevin Greuber, Quinlan’s Pharmacy, Inc.
Wayne Hill, Wagner Vineyards
Susan Larson, Catholic Charities of Schuyler County
Veronica Lewis, Odessa-Montour Central School District
Toni Monroe, Padua Ridge, LLC
Kathie Notarfonzo, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Joseph Porter, Tompkins Trust Company
Katie Roller Wagner Vineyards
Anthony Scaptura, Cargill Salt, Inc.
Cheryl Sheffield, Chemung Canal Trust Company
Victoria Young, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce
Jordan Young, Welliver

Some of the employees recognized at the luncheon pose for a group photo. (Provided)

40 honored at County Recognition luncheon

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Feb. 13 -- Forty Schuyler County employees were honored Feb. 11 at the Eighth Annual Employee Recognition Luncheon held at the county Human Services Complex in Montour Falls.

County Administrator Tim O'Hearn was emcee of the event. Awards were presented by department administrators to the following employees:

Buildings and Grounds:
Daryl J. White, 5 years
Tony E. Miller, 5 years
Jason E. Kelly, 15 years
William D. Thomas, 15 years

Civil Service: Lorraine G. Johnson, 5 years

Community Services: Anne B. Bussard, 5 years

County Attorney: Vickie L. Perazzini, 5 years

District Attorney:
Matthew C. Hayden, 10 years
Robin M. Craver, 15 years

Emergency Management:
Brian L. Gardner, 5 years
William L. Kennedy, 10 years

Elections: Carolyn C. Elkins, 10 years

Philip A. Biever, 5 years
Robert K. Prior, 5 years
William H. Osborne, Jr., 35 years

Human Resources: Karen E. Spaccio, 10 years

Information Technology: Marilyn E. Jones, 5 years

Office For the Aging:
Patricia A. Secord-Bower, 5 years
*Richard D. Davis, 27 years

Public Defender: Wesley A. Roe, 5 years

Public Health:
Janel L. Walker, 5 years
Corinne E. Stansfield, 15 years

Purchasing: Harriett E. Vickio, 5 years

Real Property Tax: Cheryl L. Richtmyer, 5 years

Henry K. Ducot-Choy, 5 years
Renee J. Hatch, 5 years
Eric D. Kennedy, 5 years
James E. Perry, 10 years
Matthew J. Maloney, 15 years
Andrew M. Zeigler, 15 years
Michael A. Notarfonzo, 35 years
*Thomas N. Hoxie, 27 years

Social Services:
Johanna F. Tuttle, 5 years
Joann M. Neal, 5 years
Danielle M. Levack-Kriel, 5 years
Lisa M. Robie, 10 years
Bulinda M. Perry, 25 years
*Beverly K. Clickner, 25 years
*William J. Weiss, 17 years

Veterans: Joan E. Cole-Scott, 5 years

*Denotes retirees

Dykshoorn-Kelly engagement announced

Mr. and Mrs. Edward Dykshoorn of Odessa, NY are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Kayla Dykshoorn, to Matthew Kelly, son of Barbara Kelly of Sparta, NC.

The future bride graduated from SUNY Cortland in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in arts and from Mansfield University in 2010 with a master's. She now works as the district librarian for the Odessa-Montour Central School District.

The future groom, a 2012 graduate of Corning Community College, is an Information Systems Support Specialist at Hilliard Corp.

Their wedding is planned for June 14, 2014.

Donors needed for hospital blood drive

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Feb. 5 -- There is currently an urgent need for blood, say health officials. Winter storms and freezing temperatures have resulted in thousands of uncollected blood and platelet donations.

Schuyler Hospital’s next Red Cross Blood Drive is scheduled for Friday, February 21 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at September Hill, 250 Steuben Street, Montour Falls (two buildings up the hill from the hospital).

Donating helps Schuyler Hospital by keeping blood supply costs down.

You can pre-register to donate at, or call the Schuyler Hospital Lab at (607) 535-7121 ext. 2207. Drop-ins are also welcome.

Arc dance students perform at Rotary

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 5 -- Trenton Loughlin and his troupe of aspiring dancers conducted daily practices to master their routine to the song, “Walking in the Air,” written by Howard Blake
in 1982.

Loughlin, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Point Park University in Pennsylvania, has performed with the Ithaca Ballet for nearly 20 years. He is currently the Creative Movement and Dance instructor at The Arc of Schuyler in Watkins Glen and developed a movement and dance program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism.

Daily classes are designed to help people with disabilities improve their flexibility and range of motion, reduce muscle tension, and improve cognitive skills through choreography. While the program is an excellent component to The Arc’s commitment to health and wellness, Loughlin says the class isn’t just about exercising the body and mind.

“The class is designed to respect and empower people’s individual differences and abilities,” Loughlin said. “Movement is important and available for us all to express ourselves.”

Loughlin and several members of his dance class performed at a Watkins-Montour Rotary Club meeting on January 30. Tony Fraboni, club president, commented on the troupe’s energy and enthusiasm. “You could see how much everyone enjoyed the performance. They made you smile and leave feeling good!”

Loughlin introduced the dance troupe with his own story. “Working at The Arc – I get to share my passion with others, be a role model and a teacher, and share the creative process with awesome people who want to learn and create,” Loughlin said. “Then we get to share what we’ve accomplished with others – in art shows and in public performances. It’s wonderful how supportive The Arc is of the creative arts by offering various music, visual arts, and movement programs.”

In April, Loughlin will have the opportunity to share his experience in choreography and creative movement at The ARTS Experience Festival at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva. He will be leading a workshop at this annual arts festival that promotes inclusion of college students, people with disabilities and the public at large. The festival takes place April 1-11.

Photo in text: From left, Patrick Wheeler, Shelly Johns, Carol North and Trenton Loughlin from The Arc of Schuyler perform at a Watkins-Montour Rotary Club luncheon. (Photo provided)

Hospital Auxiliary plans Pasta Night

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, Feb. 4 -- The Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary has scheduled its annual Pasta Night fundraiser for Monday, March 10 from 4:30–7:00 p.m. at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge on State Route 14, Montour Falls.

The Watkins-Montour Lions Club and the Moose Lodge will once again host the dinner, which benefits the Hospital Auxiliary, helping to fund its Health Care Scholarships and other projects at the hospital.

Tickets may be purchased at the new Schuyler Hospital Gift Shop – just inside the hospital’s new Main Entrance -- from Lions Club members, or at the door the night of the dinner for $7.00 for adults, or $3.00 for children age 5 and under.

The menu includes pasta, meatballs & sausage, bread, salad, beverage and dessert. Take-outs are available.

For more information about the Auxiliary, or to volunteer, email or call (607) 535-7121.

Conservation District bestows
honors at its annual luncheon

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 1 -- The Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) held its Annual Luncheon at the Elks Club in Watkins Glen on January 31 and presented the Conservation Farmer of the Year Award to Jim and Eric Hazlitt of Sawmill Creek Vineyards in Hector, a Merit Award to Jessica Verrigni, Regional Stormwater Specialist, and Service Awards to retiring Board members Doris Karius and Glenn Larison.

Joe Sempolinski, District Office Director for Congressman Tom Reed, also presented the award winners with special certificates from the Congressman’s office.

Soil and water improvement projects accomplished in 2013 were also reviewed for an audience of over 100 people that included local officials, municipal staff, farmers, and other landowners. The importance of shared services, especially with highway departments, to achieve natural resource protection was emphasized.

Highlights of implemented work presented at the meeting include: five stream stabilization projects; 3,000 feet of hard road ditch stabilization in three towns; 29 miles of seeded road ditches and 82 acres of other critical area seeding that included a gravel pit and construction sites; planning and implementation of agricultural environmental management on nearly 100 area farms including 100,000 feet of fencing for improved grazing, 190 acres of cover crops and mulching; farm structural practices; pesticide sprayer retrofits and weather stations for integrated pest management; and educational events, many done in cooperation with Farm Bureau and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Former Schuyler County legislators Karius and Larison were formally thanked for their many years of service to the District. “Board members like Doris and Glenn are so important because of their sincere commitment to the Soil and Water mission and to improving constituents’ way of life. They will have a lasting impact on the Soil and Water District,” said District Manager Jerry Verrigni.

This year was one filled with many changes for the Soil and Water District as it made the transition to a new office site after the fire in the Shared Services Building. Jessica Verrigni, Regional Stormwater Specialist and Stormwater Specialist for Chemung County, helped on her own time with packing up office supplies, arranging for replacement equipment, and organizing materials so work could resume within days. She also helped design and build a demonstration rain garden and community garden. “Three thousand nine hundred pounds of fresh produce were donated to the Schuyler County Food Bank, and this would not have happened without Jessica’s help," said Board Chairman Tony Specchio. "The drive, energy, and organizational abilities of Jessica are truly inspirational, and we deeply appreciate her help this year.”

Jim and Eric Hazlitt were recognized for the numerous conservation practices implemented on their farm over the years to protect soil and water resources: diversion ditches; row middle management, including the use of mulch and minimum tillage; an agrichemical mixing facility; use of integrated pest management with an on-farm weather station; and nutrient management planning. They grow 20 varieties of grapes on 85 acres and have four acres of sour and sweet cherries.

“Since Sawmill Creek Vineyards is located very close to Seneca Lake, natural resource conservation has been a priority for this farm for many generations; we are very pleased to recognize their efforts,” said Elaine Dalrymple, District Field Manager. "They have used many Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) programs offered by the State, the Conservation District and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service.” Sue Hazlitt, Jim’s wife, along with Tina Hazlitt, Eric’s wife, and Jason Hazlitt, Eric’s son, were also recognized for their help on the farm.

For more information on soil and water conservation programs for landowners and municipalities, go to

Photo in text: Award winners with local officials and family. From left: Tony Specchio, SWCD Board Chairman; Joe Sempolinski, District Office Director for Congressman Tom Reed; Jessica Verrigni, Glenn Larison, Sue Hazlitt, Jim Hazlitt, Eric Hazlitt, Tina Hazlitt, and Jason Hazlitt. Missing from the photo: Doris Karius. (Photo provided)

Hidden Valley Camp has new director

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 26 -- Jennifer Sweet, a native of Schuyler County, has joined Hidden Valley 4-H Camp to serve as its new Camp Director.

A 1988 graduate of Odessa-Montour Central School, Sweet has been a music educator in public schools in New Jersey as well at an International School in Antwerp, Belgium. In 1996, she began her summer camp service as a general cabin counselor at Forest Lake Camp in Warrensburg, NY.

Between 1996 and 2000, Sweet served Forest Lake Camp as an Archery Instructor and Drama Director. In 2007, she returned to summer youth camps at Rambling Pines Day Camp in Hopewell, NJ as its Drama Director. Since then she has moved into camp leadership, including as an Assistant Director for Camp Pamacka at Ridgewood YMCA Day Camp in New Jersey.

Sweet has returned to live in Odessa with her son Joseph year-round. She is a former Schuyler County 4-H Club member and says she is excited about continuing 4-H related programs at Camp.

One project Sweet is currently working on is bringing a Horseback Riding program back to camp in conjunction with a local Horse Stable.

The camp is accredited by the American Camping Association and has developed programs based on youth development research by Cornell University and the national land-grant university system.

For more information about Hidden Valley 4-H Camp or to register, visit its website at or call 607-535-7161.

Ted Marks, owner of Atwater Estate Vineyards, takes the podium upon being announced as winner of the Leader in Business Award. In the background, from left, are Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, State Senator Tom O'Mara, and Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah LaMoreaux. (Photo by Doug Yeater)

At the Chamber Gala ...

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 25 -- The 125th annual celebration of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce -- its Winter Gala -- was held Friday night, Jan. 24 at the Harbor Hotel.

The packed affair was highlighted by annual Chamber awards: The Lifetime Achievement Award to Learn Motor Company owner Mike Learn; the Leader in Business Award to Atwater Estate Vineyards owner Ted Marks; and the Community Spirit Award to Christine Peacock, a member of the Harbor Hotel management and a leader in organizing community events. Peacock was on vacation in Florida, and communicated with the gathering by Skype.

The night also featured a Silent Auction, a dinner, a Live Auction, a Casino Lounge with Blackjack tables, and dancing to a live band.

The Live Auction was highlighted by such prizes as a winery tour, a saling package, use of a suite at an Elmira Jackals game, and a ski trip to Greek Peak. Silent auction items were provided by businesses from around the region.

Photo in text: Lifetime Achievement Award winner Mike Learn.

Left: Alison Hunt, a representative for Congressman Tom Reed, was on hand at the Gala. Right: Jack Benjamin, Three Rivers Development Corp. president, enjoys a chat with Ted Marks.

Watkins Glen Mayor Mark Swinnerton, left, and developer Bruce Nelson.

Rick Weakland was among the attendees. He is project director of Project Seneca, which envisions a new wastewater treatment plant along the canal in Watkins Glen, and subsequent development along the southern shore of Seneca Lake.

Drew Guild, tourism and marketing manager of the Gala-sponsoring Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, poses with his wife, Rebecca.

State Senator Tom O'Mara, left, and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano present a proclamation -- in honor of The Arc of Schuyler's 35 years of service -- to Jeannette Frank, the Arc's executive director. The presentation was made during the Winter Gala, though it was not part of the evening's agenda. "We knew we'd find her here," said O'Mara in explaining the timing of the presentation.

Seneca Physical Therapy adds PTA

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 17 -- Seneca Physical Therapy, a physical therapy practice serving the residents of the region, has welcomed a new professional to its staff.

Michael Bauer, Physical Therapist Assistant, has relocated to the community and brings experience in sports medicine and orthopedic physical therapy. He has educational degrees in both Physical Therapy and Fitness and Recreation Management.

Michael joins Dr. Genevieve Bernier and Dr. Amanda Smith-Socaris in providing evaluation and rehabilitation to people of all ages and all activity levels.

Physical therapy, they point out, improves mobility, increases level of function, decreases pain and increases strength for people with conditions affecting their muscles, bones, joints, nerves and spine.

Seneca Physical Therapy is located at 609 North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen. The office can be reached at (607) 535-7475.

Green to speak at Center

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Jan. 13, 2014 -- International Motor Racing Research Center Historian Bill Green will discuss the George Vanderbilt Cup races of 1936 and 1937 in the first Center Conversations talk of 2014.

The free talk will be on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 1 p.m. The Center is located at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen.

Green will speak about the short, two-year run of the George Vanderbilt Cup competition at Roosevelt Raceway on Long Island.

Other Center Conversations talk topics during 2014 will include the history of Holland International Speedway in western New York; land speed record competition; Formula 5000 racing; and the Milwaukee Mile.

Details will be announced as they are finalized.

The international W.K. Vanderbilt Cup races were conducted on Nassau County, NY, streets and on a closed circuit from 1904-10. The races moved to other states for the next six years. The George Vanderbilt Cup races were at the then-new facilities at Roosevelt Raceway for just two years in 1936 and 1937.

Another 20 years would pass before a Vanderbilt Cup was again awarded in the United States. The Cornelius Vanderbilt Cup was run at Roosevelt Raceway in 1960 as a Formula Junior event, and in 1965, 1967 and 1968 the Bridgehampton Sports Car Races were billed as the Cornelius Vanderbilt Cup.

Green is internationally recognized for his exhaustive knowledge about racing at Watkins Glen and elsewhere. His personal collection of racing materials was launched at the first Watkins Glen race in 1948 when, as an 8-year-old, he bought a program. The collection today comprises 3,000-plus hard and soft cover books, racing posters, photographs, motorsports magazines and full race results of Watkins Glen 1948 to present.

Since 1948, he has missed only two Watkins Glen race seasons: 1966 and 1967, when he was stationed in Morocco with the U.S. Navy. He made up for the misses by attending Formula One races in England and Germany.

The Center Conversations program has long been a cornerstone of the Racing Research Center’s educational outreach and oral history initiative. Noted authors, race historians, drivers, team owners and track officials have taken listeners behind the scenes of every race series over the years.

For information about the Center’s work and its programs, visit or call (607) 535-9044.

Photo in text: Bill Green (File photo)

NASCAR honors Thurston
for his lifetime achievements

Special to The Odessa File

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – January .10-- The late Ernie Thurston, who served as Corporate Coordinator of Track Safety & Emergency Services for International Speedway Corporation (ISC), has been posthumously honored by NASCAR with the Jim Bockoven Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award was presented at NASCAR’s annual Track Services and Security Summit in Charlotte earlier this week.

Thurston (left), a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was a longtime civil servant, having worked for the Schuyler County, New York Sheriff’s Department and the Watkins Glen, New York Fire Department. He joined ISC in 1989 while working for Watkins Glen International and later relocated to the Company’s headquarters in Daytona Beach.

Most recently, Thurston was responsible for coordinating safety and emergency services for all of ISC’s business units nationwide. He passed away in November 2013.

“Ernie is truly deserving of this prestigious honor,” said International Speedway Corporation President John Saunders. “His dedication to the safety and care of others, including his colleagues and our guests, was unmatched. He was a big part of our family for over two decades and his contributions to our industry will be seen for a very long time.”

The Jim Bockoven Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the contributions an individual made to the improvement of Track Services over the course of a career spanning 10 years or more. These contributions affect the overall operations at the majority of NASCAR tracks. This honor is not awarded annually, so the recipient’s contributions must be considered to be exemplary.

International Speedway Corporation is a leading promoter of motorsports activities, currently promoting more than 100 racing events annually as well as numerous other motorsports-related activities. It owns and/or operates 13 of the nation's major motorsports entertainment facilities, including Daytona International Speedway in Florida and Watkins Glen International.

Stephanie Louch, Chad Moore wed

The marriage of Stephanie Lee Louch and Chad Michael Moore took place Saturday, November 2, at Hector Presbyterian Church, Hector. Reverend Jim Yao and Reverend Nancy Meehan Yao officiated the ceremony.

The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Louch of Montour Falls. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Moore of Watkins Glen.

Emily Mercurio of New Hartford, New York, was maid of honor. Alicia Mahaney (Thomason) was matron of honor. Bridesmaids were Kayla Dykshoorn, Kelly Povero, Kala Oldroyd, Tara Parish, Stephanie Rappleye, and Kayleigh Fitzgerald.

Charlotte Serlo was the flower girl. Thomas Moore and Jack Serlo were the ring bearers.

Alec Moore, the groom's brother, of Watkins Glen, was best man. Groomsmen were Patrick Moore, Daniel Louch, Matthew Wills, Quinn Sturge, Ryan Higgins, T.J. Mugno, and Jeremy Riess.

The reception was held at Logan Ridge Estates in Hector.

The bride is a 2005 graduate of Odessa-Montour High School, attended Elmira College and received a Master's degree from Walden University. She is currently employed as a first-grade teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia.

The groom is a 2006 graduate of Watkins Glen High School, attended Geneseo State University and received a Master's degree from Hofstra University. He is currently employed as a human resource analyst for Volkswagen Group of America in Virginia.

The couple reside in Herndon, Virginia.

SFLW warms the holiday for seniors

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 24, 2013 -- The Southern Finger Lakes Women (SFLW), a Chapter of New York State Women, Inc., presented handmade hats and a variety of books to the residents of The Falls Home in Montour Falls in the week leading to Christmas.

The Falls Home is an assisted living facility for 92 persons. It provides residential care, activities, meals, recreation and health monitoring.

The hats were made by Judy Sawyer of “Judy Has Hats” in Hector, NY. The hats and the books were presented by JoAnne Krolak, who represented the SFLW, to Nancy Shumway, Activities Director of the Falls Home.

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 is open to women and men of every age, race, religion, political party and socio-economic background. The local chapter meets on the third Monday of each month.

For more information about the group, visit the chapter website at or contact Gloria Hutchings at (607) 594-2489. For information on the Christmas project, contact Krolak at (607) 732-1171.

Photo in text: JoAnne Krolak, right, of the Southern Finger Lakes Women, and Bonnie Hopper, receptionist at the Falls Home. (Photo provided)

Obituaries may be found here and here.

Soil and Water District leaders Larison, Karius will be missed

Elaine Dalrymple, a Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District Field Manager, recounts the service provided over the years to the district and to various agencies by County Legislators Doris Karius and Glenn Larison. Their tenure on the Legislature ends with the new year.

By Elaine Dalrymple

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 13, 2013 -- Doris Karius and Glenn Larison have served on the Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Board of Directors for more than 15 years as County Legislature representatives, and in that time their knowledge of agriculture, land use, local residents and local environmental issues were invaluable to the District.

Their abilities will be sorely missed at the end of this year as they depart as Legislature reps.

Karius is a native of the area, born near Lodi, and worked with her husband for many years in their vineyards in Hector. She later became involved in real estate and with her many close ties to the agricultural community and the county in general, and with her many years of public service, she brought many valid perspectives to the Soil and Water Board. She has served for over 10 years on the Schuyler County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board and has also served on the Environmental Management Council (EMC) and Cooperative Extension Board of Directors, to name just a few.

Larison is also an area native, born in Elmira. He owned a chicken processing facility in Odessa for many years and still owns his farm there with his wife, Pat. He too knows the needs of the agricultural community very well. Not only did he serve on the SWCD Board, but he has been on the New York Association of Conservation Districts Board representing Southern Tier counties for many years and is known throughout the State as a member of the Soil and Water family. He is also presently on the Board of the Finger Lakes Resource Conservation and Development Council and the Seneca Lake Area Partners in 5 Counties (SLAP -5), and has served on the Schuyler County Water Quality Coordinating Committee. Again, those are just a few of the groups with which he has been involved.

What both Karius and Larison gave to the Soil and Water District and the county as public servants was an ability to weigh out situations in an unbiased way and determine what was best for their constituents.

“You always knew you got an honest and well-researched opinion from Doris and Glenn that helped direct the Conservation District through many challenges over nearly two decades. We are very grateful for all their service to us and the rest of Schuyler County,” said Jerry Verrigni, District Manager.

Photo in text: Doris Karius and Glenn Larison, County Legislature Representatives to the Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors. (Photo provided)

Manzer, Stocum join Arc's Board

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 2, 2013 -- The Arc of Schuyler has announced the appointments of Andy Manzer and Donald Stocum to its Board of Directors.

A Schuyler County native, Stocum is a graduate of Corning Community College and has been Watkins Glen Postmaster since 2004.

In addition to serving on The Arc of Schuyler's Public Relations and Fundraising Committee, he is a Watkins-Montour Rotarian, and serves on the organizing committee for the Italian-American Festival.

Stocum resides in Burdett with his wife Brenda, and has a daughter, Sarah.

"I am honored to be serving on the Board of Directors for The Arc of Schuyler and look forward to being an active member," Stocum said.

Manzer has served as President and CEO of Schuyler Hospital since 2011. His previous positions included Vice President of Operations at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, OH; Vice President of Support Services at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, IL; and Administrative Director of Operations at Guthrie Health in Sayre, PA.

Manzer holds a B.S. in Health Services Administration from Ithaca College and a master's in Health Services Administration from George Washington University.

He also serves on the board of the Rochester Regional Healthcare Association, Central New York Area Health Education Center, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, George Washington University Health Services Management and Policy Alumni Board, and Corning Community College Foundation.

Manzer resides in Bradford with his wife, Michele, and children, Mia and Emily.

The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization in Watkins Glen, is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors that includes parents or relatives of a person with a developmental disability and community leaders whose insight and experience provide assistance and direction to ensure The Arc is a provider of choice for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

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

Photos in text:

Top: Don Stocum with his daughter, Sarah.

Bottom: Andy Manzer. (Photos provided)

Obituaries may be found here and here.

Haff-Stansfield engagement announced

The proud Parents of Courtney Haff and Joseph Stansfield are pleased to announce the engagement and forthcoming marriage of their children.

Courtney is the daughter of Tina McLean and Troy Taylor of Reading Center and Mike and Carrie Haff of Hammondsport. Joseph is the son of Andy and Corie Stansfield of Montour Falls.

Courtney and Joe were both 2009 graduates of Watkins Glen High School. Courtney continued her education at Elmira College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Childhood Education, and is currently working on her Masters in General Education. She is employed at My Place: A Play & Learning Center as the Preschool Lead Teacher. She is also employed with NYS DOCCS as a Teacher at Willard.

Joe continued his education at St. John Fisher College, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He is currently employed at Corning Credit Union.

Their wedding will take place in September of 2014, and the couple plans on living locally.

Photo in text: Courtney Haff and Joe Stansfield. (Photo provided)

Tony Specchio salutes one of his speakers at the Veterans Day ceremony.

Ceremony honors Veterans

Yessman is keynote speaker on Courthouse lawn

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 12, 2013 -- Watkins Glen, as it has for decades, held its Veterans Day gathering Monday in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse -- one of many ceremonies held around the country honoring those who have served their country and those who are currently serving it in military roles around the world.

Schuyler County Sheriff William Yessman was the keynote speaker. Yessman, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1979-83 and has been sheriff for eight years (and was recently re-elected for another four years), said Veterans Day has always been meaningful to him since both of his parents were Korean War Navy veterans.

"Quite simply," he said, "today is a day to say 'thank you.'"

Many people, he said, see Veterans Day "as a day off or (part of) a long weekend," and have thus "forgotten our heroes ... those who sacrified so we can continue to live" in a free society.

Forgetting those heroes, he suggested, is not acceptable. "Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance." Those heroes should be acknowledged, should be thanked.

"Whether it's done privately or collectively, it's the thought that counts," he said.

He quoted from two writings. The first was "Eulogy for a veteran," an anonymously composed poem that says "I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glint of snow," and later: "Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die."

And there was "The Noble and the Brave" by Joanna Fuchs, which concludes:

"So here's to our country's heroes;
They're a cut above the rest;
Let's give the honor that is due
To our country's very best."

Other speakers Monday included Watkins Glen Mayor Mark Swinnerton, who said he was there to thank all veterans for their "noble service" and "our sons and daughters serving today... You have made a difference because of your moral courage and your service to the country... We should celebrate Veterans Day every day by following your example."

He quoted President Abraham Lincoln: "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

Schuyler Legislature Chair Dennis Fagan presented a speech honoring his father, Art Fagan, an Air Corps veteran who was shot down in World War II over Europe and spent 13 months as a prisoner of war, and Legislature colleague Mike Yuhasz, an Army veteran and retired Watkins Glen Elementary School principal now residing at the Bath VA. "If you have a chance to stop by and say hello, I'm sure it would brighten Mike's day," Fagan said.

The ceremony, as it has for years, was emceed by veteran Tony Specchio, who introduced commanders and auxiliary leaders of various veterans groups in the area. They in turn presented brief remarks, welcoming the crowd that had gathered in front of the Courthouse for the occasion.

Members of Boy Scout Troop 2674 raised the flag up the Courthouse pole, and trumpeter Bernie Riley, as he normally does at these events, played "Taps."

Photos in text:

From top: Schuyler County Sheriff William Yessman, the keynote speaker; Watkins Glen Mayor Mark Swinnerton; and Schuyler County Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan.

Left: The flag is raised by the Boy Scouts. Right: Bernie Riley plays "Taps."

Keith Caslin, left, vice commander of American Legion Post 555 in Watkins Glen, and AmVets Post 2278 Commander Edward Vaughn, right, were among the Veterans Day speakers.

Schuyler Hall to induct 3

Oct. 23 celebration set to honor Peters, Anagnost, Elkins

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 3, 2013 -- After a hiatus of four years, the Schuyler County Hall of Fame has announced the selection of three new members to be added to the Hall. The ceremony will take place from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at Seneca Lodge.

After reviewing a number of nominations, the Hall of Fame Selection Committee picked the following for their contributions to Schuyler County:

William Peters: Peters owned and operated a successful insurance agency in downtown Watkins Glen for several decades. After his arrival in Watkins, he immersed himself in many organizations throughout the county. He served on the following boards of directors: Schuyler County United Way as Chairman of the Fund Drive; Schuyler County Chamber of Commerce as Vice-President; Watkins-Montour Rotary Club as President; Sullivan Trail Boy Scout Council; Schuyler Hospital as long-time member and Chairman; Schuyler Hospital Health Foundation; Glen National Bank; REDEC; Grand Prix Corporation; and Five Lakes Development.

Peters was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club, and was also awarded “Business Person of the Year” by the Schuyler County Chamber of Commerce. Peters actively participated in a multitude of fundraising efforts across the county and was named “The Honorary Chair of the Family and Friends Campaign” by the Schuyler Health Foundation.

Nick G. Anagnost: Born to Greek immigrants in the heart of the Depression, Anagnost graduated from Sherburne High School and Albany College of Pharmacy. In 1966, he and his wife Anne moved to Montour Falls as he became a partner in Montour Pharmacy. A few years later, he became sole owner, and rapid expansion began in earnest. Over the next four decades, the store grew tenfold.

Anagnost is held in high esteem by his peers across the state. He mentored dozens of student employees, many whom went on to become pharmacists. He was just as giving to his customers. If a customer couldn't afford a prescription, Anagnost was known to take fresh eggs or homemade jam as payment. He has the distinction of being the longest, continuous working pharmacist in the history of Montour Falls. He has been an enthusiastic booster of his "hometown." He coached the Montour Pharmacy Little League team for many years, and served the village as a trustee and youth commissioner.

He has been a quiet but generous benefactor and friend to many in the community, various organizations, and to the Odessa-Montour Central School sports booster club. He was named to the school's sports Hall of Fame in 2008 as a benefactor. Anagnost was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Watkins-Montour Rotary Club, and was also awarded the "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the Schuyler County Chamber of Commerce. He recently endowed a tuition assistance scholarship to Albany College of Pharmacy available annually to a graduate of Odessa-Montour Central School or Watkins Glen Central School.

Lt. William Elkins: Elkins came back from World War II with German shrapnel in his knee and Cornell Law School on his mind. Before there was a Legal Services Corp., before pro bono counsel for the poor, and before Miranda vs. Arizona, there was Attorney William Elkins. Elkins owned and practiced in a solo private practice law firm in Burdett, NY for over 30 years. He is renowned for his brilliant legal mind and his humble, generous, and honest approach with his clients.

Elkins was a probation officer and a public defender for Schuyler County for a number of years. He was a member of and/or volunteered his time with the following organizations: the Lions Club, the Grange, the Burdett Players, the American Legion, the Reading Community Church, the Burdett Methodist Church, Glen Baptist Church, and the Conservative Party. Elkins was the recipient of a Purple Heart in 1945. He was, the Selection Committee recognized, "a man of the people whom Thomas Jefferson would have immediately recognized as a lighthouse on the shore of American Law."

The selection of these three individuals brings Schuyler County Hall of Fame membership to a total of 38 people, dating back to the inaugural Class of 1995.

All family and friends are invited to attend the ceremony. The Brubaker family of Seneca Lodge is sponsoring the induction, with Carol Bower Catering providing light snacks and hors d’oeuvres. A cash bar will be available.

Overall sponsorship for the Hall of Fame is co-provided by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and a sponsor who wishes to remain anonymous. Plaques honoring Hall of Fame members can be found on the walls of the first floor hallway in the County Office Building.

To RSVP for the induction, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 607-535-4300 or email

Photos in text: From the top: William Peters, Nick Anagnost and William Elkins.

Check presentation

The Seneca Swim held recently in Seneca Lake to raise funds through pledges for the Odessa Fire Department resulted in a check presentation Sept. 5, 2013 outside the fire station. The Seneca Swim, a brainchild of the Emergency Volunteers of Schuyler County, raised $6,000 through 67 donations from businesses and individuals. The group plans another swim next year, with funds going to the Schuyler County Ambulance service. Presenting the check to Fire Chief Mike Tomassi was Diane Wixson. With her, from left, were Linda Centurelli, Ruth Thompson, Dawn Thompson and Eleanor Thompson. Firefighters at rear included, from left, Charlene Herrmann, Eric Dorn, Brandon Wright, Bill Bulkley, Bernie MacDougall, Keith Pierce, John Jelliff and Steve Siptrott.

Sidle brothers earn Eagle rank

ODESSA, Aug. 22, 2013 -- Brothers Lee and Charles Sidle of Boy Scout Troop 30, chartered by the Odessa Baptist Church, received the highest rank in scouting, the Eagle, in a ceremony on Sunday night, Aug. 18.

Scouts are required to earn a minimum of 21 merit badges in a number of disciplines, serve in leadership positions in their troop and conduct an Eagle Scout Leadership Project. Lee is a recent graduate of Odessa-Montour Central School, where Charles will be a junior this year. Both boys have been active in scouting for nine years.

The boys (Lee is on the left) are pictured with their grandfather, David Sidle Sr, and their father, David Sidle II, who have both served a number of years in various positions as scout leaders.

County Hall of Fame seeks nominations

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 14, 2013 -- The Advisory Committee of the Schuyler County Hall of Fame is seeking nominations for the 2013 Schuyler County Hall of Fame award.

After a four-year hiatus, the committee will accept nominations through September 13.

The following eight categories of distinction guide the selection committee in the selection process: agriculture/wine; government; public relations; business industry; health care; tourism; education; and history.

The criteria for selection are as follows: the candidate must be or have been a resident of Schuyler County; must have distinguished him/herself; and in doing so, must have brought reflected prestige to Schuyler County. In addition, the candidate must have been actively involved in his/her field for a significant number of years in Schuyler County.

The Hall of Fame was established to “recognize and honor dedicated individuals who have unconditionally contributed their energy, commitment, and persistence to achieving their vision for Schuyler County.” In that process, each member of the Hall of Fame will have improved and enhanced life in Schuyler County for the benefit of all.

Sponsored by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and in partnership with the Schuyler County Legislature, the Schuyler County Hall of Fame was first instituted in 1995. The inaugural class of eight honorees was inducted on October 27, 1995. Awards were made in 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2007, 2008, and 2009 and recognized 38 individuals. The 38 individuals’ pictures are framed and on display in the Schuyler County Courthouse in Watkins Glen.

To submit a nomination, visit, or call 607-535-4300 for more information.

Trumansburg woman sparks fundraiser

Special to The Odessa File

TRUMANSBURG, July 25, 2013 -- Finger Lakes resident Rachel Orlyk is passionate about shining a light on a lesser-known but integral part of the New York agriculture scene -- the migrant career farmworker community and their families.

Through her fundraising initiative “Fiesta for the Future,” Rachel is working directly with the Agri-Business Child Development of New York to raise money to provide the children of these migrant farmworkers with backpacks and school supplies when they enter kindergarten this fall.

“This is an opportunity to extend a well-deserved thank you to the families who provide such a valuable resource in sustaining our local agriculture," says Orlyk. "It’s an interdependence that many people aren’t aware of between these hard-working individuals and the essential farms and businesses in our community and New York State.”

Orlyk's words echo the sentiments and inspiration behind the fundraising gala that takes place on Thursday, August 1 at the Silver Queen Farm in Trumansburg from 7-10 p.m.

The event will feature live music, an auction, and local food and wine -- showcasing the products and produce made possible, Orlyk points out, by the labor of the migrant farm worker community. Tickets, information and donation opportunities can be found at

The event is made possible by contributions from The Harvest Cafe´ of Montour Falls and Silver Queen Farm, and donations from the Hector Wine Company, Red Newt Cellars and many others.

Agri-Business Child Development has been providing comprehensive child development services to the children of local, migrant and seasonal agricultural workers as well as other eligible families across New York State since 1946.

For additional information, visit the agency website at

Brandon Lucia earns Eagle Scout rank

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, July 22, 2013 -- BSA Troop 2000, sponsored by The First Baptist Church of Montour Falls, has a new Eagle Scout, Brandon Lucia of Reading Center.

Brandon is a 2013 graduate of Watkins Glen High School and the son of Ron and Connie Lucia.

Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America program. Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating Scout Spirit through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership. Included is an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. Brandon’s Eagle project was to lead a group of his fellow Scouts in building “feral cat shelters” for the Humane Society of Schuyler County.

A "feral" cat is a cat that has reverted to a wild state. In most cases, feral cats are not completely wild because they still depend on people for their food source, whether it's through a caretaker who comes by once or twice a day, a dumpster outside a restaurant, or garbage cans. Relatively few feral cats subsist only by hunting.

Brandon loves cats and wanted to build shelters so the feral cats in Schuyler County could get out of the weather. He presented three of these shelters built under his leadership to the Humane Society. His Eagle Ceremony will be held at a later date at the convenience of his family.

LTC John Bleiler retiring from the Army

Special to The Odessa File

ODESSA, June 26, 2013 -- Lieutenant Colonel John Fredrick Bleiler is retiring from the United States Army after 26 years of service.

Bleiler graduated from Odessa-Montour Central School in 1981. He attended Penn State and graduated from SUNY Oswego, where he trained in the Army ROTC program. He is the son of Delmar and Jeanne Bleiler of Odessa, NY.

Bleiler has served overseas in Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In his career he was assigned to Oklahoma, Alaska, South Carolina, the Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Afghanistan, and Qatar.

In support of the global war on terror, he spent time in Kenya, Ethiopia, Quwait, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Jordan in Special Operations Command Central.

He and his family presently reside in Tampa, Florida.

Photo in text: LTC John Bleiler (Photo provided)

Dozens of kayakers make their way up Seneca Lake Saturday toward the Inergy plant in the background, where -- from the water -- they chanted against the company's LPG storage plans.

Kayak 'flotilla' protests LPG storage plans

WATKINS GLEN, June 23, 2013 -- Several dozen kayakers made their way north and west on Seneca Lake Saturday from the marina to the waters in front of the Inergy-owned U.S. Salt plant to protest the company's plans to expand storage of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) in salt caverns on the west side of the lake.

The kayakers, after reaching the waters fronting the Inergy plant, chanted against the plan, which would make the western shoreline a hub of distribution activity. Speeches were issued before the flotilla launched, as well. A number of larger motorized crafts and sailboats followed along.

Protestors, chanting such things as "Whose lake? Our lake!" and blowing airhorns, remained in the vicinity of the plant for about a half-hour. The company responded later in the day with a statement that said, in part: "Our facilities are proven to achieve the highest levels of safety, environmental stewardship and regulatory compliance." The storage project, it added, "will create jobs" and "generate new tax revenue."

One woman helping operate a sign-in desk for kayakers near the launch site east of the Village Marina gave an interview after the kayaks had headed north. Rose Marie Kleinspehn said she had grown up on the west side of Seneca and has "been concerned about the lake all my life." Inergy, she said "doesn't have any business being a hub for propane."

Afterward, one of the protestors, Gas Free Seneca spokesperson Yvonne Taylor, added this: "We made it known today that this is our lake and we respectfully request that Inergy LP go home -- back to Kansas City."

Photo in text: A number of kayakers carried protest signs. This man, in fact, didn't make it far. He and a companion kayaker were starting well after the flotilla had departed, and when they launched, the second kayak capsized mere feet offshore. The pair decided to go no farther.

Grand Jury indicts Larry, Kimberly States

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 19, 2013 -- Larry States, 41, and his wife Kimberly, 46, were indicted Tuesday by a Schuyler County Grand Jury on charges of Grand Larceny and Falsifying Business Records, all felonies.

The charges stem from an investigation conducted by the New York State Comptroller’s Office and the New York State Police into the theft of more than $100,000 from the Monterey Volunteer Fire Department, where Larry States -- at the time employed as a sergeant in the Schuyler County Sheriff's Department -- served as Fire Chief. Kimberly States was the fire department treasurer.

Larry States, of 271 Owego Street, Montour Falls was indicted on one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a Class D felony), one count of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (a Class D felony), and one count of Tampering with Physical Evidence (a Class E felony).

The highest charges carry a maximum sentence of up to seven years in State prison. States will be arraigned by Schuyler County Judge Dennis Morris at a later date.

Kimberly States, of 910 Doane Road, Beaver Dams, was indicted on one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a Class C felony) and one count of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (a Class D felony).

The highest charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in State prison. She also will be arraigned by Judge Morris at a later date.

At the time of their arrests in January, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement: "For more than five years, these officials were able to embezzle department funds to help pay for their home mortgage, cell phones, groceries, concert tickets, family vacations and a personal vehicle. Thankfully, the coordinated efforts of the New York State Police and members of my staff have helped bring these individuals to justice."

The Comptroller's report shows that a misappropriation of fire department funds occurred over a period of years and "could have been prevented ... had the (department) Board taken the basic steps of requiring documentation to support disbursements and reviewing banking records."

Glen resident's grandson earns Eagle rank

WATKINS GLEN, June 18, 2013 -- Daniel Waite Chomyszak, 15, of Punta Gorda, Florida, has earned the highest advancement award the Boy Scouts of America offers to Scouts, the rank of Eagle Scout.

Chomyszak received his Eagle Rank Advancement on May 21 at his Eagle Board of Review and was recognized at an Eagle Court of Honor Ceremony on June 12 at Lenox Hall, First United Methodist Church, Punta Gorda, Florida.

He is the son of Brent and Tanya Waite Chomyszak of Punta Gorda, Florida, grandson of Sylvia D. Waite and the late Allan P. Waite, Sr., of Watkins Glen, New York, grandson of the late John G. “Jerry” and Marjorie S. Chomyszak of Norwich, New York, and great grandson of Jean B. Drake of Watkins Glen, New York.

A member of Boy Scout Troop 13, Chomyszak is one of approximately 4 percent of all Boy Scouts who attain the Eagle rank. He is also an avid fisherman, a certified scuba diver and a black belt in karate.

Photo in text: Daniel Waite Chomyszak (Photo provided)

Seneca View resident celebrating 100th

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, June 4, 2013-- This month, Harriett Everett is celebrating her 100th birthday with family and friends at Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility in Montour Falls.

Said Harriett at a recent birthday gathering at the Chateau LaFayette Reneau winery in Hector: : “I don’t know what to think about turning 100. I can’t believe I’m 100 and I know I’m old but don’t feel 100. I am content and happy because I can still do some things for myself, and the wonderful people in the Nursing Department and the Activities department and my family make it worth living.”

Harriett said that long life runs in her family, and her biggest concern is losing her independence. “I know I cannot do all the things I used to. I just don’t want to live too much longer if I have to depend totally after others. My Aunt Zella lived to be a 107 and she did not like depending on others to care for her. We are alike in thinking.”

Harriett Everett was born on June 11, 1913, in Sayre Pennsylvania, to Merton and Sarah (Northrup) French. She was their only daughter. She had an older brother, Robert, and two younger twin brothers, Edward and Edwin.

The family moved to Montour Falls, New York, when Harriett was one-year-old, because her father got a job as a mechanic for Shepard Niles. Her mother became bedridden in 1919 due to the flu and arthritis, so Harriett became the caretaker and cook of the family at the age of six. She attended Montour Falls School and received her GED.

As a teenager, Harriett played the piano for the black-and-white films and got paid 25 cents a night!

Harriett married George Everett in 1931. He worked at the Montour Falls Post Office and they had three sons. One of her sons passed away at the age of 10. The other two still live in the area.

Harriett has seven grandchildren, nine great grandchildren, and five (soon to be six) great-great grandchildren.

Harriett took several classes in library science at both Corning Community and Elmira Colleges. She helped set up the Odessa-Montour Elementary School library and worked there for 16 years.

After retiring, she and her husband traveled all over the United States and spent many winters in Florida. Harriett talks about two visits they took to Hawaii , and one to New Orleans. They also followed the “Lincoln Trail,” which took them through Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Pennsylvania in 10 days total.

Over the years, Harriett has volunteered at the Montour Falls Memorial Library and the Historical Society. Her hobbies are knitting, crocheting, needle point, painting, puzzles and crafts.

Harriett has been a resident at Seneca View for almost two years. Before that she lived in the same home in Montour Falls for 68 years.

Harriett is a very sociable lady who participates in many activities and always has visitors in her room. As her visitors are leaving, you can hear her saying, “Take care and God bless.”

Photo in text: Harriett Everett (Photo provided)

Motorcycle ride will benefit Food Pantry

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 28, 2013-- The Moose Riders #426 will host a motorcycle ride along Seneca Lake on Saturday, June 15 to benefit Catholic Charities’ Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry.

Registration will take place from 9:00-10:30 a.m. that day at the Moose Lodge, located at 2096 Route 14, Montour Falls. The riders will embark from there at 11 a.m. The event is open to the public.

Registration is $15 for riders and $5 for passengers. Riders are also asked to bring a non-perishable food item or personal-care item for the Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry. Some needed items include cereal, pasta, boxed meals and hygiene products. A complete list of needs can be found on the Catholic Charities’ website,

“Without the support of organizations like the Montour Falls Moose Lodge, Schuyler Outreach would not have the funding to function at the same level as it does right now," said Jessie Ketter, Schuyler Outreach Program Coordinator. "Schuyler County residents depend on the Pantry to provide them with a three-day supply of food when they are in need. This event will not only raise funds to purchase food, it is increasing community awareness of hunger in the community."

To learn more about the Moose Riders’ Ride or sponsorship opportunities, contact Rick Oliver at the Moose Club, 607-535-4741. To learn more about Schuyler Outreach, contact Ketter at 607-535-2815 or visit the Catholic Charities’ website,

Rondinaro gains induction into DCI Hall

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 21, 2013 -- Four individuals, including Watkins Glen native Steve Rondinaro, have been selected for induction into the Drum Corps International (DCI) Hall of Fame, which honors individuals who have left their mark on the marching music activity.

From instructors to designers to innovators, the Hall is made up of more than 100 men and women influential in the history of drum and bugle corps. The new inductees will be recognized in August, during the week of the 2013 DCI World Championships in Indianapolis.

Rondinaro has hosted DCI’s television and movie theater broadcasts since the late 1970s.

“For life-long drum corps fans, it’s practically impossible to imagine watching the DCI World Championships on television or in movie theaters without being engrossed by what Steve says about the drum corps activity,” DCI Staff Writer Michael Boo said. “Through the airwaves, he brings people right into the stadium.”

Rondinaro’s drum corps career started when, at the age of 9, he joined the Watkins Glen Squires, with whom he spent a dozen years. He later co-managed the corps, nearly achieving a 12th-place finalist spot in the 1975 World Championships in Philadelphia, his last year as a marching member.

Forging a career as a news reporter and anchor outside of drum corps, Rondinaro got his start with DCI’s television broadcasts when asked by Hall of Fame Member Don Whitely to host a local PBS telecast of the 1976 DCI East competition in Allentown, Pa. A similar opportunity was offered in 1977 for the DCI Canada event in Hamilton, Ontario, and by 1979 he got his opportunity in front of the camera on the PBS network at the World Championships, sitting alongside jazz trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson as co-host.

Over the years Rondinaro has worked with a diverse array of co-hosts from actress Rita Moreno to sports broadcasting legend Curt Gowdy, using his experiences and talents as a drum corps “insider” to educate his television partners.

He later helped reorganize the Florida Vanguard into a new corps, Florida Wave, a group that went on to win DCI’s A-Class Championship title in 1984.

Photo in text: Steve Rondinaro

715 years of combined service recognized

Hospital recognizes contributions of 58 employees

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, May 15, 2013 -- Schuyler Hospital recognized employees with 5 to 40 years of service May 8 at its annual Employee Recognition Dinner.

In all, 58 employees were recognized for a total of 715 years of combined experience at the hospital.

The highlight of the evening’s celebration – held at Chateau LaFayette Reneau with Bower Catering – was a tribute for three 40-year employees: Diane Candido, Seneca View; Anita Smith, Admissions; and Blanche Bowen, Patient Accounting (retired in December).

Candido’s co-worker, Winona Beebe -- herself celebrating 35 years at Schuyler Hospital -- went to high school with Diane, and both started at Schuyler Hospital as nurse aides while still in school. “Well, that was only a few years ago, it seems. You have moved on and upwards in the nursing profession. I commend you for your dedication and years of service,” said Beebe.

Of Smith, co-worker Emily Grimmke said, “Anita is one of the best support people
during difficult situations in the Emergency Room and elsewhere. She can find a number, get information disseminated, find a form, and get someone on the line in a flash -- always with a smile, a sense of humor (invaluable!) and a question of what more she could be helping with.”

Bowen earned praise not only from her co-workers, but also from all the families she helped over the years as the Seneca View Billing Supervisor.

In presenting the years of service awards, Hospital President/CEO Andy Manzer thanked everyone for their dedication to each other, as well as to patients and residents.

Celebrating 35 years: Bruce Barrett, Winona Beebe, and Pam Palmer
Celebrating 30 years: Cora Sue Davis
Celebrating 25 years: Joylee Cornish, Deborah Drake, Penny Hammond, Carol Kruger, Janice Layton, and Carol Peters
Celebrating 20 years: Liz Ayers, Peter Daniluk, Patti Hardick, and Kathy Richtmyer
Celebrating 15 years: MaryEllen Claypool, Dianna Laprade, Jason Pitcher, Dr. William Saks, Kathryn Shaffer, and Linda Smith
Celebrating 10 years: Mindy Ahouse, Madia Bosley, Rebecca Goltry, Wendy Hughey, Yvonne Kellogg, Annette Kocourek, Valerie Franzese-Lynch, Dawn Macnaughton, Jeanne Maine, Debra Phaneuf, Norma Powers, Dr. Ashraf Sabahat, Kirk Smith and Noel Yaw
Celebrating 5 years: Paul Beebe, Michelle Benjamin, Jeannette Blake, Nacole Burchard, Richard Carney, Beth Flynn, Kevin Hollenbeck, Gina Marcellino, Suzanne McLoud, Brittany Oliver, Joey Paladino, Debra Phelps, Troy Preston, Debbra Rockhill, Terrie Sautter, Apryl Smith, Ryan Stackhouse, Dawn Taft, Diana Vaughn-Russell, William Vaughn-Russell and Judy Woleiszo

Photo in text: From left: Schuyler Hospital 40-year Service Award recipients Anita Smith, Blanche Bowen and Diane Candido (Photo provided)

Connecticut Hill neighbors clean stream

Remove tires, other debris thrown into Cayuta Lake tributary

Special to The Odessa File

CAYUTAVILLE, May 13, 2013 -- More than 150 tires were removed from a tributary to Cayuta Lake on a recent Saturday morning by 25 neighbors, distressed by increased dumping into the stream that flows next to Cayutaville Road and through the Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area.

The DEC agreed to help properly dispose of the tires. Also removed were three truckloads of car parts, couches, roofing, and a leaky container of antifreeze – to name a few of the things thrown off the road into the creek.

The Connecticut Hill-Cayuta Valley Neighbors Group, who gather monthly for a potluck dinner, and the Odessa Men’s Group, who meet weekly over coffee, worked for two hours clearing the stream. It would have taken much longer without a tractor and winch supplied by Barlow Rhodes that helped pull the tires and other heavy items up the steep banks.

The many hands made the tough job bearable, a job the groups hope won't be needed again. Many communities, including the Town of Catharine, have Dumpster Days and there has been a yearly tire collection program sponsored by Schuyler County.

“We can’t live without clean water and Connecticut Hill is the headwaters for many streams that flow to Cayuta Lake, then to Cayuta Creek, the Susquehanna, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay," said Roxanne Leyes, one of the organizers of the tire pickup and a member of the Connecticut Hill-Cayuta Valley Neighbors Group. "All provide excellent fishing and other recreational opportunities. Streams connect to groundwater that supplies our drinking water wells, and it is distressing that some in our community forget this and dump their garbage carelessly near our waterways.”

Photo in text: The tire cleanup. (Photo provided)

Experience Schuyler begins its run

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 1, 2013 -- About 45 people attended the Kick-Off Celebration for Experience Schuyler Tuesday evening at The Upstairs Inn at O'Susannah's Quilt Shop in Watkins Glen.

The event included food prepared by the participating business owners which will be featured on the recipe cards distributed as part of the event.

Experience Schuyler runs from May1 through May 11. Passports can be picked up at the participating businesses, including Finger Lakes Fibers, the Hi-Lites and O'Susannah's Quilt Shop in Watkins Glen, and the Village Bakery, Reality Realty and Stillman's Greenhouse in Montour Falls.

After visiting 17 of the 28 businesses, shoppers will be eligible to enter a prize drawing valued at over $400 and will receive a bead toggle made by Bonnie Scott of Joyful Adornments to hold the recipes together.

For more information, contact Helene Fausold at 351-8024 or

Welliver welcomes project executive

Special to The Odessa File

MONTOUR FALLS, April 16, 2013 -- The Welliver firm has announced that Sarah Welch, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, has joined the company as Project Executive-Business Development in the company's Montour Falls office.

Welch’s primary tasks will be to seek new business opportunities, provide support to the company’s major customers, and strengthen relationships with industry partners and design firms.

According to a press release, her "depth of expertise in the design and construction industries will further build upon the quality of professional services offered to Welliver’s customers. She will utilize her 20-plus years of experience as a project manager and design professional to consult on, plan and manage projects for clients across the region."

Welch's education includes a Master of Architecture degree from Virginia Tech and a BA in Environmental Design & Energy Conservation from Allegheny College. She resides in Scipio, New York.

Based in the Southern Tier for more than 100 years, Welliver provides program and construction management, general construction,and design/build and self-perform services to the Upstate New York and Northern Tier Pennsylvania regions. Its clients include healthcare systems, high-end manufacturing companies, science and technology partners, and Pre-K-12 and higher education institutions. It is currently managing projects at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Corning-Painted Post Area School District, Corning Museum of Glass and Cornell University, among many others. More information is available at

Photo in text: Sarah Welch (Photo provided)

SFLW to hold BBQ for scholarship fund

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 2, 2013 -- The Southern Finger Lakes Women, a chapter of New York State Women, Inc., will hold a chicken barbecue on Sunday, April 21 at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge.

The proceeds will benefit the SFLW scholarship fund. For $8, diners will receive a half-chicken dinner, complete with baked beans, salad, rolls and dessert. A half-chicken combo for $6 is also available, as are takeouts .

The barbecues will be served starting at noon and continue until sold out. Advance ticket holders must pick up the dinner by 1 p.m. For tickets or further information, email

New York State Women, Inc. provides members with professional development, networking, grassroots activism and career advancement resources. Its mission is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information.

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

A couple of fishermen cast their lines in Catharine Creek, beneath the South Genesee Street bridge south of Montour Falls.

Trout season opens under ideal conditions

MONTOUR FALLS, April 2, 2013 -- Anglers from around the region gathered Monday morning at points along Catharine Creek for the start of trout season in the state.

The weather was cooperative -- near 40 degrees and a slight drizzle -- as individuals and small groups searched for spots along the creek that would yield a prized catch of a sizable trout.

Anglers along the creek near the Rte. 14 overpass in Montour Falls found the going slow. One man who had just caught and released a sucker was moving on to another spot. "They're hiding," he said.

Upstream -- at a popular spot about 100 yards north of the South Genesee Street bridge -- there was better luck. A group of about 20 anglers gathered there, and four of them -- two former Elmirans, each with a grown son joining in the fun -- were hauling in suckers and trout alike.

One of the men, Bill Cleary of Cortland -- on hand with his son Shawn -- hauled in a good-sized trout and two suckers in about 10 minutes. His friend Mike McLaughlin of Newfield -- present with grown son Chris -- had already caught some trout. "We got about a dozen, all told," he said.

"This is the best spot," added Cleary, "this spot and up and down (the nearby creek waters). I've been coming here for forty years."

There were reports, too, of numerous catches upstream, toward Millport -- as well as in other areas of the state. One fisherman in Central New York -- along Nine Mile Creek near Syracuse -- reported catching five trout in 10 minutes.

Trout season runs until October.

Photos in text: Anglers on Catharine Creek south of Montour Falls.

Three anglers -- with others beyond them -- tried their luck beneath the Rt. 14 overpass.

4 dates set for State Lifeguard Exams

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, March 27, 2013 -- The Finger Lakes State Parks will be holding their annual New York State Lifeguard Exams at the Watkins Glen High School on 12th Street in Watkins Glen, NY.

The exams will be held on the following dates and will begin at 5:30 p.m. sharp.

Friday, April 12, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
Friday, May 3, 2013
Friday, June 7, 2013

Candidates are encouraged to arrive 1 hour prior to the exam to register and are given an opportunity to practice their CPR skills.

New candidates and returning lifeguards must pass the exam in order to be considered for a position in the upcoming season. Candidates are required to bring their picture ID and their own pocket masks for the CPR portion of the exam.

Please visit for a list of all the qualifying procedures and prerequisites to employment or for other exam dates and locations.

Candidates are encouraged to pre-register by either calling the Finger Lakes State Parks Regional Office at (607)387-7041 x 113 or by e-mail at

Two police cars, left, stayed at the site after the arrests. The gate blocked is on the right.

12 arrested, charged with trespass

WATKINS GLEN, March 18, 2013 -- Twelve people were arrested Monday morning on trespass charges at the same Inergy storage facility where three people were arrested last September.

The protest came hours before a planned rally at the Seneca Lake marina in opposition to hydrofracking and Inergy's planned LPG storage expansion. About 100 people turned out for the rally.

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Department, state police and Watkins Glen village police participated in the arrests, which came at about 10:50 a.m. Observers said 11 of the people blocked the entrance to the facility, refusing to let a truck leave the premises -- sparking the police response. The 12th arrestee was a National Lawyers Guild observer, one of several at the protest.

Arrested and issued appearance tickets were:

Marjorie K. Rodgers, age 58, of 805 Larchmont Rd, Elmira.
Richard F. Jones, age 64, of 8054 Saunders Rd, Belfast, NY.
Michael E. Dineen, age 64, of 7342 Wyers Point Rd, Ovid.
Melissa A. Chipman, age 55, of 5399 State Route 414, Hector.
James Amato Borra, age 64, of 5399 State Route 414, Hector.
Katarina Anya Anderson, age 23, of 111 Danby Rd, Ithaca.
Kathleen C. Alvey, age 22, of 120 Aurora St. apt 8a, Ithaca.
Sandra K. Steingraber, age 53, of 14 Bradley St., Trumansburg.
Jack D. Ossont, age 69, of 3900 Dundee Himrod Rd, Himrod.
Darmaye L. Marley, age 53, of 3909 Tichenor Rd, Hector.
Nathanael T. Miller, age 26, of 308 University Ave 8, Ithaca.
Dennis James Fox, age 20, of 92 E. Bartlett Rd, Middle Island.

Supporters ventured to the Sheriff's Office following the arrests, with nearly 20 of them sitting and standing in the department's lobby area, waiting until the 12 were processed and released. Each arrestee is scheduled to appear in Reading Town Court.

Among those present to show support were Jeremy Alderson and Susan Walker, two of the three people arrested last September. Walker served a 15-day jail term after refusing to pay a fine, while Alderson is still awaiting trial, now set for May 2 after motions he had filed were rejected by Town Justice Raymond H. Berry.

Benefit planned for Danny Daugherty

By Bonnie Seeley

ODESSA, March 3, 2013 -- A benefit program is being planned for Saturday, March 30 in Elmira to assist a beloved father and grandfather, slowly and painfully losing his battle…a battle that he has fought for the better part of the past 30 years.

Danny Daugherty, 58, a veteran of the U.S. Navy Seabees, became ill long after his service during the Vietnam era. During Danny’s hitch in the Navy, from 1971 to 1974, while serving in Vietnam, he was exposed to the military toxin Agent Orange -- a mixture of chemical herbicides with a dioxin component sprayed by U.S. military forces onto Vietnam's forests and crops during the war, with the dual purpose of destroying cover for enemy movements (defoliation) and destroying food sources.

Exposure to Agent Orange has been blamed for an abnormally high incidence of miscarriages, skin diseases, cancers, birth defects, and malformations among the Vietnamese people and of cancers and other disorders in U.S., Australian and New Zealand soldiers who served in Vietnam.

Danny did not exhibit the symptoms of Agent Orange exposure until a number of years after his hitch in the military. In 1986, he began having heart problems. He has suffered four major heart attacks, as well as a number of minor heart attacks. He has acute diabetes, requiring him to have five shots of insulin every day. Additionally, he is legally blind and suffers from congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. A trusty tank of oxygen travels everywhere with Danny, as he needs his oxygen levels augmented 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Danny has spent at least half of the past three months in and out of the hospital with various maladies.

He receives treatment from Veterans Administration personnel in Bath, Buffalo and Syracuse, he said, with the VA taking care of all of his medical expenses provided at those places. He has one non-VA doctor in Elmira he has to pay from personal funds. The closest VA facility at which Danny receives treatments is a clinic near St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira.

Danny’s wife of 39 years, Deborah, cannot work outside the home, because her husband requires round-the-clock care. The couple’s three children -- Mike, 39 and living in California; Judy, 37, of Elmira; and Jessica, 35, of Odessa -- do what they can to help out.

The Daughertys’ 10 grandchildren are the loves of their Grandpa’s (and Grandma’s) life. Mackenzie, 17, Summer, 14, Aiden, 6, Michael, Jr., 4, and Josh, 2, belong to Mike. Judy has Justin, 15, and Rylin, 1; and Jessica’s children are Caleb, 14, Reese, 9, and Christopher, 6.

Two pet dogs help to complete the family. Joe, a German Shepherd, and Savannah, a Chihuahua, provide lots of love and entertainment for the whole family. Much of the time, Savannah can be seen curling up in Danny’s lap, cuddled close to her beloved owner.

Danny’s family and pets help to sustain him. A positive outlook and a sense of humor help tremendously, but the prognosis is grim. With neither spouse able to be employed, money is really tight. "I’m living on borrowed time," said Danny. "My grandkids are what keep me going. I know I’m not gonna get any better. I thank God (for) every day."

To help out, family and friends are holding a "Benefit for Danny" on Saturday, March 30, at the Elmira American Legion Post, 316 Lake Street in the city. The benefit will run from 1 p.m. until it ends. The donation for admission is $10. The food choices include chicken and pulled pork. There will be a 50/50 Raffle, a Chinese auction, and an entertaining clown. The local band "DILF" will be performing from 2 to 5 p.m.

Tickets are available by calling Danny’s daughter, Jessica, at 607-220-6904, or his wife, Deb, at 607-594-6750, or can be purchased at the door. All proceeds from the benefit will be used to cover Danny’s non-VA medical expenses.

Anyone who would like to help out in any way -- contributing time, talents, or much-needed monetary funds -- is encouraged to call one of those two numbers or Bonnie Seeley at 607-594-2588 or 607-426-6025.

Photo in text: Danny Daugherty (Photo provided)

At the banquet: From left: Outgoing Hector Fire Chief Mike Hicks, his wife Elaine, and incoming Chief Brandon Karius. (Photo by Doug Yeater)

Hector firefighters hold annual banquet

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Feb. 25, 2013 -- The Valois, Logan and Hector Volunteer Fire Company held its annual banquet Saturday at Logan Ridge. Among the attendees were chiefs from surrounding fire departments: Lodi, Trumansburg, Watkins Glen, Montour Falls and Odessa, to name a few. Also present were various local officials.

The dinner was provided by the Falls Cafe of Trumansburg. Two Goats and Hazlitt Winery also helped sponsor the event.

A highlight of the evening: After 13 years as chief, Hector Fire Chief Mike Hicks handed over his role to new fire chief Brandon Karius.

SFLW welcomes Fazzary as new member

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 25, 2013 -- The Southern Finger Lakes Women, a chapter of New York State Women, Inc., welcomed Dr. Ashley Fazzary as a new member of the chapter at a recent meeting.

Dr. Fazzary is a native of Watkins Glen and graduated from Watkins Glen High School in 2001. She attended Cornell University as a pre-med major and later went to the SUNY College of Optometry in New York City, where she graduated in 2009.She and her husband moved back to Watkins Glen, where she opened Fazzary Eye Care/Eyes on Seneca on Franklin Street.

The March 18 meeting of SFLW will be held at the Harvest Café on Main Street in Montour Falls, starting with a 6 p.m. with a social time. In observance of Women’s History Month, Dream Barn Productions, c/o Tracy Gavich, will be presenting an interactive theater of “Women in History who have run for President of the United States.”

New York State Women, Inc. provides members with professional development, networking, grassroots activism and career advancement resources. Its mission is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information.

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

Photo in text: Dr. Ashley Fazzary, left, and Gloria Hutchings, SFLW Membership Chair. (Photo provided)

Whitney Valentine can be seen scaling the ice at Aunt Sarah's Falls in this photo looking down from the top of the falls. It was shot by her partner, Chance Philippi -- whose boot toe is visible.

They were inching up Aunt Sarah's Falls

MONTOUR FALLS, Jan. 30, 2013 -- Aunt Sarah's Falls boasted a sight Tuesday afternoon that had passing motorists slowing and looking up at the frozen waterfall.

At first there was a male figure -- Chance Philippi of Corning -- scaling the ice fronting the 90-foot falls, slowly traversing, placing ice screws into the frozen water, a long length of rope trailing behind him.

That sight in fact had prompted someone to call the Sheriff's Office, which sent a deputy to the scene -- but he found no village ordinance against such an occurrence, and no posted signs.

So he told the climbers to be careful, which they were. Philippi -- a young man who repairs chimneys and is about to join the Simmons-Rockwell auto sales business in Bath -- made it to the top. His girlfriend, Whitney Valentine, tried it next.

As she scaled the ice -- softened by the day's thaw -- the skies opened up. It started to rain, and soon was pouring.

"I was absolutely soaked!" she exclaimed in an email later.

Philippi and Valentine are fairly new to the sport of ice climbing. She said they started back in 2010, then spent a couple of years in Colorado, where the opportunities were greater. They also participate in rock climbing.

"We ice-climbed over at Keuka Lake, on the western shore, on Sunday," said Valentine, who works at a Corning pizzeria. "We introduced my 13-year-old nephew to it that day, and he liked it."

They pick their spots based on ice buildup, of course, but also on an absence of "No Trespassing" signs.

"We were driving by here, and it wasn't posted, so we stopped," she said. And climbed. The warming trend had softened the ice, making the task easier, she added -- in essence giving them an easier toehold than is available in rock-hard ice.

"There are a lot of falls in the area," she said. "Watkins Glen should promote ice-climbing as a tourist attraction, because climbers would come from all over the world." There are ice-climbing competitions in many countries, she said.

It is perhaps well that she reached the summit when she did, for it wasn't long before the creeks feeding Aunt Sarah's Falls sent their rain-swollen water there in force. Within a couple of hours, the water was running freely over the edge of the falls and down, soaking the layers of ice built up during the area's recent deep freeze.

But the forecasters say winter's cold will be back, and soon. And with the cold will be more ice, and presumably more opportunities for those with ropes and ice tools and spiked boots ... and nerve.

Photo in text: Whitney Valentine feeds out the rope from the base of the falls as Chance Philippi nears the summit.

Left: Whitney Valentine and Chance Philippi gaze up at the ice wall. Right: Later, Valentine scales the ice while Philippi controls the rope from the summit.

The scene as photographed from across Rt. 228, which passes by the front of the property.

Firefighters battle blaze outside Odessa

ODESSA, Jan. 22, 2013 -- A late-night blaze Monday struck a one-story home at 2441 State Route 228 near Odessa. The blaze, which gutted much of the structure, was caused by a candle burning in a bedroom, a fire official said.

Firefighters from seven departments were called out at 10:42 p.m. on the cold, occasionally snowy night. One fire official said early indications were that the residents -- Willard and Mary Lou Webster -- had phoned in the alarm before escaping the structure. The blaze was roaring by the time the first of the firefighters arrived from Odessa.

Also responding were departments from Montour Falls, Watkins Glen, Mecklenburg and Burdett, and later Millport and Enfield.

Odessa Fire Chief Mike Tomassi said the fire -- which started in a bedroom, and was caused by a burning candle left unattended -- was fully involved by the time he arrived, and was fueled shortly after that by the explosion of two oxygen tanks inside the house. Firefighters knocked down the main flames quickly, but pockets continued burning as winds periodically gusted, sending thick smoke swirling. NYSEG arrived at the scene shortly before midnight to cut the power.

The Websters were helped into an ambulance and transported to Schuyler Hospital. One official said they were being treated for smoke inhalation. A third person -- a grandson who resided with the Websters -- reportedly accompanied them.

Two dogs in the house escaped with the residents, and three other dogs tied up outside were not injured.

Two vehicles parked near the residence are apparently "still drivable," said Tomassi, although the one closest to the structure might have sustained some heat damage.

Most of the house was gutted, and the remainder is uninhabitable, Tomassi said. He did not know if the Websters had insurance.

The Red Cross was notified to help arrange alternative housing.


Photos in text:

Top: A firefighter strides across the edge of the roadway in front of the structure, pulling some hose behind him.

Bottom: Smoke was thick and rose high into the night sky.

Snow periodically swirled and the temperature continued to dive.

Left: A firefighter strides in front of the building. Right: Montour Falls Fire Chief Jeff Confer.

Two firefighters (right) hose down a hot spot after the major flames were extinguished.

Stephens Award goes to O-M's Lee Sidle

Special to The Odessa File

ELMIRA, Jan. 9, 2013 -- Odessa-Montour High School senior Lee Sidle was honored Tuesday evening in Elmira as the recipient of the annual Joel Andrew Stephens 5C Award.

The award, presented at the downtown Holiday Inn by longtime Elmira Notre Dame football coach Mike D'Aloisio, is named after the former ND three-sport standout who died of cancer at the age of 22 in 1998.

"(Joel) had a strong commitment to his team and his school and was a leader," said D'Aloisio, noting that Stephens served as a role model to others, showed humanity in his abilities and talents, demonstrated kindness and compassion in his actions, displayed leadership qualities and faced adversity with dignity and class.

The 5C portion of the award stands for Christianity, courage, character, commitment and compassion. The award is presented annually to a football player in the Twin Tiers of New York and Pennsylvania who not only is an outstanding athlete, but also exhibits those five traits.

D'Aloisio said Stephens' life will not soon be forgotten, and added: "What we have done for ourselves alone dies and is gone forever. What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."

D'Aloisio, in quoting O-M Coach Bob Lee, said of Sidle: "He is a solid athlete, team player, team leader, fought through injury and still played his heart out ... He is one of the most respectful players I have ever coached. He carries that respect to his teammates, his community and his family. He has a solid family background with the love of God in his heart."

Added D'Aloisio: "Having coached him for a year (Sidle started at running back for Elmira Notre Dame as a junior), I can attest to the character of this individual. One thing that is very impressive he does outside of athletics is that he's been a Boy Scout for 10 years, has earned over 30 merit badges and is an Eagle Scout. That is a tribute to his character."

Photo in text: Lee Sidle with Ron Stephens, father of Joel Stephens. (Photo provided)

Beauty in the light

The editor's son David was enroute from Odessa to Morrisville when the rainbow on the right caught his attention northeast of Ithaca.

David tried several shots, and found with most of them that a rainbow is ethereal -- difficult to capture in a photograph unless there is a dark background for contrast. For a few moments, that contrast existed enough for him to capture this image ... an example of beauty in the light.


(Photo by David Haeffner)


Some links to people features

Here are some links to other pages on this website dealing with features about people:

A tale called "Bubba," about a childhood hero, can be reached by clicking here.

Tales of life along Steam Mill Road years ago, submitted by now-Australian resident Betty Appleton, can be reached by clicking here.

A story about the editor's family being menaced by a maniac on the highway can be reached by clicking here.

A story about the Lazio-Clinton campaign in Schuyler County, and its relationship to herbal remedies, can be found by clicking here.



© The Odessa File 2014
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869