E E R F he wind
The LEGEND At 93, fallen Adelphia founder John Rigas gracefully lives his winter years back home in Godâ€™s Country
By Gayle Morrow
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Volume 13 Issue 2
The Sweet Life of a Chocolatier
By Ann Duckett
Pairings of life, love, and chocolate led Cary Becraft to find her niche.
By Gayle Morrow
At 93, fallen Adelphia founder John Rigas gracefully lives his winter years back home in God’s Country.
Back of the Mountain By Linda Stager The perfect barn.
6 Hoofin’ It
By Linda Roller Veterinarian Amanda Paulhamus rolls in her mobile office/lab.
14 Get Your Motor Runnin’ Cover by Tucker Worthington; cover photo courtesy Michael Rigas. This page (top) John Rigas, courtesy Michael Rigas; (middle) courtesy Amanda Paulhamus; (bottom) 1936 Indian w/sidecar, courtesy Benjamin Johnson, Glenn H. Curtiss Museum.
By Mike Cutillo The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum presents Wintercyle Therapy for weather-benched bikers. 3
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C o n t r i b u t i n g P h o t o g r ap h e r s Mia Lisa Anderson, Steve Chesler, Bernadette Chiaramonte, Diane Cobourn, Christopher Keays, Jan Keck, Nigel P. Kent, Roger Kingsley, Johnathan Mack, Alexandra Mekese, Ken Meyer, Linda Stager, Mary Sweely, Clayton Vargeson, Sarah Wagaman, Curt Weinhold D i s t r i b u t i o n T eam Layne Conrad, Grapevine Distribution, Gary Hill, Duane Meixel, Linda Roller T h e B ea g l e Cosmo (1996-2014) • Yogi (Assistant) ABOUT US: Mountain Home is the award-winning regional magazine of PA and NY with more than 100,000 readers. The magazine has been published monthly, since 2005, by Beagle Media, LLC, 87-1/2 Main Street, Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, 16901, and online at www.mountainhomemag.com. Copyright © 2017 Beagle Media, LLC. All rights reserved. E-mail story ideas to editorial@ mountainhomemag.com, or call (570) 724-3838. TO ADVERTISE: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (570) 7243838. AWARDS: Mountain Home has won over 85 international and statewide journalism awards from the International Regional Magazine Association and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association for excellence in writing, photography, and design. DISTRIBUTION: Mountain Home is available “Free as the Wind” at hundreds of locations in Tioga, Potter, Bradford, Lycoming, Union, and Clinton counties in PA and Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler, Yates, Seneca, Tioga, and Ontario counties in NY. SUBSCRIPTIONS: For a one-year subscription (12 issues), send $24.95, payable to Beagle Media LLC, 87-1/2 Main Street, Wellsboro, PA 16901 or visit www.mountainhomemag.com.
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At center, Johnâ€™s graduation photo from RPI; from top (left to right) with daughter Ellen at a Coudersport basketball game; with fellow panel member and then governor Milton Shapp; with sons (l to r) Timothy, Michael, and James; John and new wife Doris in 1953; high school classmates (l to r) Harold Schen, John Rigas, Gregory Theoclitus, Dorr Graves, and Don Norton; John and brother Gus (left); John throwing the first pitch at a Wellsville Nitros game; while in the U.S. Army; with former President Ronald Reagan; father of four; with Peter Ryan (right) at a St. Bonaventure basketball game. (Photos courtesy Michael Rigas)
At 93, Fallen Adelphia Founder John Rigas Gracefully Lives His Winter Years Back Home in God’s Country.
By Gayle Morrow
ou can get the facts about John Rigas from online sources. He was born in 1924 in Wellsville, New York, in an apartment above the locally beloved Texas Hot restaurant, to Greek immigrants James and Eleni Rigas. He had three siblings. He graduated from Wellsville High School, then enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was in an armored infantry division and saw combat on French soil. Post war he returned to Wellsville for a time, then attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a bachelor of science in management engineering. He took a job with Sylvania Electric Products Inc. in Emporium, Pennsylvania. He married Doris Nielsen and they had a nice family—Tim, Mike, James, and Ellen, and, in the ensuing years, several grandchildren. He bought a movie theatre in Coudersport, Pennsylvania (which is, by the way, about halfway between Wellsville and Emporium), and then a cable television franchise. Then he bought more cable franchises and a hockey team. He saw Coudersport thrive as corporate headquarters of one of the country’s largest cable companies, and, then, experienced the unraveling of it all. He’s ninety-three years old now, and not well. Two years after he was released from prison, having served more than a decade for fraud in one of the great corporate falls in U.S. history, the Adelphia founder is back home in God’s Country. Those are the facts. But what you can’t get, unless you talk to the man, are the stories.
Driving John Rigas Peter Ryan understands that those who don’t know John, who may only know of him, may be surprised to learn about his friend’s community-mindedness.
He was a Little League coach. He served on the board of Charles Cole Memorial Hospital for thirty-five years. He was a trustee for Mansfield University and for St. Bonaventure University. He was involved in helping Coudersport build a new high school and in bringing the Pure Carbon Company to the borough. Pete, a retired dentist, has known the Rigas family for forty-plus years, and has spent a bit of his free time during the past couple of those years serving as a driver for the man who put Coudersport on the map. They go to doctors, to Bonny basketball games, dig each other a little about their respective alma maters (Peter graduated from Alfred), and recently discussed the possibility of a fly-fishing trip to Montana. They went one other time, Pete relates, and, though it was John’s first fly-fishing adventure, he thoroughly enjoyed himself.
A good cup of coffee It’s a frigid day, but toasty in John’s bright office, which is on the top floor of a large building near his home outside of the borough of Coudersport. He has just arrived; his son, Mike, helps him up the stairs. John has on a red cardigan over an Oxford-type shirt. He is wearing a tie. His wide gold wedding band catches the light. His wife, Doris, who died in 2014, was quite involved in planning and designing this building, Peter says, and wanted a lot of light in it. John turns the thermostat up just a little, as his son predicted he might, then he, Mike, Pete, and a visitor settle in with coffee and conversation. When asked if it’s true that he enjoys a good cup of coffee, John acknowledges it is. “I prefer my coffee in a canteen cup with rust on the bottom,” he says, to chuckles all around, then adds, “I prefer
to do business in a restaurant. I like the clatter of dishes.” He says he used to spend a lot of time in restaurants, “but found I was monopolizing the phone.” So, with the owners’ permissions, he had his own phone lines installed. “I had ’em all over,” he says. The waitresses would bring him “his” phone before they’d bring the coffee, Pete recalls. John is not a big man, but nevertheless looks quite at home behind his large desk. The office clearly is the working space of a prosperous person, but it is not pretentious (well, the carpeting is delightfully luxurious under sockfeet). There are pictures of John with famous folks—Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, George H.W. Bush, the Pope—and there are pictures of family. One, circa early 1900s, is a seriouslooking young woman in black. The black scarf over her head trails down past her fingertips. Eleni is her name, and she would become John’s mother. She was still in Greece when this photo was taken. John explains that his father, having had some success as a businessman in Wellsville, and concerned about looming immigration restrictions imposed on Greece and other Mediterranean countries, decided it was time to marry. So, John continues, his father contacted family and friends in Greece and, soon after, he found himself meeting a boat and a lady in Boston. The couple took a train back to Wellsville, married a week later, and settled in over the Texas Hot. “They had a beautiful marriage,” John says of his parents. He and his siblings, of course, benefited from that, and perhaps, by extension, the patrons of Texas Hot did as well, even those who couldn’t buy a meal. John recalls that his father would help the “bums…who came off the train looking See John on page 8 7
John continued from page 7
for a free meal.” He would give them twenty-five cents worth of food—coffee and a piece of pie, or coffee and a hot dog. “That’s where you learned some generosity,” notes Pete.
Football, war, and college
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As do kids in rural America everywhere, John played football with his neighbors. “When the big boys tackled me they’d pile on, and it hurt, but I kept on,” he says. He made the high school football team, but acknowledges he was “generally the smallest” guy on it, and in the huddle would often appeal to his teammates: “Don’t give me the ball.” “But every once in a while there was an opening in that line and you’d have to decide,” John reflects. “In life you’ve gotta take the ball. You might fumble, but in life there comes the opening and you have to decide if you’re going to take it or not.” When World War II came, John and the young men he had grown up with in Wellsville all wanted to serve. He had a bad knee, thanks to some of those football games, and worried that he wouldn’t pass the physical. “Nobody wanted to fail the exam,” he says. But there was no fumble there. He found himself in an armored infantry division, and saw combat in France. “We had a job to do and just went about it. It was a feeling of one nation all united, one purpose. It was one of the most import ant experiences—I wouldn’t wish anyone to go through a war, but it was a great privilege to serve. When I went to the Normandy beaches and saw crosses and Stars of David, I can’t help but think why I was spared and him not. I also think about how young those boys were. That has always remained with me. I can never betray what they fought for or what they believed in. I am also proud to say I received a Combat Infantryman Badge, the only badge that really meant something to me.” Pete, the dentist, lightens the momentarily somber moment by sharing a story from his own military service. “I was on the drill team,” he says. John’s next play was college. Education was important in his family, he says, “but my parents didn’t know one university or college from another.” So he followed a group of childhood friends who had headed north to Troy, New York, and RPI. “For me, I couldn’t have picked a better school,” he says, and while he admits that “my heart wasn’t in pure engineering courses, it worked out fine.”
Discipline, good news, and bad news Earning a degree in management engineering helped him a lot, John continues, because engineering requires discipline. “You are presented with a whole lot of problems,” he says, “and first you need to know your goal, what you’re searching for, what you’re dealing with, and what you have to work with. Basic training in discipline was a huge piece in how I went about attacking various issues.” Pete has a discipline-related story to add here. He recalls the mornings when he would be driving into work—his dental practice in Coudersport—grousing to himself a little bit about having to get up and around, and he’d meet John on the road, headed home for
welcome to one thing or another, having already been at work for some hours. Anyway, college was behind him and the world awaited. John took a job with Sylvania Electronic Products, Inc. in Emporium, a “booming place in those years.” Sylvania was making vacuum tubes, transistors, and fluorescent lighting; John’s role was as a member of a technical group in marketing, specifically marketing tubes. “We were showing things to the Japanese,” he says. “That was the beginning of them coming out of the ashes of World War II.” By 1951, John was five years out of the Army, a year out of RPI, and two years away from marrying Doris. It was the year he purchased the theatre in Coudersport. He worked days at Sylvania, and in the evenings sold movie tickets, ushered, and made the popcorn. One of his film salesmen (this one happened to be with the RKO studio) had the idea that John should purchase the fledgling cable franchise that existed in Coudersport. John recalls that early cable television technology built on the work of a fellow over near Scranton who had the idea of putting an antenna on a hill and stringing a line from that. The Coudersport system in 1952 was one of the first in the country and was about equal in complexity. People paid $3.25 a month for service (some strung their own lines off their own hill and paid nothing) and got two snowy channels, one from Altoona and one from Johnstown. The RKO salesman assured John that cable was the up and coming thing, though. He told him that the customers he would lose at the box office as a result of cable’s burgeoning popularity he could regain through cable. He told John he really needed to get that franchise. John was not convinced, nor did he have the money. But the RKO salesman “kept bugging me,” he says, so John talked to the man who had only a few weeks before purchased the franchise and he, for whatever reason, was eager to sell. There was some haggling, some talks with other partners who were already involved, and then, the good news. John Rigas found himself owner of a cable franchise. And the bad news? He found himself owner of a cable franchise. Now what? “The equipment was primitive,” he reflects. “We had to get permission from Bell Telephone to use their poles (for the line).” His engineering background helped then, as did his long-time projectionist at the theatre. That man became the cable system’s first technician. People resisted paying the initial hook-up fee— John explains that the business rationale for charging a relatively large hook-up fee was that nobody was certain how long this cable television thing would be around, so costs had to be recouped up front. Ultimately hook-up was free. John says he “learned how excited people were to get shows, snowy or not.” It was another case of “don’t give me the ball,” but, once it was in his hands, he ran with it, and scored.
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The elephant in the corner of the room is, of course, Adelphia. The facts about the rise and fall of a Potter County-based cable television company that once had 15,000 employees and over five million subscribers are also online, and there is no reason to rehash them here. Pete says that when John was in prison, having been See John on page 10
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John enjoys a refreshment at the Texas Hot in Wellsville, New York, an iconic restaurant founded by his father.
John continued from page 9
convicted on various fraud charges, he served as a tutor to other inmates. When he was released two years ago because of poor health, hundreds lined the streets of Coudersport to welcome him home. Pete says John has been loyal to the people around here, so that’s why they remain loyal to him. They remember that he served on the Charles Cole Memorial Hospital board, that he worked to get doctors to come to the community, that he made sure there was a theatre for their kids to go to and a school for them to attend. “He was instrumental in bringing kindergarten to Coudersport and helping to get a new high school,” says Mike. “School issues became very confrontational,” John remembers, admitting that he really doesn’t like to be confrontational. “It was hard.”
Now But that was a long time ago. These days it’s confrontation of another sort. “We’ve been working on our appeal,” John says. “We’ve been actively engaged with trying to prove our innocence and 10
get Tim home.” Tim, his son, remains incarcerated. And these days, there also is Zito. Zito, in Greek, means “rebirth” or “the dream lives.” Zito is a much smaller version of Adelphia (their use of that name, which means “brother” in Greek, is now legally forbidden), offering digital telephone, television, and high-speed Internet service to subscribers in seventeen states. John helped with contacts while James and Mike have assumed the leadership roles. The triple package is popular, Mike says, but the business centers around the Internet. John also has his input regarding family land holdings. Just outside of Coudersport there are side hills, farm fields, clean streams, and stands of sugar maples and Christmas trees, all part of what is known as Wending Creek. It is archetypical Potter County, and it is the family’s intention to leave it undeveloped. That’s a good story for another day.
Keystone Press Award-winning columnist Gayle Morrow is Mountain Home’s managing editor.
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Veterinarian Amanda Paulhamus Rolls In Her Mobile Office/Lab By Linda Roller
t’s actually a very slow day.” Frankly, I was a little stunned when mobile veterinarian Dr. Amanda Paulhamus stated this as we headed up the road to her next patient. I do not consider myself a lazy person, but by 2 p.m., Amanda had put in what I would consider a full day—starting with a seminar on guinea pig breeding and vet inspection at 6:15 a.m. in Elimsport. There are large guinea pig breeding facilities in that area and, by law, to sell young pigs, they must have a USDA inspection, which includes a vet inspection. The animals bred here in central Pennsylvania are then shipped by air all over the country. Then, it was north to Liberty, where there was a cow who had been off her feed for a few days. This was a case of bad pneumonia, and Amanda takes care of her and the other herd members—all her
patients. Pneumonia is more prevalent when the temperatures are changing dramatically over the course of a day, and is more likely in the spring and fall. Then it’s on to cat and dog vaccinations, one feline neutering, and, by afternoon, we were calling on a horse farm north of Montoursville. There Amanda gave some early inoculations, and, just as a matter of course, gave each horse, including a mare in foal, the once over. Final stop was a home with a beagle—a wriggly bundle of energy—who needed booster shots. From March to August, Amanda says, this schedule doubles, as animals give birth, and young animals need a good start in life. As the days lengthen, her day stretches, sometimes to the middle of the night. For instance, a mare may need to have an ultrasound every six hours when breeding via artificial insemination. That means Amanda, who is based in Linden,
may work a spring day from 6 a.m. to around 9 p.m., then head back to a barn at 1 a.m. for the next ultrasound. But there’s no office to call—no dispatcher, no trips back to the office for supplies, dropping off tests, or refrigerating medicines. For Amanda Paulhamus, DVM, carries the entire office in her mobile vet unit truck. It looks like a huge stainless steel work box that fills her long-bed, but when she opens it up, it looks like a food truck. “I’m asked [if it’s a food truck] all the time (usually by drunk people),” she says. There is a laboratory with wireless connections, so many tests are done “stall-side,” with immediate results for swift diagnosis. That means fewer are sent to facilities to conduct the test and less time waiting days for results. There is a refrigerator on one side, and a heater in the box to keep the temperature inside at a See Hoofin’ It on page 22
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Get Your Motor Runnin’
The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum Presents Wintercyle Therapy For Weather-Benched Bikers By Mike Cutillo
enjamin Johnson says guys like Bob Harris—motorcycle aficionado, collector, shop owner, and founder of the Odd Ball Old Dog Motorcycle Group—are a one-of-a-kind breed. “Guys like Bob…I mean, I don’t think I like anything as much as they like motorcycles,” Johnson says with a laugh. “They eat, sleep, breathe everything motorcycles. They’ll drive ten hours and sleep in the back of their pickup truck if it means they can go see a swap meet or a motorcycle get-together of a specific brand or type.” Fortunately for those diehards in northern Pennsylvania and the Finger Lakes, however, they won’t have to drive quite that far to indulge their passion this February. The aptly named 2018 Wintercycle Therapy event is slated for February 24-25 at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum at 8419 State Route 54, just outside the bucolic and historic little village of Hammondsport on
the southern tip of Keuka Lake. Johnson, a Nebraska native who has been executive director of the Curtiss Museum since 2016, expects over one hundred vintage and classic motorcycles from 1904 through the 1970s to be on display, many provided by the museum, others by Harris (above with the museum’s V8) and other collectors. There also will be vendors, raffles, food, play areas for the kids, and the museum’s regular collection of items related to early aviation, motorcycles, automobiles, bicycles, and local history. The genesis of the winter event is actually a summer show that the museum started hosting over a dozen years ago. It was so successful they decided to try a winter show as well about ten years ago. “The idea is that there are lots of get-togethers and ride-ins and motorcycle shows, car shows, in the summertime,” Johnson says. “The weather’s great, it’s a beautiful part of the country to get out and ride. But there’s a
subset of our people that are motorcycle lovers that, by the time it gets to be January and February in this part of the world, have been off their bikes for two, three, four months and are itching to get back out there.” Put another way, by Harris: “We made up the name Wintercycle Therapy because that’s what this is, cycle therapy. What else are you gonna do in the winter? We ride on the ice a little bit, but that’s about it. We’re bored to death.” Harris, who lives about sixty miles from Hammondsport in Belfast, is well known in the area for his passionate love of motorcycles. He was enlisted as the main organizer—“My wife says I’m like the hub of the wheel, and I say it’s a wheel that has to be odd and has to be old”—and has watched like a proud papa as the Wintercycle Therapy show has gone viral before his eyes. “It’s really grown by leaps and bounds from those first years,” says Johnson, noting that last See Curtiss on page 23
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The Sweet Life of a Chocolatier
Pairings of Life, Love, and Chocolate Led Cary Becraft to Find Her Niche By Ann Duckett
n a bitterly cold day in upstate New York I’m seeking chocolate. Not remnants of a sad stash of grocery store-bought chocolate, bland and unabashedly my cheap fix, but the good stuff—exceptional artisan treasures I’ve heard I can find right in the Finger Lakes. I recently learned of Car yMo Chocolate Candies & Confections, LLC, and disappointment quickly set in as I realized these exquisite sweets had been right under my nose. Seriously!? I could’ve been indulging in these dreamy creations for the past decade! So, I take to the road in search of these gems and to learn more
about the creator behind the confections. Cary M. Becraft is sole proprietor and lone employee of this gourmet chocolate company (CaryMo was her nickname growing up; “Mo” is short for Moreland, her middle name). Time spent in the production kitchen involves creating and taste testing the incredible flavor combinations she’s known for—making chocolates, and fulfilling orders. Notably, Cary’s fillings include wine reductions, like a cabernet sauvignon. Others borrow notes from local wines to create fillings with a local product, like apples, that complement a particular varietal.
I find myself at Anthony Road Wine Company, situated on a picturesque spot on the western shore of Seneca Lake. This is where CaryMo Chocolates are handmade in small batches, and where I’m hoping to purchase a box of indulgence. Chatting to the helpful staff while doing a wine tasting, I’m informed there are no chocolates available to purchase today, and sadly leave empty handed. However, I am bolstered knowing Cary is working just up the road at Billsboro Winery—my next stop. I enter the tasting room and am quickly greeted by Cary. She’s warm and inviting, See Sweet Life on page 20
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Sweet Life continued from page 18
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charismatic, with a delightful smile and friendly welcoming style. We settle in for conversation and an unexpected treat—a CaryMo Chocolate Tasting paired with Billsboro wines. Cary’s instructions are simple, “Sip the wine; bite the chocolate; sip the wine; finish the chocolate.” She eagerly and with ease dotes on patrons, offering details about the wines we’re tasting and her chocolates, too. Cary’s journey to becoming a premier chocolatier begins in an iconic restaurant, one of the best in New York City: The River Café in Brooklyn. Devoting fifteen years of her professional life to baking and the pastry arts opened the door for a position in the pastry department. “I worked at the Café from 1997 to 2000,” she says, “and we made molded chocolates and other refined candies for our petit four plates to serve at the end of the meal. I immediately fell in love. I fell in love the way I did when I first baked bread…and when I began to make pastry. The beauty of it, the aroma, the love that people feel when they experience a warm baked good, or a beautiful plated dessert, or a decadent piece of chocolate!” Soon, Cary was crafting confections on her own, putting a modern twist on traditional flavors. She explains, “A traditional flavor is a simple caramel, but if you put a twist on it, like a miso caramel with candied ginger, you have modernized it.” The story continues as we begin the second tasting. “I was working in the fashion industry in the city in early 2001. I’d bring chocolates into work and the models, hair and makeup stylists, and photographers encouraged me to start boxing and selling them. I incorporated my business and started selling boxed chocolates in 2004.” Cary’s energy, talents, and interests complement her world view, one captured through a creative and colorful lens, a perfect fit for an exciting metropolitan life. So what brought her and her husband, Peter, to a tight-knit, world-renowned wine producing community with its quiet serenity and seasonal rhythm? And, then, how did she stay plugged in to all that she loves doing? “Through my position at The River Café, Peter was drawn to the world of
winemaking. The transition from Brooklyn to the Finger Lakes was so he could follow his dream,” she reflects. Today, Peter is head winemaker at Anthony Road Wine Company. “It took a while for everything to fall into place for me and I’m still perfecting my craft. I have used all my experience working with food to help me find my niche. I love being able to create flavors for my chocolates that pair with wines at Billsboro. The pairings are challenging for me and I enjoy it very much. I’ve also paired with beer, bourbon, and other distilled beverages.” That turned out to be not only a natural progression but a wise decision, since craft beer and spirits are a huge part of the growing agri-tourism and craft food and beverage industry here. As we move on to the third pairing, Cary shares fun stories about nine-year-old son Giles, running CaryMo, and creating a new life while honoring what lovingly defines her. “I work at Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca (a traditional Viennese winery restaurant) on Tuesdays, April through November, making pastries. I’ve been doing that for ten years because my first love was baking and pastry. And, I am a freelance fashion stylist because I love fashion.” As we conclude our tasting and time together, she offers, “This is my first season working full time at Billsboro in the tasting room. I’ve paired my chocolate with Billsboro wine for five years, and I’m thrilled—they’ve been very successful. When I’m pouring wine and people find out I make the chocolate they are so enthusiastic about my product! It is very satisfying and makes the hard work worthwhile. Everybody wants to love what they do, right?” Yes to that. And yes to finding the sweet life in the Finger Lakes on a cold winter day. Order your chocolates directly from the company Web site at www.carymochocolate.com or stop in at Billsboro Winery for a tasting and some chocolates to go.
Ann Duckett is a certified cheesemaker and former cheesemonger who now devotes her time to educating and helping others find their cheese bliss through classes, presentations, special events, and cheese catering.
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minimum of fifty-five degrees. There is an inverter, so that the truck has standard electricity, along with floodlights. That can be helpful anywhere, but especially when going to an Amish farm. The heavyduty truck can get into a pasture where Amanda is needed for a sick or injured animal. There is water on board for washing equipment and wounds. And then there is all the specialized storage space for equipment and medicine. “The technology is becoming amazing, and you have to be on the cutting edge,” she says. “If another vet has something you don’t, you’re at a disadvantage.” Amanda is one of the first vets in our area to use this system, although she says it’s getting more and more popular. It’s clear that this is more than a job or a career—it’s a calling. Amanda hasn’t always wanted to be a vet. “When I was little, I wanted to be a teacher,” she admits. A trip to Cornell Veterinary Hospital in Ithaca, New York, when she was twelve changed that. “We took some horses to Cornell for a purchase exam (an examination before her family decided to buy the horses) and by the time I left, I wanted to be a vet.” It was a natural progression for a woman who has always been around animals. She grew up on a dairy farm, rode horses, showed stock. Her life revolved around animals, and with her training at Ohio University Veterinary School, she merged the roles of caretaker and physician. But life as an independent veterinarian is anything but easy. In other areas, particularly out in the western states, the veterinary staff has an office, and the animals, both large and small, come to the facility. The only time a vet goes out to the farm or ranch is for working on an entire herd—vaccination would be a prime example. Around here, the vet has traditionally gone to the farm for either an individual or a herd. And, to have a successful business, a vet needs to cover a lot of ground. Amanda serves five counties. “Some of the problem with a vet shortage in rural areas is because you have to cover a large area to make a living,” Amanda says. That may sound odd, as we tend to think of vets as being in rural areas. But in an urban setting, both large and small animal veterinary practices have a smaller geographic footprint. Amanda noted that in Ocala, Florida, there are hundreds of vets serving the horse community that is there in the winter. You would never have that concentration of animal doctors here. So the long miles between patients only makes for a longer day for the rural vet who travels. In addition, Amanda still lives on a farm, and raises prize pigs—which is a family affair. She and her husband, Greg Steppe, both raise pigs as a hobby, and, as a matter of fact, is how they met—“We met while castrating pigs,” she recalls. Greg is a finish carpenter, but he also grew up on a farm, and had his first sow to show at fifteen. Today, they have ten sows, and the day I rode with Amanda, one of their sows started farrowing. They had twelve piglets before Amanda headed off to the guinea pigs’ facilities in Elimsport at 5:30 a.m. She and Greg take care of the sows and the piglets in the Pig Taj Mahal—a building heated to a balmy sixty degrees, since piglets like it warm. So, they are working day and night with the beloved porkers. In addition, on those long spring and summer days, Greg often works with Amanda on the evening calls after he comes home from his own job. It is a perfect description of a labor of love, with love. Mountain Home contributor Linda Roller is a bookseller, appraiser, and writer in Avis, Pennsylvania.
Curtiss continued from page 16
year’s event drew about 1,500 patrons in the two days, or again, in the words of the colorful Harris: “It’s crowded like the mall on Black Friday.” Wintercycle Therapy is family friendly and very true to the museum’s namesake, Glenn Curtiss, who was born in Hammondsport in 1878 and was an aviation and motorcycling pioneer and one of the founders of the U.S. aircraft industry. In fact, one of the most popular motorcycles at the show will be an exact reproduction of the V-8 model that Curtiss rode to earn the title of “Fastest Man on Earth” in 1907. “He had this aptitude for mechanical things, for making them better, more powerful and faster,” Johnson says of Curtiss. “He basically got started when he saw an ad in a magazine for a single-cylinder gasoline engine, and when it showed up, he was disappointed. He said, ‘I can build something better,’ and then he went about doing that.” Curtiss began, like his competitors the Wright brothers, building and racing bicycles. When he started fiddling with engines, he moved on to racing motorcycles. That all culminated, Johnson said, at Ormond Beach, Florida, near Daytona and nicknamed “The Birthplace of Speed” with Curtiss’s runs “where he became the fastest man in the world on a self-designed, selfbuilt motorcycle.” His world record speed of 136.36 miles per hour at Ormond Beach stood until 1930. “He had some guts. You’ve got to have a little bit of a daring streak to do some of the stuff that he did,” Johnson says. “I’ve talked to guys who say, ‘I’ve been one hundred miles an hour on modern bikes with modern materials and modern brakes, and the world is going by awfully fast.’ These guys can’t imagine going one-hundred-thirty-plus miles an hour on an old bike like that.” Other Curtiss-built bikes from the period will be on display at Wintercycle, along with some rare and vintage Hendersons and Indians (America’s first motorcycle company), early HarleyDavidsons, and even foreign-built Yamahas, Suzukis, Kawasakis, and BMWs. “There’re even some more of the older oddball ones thrown in there,” Johnson adds. “So it’s fun, even if you only have a passing interest in motorcycles or engines or any of that stuff. They’re working pieces of art.” Harris expects to have fifteen or sixteen of his own motorcycles on display at the show, including a 1937 Scott Flying Squirrel, a 1969 Laverda American Eagle, and probably at least a couple of dirt bikes. Johnson says it’s the diversity in the types of motorcycles that draws everyone from the hardcore enthusiasts to those who are just curious. Admission is ten dollars for adults and seven dollars for children ages seven to eighteen. (For more information go to www.glennhcurtissmuseum.org or call 607-569-2160.) “You get a chance to get up close and personal with a lot of the items in our collection,” Johnson says. “Granted we don’t want you hopping on them and trying to ride them away, but you’re not looking at them through three-inch-thick bulletproof glass, either. Everyone can just relax, not worry about all the drama in the world, and just enjoy themselves for a day.” You don’t have to be a motorcycle devotee to be good with that. Mike Cutillo has been a journalist covering the Finger Lakes region for more than thirty years. He prefers vehicles with four wheels but is bullish on the Glenn Curtiss museum.
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B A C K O F T H E M O U N TA I N
The Perfect Barn By Linda Stager
ne of my habits is to start my day looking for early morning scenes to photograph. This particular day I had driven to Stony Fork and was looking for snow scenes. I had already taken photos of a “perfect” red barn when the weather started to turn. So I headed home…and found this.
2018 SPRING HALF-SEASON
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Published on Jan 15, 2018
Published on Jan 15, 2018
"The Legend" by Gayle Morrow. At 93, fallen Adelphia founder John Rigas gracefully lives his winter years back home in God's Country. This i...