Community Press - January 2020

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YOUR HOMETOWN NEWSPAPER • www.CommunityPress.us Volume 35

JANUARY 2020

Number 1

Massive Fire Destroys Recycling Facility in Apalachin

The Taylor Garbage Recycling Facility in Apalachin was destroyed in a fire on Friday evening, January 3, 2020. The facility is located at 5730 Route 434 in Apalachin (near Hilton Road). The Apalachin Fire Department responded to the fire about 5:00 pm, and was assisted throughout the night by nearby fire departments including Campville, Owego, Southside, Candor, Tioga Center, Vestal, West Corners, Little Meadows, Newark Valley, Nichols, and Weltonville. Local businesses were also on the scene to provide help, including Johnson’s Pools & Spas and Scott Smith & Son, and the Terrace Tav-

ern provided food for the firefighters. There are no fire hydrants near the facility, and firefighters could be seen getting water from hydrants near the intersection of Hilton Road and Rt. 434, as well as from tankers. In 2012, Taylor Garbage Service and their subsidiary company Southern Tier Recyclers, created the 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, no-sort recycling facility, capable of processing up to approximately 25 tons an hour of mixed recyclable materials. Taylor Garbage Service is locally owned by the Taylor family which has been in business for more than 40 years.

The Town of Owego: 2019 in Review Looking Ahead to 2020 By Donald Castellucci, Jr., Town of Owego Supervisor

I hope you and your family were able to enjoy a Blessed Christmas and holiday season. Years seem to blend into each other much quicker as time moves forward. 2019 came and went rather quickly but a lot of positive things have happened during the year. As I begin my 25th year in office, I anticipate another year of projects, challenges and successes. This past year the Town welcomed new Utilities Director, Tyson Stiles. The transition has been rather seamless. The department remains busy, continuing to maintain our aging infrastructure and dealing with federal and state regulations. Tasks, from repairing water main breaks and replacing fire hydrants, to larger capital projects were completed throughout 2019. The Davis Hill project was completed in August. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Tioga Downs Foundation Awards $500,000 to Charities

As part of Tioga Downs’ ongoing commitment to support the community, the casino, and its owner Jeff Gural, on January 3 presented $510,309 in funding from the Tioga Downs Regional Community Foundation to deserving organizations at a presentation in the casino’s Event Center Ballroom. The award is the second of two $500,000 check presentations made in 2019 by the foundation, a non-profit organization that reviews and selects the applications for grant funding. Recipients of the funding include: First Baptist Church of Owego North Central Sight Services Camp Ahwaga Association Inc. Western Broome Meals on Wheels Penn-York Valley Habitat for Humanity All Saints Episcopal Church Campville Fire Department Chemung Co Humane Society and SPCA Tioga Central School North Barton Grange #45 Trinity Episcopal Church Bradford County Action, Inc Special Olympics Pa - Bradford/Sullivan Broome Tioga BOCES Greater Valley EMS Broome County Gang Prevention, Inc Waverly Recreation Booster Club Tioga County Open Door Mission Fenton Free Library Association Bradford County Regional Arts Council Economic Opportunity Program, Inc. SEEDs of Hope Binghamton, Inc. LeRoy Heritage Museum, Inc.

Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments, Inc. Tioga Opportunities Project Neighbor of Newark Valley Catholic Schools of Broome County Endicott Performing Arts Center Broome County Humane Society & Relief Association Secure Rehabilitation and Vocational Enterprises, Inc Berkshire Free Library Friends of Broome County Public Library Salvation Army of Binghamton Danielle House Police Athletic League of Binghamton Discovery Center of the Southern Tier Junior Achievement of Central Upstate NY Goodwill Theatre, Inc.

To qualify for funding through the Foundation, applicants must be charitable, religious, literary, scientific or educational groups operating in Broome, Tioga, Chemung or Bradford counties. Qualifying 501(c)(3) organizations have the opportunity to apply twice annually for awards, during the July and January cycle. Accounting for both award periods, Tioga Downs donated more than one million dollars in 2019. “I am honored to be able to give back to a community that has always had a special place in my heart and proud to support these deserving recipients as we anticipate awarding more grant funding in 2020,” said Jeff Gural, owner of Tioga Downs.


JANUARY 2020

TIOGA COUNTY COMMUNITY PRESS

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Town of Owego - continued from page 1 Join us to celebrate Willy “A life loved and lived” Sunday, January 19, 2020 starting at 1pm (please bring a dish to pass)

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This included slip lining and replacing sewer lines and replacing manholes in the Ridgewood Development and portions of Lisle Road. The department also worked on getting water and sewer to the new company, V & S Galvanizing Co, coming to Owego and bringing 30-60 jobs with potential future expansion. The final construction to sewer plant 2, stemming from the 2011 flood, was completed at the end of 2019. New construction at Sewer plant 1 to comply with Chesapeake Bay standards will cost approximately 3.2 million dollars. The Town was recently awarded 2.148 million to help offset the cost of this project. The town will continue to seek out other funding for this project as well. As always, Planning and Zoning will be busy early January receiving many calls for pavilion reservations at Hickories Park. In 2019 rentals exceeded revenues from 2018. Building permits included 7 single family residents and 10 mobile homes. The bulk of the permits were issued for additions, decks, sheds and garages. Commercially, V&S Galvanizing is nearing completion of its 5.2 million dollar investment in the Town. They are located next to the Tioga County Jail on Route 38. During their construction phase they were very conscientious about utilizing local businesses whenever possible. The Zoning Board of Appeals has heard numerous appeals for area variances and interpretations of potential uses of properties. The Assessor’s office is busy guiding residents through STAR exemptions. Seniors turning 65 in 2020 should come in and apply for the Enhanced STAR exemption before March 1. This will help with the school tax bill in September. Also, the Enhanced Star Income Verification Program remains mandatory for 2020. Senior Aged Exemption applicants will still need to come into the Assessor’s to apply for this exemption each year as this exemption is income based. The State continued to make changes into September for Enhanced STAR recipients. The STAR checks benefit the State for several reasons, part efficiency, part bookkeeping. The old system had schools giving homeowners the STAR savings (as an exemption on their School Tax Bill). The school district then got reimbursed by the State, which showed up as a budget expense for the State. The new system allows the State to give the savings directly to the homeowners in a check. That means the State can count the checks as a “personal income tax credit” allowing the State of NY to count the check as a reduction in tax revenue, not as State spending, helping the State of NY to keep under the 2% cap. The Owego Town Clerk’s Office is consistently the first face of the Town that most residents interact with. Whether paying taxes, utility bills, dog licenses or many other provided services, most of us need this office at some point during the year! Inevitably, tax season is off and

running again! I am confident you will receive the same professional service you’re accustomed to throughout 2020. The Parks Department had another busy year. Employees remained dedicated to keeping our parks in excellent condition, so residents and visitors could enjoy the amenities. Camping revenues totaled $243,131 That is highest camping revenue on record. If you have been by the Town Hall, you saw the new electronic sign installed to help keep residents informed. We are working on a renovation project for Tioga Blvd Park in Tioga Terrace. The basketball court at Woodside West Park was resurfaced. 2020 should bring continued enjoyment for users of the park system. Spring will be here before you know it! Changing weather conditions continue to hamper highway projects and repairs. In 2020 the highway department spent $795,749 in hot asphalt paving and $685,736 in road surface treatment. The department installed 5,417 feet of pipe in cross overs and driveways combined. The department also had 3 excavators going daily, along with mowing operations, patching, paver patching, and storm clean-up continually going on during the year. The town attorney’s office provides much help during the year; much of it behind the scenes! Legal oversight is required for many of the contracts, projects and services that the Town engages in. Some of the important projects included the Shared Services Facility, MEGA/ Constellation contracts, solar projects, highway issues and much more. The Town will continue to generate savings on energy costs in 2020. A new telephone system has been installed, and was paid for by a shared services grant with Tioga County. We have also begun to share services with Tioga County on IT functions. This should be completed in early 2020. In these difficult times we continue to enhance our security at the Town Hall. We are continuing to upgrade the town hall to extend its useful life. Next month I will provide an update on the Shared Services Facility. It is estimated to be open in August 2020. The Town recently received a grant for $500,000 to help offset the cost of the new salt shed at the Town Hall campus as part of the second phase of the project. I would like to thank Tioga County Economic Development for their efforts on behalf of the Town, helping to secure funding and bringing jobs to the area. Thank you for your continued support, comments and suggestions during the year. They are helpful in making some of the difficult decisions that need to be made for the successful future of the Town. I wish you and your family a year of happiness, blessings and good health. Respectfully, Donald Castellucci, Jr. Town of Owego Supervisor

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JANUARY 2020

TIOGA COUNTY COMMUNITY PRESS

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“Thanks” from Apalachin Lions Foundation A long-standing tradition in Apalachin has been the Apalachin Lions Christmas Program. In 2019, 35 families (74 children, 68 adults plus 5 seniors) were provided with toys, certificates for food, and gift certificates for children 15 and under. Although this program is spearheaded by the Lions, it is a total ef-

fort by many people and organizations in Apalachin, Campville East to the Broome County line and Little Meadows, PA. All the food and toys come from community efforts and donations. Approximately 365 hours of effort were expended, and the Lions Club furnished approximately $4,200 in certificates.

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At the Apalachin Library 719 Main Street, Apalachin 625-3333 www.apalachinlibrary.org Mahjongg Mondays, January 6,13, 27, 5:30pm Play Mahjongg or learn to play - new players are welcome. Story Hour Tuesdays, Thursdays, 10:30am For preschoolers and early elementary children and their adult. Yoga Thursdays, January 9, 16, & 30, 6:30pm Yoga continues in January on Thursdays at 6:30 pm except for January 23. Sheehan DiMichiei leads the group. Daisies Mondays, Jan 13 & 27, 5:30pm Friends of the Libary Monday, January 13, 6:30pm If you would like to be a Friend of the Library, you are welcome to attend. Book Discussion Tuesday, January 14, 1pm Gail Christensen invites you to come to this first meeting of a new book discussion group to talk about what everyone likes to read and what books to choose. Board Meeting Tuesday, January 14, 6:15pm Everyone is welcome to attend. STEAM Tuesday, January 14, 6:30pm This year the program will be facilitated by Abbie Chaffee who has lots of experience doing STEAM pro-grams. In January, use art and math skills to make “window stars” to brighten up dark winter nights. Of course there will be LEGOS to build with, and other new activities. Anyone age 5 and up is welcome to attend. Adult Story Hour Thursday, January 23, 1pm Story time for special needs adults. Crafts, special activities. Adult or aide must accompany each participant. Call the library to sign up or for more information.

Book Discussion Tuesday, January 27, 1pm “Souper” Bowl Food Drive This is the library’s 5th annual Souper Bowl canned food drive. It’s the 100th anniversary of the NFL - help the library collect 100 cans of food. Anyone who donates can be entered to win a gift basket. Therapy Dogs Therapy dogs will be coming to the library to be read to by children who need a little extra practice. If you are interested in bringing a child to read with a dog, call the library or stop in. Hours The library will be closed on Monday, January 20. Library Clerks Library clerks man the desk, provide customer service, answer phones, shelve books, do a host of clerical duties, help with program prep, and much more. The library clerks are all fairly new. They are Michele Lukovich, Amy Brandt, Barb McCormick, and Lisa Grant.

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Board of Trustees The Apalachin Library Board of Trustees oversees the library. They set the budget every year and make policy decisions for the library. If you are interested in serving on the board, fill out an application that you can find on the library’s website or ask for a paper application at the desk. Friends of the Library The Friends of the Library is a group who are community advocates. They also do some fundraising. This group takes care of the book barn: sorting donations, getting books on the shelves, and keeping things neat. If you would like to be a Friend of the Library, attend the meeting at 6:30pm on January 13.

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JANUARY 2020

TIOGA COUNTY COMMUNITY PRESS

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Vestal Accepting Applications for 2020-21 Universal Pre-K Program Vestal Central School District is pleased to continue its Universal PreKindergarten program for the 2020-21 school year, contingent upon the receipt of grant funding from New York State. Applications are being accepted for eligible children who will turn four years old by December 1, 2020. Eligible children must be Vestal Central School District residents and two proofs of residency will be required; this half-day prekindergarten program is free to eligible children, but please be aware that transportation is not provided. Letters with Vestal’s Universal PreKindergarten program application are being mailed to families with eligible children as of the 2019 census by January 8, 2020. To request an application packet be

mailed to you, call (607) 757-2291 or email srmurphy@ vestal.k12.ny.us. Or visit https://www.vestal.stier.org/ universalpre-k_home.aspx The deadline for applications to be returned is March 1, 2020. Sites for the 2020-21 Universal PreKindergarten program are still being determined. Applicants will be notified of site options. The number of seats available in the program is determined by funding from New York State. In the event that the number of applications exceeds the program openings, a lottery will be held in April 2020. If you have any questions, contact the Vestal Central School District at (607) 757-2291 or email Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Dr. Lamash at lmlamash@vestal.k12.ny.us

TIRES FOR SALE: 2 - LT245/75 R16 Studed LR-E half worn $10 ea. 1 - P255/75 R15 black wall Hercules very good $30. 1 - P255/75 R15 white wall Cooper good tread but worn wobbles FREE. 1 - Tire & Rim P185/65 R14 four lug M&S V worn ok spare $15 WHEEL COVERS: 2 nice Toyota 15 in. $5 ea. Six Antique Spoked 15 in. “Lockable” with 4 lock brackets Offer. Call Jim at 607-953-1316

TOP DOLLAR PAID: Wanted! Old fishing tackle, lures, reels, etc. Call me first, collector not a dealer so I pay more. John (607) 321-4085 01/20

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Send your classified ad to: COMMUNITY PRESS 7830 Route 434, Apalachin, NY 13732 Make check or money order payable to "BEAM" or drop off your ad at Beam Electronics in Apalachin. phone 625-2222 NAME ________________________________ PHONE ________________ ADDRESS ____________________________________________________ CITY __________________________ STATE ________ ZIP ____________ The Community Press goes to press on the first Monday of the month. Your classified ad should be received no later than the fourth Wed of the previous month.


JANUARY 2020

TIOGA COUNTY COMMUNITY PRESS

Owego Businessman’s Donation to Help Youth

PAGE 5

THINKING ABOUT BUILDING A DREAM HOME OR REMODEL? Get your FREE tools to start the process of Design. Pick up a FREE copy of our Project Planning Pack and discover nearly everything you need to know about planning your dream Home, Addition or Remodel. Just visit BaP Architectural Services web site to “download” the Project Planning Pack educational resource or call Bernie Perkosky, Architect at 607-748-2038 to obtain your free copy immediately by email.

BaP Architectural Services URL: www.baparchitecturalservice.com Leading residential design firm in Tioga County On January 3, 2020, local businessman Adam Weitsman donated $2,500 to help fund a program which supports and guides at-risk youth in Tioga County. The program is run through the Tioga County Probation Department. When Weitsman learned that the probation officers were providing for the program partly out of their own pockets, he offered to help by making a donation toward the program. “As someone who formally got into legal trouble when I was younger, programs like this hit home and are ones that I feel need the support from the community,” stated Weitsman. “I am happy to contribute to this great program for at risk youth and helping to make a difference in their lives so others don’t make the same mistake that I did. ”

Joy Bennett, Tioga County Director of Probation, explained the program, “The Family Court Act empowers local Probation Departments to offer diversion services. The purpose of diversion is to allow a youth to take responsibility for his behavior.” According to Bennett, the program has been highly successful and an important tool as an alternative to Family Court involvement. “Mr. Weitsman’s contribution to the program will help ensure its continued success. We are very appreciative that he recognizes the importance of aiding our at risk youth.” Presentation of the check by Adam Weitsman to Joy Bennett was made at the Upstate Shredding Facility on Corporate Drive in Owego.

Sauerbrey Re-Elected Legislative Chairwoman for 2020 The Tioga County Legislature held their First Special and Organizational Meeting of 2020 on January 2, 2020. At this meeting, Legislator Martha Sauerbrey was re-elected Chairwoman of the Tioga County Legislature for 2020. Legislator Ed Hollenbeck was reelected as 1st Deputy Chair and Legislator Dale Weston was re-elected

as the 2nd Deputy Chair of the Legislature for 2020. County Clerk Andrea Klett swore -in Sheriff Gary Howard, Undersheriff Wayne Moulton, and Coroner Robert Williams for their new terms of office. County Clerk Klett and Coroner Ryan Kline are also serving new terms of office for 2020.

Ribbon Cutting in JC - January 15 The Tioga County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to host a Ribbon Cutting for the new Edward Jones Office location at 345 Harry L Drive, Suite 4,

in Johnson City. The ribbon cutting will take place on Friday, January 15, 2020, at 11:00 am.

Tioga County Legislature News The Tioga County Legislature convened their last regular legislative meeting of 2019 on December 10, 2019 . At the meeting, the Tioga County Legislature honored Ralph E. Kelsey for his 22 years of dedicated service to the Tioga County Industrial Development Agency (TCIDA). Mr. Kelsey was appointed to the position of Board Member of the Tioga County IDA on December 8, 1997, and during his tenure he served on numerous IDA Committees, served as the treasurer and vice-chair until 2014 when he was appointed Chair of the Tioga County IDA until his resignation on December 31, 2019. Tioga County Legislative Chairwoman, Martha Sauerbrey stated, “It has been a pleasure to serve with Mr. Kelsey over the years and I thank him for his years of service and contributions to the IDA.” The Tioga County Legislature congratulated and commended the Candor Indians Girls Volleyball Team on their

undefeated season and winning the New York State Class D Volleyball Championship on November 24, 2019. The Legislature recognized the value of extracurricular activities and sporting events and the strong foundation upon which student-athletes can go to lead extraordinary lives. Chairwoman Sauerbrey stated, “It is an honor to recognize the efforts and accomplishments our county’s studentathletes and to congratulate this outstanding team on their accomplishment of winning a State Championship”. The Tioga County Legislature adopted the county’s 2020 budget noting this is the ninth consecutive budget year the county has stayed under the State imposed property tax cap. Chairwoman Sauerbrey stated, “The State continues to place unfunded mandates on local government yet we have been resourceful and successful in complying with the property tax cap mandate.”

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TIOGA COUNTY COMMUNITY PRESS

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Tracy Maines, author of “My Cottage Kitchen Cookbook,” presented a donation of $52,000 to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier before the start of the Mobile Food Pantry at Maines Community Center in Conklin on December 20, 2019. Tracy also helped raise an additional $28,180 in donations to the Food Bank through a three-year journey of selling and promoting the cookbook across the Southern Tier. Food Bank President & CEO Natasha R. Thompson said this donation will provide more than 240,500 meals for people at risk of hunger in the six counties the food bank serves. “The Food Bank distributes food to more than 18,000 people each week through our partner pantries and direct service programs. We simply cannot meet the need without the support of our donors and friends who see the need and respond. Tracy had a vision to bring families to the table with her recipes, and donations from her cookbook will help put meals on the table for people in need.” Tracy Maines stated, “I did not take this journey alone. It was with the generosity of the community, local businesses, media and supportive family and friends that this project was overwhelmingly successful. My original goal was to raise $15,000 to $20,000 from the profits of the book. I am truly grateful to so many people and especially to Kathleen Phillips who was a constant by my side during the book signings, sales and promotions of the book. I am forever grateful for the be-

nevolence of so many kindhearted people that have supported and advocated on behalf of my vision and endeavor to feed the hungry through the sales of the cookbook.” “My Cottage Kitchen Cookbook” was a passionate endeavor by Tracy Maines, written over a six-year period. She shares recipes from her southern heritage as well as newly created ones that she adapted from living in upstate New York. She describes the dishes as family friendly, entertaining-worthy and comfort food at its best. The recipes are accompanied by photographs taken at and around Oquaga Lake in Deposit. The cookbook was aptly named, as her cottage kitchen is one of her favorite and most peaceful places to be. She weaves a story with family memories of enjoying the ever-fleeing New York summer. It’s about quality time spent with loving family and friends while enjoying meals at the communal table together. After volunteering with a friend at a local food pantry, Tracy’s vision grew twofold when she decided to donate all the profits from the sales of the cookbook to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. She says, “I found it to be a gratifying education and a humbling experience to work with those less fortunate. Hunger is very indiscriminate and knows no gender, race, religion or age, and is a side effect of many issues that are hard to overcome.” She hopes the sale of the cookbook will not only raise funds but awareness of a problem that is in everyone’s community.

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A look at the Taylor Recycling Facility in Apalachin on the day of their ribbon cutting, September 14, 2012


JANUARY 2020

TIOGA COUNTY COMMUNITY PRESS

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JANUARY 2020

TIOGA COUNTY COMMUNITY PRESS

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Vestal Junior Selected for 2020 High School Honors Performance

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Karson Smith has been selected for the 2020 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall. Karson will perform in February with the High School Honors Symphony Orchestra. Participation in one of the five Honors Ensembles is limited to the highest-rated high school performers from across the world. She auditioned for the Honors Performance Series in 2019 and was recently accepted after a review by the Honors Selection Board. Acceptance to the elite group is a direct result of the talent, dedication, and achievements demonstrated in her application and audition recording. Karson was selected from among thousands of applicants and nominees. Karson has played the cello since fourth grade and has participated in the Broome County Music Educators Association (BCMEA) festivals and completed New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) performances since sixth grade. She also took part in Ithaca College’s Summer Music Academy (SMA) in 2017, and is a member of a Vestal

High School string quartet that performs in the community. Karson will join students from 47 U.S. states, several provinces of Canada, and six other countries for a special performance at the worldfamous Carnegie Hall, a venue that marks the pinnacle of musical achievement. The finalists will come together in New York City for five days in February. They will have the opportunity to learn from worldrenowned conductors, work with other finalists, and get a taste of New York City. Two performances, an Honors Choral Performance, and an Honors Instrumental Performance, will take place Sunday, February 2, and are open to the public. Tickets can be purchased beginning 60 days prior to the performance through the Carnegie Hall box office. “Being selected to the Honors Performance Series is something each finalist should be extremely proud of accomplishing,” said Matt Castrina, Vice President for the Honors Performance Series. “We processed more than 18,000 nominations this year and have selected over 600 of the most talented student performers from around the world. Working with these conductors and performing at Carnegie Hall is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that these musicians will never forget.” The Honors Performance Series was created to showcase accomplished individual high school performers on an international level by allowing them to study under master conductors and perform in the celebrated venue, Carnegie Hall. The Honors Performance Series is proudly presented by WorldStrides, the nation’s leading educational travel organization.

County Legislature Meeting - January 14 The first regular meeting of 2020 of the Tioga County Legislature will be held at 12 Noon on Tuesday, January 14, in the auditorium of the county office building at 56 Main

Street in Owego. With advance notice, auxiliary aids will be provided at no cost to the person requesting assitance. To request auxiliary aid, call 687-8240.

Community Foundation for the Twin Tiers Announces Youth Grants Awards The Board of Directors of the Community Foundation for the Twin Tiers has approved the 2019 Floyd Hooker Youth Grants for Tioga County NY. The awards total $21,780 to 7 non-profit organizations serving Tioga County, NY. They are: Tioga County Council on the Arts To enhance and expand Art a la Carte, an arts enrichment activity delivery service to two new sites in 2020. Grant Amount: $2,280 Corning-Elmira Musical Arts - This grant will make it possible for the chamber ensembles of the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes to partner with the Tioga County libraries to present narrated story book concerts. Grant Amount: $2,400 First Baptist Church of Owego - To support the KIND Project that provides diapers and self-care products to area families in need. Grant Amount: $2,500 Tioga County Rural Ministry - To enable low income teenagers to purchase new back-to-school clothing and shoes so that they, like their peers, feel confident and proud of their appearance as they return to school. Grant Amount: $3,000 Catholic Charities Tioga Outreach Center - For the support of student incentives, field trips after school activi-

ties for students enrolled in the Youth Engagement services (YES) program. Grant Amount: $2,000 Lions Camp Badger - To support a concert and dance for individuals who have disabilities and their caregivers. Grant Amount: $2,000 Newark Valley Historical Society To support the improvement of the driving lanes to the soccer fields and the grounds to of the Bement-Billings Farmstead. Grant Amount: $7,600 The Community Foundation for the Twin Tiers and its Tioga County Advisory Board is committed to making an immediate impact by following the wishes of a former Tioga County, NY resident Floyd Hooker. His commitment to the young people of Tioga County through his fund at the Community Foundation will support youth programs in the county forever. Making a substantial impact by supporting projects and programs that will make a real difference in improving the health and welfare of our young people in all corners of Tioga County, NY,” said Suzanne Lee, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for the Twin Tiers. “This level of investment in our area is a shining example of what one individual chose to do with their legacy.”


JANUARY 2020

TIOGA COUNTY COMMUNITY PRESS

2020 Annual Agricultural District Enrollment Period The Tioga County Legislature has announced its 2020 annual agricultural district enrollment period, which runs until January 31, 2020. During this time, any agricultural property owner may request inclusion of viable agricultural land not already included in a certified NYS Agricultural District. Tioga County has three agricultural districts that are made up of individual parcels or properties, but organized by municipal boundaries. The North Tioga Agricultural District contains agricultural parcels in the Towns of Richford, Berkshire, Newark Valley and the Village of Newark Valley. The Spencer Agricultural District contains agricultural properties in the Towns of Spencer, Barton, Candor and Tioga. Third is the Owego/Nichols Agricultural District containing properties in those two towns. Any agricultural property owner in any of these three districts may request to have their land included in these districts during this enrollment period. The property owner must demonstrate that the agricultural land is viable or actively farmed. The property owner must also supply the owner name and tax map number of the property and a description of the property, including the boundaries of the parcel. Only whole parcels are eligible for inclusion. The Tioga County Legislature must hold a public hearing and officially adopt the land requested to be included in certified agricultural districts by the end of April 2020. This opportunity is for inclusion only of land in agricultural districts. Requests from existing agricultural district property owners to remove land from an agricultural district can be addressed only during the regular eight-year review periods. The Owego/Nichols Agricultural District is up for its eight-year review in February of this year, and the Spencer Agricultural District is up for its eightyear review in March of this year. Therefore, request received from Owego, Nichols, Spencer, Barton, Candor, and Tioga will be held and addressed in the full eight-year review process. Requests received from the other Agricultural District described above will be addressed during this annual inclusion period. There are many benefits to farmers to including active farmland in a certified NYS Agricultural District such as: Right to Farm Probably the most beneficial and well known is the Right To Farm. Under this section of the law, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets will investigate nuisance complaints against a farming operation. If the Commissioner deems that the farming practice in question is sound, it is not considered a nuisance. The Commissioner investigates cases only for farm operations located within agricultural districts. Municipalities can also adopt their own right to farm local

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law. Policy of Local Governments When town or village boards develop local laws, plans or ordinances, they must do so in a manner that supports the goals and policy of the Agricultural Districts law and does not unreasonably restrict or regulate farm operations with agricultural districts. The Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets will investigate complaints and is allowed to initiate legal action against local governments that do not adhere to this policy Farmland Restoration from Natural Gas Development Activities NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, Division of Agricultural Protection and Development can provide technical review and recommendations to participating landowners in the agricultural district program in attempt to avoid or minimize agricultural impacts associated with natural gas development such as access roads, well pads, and pipeline construction activities. The review includes construction stage mitigation and restoration measures as well as post-construction (follow-up) recommendations on farmland impacts and corresponding rehabilitation measures. Notice of Intent Another benefit is that any public agency proposing a publicly funded residential, commercial, industrial or infrastructure project on or to acquire land within an agricultural district is required to file a Notice of Intent with the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets. The County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board then has the responsibility to develop an Agricultural Data Statement which details adverse impacts on farming, including the loss of viable agricultural land. Tax Incentives Finally, if agricultural land receiving an agricultural assessment is converted to a non-agricultural use, back taxes are owed for 8 years. However, if the land is enrolled in an agricultural district, only 5 years of back taxes are collected. Additionally town boards can adopt resolutions authorizing agricultural assessments to be used for the assessment value, instead of full real property assessment for properties within agricultural districts, in benefited areas such as fire districts, ambulance districts, etc. The Tioga County Planning Department administers this Agricultural Districts program for NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets. If you have any questions on this agricultural district enrollment period, contact Megan Griffiths, Agricultural Development Specialist, at griffithsm@co.tioga.ny.us or (607) 687-8263.

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Community Night at Boulevard UMC Features Newark Valley Musician - January 17 You are invited to dinner at 6:00 pm on Sunday, January 17, at the Boulevard United Methodist Church in Binghamton. Donations are accepted. At 7:00 pm, following the dinner, there will be two events taking place: Children and youth (ages 5 to 11) in The Lighthouse Room with DVDs and Music. Adults and older youth will be in the Sanctuary where David Lanning of Newark Valley will present a Saxophone Concert. Desserts will follow. Boulevard United Methodist Church is located at the corner of Floral Avenue

and Grand Blvd in Binghamton. For more information, call the church office at (607) 797-5675. The church’s parking lot is on Floral Ave., across from Kwik-Fill.

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JANUARY 2020

TIOGA COUNTY COMMUNITY PRESS

PAGE 10

Sa Sa Na Monument: Oldest in the US?

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by Stephen Beukema, Village of Owego Historian Several months ago, Owego Mayor Mike Baratta asked me to do some research on the Sa Sa Na Loft monument which stands in Evergreen Cemetery in the Village of Owego. As the story goes, the mayor had corresponded with a gentleman from the area who had been inquiring to local officials as to the notion that the Sa Sa Na monument may be the oldest monument to a Native American in the United States. Commissioned and intrigued, I began my research at the local level. I asked around to my fellow historians here in Tioga County - of which we are fortunate to have several excellent ones of both public and private status. I was certainly surprised to find out that the notion that the Loft monument could be the first monument to a Native American or even the first monument to a Native American woman had apparently - at least in recent history-never been broached. Somewhat baffled at this finding, I moved forward with some basic meta internet searches. After a few of hours of searching for Native American databases and the like - hoping to score a website that would contain all the information I needed - I came up empty. My next attempt at researching the Loft monument would be to optimistically contact historians at the state and national levels. My letters to them contained my subject, purpose, and appeals for any information regarding Native American monuments. In addition, if the Loft monument’s unique status could be confirmed, I naively hoped that the state or national government could provide to the Village of Owego some validation or certification of such. Over several weeks my correspondence included talking to and or emailing the following experts-with one referring me to the next. At the Division of New York State Historic Preservation I contacted a “Program Analyst,” then a “Scientist/Archaeologist,” then the New York State “Ethnologist,” and the “New York State Historian.” At our National level, a National Parks Service “Staff Historian” and the “Chief Historian” of the National Parks Service. In addition, and upon another referral, I corresponded with a well known Mohawk Nation historian and author. In amalgamating the responses from the experts, I would say that they were enthusiastic about the topic, encouraging, and interested in my quest. But they were unable to offer any compilations of data or research shortcuts for me. With all due respect to them, they more or less told me to “knock myself out.” The next phase of my research would include finding the names of any well known Native American warrior, VIP, and or person of interest, or notoriety. Then I examined only those Native Americans whose life and times pre date the Sa Sa Na Loft monument date of 1855. After many hours spread over several weeks I was yet to find any monument to pre date Sa Sa Na’s. The closest I had found was Seneca Chief Cornplanter/ John Abeel’s monument from 1866 which in 1965 - due to the building of the Kinzua Dam - had been relocated to the Riverview - Corydon Cemetery in Elk Township, Warren Co., PA, (near Salamanca, NY). Although things were looking good for Sa Sa Na’s potential new acclaim, I was struggling to define what qualifies as a “monument” and delineate the differences between various tributes such as: Monuments, memorials, busts and other works of art, plaques on stones, elaborate headstones and the like. What should count as the first or earliest monument? For example, the great Wampanoag leader Metacom, among many tributes, had a sketch drawn of him in 1820 and had a textile mill in Fall River Massachusetts named after him in 1847, that seems like a monumental recognition. In another case, in 1772 Tammany the Lenni-Lenape Chief had the first of many “societies” named after him. In 1794 even a Broadway opera was named after him, and a wooden sculpture was made of him in 1817 that in 1869 would end up bronzed and in the U.S. Naval Academy. (Smithsonian American Art Museum. “Tamanend, Chief of Delaware Indians” (1628-1698)).

Photo by Stephen Beukema

I found that many famous Native Americans such as Tecumseh, Hiawatha, Sequoyah, Osceola, and Sa Sa Na’s Mohawk relative Thayendanegea/Joseph Brant all have multiple namesakes and tributes made in their honor but none before Sa Sa Na. Another interesting find was Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the Algonquin/Mohawk, who died in 1680. Among several tributes to her she has no less than four national shrines in the United States and a shrine in Canada, but none that I could find dated before the 19th Century, except a portrait of her from the 17th Century. (www.kateritekakwitha.org). Surprisingly, some of the most well known Native Americans such as Squanto, Pocahontas, and Sacagawea have few or much more recent tributes made to them - not to mention a myriad of famously known Native Americans whose life and times post date Sa Sa Na. Unexpectedly and unfortunately, I came upon Cayuga Chief Logan the Orator’s monument finished in 1852 for the new Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, NY. The massive 65-foot tall stone obelisk monument is an impressive site that pays tribute to this great Native American leader who in ca. 1723 was born in the Auburn area. Logan is not interred there however but his monument predates Sa Sa Na’s by three years. Thus, the Logan monument is likely to be the earliest monument overall in the United States. According to my research, the inclusion of the Logan monument drops Sa Sa Na’s monument into the number two position on the overall list of earliest monuments to Native Americans, while maintaining the title of earliest known monument with interment. However, I am proud to - in good faith - announce that Sa Sa Na’s monument is clearly holding the top position of the earliest monument to a Native American woman in New York, the United States of America, and maybe all of the Americas. So the answer to the question that I posed in the title of this article is YES! In lieu of any official guidance, I believe that a monument, tribute, and a memorial can be one in the same. The physical monument itself is usually extraordinary as well as the life of the person or persons that the monument is representing. In addition, the advent of the monument’s placement should be one of ceremony, public interest and public accessibility. I had asked - if proven - for an official blessing from the government’s history experts for Owego to use the moniker: “Sa Sa Na Loft-Earliest Monument to a Native American Woman in the United States.” But with murky definitions of what a monument is and no collective data regarding monuments - I don’t believe that can happen, and I can understand that. With all this in mind, my hope is to recognize Sa Sa Na Loft and our monument to her wonderful life with a ceremonially placed historic marker at her now amazingly historic gravesite in Evergreen Cemetery. If approval by the Village of Owego Board of Trustees is granted, the historic marker could read: “Sa Sa Na Loft: Mohawk maiden, Christian music missionary, education patron of the Mohawks. She died in a tragic train accident in 1852. This obelisk erected by Owegans in 1855 is the earliest known monument to a Native American woman in the U.S.A.” Readers: Let me know if you have any relevant data regarding Native American monuments. Email me at stephenbeukema@gmail.com.


JANUARY 2020

TIOGA COUNTY COMMUNITY PRESS

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JANUARY 2020

TIOGA COUNTY COMMUNITY PRESS

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Massive Fire Destroys Recycling Facility in Apalachin

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Taylor Recycling Facility continues to burn into the next day. Cause of the fire appears to have come from an item in the recyclable stream, such as a li-ion battery. Investigation is continuing.

Mobile Food Pantry - January 29 Low to moderate income individuals and families are invited to participate in a Mobile Food Pantry Distribution sponsored by the Apalachin Lions in partnership with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. The distribution will be held on Wednesday, January 29, from 12:00 Noon at St. Margaret Mary Catholic

Church’s parking lot, 110 Pennsylvania Avenue in Apalachin. Bring your own bags or boxes. If you have questions, call Food Bank of the Southern Tier at (607) 796-6061. In addition to The Mobile Food Pantry, The Owego Apalachin Family Reading Partnership will be distributing free children’s books.

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