For the second time in two years, Cazenovia’s Owera Vineyards has won two medals at the annual San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
At the Jan. 5 village board of trustees meeting, Trustee Fritz Koennecke, liaison to the village court, said the court handled 50 percent more felonies in 2014 than it did during the three previous years, which is having an impact on the workload of the court, the court clerks and the police. Koennecke’s report to the board led the Cazenovia Republican to inquire to the village court clerk and police chief about the current statistics from their two departments and what the numbers mean.
The partisan politics of Washington are as bad and gridlocking as they look, and the governor’s politics in Albany are crippling the finances of our school district and endangering our children’s education. These were the two major messages received by about 50 area residents last week during the annual State of the Area event sponsored by the Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce.
The start of a new year often brings change; and, to kick-off 2015, the town of Fenner recently launched a new town website that will offer community members more user-friendly access to vast amounts of town information, including local history, geneology, local photographs, links to local laws and regulations and a local business directory.
Six local organizations receive Common Grounds Challenge Grants during pilot year
Six local organizations — from municipalities to non-profit groups to student groups — recently received more than $15,000 in grant funding in order to undertake projects that will benefit the Cazenovia community. The projects were selected as awardees of the local Common Grounds Challenge Grant program, which is in its pilot year.
The Fenner Town Board last week held its first meeting of the new year, during which the board made its annual organizational appointments.
After more than one year of being run by an interim director, the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park Board of Directors last week announced the hiring of a permanent executive director for the park — Emily Gates Zaengle. Zaengle, 27, a native if Unadilla Forks, holds advanced degrees in both landscape architecture and museum studies and during the past three years has served as both an intern and a volunteer at the art park.
During its first meeting of the new year, the Cazenovia Town Board last week approved its annual organizational appointments for the town government as well as attended to regular business.
If you go to the website for the Animal Planet television show “Monsters Inside Me,” you will find clips from various episodes and some of the show’s best moments. If you watch the clip titled, “Creepy, exorcist-like spider walk horrifies one mother,” you will see the first television performance of 15-year-old Siobhan Kiernan, who is currently a sophomore at Cazenovia High School.
The Stone Quarry Hill Art Park Board of Directors has announced the hiring of Emily Gates Zaengle to the position of executive director. Zaengle assumed the role on Jan. 5 and has already been busy meeting with various community organizations and strategizing for the 2015 summer season at the Art Park, according to a statement on the park website. “I can’t tell you how thrilled we are,” said SQHAP Board of Directors President John Hunt.
Currently seeking nominations for 2015 awards
Many Cazenovia community members, including Cazenovia High School student-athletes and alumni, may not know that just inside the main high school entrance from the west parking lot there is a display case dedicated to honoring Cazenovia’s greatest athletes. But there have been no additions to the case since 2010. But now, after a four-and-a-half-year hiatus, the Cazenovia Athletic Association is working to revive the program — and the hall of fame committee is actively seeking nominations for this year’s induction ceremony.
Board reassures public that ambulance coverage has not changed, only the districting aspect is new
The Nelson Town Board last week approved three resolutions regarding their intention to create a new Georgetown ambulance district in the town of Nelson: one to pay for the 2015 contract with the ambulance service, one to amend the rate of pay for district residents and one to set a public hearing about the proposed coverage contract. Town Supervisor Roger Bradstreet also said he wanted town residents to be clear that this proposed contract does nothing to change the ambulance service currently received in the town, it merely creates a new ambulance district to allow the Georgetown Ambulance service an avenue to recover its rising operational costs.
A few village residents in and around the Riverside Drive/Chittenenago Creek corridor, which the village board is currently looking to rezone to help future development, had some concerns about the proposed zone change legislation currently pending before the village but, overall, they did not outright oppose the law at last week’s public hearing on the issue. Mayor Kurt Wheeler said the law’s wording needs to be “tightened up” and “clarified,” but otherwise the village’s efforts to help potential development in the creekside area are moving forward.
A native Cazenovia man made headlines in Philadelphia in mid-December when his quick actions saved the life of a man suffering a heart attack in a Philadelphia train station.
A new phone scam has begun hitting Cazenovia residents in recent days and citizens should be on the lookout, said Cazenovia Police Chief Michael Hayes. The scammers are saying that they represent National Grid and are calling to warn people that their power is about to be disconnected unless they pay overdue costs.
A review of the biggest stories of the past year
There certainly was a lot of news in Cazenovia during the year 2014 — some of it positive and some of it negative, some of it depressing and some of it inspiring; at times the news of the day was as infuriating or outlandish as it was uplifting and amusing. Whatever the adjective used to characterize what has happened these last 12 months, taken all together, it has all been the story of Cazenovia. Instead of surveying, month-by-month, all the top stories of the year as we did for 2013, this year we have chosen what we feel were the 10 most important stories of the year to revisit.
Find out how ‘Obamacare’ will affect your 2014 taxes
The federal Affordable Care Act, popularly called Obamacare, which was made to create universal healthcare in America, took effect Jan. 1 of this year; and now than 2014 is coming to an end, the new health care will also affect people’s tax returns. Whether someone bought healthcare from a federal marketplace or not, there are issues to be taken into account at tax time, from reconciling the healthcare tax credit to calculating the penalties to knowing the penalty exceptions — and one local tax preparation company is offering free help to next week in navigating and understanding the tax effects of the new law.
Has scheduled two needs assessments focus groups for community input
The Cazenovia Area Community Development Association (CACDA) is currently undertaking a project to see if there is both a desire and a need by the Cazenovia community to have facilities and programs for local senior citizens and stay-at-home/homeschooling parents.
Four Cazenovia-area businesses last week were awarded more than $1.8 million in state grant funding by the New York State Regional Economic Development Council. The funds will go towards the creation of a new Cazenovia hotel, the expansion of an existing Cazenovia vineyard, the expansion of a Cazenovia restaurant and inn and the transformation of a commercial building in Nelson into an agri-tourism-based destination.
In the past five years, the Cazenovia Central School District has lost $6.2 million dollars in state aid, due to the way the state legislature and governor divvy up money at budget time using the state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment program. Cazenovia has survived the low funding coupled with increased unfunded state mandates by cutting programs and staff, increasing the district tax levy and using up its reserve funds. But now, coming into the school year 2015-16 budgeting process, Cazenovia is nearly out of money with nothing left to cut.
More than 100 people — at least 50 from St. James Roman Catholic Church — attended the Cazenovia Board of Education meeting on Monday; most of them were there to stand up, literally, in support of the district’s religious release time program for district students.
In addition to European watermilfoil, zebra mussels and blue-green algae, Cazenovia Lake now has a new invasive species in its waters: European Frog-Bit.
After a two-hour public hearing to discuss the proposed new 6,300 square-foot events building by Owera Vineyards on its East Lake Road land, the Cazenovia Town Planning Board closed the public hearing on the issue, which means a decision by the board on whether or not to approve the application must be made within the next two months. The hearing was similar to many of the previous public hearings on Owera’s proposals during the past year with East Lake Road neighborhood residents voicing concerns over the winery’s noise, lighting, traffic and hours of operation. There were, however, a few new points and facts brought up at the planning board’s Dec. 4 meeting — including the news that Owera owner Peter Muserlain is currently in the midst of an intellectual property theft lawsuit that potentially could affect, if not disable, his plans for the new winery building.
The Cazenovia village board last week released a proposed local law to change the zoning of the Riverside Drive/Chittenenago Creek corridor behind the public library in its attempt to improve the undeveloped area.
Cazenovia police this week found a backpack containing a portable meth lab behind a garage on Mill Street in the village. The backpack contained all the common items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine in what is called the “shake and bake” method, where the drug is created in a plastic bottle — in this case, a 1-liter plastic soda bottle.
Two days after a female who robbed a Chittenango bank was on the loose in the village of Chittenango and reported as “armed and dangerous,” state police made a second arrest to close out the case. New York State Police in Oneida announced the arrest of Alyssa L. Boswell, 22, of Canastota, on Thursday, Dec. 4, for robbery in the first degree, a class B felony.
Project Café students are currently hard at work collecting, cleaning and sorting donated toys for the organization’s eighth annual Gently Used Toy Shop. The event’s goal is to help families stretch their holiday dollars by collecting gently used toys and ensuring that they are Christmas-ready.
Two Cazenovia High School athletes last week signed their letters of commitment to attend and play lacrosse for two different colleges.
Also approves new law to reduce number of trustees on board
After approving a new law in September to allow brew pubs to exist in the village of Manlius, the village board last week unanimously voted to approve the application of the Menikheim family to create a brew pub at 315 East Seneca St.
Cazenovians love their local farmers market so much that they want it available more than once a month. So two local entrepreneurs have created a second farmers market that will host its inaugural market on Saturday, Dec. 6, in the showroom of Cazenovia Cutblock on Route 20 East.
Nelson residents will see their taxes increase by 9 percent in 2015, due mainly to the town’s need to update its fleet of highway department trucks and the costs that will be associated with that action.
The Manlius town board last week selected Syracuse Haulers as its municipal trash hauler for 2015-16. The service bid that the board accepted, however, was not the lowest bid received by the town for the contract, although municipal procurement policy states that it must be.
About two dozen district parents coordinated their attendance at the Cazenovia Board of Education meeting last week in an effort to convince the board to change the district’s policy that allows for students to leave school to attend hour-long religious education classes at local churches. This “religious release time,” as it is officially called, is not transparent in how it is administered, unfair to the students who do not attend it because they are not taught anything of value during that hour and should not take away learning time in a public education system, according to the parents’ complaints.
Cazenovia Middle School students last week honored Veterans Day by forming a human flag, singing the Star Spangled Banner and thanking five local veterans invited for the occasion.
Harry Hausser, of New Woodstock, will receive award for summer rescue of man who fell into DeRuyter Lake
When 8-year-old Harry Hausser and his 11-year-old cousin rescued a 63-year-old man who had fallen out of his boat into DeRuyter Lake in August, they were not trying to be heroes, they just saw a man who needed help and they helped him. On Dec. 3, however, the boys will be honored as heroes when they receive the Youth Good Samaritan Award at the 16th Annual Real Heroes Breakfast Event of Central New York at the OnCenter.
Nearly two weeks after Election Day, the race for the NY-121 State Assembly seat has concluded, with challenger John Salka conceding that incumbent Assemblyman Bill Magee won the election.
Dies after short battle with cancer
Less than five months after retiring as superintendent of the Cazenovia Central School District, Robert S. Dubik last week passed away at the age of 61 after a brief battle with cancer. Dubik “passed away quietly at home with his family by his side,” according to his obituary from Thomas J. Pirro Jr. Funeral Home.
The Manlius Town Board last week held a public hearing on its preliminary 2015 budget, and will likely vote on its final 2015 budget at its next regular meeting. The $8.8 million budget includes a 3.59 percent increase in expenses over 2014 and includes a tax rate of $4.93 per every $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of nine cents from 2014, or 1.95 percent.
After months of analysis and public input on how best to redevelop the Riverside Drive/Chittenango Creek area behind the library, the village’s hired community planner has presented his findings and recommendations to the village board. In short, accomplishing a solid redevelopment of the area will require probable rezoning, along with a nature trail and public park development plan, Dan Kwasnowski, of Applied Planning, told the board during its Nov. 3 regular monthly meeting.
After making some final adjustments to the numbers and holding a public hearing at which no members of the public spoke, the Cazenovia Town Board last week approved the final version of its 2015 town budget. The final budget includes a $3 million total budget with $1.4 million to be raised by taxes. The proposal includes a 4 percent tax rate increase townwide, with a 1 percent tax rate increase for town residents outside the village.
Last-minute write-in candidacy for Fenner town board garners 25 percent of vote
Unopposed candidates for town board and town justice in Cazenovia and Fenner cruised to easy victories in Tuesday’s election, although a last-minute write-in candidacy for Fenner town board did garner about 25 percent of the vote.
DeWitt Police Chief Gene Conway has been elected the next Onondaga County sheriff by an 8,000-vote margin over his opponent, Democrat Toby Shelley.
Twelve-term state assemblyman Bill Magee has declared victory in his election race against challenger John Salka in the 121st district – but the margin is so slim, and with more than 1,000 absentee ballots still to be counted, Salka is not conceding the race.
Joseph Zavaglia has been appointed the new justice for the village of East Syracuse and was officially sworn-in to his position during the village board’s Nov. 3 meeting by Mayor Robert Tackman.
Longtime Nelson resident and public servant Dean Coe last Sunday received the Norman Odell Citizen of the Year award for 2014, given by the town of Nelson and the Erieville Nelson Heritage Society.
While the Manlius Town Board will accept a state decision that the village board is the lead agency for construction of the proposed new fire station, town councilors last week unanimously voted to reject the village’s asserted jurisdictional authority over the zoning review aspects of the project and to assert instead the town’s own jurisdiction over zoning.
So many Manlius town residents have been upset — and complaining — about the town board’s August decision to eliminate the opt out option for municipal trash and brush pickup that last week the board reversed the policy.
Sets groundwork to make cheerleading a sport next year
The Cazenovia school district Board of Education last week approved two combination sports teams with other school districts, added a new combination team and set the groundwork for making cheerleading a school sport in 2015-16.
Despite the cold, wet weather in Cazenovia Tuesday night, nearly 100 people showed up at the Cazenovia Public Library to attend a debate between Democrat Bill Magee and Republican John Salka, the two candidates running for election to the 121st district in the state assembly. The debate, sponsored by the Cazenovia League of Women Voters, covered issues ranging from raising the minimum wage, to state electoral redistricting, public funding of political campaigns, state school funding, casinos in New York state, alleged corruption in the state legislature, gas drilling in New York, marriage equality and how to keep residents and businesses from leaving the state due to high taxes.
The disagreement between the village of Manlius and the town of Manlius over which municipality should be the lead agency to create the proposed new fire station at the corner of Enders Road and Route 92 last week received some direction from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which issued an opinion in favor of the village.