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Jason Emerson

Stories by Jason

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Ready for the holidays

Garden Club, DPW crews, decorate village for the season

The holiday season has arrived in Cazenovia and, and with it, the annual holiday decorating of the buildings and lampposts on Albany Street. Village Department of Public Works crews, members of the Cazenovia Garden Club and students from Cazenovia College spent hours last week hanging wreaths and garlands along the village’s main street.

Fenner town budget: slight tax rate increase for 2016

Town of Fenner residents will see their town taxes increase 7 cents per every $1,000 of assessed value in 2016 according to the budget approved by the town board during its Nov. 12 meeting. This will be the first time town taxes have increased in approximately seven years, said Supervisor Dave Jones.

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CPF Willow Basket vandalized

The giant willow basket in the willow patch off Mill Street was vandalized Sunday, Nov. 15, torn up off its foundation and tossed aside into the patch, as was a nearby wooden bench, likewise torn out of the ground and tossed aside. Cazenovia police have arrested a local 23-year-old Cazenovia man for the crime, but have no further details on the arrest at this time, said Cazenovia Police Chief Michael Hayes.

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Five Caz student athletes announce college lacrosse plans

Five senior members of the Cazenovia High School boys lacrosse team last week announced their respective plans for where they plan to attend college and play college lacrosse. T.J. Connellan, Jake Lewis, Jake Stowell, Brenden Whalen and Derek White participated in a press conference, where they either made announcements or signed National Letters of Intent concerning their college plans.

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McEntee, Goris announce college lacrosse plans

Cazenovia High School seniors Olivia McEntee and Sophie Goris last Friday announced their respective plans for where they plan to attend college and play lacrosse.

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Local veterans honored by congressmen

Local World War II veterans Karl W. Monson, of Cazenovia, and Don Fida, of Syracuse, were honored Wednesday, Nov. 11, by their friends, family, fellow veterans and local congressmen during a Veterans Day ceremony at Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango. Monson, 97, received the World War II Victory Medal from Cazenovia area Congressman Richard Hanna, and Fida, 91, received a flag from the Seventh Infantry — his regiment during his service in World War II —from Syracuse Congressman John Katko.

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Hayes, Wester win town board seats after absentee ballots counted

The absentee ballots for the Fenner and Nelson elections have been counted, and the unofficial results, according to the board of elections, are that one race stayed the same while the other changed hands by only three votes.

Creekside development project moving forward

The Creekside Park development project continues to move forward and, while the overall proposed picture of the site has not changed in recent months, there has been movement on a few fronts, Mayor Kurt Wheeler said during the Nov. 2 village board meeting.

Cazenovia tax rate to decrease for town residents

Town board approves final 2016 town budget on 4-1 vote

Taxes for Cazenovia town residents outside the village will remain static in 2016 while townwide taxes (including the village) will decrease 3 percent under the 2016 budget the town board approved at its Nov. 2 meeting. The budget was approved on a vote of 4-1, with Councilor Tom Driscoll voting no due to his opposition to the included salary increase for the town supervisor position.

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O'Sullivan wins county judgeship, Cazenovia area town board seats will get new occupants; Nelson election may not be over

It was nearly two hours after the polls closed Tuesday night before the unofficial elections results were posted online by the Madison County Board of Elections – and it was a night of surprising results.

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Tainter named Nelson’s ‘Citizen of the Year’

Erieville resident Jennifer Tainter last Sunday was awarded the 2015 Norman Odell Citizenship Award for her outstanding contributions to the residents of the town of Nelson.

School district working to improve emergency preparedness, school security

There seems to be a lot of public violence reported in the national news lately – occurring both in and out of schools – and people are concerned, especially for the safety and security of their children. At last week’s school board meeting, Superintendent Matt Reilly shared with the board a letter he received asking what the Cazenovia Central School District is doing to keep its students and faculty safe. This spurred a conversation at the meeting during which Reilly said that the district has been and will continue to be reviewing and improving its emergency situation procedures.

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Meet the candidates: Fenner town board, supervisor up for election

The Fenner town election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, will offer an uncontested race for town supervisor and a contested race for town board. In the latter race, six candidates — including one incumbent — are seeking to fill two seats. Also running unopposed this year are incumbents Paula Douglas for town clerk, Sharon Larkin for tax collector and Dan Smith for highway superintendent. The Cazenovia Republican sent questionnaires out to each of the town election candidates last week to help town residents understand who is running and where they stand on the issues.

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Nelson town election: Meet the candidates

The Nelson Town Board election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, will offer an uncontested race for town supervisor and a contested race for town board. In the latter race, three candidates — including two incumbents — are seeking to fill two seats. Also running unopposed this year are incumbents Debbie Costello for town clerk and Jack Sevier for highway superintendent. The Cazenovia Republican sent questionnaires out to each of the town election candidates last week to help town residents understand who is running and where they stand on the issues.

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Cazenovia town election: Meet the candidates

The Cazenovia Town Board election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, will offer an uncontested race for town supervisor and a contested race for town board. In the latter race, three candidates — including two incumbents — are seeking to fill two seats. The Cazenovia Republican sent questionnaires out to each of the town election candidates last week to help town residents understand who is running and where they stand on the issues.

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Cazenovia town board candidates discuss issues at LWV forum

Candidates for the Cazenovia Town Board election gave statements and answered questions Wednesday night on issues ranging from the health of the lake to the future of the town hall to the benefits of sharing municipal services to term limits. The discussion was part of the Cazenovia League of Women Voters candidate forum, during which the candidates for town supervisor and Madison County Court judge also spoke.

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Cyberbullying can happen 'anywhere, at any time'

People of every age and generation have experienced bullying — but kids in the 21st century have the added onus of bullying coming in and going out across the world on the Internet. And, in addition to cyberbullying, older kids must be wary of posting inappropriately sexual material online — called “sexting” — because the repercussions of that, which includes opening one up to cyberbullying, can be unstoppably and overwhelmingly destructive. This was the message given to Cazenovia middle school students on Oct. 9 when Wendy Fical, a program director with the national Center for Exploited and Missing Children, returned to the district to continue her presentations on Internet safety and social behavior.

Cazenovia College celebrates raising $10 million

October 23 festivities will conclude with fireworks at Lakeland Park

Cazenovia College has reached the end of its five-year, $10 million Capital Campaign – nine months ahead of schedule and nearly $1 million over the goal. As part of the college’s celebration for reaching this milestone, the college has scheduled a fireworks display to be enjoyed by the entire Cazenovia community for this Friday night.

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Grand Champion at 13

Erin Curtis-Szalach wins top prize at World Dairy Expo

Erin Curtis-Szalach has been busy the past two months. In addition to normal school and family responsibilities, the Cazenovia eighth grader — and the Ayrshire cow she owns and raises, named “Colata” — has won five grand championship awards at three national dairy shows in three states since the end of August. And Curtis-Szalach is only 13 years old.

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Critz Farms celebrating 30 years in business, announces plans to open farm brewery, make beer

Critz Farms is known across Central New York as a premier place to visit to get apples, pumpkins, maple cider and Christmas trees — not to mention the animals to see and pet, the playground for the kids and the food to eat — but what most people may not know is that 2015 is the 30th year of business in Cazenovia for Matt and Juanita Critz. And after 30 years in business the Critzes have no intention to slow down — they have announced that by spring 2016 they plan to start brewing their own beer and selling it under the company name of Critz Farms Brewing and Cider Company.

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McGrath inducted into Nottingham High School Hall of Fame

Hal McGrath, of Cazenovia, last week was inducted onto the Nottingham High School Wall of Fame for being an alumn who has made an outstanding contribution to his profession and/or his community.

Cazenovia mourns death of teen

A 16-year-old Cazenovia youth died this past weekend from an apparent suicide, New York State Police have said.

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For the love of reading

Little Free Library book exchanges set up in Cazenovia

Change occurs constantly in the Cazenovia community, whether through the repaving of Route 20, the construction of new houses and businesses or the planting of new trees. One recent addition to Caz has probably been noticed by many but understood by few. What, exactly, are the two wooden boxes in the village filled with books that say, “Little Free Library,” and how are they supposed to be used?

Nelson town board ponders three versions of tentative 2016 town budget

An overview of the tentative 2016 Nelson town budget was given at the board’s Oct. 8 regular monthly meeting and a public hearing scheduled to discuss a proposed local law to override the state tax cap.

Preliminary Cazenovia town budget now available for public viewing

It is municipal budget time again, and the Cazenovia town board last week approved its tentative 2016 budget to make it the preliminary budget. The $3.1 million budget includes $1.5 million to be raised by taxes, which is similar to last year’s budget. The preliminary budget is now available for public viewing at the town office and on the town’s website at townofcazenovia.org.

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A truly special day

Caz brings largest team yet to regional Special Olympics

Nineteen student-athletes from all three Cazenovia Central School District schools last week joined nearly 300 student-athletes from 11 schools in Madison and Oneida counties to compete in the annual Madison-Oneida BOCES Special Olympics Autumn Games at Canastota High School.

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Community cider project gets 200 bushels of apples

Harvest Moon Cidery to make 2,000 bottles of cider

When Matt and Juanita Critz, owners of Critz Farm and the Harvest Moon Cidery on Rippleton Road, decided to invite the public to contribute wild apples to help make a new “Community Cider” by Harvest Moon, they were hoping at least a few people might find it interesting and participate. Their goal was to receive at least 50 bushels of apples, which is half of what is necessary to make one batch of hard cider, and if their collection fell a little — or a lot — short, they would just use their own apples to fill in what was needed. On Sunday, Oct.4, the final day of the weeklong community apple collection project they were doing, the Critzes were somewhat surprised to find they did not make their goal – they quadrupled it.

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Missing Fenner woman arrested day before disappearance

Ragina Garrison, the 49-year-old Perryville Road woman missing since Tuesday, was arrested by state police the day before her disappearance because of a reported domestic dispute with her 22-year-old daughter.

Caz College student arrested for threatening females with knife

Cazenovia police have arrested an 18-year-old Cazenovia College student on menacing, weapons and drug charges after he allegedly threatened two female students with a knife, and allegedly held a knife to one girl’s throat.

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Fourth time not a charm — Burglar caught red-handed in Caz Sports Bowl

Police encircle building, find suspect hiding in bowling alley ceiling

Cazenovia Sports Bowl was burglarized for the third time in three weeks this past Wednesday, Oct. 7, and then, only 24 hours later, the alleged burglar returned for a fourth robbery. And this time, Cazenovia police caught him in the act.

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Historic DeWitt cemetery on the road to repair

It’s been more than 110 years since the last burial occurred at Messina Springs Cemetery on James Street in DeWitt – and for decades the cemetery looked like what it was: abandoned. During the past few years, however, members of the community and DeWitt town officials have been working to rehabilitate this historic spot and have made great strides this year.

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Massive search underway on Perryville Road for missing 49-year-old woman

Woman identified as Ragina Garrison of Perryville Road

Police personnel from three counties and the state parks are currently searching for a missing 49-year-old woman on a stretch of Perryville Road in Fenner just before the Canastota town line.

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Are your kids safe on the Internet?

Cazenovia Middle School students get safety tips at recent assembly

Wendy Fical likes to start her middle school presentations about Internet safety with a story about a teen who scored the winning touchdown at his latest football game. The boy loves online gaming, and tells one of his online partners that his team won 21-20 in their division championship game. That doesn’t seem like excessive personal information, right? But from just that little amount of information, the teen’s male online gaming partner used the Internet to find out enough information about the boy to show up at his house. That is just one of thousands of examples that Fical, a program director with the national Center for Exploited and Missing Children, has told middle schoolers about how even the most basic of personal information they put out onto the Web can be used unsavory and dangerous people.

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Turning 100 is ‘better than 90’

Cazenovia centenarian and family celebrate his rare milestone

Frank Lacko Sr., of Ballina Road in Cazenovia, turned 100 years old last week — and he seemed to take it all in stride. “It’s better than 90,” he said during a family birthday party in his honor last Saturday, Oct. 3. “I’m that much older and I know that much more.”

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Circa to reopen at Nelson Corners in 2016

Alicyn Hart said she will never move a restaurant again — but she’s also hopeful she won’t have to. The former proprietor of the popular Cazenovia restaurant Circa, that closed its Albany Street doors more than one year ago due to rising rent costs, is planning to reanimate her signature establishment in a new building and a new location early next year — on Route 20 East at the four corners of Nelson.

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Near-extinct snails repopulated at Chittenango Falls

Chittenango ovate amber snails coaxed into reproduction at SUNY ESF

Scientists from SUNY ESF made history today after releasing into the wild at Chittenango Falls State Park 200 endangered Chittenango ovate amber snails that were bred and grown in captivity. These rare, delicate snails, that measure about 1 millimeter in length when first hatched and grow up to 20 millimeters in length as adults, can be found in only one place on Earth — alongside this Central New York waterfall. And until today, there were only about 300 of them in the wild.

Cazenovia school district audited by state comptroller’s office

An auditor from the New York State Comptroller’s Office recently spent more than one month working in a makeshift office in the Cazenovia Central School District offices reviewing the finances of the district to ensure that Cazenovia is spending its money responsibly. The state audit was not the result of any district incompetence or malfeasance — and the results showed none of either — but rather from the Comptroller’s determination that Cazenovia CSD is suffering from “moderate” fiscal stress.

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Community ‘rally’ for Reger family scheduled for Oct. 3

Cazenovia is a community that comes together to support its neighbors in times of adversity – and this Saturday, Oct. 3, a community-wide event is occurring to raise money to help pay the medical bills for the Reger family, whose patriarch, Kyle, suffered a stroke less than one month ago. The family, which includes his wife Marla and their two young children, Max, 6, and Jackson, 3, and is facing medical bills of around $50,000.

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New coffee roaster opens in Nelson

Construction crews currently can be seen working on two houses at the four corners of Nelson that, when completed, promise to forever alter the food and beverage landscape in the Nelson-Cazenovia area. While a restaurant, nanobrewery and cigar shop are currently in the works to be created inside the two buildings — officially to be called Nelson Corners — a coffee roaster business is now up and running, selling coffee online and preparing for a storefront grand opening event on Oct. 3.

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‘A great time to be a Cazenovia Laker’

Eight inducted into Cazenovia High School Hall of Fame

More than 200 people drove out to the Rusty Rail in Canastota last Friday night to celebrate the 10 individuals and four athletic teams that were inducted into or otherwise honored by the Cazenovia High School Hall of Fame. Ranging in history from the 1937 Cazenovia Corn Huskers football team to a 2009 CHS graduate, the honorees all were a “pretty incredible” group of athletes that brought home to Cazenovia a combined 15 sectional championships and 12 all-league honors, as well as represented three high school All Americans, two coaches of the year and one national collegiate champion.

Albany Street to be under construction until November

The New York State Department of Transportation will begin the reconstruction of Albany Street beginning Monday, Sept. 28, with an anticipated completion date of Nov. 1, according to Bill Carr, Cazenovia village public works administrator.

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Hundreds enjoy Taste of Cazenovia, raise funds for CCH and local family

More than 250 people turned out last week to eat, drink, mingle and — most importantly — help raise funds for the Cazenovia Children’s House during the organization’s annual Taste of Cazenovia fundraising event, held this year at the Cazenovia Country Club.

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Hurd Street house destroyed by fire

No people injured, new puppy does not survive

A local family has lost their residence — and their new puppy — after the Hurd Street home they were renting was completely destroyed by fire Sunday morning. Within 30 minutes of passersby seeing smoke emanating from the roof and neighbors calling 911, the house was engulfed in bright orange flames and a thick trail of black smoke was rising into the sky, according to neighbors. The family that lives in the house was not at home, and so no people were injured in the blaze, but the family’s new puppy, which they had for only one week, did not survive.

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Caz Sports Bowl burglarized again

Only one week after Cazenovia police began investigating a reported break-in burglary at Caz Sports Bowl at 3 Carriage Lane behind Tops, a second burglary of the bowling alley has allegedly occurred.

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CPF old-fashioned barn dance a success

The sounds of the fiddle and guitar, stomping feet, clapping hands, the caller giving directions and a lot of laughter filled the air last Friday night as nearly 100 people turned out for the Cazenovia Preservation Foundation’s Old-Fashioned Barn Dance at Deer Hawk Farm on Rathbun Road.

Cazenovia police investigate two break-in robberies in village

Cazenovia police officers are currently investigating two separate incidents of break-ins and burglaries that occurred in the village last week.

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Wild apples wanted for Critz Farms 'Community Cider'

The wild apple crop this year has been huge in Central New York, and it gave Matt and Juanita Critz, owners of Critz Farm and Harvest Moon Cidery in Cazenovia, an idea: Why not ask community members to bring in their wild apples and use those to make a Cazenovia “community” hard cider? Contributors could help press the apples, receive some free bottles of the finished product and even designate a local charity to receive apportion of the proceeds from bottle sales.

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Four parties, six candidates to vie for Fenner town board seats

Four other town positions will be uncontested

The town of Fenner will have a large slate of candidates listed on the Nov. 3 ballot, with six candidates from four different political parties running for two seats on the town board, as well as uncontested elections for the positions of supervisor, clerk, highway superintendent and tax collector.

New Woodstock revamped state police barracks taking shape

Construction of a new state police substation in the hamlet of New Woodstock has started and, while the completion date was hoped to be this fall, it seems more likely that the building will be completed next spring, the Cazenovia Town Board announced last week.

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When Theodore Roosevelt came to Cazenovia

The village of Cazenovia shone with a glowing pride for years in the aftermath of the 1887 two-day visit by sitting President Grover Cleveland, while residents also were proud that Cleveland’s former treasury secretary, Charles S. Fairchild, lived in their town after he left Washington. Just 13 years later, another nationally known figure stopped in Cazenovia, one who would also sit in the presidential chair and make an indelible mark on the country — Theodore Roosevelt.

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