Eleven Cazenovia High School students from grades eight through 12 strutted their stuff before a sold-out crowd last Friday, April 24, for the sixth annual Mr. Caz Pageant. In the end, only one could walk away with the crown — and that was senior Danny Phillips.
The Cazenovia Board of Education last week received the first “reading” of the proposed revision to the district’s religious release time policy for students who attend religious education during the school day. The changes in the policy do not effect whether or not the program will continue to exist — it must under state law — but rather how it is administered and how it ensures that all students in the district receive “appropriate educational opportunities” throughout the school day.
Two families who live on Ledyard Avenue have filed suit in state supreme court against the village of Cazenovia, claiming that the Western Gateway rezoning law approved in September 2014 was illegal spot zoning that is inconsistent with the village comprehensive plan and should therefore be annulled.
District stays within tax levy limit, maintain all programs
The Cazenovia Board of Education last night approved the proposed 2015-16 district budget of $26,858,858. The budget represents an increase of $362,904 or 1.37 percent from last year, and assumes a tax levy increase of 2.04 percent which is at, but does not exceed, the district’s tax levy limit for 2015-16. The budget maintains all existing academic, athletic and extracurricular programs as well as all existing class sizes.
The Cazenovia Town Board last week voted once again offer its benthic mat rental program to lakefront property owners for the 2015 season to continue its efforts to manage excessive weed growth in Cazenovia Lake.
After decades gathering dust in the New Woodstock Town Highway Garage, an antique horse-drawn snow scoop, once used to remove snow from the streets and sidewalks of Cazenovia, has been donated to the Madison County Historical Society.
More than 100 people gathered on a warm, sunny spring morning in Lakeland Park this past Saturday for the Cazenovia Tree Commission’s annual Arbor Day celebration and tree planting ceremony. Members of the commission were present to explain the history and significance of Arbor Day as well as to talk about the future of Lakeland Park and its trees; the five middle school members of the Earth Club helped honor the day by reading the official Arbor Day proclamation and Burton Street Elementary School students sang the song “This Pretty Planet.”
More than one dozen members of Project Café, along with a few members of the Cazenovia community, spent an hour on Sunday, April 19, walking village streets picking up winter garbage.
The nature of communities is that they are often in a constant state of flux. Businesses change and adapt, close and move, while new businesses come in to offer something different to the local market and hope their business model works. In Cazenovia during the past eight months, there has been a great deal of change to the local business community with shops closing or moving locations, and others coming in to take over the newly vacant store fronts. Whether such change is, or will be, positive or negative remains to be seen — but many local officials and business owners see potential in what is happening, although they also see a need to change and adapt to certain realities of the marketplace and the needs of customers.
Cazenovia’s sole winery, Owera Vineyards, added recently to its ever-growing list of awards and accolades by bringing home five medals from the 2015 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition.
Four stops signs in the town of Fenner and the main entrance door into the Fenner town office building were vandalized with spray-painted swastika signs recently, an action that will cost town taxpayers around $400 to fix.
The Cazenovia school district administration team has decided to change its policy for students who opt-out of grades 3 through 8 math, science and ELA state assessment tests this month. Instead of sitting at their desks for 90 minutes staring into space each day for the six days of the testing, students not taking the tests now will be allowed to read quietly at their desks.
Also announces 6 percent increase in village water rates
The Cazenovia Village Board unanimously adopted its tentative 2015 budget last week and, although tax rates for the coming year will decrease, village assessments this year have increased after last year’s property revaluation, which means the average homeowner will see a slight rise in their taxes.
State Police in Morrisville have arrested three teenagers and charged them with criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and trespassing in connection to the February incident in which a Cazenovia High School teacher found two homemade bombs outside of her house.
Twenty-seven-year-old Alex Parker, a native of Cazenovia who currently lives in Tallahassee, Fla., sold more than $22 million in Florida real estate last year. That achievement, among other factors, earned him a place as one of the final 50 candidates in Realtor Magazine’s 30 Under 30 2014 national contest recently. And, while Parker was ultimately not chosen last week to be one of the final 30 honorees, becoming a finalist and earning the experience and exposure of the contest was the achievement of a years-long goal for him.
A man suspended from Cazenovia College last year after being accused of raping a fellow student has been indicted by a Madison County grand jury and was arraigned Friday, April 3, in Madison County Court. Jeffrey Diaz, 22, of New York City, was arrested by Cazenovia Police and charged with rape in the first degree and performing a criminal sex act in the first degree, both Class B felonies.
A New York State Supreme Court judge has ruled against Cazenovia funeral home director Brian Tait’s attempts to sue the state department of health over what Tait claims was a deal to suspend his funeral directing license for six months and seek no further administrative actions against him.
Cazenovia Central School District has been selected as one of the top 100 school districts in New York state, according to a list developed by research analyst company Niche.
Two years ago, a mysterious chocolate shop opened for one night at a small, non-descript location at 72 Albany St. during the annual Cazenovia Christmas Walk. Many people in the community wondered what it was, where it came from and where it went to when it disappeared the next day. Four months ago, in mid-December 2014, Gabrielle Chocolates opened again at 72 Albany St. — but this time, the chocolate shop stayed open as a permanent addition to the downtown business district. And with the chocolate-heavy Easter holiday right around the corner, owner Gabrielle Regan hopes her handmade “chocolate creations for any occasion,” as her motto goes, will entice people to stop in.
The Cazenovia Public Library last week launched its new and updated website — still with the same web address — that will be easier for the library to use and update, and more user-friendly for its patrons.
Dr. Craig J. Tice, an experienced administrator and current superintendent of Marcellus Central School District, was unanimously appointed the new Fayetteville-Manlius district superintendent by the F-M Board of Education on March 30. Tice, an educator with four college degrees and experience as both a teacher and administrator in districts such as Webster, Skaneateles and Marcellus, was approved for a three-year contract that includes an initial annual salary of $192,000. He will officially begin his new duties on July 1.
Students at Burton Street Elementary School last week spent a day learning and even teaching about physical and mental health at the school’s first Health and Wellness Fair.
Ronald Raymond Fischer Jr., the man convicted in February of the 2013 death of Cazenovia resident Maegan Spinder, was sentenced to more than 30 years in South Dakota state prison this week — the maximum sentence possible for his two felony counts of vehicular homicide.
Two of the three Cazenovia Board of Education members whose seats are up for election on May 19 confirmed Monday night that they will not seek reelection. Current board President Pat Vogl, a 12-year member, and Karin Marris, a 12-year member, both said they have decided not to run again simply because they have been on the board long enough and are eager to give someone else a chance to serve.
Students at Burton Street Elementary School last week spent a day learning and even teaching about physical and mental health at the school’s first Health and Wellness Fair.
Jay Steinhorst, a longtime assistant coach with the Cazenovia Lakers varsity football team, Monday night was approved by the school board to become the new head coach.
New York State Police continue to investigate a Feb. 1 incident in the town of Madison during which two “homemade chemical bombs” were placed alongside the home of a Cazenovia high school teacher.
Cazenovia native Jeanette Cudney has done it again. Less than one month after winning the junior women’s 5K world championship title in snowshoe racing in Quebec, Canada, Cudney recently won her second consecutive U.S. national junior women’s snowshoe title at the 15th annual Dion Snowshoes United States National Snowshoe Championship in Eau Claire, Wis. Cudney’s domination of the junior’s women’s category in the sport of snowshoe racing during the past year has also landed her recognition in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated as an outstanding amateur athlete in the “Faces in the Crowd” section of the magazine.
For the second consecutive year, Cazenovians have raised nearly $50,000 to help increase childhood cancer research and awareness through a St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraising event. Hundreds of people showed up to the event, held Sunday, March 22, at Burton Street Elementary School, more than 100 got their heads shaved and, as of press time, a little more than $47,000 was raised.
More than 100 residents of the greater Cazenovia area crowded into the Cazenovia Public Library community room last week to hear from members of the Peterboro-Cazenovia-Canastota Amish community who offered a discussion on Amish life, history, tradition and culture.
Students in Catharine Taylor’s first grade class at Burton Street Elementary School received some surprise mail recently — from New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, State Senator David Valesky and State Assemblyman Bill Magee. The three officials all wrote responses to letters sent by Taylor’s 25 students, mailed in early February, in which the students asked Cuomo, Valesky and Magee to restore Cazenovia’s state school aid funding to this year’s state budget.
Nearly 50 Cazenovia student musicians and singers in grades 5 through 12 performed in the annual Madison County Music Educators Association’s Spring All-County Music Festival, which was held March 13 and 14 at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School.
If New York state lawmakers do not pass a state budget by their April 1 deadline, the Cazenovia board of education may be forced to seek a tax levy limit increase in its 2015-16 budget to ensure it can continue to fund all existing district programs. Such a move is a gamble, however, because to exceed the limit requires a 60 percent voter majority or else the budget goes back to the community for a re-vote. This was the message conveyed to the Cazenovia Board of Education at its March 16 budget work session by Assistant Superintendent Bill Furlong during his presentation on the preliminary budget.
Albany Street building to revert to retail, office space
When Caz Fitness closed its doors at 51 Albany St. in early February, local residents wondered why and what would occupy the space instead. Current construction activity in the building and “For Rent” signs in the windows have only increased the curiosity. The new owner of the building at 51 Albany St., Eric Burrell, said he is now ready to make public his plans. He is renovating the structure to create retail space on the first floor and office space on the second and third floors.
U.S. Army Captain Kyle Murray, a Cazenovia native currently stationed at Fort Drum, made a brief stop in the Cazenovia area recently — as commander of a Black Hawk helicopter squadron that touched down at the Hamilton airport as part of an air assault exercise.
The Fenner Town Board last week approved resolutions to encourage use of solar energy in the town and to make municipal lighting more energy efficient.
This year’s town of Nelson Skunk Hollow Day has been scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at the town office – only a few hours after the annual Mad. Co.W Race concludes at the same location.
The Cazenovia Town Board last week scheduled a public hearing to hear resident opinion on the adoption of a joint Climate Action Plan with the village of Cazenovia.
The disagreement between Owera Vineyards and the Cazenovia town planning board over how the winery should be allowed to operate its business continued last week when Owera’s owners, Peter and Nancy Muserlian, filed suit in New York State Supreme Court against the town planning board. The Article 78 proceeding is a challenge to the planning board’s approval on Feb. 5 of Owera’s site plan application to construct a 6,300 square-foot permanent promotion and marketing facility on its East Lake Road property. That approval included numerous conditions on the business such as restrictions on hours of operations, number of events and number of people allowed per event in the building, as well as stipulations on how the winery must prove to the town that it is abiding by state agriculture and markets department rules — conditions which Owera claims in its lawsuit were not only “arbitrary and capricious” but also exceeded the planning board’s jurisdiction.
Local restaurant and pub Junior’s Caz Bar at 64 Albany St. is coming up on its one-year anniversary on April 1. The milestone is not just an achievement for Junior’s, but is one that also benefits the various local businesses that Junior’s owner Geoff Zimmer Jr. works with and supports.
The Cazenovia Village Board of Trustees last week unanimously approved the Cazenovia Climate Action Plan, which will act as a guide to village officials and residents on the best ways to reduce energy use, increase energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprints. The plan offers goals and recommendations for action based on the greenhouse gas inventory of the village completed last year, but it is not a binding document or a new village law.
The Atwell Mill and its Annex on Albany Street are becoming a de facto medical center in Cazenovia, with current businesses there including a chiropractor, a dentist, a family physician’s office, a family therapist, a personal therapist, a psychotherapist, a physical therapist, a laboratory testing service and a Medicare insurance agent. And now, with the recent addition of Hamilton Hearing, LLC, there is also a hearing counselor and hearing aid dispenser.
More than two years after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges of misconduct while running his Cazenovia funeral home, Brian Tait is back in court again. This time, he is the petitioner, bringing suit against the state Department of Health for reneging on what Tait claims was an approved deal regarding the suspension of his funeral directing license. Rather than a six-month suspension, the state is now looking to revoke his license altogether and decertify his funeral home. Attorneys for Tait and the DOH appeared in state supreme court Thursday morning, March 5, to argue their cases in front of Judge Hugh A. Gilbert.
School district disciplines students over homemade bombs found at Cazenovia High School teacher’s house, state police continue to investigate
While New York State Police officers continue to investigate a Feb. 1 incident in the town of Madison during which two “homemade chemical bombs” were placed alongside the home of a Cazenovia high school teacher, the district has taken disciplinary actions against an undisclosed number of students for the event.
After spending two months crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Germany, waiting in the port of New York City and braving the cold and snowy roads of Upstate New York, The Wolf recently arrived in Cazenovia. The Wolf is not an animal or a person, but an 11.5-ton hops harvester/picker that is now permanently in place on a Rathbun Road hops farm in Cazenovia. It will be the foundation of The Bineyard — a new hops cooperative and distribution center that has plans to be the main hops processing and distribution facility in the CNY region.
The Cazenovia Board of Education last week officially awarded the bid contracts for both the $7.4 million district-wide capital improvement project and for a $100,000 electrical work project at Burton Street Elementary School.
The Cazenovia school district administration last week discussed the current estimates for its initial 2015-16 budget and Assistant Superintendent Bill Furlong said he feels “pretty comfortable” that all current district programs will be maintained — as long as Cazenovia receives at least half of its expected state aid funding, or $450,000. If Gov. Andrew Cuomo decides to eliminate state education aid increases this year, the effects will be “devastating” to Cazenovia, and will result potentially in the loss of some district programs and possibly high school electives, and an increase in elementary class sizes, Furlong said.
Beautiful baldness is returning to Cazenovia in just under three weeks when the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser to battle childhood cancer will occur at Burton Street Elementary School. Last year’s event saw 113 community members shave their heads and raise $48,700 — and organizers Sean and Erin Kate Kelly hope to raise just as much, if not more, this year.
A former acting general counsel for the Central Intelligence Agency, the nation's top expert on current events in Ukraine and a leading anti-corruption activist are among the upcoming speakers at the Cazenovia Forum, Central New York's premier public affairs lecture series, which recently announced its 2015 lineup.
After 35 years working in the furniture industry, Shawn Gilmore knows what type of furniture business he wants to create — one that offers high-quality, hand-crafted furniture at mid-level prices in a good geographical location. Gilmore also wants a place where he can indulge his love of art and music and occasionally cater to non-profit organizations for events. At Route 20 Sofa Company in Nelson, Gilmore believes he has found what he has been seeking.