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Jason Emerson

Stories by Jason

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Town finds, donates antique snow scoop to county historical society

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.

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Village celebrates Arbor Day, dedicates four new trees for Lakeland Park

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.”

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Project Café sponsors annual Earth Day village clean-up

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.

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The changing face of Cazenovia’s downtown business district

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.

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Owera brings home five medals from Finger Lakes International Wine Competition

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.

Fenner town office building, stop signs vandalized

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.

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Cazenovia district officials to allow silent reading for students who opt-out of state testing

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.

Village board approves tentative 2015 budget, taxes to increase slightly

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.

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Three local teens arrested in February bomb incident at home of Cazenovia High School teacher

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.

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Cazenovia native named finalist in Realtor Magazine’s 30 under 30 contest

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.

Former Cazenovia College student indicted for on-campus rape charges

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.

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Tait loses lawsuit against department of health

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.

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Cazenovia named a top public school district in New York state in latest ranking

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.

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Something for every occasion — Gabrielle Chocolates sweetens up Albany Street

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.

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Cazenovia Public Library launches new website

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.

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Veteran administrator appointed as new F-M superintendent

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.

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Burton Street students participate in Health and Wellness Fair

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.

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Man convicted of Maegan Spindler death sentenced to more than 30 years in prison

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.

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Burton Street students participate in Health and Wellness Fair

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.

Three school board seats up for election, at least two incumbents not running

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.

Steinhorst named new Cazenovia varsity football head coach

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.

State police still investigating homemade bomb incident, school district concludes the matter

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.

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Cudney wins second national snowshoe championship, profiled in Sports Illustrated magazine

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.

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More than 100 shaved, nearly $50K raised at Cazenovia St. Baldrick’s event

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.

Amish culture discussed at community event

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.

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Cuomo, Valesky, Magee respond to Cazenovia first graders’ letters about state school aid

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.

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Cazenovia singers, musicians participate in spring All-County festival

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.

School district releases preliminary budget, considers exceeding tax levy limit

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.

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Former Caz Fitness building undergoing renovations

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.

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Black Hawks touch down in Hamilton, company commander a Caz native

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.

Fenner town board approves new solar permit resolution, energy conservation program

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.

Nelson announces plans for 2015 Skunk Hollow Day

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.

Cazenovia town board scheduled public hearing on Climate Action Plan

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.

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Owera Vineyards files suit in state supreme court against Cazenovia town planning board

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.

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Junior’s Caz Bar keeping it local

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.

Village board approves Climate Action Plan

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.

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Hamilton hearing expands into Cazenovia

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.

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Tait funeral license lawsuit against department of health argued in state supreme court

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.

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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.

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New Cazenovia hops processing and distribution center in Cazenovia to serve all of CNY region

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.

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School board awards bid contracts for $7.4 million capital project

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.

School administration says: No increase in state funding means definite district program cuts

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.

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‘Brave the shave’: St. Baldrick’s hair-shaving fundraiser returns to Cazenovia

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.

Cazenovia Forum announces 2015 speaker series

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.

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Simple, handcrafted furniture: Route 20 Sofa Company now open in Nelson

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.

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21-year-old Cazenovia man paralyzed after skiing accident

Family and friends of Barclay Talbot establish fundraiser to help with medical and rehabilitation costs

Twenty-one-year-old Barclay Talbot of Cazenovia remains in stable condition in the intensive care unit in Upstate Hospital nearly two weeks after suffering a skiing accident at Cazenovia Ski Club that broke his neck, severed his spine and left him paralyzed from the waist down. Talbot’s family and friends have rallied to his side and offered prayers, food and support in his time of need, and recently they have started a crowdfunding website to help offset the costs of his medical care and rehabilitation, which will be considerable.

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Cazenovia part of new non-emergency services telephone system

2-1-1 Mid-York a way for Madison, Oneida and Herkimer County residents to give and get help

The Cazenovia area, as part of Madison County, is now included in a three-county system that has been connected to the 2-1-1 nationwide non-emergency telephone service. 2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember telephone number that connects people with free community services and volunteer opportunities 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Laurentian Singers to kick off spring break tour in Cazenovia

St. Lawrence University’s Laurentian Singers will kick off their spring break tour to New Orleans with a concert beginning at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 28, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, located at 10 Mill St. in Cazenovia. The concert is free and open to the public.

Nelson town board continues parking ban on North Lake Road

The Nelson Town Board last week extended for another year the local law prohibiting parking along a certain portion of North Lake Road, which expired on Jan. 1.

State police substation in New Woodstock to be rebuilt, possibly relocated

Cazenovia Town Board currently seeking resident input

The Cazenovia Town Board last week announced that the town will tear down the former town highway garage in New Woodstock that currently serves as a New York State Police substation and will replace it with a modular home with detached garage — although the new substation may not be located in the same place.

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