Business First, a Buffalo-based magazine that conducts annual evaluations of the 100 top school districts throughout Upstate New York, last week released its 2014 results — and named Cazenovia Central School District no. 5 Upstate, no. 3 in the Syracuse region and no. 1 in Madison County.
The Nelson Town Board is moving forward with its work on the town’s 2015 finances, and last week adopted the tentative budget and approved a local law to override the state tax levy cap. The tentative budget is only the first stage in the budgeting process, so the current working numbers and potential tax rate for 2015 have not been released to the public.
The Manlius town board is continuing its work on choosing its municipal trash and brush collecting contractors for next year, after having a lengthy discussion about the public contract bidding process at its Oct. 8 meeting. The town received four bidders each for both trash and brush pickup contracts, but board members felt they needed more time to sift through the details of the submitted bids and decided to hold off on a vote until their Oct. 22 meeting.
The Cazenovia Town Board last week adopted the 2015 preliminary town budget, which proposes a $3 million total budget with $1.5 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.
For the first time in about six months, the Cazenovia Village Board of Trustees monthly meeting had no controversial topics on the agenda, no public hearings and no crowds of concerned spectators filling the board meeting room. Instead, the board discussed much simpler local issues such as an update on the progress of the Creekside Planned Development District, water line extension requests, approving an inter-municipal agreement with the town over proposed fire department training, resident concerns about a poor street paving job and a resignation from the village zoning board of appeals.
With the onset of fall, the town of Cazenovia has begun wrapping up its Cazenovia Lake restoration/weed control efforts for the year and started preparing for 2015.
Cazenovia Village Police officers made a string of narcotics-related arrests last week, that included not just violations for marijuana, but possession of brown heroin and crack cocaine with intent to sell.
The criminal investigation into the bomb threat that caused the evacuation of five Cazenovia College residence halls three weeks ago has stalled and, unless a new lead emerges, the case will soon be closed without an arrest.
For 15 years, residents of Jamesville — sponsored by the Jamesville Positive Action Committee (JamPac) and the Jamesville Chamber of Commerce — have conducted volunteer street trash cleanups throughout the hamlet every October; this year, that passion and energy to keep the community clean will extend to the entire town of DeWitt as the DeWitt Advisory Conservation Commission holds its first annual October cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 18.
The week before Halloween, the Cazenovia Preservation Foundation will make Cazenovia's history come alive for three nights when it offers the unique experience to visit eight graves and meet and hear the stories of local ghosts, during its first-ever “Walk Among the Spirits” event.
The town of Cazenovia recently was awarded $9,700 by the state agriculture department under a new program designed to help municipalities amend local regulations that affect agricultural land and farm operations. The grant will assist Cazenovia as it works to revise various sections of its zoning law to align recommendations made in the Town of Cazenovia Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan.
Owera Vineyards is back before the town planning board seeking to build a new 6,300 square-foot “Promotion and Marketing Facility” to replace its three-season events tent for special winery functions. If approved, the new building would be larger and more functional than the current events tent — and would be built using state-of-the-art soundproofing materials in order to eliminate the noise issues and complaints the winery has been fighting against for more than a year.
Fifteen 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.
Manlius Town Supervisor Ed Theobald submitted the town’s 2014-15 tentative budget to the town clerk last week, offering his thanks to all department heads and to the town manager for their hard work during two months of budget meetings.
Cazenovia police officers are investigating an attempted burglary and room break-in that occurred at The Lincklaen House on Sept. 22.
Chiefs of the Jamesville Fire Department Monday night honored Jamesville residents Ari Tzetzis, 11, and Leif Rosenholm, 13, for the boys’ actions in saving the life of a teenager who had a seizure and fell into a pool three weeks ago.
The Ledyard Avenue neighborhood opposition and anger against the village’s recently passed Western Gateway rezoning law is about to turn into a lawsuit against the village of Cazenovia. At least two Ledyard Avenue residents this week received letters from local attorney Barry Schreibman stating that he was about to initiate legal proceedings against the village to overturn the Western Gateway law and warning them against seeking to apply for any special permits under the new law to undertake any site work as allowed by the law because such permits would be overturned if his clients’ litigation was successful.
Richard Hubbard, owner of The Brewster Inn restaurant and inn, has decided not to expand his business by purchasing two neighboring houses on Ledyard Avenue. The decision was based on the expiration of the existing purchase agreement and a failure to reach agreement on a new contract — but was also heavily influenced by the potential threat of litigation from other neighborhood residents.
The 2014-15 school year started two weeks ago not only with great excitement and enthusiasm from students and parents, but also with new initiatives and equipment in all three school buildings within the Cazenovia Central School District, the building principals told the board of education at its Sept. 15 meeting.
Special election referendum receives nearly 1,500 votes
In what was described as a “huge turnout” by one poll worker, voters in the town of DeWitt voted two-to-one to keep their town clerk someone who is elected by residents and not appointed by the town board. On a vote of 953 to 530, voters voiced their belief that the town clerk should remain a political position, and thereby set the stage for an election this November – an election for which both Democrats and Republicans already have chosen their intended nominees.
Members of the Cazenovia Tree Commission, assisted by local volunteers and certified arborists, planted five new trees on the Green on Emory Avenue this past weekend as part of the commission’s ongoing efforts to maintain and improve the scenic beauty, health and environment of Cazenovia.
Culprit will face felony charges for making a terrorist threat
Cazenovia police believe they are close to an arrest in the case of the Cazenovia College bomb threat that occurred late Tuesday night, Sept. 16, and the culprit, when caught, will face felony charges for making a terrorist threat and could face time in state prison.
The latest illness making its way across the country and through the halls of school buildings has arrived in Cazenovia – and a lot of elementary and middle school students have been staying home sick as a result. “We have had a high absenteeism. Our nurses have seen a higher absenteeism than normal,” said Superintendent Matt Reilly. “The symptoms being reported have been consistent with those of the Enterovirus D68."
Five Cazenovia College residence halls were evacuated and searched for more than 90 minutes late Tuesday night in response to a bomb threat against the college.
More than 300 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 Willow Bank Yacht Club.
Changes made to hours and decibel levels of ‘reasonable’ noise
In its ongoing efforts to craft a town noise ordinance, the Cazenovia Town Board on Sept. 8 closed the public hearing on the proposed law, reintroduced a revised and amended version of the law and scheduled a new public hearing for Oct. 6 to continue public comments.
Manlius town board and zoning board members discuss disagreement with village over lead agency status for proposed new fire station
Town of Manlius government leaders said last week the village of Manlius is squeezing them out of the planning process for the proposed new fire station at the corner of Enders Road and Route 92, even though the site of the new station is entirely outside the village.
Absentee ballots not allowed, bipartisan group will count votes and third-party will certify results
Responding to concerns and accusations about a fair process — or lack thereof — for the Sept. 22 special election for the town clerk position referendum, the DeWitt Town Board last week outlined how and by whom the election will be monitored and the votes counted and certified, and also addressed accusations that referendum information had been suppressed by the interim town clerk.
Grand opening event set for this Saturday
This Saturday, Cazenovia’s first farm brewery and tasting room will open to the public for tastings and tours. Henneberg Brewing Co., owned by John and Maria Henneberg and located on their 97-acre farm in New Woodstock, received its final site plan approval last week from the Cazenovia Town Planning Board after more than one year of work.
Post office short-term parking also changed from 10 to 15 minutes
In its continuing effort to better utilize the 22 Lincklaen St. parking lot and improve village parking, the village board last week unanimously agreed to create 20 overnight permit parking spaces in the historic business district as well as to increase the time limit for the short-term post office parking spaces.
After four months of contentious public hearings and debates amid rooms full of spectators, the conclusion was almost anticlimactic. Only a handful of people attended a special hearing Wednesday night at which the village board unanimously approved the proposed “Western Gateway” rezoning law. The result is that while authorized zoning on Ledyard Avenue is for single-family homes only, special use permits may now be issued by the planning board for certain low-impact non-residential uses.
Empire Brewing Co. farmstead brewery in Cazenovia also receives funding
When Side Hill first opened its doors in the plaza behind Sno Top last July, there were three employees and a lot of meat — and that was about it. But over the last year, it has expanded to include almost a dozen employees and numerous varieties of meats, vegetables and prepared foods. And now, thanks to a nearly $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the co-op can expand even more.
A new 24-hour fitness center is coming to the town of Cazenovia in the near future, to be located at 2652 Route 20 East, in the former dental office of Dr. Peter Fauth. Lorren Hotaling, of Greene, N.Y., owner of multiple fitness centers around New York state, on Aug. 25 received the approval of the town zoning board of appeals for a special use permit to create the new facility.
Manlius town board eliminates opt out option of trash and brush pickup policy, makes surcharge mandatory
The Manlius Town Board last week approved a town-wide resolution to eliminate the opportunity for residents to opt out of trash and brush pickup in the two town trash and brush districts. The new policy will take effect Jan. 1, 2015. The intent of the resolution is to save the town money and make trash and brush pickup and payment more fair, although at least one board member offered concerns over the removal of residents’ freedom to choose who their trash and brush haulers will be.
Suspect fled the scene then called 911
Stephen Schumejda, 31, the man state police arrested Monday for allegedly murdering Amy Bradstreet, 44, the mother of his two children, at their East Lake Road residence in Cazenovia, was arraigned in Cazenovia Town Court Monday evening and is currently being held in Madison County Jail on no bail. After the Monday morning incident, Schumejda fled the scene with his two children then called 911.
New York State Police officers have announced the "domestic incident" on East Lake Road that has kept the road closed off all day was a homicide, and they have arrested 31-year-old Stephen Schumejda for the crime.
This year, the Cazenovia Area Community Development Association (CACDA) annual fundraiser will celebrate the third year of the Cazenovia Art Trail. The Art Trail opens Saturday, Oct. 4, and on Friday evening, Oct. 3, CACDA will present a gala opening reception for the Art Trail: “Eat. Drink. Art.”
The Cazenovia board of education last week unanimously approved a revision to the district’s athletic Selection Classification policy in an effort to make the policy clearer and better understood by students, parents and coaches. The revision, which kept the policy intact but clarified its administration, was the result of six months of discussions and the work of a special committee comprised of representatives of the various stakeholder groups on the issue.
ZBA also rules winery event tent is not a building and therefore cannot run events past approved hours
Owera Vineyards’ three-season event tent is not an indoor building, as the winery owners claim, but an outdoor facility; and all events held at the winery — whether in the tent or not — must abide by the prescribed hours of operation as approved by the town planning board in 2012, hours which are enforceable by the town. This was the decision of the Town Zoning Board of Appeals, issued Monday, Aug. 25, at the ZBA’s regular monthly meeting, in response to an appeal by Owera seeking to overturn a town zoning enforcement officer determination concerning allowable facility events.
Outdoor classroom is fruition of three-year community-supported project
After more than three years of work and vast amounts of community support, Cazenovia Children’s House last week officially unveiled its new Windy Willow Playscape — an outdoor play and learning area designed to incorporate academic curriculum and physical and social development for preschool and elementary school age children. Nearly 100 people — school students, parents, supporters, contributors, teachers, administrators and board members — came out Aug. 20 on a rainy evening to go on tours, play on the playscape and enjoy a dinner picnic.
Cazenovia village residents may have noticed there was a celebration of sorts going on last Friday at Cazenovia College, with blue and yellow balloons all over campus, music playing, Zac the Wildcat mascot walking around, students in neon yellow shirts everywhere and carloads of freshmen (and their parents) arriving and unloading furniture and boxes of dorm-room decorations. The smiles, hugs and little bit of nervousness visible on the college quad were all evidence that the college’s newest student — the class of 2018 — were moving in for the start of the new school year.
Side Hill Farmers, Kriemhild Dairy Farms also receive funding
Empire Brewing Co.’s farmstead brewery in Cazenovia — slated to open in spring 2015 — last week received a federal boost to its ongoing creation with the award of a $200,000 USDA rural development program grant. The money will be used toward the brewing, marketing and bottling of the company’s new line of craft beer containing ingredients from its Cazenovia farm.
Route 20 hotel, Owera Vineyards and Route 20 agri-tourism business all make the cut
The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council last Friday recommended three dozen business projects as top priority for $26.6 million in state funding as a way to bolster the region’s economic growth — and three of those projects, worth nearly $1.5 million, are either in or have direct ties to Cazenovia. There are also two major projects just down the road from Cazenovia in Hamilton.
The Nelson Town Board last week discussed how to improve the quality of its planning board and zoning board of appeals alternates by ensuring that candidates for the positions understand the requirements, education and dedication necessary to do the job.
Average math scores increase while ELA scores decrease for students in grades 3 through 8
The state education department Thursday released the results of the 2014 English Language Arts and math test scores for students in grades 3 to 8, and Cazenovia Central School District remained a high achieving district, scoring more than 20 percentage points above the state average in both subjects. While Cazenovia’s continued high scores is good news for the district, the results were a mixed bag, with math scores having improved by more than 7 percent, but ELA scores declined by nearly 5 percent.
Board approves new law on permitted uses in New Woodstock hamlet
In a relatively quiet, quick and straightforward meeting last week, the Cazenovia Town Board held four public hearings, scheduled four more and attended to other basic business. The board continued for the third time each public hearings on the proposed noise ordinance and special events permit laws that have been under consideration since May. The proposed laws would prevent and control excessive noise and establish procedures and requirements to hold special events throughout the town.
“You are our heroes,” man says in thank you note
An 8-year-old New Woodstock boy and his 11-year-old cousin on vacation at DeRuyter Lake acted quickly and decisively last week when they rescued a middle-aged man who fell out of his boat about 100 yards from shore and was wearing an unsecured life vest.
Village board may vote on law at Sept. 2 meeting
Three months, five public hearings and vast amounts of public comment after the introduction of the proposed Western Gateway zoning district law, village officials have posted online the fifth and final version of the proposed legislation. The village board intends to continue receiving public input on the proposal until its next regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at which time it will officially close the public hearing and could possibly vote on the law.
Owera wins three medals at state fair, Wine Spectator magazine recognizes local restaurants
Wine producers and wine purveyors in Cazenovia have a history of receiving recognition and awards for their high quality products — and the trend shows no signs of stopping. In recent weeks, Cazenovia’s only winery received three medals at the 2014 New York State Fair and two village restaurants were recognized by Wine Spectator magazine for the quality of their wine lists.
Fourth revision of proposed law unveiled, discussed at latest public hearing
The residents of Ledyard Avenue have consulted a local zoning attorney to help them fight the village’s proposed law to create a new Western Gateway zoning district on their street; and that attorney told the village board last week that the Western Gateway proposal is nothing more than “spot zoning” that benefits a few to the detriment of the village and, if the law is passed, it will be “vulnerable” to a legal challenge.