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Jason Emerson

Stories by Jason

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Owera Vineyards wins silver medals at national wine competition

With the Winter Olympics now underway in Russia, it is a time for medal counting — and Cazenovia’s own Owera Vineyards, the first and only winery in Madison County, now boasts 12 medals (and 25 total awards) for its wines, two of which were recently received at the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

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Chenango Street neighbors express support yet concern over possible Circa relocation

The half-dozen or so neighbors of Eric Burrell’s building at 4 Chenango St. — and an attorney that was representing one of them — all agreed that the know and like Burrell, Alicyn Hart and Hart’s local restaurant Circa. And yet they all still have serious concerns about the possibility of Burrell expanding his Chenango Street building to house Circa’s new location.

Village Edge South zoning regulations and design guidelines approved

After nearly two years of work, proposed changes to the village zoning regulations and the establishment of design guidelines governing future development in the Village Edge South area have been unanimously approved into local law by the village board of trustees. The result is that the 84-acre area off Route 20 currently for sale will be developed in a mixed-use capacity for business and residential, all in a manner consistent with the style and feel of the village yet flexible enough to allow developers to build as they principally envision.

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Winterfest talent show inspires with local talent

The 2014 Cazenovia Winterfest Talent Show impressed and inspired a sold-out crowd at the Cazenovia High School auditorium last Friday, Feb. 7, as 26 acts featuring students from grades five through 12 showcased their talents in singing, dancing, musical ability, songwriting and poetry.

Cazenovia High School Mock Trial Team ready for new season

This year’s Cazenovia High School’s Mock Trial Team is already gearing up for what should prove to be a challenging season of competition. High School Mock Trial is a program sponsored by the New York State Bar Association every year. Students from schools across the state compete starting in February, with the finalists traveling to Albany in May to try their cases before an actual judge of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division. The Cazenovia team will be competing against approximately 14 other schools from the general area this year.

Village raises minimum income levels for senior tax exemption

Senior citizens who live in the village of Cazenovia with an annual income of less than $32,000 can now receive up to a 50 percent reduction in their real estate taxes thanks to a new local law approved by the village board last week.

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Cazenovia Library Museum adds new item to Egypt collection

Canopic jar now resides in Hen’s mummy case

A new item has been added to the Cazenovia Public Library Museum’s Egypt Gallery collection, that, along with a mummified falcon acquired five years ago, adds to the museum’s interpretation of funerary rites of ancient Egypt. The completely intact alabaster canopic jar — once used to hold mummified internal organs — now sits inside the museum’s mummy case, overlooking Hen, a 2,000-year-old mummy, and directly opposite the mummified falcon representing Horus, the god of the sun, war and protection.

School board pressed to add third girls’ softball team

Refusal could mean 10 to 12 player cuts this year, supporters say

The Cazenovia Board of Education meeting room overflowed with students, parents, coaches and other supporters of the district’s girls’ softball program last Monday, Jan. 27, all of them there to lobby the school board to create a second modified team to accommodate the large influx of new seventh grade players moving up this year. Without the addition of a second modified team, supporters claim, the program will have to cut about a dozen players this year.

BOE may change or eliminate ‘selection classification’ in Cazenovia athletics

The Cazenovia school board had a lengthy and at times heated discussion with district Athletic Director Michael Byrnes last week about the district’s current policy on when exceptional young athletes can be moved up to a higher team level —called “selection classification” — and whether or not the district should revise or even eliminate the program.

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Carpenter’s Pond, Willow Patch to see improvements this year from CPF grant funding

The Cazenovia Preservation Foundation will put nearly $60,000 worth of improvement work into Carpenter’s Pond and the Willow Patch this year, thanks to grant funding it recently received from the Central New York Community Foundation.

New Cazenovia library digital database offers 200-year local newspaper archive

Local historians, history enthusiasts and genealogists now have a new tool at their disposal to track down people and events that occurred in the Cazenovia area dating back nearly 200 years — and it can be used in their own home or on a mobile device. The Cazenovia Public Library has recently gone live with its new digital newspaper database that allows users to read and search in nine different Cazenovia and Madison County newspapers for the years 1800 through 1989.

School board narrows superintendent field to six candidates

During a special executive session last Tuesday, Jan. 21, the Cazenovia Board of Education winnowed its list of candidates for the superintendent of schools position from 18 to six individuals, and this week planned to interview those six candidates to ultimately choose the final three.

Open Door Baptist Church ‘Sportsmen’s Banquet’ will be as good as always

Former ‘Wild Game Dinner’ will change menu but nothing else, pastor says

This Saturday, Feb. 1, the Open Door Baptist Church in New Woodstock will hold its 29th annual dinner and presentations for local outdoor enthusiasts. The event, which typically draws about 300 people, will be the same as it has every year with the exception of dinner: the previous homemade dishes made from wild game brought by attendees will not be allowed, and instead a pulled park barbecue will be served.

State comptroller: Cazenovia school district ‘susceptible’ to financial stress

Continuing lack of state aid, other facts, means district could run out of money in near future

After losing $5 million in state aid during the past five years and using reserve funds to fill the gap — and with aid this year currently anticipated to be a mere $60,000 above last year — the Cazenovia Central School District was recently declared a district “susceptible to fiscal stress,” in the latest Fiscal Stress Monitoring System report released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. In layman’s terms, this means the district is in danger of running out of money in the near future, said District Superintendent Bob Dubik.

Village board endorses fire department service awards program

Will go to public referendum vote in June

The Cazenovia Village Board of Trustees has unanimously endorsed a proposal to create a retirement benefits program for the members of the Cazenovia Volunteer Fire Department. The program will not be instituted, however, until it is approved by village residents in a public referendum vote, which will occur during the regularly scheduled village election in June.

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Nearly 900 runners take to the village streets for 10th annual Chilly Chili

Dave’s Diner, The Foggy Goggle awarded for best chili

It was sunny but slightly windy and a bitterly cold 12 degrees on Sunday, Jan. 26, when 845 runners took to the snowy Cazenovia village streets for the annual Chilly Chili 5K Run/Walk. People running as individuals, with friends, with family and with running teams came from across five states to participate in the annual race, which is followed by a chili cook-off contest.

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Cazenovia in the running to be named the ‘Coolest small town in America’

Daily voting to determine Budget Travel website contest ends Feb. 25

In a field of nearly 500 nominations and thousands of votes from across the U.S., Cazenovia recently was named one of only 15 finalists in the Budget Travel 2014 Coolest Small Towns in America contest. Cazenovia is not only the only town in New York state to make it as a finalist, it is also the only town in all of New England with the next closest finalist in Maryland.

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Cazenovia College Center for Equine Business Development approved for state grant

Cazenovia College is hoping this year to make multi-million-dollar capital improvements to its Center for Equine Business Development — and recently received assistance of up to $500,000 from the New York State Regional Economic Development Council.

Town board makes annual appointments for 2014

Creates Gothic Cottage Advisory Committee, begins process for potential lake chemical treatment

The Cazenovia Town Board — all members dressed in business casual attire in accordance with the new dress code — last week made its organizational appointments for the coming year and took action on a number of town issues, including the creation of a Gothic Cottage Advisory Committee.

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Greyrock Farm CSA begins fourth growing season, opens CSA enrollment

On any given day during the planting season, a person driving down East Lake Road in Cazenovia may see Matt Volz, or his partner Gillian Goldberg, out in the fields driving a horse-drawn plow. Occasionally, Volz, dressed for the weather and dirty from work, may be standing on the stopped plow, while the horses patiently wait, as he talks or texts on his iPhone. This juxtaposition of tradition and technology, of old and new, is the essence of Greyrock Farm’s Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) program: a year-round offering to members of not just seasonal vegetables, but also grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured pork and chicken — all of which are raised, slaughtered and processed on-site — as well as eggs from pastured laying hens and raw milk.

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Nelson moves to create municipal ambulance service

The Nelson Town Board last week unanimously approved the creation of a new municipal ambulance service in the town of Nelson in order for the municipality to be allowed to contract with the Georgetown Ambulance Service to provide emergency medical coverage of the southern portion of the town.

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Driscoll appointed to vacant town board seat

Has experience in village and town government positions

A local businessman with long experience in community volunteerism and political service was appointed last week as the newest member of the Cazenovia Town Board. Thomas M. Driscoll, 60, of Old Farms Lane, was unanimously approved by the town board at its Jan. 13 meeting to fill the seat made vacant by Bill Zupan after he resigned to assume his new position as town supervisor.

Cazenovia man faces more charges for 2013 Fenner burglaries

A Cazenovia man who was arrested in October for allegedly burglarizing homes in the town of Fenner was arrested again this month and given additional charges for the crimes.

School board expects to hire new superintendent by mid-February

The Cazenovia Central School District Board of Education is moving into the final stages of its search for a new district superintendent, and expects to offer the position to the best candidate on Feb. 18.

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Fenner town board changes monthly meeting schedule

During its first regular meeting of 2014, the Fenner Town Board convened with a new supervisor, one new town board member, one vacant board seat and a slew of reorganizational appointments and decisions, which included the moving of the monthly town board meetings to a different day of the week.

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Circa looks to move location to 4 Chenango Street

A local restaurant owner and local building owner last week pitched their proposal to the village board to build either an addition onto or a freestanding structure next to the current building at 4 Chenango St. for the purpose of moving the Cazenovia restaurant Circa to the new location. The move would allow Circa owner Alicyn Hart to provide her customers with a bigger restaurant space, outdoor seating with a river view and more parking

School district $7 million capital project approved by voters

Cazenovia school district residents voted last week to approve a public referendum that allows the district to move forward with its proposed $7.4 million capital improvements project.

Owera Vineyards withdraws events building application from planning board

Owera Vineyards has given up, for now, on its proposal to build a state-of-the-art, sound-proofed building in which to hold events on its East Lake Road property. Last Friday, Jan. 10, it withdrew its application for site plan review of the building from the Cazenovia Town Planning Board, Cazenovia Town Attorney John Langey said during the town board’s Jan. 13 meeting.

Eurasian watermilfoil levels up in Cazenovia Lake for 2013, rake toss results show

The results of the 2013 Cazenovia Lake aquatic plant survey show that the invasive species Eurasian watermilfoil more than doubled in the number of locations where it was found from 2012 to 2013, and one-third of all the milfoil in the lake were medium to dense in abundance.

Police have graffiti incident lead, seek public assistance

Cazenovia police investigators now know the 30-minute window during which the multiple graffiti incidents occurred in the Wall Street alley in early December, and are asking anyone who may have seen or heard anything during that time to come forward.

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Owera Vineyards attorney, owner deny knowledge of multiple operational violations

State Liquor Authority chair questions both on accuracy of statements

Owera Vineyards owner Nancy Muserlian and her attorney John P. Sidd, of the Syracuse law firm Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece, appeared before the New York State Liquor Authority last week seeking reconsideration of the authority’s previous denial of a liquor license to the winery. During the Jan. 3 hearing in New York City, there was extended questioning by SLA Chair Dennis Rosen to Muserlian and Sidd about violations issued by local municipalities against Owera’s operating practices — violations Muserlian and Sidd said they knew nothing about.

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State Liquor Authority denies Owera liquor and catering licenses for second time

Owner Nancy Muserlian tells commissioners the winery will undergo ‘major changes;’ hopes brides will cancel upcoming weddings

For the second time in just over four weeks, the New York State Liquor Authority has denied an application by Owera Vineyards for both its own liquor license and its ability to use third-party catering permits to provide food and alcohol at winery events. Like the authority’s first denial on Dec. 2, its commissioners specifically cited the numerous neighbor complaints and alleged deteriorating quality of life issues in the neighborhood as the reason for their denial; unlike the December decision, the authority’s Jan. 3 meeting was attended and addressed by Owera owner Nancy Muserlian and her attorney, as well as two of the winery’s East Lake Road neighbors.

Village Edge South project moving forward

Public hearing and special meeting of village board coming in January

The Economic Health and Heritage Committee has completed its draft design guidelines for the Village Edge South zone development, and intends to have a draft zoning amendment completed and ready for public presentation by early January.

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New town officials sworn-in to office

Vacant town board seat to be filled by appointment on Jan. 13.

Three town officials were officially sworn-in to office on Thursday, Jan. 2, including the new town supervisor and the new town clerk.

Bar fighting newlyweds get community service, must write letter of apology to police

The Cazenovia newlyweds who made headlines last September after they got into a bar fight and were arrested on their wedding night have been given 50 hours of community service and ordered to write a letter of apology to the Cazenovia Police Department as a consequence of their previous behavior.

Cazenovia College returns to village planning board for latest fence request

Application ruled incomplete, asked to revise for January

Cazenovia College appeared before the village planning board last week to seek site plan approval once again for its proposed 1,420 linear feet fence spanning the edges of the Schneeweiss Athletic Complex. The appearance comes after months of legal wrangling between the college and the town over the fence, and is the result of a state supreme court judge’s decision that the college must go through a full site plan approval process. The application already hit a small bump, however, when the planning board determined during its Dec. 9 meeting that the college’s application was incomplete, and asked them to resubmit a full application in January.

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Town planning board delays Owera decision due to neighbors’ ZBA appeal

So much new information has surfaced in the past two weeks, and so many new developments occurred, that the Cazenovia Town Planning Board voted unanimously Thursday, Dec. 19, to continue its public hearing on Owera Vineyards’ site plan review for the proposed new events building and probably hold off on any sort of vote on the proposal until February. The board’s decision came after nearly two hours of neighbor comments at a Dec. 19 special hearing during which it was revealed that Town Codes Enforcement Officer Roger Cook had issued a positive opinion on Owera’s adherence to town zoning laws and state Department of Agriculture and Markets rules, that Owera’s East Lake Road neighbors had appealed Cook’s determination to the town’s zoning board of appeals and that the neighbors had hired an attorney to represent their interests.

Exercise stalker free on bond, scheduled to return to court in March

Alleged Cazenovia ‘exercise stalker’ Daryl T. Anthony will be home for Christmas. He is out of the Madison County Jail on bail and scheduled to return to Cazenovia Town Court on March 5. His case, in fact, was almost settled during his court appearance on Dec. 18, when the district attorney’s office offered Anthony a plea deal of 60 days in jail and three year’s probation, which would cover not only the one charge against him but any similar charges in the case in which he allegedly stalked 10 women in the town of Cazenovia. This deal was offered even though Anthony’s court-ordered mental competency exam had not taken place and was not scheduled to occur until mid-January.

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Nelson town board wishes farewell to Dean Coe

Councilor retires after 40 years of town service

Nelson Town Board member Dean Coe has served his town for the past 40 years — and at the board’s Dec. 12 meeting, Coe’s last before his retirement, the board, past town supervisors, and Coe’s family and friends, all showed up to wish him a fond farewell.

Fenner looking to make town signs more welcoming

Carey, Stoker say goodbye after decades of public service

Instead of informing people entering the town of Fenner that “town zoning laws are now in force,” Supervisor Russ Carey would like the town to erect new signs that are more welcoming to visitors. As such, at the board’s Dec. 11 regular meeting Carey has asked both the Fenner Town Board and the public to consider and submit suggestions for the possible look and wording of the new signs.

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Mather honored by town board in last meeting before retirement

Dec. 20 designated as “Linda Mather Day”

This Friday, Dec. 20, has been designated by the Cazenovia Town Board as “Linda Mather Day” in honor of longtime Town Clerk Linda Mather, who retires at the end of this year. The announcement, along with a full proclamation in Mather’s honor, was made at the town board’s Dec. 9 regular monthly meeting, which was Mather’s last before her retirement.

Academic Decathlon team find advisors, continue fundraising

After months of seeking, soliciting and waiting for at least one high school teacher to step forward and volunteer, the Cazenovia High School Academic Decathlon team now has two new advisors to help them through the 2013-14 competition year. With new advisors and a continued determination to return once again to the national competition — occurring in Hawaii this year — the team also has continued fundraising and seeking private sponsors to help pay the nearly $20,000 necessary to pay for the trip should they make it to the finals.

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‘Hilltop’ in Caz to become state and federal historic site

“Hilltop,” the Dorothy Riester house and art studio in the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia, soon will be added to both the State and National Registers of Historic Places, according to an announcement from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. It was one of 33 properties the New York State Board for Historic Preservation last week recommended for inclusion to the two historic registers — and the only park in Madison County.

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Cazenovia ‘exercise stalker’ arrested, arraigned in village court

Judge orders mental competency exam before next court appearance

The man police suspect to be the Cazenovia “exercise stalker” has been arrested, arraigned and is currently in Madison County Jail. Daryl T. Anthony, 45, of Oneida, was taken into custody by Madison County Sheriff’s Office investigators on Tuesday, Dec. 10, and charged with one count of criminal nuisance in the second degree, a class B misdemeanor. Anthony was arraigned in Cazenovia Village Court before Acting Justice Patrick J. O’Sullivan and ordered held in lieu of $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond bail.

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Nine graffiti incidents occur in village over Dec. 6 weekend

After one arrest and months of no visible graffiti activity in the village of Cazenovia, someone spray-painted nine new graffiti pieces in the village during the Dec. 6 weekend: three large new pieces in the “Wall Street” alley between Kinney Drugs and Café Latte Da, two on the Lindenfeld Law Firm office at 11 Lincklaen St., one on the side of the U.S. Post Office on Lincklaen Street, one on a U.S. Postal Service mail truck, one on the window of the old gas station next to the defunct Napa building on Albany Street and one on the stop sign at the corner of Center and Albany Streets.

Public hearing on proposed firefighter service award program scheduled for January

The Cazenovia Village Board of Trustees is moving toward holding a public referendum early next year in order to create a service award program for village firefighters which will, it is hoped, improve the fire department’s ability to recruit and retain new volunteers. While the program would be fully funded by the village — and village taxpayers — its cost of tens of thousands of dollars per year would be far less than the millions of dollars per year needed to fund a department staffed completely by professional firefighters, which could be necessitated by a lack of volunteers.

Planning board requests review of Owera Vineyards’ adherence to town zoning laws

The Cazenovia Town Planning Board has requested an official, written opinion from the town codes enforcement officer on whether Owera Vineyards is violating town zoning laws by holding so many events at its East Lake Road location. The action was taken after — and apparently in response to — public comments from the winery’s neighbors at the board’s Dec. 5 meeting charging that Owera was operating its numerous events in violation of town zoning laws and the planning board therefore should not approve the winery’s proposed events building. The CEO’s report is due before Dec. 19, the day on which the board will hold a special meeting to continue its site plan review process of Owera’s building request.

Owera denied liquor permit by State Liquor Authority

Owera Vineyards will not be approved for the liquor license it wants, nor will it be given any more caterer’s permits for next year’s wedding events it plans to hold unless and until the numerous complaints and concerns of the winery’s neighbors over loud music and deteriorating quality of life are addressed and solved. This was the decision of the New York State Liquor Authority last week when it considered Owera’s liquor license application.

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Wheeler offers new book on the experiences of African American officers in the Marine Corps

Most people in Cazenovia know Kurt Wheeler as the mayor, as a high school teacher, as head of Project Café and as a U.S. Marine Corps colonel. What people may not know is that Wheeler is also a writer, editor and historian and his second book, “Pathbreakers: U.S. Marine African American Officers in the Their Own Words,” was published earlier this year by the U.S. Marine Corps History Division.

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Empire Brewing Company offers Dickens Christmas Ale for second year

Seasonal beer offered exclusively at Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles – Cazenovia-exclusive beer coming next year

Empire Brewing Company’s holiday seasonal beer, Dickens Christmas Ale, made exclusively to be sold in Skaneateles during its “Dickens Christmas” celebrations, was so popular in its inaugural year in 2012 that Empire is offering it again this year — and the beer-maker is already planning to create a Cazenovia-exclusive holiday beer in 2014 once the new Farmstead Brewery is built on Rippleton Road.

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