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Jason Emerson

Stories by Jason

Lions Club honors 2013-14 students of the month

The Cazenovia Lions Club last week honored its 10 students of the month for the 2013-14 school year at its 12th annual end of the year dinner at Cazenovia College, which featured a presentation by world-renowned musician Samite Mulondo, founder of Musicians for World Harmony.

Google Virtual Area Guide of Cazenovia now live online

People across the United States — and even the world — who may be curious about Cazenovia and wonder what the community looks like now can walk the streets in a virtual tour through the Google Sidewalk View / Virtual Area Guide of Cazenovia.

Approved: Residents pass public referendum on fire department retirement benefits

Two trustees, village justice also win reelection

Starting in 2015, members of the Cazenovia Volunteer Fire Department will begin accruing retirement benefits, sponsored by the village, in the amount of $700 per firefighter for each year of service completed. This proposed Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) was overwhelmingly passed as a public referendum by a vote of 108 to 14approved by village voters during the June 17 village election. Also victorious on June 17, Trustees David Porter and Jim Joseph and Village Justice Timothy Moore won reelection to their respective positions. All three ran unopposed.

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School board approves new director of special education, high school principal

With Cazenovia’s 2013-14 school year just days from ending, a new district director of special education and a new high school principal have been selected for the 2014-15 school year. Terry Ward and Eric Knuth were unanimously appointed by the Cazenovia Board of Education during its June 16 regular monthly meeting.

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Local World War II veteran recalls D-Day bombing runs

Seventy years after Allied forces created the largest armada ever assembled to accomplish the greatest seaborn invasion in history, 96-year-old Cazenovia veteran, Fred Taylor, can recall flying his B-17 bomber during the D-Day invasion of Normandy as if it were only yesterday. “There were so many planes in the air it looked like Broadway,” Taylor said. “We bombed ahead of the troops. We flew at 12,000 feet — low altitude for heavy bombers. We could see the men down there. The English Channel looked like Broadway and Times Square with all the ships and transports, loaded with an enormous number of men and supplies. We put ashore 400,000 men. The Germans didn’t stand a chance.”

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Magee honored for 50 years of service with Erieville Fire Department

The Nelson Town Board last week honored Erieville firefighter Bob Magee for his milestone of 50 years of service with the Erieville Fire Department, and presented him a plaque in commemoration of the achievement.

Town board hears earful on proposed noise ordinance and special events laws

One month after the Cazenovia Town Board officially proposed new town laws to prevent and control excessive noise and to establish procedures and requirements to hold special events, numerous town residents and business owners attended a public hearing to voice their concerns and criticisms of the potential actions.

Sour grapes: Owera Vineyards appeals codes officer decision denying scheduled event to zoning board

After a quiet spring, the controversy between Owera Vineyards and the town of Cazenovia over the winery’s allowed operating procedures has reared up again — this time in the form of an appeal to the town zoning board of appeals over a recent decision by the town codes enforcement officer denying Owera’s plans for a June 10 event. The winery is repeating its previous claim that its three-season events tent is an indoor, not an outdoor, structure as the town claims, and is offering a new argument that its hours of operation as approved under its original site plan approval are not enforceable by the town.

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New Canastota brewery mixes local ingredients with local history

Erie Canal Brewing Company is the only local brewery to use 100 percent Madison County ingredients

In the 19th century, hops were the staple crop of Central New York; and Madison County was actually known as the “Hops Capital of the United States.” Prohibition, plus a killer hops fungus, decimated the county’s agricultural pride — but in recent years beer-making has made a comeback in CNY in general, and in Madison County in particular. Under state law, for a brewery to be deemed made in New York 20 percent of the hops and 20 percent of all other ingredients must be grown or produced within the state. There is a new brewery in Canastota, however, that not only gets most of its ingredients from a farm in Chittenango, but is the only brewery around that boasts a beer made from ingredients 100 percent grown in Madison County — Erie Canal Brewing Company.

Village board begins work on possible Riverside Drive redevelopment plan

The village board last week took its first official step to attempt to redevelop — once again — the currently vacant municipal land on Riverside Drive behind the Cazenovia Public Library by tasking the village’s professional planner to create a development plan and detailed map of the area.

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Village election to be held June 17

Trustees, village justice and firefighter retirement program proposition on ballot

In less than one week, Cazenovia village residents will go to the polls to elect — or, more correctly, to reelect — two members of the village board of trustees and the village justice. Voters also will decide whether to accept or reject a ballot proposition that would allow the village to create a retirement benefit program for village volunteer firefighters. The only uncertain outcome on the ballot is the proposition, since the candidates for trustee and justice — all incumbents — all are running unopposed.

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Village board braced by extensive opposition to Ledyard Avenue ‘Western Gateway’ rezoning proposal

The mayor and village trustees received an earful of resident concern and opposition last week regarding a village proposal to rezone the Ledyard Avenue/Route 20 entrance corridor into the village — what the board is calling the “Western Gateway” — as a way to promote economic development as well as to maintain the appearance and historical integrity of the grand homes on the road. Calling it an ill-conceived and under-developed plan that could turn the spacious residential corridor into a village-soul-killing commercial strip, neighbors questioned numerous aspects of the proposed law, including the allowed commercial uses in the new zoning district, the availability and aesthetics of parking, the danger to the existing historic homes, the benefits and potential spot zoning for the owner of The Brewster Inn and even the way in which the village notified the neighbors of the proposed zone change.

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Demolished: Farnham Street house removed to create fire department parking lot

Village spends $42,000 for action deemed necessary for resident safety and community aesthetic

A property that has been deemed a significant eyesore and potential public health hazard was removed from the village of Cazenovia last week when the derelict house at 6 Farnham St. was demolished and a gravel parking lot for Cazenovia Fire Department members put in its place.

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Google Street View photographers capture Cazenovia in high resolution

Some people would say being named the second-coolest small town in America this year has helped put Cazenovia on the map — and now that map will show high-resolution street view images of Cazenovia’s main streets and some businesses. This is because a Google Trusted Photographer team was in Cazenovia last week to photograph streets, sidewalks and storefronts for Google Maps’ “Street View” application — and the team will be back this week to photograph the insides of local businesses if owners request the job.

Cazenovia district may fail to meet state math test participation number requirement

High number of opt outs may cause district to submit ‘improvement plan’ to state education department

In 2013, 100 percent of Cazenovia students participated in the state-mandated English Language Arts and Math tests for grades 3 through 8. This year, many parents chose to “opt out” their children from the tests and, in Math at least, the lower participation may have caused Cazenovia to fail to meet the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress requirements, Superintendent Bob Dubik told the board of education last week.

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Let them eat bread

Rise bread makers a hit in Cazenovia

Jasmeen Barnes, owner of Rise bread makers, simply cannot keep her bread in stock at the weekly Cazenovia Farmers Market. There have been two markets so far this season, and the shelves of Rise bread were bare within an hour at both. “That’s a pretty cool feeling,” said Barnes — especially since her business idea sprouted last fall, recipes were perfected during the winter, her baking facility was only finalized a few weeks ago and the May 10 farmers market was her first commercial outing.

Second rape reported at Cazenovia College in nine days

Cazenovia village police are investigating the second alleged rape in nine days that reportedly occurred inside a dormitory at Cazenovia College this week.

Town board introduces noise ordinance, special events law

Proposed laws a product of 2013 controversy between Owera Vineyards and East Lake Road neighbors

After months of work, the Cazenovia Town Board last week proposed two new local laws designed to maintain the public health, safety and welfare in the municipality — one to prevent and control excessive noise and one to establish procedures and requirements to hold special events. The impetus to create the two proposed laws arose from the controversy between Owera Vineyards and its East Lake Road neighbors last summer due to the winery’s summer events — about which the neighbors complained of excessive amplified music, among other things, and Owera received violation citations from the town.

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In profile: Cazenovia Board of Education election candidates

The 2014 Cazenovia Board of Education election on Tuesday, May 20, will have three candidates vying for two seats on the board. Incumbents Leigh Baldwin and Jan Woodworth are both seeking reelection to second terms, while challenger Abby Hartwell is seeking a first term. The candidates gave personal and background information to the school district public information officer for use in the district’s “Blue and Gold” newsletter, and answered questions from the Cazenovia Republican concerning educational issues, priorities and philosophy.

Nelson residents concerned over town road conditions

The Nelson Town Board meeting last Thursday was almost a quick and simple affair with only basic town business and councilor reports being discussed — until it turned into a rather lengthy and at times heated discussion of the state of repair — or disrepair — of some of the town’s roads.

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Fireman of the Year: Caz VFD, CAVAC receive highest award for Charlie Thompson rescue

Last October, the Cazenovia Volunteer Fire Department and the Cazenovia Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps (CAVAC) responded to one of the most difficult calls they had ever faced — the rescue of 10-year-old community member Charlie Thompson after he fell down an 18-foot-deep well. The indefatigable efforts of members of both organizations that night seven months ago saved Charlie’s life. Last week, in recognition of their feat, the entire companies of both CVFD and CAVAC jointly received the highest honor bestowed by the Madison County Volunteer Firemen’s Association — the Fireman of the Year award.

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Zone change request for Chenango Street office building suspended

Burrell asks to wait and be included in larger Chittenango Creek corridor plan later this year

Eric Burrell, the owner of the office building at 4 Chenango St. which has been the center of attention for his request for a zone change in order to bring the restaurant Circa to his property, has suspended his zone change request in order to be a part of a larger village planning process later in the year, Burrell’s attorneys wrote in a letter to the mayor and the chair of the village planning board on Friday, May 9.

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Member of fraud ring arrested in Cazenovia

Morrisville College student believed to have ties to NYC-based bank fraud group

A 19-year-old Morrisville College student was sent to the Madison County Jail this week for his alleged part in stealing thousands of dollars from a local bank account using a stolen ATM card and multiple fraudulent checks. The investigation of a second local suspect, also believed by police to be a Morrisville College student, is ongoing, and the case is believed by police to be connected to a larger fraud enterprise that spans across the state with the ringleader believed to be based in New York City.

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Cazenovia Farmers Market to increase in vendor variety, quantity in 2014

This Saturday marks the start of the 2014 Cazenovia Farmers market season, and patrons will have a wider variety of artisans and farmers to choose from than in previous years — including a number of vendors new to the Cazenovia market.

Police investigating reported rape at Cazenovia College

A female student at Cazenovia College was allegedly raped last weekend in the college dorms by a male classmate. The reported incident is currently under investigation by Cazenovia Village Police and Cazenovia College Campus Safety/Security, said Cazenovia Police Chief Michael Hayes.

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No Chenango Street location for Circa

Burrell withdraws zone change request due to neighbor pressure

There will be no new Circa restaurant location at Eric Burrell’s building at 4 Chenango St. — and maybe not even an extension of his office space to grow his business if his neighbors have their way. Burrell has withdrawn his application to the village for a requested zone change for his office building in order to build an extension and house the popular local restaurant that needs a new location, it was announced at the May 5 meeting of the village board.

Town Board purchases weed harvester for lake, moves forward on chemical treatment plan

The Cazenovia Town Board continues moving forward with its plans to fight milfoil and other invasive species in Cazenovia Lake and recently authorized the purchase of a weed harvester and conveyor, revised the benthic mat rental program and scheduled special meetings to discuss chemical treatment of the lake with the weed killer Renovate.

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Local library operational funding proposition included in May 20 election

On Tuesday, May 20, Cazenovia Central School District residents will go to the polls to either approve or reject the district’s proposed $26.5 million budget, as well as to select two of the three candidates running for seats on the school board. While these are the marquis items that will be on the ballot, there will also be included a lesser-known proposition – although not less important to many community members – that approves or rejects nearly $550,000 in operational funding for both the Cazenovia Public Library and the New Woodstock Free Library.

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New Chittenango Creek public access fishing site opens in Cazenovia

As part of its weeklong celebration of Earth Day, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced the opening a new public access fishing site along Chittenango Creek in the town of Cazenovia. State and local officials, as well as representatives of a local sportsman’s group, joined DEC Region 7 Director Ken Lynch Thursday morning, April 24, to officially open the site, which is located on Route 13 one mile south of the village.

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Beezie Madden finishes 7th at FEI World Cup Competition

Beezie Madden and Simon finished 7th at the 2014 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Monday, April 28, in Lyon, France.

School board approves 2014-15 budget, prepares for election

The Cazenovia Board of Education last week voted unanimously to adopt a $26,495,954 budget proposal for 2014-15 that increases spending 0.29 percent and carries a property tax increase of $168,237, or 1.01 percent.

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Investigation closed on bullets found in high school

The investigation into how, why and by whom two .22 caliber bullets were brought into Cazenovia High School on April 4 — prompting a three-hour lockdown and a general anxiety in students, parents and teachers that day — is closed, according to Cazenovia police and school district officials.

Review process for proposed Village Edge South hotel and conference center underway

Public hearing for subdivision request scheduled for May 12

A local businessman’s preliminary proposal to build an 80-bedroom hotel and conference center across from the Town and Country Plaza in the Village Edge South area on Route 20 has begun winding its way through the village planning process, and the first public hearing on the project — a subdivision request to carve out six acres of the VES area for the hotel — has been scheduled by the village planning board for 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 12.

Village, town sign boat launch, boat patrol inter-municipal agreements

Boat launch opens this weekend with new inspection policy

The public boat launch at Lakeside Park will open for the season on Saturday, April 26, and this year the village will institute a new inspection policy for boats entering and exiting Cazenovia Lake as a way to improve the fight against invasive species.

Cazenovia village, town agree to cohabitate courts in village municipal building

Residents who have been confused over when and where village and town courts convene — whether in the Gothic Cottage or the Village Municipal Building — have much less to remember now that the Cazenovia village and town boards have approved an inter-municipal agreement for the two courts to share one space. Under the agreement, both courts will now meet in the village courtroom, located in the village municipal building at 90 Albany St.

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Planning board approves Cazenovia College athletic field fence

After nearly two years of meetings, discussions, proposals, counter-proposals, disagreements and even litigation, the Cazenovia Village Planning Board last week approved the request of Cazenovia College to build a six-foot-high, 1,420-linear-foot perimeter fence around its Schneeweiss Athletic Complex in the heart of the village.

Former Cazenovia College student acquitted on rape charges

A former Cazenovia College student was acquitted of raping a female classmate in 2009 by a Madison County jury on April 10. Adrian Sutherland, now 25, of Brooklyn, was found not guilty of third-degree rape after a four-day jury trial, said Madison County Assistant District Attorney Robert Mascari, who prosecuted the case.

Fenner schedules 2014 Clean Up Days

The annual Fenner “Clean Up Days” have been scheduled for noon to 4 p.m. Friday, May 9, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 10, the town board announced at its April 10 regular monthly meeting. This year four dumpsters will be available at the Fenner Town Garage on Nelson Road.

Nelson establishes historic structures survey and registry

The Nelson Town Board last week approved a resolution to establish a historic resources survey and registry, the purpose of which is to not only help recognize and preserve historic properties, sites and areas in the town but will also allow designated properties to receive certain code exemptions during renovations and repairs.

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Oldest handmade quilt ever verified as made in Cazenovia donated to library

Sometime during the 1830s or 1840s, a Cazenovia teenager named Helen Sherman handmade a 10-foot-by-10-foot bed quilt using all-natural dyes for the coloring and embroidered the stitching on the back in patterns of heart-shaped flowers. The front pattern includes numerous star shapes called a “mariner’s compass” in a “log cabin” pattern in what would have been an incredibly difficult and demanding pattern, taking months if not years to make. Two weeks ago, that quilt — the oldest ever recorded and verified as being made in Cazenovia — returned home as a donation to the library by the descendants of the original quilter.

County, municipal leaders see new state ‘tax freeze’ for municipalities as political ploy

The New York State Legislature finalized its annual budget recently, and local municipalities are not happy with a new “tax freeze” incentive included by the governor and retained by the legislature. Elected leaders of all four municipalities in the Cazenovia Republican coverage area — Cazenovia village and town, Nelson and Fenner — as well as the county board of supervisors, all declared the move to be election year political theater that does nothing to benefit citizens, demands municipalities to take actions most of them already do and would cost citizens more than they would purportedly save.

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Critz Farms, Owera Vineyards win medals at international wine competition

Two local craft beverage producers — and members of the Cazenovia Beverage Trail — recently brought back to Cazenovia multiple medals from the 14th Annual 2014 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. The Critz Farms Harvest Moon Cidery won silver medals for its Cherry Moon and Heritage Hops hard ciders, and a bronze medal for its Rippleton Original champagne-style hard cider; while Owera Vineyards won silver medals for its 2012 Frontenac Gris and its 2011 Cabernet Franc, and bronze medals for its 2012 Chardonnay and 2012 dry Reisling.

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Zimbabwean gospel singer brings music, joy to Cazenovia

On his first visit to the United States, in the midst of an East Coast tour, international gospel sensation and social activist Tembalami is spending some of his time in Cazenovia and performing three concerts in the village this week. Tembalami Tagwirei— who is typically known simply as “Tembalami” — is a gospel musician from Zimbabwe with a passion for inspiring, motivating and educating the current as well as the next generation.

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Village board gets Chenango Street zone change request update, schedules public hearing for May

The Cazenovia Village Board of Trustees has scheduled a public hearing for May 5 to discuss the requested zone change for Eric Burrell’s building at 4 Chenango St., which would, if approved, allow Alicyn Hart to move her restaurant Circa to that location. The hearing was scheduled last week after Burrell gave the board on update on his proposed building expansion project.

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Reduced state aid means increased budget cuts for Cazenovia school district

With the passage of the state budget last week and final state aid to school districts now known, the Cazenovia school district budget received $200,000 less in aid than it expected. This fact, combined with the limited revenues allowed to the district through local taxes due to the state tax levy cap mandate and the dwindling amount of district fund balance reserves available to plug budget gaps, means that the 2014-15 district budget will reduce district staff by 9.4 positions (full-time equivalent positions) rather than the six previously planned.

Village budget proposed, board approves exceeding state tax levy limit

Cazenovia village residents will see their village taxes increase by 19 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value — or 3 percent — under the tentative 2014-15 village budget, which was presented by the village board last week. The $2.6 million budget includes a proposed tax levy rate of $6.49 per $1,000, which is a 3 percent increase from last year. The increase means an additional $19 in taxes for a $100,000 home in the village.

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Bullets found in hallway prompt high school, middle school lockdown

Students never in danger; police, district pleased with overall emergency response

Two days after the Cazenovia high school and middle school buildings endured a three-hour lockdown when live bullets were found in a high school hallway and later flushed down a toilet, local police and school district officials still don’t know how or why the bullets got into the school and ended up on the floor — what they all agree on, however, is that there were no guns involved, no malicious intent has been discovered, no students were in immediate danger and the overall situation was handled well by district staff and local police.

CRIS to begin regional time bank for seniors

Community Resources for Independent Seniors (CRIS) recently received two grants that it will use to develop a Time Bank for seniors in the Cazenovia area. Time banking is an established concept — although there are currently none established in Madison County — that works as a reciprocal exchange service that uses units of time as currency. A time bank, also known as a service exchange, essentially allows volunteers who spend “time” offering community service to receive the same amount of “time” in services they can use.

School board eyes seven teacher, staff cuts in preliminary budget

The Cazenovia school district’s current budget outlook for the 2014-15 school year is “up in the air” until the state legislature finalizes the state budget; at the moment, however, the district’s preliminary budget calls for the elimination of six, possibly seven, district employees, including three support staff and three to four teaching positions.

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Junior’s Caz Bar opens on Albany Street

New restaurant offers high-quality food and full bar in family-friendly atmosphere

There’s a new restaurant and bar in Cazenovia that the owner believes will fill a gap in the current food and beverage offerings in the village — a place that serves lunch and dinner seven days a week with high quality food, a fully stocked bar with multiple televisions at which to relax and an overall family-friendly atmosphere. “I just felt it was a place the town needed — a place where family, friends, everyone can meet,” said Geoff Zimmer, owner of Junior’s Caz Bar at 64 Albany St. “It’s different. We cater to a crowd looking for an atmosphere conducive to conversation, community and camaraderie.”

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