January 3, 2012
People leave impressions
A few notables were lost while others kept their communities humming
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Groton High School graduate Jeff Evener stands in a Groton Middle School hallway. Evener is not only the middle school principal but serves as the district’s athletic director and is also the village mayor.
The faces and names of people who make Cortland County a special place were on display throughout the year on the pages of the Cortland Standard. Whether the passing of a beloved neighbor or the work of a community member who helped others, they bring out strong emotions.
Friends, family and fans gathered Nov. 26 at Perkins Funeral Home in Dryden to mourn the death of longtime local country musician Rubin Everidge while celebrating his music and years of entertaining residents with his performances.
The funeral was followed by a military service at Danby Rural Cemetery and a luncheon at the American Legion/Veterans of Foreign Wars post on Dryden Road.
Everidge died at his home Nov. 15 in Georgia. He was 75.
“If you ever heard him play, you would see why so many people were drawn to his music,” said his wife, Glenda Everidge. “He was just a professional. He was truly an entertainer.”
Carol Deloff died after a 35-year career with Cortland County. Deloff was the director of the county Area Agency on Aging since 2002 and was remembered for her dedication to seniors and devotion to her job.
Mike Holland, 52, the executive assistant to Vice President for Student Affairs Gregory Sharer at SUNY Cortland, died Oct. 30 of a heart attack while on his way back from Binghamton, where he had delivered food and supplies that students collected for flood victims.
Holland was an advisor to SUNY Cortland students and to the community’s town-gown efforts for 30 years.
He was also a volunteer coach in Dryden youth soccer, basketball and baseball.
A local first
One of the first same-sex marriage in Cortland County began July 27 as Cate Doe and Liz Mokos were wed in an impromptu ceremony in the Cortland Standard lunchroom. The couple had a seven-year relationship prior to the ceremony presided over by Mayor Susan Feiszli.
They had been waiting for years to get married. That was made possible the previous Sunday when the state’s same-sex marriage law went into effect. After failed efforts in 2007 and 2009, the state Legislature voted in June to legalize same-sex marriage.
In the spotlight
Tompkins Cortland Community College graduate Jamie Otis is one of the contestants this winter on ABC’s “The Bachelor,” which premiered Monday.
Otis was one of 18 women who received a rose from bachelor Ben Flajnik, the man who is trying to choose among 25 women. A Dryden native, Otis is a maternity nurse at Cortland Regional Medical Center.
Mary Jane “M.J.” Uttech, deputy public health director at the Cortland County Health Department, was honored for her volunteerism by the League of Women Voters in June, given its Alice A. Walker Award.
The honor goes to someone who is committed to service in the community, has an independent spirit, a clear sense of justice and an ability to focus on an area of need.
Uttech was nominated by Cindy Lewis of Cortlandville for helping children at risk, protecting the environment, knowledge of emergency preparedness and involvement in her church.
In her county job, Uttech, 60, keeps tabs on the communicable diseases report, looks into the Home Health Agency, does administrative work and writes policies.
A key responsibility is emergency planning and preparedness.
A trusted aide
Former Cortland Mayor Marty Mack in January joined a third state administration, moving back to a position in the Attorney General’s Office after working for Govs. David Paterson and Eliot Spitzer.
The Cortland native was appointed executive deputy attorney general for regional affairs.
Mack, who had previously served as deputy secretary for appointments to Gov. David Paterson from July 2009 to December 2010, returned to the Attorney General’s Office, where he served as deputy attorney general to Spitzer from 1999 to 2006.
Wearing many hats
Jeff Evener was already Groton village mayor when he added two other roles this year: Groton Middle School principal and district athletic director.
He says handling three leadership roles in his community is a delicate balancing act of staying on top of communications between fellow village leaders and other school district officials.
Evener said he enjoys his roles in Groton, but admits he did not set out to fill the mayor’s seat and two school administrator jobs at the same time. Instead, he took the opportunities when they knocked. He is serving his second term as Groton’s mayor and was appointed last summer to his two positions with the school district, replacing his former teacher, Connie Filzen, as middle school principal.
Mike Skeele continues to serve on DeRuyter’s Village Board and DeRuyter Central School’s board of education, and has served in many other roles for his hometown over the years. He also is president of the Manlius Chamber of Commerce, as owner of an insurance business with several offices.
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