February 06, 2008


Graph-Tex scores in Giants’ Super Bowl win 

Cortland company prints thousands of T-shirts after team’s upset victory Sunday


Bob Ellis/staff photographer      
Graph-Tex employee Nick Saraceno, who happens to be a Giants fan, demonstrates how a New York Giant souvenir T-shirts is pulled from a drying oven at the company Tuesday afternoon. Graph-Tex printed thousands of the shirts under a contract with Reebok.

Staff Reporter

Local printing company Graph-Tex struck big with the Giants 17-14 Super Bowl win over the Patriots Sunday, gaining a contract with Reebok to print thousands of T-shirts commemorating the victory.
Reebok, the official brand of the NFL, has certain printers lined up should one team win the Super Bowl, and certain printers lined up should the other team win the game.
“It’s regionally based,” Graph-Tex President Brent Riley said of the printing companies chosen for each team. “It’s based upon the teams in the Super Bowl.”
Riley said Reebok thought to hire Graph-Tex because the two companies have done business together before.
The printing company makes apparel for Reebok’s different events and marketing projects.
Right after Sunday’s game ended, around 10:30 p.m., employees began printing T-shirts, and continued until 10 a.m. Monday.
The T-shirts were immediately shipped to stores in the New York City area, Riley said. He declined to provide the exact number of shirts that were printed or the dollar value of the contract.
Riley said this is the first time the company has secured a contract to print T-shirts following a Super Bowl win, though it had a contract to print T-shirts following the Syracuse University men’s basketball team’s national championship win in 2003.
The company would have received contracts to print Super Bowl T-shirts in recent years, Riley said, but the teams the contracts were riding on — the Giants and the Buffalo Bills, lost their respective Super Bowl games.
Sunday was a nice change, he said.
“We were Giants fans anyway, but the fact that they won made it that much nicer from a business standpoint,” Riley said.
Riley said about 20 employees came into work Sunday night, though all of Graph-Tex’s employees played some role in the contract, whether it was through printing the shirts, getting equipment ready or covering for employees who had to work Sunday night.
“It was a team effort,” Riley said.
Nick Saraceno, a Graph-Tex employee who was not scheduled to work Sunday night, came in anyway to congratulate his bosses and check out the atmosphere of the factory.
“They were into their work and they all looked like zombies,” Saraceno, 18, said of his co-workers.
Saraceno, who helped organize the T-shirts during his shift Monday morning, said he thought it was pretty neat his company printed T-shirts for the team he loves.
“My whole family went to church with our Giants jerseys on,” he said, noting he attends Grace Christian Fellowship on Fisher Avenue.
Riley said he wants people in the community to understand that Graph-Tex does not have any Super Bowl T-shirts available for sale. The shirts have been shipped to their destination.
“We’re getting people calling all the time,” Riley said. “We have to say no.”




City will advance payment to library

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — After cutting $50,000 from its annual allocation to the city library, the Common Council agreed Tuesday to advance the remaining $150,000 to help the library as it works to adjust to a budget shortfall.
The council will use the $50,000 to cover emergency repairs to city buildings and a utility pole.
Diane Ames, president of the library board of trustees, said the advance would allow the library to operate normally until the second week of September.
“We asked them to pay us the $150,000 up front so that we aren’t struck through the whole year with a shortfall each month,” Ames said. “We also need their assurance that we will have continued support if our new plan for funding doesn’t fall into place as soon as we want.”
Ames said library trustees have been in contact with the city Board of Education, seeking information on how create a library district tax.
If it works out, the tax would appear as an additional line on the city school taxes this summer.
“We would still be a library association and subjected to all the rules and regulations of the New York State Regents,” Ames said, “but instead of the city collecting the tax and pay us through their budget, the school district would collect the tax. It would affect the school’s budget.”
Ames added that nothing has been formally agreed on.
“This is a new option for us,” she said of the school tax.
The library originally asked the Common Council for $208,000 for its 2008 operating budget. But with financial troubles, the council looked at only allocating $200,000, and then several weeks before it passed that budget, the council decided to only allot the library $150,000.
The $50,000 was placed into the city’s contingency fund.
“I think the most difficult thing for the library is that we had no notice,” Ames said to the council at Tuesday’s meeting.
Alderman Tom Michaels (R-8th Ward) assured the library trustees that it was not a malicious act by the city.
“We were, at that time, banking on a few things to happen, that didn’t happen,” he said.





Housing project prompts closer review

IDA holds off on vote to grant tax breaks while public meeting is scheduled

Staff Reporters

CORTLAND — Public concern about a proposed low- to moderate-income housing project on Pendleton Street has prompted a delay in consideration of project tax breaks and a public meeting to be held before the Common Council’s next session.
After a brief discussion during a work session Tuesday night, council members agreed to hold a work session at 6 p.m. for the proposed Conifer Realty LLC apartment complex at its next meeting on Feb. 19. That would be followed by a vote on a $150,000 low-interest loan the city would grant Conifer.
The Cortland County Industrial Development Agency is waiting on the city before it votes on whether to grant the project a payment in lieu of taxes agreement.
Alderman Brian Tobin (D-4th Ward) said the IDA should not grant the tax breaks because the project would not create jobs and long-term development.
Once it is built, the proposed Conifer project would create one to three full-time jobs in addition to other maintenance work such as snowplowing, Conifer officials said at a meeting last week.
Conifer Reality wants to build 56 low- to moderate-income apartments on almost 7 acres of land at 111-115 Pendleton St. It is requesting to pay $375 per apartment per year in a PILOT agreement, or $21,000 annually, for the next 15 years.
The company says that agreement will help it keep rents in the building low and secure $900,000 in annual federal income tax _credits.
Without a PILOT agreement, the company would be paying about $24,000 a year in annual property taxes, said Karen Niday, speaking for the IDA. That is based on a recently enacted state law that bases assessments for low-income housing projects on operating income.
The IDA was scheduled to vote on the tax agreement Monday, but will delay that vote.
Niday said the IDA does not want to vote on the PILOT unless it has a positive recommendation for the tax break from the city of Cortland, the city school district and Cortland County.




Heavy winter rain causes flooding on county roads

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — Roads across the county flooded overnight, prompting highway department crews to try to improve drainage.
A flood watch is in effect through 7 a.m. Thursday for Cortland and surrounding counties.
Debris-clogged culverts and drainage pipes have caused the flooding.
The areas hit hardest include McLean Road near Gutchess Lumber in Cortlandville, and Divers Crossing Road in Marathon, said Cortland County Highway Superintendent Don Chambers.
He said county crews have responded to roads across the county to assess the condition of pipes and culverts.
Crews are cleaning out debris, he said.
Marathon Highway Superintendent Randy Ensign said flooding affected roads throughout the town.
Around 8 a.m. crews cleaned snow out of ditches and culverts, and as of 9 a.m. things had improved, he said.
If flooding returns later in the day, crews will go back.
“If it rains more and it rains heavily, we will have more problems,” he said.
Cortlandville Highway Superintendent Carl Bush said a big problem is sheets of ice across the road keeping water from draining.
There is little crews can do to get rid of the ice, he said.
“The water can’t get back into the ground so it’s laying on top of the ground in all the low areas,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in people’s front yards or backyards … it’s throughout the town no matter where you go.”
He said he is hopeful the ice will melt today.
Bob Hudgins, a hydrometeorologist with the National Weather Service in Binghamton, said freezing rain will be changing over to snow, with 2 inches of snow expected over the next 24 hours.
Snow is possible this weekend, while rain is not in the forecast, he said.