February 21, 2008


Father, son elected city constables

Common Council makes appointment after 5-way tie in election


Bob Ellis/staff photographer    
Cortland Mayor Tom Gallagher, left, swears in Mark, center, and Russ Teeter as city constables Thursday morning in City Hall. Mark Teeter is a longtime constable and will be joined by his father, a former county legislator who was elected by a write-in vote. 

Staff Reporter

When Mark Teeter was asked to fill the position of city constable in 1989, one question came to mind: What is a constable?
A constable is an unpaid officer who is appointed or elected to assist in serving legal documents, such as warrants, divorce papers, eviction notices and code enforcement violations. Although the city constable positions are unpaid, a fee which could run from $15 to $25 is charged to the person who hires the constable to serve the papers.
Teeter has been a city constable for 17 years and was recently re-elected into the position through write-in votes. So was his father, Russ Teeter, a former county legislator for 30 years.
“This is something the police would have to do, and it frees them up at no additional cost to the taxpayers,” Russ Teeter said.
Under the city charter, the city has two elected constables who are hired by residents, lawyers and even city departments, to serve papers on someone.
Russ Teeter became a city constable after the City Common Council appointed him at the end of Tuesday night’s meeting.
“I knew (Mark) was elected but I didn’t know someone wrote my name in,” Russ Teeter said.
Russ Teeter, who lives on Mildred Avenue, was in a five-way tie for the second constable position, each of the five individuals having received two votes apiece.
The other four who received votes were Shannon Terwilliger, Ron Walsh, Richard Bushnell and Edward Heiligman.
At Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, Mayor Tom Gallagher said Russ Teeter was the only one who called and showed an interest in the position.
After a brief discussion, Teeter was appointed 6-2, with Aldermen Clay Benedict (D-2nd Ward) and Susan Feiszli (D-6th Ward) voting against the appointment.
Gallagher said this is the first time he is aware of two family members serving as constables at the same time.
“It really says a lot about Russ wanting to do it, in that this is something that he and his son can share this position with pride,” he said.
Mark Teeter, who works for the state Department of Transporation, said this is the first year he was not petitioned to run for the position; however, he acquired the highest number of votes during the general election in November.
“The petitions weren’t distributed by the Democratic chair, so the only way he could get re-elected was through write-ins,” Russ Teeter said.
In a letter to City Clerk John Reagan dated Jan. 14, Democratic Election Commissioner Bill Wood and Republican Election Commissioner Bob Howe, state that “no one submitted any nominating or designating petitions for candidates to run for the two (constable) offices up for election.”
Mark Teeter said in the past, his father would go to Democratic headquarters and pick up a stack of petitions to go around door to door with, but this year, his petition wasn’t in the stack.
Mark Teeter, who lives on Harmon Avenue, said he serves at least 50 papers each year.
“People don’t really use the constable that much,” he said. “But it’s about helping people and helping out in the community. I figured it was the least I could do.”
“It’s a privilege to be constable for the City of Cortland,” Russ Teeter added. “It’s like working for a church or school.”
Mark Teeter said his strangest experience as a constable was when he had to serve papers to a local business owner on Main Street for a code enforcement violation of not having a sprinkler system.
“I walked into this certain business and I was waiting for the guy to give him his papers. He walked out and said ‘Hi Mark.’ And I handed him his papers and he looked at me, crumpled it up, grabbed my shirt open and threw it down there,” Mark Teeter said. “It fell out and he picked it up again, crumpled it up, grabbed my shorts open, and threw them down there.”
He added that the paper fell out of his shorts and he picked it up, threw it over his shoulder and said, “Have a nice day.”
“It was the weirdest situation,” Mark Teeter said.
Mark Teeter and his father are best friends and said they are looking forward it working together. Russ Teeter, who is retired, calls his 42-year-old son the “senior constable,” even though he is 73-years-old.
“Who would have ever thought we’d both be constables,” said Mark Teeter, who resides in Cortland with his wife Brenda and two children. “It was a fluke.”




McGraw announces 7-12 grade honor roll

    McGRAW — The following students in grades seven through 12 achieved high honors or made the honor roll in McGraw during the second quarter:
    High Honors   
7th grade: Allyson Augur, Wayne Buerkle, Melissa Caufield, Taylor Current, Benjamin Hammond, Aaron Hitt, David Levitskiy, Lucas Libbey, Sara Malay-Dougherty, Justin Morgan, Jeanna Newby, Nicole Purcell, Kailey Reddick, Robert Schon, Brandon Sherwood.
8th grade: Samantha Ackley, Alicia Augur, Wyatt Buerkle, Hannah Canale, Miranda Decker, Allison Field, Jason Griffin, Alexander Hakes, Mark Hitt, Josiah Horn, Eryann Hubbard, Matthew Kenyon, Kaitelyn Leonard, Valentina Levitskiy, Jordan Little, Alyssa Medler, Madeline Tucker.
9th grade: Loretta Buerkle, Jonathan Honour, Emily Horner, Hayley MacLean, Kathlyn Parrish, Heather Towers, Ashley Whitt.
10th grade: Kelsey Bordwell, Kristen Guy, Joshua Hakes, Vitaliy Levitskiy, CaSandra Millard, Elizabeth Niver, Joseph Steinhoff, Jenna Tobias, Megan Wildman.
11th grade: Lauren Clark, Alicia Giamichael, Lacey Grummons, Nathaniel Horn, Savanna Hotaling, Erin Patch, Charles Thibeault, Christopher Williams.
12th grade:  Monica Byron, Katherine Niver, Ethan Phelps, Tyler Stiles, Natalie Winters.
      Honor Roll     
7th grade: Brittney Brown, Desirae Coon, Nicolas Cowen, Jaimee Griffin, Tyler Hewlett, Tiffany LaVancha, Charlotte Russell, Chelsy Sanford.
8th grade:  Ryan Burke, Austin Chambers, Sarah Closson, Brandon Lawrence, Ellen Mauzy, Wade Morse, Audra Rowley.
9th grade:  Matthew Clark, Kayla Green, Dakota Malison, Alex Smith, Adam Williams.
10th grade:  Andrew Bilodeau, Brandon Thornton, Brandon Wilbur.
11th grade:  Emily Canale, Jennifer Hill, John Nourse.
12th grade:  Alyssa Costantini, Michelle Medler, Shannon O’Hara, Samantha Pickert, Richard Reome, Carrie Strout, Alison Whitt.



Combined churches celebrate Black History Month

Christ Presbyterian and United Community churches worship together at 292 Tompkins St. (Route 13) in Cortlandville.
Sunday the church will celebrate “Black History Month.”  Dr. Samuel L. Kelley, professor of communications and African American studies at SUNY Cortland, will be leading the worship. Part of a photographic exhibition called “Soul Sanctuary” will briefly be screened at the beginning of worship. Mahalia Jackson and other black gospel singers will be honored, using video clips and photographs.  Sam Kelley will give a dramatic reading of James Weldon Johnson’s “O Black and Unknown Bards” and will also sing two solos, one a tribute to Tommy Dorsey, accompanied by Dorothy Thomas. The church choir, directed by Marina Gorelaya, will sing an arrangement of “Go Down, Moses.”
Sunday school for all ages begins at 9 a.m.; fellowship time is at 10:00 a.m.; Worship is at 10:30 a.m. Adult Sunday school class for February has been examining some of the troubling scripture passages that seem to support violence against children and women, led by Jack and Ellen Hepfer.
Christ Presbyterian Church building is handicapped accessible. Church secretary hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.Monday through Thursday, Church phone is (607) 756-1710, e-mail and Web site