February 27, 2008


Snow causes minor snarls in county


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Zack Corl, 13, makes a snowman for his sister Courtney, 3, from freshly fallen snow Tuesday afternoon on Tompkins Avenue.

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — As of midday today about 7 inches of snow had fallen since Tuesday, but it caused few local inconveniences as road crews were able to catch up with the snowfall.
Several board meetings and after-school activities were canceled after the National Weather Service issued a winter storm advisory Tuesday. The warning was lifted as of this morning.
Snow showers are predicted to continue throughout the day and into this evening, with localized accumulations of up to an inch in some areas. The National Weather Service calls for a 30 percent chance of snow Thursday.
The State Police reported only three snow-related vehicle accidents, all on Interstate 81 and all involving people from outside the county. No one was injured in any of the accidents.
The Cortland County Highway Department had the roads clear without needing to bring in extra manpower or keep personnel on overtime, said Robert Buerkle, deputy highway superintendent.
The heaviest snow had ceased by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Buerkle said, which helped plows and salt trucks have roads clear for this morning’s commute.
“It’s very hard to predict snowfall,” Buerkle said. “We try to be prepared for whatever they say is coming.”
A National Weather Service spokesman in Binghamton said the snowfall was in line with the service’s predictions. About 4.9 inches were recorded at the Binghamton airport, and The Cortland Standard measured 6.8 inches in the city this morning.
The National Weather Service spokesman said certain areas in northern New York experienced nearly 13 inches over the past 24 hours.
The National Weather Service’s official forecast for the area can be found at




Habitat opens office in East End Center

CORTLAND — Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland counties has opened up an office in the East End Community Center. It will serve as a base for the non-profit’s informational and recruitment activities. As an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, the agency is an ecumenical housing ministry dedicated to the elimination of substandard housing and homelessness worldwide. It counts on volunteers and donations to build and rehabilitate modest homes in partnership with families in need.
Founded in 1987, the local Habitat for Humanity has built or rehabbed ten houses in the two counties. In Cortland, it completed a new three-bedroom house in 2007 for a family of five and is finishing up a rehab for an extended family. This spring, the group is planning to break ground for a new, environmentally “green,” energy efficient house on the corner of Tompkins and Delaware streets in Cortland. We are currently looking for a family for that house.
In the Habitat office, you will find Phil Allmendinger, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer and resident of Dryden. Phil will be recruiting local volunteers to help grow the organization so more houses in each county can be built.
It needs people who would like to work on family selection and support, development/fund raising/public relations, construction and volunteer supervision, and site _selection.
If you want to learn more about Habitat for Humanity or want to volunteer or make a donation, please call Phil at (607) 220-3947, visit the Web site: or make an appointment to visit Phil when he’s at the new office.




East End offers 2 community safety, security workshops

The East End Community Center and the Cortland Police Department are sponsoring two workshops at the center focused on helping Cortland residents keep themselves and their neighborhoods safe and secure.
The first workshop, scheduled at 7 p.m. March 12, is titled:  “You and the Police: Preventing Drugs in Your Neighborhood,” and is presented by Sgt. Fred L. Whitsett, who grew up in Homer and began his law enforcement career with the Homer Police Department in 1989. He transferred to the Cortland department in 1990, and worked in the Uniformed Division until his promotion to Detective in 2000. Whitsett was assigned to the Cortland County Drug Task Force in 2003, and since that time, there have been more than 600 drug arrests in the city.
Whitsett has received extensive training in drug investigations through New York State and the Miami Dade Vice Unit. He is New York State certified in undercover operations, arson investigations and as an evidence specialist. He has also been designated as a New York State Police Narcotics Investigator.
Whitsett’s workshop will review where drug arrests have been made in the City of Cortland, what drugs are here, and what drugs will be making their way into the community. Whitsett will then explain how the residents can be the “eyes and ears” of the police department, and how they can play an active role in fighting the war on drugs right here in Cortland.
The second workshop, scheduled April 9, is titled “Personal Safety,” and will be conducted by Officer Bryan C. Nelson. Nelson also grew up in Homer, and joined the Cortland Police Department in 1998. Nelson is assigned to the Uniform Division. He is a New York State certified defensive tactics instructor, and has also received defensive tactics instruction from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Nelson is a member of the Cortland Police Department’s Tactical Response Unit, and is a certified Field Training Officer, taking an active role in training new recruits.
Nelson’s workshop is designed to teach citizens basic personal safety techniques. The workshop will cover: awareness of your surroundings, defensive tactics you can use, and simple strategies you can employ to keep yourself safe when out in the community. Please wear loose fitting clothing and comfortable clothes, as you will be practicing some of the techniques.
To register for one or both of these workshops, please call the Cortland Youth Bureau at (607) 753-3021. The workshops are free of charge and open to all city residents. The East End Center is located at 46 Elm Street in Cortland.