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Buckbee-Mears fate still a mystery

By IDA M. PEASE
Staff Reporter

The Buckbee-Mears plant at 30 Kellogg Road in Cortland sits idle, locked and without electricity.
“At this point the property is in limbo,” said Linda Hartsock, executive director of Cortland County’s Business Development Corp. and Industrial Development Agency.
Buckbee-Mears, which made aperture masks for televisions, had been a thriving business in the 1970s with employment close to 1,000 near the end of that decade.
In the 1980s the company had several layoffs and the plant closed in June 2004.
India-based International Electron Devices bought the company in 2005, resuming operations for a short while and hiring back about 70 workers.
The plant again closed in June 2005.
At the time, Buckbee officials said the halt in production was temporary, blaming it in part on a delay in needed steel shipments.
“This is just a slight hiccup,” Chuck Havens, former human resources manager with the company, said in June 2005.
Hartsock said Havens has been talking to officials from International Electron Devices.
Havens did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The owners were moving toward securing credit to restart operations, but kept extending the timeframe for obtaining it.
There had been orders for the aperture masks, Hartsock said.
E-mails sent to International Electron Devices officials by Hartsock and Cortland Mayor Tom Gallagher have gone unanswered, she said.
Hartsock also said there has been some interest in leasing portions of the building, but because it is locked and there is no electricity, it cannot be shown.
The property is assessed at $3.1 million. It comprises nearly 51 acres and a 360,000-square-foot building in the city of Cortland, and 24 acres of land just outside the city in Cortlandville.
Without interest and penalties, Buckbee-Mears owes $214,835 in school, city and county taxes as well as $17,332 for a special sewer assessment, said Andy Damiano, city director of Administration and Finance.
The following is a breakdown:
l school taxes for 2005-06: $58,306;
l city/county taxes for 2005: $45,287; and
l city/county taxes for 2006: $111,242.
“I’m pretty confident we will get paid,” said Damiano.
He said the Bank of India  holds the mortgage on the plant and would likely rather pay what is owed than risk losing the property.

 

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Local pool shark makes waves in vegas

By COREY PRESTON
Staff Reporter

Jeremy Conger was hardly disappointed that his most recent trip to Las Vegas didn’t leave much time to go out and enjoy the Entertainment Capital of the World.
As a competitor in the American Poolplayers Association’s 2006 National Pool Championships, held the last weekend of April in Las Vegas, Conger was glad to have as little free time as possible.
“I was playing a lot longer this time, which is a good thing, but I didn’t have as much time to do Vegas,” he said.
A Cortland resident, Conger’s recent trip to Las Vegas was his third to the National Pool Championships, his first as a singles player. He wound up finishing 33rd out of more than 150 competitors, his highest finish in the Nationals, despite admittedly being somewhat out of shape with the pool cue.

 

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Appeal planned in case of sheriff's officer

By JENNIFER FUSCO
Staff Reporter

An attorney defending a Cortland County police officer accused of tampering with evidence will appeal a May 4 state appellate court ruling.
The Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court in Albany reversed a lower court decision that written and oral statements made in 2003 by the officer to her supervisor in the county Sheriff’s Department could not be used as evidence in court.
“We’re very disappointed,” said Raymond Schlather, an Ithaca attorney who is representing the officer, Patricia Smith. “The logic of this decision is contrary to the case law that has been developed in New York.”

 

 

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Willet names woman to town board

By IDA M. PEASE
Staff Reporter

WILLET — Joanne Brown has lived in Willet for almost 39 years. To her knowledge, she is the first woman to serve on the Town Board.
The Democrat was appointed to fill the remainder of the year for Rich White, who died recently. Brown and Republican Craig Cihocki, who was also recently appointed, will have to run in a special election in November to fill out the remaining terms of White and Ron Rink.
Board members serve a four-year term and earn an annual stipend of $800.
“It’s a good opportunity to serve the community,” said Brown, 57. She has just retired from being a postmaster relief, filling in for the top position when the postmaster could not be there. She had been working in Willet, but also had worked in Blodgett Mills, McDonough and other small towns.
Brown and her husband, Philip, also retired from dairy farming, selling off their cows about six years ago. The couple raised eight children.
Brown said for several years she had been in charge of the Democratic caucus in Willet. Board member Richard “Dick” Fowlston is also a Democrat. The other two members are Republican.
Brown said she had run for election before, most recently in 2001 for a seat on the Town Board.
Brown said she would focus on keeping taxes low and maintaining the unity of board members.
The board also voted unanimously to dedicate the recently built town pavilion that is behind the Town Hall to Rich White. Town Supervisor Sandy Doty said the pavilion could be dedicated May 26 during a joint   picnic for Marathon, Cincinnatus and Willet senior citizens at the center. Doty said he would purchase a plaque.
“Rich White was a dedicated board member. We’re certainly going to miss him,” Doty said.
Cihocki reminded the board that the annual Day in the Park is June 17. He said the community event would include a bounce house and sticky wall for children, arts and craft booths, and food, as well as other entertainment such as music.
He asked the board if the town had a generator it could use for the day. The board approved using the town’s 10-kilowatt generator.

 

 

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