McGraw man dies in holiday accident

Staff Reporter

MARATHON — A McGraw man was killed and a Killawog man seriously injured in a two-car accident early Monday morning on Divers Crossing Road, according to the Cortland County Sheriff’s Department.
Two men, Shane M. Miller, 23, of McGraw, and Fred S. Sherman, 20, of Killawog, were traveling south in a 1994 Chevrolet Beretta, police said. Miller was driving the car at a “high rate of speed,” police said. The speed limit in the area is 55 mph, but police were unsure how fast the car was traveling.
Investigators said Miller failed to negotiate a right-hand curve and went off the left side of the road. After the car went off the road, it hit and severed a Marathon Electric utility pole and then hit a tree, police said.
The car split in two and both Miller and Sherman were ejected.
Miller was thrown about 50 feet from the car and killed, police said. An autopsy report this morning stated that Miller died from “massive blunt trauma,” police said.
Police also said Miller had a tentative blood-alcohol content of 0.17 percent, over the legal limit of 0.08.
Sherman was taken by helicopter to Wilson Regional Medical Center for treatment of his injuries. His condition was not available from hospital officials, but police said he was in “serious condition.”
A second vehicle, driven by Adam J. Collins, 19, of Marathon, was following the Beretta, police said. Collins was driving a 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier with passenger William C. Piech, 20, of Marathon.
Police said all four men knew each other, and were coming from a residence on Academy Street in Marathon. Police were unsure where the men were heading. Police were also unsure if the other three men had consumed alcohol.
The hood of Collins’ vehicle was damaged, when the utility pole fell onto it, police said.
Neither Collins nor Piech were injured, police said. The dollar amount of damage to Collins’ car was unavailable and police said Miller’s car was totaled.
Neither Miller nor Sherman were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, police said. Police said Miller had been passing Collins’ car right before he lost control of his vehicle. Police could not confirm if the two vehicles had been racing.
No tickets were issued immediately after the crash.
About two hundred Marathon Electric customers between Killawog and Divers Crossings roads were without power for two to eight hours after the crash, according to officials from Marathon Electric. All power to the area has been restored.
Police said the investigation is continuing.


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Memorials honor former mayor, local veterans

Staff Writer

McGRAW — The early morning thunderstorms had left a haze hanging over the McGraw Rural Cemetery Monday morning as about 70 residents gathered to honor local veterans at the new Donald F. Niver Sr. Veterans Memorial.
With many of the former McGraw mayor and fire chief’s family in attendance, a single shot from a Civil War cannon roared over the hillside near where Donald “Ducky” Niver had raised his family.
The site had been completed Sunday and was dedicated to Niver at Monday’s ceremony by Ted Doty, a veteran of the Army Air Force, a former McGraw village trustee and longtime friend of Niver. Doty said that the memorial had been Niver’s initiative and had been important to him.
“A few months (after he had retired), he called me to come over to his house as he had something he wanted to talk about,” Doty said. “The item he had on his mind was the building of this memorial. He said to me, ‘You are on the Village Board and I know you can get this project approved.’ I said I would do it.”
“A short time after our visit, Ducky passed away. A few weeks later I presented the idea to the Village Board and received 100 percent approval.”



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Vets take time to remember fallen comrades

Staff Reporter

Sitting down after a morning of golf, swapping stories and sharing laughs over a lunch of steak and mashed potatoes at the Cortland American Legion post home, an airman and two veterans, Bob Martin, Les Phillipson and Matt Peck were, in their own way Saturday, celebrating Memorial Day.
“That we’re able to sit here and talk about our experiences, that’s just one of the freedoms we’ve fought for,” said Martin, a master sergeant in the 174th Fighter Wing in the United States Air Force who is scheduled to go to Iraq in September.
“It’s not a day to mourn, it’s a day to remember, and to include the people who aren’t here with us in the good times, to make them a part of our day.”
Martin, who has served the United States for 27 years, five of which were with the Army, called the holiday sacred, saying that on Memorial Day even his family can feel secondary to him, a sentiment that was echoed by Phillipson and Peck.
“Sacred is a great word for it,” said Phillipson, who served in the Navy between 1965 and 1970. “For me and for most people who have served, it’s just as important a day to remember as, say, the day a parent died or anything else that deserves to be honored.”
Peck, a Marine from 1988 through 1994, said that the holiday was an essential reminder of the many service men and women who gave their lives for their country.



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