Warm Hands Awards hail industry supporters


Misha T. Kwasniewski/staff photographer
Warm Hands Award winners Luann King, who works in Sen. James L. Seward’s Cortland office, left, and Cortland Standard Living & Leisure Editor Katie Hall laugh with Dave Denniston, a member of the Dairy Promotion Committee, this morning during the annual June Dairy Kickoff Breakfast. King and Hall were reciting an oath and toasting with milk after receiving their awards at the Cincinnatus home of dairy farmers Randy and Jackie Closson.

Staff Reporter

CINCINNATUS — For 43 years, local business leaders, community members and dairy farmers have been fed very well on the first day of June.
The annual June Dairy Kickoff Breakfast was held at the home of Randy and Jackie Closson in Cincinnatus this morning with high spirits all around, and another big breakfast fed more than 20 people.
“Everything that we ate here today could have come from Cincinnatus,” said Dave Denniston, a member of the Dairy Promotion Committee.
The Closson farm alone could have contributed most of the ingredients in the onion, potato and ham frittata that was served to the guests. In addition to raising and milking dairy cattle, Randy Closson said he and his wife also raise steers, pigs and sheep on the farm and produce livestock feed.
“We’re the third generation,” Closson said. “We’ve got 75 cows here, and we milk about 62.”
Four years ago, the farm was hit hard by a fire that depleted Closson’s breeding stock. Closson said most of the lost livestock have been replaced, and he has consolidated most of his herd within one barn.
“It’s really paying off having everything in one area. It will save you a lot of time, money, labor and fuel down the road,” Closson said.
Jackie Closson owns the New Leaf Greenhouse next to the farm, where she grows annuals, perennials, flowers for hanging baskets and shrubbery.
As everyone drank milk, Nicole Root, 18, tended to one of her last duties as Cortland County Dairy Princess and told those assembled about her experience over the past year. Root will crown the new Dairy Princess at this year’s Dairy Parade on Tuesday.
“I’m kind of excited and sad. It keeps you quite busy,” Root said after the breakfast.
She explained that one of her favorite experiences involved going into first- and second-grade classrooms in Cortland and explaining the dairy industry to young children.
“If you’re not from a farm, you really don’t know,” Root said.
One of the most important functions of the dairy breakfast is the recognition of people who have supported and contributed to the dairy industry in Cortland County. This year, both recipients of the Warm Hands Award were pleasantly surprised as Denniston related their personal information to the group.
Katie Hall, Living & Leisure editor for the Cortland Standard, received her award for the assistance she has given to dairy princesses over the years. About once a month, the dairy princess writes an article for the newspaper, and Hall, who lives in Cortland, has worked to ensure the dairy message is heard around the county.
“I think it’s really neat. I didn’t think they should choose me, but I think people like the Clossons who are working day-in, day-out are the cool people,” Hall said. “It’s an honor because I admire dairy farmers.”
Luann King has been a member of the Dairy Promotion Committee since 1988 and works in state Sen. James Seward’s office. A lifelong Cincinnatus resident, King has worked on and around dairy farms her whole life and is active in the 4-H Club.
“The dairy team is a great team. I’ve never lived on a farm, but I’ve been around and worked on farms my whole life,” King said.
To be inducted into The Exalted Order of the Warm Hands is no trivial honor — a ceremony that involves a tongue-twisting oath followed by a milk toast ensures no recipient will take his or her duties lightly.
“While we appreciate all of the work you’ve done for the dairy industry, from here on out, we’re gonna ask you to do a whole lot more,” Denniston said after presenting the awards.



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Old grenades cause scare at Suggett House


Photos by Bob Ellis/staff photographer     
Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department Detective Ray Herrick, right, shows Cortland Police Department officers — from left, Sgt. Dan Edwards, Officer Chad Hines and Officer Mike Nichols — the two hand grenades found at the Cortland County Historical Society on Maple Avenue Wednesday afternoon. BELOW: Herrick, who was called in from Syracuse because of his weapons expertise, shows a closer view of the grenades, which are believed to date from World War I.grenade

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — Anita Wright had a scare Wednesday afternoon as she was doing some cleaning at the Suggett House Museum on Homer Avenue — she opened a closet and found two grenades.
The grenades, believed to date from World War I, were not live. They were among several other artifacts stored by the Cortland County Historical Society, which is housed in the Suggett House.
“The older an explosive gets, the less likely it is it still works,” Onondaga County Sheriff Detective Ray Herrick said as he was holding the two objects. Police said they call the Onondaga Sheriff’s Department whenever there is an incident involving explosives in Cortland County, which does not have its own bomb squad.
Only one of the two was a real grenade, Herrick said. The small, metal object looked like a miniature pineapple. Its rough edges are what cause the most damage when the explosive is set off and the pieces break apart, he said.
“The fragmentation is what really does it if you’re right near it,” he said. “This must be British or something. I’ve never seen anything like this in the U.S.”
The other grenade was very lightweight and was never used as an explosive. Herrick said the object probably was used to train soldiers.
Both objects had keys in them, which Herrick dismantled when he got to the scene. One of the grenades had a tag on it that said “do not pull pin.”
Wright and Mary Ann Kane, director of the Suggett House, called the police as soon as the objects were discovered because they were unsure if they could be live.
“I wasn’t really scared, I’m kind of optimistic,” Kane joked while she was standing outside of the yellow caution tape surrounding the house.
Kane said the Wright family, of the Wright-Beard Funeral Home, donated the grenades in 1967.
Herrick said the objects would not be allowed back into the house. They will taken into police custody, where they will be melted down and destroyed.








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Cincy fire chief resigns after arrest

Staff Reporter

CINCINNATUS — Fire Chief Derek Raimo submitted his letter of resignation May 10 at a monthly fire department meeting.
Raimo was the chief for more than a decade. Several members of the department first asked Raimo to resign as chief at an April 26 fire department chiefs and officers meeting, according to Charlie Eaton, 2nd lieutenant and training officer for Cincinnatus Ambulance, which is part of the fire department.
Eaton, who attended the meeting, said members of the department were upset over criminal charges filed against Raimo during the past year. There are a total of 140 members in the volunteer department.
Raimo was arrested by State Police April 25 and charged with assault for allegedly punching two Tri-State Auto Recovery employees, a husband and a wife, after they tried to repossess his vehicle.
Raimo, of 5731 Telephone Road, Cincinnatus, told police he thought the couple were trying to steal his car and he was trying to stop them. Police charged him with misdemeanor third-degree assault.



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