June 6, 2007

Dairy parade flows down Main Street for 49th year


Photos by Joe McIntyre/staff photographer  
Representing the Cortland YMCA and dressed as a pink-eared calf, Curtis Wilk, 8, of Cortland, spent the duration of the Dairy Parade handing out candy to the parade-goers lining Main Street yesterday.

Staff Reporter

More than 3,500 people lined Main Street Tuesday, despite mounting winds and sinking temperatures, to take in the annual Dairy Parade.
Of those 3,500, you’d be hard-pressed to find more than a couple — save for newborn babies, perhaps — who were experiencing Cortland’s biggest annual event for the first time.
“We’ve probably been coming here since it started,” said Dick Osbeck, a retired farmer from South Cortland who was watching the parade with his wife, Phyllis, and their grandchildren.
This was the 49th year the parade has been held in downtown Cortland.
“We just like to come out and see all the people, see what’s new,” Phyllis Osbeck said. “It’s changed a little over the years, but not much.”
The Osbecks were not alone in being longtime parade attendees, as many in attendance talked about remembering the parade from childhood, then bringing their own children to the event.
Gary Sherman, a dairy farmer from the Virgil area, sat along Main Street in fold out arm chairs with his three sons, Grid, 12, Austin, 6, and Hunter, 4.
“It’s just something we’ve always done, and now we get to bring the kids,” Gary Sherman said.
Austin was most interested in seeing tractors — Tractors of Yesteryear ambled down the street with antique tractors while numerous large John Deer tractors also excited young people — while Hunter was impressed by a giant dragon walking the street that gave him a hug.
“The thing I love is there’s just so many families, it’s great to see such a family oriented thing,” said Jackie Price, of Cortland, who was watching the parade just behind the Shermans, waiting for her niece and her sister to appear on floats. “You’ve got all these kids participating, and all these families out to support them. It’s great.”
Price said she has attended countless dairy parades over the years, and did not remember many years when she missed the event.
However, almost 18 years ago to the day, she missed the parade because she was giving birth to her son.
“He came that same day, right before the parade was supposed to start,” she said.
Farther south along Main Street, Michael Burleigh, 8, got caught up dancing as a band from Grace Christian Fellowship Church’s Youth Group jammed on a passing float.
Burleigh used a stuffed dog on a leash — clearly one of the more popular souvenirs for children this year — as a makeshift cane and did his best Fred Astaire impersonation as the band rode by.
Burleigh had not yet decided what his favorite float of the evening was, but said he was having a good time, and his mother, Colleen Burleigh, agreed.
“We wouldn’t miss it, rain or shine,” Burleigh said.
With roughly 100 entries, the parade, which stretched from North Main Street to Argyle Place off south Main Street, lasted just under two hours.
The eclectic mix of marchers included local church and service groups, businesses and school groups and marching bands, with the Moravia band scoring points for nostalgia in belting out the ’70s anthem “Aqualung.”
All of the floats hyped the dairy industry, with painted-on milk mustaches a common theme, countless representations of cows — people in full cow suits, kids with cow ears, entire vehicles made to look like cows and at least one genuine calf — and just as many catchy slogans promoting dairy.
As one float — decked out to look like a pirate ship— put together by employees of Price Chopper and their children made its way to the end of the route, a handful of kids on board began gleefully singing “Yo ho ho and a bottle of milk!”
The float, which won best float by a business, included local business owner Scott Badman as famous Disney pirate Capt. Jack Sparrow, a number of menacing-looking pirates, and a large treasure chest overflowing with milk, butter and yogurt containers to go with the float’s slogan “Milk is the Real Treasure.”
“Drink up me hearties, yo ho! That’s the idea behind it, and it’s been so much fun,” said Debbie Badman, Scott’s wife, who organized the float.
Because of the wind Tuesday, the float had to be assembled at the starting point of the parade, Badman said, but the many participants had rallied despite the weather.
The Badmans’ daughter, Bethany, 11, said that a number of children volunteered to help with the float, and had put weeks of work into it.
“It took a lot of time and thought,” Bethany Badman said. “We all worked really hard.”




Preble teen crowned 2007 Dairy Princess


Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — It’s one of three things expected of every princess — there’s the crown, the graceful wave and, last but never least, the sparkling smile, no matter what the circumstances.
As newly crowned Cortland County Dairy Princess Emily Brooks posed for pictures on the Courthouse steps Tuesday evening, that quintessential smile was put to the test by chilly gusts of wind and rapidly dropping temperatures, but Brooks managed to, through gritted teeth, maintain her poise and her smile.
“I’m definitely freezing,” a laughing Brooks said after being crowned dairy princess by outgoing Dairy Princess Gabrielle Gates.
Still, it’s all part of the job, said Brooks, 17, a junior at Homer High School who lives in Preble.
“I’m so excited to be able to promote the dairy industry,” said Brooks, who lists among her interests a keen interest in public speaking.
“I can’t way to show people that by eating three servings of dairy a day, you can build strong bones and a healthy body,” she said.
Brooks told the Cortland Standard last month that, among her numerous interests and activities, she is a National Honor Society member and an active 4-H member who serves as vice-president of the 4-H Teen Council.
The soon-to-be senior at Homer High School said she is hoping to attend SUNY Brockport after her senior year, with the intent to major in business with a minor in communications.
Brooks and runner-up Katelyn Dawson had a busy day Tuesday, having to do interviews with judges, run through their programs for schools and record a radio spot, all leading up to the coronation on the Cortland County Courthouse steps.
Roughly 50 people trekked over from the dairy parade to watch the ceremony.
Gates, before crowning Brooks, called being dairy princess one of the “most rewarding experiences of my life,” and said that stepping down from the position brought new meaning to the phrases “time flies when you’re having fun” and “all good things must come to an end.”
The dairy princess serves as ambassador for the local dairy community throughout the year, speaking at special community and school events.


Woman claims innocence in toddler death

Staff Reporter

DRYDEN — A local woman accused of murdering and sexually molesting her 2-year-old niece maintained her innocence Tuesday evening as she was led into Town Court in shackles.
“I’m innocent on everything,” Marie Manos, 34, of 758 Ringwood Road, Apt. 2, said to the news media outside the courthouse.
Manos was arraigned on charges of second-degree murder, and aggravated sexual abuse, felonies, and stands accused of holding the head of her niece, Grace Manos, underwater in a bathtub for an unknown amount of time on May 15. She is also accused of sexually abusing the toddler during the incident.
Manos’ public defender, William Sellers, became slightly hostile with the news media after the proceeding, stating that he is not happy with the way the case is being handled by authorities and that the media coverage has tainted a potential jury pool.
“How is she going to get a fair trial?” he said, pointing out that his client has not been indicted on any of the charges.
Seller eventually stormed away from the press, refusing to answer any further questions.
Manos was originally charged with first-degree assault, a felony, on May 15 after the child’s mother returned to pick the girl up from Manos’ home and found the child unconscious and vomiting water, State Police said.
Grace Manos was taken to University Medical Center in Syracuse, where she died a day later without ever regaining consciousness.
Wilkinson held a news conference Friday where she announced that she would up the charges based on preliminary autopsy results that revealed the child died of “asphyxia, blunt force trauma, drowning and sexual abuse.”
Wilkinson said Manos sexually abused the child while she held her head underwater but would not expand further on the details. She said after the arrest that Manos admitted to police on videotape that she held the child’s head underwater.
Manos held the child’s head underwater “in an effort to force her to stop struggling,” Wilkinson said in May.
On Friday, Wilkinson said more charges may still be pending and that the investigation is still ongoing. She said Manos was a regular baby sitter for the child but she would not comment on whether sexual abuse had occurred prior to the incident that led to the child’s death.
Wilkinson also declined to comment on whether Manos was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the alleged attack. She said authorities are still looking into the possibility of charging others in the crime but would not comment further.
Sellers said at Manos’ first court appearance on May 18 that his client is terminally ill with cancer and that she only has a few years to live. Wilkinson said Tuesday she has yet to receive any medical confirmation that Manos is sick.
“Cancer is not a defense to the charge of murder,” Wilkinson said.
She said she plans to take the case to the grand jury within the next few weeks. Manos is being held in Tompkins County Jail without bail.

Lifton, Finch look to limit landfill traffic

Staff Reporter

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton is using the proposed expansion of a Waterloo landfill that brings hundreds of trucks daily through rural, two-lane roads in Cortland, Tompkins and other regional counties as an opportunity to keep the trucks off those roads.
The 160-acre landfill has applied for a permit that would allow it to add 220 acres to its present site, allowing it to store 28.6 million more tons of garbage.
Lifton wrote a letter to the state Department of Environmental Conservation asking for an environmental review of the landfill’s affect on Central New York and the Southern Tier as part of the permit approval process.
The hope is that the review would result in restrictions for what roads trucks headed to and from the landfill can take. Instead of taking rural routes such as Routes 41 and 41A in Cortland County and Routes 79, 89 and 96 in Tompkins County, for example, the trucks would have to take four-lane routes that are better suited for the vehicles, including Interstates 81 and 88, and the Thruway.
Lifton admits it could be a difficult task for the landfill to monitor who takes what route.
“It’s tricky; It’s a little bit convoluted,” she said. “I’m asking them to look at what I think is a responsible avenue.”
Linda Vera, spokeswoman for the DEC Region 8, which includes Seneca Meadows Landfill, said an administrative law judge will rule on Lifton’s proposed review by early next week.
Many of the garbage trucks, and other large commercial trucks, originate downstate. The trucks take the rural roads to avoid paying Thruway tolls and going through weigh station inspections.
Many of the trucks, however, disturb the quality of life in the neighborhoods they pass through, residents say.
John Wanish, a Scott resident who owns J. Dubs Gas and Grub on Route 41, said the garbage trucks emit a horrible stench during the summertime and many of the drivers are careless. Since 2004 truck drivers on the road have run into nine telephone polls he knows of, knocking out power.
“I just worry about somebody getting whacked by them,” Wanish said.
Susan Eligh, another Route 41 resident, said she has lost three dogs to the trucks and also worries they could hurt a person, especially a child playing.
“By the time they go by our house they’re really moving, they’re barreling,” she said.
Assemblyman Gary Finch (123 District) said he and other lawmakers have been looking for ways to keep big trucks off rural roads for more than six years. He said they have tried gasoline tax breaks and Easy Pass discounts for trucks taking the major routes, but that has not worked.
Finch said many truckers are lured to take rural routes so they can buy tax-free goods, such as cigarettes.
“They are buying cartons and cartons and cartons,” he said.
Finch said if the state law forbidding Native Americans to sell tax-free products to non-Native Americans were enforced by State Police, truckers would have less of an incentive to take the rural routes.