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Fifth Grader sheds long locks

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Photos by Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Hair stylist Roxanne Jones of Shear Obsession holds a length of hair she just clipped Tuesday morning from Homer Intermediate School fifth-grader Isiah Ellis in front of two classes in the school cafeteria. BELOW: Jones grooms Ellis’s hair after she removed 10 inches, which will be donated to the Locks of Love program that turns the hair into wigs for cancer patients. BOTTOM: The hair that was cut from Ellis sits on a table.h5

11-year-old donates 10 inches of hair for cancer patients’ wigs

By COREY PRESTON
Staff Reporter

HOMER — Rarely have a group of fifth-grade boys become so excited over a haircut:
“He looks taller.”
“He looks older.”
“You can finally see his face.”
“He looks sort of proud somehow.”
“It’s amazing.”
The observations came freely and enthusiastically from Travis Bergmark, Jonathon Surine, Devon Drake and Matthew Little, as they watched their friend and classmate Isiah Ellis receive a much anticipated trim Tuesday at Homer Intermediate School.
With brown hair that fell far over his shoulders, 11-year-old Ellis was due for a cut, many of his classmates from teacher Janet Oechsle’s class agreed.
But the real impetus behind the haircut was Isiah’s desire to donate his tresses to Locks of Love, which donates hairpieces for disadvantaged children dealing with long-term medical hair loss.
“My cousin had leukemia and my grandmother’s neighbor next door started to lose her hair,” said Ellis, who had about 10 inches of hair removed that will be sent to Locks of Love. “Mrs. Oechsle told me about this and I wanted to help people if I could.”
Oechsle said she first mentioned Locks of Love to Ellis while on a school field trip to Syracuse.
“I was sitting behind him on the bus and I said ‘Isiah, you really have beautiful hair,’” Oechsle said. “We talked about Locks of Love and he decided he was interested.”
Ellis’ interest in the organization came as no surprise to Oechsle, or to his mother, Joy. Both described Isiah as naturally giving.
“He’s a good kid and I’m very proud of him,” said Joy Ellis. “For him, this is a big deal. He really loves his long hair.”
Ellis’ grandmother, Linda Kent, was so moved by her grandson’s gesture that she made a donation of her own to Locks of Love, a 13-inch braid that she’d been growing for years.
“I thought, if my grandson can do it, so can I,” Kent said. “You can always grow it back.”
Isiah Ellis said he has every intention of growing his hair back, in fact he asked hairdresser Roxanne Jones to cut it in a fashion that would allow it to grow back in the same way.
“I want to do this again next year,” Ellis said of donating a newly minted mane a year from now. “I can probably grow it back by then.”
Jones, who cuts hair at Shear Obsession in Cortland, said she’s done haircuts for Locks of Love before, but Ellis is the first male cut she’s done.
“His hair is just perfect,” Jones said. “I love doing Locks of Love, not just because it’s a great cause, but also because I love to see the transformation. He just looks great with short hair.”
Joy Ellis was hopeful that her son would enjoy his new, lighter haircut.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to get him to cut it, but now I’m glad I didn’t, because he’s gotten the chance to do this,” Ellis said.
Ellis said she didn’t care what type of haircut Isiah received, with one exception.
“I told him, ‘You’re doing a good thing, it’s your choice,’ but the only thing I don’t want is a mohawk,” she said.
Isiah’s friend Jeremy Morris said that he liked his friend’s new do.
“I think he could get it even shorter, though,” said Morris, who insisted that his close-cropped hair was not available for donation.
“This is probably the first time he can look out without seeing hair,” said Beau Riley, another friend.
Isiah Ellis said that it was too early to determine if he liked his new haircut or not.
“It’s pretty cold on my neck,” he said, noting that long hair in the winter is essential for keeping the neck warm. “It was tough to cut it, but I’m glad I did it.”

 

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Groton man charged with sexual abuse

By JENNIFER FUSCO
Staff Reporter

BINGHAMTON — A 41-year-old Groton man was arraigned Tuesday before a federal judge and charged with felony federal charges of child pornography, stemming from having repeated sexual contact with an 11-year-old family member.
Douglas Jennings of 379 Champlin Road is accused of sexually abusing the girl during the past four years and photographing and videotaping her in explicit and suggestive poses while she was undressed.
He was sent to Broome County Jail with no bail.
The child’s mother contacted the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department Friday and told them Jennings had been having sex with her daughter, according to Miro Lovric, assistant U.S. attorney in Binghamton.
The Cortland Standard does not publish names or provide information that could lead to identification of victims in criminal cases.
Lovric said although the abuse had been ongoing, the girl just told her mother about it. He was unsure what triggered the disclosure, he said.
The Sheriff’s Department collaborated with the FBI and police arrested Jennings Monday after taking statements from both Jennings and the girl.
The Sheriff’s Department charged him with felony first-degree sexual conduct against a minor. He was also charged with federal felony production, possession and receipt of child pornography, according to court documents.

 

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Marathon, Lapeer assessment updates explained

By EVAN GEIBEL
Staff Reporter

MARATHON — For the first time since 1994, the towns of Marathon and Lapeer will reassess their property values, and the figures should be ready for the 2007 tax rolls.
About 25 residents attended an informational meeting Tuesday night at Marathon Town Hall and listened to David Briggs of Briggs Appraisal Service explain how his company and the assessor for both towns, Fran Butler, would conduct the reassessment.
The towns are being assessed together because they are considered a consolidated assessment unit.
“If both towns enter into an agreement to consolidate service, the goal is to cut down overhead for both towns,” Butler said this morning. “They will use the same assessor for both towns. It is designed and implemented by the state.”
Tentative reassessments should be ready by May 1, 2007, after which a formal grievance period will begin. The final assessment will be filed on July 1, 2007.
The tentative 2006 state equalization rate for the towns is 75 percent, meaning properties are only assessed at 75 percent of their current market values. The 2005 rate was 82 percent.
“As time goes by, different types of property begin to sell at different rates than those they were assessed for,” Briggs told those at the meeting. “Your new assessment for 2007 will reflect what your property would sell for if it were on the market today.”
The town of Lapeer is split into 484 parcels, and the total value of the town is assessed at $7,371,800, according to the Cortland County Real Property Tax Services. Marathon, with 658 parcels, is assessed at $9,214,517.
A relatively stagnant real estate market in the late 1990s put off the need for a reassessment, Briggs said. Only since 2001 have rising land prices begun to affect Marathon and Lapeer, he said.

 

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