July 20, 2007

Supermarket event benefits local groups


Bob Ellis/staff photographer   
Paul Banfield rushes down an aisle at the Dryden Food Market on Thursday, doing his best to fill his cart with food in three minutes. The food he collected will be donated to three organizations.

Staff Reporter

DRYDEN — The Dryden Food Market took on the appearance of the set of the “Supermarket Sweep” television show Thursday evening, with one lucky man having free reign of the store for three minutes as a crowd looked on and cheered.
“Go, go, go, go!,” onlookers cheered, pumping their fists in the air as Paul Banfield, 56, of Ithaca, fumbled to get as many boxes of rice as he could in the shopping cart.
The event was a fundraiser for the recently formed Dryden Rotary Club. The club, which took shape in the fall, says the fundraiser is a relatively easy one to put on, makes for a fun time and has the potential for other groups to benefit monetarily, which was the case Wednesday and in the fall when the group also did the fundraiser.
Steve Scott, a Dryden resident who helped start the Dryden Rotary Club, said the group got the idea for the supermarket fundraiser from a Rotary Club in Richfield Springs that had done it.
Through a raffle one person is chosen to run through a grocery store for three minutes, collecting all the goods he or she can gather. The person can choose to keep all the goods, which The Dryden Food Market gave the rotary club a 10 percent discount on, or donate them to his or her charity of choice.
“To me it just sounded like a novel fundraiser that might be fun and that does not require a lot of man hours,” Scott said.
Basically selling the tickets is the only work involved.
From mid-June to mid-July the club sold tickets around the community, with the biggest ticket-selling day on Dryden Dairy Day, June 9. The group raised about $1,200, and all of that money will go toward the Rotary Club’s Youth Exchange Program.
The club will be doing its first exchange this summer, bringing a Brazilian student to study at Dryden High School and sending Sara Wood, a Dryden High School senior, to study in Japan. One exchange costs the rotary club between $2,000 and $3,000 a year, Scott said.
Banfield, the raffle winner, chose to donate the $290 worth of food he collected at the supermarket to the Freeville and McLean food pantries, after asking the Dryden Rotary Club for its input.
“Pantries are really hurting this time of year,” Scott said. “In summer, there’s not a lot going on.”
Ada Bryan, who works at both food pantries, said the food donated by Banfield will likely make up a third of the pantries’ food supply.
“We’re out there Monday, which will be great,” Bryan said about the Freeville food pantry.
The first time the Rotary Club conducted the fundraiser, in October, supermarket runner Dennis Wright, of Cortland, donated his food to the Dryden food pantry. From now on the group plans to conduct the fundraiser every July.
Dick Clark, owner of the grocery store, said he will host the event anytime the Rotary Club wants to hold it there.
Prior to Thursday’s event, Banfield’s wife and son stood toward the front of the store, excited to watch their family member do the grocery shopping quickly.
“It’s going to be so funny to watch him run,” said Joe Banfield, 20, a Tompkins Cortland Community College student who lives in Ithaca. “We’ve been picking on him all day.”
After the sweep Joe Banfield said he was a little disappointed his dad did not move a little quicker, but Diane Banfield, 53, said that was just fine with her.
“He stayed on his feet, that’s all I care about it,” she said.



Less than half of county Legislature seats to be contested

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — Just eight of 19 seats in the Cortland County Legislature will be contested this November, based on nominating petitions filed by Thursday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
The current eight-person Republican minority holds five of those contested seats, as the Democratic Party was able to produce seven new candidates to the Republicans’ four.
“Overall I’m thrilled with the number of people who came forward,” said Democratic Committee Chairman Bill Wood, who also serves as the Democratic Election Commissioner. “We had a lot of people who showed an interest in running and I think that shows that people still want to see change.”
Republican Committee Chairman Bob Howe, also the election commissioner for his party, said it was difficult to find party candidates, especially in the city where Democrats typically have thrived.
“Our strength has always been the outlaying areas, and it’s always been the reverse for the Democrats,” Howe said. “It’s not always easy to find candidates, I don’t know if it’s the national scene or what, but I’ll tell you this, I’m very confident in everybody we’ve got running.”
Democratic candidates Jeffrey Currie and Jennifer Gofkowski will challenge two sitting Republicans in Homer— Tom Williams and Newell Willcox, respectively — while Helen Rumsey will challenge John Steger (R-Preble and Scott) and Kathie Arnold will face Merwin Armstrong (R-Cuyler, Solon and Truxton).
Democrats Ric Van Donsel, who is currently county attorney, and Chad Loomis, will run for seats that will be vacated by Sean Clark (D-2nd Ward) and Legislature Chairman Marilyn Brown (D-8th Ward), respectively, and Mary Claire Penello will challenge for the seat vacated by Kay Breed (R-Cortlandville).
Meanwhile, of the new Republicans vying for seats, Eugene Waldbauer will face Penello for Breed’s seat, Anthony D’Lombo will square off against Van Donsel in the 2nd Ward, Kathie Wilcox will contest Ron Van Dee (R-5th Ward) and James Miller will oppose Steve Dafoe (D-Homer).
Incumbent Democrats John Troy (D-1st Ward), Carol Tytler (D-3rd Ward), Tom Hartnett (D-4th Ward), Don Spaulding (D-6th Ward), Dan Tagliente (D-7th Ward), John Daniels (D-Cortlandville), Sandy Price (D-Harford and Virgil) and Loomis are all currently unopposed, as are incumbent Republicans Danny Ross (R-Cortlandville), Mike McKee (R-Cincinnatus, Freetown, Taylor and Truxton) and Larry Cornell (R-Marathon and Lapeer.
Democratic candidate Patrick O’Mara will challenge Republican county Treasurer Don Ferris, and Democrat Barbara Faughan-Mehrhof will contend for one of the two county coroner positions currently held by Republican incumbents Kevin Sharp and Whitney Meeker.
“I feel very confident about our countywide positions, I think we’re very strong there,” Howe said, despite the opposition.
Sheriff Lee Price, a Democrat, and Republican County Clerk Elizabeth Larkin, who filed petitions signed by both parties, are both currently unopposed.
With no expected primaries based on the petitions filed, both Howe and Wood declined to discuss what issues would be pertinent during the run up to the elections in November, both saying that it would be up to the individual candidates.


TC3 waives tuition for vets returning from war

Staff reporter

DRYDEN — When college starts at Tompkins Cortland Community College Aug. 22, veterans returning from the Middle East conflict will have a semester of tuition waived.
The TC3 Board of Trustees approved the proposal, known as the “Welcome Home” resolution, Thursday night.
The measure allows the college to waive tuition for veterans living in New York for one semester for either qualified veterans or surviving family members.
The goal is to cover the gap veterans or surviving family members often face between when they are eligible for educational benefits and the point at which funding begins.
Ken Mangle, assistant director of financial aid, first proposed the waiver. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said, Thursday night. He said it is taking 10 to 12 weeks before veterans receive the benefits they are entitled to, and in the meantime, some of them have to find work and do not return to school. “This gives them a helping hand while they wait,” he said, explaining that the college will pay the costs not covered by financial aid.
Mangle said he did not know how many veterans it would affect, but expected the number to be low the first semester. He said he has talked to an Army official in Rochester and an education official with the National Guard, but they were unable to give estimates either. He said he does know of one person who took online classes while in Iraq during the spring semester.
“It’s designed for that first-time student,” Mangle said.
Mangle said 38 years ago he had returned from Vietnam and went to college under the GI bill.
Among other business Thursday, Bob Ross, dean of campus services, described the process of changing to peace officers for public safety on campus, rather than security guards, a process the board of trustees authorized Thursday night.
He said peace officers would have the power to arrest, detain and investigate crimes. He said as the campus gets larger, the peace officers would be more appropriate than having just security guards.
“We’re not doing it in reaction to anything bad happening,” he said.
Enrollment has steadily increased since the 1997-98 school year when, according to TC3 budget statistics, there were the equivalent of about 2,100 students. This year enrollment is projected at 3,450 full-time equivalent students.



5 Common Council seats contested, 2 from within party

Staff Reporter

Five of the seven incumbent Common Council members will see challengers this November, and in two wards, Democrats will be facing off in primary challenges.
Mayor Tom Gallagher will seek his third term as mayor, and this year looks like it will mark the second consecutive time he has gone unchallenged.
Meanwhile, incumbent Alderman Amy Cobb (D-3rd Ward) is moving out of town and vacating her seat, paving the way for an as-of-yet unchallenged Democratic candidate.
Most of the candidates have said solving recent flooding problems is one of their primary concerns, and housing and code issues have come to the forefront in recent months as the Common Council has tried to tackle residents’ concerns with multi-family and college housing.
The city is also confronting a pressing need for more space, and most of the candidates said they would be seeking to expand the cramped quarters inhabited by the fire department, the police department and the city administrative offices.
Incumbents Shannon Terwilliger (D-2nd Ward) and Nick DeCarlo (D-4th Ward) will have to fend off two newcomers in the primary, Democrats Clay Benedict and Brian Tobin, respectively.
Although county Democratic Party Chair Bill Wood has said that the challenging Democrats decided to run on their own accord without any urging from within the party, many have speculated that Terwilliger and DeCarlo were deliberately challenged by their own party.
Benedict received more than 150 signatures on his nominating petition, Wood pointed out Thursday afternoon, after the deadline for the petitions passed, and Tobin had 75; Wood said Terwilliger had 40 and DeCarlo received 20 signatures.
The 2nd Ward required a minimum of 19 signatures and the 4th Ward required 12, according to the Cortland County Board of Elections.
The minimum number represents 5 percent of party voters within the election district in the last gubernatorial election.
Two incumbent Republican aldermen, Dan Quail (5th Ward) and Tom Michales (8th Ward) will also face challengers. Democrat Terrence Benn Mays will take on Quail, while fellow Democrat Shawn Smith will vie for Michales’ seat.
Only one Republican is contesting an alderman seat held by a Democrat — Republican Alan Jones is running against incumbent Sue Feiszli (D-6th Ward).
Aldermen Val VanGorder (R-1st Ward) and Jim Partigianoni (D-7th Ward) are the only unchallenged incumbents, and only Democrat Ken Dye has announced his intent to seek Cobb’s 3rd Ward seat.
County Republican Party chair and county Republican Election Commissioner Bob Howe said residents must be happy with Gallagher’s performance as mayor, because no one decided to run against the Democratic mayor.
He and city Republican Party chair Don Colongeli have both said that there are few Republican candidates willing to come forward and run.



Democrats put up candidates in 3rd, 5th ward races

Two more Democratic candidates for Common Council filed petitions with the Board of Elections by Thursday’s deadline.
Ken Dye, of 13 Hamlin St., is unchallenged as he pursues the 3rd Ward seat being vacated by incumbent Democrat Amy Cobb, and Terrance Benn Mays, of 22 Stewart Place, is challenging 5th Ward Republican incumbent Dan Quail.
Dye said Thursday that having served nine years on the Board of Education before stepping down in 2005, the Democratic Party tapped him to fill the spot being left by Cobb, who is moving out of the city after two-terms on the council.
“There were a few issues we’d like to see corrected, so I decided to run,” Dye said. “One of the things that we need to do is to check on flooding issues in this area. We’ve lived here for four years, and we’ve had two flooding issues.”
The debate over the moratorium was “blown out of proportion,” Dye said, and he would instead like to see the city revise its code.
He also took issue with the costly and time-consuming repair of the Court Street Fire Station’s concrete bay floors last year, when the fire station should be replaced outright.
Dye, 59, is a materials storekeeper at BorgWarner Morse TEC. He previously spent nearly 35 years with NYSEG. He lives with his wife, Colleen, their three daughters and a grandson, Kollin Rae Dye.
Mays said he decided to run out of love and concern for his neighborhood.
“This side of town tends to get a bad rap, and there’s a lot of good things down here,” Mays, 43, said Thursday night, which happened to be his birthday.
As an emergency room nurse, Mays said listening to people is part of his job and he would transfer those same skills to the Common Council, listening to residents and “acting on it in a responsible manner.”
Mays said he would like to see projects such as the reconstruction of south Main Street, finished last fall, and Housing Visions’ $8 million low-income housing renovations carried even further.
“I’d also like to see a new fire hall. I know they’ve been talking about that for a number of years and I’d like to see them act on it,” Mays said, adding that he would learn more of what’s important to people after he’s begun going door-to-door campaigning.
He did not wish to comment on the performance of Quail, the incumbent.
Mays works for Rochester-based Sibley Nursing Personnel Service, and is assigned to emergency rooms across the state on a contractual basis, including the Cortland Regional Medical Center.
Originally from Clifton Springs in Ontario County, Mays said he and his partner, Diane Grey, bought the house on Stewart Place about a year ago after moving from southern Cayuga County. Grey’s children live with the couple, and Mays’ two children live elsewhere with their mother.
Mays has a two-year degree in nursing from Finger Lakes Community College and a bachelor’s degree in graphic arts from the University of Pennsylvania.
— Evan Geibel