August 13, 2007


‘It still works every single day’

Brockway legacy continues at 8th annual truck show


Bob Ellis/staff photographer    
Jim VanCise Jr., of Homer, is reflected in the hood of a recently refurbished 1964 Brockway owned by Tom Kile, also of Homer, during the eighth annual Brockway Truck Show Saturday on Main Street in Cortland. The show this year featured 102 trucks.

Staff Reporter

Bud Sammarco was born nearly 20 years after Brockway manufactured its last vehicle, but that isn’t going to get in the way of his plans to use the Cortland-built trucks in his future towing business.
Sitting in the cab of his grandfather’s 1973 tanker, Sammarco, 12, of Union, N.H., showed younger children how to put the truck in gear, where the clutch was, and then while startling unexpected bystanders, encouraged them pull the air horn cable.
“It’s a 13-gear Road Ranger,” Sammarco, said of the truck. “I want to drive but Papa won’t let me.”
Sammarco was one of more than 100 participants to take part in the eighth annual Brockway Truck Show, which celebrates the company that began building trucks in Homer in 1910 as the Brockway Carriage Works. The company became a staple of Cortland County for nearly 70 years, shipping trucks all over the world, until it went out of business in 1977.
Sammarco said this is the third year he has come with his grandfather, Jim Ratta, to the show, twice entering and once coming as spectators.
“It still works every single day,” Ratta said of his Brockway, which he bought brand new and still uses in his waste removal business.
Sammarco said that in New Hampshire he has a 1973 Brockway of his own, which he plans to restore and bring to the annual Cortland show. He says — just like his grandfather — his Brockway won’t be just for show.
“I’m going to make it into a tow truck,” he said. “I’m going to open my own tow truck business when I get older.”
Hugh Riehlman, vice president of the Brockway Truck Preservation Association, said there were 102 trucks at this year’s parade and show, just short of last year’s record of 106. He said this year there were several new participants who entered trucks for the first time, and a strong showing in crowd numbers.
“I think the crowd is better than we’ve had,” he said. “It’s been great weather.”
In addition to the show, Brockway lovers were also afforded the opportunity to tour the future Brockway Museum on Route 11 in Cortland. Riehlman said that the preservation society, along with the Homer-Cortland Community Agency, hopes to open the museum in two years. He said the organization owns the building but needs to raise around another $2 million in order to get it ready to open. He said around $200,000 has already been raised toward the effort.
Dave and Loraine Umstadter of Monroeton, Pa., came to the show for the first time this year. Dave Umstadter said he discovered the show while searching the Internet for parts for the 1954 Brockway that he bought around a year ago.
He said he and his wife enjoyed the city and the show, and that he plans to enter his truck in the future.
“Basically I’ve gotten a lot of information on where to find parts,” he said, adding that he received restoration tips from other Brockway enthusiasts.
Pete Heller of Cortland was at the show with his 6-year-old son, Brian Heller. He drove Brockway trucks when he worked for Suit-Kote Corp. and said he has come to the show almost every year. He was impressed with the way it has grown.
“There wasn’t very many trucks at the first one,” he said, estimating the show is four times larger than it was in 2000.
Brain, who is learning to identify the models and features of each of the trucks, simply said he thought they were “cool.”



In dismissing CAPE lawsuit —

Judge says town’s Wal-Mart review adequate

Staff Reporter

CORTLANDVILLE — In dismissing a lawsuit filed against the town and Wal-Mart, a state judge concluded the town conducted a thorough review of the company’s Supercenter planned for Route 13.
Sixth Judicial District Supreme Court Judge Ferris Lebous dismissed the Article 78 lawsuit against the town, the Town Board and Wal-Mart Stores East LLC on Friday.
The decision was handed down just one day after the project received an Aquifer Protection Permit — the final approval required of the Town Board.
A copy of the decision was released by the town attorney this morning.
The lawsuit sought to halt the development of the 205,000-square-foot Supercenter and revisit the State Environmental Quality Review Act process, which lasted more than a year and a half and concluded in November.
Attorneys for the defendants had filed motions to dismiss based on a lack of standing for the plaintiff, Citizens for Aquifer Protection and Employment, and a failure to state a cause of action. The judge accepted the plaintiffs’ standing but dismissed the case on the basis of the failure to state a cause of action.
Town Attorney John Folmer said this morning that in order to state a cause of action, a plaintiff has to provide proof of a valid claim.
“In order for a court to even act on something, you have to allege enough facts to spell out that you have a basis upon which to make a claim,” Folmer said. “In order to successfully make the claim, you would have to show that the town had not followed, procedurally and substantively, the requirements of SEQRA.”
Citizens for Environmental Protection and Employment, or CAPE, had alleged that the town had failed, as required by SEQRA, to identify and mitigate adverse environmental impact to the maximum extent practicable; specifically, potential impacts to the aquifer, endangered species, flooding, traffic and noise.
In his decision, Lebous paraphrased the arguments of the attorneys for the town and Wal-Mart, stating “the petitioners’ allegations are nothing more than mere disagreements with the Town Board’s ultimate determinations, rather than genuine claims that the Town Board wholly failed to consider any of these issues.”
Lebous said the limited issue for review is whether the town identified the relevant areas of environmental concern, took a “hard look” at them and made a “reasoned elaboration” of the basis for determination.
He listed the actions taken by the town and its engineers to identify environmental impacts, as well as the mitigation efforts required of Wal-Mart.
Lebous found the Town Board properly followed the procedural mandates of SEQRA over a two-year period.
“These monitoring and mitigation measures demonstrate the Applicant’s (Wal-Mart’s) intent to minimize potential risks to the aquifer beneath the proposed Wal-Mart site. While it is not possible to eliminate all risk to the aquifer, the (SEQRA) Findings Statement has indicated that the Applicant has minimized these risks to the greatest extent applicable,” Lebous says in the decision.
“We were very careful as we went through the process to try and do it correctly, and apparently the court agreed that we did,” Folmer said.
CAPE’s attorney, Mindy Zoghlin of Rochester-based Bansbach, Zoghlin & Wahl, did not return phone calls for comment Friday and this morning.
Plaintiff and CAPE Treasurer Jamie Dangler said this morning she has been unable to review the decision and could not offer comment yet.
Folmer said CAPE would have the right to appeal the decision within 30 days of the filing of the decision in the Cortland County Clerk’s Office.
An appeal had not been filed in the clerk’s office as of this morning.
Wal-Mart Public Affairs Senior Manager Philip Serghini said in an e-mail this morning that “Once all litigation is settled and we have a clear path to construct out store, it will take about one year.”



10th annual Farm City Day comes back to were it began

Staff Reporter

DRYDEN — Now in its 10th year, the Tompkins County Farm City Day hosted more than 500 participants Saturday, teaching visitors about all aspects of local farming.
Debbie Teeter, agricultural awareness coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, said the event rotates through different farms every year. This year’s host, Lew-Lin Farms on Livermore Road, was the first farm to have the event in 1998.
“Our goal is for people to see a working farm,” Teeter said.
During this year’s Farm City Day participants took hayrides around Lewis and Linda Stuttle’s 450-cow dairy farm, which operates on more than 400 acres of land.
Several activities were also available for children and adults to learn about farming, and play games and buy food.
With 10 tents set up on site, event-goers were offered cheese samples, lessons on dairy food nutrition, apple orchards and home composting, as well as a silent auction.
“This farm is in the watershed area,” explained Kari Richards of the Cayuga Watershed Network.
Richards, who has volunteered at the event for the last three years, said she was instructing people about ways to manage water in their areas, and giving away free candy.
Across the tent at a table piled high with squash, cucumbers and other vegetables, Monica Roth, of Cornell Cooperative Extension — which co-sponsored the event — led children in “vegetable art.”
“It’s amazing what they come up with,” Roth said, explaining that the activity teaches children about which vegetables are in season and allows them to have fun, making faces and animals by using toothpicks to attach the different vegetables together.
Dan and Mary Dostie of Dryden came to the farm with their two daughters, Claire, 5, and Helen, 7.
Dan Dostie said he is familiar with Lew-Lin Farms both as a neighbor and through his work as a conservationist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He said he works with the Stuttles regularly through conservation efforts on their farm, and that he has attended Farm City Day in the past.
“They like the calves,” he said of his daughters.