Super Campers take night outing


Photos by Bob Ellis/staff photographer
The sun sets Thursday evening on Nikea Ulrich as she zips up her tent at the Super Campers campsite at Lime Hollow Center for Environment and Culture. At left is camper Kerry Mullins.

Staff Reporter

CORTLANDVILLE — Super Campers at Lime Hollow Center for Environment and Culture learned valuable lessons about nature last week.
The energetic 9- through 12-year-olds went on daily hikes, conducted experiments with clay salamanders and capped the week off with an overnight camping trip.
However, as camp counselor Ben Hale explained, part of being a Super Camper is learning what to do when nature calls.
Hail’s informative speech about how to dig holes and properly dispose of waste prompted hearty laughs from the 31 campers, who were learning serious lessons about nature, while enjoying a summer night in the forest.
The campers made an intense 45-minute hike along the trails of Lime Hollow on Thursday, wearing backpacks filled with spare clothes, snacks and Friday morning’s breakfast.
When they arrived at a clearing just off McLean Road at around 5 p.m., the campers unload their gear from the counselor’s vehicles before setting up their tents and getting ready to cook hot dogs, make s’mores and tell ghost stories.
With typical camper ages ranging from 5 through 12, Monday marked the beginning of a special week at the camp where only the older campers were invited.
Nathan Ulrich, 10, of Homer said the change was an improvement in the maturity level.
“It’s a lot of work,” he said about weeks when the young children attend the camp. “They’re_always running around screaming. Now it’s peaceful.”
Most of the children attending the camp are residence of Cortland County, and several have been to the day camp multiply times. However, this year was the first time that the camp has offered a Super Camper Week, and the first overnight outing.
Joe Misto, 11, of Parker Elementary School was a first-time camper who said he planned on coming to the camp with a friend who later canceled. However, Misto added he made a new friend in the process.
“I was hoping it would be fun and I made friends with Austin,” he said.
Misto, like many campers, sited the rock quarry as his favorite natural feature of the preserve, saying he loves the climb to the top of the hills and then recklessly sliding back down. Misto said he planned to get up at 5 a.m. Friday to climb the cold sand hills while giving an early wake up to camp counselor Molly Reagan and the rest of the camp.
“I’m going to get my little blow horn out and bam, everybody is up at 5,” he said.
Austin Brecht, 12, of Dryden said he and Misto became best buddies just because they were both so cool.
“Because he’s cool,” he said of Misto, “He’s Joe. We play games and walk on the trails_together.”
Courtney Shute, 23, of Cortland, is a full-time employee at Lime Hollow who works at the camp during the summer and leads field trips during the winter.
“We’ve done a cool experiment,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know why yellow spotted salamanders have spots because they are not poisonous. A lot of time when things have bright colors they are poisonous. So we took clay, and half of us made the salamanders that were just black and half made ones with yellow spots on them and we set them in the forest and we’re going to see which ones have gotten more pecks marks.”
Shute said that if the yellow-spotted salamanders have less pecks from predators then it would support the idea that the spots are developed as a defense mechanism.
This was Reagan’s first summer camp with the children and she said it has been rewarding to see the children discover new things.
“This one kid was so cute,” she said. “He was like, ‘Whoa, I can’t believe you can eat these berries, that’s so cool.”



County to consider plan for new dispatch consoles

Staff Reporter

The relocation of the county Sheriff Department’s dispatch center and the subsequent reshuffling of some county offices may soon get underway with the purchase of new equipment for dispatch.
Both the Judiciary and Public Safety and the Budget and Finance committees on Thursday forwarded resolutions to the full Legislature for the purchase of new consoles for the county Sheriff’s Department’s dispatch center.
The $290,000 contract with California-based Moducom, which calls for seven new consoles, will be voted on by the full Legislature at its Thursday meeting.
The new consoles would allow dispatchers to determine the location of incoming calls coming from cell phones, Sheriff Lee Price told the committee.
“Those old consoles are 15 years old and really outdated,” JPS Committee Chairman John Daniels said. “We’ve got to give them what they need now, and because they’re all computer-based, we should be able to upgrade when we need to down the road.”
The consoles will be placed on the third floor of the Public Safety Building, where the dispatch center is scheduled to move to, and Moducom has agreed to complete the work by Nov. 30, said County Administrator Scott Schrader.
Schrader did not have a written resolution available for the contract, but said he would have one ready for the legislative session, and stressed the importance of utilizing available grant money immediately.
“This is somewhat time sensitive because we only have until the end of the year to spend this money,” Schrader said.
The county has $190,000 in state and federal money set aside to bring its dispatch center into compliance with federal Homeland Security Program standards, Schrader said.





Defendant requests a special  prosecutor

Staff Reporter

The lawyer for a man facing a stiffer sentence for burglaries in 2003 and 2004 is seeking a special prosecutor because an assistant district attorney is a witness in a June case that prompted a review of the sentence.
Sean Orphan, 22, of 89 1/2 Maple Ave. may receive a harsher penalty than the 5 1/2 year plea bargain because he is accused of an attempted robbery in June and a burglary in July while awaiting sentencing in the earlier cases.
During the Friday hearing to reconsider the sentence, Orphan’s lawyer, Edward W. Goehler, filed a motion to have the county District Attorney’s office removed from prosecuting the case.
Goehler said Assistant District Attorney Erin Pemberton reported a July 5 robbery in the city that five men, including Orphan, are accused of committing.
Orphan pleaded guilty June 6 to two counts of second-degree burglary, a felony, and two counts of petit larceny, a misdemeanor, for incidents on April 3, 2005, and Sept. 30, 2004.
County Court for Judge William F. Ames held a hearing to consider a more severe penalty for Orphan. He reserved decision in the matter.
Orphan to the Cortland Standard on his way out of court said he was being “unjustly prosecuted.”
He was visibly upset after Ames implied he will not order a change of prosecutors. Orphan looked at his mother with teary eyes, telling her he will win on appeal.
After pleading guilty in June, Orphan was released pending sentencing on July 11. Less than a month later, he was arrested two more times.
First, Orphan was charged with third-degree burglary and criminal mischief on July 4 when a maintenance worker caught him after he allegedly broke into the Cortland Country Club. Orphan was indicted Friday on one count each of third-degree burglary, a felony, and criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, in that case. He pleaded not guilty Friday in County Court.
On July 5, he was arrested again while in police custody, for second-degree attempted robbery, a felony, for the June 28 incident.
Police said that on June 28, Orphan and three other men surrounded a walking couple and attempted to rob them.
A 23-year-old man told police the foursome tried to rob him on Miller Street but Pemberton yelled that she was calling the police, scaring off the four men.