November 12, 2007


Game draws crowds downtown


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland students and local fans watch the Cortaca Jug matchup between the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons and the Ithaca College Bombers on Saturday afternoon at Central City Bar and Grill in Downtown Cortland.

Staff Reporter

Crowds didn’t stop coming to Frank and Mary’s Diner all Cortaca Jug weekend long, according to the owner.
“Oh God, we turned away probably 250 people easy,” owner Tom Hartnett said. “We just had no room.”
Hartnett, who had three extra employees on during the day Saturday, was among downtown business owners, police officers and downtown celebrators who have found the Cortaca Jug weekend has become one of the busiest in downtown Cortland.
Even though the game was in Ithaca, some Cortland businesses were kept busy throughout the weekend by fans who came to the city to watch the game Saturday between SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College. Ithaca College won 40-17 in the 49th meeting of the colleges in the local rivalry.
Around noon on Saturday at Central City Bar & Grill, jam-packed crowds of red-shirted students, Cortland residents and SUNY Cortland alumni crowded around the restaurant’s nine big screen televisions in anticipation of the game’s kickoff.
“We said this is the weekend to come up,” said 21-year-old Charlie Spruyt, a Long Island resident who was visiting friends at SUNY Cortland.
Bob Brush, the head chef at Central City, said this was likely the bar’s biggest celebration to date at the tavern that opened in July.
The bar attracted more college students than it has in the past. It featured specials, such as free hotdogs and hamburgers, it hasn’t had before, he said.
“A lot of locals know we’re here and now so many people on campus found us here (this weekend), which was cool for us,” Brush said.
Numerous SUNY Cortland alumni meeting downtown said the Cortaca Jug game is the one event that draws them back to Cortland every year.
Former varsity volleyball players B.J. Carson, a 25-year-old Albany resident; James Peeler, a 25-year-old Maryland resident; and Jake Bluhm, 28, also from Albany, enjoyed drinks and sang to music that was playing.
They said about 20 of their friends were with them at the Red Jug Pub on Central Avenue, which was showing the game over its three televisions.
“It is like the unofficial Cortland reunion,” Carson said.
Former SUNY Cortland football players Bob Thompson, a 62-year-old Corning resident; William Wallace, 61, of Syracuse; and Bill McDermott, 60, of Cortland, were watching the game at The Tavern and reminiscing about their football days in the 1960s.
Back then the game was just called the “Cortland-Ithaca” game, many people didn’t know about the jug and the celebration wasn’t as large, they said.
“It was not as big back then,” Wallace said. “It really wasn’t. It’s like the town comes alive (now).”
Lt. Paul Sandy of the city police estimated that thousands of SUNY Cortland alumni travel to Cortland for the Cortaca Jug game.
Lt. John Gesin said the number of people coming to Cortland for the game and celebrating downtown has grown significantly since he joined the Cortland City Police Department in 1987.
“It’s a lot more advertised.,” he said.  “They talk about it as the biggest little game in the nation. The coverage, the notoriety has certainly grown, and with it the popularity.”
Gesin said eight extra police officers were working at any given time between 3 p.m. Saturday and 3 a.m. Sunday.
They were there to deal with mostly quality of life issues, such as open containers of alcohol, littering and fights. About 78 arrests were made, which is more than during past Cortaga Jug weekends, but it reflects the size of the celebration, he said.
“It’s a function of the number of people in the town,” he said.
Gesin said he sees Cortaca Jug festivities as an overall positive thing for the city, with the business that fans bring downtown merchants and life they give to the city.
He pointed out merchants have gotten more and more into the events, organizing Cortaga Jug specials and breakfasts.
Some people Saturday searched for some calm in all the festivities.
Mary Guido, a 47-year-old Cortland resident and SUNY Cortland custodian, was watching the game at Hairy Tony’s with her domestic partner, 55-year-old Dianne Bays, also a SUNY Cortland custodian over a plate of nachos.
The two had taken some time to find a bar where they could enjoy watching the game.
“You can’t really get a feel for the game because it doesn’t feel like everyone is into it,” she said about some of the bars. “The only time they pay attention is when there is a point change and they get a free Jello shot.”




Station may add Cortland towers

Staff Reporter

Cortland area residents could get access to an Ithaca-based progressive radio station in the coming years.
A group of Ithaca-area residents is considering two Cortland County sites as potential antenna locations for the station to strengthen the station’s signal in the county.
The station would give more Cortland area residents access to programs that provide non-mainstream viewpoints, such as Democracy Now!
It would also give residents access to more local programming, including news, concerts by regional groups and question and answer shows run by local experts in various fields.
The Ithaca Community Group, a nonprofit organization based in Ithaca, broadcasts WEOS, the station of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, on 88.1 FM.
That station, whose antenna is in Lansing, has spotty coverage in the Cortland area.
The Ithaca Community Group has applied for a license from the Federal Communications Commission to allow it to broadcast its own content and other syndicated programs that it would get directly, not through Hobart and William Smith.
To do that, it needs a primary radio frequency, as opposed to its current translator frequency. A translator frequency receives a signal from a primary frequency and retransmits it.
No frequencies were available in the Ithaca area, said Lyn Gerry, a member of the Ithaca Community Group’s board.
“Every single slot in there is taken by something,” Gerry said. “All these bands are chock full of stations either owned by colleges or churches. There’s not a single station that’s … by the community.”
But in outlying areas, such as Marathon, Homer, Watkins Glen and Odessa, there are available frequencies, Gerry said.
The group has applied to the FCC to put up an antenna on already existing towers at each of those locations. It only needs one antenna, but it has applied for more in the case other entities are vying for the frequencies.
Gerry said the Marathon location, which is on Route 11 just outside the village, would be ideal. Its primary frequency is the same as the Ithaca Community Group’s translator frequency, which makes things easier.
If the antenna were in Marathon, the station would be heard from Homer to Whitney Point and from Dryden to Cincinnatus. If it were in Homer, it would be heard from Tully to Marathon and from Groton to Cincinnatus.



Women’s business options showcased

Staff Reporter

CORTLANDVILLE — Cortland resident Anne Knight said her new business, which specializes in psychic readings and paranormal investigations, is a nice compliment to her job as a finished goods operator at Albany International.
“It’s actually just something I do for fun,” said Knight, 42.
Knight, who owns Lady Wolf, was among more than a dozen sales women and female business workers who showed off their products and services at the fourth annual “Women’s Business Showcase from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in a room at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex.
Displayers interviewed at Saturday’s event said their businesses may take up an additional five or 10 hours per week of their already busy lives, but at the same time they give them a source of sanity and fulfillment.
Many of the women said their full-time jobs or time spent with kids exercise certain skills, while selling products or running a business on the side exercise other skills.
Charmagne Rumgay, a 43-year-old Groton resident who sells Lia Sophia jewelry, said the job is a nice switch from number crunching for her full-time accounting job with the town of Lansing.
“I cut back (selling jewelry) for a while and really missed the people,” she said, noting parties and networking events are a big part of her job. “I missed talking to people and things.”
On Saturday, in between talking to customers, she chatted with Melissa Killeleagh, a 30-year-old Romulus resident who was selling Arbonne International skin products. The two already knew each other from attending other shows.
Lori Deeb, a 39-year-old Groton resident, said owning The Bagg Lady, a business that  sells colorful clothing she has handpicked in New York City, has given her a chance to exercise her creativity.
Whereas her full-time job as a financial advisor with Student Management Corp. in Ithaca is great for a paycheck, selling hard-to-find clothing is great for the soul.
“I go shopping in New York City every three weeks,” she said.
Carla Nielson, a 41-year-old Cortland resident who sells PartyLite candles, said as a stay-at-home mom of two children she needed something that would help her connect with other people her age.
“I do this for my sanity,” she said. “If candles aren’t your passion you need to find out what is.”