November 17, 2007


Thanksgiving dinner feeds 150


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Loaves and Fishes volunteer server Joe Hayes rushes to serve his arm full of desserts to diners, including Junior Bennett, center. Loaves and Fishes held its annual Thanksgiving dinner at Grace Episcopal Church Friday afternoon.

Staff Reporter

With just $49 in food stamps a month and no other money for food, for the last two years John Griffin has been coming to Loaves and Fishes for daily meals.
“If it wasn’t for them being here I don’t know what I’d do,” said Griffin, a 62-year-old Cortland resident. “I’d have to go to the food pantry.”
Griffin was among about 150 people who enjoyed Thanksgiving Dinner Friday at Grace Episcopal Church through Loaves and Fishes, a soup kitchen.
Many of those people, like Griffin, came because they needed to, while others came to enjoy a good meal with friends, family and acquaintances.
Chuck Keener, a 56-year-old Cortland resident, had seconds at dinner Friday. “It’s like homemade,” he said, looking down at a plate of stuffing, turkey, potatoes and mixed vegetables he had just sprinkled with pepper.
While Keener attended the Thanksgiving Dinner largely because he does not have a lot of money, he also attended it for the company.
His family moved to South Carolina a couple of years ago, he said, and he has no one to have holiday meals with.
“It’s better than no Thanksgiving meal,” Keener said.
People enjoying the dinner socialized with people at their table, people they had come with and with volunteers who were serving them food.
Lorraine Hall, a 48-year-old Cortland resident who has eaten on and off at Loaves and Fishes, depending on how things are going financially, said volunteers are one of the best parts of the experience.
“They’re all great,” she said. “They like joking around and everything.”
Kim Hill, 45, a Solon resident and executive director of Loaves and Fishes, said about 45 volunteers helped out with the Thanksgiving Dinner Friday.
Those volunteers included regular Loaves and Fishes volunteers, such as Joe Hayes, 30, a Cortlandville resident, and Richard Schreffler, 53, a Cortland resident, students from SUNY Cortland, students from Cortland High School and 12 members of the River Valley 4-H Club.
4-H Club members Mikayla MacNeill and Mary Cope, both 11-year-old Homer residents, went from table to table, making sure pies were served.
Going together was a strategy, Cope said. MacNeill held the pie tray and she responded to other requests, she said.
“I pretty much follow around because if people want butter or water I can get it,” she said.
Hill said 14 turkeys were cooked for the Thanksgiving meal, all of which had been donated by individuals and companies such as Plainville Farms.
All the other food also came from donations. Milk was the only cost Loaves and Fishes had to cover, Hill said, and that cost less than $100.
Hill said attendance at the dinner was relatively low compared to previous years, which could partly be attributed to the cold and snowy weather.
Also, there are at least two other free Thanksgiving Dinners open to the public this weekend, including one at the Salvation Army Sunday, she said.
Despite the lower attendance, the ones who did attend enjoyed themselves.
Sixty-seven-year-old Cortland resident Rachel Murray and 59-year-old Debbie Keller attended the event for the first time Friday, thanks to their friend Peggy Little, 55, a Cortland resident who regularly attends Loaves and Fishes.
Both Murray and Keller have lost their husbands in recent years, and were glad to have an opportunity to get their minds off their loss.
“It gives us a chance to get out in the evening,” Murray said.




During illegal hunting trip —

C’ville man shot, killed by uncle

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — A Cortlandville man was shot and killed by his uncle on Salt Road in Summerhill Friday morning while the pair were illegally hunting deer, one day before the opening of the official gun season for deer.
Ricky A. Huffman, 33, of 11 Lorraine Drive, Cortlandville, was shot in the abdomen at about 7:30 a.m. Friday. He died at the scene, on property owned by relatives off Salt Road, about a mile south of Filmore Road.
The Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office charged Michael A. Hall Sr., 49, or 1306 Salt Road, Moravia, with criminally negligent homicide, a felony. He was arraigned in Throop Town Court Friday afternoon and sent to the Cayuga County Jail with bail set at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond.
Further charges from state Department of Environmental Conservation police are pending; official shotgun season for deer opened today at dawn.
The arrest was a result of a joint investigation by Cayuga County Police, the Cayuga County District Attorney’s office and the DEC Police.
According to a press release from the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Department, Hall and Huffman entered the forest early Friday morning and were hunting deer on family-owned land. They split up — Hall fired his 20-gauge shotgun at what he believed to be a deer and hit Huffman, who was wearing camouflage clothing and an orange knit hat. Cayuga County Sheriff’s Lt. Joseph Weeks said the two were alone in the woods and about 44 yards apart.
The investigation revealed there were no deer present at the location when the shot was fired.
Alcohol was not a factor, Weeks said.
The Cayuga County 911 center received a call at 7:46 a.m. indicating that a hunter had been shot.
Weeks said the hunters were “a good ways” into the woods, since it took Hall 15 minutes or more to make it to a telephone to report the accident.
“It’s a prime example of why deer hunters need to properly identify their target before shooting,” Weeks said Friday evening, adding that blaze orange clothes, rather than camouflage, should be worn while in the woods during gun hunting seasons.
The sheriff’s office, DEC Police, the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office, the Cayuga County Coroner’s Office, Four Town Ambulance and the Sempronius and Homer fire departments responded to the scene.



BorgWarner workers will stay unionized, but union unknown

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — More than 1,000 workers at BorgWarner’s Cortlandville and Ithaca plants will stay unionized, but it is unknown which union will represent them.
A vote by workers held Friday at the company’s three local plants resulted in 397 votes for the Teamsters, 393 votes for the International Association of Machinists and 215 for no union, said Barney Horowitz, a resident officer with the National Labor Relations Board’s Albany office.
Since no majority winner resulted, another vote will take place between the top two vote-getters, Horowitz said.
That vote should take place sometime before the end of December, he said. He anticipated the vote will be scheduled by the end of this month.
The Teamsters, the International Association of Machinists, which currently represent BorgWarner workers, and BorgWarner, which supported the no-union option, have a week to file any grievance over the vote, Horowitz said.
A grievance could slow down the union status process, Horowitz said.




TC3 needs sewer district expansion

Staff Reporter

DRYDEN — The newest Tompkins Cortland Community College dorm was built outside the town sewer district and the town is considering moving the boundary to accommodate it
During its meeting Thursday, the Village Board discussed a request by the town to enlarge the boundary of the Cortland Road Sewer District, which includes much of TC3’s Route 13 campus. The village serves the sewer district in the town.
TC3 President Carl Haynes said Friday no one noticed the that the college’s fifth dorm, completed during the summer, was outside the sewer district boundary that runs through the middle of the campus.
Haynes said the college is asking for the sewer district boundary to be moved south to the college’s property line.
Village Attorney David Dubow said the town would have to hold a public hearing to change the boundary because the sewer district is in the town.
Haynes said the college is working on designs and financing for two additional dorms, which it hopes to open in the fall of 2009. They would be about the same size as the other dorms, which each house about 135 students.
Haynes said Friday he hoped moving the boundary south to the edge of the college’s property line would bring the fifth dorm into the district and clear the way for additional construction on campus.
While the college recently added about 27 acres to the campus through a combination of a donation and payment, no plans have been made for the use of the land, Haynes said. He said the land is to the north of the property already owned by the college and has frontage on Route 13.
Board members Thursday also discussed new dorm connections into the village sewer system as a Cortland Road Sewer District user.
Dubow said the college is changing more toilets to low flush models that use about half the water per flush than normal toilets use. Officials indicated in a letter that the college would not be changing the net number it uses.
Currently there is a moratorium on building in the Cortland Road Sewer District because of uncertainty over whether the village plant can handle more sewage in the current plant, which is more than 40 years old. Dubow said the village should have verification that no more sewage is being processed in the village plant from TC3.



Truxton depot renovation nears completion

19th century structure being remodeled to function as town offices and town courtroom

Staff Reporter

TRUXTON — Most of the restoration work to the exterior of the town’s historic former railroad depot has been completed, with remaining work to the depot hoped to be wrapped up by next summer.
The depot, which is about 135 years old and near John J. McGraw Park, is being renovated to house town offices and the town court.
Court is now held upstairs in the Fire Hall on Main Street, which is not wheelchair accessible, and Town Board meetings are held in Town Clerk Kim Reakes’ home.
Records are stored both in Reakes’ home and in a trailer on the highway department grounds on Route 91.
Over the spring and summer, general contractor Bill Kline repaired siding, chipped away old paint and painted the brown structure light green and red, and did some window and door repair work.
Kline, who was hired by the Town Board for about $63,000, said he expects to complete installing new windows and doors by the end of the year.
Kline had put in a bid for $58,000 to do foundation work as well, but the town decided it could do the work with a group of volunteers.
The volunteers, including mason Ted Grinnell, did the work in fall 2006, costing the town $12,000 for materials. They did more work in July, painting the roof from white to red.
Reakes said volunteers are an integral part of the depot restoration project. About 30 town residents have helped out in some way, she said.
“It’s very important to us to have grant money and volunteers,” Reakes said. “We did not want to send this back on the taxpayers.”
So far the town has received $96,000 in state grant funding and $13,500 in private donations for the project, $3,500 of which came from a bottle and can drive at Reakes Country Goods in Truxton, which is owned by Reakes’ in-laws.
The overall project cost, including interior renovations, should be more than $200,000, thanks to volunteer help, Reakes’ said.
The town has applied for an $8,000 justice court grant and is considering applying for more grants to help cover any remaining cost, she said.
The town is still seeking more donations but can use up to $75,000 in its reserves for the project.