December 17, 2007


Brunt of storm misses Cortland area


Photos by Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Don Eaton holds onto his hat as he battles wind and snow this morning while cleaning snow from his car in a Church Street parking lot. Eaton was going out to “pay some bills.”

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — Though a weekend storm left less snow than expected, additional snow and winds Sunday night and this morning blanketed the area.
“The reason it got bad is because of the wind behind the storm,” said Brian Lovejoy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Binghamton.
The winds picked up Sunday night into this morning.
The Cortland Standard measured city snowfall at 6 inches from Sunday morning to this morning and at 2 inches from Saturday into Sunday morning.
The County Sheriff’s Department responded to about 65 weather-related accidents between Friday afternoon and this morning, mostly along Interstate 81.
State Police responded to at least two-dozen weather-related accidents since Saturday morning, most occurring Sunday along I-81. City police said they had only responded to a handful of minor accidents over the weekend.
Undersheriff Herb Barnhart said this morning that three of the accidents his agency responded to included injuries, but details were not immediately available.
No major injuries were reported by the State Police, and the majority of the vehicles were undamaged and continued on their way after they were towed back onto the road.
The State Police responded to several accidents this morning involving overturned cars.
At 8:13 p.m. Sunday, according to State Police, whiteout conditions resulted in a tractor-trailer driving off I-81 in Cortlandville and into the median strip, where it could not be towed until daylight and a break in the weather. At 9 p.m. Sunday, a tractor-trailer on I-81 northbound in Marathon was blown off the road by the wind and had to be towed.
City Superintendent of Public Works Chris Bistocchi said plows were out Sunday at 4 a.m. and today at 3 a.m. to clear all city streets; the hill areas were the focus in-between the citywide plowing.
He said the problem in the city was a load of salt from Cargill, ordered Dec. 11, has not been delivered yet.
“We had to borrow salt from the county,” he said, noting the 20 tons borrowed had to be used sparingly.
Salt that was ordered Dec. 3 was used during the Thursday storm. Bistocchi said the city goes through about 150 tons of salt for each storm.
“Helen Avenue iced over on Saturday,” he said. He said flares were put up on the street as a warning.
Fire Capt. Scott Buchanan said city residents can help the fire department by clearing snow away from fire hydrants near their homes and places of business.
Area schools were delayed or canceled this morning. Both Dryden and Groton in Tompkins County closed, as did Cincinnatus and Cortland Christian academies and DeRuyter. Cincinnatus, Homer, Marathon and McGraw school districts all delayed openings for two hours. Cortland city schools were on a one-hour delay.
Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit announced that while all bus routes were in service, there were some delays in service this morning. Bus riders in Cortland County can also expect delays according to an official there.
“We knew that the forecast was not going to be certain,” said Lovejoy. He said there were two storms — one from the Midwest and a nor’easter along the coast. “The one in the Midwest was stronger than we thought and brought warm weather with it.”
Forecasts had varied but at one time had called for snow accumulations of between 12 and 24 inches for the area.
Lovejoy said the coastal storm came in and hit the Adirondacks and New England, mostly affecting areas of little population.
Staff reporters Ian Boudreau and Evan Geibel contributed to this article.




Santa and elves visit children at Cortland’s Waterworks

Staff Reporter

Santa Claus made his scheduled appointment Saturday and Sunday at the Cortland Waterworks on Broadway, despite cold temperatures Saturday and snow and ice on Sunday.
“It’d have to be pretty bad,” said Mike Dexter, of Cortland, who coordinates the visit for the city. “It might stop the kids, but it won’t stop Santa,” he added, of the weather.
Tiffany Barrows said she left her Woodruff Street home, only a few blocks away, at 3:30 p.m. Saturday so her four children would not have to wait in a long line. She remembered one year the line was out to the road.
This year there was still a wait.
Several children had lined up in front of Santa’s sleigh and his reindeer before Santa Claus appeared shortly after 4 p.m., strolling out of the Waterworks in back of a snow bank. As he started down the path along the wooded area where deer gathered, shouts of “Santa” rang out.
With Jason Barrows holding his 10-month-old son Jason Barrows Jr., the youngster received the first toy, a teddy bear, from boxes and bags filled with stuffed toys. His siblings followed: Isabella Barrows, 2; Wesley Breed, 5; and Diana Mejia, 8.
Although the children did not give Santa a list of what they wanted Saturday, tops on Diana’s list are a hot tub and a swimming pool.
“She wrote a list and gave it to me,” said her mother, Tiffany Barrows.
“I want Pepsi,” Wesley said.
Briana Schlicht, 8, of Marathon, came with her friend Angel Knight, 15, and her parents, Ruth and Rickie Knight, also of Marathon.
Santa started handing out stuffed kittens and cats when her turn neared. “I like cats the most,” she said, and when handed a stuffed cat she exclaimed, “I got the kitty!”


Grants benefit local schools

Funds support Virgil   Elementary after school program and McGraw history program.

Staff Reporter

State grants announced last week will help fund an after-school program at Virgil Elementary School and a history program at McGraw Middle School.
The school districts must match the grants that were appropriated by the state Senate through its Rural Education Advisory Committee.
Virgil Elementary in the Cortland City School District will receive $2,500 to fund its after school program for students who need it but cannot afford it.
The program is called BE REAL, which stands for Responsible citizens, Educationally sound, Agency collaborators, Linked to the community.
Elementary Principal Lynn New said the program, which includes homework assistance, will be done in collaboration with Tompkins Cortland Community College education students and the Virgil Youth Commission.
New said there would also be a community service aspect to the program with students working with the local senior citizens who meet at the Virgil Town Hall.
Another community aspect of the program will be for students to “adopt” the roadways around Virgil’s four corners. “They would keep the area clean,” New said.
The principal also said the Seven Valley Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and the Communities That Care Coalition would provide workshops on a variety of topics at the school in connection with the school’s health program.
“It means they’re going to work on their academics and also give back to the community,” New said.
New said the collaboration would also involve Cortland County Legislator Sandy Price, who works with the Youth Commission, and Joan Stivers, from Seven Valley.