September 24, 2007


Hollenbeck’s Cider Mill opens for 75th year


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Don Collier of Homer keeps an eye on the doughnut machine as Amanda Wayman and her 5 year-old daughter Natalia watch doughnuts being made at Hollenbeck’s Cider Mill Saturday.

Staff Reporter

VIRGIL — For many, fall in Cortland County is associated with one place in particular — Hollenbeck’s Cider Mill.
A nicer day than Saturday couldn’t be had for the opening of the store’s 75th year, Arlene Knutt of Cortland said as she sat on a bench outside with sisters Joyce Youngs of Columbia, Ky., and Jeany Horton of Cortland.
“I came for the doughnuts,” Knutt admitted, before adding “and the Cortland apples. I’m sitting in my chair and I say ‘Ooh, I can smell the doughnuts all the way in Cortland.”
Horton said she has been coming to Hollenbeck’s on Route 392 in Virgil for 50 years and has seen the store expand and expand.
“They used to have just cider — now they have everything. All kinds of stuff,” Horton said.
Hundreds of people moved through the cider mill, making their rounds through cider and doughnuts, pies and candy, and fruit and cheeses.
Many chose to enjoy the day at the picnic tables outside, as did Tony Dalola, his daughter Bethany Stiles, and her son, Ethan Stiles, 8. Bethany Stiles said they “had to take advantage of it” and take a little ride out of Cortland.
Dalola said the cider mill is only two years older than he is and that he has been coming his entire life.
“It’s just a nice place for the whole family,” Stiles said.
She turned to her son.
“What’d you say about cider today? It’s your favorite non-caffeinated drink?”
A quiet Ethan smiled his assent but was quick to name his favorite feature of the cider mill: “Apples!”
“And the grandmas couldn’t come so we’re bringing back pies,” Stiles said.
Cornell University student Liz Sheldon of Lansing had come over with Virginia Tech student Zach Lacelle, also of Lansing, enjoying the sun at a picnic table.
“At Cornell, there’s a lot of people who don’t know about it and couldn’t come today, so we’re bringing back doughnuts,” Sheldon said.
Lacelle was leaving for school soon and wanted an autumn-time souvenir.
“I’m going to bring apples and cider back, and maybe some pie,” Lacelle said, “possibly, if it makes it.”
They both remembered the old but still hard-at-workcider press inside as their favorite part of coming to the cider mill when they were younger.
As storeowner Bruce Hollenbeck and an employee worked the press inside, the newly initiated Andra Myers of Syracuse marveled at each step.
A canvas sheet is placed in a shallow mold and Hollenbeck uses a hose to put down a layer of chunks of freshly chopped apples.
The sheet is folded over onto itself and a wooden palette is set on top for the next layer of canvas and apples. Eventually, the layers of canvas, apples and wood are taller than many of the children who line up behind the chain to watch the process.
After the placement of the wooden planks on top, the old press is turned on and the sweet brown liquid flows down the side and over to where employees tirelessly fill gallon and half-gallon plastic bottles — after the proper safety protocols are followed.
Former Cortland resident Jeff Obold, also of Syracuse, had brought Myers to the cider mill for the first time last year after the couple returned to the area.
Obold said he found the mill by accident on his way to nearby Greek Peak Ski Resort many years ago, but that he and Myers plan on making the trip south as often as possible.
After nine seasons as an employee at Hollenbecks, Meghan Johnson certainly has a feel for tradition.
“Every time the third week in September comes along, I know it’s going to be crazy, but that’s what makes it fun,” Johnson said in a rare break between customers.
Hollenbeck himself can understand — with the cider mill open and the general maintenance finished after a summer’s worth of work, he can finally begin thinking about plans to celebrate three-quarters of a century of business.
He took over the business from his parents, Harold and Inez Hollenbeck, in 1972.
“This last week I’ve thought of some things we can do, and I might still do that,” Hollenbeck said this morning.
He’s thinking that perhaps a fife and drum corps in the outdoors would make for a nice way to spend some time outside in the country air.



Bicentennial Committee selects logo contest winner

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — A logo designed by a city woman that features a tree-lined landscape and the county Courthouse has been chosen as the winner of the county’s bicentennial logo contest.
The Cortland County Bicentennial Committee announced the winner this morning.
“I didn’t expect to win or anything like that,” said Doreen Warholic, 42, of Central Avenue, a freelance graphic designer who also works full time at Graphics Plus Printing. “My boss had suggested, ‘Why don’t you do that to help the community.’ I was home one afternoon and I thought, ‘I’ll try it out.’”
The public cast votes for their favorite logos Wednesday at the East End Community Center. Eighty-one votes were cast for first, second and third place logos.
All first place votes received three points; second place votes earned two points; and third place votes, one.
Doreen Warholic’s logo, which will be featured on all Bicentennial publications and merchandise, received a total of 53 points.
The logo announces the 200-year anniversary of Cortland County in the foreground. The background shows the rolling hills and picturesque landscape that can be seen throughout Cortland County and the Courthouse.
Two lines represent Interstate 81, while a meandering river represents the Tioughnioga River.
Warholic, who designed her graphic with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, said it was very important for her to reflect Cortland County’s identity in her logo.
“I did a lot of research looking at other cities and towns and what they were doing, and if they had a _bicentennial or anything like that,” she said. “I noticed a lot of them didn’t really represent their town.”
Warholic, who submitted two logos to the contest, said the winning logo took her about four hours to complete.
County Historian Jeremy Boylan said 75 logos were entered in the contest, and 27 of those were made available for the public to vote on. Those 27 were selected based on historical significance and artistic ability.
“All the entries were great because they represented the heart and soul of both the county and the artists,” Boylan said. “The winning logo combines the proud history of our county with a professional and clear message.”



Fans make sport of pregame

Perfect fall day shines down on tailgaters at Red Dragons’ game 

Staff Reporter

The spectators streamed across the fields on their way to the stadium, fist-pumping rock anthems booming out over the parking lots.
Portable tables and tailgates offered ample sitting and eating room in the special section of the lot near the SUNY Cortland Park Center, which was cordoned off for players’ families and alumni.
SUNY Cortland beat Buffalo State 30-27 on Saturday, and the weather proved perfect for setting up a tailgate party.
Fans of freshman football player Joe Sayre had plenty of reason to party in the parking lot beforehand, even if the offensive tackle had broken his foot in the preseason and would be sitting this game out — it was also Sayre’s birthday.
Sayre was smart enough to commandeer the cake that his family brought for him, said his great aunt, Ceil Sayre of Rochester. She said she was glad the weather turned out to be near perfect because the rain and thunder last week had dampened the pregame festivities.
The children threw the football and Dave Williams, Sayre’s father, packed up the fruit salad and the beans so the family could head inside to support the team.
“He’s nonrostered this year but he’ll be here for the next five, I guess,” Williams said.
Just down the sidewalk a short distance, Brian Robison talked with fellow Groton resident Buddy Lang. They each have a son on the team — Senior Brad Robison, a defensive end and captain, and Jeff Lang, a wide receiver, kicker and punter.
Brian Robison said he comes to every home game and he likes that there is a special section for the players’ families and the alums.
“We get here at 10, get set up, and family and friends start to filter in,” Robison said.
“We get the menu set for next weekend, in terms of who brings what,” Lang said.
In the center of the parking lot, Jenna Crispo of Eastchester in Westchester County was making her first trip to Cortland to see her brother, sophomore Lou Crispo.
The player’s father, also Lou Crispo, said he hoped his son would be starting for the first time Saturday.
“Hopefully his first of many, so we’ll have to see. This is his opportunity to prove himself,” the elder Crispo said, acknowledging he was nervous about the game in which his son did start.
“I can’t wait to get in there. We’ve got a lot of people that we have to get settled,” into the stadium, Crispo said.
Current SUNY Cortland junior Chris Totten of Westchester started a tailgate tradition of his own, turning out for the first time to support his best friend and team captain Kyle Pierce.
“We’re pumped,” Totten said. “It’s a beautiful day with a football game — what else do you do on a Saturday?”




Marathon boat launch expected to be ready by late fall

Project to build 25-foot by 6-foot  concrete dock scaled back due to cost.

Staff Reporter

MARATHON — The construction of a canoe launch on the Tioughnioga River in the village is expected to begin this week.
The project bid to build the 25-foot long, 6-foot wide concrete dock was awarded for $71,649 to 21st Century Pools in Vestal.
This was the second bidding process that the village conducted. Ken Teter, design engineer for the project who works for the village, said the first bids in August came in too high so village officials revamped the project to receive more manageable bids.
The project was scaled down approximately 20 percent.
“The project is still the same, we haven’t lost anything,” Teter said. “We kept all the essential pieces but scaled down the dimensions.”
The rebidding ended Sept. 12 and bids ranged from $71,649 to $77,000.
“The first bids were in the $90,000s,” Teter said of the first round. “We’ve saved us almost $30,000.”
The canoe launch will be at Lovell Field and provide an access point for people canoeing or kayaking along the Tioughnioga River. Teter said the contractor has 45 days to complete the project.
“We are very happy to get it and look forward to getting it done quickly,” said Robert Sullivan, president of 21st Century Pools, who foresees no problem with meeting the 45-day deadline.
Sullivan said that although the company has never constructed a boat launch, this is a fairly small project and construction methods are familiar.
Teter said the village would be constructing a parking lot for the launch site at the same time, hoping to get the project entirely completed within the 45-day deadline.
The parking lot will be 110 feet by 130 feet and cost approximately $50,000.
No one from the village was available to comment on the project; however, Teter said officials are looking into what materials they can afford to build the parking lot.
He added that it may have to be gravel at first and then eventually paved.