Red Newt Cellars


Farewell to a community’s friend

1124thurstonSig–By Charlie Haeffner–

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 24, 2013 — They came, 400 people strong, to the Watkins Glen Fire Department on Saturday, Nov. 23rd, to pay their respects to the late Ernie Thurston.

Such a large turnout in a small community is unusual, but when the departed has done as much — has impacted as much — as Thurston did, then the number in attendance, 400, seems fitting. Or perhaps even understated.

Ernie Thurston was, as ceremony emcee Bill Yessman put it, “the biggest little guy I ever knew. His enthusiasm for life and for his family was extraordinary. All his friends were family; he called us ‘brothers.’ Ernie had a lot of brothers.”

That enthusiasm for life took Ernie Thurston into a lot of arenas. He was an Airman First Class in the Air Force during the Vietnam era, a member of the highly praised Squires Drum & Bugle Corps, a  deputy sheriff, a Schuyler County Fire Coordinator, a county legislator, a longtime member of the Watkins Glen Fire Department and at one time its Assistant Chief, and Director of Race Operations at the Watkins Glen International (WGI) racetrack, where his call number was “55.”

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The General’s schooner

WhenIfName2–By Charlie Haeffner–

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 13, 2013 — It is the third sailboat Doug Hazlitt has treated to a restoration. One was the esteemed John Alden-designed Malabar X that once plied the waters of Seneca Lake and now calls Barcelona, Spain its home.

Hazlitt even oversaw the construction from scratch of another boat, a 32-footer.

But this one has something the others didn’t. It has the pedigree of having been designed for one of the most famous military generals in the history of warfare. This was General George S. Patton’s boat.

It is the When and If, an 84-foot (when fully dressed with bowsprit and boom) schooner made of oak, mahogany and teak (with a double-planked hull) that was purchased by Hector winery entrepreneur Hazlitt a year ago last May. He has sailed it along the East Coast, transported it to Cayuga Lake, overseen its renovation there and, now, brought it to Seneca Lake, where it rests within the shelter of the southern shore’s breakwater.

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My year in Finland: Part One

1017chelseaKennardThe following account was sent to us by Chelsea Kennard, a 2013 graduate of Watkins Glen High School who is spending the year in Finland as a Rotary Exchange Student.  She agreed to update us from time to time on her experiences there. This is her first entry.

–By Chelsea Kennard–

In FINLAND, Oct. 16, 2013 — It was very tough at first.

Moving to a new country is like being born all over again. I was just like a baby. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t move around, and I didn’t know the culture.

Exchange is change. Rapid, brutal, beautiful, colorful, amazing, unexpected, overwhelming, and most of all constant change. Change in lifestyle, country, language, friends, parents, houses, school, simply everything. Exchange is realizing that everything they told you beforehand is wrong, but also right in a way. Exchange is going from thinking you know who you are, to having no idea who you are anymore, to being someone new.

But not entirely new. You are still the person you were before you jumped into the ice-cold lake. For me this also applies literally. A very important aspect of the Finnish lifestyle is saunas. Almost every Finnish house has a sauna that families visit at least once a week. They usually are around 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and since my family lives by a lake, I have run many times from sauna to the ice-cold water and back to sauna.

I know now what it feels like to be on my own, away from home with no one I really know, and I found out that I can actually do it. Exchange is learning to trust. Trust people, who, at first, are only names on a piece of paper. Trust that they want the best for you, and trust that they care. Trust that you have the strength to endure a year on your own, endure a year of being apart from everything that mattered to you before. Trust that everything will be alright. Trust that you will have friends, which for me was a task.

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Hiking the North Country Trail

0925hikeCloseUp–By Charlie Haeffner–

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 25, 2013 — He came into town quietly on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

He had never been to Watkins Glen — nor until the past few days to New York State — and he was nobody who had done anything remotely historical or society-shaking.

But the media were awaiting him.

They were in front of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce building, waiting for a couple of hours. He was running that late (or should I say walking that late), but it didn’t matter. They wanted to see him.

His name: Luke Jordan. His age: 23. His background: Recent college graduate, from St. Cloud University in Minnesota. His future career: Uncertain.

The media were there, cameras and microphones and pens at the ready, because Luke Jordan was attempting something that only three other people had accomplished, and nobody younger than him. He was walking the North Country Trail, which overlaps the Finger Lakes Trail in New York State and passes through Watkins Glen. He had thus far walked some 4,000 miles, and had 600 more to go.

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