Four More Priests Placed On Leave By Diocese of Buffalo, One Reinstated

BUFFALO, NY (WSKG) – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo on Thursday placed four more priests on administrative leave, in response to complaints of alleged sexual abuse. Additionally, the Diocese of Buffalo announced claims against three other priests have been substantiated while a fourth has been exonerated and reinstated.

The Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers Present a Concert in Elmira

The Music Director of the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers, Baruch Whitehead, joins us to talk about their concert on Sunday, March 25 in the Clemens Center in Elmira, which presents a variety of Negro Spirituals. He talks about the meaning behind these moving songs and their historical context.

The Cantata Singers Perform in Sayre

The Cantata Singers of Elmira perform music by Breesport native Dan Forrest at the Church of the Redeemer in Sayre. Conductor Will Wickham and Cantata Singers president Sally Davis join us to talk about Forrest’s music and his deep roots in the Elmira area. We also learn a bit of the history of the Cantata Singers.


Money Needed To Deal With Lead In Elmira

Almost all of the homes in Elmira were built before lead paint was banned, but the city is not eligible to apply for big state grants to remove it. Larger upstate cities, including Rochester and Binghamton, do qualify. And even though they are allowed to apply for federal grants, many rural and poor areas don’t have enough resources to do that, because they’d have to front 10 to 25 percent of the cost. Qualifying for grants Those grants are aimed at bigger cities, because they simply have more people affected by lead, according to Stanley Schaffer, who directs the lead resource center at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “It often seems that some of the smaller communities are neglected in terms of not having the same opportunities to deal with the lead problem,” said Schaffer.


Elmira Hopes State Funds Can Put Dent In Poverty

Antanisha Garrett likes it in Elmira. “Coming from a fast paced state like New Jersey, it’s really different,” she said. “You can really come here and get your life together.”

Garrett has tried to do just that. She’s lived in the Southern Tier off-and-on for several years. But she’s now in Elmira full-time.

The Endless Mountain Music Festival Begins July 21

The Endless Mountain Music Festival opens July 21 and continues through August 5 with fifteen concerts in various locations in Tioga and Potter Counties in Pennsylvania, and Steuben and Chemung Counties in New York.  We hear from conductor and Artistic Director Stephen Gunzenhauser. http://wskg.org/audio/endlessmtns.mp3


Photo credit: Endless Mountain Music Festival



Jonathan Fenwick is the Featured Soloist with the OSFL

2016 Doreen B. Hertzog Concerto/Aria Competition Winner Jonathan Fenwick is the violin soloist with the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes  led by Maestro Toshiyuki Shimada in their concert on Sunday, March 5 in the Clemens Center in Elmira. The Ithaca native will be playing the third movement of Camille Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No.3. He speaks with us from his dorm room at the Oberlin Conservatory. Also on the program are  George Gershwin’s An American in Paris performed by the Youth Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes and the Junior String Ensemble, Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2  the YOSFL performing side by side with OSFL, Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra  with narrator Ed Williams, and two choral works by Johannes Brahms performed by the Chorus of the Southern Finger Lakes, Schicksalslied  and Nänie. http://wskg.org/audio/fenwick.mp3


Photo credit: Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes

Elmira College Students Premiere 'Aide et Reconfort'

The Arnot Art Museum hosts the premiere of a new play, ‘Aide et Reconfort’ by Elmira College professor John J. Kelly.  The title is a reference to French citizens who were suspected of giving “aid and comfort” to the Nazi forces occupying France, and how the French Resistance dealt with them.  We hear from Professor Kelly about his historical research to write this play, and also from actor Sophie Poost, a sociology and anthropology major, whose studies inform her role as a member of the Resistance. http://wskg.org/audio/aide.mp3


Photo credit:Elmira College


State Language Led Elmira To Rebuke Consolidation Grant

New York State wants municipalities to share services and it’s offering $20 million to do it.  Chemung County and the City of Elmira had planned to apply for the funds, but that has now changed. The two municipalities already share a lot of services, so they felt they had a good shot at winning the $20 million. They informally agreed to apply for the money, but city leaders had second thoughts. They were worried they’d have to dissolve and the state language on that wasn’t clear.


Elmira’s First Arena Sale In Jeopardy

The future of Elmira’s First Arena is in jeopardy. A proposed sale might not happen because of a disagreement between the Chemung County’s Industrial Development Agency and the City of Elmira. WSKG’s Sarah Gager and Gabe Altieri discuss the cause of the disagreement and what might happen now. Interview Highlights:

On First Arena’s ownership history:

“Back in June, the Chemung Industrial Development Agency bought the arena. It was supposed to be a temporary thing, as it looked for a new owner.


Elmira Hopes $10M Will Draw Millenials, Established Businesses

ELMIRA, NY (WSKG) – As Elmira plans out how to spend $10 million to revitalize its downtown, the city is looking for some life. There doesn’t seem to be much in the area. A symbol of Elmira’s downtown revitalization might be the Lake Street Bridge. The bridge is currently closed to all traffic: pedestrians, cars, everybody. But those in charge of the revitalization want to change that.


Lupardo On Seniors, Parking Garage Safety And Childcare

Lawmakers returned to Albany for the 2017 legislative session. Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo represents the 123rd district, which includes the city of Binghamton and the towns of Vestal and Union. She joined us to discuss the session and her new role as Chair of the Committee on Aging. Interview highlights:

What do you want to get done in your new role? Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo: Being someone who is over 60 myself and having gone throw the death of my parents, I’m sensitive to a couple of big things: making sure that those individuals who need services and programs have those available, but also, as people are living longer and healthier lives and want to stay more active, that we’re paying attention to that, too.


After the American Revolution, veterans of the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign – who had waged war against the Iroquois during the Revolution – returned to the fertile lands of Upstate New York to start new settlements. One such settlement was the village of Newtown, formed in 1792 along the banks of the Chemung River. In 1808, the village was renamed Elmira. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc3PnewhixM

Funding provided by a grant from Empire State Development.

Fire Trucks

Toy fire engines first became popular with young children in the 1880s. Typically made from cast iron and tinplate, these early toy fire wagons were extremely detailed and included a number of accessories including hoses and ladders. Today, toy fire engines still manage to capture the hearts and minds of young and old alike. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGM75CaKjEg

Watch More Timeless Toys Videos.


Elmira’s First Arena Still Expecting January Sale

The future of Elmira’s First Arena has been in question for most of 2016, but there could be answers within the next month. First Arena is home of the Elmira Jackals hockey team. Both have been owned by the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency since June. The group hopes to sell both by the end of January. Mike Krusen is the head of Southern Tier Economic Growth, which supports the Chemung County IDA.

Elmira Fair Grounds, 1889 | #tbt

Today’s throwback Thursday photograph, taken in 1889, shows the fair grounds in Elmira, New York. From 1842 to 1889, the New York State Fair traveled between 11 different cities before the fair was finally moved to its current location in Syracuse. Between 1855 and 1889, Elmira hosted the State Fair nine different times. One of the more interesting details of the photograph is the banner outside one of the venues that advertises, “The Living Two Headed Boy. Absolutely the Greatest Living Curiosity in the World.”

Baldwin Street, Elmira, New York | #tbt

Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows Baldwin Street at the intersection of East Water Street in Elmira, New York, from around the turn of the 20th century. The photo was taken by Charles Van Aken, a photographer from Elmira. Today, a large collection of Van Aken’s original glass plate negatives are preserved by the Chemung County Historical Society at their museum and research library in Elmira. Van Aken took another photo of the same intersection a few years after the first. A comparison of the two photos gives us a glimpse at some of the changes taking place in Elmira at the turn of the 20th century – most notably the addition of the trolly line.

John W. Jones

John W. Jones was born in 1817 on a plantation in Virginia. At the age of 27 he and four others fled their plantation and made a hazard filled 300-mile journey to Elmira. Jones settled in the area where he learned to read and write, and by 1851 he was an active agent on the Underground Railroad helping over 800 slaves escape to Canada. In 1864, Jones was caretaker of Woodlawn Cemetery when he was contracted to bury the confederate dead from Elmira Prison. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAiKHcWNa5Q

‘Uniquely New York’ is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Music From Elizabethan England is Performed in Two Concerts

The Cantata Singers of Elmira perform selections from the 1601 book of madrigals, ‘The Triumphs of Oriana’, a collection of music by various contemporary composers written in honor of Queen Elizabeth I. Conductor Will Wickham talks about the music and the history behind the collection. The Cantata Singers present the concert in two performances this weekend. http://wskg.org/audio/160519oriana.mp3


Photo credit: Cantata Singers

A New Mural Welcomes Visitors to the Tanglewood Nature Center

Artist Chris Longwell has created a ceramic mural that welcomes visitors to the Tanglewood Nature Center in Elmira. The mural depicts pond life in all sizes, from amoebas to largemouth bass.  The artist tells us about his process and his materials.  The dedication of the mural is this weekend. http://wskg.org/audio/longwellmix.mp3


Photo credit: Subash BGK via Flickr

Medical Care at Elmira Prison Camp

Editor’s Note: WSKG has asked faculty and graduate students in the History Department at Binghamton University to explore the history behind PBS’s new Civil War medical drama Mercy Street. In today’s blog post, graduate student Gary Emerson discusses the medical care at the Elmira Prison Camp. Medical Care at Elmira Prison Camp
Although medical care improved over the course of the Civil War, prisoners often received inadequate and sometimes negligent medical care in prison camps. When prisoner exchanges broke down in the summer of 1863, both the Union and Confederate armies began placing large numbers of captured men into prison camps. Both sides were unprepared for this turn of events, and what followed proved disastrous. In the summer of 1864, the Union established a prison camp in Elmira, New York to house captured Confederates.

The 1961 Heisman Trophy Winner | #tbt

In today’s throwback Thursday photograph, President Kennedy greets the 1961 Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis. The photo was taken at a reception sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. As a young man, Ernie Davis attended Elmira Free Academy in Elmira, New York. Davis excelled at a number of different sports, but had a natural athletic gift for football. In 1958, Davis became a running back for Syracuse University and was selected Most Valuable Player in 1960.

A NASA First | #tbt

On the night of February 3, 1995, the dark skies around Kennedy Space Center in Florida light up as the space shuttle Discovery lifted off on its 20th mission to outer space. The launch represented an historic moment for NASA and the space program; it was the first Space Shuttle mission piloted by a female astronaut – Eileen Collins. Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows Collins at the pilot’s station during that historic flight. https://youtu.be/4-_rwxr3ygE

Lt. Col. Collins was born in Elmira, New York where she attended Elmira Free Academy. Collins had a very successful career with the Air Force and NASA, logging over 872 hours in space. In 1999, she made another historic flight as the first female commander of a U.S. spacecraft, and retired from NASA in 2006.

Toshiyuki Shimada and the OSFL celebrate the season

The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes  presents a Holiday Concert on Sunday, December 13 at 4pm in the Clemens Center in Elmira featuring Amanda Kohl, soprano; Ivy Walz, mezzo-soprano; and the Chorus of the Southern Finger Lakes. Maestro Toshiyuki Shimada leads the orchestra and chorus in selections from Handel’s Messiah and well as other holiday favorites, and some unexpected surprises.  


Photo courtesy Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

Group Plans to Preserve Last Surviving Structure of "Helmira"

A hundred and fifty years ago this summer, the Civil War prison camp in Elmira, New York closed its doors for the last time. At a recent press conference, the Friends of the Elmira Civil War Prison Camp officially kicked off their fundraising efforts to preserve the last known surviving piece of the prison. Between 1864 and 1865, roughly 12,000 Confederate prisoners were held at Elmira Prison. Nicknamed “Helmira” by the inmates, nearly 25% of prisoners detained there would die as a result of unsanitary conditions. Today, the former site of the prison is a residential neighborhood and the only visible reminders of the camp are a few stone markers scattered amongst the houses.

January 15, 2015 | Jersey Boys; Theatron Productions; Haydn's Seven Last Words

Theatron Productions presents their first performance, a cabaret of show tunes from musicals that weren’t big hits. Crystal Sarakas speaks with a cast member of the touring company of the musical Jersey Boys. Conductor Gerald Wolfe talks about the winter concert of the Ithaca Community Chorus that features Haydn’s Seven Last Words. Binghamton University professor Paul Schleuse has written a book about music from the early days of the printing press.  We hear part one of Bill Snyder’s interview with him.


Elmira Charter School Hunts For A Building

Charter schools are one of the issues expected to consume the New York State Legislature this year. Finding a building is one major hurdle charters face statewide. Elmira’s Finn Academy, the Southern Tier’s second charter school, is scheduled to open in August and still doesn’t have a building. Three buildings are on the academy board’s short list: the former Ernie Davis Middle School, Elmira’s Federal Building — also known as the old post office — and what used to be Iszard’s Department Store. Finn Academy’s Maggie Thurber recently took the school’s board on a tour of the former department store.

Elmira College

Elmira College was originally founded as a women’s college in 1855. Located in the heart of Elmira, NY, the college initially enrolled nearly 1200 students, and was one of the first institutions in the world to grant baccalaureate degrees to women equal to those of men. The school has been coeducational since 1969, but the student body has remained relatively the same size it was in 1855. The college also had a deep connection with noted American humorist and author Samuel Clemens, and today houses the Center for Mark Twain Studies. Throughout its history, a number of unexplained events have been reported on campus.

A weekend of Bach with the Cantata Singers

Bill Cowdery and Will Wickham speaks with WSKG’s Bill Snyder about the two concerts featuring JS Bach’s Mass in b minor. It’s a reunion concert of the Cantata Singers, bringing back many former members of the group, and there’s also a talk about the work and the previous works that Bach “recycled” into the Mass. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/national/local-national-1033955.mp3

Photograph courtesy Cantata Singers