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Fireworks will highlight holiday celebrations
Fireworks will highlight holiday celebrations

TRI-COUNTY AREA (6/29/16)--Area residents will be celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence Monday, July 4, declaring the nation's independence from Great Britain in 1776. The holiday weekend will feature celebrations with parades, fireworks, carnivals, concerts and more.

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Lausell declines negotiations
Lausell declines negotiations

SCHUYLER COUNTY (6/29/16)--A state official made an unsolicited phone call to Schuyler County Legislator Michael L. Lausell earlier this month to tell him Crestwood Equity Partners was inviting him to privately negotiate key elements of its plan to store liquid petroleum gas, or LPG, in abandoned caverns at its U.S. Salt property in Reading. Lausell said he was told the Houston-based company might be willing to drop its plans to deliver LPG to the caverns by rail.
Such a concession would address many of Lausell's vocal concerns about the dangers of running trains packed with explosive liquids across the 80-year-old train trestle 175 feet above the gorge at the Watkins Glen State Park. The unexpected call came from a lawyer with the Department of Environmental Conservation, Lausell said. He would not identify him or her. Lausell said he has declined the invitation to negotiate with the company. Crestwood did not respond to a call seeking comment, and its chief media spokesperson did not acknowledge emailed questions. The DEC press office did not respond to efforts to confirm that an agency attorney had acted as an intermediary by making the call Lausell described.

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Watkins will host six-hour race
Watkins will host six-hour race

WATKINS GLEN (6/29/16)--Watkins Glen International will host the annual Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen event this Independence Day weekend. The weekend of racing runs from Thursday, June 30 through Sunday, July 3. The entry field includes the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, Mazda Prototype Lites, Porsche GT3 Cup USA, and Lamborghini Super Trofeo.

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Observer takes first place for national award
Observer takes first place for national award

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. (6/29/16)--The National Newspaper Association announced the winning newspaper entries for the 2016 Better Newspaper Editorial Contest and The Observer has been awarded first place in the nationwide competition. The Observer's coverage of the 2015 NASCAR weekend in Watkins Glen took top honors in the "Best Photo Essay" division for daily and non-daily newspapers with less than 3,000 circulation.

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PHOTO GALLERY: Watkins Glen graduates step to the future
PHOTO GALLERY: Watkins Glen graduates step to the future

WATKINS GLEN(6/25/16)-Watkins Glen high school celebrated the class of 2016 with the 134th annual graduation ceremony, Saturday June 25. Faculty, family and friends filled the auditorium to see the 75 member class receive their diplomas. The class valedictorian was Margaret Bond and the salutatorian was Claire McManus. They each addressed the audience, offering congratulations to the class for the hard work that has been completed, but also looking forward to the challenges and dreams to come. Cheyenne Stansfield gave the Senior Oration. High school Principal Kai D'Alleva and class advisor Samuel Brubaker presented prizes and achievement awards that were earned by the students before the class was certified and awarded diplomas.

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PHOTO GALLERIES: Penn Yan, Odessa-Montour and Hammondsport honor graduates
PHOTO GALLERIES: Penn Yan, Odessa-Montour and Hammondsport honor graduates

TRI-COUNTY AREA (6/24/16)- Area schools held graduation ceremonies, Friday, June 24 to celebrate the class of 2016. School administrators, distinguished speakers and students spoke about the importance of the lessons and memories from high school, and ways to take the learned knowledge forward to the next step in life. Penn Yan held the 158th commencement program Friday night at the athletic complex. Penn Yan's guest speaker was Mrs. Karen Fingar who talked about how important attitude is when approaching work. "There are several other qualifications besides education that will help you determine success in life. One of these attributes is a good attitude; the attitude that you take in approaching your work is important. [...] It's not the work itself, but the attitude that you bring to the work that makes it a good or bad experience." Class secretary Dennis Youngs celebrated his time at Penn Yan but also reminded everyone of the role a community plays.

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PHOTO GALLERY: Dundee celebrates commencement
PHOTO GALLERY: Dundee celebrates commencement

DUNDEE (6/23/16)-Dundee Central School held the seventy-seventh annual graduation ceremony, Thursday, June 23 on the front lawn of the school. Members of the class of 2016 were recognized for academic achievement, commitment and unity throughout the program. Valedictorian Jeanette Jayne spoke about the closeness of the class saying "this strive for greatness has caused us to develop a work ethic like no other. [...] Take a moment to think, would you be here on this stage today without the support of one of your classmates?"

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Seniors look to commencement
Seniors look to commencement

TRI-COUNTY AREA--High school seniors throughout the area will be celebrating an academic milestone this weekend. Area school districts will hold graduation ceremonies recognizing student achievement and distributing diplomas over the course of three days, running from Thursday, June 23 through Saturday, June 25.

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Fiber project: Officials question cost uncertainty
Fiber project: Officials question cost uncertainty

YATES COUNTY--In 2015, the Yates County Legislature unanimously agreed to install fiber optic internet access in Penn Yan and throughout the county. More than a year later, Monday, June 13, the legislature agreed by a nine to five vote to pay close to $60,000 in additional project costs that were not part of the original agreement. At the meeting, several legislators voiced their concerns about the program. In a follow-up interview, Legislator Elden Morrison criticized the execution of the plan, stating "I have never seen a worse managed project in my entire life."

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Districts receive $346K extended school day grants
Districts receive $346K extended school day grants

DUNDEE, PENN YAN--The Dundee and Penn Yan Central School Districts will implement an extended school day next fall. The districts were named as two of 82 districts across the state that were awarded state funds through the Extended School Day/School Violence Prevention Grant Program last week. Dundee will receive $346,996 annually for five years, while Penn Yan will get $346,502 during the same timeframe.

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Depot proposal includes deer preservation
Depot proposal includes deer preservation

WATERLOO--The herd of white deer at the Seneca Army Depot is one step closer to protection. The Seneca County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) announced its selection of business owner Earl Martin Wednesday, June 15, as the winning bidder for the approximately 7,000 remaining acres of the former Seneca Army Depot. Martin's proposal includes plans to dedicate depot land for wildlife preservation--specifically for the white deer--and a willingness to work with Seneca White Deer, Inc., and/or other organizations. While there is no official agreement in place regarding the white deer, Martin has indicated their preservation as a priority.

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PHOTO GALLERY: Watkins Glen cardboard boat regatta
PHOTO GALLERY: Watkins Glen cardboard boat regatta

WATKINS GLEN-Cardboard boats, 41 in total, tested captains and crews as they made their way around the Watkins Glen harbor in the 23rd annual waterfront festival boat regatta, Saturday, June 18. The winners in the various categories are as follows: fastest elapsed time multi-hull-two or more: Game On - 2:49; fastest elapsed time single hull - multi crew: Geezers AKA Osage - 1:58; fastest kids boat under 12: Party Crashers 6:08; fastest elapsed time single hull - single crew: Snickers - 10:17; fastest teens boat (13 to 18): Star Wars "The Force Awakens" - 4:03; best construction - Boat Drinks; best lookin' boat - Boatbusters; best boat name - Split Happens; best "theme" - SS Minnow; judges choice - Bethany Bus; Schuyler County Chairman's Cup - Geezers OKA Osage - 1:58; People's Choice - Salute!

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School order 'unlawful;' case dismissed
School order 'unlawful;' case dismissed

WATKINS GLEN--The Watkins Glen court has once again ruled in favor of Hector resident Kristina Hansen. Justice Connie Fern Miller's ruling, dated June 9, dismissed the charge of criminal trespass in the third degree at the Watkins Glen School District. She also stated Superintendent Tom Phillips' order for Hansen to receive written permission before visiting school grounds was not lawful, adding this cannot make Hansen's visits to campus unlawful. The case started with an attempt by Hansen to attend a closed staff meeting March 11. There was a quorum of school board members at the meeting, but was asked to leave by police.

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Cardboard boats will be tested at regatta
Cardboard boats will be tested at regatta

WATKINS GLEN--Lights, cardboard and duct tape will once again highlight the 23rd annual Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival and Cardboard Boat Regatta this Friday and Saturday, June 17 and 18. The weekend kicks off at the Seneca Harbor Park with the Harbor Light Show Friday evening, featuring a variety of lights along the waterfront and several live bands. Saturday features the Cardboard Boat Regatta, where teams paddle their cardboard and duct tape vessels around the marina course and spectators vote on their favorite creations.

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Cruisin' Night rolls into Penn Yan
Cruisin' Night rolls into Penn Yan

PENN YAN--The village of Penn Yan will celebrate two decades of classic cars this weekend with the 20th annual Cruisin' Night Friday, June 17. The vehicles will be parked along Main Street in downtown Penn Yan. Some 300 classic and antique cars, trucks and motorcycles are expected to attend. Main Street will be closed from Chapel Street to Lake Street beginning at 3:30 p.m. On-site registration near the Penn Yan Post Office begins at 5 p.m. when the cars begin to arrive. Vehicles will be parked at their display locations on Main Street until the streets reopen around 9:30 p.m. There will be no parade of cars this year.

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Donor gives $250K for Dundee lights
Donor gives $250K for Dundee lights

DUNDEE--The Dundee Central School District discussed a pending donation to be used for the purchase of lights for Scotsman Field during their regular meeting Thursday, June 9. The $250,000 donation has not yet been officially received by the district, but school officials believe the funds will come through to pay for more than half of the potential project. "We have been contacted by a donor who is a past graduate of Dundee Central School and has looked to donate about $250,000 for the sole purpose of putting lighting on the football and soccer field area," Dundee Superintendent Kelly Houck said. "Unfortunately, this gentleman just passed away this week, but we do believe that donation will still continue to come to fruition."

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Greenidge pipeline: 'could be 100 days'
Greenidge pipeline: 'could be 100 days'

DRESDEN--Former Watkins Glen Mayor Mark Swinnerton will supervise the construction of a controversial 4.6-mile natural gas pipeline in Yates County that is intended to supply the repowering of a Dresden electric generating plant. Dale Irwin, the plant's manager, confirmed the hire by Greenidge Generation Holdings LLC in an interview Sunday, June 12. "Mark startsMonday (June 13)," Irwin said. "He's going to come on as overall project manager for pipeline construction and retrofits to the boiler." The Dresden plant, built in 1937, had burned coal until 2011 when it shut down under financial pressure. Greenidge later acquired the facility and launched efforts to convert it to run primarily on natural gas, and to a lesser extent, biomass fuels.

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Yates approves public transit application
Yates approves public transit application

YATES COUNTY--The Yates County Legislature approved the next step in bringing public transportation to the area during their meeting Monday, June 13. An application to the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) Grant Program was approved by the legislators, which allows the Arc of Yates to seek the aid, while also providing the matching funds necessary for the grant. The new transportation system is expected to be in place by summer 2017 with hopes of being able to start up sooner.

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SPORTS
PHOTO GALLERY: IndyCar tests at Watkins Glen International
PHOTO GALLERY: IndyCar tests at Watkins Glen International

WATKINS GLEN--Watkins Glen International race track once again heard the roar of IndyCar open-wheel race cars, Monday June 20. Select teams participated in one-day testing at the newly paved road course. This test comes in advance of the race scheduled Sept. 1 to 4 at the track. The last time IndyCar raced at Watkins Glen was in 2010, but an opening in the schedule was created on Labor Day weekend due to the cancellation of the Grand Prix of Boston.The Monday event was open to the public in the Argetsinger Grandstand.

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Schools hold ceremonies for 2015-16 athletes
Schools hold ceremonies for 2015-16 athletes

FINGER LAKES--Dundee, Penn Yan, Hammondsport and Odessa-Montour recognized athletes from the 2015-16 sports seasons during ceremonies last week. The award winners are as follows:
The Dundee Central School District held its annual sports awards ceremony Wednesday, June 8, in the school gymnasium. During the ceremony, staff and faculty recognized the achievements of its student athletes throughout the year. Tayler Morrison was named the winner of the Dundee Female Athlete Award during the evening, while Ryan Sprague was named the top male athlete by winning the David Summerson Male Athlete Award. The Keith Cagle Award for football and baseball went to Talon Wright. Sprague was named the recipient of the Dale Howell Award for football, while Jeffrey Denmark received the Ray Fultz Award, also for football. Sprague was also recognized for his basketball prowess this past season by earning the Richard Kendall Award. In wrestling, Jayson Lovejoy was honored with the Skorusa Award, as well as the Half-Century Award for amassing 58 wins. Morrison took home the Bolvig Female Award for track, while Geordan Conyers received the Bolvig Male Award. Conyers was also honored for setting the school long jump record (21'2.5"). Morrison was also recognized for setting the record for most goals scored in a season in soccer with 26 goals.

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Penn Yan boys end with 17-3 record
Penn Yan boys end with 17-3 record

MIDDLETOWN-The Penn Yan boys varsity lacrosse team competed in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association final game against Cold Spring Harbor, Saturday, June 11. The final score was 15-4, with CSH taking the Class C state title for 2016. CSH got on the scoreboard first, but the Mustangs quickly responded making the score 1-1 early in the first quarter. The Seahawks went on to score four more goals before the end of the first, and added another five by halftime, bringing the score to 10-1. Although Penn Yan was able to record two points in the third and one in the fourth quarter, CSH continued their offensive push to end at 15-4. Tate Stewart and Sean Emerson each had two goals and one assist for Penn Yan. Craig Gerhardt added an assist, while Gage Ponsetti made seven saves in the goal.

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Andrades third, Conyers fifth at qualifier
Andrades third, Conyers fifth at qualifier

PENN YAN-The Section V track and field qualifier for the state tournament was held at Penn Yan, Friday, June 3. Finishing in the top eight was Dundee's Jovhannie Andrades with a third place distance of 142'2" in the division two discus throw. Geordan Conyers took fifth in both the triple jump (43'6.00") and the long jump (20'2.50"). Ethan Bower was seventh in the long jump for Hammondsport with a 19'11.50". The state finals will be held at Cicero-North Syracuse high school, Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11. Athletes had to win or post times or distances that beat the qualifying standards to advance. For discus the qualifier was 143'7", for triple jump it was 44'1.25" and for long jump 21'2.75".

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Hazlitt advances to state finals
Hazlitt advances to state finals

VESTAL-Watkins Glen varsity runner Patrick Hazlitt advanced to the state finals in the 1600 meter run, Thursday, June 2 at Vestal high school. Hazlitt finished in second place with a 4:18.33 at the state qualifier, breaking the current school record and setting a personal best time. The state meet will be held at Cicero-North Syracuse, Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11. Also running for Watkins Glen was the 3200 meter relay team that finished seventh with a 8:35.06. Shawn Rutledge recorded an eighth place finish in the steeplechase (10:12.46).

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Penn Yan claims 21st sectional crown
Penn Yan claims 21st sectional crown

ROCHESTER-The Penn Yan boys varsity lacrosse team topped Aquinas in the Section V Class C championship finals, Wednesday, June 1, securing the Mustangs' 21st Sectional title. Penn Yan won, 9-7. Ben Emerson led with three goals and two assists, and was named Most Valuable Player in the Class C game. Sean Emerson and Craig Gerhardt both scored twice and had an assist. Austin Fingar and Tate Stewart each added a goal. With the win, Penn Yan's record is 15-2. The Mustangs advance to face the Section VI Class C champion for the Far West Regional championship held in Buffalo, Saturday, June 4, at 3:30 p.m.

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Penn Yan boys advance, girls fall in semifinal
Penn Yan boys advance, girls fall in semifinal

WATERLOO, VICTOR-The Penn Yan boys varsity lacrosse team will advance to the Section V Class C championship game after recording a win, Saturday, May 28. The girls team ends their season with a 10-8 record after losing in the semifinal game, Friday, May 27. The boys played fourth seeded Gananda, winning 19-7. Craig Gerhardt had four goals and two assists for the Mustangs. Austin Fingar contributed three goals and five assists, while Conner Fingar and Ben Emerson also netted three goals each. Tate Stewart and Sean Emerson added two goals apiece. Austin Blumbergs and Preston Pederson both had one goal.
In the cage, Gage Ponsetti made eight saves and Kyle Welker two.

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Penn Yan boys advance to semifinals
Penn Yan boys advance to semifinals

PENN YAN-The Penn Yan boys varsity lacrosse team advanced to the Section V Class C semifinals by beating Mynderse, Wednesday, May 25, in the quarterfinals. The Mustangs won 19-1. Craig Gerhardt led with four goals and one assist. Austin Fingar scored three goals, with two assists. Ben Emerson, Tate Stewart, Austin Blumbergs, and Conner Fingar all recorded two goals. Emerson also had four assists, while Stewart had three and Blumbergs one. Preston Pederson, Nick Griffin, Austin Lafferty, and Dylan Stape each recorded a goal. Brandon Smith added an assist. In the goal, Gage Ponsetti and Kyle Welker both recorded five saves each. Penn Yan, the top seed in Class C with a 13-2 record, faces Gananda, the number four seed at 13-4, in the semifinals at Waterloo, Saturday, May 28.

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Lady Mustangs beat Geneva in overtime
Lady Mustangs beat Geneva in overtime

PENN YAN-The Penn Yan girls varsity lacrosse team beat Geneva in overtime, 13-12, in the Section V Class C quarterfinals, Tuesday, May 24. The third seeded Lady Mustangs battled sixth seeded Geneva for the lead from halftime to a 12-12 tie at the end of the second half. Hannah Keech scored the winning goal in sudden death overtime. With the win, Penn Yan advances to the sectional semifinals against Honeoye Falls-Lima at Victor, Friday, May 27. Keech had five goals overall, while Brie Yonge scored three goals. Individual goals came from Sydney Bloom, Brenna Voigt, Kelly Bray, Cassie Lafler, and Elissa Callaway to secure the win.

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Watkins, Odessa compete at IAC championships
Watkins, Odessa compete at IAC championships

TRUMANSBURG-The Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour track and field teams traveled to Trumansburg to compete in the first half of the Interscholastic Athletic Conference (IAC) championships, Thursday, May 19. Watkins Glen's Shawn Rutledge won the 3000 meter steeplechase (9:57.86) setting a new stadium and school record time. Patrick Hazlitt took the top spot in the 1600 meter run (4:27.29), also a stadium record. The 4x800 relay team (Jacob Carocci, Hazlitt, Gabe Planty, Aaron Planty) won with a 8:30.00.

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Penn Yan lacrosse wins, tennis falls; Lakers golf beats Campbell
Penn Yan lacrosse wins, tennis falls; Lakers golf beats Campbell

PENN YAN-The Mustangs' varsity lacrosse team blanked visiting McQuaid Jesuit, Wednesday, May 18. The final score was 16-0. The Penn Yan varsity tennis team fell to Geneva, 3-2, while the Hammondsport varsity golf team beat Campbell-Savona Wednesday evening.

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Penn Yan softball falls in sectionals
Penn Yan softball falls in sectionals

PENN YAN-The Lady Mustangs varsity softball team fell to Hornell, 13-10, in the first round of the Class B1 sectionals, Tuesday, May 17. Penn Yan was seeded eighth, while Hornell was ninth. Melanie Gleason and Ashley Owens both recorded three RBIs, while Sydney Gifford had one RBI.

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Dundee track hosts invitational
Dundee track hosts invitational

DUNDEE-The Scots' varsity track and field teams hosted the Dundee Invitational, Monday, May 16. For the boys, Geordan Conyers won first in the triple jump (40'10.25") and long jump (21'.25"), and was second in the 100 meter dash (11.74). Jovhannie Andrades took first in the shot put (41'11") and first in the discus (141'11"). Josh Cramer placed second in the 110 meter hurdles (19.84), while David Lamphier took second in the high jump (5'6", a tie). Michael Shearin finished third in the shot put (38'0"). Sam Richards was third in the pole vault (9'0", a tie). Jason Lovejoy took third in the 100 meter dash (12.04, a tie), fourth in the long jump (18'10"), and fourth in the triple jump (37'7"). William Hall took third in the 100 meter dash (12.04, a tie) and fifth in the triple jump (34'11"). Jeff Denmark placed fifth in the discus (101'9"). For the girls, Paige Easling took second in the Pentathlon high jump (1.27 meters), second in the Pentathlon shot put (7.45 meters), third in the Pentathlon long jump (3.85 meters), and fifth in the Pentathlon 100 meter hurdles (20.74). Tayler Morrison was second in the high jump (4'6"). Emily Oughterson placed fifth in the 200 meter dash (31.04).

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Watkins beats Odessa in boys golf
Watkins beats Odessa in boys golf

WATKINS GLEN-The Watkins Glen boys varsity golf team topped Odessa-Montour, 206-248, Thursday, May 12. Although Watkins won, Odessa's Tyler Clark posted the lowest score of 36, to win the green jacket in the annual inter-Schuyler County golf competition between Watkins and Odessa. Clark's score included three birdies: hole number three (par-5), four (par-5), and seven (par-4). Also for the Indians, James Terry recorded a 49. Anthony Humphries added 53, while Ryan Taylor contributed 54. Trey McCarty had 56. For the Senecas, Trentin Barber had a 37. Parker Pangallo added a 40, followed by Pat Bannon with a 41. Ryan Clark and Lucas Wickham both had a 44.

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Lady Scots top Harley, 11-10
Lady Scots top Harley, 11-10

DUNDEE-The Dundee varsity softball team topped Harley Allendale Columbia, Wednesday, May 11. The final score was 11-10. Xavia Miller was 3-for-4, with a triple. Polly Dean was 2-for-4.

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Penn Yan girls beat Geneva
Penn Yan girls beat Geneva

PENN YAN-The Lady Mustangs varsity lacrosse team defeated visiting Geneva, 16-7, Wednesday, May 11. Penn Yan led 8-4 at halftime. Brie Yonge and Sydney Bloom both led with five goals each for Penn Yan. Hannah Keech recorded two points, while Brenna Voigt, Cassie Lafler, Elissa Callaway and Mara Keech all rung up one goal apiece. With the win, Penn Yan's record is now 9-5.

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PHOTO GALLERY: Heart of the Finger Lakes 5K
PHOTO GALLERY: Heart of the Finger Lakes 5K

DUNDEE--The Heart of the Finger Lakes 5K was held in Dundee, Saturday, May 7. The 5K run/walk took participants through the village from the start on Spring Street to the eastern limit of Elizabeth Street, to the southern limit of Dundee-Glenora Road before winding back to the start at Millard Park. Race results are available here: www.pcr-timing.com.

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Hammondsport girls blank Lima Christian
Hammondsport girls blank Lima Christian

HAMMONDSPORT-The Lakers varsity softball team left Lima Christian scoreless, Thursday, May 5. The final score was 15-0. Mikayla Pratt, Corinne Mori, and Hannah Walruth all earned three RBIs. Emily Davis had eight strikeouts.

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