FDA panel approves birth-control patch despite risk of clots, Page A5


Union Springs makes big fourth-quarter comeback to take Marathon into OT. See Page A12. THE CITIZEN, AUBURN, NEW YORK

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Fast-moving fire routs family from home. See Page A3.

Officials continue to monitor wells after big September fuel spill. See Page A3.

Wreaths honor sacrifice

Park gets splash of cash
State funds bring Old Erie Canal plan closer to reality.
The Citizen

Lake Life
Kentucky communities were shaped by their Shaker roots. See Page B4.


Moravia wrestling hosts Auburn, Southern Cayuga. See Page A12.
Sarah Jean Condon / The Citizen


Port Byron community members gather Friday at Dana L. West High School in Port Byron for Wreaths Across America, a program honoring veterans.

Port Byron students recognize area veterans
The Citizen

What: Wreaths Across America When: Noon today, Dec. 10 Where: The Episcopal Church of SS. Peter and John, 169 Genesee St., Auburn Info: Wreath-laying for the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines and POW/MIA

St. Mary’s hopes show will be entertaining, inspiring. See Page B1.


Witnesses say staff fled as India hospital burned. See Page A5.


Their view

The evidence keeps mounting that more people will benefit from health care reform ...”

PORT BYRON — Families of veterans lost to war, retired veterans, active duty service members, teachers and community members were honored with lush evergreen wreaths Friday as Port Byron students honored those who fought for their freedom. For the second year, the Dana L. West High School Student Government Organization held a Wreaths Across America ceremony to honor those who have served our nation and to remember those who served and are no longer alive. Linda Townsend, a teacher at Port Byron and the SGO advisor, and students read from a script provided by Wreaths Across America — a nonprofit organization that aims to expand the wreathlaying tradition at Arlington National Cemetery and elsewhere. “We can travel from one end of this great nation to the other and not have to ask permission to go, student Randy David read ” from the script. “We are free to vote for whomever we feel should be in government office and we answer to no one but our own feelings. We have the right to succeed and we have the right to fail at whatever endeavor we wish to pursue. ” Congress unanimously declared the second Saturday of December each year as National Wreaths Across America Day, according

Sarah Jean Condon / The Citizen

Retired Rear Adm. and Port Byron high school graduate Richard West talks about his experience in the Navy, and about honoring the past, present, and future veterans of the United States military.

to Townsend. Townsend and Port Byron students will be present at the public ceremony that will be held at noon today at The Episcopal Church of SS. Peter and John in Auburn, by the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 704. Simultaneously, at sites all over the country, including Arlington National Cemetery, wreaths will be laid today for veterans who sacrificed for freedom. The students’ Friday ceremony, held at the high school, featured seven wreaths, one each representing the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant

Marine and Prisoners of War/Missing in Action. In addition to holding their own ceremony and participating in Auburn’s, the students sold wreaths this year and in years past to help people honor and recognize loved ones. Port Byron native and Port Byron high school graduate retired Rear Adm. Richard West, whose father is Dana L.West High School’s namesake, was the keynote speaker. West recalled his childhood in Port Byron — playing ball, going to school and not thinking much about conflicts overseas. Little did he know he would spend his life in the Navy. “I served with the greatest young men and women this country can provide, he said. ” West said that 2 million service members have deployed since 9/11, but said he worries that they are being forgotten. “But 9/11 was 10 years ago,” he said. “There is a danger that


Port Byron is soon due to enjoy a $150,000 slice of a $103.7 million economic grant pie. On Thursday, the New York State Regional Economic Development Council program awarded the ninefigure sum to 74 central New York projects, 12 of which are based in Cayuga County. Among the 12 is the $150,000 grant meant to benefit Port Byron through an effort to develop a canal park. Awarded to the Canal Society of New York State, the grant is intended to help make the long-desired Port Byron Old Erie Canal Heritage Park a reality. Thomas Grasso, president of the canal society, is grateful for the funding. “We think (the park’s) got potential, and thank God, so do other people, he said. ” The proposed park project is nearly 15 years in the making. Grasso said the proposed Port Byron Old Erie Canal Heritage Park will be a rest-stop park — the only known project of its kind in the country — off of the state Thruway between the Weedsport exit and the Port Byron rest stop. Attendants will enter the park through a visitor’s center. The park’s trail, snaking away from the visitor center, will lead from Locke 52 to the Erie House and end at a blacksmith’s barn. “It will be a very unique site for probably the whole United States, certainly in New York state, Gras” so said. “There isn’t access to something like that. ” With the canal society’s one-ofkind vision, Grasso said, bringing the park to fruition isn’t an easy task. To create access to the proposed park, a ramp off of the Thruway must be constructed. The visitor’s center will need to be built from scratch, and the crumbling remains of Locke 52, the Erie House and the blacksmith’s barn will require extensive restorations. In other words, the Canal Society of New York State needs money, a resource the society has struggled to collect for more than a decade, making the $150,000 grant just the infusion the society was seeking. To bring the park to life within the near future, the society needed to raise about $1.25 million by 2013. Thanks to the state’s grant, the society’s president said the organization now needs $1 million, an amount it plans to match. For the next the couple months, Grasso said the


Opinion, A4


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Call it Bedford Falls, if only for a weekend
‘Wonderful Life’ festival celebrates classic Christmas film.

The Citizen

What: It’s a Wonderful Life Festival When: 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday Where: Village of Seneca Falls Info: For a full schedule, visit therealbedfordfalls.com

Circulation: (315) 253-3700 Other calls: (315) 253-5311 The Citizen is online at www.auburnpub.com


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SENECA FALLS — Seneca Falls looked a little more like the fictional Bedford Falls Friday to anyone familiar with the 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life. ” Visitors stopped at the village’s post office Friday where a special postmark was used for mail symbolizing Seneca Falls connection to the film, others visited shops named after characters from the film and most made sure to stop by the Hotel Clarence where actresses Karolyn Grimes and Carol Coombs-Mueller signed auto-

graphs and talked with fans. Hundreds of people shuffled in and out of the hotel lobby during the opening day of the weekend-long festival where the two women answered questions, shook hands and hugged fans. Items presented for their personalized signatures included blackand-white movie posters and photographs, DVDs, movie memorabilia and weathered VHS tapes.

Nate Robson / The Citizen

See ‘WE, A2

Karolyn Grimes, right, talks with Auburn residents Joe and Barb Rielly in Seneca Falls Friday where visitors came to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which has apparent ties to the village. Grimes played Zuzu in the film.