New York State briefs

Staff reports

K9 Penny has died

CANANDAIGUA — Penny, a bloodhound used by the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office for many searches, was put to sleep Friday because of a cancerous tumor, reported her human partner, Deputy John Peck.

Penny, who had just turned 8, was in service for seven years, Peck said, and was on the job as late as last week, spending three days involved in the search for a missing woman in Honeoye.

She was a life-saver from the start. “Penny’s first callout was a missing/suicidal teenager who drank anti-freeze and ran into the woods.  She had him in about 15 minutes,” Peck recalled. The victim was hospitalized and recovered.

As recently as two months ago, Penny found a person who had wandered from home after taking an overdose of medication, and he, too, recovered in a hospital.

Penny was always a hit at her public demonstrations.

“She had a great disposition for that sort of detail and loved to be petted and hugged by the kids and adults alike,” Peck stated in an e-mail breaking the news of the dog’s death. “She was a great partner and friend and will be sadly missed.”

The beast out back

UTICA — A dry summer paired with an animal population peak has led to an increased number of backyard encounters for  residents, says one wildlife biologist.

The animals have been wandering farther looking for vegetation, and when they find a food source such as bird feeders or watered gardens with more vegetation, they stay in that area as long as the supply lasts, Steve Heerkens of the Department of Environmental Conservation said.

Because of this, many city residents have seen more skunks, squirrels, foxes and especially bears this summer. Even millipedes have been an issue.

Ron Cardillo of East Utica said he has noticed the increase in wildlife, but he likes it that way.

Cardillo and his wife, Lottie, have four bird feeders in their backyard that attract more than just birds.

"I stopped doing it for a while because of the bear," he said.

In June, two of his bird feeders were destroyed by a black bear that wandered through the area and made itself visible to residents from East Utica to Whitestown.

After the excitement died down and Cardillo caught wind of the bear's death when it was struck by a motor vehicle, he replaced the bird feeders and began enjoying the company of squirrels, chipmunks and even the occasional skunk.

"When you put out stuff like this, you get skunks too, but they haven't bothered us. They just eat and walk away," he said.

Keeping the inn open

CHILI — The Chili Historical Society is running out of money to operate Streeters Inn, a structure that dates back to the town's beginnings.

 In September, the society plans to hold a benefit and sale to raise cash to pay the cost of running and maintaining the nearly 200-year-old Union Street landmark.

Elias Streeter began building Streeters Inn sometime around 1810 when overnight accommodations were rare in the area and travelers often had to stay with local families.

The first section of the inn to go up was the kitchen, built with red brick made with straw and calcium. The Streeter family slept in a loft overhead — the kitchen’s high ceiling still bears the outline of the trap door they used to reach their quarters. The inn eventually grew to a five-room, two story Federal-style brick house with hand-hewn oak posts and beams, pine floors and two Rumford fireplaces.

IThe Pfenninger family lived and ran their dairy farm out of the home for decades, and the building has also housed apartments and an antique shop. Monroe County bought the inn and its 1.5 acres of land in 1999 and added it on to Black Creek Park, which sits adjacent to the site. The Historical Society began leasing the building that year.