Funeral services held for former OFD chief, youth coach


Friday was the day that the community said their final goodbyes to longtime Owego Fire Chief Tom Taft. Funeral services were held this morning at the First Baptist Church in Owego, with the burial ceremony following at Evergreen Cemetery. The procession passed under ladder trucks from Owego and Candor on its way. Current OFD Chief Dan Gavin grew up with Taft in charge of the department.


“The chief meant a lot to the members,” he told WEBO today. “He was a quiet man, but he was also one that could bust out a joke, especially when it was needed. He was very good at team building.”


Besides his 12 years as OFD chief, the 51-year-old also volunteered his time to coach youth sports in the community for his three sons. Steve Virkler is the head coach of the OFA football program, which currently includes two of Tom’s sons.


“Coach Taft is a guy that put a lot into this community,” Coach Virkler told WEBO. “Close to us, he was involved in our youth football program for many years and ran that. He was just a good person that cared very much about kids.”


Chief Taft was also a veteran of the US Marine Corps. His arrangements were coordinated by the Estey, Munroe, and Fahey Funeral Home. The family asks that contributions in Tom’s memory be made to the Mercy House in Endicott. Photos and video from today’s funeral are available on the WEBO Facebook Page.

Upstate Shredding expansion plans tabled

The planned expansion at Owego’s Upstate Shredding will be slightly delayed after the Town of Owego Zoning Board tabled the request at a meeting last night. The board requested more information about the $7.5 million expansion project before they decide. The special meeting was held last night at the Owego Town Hall.

$5,000 grant awarded to begin process of Owego Central Fire Station renovations

The Village of Owego has received a $5,000 grant to conduct a study on how to best preserve its historic Central Fire Station. The fire station on North Avenue in Owego received significant damage to its basement and community rooms during the flood of 2011. The recently awarded grant was given to the Village by the New York Council on the Arts to a conduct a condition report which will be the basis of any future repair efforts.

Funeral services for Tom Taft announced

Funeral services have been announced for former Owege Fire Chief and youth coach Tom Taft.


Calling hours will be this Thursday from 4-7pm at Estey, Munroe & Fahey Funeral Home on Park Street in Owego.


Then on Friday, a funeral service will be held at First Baptist Church on Main Street in Owego at 10am. A burial service at Evergreen Cemetery in Owego will follow immediately after.


Tom Taft served the Owego Fire Department and Squad for over 20 years, 12 of which he served as fire chief. Taft also coached numerous local sports teams through the years, most recently becoming the director of the Junior Football League. Taft was also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.


The family says that memorial contributions in Taft’s memory can be made to the Mercy House of the Southern Tier on McKinley Avenue in Endicott.


There is also a GoFundMe page set up to help the Taft family with medical expenses at: GoFundMe.com/TomTaft.

Former Owego fire chief, youth coach passes away


Sad news for the Village of Owego, Tioga County, and beyond as we announce that former Owego Fire Chief Tom Taft has passed away. Taft had been battling lung cancer which recently spread to the lymph nodes in his neck. Taft served the Owego Fire Department for over 20 years, 12 of which he spent serving as Fire Chief. Taft also responded to the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.


In addition to his involvements in the community as a first responder, Taft also served as a baseball, lacrosse, and football coach over the years. Most recently, he served as director of the Junior Football League for 5 years. The Owego Varsity Football team honored Taft with special helmet stickers during their game against Ithaca on Friday.


Taft leaves behind three sons. If you would like to help the Taft family with medical expenses, a GoFundMe page has been set up at: GoFundMe.com/TomTaft.


Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced soon.

Grand opening of Tioga State Bank’s newest location in Owego this Friday

14117788_882993928497200_4453778933370821045_nThe grand opening of Tioga State Bank’s newest location at 18 Lake Street in Owego is being held this Friday. The new location offers financial advisory services, a 24/7 automated ATM, and four upscale apartments above. Numerous elected officials and community leaders are expected to be in attendance of the event. The ribbon for the ribbon cutting will consist of one-hundred $1 bills which will then be donated to the Owego Free Academy Music Department. The ribbon cutting ceremony will begin at 12:30pm on Friday.

President and CEO of Tioga State Bank, Bob Fisher joined us on today’s WEBO Morning Show. The full interview can be heard below.

Bio-energy plant opens at Lockheed Martin in Owego

A bio-energy plant was unveiled at Lockheed Martin in Owego yesterday. The plant is the first of its kind in the world. It converts solid wastes into renewable energy. While the plant can make use of a wide variety of solid materials as fuel, developers say that only wood waste will be used at first. Lockheed Martin has partnered with a local lumber supplier to fuel the new bio-energy operation. The hope is that one day these plants will provide energy to communities across the world. Lockheed Martin, and its partner in the project, Concord Blue, have already begun construction of another larger bio-energy plant in Germany.

Owego dedicates new 9/11 memorial


Hundreds of people gathered at Hickories Park in Owego yesterday to dedicate the town’s new memorial to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The memorial, which includes pieces of the train track that ran under the World Trade Center, was dedicated in a ceremony that included several speakers and the Owego Free Academy band. Speakers included retired New York State Police Sergeant Martin Kopcho, who provided a detailed description of what he experienced while responding to Ground Zero. However, the ceremony yesterday remembered more than just the bad. It honored a nation that came together in the face of adversity. A former employee at the Pentagon spoke about the sheer outpouring of response both locally and from across the nation. While a majority of the new 9/11 Memorial can already be seen at Hickories, the town has already announced further additions coming to the memorial, including a bordering fence and parking lot. More pictures from yesterday’s event are available on the WEBO Facebook Page.