TRUXTON MAN HOPES TO PRESERVE TOWN
Cortland Standard December 26, 2015
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
New Penn Farm owner Carl Hinkle talks about the rewards of working with
local 4-H youths Tuesday while at his farm in Truxton. Town officials recently
thanked Hinkle for supporting a proposed community center and charter
By LEANN HLEBICA
Carl Hinkle reflects on his years spent in Truxton with happy memories of fishing, playing sports and being an active young boy.
The experiences shaped Hinkle’s life and he has worked to give back to the community, helping make life better for his neighbors.
His most recent effort was to quietly donate a substantial, but unspecified, amount to back the purchase of the former Truxton Elementary School by a local group that wants to open a community center and charter school.
During a recent interview, Hinkle, 79, sat on a folding chair in the welcome center at his farm, speaking fondly of the town he grew up in. The small room is the meeting area for the local 4-H Club chapter. Hinkle, owner of New Penn Farms, said he is happy to provide a service to the children. The 4-H Club members present his cattle in shows, including the New York State Fair.
Behind the welcome center is the large stable that holds the 75 angus beef cattle Hinkle breeds.
He has been sponsoring the 4-H Club for almost 30 years, and continues to invest in his community.
When he learned that the board of education for the Homer school district, which operated Hartnett Elementary School, was moving to close the school, Hinkle was worried about losing a local institution that was important to him and the community.
He donated money to the Truxton Alumni Community & Supporters for the nonprofit group to purchase the property. The Homer Board of Education on Nov. 5 accepted the nonprofit group’s $51,000 bid that was submitted at an Oct. 29 auction.
Hinkle was honored at an awards ceremony last week at which the Truxton Town Board presented him with a flag that was flown over the Capital in Washington, D.C.
“He is a very humble man,” Town Supervisor Gus Wehbe said Thursday. Wehbe said the flag was chosen as a way to thank Hinkle for his generosity toward the project that will benefit the entire town.
Hinkle said he plans to display the flag at some point in town, hopefully at the charter school. Until then, the flag remains on display on top of his mantle at his home at 5493 Cheningo Road in Truxton.
As Hinkle grew up, he couldn’t help but notice his town deteriorating over time.
There was an old mill in town where Hinkle and his friends like to fish that closed when Hinkle was 12 and to this day, Hinkle says he wishes it had been preserved.
“The mill itself was beautiful, if it had been able to be restored, it would have been a marvelous sight to see,” Hinkle said Tuesday.
He explained that there were several people while he was growing up who helped him in one way or another. Whether it was his boss at the gas station helping him have enough gas to get back and forth to college at Morrisville, where he went to school in 1953, or Marion H. Hartnett tutoring him for free when he was overwhelmed by his college trigonometry class, Hinkle said he was lucky to have people in the town help him get to where he is today.
“People in Truxton have a grit and a spirit to them,” Hinkle said, explaining that members of the town really give their all to help and support each other.
He explained that the Truxton Alumni Community & Supporters have been working very hard to purchase the school, and hopefully establish a charter school in part of the building. Hinkle supported their idea to not only create a community center for the town but he was also supportive of the planned charter school’s hands-on learning approach. He said he believes that the building will be an asset to the rural community.
Hinkle’s business specializes in breeding cattle. He said to be a farmer in today’s market, he has to be a little bit of a scientist, a businessman and be equipped to handle the social promotion and marketing that is involved.
Hinkle uses characteristics such as behavior of an animal, amount of beef and variety of marble in the beef to predict the perfect mix for breeding purposes. This method is known as expected progeny difference, or EPD, and uses factors such as birth weight and behavior for Hinkle to consider when buying, selling or breeding.
The welcome room of the farm has different colored ribbons hanging along its walls displaying awards Hinkle’s 4-H teams have taken home from the New York State Fair. Hinkle began working with the group in the early 1980s.
Jeanetta Laudermilk, the manager of the farm, educates the 4-H groups on how to maintain the animals and rules of presentation while at the fair. Laudermilk was a member of one of the first 4H clubs Hinkle sponsored.
“Anything that involves kids coming in and learning, he’s right on board,” Laudermilk said Tuesday.