All posts by Ashley M. Casey

Ashley M. Casey is the assistant editor of The Valley News. Previously, she was the associate editor of Today's CNY Woman magazine. She has also written for The Finger Lakes Vacationer. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 with a degree in communications and Spanish.

“Chatty Maddy” gives back to the organization that gave her a voice

By Ashley M. Casey

At an age when most typical 3-year-olds start to exhibit their silliest faces, Madalyn Rupert could not even stick out her tongue.

Madalyn was diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech and dyspraxia at the age of 3. After years of occupational therapy, physical therapy and assistive technology, Maddy, now 10 years old, can string together six to nine spoken words at a time.

“A child with apraxia is easily flustered because they know what they want to say, they understand what you’re saying, but they cannot verbalize their needs and wants,” explained Maddy’s mother, Monica Stoutenger.

Stoutenger, who is board president of Parents of Special Children, is helping her daughter pay it forward for the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA) by hosting a Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech on Sept. 28 at Volney Park.

To read the rest of this story, pick up the print version of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.

Church sewing bee mission clothes Appalachian girls

By Ashley M. Casey

Members of the North Volney United Methodist Church gathered for a sewing bee Aug. 15 to turn donated pillowcases into dresses for impoverished girls in the Appalachian region of the U.S. More than a dozen participants came together to create about 30 dresses.

Appalachia is the southern portion of the Appalachian Mountains, spanning 13 states in the Eastern U.S. The per capita income in Appalachia is 18 percent lower than the national average. The poverty rate is 16.1 percent in Appalachia, nearly two percentage points higher than the national rate.

The North Volney United Methodist Church is partnering with Christian charity Hope 4 Women International to send the dresses to Appalachian girls in need. Beverly Beck was the coordinator, who heard of pillowcase dresses and found H4WI through an Internet search.

To read the rest of this story, pick up the print version of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.

One man’s multi-marathon

Fulton native raises awareness, funds for cancer research with 353-mile run.

By Ashley M. Casey

Benjamin Hall is running for his life – and others’, too. Hall, a Fulton native who now hails from Manchester, Md., is raising awareness and money for the American Cancer Society with a 353-mile run from Maryland to Fulton.

Hall begins his journey on Sept. 28 and plans to arrive in Fulton on Oct. 12, with two planned days of rest. He will run an average of 29.4 miles per day – more than a marathon, which is 26.2 miles.  Continue reading

Breezy tunes and weather make Jazz Fest a success

By Ashley M. Casey

A cloudy start to the weekend gave way to sunny skies last Friday as the Fulton Jazz Fest kicked off a breezy, fun-filled evening.

Held behind the War Memorial by Lake Neatahwanta last Friday and Saturday, the Jazz Fest boasted positive attendance, according to the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce.

Several local acts graced the Fulton Savings Bank stage. The Cortini Brothers, with special guest saxophonist Tommy Ciappa, warmed up the crowd for Friday’s opening “Happy Hour.” The bank also donated door prizes for the Happy Hour drawing. Continue reading

Big Block Modifieds rained out

The much-anticipated Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modifieds, which had been scheduled for July 27 at the Fulton Speedway, was canceled due to rain.

The winner of Saturday’s race would have qualified for a spot in the Sunoco Ethanol Facility Outlaw 200, which takes place on Oct. 4 and 5 at the Fulton Speedway.

The Speedway’s next race is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3.

The Fulton Speedway offers a text message service to notify fans of weather-related cancellations. To sign up, visit