All posts by Andrew Henderson

All things Christmas

Roy Hodge
Roy Hodge

by Roy Hodge

It has turned out that one of my jobs around the house is keeping everything neat during the day.

My duties usually consist of doing a few dishes a couple of times a day and keeping clutter to a minimum, which I usually interpret as being able to walk around the house without every object I pass falling on the floor.

I am finding that my job gets a lot more difficult at this holiday time of the year.

We have had Christmas cookies in the house for a few weeks now. I know my wife has made some, but I am sure others have made their way into our house courtesy of baking friends.

They seem to come into our house in neat plastic bags, on plates or in attractive containers, but after a few days they were piling up and creating a messy situation. My solution to that problem – eat them.

Our home’s neatness during the holiday season time of the year is also challenged by several large cartons which find their way down from the attic. They are the containers which hold the hundreds of Christmas ornaments we have accumulated through the years.

Then, of course, there are the greetings we send and receive during the season. A couple of weeks ago we hauled all of the cards, envelopes and stamps out of the drawers and closets, wrote messages of Christmas time endearment inside the cards, put addresses and stuck stamps on the envelopes before licking and sealing them and sending the whole pile on its way.

We no sooner got all of those greetings into the mailbox when we started receiving several cards a day which are scattered all over the house.

And there is wrapping paper — boxes and bags of wrapping paper — some still fresh in its own wrapper, and some wrinkled and crinkled in expected and unexpected places.

A big part of the Christmas season, of course, are the gifts we buy, give and receive at this time of the year.

For the past couple of weeks Christmas gifts, coming in and going out, have been all over the place during different stages of the gift buying and giving process.  All that once beautiful wrapping paper and ribbon was turned into torn and shredded trash.

That brings us to where we are now — a few days after Christmas — with the shredded trash, all those empty cartons in the garage, basement or attic, all the stuff that belongs inside them, the cookie crumbs, the hundreds of needles which have fallen from the Christmas tree, all those greeting cards, the used gift wrapping, and don’t forget — all of that new stuff.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397


by Pastor David Grey

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” — Colossians 3:13-14

More than 30 times in the New Testament we are told to forgive one another’s trespasses and offenses. But there is one verse in scripture that reveals just how crucial it is that we obey this command.

It is verse 6 of Matthew 15: “If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Does God really mean that His forgiving me is contingent upon my forgiving others? The answer is “yes, He does.”

That was the whole point of the parable of the debtor Jesus told in Matthew 18. You might remember the story. A man who owed the king more than he could ever repay, begged for mercy and had his debt forgiven.

Yet that same man demanded that someone who owed him far, far less pay back every penny.

When the king heard about it he, “called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.”

Now in case someone would fail to understand clearly what this parable meant, Jesus concluded, saying, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Christopher Naylor, Fulton resident

OBITS-NaylorChristopherChristopher H. Naylor, 64, of Fulton, died Tuesday, Dec. 18 at Oswego Hospital following a sudden illness.

A native of Syracuse, he had lived in Fulton for over 30 years. He was manager at Crazy Gator Bar & Grill and former co-owner and operator of the Lock III Restaurant, both in Fulton.

Previously, he was manager at Old Stone Mill in Skaneateles, Bragg’s Cafe in Syracuse and Valle’s Steakhouse in Washington, D.C.

He served in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1971 where he learned his restaurant management skills.

He was predeceased by his father, Harry Naylor, who died July 26, 2012.

Surviving are his mother, Georgine (Daigle) Naylor of Clay; a sister, Carol (Marc Gaiger) Bell of Pittsford; a brother, Richard (Diane) Naylor of Syracuse; five nieces and nephews; an aunt and a uncle; and several cousins.

Vigil services were held Thursday at Foster Funeral Home, Fulton with military honors. Calling hours were also held Thursday at the funeral home.

Contributions may be made to a favorite charity.

Oswego County reapportionment meeting rescheduled for Friday

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Legislature will meet at 2 p.m. Friday to vote on the new legislative district lines.

The meeting will be held in legislature chambers on the fourth floor of the county government complex in Oswego.

The legislature has anticipated having a new plan passed by the end of the year.

A public hearing was held earlier this month with several residents speaking in opposition of the plan. The new lines will divide several towns, including the towns of Oswego and Volney. The Volney Town Board sent an opposing resolution to the legislature.

Legislator Dan Farfaglia has been a vocal opponent of the plan and has proposed his own plan, which he claims meets the legal requirements.

Farfaglia is a member of a reapportionment committee formed to draw the new lines. Legislator Dan Chalifoux serves as chairman of the committee.

When legislators decide on a final plan, the new lines will be represented in next year’s election.  At that time, all 25 seats will be on the ballot.

County Clerk employee walks off job

by Carol Thompson

An employee of the Oswego County Clerk’s office walked off the job today.

Many legislators have been notified of the most recent incident and said that they are working toward a permanent resolution to the problems that have plagued the office for over two years.

The New York State Labor Department and the EEOC have been contacted as well as Oswego County Personnel Director Carol Alnutt.

The employee, an index clerk, has been asked to perform accounting work while the senior account clerk is out. The employee has refused to do the accounting work because it is not a part of her job duties, according to the legislators working to resolve the issue.

The accounting duties are supposed to be done by the deputy clerk of operations in absence of the account clerk, according to the job description of the deputy position.

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said enough is enough and that legislators need to work together to end the constant turmoil. Legislator Shawn Doyle is working on the matter with other legislators and said he spoke with Alnutt Friday morning.

“I absolutely expect something to be done about this,” Doyle said. “I don’t need to restate the sympathy I have for these employees.”

Kunzwiler agreed. “This is exactly what happens when you create a political position,” he said.

Legislator Doug Malone said the turmoil has got to come to an end and that a special meeting needs to be called before the end of the year to eliminate the deputy clerk of operations position and to lower the pay of the deputy clerk.

“It needs to be addressed soon,” he said. “We need to seriously look into this.”

Legislator Amy Tresidder has also been working on the matter, she said, and is making telephone calls.

There was no word as to whether the employee would return to work.

North Volney Methodist Church to hold ‘Make a Gift Day’

North Volney Methodist Church will be holding a “Make a Gift Day” Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon.

There will be a variety of crafts available for the children to complete as well as materials to make cards for their family members. It is all free to those who attend with no charge for materials. Refreshments will be served.

The church is also sponsoring a “Lights of Christmas” tree for the upcoming Christmas season.

Lights will be sold and can be dedicated to a friend or family member, both living and deceased.

A listing of names will placed alongside the lit tree. The tree will be lit through the Christmas season on the church grounds at the corner of County Routes 4 and 6 in the Town of Volney.

Those seeking more information may call 593-6825.

Alan Jones’ murder conviction reduced to manslaughter

by Carol Thompson

The Appellate Division, Fourth Department, released its decision in the case of People v. Alan Jones today.

The court reversed Jones’s conviction for the crime of murder in the second degree (depraved indifference murder) for causing the death of his 11-year old stepsister, Erin  Maxwell, while in their Town of Palermo home in 2008.

The appellate court held that, as a matter of law, the evidence before the jury was legally insufficient to establish that Jones acted with the mental state of depraved indifference at the time he caused Erin’s death.

In a press release issued by Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes, it is stated that the appellate court found that the evidence before the jury sufficiently established the lesser-included offense of second-degree manslaughter, meaning that Jones recklessly caused her death.

The court therefore reduced the conviction to second-degree manslaughter and transferred the case back to the Oswego County Court for sentencing on the reduced charge, which carries a maximum of sentence of 5 to 15 years in state prison.

The case was originally prosecuted by then-Oswego County District Attorney Donald Dodd, who indicted and tried the case under the theory of depraved indifference murder. Dodd retired at the end of 2011.

Current Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes, who took office Jan. 1, argued the appeal on behalf of his office.

Oakes indicated that he is saddened by the appellate court’s decision to reduce the conviction, stating that he believes Jones deserves the 25 years to life sentence originally imposed by Judge Hafner.

Oakes stated, “The court’s decision affirms the jury’s finding that Jones caused Erin’s death. He committed a wicked and horrendous act against an innocent child, and he deserves to spend the rest of his life in a cell.”

Oakes stated that he will try to appeal the case to the Court of Appeals and seek to have the murder conviction reinstated.

Oakes added, “While no conviction can undo this tragedy, as a matter of justice, I will do everything in my power to make sure that Jones is held fully accountable for Erin’s death. Erin deserves nothing less.”

Democrats fare well in national races, GOP takes local races

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County, known to be a stronghold for the Republican Party, once again supported a Democrat in the race for the White House.

President Barack Obama won the county this year, which he did four years ago. Obama took 54.6 percent of the vote to Romney’s 44.8 percent.

Democrat Dan Maffei won with a two-percent lead over Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle in the race for the 24th District Congressional seat in Oswego County. Overall, the unofficial results show Maffei ahead by four percent.

Democrats did not fare so well in the remainder of the races with 48th District State Senator Patty Ritchie winning re-election by a two-to-one margin over Oswego County Legislator Amy Tresidder.

Oswego County Republican Committee Chairman Michael Backus won the seat for County Clerk ousting Phillip Vasho by a 20-percent margin.

Following a national trend, voters in Oswego County were unpredictable and did not vote straight party line.

Also following some national trends, local voters willing to express their opinion at the polls said they felt some incumbents were “ineffective” but voted for their re-election for various reasons — either because they did not know enough about the opposing candidate or because of the stand on a particular issue.

For Tresidder, it was, in part, her effectiveness as a county legislator that impacted voters, according to some voters. “I voted for Patty Ritchie because I think Amy Tresidder does a great job for the county and I think we need her here more,” a City of Oswego voter said. “The state’s a mess and no one person can fix that but Amy makes a difference here.”

Six other voters expressed the same sentiment. A Town of Hannibal voter said he bypassed the race altogether. “I like Tresidder and I’d like her to stay here but I didn’t want to vote for Ritchie so I just didn’t vote for either of them,” he said.

Some voters said they continue to believe Albany is dysfunctional, a sentiment expressed in the last few years.

On the state level, early results show the Democrats may take control of the Senate. The Democrats picked up three critical seats and are awaiting results to determine if they will hold the now 63-seat Senate by a 32-31 margin.

All results are unofficial until re-canvassing and absentee ballot counting has been completed.