All posts by Nicole Reitz


Third annual Oswego County Harvest Dinner set for Oct. 12

Fall is just around the corner, which means Oswego County farmers are busy harvesting their bounty of fruits, vegetables and meats.

It also means planning is underway for the third annual Oswego County Harvest Dinner, which will take place Friday, Oct. 12.

The dinner will showcase the diversity of agriculture in Oswego County by featuring locally grown and sourced food.

The event is hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County with the support of local farmers and agriculture businesses at the American Foundry in Oswego.

Attendees will get to sample dishes utilizing locally grown food and prepared by some of the area’s top chefs.

The 2012 featured chefs are Emil Nymander from the American Foundry, Brian Girard of Blue Plate Seafood, and Bill Hubel from Blue Moon Grill.

Tickets for the event must be purchased ahead of time. Prepaid reservations may be made by contacting Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County at 963-7286 or e-mailing No tickets will be sold at the door.

The Oswego County Harvest Dinner will start with a social hour, including a sampling of Oswego County beverages.

Guests will be served a six-course meal showcasing Oswego County’s agricultural products followed by the guest speaker, author Tom Rivers.

There will also be a gift basket auction featuring Oswego County’s finest agricultural products and more.

Rivers, a reporter covering agriculture in Batavia, wrote a first-person newspaper series about farm work that won state and national awards.

With the series garnering so much success and attention, it was decided to compile it into a book with added background and information.

This book, “Farm Hands: Hard Work and Hard Lessons from Western New York Fields,” is now in its sixth printing.

Rivers will share his perspective as an agricultural journalist who “got his hands dirty” by actually doing the work that brings food from field to fork.

The diversity of Oswego County land allows for the growth of a variety of agricultural products including onions, apples, meat, cheese, wine, maple syrup, honey, berries, plums, peaches, and a wide variety of vegetables.

Within the county there are at least seven local farmers markets, with one open almost every day of the week.

The agricultural community in this county generates $39.4 million in annual revenue from 639 farms and supplies over 5,000 jobs.

‘MOVE 5K’ to be held

The kick-off party  for the second annual “MOVE 5K” will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7, at the Office Tavern, 11 W. Seneca St., Oswego.

Hosted by “I Heart Oswego,” the fund-raiser will include food donated by the Office Tavern, entertainment and raffles. There is no cost to attendees but donations will be accepted throughout the evening.

Music at the event will be provided by singer-songwriter Melissa Sieling of Oswego. Sieling’s talents include playing the piano, flute and guitar and she enjoys performing her music at local venues with other music lovers.

She has been teaching adults and children of all ages and abilities for more than 20 years and her Pompey Hill studio is part of the National Federation of Music Clubs and the Central NY Association of Music Teachers.

Those attending the event can participate in 50/50 raffles along with the opportunity to take a chance on a variety of items donated by local businesses.

Founded in 2009 by Greg Callen, who is wheelchair bound himself, Move Along serves to provide accessible outlets for individuals with disabilities to achieve personal gratification, growth and integrity through participation and competition.

“The MOVE 5K is a joint fund-raising event whose proceeds benefit Move Along Inc. and the SUNY Upstate Medical University Physical Therapy Club,” Callen said.

“It includes a 5K certified trail run/walk around Green Lake and Round Lake and a wheelchair road race to raise funds and awareness for Move Along Inc.

“In addition to the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) running and wheelchair events, there is a shorter fun run for kids.”

There is still time for participants to register and awards will be provided to the top three males and females in each age division and to the top three overall male and female finishers in the run/walk.

Those seeking more information or to register may go to and click on the MOVE 5K button under featured events.


Talking agriculture in Granby: Buerkle visits with farmers at onion farm

by Andrew Henderson

Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle visited with local farmers during a campaign stop Wednesday at Sorbello Farms in Granby.

Buerkle, who is running for the newly formed 24th congressional district against Democrat Dan Maffei, addressed agricultural issues with about 25 farmers and local officials.

Oswego County Legislator Morris Sorbello, an onion farmer, hosted the event.

“I’ve been involved in politics for a while, going into the federal government and other places,” noted Sorbello. “As I have gotten to know the congresswoman over these past couple of months, I have found her to be a hard-working lady, a very pleasant lady, and someone I feel very strongly in. When someone stops and listens, acts interested, and does the job for all of us in agriculture, it is very nice.”

Buerkle, a former nurse and attorney, said she was interested in hearing the concerns and questions from local farmers.

“We need you,” she told the farmers. “The community needs you. Upstate New York needs you. New York State needs you and the country needs you. You are such an integral part of the New York State’s economy.”

The congresswoman said there is a lot of focus on agriculture in New York State because it is the state’s leading industry.

“We need to work with you and partner with you,” she said. “That’s what we’ve done over the last 18 months.”

When she was first elected 18 months, Buerkle said she formed an agricultural advisory council to pay “very close attention to the agricultural industry in Upstate New York.”

Among the issues that surfaced over the past 18 months was a proposed law that would ban children of farmers under the age of 16 from working on the family farm.

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of the Valley News at our office or at one of several locations throughout the City. For Subscriptions call 598-6397.


Jail study to be discussed behind closed doors

by Carol Thompson

Members of the Oswego County Legislature’s Old Jail Property and Planning Committee, along with members of the Infrastructure and Facilities Committee, met at the Department of Social Services complex in Mexico Tuesday to discuss whether to move ahead with a study to determine how to move forward with the former jail property.

County purchasing director Fred Maxon recommended the committee  interview three potential vendors.

Legislator Morris Sorbello, who chairs the jail committee, requested a motion to interview the vendors and allow legislators to ask questions.

Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley did not see the need for the interviews. “If we’re going to tear the building down, if that’s the decision made to take the building down, then a number of these questions, the structural integrity of the building doesn’t become our problem, it becomes the low bidders problem,” he said.

The full legislature will eventually decide the fate of the deteriorated structure that once served as the county jail.

When construction of the new public safety center was completed, the former jail sat dormant and is now in a condition beyond repair.

At issue is whether the county should sell the property with the building or demolish the structure and sell the land.

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of the Valley News at our office or at one of several locations throughout the City. For Subscriptions call 598-6397.

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: September 1, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Do you ever wonder if the people we elect to serve us in Albany have any common sense or care at all about the citizens of our state?

I certainly do at times.

I’ll give you a couple of examples of what really rankles me and they should at least leave you scratching your head.

We don’t often think about it up here in Oswego County, but a big chunk of New York borders on the Atlantic Ocean and it provides jobs for a lot of New Yorkers and income for the state coffers.

Sport fishing is a big thing there, much bigger than it is on Lake Ontario. And like Ontario, its fisheries and beaches draw folks from a lot of other states.

There are two species that arguably draw the most fishermen to Long Island Sound and the south shore of Long Island; they are flounder and striped bass.

I have been to the island a couple of times to fish for them. Those species are managed up and down the east coast by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Basically, this group assesses the stock of each species, and sets a benchmark that will be used to decide how many and what size fish may be taken by sport fishermen and commercial fishermen in all the Atlantic Coast states.

Representatives from each state meet with ASMFC to give their input. In early August, this group met in Philadelphia to make decisions about striped bass that will determine how they will be managed for the next five to 10 years. Can you guess what state wasn’t represented?

I got an e-mail from a member of the Coastal Conservation Association, who is a good friend and an avid sport fisherman, informing me that New York State wasn’t represented at the meeting.

New York was supposed to send three people: Andy Kahnle from the Hudson River Unit, who, incidentally, sits on ASMFC’s Striped Bass Technical Committee; a woman from DEC’s Marine Bureau, who addresses coastal striped bass management issues; and Cathy Hattala, who deals with striped bass on the Hudson River. ASMFC would have paid all their travel expenses.

So what went wrong? Why did we lose our voice at this very important meeting?

Well sometimes common sense, or even just good sense, goes out the window when our government is involved.

Governor Cuomo wanted to save the state some money – good idea – and he put a travel restriction on government employees – which saves a drop in the bucket.

(I notice that he travels where ever he wants to – like the State Fair).

But even if the travel restriction saved some money somewhere, it didn’t save a penny by keeping these people in question from doing their job.

They could have attended at no cost to the state. ASMFC was going to cover their expenses. Let me tell you, it will cost our state’s fishermen, both recreational and commercial, dearly in the years down the road.

I want to quote one paragraph from my friend’s e-mail, because he summed this up so well. “One would think that a meeting discussing the future management of a fish as important to New York’s anglers as striped bass, should have been important enough for Cuomo’s office to permit travel, particularly when the costs of such travel will be picked up by ASMFC – and particularly when New York’s Hudson River hosts the second-largest spawning population of striped bass on the coast. However, that was not the case. Instead, New York anglers and New York’s striped bass fishery were effectively unrepresented.”

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of the Valley News at our office or at one of several locations throughout the City. For Subscriptions call 598-6397.

Jack Wright Sr., worked at Black Clawson

Jack L. “Jack Rabbit Farm” Wright Sr., 57, of County Route 57, Fulton, died Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012 at his home with his family by his side.

He was born to his parents, Norma G.(Niles) and Francis E. Wright, May 13, 1955. He graduated J.C. Birdlebough High School in 1973. He furthered his studies.

He was a panel fitter for Black Clawson Davis Standard Co., Fulton, for 38 years. He was a union representative United Steel Workers for 35 years. He was a volunteer firefighter for the Town of Granby and enjoyed Quarter Midget Racing.

He was predeceased by his mother, Norma G. (Niles) Wrightm who died Aug. 19, 1994.

Surviving are his wife, Theresa M. Darling Wright; four children, Mary Wright of Fulton, Jack L. (Jody) Wright Jr. of Fulton, Jeremy (Rachel) Wright of Fulton, and Nathanael (Christine) Darling of Phoenix; his father, Francis E. Wright of Phoenix; three grandchildren, Jacob, Emma, Jeremy, Jr.; and one aunt, Fanny (Ziggy) Feuerherm of Ft. Plain, N.Y.

Calling hours were held Tuesday and services were held Wednesday at Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home, Phoenix. The Rev. Terrance E. Millbyer officiated.  Burial was in Phoenix Rural Cemetery.

Contributions may be made to Friends of Oswego County Hospice, P.O. Box 102, Oswego, NY 13126.

In And Around Hannibal: September 1, 2012

Rita Hooper

I should be writing about Labor Day this weekend, a day set aside to honor the American work force. In a way I will be, but first it’s time for Rita’s Rant!

There has been much controversy over the 10 Commandments and particularly their use in public buildings. A little research will show that Jews, Christians and Muslims all share in a similar 10 commandments. Hindus and Buddhists also have a somewhat similar list.

I’ve often said that the 10 Commandments are just simple, commonsense rules to live by if one chooses to. If Shakespeare had written them, they would probably have been better accepted. In the early days, when they were more universally accepted, people took them as law.

The first four commandments do have a religious overtone. You must not have any other God but me. Don’t make an idol of any kind, do not bow down to them or worship them.

Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God or take His name in vain. My mother would have said, “If you can’t find another way of saying something without using the Lord’s name, you have a very limited vocabulary.”

She also said that of vulgarity.  If someone were to say “O God” in my husband’s presence he would reply in a slow deep voice “Yesssss.”

In any event, the point was made.

If you were not a person of faith, you learned not to say these things less they offend a friend or business associate who was.

In Latin, we learned “a word to the wise is sufficient.”

Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Pastor Bob (my other half) was heard to say on numerous occasions that Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

As God created the earth in seven days and rested, God felt man needed to rest on the seventh day. Shopping may be rest to some as is doing the laundry, cutting the lawn or cleaning out the fridge or doing homework, but to others, a day of rest may start with church, family gatherings and a nap.

I don’t know who can argue about a day set aside for not working!

The remaining six commandments are just good rules to live by.  Honor your father and mother, don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t covet (hanker, long for, lust after) anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Oh, but if we could live by just 10 rules. Isn’t the human being a strange animal? If God makes a rule, man works to find a way around it.

God made rules to help us all get along and we say we want to live at peace with others but we just keep working to find ways not too.

Man thought he could do better so he made lots of laws. And then other people found ways to work around those laws so more laws were written and others found ways around them and the cycle of law writing continues. Imagine the tombstone, “I wrote more laws than anyone!”

It seems to me it would be so much simpler to live by the intent of say 7 basic laws (leaving the religious ones to those who believe.)  All of which can be applied to the issues of today from fracking to abortion to fair labor practices and finances,  electioneering and identity theft. We might not need tons of regulations either.

Remember the greatest commandment was to love your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself — if we throw in the Golden Rule to “do unto others as you would have them do to you ” we might not need all those rules and regs written by man.

On this Labor Day weekend, remember the unions were created to bring about fair practices and safe working conditions for their members.

The eight hour day was their first big step (oh, how we have complicated that simple law — time and a half, over-time, double time, 12 hour, 15 hour days, 4 day weeks to name a few).

Child labor was soon after banned but now we have rules regarding not only the age of children when they can work but also about their using power equipment, sharp tools and ladders to name just a few.

Common sense went out the window along with looking out for each other.

This week try doing unto others as you would have them do unto you – keep the phrase on your mind and see where you can mention it in a nice way. Change begins with us!

Rant over!

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The following was sent to me by John Norvel; it fits in with my long standing theme of the good folks that have graduated from Hannibal High School and what they have done with the rest of their lives.

The Hannibal Class of 1962 held its 50th reunion recently. Joyce Bacon Daniels, Bruce Allen, Donna Burnett James and Ron James, Jack and Faye Beckwith, Milan and Dolores Kimball Hubbard, and Beverly Gray Perkins served as the organizing committee for the event.

A two-night celebration was held at the South Forty Restaurant in North Sterling with more than 50 alums and guests in attendance.  Alums came from as far away as Washington State – Shirley Blanchard Mitchell;  Virginia – Norman Hastings;  and Florida – Milton Mansfield.

The majority of the class members still reside in New York, with many in the greater Oswego and Central New York areas.

Of the 71 members who graduated, eight have died: Bernard Shoults, Karen Andrews, Doug Chapman, Marlene Fresh Godden, Judy Hofmann Brown, Gerald Phelps,  and Gary Scruton.

Ten members of the class married classmates: Ron and Donna Burnett James, John and Bonnie Irwin Norvell, Dan and Linda Gardner Griffin, Jim and Ellen Thomas Bell, and Milan and Delores Kimball Hubbard – and they are still married.

The reunion celebrated the service of many of the class to our nation, their communities, and the world. Fifteen class members served our nation: Air Force (John Norvell, Ellen Bell, Vern Cole, and Gary Scruton), Navy (Keith Chetney, Ron James, Carl Crawford, Dick Burdick, Jim Bell, Emmett Wood), Army ( Dick Atkins and Randy Woods), and Marines (Burton Hall, Bruce Richmond, and Dick Farnham).

At the annual Hannibal Alumni Association banquet, a flag was presented to Hannibal Central School in honor of these classmates. Serving their communities,  11 became teachers, one was a fireman (Michael Roden), and 11 ran their own businesses.

In addition, Dexter Benedict is a nationally-recognized sculptor who has exhibited works all over the nation and around the world; Ron and Donna Burnett James are nationally known hybridizers of Irises and other plants;  Norman Hastings was a member of the US State Department; and Richard Best served in the Salvation Army for more than 35 years.

The highlights of the evening included a moving letter and video from Alexandra “Sandy” Cevallos, the American Field Service exchange student from Ecuador, who told of her life since she left the class of 1962 and how she would never forget her friends in Hannibal.

Bruce Allen, the poet laureate of 1962, summed it up: “The friends we gathered throughout our journey, Created the memories that last for eternity.”

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The Hannibal Jammers will be meeting Monday evening at 6 p.m. at the American Legion for their annual Labor Day Dinner. Please bring a dish to share. Music will begin at 7 p.m. If you like country, bluegrass and a little Gospel come on down and over and spend an evening with some good music and friends.

The Hannibal Senior Meals program will not meet this Monday in honor of Labor Day. They will meet Wednesday and Friday at noon for lunch. Most of the folks come earlier for cards and games, conversation and coffee.

This week’s menu features ham steak, scalloped potatoes, green beans, and fruit cup on Wednesday, and homemade soup and tuna sandwich, juice, and cookie on Friday. To make your reservation, please call Rosemary at 564-5471.

Friday, Sept. 7 from 11:30 a.m. until done, there will be a flu, pneumonia and pertussis clinic at the Senior Center. Please bring insurance card. The Senior Center is located on Oswego Street, across from the firehouse.

Remember children go back to school this week – be extra careful when driving, especially at “bus time.” The best wishes for a successful school year go to all our students and school staffs.

The Hannibal Methodist Church hosts a free chili and soup lunch on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. Good food and good people to talk with.

Take-outs available.

The Hannibal Board of Education will meet Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 7:15 at the Board Room in the High School.

Hannibal Sports Schedule:

• Sept. 4 — Junior varsity and varsity soccer at Cazenovia at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.

• Sept. 6 — All Modified sports practices begin.

• Sept. 7 — Varsity football at Bishop Ludden

• Sat. 8 — Junior varsity and varsity soccer at Sodus; and varsity cross country at J-E Invitational.

This column is written for the folks in and around Hannibal – so please keep me informed of your groups doings so I can pass the word around. Thanks.