All posts by Nicole Reitz

When I was a kid

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

I found myself in a somewhat familiar situation this week. When lacking a column topic I began to do some reminiscing.

When I was a kid:

The next door neighbor kid used to entertain himself by dropping bricks or heavy rocks on the tops of my favorite metal trucks on the other side of the fence between our properties.

I lost many of my “treasures” by dropping them down the space (a few inches) between the stairs to our attic and the wall. I bet they are still there.

I often kept grasshoppers in a mayonnaise jar with grass in the bottom and holes punched in the top.

We spent most of our weekly allowance of 35 cents on popsicles at Steve’s corner grocery store.

My brother, sister and I rushed down the stairs on winter mornings to be able to sit over the warm air register in the living room floor.

We used to wait by the front of our driveway when it was time for our father to come home from work so we could ride to the other end on the running boards on the family’s 1936 Chevrolet.

When we got our first television set I thought it was very entertaining to see Uncle Miltie dress as a woman.

I also liked Howdy Doody, Buffalo Bob and Clarabelle the Clown, as well as Kukla, Fran and Ollie.

I don’t know if I would have eaten as many Cheerios as I did if I hadn’t needed the box tops to send for neat Lone Ranger stuff.

My brother and I spent the trips home from our aunt and uncle’s home in Oneida by making a makeshift tent in the car’s back seat. We did that by attaching one end of a blanket to the rope hangers on the back of the front seats, and tucking the other end into the back of the back seat.

Then, in our improvised, and more than slightly uncomfortable tent, we jockeyed for space, jabbed, poked, and finally settled down for the long ride home, when our father carried us into the house and our beds.

Mr. Birnbaum was my favorite teacher when I was in high school. One of the reasons for that was that he saved me and my friends from many hours of detention by picking us up on the way to school and getting us there on time.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Free shuttle bus service for Hope Fest 2013

Hope Fest 2013 is fast approaching with three evenings of Christian outreach at the Fulton War Memorial June 7-9.

To help those without transportation and also for those who do not want to have to park far away, the Hope Fest Committee is partnering with Oswego County Opportunities to provide free shuttle bus service each night.

The bus is wheelchair accessible. The bus will be identified by bright yellow signs that say, “Hope Fest Shuttle.”

Transportation to the War Memorial: There will be two runs to pick up passengers and bring them to the War Memorial. The first run starts at 5:30 p.m. and the second run starts around 6:10 p.m. The schedule and times for the pickup stops during each run is as follows:

First Stop: Main Office Gilbert’s Grove, Pathfinder Courts – Emery St., 5:35 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.

Second Stop: Senior Buildings G-K, Pathfinder Courts – E. Broadway, 5:39 p.m. and 6:19 p.m.

Third Stop: Fulton Education Center/Park Area – South 4th St. between Buffalo and Rochester streets., 5:43 p.m. and 6:23 p.m.

Fourth Stop: Towpath Towers – 100 Rochester St., 5:48 p.m. and 6:28 p.m.

Fifth Stop: Fulton Mill Apartments – Riverside Ave. off West 1st St., 5:54 p.m. and 6:34 p.m.

Sixth Stop: Chateau West Apartments – W. 11th St., 6:01 p.m. and 6:41 p.m.

Arrive at War Memorial: Dropping off outside main entrance; 6:05 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

There will be return-trip bus runs at the end of each evening. Each night’s activities are expected to end around 10 p.m. The schedule for dropping off passengers on the return trips is as follows:

First Stop: Main Office Gilbert’s Grove, Pathfinder Courts – Emery St.

Second Stop: Senior Buildings G-K, Pathfinder Courts – E. Broadway.

Third Stop: Fulton Education Center/Park Area – South 4th St. between Buffalo and Rochester streets.

Fourth Stop: Towpath Towers – 100 Rochester St.

Fifth Stop: Fulton Mill Apartments – Riverside Ave. off West 1st St.

Sixth Stop: Chateau West Apartments – W. 11th St.

After first return-trip run, bus returns to War Memorial for second and final run.

For those who need transportation in the Fulton area but cannot get to the bus stops, there will be mini vans available (not wheelchair accessible) that are driven by volunteers. Please call 315-226-3378 by 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 5 to arrange for pickup.

Hope Fest 2013 is a free Christian community outreach event on Friday, June 7, Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9. Doors open at 5 pm with the event beginning nightly at 7 p.m. Live music, guest speakers, preaching, prayer, and testimonies.

Those seeking more information may visit or call 226-3378.

Marcellus tops Phoenix softball team in sectional playoffs

by Rob Tetro

The Phoenix varsity softball team went into the Section II Class B playoffs as the tenth seed following its 10-9 regular season.

In the opening round, Phoenix took on a familiar foe, Marcellus, May 25.

The Lady Firebirds split the season series with Marcellus in games that were both decided by one run each.

Unfortunately for Phoenix, Marcellus scored a couple of runs down the stretch to come away with the win.

The Lady Firebirds season concludes with a final record of 10-10.

After both teams were held scoreless during the first inning, the Lady Firebirds took a 1-0 lead during the top of the second inning. However, Marcellus stormed ahead during the bottom of the second inning. The Lady Mustangs scored two runs to take a 2-1 lead.

Phoenix battled back during the third inning. The Lady Firebirds scored two runs to take a 3-2 lead. Marcellus responded during the fourth inning, scoring two runs to regain the lead at 4-3.

To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Quarterly siren tests scheduled for next week

The Oswego County Emergency Management Office has announced that the system of emergency notification sirens surrounding the three nuclear power plants at Nine Mile Point are scheduled to be tested Monday, June 3 through Friday, June 7 between 4 and 8 p.m.

The test is a portion of the regular testing program of the Oswego County emergency alert system. This quarterly testing includes individual activation of each siren.

No response by the public is required during these tests.

Should an actual event occur during the time of testing, the Emergency Alert System would be activated on radio and TV stations providing directions to members of the public.

The system of sirens and tone-alert weather radios in the 10-mile emergency planning zone surrounding the nuclear power plants at Nine Mile Point is designed to alert residents in the event of an emergency. Tone-alert weather radios are provided to residences in the 10-mile zone that are out of hearing range of the sirens.

A listing of residences eligible for tone-alert weather radios is on file at the Emergency Management Office, 200 N. Second St., Fulton.

During an emergency, the sirens would be sounded for three minutes to alert residents of the area to turn their radios or televisions to local Emergency Alert System stations for further information and instructions.

EAS stations are listed in the 2013 “Public Emergency Response Information” calendar that was mailed to residents of the Emergency Planning Zone in January.

The calendar is available online at

EAS stations are also listed in the yellow pages of local telephone directories


Local author publishes second book in ‘Scandalous Life’ series

Central New York author and one-time archeologist Jo Ann Butler has just published “The Reputed Wife,” a historical novel based on the true-life escapades of one of colonial New England’s most notorious women.
Central New York author and one-time archeologist Jo Ann Butler has just published “The Reputed Wife,” a historical novel based on the true-life escapades of one of colonial New England’s most notorious women.

Central New York author and one-time archeologist Jo Ann Butler has just published “The Reputed Wife,” a historical novel based on the true-life escapades of one of colonial New England’s most notorious women.

Herodias Long married unwisely and far too young, as did the famed Scarlett O’Hara, and both women blustered their way through life with charm and bravado. And both “The Scarlet Letter” and “The Reputed Wife” explore the harsh treatment dealt by Puritans to those who broke society’s rules.

Herodias was whipped and she faced a hostile crowd sheltering her infant in her arms, just like Hester Prynne. However, unlike Hester and Scarlett, Herodias Long was real.

Butler depicted Herodias’ early life and the hectic founding of New England in her award winning debut novel, “Rebel Puritan.” Now she explores Puritan repression and Herodias’ messy domestic affairs in The Reputed Wife.”

“JoAnn Butler brings her spirited heroine to life in a beautifully wrought tale with as much drama as a soap opera, but built on a solid historical foundation.” Ginger Myrick, award-winning author of “Welsh Healer” and “El Rey.”

Butler tapped court records and heart-breaking accounts of religious intolerance to bring her tough-as-nails ancestor to life.

She said, “Herodias Long was known as Herod Gardner in 1658 when she was stripped to the waist and flogged by Puritans. She carried her infant daughter 60 miles through wilderness to defend Quaker freedom of speech and religion, fully aware that she risked the lash. Quakers faced far worse, including the gallows.”

One of those Quakers was the famed Mary Dyer, who was hanged in 1660.

“Most researchers assume that Herodias was a Quaker because she was whipped for a Quaker cause,” she added. “Herod was not in the Rhode Island Friends’ records, so if she ever identified herself as a Quaker, it wasn’t for long.”

Butler explained that the Society of Friends were scornfully called “Quakers” by the Puritans.

“Herod was a woman of conscience and a friend of Quakers, but I don’t believe that she was actually a Friend,” Butler said.

Butler noted that George Gardner, who rescued Herod after she was abandoned by her first husband, was tried for adultery and that he and Herod were hiding a secret, which could get them whipped in their home town of Newport, Rhode Island.

But when asked to explain, Ms. Butler smiled and said, “You’ll just have to read the book.”

The Reputed Wife is the sequel to “Rebel Puritan,” the first volume in a series about Herodias Long. It explores the limited rights of women in a restrictive society, seen through the eyes of a child-bride trapped in a disastrous marriage.

“The Golden Shore” will conclude the “Scandalous Life” series. Butler plans to publish it in 2015.

Those seeking more information about the book may visit

The book is also available at the river’s end bookstore at 19 W. Bridge St., Oswego, and at Backstreet Books and Bistro at 201 Oneida St., Fulton.

The Fulton Public Library is hosting  Butler for a talk about the book June 4 and other events are coming soon. 

Otto Sitterly captures fifth Shampine Memorial title

Otto Sitterly won his fifth 75-lap Jim Shampine Memorial event at Oswego Speedway Saturday.
Otto Sitterly won his fifth 75-lap Jim Shampine Memorial event at Oswego Speedway Saturday.

For the second race in a row, Otto Sitterly parked his Nicotra Racing Supermodified on the front stretch at Oswego Speedway.

This time, however, Sitterly climbed out of the No. 7 as a five-time champion of the 75-lap Jim Shampine Memorial event.

With a 12th place feature finish May 11, Sitterly’s handicap placed him fifth in the starting order Saturday night.  Methodically working his way to the runner-up position, Sitterly grabbed the point from early leader Kody Graham on lap 45 and steamed on untouched to victory lane to claim his second consecutive Jim Shampine Memorial.

Sitterly’s victory Saturday was his fifth Shampine Memorial title, joining wins in 2006, 2009, 2010, and 2012. No other driver has scored more than three victories in the event which has been run at the Speedway since 1991.

Joe Gosek, Dave Gruel, Michael Barnes, Dave Danzer, Michael Muldoon, Tim Jedrzejek, Brandon Bellinger, Jeff Holbrook, and Tim Devendorf completed the top ten finishers.

At race’s end, Sitterly, who had an altercation two weeks ago in the Novelis Supermodified ‘Kick-Off’ with Gruel, still seemed visibly torn about the May 11 events, which saw him leave his racecar on the front straightaway on lap 66, retiring for the evening.

Barely cracking a smile for cameras in victory lane, Sitterly had little to say to infield announcer Keith Zehr after his victory.

“We just took it one lap at a time,” said Sitterly. “The car is good.”

When asked about his victory pulling him back into a battle for his sixth career Oswego Championship, Sitterly said, “We’re just going to take it one week at a time.”

With the victory, Sitterly now has 25 career Novelis Supermodified wins at Oswego Speedway — only one behind 1985 track champion Steve Gioia Jr.

A total of 26 Novelis Supermodifieds were in the pit area Saturday night with 25 taking the green flag in the Jim Shampine Memorial main event.

Last year’s championship runner-up, Pat Lavery in the No. 22, was once again one of the fastest racecars in warm-ups, but his night would come to an end as the engine expired under the hood of his machine dropping him out of the night’s action after the qualifying heats.

Graham and Bellinger would lead the strong Novelis Supermodified field to the Cam’s NY Pizzeria feature green flag on Saturday night with Graham quickly shooting to the race lead in the No. 21 Xtreme chassis.

Sitterly, who started inside the third row, immediately dove to the inside of Jeff Locke’s No. 37 to pull to fourth on the Speedway and not long after the race’s first caution would wave for a spinning Jerry Curran down the back stretch.

Curran made his Oswego debut on Saturday night in the No. 24, looking very good in early warm-ups, running in the 16-second bracket. After spinning backwards on the race’s first lap, Curran would continue on.

Another caution would wave on the race’s restart, this time for a spinning Jeff Holbrook down the front chute.

Holbrook, who won his qualifying heat race earlier in the evening, was running seventh at the time he spun. The No. 35 would head to the pits, but did return to action before the lights went green.

The next restart would stay green for a handful of laps and it would see the Gruel No. 50 hit the fast lane.

After starting seventh on the grid, Gruel shot to the topside of the Speedway powering around Locke to fifth, and just one lap later drove around Sitterly into the first turn to take fourth.

Just like two weeks ago, Gruel and Sitterly would now be bumper to bumper and together they worked through the field, next making quick work of the Bellinger No. 02 to charge to third and fourth with both Dan Connors Jr. and race leader Graham in their sights.

After five circuits, yet another caution would hit the Speedway and it was again for Curran entering turn three, but this time he would be joined by Dave Cliff in a much more serious incident.

Heading down the back stretch Keith Shampine, who debuted the brand new Chris Osetek No. 55 roadster Saturday, appeared to slow out of turn two moving to the bottom of the speedway.

As Shampine slowed down the back stretch, Cliff’s No. 06 caught the right rear tire of the No. 55 causing the front end of the Gnomey Racing machine to go air born and lose control. Cliff flew across the Speedway directly for the outside steel and caught Curran with him as he tried to roll by on the high side.

Each car would slam the outside steel, sliding passed the third turn pit gate, and eventually scattering a great deal of foam.  Unfortunately, the damage had already been done to both the No. 06 and No. 24, who ironically park next to each other in the pit area, as both cars took on massive right front damage.

Both drivers exited their machines under their own power and were in good condition.

The race’s restart would see Graham out in front ahead of Connors, Gruel, Sitterly, Bellinger, Gosek, Locke, Muldoon, Shaun Gosselin, and Michael Barnes in the front ten.

As the lights went green, Gruel again found the outside lane, this time sliding passed Connors to take over the runner-up spot, now beginning to give chase to Graham for the race lead.

At this point, Gruel appeared as though he would be the car to beat, but Sitterly would soon also get around Connors to move to third in turn four, and the Gosek No. 00 was also lingering.

By lap 15, Graham and Gruel had settled into a bit of a lead over Sitterly, who himself had built a nice cushion over Connors, Gosek, and Gosselin running fourth through sixth.  Gosselin, driving the family owned No. 26, looked very good early on but at lap 17 would bring out another caution as he broke out of turn four, stopping on the front straight.

The No. 26 would be pushed to the infield, parking nose first in his pit stall, done for the evening.

The previous restart belonged to Gruel, but the lap 17 restart belonged to the Gosek No. 00 as he pushed to the outside of Connors to move to fourth, now joining a tight four car battle for the race lead with Graham, Gruel, and Sitterly.

It was at this point of the race that dejavu began to set in with Gruel and Sitterly riding second and third, just as they did two weeks ago.

Each driver ran clean, leaving plenty of room between each other as Graham continued to power away out front.

A long green flag period would now set in, providing a clear indication of the drivers that had racecars to potentially battle for the win.

At one point, Graham built a sizeable lead over the dueling duo of Gruel and Sitterly as Gosek began to fade in the No. 00 running fourth.  During this stretch Barnes and Muldoon would emerge as top runners after starting 8th and 12th on the grid, as they now rode 5th and 6th respectively.

As the cross flags went in the air showing half-way, Graham’s lead began to shrink, and on lap 40 both Gruel and Sitterly had tightened the gap.

On lap 44, Sitterly’s persistence would pay off as he pulled low on Gruel heading into turn one yet again, just like two weeks ago.  But this time their cars would not touch and Sitterly would drive on by to the runner-up position.

One lap later as leader Graham and Sitterly hit lapped traffic, Graham would leave the door open for Sitterly on the low side out of turn two, which was all the No. 7 needed.

Sitterly would now be the race’s second, and final, leader at lap 45 quickly building a large gap over the field.

As Sitterly mounted as much as a full straightaway lead on the field, the trio of Graham, Gruel, and Gosek battled for second. By this time the Speedway had seen a green flag spell of almost 50 consecutive laps, which forced the handling on several cars to go away.

One car however seemed to improve as the race went on and that was the No. 51 of Muldoon. After a top five finish on May 11, Muldoon seemed poised to chase down Barnes for fifth in the late going, but just as that thought crept into the minds of some the No. 51 would spin out of turn four bringing out the yellow flag at lap 68.

With the long stretch of green flag racing, and an attrition filled night, only seven cars remained on the lead lap with seven laps to go, meaning Muldoon would restart seventh only losing one spot on the Speedway.

With just a handful of laps to go Sitterly led Graham, Gruel, Gosek, Barnes, Danzer, Muldoon, Jefrzejek, Bellinger, and Holbrook in the top ten with Jeedrzejek being the first car a lap down to the field.

It looked as though this order would hold, but that was until the field charged out of turn two on the restart.

The Graham No. 21, which had led 44 laps of the main event, suddenly faltered out of turn two jamming up Gruel on the low side of the Speedway.

With Graham and Gruel jammed on the bottom of the track, Gosek powered to the high side taking advantage and passing his way to second in the field behind Sitterly.

Graham immediately pulled the No. 21 pit side.

Initially it was believed that Graham may have run out of fuel, but that was not the case at all.  Graham says it was an engine issue, which actually first appeared earlier in the race.

“At about lap 30 or so I lost oil pressure, it dropped to about 40,” said Graham. “It felt like I had a parachute behind the car heading down the straightaways and that’s when I think they starting to catch back up to me.  While we were up to speed during that long run it was ok, but when we had that last yellow and everything cooled down, I pinned it on the restart (out of turn two) and nothing happened.”

Despite Gosek now moving into the runner-up position, Sitterly had already built an insurmountable lead, dominating the field for his fifth Shampine title and 25th career Oswego win.

Oswego Speedway will next be in action Saturday, June 1 with a 50-lap Novelis Supermodified main event and a 30-lap Pathfinder Bank SBS feature.

Grandstand gates will open at 4 p.m. with racing beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Fulton softball team rallies past New Hartford

by Rob Tetro

The Fulton varsity softball team ended the regular season with a 10-6 overall record, earning the Lady Raiders a fourth seed in the Section III Class A playoffs.

Following an  opening round bye, Fulton took on New Hartford, the fifth seed, May 27.

After a back-and-forth game, The Lady Raiders scored three runs during the bottom of the seventh inning to pull out an 8-7 win over New Hartford.

Fulton took on top seed Oneida on yesterday in Liverpool.

The Lady Raiders got off to a quick start. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead during the bottom of the first inning. However, New Hartford came ready to battle. They tied the game at 2-2 during the top of the second inning.

Fulton answered back with a run during the bottom of the second inning to take a 3-2 lead. Following a scoreless third inning, New Hartford tied the game at 3-3 during the top of the fourth inning.

The Lady Raiders retook the lead during the bottom of the fifth inning. They scored two runs to take a 5-3 lead.

Once again, New Hartford battled on. They delivered what could have been a crucial blow during the top of the sixth inning. They scored four runs to storm ahead to take a 7-5 lead.

To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Reapportionment lawsuit dismissed

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Court Judge Norman Seiter has dismissed the reapportionment lawsuit filed against the County of Oswego. The case now appears that it will move to appeals court.

“We are disappointed but not surprised by the judge’s decision,” said Legislator Dan Farfaglia, one of the plaintiffs. “We figured from the start that we would have to get the case out of Oswego County. We intend to appeal the decision.”

The plaintiffs are represented by Buffalo-based attorney Frank Housh, who said in a recent interview that he, too,  expected that the case would be dismissed in county court.

The lawsuit addresses several causes of action, including the manner in which the Republican majority proceeded with re-drawing the district lines. Housh alleged that the county legislature used “a baltantly political modus process to marginalize the Democrats.”

No one was available from the county to comment as of press time.

To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.