All posts by Nicole Reitz

Local farmers weigh in on farm bill

by Carol Thompson

Last week U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called on leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees to include New York State in any disaster relief program in the 2012 Farm Bill.

“For New York State’s economy to grow, we need our farms to thrive,” Gillibrand said in a press release. “Still recovering from last year’s back-to-back natural disasters and a late spring frost, this drought is just the latest drain on our farmland’s productivity – costing our state even more crops. America has always stood by those who are suffering and helped them to rebuild. And we need to continue standing by New York’s farmers so they can get back to business, and keep our agricultural industry on the move.”

As Gillibrand fights to include the state in the drought relief program, Legislator Morris Sorbello, who is an onion farmer, said the rain came just in time.

“It looks like it’s going to help us,” he said of Sunday’s rainfall. “The soy bean has been the nicest we’ve seen.”

Sorbello said he is concerned with Congress taking a summer recess prior to voting on the Farm Bill. He said the stall in the vote could impact farmers in the mid-west, hence, impacting all consumers.

“I would hope to think these farmers can still function,” Sorbello said. If they can’t, he noted. “Eventually this will spread to the consumers.” Price increases across the nation are possible if the farmers struggle with the drought and lack of action on the Farm Bill.

Apple farmer Eric Behling, who serves as the District 6 director of the New York State Farm Bureau, said the Farm Bill is caught in the political climate.

“The Farm Bill is a large political football that both sides toss around due to its makeup which encompasses not only modest safety nets for farmers but nutritional programs, for example, food stamps etc.that make up close to two thirds of the bill.” He continued, “In overall federal spending the farm bill is less than one percent of the federal budget but gets a huge front and center position in political drama due in large part of proposed cuts in social programs and streamlining the agricultural component to balance the federal budget.”

Behling said in recent farm bills there has been less direct subsidies to farmers and more emphasis on the farmer insuring his products against weather or market type losses.

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

First United Church of Fulton to present outdoor movie

The 2011 family film “Dolphin Tale” will be featured at an outdoor movie event at Open Doors Neighborhood Center at First United Church of Fulton Friday, Aug. 17 at 8:30 p.m. The movie is free.

The film will be shown on a screen outside in the parking lot of the church, which is located at 33 S. Third St.

Those attending are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for the viewing. If it rains, the movie will be viewed inside.

The church and its Open Doors Neighborhood Center is showing the film with permission through CVLI. It is an opportunity for the community to have access to a free movie and enjoy the mild summer weather.

“We think this will be a fun evening,” said Pastor Rev. David Nethercott. “We do hope people will take advantage of a n opportunity for a free movie and a time of fellowship.”

Popcorn and beverages will be served.

“Dolphin Tale” is a 2011 family drama film directed by Charles Martin Smith from screenplay by Karen Janszen and Noam Dromi and a book of the same name.

The film stars Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman. The book and film are inspired by the true story of Winter, a bottlenose dolphin that was rescued in December 2005 off the Florida coast and taken in by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Winter lost her tail after becoming entangled with a rope attached to a crab trap and was fitted with a prosthetic one.

The Open Doors Neighborhood Center, which has teams that focus on families as well as older adults, opened in October of 2011 in hopes of offering the community a safe place to gather to make friends and learn new things.

Carol Dexter, president of the center’s board, explained that the center continues to work with neighbors and school groups to find out the best ways to meet the needs of the neighborhood and community.

Public weighs in on annexation

by Nicole Reitz

Residents from the City of Fulton and from the Town of Granby attended a public hearing Monday night on the city’s plan to annex the Fulton Wastewater Treatment Plant. Fulton petitioned to annex the 44- acre parcel on County Route 48, and a section of land under the Oswego River, to create a physical connection with city boundaries.

Fulton wants to secure the sewage treatment plant from Granby and place it on the city’s tax rolls. The city owns the land that the sewage treatment plant sits on, but the issue lies in the fact that it’s located in the town of Granby. Fulton pays approximately $118,000 each year in county, town, school, fire district and highway district taxes on the plant.

The purpose of the meeting was to determine if the overall public interest was being served by the annexation. During the meetings public comment portion, residents from both municipalities spoke on how they believe the city and town should negotiate.

Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward said the annexation was not about taxes, but about lowering the city’s cost so it could be more desirable for companies to locate in the city. Woodward said that prospective buyers of the former Birds Eye plant are asking the city for large subsidies for water and sewer service.

“Putting Birds Eye back to work as any type of a facility is a win-win for everyone. Companies do not hire based upon where you live. People who work at Walmart live in the City of Fulton. People who work at Huhtamaki live in the Town of Granby. This kind of relationship needs to continue. We need to look at ourselves as a regional market and what can be done to ease the pain for everyone involved,” said County Legislator James Karasek.

Karasek continued by saying that he wished there would have been more discussions to resolve the issue between the municipalities before lawyers got involved. This questioning of why the city didn’t try to work out a compromise with the town was echoed in many of the nights public comments. John Allen, attorney for the City of Fulton, said that the city believes that there was no legal way to continue discussions, and that a court battle was the only option.

Many Granby residents present criticized the Mayor for bullying the Town of Granby, and for potentially raising taxes on other communities by taking the treatment plant off the tax rolls.

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Valley Viewpoints: Two hundred years

by Esther Rogers of Phoenix

On Aug. 18 the Bristol Hill Church in Volney will be celebrating 200 years of life. There is a schedule of events for that day that will be published in other places in the paper so I will not repeat it here in this letter.

Obviously, we are proud of our church’s heritage and hope that many of the members of the community will attend all or part of our celebration.

The church has a wonderful history. It was formed in 1812 and was soon attended by both blacks and white members. If you think about that, it was many years before the Civil War and slavery was still common. That makes the Bristol Hill Church’s background even more amazing.

Its heritage includes helping on the Underground Rail Road and we are proud of that. There is a wonderful display in the church for those who would like to know more about the history.

We remain that kind of church today. We welcome everyone no matter what their circumstances are. There is a respect for one another that one feels as soon as you attend a service there. We would love to have anyone who is looking for a church family to attend with us on any Sunday.

We hope you will come on the 18th and celebrate with us, but even more than that, we hope you will come and spend a Sunday or two with us. If you do that, you’ll be hooked!

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: August 11, 2012

Leon Archer

by  Leon Archer

Sweet Thing and I took a few days to join Tim and the family at Thirty Island Lake up in Ontario. It was a great time, but there was a total fire ban in effect, so there was no sitting around the campfire toasting marshmallows for s’mores. We could still partake in the cooking of some of the great panfish and bass fillets, because Coleman stoves are okay. It’s just open fires that are a no-no. We did stack up some firewood for use at another time when the ban is past. Maybe next summer – who knows.

The kids kept busy paddling their kayaks and tangling fishing lines, but as long as one has a patient grandpa to do the untangling, what’s the big deal. The kayaks are ideal craft for the lake, and the kids handle them really well, almost never turning one over. I haven’t turned one over either, but I figure it’s just a matter of time before I make the real wrong move and end up in the drink. I wear a life jacket and the water is very comfortable, but I think it might be a good idea to put my wallet in a zip lock bag just in case. I haven’t done that yet, but next time out I will. Hopefully that won’t jinx me.

You know I’ve been watching the geese around here grow like they do every summer, and like always there are plenty of them out there. Drought or no drought, they seem to do pretty well. Goose hunters do their best, but I don’t think our resident goose population is in any danger of going away. As for other waterfowl, it’s hard to say.

I thought there would be lots of ducks last fall, but I was rather disappointed by the numbers I saw. The report from the prairie duck nesting grounds this year is sort of a mixed bag. There were plenty of ducks and there was water early on, but nothing like during really good years. A lot of ducks looking for good nesting areas overflew the pothole country and headed farther north. Some probably went all the way to the arctic.

We get some ducks coming through our area that were produced out west, but most of them head down the central flyway. We get canvas backs, redheads and blue bills that move down the Great Lakes on their way to the east coast and Chesapeake Bay.

Some of them may spend the winter on the Finger Lakes, but there is no great number of hunters seeking them out. You have to be one tough soul to brave the ice, cold and snow to shoot a few ducks. I did it a few times when I was younger, but I think I’ve got it out of my system.

To read the rest of the column subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Valley Viewpoints: Lunch bunch

by Jerry Hogan Kasperek of Fulton

We call ourselves the Class of ’51 Lunch Bunch. On Tuesday, Aug. 14 we are meeting at Bull Head Point and want to invite our classmates and anyone else who attended Fulton High School in that era to come and join us for an informal gathering and picnic lunch.

You can brown-bag-it or buy lunch at one of the food vendors at Bull Head. A lawn chair might come in handy and bring a guest or two if you like.

We’re not sending out a letter for reservations or anything, it’s by word of mouth, so mark it down now: Tuesday, Aug. 14, rain or shine, at Bull Head Point by Lake Neahtawanta, out West Broadway, at 12:30 p.m.

If you need more information please contact me: Jerry Kasperek at 592-7580 or call Mary C. O’Brien at 593-8647.

See you there!

With a new stage in a new facility, the Godspell cast rehearses a scene from the pop song ‘Day by Day.’ Godspell is set to run Aug. 17-26 in CNY Arts Center’s new theatre at State St Methodist, 357 State St in Fulton.

CNY Arts Center sets box office hours

With a new stage in a new facility, the Godspell cast rehearses a scene from the pop song ‘Day by Day.’ Godspell is set to run Aug. 17-26 in CNY Arts Center’s new theatre at State St Methodist, 357 State St in Fulton.

With opening night only days away, CNY Arts Center has established box office hours to accommodate ticket sales for its first theatre production in its new facility located at the Park St entrance of State Street Methodist Church, 357 State St. in Fulton.

Open from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday – Friday and one hour prior to performance on the weekends, the Box Office will provide a means to purchase event tickets, and also sign up for classes or children’s art camp, take a tour of the facility, register as a vendor, sign up to volunteer or gather information about the organization.

Tickets will be immediately on sale for Godspell.  The popular musical is the debut production on the brand new stage in the organization’s new facility. Opening Aug. 17 with an 8 p.m. performance, the production will continue Aug 18, 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. and Sundays Aug. 19 and 26 with 2 p.m. matinees.

Ticket prices are recuced for seniors and students. The non-profit arts group is also extending a pay-what-you-can invitation for the final dress rehearsal where the audience will choose what they would like to pay for their ticket.

“There is only one first production in our first facility and Godspell is a fitting choice for this occasion. It carries a message of community and personal strength and explores what can happen when people come together as one body,” said director Nancy Fox.

“CNY Arts Center’s basic goals are to inspire and motivate positive change in the region. Watching this very thing carried out live onstage is a powerful way to illustrate that change. That’s why we’re making this show widely accessible and sincerely hope everyone will come and celebrate the momentous first opening of our first production in our first facility.”

“With Box Office hours established, the public will know they can find us at the center during those hours,” Fox continued. “We are creating a stable presence in the community and we can finally begin to build those valuable relationships. “

Tickets and reservations are available online at or by calling 216-8790 or 598-8812.


Pre-meeting e-mail irks Democrats

by Carol Thompson

An e-mail, sent to Republican members of the Oswego County Legislature on the eve of a controversial vote has stirred the ire of the Democrat’s.

As the legislature was considering the award of a contract to Info Quick Solutions, Inc. of Liverpool to provide data imaging services to the office of the County Clerk, GOP legislator’s received a message from Legislature Clerk Wendy Falls on Wednesday.

“If anyone has any critical concerns in regard to the IQS resolution that will be presented to the legislature tomorrow please contact Majority Leader John Proud… or Majority Whip Linda Lockwood… .” The telephone numbers were included in the message.

When asked if the message was intended to poll legislators, Lockwood said “Not really, we’re just getting the feel of the crowd,” she said. When asked if that wasn’t essentially polling, Lockwood said no one was telling the legislators how to vote.

Legislator Doug Malone said in his opinion, the message sounded like polling, something that is not legal under state law.

“If they have critical questions why wouldn’t they be answered by the county attorney or county administrator,” he said. County Administrator Phil Church handled the RFP process autonomously. Legislators had no involvement, and purchasing director Fred Maxon had limited involvement.

As for the message coming from Falls, Malone said, “She works for all of us and we are just as equal as they (Republicans) are.”

Malone added that he does not understand the hard push by the GOP to award the contract to IQS, the company that submitted among the highest cost and had the lowest review score.

“They are doing more to give this contract to IQS than they did to get rid of Don Morey,” he said. Morey was the previous county highway superintendent who was publicly terminated in 2006 despite large public support.

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397