All posts by Nicole Reitz

CCC tuition targeted to increase 3.5 percent

by Andrew Henderson

Students at Cayuga Community College in Fulton might have to dig deeper in their pockets next year.

During its meeting Wednesday, the Cayuga Community College Board of Trustees approved the college’s 2013-14 budget, which includes a 3.5 percent, or approximately $140 a year, increase in tuition.

The 2013-14 annual tuition will be $4,090 for full-time students, and the part-time rate will be $165 per credit.

The $30.32 million budget represents a 6.3 percent decrease over last year’s $32.36 million budget and is based on an enrollment goal of 2,900 full-time equivalents, which represents an approximately 7.5 percent decrease in the actual number of 3,137 in 2012-13.

“In response to budgetary and enrollment shortfalls during the 2012-13 year, we have put together a fiscally conservative budget that is based on an expectation of lower enrollment than we experienced during the country’s economic recession a few years ago,” said college President Daniel P. Larson.

“As the economy picks up, more people find work and put off going to college or become part-time rather than full-time students,” he continued. “Cayuga, like peers across the country, experienced record growth during the economic recession and we’ve seen that taper off. Based on that information, we needed to scale back our enrollment expectations and operating budget, and I believe this budget incorporates those changes.”

This year, the college needed to reduce expenditures of its $32.36 million operating budget by approximately $1.5 million before the end of the fiscal year Aug. 31 to help make up for a five-percent enrollment decrease.

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.

Former ‘Lost Boy’ connects real-life to learning

Chol Majok, a former Lost Boy of Sudan, greets seventh grade students following his visit to the Fulton Junior High School.
Chol Majok, a former Lost Boy of Sudan, greets seventh grade students following his visit to the Fulton Junior High School.

Seventh grade students at the Fulton Junior High School are exploring the experiences of a world that is much different than their very own.

Through the Expeditionary Learning’s Common Core ELA Curriculum, students read the novel “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park and learned about a world that is on the continent of Africa, in the country of South Sudan, and during a time when children as young as six fled their villages and left their parents to escape war and starvation.

Through the novel and related classroom activities and assignments, the students learned about South Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War and how individuals, including the nearly 10,000 “Lost Boys of Sudan,” survived challenging environments.

In conjunction with the novel and classroom activities, former Lost Boy Chol Majok was invited to share some of his personal experience with the students during a recent visit.

Majok talked about the ‘Lost Boys’’ struggles to find food and water.

“We grew up with no parents,” he said. “We were parents and doctors to one another. All we had was one another.”

He talked about the importance of having a strong heart and strength and shared messages about the values of hard work, dedication, and perseverance to achieve goals.

Majok was 16 when he came to the United States. He attended Fowler High School and went on to obtain a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.

He works for Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and shares his story to help others and encourages others to do the same.

“Don’t be afraid to share what you know,” he told the students. “It might help someone go another mile.”

In and Around Hannibal: June 29, 2013

Rita Hooper 


Hannibal Senior Citizens will be meeting at noon for dinner.

This week’s menu is

Monday, July 1: Swedish meatballs over noodles, peas and carrots, orange juice, and cookie.

Wednesday, July 3: Turkey sloppy Joe, baked beans, chuck wagon corn, and fruit cocktail.

Friday, July 5: Baked ham with pineapple, scalloped potatoes, spinach, and Mandarin oranges. Give Rosemary a call and make your reservation at 564-5471.

The Jammers will meet at the American Legion at 7 p.m. Monday night.

The Hannibal Resource Center has changed its hours. The center will no longer be open Thursday nights.

They will continue to be open on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will now be open Wednesday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. The resource center is located at Our Lady of the Rosary, across from the high school and is supported by the three village churches.

Dollars for Scholars will be floating ducks down 9 Mile Creek in Hannibal Sunday, July 7 following the concert in the Park. The folks would greatly appreciate you buying a duck before the floating takes place.

Contact someone from Dollars for Scholars, Louie Gilbert and the Prossers come to mind or stop by the Village Market and pick out the one you want. These ducks have made a lot of money over the years and have helped many families in the Hannibal with college expenses. This only happens if you make it happen.

The 21st Concert in the Park will be held at the Hannibal Firemen’s Field located on Rochester Street in the Village of Hannibal July 7. This event is sponsored by the Hannibal Historical society and the Village of Hannibal.

Beginning at 1:30 p.m., there will be softball games at the site. The concert will begin at 3:30 p.m. with a performance with the local band Anybody’s Guess, followed by the Fulton Community Band’s Dixie Land group and lastly the Fulton Community Band.

The entire event has free parking and admission and the concert will be held rain or shine as it will be under cover.

There will be concession stands offering food and drink manned by local organizations.

The Red Cross will be on hand offer free blood pressure readings.

By the way, summer reading at the library for children begins Tuesday, July 9. The sessions are on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 to 11 a.m. for six weeks. This year’s theme is “Dig into Reading.”

The Sterling Valley Community Church will be having an ice cream social Saturday, July 13 starting at 5 p.m.

There will be food, including hot dogs, hamburgers, soda, ice cream and cake, popcorn and cotton candy.

There will be a bake sale and  lots of  things for kids to do.  The highlight of the evening will be music by the blue grass band  “Different Brothers.”

Churches and youth groups can still have a booth at the SOS FEST July 19-21 at the Hannibal Fireman’s Field in Hannibal. Youo can sell food, have a bake sale, set up games, activities, mission display; groups keep all their money. Non-profit mission booths are free, Crafters and Vendors pay only a small fee.

This is the largest three-day music festival of its kind in New York State. Over a dozen bands and speakers with free water slide and free jump house.

Great food booths, subs, pizza, maple cotton candy, popcorn, donuts, corn, salt potatoes, etc. Details at

New Kiwanis director looks to develop future of local baseball and softball

by Rob Tetro

Derek Lyons, the new director of the Fulton Kiwanis Baseball and Softball program, said he is honored to be at the helm of a league that proved to be meaningful to him when he was growing up.

Lyons referred to his new position as rewarding. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of previous directors such as Dale Tombs, who is someone he looks up to.

According to Lyons, Tombs, Tombs’ son Derek and Fulton varsity baseball coach Kip Harvey were all influential directors before him.

Lyons’ main goal this summer is for every player to have an enjoyable experience while developing their skills.

One of the skills that Lyons noted is the ability to be a supportive teammate. He suggested that players who enjoy the experience of playing baseball, softball or t-ball tend to be supportive of their teammates.

In a few years time, Lyons hopes to see long-term participants develop and possibly be considered to play on local modified, junior varsity or even varsity teams.

It’s also important to him to see communities continue to support Fulton Kiwanis Baseball so that even more players can develop their skills every summer.

Lyons’ role as Fulton varsity softball coach was a key factor in his decision to accept the position of director of Fulton Kiwanis Baseball.

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.

‘American Pickers’ stars to appear at State Fair

That thing you’ve got stored in the attic because you think it might be worth something?

Bring it to the Midway Music Series State at the Great New York State Fair Friday, Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. and cast members from the History Channel’s “American Pickers” will tell you whether they think it’s “treasure or trash,”

Frank Fritz, one of two antiques hunters who travel the country looking for items to restore, and office manager, Danielle Colby Cushman, will talk about their experiences, show bloopers from the program, take questions from the audience and, after the stage portion of the show, will sign autographs and say hello to fans.

The heart of the appearance, however, will be the opportunity to have an item checked by Fritz for its potential value.

If you are among those “Picked,” he will not tell you what your item is worth or attempt to buy it from you. Instead, he will deliver a simple verdict – it’s either “treasure or trash.”

Items brought to the Fairgrounds for possible consideration cannot be larger than two-foot-by-two-foot. Weapons of any kind will not be allowed on the grounds. Not everyone who brings an item to the show will be chosen for the on-stage review.

The New York State Fair runs from Aug. 22 through Sept. 2.  The Fair’s theme is “Sharing the Bounty and Pride of New York.”

Surprise! Surprise!

by Frank Castiglia, Fulton

I recently read a news story that wasn’t news to me or anyone that has been reading any of the letters I have been writing over the past four years.

In the news story, they give a lot of facts and figures saying how things are bad and they aren’t getting any better in Fulton. Also in the story, you can read the same thing being said by our mayor. Such as “We’ve done everything we could do” or “Until we get a handle on the health care, until we get a handle on the economy so everyone is not moving out, it’s going to get worse.”

Well, here is something new (only if you haven’t read or ignored what I have been saying for at least four years) — health care cost aren’t going to go down, more manufacturing companies are going to leave so you have to stop spending so much taxpayer money wastefully.

Even a high school student taking at least two classes in economics will tell you that when you spend more than you have coming in, you have to cut cost anywhere you can. That doesn’t not mean layoffs; that means cell phones, overtime, fuel costs, insurance costs, maintenance costs, and building costs (ie. two fire stations).

The same student will tell you that you have to increase revenues (not taxes, or user rates) so you can keep your costs to customers (taxpayers) down.

In the news story, the mayor said, “I don’t know what else we can do. If they know how to restructure it, I’m all ears.”

I think there in is the problem. You have to stop listening and start hearing. It seems that things go in one side and out the other.

The other famous saying our mayor has used in the past is something he stole from Einstein. It goes like this: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Well, I have a saying, “Doing the same thing over and over and it’s not working and you don’t change it is foolish.”

I know that when people criticize you (city government) for the job you have done, you almost always take it personally. You (city government) have to stop taking it personally.

We can’t keep doing the same old, same old and think things will change.

Maybe now that it is “official” you will start to hear the things being said. God I sure hope so!

Marcus turns 3

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

We went to a birthday party Saturday – not just any cake and ice cream birthday party – but a full-fledged “I’m three!” birthday party for grandson Marcus. Come on, join the crowd – “Marcus is three?” Yes, it’s true – beautiful little Marcus, who joined our family two years ago, is three already.

May, 2011: “It was very quiet at Rochester Airport Saturday. Most of the people were waiting for the 1:48 flight from Washington. D.C.

“It was quiet, that is, until the Hodge-Knight-Cognetti families ascended upon the airport. That group was waiting to welcome the newest member of the family, little Marcus Hodge, who had been in America for a few hours at that time Saturday afternoon after arriving from his native Ethiopia with his parents, my youngest son, Adam, and his wife, Shelley.”

Last year, when we visited Marcus on the occasion of birthday number two he had graduated from being pushed around in a stroller to being driven around in a golf cart. This year it was another huge step forward.

His favorite birthday present was a Marcus-sized John Deere tractor, and it didn’t take long for Marcus to show off his driving skills. But it did look like he was having a little problem with the steering thing.

I don’t know what made me think that. Maybe it was when the neighbors seemed to have their heads in their hands as Marcus and his tractor headed toward their shrubs and flowers with one of the “pit crew” close behind.

I still can’t beat Marcus in a short race up the street. But I keep trying. He knows I tire quickly, so he runs off several feet ahead of me, then slows down and waits for me to catch up.  When I do he looks back, gives me a “I think it’s time for your nap” look and takes off again.

By the time we left Marcus Saturday after supper, it looked like he was learning that, when asked, he had moved from “two” to “three” but he wasn’t sure yet about holding three fingers up instead of two.

Like many three year olds, Marcus has a solid supply of toys. A good way to get an idea of what kind of toys are popular in the life of a three year old is to get invited to a birthday party.

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.

Fishing halibut

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

I have been wondering if the numerous heavy rains we have had this year will show up in a smaller crop of young turkeys.

I’ve been watching for birds as I have traveled here and there during the last month, but all I have seen so far has been two nice toms and one lonesome hen.

It’s getting to be time that some of this year’s broods should be in fields and alongside roads. I would be interested in hearing from readers about what they are seeing or not seeing as far as turkeys go. Is it going to be a lean year?

I have been seeing plenty of deer and quite a few fawns. The red summer coat certainly makes deer stand out in contrast to the green fields, more so I think than any other time of year, even winter.

It’s pretty hard to miss the summer deer, because there are not very many other things of that particular hue in the outdoors.

I was talking with Frank Maurer a few days back. He was about ready to make a trip to Alaska to go halibut fishing with a friend. I envy him. While fishing halibut is hardly an exciting kind of fishing, when one is successful the rewards are wonderful. Fresh caught halibut is a treat no matter how it is prepared for the table.

Don’t get the idea that I don’t enjoy halibut fishing, I do. One doesn’t troll for them or fish them with flies; although, it’s possible to catch them either of those ways, but one would really have to work at it and put a lot of time in.

Fishing a big chunk of cut fish on bottom is the most common way to target these big flat fish. Heavy metal jigs are successful as well, but working one of those babies all day is a chore I am no longer interested in doing.

A halibut when it is hooked puts up a dogged fight, but he doesn’t make long runs nor does he charge to the surface and get a person’s heart pumping with spectacular jumps.

He will do his best to stay on the bottom, trying to scrub the offending hook off or to tangle the line on an obstruction. Usually the bottom where halibut are found has few things to tangle on. If it did, the halibut would win a lot more often than he does, because a big halibut has a mountain of power when it is first hooked.

Fighting a halibut is mainly lift and crank as the heavy boat rod flexes with each thrust of the halibut’s wide tail and points to the bottom.

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.