Category Archives: Featured Stories

The Sportsman’s World — Adventures in the Marsh

By Leon Archer

Sweet thing and I have started packing for our long drive back home, but we won’t be leaving for a few more days.

It will seem strange when we leave and don’t have our grandson, Beckett, keeping us busy anymore. He just had his first birthday, but boy can he give his grampa a run for the money.

Yesterday I had him out in the back yard. It was about 70 degrees and the sun was shining, and it was way too nice to stay inside. Beckett hasn’t quite gotten used to grass, but he still likes being outside, mostly on the patio.

I had been doing some work in the flower garden and had laid my little hand spade down before Beckett joined me. He is very inquisitive, so he was investigating all the nooks and crannies around the patio while I lounged for a few minutes on the big swing.

I figured he couldn’t get into too much trouble on the patio, but the next thing I knew he had the spade in his mouth. By the time I caught up with him, he was spitting and gagging a little, but the spade seemed to be OK.

Apparently good black dirt isn’t immediately fatal as Beckett seems pretty lively today. My mother always used to say, “You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.” Beckett’s off to a good start.

I’ve been keeping track of what the fishing has been like back in New York state, and I am ready to be back there.

The bullheads are biting and perch have been showing up. The smelt haven’t started running in the Niagara River yet, probably because the water is still too cold.

It shouldn’t be long though, because the guys fishing on the lake where the river empties out onto the Niagara Bar have noticed smelt in the trout stomachs.

This is the time of year when my father would announce that he was going to pick a bunch of cowslips for dinner. I couldn’t stand cowslips (more properly known as marsh marigolds) but my father actually looked forward to them.

If you read about them, you will find out they are poisonous, but when prepared properly, they are edible. I use the word “edible” advisably and in its broadest sense. Anyone who watches the TV show Bizarre Foods will understand.

The thing I liked about cowslips wasn’t eating them, it was going after them. They grew in the marsh, and the only time to pick them, according to my father, was in the early spring when the new leaves were about the size of a half dollar and they hadn’t blossomed out with their bright yellow flowers.

Dad would say to me, “Get your hip boots, we are going after cowslips.” I didn’t complain; I hopped to it, and was ready to head out before he was.

We would walk up East Main Street, past Charlie Beldock’s barn, and in no time we were in the marsh that bordered his farm.

Once we were in the marsh, I was in a wonderland and I had precious little time for actually picking cowslips. We both carried a large paper grocery bag to put the round leaves in; dad’s was always full when we left the marsh, and mine was, shall we say, easy to carry.

It was an adventure to walk in the marsh, and there was so much to see, so picking marsh marigolds was not my top priority.

This particular marsh was home to many muskrats and their houses were sources of great interest to me. Sometimes I would catch site of a muskrat sitting on a feeding mound, munching away on a cat tail root or see one swimming along the surface before plunging into an underwater run.

There were areas of water – of course – and I watched for the big, dark purplish, yellow spotted spring salamanders that gathered to breed in them. They were easy to catch, but I just looked them over and put them back.

Overhead the male snipe and woodcock were swooping down towards the marsh and then climbing back up almost out of sight before diving again over and over, and over again.

The quavering sound of the wind on their wings and the diving display was all for the attention of demure females watching from the ground. The woodcock also vocalized as they dove.

I once had a woodcock that had been displaying high above me, come plunging down to land on a small hummock about 10 feet away from me. I can still see his huge brown eyes inspecting me, before he decided I wasn’t a threat.

Then I caught a slight movement about three feet from where he had come to rest. The first thing I saw was another set of huge brown eyes, and then the brown body of the hen took shape. She had been perfectly camouflaged against the brown background of the hummock.

We had silently watched the show together, and I’m pretty sure she was just as appreciative as I had been.

I usually picked a bouquet of pussy willows for my mother before we left the marsh. They would grace the table in our home for a few days.

Several kinds of frogs abounded in the marsh. Most of them I could find if they were singing, but I never could locate peepers that I heard – very frustrating.

I’ve never lost my appreciation for the marsh. The sights and sounds enthrall me as much today as they did when I picked cowslips with my father.

Oh, by the way. Marsh Marigolds are edible when prepared properly. They must be boiled at least twice, three times is better, emptying out the water each time and putting them into fresh to boil.

This apparently leaches out whatever the toxin is and makes them less acrid and bitter.

My mother always sautéed the greens with some bacon or salt pork after their last boiling. Over the years, I got so I could eat them, but now I only think about it.

On the other hand, I bet they would make great beans and greens. I might have to hit the marsh again to find out – maybe.

Cold was the headline during the winter of 2012-14

By Debra J. Groom

It looks like winter may be over.

Nuts, did that jinx it?

Well anyway, through April 22, Fulton has received 177.6 inches of snow, said John Florek, who keeps snow records at the city’s water department. The average snowfall through April 22 during the 38 seasons he has been keeping records is 179.6.

“We’re pretty darn close,” Florek said.

Even though temperatures have been mild of late, Florek said he doesn’t put away his snow records for the year until the end of May.

“We’ve had snow on a couple of Mothers’ Days,” he said. The latest snow he has on record is May 12, 1996, when the city picked up 1.5 inches.

That was part of an extreme winter that saw 273.5 inches pile up in Fulton. The least amount of snow in his 38 years of record keeping was in 1991 — a paltry 74.75 inches.

Carolyn Yerdon, who keeps weather records up in Redfield, said her area came in at 386 inches — and more than half of that was on the ground before Jan. 1.

“We still have some piles here on the lawn and you can find snow in the woods,” she said this week.

The record for snow in Redfield is the 1996-97 winter — a total of 420 inches of snow fell.

Both Florek and Yerdon said what made this winter seem to go on forever was it seemed to snow almost every day and there were periods of extreme cold.

Yerdon said Oswego County is used to temperatures below zero during the winter. But to have a run of many days of frigid temperatures is rare.

“We had minus 19 on Jan. 21, minus 18 on Jan. 22 and it continued through Jan 24,” she said. Jan. 25 saw 11 degrees, and then the temperature plummeted again to minus 11 on Jan. 26 and minus 19 on Jan. 27.

“That’s brutal,” she said.

Florek agreed.

“It was cold more than anything else,” he said. “There were no real drops of multiple feet of snow this year.”

In Oswego, the Port City ended with 154.5 inches of snow, a couple of inches above average, said weather observer William Gregway.

“We got a lot of lake effect,” he said, noting it also snowed early in the season and continued through April. “We had a white Thanksgiving, white Christmas, but not a white Easter,” he said.

He also agreed the cold really got people down this year. He said he talked to some construction workers recently who are doing sewer work in the city and they remarked that the frost was more than 3 feet down into the ground where they were digging.

 

Fulton softball off to tremendous start

By Rob Tetro

The Fulton varsity softball team won its first 2 games of the season, beating Chittenango 16-6 on April 10 and then holding off county foe, Mexico, 4-2 on April 14.

In the Chittenango game, the Lady Raiders stormed ahead after falling behind 1-0 in the first inning.

They outscored Chittenango by 3 runs during the second inning to take a 5-3 lead.  Fulton added to its lead during the next 3 innings, outscoring Chittenango, 5-1 during the third, fourth and fifth innings to take a 10-4 lead.

Fulton didn’t let up and outscored Chittenango in the sixth and seventh innings en route to a 16-6 win.

Leading the way for Fulton were MiKayla Guernsey and Keisha Pierce, each with  3 hits and 4 RBIs.

They were followed by Cheyenne Laun and Maureen McCann with a hit and 2 RBI each. Anna Guernsey, Hannah Jones and Kassidy Kearns combined for 4 hits for the Lady Raiders.

On the mound, Fulton was led by Cheyenne Laun. In a complete game effort, Laun threw 9 strikeouts while allowing 6 runs off 3 hits.

In the Mexico game, the first three innings were scoreless.

Then Fulton jumped out to a 4-0 lead during the fourth inning. However, Mexico battled until the end.

After 2 scoreless innings, Mexico made it interesting. They scored 2 runs during the seventh inning to cut the Lady Raiders lead to 2 runs, but they couldn’t get any closer than that. Fulton won 4-2.

Mexico was led by Amylynn Holland with a hit and 2 RBIs. Following Holland was Madison Himes with 2 hits. Kennedy Lamb pitched a complete game for Mexico with 4 strikeouts while allowing 4 runs off 5 hits.

Leading the way for Fulton was MiKayla Guernsey with a hit and 2 RBIs, followed by Kassidy Kearns, Cheyenne Laun, Maureen McCann and Courtney Parker with a hit each.

On the mound, Cheyenne Laun pitched another complete game for Fulton, throwing 9 strikeouts while allowing 2 runs off 3 hits.

Disposal of old drugs Saturday at various sites

Saturday is the day that folks with old prescription drugs to dispose of can do so at area sites.

Drugs can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 2  p.m.  April 26. The service is free and anonymous.

Here are the sites in Oswego County:

Fulton Police Department

Oswego Police Department

Kinney Drug Stores in Oswego, Fulton and Pulaski.

Pills and patches that have expired or are unused or unwanted can be dropped off during the event to ensure proper and safe disposal. Liquids, needles and sharps are not accepted.

During the last Take-Back Day in October 2013, Americans turned in 324 tons (over 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 4,114 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with what was collected in all its previous Take-Back events, the DEA and its partners have taken in over 3.4 million pounds of pills—more than 1,700 tons.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. According to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, flushing unused medicine down the toilet or throwing them in the trash pose potential safety and health hazards.

 

 

Dear Porky & Buddy — How to keep a pet from running away

Dear Porky & Buddy,

Several years ago, (when I was young(er) and foolish(er), I got a beagle puppy. I named her Randy and she was a great dog, but after only about six months she ran off and although I tried really hard, I could never find her.

I felt terrible and stupid and vowed to never make that mistake again, but just recently I finally bought my own house with a nice fenced in yard and I think I am ready to try to be a better “pet parent” now.

But I still think about Randy and want to never have to go through that again. If I do lose my new dog, how should I go about finding her or him?

Jo

 

Dear Jo,

You’re jumping the gun (so to speak) a little.

Start out by taking some sensible precautions that will make it much less likely that your new best friend will end up wandering off to meet Randy.

First, do your research about what kind of dog you want to adopt. (Yes, we are absolutely assuming you will adopt.)

Beagles and other hounds and hound mixes are great dogs, but they are hunters and they easily wander off on the trail of something. If you are prepared for that, fine, but be truly prepared, or you might want to think instead about a breed or mixed breed with less of a wanderlust.

Second, it’s great that you have a fenced yard, but that is no substitute for good identification — a collar with your name and number stitched right in (not just a tag that is easily lost) and preferably a micro-chip that you keep registered.

It is also no substitute for spending time with your new friend. Dogs left in yards by themselves get bored and will sometimes try anything to get out and explore. Go exploring together instead. That’s why you want a dog, right?

Third, make sure your new dog is well trained and learns to come without hesitation when she or he is called, no matter how tempted to run after something interesting. There are a lot of other commands that are important, but, for safety, “Come” is the one that is fundamental.

You can find great instructions and advice for teaching that command from the ASPCA at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/teaching-your-dog-come-when-called.

Next week, we’ll write again about what to do if your dog becomes lost in spite of your best efforts. But first you have some  homework to do. Have fun adopting!

Speaking of adopting, go to www.oswegohumane.org to see all of the Oswego County Humane Society’s great pets available for adoption.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego. Phone is 207-1070. Email is ochscontact@hotmail.com. Website is  www.oswegohumane.org.

News in brief

As of April 30, 2014, The Valley News will only accept classified advertisements for the Wednesday and Saturday print editions.

We will no longer publish classifieds online. To submit a classified ad, call us at 598-6397 or visit our office at 67 S. Second St., Fulton.

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The Phoenix Public Library, 34 Elm St., Phoenix, will host an informative program on sweetened beverages presented by Debra A. Hunsbeger, Nutrition Program Educator from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County.

The program is from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.  Wednesday, April 23 (today) in the Century Club Room.

What does it mean to “Rethink your drink?” Do you know what an empty calorie is?”

Attend this forum for a close look at nutritional labels, an activity involving sugar, some informational handouts and a discussion on empty calories.

Parents are encouraged to attend with their children.

This event is free and open to the public.

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The Pratt House Museum, at 177 S. First St., Fulton, is hosting a program from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 23 (today).

The speaker will be Mercedes Niess,  executive director of the H. Lee White Marine Museum in Oswego.

She will talk about the H. Lee White museum programming for this season, celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the lighthouse in Oswego and an art exhibit which will start at the Canal Museum in Syracuse, then move to Phoenix, then Fulton, and ending in Oswego.

Admission is free.

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Registration for kindergarten and pre-kindergarten is taking place April 24 at all four Fulton elementary schools.

Times for registration are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m.

Please bring the following information to the registration: an original birth certificate for the child (with the raised seal); up-to-date immunization record and proof of residency.

Children who turn 5 years old by Dec. 1 are eligible to register for kindergarten.

Those turning 4 years old by Dec. 1 can register for Universal Pre-Kindergarten.

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There will be early dismissal for Fulton school district students in grades pre-kindergarten through 6 on Friday April 25.

The students are being dismissed due to parent-teacher conferences being held that day.

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A fundraiser for the Fulton Jazz Festival is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday April 23 (today) at Under the Moon in Canal Landing, Fulton.

The event will include great music, food and fun.

Space is limited. Register by calling 343-7681 or going online to oswegofultonchamber.com

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The Granby Center Fire Department will have its annual free open house April 26.

There will be a vehicle extrication drill for the public to view and also a tour of the firehouse. Everyone is welcome.

The event, held in conjunction with the Fire Association of the State of New York’s RecruitNY event, is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1400 County Route 8.

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The Oswego Festival Chorus, conducted by SUNY Oswego assistant professor Mihoko Tsutsumi, will present its spring concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 28 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, West Seventh Street, Oswego.

Admission is by donation. The chorus will perform Felix Mendelssohn’s “Psalm 42,” featuring soloist Nancy James, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Rejoice O’ Virgin,” Ola Gjeilo’s “The Ground” and Moses Hogan’s “Ride On, King Jesus.”

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University Police at SUNY Oswego will have special patrols out looking for motorists who are not wearing their seat belts now through May 4.

The patrols are part of the nationwide “Buckle-Up Day and Night” campaign.

Motorists increase their chance of survival in a crash by 60 percent by wearing a seat belt and don’t have to worry about being stopped by the police or receiving a ticket.

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Oswego County BOCES Deaf and Hard of Hearing Club is hosting a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Kids Walk for Type 1 Diabetes at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 26 at the Mexico High School outdoor track.

There is a $5 fee for the walk, or $20 donation for a team of five. Registration opens at the track at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the walk.

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The Fun Fling 2014 Luau Tropical Paradise is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 26 at St. Paul’s Church, Oswego.

Tropical fun for all ages, games, activities and prizes. Cake and variety booths will have a wheel for spinning. Treats will be available to eat in or take out.

A chicken barbecue will be offered and will include macaroni salad, salt potatoes, roll and dessert. Game tickets are 25 cents each, and each game will require 1-4 tickets. There also will be a drawing for prizes. Tickets are $1 each.

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The annual chicken barbecue sponsored By Friends of History in Fulton is at 11:30 a.m. until sold out Sunday May 4 at the Pavilion at Bullhead Point.

The barbecue benefits the John Wells Pratt House Museum, local history museum, at 177 S. First St., Fulton. Eat in or take out.

For advance sale tickets, call 598-4616.

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Palermo TOPS 758 will have a free open house for the public at 10 a.m. Tuesday May 6 at the Palermo Methodist Church on County Route 35.

Information will be shared about TOPS, weight loss and support.

For more informations, call Kristal at 676-7021.

Autism Family Fun Walk May 3 in Oswego

The Oswego County Autism Task Force is in full swing with activities to promote autism awareness this month.

The eighth annual Family Fun Walk for Autism will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 3 at Leighton School and Wilber Field in Oswego.

People of all ages can enjoy inflatables, face painting, crafts and a bubble area. Several local agencies will also provide a variety of activities, along with an information area where people can learn about specific resources available in Oswego County.

For the sixth 6th year in a row, the Task Force is seeking nominations for the “Friend of Autism” award. A new twist to the nomination process this year is that award nominations can be submitted in any manner or form in which you choose, such as writing a letter, designing a poster, creating a powerpoint, writing a song or producing a video on YouTube.

There will be a booth available at the Family Fun Walk for those needing assistance with preparing a video. Award nominees must be an Oswego County community member (individual or group, team or agency) who lives or works in the county, who has made a positive impact on those living with autism.

Nominees cannot be a current Oswego County Autism Task Force member. All nominees will be honored at a reception in May, where the winner will be announced. The deadline for submissions is Thursday, May 8.

This year, the Task Force is holding a Team Spirit Banner Contest during the Fun Walk event. Show your team spirit by designing your own Autism Banner – be creative and have fun!

There will be a prize for the most creative banner.

This fun-filled day is a fundraiser for the Autism Task Force and will help offset the costs of activities the group puts on during the year. It is a free event and open to the public.

In addition to reviewing award submissions and planning for the Family Fun Walk, the Task Force is offering the Brianna Cahill Scholarship to qualifying graduating seniors who are planning post-secondary education or vocational school this fall.

Scholarship winners must be a student in an Oswego County public high school, along with the following criteria: our application must be completed by the student. The recipient must be accepted to a post-secondary or vocational school. The recipient must be currently diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. All scholarship applications must be received by the autism task force by May 1 for final review.

For more information, call Theresa Familo at 598-7672. All submissions can be sent to Familo at Parents of Special Children, Inc., 2 B Tower Drive, Fulton, NY, 13069, by their stated deadlines.

Evening college fair set for April 28

The Oswego County Counselors Association (OsCCA) in conjunction with SUNY Oswego conducting an evening college fair from 6 to 8 p.m. April 28 in the SUNY Oswego Campus Center.

Lisa Roman, Oswego High School counselor and president of the Oswego County Counselors Association, said she is “excited to partner with SUNY Oswego to offer our families in Oswego County an opportunity to talk with college admissions representatives. “

“We are hoping that providing an evening college fair in Oswego County will encourage students and their parents to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about colleges of interest,” she said.

Every October, the Oswego County Counselors Association organizes a daytime college fair for students hosted by Cayuga Community College.

Each high school in Oswego County buses students to Cayuga Community College’s Fulton campus, where college representatives meet with interested students.

However, this spring event hosted at SUNY Oswego will be the first evening college fair in the immediate Oswego County area.

Dan Griffin, director of admissions at Oswego State, feels the timing is right for students beginning their college search.

“Now more than ever higher education is a family affair,” he said.  “Hosting this event in the evening will hopefully provide the opportunity for families to begin the process together.”

To that end, all age groups are welcome to attend.

More than 60 colleges and universities are expected to be in attendance at College Night April 28, with college admissions representatives available to answer questions from students and their families.

In addition, two 30-minute information sessions will be offered giving advice on how to navigate the college application process, and a financial aid table will be staffed by SUNY Oswego financial aid experts.

For more information, including the latest list of participating colleges, visit www.oswego.edu/collegenight.