Category Archives: Valley Viewpoints

Valley Viewpoints: Common cause

by Nick Latino (via e-mail)

There was a very nice Valley Viewpoint by Vincent T. LaQuire. I remember all of what he wrote. I like to visit Mr. Tryniski’s web site to see the past as most want to do when they get older.

Remember swimming in the lake when the beach was full of people? I remember renting row boats and catching all sorts of fish in the early 60s.

My brother is very interested in getting involved in cleaning up the lake, so I’ve determined that when I retire in two years, my activity to keep me busy is to get involved 100 percent.

Friends of mine in our community in business, politics, law, advertising, who are from my generation — don’t be surprised when I get in touch to ask questions about how we can make the lake nice for the kids who will someday want to have memories of Fulton and how a bunch of old timers got together for a common cause.

Valley Viewpoints: Thanks for the confidence

by Patty Ritchie, State Senator

I would like to extend my thanks to all voters for your confidence in returning me to Albany for another term.

As the campaign wraps up, the signs come down and the TV ads stop airing, I’m focusing on getting back to Albany and doing the job you elected me to do.

In recent years, many people had lost hope in state government.  They thought taxes could only go up and that things could only get worse.

However, in the past two years we have begun to turn a corner, and that’s something I am proud to be a part of.

I look forward to continuing to work in a bipartisan way to lower taxes, create jobs and cut red tape so businesses can grow.

One of my top priorities as your State Senator has, and will continue to be helping constituents with problems or concerns related to state government.

As always, if there’s something you need assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact one of my offices.

I vow to keep my promise to stand up for the people of Central and Northern New York. Again, thank you for your vote.

Valley Viewpoints: No more raises

by Rose Anthony, Granby

November 7 was the Town of Granby’s open budget hearing where every townsperson is supposedly allowed to attend and voice their opinion on the town budget plans.

For many years, it has become customary to give many Granby town employees raises every year. As I am always concerned about how our tax dollars are spent, I attended this meeting and questioned town councilors Lori Blackburn, Sue Richardson and Joe Cortini why they planned to give a town employee a $1,200 hike in pay when she didn’t request a raise.

Her duties had evidently not increased as well. No one was able to give me a reason or support this decision in any way.

When our town highway superintendent ran for his position the starting pay was $39,000. Then it increased to $43,000. How could this position suddenly merit a $4,000 raise in the economy? In this present budget, there is projected an additional $2,000 raise, which amounts to $45,000 for the first year on the job for someone not even proven yet.

January, February, March and April are the busiest months for our highway department. Luckily, last winter was an unusually mild winter and perhaps did not require the highway superintendent to put in a lot of hours.

But this year, if we have our normal number of blizzard-like snowstorms with the highway department working day and night so people can get to work, will the superintendent be able to devote the time needed to his town highway job?

The highway department’s top priority is reacting to the prevailing weather conditions to maintain public safety on the “68 plus miles of roads with experienced drivers as the backbone of the program,” notes the town web site. “It takes the highway team 3–4 hours to make one full pass through the town.”

Town highway supervisory positions are 24-hours working or on-call in our tough winters. It is simply the required responsibility that comes with the position.

Per capita income in Granby is $16,826; the median income is under $29,000. Starting salary of $39,000 in our county for a highway job without the prerequisite of a college degree is very generous in my book.

Our previous superintendent, who retired, worked 16 years to get where he got and this super wants to get there in one year.

But again, not one single person on our town council could explain why this large raise is merited or even why it is proposed.

I am truly against the practice of automatically giving raises for personnel at budget time every year. This has been the custom of Granby for years.

It is time to think about it, stop it and change it, to be equitable for all townspeople.

Valley Viewpoints: People, not party

by Ken Cuyler, Oswego

Now the election is over and the candidates were elected to office. Is it time for these people to stop worrying about Republican or Democratic issues.

Shouldn’t these people worried about all the people and not just their party?

In the past, I have written letters to people who were elected to office and never got an answer!

Do they, after being elected, look up and see if the letter comes from the right party member?

Come on, after you are elected your wages comes from all the people, so why worry about parties?

It’s time to drop your party and work for all of us. Your decision should be: what is best for all the people not just Republcans or Democrats.

So, as an elected official, vote on the issues for the better of all people not just your party.

It’s time elected officials stop fighting issues along party lines and fight for the people!

Valley Viewpoints: Do you remember Fulton?

by Vincent T. LaQuire

I remember Fulton, do you? I can still recall the smell of chocolate  wafting everywhere from Nestle and the asparagussy smell from Birds Eye Foods. Alas, they couldn’t be saved. And remember the waxy aroma from Sealright, now Huhtamaki?

I can picture in my mind, the sign, as I entered Fulton welcoming me inviting me to a City with a Future. A city that had Les Goldberg shake your hand as he arranged for a new table and chairs to be delivered.

Nor shall I forget the smile on Angelo’s face at the Big M, as he gladly gave you the shirt off his back to help you.

Alas, I remember well Old Polly at the pool hall, by Fran’s now closed barbershop, who would rack up a set of pool balls for a dime that Mike Rookie and I would play during a lunch break from the old high school on Fourth Street.

I remember that Mike would easily stride with his long legs, with me trailing behind, to get back to school on time for the next class.

Look at the downtown stores no longer there: Perkins, Foster’s, The  Green and White Diner, Wilson’s, and Woolworth’s with Mr. Kitts always smiling to see you.

And elsewhere there was Miller’s, Fulton Sheet Metal, Container Corp of America, The A& P, Mirabito’s, The Super Duper, Tops, and now the P&C. Also, Fulton Builders, Joice and Birch; and lets not forget Lee Memorial Hospital — the source of pride for our community for over 100 years.

Not forgetting Joe Young’s funeral home; giving one pause to believe that even the home of the dead can die, and the Fulton Knife Works that was cut out of Fulton. Finally, the Alba Pizzeria with their homemade dough and sauce.

And while some disappeared without a trace, some of them have been replaced and renewed with new companies and stores for our children to remember — giving rise that our children will remember that Fulton is still a “City with a Future” and had a past well worth remembering as well!

Valley Viewpoints: Shop local this season

by James Karasek, Oswego County Legislator

His question was fairly simple: ”I heard that your great-grandmother was a black widow.” I told him and a few others of the history of my great-grandmother and how she managed to get a river boat captain from a steamboat on the Mississippi to marry her, only to find that he died a strange death shortly thereafter. She, of course, inherited the steamboat.

On her second marriage to again a captain/owner of yet another steamboat, she seemed happy and full of life. Again shortly after the calm had set in and a few trips up and down the river, her beloved husband was found dead. Once again, the boat and possessions were sold and the Anderson farm grew.

Upon the third husband’s death, again a steamboat owner/operator (Obviously these guys were in such fierce competition that they never spoke to each other), the district attorney charged her with murder. It was the headlines for days, including a somewhat grainy black and white photo of the district attorney holding up the cast iron skillet that was the source of the poison that “did him in.”

This same skillet was suspect in the previous two mysterious deaths. But the times being what they were, the evidence was weak; there was no method to test the skillet and great-grandmother run a rather large well-oiled business — one of the larger grain farms on the banks of the mighty Mississippi.

The jury simply could not believe that this poor twice widowed now three times victim could have possibly done such a thing and they found her not guilty. Besides, how could you hang a woman for this if you had no real evidence? The assets sold and the farm grew once again.

In sharing this piece of history and reading over the archives of the trial, I become aware that these gentlemen, one of whom was around long enough to be the father of my grandmother, all lost not only their steamships but their lives around the holidays when river traffic stopped due to ice: they were home.

That in turn reminded me that I have not written my annual plea to the good people of Oswego County. When the holidays approach, please make every effort to shop local.

We have a wide variety of locations to shop, the big box stores, the chain stores and unique business owners that are our neighbors, friends and supporters of our communities. They own a business and it depends on your visiting their establishments.

Oswego County continues to be one of the few in this state that does not need “throw out the baby with the bathwater” in order to make our budget for 2013. However, the State of New York has again passed down about three million dollars more in unfunded mandates for the local taxpayer to pick up.

Cuts will be made and the effects of these cuts will be felt. Our sales-tax revenue is one of the few areas that help to cover these costs. We simply cannot afford to add this additional unfunded cost to the backs of property owners.

So, the easy method is to shop local. It keeps our merchants in business, it provides jobs, it engages our businesses in the community, and finally, it adds to the sales tax. Our patronage with our businesses in this county is a win-win for everyone.

Also, take a moment this year to assist someone that is in need. Donate to the food bank, volunteer to ring the bell, visit the elderly and those with disabilities and remind them how important they are. Let’s make sure that the truly needy are fed and stay warm…and as my grandchildren have said, “Hug a veteran.”

A final note to the husbands: if your wife gets a cast iron skillet for Christmas and you’re having one of those days where you just know you are right and she is wrong, well, you may want to avoid the hamburger helper for supper.

Have a great holiday season, stay safe, share part of your life and shop local.

Valley Viewpoints: Survivors of Suicide Day

by Angela Marotta, AFSP Board Member Fulton

Each day in the U.S., approximately 100 people take their own lives, leaving behind loved ones to struggle with the loss, grief and all of those questions that begin with “Why?”

I lost my daughter, Ashley Pluff, to suicide in December 2007.

Too often, survivors of suicide loss believe the death of their loved one is somehow shameful or that they or their family are to blame. But research shows that more than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have an underlying, although not always diagnosed, psychiatric illness at the time of their death, most often depression.

The holiday season can be particularly difficult for survivors. To help, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s International Survivors of Suicide Day will be held Nov. 17 in more than 300 cities around the world, including here in Liverpool. This is a safe environment for survivors of a suicide loss to meet and talk to other survivors. The program is also available online. For more information visit www.afsp.org.

Valley Viewpoints: Thanks for voting

by Phillip Vasho, Fulton

I would like to thank everyone who voted in the Nov. 6 election. I am honored to have had the vote of so many of you in my bid for the county clerk’s seat.

As many of you know, the office has been plagued with problems and a change is definitely needed to end the waste of tax dollars and employee abuse that has dominated for far too long.

I congratulate Mike Backus on his win and I expect he will turn the department around and end the abuse that the employees have had to tolerate from the office management and restore the office to public service.

I had the opportunity during the campaign to meet with some of the employees, and after hearing their stories and seeing their proof, there is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Backus has his work cut out for him.

I intend to keep up to date with the office and will keep in touch with the employees to ensure it is operating in the best interests of the taxpayers and employees of Oswego County.