Category Archives: Valley Viewpoints

Valley Viewpoints: Lessons from the Olympics

by Bob and Sandy Weston of Fulton

Watching the Olympics was a thrill for us.

For 17 days, 204 countries competed for a gold, silver or bronze metal with 85 of those countries earning a medal and 8 of those countries for the first time.

We witnessed a combination of outstanding athletes, dedicated coaches, proud parents, families and friends, and spirited fans cheering their athletes and their country to victory.

There are so many adjectives to describe the Olympics as we reflect on the competitions that brought together the best athletes in the world to compete against each other as representatives of their own individual country.

We watched in amazement as the athletes competed to set new personal highs and records.

We were inspired by their sportsmanship and the respect that each of the athletes had for their competitor.

It mattered not what country they came from. All the different cultures came together for the same reason.

We watched as athletes were jubilant with their victories, congratulating each other and consoling each other at the same time for their loss.

We saw the cheers, we saw the tears, we saw the frustrations and we saw the disappointments. We never saw any hostility toward one another.

Two memorable moments for us was the young man who had lost his legs when he was only months old running his long dreamed race on prosthetics and the young man facing the hurdles with an injury, falling and then getting up and hopping to leave but who changed his mind and hopped next to each hurdle to kiss the final hurdle, which signaled that he completed the race as best he could. Neither of these two young men were quitters.

The lessons that can be learned from the Olympics we can carry on throughout our lives as we use team work, discipline, pride, compassion, and caring not only for ourselves but others as our motto.

We thank the Olympic committee and all the men, women and children that it took to prepare for and present the pageantry that we saw prior to and subsequent to the main show.

Valley Viewpoints: Labor Day

by Tracy Kinne of Parish

As Labor Day approaches, I am reminded of the benefits of labor unions and the challenges those unions face today.

I’ve never been a union member, but I, like countless other workers in the United States, have benefited from the union movement.

When I left my editing position at a newspaper and took a low-wage cashier job just before the Great Recession, I could clearly see the benefits unions had afforded me.

I got rest breaks — at the company’s convenience, for sure, but still one every two to three hours. I wasn’t allowed to work six hours or more without a lunch break.

I was scheduled for five days of work each week, although I almost always had to sign up for extra shifts to make ends meet, sometimes working 21 days in a row.

I used to wonder, what would this be like if not for the labor unions?

Today, there is a lot of talk about labor union excesses, and I see them myself — the neighbor who in retirement gets a state pension larger than my gross income in my best year working as a full-time journalist for one of the better-paying newspapers in the area.

But mostly, I see where we still need unions.

I talked the other day with one of my former co-workers at the big box store where I used to work.

She told me another cashier was fired for a minor infraction but told to reapply in eight weeks and she would be rehired — at a lower pay rate.

This Labor Day, let’s remember the value of unions.

Valley Viewpoints: ‘Break up the monopoly’

by Len Spano of Phoenix

Have you heard the saying, “Where’s the Beef?” Well, Patty Ritchie, where’s our STAR Rebate checks? Did the local neighbors get theirs? I did not get mine.

As part of her campaign, Ritchie promised to reinstate our STAR rebate checks. That was a big part of her campaign attacking former Sen. Darrel Aubertine. But as a local property owner, I did not receive a STAR Rebate check.

Your local GOP legislators gave out the bid to the highest bidder for work the Oswego County clerk’s office had been doing and should be doing. Now these people who work for Oswego County, entrenched in their union, still get paid and will have more time to campaign for the politicians who guarantee their jobs.

The biggest employer in Oswego County is Oswego County. They should not be hiring any firm outside the area to do their work. The best-qualified workers to do county work are the Oswego County employees who are already on our payroll. It adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars going out of our area. Thank your Republican legislators for that.

I’m a senior citizen on a fixed income and would like to see our county employees work for their money.

Oswego County sales-tax income is rising along with the price of gas. They have almost doubled the sales-tax income. What used to be about $.08 Oswego County sales tax per gallon is now about $0.16 a gallon. It adds up to extra millions of dollars.

The workingman can barely afford to buy shoes while the Republicans are living high on the hog. They are milking every square inch of our county land for more property taxes. Oswego County should be giving us a break.

Break up the monopoly. Show the Oswego County politicians we can change for the better. Stop being the “sheeple.”

“We the People” will take the county back. The government is supposed to be a watchdog to be fed, not a cash cow to be milked.

Valley Viewpoints: A ‘UNIQUE’ exhibit

by James Karasek of Granby

The other evening I had the privilege and pleasure to be at the Everson Art Museum in Syracuse for the opening of the UNIQUE art exhibit.

This is a collection of art work that ranges from poetry, to sculpture, quilting, and framed media in pencil, paint, watercolor and other materials.

All of this art work is created by people that range from as young as 11 to a robust age of 90.

The Everson Art Museum did a fantastic job of creating the magic in this display. The artists come from several upstate counties and submit the work to ARISE, which submit the work to be evaluated for which pieces will be printed in the annual UNIQUE magazine.

I was absolutely blown away by the quality of each piece and the efforts that were put forth to create each of these works of art.

To read the accompanying cards with each one not only containing the name, age and county of residence but a short description of the disability each artist lives day in and day out with is beyond description, when you stand there and see the work and read of the artist.

My highlight was watching a young lady with autism see her work on display in this phenomenal  museum and the pride she had that her art was hanging on that wall was matched only by the look in her parents face as they stood there and watched her.

For those precious moments, there was no longer a disability to contend with — just a parental admiration of what their daughter has accomplished.

The UNIQUE exhibit came to our county last year and there are plans for it to return yet again this year.

I encourage everyone to watch for the announcement of date, time and location and please take advantage of this art exhibit and just enjoy the wonderment of what people are capable of doing.

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!

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!

Valley Viewpoints: Setting a good example

by Bob & Sandy Weston of Fulton

We would like to publicly thank two young people for taking the time to care for and improve the appearance of our city. We observed Courtney Whaley and Daniel Grandinetti, both juniors at G. Ray Bodley High School, with bags in hand picking up litter on the side of the road and front lawns of the neighborhood.

Courtney and Daniel certainly set a good example for all of us, young and old alike, to take pride in our neighborhoods. They acted on their own, not part of an organized cleanup, because it was the right thing to do.

We wonder what some people are thinking when they act irresponsibly by tossing their garbage (water bottles, soda cans, fast food wrappers, etc.) alongside the road for someone else to pick up.

Thanks again Courtney and Daniel for a job well done.

Valley Viewpoints: Chic-Fil-A

by Al Squitieri Sr. of Fulton

I’m tired of the one-sided news coverage by the liberal press and far-left pundits yapping about gays and Chic-Fil-A’s.

I have not heard a word about Home Depot putting hundreds of thousands of customer dollars into the Gay Rights movement!   Gays and those companies are putting their noses into politics — and they are allowed to do so — but are intolerant of a Christian business owner’s right to  express his moral and Constitutional rights through the way he conducts his business?

Dan Cathy has the rights allowed by the Constitution: free speech and freedom of religion. If you don’t agree with God’s Word and Christianity, which is what it comes down to, don’t choke on the chicken, eat somewhere else!

The highest percentages of American people agree. The count is 1,000 to one in favor of Mr. Cathy’s rights, regardless of the biased media’s spin and selective coverage.

Take a look at the Chic-Fill-A’s around the country; the turnout has been around the block! And why has 10 percent of the nation’s population, made up of Gay Rights people, dictating to 90 percent of the rest of us in this country? I speak of the too-long-silent majority.

Hello! Its time to wake up before its too late.

Aside from the liberal media’s help in ruining this great nation, we have cowardly senators and congressmen afraid to speak up for what we assumed they believed when we put them in office. They are twisting or ignoring the Constitution and city mayors are allowed to do the same when threatening new business wanting to bring jobs to jobless cities. They should be thrown out of office.

What has happened to the America we knew? We are losing the liberties our forefathers fought for, and wisely put down on paper to protect us from the

Kings control over our lives and liberties, be he across the sea, or by self-imposed title. How did the changing of America get into the hands of a few weirdos and want-to-stay jobless bums feeding off the working taxpayers.

They are protesting — in most cases not knowing who and what they are protesting — while taking from the government, biting the hand that feeds them.

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