Category Archives: Valley Viewpoints

LeClair writes to constituents

The election season is over and the holidays are upon us.

I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the people of Fulton for their support during the last six years. Serving on the legislature has been a wonderful experience, one that will remain with me always.

On Election Night, of course I was disappointed, but felt the right thing to do was to contact my opponent to congratulate him. I went to the Democrat gathering and did just that, stating that “he ran a clean race.”

It was not until a few days later that I learned of the campaign mailing he sent alleging that I made “ILLEGAL” votes. For the record, I am proud of each and every vote I have ever taken in the legislature and always voted with the best interests of Fulton in mind.

Just because some legislators on the opposite side of the aisle do not like something, does not make it “ILLEGAL.”

The two votes my opponent featured in his mailing were both upheld and completely researched through our county attorney and the courts.

Redistricting, while always uncomfortable and difficult, was conducted to the letter of the law using the 2010 census and a computer program. Politics played no role and it’s shameful how my opponent misconstrued this process.

The appointment of the county treasurer was done according to our laws as researched by the county attorney. The negative campaign to destroy Fred Beardsley failed and he was duly elected this fall by the people of Oswego County.

Honesty and character are essential in politics. For anyone who knows me I wear my emotions on my sleeve and fight for what I think is right. That’s how I served the good people of Fulton the last six years and, again, I am proud of that service.

I just hope that you will hold my opponent, your new legislator, accountable to you. Charracter assassination and this continuous reinvention of the facts from certain legislators in the minority caucus do nothing to help Oswego County.

It may sneakily win an election, but in the long run that unethical behavior will come back to bite you.

Louella LeClair

Legislator District 25

Editor’s note: the mailer does not call LeClair’s votes illegal, but calls the county’s redistricting plan and the appointment of Beardsley illegal.

Goodbye, Etaoin Shrdlu

I was saddened to hear that Vince Caravan, the alter ego of Etaoin Shrdlu (who wrote an occasional column for the Oswego Valley News when I worked there back in the mid-70s) passed away recently.

Etaoin was unfailingly droll, like Vince — who was also an intelligent, generous and supportive mentor to me. Etaoin got his foreign-sounding name from now-forgotten linotype operations, whereas Vince got his the familiar way.

I can’t think of Etaoin or Vince without smiling; either one could always be depended upon to lift your mood. But it was Vince who signed my paycheck.

That led to a story that I’ll tell now for the second time in print. (The first was in a Bantam memoir I co-wrote called “Younger Than That Now — A Shared Passage From the Sixties.”)

When I got my first check, I noticed that it came out to just short of a round $100 after taxes. So I went in to Vince’s office, showed him the odd number and suggested he could remedy the situation by throwing a few more bucks into the pot.

He stared at me for a moment but then broke into that wonderful smile of his and said: “I like even numbers, too. A hundred it is.” For the rest of my time there we got along like old friends.

I used to love to read Etaoin’s columns in the paper, and when time passed without one I’d get on Vince’s case about it. I’m not saying I had anything to do with it, but sooner or later Etaoin would be back and all would be right in Valley News world.

Goodbye, Etaoin and Vince. I’ll always remember you both fondly.

Jeff Durstewitz

Saratoga Springs, NY

Residents thank sand pit owner

We wanted to write and thank William Simmons for offering his sand to the county for use on the roads in the winter.

In July, Kurt Ospelt wrote the Hannibal planning board that the county has “abandoned its plan to open a sand pit on the Beckwith property immediately” after it was found out the road to the sand pit had been put in illegally. This left the county without sand on the west side of the river.

The neighboring towns, at the direction of Mr. Ospelt, this year had to get their sand from the Scriba pit instead of the transfer station.

At a recent town of Hannibal meeting, Terry Wilbur got up and said ‘if you have sand, contact Kurt Ospelt and the county administrator, they need sand for this side of the river.”

Mr. Simmons has a sand pit right near Mr. Beckwith’s sand pit and Mr. Simmons already has a road to it and the pit was already permitted by the DEC for mining a few years ago.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the county to get sand and not have to spend any more money to get to it after they’ve  already spent $15,000 to $43,000 on the road to the Beckwith sand pit.

Mr. Simmons sent a letter Oct. 9 to Kurt Ospelt offering his sand. It reads: “In light of the situation in Hannibal, I feel obligated to help the taxpayers and inform them that my sand is for sale.

My sand pit is located off of Mill Street in the town of Hannibal. It will be available for $1 a cubic yard. This should eliminate a lot of previous problems with access to available sand. There is already an access road to the sand pit off Mill Street and it has already been permitted in the past. This could decrease the amount of truck traffic through the center of town. I believe it would be a more cost effective alternative for the taxpayers of Hannibal.”

Again we would like to thank Mr. Simmons for stepping up and helping out the residents of Hannibal and the surrounding towns who will use the sand.

Bill and Barb Bogacz

Josh and Molly Bomgren

Tim Harmon

All of Hannibal

Shop local at holiday time

I like many other grandparents have our grandchildren living with us.

I am not seeking response here, just setting the tone for this letter. As such our holidays have been as they were when we were raising our two boys.

Full of work, planning, movement of furniture and working on the various lists…be they food items for menu planning, holiday cards to be written out, (who gets a letter, who gets a note, who just gets a signature), gifts for friends, family and finally that all important list….”this is what I want Santa to bring me”.

As such, my wife and I can find ourselves caught up in seeing the various lists grow in length to the point that we will set them aside and then go back to rework them to fit both the household budget and the square footage we live in.

(Several years ago we got the “boys” the complete micro machine village that was about 30 buildings, a couple hundred feet of connecting track and about a hundred mini sized cars), and within a half hour of setting it up our two dogs took on the roles of Godzilla and Megaton.

As a legislator, along with the others, we set the county budget and for several years in a row we have held the line. Each year we find that we have to look at what is important to everyday needs and what we can cut yet retain the tools, services and programs county residents want, need or insist upon.

Each year, the state passes down more costs to the county level, city level, towns and villages. The sources of revenue from our end are limited. Yet we all recognize that we cannot pass this down in the form of increased property taxes.

It does not work to seek growth, seek investment and commitment from companies to engage with our county if the property tax level is such that we cannot allow them to prosper and hire employees.

After the lists are created, and we have this rough battle plan which includes a semi approved menu, placement of household furniture, wish lists memorized we then start to map out the shopping extravaganza that will take place. (Remember with the price of gas, route strategy is very important).

In a last final step of this process, we will then seek out the routes and destinations that allow us to shop in Oswego County first. Here is the one avenue that holds no discrimination on property value, number of properties you own, size of house, total assessment, etc. You simply keep the sales tax in this county.

So if you shop anywhere in this county, or in the case of the City of Oswego, (who retains its sales tax) the sales tax monies stay local and go to fund programs, roads, security, health and so forth that we all use at one point or another.

The neat thing is that this form of funding is shared by all, not the single source budget line of revenue that comes from property taxes.

I know and fully accept that free enterprise and the excitement of going into other counties for that “shopping experience” is always going to be there and is always going to happen. All I ask is that as you put these lists together for your holidays take the extra few minutes to plan out a SHOP LOCAL FIRST day.

Why? Simply put….I DO NOT want more money to spend, I WANT the responsibly of financing government to be equitable.

Pat, (my wife) and I wish you the very best for the holidays and look forward to bumping into you or behind you at a check out line at a business somewhere in Oswego County.

James Karasek

Oswego County Legislator

Mahaney thanks voters

I thank everyone for the support you gave me in my re-election journey to keep my superintendent’s position for the Town of Hannibal.

Everyone’s help, no matter what is was, was very important to me. I personally had fun with everyone, the phone calls, sign preparation, mailers and strategy meetings, all with great people that I consider to be good friends.

I thank everyone that cast a vote for me. I will continue to do the best for our community and work hard for you.

Every year it is always a challenge to be able to improve and keep our roadways safe for all and still remain within a strict budget. New strategies and technology have allowed the department to use taxpayer dollars wisely and more efficiently.

I look forward in the next two years to do the best at meeting the concerns of the community and always moving ahead to improve our roadways.

Thank you all.

Dan Mahaney


Couple likes Fulton Families series

We would like to thank The Valley News for their new monthly series on Fulton families.

The recognition of the Pawlewicz and Hayden families was certainly well deserved and provided all of us the opportunity to know these two families even better.

As with many Fulton citizens, we have been privileged to have had numerous connections with both families. They represent the importance and necessity that a strong family brings to a community.

The Valley News is our hometown newspaper and the addition of these articles enhances and continues to provide all of us with that connection.

Bob & Sandy Weston


Ryan Barry group says ‘thanks’

It is with a huge smile on our faces that we, the Ryan Barry Benefit Committee, wish to pass along our thanks to everyone who attended or donated to our benefit for the Barry family.

Because of your support, Ryan’s family will be able to address the many needs that lie ahead to give Ryan the quality of life he so richly deserves.

Thank you to the many businesses and people who donated their products for our food and prize items and for the gifts that were included in our many baskets. Thanks go out also for the donated baked goods, the music provided and to Ryan’s many young friends who helped bus the tables.

Everyone who worked as volunteers for our event — thank you so very much! And last but not least, to the 700-plus people who came, ate and donated, your love for a young boy and his family was overwhelming and so appreciated.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The people who live in our community and the surrounding communities — their pockets are small but their hearts are big!

Jan Rebeor, Fulton, on behalf of the Ryan Barry Benefit Committee

Valley News ‘letters to the editor’ policy explained

The Valley News recently has experienced some concerns about letters to the editor, so I figured it was time to explain exactly what is expected in a letter to the editor and what we do here at the newspaper when we receive one.

We require all letters to the editor sent to us for publication to be signed and include a telephone number. Any letter that is unsigned and without a phone number that comes via fax or mail will most likely end up in the wastebasket. If one comes that way via email, I will hit “Reply” on my email and ask the person to sign the letter and include a phone number.

I will use that phone number to call you and confirm that you actually wrote the letter.

We do this because, as sad as it may be, there are people out there looking to harm or assault people by writing letters and pretending to be someone else. I am sure no one would like to read a letter with their name attached talking in favor of issues that you do not at all favor.

We would also hope that people writing letters are civil, not vicious and do not write anything that is libelous. An opinion is one thing – you can say you think Joe Blow is a horrible politician. But don’t say Joe Blow is a murderer.

Unless, well, this leads us to what we here at The Valley News do when we receive a letter.

If you wrote a letter saying Joe Blow is a murderer, you can be sure we will try to verify that by calling the court to see if Mr. Blow was ever convicted of murder or calling the state prison system to see if he ever spent time in jail for a murder conviction. If we can’t verify that information, the letter will be rejected.

That’s why it is of utmost importance for letter writers to use facts in their letters – and this means verifiable facts, not facts as you see it.

One letter received recently listed a bunch of “facts” dealing with a particular issue. As is my job, I called the state agencies and town officials to double check these “facts.” I found that nearly all of them were not true.

When a letter is found with factual errors, it is returned to the letter writer to be rewritten, if he or she desires.

We also, during this election season, have been receiving many letters from people throwing their support to one candidate or another. This is perfectly normal.

One candidate wrote to us stating he was upset that a letter was published from a person supporting his opponent and the letter writer did not live in his district. Frankly, there is no problem with a person from one part of Oswego County supporting a candidate in another part of the county. In fact, we’ve run a number of letters like this.

In one, Rita Hooper – who write our In and About Hannibal column – said she is a long-time resident of Hannibal, but now lives in Fulton. But she still was throwing her support to Dan Maheney for Hannibal highway superintendent. Two Oswego residents who used to reside in Granby have written in support of various Granby candidates.

So this is how we deal with letters here at The Valley News. We hope this clears the air a bit and makes it easier for people to write about their concerns and issues and send them to us. Letters are great vehicle for starting conversations in the community  and those conversations help communities grow and prosper.