Category Archives: Laughing Through Life

Andrew Henderson, Managing Editor – Andy, a graduate of Salisbury University in Maryland, has been the managing editor of The Valley News for 12 years. He has covered city and town government, crime, and education. He also pretends to be a humor columnist. In his spare time, Andy can be found rooting for his beloved St. Louis Cardinals.

Good bye, Fulton

by Andrew Henderson

The great New York Yankee Yogi Berra coined many bewildering phrases and he is perhaps one of the most quoted personalities of our time.

These utterances, now called “Yogi-isms,” have invaded our society, often bringing us delight in the simplicity and truthfulness of these phrases. “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” is arguably his most famous and often quoted “Yogi-ism.”

This utterance brings relevance to me personally as this is my last Laughing Through Life column. Yesterday was my last day at The Valley News.

It has been a great and rewarding career as I have tried to deliver the best and most comprehensive local news coverage to your mailboxes twice a week. For nearly 14 years, I have been a part of this community. You welcomed me in. You were quick to say hello and offer a smile.

And to that, I say, thanks.

Even though I grew up in Phoenix and currently live in Onondaga County, I consider myself a Fultonian. I love this community. I love the people. I even appreciate those who called and complained. Without you, I wouldn’t be doing my job.

I have many people to thank, so if you will just bear with me…

First and foremost, I want to thank Vince and Ron Caravan for their trust and faith in me. Three months after I was hired in 2000, they saw it worthy to promote me to managing editor. The Caravans are true champions in journalism. I have learned a lot from them ­ — not just about the newspaper business and journalism, but about life, family, integrity, and faith.

Vince and Ron, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are truly newspapermen and I only hope that I was half the newspaperman that you both are.

To all my co-workers over the years, I thank you for putting up with me and my sometimes over-the-line antics. Thank you for making this job fun. Obviously, I am limited by space and cannot list every one who I worked with over the years, but there are some who stand out the most in my mind:

• Former production coordinator Roger Beck is more than a colleague. He is a good friend and I will cherish our friendship. Thank you.

• Former graphic artist Jeri Jones made my job fun. I will never forget the way she laughs, jokes, and giggles. Keep giggling, Jeri!

• Former graphic artist Richard Forbes is one of my favorite people of all time. We would often exchange barbs and jokes, piling on each other with put-downs, all in jest, of course. ‘Zat you, Santa Claus?

• Office Manager Carolyn Eaton and Receptionist Roxanne Seeber are quality people in my book. But, of course, most of you already know that.

• Former Assistant Editor Nicole Reitz is a very talented feature writer. She is also a great person whom I will miss dearly. Good luck in your new career!

• To all the sales representatives, especially Allyson McManus, I thank you for your faith in me. I truly appreciate and honor you all!

• Former graphic artist Jeff Adkins is a baseball nut like me. We could talk baseball for hours and hours. Thanks and go Cardinals!

• Photographer Kelly LeVea was always there when I needed her. Thanks for putting up with last-minute photo appointments!

• Outside of the Caravans, I probably learned most from Roy Hodge, former publisher of the Fulton Patriot and my partner in crime in hundreds and hundreds of Fulton Common Council and Fulton Board of Education meetings. Thanks, Roy!

• Reporter Carol Thompson has always kept me on my toes. Over the years, I have learned to lean on her knowledge and expertise and for that, I thank you.

There is probably dozens and dozens of people who I am forgetting. Please forgive me if I did not mention you. The reporters, columnists, and photographers are the reason for the success of The Valley News. It’s not the editor. It’s the workers. Thank you and job well done.

I would also like to thank the folks at Scotsman Media Group, including former Publisher Tom Cuskey, Sharon Henderson and all the artists in the composition department, and Associate Publisher Rich Westover. It’s been a pleasure working with you all. Thanks for all the cupcakes and cheesecake!

Of course, there are the people, groups, and organizations that I covered for the paper. Thank you for allowing me to do my job. I just don’t have the space to list you all. You know who you are.

And then there is you, the readers and members of this community. What else can I say? Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this community. Thanks for allowing me to bring you the news.

As I am writing this, a thought just occurred to me. There’s a good chance that I might never travel to Fulton again. It’s a sad and sobering thought. But know this: Even if I never step a foot into this great city and community again, Fulton will always have a special place in my heart.

God bless you all!


by Pastor David Grey

“This is my body, which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” — 1 Corinthians 11:24-26

The Lord Jesus spoke these words during the celebration of the Passover meal.

With those words, He gave new significance to the broken unleavened bread and the 3rd cup of wine which were part of the traditional celebration.  Originally, the Unleavened Bread was called the “bread of affliction” and had been made and eaten in haste before the Exodus from Egypt.

When the bread is eaten during the Passover meal, the host breaks the bread and says something along the lines of “This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in want come and celebrate the Passover with us. May it be God’s will to redeem us from all evil and from all slavery.”

When Jesus broke the bread His disciples were expecting to hear something very similar, however, He surprised them by saying,  “this is my body broken for you.”

Though they would probably not understand his meaning until later, Jesus was saying to the disciples that He who is the bread of life, would become the bread of affliction as all our sin and shame were laid upon Him.

Jesus did something similar when He, “took the cup.” Throughout the Passover Feast He carefully followed the same format as Jews had done for centuries, but then, surprisingly, He broke from tradition with words that must have startled the disciples.

During the Passover service four cups of wine were served. The third was called the “Cup of Blessing.” This is the cup Jesus took when the gospels report that, “after supper he took the cup.”

The third cup was the one served immediately after supper. At this point the people celebrating Passover would say something like, “I will take the chalice of salvation and I will call upon the name of the Lord.”

However, when Jesus served this cup, He said “This cup is the new covenant in my blood,” pointing to Himself as the blessing and our salvation.

The Passover Feast was always meant to foreshadow the One who would come, the Lamb of God. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Passover for all who will come to Him; to all who will trust in His shed blood just as the original Jews celebrating the Passover trusted in the blood of the lamb sprinkled on the door frames of their homes.

David M. Grey is pastor of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

March madness

AndrewHendersonby Andrew Henderson

The madness is upon us…and I am going mad.

I’m in the process of filling out my NCAA bracket and I am going crazy. In my recollection, there has never been a year where there has been no clear-cut winner.

Who do I choose? Syracuse? Yeah, right…

How about Indiana? Kansas? How about Pacific or Florida Gulf Coast? I guess I’m leaning towards Long Island University Brooklyn.

Seriously, I have no idea who I am going to choose in the first round — let along the final four.

So, I thought it would be interesting to let you readers catch a glimpse into my mind as I fill out my bracket for the Henderson family bracket championship. Only four will be competing for the Henderson title — my wife and my parents — so at least I will have a 25-percent chance of winning.

Here we go…

Let’s start in the East Region, just because we live in the East Region and just because the East Coast rocks!

In the Dayton, Ohio site, I’m looking for Indiana to defeat the winner of the play-in game between LIU Brooklyn and James Madison and NC State to defeat Temple. Here is my first upset, however. I’m taking NC State to topple first-seed Indiana. I don’t like the Hoosiers, although the name Hoosiers is pretty cool. By the way, what the heck is a Hoosier?

In the San Jose site, I like Syracuse defeating Montana (yes, I am a homer — at least in the first round) and I like California to knock off UNLV in the yearly 12 seed defeats 5 seed match up.

In Lexington, Ky., I believe Bucknell will buck Butler out of the tournament— just because I don’t believe in universities that have names of occupations. Seriously, who wants to go to Butler?

I am also taking Marquette over Davidson — just because Davidson University once defeated my team in college baseball.  I have a life rule of rooting against anyone who has defeated me in the past.

In Austin, Texas, I like Colorado over Illinois in the battle of states and Miami over Pacific in the battle of the beach versus the ocean.

For the East Regional representatives of the Sweet Sixteen, I like NC State, Syracuse, Marquette, and Miami.

Let’s take a gander at the South Region. For the sake of time and space in this newspaper, I like Kansas over Western Kentucky, North Carolina over Villanova, VCU over Akron, Michigan over South Dakota State, Minnesota over UCLA, Florida over Northwestern State, San Diego State over Oklahoma, and Georgetown over Florida Gulf Coast.

My South Region Sweet 16 representatives are North Carolina, Michigan, San Diego State, and Florida.

Moving over to the Midwest Region, I like Louisville over the scrub play-in winner, Missouri over Colorado State, Oregon over Oklahoma State, Saint Louis over New Mexico State, Memphis over the play-in winner, Michigan State over Valparaiso, Creighton over Cincinnati, and Duke over Albany.

My Midwest Region Sweet 16 representatives are Louisville, Saint Louis, Creighton, and Duke.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Day trip to Wonderworks

AndrewHendersonby Andrew Henderson

My wife’s brother and his three kids visited us this past weekend. The main item on our agenda was to take them to Wonderworks in Destiny USA.

I have never been to Wonderworks — and I probably never will again. Don’t get me wrong; it is a wonderful attraction, filled with over 100 interactive exhibits. It also has lazer tag, which is super cool.

The one attraction that scared the you-know-what out of me is the Canyon Climb Adventure Ropes Challenge Course, which is billed as the world’s largest suspended indoor ropes course. It should have been billed as the world’s largest scare-the-you-know-what-out-of-you suspended indoor ropes course.

This course stands 70 feet tall (from the ceiling, I should remind you), has three levels of ropes, and over 81 different obstacles and activities. I could be mistaken but peeing your pants is not one of the activities in the brochure.

If you don’t how it works, it’s simple. They put a harness on you and then attached the harness to this rope/wire, which is then attached to a rail.

Of course, you have to sign a waiver just to participate, which goes against everything I stand for. If I have to sign a waiver to participate, then chances are I will not be participating. It’s one of my life’s rules.

Anyway, one of my nephews was a wee bit scared about tackling this course. In order to encourage him to do so, I had to fake being excited about the course and explained to him how fun it will be.

After receiving some instructions, we were fitted with harnesses and off we went.

I made it up the stairs — which was probably the easiest part — and headed out into the course, where I generated every ounce of manly-ness I had.

At first, it was pretty cool. I walked across a beam to get to one station. There I had a choice: I could either walked across a single rope, walk across a rope bridge, wet my pants, or turn around and go back.

Unfortunately, my nephew was behind me, so I ventured on to the rope bridge. Luckily, they have some rope that you can hang onto to help you keep your balance. After seven and a half minutes, I made it across. So did my nephew…in 30 seconds.

I thought to myself, “Well, that wasn’t so bad…maybe I can tackle this and get through it alive.”

I made it across the next rope bridge where I was faced with another horrifying decision. Should I walk across a single rope or should I walk across two ropes?

I chose the single rope. Bad decision. My foot slipped off it and I fell. Luckily, the harness worked and I didn’t plunge to my death. But I must have screamed like a little girl because every one in the mall stopped to look at me.

My legs were flailing and I desperately tried to get my legs onto the rope. Eventually, by the grace of God, I was able to make it to the other side.

I turned around to see if my nephew made it across but he was not there. The little chicken went back and gave up, leaving me alone.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397
Andrew Henderson

Bee Keeper

AndrewHendersonby Andrew Henderson

I am a survivalist.

I survived Y2K. I survived the end of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21, 2012. I even survived a recent four-hour shopping trip at the mall with my wife.

Now, I am hoping that I will survive something altogether dangerous and exhilarating: beekeeping.

My wife, Gina, and I signed up for a beekeeping class that will teach us how to keep bees and hopefully produce a never-ending flow of honey. That is, if I don’t kill off bees first with my anti-green thumb.

Now, I know what you are thinking. It is true. I’m paying money in order to get stung by bees. Believe me, it was not my idea. My wife thinks it’s better to be self-sustaining food-wise rather than purchasing processed, unhealthy foods at high prices. Once again, I repeat: This was not my idea!

Our first class was held last week in Oneida County. The class is being held by the Mid-York Beekeepers Club. This first class was all about bee biology, which is pretty fascinating.

Here are some facts that I learned:

There are three types of bees in a colony: the Queen, the dictator bee who calls all the shots; the Workers, little female slaves who do all the work; and the Drones, males bees who are nothing but a bunch of bums.


There is usually one Queen per hive, but many Queen bees are born. Whoever is born first kills the other queens to proclaim her female-bee dominance. Soon after, she begins mating with the Drones and she decides whether or not to fertilize the eggs. Her decision can have a long-lasting impact.

The fertilized eggs become females and they end up being future Queen or Worker bees. The unfertilized eggs, however, become Drones.

The job of Worker bees is to feed the younger larva as well as the Queen bee. Not a bad gig — if you are the Queen.

The Drones, as I have said, are nothing but a bunch of masculine bums. Their only jobs are to impregnate the Queen and to eat nectar.

Oh, did I mention that the Drone bees die immediately after breeding with a Queen? Ouch.

Here is a fun fact about the Drones: they do not have stingers. In order to impress your friends, you should take a Drone bee and put it in your mouth and proclaim: “I am Superbee…no bee with sting me!”

Word of caution: Make sure it is a Drone bee or else you will be talking like you have just been shot up with novocaine.

Actually, the real reason I actually agreed to participate is that I get to wear one of those metal veils and beekeeping suits.  If you see someone in a nearby field pretending to be a sabre-wielding astronaut/Olympic fencer, that would be me.

I’ll keep you updated…

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Laughing Through Life: November 28, 2012

bigfootAndrew Henderson

What’s tall, hairy, and has big feet?

Well, it’s not the mythical Bigfoot, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

In a letter recently written to Peter H. Wiemer of Chautauqua, a Bigfoot enthusiast who had asked the state to provide endangered species protection to the creature, DEC Chief Wildlife Biologist Gordon R. Batcheller says Bigfoot simply does not exist.

“This mythical animal does not exist in nature or otherwise,” he wrote. “I understand, however, that some well organized hoaxes or pranks have occurred, leading some people to believe that such an animal does live. However, the simple truth of the matter is that there is no such animal anywhere in the world.

“I am sorry to disappoint you, he added. “However, no program or action in relation to mythical animals is warranted.”

Well, that’s a huge relief. I was always wondering if Bigfoot was roaming the Adirondacks. I was concerned that Sasquatch would break in and have a little fun at Water Safari — where the fun never stops!

I really can’t believe this story has been reported throughout the state. What’s next? The Tooth Fairy?

This whole Bigfoot ordeal can be traced to a letter Wiemer first sent to the DEC. He was concerned about the local “Harry from Harry and the Hendersons” (boy, did I get that a lot growing up) and his welfare.

You see, in today’s reality-TV saturated society, Wiemer was concerned that a new television show, SpikeTV’s $10 million dollar bounty for proof of a Bigfoot, would harm the hairy creature with big feet.

All this Bigfoot talk has got me wondering: why in the world would anyone try to play a hoax this like this? Who has the time?

By the way, if you want any information about Bigfoot, Wiemer is your guy. He created the Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Expo. Since then, he found himself to be a confidant for those who had seen a Bigfoot.

“We have had nine eyewitnesses to date of Bigfoot sightings in Chautauqua County come forward resolving themselves of the burden of knowing what they saw and were afraid of or not willing to tell because of fear of ridicule,” he said. “All but one wished to remain anonymous.”

Steve Kulls, a Bigfoot researcher from the Adirondacks, reported at the Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Expo May 6 that the first documented sighting of a Bigfoot in the USA was in Sackets Harbor, N.Y. in 1818. There have been other documented sightings in New York State over the years.

Bigfoot was unavailable to comment on this column.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397


Laughing Through Life: November 21, 2012

thanksgivingAndrew Henderson

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, the holiday commercialization apparently forgot — and you know what, that’s okay with me.

Thanksgiving, you see, is a time not for presents, TV specials, and door-buster sales. It’s more than that. It has to be.

It’s a time for turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, hot dinner rolls, stuffing, apple pie, pumpkin pie…

I jest, of course. I truly am thankful for more than the typical Thanksgiving fare.

There is football, too!

As a child growing up, Thanksgiving meant one thing: decorating the Christmas tree. In the Henderson household, it is a tradition to put up and decorate the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving.

There is something about having a belly full of turkey watching a television show in the dark with the glimmer of red, blue, orange, white, and purple radiating from the Christmas tree. To me, that speaks of family.

This Thanksgiving, I have come to the conclusion that I am really thankful for my wife, Gina. She has to put up with me. A lot.

And I’m not talking about my snoring. By the way, I don’t know how I can sleep now without someone poking me once or twice in the middle of the night.

“Stop it! You’re snoring!”

I’m talking about my obsession with all things baseball and the St. Louis Cardinals as well as my other quirky habits and such.

Gina is an angel — my angel! She is truly “special,” which her aunt tells me every time I see her. My response? “I’m special, too – by marriage.”

I am also thankful for my family, which starts with mom and dad, Connie and Bill Henderson. They have been through a lot over the years health-wise and still they are going strong.

If you don’t know my parents, just think Archie and Edith Bunker. They love to bicker (in jest, of course), but they also love each other deeply. I’m blessed to have great parents!

Then there is my brother, Derek, and my favorite sister-in-law named Lisa. Derek is the best older brother a guy can have.  And Lisa is my favorite sister-in-law named Lisa. They have given me two nieces and two nephews, who are the best.

I am also thankful for my in-laws. They are great. They have allowed me to marry their “special” daughter, hence, allowing me to become “special,” too.

Of course, my wife comes from a large  family. I am also thankful for my brothers-in-law, Ron, Andrew and Aylan, and my favorite sister-in-law named Joanne  and my favorite sister-in-law named Stephanie.  Joanne and Aylan have two small children, who are, like, totally awesome!

I am also thankful for my job and the opportunity to be a part of the greater Fulton community. I’m thankful for all my co-workers, who are the best people to work with. We have so much fun.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Laughing Through Life: October 24, 2012

Andrew Henderson
Andrew Henderson

by Andrew Henderson

With a nod to Roy Hodge, this column will be a hodepodge of sorts.

First, let me say how giddy I am — once again — that the Cardinals have a chance to be in the World Series. Ah yeah!

As I write this Monday morning, the Cardinals and the Giants will be playing game seven of the National League Championships Series later that night. But before I gush (or cry) over the Redbirds, I want to offer my condolences to all you Yankee fans, including those here at The Valley News: sales representative Randy Kitts, graphic artist Jeff Adkins, Publisher Tom Cuskey, and reporter Carol Thompson.

I am truly sorry that Alex Rodriguez can’t hit a fastball — even if it were thrown from a Fulton Junior High School pitcher. I truly am.

I am sorry that Robinson Cano hit .056 in the American League Championship Series. I’m sorry that Nick Swisher is Nick Swisher.

Of course, I’m truly sorry that Derek Jeter broke his ankle. I like Jeter. He is an old-school Yankee and I hope he finishes his career with New York, unlike that one player who played with the Cardinals last year and left the greatest organization known to man for a measly $260 million.

What was his name again?

But let’s get back to the point: St. Louis might be back in the World Series, defending its crown from last year. Ah yeah!

I enjoy October baseball mainly because the Cardinals seem to be in the playoffs every year. But even if St. Louis was not playing, I would still love postseason baseball. In the past 10 years, however, I have loved it even more.

I read a stat at that pretty much says it all: “Over the last 10 Octobers, the Cardinals have now won 41 postseason games. That’s one more than the Yankees, seven more than the Red Sox and almost as many as the next two winningest NL franchises combined (the Phillies and Giants, with 42 between them).”

Can you say dynasty? (I hope I didn’t just jinx them)

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397