Category Archives: Columnists

The Sportsman’s World: Back to Fulton

By Leon Archer

We packed up and headed back to Fulton on May 7, leaving behind our grandson Beckett and Washington State, which is in full bloom right now.  

Rhododendrons in white, pink, lavender and reds are everywhere, with clouds of brilliant azaleas interspersed. Pink and white dogwood, lilacs, and bushes and trees I can’t identify are all in bright array. 

Wildflowers and cultivated varieties are everywhere. It makes driving an absolute visual joy.  Continue reading

In and Around Hannibal

By Rita Hooper 

Is this the longest “getting to spring” in history?

I’m forcing myself to put my winter coat away, but I’m wearing several sweaters when I go out. I think we are all past waiting for some warmer weather.

I see we are having a day to get rid of up to eight tires for free at the local transfer stations. The dates are May 17 and June 14 (Flag Day!) from 8 a.m. to noon.

I’m reminded of the olden days when old tires were filled with dirt and used for planters. I had a friend visiting me from college when we decided to do some tire planters for my neighbor, Stella Livingston.

Stella was one of those town characters. She never wore a coat that I can remember.  She’d stand in the Post Office if it got really cold.

Everyone knew Stella, I suspect she had cleaned house or babysat for many of Hannibal’s families at one time. Continue reading

Hodgepodge: Congratulations, Camden Hodge!

A Little Hodgepodge

As a testimony to how swiftly time escapes us, the following was part of this column on October 18, 1992:

There’s a new little Hodgepodge in our lives these days. Courtney is a proud big sister. The new little brother arrived almost on schedule last month in Roanoke, Va.

His name is Camden Stephen Hodge, our first grandson. Camden weighed in at 9 pounds, 11 ounces.

A hefty, healthy kid, he was able to play two quarters with the local football team the next day. (Just kidding, it was really only a couple of plays.) Continue reading

Poetry Corner: Miracle Workers, by Jim Farfaglia

Miracle Workers, by Jim Farfaglia

The farmer –
moving through unplowed fields,
turning soil with his tractor,
unlocking acres of room to grow.

The waitress –
balancing an armful of platters,
meandering through crowds,
delivering satisfaction piping hot.

The mechanic –
looking at worn out machines,
fiddling with this or that,
bringing to life what seemed hopeless.

But only a mother can do it all –
moving through each busy day,
balancing children and chores,
looking at details big or small,

delivering life so we all may grow.


View from the State Assembly

By state Assemblyman Will Barclay

New York is home to more than 900,000 veterans, and some estimates indicate that as many as 72 percent have seen combat.

Additionally, New York is home to about 30,000 active duty military personnel, as well as 30,000 National Guard and Reservists.

Many returning vets choose to start up their own small businesses upon return. In fact, New York has the fourth highest number of veteran-owned small businesses in the country.

The state Legislature recently passed the “Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act” and it was signed by the governor. The goal is to increase participation of service-disabled veteran-owned business and award up to 6 percent of all state contracts to such businesses.

I was pleased to vote in support, and in fact, I co-sponsor a similar measure called NY Jobs for Heroes. I was pleased many aspects of that measure were integrated into the governor’s program bill and signed into law.

This law contains one of the more meaningful reforms New York has made to help veterans in recent years.

The new state law is similar to legislation passed in more than 40 other states. It also mirrors federal legislation that includes a goal to award up to 3% of federal contracts to veteran-owned businesses.

Every year, the state procures billions of dollars in goods and services which benefit New Yorkers. Each state agency does its own contracting.

The new law creates a division of service-disabled veterans’ business development within the Office of General Services. In order to qualify, the businesses will have to go through a certification process and the division will create and maintain a directory of qualified service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and assist state agencies in promoting the use of these businesses.

I was pleased this measure passed. This dovetails on some of the improvements that were signed into law last year, including a tax credit for employers who hire veterans.

Beginning in 2015, those who hire a veteran who has been discharged on or after Sept. 11, 2001 will receive a tax credit equal to 10 percent of each veteran’s salary or $5,000, whichever is less.

The credit increases to 15 percent for the employer if the veteran is disabled. A Veteran’s Employment Portal was added recently as well. This offers a one-stop career priority service to veterans and their eligible spouses, which can be accessed at

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.

My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at or by calling 598-5185. You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.

State Senate Report

By state Sen. Patricia Ritchie

As the school year winds down, students are gearing up for what is often thought to be one of the highlights of high school — prom.

While prom can be a great deal of fun, it’s so important students know that in order to have a great time, they need to make safety a priority.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with students from Central Square High School before they headed out for the big night. While things have definitely changed since I was in their shoes, one thing has remained the same, and that’s the pressures students face on prom night that put their health and safety at risk.

Before prom night, make it a point to sit down with your child to touch on these ways to have fun—while being safe:

Plan the evening: Before prom night, it’s a great idea to sit down with your teen and map out the evening.

How will they get around? Where will they be going after? If they’re traveling by limo, make sure the company is reputable.

Also, lay out the ground rules for his or her curfew ahead of time so there’s no debate the night of.

Stress the dangers of drinking and drugs: It’s likely that your teen already knows the dangers that drinking alcohol or using drugs present, but it can never hurt to drive that point home again. Make sure they know underage drinking is illegal and can lead to arrest, loss of scholarships or participation in school-related activities and even worse, injury.

Safe and sober after-prom events: It goes without saying that many after-prom parties include drugs and alcohol. Encourage your teen to seek other options.

Many teens will have the option to attend after prom events — right at their school — that feature entertainment, games, prizes and more.

Just a call away: Make sure your teen knows never to get into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking or using drugs. Let them know they can always call you — no questions asked — if they get in a jam.

If you’re a parent, I encourage you to sit down with your teen to make sure they know how to stay safe during one of the highlights of high school.

Best wishes to all prom-goers for a fun and safe experience.