Category Archives: Columnists

Hodgepodge, by Roy Hodge

I always think of Ben Franklin when Thanksgiving draws near.

Ben had a lot of good ideas and did many great things for our young nation. But at Thanksgiving time, I am always thankful that at least one of Ben’s proposals didn’t get past our founding fathers.

Ben was pushing hard to make the turkey our national symbol. The possible impact of what may have happened to our traditional Thanksgiving dinner if that proposal had been accepted always hits me at this time of the year.

Tell me what respectable American family with even a thread of patriotism would sit down on Thanksgiving Day and stare across the table at our national symbol in all his glory on the platter.

The alternative? Stuffed eagle with all the trimmins’ anyone?

Yes, Ben had some good ideas, but I am thankful to wise minds on this one.

–From The Fulton Patriot, Nov. 30, 1993

Ben Franklin’s 5 & 10?

Thinking about Ben Franklin takes me back to a time when maybe my knowledge of American History wasn’t so good and I thought that Ben Franklin owned a five and 10 cent store a few blocks from my school.

Anyway, there it was, the Ben Franklin Store and since I could go there from school without crossing busy intersections, Mom said it was okay as long as I told her where I was going. I liked to buy my mother presents and there was one time when I thought my purchase was really special.

It was getting close to Christmas and I found and bought something for Mom that I thought she would think was really special. It was a Christmas tree ornament and I was sure she would like it even though it was sparkly and orange instead of the usual red and green. I had enough money with me to buy two of them.

When I got home, as always when I bought something for my mother, I wanted to give it to her right away. I didn’t wrap my purchase; I just handed it to her and told her to look inside the bag.

When I gave it to her and she opened it there was a surprised look on her face.  I was young and inexperienced enough that I couldn’t distinguish between a happy surprise look and a puzzled surprise look.

She looked at the bag’s contents for a while before I said, “They’re Christmas ornaments.” When I said that Mom smiled with what, I’m sure now, was a big smile of relief.

She told me many years later that when she opened the bag and saw the two orange objects that looked to her like small, stubby, misshapen carrots she thought that they were the ugliest earrings that she had ever seen. And what made it worse was she knew she would have to wear them so as not to hurt my feelings.

I’m not sure that they were ever hung on the Christmas tree – maybe way in the back – but I do know that they never made it to my mother’s ears, and I’m pretty sure it was a Merry Christmas.

Just wondering!

Are all the cowboys who wear white hats really good guys?

Why does it matter if your pocket has a hole in it if you don’t have anything to put in it anyway?

Is spinach really good for you?

Why is one end of your shoelace always longer than the other?

Why is it that one sock of every pair gets a hole in it?

And why doesn’t your mother (or wife) buy socks which are all the same color and pattern?

Why are you doing your best sleeping of the night when the alarm clock goes off?

How does anyone really know that there aren’t two snowflakes alike?

Why is baloney spelled like bologna, but macaroni isn’t spelled like macarogna?

How come when you ask your kid, who has been outside with his friends running up and down the street all day, to go down to the corner store for you he can’t because all of a sudden he is too tired?

Why is there always more blanket on my wife’s side of the bed than there is on mine?

If hot dogs are really hot why do we keep them in the refrigerator before we cook them?

Why can’t you play a tune on a shoe horn?

Was the short fortune teller who escaped from prison really a small medium at large?

How come the sun is shining outside the window of the radio station that you are listening to when you wake up in the morning, but it is raining at your house?

How come there are no horses or radishes in horseradish?

Why is it that no matter how long we have to get ready for winter, we’re never ready?

“I don’t understand – this shirt fit me fine two months ago.

Why am I asking all these silly questions?

 

                             …. Roy Hodge

Bodley Bulletins, by Julia Ludington

By Julia Ludington

I hope that everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving recess thus far and is looking forward to their holiday.

We had a very exciting event take place at GRB library this past week. On the 18th, senior Amelia Coakley signed her letter of intent to attend Binghamton University to play Division I lacrosse.

A small gathering of family, friends, and fellow lacrosse players were present to watch Amelia make it official. Cake and refreshments were served as Amelia was interviewed. I have had the honor of playing with Amelia and know that she will be a great contribution to the Binghamton team. Congratulations, we are all very proud of you!

On the 13th, students participated in the second Oswego County Academic Youth League competition of the year. I am proud to say our very own team won first place out of seven teams from other Oswego County school districts.

The task was challenging and required a lot of creativity. The students had to create their very own high school.

The curriculum of the high school had to be of New York state standard, but they were free to come up with 7.5 credits worth of electives for students that attended the high school.

The students had to specify if the electives were full or half-year courses, how many credits they were worth, and describe the material taught in the class as well as what activities would take place.

In addition, the team had to perform an infomercial encouraging students to attend their school, come up with a mission statement, and create a brochure. The team was very proud of their finish, as the projects took a lot of hard work.

Our winter sports teams continue to be hard at work. The girls’ varsity and JV basketball teams have their first game Dec. 3  against JD. The JV game starts at 5:30, and the girls will be playing at JD high school. Come support!

View from the Assembly, by Will Barclay

Common Core — the new academic standards adopted by 46 states intended to make students ready for college and careers—was put into motion for grades K-12 this school year.

The State Board of Regents adopted Common Core in 2010 in part to secure more federal aid for education. State assessments are now aligned with Common Core.

Beginning this September, teachers in most public school districts across New York were required to teach this brand new curriculum known as the Common Core.

According to the mission statement of CommonCore.org, its aim is to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.

The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”

The mission is well intended but, as with many federal mandates tied to federal dollars, there are troubling aspects of Common Core.

Some critics are calling it ObamaCore — a one-size-fits-all model for education. Others are in support of Common Core and want to see it work.

Whether for or against, the consensus is the State of New York could have done a better job implementing these sweeping curriculum changes that affect all grade levels and build on the previous year’s knowledge.

Last week, I hosted a forum in Baldwinsville with some of my Assembly colleagues from throughout the state. We wanted to give the public a chance to submit testimony and provide us with their thoughts on this program. I attended not only as a Legislator, but also as a parent of a fifth- and eighth-grader.

For me, the forum was an opportunity to learn of the concerns of  other parents, teachers, administrators and even a young student. I appreciate all who attended and took time from their schedules to speak and/or submit testimony.

There was a variety of testimony. I’d be hard-pressed to summarize all sentiments in this space but there were many concerns. One thing is clear though: The State Education Department has put the burden on localities to make this work this year, with no phase-in period.

Though New York adopted Common Core in 2010, it wasn’t until late this summer that curriculum became available for teachers through the form of teaching modules. Many at the forum said they received the modules too late to adequately prepare lessons from them. Administrators said they had little time for staff development on the curriculum overhaul.  Also, staff development is expensive and districts say they are strapped for cash and not getting the federal or state aid to cover expenses associated with all of the mandates and teacher evaluations. The public can view the curriculum at http://www.engageny.org/

Parents who testified said their children are struggling and suffering with low grades and low self-esteem. Other teachers and parents are concerned with having scripted lessons and measuring a student’s ability based on tests. Some worry about students falling behind and the overall graduation rates.

There seemed to be variations too at the district level. Some districts are adhering strictly to the teaching modules while other teachers and school districts are more loosely following the teaching modules or, in some cases, are preparing their own teaching modules.

Regardless of teaching methods, students will be tested on the same material with the same exams, and their understanding of Common Core.  And teachers are being evaluated based on their ability to teach the brand new curriculum and student test scores.

As you can see, this is complicated. Further dialogue is needed so that either the Legislature or the State Education Department can respond with helpful solutions. Most people agree with having higher standards, however, I too am concerned about the way in which these standards are being implemented. Clearly, we need to slow down. Perhaps we need to delay testing, to give all grades a better chance of learning the material until 2015. Maybe we need to reduce the amount of testing or at least the stakes involved for the students and teachers—so that exam scores are not the sole judge of students’ knowledge and teachers’ ability. As we know, and science has supported with multiple studies, not all students learn the same way.

I invite you to watch some of the testimony recorded at the forum. There are videos from five different panels available to view.

Here are the links. I would invite you to also participate in this dialogue and encourage you to submit letters or emails to my office on this so I can share them with leaders in Albany and the State Education Department.

** Opening Remarks and Superintendents –http://youtu.be/MJUH0xUaoW0

** Administrators/SUNY/Chamber – http://youtu.be/Mu9QCP4TDs8

** Teachers (Part 1) – http://youtu.be/T79OyasE-9k

** Teachers (Part 2) – http://youtu.be/DLJgGQwznr4

** Parents and Student – http://youtu.be/GuMy254Za9U

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, contact my office by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling 598-5185. You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.

Light in the Darkness

“The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”               

 Ephesians 1:7

Many there are who are unaware of or unwilling to admit their guilt before a Holy God.

But one who has felt the convicting power of the Holy Spirit (who came to ‘convict the world of sin…’) it is doubtful that there is a sweeter word than the word “forgiveness.”

When one understands there is nothing he or she can do to earn or be worthy of forgiveness, but experiences it at the hands of the living God, there is no more wonderful blessing in life.

“Blessed,” as Charles Spurgeon wrote,  “forever blessed be that dear star of pardon which shines into the condemned cell, and gives the perishing a gleam of hope amid the midnight of despair!”

True conviction and awareness of the depths of one’s guilt stands in awe and amazement that that sin, such sin as mine, can be forgiven, altogether and forever.

Hell is the rightful portion of every sinner and there is no possibility of escape while that sin remains upon me. There is only one way that this sin can be lifted from me; only one means of escape.

It is not through good works; never through  a sincere life devoted to serving ones fellow man or even God, Himself.  Yet Jesus tells us that we may have that burden, that guilt of sin removed forever.

Once again to quote Spurgeon, “Forever blessed be the revelation of atoning love which not only tells me that pardon is possible, but that it is (already) secured for all who rest in Jesus.”

Jesus offered Himself as the perfect lamb of God, was crucified, and therefore my sins are at this moment, and forever forgiven by virtue of His substitutionary pains and death. He died in my place.

My sins were laid upon Him. What joy is this! What bliss to be a perfectly pardoned soul!

We love Him and long for His return because He first loved us. We serve Him because He served us and our greatest need by sacrificing His all that we might be reconciled to the Father, made children of the most High God and joint heirs with His own Son, Jesus, the Christ.

To experience true forgiveness is to understand there is nothing we could have done or can do but allow our hearts to overflow with gratitude to the one who forgave. A life of worshipful service is the only thing we have to offer the One who paid the price of that forgiveness.

Once again the words of Spurgeon, “I bow before the throne which absolves me, I clasp the cross which delivers me, I serve henceforth all my days the Incarnate God, through whom I am this night a pardoned soul”.

 

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

A Sportsman’s World, by Leon Archer

My next year at deer camp was the charm.

Back in the late 1950s, the last day of deer season in the Southern Tier was “Doe Day.” Anyone who had not filled their deer tag could take a doe if one came along. As you might well expect, Doe Day was a big draw and everybody and their uncle was in the woods for a last chance at putting some venison in the freezer.

Our group was no exception.

On Doe Day I was out in the woods before dawn. It had snowed a couple of inches the night before, and it meant that deer would be easier to see. I had a spot where I knew deer had been coming through from time to time. I was counting on hunters outside the valley we were in to move some deer our way, hopefully coming by my watch. Amazingly, I remained on my watch until 8:20 that morning, and it paid off.

I saw a couple of deer moving down through the hardwoods above me, and my mouth got dry and my heart started beating faster. I tried wishing the deer to come close enough for me to get a shot. I was hunting with a 30/40 Kraig rifle that I had purchased during the summer, and I was pretty sure I could hit any deer that got within 100 yards.

Those deer vanished as they moved away from me into a bunch of hemlock trees. I was bummed out, but then I saw a single deer that was actually coming in my direction. I hunkered down, my mouth still dry, my rifle resting over the log I was sitting by.

Closer and closer the deer came, but I resisted the urge to shoot when it got into shooting range. I figured as long as it continued on its course, I would be wise to let it get even closer. It was a good plan, and the deer passed where I was sitting at a range of about 30 yards. It stopped behind some small spruces, but I could see its head.

At the crack of the rifle, the deer disappeared. At first I was afraid I had missed it, but as I stood up I could see legs kicking where the deer had been. I ran to where I had seen the legs, and there was my deer. I thought it was a doe, but instead it was a button horn buck. I didn’t care what it was as long as it was a deer and it was mine.

By the time I got to the deer, it had stopped kicking. It had actually been dead a split second after I shot; a 30/40 to the head will accomplish that quite easily. I got to field dress my first deer all by myself, and I like to think even today that I did a great job of it. I was so proud that I almost popped my buttons, my chest stuck out so far. I fastened the front legs up around the neck of the little buck with my dragging rope and hauled him back to our camp.

That night when I got back to Sandy Creek and presented my deer to my father, was one of the high points in my young life. I felt somehow like I had arrived. Later in the week, dad showed me how to go about butchering my venison. Nothing has ever tasted as good before or since as my venison that my mother cooked and put on the family table.

The following year at deer camp, I took another deer on Doe Day, but it was new landmark for me. That deer was a large doe that I shot with my trusty 30/40.

There were five does running about 100 yards away in an open field. It was a quartering shot going away, and I wasn’t very confident that I could hit one of them.

They showed no sign of stopping, so I drew down on the last deer in the group and fired. To my surprise, the deer faltered, indicating that I had hit it. The five deer went into a thicket at the other side of the field.

I watched and saw four deer come out the far side before going out of sight in the field, but the fifth deer remained in the thicket.

Fellow hunter, Leon Canale, remained behind watching from where I had shot, while I took off across the field for the thicket. I struck the deer tracks and soon came upon hair and blood. There was a considerable amount of blood from that point into the thicket, and I expected to find the deer dead up ahead.

As it turned out, the deer was still alive and attempted to leave the cover as I entered it. One more shot from my rifle and it was all over.

It was a mature doe, much larger than the little button horn I had gotten the year before. I say it was a new landmark, because I had shot it on the run, and it was out at a pretty good distance. I have always had great confidence in my own shooting ability since that day.

That night I was not feeling very well as we headed back north, but I was still elated by my trophy. I was feeling sicker when I got home, and early the next morning my father took me to Doctor Reed.

He in turn sent us to the hospital in Watertown, because he said I had appendicitis. The doctors at the hospital checked me over and told my father I had some sort of stomach bug. They gave me ginger ale and put me in bed.

The following morning they brought me in coffee and orange juice which I promptly barfed onto the floor. The doctors came in, checked my temperature and pushed on my abdomen which was painful.

They called my parents and told them they were going to do an emergency appendectomy. As it turned out I had a ruptured appendix, and it took a long time to get me cleaned out.

I was a sick puppy for a couple days, with two tubes draining my abdomen and one down my throat. I got so many shots of penicillin that I lost track. The doctors told my parents that I had nearly died, and it was seven days before I finally went home.

And thus ended my deer camp adventures. Most of us went off to college, and I never hunted there again, but the camp still has a place in my heart and mind.

Bodley Bulletins, by Julia Ludington

Some very exciting things have been happening lately at G. Ray Bodley.

Last Wednesday, students participated in the second Oswego County Academic Youth League competition of the year.

I am proud to say that our very own team won first place out of seven total teams from other Oswego County school districts.

The task was challenging and required a lot of creativity. The students had to create their very own high school.

The curriculum of the high school had to be of New York State standard, but they were free to come up with 7.5 credits worth of electives for students that attended the high school.

The students had to specify if the electives were full or half-year courses, how many credits they were worth, and describe the material taught in the class as well as what activities would take place.

In addition, the team had to perform an infomercial encouraging students to attend their school, come up with a mission statement, and create a brochure.

Senior students and their parents should mark their calendars for Dec. 9, as this will be GRB’s Financial Aid night.

Information regarding how to apply for financial aid to help pay for college will be provided. The session will begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.

The spring musical has been revealed. Quirk’s Players will be performing “Curtains,” a comedy, this coming March. The musical is always amazingly well done and I encourage attending to support our actors, actresses, and musicians.

The boys’ varsity and JV basketball teams have a scrimmage today at Red Creek High School, and the girls’ varsity basketball team has a scrimmage tomorrow against Solvay at Solvay High School.

The teams are working hard for their upcoming games.

Come out and support and visit the district website to see when upcoming games for our winter sports will be taking place.

Editor’s note: This edition of Bodley Bulletins was supposed to run in the Nov. 20 issue of The Valley News. We regret the error.

In and Around Hannibal

Moving along at our usual rapid rate, I bring you news from School District No. 5 in beautiful downtown Fairdale.

The exact date of the construction of the first school in Fairdale is not known, but would have been in the early 1800s. It was a red brick structure and contained seats with writing desks running around the inside.

The schoolhouse, like so many others of the day, was used as a Christian meeting house on Sundays.

In this instance, it was the Methodists who used the structure. In addition, many funeral services were held there, often under the direction of Harvey Randall. It was said his manners were perfect and had undertaking been in vogue, he would have found his vocation.

Eventually, a larger schoolhouse was built to the east of the intersection of County Route 7 and Old Route 3. Usually two teachers were employed there. For small classes, the cloakroom sometimes doubled as a classroom.

About 1934, the main classroom was partitioned into two classrooms.

The original school was sold to Dennis Broderick, who proceeded to add a second story. He then used the remodeled structure as both a residence and a grocery store.  Later on, the grocery business was operated in partnership with Melnychuk and Penkala.

Many years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Noah Wright lived near the school and when any of the students got sick they went to Mrs. Wright for comfort. The couple also had a number of fruit trees and it wasn’t uncommon for them to share the fruit with the youngsters.  For several years, Mrs. Raynor held the school library and kept the scholars supplied with good books.

In 1850, Miss McDugall taught in Fairdale – there is a more complete list of the early teachers in the Hannibal Historical Society’s Hannibal in History and Prose. Teachers beginning in 1927 were Bertha Youngs and Marie Gallagher, who taught there until 1933 with fellow teachers Marjorie Jackson, Kenneth Upcraft Winfred Beckwith.

Howard Wilson and Flossie Kellogg taught together from 1933-41. Joanne Baldwin and Lois Chaffee taught in Fairdale from 1941-43, Clara Smith and Mildred B. Johnson from 43-45, Minnie Perkins and Lena C. Ward 45-46.

In 1946-47 Minnie Perkins and Lois Chaffee worked together. Emily Cox and Lois Chaffee worked together in 1947 and 48, and Emily Cox and Evelyn Baldwin in 1948 and 49.

After centralization the schoolhouse was sold. It has since been converted into a private residence but still maintains the outline of an old schoolhouse and is easily recognized as such.  It is located next to Deb’s Diner in Fairdale.

As always I look for people who can fill in with any additional information about teachers, students and neighbors in Fairdale.  So send me an e-mail or give me a call!

*********************

Well folks, the weekend you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived.  Hannibal officially kicks off the Christmas season this weekend with the 10th Annual Country Christmas this Saturday and Sunday.

Town merchants and organizations will be greeting guests, running specials and offering holiday treats. Each merchant will also be offering a door prize.

The Friends of the Library will hold their annual Christmas Tree Festival. Visitors to the Community Center, 162 Oswego St., can bid on decorated trees and wreaths from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The theme for this year’s Festival is “The Polar Express.” Trees and Wreaths decorated with theme decorations will be eligible to win “The People’s Choice” Award.” Look for the featured Pet Tree.

The Annual Thanksgiving Raffle Basket is at the library full of great stuff for your holiday. It has a gift card from the Village Market, gift certificate from Travis Floral, turkey platter, tablecloths and more. Drawing is Nov. 24.

If you have ordered this year’s Christmas ornament from the Historical Society you may pick it up this weekend at the Library.

The Hannibal United Methodist Church, 320 Church St., is sponsoring a craft show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. A soup, sandwich and homemade pie lunch will be served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Takeouts are available.

God’s Vision Christian Church, 326 Church Street, will be holding an open house and tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. There will be refreshments.

The Hannibal Fire Company Auxiliary Breakfast with Santa from 8 to 11 a.m.  Sunday Nov. 24 at the Firehouse on Oswego Street. Pictures with Santa 9 to 10:30 a.m. provided free by C. Perkins Photography

Our Lady Of The Rosary Famous Chicken and Biscuit will be tempting your palette from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24.

On Sunday afternoon, the Hannibal Historical Society is hosting The Village Christmas Tree Lighting Festival. This event starts at 4 p.m. in the Village Square, with the arrival of Santa Claus. At 4:15 students from Kami’s Kix Dance Studio will perform.

Community organizations involving students have been invited to set up tables where children can make crafts or families can make purchases.  At 4:45 The Port Byron Brass will begin playing songs of the season. Door prize drawings will take place, followed by the children’s parade and the lighting of the Christmas Tree in the Village Square. Each child who attends this event will receive a gift from Santa, and be given an ornament to hang on the Village Christmas Tree.

There will be a community Thanksgiving Service following the tree lighting – about 6 p.m. at the Hannibal Methodist Church, 1 block west of the village square on Church Street (Route 3.) The Rev. Dean Flemming will bring the message and refreshments will be served. You are asked to bring groceries for the Hannibal Resource Center…they are anticipating  they will need food for 2500 meals over the Thanksgiving weekend.

The Country Christmas merchants and organizations look forward to seeing everyone, and are excited to kick off this 2013 holiday season.

Hannibal Senior Dining Center meets at noon for dinner at the Senior Center (Library Building) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Come early for coffee and news or to work on a jigsaw puzzle or  play games or just some idle chit-chat. Give Rosemary a call and make your reservation, 564-5471.

This week’s menu is:

Monday: Baked chicken, garlic red potatoes, vegetable blend, juice, jello

Wednesday: Roast pork w/gravy, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts & carrots, ice cream

Friday: Center closed.

Activities: Monday, Ellen Wahl from RSVP will be here to talk to anyone interested in volunteering; Chris Parks from OCO will be here also to meet with volunteers and volunteer wannabees. On Wednesday, there will be a hot game of BINGO after lunch.

Kenney Middle School is holding a BoxTops for Education contest. Two students that bring in the most BoxTops in one week win free ice cream from the cafeteria. Anyone who brings in five or more BoxTops in one week is entered in a drawing for a large cheese pizza from the Village Market. The contest runs through Dec. 16.

The student who brings in the most BoxTops for the contest will win a Bowling Party.  Anyone that brings in 5 or more BoxTops during the contest will be entered in drawings for several prizes. Each BoxTops are worth 10 cents to the school.  We have raised over $ 600 for the school so far this year.  All monies earned benefit programs for the students.

We also have a new collection box at the Village Market for your convenience.

The Village Market (IGA) will be hosting their annual Christmas Luncheon for seniors at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10. This is free and no registration is needed. The high school music department will provide music for your enjoyment.

Life is just so full of choices this time of year…

The Elderberry Christmas Dinner will be at noon Dec. 10 at the American Legion. Catered by Brenda Fletcher. Call George Darling and make your reservation today.

The Hannibal Senior Band will be presenting their Holiday Concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 in the Lockwood Auditorium. This concert will feature the Jazz Ensemble and the Concert Band presenting many familiar carols and winter songs. Audience members are asked to bring a donation for the Christmas Bureau.

Prior to the concert band members will serve their annual complimentary lasagna holiday dinner for local senior citizens in the high school cafeteria beginning at 6:15 p.m. Community seniors wishing to attend should make a reservation by calling 564-7910 extension 4132 before Dec. 9.

Shirts ‘N Skirts, Square Dance Club, meets from 7 to 9:30 p.m. every Friday at the Fulton Municipal Building, South First Street. All ages are welcome, under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Info: 591-0093 or email information@shirtsandskirts.org

Remember this column is about and for the people of Hannibal and the surrounding area.  If you have an event that you would like the public to know about, send me an e-mail or give me a quick call. Rita Hooper, 706-3564, twohoops2@juno.com

State Senate Report, by state Sen. Patty Ritchie

How does hundreds of extra dollars in your pocket each year sound?

If you’re a homeowner, that’s what you could be receiving through the state’s STAR program, which provides 2.6 million homeowners in New York state — including nearly 85,000 in our region — with savings on their school property tax bills each year.

Recently, dozens of people in the Central and Northern New York region re-registered for the program through my STAR workshops, held in Pulaski, Watertown and Gouverneur. Made possible with the help of local assessors, these events helped those who currently receive Basic STAR re-register for the benefit.

A new state law mandates re-registering to streamline administration of the program and help prevent fraud. The requirement does not affect senior homeowners enrolled in Enhanced STAR.

The Basic STAR exemption is available for owner-occupied, primary residences where the combined income of resident owners and their spouses is $500,000 or less. Married couples with multiple residences are only eligible to receive one Basic STAR exemption.

I’ve been working hard to spread the word about re-registering for this money-saving program, and as a result, more than 1,100 homeowners have clicked through my website to reapply online for Basic STAR.  But, state officials say more than 20,000 Basic STAR enrollees in our region still need to re-register.

Recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a warning regarding deceptive STAR program solicitations. State officials said companies have been sending letters to homeowners offering to help them apply for their Basic STAR exemption in exchange for the first year’s tax savings.

Please know if you’re a homeowner, you can reapply on your own for free.

If you still need to re-register, you can find a link to do so on my website, www.ritchie.nysenate.gov.  You can also call the special STAR hotline at (518) 457-2036.  Representatives will be available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.