Category Archives: Columnists

Light in the Darkness, the Rev. David Grey

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.  And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him;  but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.  When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.” Luke 9:51-54

These are the same James and John that Jesus had nicknamed  “Sons of Thunder” and here we find them asking if they should call down lightening from heaven to destroy these people for refusing to welcome the Savior.

Whatever possessed these two men to think that Jesus would want that? After all, he had long ago taught them what to do when they entered a town that refused their message.

“Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave.  As you enter the home, give it your greeting.  If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.  If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” (Matthew 10).

Indeed, that is precisely what Jesus did in this Samaritan village. So why might they think Jesus would want to destroy them?

The answer probably lies in the manner that rabbis taught their disciples in that day and in something else Jesus had said in the very next verse in Matthew 10.  The disciples were expected to anticipate the deeper meaning of words spoken by their rabbi. They were expected to think, question and endeavor to draw intelligent conclusions from the various teachings.

In the next verse in Matthew, after telling them to shake the dust from their feet and leave town, Jesus had said, “I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”

I can almost hear these two Sons of Thunder trying to extrapolate what Jesus intended and saying, “By Jove, I think we’ve got it!”

We think he wants us to be instruments of judgment on this town, and so they ask the question, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”

But instead of praise, or even a mild correction, they receive a rebuke. Ouch!  They had either  missed or completely forgotten that the Son of Man did not come to destroy but to, “to seek and to save what was lost.”   (Luke 19:10)

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.  And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him;  but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.  When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.” Luke 9:51-54

These are the same James and John that Jesus had nicknamed  “Sons of Thunder” and here we find them asking if they should call down lightening from heaven to destroy these people for refusing to welcome the Savior.

Whatever possessed these two men to think that Jesus would want that? After all, he had long ago taught them what to do when they entered a town that refused their message.

“Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave.  As you enter the home, give it your greeting.  If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.  If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” (Matthew 10).

Indeed, that is precisely what Jesus did in this Samaritan village. So why might they think Jesus would want to destroy them?

The answer probably lies in the manner that rabbis taught their disciples in that day and in something else Jesus had said in the very next verse in Matthew 10.  The disciples were expected to anticipate the deeper meaning of words spoken by their rabbi. They were expected to think, question and endeavor to draw intelligent conclusions from the various teachings.

In the next verse in Matthew, after telling them to shake the dust from their feet and leave town, Jesus had said, “I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”

I can almost hear these two Sons of Thunder trying to extrapolate what Jesus intended and saying, “By Jove, I think we’ve got it!”

We think he wants us to be instruments of judgment on this town, and so they ask the question, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”

But instead of praise, or even a mild correction, they receive a rebuke. Ouch!  They had either  missed or completely forgotten that the Son of Man did not come to destroy but to, “to seek and to save what was lost.”   (Luke 19:10)

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

In And Around Hannibal, by Rita Hooper

In 1920, seven acres were purchased on Cayuga Street for use as a school athletic field.

Financing for this acquisition was quite unique. All the money was raised and donated by the students, alumni, residents and teachers of the school system.

Subscribers of the fund actually held the deed to the property and granted the school exclusive use of it for athletic purposes. Not one dime came from the levy of school taxes.

At 3:15 in the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 23, 1923, smoke was discovered pouring out the second floor windows of the school building by the janitor, Frank Little.  (Remember from last week…this building was on the site of the present day Dollar General, built in 1868.)

Fortunately, the students had left the building just minutes before the blaze was noticed. Responding to the alarm, the firemen hastily arrived on the scene with their chemical apparatus, directed by Chief R.A. Bradt.

(R.A. Bradt was the first fire chief of the Hannibal Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. and was one of the charter members in 1910.)

Unfortunately, their chemical equipment failed to operate, necessitating the formation of a bucket brigade bringing water from the Methodist parsonage next door.

This proved inadequate to check the flames and within two hours the structure was reduced to smoldering ruins. However, the firemen and villagers were able to save a quantity of furnishings and books, plus the school piano.

In addition, the firemen were able to save the vocational training building to the rear of the school and other nearby dwellings. This was due in large part to the fact that all the roofs had a heavy covering of snow and there was no strong wind.

The cause of the fire was attributed to the buildup of soot in the chimney as a result of burning soft coal in the furnace.  Once the accumulated soot ignited, the hot chimney then in turn set fire to the adjoining woodwork.

The Board of Education met the following morning to assess the damage and to make arrangements to use the local churches and halls for instruction until a new school could be built.

The first three grades finished that school year and the next in the session room of the M.E. (Methodist Episcopal – the present day United Methodist Church, same church and congregation just a name change) Church.

Grades four through six were in the session room of the Presbyterian Church  until the fall of 1924. (The Presbyterian Church later federated with the Baptists and currently known as God’s Vision Christian Church.)

High school classes were held in McFarland and Chillson Halls. The homemaking and agricultural classes continued in the vocational training building.

The first action taken for the construction of a new school occurred March 20, 1923, when the decision to acquire a new site was approved at a district school meeting.

The considered location was the athletic field owned by the citizen’s group.  This property was just up the street from the burned out school, separated by two residences.

It made good sense to have the scholastic and athletic activities all in one place.

Plans for a new 18-room school building, including a gymnasium/auditorium, were created by architects Hallenbeck and Van Auken. On Oct. 26, 1923, the corner stone for the new school was laid during a special ceremony which included an address by David P. Morehouse, Sr.

Construction continued into the following year and was finished in time for the beginning of school in September of 1924.  There were 18 in the first graduating class in 1924; Helen Cooper was valedictorian and Harold Horton was salutatorian.

At a special meeting held Jan. 26, 1942, authorization was given to purchase additional land for school purposes from Grant Wilson. Today, what used to be District No. 4, is now the center of the sprawling Hannibal Central School system.

OK, fellow historians of Hannibal, where and what were Chillson and McFarland Halls?

Likewise who were Hallenbeck and VanAuken…yes I know they were architects but where were they located?  Who was David P. Morehouse, Sr.?  A local big wig or someone from Albany? Syracuse?

What happened to Helen Cooper and Harold Horton after graduation? Any other information you can offer about this story would be welcome, so drop me a note…All of Hannibal wants to know!

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This week we learned of another weather related tragedy, this time in the Philippines when Typhoon Haiyan brought horrific winds and rain and storm surges topping 20 feet.

At this time the government has estimated 10,000 people may be dead. Many people are missing, many are homeless and hungry and looking for family.

Relief agencies from the United Nations to the Red Cross, to Catholic Charities and Church World Service have kicked in and are already on the scene trying to bring order out of chaos. Money and prayers are urgently needed. I have already heard from CWS and they have tapped into global networks to help provide emergency food, shelter, water and other relief to those most in need.  As the storm moves north, CWS staff in Vietnam stand prepared to help.

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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: Beef stroganoff over noodles, green and yellow beans, orange juice, cookie

Wednesday: Thanksgiving luncheon of turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, 5-way blend vegetables, juice, pumpkin pie

Friday: Crispy fish clipper, au gratin potatoes, vegetable blend, juice, peaches

Activities: Monday, Wii bowling;  Wednesday, bingo after lunch; Friday,  shuffleboard and other games

Elderberries will not meet Nov. 26 – Have a wonderful, thankful Thanksgiving.

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

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.

Plans are underway for the celebration of the 10th Annual Country Christmas in the town of Hannibal Nov. 23 and 24.  This event kicks off the holiday season and showcases local merchants’ seasonal offerings.

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. Nov. 23 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 24.

The theme for this year’s Festival is “The Polar Express.” Contact Linda Remig at 564-6643 for information or pick up an entry form at the library.

If you have ordered this year’s Christmas ornament from the Historical Society, you may pick it up Nov. 23 and 24.

The Hannibal United Methodist Church, 320 Church St., is sponsoring a craft show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 23. A soup, sandwich and homemade pie lunch will be served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch takeouts are available.

God’s Vision Christian Church, 326 Church St., will have an open house and tour at the church from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 23. There will be refreshments.

At 4 p.m. Nov. 24, the Hannibal Historical Society is hosting The Village Christmas Tree Lighting Festival at the Village Square, with the arrival of Santa Claus.

At 4:15 p.m., 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 p.m., 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 – at about 6 p.m. at the Hannibal Methodist Church, 1 block west of the village square on Church Street.

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 2,500 meals over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Shirts ‘N Skirts, Square Dance Club, meets from 7 to 9:30 p.m. every Friday evening at the Fulton Municipal Building, South First Street, Fulton.

All ages are welcome, under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 591-0093 or email information@shirtsandskirts.org

The Hannibal Town Board meets the third Wednesday of the month, Nov. 20.

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

A Sportsman’s World, by Leon Archer

By Leon Archer

I couldn’t help myself; after writing last week about my memories of the deer camp itself, I had to follow up with the other things that flooded into my mind.

While the physical deer camp itself was a part of the lure for me and my friends to hunt in Deposit, N.Y., one has to remember the overarching purpose was to hunt deer.

We were young and inexperienced and we expected we would see a deer behind every tree and come home with a big buck at the end of our stay.

It seldom worked out that way even though we hunted long and hard from morning until the last light of day. We spent a lot of time walking and not much time sitting.

It’s hard for a boy of 16 or 17 to sit for very long hoping for a deer to walk by; our system just isn’t wired that way. Fifteen to 20 minutes always seemed to be sufficient to convince us we were sitting in the wrong place, and a better hunting spot was probably one more hill or valley away.

I spent a lot of time looking for that perfect location.

We actually got a little better with time. We learned to efficiently drive a section of woods with watchers placed in logical spots for deer to use when fleeing the drivers.

The amazing thing is that sometimes we got it right. Dale got a spike horn buck one morning on his watch, and Rex got a nice 8-point one afternoon. He always had the patience to sit for hours at a time, and if you were driving towards his stand, you could be confident that he would be there when you arrived.

The first year I hunted at the camp, I blew a chance at a 4-point one afternoon when I was still hunting by myself.

I had just reached the top of one of the Catskill foothills, and looking at a steep angle into the ravine below I saw this magnificent deer, and he had no idea I was there. I was hunting with a 35 Remington lever action. I was sure that deer was dead meat.

I drew the bead into the rear crotch sight and placed it on his shoulder. I expected that when I pulled the trigger, he would drop like a rock.

The woods reverberated with the blast, but the deer still stood unharmed. I racked another shell into the chamber and aimed even more carefully if that was possible.

When I fired the second shot, the deer began looking around, no doubt wondering where those shots were coming from, but he was none the worse for my efforts.

As a relatively new hunter, I figured the deer was too far away and that I should raise my sights. My next shot was aimed about two inches above his shoulder, the next about 6 inches and the fifth and final shot was launched with my aiming point about a foot above his body.

He finally realized that he might possibly be in danger and trotted out of sight. I couldn’t believe what had just transpired. I reloaded my rifle, and walked down to where the deer had been standing in hopes of finding blood, but it was in vain. I had missed five shots at a standing target.

Later that evening as I recounted my tail of woe back at the camp, three things happened.

First, Rex took out his knife and cut off the bottom of my shirt tail and nailed the piece on the wall. Next he asked me what I had the rifle sighted in at. I told him a hundred yards. Third, he asked me where I had held on the deer. I described my efforts in detail and as I did, a smile grew on his face.

Rex explained what I had done wrong. Basically it was this; when one shoots uphill or downhill over a fair distance he needs to hold low. Shooting more closely to parallel with the pull of gravity has a much different effect on the flight of a bullet than when shooting perpendicular to the pull.

In recognition of gravity, a rifle is sighted in so the barrel is actually pointed at a spot above where the sight is pointed. The bullet ends up dropping over the distance of its travel in order to arrive at the aiming point of the sights.

I guess I had a blank look on my face when he was talking, because he finally tore up a paper bag and drew an illustration to show what he meant. It took a little while for that to sink in, but learning it has helped me put venison in the freezer a number of times over the years.

I didn’t get a deer that year, but I could hardly wait for the next season to roll around and give me another chance. I knew the deer camp would be waiting.

Bodley Bulletins, by Julia Ludington

I hope that everyone had a fun long weekend.

Much is going on at G. Ray Bodley before we head off on our Thanksgiving break.

Today a representative from the College at Saint Rose will be in the guidance office at 10 a.m. and tomorrow a representative from the Crouse College of Nursing will be visiting at 10:15 a.m.

Keep checking in with the guidance office to see if any colleges you are applying to or are interested in are coming to the high school.

Unfortunately, the varsity girls’ volleyball team’s season came to an end last Tuesday with a tough loss to Oswego. The girls had an awesome season, however, and we are very proud of them.

The concerts last week were a success. The audience was serenaded with a plethora of different pieces from the Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, and Symphonic Orchestra.

The songs included themes centered on the music of Lady Gaga, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky from the orchestra and Batman, Les Miserables and Sesame Street by the band.

Talented guitar, bass, and drum players joined in on the fun and made for an exciting event.

Musicians who are interested in trying out for All-County should see their music teacher for the audition music. Many music teachers give extra credit for trying out, so it may be something you want to look into. Plus, it’s a ton of fun.

Students from the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Orchestra and Chorus are also getting ready for the upcoming Area All-State concert.

The students will travel to Clinton in Oneida County Nov. 22 and will rehearse with other students selected from the area.

They will then stay the night and get up to practice again, and then finally will play their concert Saturday, Nov. 23. It’s a lot of work, as the students selected will have never played the music together until the day before the actual concert.

Don’t forget to get in the holiday spirit and donate to the Youth Advisory Council to support its orphanage and school in Colombia.

Boxes are distributed throughout the school in which to place your donations. Girls’ summer clothes, toiletries and small candies are all acceptable items.

A Sportsman’s World, by Leon Archer

Deer Camp Memories

 

When I was a kid, I was a Boy Scout, and I had many adventures as a result of my association with that wonderful organization. We had a great scout master, Lyle Rexford Huyck, but we all called him Rex. He had been a drill instructor in the navy and he transferred a lot of his knowledge and abilities into his role as our leader. He was a no nonsense sort of guy when it came to scouting, but he tempered that with a good sense of humor. Thanks to him, I could hardly wait for the meeting to roll around each week to see what we were going to be doing.

When I turned 14, I became an Explorer Scout, and scouting got kicked up a notch. We went on a number of trips, and we attended jamborees. We went to the east coast several times. We went to Boston and did a tour of the historical sites there including touring the USS Constitution. We took a side trip to Lexington and Concord. But the thing I liked best each year that we went to the coast was we would go out on a party boat to do some deep sea fishing. We caught a heap of fish that none of us had ever caught before. It was fantastic.

In addition, most of us Explorers took our hunter safety training together and got our junior licenses. Often several of us would get together with an adult to go hunting. It all seemed to be a natural outgrowth of our scouting experience. Many times some of us would hunt with Rex and his son, Dale, who was also an Explorer, but hunting opportunities abounded in those days, and there was always an adult that was willing to get us out. Once we turned 16, we often hunted together in groups of two up to as many as six at a time.

Thanks to Rex and Dale, I had the chance to hunt deer out of an honest to God deer hunting camp located on a farm near Deposit, New York. Rex’s in-laws owned the farm, and there was a small cabin that had been built near the woods in the back lot. For three years, Rex and several of the Explorers transformed the cabin into a deer camp. I was 16 the first year I hunted there, and it was where I shot my first deer. In my mind, I can see that deer as clearly today as I did the morning I shot it, but what I remember most is the camp.

The cabin was small, roughly 16 feet by 20 feet, and there was nothing fancy about it, no insulation, no running water, and no electricity. It had a metal covered roof that kept out the rain, and the sides, though uninsulated and unpainted, were sealed well enough that the wind never found its way in. There were three small windows, and there was an even smaller window in the door. It was possible to look in every direction for any deer that might come wandering by while we were enjoying the relative comfort of the inside of the cabin.

There were six bunk beds along two walls. I always seemed to end up with an upper bunk, but I didn’t mind. There was a wooden table and four wooden chairs; if we had a full complement of six in camp, there were a couple of folding chairs under one of the bunks.

We had an old kitchen wood stove that we cooked on and it doubled as our source of heat when the weather was cold. It was often also the reason for sweaty bodies when the weather was warm. The stove was part of the reason for the cabin being a hunting camp, not just some quaint little getaway in the woods. It was the odors that tagged the camp for what it was and they remain indelibly etched in my memory.

Here’s what I remember. Once the deer camp was up and running, the first thing that hit you as you came through the door was the overarching smell of wood smoke (when you came home from deer camp you usually smelled for all the world like a ham). It didn’t matter what time of day or night it was, there would also be the lingering smell of bacon that had been cooked each morning before the eggs were slipped into the hot fat. Coffee that had been boiled on the stove added to the aromatic patina of the camp. Those were the good things.

As the days went by, sweaty long underwear, which doubled as pajamas and was seldom changed, began to radiate cosmic rays as well as a strangely sweetish addition to the atmosphere of the camp. Boots drying behind the stove and wet socks draped over the end of bunks in hopes they would dry before time to go hunting in the morning each did their part in creating an odor that is hard to forget.

Once those things were flavoring the air the hunters were breathing, a few other items could be added. Most years someone would bring a brick of limburger cheese, which if eaten up quickly only added a momentary spike in the toxicity of the camp vapors, but the wrapper with the scrapings from the rind often ended up in the paper trash bag in the corner, and for days hunters would comment how the smell of that cheese had lingered on. If a deer was shot early in the season, liver and onions frying in a cast iron pan on the stove would add another layer.

The variety, quality, and volume of the food and drink being consumed often led to intestinal problems which were often relieved in the evening, producing gasps, groans, shouts and inane chuckling as one more gaseous substance was added to the already burdened air. Fortunately this addition quickly dissipated, unfortunately it could be pretty much counted on to be reintroduced each ensuing evening. You have to remember, we were just boys.

By the end of just the first week, a deer camp would have usually taken on enough olfactory markers that any deer hunter with deer camp experience could identify it blindfolded just standing outside the door. I will say, leaving camp for my stand in the morning, I hardly noticed any odor in the building, but upon returning later in the day after hunting in the fresh air, I became acutely aware of what would eventually find a forever place in my memory. I wouldn’t want you to think that was the only thing that impressed me; I have other memories of deer camp as well, but I will come back for them another day.

 

Poetry Corner, by Jim Farfaglia

We Move On      By Jim Farfaglia

 

Luckily, I caught a glimpse

as the four or five of you

traveled my yard’s wooded edges,

playing follow the leader;

one foot—scratching, scratching—

after the other,

thin necks probing the unknown,

beaks pecking out an uncharted path.

For a moment, I admired your bellies,

so full from a bountiful season,

and your feathers with mysterious markings.

But, true to your nature, you did not stay:

Called to where life leads,

you took your mystery with you,

leaving behind a lesson about searching,

about moving on.

View from the Assembly, by Will Barclay

Veterans’ Day is a time we honor our veterans and thank them for their service.

We pause to reflect on their lives and appreciate how their sacrifices keep us safe and protect our country and our freedoms. I’ve always believed that New York state should do more for our veterans. We can’t rely solely on the federal government’s benefit structure to honor our state veterans’ service.

This year, the state Legislature enacted a number of bills. Many seek to provide better access to services, education and jobs. I wanted to highlight a few that recently became effective or were signed into law that I supported in the Assembly.

 Hire a Vet Tax Credit

This year’s budget created 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 last year. This offers a one-stop career priority service to veterans and their eligible spouses, which can be accessed at http://www.veterans.ny.gov/.

 Driver ID Mark

The Department of Motor Vehicles now provides a special mark on a driver’s license or non-driver identification card indicating that the holder is a veteran of the U.S. armed forces, as long as veterans provide proof, such as Form DD-214. This law came about because it is sometimes difficult for veterans to carry original paperwork to obtain health services, or discounts that businesses offer to veterans, for example.

With this mark, if the veteran has their license, they can easily receive a discount at a restaurant or through a service provider.  I was pleased to support this during our last session. It passed unanimously in the Assembly and I’m glad it went into effect last month.

 Mental Health Portal

Earlier this year, the state Legislature passed a bill requiring the state Division of Veterans’ Affairs to provide better access to services concerning suicide prevention, peer outreach, and other support services.

This bill was signed into law in June and created portals along every page within the state Veteran’s Affairs website.

This builds on last year’s legislation which created an “interagency plan” to address the needs of returning veterans. I was pleased to support both in the Assembly.

On every Division of Veteran’s Affairs webpage, there is a crisis hotline number to call. I recognize that this is a small step in helping veterans, but having the ability to find help at someone’s hour of need can save lives and pain for families.

Combat-related mental illness has been and still is a critical issue for American war veterans. According to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, at least one in three Iraq veterans and one in nine Afghanistan veterans will face mental health issues like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Multiple tours have increased the stress of combat. Having quick access at a critical time can help save a life.

 Veterans Speakers in Classrooms

This year the Legislature passed a bill (A1601-A) that would coordinate efforts to get veterans into classrooms to talk about their military experiences.

The Division of Veterans’ Affairs has been directed to distribute information to school districts listing available speakers willing to discuss their experiences. This is designed to teach school-aged children about what military life is like and to bring a living history to the classrooms.

Many schools already invite veterans in for education, but this would formalize such a program and enable schools to, hopefully, have access to more veterans willing to speak to classes. This was signed by the governor in July.

More information on any of these services can be found at the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs at http://www.veterans.ny.gov/

While legislative changes and state programs can assist veterans, so can individuals by showing appreciation. Veterans deserve our respect and admiration for all they have done.

Whether it’s just saying “thank you” to one that you know or meet, or joining a more organized effort, all helps the sacrifices seem more worthwhile.

Locally, a group called Thank a Service Member was created to do just that. Since its inception in 2006, it has held a number of locally based events and has grown to a national organization. To learn more, visit http://www.thankaservicemember.org/.

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, New York 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling 598-5185.  You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.

State Senate Report, by state Sen. Patty Ritchie

From friends and family to good food and gifts, for many people, the holidays are the happiest time of the year.  However, for our brave troops serving overseas, they can be the loneliest.

In an effort to send a “touch of home” to our troops, I’m once again calling on Central and Northern New Yorkers to participate in my “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program.

The program — sponsored by the American Red Cross — aims to collect donated Christmas cards to be sent to U.S. soldiers serving overseas.

This year, for the second year in a row, I’m partnering with Ogdensburg native and radio personality Melody Burns to collect holiday greetings. Last year, thanks to many of you, we were able to collect 2,200 cards to distribute to service members at military installations, veterans hospitals and other locations.

To help send holiday greetings to our troops:

** Do not include envelopes;

** Do not include personal letters, photos or inserts of any kind;

** Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member,” as cards addressed to specific individuals cannot be delivered through the program;

** Avoid cards with glitter or using loose glitter in cards as it can aggravate health issues of ill or injured warriors;

After being signed, cards can be mailed to or dropped off at the following locations:

Office of Senator Patty Ritchie

330 Ford St.

Ogdensburg, NY 13669

Office of Senator Patty Ritchie

317 Washington St.

Watertown, NY 13601

Office of Senator Patty Ritchie

46 East Bridge St.

Oswego, NY 13126

The deadline to contribute cards is Nov. 15.

It’s important to recognize and pay tribute to our troops year round, but, it’s especially important during the holidays. I encourage you to join me in sending warm wishes this season through my “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program to the troops who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.