Category Archives: Columnists

Jerry’s Journal

Traveling back: From out of the past came a note from a friend of mine I knew from our bowling league on Wednesday night at Lakeview Lanes.

“If you ever travel back to the east side,” she wrote, “my husband’s mother owned and operated a tea room on Cayuga Street. I think it was called The Cayuga. It was located opposite the original Morrill Press owned by my husband’s uncle and grandfather. You know it today as Cortini’s Shoes.”
– Deanne Cuyler Morrill

“P.S.: Terry teaches at Le Moyne College (chemistry) and I am still bowling!”

I just loved hearing from Deanne. She has lived in Bayberry for several years, and I thank her for writing me. I looked up the Morrill Press in the 1950 city directory and found in that block of Cayuga Street, from South Second to South Third, there was – just to name a few – Lambrino Dry Cleaners; Perkins Florists; Mel’s Taxi; the Syracuse Herald Journal; the VFW; Rose Schnur, beautician; Samuel Cocopoti, trucker, and Dr. John Rogers.

For the rest of this column, pick up the Sept. 14 edition of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.


I realized that it might be difficult to find a suitable topic for a column this week after stumbling on to an adventure with a visiting rooster last week.

That’s the way life seems to be. It slows down to a walk, everything seems to be under control, nothing particularly exciting is happening, when all of a sudden a rooster appears in the driveway.

Until the day that our soon-to-be friend, Brewster the Rooster, strutted into our lives my experience with roosters had been quite limited.

But there was “Sore-Toes.”

When I was 12 or 13, my mother thought I was responsible enough to take my younger brother and sister downtown on the bus. Her opinion might have changed when we came home carrying a couple of baby chicks in a little box. That practice became a regular Easter vacation thing.

One year, one of the chicks was growing up to be a rooster when it got a foot caught in a trap door leading to our basement and lost a couple of toes. Now you know why we called him “Sore-Toes.” We found him a more appropriate home after that.

For the rest of this column, pick up the Sept. 14 edition of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.

Light In The Darkness

By the Rev. David M. Grey 

“It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to search them out in order to discover them.”

Proverbs 25:2

During the past couple of weeks I have been pointing out some things that God has “concealed” in order to reveal the spiritual lesson He has hidden therein.

We have been looking specifically at the way God uses various numbers to both represent and express spiritual truths.  Today, I want to consider the number 12.

This number, as God uses it in scripture, refers to His chosen people and His relationship to them. As such, it also refers to perfection of government, since all government is from God and is a key to how He relates to His people.

Twelve is the number of the people of God, the church, both in the Old Covenant Church of Israel and the New Covenant Church we know today.


For the rest of this story, pick up the Sept. 11 edition of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.

Bodley Bulletins

By Julia Ludington

I hope everyone enjoyed their first few days of school! I know that routine is a nice thing once we all get acclimated to the many new things going on.

Listen for when club meetings are! Students can hear when and where these meetings are over the announcements or during their Guided Study Hall period.

Clubs are a lot of fun and are a great way to get involved in the community, as well as in our very own school.

Environmental Club does the recycling for the entire school every Friday to make sure GRB continues to be as green as possible.

For the rest of this story, pick up the Sept. 11 edition of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.


By Roy Hodge

Out of nowhere a couple of weeks ago, I thought of an old song that my mother sang to me over 50 years ago. It was a new song then, sung by Bing Crosby, and probably on the hit parade.

I clearly remember the song’s title: “Swinging on a Star,” and many of the words. When I remembered that song, I started singing it and I still am.

“Would you like to swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar and be better off than you are … ?”

The lyrics go on, asking if I would rather be a mule — an animal with long, funny ears; a pig — an animal with dirt on his face, whose shoes are a terrible disgrace; a fish — who won’t do anything but swim in a brook; or a monkey — they’re not all in the zoo — every day you see quite a few.

I think I remember my mother and myself singing that song during much of a trip to Ohio to visit relatives when I was about 6. I discovered that it’s one of those songs that all of a sudden you remember, and then you have a hard time getting it out of your mind.

For the rest of this column, pick up the print version of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.


The Sportsman’s World

By Leon Archer

The fishermen in Washington have been tearing up the pink salmon on the sound, and it’s no wonder — the fish and game folks estimate the run at about six and a half million fish.

That’s enough for a couple on every fisherman’s stringer with plenty left over to produce the next crop in 2015.

Fishermen have been getting excited by the number of coho salmon (silvers) that have been showing up in steadily increasing numbers along with the ever present pinks.

Silver salmon traditionally start running after the pink run is well under way, so getting one mixed in on occasion is not all that unusual, but the early numbers might be predicting a strong run of silvers to start on the tail end of the humpy run. That would be welcome news to the fishing fraternity here.

For the rest of this story, pick up the print version of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.

The Sportsman’s World

By Leon Archer

The first night of our trip out west had found us staying in Munising, Mich., right on the shores of Lake Superior. It was a beautiful evening. The temperatures were a little warmer than I like when I’m camping, and the lake was nearly flat since there wasn’t a hint of a breeze, but we slept well that night before heading for Two Harbors.

The five days we spent in Two Harbors were full of activity, and we were sad to leave, but Medora, N.D., was beckoning, so we left early on a Friday morning in order to make the 600-mile journey in time to take in the Medora Musical in the famous outdoor amphitheater.

We camped in the Medora Campground and rode a shuttle to the musical that evening. It was a great show, and Sweet Thing had been looking forward to it ever since we started our trip.

Medora is right in the North Dakota Badlands, on the edge of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The area was probably President Roosevelt’s favorite place in the whole world; he loved it with a great passion for the wild beauty of the area.

For the rest of this column, pick up the Sept. 5 edition of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.

View from the Assembly: Basic STAR applicants must reapply

By Rep. Will Barclay

In this year’s state budget, changes were made to the STAR program that requires Basic STAR recipients to re-register.

It became clear that the state needed to make changes to the program after a comptroller’s audit found some property owners were abusing the system. By requiring people to reapply, the state can weed out any duplicate applications and stop people from trying to double dip.

STAR stands for School Tax Relief program. It was first enacted in 1999 by then-Gov. George Pataki.

Here is how it works: The first $30,000 of an owner-occupied residence is tax exempt for those who qualify. The state then reimburses school districts the equivalent of the property tax exemption. These funds are paid annually in the form of school aid through the state budget. This year’s budget provided $3.4 billion for the program.

STAR is a direct property tax savings for homeowners. It’s a great program and saves people anywhere between $300 and $800 per year, according to the New York State Tax and Finance website’s data.

To qualify, homeowners need to make less than $500,000 and live in the home. The reason the state is requiring homeowners to reapply is due  fraud that occurred within the system.

In some cases, people with two properties in two municipalities were receiving the STAR exemption twice. In order to prevent this type of fraud, the state is requiring applicants to re-register in order to cross reference all owner-occupied properties that qualify.

None of these changes applies to recipients of Enhanced STAR.  Enhanced STAR is essentially the STAR program for seniors.  It differs in that it provides approximately double the savings compared to Basic STAR.

Homeowners who are 65 and older and whose income does not exceed $81,900 are eligible for Enhanced STAR. Those who participate in Enhanced STAR do not need to reapply because the state uses a different application for Enhanced STAR and recipients under this program already verify their information with the state annually.

The fastest way for homeowners to re-register for Basic STAR is through the Tax Department’s website at

All you need is the property owner(s) social security number(s), and the STAR code. If you don’t know your STAR code, there is a convenient “look up” page that will provide visitors with their unique STAR code.

Once completed, applicants can print their application, which contains a confirmation code, and file with their records.

Residents may also call the tax department at 518-457-2036 and an operator will assist callers.

The state is expected to send out a mailing with instructions as well. At this time, the state is not providing a paper option to re-register.

This is a one-time requirement and will not need to be repeated each year. Those who have further questions about the program, also may contact their local assessor.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other 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, N.Y. 13069, by email at or by calling 598-5185. You may also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.