Category Archives: Columnists

State Senate Report: So long summer, hello school

By Sen. Patty Ritchie

It’s hard to believe that students are gearing up for the start of another school year full of fun and new challenges.

While students are doing a lot to prepare for new teachers, classrooms, subjects and friends, it’s also important for parents to take steps to ensure a smooth beginning to the school year.

Here are some tips to take you — and your family — smoothly from summertime to school time:

Shop smart: Between new clothes and supplies, shopping for back to school necessities can get expensive. Luckily, in New York state, shoppers no longer pay state sales tax on clothing purchases up to $110. This saves the typical family of four nearly $200 per year.

Also, when purchasing a backpack for your child, it’s important to pick one that’s lightweight with padded shoulder straps and a padded back that doesn’t strain his or her back.

Stay healthy: When it comes to academic performance, eating healthy is a key factor. Studies have shown that students who eat balanced, nutritious breakfasts and lunches are more alert throughout the school day and earn higher grades than children who have unhealthy diets.

Drive safely: As the school year begins, it’s more important than ever to drive safely and be alert on the roads. Drivers must slow down when they see a school bus with flashing yellow lights, and state law requires drivers to stop when the red lights on a school bus are flashing — even if the bus is in the parking lot of a school.

Also, when going in the opposite direction, drivers must stop at least 20 feet from a school bus to allow children to cross the road safely.

Get involved: Typically, students who succeed in the classroom have lots of support at home. It’s important to get involved in your children’s education by reading to them at home or having them read to you nightly, acknowledging and rewarding them for their accomplishments and getting to know their teachers as well as their schedule and subjects of study.

Back to school time can be one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year but remember, it can also be one of the most fun.

If you have students who are heading back to the classroom, I wish you the best of luck as you begin a new school year full of learning, excitement and new experiences.

Light In The Darkness

By the Rev. David Grey,

Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church


“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


Last week we began to consider how God uses various numbers in His Word to express prophetic or spiritual truths and the challenge for us is to discover the meaning that God has put there.

We saw that the number one, which in our thinking usually represents only singleness (as in, “I have only one dollar.”),  in the spiritual realm represents something very different.

The Lord often uses the number one to represent the kind of oneness that comes from absolute unity. It speaks not of one thing in the strict numerical sense that we learned in grade school, but of several individual things as being “one.”

There is oneness to them that is infinitely harmonious. The most perfect example of this, of course is God, Himself, who, though He is clearly one God, exists in three separate persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

A second number in scripture that has significant spiritual meaning is the number seven.

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Bodley Bulletins: Meet Julia, your new columnist

By Julia Ludington

Welcome back, everybody!

I hope all are ready for a new and exciting school year.

Freshman First Day was Sept. 4. The incoming students enjoyed an orientation that included helping them figure out how to get to classes, showing them appropriate clothing for school, an activities fair, and an opportunity to meet their new teachers.

It will definitely make their transition into high school less daunting. The sophomores, juniors and seniors will attend school on Sept. 5.

To introduce myself, my name is Julia Ludington and I am a senior this year at G. Ray Bodley.

I am heavily involved in school activities, including being a member of the varsity girls’ lacrosse and tennis teams. I am a member of the French Club, Environmental Club, Science Club and Ski Club.

I play the viola in GRB’s symphonic orchestra and I am also a member of the Oswego County Youth Court.

The schedule used at G. Ray Bodley this year is once again a bell schedule.

There are nine 39 to 40 minute bells with a Guided Study Hall between bells three and four. This period is 22 minutes long.

The Guided Study Hall is an opportunity for students to see teachers for additional help (with a pass, of course), catch up on homework and for their Guided Study Hall teacher to keep track of their progress and help them in any way they may need.

It is a nice morning break and a chance for students to collaborate on group projects since multiple people in their Guided Study Hall are also in many of their classes.

Additionally, don’t forget about picture day! There will be two consecutive picture days on Sept. 11 and 12. Students will find out from their teachers what day and time their picture will be taken. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep so you are rested for the shot!

Fall sports teams have already been hard at work. Be sure to attend the first home football game on the Sept. 6 at 6:30 p.m. to cheer on the mighty Red Raiders as they take on Fowler at home!

State Senate Report: Public libraries play vital educational role

As summer draws to a close and students return to the classroom, many turn their focus toward getting back to the books.

Between the back-to-school shopping and first-day jitters, it’s important to remember to make use of one of our area’s biggest educational resources — our libraries.

Here in New York state, there are more than 7,000 public libraries, including more than 50 public libraries in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties. That’s one of the largest concentrations of public libraries in any Senate district in the state.

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Related story: Hannibal and Fulton libraries receive special state funds


I found out last week that it would be hard to find a better way to spend three days than with a 2-year-old great-grandson. (It was nice to see his parents and grandparents, too). I had met Colton only once before — when he was a month old — so we had some catching-up to do.

It was a cute little blond-haired toddler holding on to his mommy’s hand and wanting to ride on the “alligator” (I wasn’t sure whether that was the escalator or elevator in Colton-speak) that met us at the Raleigh/Durham Airport in North Carolina.

I don’t know if he had been primed or not, but when he was told by Mama that these strangers were indeed Great Papa and Great Sue, there were smiles and hugs for both of us.

It occurred to me after we went to a nearby amusement park with Colton, rode on a train a couple of times around the park and fed ducks in a pond, that I had observed that same kind of occasion with three generations of small children, starting with my three sons, the oldest of which is Craig, better known to Colton as “Pops,” his grandpa.

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Jerry’s Journal

I imagine some of you were quite surprised to read in my last column that I had crossed the International Date Line — that imaginary line I said we crossed on our Thousand Island cruise while going from U.S. waters into Canadian waters.

Well, of course, it was the International Boundary Line we crossed. The International Date Line is nowhere near us! I thank Mary O’Brien for the phone call and correction. She said it was somewhere over in the Indies.

My curiosity up, I went online and Googled it and rediscovered that the International Date Line is “an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth running from the North Pole to the South Pole and demarcates one calendar day from the next. It passes through the Pacific Ocean roughly following the 180 degree longitude but deviates around some territories and island groups.”

So there you have it; it’s one of those things you learn in school a long time ago that doesn’t necessarily stick in your mind as to the exact purpose and location. But I won’t forget it any time soon. How about you?

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Poetry Corner

By Jim Farfaglia


The Last Bloom


Gladiola, single

and late for the fair,

your time has come

to grace my garden party.


Your colorful kin,

long faded and snipped,

have returned to the earth,

for the next generation.


But here you are,

long past the bountiful season,

offering a reason to hope

for all of us late bloomers.

Light In The Darkness

By Pastor David M. Grey

Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church

“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


God uses various numbers in His word to express prophetic or spiritual truths.  The challenge for us is to discover the meaning that God has put there and not to go beyond to tickle our own or someone else’s fancy.

For instance, the number one, which represents only singleness in its strict numerical meaning, (as in, “I have one dollar” or “There is only one apple left”)  in the spiritual realm represents the kind of oneness that comes from absolute unity.  It speaks of things that are more than one thing in the strict numerical sense, as being ONE.

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