Category Archives: Columnists


Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

I have written very little in regard to NY SAFE, Andrew Cuomo’s gun control legislation. I say Andrew Cuomo’s, because the rank and file of New Yorkers had no say nor input into its creation or passage. It was ill-advised and ill-conceived, and in spite of Cuomo’s claim that the majority of New York Residents are in favor of it, the law has been ill-received. At least 52 of the 62 counties of New York State have passed resolutions stating their opposition to the act, most asking for the law to be repealed. Sheriffs claim they will not enforce NY SAFE, and some County DA’s say they will not prosecute NY SAFE cases. That hardly indicates the rousing support the governor claimed his law has.

I went to Albany a couple weeks ago with other sportsmen on a bus chartered by the Onondaga Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs. A thousand or more people gathered outside the Capitol Building to protest the law after speaking to legislators, voicing their complaint personally. Cuomo refuses to recognize that his NY SAFE Act is very unpopular across the state. His only comment is that the law might need a little tweaking. No Governor Cuomo, this law needs to be repealed. You are not our king, you are our servant.

I don’t believe that there are very many people who were not horrified, touched and saddened by the shootings at Newtown, CT. I can’t imagine what it was like for the families affected, and I would love to find a reasonable way to prevent such a thing from ever happening again, but nothing that has been put into law or proposed for legislation would have prevented what took place or will stop a similar event from happening again.  Bad people do bad things, and bad people will always find a way to get a gun or build a bomb. Laws mean nothing to them. The threat of mortal punishment is irrelevant to them.

The first and second amendments were not put into the U.S. Constitution by our founding fathers without good reason. Bad reasoning today should not be allowed to infringe on them, but grieving people, toadying politicians, and foolish do-gooders are all too ready to give away our precious, hard won rights. The Constitution is greater and more important than all the tragedies that some people would use as an excuse to emasculate it. The day that is no longer true will be the day that all that is America will die.

Hysteria, such as followed on the heels of Newtown, has never produced anything good in our history, but it has brought about incredibly evil things, and it has stripped people of their civil rights. Remember the Japanese people on the west coast who were taken out of their homes and put into concentration camps after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor? They had done nothing wrong, they were intensely patriotic Americans, their men and their boys volunteered in record numbers for the armed forces, and they suffered horrible casualties. AND yet, to complete the shameless travesty, they were never properly compensated for the loss of property that had been seized by “loyal” Americans when they were incarcerated, all because of hysteria and all for nothing gained. It is not the only time the Constitution has been contravened, but I will let it rest at that. You get the picture.

The present demands by the hysterical for Infringing on rights guaranteed by the first and second amendments, singularly or in combination, is not being well-received by a significant segment of the nation’s population, and the perpetrators are incapable of conceiving why this is so. The great outpouring of sympathy and support the grieving people in Newtown received is now rapidly dissipating, and an undercurrent of anger and disgust is growing among citizens who can be fiercely protective of their own civil rights.

Hysteria is like a disease. It spreads and becomes an epidemic, infecting the unprotected. Strong medicine is often the only way to combat a serious, life threatening disease, and waiting too long may lead to death. The present hysteria over guns and “gun control” is producing outrageous laws, many of which will eventually end up in front of the Supreme Court unless they are repealed by cooler heads, which is likely to happen as legislators and governors who voted for them get voted out of office. That would be pretty effective medicine. Unfortunately, as so often happens, this epidemic is having its greatest effect on children and their minds, and worst of all, it’s taking place in schools where they should be safe and secure. Unfortunately the disease is being encouraged and spread by teachers and administrators.

I just want to establish that I have always had a great deal of respect for public school teachers, and the role they have played in our nation. I have always believed that overall they were a force for good in our society. But due to recent national events, my confidence in educators and our educational system has been badly eroded.

Teachers aren’t gods, and schools are not courts; they should not have the power to strip away a person’s civil rights, be he child or adult. They should not be in the business of harassing innocent children, trying to make them out to be terrorists or potential mass murderers for the most ridiculous of reasons. It is time the rest of us say enough is enough already.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Snowfall in June

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

I was talking among a group of people recently when the topic of conversation turned to the weather — not unusual, I guess.

It was a hot day and we started with stories of hot summer weather — violent thunderstorms and summers with days on end of hot, sultry temperatures and steamy, sleepless nights.

We remembered certain storms. A couple of us recalled the time when Hurricane Hazel hit the area — that was back in the early 1950s. Unfortunately, I was one of those with a good memory.

After a few minutes, the talk inevitably turned to winter and snow. After all, at least one person in that group had lived in Fulton during the winter months of past years, and most of us had some vivid memories.

We all had memories of snow — lots of snow — of shoveling for hours and then going back to the beginning and doing it all over again, of sitting in the house while the snow piled up over the windows, of enjoying playing in deep snow, of building forts and castles of snow, and on and on.

One person thought that he remembered hearing about snow in the area long after winter was supposedly over — like in June, he thought.

Sparked by that, I remembered my father telling me about a very unusual snowfall when he was young. He was sure that it may have been in June.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Chestnut Street and Curtis Street

JerrsJournal6-22by Jerry Kasperek

Let me set the scene for what I am about to discuss: Chestnut Street and Curtis Street are a block apart and run parallel to each other and both end up at the high school, which means that entire area must have been farmland long ago when Dick Candee lived there by the lake.

“Did your phone ring off the hook after your last column came out?” Mary West wanted to know as she reminded me that Candee’s old homestead was at the end of Cedar Street and not Chestnut Street.

She also said she remembers the home of the Kush family being the last one on Chestnut Street and that there was a cow pasture next to it.

A couple of days after I had the conversation with Mary, I bumped into Tony Gorea, who said he read the column as well and told me  that grew up on Chestnut Street and remembers an old man up the street who raised goats.

Then there was Henry Hudson, who stopped me in my tracks when he said: “You forgot the pigs!”

“What pigs?” I asked.

”The ones I took care of when I was a kid,” he said.

It seems his father, Dan Hudson, was a long-ago dairy farmer who made and sold ice cream. In fact, Hudson’s was the only ice cream maker in our entire area.

You could find Hudson’s ice cream in almost every store and every restaurant in town and beyond, Henry said.

The problem was, however, that skim milk was the by-product and there was a big surplus.

So one summer Mr. Hudson devised a plan to get rid of his skim milk by feeding it to the pigs, and he ordered 250 baby pigs and had them shipped in by railroad.

From the railroad car, the piglets were loaded onto trucks out on Route 176 — at the Curtis Street junction — and were taken to Candee’s farm over by the lake.

Henry’s father had rented the land from Mr. Candee; they were great friends, Henry said. A fence had been installed before the little pigs arrived. It went from about where the high school would someday be, down the hill where the athletic complex would be and stretched out a bit from there.

The pen was kind of three-sided affair with the lake making up the fourth side. “Only one pig tried to swim away,” Henry said.  (This writer didn’t dare ask what happened to it!)

Henry was only 16 or 17 that year he spent his summer lugging milk cans full of skim milk to feed the little pigs. That was their mainstay diet, skim milk, day in and day out!

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Light in the Darkness: June 19, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,  who has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” — 2 Timothy 1:8-9

By any standard or measure, we can imagine, the wonderful grace that has been extended to believers in Christ Jesus, saving us from our well earned fate, demands a response.

That response can be none other than to love and hold the Savior more dear than anything else in this world.

More dear than the fear of being ridiculed by men. More dear than one’s love for father or mother or brother or sister. More dear than life itself.

To this end, Paul writes to Timothy, and of course, to us, “do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.” When we hold the Lord more dear to our hearts than anything or anyone else this boldness to testify about the Savior simply flows.

The recognition of what He has done for us and the resulting heart full of gratitude overflows into testimony. There is no shame. I remember when I was paying for my Dad’s salvation many years ago. Mom had surrendered to Christ but Dad had not yet done so.

Late one night, Mom was clearly experiencing a terrible heart attack. One and then two nitro tabs did nothing. Dad woke my 17-year-old brother, a believer, and asked him to pray. He did. Mom recovered immediately.

The next day in a routine follow-up the Dr. compared X-rays of Mom’s heart that he had just taken with those of a previous visit. Not only was there no sign of a heart attack the night before, but all the scar tissue seen so clearly in previous X-rays was now gone!

The new X-rays showed a completely healed heart, including the absence of previous scar tissue.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

To the Class of ‘73

by Jim Farfaglia

To the Class of ‘73


Forty years.

Forty calendars hung anew.

Forty rides on the wave of life…


But, oh, if we could ride that wave

back to the banks of old Oswego,

what would we find?


G.Ray overlooking Neatahwanta,

Recreation Park just a homerun away;

our cheers from the bleachers resounding.


The gymnasium, decorated for Prom,

Elton John and Rod Stewart really rockin’

and Chicago coloring our world.


The auditorium, hushed in wait,

decked out for the Variety Show;

our songs and skits proving we were tops.


Our senior-year lockers,

where we gathered each morning,

filling the hallways with our latest news.


The doorway of our favorite classroom,

where we found a desk by the window

and looked out at summer rising –


listening for the faint call of our future.


RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

Last Thursday morning I discovered that life must go on as usual, despite a torrential rain storm. Life as usual in my neighborhood on Thursday mornings means the weekly supply of trash is left at the side of the road to be picked up by the city’s DPW workers.

It was raining hard — I mean really hard — as I said, it was torrential. I realized quickly that things had to move on, it had to be business as usual, the business of picking up the week’s leftovers had to stay on schedule

As I watched from inside my dry house — the windows were covered with huge drops of rain — the two DPW guys along — side the truck moved along quickly, emptying the full bins of curbside recyclables into the truck.

As they threw our bin to the ground and headed for the next block, one worker got in the cab with the driver, the other one jumped up on the back of the truck, opened up a big umbrella, and they were on their way.

Now that’s what I call “being prepared.”

*  *  *  *  *

Once I got started last week looking through a list of columns I had written about food (and the art of eating it), I couldn’t stop.

On October 9, 1979, I had written about one of my Patriot building neighbors, Al Scheuerman, and his recipe for making sauerkraut.  Yes, sauerkraut.

“I hesitate to call it a conspiracy, but through the combined efforts of my good wife and Al Scheuerman I found myself bent over Al’s antique ‘kraut cutter’ last Saturday painstakingly mangling eight heads of cabbage.

“It all started last summer when innocently enough I learned of Al’s expertise for many years as a ‘kraut maker.’ Knowing that the cabbage harvest was still months away, I vaguely remember saying that I’d like to give it a try sometime. In a moment of mental fatigue I must have passed all this on to my wife, which brings us up to the Farmer’s Market last Saturday morning.

“It was there that a chance meeting between Al and my wife resulted in twenty pounds of cabbage on our kitchen table and a quick course in sauerkraut making for me in Al’s kitchen, the only caution being to watch my fingers if I enjoyed a meatless variety of sauerkraut.

“The next thing I knew I was alone with the cabbage and Al’s guillotine with Joel Mareinnis play-by-playing Syracuse’s football game in the background.  My cabbage cutting routine kept up with Joel’s commentary and I recalled Al’s advice just in time as Joel screeched out the first S.U. touchdown.

“I ran out of cabbage and Joel ran out of plays simultaneously, and none too soon. His voice and my right arm were both wavering.  But it all worked out well.

“Some unknowing farmer got rid of all of his cabbage; Al’s kraut maker got a workout; Syracuse and Joel won their football game; and there’s twenty pounds of sauerkraut and a funny smell in my basement. I wonder if Joel Mareinnis likes sauerkraut.”

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page. 

Covered bridges

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Washington County has never been at the top of my list in the past when I was thinking about outdoor activities, but that is not a reflection on what they have to offer.

It’s only thaat many of us, including myself, have a tendency to be creatures of habit when it comes to where we fish and hunt, and to some extent, where we vacation.

That’s more than a bit unfortunate when one lives in a state that has such a large variety of activities to offer and some of the country’s greatest venues. From Niagara Falls to the Finger Lakes and on to Lake Champlain, from Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence bordering the North to the Atlantic Ocean with Long Island cradled in her arms to the south, along with and all the streams, rivers, lakes and ponds in between, we have nearly limitless swimming, boating, and fishing opportunities within a few hours drive.

It took me a little over three hours to drive from Fulton to Cambridge in southern Washington County for the New York State Outdoor Writers Association Spring Safari. I took my grandson, Nathaniel, with me, because I knew I would be doing some fishing, and I don’t get as much time as I would like to do that with him.

Lake George and Lake Champlain border Washington County and I am sure I could fish them many times and never be bored, but for this trip I had the famous Battenkill River in mind. Nathaniel and I were going to fish for trout.

Most of the writers stayed at Battenkill Valley Outdoors in their long lodge. The owners, Don and Lisa Oty, were wonderful hosts; the lodge was comfortable and right next to the Battenkill River.

The Eagleville covered bridge is just a short distance down the road from the lodge and that was where Nathaniel and I would begin fishing. We tried hunting turkeys the first morning of our stay, but we had gotten up a little too late for a good hunt and after a couple hours watching leaves grow and song birds flit about, we headed for the stream. It was much more rewarding.

Nathaniel was intrigued by the covered bridge and just like a kid, he had lots of questions which I tried to answer, but I have to admit that I am hardly a covered bridge expert. Don’t laugh! How much do you know about covered bridges?

Here are the practical reasons for covered bridges, just in case one of your grandkids should ask you: the roof allowed water to be kept off the floor planking and beams, allowing them to last many times longer than an uncovered wooden bridge which could rot out in as little as ten years, and thus saved money on repairs and replacement.

The walls protected from the weather also to a lesser extent, but in addition it was claimed that they helped keep horses calm when crossing a swollen, fast moving river (they couldn’t see it). Horses also had no compunction against entering a covered bridge – it looked exactly like the entrance to a barn.

On the romantic side, it was said that a covered bridge was a favorite spot for courting couples to exchange a kiss, sort of like a drive-in movie without the added entertainment. Whatever the reasons for them, they look really great and are a wonderful subject for artists. So there you have it in a nutshell.

There are other covered bridges in Washington County, one of which is the Shushan Bridge that has been made into a museum. It was not far from the Eagleville Bridge, which is still used by regular traffic today.

Nathaniel and I settled down to fishing in the huge picturesque pool under the bridge after we finished admiring the structure. It is hard to imagine a more beautiful setting, and it turned out to be the only place where I outfished my grandson that weekend.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.