Category Archives: Columnists


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.

Light in the Darkness: June 12, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…” — 1 John 1:7

My wife, Bonnie and I, along with other family members, recently traveled to the Southwest to see some of the most majestic sites in all of creation.

We visited the Grand Canyon and several National Parks and Forests. Surrounded by the scope and beauty of it all, we were constantly reminded that our God is an awesome God.

Again and again, as we drove or walked, we were surprised by some new (to us) aspect of His handiwork. In the town of Sedona, Ariz., the place where many western movies have been made, I rose very early one morning in order to hike to the highest point in the area to catch the sun rising over the desert. I made it just in time and the sight was gorgeous!

We came home with many wonderful memories, a couple of which had nothing to do with what we had traveled to see. Though I should know better, still I was surprised that the trip’s highlights included meeting three fellow believers in Christ.

The first two were brothers. They were Vietnam veterans who had served in 1965 and 1966. They were traveling the country on their last big adventure together.

We talked about a number of things and it did not take long to discover that we were brothers in Christ. What sweet fellowship we shared from that point on as we talked about the things of God. We talked of the Second Coming of Christ and what heaven would be like and many other things. Even the subject of the Anti-Christ came up.

God has given me a particular appreciation for American veterans, so, that, combined with the discovery that we were brothers in Christ made for a wonderful memory of our trip west.

The second experience came during a moment when I was feeling a little grumpy (think euphemism here). On our return trip home, our plane was delayed long enough to miss the last connecting flight to Syracuse that night. This meant that we had the choice of sleeping in the airport or paying for a motel.

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.

The Day He Broke Loose

by Jim Farfaglia

The Day He Broke Loose


With tongue hanging from a droolish grin

and galloping on legs left idle too long,

he escapes the chains of his ordinary life.


Stopping in my yard to run in circles,

freedom swirls around him,

‘til he’s downright dizzy with wonderment.


Then his nose brings him to his senses

and he follows the streetside trail of his kin –

straight to the nearest patch of woods,


where his wild life awaits.

A senior’s farewell

Bodley-RothrockKate_Wby Kate Rothrock

School is officially over! Regents are taking place all of this week. Good luck to everyone taking these tests!

Last week, two champions were crowned at the Battle of the Athletes and the kickball tournament during the Bodley Bash. “Where My Pitches At” took first place during the kickball tournament and the green team was victorious in Battle of the Athletes.

This past weekend was the senior trip to Cedar Point in Ohio. A good time was had by all and everyone enjoyed the insane roller coasters. Thank you to the class of 2013’s advisor Mrs. Hallatt not only for a wonderful senior trip but for an amazing four years!

Snow cones, cotton candy, hot dogs, bouncy houses, and a dunk tank were all a part of the fun of Senior Day Monday.

Rounding up the senior activities is Senior Dinner Dance this Friday. And of course after that is graduation June 22 at 10 a.m. at the War Memorial!

I honestly could not have asked for a better four years of high school and a better class to spend it with. It went by so fast and it is hard to believe that in just a few months we will be saying good bye and all going our separate ways.

The 13-year journey we’ve been on has finally paid off and it is bittersweet that we are all now we are all moving on to bigger things. Good luck to my fellow classmates!

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.

Turkey season over

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Well, it happened folks. The turkey season is over and I did nothing to cut the population down.

In fact, near the end of the season, I got so stupid busy that I failed to hunt on a property where the owner told me a gobbler was strutting with impunity. I even had permission to hunt there.

Boy, was that bird ever lucky.

From what I’ve been hearing, I’m not alone in coming up birdless this year. I think the turkey population may be down a bit. Wouldn’t it be nice to have them as common as Canada geese? Well, maybe not. I sort of like a challenge even if I do end up losing it, and it is always okay with me if the turkey wins.

I will have to oil my gun, but I won’t have to do a lot of cleaning. Actually, I didn’t get it wet and I didn’t get it bloody or muddy, and I didn’t even fire a practice shot, so I probably could just put it back in the case. Smells nice when it’s oiled though.

This is the year that my grandson, Nathaniel, turns 11 in August. He will be able to take his hunter safety training then and be ready to get his license when August 2014 rolls around. He already has a lifetime sportsman’s license that his grampa Weaver and I bought for him a few years ago, but that won’t do him any good until he is 12 and has gotten his training. Then we will be set to go. It’s just as hard for me to wait as it is for him – maybe harder.

He wants to begin practicing shooting and archery, and this summer should be a good time to get started. I have a couple of guns that should be very easy for him to manage — under my supervision, of course.

I plan to make his first experience one with a BB gun. What the heck, I started shooting one of those when I was about seven and I never shot my eye out or anyone else’s either.

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.

West Broadway

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Kasperek

By now, Dear Readers, you must have figured out that I’m not really a historian. I write mostly from memory and from what others tell me they remember.

Thus, I want you to know how happy and grateful I am for your input and for your corrections.

Now, before I move on to another subject, I still have a couple of items to address about West Broadway.

According to Elaine Rowlee Knight, it was Dick Candee and not Jim Candee, as I reported in a previous column, who ran a restaurant there many years ago.

Elaine’s mother was a Candee, so Dick was Elaine’s uncle, and she remembers the restaurant very well. It was long and narrow, with a showcase of pies in the front, a small space for the ice cream counter, and booths along both sides in the back.

The family slept in an apartment over the diner. Elaine remembers the high ceilings, as were usually found in tall brick buildings of yesterday. This particular one also had an intercom, which apparently came in very handy.

While Dick did all the cooking — always with a folded apron over his clothes, he was a great cook — Elaine said, his wife did all the baking.

And if it got busy, they called upstairs on an intercom for their children, Polly and Ann to help out. Jimmy was their younger brother.

And, if she happened to be visiting her cousins, Elaine pitched in, too. “I took water to the tables,” she laughed. “That was before child labor laws!”

Dick Candee had many interests. He trained dogs, English Setters and Pointers, and horses for Frank Ash, who used them in local field trials. Mr. Ash, as we in the older population  will recall, was the head man at the Sealright Corporation and lived right here in town.

When Bill Myers took over the restaurant and Dick Candee retired, he spent the rest of  his life on his farm. The old homestead, at the end of Chestnut Street, was on a prime piece of property near our lake, which eventually became the site of G. Ray Bodley High School.

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.