Category Archives: Columnists

Birds-eye View

by Jim Farfaglia

Birds-eye View


It was a simple plan:

Hang a feeder outside the kitchen window,

buy seed to keep it filled – then sit back

and watch the coming and going of life.


But what an unexpected bonus

has swept in on colorful wings,

what heavenly lessons

have kept me filled with inspiration:


The wisdom to stock up before a storm,

and the sweet song of joy that survives it;

the discovery that, though size does matter,

those with patience are also nourished;


and the simple truth that, some days,

nothing’s better than finding a perch in the sun,

where you can go to work on a kernel,

cracking open its promise.

Light in the Darkness: June 5, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 1:4-5

Samuel Chadwick, the great Methodist preacher, put it well when he said, “Christianity is hopeless without the Holy Ghost.”

Hopeless. That is a strong word, but it is true. The Holy Spirit is not simply helpful in the Christian life. He is not simply “available” should we decide to take advantage of some greater resource in our living.

He is essential. Without Him what one has is not the Christian life but a substitute powered only by self. When Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5-6)  He meant nothing.

Who were these men to whom Jesus said, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised”? They were men who had been with him for his entire earthly ministry. They knew who He was, understood the message clearly. They had seen Him in ministry and had joined him in it.

They had already been sent out to preach the gospel, perform miracles and cast out demons. These were trained, prepared disciples and yet, while all around Jerusalem men and women were in need of the message.

Why were they told to tarry?  The reason is that the Holy Spirit is indispensible to a believer’s life and ministry. Without the Spirit, we can, indeed, do nothing.

Think a little further about these men for just a moment. Every one of them had followed Jesus faithfully. They swore their allegiance, looked forward to serving with Him in His kingdom and one of them, Peter, had even vowed that he would die before ever denying Jesus before men.

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. 

Battle of the Athletes

Bodley-RothrockKate_Wby Kate Rothrock

The last full week of school! Tomorrow is a full day and Friday is a half day. Monday is senior day and then Regents start on Tuesday, June 12!

Time is flying by. Graduation is in just 17 days!

Yearbooks were handed out on Monday. Pre-ordered yearbooks can picked up during lunch bells or they will be on sale.

Vanessa Langdon, the editor of this year’s Fultonian, spent countless hours working on the yearbook. Thank you, Vanessa, and the rest of the yearbook staff for all your time and effort! The yearbook looks amazing!

Seniors, the last day to buy Senior Dinner Dance tickets is this Thursday, June 6.

Between senior trip to Cedar Point this Friday and Saturday, senior day, Senior Dinner Dance, and graduation, the seniors have a busy few weeks coming up!

Monday was the annual awards night where students were recognized for their many achievements and efforts. Congratulations to all that received awards!

Tuesday was the Senior Sports Awards banquet at the Oasis at Thunder Island. All senior athletes have worked so hard in their four years! Good luck to anyone playing a sport in college.

Today is Battle of the Athletes at the Athletic Complex at 3 p.m. This event is where all athletes that played a junior varsity or varsity are split up into teams to compete in a variety of different events. Just a few of these many events include tug-of-war and relay races.

Tomorrow night is the High Honors Banquet in the cafeteria at GRB. A delicious dinner by Blue Moon Bistro will be served and all the honors will be recognized for their hard work!

What a busy last week! Good luck to all preparing for tests or finals.

When I was a kid

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

I found myself in a somewhat familiar situation this week. When lacking a column topic I began to do some reminiscing.

When I was a kid:

The next door neighbor kid used to entertain himself by dropping bricks or heavy rocks on the tops of my favorite metal trucks on the other side of the fence between our properties.

I lost many of my “treasures” by dropping them down the space (a few inches) between the stairs to our attic and the wall. I bet they are still there.

I often kept grasshoppers in a mayonnaise jar with grass in the bottom and holes punched in the top.

We spent most of our weekly allowance of 35 cents on popsicles at Steve’s corner grocery store.

My brother, sister and I rushed down the stairs on winter mornings to be able to sit over the warm air register in the living room floor.

We used to wait by the front of our driveway when it was time for our father to come home from work so we could ride to the other end on the running boards on the family’s 1936 Chevrolet.

When we got our first television set I thought it was very entertaining to see Uncle Miltie dress as a woman.

I also liked Howdy Doody, Buffalo Bob and Clarabelle the Clown, as well as Kukla, Fran and Ollie.

I don’t know if I would have eaten as many Cheerios as I did if I hadn’t needed the box tops to send for neat Lone Ranger stuff.

My brother and I spent the trips home from our aunt and uncle’s home in Oneida by making a makeshift tent in the car’s back seat. We did that by attaching one end of a blanket to the rope hangers on the back of the front seats, and tucking the other end into the back of the back seat.

Then, in our improvised, and more than slightly uncomfortable tent, we jockeyed for space, jabbed, poked, and finally settled down for the long ride home, when our father carried us into the house and our beds.

Mr. Birnbaum was my favorite teacher when I was in high school. One of the reasons for that was that he saved me and my friends from many hours of detention by picking us up on the way to school and getting us there on time.

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: May 30, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” – John 14:15-19

The first command the disciples were to obey was to remain in Jerusalem and “wait for the gift my Father promised…the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4).

This promise of the Holy Spirit to His disciples (and to all who believe, of course) is both amazing and wonderful. He promises that the one who would come would be their helper and teacher. He said that this one would also be exactly like Himself.

The word Jesus used did not mean “same” in the way that two “identical” Fords coming off the assembly line are alike, for an expert would easily find some material flaw or difference between them.

When Jesus said another just like Me, He meant precisely and perfectly. In other words, if something is true about Jesus it is true about the Holy Spirit. This is why we often use the Holy Spirit and Christ interchangeably as the one who indwells us. There is not the slightest difference between them.

These words must have been a comfort to the disciples, if not immediately at least later when they reflected on them. This promise was timely for Jesus had recently dropped the bomb that He would be leaving and returning to the Father.

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. 

Poppies – Late May

by Jim Farfaglia

Poppies – Late May


For weeks they were only green furry eggs,

each sitting atop a slim stalk,

defying gravity.


Yesterday, they offered a peek of their promise,

blushing like school boys

at their first spring dance.


And today – right on time –

three burst open,

revealing their colorful cries of joy:


for the coming of summer,

for the particular beauty of red,

for the gift of things worth noticing.

School year coming to a close

Bodley-RothrockKate_Wby Kate Rothrock

The weather wasn’t as nice as we all would have liked it but I hope everyone still enjoyed their vacation. The parade and fireworks were a great way to spend Memorial Day weekend.

The year is officially wrapping up! June will be here soon and before we know it, school will be over.

Although summer vacation is approaching, it is extremely important for students to work hard these last few weeks. Regents and final exams are right around the corner.

Most teachers, if not all, hold regents review classes after school. They are a great way to prepare for the regents!

Summer Driver’s Education applications are available in the Guidance Office and due by today, May 30.

Registration for fall golf is now taking place; see Mr. Ascenzi in the guidance office to sign-up!

Good luck to any students taking the SAT exam this Saturday, June 1.

Next week is a busy week! Monday, June 3 is the G. Ray Bodley Academic Awards Ceremony; Tuesday, June 4 is the Senior Athlete Banquet; Wednesday, June 5 is Battle of the Athletes; and Thursday, June 6 is the High Honors Graduate Banquet!

Seniors don’t forget to buy your Senior Dinner Dance tickets by June 6!

It is time to return library materials. Please return all books to the library by Monday, June 3.

If seniors have any lost materials they must be paid for before they can receive their cap and gown at rehearsal.

Have a great week!

Checkerboard Feed Store

by Jerry Kasperek

Let’s begin with The Checkerboard Feed Store: it was painted red and white, as Roy Abbott reminded me per a recent phone call, not black and white as I had written in my last column.

And it was on Gansvoort Street, behind the building that today houses the Gift Shop on West First Street. Roy also reminisced that he had worked at the GLF on West Broadway in 1961 and 1962 before it became Agway.

About Agway, Dave Coant wrote me a letter saying: “In the late 60’s until 1972, the Agway Feed Store was managed by a man from Painted Post, NY, Howard Duane Potter. He also ran a small beef cow farm in Volney on the Howard Road across from where the Niagara Mohawk building is now. Part of that farm, that is now gone, is behind the fence that was put up around the old dump at the corner of Howard Road and Silk Road.”

Mr. Potter went back to Painted Post, ran another Agway, and farmed “the best sweet corn and red potatoes in the southern tier,” Dave wrote, recalling his youth. He said he became best friends with Howard Potter Jr. and he “spent many summers planting corn and digging potatoes and selling the vegetables from West High School parking lot.”

Howard senior passed away in 2010, Dave said.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News