Category Archives: Columnists

Little Sandy Creek

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Well, I know I’m back on track now. Sweet Thing and I returned from Seattle and it took a couple of days to get the time sorted out, but we are now getting to bed before midnight and rising before 9 a.m.

It has been pretty dry, so a couple days after our return I watered the back yard and picked up 150 night crawlers that evening. I knew it was supposed to rain later in the week, but I wasn’t taking any chances. It feels good to be ready when the time comes to fish.

I got out my lantern and filled it up, pumped it up, and fired it up. The mantles were in great shape and gave out a perfect glow.

I fitted my rods with bullhead rigs and waited a couple of days for cooler and hopefully wetter weather to get the bullheads in the mood.

Next weekend is the New York State Outdoor Writers’ Spring Safari and I will need a few worms for that as well.

I am going to take my grandson, Nathaniel with me to the gathering. He is excited about the prospect of going, because he will get a chance to go with me for turkeys one morning and fishing on the next.

I am not sure if we will be fishing for panfish or trout, but either one will suffice as long as the fish are willing. I am sure it will be fun for grampa, too.

Being in Seattle has slowed my turkey hunting down. I’ve only seen one hen so far, but I have a couple spots to check out, and maybe I’ll get lucky. I have done well some years at our spring safari, so it could be that it will pan out for Nathaniel and me next week.

No matter what, Nathaniel and I will have a great time hanging out with some of the best outdoor writers in the state.

The big steelheads have mostly gone back down to the lake to recover from their spawning run and start putting some weight back on.

Every once in a while in May a fisherman may catch one of the big trout that has lingered longer than usual in a stream, but they are few and far between.

I caught one several years ago from Little Sandy Creek when I was looking for a good brown trout. It was a spawned out female and she didn’t put up a fight worthy of her size.

I guessed her weight at about ten pounds. I am no fan of large steelhead for eating, so I released her and wished her well.

A few days later, there was a big rain storm, and I would expect she probably rode that freshet and made it back to the lake.

When I was a kid, Little Sandy Creek was not considered a trout stream by the state and that was why we could spear in it as I wrote in last week’s column.

The trout apparently never heard that Little Sandy was not a trout stream as there were plenty of them in residence in those days.

I never caught a rainbow over 20 inches or a brown trout over 22 inches out of that stream during the years I was growing up, but what it lacked in sizeable fish, it made up for in numbers.

I am pretty sure the biggest rainbows ran up out of the lake, because they sometimes had a lamprey scar on their side.

I also suspect that once those rainbows got over 20 inches they were killed in the lake by lamprey predation.

That was long before they started treating the streams to kill off the lamprey.

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.

Class Project

by Jim Farfaglia

Class Project


Two children walked hand in hand

to the art room, for a brush and brown paint,

giving this two-liter bottle a natural look.


One lucky student was selected,

under Teacher’s watchful eye,

to cut an oval in its side.


A chatty group shredded old homework pages

and mixed them with pencil shavings,

supplying it with a comfortable base.


Two friends wound colorful yarn

into the grooves of its bottleneck

and tied it twice.


And then one child,

just outside their window,

hung this bottle from an outstretched limb…


Come, sweet bird,

come make this your home,

and make this day –

for the children watching from their desks –

an A+ day.

Prom a success

Bodley-RothrockKate_Wby Kate Rothrock

Prom was a huge success! The American Foundry was absolutely beautiful and a great time was had by all.

Good music, dancing, professional pictures, and a chocolate fountain were just a few of the many highlights of Saturday night.

The music and dancing stopped when the prom court was revealed. Amelia Coakley, Sophia Giovanetti and Abigail Shatrau were nominated on the girl’s prom court.

The boys included Seth Delisle, Neal Burke and Connor Goss.

After anxiously waiting, Noah Sorbello and Sarah Halstead  were crowned prom king and queen and then shared a dance.

Congratulations to Sarah, Noah, the prom court and most of all the class of 2014 for putting on a spectacular prom! Thank you to everyone who helped make this night amazing for all the students.

This Friday marks the end of the 35-week marking period.

Although we are in the last stretch and summer is in our reach, it is still as important as ever to get your work in on time!

Freshman, sophomores or juniors: if you have not made your schedule for next year yet with your guidance counselor, please see them sometime this week.

This Saturday is GRB’s annual spring cleanup. It will be held from 9 a.m. to around noon.

Students can get community service hours from this and help put a little pride in our school! All students are welcome and there is always something to do.  Pizza, a cookie and drink will be provided to all helpers!

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.

Spearing on Little Sandy Creek

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Although it has been many years since I speared my last sucker in the cold waters of spring, I still smile thinking about the deliciously wet and frigid outings with my school days friends on Little Sandy Creek. 

The suckers would make their annual spawning run somewhere between mid-April and mid-May, and we would anxiously await them.

The run came fairly close to the end of muskrat trapping season, and sometimes I would see the newly arrived fish while running my trap line, but more often trapping would be over and my first sighting would be from the Route 11 Bridge as I looked down at the stream on my way to school.

The day I would see a school of suckers at the tail of the big pool under the bridge would also find me inattentively fidgeting during the day’s classes. I would notify my spearing buddies that I had seen the fish, making their day in classes just as long as my own had become.

We could hardly wait for school to let out so we could rush home and grab our boots and spears. Before nightfall, we would have wreaked havoc on the poor fish, noisily pursuing and stabbing at them as they fled upstream and down seeking shelter from our attack.

It was almost like a scene out of Golding’s “Lord of the Flies.”

As young boys in that setting, we were probably as much akin to blood thirsty savages as we could ever have been, but it was sheer joy of the chase that inspired us, not any dark, evil intent.

It never occurred to me, and probably not to my friends either, how cruel a fate we were visiting upon those unfortunate, terrified fish. Sometimes it is good not to think too deeply about one’s actions, which an atavistic boy can seldom be accused of doing.

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.

Dress code

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

My mother always enforced a fairly strict dress code. Some of the other boys in my elementary school classes wore jeans – I knew them as dungarees – to school.

My mother insisted on something “more dressy” for school, such as corduroy pants. I had “school” pants, “church” pants, and “play” pants and shirts.

T-shirts were popular – we called them polo shirts – long or short sleeves and bright stripes. We wore the nicer ones to school and played in the other ones. I don’t think we had shirts with messages on them like the ones that are popular now.

Our mother always made sure that we didn’t stay out to play after school wearing our school clothes. In a picture I have of my third or fourth grade class at McKinley School all the boys were wearing long pants and several boys were wearing polo shirts.

I was in the front row of that picture and I was wearing the kind of shirt that my cowboy movie heroes wore for dress-up occasions – button-down front, plain middle and a different color collar with the same color in a v-shaped area at the neck and shoulders.

I think my belt may have displayed ruby and diamond “gems” on the buckle. One thing my mother didn’t seem to be able to control was the “high water” length of my trousers.

I was no doubt placed in that first row because I was among the shortest of the class members. In the first row with me were two other boys and five girls.

We were all about the same height. Three of those girls, and at least two from the other rows, I considered as girlfriends during my early school years.

It must have been cooler weather – some of the boys wore flannel shirts, sweaters or long-sleeve polos. The girls all wore dresses. Short pants were popular for younger boys in warmer weather.

And that’s what they were – short pants – not short-shorts or Bermudas. It was war time and little boys wore sailor suits and other military inspired clothing.

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.

Turning the Calendar

by Jim Farfaglia

Turning the Calendar


Today we climb aboard another month

and survey its uncharted waters,

ready to begin our voyage

on this shipful of promising days:


the watertight Monday-through-Fridays,

those smooth-sailing weekends,

and, off in the distance,

the high peaks of holidays

and harbor lights of the moon’s phases.


The ship’s captain has already logged

the port stops of doctor appointments

and eagerly-awaited destinations

of passengers’ birthdays,

landmarks we’d be wise to watch for

if we want this to be a smooth ride…


all the way to our journey’s end,

where we’ll dock just one night,

waiting for the next wave

to flip us up and over


into a new month.

Light In The Darkness: May 1, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” — Colossians 1:13-14

The word “redeem” simply means to recover something, usually by paying a price. To redeem something costs something.

It also carries the idea of ownership and implies the restoration of something that has been forfeited, pawned, stolen or lost. That which is redeemed is restored to its rightful owner.

Jesus said in Luke 19: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.”

We know that He came to redeem mankind but the little word that implies Jesus is not speaking only of men but of something else as well and it is not difficult to identify just what that is.

We have only to refer back to Genesis to know what was lost. When we do, we find that two things were lost when Adam ate the fruit of the forbidden tree.  They resulted in the death of man both spiritually and physically.

Those two things were fellowship with the Creator and the moral power to live holy lives. The loss of moral power for righteous living made communion with the Father impossible.

These are the things Christ died to redeem. The actual outworking of that redemption would be accomplished by the indwelling Holy Spirit sent at Pentecost.  He restores consistent obedience as we walk in the Spirit, thus insuring unbroken communion with the Father.

The two are inseparable. Obedience is possible only in the Spirit and communion with God results.

One of the things it seems we have forgotten in this modern age is that man’s sin did not in any way change the requirements of the moral law.

 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.