Category Archives: Columnists

Views on hunting

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Two weeks ago, I wrote the first of what will be several articles exploring my thoughts or views on hunting.

It may already have appeared to some that I am in the process of writing a defense of hunting. While that might be an understandable translation of the last hunting column, let me assure you it was not my purpose, nor will it be in the following columns, because I do not believe hunting needs any defense, but if it does, there are better men than myself to write it.

One of the terms that hunters, as well as fish and game departments, use to describe hunting (and fishing) is “sport,” and this has innocently spawned immeasurable damage and ongoing controversy due to the application and interpretation of that word.

The folks who oppose hunting in all its forms have focused in on that one word because it creates a mental picture conducive to their cause; they have accused hunters of making a sport out of killing. Sport hunting and fishing could more properly be labeled as “non-commercial hunting and fishing” for that was its original meaning.

Hunting and fishing to put fish or game on the family table is a non-commercial venture; enjoying the pursuit is as old as man himself, but unfortunately that is where it morphs into “sport” for the person who hates it.  The fact that a person takes a certain amount of pleasure in the non-commercial taking of fish and game should not make it suddenly reprehensible, any more than enjoying one’s job suddenly makes it playtime.

Then this must be further broken down, because sport hunting requires the adherents to follow a host of mandatory legal regulations put in place for the successful continuation of each species, while in addition, there are a few nonbinding voluntary codes of hunting morality.

Those voluntary codes can be lumped together under the term, “fair chase.” Actually, many laws regarding sport hunting and fishing started as fair chase code items. I have to say here that it has been my observation that in a high percentage of cases, the longer a hunter and fisherman lives, the stronger his adherence to the codes of fair chase becomes.

For the non-hunter, I will list a few items that illustrate what fair chase means. Obeying all fish and game laws is part of fair chase in spite of the fact that it is required by law. Fish and animals should be treated with respect and not made to suffer any more than is necessary when they are killed. A hunter should not take a poor shot at a big game animal. It is better to let the animal escape when a poor shot is presented than to take the chance of just wounding the animal. Ducks should not be shot sitting on the water nor game birds on the ground or on their roost.

All animals should have a reasonable chance to escape. And the list goes on. Sometimes miniscule rules of conduct crop up that find favor in a small group of hunters and fishermen, but for the most part, the basic codes are widespread and well recognized. If an action is not sporting, then it is not part of sport hunting and fishing. Breaking the laws governing hunting and fishing definitely takes one out of the realm of sport; flouting the precepts of fair chase can do the same.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397


by Jim Farfaglia



You stopped by, too, didn’t you?

Laboring through heavy snow,

your slender legs sinking deep,

leaving for me

a trail of hooved smiles.


Were you taking a moment, too?

Watching memories of summer stream by,

thirsty for that season

and drawing from your reflection

the refreshment of hope.


For don’t you dream of lightness, too?

Waiting for this earth to rise again,

throw off its frosty covers

and announce the glad return

of an unbound life.

Old shops

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Kasperek

Where to begin? The feedback on my article on West Broadway has been fun. And plentiful! I just hope I can do justice to what was shared with me, which I now put to print.

“You forgot Arcadi’s Jewelers!” I heard more than once. “It was Vick Arcadi’s store!” and so it went through phone call after phone call, which continue even as I write this new one.

Barbara Carrol was the first to accept my invitation to contact me to share memories and the first to remind me about Arcadi’s. She’s a lifelong resident of Phoenix who attended the old St. Mary’s School on Buffalo Street here in Fulton back in the late 1950s.

“It was delightful,” she said about the school. She also reminisced about our downtown and eating a Black and White sundae at Fosters and recalled the McDonald’s women’s shop where as a child she bought her aunt a gift of fine nylon stockings that came wrapped in tissue paper in a little thin box.

Alan Deline called to say that radio station WOSC made its first home upstairs over Putnam’s drugstore downtown on Oneida Street. It was back in the 1940s. his uncle, Jim Deline, was a popular radio announcer, and it was when Alan was a kid trying to overcome stuttering that he entered a contest to host a teen show at WOSC and won. He and his co-host Mary Lou Wasiko took phone calls and played records from 4:30 to 5 p.m. five days a week.

Alan’s parents ran the Red and White grocery store on Voorhees Street and back in the 1930s, his grandfather’s store, Wilcox and Deline Grocery, was located on West Broadway in end store, next to the driveway. There’s a little gift shop there now

Dave Munger has some great memories as well. His dad, the late Dominick “Moose” Munger, ran the Broadway Tire Shop, which was next to Ward and Winchell in the block between West Third and West Fourth.

The gas pumps were right to the curb – “Can you believe it!” – You didn’t even have to pull off the street to get gas, you just drove up to the curb.

Dave said he spent a lot of time there “helping his dad” and he learned how to pump gas and take in the money when he was just a little kid. Although he was only six or seven, his father would send him a couple doors up to bring back coffee from the Rainbow Restaurant. And, he’d stop at Ward and Winchell’s window to watch a new novelty just on the market, a color TV.

He said the Brick Hotel, or the Salem House, or what other name we’ve known it by, on the corner of West Fourth, was once Carmella’s Restaurant. She was a Vescio or a Vasho, Dave thought, variations of the same name, it would seem.

There was a fire in the upstairs back then, he said, but they repaired it and it still stand today, known by yet another name, but still a popular bar/hangout by any name.

Dave’s Dad went on to be appointed postmaster of our local Post Office in the 1960s. There was no background check, no FBI coming to call, or any other such thing at all. It was a political appointment and just how it was done back then.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Snow in Fulton v. Syracuse

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

One day recently when I woke up, the guy on the radio was telling me that the Syracuse area was going to be getting up to 12 inches of snow that day. He was talking about schools being closed or delayed and larger amounts of snow in “lake effect areas.”

Listening to the weather forecast when it includes snow can be very confusing around here. Before you know it you are hearing terms like “lake effect,” north of the thruway,” “snow belt,” “wind-chill factor” and “freezing rain” being thrown around.

I got out of bed and looked out of the window. There was no snow – not even a flake – in the air.  That was about 6:30 a.m. By 7:30 it started to snow and by noon, there was six to seven inches of new snow on the ground – and on the sidewalks, on the deck, in the driveway, and on the steps to the front door. It was all waiting to be shoveled.

Maybe the man on the radio knew what he was talking about after all.

Although I grew up, and now live, in Syracuse, I spent 32 winters living in Fulton and shoveling its snow. When snowfall is the subject, I clearly appreciate the difference between Fulton and Syracuse.

When I was a kid growing up in Syracuse, about a mile from where I live now, “snow was snow.”  I don’t remember worrying about “lake effect” or “snow belts.”

The best thing that could happen back then was getting so much snow overnight that the schools were closed. If there was a lot of snow and schools weren’t closed, we would complain and be very unhappy about having to “go out in all that snow” and trudge off to school.

But on the mornings we heard that “schools are closed” announcement, we quickly put on our boots and snow clothes and spent the whole day outside rolling around in that snow which was “way too much” when we had to walk to school.

When we moved to Fulton a couple of years after we were married, I guess I looked at Fulton’s huge piles of snow and realized that it seemed to snow all the time here and the snow piles were a lot bigger, but I still thought: “Snow is snow.” I don’t remember thinking much differently about snow than we did in Syracuse.

Some of the Fultonians we met liked snow, others didn’t like it so much, but we all lived with it. We planned on it; we got up a little earlier if we thought we might have to do a lot of shoveling and I hope that we learned to do what we had to do to get everything done without complaining too much.

We figured out right away that we weren’t going to get a lot of sympathy from native Fultonians or folks who had lived through a couple of Fulton winters.

I think those of us who weren’t born in Fulton were able to adjust to Fulton’s winter weather quickly; we shoveled more snow and we did it more often; we didn’t always worry about getting the car out of the garage – we walked; and even as adults, we thought snow could be fun.

But I discovered that my newly-adopted attitude towards dealing with more snow wasn’t necessarily passed on to my Syracuse relatives.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Winter garden

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Last week, I began a series on hunting, not a defense of hunting, but rather an exploration of it and I hope it may have caused you to examine your own views on hunting.

As I continue the series next week, I hope you will be drawn into the conversation. If you have strong feelings either pro or con, or if you would just like to comment, please feel free to email me with your thoughts. is the proper address for such comments.

I had planned to have part two in the paper this week, but I have found the topic to be more involved and more difficult to put into the right words. Sometimes, semantics have been a great barrier between hunter and non-hunter and I would rather help to span the gulf than widen it. So this week, as I ponder what I have written and do some self-editing, I will bring you up to date on what Sweet Thing and I are doing.

First of all, because this is an outdoors column, I’m going to take some leeway and mention our winter garden. Sweet Thing gets as much of a kick out of home grown fresh veggies as she does from a bunch of sea trout.

One of the first tasks I have each year when we hit Florida is to get the garden worked up and planted. The season is short and time is important.

This year, I had the garden in the first week we were here. It is growing really well, and some early items have already found their way to our table.

First we had radishes. They come so fast and are welcome in our salads, being sweet without much heat in them. The next item is always greens and I have grown to really like collards with olive oil, garlic and bacon.

I put in collard plants and they are very hardy and fast growing. We had our first collard greens last week and we will be getting more each week now. Everything else takes a bit longer, but the garden is looking great.

On the real outdoor front, I have done some fishing, but the results have been far from spectacular. In the fall of 2011 I met Dean and Ann Drake from Central Square through my column. He called me and we got together up home. He is a long time hunter and fishermen and we had a great time swapping tales. He came to Florida for a week last spring. I told him if he came to let me know and we would get out fishing. He did and we did.

We caught some fish, but what Dean enjoyed the most was gathering oysters and then the eating of them afterwards. We had oysters on the half shell, oyster stew and fried oysters. Dean liked them so well that he came back to Florida this February for a month and we have been fishing and oystering.

We fished from the Wabasso Causeway south of us here, but the fishing there is not much better than it is right up here near Barefoot Bay — and it stinks here.

We caught some small stuff, but one fisherman near us caught a very nice bluefish. He didn’t want him and asked us if we would. I took the blue, bled him out and put him on ice in our cooler. Some folks are not very fond of bluefish, and in their defense, I would be the first to admit that if they are not cared for properly and quickly, bluefish are not good for much other than fertilizer in the garden.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Day trip to Wonderworks

AndrewHendersonby Andrew Henderson

My wife’s brother and his three kids visited us this past weekend. The main item on our agenda was to take them to Wonderworks in Destiny USA.

I have never been to Wonderworks — and I probably never will again. Don’t get me wrong; it is a wonderful attraction, filled with over 100 interactive exhibits. It also has lazer tag, which is super cool.

The one attraction that scared the you-know-what out of me is the Canyon Climb Adventure Ropes Challenge Course, which is billed as the world’s largest suspended indoor ropes course. It should have been billed as the world’s largest scare-the-you-know-what-out-of-you suspended indoor ropes course.

This course stands 70 feet tall (from the ceiling, I should remind you), has three levels of ropes, and over 81 different obstacles and activities. I could be mistaken but peeing your pants is not one of the activities in the brochure.

If you don’t how it works, it’s simple. They put a harness on you and then attached the harness to this rope/wire, which is then attached to a rail.

Of course, you have to sign a waiver just to participate, which goes against everything I stand for. If I have to sign a waiver to participate, then chances are I will not be participating. It’s one of my life’s rules.

Anyway, one of my nephews was a wee bit scared about tackling this course. In order to encourage him to do so, I had to fake being excited about the course and explained to him how fun it will be.

After receiving some instructions, we were fitted with harnesses and off we went.

I made it up the stairs — which was probably the easiest part — and headed out into the course, where I generated every ounce of manly-ness I had.

At first, it was pretty cool. I walked across a beam to get to one station. There I had a choice: I could either walked across a single rope, walk across a rope bridge, wet my pants, or turn around and go back.

Unfortunately, my nephew was behind me, so I ventured on to the rope bridge. Luckily, they have some rope that you can hang onto to help you keep your balance. After seven and a half minutes, I made it across. So did my nephew…in 30 seconds.

I thought to myself, “Well, that wasn’t so bad…maybe I can tackle this and get through it alive.”

I made it across the next rope bridge where I was faced with another horrifying decision. Should I walk across a single rope or should I walk across two ropes?

I chose the single rope. Bad decision. My foot slipped off it and I fell. Luckily, the harness worked and I didn’t plunge to my death. But I must have screamed like a little girl because every one in the mall stopped to look at me.

My legs were flailing and I desperately tried to get my legs onto the rope. Eventually, by the grace of God, I was able to make it to the other side.

I turned around to see if my nephew made it across but he was not there. The little chicken went back and gave up, leaving me alone.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

How Fulton Got Its Name

by Jim Farfaglia

How Fulton Got Its Name

They say he was a dreamer;

that, as a child, he loved to sketch,

he loved to tinker,

and they say he loved the water…


which would have made him

right at home, here,

with our river and lake

and their quiet spots to sit and dream.


Early on, he got his feet wet

sketching torpedoes and warships,

even having a hand in the first submarine,

but he’s best known for inventing the steamboat.


And when they were was all the rage,

he rode one up and down the Hudson,

never traveling this far,

but news of his success drifted our way.


And when he died too young

trying to rescue a drowning friend,

it only seemed fitting for our city’s founders

to take his name


so it might carry on –

like the current of our river,

like the ripples of our lake,

like the richness of a good dream, never-ending.