Category Archives: Columnists

Light In The Darkness: February 6, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

A Response to President Obama’s request for help from pastors…

Though I often endeavor to show how the precepts in Scripture are relevant to the most pressing issues of the day, I have no intention of turning this column into a vehicle for political activism.

I remain absolutely certain that the only hope for America is a repentant turning to the God of the Bible.

At the same time, something occurred recently that compels me to make an exception this week.

In a recent address to the nation, our president called upon all Americans to unite to pass his gun control initiatives.  Because he specifically called upon pastors (among others) to help, I feel compelled to make a public statement and believe it is right to do so.

Since this is the only public venue available for me to do so, I will use it.

I do find it interesting, by the way, that the same government that twists the words of the First Amendment regarding separation of church and state to mean the precise opposite of what is clearly written would now ask for help from pastors.

Nevertheless, I welcome the opportunity to respond.

What took place in Columbine, in Aurora, at Sandy Hook Elementary and other similar places is both tragic and reprehensible…but so is the “solution” to the problem proposed by our leaders.

There is a better way to address the problem and they all know it, for they themselves consistently use that better way both for themselves and for their own children.

I can only conclude, therefore, that they have some other agenda that has nothing to do with solving the problem created by a murderous few.

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Outdated television

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

When my sons, Craig and Adam, were together at our house recently, they were kidding about our television set. I think they may have been referring to it as an “antique.”

We have had that television set for over 20 years; we watch it almost every day, but very seldom for more than an hour at a time – mostly for the news or a special program. In season, I watch football and basketball games.

It has been a very reliable television set. We have never had to take it to a repair shop. It comes on when I push the button, the picture is clear, not fuzzy, the color is good and it fits perfectly in the spot I have for it on top of the dresser.

My sons seem to think that the set itself is big, bulky and heavy, but that the screen should be much larger — as in “wide-screen” television.  Personally, I like the way my TV set is. I sit in a small room, about five feet from the screen, which is plenty big enough for me.

Thinking about our television set has reminded me of the various other TV’s I have watched.  Our family was among the television pioneers in our neighborhood when I was growing up. The Woods family, which included 12 kids — most of them living at home at the same time — was the first family on our street to own a television set. It wasn’t easy finding a spot in front of the TV among the 12 kids who lived there.

We also were able to watch television once a week in a downtown storefront across from the Syracuse post office, where we accompanied my father every Sunday evening while he mailed his orders for the coming week.  I’m not sure what we watched – maybe “What’s My Line?” – but we were engrossed while standing there for at least half an hour.

Tiring of our neighbor’s crowded living room and standing out in the cold, we were able to talk our parents into investing in the family’s first television set.

I remember that first TV set well. It was a console model, which meant that it was comprised of the picture tube on top, the speaker under that — all built in to a cabinet which sat on the floor. Somewhere in there were rows and rows of tubes and transistors.

The feature that made our television set unusual, even back then, was that it had a round screen. With all those parts, television sets didn’t last a long time back then, and TV repair men visited regularly.

When my wife realized that I was writing about our early television sets, she was reminded of the time that her TV set was hit by lightning during the night. All of a sudden she was awakened by the national anthem playing in her living room.

We were never alone watching television in those early days.  Programming started just about the time we arrived home from school and my brother and I both brought several kids home from school with us to watch western movies hosted by Gabby Hayes, Howdy Doody, Kukla, Fran and Ollie and Captain Video.

Before the programs started we watched the test patterns and listened attentively to the National Anthem.

When my grandparents knew that our family had bought a television set their reaction was, “Why would you want television? The radio is good enough for us.” The day we got our TV set, Grandma and Grandpa came over after supper to take a look at the new arrival; their new television set arrived the next day.

As in other homes, gradually through the years the size of our TV screen grew larger while the cabinet was smaller. Then came the Disney channel and color.  Although we had listened to the radio shows and had our favorites, TV was much more exciting.

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Hargrave’s Pharmacy

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Kasperek

Hargrave’s Pharmacy on West Broadway has been there forever – at least it seems that way – doling out good medicine and expert advice as long as I can remember. Its proprietor and chief pharmacist, Sal Lanzafame, has been there a long time, too.

“I came here in 1955, July 5,” he said when I called him up for an interview. “I was 21 and came back to Fulton after college and got a job with Steward Woods and went to work at Putnam’s. Do you remember Putnam’s?”

I do remember Putnam’s I told him. It was a small drugstore in downtown Fulton on Oneida Street, in the middle of the block between Perkins’ Corner on South Second Street (now 481) and Roy’s Furniture Store on the corner of Oneida and South First. (I also recall their special treat: a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a round, brownie-like cake and covered with chocolate syrup, and how gooey and good it was!)

Well, anyway, Mr. Woods’ owned both Putnam’s and Hargrave’s and his daughter, a young married woman who also was a pharmacist, was going to have a baby and that left Mr. Wood short a druggist.

So he sent Sal to manage Hargrave’s, where he was welcomed by Harry Montgomery, an older gentleman who helped him learn the ropes of running a business. “How would you like to own this place?” he asked Sal. “I should be that lucky,” was the reply.

It was just three short years later in 1958 and, according to Sal, “with the help of Harlow Stratton of Marine Midland Bank,” his dream cane true and he’s been there ever since!

Young Mr. Salvatore Lanzafame, now a married man with a growing family, had become the owner of the three-story brick building where the pharmacy made its home and from which it gets its name.

“It was built in 1862,” he said and asked if I knew there’s a ballroom upstairs – on the third floor – where dances and weddings and receptions and plays and all kinds of parties and even church service were once held.

Yes, I do remember “Hargrave’s Hall,” I said, because my high school sorority once had a party there. But I don’t recall what the occasion was (1948 was a long time ago!). In any case, Sal’s building is one of the oldest in town and a nice reminder of the other old brick buildings of similar construction that used to line our Dizzy Block before urban renewal came to call.

Sal and I reminisced a little about the other merchants that have come and gone — or might even still be there — during our lifetime along that stretch of West Broadway. Here’s what we came up with:

In the block between West First and West Second streets, where Hargrave’s is located, there was Kay’s Tot Shop; Harold Reynolds’s Liquor Store; a pool hall; The Cottage Bakery; Dempsey’s Sport Shop; a branch of Marine Midland Bank on the corner and the Community Development Agency that took its place before it also moved out.

In the block between West Second and West Third, there was Johnson’s Meat Market, that later became Mirabito’s supermarket); Eugene’s Shoe Repair; West Side Hardware. And Jerry’s Barber Shop which is still there on the corner of West Third.

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Indian River Lagoon

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

I learned that the fishing was pretty slow around Sebastian so I have shifted my attention to the Vero Beach area, but I am mostly unfamiliar with that section of the lagoon.

I can catch the same little nuisance fish there that I have often caught nearer our home here, but I would prefer bigger game.

I had a call from Frank Maurer a couple days ago and he confirmed the quality of the fishing in the area. He said it’s the worst he has ever experienced since he started coming to Florida to escape the snow.

He has caught some flounder, but nothing like past years, and the pompano fishing has yet to materialize. The only bright spot has been the sheepshead fishing. He has caught quite a few of them and they have been running decent size. They are very good as table fare, so that is a big plus.

I have yet to go over to the inlet, but the fishing has been rather hit or miss there; however, even on the good days, the fishing is not what it should be.

Maurer lays the lack of fish on the commercial fishermen, but I am convinced that a major factor is the disappearance of the sea grass in this section of the lagoon. The problem is more wide spread, but we seem to be one of the hardest hit sections so far.

I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal to many folks. So what if the little short grasses that grew underwater in the shallows of the lagoon has died off? But it really is a big deal.

The Indian River Lagoon is a huge nursery for many fish species and crabs that have always flourished here thanks to the sea grass, which was the base for the food chain and provided protection for the larval and fry stage of so much of the river life.

With the grass gone, the sand bottom has become a sort of desert, devoid of food or cover for all those who once called it home. Fish may pass through, but they don’t hand around.

The blue crabs that were abundant here up to about three years ago are so scarce and scattered that it hardly pays to put out traps for them. I’ve noticed the commercial crabbers are not working the area. I’m not going to even get my traps out of storage.

The fish and game biologists down here have not been able to pin the problem on one single source, but there are numerous suspects, and some of them may actually be working in concert to bring about the destruction.

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

Andrew Henderson

Bee Keeper

AndrewHendersonby Andrew Henderson

I am a survivalist.

I survived Y2K. I survived the end of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21, 2012. I even survived a recent four-hour shopping trip at the mall with my wife.

Now, I am hoping that I will survive something altogether dangerous and exhilarating: beekeeping.

My wife, Gina, and I signed up for a beekeeping class that will teach us how to keep bees and hopefully produce a never-ending flow of honey. That is, if I don’t kill off bees first with my anti-green thumb.

Now, I know what you are thinking. It is true. I’m paying money in order to get stung by bees. Believe me, it was not my idea. My wife thinks it’s better to be self-sustaining food-wise rather than purchasing processed, unhealthy foods at high prices. Once again, I repeat: This was not my idea!

Our first class was held last week in Oneida County. The class is being held by the Mid-York Beekeepers Club. This first class was all about bee biology, which is pretty fascinating.

Here are some facts that I learned:

There are three types of bees in a colony: the Queen, the dictator bee who calls all the shots; the Workers, little female slaves who do all the work; and the Drones, males bees who are nothing but a bunch of bums.


There is usually one Queen per hive, but many Queen bees are born. Whoever is born first kills the other queens to proclaim her female-bee dominance. Soon after, she begins mating with the Drones and she decides whether or not to fertilize the eggs. Her decision can have a long-lasting impact.

The fertilized eggs become females and they end up being future Queen or Worker bees. The unfertilized eggs, however, become Drones.

The job of Worker bees is to feed the younger larva as well as the Queen bee. Not a bad gig — if you are the Queen.

The Drones, as I have said, are nothing but a bunch of masculine bums. Their only jobs are to impregnate the Queen and to eat nectar.

Oh, did I mention that the Drone bees die immediately after breeding with a Queen? Ouch.

Here is a fun fact about the Drones: they do not have stingers. In order to impress your friends, you should take a Drone bee and put it in your mouth and proclaim: “I am Superbee…no bee with sting me!”

Word of caution: Make sure it is a Drone bee or else you will be talking like you have just been shot up with novocaine.

Actually, the real reason I actually agreed to participate is that I get to wear one of those metal veils and beekeeping suits.  If you see someone in a nearby field pretending to be a sabre-wielding astronaut/Olympic fencer, that would be me.

I’ll keep you updated…

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Light In The Darkness: January 30, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.” — 2 Kings 18:5-7

In America today, there is a woeful shortage of exemplary leaders. The few excellent leaders are often rendered ineffective both by a media, which either ignores or demonizes them, and by the majority of leaders who are anything but models of faith and virtue.

From time to time, we see someone who appears to be above the mire of the new normal but then they too disappoint us, proving themselves to be no more worthy of our trust than the others. Sometimes we have placed our hope in them because we did not know what to look for in the first place. We thought them to be a cut above simply because they appeared righteous by comparison to the others.

Now, a man can be a decent civil leader (relatively speaking) without being a man of faith. If he leads according to the basic precepts of God’s Word and according to the just laws of the land, he may be a good leader even if he is not himself a man of true faith. We have had such leaders in the past and in times like these often find ourselves yearning for another.

The ideal leader, however, the one who brings great blessing upon the land and its people, is the leader like the one described in this passage in Second Kings, Hezekiah, king of Judah. Such a leader is one who trusts the Lord. He leans upon and has confidence in the God of the Bible, confident that His ways are best in every situation.

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

New semester

Bodley-RothrockKate_Wby Kate Rothrock

This week brings the start of a new semester! The new semester may bring new classes to some students and a fresh start for grades.

The field trip to the Melting Pot was a success! Students from the French, German and Spanish classes had a great time last Friday eating at the delicious restaurant.

This Friday, Feb. 2, quarter report cards will be mailed!

Also this Friday is the 2nd PBIS celebration to recognize students for their positive behavior.

PBIS stands for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports and is a district-wide approach to teaching, modeling, recognizing and supporting positive behaviors in a school building.

It focuses on building a school environment in which all students can learn and achieve their personal best.

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