Category Archives: Columnists

Remembering Card Games

by Jim Farfaglia

Remembering Card Games


They brightened many a boring evening:

someone would pull out a deck,

explain the rules and, after a few hands,

friendships would be melded.


A good shuffler made a big impression:

the most talented ones

were also the most envied –

they could make a deck just sing out.


You could tell a card shark by how he dealt:

cards sailing across the table,

never sliding off onto the floor –

stopping right in front of each player.


You had a choice how to hold your cards:

like a geisha, waving her fan,

like a stairway, one atop the other,

like a true gambler, close to his heart.


Those games taught us a lot about life:

good winners never bragged,

poor sports threw their cards,

and nobody wanted to sit next to a cheater.


And who could forget the feel of a new deck:

each of those fifty-two, crisp and clean,

everyone in the circle already certain

of the good luck coming their way.

Heavy snowfall is old hat for Fulton

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

It was “déja vu all over again” for me one day this week when I left Syracuse for an appointment in Fulton. Here, most of the snow we had received had disappeared during the past few days.

Going along with my wife’s estimation, there was “maybe an inch or two of snow on the ground,” but I was closer to calling it “a trace.” It seemed much like the days a few years ago when I was driving to Fulton every week day morning.

As I drove towards Fulton the roads and the yards along the way were pretty much free of snow.

Then, as I got further north an accumulation began to build up, and when I reached Fulton there was snow in the road and large piles on each side.

The city’s plows had done a good job, but there was “a lot of snow.” Drivers were being cautious and although it was around 8 a.m. there were no school buses on the streets, a good sign that school classes for the day had been canceled. But there were people out and about, seemingly carrying on their regular business.

Then I remembered: There never seems to be a big fuss in Fulton about the large amounts of snow that appear wall to wall in the city streets, driveways and sidewalks during the winter months.

After all, it’s just a regular part of Fulton life.

While I was waiting for my car to be serviced I met a pair of enterprising young businessmen. They were taking advantage of the snowfall of the night before and their day off from school to clear some sidewalks. They were finding out that businesses come with a few problems. They were at Tom Alnutt’s service station to replace a belt for their snow blower.

My son, Craig’s trip here last week from his home in Roanoke, Va. was a complete reversal of a usual winter trip when the weather is nice in Virginia with forecasts of wintry weather closer to New York State. There were several inches of snow on the ground Thursday night when he left Roanoke, and his flight from Washington, D.C. to Syracuse had been canceled.

He was able to get a flight out of the Charlotte, N.C. Airport and arrived in Syracuse ahead of schedule Friday. Craig was surprised that contrary to what he could have expected as well as to what he left behind in Roanoke, there were no huge snow piles, and very little evidence of the nearly 40 inches of snow the city had received this winter.

*  *  *  *  *

Living in Fulton and thinking and talking about snow certainly go together. To convince myself of that I looked through some columns from past winters:

December 7, 1982 – Winter snow talk:  Snow probably means a steady fall unless the words occasional or intermittent are used. Heavy snow usually means four to six inches or more in 12 hours. A snow flurry is an intermittent snowfall which may reduce visibility, and a snow squall is a brief, intense snowfall with gusty winds. Blowing or drifting snow means strong winds and poor visibility for a lengthy period of time.

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

Fishing with dad

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

My father used to take me fishing often when I was a kid, and I have tons of memories from those days, and I learned an awful lot from him by listening and watching.

I am a visual, hands-on learner. If someone shows me how to do something, I am much more likely to understand  than  if I were reading directions. Dad showed me all sorts of ways to be a better fisherman, but he let me experiment and do my own thing when I wanted to.

Once in a great while, he learned something new from me when I had an unexpected success from doing my own thing.

One of the things we did most often was fish from shore; that was because we didn’t own a boat. We sometimes went with someone who did or on even rarer occasions rented a boat for the day.

When we were afloat, I noticed one interesting thing. We would usually not fish very far from shore; in fact, we often ending up casting towards the shoreline. This seemed, to me, to negate the advantage of having a boat since we could have cast about as far from shore as we ended up fishing.

I tried casting my bait in several directions from the boat, but learned rather quickly that my father had the correct combination.

What I learned on those days was that one of the advantages of a boat over a shore bound fisherman was that one could move easily from one spot to another rather quickly.

If the fish weren’t hitting in one area, perhaps they might be more cooperative in another. But I learned another more important thing for an angler. Just like in real estate, when it comes to fishing, it’s location, location, location.

The two most important things are to know where the fish should be, and to fish where the fish should be.

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

Light In The Darkness: January 23, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“It is an abomination [to God and men] for kings to commit wickedness, for a throne is established and made secure by righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation).” — Proverbs 16:12

The word “kings” as used in this passage refers in principle to all leaders of states and nations regardless of the actual title.  “Throne,” of course, refers to the position held by the one in governing authority. The phrase “commit wickedness” refers both to their personal immoral behavior and to the immoral behavior in governing.

Thus, when leaders behave and exercise their power in evil ways and for evil purposes it is an abomination to the Lord. Webster defines abomination as: “extreme disgust and hatred.” This is not something any thinking man would want to arouse in the all powerful God who is, Himself, the ruler over nations. Yet they do.

I am angry at decisions our government leaders have made in the past few years. This is especially true of the actions taken this week in both Albany and Washington. Having said that, I want to make it clear that it is not my purpose to focus upon my personal convictions regarding gun control or any other specific issue.

I want to focus upon something much greater. It is the underlying attitude of today’s  leaders that effects every one of us regardless of the position you take on any issue. The underlying attitude I refer to is their utter disregard for established polity and law.

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



For now, sweet cardinal,

so red and sprightly,

you will be my light.


These days the world is heavy,

drowsy from the darkness

and frozen in winter’s clutch.


But each morning, you come

to perch on my evergreen,

awaiting your turn at the feeder.


Oh, how your brightness pecks a hole

through winter’s shroud!

And for now, my light, that is enough.

CNY weather

CNY weatherby Roy Hodge

Here I am, thinking and wondering what I could write my next column about. I am also thinking, “It is closing in on the middle of January and it’s raining out.” I am also thinking, “It’s not supposed to rain in January; in January, it’s supposed to snow.”

It really was raining out and it was raining quite hard; not like a summer rain storm with all the thunder and lightning, but it was definitely rain – not snow. But it did seem a little strange; after all, it is January, not July.

It seems like here in Central New York, no matter what the season is you can’t depend on the weather being like it was a year ago, or what is supposed to be this time of year.

Last year on January 12, we weren’t getting much snow – less than 13 inches for the season. The year before, we had received over 80 inches of snow by that date.

But last year, it started snowing the next day – January 13 – and  our total in Syracuse was up to 20 inches for the season. But remember, we got quite a break last year. From first to last snowflake last year, in Syracuse we accumulated about 50 inches of snow for the entire season.

Last year, I checked with John Florek, superintendent of the Fulton Water Works, April 27 to ask about Fulton’s final snowfall figure for the winter of 2011-12. John corrected me quickly. “As of yesterday,’ John said, “the total snowfall was 108.2 inches, and we received a trace overnight.”  John reminded me, “It has snowed here on Mother’s Day.”

It is another year, it is raining in January, but we never know what to expect. As I am sitting here and thinking about rain in January and wondering what I could write a column about, maybe I could write something about the unusual weather.

That sounds very familiar.  Perhaps I have written about that before.

*  *  *  *  *

While writing last week about the binder of 1901 Patriots that ended up in my possession, I used the word convoluted in the following sentence: “It seems that the file came to me through a convoluted route from the Fulton Public Library after the pages were transferred to microfilm.”

Convoluted is a word that occasionally pops into my mind, which I have interpreted as being complicated. Usually, when I have used that word I apparently used it without thinking too much about it.

But this time I guess I thought about it too much – so much that I decided to change that part of the sentence to read; “through a somewhat indirect route,” etc.

I found definitions of convoluted in “The Random House” dictionary and on the internet – difficult to comprehend, involved; having many twists and curves; involved, intricate; example: “a convoluted explanation that left the listeners even more confused than they were before.”

That’s funny – that seems to be exactly what this little adventure has done for me.

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

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Dayby Kate Rothrock

It seems like we just got back from break and now most of us will be off for a week!

Monday, Jan. 21 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and everyone has the day off. Tuesday through Friday is Regents week and unless students have any kind of test, then there is no school.

This week brings sign ups in guided study hall for the next PBIS celebration at G. Ray Bodley High School. The PBIS celebration will include many fun activities available for students.

The language programs are hosting a field trip! Friday, Jan. 25, members of language classes will travel to the Melting Pot at Destiny USA for a two course meal including cheese fondue and chocolate fondue.

The trip will cost $22; see any of the language teachers for a permission slip!

Seniors, don’t forget that the senior gym project is due this Friday! If it is not turned in on time then points will be deducted!

Have a great week! If you are taking any Regents or tests next week, good luck!