Category Archives: Columnists

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

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