Category Archives: Columnists

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!

Column writing

column writingby Jerry Kasperek

My column comes out and the comments follow suit, so I share with you a couple of fact-checks from my last article about the old First Methodist Church: It was located on the corner of Oneida and North ThirdsStreets and not North Fourth as I had written, and the auditorium at the back of the church was called “The Century house.”

The Century House…Oh, yes…I remember it now. “Thanks!,” I said when a friend reminded me and I really meant it. It’s funny what we remember when our memory gets tweaked. That’s what makes writing this column so interesting – the feedback I get.

“I always read your column,” I was told just recently.. “My husband does too.He says you really can write.”

“Oh, thanks,” I said, “I’ve been at it for a long time.”

When I was about nine years old and after reading “The Adventures of the Bobbsy Twins” a hundred times over and about to do the same to “Little Women,” I decided I would someday write a book about Judy and me.

She was my favorite childhood playmate on West First Street.  The sad, sad ending (at least to Judy and me) came when I was nine and a half and I moved to the east side and met new friends and had new interests. Thus, my book writing plans got stuck in the shifting sand of time, circumstance and growing up.

My childhood dream never really died though. But as the years flew by and reality set in and lighted on what it actually takes to write an entire book — let alone to get it published — I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Thus, I shall be content to be a “creative writer” and author a column every other week and love doing so. My readers say they love reading it so I guess that makes us even!

My step-son Eddie has given me yet another artifact to add to our collection of old stuff we wish to preserve for posterity. It’s a small booklet that was published by the State of New York Department of Farms and Markets entitled: “Recipes for Good Things Our Grandmothers Used to Make.” It has no date on it but you can tell it’s old because the pages are crisp and yellowed and if my hunch is correct it goes back nearly a hundred years ago to the late 1920s.

In any case, “The Meat, Fish and Vegetable” chapter includes a recipe for Game Pie, for which you need six birds. A recipe for succotash requires a dozen ears of corn and something called “Crazy Jiggers” is made of flour, eggs, and milk and is fried and eaten with maple syrup.

In the Desserts category, a recipe for Indian pudding uses corn meal and molasses. The one for “Marlborough Pie” uses tart apples, butter, lemon juice and sugar and baked with one crust, while the ingredients for “Fruit Flummery” include more sugar than fruit. My favorite recipe, however, is for “Calf’s Foot Jelly.”

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

Gone fishing

Gone fishing
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

“I’m going fishing.”

That’s what I told Sweet Thing Tuesday morning. One way or another, I was going to be wetting a line at the inlet. I haven’t messed up on my New Year’s resolution.

I have been getting in some writing and I have been sitting in the sun, sorting my tackle and rearranging my tackle boxes. I’ve lubricated and relined reels, but as of Wednesday, the time for fishing had come.

Most of the time, I don’t care what I catch, even if it is something other than what I was in search of.

As long as it’s legal and good eating it will go into the cooler unless it happens to be fortunate enough to bite after I already have all the fish I want.

I seldom keep more than what Sweet Thing and I can eat in one or two meals, but if the fish are really good ones, I bring a few back for a couple of friends as well. They never turn them down. Maybe it’s because the fish come all cleaned and pan ready.

A couple of guys from the boat club went out fishing offshore last week. They caught plenty of red snapper, big groupers and black sea bass. Too bad they are all out of season. They threw them all back.

They did catch a couple trigger fish and a mackerel which they could keep. The red snapper and black sea bass are supposed to be severely over fished, but somehow there are more of them coming up on anglers lines than have been seen in more than a decade.

A lot of those fish are bigger too, but there are a ton of smaller fish that often end up grabbing the bait before the big guys can home in on it.

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