Category Archives: Columnists

Leon Archer

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? I wasn’t going to because I have a tendency to make resolutions that are more like wishes and they are seldom realistic. This year, however, I do have a couple resolutions I believe I can live up to.

My first resolution is: I will not bow to the tyranny of the urgent, but I will give a higher priority to the things I want to do, not those I think I have to do.

Or simply put, I am going to enjoy myself more.

I have spent way too much time trying to live up to the expectations of others, ignoring the fact that I have some needs of my own that only I can fill. I am going to put some balance back into my life.

My second resolution is: I am going to write at least 20 hours a week. This resolution does not contradict or conflict with my first resolution. I started several writing projects that I very much want to get back to, but I have let each one of them languish. That has to cease. I really enjoy getting off by myself with my thoughts and a full pot of coffee.

I enjoy writing this column, but there is so much more that is struggling to get out of my head that has nothing to do with outdoor sports; all I need is time.

There, I’ve gotten that off my chest, now what’s happening out and around? I know the skiers and snowmobilers are in their glory. This winter looks like it is on track to be all that last winter was not for them.  I’m happy for them, but I am no longer a snow person. I used to be, but somewhere along the way I lost that part of me that thrilled to see the first flakes of early winter snow, looking forward to the cold blanket that would wrap my world for the next three or four months.

Even though I now see snow as mostly an inconvenience that needs to be removed from driveway and sidewalk, deep down inside I can’t help but envy those who delight in its presence.

I have fond memories of winters past, sledding as a boy, ice fishing with my father and brother, and hunting small game that usually had better sense than I did when it came to wandering around in deep snow.

We often came home with a pack basket full of jack perch from Sandy Pond and a warm sense of accomplishment that somehow counteracted the stiff aching fingers and chilblains.

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Welcome back

Bodley-RothrockKate_Wby Kate Rothrock

Welcome back to school! I hope everyone had a long, relaxing and enjoyable vacation. I know I did!

While most of us were home relaxing over break, the sports teams were hard at work playing games and practicing almost every day.

Good luck to all of these teams! All of these athletes would love the support from their peers and the community!

Quirk’s Players rehearsals for the spring musical “Hey Dolly” is in full swing. The show is about a widowed matchmaker who is always in everyone’s business. She tries to win over a very rich man so she can put his money to good use.  The play takes place in New York City during the 1890’s and is filled with great music!

Mitch Lalik and Alexis Pawlewicz have the lead roles and other characters roles include Amanda Trombly, Mikaela Houck, Brad Crofoot, Logan Carvey, Katelyn Caza, Mark Parry and Laura Perwitz.

Pawlewicz, who will play Dolly, said, “It’s going to be a big show with incredible costumes and dances. We’re all really excited for March!”

I hope it wasn’t too hard for everyone to get back into the swing of things after the long vacation.

Neighbors recyclables

recyclingby Roy Hodge

Walking around my neighborhood, I glance at the stuff in my neighbors’ recycling bins. If I am observant (a polite word for nosey) I can put little pieces of their lives together.

For instance, looking at the empty cartons in the recycling bins, I knew that one of my neighbors received a crock pot for Christmas. At the same house, someone opened a box that contained a new keyboard.

Next door there were five empty pizza boxes. Well, after all, it was a busy week – who had the time for much more than taking a pizza from a box? It was a few days after Christmas so it wasn’t a surprise that one of the bins contained four of those long cardboard tubes that before they were empty had wrapping paper wound around them.

I came to the conclusion that the recycling bin in front of my own house was probably the most boring one on the block.

If someone looked at that discarded stuff, there was no hint that I had eaten a fancy dish prepared in a new crock pot — or even a slice of delicious pizza.

There were lots of empty tin cans that once held pork and beans or noodle soup, or maybe a jar with a little peanut butter in the bottom. There might have been an empty mustard jar or cracker box. There was probably at least one aspirin bottle.

I hope no one got close enough to our trash to notice – or worse yet, close enough to count – all the chocolate candy wrappers that had been discarded. Maybe if someone had counted and thought that eight children lived in our house they wouldn’t have thought that all that chocolate was so strange.

I wouldn’t want them to realize that there are no children in our house, or that the only other occupant beside myself is my wife, who doesn’t eat chocolate.

But it was so good.

*  *  *  *  *

I have always enjoyed winter and its snow. I enjoyed it when my friends and I spent many hours every wintry day on our sleds.

When I think of winters as a kid I’m at the “dump” – our out of traffic sliding place behind the houses at the end of our street.

On days when it was too wintry to go to school, it was never too cold or too snowy to pull on our snow pants, buckle on our boots, grab warm mittens, hats and our sleds and head for the “dump.”

The natural hill between two streets and all the roller coaster-like bumps and jumps created by the loads of ashes dumped there throughout the years was a great place to go sledding.

Lafayette Hill, a couple of blocks from our house, was another popular sledding place.  It was a long, steep hill with a curve at the bottom which helped slow us down. We didn’t seem to mind the long walk back up so we could do the whole thing all over again.

I have noticed that the kids sledding on the hill in the park across the street from where I live seem to have other things on their minds in the high technology world we live in.  While pulling their sleds back up the hill they are checking their cell phones for text messages.

Modern technology as far as we were concerned on those cold, wintry days consisted of our warm socks and snow pants and those long pieces of yarn our mothers had attached to our mittens so we wouldn’t lose them.

Most of us didn’t even know about television — but we were happy with our sleds and a “good hill.”

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First Methodist Church

First Methodist Churchby Jerry Hogan Kasperek

Who remembers the First Methodist Church that once stood on the corner of North Fourth and Oneida streets? It’s where OCO, in its handsome new building, has been doing business for the past several years.

The First Methodist Church was a strong, beautiful and artful structure, dating back into the early 1900s or maybe even before that.

In its day, it was an architectural dream of what a church should look like. With its red bricks, shingled roof, tall towers and stained glass windows, it was a familiar sight and similar to many of our other old churches still with us today.

Think of the churches lined up on South Third Street. Start from Oneida Street and head south and the first one on your left is the old Presbyterian Church that is now known as the First United Church. Next, and on your right, is the no-longer-in-use Baptist Church, which merged with the Presbyterians some time ago.

Continuing onward a block or two, you will find the venerable old Immaculate Conception Church, now combined with the other two, closed-up Catholic churches in Fulton and renamed “Holy Trinity” — the one and only remaining Catholic Church in our fair city.

Another church worthy of taking a good look at is the State Street Methodist Church still in use on South Fourth Street. And don’t forget the Congregational Church, with its big, circular window, a hometown landmark, that used to be on the corner of West First and Broadway. It was a sad day when it was taken down with the wrecking ball not too many years ago.

Now, if your memory stretches back to 1961, you will recall that awful fire that reduced the First Methodist Church to ashes that summer. This information I gathered from Gail and Vern Drohan because I knew they were members there a long time ago, when Reverend Stewart was their minister.

The church could accommodate a very large congregation and many prominent community members belonged. The Sealright Company was well represented. There was the Frank Ash family, the Harry Gray’s, the Walter Mitchell’s, and the Clark’s.

From the business and medical communities came the Sherm Drohan’s and Dr. Eugene Anthony and family. (Just about every body in town went to Dr. Anthony’s, God rest his soul, at some time or other to get their eyes examined to see if they needed glasses! I got my first prescription for bifocals there.)

Remember, if you will, it was the heyday of local doctors, dentists and lawyers, and of business and industry, when mangers, directors, CEOs, owners and operators lived among us in Little Old Fulton and took part in church, social, political and community events.

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

On Either Side

by Jim Farfaglia


Yesterday, in the middle of the lake,

they bobbed over gentle ripples,

riding atop reflections

on the last day of the year.


Everybody was honking at once,

gossiping about the year’s triumphs,

of love gone north or south,

of those who took their final flight…


Today, as dawn breaks,

I hear their call again,

starting from that lake,

then passing overhead –


their honks loud and clear,

crying out for this new journey;

riding on the tail wind

of the first day of the year.

Light In The Darkness: January 2, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“We know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God…He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.” — 1 John 5:20

Well, our Christmas celebrations are over (for those of us who celebrate Christmas and not ‘happy holidays’ or some other Christ-less substitute).

We have rejoiced once again in the coming of God as a babe born to a virgin. We have remembered the fulfillment of prophecies made and the promises that the Father kept that night so long ago in Bethlehem.

Now, as we enter the new year, it is good to ponder the ramification of those events for us today, for they are most certainly crucial to us all.

The Messiah did not come to earth so that we could have an annual celebration of miracles and angels; of magi and shepherds and deliverance from an evil king.

The Son of God became the Son of Man that we might know the Father’s forgiveness and have eternal life, which John tells us, “is in His Son.” (1 John 5:20). This eternal life is in the Son because as the focus verse of this column says, he, himself is, “eternal life.”

There is no forgiveness of sin and there is no eternal life apart from him. There is no life apart from our being “in Christ.”

Forgiveness and life do not come simply through our knowing about him or even through being a great fan of his. They certainly do not come to those who do not even believe they need a savior.

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

Bird decoys

bird decoys
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

It’s amazing how another year has flown; here we are past Christmas with New Year’s celebrations a couple days away, and to me at least, it hardly seems possible.

It has been a good year with great times spent with family, no really bad things happening to any of us, and Sweet Thing and I have been able to spend some time working on projects that we really enjoy.

She has been working away on quilts with her sisters once a week when we are in the area. I have been making a few decoys, catching some fish with my grandchildren and I had the pleasure of watching Nathaniel complete his first shore bird decoy in time to give it to his father and mother for Christmas.

Nathaniel and I have been learning together how to make shorebirds and I think he might be better than I am at it. He is a good learner and has been able to apply everything that

I have taught him and understands the rational for making decoys that will fool birds, while at the same time not looking like real birds frozen forever in wood.

We don’t make wooden birds with burnt in feathering or every single feather painted perfectly in place. Our birds are impressionistic and pattern painted.

All the old decoy makers made blocks that would fool wild birds long enough to get them into easy range for shooting. None of those old hunting decoys would fool any of us into believing they are real.

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