Category Archives: Columnists

Fulton Post Office

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

 Since I haven’t been commuting to Fulton five days a week — and sometimes it was more than that — I can say that I now enjoy the one or two times a month that I do make the trip.However, there is one thing in particular that I do really miss — my daily visits to Fulton’s post office.

An aspect of my life in Fulton that I thoroughly enjoyed was my daily trips to the post office to check The Fulton Patriot’s mailbox and pick up the mail. I think that during that time I got to see and speak to everyone in Fulton — at least the ones who had post office boxes.

A small town post office definitely serves as an important social center. It is convenient for many people to have their daily mail put in a post office box where they can retrieve it early in the day. The morning trip to the post office has become an anticipated social event.

It is not unusual to see a group of several local businessmen gathered on the sidewalks and post office steps engaged in lively conversation.

I was talking the other day to a Fulton resident I hadn’t seen in several years. “I still remember meeting up with you at the post office,” she said.

I had forgotten that she was also one of the morning mail picker-uppers at the post office back then. I remember many almost daily post office-based conversations with Al Squitieri, Wally Auser, Jr., Fred Somers, Ed Frawley and others.

I remember thinking that the very sociable and talkative Ed must have spent a big chunk of every morning in front of the post office.

The local post office is certainly an important part of small-town life. I wonder how long I would have to hang around the post office I go to here in Syracuse before I met up with someone I know.

*  *  *  *  *

Here it is — it is, according to a popular Christmas song that I am hearing often on the radio — “…the most wonderful time of the year, with the kids jingle-belling, and everyone telling you to be of good cheer — it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

And, if Andy Williams says so it must be true.

Being a true lover of this season since childhood, I have shared my feelings in almost every Christmas-time column since I started writing in 1979. That first year, in the weeks before and after Christmas, I wrote about annual Christmas lists, a shopping trip to the ladies department of a downtown Syracuse store, holiday concerts, letters to Santa, and the week after Christmas.

I ended the column about children’s letters to Santa, which was published in The Patriot on Christmas Day, with this: “Santa’s letters reminded me of one I was given to mail several years ago by my son, Jeff. On the outside of the envelope was the following P.S.:  “Dear Santa (or Dad), Please send a copy of this letter to Grandma.”

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Mat-ter Of Fact: December 22, 2012

by Dan Farfaglia

Coach Gene Mills has built the Phoenix Firebirds wrestling program into a premier powerhouse in Section 3 wrestling.

That was obvious this past Wednesday.

Before a packed gym at G. Ray Bodley High School and live television coverage once again provided by Time Warner Cable, history was made on a few different fronts.

The defending Division Two state champions defeated the Fulton Red Raiders by a score of 61-16. It was the first time that Fulton lost on its own turf since 2002 and the first by a Section 3 Team since 1987.

Also, in regards to the lopsided score at the end, 40 or more years may have passed since an opposing team won by such a large margin.

History also repeated itself with new Fulton coach Chris Stalker making his debut at home with a loss. Former coach Mike Conners suffered a similar fate back in the 1987-1988 school year.

It was anticipated that it was going to be a difficult night for the host school due to the fact that three key starters were out of the lineup. Mitch Woodworth (112 pounds), Tom Hill (120 pounds) and Austin Whitney (126 pounds) weren’t available due to injuries and other issues.

The action began at 152 pounds with Phoenix state champion Nick Tighe winning by technical fall over senior captain Mike DeMauro.

At 160 pounds, Rowdy Prior pinned Fulton’s Sam Rios in the second period. Phoenix kept its momentum going with three more pins provided by Justin Rhodes (170 pounds), William Hillard (182 pounds) and Mike Mironti (195 pounds) over Ryan Hall, Todd Oakes, and Matt Marshall, respectively.

Phoenix had acquired 29 points before Fulton finally got on the board. At 220 pounds, senior captain Derek Owen won by a takedown in over time. At 285 pounds, the Red Raiders’ Brennan Roberge got the only pin of the night for his team, pinning Derrick Button in 27 seconds.

At 99 pounds, the Firebirds` Jason Nipper pinned Joey Albelgore in the second period. Fulton was able to get four team points when Kirby LaBeef won by a major decision 8-0 over Alex Brutcher at 106 pounds.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Christmas Choir

Christmas Choir

by Jim Farfaglia


Maybe they were famous

in other grown-up ways:

Hollywood musicals, cowboy shows

or those sappy songs from olden days.


But for us ‘60s kids

who never knew the reason,

they were just joyful people, back again,

for another yuletide season.


Each of them brought us

their own special holiday song,

and we’d hear them in crowded stores

or on the radio all the day long.


One sang so holly jolly,

one of a nose so bright.

One got us rockin’ ‘round the tree,

another, dreaming of Christmases white.


And even though the rest of the year

we’d never hear them sing,

we knew that come December time

Gene and Burl, Brenda and Bing


would join together for a visit

to offer their lyrical cheer,

filling our hearts with hope

as Christmas Day drew near.

Christmas break

Christmas breakby Kate Rothrock

Two days until Christmas break! It is a much needed, well deserved break for everyone so enjoy it!

The Hope Club, FBLA, Student Senate and French Club had an outstanding result of the first annual school-wide can food drive!

Thanks to all the students at GRB, 1,250 cans were collected for the food pantry to help feed families in need. Congratulations to Mrs. Nylen’s guided study hall for collecting the most with 172 cans!

This past Sunday, the Science Club spent a fun-filled day at the MOST. Members of the club watched “The Polar Express” in IMAX and spent time exploring the MOST. It was a great day for all!

Tomorrow, Dec. 20 is the holiday orchestra concert starting at 7:30 p.m. The orchestra has been working very hard to prepare this concert so come and listen to a wonderful performance.

After winning a very close match last year, the boys varsity wrestling team hopes to defeat Phoenix once again tonight at 7 p.m.

This is the first home match and it is against a longtime rival so come support them! New coach Mr. Stalker and the team have been hard at work all season and hopefully tonight it will pay off.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Jesus’ incarnation

by Pastor David Grey

“Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” — Philippians 2:6

The birth of Messiah, born in Bethlehem to the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, gave mankind a baby like no other — a baby who was both fully God and fully man. Incarnation. Though the word does not appear in scripture, it comes from two Latin words, “in” and “caro” (which means flesh). Together they mean “clothed in flesh.” This is exactly what the passage in Philippians says…that God the Son came in flesh.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “The Incarnation, when God became man, was the central event in the very history of the world…the thing that the whole story has been about.”

How true. From the vantage point of God who created all things; who is king of kings and lord of lords, all of history hinges on this pivotal point of the incarnation. The hinge of history is the time Jesus lived and walked among us in the flesh.

Even our calendar is arranged in acknowledgment. Everything prior to the incarnation is referred to as BC (before Christ) and everything following His birth is known as AD, Anno Domini, the Year of our Lord.

Without the incarnation of God, Himself, the whole story of mankind,  our separation from God and our own inability to ever be restored, has an inconceivably sad ending.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Young hunters

Young hunters
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

For years, the number of American hunters was very noticeably declining as fewer people joined the ranks than were dropping out or dying.

Hunters, far from relishing the fact that there were fewer hunters competing with them in the woods, were almost frantically searching for avenues to introduce non-hunters to the sport they loved so much.

Hunters, as well as fishermen and trappers, had been under assault for decades by national organizations such as PETA and HSUS, and it was beginning to look like the tide might be turning against the sportsmen.

At first, those individuals and organizations that were trying to stem the tide were myoptic, looking only for strategies that would draw young men into the pursuits they cherished and promoted.

It was known and could be demonstrated that the younger a boy could be introduced to hunting and other outdoor sports, the more likely they were to continue on with them into later life.

Fathers and sons formed stronger bonds through fishing and hunting than they did through team sports or video games.

At first, the efforts to bolster the hunting fraternity were well intentioned, but lacked the all-encompassing vision that would be necessary to attain their goal. The rate of decline slowed, but the overall trend continued.

Men were encouraged to take a youngster hunting and to reach out to older non-hunters.

In New York State, sportsmen’s groups advocated and lobbied for lowering the age that youngsters could begin hunting, and following way too many frustrating years of unreasonable legislative resistance or just plain inertia, the age was lowered two years to 12 for small game and 14 for big game.

It really wasn’t low enough; New York still has one of the most restrictive youth hunter age requirements of all 50 states, but something was better than nothing.

The result was that more younger hunters came into the sport and stayed with it than had been the case before.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397