Category Archives: Columnists


Hodgepodge: October 27, 2012

by Roy Hodge

When I was growing up in Syracuse, downtown was an exciting place to go. I would meet my mother after school at the bus stop at Midland and Newell streets, or walk there with her from our house. I would often go downtown with my grandmother for lunch and the movies.

That bus stop was about half way between McKinley School and our house.  (I remember that Midland Ave. in that area was still paved with cobblestones. My father told me that the cobblestones gave the horses that pulled the wagons and carriages on that street years ago better traction on the road.)

We would get on one of the red and yellow city buses and ride downtown.  It was a busy place in those days. Downtown was anchored by the Dey Brothers and E. W. Edwards department stores. Other large stores included Chappel’s, The Lincoln Store, The Addis Co., Flah’s, and in later years Sibley’s. Also, W. T. Grant’s, McCrory’s, Wool- worth’s, Kresge’s, and the Clark Music Co.

There was the Economy Book Store, Ed Guth’s Hobby Shop, a half dozen shoe stores, Conde Toy Shop, Wilson’s Jewelry Store, men’s and women’s clothing stores, and probably dozens more I don’t recall. The Mohican was downtown’s only grocery store.

There were movie theaters – Loew’s State and Loew’s Strand, RKO Keith’s, Paramount, Empire, Eckel and the Civic Theatre. There were restaurants – Child’s, and Waldorf Cafeteria – and one of our favorites, The White Tower, which served delicious hamburgers before McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King. There were lots of small shops and places like the Karmelkorn Shop, and Planter’s Peanut Store.

Hotel Syracuse, the Onondaga Hotel, Jefferson Clinton Hotel, the Yates Hotel and Mizpah Hotel, all in downtown Syracuse, were busy serving the city’s visitors.

Downtown at Christmas time was a special time for us. My mother usually took us “to the city” for our annual visit with Santa. I loved the decorated streets and store windows, even when I was too old to sit on Santa’s lap. Going downtown was an enjoyable after school and weekend activity for us. Now, it’s “to the mall.”

*  *  *  *  *

I have a good friend who is also a regular reader of this column. Just about every week lately she responds to what I have written by throwing a figure at me. That, it turns out, is the number of times a certain word appeared in my most recent column.

I started this little game after the Sept. 8 column about the State Fair when I asked how many times I mentioned sausage sandwiches. It was eight and my friend answered correctly.

In the column of Sept. 22, I was talking about reading “The Book of Garlic,” and about receiving rules for raising garlic several years ago from my friend and Patriot co-worker Sophie Drozda. I didn’t ask readers that week, but my friend threw the number 24 at me. That was the number of times that I mentioned the word garlic.

In the Oct. 6 issue, I mentioned the words grandma and grandmother eight times. In a follow-up article in the Oct. 13 column, it was 19 times for those two words.

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
Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: October 27, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Tuesday morning found me in Redfield and it really looked like hunting season. The leaves are 70 percent gone from the trees and with the exception of some trees like the beech and oak, trees will be pretty much bare very soon.

Hunters have no problem with being able to see deer as some have been proving. My nephew, Jason Yerdon, downed a very nice buck during black powder season with his father’s old muzzleloader. His deer weighed 196 pounds on a hanging scales and sported a wide 24.5-inch spread, eight-point rack.

I’ve hunted for 55 years and never killed a buck that large. Last year, I took the best buck I’ve ever shot and it was about 40 pounds lighter than Jason’s. I have never hunted with black powder even though I have shot them at targets and I have always been impressed by their accuracy.

During early bow and the muzzleloader seasons, I am more into small game. I used to hunt with a bow, but I don’t climb trees very well now, so I’ve given it up. I’ll leave all of that to younger fellows like my nephews.

Bigger deer are becoming more common each year as more deer survive the gunning season. A huge number of deer are killed on our highways and when we have a long hard winter (how long has it been since that happened?)  many younger deer perish, but in spite of all factors the overall number continues to grow. More bucks are reaching the age of two and a half years and many well beyond that, giving them a chance to gain some impressive body mass and substantial antlers.

Last year, hunters took 228,350 deer and 46 percent of the bucks were at least two and a half years of age or more. Back in 2000, that figure was only 30 percent and in the early 1990s, it seldom reached 28 percent.

The trend is easy to see; more deer are living longer and getting bigger. The herd cannot continue to expand forever, but right now deer hunting is the best it has ever been — and that’s great news for the deer hunters.

I guess the big news in the Redfield area is the black bears that have been showing up there. This past summer quite a few people reported seeing one or more. I heard that one was hit and killed by a car a short time ago on Route 17 near the Harvester Mills Road. Two were seen together a couple weeks ago near the cemetery in North Redfield. It is hard to judge just how many of the critters there are, because they move around a lot and it’s difficult to identify individual bears, but there is no doubt that there are several of them roaming the Redfield woods.

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

Jerry’s Journal: October 27, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

In case you were wondering, like I did in my last column, whatever happened to the busts of Albert Lindsey Lee and his wife and the grandfather clock that used to keep us company when we sat in the lobby of our old Lee Memorial Hospital, well they were donated by the hospital auxiliary to the Friends of History of Fulton and are now on display at the Pratt House. Thanks to Sue Brown for sharing this good information via a phone call.

Sam Vescio is one of the most likeable people you could ever know. If you happen to meet him out and about he’ll give you a hearty handshake and search his quick mind for something special about you to greet you with. He has a remarkable memory and gift of gab.

My friend Marlene he greets with “June 18” as he recalls her birthday. With my husband Ed it’s “EJK-407” — Ed’s initials and former address on Walradt Street.

Some people, I’ve been told, he even greets with the last three digits of their Social Security which he memorized a long time ago. Hello, “Hillary,” he greets me, with a big grin, because he says I remind him of you know who!

Sam is one of 12 children of Angelo and Rozina Vescio. They were Italian immigrants. His father came over first and when he decided he needed a wife “Uncle Joe” became a matchmaker and told Angelo if he’d pay her way over, Rozina would marry him.

“My poor mother,” Sam said. She didn’t know anything but work and pregnancy. His oldest brother Carm was born in 1916, followed by Frankie, Tony, Angie (Talamo), Pete, Phil, Ace, Joe, Sam, Rose (Clark), Eleanor (McGraw), and June (Johnson). Rozina’s last child died with her in childbirth in 1936. She was only forty-two. Today only Angie, Joe, Eleanor, June, and of course Sam, remain.

Sam said his father was a muck farmer but did not own the land they worked. “We were sharecroppers,” working muck out Maple Avenue, toward Hannibal, Bowens Corners, Sharp’s Road, depending wherever land was vacant and available, he said.

Land owners supplied the equipment and seed and the Vescio clan did the rest. “I know what it’s like to be barefoot and barebacked out in the hot sun,” he said, “working on the muck when I was a kid…and I got an allowance of 15 cents a week, to buy candy, an ice cream cone, or even go to the movies.”

Sam said they split the profit from their harvest with the landowners. They’d ship lettuce to New York City and hope buyers would pay $1.25 cents a crate. Sometimes it didn’t work out and they never got paid at all. It was better later on when buyers came on the field, he said.

When the Korean War broke out in the early 1950s, Sam got drafted into the Army. He was spared going into battle, however, when his group was “split into two” and he was sent to “leadership school” and ended up in Germany. Sam made First Sergeant in only 16 months. But he didn’t care for Army life and when his two years were up he left the service, and came back to Fulton and civilian life.

Sam got a job in the Sealright Machine Shop, where for several years he felt content and productive, that is until his leadership abilities kicked in and he was elected union president. That endeavor did not have a happy ending. There was talk of a strike among other employees, which Sam didn’t endorse. Even so, the strike happened anyway, Sam got the blame and he quit his job.

Sam went into politics in 1966 when he was appointed alderman of the Second Ward to replace Dominick Munger who left to become Fulton’s Postmaster, and he successfully ran twice more.

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

Poetry Corner: On Rainy Saturday Mornings

by Jin Farfaglia

On Rainy Saturday Mornings


On rainy Saturday mornings

we’d get up early, my brother and I,

and make our own breakfast:

hot cocoa and toast with extra jelly.


Then we’d tiptoe to the living room,

turn on the TV low

and flip through the three channels,

amazed at all the fun to choose from.


We’d start with Western Jamboree

heroes like the Lone Ranger riding in,

always ready to fight for what was right.


Next there’d be Looney Tunes

with Elmer, who’d chase Bugs,

who’d yell at Daffy, who’d pick on poor Porky.


Or maybe we’d watch The Three Stooges

those knuckleheads always tripping up,

forever pointing fingers at each other.


But we always made sure to watch Sky King

that solitary plane, searching,

flying high across the prairies…


Later, the rain would stop

and the rest of the day we’d be outside –

chasing our friends and being knuckleheads,

sometimes itching for a fight


but always letting our imagination run free,

letting it fly

across the skyways of possibility.

Light In The Darkness: October 24, 2012

by Pastor David Grey

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

The upcoming election could truly be the most momentous in our history. There is no question that we are at a critical point in American history and as caring Americans we ought to be concerned. At the same time, all the kingdoms of this world, good and bad, are passing. The only kingdom that will matter for all eternity is the Kingdom of Heaven. It is the only kingdom we are to pray will come in fullness.

Yet, many who call themselves Christians are confused regarding their citizenship. The most recent “Ekklesia Digest E-Newsletter” opened with the heading “Kingdom Confusion?” and went on to ask, “How do you see the progress of God’s Kingdom in America’s near future? In light of the nation drawing nearer to a fiscal cliff, the appearing of war clouds on the horizon abroad, and the teetering toward cultural acceptance of immoral lifestyles, which trajectory would you say God’s righteous rule is moving? Is its light drawing back into inconspicuous shadows or do we detect the rays of dawn on the horizon?”

There followed a series of articles, each of which was written to remind us that the Kingdom of God and its advancement on earth does not depend upon the success or failure of any of the worlds’ kingdoms, even ours. In fact, the Kingdom of God is often advanced most during times of great difficulty and hardship within those nations.

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


Bodley Bulletins: October 24, 2012

Kate Rothrock
Kate Rothrock

by Kate Rothrock

It’s fall play week! The cast and crew of “The Laramie Project” have been working hard for months preparing for the show. The play is Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p,m. The show is rated PG-13 for mature audiences.

The show is a truly moving story about acceptance and equality. Many of the actors are portraying more than one character. Come support the drama club as they show off all the hard work they have put in!

Last Friday was the PBIS celebration and it was a success. Everyone enjoyed spending the last 45 minutes of the day doing different activities.

Friday is picture retake day. It is the last chance for a school ID and yearbook picture if you missed last picture day or do not like your pictures.

If you are having a retake, bring the original picture package with you. If you want to purchase pictures, forms are available in the main office.

The photographers will be at G. Ray Bodley from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday so don’t miss this last opportunity!

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


Laughing Through Life: October 24, 2012

Andrew Henderson
Andrew Henderson

by Andrew Henderson

With a nod to Roy Hodge, this column will be a hodepodge of sorts.

First, let me say how giddy I am — once again — that the Cardinals have a chance to be in the World Series. Ah yeah!

As I write this Monday morning, the Cardinals and the Giants will be playing game seven of the National League Championships Series later that night. But before I gush (or cry) over the Redbirds, I want to offer my condolences to all you Yankee fans, including those here at The Valley News: sales representative Randy Kitts, graphic artist Jeff Adkins, Publisher Tom Cuskey, and reporter Carol Thompson.

I am truly sorry that Alex Rodriguez can’t hit a fastball — even if it were thrown from a Fulton Junior High School pitcher. I truly am.

I am sorry that Robinson Cano hit .056 in the American League Championship Series. I’m sorry that Nick Swisher is Nick Swisher.

Of course, I’m truly sorry that Derek Jeter broke his ankle. I like Jeter. He is an old-school Yankee and I hope he finishes his career with New York, unlike that one player who played with the Cardinals last year and left the greatest organization known to man for a measly $260 million.

What was his name again?

But let’s get back to the point: St. Louis might be back in the World Series, defending its crown from last year. Ah yeah!

I enjoy October baseball mainly because the Cardinals seem to be in the playoffs every year. But even if St. Louis was not playing, I would still love postseason baseball. In the past 10 years, however, I have loved it even more.

I read a stat at that pretty much says it all: “Over the last 10 Octobers, the Cardinals have now won 41 postseason games. That’s one more than the Yankees, seven more than the Red Sox and almost as many as the next two winningest NL franchises combined (the Phillies and Giants, with 42 between them).”

Can you say dynasty? (I hope I didn’t just jinx them)

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