Category Archives: Columnists

Light In The Darkness: October 10, 2012

by Pastor David Grey

“Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” – 1 Corinthians 9:16-17

As many of you know, the Alliance Defending Freedom declared Oct. 7 as “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.” They urged pastors to use their pulpits on that day to either promote or denigrate specific political candidates, political parties and/or policies. Such preaching would be in direct violation of the IRS ruling  prohibiting non-profit organizations (including churches) who elect 501(c)(3) status) from such involvement.  Their purpose was to provoke the IRS to action so that the matter may be tested in court.

I cannot agree with them. I have been called to preach the Word of the Living God and have no business addressing politics from the pulpit in any case. The fact is that I am already absolutely free to preach everything the scriptures present…without restriction. Someone in power may object to some aspect of the truth and throw me in jail, but that does not limit my freedom to preach! That is God-given.

It is my personal opinion that if the IRS does take up this gauntlet thrown down by pastors, the results will be far different from what is desired and perhaps even disastrous to the church as a whole. We have no legitimate reason to believe that a majority on the Supreme Court care at all for what the Constitution says…an important requirement if they are to overrule the IRS in the first place.

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


Hodgepodge: October 6, 2012

by Roy Hodge

National Punctuation Day, a celebration of punctuation, occurs each year during September. The special day was founded in 2004 by Jeff Rubin of MTV’s “College Humor Show” to promote the correct use of punctuation.

The value of punctuation: An English teacher wrote these words on the board: woman without her man is nothing. The teacher then asked the students to punctuate the words correctly. The men wrote: “Woman, without her man, is nothing.” The women wrote: “Woman! Without her, man is nothing.”

Most sources list 13 major punctuation marks: apostrophe, brackets, colon, comma, dash, ellipsis, exclamation point, hyphen, parentheses, period, question mark, quotation marks and semicolon. (Did you think an ellipsis is when the moon moves in front of the sun?)

Other sources include slashes, back- slashes, round brackets as well as square brackets, and underlines.

Janice Witherspoon Neulib, professor emeritus in the English department at Illinois State University, tells us that her least favorite punctuation is the dash. “I try never, ever to put dashes in my writing. It’s equivalent to putting a heart (instead of a dot) over the i.

Oh, Oh, I think I’m in trouble. Here I am, writing a column about punctuation, and trying my best to punctuate correctly.

Right away I run into a college professor, a college professor emeritus no less, who is telling us that she tries to “never, ever” put dashes in her writing.

Do you think that I ever wrote anything without using at least one dash (okay, probably two dashes)? I respect Ms. Neulib’s opinion — but — I think using the dash — in writing — can be very appropriate — or perhaps — a bit overused — but maybe not.

The importance of punctuation (From Wikipedia):

Dear John,

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy – will you let me be yours?  Gloria. Or…

Dear John,

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior.  You have ruined me. For other men I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?  Yours, Gloria.

From the book jacket of the best seller, “Eats, Shoots & Leaves,” by Lynn Truss:

A Panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich eats it, draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.”

Why?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

“I’m a panda,” he says, at the door. “Look it up.”

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

“Panda: Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China.. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

So, punctuation does matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death.

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
Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: October 6, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Seasons are open, the leaves are ready to turn, and migrations are underway or soon will be with salmon running and ducks getting at least a bit restless.

It’s a great time to be alive for sportsmen, but non-hunters enjoy the change in the outdoors as well. Everyone has their favorite things to do right now.

The Adirondacks will be alive with tourists from now until the leaves have dropped and each person has their own ways of enjoying the view.

The Adirondack Railroad is a popular method for those who want to just relax and watch the panorama unfold without the hassle of driving.

Bus tours take thousands of foliage lovers from city to mountains and back, often with an overnight or two at an Adirondack destination.

It’s not an arduous drive for us folks right here in central New York, and a personal vehicle, in my estimation, provides the greatest opportunity for enjoying Mother Nature’s fall display.

Sweet Thing and I have taken Adirondack day trips and we have stayed over for a night or two in or around Lake Placid or Old Forge.

Certainly, even though it’s more costly, staying is the most relaxing, but it’s a good idea to check on lodging ahead of time, because rooms fill up fast during these days.

Hikers, bikers, kayakers, and campers also find the brilliant colors and cooler temperatures to be to their taste. What’s not to like? Insect numbers are greatly reduced; although, ticks still have to be guarded against. The cool temperatures make physical exertion more comfortable no matter what you are doing (except swimming perhaps).

Some always have a concern over the coinciding of great hiking time and hunting season, but over the years, hikers have used the paths and woods nearly without incident.

Two important things go together to keep hikers safe during hunting season. The first is hikers taking the precaution of wearing some hunter orange so they can be seen easier by hunters in the same area.

The second thing is hunters being sure of their target, but whenever an incident has taken place, almost invariably, the non-hunter has failed to take the precaution of wearing orange.

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

Light In The Darkness: October 3, 2012

by Pastor David Grey

“I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.” – Psalm 145:1-3

Psalm 145 has been called, David’s “crown jewel of praise.” The ancient Israelites believed that reading and meditating upon this psalm could bring special blessing. They went so far as to declare that those who did so three different times during the day would be “happy.”

When we consider what this Psalm says about God and his wonderful provision for His people, it would be hard to disagree.

As David considers who God is and recalls all that He has done for His people, his heart can do little else but exalt and praise the name of God. Listen to some of the words he uses to describe the attributes of God. God is: “goodness,” “righteousness,” “gracious,” “compassionate,” “slow to anger,” “rich in love,” “good to all,” and “loving.” These remind us what kind of God He is and how He deals with people. We worship and praise Him because that is who He is and it is out of those qualities that  He deals with us. He is light and perfection of goodness.

In Him is no darkness at all, and it is out of that perfection that he longs and works for the good of all men. God is good…in every way imaginable way, God is good. He is good in His creation and He is good to His creation, especially to those who love and turn to him.

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: Poinsettia

by Jim Farfaglia



Today begins the magic.


Today I become a nature god,

ensuring exact amounts of sunlight and darkness

for this simple potted greenery.

By Christmas Day

it will become a bright and brilliant red!


As I ponder this transformation

I think about my life

and how far from nature’s spectrum I have faded:

overly dependent on overhead lighting,

hunched for hours at my computer.


But what if I balanced my need for light & dark?

What routines, once so important,

would drop like spent leaves?

What richness would rise from my roots

and spread through my veins?


How bright and brilliant would my red be?

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: September 29, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

I sacrificed the early goose season so that Sweet Thing and I could go to Sammamish, Wash. (just a ways east of Seattle) to visit my son, Ben, and our daughter-in-law, Meghan.

We spent a wonderful couple of weeks getting reacquainted with the sights and sounds of Western Washington.

Last Monday, I watched Green Bay play the Seattle Seahawks. It wasn’t just the final play that was goofed, there were poor calls or no calls all through the game.

That didn’t have much effect on our trip; I just thought I’d mention it since it seems like everyone else in the U.S. has done so, including the president.

This is the dry season in the Northwest – no, it doesn’t always rain in Seattle. We had one day of light drizzle, but for the most part it was sunny or partly overcast.

Washington desperately needs some rain, but the weather patterns don’t look promising. They have some huge forest fires in the Wenachee Mountains that had burned more than 140 square miles the last time I heard, which was about four days ago. They were not overly optimistic about getting them under control right away.

In the meantime, we took advantage of the tourist type weather to visit Pike’s market, where we picked up some smoked salmon and some fruit and vegetables. We bought some of the best peaches and mangos that I have ever tasted. The peaches were from Washington; I think the mangos were from Honduras.

We also visited the precinct office that my son works out of as a Seattle policeman. This is his seventh year on the force, which about makes him a veteran. Seattle has its own problems just like any city, but I feel pretty safe there, especially walking around with a policeman as a guide — off duty and in plain clothes, of course.

Ben’s wife has some relatives who are big time pheasant and duck hunters and I wanted to get to know them. I saw some of their bags from past hunts and they were impressive.

On one hunt, they limited out with just green head mallards. I’ve done that a few times, and they remain very memorable hunts for me. They also get quite a variety of birds at times.

In their pictures, I could easily identify pintails, widgeon, shovelers, ring bills, blue wing teal, cinnamon teal, mallards, and wood ducks. I am hoping I might be able to finagle myself into a hunt or two with those guys.

They hunt pheasants in Eastern Washington, which is a big grain growing section of the state. Mostly the farmers grow wheat, which doesn’t make for really fat birds like corn will produce, but they are good eating all the same.

They had all cock birds in their pictures, but I don’t know if they are the only ones legal or if they just pass up hens.

Of course, when you are near a fish hatchery, you just have to visit it, especially if the fish are running. There is a salmon hatchery in nearby Issaqua and the king salmon had started showing up, so we went to have a look. It isn’t quite the state of the art hatchery like we have in Altmar, but it does raise and release a lot of king and coho salmon.

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


Hodgepodge: September 29, 2012

by Roy Hodge

Following a visit with grandson Marcus a week ago (his mom and dad were there, too) I noticed that I wasn’t too frisky for a few days during the following week.

Marcus likes to run, to chase and be chased. When we are walking, it is great fun for him to get a few steps ahead of me, wait until he hears me catching up to him, then run way in front again, laughing all the way.

Marcus likes anything on wheels, but right now it is trucks that he really likes. He loves trucks of all sizes, including the little ones he pushes around on the floor, and the big construction vehicles that Daddy takes him up the road to see.

Adam said Marcus was especially fascinated recently by a huge Harvester that even a fully grown climber would need two step ladders to get into the cab.

I think Marcus leans towards red as his favorite color, not just for trucks, but for everything – but he pronounces the word purple as well as any of us adults present could have while he was playing with his newest toys.

He kept himself busy for a long time pushing his little trucks back and forth while making some very impressive “brmm-brmm” motor sounds – and for added excitement he happily discovered that his slide made a perfect mountain for his little trucks to maneuver.

We received a picture recently of Marcus proudly helping Daddy show off the large bass that he had caught.

Being two is sure exciting.

*  *  *  *  *

Over the weekend I picked up the little book of some of Muriel Allerton’s writings put together in the 90s by her son, Paul.

There is humor, of course:

“I don’t know about others of my gender, but I must have at least 20 pocketbooks ranging in age from one to at least 33 years.  They are stowed in a big box in my closet, and occasionally nostalgia will move me to explore their contents and use them again.

“All of the scraps of life – chewing gum, Tums wrappers, notes on the back of supermarket receipts, plus passages from books that I wanted to remember, were still in many of them.

“There was the scribbled joke about the man who was sick of life and went into a monastery where he took vows of poverty and silence. His assignment was to work in the fields without a word for a year after which he was told that he was entitled to two words. His first year’s utterance was ‘Food bad.’ At the end of the second year he said, ‘Bed bad.’  The following year, after his stint in the fields, he said, ‘I quit.’  The priest in charge then replied, ‘Good. All you’ve done is complain since you got here.’”

There’s information:

“October reminds us that it is time to hunker down. According to a wonderful book, ‘All About Months,’ by Mamie R. Krythe that I picked up at a garage sale years ago, October means ‘eighth’ in Latin, but then the Romans changed their calendar to make it the tenth month. The Romans liked it and refused to change it to conform to accuracy, no matter what.

“In northern European countries, October was known as wine month because that is when the grapes were harvested and the liquid confection made. There were rains and some snow in early New England Octobers called ‘squaw winter’ followed by ‘Indian summer.’ It was then that the natives could hunt and lay in more food for the winter.”

 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