Category Archives: Columnists


Hodgepodge: July 14, 2012

by Roy Hodge

In the middle of a period of intense summer heat here, I am to bring you just enough Fulton winter weather and snow information to perhaps cool you off a little but not so much that you have to get your snow shovel out of the basement.

Here is something I wrote in February of 1994 when Fulton was in the middle of a typical winter, and I was wondering if it would ever end:

I know that I am not alone but at this point of time I feel like a refugee of a winter that will never end.

My snow shovel became a wasted pile of wood and plastic about 100 inches of snow ago.

There is a path between my house and car but it is now about two feet higher than the top step of my porch.

I now have to stick two fingers into the middle finger space in one of my gloves because the finger next to that has a big hole in it.

My car doesn’t have one of those electronic voices but if it did I know it would be saying to me, “Go back inside, stupid, it’s 20 below zero out here.”

I don’t know what to do; my nose is running, but everything else refuses to.

I am so embarrassed to sit down in front of people and put plastic bags over my feet so I can get my boots on.

With all the snow we have piled up there could be a couple of very tall people alongside all those Christmas trees in our snow piles.

My snow brush has lost so many bristles that my toothbrush would do a better job clearing my windshield.

I am trying to think of clever answers that can be repeated in a family newspaper for all those people who keep asking, “Cold enough for you?”

I think I would finally appreciate the long johns that I used to hate receiving from my grandmother every Christmas of my youth.

Does anyone really care that Oswego or Syracuse may have received more snow than Fulton?  (For the record though, I’m sure neither one of them have.)

There is enough salt on my car to keep a large herd of cows happy all summer long. (Do cows still lick those things?)

Why, in the middle of a nasty winter, do we have to tolerate Punxsutawney Phil? Why doesn’t someone put him in a cave where there are no shadows?

I would also like to find a special place for the news commentator who reminds us that in past years we have received an accumulation of snow in April, May, and yes, even June.

Do I care that there are 34 more days until the official beginning of spring? (That translates into about 816 hours, or 48,960 minutes or about three to four more feet of snow.)

Yes, I am a refugee of winter.

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397


Laughing Through Life: July 11, 2012

Andrew Henderson

The last few columns I have been writing about my all-weird-funny baseball team.

I still have one more column left in the series, but I’m going to hold off in order to write about a different sport altogether: Major League Eating.

Last week, we celebrated the Fourth of July. We celebrated the birth of the United States of America — and the fact that we kicked the British to the curb!

That fact reminds me on a true story. I once had a British teenager in my church youth group. He moved to the area with his family.

When his first Fourth of July came around, he was confused on why we were celebrating.

After he was told the reasons — ie. we didn’t like the queen and that they drive on the wrong side of the road, among others —  he said, “Wait, we fought the Americans?”

Apparently, they don’t teach that in British classrooms.

And on that note, is there a better way to celebrate our triumph than to watch a bunch of gluttonous professional eaters slurp down hot dogs like they were slimy, slithering gummie worms?

Last Wednesday, the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest was held at Coney Island. Competitors — both male and female — gathered to make a run at the prestigious “Mustard Yellow Belt” (emphasis added for dramatic effect).

They were no match for Joey “Jaws” Chestnut.

Fox Sports had this to say about the event: “Joey Chestnut ate his way to a sixth straight win at the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest at Coney Island on Wednesday, downing 68 to tie his personal best in a sweaty, gag-inducing spectacle.”

Chestnut was neck-and-neck with competitors during the first half of the contest, but he pulled ahead in the remaining minutes when the other competitors slowed as the clock wound down.

If you have never watched this competition on ESPN, I urge you not to — unless you want to see hot dog chunks come flying out of a 100-pound dude like a Bob Gibson fastball.

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Light In The Darkness: July 11, 2012

by Pastor David Grey

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” — Joshua 24:15

One of the most important things you will do in life is to learn which things you can control and which things you cannot and then to consistently choose to address those that you can from the perspective of the Lord’s precepts.  Life is made up of choices, in fact, that’s what life is — a constant series of choices we make that lead us in one direction or another and those choices in turn, mold us. Choosing the right things will always mean saying “no” to  something else.

This is true in the physical world around us and it is true in the spiritual realm. Every day we choose for ourselves whom we will serve…light or darkness, sin or righteousness, life or death, heaven or hell. We are constantly choosing between the two.

Ray Pritchard, president of Keep Believing Ministries, says, “The life of faith is a journey with God that begins the moment we trust Christ. It is  about learning to give up control of those things we never really controlled in the first place.”

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397


Hodgepodge: June 7, 2012

by Roy Hoge


Once the end of the school year became official, the day we received our report cards, Wiman Ave. became a hub of activity.

We typically ran ourselves hot and sweaty all day long on hot summer days and splashed in the wet street and in puddles following the frequent showers.

In my memory, every summer day was a nice day. Even those summer showers provided good times. But even on those idyllic summer days of my youth there were frequent thunderstorms.

I remember an especially electrical electrical storm. I was sitting with my very reluctant grandmother watching the rain and lightning outside the big front window in her living room. We were both trying valiantly to put on a brave front to hide the fact that we were both “scared to death.”

Suddenly there was a very loud explosive noise – much louder than the constant thunder – from just outside the window and Grandma and I ended up screaming in each other’s arms. Lightning had hit a transformer on a nearby pole.

When we weren’t running and sweating, or taking a break during thunderstorms, we were spending much of every day in “our swimming pool,” which wasn’t a luxurious one in someone’s backyard, but the crowded, noisy and wonderful part of our summer also known as the McKinley Park swimming pool.

During the hottest days of summer we were at the pool — a short distance from our homes by the way of shortcuts — mornings, afternoons, and most days, after supper.

An important part of summer was enjoying our dripping popsicles every day while sitting on the stoop in front of Steve Gilbert’s corner grocery store. In between the popsicles, we found plenty of time and space for the goodies in the bell-ringing, music-playing ice cream trucks that visited the neighborhood.

Spending time with my best friend Tucker was a big part of my summer. He spent a lot of time at his grandmother’s house, which was next door to us, but usually lived in an apartment away from our neighborhood with his mother.

After elementary school, we never went to the same school at the same time.

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Jerry’s Journal: July 7, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Who remembers getting their milk delivered right to the door? Who remembers the little milk box in the kitchen wall?

It had two doors; one opened into the kitchen, the other one opened to outside.

It was a neat concept: You put your empties on the shelf in between the doors and the milkman collected them when he put new bottles of milk on the handy shelf.

Then, and all you had to do was open the milk box door in the house to retrieve your fresh supply! (If you didn’t have a milk box in the house you probably had a free-standing one on the porch or stoop.)

Who remembers how the cream in the bottle of milk rose to the top? It could be mixed right in, or poured off and used for coffee or cooking, or drunk straight out of the glass bottle.

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A Little Of This And A Little Of That: July 5, 2012

by Paul McKinney

As the George M. Cohan song goes…

You’re a grand old flag, You’re a high flying flag, And forever in peace may you wave.

You’re the emblem of the land I love. The home of the free and the brave. Ev’ry heart beats true  ‘neath the Red, White and Blue, Where there’s never a boast or brag. Should auld acquaintance be forgot, Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

July 4, 2012 will celebrate the 236th year as a country and a people. And if pride and tradition prevails, many a house will fly that beautiful symbol of the U.S.A. — the Red, White and Blue.

And in some cities, like our own, tons of folks will start to mark their place along the parade route, waiting in anticipation of the bands, floats, fire engines, and young and old marching proudly down the “main streets” all over our fair country.

We have much to be proud of that’s for sure. Our history as a nation is brimming with generosity, sacrifice, and a human spirit unmatched in the history of human civilization.

As our veterans march by, with heads held high, we must remember the human sacrifice they have paid to keep our country and others around the world free.

Those who have gallantly gone before, served a nation of people in just and unjust wars proudly wearing the uniform of the land and people they swore to protect.

Those who serves us now, do so with a continued honor of tradition and pride and often leave loved ones at home who face the heartache of separation and potential loss.

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397