Category Archives: Columnists

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.”

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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.

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

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

Light In The Darkness: July 5, 2012

by Pastor David Grey

“Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King over all the earth. Praise him with a psalm! God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne.” — Psalm 47:6-8

In anticipation of our Independence Day celebration in 2012, I found myself wondering what hymns and songs were popular or at least in their infancy in 1776.

What did our Christian forefathers who forged ‘one nation under God’ sing in church? We know that many were believers and that their faith in the God of Scriptures greatly influenced their thoughts and decisions as well as the laws they passed which closely follow the precepts of scripture. They attended church and not a few were pastors. Here is what I found.

One of the popular hymns of the day in the American colonies (especially within the Methodist movement) was Charles Wesley’s hymn, “And Can it Be.”

Mr. Wesley wrote the words to this powerful hymn in 1738. He sang it with his brother John  shortly after John’s “Aldersgate experience.” It was first published in 1738 subtitled,  “Free Grace.”

It was widely sung in churches at the time of the Revolution as it still is today. Each line expresses the awe the believer feels at the realization that God would choose to love us. “Died He for me? Who caused His pain. For me? Who Him to death pursued?”  How can it be?

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

Hodgepodge: June 30, 2012

by Roy Hodge

Last week, before we were scheduled to visit grandson Marcus on the occasion of his second birthday, I brushed up on what to expect from two-year-olds.

I remembered that two-year-olds like to move quickly from one activity to another and then come back to the beginning.

They will play with a toy for a few minutes and then move on to another one.  When you are two, ripping wrapping paper from a present and the box the toy was packaged in might be more appealing than the gift itself. The ribbons are a lot of fun, too, and they taste good.

Two-year-olds walk, jump, run and climb. A great deal of time is spent exploring, pushing, pulling, filling and dumping.  They cry, and then very quickly they are laughing and giggling.

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Poetry Corner: A River Runs Through Us

by Jim Farfaglia

Most days we don’t give it a thought,

our cars traveling over it so swiftly.

But if you ever get the chance to walk across

– either bridge will do –

you can almost hear its history

flowing beneath you:


The Iroquois, enchanted by its waters,

listening to its message

and living by it, peacefully.


The European explorers, passing through,

finding its churning life-force

and finding good reason to stay.


The mills – flour, paper and woolen –

its industrious waters turning wheels,

turning this settlement into a city.


The locks, bringing in the big boats,

bringing young and old to its banks,

where they watched in wonder.


The parks, havens beside its waters,

fishing in summer, skating in winter;

a pause in life’s busyness.


This mighty river,

how it moves us through time.

How it reflects our lives.

How it stirs our spirits!