Poetry Corner

Muck Farm Moment, by Jim Farfaglia

I love to drive by them in spring,

black soil waking my winter eyes

weary from landscapes of white.

 

Oh, how their richness stretches far,

how they open  with such promise

and foretell a bountiful season.

 

Soon, farmers will draw their tractors

back and forth, back and forth,

breaking open that promise

 

and planting it with hope;

trusting sun and rain and time

to reward their months of toil.

 

One day, their dreams come true

in a green, glorious goodness—

something we can only imagine

 

when we drive by each spring.

Phoenix track ready to begin season

By Rob Tetro
The Phoenix boys’ varsity track and field team is ready to participate in what is expected to be another competitive year in the OHSL Liberty League.
The Firebirds main goal is to have another competitive season in league play. Coach Keith Walberger said the OSHL Liberty League could be wide open this season and he expects Solvay to be the team to beat.
However, like Phoenix, Westhill and Marcellus are also expected to have solid teams and 2014 will be Cazenovia’s first year in the league. Walberger said nothing will be handed to the Firebirds this season. Phoenix expects to be challenged in every event of every meet they take part in.
The Firebirds’ seniors will play pivotal roles for the team this season. However, Walberger mentions his team also consists of many freshmen and sophomores with a lot of potential.
He credits his younger athletes for the attention and respect they have given to their experienced teammates. In fact, the desire and enthusiasm they have displayed already appears to be paying off. Walberger is encouraged by how quickly his younger athletes have been showing signs of development.
Many of Walberger’s athletes were members of the Phoenix varsity indoor track team this winter. His other athletes took part in other fall and/or winter sports. For the most part, the Firebirds were in decent physical condition when practices began in early March. However, nearly every athlete faced the challenge of redeveloping their event related skills and endurance levels to prepare for the upcoming season. Walberger said the adjustment was much easier for his experienced athletes. As anticipated, newer athletes had a harder time grasping what needed to be done to be physically prepared for the their events.
Seniors Dylan Switzer, Eric Hillpot, Mike Leach, Mike Girard and Anthony Brienza will serve as team captains for Phoenix this season. Walberger said he has never named this many captains in his tenure at the helm of the Firebirds track and field program and said athletes he selects to be captains have to be influential people both in competition and in the classroom.
Walberger said a captain is someone who sets an example other athletes want to duplicate. He mentions a captain is someone who leads by example in terms of work ethic on the track and in the classroom. Walberger also suggests someone who proudly represents Phoenix at local social functions will also be given leadership consideration.
Walberger said his five captains personify these qualities.
Phoenix enters the season with an abundance of strengths. Andy Padula is striving to remain among the best in Section 3 in the pole vault. After a solid performance in the Sectional Meet last season, Padula has put in a lot of hard work with a pole vault coach and is ready to make the most of his senior season. Walberger said expectations are high for high jumpers Eric Hillpot and Shaun Turner this season. They will be expected to be strong leadership figures for their event as well. The Firebirds will feature many talented new high jumpers in 2014.
In addition to being a premier pole vaulter, Andy Padula should have another solid season in the long jump and triple jump.

Boys’ tennis returns to Phoenix

By Rob Tetro

For the first time in many years, Phoenix will have a boys’ varsity tennis team.
Led by former Hannibal varsity tennis coach Chris Gould, the Firebirds have a couple of goals for the upcoming season. On the court, Phoenix wants to develop into a fundamentally sound team throughout the season. Off the court, the Firebirds hope to generate interest in the sport within the community.
As the start of practice neared, Phoenix actively participated in preseason activates that prepared them for short distance sprints they would be doing when practices began in early March. Gould said many of his players also took part in fall or winter sports and were in decent physical condition when practices began.
Currently, the Firebirds physical conditioning is on par with where Gould them expects them to be as competition begins. During the final days leading up to its first event of the season, Phoenix was able to focus on physically preparing to hit balls. Gould suggests it’s a positive sign if his team has the ability to handle an increasing amount of repetitions.
The Firebirds have not named captains as of yet.

Looking ahead to the schedule that awaits Phoenix, Gould has highlighted the opponents from rural school districts. He feels his team has an opportunity to be competitive against teams who have programs and budget support similar to Phoenix. But in addition to rural schools, the Firebirds also will have to face teams from suburban school districts well.

Gould said he expects Manlius Pebble Hill to have another strong season, while Christian Brothers Academy and Westhill are in for solid seasons as well.

Returning to varsity competition after an extended hiatus could be a tall order for Phoenix or any other scholastic varsity team in its shoes. The Firebirds take the court as an inexperienced team. For the most part, the team lacks experience at the varsity level. They also have a limited understanding of the fundamentals of the game, which includes proper stroke mechanics.

Phoenix is striving to create interest in its tennis program within the community but sometimes the only way to do so is to show signs of life. However, Gould points out that his team doesn’t take the court without a few notable strengths.

He feels that his team is very enthusiastic, determined to improve and displays a willingness to both listen and learn. The Firebirds are expected to take the lumps that come with being a program returning to the scholastic sports scene. Inexperience aside, Gould strongly feels the strengths his team brings to the table will help them show the potential needed to set the foundation for a solid future.

Fly-fishing event for women coming to Altmar

Submitted by Joe Mannino

The Steelhead Lodge will hosting a Women’s Fly-fishing Weekend May 2 through May 4 on the Salmon River.

The event consists of riverside lodging, home-cooked meals, a seminar led by Vicky Lane, renowned fly fisherwoman, and plenty of time spent fishing the Salmon River.

This is a “hands on” learning experience for women of all ages. More and more women have discovered the joys of fly-fishing.

For more information about the event , visit http://steelheadlodge.com/womensflyfishweekend.html or call 298-4371 or email lodgekeeper@steelheadlodge.com

Valley Viewpoints

Fulton zone changes

Regarding the above mentioned article on page one, of the Saturday April 5, 2014 edition of the Valley News, there was some important information left out of this article, that I feel that the residents of the 6th Ward, City of Fulton should be aware of.

After the Mayor and the Common Council heard concerns from a local Realtor and a landlord, I was given the opportunity to speak on reasons I thought that encouraged the Common Council to act on this zoning change in the 6th Ward.

I’ve mentioned since my campaign that the main concern to the 6th Ward, to which I try to make a difference, is the quality of life that everyone should enjoy from day-to-day.

Unfortunately, I’ll get calls from residents in the 6th Ward, concerning issues such as people arguing over bad drugs they’ve purchased; at 6 a.m. yelling out to each other, in front of certain rental properties.

Also, residents have found beer bottles, cans, used needles, and strewn trash in their yards.

This should not, and will not be tolerated by the good residents that work hard, pay taxes and keep their properties looking great.

While there are great landlords in Fulton, there are still a few landlords who just don’t care, and consequently, the neighborhood surrounding these few undesirable rental properties have to deal with the above issues, sometimes on a daily basis.

As the article did state, future legislation by the Common Council will address the Realtor and the landlords concerns. Also, the Common Council will pass further legislation to try to continually improve the quality of life for the hard-working residents in Fulton.

In the future, I’m hoping that the Valley News will print all the information given, to include that given by the Common Councilors, who have certain issues, pertaining to their respective Wards.

Larry Macner

6th Ward Councilor

City of fulton

State Senate Report

By state Sen. Patricia Ritchie

It’s often said that opportunity breeds success.

With the passage of the new state budget comes a wide variety of changes aimed at creating new opportunities that will enable all New Yorkers to continue moving forward.

Two weeks ago, I brought you news that my Young Farmers NY plan — aimed at encouraging more young people to enter careers in the agriculture industry — was included in the state’s new spending plan.

This is just one of the initiatives included in the state budget that will help to create more jobs and a better quality of life for those who live in our region.

Additional highlights of the 2014-15 spending plan include:

** New, much-needed tax relief for hardworking families, including lower utility taxes and the return of property tax rebate checks;

** A record $1.1 billion increase in State education aid, helping to ensure all students are set on a pathway for future success;

** More funding to  help New Yorkers and their families make college more affordable, including a boost in the maximum tuition assistance program (TAP) award;

** More tax relief that will enable small businesses and manufacturers expand, succeed and create jobs;

** New job training opportunities that will help train workers in an effort to help them attain a bright, rewarding future;

** Critical funding to expand the state’s EPIC program, which helps our state’s senior citizens afford the life-saving medications they need to stay healthy.

As your state senator, my goals have been to revitalize our economy, grow jobs, provide relief for hardworking taxpayers and create new opportunities that all have a shot at attaining.

With the new 2014-15 state budget, we have taken major steps forward towards reaching those goals.

For more information on the new spending plan — and how it affects you and your family — I encourage you to visit my website, www.ritchie.nysenate.gov.

Light in the Darkness

“A very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:   “Hosanna to the Son of David!  ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’  Hosanna in the highest!”   Matthew 21:8-9

Chuck Warnoc, a small church pastor and regular contributor to Outreach Magazine, in a message titled, “What Kind of King Did You Expect?,” wrote, “If Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was triumphal on Palm Sunday, what went wrong less than a week later?

Why did the crowds who adored Jesus on Sunday, turn on him by Friday of that week?” Both the title and the questions are thought-provoking.

This is especially so in this day when there are so many different ideas and images of just who Jesus really is. Paul implied early on that there would be those who would proclaim a gospel (s) different from the one revealed by Jesus.

Such a perverted gospels would, come from men emanating from the human heart which God long ago warned is, “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”  (Jeremiah 17:9).

Such were the hearts of many in that crowd who greeted Jesus that day He rode into Jerusalem. It was the day we now call Palm Sunday, remembering the palm fronds and garments they used to pave His way.

They had their own idea who Jesus was and what He had come to do. And they were wrong.

A few days later, when they realized that Jesus was not who they had expected Him to be, many turned on Him and joined the crowds crying out for His crucifixion.

Not that their expectations did not seem reasonable to some degree. Certainly the Jewish people were right in their anticipation that a king would come from the line of David. Years before they had heard the rumors that this king had been born in Bethlehem.

And, after all, what do kings do but protect their people from their enemies?  In their case it was the occupying Roman forces.

What you might not know is that Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem that day was not the only one the people witnessed. Historians tell us that Pontius Pilate had come to Jerusalem that same day. He knew that the Passover Feast celebrated the deliverance of the Jews from their Egyptian oppressors. He was also aware of the rumors that a King and deliverer had been born of the Jews and there were rumors that Jesus was that king.

That, combined with the increased activity among the Zealots and others, caused Pilate to consider Jerusalem be at ‘Code Red’.

So, though his preferred headquarters was in Caesarea-by-the-Sea, he had traveled with a contingent of his finest military to Jerusalem just in case. On that day of two spectacular entries into Jerusalem, Pilate’s was a show of military might and strength while Jesus’ was meant to demonstrate just the opposite.

But back to the problem of the heart. All that threatening display of might and power on Pilate’s part, along with the heightened awareness that God was doing something spectacular caused many to believe that the deliverer, the Son of David, had come to dramatically overthrow the Roman oppressors and that meant the army which had just arrived.

Their desires for freedom and deliverance, fed by fertile imaginations led them to unbiblical expectations. Jesus was coming to show Rome who God’s people were!

Talk about anticipation and excitement! But a few days later they realized their mistake. Yet having made wrong assumptions, they did not blame themselves as they ought to have done, but rather turned on Jesus.

Oh, how he had let them down. He was, in many eyes, a fraud who had gotten their hopes sky high only to dash them to the ground and so,  “Crucify him!!”, they screamed.

What do you do when the Jesus you thought you knew doesn’t do for you as you expected? In your disappointment do you turn away from Him or do you in humility, recognize who it is who was wrong?

The true test of faith and those who prove they have it, are those who remain faithful and obedient even when the Savior disappoints. They recognize that the disappointment resulted not from His lack of love or ability, but from our own desires and expectations that distorted our image of who He is.

Pastor David M. Grey      

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church 

Fulton Park of the Day, Wednesday April 16 — Foster Park

4-16_FULfosterstone

Twenty stones looking like this one are hidden in Foster Park.

 

Find one and begin your collection of stones from the various parks in Fulton. Each day a different park will be highlighted on this Valley News website — find out what the park of the day is and go there to find a stone.

 

By April 19, folks should have collected 10 stones. Bring them to a ceremony at 4 p.m. April 22 in Recreation Park to win a small prize.

 

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