Hodgepodge, by Roy Hodge

I received a special Christmas card this year, sent to The Valley News by Bea LaClair.

I knew that Bea wouldn’t just sign her name; I was sure that she would write a few lines. And she did.

Bea, who now lives in Liverpool, wrote, “The Fulton Patriot may be out of business, but your column is still going. You still write a good story and bring back memories. I hope you will continue for a long time.”

Bea, who wrote that she is now 85, also had praise for my son, Jeff, now known as “Rev. Jeff”.

Bea must read each week’s paper very thoroughly. In a recent column I wrote that plum pudding “is composed of many dried fruits and is held together by eggs and suet, sometimes moistened by treacle or molasses.”

Bea asks, “What is treacle?” Bea, my dictionary describes treacle as “a mild mixture of molasses, corn syrup, etc. used in cooking or as a table syrup.”

I have known Bea LaClair for many years, but before I met Bea I knew her mother, Angie LaClair, who was known to everyone in Fulton as Gram, and likely is still remembered by many.

I met Gram when two of my sons and two of her great grandsons were in Cub Scouts at State Street Church in the 60s.

She was Gram to everyone, and I wrote in a column in 2006, “The neatest thing about Gram was that she was always willing to sit down at the old piano in the church basement to get the group of young boys and their parents singing.”

I continued, “Later on I got to know Gram as Angie LaClair. I was around many times when Gram would keep an old piano in this room or that hallway busy, and someone was always willing to join in on the song.”

I heard from my friend Bea after the column featuring Gram.

“I loved the column,” Bea said, “but you got one thing wrong — I forgot to tell you that our name is spelled with an a, as in LaClair, not with an e, as in LeClair.”

Bea explained, “When our family came to Canada many years ago from France our name was spelled LeClair as that is the French Canadian spelling of the name.”

Bea said when her father, Edmund, moved to the United States from Cornwall, Ontario he wanted to honor his new country by using the American spelling. “So he had his name legally changed from LeClair to LaClair,” she said.

Thanks for the card, Bea. And thanks for the memories.

‘Tis the season for cookies

An important part of the Christmas season for me and those around me through the years — wherever I have been hanging around — is making, eating and sharing with other people those wonderful morsels of holiday cheer — the cutout, decorated cookie.

For the uninitiated — if there is such a thing — that would be the flat, shortbread-y (new word) cookie of many holiday shapes, covered with colorful frosting and “sprinkles,” baked by the dozens — and eaten the same way.

We have a large jar full of cookie cutters in many, many shapes. Some of them definitely fit into the holiday scene – Christmas trees, Santa’s boot, and yes, Santa himself, along with stars, bells, angels and a gingerbread man.

Most of those shout “Merry Christmas” right back at you, but there are many other cutters of many different shapes in that jar.

When is the last time that you saw a pig in your Christmas stocking? Wait a minute — could that be in honor of Christmas dinner?

Also in the jar are a hippopotamus and an elephant. Forget about Christmas dinner for those two. There are a couple of mooses (or is it meese?)  Well, wait a minute — we could have a couple of different relatives of Santa’s reindeer here.

Mrs. Pringle’s cookies

I wrote about Mrs. Pringle’s cookies in December, 1985:

Mrs. Pringle was the mother of one of the girls who worked in my wife’s office at the telephone company in Syracuse more than 25 years ago.

My association with Mrs. Pringle during the past 26 years has been once a year during the holiday season by way of a recipe in our Christmas cookie file.

For years, I guess I never questioned the genealogy of our Christmas cookies. On Sunday, with the holiday cookie baking process getting underway at our house, I discovered the true story behind how Mrs. Pringle’s Christmas cookies made their way into our cookie jar.

I was told on Sunday that when my wife was growing up, one of the expected treats of the season were the cookies baked by her grandmother – the kind shaped like Christmas trees, Santa Claus, angels and bells.

Grandma probably inherited the recipe from her family in Germany, and turned the holiday favorites out by the hundreds every year. Grandma probably never gave a thought to the fact that the ingredients list started out with five pounds of flour and a dozen eggs.

The problem came after the new bride asked for Grandma’s recipe. No one could figure out how to turn five pounds of flour and a teacup of this and another teacup of that into just enough cookies so we wouldn’t still be eating them at Easter time.

That’s where Mrs. Pringle came to the rescue. It seems that Mrs. Pringle’s family had passed along the same prized recipe and someone along the way had translated it into cups and teaspoons.

As a tribute to the holiday season, Grandma Seils, Mrs. Pringle and the hundreds of those cookies I have eaten over the years here is the recipe:

Grandma Seils’ Christmas Cookies

3 cups flour, ½ tsp. baking powder, 1½ tsp. salt, ½ cup sugar, 1 egg, unbeaten, 2 tsp. vanilla, 1 cup margarine.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Beat margarine and sugar thoroughly. Add egg and vanilla. Beat until fluffy.

Gradually stir in sifted dry ingredients until well blended. Roll small amounts of dough 1/8 inch thick.  Shape with cookie cutters.  Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes.  Ice with different colors frosting

Okay, we’re ready.  (You could let the frosting dry.) Chomp happily away … and Happy New Year.

… Roy Hodge

Porky & Buddy discusses leaving dogs out in the cold

Dear Porky & Buddy,

You recently wrote about Section 353-b of the Agriculture & Markets Law which basically requires that all dogs left outdoors have to be provided with a dog house.

I am writing to say that I personally think that law is ridiculous. I have a purebred Siberian Husky, Scarlet. She is three years old and I am here to tell you that SHE WANTS NOTHING TO DO WITH A DOG HOUSE!

She loves cold weather, the colder the better, and never ever wants to come in the house, much less a stupid dog house.

Am I really breaking the law by not having one for her?



Dear Ken,

In a word, yes. Quit complaining and go out and get Scarlet a dog house, or better yet, install an electronic door in your house so she can come in any time she wants.

You might be surprised what good company she is, as Huskies are notorious for adoring their humans and really should not be left alone by themselves for long periods anyway.

The bottom line is this: We love the New York dog shelter law.

Maybe you don’t think it’s necessary, but we hear of dogs that have simply frozen to death, alone on a chain with no food or water, in a blizzard.

And in the summer they die of heat stroke or dehydration.

That should not happen to dogs!

The shelter law has very specific requirements and it is easy to enforce (much easier than the anti-cruelty laws, which are very vague). It has saved a lot of dogs from a miserable life outdoors.

Furthermore, it specifically requires owners to provide shelter for their dogs that is appropriate to their breed, physical condition and the climate.

It does not require you to force Scarlet to go in the dog house, just that you have it available for her.

You love your dog, we assume. It’s not too much to ask and in a very severe storm it could save her life.

Porky & Buddy

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. 

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego.

Call us at 207-1070 or email us at ochscontact@hotmail.com.

More from the Common Council meeting

The Common Council and the Mayor pose for one last photo in 2013. From left to right: Council President and 5th Ward Councilor Norman "Jay" Foster, Mayor Ronald L. Woodward Sr., outgoing 1st Ward Councilor Alan Emrich, 2nd Ward Councilor Dan Knopp, outgoing 4th Ward councilor Carm Cavallaro, outgoing 3rd Ward Councilor Pete Franco and 6th Ward Councilor Larry Macner.
The Common Council and the Mayor pose for one last photo in 2013. From left to right: Council President and 5th Ward Councilor Norman “Jay” Foster, Mayor Ronald L. Woodward Sr., outgoing 1st Ward Councilor Alan Emrich, 2nd Ward Councilor Dan Knopp, outgoing 4th Ward councilor Carm Cavallaro, outgoing 3rd Ward Councilor Pete Franco and 6th Ward Councilor Larry Macner.

By Ashley M. Casey

Outgoing councilors say goodbye

Three councilors acknowledged the end of their terms on the Fulton Common Council after the Dec. 26 budget hearing. First Ward Councilor Alan Emrich, Third Ward Councilor Pete Franco and Fourth Ward Councilor Carm Cavallaro thanked their fellow councilors, Mayor Ronald L. Woodward Sr. and the public in their statements.

“I think we were a very, very strong team,” Cavallaro said. The new Fourth Ward councilor will be James R. Myers.

Franco addressed the difficulties of creating the 2014 budget in his statement.

“It’s been a contentious year for the budget,” Franco said. He added that the Fulton Public Library could have lost $100,000, but the council brought the cut down to $50,000.

Franco thanked his constituents and said that longtime former Third Ward Councilor Bob Weston had encouraged him to run in the first place. Ryan M. Raponi will succeed Franco as Third Ward councilor.

Emrich said that he made each of his votes on the Common Council “for what I feel is in the city’s best interest,” including his dissenting vote on the budget. Emrich will be succeeded by Tom Kenyon.

The mayor thanked the three outgoing councilors and extended his best wishes for their futures.

“Carm, Alan and Pete: I’ve enjoyed working with you the past two years,” Woodward said. “You came in at the hardest time for the city of Fulton.”


Ethics committee tweaked

One member of the city ethics committee, announced at the Dec. 4 meeting, has stepped down.

Charles Marks will be replaced by Jhoram Dilk, who will serve until Dec. 3, 2016. Woodward explained that Marks gave up his position on the committee so he could be appointed to the fire and police commission instead.

Franco inquired about training for the ethics board members. Woodward said the city would ask the state about training opportunities.


FHA position created

In preparation for its transition from public to private, the Fulton Housing Authority sought the Common Council’s approval of the creation of the position of deputy executive director.

“This position will help us facilitate the transition from public housing to private,” said FHA secretary David Fontecchio. “(It) will remain a permanent position after the transition.”

The transition is expected to take three years and will cost $25 million. New York state has pledged $6 million, and an investor has pledged $19 million. The FHA receives no money from the city of Fulton.


UPDATED STORY: Fulton city budget passes 5-1; Knopp elected council president

Common Council President and 5th Ward Councilor Norman "Jay" Foster addresses the council.
Common Council President and 5th Ward Councilor Norman “Jay” Foster addresses the council.

By Ashley M. Casey

After an emotion-filled public hearing, the Fulton Common Council approved the 2014 budget by a vote of 5-1. 

The single dissenting vote was made by outgoing First Ward councilor Alan Emrich.

The property tax rate is set to increase 15.22 percent, bringing taxes to $19.66 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from $17.06 per $1,000 in 2013.

About two dozen people attended the public hearing Dec. 26. Several citizens spoke out against the $50,000 cut to the Fulton Public Library, which Mayor Ronald L. Woodward Sr. said could be picked up by taxes collected by the Fulton school district. (See sidebar story.)

Linda Rossiter, a librarian at the Fulton Public Library, listed several benefits of the library, including activities, crafts and homework help for children, and services for job-seeking adults.

“In times when money is extremely tight, your public library becomes one of your best assets,” Rossiter said. “(This cut) is not acceptable to nearly all of your community members.”

In a Jan. 2 phone interview with The Valley News, the mayor explained the city’s reasoning behind raising the pay of the city’s department heads, except for acting fire chief Paul E. Foster III.

Foster is paid per union contract negotiations, as he was deputy chief when Woodward appointed him acting chief.

“They mirror what the unions do,” Woodward said. “The department heads, along with the union, took a cut in pay over a three-year period.”

As for DPW Commissioner Dan O’Brien, who also heads the water and sanitation departments, Woodward said he is doing “the job of two people.”

“He is paid less than the last person who had that job eight years ago,” the mayor said.

At the public hearing, the mayor announced the budget will eliminate a cleaner position in the Municipal Building, but the employee is considering an offer to remain as a part-time or seasonal worker.

A clerical position in the clerk/chamberlain’s office is being transferred to the water department as well.

Legislator-elect Frank Castiglia Jr., 25th district, addresses the Common Council.
Legislator-elect Frank Castiglia Jr., 25th district, addresses the Common Council.

Legislator-elect Frank Castiglia Jr. said  city officials need to “think outside the box” to ease the budget’s strain on the community.

He had several suggestions regarding city employees, including a 32-hour work week, city residency requirements and making all new hires part-time or seasonal employees.

However, Castiglia acknowledged it was too late to make many changes to the 2014 budget.

“Table this budget right now, go into an executive session, reconsider,” Castiglia said. “Go with last year’s budget because I know you don’t have time to go with anything else. Come up with something we can live with.”

Emrich also suggested the council to enter executive session to discuss it further, but the rest of the council and the mayor declined.

Council President and Fifth Ward Councilor Norman “Jay” Foster questioned Emrich’s “no” vote and asked what ideas Emrich had for the budget.

“You say no to that, but you don’t have any ideas,” Foster said. He also claimed that Emrich had been absent from three meetings in the last year, while Emrich said he had only missed one.

Emrich stood by his decision in his final statement as councilor.

“Every time I’ve voted yes or no, I’ve done it for what I feel is in the city’s best interest,” Emrich said. “I hope that other people will feel inspired to go with what is not necessarily the most liked answer.”

Foster later apologized for his “outburst” toward Emrich, saying, “I care very much for Fulton. I want the very best for it.”

At the Jan. 1 reorganizational meeting of the Common Council, Second Ward Councilor Dan Knopp was elected the new council president.

Second Ward Councilor Dan Knopp and outgoing Third Ward Councilor Pete Franco listen at the Dec. 26 public hearing for the 2014 Fulton city budget.
Second Ward Councilor Dan Knopp and outgoing Third Ward Councilor Pete Franco listen at the Dec. 26 public hearing for the 2014 Fulton city budget.

Grant approved to furnish high speed Internet in Parish

Empire State Development has approved more than $14.5 million in New York State Broadband Grants to support nine projects that will expand access to broadband services for nearly 30,000 residents and more than 2,000 businesses across Upstate New York.

One of those receiving a grant is New Visions Communications, for Parish Broadband in Oswego County. That grant totals $1,999,584.

According to a press release, the state is committed to accelerating the availability, affordability, and utilization of broadband technologies in order to grow New York’s economy.

Access to the numerous benefits of broadband access, such as e-commerce, e-government, telemedicine and distance learning will result in job creation, improved healthcare, greater educational opportunities for students and teachers, and enhanced economic development, the press release states.


OES installs officers

Lake City Victoria Chapter No. 205, The Order of Eastern Star), sister organization to Lake City Masonic Lodge No. 127, held its 2014 installation of new officers Sunday, Nov. 24 in the Oswego Masonic Temple, 765 E. Seneca St., Oswego.

The officers include: W Carla Salisbury- Worthy Matron; RW Grant DeLong- Worthy Patron; RW Cynthia Sanders- Associate Matron; Br. Leo Monette- Associate Patron; W Lillian Schute- Conductress; RW Rita DeLong- Associate Conductress; RW Natalie J. Woodall- Secretary; RW Nancy Costello- Treasurer; W Mildred Miller- Trustee; W Edwin Miller- Trustee; Br. Earl Wilson- Trustee; and W V. Jean Sanders- Warder.

Also: W Carol Reed- Sentinel; RW Earline Wood- Chaplain; RW Alan Wood- Color Bearer; Sr. Bettie Monette- Marshall; Sr. Bethany Reis- Assistant Marshall; Sr. Christine Dennison- Adah; Sr. Benita Reynolds- Ruth; RW Erma Cota- Esther; RW Mary Mason- Martha; RW Eileen Esford- Electa.

Special music was provided by Dan Williams, and visiting dignitaries included RW Rita DeLong- DDGM. A reception was held after the ceremony in the Masonic Hall.

For more information call the Lodge:  207-0127.

Phoenix varsity winter sports schedules

Scheduled for winter sports varsity team in the Phoenix school district.

All dates and times are subject to change.


Boys Basketball

Sat. 12/21/13-Cato Christmas tournament, TBA

Tues. 01/07/14-at Bishop Grimes-7 p.m.

Fri.  01/10/14-Marcellus-6:30 p.m.

Tues. 01/14/14-at ITC-6:30 p.m.

Thurs. 01/16/14-Skaneateles-6:30 p.m.

Wed. 01/22/14-at Cazenovia-7 p.m.

Fri. 01/24/14-at S.A.S.-6:30 p.m.

Wed. 01/29/14-Westhill-6:30 p.m.

Tues. 02/04/14-Solvay-6:30 p.m.

Fri. 02/07/14-Bishop Grimes-6:30 p.m.

Tues. 02/11/14-at Marcellus-7 p.m.


Girls Basketball

Thurs. 12/26/13-Mexico, Christmas tournament, Mexico-6:15 p.m.

Fri. 12/27/13-Mexico Christmas Tournament, TBA-4:30 OR 6:15

Mon. 01/06/14-Bishop Grimes-6:30 p.m.

Fri. 01/10/14-at Marcellus-7 p.m.

Mon. 01/13/14-at Skaneateles-6:30 p.m.

Wed.  01/15/14-Weedsport-6:30 p.m.

Tues. 01/21/14-Cazenovia-6:30 p.m.

Fri. 01/24/14-Bishop Ludden-6:30 p.m.

Wed. 01/29/14-at Westhill-7 p.m.

Mon. 02/03/14-at Solvay-6:30 p.m.

Wed. 02/05/14-at Bishop Grimes-7 p.m.

Tues. 02/11/14-Marcellus-6:30 p.m.



Sat. 12/21/13-Phoenix, Round Robin Tournament, 7 a.m.

Fri. 12/27/13-Ken Haines Tourney, at SUNY Oswego-TBA

Sat. 12/28/13-Ken Haines Tourney-at SUNY Oswego-TBA

Fri. 01/03/14-Central Square Duals-TBA

Sat. 01/04/14-Central Square Duals-TBA

Wed. 01/08/14-Skaneateles

Sat. 01/10/14-Eastern States-at Sullivan County Community College-TBA

Sat. 01/11/14-Fulton-4 p.m.

Sun. 01/12/14-Holland Patent-at Cornell, 1 p.m.

Wed. 01/15/14-at Cazenovia-5 p.m.

Tues. 01/21/14-at Port Byron-6 p.m.

Fri. 01/24/14-F-M-Binghamton University, 11 a.m.

Sat. 01/25/14-Section III Duals-at Cicero-North Syracuse-TBA

Sat. 02/01/14-Leagues-at Port Byron-TBA

Sat. 02/08/14-Classes-Location/Time-TBA

Sat. 02/15/14-Sectionals-at OCC-TBA

Sat. 02/28/14-States-at Albany-TBA

**The JV begins at the stated times. The varsity matches follow the conclusion of the JV matches.


Boys Indoor Track And Field

Mon. 12/30/13 Holiday Relays, OCC, 10 a.m.

Fri.  01/03/14, Constantino Memorial, Colgate, 4:30 p.m.

Tues. 01/14/14, Grieve Memorial, OCC, 4:30 p.m.

Tues. 01/21/14, Kirschenheiter Memorial, OCC, 4:30 p.m.

Wed. 02/05/14, Section III, OCC, 4:30 p.m.

Wed. 02/12/14, OHSL Leagues, OCC, 4:30 p.m.

Wed. 02/19/14, State Qualifier, OCC, 4:30 p.m.

Sat. 03/01/14, NYSPHSAA Championships, Cornell, 2 p.m.


Girls Indoor Track And Field

Mon. 12/30/13, Holiday Relays, OCC, 10 a.m.

Wed.  01/08/14, Constantino Memorial, OCC, 4:30 p.m.

Wed. 01/15/14, Grieve Memorial, OCC, 4:30 p.m.

Thurs. 01/23/14, Kirschenheiter Memorial, OCC, 4:30 p.m.

Wed. 02/05/14, Section III, OCC, 4:30 p.m.

Thurs. 02/13/14,  OHSL Leagues, OCC, 4:30 p.m.

Wed. 02/19/14, State Qualifier, OCC, 4:30 p.m.

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