by Leon Archer

If you are under the age of 70, you have probably known people who were adults during the Great Depression, and if you are very much older than 70 you actually experienced at least the end of it. The Depression created an excessive number of hoarders, and you may have chuckled about the things they would save and squirrel away besides just money.

There have always been hoarders; it’s just a natural thing, and a little of it is good. We all like to put a little something away for a rainy day, but hoarders put away things for a rainy decade or more.

I have recently come to realize that I am a hoarder. No, I don’t save balls of string and rubber bands, bent nails, rusty washers, years of newspapers and magazines, worn out clothes, and all the other things the hard core hoarders hold onto, but I’m a hoarder just the same. I just have a hard time parting with my own kind of items.

A lot of animals are hoarders. Squirrels, mice, and many other rodents gather and store nuts and seeds for the winter, but they usually end up putting away a lot more than they can actually use. That’s the way a lot of trees in the forests got their start. Then there are pack rats; they haul away and store all sorts of items that they don’t need and have no real use for

I guess that’s why some of us are called pack rats. Sweet Thing and I have been cleaning house and getting rid of things we have stored without using sometimes for decades. Man, I am a pack rat. The funny thing about all of this is that there are a lot of items that I sort out into piles for various methods of removal from our premises, about which I can’t help thinking, “I might need that.”

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe by calling 598-06397

Fulton native Bellinger creates tequila brand

Fulton native and race car driver Brandon Bellinger has created 21 Tequla, the newest member of the Eagle Beverage portfolio. This tequila features a smooth easy to drink liquid made with 100 percent agave premium Tequila, according to Eagle Beverage.

“It’s hard to find good tequila. Most people think tequila and they think taking bad shots,” Bellinger said. “I wanted to make tequila that was good, to get people over the hurdle of bad tequila. This is one of the good ones.”

Bellinger started the process two years ago in North Carolina when the race car crew he was working on folded. “It started out as a dumb idea. I was jobless and thought creating a tequila can’t be that hard. Two years later I’ve finally sold my first case,” he said. O

July 12 at Discount Liquors in Fulton, Bellinger’s first case of 21 Tequila sold. Right now the tequila is only available in New York state. Bellinger is working on getting the product approved in other states as well.

“When Brandon approached us with this product we felt it was a win-win,” said Dan Dorsey, Jr. Eagle Beverage co-owner. “Here we have a local guy that people know from racing selling a great product. We were happy to help get the brand registered with the state and are proud to be distributing a product with local roots.”

21 Tequila stands out from other tequilas just sitting on the shelf. The bottle is made from stainless steel and offers two pour options. The smaller top is designed for easy pouring or attaching a pour spout, and the larger opening makes it easy for mixing or reusing. This tequila is priced to sell with other high end tequilas and is good straight up or mixed.

“Good tequila can be mixed better and 21 Tequila is good tequila. I’m excited to start this venture in Fulton,” said Bellinger, who noted he hopes to make the product available everywhere. “Go big or go home.”

21 Tequila is available at: Discount Liquors in Fulton, Bames Wine and Liquor, Pauras Liquor and Andrew’s Wine Cellar in Oswego, Lighthouse Lanes, The Front Door Tavern, Thunder Road, The Press Box, LaGraf’s Pub, Chester’s, Battle Island, Hazzy’s, and The Riverside Inn. Eagle Beverage has locations in Oswego and Jefferson counties. It sells Anheuser-Busch, North American, Diego and several local craft beers along with wine and liquor.

Tschudy resigns from the Oswego Board of Education

Oswego Board of Education member James Tschudy has announced his resignation. Tschudy delivered his resignation notice to District Clerk William Foley and indicted that it would be effective Wednesday morning, July 24. “

Ending board involvement is owing to a desire for more time with family (five grandchildren) and other professional interests in teaching, chaplaincy and pastoral work,” he said, noting that he has grandchildren in Hamilton, Mass., Ridgefield, Conn., and Aiken, S.C. Continuing he noted, “Throughout six years of board involvement, working with colleagues on the board, administrators, faculty, district Staff, as well as families, parents and children in the district has been extraordinarily rewarding, but not without challenges. It has been a privilege to serve at the board table, supporting district initiatives.”

Board of Education President Kathleen Allen said, “I am saddened to see Jim resign, but certainly understand his desire to spend more time with his family and other opportunities that have come his way.”

Continuing she stated, “He has faithfully served as a coard member for the past six years. With his tenure with the Oswego City School District as an administrator with special education, he brought valuable insight to the table in various situations. I will miss his gentle spirit and kind heart and wish him the best.”

Tschudy has a long career with the school district as he was hired in 1980 as a school psychologist for the Oswego High School. He was appointed the Director of Special Programs in 2000, retired in 2006 and then served as the Interim Principal at Charles E. Riley Elementary School for the 2006-07 School Year.

He was elected to serve on the board of education in May of 2007 and to a second term in 2010. Recently, he was re-elected to the one year remaining on the vacated term of Bill Myer. The new school year will bring a new educational experience for the former board member as he will be teaching two sections of History of Education in the United States since 1865 during the fall semester at SUNY Oswego.

Tschudy also said, “Simultaneous to my resignation from the Board of Education, I’ve also tendered my resignation as a member of the board of directors of Oswego Health, having been elected to that board of trustees of the Oswego Hospital in 1979.”

The school board will discuss the vacant seat at the next regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Aug. 13. As a Small City School District, the Board members can decide to conduct a special election, continue with six members, or appoint a person to fill the remaining 11 months of the term.

Favorite TV shows

by Roy Hodge

I have been thinking about my two favorite television shows from years ago – Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and The Muppets Show.

One hundred and forty episodes of “Laugh-In” ran from Jan. 12, 1968 to March 12, 1973. The show was originally aired as a one-time special Sept. 9, 1967. When it was brought back as a series it replaced “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”

“Laugh-In” was hosted by comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. Rowan was the straight man of the Rowan and Martin duo. He was a decorated Army Air Force fighter pilot in World War II. He was auditioned for the original version of “The Hollywood Squares,” but lost out to Peter Marshall. Rowan was the former father-in-law of actor Peter Lawford. His first wife was Miss California in 1945, who placed first runner-up to Bess Myerson, Miss America, 1945.

Dick Martin was the comic relief of the Rowan and Martin duo. After Rowan retired, Martin was a frequent panelist on game shows, and established himself as an efficient comedy director. About his association with Rowan, Martin commented, “We were raw, but we looked good together and we were funny.”

The talented and hilarious cast included Arte Johnson, Ruth Buzzi, Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Judy Carne, Alan Sues, Henry Gibson, JoAnne Worley, and announcer Gary Owens.

Many popular characters evolved from that group. Well-known Arte Johnson characters included Wolfgang the German soldier who would comment on happenings by saying, “Verrry interesting…but shtupid.” Johnson was also “the dirty old man,” who came on to Ruth Buzzi, who as Gladys Ormphby, seated on a park bench clobbered him with her pocketbook.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe by calling 598-6397

Local community developer to lead YMCAs in Oswego County

The collaboration between the Fulton Family YMCA and the Oswego YMCA has a new executive director.

Greg Mills of Oswego will lead the two YMCAs starting July 29. To take the post, he will step down as a longtime board member of the Oswego YMCA and as assistant director of the Oswego Community Development office.

“I see the Y as being the foundation to bringing healthy lifestyles and opportunities to our community,” Mills said. “The Y helps people gain confidence in managing their health and overcoming anything that keeps them from living their lives to the fullest. Being a part of that is powerful. I don’t think there’s a more ideal place for me to be.”

Fulton Family YMCA Board Chairman Steve Osborne said both Fulton and Oswego will benefit from Mills’ experience and passion. “He’s steeped in the Y spirit,” Osborne said. “He really does have a vision of both Ys as a true force for good in the community. He knows that the job is to make both Ys stronger. That’s going to be good for our Y and our community.”

Oswego YMCA Board Chairman Michael Segretto said he’s excited about Mills’ appointment. “He’s well versed on both Oswego and Fulton, and that’s what we needed,” Segretto said. “He brings to the table over 20 years of banking and nonprofit experience. I think he’s a great pick.”

The Fulton Family YMCA, the Oswego YMCA and the YMCA of Greater Syracuse have signed a one-year agreement to work together to serve the Fulton and Oswego communities. Under the agreement, the two Oswego County YMCAs will share administrative services and key staff. Each YMCA will retain its own board, its own finances and its own identity.

Under the agreement, Mills is employed by the YMCA of Greater Syracuse and reports to the boards of both the Fulton and Oswego YMCAs. Mills said he plans to divide his time equally between the two Ys. His first job, he said, is to create a joint leadership team and to help all employees find their niche within the collaboration. “

There’s an opportunity for people to look at their jobs and identify where they feel they’re best suited,” he said. “There will be more opportunities.”

Through its strong relationship with the YMCA of Greater Syracuse and its CEO, Hal Welsh, the new coalition will have access to expertise, programs and other resources that can help it better meet community needs, Mills said.

“Bringing two agencies together that have the same mission is very positive for both communities,” Mills said. “The Syracuse Y has people who can make those efforts much more productive and successful. This is an opportunity for us to be mentored by a successful organization. At the end of this year, we’ll be a better organization, a better YMCA.”

Welsh said he will work with Mills to create a growth strategy plan for both YMCAs. The plan will help the Ys reach their fiscal objectives and position them as community leaders in the areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Working in Mills’ favor are his commitment to health, his many local connections, and his more than 20 years of experience in the areas of banking, community development, writing and administering grants and facilities management, Welsh said.

Mills earned a management degree with a concentration in marketing from the State University of New York at Geneseo. He first came to Oswego in 1989 as a branch manager for Columbia Bank. In 1992, Mills began a 13-year career with Pathfinder Bank, where he served as vice president of market development. He later served as a financial consultant, banker and sales representatives for firms in Oswego and Wayne counties before returning to Oswego in 2011 to work in the city’s Community Development Office.

Mills has a history of volunteer service, including service on the Oswego County Planning Board and boards of directors for the Oswego County Historical Society, the United Way of Oswego County and Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County, among others. He currently serves on the Oswego County advisory board for ARISE and the Oswego Children’s Museum board.

Law banning smoking in restaurants turns 10

For many of us, it seems like a lifetime ago when we were asked if we wanted to be seated at the smoking or non-smoking section in our local restaurant.

For Zachary and Matthew Metott, it was an actual lifetime ago. The Metott boys turn 10 years old this year and have never known a world where smoking was allowed in New York state restaurants. July 24th is the 10th anniversary of the Expanded Clean Indoor Air Act, most commonly known for prohibiting smoking in bars and restaurants.

The 2003 state law banned smoking in almost all workplaces, bars, restaurants, bowling facilities, taverns and bingo halls and protected millions of New Yorkers from daily exposure to second-hand smoke and the illnesses it causes.

When the Metott boys were asked their thoughts on having smoking and non-smoking sections in restaurants Matthew replied, “That’s just weird!” Zachary added “I’d wonder why they were doing that.”

Zachary and Matthew met at Vona’s Restaurant to talk with the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County about this milestone. Vona’s was one of the first Oswego restaurants to go smoke-free, making the decision before New York even passed the Expanded Clean Indoor Air Act. The boys also had strong opinions on being exposed to smoke in restaurants.

“We wouldn’t want to go there to enjoy time with our family because it would hurt us or make our little sisters sick,” said Zachary.

A recent survey of bars and restaurants in Oswego County revealed that compliance with the law 10 years later is excellent. In fact, there was a 100 percent compliance rate at the time of the unannounced survey. Despite the success of this law and the countless lives that have been saved, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and kills more than 25,000 New Yorkers every year.

The U.S. Surgeon General characterizes youth smoking as a pediatric epidemic, and states that the evidence is clear that tobacco marketing causes youth to start smoking, and most start before they reach the age of 18.

“Smoking is still a problem in Oswego County and New York state as whole, particularly among teens,” said Abby Jenkins, Program Coordinator of the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County. “Zachary and Matthew have never known a time when smoking was allowed in restaurants. Maybe the next generation of 10 year olds will never know a time when they were inundated with tobacco marketing.”

For more information about efforts to reduce smoking and protect youth from tobacco marketing, visit www.tobaccofreenys.org.

In and Around Hannibal: Schools in Hannibal

by Rita Hooper

There’s an old adage that if you don’t know what to write about – just keep writing and it will come. That’s sort of my predicament tonight except I want to share some info provided me my Mary Pawlenko Phillips on when she was a student at North Hannibal School. However, I know many of my readers will say, “Huh, never heard of North Hannibal School,” so I think it best if I do a little background work.

This may just turn into a series on schools of Hannibal.Once again, I’m indebted to the Hannibal Historical Society’s Hannibal History in “pictures and prose,” as compiled by Lowell Newvine for much of my information.

Hannibal Central Schools became centralized into one district in 1949 by a vote of 767 to 318. This new district encompassed approximately 90 square miles and included the Town of Hannibal and portions of the towns of Oswego, Granby and Sterling. The student body that first year was about 670 with teachers and staff numbering 38.

Let me imagine the discussions around the kitchen tables and at the local hangout back then: “Why we’ve been running this school for over a 100 years and we dun just fine.” “All those kids will have to be bussed – whose going to pay for all those busses?” “But the children will have more options in a bigger school – like sports and music.” “The kids will have a more uniform education – one that meets higher standards…following the guidelines of the NYS Board of Regents.” “While it will cost more in the beginning, it will be more economical in the long run.” “The children learn just fine, because all the students are in the same room. Younger students have the advantage of also listening to the lessons taught to their older peers. In a similar manner, the upper level students could coach their younger counterparts.”

By the way, the first school session was held in Hannibal Center in 1810. Laura Kent was the first teacher, a daughter of one of Hannibal’s earliest families having moved here from Vermont. Just think Mayor Kent could have been a Green Mountain Boy!

Before centralization, there were 15 school houses in the area. They were one-room structures most of them made of wood. Student desks would be in rows and the building was heated by a pot-bellied stove in the middle of the room. Those near the stove roasted and those far from it shivered. Usually one teacher taught all the children in grades 1-8 and they also did the custodial work.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe by calling 598-6397

Good bye, Fulton

by Andrew Henderson

The great New York Yankee Yogi Berra coined many bewildering phrases and he is perhaps one of the most quoted personalities of our time.

These utterances, now called “Yogi-isms,” have invaded our society, often bringing us delight in the simplicity and truthfulness of these phrases. “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” is arguably his most famous and often quoted “Yogi-ism.”

This utterance brings relevance to me personally as this is my last Laughing Through Life column. Yesterday was my last day at The Valley News.

It has been a great and rewarding career as I have tried to deliver the best and most comprehensive local news coverage to your mailboxes twice a week. For nearly 14 years, I have been a part of this community. You welcomed me in. You were quick to say hello and offer a smile.

And to that, I say, thanks.

Even though I grew up in Phoenix and currently live in Onondaga County, I consider myself a Fultonian. I love this community. I love the people. I even appreciate those who called and complained. Without you, I wouldn’t be doing my job.

I have many people to thank, so if you will just bear with me…

First and foremost, I want to thank Vince and Ron Caravan for their trust and faith in me. Three months after I was hired in 2000, they saw it worthy to promote me to managing editor. The Caravans are true champions in journalism. I have learned a lot from them ­ — not just about the newspaper business and journalism, but about life, family, integrity, and faith.

Vince and Ron, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are truly newspapermen and I only hope that I was half the newspaperman that you both are.

To all my co-workers over the years, I thank you for putting up with me and my sometimes over-the-line antics. Thank you for making this job fun. Obviously, I am limited by space and cannot list every one who I worked with over the years, but there are some who stand out the most in my mind:

• Former production coordinator Roger Beck is more than a colleague. He is a good friend and I will cherish our friendship. Thank you.

• Former graphic artist Jeri Jones made my job fun. I will never forget the way she laughs, jokes, and giggles. Keep giggling, Jeri!

• Former graphic artist Richard Forbes is one of my favorite people of all time. We would often exchange barbs and jokes, piling on each other with put-downs, all in jest, of course. ‘Zat you, Santa Claus?

• Office Manager Carolyn Eaton and Receptionist Roxanne Seeber are quality people in my book. But, of course, most of you already know that.

• Former Assistant Editor Nicole Reitz is a very talented feature writer. She is also a great person whom I will miss dearly. Good luck in your new career!

• To all the sales representatives, especially Allyson McManus, I thank you for your faith in me. I truly appreciate and honor you all!

• Former graphic artist Jeff Adkins is a baseball nut like me. We could talk baseball for hours and hours. Thanks and go Cardinals!

• Photographer Kelly LeVea was always there when I needed her. Thanks for putting up with last-minute photo appointments!

• Outside of the Caravans, I probably learned most from Roy Hodge, former publisher of the Fulton Patriot and my partner in crime in hundreds and hundreds of Fulton Common Council and Fulton Board of Education meetings. Thanks, Roy!

• Reporter Carol Thompson has always kept me on my toes. Over the years, I have learned to lean on her knowledge and expertise and for that, I thank you.

There is probably dozens and dozens of people who I am forgetting. Please forgive me if I did not mention you. The reporters, columnists, and photographers are the reason for the success of The Valley News. It’s not the editor. It’s the workers. Thank you and job well done.

I would also like to thank the folks at Scotsman Media Group, including former Publisher Tom Cuskey, Sharon Henderson and all the artists in the composition department, and Associate Publisher Rich Westover. It’s been a pleasure working with you all. Thanks for all the cupcakes and cheesecake!

Of course, there are the people, groups, and organizations that I covered for the paper. Thank you for allowing me to do my job. I just don’t have the space to list you all. You know who you are.

And then there is you, the readers and members of this community. What else can I say? Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this community. Thanks for allowing me to bring you the news.

As I am writing this, a thought just occurred to me. There’s a good chance that I might never travel to Fulton again. It’s a sad and sobering thought. But know this: Even if I never step a foot into this great city and community again, Fulton will always have a special place in my heart.

God bless you all!

Your hometown. Your news.