Departing Florida

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

This past week has been a busy one for Sweet Thing and me as we prepared for our departure from the sunny south.

It is always a sort of bittersweet time for us, for as we look forward to seeing family and old friends, we are at the same time saying goodbye to another set of friends down here, several so old that it is quite likely we will never see them again in this world.

Our Florida home now looks the best that it has since we arrived escaping winter’s grip, but it has been a struggle.

Opening up and shutting down our winter residence is fraught with cleaning, packing or unpacking, and getting everything up and running, or turned off.

It doesn’t seem like much on the face of it, but as they say, “the devil is in the details.” The way I grumble and moan, he must not be far away.

Arriving is always easier than leaving, because the arrival stuff gets spread out over a much longer time with the most essential items getting taken care of first, while the less important ones have a habit of hanging over my head while I put them off in favor of fishing and relaxing.

Down here, I have learned the importance of the Spanish word manana, but unfortunately for me, it doesn’t work as well on departures as it does on arrivals, and some of those things I put off until tomorrow come home to roost with a vengeance.

I won’t bore you with a rendition of the things I’ve been doing for the last week and a half, but things are looking pretty good around the old southern hacienda, both inside and outside.

At this writing, I still have to cut back our bougainvillea which looks like it is trying to engulf our home with its flowery branches, and power washing the entire outside of our place to banish any mildew is a must.

I’ll clean out the gutters along the eaves, and then I have to stow away the power washer and ladder. That’s what I’m down to outside.

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

SU games

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

Last weekend, when the Final Four frenzy surrounded us from all sides, I had difficulty keeping my mind under control when it wanted to drift back and forth to some of my memories of SU and Syracuse Nats basketball games.

Although I was an avid Syracuse Nationals fan in the 1950s and early 60s, I also attended SU games at the War Memorial back in the days before games were played in Manley Field House.

I remember going to SU games at the War Memorial when the first Orange player that I remember by name – Dave Bing – played. I don’t remember Bing’s teammate, Jim Boeheim.

The War Memorial was occasionally included in the SU home venues, which included Archbold Gymnasium, Manley Field House and finally, the Dome.

The Syracuse Nationals (Nats) players that I remember from the early Nats games included player-coach Al Cervi; Dolph Schayes; Paul Seymour; Billy Gabor; Red Rocha  Earl Lloyd, who was the first African-American to play in the NBA; Red Kerr; Wally Osterkorn; and Larry Costello.

For a couple of years, I was a member of the Syracuse Nats’ junior fan club. We had special sweat shirts and reserved seats behind our favorite team.

If you want to think about how long ago that may have been – when I first started going to basketball games the players wore short shorts instead of the knee length baggy pants of today.

One of the last SU games that I went to was a few years ago at the Dome. A friend got some tickets but my wife’s work schedule wouldn’t let her join us.

Sue wouldn’t miss the basketball action but she loves to watch Otto the Orange, the SU mascot.   During one of his runs down courtside, Otto ran up the aisle closest to our seats and extended his arm towards me for a high-five. Forget the game; you can guess the first thing I told my wife when I got home. She was so envious – and still is.

There was an ad on TV this NCAA tournament season which stretched reality a bit by telling us that the tournament field would be expanded to include over 200 teams. We see one of the teams of basketball misfits that has received a bid.

The picture in my mind immediately switches to the gym at Roosevelt School when I was a teenager. As long as we paid the janitor, our “team” was allowed to rent the gym for a couple of hours of running around and trying to get the basketball into the basket. We had a great time and followed up with a visit to Enrico’s for pizza and Cokes.

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

Town vehicle clarification

by Jane Crego, Fulton

I guess I need to clarify my position on personal use of Granby Town vehicles because some readers didn’t quite understand my issue.

First of all, I was not referring to the Granby town employees taking home the big plow trucks to start plowing early before they get to work.

I was referring to them taking home a pickup truck that should only be used on very small roads and not on major highways — nor are they used on two-lane roads or to clear up emergency routes as the reader seemed to think.

Also, the reader who responded indicated that some places get two feet of snow where others get two inches. I get the two feet of snow. The employees who are taking home the plow pickup trucks are doing so because they choose to not use their own cars to get to work.

Also the employee who I am referring to is not the town highway superintendent, but an hourly employee who may or may not be insured. If this person has an accident while driving a truck that belongs to the town, our taxpayer dollars are paying for the costs.

Incidentally, there have been two incidents this year where town employees have damaged other traveler’s vehicles simply because of inattention.

Perhaps in Clay, it’s okay to use taxpayers dollars to fund personal use of town equipment and vehicles, but I pay enough in taxes in Granby that I don’t want to pay extra for something that is not directly benefitting the town or town citizens.


‘Game of Thrones’ co-creator to appear at SUNY Oswego

David Benioff“Game of Thrones” co-creator
David Benioff
“Game of Thrones” co-creator

“Game of Thrones” co-creator David Benioff, author of the 2012-13 Oswego Reading Initiative selection “City of Thieves,” will make a free public appearance at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 24 in SUNY Oswego’s Campus Center arena.

Benioff is an American novelist, screenwriter and television producer who has written numerous screenplays, including “The Kite Runner” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”

He co-created HBO’s “Game of Thrones” with D.B. Weiss and is as an executive producer for the series, recently renewed for seasons 3 and 4.

At the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards, “Game of Thrones” picked up six Emmy Awards, including best costumes and best visual effects.

“We think that perhaps because of the multitude of dimensions that he (Benioff) brings to the table, it is not bad to make sure that not only the book and his intents in writing different aspects of it are covered, but also people have a chance to ask questions about the other things he has done or is involved in,” said SUNY Oswego Associate Provost Rameen Mohammadi, who chairs the annual ORI program.

Tim Nekritz, the college’s associate director of public affairs and director of web communication, will moderate the event, featuring an interview-style format with a question-and-answer session.

The ORI committee chose Benioff’s novel, set in Russia during World War II, for a number of reasons, according to Mohammadi. “I think, one, it does have a coming-of-age characteristic to it because the main character is a young Jewish boy who is in St. Petersburg at the time when the Germans had surrounded the city,” Mohammadi said.

The book confronts issues such as food rationing and the difficulties of fighting for one’s life on a daily basis, but also shows the main character trying to figure out who he is and how he learns about himself throughout the novel.

A New York Times Sunday book review said, “In fact, the novel tells a refreshingly traditional tale, driven by an often ingenious plot.” Parking for the arena event is free in Lot 18, the rear half of the lot south of Hart and Funnelle halls, and Lot 32, the large commuter lot south of Lot 18.

Benioff will make a second free public appearance in the Campus Center auditorium at 3 p.m. April 24, with a special invitation for students in the creative writing and cinema and screen studies programs.

Accomplished alumna to address over 100 student honorees April 19

The annual SUNY Oswego Honors Convocation Friday, April 19 will recognize more than 100 academic achievers and feature a talk by an Oswego alumna who has built a career in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

The formal ceremony recognizing student academic achievement will take place at 3 p.m. in the Campus Center convocation hall and arena.

Together with the students being honored, an audience of family, friends and campus colleagues of the honorees will witness the procession of faculty presenters in academic regalia, applaud students receiving awards, and hear from 1981 communication studies graduate Rosemary Cardamone Crane.

Crane has more than 30 years of experience in commercialization and business operations, primarily in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. She is currently a partner and head of commercialization at Apple Tree Partners.

Before joining Apple Tree, Crane was the president and chief executive officer of Epocrates. Before that, she served as a company group chairman for the over-the-counter, specialty and nutritionals businesses of Johnson & Johnson, after serving as executive vice president of global marketing for the pharmaceutical group of Johnson & Johnson.

She spent two decades at Bristol-Myers Squibb, working her way up to president of the U.S. Primary Care Division.

After earning her bachelor’s degree from Oswego, Crane earned a master’s of business administration from Kent State University. She is a former member of the Oswego College Foundation board of directors and the School of Business Advisory Board. Originally from Utica, she now resides in Langhorne, Pa.

Honors Convocation is the culmination of SUNY Oswego’s Honors Week, which includes induction ceremonies for a range of honorary organizations across many disciplines and Quest, the college’s signature symposium dedicated to the scholarly and creative pursuits of faculty and students.

The convocation will be followed by a reception in the Campus Center activity court. The events are free and open to the public. Visitors without a SUNY Oswego parking permit may purchase a visitor’s permit from the Parking Office at

Fulton Board of Education adopts $65 million budget

by Nicole Reitz

The Fulton Board of Education adopted its $65.26 million budget Tuesday night, making it one of the first local districts to approve its budget for the 2013-14 academic year.

However, the budget was not adopted unanimously. Four voted yes, two voted no and one abstained.

Board members Fred Cavalier and Brian Hotaling voted against the budget, expressing their concerns about the tax levy increase. Dan Pawlewicz abstained from voting.

After the last meeting, Superintendent Bill Lynch went back to the budget draft to reassess spending line by line. The budget that was approved varies little from prior drafts discussed earlier in the year.

A budget to budget increase of almost $3 million is in part the result of rising pension costs.

“We have over $1.1 million just in pensions and that’s an increase we can’t control unless we lower our payroll,” said Business Administrator Kathy Nichols.

The budget includes a 1.5 percent increase in the local tax levy and uses more than $2 million from the district’s reserve fund. These two combined factors make up for the money not provided by aid from the state.

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

In And Around Hannibal: April 13, 2013

by Rita Hooper 

In June, I will be representing Presbyterian Women of the Synod of the Northeast on a mission trip to Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina, a section of the country commonly referred to as Appalachia.

There will be about 25 women from all over the country taking part in this trip. We will be attending lectures and workshops, meeting with local historians and Appalachian women to better understand the history and culture of the region.

We will tour and fellowship with local organizations serving women, children and families. We will learn about the evolution and existing ministry of the Presbyterian Church and the challenges faced by women, children and families living in the area.

Appalachia is an area covering more than 200,000 square miles that follow the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania to Mississippi; it includes all of West Virginia and parts of 11 other states.  Forty-two percent of the region’s population is classified as rural as compared with 20 percent of the national population.

In 1965, one in three Appalachians lived in poverty and 223 counties were considered economically disadvantaged. By 2008 the poverty rate had dropped to 18 percent and in 2013, the number of counties considered economically disadvantaged has been cut to 98.

Appalachia was one of the areas impacted by the War on Poverty begun back in the ‘60’s that bought us among other programs, Head Start, Vista, Job Corps, Legal Services and the office of Economic Opportunity, which administered the program.  This was sometimes referred to as Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.  Having been a young adult at this time, I can tell you it was exciting.

For a country in trauma following the assassination of the President, his brother and Martin Luther King, this was a program that a large part of this country could get behind and that many of us benefitted from. It was a bright spot in a war weary world.

Of course the programs had their critics and fell victim to politics. Nixon came in and dismantled many of the programs or transferred them to other agencies shutting down the office of Economic Opportunity.  Whether it was a good or bad, many folks benefitted from the programs as they were lifted out of poverty, received educations and finally the needs of the disadvantaged were being lifted up.

This was an area of the country whose economy was dependent on mining, forestry, agriculture, chemical and heavy industry. It has become more diversified in recent years but many of the urban Appalachians still live in polluted, low-income industrial areas where they are exposed to toxic substances.

At this point in time, one in five Appalachian children lives in poverty; at least 40,000 children lack health insurance.  Nearly 1/3 of the third graders have not been to a dentist in the past year or have ever had a dental exam. Infant mortality in some counties is twice the national average. Many lack the very basics of necessities like indoor plumbing and running water. This is not in a third world country but in the United States.

This area had the usual influx of immigrants, Poles, Irish, English, Scotch and Africans, among others. The Native Americans were displaced during the Trail of Tears.  In spite of all the “downers,” it is an area rich in scenery, culture, crafts, music and story telling. I am excited about all there is for me to see, learn and do. I look forward to this trip.

When I return, I have committed to spend the next two years speaking about the area and advocating for their needs throughout the Northeast.

There will be a mission fair and spaghetti dinner at the First United Church (33 S. Third St., Fulton, April 27 from 4 to 8 p.m.; dinner from 5:30 until sold out.

Dr. Joan Hillsman will be bringing us worship through music with an emphasis on Appalachian music. That alone will make it something you won’t want to miss. I do hope many of my friends and faithful readers from Hannibal and the surrounding area will circle the date and come and offer their support.

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On another subject, I’ve been giving considerable thought, as I think some of my readers have, about how we get government moving in Washington. These folks were elected to work — and they did — they shortened their own working schedule, the number of days they spend in Washington.  But other than that much of Washington has been at a standstill. We have workshops on bullying locally, claim it’s a national issue and yet at every level of government, I see people in both parties using bullying tactics.

We elected these folks to get a job done, to do their own research (not listen to those infamous lobbyists and claim what they say as fact,) to sit down and work with each other, to invoke the fine art of compromise — remember when mom had one of her children cut the cake and the other children had first choice of the pieces?

So who do we have in Hannibal that we could get behind and send to Washington?  Who is it that would talk to power and tell them, they just may be too big for their britches and take them down a peg or two.

Who is it that could sit them down at a table and get the job done for us? And make them shake hands afterwards!

I ask my readers, if they would in their “pondering time’’ ponder this question and send me the names of people you think could do the job and why. It might just take a team! I have already decided who my nominee would be but I’d be interested in hearing yours.

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The menu this week at the Senior Dining Center is:

April 15: Open-faced hot turkey sandwich, mashed potatoes, vegetable blend, and fruit cup.

April 17: Ham, boiled potatoes, carrots and cabbage, and applesauce.

April 19: Chicken Parmesan over pasta, vegetable blend, and cookie.

This week their program will include Wii bowling and other games Monday, Bingo on Wednesday, and Music with the Pritchards Friday. The Center opens at 10 and lunch is served at noon. Give Rosemary a call at 564-5471 to make your reservation. The center is located in the Library Building on Oswego Street.

The Hannibal Boy Scouts are selling “Camp Cards” as a fundraiser. The card sells for $5, but is worth more than this amount in value at local businesses. One half of the selling prices goes to the local Scout unit and is great way for Scouts to earn their way to camp. For more information, call Mr. Prosser at 564-5630.

Cabin 3 invites you to the S.O.S. FEST “Big Meeting” Tuesday, April 16 at 6 p.m. at God’s Vision Christian Church, 326 Church St, Hannibal. This will be the 3rd year of the S.O.S. FEST. It is a three-day Christian music festival held at the Hannibal Firemen’s Field July 19-21.

The Hannibal Methodist Church is holding prayer meetings at the home of Jack Lenhard on Pine View Lane at 7 p.m. Tuesday evenings and at 1 p.m. Thursdays in the church dining room, Route 3

Wednesday and Thursday, April 17 and 18 at 7 p.m., the Hannibal High School’s Drama Club, Purple Gallery, will present the comedy, “30 Reasons Not To Be In A Play,” by Alan Haehnel, in the Hannibal High School Lockwood Auditorium.

The Sterling Valley Community Church will be having its annual Men’s and Boy’s Dinner Friday, April 19 at 6 p.m. The menu will be Italian with homemade pies for dessert. The program will be presented by The Friends of Fort Ontario. Please call Judy at 564-5386 with your reservations.

The Friends of the Hannibal Free Library will be holding its Spring Book and Bake Sale Saturday, April 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, April 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will take place in the Hannibal Community Center, next to the library.

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