Archive for February, 2008

The drug store habit

Thursday, February 28th, 2008
Jeff Genung


In my column in the print edition last week, I lamented the foolishness of siting a Walgreens drug store (again, purely speculation on my part) at an intersection which already had two. 


Apparently, much like Rite-Aid seemed to make a habit of tearing down historic structures to build new stores (the Green House wasn’t the only victim), it seems Walgreens has got a thing for planting stores next to the competition.


Witness this little interesting tidbit a reader sent me from the Times-Union in Albany:


Walgreens proposes store close to rival

Plan for Schenectady highlights issue of clustering pharmacies


By LAUREN STANFORTH, Staff writer 

First published: Friday, February 22, 2008


SCHENECTADY — A new Walgreens has been proposed at Brandywine Avenue and State Street, across the street from a Rite Aid and an empty Eckerd building.


Such clusters are happening across the Capital Region as drugstore chains expand, often locating next to each other.


It’s unknown whether Walgreens would be interested in, or would consider, taking the corner occupied by the empty Eckerd. A representative from the Deerfield, Ill.-based company couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.


Many Eckerd stores were closed after the company was bought last year by Rite Aid.


“It seems like overkill to me. One drugstore is plenty right in that neighborhood,” said Catherine Greene, president of the Vale Community Organization.


Walgreens is asking for a special use permit to allow a drive-through at the location, 1101-1115 State St. The zoning board will consider the request on March 5. The vacant property is zoned for business use. However, a new zoning code expected to win approval in March might mean greater restrictions on footprint size and design for that site, said zoning officer Steve Strichman.


City Council member Barbara Blanchard said any business can locate in the city if it meets city standards and the zoning code. But she said it’s unfortunate that the proposal involves another chain drugstore.


“It’s too bad we can’t attract more unique businesses,” Blanchard said.


Controversy has swirled around other drugstore sites recently. An online petition asks Troy officials to reject a plan for a new Rite Aid on Hoosick Street. Delaware Avenue residents in Albany have sued to prevent a Walgreens from moving to a vacant lot on Holland Avenue.


The Brandywine Avenue and State Street Walgreens would be the company’s first store in Schenectady. The company has said it wants to add 550 stores, mostly in California and the Northeast, by year’s end.


Amen, Barbara!

Murphy’s movies of the week

Friday, February 22nd, 2008
Tyler Murphy

Murphy’s movies of the week. Fun, interesting, controversial and some with a moral. Conversation, thought and debate inspired.

Cut and paste into your web browser or click on them if you have a direct link.

My hero and role model.

Up coming movie that hits an elephant in the room.

Short political clip regarding torture

Fun music clip on how mankind has evolved.

Tune in next week.

You say it’s my birthday?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Michael McGuire

Don’t feel bad if you forgot my birthday.

I didn’t remember it either. Not until I got to work this morning and a co-worker reminded me.


Can’t say how or why I’d forget such a milestone. Birthday’s used to mean so much.

Maybe I’m too busy. Career driven and working long hours, it’s easy to forget about the things that matter most.

Maybe it’s because I’m at that age – 26 – where my mind and body are starting to go through certain “changes.” For example: Mentally, I don’t feel a day older than 15. Physically, I don’t feel a a day younger than 40. My actual age is closer to the average of the two. Just doesn’t feel right. It has my internal clock all spun around (the hot flashes haven’t come yet, but they’re not far behind).

Or maybe I’ve just gotten old and crotchety in my ways. I’ve already caught myself watching daytime episodes of “JAG” and yelling at kids who ride their bikes on the sidewalk out front after dark.

Maybe my memory’s starting to go. Sometimes I’ll dial the phone and when someone answers I have no idea who I called. It’s happening more frequently.

Or maybe I’m just an idiot who can’t remember anything unless it involves free Pabst and inner tubing.

Who knows?

Moment of Zen

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Jeff Genung


After a particularly harrowing day of work, it’s always nice to have that one defining moment that serves as an exclamation point on the entire day. 


I experienced that moment after work Monday, as I stopped by the P&C to pick up something I could un-freeze for dinner. Stepping up to the automatic doors, a gentleman (and I use that term loosely) breezed past me carrying a 12-pack of Bud Lite in one hand, and a copy of Monday’s Evening Sun in the other.


Seems just about right.



No player is above the team

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
Patrick Newell

As he saw it, Bob Conway dropped the ball Friday night in B-G’s final MAC league game of the season. Conway called himself (insert expletive) afterward, and some others closely associated with Conway may have shared a similar opinion.
In the late stages of a tightly contested, intense basketball game with Oxford last Friday, Conway ’s niece, Dani Conway, moved past the 1,000-point mark for her career. Coach Conway was aware at the start that she needed 20 points to reach the milestone, but did not have his usual scorer on hand at the head table to start the contest, and most of all, he was making every effort to win his “team” a basketball game.
Conway beat himself up for not recognizing Dani’s significant individual accomplishment, but let’s not forget, basketball is the perfect example of a team sport in which all of the cogs need to work cohesively to achieve success. Conway said his team was playing awful at the start, and in the midst of trying to win a game – and finish a perfect division record – Dani’s 1,000th point was not in the forefront of his mind.
Conway reached her milestone at a point where the outcome was still in doubt. It wasn’t until the final minute that B-G salted the game away, at which point Dani had already fouled out and was no longer on the floor.
Immediately following the game, Conway recognized his oversight, and felt terrible. But let’s be fair here. There is a time and place to stop a basketball game and go through a brief ceremony recognizing an individual player’s record or accomplishment. This was not an appropriate time. As we noted above, it was an extremely competitive game between two longtime rivals. Oxford was trying to add the one and only blemish to a perfect team’s league record, so to stop the flow and momentum of a close game would be totally unfair to the Blackhawks club.
Had this happened in the first half or in a blowout situation later in the game, by all means, go ahead and stop the game. To take umbrage with a coach thinking about winning a game first before an individual’s personal accomplishment is selfish thinking. To reiterate a familar adage: “No player is above the team.”
There is a time and a place for that type of recognition. In hindsight, Coach Conway could have notified the crowd in a post-game speech about Dani’s scoring mark, however, that is Monday morning quarterbacking on my part, and in the moment, we do not always think quickly on our feet.
Yes, Dani should get her due recognition, and she will before the Bobcats’ next home game. Dani is a terrific player who will add significantly to her points total over the remainder of this season, and next season. To those familiar with the B-G basketball program, in their opinion, Coach Conway made an egregious mistake. I, on the other hand, am willing to cut him some slack. In nearly 25 years of coaching, Conway has rarely missed on anything relating to his team, and his 385 career wins have earned him some extra rope.

Testimonial trauma

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
Tyler Murphy

So it was a short weekend and after serving half a day in a church pew getting harassed by defendants about their lives getting ruined in the paper, I thought I’d take half a day off. I’ve got the time so I thought what the heck.

One defendant who particularly liked to harass me in letters to my editor but complimented me while I was at court was Dean Sacco. I’ve been covering his case since its inception. It began amidst an array of usually violent crimes such as the recent homicides. As a result its original coverage was lower than it might have been if the same thing had happened a year or two earlier. If you are unfamiliar with it I suggest you click on the link below.

The Federal government has now accused Sacco and another woman, Linda O’Connor, with an array of sexual depravities that beggar the most perverted of imaginations. Believe when I tell you that the published media can’t even come close to fully disclosing the torment this little girl appears to have endured.

My day off quickly converted into an afternoon of phone calls, record checking and the acquiring of the official felony complaint. I’ve had the unfortunate personal and fortunate professional opportunity of being privy to many testimonies as a reporter. The first hand testimony given by this young child in her interviews with police and social agencies was included in the complaint.

My morality vomited at least a dozen times as I read through the document. I found myself uncharacteristically traumatized by some of the information. All I could think about this morning as I wrote the piece how the little girl would feel if she read the article.

This all ,in a way, tied into the original complaints I had received earlier in the day. For a long time I thought about the gravity of publishing such intimate and disgraceful information in such a small community. What impact does it have on a life?

I don’t know who’s guilty or not, all I know is that I’m angry. If these people, particularly O’Connor are in fact guilty of these crimes….

I’m not an advocate of the death penalty but I hope that someday they burn in hell.

Political hodgepodge

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
Jessica Lewis

Finding a person who understands all of the intricacies of the voting system in the United States is like trying to find a winged unicorn that can sing, dance and grant wishes. It’s nearly impossible, and I have to wonder if the reasons for the intricacies aren’t a little out dated and frankly, ridiculous.

This year I will have the chance to vote in my second presidential election, and since that critical first vote, I’ve picked up a lot of little tidbits about primaries, caucuses, delegates, super delegates and the electoral college system. Do I understand why it works the way it does? Not a chance.

When you write a newspaper article, your always encouraged to remember your audience and write so people can figure out what you’re talking about. I don’t understand why politics doesn’t have the same guidelines.

Instead of having primaries and caucuses months apart all over the country, why can’t we designate one day (or week or month) and schedule all the races for that day. (I know it would cut down on all the campaign stops and heart to hearts in each area, but it would also cut down on some of the money that is thrown away on campaign ads and mud slinging and foolishness.)

Why can’t both parties take that first step toward bipartisan relations by agreeing to the same rules. (Does a primary winner take all of a state’s delegates or a proportion based on the percent of the votes they received? Are primaries open or restricted by parties.) I don’t think the world would end if Democrats and Republicans agreed on the basic rules that run the system.

Would it destroy Democracy if we were to have a system that made sense to the average person? Would it really be so bad if it didn’t require 3-D pie charts, touch screen computers and eight hours for the anchors on MSNBC to explain why a candidate is in the lead?

I know there are a lot of reasons for the way things are done. I know the system is meant to protect smaller states from being looked over during election season, but there has to be an easier way.

Throwing away a vote?

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008
Tyler Murphy

I spent a large part of my day yesterday at the polling stations around Norwich and interviewing people for an exit opinion poll.

While there I decided to cast my own democratic vote and noticed something that struck me as strange. Both John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani were still included on the ballots.

Both contenders have dropped out of the race but they were still included in all the Super Tuesday’s state ballets. My question is why?

In an election so tightly contested, especially between democrats, why were they not removed? In many states up to ten percent went to either of the false candidates. That ten percent could have impacted several states if those voters had gone another way. (Or maybe not) The whole thing just smelled a little fishy to me, keeping dropped candidates on the polling machines.

I didn’t even notice any notification at any of the locations alerting any misinformed or distracted voter that neither candidate was a candidate at all. Couldn’t we have just snapped off a yellow post-it note and slapped it on the machine saying, “Edwards and Giuliani have withdrawn from election.”

I’m not saying you shouldn’t vote for the long shot but at least vote for one that can actually accept a nomination.

I’m sure there is some bureaucratic process or political motivation that was the culprit.