Archive for October, 2008

Norwich football

Monday, October 20th, 2008
Patrick Newell

Norwich coach John Pluta was prophetic in his comments before last Friday’s game against Oneida. “Offensively, we can give people some trouble – even if we don’t match up physically,” he said. “A lot of teams outside our section don’t see our offense.”
Norwich returned to its ball-control ways racking up huge possession time on 50 carries for 235 yards. Keeping the ball for sustained drives kept Oneida’s prolific offense off the field, a stated game-plan goal, Pluta said.
Conversely, he spoke of how well division opponents such as Chenango Forks, Chenango Valley, Oneonta, and Windsor play defense against the Tornado year in and year out. “Points are at a premium (in our division),” Pluta said. “Everybody knows what everybody else does, and they consistently do it.”
Windsor and Chenango Forks have division wins over Norwich, and Windsor has already clinched a playoff spot after beating Oneonta last week to move to 3-0 in division play. Chenango Forks (2-1 in division play) has two ways to secure a playoff spot: First, defeat Windsor on Saturday. Second, Norwich wins at Oneonta Friday night. Pluta said that beating Oneonta was on its list of eight preseason goals. Now, it can not only accomplish that goal, but eliminate its longtime rival from postseason play in the process.

Kids will be kids

Friday, October 17th, 2008
Jessica Lewis

What is it about youth that makes some children behave with absolutely no regard for others? We’ve seen a lot of this recently; the three youths who vandalized the Jewish center, the kids who broke into several area businesses and now kids pushing over gravestones and breaking into a public library to steal a few bucks.

Those things are actual crimes and will probably warrant actual punishments, but what about the things that kids are allowed to get away with every day? I’m talking about the bullying and hurtful behavior that goes on in schools everywhere.

Every time I start talking about this subject, I get comments or e-mails from people telling me their experiences with bullying. There are so many children and teens who seem to get their thrills by terrorizing and tormenting their  classmates.

It’s not a new issue. Bullying has always been a part of growing up, and it probably always will be, but if we continue to show kids that this type of behavior is tolerated, it’s never going to get any better.  Schools, administrators, coaches and parents need to be stricter about bullying. Instead of just shrugging and saying that’s how kids are, more efforts need to be made to get these behaviors under control.

Tolerating this type of behavior allows it to grow and spread, and no child should have to feel like they don’t belong.

Desecrated graves

Friday, October 17th, 2008
Tyler Murphy

St. Joseph’s cemetery in Oxford was vandalized between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 5 p.m. Thursday in the Village Oxford.

Every once in a while there seems to be a headline involving the desecration of headstones. For the life of me I can not understand why anyone would do such a thing.

The word desecrate is exactly what these morons did. Defined it means to treat a sacred place or thing, with violent disrespect.

I’m really not a religious person but even so a grave is a deeply spiritual shrine. They are the final defining object left to mark the fading legacy of a person’s life, some of them over a hundred years old, and to destroy one for nothing but a cheap thrill makes you a hideous human being.

I can’t imagine the injury and insult levied against the poor families. If it turns out to be some local kids odds are that in such a small community they might even have distant blood ties to those they destroyed.

Anyone with information should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 334-2000.

Ghost Hunting

Friday, October 17th, 2008
Melissa Stagnaro

The Evening Sun staff has been planning is second annual “ghost hunting” excursion for weeks. Well, tonight is the night. And I’m freaking out.

I don’t disbelieve in ghosts. I definitely lean toward the believer side, but I’ve never truly been confronted by real proof. I don’t know how I will react if and when I do.

My one and only personal experience could be easily written off as a late night hallucination, but I do firmly believe I saw something. And I never discount anyone else’s experiences. But I might just wet my pants if I see or hear something tonight.

Yep. I’m pretty much a pansy. Any of my friends can tell you that. I don’t “do” horror movies or even super-scary books.

Halloween? Friday the Thirteenth? SAW? I don’t think so! I only agreed to watch the Nightmare on Elm Street movies with my high school boyfriend on the condition that I hold the remote (thus enabling me to fast-forward through the scary bits).

My college friends tried locking me in a room to make me watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I broke out.

Having a highly overactive imagination doesn’t help. I swear to you I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I slept with the light on for two weeks after reading the first page of Steven King’s Kujo. I will never own a St. Bernard. Pet Cemetery? Forget about it.

So how will I react tonight if we are actually “successful” in our ghost hunt? I have no idea. But I really hope that the Arts Council has one of those emergency defribulaters handy. I’d hate to die of fright and have to come back and haunt my fellow reporters.

Norwich needs to ‘go out and play’

Thursday, October 16th, 2008
Patrick Newell

For one week, Norwich steps out of Section IV division play and has a golden opportunity to not only regroup, but take down one of the top-rated Class B teams in the state.
Tonight at 7 p.m., the Tornado (4-2) visit number three ranked Oneida (6-0) in a Section III versus Section IV non-league crossover.
“A lot of times you look at team and they are either really strong or really athletic up front,” said Norwich coach John Pluta. “Oneida is both.”
As good a passing team as Oneida is – and quarterback Ryan Kramer is already well over 1,000 yards passing this season – the Indians are just as happy running the ball on sweeps, off-tackle runs, and counters, Pluta said, out of the “I” formation. “They also throw a lot to their backs and have a wide-open attack called the ‘Polecat Offense,’” the Norwich coach said.
The Pole Cat system spreads the field and receivers in a unique formation in which multiple receivers are eligible to catch the ball. “It’s not their base offense, but they might run that a series at a time,” Pluta said.
While Oneida is wide-open, Norwich looks to return to a ball-control offense that has been the team’s staple in Pluta’s long tenure. Norwich can take heart that the time-consuming, ball-control drives are still in its repertoire. The Purple Tornado marched 94 yards for a score last week against Windsor, although it needed to use the passing game more than usual.
“The biggest thing within our game plan is to control the ball and control the clock,” Pluta said. “We want to minimize their opportunities on offense and shorten the game. We’re capable of that, and we need to make plays on defense.”
Norwich also needs to start fast and limit early mistakes that have had it trailing in the first quarter in all but one game this season. “It would be nice to go out and get the early lead,” Pluta said. “We’re thinking too much about making mistakes. We just need to go out and play.”

Bosses Day

Thursday, October 16th, 2008
Tyler Murphy

Boss, chief, director, president, principal, chief executive, chair, manager, supervisor, foreman, overseer, controller, employer, owner, proprietor, number one, kingpin, top dog, bigwig, big cheese, head honcho, big kahuna and the man. (or the woman)

For those of you that don’t know today, October 16 is National Bosses Day. I wondered earlier about why bosses needed a day to my editor Jeff.

“So there’s a National Bosses Day?”

Jeff: Yeah, what did you get me?

“Why do bosses need I day, mean it seems you have it pretty good too me, better pay and you get to be in charge.”

Jeff: Plus you can torment employees at a whim.

(I missed a hint.)

“It just seem to me it’s one of those holidays that doesn’t really mean anything and just got tossed into the band wagon like United Nations Day. (Oct. 24) Seems lame why do need a day anyway?”

Jeff: Increased burdens of responsibility, leadership, resource management, mediation, these things ringing any bells? How about having to interview people and sometimes let them go….

Jeff stared at me for a second.

(I curiously wondered if I had missed a hint)

“Sounds like vanity to me.”

Jeff : Maybe some employees need a boss day to remember how lucky they are to have a job.


“Happy Bosses Day Jeff.”

Jeff: Thanks Tyler….What did you get me?

These versions of events are complete fiction and obviously Bosses Day is an important holiday to all employees wanting to keep a job or who actually have a good boss. (One for example who can take a joke)

All kidding aside, Happy Bosses Day To my editor Jeff and all the other administrators out there.

Everyone’s got a story

Thursday, October 16th, 2008
Jessica Lewis

No really, judging by the stack of Ghastly Ghost Story submissions on my desk, everyone really does have a story.

Last year was the first year I was involved in the Ghastly Ghost Story competition, and I was thrilled at the response. At the end of last year’s competition, I had received 46 stories.

I love Halloween, and I love reading a good scary story, so when this year’s competition came around, I was thrilled at the idea of reading another fantastic round of stories.

Although the response to last year’s competition was great, I was nervous as the deadline for submissions drew closer. As of last Friday, I had a total of only five stories. My fear, however was for naught. With a few hours left before the entry deadline, I have already received more than double the number of entries from last year.

For the last day and a half, I’ve spent hours hunched over my computer, reading, typing and forgetting all about my other appointments. Stories about ghosts, werewolves, mutant pumpkins, vampires and serial killers are littering my desk, and more, I’m sure, will come in before the office closes tonight, and I’ve enjoyed every single one.

I’m always amazed at the talent I see in so many Chenango County residents, and this competition has been no different. Some of the stories were scary enough to give me goose bumps, and with so many great stories to chose from, I’m sure the judging this year, will be no easy task.

But I can’t steal all of the fun. For your reading enjoyment, the winning stories will be published in The Pumpkin Vine, a special section included in next Thursday’s edition of The Evening Sun, and all of the stories will be posted on the web site before Halloween. Happy reading.

The Rescue

Monday, October 13th, 2008
Melissa Stagnaro

I am always horrified when I read about parents implicated in the neglect, abuse and even death of their own children. When I see these tales splashed across the headlines, my heart bleeds for the innocent victims of these senseless crimes.

These acts seem to be against the very natural order of things. Parents, not matter the species, should take care of their young. That tugging we feel on our heartstrings when we see small defenseless creatures is instinctual. It is Mother Nature’s way of ensuring that we take care of those who are dependent on us for the basics of survival.

Until recently, I thought these heinous acts of negligence were unique to the human species. It was then that I found evidence to the contrary in my own back yard.

That evidence was the desperate cry of a small, malnourished kitten. The tiny mewling creature was all that remained of a litter of five abandoned by their “mother,” a feral cat that doesn’t deserve the title. And thus began our role as surrogates.

The little guy couldn’t lap milk out of a bowl, and struggled even with the tiny pet nursing bottle. The first couple of days, until he got the hang of it, the only way we could get the little guy to eat was out of the palm of my hand. The first time he purred in my ear made all the effort worthwhile.

Now if he’d just learn how to use that litterbox…

The fuzzy ball of energy has even melted the heart of my tough as nails father, who has been revealed to be a softy at heart. He thinks he’s being discreet, but he’s not. I’ve seen his antics, rolling the little guy around on the floor.

We still haven’t settled on a name for the kitten, partially because we have yet to determine its gender. (I feel it has already suffered enough indignities in its short life and doesn’t need us manhandling it.)

In the week it has been with us so far, we’ve tried several names on for size. Nothing has stuck so far. At first we tried Persie, short for Persistent.  When he/she/it proved to be quite the little escape artist, we called it Houdini. Murphy, Stubbs, Ugly, Cupcake and Cupboard (don’t ask) are a few of the others that have been thrown around. No wonder the little guy remains nameless.

I know he can’t stay in the house forever. I’ll have to find a permanent home for the kitten before too long, but for the time being I’m enjoying watching him grow. It’s hard to believe the little guy bounding around the house is the same one I found, half starved, a week ago.

I don’t think it will be too hard to find a home for him/her/it. Because I can attest that Mother Nature has done her job right this time. The sight of this cute, cuddly kitten is guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings.

Mistaken Identity

Friday, October 10th, 2008
Melissa Stagnaro

There aren’t a whole lot of Melissa Stagnaro’s out there. In fact, I only know definitely of one other. Strangely enough, she lived not far from me in Northern Virginia when I resided in that area several years ago.

We never met, but I know for a fact that she got phone messages meant for me on more than one occasion. (Her number was listed, mine was not.)

The only time it was ever truly an issue for me was when she got the call for a book I’d ordered from Barnes & Noble. I know, right? How horrible. I should probably thank my lucky starts that she wasn’t implicated in some Monica Lewinski-style scandal.

When a friend of mine from Oxford called me up earlier this week to tell me that she had been receiving flack after someone with the same name had made a police blotter appearance, I could understand but couldn’t really relate.

Cassi’s problem was certainly a little more serious than my book mix-up. With young children in the district and a husband with his own business, being confused for someone who has drug-related run-ins with the law is not what I would call a good thing.

Not only did this woman share Cassi’s first and married name, but she also lives in the same town. The only way you could distinguish them in the blotter was by age. And while someone would have a hard time mistaking me for 24, Cassi could easily pass. And therein lies the problem.

I think that the fact that my name and Cassi’s aren’t the most common, almost people more likely to get confused when they encounter someone with the same name. If your name is Joe Smith or Bill Johnson, people might be inclined to see if they really are you before drawing conclusions.

When that clerk at Barnes & Noble asked me if my number had changed and I said no, I’m sure it never crossed her mind that the information on her little screen was for another Melissa Stagnaro entirely.

I wish I could give Cassi some good advice for handling this. I don’t know that a letter to the editor or taking out an ad would accomplish anything. I know she’s afraid that it will hurt Stan’s business, and affect her children. But I hope that she knows that there are plenty of people out there that know her better than to think that was her name on the wall of shame.

If people are genuinely concerned, they’ll take the time to verify the facts before they go spreading rumors. And if they are just petty minds gossiping, it’s probably not even worth the effort necessary to set them straight.

Until then, if I was Cassi, I’d be out there celebrating the fact that people believed I was 24. With a designated driver of course, just to make sure it wasn’t me in that police blotter next time around.

Aging gracefully or staying shamefully young?

Thursday, October 9th, 2008
Tyler Murphy

Whatever happened to respecting the elderly? Age is supposed to be nearly sacred in meaning. I’m reminded of words like venerable, experienced, vintage, classic, veteran and time-honored.


Yet when I look around at how our society reacts to age and how we deal with the elderly, a more appropriate vocabulary might be — dilapidated, broken-down, ramshackle, decaying and of course inconvenient.


Media marketing and culture are geared to ‘staying young forever’ and cast a sense of shame upon the fact that we all have to grow old eventually. (Some of us will even lose our minds). Snake oil youth treatments of skin cream, hair color, cosmetic surgery and even injections of botulism (Botox) are all taken to stem the tide of only appearing old.


Our cultural obsession for youth has apparently generated the unfortunate attitude that age just isn’t aesthetically undesirable, but also a curse. A curse that in the minds of some automatically makes one no longer useful.


I’m reminded of Ponce de Leon and his Fountain of Youth — countless lives spent in a desperate attempt to find true immortality with but a sip. No one ever found it and the fountain claimed much more from those that sought it than it ever gave; the same is true today.


The Evening Sun recently ran a story of an elderly man who was basically tossed in jail because no one wanted him- no one wanted to accept responsibility. Not the state, not the medical profession, not even his family. Maybe he is old and maybe he’s even dangerous too, but the only reason he’s in jail right now and not in treatment is because nobody cared.


He was just some ‘crazy’ old man who wouldn’t stop bothering the rest of us, so we put him in jail. It’s pathetic.


People read the article and think this poor man must be so embarrassed, but really… he’s not the one who should be embarrassed.