Archive for April, 2009

B-GA track off to fast start

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
Patrick Newell

Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton’s vaunted track and field team held out some of its most talented boys runners last week against Unadilla Valley, yet it still walked away with the team title with ease. The Bears, not as talented and deep on the girls’ side, also claimed the three-way meet on the Storm’s home track.
“Our boys’ team is really deep this year, and the guys I held out were coming off a long indoor season,” said head coach Robb Munro. “I had them do a workout instead of competing.”
Dustin Ross, a defending sectional champion, Josh Norris, Jake Taylor, Ethan Mazzarella, and Kyle Kelly all sat out the UV meet, and all are normally high scoring kids. “When you have kids like Dustin, the other kids on the team are way behind or won’t (compete in the events he is in),” Munro said. “Holding our top guys out works out great for the other kids. It gives those kids a chance to be leaders, and I was pleased with the way they performed at Unadilla Valley.”
As for the girls, Munro was more than pleasantly surprised by the victory. “I didn’t think we had the depth with the girls, and lot of performances weren’t lights out,” he said, “but I was happy with the way they got out there and competed for every team point.”

Things like this don’t happen in upstate New York

Monday, April 6th, 2009
Melissa Stagnaro

One of my best friends from college lives in the San Francisco Bay area.  Just last week he was pestering me about when I was going to move out there. I’ll admit that I didn’t give it much thought, especially when I received his next message – saying he was in the middle of a mild earthquake.

To me, there is no such thing as a mild earthquake. The very idea that the earth could start shaking beneath your feet with no warning scares the living daylights out of me. I feel the same way about other whims of Mother Nature, like tornadoes and tsunamis.

Hurricanes rank right up there as well. Sure, there is a little more notice, but I’m still scared to death of them. Having to evacuate for an impending storm (even though it ended up steering well clear of my then home in the Florida Keys), was easily one of the most harrowing experiences of my life.

Such natural disasters are why I’m glad to be living in upstate New York; where Mother Nature’s vengeance is limited to long winters, excessive cloud cover and staggering humidity. I consider us lucky. Especially since this area is also largely devoid of poisonous insects and reptiles. We’ve got it pretty good.

Of course, it’s not just the lack of natural disasters that make me feel safe and secure in this region. For the most part, our communities are tight knit and our crime rates low, at least compared to more metropolitan areas.

With the exception of my father (a retired cop who has read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood once too often), most of us living here feel insulated from the evils of the so-called outside world. I know many people who leave their cars running when they stop at a convenience store, or their doors and windows unlocked at night.

On Friday, however, we had that security blanket ripped away.

Like many, I watched the news coverage of the tragedy at the American Civic Association in Binghamton with a mixture of shock, horror and deep sadness. My emotions were tinged heavily with denial. I mean, that couldn’t really be the same Binghamton only 20 miles down the road from my house that they were talking about in the same sentence as the words “hostage situation.” Yet there it was, depicted in the same grainy loop of video footage on every 24-hour cable news network.

How could something like this – 13 killed by an armed gunman who then took his own life, dozens huddled in the basement fearing for their own lives – happen here where we all feel so safe?

While national news organizations leap to draw parallels between this incident and others around the country, I struggle to understand how this could happen at all anywhere. Especially here. How someone could be so distraught and desperate that they snap and take the lives of so many innocents.

Already there are those who are picking apart Friday’s events, criticizing the agencies who responded and pointing fingers. Others try to grasp at straws in order to find some explanation why this could happen next door, but never, ever to them. Don’t they realize that now isn’t the time for all of that?

As a community, we should be mourning the loss suffered by the families and friends of the victims of this senseless tragedy and the harrowing experience endured by the survivors. We can mourn our own sense of loss, that we aren’t so far removed from the outside world, later.

My heart and thoughts go out to all who have been affected by Friday’s tragedy.

Step away from the books…

Friday, April 3rd, 2009
Melissa Stagnaro

Easter is just over a week away, and let me tell you, I can’t wait. It’s not the anticipation of chocolate bunnies and colorful eggs that has me counting down the days. No, it’s the fact that Easter Sunday marks the end of Lent. This year, those 40 days seem to be lasting forever.

While many Catholics give up chocolate, sweets or booze for Lent, I chose a different route. I gave up buying books. (So, First Edition – if your profits are down since the end of February, you know why.)

This may seem like an odd thing to give up, or an easy one, but I assure you it is truly a sacrifice for me. I have something of a book “habit,” if you will. Something anyone who knows me well can attest to.

I didn’t give up reading books (perish the though), just buying them. I’ve been subsisting since February 25 on library visits, the dusty books on my parents’ bookshelves and loans from friends. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m getting by.

I’m not very good at the whole temptation thing, so I’ve had to steer well clear of bookstores, and even the book aisle at the grocery store. I’m just too weak. (As evidenced by a recent trip to Walmart which almost ended in disaster when I mistakenly cut through the book department on my way to greeting cards.)

I have allowed myself the indulgence of browsing the new releases and bestsellers list on the Barnes and Noble website, but only after making sure my credit card was safely secured.

Now that I’m in the home stretch, I know I need to be more careful. I can’t afford any indiscretions this late in the game.

Think of me on April 12, as you are celebrating the holiday with your friends and family. While you’re digging into your Easter baskets and hunting for colored eggs, I’ll be loading up on books by the armful.

A day to do something else

Friday, April 3rd, 2009
Tyler Murphy

In the last three days we’ve experienced almost every possible weather pattern New York State has to offer. Yesterday’s temperature rose enough that you could bask in the sun without a jacket and feel enveloped by it’s warmth. Today we have the miserable, it’s raining- it just stooped raining- oh wait it’s raining again, kind of day. Tomorrow or later this weekend meteorologist are actually saying snowfall may be in our midst once again.

I love spring, as a matter of fact it’s my favorite season. The warming days that smell of wet earth and bright green budding life constantly beckon me to appreciate mother nature’s changing beauty. The down side are the times where mother nature has her throes of transition and regression like that past few days. Still, I appreciate the dark dreary days of sogginess because they ease my nagging conscious. It’s OK to stay inside with the girlfriend all day or waste my the hours in front of the boob tube. How can you feel guilty, I mean just look at how miserable it is outside.

So cheers to days like today which on the surface seem grim. Grab a good book, movie or whatever thing you had promised yourself you do and enjoy it because in all likelihood there isn’t anything better to do.

Spring is in the air…

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
Jessica Lewis

There are a lot of things in life that I don’t really like, but to be honest there are few things that I truly detest. Littering is one of those things.

Spring is finally here. Pretty much since Christmas was over, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring. I love the warm spring weather, the way everything starts to take on a fresh shade of green and flowers begin to bloom.

Unfortunately, the fun of spring is always ruined by something else. As soon as the snow and ice begin to melt, the first thing you see is all of the garbage lazy people have tossed on the ground over the winter months. All winter long, snow would cover the trash and hide it from view, but as soon as the temperatures begin to climb, the amount of garbage that people have tossed all year becomes apparent.

I’m not a neat freak. In fact, with an almost three year old, I’m almost always likely to find some forgotten food wrapper, juice bottle or other miscellaneous item in my car, but I’m not so lazy that I’m just going to roll down the window and toss it out. If it’s an issue, I’ll make a point to stop and throw it out in the garbage, and until then, it can stay in my car.

I’m not sure why more people can’t adopt that attitude. Unfortunately, too many refuse to take that tiniest bit of responsibility and instead throw their trash in the streets. My three year old knows better than that. It’s a simple idea, pick up after yourself.

Always the fool…

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
Melissa Stagnaro

I love the very idea of April Fool’s Day. It’s the perfect opportunity to truly torture your friends, family and coworkers. I mean, what could be more fun?

Even though, in theory, it is one of my favorite days of the year, I usually don’t take full advantage of the opportunity. The best initiatives always require forethought and planning, and I’m too much of a last minute kind of girl. My brilliant ideas usually come after it is too late to put them into action.

As a result, I’m more often on the receiving end of these harmless pranks and jokes than the one dishing them out. I know it’s all in good fun, so I’m a pretty good sport.

Over the years I’ve been the “victim” of some good ones, whether they’ve taken place on April 1 or not. Like the time my friends Brian and Ed put a personal ad in the Washington City Paper on my behalf. I don’t remember every detail, but I do remember it listed one of my “turnoffs” as people who closely guard their personal space.

The scariest part? The fact that once other people I knew were able to pick out which was me out of the hundreds and hundreds of other ads on the page.

There was also the time, during my college years, when my friend Arden made about a hundred photocopies of a somewhat scandalous photo of me. A photo, I might add, that I didn’t know existed. Each copy was individually captioned.

He plastered them all over my college dorm room, including in the shower, under the mattress, between the pages of my textbooks, inside clothes hanging in my closet… Let’s just say he was thorough. They were still turning up months later. And a year and a half later, when I moved out, I found a few more.

My friends, of course, thought this was hilarious. They still do. I just consider myself lucky that it was before the days of digital photography.

Then there were the ‘rancid’ shirts.

We all have words or phrases we use too much. My junior year at Manhattan, that word was ‘rancid’ for me. My friends John and Mike decided to inform me of that fact by having t-shirts made featuring a picture of me that was, well, rancid. (In my defense, it was taken when I had the flu.)

The unveiling was priceless, timed perfectly with the arrival of cases of t-shirts we had ordered for an orientation event. There was actually a split second when I imagined the entire incoming freshman class wearing the hideous image of me, under which was the single word caption ‘rancid.’ It was incredibly traumatic.

Of course, the joke didn’t die there. For years, John wore the  shirt whenever he hadn’t done laundry. Which was, unfortunately, often.

All of those friends live a couple of hundred miles away or more at this point. But I still count myself lucky to have survived this much of the day unscathed.

I won’t count my poisson d’Avril before they are hatched, though. Who knows what the afternoon has in store…