Archive for November, 2010

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010

Monday, November 15th, 2010
Patrick Newell

– As Jeff Genung noted in his Friday blog, I used Thursday and Friday last week as vacation days. Vacation is a relative term to me, and the mere fact I did not have to set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. is almost as good as actually having a full day off.
Thursday evening, I called Greene head field hockey coach, Sue Carlin, for a story in advance of her team’s state playoff game on Saturday that appeared in the Friday edition of the sports section. Fortunately, I never needed to leave the confines of my home, and I e-mailed the story to Jeff – who added a nice team photo to dress up the sports page.
In case you missed it, check out today’s sports story on the Trojans, who again are playing right up to the weekend before Thanksgiving in a bid for another state championship.

– Keeping with my Jeff Genung-themed blog, Jeff lamented the designing of our sports standings and statistics page (the agate page for those in the know). I feel his pain. It is this page alone that has me arriving to work 15 to 20 minutes earlier each day over the press seven or eight years.
Around June of last year, the Associated Press news service changed the way it sent sports information to its customers – primarily us, the daily newspapers. For years, everything the AP sent to us was organized. All of the box scores and game statistics were grouped by sport, and for all sports except baseball, all of the game summaries were together as one file. The standings for each professional sport were easily viewable as well, and typically stacked one file after another. As for the story summaries, too, together and easy to find.
The easy access and organization was tossed out the window when the AP decided to streamline and cut costs. Sports content is now sent to us after the individual games are finished. When all of the games of that particular sport are completed, we receive the updated standings. Of course, every sport has different finishing times, and with as many as 1,500 files to look through, if you’re not intimately familiar with the starting and finishing times of major sports, you’re looking for a needle in a haystack (cue Jeff on my days off). Jeff will admit to anyone who will listen, he is not a sports aficionado. Being that he has to design the news pages in the morning as well, I commend his effort in putting together the sports pages.

Editor’s Notebook: 11/15/10

Monday, November 15th, 2010
Jeff Genung

• Had a great time Saturday night at the Arts Council’s “International Bazaar” fundraiser. Always nice to hobnob with the pretty people. Kudos to Sue Ryan at the Canasawacta Country Club, too – what an amazing array of international cuisine. Good time was had by all.

• A little commotion in the office this morning when a tipster called Melissa deCordova to tell her about a gas well “explosion” in Sherburne. We dispatched Tyler Murphy to the scene immediately, but it turned out to be somewhat of a false alarm. There was fire, but it wasn’t an explosion – seems a burnoff is part of the normal process, and you’ll read more about it in tomorrow’s paper. Looks like we’d better get used to that sort of thing, folks.

• Part I of Mary Musson’s week-long series, “Come to Italy with Me,” appears on today’s Community page. The first installment was great, and it only gets better from here. When she first told me about her concept of “immersion travel,” my reaction was, “Pass. Show me the touristy stuff.” Hearing her descriptions of her small-town adventures unfold across this five-part series has certainly changed my tune on that one.

• Congratulations to Merle Matts of Rt. 66 Band on his upcoming retirement, and to Ed Sidote, for a special Finger Lakes Trail dedication. I love it when we can use the front page to honor locals who have made such enduring contributions to the fabric of our community.

• Of course we also used it to tell you about a bunch of counterfeit money that circulated (or tried to) in downtown Norwich over the weekend. Dude, the Feds are in town. Secret Service even!

Editor’s Notebook: 11/12/10

Friday, November 12th, 2010
Jeff Genung

Oh, Fridays, you’re killing me … when is it summer vacation again?

• My column today is all about a five-day series we’re starting on Monday called “Come With Me To Italy,” written by Norwich’s own Mary Musson. She wrote a similar series for us about four years ago, to great acclaim. I really think you’re going to enjoy it. As someone who, at this point, seems unlikely to ever leave the United States, I am incredibly envious of her journeys. Look for the stories on the Community page all next week.

• Tyler’s story today was a tribute to Norwich icon Jeremy Stopford, he of the chalk-stick and dog-net fame. Jeremy’s clocked in nearly three decades with the Norwich City Police, and the community is celebrating his career at a retirement luncheon tomorrow. Jeremy’s always been a fan of the newspaper, and us of him. We appreciate your service (if not the occasional parking ticket), Jeremy. And I assure you Bailey is properly licensed!

• Headed to the Chenango County Council of the Arts’ “International Bazaar” fundraising gala tomorrow night at the Country Club. Looking forward to a great night of music, fun and Sue’s culinary delights. And all for a good cause, to boot.

• I’ve been The Evening Sun’s sports editor for the past two days, as Pat Newell took a couple off. As always, my only goal in doing so is to hope that no one notices. The Associated Press makes it pretty paint-by-numbers easy, but those “Standings” boxes (we call it “agate” in the biz) will be the death of me. Glad to have him back on Monday!

HP7

Friday, November 12th, 2010
Melissa Stagnaro

As I gushed excitedly this morning about the upcoming release of the next-to-last installment of the Harry Potter series, more than one of my co-workers snickered.

Thankfully, they didn’t hear my muttered response. Not that they probably would have caught the thinly veiled Muggle reference anyway.

Neither of the offenders have any room to talk, as one is a Trekkie to the nth degree. (Loved the Captain Kirk costume, by the way!) The other hasn’t taken his nose out of the latest Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson novel, “Towers of Midnight,” since I took pity on him earlier this week and picked it up for him.

I would think they of all people would be able to understand the affinity I have for J.K. Rowling’s creation. The first time I entered Harry Potter’s wizarding world, I was hooked. And since that time, I have anxiously awaited each new installment, both in the bookstore and on the silver screen.

I read the first three books in the series (Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban) before they were all the rage. I hadn’t had any real desire to read them at all actually. But a book group I was in back in my Arlington, VA days (circa 1999) had selected the first installment as one of our monthly reads.

When I went online to purchase it, I found I was able to get all three in hardcover (they weren’t yet out in the US in paperback) for a paltry sum – I think $30. It was too much of a bargain to pass up.

Once I started reading, I was glad I’d jumped on it. Because I literally could not put them down. I finished all three in under 4 days. An admiral feat considering I worked full time as a market research analyst & part-time waiting tables at the time.

Then I read them again. I mean, what else was I supposed to do to bide my time while going crazy waiting for #4 – Goblet of Fire – to be released. It was excruciating. It didn’t come out until the following June, if I remember correctly, so I had something like 8 loooonnng months to wait.

Before long, of course, Harry Potter was all the rage. At least partially fueled, I’m sure, by people like me – who raved about it to everyone they met. I can’t remember how many people I lent those books to, when I could finally bear to let them out of my sight.

As the release date – or, in industry lingo, strict-on-sale date – approached, bookstores started hyping all-night events so Harry Potter fans could have their book in hand at 12:01.

It was like that for each of the successive volumes as well, and, of course, the movies. I, like so many other HP fans, anxiously awaited them all. I’ve read and re-read each book more times than I can count. Ditto the movies.

With one exception: I still haven’t seen the theatrical version of Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. So this weekend I will be doing just that. As well as re-reading the seventh and final novel.

Then, and only then, will I be in the correct mental state to catch the midnight showing of part 1 of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows on Thursday at the Colonia Theater.

See you there!

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Editor’s Notebook: 11/11/10

Thursday, November 11th, 2010
Jeff Genung

Happy Veterans Day, Chenango County — and thank you to all who served!

• Today was pretty much all Veterans Day, all the time … On Page 1, Brian Golden visited Otselic Valley for their annual program at Georgetown Elementary (and managed to find his way back home!) and Melissa Stagnaro made her annual pilgrimage to the Veterans’ Home in Oxford to profile some of their residents – the two featured in today’s paper both had interesting stories to tell, and were both sharp and engaging.

• In the back of section 1, we had three full pages of the “Our Heroes” campaign we did, in which businesses and private parties congratulated those who’ve served our country. As a bonus, they’re all on our Facebook page too, where you can add your own comments and congratulations.

• Frank Speziale and the ES crew attended Vets’ Day ceremonies in Norwich at the Eleventh Hour, and I’ve posted a couple of Tyler Murphy’s video snippets on our Facebook page. Look for a photo gallery to come, too.

A rare find indeed

Thursday, November 11th, 2010
Brian Golden

While perusing an old copy (circa 2000) of Guitar World the other day I ran into an editorial piece I’d completely forgotten about. It addressed a truly rare occurrence in the life of any guitarist, or musician in general, and reminded me of several close calls I’ve had when it comes to the vintage instrument market.

Like anything else considered “vintage” these days (cars, comic books, baseball cards, etc.), vintage guitars are highly prized and sell for thousands, tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. So when an employee at a small-town recycling facility (otherwise known as a dump) dug out a battered tweed guitar case, he figured his best bet would be to show it to his brother-in-law, a guitarist, before making any type of hasty decision. Good choice my lucky friend.

It turns out that mysterious (and probably quite smelly) guitar case contained a near-mint condition 1950s Fender Stratocaster. This is the part where my mouth drops open in disbelief and the drool starts to pool at my feet. Put it this way – a quick Internet search revealed to me a 1961 Strat, in similar condition, going for nearly $35,000.

It’s quite rare today to hear stories like this one but, believe it or not, it does happen. And it’s actually come close to happening to me a time or two.

I was twelve or thirteen years of age and just beginning to fiddle with the guitar when, one day, my father returned from a long day of carpet installation with one of those “mysterious cases” in hand. It turns out, the gentleman he’d been working for was an old fan of one of my dad’s bands back in the 1970s. He’d recently unearthed a guitar, purchased for his son in the early 50s, which was strummed a couple of times before being left underneath a bed in an out-of-the-way spare bedroom. Since his son obviously didn’t want the thing (it had been sitting there for over thirty years), this particular gentleman offered it to my father, who was well aware of my growing interest in the guitar (not to mention the fact that I didn’t own one yet). We were beyond surprised, however, when we opened up the case to reveal a mint condition 1950s Gretsch White Falcon, probably worth $40,000 to $50,000 even in those days.

Unfortunately, I only had the opportunity to play this beautiful musical specimen, this little slice of guitar heaven, for about a week. The gracious gentleman’s son, when informed of his father’s generous gift, demanded the return of the guitar and that was that. I wasn’t too disappointed, but I still wish to this day we could’ve come up with some sort of excuse to get rid of the guy (aliens stole the guitar, we sold it on the black market, the dog ate it, I don’t know, something).

The sad part about it is, most people lucky enough to discover a hidden relic such as this probably begin looking for a buyer immediately. That kind of behavior, in my mind, is similar to my displeasure when someone purchases a ridiculously expensive guitar only to hang it on the wall as a piece of art. In my world that makes absolutely no sense. Guitars are meant to be played.

Obviously, chances are I’ll never find myself in a similar situation as the aforementioned recycling center (dump) employee, but then again, I could always put a want ad out there offering free attic cleaning services. My only stipulation – I get to keep any mysterious guitar cases I find, no questions asked.

Editor’s Notebook: 11/10/10

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
Jeff Genung

• An interesting note from Melissa Stagnaro’s story today about the Town of Columbus hearing on a possible payment in lieu of taxes agreement for yogurt manufacturer Agro Farma … where is that place, anyway? Columbus officials seemed peeved that the Chobani-maker doesn’t always claim Columbus as its hometown – and I must admit I’ve been confused. We’ve published Agro Farma stories with datelines from Columbus, South Edmeston and New Berlin. And all from the same place! From what I understand (and I’m admittedly directionally challenged), it’s one of those upstate New York location things where the plant is technically in the Town of Columbus, but has a New Berlin address – and is, at least colloquially – in the hamlet of South Edmeston, which isn’t really a municipality at all, at least in the legal sense. And they’ve got a Smyrna phone number, too. OK, I made that last part up, but still.

• Interesting to read in Tyler Murphy’s story today that Stan Foulds’ vacant Unadilla Valley school board seat will be filled by Sandra Cooper. While she’s recently known as the retired Sidney school superintendent, her real claim to fame is as Jeff Genung’s Second Grade English Teacher. In my mind, anyway. And former Oxford neighbor, to boot. Congratulations, Mrs. Cooper (that ‘old teacher’ thing forbids me from calling you Sandy, ever). I’m sure you’ll serve the UV district well in the interim.

• We’ve got three full pages in Thursday’s paper dedicated to The Evening Sun’s “Our Heroes” campaign for Veterans Day. In addition to local business support in advertising, the pages also feature a good number of special dedications to service men and women from local families. It’s a great way to recognize Chenango’s sons and daughters who are serving their country – and even better, it has an interactive element so you can add your own messages of support. Visit us on Facebook and click on the many links and photos of local vets. Thank you all for serving.

• That being said, yes, we are open for business tomorrow. Same Bat time, same Bat channel.

Editor’s Notebook: 11/9/10

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Jeff Genung

• Had a great meeting with Norwich’s Mary Musson yesterday. A couple years back, Mary wrote a well-received series for us on her trip to Italy. She’s back at it again, and we’ll soon be publishing another five-part series on her adventures in her ancestral home of Molfetta, in a region of southern Italy called Puglia. Mary’s an interesting writer, and I look forward to sharing her observations on Italian culture, and what she calls “immersion travel,” next week.

• Tyler Murphy’s story today was about a truck accident which knocked out some utility lines in the city this morning. According to his story, the tractor-trailer’s “two automated arms accidentally extended several feet above the moving vehicle,” knocking out the wires. Sounds to me like the work of the Decepticons. Robots in disguise!

• Leslie Linfante, a teacher at Holy Family School in Norwich, assigned her students to write terrifying tales for our “Ghastly Ghost Stories” contest recently. She took it a step further, and compiled a little book of their writings. Today, HF hosted a “Meet the Authors” reception, which Melissa Stagnaro attended (and will no doubt write about in greater detail). “The students thoroughly enjoyed their experience, and the improvement in their writing as a result of their involvement was dramatic,” Leslie wrote to us in an e-mail earlier this week. Glad we could help. And glad we have teachers like you.

• Strange E-Mail of the Day: From one Jyll Lorrin, who tells me I have a “fantastic profile” …

How are you? I looked at your picture and im seriously wanting to know more about you is it possible? About me if you want to know i just like honest people and i am a very loving girl  if youy want my picture or facebook id so we can start knowing each other please writre me back at  just write me back at  cinthiassnd2@hotmail.com.

Sorry, Jyll, taken. But I like honest people too!

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Monday, Nov. 8, 2010

Monday, November 8th, 2010
Patrick Newell

– Kudos to Sherburne-Earlville graduate Jason Hodge, who guided Trumansburg’s boys’ soccer team to the Section IV, Class B title last Saturday in Oneonta. I was in Oneonta to cover G-MU’s championship game in the girls’ D division, and Hodge’s Blue Raiders were facing Oneonta on the field adjacent to the field I was on. During the game, Jason called down to me, “Hey Pat.”
The face was one I recognized, but I could not place the face to a name right away. A little while later, another reporter on the scene clued me in as to the name of the T’Burg coach. As soon as he said, “Jason Hodge,” everything fell into place.
Jason was a very good high school soccer player, one of four players on the Marauders his senior year to score double-digit goals for head coach Mike Rodriguez. What I most remember most, though, was Hodge’s excellence on the baseball diamond. He was a standout player and starting shortstop on some really good teams graduating in 2002. Hodge’s high school coach, Rodriguez, has kept an eye open on Hodge’s progress, but wasn’t aware of the most recent results.
“He was the oldest of his brothers, he really had to work hard, and he’s always been a self-made type of guy,” Rodriguez said. “Based on his work ethic, it doesn’t surprise me what he’s been able to do at Trumansburg.”
Rodriguez said he his hoping to bring Trumansburg to Sherburne-Earlville’s annual soccer tournament next year. Travel could be an issue for the Blue Raiders, who would need to travel around two hours to S-E High School.

– I was sorry to see Kristen Bradbury sign off as head coach of G-MU’s girls. Perhaps someone else at the school may have had equivalent success over the past three, but what she accomplished in her tenure has made the Raiders a relevant factor in Section IV, Class D soccer. In the early part of this decade, G-MU was among the better Class D teams winning a sectional championship in 2001, and reaching the finals in 2002. Since that time, the Raiders – overall – have lost more than they have won, and the year prior to Bradbury’s arrival, 2006, G-MU did not win a game. She took over a winless team, and in her third year, led the team to the finals of the section. That is good stuff – really good stuff.
Bradbury is expecting her first child later this month, a boy. Best wishes to her and the baby’s father, Jeff Newton.

Editor’s Notebook: 11/8/10

Monday, November 8th, 2010
Jeff Genung

Frankly, I’d much rather have it light when I get out of work rather than when I’m going in, but that’s just me …

• Seems like we’re seeing a lot of stories lately about people stealing from their employers – and getting caught. Tyler wrote about a former Bainbridge business manager today. Must be a sign of the economic times, I suppose. Hard to get away with stealing from The Evening Sun, since they don’t allow me to handle anything to do with money. Good thing, too, if you could see my checkbook.

• So yeah, I’m the one who messed up in Friday’s paper, putting a “Thumbs Down” symbol on what should have been a “Thumbs Up.” Sorry about that, Diane. Hopefully people can read.

• Congratulations to the Greene girl’s field hockey team, who won their fifth straight Section IV title Saturday night – and also, I see from Pat’s story today, their 36th win in a row. Impressive.

• I was surprised to see in Melissa deCordova’s county budget story today that a Board of Supervisors committee even broached the topic of eliminating, or consolidating if you prefer, the county’s highway department. I’d often thought it might work the other way around, that towns would dissolve their departments into a centralized county one. Either way, it would be nice to see consolidation happen somewhere. I loved her quote by Greene Supervisor Jack Cook: “It won’t happen.” Probably not. And with attitudes like that (and he’s by no means alone) in local government, it definitely won’t.

• Check out our Facebook page today for some of the submissions from our Veterans’ Day “Our Heroes” campaign. You’ll get to see them (and others) in print on Thursday, but you can leave your own messages of congratulations online. And a special thank you from yours truly to all of Chenango’s sons and daughters who have, and continue to serve our great nation.