Archive for February, 2011

Editor’s Notebook: 2/28/11

Monday, February 28th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• So long, February. Don’t let the door hit you in the $%# on the way out.

• So we didn’t verify the veracity of the claim of that guy on today’s front page, who’s claiming to drink from a gallon jug of Dimock, Pa. water – but, eww. He claims it was tasty, but if he sprouts a third eye, we’ll let you know.

• Melissa Stagnaro’s up in Albany today with a contingent from the Chenango County Farm Bureau, where they’re rallying for the agriculture cause. Tonight, the “Taste of New York” reception features our home-grown Chobani yogurt. Kudos to all involved for representing Chenango’s oldest profession (no, not that one) so well.

• Continuing in Tyler Murphy’s string of stupid criminal stories, today we have a guy who was convicted of a convenience store robbery, but pleaded with the judge to give him a brief reprieve before starting his prison term so he could get his affairs in order. Well apparently, his affairs involved burglarizing another gas station a couple doors down! Following the exact same M.O. (see, I watch Criminal Minds), the guy was handily nabbed by our boys in blue. Yikes.

Wrestling update

Saturday, February 26th, 2011
Patrick Newell

At the Times Union Arena awaiting the start of the state wrestling tourney. My computer is not recognizing our blog login, so I will be giving updates on Twitter. Go to Twitter, My name is @evesunpat.

Editor’s Notebook: 2/25/11

Friday, February 25th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• I’ll make this one short and sweet: It snowed. A lot. Closing down the good ol’ ES for the day and going home to shovel! What fun it is! Get home safely, everyone.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Feb. 24, 2011

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
Patrick Newell

- Interesting wrestling notes that came up in my conversations with Norwich coach Joe Downey and Greene coach Tim Jenks. Norwich state tournament qualifiers Tristan Rifanburg and Frank Garcia attended one Section IV team practice a week ago, but haven’t suffered for lack of training. Aside from having each other to drill against, the Norwich duo traveled to Chenango Forks, Downey said. Rifanburg and Garcia are training with Forks 96-pounder Kyle Kelly, the unbeaten Division I sectional champion who is among the favorites at Albany’s Times Union Center. Additionally, Kelly’s teammate Jacob Green, a 112-pound state tournament alternate, is in the training mix.
Kelly lost two tight matchups to Rifanburg last season, but earned a trip to the state tournament and placed fourth overall at 96 pounds. As we know, Rifanburg was the top dog in Division II at that weight. Garcia, too, had his battles with Forks’ Green a year ago with each one a tight matchup. Downey said Rifanburg is working with Kelly, while Green is paired up with Garcia.

- All season, Jenks has overseen a stockpile of talented middleweights. His 140-pound sophomore, Dan Dickman, was a sectional runner-up. So, too, was 145-pounder Mike Beckwith. Seventh-grader Christian Dietrich and junior Keegan Cerwinski added sectional championships to the mix at 152 and 160 pounds respectively. Two weights higher, senior Kurt Shear is making his second straight appearance in the state tournament at 189 pounds.
Dietrich’s appearance in the tournament is no surprise to Jenks, who has heard of the young man’s wrestling exploits for years. Dietrich was a four-time kids national wrestling champion in the peewee ranks. He typically wrestled up one or two age groups, and when he matched up against kids his own age, it wasn’t unusual for the opponent to give up a forfeit rather than face the young prodigy, Jenks said.
Jenks has coached for decades in Central New York, and he may end up among the all-time win leaders in Section IV coaching history before he retires. He says in all of his years, he has not seen a young man in seventh-grade – who is a legitimate 152-pounder – at Dietrich’s level. “I’m not sure if (Christian) will end up like a Troy Nickerson, but we’ll soon find out,” Jenks said. “He’s a special kid, and we think he’s the real deal.”
Nickerson, for those out of the wrestling loop, won five straight New York State wrestling championships at Chenango Forks High School, and went on to win an NCAA wrestling title while at Cornell University.

- If you’re reading this, you obviously know where to find my sports blog. Saturday morning, I will blog on the New York State wrestling tournament and update the progress of local wrestlers following semifinals round and first round of wrestlebacks. Additionally, I will add quick match results on Twitter, and feel free to follow me on Twitter @evesunpat. If you don’t have a Twitter account, please sign up to receive the updates.

Hey, it could be worse

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
Brian Golden

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in our day-to-day, personal struggles and lose sight of how good we really have it hereabouts. Think about it for minute, as I sit here writing this blog, rescuers are most likely still hard at work in Christchurch, New Zealand, hoping beyond hope to discover even one more survivor following Tuesday’s devastating earthquake. And then there’s the recent turmoil in the Middle East, which seems to be escalating at an ever-increasing pace, again, even as I write this.

It’s enough to make me want to sit back and take a closer look at my life, I can tell you that much. Compared to the rest of the world, at least for right now, my troubles don’t seem all that bad.

In fact, besides this nasty little cold I came down with on Wednesday, things are looking up. In the past week I managed to book a handful of musical gigs, which are always fun, I’ve amassed nearly twenty pages of notes for the mix-down of the Master Thieves’ debut album and hey, the sun has been shining (at least a little bit) and the ice is finally melting.

That’s not to say our area’s lovely winter weather has finally gone for good, but anything is better than those sub-freezing temperatures and (of course) the ice which accompanies them.

Now I just need to clean my apartment.

Don’t ask me why, but I can never seem to summon the energy, at least during the week, to really give my little apartment the “full treatment”. It’s not like the place is a total wreck, it’s simply “lived in” at this point. Sure, I’ll admit I have some dishes (just a few) that I could easily wash up, the carpet is due for a vacuum and I can’t tell you the last time I cleaned the fridge or microwave, but these are the kinds of activities I typically save for the weekend. Unfortunately, I wasn’t here last weekend.

Which means that tonight, prior to my 6:30 p.m. acoustic performance, I guess I’ll bite the bullet, so to speak, and spend an hour or two cleaning up the place. And while it’s certainly not my favorite thing to do, a quick look at the global news is a sobering reminder that, around here, we could have it a whole lot worse. With that said, my prayers go out to those suffering in both the Middle East and New Zealand.

Editor’s Notebook: 2/24/11

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• So you can light tap water on fire in Guilford? Who knew?! We didn’t, until Mr. Sandell stopped by The Evening Sun’s office last week to show us proof. It’s scary enough, I suppose, but his point (reiterated in Melissa deCordova’s story today), is that you don’t have to have a natural gas well drilling on your property in order to have stuff creep into your water. Either way, dude, get yourself a Brita for God’s sake!

• Speaking of Marcellus (Shale), their team handed Sherburne-Earlville a whopping defeat last night, 72-45. See? Gas drilling is evil! The school is in no way related to natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale formation of course, but since when did logic apply to this argument?

• So an inopportune migraine sidelined me from the Night of Cookies and Cream fundraiser for The Children’s Center last night, but luckily I had a reporter on the scene – in fact, she took home top honors for Tastiest Cookies! Melissa Stagnaro’s now-legendary Raspberry Pecan Thumbprints took home the trophy, and garnered the high bid in the live auction (good thing I wasn’t there anyway, Dave Emerson’s pockets are deeper than mine). My Evening Sun crew always represents us well – congratulations Melissa!

• Breaking News Update: My sources (overheard conversations in the newsroom) tell me that Melissa’s mother played a significant role in the preparation of the above-mentioned cookie delights. Funny, isn’t it, that poor, sweet, hard-working Mrs. Stagnaro didn’t earn even a line of credit in her daughter’s column today? Seems the Cookie Queen forgot to thank the Queen Mum. Well here you go, Melissa’s Mom – credit where credit is due, at least in my blog :)

Editor’s Notebook: 2/23/11

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
Jeff Genung

• One of the benefits, we always thought, of having a well drilled on your property was that you got to use your own natural gas for your home energy needs – for free. Today comes the news that Norse Energy Inc. is backtracking on that added benefit – apparently it’s either too dangerous, too much of a liability, or both. Instead, they’re giving all those lease holders free propane. It’s a wash money-wise, but it begs the question: if drilling is so safe, why isn’t it safe (anymore) to draw from your own well?

• Unless you’ve been totally oblivious to all things Melissa Stagnaro this week, tonight is the annual Night of Cookies and Cream fundraiser for the Children’s Center. She’s been writing about her “celebrity” participation, of course, but more importantly for us in The Evening Sun newsroom, she’s let us sample her wares. And by wares, I mean cookies. I’ve got to tell you, those raspberry thumbprint whatever-they-are things are pretty darn good. I know I’ll be headed down to the Norwich Fire Station tonight (6:30-8) to put in my bid – and to support a worthy cause.

• Hey everyone, let’s burn down the house and collect the insurance! Sounds like a plan in these tough economic times, but make sure everyone has their stories straight first, unlike this trio in Coventry (read Tyler Murphy’s store here). And just to be safe, make sure you won’t all turn on each other during the course of the investigation, too. Not quite up there with the high chick who stole a couple armloads of porn and then crashed into a police car a couple weeks ago, but still – I love you, Chenango criminals!

• Got a call a couple weeks ago from a Norwich band parent asking if I’d assign a reporter to do a preview of a fundraiser they’re having this coming Saturday (Brian Golden’s story is in today’s paper). Of course I was going to do it anyway, but I think he tried to butter me up by saying I was a “longtime supporter” of marching bands in Chenango County. Which I am. But it’s OK, dude. I know you meant “well-known band geek.” It’s one of the only labels from high school I’ll still wear with pride.

Let them eat cookies!

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

Tonight is the night. A Night of Cookies and Cream, of course. In just a few short hours, the celebrity cookie smackdown – I mean – auction will begin.

Let’s face it, it is THE cookie-related event of the year. Where else can you expect to see – and bid on – homemade goodies baked from scratch by Chenango County’s preeminent business and community leaders. (And one not-so notable newspaper reporter, I might add.)

I, personally, can’t wait. The anticipation has been killing me. Ever since that cookie jar appeared on my desk a couple of weeks ago, I’ve had cookies on the brain.

First it was the anxiety over what kind of cookies to bake. In the end – after careful consideration and amazing restraint (I wanted to sample every recipe I came across!) – I decided to stick with the tried and true: Raspberry Pecan Thumbprints.

Yeah, I know that’s what I made last year. And some people have already given me a hard time about it, but I don’t care. They are just so darn good! I didn’t want to mess with perfection.

Then, of course, there was the baking. Those delightful thumbprints aren’t complicated per se, but it’s still a lengthy process. Probably because the recipe makes like 8 dozen cookies!

Not that 8 dozen made it into the jar, mind you. The number was whittled down significantly during the, ahem, taste testing portion of the evening. And of course I had to bring in samples for The Evening Sun crew. (They would never have forgiven me otherwise.)

That little stash was quickly depleted, however. So, here I sit with mouth watering, thinking of nothing else but those sinfully delicious cookies. Must have more of those super yummy pecan-crusted, raspberry preserve-topped jobbies.

Looks like someone might have to bid on her own cookies tonight…

It is, after all, for a good cause.

Don’t miss this year’s Night of Cookies and Cream to benefit The Children’s Center’s Scholarship Fund 6:30 to 8 p.m. tonight at the Norwich Fire House.

Cookies and milk for everyone! How can you go wrong?

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Breaking down the brackets for local wrestlers

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
Patrick Newell

Sometimes the best workout partner you could possibly find is the guy next to you in your own wrestling room. That is the case for Norwich eighth-graders Tristan Rifanburg and Frank Garcia, who each make the trip to Albany this weekend for the New York State Division II Wrestling Championships.
Rifanburg and Garcia battled each other for years as they climbed the peewee wrestling ranks. Now as teammates, they are inseparable in the wrestling room as they set the tone in practice for the rest of the team, said NHS head coach Joe Downey. “They’re like puppy dogs going hand-in-hand,” Downey said of his two prospects. “They are the best of friends and their is a lot of mutual respect between them. They’re workout partners, and when one is down, the other one picks him up. They push each other, and it’s unbelievable to see their work in the wrestling room.”
The Rifanburg-Garcia connection is just one of many local stories. Can B-G/A senior Danny Gormley, in his fifth trip to the New York State Tournament, finally grab the brass ring and win a state championship?
Greene has a remarkable five entries in the state tournament. From 145 pounds and up, is there a deeper and more talented Division II team in the state?
Sherburne-Earlville senior, Greg DuVall, is another veteran of the state tournament stage. In five years, DuVall has won three sectional championships and earned an at-large bid a season ago.
The Times Union Arena will again host the tournament with first-round matches starting Friday at 10:30 a.m., and second-round matches to start at 2:30 p.m. Semifinals on Saturday begin promptly at 10 a.m.
Eleven Chenango County wrestlers are entered in the tournament. Below, we break down each wrestler in his respective weight class.

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Tristan Rifanburg, 112 pounds
Rifanburg’s first-round match against Eddie Hutschenreuter of Section VI could be a good indicator of the Norwich eighth-grader’s prospects. Hutschenreuter lost in the sectional finals by technical fall to 103-pound state champion Abdulqawi Mohamed. If Rifanburg is to again advance to the state finals, he will likely see Drew Longo (his state finals opponent last year) in the quarterfinals, Mohamed in the semis, and three-time defending state champion Arik Robinson of Peru in the finals. “I’m not sure if two guys who placed in the same weight class the previous year are supposed to face each other that early in the tournament,” said Norwich coach Joe Downey of Rifanburg’s potential matchup with Longo. “I think the bracket might change.”

Frank Garcia, 119 pounds
Garcia, with a 34-3 record has losses on his docket this year to a defending division one state champion, two-time state place finisher Corey Dake of Lansing, and a defeat to a Pennsylvania state place-winner in the Clyde Cole Tournament. “It doesn’t matter who they put in front of Frankie, he doesn’t care,” Downey said of Garcia and his hard-charging eighth-grader. Garcia, if he gets past his first-round match, will likely face top-seeded Noah Valastro of Hudson Falls. Valastro has 47 wins this season, and his only losses came at the prestigious Eastern States Classic.

Danny Gormley, 125 pounds
Making his fifth state tournament appearance, Gormley placed third a year ago, his best finish in the tournament. This year, Gormley is slotted as they number one seed, and faces Orpheus Rambharose of Riverdale in the first round. At the bottom of Gormley’s bracket is Tom Page of Eden, the number two seed and a third-place finisher in the state a season ago at 112 pounds.

Editor’s note: The complete article will appear in the Wednesday edition of The Evening Sun.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

Monday, February 21st, 2011
Patrick Newell

The addition of at-large wild-card bids to the state tournament has filled out brackets and allowed high-caliber wrestlers – who didn’t win their sectional tournament – an opportunity to remedy that loss. Unadilla Valley’s Tyler Peet is a perfect example of a wild-card choice making the most of his second chance.
Peet wasn’t making his first state tournament appearance last year, so despite a sectional finals loss to Tioga’s Derak Heyman, his at-large bid was a virtual certainty. Peet, now wrestling in college at Alfred, amended his earlier loss to Heyman to win UV’s second-ever state title, and one of three for Chenango County athletes last year.
For the 2011 tournament, scheduled Friday and Saturday at the Times Union Center in Albany, the state tournament committee awarded Section IV seven wild-card choices in division two this year, and five of those young men attend Chenango County schools. Of the Section IV Division II wrestlers competing in the state tournament, 10 of those are located with the borders of our county. An 11th young man, Sherburne-Earlville’s Greg DuVall, won a Section III title lifting our area total of state qualifiers to what we believe is a record of 11.
Later this week, we will preview each wrestler and his respective tournament bracket. We may not see three state champions this year, but it is likely we will see the majority of those wrestlers place among the top six and take a spot on the award stand.

We weren’t able to attend Bainbridge-Guilford’s Midstate Athletic Conference championship game at Oneonta Saturday nigh, but did catch much of the game’s play-by-play on WCDO-FM. After tuning in early in the first quarter, Harpursville was already in command. The Hornets went on to a 76-36 romp fueled by a 29-2 first quarter and a 46-11 halftime lead.
B-G’s leading scorer this season, Shania Vandermark, was held scoreless, and only the only B-G starters to turn in respectable offensive performances were Dani Conway (16 points) and Corrine Riegel (nine points). Bobcats head coach Bob Conway was unable to return our phone message before deadline, but did phone in a message later on. He was pointed in his post-game comments uttering the word “disappointed” a few times. “We just didn’t play very well,” Conway said summing up the night.
Fortunately, the Bobcats’ season is not over. B-G begins its Class C tournament tonight when it hosts Unatego Tuesday night at 7 p.m.. Harpursville, also in the Class C tourney, is in the bottom half of the bracket, and a B-G-Harpursville clash would not take place again unless each team advances to the sectional finals.
Also appearing in the Class C tournament are Greene, the number 10 seed, who play at Walton. Oxford, the number eight seed, drew Groton (seeded nine), and will play its first-round game at home. All first-round sectional playoff games start Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Norwich will host back-to-back Class A sectional playoff games Friday night. The boys, the number two seed, will meet Johnson City at 6 p.m. It’s the fourth matchup this season between the two schools with JC winning the last two. The Wildcats most recently beat Norwich in a STAC Central Division tiebreaker, and went on to win the Southern Tier Athletic Conference championship last weekend. Following the boys’ game, Norwich’s girls entertain Owego at approximately 7:45 p.m. It’s the third meeting between the Indians and Tornado girls with Norwich owning a pair of single-digit victories.