Archive for February, 2011

Editor’s Notebook: 2/21/11

Monday, February 21st, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Happy Presidents’ Day! Hope you took a gander at our yearly “Presidential Showcase” special section in today’s paper – everything you ever wanted to know about each of our country’s commanders-in-chief.

• Home for lunch today, I caught the first few minutes of “The Talk,” CBS’ celebrity gab-fest which is a clear rip-off of the slightly superior but equally banal “The View” on ABC. In honor of Presidents’ Day, the panel of C-list celebrities regaled the audience with a “Hot or Not?” gallery of U.S. Presidents. Apparently, Sharon Osbourne thinks Thomas Jefferson was “hot” because he liked him some “chocolate lovin.’” They should all be killed. For this they canceled “As the World Turns??”

• Forbes.com recently ranked NBT Bank 11th-best in the nation, according to today’s story. I had to read that one twice to make sure – 11th in the nation? That’s pretty impressive for our hometown bank!

• Longtime New Berlin Gazette correspondent Joyce Barnes passed away over the weekend at the New York State Veterans’ Home in Oxford. Mrs. Barnes reported on the goings-on in South New Berlin for over four decades in our weekly paper. Hers was the longest-running in our stable of “hometown news” columns in that paper – you remember, the ones that tell you who came calling at whose home for dinner, who got a ribbon in the 4-H contest or who went out for a nice Sunday drive. Every couple months she’d call to remind me to send her stamped envelopes and stationery on which to submit her columns (most Gazette correspondents still eschew email), and we’d have a nice little chat. Sweet lady. The “gossip” column format still thrives in The Gazette, though we’ll never be able to replace Joyce. Rest in peace!

Looking for inspiration

Monday, February 21st, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

About a week after I began my employ at The Evening Sun, I posted my first blog. It was a piece called The Learning Curve, about as you can probably guess, it was about making the adjustment from free-spirited freelance writer, to dealing with an early morning deadline five days a week.

Re-reading it this morning, I had to laugh. Because, honestly, little has changed in the last two and a half years. I’m still not a fan of getting up early. (It’s a sad commentary, I think, when sleeping past 5 a.m. constitutes “sleeping in.”) I have yet to break the habit of arriving at work earlier than most in an effort to get a jump start on the day. And deadline? Yeah, still feels like pulling teeth.

Since that first blog, I’ve posted a whopping 190 more. (This one marks number 192.) I’ve written on any number of topics. Mostly my own quirks, and those of my family and friends. Really, it’s my favorite part of my job – getting to write about basically whatever I want and then posting it out there for all to read.

But lately, I’ve been a little off. My once-prolific blogging as petered out. It seems like a chore to even eke out one a week.

It isn’t for lack of trying, either. Or lack of material.

Unwittingly, my family and friends provide a never ending well on which I unabashedly draw. And lord knows, I have plenty of my own exploits to, well, exploit.

So what’s my problem? I don’t think it’s a case of the mid-winter blues. Sure, I’m longing for the golf season to start. (I admit, my clubs are still in the trunk of my car.) But I love, love, love tromping around in the snow – just not on my morning commute.

So, again, what the heck is my problem? Your guess is as good as mine. Because I’m not sure if it’s motivation or inspiration that I’m lacking. A bit of both, perhaps.

Maybe what I need is a little adventure to get me out of this rut I’m in. Any suggestions?

Or, maybe all I really need is more sleep.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011

Friday, February 18th, 2011
Patrick Newell

- If any team has flown under the radar more than Sherburne-Earlville’s girls’ basketball team over the past four years, we’d like to know about it. Our neighbors to to the north moved out of Section IV and into Section III nearly a decade ago. When it left, the school’s most consistent winning program was its baseball team. The baseball team has continued to win, but other schools have since joined the Marauders’ diamond men as steady winning clubs, specifically the varsity girls hoops team.
A decade ago, the S-E girls were still looking for their first above-.500 record. Since the 2007-2008 season, the Marauders’ overall record stands up with the best in Chenango County. Count S-E – and Norwich’s boys – as the only basketball teams over the past four years to win at least 15 games. During that stretch, the Marauders have amassed 65 wins and 17 losses for a neat 79.3 percent winning percentage. Last night in Waterville, Sherburne-Earlville closed out a second straight Center State Conference Division II championship. Congratulations to the maroon-clad S-E girls, who have helped turn around a basketball program that once floundered at or near the bottom of the standings for decades.

- Jim Johnson and Bob Conway used to coach against each other, typically twice a season in the Tri-Valley League. Johnson led Gilbertsville, while Conway headed up the Mounties of Mt. Upton. Those clashes took place mostly in the 1980s, and each mentor delivered winning season after winning season for their respective programs. Over two decades later, each coach has subsequently passed 400 career wins – the only active local coaches with that many victories – and the two sideline heads are again in charge of a group of ladies that will play for league championships Saturday at SUNY Oneonta.
Johnson has his club in position to win the T-V title for the first time since 2006, while Conway has B-G in position to win its fourth Midstate Athletic Conference title in 10 years. Before that, Conway won a pair of Susquenango Association titles, and we’re sure he had Mt. Upton on top – at least one time – in the Tri-Valley League.
Johnson has won his share of T-V league titles as well, and despite 32 years on the bench, Johnson still has the passion, the energy, and enthusiasm of a young coach. He is as excited as the girls playing for him, and surprisingly, despite all of his experience, is not completely calm and collected. “Heck yeah, I’m already shaking,” Johnson said when asked if he still has some nervousness. “I’m the one who is supposedly in control, and I don’t want to make the mistake that makes us lose the game. You try to convey (to the team) what you think is best for them in a particular game. Sometimes that’s why teams win or lose.”
Fortunately for Johnson, he has a group of girls that got used to winning in the fall when most of this year’s team members played on the Section IV Class D soccer finalist. The Raiders are also a close-knit group, too, and fun to coach, Johnson said. “This is a nice group of kids, one of the best,” Johnson said. “They came together during the soccer season, and it just carried on from there. I have to give the soccer team credit for getting that good team feeling going.”

- Frankie Garcia’s second straight loss in the finals of the Section IV Wrestling Tournament was one of more emotional defeats last Saturday night, especially for Norwich fans. Garcia ran into two-time state place-winner Corey Dake of Lansing, and dropped a 3-0 decision. Garcia, though, is one of seven Section IV Division II wrestlers who earned a second chance as an at-large bid to the state tournament in Albany next weekend.
Garcia, who has around 70 career wins and just a handful of losses, met the criteria for a wild-card pick, and just squeaked in as the last selection in the 119-pound division. Norwich coach Joe Downey was notified of Garcia’s bid earlier this week, and immediately called Garcia – who was in a morning class – to give him the news. “It was like Christmas,” Downey said of the good news. “Frankie was ecstatic about it, and I called his dad, and his dad was ecstatic.”
As the last guy to make the tournament bracket, it is likely Garcia will draw a tough assignment, perhaps one of the top one or two seeds in the tournament. Nonetheless, Downey is not worried about his eighth-grader. “He’ll do just fine up there, and it doesn’t matter who he wrestles,” the coach said. “He’s got as much a chance as anyone else up there. There are quite a few tough guys in his weight class, but at this point, it doesn’t matter. Everyone starts that tournament with a 0-0 record. Frankie’s there, it’s a new ballgame, and he doesn’t care who he faces.”

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

Editor’s Notebook: 2/17/11

Thursday, February 17th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Oh, Mother Nature, you are a cruel mistress. I know these balmy temperatures are but a tease of what’s to come – but I also know you have more winter trickery up your sleeve. Where’s Al Gore and that Inconvenient Truth when you need him?

• So the Relay for Life theme this year is a circus. Great. I think my distaste for (OK, fear of) clowns is pretty well known. I love Relay and support it heartily, but frankly the whole circus thing isn’t doing it for me. On the other hand, walking around that track down at the fairgrounds will go a whole lot faster if there’s a clown chasing me.

• Today marks the final installment of our “Boon or Bust?” series on natural gas development, gleaned from a staff outing to Dimock and Montrose, Pa. back in December. While the coverage relating to what our reporters learned in Pennsylvania has come to and end, it’s by no means the end of our coverage on the issue entirely. That’s something that looks to be a long and winding road. By all accounts, we could see a ramp-up in drilling this summer; stayed tuned as we continue to take a look at both sides of this controversial issue.

• So on to more important issues … American Idol. Anyone watching this season? I didn’t know how I’d feel with it being all Simon Cowell-less, but I’ve managed to get sucked in anyway. I could do without Steven Tyler and his odd monkey-face, but J-Lo seems an amiable replacement for Paula and those other chicks who tried to take her place.

Editor’s Notebook: 2/16/11

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• So a Norwich woman gets high, steals a few armfuls of porn DVDs from Adult World, and while running from the cops, manages to hit a patrol car and resist arrest. (Allegedly, of course.) Oh, Chenango, sometimes you make my job too easy. Insert your own joke here.

• Kudos to NBT Bank President Marty Dietrich for his spot-on remarks at yesterday’s Commerce Chenango breakfast. All he had to do was read our front page (which he clearly does) to get the notion that Chenango’s government is “too big, too slow and too expensive.” But talk about going balls-out to call ‘em on it at a Chamber function! Wish I could have been there.

• Poor Tyler texted me 34 times last night from the Town of Guilford court, where a felony hearing for the people nabbed in the most recent drug raid stretched into hours – and apparently stretched patience and credulity. Yikes.

• The Forum is back on, in case you haven’t noticed. I neutralized a couple of the more well-known trolls, so we’ll see how it goes for a while. Before anyone cries foul or moans about your civil liberties being curtailed by my iron fist, fear not: they’ll be back with new fake names to hide behind soon, I’m sure. Again, that’ll change with our website redesign.

Phobic? Not me.

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
Brian Golden

I’ve never really been particularly phobic so to speak, considering a phobia is defined as an “irrational fear of a specific object, activity or situation which leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.” And while I certainly have a profound dislike for some things – spiders, snakes, Justin Bieber fans and vegetables spring immediately to mind – I’d hardly call my distaste for any of those irrational.

About the closest I come to an actual phobia would be cryophobia – the fear of ice or frost – yet even that isn’t quite detailed enough. No, my big fear has always been falling through the ice, and I’ve declined many an invitation to go ice-fishing with family or friends because of it. And again, I don’t think there’s anything irrational about that.

My distaste for our area’s frozen ponds, streams and lakes goes back over two decades ago to my time as a Boy Scout, enjoying (not really) my time at Camp Tuscarora. I remember that particular winter as a relatively mild one, and our scout leaders were seriously questioning the safety of the not-so-frozen lake. Eventually, however, that evening found hundreds of us traipsing out across the snowy surface of the ice-covered water for the annual sled races, despite my nervousness. An hour or so later, we were quickly herded right back to shore, thanks to the disturbing number of large cracks which had, in moments, appeared beneath our booted feet, cracks which immediately began to gush several hundred gallons of water onto the surface of the ice.

Since then, I’ve steadfastly refused to step foot onto any frozen body of water. Until, that is, last weekend.

When my fellow guitarist and good friend Chuck mentioned Saturday afternoon as the perfect time for a little pre-performance hike, I’ll admit I was all for it. And once we’d decked ourselves out in full winter paraphernalia, we were off. When I asked just exactly where we were going, however, Chuck simply pointed out to the lake, which lies approximately 100 yards from his back porch. Needless to say, I froze (pun intended) in my tracks.

Our trek out onto Oneida Lake turned out to be quite safe in the end, and my fears were quieted by the surreal beauty of the snow-covered waters. I especially enjoyed the strangeness of the snowmobile “super highway,” which ran from west to east along the shore of the lake, a beaten track between 30 and 50 feet wide.

The hike didn’t last long though, as a fairly severe blast of lake-effect snow blew in from the northwest. After five minutes, we could no longer see the opposite shore. After ten, we began to hightail it back to the house, as the trees of the nearby shore disappeared in a sheet of pure white. We made it, however, just in time for some pizza, wings and a disappointing end to the Syracuse game.

Does that mean you’ll find me gleefully ice-fishing somewhere out on Chenango Lake this weekend? Probably not. But hey, you never know.

Editor’s Notebook: 2/15/11

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• I trust everyone had a splendiferous Valentine’s Day. I know I did. And if you didn’t, well, there’s always next year, loser. :)

• I hear a certain local bank CEO made quite a splash at the Economic Forecast breakfast that Commerce Chenango put on this morning. Good for him! Melissa Stagnaro was there – read all about it in Wednesday’s edition.

The Evening Sun’s Forum on this very website is closed, once again, due to repeated user violations. And again, it’s the same few trolls fighting amongst each other. More and more, it’s becoming clear to us that there’s no point in providing this playground for a few miscreants. A complete overhaul of evesun.com is in the works; this feature is top on my hit list.

• I’ve been told I don’t look very happy in the picture in today’s paper of the Arts Council’s decentralization grant panel, on which I sat last week. I was happy to be there, and to serve, really! It’s just that … oh, Frank, how you vex me.

• Colorscape Chenango has issued a call for artists to apply to be exhibitors at the 17th annual fine arts festival in September. Unlike your every day craft show, Colorscape is juried – artists are screened and judged by a panel of their peers before they’re admitted to the show.  I have no discernible artistic talent myself, but I sure appreciate those who do.

Sports Editor’s Playbook – wrestling edition

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
Patrick Newell

- Of note at the Section IV wrestling tournament, on his way to his first Section IV championship, Greene junior 160-pounder, Keegan Cerwinski, did not surrender a single point in his four victories. He won his first match by technical fall 15-0, pinned his second opponent in 36 seconds, and in the semifinals against Josh Kilts of Chenango Valley, won 15-0 by technical fall. In the finals, he racked up a 14-0 win over B-G/Afton’s Paul Parsons. In all, he pinned one opponent and outscored the other three, 44-0. Perhaps Cerwinski was helped by the plethora of middleweight talent in the Greene wrestling room. His teammates Mike Beckwith (145) and Christian Dietrich (152) also reached the sectional finals. Beckwith lost an overtime decision, but based on criteria from this year and previous years, will likely get a state tournament wild-card bid. Dietrich, just a seventh-grader, preceded Cerwinski’s victory with his first-ever sectional crown. A couple of weight classes later, Cerwinski’s teammate Kurt Shear dropped an overtime decision in the 189-pound division. Shear has compiled some incredible wrestling credentials the past two seasons, and it would be a shame if he does not garner a state tournament wild card bid. In all, the Trojans could have as many as four state tournament representatives in Albany two weeks down the road.

- Norwich junior Kegan Levesque was a mere 13 seconds from reaching his first Section IV final. Facing Chad Rose of Candor, Levesque clung to a 3-2 lead when Rose bull-rushed Levesque in an attempt to score the go-ahead takedown. Rose’s lowered head connected with a retreating Levesque on his scalp a few inches above the Norwich wrestler’s eyebrow. The accidental “head butt” created a long and deep gash that required medical treatment from the Broome County Arena medical staff. Levesque was taped up from his jawline to his head, although the blood continued to flow. It appeared the down time and blood loss sapped Levesque’s momentum, and Rose delivered the winning takedown with less than three seconds left to pull off the one-point win. Rose went on to win the 215-pound sectional title defeating Greene’s Kyle Stanton.

- Congratulations to B-G/Afton senior Danny Gormley, now one of the all-time elite wrestlers in Chenango County history with five Section IV titles. Saturday night, Gormley wriggled his way into the same singlet that brought him his first section title – four years and 30 pounds ago – and went on to defeat three-time Section IV champion Colton Perry of Windsor. Not too many people have defeated Gormley over the past five seasons, and none from Section IV in our recollection over the past few years. He is a class act on and off the mat, and thanks to a reader familiar with the Gormley family legacy, we learned that the apple does not fall far from the tree. We received an e-mail that included a digital image of an Evening Sun article published in 1980. In it, Jim Gormley was named The Evening Sun Athlete of the Week. Jim Gormley, if you haven’t guessed already, is Danny’s father. Papa Jim was a standout lightweight wrestler for Bainbridge-Guilford and one of the best in Section IV. In the article written by former Evening Sun Sports Editor, Tom Rowe, Jim Gormley exuded confidence on and off the mat. Danny, while not as brash, issued the same sort of confident statement as his father after beating Perry. To paraphrase Gormley, the sectional championship is just a stepping stone to winning a state title. Danny Gormley has achieved just about everything possible on the high school level, and a state championship is the only thing left to complete his wrestling resume.

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

Editor’s Notebook: 2/14/11

Monday, February 14th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Happy Valentine’s Day! As one of the lucky among us who is happily attached, I’ll keep my smug mouth shut out of respect for those of you who aren’t. Sucks enough to be you, does it not?

• Kudos to the Chenango County Sheriff’s Dept. and the Norwich City Police for nabbing six suspects in an alleged crack trafficking operation. It’s such a huge and complex problem – I know a lot of work goes in to just knocking down even a little bit of it.

• Ended up missing the Fur Ball this weekend after all, for reasons I’ll probably discuss in my column on Friday – but I heard a good time was had by all. And all for a good cause, to boot. Congratulations.

• Congratulations, too, to all the Chenango wrestlers who did so well at sectionals over the weekend. Lots of energy, dedication and hard work goes into that high school sport – I just wish the pictures we publish of it weren’t so incredibly … awkward.

It’s all about the shoes

Monday, February 14th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

I have a splitting headache this morning, which may or may not be a psychosomatic response to Valentine’s Day. Which Tyler chose to lead off, once again, with a question about what single people do on this lovers’ holiday.

Well, if you’re me, you spend it at a school board meeting. Frankly – and much to the chagrin of smug relationship-y types like my aforementioned coworker – that’s the only thing I’m bitter about today. And that’s only because it is preventing me from enjoying a meal at my favorite Indian restaurant.

There isn’t much I let stand in the way of a good Tikka Masala, so I sincerely hope our readers appreciate the sacrifice I am making on their behalf. (They should also feel free to show this appreciation with flowers and chocolate.)

Yeah, I’m single. So what? That doesn’t mean I totally disdain Valentine’s Day. I still have plenty of Valentine love to spread.

My mom, for example, had a little flower delivery this morning. A rather gorgeous arrangement, if I do say so myself. Not that I can take the credit, of course, that all goes to Maiurano’s Flowers. (Mom just called to gush a few minutes ago. So glad I could make her day!)

The pops will get a little something, too, before the day is out. But since he hasn’t received it yet, I won’t spoil the surprise.

I even got cutesy Valentine cards for my nieces and nephews. Granted, I never sent them, but it’s the thought that counts right?

As for who felt the most love from me this Valentine’s Day, well, that would be me. I treated myself to the Chenango SPCA’s Fur Ball on Saturday. It is, without a doubt, one of my favorite events of the year. If you’ve never gone, you’re seriously missing out.

There is great band (Splash!); plenty of dancing; a plethora of yummy appetizers and desserts to nibble on; lots of amazing people to kibitz with; and a silent auction with all kinds of cool items to bid on. And did I mention it’s all for a good cause?

One of my favorite things about it, though, is the chance to get dolled up. As you well know, these opportunities are few and far between in our rural neck of the woods. I jump at any chance. It’s probably no shock that I bought a new dress for the occasion. (Okay, actually I bought two. So I’m going to need another excuse to dress up again soon.)

Of course, one can’t purchase a new dress without also buying shoes to go with it. Or at least I can’t. But then, I’m always on the lookout for an excuse to add to my footwear collection.

I strolled into the shoe department at Macy’s thinking I’d have a hard time topping the gorgeous plum-colored Steve Maddens I sported to last year’s Fur Ball. But then I saw them: Glittery, peep-toe Nine West pumps with a 4” chrome heel. They were absolute show stoppers. It was love at first sight.

And, they were on sale!

Did my feet hurt after a night of dancing? Absolutely. But that’s a small price to pay to the fashion Gods for the privilege of sliding those sparkly heels on my feet.

Cinderella, Dorothy – eat your heart out!

It is soooo all about the shoes.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa