Archive for March, 2011

Nice job Mr. President

Friday, March 4th, 2011
Brian Golden

I must say that I was extremely proud of the way President Obama, on Thursday, handled himself when asked of the negotiations currently being held within the NFL. I thought he did a great job of making several intelligent and insightful points, all while giving out a little slap on the wrist for the greediness of the approximately $9 billion empire that is the NFL today.

“We’ve got owners, most of whom are worth close to $1 billion; you’ve got players who are making millions of dollars,” stated Obama. “My working assumption at a time when people are having to cut back, compromise and worry about making the mortgage, and, you know, paying for their kids’ college education, is that the two parties should be able to work it out without the president of the United States intervening.”

In other words, the greedy owners – and players – should take a step back and try to remember where all of this money actually comes from – the fans.

We buy team shirts, hats, jackets, scarves, coffee mugs and, at hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars, tickets to the game. While we’re there we purchase soft drinks and hot dogs, pretzels and the occasional plastic cup of beer, all at ridiculously high prices. And why are these items so expensive? Because the league knows it can charge whatever it likes and we, the fans, will still pay it.

“I’m a big football fan, but I also think that for an industry that’s making $9 billion a year in revenue, they can figure out how to divide it up in a sensible way. And be true to their fans, who are the ones who, obviously, allow for all the money that they’re making,” added Obama. “So my expectation an hope is that they’ll resolve it without me intervening, because it turns out I’ve got a lot of other stuff to do.”

Let me just say, I absolutely loved these remarks by our president. Not only did he reinforce the idea that these guys are some of the richest in the country, they have no right to hold their fans hostage with threats of a postponed (or even nonexistent) 2012 NFL season. On top of that, I thought his final comment spoke volumes. To team owners and players throughout the league, your “drastic” financial woes (how ridiculous) are nothing compared to the problems facing our country.

The Crazy Train

Friday, March 4th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

Who’s crazier: Charlie Sheen or Moammar Gadhafi? That’s been the most talked about topic in The Evening Sun newsroom this week. Both the former Two and a Half Men star and the soon-to-be deposed Libyan despot seem to be in competition for the top prize, despite the ever-delusional North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s long-time supremacy in this category.

Sure, there have been other challengers. Like Hugo Chavez. And the NFL. (With so many states facing cataclysmic budget deficits and schools being forced to cut programs and staff, am I really supposed to be broken up about over-paid athletes and gazillionaire owners hashing over how many millions they get? I think not.) But few have garnered headlines like our current contestants.

The competition heated up this week, as Gadhafi (When did we start spelling that with a “G,” anyway?) tried to place the blame for his country’s unrest at first Al Qaida and then his arch-enemy of choice, the good old U.S. of A.

And if his senseless rantings weren’t enough (sure, buddy, bin Ladin’s been feeding pills to Libyan’s youth just to get under your skin), Time Magazine came out with an utterly damning slide show of some of the dictator’s more, ummm, interesting wardrobe choices.

Any one of these unfortunate outfits would be enough to guarantee him top seed in the Crazy Train competition.

But, not to be outdone, “The Sheen” gave a couple of particularly interesting prime time interviews which may very well have solidified his place in the standings. Then he took it one step further by exploding onto the Twitter scene. In less than 24 hours he had more than a million followers on the micro-blogging site, each one hanging on every insane word. Soon, the ethernet was buzzing with phrases like “Tiger Blood,” “Warlock Latin,” “Rockstar from Mars” and “Plan Better.”

The word “winning,” which Sheen throws around with abandon, has taken on a whole new meaning: Losing. As in, losing one’s mind. Because that’s what we’re doing – watching this man who is so addled by addiction crack up before our eyes.

It’s a sad commentary on our society, I think, that so many of us want a front row seat for the show. Not that I’m taking the moral high ground on this – I’m one of @charliesheen’s more than 1.5 million Twitter followers.

As for Libya, while we may poke fun at Moammar Gadhafi’s delusional rantings and actions, the events in the North African country are nothing to joke about. The lives of some 6 million people – and the fate of the nation which holds the world’s largest proven oil reserves – rests in the balance.

It is human nature, I think, to use humor to deal with dire situations. But let us not lose sight of what is truly at stake.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Editor’s Notebook: 3/3/11

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Went up to Sherburne-Earlville last night to see a preview of this weekend’s production of “Oklahoma!” Left with “Surrey with a Fringe on Top” going through my head for the next several hours. Wanted to hurt myself. Bad.

• Even though it was my 147th time seeing “Oklahoma!” I tried to approach it with fresh eyes for the sake of the S-E kids. Read my full review in tomorrow’s Evening Sun. (Tyler Murphy’s going up tonight to get a cast photo, too).

• So if someone told me they’re a registered voter in the Village of New Berlin, I’d probably believe them. Mayor Wade Schrag did. But some of them signing his petition for re-election weren’t. Oops. So that means there’s officially no one on the ballot for mayor in the March 15 elections. But as you saw in today’s story, both Schrag and Trustee Terry Potter want the job. Both great guys, very community minded – they just seem to have wound up on opposite sides of the heated Milford Academy/Fish Field debate. Tough choice ahead for you New Berlin voters – the ones who are registered, anyway.

• March 16, 1891 – that’s the day this very newspaper (then called The Morning Sun) rolled off the presses, right here on Lackwawanna Avenue. In celebration of our upcoming 120th anniversary, we’re looking to bring 120 new subscribers on board – either in print or online. We’ve got a series of ads appearing in the paper every day with all the details (we’ve got some good savings for you for both options), but even more fun, we’ve made it a competition of sorts among the reporters. Don’t be surprised if you see them out and about hitting up everyone they know (well those who aren’t already subscribers, of course) trying to rack up some new sales in the month of March. If you’re thinking about home delivery, or subscribing to the full online offering, now’s the time!

• But what about all of us who have been loyal subscribers all along? Yeah, I hear you too! Don’t worry, after the promotion ends we’ll come up with something to reward you as well. We always appreciate your business, especially in these trying times.

• And last but not least, good luck to the Lady Purple as the Norwich Tornado vies for a Section IV championship tonight in Binghamton!

Editor’s Notebook: 3/1/11

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Apparently March decided to come in like a lamb … I shudder to think what the end of that little nugget will bring.

• So is it just me, or is Chobani yogurt everywhere you look these days? As I mentioned yesterday, Agro Farma’s best was featured at a “Taste of New York” reception in Albany that Melissa Stagnaro attended, but it seems like I run into that stuff everywhere (and not just in the office refrigerator). If you haven’t seen the national TV ads yet, you will. Talk about putting Chenango on the map!

• Unfortunately when it comes to fashion, Chenango’s are largely of the camo and Carhart’s variety. Good thing the crew at the Phoenix Dance Project (an offshoot of the Perkins School of the Arts here in Norwich) will show us what’s hot on the runway at an innovative event, “Fashion Night Out,” coming up Saturday at Benedict’s in Norwich. Leave it to those guys to think outside the proverbial box. Looks like a good time.

• Be sure to check out tomorrow’s paper for the kick off of our “120 Years, 120 New Subscribers” promotion. I’ll spill more details in tomorrow’s blog.

Former Norwich swimmer builds dynasty at Conestoga

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
Patrick Newell

Norwich graduate Rob Kirkby swam for Norwich High School some 30 years ago. After a continuing his swimming exploits in college, Kirkby soon became a swimming coach, and for the past 22 years has guided the Conestoga girls’ swimming program.
Last weekend, Kirkby’s team won its 11th consecutive Central League title, and earlier in the season, it reached 100 straight dual meet victories against league competition, a streak dating back to February of 2000.
Kirkby recently spoke to Swimming World Magazine about his accomplishments, and he also appears in a Mainline Video News video. “It’s been one win after another, and (the victories) just add up,” Kirkby said in his interview.
Kirkby swam in high school for retired NHS Physical Education teacher and swimming program founder, George Echentile. Like Echentile’s teams, the Conestoga mentor said that talent on his team comes and goes, but the strength of his squad has typically been its depth. He has remained as a coach on the high school level, he said, for the variety of athletes.
“You have your elite swimmers, swimmers that are improving, and sometimes you’re teaching kids how to swim,” Kirby said. “You have a whole range of dedicated athletes and good students. That’s probably the biggest reason (I am still a high school coach).”
An video interview of Kirkby appears at http://tv.swimmingworldmagazine.com/shows/the-morning-swim-show/morning-swim-show-episodes/9765. The interview with Kirkby starts at around the one-minute mark.