Archive for April, 2011

The countdown begins

Friday, April 29th, 2011
Brian Golden

Last weekend found me once again behind the wheel of the Green Machine and heading north toward Syracuse, this time for the final Master Thieves recording session (we’re getting ready to release the band’s debut album in late May or early June). After months of performing in the studio, now comes the most difficult part.

The waiting.

Several weeks will be spent polishing-off the rough mix of the album (a special thanks to our new friend and engineer Jeremy), followed by the mastering process and – finally – production. Obviously, we’re all pretty excited, and I have a good feeling about this recording, my seventh.

In addition to the wait we’re all impatiently trying to endure, there’s the matter of album design. It’s a process I’ve always enjoyed, yet at times it can be just as stressful (if not more so) than the actual recording procedure. This time around, there’s only one problem – we can’t seem to decide on an album cover. And while some people might think that’s really not a big deal, music lovers and musicians will tell you that their favorite album covers remain forever-ingrained upon their consciousness.

My personal favorites, if I had to name a few – Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Hendrix’s Axis: Bold As Love, The Allman Brothers’ Hittin’ the Note and The Beatles’ Abbey Road.

That’s not to say that our indecision is going to hold up the album in any way (at least I hope not) and I’m sure we’ll come to some kind of general consensus sooner or later. Regardless, I’m certainly happy with the audio results so far and – as always – it’s a great feeling to know we’re almost ready to get some new tunes out there.

Here we go again…

Thursday, April 28th, 2011
Brian Golden

Following the release of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate by the White House earlier this week, I immediately began praying that I wouldn’t see what I – deep down – knew I would when I first scanned the news today. Unfortunately, it seems my prayers went unheard and, alas, here we go again.

Now, of course, I have to ask myself, “Did I really expect the ‘birthers’ to finally give up their complete and utter lunacy like any other sane, rational person would?”

I should know better by now, I know.

No, the foolish claims that Obama was born outside the U.S.A. continue to make headlines, at a time when our country should be focused on the much more serious issues it presently faces – like multiple wars, natural disasters, the economy, unemployment and, well, too many others to name here. Too bad people can’t seem to grasp a couple of long-forgotten concepts – teamwork and patriotism. Instead, I have a feeling we’re going to hear more of the same right up until the 2012 elections.

Trust me, if I had three wishes right now they’d go something like this: transport each and every “birther” to a distant, uninhabited island and throw away the coordinates; teach Americans – no matter their political, religious or economic beliefs – to show some respect to their president and their fellow Americans and somebody, please, get Donald Trump intoxicated and shave that ridiculous…whatever it is, off his head.

If only I had a genie in a bottle. Ah, to dream.

Editor’s Notebook: 4/27/11

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• So I thought we had it bad here in Norwich last night when my cats got spooked by a couple loud claps of thunder. Then I saw the pictures of what happened over at G-MU’s brand new sports fields. Yikes.

• Speaking of yikes, I just mentioned my cats in my blog. Seriously, Jeff.

• Headed up to Sherburne-Earlville tonight to see a dress rehearsal of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” Colleen Law-Tefft and her talented troupe of thesps never let me down, so I can’t wait to see them tackle The Bard. Tomorrow night, it’s over to Afton to see “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” I love pretending to be a critic.

• Is it me, or does the new Byrne Dairy look ridiculously huge? Seems like it’s going up at breakneck speed, as crews put up pretty much the whole roof yesterday. I know there’s a lot going on inside with a convenience store and laundromat, but the roof line looks … barn-esque. And yes, that is an architectural term.

• Goodbye to Maureen Carpenter, who leaves Commerce Chenango today for (Bowling) Greener pastures in Kentucky. So who’s in charge of the Chamber now? Umm, no one. We’ll keep you posted on that one.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
Patrick Newell

* Thursday, we publish the third installment in our series of articles profiling the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame’s inaugural class. In case you noticed, the athletes are appearing on our pages in chronological order dating back to the 1920s. Tomorrow’s athlete, Charles “Doc” Ulrichs graduated in 1945, and for those unaware, the Norwich High School football field was named in his honor about 30 years ago. It’s another interesting read recounting the accomplishments of one of the great athletes who performed at Norwich High School in the first half of the 20th century.

* Yesterday was the 26th day of April, and from my position behind the keyboard last night, it was significant. The spring sports season is nearing its fourth week, yet Tuesday was the first time a full complement of area teams played. When I say “full,” I mean it. Nearly every team in Chenango County in every sport took advantage of the fair climate, and if several local teams weren’t already playing each other, I might have incurred a sudden onset of carpal tunnel syndrome. I will often assess the amount of work I get done by the total word count. In high school and college, a 1,000-word term paper seemed excessive to me, and the time to research, write, and type the reports was exhausting. Last night, while busier than most, totaled over 3,500 words. That sum also includes the various box scores and results that were typed in. Over 20 years ago, I could not fathom putting that many words down on paper. Now, it’s all in a night’s work.

* Norwich hosts the annual REK Invitational Track and Field Meet on Friday night beginning at 5 p.m. The Norwich boys have won the overall title the past two years, but should receive a stiff challenge from B-G/Afton, who is making its first appearance in the meet. Norwich has several top-end athletes who should garner a fair number of victories, while the Bears sport remarkable depth up and down the roster. On the girls’ side, Oxford is expected to attend with sectional champions, Katie Woodford and Emily Woodford, headlining.

Editor’s Notebook: 4/26/11

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• So our friends at the City of Norwich Emergency Management Office tell us this afternoon that we have topped 80 degrees for the first time since Sept. 24, 2010. Thanks, Al Gore!

• Which of course means that we are soon, as of this writing, expecting a round of thunderstorms. Phew! I was worried about that drought we were having.

• Seeing as how I’m clearly a little weather-obsessed this afternoon, I’m going to call it quits and get out there and enjoy it while I still can. If you’re reading this and it’s still light outside — step away from the computer, Gollum!

Editor’s Notebook: 4/25/11

Monday, April 25th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Another gorgeous, sun-dappled weekend in Chenango County. Not.

• I felt so bad for all those kids looking forward to the Easter Egg Hunt down at the fairgrounds on Saturday morning (not to mention the people who worked hard to put it on). Yup, Mother Nature let loose again, forcing the annual event into the Exhibition Hall. Where, I might add by looking at Frank’s photos on Facebook, there wasn’t much of a challenge in “hunting” for the eggs. Let’s hope this isn’t another year in which most of our biggest community events get washed out.

• Speaking of Facebook, Tyler Murphy’s story on a Norwich-area Vietnam vet whose gun-shaped cane was banned from the VA Hospital in Syracuse drew quite a bit of commentary, pro and con, on the forum there. It’s an interesting story, and a debate with no clear-cut winning side, I think.

• Know anyone who could remove a few years’ worth of lawn debris from my backyard, soon? Seems whenever I need to call someone for one of these jobs, I have terrible luck getting calls back. I guess the economy in Chenango County must be pretty good if you can’t give jobs away!

• Speaking of giving jobs away … resumes are piling up for those hoping to be the next Tyler Murphy. Figuratively, anyway. I’ll be setting up interviews this week, so if you know of anyone who’s thinking about applying, now is the time. My Donald Trump-esque fantasy, if only Dick Snyder were willing to cover the liability (and the paychecks), has always been to hire ALL the candidates for the job, and then eliminate them, one a week, until only the winner remained. Not only fun for me, it could also be a great reader-participation exercise, with you guys voting for your favorite reporter candidates. I could even sport a mean comb-over, if need be.

Chenango’s bounty

Friday, April 22nd, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

I spent much of yesterday at the Chenango County Ag Summit V. Sponsored by the Chenango County Ag Development Council, it was an opportunity for area farmers and others related to the ag industry to discuss issues related to agriculture.

It really was a thought provoking experience, and I learned quite a bit from listening to the speakers, panel and even the conversation around me. Especially when it came to labor issues and different farming philosophies. (Don’t worry, you’ll get to read all about it next week.)

The coolest part of the experience, though, wasn’t just hearing about the diversity of agriculture in our region. It was getting to taste it. The day’s menu included a wide array of local foods, all produced and prepared right here in Upstate New York.

I knew I was going to enjoy the day as soon I arrived at Canasawacta Country Club and saw the morning’s refreshments: Coffee courtesy of Chenango Coffee Roasters, milk and cream provided by Evans Farmhouse Creamery, a generous supply of Kutik’s honey and – be still my heart – a tasty assortment of petite pastries from La Maison Blanche. (You haven’t lived until you’ve tried their almond croissants and pain au chocolat. Yummy!)

I’m not going to lie. I made numerous trips to that delightful table all throughout the morning. But don’t worry, I didn’t spoil my appetite for lunch.  Which was truly a feast of local products, all artfully put together by Canasawacta’s culinary genius, Sue Ryan.

There was a salad bar resplendent with greens from Finger Lakes Fresh, feta cheese from Euphrates (Agro Farma’s sister company), New York apples and maple-coated nuts from Baker’s Maple in Bainbridge. The dressing to go with it was a sweet and spicy concoction made with Evans Farmhouse Yogurt and some of Baker’s maple syrup.

And that was just the beginning! There were ham sliders made with fresh ham from Quarry Brook Farms in Sherburne and topped with New York apples and Evans cheese; and hamburgers made from Quarry Brook Farms’ grass fed beef. There was quiche as well, made with eggs from Sunrise Farm and Lash Taylor, more Evans cheese and chorizo from Quarry Brook.

Dessert? Chobani yogurt parfaits with a variety of maple-coated nuts from Bakers and granola from Upstate Harvest.

Everything was delicious, right to the last morsel. And the best part? Knowing that most of it was produced right here in Chenango County.

Help support Chenango’s diverse agriculture industry by buying local foods. It just doesn’t get better, fresher and more local than that!

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Norwich, Oxford Track and Field results

Friday, April 22nd, 2011
Patrick Newell

* Shortly before midnight, Norwich track and field coach, Paul Sims, e-mailed me a copy of the results from Thursday’s track and field meet at Owego. I keep pretty late hours, but I cannot recall a time during the spring sports season where I was pecking away on my computer past 11 p.m. – coaches just do not report results (by phone) that late. When I arrived this morning for work, shortly after 6:30 a.m., I saw Sims’ e-mail, and quickly typed something up for the Friday edition. I did not have the time to mark down all of the place finishes, times, and distances. Now that I am comfortably past my deadline, I will list Norwich’s place finishes here – and Oxford Academy’s, too, since the Blackhawks were at the meet as well. I am listing any place finish that was among the top six in the 22-team invite. Full results are available on the Internet at
3,200m relay: Norwich (6), 9:10 (Nuri Harper, Mike Barnes, Nate Ashton, Max Morse)
110m hurdles: Jon Foulds, Norwich (2), 15.91.
100m dash: Morgan Crawford, Norwich (2), 11.55
400m hurdles: Foulds, Norwich (2), 1:01.545; David Jones, Norwich (6), 1:03.28.
800m: Matt Murray, Norwich (3), 2:05.94.
400m relay: Norwich (2), 46.73 (Patrick Taylor, Cameron Turner, Josh Favaloro, Morgan Crawford).
1,600m relay: Norwich (2), 3:41.01 (David Layman, Cameron Turner, Max Morse, Murray).
Long jump: Patrick Taylor, Norwich (3), 20-3 1/2
Triple jump: P. Taylor, Norwich (6), 39-0
High jump: Taylor, Norwich (4), 5-8.
100m: Katie Woodford, Oxford (2), 12.35; Cleo Daoud, Norwich (5), 13.46.
400m: K. Woodford, Oxford (2), 1:01.11.
200m: Emily Woodford, Oxford (2), 25.53; C. Daoud, Norwich (4), 27.73.
400m relay: Oxford (2), 51.46 (Jess Russo, Haley Witchella, E. Woodford, K. Woodford).
1,600m relay: Oxford (2), 4:24.96 (E. Woodford, Kasey Peters, H. Witchella, K. Woodford).
Triple jump: Emily Woodford, Oxford (2), 35-2 1/2.
Shot put: Haley Witchella, Oxford (3), 32-9.

Editor’s Notebook: 4/21/11

Thursday, April 21st, 2011
Jeff Genung

• I almost shut the blinds in my office this morning, forever. Watching fairly heavy snow flurries and strong gusty winds blow by Lackawanna Avenue made Jeff a very angry editor. It’s the end of April, dagnabbit!

• Which is probably why I confirmed an online ‘30 Seconds’ commenter’s suspicion that that aim of the Friends of the Park project was to cut down every tree in East Side park and destroy the “gazeebo” too. Yes, that’s what they’re planning on doing. Followed by razing the courthouse and drilling for natural gas. And perhaps erecting a Jiffy Lube.

• Despite the requisite bitching and moaning that takes place every time there’s an iota of change in these parts, I honestly think people will be generally pleased – even the most voracious naysayers – when they see the final outcome of the downtown Norwich project. And it bears repeating: Pretty much the whole thing is being done with private donations and volunteer labor.

• I was not a yogurt snob until I discovered the Chenango County treasure that is Chobani yogurt. I’d pretty much buy whatever was on sale until I drank from the AgroFarma fountain. Congratulations, Chobani, on becoming the No. 1 yogurt in the country! Glad to know that it was my weekly purchase that put you over the top, of course.

Nothing to do in Norwich? I think not.

Thursday, April 21st, 2011
Brian Golden

What with the renovations to East and West Parks, the new Byrne Dairy, the nearly completed clean-up behind Front Street adjacent to the Tops parking lot and the complete overhaul of 24 East Main Street, downtown Norwich is getting quite the face-lift this summer.

I, for one, am super excited for these changes, and not only because it gives me something to write about for our hometown daily. Actually, my excitement stems more from the pride that I feel for this city of ours.

I spent quite a bit of time visiting City Hall this week – chasing down stories on the proposed renovations to the Commission House, located on the corner of Mitchell and State Streets, and the BID’s long-awaited Parks Project – and I had several opportunities to chat with various city officials on the numerous goings-on. They’re as excited as I am, I can tell you that, and for good reason.

There’s a common misconception in Norwich, one shared by far too many people, that there’s nothing to do here. I hear it all the time and all I can do is shake my head and wonder to myself just what these people are talking about. Granted, we may be small compared to cities like Binghamton, Syracuse, Ithaca or even Cortland, but that doesn’t make our small-city way of life tedious or commonplace. In my experience, it’s anything but.

What with the Blues Fest, Colorscape, the Chenango County Fair, Gus Macker, the Antique Car Show and the 4th of July to look forward to, I don’t see how anyone can complain. I know I’m not. On top of all that, we have an extremely talented local music scene, a movie theater that’s under new management (and offering Wii and X-Box on the big screen, how cool is that) and dozens of other entertainments to keep us occupied throughout the summer months.

About the only bad thing I can think of is the closure of Kurt Beyer Pool this year, but I’m sure it will be up-and-running in 2012.

Like most, my budget simply can’t support any kind of big, fancy vacation this summer, and that’s fine with me. I’m looking forward to our city’s numerous annual events – which I have the pleasure of covering for The Evening Sun – camping (and fishing) over at Bowman Lake, barbecuing with friends and jamming with my various bands. In all honesty, there’s rarely enough time in the day for me to do all the fun stuff I can think of. So before those of you who’d rather complain about the lack of excitement here in Norwich start, take a minute to look around and realize that there’s plenty to do here.

All I know is that it’s almost summer and I’m more than ready for some sunshine and some fun, which I know I’ll be able to find right here – at home.