Editor’s Notebook: 4/11/11

Jeff Genung

• I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. George Staley, the Northeast Classic Car Museum’s founder, benefactor and now guardian angel, who passed away last Friday, but I am well aware of his lasting legacy in Chenango County. I remember sending the late, great Kathy O’Hara up to the wilds of Lincklaen to interview this guy who had a bunch of old cars in his barn — it turned out to be much, much more than that! Staley’s collection of Franklins and other antique and classic vehicles became the cornerstone for the car museum, which in turn became the cornerstone of Chenango’s best tourist attractions. I couldn’t say it any better than Melissa Stagnaro wrote in her blog today, except to add a quote from Kathy herself, written in 1997 about her friend George: “He was born with a love of cars in his blood, the gifted fingers of a mechanic, the business acumen of a Wharton graduate, the charm of a Cary Grant. All combined in a neat package with a generous heart for an engine and a gentle sense of humor as the spark plug.”

• Though her obituary appeared only on Page 6 today, much more near and dear to my heart was the passing of my fourth-grade teacher, Fran Liberatore. The wife of longtime Norwich policeman Yock Liberatore and a teacher at Oxford Academy for over three decades, Mrs. Liberatore (funny how you never can quite bring yourself to call your teachers by their first names) was a caring, witty and gifted educator whose impact on my young life lasted throughout my academic career. I’m sure scores of Oxford grads would agree with my assessment that Mrs. Liberatore was one of the best.

• And on a different note, the miscreants who painted a swastika and a particularly vile racial epithet on the pro-gas drilling sign posted on the lawn of a New Berlin man did no justice to their anti-fracking cause. It’s that lunatic fringe that destroys the legitimacy of any argument, pro or con. Shame on you.