Archive for April, 2011

Editor’s Notebook: 4/20/11

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Why is it every meeting in the universe falls on a Wednesday? More specifically, this Wednesday? Feeling overwhelmed. Sympathy, please.

• The Friends of the Parks renovation and reconstruction of East and West Side Parks in downtown Norwich began today, with portions fenced off and a few miscellaneous trees coming down. We had a little difficulty getting those in charge to talk to us about the project before it began (looks like they got the runaround from everyone else, so they decided to give it back to us), so you’ll have to read Brian Golden’s story in tomorrow’s paper.

• Speaking of tomorrow’s paper, don’t forget to stop by your local newsstand if you’re a racing fan. Pat Newell’s 16-page special section, “Let’s Go Racing: 2011” appears in Thursday’s edition.

• Know anyone who wants to be a reporter? I’m starting to get a few resumes coming in, but I’m looking for more contestants to come on down!

• Today’s 4/20, which for those of you out of touch with such things is some kind of code for marijuana, hence the preponderance of “Man from Sherburne” entries on today’s online “30 Seconds.” And then of course his nemesis, “Man from Norwich,” has to get on his case about the various medical maladies he claims his pot use is for and, well, hilarity ensues. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Editor’s Notebook: 4/19/11

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Been out of the loop here a bit the past few days, or should I say loop-y. Finally got rid of that winter cold, I think. Now if we could only get rid of winter.

• Continuing with the tradition of publicly humiliating Evening Sun employees in this blog, Melissa deCordova showed up for work today with two different shoes. Stylish, both. Sometimes a girl just can’t choose.

• Pat Newell is knee-deep in this year’s “Let’s Go Racing” special section, which comes out in this Thursday’s Evening Sun. It’s an all-encompassing look at all types of motorized racing (I’m going to end this right here, because I clearly have no idea what I’m talking about) …

• Melissa Stagnaro’s got a new cubicle-mate. No we’re not doubling her up with Tyler to save money; she’s the proud owner of a new Betta fish. As newsroom mascots go, I hope “Big Red” fares better than Jessica Lewis’ “Sunny,” who died a slow, agonizing and filthy death. Quite the morale booster, that one was. And no, we’re not getting a cat!

Editor’s Notebook: 4/14/11

Thursday, April 14th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Sickness, Day 2. Figures I made it through the whole winter without a cold, only to get one as soon as spring has sprung. Prepared a good portion of today’s paper while heavily medicated; hopefully it’s fairly coherent.

• Not having quite as bad a day, though, as ES sales consultant Pam Jones, who walked into a glass door in our office this morning. Worry not; she lived to suffer the humiliation :)

“You’re missing out on a great story.” Never a good approach. 1. No one else is doing it either. 2. Ain’t a good story to begin with. 3. Now you’ve just angered me unnecessarily.

• Heard this afternoon that ABC has canceled both “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” I haven’t been much of a regular viewer of either soap in a long, long time, but like comfort food, they were always there if you needed them. Much like my beloved “Guiding Light,” they will be sorely missed. And just as many people don’t “get” soap operas, I don’t “get” their replacements – those gabfests like “The View” and “The Talk” and ABC’s coming “The Chew.” More like “The Barf.” Curses! Looks like I’ll be forced to read a book!

A poem for poetry month

Thursday, April 14th, 2011
Tyler Murphy

April is National Poetry Month and I figured, “what a great excuse to write one.”

In the world

My heart just isn’t in this world.
It got lost in some far away place.
Is it better dreaming as a lie unfurled
Or finding peace in an ignorant space?

The fires of life burn time and will.
But one must be lost before the other.
If endured the truth may shine still,
With mind, not body do souls smother.

A heap of death will crush all living things,
There is one short chance to define identity.
With each note written our end eventually sings
A change in tune may allow the past serenity.

Too many times this world reflects the pale and dark
But the better knows the reach of true reason.
There is one world to make a fading mark,
Those who plot for self leave the rest in treason.

Perhaps hearts are destined to beat in another time
The one where the world should be.
Perhaps one day it’ll all come in line
But until then all I know is where to find me.

Editor’s Notebook: 4/13/11

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Depressingly rainy day, and I’m afraid I’m coming down with whatever latest bug is going around. Joy.

• No city pool this summer? Looks like repairs at Kurt Beyer pool in the City of Norwich will take the entire season (which, let’s face it, isn’t very long around here). Definite loss for the locals who make use of it, but personally I think you might as well swim in a giant vat of urine.

• Everything old is new again in New Berlin, as former Mayor Carol Riley gets appointed to fill a village board spot vacated when Terry Potter won a write-in campaign for mayor a month ago. Potter’s predecessor, Wade Schrag (who withdrew his write-in campaign against Terry at the last minute), won his own election by a hair after Riley staged a last-minute write-in campaign herself a couple years ago. Are there only three people involved in New Berlin politics? Talk about small-town musical chairs!

• The local artists’ cooperative Made in Chenango is moving to a new home after their previous South Broad location got wrecked by the spring thaw. It’s too bad that happened, of course, but I think their new location – the recently renovated space that, for years, was the Corner Cigar store next to Garf’s – is a much better spot. Good luck in your new home!

• Printed clues 1-3 in that Maydole Hose Co. Easter egg hunt contest in today’s paper. Tyler forgot to give me clue #2 yesterday, so we published the first three today; a new one will follow every day going forward. And yes, you have to buy the paper in order to get them. One enterprising individual called me up today and asked me to read it to her over the phone. Ummm, no.

The city smells like what?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
Brian Golden

I’ve encountered some strange e-mails occupying my inbox during my time here at The Evening Sun over the past year-and-a-half or so, but every once-in-awhile one comes along that’s truly the cat’s meow, if you get my drift. And in this case, you really can tell a lot about the book by its cover, considering the subject line of this particular e-mail reads: “The Smell of Cat Urine in the City! How exciting!”

Yes, believe it or not, that’s exactly what it says. And while it’s not the first time I’ve received an e-mail that had me – literally – in tears, it definitely ranks right up there as one of the most original. The author certainly has a point, however, although I beg to differ on the olfactory accusation. Then again, having lived here most of my life, maybe I simply never noticed the smell.

Now, it’s no secret that Norwich has – and has had – a serious cat problem for years now, particularly in certain parts of the city. I’m uncertain as to when it all began, but – like the author of this particular e-mail pointed out – it’s definitely an issue that needs to be addressed at some time or another. And I agree (for the most part) with said author that those who continue to feed these cats should probably take on the added responsibility of having them fixed. As stated by the author, “if you have no intent of taking care of them, stop feeding them. You feed them, you own them, you get fined for not taking care of them.”

My only problem with that scenario is that, as an animal lover, I hate to see any creature go hungry and starve to death. Unfortunately, I’m fairly certain that’s already happening in this case, otherwise the feline infestation downtown would probably be infinitely worse.

The author went on to state that, “I am sure that I am not the only one that has stressed the concern of cats taking over the city. I believe it is animal cruelty. These cats are a walking disease.”

While I’m not going to disagree completely with any of those statements, I can honestly say I’ve never lost a minute of sleep worrying that cats were on the verge of taking over the entire city, in a literal sense. I will admit that I got a laugh out of the idea though, in a kind of a Garfield-meets-Planet-of-the-Apes sense. As to animal cruelty, however, I’ll admit I’m of the same mind. I just don’t see how there’s enough food out there for all of these animals to survive. A walking disease? Well, maybe, but I doubt there’s any chance of plague in our fair city any time soon.

What ultimately had me in tears, though, was the author’s solution to the problem, even though it was all in jest.

“How about we stop feeding the cats, then let the cats eat the crows, and we shoot the cats!”

Anyone who’s lived here for the last five years or so is surely familiar with our recurring crow infestation. I’ve even been fortunate enough to write a number of stories describing our city’s efforts to get rid of the pesky things. In all that time, I’ve heard any number of solutions to the problem, most of which had me – kind of like this e-mail – in tears. In fact, some of our city’s actual efforts to chase away the birds had me in tears as well (think Warren with the laser pointer).

Regardless, I have a sinking suspicion that the cats are here to stay at this point. And if that’s the worst we have to worry about these days, let’s just say I’ll sleep peacefully tonight. As for the city smelling of cat urine, well, I haven’t noticed it, but obviously others have. What I’m really curious to know is just how many felines are out there? Hundreds? Thousands? Or more than can be reasonably calculated. And that, my friends, is a truly scary thought.

It makes me wonder if there’s more to this feline takeover than I originally gave credit for.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
Patrick Newell

* If you’re a fan of local sports history, particularly Norwich sports history, you will enjoy our upcoming series of articles profiling the Norwich High School Sports Hall of Fame 2011 inductees. For athletes that played over the past 35 years, the time needed to research any one athlete pales in comparison to the voluminous amount of hours needed to look up any athlete pre-1960. And our first athlete, Tommy Manning, played at Norwich High School from his freshman year in 1921 to his senior year graduating in 1925. The primary source of research is our newspaper’s reporting of those sports events. We can presume that our researcher spent countless hours looking through old microfiche copies of the “Norwich Sun” at the Guernsey Memorial Library. Often, play-by-play of particular game achievements are paraphrased in an athlete’s summary. We begin our feature this Thursday, the first of eight weekly articles culminating with 2000 Norwich graduate, Katie Almeter.

* Unadilla Valley’s baseball team is now 2-0 after shutting out Bainbridge-Guilford Tuesday afternoon, 1-0. Two straight wins doesn’t sound like much, but for the Storm, winning games the previous two years was more the exception than the rule. In those two wins, UV has pitched back-to-back shutouts, and each game was a one-hitter. Travis Conklin and Brandon Miles have alternated starts with each pitcher relieving the other. “Going into the year, I was most worried about our offense scoring runs,” said UV coach Tom Locke. “Our pitching staff is pretty solid. They’re all returning guys, and we’re confident they’ll throw good games. We just need to score runs.”

* We’re still taking driver profiles for our 2011 Race Day publication that comes out in a special section Thursday, April 21. Profile forms are available on The Evening Sun’s Facebook page, almost daily in The Evening Sun sports section, and the form usually appears in the Norwich-Sidney Pennysaver. If you’re a competitive driver of anything that has motor, I invite you to send in your profile with a photo by Monday, April 18. The Race Day edition allows racers the opportunity to take the spotlight for a day, give proper credit to sponsors, and of course, it fills a page in your scrapbook. For those who are Internet savvy, e-mail your profile information and photo to me at pnewell@evesun.com.

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat.

Editor’s Notebook: 4/12/11

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• So Tyler Murphy spilled the news in his column today – he’ll be leaving The Evening Sun at the end of May. Not a completely unexpected development, of course (they all leave the nest eventually), but still … always interesting to have change afoot in the newsroom. We’re starting to advertise for the position in tomorrow’s edition, so if you know anyone who wants to be a reporter, have ‘em come on down.

• And what can I say about Tyler Murphy that I haven’t already documented in excruciating detail in his personnel file? Well, I think I’ll save the eulogy until we’re closer to his last byline.

• The men and women who comprise the staff of Chenango County’s 911 emergency dispatch center are currently being honored with National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, and the top story in today’s Evening Sun. Our collective hats are off to this crew, who are always there, literally, to answer the call for help.

• People over on The Evening Sun’s Forum on this website were wondering if there was photographic evidence of the vandalism perpetrated by anti-gas drilling protesters in New Berlin over the weekend, and there is. But you won’t see it here, or in print. I’ve never been one for propagating hate speech (and that’s precisely what it was – vulgar, ignorant and reprehensible) by giving it more “air time.” I saw it. A lot of people saw it. It happened, and it’s insane the issue has come down to that.

• Plans are underway for the next Dairy Day (which I’m as determined as ever, for some reason, to type as “Diary Day”), this year on June 18. Didn’t we just do that? My, how time flies around here …

Editor’s Notebook: 4/11/11

Monday, April 11th, 2011
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.

The passing of George E. Staley

Monday, April 11th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

Being the first one in the office this morning meant I was the one who discovered George E. Staley’s obituary on the fax machine. Although I didn’t know him well, learning of his death still caused me great sadness.

I had been on the job here at The Evening Sun for less than two weeks, when Jeff handed me a last minute assignment which prompted my first visit Northeast Classic Car Museum.

I’d heard about the place, which opened during the years I spent living far from Chenango County, but never had the opportunity or really the desire to  walk through its doors. I’m not really a car person, you see, so I figured it wasn’t for me. But, like the good little cub reporter I aspired to be, I feigned enthusiasm and trotted out the door, camera and notepad firmly in hand.

The event I was sent to cover was the H.H. Franklin Club’s 55th annual Franklin Trek, an annual get-together of enthusiasts of the classic automobiles which were manufactured in Syracuse from 1903 to 1934.

I knew the NECCM was said to be home to the world’s largest collection of Franklin’s, but I didn’t really have a concept of what that meant – or the passion Franklin aficionados had – until I turned the corner onto Rexford Street that day.

For a second, I thought I’d literally stepped back in time. Rows of gorgeous antique cars, reminiscent of a bygone era, filled the museum’s parking lots. And it only got better when I stepped inside.

Much to my own surprise, I was instantly enamoured. Each of the museum’s exhibits are truly works of art – marvels of American ingenuity and creativity with beautiful lines and an aesthetic appeal which today’s cars are sadly lacking. They have both beauty and grace, as well as a hint of romance and mystique.

Doreen Bates, NECCM’s executive director, took me around that day. (As she has on a couple of occasions since.) From her, I learned the provenance of many of the vehicles on display. I was floored by how many were part of the Staley Collection, meaning they were either on loan from or donated by the museum’s benefactor, George Staley.

Doreen spoke of Mr. Staley with such reverence, that I was nervous to meet the man himself. But I found him to be, as those who I interviewed this morning all affirmed, incredibly kind. His obvious enthusiasm and love for his cars was evident immediately, and I could instantly understand why so many held him in such high regard.

We didn’t have him to ourselves for very long, for there were a number of Franklin enthusiasts clamoring (very respectfully, of course) for his attention as well. Brief as our conversation was, I treasured the time none the less. Both because he truly lived the history you and I can only read about in books, and because his passion for his collection shone through. After meeting him, walking through the museum took on even more significance.

His willingness to share not only his collection, but his love for classic automobiles, is truly a gift to this community. Through it, we can experience an aspect of history we could never have experienced without his generosity.

Thank you, Mr. Staley, for the legacy you have left behind. And to the Staley family, my heartfelt condolences. May you find some small comfort in knowing how many lives this great man touched in his lifetime, and will continue to touch in years to come. While he may no longer walk this earth, he will live on forever in the hearts of many.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Staley.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.