Archive for April, 2011

Editor’s Notebook: 4/7/11

Thursday, April 7th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Had a bit of a shocker in late-breaking news right before I left work last night – Commerce Chenango’s CEO Maureen Carpenter is leaving for a new job in Kentucky at the end of the month. We posted it right away on evesun.com, just an hour or so before the Chamber’s annual dinner. At first I was afraid news of her sudden departure would overshadow the event – and take away the spotlight from the evening’s award winners – but Carpenter demurred and never mentioned the news at all in her address. That was the classy way to handle it. You’ll be missed, Maureen. Good luck in Bowling Green!

• The dinner was great, by the way. Always nice to schmooze for an evening with Chenango’s movers and shakers. Funny, though – looking out the windows from the dining room at the Silo down in Coventry, I could have sworn the annual dinner was being held in the dead of January, not April. That’s enough of that, Mother Nature.

• Good ol’ boy town judges fixed a traffic ticket for a buddy in Chenango County? Shocking! Not that they did it, but that they got caught.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
Patrick Newell

I was at a meeting Monday night that included Norwich High School AD, Steve Griffin. Midway through the meeting, “Griff” spoke with great pride describing the selfless actions of the Norwich varsity baseball team. Noting the proliferation of precipitation the past few weeks, the senior baseball players pooled their money to purchase tarps. Those tarps were then placed, with the aid of underclassmen on the team, on the pitching mound, around home plate, and near first base – all areas were water tends to pool. A note about Griff: He remains steadfast in his optimism, and is one who sees the good in people first. He was the same way 15 years ago when he reported games to me as varsity coach of Oxford’s girls’ basketball and varsity baseball teams. Griff never uttered a negative word about his players, an opponent or a game official. He was always gracious in victory or defeat, and the school district will lose an excellent role model when he retires at the end of December.

Part of my job each year is to put together a special section that focuses on local racing. We call it “Race Day,” and this year marks the 17th edition. For those not fully aware, auto racing in Afton is back full-time – pending the weather. The track, now named I-88 Speedway, is promoted by Chenango County residents Jamie Page and Ron Ford. Page and Ford used to race against each other, but developed a friendship over the years. Not wanting to see racing end at Afton, the two friends came together last year to promote the track, and now have it nearly ready to go for the 2011 season. We’ll have further details when we publish Race Day on April 21.

Each year we ask that drivers submit profiles for Race Day in which drivers jot down their racing accomplishments, give a shout out to sponsors, while also featuring a picture of the vehicle. We are about 12 days away from our submission deadline, and profiles are coming in slightly faster than a trickle. The profile form is available at this link: http://pennysaveronline.com/promos/race_day_profile_4x10.jpg I was also told by Utica-Rome director of operations, Barb Clark, that she will be posting the profile form on the track’s Internet website in the near future. And if you pick up The Evening Sun, we typically have the profile in our sports section at least two or three times a week. In case you’re wondering, yes I am making a plea to drivers. To me, it does not matter if someone rides a motorcycle, drives a car or motorcycle or has a pulling tractor. I’ll take them all, and if you’re e-mail savvy, do not hesitate to send your information and photo to me at pnewell@evesun.com.

Editor’s Notebook: 4/6/11

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Headed down to the Silo in Greene tonight for Commerce Chenango’s annual dinner (an early congrats to honorees SFCU and Dave Burrell!). Ms. Stagnaro is doing the actual reporting on the event, so my function at these … functions …. is purely ornamental.

Home is Where the Art is! Two talented Norwich grads are coming home to roost this weekend with events over at the Chenango County Council of the Arts. First up is the “Best of Show” winner from last year’s Member’s Exhibit, Edmond Caputo. I can’t wait to see what he’s going to fill the gallery with. The opening reception for that (free to the public) is Friday night at 5. Saturday night, gifted musician Megan Higley Phillips returns to the Norwich stage for a special concert in the Council’s Chamber Music series. Call 336-2787 to get tickets for that one. It’s great to see the organization highlighting the talents and accomplisments of local artists.

• I wish new, New Berlin Mayor Terry Potter all the luck in the world of ridding that village’s downtown of the old commercial building that’s been condemned since 2008. Not only for the good of the village and his nascent mayorship, of course, but also so I don’t have to publish that same $#%^ Tyler Murphy photo of it ever again.

Editor’s Notebook: 4/5/11

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Thanks, Time Warner, for throwing a monkey wrench into the works today. Started off the day with no e-mail or Internet access at the ES, but luckily our friends at the Pennysaver have Frontier backup.

• Panic-stricken, my trusty reporters were, when faced with the possibility of getting through an entire edition without being plugged into the outside world this morning. Veteran curmudgeon that I am, I had to remind the underlings that “When I was a reporter …” Well, we didn’t even know what the Internet was, much less rely on it so heavily for everything. We did, however, have telephones and word processors.

• And lest you think my Internet-less rant was over, my lunch hour was completely ruined by the lack of “The Young and the Restless.” Thanks again, Time Warner!

• Disgraced former Earlville mayor Toni Campbell pleaded guilty to stealing a boatload of cash from Chenango Valley Pet Foods in court yesterday, after months of delays. And the latest bombshell to be dropped in the case? She’s pregnant, delaying the start of her sentencing until after the baby’s born. There’s got to be a Lifetime movie in this somewhere …

• Melissa deCordova and Brian Golden both said they were impressed by the “everyman” charm and good sense of Congressman Richard Hanna in his visit to Norwich yesterday. I met him somewhere along the campaign trail too, and have watched his progress as a freshmen rep with pleasure. He’s not a toe-the-line Republican by any means. Hopefully he can do good things for us in Washington.

Editor’s Notebook: 4/4/11

Monday, April 4th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Happy day after my birthday! I know you’re all tired out from the day-long celebration yesterday (or perhaps you’re still wrapping those belated presents), so I’ll get right to it …

• April Fool’s! Proving my theory that satire is darned near impossible in Chenango County, Melissa Stagnaro’s website “breaking news” about the governor consolidating all local schools into one saw mixed reactions when it appeared online Friday. Those who read beyond the headline and first sentence of the story (and many, clearly, did not) realized it was an April Fool’s joke pretty quickly. Reaction was generally favorable, but there were a few who didn’t “get” it – or did and didn’t appreciate it. If you actually read the whole thing, nowhere did it make fun of people losing their jobs (in fact it said we’d have to add jobs). Anyway, I can appreciate that not everyone found it hilarious, and I took it down from the website in short order. We really don’t go out of our way to be insensitive – in fact I’m sure Melissa, who’s reported on the school budget crisis more than anyone here, felt the situation could use a little levity (and apparently a few superintendents agreed!). Still, if anyone was truly offended, we apologize. Only to those who demanded that I fire Melissa forthwith on Friday do I say, “Lighten up.”

• Word has it there were standing-room only crowds this weekend for “Phantom of the Opera” at Norwich High School. Bravo! I’m heartened to see a community that has appreciation for the arts – and for the students who express their talents though them.

• So I’m certainly glad that the Norwich Rehabilitation and Nursing Center up on Calvary Drive found new owners and is doing well – but did they really have to change the name? I’m sure they had a good reason for doing that, but it’ll take some getting used to. Count me among the many who feel that both Pearl and Everett Gilmour, for whom the health care facility was formerly named, deserve a lasting honor in this community.

A first time for everything

Monday, April 4th, 2011
Brian Golden

I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard this particular saying before and I for one know it to be absolutely true – there’s a first time for everything. Today, that “first time for me moment” was oversleeping and having to race through my morning routine if I wanted to get into the office on time (which I did, barely).

Typically, I have no problem whatsoever getting myself up at the crack of dawn, if not earlier. My mother will tell you it’s always been that way, as I was one of those kids who was “up-and-at-em” – even on Saturday and Sunday – at around 6 a.m. In fact, my mom was lucky enough to never have to drag me out of bed to get ready for school.

To be completely honest, I always relished those extra early morning hours. If nothing else, it was a chance for me to stay caught up with my morning cartoons and – in later years – an opportunity to listen to some tunes or practice my guitar before school. And once the guitar had truly become an addiction, I started getting up even earlier. That way I could get to school at least a half-an-hour early, which made perfect sense at the time, as that would be my last chance to strum away on my beloved Fender Stratocaster before classes began.

What can I say? From day one I was obsessed with the guitar which, when I really think about it, hasn’t changed all that much over the years.

Regardless, you can imagine my surprise when I awoke this morning to find I had incorrectly set my alarm Sunday night. Oh, it was set for 5:45 all right, just like it was supposed to be, I’d simply set it for 5:45 p.m.

And when I checked the actual time (it was 6:35 in the morning), I’ll admit I panicked.

At first I couldn’t believe my eyes, and I spent a full minute or so staring in disbelief at the screen of my cell phone wondering how in the world this could happen. I never oversleep, I kept telling myself. Until, that is, it hit me as to just how long I’d overslept. Then I really panicked.

Scrambling out of bed, I began to hurriedly prepare for work. In my still-sleep-befuddled mind I even found myself comparing the experience to one of those credit card commercials. You know, the ones that go something like: Shave, five minutes. Shower, five minutes. Clothes already ironed for work, priceless.

I even jogged to the office today, but not because I’m on any kind of new health kick.

In the end, though, I made it in on time (with a couple of minutes to spare, even). It’s certainly not the way I ever want to start off a day in the office (especially a Monday) in the future, however. And now that the afternoon is winding down, I have to laugh at myself. I can’t even imagine what a wild-eyed spectacle of frenzied preparation I must have looked like this morning.

As I said, there’s a first time for everything.

April Fools

Friday, April 1st, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

We at The Evening Sun played a little April Fool’s joke on our website today. While most of our readers found it entertaining, it seems to have ruffled quite a few feathers as well. Jeff took it down before it incited any more riots. But, seriously, folks. Lighten up a bit. It is April Fool’s Day after all. (And I don’t see how anyone could possibly read the piece in its entirety and still think it was true.)

I’ve included it below for your reading enjoyment. Happy April Fool’s Day!

Those of you without a sense of humor might want to stop reading….NOW.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

School’s out: Gov orders Chenango schools to merge

By Melissa Stagnaro
Sun Staff Writer
mstagnaro@evesun.com

ALBANY – In one fell swoop, New York’s governor has wiped all nine of Chenango’s public school districts off the map.

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order early this morning which will abolish each of Chenango’s individual school districts and create one consolidated county district in its place.

The surprise move has school officials reeling.

“What the &**&#@ does he think he’s doing?” exclaimed Norwich Superintendent Gerard O’Sullivan, after hearing the news.

“Is he out of his &*^^%$* mind?” asked his counterpart at Oxford, Randy Squier.

Unadilla Valley Superintendent Robert Mackey concurred.

“*&$#% &^%$$,” he said, adding that the unilateral decision by the governor is completely unprecedented.

According to Cuomo’s directive, the countywide school system will be known as the Afton/Bainbridge-Guilford/Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton/Greene/Norwich/Otselic Valley/Oxford/Sherburne-Earlville/Unadilla Valley Unified School District. Or, ABGGMGNOVOSEUVUSD, for short.

Its mascot, the Guinea pig, will be clad in the school color – a dull excrement-like brown which represents an amalgamation of maroon, white, red, black, blue, purple, green, yellow and gold. According to Cuomo, this is in homage to the rich history of the nine districts he is rubbing out.

The governor has set aside $300 million in state funds for the construction of a single facility to accommodate the consolidated district’s almost 10,000 students.

Students will need to be bussed from all corners of the district’s more than 900 square mile footprint. A spokesman for the State Education Department officials estimated that most students will spend no more than 2 to 3 hours on a bus each day.

“What, do you think that’s too much?” he asked, adding that the decision was above his pay grade.

One hundred administrators and 1,000 teachers will be required to run the facility – a significant increase over the number currently employed by each of the 9 districts. A tentative budget for the unified district is double the combined current spending of all Chenango’s school systems.

“I know it seems excessive,” the spokesperson admitted, “but don’t look at me. I’m just the yes man.”

Cuomo has not stated his intentions for the 26 school buildings currently in use. However, a source inside his office reported that $92 million has already been earmarked for their demolition, despite the fact that the vast majority have recently undergone multi-million capital improvement projects.

“He doesn’t give a rat’s ^%$#. He’s bat &^% crazy,” said the source, who spoke with The Evening Sun only after being promised anonymity.

APRIL FOOL’S!

Headlines you won’t see on April Fool’s Day

Friday, April 1st, 2011
Patrick Newell

It’s April 1, known to all pranksters as April Fool’s Day. Without a clearcut idea to pull the wool over our reader’s eyes, I thought of some potential April Fool’s headlines you will not see in today’s paper:

* Norwich averts expected snowstorm, weatherman apologizes for mistake
* Everyone pleased with school budget cuts
* Area sports teams excited for season opener (we can probably run this the next few days until the season really does open)
* Yankees cut payroll
* NBA decides to shorten playoff season
* NFL players, owners agree to something…anything
* New York passes state budget on time (Wait, that actually happened!)

Perhaps you can think of some interesting headlines. Feel free to add to my list.

In case you missed it…

Friday, April 1st, 2011
Patrick Newell

Wednesday’s edition included part two of our story on Oxford Academy graduate J.P. O’Connor. Due to some technical errors on our end, part one appeared in print edition, but not online. If you’re strictly an online Evening Sun reader, here is a portion of part one:

BOSTON – J.P. O’Connor won four New York State scholastic wrestling titles at Oxford Academy. He went on to become a four-time all-American at Harvard winning the 157 NCAA Division One title as a senior in 2010. Less than a year later, O’Connor is pushing toward his final goal as a wrestler – to make the U.S. Olympic team.
With a future in the medical profession now on hold, O’Connor is working his way up the ladder as a freestyle wrestler attempting to qualify for the World Team Trials scheduled in June. O’Connor could have earned an automatic spot to the Team Trials with a win at Brockport’s Northeast regionals last weekend. O’Connor was unable to earn the victory, but he has another opportunity at the U.S. Open on April 7 in Cleveland. “I need to get more offense going and more freestyle experience under my belt,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor cut his teeth as a folkstyle wrestler, the most common form of wrestling for high school and collegiate athletes. Always a supreme technician, O’Connor’s penchant for holding down and breaking down opponents on the mat means little in freestyle. In freestyle wrestling, the aim isn’t to control a wrestler, but to execute moves that generate points, such as any type of back exposure. Also, unlike folkstyle wrestling matches where a wrestler accumulates points throughout a match, a freestyle match consists of three two-minute periods with each period a mini match. The first wrestler to win two periods wins the match.
“I have always been a slow starter, and I might be up 2-0 or tied after the first period,” O’Connor said. “I could rack up points in the second and third periods when I started to hit my stride. There’s no time to do that in freestyle. You have to go out guns blazing. If you drop that first period, all the other guy has to do is win a clinch in the second or third period. Even if you’re wrestling your best, the best guy doesn’t always win in freestyle. It’s been difficult (for me) to make the transition.”