Archive for October, 2011

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
Patrick Newell

Sherburne-Earlville is preparing for its final two football games of the season. While the focus is on Ilion this Friday, the sting of a 6-0 loss to Canastota last Friday must remain. On paper, the Marauders wind up as co-champions of Section III’s Class C South Division, but again, they are on the outside of the playoffs mix. Despite a 5-2 record – tied for the best record in the division – the tie-breaking formula proved unfavorable.”It’s unfortunate the way things are, but the playoffs are not going to happen, and we need to prepare for our crossover games,” said S-E coach Mike Jasper. Playing at home and as the only team in control of its playoff destiny, the Marauders struggled with the muddy footing, and struggled even more to move the ball against Canastota’s defense. For the game, S-E had less than 90 yards of total offense, by far its lowest output over the past two seasons.

Speaking of playoff formulas, some numbers crunching will take place this weekend if Norwich’s football team is unable to win at Chenango Valley Saturday. Norwich is the lone team in Section IV’s Division III with an unblemished mark, and is in position to win its second outright division title in three seasons. In the event of a loss, it is possible that NHS, CV, and Oneonta would finish in a three-way tie for first place.

Congratulations to Otselic Valley’s girls. Tuesday afternoon, the Vikings edged Brookfield to clinch its first Section III postseason berth in at least 10 years – maybe longer. The Vikings have three games left this week – all against opponents where OV would likely enter the game as a favorite. If OV does indeed win those three contests, it would head to the postseason with a 10-6 mark. Those 10 victories would exceed the total wins over the previous four years combined. “I’ve been saying all along that this team had a good shot at 10 wins,” said OV coach Kevin Springer. “I still believe that, and if we can end the season on a four-game high, there is a good shot we’ll host a sectional playoff game.”

According to our statistics, Greene’s varsity soccer teams have the most prolific scorers in the area. Senior Alex Driscoll just became the boys’ all-time leading scorer last weekend against Oxford. His four goals against the Blackhawks pushes his season total to 30, and his career total to 104 – three better than 1999 graduate, Jordan McMullen. On the girls’ side, sophomore Paige Wilcox is on pace to become the school’s all-time leading scorer. She already has 37 tallies this season and better than 60 for her two-year varsity career. In two short seasons, Wilcox may already be the girls’ all-time leading goal scorer.

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

Editor’s Notebook: 10/18/11

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Just had a great interview with my old pal (and fellow Blackhawk alum, albeit a few years after me) author Dustin Warburton, who always returns to Chenango County with some exciting news. This time around, it looks like he’s thisclose to getting his McDonough-inspired horror script turned into a movie – and shot in McDonough! Here’s hoping. A feature film shot in the Land of the Bullthistle? That would be amazing. I’ll have a complete story coming up soon.

• I should also mention that I finally got to meet Dustin’s classmate, friend and illustrating partner, McDonough native son Nathan Gorman. Always nice to put a face with a name.

• Brian’s all excited to be covering his first trial – the felony burglary trial of Daniel Sabines of Oxford. Hard to believe it was 20 years ago I was covering mine – the murder trial of Mark Wilcox, accused (and convicted) of beating his infant son Brandon to death. Misty water-colored memories …

• Only three days until the DEADline for our annual “Ghastly Ghost Stories” contest (which, I might add, was won by now-successful author Dustin Warburton when he was but a high school lad). We’ll publish a selection of them next Thursday in our “Pumpkin Vine” special section leading up to the Norwich Pumpkin Festival next weekend. Think you can scare the wits out of your fellow Evening Sun readers (and not just via ‘30 Seconds’)? Here’s your chance! Check out the official contest rules here.

From felonies to “farewell and adieu…”

Monday, October 17th, 2011
Brian Golden

It seems local law enforcement had itself a busy weekend, from the looks of things. Between the Norwich City Police Department’s North Broad Street drug bust – with assistance from the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office – and a pair of alleged multiple felony offenses in New Berlin and South New Berlin, it was all I could do to type fast enough in the hours leading up to deadline. Not that I’m complaining, of course. Better to have too much on my plate rather than not enough, and it certainly looks like I’ll be able to fill my personal quota of news stories for the week, which is always a good thing.

Speaking of the weekend, I had a great time rehearsing with the band on Saturday (not such a great time driving home in the pouring rain and fog). There’s simply nothing that compares – musically speaking – to learning a new batch of songs, especially with the number of gigs we have lined-up over the next couple of months. Not to mention it’s always great to see the guys – and gal – that make up Master Thieves. And I’m really excited to check out the Syracuse Music Awards (a.k.a. the ‘Sammys’) come November 11. The band continues to keep its collective fingers crossed in hopes for that elusive Album of the Year award, and we’re also in the running for the Peoples Choice prize, to boot.

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat …”

Finally made it through “Jaws” last night (my third attempt, as I fell asleep the first two times), by far one of my favorite (and most quoted) motion pictures of all time. It’s funny how, even after all these years, the classic tale of man versus shark holds up, both visually and emotionally. What’s truly scary, however, is the fact that it probably won’t be long now until someone comes along and (not-so-brilliantly) decides to reboot the franchise (see the epic failures that were “The Karate Kid” and “Clash of the Titans,” for example). Sorry, but I can’t help myself. And every time I hear of another reboot (“Total Recall” and “Red Dawn” immediately spring to mind) I want to throw my hands up in disgust. Originality would go a long way towards filling those movie theaters, Hollywood, if you can hear me.

Preparing for the post-Halloween, pre-Christmas season

Friday, October 14th, 2011
Shawn Magrath

I hope everyone is prepared for the initial shock of seeing Christmas decorations on display so early. Yesterday, I overheard Wal-Mart employees discussing where holiday displays are going to be set up and what should be seen when the Halloween costumes are gone. I’m not a Scrooge (usually), but I’m not looking forward to two months of the Christmas season.

If holiday commercialism doesn’t do enough to beat the holly-jolly spirit out of me, every year, beginning November 1st, my wife manages to find a radio station that plays 24 hours of Christmas music, or at the least, she plays it using the CD player, which is why I dread long car rides around this time of year. Yes, there are a few that I enjoy, but I can’t believe how many variations of “Silent Night” have been compiled. Again, I want to ensure people that I’m not an anti-holiday killer of all things joyful, but two months of Holiday decorations and music is just a little much (though I do know of online radio stations that play 24 hours of Christmas music year round, so I’ll consider myself lucky. I guess that’s my silver lining).

But right now, I’m looking forward to Rogers’ Haunted Hill, which is scaring people beginning tonight and picking up again tomorrow night. I wrote about it in yesterday’s blog, but it’s something that bears repeating. I hear it’s supposed to storm tonight, so maybe it would be the perfect night to go. I can’t wait for it and hope to see a lot of people there.

On a lighter, more optimistic side of things, a cat in Ohio has been successfully rescued from the dashboard of a mini-van after a woman accidentally hit the animal. Don’t worry animal lovers, the cat’s OK. I’m not sure how this is possible either, but who am I to question good news. I just thought it was pre-weekend news worth sharing (and so didn’t CNN – It’s amazing what CNN will report when people get tired of hearing the latest political gossip).

Editor’s Notebook: 10/14/11

Friday, October 14th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• And a torrential downpour just in time for the weekend …

• In other news, I just got back from a retirement luncheon for Evening Sun sales associate Linda Green, who has left her post after 16 years catering to the needs of Chenango County businesses. Linda and her longtime cohort, err … colleague Peggy Elliott were the backbone of the newspaper’s advertising department for years. At lunch today, I jokingly referred to their tenure as the “Peggy and Linda Show,” but boy how I miss both of them. Friends, colleagues, surrogate mothers both. Happy retirement to both you and Chuck, Linda … you certainly deserve it!

• Here’s a random, probably unpopular thought: Must we raise awareness about everything? I get it already, I’m aware!

• Heading into the weekend, Julian’s covering the homecoming parade in my native Oxford tomorrow (somehow I got my wires crossed and sent him down today, but sometimes it’s fun to confuse the newbies), and Frank and Pat are off to what looks to be an exciting football game in Sherburne tonight. Be sure to check Monday’s paper for all the details – and photos.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Friday, Oct. 14, 2011

Friday, October 14th, 2011
Patrick Newell

John Stewart served as master of ceremonies for an emotional remembrance and dedication Wednesday afternoon just outside the Norwich High School tennis courts. Stewart, who has coached 28 sports seasons in tennis and swimming, unveiled a memorial plaque in honor of former tennis player Krissie Collier, was passed away suddenly this past June. Collier played varsity tennis throughout her high school career, and was at the top of the doubles lineup for most of those years. Collier was situated on court four, and that court was renamed “Krissie’s Court.” It was heartening to see such a large contingent of family, friends, and most of Norwich’s sports teams attend the dedication. And, despite the forecast of rain, not a drop of the wet stuff appeared. Big kudos to Sarah Stewart, who organized the dedication, and to Norwich’s director of athletics, Steve Griffin. “Griff” has not taught in the classroom for a number of years, but he didn’t forget how to give a speech. His poignant recounting of experiences with Krissie moved many people in attendance to tears.

I don’t mention Afton sports that much, but the boys’ soccer team has made some small inroads toward respectability. For most of the program’s existence (at least six or seven years by my count), the Crimson Knights were almost penciled in as a win for the other team before the contest was ever played. Second-year head coach Todd Dancesia inherited a team last year that not only had little to no success the previous year, but little experience. Now in year two of Dancesia’s tenure, the Knights nearly upset Walton twice (Walton is among the top three teams in the MAC), lost six games by one goal, and earned its first-ever wins over Sidney and Oxford over the past week and a half. Afton could be a program to watch in the MAC within the next couple of years.

Sherburne-Earlville coach Mike Jasper said his team made a mistake at the start of last year when it used the wrong alignment in the backfield. Around the third game, Greg DuVall moved to tailback, and he became the downhill type of runner the team needed en route to a 6-3 season. Will Slentz became an effective runner as a wingback, and Cory Musician provided the tough inside yards at fullback. “We learned our lesson from last year,” Jasper said. During the preseason, the S-E coaching staff moved sophomore Austin Jasper from tight end to running back, even though Jasper had not played running back. Combined with Musician at fullback and the speedy Devven Ferris, the Marauders have perhaps the most balanced rushing attack in the area. “Austin is kind of an odd physical presence back there because he’s so tall,” Coach Jasper said of his nearly 6-foot-3 son. “We just didn’t have anybody to step into the role that Greg occupied last year. We have to get the ball into the hands of the kids that can do it for us.” Musician, Ferris, and Jasper are all on pace to eclipse 600 yards rushing this season, so the adjustments made at the start of the season are clearly working. So much so, S-E is a victory away from clinching its first Section III playoff berth.

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

What a week

Thursday, October 13th, 2011
Shawn Magrath

I can’t really complain about this week. It hasn’t been the greatest, but not bad enough to complain. I went to my first St. Bart’s spaghetti dinner, I’m seeing the Evening Sun newsroom with a ceiling for the first time, I established more contacts throughout the city and, in an unfortunate way, was incredibly entertained by some of the latest Chenango County Court hearings. A court furlough, by the way, is a great tool of optimal learning – the temporary satisfaction of using drugs now apparently outweighs the threat of a longer prison sentence. I didn’t know that.

A new Gamestop is opening at the south end of town and it’s amazing how quietly and quickly it happened. Was there even a sign of it a week ago? I’m not a video game person but for some reason, I’m excited about a Gamestop. I guess in the same way that I was excited about a new Byrne Dairy, even though I’ve been to a gas station/convenience store and laundromat before. I already can’t wait for the city’s next incoming business to make its irrelevant impact on me.

Getting into the Halloween spirit (pun intended), Rogers’ Haunted Hill is opening this weekend. If it’s anything like what Brian is saying, it should be great! I can’t wait to attend a haunted maze better than the ones from my childhood – which may have been put on by the senior citizens’ center. I don’t want to raise my expectations just to walk away from that maze with dry pants, so I’m sending out an ample amount of encouragement to organizers and volunteers at that event. Good luck!

Thanks (for nothing), Washington, D.C.

Thursday, October 13th, 2011
Brian Golden

I can honestly say it’s been awhile since I sat down and watched the evening news and, after last night, I realize that might be a good thing. With our ability to communicate with one another – now at an all-time high – it seems there’s nothing but bad news (and more bad news) on the tube these days. It’s actually more-than-a-little depressing, if you ask me, and I think from now on I’ll stick with the Food Network, ESPN and the Cartoon Network. Much more entertaining and not as likely to make me want to slit my wrists.

Well, Washington, D.C. and its population of completely out-of-touch-with-reality politicians continues to amaze, does it not? This is a dangerous, dangerous time for our country, in this writer’s humble opinion, and the stalemate that is politics at this point in time is all the proof one should need. Political bickering aside, the absolute refusal by both parties to come to any sort of compromise is not only disgusting, but downright un-American. They’re holding our country hostage, both Democrats and Republicans, and they shouldn’t be surprised if their childlike behavior leads to even worse down the road. I honestly don’t think these people have any idea what your typical American citizen is going through right now, just to make ends meet. Which makes me wonder … how long since they had to go without a meal? Forego paying a bill because the money simply isn’t there? They’re not only a bunch of lying, back-stabbing cowards, they’re the real problem in this country, and I think people are starting to understand that.

Sorry if that seems a bit harsh but, personally, I’m sick and tired of all of them.

On a brighter note … umm … my friend Brian Vischi is getting married next week. This will be the second friend of mine from the original crew (Tozer, Vischi, Bill and myself) to wed this year and all I can say is … wow. Hard to believe it was nearly twenty years ago the four of us (with a little help from our friends) were forming our first band, searching high and low for a place, any place, to set-up and jam, and generally running amok all across Chenango County and beyond. All I can say at this point, however, is I hope Brooke (the bride-to-be) knows what she’s getting herself into. That Vischi guy, I tell you, is nothing but trouble.

Field bands, furloughs, haunted hills and a new ceiling

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
Brian Golden

Well, I finally made it to my first NHS Purple Tornado Field Band show of the year and I must say, this is one extremely talented group of kids. And while the band is certainly a bit smaller than it was back in my day, it’s obvious they’re a dedicated and hard-working group. I even had a chance to take some pictures from Sunday’s Vestal show, which you can find right here on The Evening Sun’s website.

As usual, had some fun writing today’s column. With the recent string of unsuccessful furloughs granted through our county court system, I must say I’m dumbfounded as to why, exactly, they continue to be handed out. Honestly, you would think people would have more sense (particularly with an even lengthier prison sentence hanging over their head) than to go out, do some drugs (or commit another crime) and wind up at the mercy of the court. For God’s sake, have some common sense, people.

Yesterday afternoon found this reporter winding his way through the maze that is Rogers’ Haunted Hill, northwest of Plymouth on Hopkins-Crandall Road, off County Route 16. And yes, I’ll admit it, the place scares the living daylights out of me. My esteemed editor and the rest of the crew here at The Evening Sun can poke fun all they’d like, but I’m telling you, this place is not for the meek, or those who frighten easily.

Oh, did I mention that the ceiling is fixed! Hoorah, hoorah! Jeff may say my fellow reporters and I did nothing but complain, but … well … I guess we did. Personally, I never mentioned the smell of bleach permeating the newsroom, nor the leftover shrapnel (that was in Julian’s cubicle). I simply noticed (and remarked upon) the large wet spot on the carpet. I must say, however, it’s nice to have things looking normal here in the office. My only question is … what’s next? Hurricane? Tornado? Another earthquake?

Don’t these things tend to come in threes?

Editor’s Notebook: 10/12/11

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• The enduring saga of The Evening Sun’s newsroom roof has come to (hopefully) conclusion. You’ll recall the various bitches and moans from me and my staff in columns, tweets and blogs ever since we sprunk a leak on Lackawanna Avenue back in … how long ago was that, Biblical times? Anyway, while the roof had long since been replaced, today saw the completion of the interior work – we have a shiny new drop ceiling out in the reporters’ bullpen. And what’s the first thing each of them did upon the project’s finish? Yep, they complained about it. Seriously, what’s a little leftover shrapnel and the smell of bleach? At least it’s not raining on our heads.

• As I think I pointed out before, when I was a reporter, we didn’t even have a roof. Ingrates.

• So eight years and counting … I think it’s time this year I checked out the Halloween phenomenon that Rogers’ Haunted Hill seems to be. Legendary locally, the seasonal attraction was previewed in a story today by Brian Golden. Who, I might add, is scared to go this weekend. Must be all the roof trauma.

• Just when you thought it was safe to open the newspaper, it’s the return of … Ghastly Ghost Stories! Want to scare the wits out of your  fellow Evening Sun readers? Our Ghastly Ghost Stories competition is returning for another year of spooky fun.

This year the contest will be open to students grades 5-12 and to adults. Entries should be 1,500 words or less. Prizes will be awarded for the best story in each age group: fifth and sixth grade, seventh and eighth grade, ninth through twelfth grade and adults.

The winning story in each category and selected others will be published in The Pumpkin Vine, a special section of the paper that will be included in the Thursday, Oct. 27 edition, prior to the Norwich Pumpkin Festival. Winners will receive a certificate of accomplishment and a gift certificate! Questions? Call me at 334-3276. To enter, Submit your most terrifying tales via e-mail only to: news@evesun.com. Put “Ghastly Ghost Stories” in the subject line. The DEADline Friday, Oct. 21!