Archive for October, 2011

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
Patrick Newell

When anyone dies at age 31, it’s always too soon. I learned of Krista Bartle’s sudden passing on Friday morning. It was just a day removed from the engagement announcement of her brother Jared that appeared in our newspaper – a most tragic contrast of news items in our paper. I didn’t know Krista Bartle outside of our field hockey communications, but I covered her as part of Oxford’s field hockey team during the late 1990s when the Blackhawks fielded some exceptional teams. After college, Krista came back to Oxford to work at her family’s business, while also helping out as a field hockey coach at various levels of play. Like so many of the Oxford field hockey alumni, Krista was forever tied to her alma mater’s field hockey program. With no other qualified applicants ready to step up, Krista was thrust into the varsity head coaching position a year ago. I could tell she wasn’t comfortable with the “media” responsibilities of her new position, but she saw a program in decline due to lack of participation, and she wanted to help. Krista kept the field hockey team moving forward, and her knowledge and enthusiasm for the game were impressed upon a small contingent of willing student/athletes. The continuation of the program this year was again touch and go, and ultimately the field hockey team survived. When I attended Oxford’s first week of practice in August, Krista was not at the helm. I wasn’t completely surprised since the Blackhawks have had five head coaches over the past 10 seasons. I saved all of my e-mail communication with Krista (yes, I am an e-mail pack rat), and looking back this past weekend, I noticed the increasing comfort and detail in her reporting of events. My lasting memory of Krista is strictly limited to my contact with her as a player and coach. I know she loved field hockey, and although she probably would have preferred to coach at the lower levels, she stepped up to a position for the betterment of young kids and the program as a whole.

Anyone doubt the value of Paul Wonka to the Oxford football team? Even when he isn’t churning out big yards, his presence on the field sets up the rest of the players. Harpursville stalled Wonka for much of last Friday’s game “limiting” him to 100 yards rushing on 29 carries. The Hornets’ effort to stack up the junior tailback backfired as Oxford threw the ball for a season-high 234 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-13 come-from-behind victory. Just a week earlier, Wonka ran for 158 yards against a state-ranked Bainbridge-Guilford defense geared up to stop Wonka. No individual back this season has had that type of success against B-G – not even Walton’s stable of star runners. For those not in the know, Walton has stood alone as the number one ranked Class D in the state for most of this season. B-G coach Tim Mattingly came away impressed after his team prevailed over the Blackhawks. “He’s one heck of a runner,” Mattingly said of Wonka. “He’s quick, physical, and tough to bring down. He’s able to pick his holes, and he does a great job with cutback runs. We knew he would carry their load and we made sure to stay after him, yet he still ran for 158 yards.”

Greene senior soccer player, Alex Driscoll is approaching a milestone. Averaging nearly two goals a game this season, Driscoll scored his 22nd goal of the season in the Trojans’ 2-1 MAC division-title-winning victory over Unatego last weekend. Driscoll has 96 career goals, and with three games this week, will likely become the first boys soccer player since Greene’s Jordan McMullen (1999) to reach 100 varsity goals.

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

Editor’s Notebook: 10/6/11

Thursday, October 6th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• Off to the Canasawacta Country Club tonight for a dinner to help kick off the latest Leadership Chenango class. Representin’ the Class of ‘98! (Wish that was the year I graduated high school, but alas, it’s the year I completed Leadership Chenango myself). Always fun to see who’s in the latest group of the county’s next potential leaders. And, speaking of leaders, NBT’s Daryl Forsythe will be the recipient of the Harry Tecklenburg Leadership Award tonight, too. Excellent choice!

• Stupid Criminal Tricks #421: Accept plea deal for drug trafficking. Ask judge for a few days off to “get your affairs in order.” Do more drugs. Test positive when you go back to court. Tell judge you took something for back pain, but didn’t know what it was. Get another year added to your sentence.

• Speaking of “furloughs,” why? If recent track records are any indication, these little vacations before jail time usually don’t end well (we had one guy recently who robbed a convenience store while out on “furlough”). Seems like a nice enough thing to do, but seriously, how many affairs could these people have to get “in order?”

• The Chenango County Historical Society wants to reassemble an old barn on their Rexford Street property to use for agricultural exhibits. Great idea! So great, I thought I’d share a link to the story with our Facebook friends … who proceeded to ask, Where is the barn? Where did it come from? How much will it cost? What is it for? All questions that could have been answered if they’d clicked on the link (and ponied up the money to subscribe to the paper). In the future, just call me at the office and I’ll read the stories to you myself, free of charge. Grrr.

• RIP, Steve Jobs. Very rarely am I taken aback by a “celebrity” death (although I do remember where I was, for some reason, when I heard Kurt Cobain was dead), but Mr. Jobs’ passing certainly gave me pause. Yes, I am a card-carrying (or maybe it’s iPod-carrying) member of the Cult of Apple, but there was something more about Jobs beyond your standard corporate huckster. Visionary, yes. Inspirational, indeed. Mesmerizing, certainly. While I’ll still salivate at the latest media event announcing Apple’s newest innovation, it just won’t be the same without Jobs’ legendary “One more thing …”

Working for the weekend

Thursday, October 6th, 2011
Brian Golden

Forget about one of those days, how about one of those weeks? Not that I’m complaining, but I’ve been running around like a chicken with it’s … err … head cut off for four days straight and … let’s just say I’m more-than-ready for the weekend. And no, not the Loverboy, everybody’s “Working For the Weekend” kind of weekend. More of the let’s-kick-back-and-relax-because-Monday-comes-too-soon variety, if you please.

That won’t happen, of course, but hey, a man can dream, can’t he?

Needless to say, I’m quickly filling up this week’s coverage report, with stories on a decent-sized cocaine bust in Afton, Vasilios Pothos’ arraignment and $100,000 bail, the sentencing of former Earlville mayor Toni Campbell – not to mention cocaine-runner Richard Tyler – and a minor ammonia leak at Agro Farma’s production facility. Seems to me like the police/fire/ems beat (and court) will never lack when it comes to a little excitement. On a happier note, the NHS varsity cheerleading squad will hold its 2nd annual “pink” football game for breast cancer awareness Friday night, which has – since its humble beginnings – spread to involve the entire school. Way to go, ladies!

My column this week was a no-brainer, to say the least. Andy Rooney, by far my favorite member of CBS’s 60 Minutes team, signed-off for the last time Sunday night and I was sad – to put it mildly – to see him go. Rooney has always been an inspiration to me, even before my time here at The Evening Sun, and all I can say is … I would not be the writer I am if not for his unique brand of wisdom, sense of humor and common sense approach. Good luck, Mr. Rooney, and thanks again.

So much to do, so little time

Thursday, October 6th, 2011
Shawn Magrath

Nearing the end of my second week here at The Evening Sun, I’m thrilled to see some new routines being tied together. I’m learning how to better interview, take better notes, and I’m learning names and faces so I know how to respond when people call me by my name. Calling someone by name is much better than “how you doing, champ” or “thanks, big guy.” I’m looking forward to learning a little more in the coming weeks.

I am, however, still figuring how to adjust to my new personal time schedule. Work mixed with grad school and a little bit of wife time – it all seems like I should be doing something productive 25 hours a day.

On top of my newfound, continually rolling lifestyle, my wife and I recently took in a neglected dog to live with us. As first time pet owners, we’re learning how to care for something not ourselves and adjusting to new habits. It’s a good prelude into parenthood (We skipped the plant and goldfish phases and went right to dog ownership. If we can remember to feed the dog, we’ll take a crack at having a child).

Of course, I’m just kidding dog lovers and critics of horrible parenting. The dog is in a good home. But we are still adjusting, altering the time-space continuum to create pockets of time where there were none before, because we need to tend to this animal. Apparently, we must also learn to not leave the butter on the kitchen table – we’ve gone through four sticks of butter this month, only one of which was used entirely by us.

I’m not complaining about this new, continually busy lifestyle. I’m having a blast with it. I’m tired, but I’m having fun. I haven’t eaten cooked food in three days, but I’m having fun. I’ve driven my car way too far with the gas needle on “E,” but I’m having fun. I’m not entirely sure my socks match today, but I’m having fun. I guess it doesn’t matter how busy I am as long as I’m enjoying it.

With that, I look forward to the following weeks and future blogs. I welcome my lack of a free time with arms wide open. And I’m pretty sure pretty sure peanut butter and jelly is on my menu tonight.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
Patrick Newell

Here we are at the halfway mark of the high school football season, and four out of our six teams are unbeaten in division play and on pace to make the playoffs. For the record, this is my 17th season covering high school football, and no more than two local football teams in any one season have made the playoffs. At this pace, that is apt to change.
The most welcome addition to the playoff mix, for me, is Sherburne-Earlville. The last time the Marauders had a playoff game, it was in nine-man football playing in the Tri-Valley League in the early 1990s. In the years since Section IV realigned to accommodate the state playoffs – and in the last nine years in Section III – S-E has not made the playoffs. Not one time. A win on the road at Sauquoit Valley this weekend would remedy that long Marauders drought. “Basically, we control our own destiny,” said S-E coach, Mike Jasper. Other teams in the driver’s seat in division play are Greene, Bainbridge-Guilford, and Norwich.
Norwich, with a home victory over Oneonta this week, would be 2-0 in division play with one division game to play. At worst, the Tornado would place second in division play, and barring any adverse tiebreakers, have a great chance to make the playoffs a third straight year.
Greene, at 5-0, has already clinched its seventh straight winning season, and with a victory over UV-Edmeston Friday would move to 3-0 in division play with one division game to play. Considering its already impressive record, a return to the playoffs for Greene seems imminent.
Bainbridge-Guilford is 4-0 overall and 3-0 in Section IV’s Division VII. The Bobcats are tied with Walton for first place, and every other team in the division has at least two losses. According to the new playoff format for Class D this year, the top eight records out of 17 teams qualify for the playoffs, so a top-two finish in division play does not guarantee a postseason appearance. B-G lost one game on its schedule due to the massive flooding last month, so it will have just six games played before the three-week playoff format begins. With a win over Delhi – and an at-worst 5-1 record – one cannot see B-G missing the Class D playoffs.
Elsewhere, Oxford, at 2-3, will need to win its final two regular season games, and then hope that is good enough to make the grade. UV-Edmeston has just one division loss with three division games to play – against Greene, Sidney, and Chenango Forks. The Storm are not out of the playoff mix, but they have perhaps three of four best Class C teams in Section IV left on the schedule.

I made a mistake last week in my weekly advance on the upcoming football games. And it was quite the eyesore considering it appeared in the first sentence of my article. It was not a mistake in punctuation or grammar, and it was not a misspelled word. It was the dreaded “typo” in which I transposed two numbers.
I was ribbed Tuesday morning when a friend of mine cut the article out of the paper, and presented me with a copy of this not-Hall-of-Fame-worthy story. On the sidelines last Friday before Norwich’s home game with Windsor, a photographer for Norwich also joked about my error. One reader, though, was not so happy, and was compelled to call me directly. Unfortunately, the call came in mid-afternoon, and I was away from my desk. The person did not leave his name (but I know the number thanks to caller ID), and maybe he was so irritated with my first-paragraph fumble, he forgot. He did offer some harsh criticisms, and suggested that the hard-earned money he paid for our paper was a waste since he believed he could do a better job of writing the article. I doubt this reader will lend a hand in the 60 or so game reports and articles I write every week – and I am willing to pay someone to help out – but I will grant him that he would have not transposed those numbers. I knew what I meant to type, it’s just my fingers had a mind of their own. Sometimes, as a writer, when you look over your material several times, you quickly scan over blocks of sentences believing they are error-free. On occasion, a glaring mistake is missed.
A week earlier, I printed the wrong first name for a young man who made a nice play for Norwich. Did I know this young man’s name? Yes, I had a roster available. It was one of those brain cramps, and I can’t explain why I used a different name. I obviously thought I was using the right name at the time, and it was just another one of those unexplainable gaffes. I was thankful the error was brought to my attention, and I was able to make a correction in the following day’s paper. Still, that potential scrapbook item was lost for this particular person’s family.
Mistakes do happen in the newspaper, and you’re just as likely to see a correction in the New York Times as our own hometown daily. The clear goal in every article for print is perfect punctuation, perfect grammar, perfect spelling, perfect attribution of quotes, and perfect research and facts. Despite the many proofreading filters, an error may still rear its ugly head. Why? No one is perfect.

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

Editor’s Notebook: 10/4/11

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
Jeff Genung

• I refuse to acknowledge you, October.

• Congratulations to Robin Beckwith, who’s taking over the helm of Chenango County’s Catholic Charities. I understand she’s the sister of The Evening Sun’s own Brad Carpenter (the new sales guy), to boot. Best of luck to you, Robin!

• So ends the saga of ex-Earlville mayor Toni Campbell, who resigned in disgrace after it was alleged she stole over a hundred grand from her employer, Chenango Valley Pet Foods. Campbell pleaded guilty and was sentenced yesterday to spend a couple years in state prison. I’d only met Toni on a couple of occasions, but appreciated how she stirred things up, news-wise, in ex-Earlville during her tenure in office. And then she REALLY stirred things up with the whole embezzlement thing … Still, I feel bad for her family, and for those she stole from. Makes you wonder what drives someone to go to such extremes – and to think they’ll get away with it.

• The New Kids on the Block (that’s Julian and Shawn, our newsroom rookies) are out at their first municipal meetings on their new beats tonight – Village of Oxford and City of Norwich, respectively. Seems like just yesterday I was scared $%#less at my first Oxford school board meeting. See what they come up with in tomorrow’s edition.