Archive for May, 2012

The news … and tribbles?

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
Brian Golden

There’s a lot going on out there in Newsland, both good and bad, if one’s been paying attention; from Mitt Romney’s clinching of the GOP nomination (not so good) to the Trumpster’s continued “birther” rant (ridiculous, at best); the Italian earthquake (definitely not good); baseball-sized hail pelting Oklahoma (also not so good) and … wait for it … the recent “zombie attack,” which appears on page two of today’s Evening Sun.

I’m not going to say, “I told you so,” but I did, didn’t I? And I’m telling you, this “zombie attack” story has cover-up written all over it. They’re out there … right now … among us, and it’s only a matter of time until we’re struggling for survival.

Oh, wait, with today’s economy (look at those gas prices!) we’re struggling already. Never mind. Regardless, that reminds me that my promised ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ column is soon to come (like the apocalypse itself, any believer will tell you). Maybe next week.

As for today’s column … well, I decided to go with a more positive theme, considering my two previous installments. Did it work? You be the judge.

And now, because I know it’s become everyone’s favorite portion of this, my Evening Sun blog, the Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day, submitted by none other than the mysterious Man from Norwich …
“IS THE EVENING SUN NOT WILLING TO PRINT THE TRUTH ABOUT ….”

Well, I’ll tell you what, Man from Norwich, Ed. – in all his wisdom – really doesn’t care for ‘30 Seconds’ posts typed in all caps, just so you know. As for myself, even after two-plus years of reporting for The Evening Sun, I have no idea – and I mean absolutely no idea – what “…” is or how I should go about printing the truth about “…”

Don’t like it? Write a letter to the editor, sign your name to it … and then we’ll talk. Honestly, one would think these ‘30 Seconds’ contributors would realize that most basic and fundamental of facts. We … do … not … take … you … seriously.

Uh-oh, there’s that damn “…” again. Maybe “…” is multiplying or something. Or maybe “…” is an alien species looking to invade the Earth and force us out simply because “…” can multiply so quickly. Is “…” code for Tribbles?

Now I’m scared.

Trials, columns, zombies and … you guessed it

Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Brian Golden

Well, it’s here, for good or bad. Wlasiuk trial Round III all set to begin June 4 and – as it is my job as The Evening Sun’s court reporter – I’ll be there … every day … until the end. This is (and has been) a pretty hot topic within our Chenango County community and I’m going to do my best to ignore the ridiculous amount of information that’s already been printed over the past ten years or so, and instead focus on reporting this trial as if I knew nothing about it, whatsoever. That is, I’ve convinced myself, the ethical, journalistic way to approach things and – regardless of my own opinion – I will be reporting the Wlasiuk trial as an unbiased member of the press … nothing more, nothing less.

That’s my position (not to mention my job) and I’m sticking to it. Wish me luck.

Changing the topic, this week’s column was – as always – loads of fun. Not sure where I come up with this stuff at times, although I’m fairly certain my stepfather’s (and mother’s) influence has something to do with it. What can I say? All that reading, writing, movie-watching, reading, debating, reading and … did I mention reading? … probably did me some good, now that I’m an honest-to-goodness columnist (I feel like I can say that with 87 straight weekly columns under my belt). Regardless, I love my weekly column, and it’s something I look forward to each and every week.

I’m saving the zombie apocalypse for column number 100. Unless, of course, we’re all zombified by then. Food for thought (no pun intended).

See? There you go. More of my stepfather’s influence making its way into an Evening Sun blog. Gotta love that guy.

And now, without further ado, another offering of “Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day,” brought to you – anonymously – by Man from Sherburne …
“Way to go Board of Ed. Give the kids and teachers a extra long weekend so they can go away. You supposed to be honoring our war dead and not camping and partying.”

Which, I believe, was intended to state … “Way to go, Board of Education. Give the kids and teachers an extra long weekend so they can go away. You’re (or You are) supposed to be honoring our war dead, not camping and partying.”

Umm … yeah. Considering most everybody has Memorial Day off, isn’t it logical for teachers and … err … students to have it off as well? And while I agree (wholeheartedly) that people should take the time come Monday to recognize those of our military who have served our country so bravely, I certainly don’t think their camping (or partying, for that matter) is meant in any way, shape or form as disrespect. Lighten up, people, life’s too short.

My Thursday blog

Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

Clearly, whoever thought McDonald’s isn’t a way of life has never been to Norwich, NY. For anyone who hasn’t noticed, the Norwich McDonald’s was demolished the other day to make way for a new, modernized McDonald’s. Yes, gone are the days when you can satisfy your craving for a McCheeseburger and a McShake, resulting in a need for McInsulin and a McNap – temporarily anyway. A picture of the demolition site got its fair share of comments on the Evening Sun Facebook page too (I’ve heard McDonald’s called a lot of different things, but never a “historic building” before. That’s a wee bit of stretch). Now that McDonald’s is closed and all that’s left is a few grease stains on the pavement where it once stood, I’m looking for a new restaurant where I can get all my free napkins and ketchup packets; I’m running low already.

Scary stuff for the folks at Chobani this week after an ammonia leak forced employees to evacuate, but I applaud the company for the way it handled the emergency. It’s nice to know everyone’s safe. And while on the subject of Chobani, the company’s still shooting it’s commercial using local farms, employees, and people. Soon, I know Chenango County’s going to have its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, earning a rightful spot someplace between Jackie Gleason and the country band Alabama (Yeah, I would say a lot of Chenango Countians are a cross between those two).

As I’m sure most are well aware by now, Facebook went public last week with the intent of turning billionaires into gazillionaires. Unfortunately, it seems that the value of Facebook was a little exaggerated and stocks of Facbook have sunk like a bag of rocks since it’s IPO (if only life were full of guarantees… I wonder how many investors are unfriending Mark Zuckerberg). And now, it seems that some of the company’s shareholders are pursuing a lawsuit, suing Facbook Inc because they believe Facebook’s value was intentionally modified. Suing someone for loosing a gamble? It all goes back to that old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, accuse someone of faulty information that veils crucial statistics and leads to the substantial decline of common stock.” Who didn’t recite that line once or twice as a child?

On a more personal note, my wife and I are planning a trip to New York City this weekend. It’s going to be the second mini vacation we’ve had since marrying in 2009, so it should be nice, even if I’m not looking forward to driving in that mess. The crowded streets, bumper to bumper traffic, concrete and glass everywhere – It’s a long leap from my visit to Smithville earlier this week (Cue theme from “Green Acres”).

Imagine that…

Friday, May 18th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

Very rarely does a week feel like it was a week long. There are weeks that fly by and others that seem to defy all natural laws of time and space, moving so slowly it forces the hands of the clock to actually spin backwards; but that wasn’t the case this week – just five days, Monday through Friday, 24 hours each, no more, no less. It’s one for the record books.

On Thursday, I had the privilege of covering the Sherburne-Earlville Wall of Fame induction ceremony at the S-E high school. As an S-E alumni, I would say it was nostalgic being there, however, there have been so many renovations, it didn’t feel like the same building. I almost felt I could get re-lost and should leave a trail of bread crumbs to find my way out. My congratulations to all this year’s honorees. Everyone of them really deserves it. As for me, next year’s my year so make room for the “Shawn Magrath” spot on the wall. I’ll help hundreds of elderly women cross streets throughout the county, plant trees and encourage recycling, save a litter of puppies from a burning building – whatever it takes to be honored. (Just for reference, I would like my plaque photo taken from my right side).

On Wednesday, Chobani announced that beginning next week, it would film a commercial to air during the Summer Olympics and that it would be comprised entirely of people, farmers and businesses in Chenango County. This is great economic and agricultural news for a county that can sometimes feel like it’s nothing more than an ingrown hair on the face of NY state; everyone knows it’s there but no one really wants to look at it. I, on the other hand, happen to agree with what was said by Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya: This area has a great story to tell. It’s a beautiful area and it really does have a lot to offer, so a big hurray for us. Already, I can see some locals getting a big head from the fame roused by national television exposure – I look forward to the first low-riding tractor I see with spinning chrome rims.

I’m not a fan of gossip as it’s seen on the front pages of tabloids in every grocery store check-out line, but I figure it’s worth mentioning that former Vice President Al Gore now has a girlfriend. The two were spotted under a drove of flying pigs in the pale light of a blue moon… imagine that.

Let’s go fishing!

Thursday, May 17th, 2012
Brian Golden

Looks like we’ve got an absolutely gorgeous weekend coming our way, which is always nice. I don’t know why (maybe our recent family picnic to Bowman Lake is to blame), but I’ve been thinking an awful lot about fishing the past couple of days. I was an avid fisherman in my youth, although I can’t remember the last time I purchased a fishing license and I don’t even own a fishing pole. This, I’m thinking, is something that must be remedied … the lake is calling me.

As for me, I’m definitely looking forward to Saturday’s Earth Day Celebration at Beadle’s Lounge, now in its third year. The annual event, which features lots of live entertainment, door prizes and – of course – great barbecue, has raised just under $4,000 over the past two years for the City of Norwich Youth Bureau. This money is vital to the bureau’s many activities and programs, and Gary and Merrie Beadle (the volunteers, too!) deserve a pat on the back for all the hard work the put into the event. This year, I’ll be joining my guitar-slinging buddy, Bruce Beadle, my good friend Bill Beadle and an as-of-yet unknown drummer for a set of good ‘ol fashioned blues and rock-n-roll, the least I can do to help out. Add to that a gig with my fellow Master Thieves on Friday and it’s a weekend of guitar for this intrepid reporter, which is always fun.

Who let the dogs out? There’s been a lot of chatter concerning dogs on the loose and the responsibilities of dog owners on ‘30 Seconds’ lately, one of several recurring topics that pops up now and again. I must agree, however, that there is no such thing as a bad dog, only a bad dog owner. It’s really pretty simple: keep your dog on a leash when he or she is out and about, pick up and dispose of any “doggie doo,” train your dog not to jump on people and make sure your pup is licensed. Easy, right? You’d think so, but that doesn’t seem to be the case far too often these days.

Lastly, no Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day today, as there is nothing quite ridiculous enough for my tastes as of this posting. Maybe tomorrow. Instead, how about a Headline That Really Grabbed My Attention … err … of the Day: “NASA estimates 4,700 ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroids,” which I found on the CNN website. Now this, considering my status as Chenango County’s über-geek, is my kind of story. Nothing to worry about, though, according to NASA officials.

Not that they’d really tell us if there were (anything to worry about), anyway. Somebody call Bruce Willis and the rest of the “Armageddon” crew!

Editor’s Notebook: 5/16/12

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• Why does the weather turn crappy just as I’m getting ready to leave work?
• Congratulations to all the winners in yesterday’s school board elections – especially to incumbents Perry Owen, Luke Murphy and Joe Stagliano on the Norwich City Schools board. Long a hotbed of dysfunction and vitriol, the Norwich board seems to have gotten its act together in the last year and apparently the voters agree that the current makeup of volunteers is working. To everyone who was elected or re-elected yesterday: Don’t forget who put you in office – listen to your constituents!
• The newsroom team and I attended the 11th annual Commerce Chenango Membership Appreciation luncheon at the Northeast Classic Car Museum today. A nice event, highlighting both the Chamber’s accomplishments over the past year and three of its members – Employees of the Elsie Glassett of SFCU, Woman-Owned Business of the Year Dinnett Moore’s “A Touch of Moore,” and Non-Profit of the Year, the Chenango County Historical Society. The highlight for us, however, was completely unexpected. CEO Steve Craig’s speech detailed his first year in the Chamber’s top spot, having come from a long career in broadcast journalism. When Steve started talking about changing technology causing an upheaval in the industry, I started to get nervous. But things took an unexpected turn when he told the crowd how lucky this community was to still have a daily newspaper like The Evening Sun, and went further to say we’re better than our Binghamton counterpart. High praise, indeed, and followed by an ovation – seated, but I’ll take a round of applause however I can get it. Like an abused puppy at the shelter, we as reporters often cringe in fear that a raised hand will strike us rather then pet, so it’s always reaffirming to hear something nice. Thanks for the validation, folks.

• Why does the weather turn crappy just as I’m getting ready to leave work?

• Congratulations to all the winners in yesterday’s school board elections – especially to incumbents Perry Owen, Luke Murphy and Joe Stagliano on the Norwich City Schools board. Long a hotbed of dysfunction and vitriol, the Norwich board seems to have gotten its act together in the last year and apparently the voters agree that the current makeup of volunteers is working. To everyone who was elected or re-elected yesterday: Don’t forget who put you in office – listen to your constituents!

• The newsroom team and I attended the 11th annual Commerce Chenango Membership Appreciation luncheon at the Northeast Classic Car Museum today. A nice event, highlighting both the Chamber’s accomplishments over the past year and three of its members – Employees of the Elsie Glassett of SFCU, Woman-Owned Business of the Year Dinnett Moore’s “A Touch of Moore,” and Non-Profit of the Year, the Chenango County Historical Society. The highlight for us, however, was completely unexpected. CEO Steve Craig’s speech detailed his first year in the Chamber’s top spot, having come from a long career in broadcast journalism. When Steve started talking about changing technology causing an upheaval in the industry, I started to get nervous. But things took an unexpected turn when he told the crowd how lucky this community was to still have a daily newspaper like The Evening Sun, and went further to say we’re better than our Binghamton counterpart. High praise, indeed, and followed by an ovation – seated, but I’ll take a round of applause however I can get it. Like an abused puppy at the shelter, we as reporters often cringe in fear that a raised hand will strike us rather than pet, so it’s always reaffirming to hear something nice. Thanks for the validation, folks. We’ll make another one tomorrow.

Editor’s Notebook: 5/14/12

Monday, May 14th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• And I’m back. Hopefully you didn’t notice I was gone, unless you read Brian Golden’s column last week, and his frantic Tweets thereafter. Looks like it was a fairly smooth ride Thursday and Friday, a great practice run for my upcoming Fridays Off Summer.
• I know you’re dying to know what I did on my time off, so I’ll tell you. I spent a few days down in Washington, D.C. with a group of friends in what’s become an annual excursion of late. We divide our time between historic and umm, non-historic pursuits – this time we visited the Natural History and Air & Space branches of the Smithsonian (something I haven’t done since our sixth-grade Safety Patrol trip, which we lamented was 32 years ago as we saw this year’s crop chasing each other around much as we did, minus the cell phones) as well as the National Botanic Garden and a tour of Tudor Place in Georgetown, home of Martha Washington’s granddaughter. There may have been some drinking and general debauchery in D.C.’s Dupont Circle too; I’ll have to plead the 5th on details. Anyway, amazing city to visit if you haven’t – fantastic architecture, easy to navigate, friendly natives … and a culinary smorgasbord.
• The paper looked good Thursday and Friday, kids .. but seriously, don’t touch my computer screen when I’m gone! As I cried to former reporter Karen Bergamo Moore via email earlier today, I’ve been saying “Not a touchscreen!” to errant staff long before there even WERE touchscreen computers. It’s the little things that irritate me. Fingerprints on the monitor set me off every time.
• Now that we’re back in the swing of things, it’s School Budget Vote time! Brian had a roundup of Norwich school board candidates in today’s paper, and in tomorrow’s edition we’ll give you the rundown (most of which we’ve done in full-blown stories already) of every Chenango district’s budget and board votes. And we’ll probably tell you the results of the vote on Wednesday, if you’re good.
• Congrats to the latest class of Norwich’s Sports Hall of Fame, inducted over the weekend – and including surviving members of the ‘perfect’ 1937 football team. I put the photos of each group up on our Facebook page, if you’re interested in adding your congratulations.

• And I’m back. Hopefully you didn’t notice I was gone, unless you read Brian Golden’s column last week, and his frantic Tweets thereafter. Looks like it was a fairly smooth ride Thursday and Friday, a great practice run for my upcoming Fridays Off Summer.

• I know you’re dying to know what I did on my time off, so I’ll tell you. I spent a few days down in Washington, D.C. with a group of friends in what’s become an annual excursion of late. We divide our time between historic and umm, non-historic pursuits – this time we visited the Natural History and Air & Space branches of the Smithsonian (something I haven’t done since our sixth-grade Safety Patrol trip, which we lamented was 32 years ago as we saw this year’s crop chasing each other around much as we did, minus the cell phones) as well as the National Botanic Garden and a tour of Tudor Place in Georgetown, home of Martha Washington’s granddaughter. There may have been some drinking and general debauchery in D.C.’s Dupont Circle too; I’ll have to plead the 5th on details. Anyway, amazing city to visit if you haven’t – fantastic architecture, easy to navigate, friendly natives … and a culinary smorgasbord.

• The paper looked good Thursday and Friday, kids .. but seriously, don’t touch my computer screen when I’m gone! As I cried to former reporter Karen Bergamo Moore via email earlier today, I’ve been saying “Not a touchscreen!” to errant staff long before there even WERE touchscreen computers. It’s the little things that irritate me. Fingerprints on the monitor set me off every time.

• Now that we’re back in the swing of things, it’s School Budget Vote time! Brian had a roundup of Norwich school board candidates in today’s paper, and in tomorrow’s edition we’ll give you the rundown (most of which we’ve done in full-blown stories already) of every Chenango district’s budget and board votes. And we’ll probably tell you the results of the vote on Wednesday, if you’re good.

• Congrats to the latest class of Norwich’s Sports Hall of Fame, inducted over the weekend – and including surviving members of the ‘perfect’ 1937 football team. I put the photos of each group up on our Facebook page, if you’re interested in adding your congratulations.

Slip ‘n’ slides and hover cars

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

Is “Just Sayin” the new, trendy slogan. I’ve seen it all over Facebook lately (never used by me) and today, for the first time, I saw it at the end of a ’30 seconds’ post. I’ve nothing against anyone who throw in those last two senseless words, but good God, is it obnoxious – right up there with the overuse of the word “like” (as in ‘I’m, like, typing a blog’). Fortunately, I now know I don’t stand alone in my battle against all phrases that annoy me. Together we can beat this stupid trend Man from Sherburne.

Another $52,000 has been tacked on to the total cost of the Kurt Beyer Pool renovation project. Who would have ever thought that a pool would cost so much money? It’s a hole in the ground that holds water. Nonetheless, I commend the city for moving forward with the project. It’s better than the alternative; a kiddy pool and a slip ‘n’ slide in the back corner of Rotary Park…

Apparently, the national gas price average has fallen for the fifth consecutive week. Has anyone noticed? Yeah, me neither. I’ll be a little more impressed when $5 of gas is enough to get me out of the Hess parking lot. Just sayin’.

To offset the cost of gas, how about a hover car that produces no emissions? In comes Volkswagon to the rescue. The company has unveiled a concept design for a hover car that would undoubtedly change the way we get around and even more exciting, bring us what we’ve all been waiting for… reduced road kill and significant jump in mid-air collisions! Finally! I would happily explain how the hover car works if I understood it (something to do with magnets) but thank the stars I write for a living.

Sunday is Mother’s Day. My macaroni necklace and Popsicle stick picture frame gifts are coming along very nicely and so far, no unfortunate hot glue incidents. It’s going to be a good day. Just sayin’.

Editor’s Notebook: 5/8/12

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• Had a great time lending a helping hand Saturday morning at the 11th annual Allegro Run for the Arts over at the Arts Council in Norwich. It’s a neat little fundraiser (who says sports and the arts don’t go together?) for the organization, and since I couldn’t run 5k to save my life, the least I could do was hand out T-shirts and goodie bags at the crack of dawn.
• I have, over the years, perfected doing the least I can do. It’s a recurring theme here; try to follow along.
• In case I don’t get around to blogging tomorrow (and odds are I won’t), let me take this opportunity to state clearly, and for the record, that I will be on vacation Thursday and Friday, and therefore not responsible for anything you might see in the pages of The Evening Sun those two days. OK, that’s not entirely true, but I like to absolve myself beforehand (curse you, Catholic work ethic!) so I may vacation with a clear conscience. Your cruise directors for the tail end of the week will be Pat Newell and Brian Golden, the latter of whom is being groomed to sit in the captain’s chair all by himself by the time my traditional Summer Fridays Off begin in June. There’s a lot to learn, detail-wise, in putting this thing together. These two combined should have a pretty good handle on it.
• And if they don’t, I’ll be frolicking among the movers and shakers in our nation’s capital, mysteriously with no cell phone service.

• Had a great time lending a helping hand Saturday morning at the 11th annual Allegro Run for the Arts over at the Arts Council in Norwich. It’s a neat little fundraiser (who says sports and the arts don’t go together?) for the organization, and since I couldn’t run 5k to save my life, the least I could do was hand out T-shirts and goodie bags at the crack of dawn.

• I have, over the years, perfected doing the least I can do. It’s a recurring theme here; try to follow along.

• In case I don’t get around to blogging tomorrow (and odds are I won’t), let me take this opportunity to state clearly, and for the record, that I will be on vacation Thursday and Friday, and therefore not responsible for anything you might see in the pages of The Evening Sun those two days. OK, that’s not entirely true, but I like to absolve myself beforehand (curse you, Catholic work ethic!) so I may vacation with a clear conscience. Your cruise directors for the tail end of the week will be Pat Newell and Brian Golden, the latter of whom is being groomed to sit in the captain’s chair all by himself by the time my traditional Summer Fridays Off begin in June. There’s a lot to learn, detail-wise, in putting this thing together. These two combined should have a pretty good handle on it.

• And if they don’t, I’ll be frolicking among the movers and shakers in our nation’s capital, mysteriously with no cell phone service.

The only thing to fear is …

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
Brian Golden

I’m a busy bee these days, what with Jeff’s upcoming (and I’ll say again, well-deserved) vacation just a couple of days away. As previously stated, it’s been training, taking notes, reviewing said notes, training some more, write copy for the paper, write column, write ‘Thumbs,’ collect and put together Police Blotter, and write blogs (including this one) for the past two weeks or so. Lots of writing, lots of training and lots of self-induced stress.

Take a deep breath, Brian, and chill out. It’ll all be OK. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. Needless to say, any screw-ups in the Thursday or Friday editions of The Evening Sun can (and will, if there are any) be considered My Bad. Just a heads up for all our devoted readers out there. Wish me luck.

And then, of course, ‘30 Seconds’ … and my Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Week (even though it’s only Tuesday). Oh, and unedited, just because.
“For the people who say they are religionious then they still break some of the 10 comandments, god knows what you have done and eventually you will have to answer to it. god doesn’t like liers either. karma it’s a small town”
Man from Norwich

Which, I believe, was supposed to state, “For the people who say they are religious, then still break some of the Ten Commandments, God knows what you have done and eventually you will have to answer to it. God doesn’t like liars, either. Karma, it’s a small town.”

Karma is a small town? And here I thought karma was an action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation (according to dictionary.com). Just to make sure, I did a quick online search and could not – for the life of me – find any town named karma … anywhere on the planet.