Archive for August, 2012

New reporter on the beat …

Friday, August 31st, 2012
Kevin Doonan

Hello readers I’m Kevin Doonan, The Evening Sun’s brand new reporter. A recent graduate of Binghamton University and resident of Smyrna, I have been writing for the paper for a little over a week. I will be covering the regions of Sherburne, Greene, Oxford, Coventry, Guilford, Bainbridge and Afton – so if anyone hears of anything going on in those areas, get a hold of me!
My first two weeks working at the paper have been filled with fun new things. In just a short period of time, I have been exposed to parts of the county I never knew existed. For instance, I can count the number of times I have passed Greene Central School and wondered what the large, squat, faceless white building was doing leering over the grade school’s campus. This week, that curiosity was quenched when I discovered that it was the building housing the Raymond Corporation, the largest employer in Chenango County.
With that realization, a feeling of foolish satisfaction washed over me. Foolish for not having known something that seems like such common knowledge and satisfied because every gnawing, nagging whisper of curiosity I can squash represents a miniscule squelchy step taken towards tranquility. Of course with every question in life answered, arises a dozen more quandaries, each one pushing tranquility ever further away.
E-mail me … kdoonan@evesun.com
Call me … 607 337 3074
Tweet me … @evesunkevin

Oh, you hate your job?

Friday, August 31st, 2012
Shawn Magrath

A tip of the hat to fellow reporter Brian Golden who I think spent 37 hours in the newsroom Thursday night to cover the nothing less than terrifying shoot-out in the Town of Pitcher. More importantly, my thanks to all law enforcement involved in the incident. I’m not sure I could be paid enough to do the things they do. It’s so sad that anyone should have to worry about something so deranged, almost unrealistic, as being shot at without reason inside their own home.

I’m so glad the Republican National Convention is over. There wasn’t a minute that wasn’t covered and scrutinized by every televised news organization in the country. That’s not to say it didn’t have it’s perks and wonders; I was mildly surprised by Ann Romney’s speech Tuesday night. It was much better than I thought it would be. Of course, it was followed up by that weenie Paul Ryan’s speech and his assumption that we – republicans, democrats, independents, man, woman, child, dog, goldfish; virtually anyone with a set of ears – should believe everything he says. His speech wasn’t just misleading, it was insulting. How dumb does he think we are? Initial thoughts were it was going to be the highlight of the RNC most blasted by the media… then Clint Eastwood talked to an empty chair Thursday. Your move democratic national convention. Let’s see you top it.

Food for thought: A requirement for teachers to work eight hours a day would be a relief for teachers everywhere.

This week, I overheard a conversation between a woman and her husband while filling up at the gas station. I’d like to say I’m not one to listen into other peoples’ conversations but actually, I do it all the time. It’s what keeps my life interesting (not to mention, it’s hard not to overhear at the gas station where someone’s pumping gas not two feet from me). The woman was saying how much she hates her job, her boss, coworkers, getting out of bed, the morning commute – pretty much anything associated with having a job (then she got Arbor Day mixed up with Labor Day but that’s really beside the point). I know what you’re thinking: “Gasp! Someone who hates her job? Why, that’s the most common thing I’ve every heard!” According to Business Insider, 8 out of 10 people hate their job. Really, try googling “I hate my job” and see if you can keep your computer from smoking. The Price is Right host (and part time philosopher) Drew Cary said it best: “Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.”

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Aug. 29, 2012

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
Patrick Newell

Long time between posts. I should be more prolific now that high school sports is kicking up.

* Congratulations to Greene junior soccer player Paige Wilcox, who broke the Greene girls’ soccer scoring record Tuesday afternoon. In the midst of a whopping six-goal game, Wilcox surpassed the 70 career goals of Amber Pratt. Wilcox has 72 for her career with all of this season still ahead. She may get to 100 this year, but I have heard talk among Greene residents that the girls’ soccer program is suffering from a dearth of actual players, and will need to keep the numbers up in order to continue to the program in ensuing years. It would be a shame to lose the program, especially for Wilcox and her teammates who won a league championship just two seasons ago.

* I may expand on this next topic at a later date. It is plainly obvious that some area schools are getting a woeful turnout for high school sports. Take Oxford, for instance. The team dropped field hockey this year, and I was told earlier this week that the varsity boys soccer team was scrapped due to low numbers. Both of those clubs have been around for a long time, and in the case of field hockey, it won multiple sectional titles over the past 25 years. According to my schedules, Oxford has just one varsity boys sport this fall – football. The football team has less than 30 players, and it draws from students primarily in 10th through 12th grade. According to enrollment numbers, Oxford averages between 60 and 65 students per grade level. Doing the math, there are around 30 to 35 boys per grade level in grades 10 through 12, and that equates to a pool of approximately 100 boys. For whatever reason, just over 25 percent of the available boys are actually participating in an extracurricular varsity sport when you dismiss the dozen or so kids who initially signed up for soccer. In a school the size of Oxford, participation in sports is fundamental in perpetuating a program. Not too long ago, I remember Oxford sustaining a varsity and junior varsity football team, while also easily fielding a varsity soccer team. At one point, there were varsity and junior varsity teams for football and boys’ soccer. Enrollment has slipped some, but how can a school that regularly produced four high school teams in two sports drop to just one high school team? I’d love to hear some thoughts.

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

Insert blog title here

Friday, August 24th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

And so wraps up another week in the newsroom. It bears mentioning (if you haven’t already seen) that there have been changes in the reporter lineup starting this week. A warm welcome is extended to The Evening Sun’s newest reporter Kevin Doonan, who I understand is assuming the role as mild mannered “small towns” reporter by day and masked crime fighter by night (the role I use to have as the new kid on the block. It feels good to pass along that burden).

Now that the New Berlin Youth Days are here, the end of summer is following close behind. Like anyone, I love the longer days and warmer temperatures but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little relived. Between high school graduations, Gus Macker, the Chenango County Fair, Blues Fest and now, Youth Days, it seems that for the past three months, not a weekend has gone by without something to cover. Idle hands might be the devil’s workshop but busy weekends make for tired reporters.

I usually leave comments regarding posts on the The Evening Sun’s “30 Seconds” to the ever-so insightful Brian Golden to mention on his blog. Unfortunately, I would kick myself if I overlooked an argument about hay bales on the “30 Seconds” webpage that lasted two days. Did you know that most rectangular bales of hay can be found in Pennsylvania. I didn’t. Thanks “30 Seconds” poster.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before the “birther” issue reared it’s ugly face again. Mitt Romney cracked a joke poking at President Obama’s origin of birth this week, saying that no one would ever ask him to see his birth certificate because they all know he was born in Michigan. So here we go, another month of making big news out of nothing. Good thing our country doesn’t have any real problems to focus on.

It’s a sad, sad day in New York City. Deepest condolences to all the victims and families involved.

Editor’s Notebook: 8/23/12

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012
Jeff Genung
• And just as soon as the Fair is over, Blues Fest has come and gone. Colorscape is right around the corner, and before you know it we’ll be writing about Pumpkin Fest. Tempus fugit.
• The Evening Sun welcomed its newest reporter this week: Kevin Doonan joined us on Monday. He’s a BU grad by way of Sherburne-Earlville, and you’ll be reading more about him as soon as I get his blog set up! Coverage-wise, Kevin will be handling our “small towns” beat – primarily Oxford, Sherburne and Greene, all important areas circulation-wise that we’re looking for focus on more. Follow our cub reporter on Twitter, @evesunkevin.
• As you’ve probably noticed by now, The Evening Sun will be hosting a Candidate Forum for the three judicial candidates – Diane DiStefano, Joe McBride and Frank Revoir. It’ll take place on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Norwich High School auditorium. That’s a week before Primary Day, so it’ll be the perfect chance to see all three candidates live and in person before making your decision (if you’re a registered Republican, Conservative or Independence party member, that is – the rest of us have to wait until November). Due to restrictions governing judicial races, this won’t be an open forum – I’ll be asking the questions (and I’m limited in what I can ask, before you accuse me of going easy on them). There will be an opportunity for you to mingle with the candidates after the formal program, though. I’m glad we got all three on board (for the record, all were enthusiastic about the opportunity) and I look forward to seeing a big crowd there.
• Unfortunately the Associated Press did not provide me with the nude pictures of Prince Harry snapped on his recent Vegas jaunt. Sooo wanted to write that “Crown Jewels” headline. I’ll leave that to the Post.
• Youth Days! The 51st annual celebration kicks off with the Miss Youth Days Pageant over in New Berlin tonight. We’ll have a full preview of the weekend’s festivities in tomorrow’s edition. By the way, Brian Golden will be our new New Berlin reporter, covering the community and school for both The Evening Sun and our weekly newspaper, The Gazette. I’m confident he’ll be giving that area the attention that it deserves, and he’s excited about the prospect.

• And just as soon as the Fair is over, Blues Fest has come and gone. Colorscape is right around the corner, and before you know it we’ll be writing about Pumpkin Fest. Tempus fugit.

The Evening Sun welcomed its newest reporter this week: Kevin Doonan joined us on Monday. He’s a BU grad by way of Sherburne-Earlville, and you’ll be reading more about him as soon as I get his blog set up! Coverage-wise, Kevin will be handling our “small towns” beat – primarily Oxford, Sherburne and Greene, all important areas circulation-wise that we’re looking for focus on more. Follow our cub reporter on Twitter, @evesunkevin.

• As you’ve probably noticed by now, The Evening Sun will be hosting a Candidate Forum for the three judicial candidates – Diane DiStefano, Joe McBride and Frank Revoir. It’ll take place on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Norwich High School auditorium. That’s a week before Primary Day, so it’ll be the perfect chance to see all three candidates live and in person before making your decision (if you’re a registered Republican, Conservative or Independence party member, that is – the rest of us have to wait until November). Due to restrictions governing judicial races, this won’t be an open forum – I’ll be asking the questions (and I’m limited in what I can ask, before you accuse me of going easy on them). There will be an opportunity for you to mingle with the candidates after the formal program, though. I’m glad we got all three on board (for the record, all were enthusiastic about the opportunity) and I look forward to seeing a big crowd there.

• Unfortunately the Associated Press did not provide me with the nude pictures of Prince Harry snapped on his recent Vegas jaunt. Sooo wanted to write that “Crown Jewels” headline. I’ll leave that to the Post.

• Youth Days! The 51st annual celebration kicks off with the Miss Youth Days Pageant over in New Berlin tonight. We’ll have a full preview of the weekend’s festivities in tomorrow’s edition. By the way, Brian Golden will be our new New Berlin reporter, covering the community and school for both The Evening Sun and our weekly newspaper, The Gazette. I’m confident he’ll be giving that area the attention that it deserves, and he’s excited about the prospect.

New faces, new beats and … ’30 Seconds’

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
Brian Golden

With new reporters come new beats, as they say. And with that in mind, a big thumbs up and welcome to The Evening Sun’s latest catch, also known as Kevin Doonan. It’s been awhile since anyone occupied the cubicle adjacent to my home away from home (miss you, Ms. Stagnaro!), and Kevin is off and running as Chenango’s hometown daily’s newest cub reporter. Good luck!

As for new beats, this intrepid journalist will continue to cover the police/fire/EMS/court beat, in addition to my new duties covering New Berlin (and writing copy for The Gazette); entertainment; Otselic Valley; Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton; and Morris. Looking forward to meeting some new folks on my travels and thank God (and Trip!) my car is back in working condition.

With that said … the ever popular (and always noteworthy) “Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day,” brought to you by (insert dramatic theme music here) … Woman from Norwich.
“Tease all you want MFG but I know the TRUTH. Yes I was at the Blues Fest, that’s where you can find a number of their kind! You won’t be laughing come doomsday when my kitties and I are rescued!”
Which, properly written, would go like this: Tease all you want, MFG (Man from Greene? Man from Guilford? Which MFG are we talking about, anyway?), but I know the TRUTH. Yes, I was at the Blues Fest; that’s where you can find a number of their kind! You won’t be laughing come doomsday when my kitties and I are rescued.

Mmm … yeah. Teasing, men from towns that start with “G,” the TRUTH!, Blues Fest, “their kind,” laughter, doomsday and rescued kitties … this post had it all, let me tell you. Me? I have no idea what Woman from Oxford is talking about … and I think I’m ok with that.

Really, I am.

We’ve reached the dog days

Friday, August 17th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

We really are well into the dog days of August. As a reporter, I can say it feels like things are really slowing down, at least for now.

The long-awaited annual Blues Festival is finally here. Kudos to the Chenango Blues Association for keeping this event going for 20 years now. Each year, Norwich hosts some of the best names in the industry; not bad for a place most of New York State can’t point out on a map. I don’t plan to attend this year, but I do live close enough to the fairgrounds to hear the music from my bedroom window (not quite the same, but still fun in that different “I don’t have be around anybody if I don’t want to be” kind of way), so let the good times roll.

On Sunday, the day after Blues Fest, the second annual Chenango Tomato Fight takes to the fairgrounds. It might not be in its twentieth year and can’t quite claim the same success as Blues Fest, but a good tomato fight certainly sounds… interesting. I definately won’t be going, but if throwing squishy fruit is your forte, enjoy. At least it’s for a good cause.

Apparently, there’s still a lot of hope for the railroad that passes through Chenango County, which has been out of commission since 2006. A lot of effort is being made on the part of industrial and economic development agencies to revitalize the railroad and get the local rail system back on track (pun intended). I try to be open minded when it comes to this kind of thing. The railroad revitalization would be a costly venture and I know some groups would much rather see the rails replaced with nature trails instead. Personally, I’m all for restoring the tracks and it’s not so much because I think it would have a positive economic impact on the area. It’s more just because I like trains. And for some reason, I can’t shake the image of Dudley Do-Right from my mind. His job would be a lot less involved if he never had to tour the countryside, worrying about saving defenseless women tied to the railroad tracks. It’s good to know he’s getting plenty of work up in Canada.

The other night, I saw a spotlight circling the sky in Norwich. Out of sheer curiosity and the fear that I might be missing something important, I cruised down main street to find where it was coming from. I wound up in the McDonald’s parking lot. I’m not sure whose idea it was to put a spotlight on the McDonald’s roof and I really don’t care for it, but if the intent was to lead people to the restaurant, I say well played.

Editor’s Notebook: 8/13/12

Monday, August 13th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• Phew! Another Chenango County Fair has come and gone – and what a week it was! My two intrepid reporters – Brian Golden and Shawn Magrath – embedded themselves down at the fairgrounds for the week along with photog extraordinaire Frank Speziale to bring you the best possible coverage in the pages of The Evening Sun last week. After curating Frank’s more than 1,500 photos for our print edition, website and Facebook galleries last week, I feel like I was there myself. Yes, dear readers, I must confess that for the first time in over a decade, I didn’t make it down to East Main Street personally. Bummer, really, as I’d planned to do our traditional Fair food pig-out/Beer Tent inspection with the ES crew on Friday, but Mother Nature had other plans. As much as I love me some Chenango County Fair, it doesn’t fare well when soggy.
• And now we’re on to the 20th annual Chenango County Blues Festival this weekend! Hard to believe it’s been a full two decades – another home-grown event, like Colorscape Chenango, that’s grown by leaps and bounds in its comparatively (to the fair, anyway) short lifespan. The Blues Fest really puts Chenango on the map, drawing both performers and visitors from all around the country. Can’t wait to see what they’ve got cooking this year – watch The Evening Sun this week for Brian’s preview stories.
• Been a while since I’ve blogged (staff shortages, my summer Fridays off and more news than you can shake a stick at will do that), but it’s certainly been an eventful few weeks this summer. A couple weeks ago I finally had the chance to sit down one-on-one with Diane DiStefano, the Democratic candidate for county judge. As the race continues to heat up, I thought it was important that I get some face time with each candidate to see where they’re coming from. I’ve known Joe McBride and Frank Revoir for many years, but I hadn’t met Diane until the day she announced her candidacy. The verdict? I’m not ready to make a formal endorsement by any means, but suffice it to say that Diane makes the choice all the more difficult. While I’m not thrilled with some of the political games being played in this race, I am thrilled that Chenango voters have three highly-qualified, committed individuals from which to choose.
• Speaking of choosing, I’ll take this space to announce that The Evening Sun will be hosting a “Meet the Candidates” forum for the County Judge race on Thursday, Sept. 6 – exactly one week before the Republican, Conservative and Independence party primary. Time and location to be announced … watch The Evening Sun for details. While the candidates won’t be able to “debate” in the traditional sense because of rules regarding judicial contests, this will be an important opportunity for voters to see all three candidates in person, and hear about their qualifications in their own words. More on that as we develop the event.

• Phew! Another Chenango County Fair has come and gone – and what a week it was! My two intrepid reporters – Brian Golden and Shawn Magrath – embedded themselves down at the fairgrounds for the week along with photog extraordinaire Frank Speziale to bring you the best possible coverage in the pages of The Evening Sun last week. After curating Frank’s more than 1,500 photos for our print edition, website and Facebook galleries last week, I feel like I was there myself. Yes, dear readers, I must confess that for the first time in over a decade, I didn’t make it down to East Main Street personally. Bummer, really, as I’d planned to do our traditional Fair food pig-out/Beer Tent inspection with the ES crew on Friday, but Mother Nature had other plans. As much as I love me some Chenango County Fair, it doesn’t fare well when soggy.

• And now we’re on to the 20th annual Chenango County Blues Festival this weekend! Hard to believe it’s been a full two decades – another home-grown event, like Colorscape Chenango, that’s grown by leaps and bounds in its comparatively (to the fair, anyway) short lifespan. The Blues Fest really puts Chenango on the map, drawing both performers and visitors from all around the country. Can’t wait to see what they’ve got cooking this year – watch The Evening Sun this week for Brian’s preview stories.

• Been a while since I’ve blogged (staff shortages, my summer Fridays off and more news than you can shake a stick at will do that), but it’s certainly been an eventful few weeks this summer. A couple weeks ago I finally had the chance to sit down one-on-one with Diane DiStefano, the Democratic candidate for county judge. As the race continues to heat up, I thought it was important that I get some face time with each candidate to see where they’re coming from. I’ve known Joe McBride and Frank Revoir for many years, but I hadn’t met Diane until the day she announced her candidacy. The verdict? I’m not ready to make a formal endorsement by any means, but suffice it to say that Diane makes the choice all the more difficult. While I’m not thrilled with some of the political games being played in this race, I am thrilled that Chenango voters have three highly-qualified, committed individuals from which to choose.

• Speaking of choosing, I’ll take this space to announce that The Evening Sun will be hosting a “Meet the Candidates” forum for the County Judge race on Thursday, Sept. 6 – exactly one week before the Republican, Conservative and Independence party primary. Time and location to be announced … watch The Evening Sun for details. While the candidates won’t be able to “debate” in the traditional sense because of rules regarding judicial contests, this will be an important opportunity for voters to see all three candidates in person, and hear about their qualifications in their own words. More on that as we develop the event.

Politics … such a dirty word

Monday, August 13th, 2012
Brian Golden

I tell you what, I’m just about fed up with the whole gun control debate (and being lambasted for voicing my own opinion). Guess what? You gun lovers are absolutely right, you have the right to bear arms. However, guess what else? I have the right to live in a society where I don’t have to worry about suicidal maniacs shooting up a movie theater with an automatic weapon. Regardless, our illustrious president was 100 percent correct when he said automatic weapons belong on the battlefield and not in our cities and towns. Your average American simply has … no … need … to … own … an … automatic … weapon. There are plenty of other guns out there you can get your kicks shooting until your heart’s content. Get over it.

And please, read the second amendment … I have.

With that said, this morning felt like fall, which means autumn’s evil step-brother, snow, is right around the corner. I know it’s only August, but this summer literally flew by and I’m sure the fluffy white stuff can’t be that far off. This is – without a doubt – something I could do without. Not a fan of winter; don’t like to drive in it; don’t like to shovel it; don’t like it … period.

And now, my Most Ridiculous Online ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day, brought to you by … Woman from Sherburne. Oh, and by the way, thanks for the shout-out, Man from Greene. Sorry I didn’t get to this – apparently your favorite part of my weekly (and sometimes bi-weekly) blog – but here it is.
“Somebody stole my sign that said, ‘Vote for Obama. Save my welfare and food stamps.’”

Well, Woman from Sherburne, I’m fairly certain welfare and food stamps were around long before Obama took office, so – if I were you – I’d lay off the Fox News for a couple of days. Believe it or not (and I believe it), an independent study recently concluded that those who watch Fox News are actually less informed than a person who watches no news at all. Seriously, folks, try to be a little more objective. As for you “don’t believe the liberal media” fanatics, really?

Get a grip. Or better yet, just go away.

August is very low-key

Friday, August 10th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

With all the rain we had last night and early this morning, I’ll admit, I was a little concerned that the fair was going to float away. Much to my relief, everything is still at the fairgrounds, bumper boats included.

Assuming the rain doesn’t carry everything away between now and Sunday, the fair comes to a close Sunday night with a demolition derby – one of two being held that day. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I understand the derby. I get that everyone has their hobby, but to want to sit inside a car while others smash into it? It’s not really my cup of tea (although I can think of few people who I would like to see take up the hobby). In any case, best of luck to all the… well, I would call them drivers but I think people in a demolition derby should be called something else for some reason… good luck to all the smashers, crashers and semi-professional car wallopers.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that both summer interns here at the Evening Sun wrapped up their work this week, and with no major injuries to report. Julia Simcoe and Luke Austin are both moving on to bigger and better things as they pursue their college dreams starting this fall. In the weeks they spent here, neither one tried sneaking out the window of the Evening Sun office, which I’m taking to mean they didn’t mind it here; maybe even liked it (gasp!). While I didn’t really have a chance to get to know Julia too well, she always had a pleasant demeanor in the office. That’s always a nice feature. I worked with Luke more often and only had to pull him out of one street fight… OK, he’s the one that pulled me out of the fight, but in my defense, that nine-year-old girl had a big mouth. I wish the best of luck to both in whatever it is they decide to do.

August is a great month. Sure, the fair is fun and I’m looking forward to Blues Fest next weekend, but that’s not what makes it so special. August is great because it’s the only month of the year when there are no major holidays, no special dates, no birthdays (aside from my own) and more importantly, no anniversaries that I need to remember (and be honest, I’m not the only one who’s come close to forgetting). August is just four and a half weeks of stress-free living, free of the guilt and shame that comes with forgetting to buy a gift or card or flowers (which really takes the pressure off. If I ever forget about my anniversary, you won’t be reading my blog; you would be reading an obituary).