Archive for January, 2013

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Jan. 31, 2013

Thursday, January 31st, 2013
Patrick Newell

Bainbridge-Guilford’s teams often fly under the radar in our paper. Over in Bobcat land, there is reason to sit up and take notice. For years, Bob Conway has put a winning girls basketball team on the floor. Conway’s club recently had an eight-game winning streak snapped, but is well on its way to another winning season. The past two seasons, prodigal son Greg Warren has guided the boys to some well deserved prosperity on the basketball court. Injuries and illnesses have hampered Warren’s Bobcats the past month, and they are currently mired in a bit of losing streak. In the midst of that losing streak, senior fourth-year player Austin Bauerle is playing the best basketball of his career. Bauerle has topped 20 points in six of the last eight games, and has reached double figures rebounding in every game reported. He has raised his scoring averaged to 18.3 per game, second in the area, while pulling down 15.2 rebounds and adding over three steals and three assists a game. Teammate Corbin Palmer has been just as effective for B-G, and is one of the few players in the area to have reached double figures scoring in every game played. Bauerle’s excellent play is particularly impressive since he has played with a sprained MCL since the football season. “Thank goodness for Austin and Corbin staying relatively healthy this season,” Warren said. “We would not be in good shape without them.”

I don’t care what varsity boys basketball league you play in, consistently holding teams under 40 points – with a shot clock and a three-point line – is impressive. Norwich, under head boys coach Tom Collier, has won five straight games, and none of NHS’s opponents has reached 40 points. The Tornado, who clinched the STAC East division title Wednesday night, have held the opposition under 40 points in eight of 10 victories. While Norwich is averaging around 55 points on offense – not its best, for sure – i will bet the 42.3 points allowed per game is easily the lowest total surrendered by a Norwich team since the institution of the shot clock. “We play great team defense, and we play with great effort every night,” Collier said in his remarks after Wednesday’s victory over Chenango Valley. “When you put forth that much effort on defense every night, you’re going to be in ballgames.”

I am a big fan of wrestling tournaments, and I attended the MAC finals last Saturday at Unadilla Valley High School. My initial impression was of a tourney that was efficiently and expediently run. From start to finish, the entire league tournament took about seven hours. Where I find fault is how the tourney appears to be devalued by league members. I counted wrestlers in brackets provided for me, and only 95 participated in 15 weight classes – just over six per weight class. The brackets were thin, and a number of wrestlers from the league’s best dual meet team – Greene — used up their regular season eligibility, and were unable to compete. It was explained to me that the coach of Greene, Tim Jenks, sought out tough competition throughout the year in large tournaments. The aim, clearly, is to best prepare his kids for the sectional tournament. While I wished those absent kids were able to compete, I understand Jenks’ goal for his wrestlers. I also heard a number of people bemoan the format for finals matches. Instead of spotlighting each finals match, two finals matches in separate weight classes ran concurrently. I’ve seen that approach for consolation finals (third-fourth, fifth-sixth), but not for the finals in a league tournament that should have a little more prestige. It definitely felt rushed, and I left with the feeling that tournament officials just wanted to “get it over and done.”

On to a non-sports topic…Evening Sun reporter Shawn Magrath wrote a story last month, “City considers four-way stops on Elm Street.” When I saw the word “considers,” the inference to draw is that it wasn’t a done deal. Within a few days, four-way stop signs at every intersection on Elm Street – my home street for the majority of the last 18 years – were installed. Some points were made in favor of the additional traffic signage, among those a five-day traffic study, and a proactive stance for safety. Who isn’t against safety? It’s a residential street, but why now? The traffic study over a five-day period totaled over 700 cars. As a solitary number, 700 does seem high. Doing the math and factoring in other things, it doesn’t. Five days is 120 hours, so that works out to a little less than six cars per hour. How many of those cars are repeat drivers entering and leaving the street? And of course, the residents living on one of the far ends of the street often use Elm Street as a bypass to Broad Street. Is there any type of comparative traffic study from previous years? In my lifetime, Norwich’s population has decreased by more than 20 percent. Many big businesses that operated locally and generated traffic are also long gone. Additionally, school enrollment in Norwich has gone down by at least 20 percent over the last 25-30 years. Does it make sense to increase traffic signage when there are less people, less traffic, and less pedestrians? It’s a case of micromanaging the traffic — or was it BOGO week at the traffic sign supply store? It would have been more appropriate to put those signs up 40 years ago when we had a more bustling community.

Super Bowl Prediction: I am conservative by nature with my football predictions, and I can’t see the Ravens matching San Francisco’s offensive firepower for four quarters: 49ers 31, Ravens 17.

Follow me on Twitter @evesunpat.

Women in combat

Friday, January 25th, 2013
Kevin Doonan

Jan. 24, 2013: the United States government finally lifts its 1994 ban preventing U.S. female soldiers from assuming combat roles. An estimated 14 percent of the United States Armed Forces are women. “Today every American can be proud that our military will grown even stronger, with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love,” President Barack Obama said subsequent to the lifting of the ban.

Each and everyone of us is indoctrinated with the legend of Rosie the Riveter. In elementary school we are taught how she represented the growing equality between the sexes as well as symbolic of American women’s wartime contribution. Relatively unheard of in the west though, is the tale of Rosie the Riveter’s counterparts across the ocean and the role they played in the bloodiest conflict of all time.

Soviet female combatants died in droves along side their male counterparts fighting the Nazis in Eastern Front trenches, a theater of the war characterized for its staggering brutality. Female Soviet soldiers gained distinction specifically as proficient snipers and fighter pilots, but also fought the Germans manning machine guns and working in tank crews.

Historians have established a remarkable trend regarding the stark difference between the conduct of German soldiers on the Eastern and Western Fronts. Without receiving any known orders from the high command, German soldiers who were shipped between the two fronts, drastically changed the way they functioned. Historians have traced a multiplicity of individual soldiers who fought with a measure of civility on the Western Front. But when those same soldiers were shipped to the Eastern Front, they would cut loose, raping, pillaging, and enacting all manner of war crimes. Then the same soldiers would be freighted back to the Western Front and immediately revert to pseudo-civility. The most plausible explanation for this abrupt change is the indoctrination of German soldiers with the notion of Slovak people as subhuman, though even this general explanation still leaves one wanting. It was in this context of unimaginable brutality and revolting defilement that the Russian female soldier existed.

To this day, the most distinguished female sniper in the world was a member of the Red Army who spent her wartime days picking off soldiers brandishing the swastika. Lyudmila Mykhailivna Pavlichenko served, along with 2,000 other women, as a Soviet sniper during WWII, and by the end of the war she had 309 confirmed kills.

Before the Nazi war machine assailed their Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact cosigners, Pavlichenko had been an amateur markswomen and history student at the Kiev University.
In 1941, when the Soviet-German War broke out, Pavlichenko volunteered as an infantrymen and was assigned to the Red Army’s 25th Rifle Division, which fought the Wehrmacht and the Romanian Armed Forces at Odessa and throughout the Crimean Peninsula.

Pavlichenko was later wounded in 1942 during the siege of Sevastopol, at which point she was pulled from active duty having already become a symbol of heroism for the Soviets. When Pavlichenko recovered she toured the United States and Canada, giving public speeches and was received by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, making her the first Soviet to be a presidental guest at the White House. While touring the United States, Pavlichenko made a speech in Chicago. In her speech Pavlichenko famously pointed out she, at the age of 25, had killed 309 fascists, and asked the men in the audience if they felt they had spent enough time hiding her shadow to clamorous applause.

During the war Pavlichenko became a major and received the Gold Star medal along with the tittle of Hero of the Soviet Union, the highest distinction in the Soviet Union. Pavlichenko’s face was also plastered all over Soviet postage stamps. She served the remainder of the war as a sniper instructor.

After the war ended, Pavlichenko completed her education and worked as a historian until she died at the age of 58 in 1974.

Another intriguing female Russian soldier who gained distinction during WWII, was a fighter pilot named Lydia Litvyak. Litvyak, also known as the “White Lily of Stalingrad,” flew on 66 combat missions and was awarded the most distinguished Soviet honors including the tittle of Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin. Today Litvyak is still considered to be the world’s foremost female ace. By 1943 Litvyak had received the Order of the Red Star and was chosen to take part in an elite tactic of “free hunter.” Litvyak working with another Red Army pilot would track down and eliminate enemy fighters of on their own accord.

The object of Litvyak’s fate is still disputed. A first hand account form one of her fellow Red Army aviators was unable to verify whether or not she was shot down. What is certain is that Litvyak never returned to base after an Aug. 1, 1943, engagement with a German bomber and its escort. According to Litvyak’s comrade, while she was engaging the German bomber she failed to notice a detachment of fighters swoping around to attack her from above. Although she was able to survive the initial assault, Litvyak was forced to flee into nearby cloud cover, with Luftwaffe fighters hot on her heels. Litvyak’s comrade last saw her, through a gap in the clouds, pursued by eight German fighter planes, her plane trailing smoke.

After the war, a 39 year hunt was conducted to locate the White Lily of Stalingrad’s crash site. A body was discovered and authenticated as Litvyak’s, but only after a controversial and unverified autopsy. Some historians maintain Litvyak was captured alive and served time as a German POW. Years latter, a friend of Litvyak identified a woman on Swedish television as White Lily of Stalingrad.

Cold weather makes for good small talk

Friday, January 25th, 2013
Shawn Magrath

It’s funny how much easier small talk is when it’s unbearably cold outside. Almost every conversation I’ve had this week began with the same question: “Staying warm?” That gets the ball rolling, then those conversations run full circle. I’ll talk about the weather, my wife, the dog, my job, etc., and every small talk conversation ends with the same good advice: Stay warm.

The Norwich Diner officially opened… well, two weeks ago, but it’s great news for downtown Norwich. If you haven’t already been by the new eatery on East Main, it’s worth checking out. Good food. Good company. It may not quite the old Blue Bird (and it lacks the same diner charm as the Monk’s Cafe in Seinfeld) but who’s to complain about more variety downtown? Frankly, I’m relieved it’s not another pizza place.

Lately, it seems like the only news making the national spotlight has to do with gun policies, cold weather, and Beyonce’s lip-sinking (or not?) at the presidential inauguration. But I stumbled across another more interesting story this week. Researches at New York University are saying there are a great many number of myths about what – if anything – can be done in the first five years of a child’s life to make them more intelligent. Commonly, it’s believed that music, multi vitamins, and having books available for children boosts IQ. Not so, according to these researchers. While the study is open for debate, my general feeling is: if it doesn’t hurt, why not try it? Even if it doesn’t invoke brilliance, is there any harm in exposing a child to classical music, or good health?

With each new highly contested political debate, be it about health care, immigration reform, or the popular gun debate, I change my own thinking about the two party political system and this thinking seems to change on a weekly basis. Some days, I lean more liberal while other days, I’m more conservative. It all depends on the issue, I guess. This week, I’ve come to the unofficial conclusion that the difference between liberals and conservatives is simple. Conservatives are biased and don’t care that they’re biased. Liberals, on the other hand, are biased but don’t know they’re biased. It’s a philosophy I’m happy with this week. We’ll see how I feel next week.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Jan. 25, 2013

Friday, January 25th, 2013
Patrick Newell

Unadilla Valley’s wrestling team recently honored longtime pee wee coach and volunteer, Keith Wilcox. Wilcox suffered a stroke in 2010 while umpiring a Little League baseball league. UV varsity wrestling coach Jim DuVall said that Wilcox is mostly recovered from the stroke, but is still unable to coach wrestling. In honor of Wilcox’s volunteer service to Unadilla Valley’s youth, Unadilla renamed its club in Wilcox’s honor, and are now called Wilcox’s Wolverines. In addition to his volunteer duties with wrestling, Wilcox also ran the UV youth outdoor soccer and Little League programs. “He is truly an adult who was in it for the kids,” DuVall said Thursday. Following the renaming of the pee wee team, Wilcox was presented a t-shirt reflecting the new name.

We don’t talk about Otselic Valley girls basketball that often. It had been a number of years since the Lady Vikings qualified for the postseason – until last year’s club – and it’s been too long since the Vikes had a winning season. In the last 10 days, the Vikes have won three of their last four games – the club’s first three wins under first-year coach Carl Hills – and are playing repeat opponents much tougher the second time around. In its first game against Cincinnatus nearly three weeks ago, OV was blown out, 49-18. Two weeks later, that loss was avenged by a 41-35 count. That is a 37-point turnaround, perhaps the largest I have ever seen (particularly in such a short time frame) in nearly 18 years of covering high school basketball. It doesn’t appear OV has any path to a postseason berth this year, but the Vikings seem to be heading down the right road. “Being a first year coach, it has taken some time to for the team break some bad habits and accept some new concepts,” Hills wrote in an email earlier this week. ” We have improved on the defensive end, and that has helped us to be in position to win games.  We have much to work on as we still have our weaknesses.  The most important thing is the girls are believing in themselves.”

B-G girls basketball coach, Bob Conway, has not had a losing season in my 18 seasons covering local basketball. I thought that streak would finally come to an end after watching his club lose to Sherburne-Earlville by 41 points on Dec. 7. The Bobcats started the season with five losses in their opening six games, but have since run off eight straight victories. In those opening six games, B-G topped 35 points just once, and Conway often lamented his team’s offensive struggles. In compiling the win streak, points have come a little easier. I told Conway at Sherburne-Earlville six weeks ago that I expect his team will get better as the season progresses and become more competitive. Did I expect eight wins in a row? Heck no! B-G is now tied for third in the Midstate Athletic Conference, and with another win, will assure at least another .500 season. What else should I have expected from a guy who now has 452 career victories?

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

Yeah, it’s that cold

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
Brian Golden

It’s a chilly one out there today, don’t you think? Personally, I’m not a big fan of winter; one of those people always wondering aloud, “Why haven’t I moved south.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have no winter hobbies to speak of, besides surviving; I don’t like snow, except on Christmas; and as far as I’m concerned, it’s simply too damn cold. Especially today … and tomorrow … and through the weekend, according to the weatherman. I don’t like the weatherman either, I’ve decided.

Finally finished my first read of Robert Jordan’s and Brandon Sanderson’s “A Memory of Light,” the final (and fourteenth, I might add) volume in his Wheel of Time series. This book has – literally – been three decades in the making, and to say I was both impressed with its scope and literary excellence (the book … the entire series … the whole thing) would be an understatement of … well, epic proportions. I’m looking forward to my second read, of course, which will commence later this evening.

Not that it’s often I have music on the brain or anything, but I’ve had Dire Straits – and guitarist/songwriter Mark Knopfler, in particular – on the brain lately, waking this morning with Brothers in Arms’ “Why Worry” running through my head. Beautiful song, beautiful album, and one of few, albums that is, produced in the 1980s that would rank on any Top Ten List of mine. With that in mind, my Top Ten Dire Straits’ songs of all time … 10) Lions (or maybe Tunnel of Love) 9) Down To the Waterline 8) So Far Away 7) Wild West End 6) My Parties 5) Money For Nothing 4) On Every Street 3) Sultans of Swing 2) Brothers in Arms 1) Romeo and Juliet

Who am I kidding? There’s no way to do a best of with Dire Straits … it’s all good.

Last but not least, a “Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Week,” brought to us by none other than … Woman from Norwich.
“For the benefit of any new posters to 30 sec., here is the definition of FAKE news: “CNN”, “ABC”, “CBS”, “MSNBC”, “CURRENT”. If you want to hear both sides of an issue go to “FACTS” network (FOX).”

Now, Woman from Norwich, I have a feeling you were being sarcastic here, which I applaud. If not … well, it still made me laugh, if in a sad, disturbed kind of way.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Jan. 21, 2013

Monday, January 21st, 2013
Patrick Newell

Do you believe Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o is telling the truth? Was he duped in this “fishhook” scam? Drawing upon the experience of someone close to me, I believe Te’o's story. My issue is the length of time he let the farcical relationship continue. He says he wondered if it was a hoax, but chose not to believe it – or follow his gut. This close-to-home connection that I mentioned was similar in that the person on the other end of the phone rebuffed any efforts at meeting in person, and also refused to participate in a video chat. This person I know was trusting of the “unseen caller” until a fallout a few months into the online/telephone relationship. It was all a sham, and knowing my friend’s reaction, I can understand how embarrassed Te’o must be. Still, he allowed this dubious relationship to go on for three years? In the age of webcams and Skype, that’s a difficult one to explain.

Warning: If you know Greene junior Zach Wentlent or you’re a family member, don’t let him read this portion of the blog. I don’t want to responsible for planting any seeds of doubt. How many times have we heard a TV announcer say something great about an athlete, and then see said athlete immediately blow it? Wentlent’s free throw shooting warms this old-school basketball advocate’s heart. I’m sure Wentlent is an excellent student in school, but it’s a pretty good bet his free throw percentage is higher than his school average. How many basketball players can say that? Wentlent is on a phenomenal five-week run for the 9-2 Trojans. He hasn’t missed a free throw since Greene’s second game of the season on Dec. 8 and that miss is his only miscue all season. He has run off 29 straight free throws and is 33-for-34 for the season or an out-of-this-world 97.1 percent!

Local basketball games, on average, are producing less points per game than I can remember. Only one team of the 16 that I cover average 60 points per game. Bainbridge-Guilford’s boys top the sweet 16 with a 60.5 points per game average. Greene’s boys are less than one point per game behind, while a pair of girls teams – Unadilla Valley and Sherburne-Earlville – are third and fourth respectively. UV puts up 58.8 points per game and S-E totals 58.6. I haven’t had a local girls team lead the area in scoring in 17 years, but this season, two local clubs are within striking range of accomplishing that feat.

So, why are points per game down? I’ll give you one reason: Mid-range shooting is dwindling about as fast as America’s middle class. The open jumper from three feet inside the three-point arc does not possess the pizzazz of a driving basket or the sizzle and excitement of a trifecta. I can’t tell you how many times this year I have seen a player pass up an open jump shot from the foul line area, and subsequently drive into a crowd of defenders in the paint, only to kick it back outside to a teammate beyond the three-point arc. I was so frustrated one night I asked a spectator next to me: “Do they have to run laps if they take that (open) 15-footer?” Every basketball offense I ever played in from the time I was in fifth grade was designed to create a high percentage shot; or at least a high-quality look at the basket. Please young cagers, if you get an open look that is inside the three-point arc, take the dang shot.

You know it’s time to set your expectations low for the game officials when they take their glasses “off” before the game starts. Yes, that really happened at a game I attended last week.

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

Editor’s Notebook: 1/15/13

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Jeff Genung
• All day I’ve been thinking it’s the 14th. Here’s hoping I didn’t screw up the Comics page again.
• Steam is rising off the keyboards in The Evening Sun newsroom as the reporters inch toward the Friday editorial deadline for Progress Chenango 2013. Brad Carpenter and Jill O’Hara are out pounding the pavement drumming up advertising, too – be sure to check out this premier publication Jan. 28-Feb. 1 every day in The Evening Sun.
• Kevin’s story on the Oxford Memorial Library today brought back a lot of memories. That was my first job in high school back in the 80s … library clerk, I guess I was? I worked there through high school and on and off through college breaks as a jack of all trades and general know it all, I suppose. I have many fond memories of the hours I spent in that venerable old building (which was, literally, much smaller back in the day) both alone and working with the Oxford reading public … and my bosses Nan Hall and Claire Maholchic … and of course my own mother, Ann Genung, who tended the front desk for over two decades. Current librarian Nancy Wilcox, her staff and board of directors have done an amazing job in renovating and restoring the historic Fort Hill structure.
• We don’t do customer service issue stories. Someone called today with what I initially thought was just that … turns out it was indeed a larger issue, but still the message bears repeating: We don’t do customer service issue stories. If you think you got taken at Business X, or terrible service at Restaurant Y, or you think Corporation Z screwed up your bill … sorry, we’re not going to touch that. I know sometimes your first impulse is to alert the media, but we live in too small of a community to delve into stories which ultimately would serve one person, or be detrimental to a small local business (of which we are one). You can tell us about your bad experience there sure, but then we’d have to call that business to get their side of the story … and then, most likely, you’ve got a nasty case of he said/she said. No one is served by that, and it doesn’t make for good reading. Unless a business’ issues have widespread community impact (closings, openings, lawsuits, expansions, etc.), we’re not going to write that kind of story. As much as we can, we try to bolster local business, not tear it down. If you’re a justly disgruntled customer, call the Better Business Bureau, the police, a lawyer … or do it the old-fashioned way – tell everyone who will listen not to go there.
• For similar reasons, we don’t do neighbor vs. neighbor stories. But that’s another blog …

• All day I’ve been thinking it’s the 14th. Here’s hoping I didn’t screw up the Comics page again.

• Steam is rising off the keyboards in The Evening Sun newsroom as the reporters inch toward the Friday editorial deadline for Progress Chenango 2013. Brad Carpenter and Jill O’Hara are out pounding the pavement drumming up advertising, too – be sure to check out this premier publication Jan. 28-Feb. 1 every day in The Evening Sun.

• Kevin’s story on the Oxford Memorial Library today brought back a lot of memories. That was my first job in high school back in the 80s … library clerk, I guess I was? I worked there through high school and on and off through college breaks as a jack of all trades and general know it all, I suppose. I have many fond memories of the hours I spent in that venerable old building (which was, literally, much smaller back in the day) both alone and working with the Oxford reading public … and my bosses Nan Hall and Claire Maholchic … and of course my own mother, Ann Genung, who tended the front desk for over two decades. Current librarian Nancy Wilcox, her staff and board of directors have done an amazing job in renovating and restoring the historic Fort Hill structure.

• We don’t do customer service issue stories. Someone called today with what I initially thought was just that … turns out it was indeed a larger issue, but still the message bears repeating: We don’t do customer service issue stories. If you think you got taken at Business X, or terrible service at Restaurant Y, or you think Corporation Z screwed up your bill … sorry, we’re not going to touch that. I know sometimes your first impulse is to alert the media, but we live in too small of a community to delve into stories which ultimately would serve one person, or be detrimental to a small local business (of which we are one). You can tell us about your bad experience there sure, but then we’d have to call that business to get their side of the story … and then, most likely, you’ve got a nasty case of he said/she said. No one is served by that, and it doesn’t make for good reading. Unless a business’ issues have widespread community impact (closings, openings, lawsuits, expansions, etc.), we’re not going to write that kind of story. As much as we can, we try to bolster local business, not tear it down. If you’re a justly disgruntled customer, call the Better Business Bureau, the police, a lawyer … or do it the old-fashioned way – tell everyone who will listen not to go there.

• For similar reasons, we don’t do neighbor vs. neighbor stories. But that’s another blog …

Editor’s Notebook: 1/14/13

Monday, January 14th, 2013
Jeff Genung

• Crazy juxtaposition today of Frank’s photo of the ice-measurers for the Chenango Lake Perch Derby and Brian’s story of the ice-break rescue at Hunt’s Pond Sunday night. There’s a safe way to do it, and a not safe way to do it … ice fishing, that is. Me, I’d rather go to Red Lobster and save everyone the trouble.

• Looks like Jodie Foster came out at the Golden Globes last night, kinda. In other breaking news …

• As I mentioned in last Friday’s blog, Chobani will be served during the presidential inauguration festivities in Washington, D.C. My favorite ‘30 Seconds’ comment today asked why they call it Greek yogurt when it’s made in the U.S. of A. – insinuating, of course, that it’s un-American otherwise. Yeah, that’s the spirit … not.

Editor’s Notebook: 1/11/13

Friday, January 11th, 2013
Jeff Genung
• Wrote entirely too much about the Comics page in today’s column. But hey, people were asking … Truth is, I don’t even read it. The comics, not my column. I read Dear Abby, and my horoscope, but the rest of ‘em I just plug in every day. Not my cup of tea, but judging by reaction when I change it or screw it up, it sure is yours!
• Thank you to Ken Smith of Cornell Cooperative Extension for submitting today’s special report on milk production. As we deal with a slightly smaller staff going forward, we’ll rely more and more on experts like Mr. Smith to contribute pieces like this. It’s a good read … and I made it free on evesun.com, so check it out.
• Got a late-afternoon press release from Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office  – guess what they’ll be serving at President Barack Obama’s inauguration? Our very own Chobani Greek yogurt, of course! “Serving Chobani Greek Yogurt before the Inaugural Ceremonies shines a spotlight on one of New York’s biggest, and most delicious, dairy companies,” said Schumer. “President Obama, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, the Supreme Court, the Cabinet and all VIPs attending the Inauguration will get a chance to try some of the best Greek yogurt in the country. I’m pleased to be able to showcase a fantastic New York company.”
“We’re incredibly proud of our New York roots and honored to be a part of the Inaugural Ceremonies as we look towards America’s future,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani Founder, President and CEO. “The Chobani story demonstrates that the American spirit is alive and well and proves that if you truly believe in something and work hard, anything is possible.”
• The reporters are hunkering down for their last weekend before the Progress deadline next Friday … which means it’s my chance to skedaddle. My hell … err, fun … begins next Saturday, when I start assembling the 10-section behemoth. Look for it to hit your local newsstands on Monday, Jan. 28!

• Wrote entirely too much about the Comics page in today’s column. But hey, people were asking … Truth is, I don’t even read it. The comics, not my column. I read Dear Abby, and my horoscope, but the rest of ‘em I just plug in every day. Not my cup of tea, but judging by reaction when I change it or screw it up, it sure is yours!

• Thank you to Ken Smith of Cornell Cooperative Extension for submitting today’s special report on milk production. As we deal with a slightly smaller staff going forward, we’ll rely more and more on experts like Mr. Smith to contribute pieces like this. It’s a good read … and I made it free on evesun.com, so check it out.

• Got a late-afternoon press release from Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office  – guess what they’ll be serving at President Barack Obama’s inauguration? Our very own Chobani Greek yogurt, of course! “Serving Chobani Greek Yogurt before the Inaugural Ceremonies shines a spotlight on one of New York’s biggest, and most delicious, dairy companies,” said Schumer. “President Obama, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, the Supreme Court, the Cabinet and all VIPs attending the Inauguration will get a chance to try some of the best Greek yogurt in the country. I’m pleased to be able to showcase a fantastic New York company.”

“We’re incredibly proud of our New York roots and honored to be a part of the Inaugural Ceremonies as we look towards America’s future,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani Founder, President and CEO. “The Chobani story demonstrates that the American spirit is alive and well and proves that if you truly believe in something and work hard, anything is possible.”

• The reporters are hunkering down for their last weekend before the Progress deadline next Friday … which means it’s my chance to skedaddle. My hell … err, fun … begins next Saturday, when I start assembling the 10-section behemoth. Look for it to hit your local newsstands on Monday, Jan. 28!

Please send money

Friday, January 11th, 2013
Shawn Magrath

So I opened an email yesterday, enticed to do so because for first off, it’s part of the job. And second, the title read “HORRIBLE TRIP TO LONDON. PLEASE HELP.” You can’t not read something like that.

Sure. I’ll read it. I apparently have nothing better to do with my time than read a blatant scheme for easy money.

Here’s the first few sentences of the email, copied and pasted as per your enjoyment:

“I am sorry for reaching you rather too late due to the situation of things right now. My family and I had a trip visiting London (England), everything was going on fine until last night when we got attacked by some unknown gunmen. All our money, phones and credit cards was stolen away including some valuable items, It was a terrible experience but the good thing is they didn’t hurt anyone or made away with our passports.”

The letter went on asking if I could send along $1,550 (or whatever I could give) so these distraught travelers can catch their flight home. My money would be reimbursed when they returned, of course.

Overall, a good effort but not the most creative scheme I’ve ever heard. I’m a fan of the more imaginative ones: “Your internet license has expired. Your annual renewal payment of $100 is due to the FCC by tomorrow.” Sorry, my internet license? One of my favorites is “You’ve won the grand prize raffle but need to submit a $500 down payment now to redeem your $1 million prize.” I won a raffle I didn’t enter… must be luck.

To make an already poorly thought out scheme even worse, I got practically the same email last month. The difference? The traveler (of the same name and same email address, mind you) was “attacked” at a resort in the Cayman Islands. Either this is a hoax, or God clearly doesn’t want this person to vacation.

On a different note, the reporting crew is well into Progress Chenango, the annual undertaking of The Evening Sun that’s traditionally known to suck life and spirit from reporters. Personally, I haven’t thought Progress was that bad in the two years I’ve done it. I’m still learning a lot about Chenango County’s leading industries and non-profit organizations, even the ones I seem to write about on a regular basis. Not to mention, a slowly improving economy is making for much more positive stories for this year’s edition. Who says money can’t provide happiness?