Archive for March, 2013

Bring on the spring cleaning

Friday, March 29th, 2013
Shawn Magrath

They say when it rains, it pours. Same holds true for the newsroom, I guess. After what felt like a relatively slow news week, Friday morning exploded with stories of drug busts, bomb scares and school board shake-ups (oh, my). Nothing quite as exhilarating as hitting the ground running early on a Friday morning.

Hats off to Village of Greene Mayer Marcia Miller, who announced her retirement after 24 years of community service, six of which were as Village Mayer. The vacancy is sure to make for an exciting mayoral election in the Village of Greene in the not so distant future (good from the newspaper standpoint). In the meantime, the torch has been passed to Village Trustee Phillip Brown, who clearly has some big shoes to fill. Best of luck to all in their future endeavors.

A week into spring and I’ve yet to begin the ritual of spring cleaning. I guess it’s the procrastinator in me. Not to mention, I have a lot of crap. Not useful crap; just crap crap – the kinds of things no one should hang on to, ever. The storage space of my one bedroom apartment is filled with old birthday cards I don’t have the heart to throw out; worn-out running shoes not fit to give the homeless; several shoe boxes, one filled with electronic accessories (chargers, adapters, USB cables, etc.) but the other two, well… your guess is as good as mine. I don’t even remember putting them there, let alone what I filled them with. The element of surprise, I think, keeps the aspect of spring cleaning more exciting.

For the last three days, there’s been what I can only describe as a Holy War on the Evening Sun online ’30 Seconds’ page. People are quoting Bible verses, saying who is and isn’t Christian, and declaring that, given our current state, we’re in the end days before the Second Coming. I’m not really arguing for or against anyone’s post (who am I to say one way or another. After all, I’m not the final authority… I don’t think). But I am relieved the ’30 Seconds’ conversation has moved away from the two-day-long snow tire argument. Religious debates are far more interesting than how many snow tires can be counted in the WalMart parking lot.

Groucho Marx

Friday, March 29th, 2013
Kevin Doonan

Groucho Marx, one of my favorite comedians penned a great line when he wrote in the 1950s, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member.” Seemingly a self-deprecating comment, Groucho Marx was responding to a club which had asked him why he wanted to cancel his membership with them. Though Marx seems to be making fun of himself, in reality it was a clever and disarming statement that put an end to any further inquiries. In his biography, Marx makes fun of the club on top of that he was well known for his sardonic sense of humor so it is more then likely the comment was meant to be ironic.

Bid farewell

Friday, March 15th, 2013
Shawn Magrath

Now it’s time to say goodby to all our company. E-V-E (see you real soon) N-I-N-G (why? Because we like you) S-U-N…

Okay, so it doesn’t carry the same ring and flow as M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, but the sentiment’s sort of the same. Not to mention, Micky Mouse is much easier to rhyme than “The Evening Sun” (We’re having fun? A grieving nun? Your amusing pun?).

By now, it’s no secret that our longtime editor here at The Evening Sun is moving on to greener pastures after more than 20 years sitting in the boss’s seat. It was made Facebook official a week ago, reaffirmed by a more formal announcement from The Evening Sun publisher Dick Snyder in Wednesday’s paper. Funny that even in the digital age, nothing is validated until it’s in the newspaper.

Under Jeff’s wing in the year and a half that I’ve been a reporter, I was introduced to a brave new world of professionalism, skepticism, cynicism and profound sarcasm… and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. And apparently, neither can the community at whole. All week, he’s been taking phone phone calls in his office, which I’ve overheard in my cubicle outside his door – each conversation seemingly the same: “Yeah, it’s true… the 15th… Chobani, actually… It’s a good opportunity… It’s going to be hard to say goodbye… I’ll miss Shawn the most” (paraphrased, of course, as per my one-sided understanding of the two-way conversation).

As hard as it is to bid farewell, our loss is indubitably Chobani’s gain. It’s been a great company for the community, so to add one more great employee of the community to their ranks can only mean better things, right?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also take an opportunity to congratulate Brian Golden, who’s stepping up to the plate as editor in Jeff’s departure. In all, he’s deserving of the job and I can’t think of a better personality to call “boss.” Though, it’s going to take getting use to…

Editor’s Notebook: Finale. cialis online

Thursday, March 14th, 2013
Jeff Genung
• Even though I broke the news on Facebook last week, Wednesday’s front page missive from our publisher, Dick Snyder, made it official – I am leaving The Evening Sun on Friday, March 15. I’ve accepted a position in communications with Chobani and while I’ll spend the next week gearing up for that amazing opportunity, I’ll spend the next 24 hours or so in a more melancholy state, leaving behind almost 23 years worth of memories with Chenango County’s Hometown Daily. It will not be an easy day.
• Most of what I have to say will be in my column tomorrow, but I thought I’d use my last Editor’s Notebook blog to answer a question a couple people have asked me this week: How many reporters have you worked with over the years? I don’t really know the exact number, so I’m going to type them out here from memory (a risky exercise in itself) and see how many I come up with … how many names do you recognize?
• First, we should qualify “reporters” as my employed staff writers. Also under my employ, though generally not counted as reporters, were photographer Frank Speziale and three sports editors – Tom Rowe, Mike King and Pat Newell.
• On to the general reporter staff, most likely not in chronological order: JoAnn Smith, Karen Bergamo, Dan Bartlett, Mary Lawrence, Heidi Rauch-Webb, Karen Wilhelm, Kathy O’Hara, Katie Fern, Dave Warren, Stacy Beaumont, Mike Hamilton, Jill Fahy, Sean Brigham, Melissa Hendricks, Mike Platta, Dan Matlack, Stacy Moreno, Barbara Hollings, Christian Vischi, Vince Keenan, Nicole Martinez, Jude Seymour, Melissa deCordova, Josh Campbell, Jeff Morse, Andrea Snyder, Mike McGuire, Todd Campbell, Jill Kraft, Jessica Lewis, Tyler Murphy, Melissa Stagnaro, Brian Golden, Julian Kappel, Shawn Magrath and my last hire, Kevin Doonan … number 36. Not exactly the 50 I’d guessed, but that’s not including the two guys who quit after three days, or the multiple stints pulled by Mike, Stacey, Christian and Tyler. Or the countless number of interns, some of whom lasted a week but several who lasted all summer. Oh, and our many faithful correspondents over the years – some we knew quite well (Tom Schwan, Jerry Weaver and Bob McNitt, all dearly departed), and others who were passing emails in the night. In any case, phew. It was a privilege to work with each and every one of you (except maybe those I fired … but even a few of them, too).
• And that’s it, folks, as far as my Editor’s Notebook blog goes. Check out the breadth of my sentimentality in tomorrow’s Page 4 column. Soon this blog will fade into the ether, and a new writer will eventually take my place. It’s been a pleasure entertaining you online. Godspeed.

• Even though I broke the news on Facebook last week, Wednesday’s front page missive from our publisher, Dick Snyder, made it official – I am leaving The Evening Sun on Friday, March 15. I’ve accepted a position in communications with Chobani and while I’ll spend the next week gearing up for that amazing opportunity, I’ll spend the next 24 hours or so in a more melancholy state, leaving behind almost 23 years worth of memories with Chenango County’s Hometown Daily. It will not be an easy day.

• Most of what I have to say will be in my column tomorrow, but I thought I’d use my last Editor’s Notebook blog to answer a question a couple people have asked me this week: How many reporters have you worked with over the years? I don’t really know the exact number, so I’m going to type them out here from memory (a risky exercise in itself) and see how many I come up with … how many names do you recognize?

• First, we should qualify “reporters” as my employed staff writers. Also under my employ, though generally not counted as reporters, were photographer Frank Speziale and three sports editors – Tom Rowe, Mike King and Pat Newell.

• On to the general reporter staff, most likely not in chronological order: JoAnn Smith, Karen Bergamo, Dan Bartlett, Mary Lawrence, Heidi Rauch-Webb, Karen Wilhelm, Kathy O’Hara, Katie Fern, Dave Warren, Stacy Beaumont, Mike Hamilton, Jill Fahy, Sean Brigham, Melissa Hendricks, Mike Platta, Dan Matlack, Stacy Moreno, Barbara Hollings, Christian Vischi, Vince Keenan, Nicole Martinez, Jude Seymour, Melissa deCordova, Josh Campbell, Jeff Morse, Andrea Snyder, Mike McGuire, Todd Campbell, Jill Kraft, Jessica Lewis, Tyler Murphy, Melissa Stagnaro, Brian Golden, Julian Kappel, Shawn Magrath and my last hire, Kevin Doonan … number 36. Not exactly the 50 I’d guessed, but that’s not including the two guys who quit after three days, or the multiple stints pulled by Mike, Stacey, Christian and Tyler. Or the countless number of interns, some of whom lasted a week but several who lasted all summer. Oh, and our many faithful correspondents over the years – some we knew quite well (Tom Schwan, Jerry Weaver and Bob McNitt, all dearly departed), and others who were passing emails in the night. In any case, phew. It was a privilege to work with each and every one of you (except maybe those I fired … but even a few of them, too).

• And that’s it, folks, as far as my Editor’s Notebook blog goes. Check out the breadth of my sentimentality in tomorrow’s Page 4 column. Soon this blog will fade into the ether, and a new writer will eventually take my place. It’s been a pleasure entertaining you online. Godspeed.

Goodbye old friend

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Patrick Newell

Get him to the Greek…yogurt that is.
Our newspaper made it official today: “Longtime Evening Sun editor leaving,” the headline read. Ironically, it was that longtime editor, Jeff Genung, who probably wrote that headline. We knew about Jeff’s decision a week ago this past Monday. Shocked doesn’t really quantify my reaction. Richard Snyder, our publisher, gave me a call late that Monday morning to break some news that would not make the papers for at least nine more days. For my 17 1/2 years here, Jeff sat in his office, and I sat in my cubicle. The reporting staff has turned over completely at least five or six times during our time together, and we’re in turnover again. I always thought “I” would be the one to cry uncle and depart The Evening Sun first. Chobani Yogurt, though, saw Jeff’s value and made him a tremendous offer, one none of us remaining on staff can begrudge.
Jeff came to The Evening Sun fresh out of Oswego State, hired in 1990. On Nov. 4 1991 – nearly half a lifetime ago for Jeff – he was announced as the newspaper’s new news editor. He assembled the paper for many years using archaic technology, and seamlessly transitioned to our current desktop publishing program in late 1994. Jeff brought The Evening Sun into the 21st century, and has embraced the social media phenomenon as a means to promote our product. He was/is damn good at his job, and I’m sure he’ll excel in Chobani’s communications department. On a personal note, I will clue in some readers on some truths about our outgoing editor: Those witty and “occasionally” sarcastic remarks he adds to “30 seconds” entries, he is even more witty and sarcastic (in a humorous way) in real life. As co-workers, he and I could not be more different. He was the Felix to my Oscar. (And yes, his work area would pass the white-glove test.) Despite his distaste for the orderly chaos that is my desk, he let me be me, and would step up and support me at a moment’s notice, if needed. That despite his admitted lack of knowledge (or interest) in sports. Jeff has always understood the importance of my part of the newspaper, even though, in reality, sports is as much entertainment as it is news. I cannot count the number of times Jeff has fixed or patched up my computer’s ails. Jeff was not only our boss and editor, he was a mentor, our computer IT department, and our friend. He ran The Evening Sun with professionalism and class for 21-plus years, and his presence will be sorely missed.

Follow me on Twitter @evesunpat

Sports Editor’s Playbook, March 8, 2013

Friday, March 8th, 2013
Patrick Newell

A lot, check that, just about all of our focus on local sports these days is Norwich basketball. The Purple Tornado are the only game in town as we rapidly approach spring sports: Baseball, softball, track and field, et al.
Norwich won its sixth Section IV boys’ basketball championship last weekend, and its fourth since back-to-back sectional championships led to state titles in 1993-1994. The last three visits to intersectional play have led to first-round losses. Could this year be different? Yeah, it’s a good possibility. In those three previous visits outside of Section IV play, two of the teams that beat Norwich went on to win state titles, and the third advanced to the state championship game. Clearly, that first-round draw has not worked out well for Norwich. Tomorrow night’s opponent, Westhill, has flown at or near the top of Section III basketball for several years, and won its third Class B title in four years last Sunday. If you have Time Warner Cable, perhaps you caught a glimpse of the Warriors, who beat Skaneateles 63-51. The Warriors play great defense, and have a sensational scorer in Jordan Roland. But…there are no intimidating shot blockers or future NBA prospects such as Hilton Armstrong, who helped Peekskill demolish Norwich over a decade ago. Roland is a heck of a prospect, so maybe he will, indeed make his mark on the next level.
What has impressed me the most about this Norwich team – as opposed to previous good NHS teams – is that the coaching staff utilizes the talents of every player on the roster. All 10 players have made their mark in games this season, and the talent gap between the best player and the tenth is not as wide as you might think. This is a team with no dead weight sitting on the bench; if you’re playing for Norwich, you’re a darn good player.

As mentioned above, Norwich recently won its sixth sectional basketball championship, and fourth in my 18 seasons covering local sports. I began to make a mental checklist of Chenango County schools tat have advanced to the state basketball tournament. Here is that list: Boys–Afton, Oxford, Norwich. Girls–Afton, Bainbridge-Guilford, Greene, and Oxford. Since 1995-1996, no boys team has made it past the first round of sectional play, while all four girls teams have advanced to the state final four at least once. B-G, in 1999, reached the Class C state championship game only to lose to Bloomfield. Leading that Bobcats club was Chenango County’s all-time leading scorer, Courtney Mattingly. The Bobcats lost four games that year – three to Class B state champion Oneonta, and one to the the Class C state titleist.

Follow me on Twitter @evesunpat

The end of face-to-face classrooms?

Friday, March 8th, 2013
Shawn Magrath

Kudos to the volunteers and organizers of this year’s Dr. Seuss Family Fun Night at Stanford Gibson Primary. The annual jamboree brought out hundreds of kids, parents and grandparents Thursday night in a worthy effort to encourage kids and families in family involvement, literacy, and community engagement – three incredibly important aspects of childhood development, in my opinion. Not to mention, I’m a huge fan of Dr. Seuss myself. In retrospect, I guess I’m lucky to be a reporter, otherwise roaming the halls of an elementary school when I don’t have a child of my own – and taking pictures no less – might have looked a bit on the creepy side (I assume it’s hard to blog from a jail cell).

Also on the subject of schools and education, Bill Gates said in an interview this week that he believes technology (online classes and mentoring) will be the main source of higher education within the next ten years. Computers, he says, will slowly phase out working instructors, professors and the traditional face-to-face lectures, and the money saved by using online resources could instead be invested in research facilities and study groups. While I agree, there’s certainly potential that this could be the classroom of the future, I don’t really count on it. In the 60′s, it was widely believed that television would eventually replace teachers… five decades later, all we have to show for it Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

And while on the subject of technology … (pause for self pat on the back for a smooth transition) … did you know Facebook is losing its cool? An article published in Time this week unveiled “an unscientific survey” of 40 Alabama high school students, only eight of which said Facebook was their most commonly used social networking site. It’s disappointing news for the millions of Facebook users who like to take photos of themselves at a 45 degree downward angle. I knew it was only a matter of time before people like myself could ruin the coolness of Facebook.