Archive for July, 2015

Staff changes, recent shooting, upcoming stories

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Ashley Babbitt

It’s been a while since I’ve written updates from the newsroom, so here we go.
Long-time Sports Editor Pat Newell has arrived in New Mexico, which is now his home. Jim Testani now sits in at the sports desk and has been doing a great job thus far. I have no idea what actual shoe size Pat wore, but his figurative shoes are pretty big to fill. Jim has been diligently working and I’m sure will make Pat proud.
Cameron Turner is another welcomed addition to our staff. A recent graduate from SUNY Oswego with a degree in journalism, he is eager and an extremely hard worker. He’s shown already that he’s knows his stuff, and doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to getting a story. He’ll be mainly covering the court/crime beat, but anyone with an event they find newsworthy can contact Cameron at cturner@evesun.com. He is also on Twitter with the handle @evesuncameron.
Summer is finally here, and the heat this week has been brutal. I allow myself one complaint per season regarding the weather, so I suppose I’ll use my summer complaint right now. …It’s too hot.
As far as news goes, it’s been a busy week and a half to say the least.
Last Sunday, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. (without an alarm, mind you) and realized there had been a shooting in the City of Norwich. I worked diligently to obtain official comments and reports from authorities from the time I woke up until 10 p.m. that night. I was able to make it to the alleged shooter’s first arraignment that day and get some photos. The man was charged with attempted murder. He bonded out. He was later charged with two additional crimes, and no additional bail was set at that arraignment on Thursday.
I’ve been in contact with authorities in regard to the victim’s condition.
I attended Norwich City Court with Cameron to help show him the hopes last week, and covered a felony hearing following a drug arrest. The judge determined that the case will move to Chenango County Court.
Also, last week, I was filmed for a television show regarding the Ramsaran murder trial that took place in 2014. While I was nervous beyond belief beforehand, it was smooth once the camera was rolling. I was able to provide dates, events, and verbatim testimony from memory. I wore makeup. …That was awkward.
Once I know the air date, I’ll post an update.
There’s so much more going on, but I’ll save the other information for stories to print. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming stories regarding the Danielson murder trial, Rebecca’s Virtual Run, Eric Lindell in the park as part of the Summer Concert Series, updates with regard to the shooting, and much more.

Reporters are a dime a dozen, but sports editors are different

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Shawn Magrath

Reporters are a dime a dozen. Sports editors, on the other hand, are a little harder to come by.

If you haven’t already noticed a familiar name missing from the sports pages lately, let me get you up to speed. Pat Newell ended his nearly 20-year run as Sports Editor on Friday, calling it quits to the newspaper and to Chenango County in favor of a new life in beautiful New Mexico. Olé!

This isn’t the first time the newspaper has bid farewell to Pat. If you’re a regular reader, you might recall that his hiatus in 2014 brought about a season of adjustment for The Evening Sun that left somewhat of a bad taste in the mouths of both subscribers and staffers. Live and learn. Fortunate for The Evening Sun, losing Pat this time around means welcoming a new Pat, so to speak. A younger, sleeker Pat. Pat 2.0 for the millennials. Rookie reporter Jim Testani assumed his new role flying solo as our newest Sports Editor on Monday. Jim was a fantastic addition to the news team when he was first brought on board as the crime reporter seven weeks ago, showing an unyielding sense of eagerness to learn more about all things newsworthy in Chenango County. No doubt he has big shoes to fill as the county’s go-to sports guy, but we’re confident in his ability.

Jim’s new role left us with an open reporter position that was promptly filled by newcomer Cameron Turner. Having started during what was the busiest news week of the summer thus far – from a weekend shooting in Norwich, to the ousting of State Senator Tom Libous, to a fatal motorcycle accident in Otselic – Cameron hit the ground running. Now with a week of reporting under his belt (and I think he even has his chair adjusted to the way he likes it), Cameron will be taking on the crime and court beat.

What a waste of space this blog would be if I didn’t address the controversial $15 an hour proposed wage hike for fast food workers. In fairness, fast food’s a demanding job, what with all the burger flipping, fry scooping, shake pouring, toilet scrubbing and floor mopping – not to mention the complications of operating the drive thru speaker (reserved for the more advanced fast food workers). But instead of ranting my opinion on the issue, let me draw your attention to this: The University of Califonia, Berkley, values preschool teachers between $8.63 and $20.99 per hour. This means the folks who are entrusted with molding the minds of children would actually fair better financially by making sure they put the right number of chicken nuggets in their happy meal. Just something to consider.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, July 16, 2015

Thursday, July 16th, 2015
Patrick Newell

I wrapped up my summer golf series Monday, July 13 playing at Seven Oaks Golf Course in Hamilton. It was a pleasure to play a top-notch course through the invitation of Mark McLaughlin and Rick Ferris. While my overall score was poor, you cannot beat the camaraderie amongst friends who suffered through poor play as well.

Earlier this week we received a news tip about nonagenarian Howard Adams. Adams, a retired Norwich realtor, is quite the table tennis player, and continues to rack up awards for his play. A multiple gold medalist in the Empire State Senior Games, Adams added a National Senior Games title in his age bracket earlier this week in Minneapolis. News reporter Jim Testani followed up on the story lead, and we’ll have a story in the Friday, July 17 edition.

Perhaps you caught the wording of my photo caption earlier this week in which the participants in the GET Basketball Clinic were depicted. The description of the photo noted that the camp was led by Norwich varsity basketball coach, Brian Collier, and Norwich teacher Sara Locke. Collier was recently appointed the new head varsity basketball coach stepping in for his dad, Tom Collier. Tom Collier coached the Tornado for four years winning three Section IV titles and two STAC titles. “This is the right time,” Tom Collier said earlier this week. “The program needs a young coach with a lot of energy, but I’ll still be a part of Norwich basketball as long as I am living in the area.”

Speaking again of Jim Testani, he will be stepping in to the sports editor role at The Evening Sun beginning next Friday, July 24. I will – again – be moving back to New Mexico to live with my wife, Aida. I was fortunate to have another year at the newspaper, and I wish Jim the best as he moves the sports section forward.

Better pay attention at Walden Oaks C.C.

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015
Patrick Newell

Note: Below is an excerpt of Friday’s golf review of Walden Oaks Country Club in Cortland. Check out the full story in the Friday, July 3 edition:

CORTLAND – Long before I knew there was such a thing as attention deficit, there was a pervasive need within me for something new, something different, and something exciting. It was that line of thinking that led to conceiving a weekly summer golf column.
Self-analysis revealed “homer” tendencies when it came to my longtime recreational passion, so off I went in pursuit of new golf challenges.
Earlier this week I found that elusive diamond in the rough – pun certainly intended – when I toured the 18-hole layout at Walden Oaks Country Club in Cortland. Unlike every course I have reviewed the past two years, Monday, June 29 was the absolute first time I had laid eyes on the course.
Yes, Walden Oaks proved the perfect example of why I write these golf treatises.
While I had heard of Walden Oaks, I can’t claim the suggestion of playing the course. My oft-partner, Rick “O’Shea” Ferris, had a few rounds under his belt at Walden Oaks, and he invited his good friend, Sam “STN” Scafidi to round out our threesome. Sam, too, had four or five previous rounds on the course. Sam would soon be dubbed “Sammy Cold Cuts” for the feathery fade he used to find the fairway during the morning’s spritzing rainfall.
Indeed, the forecaddying those two provided during the round proved invaluable in shot selection and placement. It also helped that Rick remembered to bring his GPS. Somehow I managed to get through my first 30 years of golf by eyeballing the 150- and 100-yard markers, and estimating yardage to the hole from there.
That GPS? Well, it almost feels like cheating.
Unlike most of the golf courses in Cortland County, Walden Oaks is a mere babe in the woods. It opened for business in 1993, and current head professional – and operations manager – Marcus Bernardo came on board one year later.
“Basically, the developer (of the course) was paired with the home builders, and the golf course was built around the housing development,” Bernardo said.