Cameron's Reporter Blog

Lead by example

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
Cameron Turner

Being able to say I am just two days short of having been employed for the past 10 months at The Evening Sun, is something that came in the blink of an eye. The adult world is still something of a marvel to myself, as I am slowly picking up on the ins and outs and how to truly ‘adult’ correctly. I now have a new appreciation for my parents, my teachers and my coaches for putting up with my three younger brothers and I, to say the least.

However, one thing I have really be focusing on, is forcing myself to step back and slow down, to really take in and observe what I am doing each day.

As my days generally revolve around what high school games I will be going to and which articles I have to write about for the next days paper, I find myself surrounded by student athletes and coaches almost everyday. Therefore, I have gotten to know many coaches and athletes thus far, and have been able to observe many different ways that coaches attempt to reach these young athletes.

The athletes have been amazing to observe, when I can still remember what was running through my head what feels like ages ago, but in reality was just a short years ago. As I knew back then and as I see evident even more so now, each person is different in their approach to their respective sport, their preparation, attitude, and it really is quite interesting to observe all these students from all across Chenango County perform, and at quite a high level I might add.

But the coaches and their many different styles has been what truly has caught my attention, when I find the time to focus on what I am constantly and endlessly writing about. Without singling anyone out, in a positive or negative light, I admire and enjoy working with all of the various coaches in Chenango County.

When I think back to my many coaches I had in various sports growing up, I most fondly remember the ones who helped inspire and shape me into the ‘adult’ I am today. But, nevertheless, I also remember the few coaches who seemed to be just placeholders and the even a couple of coaches who were utterly negative and not inspiring in the least.

Coaches essentially are an extension of teachers in our society, helping to mold and shape the young minds of our youth. I know personally I can think of many influential coaches in my life, and even today I maintain a friendship with many of them. However, these negative coaches still hold a place in ones mind as well, something to strive not to become.

As I deal with all of the varsity level coaches in Chenango County, I have come to see a small glimpse of each of their styles. So when I happen to run into coaches that openly seem to be coaching not for the betterment of our youth and the sport, but instead for their own praise and pride, it bothers me to a degree. To hear these coaches complain that their team ‘doesn’t play for them,’ or ‘they aren’t winning,’ is perplexing to me, as even within a losing season, I always understood a huge part coaching was to manage their team and help inspire a spark to want to win.

A great coach and man taught me that sports are essentially a prelude to life – you have to work as a team, you have to excel individually, you have to face constant adversity, and when you fail you have to learn from it and get back up– this coach remains a part of my life today, and people like this belong in the coaching realm, and can truly help mold our youth into positive human beings.

When an individual is coaching for simply a paycheck or to get their name on a plaque, I see it as a drain on our local sports, which already are fighting an uphill battle with dwindling enrollment in some sports and simply the fact that Chenango County does not have the large class A schools and their budgets that accompany to further their success. Despite all this, I see much promise for the future of Chenango County high school sports if pushed in the right direction.

These young student athletes will one day be ‘adults’, entering into everyday life. For some of these kids, school and sports is all they may have if their parents are absent or otherwise not raising them. Therefore, it is important to be there and set a strong example for them, so one day they can look back on their coaches with thanks for the lessons taught, rather than have another thing –their coaches – that my millennial generation can blame their shortcomings on.

That being said, these negative coaches are few and far between, and usually work their way out of the coaching staff on their own accord.

Now as The full-time Sports Editor at The Evening Sun, and with nearly two full varsity seasons under my belt, it has been a pleasure to work with each and every team thus far, and I look forward to finding out what future seasons have to bring.

Good luck to the many teams and athletes of Chenango County who are or will be heading into post-season play this week or in the coming week, and lets hope each team can get that win and advance to the next round. And to those athletes and coaches that have concluded their seasons or will be shortly, it was a hectic spring 2016 season, but a very engaging and fun time.

Time is flying by

Saturday, February 6th, 2016
Cameron Turner

The end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 has been one crazy ride so far.

As I have now wrapped up my first six months of many being employed here at The Evening Sun, I could not have imagined that the time would have passed so quickly. I have had so many great times, and memories in such a short time.

I have learned so many tricks of the trade that I was unaware of when graduating from college. I have covered so many different areas in journalism, one aspect and something I think working for a local newspaper really helps with. This versatility and truly soaking in a broad range of topics from court, crime, sports, drug panels, school events, meetings, and so on has given me so much experience. Experience that I think has helped me grow as a person and as a writer.

I was amazed by the staff that is employed at The Evening Sun when I started and instantly knew I would enjoy working with them. Now just over six months later, I would agree even more with that statement and add that I am amazed with the amount of work and effort that each individual puts into their work on a daily basis.

The yearly Progress Chenango Edition, a recap and brief look forward for Chenango County Businesses, was truly a growing experience for me and has taught me some key time management techniques I will be carrying into this 2016 year.

Due to currently being understaffed, we had to bring on some stringers to help out with the Sports section. I want to personally thank Kieran Coffey and Grady Thompson for their effort and work helping us manage when times get tough, and not just manage but operate in my own personal opinion at a very high level.

But with that it has not all been happy and good all the time. While working on covering courts and crime I have seen, and now know many things that go on in our communities here in Chenango County that are saddening. Our addiction and crime problem for the small communities we live in is honestly disgusting but it is good to see small progressive steps being taken to address these issues. I look forward to seeing these small steps hopefully progress as 2016 continues.

Let alone the problems that face our community, as well as added stress from being understaffed and living the adult life now, it can be daunting at times. But with the great friends I have now right here at The Evening Sun, no task seems too daunting.

It is however important to step away from work for a bit and regroup from time to time. That is why with the big game coming up this Sunday featuring Denver and Carolina, I will be in full force cheering on my favorite football player and reason I started watching football way back, Peyton Manning.

I would like nothing more than to see Peyton and company win this big game over Carolina, as the legend himself notches win number 200 and becomes the most winningest quarterback in history, before he rides out into the sunset towards retirement.

So on that note, Go Denver!

Stagnant approach to an escalating problem

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
Cameron Turner

By now everyone in the Norwich community has hopefully realized the very serious problem we all are facing, addiction. If not, it is time everyone jumps on board, because this problem doesn’t just involve the drug addicts and alcoholics, it encompasses everyone.

I attended, like many in the community did, the drug panel that was held at the Guernsey Memorial Library on Dec. 1, 2015. It was truly awesome to see that community room packed, with only minimal standing room in the back.

The panel of speakers included: Jennah Shreve, a Drug Court graduate; Mike Galesky, a Drug Court graduate; Sarah VanTine, a Drug Court graduate; Connie Barnes, mother of a deceased drug victim and nurse; Sarah Stewart, mother of a former user; Jim Everard, Drug Court Facilitator; Elliot Stewart, a former user and Rehab Intake Director; Joseph McBride, Chenango County District Attorney; Frank Revoir, Chenango County Judge; and John Dunkel, Probation Officer.

I think this panel was a huge step in the right direction for a Norwich community that seems to be very fed up with the addiction problem that exists.

I congratulate and thank each and every person who spoke at that panel that day.

I would also like to thank our law enforcement and court system for their ongoing efforts, but their actions are purely reactionary in nature.

However, not including these drug related arrests, and drug convictions in County Court, which happen what seems to be every few days; since this panel I have seen little to no actions taken to continue taking the steps necessary to cleaning up Norwich.

You may ask what these steps may be; a simple response is to continue to talk. A community that communicates has greater chance of tackling a problem than one who simply posts statuses on Facebook and complains constantly.

I would even go far enough to say that since no one has passed away recently from a drug overdose, as far as I know, the chatter about what needs to be done has simply faded away, as people have seemed to fall back into their Norwich bubble everyday routine.

I chose to attend the last Norwich City School Board meeting, which was held a few weeks ago at the Norwich Middle School. During the public opinion section of the meeting, I listened to one concerned individual – who also spoke at the drug panel – speak out on this matter of addiction.

Donald Chirlin, a retired Norwich City School teacher, per normal procedure, only spoke for a mere five minutes at this school board meeting. But he still spoke.

During these school board meetings, each person who wishes to speak during the public comment section is permitted to a five-minute time slot. Despite this long-standing rule, I feel this is somewhat of a metaphor for how Norwich seems to be handling their drug and addiction problem. Let them speak on the matter so it can be heard and publicized, that way it seems like a true effort is being made. However, we can only permit you to speak for five minutes because we really don’t want to hear about it, seems to be the attitude.

Chirlin spoke in regards to addressing the problem at the middle and high school level, essentially arguing that an attempt needs to be made in the schools to help prevent or reduce future addicts before graduation.

This short presentation was listened to intently by the board and a positive response was given.

Many of you who may be reading this piece, by this time might be thinking that the resources just don’t exist in Chenango County or Norwich, and you would be correct in assuming that.

But I would like to remind people that the more a topic is talked about, the more attention will be brought to it, and hopefully that will cause some more change.

Thankfully since the last time I wrote no one has passed away from overdose, but just the other day on Dec. 21, there was another major drug bust that occurred right in City of Norwich on Division Street. This time the Norwich Police Department recovered methamphetamine, as well as material used to manufacture this drug.

Speaking from personal experience when I cover County Court for The Evening Sun, there seems to be a lot of drug related burglaries recently. During the panel at the library, our District Attorney even alleged that with drug addiction comes an increase in burglaries, due to addicts stealing to support their habit.

So maybe drugs aren’t a part of your life directly, and maybe no one you know has an addiction problem. But burglaries take a toll on everyone, as they put a community in a state of fear.

So as we enter the new year of 2016 in just a few short days, it is important to remember that this addiction problem isn’t just a 2015 problem. So as the new year is fast approaching, we should remember when making our new year’s resolutions that maybe as a community we should look to correct the direction our community seems to be heading before we fail to try to hit the gym a little more as resolution.

The fall season is by far my favorite

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015
Cameron Turner

Forget the over publicized pumpkin spice everything, the most important thing regarding fall is that Football is back, go Colts as they take on Brady and the cheating Patriots. But fall also means no more blistering August heat, and of course the best holiday in my opinion, Halloween. But one thing that this great midway season has to offer to the people of upstate and central New York is the amazing colors and scenery, as the leaves change.

Maybe this is a little repetitive; as I am sure many people have been talking and have even written about the changing leaves and amazing scenery. But I wanted to take the time to really talk about how lucky the people in this area truly are to get such an amazing nature display. Many people don’t take the time to slow down their lives to truly appreciate this season.

The thing about fall is how fast the season goes by every year. It seems like one second it’s summer then next thing we know we’re frozen in the dead of winter.

Winter, on the other hand is my least favorite season by far. Growing up in Norwich my whole life and then going to college in the Syracuse area and then Oswego, I know all too well what a terrible time winter is. I apologize to anyone who enjoys winter, but seriously no one enjoys waking up and trying to go work, all to find out you have to shovel and scrape of snow and ice from your frozen car. Not to mention when you get home from work, which means it’s time to shovel the walk.

But back to fall, last year, or possibly the year before even, I took two of my younger brothers on a little nature hike to see the stone quarry. I wanted to share some pictures that I took along the way. This time of the year had me thinking about it again as it is something I would love to do again with them or simply myself. It has been far too long since I took a nice hike to the stone quarry.

Pictures of nature hike at the Stone Quarry.

I also recently have been in contact with Don Windsor who has a club called the Bullthistle Hikers club, which takes individuals on various hikes around the Chenango County area. This group was unknown to me prior to speaking with him, but I find it truly awesome that something like this club exists. He has invited me to go on some hikes with his group. As I have such an erratic schedule, I honestly admit I don’t know if I will be able to. But I will make a note to try to set some time away and make a hike or two with his club. I encourage anyone interested to get in contact with him at windsorda@yahoo.com, as they go hiking each Sunday morning I believe.

Regardless, the point of this blog is to encourage the people in Chenango County and upstate New York to take a second out of your day to appreciate the changing colors and great scenery many of us take for granted each year. Soon enough, winter will be upon us and we will all be huddled inside attempting to stay warm.

Not a gun control problem

Friday, August 28th, 2015
Cameron Turner

Deciding what to write for my blog posts has been the hardest part so far. But when an incident happens that catches my attention, like the shooting of the two innocent journalists did the other day, I felt it would be appropriate to write my next blog post on that and my take on the bigger picture surrounding these shootings.

For those of you that don’t know, yesterday morning 41-year-old, Vester Flanagan shot and killed two broadcast journalists as they were doing a live TV interview.

Flanagan, who was a former employee of the TV station and called himself a “powder keg” of anger over what he saw as racial discrimination at work and elsewhere in the United States. Flanagan even resorted to Twitter to voice his anger.

Flanagan, later shot himself as police pursued him on a Virginia highway hours after the shooting. Flanagan, who was African-American, died later at a hospital, police said in a report.

The two TV journalists that were killed were Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27.

The original video that was posted allegedly by the shooter himself has since been removed but the video shot by the cameraman is still available. Viewer discretion is advised.

I feel this tragedy substantially adds to the debate about gun control in the country, and adds one more tragic case of people being killed by a man with a gun.

At this point you probably are thinking that I am in support of gun control, which would be extremely false.

As a journalist I am a big believer in upholding the constitution of our country to a T, and that all of our rights should never be infringed upon for any reason.

I feel the problem, and what seems to be an outbreak of gun related incidents isn’t the fact that gun control needs to be tightened down but more so an issue in mental health and a society that drives these troubled people to do extreme things.

And not to get too politically charged, and I am in no way advocating for Presidential Candidate Donald Trump. I do however, admire how outspoken he is as a politician and feel that his take on this situation and others like it is the correct one.

So as I personally sit here as a journalist just starting out on my career path, and it truly makes me wonder.

I feel for all who were hurt by this tragic event and all the other events both recent and in the past. But I think to attack guns instead of attacking the issues behind the violence is very naive. The fact that a troubled man can go commit this act of violence or a disturbed teenager can get his hands on weapons and intend to harm others is disturbing in itself.

America has always been a country which likes to put band-aids on its problems, and not face its true issues. Guns are simply not the problem, they were purposefully put in our original constitution to ensure our safety, and they should stay there to continue to do so. The problem is the people, it has been said a million times, but guns do not kill people any more than a telephone or a pen does. The people in the world with mental problems need to be looked at and helped, the American law-abiding citizen should not suffer for a few peoples actions.

Couldn’t be any happier with where I am at the moment

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
Cameron Turner

My name is Cameron Turner and I want to take this time to introduce myself a little.

I was born and raised in the Norwich community. I was actually home schooled, by my wonderful mother, until I was getting ready to enter 7th grade. At this time, I was enrolled in the Norwich Middle School where I met many new people, some of which have become lifelong friends. Throughout middle and high school I was fairly involved in community and school related events while participating in sports: Football, Wrestling and Track and Field, year round. Along with my family, these sports and my coaches, I believe truly helped shape me into who I am today. And I would like to thank you.

After high school I was not sure exactly what I wanted to do with my life, but I new pursuing a higher education would be for the better, no matter what I decided on. I was accepted and attended Le Moyne College as an undeclared major. Le Moyne was a great place and I don’t regret going there for a second. But after completing my second year of college I decided I needed a change. I transferred to SUNY Oswego, I heard they had a great journalism and communications department, and I couldn’t have been more happy with that choice. I immediately changed my major to Journalism at Oswego (I realized at this point in college that I could write, but that my math and science skills were garbage). While at Oswego I met some of the best people I could ask for in life, professors and students alike. At Oswego I ended up getting involved with the student paper, which my only regret in doing so, was not getting more involved sooner. I recently graduated college from SUNY Oswego this past May with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor/learning agreement in political science/overseas relations and thought.

That brings me to where I am now in my life. As college was nearing an end, I was also beginning my new life of a working adult. Job applications, working hard to make connections, along with the pressure of finals seemed at times to be overwhelming. Once college was over, and while I was waiting to hear back about a job offer, I decided to go back to work for the Norwich DPW as a summer help employee, which is where I had worked during the summer months of college. However, after applying to many newspapers all across New York State and even some out of state papers, I finally received a call back. I am now the new reporter covering the crime and court beat for the Evening Sun in my hometown of Norwich, I also cover various other topics as well. As I was more than willing to move out of Norwich to start my career in journalism, I am thrilled to not have to make that change and move away from so many of my family and friends.

In my few short weeks since being hired here at the Evening Sun, I couldn’t be more impressed with the staff that I get to work with on a daily basis. I honestly was a little worried about getting used to and fitting in with the staff right away just due to it being so new to me. But the transition has felt almost seamless. I hope I have impressed everyone I work with as much as they truly have impressed me thus far.

So like I said before, I could not be happier with where my life has taken me, and where I currently am on this journey. I am really looking forward to what will come next.