Jeff's Reporter Blog

Editor’s Notebook: 4/30/12

Monday, April 30th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• April went by really, really fast.
• Had a great time down at Six on the Square Saturday for the Seamus Kennedy performance! It was a sold-out crowd, so I’m grateful to Nancy Morey and Jeanie Petersen for getting me in. Hadn’t been there since the old Night Eagle days. The space is pretty much the same, but what strikes me now just as much as it did then is what a treasure this is in little ol’ Oxford. Growing up, I never thought of the hometown as being particularly cultural in any respect. Nowadays, we have a thriving non-profit bringing in high-calibre acts in an intimate and unique setting. Not sure how ‘hidden’ it is right smack in the middle of Oxford, but Six on the Square truly is a gem!
• Got your purple laid out for tomorrow? Took some excavating in the closet, but I think I found something wearable (see paragraph above; I was a Blackhawk, not a Tornado). Tuesday is “Paint the County Purple!” day, sponsored by Chenango County’s Relay For Life effort and an awareness-raiser for the fight against cancer. It’s a simple thing to do to show solidarity for such an important cause.
• Had a lunch meeting today over in New Berlin. Really have to make the trek over hill and dale more often. Besides a yummy lunch at New York Pizzeria (love you, Betsey!), it’s just a great little community with a friendly vibe – the best of what Chenango County has to offer, small town-wise. And while I’m doing shout-outs, I got to see the new sidelights (those glass panels on either side of the door) adorning the entrance to the village library, hand-crafted by my friend Peggy Finnegan (of Colorscape Chenango fame). An artist in lead and glass – they look fantastic!
• The Pink Door is 40 years old? Hard to believe it’s been that long. Read all about their history and anniversary celebration here.

• April went by really, really fast.

• Had a great time down at Six on the Square Saturday for the Seamus Kennedy performance! It was a sold-out crowd, so I’m grateful to Nancy Morey and Jeanie Petersen for getting me in. Hadn’t been there since the old Night Eagle days. The space is pretty much the same, but what strikes me now just as much as it did then is what a treasure this is in little ol’ Oxford. Growing up, I never thought of the hometown as being particularly cultural in any respect. Nowadays, we have a thriving non-profit bringing in high-calibre acts in an intimate and unique setting. Not sure how ‘hidden’ it is right smack in the middle of Oxford, but Six on the Square truly is a gem!

• Got your purple laid out for tomorrow? Took some excavating in the closet, but I think I found something wearable (see paragraph above; I was a Blackhawk, not a Tornado). Tuesday is “Paint the County Purple!” day, sponsored by Chenango County’s Relay For Life effort and an awareness-raiser for the fight against cancer. It’s a simple thing to do to show solidarity for such an important cause.

• Had a lunch meeting today over in New Berlin. Really have to make the trek over hill and dale more often. Besides a yummy lunch at New York Pizzeria (love you, Betsey!), it’s just a great little community with a friendly vibe – the best of what Chenango County has to offer, small town-wise. And while I’m doing shout-outs, I got to see the new sidelights (those glass panels on either side of the door) adorning the entrance to the village library, hand-crafted by my friend Peggy Finnegan (of Colorscape Chenango fame). An artist in lead and glass – they look fantastic!

• The Pink Door is 40 years old? Hard to believe it’s been that long. Read all about their history and anniversary celebration here.

Editor’s Notebook: 4/26/12

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• Insert obligatory comment about weather here. Acknowledge, move on.
• I was pleased to hear there’s a group getting together a family fun day for the 4th of July at the Chenango County Fairgrounds this year. I have many fond memories of the Rotary’s Independence Day events (Loverboy notwithstanding) and of course the much-missed Bullthistle Balloonfest. It’ll be nice to see some semblance of those events return to tradition this summer. The organizers are in need of volunteers, so pitch in! You can find them on Facebook here.
• Spent some time in the Sherburne-Earlville auditorium last night (renovations look good, by the way … too bad it took me 10 minutes to figure out how to get into the school!) for a preview of the drama club’s “Almost, Maine” production this weekend. Watch for my review in Friday’s paper.
• Things are sure heating up in the race for Chenango County Judge, as I’m sure you read in my story earlier this week. That was a tough one to write – valid points on both sides, and two opponents I respect and admire. Public opinion on the GOP’s endorsement seems pretty divided, too, based on what I’ve seen on Facebook, 30 Seconds and … oh yeah, actually talking to people! It’ll certainly be interesting to see what happens in the Republican primary in September. Makes me wish I was registered!
• I am registered to vote, of course. But many moons ago, when I assumed the awesome responsibility of small town newspaper editor, I changed my voter registration from my selected party (I’ll never tell which one it was) to non-affiliated. That’s right, neither a Democrat nor a Republican be, in this job. And while I always exercise my right to vote, unfortunately my newspaper-induced neutrality means I never get to play in a primary. Have at it, Republicans!
• After endorsing Colton Dixon to win American Idol last week, I think I should just keep my mouth shut when it comes to endorsements. A veritable kiss of death, it seems. On the other hand, maybe I should throw my support behind that little Jessica Sanchez …

• Insert obligatory comment about weather here. Acknowledge, move on.

• I was pleased to hear there’s a group getting together a family fun day for the 4th of July at the Chenango County Fairgrounds this year. I have many fond memories of the Rotary’s Independence Day events (Loverboy notwithstanding) and of course the much-missed Bullthistle Balloonfest. It’ll be nice to see some semblance of those events return to tradition this summer. The organizers are in need of volunteers, so pitch in! You can find them on Facebook here.

• Spent some time in the Sherburne-Earlville auditorium last night (renovations look good, by the way … too bad it took me 10 minutes to figure out how to get into the school!) for a preview of the drama club’s “Almost, Maine” production this weekend. Watch for my review in Friday’s paper.

• Things are sure heating up in the race for Chenango County Judge, as I’m sure you read in my story earlier this week. That was a tough one to write – valid points on both sides, and two opponents I respect and admire. Public opinion on the GOP’s endorsement seems pretty divided, too, based on what I’ve seen on Facebook, 30 Seconds and … oh yeah, actually talking to people! It’ll certainly be interesting to see what happens in the Republican primary in September. Makes me wish I was registered!

• I am registered to vote, of course. But many moons ago, when I assumed the awesome responsibility of small town newspaper editor, I changed my voter registration from my selected party (I’ll never tell which one it was) to non-affiliated. That’s right, neither a Democrat nor a Republican be, in this job. And while I always exercise my right to vote, unfortunately my newspaper-induced neutrality means I never get to play in a primary. Have at it, Republicans!

• After endorsing Colton Dixon to win American Idol last week, I think I should just keep my mouth shut when it comes to endorsements. A veritable kiss of death, it seems. On the other hand, maybe I should throw my support behind that little Jessica Sanchez …

Editor’s Notebook: 4/19/12

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• If you’re a fan of local racing, you won’t want to miss today’s edition – a special section inside is “Race Day 2012,” Sports Editor Pat Newell’s annual look into all things wheels. Pat and our advertising team do a great job putting this together every year, and with local feature stories and profiles of all kinds of drivers, there’s nothing else like it on the market. Evening Sun subscribers can see the PDF version on this website, too.
• Spent last evening over at the Council of the Arts, where they were hosting the 2012 Decentralization Grants Awards Ceremony. That’s where they distribute funds from the New York State Council on the Arts to smaller arts organizations, non-profit groups and libraries for cultural programming designed to, well, decentralize, the arts from one location. It was my second year in serving on the panel which doled out the grant funding, and let me tell you, it is an arduous and fascinating process. This year we were able to give out over $90,000 for events in Broome, Chenango and Otsego counties. But just to show you how competitive that process is, more than $200,000 was requested. We’ll have a story with a complete list of the winners (and Frank’s annual, and painful, group shot) in Monday’s edition.
• So, American Idol fans (even young Julian is a convert), who is your favorite now? Although I watch religiously, I’m one of “those” who never votes. Still, I was shocked by last week’s outcome, with Jessica and Joshua in the bottom three. Not so shocked that the judges saved Jessica from elimination, given their heaping praise of her week after week. Personally, both she and Joshua leave me cold. While I certainly appreciate their skill, I see nothing that would inspire me to buy their future albums (he says, as if he still buys “albums.”) My money’s on Phillip Phillips (after a much needed attitude adjustment), Colton Dixon (despite some questionable wardrobe choices) and, wait for it, Skylar Laine! Not usually much of a country fan, but this girl’s won me over with a string of fantastic performances over the past few weeks. If there were any justice in this ironic universe, little Jessica would be sent packing by America tonight – for real this time.

• If you’re a fan of local racing, you won’t want to miss today’s edition – a special section inside is “Race Day 2012,” Sports Editor Pat Newell’s annual look into all things wheels. Pat and our advertising team do a great job putting this together every year, and with local feature stories and profiles of all kinds of drivers, there’s nothing else like it on the market. Evening Sun subscribers can see the PDF version on this website, too.

• Spent last evening over at the Council of the Arts, where they were hosting the 2012 Decentralization Grants Awards Ceremony. That’s where they distribute funds from the New York State Council on the Arts to smaller arts organizations, non-profit groups and libraries for cultural programming designed to, well, decentralize, the arts from one location. It was my second year in serving on the panel which doled out the grant funding, and let me tell you, it is an arduous and fascinating process. This year we were able to give out over $90,000 for events in Broome, Chenango and Otsego counties. But just to show you how competitive that process is, more than $200,000 was requested. We’ll have a story with a complete list of the winners (and Frank’s annual, and painful, group shot) in Monday’s edition.

• So, American Idol fans (even young Julian is a convert), who is your favorite now? Although I watch religiously, I’m one of “those” who never votes. Still, I was shocked by last week’s outcome, with Jessica and Joshua in the bottom three. Not so shocked that the judges saved Jessica from elimination, given their heaping praise of her week after week. Personally, both she and Joshua leave me cold. While I certainly appreciate their skill, I see nothing that would inspire me to buy their future albums (he says, as if he still buys “albums.”) My money’s on Phillip Phillips (after a much needed attitude adjustment), Colton Dixon (despite some questionable wardrobe choices) and, wait for it, Skylar Laine! Not usually much of a country fan, but this girl’s won me over with a string of fantastic performances over the past few weeks. If there were any justice in this ironic universe, little Jessica would be sent packing by America tonight – for real this time.

Editor’s Notebook: 4/13/12

Friday, April 13th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• Not all that bad for a Friday the 13th, ehh? Just found out this morning I’m getting a hefty tax refund (nothing like working under pressure of a deadline), so it can’t be all that bad. Take that, black cat!
• Congratulations to Tom Stoddard, Tornado alum who’s the fourth in our seven-part series profiling the latest inductees to the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame. A side note, last week’s story on Kelly James Huhtala (special shout-out to a former ES colleague!) was one of our most “liked,” shared and commented-upon Facebook entries ever.
• Sure seems as though the towns of New Berlin and Columbus are gung-ho on supporting this new ambulance initiative, despite what appeared to be an overwhelming sentiment against it. Is this a case of a government out of touch with its constituents, or one that knows what’s in the best interests of its people better than … its people? Time will tell, I suppose, but the fix is certainly in.
• Norwich Tea Party Patriots will celebrate the three-year anniversary of the founding of their group with a rally in downtown Norwich Saturday. I suppose I was going to make the requisite Tea Party joke here, but really I have to admire a group of individuals who stand up for their principles loudly and publically, even if I don’t agree with them.
• I know you’re all dying to know what The Evening Sun staff’s most-anticipated summer movies are, but you’ll have to wait until next Friday for our next Toddster Teamup with one of our favorite correspondents, DVD Patrol’s Todd Campbell. Suffice it to say there are a lot of superheroes, vampires and aliens. If my lack of a Tea Party joke disappointed you, I’ll let you work with that.

• Not all that bad for a Friday the 13th, ehh? Just found out this morning I’m getting a hefty tax refund (nothing like working under pressure of a deadline), so it can’t be all that bad. Take that, black cat!

• Congratulations to Tom Stoddard, Tornado alum who’s the fourth in our seven-part series profiling the latest inductees to the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame. A side note, last week’s story on Kelly James Huhtala (special shout-out to a former ES colleague!) was one of our most “liked,” shared and commented-upon Facebook entries ever.

• Sure seems as though the towns of New Berlin and Columbus are gung-ho on supporting this new ambulance initiative, despite what appeared to be an overwhelming sentiment against it. Is this a case of a government out of touch with its constituents, or one that knows what’s in the best interests of its people better than … its people? Time will tell, I suppose, but the fix is certainly in.

• Norwich Tea Party Patriots will celebrate the three-year anniversary of the founding of their group with a rally in downtown Norwich Saturday. I suppose I was going to make the requisite Tea Party joke here, but really I have to admire a group of individuals who stand up for their principles loudly and publically, even if I don’t agree with them.

• I know you’re all dying to know what The Evening Sun staff’s most-anticipated summer movies are, but you’ll have to wait until next Friday for our next Toddster Teamup with one of our favorite correspondents, DVD Patrol’s Todd Campbell. Suffice it to say there are a lot of superheroes, vampires and aliens. If my lack of a Tea Party joke disappointed you, I’ll let you work with that.

Editor’s Notebook: 3/29/12

Thursday, March 29th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• This week has gotten away from me incredibly fast. Time flies when you’re having …
• Check out today’s Sports section for Pat Newell’s annual season-end review of the top Chenango high school basketball players – this week, it’s the girls’ turn. Can’t say I’ve ever been to a girls’ basketball game in my entire life, but hey, that’s what I pay Pat the big bucks for. All kidding aside, congratulations to this fine group of young female athletes.
• Speaking of young females … or old, for that matter … oh heck, just about everyone can get married these days, why be exclusive? Today’s the day we also roll out our 2012 Wedding Planner. It’s full of all the latest … who am I kidding? We bought the content, considering none of us on the ES staff are particularly knowledgeable in the art of matrimony … well, in planning a big expansive wedding in 2012, anyway. Both Melissa and Shawn are happily married (not to each other), so I’m sure they must be experts at some aspect of it by now.
• Spent a good portion of my night Wednesday sitting through Norwich High School’s dress rehearsal for this weekend’s production of “Aida.” I’ve got both a story interviewing the cast and a review of the show in Friday’s edition. Without giving too much away, I will say that I quoted senior Mallory Norton as saying that this show “will give Phantom a run for its money” – and she’s right.

• This week has gotten away from me incredibly fast. Time flies when you’re having …

• Check out today’s Sports section for Pat Newell’s annual season-end review of the top Chenango high school basketball players – this week, it’s the girls’ turn. Can’t say I’ve ever been to a girls’ basketball game in my entire life, but hey, that’s what I pay Pat the big bucks for. All kidding aside, congratulations to this fine group of young female athletes.

• Speaking of young females … or old, for that matter … oh heck, just about everyone can get married these days, why be exclusive? Today’s the day we also roll out our 2012 Wedding Planner. It’s full of all the latest … who am I kidding? We bought the content, considering none of us on the ES staff are particularly knowledgeable in the art of matrimony … well, in planning a big expansive wedding in 2012, anyway. Both Melissa and Shawn are happily married (not to each other), so I’m sure they must be experts at some aspect of it by now.

• Spent a good portion of my night Wednesday sitting through Norwich High School’s dress rehearsal for this weekend’s production of “Aida.” I’ve got both a story interviewing the cast and a review of the show in Friday’s edition. Without giving too much away, I will say that I quoted senior Mallory Norton as saying that this show “will give Phantom a run for its money” – and she’s right.

Editor’s Notebook: 3/23/12

Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Jeff Genung
• And we come to the end of another long, crazy week. At least the weather was nice — freakishly so. I’m not one to bite the hand that feeds me, but I can’t help thinking we’re going to pay for all this 70-80 degree weather with one mother of a snowstorm after Easter. Or a zombie apocalypse on 12-12-12, take your pick.
• My alma mater, Oxford Academy, has chosen a new school superintendent, Dr. David Richards. Ooh, a doctor! Little old Oxford is stepping up in the world! I’ve seen many a superintendent come and go, of course, but in my mind it’ll always be Mr. Burroughs at the helm of the red & black. Look at me waxing nostalgic about the good old days … of high school?!?
• I’ll be attending my first “Fashion Night Out” at the Benedict Corporation Saturday night. It’s an annual fashion show fundraiser for the Phoenix Dance Project, which features dancers from our own Perkins School of the Arts. I look forward to Amber’s recitals every spring and saw a Phoenix performance at the Palace Theater in Hamilton last fall that was phenomenal, so it’ll be interesting to see how they stage this whole fashion show concept thing. I hear it’s a good time.
• Pat Newell’s first of a seven-part series on the latest class of inductees for the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame appears in today’s edition, profiling John Stewart of the Class of ‘54. Check it out here.

• And we come to the end of another long, crazy week. At least the weather was nice — freakishly so. I’m not one to bite the hand that feeds me, but I can’t help thinking we’re going to pay for all this 70-80 degree weather with one mother of a snowstorm after Easter. Or a zombie apocalypse on 12-12-12, take your pick.

• My alma mater, Oxford Academy, has chosen a new school superintendent, Dr. David Richards. Ooh, a doctor! Little old Oxford is stepping up in the world! I’ve seen many a superintendent come and go, of course, but in my mind it’ll always be Mr. Burroughs at the helm of the red & black. Look at me waxing nostalgic about the good old days … of high school?!?

• I’ll be attending my first “Fashion Night Out” at the Benedict Corporation Saturday night. It’s an annual fashion show fundraiser for the Phoenix Dance Project, which features dancers from our own Perkins School of the Arts. I look forward to Amber’s recitals every spring and saw a Phoenix performance at the Palace Theater in Hamilton last fall that was phenomenal, so it’ll be interesting to see how they stage this whole fashion show concept thing. I hear it’s a good time.

• Pat Newell’s first of a seven-part series on the latest class of inductees for the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame appears in today’s edition, profiling John Stewart of the Class of ‘54. Check it out here.

Editor’s Notebook: 3/12/12

Monday, March 12th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• Hey, I wrote a story! Or, I guess I should say, more appropriately — Frank Revoir announced his candidacy for Chenango’s County, Surrogate and Family Court Judge today. Stay tuned — expect another Republican to announce his candidacy soon, and maybe even a Democrat to announce … hers? Should be an interesting primary/election season, to say the least. Contested races are not only good for news, folks – they’re good for the democratic process. Bring ‘em on, I say.
• Norwich High School held its annual Purple vs. White Spirit Night as the culmination of Spirit Week Friday, with Purple emerging victorious. See various Tornado students make fools of themselves (and have a good time doing it) in this Evening Sun subscribers gallery of Frank Speziale’s photos.
• Sad to say, all that spirit didn’t help to Tornado emerge victorious over Bishop Ludden Saturday. Kudos, anyway, to the Purple hoopsters and their first-year coach on an amazing season. Get ‘em next time!
• My American Idol update, for those who care about such things: They should just give the title to Jessica Sanchez right now and be done with it. It’s about time a girl won again anyway (whatever happened to you, Jordin Sparks?).

• Hey, I wrote a story! Or, I guess I should say, more appropriately — Frank Revoir announced his candidacy for Chenango’s County, Surrogate and Family Court Judge today. Stay tuned — expect another Republican to announce his candidacy soon, and maybe even a Democrat to announce … hers? Should be an interesting primary/election season, to say the least. Contested races are not only good for news, folks – they’re good for the democratic process. Bring ‘em on, I say.

• Norwich High School held its annual Purple vs. White Spirit Night as the culmination of Spirit Week Friday, with Purple emerging victorious. See various Tornado students make fools of themselves (and have a good time doing it) in this Evening Sun subscribers gallery of Frank Speziale’s photos.

• Sad to say, all that spirit didn’t help to Tornado emerge victorious over Bishop Ludden Saturday. Kudos, anyway, to the Purple hoopsters and their first-year coach on an amazing season. Get ‘em next time!

• My American Idol update, for those who care about such things: They should just give the title to Jessica Sanchez right now and be done with it. It’s about time a girl won again anyway (whatever happened to you, Jordin Sparks?).

Editor’s Notebook: 3/7/12

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
Jeff Genung

• Longtime local historian Patricia Scott writes our weekly series on the old one-room rural school houses – “Schools of the Past” – each Thursday in The Evening Sun. Once in a while, she’ll drop off a historical tidbit she’s come across while doing her research to share with me. I thought this one was worth republishing … from the Jan. 26, 1963 edition of The Evening Sun, I give you …

GOALS FOR NORWICH AND CHENANGO COUNTY

The following are a set of goals that should be the aim of the people, organizations and governing bodies of Norwich and Chenango County.

1. Rehabilitation and expansion of the downtown Norwich shopping area.

2. Provide more housing and apartment facilities in and around Norwich.

3. Improve highways and provide better farm-to-market roads and streets.

4. City and County cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce Industrial Committee, in order to secure new industries and more payrolls.

5. County wide program to beautify public buildings, parks and homes.

6. Encourage better relationship between urban and rural residents for common progress.

7. Plan for better and bigger library.

8. Encourage individual and corporate business growth and expansion.

9. Boost Chenango County as a good place to live, do business and as a vacation area.

1963!! Well, at least we got that better and bigger library.

• That’s it for today … get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

Editor’s Notebook: 3/5/12

Monday, March 5th, 2012
Jeff Genung

• In case you haven’t heard the tortured cries and frustrated grumblings coming from our ivory tower on Lackawanna Avenue, The Evening Sun has endured an editorial software upgrade over the last week or so – the first major upgrade since the mid-1990s, mind you. Mostly, it went off without a hitch. Astute readers may have witnessed a few wonky things in our print edition, but hopefully we’ll have them all ironed out soon. Bear with us, dear readers! It’s been like learning this job, from a technical standpoint, all over again. My head is ready to explode.

• Congratulations to the Norwich Purple Tornado Boys Basketball team on their victory over the weekend! Of course I’d forgotten they were playing that night (that’s what I pay Pat Newell to keep track of) and thought the zombie apocalypse had started in downtown Norwich when I heard all the sirens going off. A hero’s welcome beats a zombie apocalypse any day. For those interested in seeing more of Frank Speziale’s pictures from the game, check out the gallery I posted on our Facebook page today.

• More than $4,000 for a chicken barbecue? Wow, those New Berliners really do love their village ambulance, don’t they? Wonder if the UVAC board members ate crow.

• Brian Golden’s off to the rescheduled “Music in Our Schools Month” concert tonight at Norwich. Check out our website tomorrow for a photo gallery.

Editor’s Notebook: 2/29/12

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
Jeff Genung

• So much for the “extra” day this year. If it was indeed “extra,” why am I still so far behind? Suck it, Leap Year.

• Speaking of which, this calendar aberration threw a wrench into our ongoing software upgrade/installation in the ES newsroom today. Seems a plug-in for our new program didn’t anticipate the 2/29 date and refused to work. I empathize.

• Newsflash: It’s snowing. Although that’s really all that should be said about the subject, I’m sure Brian will have a story about it in tomorrow’s paper anyway – that scanner was going nonstop this afternoon. Hopefully everyone’s playing it safe out there.

• I’ve refrained from commenting thus far on the whole New Berlin ambulance saga because I simply don’t get it — but it seems to be getting curiouser and curiouser. What’s the motivation for starting a new service, which essentially duplicates an existing one, when no one wants it? OK, to be fair, 10 people want it (the UVAC board). Unless we’re simply not hearing from the supporters, it’s an idea that seems wildly unpopular. What gives?

• And since I’d be remiss if I were not to comment on the current season of American Idol, let me just state for the record that I will not buy an album from anyone named Deandre Brackensick. Or, for that matter, Englebert Humperdinck.