Elections, New Hampshire, nail polish and cookies

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than a month since I’ve taken over the editor gig here at The Evening Sun. What an awesome month it’s been. Shawn deserves balloons or coffee for all his stellar work. (I vote coffee because we’re running low and I forgot to get more k-cups this afternoon). For the first three weeks it was just Shawn and I handling the news-y happenings throughout the county, and Pat – as always – continues to hold down the sports section like a champ. We welcomed a new reporter, Matt, almost two weeks ago now, and things are working out well. Soon we’ll be up to staff and I’m super excited about that.
I took over at just the right time for elections to be rolling around. This means I have 7,749 “Letters to the Editor.” Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but I have a bunch. A few have actually interested me. Some even address me as a person, and those are my favorite. The others … well, I read them and print them.
To be honest, I don’t care in the slightest the election outcome of these highly contested towns. Being removed from those locations is to my benefit. UVAC this, New Berlin Ambulance Service that … Fracking is horrible, fracking would benefit all … yadda yadda yadda. If you want to vote on Tuesday, head out and vote. If you don’t, fine by me. I’ll still read your opinions on ‘30 Seconds’ and keep mine to myself. Those are conversations to be kept in the confines of the newsroom during staff meetings. For now.
For the first Monday since my second week at The Evening Sun, I will not have an opinion piece ready to roll on Monday. Due to all of the “Letters to the Editor” that should run either Tuesday or before, I have decided to switch some things around.
Look at me – being all friendly and facilitating to all the folks who have something they’d like to get out there before the masses flock to the polls.
That just reminded me of the last time I voted. Polls were open until 9 p.m. I showed up at 8:58 p.m., on purpose, and was told I was too late. Flashed my phone and reminded them I had two minutes. They couldn’t find me on the list, and asked me four times if I had my first name correct. …I was fairly certain I did, but three different individuals insisted my name must be Josephine.
“Nope, I’m Ashley. But I did always think Josephine was a cool name. I had a great aunt Josephine I never got to meet.”At any rate, since I was “in line” before nine, they had to let me vote, once they made a call to Albany and had me fill out some change of address form even though it hasn’t changed since I moved back from Buffalo.I went in there, voted “no” to the school budget, and was out of there in seven seconds.But I digress – you folks are excited about elections and there are some “hot button” issues, I suppose. So I’ll let you have your space to share your views.
After all, you put up with my antics week after week.
Fear not, though, I’ll have something ready to go one of the others days next week.
I’m peeling out Friday for a much needed weekend in New Hampshire and I am more than excited. Weekends in NH make my head and my heart happy, and it’s nice to breathe different air, sit in different chairs, and surround myself with some fantastic folks.
I guarantee the event I am attending will provide me with weeks worth of content to write about. There’s even a “Ladies in the Media” panel, which should prove to be fun and informative.
The drive is pretty fantastic too. Not much beats solo dance parties while cruising along scenic routes through New Hampshire in Autumn.
In non-work related news … my sister is about to have her baby. Hopefully. She was due a week ago today. I’m looking forward to being “off the wall Aunt Ashley,” and can’t wait to help the little kiddo learn about some obscure things. The niece and I will have reggae dance parties and I’ll show her how to play Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” on the drums, just because it’s a cool tune.
Well … I just took a 45 second break to check ‘30 Seconds’ and found 15 submissions awaiting approval. Hint: I am not oblivious to acronyms. Per the implemented policy, profanity is not permitted, and I will not approve posts that are acronyms for phrases containing profanity. I dislike censorship as much as the next gal, but they’re not going to get approved. Figure out how to get your message across without it, or I’ll just continue to delete them. Gracias.
In his poem titled “Pretend,” Buddy Wakefield wrote, “We’ve got 6 billion dawning truths, setting 6 billion different suns on you.”
I like that you all have opinions. I like that I disagree with most – if not all – of you. It keeps my days interesting, to say the least.
Alright, this was longer than intended, and I still need to paint my nails, finish my book, and bake cookies.
In no particular order.

Sports Editor’s playbook, Oct. 30, 2013

Hard to believe time has flown by so quickly, and it seems one sports season blends into another. I was still in the mindset that Norwich varsity tennis players Breanna Cashman and Jennifer Borfitz were still juniors, and had another year to compete for a sectional championship.
I snapped out of it when head coach John Stewart called Monday afternoon as a follow-up to his phone message Sunday. “Those two “seniors” and their impact on the program the past three years is still being felt,” Stewart told me.
Cashman and Borfitz were Johnny-come-latelys to tennis after playing other sports through their freshmen years. In their first year, 2011, they played as Norwich’s top regular season doubles team, and posted a nice winning record on a club that had Class B champions Bryn Loomis and Sophie Stewart.
With graduation comes promotion, and the two netters moved up to second and third singles a season ago. Again, winning records followed, and the duo made a nice run at doubles in 2012 sectional play.
Borfitz and Cashman jumped to first and second singles for all but a handful of matches his year on a team that lost just one match the entire regular season, and one in the STAC playoffs. Norwich won a division championship, and was one point from winning a Class B sectional title. Not a bad finish for a Tornado team led by a pair of seniors who never played competitive tennis until two-plus years ago. “I just wanted to say goodbye to my seniors because they made a big difference in our tennis program,” Stewart said, who added that Norwich may not have been a .500 team without them. “It will be sad to see them go.”

Wrestling, similar to every other sport these days, is a 12-month commitment to attain excellence. Evidence: Norwich junior Tristan Rifanburg. Rifanburg added to his prodigious list of accomplishments winning “The Freak Show” out in Las Vegas this past weekend. Facing many of the best high school wrestlers west of the Mississippi, Rifanburg dominated the competition winning five matches by a combined 36-2 score. Those victories were capped by a 6-0 decision in the 138-pound high school elite finals. The story appears in Wednesday’s sports report. Rifanburg, a state champion as a seventh-grader, was just a few seconds away from a state title this past winter, and he should be considered a favorite this coming season.

Follow me on Twitter @evesunpat.

Just pay your fine now, we’ll tell you what you did wrong later.

Slapping the hand of too-big-to-fail financial giant JPMorgan is, for lack of a better term, Bogus. That’s right. Bogus. In an attempt to “teach them boys a lesson” JP Morgan has announced that it is ready to pay off it’s fine; to the tune of $13 billion to the U.S. government–potentially one of the largest such settlements ever enforced.
Seems pretty harsh to you and I, right? So why am I complaining? In the fourth quarter of 2012 alone, JPMorgan earned $5.7 billion in profits. The also reported that they took in $99.9 billion in revenue and $21.3 billion in net income in 2012. JPMorgan managed to notch its third straight year of record profits despite enduring the most embarrassing loss in its history.
But that’s not the reason why. In fact, money has absolutely nothing to do with it.
Instead, anyone willing to read between the lines will see that this is just another example of smoke and mirrors orchestrated by the Department of Justice soap-boxing how tough it has gotten on banks, giving Main Street the warm feeling that Wall Street has finally paid it’s debt to society.
The financial marketplace is not a safer one Problem is, no new rules or guidelines have been implemented to make risky business and unsavory dealings illegal. One of the biggest travesties of the matter is the fact that no one knows exactly what the huge settlement is for, because the details haven’t been released.
JPMorgan was begged by the government in 2008 to buy up the troubled Bears and Stearn and WaMu firms, who were the REAL perpetrators responsible for catastrophic risky lending, in order to stabilize the financial crisis. I’m fully abreast to the notion that “you get what you pay for”; and JPMorgan knew that going into the transaction, which is why CEO Jamie Dimon set aside something like 24 Billion dollars in a rainy day fund to pay for these ill ventures when the tax man would inevitably come to collect.
That day has come…but with what resolve?
That is a very good question.

TV grids are useless

It amazes me that people still use the TV grid in the newspaper. Given our Jetsons-like era of instant information, you would think a TV grid in a small town newspaper would be as useless as an ejector seat in a helicopter. Just an observation…

After three weeks of being the sole reporter for The Evening Sun, this week I relinquished my title as senior/seasoned/and cub reporter all rolled into one. Welcome to the newest Evening Sun employee, Matthew White – reporter, columnist and, I think, a black belt in taijutsu. Though Matt comes from a background in construction, he’s fitting nicely at Chenango County’s hometown daily and with a few stories already under his belt, he’s off to a terrific start. Of course, we are still hiring one more reporter in the near future. Changes are forthcoming (fingers crossed, knock on wood, find a four leaf clover, sneeze three times before breakfast for good luck).

On a separate note, it’s been more than three weeks since the federal government rolled out the new Healthcare.gov website to encourage people to enroll in a healthcare plan to satisfy the individual mandate of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Supposing you don’t already know, the website has more than few glitches. In the past weeks, it’s become a scapegoat for Republicans to further criticize the new Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.” To me, it seems like a petit argument, using a bugged website to criticize an impending law we’ve known about for months. I admit, I have my own qualms with Obamacare (specifically my belief that it’s a train wreck in the making). Nevertheless, I know it’s right around the corner. The fact that a website has some issues to work out doesn’t reverse months and month (and months) of news coverage leading up to the Jan. 1 deadline that starts the individual mandate. But despite my reservations, I don’t blame a website. I’m smart enough to know Obamacare is the new law of the land… website or not.

Also noteworthy, this is my 100th blog. Release the balloons and confetti. Parade will commence in ten minutes…

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Oct. 11, 2013

Last weekend Unadilla Valley captured its Kick for the Cure boys soccer tournament beating rival Bainbridge-Guilford in the finals. While the victory was sweet, the premise behind the tournament – recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month – helped raise money for the Danielle House in Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton. UV head coach Ryan Houck was a driving force behind the tournament, and the charity for which the donations will be sent was particularly meaningful to the Storm mentor. Houck’s own mother is a breast cancer survivor who used the Danielle House during her recovery. Houck’s leadership and civic awareness will surely trickle down to his charges, who by the way, have fancied a pretty nice 2013 season. Houck is also happy to report that his mother has recovered nicely, another big win for the UV community.

Winning is the best recruiter
We’ll find out this weekend if the Norwich girls tennis team will add a Class B title to its 2013 STAC division title. The Tornado netters placed juniors Breanna Cashman and Jenni Borfitz in the finals after Thursday’s first round, and freshman Makenzie Maynard is playing for third place. All three came up through the Norwich system playing other sports, but switched to tennis. And why not? Head coach John Stewart has churned out winning season after winning season – for boys and girls – and the hanging of championship banners has become the norm rather than the exception.

Down year for local football?
Seems that way if overall records are an indication. We have documented Sherburne-Earlville’s 5-0 start to the season and a number 15 state ranking in Class C. The other five local football teams have compiled a combined 7-18 mark for a winning percentage of 28 percent. B-G’s and Greene’s respective streaks of winning seasons are in serious jeopardy. One more loss for the Bobcats (1-4) will snap a seven-year skein, while Greene (2-3) needs to win three of its final four games to extend an eight-year streak.

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

Congrats to our new editor

It looks like a busy weekend ahead in the City of Norwich. The Chenango SPCA is holding its annual “Did Somebody Say Walk” fundraiser in Weiler Park, the Norwich Merchants Association is sponsoring the second Fall Crafts Festival, and the 15th Annual Pumpkin Festival kicks off in East and West parks. If ever there was a good weekend to get out and take some photos for the Evening Sun Facebook page, this is it.

My congratulations to Evening Sun Sun Interim Editor Ashley Biviano for making it through her first week in the captain’s seat without breaking a sweat (at least not to my knowledge). They say the hardest part of change is starting over, which is what Ashley has shown to do in her new position. The amount of time it takes to build one paper is extraordinary and Ashley has certainly served her time, as evidenced by the new tally marks scratched on the wall behind the editor’s desk. She’s in the office when I arrive in the morning and she stays there long after I leave in the afternoon. Quite honestly, I’m convinced there’s a tether connecting her ankle to her her desk; when she gets too far out, it snaps her right back. I’m thinking of getting her a cot and portable stove – and maybe a goldfish just to keep her company.

On that note, we are down to one reporter now – a role filled yours truly. I ask for your patience as we try to fill the two open reporter positions as quickly as possible. If you know someone, or know someone who knows someone who can write, feel free to mention to them that there are openings at Chenango’s hometown daily. Once you get past the past all the Clark Kent/Superman “mild mannered reporter” jokes and the occasional “Hey, Scoop!” it’s really not a bad gig.

And on a different note, I don’t often claim myself to be a fan of a particular television show but I’ll make an exception for “Breaking Bad.” The show ended last weekend to the tune of 10.3 million viewers. I haven’t watched it yet, but I’m finding it harder to browse the web (or even be in the office) without coming across a spoiler alert or two. This must have been what it was like for Star Wars fans when “The Empire Strikes Back” was released. Imagine going a week without knowing Darth Vader was Luke’s father…

My streak is over

My streak is over.
For 18-plus years, I have made my way into work each morning, flipped on the computer, and started the design of that day’s sports section. Earlier this week, I had some elective surgery to repair a chronic issue, and missed work on Monday and Tuesday. While Monday’s paper was chock full of sports from the previous weekend, the Tuesday and Wednesday editions were not. In an editor’s note last Friday, Sept. 27, I advised readers of my absence, and I hope everyone was patient in waiting for their sports results to appear. They did, just check out the inside sports pages from Thursday, Oct. 3 .
While in school, I typically received some sort of year-end attendance award for missing less than four days of school. That was my only sterling achievement during high school since awards are not typically given to “B” students. From an early age, my parents instilled the ideals of responsibility and work ethic in me and my three sisters. We were assigned different jobs around the house, and were expected to complete them. When my parents were away, the “mice” did not play.
I have carried that ethic into my working career, and since my college graduation 23 years ago, I have missed just two days of work – and none at the Evening Sun. Yeah, I have battled my share of illnesses, just like everyone else. But missing a day here? Since I am devoid of a backup on the sports desk, my issue has been “who will write the sports?” I suppose my love for the job has something to do with my resolve to show up every day. And so, I embark on my next 18-year perfect attendance streak happy to have a great job, great co-workers, and a desire to do the job right. Heck, where else can you watch a game, scarf down some snacks, and actually get paid to do it?

Follow me on Twitter @evesunpat

Trust in yourself …

Anyone who has witnessed me outside of The Evening Sun building trying to purchase a beverage from the vending machine might think I am a psycho.

I put in my dollar bill – I’ll admit, it’s pretty crumpled and folded after being in my pocket all day – and the machine spits it back out. So I try again. And again, and again and again.

“Come on. It’s a real Federal Reserve Note. I swear. An actual paper I-O-U. Take it, I’m thirsty.”

Then I go back to my desk, announce I’ve been talking to the vending machine, and start talking to my co-workers about silver.

Let’s rewind a month or so, the weekend of the Chenango Blues Fest. Awesome vendors from all over brought the fruits of their labor to sell to patrons checking out the music. Blues Fest is my favorite time to be a Chenango County resident. I always leave with a refreshed soul, lots of unique goodies and empty pockets. This year I did a couple not-so-smart things. I bought a pair of earrings, put them in, decided to put my hair up, and one of the earrings fell out somewhere in the grass. Down $20. Then, at some point throughout the day, I dropped $30 out of my pocket (perhaps I should use that wallet I carry around in my purse).

Anyway, I didn’t realize I dropped any money and I made my way to the Tie Dye Yogi tent, where I make a purchase from Joe every year. I found this terrific shirt, blue with a white heart dyed into the bottom left corner. Score! Upon reaching into my pocket to pull out my FRNs, I noticed they were no longer there. Total bummer for gal looking to make a purchase. I searched through my purse for probably seven minutes with no luck. I found a five dollar bill, but that wasn’t going to help. I told Joe I’d catch him next year.
I started walking away when I checked a zipper part of my purse one last time. Two ounces of silver from the Suns of Liberty Mint.
I first learned of the Suns of Liberty Mint while attending PorcFest in New Hampshire. I think I bought some of their silver quarters then, and have since made purchases online.

I’d say tangible wealth is pretty important. What would you do if your bank went bankrupt?

Employees used to be paid in silver coins for the work they did. With the popularity of direct deposit (and let’s face it … convenience is a drug), many folks never even see the fruits of their labor. They get a receipt letting them know how much is in their account, they use a plastic card to purchase their goods, and get an e-statement each month letting them know the remaining account balance.

“You know, Ashley, silver will never replace our money. You shouldn’t waste your money on it.”
…Really? I understand the government’s monopoly on money, but I’d disagree that silver is a waste. Fiat currency is not backed by silver or gold reserves. It’s not backed by anything. It’s just printed and used as legal tender. Silver (or gold, or other precious metals) has intrinsic value.

The value of silver is constantly changing, but it has worth. It’s physical, tangible, actual wealth. It’s not a paper I-O-U.

“Ah, I don’t have any cash but I did just remember I have some silver, if you’re interested,” I said to the vendor at Blues Fest. He was all about it. We agreed on how much the shirt was worth and made the trade. Perfect. He had tangible wealth to take home to account for the labor and time he put into creating the shirt, and I left a happy camper.

There are lots of advantages to possessing silver – or investing in silver. I’ve since used my silver quarters as a bartering tool on a number of occasions. It’s also a great conversation starter for folks who may not be familiar with its benefits.

While at PorcFest I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Breger, or Silver Dave, the founder of the Suns of Liberty Mint. Dave – A former Green Beret in the US Army – said he came to the realization after ten years that he was not defending liberty, but corporate interests at the cost of the freedom of every person in the world, including himself.

“It had become clear to me that the fiat monetary system is the basis of government power,” he said.

It was two years ago when he decided he was going to make divisible silver, in small portions so that folks were able to use it as a bartering tool.

This has indeed worked well.

It took time, research and experimentation but today he is able to make 1,000 bars by himself in a single day.

“We started with almost nothing,” he said, adding the mint now has machines that operate at maximum efficiency. He has lived in a garage for about 13 months and takes pride in producing a quality product.

“I always believe that the greatest things never come easy,” he added.

What is great about this for me is that he and the Suns of Liberty Mint provide something that is not only interesting to me, but has a real purpose.

I see it as a terrific alternative to fiat money. Sure, some places only want your FRNs that are only worth the paper they’re printed on, but other small businesses or individuals get a thumbs up in my book when they express interest in something a little different.

It’s probably time to boycott the use of the vending machine outside the office. It never seems to be content with my I-O-Us, and I’m sick of arguing with it.

I enjoy purchasing silver when it makes sense to me, I like to save some and then allot myself some to spend. I like to see where I can use it.

Let’s be honest … Chenango County isn’t the most forward thinking place on the planet. We’ve all got our ways of doing things. But I have been absolutely shocked by the positive reception when I say, “Well, I can give you a little bit of silver for that instead of cash, if you want.” I’ve used them as a tip at a restaurant, a gift for a friend, compensation for a job completed at my house … lots of things.

When I look at my bank account I realize I don’t have a whole lot of extra after everything is paid. However, I do have the satisfaction of knowing I have a nice little bit of cute silver, and that silver actually means something.

Each silver quarter from the Suns of Liberty Mint has its weight, .25 troy ounces as well as the purity, .99 fine silver stamped on it. It also, as perhaps expected, a sun.

Rather than “In God we trust,” – something I’m not all about in the first place but is all over the monopolized paper currency in circulation – the silver quarters are stamped with “Trust in yourself.”

Now that’s something I can support. Absolutely.

Who will I debate with now?

The summer before I went off to college in Buffalo I worked with Headwaters Youth Conservation Corps. I learned how to cut wood with a saw, use a hammer, build foot-bridges, maintain trails … a bunch of stuff. It was pretty cool. I met some interesting folks, and my best friend also was on board the team with me. Basically we got to spend all summer out in the woods. I can’t complain about that. Anyway, one of the aforementioned interesting individuals was the recently departed staff writer for The Evening Sun, Kevin Doonan.

It was June of 2006. I remember Kevin started later than the rest of us. He graduated from Sherburne. I want to say I learned his first day that he played soccer, but maybe I made that up. He could carry heavier things than I could. Quick with come-backs and had a laugh you could hear from the other side of Rogers Conservation Center. His plans were to go to school in Potsdam, which he did.

The following summer, between freshman and sophomore year of college, we all returned for a summer of working in the woods, Kevin included. It was sometime during that stint with Headwaters that I had a run-in with poison ivy (or oak, or sumac … poison something). It wasn’t fun. Regardless, I think it’s safe today all of us in the group learned a lot and grew as people.

From 2007 to 2013 Kevin and I crossed paths once, at The Blarney Stone Pub in Norwich. Just a quick, “Hey, how are ya?” and swapped a couple memories from Headwaters. We both attended Binghamton University, but we didn’t cross paths once. I commuted.

Then, I got a job as a staff writer for The Evening Sun. Lo and behold, Kevin Doonan was also employed by Snyder Communications. Starting a new job can be nerve-wrecking, but it was neat to know that I wasn’t going to be solely working with strangers – even though I would have no problem with that.

Senior reporter Shawn Magrath, Kevin Doonan, and little “cub reporter” me, rounded out the reporter staff for Chenango County’s Monday-Friday publication – aside from Sports Editor Pat Newell, who attends games and handles all of the local sports action solo.

I sometimes see on social media sites people complaining about how they can’t stand their job, or the people they work with. These folks can’t wait for Friday to roll around because they’re unhappy with how they’re spending their days. This isn’t the case with me.

The dynamic of the office was terrific. Kevin’s laughter was infectious – albeit loud, and Shawn is always spot-on with one-liners when they’re least expected. Kevin would walk in with a bang and Shawn’s swagger when entering the building was often undetectable, though I’ve since caught on.

Shawn keeps the plants thoroughly watered (even the one in the kitchen), and I’m always aware of when he is about to make a phone call … he is sure to clear his throat every single time.

Kevin would have a bagel in the morning – half of which he usually ate on his 25 mile commute each morning. Then he’d eat a yogurt at some point. …It’s just funny the things you pick up when spending a good chunk of the day with the same folks.

Prior to deadline is quiet time. I have to admit, we weren’t always silent. Some mornings we were reminded by The Evening Sun’s Managing Editor Brian Golden we had time to converse after 10 a.m.

We had many “firsts” as a team of reporters. The first time we all stood up from our desks in sync. The first time we were all in the office kitchen at the same time. The first time we left at the same time. …Fun things.

We’ve taken photos of “copious amounts” of marijuana, followed fires, documented recoveries of bodies, attended arraignments of alleged murderers.

Shawn – a stranger to me in the beginning – is quick-witted and has terrific math skills. If you’re wondering how old someone is if they were born in December of 1927, and need the answer quickly, ask Shawn. He’s also great at keeping track of the milk in the fridge and – of course – writing. It seems he is lucky, too. Just about every morning he catches the green light at the intersection we both have to go through to get to the office. I sit there at the red light, waiting to go straight, and he takes his right, cruising right on by and beating me to work. I point at him every time this happens. He never sees me, but strangers do, and I get weird looks.

Kevin and I hardly ever see eye-to-eye, on about any issue you could think of. Well, I guess there were a couple where our opinions were maybe-sort-of-semi-similar, but for the most part, no way. We could spend hours debating about gun rights, transparency of government, police accountability, economics, crimes that are malum prohibitum, if cats are better than dogs, and which types of coconut water are tastier than others. Literally, so much fun.

Shawn interjects here and there, but for the most part his opinion on the above matters remain somewhat of a mystery to me, and I enjoy that. Although I know he prefers dogs.

We all got our work done, but still had time to enjoy the fun in it. After all, what’s a job if it only feels like a job? I have said this before, but I’m in this to live for living. I can’t let my occupation define me as a person, it’s not how I roll. Waking up every day and being excited about what’s going to ensue … that’s awesome.

That being said, Kevin has opted to pack up camp and head to Baltimore. I’m happy for my friend and former co-worker. I’m absolutely sure he will have a terrific time. And if the wind is right, we’ll all still be able to hear him laugh from six hours away.

The only thing that stays the same is change. While the dynamics of the office without Kevin’s presence will certainly be altered, it should be fun and exciting nonetheless. The entirety of The Evening Sun’s staff will certainly be a little busier now, but it’s nothing we can’t handle. We’re pretty hardcore. Especially Shawn (you should see him as he departs the office to go to a meeting … talk about pumped up).

Alright, this has been long enough. Good luck, Kevin. Thanks for giving me all the junk you had on your desk you didn’t want.

I shall now be cliché and quote Bob Dylan … “The times they are a’changin’.”

“Comfortable hole, Bye”

Cleaning out my desk has turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it would be. Moving on can be tough but everything comes to an end, every end is a new beginning, yadda yadda yadda. 
Working at The Evening Sun has been pretty awesome and I will miss it. Unfortunately gum can only be chewed so many times before it loses its flavor. 
As this is my last contribution to the paper I feel there are a few things I should clear the air about. I think guns are cool and like having them, but do not believe there is any logical explanation for every whacko to in turn have one and therefore question my own right to possess lethal weapons without 1) being a member of the mafia, 2) being a hunter 3) being an avid shooting competitor. “But I need it for protection…” lock your door, get a Taser, learn how to defend yourself. If you need a gun to defend yourself it may be because you’re overzealous or easily provoked. I would like to think we have come a long way since the O.K. Corral, but if the aggressor is packing heat then well yeah a shotgun probably would come in handy.   
Also I think people make law enforcement a necessity. Whatever slight anyone may feel about the existence of police is a fair tradeoff for the countless sex offenders and violent criminals who are to a degree kept at bay by law enforcement. I love people, I think we are all fascinating, interesting, beautiful creatures. However, I wouldn’t trust my neighbor nor the mother who bore him not to sell my kids a pound of heroin should they come on hard enough times. Within us all moors the ships of good and evil. Without the checks and balances of an organized society who’s to tell which ship will cast off. To the utopian anarchists who think otherwise, take a vacation in Columbia, maybe you’ll get lucky and someone will mention you on the radio afterwards.    
On another side note sometimes – and this is just a thought which has occurred to me – arguing about the specifics of high-volume hydraulic fracturing is a little like arguing about whether or not Santa Claus is trespassing.
Digressions aside, I love Chenango County. As a 24 year old single guy though, I find it might not quite be my speed. At least for now. I do have every intention of one day settling down and growing roots – as well as children, which also require a copious amount watering – in the area. The truth is I have neither the inkling to berth in port nor the consort to do so. So for now it’s time to go out into the world and see what there is to see. 
You haven’t heard the last of me though for I will be contributing frequently to 30 Seconds. “What the heck was that liberal garbage in today’s paper! I am canceling my subscription because I have been offended by a tittle to an article I haven’t read! Rabble rabble rabble.”
To the individuals I have worked with it, it has been great. I’ve loved everyone of you and I wish you all the best of luck.
P.S. in case anyone read my “thumb” today and did not get that I was joking, I was. I think the paper will not even notice my departure.

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