What a long, strange trip itís been ...

I never expected to find myself sitting at the big desk here in the newsroom. And while my six month tenure as managing editor at The Evening Sun comes to an end today, I must say it was both an honor and privilege to serve in that capacity, despite how short-lived it may have been. I can, however, honestly say Iíve missed the action and excitement that is the life of any good reporter. Iíve missed the courtroom and the sound of the scanner in the background in my old cubicle. And Iíve missed being out there on the street, among the people, chasing down a story or looking for that perfect photo. The past four years have been ... interesting ... to say the least, an experience I wouldnít trade for anything. I can still remember that chilly December day when long-time editor Jeff Genung welcomed me to the team, nervous yet determined to give it my best as the latest in a long line of cub reporters. That seems like a long time ago, now, and Iíve been lucky to work with some of the best this paper ever had on staff, from Jeff to Melissa Stagnaro, Tyler Murphy, Melissa deCordova, Shawn Magrath, Kevin Doonan, Ashley Biviano and Pat Newell. Add to that list the many writers who contribute to this publication every day, and Iíll be the first to admit Iím damn lucky to have landed here when I did.

And letís not forget photographer Frank Speziale, whoís about the most unique character one could ever hope to meet or work with, hands down.

Iíd also like to thank the various members of our local law enforcement agencies for their help and willingness to deal with those not-so-occasional phone calls and last minute interviews. In addition, I have to throw a big thank you out to everyone at Chenango County Court, from the crew at the DAís office to the guards stationed at the front door. I was lucky enough to work with both Judge Sullivan and Judge Revoir during my time as The Evening Sunís court reporter, a beat that I truly loved (and missed terribly once I took over as editor).

Needless to say, I managed to cover some serious ground as a reporter, from benefits to burglaries, new businesses and executive directors, fires, accidents, murder trials, missing persons ... you name it. And thanks to Mr. Kevin Doonan, I even managed to see what has absolutely got to be the best headline ever. You know the one ... Rabies plus cats = zombie cats.

I laughed until I cried that day, let me tell you.

As for the paper itself, thereís been some last-minute shifting about, and it looks like long-time Sports Editor Pat Newell will remain our local expert on everything sports related. Ms. Ashley Biviano, Iím happy to announce, will be taking the reins as Interim Managing Editor once Iíve departed, and I wish her luck with everything. I think she has both the talent and desire to see this newspaper thrive, and Iím sure Shawn and Pat (and Frank, of course) will keep her out of too much trouble. On a sidenote, weíre still looking for a couple brave souls to come on board in the reporter department, and all I can say is ... well, youíll never lack for something to do in the newsroom, and thereís seldom (never, really) a dull moment.

That being said, I suppose Iíll be signing off. And while Iím excited for the future and what it holds, Iíll miss this place. For nearly four years Iíve walked into the newsroom never knowing what the day might hold. And now, as I prepare to leave by that same door, Iím wondering the same thing looking ahead. At 36 years old, Iíve spent more than three decades here in the Land of the Bullthistle, and lord what a long, strange trip itís been. And I hope youíll note that I managed to avoid any kind of rant in regards to Ď30 Seconds,í somehow, but it is Ė without a doubt Ė one part of this job I will not miss. It certainly serves its purpose; I simply canít abide how biased and mean-spirited itís become. Regardless, Iím off ... and in the words of the infamous Ė and legendary Ė Ron Burgandy ... you stay classy, Chenango County.

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