Sunday, June 26, 2011

Outdoor ceremony bold move

Oneida High School's plan for commencement exercises is a bit different than that of most schools. Workers prepare two venues, one inside the gym and one on the front lawn. nd decide at the last minute which they will use.
I talked to several of the Oneida City School District officials before Saturday's commencement exercises.
Among them were Principal Brian Gallagher, retiring Vocal Director Jeff Welcher and the man with the ultimate responsibility for the decision, Superintendent Ron Spadafora.
I told them the decision to hold the ceremony outdoors on the lawn instead of inside was a bold move, but I, for one, approved.
I've been at a lot of graduations and the OHS front-yard venue is about as nice a place as there is; it's far better than a hot, stuffy gymnasium.
Their luck didn't hold out as it started to rain about an hour into the event, so I'm sure there will be plenty of critics of the decision.
On this page you'll see a bunch of photos of the beginning grand march before the ceremony. I had a pretty good vantage point; I think that most of the graduates are included.
I'll also upload them to the photo gallery in case anyone wants high-quality reprints.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Graduation weekend coming up

We're making our coverage plans for commencement exercises in our local school districts.
It would be a lot easier if they didn't all happen pretty much at the same time.
I will be at Oneida; I still enjoy it, even though my son, George, and daughter, Joanna, have graduated.
I'll post a lot of photos in our photo galleries; I hope our readers will share their graduation photos, too.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lots doing at Boxing Hall of Fame

This year I decided to jump into the festivities surrounding the Boxing Hall of Fame with both feet.
We're experimenting with new ways to cover the news, so this year in addition to sportswriter David Johnson's professional coverage, I brought along my brother-in-law, Barry Brown to serve as a citizen-journalist blogger. His impressions are at the bottom of this piece.
As for me, I had watched "The Fighter" a few days ago for the second time, so it was a particular thrill to see "Irish" Micky Ward and his one-of-a-kind brother, Dickie Eklund.
At one point, during a boxing demonstration, James "Smitty" Smith asked Ecklund, "Hey Dickie, did you really knock down Sugar Ray Leonard?" Eklund replied, "I tripped him." The exchange referred to a controversy that persisted throughout "The Fighter," the Oscar-winning film based on the two brothers and their family.
During the parade, I happened to be seated across the street from Ray Halbritter, the Oneida Nation CEO. I think I got a pretty good shot of him waving to Canastota boxer Billy Backus. I was waiting to see how he's react to the UCE float, but group must've decided to skip the event.
Speaking of skipping the event, my family was quite disappointed that Sylvester Stallone chose to forego the parade. 
Mike Tyson rode down Peterboro Street. OK, he was so surrounded by police and burly bodyguards that I could hardly see him, but at least he showed up.
Speaking of showing up, in my opinion, our sportswriter David Johnson did a great job both before and during the event. We sent his work out to 23 other Journal Register papers throughout America, which can't help but raise the profile of this area.
At any rate, below is the work of an aspiring citizen-journalist:

By Barry Brown:
Azumeh Nelson, left, and Barry Brown
We arrived on the site and, eh, surveyed the area and checked out the 50-year-old original Madison Square Garden ring, met Azumeh Nelson, who was very gracious and humble, and allowed me to have my picture taken with him.
I remember watching him fight on TV; he lost, but put up a great fight.
We went over to the Hall of Fame museum, saw many very interesting things and compared fist sizes with some of the huge heavyweight boxing champions. I found that the two that were most impressive were Primo Carnera, who was heavyweight champion in 1933 and 1934 and Lennox Lewis.

We viewed boxing demonstrations by boxing greats Aaron Pryor and "Irish" Mickey Ward.  They worked out in the ring while being interviewed by James "Smitty" Smith, who has a web TV show at show.
It was very informative and fun.
We bought some souvenirs and went home.
My fist compared to the 14 3/4-inch paw of Primo Carnera.

Handy links:

Sugar Ray Leonard fights Dick Eklund:

In ThisCornerTV:

International Boxing Hall of Fame

Ray Halbritter, left, waves to Billy Backus