Former copy editor compliments Lamron's changes

To the editor,

When I was a freshman at Geneseo back in 2001, I recall the times in the now defunct Union dining hall (there was once a Taco Bell there; when it was shut down, the period of void before it reopened in Mary Jemison was sheer torture) when I used to read the free Lamrons that were distributed in the Union. I went to eat every Thursday or Friday and when I read the paper, I always thought that I could do a far better job than some of the current staff members were doing at the time, particularly in the sports department. Still, I sat idle in Onondaga Hall and continued to play fantasy sports and NHL 2002, and like that, freshman year came and went.

Next year, as a sophomore, I decided that I might want to give things a try. I inquired to the editor in chief at the time, walked to the Union, and was quickly met by the sports editor, who showed me the ropes and quickly gave me an assistant sports copy editor position. Since that time, I progressed from a role that took a few hours each week into more enjoyable positions (assistant sports editor) and more demanding ones (copy editor).

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with The Lamron, and feel that it was actually one of the most important decisions that I made while at Geneseo. However, this isn't an advertisement for signing up. There are marketing departments for that. This is instead a comment on a note that Editor in Chief Jacob Kriss wrote in his column in the Oct. 26 edition of The Lamron.

One thing that I always noticed during the nearly three years that I was with the paper was the constant strive for improvement, which is what Kriss mentioned in his treatise. Just as students progressed up through the ladder of The Lamron, so did the quality of the product. Admittedly, the paper is on a lower tier of student importance than studies and other issues, so it wasn't uncommon to see some flaws with a student paper that is just that - the sole work of students. Very little assistance is provided outside of the actual work that goes into it every week, so, if slacking occurred, it was reflected in the end result.

What I would like to say here is the 2006-07 incarnation of The Lamron, in print and online, is an effort that I am extremely proud of. It looks light years better than some versions of the paper, which reflects highly on our school and its students. I'd like to congratulate the entire staff for making such a concerted effort to keep the paper improving. To other Geneseo students, I would say that whether you support the paper or not, please take a second look. This year's staff (not to take anything away from prior ones) has really brought some new energy and ideas to The Lamron, and they look great so far.

Keep up the good work, and I look forward to stopping by at some point - I still think the old office should be bronzed, but just like the paper, change happens, usually for the better. I'd like to think I contributed a lot to the paper since the time when I first stepped in - and Kriss has done just that and more. To be honest, when he stepped into the office for the first time, and I was the editor with the experience and tutelage, I didn't see it coming, but I'm pleased it has.

-Ed McGrogan '05

Lamron Alumni

Fresh from recent construction, College forced to undo work

GENESEO, N.Y. - Recently outside of the College Union, there has been a large-scale excavation of the newly created parking zone. Much of what was dug up was a recently landscaped retaining wall.

Director of College Union and Activities Charles "Chip" Matthews stated that the work was being done "in order to make some necessary repairs to the high pressure steam and condensate lines that supply the Schrader and Merritt Athletic Center buildings."

This has resulted in the traffic loop being closed to all vehicles. The closing forced the local bus system, Livingston Area Transportation Services, to move its normal stop location "to the lower end of the loop by the crosswalk to Schrader," as stated on the Geneseo Transportation Services Web site. This change also applies to the Geneseo-Rochester weekend service and the local daily service.

The construction comes under the jurisdiction of the facilities services department of the College, which oversees many campus facilities.

Updates for the repairs have been available to students via e-mails from the university.

Students can find updates by visiting the Facilities Services Web site at http://


Local 2005 Geneseo graduate dies of Muscular Dystrophy

GENESEO, N.Y. - On Nov. 16, Eric Grammas, a SUNY Geneseo graduate and resident of Geneseo, died suddenly at his home. He was 24.

Grammas had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a degenerative disease primarily affecting voluntary muscles, which he had dealt with since he was young. According to Melanie Blood, assistant director of the School of the Arts and Grammas' academic advisor, "he was in a wheelchair by high school, and in college he increasingly lost the use of his arms and upper body."

Grammas graduated from Geneseo Central School in 2001 and SUNY Geneseo in 2005 with a B.A. in Musical Theatre. He had acted, directed, run the light board, stage managed, and written plays while he was a student, and he was an active member of Chamber Singers.

Grammas had also performed with Livonia Community Players and Geneseo Community Players. He was the first and only undergraduate student chosen to direct for Geneseo Community Players. In 2005 he directed Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon, in which he was able to cast his mother, stepfather, and high school teacher and director, Geneseo alumna Bettina DeBell. He was also named outstanding lead actor in Into the Woods and outstanding supporting actor in Bye Bye Birdie by the Rochester Broadway Theatre Guild.

Professors and students alike were inspired by Grammas and have wonderful memories of him. "In Acting II I introduce tai chi chuan for actors but I couldn't teach it to Eric. What we did together, therefore, was to work out a way for me to guide his hands and arms through the exercise and for us to breathe together as we did it. It was an amazing experience," said Randy Kaplan, associate professor and coordinator of Asian Studies. She directed Fiddler on the Roof in which Grammas was cast in the role of Motl the Tailor. "Eric was able to make everyone in a theatre see him dance in that wheelchair, and that is the honest truth," stated Kaplan.

Senior John Kaczorowski, a friend and castmate of Grammas said, "Eric was ambitious, friendly, funny, smart, talented and most of all, selfless. His compassion and generosity could be seen not only in the time he devoted to his community and friends but to the betterment of the world in general."

"One thing I remember about Eric was for his Alpha Psi Omega induction. He and Bizzy Coy did a dance in his wheelchairs," said senior Kathryn Foster, another friend of Grammas. "It was so funny. He had such a great sense of humor and love for life."

Grammas was known for his easy-going nature and his sense of humor. "He was a positive, outgoing, and nice kid that everyone loved," said Blood. "He was hardworking and loved to learn and find out new things that he hadn't encountered before and loved to read and wanted to direct very accessible plays that would encourage a wider appeal."

Alan Case, vocal coach, accompanist, and director of Vocal Miscellany, explained how Grammas had left a great legacy to future Geneseo students. "Because he was here, the campus moved closer to the ideal of full accessibility. The job is not yet done." Currently, only one of Brodie's doors is wheelchair accessible, and the stages in Wadsworth and Sturges auditoriums remain inaccessible. "However progress was made, and we can thank the persistence of Eric and his family for that," continued Case.

Grammas is survived by his mother and stepfather, Teonna and Stan Janczak; his father David Grammas; his sister and stepsisters; grandparents; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

His parents played an immense role in enabling Grammas to have a normal college experience. Blood reminisced, "At the end of the semester, I invite students to my house," she said. "Eric's mom came early to drop off the ramps he needed to get into the house just so she didn't have to be around when he and the other students showed up. He could be just like any of the other students."

Kaczorowski stated that "Eric was the kind of guy everyone aspired to be. No matter what, he had a smile and always gave his best." He added that Grammas was always very optimistic and cheerful. "If anything, his hardships gave him more of a desire to go out, live and love life, and make sure you were living yours too," continued Kaczorowski.

Memorials may be made in Eric Grammas' name to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, 1425 Jefferson Road, #19, Rochester, NY 14623.


At least it hasn't come to blows (recently)

I recently learned more about the exact nature of Mexico's political turmoil. The recent presidential election in which liberal candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador lost to conservative candidate Felipe Calderon by a margin of roughly one percent has indeed caught the attention of much of the international community, especially the United States. While much of this focus is the result of the tumult of the 2000 election, we cannot draw an identical parallel to what happened in the U.S. six years ago because of one missing factor: violence.

Despite the protests and cries of malfeasance, the 2000 U.S. presidential election was not accompanied by violence. Even with the rarity of the incident and the incredible pressure exerted by both sides, neither resorted to any truly disreputable methods. In fact, compared to the current situation in Mexico the 2000 election is merely a blip on the radar screen. Most people accepted the ruling of the Supreme Court and Al Gore, much to his credit, eventually restored stability to the country by conceding defeat.

Apparently Obrador and his supporters don't share the mentality that governed U.S. politics in 2000. Not only will Obrador not concede defeat but he appears to be establishing his own shadow government within and outside of the Mexican border.

Such actions, while certainly not in the interest of the Mexican people at large, could easily be deemed treasonous in states where electoral outcomes determined the success or failure of the country entirely. Obrador's supporters have even begun resorting to violence; not in the streets where one might suppose but rather in the halls of government. When Calderon appeared before the Mexican congress to be sworn in as president, there was an actual coup by members of Obrador's party who attempted to physically block Calderon from taking the oath of office. A brawl erupted in the congress itself while Obrador's supporters massed outside.

While I continue to be casually optimistic about how long this low momentum putsch will last, I am saddened by these developments. Like most people I sometimes have a hard time distinguishing between insurrection and civil disobedience, but I do know one thing: politicians should be heard and not seen getting into fist fights and throwing chairs at each other. I would hope that the Mexican people, as well as Americans, have the collective wisdom to understand that politicians who resort to such onerous tactics and behavior are never concerned with the greater good.

Most importantly, when politicians resort to violence and other disreputable methods to further their own goals, democracy is in trouble. Elected leaders are meant to represent the interests of the people and continued strife can only ever benefit a select minority. Political violence is also a surefire sign that the electorate has become too distant from their representatives, especially if such behavior is allowed to continue.

This is all the more reason we here in the U.S. should give thanks that our elected leaders don't feel free enough to emulate behavior that really belongs on Jerry Springer. There have be several notable incidents of politician initiated violence in America. The 1856 beating of anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner by southern Congressman Preston Brooks comes to mind. Brooks was perceived as a champion of southern honor and was re-elected. Despite this historical incongruity, I'm fairly certain politicians should be held to the highest standard of civility, so as far as American goes, and I am glad it hasn't come blows in Washington (at least not recently).


Looking forward, looking back

As I contemplate my third (and final?) year at Geneseo quenching my thirst at the well of knowledge, the reflections look back at me. I do wish the chair of the math or physics departments could explain the coefficient present that explains why "time flies" at such speed as one grows older. You've heard of this phenomenon; soon you get to experience it first hand - like a black hole, no one escapes.

It was 30 years from when I quit my first incarnation as a student at Oswego State that I was accepted here at Geneseo. If I am able to complete, online, the final fine arts general education course I need this Spring I will pick up my B.A. at the same time as my niece and nephew do theirs; both 30 years my junior. A more important aspect of how the "threes" are presenting themselves to me of late is that it was 30 years ago this Thanksgiving I embarked on the Kerouac-ian course my life has taken.

After three semesters at Oswego I found the partying-to-knowledge-retention ratio was inordinately on the high side of partying. Who could blame me? It was my first taste of freedom from parent/teacher authority-based decision making. Running amongst an ecosystem unnaturally populated with a like-minded, generational non-diversified herd, like a lemming I happily threw myself off the cliff into the perceived sea of tranquility.

That worked out well, much to the detriment of my wallet. Once out of the haze of stupefying euphoria that was unconstrained, extremely fun, but ultimately bad decision- making, I drove off in a cliché-driven '65 Chevy panel truck to find fortune and infamy out west. Grateful Dead on the cassette, Siddhartha fresh in the cranium, and Bilbo Baggins riding shotgun on the quest, I was off to see the wizard and all things new and shiny.

It was the best decision of my young life. As Mark Twain said, "Don't let schooling interfere with your education." I overuse this quote in my life, but then again I have reason - I've had occasion to meet countless people who epitomize its meaning.

Long story short (find me sometime, buy me a beer and I'll yarn on for hours), these words are more for you freshman, sophomores and maybe fifth semester juniors (but there is hope for uncertain seniors). Don't hesitate to dropkick your college plans and throw yourself into the world if you have doubts about why you find yourself here. Testaments abound to the fact that you can come back almost anytime when you have a better understanding of who you are and what you want to be when you grow up.

I'm not saying school is a waste of time; my second incarnation at 28 led to a two-year degree in construction management that was fulfilling in terms of monetary and travel gains. But even then I dismissed my inner desire to work with words as secondary to following societal edicts of what defines "success."

If measurable doubt exists, exit stage left. You'll gravitate back to the well of knowledge when you realize that which propels your thirst. Live to learn.

And now a disclaimer in the form of another quote from Twain, "The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little."

I was never the former, but am the latter - maybe that's why I came back.