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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

No ringside seats for us

There’s a pretty good rumor going around that Freeman Life Editor Ivan Lajara and I appear in the now-infamous Jim Sottile/Mari Ann Sennett bar fight video. Rest assured, we weren’t there, but even Ivan and I were taken aback when we went back and looked at the clip and noticed the two people alleged to be us.

If you look about a third of the way up the bar in the video (which appears below), you’ll see two guys talking to each other – one with a dark T-shirt and a beard, the other wearing a lighter shirt and a baseball cap. Save for the fact that the bearded guy isn’t wearing glasses (which I always do), the man in the dark shirt most certainly could be me. And the other guy bears a striking resemblance to Ivan, though I’ve never seen Ivan in a baseball cap, and he tells me he never wears one.

And mind you, among the people who thought these two guys were Ivan and me were NOT just casual acquaintances of ours. One was Ivan’s wife, and another was former Freeman reporter Teresa Masterson. And our longtime Northern Dutchess bureau reporter, Patricia Doxsey, who’s known Ivan for more than six years and me for nearly 20, also did a double-take once the two guys in the clip were pointed out to her.

Ironically, Ivan and I, who virtually never spend time together outside the office, WERE out together after work that night – but it was at the Dietz Stadium Diner on North Front Street in Uptown Kingston, not Mariner’s Harbor, on Lower Broadway, where the fight took place. And we didn’t leave the office for the diner until about 12:15 a.m., some 30 minutes after the video was shot. (Note the time stamp in the lower left corner of the frame.)

Given how legendary the Mariner’s incident has become – our video clip has nearly 22,000 hits at this writing – Ivan and I regret that we weren’t there to see the altercation in person. But, alas, being the dedicated, hard-working journalists that we are, we still were toiling away at putting out the next day’s newspaper at 11:45 p.m. last Thursday instead of enjoying a couple of beers and the unexpected side show.



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