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Best Wishes

To the Editor:

I read the recent Metroland Best Of issue [June 19, 2007], and saw a category of Best Mixed Martial Arts School. Interested in how this category was determined, I visited your Web site and saw a notation that Best Of issue was compiled by Metroland staff. Did your staff visit and train at, or in some way familiarize themselves with the areaís other schools that train MMA, be fore awarding a Best Of in this category? If not, it is very disappointing that a limited and overly subjective selection process could be used to determine a Best Of anything that amounts to great exposure for the selected winner.

Although the Best Of issue is now history, I invite your staff to visit the Bruno Tostes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy located in Latham. Brunoís Academy is the Capital District affiliate of Team Renzo Gracie, and offers incredible instruction and training opportunities. Bruno himself is a nationally recognized competitor in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and submission grappling, and is feverishly training for the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu World Championships to be held in late August. Bruno regularly brings the best instructors/fighters in the world to teach right here in Latham, including Rolles Gracie, Gregor Gracie, Fabio Leopoldo, and Romulo Barral. Bruno (24 years old) relocated to the U.S. from Brazil to train with the legendary Renzo Gracie in New York City, and to pursue his dream of opening his own academy (here in the Capital District). Not only should Brunoís Academy have been considered for the Best Of issue, but his personal journey is a great human interest story as well.

Gary Govel, Guiilderland

To the Editor:

I just wanted to say thanks for a fabulous publication. Iím visiting from out of state and your Best Of issue really helped a stranger-girl out. One cringe though: whatís up with the ďJesus OverloadĒ on the radio comment? Sure, I hail from below the Bible Belt, but if thereís five Christian-rock stations in this area, thereís obviously a market for it. And besides, have you given this genre a chance? Donít knock it ítil you try it. Itís not fair to say thereís nothing good there because you donít like the subject matter. Thatís like saying ďpop music sucks because itís nothing but bubblegum fluff.Ē Letís be a little more open minded, shall we? The yelling radio-preacher thingóyeah, you got me there. Thatís freaking annoying.

Kimberly Hines, Greensboro, N.C.

To the Editor:

I enjoyed reading your 2007 Best Of issue. Over the years, Iíve been tipped off by Metroland to a number of cool local bands, great restaurants, venues, etc.ósome that I may never have encountered otherwise. Your reporters have great awareness of all the hidden gems for dozens of miles around. Iím amazed this year, for example, to see the Felice Brothers (Best Americana Band) listed. I happened upon them last fall when I stopped for a late dinner at Mexican Radio (Best Mexican), where, along with a couple of women who seemed to be the band membersí girlfriends, I comprised the entire audience! But Iíve been listening to their (great) CD sinceóthanks for pointing them out to your readers.

I do, however, have a criticism this year. As you know, your Best Of nod is taken as quite an honor by the recipients. And nearly every one of your 2007 write-ups was highly complimentary of the winner. In fact, other than the hilarious annual nod to a certain mayorís tan, only one category was negative in tone: the Best Play Journalist (Kristi Gustafson). Unless I entirely missed the joke or the sarcasm, the article was just plain mean-spirited and out of place. Whether or not your comments were apt, I was surprised you chose this method to express them.

So perhaps you might extend an apology to Ms. Gustafson, but otherwise keep up the great work. Iíve looked forward to Metroland on Thursdays for more than 15 years now. Many thanks!

Stephen J. Rutkey, Ballston Spa

To the Editor:

I know that many businesses like to brag about their selection as the Best Of. However, itís hard to take such accolades seriously if the categories seem arbitrary rather than comprehensive. I feel thatís the case with the Metroland staffís recent music picks. Iíve got nothing against freak folk, old-school metal, and Nuggets-style garage rock, but how about jazz, for cryiní out loud? The Capital Region is teeming with artists who explore a wide range of jazz styles, and Metrolandís own calendar pages advertise concerts and club dates throughout the area. It almost seems like the categories were built around the bands, rather than vice-versa. Imagine if the Food & Drink selections ignored Italian cuisine in favor of Best Diner in Gloversville Where I Work as a Busboy. If Metroland wants the general public to respect its Best Of rankings, then Metroland should respect the artists it purports to evaluate.

Tim Olsen, Schenectady


In ďTragedy Into ActionĒ [Newsfront, June 28, 2007] recently deceased area business owner Diva de Loayzaís last name was referred to repeatedly as Loayza. The correct spelling of her last name is de Loayza.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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