ENDICOTT (WBNG) — Saturday, Aleah Huff got a fifth birthday party she will never forget. “It’s awesome, definitely a good turnout and super exciting. She’s been expecting it for about a week now, so it’s awesome,” said Aleah’s mom Coreena Huff. Family and friends paraded down Aleah’s block in Endicott to help celebrate her fifth birthday. She was seated in front of her yard, dressed up as a princess, watching the parade go by. The Endicott fire and police departments made an appearance, joining in on the parade.
Published on October 4, 2013 at 2:43 am Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+ Rakeem Cato didn’t have a full family growing up. With a father who was in jail and a mother who died when he was only 12 years old, Cato never got the experience of being in a traditional family.But his best friend Tommy Shuler made up for the fact that he lacked a father and mother.“Tommy has always been there for me,” Cato said. “Through the good times and the bad times throughout my life. His parents, his grandma, his dad, and his step-dad, his whole family, they’ve just been there. They took me in as their own child.”Best friends since the age of 5, Shuler and Cato rarely went a day without seeing each other. Now juniors at Marshall, they still take the field together, wearing the same uniform every Saturday.Cato is the quarterback, and Shuler is his primary target. Cato has been the starter since the first snap of his freshman season. Shuler didn’t play much as a freshman, but has become one of the most prolific receivers in the nation in 2013.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe chemistry that they have has been a catalyst for a Thundering Herd offense that is averaging more than 40 points per game.“When things aren’t going right, we’re going to call something to at least make Tommy the primary guy,” Marshall offensive coordinator Bill Legg said. “I am going to put (Shuler) in a situation where he’s the first look because I know how strong their chemistry is not just off the field, but on the field.”Cato first met Shuler at summer camp. The two went to elementary school together, where Cato became close with Shuler’s mother, who worked at the school.They would go home after school and throw rocks in Shuler’s backyard to practice their throwing motion.“He used to come to my house, we used to go to his house,” Shuler said. “Basically we just became best friends, and came up together.”After Cato lost his mother to pneumonia, he would often spend months at a time living with the Shuler family during the summer. They would work out during the day and refine their football skills.They both went to Miami Springs High School and then transferred together to Miami Central in their senior season.Even though the two were only at Miami Central for a short time, they catapulted the team to a 14-1 record. The head coach at the time, Telly Lockette, accepted a position as an assistant coach at the University of South Florida in March.Lockette said that even in a high-pressure environment, Cato and Shuler still liked to have a good time.“They wanted to be basketball players,” Lockette joked. “They thought they were point guards. They were pretty good, but I told them that playing football would take them farther than basketball would.”It was at Miami Central that Cato committed to Florida International, and Shuler to Marshall. But once Cato got a better understanding of the up-tempo Marshall offense, it was too hard to pass up four more years with Shuler. He eventually decommitted from FIU.“I just told him, ‘Come on up to Marshall, get out of Miami,’” Shuler said. “You know, get to see what’s around him. So he came up here.”At Marshall, the two lived together as freshmen and remained inseparable off the field. Legg said that even though they are as close as two friends can be, they don’t have any problem getting on each other’s case.“If one of them thinks the other didn’t see the same thing that he was seeing, then they’re not afraid to get after each other,” Legg said. “At the same time, it’s a brother-to-brother-type thing.”Through all of the fights and the ups and downs Cato and Shuler have gone through, they both remain the constant in each other’s lives.“There were a lot of great moments, on the field, and off the field,” Cato said. “We did everything together. Any moment that we were with each other it was a great moment. Every time we’re together, we always have fun.” Comments
WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush offered to talk with Democrats about the standoff over war funding, but he made it clear Tuesday he will not embrace any timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal. Democrats said there was no point in talking if Bush refused to negotiate. “We can discuss the way forward on a bill that is a clean bill – a bill that funds our troops without artificial timetables for withdrawal, and without handcuffing our generals on the ground,” Bush said in a speech to an American Legion audience in nearby Fairfax, Va. On the one hand, Bush extended an offer to meet with lawmakers Tuesday. On the other, the White House bluntly said it would not be a negotiating session. The president said if lawmakers don’t send him a bill he will sign – one that does not include timetables or money for pet projects in their home districts – it would be Congress, not the White House, that will have to answer to troops. “What the president invited us to do was come to his office so that we could accept without any discussion the bill that he wants,” Pelosi said at a news conference in San Francisco. “That’s not worthy of the concerns of the American people, and I join with Senator Reid in rejecting an invitation of that kind.” Bush said the Defense Department will soon send Congress a request to transfer $1.6 billion from other military accounts to cover funding for troops – a move needed, he said, because lawmakers have delayed his emergency spending request. He warned that continued delays would undermine troop training, slow the repair of equipment and force soldiers to serve longer tours of duty. Bush got an assist for his argument on Tuesday from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who said he saw no need to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. His comments in Japan came a day after tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of two Shiite holy cities, demanding that U.S. forces leave the country. Meanwhile, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton wrote to Defense Secretary Robert Gates questioning whether additional National Guard units named Monday for possible deployment to Iraq will be properly trained and equipped before they leave. The Missouri Democrat also said he was concerned about another proposal revealed Monday that could keep five active duty brigades in Iraq beyond their planned late-summer homecoming. “I must ask you, Mr. Secretary, where does this end?” Skelton said in his letter Tuesday. Bush has asked Congress for more than $100 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year. The House and Senate have approved the money, but their bills aim to wind down the war by including timelines for troops to come home – something Bush won’t accept. The Senate bill would require a U.S. troop exit in Iraq to begin within 120 days, with a completion goal of March 31, 2008. The House bill orders all combat troops out by Sept. 1, 2008. Bush also opposes the bills because of what he calls pork-barrel spending on matters unrelated to the war.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “The bottom line is this: Congress’ failure to fund our troops will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines,” Bush said at American Legion Post 177. “Others could see their loved ones headed back to war sooner than anticipated. This is unacceptable.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the terms set by the White House. “Congressional Democrats are willing to meet with the president at any time, but we believe that any discussion of an issue as critical as Iraq must be accomplished by conducting serious negotiations without any preconditions,” they said in a joint statement. “With his threat to veto such a plan for change in Iraq, President Bush is ignoring the clear message of the American people: We must protect our troops, hold the Iraqi government accountable, rebuild our military, provide for our veterans and bring our troops home. The president is demanding that we renew his blank check for a war without end.” Jim Manley, a spokesman for Reid, said Bush must drop his conditions on the meeting before Reid would attend. Pelosi agreed.