Making a fresh start


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Sharon Andrus graduates from SUNY Cortland today with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Andrus worked in the electronics field for 13 years before a company shutdown led her to make a career change.

Staff Reporter

After 13 years in the electronics field, Sharon Andrus decided it was time for a change when the company for which she worked shut down.
The change was drastic. She enrolled at SUNY Cortland as an anthropology major during summer 2004. Today she is among more than 1,200 students graduating from SUNY Cortland with bachelor’s degrees.
She said that before it closed its doors, she had worked as an engineering support and certification specialist at Advanced Digital Information Corp., making sure prototype products got safety approval and tested for electro-magnetic interference.
“It was interesting work,” she said.
Andrus had remembered taking a class in anthropology while working on an associate degree in electrical technology, which she received in 1991. “I loved anthropology,” she said.
“It was a challenge to change my career,” Andrus said.
Had she stayed in the electronics field, she said, she felt she would have had to study engineering and physics and that was not the direction in which she wanted to go.
Andrus said she was lucky she had the support of her husband, Daniel, an engineer at Lockheed Martin in Owego, so she could concentrate on her studies.
Andrus, who lives on the edge of Dryden near Ithaca, earned a grade point average of 4.2. “She’s an exceptional young woman — very thorough,” said Ellis McDowell-Loudan, an anthropology professor at the college. “She is fascinated by practically anything you give her to do.”
“I hate to let her graduate,” McDowell-Loudan added, saying Andrus was a joy to work with because of her dedication and sense of humor. She said she had suggested Andrus stay on forever at the college. “She’s just a delightful person.”
This year, Andrus received the Daniel H. Weiskotten Memorial Scholarship Award, which includes $500 toward her graduate work. A local chapter of the New York State Archaeological Association gives the award.
McDowell-Loudan said this is the fourth year a SUNY Cortland student has received the award out of the 16 years the award has been in place. It is named after an archaeologist from Cazenovia. McDowell-Loudan said most of the donors for the award are interested in archaeology but are not professional archaeologists.
Andrus said she had to write an essay describing how archaeology applies to her future goals. She said she would like to work in a technological museum or apply technology in a museum studying ethnographics, which studies specific cultures.
One class in particular that she found exciting and motivated her toward that goal was Introduction to Museum Studies.
It was through this class that Andrus decided to continue her education in museum studies. She plans to earn a master’s degree in public history from SUNY Albany next year and concentrate in museum and archival studies.
She gained practical museum experience working in the Rozanne M. Brooks Museum, located in Cornish Hall. She said artifacts came in while she was working there so she got to research them and determine what culture they were from and what material they were made of. Out of this she put together a display of combs. Andrus said she also put together teaching scenarios for a lesson on masks.
“This was so much fun,” she said of the class.
Andrus said she devoted herself to her studies while at Cortland. She said that when she was young she didn’t really know what she wanted to do, so when she graduated from Ithaca High School she entered the job market, delaying college. Now she is motivated.
“Part of it is loving what you are learning,” she said of her dedication to her studies.



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C'ville readies rezoning redo

Staff Reporter

CORTLANDVILLE — The town is working to determine what needs to be done to reinstate an amendment to its zoning ordinance that was ruled invalid by a state Supreme Court justice.
“The old ordinance is outdated and doesn’t meet our needs,” Town Supervisor Dick Tupper said of the ordinance the town was forced to revert to after the February ruling by state Supreme Court Judge William O’Brien. “The Town Board is ready to take this on.”
O’Brien ruled in favor of Citizens for Aquifer Protection and Employment in its Article 78 lawsuit against the town, saying the town should have held at least one more public hearing before adopting the zoning amendment, which reorganized residential, industrial and business districts in the town.
The hearing should have been held after changes were made to the ordinance regarding the allowable amount of impermeable surfaces on a lot, according to O’Brien’s ruling.
Town Attorney John Folmer said he would review the text of the ordinance next week, and would re-present the ordinance at the board’s June 7 meeting, which will be held in Blodgett Mills.



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Workforce board faces budget cuts

Staff Reporter

Job seekers may not have as many resources next year if additional funding does not come through for the Cortland-Cayuga Workforce Investment Board.
Due to a change in state and federal legislation, the county agency stands to lose more than $350,000 of its annual appropriations — more than a quarter of its budget.
The 2005 operating budget totaled almost $1.4 million. The state provided a 14 percent increase in funding in 2005, which makes the 2006 cuts even more surprising.
“This totally hit us by surprise,” said Judy Davison, director of Cortland County employment and training. “If we don’t do something about this we’re going to be in trouble.”
The Cortland-Cayuga Workforce Investment Board brings together job seekers and employers. The WIB works in conjunction with the Cortland Works Career Center on Main Street in Cortland.



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DEC at work on cleanup of Homer site

Staff Reporter

HOMER — The state Department of Environmental Conservation is expecting to receive the design plan next week for a project to clean up contaminated soil and sediment in parts of the Tioughnioga River and a former plant in Homer.
New York State Electric and Gas is responsible for putting together the design, and has been working on it since March 2005, according to DEC engineer John Helmeset.
The DEC said contaminants and hazardous compounds spread from the former NYSEG manufactured gas plant at 216 S. Main St. into the west branch of the Tioughnioga River.



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Student Athelete honored by SUNY chancellor

DRYDEN — A Tompkins Cortland Community College student athlete was recognized with a Chancellor’s Scholar-Athlete Award.
Clint Chaffee is the second TC3 student-athlete ever honored. State University of New York Chancellor John Ryan presented the awards at a reception in Westchester on May 1.
A total of 70 student-athletes were honored with the Chancellor’s Scholar-Athlete Award. The honorees play a total of 19 different sports and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.64. Chaffee, a computer support specialist major from Candor, graduates this month. A two-year member of the TC3 golf team, Chaffee earned all-American honors on the links in 2005 and has been on the dean’s list twice. 



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