Professionals tell CHS seniors about careers


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Dr. Judy McMahon, center, speaks to Cortland High School students as Ashley Cincotta looks on. The two women, from Audiology Consultants of Cortland, were among several speakers who told about their jobs on Career Day at Cortland Junior-Senior High School Wednesday.

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — Heather Arnold knows what she wants to be when she grows up, Brittany Babcock is exploring her options and Kaitlyn Glover knows she wants to go into the medical field.
At the Cortland Junior-Senior High School Career Day, Glover, Arnold, Babcock, all 17, and many other students were exposed to everything from a career in audiology, which is the study of hearing disorders and their treatment, to a career in community service.
There were eight sessions throughout the day, featuring 20 area professionals, mostly attended by seniors. Career Day was held in the Large Group Instructional Room at the school on Wednesday.
Bill Lee, an organizer and host of Career Day, said to guarantee a crowd, “We went to the teachers who predominantly have seniors and asked if they wanted to bring their classes.” Lee added that students from all grades were then invited to attend sessions that interested them.
Although Glover has yet to decide which area of medicine she would study, a career in audiology is not too far from her mind.
“I thought it was really good,” Glover said. “I have always wanted to go into the medical field. This could be an option.”
The audiology presenters were Dr. Judith McMahon, an audiologist and owner of Audiology Consultants of Cortland, and Ashley Cincotta, a licensed hearing aid dispenser technician, who works for McMahon.
If Glover does decide to pursue a career in audiology, her older sister’s hearing impairment would play a roll.
“I have gone to a lot of her appointments,” Glover said. “I see what they have to do to test people.”
“We wanted to go out into the community and find people who were passionate,” said Lee. “We want people who love their jobs.”
Babcock said the journalism professionals were just what Lee wanted them to be, “passionate.” The people who presented for the journalism and communications professionals were Ryan Dean of News 10 Now, Evan Geibel of the Cortland Standard and Dana Merkur of Isaf-Merkur Studios.
“I learned how they are passionate and really liked their jobs,” Babcock said. Babcock is unsure of what she wants to be, but just like Arnold she wants to do something in history.
When Arnold walked into the first presentation, which was of communications and journalism professionals, she thought it would be “pretty boring.”
“I thought it was going to be just like people talking and pretty boring,” Arnold said. “But I thought it was really good.”
Although Arnold enjoyed the session, her mind has not changed; she wants to be a history teacher.
“I really, really like history,” Arnold said. “I want to work with kids.”
Cincotta, a graduate of Cortland Junior-Senior High School in 2000, was inspired to pursue a career in hearing care because her father, brothers and uncle have been hearing impaired their entire lives.
Although she never thought she would be back in Cortland working, Cincotta said the best aspect of her job is interacting with people and hearing about their problems.
Luann Rottmann, a library media specialist and an organizer for the event, said teachers and staff nominated the professionals who were chosen. The federal Carl D. Perkins Act, which supports career and technical education that prepares students both for postsecondary education and the careers of their choice, funded the event through the Tompkins Cortland Community College Tech Prep Consortium.
Rottmann said the day was a success.
“The students I saw had a lot of enthusiasm and interest,” Rottmann said.
She said the program was held to help students decide what they wanted to be.
“That is a big question for our seniors,” Rottmann said. She added, career day would, “Show them it is OK to question and pursue what you like.”
McMahon gave the students in her session some parting words of advice, “I stress the importance of continuing your education. If you work hard, everything is possible for you.”
Among the professionals who presented at Career Day were Steve Crawford of Barden Homes, Travis Rocco of the Travis Rocco Band, Joe Peters of the Cortland Police Department, Michelle Brooks of Coffee Mania. Each presenter was given a $10 gift certificate to one of five local restaurants.


County panel raises traffic, stormwater issues for Wal-Mart

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — The county Planning Board Wednesday night offered a slew of recommendations for the town of Cortlandville to consider on the placement of a Wal-Mart Supercenter on Route 13.
In reviewing the latest site plan offered by Wal-Mart, and the company’s application to be considered a planned unit development (PUD) the board expressed reservations about stormwater management at the proposed store, snow storage, traffic, pedestrian safety and a number of other issues.
It agreed, however, that the plan was an improvement since the board last reviewed it in May.
“One thing that I think is a very positive change is they removed the tire lube express,” said board member Richard Martin, referring to Wal-Mart’s decision not to include an oil change station in its proposal for the site.
Still, the board did have concerns.
For instance, the site plan did not delineate any crosswalk or pedestrian access across Route 13, and the board decided to include the consideration of a crosswalk in its recommendations.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of people who are maybe working on the other side of the road wanting to walk over there,” board member Ann Hotchkin said.
The board also noted that one of its requests from March — a demonstration of community need that is required for the planned unit development zoning designation that Wal-Mart is seeking — had not been satisfactorily answered.
“In my opinion, it doesn’t address that any more than it did in May, but I think that’s really the town’s call,” said Dan Dineen, director of the county Planning Department.
Increased traffic, especially at the intersection of Bennie Road, which will run adjacent to the site, and Route 215, was also a key issue.
“That’s been one of my key concerns from the beginning, that intersection,” said Keith Van Gorder.
The board recommended the town consider the impacts of increased traffic at the intersection.



Area Catholic leaders send reconfiguration outlines to diocese

Staff Reporter

HOMER — A group of local Roman Catholic Church leaders voted Wednesday to send three plans to the Syracuse Diocese that would reconfigure Cortland County area parishes if and when the number of priests serving the area is reduced.
All options intend to keep the churches open, although in the final phase perhaps not as a worship site. The option recommended by the largest number of leaders assembled Wednesday would divide the churches into three parishes, grouping the largest parish with two smaller ones. The plan coming in second also grouped the parishes into three, but used proximity as a criterion. The plan ranked third put all the churches into one parish.
The Rev. Mark Kaminski said after the vote that the bishop will review the plans and make decisions with possible revisions by late winter or early spring. Implementation is planned for July 2007, Bufano said.
The meeting of parishes in the Cortland Pastoral Care Area was held at St. Margaret’s Church on Copeland Avenue in Homer.
Bishop James M. Moynihan, of the Syracuse Diocese, will take the plans submitted by local clusters of parishes and make a final decision on reorganization for each of 34 pastoral care areas in the diocese, said Sr. Laura Bufano, who serves the entire Cortland PCA. Bufano served as facilitator for Wednesday’s meeting.
Nine churches are part of the Cortland PCA: St. Patrick’s in Truxton, St. Lawrence in DeRuyter, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Cincinnatus, St. Stephen’s in Marathon, St. Mary’s and St. Anthony’s in Cortland, St. Margaret’s in Homer, St. Patrick’s in Whitney Point, and the Newman Center at SUNY Cortland.
Bufano said according to diocese fundraising data, the Cortland PCA serves 2,800 households or an estimated 8,400 people, plus the Catholic students at SUNY Cortland.
Three members of the plenary committee, consisting of a pastor, two parish trustees, and the president and vice president of the Pastoral Council made up the voting group Wednesday. For Newman Hall the makeup was the director of campus ministry, two students and two board members.
After each restructuring plan was presented, the 43 members present voted on whether that plan should be send to Syracuse for review. Bufano said the group had previously agreed that a simple majority of voters would decide if the plan would be forwarded.
The plan receiving the most votes at 36 was also ranked first by the drafting committee — a smaller committee of three. The group, which included the three priests ranked all the plans previous to the Wednesday vote based on how well they met the needs of the churches and its parishioners. The drafting committee prioritized the other two plans in reverse order from the plenary committee.
The plan both groups ranked first divides the parishes as follows, with one pastor for each: St. Margaret’s and St. Anthony’s and a specialized ministry to the O’Heron Newman Hall at SUNY Cortland; St. Mary’s, St. Patrick’s in Truxton and St. Lawrence; the southern parishes of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Stephen’s and St. Patrick’s in Whitney Point. As priests are lost, the parishes remain organized the same, but with two co-pastors, one of which serves as moderator.
The Rev. Jerry Katz, pastor of St. Patrick’s in Whitney Point and St. Stephen’s in Marathon, said the plan “allows the needs to be met in each of the local Catholic communities.” He said it also allows flexibility because it does not impose one parish, as did another plan that this larger group placed third.




Legislators rethink rejection of tobacco money

Acceptance of money would require county to use minors in sting operations

Staff Reporter

Some county legislators who initially voted against state funding for tobacco enforcement due to ethical concerns are having second thoughts.
They are planning on resubmitting the issue to the full Legislature again at its Nov. 30 meeting, where it seems likely it will pass.
The $32,102 in state Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act funding was turned down by the Legislature at its Oct. 26 meeting over concerns about a mandate that some of the funding be used on sting-type operations where minors attempt to buy tobacco products from local vendors.
At the Health Committee meeting Wednesday, two of the seven legislators who voted against the measure, and one of three who were absent at the October meeting, said they would now vote in favor of the funding.
“I just had a bit of a problem with teenagers going in and doing this —I would hate to have my kids in that position,” said Legislature Chairman Marilyn Brown (D-8th Ward). “But the state requires that this be done and if we don’t do it somebody else will have to and we’ll lose out on funding we need to enforce tobacco laws.”
Brown was joined by committee members Sandy Price (D-Virgil, Harford), who also originally voted against the funding, and Ron Van Dee (D-5th Ward), who was absent in October, in saying they would vote in favor of the funding if it was brought to the floor again.
Of the $32,000, only about $1,500 would go toward compliance checks that would send minors into stores to see if the businesses permit them to purchase tobacco products, Jackie Gailor, director of the County Health Department, told the committee.
The rest of the funding would go toward enforcing the Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits smoking in public buildings, and toward completing the legal aspect of all enforcement activities, Gailor said, essentially meaning that the county would be performing mandated services regardless of whether it accepted the funding.
“It only makes financial sense for us to do this, because most of the enforcement we’re gonna have to do anyhow,” Price said. “I think the Legislature made a valid point last month and I’m proud to have supported it and hopefully we were heard, but we also have to be fiscally responsible.”
Gailor said that using minors to test tobacco sellers had been mandated for as long as she could remember, and that ethical concerns had been raised before.
“I’ve heard these same concerns in the past and I certainly understand them,” said Gailor, who noted that an adult from the Health Department supervises any minors used for the compliance checks. “They’ve never resulted in the county not accepting the grant before though.”




Status of TC3 health center upsets students

Staff Reporter

DRYDEN — A health center at Tompkins Cortland Community College that has yet to formally open has drawn criticism from students who have objected to fees, delays and publicity associated with the center.
A typed letter, signed only with a “V”, that was slipped under the Student Advisory Board office Friday complains about a $25 health fee full-time students paid for the first time this semester.
The fee is to cover the establishment of the new health center and the cost of hiring Health Services Director Shari Shapleigh, who is a nurse practitioner. The center likely will not open until some time after Thanksgiving.
“There are students who are leaving this semester so they paid $25 for nothing,” said Kelly Hinlicky, president of the Student Advisory Board and a member of the Faculty Student Association.
Robin Slocum, assistant to the director of campus activities, said classes at the college end Dec. 7 and finals are the following week. The next Faculty Student Association meeting is also Dec. 7. Hinlicky said she might present a petition in front of the board to protest the charge.
Perry Slack, another SAB member on the FSA, said he would be writing an article for the college’s student newspaper, The Phoenix.
SAB members said they had thought because they were assessed the $25 fee that the center would be open closer to the beginning of the semester. Dean of College Services Bob Ross said the FSA — made up of students, faculty, administrators and staff — approved a proposal this year in April that included the $25 fee.
Ross said the cost to build the health center was about $350,000. He said the student health fees would pay for Shapleigh’s salary, as well as other costs of operating the clinic — medical supplies, hiring a registered nurse, and purchasing and maintaining the software. Ross said a preliminary budget for the center was set at $118,000 this year, all funded by student health fees — about $100,000 in fees from the fall and the spring semesters and $18,000 from summer students.
“We’re working on a very narrow budget margin,” said Dean of Student Services Walter Poland, who serves as president of the FSA. He said he was not sure if the students’ concerns were reasonable or emotional, but said he would be open to discussing them at the next FSA meeting if a request for a discussion is added to the agenda.