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Hydrofracking Topic of Earth Day Talk

Hydrofracking and its impact on the local area will be the focus of an Earth Day talk Friday, April 19, at Keuka College.

Helen and David Slottje

David F. Slottje and Helen H. Slottje, co-founders of Community Environmental Defense Council Inc. (CEDC), an environmental law firm, will speak on “Fighting Fracking: A View from the Trenches.” at 3:30 p.m. in Jephson Science Center  104. It is free and open to the public.

According to Kasey Klingensmith, professor of biology, law firms across the state say local governments can’t stop fracking in New York because state law takes away local authority to enact laws relating to the regulation of the gas industry.

“But Helen and David argued that banning drilling was not the same as regulating it,” said Klingensmith. “They developed and advanced the thesis that New York municipalities may utilize local land use authority. This allows them to enact laws prohibiting gas drilling and associated activities outright. It also provides protective laws—which are not laws relating to the regulation of the gas industry.”

For more than three years, the Slottjes have crisscrossed the state, teaching towns that they can enact laws to keep drilling out, and drafting those laws at no charge.

Kasey Klingensmith, professor of biology.

“Following CEDC’s lead, nearly 150 municipalities have passed either a ban or moratorium on gas drilling,” said Klingensmith. “CEDC’s work has energized the anti-fracking movement, brought hope to local residents, empowered local governments, and continues to send Albany politicians a clear message that New York will not be fracked.”

Helen Slottje received a bachelor’s degree in economics with honors from the College of the Holy Cross and received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. studied at Harvard Law School from 1990 to 1991.

David Slottje graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He received his law degree from Emory University.

Employees Honored at Community Day

Forty-nine faculty and staff members were recognized for their service and dedication to Keuka College at Community Day Aug. 20.

Keuka College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, second from right, poses with five-year service award recipients.

Five-year service awards were presented to: Eva Moberg-Sarver, director of student activities/associate director of New Student Orientation; Doreen Hovey, executive assistant to the vice president for academic affairs; Jonathan Accardi, director of campus recreation; Christopher Leahy, associate professor of history; Andrew Robak, assistant professor of chemistry; Patricia Mattingly, assistant professor of nursing; Jennifer Mealy, assistant professor of social work; Kimberly Fenton, interlibrary loan librarian; Joshua Ficks, manager of TeamWorks!; Judy Gilmartin, administrative programmer; John Locke, director of instructional design and multidisciplinary studies; Kathleen Snow, academic skills counselor; Marjorie Multer, administrative assistant, admissions; Julie Burns-Percy, assistant professor of social work, Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP); Jessica Noveck, student services representative; Chevanne DeVaney, director of multicultural affairs; Teri Spoor, IKON site manager; Craig Gelder, manager, Follett Bookstore; Terry Reape, dining services; Korey Goodman, dining services; Steven Riekofski, maintenance; and Sue Morse, housekeeping.

Keuka College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, second from right, poses with 10-year service award recipients.

Ten-year service awards were presented to Tim Sellers, associate vice president for academic affairs; Vicki Smith, chair and professor of occupational therapy; Tom Tremer, chair and professor of criminology/criminal justice; Anna Decker, secretary, education graduate studies and administrative assistant, Lightner Library; Sharon Tyler, associate professor and librarian; and Susan DeLyser, human resource manager.

Fifteen-year service awards were presented to Jean Wannall, professor of occupational therapy; Anne Weed, vice president of academic affairs; Brad Turner, technical support technician; Kathy Waye, executive director of alumni and family relations; and Kasey Klingensmith, professor of biology.

A 20-year service award was presented to Jeff Bray, assistant director of athletics and head athletic trainer.

Twenty-five year service awards were presented to Doug Richards, chair and professor of English; and Sherry Fox, accounts payable.

College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera and Professor of Biology Joan Magnusen.

Tom Carroll, professor of chemistry and physics (left) with College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera.

Thirty-year service awards were presented to Tom Carroll, professor of chemistry and physics; and Joan Magnusen, professor of biology.

Merit awards were presented to: Laura Alfieris, assistant director of admissions; Carroll; Rachel E. Dewey, communications specialist; Kathleen Hastings, assistant director of admissions counseling; Jennie Joiner, assistant professor of English; Kelly Lickert, head coach, women’s lacrosse; Eugene Mont, resident director, Ball Hall and retention counselor; Tim White, resident director, Blyley and Harrington Halls and retention counselor; and Penny Webber, office manager for Academic Success at Keuka (ASK).

College President Díaz-Herrera (center) with Tracy McFarland (left) and Christen Accardi.

Two Presidential Awards for Sustained Outstanding Achievement were presented to Christen Accardi, marketing manager, ASAP; and Tracy McFarland, associate vice president for student development.

Hydrofracking Focus of Presentations

The controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking) will be the focus of two presentations this week at Keuka College.

Professor of Biology Kasey Klingensmith, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Andrew Robak, and Peter Gamba, founding member of the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, will discuss the issue Wednesday, April 20, from 6-7 p.m. in Hegeman 109.

The anti-hydrofracking documentary All Fracked Up will be screened Thursday, April 21 from 6-9 p.m. in Hegeman 109. Filmmakers Jeff and Jodi Andrysick will be on hand to answer questions.

Both events, sponsored by the Chemistry Club, are free and open to the public.

The term hydrofracking describes the process by which millions of gallons of a highly pressurized mixture of sand, water, and chemicals are pumped horizontally into underground shale deposits to either create new fractures in the rock or expand existing cracks to access natural gas deposits and bring the gas to the surface.

Energy companies and environmentalists agree that natural gas will help slow climate change because it burns more cleanly than coal or oil and using it will help wean the country from its dependency on other countries for oil. However, considerable controversy surrounds the current implementation of hydraulic fracturing technology in the United States, including upstate New York.

That is because environmental safety and health concerns have emerged and are being debated at the state and national levels.

Keuka’s White Knight

This year has been deja vu all over again for Professor of Biology Jim White. When White first arrived on the Keuka College campus in 1962, the Millspaugh building was brand-new, and faculty members were still unpacking boxes, searching for equipment and teaching materials.

Now, 38 years later, with the $3.1 million renovation of the Millspaugh Science Center  recently completed, faculty members are again unpacking boxes.White, along with Professor of Chemistry Gary Hickernell and Associate Professor of Biology Tom Dickinson, worked directly with the architectural firm, SWBR Architects of Rochester, N.Y. , and LeChase Construction, also of Rochester, to plan the Millspaugh renovation. He also supervised the move and personally carried much of the lab equipment back and forth.

“He was a human dynamo,” said President Joseph Burke. “His performance during this renovation will be long remembered by faculty and students.”

“He’s the father of this building,” said Professor of Biology Joan Magnusen, adding
that White has been known to crawl up into the ceiling to repair ductwork himself. “Not
only does Jim decide what needs to be done, but he does it.”

“He’s always been the essence of Millspaugh,” agreed Kathleen Dougherty, manager of prospect research, and a 1997 Keuka College graduate with a bachelor’s degree in a student-initiated major in biological illustration and a minor in chemistry. “He has always felt responsible for the building.”

“He has a tremendous role in keeping the place up,” said Hickernell.
Of course, White’s role at Keuka extends far beyond building maintenance
and planning. White, who teaches Anatomy and Physiology and co-teaches Organisms in
the Environment with Assistant Professor of Biology Kasey Klingensmith, ” is one
of the most knowledgeable in his field that I have come upon,” Magnusen said.

“He knows seven terms for every structure and can explain the derivation
of every term.” White is extremely knowledgeable about anatomy and physiology, she said, adding that “his patience makes him willing to state things over and over.”

“He’ll do anything he can for the students,” Hickernell said. Magnusen said that when she came to Keuka for her initial interview before being offered a faculty position, she met with
students and asked them what courses they liked most to take. The answer: “Anything Jim White teaches.”

“He’s got a mind like a steel trap. He knows faculty and students going way back and remembers them,” Hickernell said.

“He has an enormous capacity for remembering details,” Magnusen agreed. “Much of the lore of this division is in Jim’s head.”

In fact, White can produce a photograph of the science majors in the Class of 1964 and  describe what kind of student each one was at the time, and what she went on to do after graduation. White grew up in Punxsutawney, a small town in rural Pennsylvania. He from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., and a Ph.D. in zoology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. While in graduate school, he met and married his wife, Cynthia. After
spending a year teaching at Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa, White then joined the Keuka faculty. Part of what attracted him to Keuka College was the location.

“By training, I’m a vertebrate ecologist, so l wanted to be out in a rural area where I could do ecological work, and it was closer to our families,” he explained.
What made him stay was the community atmosphere.

“I enjoyed the place. My wife and I decided this would be a good place to raise a family,”  said  White, whose daughters Wendy and Anne were born in 1965 and 1967. “Of the faculty here most of them were very much dedicated to the institution,” White said, adding that most faculty members lived close to campus. ” It was a whole community. There were a lot more social events.”

White specifically recalls that when the Lightner Library was built in 1972, each faculty and staff member pitched in to carry a box of books from the former Strong Library to the new building. Being a part of that community often meant becoming involved in extracurricular activities. White served as a faculty representative on the Student Senate and was Keuka Park fire chief off an on from 1968 to 1993.

“We passed it back and forth,” he said, adding that he’s still an adviser to the Keuka Park Fire Department. White served as chair of the biology department for almost 30 years
before passing the baton to Hickernell in 1997. Magnusen then became chair in 1999.
Having gone from a single-sex atmosphere at Rutgers University to teaching at the coeducational Parsons College, White said he enjoyed returning to a single-sex  environment when he first arrived at Keuka.

“I enjoyed working with the young women,” he said. “They were all a pretty dedicated group. They didn’t all have TVs, all these other things that distract people from doing their work.” white recalled that students would study in the Millspaugh building at night, and, because there was no real athletic facility at the time, they would often gather and do aerobic exercises in the hallways. While the turbulent political climate of the 1960s had some impact on the College, it did little to distract students from their real purpose.

“They had some marches and demonstrations, but that was a minor part of what was going on,”White said. “The attitude wasn’t anti-establishment at that point. They were protesting politically, but not what was going on at the College. They were here to get their  education.”

In the 38 years he’s been at Keuka College, much has changed, not only in student life and politics, but also within the realm of science. In particular, White noted the miniaturization of scientific instrumentation. “Microscopes have many more gadgets,” he said, adding that ” one of the difficulties at a place like Keuka is trying to keep up with the changes in instrumentation.”

Another change has been in the focus on environmental issues. “They were still doing nuclear tests when I first came here,” White said, but since the first Earth Day was held in
1970, the public has become more environmentally conscious.

“That’s when they began to push public awareness,” he said. But one thing hasn’t changed:
Jim White’s commitment to the College. “He’s been an anchor throughout
the time he’s been here,” Magnusen said. “He gives–and has given–not just
his mind but his heart and soul to this division.”