Panel Will Discuss Gas Drilling at SUNY Cortland

Panel Will Discuss Gas Drilling at SUNY Cortland


Four women from around the region will address the topic of gas drilling and hydrofracking at a "Women of the Shale" panel discussion on Wednesday, March 9, at SUNY Cortland.

"Teaching and Activism" is the title of the discussion that will focus on four questions:

• Why did you become concerned about gas drilling/hydrofracking?

• How have you used your strengths and talents to address these concerns?

• What have you accomplished?

• What can others do to become an activist in this realm?

The talk, presented as part of the College's Women's History Month series of events during March, will begin at 7 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 205. The event is free and open to the public. Sheila Cohen, professor emerita of literacy, will serve as the moderator.

The panelists are members of Gas Drilling Awareness for Cortland County (GDACC). They include:

• Chris Applegate worked at the College's Auxiliary Services Corporation (ASC) for 20 years in dining management and marketing. She has been the chef/owner of two local restaurants and is involved in the local foods movement. She teaches food safety part time at Cornell University. She has presented on hydrofracking for many groups in the region and will give a presentation at a conference in New York City.

• Cohen chairs the SUNY Cortland Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies Environmental Justice Committee and is a GDACC outreach coordinator. She is interested in increasing arts and cultural events in the community and assuring Cortland remains a safe, clean and healthy environment. She began to pursue research on fracking in 2008 when legislation passed in the state Assembly and Senate permitting horizontal hydrofracking.

• Mary Menapace, women's health nurse at Upstate Medical University and lifelong resident of the Finger Lakes area, started researching fracking almost two years ago after discovering she has 13 wells near her home. She began attending fracking meetings then and is still surprised to find herself speaking out. She is a founding member of ShaleshockCNY, a member of Skaneateles Lake Association, and chair of Skaneateles Town Board Citizen's Committee on Hydrofracking.

• Mary Jane Uttech has served as deputy public health director for the Cortland County Health Department since 1999. She served 22 years in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Nurse Corps and retired as a lieutenant colonel before moving back to Cortland in 1992. During her time as a military nurse she had several assignments at U.S. Army hospitals in the U.S. and overseas in Bangkok, Thailand and Wurzburg, Germany. Her last assignment before retiring was Assistant Chief Nurse at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

For more information, contact Cohen by e-mail or at (607) 753-2464.