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February 5, 2011

Reporter's Notebook: Award puts profession in perspective

Daily Star

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In discussing her receipt of an elite honor recently, Mary Jane Giarrusso-Wilken, SUNY Delhi professor of nursing and allied health, shared some thoughts. She was awarded the distinguished teacher professorship from the State University of New York.

When she started working in the late '60s she was a critical-care nurse, she said, and she has been involved with that aspect for her whole career.

Nursing is "just the most precious profession," she said. Through teaching she enjoys being able to communicate that to the next generation and motivate them.

"Most people don't see the tremendous impact you have on individuals and their families," she said.

Until they are in the field, "people don't realize the fantastic opportunity we have in serving others," she said. "I have always been proud of nursing and teaching," she said. The award is "the zenith of all of the work that I have put into it."

The award helps put in focus that "there is this fabulous profession that is getting the recognition it deserves."

At the State University College of Technology at Delhi, "we have a fantastic nursing program that provides professionals around the area."

Jeff Magnussen, Sidney MeadWestvaco Consumer & Office Products customer service employee, appeared in a Dec. 2 episode of the NBC comedy "30 Rock."

He is in a costume he made of science-fiction creature, Mechagodzilla, in one scene with the head off, standing next to co-star Alec Baldwin, and in another fighting Godzilla, according to a release from MWV.

He was asked to appear when a show writer saw Magnussen's handiwork on YouTube videos made during the building of the costume and after it was completed.

The character arose from his enjoyment of making Halloween costumes for his children. When they lost interest, he continued to pursue his fascination.

The videos document his progress working with cardboard, glue and other materials.

After eight months he finished the project with Krylon metallic silver paint. His son Nathan filmed his getting into the costume and walking around. His first public appearance was in a local Halloween parade.

After touring in the national production of the "Wizard of Oz," Oneonta High School graduate Alexandra Fassler said when the show is over in April, "I'd like to find some work in Manhattan."

She moved there after graduating from Boston Conservatory in 2009.

Traveling since the show began in November has been a great experience, but she would like to be in one place for a while, she said in January.

The tour is in a new city just about every day, she said. Even though they may travel 12 hours in a bus on some trips, "it's all worth it," she said.

Speaking of an effort by the Delaware County Industrial Development Agency to help a Sidney business grow, county Director of Economic Development Glenn Nealis said, "we've been working with Huff for some time to find the room for needed expansion."

He was talking about Sidney food distributor Huff Ice Cream.

The county bought the building in the Sidney Industrial Park from its former owner and worked out a lease/purchase arrangement with Huff that will allow the county to recoup its investment.

"It's great news," Nealis said. "It solidifies Huff's position in Sidney."

It helps improve their business and there will be some job creation, he said. "It's a good local company that has strong roots here. We want to do what we can to help them grow."

Mark Boshnack can be reached at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 218, or at