H1N1 Invades: Gannett Diagnoses 291 Students With Flu-Like Illness

Correction Appended
Cornell witnessed a surge of students experiencing flu-like symptoms over the holiday weekend, bringing the total number of students diagnosed by Gannett Health Services with probable H1N1 influenza to 291 as of last night.
Since individuals are not required to report having the flu and may choose to seek medical attention from other healthcare providers, this number only reflects those actually diagnosed at Gannett.
“We have no way of knowing how many people [in total] have H1N1 in our community of students, faculty and staff,” said Sharon Dittman, associate director of community relations at Gannett Health Services.

Three Possible Cases of Swine Flu Discovered in Cortland

The Cortland County Health Department announced yesterday that they are waiting for lab results from two suspected cases of swine flu in Cortland, N.Y., and they are investigating a third unrelated case to see if it meets the criteria for swine flu.
According to Theresa Lyczko, director of Health Promotion Program at Tompkins County Health Department, no additional information was available yesterday.
The Central N.Y. Real-Time News reported that one of the possible cases involves a Cortland County resident who works in Madison County and got sick after a trip to Mexico.

Swine Flu Outbreak Hits NYC

U.S. health officials declared a public health emergency yesterday over the recent outbreak of swine flu.
Currently, no cases have been identified in Tompkins County or at Cornell, according to Sharon Dittman, associate director of community relations at Gannett Health Services. However, 20 individuals in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the swine flu throughout New York, Texas, California, Ohio and Kansas.

Cornell Students Mugged While Abroad In Ecuador

Two Cornell students and a Boston University student were abducted and mugged last week while studying abroad at B.U.’s Quito Language and Liberal Arts program in Ecuador.
The three students, who are now safely back in that country’s capital city of Quito, were robbed at gunpoint last week while on break between classes in Guayaquil, 165 miles outside of Quito, according to Kristen Grace, Cornell Abroad associate director.
The students had decided to take a taxi back to their hotel as a safety precaution at around 11:30 p.m., according to Grace. While the taxi was stopped at a red light, two men jumped into the vehicle, demanding their money and valuables.

Zinni Derives Meaning From Middle East Crisis

With the Middle East crisis at the forefront of media coverage and debate, Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni brought a unique perspective to the situation yesterday, speaking of his first-hand experience as a mediator between Israeli and Palestinian political parties.
“I have never encountered a process as complicated and complex as this one,” Zinni said.
Zinni, a Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of 1956 Professor, began his discussion in front of the packed HEC Auditorium with his worry that the Middle East peace efforts are being eclipsed by the current economic crisis and various other events.

University Approves 13 New Construction Projects

Skorton announced yesterday that 13 new construction projects have been approved, working past the construction moratorium issued last November that suspended all major construction projects not currently underway.
The moratorium was issued in order to review and prioritize the projects and capital available to the University. According to the statement, the review is quickly proceeding so that approvals can be made on a case-by-case basis while expenditures and debt are carefully monitored.
The statement also announced that information regarding pending projects will be available to the public through CUinfo under “budget resources.” The link will allow individuals to access specific data regarding projects, including the purpose, justification, funding and status.

Gillibrand Visits Cornell To Establish Term’s Focus

Before trying to enact some of her major policy agendas in the Senate chamber in Washington, D.C., Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior senator from New York, has to listen to her constituents in order to determine what exactly her agenda should be. After holding economic development roundtables in Cortland and Elmira yesterday, Gillibrand also participated in a roundtable discussion at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
“I’m here to help,” Gillibrand told the panelists and audience members. Focusing on what Gillibrand could do for the people and the region she represents in Congress, the roundtable gravitated towards how Gillibrand could help alleviate the economic and agricultural issues facing upstate New York.

Bill Encourages Lower Prices for Contraceptives

The nation’s president has been a staunch proponent of contraceptive use, recently signing an appropriations bill calling for pharmaceutical companies to supply discounted contraceptives to college health clinics, Planned Parenthood offices and family-planning centers throughout the country.
“The recent passing of the affordable birth control legislation is a victory for millions of college students who have struggled to afford the rising costs of basic contraception in these difficult economic times,” stated Robin Gaige, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, in an e-mail.
The passage of the bill may also help to reduce the high numbers of unplanned pregnancies seen in the U.S.

Univ. Turns Waste Into Renewable Energy

What began as an idea in an e-mail two years ago is now the The Cornell University Renewable Bioenergy Initiative, seeking to utilize everything from dining hall waste to animal manure in order to create renewable energy sources on campus.
Mark Hoffman, director of Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, spearheaded this initiative, looking to keep Cornell committed to its sustainable efforts. According to Hoffman, Cornell oversees over 10,000 acres of land as a living laboratory that supports the research and teaching community. This land is also a rich source of biomass that can be converted into renewable biofuels.