Dean Carolyn Woo will continue to live Notre Dame’s mission after she leaves the Mendoza College of Business to become president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) at the end of the month. “I think that is the Notre Dame message: to go out and be of service to those who need you,” Woo said. “I see it as a privilege to be able to do that work with a group of people who are extremely dedicated and extremely good at what they do.” Woo has been dean of Mendoza for 14 years. She had served as audit committee chair at CRS for six years before being offered the position of President and CEO. “When the invitation came to be a candidate, at first I did not think I was an appropriate candidate because I do not have an international relief background,” she said. “But I prayed and went through the process of screening and then was offered the job.” Having spent her entire career in academics except for a two-year period, Woo said she went through a period of intense reflection prior to making her decision to leave. “It’s not easy to leave your own comfort zone,” Woo said. “I will be leaving my comfort zone in a big way, from something I know very well and have done for most of my life to a very new sector of work in international relief.” Woo said she was concerned about whether she will become skilled at her new position quickly enough. The atmosphere surrounding CRS differs greatly from the relatively isolated atmosphere of Notre Dame, she said. “[Notre Dame] is not an open environment in the sense of having a lot of disturbances or being subjected to a lot of environmental uncertainty,” she said. “I will be going from an environment that is somewhat stable to an environment which is a lot more open-ended.” Because CRS is part of the Catholic Church, Woo said she found comfort in the fact she will still be able to follow in the mission of Christ. “I want to work to bring Christ to people who really need help, assistance and a better shot at life,” Woo said. “To be able to serve people who are really poor and vulnerable, who could really use a lot [of help] and a more stable way of life so they can really have dignity and some level of security that allows people joy.” Despite her excitement about the future, Woo said she will miss working with students. “I will miss the rhythm of lots of students with lots of ideas, and then they progress and grow in significant and dramatic ways and then they graduate and another generation comes in,” she said. “To see those different waves of growth and the dynamism and the professional growth you get to see in your students, that’s a wonderful gift.” Woo said she has enjoyed working with the faculty and staff of Mendoza during its climb to the number one undergraduate business school in the country. To her, the most important aspect of the achievement is that Notre Dame never abandoned its Catholic principles. “We never traded off or diminished or deemphasized our Catholic identity,” Woo said. “That was the most important goal, commitment to our mission, and the fact that we achieved number one while embracing our mission means the world to me.” Woo remains confident Mendoza will continue to grow in her absence. “I feel like Mendoza is in a really good spot and I’m not leaving it in difficulty,” she said. “I’m leaving it in the strongest position ever, so it is time then to work on other services.” Associate Dean Roger Huang will act as interim dean of Mendoza while Notre Dame searches for a permanent successor. “My advice to the next dean would be to stay faithful to the mission,” she said. “That will drive everything else.”
Every year, Notre Dame fans wait with bated breath to see what The Shirt, their uniform on football Saturdays, will look like. The wait is over Friday when The Shirt will be unveiled at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore. Junior Lauren Couey, The Shirt unveiling coordinator, said many student groups will perform at the event, including Project Fresh, the band, cheerleaders, the bagpipe band and the Glee Club, among others. Former football players will also appear at the event, Couey said. “Robert Hughes, Golden Tate and Allen Pinkett, who will also be our MC for the day, [are coming],” she said. “Having former players will be pretty exciting, along with [Irish coach Brian] Kelly and the [current] players.” Couey said the event will also feature games and food. “There will be inflatables for kids, a corn hole toss tournament, trivia with prizes and free food,” she said. “Jimmy John’s and Hot Box have donated food, so we are pretty excited about that.” Senior Paul Baranay, vice president of The Shirt Committee, said this year’s unveiling will showcase the charitable aspect of The Shirt. Couey said Fr. Tom Doyle, vice-president for student affairs, will appear at the event for the first time to speak about the late Sr. Jean Lenz, one of the founders of The Shirt. Baranay said the event will highlight not only The Shirt’s design but also the charitable efforts made possible by proceeds from The Shirt. According to The Shirt Project website, the profits from The Shirt support student groups on campus and establish memorial awards for particular Notre Dame students. Baranay said the final design has been in place since early February, and while he cannot explicitly reveal anything about The Shirt, he said the format of the event gives a hint. “One thing I can say is that there is a reason we are focusing on players this year,” he said. “[This season] is the 125th anniversary of the football program, and that will be worked into the unveiling as well.” Couey said she is excited to see who turns out for the event. “Since I’ve been setting everything up, doing all the little pieces, it is hard for me to even picture it all together to see it actually all come together,” Couey said. “Seeing everyone there and the excitement is what I am really looking forward [to].” Baranay said he is excited for the student groups to perform. “I’m most excited to see the students and the community turn out. It is always a huge event,” he said. “As for the program itself, I am actually most excited about the student groups because they are the ones that benefit from The Shirt so it is always great to see them perform.”,Every year, Notre Dame fans wait with bated breath to see what The Shirt, their uniform on football Saturdays, will look like. The wait is over Friday when The Shirt will be unveiled at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore. Junior Lauren Couey, The Shirt unveiling coordinator, said many student groups will perform at the event, including Project Fresh, the band, cheerleaders, the bagpipe band and the Glee Club, among others. Former football players will also appear at the event, Couey said. “Robert Hughes, Golden Tate and Allen Pinkett, who will also be our MC for the day, [are coming],” she said. “Having former players will be pretty exciting, along with [Irish coach Brian] Kelly and the [current] players.” Couey said the event will also feature games and food. “There will be inflatables for kids, a corn hole toss tournament, trivia with prizes and free food,” she said. “Jimmy John’s and Hot Box have donated food, so we are pretty excited about that.” Senior Paul Baranay, vice president of The Shirt Committee, said this year’s unveiling will showcase the charitable aspect of The Shirt. Couey said Fr. Tom Doyle, vice-president for student affairs, will appear at the event for the first time to speak about the late Sr. Jean Lenz, one of the founders of The Shirt. Baranay said the event will highlight not only The Shirt’s design but also the charitable efforts made possible by proceeds from The Shirt. According to The Shirt Project website, the profits from The Shirt support student groups on campus and establish memorial awards for particular Notre Dame students. Baranay said the final design has been in place since early February, and while he cannot explicitly reveal anything about The Shirt, he said the format of the event gives a hint. “One thing I can say is that there is a reason we are focusing on players this year,” he said. “[This season] is the 125th anniversary of the football program, and that will be worked into the unveiling as well.” Couey said she is excited to see who turns out for the event. “Since I’ve been setting everything up, doing all the little pieces, it is hard for me to even picture it all together to see it actually all come together,” Couey said. “Seeing everyone there and the excitement is what I am really looking forward [to].” Baranay said he is excited for the student groups to perform. “I’m most excited to see the students and the community turn out. It is always a huge event,” he said. “As for the program itself, I am actually most excited about the student groups because they are the ones that benefit from The Shirt so it is always great to see them perform.”
The 6th annual Notre Dame Diversity Conference will address building stronger businesses by fostering diversity, second-year MBA student and conference co-chair Andrew Bedward said. Bedward said the goal of the conference is to affirm the importance of diversity in both business and academia. “The primary focus is promoting diversity in the corporate world and academia,” Bedward said. “We also want to remind people that diversity is broad. It’s not just ethnic diversity, it’s gender diversity, it’s diversity of ideas, it’s diversity of backgrounds.” The conference will primarily take place in the Mendoza College of Business, but events will also occur in the Notre Dame Stadium press box and in Legends, Bedward said. Friday will feature a case competition for MBA students, but also a networking session and a dinner that will be open to the public. Saturday the conference will be open to anyone, Bedward said. He said the conference will feature four speakers, including Mendoza College of Business Dean Roger Huang and keynote speaker LaQuita Hall, vice president of business operations at AT&T. The conference will also include panel discussions with guest panelists, break-out sessions with faculty and two networking sessions, he said. Bedward said he expects the highlight of the event will be the speakers and panelists sharing their stories. “We have a great group of speakers and panelists, so I’m most excited about hearing them discuss their experiences.” Bedward said, “They’re not going to stand up there and tell you something out of a book, they’re going to tell you their stories and the lessons they’ve learned.” Bedward said the biggest change compared to last year’s conference is the addition of breakout sessions where attendees will split into smaller groups and discuss various topics related to diversity in the corporate world with Notre Dame faculty. The event is hosted and organized by the MBA program at the Mendoza College of Business, Bedward said. He said the conference distinguishes the MBA program from the equivalent programs at other universities. “This conference is one of the hallmark events of the Notre Dame program and I think it’s something that separates us from the other top ten programs. It shows a commitment to diversity that is more than words.” He said, “It’s grown every year and I expect it will continue to grow in the future. We want this to become a campus-wide event.” With the help of faculty advisor Megan Stiphany, co-chairs Bedward and Dana Twomey, also a second-year MBA student, led the conference’s organizing team. Bedward said each member of the group had different responsibilities, including contacting sponsors and organizing the conference agenda. The group began planning the conference at the end of the last academic year, Bedward said. Their first task was to choose the theme “building a stronger business through diversity,” he said. Bedward said the organizing team then planned the various aspects of the conference and began fundraising. “Once we had a theme, we had to think about the kind of companies that embody the theme and have a commitment to promoting diversity, map out the two days and reach out to our sponsors to fundraise,” he said. The conference has eight corporate sponsors and each could send a speaker to the conference, send a panelist or give money -at various sponsorship levels, he said. NetApp and AT&T both gave money and provided a speaker and Skanska both gave money and provided a panelist. Bedward said he is impressed by the value the conference’s corporate sponsors place on diversity. “Companies sending C level executives out to South Bend, and those executives missing work, shows the importance they place on diversity,” he said. Attendance is free and open to anyone. The organizers have made an effort to reach out to the South Bend community and undergraduates, Bedward said. Online registration is recommended via the conference’s web page on the Mendoza College of Business website, Bedward said.
Notre Dame biology professor Zachary T. Schafer received a Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society (ACS) to further his research on breast cancer treatment.The grant is funded by Lee National Denim Day, a program sponsored by Lee Jeans, in which people donate $5 for an opportunity to wear jeans to work. According to the website, the program has raised more than $91 million dollars for the fight against breast cancer, and $792,000 of that total will go toward furthering Professor Schafer’s research project, “The Evasion of Detachment-Induced Metabolic Defects in Breast Cancer.”“[It is] great to be part of the Department of Biological Sciences here where there is a significant track record of obtaining substantial extramural funding in spite of the difficult funding climate,” he said. “I’m very grateful for the support from the ACS and for the funds from National Denim Day.”Schafer said his research primarily deals with exploring the metastatic cascade, or the molecular mechanisms that cancer cells use to survive while traveling from the site of the primary tumor to distant sites in the body.“We have data demonstrating that pathways involved in cellular metabolism are critical for the survival of cancer cells during metastasis,” Schafer said. “[We] hope that better understanding how cancer cell metabolism is regulated will open up new targets for the development of drugs that target metastasizing cancer cells for elimination.”Schafer said gaining this understanding could greatly enhance how breast cancer patients are treated and potentially reduce mortality rates.“This type of chemotherapeutic strategy could be particularly helpful in that it could inhibit metastasis. Most patients that die from cancer die due to metastasis,” he said. “In excess of 90 percent of cancer mortalities are due to metastasis.”His research also explores how cancer cells shut down anoikis, a programmed cell death that inhibits cancer cell growth, and ways in which cancer cells use nutrient consumption to survive in an abnormal environment.“As we accumulate more information about breast cancer biology and technology improves over time, we will move towards individualized cancer treatment,” he said. “Using this information, physicians may be able to personalize therapies to target each person’s cancer most effectively.”The funds will help Schafer maintain the supplies, staff and scope his research requires.“The grant will go mostly towards salaries for laboratory personnel and supplies for our experiments,” he said. “It also supports travel to conferences to disseminate the results of our research.”Schafer also believes that the fight against breast cancer and other diseases is a team effort.“Get involved in research,” he said. “There are a number of possible research-related careers that students can pursue, and all can contribute in unique ways to helping fight diseases like breast cancer.”Tags: American Cancer Society, cancer, Lee National Denim Day, Research Scholar Grant, Zachary T. Schafer
Photo courtesy of Caitlyn Clinton Students participate in Ryan Hall’s annual signature event, a Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, in 2017. The event advocates for those with disabilities and has supported Whirlwind Wheelchair International since its inception in 2017.In 2012, Ryan resident Emily Voorde, who has what is commonly known as brittle bone disease, established the event to help an organization called Whirlwind Wheelchair International. Voorde also played for South Bend’s own wheelchair basketball team, the River City Rollers.“One of our residents — Emily Voorde — worked really closely with an organization called Whirlwind Wheelchair International, which is an organization that supplies wheelchairs to people who can’t afford them,” Clinton said. “She graduated in 2014, but when she was here as an undergrad she started this event and it kind of spurred out of that, and it’s been going on ever since.”Ryan Hall has a history of supporting those with disabilities — especially those in wheelchairs — as it was built in 2009 to be the first completely accessible Notre Dame dorm on campus, sophomore Caroline Nassab, co-commissioner of Ryan Hall’s signature event, said.“The Ryan family had a son who graduated from Notre Dame who had different needs as well, so they wanted there to be a space for people who had different needs too,” Nassab said.Allyse Gruslin, Ryan Hall rector, said that upon entering her first year as Ryan’s rector last year, she had no idea how big of a deal the event was on campus.“I didn’t realize how widespread it had gotten on campus and how many teams would be a part of it that weren’t Ryan related,” she said. “It’s shockingly fun to do.”One hundred percent of the $25 charge for registering a team goes directly to Whirlwind Wheelchair International to benefit other people, Clinton said. Alick’s Home Medical Equipment donates the wheelchairs, and the rest of the money comes out of Ryan’s dorm fund.“It’s an amazing [event] to go out and it’s great because you get to hang out with your friends but you also support a really great cause … we don’t keep any of the profits for ourselves — that comes out of our dorm fund,” Clinton said. “Everything you are doing is completely benefitting other people and it’s a really motivating cause to get people out there.”Nassab said it also presents an opportunity to watch the community get together to support a cause.“The energy is incredible … it’s fun because it’s in the spring and is one of the first times people are outside enjoying the weather, and everyone is out as a community together,” she said.“If it’s outside we will have a lot of games people can play, and there’s free food! We love to say we can get Chick-Fil-A on a Sunday.”The tournament is not just for fun, as everyone gets into the competition, Clinton said. Their goal this year is to get more people from across campus to sign up and play.“It’s really competitive … we get everyone from our priests to our residents to play, as well as a bunch of people on West Quad, but we are really looking to target the entire Notre Dame campus this year,” she said. “For someone who is able-bodied, it really makes you think about what other people have to go through to just get around places.”Gruslin said she thinks Ryan’s Wheelchair Basketball has the potential to be prominent on campus for decades.“It has the potential to be a really big signature event. … We are a young hall but I think decades down the road Wheelchair Basketball will be a really well-established signature event on campus,” she said. “It really says to all of campus and to the local community that we focus on people’s abilities rather than their disabilities.”Tags: Ryan Hall, Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, Wheelchair Tournament, Whirlwind Wheelchair International This Sunday at 1 p.m., students from all across campus will head to the Bookstore Basketball courts to play and watch a competitive, bracket-style 5-on-5 tournament. If basketball isn’t difficult enough, this event adds another twist — everyone plays in wheelchairs.Ryan Hall’s signature event, the Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, is rolling into its seventh year.“It’s like Bookstore Basketball on wheels,” sophomore Caitlyn Clinton, president of Ryan Hall, said.
Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) works to help the school, and it does its part to help the earth through the sustainability committee. The committee is one of the many that makes up SGA. These committees allow for the allocation of each committee’s passions, planning and budgets.Senior Kassidy Jungles, co-chair of the sustainability committee, worked with SGA for four years and the committee for three. As a co-chair, Jungles said she helps oversee the committee as well as event planning, fundraising and student outreach.“Our main goal is to continue working toward ways to make the campus of Saint Mary’s College more sustainable,” Jungles said in an email. “Additionally, we also find ways to educate the students of Saint Mary’s about sustainability and ways that they can be more environmentally conscious — such as knowing what can and cannot be recycled, understanding one’s carbon footprint and even learning about sustainable companies.”The sustainability committee is responsible for raising a majority of the funds that provide the recycling bins students see around campus. While the committee is run by two of the co-chairs from last year, Jungles said students can expect more events and increased student involvement this year.“For this year, we hope to connect more with the Saint Mary’s students by hosting more events to raise awareness about sustainability,” Jungles said. “For example, we will be having a yoga event on [Thursday].”Junior, co-chair Rebecca Cesario also helps run this committee.“There are many people involved, not only on student government,” Cesario said in an email. “Every student, faculty member and the workers have a part to play on how we are a campus are sustainable. It’s little things, like turning off the water when you are brushing your teeth, taking the extra steps to put something in the recycling bin, turning off lights when you leave a room. The list goes on.”The sustainability committee also collaborates with the Office for Civic and Social Engagement’s composting crew in their project to compost paper towels used in campus bathrooms.“We hope to continue with our mission of last year to compost paper towels,” Jungles said. “Currently, with the help of another Saint Mary’s College club, we are just composting paper towels in the bathrooms of the Student Center; however, we hope to expand this to other academic buildings.”Senior Chiara Smorada, co-commissioner of the composting crew, said she met with the sustainability committee many times last year to build this collaboration.“Last year the sustainability committee came to the compost crew expressing interest in composting paper towels from the Student Center bathrooms,” Smorada said. “After several meetings to figure out the logistics of composting, Student Government purchased bins for the bathrooms along with compostable bags.”Cesario said she encourages students to get involved in sustainability efforts on campus, whether on a personal level or by joining the SGA committee.“If you want to be a student leader, join SGA sustainability, and we will work closely with you in achieving your goals as a person on this campus in making it a better place,” Cesario said.Tags: compost crew, OCSE, paper towels, sustainability
IDEA Week 2020, which was scheduled for April 18-25, has been canceled due to concerns of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an announcement on the event’s website.Anyone who purchased tickets for Trevor Noah, OneRepublic or other IDEA Week events will receive a full refund automatically. Although it may take some time to refund all of the tickets, the website said people should expect full refunds by April 30.The McCloskey New Venture Competition will not be canceled and will be conducted virtually.While more than 20,000 people from over 30 states were expected to attend, the IDEA Week team said in a press release that the events will not be rescheduled.“Though it’s true that our 2020 event will no longer take place, the mission of IDEA Week — promoting the community-transforming benefits of entrepreneurship and innovation — will continue the rest of this year and in 2021 and beyond,” Bryan Ritchie, vice president and Cathy and John Martin associate provost for innovation at Notre Dame, said in the release.For more information, reach out to [email protected] or visit the IDEA Week FAQ Cancellation page.Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, Idea Week, OneRepublic, Trevor Noah
Following an extended closure of indoor seating in the dining halls due to COVID-19, dine-in seating in North and South Dining Halls will reopen Oct. 5. As colder weather is expected to limit outdoor dining options, Campus Dining, along with other working groups, made the decision to reactivate the dining halls. “As our weather changes, [we want] to provide a facility to be able to dine in and also be somewhat secure from the elements,” campus dining director Chris Abayasinghe said. While dine-in seating will be available, students will continue to be able to take their meals to go. Abayasinghe said the dining halls will be configured so there is still adequate spacing for students to queue while waiting for food. “[At North] we’re going to reconfigure the area where you might pick up your beverages into seating, and then of course you have the additional landings that we will reactivate,” he said. “At South, we will reactivate East Wing and West Wing.” Abayasinghe estimates that South Dining Hall will be able to hold around 500 students at any time, while North Dining Hall’s capacity will be approximately 400 students. All students will be seated at least six feet apart from each other, and plexiglass shields will separate diners in accordance with St. Joseph County guidelines. Protocols will also be in place to sanitize the dining areas.“We are really focused … on our continued cleaning and disinfection protocols because that will also be in tandem with this,” Abayasinghe said. Ryan Peters | The Observer South Quad recently received chairs and fire pits at which students may gather.Devon Sanchez-Ossorio, assistant director for events and services, said in an email that the popularity of Library Lawn pushed the Student Activities Office (SAO) and the wide variety of units who collaborated on Library Lawn to add additional gathering spaces.“The Library Lawn has been so well received by students that we initially expanded it to include the area west of Hesburgh Library, adding additional chairs, fire pits, and lights. Given the interest we have seen from students in these spaces, we decided to move forward with introducing an additional inviting outdoor space to [South Quad] while the weather is still nice,” Sanchez-Ossorio said. Sanchez-Ossorio said there are currently no plans to create any more gathering areas, but SAO is open to feedback. “While we do not currently have any plans to expand to additional areas on campus, we remain receptive to student feedback and look forward to seeing the impact these existing spaces have on our campus community,” Sanchez-Ossorio said.Tags: Campus DIning, North Dining Hall, SAO, South Dining Hall, South Quad Courtesy of Chris Abayasinghe Plexiglass shields will separate diners in order to reduce potential virus transmission.Campus Dining collaborated with Student Affairs, the local health department and others to plan for how to provide safe indoor seating. Abayasinghe said he received a lot of student feedback that sparked the discussion about how to adapt to the colder conditions.“Our students love to provide feedback. So for many students, especially over the last week or so as the weather started to turn, this became the most frequently used topic,” he said. “Additionally, with the engagement that my department has with Student Government and student leadership as well, there has been encouragement for us to move forward on this conversation.”The University also expects indoor dining spaces in LaFortune and Duncan Student Centers to reopen Nov. 1. Dining spaces will be open on the first two floors of Duncan while LaFortune will have seating on all floors. Abayasinghe added that the Nov. 1 target date is tentative as the University continues to monitor COVID-19 data on campus. Additionally, Campus Dining is working on providing conditioning in the tents in order to provide comfortable seating in the spaces already adapted to the health guidelines.The announcement of available indoor seating comes as the University attempts to provide dining and gathering spaces that follow local health guidelines. Recently, South Quad and the area west of Hesburgh Library received chairs and fire pits.
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window),Was he let out without bail under the new Catch and Release law? Stock Image.JAMESTOWN – A City of Jamestown man is facing several charges following a vehicle pursuit that started in the area of South Main and Harrison Streets Sunday night.Jamestown Police say they attempted to stop Samuel Gagliano, 27, who was allegedly driving recklessly just after 7 p.m.Gagliano allegedly refused to stop and fled. Officers gave pursuit as Gagliano continued to drive recklessly and at one point struck a vehicle traveling in the area of Fairmount and Whitley Avenues.Police say the chase continued to Catlin Avenue where Gagliano allegedly rammed a Jamestown Police Car, causing heavy damage. Officers say Gagliano then fled from his vehicle into a house on Catlin Avenue.Police say Gagliano was eventually taken into custody without further incident.Gagliano is charged with second-degree criminal mischief, first-degree reckless endangerment, unlawfully fleeing a police officer and numerous other vehicle and traffic violations.
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Opinions represented in this analysis are those of the author, Justin Gould, and do not represent WNY Media Company, its brands or advertisers.JAMESTOWN – Most weekends, generally on Saturday mornings, my girlfriend and I visit the Lakewood Wegmans to do our weekly grocery shopping.Like many in the community, we only buy enough supplies for the week ahead.On Friday night we decided to shop early, in an effort to beat the crowds expected due to the Coronavirus outbreak. What we saw at Wegmans was not only concerning, but also a bit disappointing. Not towards the store, as they are doing the best they can with the cards they have been dealt, but with society. Items like ground beef, pasta and rice were sold out. Additionally, there was a limited supply of canned soup, bottled water and mac and cheese. Workers at the store say much needed items like, toilet paper, will likely be restocked late next week.Fellow shoppers seemed calm amid a “rush” to stock up. The question I pose is “Why the rush?” Health officials say there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19, the novel Coronavirus, in Chautauqua County. There are two people in a precautionary quarantine. One of them met criteria to be tested for the virus and heath officials are now awaiting those results.With that said, I ask again, “Why the rush?” One plausible answer, and it hurts to say this, the news media.Today’s 24 hour news cycle is detrimental to people’s well being during the outbreak causing panic and fear.Part of what drives feelings of anxiety is a lack of information. The virus is new, and there remain many questions about the illness it causes. Most people haven’t had it, nor do they know someone who has.The good news is, for most people, the illness caused by the coronavirus is generally mild and the flu-like symptoms of fever and cough don’t last long. The bad news is the virus is novel and highly contagious, and right now there is no vaccine. The elderly and those with compromised immune systems or chronic diseases can become very sick and in some cases die.Sure, large cities like New York should take action. As we’ve seen in China, the virus spread rapidly. Mainly caused by the large population mass that calls the nation home.Here in Western New York, Chautauqua County specifically, I agree with health officials that while there is need for concern and preparedness; there is no need for panic.If the risk to most people is mild to moderate symptoms, why does it feel as if the world is shutting down?Public health officials are trying to control the infectivity curve. If cases go up too fast and too high, the people who need health care will be crowding hospitals all at once, making it impossible for everybody who needs it to get care.We can not let fear control our life. We can not let society shut down. At the same time, we can not ignore the warnings.Christine Schuyler, the director of Health and Human Services, says the virus most impacts those age 65 or older; those with underlying health conditions such as heart, lung, kidney, neurologic, or liver disease or diabetes; those with compromised immune systems or who are pregnant. Schuyler says anyone in these high risk categories should be extra vigilant about respiratory, hand hygiene and avoid gatherings of ten people or more.If you are ill stay home and avoid others. If you have a fever and worsening symptoms of respiratory illness such cough and difficulty breathing, Schuyler says call your healthcare provider for advisement.If you have a per existing condition or are elderly, you probably should be extra cautious, but not panicked.So, what’s the take away from all this? I say, live your life, don’t panic, but at the same time be vigilant and follow the recommendations from our local health officials. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water, disinfect dirty surfaces and cough into your armpit. The national news is covering just that, the national story. Our story starts with the facts, the facts that effect our family, friends and neighbors. Facts that come from LOCAL officials.The media has an important role to play. It must dispense accurate information without being sensational, and it must avoid exploiting people’s fears. We will continue to cover the story, we will continue to put the facts first.