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posticon Lansing School Population Rising

News | Friday, February 21, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Lansing Elementary School

Lansing School Superintendent Chris Pettograsso told the Board Of Education last week that student enrollment continues to rise in the district.  Pettograsso said that the district is up by 14 students since the beginning of the year, and rises in the elementary school population over the past few years are now beginning to show up in the middle and high schools.  Board member Linda Pasto asked Pettograsso whether growing enrollment is unique to Lansing or a trend county-wide. 

"We are definitely an anomaly," Pettograsso said. "I don't think it's just the County. I think it's a New York state. There are a lot of schools, especially around our size, that are decreasing. I think maybe the one district that will be increasing in enrollment that is close to us would be Ithaca.  But we're the only school our size that I know about (with increasing enrollment). Most schools are talking about closing buildings, or just just their demographic overall changing -- going down."

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posticon Town Explores Major Highway Department Facility Expansion

News | Friday, February 21, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Lansing Highway Department

The Lansing Town Board discussed Wednesday early steps toward upgrading and expanding the Highway Department building.  Water and sewer work are among the many current responsibilities of the department that did not exist when the facility was built 51 years ago.  Highway Superintendent Charlie 'Cricket' Purcell says that upgrading the building has been under discussion for the past dozen years, and something has to be done for the building to catch up to current demands.  He estimates that the project may end up costing the Town between $2.5 and $4 million.

"We've definitely grown as far as the maintenance and the things that we do. Some of them mean an increase in equipment, and just trying to have space for that as well as really trying to be more equipped and set up to deal with the water and the sewer work that we do," Purcell says. "51 years ago it really wasn't an issue. And we've kind of grown into that and with the Warren road sewer district and stuff, the department's expanded as far as what we're responsible for."

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posticon Local Democratic Assembly Candidate Pool Grows

News | Friday, February 21, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Democratic Assembly CandidatesLeft to right: Barbara Lifton, Jordan Lesser, Jason Leifer, Seph Murtagh

It's not quite the Democratic presidential primary in terms of the number of candidates... or is it?  With Jordan Lesser (D) throwing his hat in the ring Monday the count is now seven Democrats running for Barbara Lifton's New York State Assembly seat.  Democrats began announcing they would be running the day after Lifton announced on January 31st that she would not be seeking another term after 18 years representing the 125th Assembly District.

"For over 10 years, I have had the honor of working for Assemblywoman Lifton in both the Albany and Ithaca offices, on every piece of legislation, many policy initiatives, and the state budget," Lesser said in his announcement Monday. "As a native Ithacan, an environmental attorney, and with many educators in my family, I understand both the needs of the district and how to accomplish the goals of our local communities in Albany."

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posticon Town Hall ADA Door Project Approved

News | Friday, February 21, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Town Hall Entrance

The Lansing Town Board approved replacing the front entry doors to the Town Hall Wednesday.  The new doors will be Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible, and are expected to be simpler to lock and unlock than the original entry doors.  Lansing Director of Planning C.J. Randall told the Board that a $15,000 Justice Courts Assistance Program (JCAP) has been awarded to the Town to go toward what is estimated to be an approximately $60,000 project.

Town officials have discussed growing demands of the Lansing courts on and off for many years, in particular potential expansions to the Town Hall and safety measures especially for non-court offices when court is in session.  As the Board became more focused on problems with the existing entryway, including ADA accessibility, Randall consulted with Justice John Howell, asking him whether the Lansing courts had plans to apply for the grant for other purposes.  Randall said that Howell assisted her in applying for the grant, which may be up to a maximum of $30,000.

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posticon Legislators (Finally) Elect a Chair and Vice Chair

News | Friday, February 21, 2020 | By Geoff Dunn Print
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The Tompkins County Legislature made history Tuesday night in electing Legislator Leslyn McBean-Clairborne (D-Ithaca) to serve as its Chair for 2020. She is the first woman of color to fill the top elected leadership position in Tompkins County history.

The 9-5 vote in favor of McBean-Clairborne ended a stalemate that began at the January 7th organizational meeting, when neither Legislator Anna Kelles nor Mike Lane generated the necessary eight votes to become Chair. On February 7th, County Clerk Maureen Reynolds – as stipulated by the County Charter – appointed Legislator Shawna Black (D) as Interim Chair.

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posticon Shea, Butler, and Baker Reappointed to Planning Board

News | Friday, February 21, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Town of Lansing Planning Board

After postponing a vote for two months the Lansing Town Board reappointed Dean Shea for a new seven-year term on the Planning Board, and reappointed Thomas Butler and Dale Baker as Planning Board alternates.  The vote was postponed in December to give the Board time to consider an incident involving Shea and a member of the public, and again in January to give Shea and a Zoning Board of Appeals member a chance to catch up on mandatory sensitivity training that all Lansing board members must take.  They had missed a December session because it was cancelled due to weather and couldn't be rescheduled until this month.

At the end of November the Planning Board recommended that all three members be reappointed.  Before five fellow planning board members (with Shea and one other board member abstaining) made their recommendation board member Larry Sharpsteen argued for reappointing Shea.

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posticon Cuomo Launches Campaign To Eliminate The Pink Tax

News | Friday, February 21, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo launched a new campaign to eliminate the pink tax in New York State this year. The campaign will include a series of events across the State to rally support for the elimination of the pink tax, as well as a social media campaign and a new hashtag - #PinkTax - to raise awareness and inform New Yorkers about the proposal. In the early 1990s, several studies reported disparities between the costs of substantially similar goods and services depending on if they were marketed for men or for women. Despite increased public discourse around gender-based pricing discrimination, recent research indicates that the problem still persists. To address these disparities, the Governor's budget proposal includes legislation to prohibit gender-based pricing discrimination for substantially similar goods and services. The legislation will require certain service providers to post price lists for standard services; businesses that violate the law would be subject to civil penalties.

"New York has made tremendous progress in advancing women's rights all across the board, but unfortunately women are still victims of cultural and institutional discrimination," Governor Cuomo said. "This year New York will once again lead the nation and continue our work to end this shameful and repugnant injustice by eliminating the so-called pink tax once and for all - because pink or blue, the price should be the same."

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posticon Tompkins County Legislators Lobby for State Budget Changes

News | Friday, February 21, 2020 | By Geoff Dunn Print
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For the second time in two weeks, Tompkins County Legislators walked the halls of the Capitol in Albany, meeting with legislative leadership and committee chairs to push back against Governor Cuomo's proposals to shift Medicaid costs to county taxpayers.

Legislators Martha Robertson, Shawna Black, Henry Granison, Anne Koreman, and Mike Sigler joined a bipartisan group of 40 other county leaders in the advocacy day February 12th organized by the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC). On January 29th, Robertson and Koreman were joined in Albany for a similar round of meetings by legislators Anna Kelles and Deborah Dawson and County Administrator Jason Molino.

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posticon Town of Ulysses Auto Crash

News | Friday, February 21, 2020 | By Undersheriff Jennifer Olin Print
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On February 14, 2020 at about 3:48 PM, the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 8400 block of Perry City Road in the Town of Ulysses for a motor vehicle crash.

Upon arrival it was determined that a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado was traveling West on Perry City Road when it collided with a 2008 Jeep Wrangler that was traveling East on Perry City Road. The driver of the Jeep Wrangler was airlifted by Guthrie Air to a Syracuse hospital. The driver of the Chevrolet Silverado fled on foot from the scene and was apprehended a short time later in a nearby wooded area. Perry City Road was closed to all traffic from the Schuyler County line to Waterburg Road for about 2 hours.

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posticon $15 Million To Help New Yorkers With A Heating Emergency

News | Friday, February 21, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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An additional $15 million is available to help eligible New Yorkers facing a home heating emergency. Starting Tuesday, February 18, households can apply for a second emergency benefit through the Home Energy Assistance Program - or HEAP - if they are in danger of running out of fuel or having their utility service shut off and have already received assistance from HEAP this winter. Additionally, the deadline to apply for both regular and emergency HEAP benefits has been extended until April 24. With this additional funding, eligible households could receive up to $2,200 from HEAP to help defray the cost of heating their home this winter.

"As temperatures continue to drop in every corner of the state, more and more New Yorkers are struggling with the high cost of heating their homes," Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. "This additional funding will help ensure the most vulnerable among us will be able to stay warm this winter and I encourage anyone in need of help paying their heating bills to apply for this critical assistance."

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