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posticon Town Planning Board Appointments on Hold

News | Friday, January 24, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Town of Lansing Planning Board

The Lansing Town Board deferred a vote to reappoint planning board members for the second time at its December meeting.  Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne explained that mandatory sensitivity training for 2019 had not been completed by planning board member Dean Shea, Zoning Board of Appeals chair Hurf Sheldon due to a storm that cancelled a session.  But LaVigne said the Town is tightening its policy on the training for all board members.  LaVigne said the boards will continue with their current configuration until the makeup session on February 5th.  He said the three will have to attend two training sessions, the February one for 2019, and another for 2020.

"They'll have to do an additional training for this year as we all are doing," he said.

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posticon The Lansings Consider Short Term Rental Rules

News | Friday, January 24, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Airbnb

As short term rentals have quickly become more popular, the Lansings are scrambling to define rules that will best protect residents while still attracting tourism and trade to the municipalities.  The Village of Lansing has discussed the issue at length, prompted by complaints about an Airbnb home.  The Town is also talking about adding short term rental regulations to its laws.

"It's something that we need to consider," said Lansing Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne at the January Town Board meeting. "The city of Ithaca has theirs, the Village of Cayuga Heights has theirs. We also need to be thorough and say, how do you enforce it? Those are things that that are on our plate for this year."

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posticon Public Outcry Raises Hornets Nest of Town Issues

News | Friday, January 24, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Public Outcry

Public outcry against an events venue in northern Lansing last year has raised a hornet's nest of issues for town officials.  A series of contentious meetings spanning a good part of last year, including opposition to the reappointment of a planning board member resulted in new procedures and sensitivity training for public board members.  Planning Board member Lin Davidson took the Town Board to task for what he charged are inadequate tools in the form of noise and related ordinances that do not allow the Planning Board to impose limits on activities that may impact neighbors.

"This is beyond the planning board issue," Davidson said. "Where is the Town? They look at us to be a planning board that does a better job.  Law is purview of this town.  Your law, with due respect, allows us to happen. The site plan tool that the Planning Board has to reduce impact just doesn't work here. We had to beg the applicant to set voluntary hours of operation.  We have begged to get two weeks notice for a fireworks display.  We have no way, according to counsel, to touch that. The public's upset. I don't care how you communicate, it's incendiary."

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posticon Legislators Remain Deadlocked On Chair Vote

News | Friday, January 24, 2020 | By Geoff Dunn Print
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At Tuesday night's meeting of the Tompkins County Legislature, legislators remained split between two Democrats seeking to lead the body in 2020. As was the case at the Legislature's organizational meeting two weeks ago, Mike Lane of Dryden and Anna Kelles of Ithaca were both nominated to be Chairperson, and each received seven votes.

Voting in favor of Legislator Lane were Legislators Shawna Black, Amanda Champion, Deborah Dawson, Henry Granison, Dan Klein, Anne Koreman and Mike Lane. Legislator Kelles received votes from Legislators Rich John, Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Dave McKenna, Glenn Morey, Martha Robertson, Mike Sigler and Anna Kelles.

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posticon Reed's Take on Impeachment

News | Friday, January 24, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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US Capital

Lansing is more than 300 miles from Washington, DC, and everyone has an opinion about President Donald Trump's impeachment in the House of Representatives, and the Senate trial that is currently under way.  Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY), who represents the 23rd district, which includes Tompkins County, unsurprisingly voted against impeachment with his party December 18th, when the vote was 230 to 197 for two articles of impeachment: 'abuse of power', and 229 to 198 to impeach on 'obstruction of congress'.  Reed took a moment to discuss the impeachment and trial yesterday while visiting the newly expanded Ithaca-Tompkins International Airport.

"When they started down this path in the House, I was greatly concerned that this would turn into what it has become," Reed said. "And that's a political exercise. And when you deal with such an important tool as impeachment, which is that last resort nuclear option, going down partisan politics it can do long term damage to the country. I just hope we get through this chapter. And if you have a problem with the president of United States, the best way to answer this question is not what a hundred sitting members of the U S Senate. It's with the 300 plus million people in America and let the American voters make this determination."

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posticon Cuomo Outlines 2021 Executive Budget

News | Friday, January 24, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office and Comptroller's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo outlined the FY 2021 Executive Budget Tuesday, advancing a clear vision and bold, nation-leading and historic actions to make progress happen in the State of New York.  The budget plan features a $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change, including a new plan to streamline government bureaucracy to deliver renewable energy projects faster; a $25 billion expansion of New York's largest-in-the-nation building program, bringing it to $275 billion; an historic $28.5 billion investment in education while reforming funding formulas to prioritize support for poor schools; and an expanded Excelsior free college tuition program to include families making up to $150,000 per year.

The Executive Budget also includes a new proposal to protect our democracy by banning foreign-influenced corporations from making campaign contributions; the most funding in the state's history - an additional $64 million - to provide services to people who are homeless, including those with mental illness; investments to combat child poverty and $157 million to expand the Empire State Child Tax Credit, serving 400,000 families with children under 4 years old; and an additional $25 million funding to harden security infrastructure at non-public schools and cultural organizations vulnerable to hate crimes.

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posticon County Legislature Highlights

News | Friday, January 24, 2020 | By Geoff Dunn Print
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Legislators Briefed on Proposed Ithaca Conference Center
Gary Ferguson of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance and Peggy Coleman of the Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau led a presentation on the proposed 49,000 square foot conference center as part of the redevelopment of the Green Street Garage site in downtown Ithaca. The project received a boost in December when the state Regional Economic Development Council awarded the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce Foundation $5 million for its construction. Ferguson describes the conference center as a "once in a generation" opportunity.

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posticon Governor Says Make the Fracking Ban Permanent

News | Friday, January 24, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday legislation in the FY 2021 Executive Budget to make New York's fracking ban permanent. The measure would restrict the Department of Environmental Conservation from approving permits that would authorize an applicant to drill, deepen, plug back or convert wells that use high-volume hydraulic fracturing as a means to complete or recomplete a well, protecting the health of New Yorkers and ensuring permanently that our environment is not harmed by this practice. This bill reflects an important step forward toward achieving New York's clean energy economy goals.

"New York's leadership on hydraulic fracturing continues to protect the environment and public health, including the drinking water of millions of people, and we must make it permanent once and for all," Cuomo said. "In the five years since fracking was banned, we have proven that it was in fact, not the only economic option for the Southern Tier. The region has since become a hotbed for clean energy and economic development investment through programs like 76West and Southern Tier Soaring, creating new good-quality jobs that pave the way for further growth."

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posticon Census Council Co-Chairs Martin Luther King Iii, Lucy Liu And Lin-Manuel Miranda

News | Friday, January 24, 2020 | By NY State Governor's Office Print
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On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the creation of the Census Council, which will be co-chaired by Martin Luther King III, Lucy Liu and Lin-Manuel Miranda, to ensure every New Yorker is counted in the upcoming 2020 census. The Council will act as the state's coordinating arm to achieve a complete census count using the information learned from the state's Complete Count Commission and support from state, local and foundation funding resources. The Governor will also propose an additional $10 million in this year's budget to ensure a fair and complete count of every New Yorker in the census. The additional funding will bring the state's financial support to up to $70 million for the 2020 Census.

"Being counted in the Census may well be second only to voting when it comes to citizen action in the Democrat process," said Martin Luther King III. "Unfortunately, people of color are the ones most often undercounted, which leads to negative consequences for their communities. I am proud to work with Governor Cuomo to ensure every New Yorker, even those that are hardest to reach, is counted in the 2020 Census."

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posticon Over 20,000 Electric Car Rebates Approved

News | Friday, January 24, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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The New York State Department of Public Service issued a report recommending the establishment of a statewide utility-supported 'Make-Ready' Program to promote responsible electric vehicle charging station deployment. In addition, the Governor announced that more than 20,000 rebates have been approved for New Yorkers to purchase electric cars under the Drive Clean Rebate initiative, which provides residents with a rebate of up to $2,000 for the purchase or lease of a new electric car from participating dealers. In his 2020 State of the State address Governor Andrew Cuomo underscored New York's commitment to further encourage electric vehicle, or EV, ownership. Specifically, the Governor directed the Department of Public Service, in consultation with stakeholders, to propose a make-ready initiative that provides utility support to accelerate the development of the EV charging infrastructure needed to meet the expected EV growth in the next five years.

"Accelerating electric vehicle ownership is a key component of New York's nation-leading plan to fight clime change and grow our clean energy economy," Cuomo said. "The Make Ready initiative will direct the State's utilities to build the grid infrastructure needed to enable the installation of publicly accessible chargers, encouraging more New Yorkers to choose electric vehicles while creating jobs and ensuring our energy dollars stay in-state."

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posticon Doctors to Buy Over $170K of Medical Debt

News | Friday, January 24, 2020 | By Mitrano for Congress Print
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mitrano medicaldebt\
Jamestown - Democratic Congressional candidate Tracy Mitrano announced that residents of the 23rd Congressional District will see more than $500,000 in medical debt disappear in an instant, and that she will launch a five-city healthcare crisis listening tour. Mitrano's announcement came during a press conference at the Pendergast Library in Jamestown, N.Y. to highlight a unique partnership helping district residents out from under crushing medical debt.

Working with RIP Medical Debt, a 501©3 nonprofit organization, Drs. Ralph Walton (a renowned Chautauqua area medical professional) and Marguerite Uphoff (a champion of pediatric care), of Jamestown and Ithaca respectively, announced that they and other area doctors would purchase more than $170,000 of medical debt owned by individuals struggling with the burden. Their generosity will eliminate more than $500,000 of medical debt at one percent of original cost.

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posticon Over 3,600 Certified Birth Certificates Filed For Adoptees

News | Friday, January 24, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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More than 3,600 adoptees, outside of New York City, aged 18 or older have filed applications since January 15, 2020 to receive a certified copy of their original, or pre-adoption, birth certificate. January 15 was the first day they were able to request these documents following a new law that was signed by the Governor.

"Adoptees have every right to the same birth records as everyone else, and the new law we enacted is making that a reality for the first time," Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. "The significant interest we've seen in just the first 48 hours of the new law being in effect underscores how valuable this policy change is for New Yorkers, and I'm proud we were able to help correct this inequity."

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