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PAGE 8 SUSPENDED SERGEANT
IPD sergeant suspended over body cam audio
Final vote for dogs on the Commons tabled until Jan.
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Tech students and Local family publishes teachers overcome Christmas COVID challenges children’s book PAGE 5
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VOL.XLI / NO. 16 / December 9, 2020 Serving 47,125 readers week ly
Wine & Geology������������������������������ 8
IPD arrest man IPD sergeant suspended over after multiple comments caught on body cam thefts at Harolds Square
thaca Police have arrested Daniel Yetsko, 35, after a string of reported robberies at Harolds Square. Between Nov. 25 and Dec. 3, the residential and construction areas of the building were broken into on at least three different occasions resulting in the theft of over $70,000 worth of tools and appliances, as well as thousands of dollars worth of damage. Residential units are occupied while construction continues on the building, which just opened last month. Stolen items include construction materials, front-load dryers, a front-load washer, a large screen television set, a dishwasher, an air compressor and a number of other items, including the moving carts used to haul the items away. On Dec. 2, at 6:45 a.m., police responded to a welfare check for a man found unconscious near City Hall, adjacent to the construction site at Harolds Square. Police initially believed the man, based on his clothing and proximity to tools and supplies, was a construction worker who was suffering from a medical condition. The man, Yetsko, was evaluated by Bangs Ambulance personnel and refused further medical treatment. Police then found more carts nearby that had been filled with construction tools, materials and other stolen items. He was detained for questioning, but ultimately released. As the investigation progressed, police realized the apartment building had been broken into in the early morning hours of Dec. 2. The perpetrator forced entry into the building using a knife and stole continued on page 7
Ithaca Police Sergeant Kevin Slattery has been suspended from duty and is under internal investigation after comments he made regarding planting evidence and mistreatment of a suspect were captured on his body camera on Oct. 30. On Nov. 6, Slattery reported his own comments to Deputy Chief John Joly. “Since the comments regard two areas of critical importance — force and integrity — I immediately ordered a thorough investigation and placed the involved member on suspension from duty,” Police Chief Dennis Nayor said. “As the chief of police, I am thoroughly disappointed in the statements made by this sergeant. They are wholly inconsistent with our values and culture.” The body cam footage begins with Slattery and his partner collecting a DNA swab from Jovon Monk, who was charged with sex offenses. Throughout the collection, Monk asks if he’ll be able to see them seal his DNA swab. They assure him yes and the swab is eventually sealed and boxed. The video, obscured presumably by Slattery’s jacket, then shows Slattery and his partner getting into a patrol car. Slattery tells his partner that he knows Monk, who is Black, from an arrest a few years prior. “I [expletive] him up one night years ago,” he said. Slattery then goes on to detail that he responded to a call for assistance from “Doane and Michaela.” Upon his arrival, he said he saw Monk pacing around a room with a “long
gun” in the corner. “So I come walking in and he’s walking toward the long gun,” he said. “I was like ‘[expletive] that’ and I ran and [expletive] pinned him up against the wall. And he was fighting with me so I [expletive] suplexed him to the ground, and then I’m on top of him and he’s still not giving up, so I’m giving him knee strikes.” Slattery said he knee struck Monk in the back, and then hit him in the stomach. When Monk relented, he was cuffed and Slattery said he and Doane brought him to the police car. “He was like ‘I ain’t standin’ up!’ So I grabbed one foot, [Doane] grabbed the other, and we [expletive] bounced him all the way down the stairs,” Slattery said. Though unconfirmed, Doane is likely referring to Eric Doane, the president of the Ithaca Police Benevolent Association. Slattery also refers to an officer as Michaela. The city would not confirm who that officer was, but there is an officer Michaela Conrad, who has been with the department for a decade. Slattery and his partner then discuss collecting Monk’s DNA sample, and Slattery mocks Monk’s question about sealing the swab. “He was being sketchy, wasn’t he? ‘I want to see you seal it.’” Slattery said, imitating Monk. “Nah, we ain’t sealin’ it, man, we’ve got some places to put this first,” Slattery said, laughing. “Woah, woah, woah, sealing it? No, no, no, we have to
T a k e ▶ Police arrest - Carlton J. Lenahan, 23, was arrested by Ithaca Police and charged with burglary in the first degree, assault in the first degree and assault in the second degree.
put it on the evidence first.” Mayor Svante Myrick said there will be a full investigation into the incident, and that results will be shared with the public, hopefully by the end of the month. This incident comes after a year fraught with tension between the police department and residents, as protesters have taken to the streets for months demanding an end to police brutality, especially toward people of color. “I am keenly aware that this comes at an already-strained moment in IPD’s relationship with the public,” Myrick said. “I continue to believe that IPD as an organization is one of the most professional police departments in the state. But there is clearly room for improvement, and we will continue the hard work of building and maintaining a culture of respect and professionalism throughout the department.” Slattery released a public apology as well, claiming his comments were made in jest and “do not accurately reflect on my actions in dealing with that subject.” It is unclear whether he was talking about the mistreatment of Monk or the planting of DNA. “I sincerely apologize to the department and the community for the embarrassment I have caused,” he said. “I assure all that these comments do not accurately depict the professional manner in which members of the department and I have always strived to conduct ourselves. I will work diligently to regain the trust of the department and community I have so proudly served for the last 15 years.” Monk's attorney Kevin Kelly confirmed the physical altercation, including being bounced continued on page 24
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The charges stemmed from a home invasion in the 800 block of N Cayuga Street on Nov. 20. Lenahan allegedly entered a residence by force armed with a knife. Ultimately, the residents and the defendant sustained
physical injuries, including stab wounds and were all transported for medical treatment. Lenahan was arraigned and remanded to Tompkins County Jail. Bail was set at $100,000.
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Unique Finger Lakes topography
Tooth Fairy Saves Christmas �� 19 Three generations colaborate on new book
NE W S & OPINION Newsline��������������������������������������������������3-7 Sports�������������������������������������������������������� 10
ART S & E N T E RTAINME N T Art............................................................... 21 Film������������������������������������������������������������� 22 Books��������������������������������������������������������� 23 TimesTable����������������������������������������������� 25 Classifieds������������������������������������������26-28 Cover: image : Finger Lakes Bedrock Map 1970 courtesy of The New York State Museum
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Vote tabled for dogs on Commons until next month
By C a se y Mar tin
IF YOU COULD DESIGN AN UGLY SWEATER FOR 2020, WHAT WOULD YOU PUT ON IT?
“Murder Hornets!” -Zoe B.
“Facemasks and TP dangles.” -Jennifer T.
he year 2020 is going out not with a bang, but with a whimper, as dogs in Ithaca whine about still not being allowed to join their humans on the Commons. But hope remains for 2021, as the Common Council didn’t deny the resolution to allow dogs, they just tabled it to work out some kinks. The main concern is with the language in a section that reads: “No animals are allowed on the Primary Commons except by special permit. This provision does not apply to leashed dogs, as allowed by Chapter 164-Article II‘Dogs’, and any service animals providing assistance to people with special needs and police working dogs.” Alderperson Deb Mohlenhoff read it as insinuating that the rules outlined for dog owners in Chapter 164 would not apply to dogs and their owners on the Commons, and that only the rules listed in the resolution would apply. Alderperson Seph Murtagh agreed that it did read that way, while a few other council mem-
bers said they understood it as meaning leashed dogs, service animals and police dogs would
making the other side unenforceable,” she said, before asking what the penalties are for
not need a special permit to be on the Commons. Another concern of Mohlenhoff was that the driving force behind the resolution was to get rid of an essentially unenforceable rule. Her worry was that it would just be replaced with another one. “I’m concerned if we’re just
violations. According to the city’s attorney Ari Lavine, dog owners who don’t follow the rules (i.e. picking up waste and keeping their leash to six feet) could be fined up to $250. Alderperson George McGonigal expressed similar concerns, stating that if the current
rules aren’t enforced, the new ones might not be either. “I think the signs at the end of the Commons are inadequate and too small. Bigger signs might help,” he said. “And are these new regulations even going to be enforced?” Mayor Svante Myrick explained that one of the tough parts about enforcing the prohibition of dogs was that police officers had no way of knowing if someone on the Commons with a dog was passing through or if they actually lived there. “But spotting someone with a dog off-leash or someone who leaves waste behind is easier to enforce,” he said. “You don’t need to know anything about them.” Though there was support in general for the resolution, council members agreed the ambiguity of the language was a problem and decided to table the vote until the next meeting when the language was worked out. -Ta n n e r H a r d i n g
Cornell start-up earns $250,000 grant for antimicrobial product “Well, it’d have to be green, red and white, with really ugly covid germs all over.” -Don W & Gary R.
“All toilet paper.” -Erin P, Rachel S & Angela P.
Ithac a Times
uring a year when the shelves of cleaning supplies at stores have often been empty, Halomine is working on developing the next generation of antimicrobial products in an effort to provide long-lasting protection against pathogens. The company, a Cornellborn start-up, was recently awarded $250,000 in the Grow NY Competition, which identifies, supports and funds the top food, beverage and agriculture innovations from across the world. According to CEO Ted
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Eveleth, that money is going toward hiring a vice president of sales and marketing to invest in the commercialization of the product HaloFilm. HaloFilm is a spray that turns any surface into an antimicrobial surface by retaining chlorine from store-bought disinfectants for up to a month. It contains a polymer that creates a thin transparent film that binds to the surface and to chlorine, holding it at levels equivalent to what you would find in a pool. Eveleth said that the film is so thin you can’t feel or see it.
“You could spray it on glass or on a mirror and you’d never notice it,” he said. According to Halomine’s website, the scientific basis of the product is N-halamine, a potent molecule that has broad biocidal function while being low-cost and low-toxicity. Eveleth imagines HaloFilm having a variety of uses. In your household you could use it in your bathroom, especially in your shower, to deter mold and odor. The pitch to Grow NY was all about food safety. Eveleth said it could be sprayed on processing and storage equipment to prevent the spread of mold to better preserve fresh produce. Halomine also has a couple other products in the works, including HaloCare, HaloCoat and HaloAdd. HaloCare aims to be
the next generation of wound dressings by providing antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-adhesion wound dressing; Halomine has received a grant from the US Department of Defense to continue work on the product. There are wet and dry forms of HaloCare. The wet version is a hydrogel that maintains moisture in the wound bed, while the dry version has the antimicrobial properties in woven materials like bandages. HaloCoat is described as an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-adhesion coating system for medical devices. Right now, it’s specifically targeting urinary catheters, as catheter-caused urinary tract infections are the most common type of healthcare-associated infection. HaloCoat would continued on page 7
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DeWitt tech teachers, students keep creating despite COVID
Student, Aqeel operates Makerbot Replicator, a 3D printer at Dewitt Middle School (Photo: Provided)
he DeWitt Middle School’s Technology Engineering Department has been offering half-hybrid and half-remote learning this school year. The department is training students by offering classes about technical sketching, drawing and computeraided design. This school year, students participated in the DeWitt Middle School Advanced Manufacturing activity called “Tiger Tank.” The project is a spin-off of the television show “Shark Tank,” where people have the opportunity to pitch their start-up ideas to professional investors. DeWitt’s Tiger Tank required students to utilize the school’s 3D printers, CNC routers, laser cutter engravers or vinyl cutters to make their product come to life. Hybrid learning has been difficult for teachers and students to adapt to, but the department has been able to make school enjoyable, despite students not being able to get a full time, in-person experience. Technology and Engineering Education teacher and Technology Department Chair David Buchner believes that the Tiger Tank project highlighted how many students are still learning and making the most of their education.
“The purpose is to give [students] as close to a real experience as far as engineering and design as they can get in the school setting,” Buchner said. Carson Case is a Technology and Engineering teacher at DeWitt Middle School and he believes that having students in front of him and being able to have hybrid classes helps him connect with students more. “When we’re virtual, we work really hard to make those connections still happen,” Case said. “It’s just much smoother, much more direct, much more authentic when they’re in front of you.” Even though DeWitt Middle School is offering a mix of hybrid and remote classes, many students remain fully remote. Brenna Lucio-Belbase is an eighth grader in the technology department at DeWitt and is a full-time remote learner. LucioBelbase said her experience in the Tiger Tank project was difficult, but rewarding. “It’s very different,” LucioBelbase said regarding learning fully remote. “It’s a bit difficult because it’s just not the same and it’s hard just seeing your teachers over a screen, but I think I’ve kind of gotten used to it. There are some things that are more fun because you get to try out different sites or things
and you get to submit projects differently.” Lucio-Belbase said working on the Tiger Tank project has been one of her best projects during the school year. “It has been really, really fun,” Lucio-Belbase said. “It was really fun to see what other students came up with because the requirements were pretty open.” Brenna’s project was a plaque with “hello” written on it in different languages. She said that it was difficult to learn some things, such as the platform OnShape, but that she is still receiving a good education fully virtually. Like Case and Buchner, Brenna said it has been harder to have that personal connection, but that the project helped a lot by allowing students to collaborate with other students and teachers. Buchner believes that, yes, there have been obstacles teaching and learning remotely, but that they are not deterring students or teachers from continuing to learn and teach their best. “I feel like there’s a silver lining to this,” Buchner said. “I think it’s forced teachers and students to figure out the way that they learn best.” With the technology of email, Google Meet and the online system that the school works with, students have been able to adjust and work together. “The students have been able to collaborate,” Case said. “It’s obviously not as simple and free-flowing as it would be if they were in the classroom… but we still found that they can present their ideas and they can share with one another pretty simply.” Julia Madrid, a seventh grader from DeWitt Middle School, said that the Tiger Tank project might have been her favorite part of the school year within the Technology Department. “It was very fun to do,” Madrid said. “I helped some kids in my class with their assignments. We worked together a little for the first part of it, which is how we learned to use OnShape.” Madrid’s project model in-
cludes 3D print work, and she used a laser cutter to print out her final model. Madrid prefers in-person over virtual learning, but said that having the hybrid learning option has been nice for seeing friends sometimes and having teachers right in front of her for part of her education. “It has definitely helped me with my mental state, because if I were to do just all online I feel like that would just be really bad and I wouldn’t get anything done. With the teachers being there, it has really helped me with my grades and stuff,” Madrid said. Buchner said kids like Julia and Brenna have gone above and beyond this year, showing what kids can do during COVID-19. “Those are the kids that— when they’re here at school, they’re exciting,” Buchner said. “Their presence just exudes that they’re really enjoying what they’re doing. It keeps me focused because it’s really hard to come in everyday and go ‘What are we going to do today that’s gonna energize them, because they’re not feeling it anywhere else.’” Case said many people have negative feelings right now because of the challenges of teaching during COVID-19, but he is proud of the four students who put in the work and effort in their schooling through their Tiger Tank projects. “There is a lot of learning still happening; there is a lot of real, authentic learning still happening,” Case said. “There’s still a lot of good things happening here at DeWitt, specifically in our department. The students are getting experience and doing some really great things and we wanted to showcase them and the things they were able to do despite all of the challenges of this year.” Buchner believes that students learning virtually allows them to work on problem solving and enhance their critical thinking skills. “I think we're all gonna come out better,” Buchner said. “Better learners. Better teachers. Better administration.”
Struggle & Gratitude 2020 It’s Readers’ Writes time again! Instead of the last week in December, the Readers’ Writes issue will be published Jan. 13. This year’s theme is “struggle & gratitude.” What have you struggled with during this historically rough year? What are you grateful for? We’re taking essays, letters, short stories, poems and anything else you can write. Submissions are due to email@example.com by Jan. 1. Please use the subject line “Readers’ Writes submission.” Spike Continues COVID exposures were announced at Walmart, Home Depot, Ciao!, TCAT 14S bus and Walgreens in the past week. See Ithaca. com for the lists of dates and times, as well as recommendations from the Health Department.
HEARD&SEEN Heard TC3 has canceled indoor winter sports for the 2021 season, but plans to be back for the 2021-22 season next year. And at this point, the school is still planning on participating in outdoor spring 2021 sports. Cold Case Sheriffs are searching for witnesses or anybody with information about the Dec. 2019 homicide of Dejour Gandy in Newfield. Contact the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office or NYS Crimestoppers if you have any information.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Cabinet post you would be honored to accept 10.4% Secretary of Melissa’s Ice Cream 50.0% Secretary of Biden’s Dogs 25.0% Secretary of Opening a Can of Whoop-ass 14.6% Secretary of the Inferior
-Sydney Keller De c e mb e r
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N ext Week ’s Q uestion :
When they go low, I go... Visit ithaca.com to submit your response.
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It h ac a T im e s 5
SURROUNDED BY REALITY
Tidings of Comfort and Joy For a long, long time, I tried to figure out what to do. Where could I be safe? Find water? Find food? Nothing felt safe. At night I had to stay awake to hear the woodchucks and the skunks and their babies so I could run from them. The red fox and the deer came around and everyone was looking for food. The bigger animals attacked the littler animals. I was alone and little.
long time ago I had a home. Then suddenly I didn’t. My people were rushing around, throwing stuff in boxes. When I climbed into a box, they dumped me onto the floor. When the boxes were taken outside, they picked me up and put me outside too. And I was homeless. Hungry. Scared.
Ithac a Times
When I was no longer a kitten, I found a pretty good place by an old house not far from the long river. There was a stone wall where I could sleep in the sun. When people or animals came near, I would slip behind the wall and climb way down into the valley. There were wheelbarrows and picnic tables to sleep under in the shady arbor. I could creep down into the lily pond and drink with the croaking toad. All winter long I hung around. I would go into the nearby forest and hunt, but I kept going back to the lady in the old house. The lady in the house started feeding me. I was afraid of her, but she brought me cream, and she brought me food. She sat beside me when I ate. I followed her
continued on page 7
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asn't April supposed to be the cruelest month? Then came May, June, July, August, September, October, November...and here we are. I don't always have two free fingers to jam into my ears when the news comes on, so the grim bulletins of 2020 still occasionally penetrate my bubble. Wacko denialism, the daily pestilence death count drumbeat, an absurd politicization of public health, trash-talking IPD officers, schools going remote on short notice. There's no denying we're facing a bleak winter, but it's the holiday season, and there are actually shards of good news lying about. Let's look at a couple... Donald J. Trump is only going to be president for 41 more days. 41 more news cycles. 41 more headlines with the outrage of the day. This is actually bad news for media outlets across the land who are entwined in a symbiotic coupling with the president that has allowed both to colonize our brains for four years. Sober, competent governance is not clickbait. But for the rest of us, it looks like Sanity may reclaim her tenuous grasp on the tiller of the Ship of State. And Georgia went for Biden. Georgia! Yes, the state where citizens are prone to saying things like "fetch Mama's pry bar, Purvis. She's fixin' to stand up." By a razor-thin margin, but still. We'll see just how strong the commitment to good judgment is on January 5th. If you set aside the terrifying spectacle of a chief executive who is unmoored from the real world, and the accompanying existential threat to our basic institutions, the efforts of the Last Sycophants Standing are a hilarious spectacle. Come on...Four Seasons Total Landscaping? Gossamer-thin legal arguments? Zany witnesses? They are the Keystone Cops of politics, and we'll miss their uproarious incompetence when they're gone. In 41 days. I think we're in a better place in terms of dealing with quarantining and social distancing than we were in the spring.
Back in March, everyone was bingewatching Tiger King. Now...The Queen's Gambit. Not to be judgy, but we were briefly obsessed with the showdown between Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic. Now, we're briefly obsessed with an orphaned chess prodigy who becomes the world's greatest player. Chess! We haven't paid attention to the game since Fischer and Spassky. That's progress, my friends. Vaccinations are here. The final proof that I'm an idiot — as if any were needed— is that I still read posts on Facebook, and I've seen some that essentially say that the vaccinations can't be safe because they were developed too quickly. Mostly these are posts by people steeped in up to an hour of internet epidemiology training. Here's the thing: when we set our minds to it, we accomplish amazing things very quickly. It's kind of the miracle of the United States. We went from Albert Einstein proposing the theoretical possibility of atomic bombs to Franklin Roosevelt in August 1939 to inventing and building functioning nuclear weapons by August 1945. Not saying that's a good thing, just remarking that it was a fast turnaround. In October 1957, the Soviets launched a foil-covered basketball into orbit, and it was the first man-made satellite. Less than 12 years later, Neil Armstrong was uttering platitudes while standing on the surface of the moon. There was some urgency in developing a vaccine in 2020, and it got done. It's good news. Just get the damn shots. There's more good news. Last week, the House passed a bill decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level. The Bills are having a decent season. Dr. Fauci is going to be President Biden's chief medical adviser. Bing Crosby is singing Mele Kalikimaka on the radio this time of year. It's Spirit Week at IHS. Maybe the bar's been lowered for "good news," but there's one thing we can all agree on...2020 is almost over!
Illustration by Marshall Hopkins
By C h a r l ey G i t h l e r
By M a rjor i e Z . O l d s
COMMUNITYCONNECTIONS Contin u ed From Page 6
around the yard. I walked between her feet. She made a special spot for me with a bed that was as warm as the sun in the summer. I was cozy even when it snowed in my quiet place through a tiny door. I loved my home and life was good. Until I got sick. Very sick. I had always been strong and tough. Now I was very weak. I pulled myself up to the kitchen door and could not move. The lady made a special bed for me right beside the door. When I could no longer eat or drink, something terrible and terrifying happened. A blanket spread under me and my bed by the door was gathered up in the dark and I was lowered into a big box. The lady and her friend taped the box shut and carried me into a car. I was screaming and pushing against the box as we began to move. I stuck my achy claws into the breath holes and slashed to get out. I was trapped. It was still dark when we stopped. The lady called someone, and I could see a stranger outside the little holes in the box. I thrashed and scraped my long sharp nails inside the box to make way to get out. I tried madly to free myself. Why had my lady put me in a box? Why couldn’t I live with her anymore? When the stranger picked up the box to carry me away, I pushed with all my last strength and squeezed out the biggest hole. I hit the cold, wet ground running. For hours and hours in the wet snow, the lady and her friend hunted me between cars. When they got close, I ran some more. I was cold and shivering and my
heart was pounding. When they finally left, I crawled under the bushes by the Vet School and slept a long time. When I awoke, I knew I must leave. Trucks beeping, snowplows, cars everywhere. I watched the cars speeding by and I raced across a road while many fast cars went whizzing by. Some honked at me. I fell in the ditch, exhausted. I walked in the snowy rough field where I lay in some straw and slept hungry as the stars came out. I slept wherever I could. When there was a little light I walked toward the water. I remembered the water. I was very sick and very very tired. But I had to always be watching, listening. Dogs, people’s voices and those cars. When I reached the water, it was dark and cold. I had not eaten for a long time. I slowly dragged myself to the water’s edge. I remembered I must cross that last road and then walk up, up, up. I must stay away from the big house in the woods where the dogs barked. When I got past the big house, I was too tired to go on. I knew I was very close, but I could not go further. The abandoned cabin was nearby, and I slid inside a crumbling wall. I listened to the frozen rain on the leaking roof. I heard some mice in the floor and heard the rustling of squirrels outside the cabin. When I woke up again it was very dark. I was weak, but I slowly, slowly, slowly dragged myself forward. When I got to my home the sparkly light was on in my kitchen. My furry igloo by the kitchen door. My heart was pounding, but I could not go faster. I slowly crawled up the stairs. I am home.
ROBBERY Contin u ed From Page 3
more than $65,000 worth of items, in addition to causing thousands of dollars worth of damage on multiple floors of the building. Yetsko was arrested Dec. 5 and charged with two counts of burglary in the second degree (class C felony), grand larceny in the third degree (class D felony) and grand lar-
ceny in the second degree (class C felony) for the crimes he is alleged to have committed from Nov. 25 through Dec. 2 . Yetsko was arraigned remanded to the Tompkins County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail/$10,000 bond. -Staff R eports
START UP Contin u ed From Page 4
help minimize the immune response from the body when a catheter is used, and it would help kill pathogens. HaloAdd takes two principal chemical factors of Halomine and makes it into a plastics additive to provide antimicrobial properties to almost any thermoplastic, including film coverings for touch screens, medical devices, food implements and storage containers. Unlike HaloFilm, it would not need to be reapplied. Dr. Mingyu Qiao is the co-founder of Halomine and the coinventor of N-halamine technology. He performed his graduate research at Auburn University with the
group where N-halamine chemistry was first invented. Eveleth, a Cornell alum, got involved in the project about two years ago when he came back to the university to see what some of the entrepreneurs were up to. “I got my MBA from Cornell in 1990 and have been working with start-up companies ever since,” Eveleth said. “After wrapping up some other companies, I was looking for something new. I came back to Cornell to see what was going on and I learned about Halomine. We’ve been working together ever since.” -Ta n n e r H a r d i n g
THE TALK AT
YOUR LETTERS Shop local
his month will make or break many local businesses. Local businesses are the heart and soul of our community. Can you imagine our downtown with more empty storefronts. Can you imagine hundreds more of your neighbors unemployed. I'm writing now to highlight how important your spending choices are this month. If you choose to do your holiday shopping in our wonderful downtown, it will reduce the suffering of employees and their children and help ensure that those businesses will survive. Shopping can be an adventure, and I invite you, as a caring member of this community, to adventure out to the many local businesses in the area. While shopping in person has some risk, Tompkins is one of the safest communities in the country, so let's take advantage of this strength! (Some of these stores also have low contact pickup.) I know you can find some amazing unique things for everyone on your list. Rather than having gifts shipped from Amazon, you can invest in your neighbor's surviving and thriving and build a better future for our community. Some of my favorites are IthacaMade in the Dewitt Mall, Handwork at the West end of the commons, Bramble in Press Bay Court, Old Goat just East of the commons, Home Green Home and Sunny Days on the commons, and any of the Greenstar locations, but I'm sure you'll find your own. -Meg Doherty, Ithaca, NY
Re: Farmers Market story
’m writing in response to A Summer of Shy Shopping at the Market by Arleigh Rodgers in the November 18-24 issue. As week ly customers of the Ithaca Farmer’s Market (produce and meat) since we moved here in 2007, I would like to offer some suggestions to help address the COVID19 related problems identified in the article. The Market is our prime source of food. It’s also where we take visitors to gain a deeper understanding of where we live. It has become evident that the Market isn’t just one of several tourist attractions. It is a tangible expression of sustainability, of the importance of “local”, of a commitment to health, of the idea and risks of a climate-sensitive family business, of the importance of these ideas to the community, to local government and to sense-ofplace respected by the area and the State. It’s also an expression of the connection among farms, crafts and arts in harmony De c e mb e r
9 – 1 5,
with “growth and nourishment” and the food vendors who offer more immediate sustenance. To exist, the market needs a number of farmers to provide the necessary gravitas for a “market”. Similarly, a number of organic farmers are required to have “organic farming”. These numbers require a commitment of the farmers to the farm and to their presence in the market. The CSA’s provide an obvious measure of financial stability to the farmer, provide access to food for those unable to go to the market, and provide convenience for those who don’t want the mix offered by the variety of farmers at the market. But the CSA’s are not a substitute for the market. I suggest that the market is the foundation from which a CSA gains credibility. The article says that, with COVID19, twice as many farmers have below average sales as are above average sales. While the article doesn’t say if this is the typical distribution or how many of those with below average sales are facing a decision to go out of business, it’s clear that the current level of stress needs to be addressed. So, recognizing the commitment made by farmers and market shoppers, and recognizing the importance of maintaining the continuous existence of the market (it can’t be bankrupted and restarted like a big box store and a farm can’t foreclose, be dormant and start producing the next season) for the community and the projected image of the quality of life in our area, I suggest that the Mayor and all appropriate legislative bodies, suspend payment by the Farmer’s Market for any taxes and fees usually paid for the duration of the pandemic. Further, that those monies, instead, be distributed to those farmers most in need during this period. I also suggest that a way be sought to emulate something of the cooperative spirit of the Grange whereby those farmers above the line can help their fellow farmers who are below the line. I also think it would be appropriate for those local supermarkets, where some sales are made because of a “link to local farms”, to contribute to a fund to help those farmers facing closure at this time. With the COVID19 distancing requirements and the related limited number of patrons permitted at a given time, a possible solution to discourage those shoppers unwilling to stand on line waiting to enter from choosing to go to a supermarket would be to have the first 90 minutes reserved for resident shoppers (primarily for groceries) and the afterward open for tourists and those shoppers more interested in crafts/art/prepared food and hanging out. -Ross M. Horowitz, Ithaca, NY
Write to us! Say something or respond to an article by writing firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters must be signed and include an address and phone number. We do not publish unsigned letters. Letters may be edited for length and readability.
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Why does wine taste shaly?
Local vintners take advantage of unique Finger Lakes topography
By Bill Chaisson verything that can be done online during a pandemic is being moved online, including wine tasting. On Nov. 12, Damiani Wine Cellars in Burdett and the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca teamed up to present “Wine and Geology,” an exploration — via Zoom — of the contributions of bedrock, soil, and climate to the taste of wine. Participants received their “kits” in advance, which included two bottles of white and two bottles of red … and a rock. Yes, you may have missed this one, but given that 96 people 8 T
Ithac a Times
joined the event, PRI and Damiani plan to do more of these. “It was incredibly successful,” said Warren Allmon, a paleontologist, Cornell professor and director of PRI who was one of the presenters. Seventy of the Zoom participants purchased wine after the event and part of each purchase went to the museum. “Many of them were ‘friends of PRI.’ They were people from all over the country,” said the museum director. “Damiani was happy to be attracting that audience.” Allmon and Rob Ross, associate director of outreach at PRI, introduced the Zoom participants to Finger Lakes geology while Glen Allen, one of the owners of Da-
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P hoto from th e zoom progr a m hosted by th e Pa l e o n t o l o g i c a l r e s e a r c h i n s t i t u t e a n d t h e I n s t i t u t e’s D i r e c t o r , Wa r e n A l l m o n miani Wine Cellars, encouraged the audience to begin tasting their wine. The consumption of wine and the fact that many listeners were geologists generated a lot of questions, but Allmon was prepared. “I sat down and did the research about how wine and geology work,” said the paleontologist. “The main thing I wanted to know was, ‘Is the shaly-ness and minerality real?’ And I found out that it’s not caused by the rocks per se. It’s caused by other things [in the grape] due to soil and water.” At least two other geologists and some geology students have taken a look at the role of geology in winemaking in the Finger Lakes region. Economic geologist Lawrence
Meinert of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts is also a winemaker; he produces his own Bordeaux-style blend in small batches. Tara Curtin of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva has done field work in northeast Spain on the role of sediment shedding by mountain ranges in affecting climate change. (It should be noted that northeast Spain is an excellent region for wine.) In 2005, as part of a Keck Geology Symposium, Meinert and Curtin led a group of five undergraduate students who examined the role of geology in the production of Finger Lakes wine. Jason Cavatorta of Amherst College examined the effect of paleo-deltas on
vine vigor at Sheldrake Point Vineyard in Ovid. This caught Allmon’s interest, and he brought it up during the Nov. 12 event as he and Allen chatted extemporaneously about wine and geology. “Glen was unaware of the paleo-delta idea,” Allmon said, “so I talked for about nine minutes about the glacial geology of vineyards.” The Allegheny Plateau, into which the Finger Lakes are incised, gets higher as you go south. When the last ice sheet retreated from the region between 14,000 and 11,000 years ago, the melting glacial ice created one large lake that connected several of the Finger Lakes at their north ends and ponded the water much higher than its present levels. Creeks that flowed off the uplands between the lakes spread sediment wedges into these paleo-lakes. After the ice sheet retreated, the lake levels fell, leaving these deltas ‘hanging’ on the valley walls above modern lake levels. Meinert and Curtin definitively established that Fox Run Vineyard on Seneca Lake and Sheldrake Point Vineyard on Cayuga Lake are on paleo-deltas, and they suspected several more vineyards are as well. What is so great about delta sediments? Glacial till is the mixture of clay, silt, sand and rocks that the last ice sheet slathered onto the Finger Lakes region like a knife spreads chunky peanut butter on bread. Actually, think of it as peanut butter mixed with granola. “In the paleo-deltas, the till is ‘recycled,’” said Allmon, “so the drainage is fantastic.” In the process of eroding glacial till, the streams transported the fine grains out into the paleolakes and left the coarse ones in irregular layers in the deltas. “There are scattered clay layers,” Allmon said, “and apparently they spoil a piece of ground.” In this instance, spoiling is good. Vineyardists and winemakers don’t really want their vines to grow well. They would prefer the plants be puny and that the grapes be fewer and of higher quality. Cavacorta explored this phenomenon at Sheldrake Point in 2005. He compared an area of “high vigor” for Riesling grapes to one of low vigor. The vigorous plants grew in wetter sandy loam underlain by a layer of glacial clay, while the less vigorous plants grew in drier sandy loam with scattered small layers of post-glacial clay that developed in place. The clay lenses obstruct root growth and allow water to drain away, so the vines struggle. And the struggle produces high quality grapes. The two white wines provided by Damiani on Nov. 12 were Rieslings: a single-
vineyard dry bottle and a semi-dry bottle made of grapes from several vineyards. “A single-vineyard or reserve-level wine is the highest expression of winemaking and the land it comes from,” said Allen.
produce different wines from one vineyard to the next.” Terroir is what wine people call the collection of physical and cultural factors that combine to give wines their charac-
The dry Riesling, he explained, was grown in the Davis vineyard, Damiani’s oldest, which is underlain by a soil type called Howard gravelly loam. “It’s very deep,” he said, “and has pockets of limestone. We can extract many flavors from the soil.” This Riesling consistently scores above 90 when it is reviewed in national wine publications. The other Riesling combines grapes from two other vineyards with the Davis fruit. “It’s got high acid; it’s crisp,” Allen said, “with beautiful aromatics.” While the idea that the shaly flavor didn’t come directly from the soil was a new concept for Allen, the effects of the various vineyards on the wine was something Allmon hadn’t considered. “When you grow the same grapes in one place versus another,” he said, “even though it’s the same grape, it tastes very different.” A lot of that is due to abrupt changes in the soil type from vineyard to vineyard, and sometimes even within the same vineyard. The soils are derived from the bedrock, and in the Finger Lakes what is exposed at the surface — shales, siltstones, limestones — changes constantly from north to south. First, the region had an ice sheet come through several times and smear geology all over the landscape. Then, it had meltwater streams redistribute it in deltas. From that you get a very tangled matrix on which to grow grapes. “It’s a very complex patchwork,” said Allen. “In a square mile of the Finger Lakes, there are 10 times as many soil types as there are in all of the Napa Valley. As a result, there is a very interesting potential to
ter. There is, of course, a lot more to terroir than soil. Microclimate is actually the environment in and among the grape leaves. Vineyard managers talk more about mesoclimate, which is the interaction of physical factors — rainfall, length of day, number of days per year above 50 degrees et al. — that describe the environment along a particular ridge or slope. Variations in all these factors can alter the taste of wine, even when the soil type is kept constant. Allen noted that mesoclimate varies from lake to lake and also on one side of a lake versus another. Damiani’s vineyards are on the southeastern — therefore westward-facing — side of Seneca Lake. “We’re in what is called ‘the banana belt,’” he said. “We have more growing degreedays than the rest of the Finger Lakes.” He said that this, along with much variation in soil depth, the steepness of the slopes, and the consequent higher angle of the sun later in the day, produces intense wines. Allmon, who does not profess to be a wine afiçionado, might be getting drawn in. “The wine from the single vineyard,” he said with a mixture of surprise and wonder, “varies more from year to year than does the one made from multiple vineyards.” Scientists love a phenomenon that is partly explicable and partly not. That a blend would standardize the wine makes sense, but why is that one vineyard different in a variety of different ways? That is harder to pin down. The geology guy met the wine guy when Allen and Jennifer Tegan, Allmon’s wife, attended the Johnson Graduate School of Management at the same time. The AllDe c e mb e r
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mons’ daughter also had Allen’s wife as a teacher. “I went to a Johnson School wine event, and it was terminology on wheels to describe wine,” said the scientist, no stranger to terminology. “Wine can have ‘diesel notes.’ It’s complex chemistry, but it’s not just soil chemistry.” Allmon stressed that the “minerality” that you taste in wine is not literally the taste of the minerals in the soil. Rather, the minerals in the soil produce chemical reactions in the grape that create a taste that evokes minerality. “Mineral doesn’t mean it tastes like dirt,” said Allen. “It tastes like crushed stone, the way you can smell it after a summer rain if you are near the rocks. The smell is like a mouth feel; it’s clean.” Allen said that grapes that don’t grow on a distinct geology will produce a wine that lacks this crisp cleanliness; it will just be fruity. Not that fruity is bad; “The Davis [vineyard] grapes have a hallmark lemon zest,” he said, “and all the vineyards give you that green-apple side.” The red wines at the Nov. 12 tasting are made in the Bordeaux style; they are a mixture of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Because reds are aged in oak barrels, some of the effect of the geology is masked. So, Allen selected two wines to highlight this effect. MC2 spends only eight months in oak barrels, while the Meritage spends 16 to 18 months there. While the whites are associated with “shaleyness,” a different geology emerges from the reds: graphite, a carbon mineral that most of us know from tasting pencil “lead.” Storage in oak allows the wine to breathe through the wood, softening it. MC2 is held in old oak, which does not impart tannins, while Meritage is held in new oak, which does. The combined oak and grape tannins give the wine “structure,” which allows for aging in the bottle. “You get more than you started with,” said Allen. This intensifies both the fruits that are forward and the graphite at the finish. Both Allen and Allmon said that more Wine and Geology events are likely. “Even after the pandemic ends,” said Allmon, “we’re not going back to the way it was.” A booklet that explains the underlying geology is now available through the Museum of the Earth website at the Northeastern United States page in the Earth@home section. Before each event, Allen said, Damiani will ship your wine to you. Check damianiwinecellars.com or priweb.org for notice of future events.
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Not a World Apart By Ste ve L aw re nc e
iven that thaca tends to trend “younger” demographically, many sports fans are likely unaware that the NBA was not always the cultural phenomenon it is today. For many basketball fans of my vintage (watching Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain do battle was our version of “The Clash of the Titans”), it is easy to remember when the NBA was a comparatively upstart enterprise, fighting for its share of revenue and relevance. Local author Pete Croatto has just released an exhaustive and impressive 300plus page book, and “From Hang Time to Prime Time: Business, Entertainment and the Birth of the Modern-Day NBA” has received some very high praise from some very dialed-in experts, from Publisher’s Weekly to the co-creator of “Billions” to Sports Illustrated to the Wall Street Journal. The book was published by Atria Books (an imprint of Simon and Schuster), and I was pleased to catch up with the author at a (safely distanced) book signing event at Odyssey Books in Ithaca.
Pete Croatto grew up in New Jersey, graduated from the College of New Jersey, and did a lot of writing and editing before writing this book. In reflecting on the eightyear journey from idea to hard-cover, Pete said, “I was working on a story for [ESPN-owned sports and pop culture blog] Grantland about Marvin Gaye’s rendition of the National Anthem at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game, and how it redefined what the league was going to become.” Croatto’s thorough research includes a fascinating timeline of the NBA’s evolution. In 1975, Larry O’Brien became the NBA Commissioner. The NBA and ABA merged the next year. In ’78, attorney David Stern (the next commish) came on to work full-time for the league and in 1979, the visibility meter would launch at warp speed when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird came into the league and ESPN arrived. Five years later, Michael Jordan burst onto
Come to our virtual
the scene, and a year later, Air Jordans became a part of our cultural lexicon. In 1986, the 3-Point Shootout was added to the All-Star weekend lineup, and in 1989, the first wave of influential European players made their collective debut. The timeline takes the reader up to the present moment, and uses an example from 2017 — Derek Fisher’s appearance on “Dancing With the Stars” — to put a fine point on the degree to which the worlds of sports and culture and entertainment have converged. Croatto writes, “The goofy transience of Fisher’s goofy prime time spectacle — who knew dribbling a basketball could preface a sexy, shimmering salsa routine — obscured a greater historical reference… Here was a black man, representing an overwhelmingly black sport, strutting to a rap classic on a popular network program. Such a confluence of circumstances would have caused a riot 35 years ago.” The book adds that Fisher’s performance was “the latest page in the NBA’s new history, one that was a part of our world, not a world apart.”
As he sat at the book-signing table, Pete looked at the stack of books like a proud father looks at his brood. “I didn’t think I had it in me,” he said. “I interviewed 315 people, from players to executives to rappers, three Laker Girls and one Pointer Sister!” He added, “I’m a huge basketball fan,” and went on to describe what a joy it was to capture “the swirl of societal and cultural convergence that made the NBA what it is today.” Pete’s life has taken a few turns since he started on the book. His wife, Laura, took a job teaching music at Ithaca College, so the couple packed up and moved here. They welcomed their daughter, Olivia, four years ago, and the book’s dedication reads, “To Laura and Olivia, the ultimate home court advantage.” The first-time author — who writes so eloquently about convergence — understands that the process is ultimately a convergence of art and science: The art of writing, and the science of marketing. While Croatto is aware that the pandemic is limiting the number of personal appearances he can do, he expresses his faith in his publicist and in the literary horsepower of the book. “It has already exceeded my hopes, and if it opens a few doors, that’s great.” Pete offered, “I’m very grateful to Odyssey Books for their help, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have breakfast with my wife and child every morning.” Autographed copies of “From Hang Time to Prime Time” are available at Odyssey
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Three generations write children’s Christmas story together
By Rhiannon Coleman
Grandmother Lynn Moss Hushion-Holley, her Daughte Wenday and grandaughter Eva
n the mid-’90s, a young girl named Maria lost her tooth while eating a pear around Christmas Eve. Her mother, Lynn, always the storyteller, was inspired by a single question that would surround a project of hers until its final form years later: What if the Tooth Fairy arrived at the same time as Santa? A couple years later, Lynn wrote a story detailing this whimsical fantasy, the story taking a traditional, longer approach. She shared the story with the rest of the family, but it
was eventually tucked away, not revisited for another 20 years. Wendy, another daughter of Lynn, and her own daughter, Eva, used the COVID shutdown period as an outlet for creativity like many other people forced to stay home. During the initial stage of spring cleaning coupled with quarantine boredom, Wendy found the old story of her mother’s in one of the bins of family memories and showed it to her mother. “She loved it so much,” Wendy said. “She was like, ‘Oh my gosh, can we please work on this?’ And I thought, ‘Yeah, why not?’ Eva and De c e mb e r
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Santa and the Tooth Fairy
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TOOTH FAIRY Contin u ed From Page 19
I do art together all the time anyway, so it felt kind of like an organic thing to work on.” Eva, a first-grader and already a budding book-maker and children’s book writer herself, was welcomed into the project as much as possible, giving much insight on the book design. “I mean, it was very traditional,” Lynn said of her original story, “and it just didn’t have the oomph to it. But Wendy took it and she kind of made it her own. It’s her writing. I helped with a little editing and things, and Eva was a huge support. She sat in on many meetings [with us].” The book design, which was made from tedious paper cut-outs, took over almost every room of Wendy’s home during the self-publishing process. “This is our first project together, and I was very limited, especially in terms of how you actually make a book,” Wendy explains. “Design-wise, I had to relearn Adobe Photoshop, and then I was like, ‘there’s no way I can learn Adobe InDesign’ — it’s so complicated! So that’s when we hired Terry Wright. She does a book design and she’s a friend of my mom. She helped us with the self-publishing site, she helped us figure out the size of the book, and helped me sort of put the art in a way that worked better than I had tried to do it on my own.” Nevertheless, even with the help there were still many hours spent behind magni-
fied glasses, searching for pieces of paper cut-outs smaller than your fingernail. “The cat likes to step on paper,” said Eva. “She’d come into the room and step all over everything!” While three generations of Holley women had each other to work with, and creative arguments were never an issue, the goal to complete the children’s book in time for Christmas soon became more complicated than they thought. “I would look at the design of the children’s books I read to my kids, and a lot of these books have a team of designers,” Wendy said. “It’s not just one person; there’s an illustrator, a designer, a layout specialist — there’s literally four to five people involved in putting
the book together. So it was a very, very big learning curve for all of us. We thought it would be so easy to make the copy and put it in. It’s a process, and there was a whole new appreciation for the people who make children’s books.” The final version of the book, “How the Tooth Fairy Saved Christmas,” begins much the same as the original moment that first inspired the story all those years ago: a young girl named SallyAnn, who is modeled after Eva, loses her tooth on Christmas Eve, spurring the
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arrival of the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus at her home at the same time. The story features hand-made paper artwork from Wendy herself, with much of the book design ideas coming from Eva, specifically the Christmas presents featured throughout. However, it is the Tooth Fairy, affectionately called “Toothie” by Lynn, Wendy and Eva who is really the hero of the story. “One of the pre-orders asked, ‘Could you also autograph it from the Tooth Fairy to my granddaughter?’ Those kinds of things kind of let you know that you’re not just doing a book,” describes Lynn. For Lynn, Wendy and Eva, the appeal of the project was clear: the three of them could create a legacy project that would be memorialized in their family for years to come. But what really stood out to Lynn was the way her 20-year-old project took over an entire home. “When I look at the project from a distance, it’s been really nice to see how someone could hold onto the same thing in the same physical space for so long. I mean, it was just this uproarious thing.” The remnants and fond reminders of the project now sit in a box in Wendy’s home, the clutter cleared out, the home perhaps feeling a little emptier, and Eva’s own missing tooth commemorating the legacy of her family’s work. To pre-order “How the Tooth Fairy Saved Christmas,” you can go to howthetoothfairysavedchristmas.com.
Just take a photo that you think best captures Tompkins County and send it our way. The person with the best photo submission will win $250 and another $250 will be given to a nonprofit of their choice. The winning image will also become a featured photo on a Visions VISA debit card that all members can order! Entries will only be accepted through January 31, so get them in now at visionsfcu.org/contest
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“False Dawn” by Barbara Mink
ver the 15 years that I’ve been covering Ithaca’s visual arts scene, Barbara Mink has always been one of the biggest names — and deservedly so. Parlaying a wide-ranging intelligence and a long history as part of the local cultural establishment into a new career. The prolific and energetic artist has evolved from a painter of botanicals and lushly romantic landscapes into an eclectic, sensual abstractionist. Previously a reliable anchor at the cooperative State of the Art Gallery, Mink has since struck out on her own. In addition to showing widely in the upstate New York region and beyond, since 2013 she has run the do-it-yourself Mink Gallery out of a converted garage in her Fall Creek home. Mostly highlighting her own work, with the occasional guest artist, the intimate two-room space has become a neighborhood fixture. Although affected, like local arts organizations large and small, by the current pandemic, the semi-private nature of the Mink Gallery offers a welcome leeway. (Gallery visiting in Ithaca appears to be relatively hygienic, in general, as far as public activity goes.) Open by appointment since the summer, the artist has also participated in a number of Art Trail open studios — most recently Dec. 5. Throughout December, she is showing an informal selection of recent and older pieces, characteristically diverse in approach. Working on canvas with fluid acrylics, Mink’s most characteristic work echoes the “dripped” Abstract Expressionism of Jackson Pollock and the “stained” ColorField abstraction of Helen Frankenthaler
Our 44th Season: presented in-person & livestreamed while often superimposing drawing-like elements that — for better or for worse — nudge the legacy of Formalist Abstraction in the direction of idiosyncratic personal fantasy. (Typically a few feet by a few feet, they are modestly sized by the standards of the genre, but large by those of local painting.) Returning to her work year after year, one sees a kind of dance between variations of this familiar approach and series that explore stranger territory. Square in shape but suggesting a liquefied landscape in suggestions of stacked horizons, “False Dawn” is an exceptionally striking piece in this vein. Painted in the runoff to the recent election, the title is a characteristically portentous metaphor. (The piece has been sold and is no longer at the gallery.) Densely painted but airy and open, the painting balances small patches of bright, acidic blue, green and pink, with hazy clouds in off-white and warm grays. Like the work of fellow local painter Suzanne Onodera—although fully distinctive in its color and tactile sense—“Dawn” reinvigorates, if ever so slightly, the longstanding connection between landscape and expressionistic abstraction. It’s a major effort. As usual at her showspace, Mink has up a hanging of miniature, square-format pieces on paper. The selection, at least during my visit, leaned toward black-andwhite pieces with clear echoes of Pollock. Others were spotted in hazy, luminous colors.
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Just Another Writer
David Fincher’s new Netflix movie looks at the creator of “Citizen Kane” By Br yan VanC ampe n
emember in David Fincher’s “Fight Club” where we learn that Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) moonlights at a movie theater as a projectionist? This was 1999, before the advent of digital projection, and the movie would be cued up on two reels. Ten seconds before a reel change, you would see a little circle in the upper-right corner, known as a “cigarette burn.” Then you’d see another “burn” and the reel would change. Years later, the first digitally projected movie I remember seeing was Fincher’s “The Social Network,” and “cigarette burns” were now obsolete. Fincher’s first feature in five years, “Mank” (Netflix International Pictures, 131 mins., 2020) is a Hollywood period piece written by Fincher’s late father Jack Fincher that follows the creation of the Orson Welles classic “Citizen Kane” through the eyes of its primary screenwriter, Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman). Welles shared script credit but “Mank” believes he may not have deserved it. The younger Fincher has not only shot the film
in black and white so as to make it look like “Kane” and a product of his era, he actually put cigarette burn reel changes on a Netflix movie that I watched this weekend on my phone. It is fascinating, easily one of the best films of 2020. When people talk about Fincher’s obsessive attention to detail, it’s this kind of grace note that they’re talking about. I haven’t seen a movie with such fetishistic production design since Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.” But very few of us walk out of a movie humming about the production design. Welles is such an important cultural figure that there’s a rich subgenre of movies about Welles with other actors playing him, including “Heavenly Creatures” (Jean Guérin), “Ed Wood” (Vincent D’Onofrio voiced by Maurice LaMarche), “RKO 281” (Liev Schreiber), “Fade to Black” (Danny Huston), “Me and Orson Welles” (Christian McKay), and even movies about Hearst’s mistress, starlet Marion Davies, on whom a “Citizen Kane” character was
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based “Chaplin” (Heather McNair) and “The Cat’s Meow” (Kirsten Dunst). “Mank” earns its place among those other films. Jack Fincher’s screenplay is loaded up with little-known political history and other telling details about the period and its people that would inspire Oldman’s alcoholic Mankiewicz to lose faith in his fellow man and be inspired to use William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance) as his “inspiration” for Charles Foster Kane. For one thing, it was news to me that MGM actually used actors to make political propaganda films in the 1934 election, nor was I aware of the
smear campaign underfoot to undermine progressive candidate and author Upton Sinclair. With its Hollywood black-and-white look, “Mank” would make a perfect double bill with Tim Burton’s 1994 classic “Ed Wood.” Amanda Seyfried gives a wonderfully vulnerable performance as Marion Davies. There’s a long scene of cocktail chatter at Hearst’s mansion that includes icons like Charlie Chaplin and Joan Crawford, and there’s a funny writer’s bullpen sequence that’s a roll call of the great Golden Age writers — legends like Ben Hecht, S. J. Perelman and George S. Kaufman.
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Pioneering Cornell professor Alison Lurie dies at 94 By O liv i a Clippe r m an
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Free Residencies for Teachers | at the S An established author by the time she joined the Department of English in 1969, Alison Lurie was only the second woman on the faculty awarded tenure at the university, and was named the F.J. Whiton Professor of American Literature in 1989.
This article was originally published by the Cornell Daily Sun on Dec. 7. lison Lurie, the Pulitzer Prizewinning author and Cornell’s second ever tenured woman professor, died in hospice care in Ithaca on Dec. 3. She was 94. The professor emerita of English taught classes on creative writing, folklore and children’s literature throughout her 35 years at Cornell until her retirement in 2005. She was perhaps best known for her novels depicting the life of academic elites. “Alison Lurie was both a great writer and a smart, kind, sharp and canny presence,” said Prof. Alice Fulton MFA ’82, English. Fulton had been Lurie’s student in her creative writing program and was later her colleague. “I seem to remember every meeting I had with Alison because of memorable things she said or simply because of her mysteriously powerful, playful aura,” Fulton said in a University press release. “She was deeply unconventional, both wild and wise, and I cherish the chance I had to know her.” When Lurie started at Cornell in 1969, she was a trailblazer for women in her field and broader academia: In 1979, she was the first woman on the creative writing staff, and the second ever woman in the faculty body awarded tenure at the University. Lurie first moved to Ithaca — where she lived until her death — in 1961, when her first husband Prof. Emeritus Jonathan Bishop, English, began teaching at Cornell. Ithaca served as a clear inspiration for the primary setting for several of her novels, including her 1967 book “Imaginary
Friends,” which depicted a fictional Ivy League school in Upstate New York called Corinth University. “This is the world I know — so I’m not the kind of person who can write, let us say, about 18th-century France or even 18th-century America, or gang wars in Los Angeles,” she said in a 2013 interview. “I’ve mostly written fairly close to the worlds I live in.” Her 1984 novel “Foreign Affairs,” which earned a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award nomination, centered on a Corinth University professor’s journey to England and back. Lurie published 11 novels over an almost 60-year career — many of which were sharp social satires, critiquing the social dynamics of American academic elites. Several of her novels received international critical acclaim and screen adaptations. She released her final novel, “The Last Resort,” in 1998. Critics described Lurie as a contemporary Jane Austen, citing her focus on social dynamics and domestic concerns. Lurie also wrote nonfiction, most notably “The Language of Clothes.” She coedited the Garland Library of Children’s Classics collection and released several folklore anthologies for children. In addition, she produced two critical studies of children’s literature, the field she was originally hired to teach in at Cornell. Her work was highly engaged with the political movements of her day, especially protests against the Vietnam War. She also challenged book banning and conservatism in children’s literature and was arrested in 1985 at a rally against Cornell’s
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IPD SUSPENSION Contin u ed From Page 3
down the stairs in handcuffs, from a 2014 arrest at West Village, and said his client had relayed this to Joly at a Dec. 3. interview.
"Mr. Monk has no motivation to falsely confirm Slattery's admissions, as the statute of limitations for a lawsuit has expired, and he stands to gain nothing from speaking the truth," Kelly said. Kelly also took issue with Nayor's statement that so far the investigation has found no evidence of physical abuse.
"[That conclusion] contradicts and disregards both Mr. Monk's interview in my presence, as well as Slattery's own unintentionally recorded statement," he said. "It is puzzling what evidence they could be looking for since body cameras were not worn by IPD at the time of this arrest.” Monk did not seek medical attention or
file a complaint at that time. “If IPD and the Mayor's Office agree that there is 'no evidence of physical abuse' now, after Slattery recorded himself describing it, imagine how they would have treated a complaint from Mr. Monk back then," Kelly said. -Ta n n e r H a r d i n g MINK Contin u ed From Page 21
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Although a show of this scale could only hint at the artist’s range, cohesiveness is not the goal here either. (This is readily forgivable, again, given the informal nature of the current presentation.) It’s difficult to know what to make of the grungy Ab-Ex of a piece like “Ballet Mechanique,” with its graffiti-like swoops and meticulously horizontal drips of black against a dirtied yellow field. More capable, and more familiarly Mink-ian, is “Take the A Train,” with its hard-edge, predominantly black-and-white geometry enlivened with fogs and filigree in playful multichrome, both pale and saturated. Collectively, the work here evokes an expected unpredictability: mixing earnestness and insouciance in approximately equal proportions. One wishes for a more formal presentation of Mink’s work somewhere in town, or at least nearby. It may be awhile before we see one. Still, in a season where Ithaca’s modest gallery scene is struggling to assert a “new normal,” business as usual at the Mink Gallery is welcome enough. More than anything, it’s a reminder that sensuous color abstraction — taken for granted by some in the busy contemporary art world — maintains a pull on human sensibility, both a challenge and a balm for benumbed eyes and brains. ALISON LURIE Contin u ed From Page 2 4
investments in the South African government. “Among those who knew her in Ithaca, Alison will also be remembered for her backyard receptions each fall, as well as her Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction and gracious personality,” said Prof. Robert Morgan, English, in a University press release. Lurie was born on Sep. 3, 1926, the child of a sociologist and a journalist. In 1947, she graduated from Radcliffe College with degrees in history and literature. In 2012, Gov. Andrew Cuomo named Lurie the New York State Author from 2012 until 2014. Oxford and Nottingham Universities awarded her honorary degrees, and she received grants from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations. Lurie earned various commendations alongside her Pulitzer Prize, including an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. Lurie is survived by her husband Edward Hower ’63, a fellow author and educator, along with her sister, three children, two stepchildren and three grandchildren. 24 T
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Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble | 7:00 PM, 12/10 Thursday | Members have been working diligently all semester on their improvisation skills. They will be presenting a live, semester-ending concert. Register to watch the concert live via Zoom at:https://ithaca.zoom.us/ webinar/register/WN_8cp7FNYZRd3V_G5Y2i0SA From the Court of the Sun King | 7:30 PM, 12/11 Friday | Online, | NYS Baroque Director Deborah Fox presents a multi-media presentation on the life and music of this trend-setting independent woman at the French royal court of Versailles.†This event is co-hosted with Pegasus Early Music, and will be presented online, with chat with the artist.†https://nysbaroque.com/ Cayuga Chamber Orchestra Holiday Concert:Comfort & Joy | 7:30 PM, 12/12 Saturday | Hotel Ithaca, 222 S Cayuga St, Ithaca | In observation of county health mandates, face masks and physical distancing will be required of all attendees. Additionally, in-person attendance will be limited so all tickets must be reserved in advance. Ticket-holders will have the option to attend in-person (pending capacity limits) or watch via livestream.† CCOithaca.org From the Court of the Sun King | 4:00 PM, 12/13 Sunday | Online, | NYS Baroque Director Deborah Fox presents a multi-media presentation on the life and music of this trend-setting independent woman at the French royal court of Versailles.†This event is co-hosted with Pegasus Early Music, and will be presented online, with chat with the artist.†https://nysbaroque.com/ Readings & Carols with the Cornell Chorus and Glee Club | 7:00 PM, 12/16 Wednesday | Carrying on a beloved annual tradition, we invite you to join the Cornell University Chorus and Glee Club in a musical holiday
celebration including singalong carols (featuring the virtually assembled choirs), seasonal poetry readings, and recordings from past Christmas services. For access to this one-night-only virtual event, pre-registration on Zoom https:// cornell.zoom.us/webinar/register/ WN_1SlcpxJcRLGPwytOsBknHw is required.
Art “Topography of Light,” by Brian Keeler | 11:00 AM, 12/11 Friday | North Star Art Gallery, 743 Snyder Hill Road, Ithaca | Fridays thru Sundays until 2/28/21. Separation of Art with a Capital ‘A’ | All Day 12/12 Saturday | Cayuga Museum, 203 Genesee Street, Auburn | Artist Victoria Fitzgerald explores the still profound lack of representation for women of all backgrounds in her art series on display at the Cayuga Museum through the end of the year. Masks and reservations required for museum entry. Virtual Cinemapolis: Another Round | All Day 12/9 Wednesday | Four weary high school teachers embark on an experiment to maintain a constant level of intoxication throughout the workday. Initial results are positive, and the teachersí little project turns into a genuine academic study. | 3 day rental for $12 Virtual Cinemapolis: Monsoon | All Day 12/11 Friday | Kit returns to Ho Chi Minh City for the first time since he was six years old when his family fled the country in the aftermath of the Vietnam-American war. He embarks on a personal journey across the country that opens up the possibility for friendship, love and happiness. | 3 day rental available for $12
Virtual Cinemapolis: Born to Be | All Day 12/12 Saturday | Ends 12/17. Follows the work of Dr. Jess Ting at the groundbreaking Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery. | 3 day rental for $12
world has partnered with thousands of local community organizations to develop an efficient and effective program for spreading the love of reading.† | 3 day rental available for $12 Virtual Cinemapolis: The Weasels’ Tale | All Day 12/11 Friday | the story of a group of four long-time friends, including a used-to-befamous actress, her now disabled husband and an actor as well, who she eclipsed, and the sharp-tongued screenwriter and director of her greatest hits.† Their coexistence is menaced by a young couple who, feigning to be lost, slowly insinuate themselves into their lives. Virtual Cinemapolis: 76 Days | All Day 12/12 Saturday | Ends 12/17. On January 23rd, 2020, China locked down Wuhan, a city of 11 million, to combat the emerging COVID-19 outbreak. Set deep inside the frontlines of the crisis in four hospitals, 76 DAYS tells indelible human stories at the center of this pandemic. | 3 day rental available for $12
Virtual Cinemapolis: Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan | All Day 12/12 Saturday | Ends 12/17. A cinematic exploration of Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan from filmmaker Julien Temple. | 3 day rental available for $12 Virtual Cinemapolis: Markie in Milwaukee | All Day 12/12 Saturday | Ends 12/17. Assembled from over 10 years of footage, Markie in Milwaukee tells the story of a Midwestern transgender woman as she struggles with the prospect of de-transitioning under the pressures of her fundamentalist church, family and community. | 3 day rental for $12 Virtual Cinemapolis: The Twentieth Century | All Day 12/12 Saturday | Toronto, 1899. Aspiring young politician Mackenzie King dreams of becoming the Prime Minister of Canada. But his romantic vacillation between a British soldier and a French nurse, exacerbated by a fetishistic obsession, may well bring about his downfall. | 3 day rental available for $12
award-winning author Teju Cole! Visit buffalostreetbooks.com for registration info.
The Winter Wonder Wander at Tag’s | 5:00 PM, 12/11 Friday | Tag’s, 3037 State Route 352, Big Flats | A walk-through experience with over 500 wooden cut outs of favorite holiday characters. Vendors on site. Fridays thru Sundays from 5PM-9PM until January 2, 2021. Holiday Open Farm Days at Shepherd’s Creek Alpacas! | 10:00 AM, 12/12 Saturday | Shepherd’s Creek Alpacas, 5797 Stillwell Rd, Trumansburg | The alpacas will be greeting Holiday visitors, posing for pictures & hoping for treats every Saturday through Christmas from 10 - 4!† Visit our Alpaca Shop where we have a wide selection of unique and beautiful alpaca gift items. Ithaca Alternative Gift Fair | 10:00 AM, 12/12 Saturday | Virtual this year! Stretch your dollars, get your holiday shopping done AND support your favorite local charities, all at the same time!††ithacaaltgiftfair.org†
Books Valzhyna Mort in Conversation with Teju Cole | 7:00 PM, 12/10 Thursday | Ithaca’s own Valzhyna Mort will be discussing her new poetry collection, Music for the Dead and Resurrected, with
Your Portal to Another World with the Writerís Room from The Vela: Salvation | 6:00 PM, 12/12 Saturday | Decemberís event will feature authors Ashley Poston, Maura Milan, Nicole Givens Kurtz, and Sangu Mandanna of The Vela: Salvation, ‘a space opera with a strong female lead’ and themes such as environmental collapse, refugee crises, and ugly nationalism.† This free event will be offered via Zoom. Learn more at www. tcpl.org Social Solidarity Haiku Virtual Workshop | 4:00 PM, 12/14 Monday | Led by Tompkins County Poet Laureate Melissa Tuckey, this free writing workshop aims to raise voices in solidarity with essential workers who are on the front lines during this crisis. Participants will learn about haiku and have an opportunity to write their own. Visit tcpl.org for registration info.
Notices Finger Lakes Native Plant Society Solstice Celebration -- Shorter Days, Shorter Talks | 7:00 PM, 12/15 Tuesday | Join us for a virtual winter solstice celebration featuring native plant quizzes, short presentations, demonstration videos, and more!†To register:†https://
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Virtual Cinemapolis: The Library That Dolly Built | All Day 12/11 Friday | Goes behind the scenes of Dolly Partonís Imagination Library, to show how one of the most famous and beloved performers in the De c e mb e r
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1-855-225-1434 Visit us online at
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I t h a c a T i m e s 27
For rates and information contact Toni Crouch at
Looking to Boost your Holiday Business this year?
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ince 1981, the Ithaca Times has closed every year with the “Readers’ Writes” issue, featuring submissions from the most diverse writing staff at our disposal: you. Stories, poems, drawings and photographs are all welcome and complete artistic freedom is in your hands. It’s a platform for you to be heard beyond the letters page.
R E A DE R S ’
This year’s theme is “Struggle & Gratitude”
As tradition dictates, any interpretation of what this prompt means to you is fair and, of course, a wide range of submissions will be accepted–just as long as you stay under 600 words. Send your submissions to Attn: Readers’ Writes, the Ithaca Times, PO Box 27, Ithaca, New York 14850 or email them in with a subject line of “Reader’s Writes” to email@example.com.
D e a d li n e D E C . 20
Looking forward to seeing your stuff!
IS SU E 28 T
Ithac a T imes
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