January 11, 2023

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MAYOR 2023: WHO’S RUNNING? PAGE 3 ANY SUCH THING AS FREE SCHOOL LUNCH? PAGE 4 STATE INVESTIGATES NYSEG BILLING ERRORS PAGE 5 HISTORIAN WRITES OF WESTWARD WOMEN PAGE 13 OOY’S ADDS NEW STYLE PAGE 14 Our Readers Have Written Down their Big Ideas PAGES 7-11 FREE / J anua R y 11, 2023 / V olum E X l III, n umb ER 20 / Our 50th Year Online @ ITHACA.COM His Big Idea Was Cornell University What’s Yours?
2 T he I T haca T I mes / J anuary 11–17, 2023

Mayor Won’t Run; Cantelmo Will

In the first City of Ithaca Common Council meeting of 2023, Mayor Laura Lewis highlighted accomplishments from the previous year, outlined goals for the coming year, and announced that she would not be running for reelection when her term expires at the end of 2023.

Looking back at the year prior, Mayor Lewis said some highlights of 2022 included the city’s launch of Electrify Ithaca and the establishment of a community choice aggregation program, GIAC securing $2.5 million in Federal, state and local funding for a new recreation facility, and the completion of the Founders Way affordable housing project.

Additional accomplishments include the launch of Ithaca Bikeshare, authorizing another transportation agreement with TCAT, and coming to an agreement with the county for funding the Community Justice Center for another year.

Despite the accomplishments from the year prior, the upcoming year is expected to be busy as the structure of government within the city is going through a major overhaul.

According to Mayor Lewis, “2023 will be a year of incredible transition,” since all ten seats on the Common Council plus the term for Mayor are set to expire at the end of the year.

Additionally, Mayor Lewis said that city priorities for the upcoming year include “recruiting and hiring additional police officers and firefighters to plan for vacancies created by retirements.”

The Mayor has also stressed the importance of finding a permanent Chief at the Police and Fire Departments — along with

conducting a search and hiring someone to become the first City Manager.

According to Mayor Lewis, the passage of the public referendum to create the position of City Manager “ensures that we will expend considerable effort on transitioning to a new form of city government with a Council-Mayor structure.”

Chief of Staff Deb Mohlenhoff will focus her attention on preparing for the shift to a Council-Mayor structure, and the transition will not be complete until January 2024.

Mayor Lewis also said that she looks forward to the “forthcoming recommendations” from the Reimagining Public Safety working group and the working group that’s considering responses to Unsanctioned Encampments within the city. In addition, she hopes that the city will work towards reaching fair labor contracts with public sector labor unions.

Near the end of her State of the City address Mayor Lewis said, “I am announcing tonight that I will not be seeking re election to the position of mayor in 2024”

Before winning the Mayoral election in November 2022, Mayor Lewis was appointed to the position of Acting Mayor when former Mayor Svante Myrick stepped down from the position in January 2022 to take a full-time job as the Executive Director of People for the American Way.

Mayor Lewis continued saying, “For the past five years, it has been my privilege and continues to be my greatest honor to serve the city I love as a council member,

X New State Recycling Rules in Effect in 2023

New York State’s new recycling rules to make it easier for consumers to recycle electronic products went into effect on January 1st, 2023. Now you’ll have an environmentally friendly way to dispose of any unwanted gadgets you received over the holiday season.

According to a recent survey, roughly 36% of consumers are expected to purchase a consumer technology product this holiday

Andrew White, who’s Big Idea was Cornell University invites our readers to submit their Big Ideas in our annual Readers Writes Issue.


and now as Mayor. I look forward to the many challenges and opportunities we will face together throughout 2023.”

When Mayor Lewis’ term expires at the end of 2023, the individual who is selected for the newly created position of City Manager will take over the administrative responsibilities previously carried out by the Mayor. The Mayor will see reduced responsibilities but retain a position on the Common Council.

On January 8, Alderperson Robert Gesualdo Cantelmo announced his bid for City of Ithaca Mayor at The Downstairs. Cantelmo leads the Democratic Threats and Resilience project at Cornell University and represents the Fifth Ward on Ithaca’s Common Council, which includes Fall Creek and Cornell Heights.

season. That creates a lot of additional devices to recycle, and residential customers can now responsibly recycle those devices for free throughout New York State.

Beginning in 2023, recyclers will work with manufacturers to provide free and convenient recycling on all covered electronics at drop-off sites throughout New York.


M att D ougherty , M anaging E ditor , x 1217 E ditor @ i thaca t im E s com C hris i bert , C al E ndar E ditor , a rts @ i thaca t im E s com a n D rew s ullivan S port S E ditor , x 1227 s ports @ flcn org

M att D ougherty , n E w S r E port E r , x 1225 r E port E r @ i thaca t im E s com s teve l awren C e S port S C olu M ni S t s t E v E s ports d ud E @ gmail com

J osh b al D o , p hotograph E r J o S h B aldo @ gmail com s haron D avis , d i S tri B ution F ront @ i tha C a t i MES C o M

J M b ilinski , p u B li S h E r , x 1210 jbilinski @ i thaca t im E s com l arry h o C hberger a SS o C iat E p u B li S h E r , x 1214 larry @ i thaca t im E s com

F r EE lan CE r S : Barbara Adams, Stephen Burke, G. M Burns, Alyssa Denger, Jane Dieckmann, Charley Githler, Ross Haarstad, Steve Lawrence, Marjorie Olds, Henry Stark, Bryan VanCampen, and Arthur Whitman


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Ithaca Mayor Laura Lewis announced that she would not be running for re-election at the end of the year during her State of the City address. (Photo By: Josh Baldo)


County Health and Mental Health Departments Complete Merger

The process began in 2019 and was delayed by a global pandemic, but after five years of work mental health and physical health are coming together under one department in Tompkins County.

On January 3, Tompkins County Whole Health revealed their new logo and announced their mission “to build a healthy, equitable community in Tompkins County by addressing root causes of health disparities, and integrating mental, physical and environmental health.”

The plan to integrate the two departments into one unit is intended to improve the quality of care for patients who visit both departments, reduce bureaucratic redundancies and make it easier for the departments to share electronic health records.

According to the county’s Deputy Mental Health Commissioner Harmony Ayers-Friedlander, “Data has long demonstrated the benefits to treating persons holistically, incorporating mental, physical and environmental health into a complete

picture of the needs of the whole person. Tompkins County Whole Health embraces this concept and looks forward to providing our community members with a portfolio of services to improve individual and population health.”

In response to the successful integration, Tompkins County Public Health Director and Mental Health Commissioner Frank Kruppa said, “We would like to take this op portunity to thank the Tompkins County Legislature and County Administration for their support throughout this process.”

Kruppa continued saying, “We’d also

like to express our appreciation to our staff for their commitment and dedication to this work, to drive our services forward to holistically improve health outcomes for county residents.”

When the Times last spoke with Kruppa about his hopes for the Whole Health Department, he said “I hope that anyone who seeks our services will not only get what they think they need, but if they discover that we have something else that might be beneficial to them, and that we will be able to quickly, efficiently, and effectively get them connected to those additional services.”

Will There Be Such a Thing as Free School Lunch?

During their January 3 meeting the Tompkins County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution calling on Governor Kathy Hochul and the State Legislature to sign legislation to make lunch free for K-12 students across the State.

A resolution introduced by Legislator Brown has put pressure on the State Legislature and Governor to sign legislation to address student hunger by guaranteeing universal access to free meals for students in grades K-12.

The resolution cites the success of the federal program implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic that gave schools nationwide a waiver to provide free lunch for all students. That program expired in June 2022 – meaning that caregivers must

now apply and qualify for free or reduced student meals.

The states of Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, California, and Maine have adopted legislation to increase access to free meals for students.

In response to the passage of the resolution Tompkins County Communications Director, Dominick Recckio said, “the legislature is sending advocacy to the New York State Legislature and the Governor around a bill that would provide universal access to free meals for students in grades K through 12.”

He continued saying that Legislator Randy Brown “has been taking great attention and care to the concerns of young people in his district and free meals at school is a huge equity issue.”

The resolution also details the existing

USDA Community Eligibility Provision, which allows any schools or districts with 40% or more children eligible for free meals to offer the meals and receive a reimbursement.

According to available Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) data for Tompkins County School Districts, TST BOCES, Newfield Central School District, Enfield Elementary School, Beverly J. Martin Elementary School, and Dryden Central School District are currently qualified for a CEP program, all other school districts in Tompkins County have between 30% and 40% of students that qualify for assistance.

If the state were to pass such legislation, over 2,000 schools and 800,000 students would be impacted in New York, with universal access to free meals.

4 T he I T haca T I mes / J anuary 11–17, 2023 N ewsline
WHAT WAS THE LAST PHOTO YOU TOOK? “The creek, along six mile creek.” – Tony I. “Picture with us in the woods with our dog.” – Seth S. “Annual family fruitcake photo.” – Alexandra A. “A post about a lost dog.” – Sarah B. “My daughter and her friend’s cat.”
– Adriane L.
Physical and Mental Health are now united under one Department of Whole Health in Tompkins County (Photo Provided)

NYSEG Cooperating with State in Billing Error Investigation

Your complaints about NYSEG haven’t gone unnoticed.

An investigation into billing errors at NYSEG has been initiated by the New York Department of Public Service after electric and gas customers from more than 40 counties across the Empire State say they have been impacted by billing errors.

Ithaca resident Michelle Porter says her NYSEG bills have been “insane” for the last several months. Porter said that within one week she received three separate bills. The first was for $700, then a day later another arrived for $1,200, and the next day another bill arrived for $1,500.

The Consumer Advocate of the Public Service Department will host a series of public forums in areas affected by billing errors starting in January as part of the investigation into NYSEG.

New York State Electric and Gas, commonly referred to as NYSEG, is a private corporation that generates, purchases and distributes electricity and gas to about 1.3 million customers across upstate New York. Their sister company, Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) is also under investigation.

The problems with the two utilities’ billing systems became apparent when the Department began to see a significant spike in

the number of complaints from customers. As a result, Department staff commenced a review and an investigation related to a September 2022 change to the companies’ customer information and billing system.

The complaints received by the Department range from incorrect bills being sent to consumers or very late bills being sent. In 2022, the number of consumer complaints against the two companies soared to more than 4,700, 60 percent more than the two previous years combined.

In response to the investigation, Rory M. Christian, the CEO of the Department of Public Service said, “Ensuring customer bills are accurate is the singular responsibility of the utility, and this expanded investigation of RG&E and NYSEG will determine what went wrong and how will it be resolved.”

Christian continued saying, “Our bottom line is simple: we hold utilities accountable for any billing errors and we will require the companies to hold customers harmless.”

Issues with private utilities like NYSEG and RG&E have resulted in increased support for publicly owned utility options. Supporters of public utilities say that NYSEG holds customers hostage with rate hikes since there are no viable alternatives for where to get energy.

According to a report by Truthout, NYSEG customers are “captive to any rate hikes” because they “have but one option for buying the service that heats and lights [their] home.”

In 2022, NYSEG proposed a 22 percent increase for the average electric bill. This would take effect on May 1, 2023 and increase the average electricity bill by roughly $18.31.


The Ithaca College men’s basketball team opened the New Year with a crazy finish inside Ben Light Gymnasium as the Bombers defeated Hamilton College, 59-57, on a circusshot buzzer-beater by Logan Wendell.


NYSEG representatives have said that rate hikes are attributed to increasing costs of fuels used to produce electricity, specifically natural gas.

These rate hikes disproportionately Impact low-income households. Additionally, a census based study found that the median Black household pays 64 percent more on utilities than the median white household.

In response to the investigation NYSEG representatives have said, “While NYSEG and RG&E have not been immune from the effects of COVID on our utility, such as a severe staffing shortage, we understand the impacts some of our customers have faced with their bills. In fact, we have already made significant progress in reducing customer issues by hiring new billing specialists and streamlining our billing processes.”

The company’s statement continued saying that NYSEG is “working hard and committed to ensuring customer bills are sent out timely and accurately and we urge our customers to contact us immediately with billing issues. We will fully cooperate with the Department’s investigation.”

Tompkins County Public Library is pleased to offer a Lunar New Year Craft Party on Saturday, January 14 from 2:30 to 4:30 pm in the Thaler/Howell Programming Room. Kids of all ages and their caregivers are invited to a party to make traditional Lunar New Year crafts! The Lunar New Year is the most important social and economic holiday for billions of people around the world. It is a time to reconnect with family, let go of the past, and get ready for a fresh start.



The Greater Ithaca Activities Center will be hosting its Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration on January 14, 2023 from 9:30am - 1:30pm at the Beverly J. Martin School (BJM) Gymnasium. This year’s celebration will feature a special keynote presentation, several educational workshops to choose from, special performances, and a luncheon. Childcare will be provided. More information to come. Please contact (607) 272-3622 or giacmain@cityofithaca.org with any questions or inquiries.


Cornell forced 20 turnovers and held the Big Green to 27 second half points to pull away from Dartmouth for a 74-63 victory on Sunday afternoon at Leede Arena. The Big Red improved t0 11-3 on the season in winning the league opener for both teams, while the Big Green lost its sixth straight and fell to 4-11.

Nearly 34%

of American Households Reduced or Skipped Basic Expenses To Pay Energy Bill

Inflation is making life unaffordable, and many Americans are having to choose between paying their utility bill and buying necessities.

A recent survey by LendingTree found that 38% of households in New York have decided not to purchase basic necessities like food and medicine in the past 12 months just so they will have enough money to pay an energy bill.

LendingTree analyzed data from the

U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey to determine the percentage of consumers sacrificing necessities like food and medicine to pay for their energy costs. For example, 37.6% of households in New York say they reduced or skipped necessities like food and medicine in order to afford their energy bill.

In addition, 28.4% of households in New York were unable to pay at least part of one energy bill in the past 12 months. Overall, 33.9% of U.S. households say they reduced or skipped basic expenses, such as

medicine or food, to be able to afford their energy bill in the past 12 months.

According to the report, Black households are most likely to be unable to pay at least part of their energy bill. This is cited by 40.0% of Black households, versus 35.9% of Latino households, 17.7% of white households, and 12.1% of Asian households.

Additionally, 20.8% of households kept their home at a temperature that felt unsafe or unhealthy due to the high cost of utilities.

As a result of inflation caused by supply chain issues and foreign conflict, electricity prices have increased by 16.0% per kilowatt-hour in the past 12 months. The report highlights that Americans in certain parts of the country are struggling to afford utility bills more than others.

IF YOU CARE TO RESPOND to something in this column, or suggest your own praise or blame, write news@ithacatimes. com, with a subject head “U&D.”


Have you had trouble paying a utility bill in the last 12 months?

38.5% Yes.

61.5% No


J anuary 11–17, 2023 / T he I T haca T I mes 5 N ewsline
N ext W eek ’s Q uestio N : Should New York State Create a Free K-12 Lunch Program
ithaca.com to submit your response.
A map of NYSEG area of service (Photo Credit: NYSEG)


In September, at a private event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, Congressman-elect Marc Molinaro said, “I believe that as a country we have met our financial obligation to support Ukraine resistance.”

Sure, saying that he prefers diplomacy sounds attractive to the taxpayer. But, he’s detached from reality. Molinaro’s position on Ukraine is like going to a Five Guys, ordering a kale salad, and then arguing with the cashier over what’s on the menu.

No offense to Five Guys. But, like the kale salad, diplomacy isn’t on the menu here.

Now? Even after President Zelenskyy’s historic trip to Washington, Rep.-elect Molinaro is silent on the issue. On Twitter, where Molinaro spends many hours of his day, he hasn’t mentioned Ukraine since a campaign stop in early August.

So, as arguably the only region of the 19th Congressional District sympathetic to issues of foreign policy and global aid, Ithacans must demand that Molinaro

reverse his position on Ukraine and support continued financial support — as more will likely be needed from Congress during Molinaro’s first year in office.

As soon as Molinaro sets up his office, call and place your opinion. Write letters like these and be vocal online to call out his silence. And in 2024, do all you can to unseat him. He’s already shown us who he is, and he isn’t even sworn-in yet.

Coby Eiss

On Mental health issues, mass shootings and violent crime.

One thing I feel that the media and our politicians miss (especially when discussing guns, suicide, mass shootings and gun violence) is the side-effects of many anti-depressants and other medications (even one for psoriasis) that have stated side effects of mental agitation, harmful or suicidal thoughts, recurring depression, and others mental effects either while on the medications or withdrawing from them or on multiple medications. No real discussion about possible links between a mass-shooter suicide and the medications they are on. I feel that medical record privacy should be overturned in cases where the subject has committed a mass shooting, murder, or violent crime. If they are already dead, what does it matter if their medical records are made public. Might allow parents of children, spouses and family mem-

bers of persons with mental health issues to be more aware of the possible effects of what those medications may cause. May allow decisions on what to risk.

And I’m sure the psyco-pharma-medical industry and many “mental health but

keep the guns” Republicans would fight that idea. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a gun owning somewhat moderate progressive fed up with the current political rhetoric and hate mongering.

SPORTS When Sports is Life or Death

It is amazing how the Damar Hamlin saga has exploded into far more than a sports story. For some, the focus is the brotherhood that exists among sports teams – indeed, across the entire fraternity of football players. Others see the power of prayer as the central theme. Others point to the fact that donations to Hamlin's charity have blown up, and embrace that tragedy can bring out the best in us.

I am very happy for Damar, but his near-death experience brings back such sad memories from 2004, when Cornell lacrosse player George Boiardi, - like Hamlin - took a blow to the chest, andunlike Damar - died on the field.

My friend Mike Kelly, who does volunteer work with veterans and has gained much insight in doing so, pointed out that “Many of those players probably have military-grade PTSD.” He is right about that, and that makes me even more grateful that Damar survived. It also brings to mind a poignant quote I once heard: from the legendary Vince Lombardi: “People say football is a contact sport. No… dancing is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport.”

I have very clear memories about the death of George Boiardi. I did not know George, I was not at the game, but some good friends were there, and some of them were the guys on the field working diligently to restore his heart beat. While on some level they had to know they were not at fault, and that they were doing all the right things within seconds after George went down, the experience still haunted them, and in some ways, still does.

It was brought to my attention that our community experienced another such loss more than a half-century ago, thanks to an email from Art Brooks, who informed us that “In 1968, Ithaca had a somewhat similar situation to what happened to Buffalo's Damar Hamlin on Monday night. Brian Truhn, a running back, took a hit, was on a bench and then taken

to the hospital and died.” Even after 55 years, the imagery still haunts Brooks, as he wrote, “I was on the sideline and still can see him sprawled out, on his back on a rickety green bench.”

Truhn, who was a 21 year-old senior playing in his first season, was born in Sidney, NY, and he was, according to the archives of the Oneonta Star, “...a graduate of Unatego High School, student at Ithaca College and formerly noted area High School athlete who was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.” It is a great honor to his legacy that a scholarship in his memory carries on good works today. According to the Ithaca College website, “The Brian Truhn '69 Scholarship is awarded to a student in the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Health Promotion and Physical Education, Sport Management and Media, or Recreation and Leisure Studies who plans to pursue a career in coaching. Rising sophomores, juniors, or seniors may apply.” More info can be found at www.ithaca.edu

The Mario St. George Foundation also seeks to keep a young athlete's legacy alive, as the organization's mission statement says, “The seeds of the Boiardi Foundation were planted shortly after George's tragic death. His peers were inspired by the child literacy work George had done in the Ithaca, NY, community, and his pursuit of a position with Teach For America South Dakota was emblematic of his commitment to helping others. In April of 2005 his peers launched a fundraiser on behalf of the Ithaca Family Reading Partnership, and a second event benefiting Teach for America was held in January of 2006. The Mario St. George Boiardi Foundation was formally established in 2007 to unify and expand upon those efforts, and to honor George's legacy by pursuing our mission of "Providing Opportunities for Future Leaders." That link is www.boiardifoundation.org.

6 T he I T haca T I mes / J anuary 11–17, 2023
The Talk at
● ●

My B g Idea — FoodEx

This is not new idea, but it is a BIG idea. Given the prevalence of food insecurity and abundant wealth in this country, it seems to me it is about time to develop a food recovery and distribution system called FoodEx (think FedEx). The idea is that there would be two national numbers: 1-800-GIV-FOOD and 1-800-GET-FOOD where anyone anywhere could call and either donate surplus edible food or find the nearest free meal or food pantry. Let’s say you threw a big party or wedding reception with a great deal of food leftover. You could call 1-800-GIV-FOOD and within an hour or so a FoodEx truck with a uniformed driver would show up at your door and take the surplus food

off your hands. Or you’re a small shop owner with regular surplus food and you call 1-800-GIV-FOOD to arrange regular pick-ups. On the other hand, you find yourself stranded in an unfamiliar city with no money and you’re hungry, so you call 1-800-GET-FOOD and the operator uses their computer and a GPS with your location to identify a nearby meals program. Or you’re a single mom with lots of kids and you call 1-800-GET-FOOD to find the nearest food pantry to help make ends meet. This system could be entirely paid from the value of the food collected. The idea is that a significant about of the food collected would go to existing meals and food distribution programs run by non-profits.

This influx of free food would significantly reduce the agency’s annual food expenses. It would not be unreasonable to ask these non-profit agencies to redirect some portion of those savings to the FoodEx program. The same would be true for food programs run by churches.

And, in case you did not know already, studies have shown that, in this country,

Organ zed C t zen Journal sts

My idea: add citizen journalists to cover specific sectors and issues in the county. The goal is to expand the community’s knowledge base of what is happening in the area, with the potential to expand citizen participation in government. The benefits of more information about more issues include empowered citizens, enhanced local media, and a greater collective voice in local politics.

A news outlet (electronic papers to begin, as they are more cost-effective than print) could apply for grants to train citizen journalists: volunteer positions and/or partner with Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications. Hired editors would pull the work together in weekly online sections. The citizen journalists could be assigned specific county sectors and update readers regularly on

what issues, meeting outcomes, and policies are discussed and implemented. The same citizen journalist would follow the same space for a given amount of time: for example, meetings in a specific town, village, city, or hamlet. This project could start small or large; perhaps the journalists cover school board meetings instead of municipalities. The difference from making meeting minutes available is that the citizen journalist would, under a paid editor’s guidance, be more issue or topic-specific in their reporting.

For example, a citizen journalist assigned to Dryden town meetings would take notes and report back in an issue or topic-focused manner: environmental issues, diversity issues, economic issues, free speech issues, and/or whatever the news outlet and grant-funded editors agreed upon. These are samples, but the idea would be to track a municipality’s

My B g Idea: Do Someth ng W th Mason c Temple Bu ld ng

there is more food wasted that is perfectly edible at the time it was discarded than is needed to feed everyone who is experiencing food insecurity. If we were to collect half of all the edible waste (surplus) food available and distributed it equitably, we could end involuntary hunger and food insecurity in this country without spending additional tax dollars.

actions in a comprehensively outlined and narrative form.

Information on the news platform about how things are evolving in sectors of the county could be examined by the public and, hopefully, lead to more citizen participation in the political process. Depending on the news outlet’s preferences, a grant could include time for editorial staff to pull the information on issues together across municipalities and analyze the issues. The editor might also invite letters from the community on topics.

In summary, one person focusing on one thing can lead to greater in-depth knowledge, and sharing that knowledge in an organized fashion can lead to a better understanding by the citizenry. A more informed citizenry can better partner in issue exploration and policy setting. In addition, a more informed citizenry may lead to more involved citizens and less muttering of this line, “But, there is nothing we can do about it.”

Finally, this idea may help all media outlets in the county. With more data available, radio stations, TV stations, and newspaper outlets would be offered sources and ideas for deepening interviews with individuals and organizations.

Like an old, rotting barge chained to a downtown pier, the former Ithaca Masonic Temple building at 117 N. Cayuga Street has sat idle and all but abandoned in the heart of our city for nearly three decades. All around it, creative designers and developers are revitalizing

our city’s core with attractive buildings and public spaces. Yet this eyesore, built in 1926, remains cold and lifeless. The neglected form invokes a sense of mystery and intimidation for locals and visitors alike. Originally designed by the prominent architectural firm, Gibb & Waltz, they

would surely be ashamed of what’s become of their work. In 1994, the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission and Common Council designated the building a landmark, which sets in place a strict set of rules for altering the look and use. County tax records show the building

was acquired by Jason Fane in 1993 for $325K. It’s now assessed at $500K. Can’t we put our collective heads together and find a use for this monolithic structure? In a city full of creative, industrious people, surely there must be a use. How about co-working spaces, a youth hostel, alternative energy training center, or a food hall?

My big idea: The City of Ithaca and Jason Fane need to decide that 30 years of prime real estate monstrosity is enough, set aside regulations and preconditions, and find a way to transform this property into something we can all be proud of.

J anuary 11–17, 2023 / T he I T haca T I mes 7

It took some effort to get here. Two introverts, a car full of musical instruments and comfortable clothing, a case of water and a bag of snacks: off we went on an six-hour road trip to Frederick, Maryland, to dance, sing, and play our instruments for a week. This is Terpsichore’s Holiday, a dance week held each year between Christmas and New Year’s. We arrived to find an evening dance in full swing (pun intended), with over 150 people smiling, hugging, holding hands, and walking in repeated patterns with children, teens, college students, parents, and grandparents.

There are no prerequisites for attending a dance camp of this type. The Lloyd Shaw Foundation, which sponsors this camp and another in Tennessee in July, was created to preserve, promote, and teach dance for all. Beginners are welcome, and the emphasis is on fun

Dance Bu lds Commun ty

traditional dances with live music. Easy traditional square dances that can be learned quickly, contra dances (kind of like square dances, but usually in long lines of dancers), English country dance, waltz, garland dancing, clogging, and Irish sean nós (old style step dancing, like a relaxed Riverdance) are on the daily dance schedule this year. Children enjoy games, juggling, and nature walks, as well.

Campers are welcome to lead their own activities. Ithaca’s ComedyFLOPs veteran John Fracchia led an improv workshop. Someone else led a tai chi class. Singers got together to learn Sacred Harp shape note singing, a Southern traditional vocal form. Klezmer and jam sessions opened up, and a haunting ritual dance with deer antlers was performed by a group of teens in the moonlight. Tonight, several adults were working on a puzzle with a message: Love Is Love.

Given that roughly one third of the group gathered here is Jewish, a Shabbat candle lighting ceremony accompanied with singing, a shruti box instrument, and hand drumming was held under a pergola at sunset. All were invited to participate, Jewish or not.

Inclusiveness and creating a sense of belonging are at the core of these types of camps. People are free to express themselves throughout the week so long as they respect the rights and identities of others. Pronouns are on the name badges. Dancers are referred to as “Larks” or “Robins” rather than ladies and gentlemen. Little girls wear wigs, masks, and sequined dresses whenever they like, and nobody worries about who is dancing with whom. It’s safe for children to dance with strangers, because we quickly learn all the family members’ names, and everyone watches out for each other.

By the end of the week, we will feel like we’ve known these people forever. We’ll stay in touch with many of them, sharing cards and social media posts, and maybe even visiting them. Dance has brought us together. Maybe we will only see each other once a year, at this camp, but we might meet up at another camp or dance weekend somewhere.

It took effort to get here, but everyone here has made that effort to leave screens behind (mostly) and venture out during the dark days of winter to find laughter, joy, and a sense of bonding through kinetic freedom of expression. After years of seclusion, the touch of other human beings soothes our COVIDweary need for social affirmation. We will return home to rejoin (or find) our local dances and build our dancing communities, because we need to remember and remind others that community matters.

My B g Idea: Make Ithaca a Zero-Waste C ty

Almost any time there is something thrown in the trash, there is an opportunity for things to be different. Zero-waste systems are a versatile collection of strategies that maximize the reuse of materials, divert waste material to beneficial uses, and minimize production of disposable goods and packaging.

Hundreds of cities around the world have adopted zero-waste models, which bring measurable benefits to

• climate, through lower emissions

• public health, through lowered exposure to toxic chemicals

• natural resources, through less extraction and pollution

• local economies, through more money kept in the community, new jobs supporting material reuse, and essential goods redistributed to those in need

According to a 2022 report by global zero-waste coalition GAIA, at least 70% of global emissions come from the material economy: the manufacture, transport, use, and disposal of goods. Zero-waste actions are often the easiest way to bring

down emissions rapidly and cheaply.

One of the most crucial zero-waste strategies is to reduce or eliminate singleuse plastics. Plastic pollutes at every stage of its lifecycle, and only 5-6% of plastic waste is recycled in the US. It is not difficult to imagine our city with less plastic—perhaps you even remember it, since half of the plastic in existence today was manufactured in the last 15 years.

Ithaca already has many successful waste reduction programs. I admire the work of organizations like Finger Lakes ReUse and Friendship Donations Network, redistributing materials and food that would otherwise become waste. I’m inspired by community-led initiatives like Zero Waste Ithaca’s Bring Your Own Container program: nearly 100 area restaurants committed to reducing packaging through BYO. I’ve seen how local Buy Nothing and Gift Economy groups build community resiliency by connecting people to their neighbors.

Here are some additional steps we could take to reduce waste—solutions with immediate impact that build upon

efforts already underway. You can find more ideas and specifics, as well as a list of the sources cited in this piece, at zerowasteithaca.org.

Support Ithaca City School District’s recent initiatives to switch to reusables in their cafeterias in collaboration with Zero Waste Ithaca.

Go zero waste at festivals, Commons concerts, and other public events. We have a great model with Ithaca Farmers Market’s Dish Truck and BYO initiatives.

Divert usable items from dumpsters during college move-out.

Get containers back to producers for reuse. Think maple syrup bottles, beer bottles, can carriers, etc.

Build water refill stations to lay the groundwork for a shift away from bottled water.

Consider a city-wide Deposit Return System of reusable containers shared among restaurants with drop-off spots and delivery systems.

The new commercial kitchen the City is discussing would make deposit return possible.

Develop a robust local composting infrastructure, which can reduce methane emissions from landfills by 62%.

Pass a “Skip the Stuff” bill making single-use items like silverware and condiments by-request rather than automatically provided for takeout and delivery.

Pass bans on certain single-use plastic.

Pass a right-to-repair bill without the loopholes of the state’s.

The U.S. plastic industry’s greenhouse gas emissions are predicted to surpass those of the coal industry by 2030. The City of Ithaca has a stated pledge to be carbon-neutral by 2030. Rethinking our relationship to solid wastes must be part of those efforts, as circular economy strategies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 39 to 48%.

Ithacans have the opportunity to safeguard human health, protect our natural resources, reduce our contribution to climate change, and invest in new green jobs by pushing to make Ithaca a zero-waste city.

8 T he I T haca T I mes / J anuary 11–17, 2023 READERS WRITE: MY BIG IDEA!

Iturned sixty years old on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. It bothered me at first. Way over the hill now. Sixty. Not old, but definitely not young. A teenager sandwiched between an aging younger generation and our own older cohorts. I like to call us Late Boomers, or sometimes cuspers.

Four days later on Saturday, or really early Sunday morning for normal people who don’t work nights, my husband is at work in the ED, and I’m at home enjoying my first night off alone after my own two 12 hour shifts. I’m sitting by the fireplace with a cup of tea watching a documentary on Harry and Meghan in happy amazement at the many parallels in our stories, more than I’m permitted to enumerate here. Diana and I (she’d be a year older) both gave birth to a millennial in the same Orwellian year of 1984. By the end of the documentary indelible memories of an almost 40 year journey with my husband and the significance of our recent birthday trip floated around in my head. I gathered these thoughts, and discovered a ‘Big Idea’ from our trip and this famous millennial love story.

A Place for Us

We planned a trip to New England ostensibly to celebrate my six decades on earth. Actually we were searching for the last move of our lives—into retirement and sadly, out of Ithaca after eleven years. Our daughter and our two grandchildren live here too, as stable and steady as this rarified bubble allows, accepted and mostly happy. So we took a trip back to the place we eloped to a little over forty years ago—Amherst, Massachusetts — and hoped to find a welcoming (and affordable) place to live out the rest of our story.

We related to Harry and Meghan as a couple with an inclusive worldview whose family, like ours, represents a well blended mix of colors and cultures in our community. And like them, we were searching for our particular place in the world during an important turning point in our journey. However, my husband and I are simply two middle class retiring late boomers lamenting the hope of ever seeing in our hometown what we discovered on our trip—comfortable reasonably priced retirement homes.

The Five College area in western Massachusetts where I married and gave birth, like Ithaca, is world famous

Cron ng My Ha r

As I passed 60, after years of having my hair dyed its “natural” brown, I began to think more and more of my father, 59 when I was born, whose hair was a beautiful white. Had I inherited Machan locks? More and more lines and little saggy places were appearing in my mirror; I didn’t want to look like I was trying to hide my age. I consider myself very fortunate to be alive. I celebrate growing old. Why not try to be an example of elderly vitality instead of being thought years younger than I am? I made the big decision to “crone” my hair by letting it become its actual color.

“You’re a silver fox!” were the first words I heard from my grown daughter as we found each other in the crowd of the JFK terminal that day in May of 2015. We were on our way to the Aegean island of Skyros, where we would celebrate the life of British poet Rupert Brooke, buried there in 1915. CoraRose had not seen me since before I stopped dying my hair. She was startled at first, but her compliment was genuine. I had my interesting mix

of gray and white and brown. I tossed my head with a different kind of smile, accepting that I was aging and refusing to let anyone make me feel invisible. I knew I would still perform in front of people as Zajal in fuchsia sequins and a belt of coins, playing my polished zills with Mirage Belly Dancers. I enjoyed thinking that someone in the audience would call out in encouragement, “Look at that little silver-haired one go!”

● ● ●

I didn’t intend to make a radical change. I didn’t go to Transformations in March 0f 2016 and ask for complete coloring. As winter dragged on, I’d gotten the notion I’d like a couple of small bright streaks. BUT….

Debbi Dolittle suggested I let her experiment with my hair—and now, almost six years later, with her encouragement and artistry, my full ripples and waves continue to be turquoise and fuchsia, refreshed every three months. I’m happy to let the white— yes, Machan white—show through,

and promotes a reputation for diversity and inclusion. During the trip we discovered that years of progress (we moved away in 1985) in the area had led to the building of new active senior properties, restored renovated factories (some for 55+), or affordable upgraded units in old apartment complexes. One town in the area even had the big idea to create a community of modest houses and one-level duplexes based on the mutual needs of older residents and children in the foster system. A model that symbiotically and successfully unites generations. Our search over that three day adventure was ultimately rewarded. We found the ‘perfect’ or at least ideal home that ticked almost all the boxes our middle-class incomes required.

The return home to Ithaca was bittersweet. We had planned to stay in this unique and vibrant city, but for many reasons it is no longer the place for us. We aren’t leaving behind a myopic ancient institution that squandered the big ideas of two intelligent and insightful millennials. We are moving on to a place where progressive big ideas created a niche for a growing number of us not so wealthy late boomers.

for it indicates (along with the wisdom wrinkles on my face) that I am elderly. And for sure I am not invisible.

Another big change has happened as well. When Transformations closed, Robby Brown, longtime stylist there (and my son Benjamin’s boyfriend), acted fast: he located a site at 309 East Lincoln Street, secured a loan, bought equipment, painted furniture silver and turquoise and fuchsia (I kid you not!), alerted his many clients, and in September opened his own beautiful salon, Fru-Fru. Because

he happened to choose the same colors as my curls, my joke is that I am an extension of the salon, but my serious contribution is that I left Debbi (which she completely understood), became Robby’s client, and now three to five times a week promote Fru-Fru to the people who stop me, no matter where I am, to say, “I love your hair!” He’s an artist—as he says, color is the heart and soul of his craft—and I trust him completely to keep me bringing to the world what makes so many people smile.

J anuary 11–17, 2023 / T he I T haca T I mes 9 READERS WRITE: MY BIG IDEA!
Fru Fru Hair Salon owned and operated by Robby Brown (Photo Provided)

Let Me Tell You Th s

If I were King, I would decree That all you subjects worship me You’d bow and tremble out of fear Just at the thought I might appear

You’d hang my picture on your wall Throng to rallies when I called Hang on every word I said Even when I lied

I promise you, all will be right If we are ready for a fight Our enemies are everywhere They’re jealous of our way of life

So, rally round our cause, my friends We’ll make our Kingdom great again The envy of those near and far A society beyond compare

And if this doesn’t work as planned We’ll burn it to the ground We won’t care when nothing’s left Cause we won’t be around

Br ng ng n the Wash

In the farmhouse yard the clotheslines were strung out between two T-shaped poles

From these slender lines powerful wind-filled sheets billowed engulfed me, swaddled me And then were swept away

Free, I can see again where she is First, just her bare strong calves Then her whole frame arched to the lines And I am drawn down them to safety at her knee my nostrils still filled with the scent of the wind-whipped wash

December 20, 2022, at E ghty-One

“For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is” (Wallace (Stevens, “The Snow Man”)

Walking alone in quiet woods, close to year’s shortest day, I notice odd shapes of leafless trees laden with new snow, one with large nest awaiting return of red-tailed hawk. White-tailed deer foraging for food, pricking up ears for danger, staring at me staring at them. red fox scutters across my path. Winter sounds punctuate silence: Whistle of cardinals competing for nourishment with chattering squirrels, while gaggle of migrating geese honk overhead.

In these peaceful days with year running down, life-planning, past successes, take back seat to gentle routines, vague travel plans, sweet memories.

Later: When I try to write, lassitude defeats imagination, gives way to languid thoughts: afternoon nap, leisurely dinner, soothing hot bath, overtaken by sleep while reading in bed.

But suddenly mortality enters, perches on my chair, intrudes on self-retreat. Stalked by images of once healthy people I know: bent, pale, faces distorted by pain, suffering the effects of strokes, debilitating illness, dementia.

For terrible moment, I fear something unruly, threatening, inchoate, unstable, inevitable, raising the frightening specter of aging alone.

I revert to memories of my morning walk, finding solace in nature’s seasonal rhythms: the nothing that is.

10 T he I T haca T I mes / J anuary 11–17, 2023 READERS WRITE POEMS

Re mag n ng Snow

'Twas the night before Christmas and Council chambers were packed a huge snowfall hit Ithaca pedestrians were on the attack.

The people without cars arrived by snowshoes and skis over sidewalks buried deep to make their pedestrian pleas.

As in many winters past Council turned a deaf ear 'talk to the property owners it's not our problem to hear.'

A dozen teens stood up front with shovels in hand and offered city leadership their snow removal plan.

Through social media they reached hundreds of their peers all ready to clear snow from neighborhoods far and near.

They asked only for a living wage to heave all that weight paid through the public works budget flush from a high vacancy rate.

But without a set plan cast before their eyes hard data, committee reviewed Council offered only sighs.

Teens then passed out a thick report explaining that they were the committee who mastered the logistics of snow removal in the city.

Thumbing through the pages Council couldn't help but be impressed what took them years to study the kids took only days to address.

Yet, a steely councilwoman in the appendix, noted that an outside advisory group had been often quoted.

Which, for her, raised a red flag about influence undue. that the report was now tainted with ethics violations all through.

The crowd was at first shocked then some anger did erupt at the suggestion that the kids were corrupt.

A guy from Public Works quickly stood and eloquently made the case “that the teens did everything right many meetings with us, face to face.

“It's really a no brainer since we're short of staff and I don't know a family with teens that couldn't use the extra cash.”

A teen then stepped up: “If ethics is really your concern then you best check in with us for what you all need to learn.

“We can work together without dysfunction too bad you all don't have that same compunction.

“My neighborhood is going down little by little, piece by piece not being on your agenda doesn't provide for much relief.

“So take our gift horse staring you in the face it doesn't cost much to turn the tide of disgrace.

“Kids shoveling snow it doesn't get simpler than that a community response to a city wide problem it'll get you back on track.”

The teen then turned back to the crowd cheers were ringing out pretty fast and pretty loud.

Council members were a bit stunned some taken aback never thinking they'd be schooled by a teenage rap.

The City Attorney whose pride was to read a room leaned into the mayor with a whisper which she then sang like a tune.

Although short in stature the mayor was mightily composed on her tiptoes she stood above the crowd she rose.

To make a motion for executive session a second was murmured into the air Council voted in unison to move this business elsewhere.

They smiled at each other glad for a problem unvexed claiming a real estate issue They had their pretext.

Council snaked quickly through the crowd one could hardly believe the stepping on each other's heels In their hurry to leave.

The teens looked at each other wondering what they just wrought but they got moving themselves not giving the adults much thought.

For on this night before a holy holiday their work waited below. come hell or high water they were going to reimagine the snow.

J anuary 11–17, 2023 / T he I T haca T I mes 11 READERS WRITE POEMS
12 T he I T haca T I mes / J anuary 11–17, 2023 TompkinsBank.com | 888-273-3210 With Mobile Check Deposit from Tompkins, you can deposit your checks from anywhere using your mobile phone or iPad. So you can put your money in the bank –without putting your life on hold. No Time to Get to the Bank? NO WORRIES

Tompkins Historian Tells Tale of Women in the West

On May 16, 1842, the first organized wagon train on what was to become known as the Oregon Trail set out from Elm Grove, Missouri for the Oregon Territory. With fewer than 20 wagons, and somewhat more than 100 travelers, they were leaving the United States and all of its institutions behind them and venturing out into two thousand miles of what they thought of as wilderness to a place where it was hoped that land and opportunity would provide a new beginning. They made twelve miles the first day, a pretty good start. Once thought of as the Great American Story, the journey is still a remarkable chapter in American history, most often imagined or recounted through the eyes of men. Carol Kammen, in her book Lamentations: A Novel of Women Walking West, tells the tale from the perspective of the women on the trip.

There are myriad local connections in connection with the expedition. Dr. Elijah White, the nominal organizer of the venture, lived in Lansing. (His wife Serepta, stayed behind in Tompkins County.)

Medorem Crawford, the company’s clerk, was a young man from Montour Falls (then called “Havana”). The mission established in the Oregon Territory by Marcus Whitman, which the 1842 group would reach in September, had launched from the Ithaca Presbyterian church on DeWitt Park six years earlier.

The novel is structured chronologically, chapters most often starting with the actual diary entry of Medorem Crawford which was generally a laconic recounting of the weather and distance traveled. Within that framework tracing the daily progress of the group, the stories are told in the distinct voices of a half dozen women of decidedly different backgrounds and personalities. There’s 12-year-old Ellen, who befriends Mrs. Smith, the oldest woman in the company as they bond over their shared love of nature. There’s also Mrs. Shadden and her family, leaving behind a hard-luck life and not expecting much better at the end of the

trip, and the Widow Abel, recovering from the unexpected suicide of her husband.

There are encounters with Native Americans, sudden disasters, and mounting fatigue. There’s no escaping the exhaustion of the people and animals as the weeks drag on and the way gets relentlessly harder. As might be expected in a story about walking across the Great Plains and through the mountains, the land and the weather are as much characters in the book as the people.

The trail they followed in 1842 was not the well-worn route of later years, and the pioneers lost it on occasion. Up to that point it had been a series of paths used by trappers, hunters and explorers. They pooled their resources and put themselves in the hands of a guide for $500, no mean sum in 1842.

Those pioneers in that year were the first trickle of what would very soon be a tidal wave of migration. Though the term ‘Manifest Destiny’ wouldn’t be coined until 1845, American expansionism was in the air. It was still a matter of dispute whose territory Oregon even was, with the British and Americans both making a claim, and there was every incentive to bring American settlers to the territory.

The very next year, 1000 settlers would make the trip, and every year in the next two decades, thousands more would follow. There are still places where the ruts worn into the ground by the wagon wheels are visible. It was so incredibly arduous that it came to be called the nation’s longest graveyard. Of the approximately 300,000 who started the journey, somewhere around 10% died on the way due to disease, accidents or weather, an average of one body every tenth of a mile. To be on the trip meant your world was focused on finding water and grass for your animals, minding your shoes, enduring cold at night, rain, heat during the day, and endless clouds of dust.

We forget, or perhaps it is just too hard to imagine, just how extraordinary such a trip was. In addition to the issues of weather, topography and disease, what Kammen’s novel captures superbly is the sense of how truly isolated the company of travelers was. They

were in every sense on their own. There was no higher authority that could be appealed to in the event of a dispute or an emergency. As in any group of disparate travelers most of whom only got to know each other while traveling, there was jealousy, suspicion, and political maneuvering. The “constitution” that the group drew up at the outset soon became meaningless. There was a feud between Dr. White and ‘Captain’ Lansford Hastings, the two men vying for leadership of the excursion, that resulted in the party breaking up into factions. By the end of the journey, the company had lost cohesion and trickled in to the Oregon Territory, their wagons and most of their belongings abandoned along the way.

Historically, the fortitude and determination required to make such a journey has been examined without paying much attention to the environmental degradation or the displacement of the indigenous population attendant to the settlement of the American West. Kammen is clear-eyed about the fact that the pioneer wagons are traversing lands that are already occupied. At that early stage in the migration of American settlers, there is still a good deal of curiosity on both sides. The women are intrigued, for example, by the unself-conscious nudity of the Sioux men, which would certainly have been a novelty to women in 1842. Nor does she shy away from the pioneers’ casual shooting of the bison they encounter, though the industrial-scale slaughter of the herds had barely begun at that point. (That being said, the November 9, 1842 Ithaca Journal and Advertiser contains an ad inviting customers to George Hennings’ store across from the Ithaca Hotel, declaring that they were in recent receipt of “bales” of buffalo robes.)

Carol Kammen has been the Tompkins County historian since 2000, and has taught history at Tompkins Cortland Community College and Cornell University for many years. While Lamentations is essentially a work

Continued on Page 15

Arts & Entertainment

J anuary 11–17, 2023 / T he I T haca T I mes 13
Carol Kammen

Ooy’s Adds New Style to Deli

The relationship shared between New York and its Deli’s is infamous. Anyone from the North East takes incredible pride in the area’s bagels, sandwiches, and spreads. As one of the newer additions to the Commons, Ooys Deli had its debut among the high expectations of this bread and meat-loving environment.

On the same block where Hal’s Deli – a beloved old-style deli—closed in 2018 after 60 years in business, a new-style deli – Ooy’s Deli– opened in August of 2020, snatching the prime location of Collegetown Bagels after they moved storefronts. The pandemic provided all businesses with hardships, but Ooy’s has remained resilient despite opening during such an unpredictable time for local restaurants.

The Deli and Cafe has all of the basics. Reuben, bagel and lox, bacon egg and cheese, you know the drill. Where their menu stands out is among its signature

sandwiches, like the breakfast sandwiches offered on Texas toast, Philly cheesesteak paninis, and a variety of vegan substitutes, including vegan sausage. Ooy’s knows the importance of perfecting the dishes we all know and love, while adding subtle changes to elevate the menu while respecting deli staples.

A personal favorite for any Deli-goer is a classic tuna melt, and the one served at Ooy’s definitely scratches the itch. Melty cheese layered over a large lump of tuna, all on top of your bread of choice. For this occasion, I went with a sub roll. The scent of the bread is enough to satisfy, but all of these elements paired with lettuce, tomato and onion, creates a classic that checks all of the boxes. The turkey and guac panini provided the same level of consistency seen in the other menu staples. Warm, tender turkey and creamy avocado smooshed between crispy grilled bread. Try to find the something wrong with that, I dare you.

Continued on Page 15

14 T he I T haca T I mes / J anuary 11–17, 2023 Dining
On a block where Hal’s Deli and Collegetown Bagels used to be, Ooy’s deli serves some of the favorites at both with its own signature selections and beverages.

of fiction, it is obvious throughout that it is fiction informed by deep knowledge of the time and place of the story. The people are real, and the events happened, but the only accounts of the trip are those of the men. In creating the voices and personalities of the women, who were most often on the periphery of decision-making in the fifth decade of the 19th century, Kammen has the freedom to create vivid characters that ring true to the time. It’s the work of a mature mind, with a lifetime of experience, steeped in decades of historical research.

There is an enduring myth in America that pioneers were a breed of rugged individualists. That idea informs how we think of ourselves – as spiritual descendants of self-sufficient settlers, requiring help from nobody. Lamentations drives home the fact that the opposite was true. Every individual in the group depends for survival on the assistance and presence of the other members. This was as true on the frontier as it was in a group of travelers navigating the crossing of a continent.

As daunting as it was to be the first, there could be benefits to getting there ahead of everyone else. Medorem Craw-

ford went on to serve in the Oregon legislature and was a Lincoln appointee. The Widow Abel married a fellow traveler from the wagon train two weeks after arriving in the Oregon Territory. The Shaddens farmed and raised stock. Still others were unimpressed with Oregon, though, and went on to California.

Last May, in driving across the country with my daughter, we crossed Nevada on Interstate 80, which follows the Platte River portion of the Oregon Trail. We didn’t worry about quicksand, dust, or finding river crossings, and with the speed limit being 75 mph, we covered what would have taken the pioneers a week of hard walking in less than one hour, all while listening to cowboy music and sipping from water bottles in air-conditioned comfort. The Platte still looks, in places, much like it would have in 1842, and given its mythic status in the story of westward settlement, it’s frankly a little underwhelming as a waterway. I wish we’d had an audiobook of Lamentations to listen to while we were driving; it would have made the route come alive.

Lamentations: A Novel of Women Walking West

Published by Bison Books

Ooy’s shows that you don’t have to be flashy to be delicious. Classics are classics for a reason.

Ooy’s menu also includes a plethora of warm and cold drink options for tea and coffee lovers alike. You can satisfy your sweet tooth at breakfast with beverages like the nutella latte and strawberry creme brulee latte. If you are ready to start a health kick in the new year, the liver-detox smoothie and the trademark

kale-aid provides nutritious sips for any time of the day. The matcha madness latte is the perfect mix of earthy and sweet.

Everything as Ooy’s can be customized to your liking. They offer buildyour-own smoothies, sandwiches and ice creams with a variety of options to choose from.’

Ooy’s Cafe and Deli 201 N Aurora St, Ithaca OPEN M-F 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. 8 a.m.-5 p.m (607) 319-4022

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DINING continued from page 14 BOOKS continued from page 13