TCAT Cuts Service WIthout More Help from CornellBy Matt Dougherty
Tompkins Consolidated Transit (TCAT) is the backbone of public transportation in the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County. For the past several months, the organization has operated under the pressures of inflation, supply chain issues and staffing shortages which has resulted in TCAT making weekly service cuts.
In response to these pressures the Board of Directors at TCAT approved a request to call for an eight percent increase in the contributions made by each of the organization's underwriters — Tompkins County, the City of Ithaca and Cornell University — to account for inflationary pressures that impact TCAT’s ability to keep up with rising costs in the upcoming year.
The increase would mean that each underwriter would make an annual contribution to TCAT of $1,022,911 which would contribute to roughly 16% of the organization's $19 million budget for the upcoming year. However, the underwriter with the largest bank account — Cornell University — has informed TCAT that they will refuse to pay the eight percent increase.
Cornell University, which sits in the hillsides towering over the city of Ithaca has an endowment worth roughly $10 billion. According to the Cornell Daily Sun, “Approximately 5 percent of earnings are distributed each year to support the University’s operating budget, funding initiatives like financial aid, research and faculty salaries. During the 2022 fiscal year, the endowment paid out $352 million.”
Additionally, prior financial reports on the university indicate that it spends between $1.25 million to $7.93 million annually on supporting local government and non-profit organizations. This still leaves a hefty sum of money left over for the university to continue to invest in future projects that could be used to make improvements in the city, in which many of its students spend a significant amount of their time. Data shows that roughly three quarters of TCAT riders are associated with Cornell.
On November 21, Cornell’s Vice President of University Relations Joel MartinMalina wrote an email to the TCAT Board saying that Cornell would continue to honor their commitment as an underwriter to TCAT, “However, TCAT has not offered any specific justification for such a large increase in the underwriter contribution.”
T ake N ote
Despite the fact that Cornell says that such a large increase is unjustified, Tompkins County Legislature Chairwoman Shawna Black said that the eight percent increase was “a reasonable and prudent ask relative to the increased challenges in operating our local bus service.” Black continued saying that she was “disappointed” in Cornell’s decision, but that the county is interested in continuing the conversation and hopes to clear up any concerns that exist between TCAT and Cornell.
Malina continued saying that Cornell has confirmed with TCAT administration that the organization “holds approximately $16 million in reserve and fund balance with an additional $15 million in grant/ funding.” Essentially, Cornell expects
ON THE COVER:
Areial photograph of the 95-acre $350 million SouthWorks re-development site on South Hill.
X Upstate Minimum Wage to Increase December 31, 2022
Despite the effects of the pandemic on employers, particularly upstate employers, the NYS Department of Labor is proceeding with scheduled increases to the state’s minimum wage effective December 31, 2022. While there is no change for New York City employers, Long Island, or Westchester employers, the remainder of upstate New York will see increases. As you know, this will also impact the
minimum salary levels to be paid to Executive and Administrative exempt employees.
The new minimum wage and minimum salary levels can be found below:
NYS Minimum Wage
• NYC-Large Employers (11 or more) — $15.00
• NYC-Small Employers (10 or less) — $15.00
• Long Island & Westchester — $15.00
• Remainder of the NY State — $14.20
Minimum Salary Level – NYS Executive and Administrative Exemptions
• NYC-Large Employers (11 or more) — $1,125/week ($58,500 annualized)
• NYC-Small Employers (10 or less) — $1,125/ week ($58,500 annualized)
• Long Island & Westchester — $1,125/week ($58,500 annualized)
• Remainder of the NY State — $1,065/week ($55,380 annualized)
ON THE WEB
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IN UIRING PHOTOGR PHER Q ABy Josh Baldo
Ethics Report Reveals Transparency Issues But No Clear ViolationsBy Matt Dougherty
The joint process of reimagining public safety between Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca began in 2021 at the direction of former Mayor Svante Myrick. The process began after former Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order 203, which required every local government in New York State to adopt a policing reform plan that will maintain public safety and build trust between police and the communities they serve.
The City of Ithaca Common Council voted to pass the reimagining public safety resolution on March 31, 2021.
At the same time former Mayor Myrick was advocating for the reimagining process, he was also working as the Executive Director for the progressive thinktank People for the American Way. This sparked suspicion among some members of the Common Council that outside organizations could have an undue influence on the reimagining process.
As a result, ethics complaints involving allegations of third party influence over the reimagining public safety working groups process were raised in May of 2022 by Common Council member Cynthia Brock. Specifically, Brock's concerns relate to former Mayor Myrick inviting third party groups such as Matrix Consulting and the Center for Policing Equity (CPE) to be involved in the reimagining working groups process.
According to Brock, “It was never publicly disclosed that the Center for Policing Equity would have such an oversized role in the city working group process. We were told as council members that their involvement was limited to taking minutes and scheduling meetings.” Additionally, Brock said that it was “inappropriate” for Matrix consulting to be brought in to provide data analysis for the working group.
In response to these ethics concerns Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca both launched investigations into Mayorelect Lewis said that the city “sought and engaged an investigator who had no personal or political state in the investigation's subject matter or outcome.”
The investigator was Kristen Smith, a current partner at the law firm Bond Schoeneck & King PLLC. According to Mayor Lewis, Smith’s investigation was “based on months of interviews of working group members and others, a review
of thousands of documents, and in-depth research and analysis.”
Mayor-elect Lewis said that the investigation revealed that “change is best effectuated when undertaken with transparency and respect for rules of government.” The 60-page report found no clear ethical violations, but it did reveal issues related to transparency in city government. As a result, Mayor Lewis has outlined legislation that she will bring before the Common Council in the coming year in an effort to improve the “procedural guardrails of local government.”
According to the Mayor, this legislation will include developing a process for identifying when participants in ad-hoc committees and working groups qualify as City Officials, thereby notifying them of their inability to receive third party payments in connection with their service to the city. It will also include updating the city’s Gifting and Solicitation Policy in alignment with the Common Council’s objectives regarding a process for accepting donated services.
Alderperson Cynthia Brock responded to the release of the city’s investigation saying, “the City’s report, along with the Tompkins County Ethics Advisory Board (TCEAB) final report will provide a more complete picture and understanding of not only how we got here, but also what policy changes are needed to ensure open and transparent gifting, consulting, and working group processes in the future.”
However, Brock continued saying, “After a careful reading of the Smith Report, the answer to my initial question posed to TCEAB – Can the report provided by the City working group be deemed impartial, unbiased, and appropriate for recom-
mending legislative changes? – is, in my view, categorically No.”
According to Brock, former Mayor Myrick’s actions “either intentionally or through memory lapses, negligence, or disregard — collectively functioned to keep Common Council, the City Controller, and the City Attorney in the dark about the extent of third party influence on the reimagining process.”
In response to the city releasing its investigation, former Mayor Myrick released a statement claiming victory and saying that the investigation concluded without finding any “actual influence or conflict of interest from outside groups.”
The statement continued saying “even if the CPE had an impact on the actual outcome of the Working Group, this does not necessarily mean there was anything unethical about their involvement.”
According to the statement, “there is no evidence that Myrick or any other supporter of CPE benefited personally or financially as a result of CPE’s involvement in the Reimagining Public Safety Process.” However, how does this align with the fact that CPE gave each co-lead of the RPS Working Group a $10,000 stipend?
The former Mayor also said that the investigation revealed Alderperson Brock and County Legislator Rich John “had gone back and forth” discussing the ethics complaint “prior to its being submitted to the TCEAB.”
According to the former Mayor’s team, “The Board should follow suit and end this tainted process. These efforts to smear Myrick for nothing other than petty political gain have wasted precious taxpayer dollars and government resources.
“Finding my partner.”
Madegan L.Ithaca Mayor Laura Lewis has said that she will bring legislation before Common Council in an effort to improve the “prodecural guardrails of local government.” (Photo By: Josh Baldo) Former Mayor of Ithaca Svante Myrick introduced the idea of reimagining public safety before stepping down to work as Executive Director at People for the American Way. (Photo Provided)
What’s Next For Police Chief Search?By Matt Dougherty
After it was revealed that Acting Chief Joly was the Mayor’s final choice for the Chief of Police position, several members of the Common Council came out against his nomination saying that more change was needed to solve the problems that the IPD currently faces.
The Common Council members who came out against Joly’s nomination were Cynthia Brock, Jorge DeFendini, Ducson Nguyen and Jeffery Barken.
During a recent interview, Common Council Member George DeFendini confirmed that he opposed Joly’s nomination. DeFendini explained his position saying, “since being on the council, I've had an opportunity to observe interactions with the police department and the city.” He continued saying, “particularly with the reimagining public safety process, we've had a lot of head butting with the acting chief and those conflicts have led to a lot of uncertainty and misinformation regarding the reimagining public process.”
If we want to move forward with this and really take the next step into implementing these new initiatives, we need an acting chief who can support the RPS process and not sow doubt.
DeFendini also said that he had some concerns about problematic, discriminatory and racist views that have been expressed by the Acting Chief. According to DeFendini, “I don't necessarily mean to say that he is a racist, but allegations have been made by other members of the community and he had a very unfortunate gaffe at his community forum.”
He continued saying, “he made comments about the black community, and I understand that that's a mistake, but I'm an elected official, and our department heads are very qualified and folks that we hold to a higher standard of professionalism.”
Joly was one of three finalists for the job of permanent police chief. The other two candidates are Scott Garin, a former lieutenant at IPD and another was Chris Bracco, a police Captain in Binghamton.
When asked if he favored either of the remaining candidates DeFendini said, “I don’t have a lot of experience with the other two candidates. I have a very good relationship with Alderperson Phoebe Brown, and she voiced her opinion that
Officer Garin was the choice that she would be supporting.” DeFendini said that he didn’t know much about Garin because “he was with IPD before my time” but that he trusts the judgment of his partner on the Solidarity Slate Phoebe Brown.
DeFendini continued saying, “from what I've heard, he's got good ties in the community and he's supportive of the reimagining process and we are looking forward to building those relationships together.”
When asked about the qualities that he’s looking for in a Chief of Police DeFendini said, “I'm very frustrated to see how some folks in the community, particularly from law enforcement have been talking about the reimagine public safety process.” Most importantly, he stresses that Ithaca needs a Police Chief that is “above politics” and willing to make connections with the community and listen to what the public’s needs are instead of taking a top down approach.
According to DeFendini, he wants to see a Chief that supports a proactive approach to public safety and crime rather than a reactive one.
“If we want to stop crime, it's clear the data has shown whether you live in Tennessee, whether you live in Queens, where I come from or wherever you live
in America, that throwing police and law enforcement at the community is not how you provide safety,” said DeFendini.
He continued saying, “to solve crime you cure the symptoms that lead to crime. You cure poverty or depression and ensure access to resources. Those are all elements that exist within the current reimagine public safety process and other initiatives that the city's taking. So that's how we take an approach to public safety.”
During the Dec. 7 Common Council meeting, Alderperson George McGonigal said that he doesn’t want to see the police chief search process start over again and go another 10 to 15 months. DeFendini said that he agrees with that sentiment, and thinks that it would be a mistake to move forward with the search without looking at the “two other candidates who don't seem to be very controversial and have more support amongst not just counsel but the greater community.”
According to DeFendini, “it would be a mistake to reopen the process instead of returning to the two candidates that we have right here because it's been quite some time since we had a permanent Chief. We need to take that final step to making that happen, so that we can move on with the goal of the reimagining public safety process.”
Cornell’s Food Science Department Community Outreach Committee held their second annual food drive to benefit the local food ban, the Friendship Donations Network. 875 items were donated.
Police are looking for multiple suspects that were involved in a home invasion on Friday, Dec. 16th. The suspects held two children at gunpoint and assaulted another victim upstairs. Send anonymous tips to IPD at www.cityofithaca.org/ipdtips.
The Community Dispute Resolution Center has elected its next Executive Director to succeed Paula Wright who has served the agency for over twenty-five years. The new Executive Director will be Gina Tinker Williams.
The Ithaca Branch of Starbucks Workers United went on strike again this past weekend to protest the firing of another organizer and call for his reinstatement.
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.”
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Alderperson Brock Responds to City Ethics InvestigationBy Cynthia Brock
On May 4, 2022, I submitted to the Tompkins County Ethics Advisory Board (TCEAB) a request asking a pivotal question – given the conduct of Former Mayor Svante Myrick, the Center for Policing Equity (CPE), the People for the American Way (PFAW), and the undisclosed third-party funding of City working group co-chairs and members – “can the report Implementing the City of Ithaca’s New Public Safety Agency, produced by the working group with assistance from the Center for Policing Equity, and incorporating the Report on Patrol Staffing and Deployment produced by Matrix Consulting, be deemed impartial, unbiased, and appropriate for recommending legislative changes in accordance with County and City Ethics Codes”?
I am deeply appreciative and grateful to my Council colleagues and City staff members who recognized the importance and significance of my concerns and who, two months later, unanimously authorized the retention of an independent City investigator. Kristen Smith’s final report is extensive and detailed, and brought forward revealing testimony and
documents which would have otherwise been unavailable to the TCEAB. TCEAB’s commitment to investigating the questions raised cleared the way for the City to undertake its own investigative process. I believe that the City’s report, along with TCEAB’s final report will provide a more complete picture and understanding of not only how we got here, but also what policy changes are needed to ensure open and transparent gifting, consulting, and working group processes in the future.
It must be noted that Smith’s charge is functionally different than the question I posed to TCEAB. Smith was retained to address concerns about the potential for outside influence on the RPS Process. It should also be noted that non-government employees are not subject to FOIL and therefore not legally obligated to provide documentary evidence. Consequently, the appearance of undue influence should be the appropriate standard of judgment. After a careful reading of the Smith Report, the answer to my initial question posed to TCEAB – Can the report provided by the City working group be deemed impartial, unbiased, and appropriate for recommending legislative changes? – is, in my view, categorically No.
It is evident that Myrick’s actions — either intentionally or through memory lapses, negligence, or disregard — collectively functioned to keep Common Council, the City Controller, and the City Attorney to a certain extent, completely in the dark about the depth and extent of the roles of CPE, the third party funder/contractor which turned out to be Park Foundation/ Center for Transformative Action (CTA)/ Dorothy Cotton Institute, and PFAW in the City’s Reimagining Public Safety process.
The report highlights glaring gaps in City communication and documentation, an alarming lack of internal discussion or review, and contradictory testimonies. Testimony provided by staff and those involved demonstrates a pattern of behavior by Myrick that consistently and successfully avoided nearly all of the procedural triggers that initiate the typical checks and balances of Common Council to review the unusual processes Myrick put into play.
The power and responsibility to manage and control City property and finances rests with Common Council, except as otherwise provided for in the Charter. (pg 42) In fact, a great deal of the decisions and actions of the Mayor are subject to the approval of Common Council. Council’s decision-making process is public by design, and allows members of the community to ask questions, request information, and provide input, suggestions, and objections which are then deliberated and voted on.
I strongly believe that if all the details of Myrick’s arrangements with CPE, CTA and PFAW were appropriately disclosed and reviewed in advance, that the community, and by extension Common Council would not have accepted or approved of it.
There are many instances of concern, of which I will just mention a few:
By inappropriately accepting CPE’s gift of services without involving Council in the decision (pg 42), Myrick not only “avoid(ed) a political battle (pg 41)”, he also shrouded the process in secrecy, granted CPE carte blanche to choose contractors, and centered himself as the final arbiter of any conflicts or questions of the working group. I was appalled to learn that not only did “no City employee or officer have a role in vetting or selecting Matrix or procuring its services”, there was no written contract signed between CPE and the City prior to
the involvement of Matrix to protect the security and confidentiality of the City, its employees, and its residents. (pg 34-35) Further, the contract between Matrix and CPE (which was never signed by CPE) identifies that the Confidential Information provided by IPD to Matrix was owned and maintained by CPE. Essentially, as a result of CPE’s unmonitored actions, the City and IPD provided private and confidential information to Matrix at CPE’s direction, without any legal protection against inappropriate use or disclosure.
In terms of the third-party payments to the co-Chairs of the City Working Group, I was astonished to learn that Rosario and Yearwood were paid independent contractors of the Center for Transformative Action (CTA), and that CTA would own the data, information, and other work developed or obtained by Rosario and Yearwood. (pg 14) This arrangement, as well as the lack of prior disclosure of it to Council, the City Attorney, and City Controller, begets the question of whether it could clearly be determined if their work was conducted at the direction and for the benefit of the Center for Transformative Action, or on behalf of the interests of the City. This arrangement was not revealed to Council or City staff until May 2022 when my ethics investigation request was submitted.
Finally, Myrick intentionally and knowingly camouflaged his leveraging of PFAW lobbying efforts to advance his personal policy ideals and plans in support of RPS. He disregarded the advice of City Attorney Ari Lavine who cautioned Myrick to disclose his and PFAW’s involvement with the Reimagining Public Safety Process. (pg 51) The advocates hired by PFAW sometimes operated as “Ithacans for Reimagining Public Safety” and were actively present at Council meetings, neighborhood list serves, in the news and on the radio,
Governor Hochul Signs Puppy Mill BillBy Staff Reports
Governor Hochul has recently signed the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill (S1130-Gianaris/A4283Rosenthal). The bill passed with massive bi-partisan support: 61-0 in the NYS Senate, 135-15 in the Assembly.
What is the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill and Why Is It Important?
Every year, tens of thousands of companion animals—dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and rabbits— wait for adoption at the state’s network of animal shelters. Right now, our shelters are at capacity— among the shelter census are dogs who were purchased as puppies at New York pet stores during the pandemic and then relinquished to local shelters when their owners returned to work.
While shelters are full, there are still unassuming consumers who go to pet stores to purchase thousands of animals each year. In fact, there are at least 2,000 puppies available for sale in New York at any given point. But consumers have no clear idea, despite the protestations of the pet dealers, of the conditions these puppies and other milled animals come from. (See the attached documentation for further details.)
The Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill will end New York State’s complicity in this particular form of animal abuse and ban the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits in pet stores. Not too long ago, there were over 400 pet stores that sold puppies, kittens or rabbits in New York State. Now, there are
between 70 and 80—it is a dying business model.
Quite simply, puppy mills are puppy factories. Female dogs are placed in cages day in and day out purely to breed. They are impregnated. They deliver. At their next heat cycle, usually six weeks, they’re impregnated again. When they are no longer “of use” to the puppy mill, they are usually euthanized.
The bill calls for these stores to work with local shelters to hold adoption events on their premises. This is the Petsmart/Petco model which has proven to work time and time again. The Federation has over 100 members across New York from the Hamptons to Buffalo, from New York City to the North Country. Each of them is at the ready to work with pet stores to facilitate and hold adoption events.
This is an opportunity for pet stores to rebrand themselves as compassionate businesses that put puppies over profits. This is an opportunity for pet stores to build new business relationships with folks who will adopt from a shelter at their premises and then continue to buy food, supplies, bedding, toys and other dog, cat and rabbit products from them.
The Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill is a win/ win. It stops the flow of dogs from puppy mills. It enables shelters to bring animals in need of a loving home to pet stores for adoption events. It protects consumers. And, it gives pet stores the opportunity to build brand loyalty with folks who would have never crossed their threshold.
Among Cornell’s Finest ScholarsBy Stephen Burke
Among their faculty members, most colleges will have standouts or even superstars, as Cornell has certainly had over the years.
Carl Sagan was perhaps Cornell’s biggest star, known even to viewers of the Tonight Show. Vladimir Nabokov enjoyed levels of fame for dozens of books (including a collection of his Cornell lectures) and infamy for one, Lolita. Many other Big Red luminaries can be found in Wikipedia and had (or will have) obituaries in the New York Times.
Not a celebrity, but among Cornell’s finest scholars was Calum Carmichael, who taught Bible study in the department of Comparative Literature.
Carmichael’s teaching wasn’t about religion. It was about writing, and insights into writing made possible by close reading.
His classes were unorthodox. There was no reading list. The Bible was the only text. There was no syllabus. There were no tests, just writing assignments, with no length requirements, on subjects you chose yourself.
The reading assignments were extremely short, at least in text, not time.
I think of Carmichael this Christmas season. In his day he might have given as an assignment the two Biblical narratives of Christ’s birth. The first, in Matthew, is about 700 words. The second, in Luke, is about half that.
good grade mattered to you, in which case it would be time-consuming and tough.
He warned that grade inflation was not to be expected, that his experience was that most students would do average work, for which he’d give an average grade, or C. He said he knew most students considered a C an insult and we should drop the class if we felt that way and were not motivated to be exceptional. (He was “old school,” quite literally: Scottish, and a graduate of either Oxford or Cambridge, I forget which; but both old schools, to be sure.)
I liked his challenge. My first paper analyzed the phrase “the leaven of the Pharisees” used by Christ in Matthew 16.
I read the text in multiples of fifty. I remember the day papers were due, entering class with a friend. I forget what his subject was, but I asked if he had read his text a hundred times or so, as I had.
He asked if I was crazy. I said I wanted to do good work and see it reflected in my grade. He said he wasn’t concerned about the teacher’s admonitions and was sure his paper would get over.
I remember when we got them back. I was happy and satisfied with my grade of A-. My friend was stunned and chagrined by his D+. I can’t recall if he wised up next time.
Thinking of all this, I read the Christmas narratives this week. By the thirteenth time through or so, I was struck by the repeated references to “dreams” in Matthew’s account of Christ’s birth.
as well as town hall meetings, making it difficult to discern what – if any – support came from community members and what voices were those of paid activists. It is uncertain when PFAW began these lobbying efforts, and the possibility that the adoption of Recommendation #1 may have been impacted by PFAW and Myrick remains very real. “By failing to alert Common Council or any other local officials about PFAW’s campaign, Myrick created a situation where confusion, mistrust and suspicion were inevitable. All of this could have been easily averted if he had been transparent from the start.” (pg 56)
Svante Myrick’s actions throughout the Reimagining Public Safety Process have divided a community that wants and supports police reform but now have reason to question whether City processes are fair, equitable, open, and transparent. Myrick’s actions worked to avoid and delay every step when internal checks and balances or Council review would have been appropriate. These actions, while they served to fill Myrick’s personal policy goals and not his pocketbook –thus avoiding violation of ethics rules and regulations – came at the expense of the integrity of the City.
It takes decades to build the public’s faith in government systems, and mere moments to destroy it.
Carmichael explained the catch in the first class. He said he expected you to read assigned texts not once, not twice, not five times or ten or even twenty or thirty times, but fifty. At that point you might have an idea of what the writer was attempting and with what success.
He said class discussion, and our participation in it, would count heavily in grading, and the questions we raised and understanding we showed, or didn’t, would tell him how many times we had read the text. Count on that, he said.
Similarly for our papers, he said. He would know how much time we had spent reading and would grade accordingly. He acknowledged that the course was a “gut,” in the parlance of the time, but not if a
Matthew writes that Joseph learns of the nature of Mary’s pregnancy when “an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream” to reveal it.
After the birth, the Magi visit and bestow gifts, and are prepared to return to Jerusalem where they had met Herod, until “they received a message in a dream not to return to Herod,” who wished to learn the child’s location not to honor but kill him.
The next sentence says, “After they had left, the angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph” to tell him of Herod’s intent and to flee with the child and his mother to Egypt.
SOUTHWORKS IS COMING TO SOUTH HILLBy Matt Dougherty
After more than a decade the gargantuan redevelopment project located at 620 Aurora Street on the slopes of South Hill is set to move forward. The 95-acre site, formerly known to Ithacans as Morse Chain, Emerson Power Transmission Plant, and most recently, the Chain Works District, will now be known as SouthWorks. SouthWorks has been in the making for more than a decade, with the latest real estate closing taking place on December 8, 2022.
The project is expected to cost more than $300 million and will be partially funded through grants from the Restore New York Communities Initiative. The City of Ithaca can apply for up to $2 million through the Restore NY program to address vacant, condemned, and abandoned buildings. If approved, that money would go towards funding the $2.93 million costs related to asbestos remediation of building 24, demolition of a sky bridge, and a number of other renovation projects. According to SHIFT Capital CEO Brian Murray, $10 million of private equity funding and $260,000 of NYSERDA grants have already been secured for additional renovations of the site, such as lead paint removal and more demolitions.
The re-development will be undertaken by a partnership of four developers, includ-
ing Philadelphia based real estate development firm SHIFT Capital, in addition to the property’s previous developer, David Lubin. Longtime Ithacan and project coordinator for the site, Vicki Taylor-Brous, will also be joining the SHIFT team.
The SouthWorks team plans on creating a mixed-use neighborhood which includes housing, technology, commercial, retail, industrial and manufacturing space to provide a boost to Ithaca’s local economy.
Phase one of the SouthWorks project calls for renovations to four buildings on the property. Specifically, buildings 21 and 24 would be renovated into 179,000 square feet of mixed commercial and residential space, and Buildings 33 and 34 would be renovated into 171,000 square feet of modern industrial and manufacturing space. The project estimates over 90 housing units in phase one of its plan.
SHIFT Capital Partner and CEO Brian Murray responded to the closing by saying, “SouthWorks is a potential game changer for Ithaca. Its size and scope allow us to intentionally and collectively, with businesses and residents, design a neighborhood that welcomes leading-edge thinking and practices, drives sustainability throughout, and connects living and culture site-, city- and town-wide.”
Murray continued saying, “To do this, we brought together a team who reflects
SHIFT’s values and vision and is driven by a shared dedication to Ithaca. David, Melissa, Nnenna, and Vicki each add distinct expertise to the team, and together with the community, we can plan the next steps for the future of the site.”
The site’s previous developer and L Enterprises Founder, David Lubin, said “SouthWorks is a landmark project that will help define, bolster and advance the Ithaca region, generating thousands of jobs and economic opportunity for generations to come.”
Lubin continued saying, “I look forward to working with the new team to ensure that this project represents the kind of development I imagined when I began planning it a decade ago: [which includes] commercial space for industrial/manufacturing and small businesses, housing options, parks, and public art. It is rooted in
the community and will anchor the continuing revitalization of the region.”
Before the closing took place, Lubin had been the site’s developer since he was selected by the property’s previous owners, Emerson Power Transmission, to re-develop the site in July of 2013. The Emerson Power Transmission Plant permanently closed in 2011, and after more than a decade of going through the environmental remediation process, the DEC has approved plans for a mixed-use neighborhood on the site in October, 2022.
Project Coordinator Vicki Taylor-Borus said, “David really had a vision to clean the site up, not just to industrial standards, but to residential standards, which required going back to the Record of Decision with the DEC and getting a site management plan approved.”
“I’m excited to implement a wholeneighborhood approach to the redevelop-
ment of the old Morse Chain factory site,” says Taylor-Brous.
She continued saying, “The plant brought prosperity to the area for more than 100 years and holds a lot of historical importance to the Ithaca community.” Taylor-Borus said, “we look forward to revitalizing the site and making it an asset to the community once again.”
THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF THE SITE
The site at 620 South Aurora Street is located in both the City and Town of Ithaca and has remained vacant for more than a decade. It had been used for manufacturing a variety of industrial goods such as chains and automotive parts to bomber airplanes used in the First World War.
The Morse Chain Company occupied the factory site from 1906 until 1928
they joined BorgWarner, which owned the property from 1928 to 1982. Emerson Power Transmission continued manufacturing at the site from 1983 until its closure in 2011.
The site provided much-needed jobs for residents and attracted immigration to the area. The economic stimulation was wide ranging with jobs not only being created at the factory, but also for operating the supportive infrastructure which included the rail lines that ran to the site.
In July 2013, Emerson Power Transmission selected David Lubin of L Enterprises to develop the site. Together, with guidance from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), they partnered over the next decade to make the 95-acre property one of New York State’s most thoroughly environmentally investigated and remediated sites.
Although the property was initially slated to be brought up to industrial standards, after thousands of tests, tracing, and planning, the majority of the site has now been remediated to residential standards. A Record of Decision Amendment and a Site Management Plan was approved by the DEC in October of 2022.
When complete, SouthWorks will include the revitalization of 820,000 square feet of existing buildings, and will total more than 1.7 million square feet. The site has gained City of Ithaca Site Plan Approval and EIS approvals.
In addition to the on-site work, the Gateway Trail, which runs at the base of the property, will be developed in partnership with the City of Ithaca and will connect the South Hill Recreation Trail to Buttermilk Falls and the Kirby Edmunds Bridge.
Planning for SouthWorks is underway with anticipated announcements regarding the next phase in the development expected in early 2023.
After 30 Years; Powerful Sports Moments Are Still AmazingBy Steve Lawrence
In September, I wrote a column acknowledging the 30-year anniversary of my taking over this sport column. This is my 30th Year in Stories column, and it warms – and breaks – my heart to say that the story that moved me the most this year is also at the top of the list of the two-thousand-plus stories I have written, Of course, I will save it for last...
The year started on a sad note, as John Murphy, my dear friend and most loyal reader, passed on in January, 3 months shy of his 100th birthday. I have saved a half dozen of John's voice mails offering feedback on my stories, and if I ever need any inspiration, I just listen to them.
It was a thrill to watch Cornell's Yanni Diakomihalis win his third NCAA wrestling title. He will go for number four in March of 2023, and being a fourtime champ would put him in truly elite company, as only four wrestlers (including Cornell's Kyle Dake) have accomplished the feat.
I loved writing about my friend, Jamal Diboun, who completed his first 50-mile Ultra Matathon this year, following in the footsteps of his brother, Yassine, who is an elite Ultra runner with numerous 100-milers to his credit.
Ithaca's own Dustin Brown made hockey fans proud, retiring after an awesome 17-year NHL career that saw him win two Stanley Cups.
The squash community experienced a pendulum swing when Cornell's Sivasangari Subramaniam won the NCAA singles title, and a few weeks later was involved in a very serious car crash in her native Mayasia. Fans and friends held their breath, praying for her survival first, and then for the resumption of her squash career. Thankfully, both are on track.
I loved writing about Ithacan Buck Briggs' return to Cooperstown, where he reunited with his roommate during the time both men had heart transplants, 5 years ago. The other guy has been to Cooperstown a few times. His name is Rod Carew.
In a Hollywood moment, Ryan Sposito subs into a lacrosse game and stars as his gravely-ill grandfather, legendary coach Richie Moran, looks on.
It was fun to catch up with Ed Marinaro, who was in town with his teammates from the 1971 team. The Ivy champs were recognized for their accomplishments (2 years late due to Covid), and while Marinaro is always a little emotional when he returns to Cornell, this year was special. His son, Eddie suited up for the Big Red and played on the same field on which his dad damn near won the Heisman.
Okay, thanks for hanging in there. The most moving story I have ever written unfolded in April, when Ithaca High grad and Army lacrosse player Ryan Sposito stepped onto Schoellkopf Field to take on the Big Red. Cornell was having a stellar season, and while many in attendance could never have imagined rooting for a visiting player, this was different. I took in the surreal experience in the pres box, sitting with my dear friends Pat and Richie Moran, Ryan's grandparents. Richie had coached the Big Red during the glory days, leading the team to three NCAA championships and gaining Legend status in the
It’s livelier here than you might think on New Years EveBy Lyndsey Honor
How will you ring in 2023? What better way to celebrate the onset of 2023 than partying with James Bond, rocking out in your PJs, or watching live performances? These are all options.
Deep Dive (415 Old. Taughannock Blvd) will host a two-night New Year’s Eve celebration—featuring Jimkata and The Comb Down—on Friday, December 30 and Saturday, December 31. Single night tickets are being sold for $45, while a two-night pass can be purchased for $85. The doors will open at 8 p.m., and the show will begin at 9 p.m. both nights.
The Range (119 E. State St.) will celebrate the new year by featuring Driftwood on Friday, December 30 and New Year’s Eve (Saturday, December 31). The shows will both begin at 8 p.m. and end at 12:30 a.m. Friday night tickets are $20, while Saturday night tickets are $35 (there will be a matching cover at the door for both shows).
Coltivare (235 S. Cayuga St.) is hosting a black-tie gala on New Year’s Eve as a benefit fundraiser for Aiyana J. Cornell. This 21-andover event will begin at 7 p.m. and conclude at 1 a.m. Tickets are $75. They include a buffet style dinner, dessert, and one drink ticket. There will be a cash bar and a silent auction alongside dinner. All proceeds will go towards Aiyana’s medical expenses and procedures for their PANSandPANDAS syndrome. Additional donations will be accepted.
The 607 Lounge and Event Space (1808 Hanshaw Rd.) will welcome 2023 with a “night to remember” party on Saturday, December 31. Doors will open at 9 p.m. and there will be a $20 cover. Photos will be professionally shot by A360 Moments and food will be available from Nuspice Catering. At midnight, there will be confetti, a balloon drop, and free champagne. DJ Double A and DJ A Idol will be mixing music all night.
K-House Karaoke Lounge and Suites (15 Catherwood Rd.) is kicking off 2023 with a New Year’s Eve Pajama Party on Saturday, December 31. The doors will open at 6 p.m. with free admission to the lounge and the bar. The atmosphere will be family friendly until 8 p.m. After 9 p.m., all attendants must be 21. The party will go on until 1 a.m. (or later!) on Sunday, January 1.
The Argos Inn and Warehouse (416 E. State St.) invites all those over 21 to their New Year’s Eve Gala on Saturday, December 31, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Early evening entertainment at the Bar Argos will come from MAQ, a musical ensemble from the Ithaca area featur-
ing Eric Aceto, Harry Aceto, Doug Robinson, Chad Lieberman, and Steve Pond. At the Argo’s Warehouse, the Real Live Sextet will perform—featuring Jay Spaker, Mike Stark, Lee Hamilton, Thom Sayers, Zaun Marshburn and Willie B. At midnight, DJ Proper Philth will take over, mixing disco funk jams at the Warehouse. Both locations are connected by an outdoor patio with fire pits, the perfect scene to welcome a fresh start. Tickets are $40 in advance or $45 at the door (cash or Venmo will be accepted). However, in an effort to make the event affordable, the Argos Inn and Warehouse is holding a limited number of $25 tickets at will call. Those interested can email email@example.com.
The Hotel Ithaca (222 S. Cayuga St.) is throwing a “Diamonds are Forever” New Year’s Eve celebration with a James Bond theme on Saturday, December 31. If you book a room for this event, not only will you receive overnight accommodations and a complementary bottle of champagne, but all the following amenities: an invitation to a cocktail reception from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.; access to exquisite dinner stations at 8 p.m.; additional open bar access with live entertainment featuring the New York Rockin Revue from 8:30 p.m. –12:30 a.m.; a champagne toast at midnight; and access to the New Year’s Day breakfast buffet from 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (Sunday, January 1). One night and two-night packages are available. Call (607) 272–1000 to make your reservations.
If you’re looking for food, be aware that businesses around Ithaca will have adjusted hours as the holiday season comes around.
Arts & Entertainment NYE IN ITH
For Pub Food, Atlas Bowl May be Right Up Your AlleyBy Henry Stark
For the second time in two decades, I find myself in the unusual position of recommending a restaurant in a bowling alley…and both times it’s Atlas Bowl on Main Street in Trumansburg.
There are really two venues inside the building, one directly overlooking the alleys and one, consisting of wooden booths, in a separate passage to the rest rooms.
I always sit in those booths, trying to escape the noise of the balls hitting the pins and the pins flying about. It doesn’t completely work but the noise is, indeed, muted some.
The menu is reduced from the first time I reviewed it as the main courses are gone and the emphasis is now on tacos, tosta-
dos, and sandwiches along with various side dishes and salads. Much of the food served here is homemade.
The Fried Brussels Sprouts appetizer ($13) is spectacular. The portion is huge, served on a platter, and too large a portion for one person. I invariably take half home with me or share it with a companion. The sprouts are fried with bacon bits, parmesan cheese flakes, crushed red pepper and a squeeze of lemon. The flavor profile is extraordinary when I combine a sprout, bacon, and cheese onto one forkful.
Another side dish I enjoy is White Chicken Chili ($6 cup, $10 bowl). The mixture of tiny, diced bits of chicken, white beans, green chilies, kale, and lime crema is thick and tasty with just a hint of heat (spice).
As you might expect in a bowling alley, there are burgers on offer and I have tried the Atlas Burger on more than one occasion. It’s rather ordinary with American cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato served open with a few fried onions. For a basic bacon cheeseburger it’s quite good. A heads up for readers who like their burgers rare or medium rare: Management has decreed that they be served cooked medium or more but they’re still tasty.
Another main course I’ve enjoyed is Carnitas Tacos ($16). It was served with two corn tortillas, each filled with shredded pork shoulder, a generous portion of citrus slaw and topped with lime crema. A portion of beans and rice accompanied the shells.
There’s a separate dessert menu with expected selections including some Purity ice cream, ($2.50).
A Hot Fudge Sundae ($6.50) available and it’s made with their own homemade
chocolate fudge. There’s also a Vegan Layer Cake ($8). It’s a vanilla cake with lemon curd and topped with a coulis made with raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.
As you might expect at a bowling alley, the beer menu is more extensive than the wine menu. There are a dozen beers on tap and another dozen served in cans and bottles. ($4-$8). Wine is served by the glass, ($8), Carafe ($22) or half bottles and the selection, both of grape varieties and geographical distribution, is excellent. There is also a selection of more than a dozen cocktails. ($8-$11).
Several generic comments should be of interest:
• Items that are gluten free, vegetarian, or vegan are plentiful and clearly marked.
• Many items are offered in small or large portions, as in cups or bowls, and the burgers can be ordered with one patty or two.
• No food item is more than $17.
I need to travel 40 miles round trip to eat in Trumansburg so I do give some consideration whether I would make the trip to Atlas Bowl simply to have dinner. My conclusion is that I would not, however if I was a resident of the area, or visiting for some reason, I would definitely make the effort to eat there. The food has always been exceptional, the service is attentive and professional, and the value is outstanding. And I quickly get used to the noise of the bowling balls hitting the pins and the pins flying about.
61 W Main St, Trumansburg, Tues.-Fri.; 4-9; Sat. 2-9
This list gives advance insight into some of these changes. Always call your favorite store or restaurants ahead of time regarding their holiday hours.
The Antlers (1159 Dryden Rd.) is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and they’re currently taking reservations for dinner on New Year’s Eve.
Ithaca Mini Mart (124 S. Cayuga St.) will be open with adjusted hours on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. Pay attention to their Facebook page for exact hours.
Monks on the Commons (120 S. Aurora St.) will have affected holiday hours. Follow along on their website and Facebook for updates.
Purity Ice Cream (700 Cascadilla St.) will have adjusted hours on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Red’s Place (107 N. Aurora St.) will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They will be open on New Year’s Day, welcoming guests at 4 p.m.
Sal’s Pizzeria (220 S. Fulton St.) will have adjusted hours throughout the holiday season so the staff can spend time with their families. Pay attention to their Instagram and website for updates.
Shortstop Deli (200 W. Seneca St.) is closed on Christmas Day and will be open on New Year’s Day. New Year’s Eve hours are to be determined.
Simeon’s American Bistro (224 E. State St.) will have adjusted holiday hours,
but will be closed from January 2, to January 17. They will reopen on January 18, 2023.
Souvlaki House (315 Eddy St.) will have adjusted hours and closings for the holidays. Keep up with their Facebook for updates.
NORWEGIAN WOULD/ ODDS AND ENDS
“THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD” AND “THE MENU”By Bryan VanCampen
At first, Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World” (NeonOslo Pictures-MKProductionsFilm l Väst-Snowglobe-B-Reel Films, 2021, 128 min.) seems like a hundred other earnest movies about people and relationships, but it doesn’t take long to realize how unique and special this movie is. Structured in twelve chapters with a prologue and epilogue, the film tells the story of Julie (Cannes Best Actress winner Renate Reinsve), a young woman going through that period of life when you’re trying to define yourself and you haven’t done it yet. She falls in love with a successful graphic novelist (Anders Danielsen Lie), then meets a sexy barista (Herbert Nordrum), breaks up with her artist boyfriend and moves in with the bartender.
Woody Allen is an admirer of Ingmar Bergman, and made many films heavily influenced by the Swedish master. Trier’s film feels like an ideal fusion of Allen and Bergman. At times, it feels like we’re watching a Norwegian “Annie Hall” with sweet, acerbic scenes between lovers and friends. And yet Trier feels free to indulge in other styles, using a Bergman-esque narrator to break down Julie’s emotions and defenses.
And at the halfway mark, “The Worst Person in the World” indulges in some good old-fashioned magical realism. At a point in the story when Julie has met the bartender but is still with the cartoonist, she watches as the artist literally freezes mid-coffee pour and she takes off running past all sorts of people frozen in the same
moment until she reaches the pub, and of course, he’s the only other person in the world who is not frozen. It’s an enchanting approach to what could have been a stock rom-com moment.
The movie’s like that, always taking chances. The next time I hear someone bemoaning the tired tropes of American romantic comedies, I’ll be sure to mention the magic mushrooms sequence in “The Worst Person in the World”.
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Credit should go to Seth Reiss and Will Tracy for writing Mark Mylod’s “The
Menu”, which manages to be a satire and a horror film without ever tipping the scales too much in either direction; it maintains a dark chuckle from start to finish while providing great roles for a well-cast ensemble of actors.
The set-up is deceptively simple: a number of well-off foodies are shipped off, two by two, to celebrity chef Ralph Fiennes’ exclusive island restaurant, paying thousands of dollars per plate for a very special dinner. The diners, including Anya Taylor-Joy (“Last Night in Soho”), Nicholas Hoult (“X-Men First Class”), John Leguizamo (currently killing it in “Violent Night”), Reed Birney (“The Hunt”, “Crimewave”) and Judith Light (TV’s “Who’s the Boss?”) have no idea how special this dinner will be. (Heh, heh, heh…)
I’m one of those people who’d rather have simple chicken and dumplings as opposed to some nugget of tuna on a weird square plate with three squirts of some yellow glop symmetrically arranged in a madman’s pattern. (Patton Oswalt has a great bit about OCD chefs that are more obsessed with presentation than food quality.) This is my first time seeing a Mark Mylod film – he’s a British filmmaker who made his reputation working on Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Da Ali G. Show”. Mylod’s “The Menu” manages a precarious balancing act, making a horror film that plays fairly while driving home its savage attack on pretentious food culture.
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“The Worst Person in the World” is available from the Criterion collection; “The Menu” is playing at Cinemapolis and Regal Stadium 14.
TCAT to use these funds to offset the pressures related to inflation, supply chain issues and staffing shortages.
The TCAT transportation agreement that was signed in October contractually obligated each underwriter to contribute equally to funding the organizations annual operating costs. Since Cornell has refused the increase, both Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca have to as well. This significantly reduces the amount of funding that TCAT expected to be operating with in 2023.
TCAT has made their budget with the increases in mind, so Cornell’s refusal to pay the increase would mean that the organization will have to rethink some of their budgetary priorities. Additionally, TCAT received the $15 million in grant funds that Malina referenced in the email through a $8.7 million grant from the U.S Department of Transportation’s Low or No Emission program, and a $7 million grant from the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority. The DOT grant is meant to fund the purchasing of 10 electric buses and the details of how the NY State grant will be spent have not been made public.
This isn’t even mentioning the fact that based on a budget projection reviewed by the TCAT Board in August, TCAT could potentially face a $3.7 million budget defi-
Herod dies, and “the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt” to tell him it is now safe to leave for Israel. Despite misgivings, Joseph sets out, but ultimately changes course: ”Instead, because of a dream, Joseph went to the region of Galilee.”
In Luke, there are no dreams. Angels “appear” and “return to heaven,” but the
cit if the organization runs out of reserve funds by 2024.
In response to finding out that Cornell University — which has an endowment of roughly $10 billion — would be refusing to pay the eight percent increase, Tompkins County Legislator and TCAT Board member Dan Klein said that “Cornell’s reasoning is not fair” and that comparing Cornell’s financial situation with TCAT’s is like “comparing watermelons to raisins.”
According to Klien, “Cornell took in approximately $1 billion in donations last year alone.” He continued saying that “Cornell receives the biggest benefit by far from TCAT, and they have shown disregard for the financial well-being of TCAT over and over again. Cornell University should be ashamed of itself.”
Klien said that similarly to Cornell, TCAT received significant funding from the federal government during the pandemic that is helping keep the organization afloat. That one-time money will run out in the near future, and Kien says that using it to fund operations, as Cornell is suggesting TCAT should do, is irresponsible. According to Klien, “You don’t need a Cornell degree to understand that spending one-time money on ongoing operational costs is unsustainable.”
In response to requests to comment further, Cornell’s media relations team said that the university declines to comment beyond what was already released in the Nov. 21 email.
word “dream” never appears.
Is Matthew (that is, its authors) superstitious? Do they think their readers are? Are Luke’s authors empiricists who will only relate such visitations as actual?
The questions are literary, not religious. So are the answers, at least the ones I have.
They must go untold here, but they’re probably worth only a B, anyhow. I didn’t read the text even forty times. Apologies, Mr. Carmichael.
strange to cheer against the Big Red, Pat Moran said, simply, “Family first.”
process. Richie would have loved to be in the stands with his family, but 3 years of dialysis treatments had rendered him too compromised to do so.
It was like some movie script come to life as Ryan – a part-time player – took the field and in the third quarter, rifled three shots into the goal to put Army in control of the game. The visitors would ultimately upset the Big Red, and when asked if it felt
The following day was Easter Sunday, and I was once again blessed to be with the Morans. It was a day filled with tears and gratitude, as we all knew that was the last lacrosse game Richie would ever see, and his beloved grandson absolutely lit it up. A week later, Richie sat in his favorite chair, in his home, and passed on to the next phase of his journey. I miss him a lot.
Thanks for reading, my friends. Have a wonderful holiday season.
hemlines go up and down waistlines go in and out but well-fitted clothes never go out of style...