Welcome to the quickest way to learn the week’s most important local news.
1 – Former Vice President Joe Biden gives convocation speech
A full transcript of Joe Biden’s Cornell Convocation speech — After much hoorah and landing his very own ice cream flavor, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the Cornell Convocation Saturday to thousands of people.
He started the speech lightheartedly making jokes but soon moved on to talk about current national and global issues.
“It’s only in moments of great change and upheaval, moments like this, you have a chance to actually bend history just a little bit to the way you want the nation to be,” he said.
2 – Tom Reed Town Hall happening in Trumansburg Saturday morning
Reed announced that he’ll be hosting a town hall meeting in Trumansburg this Saturday. The meeting is happening from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. June 3 at the Trumansburg Fire Department, which is located at 74 West Main Street.
The town hall is meant to focus on economy and job creation.
The last time Reed hosted an event in Tompkins County was in March, when he hosted a Q&A town hall at the Southside Community Center.
The event drew hundreds of constituents carrying signs, most of whom adamantly and vocally objected to Reed’s policy ideas, in particular his position to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. Since then, he has voted in favor of the American Health Care Act.
Reed will also host town halls in Geneva, Bradford and Erin later that day.
3 – The Ithaca housing crisis
No Place to Call Home: Explaining why middle-income housing development is rare in Ithaca — To focus on the middle-income segment of the housing market, many developers say, is a high-risk, low-reward effort, with few incentives.
As a result, the city is seeing developers move to create housing in the lucrative, and safer, high-end of the market.
Hear from developers and city officials about the challenges they face building in Ithaca.
4 – Cynthia Brock announces Common Council re-election bid
Cynthia Brock will seek re-election to Ithaca Common Council — Brock, First Ward, is running to represent several residential neighborhoods including the West Hill and Floral Avenue neighborhoods, Nate’s Floral Estates, East State/MLK Street, Collegetown Terrace, South Hill and Spencer Road neighborhoods.
She has served on Common Council since 2011. She is currently on the Planning and Economic Development Committee of Common Council and is the Chair of the Special Joint Committee of the inter-municipal Ithaca Area Waste Water Treatment Facility.
She also lead the charge in making Ithaca a Sanctuary city earlier this year.
She said in a news release, “We continue to face tough budgeting choices and a municipal workforce diminished by the 2008 financial crisis. I remain committed to making sure the City addresses its infrastructure and maintenance needs and to supporting our City’s dedicated and skilled workforce.”
5 – Fourth Ward representative announces Ithaca Common Council re-election bid
Graham Kerslick seeks Fourth Ward re-election on Ithaca Common Council — Kerslick has served on common council since 2011 and said last week that he is vying for another four-year term.
Kerslick represents the West Campus and Collegetown area, along with Alderman Stephen Smith. He currently serves as liaison to the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency, the Community Police Board, and the Recreation Partnership.
If elected, Kerslick said he will continue advocating for issues such as accessibility to housing, public safety, economic development, inequality and public engagement in local government.
He said in an email about his election bid, “ “There is, as always, much more to do, and it’s clear that the next four years will be especially challenging.”
6 – Scam alert!
The Tompkins County sheriff’s Department issued a warning about a scam that’s being reported in the area.
Here’s how police say it works:
People approach a resident while wearing clothes that appear to be a utility company uniform with a logo on the front. They even have matching business cards.
Then they ask to see a person’s utility bill saying that they work for a company that can secure a reduced electric bill rate. When the scammer gets the utility bill, the person makes note of the account number.
Check out the story for tips on what to do if you’re approached.
7 – New grub on the Ithaca Commons
French-Asian bistro opening in the Ithaca Commons soon — A new French-Asian restaurant is opening on the Ithaca Commons.
Le Commons Bistro is slated to open the first week of June, though an official date hasn’t been announced as final rennovations are still underway.
Owner Patrick Hatsad, who has been in the restaurant business around 20 years, said the new eatery incorporates traditional French food along with Southeast Asian cuisine.
The restaurant is located in between Autumn Leaves books and Gorgers Taco Shack.
8- 2 people hospitalized in gang assault
Two people hospitalized after Ithaca gang assault, 2 minors facing charges — The assault was reported last Saturday night and police who responded to the 400 block of Floral Avenue and the 600 block of Chestnut Street found two victims at the scenes who had to be transported to a hospital for treatment.
The two minors have been charged with felonies for first-degree gang assault, first-degree unlawful imprisonment and second-degree strangulation.
Police are asking anyone with information about the crimes to contact them at the crime stoppers 607-697-0333 or via social media.
9 – Downtown Ithaca Harold Square update
Another makeover planned for Harold’s Square project in Ithaca Commons — A major exterior redesign has been submitted for Downtown Ithaca’s long-planned Harold’s Square project, which is supposed to be built in the area that is the lonstanding poster store on the commons.
The cosmetic and design changes means that the project has gained six micro units, bringing the total number of apartment units to 114. That breaks down to be 46 micro-units, 38 one-bedrooms, and 38 two-bedrooms.
10 – Ridesharing services making it to Upstate, but local policymakers could opt out
The state Senate and Assembly have approved bills for ridesharing in Upstate New York and Governor Andrew Cuomo just need to sign them.
Josh Gold, policy director for Uber in New York, said there will definitely be enough drivers ready to hit the road by June 29, which is when the policy would officially go into effect.
But there’s one catch locally that could put the program on hold.
Tompkins County is small enough that local government could decide to opt out of the ridesharing services, keeping them illegal throughout the area. Legislator Mike Lane, who chairs the Transportation Committee, said legislators have been discussing whether they should opt out. Lane said they need to take a serious public safety look at ride-hailing services.
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