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1 – “Extremely dangerous incident” leaves two officers injured

Two Ithaca officers attacked, injured while responding to mental health issue that turned dangerous — Two Ithaca police officers were injured and treated at a local hospital after a mental health call turned dangerous last weekend. According to police, the officers were dispatched to the 100 block of East Seneca Street downtown after a mental health facility asked for assistance in “serving a mental health order mandating that the (male) subject be transported to a local hospital.” When officers arrived, they reported that the man became combative with the officers, kicking and punching them and trying to take an officer’s gun. “The subject repeatedly threatened to kill the police officers and continuously begged the police officers to kill him …  and told the officers that they were either going to have to kill him or he was going to kill them.” IPD said in a news release.

The man, who has not been identified, was eventually taken into custody and charges are pending.

2 – Bank robbery leads to quick arrest

Ithaca man arrested for robbing local bank at knifepoint — A man was arrested after police say he robbed an Elmira Savings Bank Thursday afternoon at 702 S. Meadow St. Within minutes of police being dispatched at 1:21 p.m. to the location, an officer canvassing the area saw a suspect matching the suspect’s description at the Tops Market at 710 S. Meadow St.

Benjamin Brancato, 31, is charged with first-degree robbery after stealing nearly $200 dollars from the bank.

3 – Ithaca Falls area contaminated with toxic lead — again

Toxic lead levels found at Ithaca Falls again after millions spent on cleanup — After millions of dollars were recently spent cleaning up the area, toxic lead levels were again found inches from the walking trails near the city’s iconic Ithaca Falls.

Toxic lead levels in soil at Ithaca Falls were at 69,800 parts per million during a February test, which is up to 150 times more than the requisite cleanup level of 400 parts per million in some areas, according to Walter Hang, a local environmental activist and president of Toxics Targeting.

“These people are going in and out they have no idea that these stunningly high levels of lead have been detected, and I say enough is enough,” Hang said. “We’re just simply telling the public don’t walk in this area, don’t bring your pets in to this area, because the dust can stick to your feet, your hands, your clothing. Little kids in particular have to be safeguarded from this lead hazard.”

The butt end of a shotgun shell was one among many found at the base of the gorge wall by Ithaca Falls, just inches from the walking trail. (Photo by Jolene Almendarez/ The Ithaca Voice)

4 – Single-use plastic bags may be on their way out in Tompkins County

Tompkins Legislature votes 10-2 to support statewide ban on single-use plastic bags —Paper or plastic?” is one step closer to becoming a question of the past as the State of New York works to ban single-use plastic bags, now with the support of the Tompkins County Legislature.

In a contentious 10-2 vote, the legislature agreed to support the ban, which would chip away at the 100 billion single-use plastic retail bags used throughout the country each year. Instead, boxes or reusable and paper bags — both of which would need to be purchased —  would be people’s options.

District 6 Legislator Mike Sigler and District 14 Legislator Mike Lane both voted against the measure, saying that eliminating plastic bags would result in more paper bags ending up in landfills. Sigler also argued that the carbon footprint of paper bags is no less severe that plastic bags due to the volume of the bags.

District 12 Legislator Amanda Champion said, “My response or my point is that this in one step that we can take. This isn’t the answer. This isn’t going to solve the world’s problems. And it’s not going to make it so that the seals and the sea turtles don’t die from plastic. But it’s one thing that we can do locally, and it might make an impact somehow.”

Featured photo: Legislator Mike Sigler tries to convince other legislatures that the carbon footprint of 1,200 plastic bags in the brown box he;s holding is smaller than the carbon footprint of 1,200 paper bags, in the white boxes. (Photo by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice)

5 –  Police: man arrested after robbing 71-year-old woman

Ithaca Easter Sunday purse snatcher arrested, police say — A man who pushed a 71-year-old woman to the ground and stole her purse with a valued rosary inside has been taken into custody, police say.

According to police, the woman was walking around 7:45 a.m. Easter Sunday on the 600 block of West Seneca Street when a man approached her from behind and tried to “wrangle her purse from her shoulder as he ran past her.” He was unable to grab it, but then pushed the woman to the ground and a struggle ensued over the purse. He was eventually able to grab it and run away.

Darryl Bradshaw, 23, of Ithaca, was taken into custody Thursday after a search warrant was issued for his West Village Place apartment. The search turned up items from the robbery, including rosary beads the woman said are more than 50-years-old and have sentimental value to her. Bradshaw is charged with felony third-degree robbery and petit larceny.

6 – “I think we should have a role in food security. I don’t think we’re doing enough.”

Feeding Tompkins Part 5: Why addressing food insecurity means tackling the housing crisis, low wages — Almost 15,000 Tompkins County residents are food insecure and there is virtually no plan in place in local governments to directly tackle hunger. Feeding people is left to local non-profits who are run almost entirely on grants and charity. Meanwhile, public officials chip away at issues, such as housing costs and wage increases, with the goal of eventually leaving people with more money in their pocket throughout the month to buy food.

The fifth part of the Feeding Tompkins series explores what the local government is doing to combat food insecurity and what still needs to happen to ensure that people in the county are not going to bed hungry.  We interviewed Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick and Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles about the issues.

Listen to the WRFI segment below: 

7 — Ithaca College building new president’s home on campus

Ithaca College announces future plans for president’s home — In a statement released last week, Ithaca College announced its formal intent to place its former presidential mansion on the market this spring and move forward with plans for a new residence to be completed next year.

The college plans to place its mansion at 2 Fountain Place for sale with Warren Real Estate and will have Warren market, the adjacent property at 2 Willets Place, under a separate listing.

“We’re excited to announce that we have decided to construct the new house right on campus,” said Ithaca College Board of Trustees Chairman Tom Grape. “We want it to be a warm and welcoming home for our presidents and their families for now and for many decades to come, while also having appropriate spaces for a variety of large and small events hosted by the president.”

8 – “When somebody is dope sick and itching for their next fix … that’s not the time when they’re going to be most responsive to getting better and getting off of drugs.”

$100K Bloomberg grant green lights local addiction research, sets stage for possible larger grant — Supported by a new $100,000 pilot grant, the City of Ithaca is investing in research to determine the viability of a supervised injection facility and Health Hub to help people experiencing drug addiction.

About 350 cities applied for the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge and Ithaca was selected as one of 35 finalists for the award. This means the city is granted $100,000 to research how a SIF and Health Hub could work best locally.

As a finalist in the challenge, the city is vying for the grand prize from the Bloomberg Philanthropies. Bloomberg will pick five of the 35 finalists and award one of them $5 million and the four cities $1 million each.

9 – Street cleaning, towing commences throughout April

Don’t get towed! Ithaca street cleaning kicks off! — Spring is in the air and the City of Ithaca is celebrating the end of pesky snow banks by getting the streets cleaned up. Vehicles that are not in compliance with parking regulations throughout the month, however, will be towed. Check out the cleaning schedule below:

City of Ithaca 2018 Street Cleaning Schedule by Jolene Almendarez on Scribd

10 – Lansing tractor-trailer crash sends 3 to hospital

Three hospitalized following collision with tractor-trailer in Lansing — Three people were hospitalized following a collision involving a tractor-trailer early Thursday morning on Route 13 in Lansing.

New York State Police responded to reports of a motor vehicle crash at 2:05 a.m. Route 13 was shut down for five hours after police arrived at the scene to find that a car had crashed into a tractor-trailer. Police are still investigating the incident.

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.