Welcome to the quickest way to learn the week’s most important local news.
1 – Students share their perspective on ‘Hairspray’ production
Youth Voices: Ithaca High School performs ‘Hairspray’ — After Ithaca High School cancelled its spring musical “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” many in the community were left wondering what would become of the Ithaca City School District’s Theater Department.
The student activist group Students United Ithaca fought for “Hunchback” to be shut down in order to pave the way for a new production; one that would be more inclusive for all, especially for students of color.
In this feature, contributor and Ithaca High School student J.T. Stone spoke to students about why this production was so important.
2 – Police searching for driver who caused Route 13 rollover crash
Update: Police searching for Jeep driver that caused rollover crash Friday — Cayuga Heights police have been searching for the driver of a blue Jeep that caused a rollover crash Friday and did not stop. As of Monday, police are still looking for information.
The crash took place just before 8 a.m. April 13. Policy say the driver of a blue Jeep merged into the left lane into another car, causing it to roll over. One person was injured in the car that rolled over. A woman was transported to Syracuse after complaining about back pain, police said.
Anyone with information about the blue Jeep, described as having a rack on the back, is asked to contact Cayuga Heights Police at 607-257-1011.
3 – Local class guides people through lifestyle changes to help prevent type 2 diabetes
Lifestyle changes can help prevent type 2 diabetes; local course offers guidance — Millions of people in the U.S., about one in three Americans, have prediabetes and ninety percent don’t know it.
A class offered locally is bringing attention to the condition and helping people make simple changes in their lifestyle to prevent type 2 diabetes. A yearlong National Diabetes Prevention Program hosted by the Tompkins County Health Department will begin in May. The course is designed to get participants’ blood sugar level back in the normal range with simple changes to routine.
4 – John Greenwood pleads guilty to disorderly conduct after hate crime charge
Cornell student John Greenwood pleads guilty to disorderly conduct after hate crime charge — Cornell University student John Greenwood pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct Tuesday. He was initially charged with a hate crime for using a racial slur during a fight in Collegetown in September.
Greenwood, 20, of Toronto, pleaded guilty Tuesday to the violation of disorderly conduct before Judge Richard Wallace. As part of the plea, he admitted to using abusive or obscene language, specifically the “N word.”
Greenwood is on a leave of absence from the university, which will now move forward with its administrative conduct process.
5 – Retail news: Bon-Ton store to close as chain liquidates; HomeGoods is opening in Ithaca
Lansing Bon-Ton to close as chain liquidates — The retail apocalypse has claimed another victim. National department store chain Bon-Ton, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in February, is expected to be liquidated in the coming months. This means the store in Lansing will be closing.
In other retail news that attracted a lot of attention this week, the discount home furnishings store HomeGoods will open a store in Ithaca. It will be located in the former Michael’s space in the Tops Plaza on Meadow Street in Ithaca.
6 – Gun buyback program planned in Tompkins County
Legislature approves gun buyback program and calls for ban on assault weapons — Guns were the topic of two resolutions this week at Tompkins County Legislature. Legislators supported a program to buy back unwanted guns, and in a separate resolution called on Congress to enact an assault weapons ban.
The gun buyback program, which was unanimously supported by legislators, will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 9 at the Airport Fire and Rescue Building, 72 Brown Rd., Ithaca.
Another topic of conversation was not unanimous: asking Congress to enact an assault weapons ban.
7 — Meet The Ithaca Voice’s new executive director
Introducing the new executive director of The Ithaca Voice — Renée Captor has taken over to lead our nonprofit news organization. She comes to the role with 18 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, and most recently, 15 years of experience running a legal service nonprofit in Syracuse.
As executive director, Captor will be responsible for daily operation of the organization and creating sponsorship and fundraising initiatives to support The Ithaca Voice’s mission to provide free, in-depth local journalism to the community. Captor’s previous experience governing a nonprofit, working with a board of directors and grant writing will be a valuable resource to The Voice.
8 – Ithaca Police ‘Officer Next Door’ called off
Ithaca’s ‘Officer Next Door Program’ called off in West Village for now — Just over two years since its establishment, the Ithaca Police Department’s “Officer Next Door Program” in the city’s West End has come to a close.
The program, which was approved by Ithaca’s Common Council in February 2016, aimed to combat increased complaints reporting crimes in West Village by setting two police officers up in rent-free apartments nearby.
In a letter addressed to Common Council on April 12, Ithaca Police Chief Pete Tyler announced the withdrawal of the program, which was based on the difficulty to provide success measures from the police presence in West Village.
9 – Floating classroom on Cayuga Lake to get an upgrade
Discover Cayuga Lake acquires new ‘floating classroom’ with community help — Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom, now called Discover Cayuga Lake, has its finger on the pulse of the lake.
“We found hydrilla twice. The first time one of our interns found it, because we were preparing a plankton sample for a program,” said Bill Foster, the Discover Lake Program Director. “She looked at one, and said ‘I’ve never seen this before.’”
Encouraging people to have familiarity with the lake, having that little bit of knowledge to know if something is awry, and more importantly being able to do something about it, is how Discover Cayuga Lake hopes to engage citizen scientists.
Discover Cayuga Lake is in the process of acquiring a new 63-foot vessel, the M/V Teal.
10 – Feeding Tompkins: Nearly 20 percent of children in Tompkins are food insecure
Feeding Tompkins Part 7: 20% of Tompkins County kids at risk of hunger, community struggles to feed them — Almost twenty percent of kids in Tompkins County are food insecure, according to a recent study by Horn Research on childhood nutrition funded by The Park Foundation.
And although many government and community programs provide food, the report claims there is “no cohesive vision” for how child nutrition should be valued, addressed, or assessed in Tompkins County.
The cost of poor nutrition is significant: kids who experience hunger are more likely to repeat a grade in elementary school, suffer from language and motor delays, and have social and behavioral problems. But meeting the demand is challenging.
This is part seven of the Feeding Tompkins series, which is a collaboration between WRFI News, the Ithaca College Park Scholar Program, The Ithaca Voice and Hot Potato Press.