Welcome to the quickest way to learn the week’s most important local news.

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1 – Ithaca, Tompkins walloped with rain and thunderstorms

High rainfall totals make more flooding likelyRainfall totals are higher than normal. Severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings have been issued regularly over the past couple weeks.

“It’s been much wetter than last year,” NWS meteorologist Paul Fitzsimmons said last week. “Last summer was extremely dry and this year we’ve had precipitation that has been more than 50 percent above normal. In the past couple weeks, there are areas that have seen around twice as much rainfall as average for the first half of July.”

It doesn’t look like it will be drying up anytime soon. Rain is on the forecast throughout the week.

2 – What’s happening with Cornell construction projects?

See what’s finishing construction on Cornell’s campus – Curious what the status is of construction projects at Cornell University?

Housing and Development Contributor Brian Crandall takes a look at what construction is finishing up on campus, including Cornell Health, Upson Hall renovations and Cornell Ag Quad rehabilitation.

3 – Police locate key figure in NYS heroin distribution network

Ithaca police: Central figure in NYS heroin network arrested – Arthur Erskine, 40, was apprehended in Utica last week. Erskine is facing several felony charges related to drug distribution.

According to the Attorney General, Erskine allegedly purchased hundreds of grams of heroin in March and smuggled them into Tompkins County. The narcotics were reportedly laced with Fentanyl and were subsequently connected to eight overdoses in Tompkins County and Tioga County between March 2 and March 7.

4 – Flash mob celebrates anniversary of first women’s rights convention

Ithaca flash mob reads ‘Declaration of Sentiments’ to honor anniversary of first Women’s Rights Convention — The women who were trailblazers in fighting for suffrage were remembered Wednesday with a reading of the “Declaration of Sentiments” during a flash mob in the Tompkins County Public Library.

The Declaration of Sentiments was so important in its time because there was nothing like it, County Historian Carol Kammen said.

“It’s the push for equal participation in our government for fairness and for what we consider to be liberty,” Kammen said.

Read the full Declaration of Sentiments and watch the video of the flash mob in the story.

Participants of a flash mob Wednesday read the Declaration of Sentiments at the Tompkins County Public Library. Kelsey O’Connor/Ithaca Voice

5 – Ithaca-based immigrant pleads guilty to federal charges

Ithaca-based immigrant pleads guilty to having forged documents – Jose Guzman-Lopez, 32, was arrested in early May in Ithaca by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

ICE agents reported finding Guzman-Lopez in possession of a counterfeit Alien Registration Card bearing his photograph. According to official records from United States Department of Homeland Security, the documents in Guzman-Lopez’s possession were not issued by the U.S. government.

By U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Department of Homeland Security), via Wikimedia Commons

6 – TC3 student and taxi driver killed in crash; others injured

TC3 student and taxi driver killed in Cortlandville crash — A Tompkins Cortland Community College student and taxi driver were killed Thursday in an early morning crash. Several others were injured.

The Cortland County Sheriff’s Office responded to a taxi van crash at 2:50 a.m. Thursday on Bennie Road in Cortlandville, the sheriff’s office said. There were nine people in the vehicle, including the driver.

The students were all part of the Global Education program.

7 – Lifton calls for halt in salt mine expansion under Cayuga Lake

Assemblywoman urges halt in Cargill salt mine expansion below Cayuga Lake —  In a press conference Thursday morning, Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton voiced concern for future mining activity below Cayuga Lake, calling for a moratorium on expansions of the Cargill salt mine, a proposal which has mine workers concerned.

Currently, Cargill salt mines are spread over seven miles below Cayuga Lake. Cargill employs about 200 people and produces more than 2 million tons of rock salt annually, half of which stays within New York State, according to Mine Manager Shawn Wilczynski. 

8 – Jail population will keep dropping, report finds

Tompkins jail population expected to drop — The population of the Tompkins County Jail is dropping and expected to continue the downward trend.

A recent report’s findings that no new jail or expansion is needed has been welcome news to the community and legislators. Since the fall, Rochester-based Center for Governmental Research has been studying the current and projected population at the Tompkins County Jail.

9 – 2 rescued after van crash in Ithaca

2 rescued with minor injuries after car crashes into building on Elmira Road — Two people were rescued from a van Friday after it crashed into a building on Elmira Road.

The crash was reported at about 1 p.m. Friday. When emergency crews arrived, they found two people trapped in a van that had crashed into a storage building at Wilcox Tire at 233 Elmira Road in Ithaca, the Ithaca Fire Department said.

The two involved had minor injuries, police said.

Provided by IFD.

10 – Grassroots! Photos, video and more of the annual festival

Happiness Parade at Grassroots still in full swing after more than a decade — A longtime staple of the Grassroots festival, the Happiness Parade welcomed a crowd Sunday to celebrate their creativity and joy through bright costumes and colorful signs, accompanied by the upbeat sound of the Fall Creek Brass Band.

The parade this year is a result of the evolution of the event over the past 15 years or so.

“Costumes was the original thing we were doing, besides the parade day,” said Parade Director Gwen Daniels. “People kept donating them so we kept washing them and bringing them back-and getting people excited about their identity.”

Photo gallery: 32 photos from the 27th annual Grassroots

Featured image by Alyvia Covert/Ithaca Voice

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.