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1 – It’s Sergeant Colin now

Ithaca Officer Colin promoted: ‘I want to help the world be a better place’ — When Officer Colin Hayward Toland joined the Ithaca Police Department at 9 years old, he did so with one intention that he reiterated at his promotion ceremony Monday morning.

“Because I want to help the world be a better place,” he said.

About 30 people — officers, community members, family — were at the Ithaca Police Department Headquarters to congratulate Colin as he was promoted to the rank of sergeant.

2 – Officer recognized for work capturing Ithaca Commons shooter

Officers who apprehended Ithaca Commons shooter recognized for service – Two Ithaca police officers who apprehended a man who was ultimately sentenced to 12 years in prison for opening fire and shooting someone in the Ithaca Commons this spring were commended Monday afternoon for their actions.

Officers Sarah Crews and Lewis Morse were presented with the Frank G. Hammer Officer of the Month Award from the Kiwanis Club of Ithaca-Cayuga.

(Left to right) Acting Police Chief Pete Tyler, Officer Sarah Crews, Officer Lewis Morse, District Attorney Matt Van Houten, Deputy Police Chief Vincent Monticello, and Mimi Melegrito, president of the Kiwanis Club of Ithaca-Cayuga, at the awards ceremony for Officer of the Month for November 2017. Photo by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice

3 – Lansing election: Wetmore defeats Cree in close race

Wetmore defeats incumbent Cree for Lansing town board — It may have taken a couple of weeks, but for Lansing town board candidate Joe Wetmore (D, G), the wait was worth it. The challenger was able to defeat two-term incumbent Lansing town board member Robert Cree (R, I) for a seat on the Lansing town board, by no more than four votes.

If there’s anything this tight race goes to show, it’s that every vote matters. The final vote tallies will be certified by the county next Tuesday, and Wetmore will take his seat in January.

4 – NYSEG gets approval for alternative to West Dryden Road pipeline

NYSEG approved to move ahead with alternative to pipeline in Tompkins — The New York State Public Service Commission has approved a $4 million NYSEG compressor pilot project, an alternative to the previously proposed West Dryden Road natural gas pipeline.

Local officials say the project is a positive move that addresses reliability concerns while cutting down the use of fossil fuels.

5 – Lawsuit: Ithaca woman claims Ithaca police dog attacked her

Lawsuit: Woman claims Ithaca police dog attacked her — An Ithaca resident is suing the City of Ithaca and a K-9 officer at the Ithaca Police Department, claiming a police dog attacked her and caused serious injury in a parking lot.

A lawsuit filed last week in the Supreme Court of Tompkins County alleges the police dog, Rex, handled by Officer Jamie Buffone did “attack, bite and maul” the woman, Debra S. Brown, of Ithaca. The incident allegedly took place in November 2016 in the parking lot of the Ithaca Shopping Plaza.

K-9 Officer Jamie Buffone kneels next to Rex at the swearing-in ceremony in June 2016. File photo.

6 – Why there was so much orange at Tompkins Legislature last week

Legislature, community recognizes outgoing county administrator for service to Tompkins County — Tompkins County Legislature Chambers were an odd and bright sight Tuesday. Legislators, employees and members of the community came to the meeting wearing orange as an homage to county administrator Joe Mareane, who is retiring at the end of the month.

Attendees donned Syracuse orange hats and shirts. A resolution acknowledging Mareane’s work was even printed on orange paper. Mareane is an alumnus and fan of Syracuse University, hence all the orange.

Legislators wore orange during the Tompkins County Legislature meeting Nov. 21 in honor of Joe Mareane, outgoing county administrator. Kelsey O’Connor/Ithaca Voice

7 – Fire on Hudson Street deemed arson; man apprehended in connection with crime dies in custody 

Arson arrest: Police say Dryden man started Hudson Street fire intentionally — Seven people were displaced after a fire in a three-story duplex at 120 Hudson St. in Ithaca. It took firefighters two hours to put out the fire, but no one was hurt. It was quickly determined that the fire was arson and a man was arrested in connection with the crime. Police apprehended Joshua Reeves, 31, of Dryden and charged him with first-degree arson Wednesday.

On Friday, while in the Tompkins County Jail, Reeves was found dead. The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.

The Ithaca Fire Department was called at 1:20 a.m. Wednesday to a home at 120 Hudson Street. The three-story duplex was in flames when they arrived, and it took firefighters two hours to get the blaze under control. Provided photo

8 – Introducing IthaQuestions: Have a burning local question? 

Should the city close off Ezra’s Tunnel to protect people or is that ‘dumbing down’ Ithaca’s natural areas? — We’re a curious bunch at The Ithaca Voice, the kind of people who always have our eyes peeled and ears to the ground for interesting happenings in the community.

To that end, we’d like to spend more time looking at what makes Ithaca the unique, quirky place we call home. Here at IthaQuestions, we’d like to look into your burning questions about Tompkins County, and the people that inhabit it.

Do you have something you’ve always wondered about Ithaca’s past or present?

For instance, who is the artist of an iconic mural? What is the meaning behind a street name?

We’d like to know, and find out together. Email jwholey@ithacavoice.com if you’ve got an IthaQuestion.

9 – Homeless youth in Tompkins ‘often hidden behind the scenes’

Homeless youth in Tompkins County ‘often hidden behind the scenes’ — Hundreds of children are estimated to be homeless in Tompkins County. Since it is Runaway and Homeless Youth Awareness Month, the county is shining some light on this local issue and on the organizations that work with homeless youth.

A proclamation made Tuesday at Tompkins County Legislature highlighted the work of two organizations in Tompkins County that help homeless youth daily —  Family & Children’s Service and the Learning Web.

10 – Former Ithaca Congressman Maurice Hinchey dies

Former Ithaca Congressman Maurice Hinchey has died — Former United States Congressman Maurice Hinchey, who represented the Ithaca area in the House of Representatives, has passed away at the age of 79.

Maurice Hinchey.

The news was shared by his family Wednesday afternoonIt had been announced earlier this year that Hinchey was battling frontotemperal degeneration (FTD)a terminal neurological disorder that causes severe loss of language skills, behavioral changes, and overall cognitive function, progressing into Parkinsons-like symptoms in later stages.

Hinchey represented Ithaca in Congress when it was a part of the 26th Congressional District from 1993-2013, and when it was a part of the 22nd Congressional District from 2003-2013.

Featured image: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Ithaca to present the $15 million grant for CHESS upgrades at Cornell University. Kelsey O’Connor/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.