Welcome to the quickest way to learn the week’s most important local news.
1 – ICE shows up at Ithaca City Court, makes arrest in front of jail
ICE ‘swooped down’ on Ithaca attorney, client to make arrest at Tompkins jail — The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency turned up again in Tompkins County a few weeks ago, this time at the Ithaca City Court.
According to Attorney James Baker, he was representing a man for a non-criminal traffic violation when a person informed the court that ICE was outside and intended to arrest his client for an immigration violation. Per Baker’s suggestion, his client was transported by the Ithaca Police Department to the Tompkins County Jail in an effort to dodge ICE. After the man was bailed out, however, Baker said about eight ICE agents “swooped down” on the attorney and his client and took him into custody. Baker said he does not believe he client has a criminal history.
“At the courthouse, I just couldn’t figure out how or why they would know about this particular court appearance which, frankly, only involved traffic tickets,” Baker said. “I was surprised that something like that showed up on their radar or whether someone called them…”
2 – Police spend 2 days searching Cayuga Inlet for weapon
Police agencies searching for weapon in Cayuga Inlet — Multiple police agencies, including the FBI, spent two days searching for a weapon in the Cayuga Inlet, directly across from the Ithaca Children’s Garden.
“They are in a dive operation. We are actively looking for a weapon,” Ithaca Police Chief Pete Tyler said Thursday.
Few details are being released about the search and, though a long gun was found at the scene, it’s unclear if that’s at all related to the investigation.
Officials did confirm, however, that the search is related to one of the “more recent” joint investigations that have happened in Ithaca.
3 – Single mothers in Ithaca with children under 5 years old have a 100 percent poverty rate
Feeding Tompkins Part 6: Mothers Reflect on Food Insecurity — For Feeding Tompkins this week, we share two stories: a single mother striving to provide for her kids and a foster parent caring for a child who had previously suffered from food insecurity.
Almost 40% of Tompkins County households led by single mothers live in poverty. For single moms with kids under the age of five, almost 60% do. And in Groton and the City of Ithaca, the rate is 100%.
“They say that if you can’t provide food for your kids then why do you have them?”Betty explained. “Not every parent necessarily sets off to be a single parent. I mean you don’t really know how hard it is until you experience it.”
Feature photo by Jacob Mroczek/The Ithaca Voice
4 – To grow or not to grow? Local co-op makes a choice to stay competative
A closer look at the new GreenStar Co-Op — GreenStar occupied its West End store on a 25-year lease due to run out at the end of 2019. So if there was a time to move, it’s now.
The plan is to renovate 770 Cascadilla, a 29,978 square-foot warehouse, into the latest and greatest GreenStar flagship. 750 Cascadilla would come down for a 160-space store parking lot and landscaping.
The new space would have an edible garden, outdoor cafe, mezzanine stairway and classrooms.
The building would be refinished, insulated, and potentially net-zero energy compatible, meaning all the energy it consumes comes from renewable sources. The $3.7 million project would take a little over a year, from July 2018 to September 2019 (the store itself wouldn’t open until December 2019, after the equipment is in, shelves are stocked and electronics are tested). Local architecture firm STREAM Collaborative is in charge of exterior design, and architect Pam Wooster will handle the interior layout.
5 – Police: man arrested after robbing 71-year-old woman
Ithaca serial flasher facing prison time — A man who has a history of exposing his genitals to women and masturbating in front of them could face years in prison, per a plea he accepted on March 22.
Floyd G. Slater Jr., 25, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor public lewdness and felony second-degree burglary at the Tompkins County Court. He was originally charged with three additional counts of public lewdness for exposing his genitalia to woman multiple times over a period of about six months.
The most egregious of Slater’s actions happened on Feb. 18. According to court records, Slater followed a woman into a residential dormitory at Cornell University at Founders Hall, located near Gothics Way. The woman rushed into her room and locked the door, so Slater made his way to the all-female showers where a woman was showering alone. He allegedly pulled back the shower curtain and began masturbating in front of her. The woman continuously screamed and Slater ran away.
6 – Major redevelopment on Ithaca’s waterfront
City Harbor project tees up for review — City Harbor, a proposed major redevelopment of Ithaca’s waterfront, is looking to move forward.
Organic Waterfront LLC, a consortium of local and regional developers, is now proposing eight buildings on 7.817 acres – two five-story apartment buildings, one of which will have a waterfront restaurant/bar, walk-up rental apartments, for-sale rowhouses, a golf and boating center, and a three-story medical office building to be fully occupied by Guthrie Clinic.
Along with that are improvements to Pier Road, Newman Golf Course, and a waterfront that will include a new seawall, rebuilt docks, and a public promenade along the water with lighting, native ornamental trees and plantings, seating and railings.
Also to be subdivided are 18 for-sale townhouse units – ten in one string, eight in another. These will be three-bedroom units, about 1,700 square-feet of living space each, with covered ground-floor garages and waterfront balconies and terraces.
A timeline has not been stated in the Site Plan Review document, though with this submission, it is possible that the city may begin environmental review at the planning board meeting later this month. The process typically takes a few months from that point, though it can take longer with large projects such as City Harbor.
7 — Collegetown assaults, racial slurs
Two people are facing misdemeanor charges after police say they assaulted multiple Cornell University students while using racial slurs last month. One of the students was also allegedly attacked by Cornell student John Greenwood last semester in what authorities said is a hate crime.
Zachary R. Boothroyd, of Ithaca, and George W. Booker Jr., of Groton, were arraigned Monday in Ithaca City Court. Booker, 22, is charged with one count of third-degree assault and was placed on supervised release. Boothroyd, 22, is charged with three counts of third-degree assault and is in custody at the Tompkins County Jail with no bail. Neither are students at Cornell.
8 – Final person sentenced for crime that likely led to death of Newfield man
Final person charged in Newfield murder case sentenced to prison time — The final person involved in a robbery that left Newfield man Camden Rundell dead in December 2016 will serve prison time, a judge ruled this week.
Dennis Lampila, 40, who was originally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery in October as part of a plea deal. He appeared for sentencing Thursday in Tompkins County Court.
“I think it is outrageous that four people received consequences, yet the person who was primarily responsible for my son’s murder has walked free,” Kimberly DeCoudres, the mother of Rundell, said. “What has given me comfort is that karma, the force that makes sure what goes around comes around, gives me hope. I have faith that in this case, karma is going to make sure, Mr. Lampila, that your day will come, and I assume it will probably be as ugly or uglier than the day you were involved in the murder of my son.”
9 – Local job growth stats
Is local job growth stalling? — It happens like clockwork every March. Not only do the latest monthly jobs numbers roll out, so do revisions to the previous three years of data. Usually, the way it goes is that the changes to the earliest year are slight, the second year minor, and revisions to the latest year (2017 in this case) are fairly substantial.
This is to be expected; those monthly jobs reports are based on a sampling of employers, and are designed to gauge and give a good idea of the overall jobs picture, but not a truly accurate measurement. For that reason, neither the Ithaca Voice nor the Ithaca Times report them.
However, it is generally reasonable to expect the revised numbers to be fairly accurate. So when they come in and suggest there was virtually no job growth in 2017 – well, now is the time to start being a bit concerned. Making it even stranger was that the initial reports suggested that we were going to see an uptick in job growth this year from, 1 to 1.5%, a thousand jobs. It ended up being only about a hundred.
East Hill Village plans come to life after week of community input — Following public meetings this week about East Hill Village plans, the walls of the Space @ GreenStar were covered in papers full of notes and input from the community and design sketches. On a table, there were blocks and materials arranged to show a model of the proposed neighborhood. It was the sight of a neighborhood plan in progress.
The Space was packed Thursday for the final presentation, which was a culmination of week-long “design charrette,” a concentrated planning and brainstorming event. On Monday, there was a community forum and on Tuesday a design open house.