Nicole Marranca

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1 – “Look, I just want to find my daughter and bring her home.”

Ithaca woman Nicole Marranca still missing, new search party planned — Another search party is planned for missing Ithaca woman Nicole Marranca, who has not been seen or heard from since mid-August. Police have said their leads on Marranca’s whereabouts have run dry and they are asking for the public’s help to find her.

Step-mother Kelley Marranca said the search is happening at 9 a.m. on May 19. She’s asking people to meet in the Walmart parking lot at 135 Fairgrounds Memorial Pkwy, though the search will take place at a separate location that’s to be announced.

The new search comes just a few weeks after a separate smaller search for Nicole Marranca happened on April 28 in a homeless encampment known as The Jungle.

“Look, I just want to find my daughter and bring her home,” Nick Marranca told people while he searched through The Jungle. “Her daughter is 4-years-old and keeps asking for her mommy.”

Featured photo of Nicole Marranca Provided

2 – Rain, rain, go away!

Slope Day cut short due to severe thunderstorms — The annual Slope Day festivities that celebrates the near-end of the school year at Cornell University was cut short this year due to severe rain and thunderstorms moving through the area.

Thousands of people were evacuated from Libe Slope and were ushered into nearby buildings until the storm passed, lasting less than an hour before the weather cleared up again.

The musical events scheduled for the rest of the day, however, did not continue.

Slope Day 2017 Photo by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice

3 – Salvation Army, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services team up to create affordable housing opportunity

Affordable housing planned for Salvation Army site —The Salvation Army is teaming up with Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services plan to replace the low-slung, one-story 7,486 square-foot brick building at 150 North Albany Street with a multi-story mixed-use building, containing offices and service space for the Salvation Army on the first floor, and affordable housing above.

Under the current plan, they will sell the building and land to INHS, and rent the 20,000 square-foot lower-level commercial office and service space, including an expanded food pantry. INHS would manage the new apartments on the upper floors, of which there will be approximately 40, with 20% (8) set aside for formerly homeless individuals. The rest would rent from 30-60% area median income (AMI), or $16-$32k for a single-person household (exact guidelines here). Most units are expected to be one-bedroom units, with a handful of two-bedroom and three-bedroom units in the mix.

4 – Phone scammers fraudulently seeking money

Tompkins sheriff’s office warns about scam phone calls — A phone scammer using a local phone number has called multiple people in the county alleging that the person has missed court dates, summons or a warrant for arrest. The caller, who pretends to be a police officer, then requests money via a gift card or money transfer.

Police are warning that officers and court administrators will never request money using these means.

If anyone receives a suspicious call and has doubts about its authenticity, contact the sheriff’s office main line at 607-257-1345 or the non-emergency line to Dispatch at 607-272-2444.

5 –  Milton Meadows in Lansing a step closer to becoming a reality

$5.1 million awarded for Lansing affordable housing —  An affordable housing proposal in the town of Lansing is now much more likely to move forward, thanks to a $5.1 million grant award from the state.

The grant from the New York States Homes and Community Renewal (NYS HCR) division was announced last week. The money will be used towards the construction costs of the “Milton Meadows” apartments, to be located at the new Lansing Town Center. The grant follows a $256,875 grant awarded by Tompkins Countyand a $75,000 infrastructure grant to the town to accommodate the project and others at the town center site.

Milton Meadows will consist of 10 buildings and 72 rental units on 13.5 acres near the intersection of Route 34/34B, across from the town hall and baseball fields.

6 – Cargill challenged by protesters at Tompkins County Courthouse

Local towns, environmental activists petition Cargill and DEC for environmental review — Concerns over mining under Cayuga Lake were brought to the steps of Tompkins County Courthouse on Friday. A crowd of nearly 50 people gathered outside before heading into court to hear discussion about a petition filed by local municipalities, homeowners and activists against Cargill and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The petitioners claim the DEC violated the act by not requiring an Environmental Impact Statement before issuing the modified mining permit.

“It’s a very complex project,” Brian Eden, a member of the Tompkins County Environmental Management Council,  said. “We get environmental impact statements for things that are much less threatening than this. … We want even-handed treatment of the SEQR process, environmental review should apply equally. You know if a local homeowner has to do this, a large corporation should also have to do it.”

7 —  Falafel, lamb gyros, chicken on rice available at new downtown food cart

Mediterranean Halal food cart a new Commons fixture — Grilled lamb, beef, and chicken are the latest smells to float through the Ithaca Commons following the opening of a new Mediterranean Halal food stand nearly three weeks ago.

Owner Galal Hassanien’s stand, the Adam Grill, will be serving up gyros, kebabs, rice bowls, falafel and other dishes six days a week, including during late night hours on the weekends. It’s located toward the east end of the Commons in front of the Downtown Visitor Center.

Since launching about three weeks ago, Hassanien has opened Monday – Saturday at 11 a.m. and usually stays open through late lunch or early dinner hours. On weekends, he’s open from 11 a.m. until about 7 p.m., when he closes the cart down, cleans it, and then opens up again from about 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. And while he plans to be closed on Sundays, he said customers still may find him on the Commons during his only day off if the weather is good enough.

8 – The Nines historical designation headed to Common Council for a vote

The Nines possible landmarking heads to Common Council — After heated debate about whether The Nines, arguably a more beloved institution than the building at 311 College, should be a historical designation, a 3-2 vote is sending the issue to Common Council next month.

This was definitely an uncomfortable conversation, because of what’s involved. On the one hand, the fire station is a well-recognized Collegetown feature; on the other hand, landmarking makes redevelopment and rehabilitation/renovation much more difficult and expensive – and those historic tax credits you hear about are applied after the work is done and paid for and approved. If it becomes more difficult, then the property is harder to sell, and will likely sell for a lot less. The owners of the Nines, arguably a more beloved institution than the building at 311 College, are kinda counting on the sale proceeds for their retirement. You can read up on the background story here.

Jolene Almendarez

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