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posticon Triphammer Road Detox Unit Redesignated to Allow Construction

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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The Village of Lansing Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously reversed Code Enforcement Officer Michale Scott's designation of the The Alcohol & Drug Council of Tompkins County (The Council) 40-bed medically supervised detox and stabilization unit project as a hospital. They voted to apply 'Special Care Facility' (SCF) as the new designation, which does allow the project under current zoning ordinance for the Commercial Low Traffic zone.

The 19,420 square foot building near the corner of Triphammer and Graham Roads was secured by The Council early last year after looking at 44 sites to find the best fit with the fewest potential zoning issues. The detox unit has always been part of The Council's plan for the building. The ground floor has been used for out-patient services, and the 40-bed detox facility is to be installed on the second floor.

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posticon Town Board Says Too Soon To Change Solar Law

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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After much deliberation The Lansing Town Board passed a Local Solar and Wind Law last July. The one sticking point that held up final consideration of the law was the matter of how much contiguous prime farm land should be allowed for solar arrays, especially large industrial solar arrays. The law ended up not setting a cap. But around the time it was passed Governor Cuomo declared that local municipalities would not have jurisdiction over siting large solar farms, uncharacteristically overriding home rule to serve his state-wide clean energy goals. Many municipalities that have been scrambling to exert what influence they can over their own boundaries, and Lansing's County Legislator Mike Sigler has been leading a campaign to put conditions on these large solar arrays, including requiring a 1,000 to 1,500 foot buffer between the solar panels and existing homes.

On Wednesday Lansing Director of Planning C.J. Randall told the Town Board that the Planning Board wants to amend the law, and asked whether this is an allocation of resources the Town Board wants. The answer was no.

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posticon Village Moving Forward on Mall Subdivision Plan

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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The Village of Lansing Planning Board considered issues in the process of being resolved before accepting a preliminary platt for a proposal to subdivide the Shops at Ithaca Mall. The mall owners, Namdar Realty Group and Mason Asset Management, propose to subdivide the existing mall plus a portion of the parking lot in order to sell anchor stores to their tenants and to facilitate the construction of an extended stay hotel on what is now a parking lot behind the Triphammer Road Clarion Hotel. Additionally the subdivision will facilitate the granting of Graham Road West plus a portion of the mall ring road to the Village, which will finally allow it to repair the heavily pocked roadway leading to BJ's Wholesale Club.

The purpose of the proposal is to allow anchor stores to own their own spaces in the mall, as Target already does. In 2017 mall representative CMC Engineering Manager Kenneth Farrall explained the reason is to give those stores more of a stake in the mall so when they are considering store closings they are less likely to close the locations they own. He said that provides more of an incentive for businesses to locate in the smaller stores still owned by the mall management, because they feel more secure that it is more likely that traffic-generating anchor stores will stay.

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posticon Lansing Planner Explains Local Industrial Solar Implications

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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On December 5th Lansing Director of Planning C.J. Randall was the speaker at an online 'coffee hour' hosted by the Cortland and Tompkins Cornell Cooperative Extension offices. Randall made sense of new Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) regulations that give New York State authority to site large industrial solar arrays -- two of which have been proposed in the Town of Lansing.

"I've been following energy policy as a strategic part of local governance for about a decade now," she said. "I'm interested in this intersection of planning, the environment, and also renewable energy. I happens that we are at the crossroads of this by virtue of some historic accidents, some geographic location, and some existing infrastructure."

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posticon First COVID-19 Vaccine Dose in US Administered in Queens

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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covid vaccine Sandra LindsaySandra Lindsay, left, a registered nurse and Director of Critical Care at Northwell Health, receives the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Scott Heins(Governor's Office)

Monday morning, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo virtually joined Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling, Northwell Health Director of Employee Health Services Dr. Michelle Chester and Long Island Jewish Medical Center ICU Nurse Sandra Lindsay for the first administration of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.

Shortly before 9:30am, Dr. Chester administered the vaccine to Ms. Lindsay, a front-line health care worker eligible to receive the vaccine under Phase 1 of New York's Vaccine Distribution Plan. The vaccine was developed by New York-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer and authorized by the FDA and New York's Clinical Advisory Task Force late last week.

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posticon HEALTH ALERTS

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By Samantha Hillson, Tompkins County Health Department Print
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The Tompkins County Health Department is alerting the public of a potential COVID-19 exposure. The Health Department received notification of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 and attended a funeral service at Wegmans Deli Counter, Lansing Tops Bakery, Wegmans Sub Shop, Downtown Post Office, Odyssey Bookstore, Perkins Funeral Home in Dryden, and TCAT ROutes 14 and 30 during the time when they could have infected others. The individuals who tested positive is in isolation and the close contacts identified are in quarantine.

“Anyone who may have been at (these locations) during these times should seek a test and closely monitor themselves for symptoms. We all must remain vigilant and limit our exposures. To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, we’re reminding everyone to continue to wear a mask, stay six feet apart, and consider density when going out,” stated Frank Kruppa, Public Health Director.

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posticon State of Emergency In 18 Counties Due To Snow

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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cuomo stateofemergencyPhoto by Don Pollard/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency in eighteen New York counties yesterday as a strong winter storm continued to impact much of the state, dumping more than two feet of snow across a wide swath of the state. Specifically, the counties included in the declaration are Albany, Broome, Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, Ulster and Washington Counties. A number of travel restrictions and speed limit reductions have also been implemented by state transportation agencies. New Yorkers being advised to continue monitoring their local weather reports for updates and avoid any unnecessary travel as driving conditions remain dangerous in many parts of the state.

"With a large portion of the state continuing to deal with heavy snowfall and extremely dangerous driving conditions, I am declaring a state of emergency in eighteen counties across the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, Capital and Mid-Hudson Regions," Cuomo said. "New Yorkers are no strangers to extreme winter weather and we will get through this as we always do. We have thousands of personnel and pieces of equipment engaged in operations throughout the state and will continue to do everything we can to help communities until the job is done. In the meantime, I am urging all New Yorkers to stay home and avoid any unnecessary travel so snow plows and road crews can clear roads as quickly and as safely as possible."

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posticon State Vaccination Administration Plan Update

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo updated New Yorkers Wednesday on the state's Vaccination Administration Plan and the establishment of Regional Vaccination Hubs to help facilitate vaccinations once Phase 2 of the state's plan begins in early 2021. Additionally, the Governor announced that the state has launched the Vaccinate New York campaign and website to provide the public with information about, and help instill confidence in, the vaccine and the state's administration plan. To help ensure New Yorkers are able to access the vaccine at no cost, the Department of Financial Services has also issued a directive to New York health insurers to immediately cover, without cost-sharing, approved COVID-19 immunizations and their administration.

"This is the most ambitious governmental operation ever undertaken, but we are New Yorkers, and we always set the bar high," Governor Cuomo said. "We want to be the first COVID-free state and that means remaining diligent. It's about logistics, and supply, and most importantly it's about public education and access. Remember, we need to have 75 to 85 percent of the population vaccinated to actually win this war. That's why we have not only launched the Vaccinate New York campaign and website to help instill public confidence in the vaccine, but we also have taken steps to ensure no New Yorker will have to pay a penny to get vaccinated. New Yorkers have already paid more than their fair share for COVID, but by staying united, tough and smart, we will reach the light at the end of the tunnel."

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posticon New York Electoral College Proceedings

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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posticon County Legislature Highlights

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By Dominick Recckio Print
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Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Provides Legislature Update on COVID-19 Response

Members of the EOC presented an update on the local COVID-19 response. County Administrator Jason Molino opened the presentation with details on the spike in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks in Tompkins County. Since the last presentation to the Legislature there have been 439 new positive cases, including a single day high of 61 on December 7th.

Deputy County Administrator Amie Hendrix outlined the current operational priorities of the EOC, breaking down the work of County officials managing the COVID-19 response. The priorities include managing the current caseload, public communications, coordination with community partners, and planning for vaccine distribution in Tompkins County. Officials and Legislators gave special recognition to the Tompkins County Health Department nurses for their work managing contact investigations and tracing since the beginning of the pandemic.

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posticon Health Department’s Daily COVID-19 Data Reporting Updated

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By Samantha Hillson, Tompkins County Health Department Print
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The Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) announced changes Tuesday to its daily COVID-19 data update. TCHD is committed to being transparent with the COVID-19 data and understands the importance of communicating this information to the public as clearly and accurately as possible.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have emphasized that this continues to be an evolving situation, and we greatly appreciate the public’s patience and ability to adapt. The data we collect is a real-time process that is constantly changing. We are making these changes to have a more streamlined process and make sure that we are reporting testing from all labs,” stated Frank Kruppa, Public Health Director.

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posticon State Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Regulations Finalized

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the finalization Tuesday of regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide and implement the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. As the first regulatory requirement of the Climate Act, the adoption of these regulations marks a critical milestone in realizing New York's nation-leading clean energy and climate agenda.

"New York has firmly established itself as a national leader in combatting climate change and with these new regulations in place, we are once again blazing the trail to a cleaner and greener future," Governor Cuomo said. "Climate change is here, it is real, and in the absence of federal leadership, states need to step up and implement real solutions that protect our environment, public health and economy. By implementing these ambitious emission limits on greenhouse gases, New York isn't only taking a tremendous step towards reducing its carbon footprint, but we have set an example for the rest of the country to follow as well."

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posticon New Law Protects Immigrants From ICE in NY Courts

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the Protect Our Courts Act (S00425A/A2176A) Tuesday to ensure New Yorkers can freely access the justice system without fear of being targeted by federal immigration authorities. The legislation addresses longstanding concerns that federal immigration enforcement was deterring immigrants from appearing in New York State courts and impeding the fair administration of justice. It builds upon a prior executive order by the Governor and a directive by the chief judge of the New York State Unified Court System.

"Unlike this federal government, New York has always protected our immigrant communities," Cuomo said. "This legislation will ensure every New Yorker can have their day in court without fear of being unfairly targeted by ICE or other federal immigration authorities."

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posticon Drone-Based Initiative Will Fight Climate Change

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By NYSERDA Print
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nyserda A drone hauls a pack of elaborate sensing equipment during surveys of the Southern Tier earlier this year for magnetic anomalies that will be mapped to find abandoned wells

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced Monday that New York is deploying state-of-the-art drone technology to help reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions from aging and abandoned oil and gas infrastructure. DEC and NYSERDA are using high-tech aerial surveillance equipment to locate and plug abandoned, decades-old oil and gas wells that leak methane into the environment. Ton for ton, methane is many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, and is second only to carbon dioxide in its overall contribution to climate change. Representing almost 10 percent of the state’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, methane reduction is a key piece of New York’s nation-leading policies to address the risks from climate change.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “With our partners at NYSERDA, DEC is deploying cutting-edge drone technology to map and locate orphan oil and gas wells, some of which were abandoned more than a century ago. Plugging these wells is critical to reducing fugitive methane from escaping into the atmosphere and is further proof that New York is undertaking nation-leading actions to reduce greenhouse gases from sources – large and small – across the state.”

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posticon County Officials Hold Virtual COVID-19 Update

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By Dominick Recckio Print
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Tompkins County Public Health and Emergency Operations Center officials held a virtual COVID-19 update December 9th detailing the recent spike in positive cases and answering questions from the public. The update is archived on the County's YouTube channel.

Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa presented information on the recent spike in cases, guidance to help stop the spread, vaccine distribution planning, and New York State's winter COVID-19 strategy. Kruppa clarified that the County's vaccine distribution plan has been approved by New York State and that his team meets regularly with Cayuga Health System and other community partners to operationalize plans. Kruppa stated, "When you get your vaccine is going to depend on how much we get and how quickly we are able to distribute to the priority populations (healthcare and long-term care workers and residents). We will be very clear about where you can get your vaccine when the time comes." This week, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo shared that the Southern Tier region will receive 4,500 doses of the vaccine initially.

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posticon Updated Zone Metrics, Hospital Directives and Business Guidelines

News | Friday, December 18, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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On December 11th Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced new metrics by which micro-cluster focus zones will be determined to help control COVID-19 spread and protect hospital capacity. Additionally, the Governor announced new directives to further grow hospital capacity, as well as updated calibrations to business guidelines based on recent CDC guidance, advice of public health experts, and data from state's contact tracing program. Under these calibrated business guidelines, indoor dining in New York City will be suspended on Monday, December 14, and gyms and salons will now be allowed to remain open with restrictions in Orange Zones.

"We have been setting rules that make sense for everyone, and it is basically all common sense. We invested very heavily in doing COVID testing, and we do more testing than any state in the nation. That gives us actual facts that we can base our actions upon," Cuomo said. "This is not high science we're applying here—these are common-sense rules. Where the virus is highest, you have to take action. We're changing rules for the hospitals in the state. We've already announced that all hospitals have to do a 25 percent increase in staffed beds. Hospitals must remain under 85 percent, either by adding up to 25 percent of beds, reducing or eliminating elective surgeries, or both. We're also calibrating the risk level of the economic activity to ensure we are respecting public health, while limiting economic disruption to the extent possible. This pandemic has required us to stay nimble from the very beginning and we will continue to follow the data to make smart, informed decisions."

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posticon Mall Senior Housing Changes Stalled Again

News | Friday, December 11, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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The Village of Lansing Board of Trustees again delayed action on two changes to the Lansing Meadows Planned Development Area (PDA) after a public hearing Monday. The development is part of a PDA that sets special zoning regulations for BJ's Wholesale Club, a senior housing project between BJ's and Oakcrest Road, and another small commercial lot. While Mayor Donald Hartill seemed anxious to put the changes to a vote after months of discussion and delays, Deputy Mayor Ronny Hardaway proposed an amendment to the proposition at the last minute that would minimally delay the vote for another two weeks.

"If you look at the early pictures it was a wonderful little neighborhood. It had trees. It had paths. It had roads. It had wetlands. It was going to have a bird sanctuary. Well, if we build it out to t total of ten buildings -- 30 units -- it's going to be edge to edge buildings with a road in the middle and a little strip of wetlands in the back," Hardaway said. "I don't have a preference one way or the other if the units are sold or rented. My primary concern is that the subdivision, if passed, allows for the same type of building with the same subdivision to be built on the rest of the property. By doing that we would be losing a significant poortion, if not most of the greenspace that the Village Planning Board and Board of Trustees thought that they were approving when they first started negotiating with the developers on this project."

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posticon COVID Spikes in Tompkins County

News | Friday, December 11, 2020 | By Samantha Hillson, Tompkins County Health Department Print
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The Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) announced 61 new positive COVID-19 cases on Monday along with a fourth death at Oak Hill Manor Nursing Home. A majority of the 61 cases are resulting from spread within households and small gatherings, such as Thanksgiving or holiday celebrations, where one positive individual who may not have been showing symptoms infects most of their close contacts in those settings. TCHD has issued guidance strongly discouraging all non-essential gatherings and travel. TCHD is also sharing information on the recent spread of COVID-19 and how members of the public can help to stop the spread.

Additionally, the Health Department warned of potential exposure to the virus at Home Depot, Walmart, Ciao, TCAT Bus Route 14S, Triphammer ReUse Center, Mahogany Grill, and Meadow Street TOPS Friendly Markets. (see below for possible exposure dates).

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posticon State Health Department To Implement 'Surge & Flex' Hospital Protocol

News | Friday, December 11, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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cmcGovernor Andrew M. Cuomo directed the New York State Department of Health Monday to begin implementing the state's "surge and flex" protocol and mandate all hospitals begin expanding their bed capacity by 25 percent to further prepare hospitals for a future COVID-19 surge. Hospitals had previously been preparing plans for this action as part of New York's Winter COVID Plan.

Additionally, the Governor issued a call to all retired doctors and nurses urging them to return to service if they are able to do so. A registration will be renewed at no cost for an individual who completes the questionnaire through the volunteer portal, set up by the state Department of Health.

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posticon 2021 Recycling Fees Announced

News | Friday, December 11, 2020 | By Jeremy Betterley Print
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The Tompkins County Department of Recycling and Materials Management is announcing fee changes that will take place beginning January 1st, 2021. The fee changes that will affect all users of the Recycling and Solid Waste Center are included below:

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posticon Two Bipartisan Healthcare Bills Pass the House

News | Friday, December 11, 2020 | By Office of Congressman Tom Reed Print
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Washington, DC -- Yesterday, Rep. Tom Reed spearheaded the passage of the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2019 and the HOSPICE Act, two critical pieces of healthcare legislation, through the House of Representatives.

The ALS Disability Insurance Access Act would waive the five-month Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) waiting period for individuals with ALS, while the HOSPICE Act would increase transparency and oversight into hospice providers to prevent bad actors from providing poor quality care.

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