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February 21, 2020 Issue  
Lansing, New York  
Volume 16, Issue 8

posticon Lansing School Population Rising

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Lansing Elementary School

Lansing School Superintendent Chris Pettograsso told the Board Of Education last week that student enrollment continues to rise in the district.  Pettograsso said that the district is up by 14 students since the beginning of the year, and rises in the elementary school population over the past few years are now beginning to show up in the middle and high schools.  Board member Linda Pasto asked Pettograsso whether growing enrollment is unique to Lansing or a trend county-wide. 

"We are definitely an anomaly," Pettograsso said. "I don't think it's just the County. I think it's a New York state. There are a lot of schools, especially around our size, that are decreasing. I think maybe the one district that will be increasing in enrollment that is close to us would be Ithaca.  But we're the only school our size that I know about (with increasing enrollment). Most schools are talking about closing buildings, or just just their demographic overall changing -- going down."

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posticon Town Explores Major Highway Department Facility Expansion

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Lansing Highway Department

The Lansing Town Board discussed Wednesday early steps toward upgrading and expanding the Highway Department building.  Water and sewer work are among the many current responsibilities of the department that did not exist when the facility was built 51 years ago.  Highway Superintendent Charlie 'Cricket' Purcell says that upgrading the building has been under discussion for the past dozen years, and something has to be done for the building to catch up to current demands.  He estimates that the project may end up costing the Town between $2.5 and $4 million.

"We've definitely grown as far as the maintenance and the things that we do. Some of them mean an increase in equipment, and just trying to have space for that as well as really trying to be more equipped and set up to deal with the water and the sewer work that we do," Purcell says. "51 years ago it really wasn't an issue. And we've kind of grown into that and with the Warren road sewer district and stuff, the department's expanded as far as what we're responsible for."

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posticon Legislators (Finally) Elect a Chair and Vice Chair

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tc legislativechamber600
The Tompkins County Legislature made history Tuesday night in electing Legislator Leslyn McBean-Clairborne (D-Ithaca) to serve as its Chair for 2020. She is the first woman of color to fill the top elected leadership position in Tompkins County history.

The 9-5 vote in favor of McBean-Clairborne ended a stalemate that began at the January 7th organizational meeting, when neither Legislator Anna Kelles nor Mike Lane generated the necessary eight votes to become Chair. On February 7th, County Clerk Maureen Reynolds – as stipulated by the County Charter – appointed Legislator Shawna Black (D) as Interim Chair.

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posticon Local Democratic Assembly Candidate Pool Grows

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Democratic Assembly CandidatesLeft to right: Barbara Lifton, Jordan Lesser, Jason Leifer, Seph Murtagh

It's not quite the Democratic presidential primary in terms of the number of candidates... or is it?  With Jordan Lesser (D) throwing his hat in the ring Monday the count is now seven Democrats running for Barbara Lifton's New York State Assembly seat.  Democrats began announcing they would be running the day after Lifton announced on January 31st that she would not be seeking another term after 18 years representing the 125th Assembly District.

"For over 10 years, I have had the honor of working for Assemblywoman Lifton in both the Albany and Ithaca offices, on every piece of legislation, many policy initiatives, and the state budget," Lesser said in his announcement Monday. "As a native Ithacan, an environmental attorney, and with many educators in my family, I understand both the needs of the district and how to accomplish the goals of our local communities in Albany."

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posticon Town Hall ADA Door Project Approved

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Town Hall Entrance

The Lansing Town Board approved replacing the front entry doors to the Town Hall Wednesday.  The new doors will be Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible, and are expected to be simpler to lock and unlock than the original entry doors.  Lansing Director of Planning C.J. Randall told the Board that a $15,000 Justice Courts Assistance Program (JCAP) has been awarded to the Town to go toward what is estimated to be an approximately $60,000 project.

Town officials have discussed growing demands of the Lansing courts on and off for many years, in particular potential expansions to the Town Hall and safety measures especially for non-court offices when court is in session.  As the Board became more focused on problems with the existing entryway, including ADA accessibility, Randall consulted with Justice John Howell, asking him whether the Lansing courts had plans to apply for the grant for other purposes.  Randall said that Howell assisted her in applying for the grant, which may be up to a maximum of $30,000.

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posticon Myers Park Entry Building Named For Joan Holden

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Joan HoldenFrom left: Parks & Recreation Supervisor Patrick Tyrrell, Supervisor Ed LaVigne, Joan Holden and her family Jeff Holden, Vicki Holden, Deb Beyea, Kristen Beyea

The Lansing courtroom was packed Wednesday with friends and family who wanted to be there when the Town Board passed a resolution honoring Joan Holden for more than 20 years of service supervising youth employees at Myers Park.  Supervisor Ed LaVigne read the resolution, which was passed unanimously, and Parks & Recreation Supervisor Patrick Tyrrell presented a plaque that will be installed on the entry building in Myers Park.  LaVigne noted that Wednesday was also Holden's 90th birthday, and the room erupted in an enthusiastic rendition of 'Happy Birthday To You'.

"It is your birthday, right? And Joan, you've got to write a book cause you're 90 and you're, you look 65 if you, if that," LaVigne said. "So I don't know what you're doing, eating, smoking, chewing, but whatever you've got, you need to pass it around."

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posticon New York #7 Retirement Destination

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New York

Everyone knows that Florida is where New Yorkers go to retire.  Florida is the number one retirement destination in the United States.  But did you know that New York is the #7 destination for retirees?  That's right.  A new study by SeniorLiving.org (looking at statistics from 2017) reports that New York is the seventh top retirement destination for people 55 and older coming from other states.  The largest number of new Florida residents aged 50+ came from New York.  Despite the stereotype, only 13% of outgoing 50+ New Yorkers moved to Florida.  And oddly enough, the largest number of seniors relocating to New York came from Florida.

The study also finds that Ithaca was the number one metropolitan destination for people aged 18 to 29 in 2017, with 33.8% of residents coming from a different metropolitan area.  Especially impressive since that was only two years after the notorious Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau campaign in 2015 that advised tourists, "Due to the ridiculously stupid winter, Ithaca invites you to visit The Keys this week.  Please come back when things thaw out.  Really.  It's for the birds here right now."  With a big promotional link for Key West.

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