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posticon $404,170 Grant To Bring Broadband to Lansing Power Plant Site

News | Friday, October 16, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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ARC Grant Internet Lansing

Tompkins County Area Development announced Wednesday that it has been awarded a $404,170 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) grant to bring a 17-mile long fiber broadband trunk extension from Ithaca to the future location of a  data center in Lansing.  The Internet trunk line is a crucial element in converting the now-closed coal-fired power plant in the north-west of the Town into a state of the art 100 MW cloud data center, and may bring high speed Internet to under-served areas in Lansing.

"As we have seen during this pandemic, access to the Internet is critically important. Businesses, first responders, healthcare institutions, schools, and, of course, residents, need a more reliable, high speed, lifeline to the rest of the world,” said Tompkins County Area Development President Heather McDaniel, CEcD. "Safety and economic prosperity are increasingly dependent upon this resource, which has been lacking in much of Tompkins County. Tompkins County Area Development is excited to announce it has received a $404,170 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to support a 17-mile extension of fiber optic cable from Ithaca along the east side of Cayuga Lake to the former Cayuga Coal Plant. "This ‘middle mile’ fiber will ultimately enable the delivery of high-speed internet service that has been sorely needed by residents and businesses in Tompkins County."

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posticon How a State Wildlife Area in North-west Lansing Might Happen

News | Friday, October 16, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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v16i41 Bell Station - Natural Area, State Park, or Solar
Bell Station

Last week Finger Lakes Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp met with the Town of Lansing Conservation Advisory Council to discuss how a proposal for a 100 to 200 megawatt solar facility would impact a possible state park on what is now the NYSEG-owned Bell Station property -- about 490 acres with the largest undeveloped shoreline on Cayuga Lake, amounting to 3,500 feet -- in the north-west of the Town.  Zepp said that if the Cayuga Solar project (with sPower developing the project) takes a couple of hundred acres of Bell Station land for a solar array, there wouldn't be enough land for a state forest -- the only way the Town could receive tax payments from New York State.  But he said he wants to explore whether the Town would still want tax payments from the State if it can negotiate a lucrative benefit package with the solar developers.

"About half of the Bell Station property is wooded, shoreline and bluff; and about half is leased corn and soybeans, maybe some hay," Zepp said. "I have had conversations with several folks in Lansing. One is what does the community feel about this? But two... typically larger solar farms have a significant host benefit compensation package. And there's a fundamental question is if the Town supported a solar farm that included the field phones, would it feel differently about the necessity of having Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) on the shoreline, which would now be difficult if not impossible, if you don't have the couple of hundred acres that the solar folks want."

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posticon Health Department Announces First COVID-19 Death in Tompkins County

News | Tuesday, October 13, 2020 | By Samantha Hillson, Tompkins County Health Department Print
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(Ithaca, NY – October 12, 2020) – The Tompkins County Health Department received notification of a confirmed COVID-19 death, the first of a Tompkins County resident. The individual was admitted to Cayuga Medical Center on October 6th, and passed away from complications related to the disease on October 12th. The individual was an elderly hospitalized patient. To maintain medical privacy, the Health Department will not be releasing additional information at this time.

“Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family affected by this loss. This passing is a difficult reminder that COVID-19 is still having serious impacts on our community,” stated Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County Public Health Director. “I urge everyone to pay careful attention to what we can all do to stop the spread. While our ability to manage the disease in Tompkins County has increased, we’re tragically reminded that COVID-19 disproportionately impacts older adults, those who are immune-compromised and those with underlying health conditions.”

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posticon Plastic Bag Ban Begins Next Monday

News | Friday, October 16, 2020 | By Tompkins County Recycling and Materials Management Print
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plasticbags

The Bag Waste Reduction Law, often referred to as a plastic bag ban, prohibits the distribution of plastic carryout bags by anyone required to collect New York State sales tax. More information about the law can be found at the NYS DEC website.

A local law is also in effect that applies a $.05 fee to all paper bags provided to customers of retail establishments in Tompkins County. This incentivizes the repeated use of durable, reusable bags. The fee does not apply to recipients of SNAP and WIC. Part of the revenue from the paper bag fee is used towards distributing reusable bags to lower income residents.

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posticon Residents Asking for Industrial Solar Mitigations

News | Friday, October 16, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Industrial Solar in Lansing

Solar energy has long been an issue in Lansing, first with residential solar panels, then in 2018 the 5MW Nexamp community solar project was proposed.  After around a year of deliberation the Town Board passed a local Solar and Wind law last July.  Almost immediately after the law was passed two industrial solar projects were proposed that together could account for as much as 360 megawatts of solar energy.

But those projects need land... lots of land, and while Lansing supports solar projects for the most part, some residents are worried about the impact of large solar projects that are constructed near their homes.  One of those residents is Tompkins County Legislator Mike Sigler (Lansing), who said Tuesday that he is starting a campaign and petition to mitigate the impacts of these huge projects on residential properties in Lansing.

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posticon Commission Will Oversee Ruth Bader Ginsburg Statue

News | Friday, October 16, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today appointed 23 members to a new commission that will oversee the creation of a statue honoring the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The commission includes members of Justice Ginsburg's family, close friends, esteemed colleagues, and other leaders. The commission will provide recommendations to the Governor regarding the artist, design, location and installation of the memorial statue.

"Last month I announced New York State will honor the life and legacy of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a statue in her native Brooklyn. Now I'm releasing a list of the 19 members that we have appointed to the commission who will oversee the creation of the statue. Justice Ginsburg will forever stand as a singular figure in history, unmatched in her pursuit of justice and equality under the law for all Americans. Only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg was a tireless champion for women's rights and throughout her lifetime brilliantly navigated a complex landscape of gender-based discrimination to ultimately ascend to the highest court in the land. She leveraged that position to fiercely advocate for equal rights and ensure those who followed in her footsteps would face fewer obstacles along the way," Cuomo said. "Ruth Bader Ginsburg embodied a set of ideals often missing in today's civic dialogue - she showed us reason, empathy and hope. Her legacy as a jurist, professor, lawyer and scholar will endure for generations and we are honored to erect a permanent statue in memory of Justice Ginsburg. Lord knows she deserves it."

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posticon Juneteenth Becomes Official NYS Public Holiday

News | Friday, October 16, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed into law legislation (S.8598/A.10628) designating Juneteenth as an official public holiday in New York State. The new law celebrates Juneteenth, a day which commemorates the end to slavery and celebrates Black and African American freedom and achievements, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for New York State employees.

"I am incredibly proud to sign into law this legislation declaring Juneteenth an official holiday in New York State, a day which commemorates the end to slavery in the United States," Cuomo said. "This new public holiday will serve as a day to recognize the achievements of the Black community, while also providing an important opportunity for self-reflection on the systemic injustices that our society still faces today."

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posticon State to Withhold Funds to Localities That Fail to Enforce Public Health Law

News | Friday, October 16, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday that New York State will withhold funds for localities and schools in COVID-19 cluster zones that fail to enforce public health laws. The New York State Department of Health will send a letter warning local governments in cluster zones that they will lose state funding if they fail to enforce state limits on gatherings and the closure of schools. The letter will be sent to New York City, Orange County, Rockland County, the Town of Ramapo and the Village of Spring Valley.

Cuomo also announced that DOH will send an additional letter warning public and private schools in cluster zones that they will lose state funding if they do not comply with state requirements on closure and testing.

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posticon State Deploys 400,000 Rapid Testing Kits to Local Health Departments

News | Friday, October 16, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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COVID-19 rapid result testing will be made available to every county in New York State. The New York State Department of Health will deploy an initial 400,000 rapid result test kits free of charge to local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, and other health care providers to help increase access in all corners of New York State to free COVID-19 tests that can be done within 15 minutes and without having to send a specimen to a lab. DOH will prioritize the distribution of testing kits to counties and local health care providers in areas seeing recent uptick in cases. The rapid tests can be used to control new outbreaks, conduct surveillance testing, and will also be made available on a as needed basis to help schools in 'yellow zones' test students and staff as part of new requirements to monitor COVID-19 spread as part of the Governor's Cluster Action Initiative.

"From day one, testing has been one of the most vital tools we have to accurately assess COVID-19's spread in New York. Today New York State is building on our nation-leading testing program to expand rapid testing to every corner of the state, to give health care providers and localities the tools they need offer free rapid testing to their residents and patients," Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. "These rapid test kits will allow health care institutions throughout the state to quickly and accurately determine COVID-19's spread, control outbreaks and keep families and communities safe. Further, the state is taking precautionary steps to ensure localities are providing rapid testing for schools that are nearby communities that have seen recent upticks in cases and are offering in-person instruction. We will provide rapid test kits, as needed, free of charge to all localities to help them meet this new requirement, giving parents, teachers, and students confidence in the safety of their educational experiences."

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posticon Ohio, Michigan and Virginia Added to NYS Travel Advisory

News | Friday, October 16, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday that Ohio, Michigan and Virginia have been added to New York State's COVID-19 travel advisory. No areas have been removed. The advisory requires individuals who have traveled to New York from areas with significant community spread to quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine applies to any person arriving from an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

In 'Red Zone' focus areas included as part of the Governor's Cluster Action Initiative, the positivity rate for test results reported yesterday is 4.13 percent - up from the 3.70 percent the day before. The "Red Zone" focus areas are home to 2.8 percent of state's population, yet had 12.3 percent of all positive cases reported yesterday to New York State.

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