Two recent anonymous donations have made it possible for the Ithaca Youth Bureau to bring back furloughed employees.  

The City of Ithaca announced the donations in a press release issued Wednesday afternoon. The notice states that The Ithaca Youth Bureau will use the $ 110,000 dollars to cover operating expenses through December 31, 2020. As a result, the agency will be able to both update and re-imagine their programming to navigate COVID-19 protocols. With restored programs, the Youth Bureau expects to be able to serve over 400 youth and families in the coming months.

Together with a partnership through the Ithaca City School District summer high school program, youth development staff have started delivering some programming.  A number of classes began this past Monday, including Cross Country Running, Get Your Play on, Sport Spot, and Tennis Anyone.

Liz Klohmann, Director of the Ithaca Youth Bureau, spoke on behalf of the IYB staff, noting her gratitude for the community support - and excitement to see people participating in activities at city of Ithaca facilities again.

The Youth Bureau states that due to expected sustained budget reductions, it will be moving to grow partnerships in the community and with the Ithaca City School District.  To learn more visit friendsiyb.org.

Cayuga Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation says that they no longer have any cases of COVID-19, and managed to keep it from spreading within the facility. 

The Ithaca Times reports that the facility identified one case on July 19 and immediately developed a plan to test every employee and resident to prevent further spread of the virus.  Every test has come back negative, including the individual who originally tested positive. 

Director of Marketing and Resident Relations Kevin Dean says that the individual who had previously tested positive will be tested weekly until they have had two additional negative COVID-19 test results.

Dean adds that officials at Cayuga Ridge believe that the resident’s test result was a false positive, although he did not provide evidence of this. He notes that although it’s likely the virus was never in the building to begin with, they are still moving forward with caution. 

First-year international students must take at least one class in-person in order to study in Ithaca this fall as a result of the latest mandate from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

According to the Cornell Daily Sun, the original proposed policy to ban all international students if they took classes online was reversed. However, ICE stated July 24 that this does not apply to first-year students. The ruling states that if Cornell changes the method of instruction at any point in the semester, students would not face deportation. 

Cornell has yet to release its student demographics for its upcoming freshman class, so it’s not certain how many students this will affect.

Looking to the local COVID-19 caseload, as of Wednesday, there is 1 new case of the virus in Tompkins County. According to the health department, there are 32 active cases of COVID-19 in Tompkins, and 188 recoveries.

In Schuyler County, again there are no new cases of COVID-19 reported as of Wednesday, according to their Health Department. All active cases have recovered.

The Tompkins County History Center is asking the public to submit videos, photos, and physical items relevant to the local movement protesting racial injustice. 

The center aims to document the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, prompted by the Minneapolis police officers killing George Floyd in late May. 

According to the Ithaca Times, the history center is shifting their approach in documenting ongoing protests, and in documenting COVID-19’s effects on the community. Rather than collecting items after these events have concluded, they’re taking submissions while protests and the pandemic are ongoing. So far, the center has received 10 item donations, most of which are video recordings of local protests. The center’s Director of Archives and Research Services says any photographs and videos will become part of a larger digital archive.

Learn how to submit artifacts at thehistorycenter.net.

Governor Cuomo has issued a letter to U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, urging them to ensure that $500 billion dollars of unrestricted state aid is provided in the pending Senate relief bill.

The bill, termed the HEALS Act, is currently under negotiation in the US Senate. Cuomo’s letter asserts that the National Governors Association has called for the $500 billion allocation. He adds that under the last CARES act, states led by Democratic Governors were severely underfunded as compared to their Republican counterparts.

According to the Governor, the money that the state receives through the HEALS act will determine the state budget, and in turn, New Yorkers’ property tax. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo has also announced Census Push Week, to encourage New York residents to fill out the 2020 Census. Responses to the Census have been dramatically lower, reportedly due to the pandemic. Around 42% of New York residents have not yet filled out the Census. This is the governor’s first effort to increase responses, according to the Gotham Gazette. 

The census is only conducted once per decade, and its responses determine how federal funding is used, and how the population is represented in government. The extended deadline to respond to the Census via mail is October 31.

The census can be filled out at 2020Census.gov.

Contributing writing by WRFI News Intern Phoebe Harms, and Volunteers Esther Racoosin and Peter Champelli