The New York Working Families Party has endorsed Tiffany Kumar for Ithaca’s Fourth Ward Common Council seat. The party touted Kumar’s work with the Ithaca Tenants Union, and her support for a $15 minimum wage for student workers. Kumar is challenging Incumbent councilor Patrick Mehler in the Democratic primary. Mehler was appointed to the council after the resignation of Steve Smith last year. Mehler and Kumar are both students at Cornell University, whose students make up a large portion of the fourth ward population.
Beginning today, the 500 block of East Buffalo Street will be closed as crews will be replacing a water main. The block will only be open to residents. Part of Stewart avenue will also be reduced to one lane of traffic for a week during work hours. Work will begin at 7 AM today and is scheduled to be completed on June 17th. Detour signs and flaggers will be present to direct traffic. Residents of the 500 block should also expect temporary water service interruptions as piping connections are made.
On Thursday New York Senator and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced $8.5 Million in federal funding for the Cornell University particle accelerator facility. According to the Ithaca Voice, the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) has also received $32 Million in funding from the National Science Foundation to expand the CHESS facility. Schumer said the funds will jumpstart the state’s “innovation economy.” The expansion will create 150 construction jobs. When complete, CHESS will employ an additional 150 people in science and tech.
New York state is now the state with the most counties at high risk for COVID-19 impacts. According to the Albany Times Union, Broome, Cayuga, Jefferson, Lewis, Onondaga, Oswego, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Tioga and Wayne counties are classified as “high risk.” The “high risk” classification is determined by the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000, the number of new COVID hospitalizations and the percentage of hospital beds with COVID patients. Only two other counties outside of New York, both in Kansas, are classified as “high risk.” All counties classified as high risk in New York state are in upstate regions. While state officials have urged residents to remain cautious, the State has not indicated it will reinstate any pandemic era mandates like masking. Hospitalizations have remained relatively low compared to their levels during the winter surge. Both Tompkins and Schuyler counties are classified as at medium risk.