Local News for Friday, February 3, 2023

Ithaca Fifth Ward Gets New Alderperson

Residents of Ithaca’s Fifth Ward have a new representative on the Common Council. Kris Haines-Sharp was unanimously approved by the Council during a Wednesday meeting. She fills the position left vacant when Mayor Laura Lewis officially took office last December. The Ithaca Voice reports that seven candidates applied to be appointed as the replacement alderperson.  Haines-Sharp’s term will last until the end of this year. All council seats will be up for election in November. Haines-Sharp was previously the assistant principal at New Roots Charter School.

Hochul Announces 2024 Budget

New York Governor Kathy Hochul presented a $227 billion budget for 2024 on Wednesday. WRVO reports the budget includes a 10 percent increase in school aid. The bump fulfills an almost 20-year-old court order that required the state to provide the poorest schools with more funding. The budget also puts a billion dollars into increasing access to mental health care. Hochul laid out a public safety plan devoting over $300 million dollars to address a recent rise in gun violence. And she’s proposing revisions to bail reform laws that would allow judges more discretion to set bail for people accused of certain serious crimes.

Kelles Town Hall on Rise in Local Crime

Assemblywoman Anna Kelles held a virtual community town hall Thursday evening about public safety and the rise in local crime reported over the past 2 years. A panel of four people including Tompkins County Sheriff Derek Osborne and Lisa Hoeschele head of Family and Children Services of Cortland County discussed causes and solutions. Panelists said there’s no one cause and therefore solutions need to be happening on different fronts including law enforcement, courts, schools and social services. A recording of the discussion will be made public soon. Kelles said she hopes to host another town hall with a panel of formerly incarcerated people.

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