Local News: September 1, 2023

- A Fifth Ward Candidate Is Staying In Race For Ithaca Common Council -

An Ithaca Common Council candidate is staying in the race as an Independent. Jason Houghton lost the Democratic primary to Clyde Lederman by ten votes in June. Houghton told The Ithaca Voice he’s still running for the 2-year seat in the Fifth Ward. He’ll be on the independent Ithacans For Progress line on the November ballot. 

- New Cigarette Tax Goes Into Effect In New York September 1 -

Starting September 1, the cigarette tax in New York increased by one dollar per pack. That means smokers will pay $5.35 in taxes on each pack they buy. WRVO Public Radio reports the new tax does not apply to vaping products. The American Cancer Society estimates the higher tax will prevent over 14,000 people under 18 from becoming adult smokers. The tax increase was opposed by a convenience store trade group. It says the increase would only push smokers to find cheaper sellers not lead them to quit smoking. Cigarette taxes in neighboring Pennsylvania are $2.60 per pack.

- Dryden Fire Departments Get Almost $400,000 FEMA Grant -

Fire departments in the Town of Dryden are getting a grant of over $397,000 from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Tompkins Weekly reports the funds will go to the volunteer fire departments in Dryden, Varna, Etna, and Freeville. It will be used to buy new protective equipment and expand their recruiting. The Firefighters Association of the State of New York estimates that between 2000 and 2020 the number of volunteer firefighters dropped to 80,000. A loss of 100,000 volunteers.

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