Local News: December 14, 2023

- Court orders New York’s congressional districts redrawn again -

New York’s highest court ruled on Tuesday that the state's congressional districts must be re-drawn. The Albany Times Union reports the decision is a victory for Democrats and could tilt the balance of the House of Representatives in the 2024 elections. The state’s Independent Redistricting Commission must submit new maps to the legislature by the end of February. Republicans and Democrats have been in legal battles over the congressional maps since they were redrawn in 2022.

- Ithaca establishes enforcement policy for homeless encampments -

Ithaca’s pilot homeless encampment policy was passed without any guidelines for how city staff should respond to people who stay outside the sanctioned zone. That omission has been resolved. On Wednesday, the Council unanimously voted for a protocol that spells out how staff should approach and try to convince people to relocate to the green zone. The Ithaca Voice reports that the incoming city manager will be responsible for creating a budget and making any adjustments to the protocol. Some critics oppose any policy that forces people to move into the green zone. The council heard from a county legislator who says the legislature feels the city made the decision without checking with them or outreach workers. The city’s plan relies on the county to provide various services for people in the encampments.

- WRFI News feature preview -

Harmful algal blooms or HABS are showing up more frequently in waterbodies every summer. The toxins are dangerous to human and animal life. Walter Hang is the founder of Toxics Targeting, an environmental data and advocacy firm based in Ithaca. He says this year was terrible.

"This year, unfortunately, not only did Cayuga Lake, again have the highest number of confirmed harmful algal blooms than any other water body of the entire state of New York," Hang said and added that includes the Great Lakes waters in the state. "Lake Ontario is plagued with HABS but not to the same level as Cayuga Lake."

You can hear all of this interview and what Hang’s group says the governor could do to eliminate HABS at 6 pm Thursday, 2 pm Friday, or any time on our website.

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