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June 5, 2020 Issue  
Lansing, New York  
Volume 16, Issue 23

posticon Local Leaders Respond to George Floyd Killing

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The nation was stunned by reports of the death of George Floyd. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is facing second-degree murder charges for continuing to press his knee against Floyd's neck -- while arresting a cooperative Floyd -- until he died. Three other officers have anso been fired and arrested. Peaceful protesters came out across the nation, and looters took advantage of the situation, causing curfews in many major cities. A protest is planned Sunday here in Lansing as well. Civic and municipal leaders have spoken against the brutality of the murder, and the national narrative -- and the conversation in Lansing -- quickly turned to an outcry against racism in America.

"As a District Superintendent, it is my responsibility to make sure all students feel safe," Lansing School Superintendent Chris Pettograsso said at Tuesday evening's Board of Education meeting. "This is my responsibility to use my platform to publicly denounce racism, police brutality against black and brown people and to stand with, by, and in front of our black and brown students to let each and every student know you're seen, loved, and valued. It's my responsibility to take action personally and within our educational institution. By no means, does this take away any love, admiration, and gratitude that I have for our ally first responders that protect and serve every single day. The Black Lives Matter movement is creating a world free of anti-blackness where every black and brown person has a social economic and political power to thrive."

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posticon School Budget Ballots Due Tuesday

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Few taxpayers attended the Lansing Central School District budget hearing on Zoom Tuesday, which made it hard for Board of Education members and school officials to gauge how the budget vote will go next Tuesday. The board is asking voters to approve a $31,554,110 budget, plus three student transport vehicles at a cost not to exceed $300,000. Because busses are on a replacement schedule, the annual expense is not costly to taxpayers, because as debt for old busses falls off, it is used to purchase the new ones. But the general budget tends to rise each year, and the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a number of challenges for school districts across New York State.

"'A rock and a hard place' is a good description, with having potential cuts in the future for this year's budget is really a unique and unfortunate for us," School Superintendent Chris Pettograsso said. "We tried to really minimize the impact as best we could. There are very few schools that don't go up to that tax cap to get as much money as they can to support program. We listened to our community. We listened to the board and we minimized that. Certainly we're not going near that tax cap. We're just taking what we need to do to keep those contracts valid and to support our school program."

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posticon 12 Lansing Educators Tenured, 14 Retire

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The Lansing Board of Education granted tenure to 12 teachers and administrators Tuesday, and accepted the retirement of 14 teachers and staff.

"We are so lucky to have these lovely people joining us. And, and as, as I've spoken to many of them, they're just so happy to be a Bobcat. Even many of them, you it's a great day to be a Bobcat slugging that made me really happy. Cause they're there, they're all about it. And they really emanate our values and beliefs. "

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posticon KTC Names Winitsky Interim Producing Artistic Director

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Last week the Kitchen Theatre Company (KTC) announced the departure of Producing Artistic Director M. Bevin O’Gara, and that David Winitsky has been named Interim Producing Artistic Director. Founder and Executive Artistic Director of New York’s Jewish Plays Project (JPP), Winitsky, a director and producer, was unanimously named to the position by the KTC Board of Directors. He is also a Cornell graduate who was a student when KTC was founded.

"I am most looking forward to getting us back into the theater, and, that moment when the lights go down and we get to start telling our stories," Winitsky says. " I think that's the thing that I'm most looking forward to, but as somebody who has a long history with Ithaca, I'm so looking forward to meeting the audiences, and meeting the board and staff who I have met online. I'm very much just hungry to get into town and to meet people. "

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posticon Tompkins County Libraries Announce Joint Reopening Plans

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Municipal libraries in Tompkins County have announced that they are all reopening with curbside or in-lobby pick-up in the week of June 15, 2020. Tompkins County residents can place a hold on their local library’s materials by phone, email, or through the library catalogue.

“We’re excited to safely offer materials for our patrons, and eager to make sure people have resources to use and enjoy,” said Tompkins County Public Library Director Annette Birdsall. “Our libraries have had to find new ways to engage with patrons throughout this crisis, please continue to visit us virtually, as you once again enjoy our print books, dvds, and more.”

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posticon Tompkins County Announces COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program

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Tompkins County expects over $589,000 to be available for rent assistance for low to moderate income renters in Tompkins County whose incomes have been reduced due to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program will be managed by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services and coordinated with additional funds from the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency and reprograming of New York State HOME funds previously granted to INHS.

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posticon Senator Helming's State Capitol Virtual Tour

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Senator Pam Helming today announced that she has produced a virtual Capitol tour, available HERE.This tour is also available on her Facebook page and website at helming.nysenate.gov. Each year, Senator Helming hosts numerous local school groups and residents from the area for tours of the State Capitol in Albany. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many tours have been cancelled.

“Our state has a rich history and it is important that we appreciate it and share it with the next generation. Learning about our past is important to charting our path forward. While the current pandemic prevents large group tours, there are still opportunities to learn more about New York and its history. It is important to educate ourselves and our young people about our history and the role we can have in shaping our future by getting involved in the legislative process. Leaders like President Theodore once walked the very halls of the State Capitol and went on to change our nation's history,” said Helming

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posticon Coronavirus and the Future of the Economy

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