The community portrait project, We Are Ithaca, held its final photo session Thursday. The project was created by three local photographers. One of them is Robyn Wishna. The project began last Fall, she says, to offer the community something positive in a year that had so much negativity. "We came up with this project to celebrate the community through portraits.
As state lawmakers continue to search for ways to plug an estimated billion-dollar budget hole, they are taking a renewed look at state agencies’ use of special funds, including money dedicated to environmental programs.
People packed the gym of Beverly J. Martin Elementary School in downtown Ithaca to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They also were there to further his vision of a Poor People’s Campaign.
It was a movement to “revolutionize” the country’s attitude toward the poor and rally them to advocate for better living conditions. After a buffet lunch and brief presentations, those attending the celebration divided into smaller groups to discuss issues and solutions to current societal problems.
Fabina Colon, Director of the Multicultural Resource Center and one of the organizers of the Ithaca event, said it was important to spend time talking to each other about problems the community faces today. "If we want different solutions we must create different processes. That is, looking at some of the work that the Poor People’s Campaign is doing and being in alignment with that," said Fabina Benitez Colon, Director of the Multicultural Resource Center and one of the organizers of the Ithaca event. Nationwide, organizers are trying to bring about a revival of the Poor People's Campaign with an emphasis on systemic racism, poverty, the war economy and ecological devastation.
ALBANY (WSKG) - A poll on New Yorkers' attitudes on racism and sexual harassment show that many believe society has a way to go to improve things. The Siena College survey finds that 36 percent of women report being the victims of workplace sexual harassment. Siena spokesman Steve Greenberg said that when it comes to the issue, there is no upstate-downstate divide or difference in political parties, and three-quarters of New Yorkers think it’s a significant problem. “Those are just staggering numbers,” Greenberg said. The Siena poll finds that nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers think race relations are just fair or poor, a number that’s up from polls conducted earlier in the decade.
KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - A panel of federal judges upheld Pennsylvania’s congressional district map as constitutional in a 2-1 split decision on Wednesday. In the majority decision, Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith ruled that the plaintiffs’ claim is a political question inappropriate for the courts. “The structural change Plaintiffs seek must come from the political branches or the political process itself, not the courts,” wrote Smith. In the case, a group of about 20 Pennsylvania voters from around the state claimed lawmakers intentionally rigged the map to favor Republicans over Democrats in an effort they believe violated the U.S. Constitution. Their argument hinged on a novel interpretation of the Elections Clause, which grants state legislatures the power to set rules regarding the time, place, and manner of congressional elections.
Education groups in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes will share $400,000 to use for farm-to-school projects. Among the awardees: Broome-Tioga BOCES, Sidney Central School District and the Cornell Cooperative Extensions serving Steuben and Seneca counties. The Farm-to-School program, funded through the FY 2017-2018 state budget and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Block Program, is meant to connect kindergarten through grade 12 schools with local farms.
The governor proposed an expansion to this program in his 2018 State of the State Address and announced the awards last week.
ALBANY (WSKG) - The state’s Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli, warns of a “problematic” budget season, as the state faces a structural deficit, changes to the federal tax code, and uncertainty over continued funding from Washington. DiNapoli, speaking at a forum sponsored by the Albany Times Union, says this year’s $4.4 billion dollar budget gap is on top of expected cuts from President Trump and the Republican led Congress. “On health care alone, we still stand to lose billions of dollars,” DiNapoli. “We really could be behind the eight ball.”
Governor Cuomo introduces his budget plan next week, and says he wants to include a plan to shift the state income tax to a pay roll tax, in order to get around the loss of state and local tax deductions in the new federal tax law. DiNapoli says he’ll comment after he sees the governor’s specific plan, but says any proposal would be “complex” to implement.
HARRISBURG (WSKG) - A portion of the state Senate's latest, tax-heavy plan to balance the commonwealth's budget is likely to prompt some legal entanglement. Senators' proposal to expand how the commonwealth's sales tax is applied to online transactions is modeled on similar attempts by other states. Those states are already facing lawsuits. If the measure passes the House and governor, it would require online marketplaces--like Amazon--to charge sales tax on items they sell via third-party vendors. The move is expected to net more than $40 million annually.