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Statement to Tompkins Co Legislature

Statement at the Tompkins County Legislature – 02/18/2014

Good evening. My name is Sophie Zapala and I am a resident of West Hill.

I am here tonight to present several important and pressing issues to you.

October 1, 2013, has been etched in the collective memory of all the residents on West Hill. It is the day on which this body decided to sell the Biggs property to NRP Properties LLC, a private investment firm headquartered in Cleveland, OH, without performing a complete New York State-mandated environmental impact analysis – in face of almost unanimous opposition from the concerned residents of West Hill. That day should be etched in your memories, too. Continue reading Statement to Tompkins Co Legislature

Safety Message

Press Release / Safety Message

Agency:               Ithaca Fire Department
Date:                    Friday, February 22, 2014
Time:                   8:30 pm.
Location:             310 West Green Street, Ithaca
Incident:                            Ice / Gorge Safety
Contact Person:   Lieutenant Thomas T. Basher Jr.   Public Information Officer

Fax (607) 272-2793,  Cell (607) 227-5001, TBasher@CityofIthaca.org

Stay Off The Ice

Ithaca’s gorges are spectacular all year long, but they are equally dangerous as well. As the weather starts to improve and we venture out, the Ithaca Fire Department reminds everyone to exercise extreme caution in our area gorges.

  • • DO NOT WALK OUT ON ICE!
  • • Stay on designated trails only
  • • Do not cross over fence lines
  • • Adhere to all posted signage and warnings of danger
  • • It is illegal to swim in the gorges

On Friday, Ithaca Rescue crews were called to the base of Ithaca Falls for people in distress in the ice and water.  They were able to get out on their own and had left the scene prior to emergency responders arrival. They were lucky.  It could have easily been a tragic outcome.

Ice jam/flooding update

Message:Ice Jam / Flooding Update
Contact Person:Lieutenant Thomas T. Basher Jr.   Public Information Officer
Fax 272-2793,  Cell 227-5001,TBasher@CityofIthaca.org

 Ice Jam and Flooding Update for the City of Ithaca

A State of Emergency in the City of Ithaca continues until Sunday and the City’s Emergency Operations Center will remain open throughout the weekend.

 Weather Update-

Today’s snow, although inconvenient, has not added to the flooding and icing problems in the City. The snow had a very low water content and should not be a contributing factor in the flooding. However, temperatures should rise above freezing this afternoon and get into the 40’s tonight with winds of 15 mph.

Most of the snow on the ground should melt over the next day Continue reading Ice jam/flooding update

Heating with wood

With the drop in temperatures, many of us are turning to our fireplaces and wood stoves for heat and comfort.  If you are like me, you may have been building fires for years without realizing that wood heat – if not done properly – can be inefficient and wasteful, and lead to excessive smoke which negatively impacts the environment and neighbors.   I wanted to share with you details of a workshop to help you use your wood stove safely, effectively and cleanly.  You can also refer to their website http://ccetompkins.org/energy/heating-wood for additional information and resources.   ~C Brock

Learn to Burn: the Heating with Wood Workshop — Saturday, 1/11/14

Learn to Burn: the Heating with Wood WorkshopIf you now heat with firewood or pellets, or if you’re interested in moving over to this renewable energy source, this seminar is for you. Come learn about buying and drying firewood, best burn practices, proper maintenance of wood stoves, and an overview of the latest high-efficiency technology now available. Everyone is entered for a chance to win a moisture meter! RSVP: 607-272-2292 so we can contact you in case of weather-related cancellation. Continue reading Heating with wood

Tackling Sidewalks

BACKGROUND

The City’s new system to fund the repair and expansion of our sidewalks uses a modest annual assessment of all properties. Everyone will chip in for this public amenity, and no longer will individual property owners be saddled with sudden huge costs to build or repair the bit of sidewalk system which happens to be along their own property. Rather than arguing over whether any sidewalk work should be done, we can now discuss where it will be done. Funds from within each of five Sidewalk Improvement Districts (SIDs) will pay City crews to work on sidewalks within that district. The Board of Public Works will take public input and decide before the construction season what sidewalk work to do in each district each year.

OUR ROLE

We should start now to look at the needs of our district, for repair or for extension of the sidewalk system. All of West Hill in the City is within SID 5, which also includes Inlet Island and the West End, bounded by Cascadilla Creek on the north, Meadow Street on the east, and Malone Drive on the south. Continue reading Tackling Sidewalks

West Hill Emerging

As many of you know, a Cornell landscape architecture class has taken on West Hill as a project. With input from the residents, the students are applying their skills to revisioning our neighborhood. A copy of the course  syllabus is at Sylabus (under “DOCUMENTS, above).

Their stated goals are (from their website, Many Voices, One Hill):

  1. To collaborate with the residents of West Hill and the Town of Ithaca, and gather the communities’ input in order to create an open space plan for West Hill.
  2. To then develop and share our visions for open space with the community, which may in turn serve as guides for the future.

In our designs we aspire to preserve West Hill’s character, beauty and community values, while giving residents access to new resources and amenities.

Prof. Oles writes:

I think at this point the students are energized to produce something that will truly be of use to both planners and the citizens of West Hill. I am excited about the final product and look forward to sharing it with you.
     In the meantime however, I want to emphasize that you or anyone else who is interested in the future of West Hill (whether Town or City) are very much welcome at our interim reviews—see the events part of the website for details. Perhaps you would like to stop by for either Book Layout Presentation 1 (15 November 1.30 pm) or Book Layout Presentation 2 (22 November 1.30 pm)? Your feedback would be invaluable as always!

When can we meet?

From time to time, it’s good for neighbors to get together — to share problems, discuss solutions, organize activities, or just to say hi. We know that people’s schedules vary and it’s impossible to suit everyone. With this little poll of “best times” we hope to find the time that most people have free. The poll is vague — morning, midday, or evening; so, if you have particular constraints or suggestions, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page. Thanks for participating!

Check all times that are good for you

What's your best time for a West Hill meeting?

View Results

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Ithaca Journal Guest Viewpoint

Land sale goes against vows for sustainability

By Linda Grace-Kobas

‘Our activities today will have a profound impact on society not only for us but for many generations to come.’

This quote from the re­cently released U.N. Inter­governmental Panel on Cli­mate Change brings home to us the urgency of dealing with our rapidly changing global environment.

At its Oct. 1 meeting, coun­ty legislators expressed con­cern about climate change and stressed the need for all of us to work toward sustain­ability. That is why their vote to sell 26 acres of mostly undeveloped public land known as the Biggs property on West Hill is baffling, since it contradicts the most basic rule of sustainability — pre­serving precious green space.

West Hill residents have voiced many objections to the sale based on the obvious negatives Continue reading Ithaca Journal Guest Viewpoint

Composting food-scraps

I am happy to share some information of an upcoming pilot curbside food scrap recycling program that will be initiated in the city-portion of West Hill, and will be expanded into the town-areas of West Hill in approximately mid-2014.

On Monday, October 28, 6:00-7:00 pm, and Saturday, November 2, 10:30-11:30 am, Tompkins County Solid Waste (TCSW) will be hosting informational and celebratory gatherings at LACS Theatre to launch this new community program that will assist residents with convenient collection of compostable food scraps.  Continue reading Composting food-scraps

County approves land sale for “Cayuga Village”

The Tompkins County legislature approved sale of the Biggs land parcel for the purpose of developing the “Climate Showcase” housing on West Hill. The vote was 11 to 4 in favor of the sale. Discussion of the proposal began shortly after the beginning of the meeting at 5:30 in the afternoon. A number of West Hill residents and other interested people had come to the legislature meeting for the purpose of making a statement. Many of the points against the development were delivered by multiple speakers, but there were also a number of speakers who supported the plan. There were certainly members of the legislature who appreciated the critical comments; there were references to the flood of email and the petition that all objected to this scheme. But the majority were clearly just tidying up some details of the proposal to clear up confusions, not in any way evaluating whether the plan should go forward.

At this point, the ball is in the court of the Town of Ithaca. This seems a lot like a mere technicality, though. Personally, I can’t see how the town would refuse approval to a plan endorsed by its county counterparts to the tune of a half million dollars. C’est la vie.