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posticon Lansing Election 2019 - Supervisor

News | Friday, October 18, 2019 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Ed LaVigneIncumbent Ed LaVigne (R) Michael Koplinka-LoehrChallenger Michael Koplinka-Loehr (D)
Click on the graphic above to read each candidate's interview.

For years I have interviewed candidates in contested local elections in what became my "ten questions" interviews.  I have long felt that was too many questions.  But I never was able to pare them down.  This year I was determined to be more succinct, so I set a goal of asking the candidates five questions.  I almost made it -- I came up with six that I think are essential to deciding on who to vote for in this year's Town Supervisor and Town Board elections.

Here's how it works.  All candidates for the same office are asked the same questions (so six questions for the two Supervisor candidates, and another six for the four Town Board candidates).  No candidate is alerted beforehand on what the questions are, and none are told what other candidates have answered.  So the questions are the same but the answers are different, allowing you to decide which candidate's answers best align with you.  The transcripts are almost verbatim -- there are a few grammatical corrections, or consolidation of redundancies, but if you could hear the interviews while reading the transcripts you would be satisfied that the candidates actually said what has been transcribed.

My hope is that these comparative interviews are a good tool for you as you decide who to vote for.  It is intended to highlight the candidates in their own words.  The Lansing Star does not and never has endorsed candidates because we feel you should be able to make your own decisions based on what you learn about the individual candidates.

In today's issue we are featuring the interviews of the two Town Supervisor Candidates.  Next week we will have the Town Board candidate interviews, while continuing to make this week's interviews easily available through election day.  Click on the photos above to read each candidate's responses.
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posticon Salmon Creek Bridges to Be Replaced

News | Friday, October 18, 2019 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Salmon Creek Bridge

Two bridges that span Salmon Creek are slated for replacement, but deterioration of the bridge on Route 34B has caused the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) to make repairs earlier than the bridge can be replaced.  Earlier this month Lansing School Superintendent Chris Pettograsso released a statement saying the weight limit had been reduced to 9 tons, and soon afterward it had been raised to 18 tons, but the DOT would be implementing alternating one-way operation to allow for the greater weight.  At the Lansing Town Board meeting Wednesday Councilman Joe Wetmore provided an update  the upcoming replacement of the two bridges, and the repairs on the Route 34B bridge.

"My understanding is that they should be doing repair work on it right now," Wetmore said. "They're hoping to have that done by mid-November.  The bridge is slated for replacement starting in 2021.  They should have contracts in place by the fall of 2020.  They're hoping to start construction in the Spring of 2021."

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posticon Anonymous Accusations Spark Heated Squabble Prior to Elections

News | Friday, October 18, 2019 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Lansing Town Board

An anonymous accusation that Lansing Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne's vote to approve a one year delay in the construction of a community center at the Village Solars project was influenced by the developers' contribution to the Lansing Republican Committee was a topic of contention Wednesday at the Lansing Town Board meeting.  After seven members of the public spoke in the public meeting, and a closed 'executive session' at which board members and the Town attorney discussed the allegations, LaVigne, whose supporters have characterized the anonymous flyer that was distributed as a 'smear campaign', said he would fight the accusation.

Thursday morning LaVigne said, ""I volunteered to go before the Ethics Board to clear my name.  I'm innocent."

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posticon 1.5M Lansing Fire District Budget Approved

News | Friday, October 18, 2019 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Lansing Fire District

Lansing Fire Commissioners approved the 2020 $1,494,487 budget Tuesday after a public hearing at which no one spoke.  While the tax levy has risen slightly from this year's budget, District Treasurer George Gesslein says the tax rate will actually decrease.

"We make sure the chiefs have what they need within reason," said Fire Commissioner Larry Creighton. "They have been very good with controlling the budget."

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posticon Hydrilla Treated at Lansing Marina

News | Friday, October 18, 2019 | By Cayuga Lake Watershed Network Print
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Finger Lakes Marina

Since the discovery of hydrilla at Finger Lakes Marine’s marina in early August, a region-wide team of experts has developed a rapid response plan for treatment, in cooperation with the owners of Finger Lakes Marine Service LLC and public agencies. A team from Solitude Lake Management LLC applied Harpoon Granular, a copper-based herbicide, Wednesday, to five acres within the enclosed marina area and an adjacent linked small pond.

"The treatment was completed yesterday morning by 11am," Glenn Sullivan of Solitude Lake Management said Thursday. "Only the Finger Lakes Marina and adjacent pond was treated, not the park marina. That treatment went well and without issues. I’m on my way to Ithaca now to collect the 24 hour post-treat samples."

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posticon Marriage License Fee Waived for Active Military

News | Friday, October 18, 2019 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Marriage License Fee Waived

The Lansing Town Board voted unanimously Wednesday to waive the marriage license fee for couples when either party is an active military member.  The new law augments a state law waving New York State's portion of the fee.

"On August 20th Governor Cuomo signed a bill amending the Domestic Relations Law and waiving the state portion of the fee levied when someone applies to a town clerk for a marriage license, explained Lansing Town Clerk Debbie Munson. "Part of the fee stays with the town and part of the fee goes to New York State. Governor Cuomo waived the state portion if either party is an active member of the military.  Towns and cities may elect to waive their portion of the marriage license fee."

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posticon Lansing Supervisor Election - Ed LaVigne

News | Friday, October 18, 2019 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Ed LaVigne

Ed LaVigne is running for a second term as Town Supervisor.  He has been President of the Lansing Community Council since 2007, for the last two years has been President of Lansing Senior Citizens, and has worked with the Lansing Events Committee.  He was the Lansing United Methodist Church rummage sale chair for 17 years, and was the leader in raising the money for the Myers Park playground and the North log cabin in Myers Park, the dugouts in the Lansing ball fields, and the Bob Baker Memorial Barbecue Pavilion.  He was a Lansing Town Councilman for one four-year term, and is currently completing his first term as Town Supervisor.

LaVigne has lived in Lansing almost 60 years, since his parents moved here when he was one year old.  He and his wife Debbie raised their family here.  He is a full time pharmacist at the Lansing Tops.  LaVigne says his experience is in achieving goals, whether it is putting himself through school, solving problems, or municipal goals.

LaVigne's platform is treating everyone equally, being a public servant, giving more than he takes, producing results, and being the "Supervisor of Yes".  He came to the Lansing Star newsroom to talk about why he hopes to be reelected.

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posticon Lansing Supervisor Election - Michael Koplinka-Loehr

News | Friday, October 18, 2019 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Michael Koplinka-Loehr

Michael Koplinka-Loehr is challenging incumbent Ed LaVigne for Town Supervisor.  Koplinka-Loehr and his wife Carrie have lived in Lansing for ten years, and has lived in Tompkins County for over 50 years.  He currently works as a field representative for the US Census Bureau, conducting surveys across five counties.  Koplinka-Loehr was an Ithaca representative on the Tompkins County Legislature for 12 years, and chaired the Legislature for two of those years, and chaired the Budget Committee for four years.  He has served on the Ithaca City School District and Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga Boces School District (representing Lansing) boards of education.  He served on the Lansing Community Council, the Bicentennial Committee, and the Lansing Economic Development Committee.

He says his platform can be described in six words: thoughtful planning, thoughtful budgeting, thoughtful communication.  He stopped by the Lansing Star to talk about his candidacy.

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posticon County Legislature Highlights

News | Friday, October 18, 2019 | By Marcia E. Lynch Print
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Legislators Adopt Amendments to 2020 Recommended Budget
The Tompkins County Legislature, by unanimous vote, formally adopted amendments to the County Administrator's 2020 Recommended Budget and the 2020-2024 Capital Program, as recommended by the Expanded Budget Committee.

The amended budget would increase the County tax levy by 2.75%, just under the initial 2.76% in the Administrator's budget. The recommended county-wide average tax rate of $6.31 per thousand is 10 cents less than 2019 (a decrease of 1.59%). The amended budget would represent an increase of $12.69 in the tax bill for the median-valued $190,000 home. (Legislator Rich John proposed a wording change in the resolution, which was accepted, to clarify that the increased tax payment for a median-priced home increased, despite the tax rate decrease, since the median home price increased by $5,000 since the 2019 budget was prepared.) The Tentative Budget also includes a $2 increase in the County's annual Solid Waste Fee, to $60.

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posticon National Grid Ordered To Connect Customers Previously Denied Natural Gas By Moratorium

News | Friday, October 18, 2019 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Last Friday Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that National Grid is facing millions of dollars in penalties for failing to connect existing residential customers with natural gas as required by the Public Service Law and was directed to immediately connect more than 1,100 customers that were previously denied service. Cuomo also announced that the Department of Public Service is expanding its ongoing investigation to examine whether the company properly planned for reliably meeting the needs of its customers given that the utility faces supply constraints this winter. National Grid's proposed pipeline, if permitted, would not be in service until December 2020 at the earliest. There are alternative forms of gas delivery beyond pipelines; their failure to adequately anticipate this issue and provide for it will immediately be under review.

"It is the fundamental responsibility of our utilities to provide reliable service," Cuomo said. "National Grid has acted in bad faith throughout this process -- first by denying over 1,100 eligible customers with service and now by failing to fulfill its core responsibility. Today, National Grid is being ordered to immediately connect those 1,100 customers, and I have directed DPS to expand their ongoing investigation to include potential negligence in not preparing for the months ahead. Make no mistake, New York will hold National Grid accountable."

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posticon Law Authorizes NY To Prosecute Presidential Pardon Recipients

News | Friday, October 18, 2019 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday that he signed legislation (S.4572/A.6653) to close New York's double jeopardy legal loophole that protects individuals who are pardoned by a President from being prosecuted at the state level for the same offense. This key reform, which was an Attorney General's program bill, gives New York prosecutors discretion to pursue prosecution of criminal acts where they have jurisdiction.

"We have a responsibility to ensure that individuals who commit crimes under New York state law are held accountable for those crimes," said Attorney General Letitia James. "This critical new law closes a gaping loophole that could have allowed any president to abuse the presidential pardon power by unfairly granting a pardon to a family member or close associate and possibly allow that individual to evade justice altogether. No one is above the law, and this commonsense measure will provide a reasonable and necessary check on presidential power today and for all presidents to come."

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posticon Reed Discusses Importance Of Polish Investment In NY-23

News | Friday, October 18, 2019 | By Office of Congressman Tom Reed Print
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Congressman Tom Reed discussed a trip to Poland he took earlier last week to discuss U.S. and Poland business investment.

"Western New York has a rich Polish heritage, and we were proud to meet with the Polish Prime Minister and President about important national security and domestic issues," Reed said. "Poland also recently agreed to purchase F-35 fighter jets – with many of the parts made right in Owego, New York. This partnership is not only good news for our local manufacturing base, but also for the safety and security of the Polish people."

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posticon New Law Prevents Excessive Emergency Room Charges

News | Friday, October 18, 2019 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation (S.3171/A.264B) Thursday protecting patients from excessive out-of-network hospital emergency charges, including hospital inpatient services that follow an emergency room visit. The new law requires health insurance companies to ensure that when enrollees receive care from a non-participating provider, the patient will not incur greater out-of-pocket costs than they would have incurred from a participating provider.

"In an emergency, every second counts and its ridiculous to expect someone facing a potential life or death situation to first check and see if a hospital is part of their health insurance network," Cuomo said. "With this new law, insurers will need to do the right thing and make sure patients aren't strapped with excessive and potentially debilitating out-of-pocket costs tomorrow simply because they needed emergency room care today."

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