A classic freshman late night favorite food truck located outside Balch Hall.

Food Trucks and Restaurants Battle Over Hours, Terrain

The debate between food trucks and local restaurants has been heating up recently, as food truck owners urge the City of Ithaca to relax restrictions on their trucks and restaurant owners accuse food trucks of policy violations. Under the current policy, food trucks may not operate closer than 200 linear feet from the nearest brick and mortar restaurant. At or around Cornell, students have access to a number of food trucks that include Louie’s Lunch Truck, Dos Amigos, That’s How I Roll, the Hot Truck, Franny’s and Collegetown Crepes. However, many of these food trucks only begin operation late at night to avoid violating policies. In an effort to address issues facing restaurants and food trucks, a Board of Public Works subcommittee on street vending convened a meeting on Jan.

Fire Officials Evacuate Collegetown Apartment Following Fire Alarm

Tompkins County fire officials evacuated the residents of 208 Dryden this morning following a 3:15 a.m. fire alarm, according to the Ithaca Fire Department. After the evacuation, firefighters determined that the Hai Hong Restaurant — a store on 208 Dryden’s ground level — was the cause of the smoke. The fire was caused by “a pot [that] boiled over on the stove that pumped caustic smoke into the eatery and filled the apartments above,” according to the fire department. “Crews shut down the stove and ventilated the restaurant, while others went floor by floor in the apartments to clear the smoke and check for carbon monoxide,” the fire department added. Fire officials credited the functional alarm system for their quick response and reported that no one was injured during the incident.

Ithacans Petition for Uber’s Entry to Upstate N.Y.

Although ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have been restricted from New York State due to the New York State Insurance Law, nearly 2,000 people have signed an online petition pushing to pass a bill that would allow ridesharing services to operate in upstate New York. Although similar action has failed previously, upstate New Yorkers and Uber are both pushing hard to pass New York State Legislative Bill A6090, which would establish, regulate and provide proper insurance for transportation network companies and drivers, according to the New York State Assembly. Currently, ride-sharing services in New York state are only allowed to operate in New York City and the surrounding area. Ithaca officials are not against Uber coming to the area as long as state or local regulations ensure inspections and insurance on drivers and vehicles, according to city clerk Julie Holcomb. “We believe that people should have a choice of transportation providers,” Holcomb said.

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Dunbar’s Closes Doors After 36 Years in Collegetown

After more than 36 years in operation, Dunbar’s is the next Collegetown watering hole to shut its doors, according to former manager Brian Rettger. A Collegetown fixture established in 1979, Dunbar’s is known to many Cornellians for its dive bar atmosphere, with ceiling tiles and walls scribbled on in permanent marker and six dollar “Group Therapy” special. Rettger told The Sun Thursday that owner Dave Pepin had decided to close the establishment over break, and that the “timing is unfortunate.”

Though Rettger was unable to provide details on the reason for the bar’s closure, Pepin had decided to put the bar up for sale in 2013 due to his desire to spend more time with family, The Sun previously reported. The closure of Dunbar’s follows the shuttering of a number of Collegetown bars in recent years. The building that housed Pixel Lounge was demolished this summer to make way for a new residential and commercial development on Eddy Street.

Common Council Votes to Support Living Wage for Workers in County

The City of Ithaca’s Common Council joined with the Town of Ithaca and the Tompkins County Legislature to support a living wage for all workers in the county by a unanimous vote Wednesday. The event attracted a large turnout from residents of Tompkins County, as 30 to 40 concerned citizens migrated from a rally outside to the City Hall meeting to voice their support for the resolution. During an almost hour-long public comment section at the meeting, many of the attendees spoke out in support of a living wage, citing personal experiences, nationwide trends and economic studies. “This is the right moment to push,” according to Bill Goldsmith of the board of public works.  Goldsmith cited a letter to President Barack Obama from 600 economists, including seven Nobel Prize winners, which claims increases in the minimum wage have little or no negative effect on unemployment. A worker at the local recycling plant who fought for a living wage and won, spoke out at the council meeting on behalf of others who are not as fortunate.

TCAT Will No Longer Face Potential Cuts

The Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit will not face budget cuts as the Senate and House have agreed to restore 5340 transit program funding and give New York almost $100 million for its various transit operations. The provision has been added to a transportation bill that will be voted on later in the week. Originally, an amendment proposed to the bill would cost New York transportation nearly $100 million each year, according to a press release by U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). The proposed amendment would have cut transit funding, costing TCAT $207,000 annually, The Sun previously reported. Schumer led the fight against the amendment in the bill passed by the House only a few weeks ago, advocating the replacement of the bill with the 5340 transit provision.

Myrick ’09: Refugees Welcome in Ithaca

Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 announced that he will do “everything in [his] power to welcome Syrian refugees to Ithaca” in a Nov. 17 post on his Facebook page, echoing sentiments many New York State officials have also shown. Referencing a Washington Post article about Americans’ negative attitude towards accepting Jewish refugees at the brink of World War II, Myrick wrote, “If we turn away all Syrian refugees, we are committing the same sin.”
There is a strong historical precedent for accepting refugees in New York State and in the Ithaca area — nearly one-third of refugees from the former Soviet Union sent to the United States were resettled in New York, according to the Migration Policy Institute. In 2014, New York had the third highest resettlement rate of refugees across the U.S. states, admitting a total of 4,082 refugees. Ninety-five percent of all New York State refugees were resettled to upstate New York that year.

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2016 Ithaca Budget Increases TCAT Funding

After a month of meetings, the Common Council approved the 2016 budget recommended by Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 on Nov. 4. During the final meeting to discuss the budget, several changes were made before it was approved, according to Alderperson Stephen Smith (D-4th Ward) and Alderperson Seph Murtagh M.A. ’04 Ph.D ’09 (D-2nd Ward). Some of the major changes included an adjustment to the Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit budget as well as plans to increase the number of workers in a couple city departments. TCAT board members, Bill Gray and Frank Proto ’65, appeared before the Common Council and requested additional funding from the city, according to The Ithaca Journal.

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Federal Bill Would Cut TCAT Funding $200,000 Annually

Correction appended 

An amendment to a federal highway bill that passed the United States House of Representatives Wednesday proposes to cut funding for public transit and would slash 12 percent of the federal portion of TCAT funding, or $207,000 annually, according to a TCAT press release. In 2013, 10.6 percent of the TCAT’s annual budget came from federal funds, according to its website. TCAT workers plan to protest the bill along with other transit agencies in the state, according to the release. According to The Syracuse Post-Standard, the bill would cut $820 million over the course of six years statewide. New York state and New Jersey currently receives $140 million a year from the federal government for public transportation.