Year in review: The Citizen’s biggest internal stories of 2014

December 28, 2014 - bbq set

Another year is roughly behind us, and once again it brought copiousness of high-impact inner news stories. The Citizen’s tip 10 stories list formula from staff and reader submit on that headlines had a many change on daily life in and around Cayuga County. From a misunderstanding during a Cayuga Indian Nation of New York’s Union Springs businesses to a financial struggles of a Sterling Renaissance Festival, these 10 stories all grabbed a community’s courtesy and sparked poignant discussion.

1. Cayuga Nation’s caring dispute

Stories involving a Cayuga Indian Nation of New York are no strangers to a tip 10 list. In 2005, we comparison a story of dual landmark sovereign justice decisions in a land explain lawsuit as a biggest story of that year. Almost 10 years later, a Cayugas remained a vast partial of a inner news landscape. For several years, there has been an inner brawl over who had a management to lead a Cayuga Nation. A sovereign Bureau of Indian Affairs authorised statute came out in early Jan that shot down an bid by a coterie within a clan called a Unity Council to reject longtime sovereign deputy Clint Halftown.

Several months later, Unity Council leaders attempted to take over a nation’s blurb enterprises in Union Springs and Seneca Falls, and a BIA was now holding a neutral position on a caring question. A comparatively palliate summer ensued with both sides clearly watchful out a BIA’s review, when a array of confrontations in both communities compulsory a vast military participation during times.

For most of a fall, a Union Springs gas hire and preference store was a site of a moving standoff, with members of both factions refusing to give belligerent and a store remaining sealed as a result.

In a meantime, Halftown has taken a encampment of Union Springs to sovereign court, attempting to get a statute that a inner law opposite gambling does not request to a gaming core his coterie runs in a village.

It all leads to one decisive conclusion: 2015 will continue to move some vital headlines when it comes to a Cayuga Indian Nation of New York’s impact on Cayuga and Seneca counties.

2. Community embraces Hinman family

For Brandon Hinman, a former Army sergeant who served in Afghanistan, a year began with exhilaration during a awaiting of apropos a first-time father though it finished in a justice room, with a Weedsport proprietor “lost in a sauce” of heart-break and personal struggle.

In early March, his mom Jenna Hinman, 26, a Port Byron native, gave birth around cesarean territory to twin girls. The new mom had tiny time to reason her tot daughters before they were whisked divided receiving diagnosis for their beforehand arrival. Soon after labor, Jenna fell sincerely ill. A gestational trophoblastic illness had widespread to Jenna’s chest causing her to cough adult blood. An prompted coma kept her from reveling in her newborns’ early days. Within dual months a immature mom had died, succumbing to choriocarcinoma, a singular pregnancy-related cancer.

Jenna’s story reached opposite a creation and financial donations poured in for her medical losses while she was fighting for her life and a caring of a beforehand twins. Donation bank accounts were dynamic to cover a needs of a sorrowful family. The control of a money, however, was a theme of an inner family struggle.

By August, a twins’ father was charged with grand robbery and rapist possession of a fake document, both felonies. Approximately $46,000 from a account Jenna’s father set adult was missing, and Brandon Hinman is purported to have fake his father-in-law’s signature on checks he cashed.

The authorised box is pending, and a twins are in a caring of Jenna’s parents. Brandon’s story elicited unrelenting magnetism from Cayuga County Court Judge Thomas Leone, who in Dec urged a immature widower to concentration his courtesy on solution his rapist and custody-related cases.

“Brandon, it’s unequivocally imperative,” Leone said. “I consider everyone’s taken into care a story of what you’ve been through.”

3. Tinkers browns and rises again

From a embers and stays of Tinkers Guild, a 78 Franklin St. pub in Auburn broken by glow one Feb morning, rose a phoenix – a new Tinkers Guild.

Owner John Mortimer stranded by his bar, and his patrons, when he reopened a bar Christmas Eve, 10 months to a day, and in a same location, of a three-story building’s harmful fire.

On a day of a fire, a bar’s Facebook page perceived 14,000 visits, many people withdrawal condolence-laden posts of lustful memories spent during a dear watering hole.

Built in a 1960s, a building housed Tinkers Guild commencement in a mid-70s. Mortimer primarily owned a bar, sole it in 1990 and afterwards repurchased it in 2007. Despite a changing ownership, Tinkers stands as a prepared mark for friends to accommodate and applaud all of life’s abounding moments.

“We’re going to run it usually like we ran it before,” Mortimer pronounced during a tumble belligerent defilement for a new Tinkers Guild. “We usually wish we to have fun there.”

4. Downtown museum devise halted

The screen did not arise this year on a long-awaited Schwartz Family Performing Arts Center, a $7.8 million museum devise dictated to accelerate downtown’s entertainment, and economic, scene.

For years, many Auburnians expected a growth of a 300-seat behaving humanities space in a plcae before assigned by a Kalet Building on State Street.

But, for years, a devise languished as a neighbor, inner profession Joseph Camardo, legally challenged a efforts of a project’s partners – Cayuga Community College and a Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival – by insisting, several times, a site be improved tested to accommodate environmental peculiarity standards. After devise developers eventually prevailed in justice after a array of state justice lawsuits, Camaro’s hazard of a sovereign fit opposite a devise alleging violations of a Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act was a final blow.

The museum devise was scrapped in late open when a developers motionless they no longer had a resources to keep fighting to get a museum built.

The State Street lot stays vacant. The city of Auburn is due to accept a site behind from Cayuga County on May 16, according to a skill send agreement.

5. Heroin flay spreads locally

The augmenting impact of heroin abuse in Cayuga County was addressed around a year by lawmakers, law coercion and drug abuse counseling.

Cases involving heroin users and sellers of a drug have reached widespread proportions, decried open officials. In 2011, a Finger Lakes Drug Task Force reported 9 heroin cases, that jumped to 31 a year after and in 2014 a third of a approximately 900 people receiving conversing during Confidential Help for Alcohol and Drugs were traffic with soporific addiction.

Almost daily, journal crime- and court-related headlines told a story of county residents who contended with obsession and a vagaries of being hold with heroin or being consumed by it.

This year, a Alcohol and Substance Abuse Subcommittee grown a four-prong proceed to quarrel a county’s cases of heroin users – prevention, education, coercion and treatment.

Public forums hold around a county have brought a emanate into concentration for attendees when they are shown justification bags full of heroin-related outfit and hear a stories of how obsession has broken lives. A dump box located during a open reserve building, 7445 County House Road, Sennett is prepared to accept new Oxycontin and Vicodin tablets, mostly sole during a high cost per tablet and dejected or chewed for a all-too-easy-to-form heroin-related habit. And finally, Operation NARCTIP receives unknown tips during a hold of a finger by pursuit (315) 406-2575.

6. Katko wins after quarrelsome campaign

In a competition that granted a solid tide of conflict ads and cost both sides millions of dollars, Republican challenger John Katko unseated Democrat U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei for a 24th Congressional District seat.

Katko, R-Camillus, took down Maffei, D-Syracuse, by a 20-point margin, roving a Republican call that saw a celebration take control of a Senate and strengthen a infancy in a House.

Katko won each county in a four-county district, including Cayuga. He perceived 12,177 votes in Cayuga County — 5,217 some-more than Maffei. He also perceived a tip commission of a opinion of any claimant in a district in a past 10 years.

Maffei might have been harm by voter turnout, that was a lowest for any choosing given 2000. But a formula prove Katko did a improved pursuit altogether of reaching voters. He bested Maffei even in Onondaga County — where Maffei hadn’t mislaid in 5 elections.

Katko’s debate was rated by a domestic news as a tip “overachiever” among Republican challengers. Since election, Katko has pronounced he will make Cayuga County a priority.

7. Cleaver-wielding male shot by police

The night of Feb. 15 saw an Auburn male make a choice that finished his life.

Nearing midnight, Jeffrey M. Harris, 46, already in defilement of a Feb. 3 protecting sequence opposite him, unlawfully entered a Barber Street unit of his ex-wife around a duplex’s common groundwork entrance.

With an 11-inch beef hatchet in his right hand, Harris screamed that he would kill anyone who attempted to stop him. When he reached a tip of a groundwork stairs, he chopped by a wooden, unresolved door.

Police officers called by a assailant’s ex-wife were already on a stage and systematic Harris to stop and desist. Harris abandoned those orders, eventually breaching a doorway and entrance into a perspective of a officers.

Harris, during 260 pounds, was wearing a winter cloak and attempts to delayed him down with a Taser were futile. From a widen of usually 3 feet, one of a officers dismissed his arms 4 times into a core mass of a cleaver-wielding intruder, murdering him.

After Harris’s death, both officers were placed on executive leave.

District Attorney Jon Budelmann convened a grand jury that dynamic a actions of dual Auburn military officers “were fit in invulnerability of himself or a third chairman as an puncture measure.”

8. Sennett zoning brawl boils over

The Sennett Town Board and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings were frequency lifeless in 2014, as a play surrounding The Bucket BBQ and a use of a second building flared adult again.

In a midst of a restaurant’s zoning debate has been a solid argument between a Town Board and a infancy on a ZBA. Tensions strike a high indicate during a assembly in October, that took place shortly after a lawsuit was filed by a Town Board and a formula coercion officer opposite 3 ZBA members and dual attorneys that paint a ZBA. The lawsuit seeked to bar all members named from participating in matters associated to a restaurant.

A statute by a Cayuga County Supreme Court after that month announced that a ZBA could name a possess profession to paint it in a lawsuit brought by a Town Board, rather than have to use a Sennett city attorney. The kicker to a statute was that a Town Board would be obliged to compensate a authorised fees for a ZBA — putting taxpayers on a offshoot for costs incurred by both a plaintiffs and defendants in a suit.

Hostilities between a dual play seemed to palliate toward a finish of a year. Dec meetings for both a ZBA and Town Board finished with resolutions directed during anticipating a concede and a Town Board dropping a lawsuit.

The downside was news following a assembly of a intensity new lawsuit from a profession representing a Bucket BBQ seeking $14 million in indemnification from a Town Board. Making a tale all a some-more expected to widen into 2015.

9. Murder conference ends with guilty verdict

What accurately fueled Kevin Ritchie’s fury during a 2013 Case Avenue residence celebration adequate to intentionally gash a Skaneateles male in a heart might never be known. But one thing is known, Matthew Prego died entrance to a assist of his partner who witnesses pronounced was being tormented by Ritchie.

And a drama-filled conference in Apr resolved with Ritchie being found guilty of intentionally murdering Prego.

After midnight on Sept. 28, 2013, Prego showed adult during a celebration where he accepted Ritchie had attempted to throttle Karly Janusz, according to justice testimony. A quarrel ensued during that Ritchie stabbed Prego 7 times before administering one some-more final, lethal gouge.

As Prego took his final breaths on a cement outward a house, Ritchie fled into a circuitously dim woods escaped constraint for dual hours and successfully stealing a murder weapon.

After days of conference testimony from 18 witnesses, a jury found Ritchie guilty of murder. In June, he was condemned to 32 years to life in prison.

10. Renaissance Fest debts raise up

Prior to a 38th season, a Sterling Renaissance Festival launched a crowdfunding campaign, observant it indispensable a income distillate in sequence to get off a belligerent this summer.

Donations and a vast private loan came through, and a deteriorate was saved. But a festival’s financial troubles were not behind it. In a fall, Cayuga County gave notice of probable foreclosure on a Sterling property.

The festival’s owner, Ontario Realty in Oswego, owes Cayuga County some-more than $150,000 in behind taxes and a change of a tiny business loan.

County Treasurer James Orman instituted a foreclosure move opposite a owners in November. According to a notice filed by Orman, Ontario Realty needs to compensate behind a income by Feb. 20, or a skill will go to auction in Jun or July.

The sum debt comes from about $70,000 due in behind taxes and about $86,000 from a village growth retard extend administered by a Cayuga County Small Business Loan Program.

Ontario Realty President Doug Waterbury pronounced he has organised financing to compensate behind a debt before a finish of that time frame.

“We’re all set,” Waterbury pronounced in an talk for a Nov. 13 essay in The Citizen. “We’re totally refinancing a property.”

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