Ithaca Area Bars See Rise In Crime, Dangerous Behavior

Ithaca College senior Melissa Pezzello stood at the bar on April 5 at 2nd Floor Bar in The Commons. She continued talking with her friends, when the DJ began to play “Shout” by The Isley Brothers. In that moment, Pezzello noticed things were getting out of hand.

“People began spraying their drinks,” she said. “There was beer everywhere. And then the bottles began to fly.”

Pezzello was one of two people that night who were hit by a thrown beer bottle. Pezzello sustained a laceration on the back of her head. The impact of the glass bottle also caused a minor concussion.

“I didn’t immediately realize I was bleeding,” Pezzello said. “But then the blood began to flow, and the bartenders helped me out.”

After the situation escalated, patrons were required to leave 2nd Floor. The Ithaca Police Department arrived on the scene, but Pezzello said she did not have to speak with authorities.

“It was so crowded that I couldn’t see who threw the bottle,” she said. “There was no way I could accuse or press charges.”

In light of recent events

While the incident in 2nd Floor bar was unexpected, more dangerous cases at Ithaca area bars occurred this past week.

The Cornell Daily Sun reported a male patron was stabbed on April 10 while at Level B, a bar located on Eddy Street in Collegetown. Police official arrived at the scene at 1:06 a.m., according to the crime alert.

The victim was immediately transported to an area hospital. The crime alert continues to report that the suspect continues to be at-large, and a police investigation will be ongoing. The Cornell Daily Sun reported the suspect is possibly 22 years old and stand at 5’ 10” with “black shoulder length wavy hair” and a complexion of “medium color.”

Additional information on the situation is yet to be released.

Social media aids investigation, communication for Ithaca Police and bar employees

While the stabbing at Level B continues to be investigated, Ithaca Police are utilizing Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about crime in the area. Regarding the Level B incident specifically, Ithaca Police posted on their Facebook page a crime report for both public and media use.

Ithaca Police also provided contact information, in case anyone connected to the department on social media has information on the case. Likewise, Ithaca Police continue to tweet out information on continuing cases, in hopes to gather further information on the situation.

Likewise, employees of Level B are using Facebook to express their opinion on the incident that occurred this past Thursday. A post on their page reads, “…we will further be increasing security measures at the entry and inside the bar for the foreseeable future.”

2nd Floor Bar has not posted on Facebook regarding the April 5 incident.

More aware of their surroundings

Ithaca College senior Nicole Milad was also injured on April 5 at 2nd Floor Bar, sustaining a concussion after being hit with a glass bottle above her left eye. Milad said she was questioned by Ithaca Police after the bar was cleared out, but was not involved in any other action.

Both Pezzello and Milad returned to the bar this weekend, as they viewed the situation as “a rare occurrence” and did not blame the bar for this unlikely happening.

“It was definitely a bad situation but it could’ve happened anywhere,” Milad said. “I’ll definitely be more careful towards the end of the night however when things get rowdy.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Ithaca Farmers Market Opens Steamboat Landing Location For The Season

It’s that time of year again! The sun is setting later, the temperature is (slightly) warmer and the Steamboat Landing location of the Ithaca Farmers Market has opened for the season. Locals — like myself, of course — readily await this time of year. And when it come, boy is it a treat.

The Ithaca Farmers Market is a cooperative that houses more than 150 vendors interchangeably until its closing in December. The market pavilion is open on Saturdays from April to December and Sundays from May to October. The hours vary from week to week, and can be found on their website. Both agricultural, food and art vendors come to the market, allowing patrons to check out handcrafted jewelry while they munch on a freshly made breakfast burrito.

Out of all the vendors at the market my favorite one, by far, is the Khmer Angkor Cambodian stand. Here you can find purely delicious dishes with handmade rice noodles smothered sweet chili sauce. They also have a Cambodian pancake, that resembles an omelet, and other foods involving fresh veggies and delectable flavors. There is always a long line for this stand, but the wait is completely worth it.

Many Ithaca-centric Twitter accounts took to social media to notify followers of the market’s opening day.


One new vendor tweeted out their excitement, as their first appearance in the market was today.


If possible, check out the market one weekend and prepare to be wonderfully overwhelmed with temptation to eat everything in sight. Take my word for it!

Image: Petrr/Flickr

Collegetown Bagels Voted One Of The Best College Sandwich Shops

There comes a time in every person’s life when they meet their match. And by match I mean their favorite collegeCTB 2 food joint. Enter: Collegetown Bagels. This local bagel, coffee and, of course, sandwich eatery was recently voted by Thrillist as one of the 33 best college sandwich shops in the United States.

As if I couldn’t love the place enough, CTB was voted as a top shop because of it’s wide variety of goods — and it’s true! They offer bagels, sandwiches, a plethora of baked goods, hot and cold coffee drinks, smoothies and other fine, locally sourced goods. Thrillist writer Adam Lapetina especially enjoyed the Autumn Sky sandwich:

Almost everything is mouthwateringly good, but you have to try the Autumn Sky, which is the perfect blend of sharp, tangy, and sweet with smoked turkey breast topped with bacon, spinach, apples, cheddar, and whole grain mustard on sourdough.

Preach, Lapetina. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. My favorite sandwich is the Eggs Christina, eggs and ham CTB 3on a bagel of choice, with pepper jack cheese. To switch up the flavors, I love to get a spicy Italian or cheddar bagel. Considered yourself set for life if you live near either CTB or Ithaca Bakery, it’s sister shop, in the greater Ithaca area.

But if you are out of luck and don’t have the means of stopping by this “gorges” city, check out the other 32 shops on Lapetina’s list. Who knows, you may be surprised to find your own college town.

For more awesome news and updates about Collegetown Bagels, check out their Twitter and Facebook pages. They post fun photos and specials of the day, including their amazing soups (see the tweet below and try not to drool).


Images: Stephen Luke/Flickr

Local Organic Edibles Business Looks To Expand Brand Nationwide

About 13 years ago, Ian Gaffney became very sick and was later diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Because of his illness, he had to drastically change his eating habits.

“My diet had to take a complete 180,” he said. “I was eating the standard American fast food five days a week two times a day. It was really bad.”

But Gaffney soon cut out all unhealthy foods from his diet and instead sought food as a way to comfort and heal himself. He then learned new recipes from his peers about healthier alternative diets such as gluten free and how to incorporate raw ingredients into his dishes. This lifestyle inspired him to create a recipe for macaroons.

Ithaca residents meet and launch organic macaroon company

After moving to Ithaca from New York City and meeting Samantha Abrams, who graduated from Ithaca College in 2008, Gaffney said the two passed time by baking the macaroons in his mother’s kitchen. Little did they know, a business would soon come of their hobby.

“One night my brother was in town and he shot a video of us making the macaroons for my blog,” Gaffney said.

Emmy's Organics Lemon Ginger Macaroons

Emmy’s Organics Lemon Ginger Macaroons

“The next day I called Samantha and said ‘Would you want to go to business together?'”

Gaffney said the organic edibles are inexpensive to make and Ithaca is their ideal market. The two then launched Emmy’s Organics, named after Gaffney’s mother. The pair began with four flavors of macaroons and sold their products at the GreenStar Natural Foods Market and the Ithaca Farmers Market. After pursuing other stores, bloggers and companies, Emmy’s Organics began receiving major orders.

Abrams said they then moved their kitchen to a larger space located at 629 W. Buffalo Street, across the street from GreenStar. Emmy’s Organics products are now available in many locations across the United States and even in Canada. Locally, Emmy’s Organics can still be found in GreenStar, but also Wegmans, Collegetown Bagels, Gimme! Coffee, Ithacamade and Ithaca Bakery.

Slideshow: an inside look of the Emmy’s Organics kitchen

Macaroons — in flavors such as Lemon Ginger, Chai Spice, Chocolate Chili, Chocolate Orange, Coconut Vanilla and Dark Cacao — are also available on the college campus wherever food is sold. Senior Erica Palumbo, who was snacking on the mini Lemon Ginger macaroons, said she enjoys Emmy’s Organics because of their surprising taste.

“They are unlike any cookie or dessert I’ve ever had,” she said. “They are healthy for you, but they still taste incredibly delicious.”

Abrams said Emmy’s Organics is expanding their product line with their recent release of Super Cereals, which all contain Organic Sprouted Buckwheat Groats. The company also produces chocolate sauce and super-fudge, Abrams added.

Moving forward, Gaffney said he and Abrams have many future goals for themselves and the company.

“We would like to get to the point when we don’t play such an integral role in day-to-day operations,” he said. “We would like to expand our product line and serve the whole country.”

Trend Alert: Macaroons Make Their Way To Ithaca


Macaroon’s from Sarah’s Patisserie.

Macaroons have graced social media with their bright, delight form for a couple years now. Taking the cupcake’s spotlight, the macaroon has become the new, trendy dessert and object of any trendsetter’s eye. Macaroons were made famous by the high-class French bakery Ladurée, based in the Upper East Side of New York City. Locally, macaroons are available from a couple different locations.

The colorful treats are featured at Sarah’s Patisserie, a fine pastry and chocolate shop located in The Commons at 130 East Seneca Street. The shop has a collection of macaroons ranging in flavors and colors. They are so pretty you have a difficult time sinking your teeth into their smooth surface.

Another local macaroon provider is Emmy’s, a macaroon company created by an Ithaca resident and an Ithaca College alumna. The two began Emmy’s from their kitchen and now provide their organic macaroons to local co-ops, regional Whole Foods locations and even Ithaca College itself. The macaroons are gluten free, raw and vegan. Since expanding, Emmy’s kitchen is now located at 629 West Buffalo St. in Ithaca.

Go ahead and try some of these tasty treats out yourself! You’ll not only be making yourself happy, but also your local businesses.

Image: Houang Stephane/Flickr

Public art initiative continues in Ithaca with upcoming mosaic

Dozens of tiles varying in shapes and earth tones are on the wall between Ithaca’s independent movie theater, Cinemapolis, and a parking lot. Each tile has been imprinted with leaves, beads and combs by students in city schools. Now they hang together as a mosaic, symbolizing the land around the Cayuga Inlet.

This mosaic, titled “Watershed Wall,” was created in 2012 by Annemarie Zwack along with local schools and community members. Now, Zwack is working on painting and creating tiles with the Ithaca community to create a mosaic on the Public Works Department building located on First Street. The mosaic’s theme is “Plants as Food” and it is projected to be installed in August 2014.

The project will take three to five years and will be made with recycled materials from leftover tiles donated by townspeople, said Margaret Corbit, who is working with Zwack on the mosaic.

The project, which will cost $10,000 to $15,000, is funded in part by grants, such as the Tompkins County Tourism Neighborhood Celebrations grant, Zwack said. The Public Arts Commission has significantly helped endorse local artists and projects, she added.

“It wasn’t until the current Public Arts Commission was in place that there was this kind of support to be able to do the work that is making Ithaca a place that’s celebrating its own uniqueness and really displaying the talents of the people that live here,” Zwack said.

Jay Potter, an active member of PAC, attributed this support to the commission’s new members, who are in a different age range than previous members and are determined to get a lot of work done.

“We’re a really good team. We’ve managed to push through a lot of projects,” he said. “A lot of the artwork you’re seeing now downtown happened in the last two to three years.”

One PAC created project was the 21 Boxes project, which brought together 21 artists to change the face of 21 electrical boxes downtown. The commission tries to improve upon the blank spaces in town and make them harder to vandalize by giving them a face, Potter said.

Kellie Cox-Brady, a local muralist, has painted multiple murals in Ithaca in the past year, including “Black-eyed Susans” located on the Seneca Street parking garage wall facing businesses such as Collegetown Bagels. Cox-Brady said employees at Collegetown Bagels noticed more people sitting outside since the mural was painted, among other positive community responses.

“I’ve heard that people will specifically park in the parking garage to see the mural,” she said. “The comic book store owner is also a great supporter. He even said he saw an entire wedding party taking photos in front of the mural.”

Attributing Ithaca to artistic freedom, Cox-Brady said the public arts movement in the city has allowed her to thrive as a muralist.

“I think it’s incredible and getting to know the artists and show their work,” she said. “I know other places [who have public art] where it’s much harder, but in Ithaca it’s not impossible.”

Other businesses, such as Lot 10, are participating in public art by having a murals painted on their storefronts. Matthew Riis, owner and manager of Lot 10, said he chose to have Eder Muniz paint a mural next to their entrance because he is a fan of Muniz’s work in the Brazilian graffiti movement. Riis also said he chose to have the mural done because he believes public art is a necessity.

“Public art is important because the world needs art and if it is only private then it is only fulfilling the needs of a few and not the many,” Riis said.

Ithaca Rolfer aids pain with practice

When Sarah Robarge was 15 years old, a horse ride changed her life. That fateful day, her horse became startled and reared up, throwing her from the saddle and onto the ground before the animal fell on top of her.

The accident resulted in two back fractures in and a hip injury. On and off for the next 15 years, Robarge had to wear a back brace and tried everything from medication to surgery to massage therapy, but still suffered debilitating pain.

That is, until, she discovered Rolfing, a unique kind of massage therapy aimed at realigning the body to minimize pain and tension. Ida Rolf, a biochemist, created Rolfing in the 1930s. After completing a series of Rolfing therapy with Wells Christie in Syracuse, Robarge’s pain was gone.

Robarge completed a Ten-Series, which typically spreads one-hour sessions once a week over 10 weeks, but could be extended to progress once a month over 10 months. The first three sessions are known as superficial sessions, working the superficial layers of the fascia, also known as connective tissue.

To see a graphic on the Ten-Series click here

“It just changed my life so much that it inspired me to do that, so I could help people the way that I was helped,” Robarge said.

According to the Affordable Care Act section 2706 titled “Non-Discrimination in Healthcare,” insurance issuers “shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider’s license or certification under applicable State law.” Because Robarge’s practice is licensed, Rolfing would be covered by insurance, dependent on the individuals insurance provider.

Robarge now practices as a certified Rolfer, but getting to this point was not easy. New York state requires Rolfers to be licensed as massage therapists first, and the only Rolf Institute currently in the United States operates their instruction in Colorado.

Robarge spent the first semester studying in Colorado, and then travelled to other parts of the world where the practice is more widely practiced. She lived in Malaysia for the second semester, and studied for the third semester in Bali and Indonesia.

Rolfing is more thorough than traditional massage therapy and based on discovering the source of tension-related problems, Robarge said.

“To give an example, say you have sore shoulders. If you went and saw a massage therapist, you’d go in and you’d get a shoulder rub,” she said. “Most people’s sore shoulders are caused by tension in the front of the body. If you have tension either in your chest or abdominals or your legs, you are going to be pulled forward in your gravity. It’s pulling on your back.”

Unlike the temporary relief and relaxing chemicals released in a typical massage, Rolfing aims to realign the body to help the pain dissipate all together.

Susan Winter, the Manager of Marketing at the Rolf Institute, said the practice used to be more intensive and painful. The founder, Ida Rolf, initially would patients lay on the floor instead of a table.

“We’ve learned over the years about the nervous system, you don’t need intensity, but intentionality,” said Winter, a patient of Rolfing herself. If either the patient or the Rolfer senses too much pain, attention can be placed on shallower layers of connective tissue.

Robarge’s practice, located at 409 W State Street, will have been established a year in January.