Week in Review: Top 10 Cortland stories | March 27 - April 3

Hello! These are the top local stories of the past week.

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1 – After public outcry, legislature delays vote on new public safety complex

Vote on new Cortland County jail delayed after residents speak out – County legislators will wait another month to vote on a measure that would authorize $1.9 million in spending toward the engineering and design of a new county jail. More than 50 people packed the chambers of the Cortland County Legislature Thursday evening in anticipation of the vote.

The Cortland County Legislature Thursday evening (Peter Blanchard/Cortland Voice)

The Cortland County Legislature Thursday evening. Shown in the foreground is legislator Sandy Price (Photo by Peter Blanchard/Cortland Voice)

2 – Cortland church's 'Syracuse pride' sign goes viral

Cortland church shows Syracuse pride – A photo posted on Facebook last week by the First United Methodist Church of Cortland received an unexpected amount of attention, netting more than 8,900 Facebook shares.

Christel Donlick, a Cortland resident and a member of the church, claimed responsibility for the sign, which offered good luck to the Syracuse men's basketball team in their Final Four game against the University of North Carolina.

"My husband is definitely a Syracuse fan. He loves the game and is very excited about it. You have to cheer them on," Donick told The Cortland Voice. Sadly, the Orange fell to the Tar Heels on Saturday, 88-63.

A sign belonging to the Cortland First United Methodist proudly displayed its Syracuse pride last week (Photo provided).

A sign belonging to the Cortland First United Methodist proudly displayed its Syracuse pride last week (Photo provided).

3 – Preble man, former instructor at William George Agency, allegedly viewed pornography with students

Freeville instructor accused of watching pornography with students – The New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor announced the arrest of Derrick Lawrence, a former instructor of The William George Agency for Children’s Services, on charges the Preble resident viewed sexually explicit materials with his students, made abusive and offensive remarks to them, and threatened one of them.

Derrick Lawrence

Derrick Lawrence

4 – Petition: Let public decide on new jail

Petition asks Cortland County to put proposed jail to referendum vote – A group of local residents is asking Cortland County to let the public decide whether or not the county should spend $38 million on a new jail. Opponents of the proposal have cited the exorbitant cost of constructing a new facility. Some have accused officials of ignoring other, more cost-effective options, such as alternatives to incarceration and pre-trial services programs.

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5 – Cortland Police: Burglaries on the rise

Cortland Police report increase in burglaries – The City of Cortland Police Department is advising residents to lock their doors and windows after seeing a spike in burglary complaints this month. Since March 1, the department has received 10 burglary complaints, all of which may be related, the Cortland Police Department posted on its Facebook page Monday.

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6 – Cortlandville residents still wary of Starr Road housing project 

Proposed Cortlandville housing project faces more scrutiny – Despite the developer’s attempts to alleviate their concerns, local residents are still wary of a planned housing development on Starr Road in the town of Cortlandville.

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About 40 people turned out for a public hearing on the project Tuesday night (Photo by Peter Blanchard/Cortland Voice).

7 – Man charged in Main Street assault now accused of head-butting officer

Cortland County jail inmate arrested for allegedly head-butting officer – David Wegner, an inmate at the Cortland County Jail, was arrested Friday on charges that he allegedly lunged at a corrections officer and head-butted him in the face. Wegner was arrested in December in connection with a reported assault of an older woman on Main Street.

David Wegner

David Wegner

8 – Forum on new county jail raises more questions

5 takeaways from Monday's forum on a proposed public safety complex in Cortland County – A public information session was held Monday evening at the Cortland County Office Building to inform local residents about a proposed public safety complex that would replace what officials say is an outdated and overcrowded jail facility. Cortland County Sheriff Mark Helms, Undersheriff Bud Rigg and Peggy Mousaw, the county’s director of budget and finance, made the case for why the county desperately needs a new correctional facility, though audience members had plenty of concerns about the project.

Cortland County Sheriff Mark Helms lays out plans for a new public safety complex at the county office building Monday evening (Peter Blanchard/Cortland Voice).

Cortland County Sheriff Mark Helms lays out plans for a new public safety complex at the county office building Monday evening (Peter Blanchard/Cortland Voice).

9 – Police: Driver crashed into Mobil gas station

Driver ticketed after crashing into Mobil gas station in Cortland – A local resident who was driving without a license drove his car into the Mobil gas station on Clinton Avenue Monday night, Cortland police said. After police arrived on scene, Artist Quiller, 44, of Cortland, was given a ticket for aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle.

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10 – Marilyn Brown, former legislature chair, dies at 78

Former Cortland County legislative chair Marilyn Brown dies – Marilyn Brown, a Democrat, served on the legislature from 1998 until 2007, serving as chair for her final term. She died Wednesday at the age of 78. Flags at county offices were ordered to fly at half-staff Thursday in honor of Brown's tenure.

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