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Auburn police cruiser strikes pedestrian while responding to call

An Auburn Police Department officer struck a pedestrian Christmas Eve while responding to multiple reports of a driver having crashed into several parked cars.

Multiple calls to the Cayuga County E-911 Center at approximately 10 p.m. Monday described the driver of a black Ford Focus striking four vehicles before falling out of his own vehicle, getting back in and attempting to leave the scene, according to a news release.

While responding to that area, officer Morgan Flickner was traveling east on Genesee Street near Genesee Place with her emergency lights activated, according to a release from the department and a description of an accident report provided by Deputy Chief Roger Anthony.

In an attempt to avoid several juveniles standing in the roadway, Flickner struck 35-year-old Michael Moultrie, who was walking south in the roadway on Genesee Street. Police said that Moultrie was not within a designated crosswalk.

Damage to the patrol car was on the driver's side of the vehicle, and contact with the pedestrian occurred near the center of the road, Anthony said.

Moultrie suffered a broken pelvis as a result, and was transported to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, police said.

Flickner notified dispatch of the collision and began to render first aid immediately while waiting for emergency personnel, according to the release.

Following up on the original call, officers subsequently arrested Michael E. Stanton, 45, of 13 Chapman Ave., Auburn, and charged him with driving while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or greater, second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, driving while using a cell phone, and driving without wearing a seat belt.

Stanton was released to a third party pending an appearance in Auburn City Court Jan. 2, 2019.

The police department's Accident Reconstruction Team, with assistance from the New York State Police, were conducting an ongoing investigation into the collision.

Anyone who witnessed the collision is asked to call the APD at (315) 253-3231 and ask to speak with Lt. Kyle Platt ( or Lt. James Slayton (

The APD said the community should be reminded that, per New York State Vehicle and Traffic law section 1152(a), every pedestrian who is crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection must yield the right of way to all vehicles on the roadway.

Cayuga Community College negotiating to use Auburn space for culinary center

AUBURN — Cayuga Community College is negotiating to use the Plaza of the Arts in Auburn for the college's proposed culinary center.

CCC's board of trustees unanimously gave the college approval to move forward with negotiations with The Plaza of the Arts in Auburn for the possible center at a trustees meeting Dec. 20. Dan Soules, of Soules & Dunn Development Group, which owns the plaza, said Friday negotiations involve determining how much space CCC would get and the accompanying costs.

A culinary center was a part of Auburn's proposal for a $10 million grant for the state's 2018 Downtown Revitalization Initiative. CCC was formerly looking at multiple spots for the center. CCC has requested $800,000, or 64-percent of the project, with a total $1.25 million preliminary estimate for the project, according to a presentation for Auburn's Dec. 18 local planning committee meeting.

The plaza has been home to several different restaurants over the last few years, most recently including burger restaurant Patty Shack, which shuttered earlier this year. The establishment originally opened in April 2017, closed for the season that December and was reopened in April before closing in August. Soules talked about the possible deal.

"We're very confident that this thing will get done," Soules said.

'CBS Sunday Morning' expected to air story on Seneca County's white deer

The white deer of Seneca County are expected to get some national television coverage this weekend.

According to a news release, frequent "CBS Sunday Morning" contributor Carl Mrozek recently visited the former Seneca Army Depot in Romulus to shoot video of the area's treasured white deer.

According to Seneca White Deer, Mrozek, a 22-year contributor to the program, said he expects the video to air Sunday, Dec. 30. 

Mrozek was accompanied by Paul Kronenwetter, a tour guide with White Deer Tours, on a full-day expedition. 

"I always love doing tours for the public in our buses, but it was really something special to spend a full day, just looking at white deer and trying to get that perfect shot," Kronenwetter said in a statement. "It was especially nice because, with the leaves off the trees now, it's much easier to see the deer." 

According to Seneca White Deer's website, a Lenape Indian prophecy predicts that when a white male and female deer would be seen together, it would be a sign for people to come together. 

In addition to "CBS Sunday Morning," Mrozek has contributed to television series on the Discovery Channel and PBS. He has also worked with Wild America, Profiles in Nature and The American Sportsman. 

Mrozek, based in Lancaster, is currently working on a documentary on American wolves and another on wild horses. 

White Deer Tours offers 90-minute, narrated bus tours of the former Army depot Friday through Sunday throughout the winter. Visitors can find detailed tour schedules and make reservations at or by calling (315) 759-8220. 

Seneca White Deer Inc. is a non-profit organization that works to preserve the unique wildlife and military history of the army depot though conservation, ecotourism and economic development. 

As ball drops, minimum-wage workers in NYC will see pay rise

NEW YORK — The lowest-paid workers in New York state will have something to look forward to in the new year: a higher minimum wage, with the biggest boost coming to employees in New York City, who will make at least $15 per hour.

For workers struggling in this expensive city, it's a cause for celebration, an extra bit of cash to help with the daily fight to make ends meet, even as rents and other costs continue to rise. For some business owners, it's a burden as they try to figure out how to cope with higher labor costs.

In New York City, the $15 hourly rate kicks in on the last day of 2018 and will apply to fast-food workers and employees of businesses with 11 or more people; those businesses currently must pay a minimum wage of $13.

That includes people like Jose Amador, 70, a full-time worker at a Brooklyn grocery store.

As it is now, he has to stretch hard to support his family — he has four kids ages 3 to 15 — on the $2,500 he brings home each month. Almost half is eaten up by rent. The rest barely covers utilities, food and transportation.

In a city where a 30-day subway pass alone costs $121, even an additional $2 an hour "can make a difference," he said in Spanish, speaking through a translator.

"I will be able to have more breathing space," he said, and maybe even save some money for emergencies.

If his children ask him for something, maybe the reply won't have to be, "I can't afford that," he said.

But for business owner Sam Lam, it means more worry. This is the sixth time New York's minimum wage has risen since 2013, when it was $7.25.

The owner of two Queens laundromats, he has balanced his budget by cutting back on worker overtime, slashing little perks like company lunches and holiday bonuses, and raising prices. Since he has fewer than 11 workers at each independent business, his minimum-wage workers will see pay go from $12 to $13.50 in 2019 before hitting the $15 mark in 2020.

"I am in a very stressful situation," said Lam, 54, who also works as a hairdresser.

Workers in New York City's Long Island suburbs will see their minimum pay go from $11 to $12 on New Year's Eve before jumping to $15 in 2021. The rest of the state will see the minimum wage go up 70 cents, to $11.10, with further increases phased in over several years.

If the experience of Seattle, where some companies had to pay $15 per hour starting in 2017, and San Francisco, where it went to $15 for all workers on July 1, is anything to go by, it's neither going to be a magic bullet that puts low-wage workers in a secure position, nor a stake in the heart of businesses, said Jacob Vigdor, a professor at the University of Washington who has been examining the impact of wage increases.

"The general sense is that the fears of what a higher minimum wage might have done to business were exaggerated," he said. "I think it's also fair to say the hopes of what a minimum wage might have done to workers were also exaggerated."

Workers who were already in minimum-wage jobs did see a bump up in their pay, he said. But the rate of new workers entering the low-wage market had gone down, meaning businesses were adapting by doing things like having fewer workers on a shift or adjusting operating hours.

Researchers who studied one group of low-wage workers said they didn't report feeling more economically secure, Vigdor said.

"However much more they were earning, their expenses were going up just as fast, if not faster," he said.

State officials estimated that more than 900,000 people would be earning the $15 an hour wage when fully implemented in New York City.

Samantha Marturana, co-owner of the Buttermilk Bakeshop in Brooklyn, said that when the lowest paid of her workers gets a pay hike to $15, it will have a ripple effect. Employees already getting paid more now because of seniority or special skills will expect a raise.

She and her co-owner could avoid the pay hike for a year by laying off a worker, but they'd rather not, she said. Instead, the business might try to expand product offerings or market more to drive sales.

Flavia Cabral, 56, is planning, too. As a part-time fast-food worker, she's looking forward to buying toys for her grandson, maybe having a little extra to buy the things that were out of range before, like a pair of good quality shoes, or being able to give some money to her daughter for her college expenses.

"Now I have a little release from the thinking, the pressure," the Bronx resident said. "I have hope."