1. Auburn Schine Theater restoration moves forward. After many stagnant years, the restoration of downtown Auburn's art deco theater took its first significant step in November. Removal of the theater's asbestos and other hazardous materials began, supported by $800,000 in federal funds reallocated by the city this summer. The approximately three-month process will clear the way for people to occupy the 1938 building for the first time in more than a decade. Meanwhile, the theater also received $1.2 million in state funds to support the next steps in the project, including the restoration of its South Street marquee. As the $6 million effort to reopen the Schine as a multi-use convention center eyes an October 2019 end date, however, it's less clear whose theater the Schine actually is. In order to secure the $800,000 for asbestos removal, longtime owners the Cayuga County Arts Council planned to sell the theater for $15,000 to Bowers Development, of Syracuse, in the spring. But weeks later, the council said it and Bowers will instead create an LLC through which the two will jointly own the property. Even that change, however, is subject to the approval of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which said in November that it had yet to receive an application to approve the transfer of ownership.