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Cayuga County veterans

Members of the Carnicelli-Indelicato American Legion Post #1776 speak about a new memorial they want to build in Auburn, during the city council meeting Thursday night. 

AUBURN — A group of Cayuga County veterans want to build a memorial on city-owned property to honor the founders of an Auburn veterans post and drum and bugle corps. 

During the Auburn City Council meeting Thursday, Nick Valenti, Bonnie Phillips and Fred Norton of the Carnicelli-Indelicato American Legion Post #1776 in Auburn said the memorial to honor their organization's founders and the founders of the Purple Lancers Drum and Bugle Corps is ready to go — they just need city approval. 

The group wants to place the memorial on a patch of grass outside 1 E. Genesee St. The monument will have four facings engraved with the founders' names. It will be about 3-feet wide and stand over 4-feet tall. If the city agrees to let the veterans use the land, they hope to have the memorial installed by August. 

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Purple Lancers memorial

Mayor Michael Quill and the city council members said they support the project, but first, city staff needs to investigate if the memorial would interfere with any underground infrastructure in the area. Director of Planning and Economic Development Jennifer Haines pointed out that the city had issued a moratorium on all monuments as the city works develop an ordinance to guide installation of memorials on city property. The moratorium does allow for the city manager or council to approve certain ones if they wish. 

"I think that we've asked these guys to wait a very long time ... we owe these guys a decision either way in a timely fashion," Councilor Dia Carabajal said. "They've been patient."

Valenti said it is important to build a memorial so the community doesn't forget about the sacrifices service men and women have made.  

"A lot of the history of how these organizations were formed, how they exist today, gets lost over time," he said. "The remembrance of these men and their sacrifice is still going to be there after they're gone." 

In other news

• The Auburn Police Department received a $397,000 federal grant at the end of August to help the department combat domestic violence in the city. 

The department is working with the Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency to expand domestic violence advocacy programs and continue follow-up programs to aid victims. The grant will allow the agency to hire a victim court advocate, which Auburn Police Chief Shawn Butler said is "very needed." The money will also allow APD officers to receive additional domestic violence training. 

"This is going to allow us to take it to the next level," Butler said. 

Domestic violence is one of the most common and serious crimes officers deals with in the city. According to Butler, the department gets between 1,200 and 1,500 calls for domestic violence incidents each year. 

For Butler, domestic violence is personal. When he was the head of the APD's detective bureau, he investigated the murders of Lisa White, Katie Socci and Bridget Bell. 

"I've seen the worst of it, I've seen what can happen," Butler said. "Anything we can do to be proactive and to combat domestic violence, be it prevention, advocacy or educating my officers on how to respond, I think it's an injustice if we didn't try to implement and use all the resources available." 

The funding is being provided through the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women. The grant will be spread out over three years, Butler said. 

• Ten city employees were recognized by the New York Conference of Mayors for 25 years of service or more to the city. 

Ellen Willson, Jennifer Haines and Vivian Rose were all honored for 25 years of service, while John Montgomery, Paul Casper and Mikolaj Pinchak have been employed by the city for 30. Angelo Spinelli has served the city for 35 years and Mark Storrs for 40. Two employees — Bill Lupien and Barbara Griffin — have worked for the city for 50 years. 

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Staff writer Natalie Brophy can be reached at (315)282-2239 or natalie.brophy@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @brophy_natalie

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