Saturday’s Town-Gown Awards: you’re invited


Friends and neighbors, we hope you can come celebrate all things community at the 2019 Town-Gown Awards (The TOGOs), 9:30-11:30 a.m., this coming Saturday, Dec. 7, at Ithaca High School’s Kulp Auditorium. After some mingling time, The TOGOs start promptly at 10 a.m.

This annual event, now in its ninth year, is open to everyone of any age (no RSVPs), informal and most importantly, fun. Visit for more information.

Over the years, The TOGOs have been a chance to thank dozens of local leaders, who collectively have contributed thousands of hours for the common good.

In addition, several town-gown collaborations have received a well-deserved spotlight, touching on housing, health care, the environment, economic development, public schools and a variety of shared interests that reflect Tompkins County to the core.

Since its inception, a version of The TOGOs have been replicated in other college towns, but never with the verve and bounce found in Ithaca and environs, so thank you very much!

The 2019 TOGOs feature three main components: 1) Welcoming remarks by Cornell University President Martha Pollack and Ithaca City School District Superintendent Luvelle Brown, 2) a salute to three community-campus partnerships, this year featuring Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, Finger Lakes Independence Center and the Downtown Ithaca Alliance and 3) thanks to friends who have or will soon be retiring from elected or appointed positions. This year, that includes:

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church Pastor Rick Bair, City of Ithaca Asst. Supt. Streets and Facilities Ray Benjamin, Tompkins County Director of Probation and Community Justice Pat Buechel, Kendal at Ithaca Executive Director Dan Governati, Ithaca City School District board member Brad Grainger, Dryden Town Board member Alice Green, Johnson Museum Ames Curator of Education Cathy Klimaszewski, Tompkins County Public Information Officer Marcia Lynch, Executive Director of the Tompkins County Workforce Investment Board Julia Mattick, OBGYN & Midwifery Associates’ Kate Pierce, Ithaca College Executive Vice President Nancy Pringle, Leaning Web Associate Director Sally Schwartzbach, Tompkins County Emergency Services’ Lee Shurtleff, Tompkins County Democratic Party Chairwoman Irene Stein, EcoVillage co-founder Liz Walker and the Town of Caroline Highway Superintendent Cindy Whittaker.

The presentation of the TOGO Achievement Award will go to Barbara Mink, who has been a student, journalist, elected official, lecturer and artist during her time in Tompkins County.

The TOGOs reflect the best of the community’s collective talents and spirits, with lots of laughs and love along the way. We hope you can make it!

East Hill Notes are published the first and third Wednesdays of each month in Tompkins Weekly. Gary Stewart is Cornell University’s associate vice president of community relations


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