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Updated: 52 min 57 sec ago

NYS: Indoor dining can resume in orange zones

Thu, 01/14/2021 - 4:50pm
New York state has decided to allow all bars and restaurants in orange zones statewide to resume indoor dining at 50% capacity. That decision is in reaction to a court ruling, allowing nearly 100 establishments in Buffalo to do that .

Rochesterians contributed to voter mobilization in Georgia runoffs

Fri, 01/08/2021 - 5:20pm
Rochester played a role in this week's runoff elections in Georgia that gave Democrats control of the U.S. Senate. Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won their races by a narrow margin with a strong turnout from Black voters. Rochester for Georgia, a local group of around 130 volunteers, staffed phone banks and distributed thousands of postcards in an effort to mobilize more people to cast their ballots for Ossoff and Warnock. Organizer Michelle Daniels, who worked on Stacey Abrams' 2018 campaign for Georgia governor, dedicated herself to the project after making a promise to the late Rep. John Lewis, whom she knew personally. “I gave him my promise that I would keep on,” she said. “So after John Lewis’s passing, it was just automatic. I had to do whatever I could do for Georgia.” The demographics and politics in Georgia are changing, Daniels said, and there are fewer “sundown areas,” which are places where it's dangerous to go as a Black person at night. In the context of the

Rochester's vanishing backyard rinks

Fri, 01/08/2021 - 1:22pm
There is a fraternity of families around Rochester who tend patches of natural ice in their yards for their children to live out their dreams.

After three decades, Joe Robach leaves public service

Fri, 01/01/2021 - 4:00am
Joe Robach doesn’t want to retire. Still, he will in a matter of days. “I’m getting rid of so much stuff,” said Robach. “It’s amazing what you accumulate over so many years.” Robach was first elected in 1991, replacing his father, the longtime Democratic state Assemblyman Roger Robach, who died that year. Joe Robach is something of a rare breed in an increasingly partisan world. He had support of the Conservative Party both as a Democrat in the state Assembly and as a Republican in the state Senate, where he’s served since 2003. He rose through the ranks and is assistant minority whip.

After three decades, Joe Robach leaves public service

Fri, 01/01/2021 - 4:00am
Joe Robach doesn’t want to retire. Still, he will in a matter of days. “I’m getting rid of so much stuff,” said Robach. “It’s amazing what you accumulate over so many years.” Robach was first elected in 1991, replacing his father, the longtime Democratic state Assemblyman Roger Robach, who died that year. Joe Robach is something of a rare breed in an increasingly partisan world. He had support of the Conservative Party both as a Democrat in the state Assembly and as a Republican in the state Senate, where he’s served since 2003. He rose through the ranks and is assistant minority whip.

After three decades, Joe Robach leaves public service

Fri, 01/01/2021 - 4:00am
Joe Robach doesn’t want to retire. Still, he will in a matter of days. “I’m getting rid of so much stuff,” said Robach. “It’s amazing what you accumulate over so many years.” Robach was first elected in 1991, replacing his father, the longtime Democratic state Assemblyman Roger Robach, who died that year. Joe Robach is something of a rare breed in an increasingly partisan world. He had support of the Conservative Party both as a Democrat in the state Assembly and as a Republican in the state Senate, where he’s served since 2003. He rose through the ranks and is assistant minority whip.

Outreach efforts continue to alleviate skepticism of COVID-19 vaccine

Tue, 12/29/2020 - 5:16pm
We’re still months away from the COVID-19 vaccine being available to the general public but local organizations are already making efforts to alleviate public skepticism. Common Ground Health has been doing outreach targeting specific communities since the start of the pandemic. The organization’s president Wade Norwood leads the Monroe County COVID-19 Vaccination task force outreach efforts. Common Ground’s Facebook live series called “Myth Busters” is dedicated to health literacy. Host Dr. Linda Clark has spent much of the year answering pandemic-related questions. She said there are still many misconceptions about COVID-19 and the vaccine. “We’ve heard things like Microsoft is using the injection to deliver a computer chip so that you can be traced, '' said Clark. “We’ve heard that it’s been engineered to react a different way for black people compared to other people. So we try to bust all those myths.” Clark acknowledges the history of mistrust that many communities of color have

Music venues eager for assistance from federal stimulus package

Tue, 12/29/2020 - 5:11pm
Owners of music venues around the Rochester region who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic are anxiously waiting for help from the latest federal stimulus package. The package signed by President Donald Trump early this week gives billions in aid to music venues, but at least one popular venue isn’t sure if they’ll qualify.

After city warns of potential COVID-19 exposure at protest, activists say cops didn't wear masks

Tue, 12/29/2020 - 5:06pm
After the city of Rochester released an advisory over the weekend about possible coronavirus exposure at a recent protest, activists said that some Rochester police officers who responded were not wearing masks. On Sunday, the City of Rochester reported that there may have been an exposure risk at a protest outside of 57 Glasgow St., where a court-ordered eviction was taking place. Protesters at the Dec. 18 eviction blockade said Rochester police officers who were not wearing face masks posed the greater risk of coronavirus spread. Allie Dentinger with the City-wide Tenant Union of Rochester was one of the protesters. She doesn’t dispute that people were potentially exposed to COVID-19. “We just think it’s disingenuous to not point out that RPD is also a huge piece of that,” said Dentinger. “They have consistently been observed throughout protests all summer, throughout community interactions, and at the Glasgow blockade not wearing masks.” The department's policy mandates that all

City Blue Imaging prepares temporary space and plans to look for a new location

Sun, 12/27/2020 - 5:51pm
The owners of City Blue Imaging, which has deep roots in the city of Rochester, is working to regroup and stay in business after a devastating fire on Christmas Eve. It’s not what you might expect to hear from an owner of a company which burned to the ground. But Mark Cleary, president of City Blue Imaging, said that he actually feels “blessed.” He uses that word not only because there were no serious injuries as dozens of firefighters fought a huge fire at his company’s facility on Scio St. on Thursday night, but because so many people have reached out via phone, text and social media to support City Blue and its staff. Cleary says that includes other printing companies. “Several of my competitors, the people from Canfield & Tack especially, have reached out to me personally and said, we are here for you guys, if you need us,” Cleary said. He noted that he will hire other printing companies to reprint jobs he had that were pending when the fire hit. As the same time, he said that

LISTEN: President of City Blue Imaging talks about that devastating fire

Fri, 12/25/2020 - 12:36am
UPDATE: President of City Blue Imaging, Mark Cleary, posted on Facebook that he will open a temporary office for the company: "I am happy to report that we will be opening a temporary office on Tuesday next door at our neighbors, 84 Scio St Please look for further posts on Monday with contact information for the new office including phone, email and mail info. Several friends in the Rochester printing world have offered their support to help us continue printing." A massive three-alarm fire brought dozens of firefighters to East Ave. and Scio St. in Rochester’s East End on Thursday night. The fire reported just after 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve was at City Blue Imaging at 68 Scio St., and fire officials say that when they got to the large, two-story brick building, they found heavy smoke and fire coming from the rear of the building.

St. Michael’s parishioners want Catholic Diocese to consider plan to save church

Wed, 12/23/2020 - 6:03pm
St. Michael’s Church has been a cornerstone in the city of Rochester’s North Clinton Avenue neighborhood for over a century. The future of the historic church has come into question in recent years because of low attendance and financial troubles within the Roman Catholic diocese of Rochester. In an attempt to save St. Michael's community members have submitted a plan to church and diocesan leadership to take over the campus. Now, they’re putting pressure on the diocese to make a decision. The effort began earlier this year when a group of parishioners and other Catholics formed the St. Michael Society. In late November, they submitted a proposal seeking to assume financial responsibility of the church by operating as a nonprofit. The proposal includes a partnership with the Father Tracy Advocacy Center to use one of the main buildings as a multi-purpose community center. They've been patiently waiting for a response. But several parishioners said that during Mass last weekend, the Rev

Rochester’s Liberty Pole: More than a holiday destination

Sat, 12/19/2020 - 11:19am
When I was a kid, I lost a glove on the McCurdy's department store escalator downtown. I was maybe 9, and my mom was angry. We were late for our bus and I wouldn’t stop talking. We made it — barely. As the bus pulled away from East Main and Franklin streets, I looked up at this giant pole, and wondered: What is that thing? Turns out, the concept for a Liberty Pole began thousands of years ago.

Despite pandemic, some nonprofits still seeing support

Tue, 12/15/2020 - 5:57pm
Raising money is never easy for nonprofits, said Nick Coulter, the co-founder of Person Centered Housing Options , which offers support and housing to the homeless. And a recent Siena poll said it's getting harder . Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers -- 63% -- said they will donate money, food, or gifts to charitable organizations that focus on the needy during the holiday season. That's down from 68% in 2018, and a high of 81% in 2007. Economic and pandemic-based pressures are to blame.

Gyms, Salons and Barber shops get ready to reopen

Fri, 12/11/2020 - 5:15pm
After a flurry of excited calls from her employees and customers Friday, Kym Reed found herself doing math. “If I worked an eight-hour day theoretically, at an hour per visit, I could do eight haircuts, at 25% of that, two hair cuts,” Reed calculated. Reed owns Blue Marble hair parlor on East Ave. but she’s not sure if it's sustainable. Her business, like many in orange zones, were forced to close on the day before Thanksgiving. Orange zones are areas with high levels of COVID-19 cases.

Rochester spends thousands annually to disperse a massive murder of crows

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 3:26am
Like clockwork, tens of thousands of crows, also known as a murder, come together this time of year for their own safety. They’re noticeable in downtown Rochester. Genesee Valley Audubon Society President June Summers said it's a way to protect themselves from predators, like owls. She said the crows are often distant relatives. “Crows come together in a winter roost, in numbers because it's safer,” said Summers. “In the spring and the summer they disperse and go out and nest, and take up territories in the rest of the county.” For most of the last decade, the birds have found their way downtown from their long time roost in Mount Hope Cemetery. Summers isn’t sure why they moved but mused that the heat from the pavement in the center of town may have attracted them. The birds have a distinct sound, smell and droppings, particularly noticeable around downtown buildings like the Geva theater, the ESL Headquarters and Frontier Field. Justin Gansowski, who works on wildlife conflicts for

Open Door Mission and Dimitri House keep Thanksgiving traditions going

Thu, 11/26/2020 - 5:00am
For those who are homeless or impoverished, Thanksgiving can often be a difficult time regardless of a pandemic. Local organizations helping those in need have found ways to share the feast while abiding by social distancing guidelines. At the Open Door Mission, Thanksgiving dinner will be served in two ways. As a curbside pick-up for those passing through, and as a sit-down dinner for those staying at the shelter. “It means a lot to be able to come up with ways to make people feel connected even though things look a little different,” said Anna Valeria-Iseman, executive director of Open Door Mission. Anyone is welcome to collect a dinner plate for themselves or for their family, she said. However, while the pick-up option gets food to people, she said it doesn’t necessarily fulfill the need for connection. Whether someone is grappling with addiction, homelessness, or their mental wellness, she says she often hears from people that the most difficult part of the holidays is the

A Brockport turkey farmer and Alfred University provide a Thanksgiving gift

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 7:41am
A local turkey farmer and Alfred University have combined forces to make Thanksgiving a little brighter for staff at that Southern Tier college. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many of us in different ways, and for Travis Mattison, who owns Ridgecrest Turkey Farm in Brockport, it has put a deep dent in what would normally be one of the busiest times of the year.

Orange zone restrictions mean uncertain times for bars, restaurants

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 5:22pm
Bar and restaurant owners across Rochester saw the new COVID-19 lockdowns coming. Starting Wednesday, dining at restaurants in orange zones can only happen outdoors, with a maximum of four people per table. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday designated a swatch of Monroe County -- including parts of Brighton, Irondequoit, Gates and a large part of the city of Rochester -- as orange zones as COVID-19 infections increase.