WXXI Local Stories

Syndicate content
Updated: 26 min 57 sec ago

Ogden kidnapping calls attention to dangers of domestic violence

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 4:47pm
Ogden police say a woman who was abducted overnight drove herself to safety on Wednesday morning. Local law enforcement say Jessica Northrup had last been seen with her former domestic partner, Paul Collen before she disappeared. The case has sparked conversations around domestic abuse, and what bystanders can do to help. Ogden police chief Chris Mears told reporters on Wednesday that Northrup’s case sheds light on the dangers of domestic violence. “This lady is very lucky to be a survivor. I believe that in my heart. She’s very fortunate to be alive today,” he says.. A man’s body was found near where Northrup was held against her will. Ogden police have identified the body as Northrup’s former partner and alleged kidnapper, Collen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. Meaghan de Chateauvieux with Willow domestic violence center says

Rochester City School unions ask district to address safety concerns with police, parents balk

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 4:03pm
Days after leaders from four Rochester City School unions asked the district to address growing security concerns – including an incident when someone fired a gun outside All City High -- residents spoke out at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting. One of the unions’ requests was to end the ban of school resource officers, but resident Carly Fox said she doesn’t trust Rochester Police around schools. “I believe that entering into a contractual agreement with RPD is not a good idea,” Fox said. “I say that as a parent, as an alumni and an aspiring teacher.” Another resident said bringing police back won’t change things. “There is all sorts of data, because we all like to be data-driven, that demonstrates that police in schools do not make students safer,” Victoria Robinson said. Eammon Scanlon with the Children’s Agenda agreed, citing extensive research. “Police in schools do not make them safer,” Scanlon said. “There’s no conclusive evidence of this from multiple studies, but what

Hickey Freeman plans to add 100 workers, Schumer pushes for more American-made PPE

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 5:15pm
Hickey Freeman is aggressively expanding, bringing dozens of new jobs to Rochester. The luxury clothing company announced Monday that they’re adding 100 positions to its North Clinton Avenue factory starting immediately. They’ve already hired about a dozen people. On Monday, CEO Stephen Granovsky said most of those jobs require tailoring or machine operating experience but he said that they expect to hire and train some workers as well. This growth, Granovsky said, is in anticipation of several new lines of business. “We’ve actually signed contracts with three or four different brands, one large brand in particular who are going to move their brands from their current factory to our factory,” said Granovsky. He would not reveal the name of the companies. The expansion comes after Hickey Freeman already agreed to sell its factory to Home Leasing. Granovsky still expects that about half the building will be turned into affordable housing units while Hickey Freeman continues to operate

Black, armed and aware: Club provides gun, self-defense training to African Americans

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 7:47am
Paul Adell stood in the shooting stall wearing earmuffs atop his Chicago Bulls baseball cap. He fired a Canik TP9 Elite Combat pistol a half-dozen times, hitting a target 10 feet away with almost surgical precision. He pressed the safety on the gun and placed it on a table in the stall before turning to me and the rest of the group. “Praise God and pass the ammunition,” he said.

Now 41, killer of 4-year-old boy granted parole on 11th try

Sat, 10/16/2021 - 11:43am
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Eric M. Smith, who was 13 when he killed a 4-year-old boy with a rock in western New York, has been granted parole, according to corrections officials. Smith, now 41, appeared for the 11th time before the Board of Parole on October 5 and was granted release as early as Nov. 17, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said in an emailed statement Saturday. Transcripts of the hearing were not immediately released. Smith was convicted of second-degree murder in 1994 for luring Derrick Robie into woods near the younger boy's home and striking his head with a rock. Robie was walking alone to summer camp at a park in the Steuben County village of Savona in August 1993. The case got wide publicity because of the tender age of the victim and suspect, along with a widely circulated photo of the adolescent Smith in court, wearing a Bugs Bunny sweatshirt and a mop of red hair. Smith's lawyer unsuccessfully argued that he was mentally ill. Smith was sentenced to

2nd alarm called when Rochester firefighters respond to kitchen fire at the Strathallan Hotel

Sat, 10/16/2021 - 7:16am
Rochester firefighters called a 2 nd alarm on Friday night after a fire broke out in a kitchen at the Strathallan Hotel on East Avenue near Goodman St. Firefighters say there was heavy black smoke coming from some outside duct work when they got there at about 10pm, and flames coming from a hood inside the kitchen area. A second alarm was called because of the size of the building and the number of hotel guests and restaurant patrons. Firefighters say that they quickly put out the visible flames, but they say it took some work to remove duct work and cooking appliances. The fire was declared under control in about 45 minutes. There were no injuries and hotel guests were allowed to return to their rooms. Fire officials say the kitchen had a lot of damage in a wood burning section of the cook line, but the Strathallan will reopen to the public on Saturday. They will use a 2 nd kitchen until the main kitchen is repaired. The Char Steak & Lounge restaurant, according to a statement

Morelle, local booze-makers urge vigilance against spotted lanternfly

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 5:30pm
Ecologists are sounding an early alert for Monroe County about the spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect that’s relatively new to New York and that presents a threat to agriculture. The spotted lanternfly, of which a living specimen has yet to be found in Monroe County, is a brightly colored bug native to India, China, and Vietnam. It first appeared in the United States in 2014, when it was found in Berks County, Pennsylvania. There, the lanternfly faced few predators and a smorgasbord of local crops, though grapevines and maple trees became quick favorites. A 2020 report from the Pennsylvania State College of Agricultural Sciences warned, if not contained, the spotted lanternfly could cost the state $324 million annually and upward of 2,800 jobs. But despite efforts to contain the threat, the lanternfly spread through much of the mid-Atlantic in ensuing years, including New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. On Friday, House Rep. Joe Morelle joined researchers from Cornell University as

Finger Lakes region could net $53 million from opioid lawsuits

Thu, 10/14/2021 - 4:42pm
Upward of $53 million is expected to be paid out to counties in the Finger Lakes region under settlements reached to end state lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies and distributors. Attorney General Letitia James has been traveling across the state presenting oversized checks to county leaders to illustrate how much settlement money is coming their way. On Thursday, she stood with House Rep. Joe Morelle, County Executive Adam Bello, state Sen. Jeremy Cooney, and a slew of other elected officials and community leaders to announce the payouts. “In Monroe County and across our state, we are living through a catastrophic period of greed, corporate greed, where individuals placed their bottom lines above people,” James said. “...The bottom line is businesses, corporations, and the Sackler family should be held accountable for their actions.” The Sackler family owns Purdue Pharma, which developed, manufactured, and sold opioids including OxyContin. In total, the state expects to receive

Three leaders from Democratic county committees, including Monroe's, back Hochul for governor

Thu, 10/14/2021 - 11:36am
The leaders of three upstate New York Democratic county committees announced Thursday that they are endorsing Gov. Kathy Hochul in her bid for a full term next year. They include Monroe County Democratic Committee Chair Zach King, as well as the leaders of the Democratic committees in Albany and Onondaga counties. Hochul, the former lieutenant governor, became governor in August after Andrew Cuomo resigned as he became embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal. The statement from the three upstate Democratic chairs cited Hochul’s “extensive experience at all levels of government -- from Town Board to County Clerk to (the) United States House of Representatives.” The committee chairs also said they offer their personal endorsements to Attorney General Letitia James and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli if they choose to “run for re-election to their respective office.” Both James and DiNapoli have been mentioned as among the possible Democratic primary challengers to Hochul next June. New York

Rochester Police Officer Denny Wright receives state honor for heroism

Wed, 10/13/2021 - 7:51pm
A Rochester Police Officer is receiving a top statewide honor for heroism. On Wednesday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that Officer Denny Wright is the recipient of the Governor’s Police Officer of the Year Award. Hochul announced the award for Wright and also said that a Suffolk County Police Officer, Christopher Zonin, is getting the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services’ Lifesaving Award. It was announced on the first day of National Police Weeek which is being marked in Washington, D.C. this year with a series of events through Sunday, October 17. Wright was responding to a call on Peck Street in October 2019 about family trouble. While he responded to the call, he was stabbed multiple times and was left blinded by the attack. Hochul says despite severe injuries and impaired vision, Wright persisted and kept others around him safe. Rochester Interim Police Chief David Smith says that he is “humbled by Officer Wright’s actions, which demonstrated incredible determination and

Activists call for New York state to fund affordable housing at Hotel Cadillac

Wed, 10/13/2021 - 5:00pm
About 20 activists gathered outside the Hotel Cadillac on Wednesday calling for the hotel to be converted to permanent housing for people who are without stable housing in Rochester. “You got people in wheelchairs living on the street. That’s not fair! That’s not right!” said John Jones, 71, who is staying at the House of Mercy homeless shelter. “It hurts when you can’t do nothing about it. It hurts, you understand? We’re asking the state to give us the opportunity to get somewhere to get people to live. It’s a lot of rooms up here, y’all.” Jumaane Williams, the New York City public advocate who is considering a run for governor next year, said a bill passed two months ago could provide a path to build more affordable housing if it had more funding behind it. That law is the Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act, or HONDA . Funding through this program would be used to convert distressed commercial buildings, like the hotel, into affordable housing units. “If you’re sick, it’s hard

Family Dollar police shooting footage released

Tue, 10/12/2021 - 5:11pm
Body-worn camera footage of a police-involved shooting death inside a Rochester Family Dollar was released Tuesday afternoon. Interim Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott Sullivan said the shooting happened around 9:30 p.m. last Wednesday at the 715 W. Main St. store. The video shows two Rochester Police officers responding to a 911 call for a robbery. When police enter, they ask if someone has a gun. The officers quickly find a man in a blue hoodie standing behind the counter. Police repeatedly ask him to take his hands out of his pockets, but he refuses and runs away. Police chase him down the store’s aisles, and there was an exchange of gunfire. Police claim that the suspect shot first, but despite the video’s several angles of footage, some parts are blurred out and it’s unclear. In the video, one of the officers claims the gun is wrapped in a paper bag. After one of the officers kicks the gun away, an ambulance is called for the man. Police later identified the man as Simran

Still some time to submit comments for Erie Canal embankment program

Tue, 10/12/2021 - 7:35am
The New York State Canal Corporation is reminding local residents that they still have a few days to submit comments about the program that includes removing vegetation from the banks of the Erie Canal. There were informational meetings last month in Fairport, and Rebecca Hughes, who heads up public engagement for the Canal Corporation, says that comments can still be submitted via email or written mail through Friday, October 15. Hughes said that the agency is looking for suggestions on how to continue a dialogue with people concerned about plans for maintaining the canal embankments. “On how we plan to engage with the public as the program is rolled out, to hear from them, if we’re looking at the right channels of communication, if we’re looking at clear and transparent ways to communicate with the public and if not, how they would like to be communicated with and engaged as projects are identified,” said Hughes. The Canal Corporation’s program for clearing some foliage along the

Rochester to have a permanent housing court by year’s end

Mon, 10/11/2021 - 3:54pm
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed Assembly Bill A1131 A , cementing the court into law on Friday. A policy from the 7th Judicial District, which includes Monroe County, established a section for housing in City Court in 2020 . The Rochester Housing Court Act beefs up that section by calling for a dedicated judge with what the bill’s co-author Assemblyman Harry Bronson calls “broad powers” on adjudicating matters like evictions, landlord tenant grievances, violations of city codes and ordinance s. Bronson, a Rochester Democrat, has been working with housing advocates locally and statewide on these issues for several years. With the volume of houses in disrepair and violations of existing city codes, Bronson said the area needs a judge with this specific expertise. “We strongly believe that this will help the housing stock, and create a better venue for landlords and tenants to have their disputes solved,” said Bronson. “What we really needed is a focus here in the city of Rochester and

2nd local man charged in January insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

Mon, 10/11/2021 - 7:19am
A second Rochester area man has been charged in connection with the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. According to a document filed with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Cody Mattice was arrested in Hilton last Thursday by the FBI. He faces several federal charges including “assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon or inflicting bodily injury," and an act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings. Other details about the case were not immediately available. Earlier this year, another local man, Dominic Pezzola was accused by federal authorities of using a police officer’s riot shield to help smash his way into the Capitol building.

Heating costs in NY expected to spike for many customers this winter

Sun, 10/10/2021 - 2:39pm
A new forecast on energy costs for heating in New York state calls for a spike in those expenses this coming winter. During an annual presentation by the state of the NY State Public Service Commission last week, staffers said that on average, statewide, consumers will be hit with about a 21% increase in heating costs over the entire winter compared to last year. Rochester Gas and Electric is forecasting about a 33% average increase over the winter for natural gas customers. PSC Commissioner Diane Burman worried about the impact of price hikes if there is an unusually cold winter across the state. To me the price issues seem to be downplayed. I am concerned there’s going to be major sticker shock if the current trends hold,” said Burman. The increase expected in natural gas prices locally, and around the world is partly attributed to the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic which has driven up demand for power. The upcoming winter’s electricity prices statewide are also

Longtime Community Foundation leader Jennifer Leonard to retire in 2022

Thu, 10/07/2021 - 9:05am
There is a leadership change coming to the Rochester Area Community Foundation . Jennifer Leonard, who has led the organization as its president and CEO for 28 years, is announcing that she will retire in September 2022. Leonard is the foundation’s third top executive, and longest-serving leader, in its 49-year history. Simeon Banister, the Community Foundation’s vice president for community programs, has been promoted to executive vice president. It’s expected he will eventually take over as president and CEO when Leonard retires, as part of the organization’s succession plan. Banister joined the foundation in 2017, and his career has spanned both the public and private sectors. For several years, he has been president of the Greater Rochester Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. “The Community Foundation’s board of directors enthusiastically looks forward to working with Simeon in his new role and unanimously approved this transition plan in support of the Foundation and the community,

RPD says suspect shot and killed during apparent robbery at a Family Dollar store

Thu, 10/07/2021 - 5:54am
Rochester Police say one person is dead after shots were exchanged with police Wednesday night at a Family Dollar store on West Main Street. Interim Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan says it happened around 9:30 p.m. when police walked into what apparently was a robbery in progress. She says one person is dead, and neither of the 2 officers who responded were injured. Herriott-Sullivan also says there were some customers and employees in the store at the time, but none of them were injured. Video from cameras in the store as well as the officers’ body-worn cameras is being reviewed. Since the death involved an encounter with police, the New York State Attorney General’s office will investigate the incident. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren released this statement on Thursday morning: “Chief Herriott-Sullivan has assured me that the Rochester Police Department will cooperate fully with the Attorney General’s investigation into this incident. In addition, I have urged her to review, redact

Mercy Flight helicopter crashes in Genesee County; no injuries reported

Thu, 10/07/2021 - 4:59am
A Mercy Flight helicopter crashed at the Genesee County Airport on Wednesday night, but there were no injuries reported. Deputies say it happened just before 9:30 p.m. on the north side of the airport as the chopper was attempting to land after returning from Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. The incident happened in a field just north of the flight line. Officials say the helicopter made a hard landing and had damage to the underside of the fuselage. All crew members were safely outside the aircraft when deputies arrived and were taken to the hospital for medical evaluations as a precaution. The cause of the crash is not known, according to the sheriff's office, which is investigating along with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Rochester’s Latinx community presents agenda

Wed, 10/06/2021 - 6:19pm
Ibero-American Action League and the Rochester Latinx Leaders Roundtable have joined forces to address Rochester’s Latinx community issues. The Rochester's Latinx agenda, a 53-page document , was created to address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion for Latinos of various experiences. During a virtual discussion on the agenda, Sady Fischer, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, said when it comes to the conversations about diversity and inclusion, more should be done to include the Latinx community. “When we're talking about things like structural racism, there is a direct connection to us to the Latinx community, and how these things impact our communities,” Fischer said. “There also needs to be an intentional focus on us. So part of what the Latinx agenda wants to do is one of our calls to action is for you to refocus that lens.” Access to language was a major topic of discussion during the event. Marlene Cortez, senior manager for