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Rochester residents keep cool as temperatures reach 90s

Mon, 08/09/2021 - 5:06pm
As temperatures reached the 90s Monday, the city of Rochester declared a heat emergency. To help residents stay cool, the city and Avangrid, Rochester Gas & Electric’s parent company, offered indoor and outdoor cooling facilities including spray parks at rec centers. With hot and humid weather forecasted for most of this week, the city is expecting to extend hours at certain city branch libraries and provide air conditioned spaces at some rec centers. A few fire hydrants will be opened up as well, including one on Vienna Street near Upper Falls Boulevard. The sight attracted people from all over nearby neighborhoods. Kennaerri Jones, 11, and his family stopped by. He and his cousin, Keyla Roberts, 8, had a blast. “I’ve been waiting for the water to come on, and get my hair wet, and jumping around playing with my cousin,” Jones said. The spray park at the Backus Street R-Center attracted crowds as well. Kids chased each other, playing in the spray park while parents like Tony Lanza

Starbucks opens on Monroe Ave, while legal battle over Whole Foods Plaza continues

Fri, 08/06/2021 - 4:06pm
The most controversial Starbucks in Monroe County opened Friday near the Brighton-Pittsford border and Interstate 590. The coffee shop and the Whole Foods Plaza it's part of has been in the midst of a costly legal fight for a half-decade. The designs for the plaza were submitted to the town seven years ago and have been a point of contention ever since. Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle said Friday that the litigation has cost the town more than $100,000 in legal fees and developer Anthony Daniele said his family has spent more than $1 million on the lawsuits so far. Earlier this year, a judge ruled that the Daniele Family Companies can build “ at their own risk .” Work on the rest of the plaza is ongoing, with a strip of shops on the property due open by end of the year. Daniele said he can’t reveal who will occupy the space but said it will include retailers and a gym. The foundation of the new Whole Foods is being laid now, and the store is expected to open toward the end of next

Soares confirms police report has been filed in Cuomo groping case

Fri, 08/06/2021 - 1:07pm
Albany County District Attorney David Soares is confirming a New York Post report that says an unidentified staffer for Gov. Andrew Cuomo has filed a police report with the Albany County Sheriff. The tabloid reports the former assistant, who accuses Cuomo of groping her at the Executive Mansion last year, filed the report with Sheriff Craig Apple’s office on Thursday. The staffer was identified as “Executive Assistant No. 1” in the bombshell report on sexual harassment claims against Cuomo released by attorney general Tish James on Tuesday. Speaking on WAMC’s "Roundtable" program Friday morning, Soares said, “There is an official report that is now filed with law enforcement,” adding, “I believe the sheriff is doing what the sheriff is supposed to do. He’s supposed to take the report.” Asked about this @WAMCRoundtable , @DavidSoaresNY says: "I have no comment." Soares then adds, "There is an official report that is now filed with law enforcement." "I believe the sheriff is doing what

Officials, residents highlight needed reforms, challenges in election system

Thu, 08/05/2021 - 5:36pm
A public hearing, sponsored by State Sen. Samra Brouk, was held at the Monroe County Office Building Thursday. Brouk sits on the New York State Senate’s Elections Committee; the hearing brought some to speak on challenges to the current election system. Among the speakers was Justin Young, representing the New York chapter of the National Federation for the Blind. He is seeking more options for blind voters like remote ballot marking devices and delivery systems. These systems are often tablet-based and some states and municipalities integrate them with voting systems. “We want to make sure that blind voters, and voters with print disabilities can vote privately, securely and make sure that their voices are being heard like everyone else in New York state,” said Young. Young would also like to see poll workers trained on what to expect when working with a blind or disabled voter. Judith Hunter, chair of the Rural Democratic Conference of New York state, objected to the removal of

RPD Officer Denny Wright honored after serious injuries suffered during call in 2019

Thu, 08/05/2021 - 3:42pm
A Rochester police officer seriously injured nearly two years ago while responding to a domestic incident received top honors Thursday. Dozens of officers, family and friends gathered to honor Denny Wright, as he received the Police Department’s Medal of Valor and Purple Heart, after his response to an incident on Peck Street in October 2019. Wright responded to a call about family trouble. While Wright responded to the call, Keith Williams, 28, sabbed the officer multiple times, leaving him blind. Wright said if he could, he would be willing to go back to the house where this all happened to see if he could get a better result, but is just glad to be alive and to still be able to enjoy his family. “In the front of this building, there is a memorial next to the flagpole. It contains names of officers who died in the line of duty. Because of these people here, these officers and civilians and the hospital, my name is not on that stone," Wright said. Interim Police Chief Cynthia Herriott

NY Planned Parenthood calls on Cuomo to resign immediately

Wed, 08/04/2021 - 5:34pm
Advocates with the New York chapter of Planned Parenthood are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo should resign immediately. This comes after the NY Attorney General Letitia James announced the findings of an independent investigation into claims that Cuomo sexually harassed state employees. The probe substantiated the accusations and found that Cuomo had violated state and federal law. “The Governor was extremely inappropriate in his attempt to use survivors’ stories and experiences to discredit the allegations against him,” Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts CEO Robin Chappelle said in a statement on Tuesday. “This demonstrates a fundamental lack of empathy and understanding that his actions were wrong.” Jennie Papkin, an advocate with RESTORE sexual assault services -- a program with Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York -- works with college and K-12 students who have experienced sexual violence. RESTORE provides free, confidential support services to anyone impacted by

Local advocates call for compensation transparency in honor of National Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

Tue, 08/03/2021 - 7:21pm
According to a report by the National Women’s Law Center, Black women have to work 8 additional months to earn what white men make in one year. On Tuesday local and state officials gathered with community members at the Liberty Pole in Rochester to bring awareness for National Black Women's Equal Pay Day. Organizers from the Pay Equity Coalition are hoping to bring change on a legislative level. Deputy County Executive Corinda Crossdale said that Black women are often recognized for being the first in their positions but are not compensated for their work. “I’m the first African-American woman to sit in the deputy county executive’s position. We appreciate the recognition of the titles. It's also nice to be recognized through pay equity.” Crossdale mentioned Monroe County’s equal pay executive order put forth by Adam Bello on Black women equal pay day 2020. She said it’s up to policymakers and lawmakers to make sure the right thing is done. Singer, attorney and activist Danielle Ponder

NY AG's report finds Cuomo sexually harassed women, broke laws

Tue, 08/03/2021 - 11:31am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and broke state and federal laws related to that behavior, a report issued by the New York Attorney General’s Office found. New York Attorney General Letitia James, during a press conference Tuesday, outlined the report with the attorneys hired to review those claims over the past five months. "The independent investigation has concluded that Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, and in doing so, violated federal and state law." Several women have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior, both at the office and in public. Cuomo has denied those claims, saying he never touched anyone inappropriately. The controversies started in December when Lindsey Boylan, a former economic development official, publicly accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, but didn’t provide details at the time. Two months later, Boylan detailed her experience with Cuomo, saying the three-term governor acted inappropriately around

Landlords and tenants prepare next steps as end of New York's eviction moratorium approaches

Tue, 08/03/2021 - 12:30am
The national moratorium on evictions ended on July 31, but tenants and landlords in New York state still have a little less than a month before their eviction protections are lifted. As the deadline approaches on Aug. 31, they’re preparing for next steps. Joe LaBarbera owns and manages more than a dozen properties in Rochester. He said the eviction moratorium has made it financially crippling for some landlords, yet no one is looking forward to the eviction process once it's lifted. “Evictions are something that nobody likes to deal with, '' LaBarbera said. “ And at the same time, a lot of these people are suffering. I know some landlords that have literally had to take an extra job.” With a lengthy docket, he said that landlords will end up taking more of a loss waiting for their day in court. LaBarbera said many landlords have had to stay afloat by selling their properties. He said he was able to recoup back rent from a tenant through a rental assistance program. But access to the

Warren seeks ‘consistent reduction of violence' in Rochester

Thu, 07/29/2021 - 5:24pm
During remarks at the city’s violence prevention summit at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center on Thursday, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren made her goal clear. “We want to change violence in the city of Rochester permanently,” she said. “We don’t want this to be a one- or two-year thing. We want this to be a consistent reduction of violence in the city of Rochester until we no longer have violence in the city of Rochester.” As of Thursday, Rochester Police data shows there have been 237 shooting incidents in the city so far this year. There have been 40 homicides in the city in 2021; 69% were gun deaths. Over the last 10 years, Rochester has averaged 33 homicides a year. Warren didn’t address the felony gun charge that she and her estranged husband, Timothy Granison, were indicted on this month. Two illegal guns were found at her house in May. While the event was open to the media, Warren did not take off-topic questions. City Council Vice President Willie Lightfoot, who chairs

Disgraced judge denies allegations of sexual abuse

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 5:36pm
In his first public remarks since abruptly resigning from the bench two years ago amid allegations of "improper conduct," former state Supreme Court Justice Matthew Rosenbaum issued a video statement Wednesday in which he acknowledged having had sexual relations with his secretary and denied that they were anything but consensual. "More than a decade ago, I wrongly got involved with a woman outside of my marriage," he said. "It was not only wrong, it was a stupid thing to do. It was unfair to my wife, my children and to those who believed in me." "But there is another issue I must confront," he added later in the statement. "That is the untrue allegation that the relationship was anything but consensual. It was always consensual. And any attempt to frame it as anything other than that is both untrue and unfair." The mea culpa came a day after the Monroe County Sheriff's Office issued a statement that confirmed it was investigating Rosenbaum for possible criminal conduct, but did not

Fashion Week Rochester returns in October

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 5:32pm
Organizers of Fashion Week Rochester will roll out the runways in October for the first time in two years.

Bello administration plans to overhaul Monroe County’s delivery of social services

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 4:53pm
Monroe County officials want to make it easier for residents to get the public assistance they need, so they’re redesigning how the services are accessed and delivered, County Executive Adam Bello said Wednesday. The county plans to embed more of those programs into smaller, community-based organizations as a way to bring resources and assistance directly to the people who need them. Right now, they have to visit or call one of two busy office buildings, both of which are in the city. Speaking in front of the Department of Human Services office building at 691 St. Paul St., Bello said that embedding the services in smaller agencies, such as Ibero American Action League or Huther Doyle, will ensure that clients have easier access to resources through organizations they trust. He also noted that clients who need to visit the St. Paul Street offices, or the county offices at 111 Westfall Road, often need to find transportation and arrange for child care. The locations are also far from

Monroe County Sheriff looking into possible criminal conduct by former Judge Matthew Rosenbaum

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 5:23pm
There is now an investigation into possible criminal conduct by former New York State Supreme Court Justice Matthew Rosenbaum. On Tuesday, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office revealed that in the spring of this year, it was notified of possible criminal conduct by Rosenbaum. The sheriff’s department issued a statement saying that it did start an investigation and is "currently working with the Monroe County District Attorney to complete this in depth process." The sheriff’s department says that because this is an ongoing investigation, that limits their ability to comment further. Rosenbaum is already facing a civil suit in federal court brought by his former secretary, who alleges that Rosenbaum demanded she engage in sexual acts in his chambers. The lawsuit also alleges that in November 2006, Rosenbaum raped the woman in her home. The state Office of Court Administration announced in December 2019 that Rosenbaum had been relieved of his duties pending an ongoing investigation into

Federal VIPER task force takes questions from Rochester residents on gun violence

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 4:56pm
U.S. Attorney James Kennedy and other law enforcement leaders took questions about gun violence for more than two hours Tuesday at SUNY Brockport’s Rochester Educational Opportunity Center in downtown Rochester.

Meeks, advocates call for bold action to tackle opioid epidemic

Mon, 07/26/2021 - 4:54pm
Assemblymember Demond Meeks, and a group of community activists, are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take bold action to stem the opioid crisis. During a news conference Monday, Meeks, a Democrat from Rochester, said overdose deaths are often overlooked. “We have issues in this community that have been plaguing us for some time,” said Meeks. “We heard about the ills as it relates to violence in the Rochester community. But one of the things we don't talk much about is the overdoses.” Monroe County’s Heroin Task force data show that there were roughly 700 overdoses in Monroe County last year , 137 of those incidents ended in death. Those numbers are slightly down from 2019. In 2021, taskforce data shows 330 so far, with 72 fatalities. The vast majority of these incidents were in the city of Rochester. Meeks said these numbers show that the current course isn’t working, and there is need for “bold government solutions to do what’s right by the community.” He said we have to focus on harm