Rochester Rundown: Week of April 16, 2021

Rochester Rundown

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Catch up on the last week in local news, in just a few minutes!

Rochester Rundown, a new digital exclusive brought to you by News 8 WROC, recaps the past week’s top stories with everything you need to know, or might have missed.


Hilton elementary school principal charged with sexually abusing at least 9 students

An elementary school principal in the Hilton Central School District was charged with a list of felony counts Wednesday night, accused of sexually abusing students.

Northwood Elementary School principal Kirk Ashton is accused of sexually abusing at least nine students, with offenses dating back several years.

Ashton has been Northwood’s principal since 2014 and was placed on administrative leave last week, after New York State Police opened an investigation into the district.

Ashton was arrested Wednesday night and is facing nine counts of endangering the welfare of a child, six counts of first degree sex abuse, and five counts of second degree sexual conduct against a child. Officials say more charges are possible if more victims come forward.


US recommends pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine use over blood clots

U.S. government-run vaccine sites are expected to stop offering the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine after multiple people developed blood clots.

The announcement came Tuesday after six people in the U.S. developed blood clots within two weeks of getting the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration is working to determine if there is a link between the vaccine and the blood clots.

All six of the patients were women between ages 18 and 48.

The decision to halt use of the vaccine comes after the U.S. had already used the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on nearly 7 million people, according to the New York Times.

The government is only recommending that states halt usage of the vaccine but is not requiring them to stop.


Dr. Mendoza on J&J pause: One in a million side effect, people should still get vaccinated

Despite Tuesday’s development on the J&J shot, the health commissioner said these instances of reported blood clots are extremely rare, and that Monroe County residents should continue the process of getting vaccinated as soon as possible.

“It is important to note that nearly 7 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the United States — 7 million,” Dr. Mendoza said. “And of that nearly 7 million, six women have developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within two weeks of getting the shot, and unfortunately one woman has passed away.

“While any loss of life or serious illness is concerning, we have to remember that this has occurred in an extraordinarily minute percentage of people who have received the vaccine thus far,” Dr. Mendoza said. “So we are pausing our use of the J&J vaccine out of an extreme abundance of caution. There is a good possibility these women may have developed the blood clots even without the vaccine — we just don’t know, but that’s why it’s prudent to review what happened.”

The health commissioner said the vaccine pause is a sign that “the system is working.” He said it gives time to evaluate more fully and transparently to make sure everyone has all the information to stay safe.

“This should not be viewed as a reason to not get vaccinated,” Dr. Mendoza said. “The risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 is much higher than the risk of serious illness or death from getting the vaccine.”


You will need to be vaccinated to attend Bills and Sabres games, Erie County executive says

Bills and Sabres fans will need proof of vaccination to attend games in the coming season, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Tuesday.

Poloncarz said he has talked to the Bills about this plan, which he hopes will be in place by this summer when the NFL’s preseason begins.

“No Vaccine = No Entry,” according to a slide Poloncarz showed during his news conference. A negative COVID-19 test will not be enough.

The Bills are Sabres are believed to be among the first teams in the country — if not the very first — to have their local government announce a full vaccination policy will be in effect to attend games.


Take me out to the ball game: Red Wings announce details for fans returning to Frontier Field

The Rochester Red Wings are gearing up for their first games since 2019, and are preparing for fans to make their return to Frontier Field.

The Red Wings season is slated to begin on May 4, with their home opener scheduled for May 18. The stadium will be allowed to permit 20% capacity for fans, under current New York state COVID-19 guidelines, but team officials say they are hopeful that per-game capacity will increase in the coming months.

Single game tickets will be sold on a homestand-by-homestand basis, due to the potential that stadium capacity increases as time goes on. The Red Wings ticket office is scheduled to open on Monday, May 10 with ticket prices ranging from $15 to $22.

Fans will have three options for entry to Frontier Field:

  • Proof of full vaccination completed 14 days or more prior to the game
  • Proof of negative antigen COVID-19 test result within 6 hours of gates opening
  • Proof of negative PCR COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of first pitch

Team officials say fans are encouraged to download the “Excelsior Pass” mobile app to quickly show Red Wings staff that they have been vaccinated/have received a negative test. 


11 p.m. curfew for bars, restaurants extended to midnight beginning Monday

Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a conference call with media on Wednesday to give an update on the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts.

The governor announced the state is extending the 11 p.m. curfew for food and drink service to midnight beginning Monday, April 19. Catered events will extend from midnight to 1 a.m.


Police Accountability Board proposes budget to make Rochester a ‘national model’

Rochester’s Police Accountability Board has released an 85-page budget proposal that aims to make the agency “a national model for community oversight of policing.”

PAB officials say the proposal represents more six months of research into best practices, budgets, case processing systems, and other features of civilian oversight agencies across the country.

The proposal requests approximately $5 million to fund three bureaus within the PAB: A Bureau of Officer Accountability which would investigate hundreds of annual complaints, a Bureau of Systemic Change which would oversee all aspects of policing while creating a stream of “community-driven, evidence-based proposals for change,” and a Bureau of Administration would ensure the PAB’s operations are accessible, fully functional, legally sound, and used by the community.

The PAB’s proposal will be included in the overarching City of Rochester budget which City Council will vote on later this year.


Parcel 5 in downtown Rochester to become temporary entertainment venue and green space

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced Thursday that Parcel 5, a prized downtown lot on Main Street, will be transformed into a temporary community entertainment space called “Meet me @ the 5.”

Officials say the new plans for Parcel 5 will feature a “tremendous amount of lawn space” with site work, plantings, and other items to facilitate COVID-safe concerts, art shows and smaller festivals, adding that it will be a “very inviting, and attractive place for everyone to enjoy their summer in Rochester.”

Construction started this week on the project, city officials say.


Broadway is back: RBTL announces 2021-2022 season ticket lineup

After a one-year-hiatus, the Rochester Broadway Theatre League is preparing for a return to the stage in 2021.

“All of RBTL’s previously announced touring Broadway shows have been re-scheduled, and will be making their way to Rochester as promised,” RBTL officials said in a press release.

RBTL official unveiled the 2021-2022 season lineup Tuesday morning, and season tickets will offer a five-show package – with the option to upgrade to a six-show package.

  • CATS, September 21, 2021 – September 26, 2021 (carried over from ’19-’20 season)
  • Hamilton, November 1, 2021 – November 13, 2021 (sixth show option for season ticket holders)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, November 16, 2021 – November 21, 2021
  • Pretty Woman The Musical, December 7, 2021 – December 12, 2021
  • My Fair Lady, February 22, 2022 – February 27, 2022
  • Dear Evan Hansen, April 12, 2022 – April 17, 2022 (carried over from ’19-’20 season)
  • The Band’s Visit, June 7, 2022 – June 12, 2022
  • Mean Girls, July 5, 2022 – July 10, 2022

That’s it for this week, we’ll see you next time on Rochester Rundown.

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