Rochester Rundown: Week of April 23, 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.


Ex-cop Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in George Floyd’s death

Former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter for pinning George Floyd to the pavement with his knee on the Black man’s neck in a case that touched off worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.

Chauvin, 45, could be sent to prison for decades.

The jury of six white people and six Black or multiracial ones came back with its verdict after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days. Chauvin was found guilty on all charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.


Justice for Daniel Prude was possible, says family after Chauvin conviction

After Tuesday’s conviction of Dereck Chauvin, Joe Prude says it shows the same outcome was possible for his brother, Daniel Prude.

Over the past year, thousands have marched in Rochester calling for justice for Daniel Prude, who died after an encounter with Rochester police in 2020. Joe Prude is still fighting for a conviction of the officers involved in his brother’s death.

Prude sees the guilty verdict for Dereck Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer now convicted on all charges in the death of George Floyd, as a step in the right direction, but says it’s only the first move towards better police accountability. 

“I wish I could have gotten that same justice for my brother,” said Joe Prude, Daniel Prude’s Brother.

Joe Prude and his lawyer Elliot Shields are pointing to the guilty verdict as proof that justice is possible for victims of police force.  


Teen charged with murder for fatal armed carjacking attempt in Gates

A teen is now charged with murder in connection to a fatal armed carjacking attempt earlier this month in Gates.

Edgar Tolentino, 16, was arrested and charged with second degree murder Thursday in connection to the death of 71-year-old Richard Sciascia of Irondequoit.

Sciascia died from gunshot wounds sustained during an armed carjacking attempt in Gates on April 7.

Tolentino pleaded not guilty Thursday at a virtual arraignment at Gates Police Department. He is being held without bail and is scheduled to return to court next Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

Police say Sciascia was the target of an armed robbery on Buell Road in Gates shortly before 11 a.m. on April 7. Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode says two suspects attempted to steal his vehicle which led to him being shot. Sciascia was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital where he later died, police said.

Police say they are still searching for another suspect in this case.


Two more victims come forward in Hilton sex abuse investigation, more could follow

Kirk Ashton, the Former Hilton elementary school principal, has been indicted on 11 counts of endangering the welfare of a child an increase from the initial nine, after two more alleged victims have come forward.

Ashton is accused of sexually abusing at least 11 students, with offenses dating back several years. Ashton was indicted on 25 charges by a Monroe County grand jury including:

  • 7 counts of second degree sexual conduct against a child
  • 7 counts of first degree sexual abuse
  • 11 counts of endangering the welfare of a child

Officials say more charges are possible if more victims come forward


Adam Interviews Hilton superintendent in wake of principal’s sex abuse charges

Hilton Superintendent Dr. Casey Kosiorek sat down with News 8 Anchor Adam Chodak Tuesday to talk about the Kirk Ashton case.

Kosiorek spoke about the response from Hilton, but also addressed some of the questions being asked in the community.


4th grade worksheet in Pittsford on colonial slavery false, ‘highly insensitive in tone’

A worksheet used in a Pittsford fourth grade class lesson on slavery during colonial times was “highly insensitive in tone” according to Pittsford Central School District Superintendent of Schools Michael Pero, who apologized in a statement Tuesday.

The worksheet for the lesson, which was used in the classroom in January, says slaves agreed to work for colonists in exchange for a trip to America.

Pero said in a statement that a parent brought this worksheet to the attention of district officials Tuesday:

Pero said the district will re-teach this topic, remove the worksheet from students’ notebooks, and provide them with the “correct, factual information on this subject.”

According to district officials:

  • The worksheet was part of one lesson used by a first year teacher and limited to use in one class, at one school.
  • The worksheet came from an online resource called “Classroom Nook.”
  • Classroom Nook is not a district-approved resource for materials.

Rochester police begin seizing illegal dirt bikes, ATVs

The Rochester Police Department has begun seizing and towing illegal dirt bikes and ATVs, after multiple fatal crashes caused a surge in concerns from the community.

According to police, four illegal dirt bikes and ATVs were seized and towed on public streets Monday, during a targeted law enforcement detail. Police say they plan to continue carrying out those targeted details in the coming weeks.

A statement issued by the RPD Tuesday reads in part, “The Rochester Police Department is working in conjunction with other area law enforcement agencies to address this issue through education, engagement, enforcement and if need be, the seizure and towing of illegal motorcycles and ATVs.”

The issue of illegal dirt bikes and ATVs gained attention in Rochester on March 21, when a 9-year-old boy died in a dirt bike crash. Investigators say the child was on the back of the dirt bike with his father when his father hit a curb, causing the crash. Neither rider was wearing a helmet.


Walk-ins now accepted for all eligible residents at all Monroe County COVID-19 vaccination sites

In the governor’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that beginning Friday, New Yorkers over the age of 60 years old no longer need vaccine appointments to get their COVID-19 shots at state run mass vaccination sites. Locally, that includes the sites at Kodak-Hawkeye Parking Lot and the Rochester Dome Arena.

The county executive is taking that effort one step further at the local level, by no longer requiring appointments for vaccines at county-run sites.

“To help make receiving a vaccine that much easier, as of today appointments will no longer be required at any of the Monroe County vaccination centers for any individual who’s eligible to be vaccinated in New York state,” Bello said. “This includes not only the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, and the county’s Fleet Center, but it also includes all of our community based clinics and pop-up clinics sponsored by Monroe County.”


Gov. Cuomo: Increased capacity for zoos, museums, movie theaters and large indoor arenas

The governor announced the following increase on capacity restrictions:

  • Museum and zoo capacity increases to 50% beginning April 26
  • Movie theater capacity increases to 33% beginning April 26
  • Large indoor arenas increase capacity to 25% beginning May 19

“May 19 is not a random date,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’ve been speaking with the teams and we’re optimistic and that would be a time when playoffs begin.”


Play space: The Strong breaks ground on 90,000 square expansion in Rochester

Officials from the Strong National Museum of Play broke ground Wednesday on the second phase of its transformational expansion project; a 90,000 square-foot wing that will be the centerpiece of the new Neighborhood of Play.

The expansion will include the new museum wing, an outdoor play exhibit inspired by board games, a gateway building (connecting the parking garage with the expanded museum building), and an outdoor plaza area with playful sculptures and other elements.

The new wing will house two exhibits dedicated to the ways that video games and technology change play as well as a new, state-of-the-art welcome atrium and admissions area. Within Digital Worlds will be a new home for the internationally recognized World Video Game Hall of Fame and space to tell the stories of underrepresented groups in the video game industry.

The project is supported by the $60 million Powered by Play: A Campaign for The Strong and has received significant support through New York State’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

The project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2023 and draw an additional 400,000 guests to the museum and region by 2026. This is expected to result in an annual economic impact of $130 million. Find more about the project here.


4/20 festival at Highland Bowl Tuesday to celebrate marijuana legalization in Rochester

A rally was held in Rochester Tuesday celebrating the legalization of marijuana in New York state.

Tuesday is April 20, or 4/20 — the unofficial holiday for folks take part in the activity.

People 21 and older can use, smoke, ingest or otherwise consume marijuana and other related products. It’s still illegal to drive a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.

Tuesday’s event was created with ending stigmas attached to marijuana in mind, and educating the community about marijuana legalization.


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

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