Rochester Rundown: Week of April 9, 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.

Police identify victim in fatal Gates carjacking, juvenile released from custody

A man is dead following an armed carjacking attempt in broad daylight Wednesday; the latest in a recent string of violent robberies in Monroe County.

Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode said a 71-year-old Richard M. Sciascia, of Irondequoit was the target of an armed robbery on Buell Road in Gates shortly before 11 a.m. 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 said this was the latest in a string of violent carjackings in Monroe County, with 14 reported similar incidents since March 28. As of Friday morning, there have been no arrests made.

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expands to 16 and over in New York

New Yorkers over 16 years old can sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations starting Tuesday, a major expansion of eligibility as the state seeks to immunize as many people as possible.

Teens aged 16 and 17 will be limited to receiving the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, since that is the only one that has been authorized for use by people under 18. Parental consent will be required for vaccinations of 16- and 17-year-olds at state-run sites, with certain exceptions including for teens who are married or are parents.

New York state health officials hope that increased eligibility will help cut down COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations — particularly among millennials and Generation Xers.

Youth ice hockey suspended in Monroe County after COVID-19 outbreak at tournament

Youth ice hockey has been suspended in Monroe County, due to a COVID-19 outbreak among players, coaches, and fans.

According to The Monroe County Department of Public Health, 27 people who were at the Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex for a tournament on March 27 and 28 tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials say other counties are also reporting positive cases linked to the tournament.

About 240 players, coaches and spectators were at the tournament throughout the weekend. The health department asks all those people to self-quarantine immediately, and call the Monroe County COVID-19 Hotline at 585-753-5555 as soon as possible.

Breaking down New York state’s $212 billion budget: From mobile sports betting to record school funding

A $212 billion budget deal has been reached among New York State leaders in Albany.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced Tuesday an agreement on the Fiscal Year 2022 New York State Budget.

Officials from the governor’s office say the final budget accomplishes major legislative priorities, including:

  • A record $29.5 billion in aid to schools aid
  • $29 billion in public and private green economy investments
  • $2.4 billion for rent and homeowner relief
  • $2.4 billion for child care
  • $2.1 billion for excluded workers
  • $1 billion for small business recovery
  • A first-in-the-nation plan to make broadband internet affordable
  • Legalizing mobile sports betting
  • Implementing comprehensive nursing home reforms

The budget agreement includes spending in the following categories:

  • Total State Operating Funds: $111 billion
  • All Funds spending $212 billion
  • School Aid: $29.5 billion, a $3 billion increase

Rochester police sued in federal civil rights lawsuit, claims of excessive force, racist practices

Local activist group Free the People ROC, The National Lawyers Guild Rochester chapter, and 10 individuals have filed a lawsuit against the City of Rochester, Rochester Police Department leadership, and more Monday with claims of excessive force and historically racist practices.

“In the year since RPD officers killed Daniel Prude, an unarmed Black man in the midst of a mental health crisis, the Department has deployed violent, unjustified force in response to peaceful protests to end police brutality; and RPD officers have handcuffed and pepper sprayed a 9-year-old Black girl and fatally shot another Black man having a mental health crisis,” a statement from attorneys said Monday.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court, aims to “end the [Rochester Police] Department’s years-long, unchecked practice of using unconstitutional excessive force disproportionately against people of color.”

According to the plaintiffs, the 96-page complaint outlines excessive unnecessary use of force on people of color in Rochester. According to the lawsuit, a five-year analysis of Rochester police data found that officers’ use of force was overwhelmingly against people of color: 66.8% against Black people and 11.5% against Hispanic people.

The lawsuit calls for the appointment of “an independent monitor to reform the City of Rochester’s policies and practices with regard to the use of force, racially-biased policing, and policing demonstrations.”

April the Giraffe passes away at Animal Adventure Park

April the Giraffe, who captivated the world during her pregnancy in 2017, has died. She was 20 years old.

Animal Adventure Park announced her passing on Friday afternoon, saying that she was euthanized due to worsening osteoarthritis discovered in July 2020.

April’s body was transported to Cornell University Veterinary School where she will be cremated. Her remains will be returned to Animal Adventure Park.

In February 2017, Animal Adventure Park began live streaming April in her pen. anxiously awaiting the birth of her calf Tajiri. Anticipation built around the world for several months as people waited for her to give birth, with the park’s YouTube livestream attracting 232 million views.

New performing arts center coming to downtown Rochester, Innovation Square developers say

A longtime downtown fixture of Rochester’s skyline has grand plans for its future, including a new performing arts center.

Innovation Square, formerly known as Xerox Tower, will “reenergize” the former Xerox auditorium into a 700-seat performing arts center that will host community-produced and touring music, theater, and dance performances as well as community talks and eSports, according to officials from Gallina Development.

Renovations are currently underway, officials told News 8 Friday, and the management group is looking to begin events this summer, pandemic permitting.

Gallina Development acquired the property last September and company officials said the building would be transformed to accommodate for housing local college students, as well as space for business innovation. Plans called for the top floors to be reserved for office development.

Officials said 15 floors will be devoted to student housing, with approximately 500 beds, student lounges, study spaces, suites and classrooms.

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

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