Rochester Rundown: Week of June 18, 2021

Rochester Rundown

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

Rochester Rundown, a 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.

Gov. Cuomo: State’s COVID-19 mandates are lifted, effective immediately

Last week Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that once 70% of New Yorkers 18 and older received at least one vaccine dose, most of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted.

As of Tuesday, that 70% threshold was reached, meaning cleaning and disinfection, social distancing, health screenings, and contract tracing will be lifted for retail, food services, offices, gyms, amusement parks, barbershops and hair salons.

The governor announced that, effective immediately, all state-mandated COVID restrictions are lifted across commercial and social settings, including:

  • Sports and recreation
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Trade
  • Child care
  • Camps
  • Food services
  • Offices
  • Real estate
  • Buildings
  • Agriculture
  • Fishing
  • Forestry
  • Amusement and family entertainment
  • Personal care services
  • Gyms
  • Retail
  • Malls
  • Movie theaters

There will be exceptions to the state’s rollback, including federal guidelines that stay in place: COVID-19 health protocols will still be in place for large-scale event venues, schools pre-k to 12th grade, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care facilities. Unvaccinated people would still be required to keep a social distance of six-feet and wear a face mask.

Fireworks across New York celebrate the end of COVID-19 restrictions

Firework displays across New York Tuesday celebrated the end of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions, which were officially lifted Tuesday afternoon.

You can watch fireworks from around the state here.

Unity Hospital, Rochester General Hospital down to zero active COVID-19 patients in ICU

Rochester Regional health officials reported an important milestone Monday in the local fight against COVID-19.

Hospital officials say Unity Hospital and Rochester General Hospital now have zero active or new COVID-19 patients in their respective Intensive Care Units.

Rochester Regional Health, as a whole system, had 480 COVID-19 patients hospitalized at the holiday peak on December 27, 2020.

Gov. Cuomo: New York State Fair to reopen at 100% capacity this summer

The governor announced a change to the plans for the New York State Fair, which will be open to 100% capacity.

“We changed the guidelines for the state fair,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The facts changed, we’re going to reopen the state fair at 100% — everything will be open; all the buildings, all the events, it will be the state fair that we’re all so proud of, because the fair is just a beautiful representative of the state.”

Initially, the governor announced the state fair would permit 50% capacity back in April.

The governor said the fair generates approximately $100 million in economic activity for the state.

“We want to push it,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’re coming back in a big way; get a vaccination and enjoy the state of New York.”

The governor said unvaccinated attendees would be asked to wear a mask or face covering, but said that the policy would be an honor system and no one would be checking for vaccination verification.

No more vaccinated, unvaccinated sections at Frontier Field for Red Wings games

Officials from the Rochester Red Wings announced Wednesday that there will no longer be separated sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated fans at Frontier Field.

An update on the Red Wings website says:

“New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on June 15 that COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted across the State. Given these changes, the Red Wings will be returning many normal practices in conducting events with regard to the seating bowl configuration, entry policies, and bag policies.

  • Effective immediately, there will be no more vaccinated and unvaccinated sections, and no fans will be required to show proof of vaccination upon entry. Fans who already have tickets for games June 15-20 and June 22-27 may use their purchased tickets with no exchange necessary, and social distanced sections where tickets have already been sold will remain socially distanced for the remaining home dates in June. Fans who are unvaccinated are asked to continue to wear facemasks throughout Frontier Field, except for while drinking or eating in their seats. Likewise, employees who are unvaccinated will be required to remain masked.
  • Beginning July 6, the seating bowl will return to normal capacity levels aside from some sections that will remain available for social distancing. These tickets are being reserved for fans who feel more comfortable sitting six feet away from other fans.
  • Tickets for the July 6-11 homestand will go on sale at 10 a.m. on June 29 while tickets for the rest of the 2021 season will go on sale on July 14 at 10 a.m.

Buffalo woman charged after stolen ambulance crashes into Irondequoit Bay

New York State Police officials announced Monday the identify of the person who’s accused of stealing an ambulance in Utica and driving it into Irondequoit Bay Sunday.

Police say 32-year-old Vanessa Armstead, from Buffalo, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property in the second degree, criminal trespass in the third degree, and two counts of criminal mischief in the second degree.

State police, along with the Utica Police Department, continue to investigate.

Utica police officials say the ambulance was stolen from an open garage bay at Kunkel Ambulance around 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

Officials say state police assisted with the Utica Police Department after the ambulance was stolen, adding that it was located on the Thruway, but the vehicle’s operator refused to comply with police.

Authorities say troopers later located the stolen ambulance on I-490 westbound and attempted to stop the vehicle when the driver exited the highway at Culver Road. Police say the driver again refused to comply with police.

The stolen ambulance was later located by police after it entered Irondequoit Bay off Seneca Road.

Police say the ambulance operator was able to swim to a private vessel and was then taken into custody by police.

Rochester City Council approves budget with 5-4 vote, funds Police Accountability Board

Rochester City Council approved the city’s nearly $561 million budget proposal Tuesday evening, allotting $5 million for the city’s Police Accountability Board.

The proposal passed in a 5-4 vote.

Critics of the budget say it does not adequately reduce funding to the police department, or invest in services like rec centers, libraries, code enforcement and violence prevention.

“The safest cities in America are not ones with the most police,” said Councilmember Mary Lupien, “but the ones with the most resources.”

” My constituents have not asked me to reduce police,” said Councilmember Willie Lightfoot. “In fact, they want the police.”

The Police Accountability Board asked for $5 million in the budget to provide for 50 employees.

Primary voter guide: Every candidate, every race for June elections in and around Rochester

Primary elections are on Tuesday and there are races for Rochester Mayor, City Council, Monroe County Legislature, and more.

Primary day is scheduled for Tuesday, June 22.

First things first: Check your voter registration. The Monroe County Board of Elections has an online portal set up where you can check your registration status, and see a sample of the ballot you can expect to see when you head to the polls.

You can also request an absentee ballot through this portal, or view your polling site should you choose to cast your ballot in person on June 22. Or you can try early voting:

Early voting dates and times:

  • Saturday, June 12th — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 13th — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Monday, June 14th — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 15th — 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 16th — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 17th — 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Friday, June 18th — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 19th — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 20th — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Early Voting locations:

  • David F. Gantt Community Center — 700 North St, Rochester, NY 14605 
  • Boys & Girls Club — 500 Genesee St, Rochester, NY 14611
  • Sibley Square — 250 E Main St, Rochester, NY 14604
  • Edgerton Recreation Center — 41 Backus St, Rochester, NY 14608
  • Norton Village Recreation Center — 350 Waring Rd, Rochester, NY 14609
  • SUNY Empire State College — 680 Westfall Rd, Rochester, NY 14620
  • Town of Chili Senior Center — 3235 Chili Ave, Rochester, NY 14624
  • North Greece Road Church of Christ — 1039 N Greece Rd, Rochester, NY 14626
  • Henrietta Public Library — 625 Calkins Rd, Rochester, NY 14623
  • Irondequoit Public Library — 1290 Titus Ave, Rochester, NY 14617
  • PCC Community Room — 1985 Baird Rd, Penfield, NY 14526
  • Perinton Square Mall — 6720 Pittsford Palmyra Rd, Fairport, NY 14450
  • Sweden Clarkson Community Center — 4927 Lake Rd, Brockport, NY 14420
  • Webster Library — 980 Ridge Rd, Webster, NY 14580

If you’re not yet registered, or you moved, you can update your voter registration online through the Monroe County BOE website, or do so by mail.

Since New York state has closed primaries, voters can only vote in a primary election for candidates affiliated with their registered party.

Click here for more information on candidates and races.

Webster Town Supervisor: Plans to expand park would remove one staple restaurant

The Town of Webster is looking to expand and revitalize a park between Irondequoit Bay and Lake Ontario, Sandbar Park.

The project would be done using recent grant money from the state to help with flooding. It would involve sidewalks for pedestrians, public areas to fish, and a pavilion overlooking the lake.

If these plans go through, one key staple in the area would be seriously affected.

The Bayside Pub lies right in the middle of the town’s plans. Meaning, it would have to go, with a new building take it’s place.

Not just that, but any bar or restaurant can bid on it, leaving current operator Robert Buono upset.

“We have to compete to stay here now when we’ve been operating here for so long successfully,” said Buono.

“I just don’t think Webster needs another park they need restaurants,” said Chris Rittenhouse, customer.

Town Supervisor Tom Flaherty says since the building is owned by the town, they can’t just hand it back over to the current owners. It needs to be bid on, by with a formal request for proposal.

“We can’t just hand it to the incumbent you have to put it out to bid,” he said.

But Flaherty says, he knows the kind of restaurant they’d be looking for, and Bayside meets all those qualities.

“You know what we want? We want the Bayside, we know the model, that type of food, that ambiance,” he said.

Flaherty says the building would have to go at some point anyways, as it’s in danger of major damage if high water levels return again.

In the meantime, Buono says business has been great. He loves how the restaurant makes people feel, and wants to continue as best he can.

“Its not the building, gravel parking lot, its not the rickety dock, it’s the charm and personality from the people that work here”

There will be an open house for the Sandbar Park Project Saturday June 12, at the Webster Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Mullet Gate: Rochester hair care company’s logo caught up in country music star’s scandal

A Rochester businessman is asking that his mullet logo be taken off billboards in parts of the United States.

The graphic for the Rochester-based business Miracle Flow is being used in a campaign to support Morgan Wallen, a country-western singer under fire for using a racial slur. Miracle Flow’s owner, Philip Montgomery is asking that the billboards using his logo be taken down.

Montgomery is calling this whole mix-up “Mullet Gate.” Fans of Wallen, who sports a mullet hairstyle, somehow got a hold of Montgomery’s business logo and are using it, and as a result, Montgomery is losing customers.

“We’re a hair care brand for guys with flow, made by guys with flow,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery has been operating Miracle Flow hair since 2016, but recently, he says he’s been getting “canceled” by customers. 

“It’s 2021 — we’re going to get canceled either way,” he said.

Wallen was caught on video using the ‘N’ word back in January. He has since apologized, and some have called for the music industry to “cancel” him, while others continue to show their support on billboards in certain areas across the country. 

Does the mullet logo below look familiar to you? That’s Montgomery’s.  

Fan funded billboards supporting singer Morgan Wallen are seen on Broadway on June 08, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. Wallen was caught on camera using a racial slur at the end of January 2021, since then his recording contract was briefly suspended and he has been barred from attending or performing at several music industry award shows. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

“Hey, that’s our logo,” Montgomery said. “If anything, maybe just switch it up.”

Montgomery got a message from a customer that was pulling the plug during Friday’s interview with News 8.

“At the end of the day, we just make shampoo,” Montgomery said. “This — it’s not our place, we’re not involved with (Enough is Enough).”

Montgomery doesn’t know who clipped his mullet logo and repurposed it for this Morgan Wallen campaign, but he’s asking whoever did to take it down and find a different mullet graphic, before he loses any more business. 

“We’re the leader in ‘flow enhancement technology,’” Montgomery said. “We’re just kind of out here to spread the message of ‘guys do care about their hair.’”

Montgomery has a special “canceled” sale going on right now with all of his shampoo products.

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

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