Sunrise Smart Start: Friday, January 14

Sunrise Smart Start

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Friday, January 14, 2022.

Authorities say officers responded to an address on Glendale Park near Lake Avenue around 1:30 p.m. for the report of multiple people shot.

Police say when officers arrived on scene they found three victims with gunshot wounds: A woman in her 20s, a man in his 20s, and a 3-year old child.

All three were initially described with non-life-threatening injuries, but police later said the child’s condition was downgraded and thus the 3-year-old’s injuries were changed to life-threatening.

Authorities say they believe a domestic violence situation led to the shooting.

Officials say the suspect is a male who fled the scene and remains at large. No description of the suspect has been made available at this time.

VSES officials made the announcement to staff Wednesday and the new hours of operation are set to go into effect on January 17.

Clinic officials cite staff shortages and growing demand for service in the community as reasons for the change — eliminating the only option for overnight emergency service in the area.

Rebecca Lafebvre says VSES saved her 6-month-old puppy’s life back in July when the dog ate some raw pretzel dough. She said had the clinic not been there, it’s likely her pet wouldn’t have made it.

“If that drive was an hour longer, he wouldn’t have made it. There’s no way,” Lafebvre said, “if we had to go out beyond Syracuse or to the Orchard Park area, that adds so much time to that drive.”

While this decision is worrisome for local pet owners, it’s also taking a toll on veterinarians. Kelli Black has worked as a technician at VSES for nearly a year. 

The clinic, located at 825 White Spruce Road, was founded as Veterinary Specialists of Rochester  in 1988 with the Animal Hospital of Pittsford and 10 years later moved to its own facility at its current location.

The new hours of operation for VSES, beginning Monday will be 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The county executive reported 2,488 new COVID-19 cases in Monroe County Thursday, bringing the county’s seven-day average of daily new cases to 2,483. One month ago, the county reported 248 new cases for the single day increase, and a 519 seven-day average of new cases.

The county executive said he believes the omicron surge will begin to decline in the coming weeks, but until then, he announced the county purchased an additional 1 million at-home COVID-19 tests to be distributed next month.

“I believe we are seeing the last wave of omicron,” Bello said. “It’s vital that these tests are used before big gatherings.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday that COVID-19 contact tracing is no longer required in New York. She said local health department resources are better used for testing and vaccination efforts, but said if localities wanted to continue contact tracing efforts they are free to do so.

“Most of you won’t be getting a phone call if you get COVID-19,” Dr. Mendoza said. “This is simply a symbol of a shift in our effort toward the end of the pandemic, but no, we are not there yet.”

“We will limit contract tracing and instead focus on the groups in our communities who cannot test themselves,” Dr. Mendoza said. “The guidelines have changed because COVID has changed.”

Monroe County officials addressed concerns earlier this week over the quality of KN95 masks that were sent from New York state to be distributed locally.

County officials said the masks “may not provide KN95 level protection,” but residents were still encouraged to use them if they did not currently have access to other higher quality masks.

“The State of New York has been a great partner,” Bello said Thursday. “What happened here was a number of masks weren’t up to the standard. The state was very quick and will be sending us new masks. We will receive them in a few days and we will get them out there. In this instance it came from a vendor and they were unaware, but we will get the new masks out as soon as we receive them.”

However, new data out of South Africa, where the omicron variant was first detected, shows a signal of a fast peak and a swift decline. Gov. Hochul said Tuesday that New York City may have already seen its omicron peak, and she added that Upstate New York trends were about two weeks behind New York City’s.

“There are no guarantees when looking into the future,” Dr. Mendoza said Thursday. “We are not similar to South Africa — they are not in winter — but they are seeing things turn around. We are also seeing things turn around in the United Kingdom and New York City, so I do think in 10-14 days things will really turn around in Monroe County, but you can never be sure.”

Several residents were displaced from Seneca Place Apartments in Honeoye Falls after a fire caused severe damage to the structure overnight Friday.

No one was injured in this incident.

The fire caused significant damage to some of the apartments inside the complex, according to police. Some residents are now working with the Village of Honeoye Falls to locate alternate shelter.

An investigation into what caused the fire is still underway. Authorities say no further updates are available at this time.

Kelly LaLonde teaches English as a Second Language at the World of Inquiry School No. 58. But back in September, she started teaching from the back of her car. 

“We had to social distance as many classrooms as we could so the classroom that normally is my office or the ESL room, already had 2-3 teachers sharing it,” LaLonde said. I would have to eat my lunch in a room with kids who are unmasked and I have a small child home, who at the time wasn’t vaccinated, so I started thinking what can I do?”

She decided to turn her car into a “Teacher Van” for her to teach out of. She added blankets, books, pillows and even lights in the back to make it more interesting for her students. 

“My kids think it’s hysterical, like they always want to see the lights on or what new thing is in the car,” LaLonde said.

While she wishes she could teach from her home, LaLonde said the district wanted teachers to be at school, even if students were remote.

“Most of us spent a lot of money, our own money, and a lot of time setting up our remote offices, right? So at my house, I have two full screens and my computer, plus I have reliable internet. The school’s internet… if it’s over taxed, crashes, right?,” LaLonde said. 

But being at school meant having to find space to social distance, which wasn’t always easy. 

“Now that we’ve gone remote and we are required to come into the building, it’s really hard to find a space, even though I’ve been offered.

While the situation is not ideal, LaLonde said she has learned she needs to lean into the craziness and have a little fun because teaching can be really hard mentally.

Friday will mark the start of another bitterly cold weekend as temperatures will start to drop into the negatives overnight and cause a wintery mix to turn into pure snow for parts of Saturday and Sunday.

Snowstorm Monday: It will either pass by with a bust of just a few inches. It could also mean several feet of snow. However, it is still too early to tell. Make sure you visit our weather blog for the latest updates on this storm. New information with video and graphs is updated hourly, including during the weekend.

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