Sunrise Smart Start: October 26, 2021

Sunrise Smart Start

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Tuesday, October 26, 2021.


Monroe County Sheriff’s Office monitoring ‘nationwide social media threat’ against schools

Officials from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said Monday they are aware of a “threat” circulating around social media around the nation.

Authorities say the sheriff’s office, as well as the Monroe Crime Analysis Center (MCAC), have not identified any credible threats anywhere locally.

Officials say MCAC is assessing recent Snap Chat threats, and learned that similar school threats have shown up in multiple schools across New York state, as well as the rest of the nation, which use similar language patterns.

Police say MCAC will continue looking into the numerous complaints regarding these threats, and remain in contact with the FBI as well as New York State Police.

Authorities say the sheriff’s office has been in contact with local police agencies and will continue to work with local school districts to provide “high visibility special attention details” at schools.

“As always, if you see something say something and call 911. MCSO will continue to follow up on any information provided,” officials from the sheriff’s office said in a Monday night press release.

Regarding the context of local threats, Penfield Central School District Superinendent Thomas K. Putnam issued the following statement to families Monday:

“We wanted to share information with you regarding a concerning social media trend that has popped up this week. Students outside of our area have been posting the following message or a similar version of it on Snapchat:

‘I needed a new account to make this, me and my friends have gotten bullied for too long and we can’t take it no more.  October 26th, Tuesday at [times vary], we will be shooting up [schools vary].  We plan on shooting 10 administrators and 50-70 kids …

While we have NOT seen this posted in Penfield, some of our students have seen it posted elsewhere and have shared the posts with administrators. We commend them for coming forward with their concerns. At this time, we are aware of these posts being reported in other areas of New York State, including Camden, Verona and Schenectady, as well as in New Jersey.


Greece Police Chief resigning in wake of crash, district attorney investigation continues

Greece Police Chief Andrew Forsythe is resigning in the wake of a recent crash that sparked an investigation, according to Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich.

The police chief was placed on administrative leave this weekend following a recent crash while he was operating his police-issued vehicle, which prompted an investigation by the Monroe County District Attorney’s office.

Forsythe suffered a minor contusion and the vehicle was totaled.

Reilich made the announcement during an appearance on Bob Lonsberry’s WHAM 1180 radio show Monday morning. He said he asked the chief for the resignation, who then submitted it back to him. Reilich said he then reached out to the district attorney’s office about the resignation, adding that the investigation into the crash will continue.

“This was not a routine police matter,” Reilich said.

Reilich said the “breakdown of communication” was a contributing factor in him asking for the chief to step down.

“People in a this situation should have known how to handle this differently,” Reilich said. “I’m angry, but I want to ensure the people we will get to the bottom of this.”

The Republican supervisor said he learned more information about the crash Saturday morning after a local journalist reached out to him with more details. He said when he initially talked to Chief Forsythe, he had no reason to believe there was anything more to the story, but decided to put him on leave Sunday after learning more from the district attorney’s office.

Reilich says this “uncharted” situation is something that the town has never had to deal with. The supervisor expressed disappointment and anger, adding that he feels he was misled.


Woman dead after being struck by vehicle near RGH, police searching for driver

A woman is dead after being struck by a vehicle near Rochester General Hospital Sunday night and now state police are searching for the driver.

Authorities say deputies responded to the State Route 104 access road in front of RGH shortly before 10 p.m. for the report of a woman who was struck by an SUV.

Officials say the woman was laying in the right lane of the eastbound access road when she was hit by the vehicle. They say the vehicle then left the scene.

Police say the woman was found alive in the roadway by an ambulance leaving the hospital and taken to RGH where she ultimately succumbed to her injuries. She has not been identified at this time.

State police say they are attempting to locate the striking vehicle, was is described as a light-colored SUV. Anyone with information is asked to call New York State Police at 585-398-4100.


Man hospitalized after train crashes into pickup truck in Wayne County

New York State Pole officials say a man was hospitalized after a pickup truck was struck by a train Monday evening in Wayne County.

Authorities say troopers responded to the repot of train and pickup truck accident on Wayneport Road in Macedon around 6 p.m.

Officials say the operator of the northbound pickup drove through the railway crossing gates into the path of a CSX train.

Police say the pickup truck driver was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Authorities say the investigation is ongoing.

Details are limited at this time.


Scorpions found in package delivered to Joywave drummer in Rochester

A shocking afternoon for a local man who found scorpions – literal, live scorpions – inside a package which arrived days ago.

And the plot thickens: That man is also the drummer for the nationally-known local rockband Joywave.

“At first I thought it was like a tick, or something. I mean, they were really small,” said Paul Brenner, Joywave drummer.

A package sat quietly on Paul Brenner’s floor all weekend. When he got back home Monday and opened it, he found something he didn’t order.

“That’s when I realized, ‘no, that’s a scorpion,’” Brenner said. “That’s when my shirt left my hands and into the box.”

He says he saw about eight little ones, and one really, really big one.

Brenner says he ordered a T-shirt and some shoes from an internet seller in Hawaii. When he found the creatures, he called 311, then Rochester police were at his door.

“The cops seemed to love it,” Brenner said. “More kept showing up, they had their phones out, some of them were saying ‘I’ve never even seen a scorpion.’”

And yes, News 8 did reach out to Rochester police about this. They tell us the scorpions being there did not seem intentional. They say there might’ve been a scorpion that entered the packaging before it was shipped or was inside the item that was shipped.

“That’s almost the scariest part,” Brenner said. “Because, you know, I have a cat. My roommate was home all weekend. And to know that there were live scorpions, feet from my sleeping cat, and I wasn’t there, that’s just creepy. ‘Tis the season I suppose.”

You might recognize Brenner as the drummer for the rockband Joywave. They’re Rochester natives, with big, nationally-acclaimed hits.

Brenner still lives in Rochester and he knows this is not scorpion country, but like he said: ’tis the season.

“I was tricked, not treated today,” Brenner said


Brian Neenan named new Webster Central School District Superintendent

Six months after former Webster Central School District Superintendent Dr. Carmen Gumina retired, the Webster Central School district announced that Brian Neenan is the new Superintendent of the school district.

Gumina retired two weeks after a former district employee filed a lawsuit against the school back in April.

Kali Watkins, the former Webster teacher and coach, was found not guilty after prosecutors claimed he raped a 14-year-old student in a locker room at Webster Schroeder High School.Former coach initiates lawsuit against Town of Webster, police department, and school district 

The lawsuit filed by Watkins claims that Gumina influenced the investigation into Watkins because the two had a relationship with the same woman — a teacher hired by Gumina.

Neenan was previously serving as the Interim Superintendent of Schools. He accepted the position as Webster CSD’s new superintendent of schools Monday. The board of education will approve the resolution to appoint Mr. Neenan during its Tuesday, November 2 meeting.

Webster CSD said this is in a press release Monday:

Mr. Neenan has been a valued member of Webster CSD’s administrative team since 2009. He has served as interim superintendent of schools since April 30, 2021. Prior to his appointment as interim superintendent, Mr. Neenan worked in a dual role as WCSD’s deputy superintendent (2015-2021) and assistant superintendent for instruction (2013-2021). Mr. Neenan began in Webster CSD as principal of Willink Middle School (2009-2013). Before joining the One Webster team in 2009, he served as an assistant principal at Victor CSD’s junior high school for four years. Mr. Neenan started his career in education as a mathematics and computer science teacher with Fairport CSD from 1996-2005.

“I consider it a privilege to continue serving Webster CSD as the new superintendent of schools,” Mr. Neenan said in that same release. “I’m proud of the work that our Webster team does together for our students. I look forward to collaborating with our district community to identify opportunities for us to grow and progress as a district.”


Weather forecast: Nor’easter time means more rain for WNY

A new area of low pressure will ride up the Atlantic into New England tomorrow, flinging widespread moisture back into our area Tuesday. That means lots more rain is on the way.

This transfer of energy is a common one, a typical way nor’easters are born. The first low gets disrupted as the Appalachians block the flow, giving birth to a deepening low feeding off warmer Atlantic waters. This transfer often results in widespread precipitation (both rain and snow, depending on the time of year) across New England and sometimes into WNY. This will be one of those times.

While there will be rain around this evening, this transfer of energy will likely result in very little wet weather as a whole through the night locally. Rain chances will quickly start picking up by morning as rain gets flung from east to west into the area. The afternoon looks like a soaker with an erosion of rain not expected until later Tuesday evening. Heaviest rain will be located in areas closer to the parent low, so there will be a sharp west to east divide in rainfall totals. Areas west of Rochester likely will receive less than an inch of rain over the next 24 hours. East of Rochester, 2-2.5″ will be likely before we start to dry out by Wednesday.

Partial clearing Wednesday afternoon turns to sunshine Thursday before another low affects the region late Thursday night into Friday with more rain likely.

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