ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Thursday, July 13, 2022.


Suspect in custody after stabbing Rochester man on Hudson Ave.

A 47-year-old city resident was stabbed and hospitalized after an altercation on Hudson Avenue late Wednesday night.

According to police, officers responded to the 800 block of Hudson Avenue around 10:20 p.m. for the report of a person stabbed. Once at the location, they found a man suffering from stab wounds.

The victim was transported to a nearby hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Investigators were able to take the suspect into custody immediately after and said the person remained on the scene. Officials have yet to release information on any criminal charges at this time.

Witnesses are currently being interviewed to help determine what led to the altercation.

Rochester General Hospital nurses vote to unionize

Rochester General Hospital nurses voted to unionize Wednesday.

The two-day vote favored unionization 431-295. It creates an independent union called The Rochester Union of Nurses and Allied Professionals.

“Nurses from all units and all experience levels across the hospital came together because we want to finally have a unified voice,” PACU nurse Jake Spencer said in a statement sent with the vote results. “We want our patients to come to RGH and be given the best quality care, and we believe nurses having a strong, organized voice is the best way to achieve that.”

Union members say they hope to advocate for improvements to patient care, as well as increased staffing and staff safety.

1-on-1 with Rochester’s new police chief

It’s been just about a week since Rochester Mayor Malik Evans named the new police chief to the position. In a one-on-one interview with News 8, Chief David Smith talks about leadership, addressing crime, staffing, and some more personal matters.

Chief David Smith is facing several important and urgent challenges — both inside the department and in the community as a whole. He had initially been planning to retire when he reaches his 30-year mark this November but says he felt a dedication to stay.

“Having done this and have been able to implement some changes and see what really is possible with a dedicated team up here I decided that I wanted to stick with it. And I would like to leave the department better off than I found it,” says Chief Smith.

He had been serving as the interim Chief since October 2021. Last year was also a record-breaking one for crime with 81 homicides; a trend on pace to be matched this year.

Prior to that, there was the fallout of the credibility of the department surrounding the in-custody death of Daniel Prude in 2020, which sparked months of protest and unrest in the City, all while the pandemic was unfolding at the same time. He highlighted some changes which had been started by his predecessors he helped to bring to fruition.

“We provide as much information immediately as we can regarding the incident and what happened and that’s key to developing that trust and getting it back. The other part is interaction with the officers in the community. Unfortunately because of the staffing crisis, it makes it very, very hard for me to have officers go out and do foot patrol, bike patrol, do the interactive things we would like when the calls for service are backing up,” says Smith.

The extreme short-staffing levels are another massive undertaking he hopes to make a change for good.

“So the command staff here should be seven people; we’ve been doing it with three to four, depending, we’ve got a lot of folks coming and going, and really no permanency, so I’m excited to get a permanent Command Staff in place and be able to plan and move the department ahead for the future instead of just daily crisis management, which is, in reality, what we’ve been doing,” Smith says.

“I will still hold the training that we do head-and-shoulders above many agencies around the country but as a leader in law enforcement, we’re not there anymore, we’re not the tip of the spear, the cutting edge — so what I see as restoring this department to not only first in New York, but one of the premier mid-sized departments in the nation, both with training, staffing, crime reduction rates, and professionalism,” he adds.

David Smith is technically not the official Chief just yet, while he is still serving the role. He still needs to be confirmed by the Rochester City Council, which he says is slated to take place during the August meeting.

Bill limiting cryptomining threatens Rochester company

A new crypto-mining bill under consideration to be signed by Governor Kathy Hochul will put a halt on crypto mining operations across the state, stopping the growth of a local crypto mining company, Foundry.

Three years ago, Foundry had only three employees. Today, they have 170 people all working on crypto mining.

It’s a term often met with confusion, according to Foundry Director of Public Policy Kyle Schneps.

“Bitcoin mining has nothing to do with actual mining, it’s just a slang term for processing,” he said. “It’s just data centers, the same as Amazon, or Apple.”

Officials said the organization serves the digital currency sector, offering a range of services relating to cryptocurrency mining, staking, and related blockchain technologies.

Foundry, a Digital Currency Group subsidiary, has quickly become the largest digital currency company based in Western New York, serving clients across North America. Officials said the company’s Bitcoin mining pool is the largest in the world, helping put Rochester on the map as a leading U.S. cryptocurrency hub. Its teams work from offices in Pittsford and Fairport.

As Bitcoin is built off the idea of decentralized infrastructure, individual mining operations help to secure the network for those investing in Bitcoin.

“It’s a currency that no government can debase and inflate away, and no one actor can corrupt, that’s why it’s so important to have this decentralized infrastructure,” he said.

Currently, he says nearly 50 million Americans invest in this network of digital currency. But some lawmakers fear the mining operations — which require a lot of processing power, and, therefore, energy — are a threat to New York’s long-term climate goals.

A bill up for consideration at the governor’s office would place a two-year moratorium on any new or renewed air permits for crypto mining power plants.

“There’s a lot to consider, but it is very much on our desk with hundreds and hundreds of other bills as well,” Hochul said.

Schneps says it feels like a political move, at a time when their industry is growing. He pointed to the new job opportunities created by Foundry and similar operations.

If the environmentally-minded bill passed, it would put a major roadblock on their progress as a company.

“This would limit hiring,” Schneps said. “Bitcoin miners only use 0.2% percent of global energy consumption. We believe that they [investors] are entitled to the same protection that Wall Street and big banks use.”

Schneps says people have to have that desire to be educated — and learn more.

For a topic as dense as this, he encourages an open mind and hopes Foundry can continue competing with jobs in Silicon Valley.

The Department of Environmental Conservation recently denied an air permit request for a bitcoin mining operation along Seneca Lake.

Police actively searching for missing Greece woman

The Greece Police Department issued an alert for a missing person Wednesday.

According to investigators, 46-year-old Keri Anne Heine was last seen leaving her home on Armstrong Road in Greece Sunday morning.

She was operating a blue 2017 Toyota Corolla with a New York license plate number JKK1273.

Police say Heine has not communicated with her family, friends, or co-workers since her disappearance.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Greece Police Department at (585) 581-4016. Tips can also be sent to GPDTips@greeceny.gov.

Weather forecast: Sun returns this afternoon

Sunshine is emerging across the region and temperatures are in the middle 60s. Outside of an isolated shower, most will remain dry with highs getting into the middle and upper 70s.