Sunrise Smart Start: Thursday, November 11

Sunrise Smart Start

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Thursday, November 11, 2021.


2 dead in double downtown shooting in Rochester, 2021 deadliest year in city history

Two people were shot and killed early Thursday in downtown Rochester, according to police officials.

Authorities confirmed shortly before 5 a.m. that two people were shot in an apartment building Chestnut Street. Police have blocked off the area on Chestnut between East Avenue and Elm Street.

Officials say the victims include a teen and another person in their early 20s.

This incident marks the 69th and 70th homicides in the city so far this year, making 2021 officially the deadliest year in Rochester’s history.


Rochester woman in custody, man hospitalized after stabbing on city’s southwest side

A Rochester woman is in custody and a man was hospitalized following a stabbing early Thursday on the city’s southwest side.

Police say officers responded to the area of Evangeline Street and Brooks Avenue around 3:50 a.m. for the report of a person stabbed.

Authorities say when officers arrived on scene they located a 40-year-old Rochester man who had been stabbed at least once in the lower body.

Officials say the suspect, a 35-year-old Rochester woman, remained on scene and was taken into custody without incident.

Police say the victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment on injuries that are described as non-life-threatening.


Youth violence on the rise, RPD calls numbers ‘egregious’

Tuesday night, two shootings put five teenagers in the hospital, who are now recovering at Strong. The Rochester Police Department says there is a serious uptick this year in violence, particularly among youngsters.

In a five-year period, police are saying we’re seeing a 206% increase in violence. Police are calling these numbers, especially when it comes to teens “egregious”.

RPD is asking the community to take a more active role in calming the chaos on the streets.

In 2019, Rochester had 14 shootings and stabbings involving underage victims. In 2020, there were 37 victims of violence under 18. So far in 2021, Rochester has had 60 victims who are youths.

In terms of homicides involving young people, seven have died this year, including an infant. Captain Frank Umbrino is asking the public to back the police and says this is going to take a community to fix these problems. He fears if current trends continue, these numbers will climb even higher. He says aspects of bail reform are causing a lot of problems, especially those who are known criminals who get let free.

“We have to enforce the laws that we have, we have to utilize the laws that we have. We have to use the criminal justice system to try and rehabilitate if you will, these kids,” says Umbrino.

Some youngsters he says, are not learning right from wrongs.

“These kids and these adults they don’t have consequences. They don’t have any consequences. We’re arresting the same people over and over and over again,” says Umbrino, adding, “What programs do we have in place to help these kids to teach these kids to live by the norms of society and not hurt other people,” says Umbrino.


Bello, Dr. Mendoza: Looming holidays, flu season complicate COVID-19 in Monroe County

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza hosted a coronavirus briefing Wednesday afternoon to update residents on the pandemic.

COVID-19 cases are rising quickly in Monroe County, reaching new daily cases levels, average positivity rates, and regional hospitalizations not seen since January when the community was coming down from the peak of the holiday surge.

Bello reported 406 new COVID-19 cases in Monroe County Wednesday, bringing the county’s seven-day average to 340 new cases per day, an increase from last week’s 337 and 253, respectively.

“The numbers are climbing,” Bello said. “As we migrate indoors with the colder weather approaching, we’re seeing an increase in these numbers. We need to go back to the basics and do what slows the spread of the virus.

“First, making sure we’re taking personal precautions, such as a wearing a mask when inside public places where we can’t keep a distance,” Bello said. ” Second, if you’re not feeling well, please remember to stay home. I think we learned a lot over the past year and a half — if you’re feeling sick, stay home. These are the best ways that we can do our part so slow the spread.”

According to the New York State Department of Health, the Finger Lakes region currently has 268 COVID-19 hospitalizations, including 72 in an ICU.

Additionally, the county is now reporting a 6% seven-day average positivity rate.

Reiterating a sentiment from last week’s briefing, the health commissioner said the higher average positivity rate could be a result from more overall testing, and more selective results with people being more likely to report at-home testing results if they’re positive vs. negative.

According to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office, the Finger Lakes region has the highest seven-day average positivity rate out of all the regions in New York state and more than double the current statewide average.

The county leaders warned about rising rates as the holidays loom.

“Today I want to draw your attention to three things,” Dr. Mendoza said. “One, we are two weeks away from Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season. Two, we are just entering influenza season, with several dozens of cases being reported across New York and even some locally. Three, we have to be very clear, COVID-19 is still a pandemic and as much as we want it to be over, it’s not. These three factors all concern me.”

“In a few weeks, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving with family gatherings,” Bello said. “Those gatherings are going to bring together generations of family, and friends. The best thing you can do, beyond wearing a mask, beyond washing your hands and being sanitary, and staying home when you’re sick — is vaccination. That’s the best way to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable citizens. Think about them as we enjoy the holidays, protecting them by becoming vaccinated.”

As of the Monroe County COVID-19 dashboard’s last local vaccination update Monday, 450,233 county residents are fully vaccinated and 497,869 have received at least one dose of the vaccine — 77.4% of the county population.

According to the health commissioner, new data shows that the vaccine is 90-95% effective at preventing COVID-19 hospitalization.


Ambulance transport in West Webster Fire District to be contracted to outside service

It’s a change which could impact roughly 35,000 people.

Starting next year, residents living in the West Webster Fire District are slated to see some changes to ambulance services.

In recent days, residents began receiving flyers in the mail alerting them to the change: ambulance transit will be provided by Penfield Volunteer Emergency Ambulance, which will keep response vehicles at the Gravel Road West Webster fire station.

“There are a number of factors that led to us looking at this to begin with,” said Al Sienkewicz with the West Webster Fire District.

Starting January 1, when a patient needs emergency transit, if they have insurance, they’ll pay the copay. If not, they will pay for the cost of the ambulance call itself, Sienkewicz explained.

At a public meeting in July, the district presented two options: Try to increase paid EMT staff, or contract calls to another service. That service, the district announced, is Penfield Volunteer Emergency Ambulance.

For decades, the West Webster Fire District ran a Basic Life Support (BLS) service, covered by fire taxes. Now, when a resident needs a BLS call, they will pay the copay or pay for the call itself, depending on insurance.

“From a financial standpoint, the Town of Webster will no longer have to provide a subsidy for ALS [Advanced Life Support] being run, and our residents will no longer have to pay that ALS fee because obviously the fire department won’t be running the ambulance anymore,” said Sienkewicz.

Webster Town Supervisor Tom Flaherty wants Webster Emergency Services to respond. “The Town Board will probably be making a decision by next Thursday,” he says.

Flaherty says the town can pick who they want. “The town has a certificate of need that empowers us to contract with any EMS agency we want to cover the whole town,” he says.

Sienkewicz says if you need an ambulance, don’t hesitate: call for one. With the increasing demand for calls and decreasing staff, the district said something had to give.

“That pager goes off eight to nine times a day, and it’s just getting to the point where a change had to be made, that we could no longer support that,” Sienkewicz added.

Members of the fire department would still be sent on serious calls. Paramedics will respond directly on the ambulance instead of responding in a separate vehicle, the district said. The fire district said this model keeps them on par with almost every other EMS agency in Monroe County.


Victim of fatal Farmington DWI crash son of Irondequoit man killed in Gates armed carjacking attempt

One of the men who died as a result of a DWI crash in Ontario County last week was the son of an Irondequoit man who was killed in an armed carjacking attempt earlier this year, according to New York State Police officials.

Authorities say 53-year-old Richard Sciascia died from his injuries Tuesday following last week’s two-vehicle crash near State Route 332 and Collett Road in the Town of Farmington.

Officials say he is the son of 71-year-old Richard Sciascia, who was killed during an armed carjacking attempt in Gates back in April.

The younger Sciascia was one of two people struck by a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. The other person in the vehicle was identified Tuesday as 63-year-old William Lovetro, who remains in critical condition at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Authorities say the operator of the striking vehicle, 32-year-old Jeffery Shinsing of Canandaigua, was taken to Strong with non-life threatening injuries.

Police say Shinsing was charged with first degree vehicular assault, DWI and several traffic violations. State police officials say additional charges are pending as a result of Sciascia succumbing to his injuries Tuesday.

Two 16-year-olds were charged with murder for that fatal carjacking attempt in Gates earlier this year: Anthony Jacobs and Edgar Tolentino.

Weather forecast: Clouds dominate ahead of wind and rain tonight

Thursday will feature steadily increasing cloud cover as winds start to turn more southerly again. Temperatures will climb through the 50s into the afternoon and surge further Thursday night toward 60 degrees ahead of the approaching cold front.

That front will pass into the wee hours of Friday morning, ushering in a several hour period of rain with a brief burst of gusty downpours along the front itself.

We now suspect that much of our Friday will clear out with sunshine after the early morning rain. Colder air will start spilling in as we head into the weekend with scattered rain showers mixing with a few wet snowflakes. November returns!

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