Sunrise Smart Start: Thursday, September 2

Sunrise Smart Start

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up-to-date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Thursday September 2, 2021.


Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary files lawsuit against Mayor Warren, City

Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary has filed a lawsuit against Mayor Lovely Warren, and the City of Rochester.

Singletary filed a notice of claim in December, accusing the mayor of defamation of character, wrongful termination, and more.

The civil suit, filed Tuesday afternoon in New York State Supreme Court, is 26 pages long, and details Singletary’s complaints against the mayor.

The lawsuit reiterates much of what Singletary said in his nine-hour public deposition regarding the death of Daniel Prude — that the mayor said things that weren’t true and asked the chief to lie publicly.

The lawsuit says the mayor’s “false and defamatory statement” as well as “material omissions” cause harm to Singletary’s reputation for “honesty, integrity, truthfulness.” It alleges pressure to support Warren’s “false narrative” created a “hostile work environment” that prevented Singletary from “performing his duties as Chief of Police.”

According to the lawsuit, Singletary is seeking $1.5 million in damages.


As state lawmakers vote to extend the eviction moratorium, landlords and tenants react

The state legislature voted 38-19 to extend the eviction moratorium until January 15, 2022 Wednesday evening.

The state legislature held a special session Wednesday, where they plan to vote to extend the moratorium. The moratorium officially expired in New York Tuesday at midnight.

Senator Jeremy Cooney (D) made the drive to Albany Wednesday morning for the session. He said it’s important lawmakers met because there have been a lot of concerns from both property owners and tenants. 

“I think the key message here is the system is not working and that we have an obligation as state lawmakers to go back to work to make sure that for the rest of the pandemic, folks are taking care of,” Cooney said. 

The potential extension has received mix reaction from tenants and landlords. The City Wide Tenant Union of Rochester says expanding the moratorium would impact thousands of people locally. 

“Prior to the pandemic, we saw 8,000 evictions filed each year in Rochester and each of those eviction filings…. that could represent one person, but it could also represent a family,” said Ritti Singh, The Communications Coordinator with the City Wide Tenant Union of Rochester.

“So that’s not just 8,000 people at risk of eviction, it could be 16,000 or more.”

However, property owners like Rich Tyson, says the moratorium has had a negative impact on him. He’s had to sell many of the properties he owns. 

“I am down to 9 out of 37 that I owned at the beginning of last year,” Tyson said. “I started selling off and I’m thrilled that I did otherwise I’d be in a really tough spot. I would be bankrupt at this point.”

Tyson also said he’s starting to receive notices of tax-lien sales from the city because he has to pay property taxes. 


Dr. Mendoza: Community ‘playing with fire’ when it comes to COVID vaccination

Monroe County’s Commissioner of Public Health said Wednesday that people choosing not to get the COVID-19 vaccine help open the door to deadlier variants, even strains of COVID that could be vaccine-resistant.

“We are playing with fire the longer we have a community as under-vaccinated as we are now,” Dr. Michael Mendoza said.

Mendoza said never in his career had he seen such a polarizing issue. He says that now the Pfizer vaccine has full FDA approval, it’s on the exact same plane as the other vaccines out there.

“This is far more effective than the flu shot and we don’t get the same level of pushback from the flu shot,” Mendoza said.

Since March 1, 86% of COVID-19 deaths were from people who were unvaccinated. When it comes to the delta variant, Mendoza says he’d like to think, we’ve reached a plateau.

“The fact that our numbers aren’t in the two to three hundred (range) is reassuring to me now,” he said.


Rochester man dead after Sherman Street double shooting

Rochester police are investigating a fatal double shooting on Rochester’s west side.

Officers were called to the area of Sherman Street and Angle Street around 11:40 p.m. Monday for a ShotSpotter activation.

Police say officers located two Rochester men who had been shot. One of the men, 29-year-old David “Omar” Romero-Colon, died from his injuries on Tuesday. The other man, who police say was shot in the lower body, has injuries which appear to be non-life threatening.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and ask anyone with information to call 911.


Toddler among at least 8 dead as Ida rips through northeast with historic flooding

At least eight people were killed, including a 2-year-old boy, across New York City and New Jersey when Ida brought record-breaking rainfall and historic flooding to the region Wednesday night.

New York’s FDR Drive, a major artery on the east side of Manhattan, and the Bronx River Parkway were under water by late Wednesday evening. Subway stations and tracks became so flooded that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended all service. Videos posted online showed subway riders standing on seats in cars filled with water.

Other videos showed vehicles submerged up to their windows on major roadways in and around the city and garbage bobbing down the streets.

“We’re enduring an historic weather event tonight with record-breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said while declaring a state of emergency in New York City late Wednesday.

Gov. Kathy Hochul also declared a state of emergency for New York state.


Sen. Schumer announces plans to create jobs, attract businesses to WNY STAMP facility

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer held a press conference at the Western New York STAMP Tech Campus in Genesee County Wednesday.

According to the senator’s office, Schumer will announce plans to grow and attract new jobs at tenants at the facility. The senator says federal funding will be the “green light” STAMP (Science, Technology, and Advanced Manufacturing Park) needs to become a regional leader in tech industries.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) website says the 1,250 acre parcel comes with “low-cost hydropower, sites, utilities and talent that are ready for advanced manufacturing and modern business operations.” Officials say WNY STAMP is shovel-ready, and conveniently located in between Buffalo and Rochester with nearby access to the New York State Thruway.

Schumer said the plan to bring more economic activity to STAMP was a two-pronged approach. Recruit Samsung to choose the location for its new chip factory, and build up Plug Power, which has already announced a significant investment at the campus.


Rhinos no more: Rochester New York FC announces ‘new era’ of local professional soccer

The Rochester Rhinos announced a rebrand Wednesday and will be now known as Rochester New York FC.

The rebrand comes with guidance from the team’s new co-owner, professional European soccer star Jamie Vardy, as the franchise ushers in a new era for local soccer fans.

Vardy, a Premier League Champion, FA Cup winner, and Golden Boot holder currently playing for the Leicester City FC, bought a minority stake in RNY FC earlier this year with plans to soon bring the club out of a four-year hiatus from play.

Team officials say the RNY FC rebrand and slogan “Believe Impossible” recognizes the legacy and spirit of the Rochester Rhinos, including the club’s improbable 1999 U.S. Open Cup championship, while looking forward to an exciting new era of professional soccer in Rochester.


Weather forecast: Thursday chill takes over

Heavy rain, flooding and storms from the remnants of Ida pass by to our south. Heavy rain and severe weather is forecast for eastern Pennsylvania through New Jersey and over into New York City and Massachusetts. We are simply too far north to catch any of this rain that will pull out overnight into Thursday.

Some of the coolest air of the summer will pour in from the north behind the tropical depression. Thursday morning starts off in the 50s for many south of the thruway. Warmer air will be found along Lake Ontario where water temperatures are still in the 70s. Waves will pick up on the lake as a northeast wind persists. Skies should clear through Thursday outside of a few passing lake enhanced clouds and perhaps a few lake enhanced raindrops for some.

Deep high pressure across the Great Lakes that originated out of Canada will keep afternoon highs around 70 degrees both Thursday and Friday. Overnight lows likely drop into the 50s for a morning chill. 

LABOR DAY WEEKEND: Deepening low pressure develops in the upper Great Lakes late on Saturday. A bubble of warm air will be allowed to surge northward as winds turn southerly. This will allow afternoon highs to climb close to normal (upper 70s), but it should be a nice day around the region ahead of the approaching system.

A cold front begins to approach from the west that will start injecting clouds into the region by Saturday evening. Sunday rain showers are expected as that storm system moves overhead. Still some questions as to timing and severity exist. Showers and storms linger into Labor Day as well.

The first full week of September looks busy. Many opportunities for rain chances with a few big swings in temperatures as well. September has been and will likely be a wild month in weather.

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