ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Tuesday, August 2, 2022.


Procession, funeral held for Rochester Police Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz

Members of the Rochester Police Department led a procession and spoke at the funeral for fallen Rochester Police Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz Monday.

The procession began at the Public Safety Building downtown shortly after 11 a.m. and ended at Blue Cross Arena. A sea of uniformed first responders lined up Broad Street to honor the officer.

“With literally hundreds saluting Officer Mazurkiewicz, you heard nothing but the noise of silence,” said News 8’s Adam Chodak who was reporting live from the scene of the procession.

Police from both in and out of state entered the Blue Cross Arena at 11:45 p.m. to find a dark room set for the ceremony. More than 100 people attended, including New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Patriot Guard Riders, and various agencies from across the country.

Family close to Officer Mazurkiewicz addressed his death at the funeral.

“My mom lost the love of her life,” said Brooks Balcer, his eldest daughter. “Her invincible husband, who she was looking forward to growing old with. My brother Brad lost his best friend and his first phone call for all things good and bad. My brother Brent lost his idol. My baby sister Bryce, a daddy’s girl, lost the best man she will ever know. My husband Shawn lost his best friend and the man he most looked up to in the entire world. I myself lost so much. Many times throughout this last week, it feels like I lost it all… but truly the worst part of it for me is that my three little girls lost their grilled cheese-making, nap partner, swing-pushing, tree-climbing, papa care provider, nickname-calling papa.”

Balcer opened the afternoon’s speeches alongside her sister, 21, and two brothers 33 and 26.

Officer Mazurkiewicz was married to his wife, Lynne for 28 years, and had three grandchildren ages 6, 4, and 2.

Officer Mazurkiewicz was fatally shot in the line of duty 11 days ago on Thursday, July 21. He died in what police described as “a shooting ambush” during an evening patrol along Bauman Street.

Mazurkiewicz first joined the department on April 12, 1993, after serving as a Jail Deputy with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for five years. He was placed under patrol on the Clinton and Goodman Sections ahead of his transfer to the Tactical Unit in 2002.

During his nearly 30 years as an officer, Mazurkiewicz received the Rochester Police Department’s Life-Saving Award, Officer of the Month award, 17 Excellent Police Service Awards, seven Unit Commendation awards, 32 Chief’s Letters of Commendation, and the Good Conduct Award for 29 years of service without a sustained complaint. 

Dan McGuire, a local expert in Public Safety Responder Wellness, watched the procession Monday and spoke on the magnitude of an officer’s death and the weight carried by the community.

“When one of ours goes down, nobody goes back to normal,” McGuire said. “You do not go back to normal after one of our own has been killed in the line of duty.”

The casket of Officer Mazurkiewicz will be transported to White Haven Cemetary in Pittsford after the funeral to be buried. Family members are expected to line Marsh Road to say their final goodbye.

Rochester Police Chief David Smith stepped on the podium Monday, thanked the community and outlined what law enforcement means.

“Your prayers, your support, your compassion, have truly sustained us this past week in our time of need,” Smith said on behalf of the department. “What is law enforcement? Who is to protect the innocent from the murderer, who is to protect the innocent from the rapist, or the child abuser? That is us. Doing precisely what Tony was doing when he was taken from us.”

The last Rochester police officer to be killed in the line of duty was Daryl Pierson in 2014.

Pierson was assigned to the same unit that Mazurkiewicz. He was 32-years-old at the time of his death and left behind a wife and two children. 

“I cannot believe that we are here again,” said RPD Special Operations Section Captain Ray Dearcop. “Mazz was a professional, a leader, self-motivated with a mission-first mentality.”

At the time of his death, Mazurkiewicz was working alongside his partner Officer Sino Seng who was in the passenger seat at the time of the shooting. RPD Captain Dearcop called Sino Seng a hero Monday, thanking him for putting his own life at the risk for the betterment of others.

Officer Sino Seng was shot once in the lower body and is currently recovering.

Police searching for missing Parma teenager

Authorities are actively searching for a missing teenager last seen in Parma Monday around 6 a.m., officials announced Tuesday.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Ayden Cuvelier was reported missing from his home in the Town of Parma on Monday. He is described as approximately 5’4″, around 120 pounds.

At the time of his disappearance, he was wearing black clothing and carrying a backpack.

Anyone with further information about his whereabouts is asked to call 911.

Rochester mother and daughter taking on the world one paper straw at a time

A mother-daughter team opened the doors to their new business in Rochester Tuesday, all in a mission to take on the world — one paper straw at a time.

Like many out there, Kathryn and Karrie Laughton found themselves in a love-hate relationship with paper straws. So they decided to start their own company to make straws better.

It’s called Roc Paper Straws and according to its founders, it’s one of a handful paper straw manufacturers in the United States, and the only one in New York State and the northeast.

“Making the switch from plastic straws to paper has been hitting the headlines for some time and since much of the focus has been the bar and restaurant industry, I have been paying close attention,” said Karrie.

Karrie is also the owner of Lux Lounge, a popular and long-standing bar, located in Rochester’s trendy South Wedge neighborhood. She and her customers use a lot of straws, but they get “soggy,” and “fall apart.” Now the question becomes how do you make straws more durable?

The available options were either not easy to get a hold of or did not satisfy Karrie’s standards for strength. So she enlisted her mother Kathryn’s help and after three years of planning, and almost $3 million toward equipment and a 10,000 sq. ft. manufacturing space, the two had the answer.

“To prevent the biggest complaint amongst consumers we use top quality materials including a thicker grade paper that will not disintegrate as quickly, and food-grade glue and dyes,” Karrie said.

Despite just opening, the new business has grown its customer base to more than 20 Rochester-area stores including Abundance, Bodega on Park, Crisp, Dacha46, Dicky’s, Fiorella, Good Times Café, Happy Earth Tea, Historic Houseparts, Iron Smoke Distillery, Johns Tex Mex, Petit Poutinerie, Lux Lounge, Radio Social, Roc City Ramen, Salty, The Night Drop, The Spirit Room, The Union Tavern, and Voula’s. 

Each paper straw is manufactured using custom-designed high-quality, eco-friendly paper that is marine-safe, biodegradable and compostable.

The current product line offers custom-branded straws with customer logos and includes wrapped and unwrapped, solid white, solid black and an array of standard color striped paper straws.

Karrie and Kathryn currently employ eight people and say they hope to hire more.

Roc Paper Straws is located at 920 Exchange Street. The factory story is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Affordable housing project to renovate historic Hickey Freeman building in Rochester

More than 100 apartments are coming to the historic manufacturing building which houses Hickey Freeman on Avenue D in Rochester.

Governor Kathy Hochul made that announcement Monday, in a statement laying out how $682 million in funding would go toward financing affordable housing projects across the state.

According to the governor’s office, $70 million will go toward renovations at Tailor Square, converting portions of the Hickey Freeman manufacturing building into 134 apartments. Of those, 45 will be reserved for seniors who need support through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative.

The governor’s office says the renovations will preserve 77,000 square feet of manufacturing space and an outlet store so Hickey Freeman can continue to use the historic location for production and sales.

Geothermal and solar technologies will be used to heat and cool the building.

The governor’s office also announced $46 million in funding for the Canal Street Apartment project in Rochester. That project will convert a vacant factory in the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood into 123 apartments. Those will include 70 apartments for unhoused adults, with on-site access to support services from the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative.

NJ PBA trailer offers support during Rochester police officer funeral

Since the fatal shooting of Rochester Police Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz, community members have been paying respects and offering support in several ways.

On the day of his public funeral, hundreds, if not thousands, of people came to Rochester to pay respects. Many of those in attendance were in uniform from agencies across the country and beyond.

A variety of law enforcement agencies lined Broad Street as the fallen officer’s casket was brought from the Public Safety Building to Blue Cross Arena.

On the other side of that line was a truck and tent station offering a bit of shade and some nourishment. The unit from the New Jersey State PBA, manned by an all-volunteer crew, has been around since 9/11.

“As you can see, these guys are standing at attention in these dress uniforms for long periods throughout the day,” says Matt Rogers, State Delegate of the Atlantic City PBA.

“There’s not a lot of chance to hydrate, especially on hot days like today. Gives them a chance to eat something, there’s snacks they can throw in their pockets for later and just keep them in the game and try to .. .whatever little bit we can, try to help this day go a little bit easier for them,” Rogers adds.

A police patch from each community visited now bear’s Rochester’s badge.

“This trailer we’ve taken all over the country and we came here today to assist Rochester PD and all the local police departments — I’ve seen troopers, I’ve seen some Canadian representatives… whatever we could do to help out in this terrible time that they’re going through here in the community,” Rogers adds.

“This community is unbelievable. Since we’ve been here I can’t express how nice everyone’s been when they heard who we’re here for. Great police department; they couldn’t have been nicer in just trying to deal with everything they’re dealing with now and giving us everything we need without even asking…it’s been unbelievable. It’s a great community; we have very high respect for everyone in it,” Rogers continued.

Also paying respects on Monday were two local veterans who came with American flags to hand out to anyone interested. They are hoping to show support to the fallen officer and his family.

“We’re going to stand by when that coffin goes by and pay respect for him. Give a final farewell to him,” says Ed Pisconski, who served in the U.S. Army from 1966 – 1968.

They were there to also hand out American flags to anyone interested.
The gesture was aiming to show support and honor Officer Mazurkiewicz for giving the ultimate sacrifice.

“I’d tell younger vets that we served so that they could grow up in the freest country in the world and the greatest country in the world and now we’re retired and we’re able to sleep safe at night because people like this Officer put their life on the line to keep us safe,” says U.S. Air Force veteran Tom Puff (1972 – 1977).

The veterans add if you see any officer whether it’s from your town, village, a State Trooper, or another first responder, please take a moment to thank them for their service.

Weather forecast: Cooler and breezy this afternoon

We are starting this morning with temperatures still warm, in the 70s. The front clears out by the afternoon which will allow us a cooler day into the upper 70s and low 80s for the rest of Tuesday.