Sunrise Smart Start: Tuesday, December 7

Sunrise Smart Start

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Monday, December 6, 2021.


MCSO: Rochester’s homicide rate up 126%, higher than Buffalo and Syracuse

2021 has already broken the record for the deadliest year in Rochester’s history with 78 murders thus far. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Monday said according to a new study, homicides are up 126% over the past five years, (and compared to last year, a 67% jump).

Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter says we cannot accept this as our norm. “We seem to be whitewashing the fact — how many people have been shot, 400 people. How many people murdered in our community, how many lives are destroyed,” he says.

Baxter says the toughest thing to answer right now is why Rochester’s homicide rate is so alarming. “One of the glaring facts is how different we are from our sister cities up and down the thruway,” he says.

Over the past 5 years, Buffalo is seeing a 33% increase, while Syracuse has a 9% increase. He feels there’s a ‘perfect storm’ in Rochester.

“You look at things like structural racism, you look at poverty, you look at COVID, all the underlying causes, they’re there,” he says.

Part of the issue he adds are some criminal justice reforms, like bail. “If someone is a repeat offender doing the same actions over and over, if someone is a flight risk, if someone is a danger to themselves or other people, and we can show that to a judge, we should be able to detain those people,” he says.

Baxter feels among city residents– there might be greater distrust of law enforcement. To solve this, he feels a focus needs to be put on families and young people, also, the attitude towards law enforcement needs to change– while also delivering on reforms that work.


Victim hospitalized after shooting on Palm Street in Rochester

Rochester police are investigating after a shooting on Palm Street in the city sent a 19-year-old man to the hospital Monday night.

Officers were called to Palm Street for the reported shooting around 8:45 p.m. Monday. They could not immediately find a shooting scene on Palm Street, but soon received a call for a man shot in the area of Brown Street at Verona Street.

According to investigators, the man was shot on Palm Street, then drove to Brown Street at Verona Street and called police. He was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with what police said were non-life threatening injuries.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911.


Police searching for missing 15-year-old from Chili

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a missing teen from Chili.

Authorities say 15-year-old Leah Ervin was last seen recently at her foster residence on Meadow Farms.

Ervin is described as 5’3″, 180lb with blck and blue hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a blue jacket.

Officials say Ervin is not believed to be in any danger.

Anyone with information about the missing teen’s whereabouts is asked to call 911.


Monroe County surpasses 1,500 COVID deaths to date, 1,458 new cases in last 3 days

Officials from the Monroe County Department of Public Health reported 362 new COVID-19 cases Monday, and 14 new deaths.

County officials report COVID-19 deaths weekly on Mondays. To date, 1,506 Monroe County residents have died from COVID-19.

County officials say 629 new cases were reported Saturday, and 467 new cases were reported Sunday.

The county is now averaging 548 new cases per day over the past week. Monroe County now has a seven-day rolling average positivity rate of 9.4%.

According to the New York State Department of Health, 499 people in the Finger Lakes region were hospitalized with the virus, including 122 in an ICU.

As of the Monroe County COVID-19 dashboard’s last local vaccination update on November 29, 485,419 county residents are fully vaccinated and 531,769 have received at least one dose of the vaccine — 82.2% of the county population.


Wayne County declares state of emergency due to rising COVID-19 numbers

Wayne County declared a state of emergency Monday, as COVID-19 transmission rates continued their steady rise in the region.

The state of emergency went into effect at 1:00 p.m. December 6 and lasts 30 days unless it is rescinded.

“This situation continues to evolve and the threat of this virus is imminent to the citizens and visitors of Wayne County,” the state of emergency notice reads. “It is necessary that Wayne County continue to be proactive and fully prepared to deal with its effects.”

According to the declaration, there were 768 active cases of COVID-19 in Wayne County as of December 3. There have been 89 deaths related to COVID-19 in Wayne County.

The emergency declaration comes “out of an abundance of caution” and does not carry with it any additional emergency orders.

Employees and visitors at county buildings will be required to check temperatures upon entry and wear masks in common areas. Residents and visitors are encouraged to wear masks whenever possible.

Monroe County declared a state of emergency on November 30. Wyoming County declared a state of emergency on December 1.


Gov. Hochul: $539M approved for new NYS Homeowner Assistance Fund

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday that $539 million was approved by the federal government to assist in with an all-new state-based Homeowner Assistance Fund.

The governor said this program is a first of its kind in the U.S. and that New York was the first state to receive this kind of federal funding.

According to state officials, the New York State Homeowner Assistance Fund (NYS HAF) is a “federally funded program dedicated to assisting homeowners who are at risk of default, foreclosure or displacement as result of a financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

State officials say they expect expect to receive “significantly” more applications than can be funded by the program. Applications will be processed in the order they were received and they say application submission does not guarantee you will receive financial assistance.

“It will never be enough, but it’s far more than we have right now,” Gov. Hochul said.

The governor said applications will begin to be accepted on January 2, 2022. The state has compiled an Application Guide which includes a list of documents you may need when you are ready to submit your application.


Patriots out-run Bills in 14-10 win in blustery conditions

Damien Harris scored on a 64-yard run in blustery conditions in which Mac Jones attempted just three passes, and the New England Patriots shored up their familiar place atop the AFC with a 14-10 win over the Buffalo Bills on Monday night.

Defensive back Miles Bryant sealed the victory by batting down Josh Allen’s pass at the goal line with Buffalo facing fourth-and-14 at New England’s 18 with 1:55 remaining.

The Patriots leaned heavily on their ground game out-gaining the Bills 229 to 99 in yards rushing, with the cold, windy snowy night negating Allen’s strong-armed passing attack.

New England (9-4) won its seventh consecutive game, improved to 6-0 on the road this season and now has a two-win edge over the Bills (7-5) in the AFC East standings.

Harris finished with a season-best 111 yards rushing and opened the scoring on New England’s ninth play from scrimmage. Facing third-and-5, Harris burst though a gaping hole up the middle and was untouched on his way to the end zone.

With the Patriots facing the wind gusting up to 40 mph, coach Bill Belichick succeeded on a 2-point conversion, with Brandon Bolden scoring just inside the left pylon.

The Patriots never trailed with Nick Folk hitting two field goals — both with the wind at his back — from 34 and 41 yards.

The Bills continued their inconsistencies by losing four of their past seven, and have not won consecutive games since capping a 4-0 run spanning Sept. 19 to Oct. 10.


Weather forecast: Flakes fly with wind chills in the teens and 20s

As cold air fills in lake effect snow showers will appear mostly south and east of the lakes. Places like eastern Wayne and Wyoming counties have the best chance to see an inch or so in accumulations while the rest see nuisance flakes here or there.

The next chance for snow showers arrives Wednesday with an area wide snow that could drop a coating to an inch or two across the region. Models have been trending lighter with snowfall amounts out of this, so no need to grab the heavy duty shovels for this one.

Thursday looks like a transition day as we briefly get a break from the active pattern. This begins a warming pattern as temperatures warm into the upper 30s under mostly cloudy skies and isolated shower. Warmer air approaches Friday with highs in the 40s and a chance for a few rain and snow showers. The next storm system to impact the region looks to take over Saturday and Sunday with rain, wind, and potentially back-end snow showers. 

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