Sunrise Smart Start: Tuesday, November 23

Sunrise Smart Start

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Tuesday, November 23, 2021.

Tractor-trailer crash shuts down portion of Thruway in Scottsville

A crash involving at least two tractor-trailers has a portion of the New York State Thruway shut down Tuesday morning.

The crash occurred near Wheatland Center Road, impacting traffic near exits 47 and 46 on I-90, where all lanes are currently blocked.

It is unknown at this time of there are any injuries.

Details are limited at this time.

First accumulating snowfall of the season arrives in Rochester

Well, it had to happen eventually.

The Rochester region saw its first accumulating snowfall of the season overnight, as commuters woke up Tuesday needing that snow brush for the first time in months.

“Top three things: Always start with a snow brush and a scraper, because we know things are going to ice over, so you’re going to want to clear all that first,” Mark Mika, AAA of Western and Central New York, told News 8 Tuesday. “An extra warm jacket, just in case you’re stranded for an extended period of time in cold weather, you want to make sure you have a way to stay warm. A small shovel, or some sand, or grit that you can throw down just in case you get stuck on a surface that you can get yourself out of on your own.”

It was a far cry from a snowstorm, but parts of the area received the first real accumulating snow of the young season by Tuesday morning.

A Winter Weather Advisory was in effect through 7 a.m. for Monroe and Wayne Counties due to overnight lake effect snow showers, which some were excited for.

‘There were no available ICU beds in WNY:’ Local hospital diverted patients when room ran out

FF Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua temporarily diverted patients twice last week, amid hospital bed shortages across the state.

Hospitals alert the state when they want to make a diversion, and the state alerts emergency medical services to bring patients elsewhere for a set period of time.

Thompson representatives said they enacted diversions on November 16 and November 18. They said it was necessary because they had a number of patients in the emergency department requiring intensive care, but no room in the ICU to move them out of the ED.

“That being said, we would never turn away an ambulance,” said Anne Johnston with UR Medicine Thompson Health. “So if an ambulance were to arrive with a patient needing emergency care, we would absolutely provide the care.”

Thompson representatives said they could not transfer their ICU patients to other area hospitals, because there were no available ICU beds in all of Western New York. This, they said, was because many hospital patients have been waiting to be placed into nursing homes, but there were no beds available at nursing homes in the region.

Accuser sues former Monroe County Legislator who sent teen illicit photo

One of the 13 women who accused then-Monroe County Legislator Ernest Flagler-Mitchell of a variety of ethics violations in June is filing a $1 million lawsuit, calling it “a demand for justice.”

Flagler-Mitchell admitted he sent an inappropriate photo to a 19-year-old woman last November. That woman, LaKaya Sinclair, met Flagler-Mitchell at the scene of a mass shooting at her home.

“He provided no help,” Sinclair’s attorney, former Congressional candidate Nate McMurray said in a statement issued Monday. “Instead, he began to systematically harass and manipulate Ms. Sinclair, trying to exploit a teenage woman in a vulnerable position.”

“This harassment continued until Flagler-Mitchell sent a picture of his semi-erect penis to Ms. Sinclair,” McMurray said. “He asked, ‘Do you like it?’ She responded, ‘This is weird.’” 

Sinclair and her attorneys say Flagler-Mitchell “continued to try and manipulate, stalk, and harass” her.

“This behavior has gone on for years, unchecked, unpunished by law enforcement, the county legislature, or anyone else,” they said. “That all stops now.” 

The Monroe County Ethics Board investigated the incident, ultimately finding 13 women who reported unwanted sexual advances, or consensual relations where Flagler-Mitchell provided money or paid bills.

“I was a teenager in an awful situation,” Sinclair said in a statement issued Monday. “An elected official, with a duty to serve the community, came to me pretending to care and implying that he wanted to help me. Instead, he tried to manipulate me and take advantage of me. And even after his behavior became clear, and widely documented, none of the arms of justice seemed to care.”

Sinclair and her legal team are scheduled to hold a press conference Tuesday morning.

Rochester police search for suspect in University Avenue bank robbery

Police are asking the public for help identifying a suspect in a Monday morning bank robbery.

According to investigators, the Key Bank on University Avenue was robbed at around 9:00 a.m. Police say the suspect walked in, passed a note to the bank teller, and left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The suspect is described as a Black male, 6′ 0″ to 6′ 2″ and between 200 and 210 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911.

1,263 new COVID-19 cases in Monroe County in last 3 days, 26 new deaths, 7.9% positivity rate

Officials from the Monroe County Department of Public Health reported 435 new COVID-19 cases Monday, and 26 new deaths.

Those newly reported deaths happened between October 30 and November 18. County officials report COVID-19 deaths weekly on Mondays. To date, 1,485 Monroe County residents have died from COVID-19.

County officials say 494 new cases were reported Saturday, and 334 new cases were reported Sunday.

The county is now averaging 451 new cases per day over the past week. Monroe County now has a seven-day rolling average positivity rate of 7.9%.

According to the New York State Department of Health, 358 people in the Finger Lakes region were hospitalized with the virus Saturday, including 94 in an ICU.

As of the Monroe County COVID-19 dashboard’s last local vaccination update, 483,322 county residents are fully vaccinated and 527,522 have received at least one dose of the vaccine — 65.1% of the county population.

Erie County announces mask mandate for all indoor, public locations starting Tuesday

On Monday afternoon, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced that a mask mandate will take effect Tuesday.

Starting at 6 a.m., masks must be worn in all public, indoor facilities. This is in response to the rise in cases in Erie County.

It’s part of a four-phase plan Poloncarz announced on Monday. But with this plan, Poloncarz hopes to not reach the remaining phases.

“None of us wanted to do phase one…but we feel we must,” Poloncarz said.

He says that if the mask mandate does not result in a decrease in cases and hospitalizations, further phases could take effect.

Phase two calls for vaccinations, phase three would mean capacity restrictions and phase four would mean shutdowns.

Sexual harassment, COVID book, nursing home deaths: Full Cuomo impeachment report released

The New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee released a report Monday regarding allegations against former former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The committee was charged by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie back in March to determine whether the former governor engaged in acts that may have justified impeachment, after Cuomo faced accusations of sexual harassment, misreporting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, and misuse of state resources for his COVID-19 book.

The report concluded:

  • Cuomo engaged in multiple instances of sexual harassment, including by creating a hostile work environment and engaging in sexual misconduct.
  • The former governor utilized state resources and property, including work by Executive Chamber staff, to write, publish and promote his book – a project for which he was guaranteed at least $5.2 million in personal profit.
  • The former governor was not fully transparent regarding the number of nursing home residents who died as a result of COVID-19.

The investigation included the review of hundreds of thousands of documents, approximately 600,000 — including photographs and text messages, BlackBerry PIN messages, emails, recordings of phone calls, social media accounts, video recordings, memos, transcripts, and other materials.

The investigation included interviews, proffers or review of depositions with more than 200 people and also involved the review of statements and writings by Cuomo and his counsel throughout the investigation.

The judiciary committee’s investigation was conducted by an independent legal firm, Davis Pol and Wardwell LLP. In their conclusion, the investigators stated that Cuomo and his counsel refused to comply “in any meaningful way” with the investigation’s requests and subpoenas.

Cuomo resigned in August following a bombshell report from New York Attorney General Letitia James that concluded he sexually harassed numerous women, including former and current state employees.

That nearly five-month investigation, conducted by two outside lawyers who spoke to 179 people, found that the Cuomo administration was a “hostile work environment” and that it was “rife with fear and intimidation.”

People interviewed for the attorney general’s report included complainants, current and former members of the executive chamber, New York State Police troopers, additional state employees and others who interacted regularly with the governor. They also reviewed more than 74,000 piece of evidence, including documents, emails, text messages, audio files and pictures.

Cuomo’s attorney, Rita Glavin, has challenged the credibility of the attorney general’s report, multiple times, saying it was politically motivated as James has since announced her own run for governor.

Cuomo’s legal team has submitted an application to change the findings of the attorney general’s report, and for James to recuse herself from any involvement of her office’s dealings with Cuomo.

“The August 3rd report is materially misleading, it is flawed, and it is unreliable,” Glavin said.

A statement from Glavin Monday said:

“The Assembly’s report simply parrots the Attorney General’s flawed report, failing to engage with the many errors and omissions in the AG’s report and her one-sided, biased investigation.  And, like the AG, the Assembly refused to provide the former Governor with access to all the evidence, again denying the Governor due process and a meaningful ability to respond. This is disappointing, but hardly surprising.”

Weather forecast: Snow tapers this morning after most saw 2-4″

As drier air quickly works in, snow will taper from north to south Tuesday morning. We expect a quick transition to sunshine from there with Tuesday highs only getting into the middle 30s. We’ll warm into the middle 40s for Wednesday’s big travel day with more sunshine.

We could flirt with 50 Thanksgiving Thursday, but a few rain showers will work in late. From an impact standpoint, major travel issues will be avoided Wednesday into Thanksgiving. Colder air by Friday will set the stage for another round of lake effect snow for the region.

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