ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.

Pedestrian killed in Rochester hit-and-run near Culver Rd.

A man is dead after being struck during a hit-and-run on Culver Road and Bay Street in Rochester early Wednesday morning.

Authorities say officers were led to the intersection of Culver Road and Bay Street around 3:05 a.m. for the report of an unresponsive person. There, they found a male in his mid-60s laying in the roadway with head trauma.

He was transported to Strong Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries shortly after.

According to officials, it was determined that the victim was struck by a vehicle while trying to cross Culver Road. Investigators say the unidentified suspect left the scene.

Police believe the unidentified suspect was traveling northbound on Culver Road when the victim was struck and subsequently killed. The identity of the man killed has yet to be released.

No suspects are in custody at this time. An investigation is currently underway and anyone with additional information is asked to call 911 or Major Crimes Unit at (585) 428-7157.

Greece school board approves measure forcing students to stash cell phones during class

The Greece Central School District Board of Education passed a measure Tuesday which would force students to lock up their phones during class.

Under the new policy, every student in grades 6 through 12 would have to put their phone in a Yondr pouch every morning. The magnetically-sealed pouches could only be opened by a staff member with a specialized tool.

Yondr pouches have been used at concerts and other live events to prevent attendees from capturing photos or videos and sharing them to social media. According to the company’s website, representatives work with schools during a “foundation year” to implement them within the districts.

According to a presentation to the school board Tuesday evening, Bluetooth technology works through the pouches.

The board heard concerns about students’ ability to call 911 in case of an emergency at school. Administrators said every classroom has a phone in it for that purpose.

According to the GCSD Board of Education, the program will cost $98,000 and begin in the 2022-2023 school year. Official changes will be made to the district’s code of conduct in August.

In a survey done with over 1,300 Greece teachers, parents, and students, a majority said cell phones are a major distraction and had a negative impact on classroom learning. Phones — says Steve Chatterton with the district — can’t just be tucked away in class. Kids use them constantly. 

“It’s still very very accessible it’s still easy to use,” he says.

Chatterton says fights have increased due to cell phone use and kids taping them, and video posting with Tik Tok challenges has led to serious property damages. 

“We lost every bathroom in every high school. We had to replace every toilet paper holder, every towel holder,” he says.

Parents, though — say kids need a way to call 911 in case of emergencies. One Greece parent said 99% of students with phones behave, this plan only serves to hurt everyone.

Sexual harassment scandal shakes Rochester Police Accountability Board

Rochester Police Accountability Board (PAB) Executive Director Conor Dwyer Reynolds shared his story Tuesday, for the first time since being placed on administrative leave back in May.

Reynolds made his statement in a blog post titled “I Reported Sexual Harassment by My Boss. A Week Later, I Was Suspended.”

In the post, Reynolds details alleged sexual harassment against him by PAB Chair Shani Wilson. He says he was suspended one week after reporting the harassment to the board, and has never been given a reason for the suspension.

“I am proud of the work the PAB has done and has continued to do in my absence,” he writes. “However, I fear all this work will be undone if I do not tell my story.”

Reynolds’ appointment as PAB Executive Director was announced on October 16, 2020. In his blog post, he claims the harassment started six days later.

Reynolds says when Wilson learned he was bisexual, she called him a “unicorn” and told him she found him attractive. He claims she went to his house on the night of November 20, 2020, “attempted to get [him] inebriated,” and asked to sleep with him.

“When I rejected her repeated advances, Shani used the power she holds over me at the PAB to punish me,” Reynolds writes.

Reynolds claims Wilson “hugged and touched” him at work without his consent, spread rumors about him, and “ordered” him to end his romantic relationship with a woman in favor of dating men.

Reynolds says he did not publicly make these allegations at the time because Wilson was “politically connected.”

“My harasser is close friends with city councilmembers, county legislators, state legislators, city bureaucrats, and even some of my employees,” Reynolds writes. “I believed that, if I spoke out, Shani would use these connections to launch a campaign to discredit my story and end my career.”

Reynolds says he did tell his family, a therapist, and a friend about the alleged harassment as it occurred.

In his blog post, Reynolds claims his “breaking point” came when Wilson allegedly ordered him not to discipline an employee she had urged him to hire who was later “credibly accused of misconduct.”

“Most importantly, we were getting close to hiring an employee who would work directly with Shani,” Reynolds writes. “I worried that, if I did not speak up, someone I was tasked with protecting would be subject to the same harassment I had experienced.”

Gananda parents share concerns after middle school lockdown

News 8 learned Tuesday that an eighth-grader has been charged with making a false report — accused of lying to authorities Friday about a person with a gun inside the Gananda Middle School.

Parents are said to be grateful for the actions of the police and teachers last week despite some tense moments, during and after the lockdown. 

In a meeting with school board members Tuesday, parents called for more safety changes. 

Jacqie Pentland says she was happy with the response last Friday but says “I almost died inside.” The mom of a 4-year-old preschooler who attends Gananda schools says she’s still anxious. 

“Terrified,” Pentland said. “I really hope our legislature and those in a position to make a difference take a look at what it takes to keep our kids safe. I don’t want to feel what I felt over the past couple of weeks.”

She and other parents attended a meeting with Gananda school board members to learn more about safety improvements and changes that Superintendent Dr. Shawn van Scoy says are in the works.  

“There are some hiccups along the way,” he said. “We’re having conversations about improving the cell phone system and how to respond and engage in cell phones and how to improve our walkie-talkie systems and improve our lock systems for our door locks.”

The meeting Tuesday evening was closed to the press, but Van Scoy also expected to hear more parents call for a full-time school resources. 

Prior to Friday’s incident, there was only a part-time resource officer on duty. Since, Friday Van Scoy says there has been a permanent law enforcement presence on campus. van Scoy says safety conversations will continue throughout the summer.

Teens plead guilty in fatal Gates carjacking attempt

Two Rochester teens pleaded guilty Tuesday in connection to a deadly armed carjacking attempt in Gates last year.

According to the Gates Police Department, defendants Anthony Jacobs and Edgar Tolentino both submitted guilty pleas for their respective roles in the death of Richard Sciascia.

According to the Monroe County District Attorney’s office, Tolentino pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and will be sentenced to 20-years-to-life in prison next month. No word yet from the district attorney’s office on Jacobs’ plea.

Sciascia, 71 of Irondequoit, was gunned down on Buell Road in broad daylight as the target of an armed carjacking attempt on April 7, 2021.

“Thank you to the Gates Police Department and the New York State Police for their thorough investigation,” said Assistant District Attorney Perry Duckles. “Edgar Tolentino showed no regard for the life of Richard Sciascia when he killed him over a car. With this guilty plea, it is our hope that Mr. Sciascia’s family is able to find some closure.”

“With crimes like armed carjackings on the rise in our community, it is imperative that we hold offenders like Edgar Tolentino accountable,” said District Attorney Sandra Doorley. “We are pleased that Tolentino has taken responsibility for this crime and will spend the next two decades reflecting upon his heinous actions that resulted in Mr. Sciascia’s death.”

Jacobs and Tolentino, who were both 16 when they were arrested last April, were each indicted on the following charges in May 2021:

  • Murder in the Second Degree (two counts)
  • Attempted Robbery in the First Degree
  • Attempted Robbery in the Second Degree (two counts)
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (two counts)

Weather forecast: The sun is back, but not for long

The absence of any storm system today will mean sunshine dominates the skyline. It will not last long as our next storm system quickly approaches from the west.

Let’s savor the sunshine and temperatures warming into the 70s.