Friday, April 27, 2007

Rochester's Public Market - a great place to shop!

As part of Mayor Robert Duffy's ongoing effort to improve public safety and customer service, effective Sat., May 5, several changes in traffic circulation, parking and product pick-up will be instituted at the Rochester Public Market, 280 N. Union St.

Specifically, these include:

• Expanded and relocated disabled parking

• Traffic on the Market's inner circle will be eliminated

• In some areas, the circulation of traffic will be redirected

• A new, "Veggie-Valet" service, managed by members of the Friends of the Public Market, will facilitate customer pick-ups

• A new, commercial customer registration and loading system

The "Veggie-Valet" service is based on a successful model developed at the Ferry Terminal Market in San Francisco. Market shoppers can now "store" their purchases in a central location in the Market and then bring their vehicle to a convenient, designated pick-up location. Members of the all-volunteer Friends of the Market will manage this operation.

Restaurants, stores and other large, commercial customers can now register and receive a sticker that will permit them access to one of two areas designated solely for their use. Flat bed "trucks" will also be provided for use by commercial vendors to facilitate the movement of product throughout the market site.

Handicap parking has been relocated and expanded. Consumers should follow the new signage directing them to those spaces. Additionally, the Market has increased the number of off-site parking directly across from the Union Street entrance. Parking is also available on Saturdays at Ametek Industries at 255 N. Union Street.

Dept. of Recreation and Youth Services Commissioner Charles Reaves said that, "These changes will make the our historic Public Market even safer and more pedestrian-friendly. We are focusing on improvements in customer service and this will increase convenience for our shoppers and commercial customers in pick-up and loading. During the first few weeks of the transition, we ask that visitors pay attention to the new traffic signs and to be patient as people get used to the new systems."

For more information on the commercial loading registrationsystem, or the new parking and circulation system, call the Market at 428-6907.



The Mayor is asking the community to again show their civic pride and come together to help clean up the city's streets. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for one or more Saturday Sweeps, taking place rain or shine, 8:30 a.m. - noon, Saturdays, Apr. 28 - May 19.

During the Saturday Sweeps, volunteers get a Clean Sweep t-shirt, join together for coffee and donuts, get assigned to a team, receive their tools and then go out to beautify the streets. At noon, they'll meet up again for a picnic lunch. The City's show wagon stage and a large tent are set up and music plays throughout the morning, making for a fun and festive atmosphere.

Different city vendors are solicited each week to provide the goodies. This Saturday, breakfast will be provided by George's Bakery of S. Clinton Ave. and lunch will be catered by Unkl Moe's BBQ of West Ave. Starbucks of Monroe Ave. in the city  is donating coffee and RG&E is donating $12,000 to Clean Sweep for program expenses.

The Saturday Sweeps will take place 8:30 a.m. - noon at the following locations:
Apr. 28, Genesee Valley Park &131 Elmwood Ave. (southwest);

May 5, NET Area F Office, 500 Norton St. - at the old Silver Stadium site. (northeast);

May 12, Edgerton Park, 41 Backus St. (northwest);

May 19, East High School, 1801 E. Main St. (southeast).

Volunteers or neighborhood groups who would like to organize their own street or block projects during the week to collect litter, rake tree lawns or perform a special clean up or beautification project can call their local NET office. The City will provide suggested projects, tools and bags, mulch, soil and/or flowers for planting.

Those wishing to volunteer for one or more Saturday Sweeps may register by calling the 428-5990 or visiting Walk-ups on the morning of the Sweeps are also welcome. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and teams will hit the streets at nine. Volunteers are asked to wear appropriate clothing, including hard-soled shoesand long pants. Gloves and tools will be provided, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own, if possible.


More than 700 volunteers have signed up to be a part of the year's first "Clean Sweep," tomorrow, 8:30 a.m., April 28 at Genesee Valley Park, 131 Elmwood Ave. The volunteers will be welcomed by the Mayor for coffee and donuts, get their t-shirts and tools and then head out in teams to clean up the city's southwest neighborhoods. City crews will be out in force supporting their efforts. Afterwards, participants will return for a picnic lunch at noon.

"Rochester's Clean Sweep...Showing Pride in Our City," is Mayor Robert J. Duffy's initiative designed to bring the entire community together to help give Rochester a "spring cleaning." Last year's spring Clean Sweep was so successful, a fall sweep was added and more than 5,000 volunteers picked up 1,500 tons of debris. Volunteers are still invited to sign up for any or all of the upcoming Sweeps by calling 428-5990 or visiting


The Lyell-Otis area's Clean Sweep will be held on Saturday, May 12th. Please join us as we tidy up and help make our neighborhood even MORE BEAUTIFUL!

Monday, April 16, 2007


Mayor Robert J. Duffy today announced a new initiative designed to reinvigorate Rochester's neighborhoods. The online survey portion of the Rochester Citywide Housing Market Study is up an running. This innovative website combines carefully collected market data with a full analysis of the city's neighborhoods, as well as their financial environments and housing programs.

In addition to an online survey, the website ( offers several unique sections, including 16 interactive, thematic city maps on different topics ranging from changes in sale prices to code violations. There is a photo gallery of Rochester's neighborhoods, historic city photos and links to Rochester's neighborhood groups.

"This site will provide us with vital information," said Mayor Robert J. Duffy. "It will be a valuable tool for future housing policy and investment decisions. We are placing a great deal of emphasis on customer satisfaction as well as on data-driven policymaking."

The City retained urban design, architecture and planning firm Interfaith Studio, LLC, of Philadelphia, PA, to lead a team of local and national experts in assessing the housing market for the entire city. The study will include an evaluation of the social, economic and physical characteristics of Rochester's neighborhoods. The City's major housing programs as well as those of other local non-profits will undergo the study's review, as will the investment patterns of public and private dollars across the city. Rochester's lending environment, including foreclosure rates and predatory lending practices will be assessed. The market study will include over 70 interviews to understand the challenges and opportunities associated with Rochester's neighborhoods. Focus groups will be held with residents, community organizations, Realtors, developers, housing service providers, bankers and City staff.

The results of the survey and study will be a set of recommendations intended to guide the future planning efforts of City agencies, private and non-profit organizations around one shared vision and action strategy. When the study is complete, it will be published on the website for public review and comment.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Lyell-Otis Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes of May 14th, 2007

Meeting Began: 7:06pm - Welcome from Mike

Lyell NET’s Director, Jose Cruz:- TOP 15 properties list discussed

- please call the NET regarding specific issues; lots of reports of HG&W, T&D, tires, illegal dumping

- Clean Sweep was very successful; approximately 1200 volunteers helped in our area; great catered lunch

- UPLIFT program began on Emerson St; enlists many departments/groups to address social/legal issues on targeted streets; two more are planned for June ‘07, one more planned for July ‘07

- NET’s new mobile computer system helps speed up inspectors’ impact

Lyell Branch Library’s Director, Shelly Matthews:

- nutrition classes for care-givers of young children will begin soon; please register ASAP

- needs more participants, as this is the pilot program

- gardening volunteers are needed to help plant flowers

March Minutes: accepted into the record

Announcement: a new Secretary is needed for LONA

Burglary/Robbery Report:

- GOOD NEWS! No robberies occurred, only some minor burglaries; time of day is not a factor to the burglars

- discussed the police officers walking the neighborhood in the targeted areas; there is a pattern of problems moving into other areas of our neighborhood

- discussed renewing S.T.O.P. (Security Team On Patrol)

LONA President, Mike Visconte:

- upset about the NBN sector president’s meeting; LONA’s neighborhood initiatives were not acknowledged and/or downplayed - as if neighborhood groups only hold meetings

- LONA has done it all! From starting the court watch program, helping with the prostitution details, overseeing the "johns" community service hours, etc. etc. etc...

- seemed like the city/sector wanted to "take over" everything, whereas we LIVE HERE and CARE about our neighborhood!

Volunteer request:

- J.P. Riley Park one day build; meet in the morning with coffee; hots and soda pop lunch after the work is completed in the afternoon

- two weeks later, you are welcome to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony

Special Guest Speaker - City of Rochester’s Deputy Chief of Police Shepard:

- discussed the neighborhood’s security cameras, and where things stand as of now; we don’t want to buy the wrong type, so research and comparisons are being made; Chicago’s system is excellent, we might like the same

- wants "microwave" system (wireless), but it is restrictive, as it must have a clear line of sight

- regardless of whatever system we select, it should be up and in use by August 2007!

- citizens of the Lyell-Otis neighborhood want to have input as to the cameras’ locations, as this point was promised to us by the mayor himself! Police will listen to input, and look at data to confirm.

- "shot-spotter" not as successful as expected; can pin-point within ten feet, but has gotten false readings too

- police department may need to combine 311 call center with the camera program, so as not to add a position

- discussed calls for service; area neighbors say it seems like there’s not enough personnel; Deputy Chief wants to see better response times as well

- discussed the level of need for police in our area, compared to other city neighborhoods; 14621 is the "neediest" of all on all counts, regarding social services and public safety

- discussed prostitution problem and drug problem, as they are linked together; jail won’t solve the problem, but drug court helps!

- discussed the lack of action taken on the county level to help lift up our quality of life as we pay county taxes as well; suggested the creation of a task force to look into the situation; lots of people have been constantly working on this problem, but many in the rest of the county want to "keep it in the city on Lyell Avenue", hence, if you’re a prostitute, you know where to go for work, and if you are a "john", you know where to find them

- discussed prostitutes’ actions i.e.: knocking on doors, asking residents for money; as they are on drugs; intervention is needed

- respect for city residents, especially here in Lyell-Otis, is lacking from the county officials, as there are prostitutes in Pittsford as well, yet the quality of life remains high there.

- discussed the decrease in prostitution police details, as the city ran out of funding to run them

- the "hooker hotline" worked well for 1 ½ years

- drugs bring the prostitutes here; discussed why it takes so long to shut down the drug houses

- if "busted", a new person is put in place to continue the sales

- discussed the ways to get drug dealers evicted, or build up nuisance points against the property

- discussed how to get the landlords involved; also discussed the problem of out-of-state owners buying multiple properties

- discussed the walking police officers, and why Interfaith seems to have more influence than area residents; program will be assessed after one year

Deputy Chief Shepard will return with updates for us on:

1. Walking beats - we want to see them moved around so the prostitutes/drug dealers won’t know where or when officers will show up

2. Attend our June 11th meeting

3. Look into TV Channel 12 showing booking photos of convicted "johns"

4. Prostitute Hotline

5. Commit to doing two details per month (for now), increase the frequency as soon as possible

City Councilman, Bob Stevenson:

- six court watchers have "watched", in total, 2400 per year

- explained that the judges want to clear the docket as fast as possible

- prostitutes are recidivistic due to their drug addiction

- watchers must follow case after case, but the program works, and parking is reimbursed

- trying to get penalty for prostitution increased to "class A misdemeanor"

- prostitutes can’t be sentenced to drug court, but we hope they take it, as we’d rather have them cured

- Susan John has sponsored this bill, but "downstate" does not back us up

- discussed the high number of people going through the court on a recent Saturday: each one spent less than 2 minutes talking to the A.D.A., the judge, and etc.

- discussed the upcoming city budget vote; lots of cuts and reduction of services

- city budget will be able to be seen online:

- 6/19 will be the public hearing at 7pm regarding the city budget, only one week before the council votes

Remember!!! Please sign up to help with the J.P. Riley Park build!

Meeting Adjourned: 8:35pm

Lyell-Otis Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes of March 12, 2007

Meeting Began at 7:07pm

Welcome - to our first meeting after the winter break

A moment of silence was observed for two of our members who passed away recently: Mary Morinelli and Dusty Q. Dusty

Water Works new command center re-opening

- "green" building to save energy; even H2O saving restrooms!

- possibly awarded by the state for the building

- wanted to buy LTD’s old warehouse on Sherman St, but the owner tripled the price and tried to fleece/price gouge the city

Housing Committee - meetings continuing monthly with the NET office

Frank Cornier - NCS’s new director Community Development Corporation

- helps with grants for the neighborhood

- program covers the area from Cameron St, up to Otis St, to Glide St, and down to Lyell Ave.

- owner occupied houses; focusing on homes with children living there because the city doesn’t test for lead in non-rentals; also helps grandparents who watch their grandchildren as well

- identify and paint stabilize areas and retest

- no cost to owner for work - labor or supplies; the final paint color, usually a gallon or so, is not covered in this program

Q. How is this promoted?

A. Flyers are passed out door to door as well as word-of-mouth; applications are being taken now

- $9000 from United Way was donated for tools and primer, which can help about 20 homes.

- NCS will apply for more funding in August

Joe Esposito - Lyell Avenue Business Association (LABA) Lyell Avenue Music Fest 2007

- one day event, Sunday - August 25th, including a car show with "hot rods" and "low riders"

Q. Could this event be added onto other city event calendars to add publicity

A. Gladys Santiago yes!

Burglary/Robbery Reports - listing of January and February incidents

- many copper pipes were stolen from homes; police are working on this due to the high number if incidents to area homes

- in one instance, appliances were also stolen, and the robbers left the gas line open!

Bob Stevenson’s representative (as he is in DC)

- W.A.V.E. meeting (which is every other week) covers problem properties

Bob heard a commercial on the radio from a scrap business offering to buy copper, stainless steel, and other metals; most are decent businesses, though a few are not so good

- working on the legality of issuing an ordinance that would only apply to the city

City Council is working on addressing the issue, as there have been many copper pipes stolen all over the city

Comment - Painted copper is not usually stolen

A. These preventive measures are being discussed community wide by the council with the county on this issue

Two robberies listed are of a greater concern: in one incident, a victim was stabbed as he didn’t have any money, the other involved a gun

Comment - Interfaith Action pushed for foot patrols, but these patrols are pushing crime into our better areas

A. LONA did approve these patrols, but we now see that it is not working as desired. The patrols should take all four of them to cover the whole area and push out the problems, such as prostitutes and drug dealers.

LONA sees that the current situation is not better.

TOP 15 Properties

- lots of OLD problems; NET is aware of the issues

- the housing committee is working on all these code violations; volunteers are asked to join the committee!

- in one case, a new owner bought seven or eight properties, but he lives in NYC!

- some homes are missing gutters for years, but NET says that’s not a problem, don’t worry about it!

- if you have gutters that need repairs, get them repaired. But, if you don’t have gutters, you need gutters if the water drains off of your house onto your neighbor’s property.

- any other housing problems, please let LONA officers know about them, so we can report them

Q. Has LONA asked the city’s legal department what it takes, or what is the process, to take property away from a slum-lord? At some point, fines move from the NET to the city’s legal department. What needs to change in the law to make an impact?

A. We have problems because houses change hands so often, and the ticketing and legal processes are stopped, and then we have to start from the beginning again.

Comment - on Isabelle St.: unlicenced vehicles, or broken steps, yet the inspector says he can’t see a problem

Comment - on Glide St.: Chuck says "we’re waiting" to have the city take over the property; as good people (already good neighbors) need a house and wanted to move in. Note: There is still a sex offender living across the street

No NET Representatives Tonight :(

No Representative from the Police Department :(

JP Riley Park Playground - GOOD NEWS!

- we received $60K grant from Allstate

- $20-30K donating the needed man-power will come from the city’s parks’ department

- Edgerton Recreation will provide two groups to help

- Strong Memorial Hospital is doing the work for us, under the Injury Free Coalition For Kids

- Hoping that a proposal sent to Senator Maziar will help with more funding for $7K to help with kids’ safety

Why was this project deemed necessary?

- the area was studied and it was found to have a high number of low-income homes, many with single parents

- the area is densely populated as we have over 28K residents, with lots of young children

- play equipment was from 1980 and doesn’t meet current safety codes

- there was a high rate of child injuries in our zip code, over 2000 injured (in one year) went to Strong Hospital

- there are 61K kids in the city of Rochester; so 28% of population are children

- in the park’s area, 53% are African-American, 19% are Hispanic/Latino

- 37% of the local minority residents are under 18 years of age

- directly located around the park: 7836 people, 4800 are children

- putting over $100K to make improvements to the playground

- LONA wants to see a security camera placed there; Mayor Duffy promised that we will have a camera placement committee and LONA will be represented. Mike has called, but can’t get calls returned.

Q. Are there cameras on Santee St. already? A. Yes

Q. Where’s the building/lodge in the park? A. It burned almost two decades ago

- Volunteers are needed to help install the new play equipment and the gardens surrounding it

- There will be a cook-out afterward for all those who help with the work

Q. Will it be fenced? A. Yes, but not locked. Benches will be placed in such a way that parents can sit and supervise their children so they cannot run into the street without going by the parents

Q. Will it be well lit? A. Yes, but the park will close at either 10pm or at dusk

- The budget and equipment was a direct result of the many letters of support from: the mayor, Sector 3, Strong Memorial Hospital, and many individuals

- There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony two weeks after the improvements are completed with many of our local politicians

Lyell-Otis Area Security Cameras - no info yet, no committee formed yet.

- LONA will find out more, as we are the ones responsible for getting the funding here, thanks to our wonderful Assemblywoman, Susan John!

TV/Phone Hotline - re: prostitutes

- Deputy Police Chief Shepard was going to look into using the city’s cable Channel 12 to put pictures of prostitutes and "johns" on - as long as it is free information, but city must O.K. it

- hotline wanted so area residents could call in to report incidents and locations for police to investigate

Comment - previously, there had been a recording type of hotline available

Lyell Library - welcome to Shelly Matthews as the new Branch Director, and thanks for letting LONA use the community room for our meetings. Thanks also to Bob Stevenson for reviewing the city council’s budget and finding how much goes to the library.

City Council’s Vice President, Gladys Santiago

- she feels bad that the residents feel that the city doesn’t respond to our concerns

- she will continue to work on our issues, as well as fulfill her demands as a full-time student!

Monroe County Legislature’s Minority Leader, Carla Palumbo

- they worked on the budget one night in December until 1:30am!

- no proposed amendments were accepted by the republicans

- burial funding increase was rejected

- not much activity in January or February, as it is post-budget

- democratic caucus meeting re: Water Authority, amendments proposed to bring better oversight to legislature

- also, looking at reform of processes, aka - how things are currently done

- working on this for the next few months, as it is good to get info and ideas out

Q. Re: burial funding - Monroe County used to give up to $1850 to do a regular burial, now only $1200 for cremation only. Riverside Cemetery sometimes donates burial plots.

A. Carla is working with the funeral community. Comment - Suffolk County gives $2200 per burial

Q. Water Authority re: their retirement benefits. What about Sewer Authority - when do those taxes go away?

A - She’s asked for them to pull the pension records, but they can’t be found; also questioning their pay, health care, and retirement records. There are cuts for new people, but we want it cut for all retired authority officials

Q. Who will the democrats choose to oppose Maggie Brooks for the county executive election this year? A.?

Re: the Glide St. renovation from Lyell Ave. to Emerson St.

- 92 cars had been side-swiped, so the street will be narrowed to slow the flow of the traffic

- there are currently no signal lights, but they have been suggested

- a microwave light will monitor turns, as an average of 4500 cars travel Glide St each week

- there will be recessed parking created at the park; and alternate parking will continue on the rest of the street

- fixing poles and planting new trees at the curb

Q. Re: many fires in the area - LONA will ask Engine 5 to come to a meeting, as our area is one of the busiest

Comments made regarding police policies, as no officer went to a crime scene on Emerson St. after a break-in.

Meeting Adjourned at 8:32pm