Sunday, June 29, 2008


Date: 6/20/2008 9:01:42 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

Mayor Robert J. Duffy and Chief of Police David T. Moore today joined New York State Assemblymember Susan John, New York State Senator Joe Robach, Director of the Public Safety Initiatives Center, John Klofas and neighborhood leaders at a press conference to announce the official launch of the City’s Surveillance Camera project.

“I’m proud to say that, working together, we will be able to make our city safer using the most advanced technologies available to apprehend criminal offenders,” said Mayor Duffy. “This project required tremendous collaboration. I want to thank Assemblymember John, Senator Robach, City Council and the Rochester Police Department, Professor John Klofas and all of the neighborhood associations involved for their outstanding partnership. In concert with the efforts of our local policeofficers and of concerned neighbors, these cameras will help us ensure our citizens are safe and can feel safe.”

“The surveillance camera is one more tool that we can utilize to continue our fight against gangs, guns and drugs,” said Chief Moore. “The cameras in conjunction with our other efforts will undoubtedly continue to enhance the safety of our community.”

“These cameras will provide another tool for the Rochester Police Department to use for the protection of our citizens,” said Assemblymember Susan John. “I know from hearing the stories from many families in our community that crime is the number one issue affecting the quality of life for them and their children. They asked me if I could help get surveillance cameras in their neighborhood to help discourage those who commit crime. After consulting with Chief Moore, I went out and fought for the funding to help families stay safe in their neighborhood and homes Today is the next step in using a new technology to help police serve and protect our community.”

“I am very pleased to have worked with Mayor Bob Duffy, the Rochester Police Department and area community leaders to secure this funding to improve public safety throughout our city,” said Senator Joe Robach. “We owe our very best efforts to these families so they can feel safe walking
along the streets in their our neighborhoods. These cameras will assist law enforcement in the apprehension of criminals and will hopefully serve as a deterrent to crime in these communities.”

The project began in late 2006 when Mayor Duffy proposed funding for twenty-five surveillance cameras. Funding obtained by Assemblymember John ($250,000) and Senator Robach ($150,000) enabled the City to purchase twenty-five additional cameras for overt surveillance of the city’s streets. Each camera costs approximately $23,000. There are twelve surveillance cameras currently mounted on neighborhood corners, with thirty-eight more cameras slated to be in place by mid-summer The cameras have already helped law enforcement officers make seven arrests.

The mobile, state-of-the-art cameras are able to zoom, pan and tilt to 360ยบ. The command center is located in police headquarters at the Public Safety Building and the cameras will be monitored by employees assigned to the police department, such as light-duty police officers and public safety aides.

“The installation of these cameras is vital to the safety of ourcity,” said City Council President Gladys Santiago. “I hope they will add both to residents’ safety and to their sense of security in and around their own neighborhoods.”

PLEASE NOTE: It was LONA's Pam Davis' inquiry that lead to Assemblywoman Susan John giving the Lyell-Otis area the $250,000 that was mentioned in the above press release.
This money was to be spent HERE, to help improve our neighborhood's safety. Unfortunately, NOT ONE CAMERA of the TEN PROMISED TO LONA BY MAYOR DUFFY has been delivered as of June 29th, 2008.
Instead, we were told that OUR MONEY went into a fund that set up the surveillance system. LYELL-OTIS' $250,000 has been mismanaged! 
OUR MONEY, for which we are VERY GRATEFUL to Assemblywoman John to grant us, WAS TO BUY TEN CAMERAS FOR THE LYELL-OTIS NEIGHBORHOOD, and that was only to start us off! We were supposed to get more cameras afterward, along with the other areas of the city, as funds allowed.
Lyell-Otis Neighborhood Association members and officers are very saddened, disappointed, and feel victimized by our city's government.
We will continue to work to improve this area, but we feel that our needs and concerns are not being met by our current city representatives. We look forward to speaking with them, and hopefully, get this rectified as soon as possible. Our $250,000 is too valuable to us, and we won't be robbed by those who we elected to protect us!
(Please also note: Carla Palumbo is a wonderful supporter of LONA, and is not meant to be lumped in with those that we take issue with! **Thank you, Carla, for all you do to help us!**)



Mayor Robert J. Duffy today announced that the City will light up the downtown skies with a spectacular fireworks show to celebrate our country's freedom, 10 p.m., Fri., July 4.

"Downtown is the place to be this 4th of July," said Mayor Duffy. "We will kick-off the holiday weekend with the start of the all-new ‘River City Rhythms’ concert series and conclude with a spectacular fireworks display. It will be a fitting commemoration to our nation's independence and a very exciting night."

The FREE "River City Rhythms" concert, featuring Dixieland jazz band the Smugtown Stompers (5:30-6:30 p.m.) and party-time band Orient Express (7:30-9:30 p.m.) is located along the west side of the Genesee River at Exchange Blvd. and Plymouth Ave. near Corn Hill Landing. The fireworks can be viewed from the concert location.

Other recommended fireworks viewing areas include the Main St. Bridge, the Broad St. Bridge, Chestnut St. near the Washington Square Garage and the streets surrounding those areas.

Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets for more comfortable viewing of the fireworks show and to refrain from bringing pets for everyone's safety. Free parking is available at the Washington Square, Court St., and Sister Cities garages. The fireworks are produced by the City and co-sponsored by Freetime, Entercom Radio, WBEE and The Buzz.

The entrance ramp to I-490 E off the Inner Loop westbound will close, 12 noon-- midnight; the Sister Cities bridge will close to pedestrians, 6--11 p.m.; Court St., from Exchange Blvd. to South Ave. will close, 8--10:45 p.m.; Woodbury Blvd., from St. Mary's Place to South Ave. will close to vehicles and pedestrians, 9--10:45 p.m.; South Ave., from Broad St. to Griffith St. will close, 9:45--10:45 p.m.; No stopping will be allowed on Route 490.

Any cancellations due to weather will be broadcast from Entercom stations or call 311 (outside the city of Rochester call 428-5990).

FREE laser, light and sound shows!


As part of the 2008 “Rockin in the City” series of events, Mayor Robert J. Duffy today announced FREE laser, light and sound shows throughout the summer in the High Falls Heritage Area, 60 Brown's Race off Lake Ave.

"Laser and light shows are another great reason why we will be "Rockin in the City" this summer," said Mayor Duffy. "From the "Rochester JazzFest" and “MusicFest” to our "Party in the Park" series and "Bands on the Bricks" at the Public Market, we're revitalizing our city and it's showing. I want to thank our new presenting sponsor, the High Falls Brewing Company, and our other generous sponsors for helping to keep Rochester buzzing with great entertainment. I'm looking forward to seeing crowds of people downtown all summer long."

“We've been at High Falls for more than 130 years and we think it is important to sponsor events like this that showcase our city and our region,” said Patrick Magallanes, vice president of marketing for High Falls Brewing Company. “We see our sponsorship as one of many steps we'll be taking this summer as we look to invite our community into our brewery and bring our brands back into their homes.”

Starting Fri., May 30, the “River of Light Show” will be presented every Fri. and Sat. through Aug. 30. There will be an “American Dream Labor Day Show,” 9:30 p.m., Sun., Aug 31 and Mon., Sept. 1. There will be no High Falls laser show on Fri., July 4 when the City presents its annual July 4th downtown fireworks display over the Genesee River. The popular, 20-minute “River of Light Show,” developed by Lightscape Media, includes laser animation and captivating laser light displays, flood lights and fireworks choreographed to music and projected onto the spectacular Genesee River Gorge and the 96-foot cascade of the High Falls.

The laser show season is presented by the City of Rochester, with generous support from sponsors High Falls Brewing, City Newspaper, Entercom Radio (WCMF, WPXY, WBEE, WBZA) and Lamar Advertising.

The displays are best viewed from the Pont de Rennes pedestrian bridge on Platt St., off State St., and from the terraces of the Centers at High Falls on Brown's Race. Parking is available in the High Falls Parking Garage. For further information, call 311 or go to



Mayor Robert J. Duffy today announced that the City’s all-new “River City Rhythms” concert series will debut on Fri, July 4. Five free outdoor concerts are scheduled, 5:30-9:30 p.m., Fridays, July 4--Aug. 1.

“We are excited to highlight Rochester’s talented musicians and the historic Corn Hill neighborhood with this new concert series,” said Mayor Duffy. "This is a great way to kick-off the holiday weekend and it’s just the latest in a long list of fun activities going on in the city throughout the summer. I want to thank our sponsors who helped us assemble a great line-up of entertainment that is going to keep the city rockin’ all summer long."

The concerts showcase Rochester’s top area musicians, including Irish folk favorites, The Dady Brothers (July 18), Dixieland jazz band the Smugtown Stompers (July 4) and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, who will be joined by the afro-cuban, jazz-fusion artists the Mambo Kings for a special concert on the barge (July 25). The concert venue is located along the scenic Genesee River at Corn Hill Landing, between Exchange Blvd. and the Genesee River at Plymouth Ave. Parking is available on-street along Exchange Blvd., in nearby parking lots and at the Court St. Garage.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or folding chairs. Food vendors are available, as well as restaurants at Corn Hill Landing and directly across the street on Exchange Blvd. Patrons are asked to refrain from bringing pets for everyone's safety.

Sponsorship and support for the series was provided by New York State Senator Joseph Robach, New York State Canal Corporation, Mark IV Enterprises, Corn Hill Navigation and City News. For further information, call 311 (outside the city of Rochester, call 428-5990).



City officials today joined representatives of the Farmers Market Federation of New York, the Humpty Dumpty Foundation and the Friends of the Rochester Public Market to announce an exciting new program aimed at enhancing community nutrition.

“I am proud to announce that beginning July 5, those with food stamp benefits will be able to use their food stamp (EBT) card in a new and convenient way at several area markets including the Rochester Public Market,” said Charles Reaves, Commissioner of the Dept. of Recreation and Youth Services. “Customers will be able to “swipe” their EBT cards at a central terminal at the Public Market to receive $1 wooden tokens, which will function as cash at the Market.”

In addition to the Rochester Public Market, EBT Tokens will be available at the South Wedge, Westside, Irondequoit and FoodLink farmers markets.

The goal of this program is for food stamp customers to more easily obtain affordable, farm fresh foods at farmers markets, which are an excellent and highly economical alternative to convenience or grocery stores. The tokens can be used to purchase fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy products, baked goods, processed foods and even seeds and plants which produce foods.

To kick-start the program, each time a food stamp customer purchases $5 in tokens, they will receive an additional $5 N.Y. Fresh Check certificate to spend at the market. “The Farmers Market Federation of N.Y. is excited to partner with the Humpty Dumpty Foundation and the City of Rochester to bring the N.Y. Fresh Checks to the community”, said Diane Eggert, Executive Director of FMFNY. “The checks are like an invitation; we are confident that once customers visit the Market, they will want to return.”

The potential for those who can benefit from the token program is significant. In Monroe County, over 39,000 households receive food stamps, benefitting more than 78,000 individuals at a cost of more than $8 million per month. The program will allow farmer’s markets, often the most affordable outlet for farm-fresh, nutritious produce, to be accessible to holders of EBT Benefit cards.

“This is a win-win situation for everyone, both farmers and food stamp customers”, said Jim Farr, the City’s Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation who oversees the operation of the Rochester Public Market. “Food stamp customers will now have access to the freshest, healthiest produce and products that New York State has to offer. We are grateful to the Friends of the Public Market, our volunteer organization for their efforts to launch this new program.” Anyone interested in joining the Friends of the Market is invited to call the Market office for more information at 428-6907.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Catching crime on camera

Click here: - Catching crime on camera


Posted at: 06/02/2008 11:20:01 PM

Updated at: 06/03/2008 06:09:25 AM
By: Thalia Hayden
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Catching crime on camera

Two surveillance cameras were installed in Rochester today, and eventually there will be more. The first one was put up in the Jones Park neighborhood.

"What was going on with the street girls and the activity - that couldn't happen in the park and have the little kids running around," says resident Carleen Alhart.

Girl fights, drug deals, and prostitution are just a few of the problems plaguing the park, and that's exactly why the city is installing surveillance cameras.

"It's not a neighborhood where folks do a lot of night time walking, so hopefully it'll give folks the feeling of safety to walk in the area," says City Council Member Carolee Conklin.

And this isn't the only place getting a camera. The city is putting up 50, all across Rochester. Police say the cameras will clearly capture anything you can see on the street.

"We'll be able to see what the naked eye could see just as if we were there," says Rochester Police Department Deputy Chief, George Markert.

Markert says the cameras are high quality -courtroom quality- they have night vision capabilities, making it easy for them to identify suspects.

"It's a tool to help us in areas where we may not be able to get into or where criminals can see us coming - those types of things," says Markert.

Police say it's a live system, so they'll have instant access to the situation. And for anyone worried about their privacy, the cameras will be blocked from seeing into people's homes and windows.


Date: 5/23/2008 9:01:20 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

The City's Bureau of Recreation joins the Swing Tennis Academy to offer professional tennis instruction for ages 18 and over. Well-known Rochester tennis professional Curtis Carter, who has been an instructor locally and at the national level for more than 20 years, will offer courses.
90-minute outdoor classes are being offered at beginner and intermediate levels at Cobbs Hill Park on Norris Dr. (off Culver Rd.) and at Genesee Valley Pk. at 131 Elmwood Ave.  Sessions are offered mornings, afternoons, evenings and weekends to accommodate busy schedules. Enrollment is available by session and each four-week, eight-lesson session costs $96. City residents ages 60 and over may use their "Good Times Pass" for a 50% discount on this program.

8-Week Session Schedule:
• Session 1, June 2--26
• Session 2, July 7--31
• Session 3, August 4--28
• Session 4, Sept. 8--Oct. 2.

Individuals ages 18 and older are invited to enjoy tennis and meet new people at the “Adult Tennis Social League,” 7--8:30 p.m., Fridays and 6-7:30 p.m. Sundays at Cobbs Hill Park. The cost is $25 for both days per four-week session, June through September.

Pre-registration required. Call the Bureau of Recreation at 428-6755 for days and hours of sessions or visit 400 Dewey Ave., 9 a.m.--5 p.m., Mon.-Fri. to register.


Date: 5/16/2008 9:04:48 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

Mayor Robert J. Duffy today presented his proposed 2008-09 City of Rochester Budget, entitled “Funding Our Priorities.” The $477,878,500 budget will close a $24 million gap without the use of gimmicks, one-shots or the $20 million one-time state spin-up.

“This year’s $24 million budget gap forced us to do what many of our citizens have had to do -- pull the family together and have a tough talk about cutting our spending and re-focusing our resources on what is important to our future,” said Mayor Duffy. “We did just that. We conducted a scientifically valid survey and held seven public meetings to gather our citizens’ opinions about the City services and programs we value the most and those we could live without. In the end, we had to invest in our priorities of public safety, education and economic development and disinvest in areas that while deserving, we could no longer afford.”

Despite the budget shortfall, the City had some positives to build on. This year, the City completed a reassessment and homestead properties increased in value by 11%. The value of non-homestead property also grew 9.8%. This growth in the value of property is a clear indicator of a strong and stable community.

The budget proposes the consolidation of several City departments. They include the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Community Development.

The budget also proposes the elimination of more than approximately 100 positions -- 70 full-time and 33 part-time. Unfortunately, these reductions will require the layoff of 40 full-time employees and seven part-time employees. In total, this budget will see 2,893 full-time city employees. Looking back, this is the fewest since before the Truman administration and could possibly be the lowest number of City employees in modern times.

The $24 million gap was closed as follows:

• $6.6 million -- in additional increase state aid -- this is recurring aid;
• $5.8 million -- in departmental efficiencies;
• $2.1 million - in increased enterprise fund revenue, including fee increases;
• $1.5 million -- in departmental reductions;
• $0.9 million - in lower required contributions to the NYS Retirement System;
• $5.8 million -- in capturing some of the growth in city property values from the tax levy increase; and
• $1.3 million -- net of other changes.

“As you can see, closing the shortfall was no easy task. It required painful cutbacks, efficiencies and reductions,” said the Mayor. “The single largest source of revenue came from an increase in our base state revenue sharing. I want to thank our local Assembly and Senate delegations for their commitment and dedication to the City of Rochester.”

The budget focuses on the City’s priorities of public safety, education, economic development and customer service. The following are some of the priority highlights:

In the area of public safety, this budget includes a $1 million investment in police recruits. A new class of 50 this summer, a fall class of 30 and a winter 2009 class of 20. That’s 100 police recruits to ensure new officers are available as others retire. It redeploys 53 sworn personnel into the Tactical Unit to reduce violent crime. Two new mobile command posts will be deployed to areas the Police Chief identifies. These mobile command posts will be a meeting location for interdepartmental teams that will be formed to address specific immediate needs in an area.

In the area of economic development, the budget reflects a commercial tax rate decrease of 6.6% to assist economic investment. At the same time, commercial property values increased by 9.8%. The “Summer of Opportunity” program will be extended. This is a public/private cooperation that trains and provides jobs to our youth. In addition, the budget will fund $171,000 for a new employment initiative for young adults.

In the area of education, the budget includes $119.1 million in aid to the Rochester City School District. This represents 73% of the City’s total tax levy. To significantly increase graduation rates, the proposed budget maintains an annual $1 million in challenge funding initiated in 2007-08 for the Hillside Work Scholarship Program. The pilot literacy outreach initiative that began in 2007-08 is expanded. The “Safe to be Smart” youth program is expanded. Youth workers will engage our teenagers to show them how to constructively use the library and help to ensure their academic success.

In the area of customer service, the Departments Community and Economic Development and Neighborhood Service Centers will be consolidated into one department to streamline and expedite delivery of neighborhood services. The most visible change from this consolidation will come from the current six NET offices evolving into to four quadrant Neighborhood Service Centers (NSC). This is not just a cut of two NET offices, it is a philosophical and operational shift in service delivery. This is a “team-based” service delivery model - and each quadrant office will have a “quarterback” to coordinate City services to that neighborhood area. The Lake and Lyell NET offices will be consolidated at the Westside Police Station. Webster NET office staff will be consolidated into the Clinton NSC.

A number of efficiencies were achieved. The city will realize a $1.2 million savings by successfully transitioning a number of current employees from a plan offered by Excellus to a comparable lower-cost plan offered by Preferred Care. An estimated $800,000 and $629,000 in additional health insurance savings is achieved due to increased employee contributions and the planned reduction in workforce, respectively. An efficiency study conducted during 2007-08 by Center for Governmental Research identified recycling routes that could be redesigned to deliver the same service at savings of $607,000.

Throughout the budget process, the Mayor has said the raising taxes will be the last resort, and it was. “After a long and difficult process, there remained a $5.8 million gap. I propose that we use a fraction of the increased property values to close that gap. As I mentioned before, city property values grew by 11%. I plan to capture 3.9% of that growth,” said the Mayor. “We are capitalizing on our positive growth in property value without punishing the taxpayer for that growth.”

Consequently, the typical homeowner will see the tax rate go down, but will see a small increase in the tax bill. Combined with the proposed increases in water and local works charges, the increase in the typical homeowner tax bill will be $88.79 this year, or $1.71 per week.

“I believe this increase is reasonable and responsible given the challenges we face. And I only proposed this increase after making major cuts and changes in our City government,” concluded the Mayor.

LONA May meeting agenda