Rochester resident Cindy Dudak experienced the unique sadness that comes with a beloved pet going missing when her pet bird Missy, a conure parrot, flew out of their Seneca Towers apartment. Dudak has also now experienced the wonderful happiness and sense of relief that comes with that same pet returning home. What’s strange about this story is that these two feelings happened over a year apart.
On April 12, 2018, Dudak accidentally left the apartment’s sliding balcony door open for a just moment. In that sliver of time, Missy took the chance to spread her wings and got outside. A gust of wind swept her up, depositing the parrot into a nearby tree. Before Dudak could successfully coax her back inside, two larger birds chased Missy off of her perch and away from her home.
“There were no leaves on the tree, so she was like a sitting duck. If I were younger, I would have climbed the tree myself,” said Dudak, 66.
Short of scaling that tree, Dudak did everything she possibly could to get Missy back home. She walked around the neighborhood with her carrier and favorite bell-adorned toys, hoping the parrot would hear the familiar ringing and come back to her. She then scouted the area by bike and car, but to no avail.
Dudak contacted lost-pet organizations in the city and surrounding suburbs to post information about her missing bird. She got in touch with the Humane Society of Greater Rochester at Lollypop Farm and made sure notices about Missy were posted to the Lollypop Spotters Facebook page. After a couple of weeks, Dudak realized how much stress the search was putting on her body and knew she had to slow down.
Despite the weeks and months that were passing, Dudak didn’t stop praying for Missy’s safety. She also held on to Missy’s cage, toys, and perches around the apartment. Perches allow a conure parrot to have the run of an apartment, whether that apartment falls in the median rent of $1,492 per month or well above or below it. According to Lollypop spokesperson Ashley Zeh, parrots are happiest when they can spread their wings and fly around. Dudak’s perches ensured Missy could do this, but she was apparently looking for a grander adventure.
That adventure ended on June 7, 2019 when Missy flew into a building under construction. Thankfully, the construction project hadn’t gotten around to installing energy efficient windows, which lower energy bills by 7% to 15% when compared to standard windows. Without those money-saving panes in place, Missy was able to sail in through a fourth-floor window.
She found a new perch on a construction worker’s shoulder and refused to leave it. The building this unsuspecting construction worker was in was less than two miles from Seneca Towers.
Luckily, Dudak wasn’t one of the 35.5. million Americans who move every year. She had stayed put, stayed hopeful, and Missy had returned home. The two were reunited less than 24 hours later after Dudak received a long-awaited email. A worker at Birds Unlimited, a pet store in Penfield Dudak had contacted when Missy initially went missing, had seen a post on the Lollypop Spotters page about a conure that had been turned into the Perinton shelter. Dudak checked the post and started crying when she saw the parrot looked just like Missy.
When Dudak arrived at the shelter, they confirmed that the band number on the found parrot matched Missy’s and the year-long separation between pet and owner ended. But history has shown us that time is relative, as when French revolutionaries tried to institute a 10-hour clock after the French Revolution. Just like the revolutionaries, time certainly seemed to have no meaning for Missy and Dudak, as the two were thick as thieves again almost immediately.
“She came right over to me, and I was so happy,” Dudak said.
Zeh has said that she cannot remember a pet bird being found after going missing for such a long time, making Missy’s story quite unique. Although a recent study has found that dozens of parrot species typically kept as pets are now living in the wild in states across the Northeast and Midwest, many were shocked that Missy survived the harsj Rochester winter on her own. After all, Missy’s species of parrot is native to the forests of South America and as a pet bird she shouldn’t have been accustomed to foraging for her own food.
Yet despite all odds, Dudak has her beloved Missy back in their Seneca Towers apartment. Dudak now knows to never give up hope on a lost pet and, hopefully, to never leave a balcony door open with an adventurous parrot inside who likes to spread her wings.
The city of Rochester is gearing up for a few major construction projects that are all looking to change its current landscape and affordability. One program that will shift the housing market in Rochester is the Mission-Based Affordable Housing Partnership.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James came to Rochester on May 18 to announce to program. According to the announcement, the program will grant up to $1.4 million to mission-based organizations that are looking to develop available land into affordable housing. Nonprofit civic institutions will also be eligible for the grant. This program will extend beyond Rochester into Erie county as well as areas of Central New York and the Capital Region.
When James visited earlier in the month, she met with local political and faith leaders at F.I.G.H.T Village, a champion of affordable housing in Rochester led by Minister Clifford Florence. The organization has been pushing for affordable housing in Rochester since the 1960s. Its challenges lie in combatting the placement of low-income families in cheap but old homes that present dangers such as lead paint, which is still present in about 57 million homes in the United States.
“We’re fighting with racism, we’re fighting with the lack of jobs, affordable housing, education. So the issues are the same as they were 50 years ago, but we have to have the will to do what it takes to change it,” Florence said.
With the new partnership, organizations like F.I.G.H.T will finally be able to give Rochester residents a permanent solution for stable and economical housing. Too often, homeowners facing financial troubles turn to temporary fixes such as hard money loans, which typically have a loan-to-value ratio in the 60% to 70% range. Now F.I.G.H.T will be able to give residents another option by working with trustworthy developers. These professionals can help guide organizations through the construction processes, which are often long and complicated.
The Flower City Habitat for Humanity and the Autism Council of Rochester are also partnering to bring housing for an underserved community in the city. The two organizations plan to develop autism-friendly homes for families that have children with autism.
Not only will the program get more families closer to being homeowners, the number of which in the country is down to 63.4% from 69% in 2004, but it will also provide the space and modifications that children with autism need.
Objects such as compression swings can help balance the behavior and emotions of children with autism, but they don’t fit very easily into a two-bedroom apartment. The housing will also include sound and light sensitivity and a stockade fence in the backyard that measures six to eight feet high to ensure kids don’t wander into the streets while they play.
The final piece of news in Rochester construction is the proposed Rochester 2034 comprehensive plan. This plan aims to increase density and create more varied uses for certain city arterials. According to city officials, the proposal won’t result in many dramatic changes, but will instead reinforce or restore the downtown area’s historic form and character.
The rezoning efforts would aim to balance the stark differences in poverty rates, education levels, unemployment, minority population share, and more seen between the neighborhoods with the highest and lowest demands. In the southeast and crescent, two areas that are polar opposites to one another, two-thirds of residences are rentals. This is higher than the citywide average and with 33% of renters moving every year, there isn’t much permanency in either of these zones.
No official zoning changes are underway now, but they will go be brought to the neighborhoods and go through normal approvals when it comes time.
The plan will also focus on street-level retail around the East End area, Sibley Square, and Midtown. Establishments like local restaurants and independent coffee shops, which have about $12 billion in annual sales, will help guide the rezoning process in these areas.
The proposal is both more flexible in regulations regarding minimum lot sizes and parking and more adamant about higher standards for the design of mixed-use and multi-family building projects. Although no details of the plan are definite quite yet, the city will hire a consultant to review its zoning code and map once the plan is adopted.
Ankyloglossia is a condition present at birth that can lead to serious problems for both a child and mother. Ankyloglossia is a scary medical term that not too many people are familiar with. This condition is more commonly known, simply, as tongue-tie, which affects between 4% and 11% of newborn babies.
When tongue-tie is present, an unusually short, thick, or tight band of lingual frenulum (tissue) tethers the bottom of the child’s tongue tip to the floor of his or her mouth. Tongue-tie complications can lead to speech difficulties, challenges with other oral activities, poor oral hygiene later on in life, and all kinds of breast-feeding problems for the mother. Children with poor oral health are already three times more likely to miss school later on as a result of dental pain, and tongue-tie issues can lead to even more problems down the line.
Children should begin regular dental visits at age one. Baby teeth begin to grow around six months and since breast-feeding requires a baby to keep his or her tongue over the lower gum, the baby might chew — instead of suckle — on the nipple, leading to pain for the mother and inadequate nutrition for the baby.
In late March, a Rochester doctor was featured in PEOPLE, covering ankyloglossia, the increased amount of cases, and how it can impact breast-feeding.
“We need to have careful strategies to properly assess, manage, and discuss with parents so they can make the best decisions,” said Dr. Casey Rosen-Carole, Medical Director of Lactation Services and Programs and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and OBGYN at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. “My sense is that the increased diagnosis and management of tongue-tie in the past decade is partially due to increased advocacy, increased breast-feeding rates, less willingness to ‘just bottle feed instead’ and finally, groups of physicians who will work with families and lactation consultants to treat ankyloglossia.”
Here are some common signs and symptoms of tongue-tie:
A tongue that appears notched or heart shaped when it sticks out.
Difficulty moving the tongue from side to side or reaching the upper teeth.
Trouble sticking the tongue out past the lower front teeth.
Additionally, you should visit a medical professional if any of the following are occurring:
You’re struggling with your own tongue-tie issues.
Your baby isn’t able to properly breast feed.
A speech-language pathologist recommends getting your baby checked.
Your child (if older) complains of tongue-related issues interfering with eating, speaking, or reaching his or her back teeth.
Though only 3% of patients who visit an urgent care center need to be diverted to an emergency department, it’s recommended to visit ankyloglossia and breast-feeding medical professionals if your baby is showing signs of tongue-tie or they aren’t able to properly feed.
“We know the benefits of exclusive breast-feeding for the optimal health and well-being of babies, mothers, and communities,” Dr. Rosen-Carole said. “But each woman has her own unique goals and challenges for breast-feeding her child. My role is to provide the appropriate medical services and support to help her reach those goals.”
People of color in central New York aren’t getting a fair number of jobs in the construction industry, a local study finds. According to a new study by the Urban Jobs Task Force and the Legal Services of Central New York, there’s a major racial disparity in the New York construction industry despite people of color making up a quarter of the state population.
Researchers analyzed a group of construction projects taking place in New York state including the I-690 project, the Syracuse Hancock Airport Renovations, and the Lakeview Amphitheater in Onondaga.
Researchers found that 88% of the construction workers on these projects were white. Approximately 4% of workers were black or indigenous and only a few workers were Hispanic and Asian.
“Workforces are white in Central New York and we’ve seen it driving by them,” said Andrew Croom, an attorney from Legal Services of Central New York who worked on the study. “Was I ready for how white they were? No.”
The U.S. construction industry is usually a good place for American workers to earn money. Construction projects have public money in them paid for by tax dollars, beneficiaries of government grants, or tax breaks. In 2016 alone, the construction market was worth $1,162 billion and the composite materials market is expected to reach $38 billion by 2023.
The lack of inclusivity in the industry is concerning for many reasons, but especially because it keeps impoverished New Yorkers from finding good-paying jobs. Up to 16% of Rochesterians are living in extreme poverty and 15% of those in Monroe County live below the poverty line.
“You know, living in a city that’s 50% minority and 50% white, I expected a project like I-690 that’s two blocks from my house to be represented by the city where it is,” said Croom. “And it was so far from that, that yes, I found [these] results shocking.”
Urban Jobs President Deka Dancil says there are historical reasons why many people of color aren’t working in construction. The construction of Interstate 81 caused economic and racial segregation, urban renewal, and redlining.
“[This] made the networks of minorities only be with other poor minorities,” said Dancil. “And the networks of white people, for people who had the paying jobs, [were] exposed to the construction trade. I tell you … my whole time growing up in high school, I never even heard a thing about it.”
Dancil also points out that barriers such as non-paid training, lack of transportation, and lack of childcare prevent those who are already living in poverty from getting into construction programs that could lead to higher paying jobs.
Croom says that there are ways to ensure inclusivity in construction projects. LA Metro in Los Angeles is creating workforce agreements within their PLAs and have unions in the community working together.
New York state could see more collaboration with unions and have them more actively recruit in the city with targeted training, Croom says. Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh recently launched Syracuse Build in an effort to train those in the city who are looking to work on the I-81 project.
However, Dancil says she isn’t as optimistic after seeing years of meetings on the topic of boosting inclusivity in the construction industry. The voices of local residents need to join those of policymakers, she says.
“I think what it comes down to [is] that there has to be a big table,” says Croom, “there has to be collective action to say ‘we’re all here. We all want the same thing.’ So, we have to work together to make those policies.”
Aldi is the common brand of a German family-owned discount supermarket chain with over 10,000 stores in 20 countries. The grocery chain was founded by Karl and Theo Albrecht in 1946 when they took over their mother’s store in Essen, which had been in operation since 1913.
According to the Democrat and Chronicle, Aldi’s is making its way back to the North Winton part of Rochester. Aldi’s has tried for years to open a store in the area, but were blocked by landlords and area residents. Still, the chain has to wait for Rochester to OK the signage before they start their remodeling plans, which would involve reconstructing the former Tops Friendly Markets.
“This is where it hurts,” said Mary Coffey, a co-chairperson of the North Winton Village Association. “Although we are thrilled to death about Aldi’s, the big concern is what is it going to look like?”
North Winton residents have expressed their disappointment over how the former Tops will be remodeled. The plans involve an angled roof and a combination of aluminum and masonry for the storefront veneer. Since 50% of all customers who enter a business do so because of the signage, the visual aesthetic is crucial for both organizations and consumers alike. To put it another way, nearly 85% of people surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that signs can convey the “personality or character of the business.”
“Aldi has changed its traditional look and is going with something more modern,” added James Seitz, president of the Browncroft Neighborhood Association who opposed the original Aldi plan based on its design. “Some people have liked it, and some people think it’s too edgy for the street.”
According to Rochester City Newspaper, Flaum Management, the commercial real estate firm that owns the property, has committed to upgrading the landscaping and lighting across the plaza.
“We are committed to working with the neighborhood associations to create a property that works within the scope of the neighborhood,” said Loren Flaum, VP of finance for Flaum Management.
Local dentist Dr. Susan Bracker is taking action in the face of a national addiction crisis. She has vowed to run an opioid-free clinic in an attempt to lower the number of people who first experience the addictive drug through the prescriptions dentists give out after surgery.
When patients enter Dr. Bracker’s practice in Greece, the first thing they see is a sign on the door informing them of the change in procedure. Dr. Bracker believes that her small notice on the practice door is more than an indication of how that specific practice operates, but a greater sign of the times.
“I think this has affected so many people. There’s not a person out there who doesn’t know someone who has died from addiction,” Dr. Bracker told 13WHAM News.
Across the United States, overdoses from opioids have been increasing in men and women in most age groups. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 42,000 people died of overdoses from prescription or illicit opioids in 2016 alone.
It may seem like this addiction crisis would only affect those who struggle to manage longterm conditions, such as the six out of 10 baby boomers who are predicted to manage a chronic condition by 2030. However, a recent study from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed the unexpected risks that prescription opioids from dentists pose to teenagers.
Every year, dentists pull 10 million wisdom teeth from patients who range in age from 13 to 30. About 80% of these patients fill the opioid prescription they receive from their dental surgeon. According to the recent study from JAMA, almost 6% of patients who fill the initial prescription are diagnosed with opioid abuse a year later. Teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18 are among the hardest hit by the addiction.
Public health officials say that the best way to combat the crisis is to tackle the opioid prescription process, which is exactly what Dr. Bracker is doing at her practice. She is encouraging patients to turn to over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol and Advil. According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, a review of over 460 studies showed that taking these two medications together in appropriate doses is actually more effective than opioid medication on dental pain and leads to fewer side effects.
“I think we’ve been programmed that, unless it’s a prescription, it isn’t as good. In most of those kinds of extractions, you really don’t need it. Most kids heal really fast and easily,” says Dr. Bracker.
At Dr. Bracker’s practice, they only break their opioid-free policy in extreme cases. Even in these instances, Dr. Bracker only allows doses of the opioid medication to cover three days, well under the seven-day recommendation from the American Dental Association. When she prescribes opioids, she also educates patients on their addictive nature and advises to take them on a strictly as-needed basis.
As 99.7% of adults believe that a healthy smile is socially important, avoiding procedures that cause dental pain is nearly impossible. However, Dr. Susan Bracker has demonstrated that avoiding the use of dangerously addictive medications is entirely possible when those giving out prescriptions take control.
Many of you have noticed our extended hiatus and have begun asking if this is the end for RocSubway. I didn’t think it would be necessary to say anything about it. But for those of you who had followed this blog like religion for so long, you deserve some closure.
A little while ago I lost my job and decided to start my own web design business instead of going back to work for someone else. That was the best decision I ever made for myself. But it also means I now work pretty much nonstop with little time for anything else. What extra time I do have, I put into growing Reconnect Rochester . Reconnect is a nonprofit organization doing amazing work to change the way transportation is viewed in Monroe County. It’s something I’m very proud of. And it began with a seed planted right here.
So I’m not going away, really. I just won’t be posting much here for the foreseeable future. In the meantime you’re welcome to join me over at Reconnect . Or perhaps I’ll run into you somewhere else, helping to make our community better in your own way.
Before I sign off, I want to say thank you.
I’ve gained much more from every RocSubway reader I’ve met (virtually and in person) than what I’ve given on these pages. Always remember there are important lessons for the future buried deep within our past. Everywhere you look in this city—behind every wall and within every person—you will find a beautiful story. We’ve only scraped the surface.
On a recent trip to New York City (my previous home) I came across a poem in the subway by former U.S. Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. I cannot think of better words to close with…
As you fly swiftly underground
with a song in your ears
or lost in the maze of a book,
remember the ones who descended here
into the mire of bedrock
to bore a hole through this granite,
to clear a passage for you
where there was only darkness and stone.
Remember as you come up into the light.
As some of you may have heard, bike share is coming to Rochester. I’ve considered writing about it all sorts of ways. I thought about mentioning how many other cities have it. Or how safe it is. Or even the specific plans for Rochester (warning: PDF). As you may have already guessed, I’m not about to do any of that. Instead, I’d like to discuss what bike share has meant for me over the past decade, and what it might mean for you too.
Somewhat unexpectedly, a fifth proposal for Midtown Parcel 5 was submitted. Spoiler alert, it’s, how to be polite about this, different. Ok, fine, it’s terrible. It’s bad. It’s terribad. It might even be a false flag operation to make the submitted proposals look better. I don’t know, but inexplicably it’s being taken seriously by parts of the city which is creating unrest with other parts of the city. I’d be calling for the popcorn if this weren’t the future of the middle of our town on the line.
If you spend any amount of time looking at real estate in Rochester, you might discover that there are a non-zero number of vacant properties (although not as many as you might think). Others have noticed too, and a report on them has been written by Monroe County. While some of their solutions are laudable, it seems that access to capital for renovations isn’t there. This is one of the biggest problems, whether it’s for home owners themselves or investors.
I don’t know of anyone in the world who loves parking—except maybe Lorraine Baines—but that’s not exactly the kind of parking I’m talking about here…
I’m talking about the hassle of cruising up and down the rows of a Wegmans parking lot, trying to squeeze in next to the hummer who decided he needed an extra couple of spaces, fighting the nine other drivers who won’t even entertain the thought of walking an extra twenty feet to pay $5 for a bottle of water.
When Andrea Chervenak received a letter earlier this year from the Town of Irondequoit notifying her that a sidewalk was being proposed for her street, she was thrilled. Unfortunately for Andrea, her neighbors’ front lawns are more important than her children’s safety. To hammer this nonsensical point home, some people even made lawn signs…
Do me a favor. If you’re at home, step outside for a moment and take a good, long look at your driveway and garage (Don’t worry, the Internet will still be here when you get back). If you don’t have a driveway or garage, step outside and catch me a Charmander!
Did you do it? Did you stare intently at your driveway/garage situation? Great! Now, think about it for a moment and answer honestly: Does your car have a bigger bedroom than you do? Seriously. What percentage of the space that you own/rent/occupy is dedicated solely to vehicular storage? Your car isn’t paying rent. Why does it get the biggest room in the house?!
What else could you do with that space the garage sits on? A jam space for your band? Art studio? Game room? Greenhouse? The possibilities are many…
If realized, the Rochester River School would use the Genesee River as its classroom and curriculum. The school would offer “humane education” – teaching students compassion and respect for all living things and “to live ethically, sustainably, justly, and peacefully.” Recently, an online fundraising campaign was launched to help the school get off the ground. The following message was submitted by the school’s cofounder, Joel Helfrich…
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.