Monday, October 22, 2012

Week ahead: education meetings, crime stat review, and anti-fracking proposal discussion

Posted By on Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Members of the 25-person New NY Education Reform Commission are in Rochester today to hear recommendations for improving student achievement from educators, advocates, and community members.

The commission was created by Governor Cuomo to gather information on issues of particular concern to school districts and communities throughout the state: teacher evaluations, budget limitations, and graduation rates, for example. The meeting will be held at City Hall in City Council’s chambers on the third floor from 1 to 4 p.m., and it’s open to the public. An announcement from the governor’s office, however, recommends that members of the public should RSVP at NYEducationReformCommission@exec.ny.gov, since space is limited. — Tim Louis Macaluso

Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard will announce third-quarter crime statistics at a press conference on Tuesday, October 23. Sheppard and Mayor Tom Richards typically make brief statements, and then Sheppard reviews the year-to-date numbers for violent and nonviolent crime in the City of Rochester.

Of particular interest this week will be the statistics related to shootings and killings and whether Operation Cool Down has had the desired effect. The police crackdown was imposed over the summer following a rash of violence. Many cities suffered major upswings in violence this year, with experts at a loss to explain why. The RPD press conference is at 11:15 a.m. at the Public Safety Building on Exchange Boulevard. — Christine Carrie Fien

On Wednesday, a County Legislature committee will discuss fracking-related legislation.

Democratic Legislator Justin Wilcox has proposed a moratorium prohibiting the county from treating fracking wastewater at its plants. Wilcox previously asked the Brooks administration for its policies on accepting and treating the waste, but he says he wasn’t provided the information.

County officials have told City that they would review requests to treat fracking wastewater on a case-by-case basis. In New York, municipal water treatment plants operate under state-issued permits, and currently none of the plants are allowed to accept fracking wastewater. The state has said that most municipal plants probably can’t handle treating the waste.

If Monroe County officials wanted to treat fracking waste at a county plant, they’d have to try to get a modification of the plant’s permit. To do that, the county would have to analyze the composition of the waste and the plant’s ability to treat it.

At the last full Legislature meeting, local anti-fracking activists delivered petitions to legislators and County Executive Maggie Brooks asking them to ban fracking and related activities on county property. The petitions had more than 4,000 signatures.

Wilcox’s proposed legislation will be considered by the Environment and Public Works Committee, which meets at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Rochester school board ordinarily holds its monthly business meetings on the last Thursday of the month. But this month’s meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 24, at the district’s central office at 131 West Broad Street, at 6 p.m. The change was made to accommodate the district’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration, on Thursday, October 25, which begins at 5 p.m. at the central office. — Tim Louis Macaluso

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