Monday, June 16, 2014

Week Ahead: Disability advocates protest; open forums with Vargas and the school board; lake levels plan due

Posted By on Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 10:24 AM

click to enlarge Joe Robach. - FILE PHOTO
  • Joe Robach.
Disability rights advocates from Rochester will hold a vigil and press conference at Senator Joe Robach’s office, 2300 W. Ridge Road, from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday, June 16, over the Nurse Practice Act. The press conference is at 1 p.m.

Advocates want state lawmakers to amend the act to implement the Community First Choice Option. They say the change would ensure that any senior or person with a disability who is eligible for institutional placement would have the option to receive services and supports in the community.

But political feuding between the governor and the Senate is preventing action on this matter, advocates say. BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN

The public has an opportunity to speak with city schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas at an open forum at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17.

Many participants say they value the opportunity to have a direct conversation with the superintendent. The meeting will be held at the district’s central office, 131 West Broad Street.

City school board commissioners have followed Vargas’s lead and will hold their own open forum at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 19. The meeting will also be held at the district’s central office, and it will be followed by the board’s monthly business meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Expect a large number of teachers at this month’s board meeting. The Rochester Teachers Association recently filed a grievance against the district over problems involving testing. BY TIM LOUIS MACALUSO

The International Joint Commission, the bi-national organization that oversees water bodies shared between the US and Canada, will submit its Lake Ontario levels plan to both federal governments.

At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, the commission will publicly release the Plan 2014 report. It’ll also hold a webinar for reporters.

Last summer, the IJC collected public comments on the plan. The report it’s submitting to the governments takes those comments into consideration, says IJC spokesperson Frank Bevacqua. The governments will respond to the report, he says.

The IJC proposed Plan 2014 in June of last year. It’s based on a previous proposal, Bv7, which aimed to restore some natural variability to lake levels. Environmental groups say the approach will help restore damaged coastal wetlands, which provide habitat, improve water quality, and help reduce shoreline erosion.

Lake levels are regulated through the Moses-Saunders hydropower dam in the St. Lawrence River and Plan 2014 added in “trigger points” for action during extreme high or low water levels. During periods of extreme high levels, the dam operator would be able to let more water out of the lake and into the St. Lawrence Seaway. During low levels, the operator would be able to let more water into the lake.

Shoreline property owners and the elected officials who represent them have opposed Plan 2014 and the proposals preceding it. They say that the proposed changes would result in more property damage and that they wouldn’t be adequately compensated for those damages. BY JEREMY MOULE 

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