January 22-28, 2014 - City Newspaper
Greater Rochester's Alternative Newsweekly
Feedback PLANNER OMG! THINGS TO DO! IN UR E-MAILZ! SENT EVERY THURSDAY! WOW! R O C H E S T E R C I T Y N E W S PA P E R . C O M WEEKEND Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post them on our website, rochestercitynewspaper.com, our Facebook page, or our Twitter feed, @roccitynews. For our print edition, we select comments from all three sources, and we edit selections for publication in print. S I G N U P T O D AY ! G O T O AND CLICK ON THE Do police target young black males? 741 Monroe Ave • 473-8031 1675 Mount Hope Ave • 461-4154 My 15-year-old son attends an all-young-men charter school within the city. He was approached downtown last month (around the same area that the Edison students were detained) and was asked if he wanted to purchase weed. Here is the thing: My son was approached by a person who later was identified to be an undercover police informant. Is this the new tactic the RPD has put into place to justify their racial profiling of young black males? Seriously? I can think of so many reasons why I would consider this yet another tactic of setting our youths up to fail. Can someone say “entrapment”? And FYI: I am in no way justifying smoking Kush, but let’s be realistic. Consider the culture and the concentration of the normal young naïve youth that saturate the downtown area. Some smoke (a lot don’t, but some do), and for this to become a major issue right after the RPD’s negative headlines just seems to be a justification tactic instead of a real concern. This is my opinion, mixed with disappointment once again at the lack of understanding, tolerance, and overall dismissiveness associated with and shown towards our YBM’s. KAREN SCOTT across the Erie Canal, suddenly are afforded a striking view to the distant Bristol Hills to the south and as far as the hills near Woodcliff to the east. But not for long. The Costco behemoth and other planned buildings will soon obscure the view once again. Because we apparently harbor visions of all sorts of employment and shopping opportunities promised by this huge project, we may be forgetting the enormous – and absolutely guaranteed increase in traffic in an already nightmarishly congested area. Catch the wonderful, unexpected view of wide-open space at that corner while you still can; as you head to work, it will make your day. DAVID H. DAY According to the Census data, the population is actually increasing, but slowly. Very slowly. Why not bring something here that will perhaps increase the population or at least get those to stay, especially if wages are averaging $21 per hour? TD1016 News. Music. Life. Greater Rochester’s Alternative Newsweekly January 22-28, 2014 Vol 43 No 20 250 North Goodman Street Rochester, New York 14607-1199 email@example.com phone (585) 244-3329 fax (585) 244-1126 rochestercitynewspaper.com facebook.com/CityNewspaper twitter.com/roccitynews On the cover: Photo illustration by Matt DeTurck Charters’ cost On our news report, “The ABC’s of Charter Schools”: Based on the How does the addition of yet another venue from which to purchase enormous blocks of toilet paper and shrink-wrapped bottled water constitute a benefit to this community? TOM track records of for-profit industries Publishers: William and Mary Anna Towler like prison management, food Editor: Mary Anna Towler services, security services, our gas Asst. to the publishers: Matt Walsh utility, nursing homes, hospitals, Editorial department uisine & Vietnam firstname.lastname@example.org and health insurance, the ese Pho ast Asian C So ut h e Features editor: Eric Rezsnyak consumer price tag is generally too News editor: Christine Carrie Fien Staff writers: Tim Louis Macaluso, high and the results are frequently Jeremy Moule mediocre at best. Music editor: Willie Clark Music writer: Frank De Blase “It’s all about quality,” Klein Calendar editor: Rebecca Rafferty said. But at what cost to the public? Contributing writers: Paloma Capanna, Casey Carlsen, Roman Divezur, The article does not explain the cost George Grella, Laura Rebecca Kenyon, Andy Klingenberger, Dave LaBarge, difference of a charter education Kathy Laluk, Adam Lubitow, Nicole versus a public education, who Milano, Ron Netsky, Dayna Papaleo, Suzan Pero, Rebecca Rafferty, David benefits financially, and who pays Raymond, David Yockel Jr. the tab. That is what taxpayers and Art department parents need to know to make email@example.com informed decisions. Art director/production manager: SEA Restaurant JOHN JONGEN • $1 Oyster Tuesdays after 5pm only • No Corkage Fee Wednesdays • $5 Custom Craft WEEKLY SPECIALS New Jersey envy Cocktails on Thursdays OPEN FOR DINNER: Monday-Saturday Your commentary was almost perfect (“Upstate, Cuomo, and the State of Our State,” Urban Journal). However, the last sentence was the killer. It should have read: “Unfortunately our governor is NOT Chris Christie.” BOB TACITO This project will bring hundreds of good-paying jobs to the community (Costco employees earn an average of 21 smackaroos an hour, and the vast majority get health insurance), put a long-vacant (except for the youth lockup) parcel on the tax rolls, possibly lead to further commercial and residential development on this prime piece of land, and tie in well with all the development (College Town) taking place nearby on Mount Hope Avenue. I admit, if this were Walmart or something of that ilk, I wouldn’t be so enthused, but Costco, from all I’ve heard and read, gets it, treats its employees well, and does business the right way. FIREBALL JUNIOR Vargas and the administrators Matt DeTurck Designers: Aubrey Berardini, Mark Chamberlin Photographers: Mark Chamberlin, Frank De Blase On our report that ASAR, the Rochester school district’s administrators’ union, plans a noconfidence vote on Superintendent Bolgen Vargas (News Blog): Local. Seasonal. Lento. 274 N. Goodman St., Rochester www.lentorestaurant.com The Costco deal Call 271-3470 As the way seems to be clearing for the “coming of Costco,” area motorists approaching the intersection of East Henrietta Road and Westfall, heading south The population of this area is NOT growing. So I also fail to see any great positive benefit from having Costco invade. The jobs created by Costco and the products purchased at Costco simply mean reduced sales at Sam’s Club and BJ’s. Less business means fewer employees needed. Costco does nothing for the area – unless you like traffic congestion on East Henrietta Road. TOM JANOWSKI “Even though we have some great programs, we have far too many parents who are actively looking for alternatives to city schools” [Vargas said]. Amen, amen, amen! Dr. Vargas is 100 percent correct: the focus of the RCSD has to be on improving student achievement, effectively managing schools, involving parents and families, allocating resources efficiently, and communicating with staff and parents. It’s the “allocating of resources efficiently” that has ASAR so upset. Why? Because Vargas plans to make some changes to the contract, which he inherited from the former superintendent, that will result in less micro-management spending and more funds for the children of the RCSD. That makes a lot of sense since the RCSD needs to provide the community with quality public education not more charter schools. TOMMY Advertising department firstname.lastname@example.org Sales operations: Matt Walsh New sales development: Betsy Matthews Account executives: Nancy Burkhardt, Tom Decker, Christine Kubarycz, William Towler Classified sales representatives: Christine Kubarycz, Tracey Mykins Operations/Circulation email@example.com Circulation manager: Katherine Stathis Distribution: Andy DiCiaccio, David Riccioni, Northstar Delivery, Wolfe News City Newspaper is available free of charge. Additional copies of the current issue may be purchased for $1 each at the City Newspaper office. City Newspaper may be distributed only by authorized distributors. No person may, without prior written permission of City Newspaper, take more than one copy of each weekly issue. City (ISSN 1551-3262) is published weekly by WMT Publications, Inc. Periodical postage paid at Rochester, NY (USPS 022-138). Address changes: City, 250 North Goodman Street, Rochester, NY 14607. Member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and the New York Press Association. Annual subscriptions: $35 ($30 senior citizens); add $10 for out-of-state subscriptions. Refunds for fewer than ten months cannot be issued. Copyright by WMT Publications Inc., 2014 - all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, photocopying, recording or by any information storage retrieval system without permission of the copyright owner. 2 CITY JANUARY 22-28, 2014 URBAN JOURNAL | BY MARY ANNA TOWLER Warren’s shaky start shows she needs help Let me say one thing quickly: It’s obvious to me that Mayor Lovely Warren needs a security guard. As our Chris Fien is reporting this week, both Warren and her husband have received threats of physical violence. There have been threats to their 3-year-old daughter. These don’t sound like pranks. They sound like intimidation by some very angry people. And very angry people have been doing some very violent things recently. Warren is also the object of some of the most shockingly racist attacks imaginable, on media websites. Racist. Pornographic. Mean. And out-of-control angry. (The worst I’ve seen: in Rants and Raves on Craigslist. There’s so much other junk there that you’ll have to wander through several days’ postings, but if you want a sample, scroll through the January 17 comments.) Warren doesn’t deserve this. And I can’t imagine that this hasn’t affected her judgment over the past few weeks. In some respects, Warren’s administration has started out well. She got praise for some of her early appointments. By all accounts, she was instrumental in getting the CityGate-Costco project back on track. And when a story broke about her husband’s youthful-offender past, she handled it beautifully. She used it to emphasize the plight of many of Rochester’s young black males – and to emphasize, as she put it, “that you don’t have to end up where you start.” (And by the way: her husband was put on probation after his offense, and his record was sealed. Somebody disclosed it. They should not have. And that’s not a small matter.) But Warren has made big mistakes, too. And she hasn’t handled them well. It’s no secret that we didn’t endorse Warren for mayor. But like many Rochesterians – most, I’d bet – I want her to succeed. I hope she’ll take a deep breath, fix the problems that are of her own creation, and move forward. I wasn’t encouraged by her discussion on WDKX’s Wake-up Club on Monday, though. She said she hadn’t handled her early problems as well as she should have. But then she went into push-back mode. She seemed to think that those problems are limited to things that happened long before she was elected – her husband’s probation, an appointee’s DWI. People who lost power when she was elected knew Warren’s opponents have been digging up dirt. But she is overshadowing those stories with her own mistakes and poor judgment. about those incidents before the election, she said, but they didn’t think she’d win. Now they’re bringing them up because they want her to fail. Well, obviously some people have been gleefully digging up dirt. But that’ll end. Warren is overshadowing those stories with her own mistakes and poor judgment. It was she, for instance, who hired her uncle as a security guard, was in the car when he was stopped for speeding – twice – and then failed to tell the truth about it. She also showed poor judgment when she agreed to let T. Andrew Brown, her selection to head the city’s law department, maintain his private law practice, where his cases have included suing the City of Rochester. Warren took office knowing that some people didn’t want her to be there. And I can understand how, given the vitriol and the racism she is facing, she could be tempted to stonewall, ignore everyone on the outside, and do what she thinks needs to be done. But her inexperience has brought a good bit of this on, and she needs to recognize that. She needs to restore confidence: the confidence of city residents, residents of the region, developers, other public officials. To do that, she needs help. And she needs to get advice from people outside the small group she feels she can trust. My bet is that plenty of people will be willing to provide it. If she doesn’t seek it, she’ll fail. And she’ll let down all of us – including, sadly, the African-American community that has so much faith in her. PEOPLE WITH TOENAIL FUNGUS NEEDED FOR A RESEARCH TRIAL FIND OUT IF YOU QUALIFY 585-697-1818 SKINSEARCH@DERMROCHESTER.COM rochestercitynewspaper.com CITY 3 [ NEWS FROM THE WEEK PAST ] Police reorg A plan to increase the number police patrol divisions should be ready for implementation soon, says Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. The city has two divisions, and Warren says she wants at least four. Warren has talked about the need to increase police presence in the neighborhoods to fight crime and to build trust between police and city residents. The method of paying for the reorganization will be determined in the planning process, says a city press release. Big money A new report from Common Cause/NY says that between 2007 and July 2013, pro-fracking companies and groups contributed $15.4 million to political committees and spent $48.9 million on lobbying, while fracking opponents spent $1.9 million on political contributions and $5.4 million on lobbying. News EDUCATION | BY TIM LOUIS MACALUSO Gambling losses Ethics board to examine hire Mayor Lovely Warren’s hire of her uncle, Reggie Hill, to lead her security team will be reviewed by the city’s Board of Ethics. City Council President Loretta Scott, who is also on the ethics board, says the board will examine whether Hill’s hire violates the city’s nepotism policy. Meanwhile, Hill was suspended and fined by the city’s deputy mayor for twice exceeding the speed limit while driving the mayor. He has apologized. The No More Casinos Coalition made its public debut, though it had already been working behind the scenes to oppose a possible Seneca Nation of Indians casino in the Rochester region. The coalition is organized by Finger Lakes Gaming and Racing and Batavia Downs’ owner, Western Regional Off-Track Betting. Bill Johnson, former Rochester mayor, is a member of the coalition. Tensions rise between Vargas and principals Averting a battle between city schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas and the district’s principals and administrators just jumped to the top of the school board’s priorities list. The Association of Supervisors and Administrators of Rochester, which is the union representing nearly 400 city school principals and administrators, has decided to pursue a no-confidence vote against Vargas. ASAR members will receive their ballots this week and the results should be revealed soon. A vote of no confidence could cause irreparable damage to the superintendent. Principals say they’re upset because Vargas isn’t communicating a clear strategy to improve student performance. He’s given them goals that aren’t accompanied by a path to attain them, they say. And he’s unapologetically withholding tenure for many principals. Vargas has been almost awkwardly candid about the management problems he says he’s faced over some pretty basic issues such as taking attendance and reserving parking for parents. In a recent interview, a visibly annoyed Vargas talked about the ASAR contract, which he inherited from a previous administration. The contract is stacked, he said, with constraints that obscure accountability at a time when it’s most needed. The district’s culture has to become more responsive and customer-driven, Vargas said. Even though a no-confidence vote is largely symbolic, the message it would send would be noxious enough to harm the whole district. Board president Van White said he plans to facilitate a relationshipbuilding meeting between Vargas and ASAR President Deborah Rider as soon as possible. And he said the differences between the principals and Vargas can be resolved. White said he wants to avoid a standoff like the one between Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski and former Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard, which contributed to Brizard’s abrupt departure from the district. Murphy out Anita Murphy, deputy superintendent of the Rochester school district, will leave the district when her contract expires in June. Superintendent Bolgen Vargas hired Murphy last year and she has been a strong and outspoken member of his senior management team. Administrators and principals are taking a no-confidence vote on Rochester schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas this week. PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN CITYNEWSPAPER UPDATES AT ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM @ROCCITYNEWS 4 CITY COMING UP FROM Extensive interview with MAYOR LOVELY WARREN JAN. 29 /CITYNEWSPAPER JANUARY 22-28, 2014 “The threats started to get a lot more real, especially after the thing that came out with my husband: ‘How long do you think your wife’s going to be around?’ ‘Oh, that’s a beautiful daughter you have.’” [ ROCHESTER MAYOR LOVELY WARREN ] DEVELOPMENT | BY JEREMY MOULE Land preservation The towns of Chili and Wheatland have been working on a joint farmland protection plan for almost a year. Both towns are known for having productive soil and worked together to develop an inventory of their agricultural lands. The towns will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 27, to discuss the various methods of farmland preservation. The meeting will include presentations from guest speakers, including a Genesee Land Trust representative. The speakers will discuss different approaches to farmland preservation, such as easements and the purchase of development rights, says Chili Supervisor David Dunning. The meeting will be held at Chili American Legion Post 1830, 450 Chili-Scottsville Road, Chili. The towns also want input from farmers and landowners, and they’ll solicit comments during the meeting. Officials say they want to be able to gauge which farmland preservation initiatives might be the most effective, given the pressures and circumstances facing farmers. Wheatland and Chili hope to have a draft of the plan ready in April or May, Dunning says. The plan will then be subject to county and state review. Once the plan is finalized, the towns will have to figure out how to advance and finance the its objectives, Dunning says. POLITICS | BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN Warren explains security Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren says the first few threatening calls she received came on her cell phone. “I got a couple of blocked calls,” she says. “‘You don’t deserve to be mayor.’ ‘How long do you think you’ll be around?’ That type of stuff.” She tried to disregard them, she says. And then a local radio station alerted her to the fact that someone had tried to hack into the station to put what Warren calls negative, degrading, and racial comments on the air. Warren says the station alerted the authorities, and that’s when she decided to ask then-Police Chief James Sheppard for advice. Sheppard told her, she says, that he’s always believed the mayor should have security. Warren’s hiring of a two-person personal security team has raised questions about extravagance and nepotism. The guards are on call 24-7, and will earn a combined salary of more than $140,000. One of the guards, Reggie Hill, is a retiring state trooper and is also Warren’s uncle. In an interview at City Hall last week, Warren said the situation got worse when the media reported that as a teenager, her husband, Timothy Granison, was the driver of a car whose occupants were involved in an armed robbery. He received probation, and because of his status as a youthful offender, his record was sealed. “Outing” her husband put the whole family at risk, Warren said, including the couple’s young daughter. Granison began to get calls, too, Warren said. “The threats started to get a lot more real,” she said, “especially after the thing that came out with my husband: ‘How long do you think your wife’s going to be around?’ ‘Oh, that’s a beautiful daughter you have.’” Once Warren decided she needed security, she said, the city’s human resources department began looking at options. The department found that the least expensive way to protect her is with a private security force, Warren said. “I don’t want to get into any issues of overtime,” she said, “because I know how my schedule is. Sometimes I leave at 7 o’clock in the morning and I don’t come home until 9 o’clock at night. “We thought this was the cheapest way to do this temporarily,” Warren said. The jobs are being posted, she said, and both members of her team will have to go through the Civil Service process if they want to stay on. Lovely Warren. PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN The level of vitriol she’s experienced since becoming mayor has exceeded her expectations, she said. “It’s just, people are cruel. People wanting me to die. Wishing I was poisoned. But I’m not here for those people. I’m here for the people that want to see great things in Rochester, and that’s what I plan on doing.” ANNUAL MANUAL Guide to Rochester BEST BUSKER CONTEST Offers from area merchants and free music! THIS WEEK AT ROCHESTERCITYNEWSPAPER.COM • The Entertainment Blog continues to cover “American Idol,” “Looking,” and more. • The News Blog covers former Mayor Bill Johnson’s addition to the anti-casino movement. • Check in Monday for theater reviews of “The Lion in Winter” at MuCCC and “Boeing Boeing” at Blackfriars. • Head to facebook.com/CityNewspaper for a slideshow of a 10K race from the Mendon Ponds Winterfest. rochestercitynewspaper.com CITY 5 MAR. 26 MAY 1 JUSTICE | BY JEREMY MOULE Cuomo wants young offenders out of adult prisons Young offenders and the adult criminal justice system are generally not a good fit. Sending 16 and 17 years olds to adult jails and prisons means they serve their time alongside older, more experienced criminals. They’re also at an increased risk for emotional and physical abuse, statistics say. And they’re more likely to re-offend in the future. Yet each year, between 40,000 and 50,000 youth age 16 and 17 are tried as adults in New York’s courts; more than three-quarters of them face misdemeanors or are charged with nonviolent felonies. New York and North Carolina are the only remaining states to automatically treat 16- and 17-year-old offenders as adults. But that could change. Governor Andrew Cuomo said in his State of the State address last month that New York must reform its outdated approach to youthful offenders. “It’s not right, it’s not fair,” Cuomo said. “Let’s form a commission on youth public safety and justice and let’s get it done this year.” A statewide coalition of children’s advocacy groups, mental health groups, pediatricians, faith groups, and civil rights organizations has been pressuring state officials to act on the issue. The Raise the Age campaign began last year with the goal of convincing the public and lawmakers that New York needs to stop treating all 16- and 17-year-old offenders as adults. The push is grounded in years of scientific research showing that 16 and 17 year olds are still in critical stages of brain development. At those ages, youth are pushing their boundaries, says Dr. Jeff Kaczorowski, a pediatrician and president of the Children’s Agenda as well as a member of Raise the Age. They’re starting to make serious choices for themselves, he says, but may not fully consider the consequences of their actions. Society already recognizes this to a degree, he says. Citizens can’t vote until they’re 18, and adults under the age of 21 can’t buy alcohol. Some offenses are not youthful indiscretions, however. Some 16 and 17 year olds commit serious, violent crimes including murder, rape, or arson. And many proponents of raising the age acknowledge that there are cases that may still warrant a tough approach. Opinions differ on exactly how the state’s laws should be modified. Some groups want all cases involving youth under age 18 to 6 CITY JANUARY 22-28, 2014 Carlos Garcia. PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN Sandra Doorley. FILE PHOTO be handled in family court. And New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has proposed creating a special court to handle 16- and 17-year-old offenders. The complexity of the issue is why Cuomo’s call for a commission is receiving substantial local support. Kaczorowski backs it, as does Carlos Garcia, executive director of Partners in Restorative Initiatives, a local restorative justice organization that’s also a member of the Raise the Age coalition. “It’s a start and I applaud [Cuomo] for it,” Garcia says. “But we need more than a study. We need results.” County human services officials say the commission is a good idea. And District Attorney Sandra Doorley says it’s the right approach, which is why she says she wants to serve on it. Doorley’s point is that prosecutors and law enforcement need to be included in juvenile justice reform discussions. Prosecutors across the state have dealt with the most violent offenders in the 16- to 18-year-old age group, she says. New York does have measures in place to divert some young offenders from trial and jail time, such as drug courts, mental health courts, and modified forms of probation. And the state also allows judges to designate 16 and 17 year olds as youthful offenders. The designation carries lighter sentences, and convictions are sealed so that the youths’ records don’t follow them for the rest of their lives, Doorley says. A stronger focus on diversion for less serious offenses could be a good approach, she says. But the violent offenders should still be treated like adults, she says. “You’ve got to look at their underlying actions,” Doorley says. “When they show us that they’re a danger to society, we need to look at them a little differently.” But many of the youth who pass through Monroe County’s criminal courts are facing less serious, nonviolent charges. In 2010, 2,200 youth entered the adult criminal justice system in Monroe County, says the Children’s Agenda’s Kaczorowski. Of them, 88 percent faced misdemeanor or nonviolent felony charges. Garcia, who is also a former police officer, says it may be better to deal with young offenders in the community. Restorative justice practices could be a good fit for some nonviolent offenders, he says. That could mean bringing offenders and victims together so offenders can learn the impact of their actions and choices, he says. “With some thoughtful introspection we may be able to come up with some better alternatives than jail time,” Garcia says. Juvenile justice issues are at the forefront of discussions about how New York prosecutes and punishes 16 and 17 year olds. But there are also financial considerations. If more cases are diverted from criminal courts or handled in family courts, for example, the District Attorney’s Office could see a decrease in caseloads, Doorley says. But that could also lead to bigger caseloads for family courts, she says, which are already overburdened. The county operates a juvenile detention center to hold youth with cases pending in family court. More diversionary programs could mean that the county is responsible for housing a smaller pool of youth, says Michael Marinan, the facility’s director. But if the county ends up having to house more 16 and 17 year olds, he says, that could lead to higher costs due to different space and programming needs. “This is a big move and there is a lot to take into consideration as we move forward with this,” says Kelly Reed, commissioner of the Monroe County Department of Human Services. “I appreciate the governor’s decision to make this a studied issue before he takes a position on it.” And if the state does make reforms, she says, it should back them up with funding. Since the state doesn’t have an active, detailed proposal to discuss and debate, officials aren’t quite sure what to expect. “I think the only thing that we do know is that a number people that are now confined in the jail for minor offenses simply wouldn’t be,” Marinan says. LOOKING FOR IN ALL THE RIGHT love PLACES Mind Body Spirit TO ADVERTISE IN THE MIND BODY SPIRIT SECTION CALL CHRISTINE AT 244.3329 x23 OR EMAIL CHRISTINE@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM CITY Newspaper presents Restorative Massage Paul K. Almeter, LMT trained in Thailand & NY CLASSICAL PILATES on the ArtWalk Specializing in Thai & Swedish massage Valentine’s Gift Certificates Available! Feel as good as you should 180 N. Winton Rd. Rochester 585-409-3349 by appointment only. $25 INTRODUCTORY 55 MINUTE PRIVATE APPARATUS SESSION WITH A PMA®-CPT 585-2-DO-CORE (585-236-4227) ClassicalPilatesRoc@yahoo.com https://www.facebook.com/2DOCORE VALENTINE’S DAY is almost upon us, and Rochester lonelyhearts are asking: w he r e do L m e e t m y m atc h ? YOU TELL US! ARE YOU PART OF A COUPLE? Tweet @roccitynews or post on our Facebook wall with the Rochester-area location where YOU met your special someone. THINKING ABOUT TAKING DANCE LESSONS? Join us for our OPEN HOUSE! We’ll use the data to create an interactive map on rochestercitynewspaper.com, plotting the most romantic spots in Rochester. Thursday, January 23rd @7:00pm. View a dance demonstration and attend Beginner Dance lesson! 3450 WINTON PLACE ROCHESTER, NY 14623 585-292-1240 One of the responses will be picked at random to win a prize package that includes: • 2 tickets to the Friday, February 14, performance of "Sister Act" at the Auditorium Theatre (presented by Rochester Broadway Theatre League) • Dinner for two at Nikko Restaurant rochestercitynewspaper.com CITY 7 WWW.FADSROCHESTER.COM For more Tom Tomorrow, including a political blog and cartoon archive, visit www.thismodernworld.com URBAN ACTION This week’s calls to action include the following events and activities. (All are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.) stop development that threatened American Indian spiritual grounds near the Grand Canyon. Her talk will be held at 285 Clarissa Street. Donations of $5 or more suggested. tains free food gardens in urban neighborhoods. Her talk will be held at School Without Walls, 480 Broadway. L L ’ U YO GES A P R (OU Re ad C I T Y N e ws p a p e r o n a ny t a b l e t , smart phone or co m p u te r u s i n g I S S U U. CO M • R E A D T H E E N T I R E P U B L I C AT I O N , COVE R TO COV E R • L I N K TO S P EC I F I C PAG E S • B ROWS E BAC K I S S U E S & OT H E R S P EC I A L S EC T I O N S ! P I FL ) Film on Rochester’s riots The FR=EE Initiative will show the documentary film “July ‘64” by Carvin Eison at 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 25. The film tells the true story of three days of civil unrest in Rochester. An arrest at a street party sparked some of the worst violence in a Northeastern city in years, prompting the National Guard to be called in to restore order. The film will be shown at the Rochester Museum and Science Center’s Eisenhart Auditorium. Admission is free. Changes to flood insurance Talk about the Women’s Equality Act The Town of Penfield will host a presentation by Jayme Thomann, senior planner at the Genesee Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council, on recent changes to the national flood insurance program. The event is at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 27, at Penfield Town Hall, 3100 Atlantic Avenue. Sustainable food supply discussion C H EC K I T O U T N OW F O R F R E E ! Environment talk I S S U U. CO M / RO C C I T Y N EWS The Flying Squirrel Community Space will host a talk by environmental activist Peg Millett at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 23. Millett attempted to The Abundance Cooperative Market will present a talk by Patty Love at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22. Love, a sustainable food advocate, will talk about Rochester’s Lots of Food program, which plants and main- The First Unitarian Church will host a talk by Zenaida Mendez, president of the National Organization for Women-New York, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22. Mendez will talk about how to counter the far right’s anti-abortion agenda and access to birth control. Mendez will also talk about passing the New York State Women’s Equality Act. The event will be held at 220 Winton Road South. 8 CITY JANUARY 22-28, 2014 Dining True Brit The Old Toad 277 ALEXANDER ST. 232-2626, THEOLDTOAD.COM MONDAY-FRIDAY 11:30 A.M.-2 A.M., SATURDAY NOON-2 A.M., SUNDAY 5 P.M.-2 A.M. [ REVIEW ] BY LAURA REBECCA KENYON I’m not generally a fan of bars, but I am a fan of The Old Toad. Why is that? There is beer on the menu, but you won’t find Budweiser. You can get a meal, and it actually tastes good. There are singles looking to hook up, but there are also couples in their 60s, and Eastman students getting ready for trivia night. So The Old Toad is a bar, but one that provides a quality, down-to-earth experience to people from all walks of life. A traditional British pub that bills itself as “a pub from over there, over here,” The Old Toad has more than 250 beers to choose from: on tap, in bottles, and in casks. There are hard ciders, too, along with a host of scotches, whiskeys, bourbons, wines, and ports. You can spend a good long time considering just the drink offerings. If you can’t make a decision, the waiters — many of them students from the United Kingdom — will help point you in the right direction. The food menu is filled with the kinds of staples you’d expect at a British pub. There is nothing fancy or fussy to be found — that’s the point — but there are a few flourishes. The burger special rotates weekly; on a recent visit, a turkey-cranberry burger ($11), served with a side of fries, was topped with brie and mixed greens. Turkey burgers can be dry and bland, but this patty was moist and tender, with the dried cranberries providing pockets of sweet tartness. The mild brie added richness, and the bun was soft with a thin, light crust. The fish in the fish and chips (large $12.50; small $8) is haddock; it is firm but tender, with a delicate flake and opaque whiteness. If you taste the fish without its breading, you’ll notice a slight fishy taste. Haddock should be gently sweet; this is a minor flaw in the dish as a whole. The batter is made with the Old Toad’s Nut Brown ale, lending the coating a light malt flavor. Once fried, it puffs up, and turns crisp and light. The oil fries the batter but not the fish, which steams inside its shell of a coating. The chips — what we call fries — are thickly cut. When they’re done well, they’re crisp on the outside, soft in the middle, and ready to be doused in malt vinegar or dipped in ketchup. On occasion, they’re limp with too much grease. With the fish and chips comes a choice of garden or mushy peas. This is a nobrainer: go for the mushy peas. Mashed like potatoes, with a few untouched peas thrown in for texture, these are creamy and sweet. There’s a hint of something extra, too — maybe mint, a traditional addition. If so, it’s subtly done at the Toad.