Weekend News Brief
Written by Tom Tharp on October 28, 2023
911 Dispatchers Re-certification
Genesee County Emergency Services Dispatcher Andrew Merkel was posthumously awarded the Telecommunicator of the Year Award by the 911 Coordinators Association at its annual fall conference at the Seasons on Keuka Lake in Penn Yan. 911 operators, first responders and experts were in attendance from all 62 New York counties for training and networking as well as an awards banquet. The Award is presented annually by the association that recognizes a 911 Telecommunicator for his or her accomplishments, sacrifice, and exceptional leadership skills. Merkel passed away suddenly in March. He had worked in dispatch in Genesee County since 2011.
Rochester Police have confirmed that they believe missing U of R professor Heikki Rantakari drowned in the Genesee River after falling from a pedestrian bridge near Bragdon Place. They said they had video evidence that showed the 44 year old man from Boston falling from the bridge. Scuba teams have been searching for 2 days but have not located his body. Police say there is no evidence of foul play and the search is ongoing.
A man has been arrested for breaking into homes in Rochester. Police arrested 50-year-old Laurice Howard for forcefully entering two houses on Scrantom Street on Thursday morning. Police said he is also a convicted murderer, out on parole following a 1993 conviction. Officers said Howard broke a window to enter one house on Scrantom Street, where he allegedly laid down next to a child on a sofa. Neighbors said the child was 8 years old. The family discovered Howard in the home and confronted him, and he fled the scene, according to police. A few hours later, police responded to another break-in on a house further down the street, where they arrested Howard. Neighbors said their child refused to come home from school until Howard was arrested. No one was harmed, but they are shaken up from the incident. Howard is being charged with 2 counts of second degree burglary, 2 counts of 4th degree criminal mischief, and petit larceny.
A man faces charges after he allegedly caused “extensive” burns and a broken leg when he submerged a 3-year-old child in hot water last month. Police responded to Rochester General Hospital for a report of a severely injured child Sept. 20. Officers learned the child had been brought to the hospital with severe burns and a “significantly” fractured leg. The child was transferred to Golisano Children’s Hospital due to the “serious nature” of the injuries, according to police. Investigators said 30 year old Shavar Canty was caring for the child and was responsible for the injuries. Canty is charged with first- and second-degree assault. He remains in Monroe County Jail.
Trick or treating is coming up quickly. The City of Batavia will observe Halloween Trick-or-Treating activities between the hours of 4- 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31 only. The City of Batavia Police department has some tips for those going out or driving on Halloween night. For people walking, wear bright or reflective clothing or use a reflective candy bag. Cross the street at marked intersections and follow traffic signals. Put down the phone and pay attention to your surroundings. For drivers, go slowly and stay alert. Look for children at all times and especially at intersections. When backing up, check multiple times for pedestrians.