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Metro Ink 8.17.05

Women in the locker room

Before each game, members of the Empire State Roar, upstate New York's Rochester-based Women's Professional Football League team, gather in the locker room to apply dozens of temporary tattoos and body stickers supplied by the team's kicker-running back-quarterback, who's known simply as "GQ."

            It's a uniquely feminine touch to a traditionally macho male endeavor --- the only feminine touch. In all other aspects, the Roar's pre-game prep mirrors that of their male counterparts.

            "It's just part of playing the game" quarterback Jenna Herington says of the pre-game fire-up. "There's so much adrenaline running through you."

            The equipment, players say, are exactly the same as the men's stuff, except for the notable absence of a jock and cup. (Special shoulder pads with hard plastic chest protectors are on the market, but no one in the Roar lineup uses them.) And one player noted that the Roar can stink up a locker room as well as any men.

            The team prepped for its August 13 road game against the Albany Ambush with a traditional pigskin ritual: watching game film. Crowding around defensive coordinator Lani Miller's TV, the squad wanted to rebound from a heartbreaking, season-opening loss to the New York Dazzle by evening up its record against the Ambush and setting itself up for a rematch against the Dazzle.

            The Roar launched its debut season this year with a firm belief that the team can --- unlike its defunct predecessors, the Rochester Raptors and Syracuse Sting --- succeed financially. Led by owner Sandy Rogers and head coach Shawn Stauber, the Roar has secured several sponsors that should help the team achieve that goal.

            Rogers says she's also proud of the product on the field, a melding of the Raptors and the Sting. The Roar employs a balanced offense, a tough 4-4 or 5-3 defense, and a handful of two-way players.

            "By pulling both teams together," Rogers says, "we now have a lot of talent."

            The Empire State Roar plays NY Dazzle on Saturday, August 20, at EastRochesterHigh School, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 to $8. 323-1690,

--- Ryan Whirty

Better to lease or own?

"I'm not going to let this man punk us out," says Andrew Stankevich, executive director for Friends Helping Friends (FHF). The man behind the alleged punking is Bruno J. Coccia, FHF's landlord at 367 Lyell Avenue. Stankevich and Coccia are locked in a nasty landlord-tenant dispute over the terms of the food pantry's lease.

            Coccia is trying to evict FHF. An earlier attempt to evict the non-profit for withholding rent was thwarted in court when FHF showed it could pay up. The only problem is FHF's two-year lease expired on March 30, 2005, and a copy of the signed lease shows no option to renew at the existing $1,300-a-month rate. Coccia wants to raise the rent to $1,750. And that's the deal breaker.

            "We can't afford $1,750 a month. It's insulting and humiliating to have this guy say 'Thanks for fixing up my building. It looks a lot better. Now I'm going to raise the rent on you for the improvements you made,'" says Stankevich. "How am I supposed to explain to my funders that I'm just supposed to fork over their dough?"

            The most visible improvement to the property is the addition of a small stage that Stankevich says was needed to hold fund-raising events. But the lease between Coccia and FHF actually shows Rochester Food Not Bombs as the legal tenant. And under Section 2, it states that the tenant is solely responsible for all costs required to bring the property into compliance with city, county, and state codes. There is a reference to a leaking roof, which the landlord acknowledges and says he will repair at his expense. But there is no written documentation of a "walk through" inspection detailing whether features important to FHF --- like sprinkling and security systems --- even existed, much less operated properly at the time FHF took possession of the property.

            According to a Preliminary Statement of Complaint filed by Stankevich with the New York Department of State, appraiser Lucien P. Curre "fraudulently represented" the condition of the property and "deliberately distorted" its value at $120,000. It goes on to state that the city recently accessed the property at $68,000, and another appraisal done on FHF's request pegs the value around $80,000.

            In a copy of a letter to Coccia dated March 24, 2005, Stankevich offers him $80,000 for the property. It goes on to say: "If this is not acceptable to you, we will continue to occupy 367 Lyell Avenue until we are forcibly evicted." It also gave Coccia a taste of the media attention Stankevich intended to draw. An attached press release reads: "FHF believes that non-violent civil disobedience is the program's only option to secure a different facility or pressure Bruno Coccia, the owner of 367 Lyell Avenue and Microera Printing, to sell them the property at a fair price."

            It goes on to quote Stankevich: "Whenever you do business with Microera Printing or Phoenix Graphics, you're destroying your own community."

            Letters from officials with the Department of State confirm that investigations into the matter are underway.


Any campaign has its moments --- the quirky, the painful, the maddening, and, of course, the hilarious.

            For an award in the last category, Ink would like to nominate the "messages of inspiration" section on Bob Duffy's website. Sure, Wade Norwood's website has a humdrum poster or two you can download, and Tim Mains' site lets you know they're coming, please check back soon. (What are they waiting for, Ink wonders?) But's promotional materials take the comic cake, complete with effervescent sparkles around the words "messages of inspiration."

            Here's how it works: Once you've reached the inspiration page, pick a grabby Bob Duffy soundbite from the dropdown menu (sample quote: "One community. No limits. A common destiny for all.") Then, choose one of a half-dozen pictures of the smiling ex-police chief himself. Push a button at the bottom of the page and, voila, you get an instant inspirational poster of Bob. Well, not so instant. When Ink tried it the site begged off, citing "an internal error" with its server. Perhaps the posters are just too popular, as the error message we received suggested: "Either there are too many concurrent requests or the server still is starting up."

            Duffy Campaign Manager Molly Clifford says she doesn't know how many downloads the site's getting. The genesis for the idea came from the site's webmaster --- whose mystery identity Clifford wouldn't disclose --- after getting a few internet requests for pictures of Duffy.

            "We talked him into it," says Clifford, describing Duffy's initial reaction to the idea. "To be honest, I think he was slightly embarrassed."

            Ink can see why.

GreatLake debate

It's that time again.

            In case you've forgotten, talks between public officials in Great Lakes states and provinces about the lakes' future have been happening since 2001. And there's still time to comment on this year's draft of the agreements, which collectively go by this unwieldy handle: the Revised Draft Annex 2001 Implementing Agreements.

            The latest versions of the agreements are substantially similar to those released last year (see "Water watch" July 28, 2004, and "Great Lakes, cold feet" December 1). But there are a few changes: Most notably, tighter language --- the official press release uses the word "ban" --- on diversions outside the basin. (The major exception is for public water supply in communities that straddle the watershed's boundaries.) Environmental groups in New York and elsewhere in the basin praised the changes, which they say were spurred by last year's public comments.

            Other changes give more discretion to each of the eight states and two provinces when it comes to making decisions about in-basin water use within their own territory, and emphasize a fresh commitment to water conservation efforts.

            To find out more about the agreements, including the most recent changes, and to give your two cents on the plan --- you have until the end of August --- visit the Council of Great Lakes Governors' website: You can submit comments online through the site, by email,, or snail mail: David Naftzger, Executive Director; Council of Great Lakes Governors; 35 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 1850; Chicago, IL 60601.