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The Monday report


Good Monday morning! Here's our weekly look at what's going on here this week:

On the news side, it's likely that two recent deaths will continue to dominate much of the media coverage this week.

1) Details are still coming out about the tragic death of 14-year-old Trevyan Rowe. Clearly many people failed the child, and an article in today's Democrat and Chronicle provides still more important information:

Rochester school district's central office - FILE PHOTO
  • Rochester school district's central office
Trevyan had previously threatened suicide and was once hospitalized as a protective measure, the D&C reports. He had also walked off from school before and had gone to Mt. Hope Cemetery intending to kill himself there, the D&C article says.

It's not clear whether anyone at the school district and at School 12 knew any of this before March 8, when Trevyan walked away from school rather than going inside, headed up South Avenue to the Douglass-Anthony bridge, and either fell or jumped into the Genesee River. One school board member told CITY's Tim Macaluso this morning that people in the district did not know any of that history prior to Trevyan's death.

It's important to find out whether they did. But either way, it should move the district – and the community – to make sure that children like Trevyan get the help they need. Trevyan wasn't the city's only suffering child. Real protection would include thorough training and oversight of school staff as well as adequate school district services. But it would also include professional mental health services, with outreach for both the family and the school community.

2) Since Louise Slaughter's death on Friday, everybody has been in tribute mode, and it's been fascinating to read the comments. Louise was a larger-than-life force in the Rochester area, and clearly she was in Washington, too. I loved this quote from the Wall Street Journal's Saturday article on her, from House Speaker Paul Ryan: "Louise did not need a gavel to make a dent in history."

Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Governor Andrew Cuomo are pushing to have the new Rochester train station named after Louise. No brainer. Of course, it should be named after her. She fought for it, and for high-speed rail. We got the first, but given this country's love of cars and oil, we'll probably never get the second. Louise lost that fight, but it sure wasn't for lack of trying.

There'll soon be more big news related to Louise's seat, of course, although we don't know when yet. At some point this year, voters will chose someone to fill that seat in a special election, and Cuomo has to set the date for that.

It surely won't be long, though, before the jockeying for her seat begins. There's no obvious successor, for a number of reasons. Louise refused to retire, and she could get a bit testy if you asked her about it. Even in her late 80's, she felt she could do her job, and she wanted to keep doing it.

You can argue that she should have stepped down a term or two ago and let someone else take her place – and that she should have been grooming someone to succeed her. You can also argue that that's the very definition of ageism.

That's moot now, of course. Louise completed her life and her service in Congress the way she wanted to: both at the same time. And Democrats now have the task of choosing someone to run for her seat. The common complaint about the local party is that it has no bench. That's true, in a way, I guess. On the other hand, plenty of Democrats are fully capable of serving in Congress. They won't have Louise's experience, knowledge, or clout at the beginning, but neither did she when she first went to Washington.

Those Democrats are indeed a "bench." We'll see how big it is, and how deep, when we get past the period of respectable silence and Democrats start announcing their desire to run.

In other news, the following are on the calendar this week:

The Rochester Coalition for Police Reform is holding a public meeting at 7 o'clock tonight at the Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word, 597 East Avenue. Coalition members will discuss their extensive proposals for an overhaul of the city's police oversight system. City Council president Loretta Scott has promised action, and right now Council is studying existing problems, particularly as they relate to state law protecting police officers' personnel records.

Coming up Wednesday night: The Ontario County, City of Canandaigua, and Town of Canandaigua Democratic Committees will hold a 27th Congressional District candidate forum featuring two Democrats who hope to unseat Republican Chris Collins: Nate McMurray and Nick Stankevich.

Because Collins has been an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, Democrats consider his seat a particularly important one to pick up. Much of his district is in the Buffalo area, but he does serve a bit of the Greater Rochester area. Wednesday's forum is at 7 p.m. at the Finger Lakes Community College auditorium. It's open to the public.

The local group RocCitizen has endorsed Stankevich.

On the arts and entertainment calendar: It's another week of announcements from local arts and entertainment groups. Geva announces its 2018-19 season tonight, and the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival announces the remainder of this year's line-up tomorrow morning at 11. The festival has already announced its headliners, so tomorrow we'll learn who'll be performing in the clubs.