The Butterfly Effect in East Rochester

There we both stood, eyeing electrical equipment at the Fairport Wegmans. I was looking for a non-ground converter for an extension cord. My neighbor was kind enough to let us siphon their electric while we waited for power to be restored. She was puzzling over the battery-operated lanterns on the small shelf of assorted items.

“You’re in East Rochester, too, then?” I asked, feeling the need to help the woman who seemed to be asking herself questions aloud in lieu of asking me.

“Yes, isn’t it terrible? We have power, but my old neighbor is the one who couldn’t breathe,” she informed me, as though this was common knowledge. This is, after all, East Rochester.

“Wait. Couldn’t breath?”

Car crushed under the weight of a tree that completely covered Main St.

In the aftermath of the accident on Main Street in ER that claimed the life of one man and sent another to Strong, the resulting lack of power left one elderly woman on Main without the necessary power to run her oxygen pump.

The result was a second crisis in which the Fire Department was able to find a cobbled-together solution for the oxygen, but the woman was left without lights. Hence her life-long neighbor found herself chatting with a random stranger over lanterns and power adapters.

It was yet another unforeseeable consequence of a completely random incident that most of the Rochester area will know very little of.

After a spring marked by several reasonably powerful storm systems and a recent bout of high winds, one of the very large and stately trees that line the quiet Main Street of East Rochester suddenly gave way. Without warning, the entire tree crashed to the ground, crossing Main as it did so. Two unfortunate men drove the car that would find itself in its path.

At our house some distance from the accident, the whole thing registered as a sudden flicker of all our house appliances and lights and a gentle thump beneath my feet. How strange it is to realize that thump I felt – one gentle enough that I thought it might have been the fan on our boiler heat turning on and off with the power fluctuation – was the end of another man’s life.

Stranger still to think that, had these two men talked to a friend for fifteen seconds more or fifteen seconds less; had they chosen Lincoln Ave or Garfield instead of Main Street; had any other of a near infinite number of butterfly wings beat their randomizing effect on this day instead of the ones that did, both of these men would be in one piece.

Perhaps appropriately enough in this case, the term “The Butterfly Effect” comes to us from the world of meteorology. It refers to the many ephemeral causes from which weather gets its many unpredictable effects. But that concept extends well beyond the realm of meteorology, especially in a tiny little community like East Rochester.

Throughout the day, facts were confused, conversations were misdirected and stories got lost. But in a universe still exploding from its Big Bang birth on a rock that couldn’t sustain life without its still-cooling center, it was the randomness of that moment that stuck with me when I woke up this morning.


East Rochester Government: Can We Sell it for Parts?

Every cop in town appears to have been at one bar, celebrating the swearing in of the new chief, who is also there. One ends up hitting a bunch of kids with his car hours later. What is the new chief supposed to do about that, considering he was at the same bar? Now our mayor is nowhere to be found, evidently. One trustee is calling for an “independent investigation.” Well, yeah: there isn’t anybody left who can investigate, is there?:

East Rochester Trustee: We Need An Independent Investigation – Rochester, News, Weather, Sports, and Events –

Here is the thing: if four cops walk into a bar in Rochester, worst case scenario, every one of them could get into a drunk-driving accident and there would still be a police department to handle the situation. That isn’t the case in East Rochester. In East Rochester, two cops in any one location represent a bench-clearing back at the precinct.

And then you think to yourself: wait, how many cops do we have patrolling a mile of village, anyway? How much is that costing us? When the one time there is a crisis, they’re completely worthless?

Administrators – seemingly at pains to explain our young mayor’s notable absence – have very little to say on the matter themselves. It is painfully obvious that the government of East Rochester operates as a paper-pushing system that could be replaced by a single website. Anything more complicated than “when is garbage day” is too much to ask of our local government.

In the three years since we moved here from Rochester, I’ve really come to love East Rochester. Its a nice place with a lot of local character. But in a state with 5,000 local government agencies, in a time when budget-cutting measures are costing us teachers and band programs and health care initiatives…. it just seems like we could use a few less governments.


Election Day, 6am Update

A video blog. Looks crowded at the polling stations, people, get the hell out there and vote your asses off!  Plus, don’t forget about the state ballot initiative to allow veterans to get a few extra points on their civil service applications.  As it stands now, only injured vets get those added points, and only if they’re getting benefits from a specific agency.  The ballot initiative seeks to widen the program to all veterans, which seems only fair.


Keep your browser logged in here today, as I’ll be blogging from the Rochester for Obama headquarters on St. Paul St. during the morning and early afternoon hours.  Then, tonight, check out the live blogging event happening with myself, Rottenchester from the Fighting 29th and Exile on Erickson St. from The Albany Project.  It’s all happening right here on DFE, plus the other two will be on CW-16 and WHAM-13 this evening as well, live blogging the whole time.  Bitchin, eh?


ER Cruiser in Police Chase and Wreck?

Via Twitter, it looks like Allison Watts at Channel 13 is following the story of a police chase involving an East Rochester cop.  Whoa.  I don’t think they have more than two cop cars in my town in the first place. . . .

Twitter: it’s the new police scanner for news junkies. . . b-beeeeeep, screeeee!!!!!!!

w00t!  Looks like Channel 8 beat them to the scoop, and the Twitter link.


The Piano Works are a Building Less

I’d not heard of any plans to demolish the building, but as of yesterday, it had been pretty well gutted and today, they’re taking the wrecking ball to the eastern-most building of the Piano Works.  It’s the one behind Wendy’s, which as far as I know, has been sitting empty since I was in the second grade.  So I guess the question is: did this demolition happen because the town got a grant, or is there something going in there?