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The end is near for the Hojack Swing Bridge.

CSX sent a letter to preservationists and museums asking if they want any parts. The railroad company was unable to get any takers for the whole bridge. CSX is offering gears and plaques to groups that would display the artifacts publicly.

CSX has said it wants the bridge down next month, but that timeline doesn’t seem realistic. at this late date. The Hojack Swing Bridge, out of use for many years, has been part of the port scenery for more than a century. The Coast Guard has long wanted the structure removed, calling it a navigation hazard.

The Landmark Society is not happy:

Perhaps surprisingly to some, it is not merely the possibility of removal that is most disturbing, but it is the fact that no creative options have ever been fully discussed or considered to see this bridge in an innovative way. There have been no formal negotiations to consider the possibilities of how this resource could be reinvented or reconceived in a new use, instead of remaining what some consider a rusting eyesore. Knee-jerk conclusions have been drawn before any true thought has been given to options.

Hojack Plaque

This has not been a good time for preservationists in Rochester. They are close to losing the Cataract Building and the High Falls smokestack. They’ve already lost Midtown Plaza, though I don’t remember a huge fuss from history buffs about that building.

Government officials suggest photographs are an acceptable way to preserve the Hojack Swing Bridge and other doomed structures. Anyone who’s felt the frustration of looking at images of our city’s bygone eras begs to differ.

Photographer Richard Margolis just published a book about the Hojack Swing Bridge. His beautiful pictures – and the artifacts up for grabs – may be all that’s left.

Read the CSX offering of Hojack artifacts:

Links of the Day:

– Rochester is getting a Music Hall of Fame. This is exciting news, considering we are the home to Eastman School of Music, Renee Fleming, Cab Calloway, William Warfield, Lou Gramm, Mitch Miller and Chuck Mangione. The list goes on and on.

I love that the organization is including places, as well as people. Sure there’s Eastman Theatre, but what about House of Guitars or Water Street Music Hall?

A “hall” hasn’t been found yet for the group, but this should be a fun and worthwhile thing to follow in the future.

– The community is buzzing about a Rochester City School District student who claims she was retaliated against after writing an essay criticizing the educational system.

The district is not commenting on the allegations, which include harassing phone calls home made by teachers. The district cites privacy laws. It’s too bad we can’t get the other side to this story, as the accusations are inflammatory and very disturbing.

– A monster weed is threatening the Finger Lakes. This is upsetting.

– My Facebook page looks a lot different. Facebook has rolled out timeline for brand pages. I’m not too happy, but need to spend some time playing with the features.

– Are you getting paid today? Salaried employees are working for free today.

More Links of the Day:

– For two seasons, they were the Dynamic Duo.

Chris Tuck and Devin “Press” Murphy were basketball superstars at Charlotte High School in the early 1980s. They’re remembered today for their play, promise and tragic fate.

In his last report for 13WHAM News before he heads off into the world of financial planning, my colleague Chuck Wade recalls the team many remember as one of the best ever in Section V.

The Charlotte team made headlines when players were accused of a mugging and thefts. Tuck and Murphy were kicked off the team. Neither one lasted long in college.

Both were killed in separate drug-related shootings. Tuck was shot in 1989 and Murphy was shot in 1992. Their deaths shocked the community and prompted a lot of talk of “what could have been.”

We still talk about “what could have been” with Tuck and Murphy. We still talk about “what could be” with young men just like them. Nearly thirty years after they captured the attention of Rochester, their story still resonates.

– Google Plus is a ghost town. The Wall Street Journal takes a critical look at the social network. I’ve been hoping it catches on. The interface is stunning. It’s easier and clutter-free compared to Facebook.

– Landline phones are still important to businesses, as Park Avenue shops found out over the past week.

– Is Generation X doomed?

Links of the Day:

– The 13WHAM-TV break room now looks like a mini-mart.

The ancient vending machines with hard sandwiches and Ramen noodle bowls are gone.

There are now baskets of fresh fruit, a fridge stocked with yogurt, salads, and meals and a huge variety of snacks. There’s a freezer stocked with ice cream treats. There’s also one of those fancy one-cup coffee machines.

I can have mushroom risotto or chicken french for lunch today!

The “store” uses a self-checkout system. I scan my items and pay with a keycard loaded with money. An overhead camera ensures I can’t steal anything without getting caught.

These self-vending systems are taking off all over the country. They’re billed as a way to offer fresh, healthy food and variety. Our system is run by a company called Avanti. The reps told me the food is made in local kitchens. They come every other day to change the products. They evaluate what’s selling and what’s not. We can give feedback and make suggestions.

I think this is brilliant. The 13WHAM caravan to Wegmans every lunch hour may slow a bit.

– Hollywood hates the little people. A New York Post columnist slammed Billy Crystal’s bashing of Kodak.

– AIDS may not have left a small sliver of Africa if Europeans weren’t on a mad dash to colonize the country a century ago.

– Rochester’s Julia Nunes has a new album.

More Links of the Day:

– We haven’t heard much about the planned downtown transit center in a while. Don’t think that’s because it’s on the back burner. The Rochester Regional Transportation Authority plans to break ground this spring on the $47 million enclosed bus facility on Mortimer and St. Paul streets.

Mark IV, owner of the high-end apartment building next door, has so far been unsuccessful in its legal attempts to halt the “bus barn.”

Tuesday night, there will be a public meeting to discuss the interior design. Aside from bus bays and bathrooms, what else will there be? There could be room for a police office, light retail and a coffee stand. Perhaps there will be amenities such as outlets for mobile devices.

The transit system carries 50,000 riders a day. Main Street functions as a de facto bus station. There are no bathrooms and riders are exposed to the elements.

Many people are worried the rowdy Liberty Pole youth will make their way to the bus station. The Liberty Pole is an outdoor area with no security. The bus station will be very different. But any discussion of the interior might want to include the atmosphere and enforcement of rules.

The bus station is expected to open in 2014.

– There’s a reason you don’t see our star governor on the Sunday morning talk shows. He has a tightly-controlled media strategy to keep him from committing gaffes and to keep him fresh for the 2016 presidential election.

I imagine every reporter in the state has been frustrated with Andrew Cuomo’s limited media access. He doesn’t come to Rochester often and when he does, television and radio reporters don’t get to ask a ton of questions.

Politico reports:

Cuomo’s media operation is so aggressive and controlling that numerous media sources and political operatives declined to speak on the record about it, suggesting that it would get them in trouble with the governor’s office.

“If anybody even hints at saying something negative about the governor, they will get screamed at as soon as that thing hits the Web, within five minutes,” the former staffer said. “There’s a lot of intimidation.”

That said, few think Cuomo’s strategy is a bad idea.

– It seems Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse traded a decent number of residents between 2004 and 2010, as a migration map from the Urban Land Institute shows.

– Kodak wants to cut retiree health insurance for those over 65. This fact sheet from MVP compares Medicare plans and Kodak’s plan.

Links of the Day:

– Here we are again. Gas prices are on the way up. In Rochester, we’re paying $3.82 a gallon, up 36 cents in last year.

The Buffalo News reports:

As the price at the pump continues its steady rise, expect ride-sharing, public transportation and fuel-efficient vehicles to become more popular — as they did during previous price hikes.

But people here are reliant on their cars, and drivers tend to go back to their old, gas-gulping habits when prices go down again in the fall.

However, experts say we could see $4.50-per-gallon gas here — and $5 per gallon in the most expensive cities in the country.

And those record prices could be a catalyst for real change in our national motor-vehicle network, easing the way for cars powered by electricity, natural gas or other alternatives.

“When you get to $4.50 a gallon, the math [on a hybrid car] works,” said Tony Daily, general manager of the Towne Automotive Group. “At $3 a gallon, it doesn’t.”

In Monroe County, 7 percent of workers carpool and 2 percent take public transportation, according to the Census. The number of carpoolers has been dropping. In 1980 15 to 20 percent of us carpooled.

Do you see that changing if gas prices get to a certain level? The trend over the last 30 years says no.

– Yet another column in the Wall Street Journal about Kodak knocks Rochester:

Its digital imaging division, locked up in its headquarters in Rochester, always appeared to be under pressure to create synergies between film and digital. But doing digital from Rochester was always going to be a challenge.

– What’s the future of the telecommunications industry? One expert compares it to rise and fall of the railroad industry. Rochester is a mini-telecom hub, so it’s worth paying attention to this sector.

– The old “Hello Rochester” 13WHAM commercial that ran in the Oscars was a big hit. You can find more vintage stuff on the station’s Creative Services web page.

– What’s a news station to do when it has cellphone video of a mayor playfully slapping a woman’s butt?

Billy Crystal had some fun at Kodak’s expense.

He called the former Kodak Theatre the “Chapter 11 Theatre” and the “Your Name Here Theatre.” He said next year it will be the “Flomax Theatre.”

Rochesterians were not amused. There are a ton of negative comments on my Facebook page. Here are some tweets about Crystal’s Kodak jokes:

Links of the Day:

– Rochester is getting a Fringe Festival. I had never heard of such a thing, but it sounds really cool. The weekend festival in September in the East End is devoted to theater of all kinds –  formal plays, street skits, comedy troupes and dance. People can even submit their own shows!

Many of the events will be free in outside venues. The festival expects 15,000 visitors the first year. It seems like a festival families would enjoy.

Festivals have the potential to be economic engines, as we have seen with the jazz festival.

We love our festivals and this one will fit right in!

– She’s accused of sexually harassing her principal, coworkers and students. But despite strong evidence of deeply disturbing conduct, the Rochester City School District hasn’t been able to fire teacher Valerie Yarn, thanks to an arbitrator’s ruling.

Every now and then, cases of egregious conduct by teachers and the expensive fight to remove them come to light. People hold up them up as examples of the perverted power of teachers unions. There’s no question the Yarn case shows the need for reform. But these cases are rare; the D&C points out the district has only tried to fire several teachers. These cases are also not an excuse to eliminate due process.

Arbitration – as anyone who has been through one knows – takes forever. There’s little oversight and the process can be abused by both sides.

– Adjunct professors are key players in many colleges and universities, but they don’t make a lot of money.

– NFL blackouts are not fair to taxpayers, who will be asked to fund massive improvements to Ralph Wilson Stadium.

– Maureen Dowd refers to the GOP race as the “Hester Prynne” primaries. She quotes a Republican strategist who laments the party’s attack on sex. “Sex is popular.”

The Academy Awards ceremony will be bittersweet for Rochesterians. For the first time in a decade, the Kodak name will not be part of the festivities. Although seven of the nine Best Picture nominees were shot on Kodak stock, the future of motion picture film is in doubt.

More than a few us will be reflecting on the company’s legacy. Henry Clune, a former Democrat and Chronicle reporter, wrote “Main Street Beat” in 1947. Yesterday, I shared his resonating words on Rochester. Here’s what he had to say about Kodak and George Eastman:

…there is a feeling that if the great plant of the Eastman Kodak Company were removed from the city’s environs a sign might be erected on the station platform, “This was Rochester.” But the remote possibility of this tragic circumstance is rarely openly expressed.


Eastman was a bachelor whose life was neither softened by romance nor sullied by personal scandal. He was fiercely intense and at times cruelly exacting and so completely in sympathy with the doctrine of the survival of the fittest that more than once he privately advocated the use of the lethal chamber for the disposal of persons hopelessly ill, crippled, or insane…it was probably this doctrine that prompted him to (end his life) with a self-inflicted bullet…


He was a man with whom intimacy was extremely difficult, and though I knew him for many years I often had the feeling I scarcely knew him at all.


As Eastman moved from the second to final act of his life he was far from the ruthless, uncompromising fighter of his early years. Sometimes he seemed almost wistfully eager for human companionship.

Eastman fought hard for a city manager style of government, believing it would remove partisan politics from City Hall.

…the ideal of a nonpartisan city government was only briefly attained with the adoption of Eastman’s cherished plan. Today politics are as rampant in the affairs of the City Hall and the municipality is much less efficiently administered…

The author visited Eastman in his final years. Eastman was feeble and his hands were shaking. The pair watched home movies of Eastman’s gardens and children playing on the lawn.

I expressed some surprise at these. “It’s curious, Mr. Eastman,” I said, “that a bachelor like yourself should be so interested in the play of children.”

“Humph,” he grunted. “They’re a lot more graceful than those damn dancers we have down at the Theater.”

Then there was the time a Met Opera singer dined at the Eastman House.

“I can’t understand, Miss Garden,” he said perplexedly, “what it is that holds up that dress.”

“Only your age, Mr. Eastman,” she answered, tapping her host lightly on the hand. “Only your age.”

Eastman failed to blush.

If you’d like to read more, the University of Rochester published an essay online Clune wrote called, “The George Eastman I Knew.” I’d like to thank Tom Belknap for letting me read his copy of “Main Street Beat.”

I’ve had the enormous pleasure of reading a book called, “Main Street Beat.” It was written in 1947 by a Democrat and Chronicle reporter, Henry Clune, “the man who wrote Rochester.”

It’s an extremely entertaining read. He describes a Rochester that’s both foreign and wildly familiar. A place with characters like saloon owner Rattlesnake Pete and gambling house proprietor, The Ox.

Here are excerpts of the Rochester he describes, the one we’ll recognize. Tomorrow, in time for the Academy Awards, I’ll share the parts where he discusses Kodak and George Eastman.

Removed temporarily from the city, the good Rochesterian will eulogize the town to all who will listen and to many who won’t.


Actually, Rochester has a great deal to justify the pride and loyalty of its citizenry. The slogan created, I believe, by an inspired secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, “Rochester Made Means Quality,” truthfully describes the products of a number of its leading industries. Rochester is the home of many specialized industries, which, for the most part, require skilled labor.


When someone tells me that Rochester is a dull city, I answer that he has failed to look around, to know its people, to inquire into their stories, to learn that there are notable adventurers, men of genius, poets, murderers, great lovers, scientists of international distinction, living – often obscurely – among us.


Rochester was not a particularly scarlet city, but it had its secret gambling hells, numerous roadhouses of varying degrees of disrepute, and of course, as all cities had in that era, a restricted district, commonly referred to as “the line.” The “line” in Rochester was not long.


Our summers were usually fine, the winters severe. Yet the average person living in our difficult lake climate did not appreciate the approach of the cold months with the shuddering apprehension so many Rochesterians manifest today.


(During the Depression) men who once would have been unable to gain entrance to the Genesee Valley or Country Club with a set of burglar’s tools were “tapped” for membership…


Under the corrosion of the depression the grandeur of East Avenue at first became shabby and then definitely decadent. Many of the great solid-walled houses were razed when owners were unable to meet their tax bills. Others were converted into rooming houses.


Rochester is my home, and I have no desire to leave it. I am aware of its many faults, but like the faults of an old friend, I find them easy to condone.

Even though Kodak’s name won’t be mentioned at the Oscars ceremony, the company will still have a significant presence. Seven of the nine Best Picture nominees were shot on Kodak film.

Hollywood directors still like film. But how long will that last? No one really knows:

“Though reports of its imminent death have been exaggerated, more industry observers than before accept the end of film. “In 100 years, yes,” says AbelCine’s (Moe) Shore. “In ten years, I think we’ll still have film cameras. So somewhere between 10 and 100 years.”

Kodak is still a big player in Hollywood. It makes billions of feet of movie film a year and is continuing to develop new kinds of movie film. Kodak has also innovated in the area of digital cinematography. It licensed its laser projection technology to IMAX.

Movie film has some things working in its favor. The cameras last for years and it’s a well-established technology. Famous directors, including Steven Spielberg, love film. Most movies in India are shot on film. Film has tremendous archival properties. Movies shot on digital begin to deteriorate after as little as 5 years and technology changes can render digital movies obsolete.

But almost everyone sees the writing on the wall. Camera manufacturers have all but stopped making cameras for movie film. Theaters are going digital to save on the costs of making and shipping prints. More directors are choosing digital photography, The technology is making movie production much more accessible to independent filmmakers.

The consumer photography transition to digital is complete. The same absolutely cannot be said for the movie industry.

“It’s going to be less of a debate,” (filmmaker Jeff) Cronenweth added. “In all fairness, we’re at the infancy stage of digital cinema.”

More Links of the Day:

– People got excited when news leaked this week that Google plans to sell glasses by year’s end. The Google Glasses would be mini-computers using cues in the environment to provide maps, facts, weather and other information.

Don’t recognize the person who just said hello? The glasses would have facial recognition software to remind you.

Google, however, is not a pioneer in this arena. Rochester has a company called Vuzix that’s been making consumer video and “augmented reality” eyewear for some time. A press release this month detailed new cloud-enabled glasses:

Applications, for example, can use face recognition to connect Twitter or Facebook users instantly with their Twitter name under the users face while using the glasses as a very natural human interface. NEC BIGLOBE expects applications ranging from sports to hobbies like skiing, snowboarding, mountain climbing and fishing. Being connected to the cloud can enhance these activities, for example, by helping the user identify fish and fishing techniques right on the river, to showing the user where his friends might be on the ski hill just by looking at icons that are geospatially correct inside the users view through the glasses.

It’s exciting Rochester has a company rivaling Google, at least when it comes to glasses!

– Wegmans is overhauling its store brand products to make them healthier. Mary Ellen Burris blogs about reducing sodium, adding whole grains and making some things gluten-free. I hadn’t realize the old Brooks Ave. store is now a test kitchen.

– The University of Rochester ousted a troubled frat from a campus quad. The move allegedly has nothing to do with a fatal stabbing.

– Buffalo is losing senior citizens. The senior population declined 3 percent between 2000 and 2010. The Urban Land Institute speculates they moved away. Rochester, however, is seeing a spike in its senior population.

– A snowy owl was spotted up in Charlotte.

Another Greek yogurt plant is coming to Upstate New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a deal with a German dairy company to build a $206 million plant in Batavia. The New York Times reports:

New York already is home to 29 yogurt plants, which altogether employ more than 2,000 people, according to the governor’s office. The plants produced 530 million pounds of yogurt last year, a 43 percent increase over the year before.

Other New York Greek yogurt plants include Chobani, Fage and Alpina. The boom has been a godsend for dairy farmers, as Greek yogurt needs three times more milk than traditional yogurt.

The yogurt craze has also benefited farmers who grow crops for cows and milk-processing plants. In Syracuse, a company that makes stainless steel tanks is also seeing a giant bump in business thanks to yogurt.

The Rochester area’s agribusiness has grown to a point some wonder if we should now be called the Flour City instead of the Flower City.

Links of the Day:

– New York City is releasing the evaluations of its teachers today. Several news organizations are going to publish the results. The New York Times is asking teachers if they want to add an explanation to their ratings.

The same will happen in Rochester and districts across the state, once the evaluation system is in full swing.

The courts have ruled this information is public and I don’t disagree. However, we are constantly told the records of other public employees , such as police officers, are under seal. I’m guessing that’s because of civil service law.

The Times knows this data is deeply flawed:

The ratings are imperfect, according to independent experts, school administrators and teachers alike. There are large margins of error, because they are generally based on small amounts of data. And there are many other documented problems, like teachers being rated even when they are on maternity leave.

But the data figured in high-stakes decisions about public employees, and the debate about value-added ratings is continuing as the city and state overhaul the evaluation process.

The Times says it can report the ratings in proper context. Bill Gates, who is obsessed with teacher performance, says shaming teachers isn’t the answer. He also said using test data to rank teachers is very troubling.

It may be in the public interest to share this information. It remains to be seen the fallout hurts the profession or helps the “reformers” realize the error of their ways.

– High Falls is losing its iconic smokestack, the one that says “High Falls.” Rochester Subway reports RG&E is removing the structure. This makes me sad, as it’s such a recognizable feature of the district. Update: RG&E tells 13WHAM News it hasn’t made a final decision on the smokestack, but it’s in very bad shape.

City of Rochester

– Bob Lonsberry suggests renaming the Freddie Sue Bridge after Bill Johnson. I always thought giving the bridge a ridiculously long name was foolish. Who the heck calls it the Frederick Douglass Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge? No one! It’s never caught on with the public.

– The Port of Rochester is line for some gentrification. Rochester City Newspaper has a good write-up of what’s in store at the beach with the parking lots.

– We may not call it Kodak Theatre anymore, but Kodak will have a presence at the Oscars. Seven of the nine Best Picture nominees were made on Kodak film.

– Everyone likes a good love story. This one does not disappoint.

In 2009, Tom Golisano knocked the Village of Pittsford.

“I didn’t find out until a few years ago, we actually have a Village of Pittsford. I have to ask myself what do they do there that couldn’t be absorbed by the Town of Pittsford easily? And there’s probably 6 or 8 or 10 other villages in our area where the same thing applies.”

The village has 1,400 residents and takes up a square mile. The mayor says the village actually does a whole lot.

“Pittsford doesn’t look like everyplace else,” said Bob Corby. “It doesn’t look like West Henrietta Road. And there’s a reason for that.”

Corby says the reason is Pittsford’s famous enforcement of zoning and preservation codes. He points to Brighton, Gates and Greece as having either no town center or a town center that’s not particularly walkable or attractive. Corby says those places don’t have a village to protect the core.

Corby and village trustees were irked when a task force charged with finding ways the town, village and school district can collaborate formed a subcommittee to explore a town-village merger.

No matter what the committee recommends, it’s doubtful a merger will ever happen in Pittsford. Residents are fiercely protective of their village and they’re the only ones who can approve dissolving. What’s more, the village isn’t exactly hurting for cash. Real estate values are through the roof.

We often hear about too many layers of government. Governor Andrew Cuomo would like to see more consolidation. Pittsford’s village makes an interesting case against doing so. It will be interesting to see if the character of Seneca Falls’ suffers under town government.

What do you think – do we need our village governments?

Links of the Day:

– Should Gannett sell the Democrat and Chronicle building on Exchange St.?

The sale of newspaper buildings is happening around the country, as newspaper staffs shrink and owners need money. The Democrat and Chronicle building is assessed at $4.27 million.

The original portion of the building, erected in 1927, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It served as the world headquarters for Gannett until 1986.

Certainly the building has tremendous significance to the newspaper and the community. But the facility is not utilized as it was in years past. The printing presses are in Greece and the staff is much smaller.

Just as Kodak is struggling with its legacy costs, so are newspapers. That includes excess space.

– Tear down the wall. After news broke of Gannett’s paywall plans, I searched for stuff written by MediaNews Group CEO John Paton. Just days before the Gannett announcement, he warned media companies to abandon the gatekeeper model. He gave this speech last year:

Paywalls, if you have them, should come down. And any walls between you and the communities you serve through your journalism need to come down as well.

Going forward, I think it is clear that smart, original content, tagged with advertising will gain value by being shared through networks. Jeff Jarvis at CUNY in New York is doing important work around this very concept. He says this very clearly:

“In the future content will go to the audience rather than the other way around.”


Good journalism today that does not link is not of equal value to good journalism that does. Walls stop links and walls stop networks and destroy value.

Shared Content has to be of the highest quality whether created, curated or aggregated.

And you must invest in a process that provides more of the only competitive advantage we have left – the mass creation of compelling, original content.

The bit about “shared content” resonates with me. I share a lot of news items every day. Paywalls don’t reflect how people consume news in the digital age. We can’t pay 100 news sources for information. If I can’t share an interesting article with you, I’m much less inclined to read it.

Finally, paywalls don’t respect customers. I don’t think any of the 80-something comments on my Facebook page support Gannett’s move. Paywalls create barriers between journalists and the public in an age when the barriers have collapsed.

– Where’s your paywall money going? Gannett says the paywall will raise $100 million. But the company also announced it’s paying a dividend. So some of your money will go directly to shareholders and not be reinvested back into the product. However, financial analyst George Conboy points out dividends attract investors, which leads to higher stock price, which leads to access to capital markets. Conboy says a lot is riding on the paywall’s success.

– Syracuse is trying to figure out what to make of Bob Lonsberry. In an exhausting recap of his career in the Post-Standard, the highlight was Bill Johnson’s take on his one-time nemesis:

“He’s not a flame-thrower,” the former mayor continued. “He’s a nice, mild-mannered guy. That’s why it’s so distressing — that this guy, who I know is capable of so much better, allows himself to be dragged down to this level. I can only say he’s doing it because — and I’m going to use this word knowing that it will be disparaging to him — he’s an entertainer. He’s not a journalist. He’s an entertainer. And he says what he says not because he necessarily believes it, but for shock value.”

Johnson compared Lonsberry to Keith Olbermann, the left-wing commentator who moved from MSNBC to Current TV, with a far smaller audience.

“Basically, they both just rant and rave,” he said. “Olbermann is now broadcasting on a channel where nobody can watch him. For him, it must be like purgatory. He can talk all he wants, but nobody can hear what he says. I wish they could find a place like that for Bob Lonsberry.”

– We’re very lucky to live in a place with so many independent restaurants. City Newspaper has a rundown of some new offerings. Park Ave. is a bakery destination now?

– There’s a science to waiting tables. The server sizes your party up quickly.an

My blog post questioning Frontier’s future caused a bit of a stir at the company. Frontier is among the telcos with copper lines, which are not as fast as cable and fiber optic networks.

A Frontier spokesperson emailed:

Frontier continually upgrades it’s networks with over $75 million invested annually in Frontier’s Northeast Region alone. By integrating fiber and copper solutions with VDSL (very high bit rate DSL) and high capacity network solutions, customers can take advantage of a wide range of broadband products and services to meet their needs. Standalone high speed, high speed lite and max and wireless services, all at competitive speeds, are very popular. For families with multiple broadband users, Frontier has introduced a new service called Second Connect which doubles capacity for the home. Combining broadband products with low cost video options and highly reliable voice service provides added value for customers.

There are technologies that can increase the speed of copper lines. Developing higher-speed networks is a huge priority for companies with legacy copper networks. They face increasing competition from cable and wireless providers in the broadband arena.

News of copper’s death may be greatly exaggerated. Given the rapid pace of change and customer’s increasingly demands, it will be interesting to see how Frontier keeps up. Maximizing copper’s performance is vital, but it might also be just buying time.

As expected, Gannett is paywalling all of its newspapers, except USA Today. That means you will soon have to pay to access the Democrat and Chronicle online. A timetable and subscription rates have not been announced. Gannett will also launch new desktop, mobile and tablet products.

I’ve been enjoying the D&C online for quite some time. You will never see me read a print newspaper again. I don’t mind paying, but I’m eager to see the rates. Gannett has been testing paywalls at some of its newspapers at a rate of $9.95 a month or $2 a day for an all day pass. People who don’t subscribe will be able to read a limited number of articles.

There is a risk to this strategy, as GigaOm points out:

But to me, the biggest flaw in a paywall isn’t that the math is questionable, or even that a wall is inherently a backward-facing strategy, aimed at stacking sandbags around a paper’s content to try to keep out the digital hordes. The biggest flaw from a business perspective, particularly for smaller newspapers, is that walling up your content is an invitation to free competitors — from AOL’s Patch.com and Huffington Post to Mainstreet Connect and Neighborhoodr and Topix.net — to come and take away your readers.

Media companies have to figure out how to turn their millions of page views a month into dollars. The audience is there and I’ve long thought they should be able to make money on those eyeballs without charging.

The D&C is an incredibly important asset in this community, having the most journalism resources. That said, I hope the additional revenue means Gannett will provide more online content, link to past articles and outside news sources, stop laying off reporters and provide more overall value. They’ll have to do those things to keep us – and stay in business.

City of Rochester Communications Bureau

A recent study suggests youth curfews work to reduce crime. The study, published in the American Law and Economics Review, looked at data between 1980 and 2004 in cities of 180,000 or more with curfews. The data showed a drop in youth arrests in those cities. Here’s a portion of the abstract:

The evidence suggests that curfews are effective at reducing both violent and property crimes committed by juveniles below the statutory curfew age. Arrests of adults and youth above the curfew age also appear to decrease in the wake of curfew enactment; however, these effects are smaller and statistically insignificant.

But critics of the study say the author never compared the cities with curfews to those that don’t have curfews. Perhaps the decline of the arrest rate of juveniles has nothing to do with curfews. Most research does not support curfews and at least one analysis found curfews can instigate youth crime.

Rochester enacted a youth curfew in 2006, but the courts struck it down several years later. The court ruling found the curfew violated the constitution and wasn’t necessary:

The court held that neither the crime statistics for the City nor the statements and opinions from political officials and the chief of police provided the requisite nexus to withstand even intermediate scrutiny; in other words, there was no demonstrated substantial relationship between the ordinance and its stated goals The court also determined that the curfew impermissibly interfered with parents’ fundamental substantive due process right to direct and control the upbringing of their children.

The data backs up the court ruling. While Rochester’s curfew was in place, more than 5,000 young people were picked up. Only a small number – 54 – were found committing felonies. It’s also worth pointing out 2008 was among Rochester’s most violent that decade.

It would have been nice to see a comprehensive study on Rochester’s curfew and its effectiveness, but it’s unlikely one will ever be enacted again here.

Links of the Day:

– Can Frontier Communications compete? An interesting blog post questions how Frontier can survive without offering higher speeds and new products.

Frontier Communications, having gobbled up a number of unwanted Verizon markets and debt back in 2009, continues to tread a precarious path where they’re supposed to be a broadband company, but can’t offer a compelling next-generation product that seriously competes with cable (or in some cases, 4G wireless).

We tend to focus on how Frontier can survive in the cell phone age, but broadband is also important. I asked Frontier in the fall of 2010 about its future plans. They did not include an upgrade to higher-speed networks. The company doesn’t believe most people need super-fast Internet.

Although cable broadband can offer higher speeds, (Ann) Burr said, “We’re constantly upgrading our local networks to make sure they can get higher and higher speeds.” Fiber lines are installed in newer developments, and neighborhoods that report problems with DSL lines get attention from technicians.

Burr said there are no plans to offer the super-high speed fiber network in Rochester, known as FiOS. She said most customers do not need speeds that fast, and Frontier’s broadband service is available in 95 percent of the market.

Frontier has 1,300 workers in Rochester.

– TV is going online. I’m convinced we’re moving to a day when everything we watch on TV will come from the web. Comcast announced it’s offering a streaming service to compete with Netflix.

– “Live from the Hollywood and Highland Theater.” A Los Angeles television station reports that’s what the former Kodak Theatre owner’s landlords want the place called during the Oscars.

– Some of the LeRoy girls are all better, because they accepted the diagnosis of conversion disorder.

– Chinese women are occupying men’s bathrooms in a fight for “potty parity.” I stand in complete solidarity.

Your clothes could be injuring you.