Joseph Avenue Christmas is the story of one man's journey to the true meaning of Christmas. Not just the birth of the babe, but the salvation of the soul. Set on the wintry streets of Rochester, NY it is a visit to the heart of that city and the hearts of some of its best and bravest people. From their good example, and the simple lessons of their own lives and faith, a troubled man finds on a dark Christmas Eve an escape from an increasingly failed life.
Buy the book online by clicking these links:
Studio Phone: (585) 222-1180
Local Phone: (585) 279-5281
Phone Toll-Free: (800) 295-1180
Ironically, what I feel most is pride.
In the emotional let down after yesterday’s shooting of a Rochester police sergeant, the thing I’m left with is a deep-seated gratitude for and admiration of the people of this town.
From the cops to the reporters to the neighbors, I’m just proud of who they are and how they acted.
It was afternoon and while the rest of us complained about the heat, a days-long dragnet was coming to a head up near where Silver Stadium used to be. On Sunday night in a disturbance outside a bar two men were gunned down and killed and since then the Rochester Police Department has been on a round-the-clock manhunt.
Yesterday afternoon, at the command of Rochester cops, that man stepped out of a vehicle.
And opened fire.
In houses nearby, regular Rochesterians heard sounds and saw sights they would recount an hour later to the town’s reporters.
There was a fusillade of gunfire, then a silence, and then some more. One boy told his father, another man thought it was fireworks, a guy on his porch saw a phalanx of squad cars fly down his street, others saw running officers with rifles shout for them to get inside their houses, that there was an active shooter and it wasn’t safe.
The sergeant looks like a movie star, a 10-year-guy with a family at home. He came here from a department in Florida and his name, in Albanian, means “flag.”
His wife’s Pinterest account says she’s “Married to (her) high school sweetheart and still in love.”
The sergeant was hit at least twice and he went down. At the hospital last night, some of the cops were saying that the gunman wanted to execute him, that there was a coup de grace coming, probably a shot to the head, but that the other three officers engaged him and engaged him hard and the gunman was driven back and brought down.
Turns out he’s some piece-of-crap rapper who has a CD release party scheduled for tonight.
They’re probably going to have to reschedule that.
There was a flurry of pretty intense cop stuff and the “officer down” call went out and squad cars and ambulances flew into the neighborhood. They scooped the sergeant up and threw him in the back of a blue and white while others attended to the gunman and a passing motorist who was caught in the crossfire.
Reporters started arriving almost immediately, asking quick questions of passing cops and going from neighbor to neighbor seeing what people had seen and heard. The Twitter feed started rolling and the mayor left City Hall to go to the hospital and the sergeant’s family was gathered up for a quick trip to his side.
He was conscious and talking and as dozens of law-enforcement vehicles stacked up outside the hospital word quickly spread that he was going to be OK.
The 5 o’clock newscasts bounced from reporter to reporter, with this neighbor and that, information on top of information, calm and clear, as we all learned what had happened to us.
At half past, the chief came out and in a straight-forward way, in the clipped language of law enforcement, told the story. He was strong and reassuring, everything was all right, and the reporters were helpful and intelligent.
And the tension began to go out.
The collective breath that had been held for an hour and a half was released and the sigh of relief was almost audible.
And hours later, processing it all, I was proud.
In every part of this story, good people did good things. They did their duty and lived up to their responsibilities and opportunities.
The police department chased an accused murderer to ground. When he became violent, and an officer was shot, a whole series of processes were set in motion – from the rolling of the cameras to the responses of the ambulances, from the alerting of the surgeons to the thoughtful accounts of the witnesses – and it all came together.
The cops did what the cops are supposed to do, the mayor did what the mayor was supposed to do, the doctors did what the doctors are supposed to do, the reporters did what the reporters are supposed to do.
It wasn’t minor league. It wasn’t haphazard. It wasn’t thrown together.
It was intelligent, good-hearted people, from various walks of life, doing their duty. The rock-steady chief, the little boy describing what he heard, the news people typing reports into their phones.
And a community that cared.
From the farms to the south, the orchards to the east, and the neighborhoods all around.
Thank God the sergeant and the passerby survived. Thank God a likely murderer is caught.
Thank God this town has people like this.
Ironically, what I feel most is pride.
I am proud of Rochester.