Update 19 – January 2021

President’s Message Karen Emerson

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Hello – I would like to introduce myself. I am Karen Emerson, the 2021 19th Ward Community Association President.

I am a proud 19th Ward resident since 1976. I rented an apartment on Hillendale Street and then purchased a house in 1977, on Rosalind Street where I reside today. I have been involved with the 19th Ward Community Association in many roles over the past 44 years. My late husband and I raised two daughters who graduated from Wilson. I am a nurse practitioner and currently work part time at the St. Mary’s Campus with Healthcare for the Homeless.

We face a lot of challenges in 2021, since COVID continues to alter the ways we can interact. We have to come up with new and innovative ways to make sure we remain socially and fiscally viable. We are working closely with the county health department and medical systems to make sure our neighborhood has access to the resources for COVID vaccination. I would encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Vaccination is the best way for us as a community to battle this pandemic.

Our convention in November also highlighted some of the issues around race and equity we need to address. I am looking forward to working with my neighbors to continue to build a strong and vital community. I would like to invite all of you to give us suggestions to make this a reality.

This month we celebrate and honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Our 16th year of Light up the Night will be held on January 18th from 6:00-8:00pm where luminaries will light up our neighborhood. We look forward to your joining in with us by lighting up our neighborhood with luminaries, lanterns, or flashlights!

Please feel free to contact me at president@19wca.org with any questions or suggestions you may have for our community.

Karen Emerson, President


My husband, Douglas, and I bought our first and only home from 19th Ward realtor, Adrienne Kllc, when we moved to Rochester in 1982. We had come for Doug’s art teaching position at Roberts Wesleyan College bringing our four-year-old Adriane and 15-month old Eliot. Douglas was raised in Detroit, Michigan and educated in New York City at Pratt Institute and Queens College.

I was born and raised in Nigeria, West Africa, the third of four daughters of my missionary parents. Getting prepared for American schools meant that I was sent to missionary boarding schools from age six to seventeen. I arrived in New York City in time for my senior year of high school, Viet Nam War protests, and racial unrest. While I studied Music Education at Queens College, I got better acquainted with Douglas, whom I knew from our church in Manhattan. After we graduated and were married, I attended Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts seeking to integrate my faith and my profession.

A teaching job for Doug took us to Minnesota in 1975 where Doug taught art in two colleges. Although we loved Minnesota, we were glad to move to Rochester to be closer to our families. Teaching at Roberts until his retirement recently was an excellent opportunity for Doug.

Teaching has also been my work—I have taught music in private schools and given piano lessons in New York City, Boston, St. Paul and in Rochester including more than thirty years of part-time teaching for the Hochstein School of Music and Art. I have also directed church choirs. Choral singing is my favorite. Most recently I have enjoyed singing with the Eastman Rochester Chorus.

However my main occupations have been my family, my church, and the community life. Five years after we moved here, we welcomed our third child and two years later, our fourth with the help of the 19th Ward’s beloved midwife, Pat Deibel. Wanting to give our children a Christian education, we chose to homeschool them, a delightful and challenging process that took 21 years of full-time work. Growing up in the 19th Ward, our kids made good use of the Arnett library, learned to swim at the Genesee Valley Park pool, visited Joy Family Medicine on Arnett when needed, and the boys joined Little League. Eventually, Adriane attended Wilson High School along with the children of many neighbors, and Eliot and Andrew made many local friends during the years they worked at Hunt’s Hardware. Clara fostered her growing interest in Shakespeare by performing with the Community Shakespeare Players, an interest which has flourished into the pursuit of a doctorate in the field of Early Modern Literature with a Shakespeare focus.

Our Family in 2019

Why do we love the 19th Ward? People here feel real. Being so diverse, there are many different opinions about everything, but we get along. I like the fact that people are not afraid to speak of their faith. I see acts of kindness and generosity all the time like when an apartment fire on Thurston Road left many people homeless. There was an outpouring of money, clothing, toys, and support for them right on Thurston Road.

We also love being so near the City Center, the Genesee River, and also Highland and Genesee Parks. Highland is Doug’s primary landscape painting setting.

About ten years ago, our neighbor Armin Weiss asked me to be his alternate to the Delegate’s Council, and eventually I ended up being the District 14 delegate. That has gotten me much more involved in the life of the ward. Now I also care for the Ravenwood/Thurston Garden with the help of Doug, the DeMarles, Marcy Klein, and other generous volunteers. We have enjoyed Candlelight Dinners, visits to the Westside Market, House Tours, Porch Fests, Square Fair, volunteering at School 16, helping run the Spelling Bee for South West students, and participating in annual Citizen and Merchant of the Year dinners. By being involved in the life of the community, I find that I encounter friends everywhere—a nice affirmation that the 19th Ward is our home by choice!

2021 19WCA Executive Board

Karen Emerson, President

Zola Brown, Past President

Bryan Babcock, 1st Vice President

Jeremy Coleman, 2nd Vice President

Cecelia Hencke, Secretary

Richard Damick, Treasurer


New York State will distribute the COVID-19 vaccine in phases based on need and risk.

New Yorkers who are more likely to be exposed to the virus, and who are more likely to become seriously ill if they get COVID-19, will be offered the vaccine first.  Both the federal government and New York State have developed plans to ensure that everyone will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available, at no cost no matter where they live.

Phases of PrioritizationTentative Prioritization Criteria
Phase 1AHealth care personnel (HCP), EMS, funeral workers, OMH staff and residents, OASAS staff, OPWDD staff and residents, FQHC staff, and Long Term Care Facility residents
Phase 1BEssential workers (non-HCP)  Ex: Education, Food & Agriculture, Utilities, Police, Fire, Corrections Officers, Transportation People 75+ years old
Phase 1CAdults with high-risk medical conditions and Adults 65-74 years old
Phase 2Remainder of Phase 1 Populations /  Critical Populations
Phase 3General Population aged 16-64 years old

Prior to receiving the vaccination, you must complete the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Form. This form can be completed online and you will receive a submission ID, or you can fill out the form at your vaccination site.


As coronavirus vaccinations of frontline healthcare workers are rolled out across the country, many in the Black and Hispanic community say they aren’t so sure they want it. A recent Pew Research Center study finds less than half of Black adults polled say they plan to get vaccinated. In this episode of Insights, the Office of Equity and Inclusion’s podcast, Angela Branche, an assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases; Jackie Dozier, a vaccine trial participant; and Linda Clark, a practicing physician and president of the Rochester Black Physicians Network, discuss what it will take for medicine to build trust in communities of color in order to get the COVID-19 vaccine to some of the populations hardest hit by the pandemic.   To listen to this important podcast please go to our COVID resources page at our website: https://19wca.org/covid-19-vaccine-resources/.


2020 brought a pivotal time in our shared history with two pandemics which presented symptoms related to ‘breathing’ that have been responsible for unprecedented deaths. COVID-19 hit like a fierce storm causing varying levels of loss including lives and jobs, while putting severe strain on our healthcare systems. Simultaneously, systemic and structural racism have been present for centuries, and have, once again, been forced to the forefront of our collective consciousness through events in Minnesota, Kentucky and here in Rochester, NY. When coupled with the disproportionate suffering stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and a plethora of other racial based health inequities, it is clear that Racism is a Public Health Crisis!  This regional conference series (January 14th, 21st & 28th) offered by Action for a Better Community (ABC) will feature keynotes and high-quality workshops that showcase speakers with expertise in the areas of service delivery, public policy, racial equity, economic development, evidenced based research, community organizing, social determinants of health, philanthropy, corporate responsibility, healthcare, trauma, lived experience/human centered design, education and more. ABC’s Signature Event will convene business and community leaders, providers, consumers and stakeholders to offer strategies to counteract the disparate impact of these 2 pandemics.
Click Here for information and to register: https://www.abcinfo.org/event-registration/Registration deadline is January 12th.

Around the Neighborhood

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday January 18 , 2021 is the 19th Ward Light up the Night from 6pm-8pm.  This is the 16th year of the 19th Ward’s Martin Luther King Luminary event and it’s right around the corner! 

We are calling on churches, businesses, neighbors, social clubs in the 19th Ward and throughout the Southwest Quadrant to join us in celebrating the life of one of America’s greatest cultural icon. We do this to express our solidarity with the values of Martin Luther King’s beloved community and his important campaign against racism, poverty and militarism.  We light up our neighborhood with luminaries, lanterns and flashlights.   

The 19th Ward Community Association will have luminary kits ($5 suggested donation – includes 5 lights and 5 paper white bags) available at our office. Please email our Office Manager (19thward@19wca.org) to schedule a time for contactless pickup. We are a member-supported, volunteer-run, not-for-profit organization. For those who would like to support the event or the Association, please go to our website (19thwca.org) to make a donation.

MLK Light Up the Night 2020

Making Your Own Luminaries

Luminaries can easily be crafted at home from white or pastel paper bags embellished with cutouts, enough sand to keep the bag upright, and a votive candle placed inside. Most homes need at least 5-10 bags out front to be effective.

General instructions for putting together your luminary kit (Rock salt, stones, or kitty litter can be used in place of sand)

Fold down the top edge for stability – use a long lasting tea light. Use sand for weight and to support the candle

The following instructions use a ½ gal plastic milk jug:
Slice a long narrow ‘hole’ in plastic jug just below bottom of handle, and not slicing all around.

  1. Place rock salt, sand, stones, or kitty litter in bottom of jug to serve as a weight.
  1. Center the votive candle (or battery-powered tea light) in the rock salt. Press down lightly to nest in place. Only a quarter-inch of the candle’s base is surrounded by the rock salt. Keep candle visible, not covered.
  2. Light the candle outdoors.
  3. Do not cover the carton with a cap or stopper. The open top works like a
  4. Hold the carton at the base. Don’t use the bend-able handle to carry the lit luminary. Place the plastic carton base where you want the luminary displayed.
    The plastic carton permits the luminary to nestle in the snow.
  5. Keep the air-entry hole away from the wind. Let a solid side face the wind.
  6. Keep the luminary level. Tilted candles burn unevenly and more quickly.
  7. For best results, use a votive candle or tealight.
  8. To save for next year, remove candle, pour the rock salt into a plastic bag. Put the luminary instructions in the rock salt bag and seal tightly. Place the bag inside the plastic carton. Store the luminary kit upright in a dry place away from children’s reach

Arnett Branch Library

Big congratulations and a big thank you goes out to Shetora Banks! Ms. Banks is leaving the Arnett Branch to accept a promotion in the teen area at the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County. For the past several years Ms. Banks has expertly served our library community as our Safe to be Smart library assistant. Ms. Banks has served as a mentor to countless teens over their years and ensured the Arnett Branch Library has been a warm, fun, educational and safe place teens and all patrons, young and old, could call their own.

In an honor she received from 540westmain.org in 2019 she was accurately described this way:

Ms. Banks is smart, kind, and hardworking. She is an outstanding leader and a great role model for the young adults who visit our library. She often goes above and beyond her duties to form unique relationships with teens and their peers that benefit our entire library community and ensures the Arnett Branch Library is a safe place for everyone. Ms. Banks work is not limited to teens, however. She is well loved by our younger and older patrons and she has given patrons of all ages and her fellow library team members wonderful service as well! Shetora Banks truly Rocs!

Although the Arnett Branch is sad to be losing this exceptional lady, we are so happy that she will be continuing to serve our city’s youth in her new position. Thanks for everything Ms. Banks!

A Prayer for Love and Peace in the Time of COVID 19 

(from Pearl Rugless O’Meally)

COVID feels at home everywhere in the world.  

It embraces all social strata, age, race and culture. 

Oh yes! COVID shines in a special way at holiday gatherings, weddings, church  services and games.  

The only problem: COVID sucks out breath, stops the beating heart and kills.  Yet– 

Love, too, makes a home everywhere in the world. 

It penetrates boundaries of wealth, skin color and long-held traditions. 

Love neither reads nor writes a particular tongue; it speaks all languages of the  heart. 

Love is the breath of life, the beating heart of peace. 

Love respects each one of us for who we are. 

Love is all for-giving and asks us to be the same. 

Love dissolves hate with understanding and acceptance. 

Love requires a daily commitment to kindness. 

Are we up to it? 

We better be. 

The world depends upon it. 

Southwest Businesses

These businesses not only provide goods & services in SW Rochester, but many of them also live in our neighborhood. 

Community Resources

The Housing Council at Pathstone

Who We Are

The Housing Council in the Monroe County Area Inc., was founded in 1971 to expand safe and affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate-income persons residing in Monroe County,  NY. 

The affiliation with PathStone Corporation took place March 7, 2013. The Housing Council at PathStone is a HUD approved Housing Counseling Agency.

Programs and Services

  • Housing Hotline 5 days a week
  • Rental Registry update twice a week
  • Landlord Training
  • Tenant Education
  • First Time Homebuyer Services
  • Pre and Post Purchase Education
  • Foreclosure Prevention
  • Reverse Mortgage Counseling (HECM)
  • Fair Housing
  • Department of Human Services Inspections

We Want To Empower You

  • Our Housing Counselors want to arm you with all the information you need to make the best decision for you and your family
  • We are here to connect you to the resources you are eligible for and coach you to your goals
  • You decide what’s best and when
  • Homeownership is not right for everyone
  • We want you to be successful when you know you are ready

What Do We Do?

  • We meet with people interested in purchasing their first home in a 1 on 1 counseling session
  • We discuss your goals, your wants vs needs and help you develop a plan
  • We review your current budget, credit report and affordability
  • Each client is given a personal action plan outlining what was discussed and the actions recommended for you to achieve your goals
  • We also offer group education
    • Pre purchase:. on buying A-Z
    • Post purchase: on important sustainability tools
    • Group Education is required for all grants and some loan programs

Leslie R. Harvey, Outreach Administrator

P: (585) 546-3700   X-3034, Email: lharvey@pathstone.org

City of Rochester

Landlord Reimbursement Grant Program

In response to housing instability issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has launched a reimbursement program available to residential rental property owners. The program will reimburse the landlord up to $4,900 to make necessary repairs on a vacant unit which is then rented to an income eligible family.

Landlord Reimbursement Grant Program Eligibility
  • Funding must be used on a vacant unit;
  • Property owner is in good standing with code enforcement on all of their properties;
  • Property owner’s City of Rochester and Monroe County taxes must be current and not subject to foreclosure or if owner is on a tax agreement, owner must be current with payments throughout the entire application process;
  • Property owner must be current on mortgage payments and not subject to foreclosure;
  • Property owner cannot be on the Federal Excluded Parties list
Reimbursement Requirements
  • Repaired vacant unit is now rented to new tenant
  • Provide a copy of an executed lease with the new tenant;
  • Tenant’s total household income cannot exceed 50% of HUD’s MFI (guidelines change annually);
  • Provide receipts for materials or contracted services purchased

Approved Contractor List

If you are a contractor interested in being placed on the City’s approved contractor list for our repair programs, you are encouraged to complete a contractor application.  It is important that the application be completed in its entirety and that all requested documents are included. You may submit the application to our office located at City Hall, 30 Church St – Room 028-B. Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprise are encouraged to apply. If there are funds available, the City may offer free lead training for contractors. If you have any questions, please contact our office at (585) 428-6102 or James.Patrick@CityofRochester.gov

  • Click here for a copy of the contractor application.
  • Click here for a list of the City’s approved contractor list


(Monday, Jan. 4, 2021) – Mayor Lovely A. Warren today announced that the City is launching the second phase of its popular Senior Meal Delivery Restaurant Grant Program by collaborating with 25 restaurants to deliver meals to area seniors.

“Our seniors love this program and it provides much needed revenue to city restaurants that are struggling to stay open during the pandemic,” said Mayor Warren. “Programs like this help us create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities.”

The restaurants will deliver meals to area seniors, age 60 and above, who are unable to travel or frequent restaurants due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Administered by the City’s Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, the grant will reimburse participating restaurants up to $24,900 to prepare and deliver free meals to area seniors, 60 and above, who have limited mobility during the pandemic. Program logistics are again being coordinated by Goodwill of the Finger Lakes through the 211/Lifeline Call Center.

Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 5, seniors can call 211 to place an order, with deliveries beginning Friday, Jan. 8. The program will run through April 30.
The 25 restaurants participating in Phase 2 are:

• Addis Ababa, 752 S. Goodman St.
• Gregorio’s Pizza, 1313 N. Goodman St.
• Condado Bar and Grill, 2260 Clifford Ave.
• RMSC Café, 657 East Ave.
• Local’s Only 311 Alexander St.

• Borinquen Bakery and Restaurant, 1195 N. Clinton Ave.
• El Pilon Criollo, 973 N. Clinton Ave.
• Nin’s Jamaican Restaurant, 1049 Hudson Ave.
• Tricias Kitchen, 1014 Hudson Ave.
• Munchies Roc City Empanadas, 154 N. Clinton Ave.
• Lorraine’s Food Factory, 777 Culver Road

• Kandis, 701 Lake Ave.
• 809 Bar and Grill, 160 Lyell Ave.
• El Divino Restaurant, 1149 Lyell Ave.
• Taste of Bahamas Restaurant, 4705 Lake Ave.
• Lakeside Haven Family Restaurant, 3212 Lake Ave.
• Wilshires Restaurant and Catering, 1245 Lyell Ave.
• Tropix Eatery, 4775 Lake Ave.

Southwest/Center City:
• Unkl Moe’s BBQ, 493 West Ave.
• Mojoes Grill, 577 Thurston Road
• D&L Grocery Inc., 1005 Genesee St.
• Morgan’s Cereal Bar, 320 East Ave.
• Nature Never Lie, 250 E Main St. (Commissary Downtown Kitchen Incubator) • Hayaat. 480 W. Main St.
• Caribbean Heritage Restaurant, 719 S. Plymouth Ave.


Committee Information

Reach out to our office manager if you would like to get involved.

Delegates Council

Delegates Council will meet virtually on January 14 at 7pm.

Garden Committee

The Garden Committee is dreaming of spring flowers, once again 🙂

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee is in search of a new chair. Get in touch!

Housing Committee

The 19th Ward Housing Committee will meet the third Thursday of each month at 1 pm when we are able. Please get in touch with our Office Manager about how we’ll meet during social distancing. Our meetings generally last about an hour. A City representative from Buildings and Code Enforcement attends to work with us on specific properties, concerns/issues, code enforcement, etc. 

Schools Committee

The schools committee is continuing to meet and will keep us updated on the good work they’re doing.

Other news