Update 19 – March 2021

President’s Message Karen Emerson

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 I was reminded that March is Women’s History month. I happen to be reading the Women’s Suffrage Movement edited by Sally Roesch Wagner. Her introduction struck me as most appropriate for the present moment.  She states,

“As we move to create a more perfect union in this cultural revolution we are undergoing, we are creating a new history. Not the top-down history that focuses on great white men, their great deeds and their great wars. We are shaping history to reflect and guide the bottom up diversity of voices that changed, is changing and will change the world. Yes, if we don’t know our history we are bound to repeat it. But is also true that if we do know our rich and diverse history of those who worked for social justice, we are empowered to repeat it. Their voices have often been shouted down by those at the top. It’s to time we gave them a listen.”

Over fifty years ago some of our past and present neighbors created the Association with the following purpose:

  • To create a conscious multi-racial community where individual and cultural differences are celebrated and where people share a sense of community.
  • To ensure that the community, and individuals within it, receive the kind of high quality services they need from public and private institutions.
  • To encourage resident home ownership and oppose any threat to the residential character of the community.
  • To advocate on issues pertaining to the entire metropolitan community, especially the city of Rochester.
  • To provide, to the members of our community who can least afford them, access to charitable services and necessities.
  • To coordinate activities that improve the quality of life in the 19th Ward.

I am always proud of the things we do in the 19th Ward to create community.  Skating party, MLK Luminary Event, Candlelight dinners, Square Fair, Palm Sunday breakfast, Convention, Spelling Bee, Chalk fest, Porch Fest, House Tour, etc.  My friends who live in other neighborhoods are genuinely jealous. We have not always been perfect at these goals but we continue to work to create that more perfect neighborhood. I have been energized by the enthusiasm of the delegates old and new. I have asked and received help in filling vacancies for some of our key committees.  As important as it is for us to work in our neighborhood, it is also important that our city, county and federal representatives know how we feel. It is important that we use all our resources that includes the elected officials below.  They are there to serve our needs.  

City Councilwoman LaShay Harris, LaShay.Harris@cityofrochester.gov, (o) (585) 428-7538

County Legislator Sabrina Lamar, monroe27@monroecounty.gov  

NYS Assembly Member Demond Meeks, meeksd@nyassembly.gov (o) (585) 454-3670

State Senator Edward Rath, rath@nysenate.gov (o) (585) 454-0322

State Senator Jeremy Cooney, cooney@nysenate.gov (o) (585) 225-3650

Congressman Joe Morelle, jmorellejr@gmail.com (o) 585 753-1940
Senator Chuck Schumer, (o) (585) 263-5866

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, (o) (585) 263-6250

As we try to create a better place to live, work and thrive in this time of COVID restrictions, please consider getting your vaccine as they become available. The more people vaccinated the quicker we will be able to slow the progression and mutation of this virus.

I want to thank you all for your support and help.  I am looking forward to a great spring.

Karen Emerson, President

Clayton Waller

Clayton Waller, 19WCA District 7 Delegate

Clayton Waller grew up in the 19th Ward with his family and has resided at 354 Rugby Ave. for over 40 years. His mother, Janet Waller, was very active in the 19th Ward community. She would invite girls, who attended #16 school (located on 321 Post Ave), and who obtained B’s, to a luncheon and would invite speakers to encourage and motivate them to be whatever they wanted to be. She, along with his father, was part of the founders of what is now Ebeneezer Baptist Church, located at 174 Thurston Road where she ran a soup kitchen that at one point fed hundreds of people!

With that as a foundation, it was inevitable that Clayton would become active in the community, and in the city of Rochester, as well. For over 20 years, he has helped a variety of populations improve their lives; working at agencies such as The Urban League of Rochester, The Center for Youth, Industry Juvenile Detention Center, Compeer, CEO (Center for Employment Opportunity), The Catholic Family Center and FoodLink. 

Clayton currently is the Program Manager for the SWFI (Strengthening Working Families Initiative), located at The Rochester Rehabilitation Center. SWFI supports people, with children, who are interested in a career in Healthcare, I.T., and Advanced Manufacturing. SWFI covers childcare costs, books, uniforms, fees, and transportation assistance. Clayton has spent his entire professional life to improving the lives of people in the city of Rochester and in the 19th Ward.

Clayton’s mother now has Dementia and a few years ago he decided to move back to his childhood home, on Rugby Ave., in order to take care of her and to keep her in her home.


What Clayton loves most about our Ward is that it has ALWAYS been a diverse Ward, with people of all demographics and persuasions living together. He has seen how the neighborhood has changed, and yet has maintained its uniqueness and identity.

At this time in his life, Clayton wants to be more socially and politically active in the community he cherishes and to preserve and enhance the wonderful diverse and friendly community we share and to make the 19th Ward even better! As a delegate for District 7, Clayton wants to represent the needs, concerns and culture of District 7 and bring that to the 19th Ward Association.

Plans for a Spelling Bee this Spring

At its February meeting the Schools Committee committed to host a spelling bee again as we have done for the past ten years. The bee is for third through sixth graders attending the four elementary schools in the 19th Ward:  Schools 10, 16, 19, and 29. We are undeterred by the uncertainty surrounding the mode of educational delivery in the Rochester Public Schools this year. Our plan is to conduct the practices and eventually the bee itself through Zoom sessions.

We are encouraged that an eager group of students from the University of Rochester’s Sigma-Phi-Epsilon fraternity are eager to tutor our elementary spellers, as they have faithfully done the past several years. Their current experience of on-line learning at the University should provide the expertise to make these Zoom practices effective.

We are also counting on volunteers from the 19th ward to help facilitate these Zoom practice sessions. We plan to have two tutors in each session working with a maximum of four students. We hope to host Zoom sessions on Saturday mornings, as we have previously done in person at the Arnett Library when that was possible. The fraternity brothers have also expressed a willingness to plan week-day evening sessions if there is an interest.

Given that the tutoring will be by internet, we expect the actual bee could take that format as well, possibly hosted in one of the public schools that has a large enough space to keep safe social distancing, but able to be seen by families and friends on a Zoom link. The date for the actual bee has yet to be decided.

The Rochester Community Foundation is providing funding as they have in the past. Scholarships of $500 will be awarded to the winners of each grade, and modest incentive rewards will be given for all students participating in the practices.

If you are interested in assisting in helping tutor for the spelling bee, please contact us by e-mail at this address: giebeld@roberts.edu. Thank you for your support in this educational endeavor.

Douglas and Charlotte Giebel

Chairs, 2020-21 Spelling Bee


It is critical that our community continues to get tested and receive the vaccine. Below are testing sites, vaccine availability, as well as transportation assistance. Please visit our COVID-19 Resources page on our website.

COVID-19 Testing

Opportunities for COVID tests exist at the following RCSD locations:

Wilson Foundation Academy: Monday’s and Tuesday’s, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Jefferson Campus: Wednesday’s, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

East High School: Saturday’s, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

COVID-19 Vaccines

After the first week of vaccinations, registration will be open to additional residents.

Pop-up vaccine site, Saturday, March 6, from 9am-1pm:

Campbell Street R-Center

524 Campbell St

Rochester, NY 14611

Open: March 6, 2021; 9:00 AM-1:00 PM

COVID – 19 Vaccine Transportation Assistance Guide

Apple Transportation

Location: 375 Clay Road Rochester, NY 14623

Service/ Intake number: 585 613 4667

Fees: Vary. Base rate of $16 one way ($32 round trip) if private pay. Call for information. Travel reimbursements from Worker’s Compensation, other insurance related travel. Insurance reimbursed customers: Note: Call 24 hours in advance of need. Some emergency arrangements possible at times. Call for information.

Catholic Family Center

STAR Program (60+)

Location: 87 N Clinton Avenue Rochester NY 14604

Service/ Intake number: 585-262-7050 (STAR Program)

585-546-7220 ext. 7059 (Spanish)

Fees: Sliding scale for some services. Notes: requires 1 to 2 weeks’ notice. Must call to enroll in program, wait for packet to arrive in the mail. Once registered they can book appointments.

Department of Veterans Affairs (veterans)

Location: 260 Calkins Road Rochester NY 14623

Service/ Intake number: 585 463 2600

Genesee Transportation

Location: 355 Portland Avenue Rochester, NY 14605

Service/ Intake number: 585 256 1510 Note: Call at least 24 hours in advance of need. If cars and staff are available, may provide same day accommodations. Needs request at call- wheel chair/ van access.


Location: 1449 Hudson Avenue Rochester, NY 14621 (Map)

Service/ Intake number: 585 342 7150 Note: Require 24 hour notice Private pay direct call. Door through Door

Medical Answering Services (Must be a Medicaid recipient)

Service/ Intake number: 866-932-7740 (Monroe County)

Fees: No fee for services.

Medical Motor Service of Rochester and Monroe County

Location: 608 S Clinton Avenue Rochester, NY 14620

Service/ Intake number: 585 654 7030

Fees: Rates vary. Call for information. Reduces fares available if qualified based on poverty line income. Private pay. Third party insurance in cases referred by insurance company. Medicaid. Medicare does not pay for these services. Note: Requires 2 business day notices

Monroe Ambulance

Location: 1669 Lyell Avenue Rochester NY 14606

Service/ Intake number: 585-454-6211 (Non-Emergency)

Fees: Third Party Insurance. Private Pay. Call for Information. Notes: 24- hr notice, only appropriate for people who need medical support i.e. o2, cost dependent on insurance coverage.

Rochester Medical Transportation

Location: 150 Josons Drive Rochester NY 14623

Service/ Intake number: 585 288 3444

Fees: Medicaid. Private Pay. Third Party Insurance when applicable. Notes: 24-48 hours’ notice, can accommodate folks with disability, private pay, third party insurance and Medicaid.

SC Russell Transportation, LLC

Service/ Intake number: 866 932 7740

Eligibility: Requires insurance approval by client’s insurance company. Primary care providers can also set up appointments in advance.

Fees: Contact health insurance company. Public and private health insurance accepted.

March is Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987. Women’s History Month 2021 will take place from Monday, March 1 through Wednesday, March 31, 2021. 

Join these panelists on Friday March 5th at 11 a.m. in celebrating Women’s History Month. Click on link below to register.

Online Events | Attend Virtual Events From Home | Eventbrite

Home | RMSC Presents Changemakers – Now at Rochester Museum & Science Center

The Changemakers

Around the Neighborhood

A Farewell Parade for John Laing took place on February 20, 2021. John, a longtime 19th Ward resident is relocating to be closer to his family. John, along with his late wife Kathy, has been an invaluable member of the 19th Ward Community Association. After his children graduated from college and he retired, John became more involved in the the 19WCA.  One of his first projects was to join a group of activists to get the Rochester City School District to renovate School 16 and reopen it.  Since 2013, John has been the Chair of the 19th Ward Community Association Schools Committee. The Committee sponsors the annual Spelling Bee for 3rd to 6th grade students who attend the public schools located in the 19th Ward.  Anyone interested in joining the School’s Committee can contact the 19WCA office.  In March 2020 John was featured as Proudly 19th Ward Neighbor. Regarding the 19th Ward Community Association and becoming a member,  John stated, “You can make a difference if you get involved. Politically the 19th Ward has more clout than we think.  Importance of family and community connections – this is what makes this community a great place to live!” Thank you, John, for everything! You’ll be missed!

Here are some photos of the car parade for John’s send-off:

Candlelight Dinner Event

On Saturday, February 27, 2021 a treasured 19th Ward tradition, Candlelight Dinners, renamed Event for 2021, continued  via Zoom. Candlelight Dinners  needed to adapt during our year of the COVID pandemic just as many other cherished events in our lives have done.  With the help of 5 Zoom hosts thirty three of our 19th Ward neighbors gathered virtually for a pleasant evening of desserts and conversation.  In person dinners would not have been wise, but we found that gathering together on Zoom for a few hours could be almost as nice as sharing a meal.

There was a good mix of neighbors who have lived in the Ward for as little as a year and as many as 50 + years.  Some groups had dessert provided by the hosts, other groups shared their individual choices for home made or purchased treats.  Some enterprising, and technically savvy folks enjoyed shared photos and videos, but all enjoyed an evening of friendship and good conversation.
We hope to return to in person dinners in 2022, but we now know a virtual event will work too.  So, if we need to continue to socially distance for some folks we will be open to coordinating both in person dinners and virtual events in an effort to include as many people as we can in this wonderful tradition.
Comments from those who participated on February 27 included:

  • It turned out to be fun.
  • We really had a good time. 2 1/2 hours of talking and schmoozing as if we all were in my living room.
  • It was nice seeing people again, some we knew some we didn’t (although it turns out we had met one of our guests many years ago).
  • We had an enjoyable visit in Tara Wade’s group, learning more about one another, sharing stories, and voicing concerns about the city. Thanks to the organizers and our host! 
  • I had a great time with Mitzie and Tom as host / hostess. I am very happy that I participated. While I truly miss the in-person gathering, it was surprising how ‘normal’ the event felt even being over zoom.
  • We were at Tom and Mitzie’s with several people we do not often see. We shared stories and information and a yummy dessert.
  • My daughter and I have just moved back to the 19th ward, and I was able to participate in this wonderful evening.
  • I had a wonderful evening and thanks to our wonderful Host- Liz Pollock who engaged us in great conversations. We enjoyed each other’s company. When it’s safe we would like an in person gathering.

I want to add my thanks to Jackie Farrell and Jane Braband for working with me to plan and set up this year’s event. And we must thank our hosts who generously volunteered to host by Zoom – Tara Wade, Liz Pollock, Deb and Gary Leary, Amy and Howard Ressel, and Mitzie Collins and Tom Bohrer.
Hope to see you all next year facing whatever new challenges await us!
Carol Kramer

Arnett Library

In Case You Missed It

19th Ward facing major loss in RTS bus serviceSubmitted by DeWain Feller

RTS is planning to implement a major overhaul of bus routes on May 17th that will drastically cut service in the 19th Ward. The West Avenue/ Genesee Park Boulevard line will be eliminated completely, and the Arnett/ Thurston line will no longer go directly downtown. We will go from four downtown-bound lines down to only two (Chili Avenue and Genesee Street). Connections to downtown are important not just for passengers whose destination is downtown, it also for passengers who need to connect to other routes to the rest of the city at the Transit Center.

The current route 25 travels from downtown along West Main, down Genesee Street to Arnett, west to Thurston, south on Thurston, along Brooks, over to the UR/Strong, and ending at MCC. The new route 17 will cut out the Genesee/W. Main connection to downtown, and will combine this route with the Jefferson Avenue route. It would still be possible for 19th Ward residents to use the 17 to get downtown, but it would be via the circuitous and slow connection through Jefferson Avenue.

The good news with the route overhaul (dubbed Reimagine RTS) is that the frequency of bus service on Chili Avenue and Genesee Street will increase. However, this will not be much comfort for residents in the SW area of the Ward who are a mile from either Chili or Genesee. The gold standard for transit planning is for city residents to not have to walk more than a ¼ mile to reach a bus route– Reimagine RTS falls far short of that.

There will be a number of improvements in service on the east side of the city, which will keep 14 bus routes and gain a new crosstown route. West side city neighborhoods will see service cut drastically to only 8 routes.

Concerned residents are encouraged to contact RTS at: https://rts.secure.force.com/RTSContactUs

Input sought for West Main Street study

Do you drive, bike, walk, or take the bus on West Main Street? Please take the time to provide input to the new West Main Street Multimodal and Placemaking Study that is looking at reconfiguring West Main.
There is a survey available for a short time at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdetnZywSj0dqyAm2pQuNP2DG3u_ZzQmL3STbBFiH4mvD-4Sw/viewform
Find out more information on the study at: https://www.cityofrochester.gov/wmain/
The study will look at options for reducing the number of lanes to accommodate new bike lanes. This is a common approach on wide roads; however, West Main has the additional challenges of being a bus trunk line and not having nearby parallel main roads that traffic can be redirected to.
The study will look at ways that sidewalks and crosswalks can be improved. It will also look at ways to improve the look and feel of the street, and to honor its history.

Strengthening Working Families Initiative (SWFI)

Rochester Rehabilitation Center offers a program in partnership with area employers, businesses, education and training institutions, and community organizations to create access to living-wage jobs, and support career advancement in high-demand industries for parents with dependent children at home. Job training, job placement, career  advancement, and benefits management are all a part of this initiative.

The Strengthening Working Families Initiative provides low- to  middle-skilled parents opportunities to advance in their careers  in high-growth or in high-demand industries – including health  care, advanced manufacturing, and information technology – while addressing barriers related to accessing training and  employment faced by those with child care responsibilities.

Services Available:
• Family-Based Service Navigation
• Linkages to Affordable and Safe Child Care
• Financial Assistance for Short-term Child Care Stipends  • Career Planning and Vocational Assessments
• Support Services and Connections to Community Resources  • Public Benefits Advocacy and Supports
• Job Placement and Job Coaching
• Financial Assistance for Career Related Certifications and Uniforms  • Linkages to Short-term Certificate Training Programs
• Transportation Assistance

Who Qualifies
Adults 18 years and older who are the primary caregivers of one or  more children under the age of 13 (or children 14 years and older  with a disability) who wish to increase skills through short-term  training related and career advancement in the following industries:  health care, advanced manufacturing, and information technology.  Must be willing to develop a career plan and be motivated to  actively work on goals.

Key Partners
Action for a Better Community and the Child Care Council, Inc. www.RochesterRehab.org

Website Updates

We’ve recently updated our membership and donation page to include donation links for special projects. The History Committee is currently partnered with RIT to work on a virtual Rapids Cemetery Tour and welcomes any contributions to this project. 19th Ward Community Cats always accepts funds aimed to help our trap and release program and help rehome cats in our neighborhood.

Should you wish to contribute a little extra or donate for events, there is a space at the bottom of the page to donate any amount.

We have also recently started collecting resources to learn more about COVID-19, how to get vaccinated, and where food is available.

Thank you neighbors, for all you do!


Spring is coming! Pamela ReeseSmith is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Vacant Lot Garden Check In
Time: March 4, 2021 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)Every week Through March 25, 2021

Join Zoom Meeting/ Use the Link below for each meeting https://cityofrochester.zoom.us/j/99394098104?pwd=NUJLZDkwRTRISXZWcmpPNXdreGEyUT09

Please see below some good information on growing seeds and much more from Fruition seeds. Make sure to sign up for their free webinar series. 


Organic Seeds & Transplants – Fruition Seeds

Quickly cultivate the knowledge and confidence you need to grow gorgeous seedlings with dozens of fun videos sharing step-by-step instructions, variety-specific deep dives with inspiration as well as insight. 

Southwest Businesses

Businesses in the 19th Ward not only provide goods & services in our community, but many of them also live in our neighborhood. 

Rochester Presbyterian Home at 256 Thurston Road opened 94 years ago in 1927. The home is rooted in Christian faith, practices prayer, and celebrates diversity in its family of staff and residents. The RPH Homestead offers a warm, friendly, supportive home for seniors of all faiths and ethnicities. Indeed, many of our parish family have enjoyed their retirement days there. In addition, RPH provides 184 jobs for our community!  Call 235-9100 ext. 111 for a tour or to volunteer.

Grace Family Medicine at 340 Arnett Blvd. opened in 1978 with retired Dr. Bill Morehouse and St. Monica parishioner Rita Donnelly. Today Dr. Matt Mack and a full staff still provide Christ-inspired care to generations of neighbors. Call 235-2250.

Chili Family Diner at 945 Chili Ave. serves American comfort food for breakfast and lunch. Owner Carlos Rodriguez started as a cook at other restaurants. Dine in or take out 365 days-a-year. Call 464-8820.

Thurston Village

Community Resources

Food Security

Senior Meal Delivery Restaurant Grant Program collaborating with 25 restaurants to deliver meals to area seniors.

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.

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 S
• 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.

Foodlink: https://foodlinkny.org/

Foodlink is a Rochester-based nonprofit dedicated to ending hunger and building healthier communities by addressing both the symptoms and root causes of food insecurity. They serve as the hub of the emergency food system across a 10-county service area. As a leading public health organization, Foodlink administers many programs and initiatives that aim to build the health and wealth of communities.

Committee Information

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

Delegates Council

Delegates Council will meet virtually on March 11 at 7pm.

Garden Committee

Spring is coming and the Garden Committee is dreaming of spring flowers!

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 looking for a new Chair. They are continuing to meet and will keep us updated on the good work they’re doing.

More news

Keith Jackson forwarded this digital copy of the Winter 2021 edition of Epitaph, published by the Friends of Mt. Hope Cemetery.

The lead article is about John Henry Schoenheit. Schoenheit’s company built major buildings in Rochester, including West High School (which is pictured on Page 1 of the article). His company also built Asbury Methodist Church, Corn Hill M. E. Church, Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, and Mt. Hope Presbyterian Church, according to the article.  Schoenheit’s own house is also shown in the article. It is on Magnolia Street (between Genesee Street and Jefferson).