Update 19 September 2021

President’s Message Karen Emerson

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In a newsletter received from Sister Diana Dolci of Hope Hall,  she wrote about community, hope and changing lives. She defined community as ”a group of people who come together for a particular purpose and who care about what happens to each member of that group.” Our neighborhood/city is struggling with having a sense of community. Recent incidents have made me sad, mad and befuddled. I know that we are a neighborhood and a city that cares. How do I know this? We have little free libraries, little free food pantries, neighbors who organize to help those who are burned out of their homes,  and we have groups that go to every homicide in the city to give support to grieving families.

We also have our share of problems: failing schools, drugs, violence and noise. It is my observation that the problems suck up all the attention and obscure our view of the amazing good things that happen daily in our neighborhood. Sometimes it  becomes overwhelming and easy to believe that things will never change.  My dear neighbors do not despair; a lot of good things are being done. We have strong business associations, we have committees working on reducing violence, groups working with our schools and our children to forge a better future for us all. Sister Diane also spoke about changing our language so we have hope that together we can change the perception and reality of our corner of the world.

Recently three homes had their PRIDE flags removed and destroyed by a group of 3 individuals. Additionally , there were 2 other incidents of a delivery person and a person with intellectual disabilities being assaulted on our streets. One victim was seriously wounded but is recovering and the other sustained no physical injury. I cannot understand how anyone could use the amount of mental, physical and emotional energy to plan, prepare and execute such hurtful acts. I think about how getting prepared to wake in the early hours of the morning, dress in a costume, bring along a pillow case with holes cut out and recruit children to accompany you to sneak onto someone’s porch, take the flag, burn it and return the flag. That energy is so misguided when we have children who need safe, functional schools to attend, elders who struggle to stay in their homes due to their declining health or finances, families that struggle with food insecurity, health care partners that are working overtime and are short staffed to care for sick individuals, safety officers who are also short staffed and working mandatory overtime.

Per Sister Diana, we need a change in our language. We need a message of hope that says I believe in my community. I believe in the value of each person.  Respecting each individual,  knowing that they are more than what we see at any given time. This was exemplified in a meeting I was able to attend given by Councilmember LaShay Harris for public safety at the Willie Lightfoot Recreation Center.  We had animal control, fire and police give updates on how neighbors could use their services. The most enlightening presentation for me was from Lieutenant LaFave. He said he had been pretty discouraged by the violence and hatred shown by protesters. He believed that all city residents hate police. He took a chance and walked our streets with Captain Jones and our Street Liaison Chris McDonald. Guess what happened? Our neighbors acknowledged their presence on the street with enthusiasm and openness. The lieutenant  said he was truly surprised that on Jefferson Ave, the site of so much tension, he would be greeted with friendly faces, warmth and grace. He said he learned from this experience that what he believed about the residents of the southwest was not true for all. And as stated above that each of us is more than what we see at one given moment in time.

It is easy to complain. Really.  It is easy to say there is a problem with noise, garbage, violence, police, city schools, NSC, etc. but far more difficult to commit  yourself and your neighbors to ACT.  The system never has and never will be able to solve all the problems of living in a neighborhood. But they act as our allies to find ways to remedy the problems we face. We have new leadership at the NSC (Neighborhood Service Center). John McMahon has been the Assistant Director and is now the new Administrator. We had an Open House at the NSC last week. It was well attended by many neighbors and city service directors who are willing to work with our association and neighbors to address the quality of life issues that make living in our diverse neighborhood  annoying at times.

This month we will restart our delegates meetings. We are asking each delegate to contact their constituents and have a meeting of their district before our convention in November.

Right now we have many opportunities for action.

Marijuana Expungement Program September 18, 2021 10am-12 pm at Parcel 5 by Senator Cooney’s office

Minority and Women Owned Businesses Certification Program through the County of Monroe. All business owners are encouraged to use these resources to support you and your investment. Please contact Chris McDonald for more details.


We continue to have a vaccine clinic at Genesee Baptist on Brooks Avenue every Tuesday afternoon. Please check with your neighbors and friends –  encourage them to get the vaccine.  We are still at 51 and 56.8% respectively in 14611 and 14619.  At the COVID vaccine update, Michael Mendoza stated we are in a race with the virus. The virus will continue to mutate until our population is vaccinated.


Why do we care? Redistricting has everything to do with who represents us in the State government. Redistricting is done every 10 years with the census. Maps are being redrawn for upcoming elections. I would like to get a few volunteers in the next week to help look at having our voice represented. For more information go to the League of Women Voters website: https://lwv.org

Please read our weekly updates.  They contain vital information of city events and programs for adults and children.

Karen Emerson, President

19th Ward Community Association

Around the Neighborhood

Senator Ed Rath chose to honor 19th Ward District 17 co-delegate JoAnn Kane-DeMott for his NY Senate District 61 Women of Distinction Award.  JoAnn was a 2007 19th Ward CMOY honoree.   See Senator Rath’s web page at JoAnn Kane-DeMott | NY State Senate (nysenate.gov)

JoAnn Kane-DeMott has lived her entire life in the City of Rochester, where she is committed to urban living.

Before retiring, Ms. Kane-DeMott taught first and second grades at City Catholic schools. She holds a Master of Science in Elementary Education from SUNY Brockport, magna cum laude, and a New York State Certification for N-6 and Social Studies 7-9 grades.

Over the years, Ms. Kane-DeMott has made every effort to reach out to others for the betterment of her community through a variety of organizations. Some of her proudest moments include being a certified Literacy Volunteer, tutoring four immigrants to become United States citizens, and as a member of the League of Women Voters, registering new voters and officiating at naturalization ceremonies.

Ms. Kane-DeMott’s work on special projects in the 19th Ward Community Association include serving for 12 years on the board of St. Peter’s Soup Kitchen, which provides hot lunches and programs to address the root causes of poverty, organizing an annual school supply backpack giveaway for 125 children of families in need, serving as a South West food cupboard volunteer, and member of the Genesee Corridor Business Association, organizing their yearly Genesee Street Youth Flower Planting Day for the past 20 years.

In addition to her volunteer work, Ms. Kane-DeMott is also trained as a Rochester Police PAC-TAC, a Citizen Volunteer Response Team member, and a Citizen Emergency Response Team member trained by the Rochester Fire Department.

She and her husband received the Mayor’s 19th Ward Citizen of the Year Award for their efforts in the revitalization of Genesee Street in Rochester. Additionally, in 2007, she was recognized by the Rochester Fire Department for improving safety and appearance in the community.

When she is not working on community projects, Ms. Kane-DeMott enjoys playing the clarinet with the Eastman School of Music New Horizon Band, singing in their chorus, and singing with the Oasis Community Chorus.

She and her husband, John, have been married for 42 years and are blessed with a blended family of seven children and sixteen grandchildren.

Ms. Kane-DeMott has truly dedicated herself to the betterment of the community through her work and volunteering.

Congratulations, JoAnn!!

Community News

Westside Farmer’s Market

If you haven’t been to the Westside Farmers Market yet your time is running out.  We only have 6 more weeks, and we are having great fun.

What do you like to eat?  We have it.  Want to preserve some peaches?  Make tomato sauce?  Roast corn?  Spread some great local honey on your toast?  Pour maple syrup on your pancakes? Eat plums and berries? Make a great salad with a variety of greens and veggies?  Munch on some delicious pickles? Put a chicken or some sausage on the grill? Cook an egg and cheese omelet for breakfast?  WE HAVE IT, and it’s just around the corner every Tuesday until October 12.

Tuesday, September 7, is a big night at the market.  It is College Night, and we have specials for college students.  Music will be provided by some great musical talent at UR.  We all know about the a capella groups Trebellious and the Yellow Jackets.  Well…..they will be performing on Tuesday….they are both wonderful, and we are so fortunate to have them at the market.

Also, at the market on Sept 7, is FAFSA – need help filling out those college financial aid forms?  Stop by and ask.  His Branches will be there ready to check our blood pressure. The Boy Scouts of America will be represented, taking registrations (don’t let the name fool you – they are no longer just for boys – girls are welcome and encouraged).  And Rochester Regional Health will be conducting a Narcan education clinic for anyone who is interested. 

That’s a lot, all in one night, but that’s how we do what we do at the Westside Farmers Market.

Join us – Tuesdays, 4-7, 831 Genesee St in the St. Monica Church parking lot – but keep in mind that you need to come soon, or miss out until next year.


The Westside Farmers Market is in the final running as the #1 farmers market in City Newspaper’s “Best of Rochester”



From gardens in our neighborhoods:

Arnett Library

From our Southwest Street Liaisons:

Genesee businesses, organizations, supporters and other stakeholders are invited to a meeting of the Genesee Corridor Business Association.  Meet other Genesee people.  Lots of information and news shared.

There are three ways you can attend the meeting at 9am Wednesday:  1. you can join in person at the Neighborhood Service Center (923 Genesee)  2. you can join on Zoom at www.zoom.us and enter Meeting ID : 822 3152 1033  or use the web link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82231521033  3. you can dial in at 646-876-9923 and enter Meeting ID 822 3152 1033 

1. Keeping Genesee Safe – update.  RPD 
2. Keeping Genesee Attractive – updates, SW Neighborhood Service Center leaders 
3. City Grants and other assistance for small businesses: City of Rochester, REDCO, others
4. Info from Mayor Warren’s office, Monroe County, other officials
5. Business Association projects, welcome new businesses, other info
6. Your news & information to share

More News

Dear Community Partner:

The preliminary redistricting hearings are over, and the Commission is now working on maps. The Independent Redistricting Commission is drawing district lines for the NY Senate, NY Assembly, and US House.

If you’d like to view the Commission’s August 12th Finger Lakes / Western NY hearing, you can see it HERE.

You can see the Rochester area speakers at this point in the recording:

21:20 – Mark Johns
40:30 – Dave Garretson
44:00 – Dennis Smith (Wayne County)
47:15 – Dylan Dailor
50:25 – Subrata Paul (Wayne County)
59:50 – LaShana Boose
1:03:00 – Barbara Grosh
1:06:25 – Judith Sternberg
1:14:10 – Judith Hunter (Livingston County)

What’s next? The Commission will unveil its proposed maps on September 15th. They will  hold a second round of hearings in every part of the state – local, in-person hearings. This will give you another opportunity to speak up for your Community of Interest and play a role in how you are represented in Washington and Albany. There will be at least 30 days between the release of the maps and the hearings, providing time to study the maps and prepare your testimony.

The League will provide details of the process and how the public can participate at a Zoom forum on Tuesday, September 14th at 7 PM. Please register HERE.

Until then, you might want to see the resources we have available online. The League of Women Voters of the Rochester Metro Area has information HEREincluding current maps of local districts. LWVNYS has information HERE, including tools for drawing your own maps.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please email us at redistricting@lwv-rma.org.


Barbara Grosh
President, League of Women Voters of the Rochester Metropolitan Area

St. Monica’s

St. Monica’s generous parishioners donated 70 filled
backpacks, and with a grant that St. Peter’s Kitchen received,
a total of 125 backpacks were given away last week.
So many families left the kitchen with smiling, happy children
ready and excited about starting the new school year. Thank
you to our workers at the kitchen, and a special thank-you also
goes out to Pete Witkowicz, Bob Boyd, John DeMott, Marcia
Perotto and Sharon Juba. Thank you, St. Monica community,
for your generous giving

Volunteers Needed! Deliver for SWEM – 2 hours weekly
SWEM (South West Ecumenical Ministry) volunteers
deliver weekend food packages every week for kids in 3
city schools near St. Monica Church. It requires less
than 2 hours per week to deliver boxes from Foodlink to
one of the schools. Call John DeMott for more details:
585- 313-2559.

City of Rochester

Make a difference and help ensure our newest Americans are heard in City Hall! The New Americans Advisory Council (NAAC) is an official liaison to the Mayor’s Office and City Council. Its goal is to provide advice, knowledge and information to Rochester’s leadership so it can act on issues important to new Americans, including our immigrants and refugees.

The NAAC will have 15 members with 10 being members of our new Americans community and 5 being representatives of service providers. The goal is to ensure a diverse membership includes a wide range of ethnicities, experiences and backgrounds that represents the reality of Rochester and its neighborhoods.

The NAAC will meet monthly, as well as, have sub-committees and opportunities to work on projects identified as important by its membership. The most important qualification is a deep and personal understanding of the New American experience in Rochester.

To submit a nomination or ask questions, visit www.CityofRochester.gov/NAAC or email Founding Chair Bijaya Khadka at bijaya.khadka@cityofrochester.gov

Applications will be accepted through September 17, 2021. Selected nominees will be submitted by the Mayor’s Office to City Council for approval by December 1, 2021.

Storytime with Style

A Message from Mayor Warren:

I’m calling on all city barbershops and beauty salons to participate in “Storytime with Style” by joining Frank Riggins, owner of Dream Cuts Barber Shop, and hosting a bookshelf within your establishment so that your young customers can read while they wait! This is an excellent opportunity to support children’s literacy! “In this area, kids need access to books to read more,” said Frank. It’s nice to have books readily available for the kids and teenagers who come through the barbershop daily. I’m honored to participate and contribute to our kids’ literacy. I challenge all barbershops to join us so we can help our kids together!” If you would like a bookshelf and books delivered to your business, contact Camille Miller at (585) 428-6684.

Committee Information

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

Delegates Council

Delegates Council meets virtually on second Thursday of each month at 7pm via Zoom.

Garden Committee

The Garden Committee is seeing spring flowers, once again! Please volunteer if interested!

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.  Scott Beck is the Chair of the Housing Committee.

Schools Committee

The Schools Committee new Chair is Dr. Phyllis Moss. They are continuing to meet and will keep us updated on the good work they’re doing.


Attorneys will be present to help explain the process