22 Jun 2018, 5:15pm

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Mary Abrams, Firefighter of the Year

The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin

Mary Abrams, Firefighter of the Year

April 08, 1999


Mary Abrams is one of the people in our neighborhood. She is being honored as the 1999 Walworth Firefighter of the Year in recognition of her many years of service to our community.

Miss Abrams signed up for her first First-aid course 23 years ago, so that she’d know what to do if something happened during one of her 4-H meetings. As a youngster, Mary was an active member of 4-H under the leadership of Abbey Sauer and Les Hall. As an adult, she has her own 4-H group.

“Les was the one who taught me how to make bread,” she softly chuckled. “It is still one of my favorite activities to do with the children.”

Mary also bakes bread for the Baptist Church’s Annual Sheep Shear Festival and numerous baked sales as well as special loaves for shut-ins.

Mary is a 1974 graduate of Wayne Central. The high school teacher she remembers best is Mrs. Carol Spellman (formerly Miss Buish(.

“She taught Home Economics and Child Care,” Abrams said. “I still see her often, because Carol is the Cornell Extension Agent Coordinator of the Youth Programs, which includes 4-H.”

Nine years ago, Mary was looking for a more challenging job than working at the Freund Box Factory and someone suggested she take the Civil Service Exam. She became an aid with the Fingerlakes Developmental Center, working in a group home situation.

“One day, I took several of my clients from the Residence Home to a high school basketball game. I saw a familiar face and said hello even though I couldn’t come up with a name.”

The following day, her boss at the Fingerlakes Developmental Center asked her how she enjoyed the basketball game.

“At first I didn’t make the tie in,” Mary said. “But, the man at the basketball game was my former high school teacher, Dawson Raymos. His wife is my boss!”

During class work with the Palmyra Volunteer Ambulance 12 years ago, she was approached to join the corps, but she wanted to work in her home community, so she joined the Walworth Volunteer Ambulance. Daryl Hall was the Fire Chief at the time.

“I love my job,” Mary said. “In the Fire department office I handle all the paper work. I’m Captain of the ALS (Ambulance Life Support), which means I have to make sure all our drugs are not expired and keep accurate records.  I do tours of the station for scouts and other  groups, as well as teach CPR and First Aid.”

Mary’s many hours of classroom learning, training exercises and on-the-job experiences help her to be able to quickly evaluate what must be done when she goes out on a call. The crew must sometimes figure-out how to extricate a driver trapped in a car, how to get the gurney out of the upstairs bedroom of an older home, and assess an appropriate treatment.

“I love my job,” she said. “Each call is unique and we work as a team to bring the best we can to the patient.”

Mary hopes to become a Paramedic by completing a full year of course work, but she’s not sure when she’ll be finished.

The biggest change during the time Mary has lived here is the population explosion.

“I think this is a positive thing,” she said, “but, the services haven’t been able to keep up with it.”

She cited the number of clients Social Services has placed in Walworth. Some of them don’t have cars and there isn’t any public transportation, so they call the ambulance for a ride into a doctor’s visit. This ties up the ambulance for real medical emergencies.

One of the things that Mary emphasizes to her 4-H members is to treat others as you would want to be treated. She certainly practices what she preaches!

Thank you, Mary Abrams, you are a Walworthian with the accent on WORTH.

2018 Up-Date: From time to time, Mary helps out with the Firemen’s Chicken Barbecue, but, she’s so busy, I haven’t actually caught up to her to chat.


16 Jun 2018, 6:48am

Comments Off on Pottery by Nanette (Mazzuco)

Pottery by Nanette (Mazzuco)

The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin


Pottery by Nanette (Mazzuco)

January 21, 1999


Wouldn’t you love to chuck it all and do just what your heart desires?

Nanette Mazzuco did that a couple of years ago.  She was working for a small independent convenience store chain and felt burned out. An opportunity to be employed part-time rekindled her latent love of throwing pots. She took the chance.

She certainly sounded like a happy camper when I had my

telephone interview with her. She enthusiastically told me how working with pastels and clay sculpturing in college and a Creative Workshop she’d taken at the Memorial Art Gallery, never really left her. She often thought about doing pottery on a more professional level but being fully employed, she didn’t have spare time.

Once in her part-time situation, she did a lot of reading, research and a type of apprenticeship before she actually started throwing pots again. Although functional pots are her bread and butter ware, she is quite excited about a very old, but new to her, technique of firing pots in saw dust.

It is similar to primitive raku but with a modern flavor. She shapes white stone clay on her potter’s wheel and fires it once in her “indoor” kiln. After burnishing, she fires it from 12 hours to 3 days in an “outdoor” kiln fueled with sawdust mixed with organic and inorganic materials.

“It leaves flashes of carbon and other colors on them,” she

said. “Different saw dust and other materials will leave different splashes of color.  It is unique and random and very

challenging. When it works, it is quite beautiful!”

Nanette is experimenting with various sealants in her vases, so they can be used for cut, fresh flowers as well as dried arrangements. Most of her sculptures and vases are for the people with a discriminating taste for collecting art.

“Surprisingly,” she said, “a lot of my pieces are bought by men.”

When she was showing her pieces at the Arts in the Arboretum, on Klem Road, last July, the CEO of a store found in the malls called World of Science. He liked her work and she is trying to decide if that is the right way to go.

She will have her work in the High Falls Art Show sponsored by the United Rochester Area Art Groups beginning January 22, 7:00-9:00 PM. The show and sale will run for a month.

Nanette has lived in Ontario for fifteen years. She participates in a number of artistic groups including the Western Wayne Art Group; The Arabesque Art Gallery in Geneva; the Four Corners Emporium, Penfield; Potpourri of Gifts, Walworth; and the L. W. Emporium, Ontario.

According to the brochure, the Lord Willing Emporium, located in the old Plassche lumber yard with over 15,000square feet, “is part of the a unique Antique and craft shopping experience! 65 of the Finest Antique and Craft Shops located in a Turn of the Century Village!”

Walworth is a turn of the century hamlet and we are delighted to feature Nanette’s work At Potpourri of Gifts.  She joins numerous other local artists who come to Edie Pasquini’s consighment shop to display and discuss their fine arts, crafts and collectibles.

You can contact Nanette Mazzuco by phoning her at 524-9410.

*L. W. Emporium, Rte. 104, Ontario, NY (315)524-8841.

*Potpourri of Gifts, 2256 Walworth-Marion Road, Walworth (315)986-7999.

*Western Wayne Art Group meets every third Tuesday, 7 PM in the Walworth Town Hall, Lorraine Drive, Walworth.

2018 Up-Date: no current information



4 Jun 2018, 5:01pm

Comments Off on Al and Judy Schoonmaker, artists

Al and Judy Schoonmaker, artists

The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin


Al and Judy Schoonmaker, Artists

December 02, 1998

Al and Judy Schoonmaker are two of the local artists that will be showcased during the open house at Potpourri of Gifts on December 4 – 6.

The Schoonmakers use a laser to engrave glass boxes, trophies, brass plates, men’s jewelry boxes and clocks. Actually, the list is endless and their beautiful items must be seen to be appreciated.

If you’d like more information, call the store 986-7999 or give me a call. Let’s chat.

2018 Up-Date: The Schoonmakers have dissolved their business and moved out of state. Apparently, They sold the Laser machine to a headstone cutter.

4 Jun 2018, 11:12am

Comments Off on Larry P. Johnson, guest columnist

Larry P. Johnson, guest columnist


ANOTHER VIEW: So why should I care about that?

by Larry P. Johnson



I am pretty happy the way things are going. The economy is strong. I have a nice house, three TVs, plenty of food in the pantry. The grandkids are doing well in school. There have been no school shootings where they go. My Social Security and Medicare are secure (I think). I voted in the recent primary without any interference, as far as I could tell, from the Russians.


The local police keep crime pretty much under control, away from me. Yes, life is good. The fact that 43 million of my countrymen live at or below the poverty level, more than half a million are homeless and 6 million can’t find jobs doesn’t really affect me personally. So should I care? Unless suddenly, at 84 ,my Social Security or Medicare are severely cut, I am faced with $100,000 in medical bills or a mortgage foreclosure on my house, or one of my grandchildren is killed or wounded in a school shooting.


Unless it happens to me or to a member of my family, it really doesn’t matter. Right? I’m not worried about the Russians or the Chinese or even the Iranians, for that matter. I don’t know any Chinese or Russians, and the only Iranian I know owns a dry-cleaners where I take my suits. So many of us Americans live in a bubble, insulated from the hardships and realities faced by our neighbors. We don’t want to know about their pain or their problems. It’s a whole lot more comfortable to live like an ostrich, with our heads in the sand.


And yet the reality is that in this wealthiest of all nations too many Americans go to bed at night — if they even have a bed to go to — hungry, 10 million of them children. The reality is that sharply rising prescription drug costs are driving people into bankruptcy and they are losing their homes. And the reality is that the Russians did, in fact, interfere with our national elections and will certainly try to do it again.


I should care about you, and you should care about me. Because our lives are intertwined and life’s circumstances are very precarious, and what happens to the neighbor down the street today could very easily happen to you or me tomorrow. So if we don’t care about our neighbors, why should we expect them to care about us?


We also need to be aware of and care about the policies and programs being decided by our elected officials at the local, state and national levels. They definitely do affect us. As we move toward this year’s midterm elections, we need to pay very close attention to what each political candidate is saying, which issues he or she stands for and which ones he or she stands in opposition to. Who are the special interests groups supporting their candidacy and why? Are these candidates really aware of and interested in us?


If we don’t care about what kind of leaders we have, then we will most assuredly have the kind of leaders who don’t care about us. Apathy and indifference not only erode our democracy but our human compassion as a society.


And that’s how I see it.

Larry P. Johnson is very versatile as a memoirist, columnist, and motivational self-esteem author and workshop presenter.

Books by Larry P. Johnson:

“And that’s how I see it.: Volume 1-2 selected”

“Mexico by Touch”

“You can if you think you can: rebound from adversity and follow your dreams : simple strategies to achieve success and happiness in your life”

2 Jun 2018, 11:41am

Comments Off on The Walworthians: Ed Garbowski, Wood-crafter

The Walworthians: Ed Garbowski, Wood-crafter

The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin


Ed Garbowski, Wood-crafter

August 05, 1998

Ed Garbowski and his mother, Barbara, are two local artists who have found Walworth a friendly place to do business. Barbara is an avid cross stitcher and came to the Cross Stitch Corner for supplies. Ed works in wood and once they met Pat and Edie, they realized what a perfect outlet Potpourri of Gifts would be for their handcrafted items.

“We felt like family right from the beginning,” Barbara said. “They are so friendly and enthusiastic.”

Ed Garbowski, Jr. enjoys making small scale storage chests, planters and Shaker style tables. He credits his mother for his artistic ability.

“Mom saw a side-board when I was attending R.I.T.,” he said, “She wanted it a specific size. I found I have a knack of seeing something and being able to make it without a pattern.”

Barbara painstakingly stains or paints Ed’s projects and then stencils or paints a design in free hand. She uses non-toxic paints with a polyurethane finish. She is thinking about using beeswax as the final touch.

Years ago Barbara worked in a fabric store and made all her daughter Christine’s clothes. She found making cloth dolls, bears and bunnies a natural thing to do. Her transition to wood began with making a Scottie dog. She taught herself how to paint by seeing a picture she liked and very carefully and slowly copied it onto a Jelly cabinet Ed had made for her.

Ironically, Ed, Sr. was given the band saw as a gift, but now shares it with Ed, Jr. Some of the tables at Potpourri of Gifts are Ed, Sr.

This dynamic and lively mother-son team are delighted to find Walworth the perfect outlet for the items they so obviously love to make.

“We want to make quality hand crafted items that people can afford,” Barbara and Ed said. “We’re part of the Giggling Pig Craft Co-op in Caledonia, but Potpourri of Gifts is local for us and just perfect.”

The Garbowskis decorated tables, chests, planters and sewn crafts were introduced during Potpourri of Gifts’ recent Christmas in July Sale.

“Ed and Barbara’s things were very popular,” said Edie Pasquini, proprietress of Potpourri of Gifts. “It has always been my dream to have a central place for local artists to come, meet and share their fine art. Pat and I look forward to doing more consignment business with and for them.”

Hm-m-m-m. Ed and Barbara told me they get their ideas from books with photos of antiques. I wonder if Ed has ever seen a Captain’s chart chest made from Oak?

Cross Stitch Corner and Potpourri of Gifts are located in the Walworth Seely Building (across from the post office), 2256 Walworth-Marion Road, 315-986-7999.

2018 Up-Date: As you know by now, the Potpourri Of Gifts is out of business, except by special order. I’m still looking for a Captain’s chart chest made from Oak.

23 May 2018, 6:20am

Comments Off on Friendship Recipe

Friendship Recipe

I first used this poem in  May, 1999 and listed it as author unknown. When I googled the first line  today, I found this author’s name. She was, allegedly, born in 1985. Do you have any information on this poem and author?

Recipe For Friendship

Attributed to aashka thakkar

`Fold two hands together with an expressed dash of sorrow,

Marinate it overnight

And work on it tomorrow.

Chop one grudge in tiny pieces,

Add several cups of love,

Dredge with a large sized smile.

Mix with the ingredients above.

Dissolve the hate within you

By doing a good deed,

Cut in and help your friend

If he should be in need,

Stir in laughter, love, and kindness

From the heart it has to come.

Toss with genuine forgiveness

And give your neighbor some.

The amount of people served

Will depend on you.

It can serve the whole wide world

If you really want it to.


10 May 2018, 8:16am

Comments Off on The Walworthians: Arturo DeVitalis, Potter

The Walworthians: Arturo DeVitalis, Potter

The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin

Arturo DeVitalis, Potter

December 03, 1997

“We can see so much more with our hands,” Arturo DeVitalis recently told me during our telephone interview.

Arturo is a potter who has been nurturing the gift of working with his hands for the past 25 of his 71 years.

“A man about in his 60s helped me unload my car at the Art Gallery one day,” he continued. “I noticed the pottery pieces next to this man and remarked how wonderful they were. He told me he was a surgeon. He, too, used his hands to see.”

Arturo uses his hands to shape lumps of clay into beautiful fire stoneware pottery.

“I’d like my pottery to enhance the sharing of food as people sit around a table,”  he said. “My values are hearth and home.”

Although he was born in New Jersey, he worked for a while for Texas Instruments in Texas, but moved to the Rochester area where his sister lived. He took a pottery course at the Rochester Art Gallery and knew it was what he wanted to do instead of a “straight” job.

“Something led me to it,” he said. “It still feels right’ to me.”

Arturo has two kilns to fire his pots. One is a 15 cubic foot kiln he uses for the first firing. The second is a larger, 65 cubic feet gas kiln for the final firing. The glazes he uses are, of course, lead-free and non-toxic. The colors are deep oranges, blues, tans and rich earth tones.

Each piece is decorated by carving or brush techniques that highlight that piece’s beauty and function.

You can feel if Arturo’s pottery is right for you at the Potpourri of Gifts and The Cross Stitch Corner Open House Friday, December 5 from 11:00 AM-8:00 PM; Saturday, December 6 from 11:00-5:00 and Sunday, December 7 from Noon-4:00 PM.

Arturo will be there to share his creations with you on Saturday morning. Be sure to ask him about the time a wild, 40-pound raccoon nuzzled him under his grey beard.

The Open House will also feature Connie Flood with her Barbie Doll creations and Barbie make overs and Michelle Stoneham with her American Girl Doll Clothes.

The proprietress of Potpourri of Gifts, Edie Pasquini, assures me there will be lots of in-store specials, tasty treats and an ornament drawing every hour on Saturday.

I know about Edie’s tasty treats! That’s why I’ll be there all day Saturday with my children’s book “The Night Search” to sell and sign. I’m going to donate a portion of my book proceeds to Guiding Eyes for the Blind. This is where Future was bred and trained. Eventually, I’ll be there to train with a new dog.

Potpourri of Gifts and The Cross Stitch Corner are located at 2256 Walworth-Marion Road. Phone: 315-986-7999.


2018 Up-Date: Alas, Arturo has moved to Florida with a wife. Potpourri of Gifts and the Cross-Stitch Corner are no longer doing business.


3 May 2018, 8:06am

Comments Off on The Walworthians: John K. Reed

The Walworthians: John K. Reed

The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin


John K. Reed, Veteran

November 05, 1997


Talk about a coincidence and fact being stranger than fiction! Here’s a true mystery about a veteran’s missing memorial marker.

When Arlene Youngman’s older brother, John K. Reed died in September of 1978, his daughters, Donna Johnville and Gail Shepter, both of  Webster, wanted to have a Veteran Administration’s marker put on their father’s grave. He had been a Sargeant in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II.

They ordered the brass plaque, but it didn’t arrive in time for the funeral which was handled by Murphy’s Funeral Home, Ontario with burial in the Walworth Cemetery.

As a matter of fact, it didn’t arrive at all.

They tried to contact the VA and trace down the plaque, but, to no avail. In military parlance, that’s called SNAFU (Situation Normal: All Fouled Up).

In June, 1996, Bill Youngman and his long-time friend, Bill Suwijn, were working in the Walworth Cemetery. They are both on the Cemetery Committee and periodically work on the grounds.

“Were is John’s VA plaque?”  Bill Suwijn asked, noticing there wasn’t one on John’s grave.

Bill said, “It was ordered, but never came.”

It reminded Bill that when he and his wife, Arlene, were in Clifton Springs for a funeral, they’d seen a plaque with the name John K. Reed. Maybe it was Arlene’s brother?

Bill and Arlene Youngman contacted Patrick’s Funeral Home. The funeral director explained that He’d been visiting a monument maker in Warsaw and took this one as a sample, so, people could see what they look like.

The plaque is just sent and there is no way to trace it back if it is sent to the wrong place.

It is a standard VA brass plaque with the veteran’s name, rank, branch of service, date of birth and the date of death on it.

This one read: John K. Reed, Sargeant, United States Army, July 3, 1921 – September 12, 1978. With verifying documentation, they confirmed that it was, indeed, Arlene’s brother’s plaque.

Finally, after 18 years, John K. Reed’s grave in the Walworth Cemetery on Sherbourne Road is commemorated with a brass Veteran’s Administration memorial plaque.

Now, everyone can rest in peace.



26 Apr 2018, 5:03am

Comments Off on The Walworthians: Gary C. Borkhuis

The Walworthians: Gary C. Borkhuis

The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin

Gary C. Borkhuis

November 08, 1997.

Gary C. Borkhuis is one of the people in our neighborhood. He is a dedicated family man, entrepreneur and very active in our local community.

In 1967, Gary and his wife, Connie, were living in a rented home on Bills Road. They bought 5-1/2 acres from her uncle, George Frey and began to build the home they still live in today.

“I’ve always been an avid do-it-yourselfer,” Gary said. “I get it from my dad, I think, because, when I was thirteen, he built our home. It planted the seed for me to build my own home.”

Gary spoke about how he and Connie had an active hand in every inch of building their home, from pouring foundations to shingling the roof, to installing solar panels.

In 1969, they moved into their new home with their infant son, Michael. As they continued to work on finishing their home, they also added to their family: Rhonda, Michelle and David.

Gary, whose birthday is December 12th,  was graduated from Penfield High School in 1959 with a Regents Diploma. His special areas of interest were math, science and Industrial Arts. He joined the work force at Kodak through the Apprenticeship Program.   He took several engineering courses during his tenure at Kodak and accepted early retirement in 1991.

Well, he didn’t actually retire, he just retreaded. He took courses at FLCC in Horticulture and began a Tree Planting Business.

It seemed to me to be a big jump from tree planting to the car wash business, so, I asked Gary how he got interested in car washing.

“When I was a legislative assistant to Bob Oaks in 1993 and 1994,” he said, “I had to drive to Lyons several days a week. I’d pass a little car wash on the east side of Newark. I’m mechanically inclined and I wondered how it worked.”

Gary researched various car wash businesses and liked what he’d learned. It was a self-serve cash business where the customer provides his own labor and on-site inventory is low.

As he was planning his own car wash, he consulted with architects to design a building that would be both functional and efficient. He invested in quality equipment to maximize water efficiency. The reverse osmosis filter system assures each customer a quality, spot-free rinse.

He also collaborated with Barbara Cotnam of Creative Landscape Designs, because he felt an obligation to do a quality job of landscaping his business site to meld with the up-scale neighborhood.

Now that he has his own car wash in the Gananda section of Walworth, he’s finding out that owning a business that is open 24-hours a day is a lot like owning a dairy herd!

“We have to check on the building, supplies and machines several times a day!”  He lamented. “We will have to hire someone to take care of the car wash whenever we go to visit one of our grown-up children.”

Gary feels that the Gananda area has, of course, made the biggest change in the town make-up since he’s been living here, and yet, Walworth has the feel of the old Penfield area he grew up in years ago.

“I’d like to see more business development brought into Walworth,” he said. “I’d like to have the area from West Walworth to Canandaigua Road, zoned a commercial/industrial corridor. We need to have a bank, grocery store, a restaurant and a drug store to revitalize the hamlet. Maybe even a Senior Citizen’s Complex.”

Oh, Dear Gussie, spoken like a real politician! Actually, Gary has given a lot of thought about what he’d like to facilitate in our town and how to do it. He is running for Walworth Town Supervisor.

Hm-m-m-m, I could advise him about blending an up-scale Senior Living Center with a quality Child Day-Care Center!

Well, whatever the election out-come is, Gary, thank you for being a Walworthian with the accent on worth.

2018 Up-Date: Obituary: Borkhuis, Gary C.

West Walworth: Tuesday, April 30, age 71, peacefully at home surrounded by his family after a hard fought battle with cancer. Predeceased by his parents, Claude and Helen Borkhuis and his sister, Sharon Wink. Survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Connie Frey Borkhuis; 4 children, Michael Borkhuis, Rhonda Borkhuis, Michelle (Brian Whitcomb) Borkhuis, David (Gianna) Borkhuis; 7 grandchildren, Jonah, Liam and Sam Whitcomb, Catalina, Marianna and Calvin Borkhuis and Macarana Dias; brothers, Ronald (Donna Lowry) and Dale Borkhuis; several nieces and nephews.

Gary retired from Eastman Kodak Co. He served on the Walworth Town Board and owned and operated Quality Tree Planters, Fairway Car Wash and Evergreen Hills Self Storage. He was a long time member of the Pultneyville Mariners Sailing Club.

Friends may call 12-3PM Saturday, May 11th at Willard H. Scott Funeral Home, 12 South Ave., Webster with services to be held immediately following. A celebration of Gary’s life will continue at West Walworth Fire Hall, 3870 West Walworth Rd., Walworth, NY 14502. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the West Walworth Fire Department or the Wilmot Cancer Center.

Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on May 5, 2013


20 Apr 2018, 7:29am

Comments Off on The Walworthians: Jay Harding, Canal Lock #60

The Walworthians: Jay Harding, Canal Lock #60

Jay Harding, Canal Lock #60

November 01, 1997

The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin




Jay Harding, Canal Lock #60

November 01, 1997


There are 363 miles of the Erie Canal running from Buffalo to Albany. Many people gave their blood and sweat, not to mention their lives, just to construct the Macedon corridor of the old Erie Canal. Their efforts are not going to be just a note in the history books.

The Green Way Project, the Restoration of Lock 60 and the Revitalization of the Canal Trail are three efforts that will become living museums. There is a State Trail System for walking that will eventually hook Albany and Buffalo. In the Turk Hill area, a 10-mile stretch of the walking trail is now open.

Locally, Jay Harding, an Electrical Engineer with Rochester General, conducted narrative walks In Palmyra Between Maple Street and Aqueduct Park During Canaltown Days this year.

“I have Canal Fever,” Jay says. “My curiosity about a rock I used to drive by has turned into a job with no pay!

He took his children, Megan and Matthew, to see Lock 60 and now he has an insatiable hunger to know as much as he can about the structures and history connected with the canal.

For example, originally there were two change bridges in Macedon. The committee recently rescued an 1858 change bridge that a farmer had moved to Garangua Creek. The bridge was originally located in Aqueduct Park.

The change bridge allows animals to move from one side of the canal to another.

This one is the only surviving, dated, cast-iron change bridge. Most of the others were dismantled for the metal.

Other structures of interest are two modern Barge Locks, 29 and 30; an old, abandoned Power House; the spill-way into Mud Creek at Aqueduct Park; and, of course, the large section of the old Clinton’s Ditch that is located in the Macedon-Palmyra corridor.

The committee has been financing restoration and research projects through low interest loans and HUD Grants.

The new funds that were recently allocated in New York are ear-marked for the Mid-Lakes Navigation and will be supporting new marinas and services spaced a half-day’s trip from each other along the canal. The funds will not be available for the Lock 60 Restoration.

Greg Stearns, a Brighton Fireman who lives in Walworth, is one of the handful of volunteers who believe in the value of restoring Lock 60. He bought a second-hand mower to keep the grounds neat.

“I bought the mower,” he said, “because mowing is a great stress reducer. And, besides,  you can’t see the beauty of Lock 60 unless the grass is cut.”

About five years ago, Greg read an article about the work Bill Ryder was doing on Lock 60. He phoned Bill and decided to visit the site.

“The first time I walked through it,” he said, “I could almost feel what it must have been like when people were building it. It was like an on-the-job technical school. It’s important to me to preserve our heritage.”

Bill Ryder was bitten by the Canal Bug in 1986.

“Randy Conard, a Macedon Elementary teacher, asked me to teach a students’ workshop. I said I didn’t know what to do it on and she suggested the lock off Quaker Road. I’ve lived near the canal a long time, but, I had no idea there was a lock there.!”

The first time he visited Lock 60, he had to fight his way through sumac, weeds and trees that had all but taken over the entire north and south sections. Bill began reading all the books he could find on the early canal.

“Mostly it was to stay one step ahead of the kids,” Bill exclaimed, “but, then I found I really enjoyed it and kept digging deeper.

One of the facts he discovered was that around 1963 or so, Dave Tabor and the Yorker’s Club cleaned out the lock. The trees had begun to push the big stones along the walls out of place. They didn’t have enough man-power to do a thorough job, but it helped to push back the ravages of time and nature.

In 1976, Gus Marvin and John Zimmer were instrumental in getting the town to donate gravel and highway workers to donate their time to put in a gravel access road from Quaker Road.

“I’m hoping that people will realize what a valuable resource we have here. It’s a living legend,” he said. “We’re here because of what has happened in the past.”

Bill feels a personal tie to the canal. His ancestors were among the early settlers in Lyons.

“There used to be an historic marker near the old bridge they took down,” he said. “I think the marker is in the Canal Park now.”

The volunteers who work on the research, restoration and preservation of Lock 60 are of like mind: This is our heritage. With a little bit of kind care and attention now, the life of these monuments marking our progress as a people, can be preserved for another century.

If you would like to join this elite, volunteer corps, contact Jay Harding at 597-2651 or Bill Ryder at 986-4721.