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Paper pushing 

The only show of its kind between Hartford and Chicago, the Antique Paper Show is a paper dealer's exposition in HoneoyeFalls. For one day each year, the village high school's gymnasium fills with shuffling collectors flipping through stacks of old postcards and coffee-sipping dealers chirruping over the prices of their most treasured items. It's like a makeshift museum, except you can fondle anything you like.

Former South Wedge historian, cobblestone house owner, postal-service worker, and postcard enthusiast Josh Canfield founded the show seven years ago. "It's growing every year," he says.

Canfield owns one of the largest collections of Rochester-area postcards, thanks to a large set he inherited 16 years ago. Much of his collection depicts the city at the height of the industrial revolution, from roughly 1890 to 1920. "Rochester was a busy, busy city," he says.

One of Canfield's most valuable cards is from 1911. It's a motorcycle rally sponsored by "Indian Motorcycles" with the UpperFalls in the background. "It's one or two of a kind. Of all the other dealers I've spoken with, not one has seen it. I'm not sure if there's another one out there." Canfield also deals and collects rare "real photo" postcards, which are photographs developed directly on card stock and routinely made in sets of 10 or less.

This year at the Paper Show you'll be able to browse through "stamps, old sports programs, maps, sheet music, photographs, postcards, ephemera, and basically anything made of paper," Canfield says. "A woman called from Syracuse looking for paper money. And yeah, we'll have a dealer here with paper money. This is something where people come specifically looking for paper products, they don't want to see glassware."

The Paper Show takes place on Saturday, May 21, in the Honeoye Falls-Lima Central High School "B" Gymnasium, 20 Church Street, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., $3 (proceeds benefit the Honeoye Falls-Mendon Historical Society). 582-1438.

--- Michael Neault


Pesticide law ok?

It took a little while to happen, but the pesticide notification law now appears poised for approval in the Monroe County Legislature.

The law will require lawn-care companies who plan to spray pesticides to notify neighbors of the property being sprayed at least 48 hours beforehand. Seven other counties have opted into the same legislation, (Erie and Tompkins in this part of the state), and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg signed a similar law last week.

The MonroeCounty bill has the support of County Executive Maggie Brooks, but --- in a rare intra-party split --- it's opposed by a few Republican legislators.

Republican Majority Leader Bill Smith downplays the division in his camp.

"There are one or two members of our caucus who aren't happy with it," he says, "but the overwhelming majority are behind it."

Smith predicts that the legislation will come to a vote at the June Lej meeting and that --- despite attempts to hammer out a compromise --- the original proposal will pass.

The legislation was probably a hotter issue than elected officials had counted on, and some of them seem to be feeling some real heat from constituents. Plenty of laws are controversial. But this one --- more than most --- has stirred up fierce support and opposition, much of it at a truly grassroots level.

Local and statewide environmental groups, along with public-health advocates like the Breast Cancer Coalition, are ardent backers. Lawn-care industry professionals, understandably, loathe it. Emotions on both side run deep.

But so, too, do solid arguments.

Proponents cast the debate in "right-to-know" terms: They say the chemicals are dangerous and they have the right to know what chemicals neighbors are using.

Opponents say the law is "cumbersome" and will deliver only administrative headaches and expense, not better-informed consumers. They want a voluntary registry instead.

Both sides say that scientific research backs up their position. But ultimately it'll fall to politicians in government --- not scientists in their labs and peer-reviewed journals --- to make the decision.


What timing!

Just two days after City's article exploring labor-management tensions at the Democrat and Chronicleand the daily's relationship to parent corporation Gannett, Editor and Publisher Online reported top executive salaries at major media companies.

Wanna guess who came out Number 1?

At $7.8 million in salary and bonuses, the top five executives at Gannett raked in the highest compensation of anyone in the business. They also picked up $1.8 million in long-term compensation. The next nearest was the New York Times Company, at $7.2 million and $1.9 million respectively.

Gannett also had the highest-paid executive in the business, CEO Doug McCorkindale, whose $4.1 million pay was more than double the industry median of $1.8 million for that position.

Members of the local Newspaper Guild, the newsroom union at the Democrat and Chronicle,have been complaining about what they say is the stinginess of the local paper and the Gannett company. The D&C and Gannett, Guild leaders say, value profits over journalism, paying low salaries, shrinking the news staff, and hurting the quality of the paper.


Monroe visions

In October, about 100 people --- residents, architects, city officials --- spent a day brainstorming what the city neighborhood known as Upper Monroe might become. At a public meeting next week, they move from brainstorming into planning.

The area under study is bounded by I-490, Monroe Avenue, and Culver Road and includes not only houses and commercial buildings but also two significant landmarks: CobbsHillPark and the Culver Road Armory.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, at New Life Presbyterian Church, Monroe Avenue at Rosedale Street. The RochesterRegionalCommunityDesignCenter will present its summary of last fall's brainstorming, focusing on several specific ideas that have a chance at becoming reality.

Among the suggestions in the October session, for example, was a pedestrian-bicycle bridge over I-490 from Rosedale Street to Berkeley Street, too expensive a project to be a short-term priority. But there were also suggestions for smaller steps: street furnishings, crosswalks, improvements to CobbsHillPark along Culver Road.

The May 24 program is sponsored by the Upper Monroe Planning Collaborative and the Upper Monroe Neighborhood Association. Organizers say they hope area residents and business owners will come that afternoon and comment on the ideas. The DesignCenter will take that input and put together a final report, ready for presentation to the public around the beginning of August.


Number crunch

Just how much can a mayor control anyway?

Everybody's speculating about who Rochester's next mayor will be. But there's not been much talk about what that person will be able to accomplish. The mayor's actions will be severely limited by money.

When Mayor Bill Johnson unveiled his $403 million 2005-2006 city budget proposal last week, control was the undertone.

Once again, the city finds itself resting its fiscal fate with Albany. Johnson's hoping the State Legislature will authorize an additional $4 million in aid for the city. If it does, that'll help prevent a 4.32 percent average property-tax increase for homeowners. Even if that $4 mil is approved, the average homeowner will get a 1.49 percent tax increase.

The new state budget provides a bit of grim context, something Johnson calls "huge storm clouds ahead." The budget decreased aid to Rochester in 2005-2006 by $3.5 million. And aid is expected to keep dwindling through 2008.

As it has throughout its tenure, the Johnson administration was quick to point out that cities like Syracuse and Buffalo get far more state money than Rochester. Then there's the state constitution, which limits how much the state's largest cities can raise in taxes. And there's the way sales-tax money is distributed. It's based on population instead of need, and Rochester's population is dropping, but its needs are rising. And then there's Rochester's overwhelming concentration of poverty, which limits many city residents' ability to absorb tax increases.

Johnson's not the only one talking about this stuff. Ben Douglas, who chairs City Council's finance and public safety committee, is right there with him.

"It's a shame the way the dynamics work," Douglas says. "You never get rewarded for good financial management. You only get rescued if you're in the hole. And we've avoided going into the hole. We've avoided needing the state to come in here and take over our finances." That's what happened not too long ago in Buffalo, which, at last count, was going to land $62.2 million more in state aid this year than Rochester.

Headline making

The nation's inner-city public schools make the news more often for their academic problems than for their successes. But one Rochester school is getting lots of positive attention: Wilson Magnet School on Genesee Street is 27th this year on Newsweek's annual list of the "100 Best High Schools in America."

Also on the list: Pittsford Mendon, 39th; Brighton, 47th; and Pittsford Sutherland, 78th. Wilson's ranking was particularly impressive, given its relatively high student poverty rate of 63 percent (based on the percentage who qualify for free lunches). That figure is the second highest of the 100 schools. (Pensacola High School in Florida, ranked 8th, has the same poverty rate, and University Park Campus School in Wooster, Massachusetts, ranked 68th, has a poverty rate of 76 percent.) Many of the top 100 had poverty rates of less than 5 percent.

Newsweek bases its rankings on the percentage of students taking Advance Placement and/or International Baccalaureate tests. "Although that doesn't tell the whole story about a school," says Newsweek, "it's one of the best measures available to compare a wide range of students' readiness for higher-level work...."

Wilson, an IB magnet school, is heavily oversubscribed, and the Rochester school district is expanding it into nearby James Madison.


Street talk

Kodak may be a shadow of its former self, but it's still a big deal to investors and the media. And when Kodak got a new leader last week, it was big news all over the place.

Some business writers tried to inject a little drama into the change (Business Week  talked about a "sudden announcement" and said outgoing Chair and CEO Dan Carp is "leaving much earlier than expected." The Wall Street Journal media said it was a "surprisingly early departure.") But there was praise for both Carp and new chief Antonio Perez --- and for Kodak which, said Business Week,"has defied skeptics" with its ascension to the top spot in digital-camera sales in the US.

The Rochester Business Journal quotes Perez as saying Kodak's headquarters will stay in Rochester.

But there was skepticism and pessimism, too. Andy Serwer's "Street Life" column in Fortune quotes an e-mail from an anonymous former Kodak exec, predicting that Kodak's medical imaging "is toast" and that its printing business won't survive.

And both the Journal and Business Week noted that despite Kodak's digital achievement, Perez has his work cut out for him. With its increased debt to help finance digital, and film sales plummeting, Perez will have to cut costs to keep the company healthy. Growth in digital sales won't be enough to offset the losses from film. And cost cutting may very well mean more layoffs.

Said BW: "Kodak still has a chance of pulling off the transformation that eluded AT&T, Polaroid, and other icons that sank as new technology undercut their businesses. But Perez has a long way to go. And as more folks switch to digital, he and Kodak are racing the clock."

From RBJ, this quote from Perez: "We have to become a growth company A company that doesn't grow inevitably is going to be doing layoffs. The answer for layoffs is growth, and the only opportunity for growth is digital. We can't grow film any more."

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