The Rochester City Council, on a 6-1 vote, approved a Conservation Corps program that will use $375,000 in federal relief funds to help the city's park system.

Though initially budgeted for $750,000, the smaller amount will still fund 16,000 hours of work. The city plans to contract with five nonprofit organizations, which will hire nearly 70 people who are unemployed or underemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic to plant trees, remove invasive species and clean up parks. The money is part of the $8.8 million Rochester received through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Cleaning up parks and creating jobs for people who need them. Sounds like a win-win to us. Thumbs up.

Permanent closures

Bruegger's Bagels on Elton Hills Drive closed their doors for good last week. The closure is just the latest in a growing list of local eateries that apparently aren't going to survive the pandemic. A sign on the door of the bagel shop blamed the closure on "trying times." No doubt.

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The restaurant biz is notoriously difficult to navigate. Most operate under the slimmest of margins, threatened by food supplies, staff shortages, road construction and even the weather.

Other restaurants that have recently shut their doors, at least temporarily, include:

* Tonic - Local Kitchen & Juice Bar

* Jenpachi Japanese Steak House

* Lettuce Unite

* Cameo at the Castle

* The Loop

* Casablanca Creative Cuisine & Wine

We're hoping that at least some restaurateurs will be resilient enough to re-open at the end of the pandemic., but as long as the doors remain closed, thumbs down. And remember to patronize those places that remain open with outdoor seating, take-out. and delivery.

Sherry Wood

Most people marvel at Sherry Wood's tenure: Almost 50 years at the Rochester Public Library.

She started work as a switchboard operator in February 1973, when she was 19 years old and Richard Nixon was president. During the next 47 years, Wood saw a whirlwind of change at the library, all the while connecting patrons with the materials they wanted.

Wood, now 66, says the many changes made over the years, from typewritten catalog cards to computers – made it easy to stay.

"It was like getting a new job every so many years," she told PB reporter Matt Stolle. Thumbs up.