It took fencer Felicia Zimmermann a while to recover from a disappointing performance at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

            "I'm like, 'I suck so bad! I suck!'" she remembers now with a self-deprecating laugh. "I was lost for a long time. I was really upset."

            But Zimmermann, who lives in Rush and trains at the Rochester Fencing Club on Culver Road, rallied in time to win the bronze medal at the 2001 World Championships. She was also on the US team at the 2000 Olympiad in Sydney, Australia. It finished fourth.

            "We call it the leather medal," she says.

            Sydney was supposed to be the end. Zimmermann finished an engineering degree at Stanford and entered the workaday world.

            "It just didn't feel right. I kept thinking about fencing," she says.

            Now Zimmermann, 28, is immersed in training for her third and final Olympics. She'll find out in March if she'll be her sport's US representative at the 2004 Olympiad in Athens, Greece --- the cradle of the Olympic Games.

            "I think it'll be very interesting compared to Sydney and Atlanta, because they're making such a huge emphasis on the cultural Olympiad," she says. "You could be one of the Olympians in the Greek sense."

            Zimmermann's main competition for the slot is her younger sister Iris, 23.

            "It's just another competitor, but it's a little tough," she says. "[In] my position as the older sister, I'm always looking out for the younger sister."

            Zimmermann is involved in a fierce physical and mental routine for her final Olympic bid. Long days training are balanced with studies in Tai Chi and Qui Gong.

            Walking out onto the field during opening ceremonies is "the most amazing experience of my entire life," she says.

            "You realize at that moment a huge sense of accomplishment because you can't go any higher than you are right now," she says. "You're part of the best of the best."

            Post-Athens, Zimmermann isn't sure where life will take her. She'll always be involved in fencing, she says, but she's also interested in other fields of study such as strategy consulting, advertising, and marketing.

            "I'm going to be at least 100, so I know I can do everything," she says. "Just one thing at a time."

--- Christine Carrie Fien

Happy trails, part 2

The Genesee Transportation Council's "Regional Trails Initiative" is jogging right along. And it's not only about recreation and nature-gazing. Planners also want to enhance local trail systems to encourage non-motorized commuting. (Right now we're cruising toward the less-than-honorable title of "non-attainment area" for ground-level ozone --- so we'd do well to convert people from horsepower to pedal-power and shoe leather.)

            Phase 1 of the trails initiative focused on developing and improving dedicated trails for uses like hiking and biking within Monroe County and in adjacent developed sections of Livingston, Ontario, and Wayne counties.

            Now Phase 2 is underway, and the focus is on trails outside the Phase 1 area: Genesee, Orleans, Seneca, Wyoming, and Yates counties. (Some trails are set aside for snowmobiling, by the way.) A "Draft Regional Trails Initiative --- Phase 2 Public Review Document" is now available for a 30-day public review, ending Friday, January 30. And GTC has announced a series of eight "public input meetings" to be held over the next few weeks throughout the Phase 2 area.

            Input meetings will take place this week in Newark, Albion, Penn Yan, and Waterloo. Get the full schedule and other information by calling GTC at 585-232-6240, or by visiting, where you'll find the entire Phase 2 document. You can also view the document by walking or running to your county's "central repository library," or to the planning offices in your particular county seat. (Again, call GTC or visit the website for locations.)

            There's something in this ambitious plan for everyone and every part of the region. Take these "planned" or merely "suggested" new stone-dust trails for biking and hiking: a 6-mile, $1.2 million "Alexander to Attica" trail, extending the Groveland Secondary Trail; a 6.8-mile, $1.4 million "Clyde-to-Savannah" rail/trolley trail; and a 1.5-mile, $319,000 "Erie Canal-Glenwood Lake Connector Trail" in Orleans County.

That makes four

With the likely departure of President Dennis Pelletier, four seats will be up for grabs this fall in the Monroe County Legislature.

            Pelletier, 54, is County Executive Maggie Brooks' choice to head up the county Water Authority. Pelletier would replace acting executive director Ray Benshoff. Benshoff stepped in when John Stanwix retired a year ago.

            The job pays about $132,000 a year.

            If he takes the job, Pelletier will resign from the legislature.

            A resident of Spencerport, Pelletier, a Republican, has been in the legislature since 1993. He has been president since 1998.

            Three other seats will be contested in the county lej this year. Republicans Tracy Logel and George Wiedemer resigned after winning election as Chili and Penfield supervisors, respectively. Republican Sean Hanna resigned.

Power surge

If you've listened to 90.1 WGMC FM over the past decade you've heard no shortage of tower-in-the-sky wishes for a more powerful antenna. Now the new antenna, boosting power from 2,000 to 15,000 watts, is a reality. And the station is celebrating.

            A Power-Up Party takes place next Wednesday (January 14) from 4 to 7 p.m. at the studio, 750 Maiden Lane in Greece (Door #4, top floor). Listeners, many of whom contributed to the tower fund, are invited for food and live music by the Vince Ercolamento Quintet featuring Ercolamento, sax; Mike Kaupa, trumpet; Mark Manetta, guitar; Dan Vitale, bass; and Steve Curry, drums, along with other special guests.

            After the power boost, the station's signal should stretch throughout the six-county area all the way from Canandaigua to Batavia and beyond.

            "After 30 years on the air, WGMC is ready to truly become Rochester's jazz station," says Jason Crane, station manager. "A power increase is a very rare thing in radio, and it's an even rarer thing for a jazz station. Our staff and volunteers have poured their love of the music into this project, and we're all thrilled at the result."

            Crane is quick to add that the station actually didn't raise enough money to pay for the entire project and has gone into debt to meet the deadline. "Now we really need Rochester's jazz fans and arts supporters to help us move forward."

--- Ron Netsky

Correcting ourselves

Several words were mistakenly deleted from a paragraph on Rudy's Oven in Adam Wilcox's last food review ("Going South in a good way," December 30, 2003). The full paragraph should have read:

            In six years at Rudy's Oven (650 South Avenue), Steve Conversi has established himself as a neighborhood character. Stop by Tuesday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Saturday to 4:30), for Steve's rotating menu of breads and entertaining conversation on just about any topic. The loaves are smaller and less expensive than at most "artisan" bakeries, suiting family appetites and budgets perfectly.

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