WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Veronica Volk

Veronica Volk is the Great Lakes Reporter/Producer for WXXI News, exploring environmental and economic issues, water, and wildlife throughout the region for radio, television, and the web.

Previously, she worked general assignment for the newsroom, covering everything from medical marijuana dispensaries to the photonics industry. She is currently producing and co-hosting a true-crime podcast called Finding Tammy Jo with Gary Craig of the Democrat and Chronicle.

Veronica got her start as an enterprise reporter in the Bronx for WFUV Public Radio, and later became the senior producer of their weekly public affairs show Cityscape. She holds a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies from Fordham University and is originally from the Jersey Shore, which is nothing like how it is portrayed on MTV.

Rob Buono is the manager of Bay Side Pub on Lake Road in Webster.

He says between the high water levels on Lake Ontario and a rainy spring and summer, things have been slower than usual, but he’s trying to make the best of it.

"We made up these hats, that say come hell or high water, the bay side is open and that’s been out motto this summer."

Buono says their backyard is under water, but they still have outdoor seating and space for live music and events, so it could be a lot worse.

The Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Alliance has been rallying against lake level management Plan 2014, saying it is responsible for flooding and property damage along the south shore.

In a press release, the Alliance announced they are taking several steps toward legal action against the International Joint Commission, the group responsible for overseeing Great Lakes management.

Specifically, they’re asking President Trump to revoke an executive order that exempts the IJC from lawsuits.

The playground at Goodwin Park is under water in some places. Across the flooded creek that separates the park from Edgemere Drive, pumps are running constantly to keep water out of people’s homes and the street.

Senator Schumer says they’re looking at short term relief for homeowners, business owners, and municipalities. He also vowed to do more.

"We need long term relief so this never happens again."

As Lake Ontario sits at record high levels, lakefront homeowners continue to do what they can to protect themselves and their properties.

Joe Martin lives on Edgemere Drive. He says he’s been hit pretty hard by the flooding, but some of his neighbors have it worse.

"Many people have water in their house. We have wet basements. Trying to keep up with sump pumps so they don’t fail."

Although the weather is currently favorable, with light winds and no precipitation, those living on the shoreline know that can change at any moment.

Bill Deasy is stacking sandbags on the edge of his property in Webster, trying to keep the waves of Lake Ontario at bay.

"I hope the lake stays where it is and my house stays here."

So far the water hasn’t come into his home – yet. But the water is expected to continue to rise over the next one to three weeks, and a change in wind direction is all it would take to bring down this wall of sandbags.

"Every day the lake is different – waves, wind…"

Despite the high water, Sodus Point Mayor Dave McDowell says the village is in good shape for the season.

"We were a lot more prepared this year."

McDowell says they learned a lot from 2017 and have been preparing for potential flooding since January.

On Tuesday, high water levels and winds caused flooding on Edgemere Drive in Greece. Though the water has receded, the cleanup continues.

Karen Marsh is wearing pink canvas gloves as she wrestles with debris in her yard on Edgemere Drive.

She says she left her house at 9:30 the morning of the flood, the street was clear.

"Came back an hour and a half later and my entire home had water all the way around it. It’s not something I would want for anyone."

New commissioners with the International Joint Commission were in Greece Tuesday to visit the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

Laura Jacket lives in North Greece, right on the water, and all year she’s been watching the lake climb slowly higher.

"If you go up right now up to Edgemere Drive and Long Pond and Lowden, you’ll cry if you care about it at all. Because the road is shut down and the water is coming through people’s houses and it’s up to my house now on North Drive."

Business along the lake shore are trying to get the word out that they are open for business, despite high water levels.

Allison Mayer is the manager of Mayer's Marina. The business is on Lake Road in Webster, right between the Irondequiot Bay and Lake Ontario. She says they took a hit in the 2017 floods, but also that they were better prepared when the water started to rise this year.

Around Sodus Point you can already see the effects of high water levels. Take Arney’s Marina on the bay -- their service dock is underwater, and a pump runs constantly to keep water out of the building.

Mayor Dave McDowell says they filled hundreds of sandbags Wednesday and are going to start setting them up around the village next week. He's also declaring a state of emergency this week in order to set up equipment like pumps and hoses throughout town.