Monday, December 22, 2014

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Finger Lakes

Fishing for Answers on Irondequoit Bay

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Rochester: Fishing for Answers on Irondequoit Bay
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It's been just over a month since a gunman ambushed firefighters heading to a call on Lake Road in Webster; an attack which left four people dead, including the gunman, and injured a police officer and two firefighters. In the neighborhood, there's at least one sign that life there is moving ahead.

"This is a local treasure that a lot of people dont really realize is here," said Martin Reinhardt.

"It's nice to have it available for everybody to use."

On Irondequoit Bay, 10 degrees is perfect, for some.

"Ah, just ice fishing. Nice day," said Joe Bermette.

"We live up the street about a half mile from here. We come down as often as we can," said Reinhardt.

For ice fishermen, there's nothing brutal about this cold snap.

"It's something to do. Cabin fever, you're in the house, pent up and out here you don't need much equipment. Just a stick, a few lines on it, a few jigs," said Jim Newmiller.

Regulars say the ice fishing on the bay isn't quite what it used to be, and not just because of lower water levels than past years.

"First time I've been out since that happened over here," said Bermette.

What happened, no one could have imagined.

"Pretty sad, man."

The Christmas Eve morning fire and attacks that left four people, including a gunman who took his own life, dead.

"It should have never happened. Should have never happened."

One of the bay's most popular ice fishing spots sits almost directly behind the seven burned out houses where the ambush took place.

"The houses, they're burned out. It's sad, really sad. Actually, the one officer who was killed, a fireman and Webster Police, I was hit by a deer and he took the report. I said jeez, it hits close to home. Really nice guy too, so," Newmiller said.

"This is the first time I saw it down there. Didn't really wanna drive by and see that," said Bermette.

Bermette is among the ice fishermen who realize that the landscape surrounding their fishing spot will never be the same.

"It's heartbreaking. Chills..."

The Christmas Eve morning fires and shootings forever changed the face of this Webster neighborhood, a collection of homes situated between Irondequoit Bay and the Lake Ontario shoreline.

"It puts a sore spot in your heart, but you gotta move on. Think about the families and the community and press forward," Reinhardt said.

A month later, there are signs that life on Lake Road is moving forward. The ice fishermen are back on the bay. A small step, toward a return to what once was.

"They'll rebuild and it will take a few years for people to get over it. What's done is done. Can't bring 'em back. It's a shame." ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP