Women’s history came alive at the Webster Public Library

1 Apr

Many thanks to everyone who came out on Thursday afternoon to the Webster Public Library to take part in the Webster Women — Past and Present program organized by the Webster Museum.

About 30 people gathered in the library’s Community Room to listen to six Webster women tell their stories of what was — or is — notable about their lives. I was honored to be included in that outstanding group of women, speaking for around five minutes mostly about how I began my Webster on the Web blog and how it’s become a valued resource in our community.

I was joined by,

  • Victoria Woodhull (portrayed by Gwen Hoffman), daughter-in-law of Byron Woodhull, Webster’s first Town Supervisor, who has the distinction of being the first-ever woman to run for president of the United States, in 1872;
  • Erva Wright (portrayed by Eileen Brookins), a Monroe County politician whose active role in civic service at the local, county and state levels earned her the title “First Lady of Webster”;
  • Esther Dunn (portrayed by Lisa McNamara), long-time teacher and Webster Historian, best known for the book she published in 1971, Webster Through the Years;
  • Agnes Semmler (portrayed by Sharon Pratt), a farm wife who raised her family on Shoecraft Rd.; and
  • Ginny Nguyen, present-day Town of Webster councilwoman whose father was a South Vietnamese Army officer, and who escaped with her family from Vietnam after the war.

The stories were all fascinating, especially when Victoria Woodhull (Gwen Hoffman) talked about how she advocated for “free love” (which at that time meant the freedom to marry, divorce and bear children without government restrictions) and how she wound up in jail on election day the year she ran for president.

The program was organized to commemorate Women’s History Month, and was a great illustration of how the women of Webster helped shape our town, and continue to do so.

Thank you again to all who attended, and to Sharon Pratt at the Webster Museum for her hard work organizing the event.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Instagram.

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

(posted 4/1/2023)

Webster community mailbag

30 Mar

The second annual Village of Webster Easter Egg Hunt, sponsored by the Webster BID, is just around the corner, on Saturday April 8 at the Webster Fireman’s Field on Ridge Rd.

The absolutely free event will begin at 11 a.m., and is designed for children ages 10 and under. Children will be split into three age groups: 0-2, 3-5 and 6-10. Arrive any time after 10:30 a.m. Our local business owners and community agencies are preparing almost 5,000 eggs, so no fear — there will be enough for everyone. (And some eggs have a secret surprise.)

The Easter Bunny will be there, too, so bring your cameras! This great event is sponsored by the village’s Business Improvement District.

By the way, the organizers could use some volunteers to help set up and run the event. If you’re interested in having a little fun and helping out, click here to sign up!

* * *

Those young Brownies from Troop 60344 are at it again.

They’re going to be outside the Webster Walmart Home entrance on Saturday April 1 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with their table of Girl Scout cookies. So no worries if you thought you’d missed out on Girl Scout Cookie season this year.

The girls will also be encouraging people to donate a box of cookies to the Blue Star Mothers NY8 chapter to be included in care packages for locally deployed troops. (The soldiers LOVE to get Girl Scout cookies.)

The Blue Star Mothers plan to send out more than 200 care packages soon, and would love to have a box of cookies to put in each one.

* * *

The next Friends of the Webster Public Library book sale is quickly approaching!

The Friends’ Spring Book Sale will be held Wednesday April 26 through Saturday April 29. Gently used hardcover books will be available for only $1, paperback books will be $.50.

Members of the Friends can shop before everyone else, on Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. If you’re not a member and want a sneak peek, memberships will be available at the door or on the library website.  

The general public sale will begin Thursday April 27 from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Friday, April 28 is BYOB (bring your own bag) Bag Sale from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m, when you can fill a bag with gently used books for only $5. The bag sale continues on Saturday, April 29 but only from 10 a.m. til noon.

Proceeds from the spring book sale directly benefit library programs, book collections and other special projects.

* * *

This notice from the Webster Central School District:

Applications for absentee ballots for the Webster CSD Annual Budget Vote and School Board Election are now available.

Qualified voters of the district who will be unable to attend the polls on the day of the vote may wish to use an absentee ballot. Voters must apply for the ballot in advance. Absentee ballot applications are available from District Clerk Cynthia Cushman, 119 South Avenue, Webster, phone (585) 216-0001, or at the news story on the district website.

All absentee ballot applications must be RECEIVED by the district clerk at least seven business days prior to the vote if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter, or the day before the vote if the ballot is to be picked up personally by or for the voter.

The Webster CSD Annual Budget Vote and election of Board of Education candidates takes place Tuesday, May 16, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Webster Schroeder High School gym, 875 Ridge Road.

* * *

Here’s a great way to celebrate Earth Day this coming April 22: a Family Scavenger Hunt.

This easy hike/scavenger hunt will take place at Liberty Lodge/Finn Park on Maple Drive from 10 a.m. to noon. Different hunts will be available for three three skill levels, ages 2 through 12. The event will take place rain or shine, so dress for the weather, and make sure to wear boots if it’s been wet. It would also be helpful if you could bring your own clipboard and pencil.

The Family Scavenger Hunt costs $5, and registrations are being taken through the Webster Recreation Center. PLEASE register ahead of time so we know how many kids to expect. Payment can be made when you arrive at the park. Click here to register.

The Family Scavenger Hunt is being hosted by the Webster Health & Education Network (WHEN) in conjunction with the Friends of Webster Trails and Webster Recreation Center. Proceeds will benefit the Friends of Webster Trails.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

(posted 3/29/2023)

Remembering Webster’s own who lost their lives in Vietnam

29 Mar

I was reminded by a friend recently that today, March 29, 2023, marks the 50th anniversary of the day the remaining US combat forces left South Vietnam. It’s a fitting opportunity to remember the five Webster boys who lost their lives during that war.

  • Leonard Coles, a Webster Thomas graduate, was killed in a fragging incident on May 16, 1969, when a disgruntled American soldier threw a grenade into the facility where he was working as a typist. He’s buried at Webster Rural Cemetery.
  • Rex Daniels, a 1968 Webster Thomas grad, lived on the far eastern end of Plank Rd. He was killed on April 16, 1971 in Thừa Thiên-Huế, Vietnam. He’s buried in White Haven Memorial Park in Pittsford. On Memorial Day, 2021, an American flag was flown in honor of Rex at the Webster Rural Cemetery ceremony. The flag came to Webster after being flown over Capitol Hill on April 16, 2021, exactly 50 years to the day Daniels lost his life.
  • Don Holleder was the first from Webster who was killed. He served as Operations Officer for the 28th Infantry Regiment, the Black Lions. On October 17, 1967, he was killed by a sniper as he ran to the rescue of several soldiers trapped during the Battle of Ong Thanh, an act for which he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He’s buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Peter Kaulback was a Marine. He lived on Fuller Ave., not far from what is now Spry Middle School, but when he graduated in 1962 was Webster High School. was then Webster High School, now Spry Middle School. He was killed on May 31, 1968, during heavy fighting in the Quang Tri Province. He’s buried at Webster Rural Cemetery.
  • David Semmler lived on Hatch Rd. near Holy Spirit Church. He served as an Army infantryman, and was patrolling the perimeter of a firing range on Feb. 5, 1971 when a booby-trap detonated and he was fatally injured. He was posthumously promoted to corporal. He’s buried at White Haven Memorial Park.

When Webster’s Wreaths Across America effort is able to expand into Webster Rural Cemetery, I look forward to the chance to place wreaths on the graves of the two young heroes who are buried there.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

(posted 3/29/2023)

Learn about notable Webster women (and me) at library program

28 Mar

Just a quick reminder today about a special event being hosted jointly by the Webster Museum and Webster Public Library this Thursday afternoon.

In honor of National Women’s History Month, the Museum and the Library have created an interesting program where you can meet several well-known Webster women, past and present.

At the program, scheduled for Thursday March 30 at 3 p.m. at the Webster Public Library, you’ll meet:

  • Victoria Woodhull, a leader in the women’s suffrage movement, stockbroker, and the first woman to ever run for president;
  • Erva Wright, Monroe County politician whose active role in civic service at the local, county and state levels earned her the title First Lady of Webster;
  • Esther Dunn, a lifelong Webster resident and long-time Webster teacher, best known for the book she published in 1971, Webster Through the Years;
  • Agnes Semmler, a farm wife who raised her family on Shoecraft Rd;
  • Ginny Nguyen, Town of Webster councilwoman;
  • and me, Missy Rosenberry

Each character will speak for about 5 to 6 minutes, describing a little about their lives and accomplishments. As for me, I’ll be telling you more about how I came to create the Webster on the Web blog and how it has become part of the fabric of the Webster community.

The program is free, but registration is required. So click here to sign up and please join us for what should be a very interesting presentation.

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Rd., at the back of Webster Plaza.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Instagram.

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

(posted 3/27/2023)

How a simple game of catch can bring people together

26 Mar

In today’s fast-paced, put-your-head-down-and-keep-plowing-forward world, we often forget to take the time to slow down and really connect with friends and family, or any of the people around us. One Webster man has found an unusual, surprisingly simple, and very effective, way to do that.

Several weeks ago, on the first day of March, Webster resident Dave Tinnes embarked on a personal challenge: for the following 30 days, he would endeavor to play a game of catch with … somebody. It didn’t matter who, he would just do it at least once a day, for 30 straight days.

Naturally, when you first hear about the idea, you’d immediately think its purpose would be to just have fun, get a little exercise, maybe enjoy the outdoors a bit. Those are all great goals, but Dave had a much more important one in mind: to forge connections with as many people as possible.

Not only has he achieved that goal, he didn’t realize just how incredibly life-changing the challenge would be.

Dave Tinnes’ 30-day catch story begins in 2017 when he was asked to help chaperone a school trip to a Mets game for Wayne Central High School, where he’s a special education teacher. Not being a baseball fan himself (“I thought it was a boring sport,” he remembers), he was happy to go along for the ride but didn’t expect to get much out of the experience.

Surrounded by students and colleagues who helped him learn the nuances of the game and understand the deep significance baseball has had in their lives, Dave Tinnes fell in love with the sport that night, and a brand new Mets fan was born.

Sometime the following year, Dave came across an online article headlined, “Man commits to playing catch for a year.” It was written about Ethan Bryan, who had begun a personal challenge to play catch with someone every day for 365 days. Through a daily blog and eventually a book, Bryan chronicled the life-changing experience he had, forging personal connections with more than 500 people across ten states.

Through their shared love of baseball, Dave and Bryan became good friends. Then, earlier this year, Bryan told him about a new program he was introducing, called “30-Day Catch,” in which he was encouraging people to embark on their own 30-day challenge.

Dave immediately signed up and began his 30 days on March 1. His very first game of catch was with his son, followed that week by some students, a professional colleague and an old friend.

From day one, he started finding those personal connections he was looking for. Underscored by the calming soundtrack of a ball hitting mitts, conversations ranged all over the map: childhood stories, memories of parents now gone, the shared love of sports. There was a lot of laughing, a lot of listening, a lot of healing.

Each catch can last anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour. But each one is unique and significant, each one a different story to be told.

Dave realized that only two days into the challenge, when he wrote on his Facebook page, “Each catch session is very different from one another, even though the action, motion, etc. is so repetitious/similar while playing catch. It’s the people, their unique personalities, etc., that make each catch a delight to my soul.”

When I sat down to interview Dave for this blog, he was 18 days into his journey. He’d already played more than two dozen games of catch with all kinds of partners: his children, his friends, his students, perfect strangers, young kids and senior citizens. He’d played catch indoors and outdoors, in gymnasiums, parks, muddy fields, a loading dock, city streets, and along the wintry lakeshore. He even played catch in Cooperstown with the president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

But one game of catch really stands out, and epitomizes what the 30-day challenge is about. That was the day, 12 days into the 30-day challenge, that Dave played “catch” with his wife’s 101-year old grandmother.

“Grandma” had never worn a baseball mitt, so Dave first helped her slide her small hand into his daughter’s mitt.

I pulled my chair right up to hers and sat there with my glove on. I told her all about the challenge, showed her my “30 days” baseball and all the pictures of my catch partners so far in this challenge journey, and discussed baseball in general. I told her about my family’s journeys in visiting four MLB ballparks last season, and how we hope to hit all 30. …She asked me questions about why I love baseball so much, how far do you stand from each other while playing catch, if it’s 1:1, or if more people can join in, and more…

When it came time to do the catch she took the ball and put it in my mitt. I took the ball and put it in her mitt. We did that six or seven times.

And that was their game of catch.

Dave has known Grandma for 23 years, and has connected with her about many heartfelt things. But, he said, “the catch with her gave me the chance to share something I’m passionate about, beyond my faith and family.”

The lesson here is pretty simple. We “know” so many people in our lives, some for many, many years, others more recently met. But if you think about it, with most of these people, we’ve never really taken the time to listen to their stories and really learn more about them. Perhaps we just need an excuse to take that time, even if that excuse is to spend 20 minutes throwing a ball back and forth.

Dave’s first 30 days are almost over. During these last few weeks, he’s had so many people ask to play catch with him that he’s often played two or three times a day. He even travels with a bag stuffed with various baseball mitts (including a child’s size and left-handed one) and a few balls, just in in case he meets someone — even a stranger — in his daily travels who’d like to play.

When I talked with him, he already had more than 50 people signed up for future games. So he’s definitely going to be playing catch for more than 30 days.

You’re welcome to join him as well. On the first day of March, the first day of his challenge, Dave Tinnes posted on his Facebook page:

“Today is day 1 of my 30 days catch journey. If you’re interested in playing catch, let me know. You don’t need to love baseball, be a good athlete, etc. This journey is all about connecting, sharing time together talking, listening and growing relationships. I’d love to connect with you…”

That invitation is still open. If you’d like to schedule a time to play catch with Dave, drop him an email at Tbonedmt@yahoo.com.

And in case you’re wondering, of course we played catch after the interview, right outside the Webster Public Library.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

(posted 3/26/2023)

Some photos from the Greater Rochester Peep Show

25 Mar

This little blog post might get lost amidst all the excitement about the new Nautical Bowls restaurant moving into Webster Towne Plaza. (Scroll down to see the post about that.)

But I had the chance to pop into the Greater Rochester Peep Show this afternoon and wanted to share some photos with you all. There had to be a couple hundred or more displays created by community agencies, businesses, Scout troops, and others, so I couldn’t get a photo of all of them. But I did post a selection here.

As usual, the Peep Show has been very popular today; there were lots of people there when I went and cars still pulling into the parking lot as I left. There’s one big room and a smaller one filled with displays, a kids’ craft area, some raffles, and opportunities to buy some snacks and sweet treats.

The Peep Show runs today (Saturday) until 5 p.m., and continues tomorrow (Sunday) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Dr. (just off of Phillips).

There’s no admission, so this is a great event for the whole family. The kids will especially love to see the incredible works of art created from candy.

And remember, all proceeds from voting, concessions and raffles benefit the Webster Community Chest.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

(posted 3/25/2023)

New Nautical Bowls restaurant sails into Webster Towne Center

24 Mar

So I learned a new word Friday: “açaí.”

Those of you who regularly eat healthier than I do (I could eat a sleeve of Thin Mints for dinner) are probably familiar with this tropical fruit, which has found its way into beverages, smoothies and even cosmetics for a while now. I also learned that I’ve been mispronouncing it for, like, forever.

But the most important thing I learned yesterday is that when açaí is part of a Nautical Bowl, it’s downright delicious.

My classroom for this lesson was the brand new Nautical Bowls restaurant in Webster Towne Center, and my teachers were Webster residents (and Webster Thomas grads) Cameron and Jamie Scalzo. Their “Nautical Bowls” are what they like to call “superfood smoothie bowls,” filled with natural and organic ingredients.

Jamie explained that they’re 

…basically a smoothie but in a thicker consistency, in a bowl, with really delicious toppings. The best thing about ours is that it’s fruit mixed with fruit with no refined sugars. … They’re gluten free, dairy free, soy free and plant-based, and they’re packed full of antioxidants. It helps give you energy and fuel your body the right way.

There are ten different varieties, which feature an impressive variety of intriguing ingredients like coconut, spirulina, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, Blue Majik, and pitaya. They can substitute for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or just be a dessert, she said, adding, “The biggest compliment we have gotten from people is how refreshing they are.”

This is the Scalzos’ first experience with opening a business, and only the first Nautical Bowls franchise in New York State. They looked at other locations before settling on Webster Towne Plaza, but they always knew they wanted to start their adventure in Webster. 

“We grew up here,” Jamie said. “We went to school here, it’s where we met, where we want our kids to go to school. We just love this community so much, we wanted to bring our first store here to share with this community which we have so much appreciation for.”

That commitment to community is an important part of their business plan as well.

Cameron said, “A portion of our proceeds will be going back to the community in any way we can to churches, to causes, to families in need, sports teams, dog shelters.” Every month will benefit a different cause.  

They also want to get involved with local events, especially those that benefit worthy organizations. “We’d like to do as much as possible if we can,” Cameron said.

Nautical Bowls only officially opened this morning, but they’ve already been warmly welcomed by their business neighbors and a steady stream of guests (one of whom remarked “I’m so excited that you’re over here!” when I was there).

“Everybody has been so welcoming, so nice, so supportive,” Jamie said. “That just shows us why at least right now we want to keep on giving back to the community. We see how people love the community, how much they care about it and those are the people we want to continue to find.”

The Scalzos have big plans not only for the immediate future of their new Webster restaurant, but also for the next five or six years, when they hope to expand the franchise into a dozen or more towns in the Rochester area and all around Upstate New York.    

But for now, with a brand new baby on the way (or by the time you read this, he might have arrived) and a brand new restaurant to run, they’re going to be focusing on serving the community where they grew up.    

Check out the new Nautical Bowls yourself on Saturday March 25 when Cameron and Jamie host their grand opening celebration. Doors will open at 11 a.m. The first 50 guests will receive a free bowl, and there’ll be plenty of opportunities to enter to win free bowls for a year, or cards good for ten free bowls or five free bowls.

Nautical Bowls is located on the north side of Webster Towne Center (Kohl’s Plaza), 927 Holt Rd., in between America’s Best Eyeglasses and Chipotle.  Check out the website here and Facebook page here.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

(posted 3/24/2023)

Webster Thomas presents Freaky Friday

23 Mar

Switching bodies for just one day, How hard could it be?

That’s the wacky premise behind Freaky Friday, Webster Thomas High School’s spring musical, which will be presented in four shows from April 20 through 22.

The musical is based on the 1972 novel by Mary Rodgers and the hit Disney films. As the storyline goes, when an underworked mother and her teenage daughter magically switch bodies, they have just one day to make things right again. But in the meantime, they learn to understand each other and the unique bond that exists between mother and daughter. It’s a heartwarming, funny, lively story that the whole family will enjoy.

Not only is this a very entertaining show, the cast also includes several students from Webster Schroeder High School and Willink Middle School. So it really feels like an all-Webster production. Director Mark Stoetzel says “the cast, crew and pit are working very hard and having a blast doing it.”

Freaky Friday will take the stage Thursday April 20 at 7 p.m., Friday April 21 at 7 p.m., and Saturday April 22 at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 each, are on sale now and can be purchased online here. Tickets will also be available at the door. Webster Thomas High School is located at 800 Five Mile Line Rd.

Here are a few shots from rehearsal to give you a feel for the fun (photo credit: Mike Mitchell):

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

(posted 3/23/2023)

Paying it forward … with cookies

20 Mar

Here’s a short story about kindness to brighten your day.

It comes to us from our local Troop 60344 Girl Scouts, who a week or so ago had set up a table outside Lowe’s on Five Mile Line Rd. to sell cookies. One of their customers was Cameron Scalzo, the owner of the brand new Nautical Bowls restaurant in Target Plaza. He talked very excitedly about his new place and the fact that he and his wife were expecting their first child at any time. His wife would be very excited, he said, if he brought some cookies home, and chose six boxes from the table.

Another woman happened to be at the table as Cameron was chatting with the Scouts. She overheard Cameron talking excitedly about his new baby and new restaurant, and offered to buy all six boxes of his cookies for him. He tried to decline, but she insisted. She explained that she had misplaced her wallet in the Lowe’s parking lot earlier in the day and was incredibly relieved to find it just under her car. She couldn’t believe no one had taken it, and wanted to pay it forward.

What a wonderful expression of kindness for those young Scouts to witness.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

(posted 3/20/2023)

The Greater Rochester Peep Show returns this weekend

20 Mar

One of our town’s most creative and fun FREE family events — the Great Rochester Peep Show — returns this weekend!

If you’ve never heard about this really fun event, you’re going to want to keep reading, especially if you like eating those yellow (and now pink and purple and whatever other colors) marshmallow chicks and ducks.

I’ve never been a big fan of Peeps. I put them in the same category as those faux-orange circus peanuts. They squeak when you bite into them. But I LOVE the Peep Show. This is a two-day event at the Webster Recreation Center, where at least four entire rooms are filled with incredibly creative sculptures, dioramas, and various other works of art created with Peeps. It’s simply the cutest thing ever.  (Click here to go to the Peep Show website and see some winning entries from last year.)

This year’s show is scheduled for Saturday March 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday March 26 from 10 to 4 at the Webster Recreation Center on Chiyoda Drive (right off of Phillips). In addition to the Peeps, several entertainers and community groups will be performing. Thanks to the support from many business sponsors, admission is free, but you can drop some bucks on some raffles with great prizes. All proceeds will benefit Webster Community Chest.

This is a must-see family event, folks, and it’s all free. Click here to find out more about the Greater Rochester Peep Show.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

(posted 3/20/2023)