Help out puppies in need next week

16 Feb

A couple of fun events coming up I want to throw out there today.

I just saw this notice on Facebook from Knucklehead Craft Brewing in West Webster:

Did you know Friday February 23 is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day? To celebrate, stop in to Knucklehead on Wednesday, 2/21/18 and bring a pre-packed dog biscuit treat for your chance to Spin The Wheel and win a prize. No cost needed other than your donation of a pre-packed dog biscuit treat. We will donate all packages to Lollypop Farm to share with their dogs!

Remember that you’ll only be able to spin the wheel if you bring in your dog biscuits on Wednesday February 21. But it’s OK if you want to bring them on International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day on Friday as well. I mean, you gotta celebrate, right? And I’m sure they’ll go to a good home.

Knucklehead Craft Brewing is located at 426 Ridge Road in West Webster (at the corner of Bay).

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Some of the cast: (Front) Ryan Parody and Carenza Glastonbury. (Back) Anna Holley, Lizzy Clark, Cameron Stone, Madeleine Tischner, Analiesse Brown, and Lily Ippolito. 

Rock & roll comes to the Spry Middle School Stage on March 9 and 10 when the Spry Drama Club presents Bye Bye Birdie Jr.

Broadway audiences have been long familiar with this family-friendly, upbeat comedy about rock & roll idol Conrad Birdie and his star-struck fans. The dancing is fun, the music is infectious and the laughs are plentiful.

Bye Bye Birdie Jr. will be staged in three performances on Friday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 10 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. in the Spry Middle School Auditorium, 119 South Avenue.  Advance tickets are $7 each, and the shows are expected to sell out (it’s a small auditorium). Tickets go on sale February 26. Click here to get yours. If any remain, they will be sold at the door.

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Ping pong and basketball news

13 Feb

Thanks to Debbie Kazimer for sending me the following information about the ping pong tournament held at Thomas High School Tuesday afternoon.

The charity tournament was organized by National Honor Society seniors Ben Kazimer, Matt Hill, David Tomer and Will Johnson to benefit Honor Flight, Rochester.

Thirty-two players participated in the tournament, including Superintendent Carmen Gumina, who challenged Ben to a match. Ben won in two very close games. Gumina and Ben each bet $20, and Ben donated his winnings to Honor Flight.

Webster Thomas principal Glenn Widor and several teachers also played in the tournament.

The boys succeeded in raising $1,000 for Honor Flight, an amazing achievement which reflected the hard work they put into organizing the tournament. Not pictured here are all of the raffle donations they collected from local businesses; they even got the trophies donated.

Our young people in Webster are something special.



The annual benefit basketball game sponsored by the Willink and Spry middle school student councils returns this year, but with a twist.

Or maybe a roll.

The annual game, scheduled for Friday March 2, pits students against students and (usually) staff against staff. But this year there’s an exciting new feature:  special guests the Rochester Wheels wheelchair basketball team will be joining the fun.

The sixth graders start the competition with boys versus boys followed by girls versus girls. They’re followed by the seventh and eighth graders playing together, with the boys starting and the girls finishing.

Finally, the Spry and Willink staff will team up this year to take on Rochester Wheels. That game alone will be worth the price of admission.

The two middle school student councils have raised tens of thousands of dollars over the years for an array of worthy causes. This year Spry Student Council is donating its proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and Willink Student Council is donating its share to the Jack Foundation.

The game will be held on Friday, March 2 at 7 p.m. in the Webster Schroeder High School gym. Tickets are available for students to purchase during most lunches at both schools, and for all to buy at the door for a donation of $5 each. Refreshments and other concessions will be available for purchase. Additional donations of any amount are gladly accepted.

This is an awesome family-friendly, community event which will benefit some great community organizations. Everyone is invited to join in the fun.

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Stop the presses!

13 Feb

I only got this notification yesterday afternoon, but it sounds like a fun and worthwhile event which I need to pass along.

ping pong

Come to Webster Thomas High School on Feb 13th from 3 to 5 p.m. National Honor Society Seniors Ben Kazimer, Matt Hill, David Tomer and Will Johnson are hosting a Charity Ping Pong Tournament. All proceeds will go to Honor Flight, Rochester.

Honor Flight is a nonprofit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans and transports them to Washington DC to visit their Memorials free of charge. Superintendent Carm Gumina has challenged Ben to a 1-on-1 game. There will be multiple games at once and winners will receive trophies and gift cards donated by local businesses. Should be a fun time. Honor Flight reps will be on hand to help support this event.

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Webster Thursday Mailbag

7 Feb

Enjolras and cast

First thing I want to do in today’s mailbag is remind everyone that Les Miserables opens Thursday night at Webster Schroeder High School.

If you know the story and the music, you know why you want to see this production. If you don’t know the story or the music, trust me — you’ll want to see this production. I got a taste of it several weeks ago when I was working on another article for the D&C, and even though the numbers were still very rough around the edges, I came away very impressed.

I got my tickets about a week ago, and they were already pretty scarce. You can take your chances at the door, or go online here to purchase them for will-call.

Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 each and reserved seating only.

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A quick shout-out to the Webster Rotary Club, who this Saturday will be welcoming home members of the 3-126 AVN Army National Guard platoon, who are returning from a 6-month tour in Afghanistan.


This is the eighth platoon the Rotary has sponsored in the last nine years. Normally the platoons have been from Fort Drum, but this time the Rotary was able to connect with a local unit from the New York Army National Guard.

To date the Webster Rotary has sent 536 care packages to the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The celebration is being held at the National Guard Reserve Center in Chili.

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Show the love this Valentine’s Day by donating blood. Two blood drives coming up in Webster next week make that easy to fit into your schedule.

The first is Monday February 12 at Holy Trinity Church, 1460 Ridge Road (east of Phillips Road), from 1 to 7 p.m. The second is Tuesday February 13 at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, 813 Bay Road, from 1 to 6 p.m.

Call 1-800-RED CROSS  (733-2767) to make an appointment, or just stop in. It will only take ah hour out of your day, and will help save three lives.

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The First Baptist Church of Penfield’s next Flapjack Saturday Community Fundraiser will be held Saturday January 20, from 8 to 10 a.m.

The  menu includes pancakes, pure maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, and more for just $5.00 per person.

All February proceeds will benefit RESOLVE, a group dedicated to intervening and preventing domestic and sexual violence against women.

Breakfast is served at the church, 1862 Penfield Road. The venue is handicap-accessible. For more information, call 585-586-2876, log onto, or visit them on Facebook.

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Do you have a little one starting kindergarten this fall? This notice is for you.

The first opportunity for parents to register their children for kindergarten is during Kindergarten Parent Orientation on Tuesday, February 27, at 6:30 p.m. at your student’s school.  Parents will have an opportunity to learn about the kindergarten program, meet staff, and tour the school.

Kindergarten registration packets and all related paperwork for the 2018-19 school year are now available on the district website and in all elementary schools. To download the packet, go to, click the Central Registration button, then the REGISTRATION – 2018-19 Kindergarten link located on the left side of the page. The packet and related paperwork are located at the bottom of the page under Downloads.

Parents who cannot attend Kindergarten Parent Orientation may take the completed paperwork and all necessary documents to their children’s school during Walk-in Registration Days, February 28-March 2, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Staff will be available to review your paperwork as you wait.


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The Filling Station is open for dinner!

7 Feb


After what seemed like forever, the news everyone has been waiting for has finally come — The Filling Station will finally be open for lunch — AND dinner — starting this evening.

That is, barring unseen complications or a snowstorm keeping them from driving to Buffalo and picking up their liquor license this morning. But Wendy assures me there’s no way that’s going to happen. Sounds like they would hire an actual snowplow to get there and back if need be.

For the last three days the new pub and grill at 77 East Main Street has only been open for lunch, lacking that magical liquor license. But even so, they saw a steady stream of customers, old and new friends showing their love and support.

And they’re very appreciative.

So starting today, the new Filling Station hours will be Monday and Tuesday 11 a.m to 11 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday 11 to midnight and Sundays noon to 11.

Connect with them on Facebook and on the web.

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Bella’s Bumbas feeling the love

5 Feb

Marty with chair

A few weeks ago, you might remember seeing a story in the D&C (which I reposted here in my blog) about Bella’s Bumbas, a terrific Webster-based organization run by Rebecca Orr and her husband Marty Parzynski, dedicated to building miniature wheelchairs for children with a wide variety of mobility issues. Already, more than 250 have been shipped around the world.

Marty and Rebecca don’t charge anything for the chairs they build, asking only that each family cover the shipping cost.  So, basically, Bella’s Bumbas relies on donations of money and materials like seats, tires and bubble wrap.

They’ve already been getting a lot of support from local businesses and kindhearted individuals. But since my article appeared … well, let me quote the excited text I got from Rebecca:

Just wanted to let you know something’s going on since/due to your article. (Webster Library staff members) are now collecting air packs and bubble wrap and have an ENTIRE can full so far and more to pick up. Webster Presbyterian Church donated $500, a local businessman’s club brought us a check for $2,000, someone is sending us 100 summer seats, and 15 high backs, plus some smaller cash donations and (we) have made about 30 more chairs!

I wanted to share that text with everyone for two reasons:

  • Thank you to everyone who have sent donations of any kind to Marty and Rebecca. They are wonderful people who are making children smile, in most cases providing these children the ability to move around on their own for the first time in their lives.
  • Please consider showing your support. Believe it or not, one of the things they really need is bubble wrap. Just like the staff members at the library, perhaps the people at your place of work could start saving the bubble wrap in the deliveries you get.

Monetary donations are being collected at Bella’s Bumbas GoFundMe page, or you can send a check directly to Bella’s Bumbas, 1170 Ridge Road, PMB 208, Webster, NY 14580.

And definitely visit the Bella’s Bumba Facebook page, where you can get more information and see videos of many of the kids these chairs has helped. So many smiling faces, as these children discover mobility for the very first time in their lives.

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Good news from the Filling Station

3 Feb


This is news everyone has been waiting for … sort of.

The new Filling Station Pub and Grill will open beginning tomorrow, Sunday February 4, for lunches only. They’re still working on getting a transfer of their liquor license, so thy can’t serve liquor yet, but hopefully that will also happen soon.

So for right now, hours will be Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

The Filling Station is located at 77 East Main Street in the old Burger King/Original Mac and Cheez building.

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Benji’s Pizza and Grill opens in BayTowne

3 Feb

IMG_20180203_095007437_HDR (1)

I believe that a town can’t have too many pizza places. There are so many different ways to make a pizza — lots of sauce, little sauce, thick crust, thin crust, crunchy crust, flat  pepperoni, chunk pepperoni… and then there’s WINGS! It’s nice to have a variety to choose from.

That’s why I was pleased to find out that a new pizza place opened up just a few weeks ago in the strip plaza in BayTowne by the new Walmart.  It’s called Benji’s Pizza and Grill, and it didn’t take me long to check it out.

I met one of the owners, Jim Benjamin, who told me he’s been in the restaurant business since he was a teenager, in roles from kitchen help to cook, and has run several of his own places.  Benji’s is his latest endeavor, and he has high hopes for it.

Benji’s is located in the former Jack & Jill’s daycare in the small plaza located on the north side of Brandt Point Drive (which is basically the main Walmart access road.) When Benjamin and his business partner were looking around for just the right place for the new restaurant, they really liked the location. After all, thousands of people drive by there every day to go to Walmart and the condo development. But transforming it from a child care center into a restaurant would be a lot of work.

“When we walked in, I could see the potential for building a nice open kitchen, which is what I like to do,” Benjamin said.  So they got to work and spent a full six months renovating the building,  originally hoping to open by last October.  But, he explained, “every time we knocked down a wall, we’d go, let’s knock down one more wall. It slowed us down.” They finally opened their doors the first week of January.

The result is a large (3,000 square feet), bright, uncrowded place that feels more like a family restaurant than a pizza joint, complete with a separate banquet room and some very homey decorating touches. (And a sparkling women’s restroom that might be larger than my kitchen.)

The menu features a wide variety of lunch and dinner favorites including burgers, wings, quesadillas, wraps, subs — and pizza of course. And Benjamin takes pride in the fact that he buys everything locally.

Later this spring, customers can look forward to a new ice cream room with two outside serving windows, and an enclosed outdoor seating area with a gazebo and umbrella tables.

If all that sounds very family-friendly, you’re right. That’s exactly the atmosphere that Benjamin is going for. So you won’t find a noisy bar or even any alcoholic drinks, just plenty of space for parents and kids to enjoy a nice dinner.

And don’t be surprised if Jim Benjamin himself comes over to your table and invites you to have your family photo taken under the Benji’s logo. It’s a new tradition at Benji’s, but I have a feeling it’ll be going on for a long time.

Benji’s Pizza and Grill is located at 1998 Empire Blvd. Visit them online here, on Facebook here or call them at 585-446-0600.

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Capt. Brad Ball named Firefighter of the Year

2 Feb

Ball-Brad-9955_57_thumbThere are lots of benefits to writing this blog. One of the best is that I get to meet — and become friends with — some of the finest people who ever walked the streets of this town. Captain Brad Ball of the Webster Volunteer Fire Department is one of them.

That’s why I am pleased to pass on the news that Capt. Ball was recently named the Webster Volunteer Fire Department’s 2018 Firefighter of the Year.

Here’s an excerpt from the write-up on Capt. Ball from the WFD website:

A lifelong resident of the Town of Webster, Brad chose to serve his community as a volunteer firefighter. Words often used to describe Brad include reliable, responsive, competent and resolute. As one of Webster’s most active and dependable firefighters Brad rose through the ranks to the rank of Captain. …

The ability to serve and protect the community ultimately relies on a department’s most vital asset, its people. … For nearly a decade Captain Ball has coordinated and conducted the recruit training for Webster’s nearly 75 new firefighters. …Captain Ball instills in his recruits a feeling of welcoming camaraderie that has helped foster an outstanding retention rate for new firefighters.

For nearly 4 decades Brad Ball has served his community as a volunteer firefighter. Brad’s service includes 11 years as a Line Officer. He has performed his duties and responsibilities in a remarkable manner and to the highest standards. From his recruit training efforts, to his Line Officer contributions, to his everyday rock solid firefighting performance, Brad has continuously demonstrated his dedication to community and commitment to excellence. Brad is considered a true leader by his peers and the Webster Volunteer Fire Department and the community we serve are extremely fortunate and grateful for his service.

We in Webster owe a huge debt of thanks to the dedicated men and women of our fire departments. “Cap” epitomizes the commitment each one of them shows every day, and the kind of quality people they are.

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Spreading the joy of books at Schlegel

2 Feb


How many ways can you find to read a book aloud? Schlegel Elementary School figured out about a half dozen ways to do that Thursday.

The occasion was World Read Aloud Day, and the entire school participated. Library Media Specialist Jamie Palmer took the lead. Step one was to assign all the students into small groups. Then, right after morning announcements, the school’s fifth graders fanned out to their assigned groups, leading them to classrooms where readers were waiting.

But not just classrooms. Students clustered in hallways, the gymnasium, the music room, the library … pretty much any space where they could settle in and listen to a few good books.

About 20 minutes later, the teachers (plus support staff and substitutes) swapped spots and read two more books to a new group of students. Then everyone convened in the cafeteria, where Supervisor Carmen Gumina read Aaron Reynolds’ Creepy Pair of Underwear to the entire school.

Other highlights of the day included when second graders performed books for kindergartners, and when three children’s authors Skyped in to chat with students.

It still wasn’t over. At the end of the day, everyone gathered in the cafeteria again to enjoy some whimsical poetry by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater from her book Read! Read! Read!

By the end of the day, every student had enjoyed at least six books read aloud to them –not including any that the classroom teachers worked into their regular curriculum.

If there was any question whether the students enjoyed the day, it was answered when at the very end of the afternoon’s assembly, the entire student population spontaneously started to chant “We love books!”

Here are a few photos from the day. I’ll put the rest in a photo gallery which you can see here.

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