A pleasant reminder of what normal looked like

11 Jul

One of the main reasons I wanted to move into the Village of Webster was the convenience of being able to walk into town for parades and festivals, and to the gazebo for concerts and other musical events.

This summer has been a bust, of course, with just about every special event you can think of being cancelled. We haven’t been able to enjoy our regular Friday nights at the gazebo at all.

Until last night.

Last night the Village of Webster welcomed comic Rudolph Valentino to the gazebo in Veterans Memorial Park, where he — and his funny friends Yolanda Smilez and Kevin Markman — offered up almost a full hour of clean stand-up comedy to an appreciative audience.

no laffing matterThe event was organized as a release show for Valentino’s new comedy album, “Ain’t No Laffing Matter.” 

The crowd wasn’t as big as I expected it to be, numbering perhaps 50 to 75 people. I expected a lot more people, like me, would jump at the opportunity to enjoy some free outside entertainment again, something we haven’t been able to do in a long time. I was disappointed for the entertainers and their staff who had clearly taken some time to also put together raffles and some concessions.

Rudolph himself, however, was not disappointed. “The crowd was great,” he wrote on the Webster Neighbors Facebook page. “Especially since we put this together in 10 days.”

That was the kind of positive attitude we saw last night from the comics and audience members alike — who all did a great job, by the way, maintaining social distancing.

It was great to pull out the quad chairs again and enjoy a summer evening at the gazebo. I look forward to more events like this to help keep us all sane this summer.

If you’d like to check out Valentino’s new album, “Ain’t No Laffing Matter,” click here.

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Another mini library in town

10 Jul
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The sign on the front says “Grandma’s Little Free Library.” 

I’ve always been a big fan of Little Free Libraries, no matter what size of shape they come in. I’ve written about them in my blog and East Extra column countless times, and have occasionally even patronized them.

So I was quite pleased to discover a new one had been installed just down the street from me, on South Ave. in the Village of Webster. I came across it several weeks ago when I was on a bike ride, so I didn’t have the opportunity then to grab a new read. But I plan to do so soon, since I’m almost done with my current book.

And no, I’m not worried about getting sick from the books. If you are, just quarantine your books for several days, then enjoy!

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Webster library helps Thomas voice students shine on YouTube

7 Jul

voice

Following up on the recent happy news that the Webster Public Library is reopening comes this little nugget:

The library has partnered with the Webster Central School District to highlight the incredible voice talents of some of our Webster Thomas High School students.

Plans are to post two videos (parts 1 and 2) to the library’s YouTube channel featuring several Thomas High School voice students. The first video is posted now and can be viewed by clicking here. The students have prepared selections from many different genres, and each presentation includes the student’s name and some background about the chosen song.

While you’re there at the library’s YouTube channel, why not subscribe? That’s the easiest way to find out when the library posts the second video.  You should also poke around a little bit and check out all the other cool videos they’ve posted.

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Clean comedy comes to the gazebo this weekend

6 Jul

I just found out about this event this morning, and I can’t wait to pass it along, because I’m so EXCITED THAT THERE’S SOMETHING TO DO FRIDAY!

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Please, please, please wear your masks and socially distance yourselves. Let’s keep doing the right things so that at least our state will stay on the right track and we can continue to have events like these.

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GREAT NEWS from the library!

5 Jul

webster library

While much of the rest of the country is going down the Covid tubes, locally we’ve been following the rules, wearing our masks, and staying the course so we can get on top of this virus, at least for now.

So we’re being rewarded with good things, like this: the Webster Public Library is opening (with limited services), beginning Monday July 6.

Here’s the release I got from the library with all the details:

* Our new, temporary summer hours:

– Monday & Wednesday, 9 am – 5 pm
– Tuesday & Thursday, 11 am – 7 pm
– Friday, 9 am – 1pm

* We would like to reserve Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 to 10 a.m. as time for those at higher risk (such as older adults and those with compromised immune systems) to come to the library and limit their exposure. If you are not in this category, we ask that you please refrain from visiting us in that time period to help keep our community healthy.

* Masks must be worn in the building. Our staff will be wearing them as well. Thank you for helping keep each other safe!

*Currently, there is NO computer access available. This includes the public computers, catalog computers, job search, ancestry, and local history computers. We can assist with printing or copying on a limited basis at the Reference Desk—just see a librarian for assistance!

* Our study rooms and community room are closed and not currently accepting reservations. We are using these spaces to quarantine our returned books to protect our staff and patrons.

* Our indoor book-drop for returning items is closed—please return all items through the drive-up book-drop outside our building.

* Our space will look different than you might remember it. We have installed plexiglass at service points and floor decals to help with social distancing. Much of our furniture has been rearranged or removed to help with this as well. We have a self-checkout machine located in the Children’s Room, available to anyone who wants to use it.

* Our Children’s Room has removed all the toys and our Early Learning Center will remain closed for the time being. We apologize for the inconvenience! If you bring your kids to the library, there’s a contact-less scavenger hunt for them to participate in while you search for books, as well as craft activities to take home and work on!

* In-person library programs remain suspended for now. We still have a wonderful array of virtual programs to choose from and add more all the time. (Click here to take a look.)

* The mobile DMV on Mondays has suspended its service for the remainder of this year.

* We are beginning to accept book donations on July 13 (two box maximum per day please).

* Our contact-less Drive-Up, Pick-Up Service is still available anytime we are open! Call us at (585) 872-7075 or email us at webster.reference@libraryweb.org and include your library card number with your requests.

And finally, a huge heartfelt thank you to our wonderful community for the overwhelming support and understanding the entire time we have been closed. This has not been an easy time for anyone, but we have all felt our wonderful Webster community rally around us. The messages of love and appreciation on social media, in emails about our curbside service, when picking up books, over the phone—they have made us smile and kept us going strong! We will continue to do the best we can to have a safe place for both our community and our staff. We are adjusting to the new standards with you all in mind and will continue to restore our services as we are able. Thank you for being with us every step along the way!

See you at the library 🙂

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Covid claims another Webster business

4 Jul

The financial difficulties that the current pandemic is creating for our small businesses have hit close to home again. Yesterday, Dave Nicchitta and Mike Palmer officially announced that their East Main Street Jujitsu studio, Strike Back Martial Arts, will be closing.

In an email they sent to parents and students, they wrote,

Due to the financial issues associated with our closing during the current Coronavirus pandemic and an uncertain future (reopening date, another Covid spike in the fall) we are faced with this decision.

To say “thank you” is an understatement. For the past 7 years you have given us the privilege of working with you and your kids. We tried to create a family environment and make everyone feel like they were more to us than just customers who paid the invoices. We laughed, we cried and shared many accomplishments- all of which we will forever hold close to our hearts and in our memories. You stayed with us through our growing pains.

The closing of Strike Back is especially sad for me. For the last five years I’ve had the privilege of working with Dave, Mike and Pam Wright as a volunteer in the dojo’s Jujitsu Buddies classes for children with autism. I have come to consider them — and the rest of the Strike Back crew — family, and I will miss seeing them every week.

But more than that, Strike Back offered something unique in our area: Jujitsu programs for children and young adults with autism and Down syndrome.  Every week I witnessed first-hand what these classes did for these children.  I saw anxieties melt away and self-confidence bloom. I saw unbridled delight on the face of a child who accomplished a skill for the first time. I saw children start to believe in themselves and learn that if they just try, they will succeed.

With the loss of Strike Back, we’ve lost an important advocate for these children. My hope (however unrealistic it may be) is that this only a temporary setback, and when the world turns right side up again, I’ll get to see some of these kids again.

strike back

In this pre-Covid photo, (L-R) Dave Nicchitta, Pam Wright, Mike Palmer and I pose with some very proud Jujitsu Buddies students who are holding their participation certificates.

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Sad news from Team Josh

3 Jul

Just two days ago I posted a blog about a fund-raiser being held this evening for Josh Honebrink, a young man fighting a battle against cancer.

I’m sorry to report that Josh passed away yesterday morning.

Naturally, Josh’s family is going through an extremely difficult, emotional time right now, and having to deal with monumental medical and funeral bills should be the last thing on their minds. So tonight’s fund-raiser, a series of professional wiffle ball games, is perhaps more important than ever, and will go on as planned.

Here are the details again:

The event will take place at 824 Houston Rd. (off of Gravel Rd.) from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Supporters can help out in two ways: First, come to watch the games. Entrance fee is $5, and masks will be required.

Second, you can become a home run sponsor by pledging money for each home run the players hit through all 8 games. Sponsor levels are:

Platinum sponsor: $35/home run
Gold sponsor: $10/home run
Silver sponsor: $5/home run
Bronze sponsor: $1/home run

You’ll also be able to take chances on some beautiful raffle basks, and purchase Team Josh wristbands.

If you can’t make the game but would still like to help out, donations are being collected through the Webster Major League Wiffle Venmo page. You can also email Hectorvargas824@yahoo.com.

 

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Here come the sidewalks

2 Jul

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If you’ve been in the village anytime recently, you’ve probably noticed that new sidewalks are being installed along the north side of East Main Street. It looks like (judging from the little “don’t dig here” flags all the way down Main Street) that the new walks are being replaced from Jojo’s Bistro all the way east to Phillips Rd.

They’re making great progress, so the main part of the job should be done in just a few more days. It’s going to be messy for a short time, but in the end this is going to be a great improvement for the village.

My personal thank you to Superintendent of Public Works Jake Swingly and his staff for replacing the bike rack in front IMG_20200701_142505430_HDRof Barry’s Pub/The Garage Sale Store that was knocked over several months ago (probably by a delivery truck). Cyclists are beginning to hit the streets for the summer, and as our local restaurants and pubs start to open up again, the bike rack should get some use. Let’s hope it survives a bit longer this time.

Speaking of sidewalks, I saw this recently on Supervisor Tom Flaherty’s column (which you can find on the Town of Webster website). I heard talk many moons ago about sidewalks being installed west of the village, and had wondered what the status was.

This column from June 24, which I re-post in its entirety, explains.

While campaigning in 2019, I heard several people say they wish we had more sidewalks in Webster. Some even said that the Town government was against installing sidewalks in Webster. One of my favorite lines is “don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story”. When I entered office in January 2020, I got first-hand knowledge that the facts on how the Town government was approaching sidewalks did not match the story. I immediately became aware of a 3+ year effort that the Town Board had been involved in to have sidewalks installed on Ridge Road, in the 1.5 miles between Five Mile Line Road and Rachel Drive in the Village. The “effort” was one of my first educations as Town Supervisor as to the process it takes to have sidewalks put in.

I am pleased to announce that the Town Board’s efforts on this project long before I became Supervisor, and several other key Town of Webster personnel has finally culminated. In the next several months you will start to see the construction of these sidewalks. So why did it take 3+ years? If the Town Board wanted sidewalks on Ridge Road, couldn’t they just wave their magic wand and make it happen? Well, unfortunately I am learning we don’t have a magic wand as a Town Board, but man that would be cool if we did! Life would be a lot easier. What I found out was that the cost and the land use were the two stumbling blocks that made the process take over three years.

On the cost side, the $2 million+ project will be 75% – 80% funded by State and Federal grants. That grant process is long and arduous. Had the Town Board opted three years ago to bypass that grant application process, the sidewalks would be in by now. However, Webster taxpayers would have footed the whole $2 million bill instead of the $400 – 500,000 it will now cost. On the land use side, these sidewalks over a 1.5-mile swath will cross over lands owned by the Town, State, County, and private owners. Unfortunately, we could not just say “hey, we’re putting in sidewalks so we’re going to go through your land to do it and there is nothing you can do about it”. The time and cost to obtain the rights to put those sidewalks on that land, was combined with a legal process of easements and rights-of-way, and I’ll spare you all the boring details. Trust me, it is no easy task.

So have some patience the next few months as you traverse Ridge Road between Five Mile Line and Rachel Drive. Installation of the sidewalks may cause some traffic issues. Can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. But oh, will that omelet be nice once it is done! I for one look forward to being able to walk from Wegmans on Holt Road down Ridge Rd. to Town Hall on Hard Rd., and all the way to Five Mile Line Road on these new sidewalks. I am thankful for the efforts of previous Town Supervisor Ron Nesbitt and the Town Board members for “staying the course” on what was a difficult and challenging process the past three years. They brought $2+ million dollars of quality of life improvements to Webster and did so with the citizens paying for a fraction of the cost through their town taxes.

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Team Josh hosts wiffle ball fundraiser this Friday

1 Jul

wmlwAn evening of wiffle ball will benefit Josh Honebrink, one of our Webster neighbors, in his fight against cancer.

Team Josh is joining the Webster Major League Wiffle sports team for an 8-game wiffle ball fundraiser this Friday evening.

The event will take place at 824 Houston Rd. (off of Gravel Rd.) from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Supporters can help out in two ways: First, come to watch the games. Entrance fee is $5, and masks will be required.

Second, you can become a home run sponsor by pledging money for each home run the players hit through all 8 games. Sponsor levels are:

Platinum sponsor: $35/home run
Gold sponsor: $10/home run
Silver sponsor: $5/home run
Bronze sponsor: $1/home run

You’ll also be able to take chances on some beautiful raffle basks, and purchase Team Josh wristbands.

Here’s some background information from Josh’s family about the challenges he’s facing:

Josh Honebrink is a 17-year old boy who is battling a grade 4 brain tumor in the pons of his brain stem. The tumor has left him without the ability to walk, talk, eat,

Team Josh

Josh in a photo from the WMLW website

drink or swallow. The tumor is the most aggressive brain tumor one can have and unfortunately there is no cure. There are only treatments to prolong your life.

Joshsua still amazes us every day with his incredible strength to keep fighting. If you now Joshua, that is him to a T! Never giving up no matter what obstacles may come his way! We are truly blessed to have Joshua be a part of our lives!

He has done chemo and radiation. We have started him on a new drug called Avastin. We want him to have this other drug…an inhibitor to help stop tumor growth. However that drug is not FDA approved and insurance will not cover it. It will cost us $20,000 every time we need to buy it. This fundraiser is to help us raise money to help get that drug for Josh but also to help with all of the financial burdens we have endured such as the 5-week hospital stay, chemo, radiation treatments, Avantin treatments, MRI scans, etc.

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Finding cheer amid adversity

27 Jun

These last few months have been difficult for everyone. The coronavirus has created an unending variety of challenges. It’s hard to see anything positive in what we’ve been dealing with.

But perhaps it’s just a matter of looking for it.

Case in point: there are a lot of really beautiful, interesting and whimsical things all around us, and it’s really fun to notice them. During the last week or two, as I’ve been out on my walks or bike rides, I’ve taken photos of some of these.

My husband and I came across this bench and tree, for example, along the canal path in Pittsford. Someone has been spending their down time crocheting, and using their creations to brighten up the path for riders and walkers who come by.

IMG_20200619_133821102_BURST000_COVER_TOP Closer to my home, this poor Rudolph, Santa and his sleigh made me laugh. Their next stop is the dump but I’m sure then enjoyed many happy holidays in front yard of this Penfield home.

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I always appreciate it when homeowners take the time to do something extra special with their little front-yard gardens. Here, a mermaid patiently awaits the mailman every day.

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Not far from the mermaid, this whimsical fairy garden just invites people to stop for a moment to say hi to the little people. It’s hard to appreciate the complexity of this presentation in this far-away photo. Try clicking on the photo for a closer look.

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This was a spectacular stand of daisies in front of a North Penfield home.

These were  both taken in the village. On the left is a cute bird house recently attached to a tree on Main Street. On the right is something I’ve never seen before, a lawn Roomba (I actually looked it up — it’s called an “auto mower.”) It attacked us as we were riding along Pierce St. (Meaning it came right up to the street shoulder as I was riding by.) Scared me to bits. But it just patiently turned around and started heading the other way while I stopped to catch my breath, and this photo.

Finally, these two photos from my bike rides in and near North Ponds.

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The first is a baby raccoon. A week ago I saw three of these babies on the Bird Sanctuary Trail. They’re about the size of a large kitten. This little one was wandering along Orchard St. all by himself (herself?). When I approached he slid into the grass and tried to hide. I’m just hoping that he didn’t wander out into the street again and get hit.

And finally, one happy family:

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Next time you’re out and about, make sure to stop and smell the roses. Or at least notice them, and all the other beautiful and unusual things that make our neighborhoods great.

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