Webster community mailbag

18 Jan

basketballThe annual Webster Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship returns on Saturday Jan. 26 at Willink Middle School, Publisher’s Parkway.

Knights of Columbus councils have been hosting these annual competitions since 1972. They’re designed to provide an athletic outlet for children and encourage the values of sportsmanship and healthy competition. Kids compete within their own gender and age, and can progress from the local level to district, regional and state/province competitions.

Boys and girls ages 9 to 14 may participate. Registration  begins at 1 p.m. and the competition begins promptly at 1:30. For more information contact Mark Ludington at 585-613-0515

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Miracle Field of Greater Rochester will be hosting a Sweetheart Dance for players and friends of Challenger Miracle Field, on Saturday Feb. 9 from 5 to 8 p.m.

There’ll be a DJ, refreshments, a photo booth, and lots of dancing, of course.

This is a FREE event for the whole family, but  interested participants are asked to register by Feb. 2 so the organizers know how many people to expect. Click here to register.

For more information, email events@rochestermiraclefield.org.

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Speaking of Valentine’s Day, here’s a great gift idea: a singing Valentine from our very own Rochester Rhapsody women’s barbershop quartets.

Rochester Rhapsody Chorus, the Rochester chapter of Harmony, Incorporated, an music-notes-heart-magnetinternational organization of female a cappella singers, will offer Singing Valentines to local community members whose admirers are looking to deliver messages of love and friendship in a special way. Members of the chorus will deliver pre-ordered Singing Valentines on Thursday, February 14 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Small groups from Rochester Rhapsody, a local non-profit women’s chorus, will provide the sweet sounds of harmony as a memorable Valentine’s Day gift to surprised and delighted recipients. Vocal ensembles will travel throughout the greater Rochester area to deliver Singing Valentines to sweethearts, co-workers, family members and friends at various locations, including assisted living facilities, workplaces, schools, hospitals and restaurants.

Recipients will be treated to Valentine music in 4-part a cappella harmony delivered by an ensemble in Valentine’s Day attire, along with a rose and card with the sender’s personalized message. “Ringing Telegrams” (telephone singing valentines) are also available for recipients who live out-of-town.

All proceeds from the Singing Valentine fundraiser go to benefit women’s vocal and performance education for the non-profit chorus. Special prices for ordering early, or ordering more than one Singing Valentine, will also be offered. To make arrangements, call (585) 820-3062 or email rhapsodysingingtelegrams@yahoo.com.

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Changes are coming to Sandbar Park

17 Jan

document

You may have heard that the Town of Webster is engaged in a long-term project to upgrade the facilities at Sandbar Park, located on Lake Road. The park has long been known as the best place in Webster to watch a summer sunset, but the little strip of land has a lot more potential than that.

Right now, the park features access to both Irondequoit Bay and Lake Ontario, has some wetlands and a wooded area. It was originally purchased in 2003, and as the Town has paid off the bond, nothing much has been done with it aside from adding a parking lot and a few picnic tables. But as the project has moved forward, residents are already proposing some new ideas.

In a story posted to the WHEC Channel 10 website last summer, Supervisor Nesbitt mentioned some of those suggestions.

One of the things people have brought to us is they would like to have a handicap pier so people can go out there to fish in the bay. A shorter pier,’ he said, adding ‘we would also like a destination for paddle boards and kayaks, so people can bring those in and launch them from that area into the bay. We would like to work with the restaurant in some way in how to incorporate that into the scheme.

(You can see the whole story here.) 

In 2015, the Town received $118,000 in state funding to create a committee and start formulating some design ideas for improvements to Sandbar Park. On Wednesday January 23, the committee will present their ideas at a public information meeting.

Members of the project committee will be there along with representatives of Bayer Landscape Architecture, who’s working with the Town on the project. Webster residents are encouraged to find out more about what they’re thinking, and ask questions.

The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Town Board Meeting Room, in the Justice Court Building, 1002 Ridge Road.

If you’d like to stay informed of everything that’s happening as the progress progresses, visit this website to sign up for project notifications, and click here for the project’s Facebook page.

Here’s another upcoming meeting you might want to know about:

The Town of Webster and Rochester Transit Authority have scheduled a public information meeting on Monday Feb. 4 to discuss bus serice to and from Webster.

The meeting with the Transit Authority will give Webster residents, business owners, and others an opportunity to ask questions on how employees and others might find transportation from other areas in to Webster for employment and shopping opportunities.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Town Board Meeting Room, Justice Court Building.

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Please mark your calendars for this important meeting with the Rochester Transit Authority.

CAD: One of the first signs of spring

15 Jan

cadThere’s definitely a whole lot of winter to go yet, but you know spring can’t be too far off when you receive news of Community Arts Day, our school district’s annual show-off day.

 

This year’s event, which is always held at Webster Schroeder High School, is scheduled for Saturday April 6. As usual, it will feature performing groups, hundreds of student art displays, food, crafts and face painting for the kids, baked goods, craft vendors, community groups exhibits and lots more. It’s always a fun, free day of activities for the whole family, so make sure to put it on your schedule right now.

At this point in the planning stages, organizers are looking for vendors and volunteers. Lots of adult and youth volunteers are needed every year to help this event run smoothly. Students can earn service credit, and adults will enjoy a general good feeling of doing something positive for our community and supporting your school children.

Find out more about Community Arts Day and how you can be a part of it by visiting their webpage here or email Jennifer Hyrhorenko at CAD@websterptsa.org.

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St. Rita School hosts open house

14 Jan
snowgraders

St. Rita School third graders celebrating the season — and the cold weather! 

Yeah, we’re stuck in the worst part of winter right now, but things are already gearing up for the next school year.

If you’ve been considering sending your children to a parochial school, you’ve got a great opportunity this week to check out St. Rita School. They’ll be hosting an open house on Wednesday Jan. 16 at 7 p.m., where prospective parents and students can learn more about the school’s curriculum, meet the teachers, visit the classrooms and our the school.

Make sure to check out the school’s Facebook page to see lots of photos (like the adorable one above) of the kinds of activities St. Rita students do in school and around town.

St. Rita School is located at 1008 Maple Drive in Webster. For more information, call 585-671-3132, or check out their webpage here.

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High schools’ fight songs update!

12 Jan

capture

A couple of days ago I posted a blog about Jason Hammersla, a 1995 Webster graduate, who has written two songs which he hoped might be adopted as alma maters for Webster Schroeder and Thomas high schools.

At the end of that blog I asked readers to let me know of any such songs exist for either or both of the schools. On Friday morning, I got an email from Webster Thomas principal Glenn Widor, who informed me that Thomas does indeed have an alma mater, which is sung at every graduation.

I further heard from Thomas music teacher Brenda Nitsch that Kyle Sackett ’08, alumnus of the Thomas vocal music program, wrote the song while studying music education and performance at Fredonia.

Here it is:

Near the shores of Lake Ontario stands a school which we hold dear.
Webster Thomas, we’ll make a promise to always keep you near.
With every teacher, staff and student our moral compass will be aligned
And together we will fight with her colors blue and white!

Live forever Titan pride!

I still haven’t heard anything about a Schroeder alma mater,  however. If I do, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, here’s the link again to my previous blog where you can see what Jason wrote.

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My blood went to Syracuse.

11 Jan

truckThe Red Cross is doing this new thing, and I kind of like it.

They sent me an email the other day, a few weeks after I donated blood at St. Martin’s Church, to tell me where my donation had been used.

The email read,

Thank you for giving blood with the American Red Cross on 12/11/2018. After first ensuring that local needs were met, your blood donation was sent to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, NY to help a patient in need. Your donation is on its way to change lives!

Now, if you’ve ever given blood, you’ve seen how many times they scan the donation materials and ask you to repeat your name, so I think that tracking information is probably accurate. And believe it or not, the news about where my pint was sent made me feel kinda good.

I’m a regular blood donor, so I don’t need an incentive like this to encourage me. But reading that email gave me a little bit of closure and confirmed what I already knew: my blood and the hour I took out of my day to donate it, were making a difference.

I hope that you recently got an email like this, thanking you for a recent donation. If not, please consider becoming a regular donor. It’s especially critical at this time of year when supplies are very low.

Your next local opportunity is on Monday Jan. 14, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Browncroft Community Church, 2530 Browncroft Blvd. And BONUS, you’ll get a $5 Dunkin gift card by email when you give blood at this drive.

Click here to make an appointment, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Or just pop in. They’d love to see you either way.

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Webster grad proposes two new school fight songs

10 Jan

capture

Several weeks ago I received a very interesting email from one Jason Hammersla. Now a resident of Alexandria, Virginia, Jason was a 1995 Webster High School graduate. You may recognize the name since his mother, Arleen, was an elementary school reading teacher in the district for many years.

Despite having moved away from Webster, Jason remembers his high school years fondly, and believes with a passion that his years at Webster High created the successful person he is today.

He wrote,

The feverishly dedicated administration, the wildly passionate faculty and staff and even the strangely enthusiastic student government created a community whose warmth stood in direct contradiction to the surrounding weather. …

Webster High School was and is a testament to the value of a first-class public education, even in an era of a flagging local economy, surging enrollment and increasing responsibility for the most vulnerable students.

He added that when he was here, he didn’t think the school had a fight song, an alma mater so to speak. (“Or if it did, it was ill-remembered and disregarded.”)

He decided that oversight needed to be fixed. So he sat down and wrote this:

SCHROEDER

I will always be a warrior
For knowledge and the truth
I will hold on tight to the fading light
And the passion of my youth
To the ones who made me who I am
I could never say goodbye
I owe all I’ve earned to the things I learned
At my dear old Schroeder High

I will always be a warrior
For my faith and righteousness
And as I may roam I’ll remember home
And the ones who know me best
With appreciation reverent
For the wisdom you supply
With your courage and encouragement
We remember Schroeder High

I will always be a warrior
For the honest and the fair
When I search my heart for the warmest part
I will always find you there
All the principles you gave to me
These I swear will never die
For I cling to these, with the memories
Of my dear old Schroeder High

(Click here to listen to the song actually performed by Jason’s friend Jason Menkes.)

Just to be equal (the district is all about parity between the schools, after all), he also wrote one for Thomas (which you can listen to here):

THOMAS

Of all my days, my brightest days
Are lit with wonder at the ways
My mind recalls and spirit stays
With Webster Thomas High
And now no treasures can replace
No winter winds would dare erase
The lessons learned here in this place
For Titans rule the world

Of all my dreams, the sweetest dreams
Are those when I was young, it seems
And all we had were plans and schemes
At Webster Thomas High
And if my memories do err
And life was something less than fair
I still think life’s worth living there
Where Titans rule the world

Of all my friends, my closest friends
Are those for whom our love depends
On fitful starts and happy ends
At Webster Thomas High
We’ll always have the stories told
Of memories and blue and gold
Of Thomas high, and times of old
When Titans ruled the world

Jason sent his finished songs to Superintendent Gumina, who “seemed chagrined to inform me that Webster Thomas High School, at least, already has a school song….. But he also said “love the music!!” and said that he would “share with the principal and the choral director as well as with the student council advisors.”

Well, that was a while ago, and Jason hasn’t heard anything back, so the songs are probably dead in the water.

But I’m curious what you all think about them. If you’re a Schroeder or Thomas graduate — or if you have children who attend there — do you know what the school’s alma mater is? Or even if there is one? I’d love to hear from you if you can track one down!

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Holiday lights benefit AutismUp — an update

7 Jan

house

Here’s a quick update this morning.

You may remember the blog I wrote a few weeks before Christmas about a tremendous holiday lights display hosted by Cora and Charlie Venishel in Penfield. This year, in addition to their twinkling spectacle of lights, the Venishels decided to also solicit donations to AutismUp from the many people who stopped by.

A1486150458holiday-thank-you-clip-art-free-clipart-images-4fter the blog — and a column I wrote in the D&C about the display — Cora and Charlie reported they definitely saw an increase in traffic. And a lot of those people chose to drop some dollars in the donation box.

Cora sent a thank you note to everyone the other day. She wrote,

On behalf of the Venishel family, we would like to express our gratitude for the donations made to Autism up during our Holiday Light display this year. Because of all of you we were able to raise $480.00. You truly did a wonderful thing. Your generosity will benefit the families afflicted with Autism

Wishing you all Happy New Year!

And an additional thank you from me as well for taking the time to read my blog and deciding to help a neighbor who’s trying to make the world a little bit better place.

Hoping your new year has been a great one so far!

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Help your daughters protect themselves

6 Jan

If you have a young daughter, please read on for information about what I think is a very important opportunity.

DK Dance in the Village of Webster will host two one-hour self-defense classes this coming Friday evening, January 11.

The classes, which will be taught by black belt instructors from Matsunami Karate, will cover simple and effective self-defense techniques to help empower young women to feel strong and safe. Skills which will be taught include basic grab, strike and defense maneuvers, break-aways, defenses against attacks from front and behind, and defenses against chokes and grabs.

Two classes will be offered. The first, designed for girls ages 5 to 9, will be held from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Th following class, held from 7:30 to 8:30, is for girls ages 10 and up. Cost is $30 per participant (or $50 for an adult and child). All proceeds will support DK Dance’s Level 6 Performance Team. You can register here, and then bring payment the night of the class.

As a martial arts instructor myself, I know the importance of becoming familiar with a variety of self-defense techniques — and it’s especially important for girls and women to learn how to protect themselves. I highly encourage everyone who has a young daughter to consider attending this very worthwhile class.

DK Dance is located at 205 North Ave. in the Village of Webster. For more information about the school, visit their webpage here.

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Webster Community Mailbag

3 Jan

mailbag iconA couple notes from our schools lead today’s mailbag.

First, a reminder to parents who have children ages birth to 5 years old. You’re asked to help the Webster Central School District plan for future enrollments by completing a short census survey. It’s available on the district website, websterschools.org, and will be open until January 11. If you’d rather fill out a hard-copy form, you can participate by calling WCSD Central Registration at 216-0029.

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The third graders at Dewitt Rd. Elementary School recently helped spread the gift of literacy.

After completing an ELA unit on access to books around the world, the students decided they wanted to help their fellow Greater Rochester students get their hands on some great books.

So they worked with their teachers and building administrators to organize, dedicate and donate boxes of books which were no longer being read in school — many of which were from personal classroom libraries from recently retired teachers. The books were delivered on December 21 to the YWCA in downtown Rochester for distribution to the families they serve.

Webster kids doing great things again. You gotta love it.

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Here are a few upcoming library programs which might interest you:

Beginner Quilting: This 4-day course (attendees must attend all 4 days) will walk participants through the basics of making a quilt, and at the end each participant will leave with a finished quilt sampler. Fabric will be provided, but please bring your own sewing machine.

The program will be held Saturdays from 10:30 a.mm to 2:30 p.m. on January 19 and  26, and February 2 and 9. Click here to register.

And your kids are not going to want to miss this: the Night at Hogwarts, Saturday January 19 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The night of magical fun will include crafts, activities, music, refreshments, live animals, fortune telling, potions, Quidditch, and more. Tickets are $2 for youth (2-17), $4 for adults. They’re available at the library now.

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The First Baptist Church of Penfield’s next Saturday Flapjack Breakfast is scheduled for January 19 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the church, 1862 Penfield Road.

For just $5 per person, you get all-you-can-eat pancakes, pure maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, and beverages. All are welcome, and the venue is handicapped accessible.

Proceeds this month will benefit the Shepherd Home, a hospice care facility located in Penfield.

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