Webster’s Memorial Day parade details

23 May
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 These enthusiastic young ladies were a part of last year’s Memorial Day parade. 

Looks like Mother Nature is going to bless us with beautiful weather for the next several days, and it might even last through Memorial Day. If you’re anything like me, you’ve already got lots of plans to celebrate the holiday weekend with friends and family.

For me, taking time out to watch Webster’s Memorial Day parade is high on that list.

This is always a very nice parade, and the ceremony that follows it at Webster Rural Cemetery is always moving. I highly recommend bringing your children to see both the parade and the ceremony, so they might begin to understand the huge debt we owe our servicemen and women.

Here are the details of Webster’s Memorial Day parade and ceremony, held Monday May 28.

  • 9:00 a.m.:  All groups participating in the parade will assemble at Spry Middle School on Sanford Street. All active duty and ex-service men and women are invited to take part in the parade. Any veterans who would like to ride in the bed of an Army truck are asked to be at Spry by 9 a.m.
  • 9:30 a.m.:  Parade moves out from Spry, down South Avenue, turning west on Main Street and proceeding to Webster Rural Cemetery.
  • 9:50 a.m. (approx.): Parade arrives at Webster Rural Cemetery.

This year’s ceremonies are dedicated in memory of the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, and to those who served and/or gave the ultimate sacrifice in that war.

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Plank North students are published

23 May
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Pictured are (left to right) Lucas Hill, Adrianna Fitzharris, Aubrey Hoagland, Colin Raspudic, Max Bolzner, Gabby Fallone, Jimmaly Ortega, Chase Failing, Sabrina Cady, Oktober Haak

Many people dream of becoming published authors. Several students at Plank Road North Elementary School are already there.

Earlier this year, about 15 students in Marcia Napolitano’s fourth grade class entered a creative writing contest sponsored by the Boston-based Young Writers publishing company. The company hosts such contests regularly to boost students’ confidence and showcase talent.

IMG_20180522_111647827Napolitano’s students participated in Young Writers’ “Crazy Creatures” competition, in which they were asked to create a creature of their own invention and then write a story about it using just 100 words.

Ten of the entries were chosen for publication and are now part of a very handsome “Crazy Creatures” book. The published authors all autographed the book, and it’s now on the shelf of the school library for all Plank North staff students and staff members to enjoy.

 

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Damascus Cruise Nights return

21 May

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Classic car enthusiasts will love this news:  the Damascus Center Cruise Nights are back for the summer.

There are lots of cruisin’ options around Rochester throughout the summer, but this one is historically one of the biggest — and I have to say one of the best. Run annually since 2008, it attracts up to 300 classic and vintage cars, kit cars, muscle cars, trucks and motorcycles every summer Friday night, and as many as 1,000 spectators.

There’s always plenty of parking, great food (the fish fry is legendary), raffles, indoor and outdoor seating, clean restrooms (always a plus), and an incredible view of Irondequoit Bay which no other cruise night can offer.

The family-friendly Damascus Shrine Cruise Nights take place at the Shrine Center, 979 Bay Road, beginning June 1. The fun starts at 5 p.m.

For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page here.

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A surprise thank-you for a super volunteer

18 May

There was a happy event at the Webster Arboretum on Thursday.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend, but I got the lowdown and a few photos courtesy Julie Schilacci.

It was a surprise party for Bud Johnston, who is retiring as president from the Webster Recreation Center’s W.A.S.P.S. organization.

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Bud Johnston with Faith Bell. 

The not-for-profit Webster Association of Senior Program Supporters (W.A.S.P.S) provides transportation for residents 60 and over and/or disabled retirees who live within the Webster School District. Volunteers drive seniors to various appointments and health-related shopping errands. WASPS also provides wheelchair service if needed.

Bud, along with Faith Bell, began the organization 11 years ago.

He might be retiring, but as is often the case for long-time volunteers of any organization, Bud won’t be riding off quietly into the sunset; he’ll be staying on the board of directors as an adviser.

If you or someone you know could benefit from the services that W.A.S.P.S provides, call 585-216-7829, log onto http://websterwasps.com, or email websterwasp@gmail.com for more information.

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An update on Bella’s Bumbas

18 May
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Bella, who has spina bifida, was the inspiration for the Webster-based Bella’s Bumbas. 

Many of you have been following my occasional columns and blogs about Bella’s Bumbas, the amazing local nonprofit organization which is changing lives for children with significant physical challenges.

Run by Webster residents Rebecca Orr and her husband Marty Parzynski, Bella’s Bumbas is dedicated to building miniature wheelchairs for children with a wide variety of mobility issues. They started the operation only a little more than a year ago and have already shipped more than 300 of these of these chairs around the world, often adapting individual chairs for the children’s individual needs.

What’s especially neat is that Marty and Rebecca charge families only for shipping. To pay for that, and to get all the parts they need, they rely entirely on donations from businesses and individuals.

This week, they got a huge boost in their fundraising efforts.

The folks from GoFundMe, on which Bella’s Bumbas hosts a fundraising page,  recently singled out the organization for some special attention. They contacted Marty and Rebecca and asked for permission to make a video about the organization, featuring their niece Bella — the original inspiration for Bella’s Bumbas — and some of the families which have benefited from their generosity.

GoFundMe posted the completed video Thursday morning. The response was immediate and overwhelming. When Rebecca texted me at 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon, they had already received an additional $21,000 in donations.

The incredible kindness of people — all total strangers — has touched Rebecca and Marty deeply.

“I just love some of the comments people make when they donate, and TOTALLY love the fact that some of the donations are $5-$10 saying they wish they could send more,” Rebecca said. “Those are the most heartfelt to me.”

Rebecca and Marty continue to improve on their Bumbas, most recently shipping a new design for bigger children, which requires the larger 16″ tires. They call this particular version the “Kyden” in honor of the child for whom it was built. They even added shoulder straps, because Kyden needed them.

Check out the video for yourself. It’s only about three and a half minutes long, and does a nice job explaining how Bella’s Bumbas started and how it it changing children’s lives in amazing ways.

If you would like to donate, you can do so right there on the page, or send a check directly to Bella’s Bumbas, 1170 Ridge Road, PMB 208, Webster, NY 14580.

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Back on the blogwagon and heading to a FIESTA!

17 May

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I knew that being Internet-less would not be easy. But being unable to log onto my home computer for five straight days (thank you Frontier) really messed with my mojo a whole lot more than I expected.

I was able to hobble through though, in large part by using my phone’s 4G and friendly Internet hotspots in the village, but it was hard keeping up on my email and blogging.

But I’m back, thanks to a sparkling new Spectrum modem and a higher-speed Internet cable feed. Good thing, because now that summer is approaching, the events are going to come fast and furious.

Let’s start today with a preview of the 64th annual St. Rita Festival, which hits town again Friday and Saturday June 1 and 2.

I love this festival. It’s like a harbinger of summer, and a great inexpensive night out, with the added benefit of supporting a good cause.

Festival highlights include live music by Ruby Shooz and the Breakfast Club, inflatable and adventure rides for the kids, carnival games, a food truck rodeo, gift basket raffles, a book sale, plant sale, and more. And of course you can get into the raffle for $10,000 cash or a one-year lease on a car from Vision Automotive.  Five second chance winners will also go home with Wegmans gift certificates.

Here are some details:

  • Ruby Shooz will play on Friday night from 7 to 10 p.m. and the Breakfast Club on Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. Blankets and chairs are welcome.
  • The festival will introduce a new Car Show and Shine classic car show this year, from 3 to 6 p.m. There’s no charge to register a car or to attend the event.
  • In addition to the food truck rodeo, St. Rita’s famous Friday fish fry and Saturday chicken barbecue dinners will be back. They sell out every year, so get there early.

Admission to the Fiesta is free and parking is onsite, with handicap and shuttle options. For more information about the Fiesta, or to pre-order your discounted passes for unlimited access to the bounce houses, zip lines, and bungee trampoline, click here.

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The Knuckleheads get ANOTHER award

14 May

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And the kudos keep rolling in for the Knuckleheads.

Last week Len Dummer and George Cline, owners of Knucklehad Craft Brewing in Webster, were presented with an award by Destination Finger Lakes for being voted 2018 Beer of the Year.

DestinationFLX’s annual “Final Pour” contest seeks to promote Finger Lakes breweries through an online beer bracket in which beer enthusiasts could vote for their favorite breweries. The contest was divided into two categories: “New School” (breweries less than three-years-old); and “OG” (four years and older).

First round voting for the 32 participating breweries started on April 14, followed by a second round, quarter finals, then finals.

In the finals, Knucklehead competed against Hopshire Farm and Brewery in Freeville (near Ithaca), winning by a wide margin, 884 votes to 106 votes.

Such a convincing win says a lot about Knucklehead’s loyal customers.

“We were very pleased to have won this competition,” Len said. “This is a blessing to us and we truly appreciate the support of our customers and loyal Knucklehead fans.”

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Webster’s baseball history celebrated at the Webster Museum

13 May

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It’s no secret that Webster is a huge sports town. In 1985, the town was even named “Number 1 Sportstown in New York” by Sports Illustrated. What is less well known is how long ago our love for sports — and especially baseball — began.

Back in the late 1800s, adults and teenagers were playing on village ball fields and at Nine Mile Point; with hard rubber balls fast-pitched underhand; one bat for the entire team; often wearing coats and ties, and with no protective equipment.

It’s a rich baseball history, on display this month at the Webster Museum, and celebrated during a special event on Saturday May 19, called “140 Years of Webster Baseball.”

The special event is being spearheaded by Tom Pellett, president of the Webster Museum and Historical Society.  It’s been a year in the making, prompted by a comment made last May by Don Kuhn, a former Webster High School baseball player.

He recalled that back when he was playing in the early 1950s, the Webster High team went undefeated three years in a row — 1950, ’51 and ’52. The team came up with a trophy to recognize that accomplishment, which was then presented to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. So the town could have its own keepsake, a local service organization (Pellett thinks it was the Rotary) then created a plaque, which included a photo of the trophy, the letter from Cooperstown, and the names of all the players.

No one was exactly sure where that plaque had made it to, but Pellett started poking around the museum’s attic, and found it rather quickly. Shortly thereafter, Historian Lynn Barton unearthed two boxes with a treasure trove of local baseball history. Pellett started going through it all and the exhibit began to take shape.

The newly rediscovered plaque is the centerpiece of the museum’s new baseball exhibit, which also includes photos of all three undefeated teams and several other local teams, and old time uniforms and equipment. But what I found the most interesting were some of the personal stories.

One of those, dated 1878,  is considered to perhaps be the first recorded memory from a local ball game.

That story (which is part of the exhibit) tells about an adult baseball team in Ontario who had challenged the Webster team.  The Ontario team was a little bit miffed when they discovered their opponents were just teenagers. The Ontario coach approached the Webster coach and asked, “Is that all you got, these kids? He was told, ‘Well, trot your team out, we’ll see how they do.'”

At the end of the sixth inning, the score was 40-6 in favor of Webster. The Ontario team walked off the field and forfeited the game.

Obviously, players from that era are no longer around. But everyone who has played Webster baseball has a story, and Pellett hopes that baseball players and fans of all ages will attend the special event on the 19th.

As for all those Webster High School players from the undefeated teams? They’re all in their 80s now. Many have moved away, others have passed away. But several are still in town, and Pellett hopes that some of them will be able to attend, so they can visit the plaque and share some of their memories.

“140 Years of Webster Baseball” will be held on Saturday May 19, from 2-4 p.m. at the Webster Museum, 18 Lapham Park in the village of Webster.  Admission is $5, which will include the very interesting historical presentation, a hot dog, peanuts and a lemonade or water. For more information, visit the Webster Museum website or call 585-265-3308.

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The commemortaive plaque is the centerpiece of the exhibit

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A close-up of the names of the players on the undefeated teams

 

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Chorus of the Genesee announces annual show

10 May

chorusWebster’s own Chorus of the Genesee will present its annual spring show on Saturday May 19 at Penfield High School.

In addition to performances by the Chorus and its quartets Notably Yours, The Reception and ROC-in Harmony, this year’s show will feature special guests the University of Rochester YellowJackets, and The Core.

The show is called Diagnosis: Audio Delusions, and will be performed in two acts. In act one, the chorus tells the story of Charlie, a young man who hears a barbershop chorus every time he becomes emotional. As he plans a marriage proposal, his condition is exacerbated. Songs in the set include “Sweet Caroline,” “How Can I Miss You if You Won’t Go Away?” and “That’s Life.”

The second act will first feature the University of Rochester YellowJackets. Having gained national notoriety on season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing Off,” this men’s a cappella group continues to travel the world performing. Also featured in the second act is The Core, 12th place Barbershop Harmony Society International qualifiers. Members Mike Nesler, John Van Gorder, Mike Hull, and Steve Denino are traveling from the Columbus, Ohio area to join the show.

Diagnosis: Audio Delusions will take the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19 at the Penfield High School Auditorium, 25 High School Dr., Penfield. Tickets are $16 in advance, $18 at the door, and $12 for groups of 10 or more. For more information, call (585) 265-9540, or visit the Facebook event page. 

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Webster mailbag

9 May

mailbagA variety of events stuff today’s mailbag. A few of them I have mentioned before, but I want to shine some light on them again as they get very near.

This first event is extremely timely:

This Thursday (May 10), the Willink Eighth Grade Band, under the direction of Matt Osika, will perform alongside the Webster Village Band, under the direction of Thomas Indiano. Each band will perform some selections on their own before combing to perform some of John Williams’ most memorable themes in the Star Wars saga.

The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Willink Middle School cafetorium, and admission is free.

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flowersThe Webster Arboretum’s 18th Annual Plant Sale happens this Saturday May 12, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Arboretum, 1700 Schlegel Road, Webster.

The sale features perennials from standard to uncommon, annuals, dwarf conifers, geraniums, dahlias, various garden club offerings and more. Nice thing about this sale is that these plants are locally grown, so you KNOW they’re going to work in your garden.

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The First Baptist Church of Penfield will hold their last Flapjack Community Breakfast of the season on Saturday  May 19 from 8 to 10 a.m.

Guests will enjoy pancakes, pure maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, and more for just $5.00 per person. All are welcome, and the venue is handicapped accessible.

All May  proceeds will go directly to benefit the Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf: a supplemental food relief organization serving the 14526 and 14625 areas and families of children in the Penfield school district since 1997.

Donations of non-perishable foods and paper products also gratefully accepted.

The First Baptist Church of Penfield is located at 1862 Penfield Rd. For more information, call 585-586-2876.

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Lady golfers, this one is for you.

The Webster Golf Club’s Ladies Association is inviting women golfers to join the fun and sign-up to play in their annual charity golf tournament on Monday June 25, to benefit the Webster Comfort Care Home.

The event will take place on the Webster Golf Course, and will be a non-handicapped, 18-hole shotgun fun scramble.

Registration is $90 per golfer or $360 per foursome, which includes a continental breakfast, box lunch, an hors d’oeuvres reception, gifts for every player, a raffle, win pull and more.

Deadline to sign up is June 1. For more information, to sponsor the event or donate to the silent auction, contact Janet Jones-Brower, Webster Comfort Care Home Executive Director at director@webstercomfortcare.org, or Linda Dorsey at  ddorsey2@rochester.rr.com.

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