Archive | August, 2012

Odds ‘n’ ends

16 Aug

I’m not going to call this my mailbag this week, because a few of these items I did not hear about in my mail.

First, one event this weekend to let you know about:

The Webster Warriors volleyball team is hosting a mattress fundraiser on Saturday August 18. (Yes, you heard right.)  Basically, a mattress store will be set up in the Schroeder gymnasium from 1-7 pm.  They’re brand-name mattresses in all sizes and price ranges, complete with factory warranty. The organization will also deliver your purchase and and pick up the old set.

I’m told that the salespeople do not work on commission, and because there’s no overhead, prices are 30-65% below retail. All forms of payment are accepted and layaway is available.

The event will benefit the Warrior Girls Volleyball program, helping defray costs for gear, training, and team events from
modified to varsity level. Click here for more information and a $50 coupon.

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Now, a nice little story that I heard about through the grapevine.

For the last three years, Webster residents Dave and Cathy Smith have hosted a S’more Fest for friends and family. This year’s, though, was a very special one, because it coincided with a very happy occasion. Their youngest son Matt (a Thomas High School graduate) had recently returned home from the Navy after four years of service.

Matt was based in Guam, but as an anti-terrorist specialist, he was sent on many missions.  Since he had not seen a Webster summer in four years, he had also not been to any of the previous S’more Fests. So his very proud parents made sure this one was extra-memorable, with a pig roast catered by Pringle Barbecue and Catering, and fireworks to cap off the evening.  The Smiths hosted about 55 people at the party.

Now that Matt’s home for good, he volunteers for the Legal Services Project of Monroe County and will graduate with his bachelors degree in accounting in December, after which he plans to attend law school.

Here are a few photos from the party:

(L-R) Matt Smith, his dad Dave, caterers Jeremy and Jessie Pringle

Matt’s big brother Brad, Jessica Griffith and Steve Hondorf

Family and friends

Now I’m going to take a page from the D&C and tell you about a few stories I’m working on (my theory is that now that you know about them, I might be motivated to actually write them):

The school year is fast approaching, and some big changes are afoot. There are new start times — which are significantly earlier for some schools — and some redistricting (which the district likes to call “rebalancing”).

The Working Class Theatre Company is going to be back in Webster this fall with a production at the Harmony House. You may even see them here more often in the future, if things work out.

A local organization wants to teach Webster to sing.  Interested?

Big news from the Webster Herald about a big move they’ll be making.

More to come on all these stories, so stay tuned.

Happy trails news

15 Aug

The hiker in me is very pleased to pass along some good news about our local trails.

For starters, the Hojack Trail Extension is now open, christened with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony a few weeks ago, attended by all sorts of high mucky-mucks.

The Hojack Trail ribbon-cutting attracted a crowd of local officials, including Assemblyman Mark Johns and County Executive Maggie Brooks.

The new section of trail, extending east from Holt Road through the village, is now eminently walkable thanks to the removal of the Hojack Line railroad tracks which once ran along the stretch.  Removing the tracks was accomplished through some admirable collaboration between town and village officials.

I was not able to attend the ribbon cutting, but I did hear about one part of the event which I thought was kind of neat.  As part of the ceremony, Webster’s Superintendent of Public Works Jake Swingly handed a gold spike to each person instrumental in seeing the project to completion. They were actual spikes pulled from the tracks, and even though they were only spray-painted gold, I thought that was a classy move.

Looking west from North Ave. down the new Hojak Trail extension.

I also checked in recently with Friends of Webster Trails trail boss Jeff Darling about the status of the Four Mile Creek Preserve trail system, at the corner of Phillips and Lake roads, which the Friends have been working on diligently for more than a year.  I am particularly interested in this trail since I joined the Friends last summer on one of their Saturday workdays when they were just beginning to clear the land.

Turns out, they’ve accomplished an awful lot in the last year. Not only have they already opened up a significant length of trail, they’re hoping to add at least another mile before the end of the year.  Jeff added in his email,

This is a particularly interesting area because of both Salt Creek and Four Mile Creek intersecting in the preserve.  In addition, the town is planning to use millings from the Rt. 104 repaving project to help develop a parking area off of Phillips Road.  We expect this to take place later this summer.

Thanks to the confluence of the two creeks, there are a number of tributaries, and resulting valleys, that require bridges. The Friends have had some help in this area; three Scouts recently dedicated their Eagle Scout projects to working on the trails and building a bridge, bench and table.

Many thanks to these Scouts for their hard work:

  • Matt Miller (Troop 108): built a bridge and created approach trails
  • Graham Price (Troop 262) : built a bridge and helped out with trail work
  • David Brunette (Troop 163): On July 30, David and 34 volunteers completed 161 hours of project work. They created a new bench and table at Four Mile Creek Preserve, and also worked at the Gosnell Big Woods Preserve, where they weed-whacked along 900 feet of fence along Vosburg Road.

The Friends hope to hold a grand opening for the new Four Mile Creek trail in late October.  I look forward to providing more details about that.

Graham Smith poses at the bridge he built at the Four Mile Creek Preserve

David Brunette with a few of his loyal volunteers

Schlegel Road Elementary reaches out to new families

13 Aug

I just found out about a neat project happening at Schlegel Road Elementary.

The school is expecting a lot of new families moving over from State Road and Klem South this year. A transition like that is always a bit difficult, so the Schlegel Road community has come up with a way to soften the blow. They call it their Adopt-a-Family Program. Basically, current Schlegel Road families are asked to “adopt” a family and make it a point to befriend them and accompany them to upcoming school events. It’s a very simple idea, but one that should go a long way to smooth the transition from old school to new. I love it, and I think every elementary school should do it.

If you’d like to find out more about this program, email lorisozio@ by Monday August 27.

Childless in Chicago

13 Aug

I love my kids. But I also love the fact they’re finally old enough to take care of themselves.

I’ve been in Chicago the last several days, doing the tourist thing while my husband attends a conference.  This was the first time I’d been back in the city since my family moved from the northern suburb of Lake Zurich almost 40 years ago.  So in reality this was the first time I have really SEEN the city.  And what I’ve seen I really like.

My two daughters, ages 25 and 18, tagged along with us, and we’ve done some stuff together, which has been a lot of fun. But it’s also been very nice for Jack and me to be able to head out on our own, leaving one or both of them in the hotel room, without worrying that they would kill each other within minutes.

Last night was one of those times.  After he got out of his conference yesterday, Jack and I met some friends (including an old Webster Thomas colleague) at the Billy Goat Tavern, which was just a  few blocks from our hotel. The subterranean diner/bar was made famous in John Belushi’s “Cheezeborger, Cheezeborger” sketch on Saturday Night Live. (They still say it that way when you order it. Strangely, though, they only serve Coke, not Pepsi.)  We had a few cheap beers and a very relaxing visit with our friends.  All the while not worrying about our daughters.

This second adulthood we’re discovering is kinda fun.


So where did Village Days go?

13 Aug

A young Village Days patron trying out the bounce house last year.

If you’ve been wondering lately why you haven’t seen any advertisements about Village Days yet this summer, there’s a good explanation for that.  It’s not happening this summer.

But wait!  Village Days WILL be happening this fall.  Specifically, Village Days has been moved from the middle of August, when the event has traditionally been held, to the first weekend of fall, September 21-22.

Organizers decided to move the festival this year to get away from what has traditionally been a VERY busy summer weekend for vendors.  Being up against five other festivals that weekend made attracting vendors to Webster a difficult proposition.

So the move promises to make Webster’s annual celebration of summer even bigger and better than ever before.  Organizers are not only expecting many more vendors to participate, but they’re combining the event with the regular Saturday morning Main Street Farmer’s Market, a sidewalk sale, and a Soap Box Derby.

More details will be forthcoming in the next few weeks, but here are some highlights:

  • Friday night September 21 will feature an Oktoberfest theme. The Krazy Firemen will perform in the gazebo, and food vendors will offer German specialties.
  • Vendors and community groups will be set up along both East and West Main Street all day Saturday
  • The Main Street Farmer’s Market vendors will be encouraged to stay set up all day
  • Local businesses will have a sidewalk sale
  • Open houses at the fire department and Webster museum (which will also have children’s games in the front yard)
  • Soap Box Derby Saturday and Sunday
  • Rock and roll music in the gazebo Saturday night
  • Lots of kids’ activities including a bounce house

Stay tuned for more details.



Sandbar Park: A corner of Webster I’d never seen

9 Aug

I checked off one more item from my Webster Bucket List recently. Despite having lived in Webster for almost 16 years, I had never — before this week — visited Sandbar Park up on the lake.

I had never actually heard about Sandbar Park until someone submitted it to my bucket list, and even then it’s taken me a year to actually go up and check it out. I was pleasantly surprised.

Sandbar Park (for the benefit of those of you who have also never been there) is a grassy, tree-lined strip of land on the north side of Lake Road, directly across from the Bay Side Pub. It’s a Town of Webster park, perhaps 250 yards long, and dotted with picnic tables and grills. The shoreline is very rocky, and there’s no swimming, but it’s pretty easy to climb down the large rocks to get closer to the lake.

This would be a very pleasant place for lunch. But I understand the park’s real draw is the vantage point it offers for some spectacular sunsets.  As one website described it,

The vantage point offered from this park, angled slightly toward the west, positions the setting sun further out over water compared to the lakeside parks west of here. Although Webster Beach Park, just down the road to the east, generally serves up better sunset viewing, Sandbar Park is special in that it is relatively unknown, offering a more intimate setting, and doesn’t have the foul odor the cove at Webster Beach seems to collect. (

I have a feeling this will not be the last time I spend some time at Sandbar Park.

There’s even history here!


On turning lanes and tossing butts

6 Aug

You know, I swear that sometimes road crews do things just for the sake of changing things, whether they need changing or not.

I fail to understand the rationale behind reconfiguring the road markings at the Plank Road/Empire Blvd. intersection.  Basically, as you drive west along Plank Road and approach Empire Boulevard to turn south, the Powers That Be have decided you need to first angle your car decidedly north, almost like you’re making a right-hand turn instead of left.

I could understand if the old orientation made it difficult to see the newly installed traffic lights. I could understand if previously, cars turning onto Plank Road were cutting the lanes. But neither one is the case. So the change seems pretty arbitrary.

I’m apparently not the only one who thinks so, either. I watched traffic pass through that intersection for about 5 minutes.  A good half the cars (maybe closer to 75%) ignored the new lines.


I am SO sick of seeing cigarette smokers throw their butts out their car windows. The street is not your personal ashtray, folks.

Annual family gathering benefits local food cupboard

5 Aug

Several days ago, Liz Nelson, one of my readers told me about a great event her niece’s family holds every summer to benefit the Webster Food Cupboard. It’s a pool party, where the admission is a donation of cash or food for the Cupboard. Liz was kind enough to send some follow-up information and photos after the event.   So rather than tell you about it myself, I’ll let her email do it for me:

The Bennetts’ 11th Annual Pool Party & Webster Food Cupboard Drive

Joyel and Roger Bennett hosted their 11th annual pool party and food drive along with their children Angel and Jayden on Saturday, August 4, 2012.  As usual it was a huge success, and what a hot day indeed!  The pool was put to good use!

Each year approximately $60 to $100 in monetary donations plus $200-$300 in food, school supplies and paper goods have been collected for the Webster Food Cupboard.

The idea for the party started 11 years ago when Angel was only 9 months old.  The Bennetts invited family and friends over for a pool party and instead of a dish to pass, they asked for donations for the food cupboard.  Years later the tradition continues as we look forward to seeing family and friends once again!  Some even travel from out of town to make this wonderful event.

What makes it even more special is that Joyel and Roger purchased their home from Joyel’s grandparents (my parents, Forest and Marie Lane) who still live in Webster.  Our home was always the gathering place filled with many memories and lots of love.  We are so thankful and proud of Joyel and Roger for carrying on the family tradition and then some!  I hope this story inspires others as a small idea turned into more than a decade of giving.

Joyel is my niece, but we are best friends and close like sisters.  As you can tell, this is close to my heart and it gives me pride to brag about my wonderful family!

Wonderful doesn’t even begin to describe these folks.  Check out these photos from the party:

Revisiting the Main Street Farmer’s Market

5 Aug

A shot from the Main Street Farmer’s Market in June

This being Saturday, I thought it might be a good time to revisit the state of the Main Street Farmer’s Market, which is trying to get a foothold in the village every Saturday morning.

The Main Street market was established, of course, to counter the decision by the Joe Obbie Farm Market to move from the community parking lot behind the fire hall to the Target Plaza.  The decision was a good one for them, judging by the number of vendors it attracts and the crowds of people who visit every weekend.

In contrast, the new Main Street Farmer’s Market has been, well, unimpressive.

On a good day there might be seven or eight vendors on the street.  But too often there are only four or five, and for a while they were so spread out it was hard to find them.  At least now all of the vendors have been clustered along West Main Street, so it looks a little bit better.

Granted, encouraging market growth is a Catch-22: it’s hard to attract new vendors when no one comes to buy your products, and no one wants to come to town if there are no vendors.  And it’s not like the village isn’t trying. I’ve seen cents-off coupons distributed to encourage new customers, and there are lots of special events coming up to draw families to town during the market.  So, little by little, those efforts might begin to turn things around.

In the meantime, there are still concerns about the safety of having vendor stalls along busy Main Street. No matter how many signs you put up, cars will continue to drive at unsafe speeds through the village.  That’s a concern which can only get worse as the farm market becomes more popular, and there’s little chance the market will be moved back off the street to a parking lot again. BID leaders like the idea of residents seeing a busy village, where there’s always something going on.

Unfortunately, right now the Main Street market isn’t quite pulling its weight in that regard. But it’s still early, and I hope things eventually improve, because the market is a good thing for the village. (And please slow down as you drive through!)

The Main Street Farmer’s Market is open from 8 to 12:30 every Saturday morning through October 13.  Upcoming special events include:

August 11: Dig Safely Day – Can Ya Dig it??

Stop by the Village Hall from 9 to noon to check out some of the village’s excavating equipment. Children are invited to pose for photos. There will also be balloons and tattoos.

August 18: Cooking Demo with Jim & Jeannean LaMonica

Jim & Jeannean from Uncle Jim’s Donuts & LaMonica’s Pizza are still cookin’ after all these years. They’ll hold a demo featuring the delicious seasonal vegetables from our area.

September 1: Storytime with the Mayor

Village Mayor Peter Elder will be at Yesterday’s Muse Bookstore at 11 am to read a story to children.

September 8: Lacrosse Clinic

Tom Spoonhower of Metro Sports will hold a Lacrosse Clinic, teaching tips and tricks for players of all ages.

Also, every week the Village Band will be on hand to provide music, and the Webster High School Marching Band will hold a bottle and  can drive every Saturday.

Click here to go to the village website for more details.


Please consider casting your vote…

5 Aug

Two opportunities have come up for you to vote online to show your support for something. One is a very worthy organization. The other is shameless self-promotion.

The first is from our friends at CDS Monarch on Hard Road. They recently announced that their agency is a finalist in a contest run by the Home Depot Foundation, with the winner receiving a $25,000 grant.

Here’s the explanation form the email I received:

CDS Monarch, Inc. in Rochester, N.Y. is enlisting area residents to help the organization win a $25,000 The Home Depot gift card by voting daily throughout August in The Home Depot Foundation’s second annual Aprons in Action Facebook contest. Voting begins Aug. 1, 2012 and runs through Aug. 31, 2012 at If CDS Monarch receives the most votes during the month they will win the $25,000 prize to help fund necessary remodeling projects at The Nucor House, a residence for Veterans in the Warrior Salute™ program, and will have the opportunity to compete for the grand prize of $250,000 at the end of the year-long program.

That would be pretty cool. They’re only up against three other agencies, so let’s get voting, Webster!

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And as long as you’re in a voting mood, I’ve heard from a few people that the 2012 City Newspaper Best of Rochester contest is up and running this month. And I’ve also heard that there’s a Best Local Blog entry.  Since I have the bestest and most loyal readers in the world, I thought just maybe … perhaps … you might consider …

(P.S. Click here or on the image to the left to go to the website)