Archive | November, 2012

New Van Ingen Drive an improvement

18 Nov

When I was out and about today I noticed that the Van Ingen Drive project has been completed.  Last month the town ripped up the old Van Ingen Drive behind the library and rerouted it, as part of a deal with the Webster Plaza owners, who wanted to expand their parking.  (See the blog I wrote about the project here.)

It’s really pretty nice. The road is wider and smoother. They took out some parkland, but there’s still plenty of green space there and the park entrance has remained unchanged. But the best thing I like about it is the road’s exit point onto Hard Road.  The old road did not allow a left-hand turn onto Hard Road, which was a real pain in the butt. If you wanted to go south on Hard, you had to exit at the traffic light at Kmart Plaza.  And that’s a long wait.

But not only can you turn left from Van Ingen Drive now, there’s even a left turn lane.  It’s a definite improvement. (And makes an already great secret Christmas-shopping shortcut even better.)

My pledge to shop local this Christmas

15 Nov


If you’re on my Christmas list (you know who you are) you might NOT want to read today’s blog.

* * * *

 I’m going to try something new this Christmas. I’m going to buy local.

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that this is a new concept for me.  Like most people, I’m a big Kmart/Walmart/Kohl’s/Target shopper when it comes to the holidays.  But after all these years I’m beginning to get tired of the same old, same old.  I feel the need to get more creative in my gift-giving.

So I’m going to try to keep my Christmas dollars in the village as much as possible. It doesn’t hurt that Webster has so many wonderful little shops with such a wonderful variety of gift ideas.  And it doesn’t hurt that I’ve come to know so many of our village’s small business owners and really want to support them.

So I’m going to try my best to shop local this year. I know, for example, that my kids will definitely want one of Barry’s Old School Irish’s new t-shirts or hoodies. I know someone on my list who just LOVES Nest Things. (That place is a gift-giver’s dream store.)  I’m thinking a stop by The Music Store would be a good idea for my son the musician, who can never own enough things to beat, strum, pick, or fiddle with. And I haven’t even begun to list all the people who would like gift baskets or stocking stuffers from Webster Gourmet.  And books?  I don’t have small children anymore, but I’m sure someone on my list would love a book or two or five from Yesterday’s Muse.

And that’s just a start. I figure I can get my entire list taken care of in one day.  And I know the day.

Small Business Saturday is coming up on November 24.  Yes, that’s the day following Black Friday, a day I never ever venture out onto the roads. On Black Friday, not only is Ridge Road backed up for miles, but the process of entering and exiting Towne Center Plaza becomes an hour-long ordeal, a situation which will repeat itself every weekend until Christmas.

The following day, however, the traffic through the village will be very manageable, and the parking plentiful. So that is when I will be finishing up my Christmas shopping. You’ll find me strolling through the village of Webster, or perhaps hanging out at Barry’s warming my hands around a hot chocolate before heading out for round two.  Hope to see you there.

By the way, click here to download a whole slew of money-saving coupons courtesy our Webster Village businesses.


Thursday mailbag

15 Nov

Today’s mailbag features three very neat events happening today and tonight, so I hope you didn’t have many plans.

The Maplewood’s annual Holiday Bazaar takes place today and tomorrow from 10 am to 5 pm both days. This is always a very popular event which is open to the public and features crafts, a bake sale and a raffle. Vendors will set up their booths in The Maplewood’s Eastman Lounge.  There should be plenty of on-site parking thanks to The Maplewood’s new West Main Street entrance and parking area.

Funds raised during the bazaar will benefit two local charities, Webster Comfort Care Home and Webster Hope House.

A look at last year’s Holiday Bazaar at The Maplewood.

The Maplewood Nursing Home is located at 100 Daniel Drive in the village of Webster.

* * *

Fans of American Idol will like this very special event happening this afternoon at Henderson Ford, 810 Ridge Road.  It’s called the Go Further With Ford Night; customers who stop by Henderson Ford from 4:30 to 7:30 today will have a chance to test their judging skills with American Idol and get a chance to win a unique VIP experience during the show’s 12th season.

A computer with a webcam will be set up in the dealership to allow consumers to view a special message from Ryan Seacrest and test their judging skills on camera, in true American Idol style. Contest entries will be sent back to Ford’s program headquarters, where a team of experts will evaluate and select one winner to receive an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Hollywood and a unique VIP experience with American Idol.

For each person who attends Go Further with Ford Night today, Ford Motor Company will donate $10, up to $500, to Moose Charities, and Henderson Ford will match that offer.

Anyone 18 years and older who’s interested in participating in Go Further with Ford Night may preregister for the event at and be entered for a chance to win tickets to a live taping of American Idol.

* * *

Finally, don’t miss the Third Annual GIRLS NIGHT OUT…HOLIDAY BAZAAR at Hatter’s Pub this evening from 7-9 pm.

It’s a special night for the ladies, featuring Lia Sophia Jewelry, Tastefully Simple, Pampered Chef, Dove Chocolates, Party Lite Gifts, uuthor Sharon Grace, Webster Gourmet and more. Plus,  Ellie’s Gluten-Free Bakery will be there will samples, and Budweiser will be offering samples of their new Gluten-Free beer.

This year for the first time, the event has partnered with the Webster Food Cupboard. Guests are asked to bring donations of non-perishable food items or $5 gift certificates from area grocery stores.

What a great event for a great cause. C’mon ladies … check it out!  Hatter’s Pub is located at 5 West Main Street in Webster.



Pink power at Webster Thomas

13 Nov

Today was Pink Day at Webster Thomas High School.  The event was part of a coordinated effort in all the district’s secondary schools, where students and staff rally against bullying by wearing pink. (To read more about the Pink initiative, scroll down to the previous blog I wrote.)

When students came through the front doors this morning, they were greeted with pink streamers lining the hallway, pink ribbons hanging from the ceiling, and a long pink chain snaking along the cafeteria corridor.

And lots and lots of people wearing pink.  It was a beautiful sight to see.


Webster Marching Band making Webster proud again

13 Nov

Cadets (in red) present the Cadet Award to Webster Marching Band members Tess Storace, Emily Dorsey, Jake Cobb, Katie Hackett and Samantha Toms.

Congratulations go out to the Webster Marching Band on several accounts this morning. The kids just returned from a the US Bands National Open Class 3 Championship competition at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey, where they placed 7th out of 24 bands. That alone was a great accomplishment. But on top of that, the band also won the Cadet Award for Achievement in Effect, Creativity and Excellence.

And not only THAT.  Since they were heading down to the New York area, the band families decided to take the opportunity to do something great for the folks down there who are still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. They got together and filled a van with donations, which they handed over to the Salvation Army collection point at the stadium.

What is particularly neat about this effort is how quickly the word spread and how quickly the band family came together to help out.  Band mom Janet Sander sent out the original message last Sunday morning, and by practice Monday evening, donations were already beginning to pile up. Band families passed the word on their Facebook pages and told their extended families, friends and co-workers. Offers to stuff their own personal vehicles started coming in from parents who were planning to drive down on their own.  The result was a van — and more — filled to capacity with food, coats, batteries, diapers, toiletries and cleaning supplies.

Yet another reason this band makes Webster proud.

The Sander van stuffed full, ready to head to New Jersey.

Senior band members present a $500 check to the Salvation Army.


Webster students and staff will be in the pink tomorrow

12 Nov

The halls of Webster Thomas High School will be flowing with pink tomorrow as every Thomas staff member — and hopefully every student — will be wearing pink.

It’s all part of the international “Stand Up to Bullying Day” initiative. It began last week when students were all shown a video about two high school students in Nova Scotia who stood up for a younger student who was being harassed by classmates because he wore a pink shirt.  The students decided to make a statement by wearing pink shirts themselves.  Before long, other students joined them, and the “Pink Day” cause spread around the world.  (You can see the video here).

Thomas seniors pledge to be “upstanders” by signing staff shirts in the Thomas library: (L-R) Emily Simons, Caitlin Francz, Ally Lovgren, Amanda Vallone, Molly DeBacco, Lexi Sciarrone, Josh Caccamise, Joe Mikiciuk

The basic idea behind “Pink Day” is that all students have the power to make school a safer place through their actions and by becoming “upstanders,” someone who acts or says something when they see someone being mistreated.

Thomas’ Pink Day effort began last week, when students could pledge to not harass others by signing their names to staff members’ pink shirts. Tomorrow, staff members will wear those shirts to school, filled with student signatures. Students have also been asked to wear pink, and show their support as upstanders, dedicated to keeping the schools safe for everyone.

The Pink Activity is happening in all four secondary buildings in early November in collaboration with the PTSA.

I truly hope this becomes an annual event. Bullying in our schools has gotten out of hand. Like a virus, it has been very difficult to eradicate.  Trying to deal with it from the top down has clearly not worked.  I commend the school district for jumping on the “Pink” bandwagon and getting the students themselves more involved.  Bullies don’t care what the administrators will do. They will care about what their peers say.

Maybe by the time my grandchildren attend school, we’ll have seen the end to bullying once and for all.




And now for something completely different…

8 Nov

I don’t often pay much attention to the various jokes or YouTube videos that are forwarded to me from my email contacts.  Most of the time I delete them without even opening them.  So it is VERY unusual for me to not only read one of them, but consider it so on the mark that I want to actually share it with my friends.

In this case, that means all of you. Given the median age of my readers (I don’t actually know what that figure is, but suspect the majority of you will not be shopping for prom dresses this spring), I thought you might enjoy the following, which my brother emailed me a few days ago. If you’re anything like me, as you read along, you’ll be saying, “Yup. Right. Uh huh.”


1) Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch three consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

2) Nothing feels worse than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

3) I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.

4) There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5) How the **** are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6) Was learning cursive really necessary?

7) Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8 ) Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9) I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind-of tired.

10) Bad decisions make good stories.

11) You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12) Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…again.

13) I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14) I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15) I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16) I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Light than Kay.

17) I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

18) How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said?

19) I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front.

20) Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

21) Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I’d bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.

And I would like to add just one more, if I may. When you’re over 50 years old, and you type the number 8 followed by a parenthesis, you MEAN to type a number 8 followed by a parenthesis. You do NOT mean to type a smiley face with sunglasses. 8)



Webster folks doing their part for literacy

8 Nov

Book Festival patrons can take a chance on winning this gorgeous quilt from Altrusa.

Book lovers from all over the state will gather this weekend at MCC for the Rochester Area Children’s Writers and Illustrators Annual Book Festival, and some Webster folks are going to be right in the middle of it.

Those folks are members of the Rochester branch of Altrusa International, a service organization dedicated to promote literacy worldwide.  Webster resident — and Altrusa member — Karen Marquardt has really taken that mission to heart.  Karen has befriended city school librarians and has learned how under-funded they are. To help, she scours public library used book sales, and using Altrusa funds, stocks up on books to donate to city schools. She recently donated more than 800 books to School 42, including 149 which she picked up at the Webster Public Library book sale for just $89.

Altrusa will be hosting a table at Saturday’s book festival, and accepting monetary and book donations to support their city school cause.  They’ll also be raffling off a beautiful quilt; anyone who donates a dollar or a book will receive a raffle ticket.

The Book Festival itself is a book-lover’s wonderland, a full day of author talks, workshops, presentations, activities and story-reading.  Plus there’s all sorts of information and vendor booths. Popular authors including Vivian Vande Velde and Linda Sue Park will be on hand to chat and sign your books.

The Festival runs Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm at Monroe Community College in Brighton. For more information, check out the Rochester Children’s Book Festival website here.


I’m gonna miss Election Day.

6 Nov

OK folks, it’s finally here. Election Day. We’ve been looking forward to this day more than Christmas. Our gifts after all this is done: Fewer phone calls. Fewer strangers knocking on our front doors. A LOT less mail.

Come to think about it, that sounds like a very lonely existence. Maybe we should do this again in a few months….

Live theater returns to Webster

4 Nov

Perhaps you were lucky enough to be in the audience last year when the Working Class Theatre Company performed  The Complete Works of William Shakespeare — Abridged at the gazebo.  If so, I’m sure you were as impressed as I was with the talent this little company brings to the stage.

So you’ll be interested in this news: the Working Class Theatre Company has returned with a brand new play, which they’ll present in five shows this coming weekend at the Harmony House.

The production is called What’s the Capital of Bolivia?, and it’s directed by Sander Nagar, who also directed last summer’s hilarious Shakespeare parody.

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about this performance. For starters (and this one’s obvious), it means that live theater is returning to the village. And there’s nothing like a good play to invigorate a town’s night life.

Secondly, this particular play is a world premier. It’s written by local playwright Robert G. Barone and has never been produced anywhere else before.

Jimmy Johnson and Scott Ellsworth play brothers home for their mother’s funeral. Tony Perri plays their father.

The last really neat thing about this performance is the way it’s being performed. The entire set has been plopped down not on the stage, but in the middle of the Harmony House floor. Taped lines outline the acting area, so in some places the actors will be only a few feet from the front row of the audience. It’s kind of like theater-in-the-round (except it’s a square).  Nagar explained that the decision to perform on the floor was a deliberate attempt to deeply engage the audience. “While you’re watching,” he said, “you feel like you’re a fly on the wall.”

The theater company is hoping that this weekend’s production will be just the first of many appearances at the Harmony House, Nagar said. For a while now, he’s been working closely with the Chorus of the Genesee, who own the facility, and is pleased that to have “finally gotten a foot in the door.”

“We’ve always considered Webster our home,” Nagar said. Ultimately, he added, the Working Class Theatre Company would like to set up their own space in Webster, and settle into a three-play season: one show in the fall, one in the spring, and a summer production at the gazebo. Then maybe also sprinkle some staged readings throughout the rest of the year.

This view from the Harmony House stage shows how the performance area is set up on the floor.

It looks to me like they’ve got a real good start.