Archive | December, 2012

D&C contributors gather for some holiday cheer

20 Dec

A few days ago I had the pleasure of attending a social gathering hosted by the Democrat and Chronicle for their bloggers and contributors.   D&C editors held the party as a thank you to the 100 or so community members who write blogs, articles, columns, editorial pieces, and more for their website and print editions.

I dragged my husband downtown with me, partly because he is my journalistic inspiration, but mostly because he himself worked at the D&C  for 16 years, and I knew he’d enjoy seeing some old friends.  That was indeed the case, and while he chatted with his former D&C colleagues, I chatted with my community blogger colleagues including Gary Gocek (Fairport), Donna DePalma (Pittsford), Lou Singer (Penfield), Terryn Maybeck (Victor), Ruth Thaler-Carter (Brighton) and fellow Webster blogger Rod Spratling. I also reacquainted with an old friend, Terry Schumacher, whom I haven’t seen since our kids were toddlers, and we were in the Fairport Moms Club together 20 years ago.

Plus, I met lots of new people and had lots of pleasant conversations, something that’s very easy to do when you’re with a bunch of writers. (If you’ve never noticed before, people who like to write also like to talk.)  So the evening flew by, and before we knew it, it was time for a group photo, one last cup of punch and a friendly wave goodbye.

Thank you to the D&C editors for hosting the event. But mostly, thank you to all my readers who keep coming back every day to see what I have to say…even though it’s not always very interesting. It’s your support that keeps me going, and lets me be a part of this great bunch of crazy writers.


D&C writers, bloggers and editors gathered for a group photo before the party broke up.


Send a snowflake to Newtown

20 Dec

I received this email this morning from a teacher at Willink Middle School. I think it is such a wonderful idea, and I know that so many in our community would want to participate, so I wanted to pass it along to everyone immediately.

Hello everyone:

I learned of something simple anyone can do for the grieving community we all have on our minds.

The state PTA, teachers, parents and local folks are collecting snowflakes to decorate the new school for the Newtown staff and children. They can be any color and made of anything you want. I think the idea started as paper cut outs like we all made when we were little. The school they will inhabit is bare and someone thought it might be a nice showing snowflakes from all over the country, world, as a show of support….

The snowflakes can be mailed to the address below. The community plans to decorate over the break, so be sure to send them soon.

Connecticut PTSA
60 Connolly Parkway
Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT 06514

It just gives me chills to think of that school covered head to toe with snowflakes from around the country, and around the world. Please pass the word and lets get everyone we know involved in this effort. It’s such a simple way to show our support.



Wednesday mailbag

18 Dec

I received a few press releases within the last week from and about some local businesses and the good things they’re doing for our community. I am please to pass them along:

Webster Chamber Presents Fundraising Check to Comfort Care Home

The Webster Chamber of Commerce recently held an online auction enhanced with a live auction at its 80th Gala Celebration to raise funds for the Webster Comfort Care Home. The Chamber raised nearly $5,000 to be used by the Comfort Care Home to continue their commitment to providing comprehensive and compassionate care to the terminally ill and their families, in a home-like atmosphere.

Pictured presenting the check from the Chamber are (l to r)  Barry Howard, Webster Chamber President; Ann Carmody, Webster Chamber Board Chair; Maisy Buckley, Comfort Care Volunteer Coordinator; Mary Barnhart, Primary Nurse; Laurie Klein, Chamber Gala Committee Chair and Alan Jones, Comfort Care Executive Director.

 Henderson Ford Fills Ford Escape with Hundreds of Toys

Back in November Henderson Ford challenged staff, customers, the community and neighboring businesses to help fill a 2013 Ford Escape with toys for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program. The response was staggering and hundreds of toys were collected in an overflowing Ford Escape. Sgt. Scott Brock from the Marine Corps Reserve stopped by the dealership on December 13 to collect the toys.

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of our customers, staff, business partners and the community,” said Randy Henderson President of Henderson Ford. “The Toys for Tots program does so much for local families and we hope these toys bring lots of smiles to children’s faces.”

The following local businesses also participated in Henderson Ford’s Fill a Ford Escape Toys for Tots campaign: A Different Point of View, Design Pool & Spa, Dixon Schwabl, Edge Advertising Group, JNCS and Omero’s Clothes.


Toys for Henderson Ford’s campaign for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program were piled into a 2013 Ford Escape.

Henderson Ford’s Aki Henderson and Greg Wright pose for a picture with Sgt. Scott Brock from the Marine Corps Reserve. This is the third consecutive year that Henderson Ford has participated in the Toys for Tots program.



A rose is a rose…even in winter

16 Dec

OK, this unusually un-winter-like weather has officially begun to creep me out.

When I was at the Eastway Wegmans on Saturday, I saw rose bushes — in full bloom — growing next to the parking lot. Now, I am no gardener, so I know nothing about rose bushes. Perhaps there are a few varieties that thrive in the cold.

But it was just weird.

My first visit to The Goodie Shoppe

16 Dec

This is going to be hard to believe to all you Webster Village folks out there, but yesterday was the first time I stepped foot inside The Goodie Shoppe.

I know, I know. The Goodie Shoppe has been a village staple since 1975, when the confectionery business moved from the city to North Avenue, down by the tracks. And it’s been at its current location at 83 North Avenue for almost 34 years.  But I’ve known Goodie Shoppe owner Mike Broikou for a while now — and have had a taste of his signature ice cream cakes — and have been wanting to see this shop I’d been hearing so much about. So I stopped in yesterday and finally had a look for myself at what all the excitement was about.

The truffles come spiked or un-spiked. (Watch the kids.)

For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure to visit The Goodie Shoppe, let me set the scene for you.  It’s a small shop which you might not even notice as you speed by on your way to Route 104. But when you walk in the door, it’s like entering a candy wonderland.  You’re immediately assaulted with an incredible aroma of pure chocolate, and surrounded by more hand-made truffles, chocolate creams, chocolate -dipped pretzels, Santas-on-a-stick and chocolate candy canes than you’ve ever seen in one place before.

Remember that scene in Willy Wonka when all the kids walked onto the factory floor? It’s exactly like that. Except I can’t picture Mike in a purple topcoat.

But as wonderful as all these chocolate delights are, Mike’s specialty by far is his famous seven-layer ice cream cake, which the shop has been making the same way for 60 years.  It’s made with layers of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, with a layer of strawberries and yet another layer that combines pineapple, peach and banana. Then it’s all topped with an ice cream frosting. Basically, it’s Heaven on a plate.

I met Mike’s ice cream cake before I even met Mike, when he brought one to Jessica Barry’s baby shower back in May.  And then he brought another huge one to baby Maley’s christening in November.  Because that’s just the kind of guy Mike is. I mean, this is a guy who, on a very busy night at Barry’s Pub, has been known to step behind the counter without being asked, and start washing dishes. Pretty much one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

So if haven’t been to The Goodie Shoppe yet, make a plan to do so this week. It’s the perfect place to find a gift for that hard-to-shop-for person, and a pretty nice spot for stocking stuffers, too. And while you’re there, order one of those spectacular ice cream cakes (give him a few days to make it special for you, though). You’ll be the most adored person in your family for a long time if you present one of those for dessert after your holiday dinner.

The Goodie Shoppe is located at 83 North Main Street, across from Dunkin’ Donuts. Call Mike at (585) 872-6460.


Owner Mike Broikou with one of his famous ice cream cakes






Lighting of the Lights in the village this evening

15 Dec

If you think of all the twinkly village decorations, and the White Christmas and Parade of Lights as a big Christmas gift to Webster, then tonight’s event is like a big bow on top.

Tonight is the annual Lighting of the Lights, from 4- 8 pm at Hanks Ice Cream and Taylor Rental on North Avenue.  The fun starts with a Chili for Charity Cook-off  from 4-6 pm. It’s not supposed to be bitterly cold, but  some nice hot chili will be very welcome nonetheless. Immediately after the cook-off, Santa and his elves will arrive.

Then, at 6:30 comes the spectacular Lighting of the Holiday Lights and fireworks. Plus, there will also be a raffle featuring dozens of prizes donated by local businesses.  Proceeds will benefit Webster Comfort Care and the Finger Lakes Regional Burn Association.

So make it a whole evening tonight. Bring the family down to the village, do a little shopping, sample a little chili, say hi to Santa, and enjoy the holiday, Webster-style.


Dear Santa: Please no mugs. Love, teacher.

13 Dec

It’s funny, but I can still remember how excited I got every year when it was time to buy a Christmas gift for my grade school teacher. I always took the task very seriously, and chose very carefully, knowing full well that my gift would be her favorite by far.  One year in particular stands out in my memory, because I had found the the most perfect gift ever: a plastic statue with the inscription “World’s Best Teacher.”

Of course, now that I am older and wiser, and three times a mother myself, I recognize how silly that gift was. I’m certain my teacher accepted it graciously and made me feel like it was, indeed, the best gift she had ever received … and then tossed it in the trash that night.

Because, let’s face it.  You can only have so many “#1 Teacher” nick-knacks, hand-made photo frames and “World’s Best Teacher” coffee mugs. (Frankly, most of the teachers I know would rather get a pint glass or wine glass, but that’s beside the point.)  And from a parent’s perspective, it’s kind of hard to figure out what a teacher would really want for Christmas, let alone convince a young child that a practical gift is a viable option.

Which is why I think the Teachers’ Christmas Wish List at Klem North Elementary is an inspired idea. The idea was hatched by the Klem North PTSA, and I found out about it from the Klem North Star blog.  Most of the items the teachers have included on their lists are things they need for their classrooms which they normally have to purchase themselves (you know how school budgets are these days). Many of the requests, therefore (like hand sanitizer and ziplock bags), might not be as much fun as a coffee mug, but will surely be a heck of a lot more useful.

Klem North families can check out the bulletin board in the cafeteria to see if their favorite teacher has posted a wish list, or you can click here to see the list online. But even if you’re not a Klem North family, you might want to look at the lists anyway, because they’re chock full of great gift ideas that teachers will really appreciate.



Willink singers will be on the radio Friday

12 Dec

The Willink Middle School “Simply Select” and “Stuck in the Middle” choruses, directed by Michael Roller and Tiffany Polino, will be the featured guest performers Friday morning on WBEE radio, 92.5 FM.

The choruses – comprised of about 55 students from grades 6 through 8 – will visit the WBEE studios Friday morning, where they’ll get a tour of the station and perform two holiday songs. Their performance will be aired live between 9:45 and 10 am, and recorded for later use during the holiday season.

Not only that

While they’re in the studio, the kids will also perform and record their rendition of the National Anthem. They received a special invitation to do so after one of the station employees heard them perform it at an Amerks game last year, and thought it would be perfect for the station’s daily recognition of veterans and troops serving our country, which airs at noon. What an honor that is.

So tune in to WBEE 92.5 FM Friday between 9:45 and 10 am to hear the kids live, then listen for their performances to be aired regularly over the next few weeks. You can also listen live on your computer by visiting the WBEE website, but I had a hard time getting that to work.   (Hint: It seemed to work better on Internet Explorer than Mozilla, and I had to re-load it several times.)

On the lookout for nice Christmas light displays

11 Dec

Like most families, we have a whole pile of holiday traditions this time of year.  The barefoot snow walk which I posted a photo of a few weeks ago is one of them.  Decorating a tall, fat, fresh-cut tree every year with so many light strings, glass ornaments, childhood Christmas ornaments, garland and tinsel that it’s hard to see the branches; Christmas cookies; gingerbread houses.

But one tradition which fell by the wayside many years ago as the kids grew older was the annual drive through the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights.  It’s not that the kids don’t still appreciate big Christmas light displays. When I was out a few nights ago with my son, for example, he made us take a detour past a particularly impressive house in Fairport.  It’s just that they don’t want to bother going out in search of them anymore.

Not me. I still like to troll the neighborhoods every year to see what’s new.  Thank goodness the obsession with those huge, tacky inflatables seems to have died down a bit, as homeowners rediscover the simple, sophisticated look of old-fashioned, colored bulbs.

So, kids or not, I’m going to take a drive out and about sometime later this week and snap some photos of Christmas lights. Do you know of any particularly nice displays I should check out?  Anything unusual or especially creative?  Let me know by commenting below, or send me at email at


Last call for Oak Tree Award nominations

10 Dec

Do you know an awesome teacher? There’s still time to nominate outstanding educators for the 2013 Oak Tree Award.

The annual Oak Tree Award is sponsored by the Webster Teacher Association and Webster Central PTSA, and recognizes teacher excellence at both elementary and secondary levels. Any Webster Central School District resident or district employee (including teachers and administrators), student or parents may nominate teachers. Two winners are chosen every year.

Click here to see the nomination criteria and download a form.  But do it soon; nominations are due by this Friday, Dec. 14.