Archive | May, 2013

New Bay View YMCA Climbing Complex has risen from the ashes

30 May

Today I am pleased to bring some good news.

The new Bay View YMCA climbing complex. Click on the photo to see a few more.

You may remember the awful morning about a year ago when we woke up to find out that vandals had torched the 40-foot climbing tower at the Bay View Family YMCA.  It was completely destroyed, including all of the equipment that was stored inside, and the very popular zip line.

That happened on June 22, the day before summer camp was to begin. It was a devastating blow to the Bay View community, and especially the camp kids who used it every day during and after camp.  What was particularly depressing is finding out that insurance would not completely cover the cost of replacing the tower.

But if there’s one thing I have learned about the Webster community, it’s that we pull together big time when we sense a challenge.

The YMCA pledged not only to rebuild the tower bigger and better, but to do so before the start of the next summer’s camp season. They set a seemingly unreachable fund-raising goal of $100,000.

Immediately, donations started coming in, from pennies collected by preschoolers to large donations by local businesses. There were car washes and dunk-a-counselor events. We held a food truck rodeo in the middle of a hurricane and people still came out to support the cause. And young Bay View camper Joey Gerard raised more than $5,000 single-handedly by selling hand-crafted bracelets (see a previous story I wrote about Joey here.)

So many people helped reach that goal that it would be impossible to thank them all. But the goal WAS reached, and now all those people, and the entire Webster community, are invited to see the result.

On Saturday, June 1, the Bay View Family YMCA will officially open its brand-new climbing complex. You may have seen the new wall from a distance already.  And from a distance, it doesn’t look anywhere near as imposing as did the old tower. But drive down the road to the Y and get a closer look.  You’ll be lots more impressed.

The new 32-foot climbing wall is just the centerpiece of a bigger climbing complex, including a separate zip line tower with dual zip lines (so a parent and child can go down together) and a natural boulder playground. It is very beautiful and very exciting, and it’s all handicap-accessible.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. at the Bay View Family YMCA, 1209 Bay Road, Webster (across from Wegmans).  Joe Gerard will be there to take the very first zip line ride.


Community blood drive is back

29 May

One of my two favorite blood drives of the entire year is back — with a twist.

It’s Webster’s Community Blood Drive, and it’s held twice a year,  usually in June and October.  It’s always a two-day event, and for as long as I can remember (and I’ve been a blood donor for many years) it’s been held on a Wednesday  at St. Paul’s Church on Hard Road, and the following Thursday at the West Webster Fire House.

But I recently found out that the Community Blood Drive has outgrown the fire house, and so Thursday’s donation location will be the Webster Recreation Center on Chiyoda Drive.

This is actually a great problem to have — so many donors they overwhelm the space.

I’ve written about this particular two-day drive several times before, and I’m not at all kidding when I say it’s my favorite ever.  It’s sponsored by a long list of Webster businesses, which is why you see all those big white signs popping up all over town. Each of these businesses contributes a coupon, which are all collected into a packet and distributed to each presenting donor.  My favorites from past years have been the free ice cream cones from Bruster’s and Abbott’s and Hank’s.  But there are plenty of other coupons as well; previous ones have included free Empire Lanes bowling and a free flower from Kittelberger’s.

So if you’re a regular blood donor, I’ll probably see you there. If you’ve never donated blood before, I also hope to see you there. This is a great donation event to start with.  The Red Cross folks are always very pleasant and professional, and they’ll understand if you’re a bit nervous.  Just think about all the great coupons you’ll get, and the cookies and juice they force on you after your donation.

And of course, you’ll be saving lives, too.

Here are the details:

Webster Community Blood Drive

Wednesday June 5, noon – 7 pm
St. Paul’s Church, 783 Hard Road

Thursday June 6, noon – 7 pm
Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive (off of Phillips)

Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment, or just stop in.  It only takes about an hour.


Photos from yesterday’s Memorial Day Parade and ceremony

28 May

The weather couldn’t have been better for yesterday’s Memorial Day Parade and ceremony, and a big crowd lined Main Street to watch as the parade made its way to the Webster Rural Cemetery.  The day’s events were dedicated to all of Webster’s first responders who put their lives on the line for us every day. “Chip” Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka were posthumously named honorary Parade Grand Marshals.

Click on the photo or click here to go to a Facebook gallery of photos from the morning.



Brand new Webster Folk Festival joins summer scene

22 May

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending an organizational meeting for Webster’s newest festival, the Webster Folk Festival, scheduled for Saturday August 3 in Veterans Memorial Park on North Avenue.

In my recent blog about the summer village events sponsored by the Business Improvement District, I put the Folk Festival on the accompanying calendar, but neglected to provide any details. Mostly because I didn’t have any.

Well, now I do.

The Webster Folk Festival will run from 1-8 pm on Saturday August 3.  It will feature seven headlining bands performing on the gazebo stage — most of them home-grown Webster musicians — each playing a 45-minute set. In between each headliner, small acoustic folk groups or individual musicians will perform in front of the stage. So that means the music will be flowing for seven straight hours.

Three bands have already committed: Barry’s Crossing, Sweet T and Johnny B, and Everheart. Organizers are also hoping to attract several vendors, and food and beverages will be available for purchase.  A large tent will be set up in case of rain, and a “jam” tent where any musician who’s packing an instrument will be invited in to sit and jam.

Cost of admission is still a little up in the air, but the promise is that it will be very “family-friendly.”

“The idea for the Webster Folk Festival came about only a few months ago, as friends Tracy Holley and Gordon Clarke were chatting at a school concert.

Fellow organizer Dave Wyble explained, they got to talking about how “there doesn’t seem to be anything like an outdoor family fun thing” like a folk festival.  The atmosphere at folk festivals is so unlike anything else, even Webster’s very popular Jazz Festival. “We love folk music and we wanted to promote the feeling you get from a festival like this.”

So now Wyble, Clarke and Holley are scurrying to pull all of the necessary details together to build the festival from scratch. This first year, they’re keeping their expectations realistic and setting their sights low, with just a one-day festival. But if it’s successful, and it looks like people like what they see, they’re hoping to expand next year to two days, invite more musicians, and offer a more interactive music and folk experience, including storytellers and a “instrument petting zoo.”

More details to come. In the meantime, stay up to date on the plans by checking out the Webster Folk Festival website at, and “like” their Facebook page.

If you’re interested in becoming a vendor, email

A personal invitation to participate in Relay for Life

21 May

If you still haven’t heard about Relay for Life, then you’ve been living under a rock.

The Relay is an annual fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society in which teams pledge to walk around a track for 12 straight hours in honor of those who have fought or are still fighting the battle against cancer.  This year’s event is being held June 1-2 at the Webster Thomas High School track. A lot of teams have signed on so far, but more support is still needed.

I am pleased to pass along this notice from Robyn Whittaker, Webster’s biggest Relay for Life cheerleader and CRO (Chief Relay Officer) for the village’s Relay for Life team:

If you haven’t ever been to the Relay because you think it’s a race, you should know the the only “race” is to the cure.  We invite the community to come out that night and see what we are all about.

The evening starts out by celebrating our survivors and then our caregivers as they start off the laps before the teams take the track. Each team differs in their numbers but not in their quest to help fight cancer. Entertainment , games at the team campsites along with fun ways to raise money fill up the time until 10pm when the Remember ceremony starts. The ceremony is heartfelt and touching and the silent lap led by a bagpiper in the darkness, lit only by luminaria honoring or remembering our loved ones, brings out many tears.

Fun laps take over and continue through the night to keep those who are not catching a few zzz’s in their tents on the track and having fun. Midnight brings on the Fight Back ceremony as participants learn how they can help fight cancer with lifestyle changes.

The event wraps up at 6am with those who chose to stay the whole night, packing up and feeling good about what they did. After all, cancer never sleeps.

Please come out to Thomas High School on June 1st at 6pm and join the event!!

Couldn’t have said it any better myself. For more information about Webster’s Relay for Life, click here.


Public input requested on planned village traffic improvements

20 May

The Village of Webster is considering making major improvements in traffic patterns for pedestrians, bicycles and automobiles, and is now inviting residents to weigh in on the plans.

A public meeting will be held on Wednesday June 5 to provide the public with a chance to review and comment on draft recommendations for suggested improvements to West Main and North Avenue.

The public meeting will include a presentation by study consultants about the village’s transportation characteristics and conditions, and evaluations of traffic flow, parking, and pedestrian and bicycle safety.  It will be followed by a discussion of village transportation needs as expressed by area residents.

Finally, recommended strategies and improvements will be presented for public comment. Preliminary recommendations include major changes at the Route 104/ North Avenue interchange and changes to East and West Main Streets. (Scroll down to see renderings of the proposed changes.)

This meeting is part of a major study of transportation in the village being funded by the Genesee Transportation Council in conjunction with the village’s new Comprehensive Plan. Its purpose is to improve circulation, accessibility, parking, and safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists in the village.

According to the release I received, during the development of the Comprehensive Plan,

the public expressed considerable concern about the lack of vitality and limited consumer buying opportunities in the business district; the location of parking and the perception of too little parking; generally increased traffic, as well as event-related congestion; poor signage; and the pedestrian and barrier and safety issues created by Route 104. Moreover the continued expansion of commercial activity in the Town of Webster outside the Village is creating increased competition for Village businesses and pressuring business owners and the Village government to seek changes that will keep and attract business investment and people.

The workshop will be held Wednesday June 5 at 7 pm in the Community Meeting Hall, 29 South Avenue. For more information on the Public Workshop, contact Glenn Cooke at or by calling (585) 269-4939.


Plans are to put dedicated bike lanes on West Main. Click on the image to enlarge.


Major changes in store for the Rt. 104/North Ave. interchange. Click on the image to enlarge.

A follow-up on the clean-up

17 May

In one of my blogs a few days ago I mentioned how I recently drove by a group of Webster High School Marching Band parents and students who were cleaning up a stretch of Ridge Road.  I lamented the fact that I didn’t know about it ahead of time so I couldn’t snap any photos.

Well, a big thanks to Patty Homeier for sending along the following two photos from her team.  Patty wrote that her group of three adults and three kids worked for about an hour and a half, and collected 10 large bags of trash (and a few car parts).

They and three other groups cleaned both sides of Ridge from Hegedorns to the movie theater.

Patty also mentioned in her email that her family is new to the marching band.  I think it’s pretty cool that even though they’re new to the organization, they’re already participating in events like this.  It’s a great example of how much Webster Marching Band families are committed to this community.

Thank you to the Webster Marching Band for cleaning up our Ridge.

I love the hard hats. (L-R) Mikayla Cassidy, Theresa Homeier and Anna Halpa.

Theresa Homeier works in the woods.



Webster BID announces summer schedule

16 May

The Village’s Business Improvement District (BID) has announced its summer lineup of special events, and this year they’ve added some exciting new ones.

So go grab your calendars. I’ll wait.


OK, here we go.  First let’s talk about the events you’re already familiar with.

This summer’s Friday Night Concerts in the Gazebo begin on June 14, with a performance by Keys to the Cady.  Here’s the whole schedule:

* June 14: Keys to the Cady 
* June 21: Dang
* June 28:  Electro Kings
* July 19: Bill Tibero Jazz
* July 26: An Evening of Acapella
* August 16: Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra
* August 23: Johnny B and the MVPs

All of the concerts begin at 7 pm at the gazebo in Veterans Memorial Park on North Avenue.

The Tuesday night Movies in the Park series begins on July 9 with a showing of Rise of the Guardian. This year the BID has also partnered with the Webster Public Library to help keep kids entertained with a story hour before a few of the movies. Those two are indicated below along with another special event sponsored by Barnes & Noble.

* July 9: Rise of the Guardian and Webster Library Story Hour
* July 16: Thunderstruck and Webster Library Story Hour
* July 23: Wall-E
* August 6: Cool Runnings
* August 13: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
* August 20: The Lorax, and Barnes & Noble Dr. Seuss Night

The very popular Webster Jazz Festival returns on Saturday July 20, and Village Days returns in August for not just one, but TWO weekends. The Village Days Music Fest will take place on August 9 and 10, and the Street Festival on Saturday August 17.

Now here’s where things get exciting.

The BID is introducing two brand new events this summer which not only will bring people into the village, but will help our community at the same time.

The first is called Helping Hands, a week-long promotion from June 14-22.

Here’s how it works: Participating businesses choose one of six charities, and donate a percentage of their revenues for the entire week to that charity.

Business owners will choose from the following charities: Holy Trinity Hope House, Webster Monarch House, The Webster Museum, Relay for Life Village Team, Webster Comfort Care Home and Webster Association for Senior Program Support.

Watch for more details and advertising from individual businesses about this great effort.

The second new event is called Eat in the Village.  The dates for this are still up in the air, but it’s tentatively scheduled for every Wednesday night from mid-July to mid-August.  On these evenings, participating village restaurants will offer patrons a 10% discount on food from 4:30 pm till close.

Keep an eye on the BID website for updates on all of these events as plans come together.

I’ve put all of these events on a handy dandy calendar below which you can click on, print off and paste to your refrigerator. It looks like a wicked fun summer ahead for the village of Webster.

On a side note, I learned about all of these events from BID president Tom Spoonhower, who announced them at the last Village Board meeting. If you haven’t attended one of these meetings recently or watched them on TV, you’re missing out.  They’ve actually been very entertaining in a small-town drama sort of way.  Frankly, though, a little less drama would be in the village’s best interests.

Village Board meetings are held the second and fourth Thursday of the month in the Community Meeting Hall, 29 South Avenue. Access is off the parking lot in the back. If you’d like to catch up on some of the recent action, click here to watch video of the meetings. (The videos take a while to post, so check back regularly.)


An exciting opportunity for your musicians

12 May

Several days ago when I was driving through town I noticed a group of young people and adults picking up trash along Ridge Road. My first thought was, “Huh. I’ll bet that’s folks from the Webster High School Marching Band. I think this is the stretch of highway they adopted.”  That was immediately followed by my next thought, “I wonder why they didn’t tell me they were going to be doing this so I could come out and take photos?”

Ah, well. Maybe next year. But seeing them did remind me of the great new program for young musicians which the Marching Band has introduced this year.  I’ve mentioned it before, but it deserves much more attention. It’s THAT great an idea.

It’s called the Webster Kidets Marching Band, and it’s designed for 5th and 6th graders in the Webster School District who’d like to see what it’s like to be part of a real live marching band.

To participate, a student should already be playing a musical instrument in school; chorus and orchestra students are encouraged to learn a percussion instrument to play with the group.The colorguard section is open to any student.

The band will hold four practices on June 3, June 24, June 26 and July 8, and then march in the huge Firemen’s Parade on July 10.  Brass, woodwind and percussion musicians are invited to sign up, as well as students interested in performing with the Kidets colorguard.

Registration is $30 per student, which includes a parade uniform (t-shirt) which the student can keep. The program can provide drums, mellophones, euphoniums and colorguard flags.  Flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets and trombones must be provided by the students.

What a wonderful opportunity this is for young musicians to get a taste of the excitement and pride that comes with being part of a marching band.

For more details, including rehearsal times, log onto the Webster Kidets webpage.


You know how I ramble…

11 May

Don’t expect to find much point in today’s blog. It’s one of those times when I just have a whole bunch of disparate thoughts that need to be put down on paper — or more accurately, digitized.

That old abandoned barn which has stood for years on Ridge Road across from Webster Plaza is finally coming down. It makes me kind of sad. I always respected that old place. It stood proudly for so long, despite the slow encroachment of weeds, traffic and commerce. It was almost as though it was thumbing its nose at progress, forcing us all to remember back to simpler times when residents would walk across that property to bale some hay, not to pick up a prescription at Rite Aid.

There was a photo and caption in the Webster Herald a few weeks ago about the demolition. It noted that the Webster Museum Historic Properties Committee had learned that “the barn is being dismantled by Dutton Properties of Springwater, and the boards and beams will be reused.” Apparently this is “GREAT NEWS FOR PRESERVATION MONTH (May) in Webster!”

Well, I can see that the Preservation Committee would be pleased about plans to re-purpose the wood, but I wonder if they’re happy that it’s coming down.

Enough about that.

Photo courtesy Democrat and Chronicle

Yesterday’s Democrat and Chronicle had two nice articles about the Christmas Eve tragedy which you might have missed. One of them was about a Lake Road resident whom we hadn’t heard about before, who helped Joseph Hofstetter escape the scene in his truck after he was injured. Read that story by clicking here.

The second is about “Chip” Chiapperini.  The Greece Police Department new canine officer has been officially named “Chip” in his honor. Read that story here.

Moving on….

Congratulations to Webster Thomas and Webster Schroeder High Schools for being named — once again — to Newsweek magazine’s list f top 2,000 best high schools in the nation.

The ranking is based on six components, including graduation rates, college acceptance rates. average SAT/ACT scores, percent of students enrolled in AP courses, and other test rankings.

Both schools significantly improved their rankings from 2012. This year, Webster Schroeder landed at #738, up from 867 in 2012. Webster Thomas scored even better, coming in ranked at #290. Last year, Thomas was ranked #441. Congratulations to the students and staff at both schools.

Finally, those of you fully immersed in today’s social media culture might find this interesting. Yesterday I finally signed on to LinkedIn.

The way my husband describes it, LinkedIn is kind of like Facebook for professionals. It’s a great place to network and expand your professional contacts, without the food photos, sentimental videos and political rants that pervade Facebook these days.

I also think it’s a lot like Twitter, mostly because even though I belong to the network, I really don’t know how to best take advantage of it or how it will benefit me. But I’ve been getting invitations to join the network for months now, and since I’ve got this new column gig which makes me LOOK professional, anyway, I thought I’d take the plunge.

So if you’re on LinkedIn and want to connect, send me a message. But if I don’t respond, just chalk it up to the fact I don’t know what I’m doing.