Archive | June, 2013

Still time to pick those berries

29 Jun

I spent an hour Saturday afternoon at Bauman’s Farm Market on Five Mile Line Road, picking strawberries. And let me tell you, venturing into a strawberry field after a monsoon is an experience.

After all the rain we’ve had in the last few days, the field was more than muddy in places. I purposely chose to wear my worst sneakers for the job, but still had to watch my step to avoid the muddier paths.  And the relative gushiness was a field day for the mosquitoes, which were rather … aggressive at times.

I’ve been trying to get out to do some picking for the last several days, but the rain had other ideas. When the sun finally peeked through the clouds Saturday morning for the first time in recent memory, I drove by Bauman’s to see if there were any other hardy souls out there. Sure enough, two or three others had the same idea.  I headed home, slapped on my nasty sneakers, sunblocked my neck, and hoped the rains would hold off for a short time more.

Of course, it did, and an hour later I had ten quarts of strawberries, and a super sore back to show for them. Because if I go out to pick strawberries, I’m going to make it worth my while. I make sure I have enough for my morning cereal, smoothies, fruit salads, oatmeal, shortcake…and then I freeze the rest.  For more cereal, smoothies, fruit salads, oatmeal and shortcakes for months to come.

So if you’re wondering, strawberry season isn’t over yet.  Pick them yourself at Bauman’s, corner of Five Mile Line and Plank roads, for $2.50 a quart.  They provide the quarts.  If the sun stays with us for a while it should be pretty dry by Sunday. Wear some sunblock and happy hunting!


So when WILL the spray park be open?

25 Jun

I happened to notice the other day that the Ridgecrest spray park is STILL not operational.  It was put out of commission all last summer when the old Webster Rec Center was purchased and some legal and electrical issues messed things up.

Coincidentally, I also received a question a day or two ago from a reader about the spray park, thinking that I might know when it was going to open.

I didn’t. I usually never actually know these things, but I do know who to contact to find out. So I dropped at email to my contacts at the Rec Department.  But before I could hear back, I saw a story on Channel 10 News which explained everything.

Short story is, it’s not open yet, but the town hopes to have it open by July 31.

Click here to see the story.


School supply recycling gets better every year

23 Jun

Anyone who has been following my blog for a while should be very familiar with the school supply recycling effort I help coordinate at Thomas High School at the end of every school year.  We do it in conjunction with an organization called Greenseed Educational Supplies, led by an amazing man named Mitch Nellis. Mitch has been heading this effort for years, working with dozens of schools all over the county, saving perfectly good school supplies from the trash and distributing them to schools and organizations who will put them to good use.

Well I’m pleased to report that this year’s effort at Thomas High was one again successful. I dare say it was our best year yet.  Last Wednesday and Thursday, I made three trips to the School Supply Recycling Command Center at Eastridge High School (actually two science classrooms), my SUV packed to the rafters with cartons.

Here’s a quick rundown on what we collected this year:

* 29 cartons of binders (easily more than 500 binders)
* a shoe box each of pencils, pens, colored pencils, markers, crayons and hi-liters
* one carton each of trapper-keepers, report covers, miscellaneous desk supplies, locker doo-dads, review books, graph paper, tab dividers and composition notebooks
* two cartons each of lined paper and 2-pocket folders
* four cartons of spiral notebooks
* two shoe boxes of index cards

So basically we’re talking hundreds of dollars worth of good school supplies saved from the garbage. And that’s just what I collected at Thomas. Mitch tells me that Willink and Spry middle schools came through big time as well.  And a thousand thanks also to the teachers and staff at Plank Road North Elementary — they filled their 40-gallon recycling bin to overflowing.

Scroll down to see some photos from the sorting and distribution effort at Eastridge, a monumental task which Mitch and his worker-bees accomplish over a matter of just two days.

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This is the army of students who helped Mitch Nellis sort the thousands upon thousands of school supplies collected. They’re from National Honor Society and Eastridge’s International Baccalaureate and AVID programs. Plus there are a few graduates. Mitch Nellis is third from the left in the back row.

School Supply Command Center (a.k.a. Mitch Nellis’ science classroom)

Representatives from community organizations started arriving to select supplies even before they were all sorted.


Thursday mailbag

20 Jun

I’ve got pages and pages of events to tell you about.

Wait. This is digital. It’s all one page.  OK, I have one verrrrrry long page of events to tell you about, so get your calendars.

Webster’s first Helping Hands in the Village promotion is going on right now, and runs through Saturday the 22nd.  During this event, participating retailers donate a portion of their sales the the whole week to a selected local charity.

This week the following businesses are participating:  Yesterday’s Muse Books, The Coach Sports Bar, Metro Sports Brokers, Webster Gourmet, Professional Nutrition Services, Finns Garage, Beyond Cuts Salon and The Goodie Shop.

The selected charities include Webster Hope House, Webster Monarch House, The Webster Museum, Relay for Life to Fight Cancer, Webster Comfort Care Home and the Webster Assoc. of Senior Program Support.

* * *

Fourth of July fireworks come a little early this summer to Webster.

The Summer Celebration will be held on Saturday June 22 from 4-10 pm at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive. This is a terrific family event with hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage, pizza, ice cream. games and crafts, land inflatables, a zip line, laser tag, and lots more.

Entertainers will keep the event hopping all afternoon and evening, headlined by the Empire Statesmen at 5:30, the West View Project at 6:15, and the Skycoasters at 7:15. And of course, there’ll be fireworks, beginning at 9:45.

Bring a blanket and some lawn chairs and have some summertime fun with friends and family.

* * *

Webster Thomas’ Cross Country team will host its third annual 12-hour relay to raise money for Reece’s Rainbow, an organization that facilitates international adoptions for children with Down syndrome. This year’s event will be held Saturday June 22, from 9 am to 9 pm at the Webster Thomas track. This year’s event, dubbed the “Run for Edik,” will support the adoption fund for Edik, a Ukrainian infant adopted by the Braithwaite family of Victor and awaiting his homecoming to the United States.

Current, future, and former Webster Thomas Cross Country runners and their friends will converge on the Thomas track for the relay Run for Edik. Teams of 10 runners will send one member of their team at a time to run one mile around the track before passing a baton off to a teammate. It is anticipated that each runner will have completed a total of between 7-10 miles by the end of the 12-hour relay.

Prior to the event, participating runners will solicit tax-deductible donations to Reece’s Rainbow to support Edik’s adoption fund. Donors may also contribute by visiting

* * *

A walk-a-thon scheduled for next week will raise money to send teens to summer camp.

The Walk-A-Thon for Young Life will be held at North Ponds Park on Tuesday June 25, starting at 6 pm (rain date June 27). Money raised will help send teens to Saranac Camp this summer. A portion will also help pay for buses to transport them.  Cold Stone Creamery will be on hand, and will be donating a portion of their profits to help pay for the buses as well.

Young Life is a Christian outreach to high school and middle school teens. The group’s goal is to develop friendships with teens and share the good news of God’s love for them. For more details on Young Life in Rochester East please visit our site

* * *

Also on Tuesday June 25, Cherry Ridge will host a free concert as part of their “Under the Stars” summer concert series.

The Gateswingers Big Band will perform from 6:30-8 pm on the Cherry Ridge Lawn. Cherry Ridge is located on Ridge Road in Webster, across from Webster Schroeder High School.

The community at large is invited to attend this free event and attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair. The Gateswingers Big Band is an exciting 15 piece band featuring swing sounds of the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and present day. In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held indoors at the Cherry Ridge Community Center.

* * *

The Webster High School Marching Band is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and hope to celebrate with a trip to Philadelphia for the National Championships.

To raise money for that trip, he band will hold a fund-raiser at Hank’s on Wednesday June 26. Hank’s Ice Cream & Roast Beef on North Avenue will donate to the band a portion of their sales from 5-8 pm that evening.

So plan on taking the family out for dinner and ice cream at Hank’s next Wednesday, and help out a great local organization.

* * *

Citizens Against Teen Suicide…& bullying abuse!-C.A.T.S., is sponsoring a Community Forum on Bullying and Cyberbullying at the Webster Public Library on Thursday June 27 from 6-8 pm. The forum is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served compliments of the Red Wings.

* * *

And finally…. This is not an event but instead, news of a proud achievement.

Maplewood Nursing & Rehabilitation skilled nursing facility in Webster recently announced that Physical Therapy Aide Ann Shanders has been named as CNA of the Year for District 9 of New York State Health Facilities Association (NYSHFA).

The award was given by NYSHFA’s Clinical & Quality Services Committee as part of the Association’s 2013 Employee Recognition Awards Program held in May. The program honors individuals for their outstanding contributions to skilled nursing facilities. Ann was nominated by a group including Maplewood administration, fellow employees, and residents’ family members.

Congratulations, Ann!




Frisbee golf is coming to North Ponds

18 Jun

This is some fun news.  By the end of the summer, Webster will very likely have its own Frisbee golf course at North Ponds Park.

The proposal was overwhelmingly approved at a recent Town Board meeting where, according to Webster Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mark Yaeger, the board members agreed that “this is a great passive activity for the park,” with the added benefit of helping to keep the geese population there under control.

The original idea to bring Frisbee golf to Webster came from Ryan Hand, president of the Greater Rochester Disc Golf Club, who first proposed that it be located at the Arboretum.  After much deliberation, it was decided that the Arboretum wasn’t conducive for the course.  So Hand took the idea to Yaeger at the Webster Recreation Center, they mapped out a plan for North Ponds, and the rest is history.

Or hopefully, it will be very soon.

The 9-hole course will be laid out out between the two ponds (see the map below). Hand hopes to have it ready for play by the end of July, with a grand opening celebration in early August.


I won’t spit and tell

13 Jun

A few random thoughts this morning….

As I was running yesterday afternoon, I was listening to Pandora on my phone and an advertisement came on for a product called “23 and Me.” This, believe it or not, is a do-it-yourself DNA test kit for home use.

At first I thought “Wow. Science has come really far.”  But then I didn’t quite know what to think.  The ad touted the product’s ability to offer reports on health history and “ancestry composition,” and hinted that you might discover something exciting. But I had my doubts.

Still, I was intrigued, so I checked out their website, which pretty much promised the same things.  But I already know where my family comes from and what kinds of diseases run in my family.  Any diseases I don’t already know about … well, I’m not sure I want to.

I was, however, amused by what they call their DNA-test-in-a-box: a “spit kit.”  And I also found it funny that they consider one of the kit’s biggest draws to be its ability to tell you your “Neanderthal percentage.”

Is that really a question that keeps people awake at night?

By the way, if you’re still looking for a Father’s Day gift, the website reminds us that “23 and Me” would make a great gift. It certainly would be easy to wrap; it’s a $99 popsicle stick in a box.

Random thought #2:

I also spent some time yesterday afternoon in a dentist’s chair, getting an annoying tooth taken care of.  My dentist (at my request) shot me up with enough Novocaine to stop a charging Rhino, which did wonders to deaden the drilling pain. But it also led me to some interesting discoveries:

It is impossible to whistle when you’re hopped-up on Novocaine.

Directional spitting? Don’t try it. Trust me.

It’s amazing how people can stand there and talk to you like nothing is the matter, despite the fact that you left your tongue and chin in the dentist office.


Remembering the “forgotten war”

12 Jun

Today I’d like to pass along a press release I received yesterday. It’s not strictly a Webster-based story, but in honor of Father’s Day, I thought it was appropriate.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, a war in which my father’s generation fought. It is often referred to as the “forgotten war,” because it has been overshadowed by the more immediate memories of Vietnam, Desert Storm and the fiftieth anniversary of World War II.

The information below tells about one effort to shed some light on that war.

The Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC


The Department of Defense Korean War 60th Anniversary Committee has opened an online forum for Korean War Veterans and those affected by the war to submit their stories at

“A little over 100 miles out… the engine exploded on us and caught fire,” shared Lt. Col. William McCowen of the United States Air Force, who survived the Korean War and the plane crash that nearly killed him.

The opportunity to document these experiences is fleeting. That is why the DoD is coordinating projects, events and opportunities for Korean War Veterans leading up to “Heroes Remembered,” a national tribute to Korean War veterans on the 60th anniversary of the Armistice Signing that ended the conflict.

Like Lt. Col. William McCowen, many Korean War Veterans today are in their 80’s and have endured the heartache of losing over 100,000 of their fellow soldiers. Their stories of survival, persistence and sacrifice remind us that freedom in the United States comes at a cost.

The Korean War 60th Anniversary Commemoration Committee encourages everyone to attend or watch the televised ceremonies for “Heroes Remembered,” a national tribute on July 27 in Washington, D.C. For more information about “Heroes Remembered,” please visit:



Tuesday mailbag

10 Jun

News items about summer events are starting to come in fast and furious, so you might be seeing these “mailbags” a bit more often. If your organization has a special event coming up, make sure to let me know about it so I can help spread the word!

Hope for Pets 5th Annual Dog Walk

On Saturday June 15, the greater Rochester community will come together to help pet owners in need at Rochester Hope for Pets’ 5th Annual Dog Walk & Pet Education Expo. The event will take place in Ellison Park’s Orchard Grove Shelter. Registration begins at 9 am and the walk begins at 10.

This year’s event will include adoptable animals from local shelters and pet health education stations featuring information about pet first aid, dog and cat wellness tips, common household foods and substances that are toxic to a pet, and careers in veterinary medicine. There will also be demonstrations by K-9 teams from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Rochester Police Department and Town of Greece. Joyce Palumbo, Crime Stoppers board member and media spokesperson, believes supporting the K-9 units is a logical extension of helping law enforcement.

For more information, visit or contact Beth Zogby at Rochester Hope for Pets at (585) 271-2733 ext. 26 or

Benefit Music Festival

Also on Saturday June 15 is the Sarah Anne Bryan Charity Music & Arts Festival, from 12-8 pm at the gazebo in Veterans Memorial Park, North Ave. in the village of Webster.

The festival will feature entertainment for the kids, raffles, and a “Taste of Webster” restaurant tour featuring The Coach Sports Bar, Marvin Mozzeroni’s, the Vino Wine Lounge, Hatters Pub, Brimont Bistro and BC’s Chicken Coop. Donations will benefit DePaul Community Services and the West Webster Volunteer Firemen’s Association.

For more information, visit

Schlegel Road Reunion

The annual Schlegel Road Elementary School Reunion Trip is back.  This year’s event will be at Seabreeze on Friday, June 21. Tickets cost $14.50 for students (less for adults), and must be reserved by June 19 so they can all be purchased together.

Interested alumni can reserve their tickets by calling Jill Sicke at 749-8914 or by email at

Schroeder student chosen by Red Sox

Congratulations to Webster Schroeder sophomore Oliver Pena, who recently received a phone call from the Boston Red Sox, informing him that he was selected as one of the ten participants for the team’s Lindos Sueños program in the Dominican Republic.

Oliver was selected from a nationwide search of thousands of applicants, and has been going through a rigorous interview process for several months.  This summer he’ll be working with the people of the Dominican Republic to help improve their lives. But he’ll also be playing baseball and receiving training from Boston Red Sox players and coaches.



Volunteers needed for Webster Folk Festival

9 Jun

Organizers of the village’s new Webster Folk Festival have put out a call for volunteers.

The festival is scheduled for Saturday from 1-8 pm at the gazebo in Veteran’s Memorial Park on North Avenue in the village. Seven different bands will take to the stage for 45-minute sets, and 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. Among the bands already booked are Gone Fishin, Everheart,  Sweet T and Johnny B and Barry’s Crossing.

A large tent will be set up in the park (“in case of sun,” the organizers quip) and families will be encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets for seating. Details are still being finalized, but there’s talk of craft and food vendors, an “instrument petting zoo,” a workshop tent, and a jam tent.

Admission will be free, though t-shirts and programs will be sold.

Volunteers are needed for several tasks, including selling programs, assisting musicians, set-up and clean-up, parking, hanging posters, and more.  If you’re interested in helping out, email with an idea of what kind of time you have available and what you might like to do.

For more information about the Webster Folk Festival, click here for the Facebook page or click here for the website.


To market, to market…

6 Jun

Don’t pay attention to the calendar. Summer has officially begun.

A typical Saturday at last year’s market

I know this, because Webster’s Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market opens for the season on Saturday at Webster Town Centre (Target/Kohl’s Plaza) on Holt Road.

The market will run from 8 am – 12:30 pm every Saturday through November 2, AND Wednesday evenings from 3-7 pm, rain or shine.

The market is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and it keeps getting bigger and better, especially since it moved from its village location to the plaza a year ago. Varying with the season, you’ll find baked goods, pies, meats, poultry, goat cheese and goat cheese products, flavored nuts herbs, spice blends, honey, maple syrup, cider, soap and body care products, plants and cut flowers, jewelry, crafts and of course a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

Don’t forget to bring the kids, too, because the Girl Scouts host a children’s activity area each week in the gazebo.

Special events and entertainment are scheduled every week; this weekend a grand opening celebration will be held at 10 am, kicked off by a flag ceremony presented by the Girl Scouts. Live music by the Callanach Band will keep your toes tapping all morning.

Check out the Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market website for details. See you Saturday!