Archive | July, 2013

CrossFit Recourse gives Webster two “box” options

28 Jul

Webster has two high schools and two Wegmans. So why not two CrossFit gyms?

That’s the thinking of Chris O’Donnell, owner of CrossFit Recourse, Webster’s newest CrossFit “box,” located in the village on Donovan Ave., just down the road from Hank’s.

CrossFit Recourse opened just two weeks ago, offering area residents a second choice when they choose to tackle this intense workout regimen.

For the benefit of those who have never heard of CrossFit, I generally describe it as a torturous but very rewarding strength and conditioning program comprised of a series of short, intense workouts which include (but are not limited to) running, rowing, jumping rope, ladder-drills, weightlifting, flipping tires, carrying heavy objects, pull-ups, sit ups, chin-ups, box jumps and medicine-ball throws. The chosen activities are done repeatedly, at top intensity, for 15-30 minutes straight.

When you’ve completed one of these workouts, you’re pretty much dead. But it’s an “I-really-feel-great-physically-and-emotionally” kind of dead.

As a CrossFit aficionado myself, I was pleased as punch when CrossFit Webster opened up in June on the west side of town (in Penfield, actually, near Wal-Mart). Then, when I heard about CrossFit Recourse, well, I was so excited I felt like doing 20 burpees.

(If you know burpees, you’re laughing right now.)

The fact that it’s in the village is a bonus. Chris explained that when he was researching where to locate his new CrossFit box — trying to stay away from existing facilities — he saw “a huge void on the northeast side of Rochester.”  The warehouse space in the village of Webster seemed perfect. Right off of Rt. 250 and less than a half mile from 104, it’s very easy to get to, especially from Wayne County. The nearby Hojack Trail offers a great place for running, and the big parking lot provides lots of space to throw in some … well, creative workouts.

True to the spirit of CrossFit, the 4,000-square foot facility is pretty much just a big open warehouse with rigging in one corner

and a few other pieces of equipment set up nearby.  If you don’t fully understand CrossFit, that’s all you’ll see when you walk in.  I, on the other hand, saw a space filled with the promise of sweat, effort, struggle, achievement and self-respect.

More equipment and matting are on the way, but right now Chris has enough equipment to accommodate classes of 15 people.

That includes all the basics, including a rower, kettle bells, Rogue rig, high-quality weight lifting equipment, medicine balls, boxes, and more.

He’s also put in two brand new bathrooms and showers.

Workouts (WODs) for experienced CrossFitters are held three times a day Monday-Friday, and once on Saturday morning. “On-Ramp” classes designed for those new to CrossFit are also offered three times day during the week and twice on Saturdays. Visit the CrossFit Recourse website to see the entire schedule and get registered.

And here’s something really cool for anyone who’s thinking about trying CrossFit but is a little intimidated. CrossFit Recourse hosts a FREE class every Saturday morning at 9 am for anyone who just wants to try it out. Or as Chris put it, to “get comfortable with it.”

For more information about CrossFit Recourse, check out their website here, or their Facebook page here, or give Chris O’Donnell a call at (585) 313-5105.  The box’s mailing address is 205 North Avenue, but you’ll find their entrance off of Donovan Street. Turn right in front of Hank’s.


New village salon has a unique focus

26 Jul

You might say that Carmen Cong is an equal-opportunity hairdresser. She believes that everyone, regardless of their ability — or disability — should be able to get a haircut or facial or pedicure.

Believe it or not, that’s an uncommon philosophy in the hairdressing business, but one that Carmen has made the focus of her new salon.

Carmen Cong owns ELLA Salon, which she opened at 36 East Main Street in June. The very tastefully-appointed salon features four plush pedicure stations, manicure and hairdressing stations, and a separate room for facials and skin treatments. There’s a coffee pot for those (like me) who need caffeine pretty much everywhere we go, and a very friendly staff of nail technicians, hairdressers and aestheticians.

But the similarities between ELLA and other salons pretty much end there. Carmen’s deeply caring nature has taken her business far beyond that.

Hairdressing has always been her passion. “I’ve been doing hair since I was a kid; I was the girl on the porch braiding everyone’s hair.” But “I’ve always liked to help people,” too, she said. A few years ago she realized how she could combine those passions and make a real difference.

That difference is a completely handicapped-friendly salon.

“I really believe every person regardless of disability should be able to feel beautiful and have access to the same services that others do,” Carmen said. So she’s stocked her salon with handicapped-friendly equipment. She’s got a “hair funnel,” for example, for people who can’t lean back to get their hair washed. The facial room is wheelchair accessible, and the table is fully adjustable. Pedicure basins can be brought to a wheelchair for customers who have difficulty getting into the lounges.

Owner Carmen Cong

But it was an event in her own life which prompted probably the most wonderful accommodation of all.

Three years ago, Carmen’s youngest daughter Maya was diagnosed with autism. Raising a child with autism was an eye-opening experience. As any parent doing so knows, even simple tasks can sometimes become monumental challenges, like getting dressed, eating a meal, and picking up toys.

And getting a haircut.

Children with autism commonly get upset when people touch them, or by strange sounds, or feelings, like when scissors cut through hair. They often have difficulty sitting still for extended periods of time. A simple haircut, which might normally take only 15 minutes, could easily turn into a two-hour long (or longer) ordeal for child and parent.

Carmen is totally OK with that.

The first thing she does is interview the parent to find out what the child’s needs are, and what kinds of accommodations need to be made, like a portable swing, a small trampoline, or simply room to spin. Then she’ll set up an appointment for the child and spend as much time as necessary to help make the child feel comfortable…and beautiful.

“If I have to close the shop and spend several hours, that’s OK,” she said. “It’s not about the money.”

“Salons are not about promoting something like that,” she added. Well, until now, that is.

* * *

ELLA Salon is located at 36 East Main Street. The name is pronounced “Ᾱ’-yah,” which means “she” or “her” in Spanish, but customers of the male persuasion are also more than welcome. Services include everything from hair care to nail care, parafin treatments and keratin treatments, manicures and pedicures. Call her at 585-209 ELLA (3552) or check out the website here.

Even if you don’t need a service, stop in and meet Carmen. She is easily one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and her commitment to helping people — especially kids — will inspire you. She is a terrific addition to our village.


The spray park is back!

26 Jul

I received some good news from the Town yesterday. In Supervisor Ron Nesbitt’s weekly column, he announced that the spray park at Ridgecrest is up and running again.

Here in pretty much its entirety is what Supervisor Nesbitt wrote, which explains very well what the problem was all this time.

When the town sold the Ridgecrest building, the water line that ran from Ridgecrest to the spray park did not belong to the town any longer. That caused the town quite a few problems to get the spray park up and running again.  The town needed an easement from the Webster Firemen Association to get to a fire hydrant in the circle of the firemen’s property. We needed permission and plans that needed to be looked at by the Monroe County Water Authority. We needed a smaller tract shovel to dig the hole from the circle to the spray park so we didn’t destroy the parking lot. We had to schedule the time with the Highway Department and the Parks Department to get the work done when they had crews available. That all took time plus we needed to order parts for the park after the water line was in because we found out that many parts had become broken over time.

However, having endured the test of time and your patience the spray park is now open again for your enjoyment on the hot days we have left this summer.

Thanks to our Highway and Parks crews for their help in resolving the broken spray park issue.

So spread the word and get out there and get wet!


One more thought from the bike path

26 Jul

Near where the path begins at Salt Road, it’s particularly icky

You remember a little while ago I posted a blog about the bike path that runs along Rt. 104? My husband and I have become very familiar with the section between Five Mile Line Road and Phillips, having ridden it at least a dozen times in the last six weeks to visit the village.

Well, on a recent trip to the village, we decided to get crazy and follow the path all the way to its eastern terminus at Salt Road. It was only another mile, I thought, and it might turn out to be the nicest part of the trail.

Boy, was I wrong.

That last (first) mile of the bike path from Phillips to Salt is in awful repair. Don’t get me wrong — there are parts where it’s pretty, twisty and lined with reeds and cat-tails, and buffered from the highway by mature vegetation. But the path itself is bumpy and broken up, just gravel in some places, and with grass growing through in others. It lies in a wet, marshy area, which probably makes it harder to maintain.  But a friend who lives near there tells me that the poor condition of the path in that section is mainly due to its frequent use by snowmobilers in the winter.

The 104 Bike Path is a terrific resource for our town and there’s much to be said for allowing all residents to use it, all seasons of the year.  Precisely for those reasons, the town or the state — or whoever is responsible — should perhaps start focusing more on its upkeep.

Grassy strips like this are common in the Salt-to-Phillips section.

Photos from the Jazz Fest

26 Jul

What an incredible night it was last Friday night at the Jazz Fest. The weather was cool, the music was hot, the pints were flowing, the village looked beautiful, and I made some new friends. Congratulations to the Webster BID on another very successful event.  I’m already looking forward to next year.

Click here or on any of the photos below to see a gallery with many more.


Friends of Webster Trails get help from Eagle Scout

26 Jul

Today I bring you news of another Eagle Scout doing great things for our community.  He is Sullivan Easley of Troop 363, who chose to work with the Friends of Webster Trails (FWT) to complete his Eagle Scout project.

Thank you to Alisa Kokx for sending along the following article, which I have stolen from liberally. (OK, almost completely.)

A love of nature leads Sullivan (Sully) J. Easley of Troop 363 to complete his Eagle Scout project with FWT

Easley’s project included building six nesting boxes, which were installed at Whiting Road Nature Preserve, Gosnell Big Woods Preserve and Four Mile Creek Preserve. Easley also led a trail work effort on the future phase of the Green Trail at Whiting Road. Both project aspects were coordinated through Friends of Webster Trails.

Taran Bauer and Sully Easley (wearing hat) remove roots and vines where the future section of trail will go at Whiting Road Nature Preserve.

The nesting boxes will offer homes for screech owls and wood ducks. Per Easley, “I choose this project because I was interested in doing a project for FWT and I like wildlife. I first learned about FWT from taking part in a fellow Scout’s Eagle Scout Project at the Bird Sanctuary Trail last year. I was surprised by how many trails there are in Webster and by how many people use the trails.” Easley adds, “I learned a lot more about wood ducks and how they are present in Webster. Although they are not endangered, their nesting grounds are. They are tree nesters and like to live in abandoned woodpecker holes so the draining and clearing of forested wetlands for agriculture and timber and hunting in the early 1900s significantly reduced their numbers. Through conservation efforts and the installation of nesting boxes starting in 1930s, their populations are back.”

As part of his project, Easley also led a group of volunteers to help clear the future section of the Green Trail at Whiting Road Nature Preserve which will be opened later this fall once FWT completes the trail’s grading. FWT Trails Committee Chair Jeff Darling said, “Sully and his group of volunteers were instrumental in clearing mounds of multiflora rose and vines so we can site the new section of trail properly. This new trail will allow users to enjoy the northern 25 acres of the preserve and a view of Lake Ontario.”

In late April, Easley asked FWT’s Volunteer Project Coordinator, Alisa Kokx, for help identifying a meaningful project. All of the planning, purchasing of materials, building, installing, and trail work took place within the last two months. Easley was very determined to get this project completed since his family was moving out of state in early July. Per Kokx, “This was an amazing amount of effort and coordination for Sully with a short timeline. A typical Eagle Scout project usually takes six or more months. It was apparent that Sully was working on an aspect of his project practically every day in order to complete it prior to his family’s move. He did a great job planning all the details, organizing volunteers, and executing a very successful project … plus balancing school, various activities, and a family move.”

Easley led 26 volunteers on various aspects of the project totaling 203 volunteers hours. That’s pretty amazing for a youngster who just completed 8th grade at Willink Middle School.

Sully Easley and his volunteers install a nesting box at Gosnell Big Woods Preserve. From left to right: Andrew Streit, Derek Sahrle, Bill Wheatley (Troop 363 Asst. Scoutmaster), Sully Easley, Quentin Sahrle, Nick Bober, Kevin Thompson and Darwin Pray.


Local business is moving, but sticking with the village

26 Jul

The bad news is, Mac 5 Bikes is moving from its Webster Village location at the corner of East Main Street and Lapham Park. The good news is, they’re only moving about 100 yards down the street.

Even better yet, the new place is more than twice the size of the old one.

Mac 5 Bikes’ owner Chris Makowski told me that he and his wife had been looking for a larger place for almost a year, and came a hair’s breadth from signing a contract in one of the nearby plazas. But ultimately they decided “we’d rather stay in the village. It’s a more hometown, family atmosphere” than being located next to a Starbucks, he said.  Plus, “Our true customers wouldn’t ride to a shopping plaza.”

The new storefront, located at 37 East Main Street, is more than 5,000 square feet, more than double the floor space they have now. That will allow them to get all of their inventory out of the warehouse and on display, or at least stored on the second floor, where it will be much more accessible.

Chris added that they’re even thinking about using that second floor space for spin classes in the future.

But what’s really cool about the new place is that it’s historic.  According to the Town Historian, the building dates to around 1888, and was originally a funeral home. It still has some very neat old features including an antique in-wall safe and a 1940s-era pully-and-rope-operated elevator. Chris said they hope to eventually restore the building to the way it looked more than a century ago.

But for now, they’re just focused on putting some final details on the new place and opening the doors to the bike-riding public, hopefully by the third week in July.

A side-by-side comparison of 37 East Main in 1960 and today.
What the building looked like circa 1890

Village resident petitions Board for new stop signs

13 Jul

Joe Cassara is getting tired of cars speeding by his house on Dunning Ave., so he’s asked the Village to do something about it.

The current speed limit on Dunning is 30 miles per hour. Cassara said that at times, vehicles travel down Dunning at an excessive rate of speed, by his estimate from 40-60 miles an hour.  The stretch from Main Street to Fuller Ave is wide, flat, straight and unimpeded, making it an easy place to speed.

Cassara wrote,

Many of the houses in this neighborhood are owned or rented by families with young children. Dunning is a popular street for surrounding areas (Park, Elm, Curtice Park, Fuller, Lapham Park, Ridge), and is often filled with families walking, riding bikes, and playing outside. The speeding problem is dangerous to residents, and the posted speed limits aren’t enough to deter drivers of all ages from disobeying the law.

So last week he approached the Village Board and asked that stop signs be erected at Dunning and Elm, and Dunning and Park to slow the traffic.

“(The Board was) receptive to the stop signs,” Cassara reported, “and asked me to get a bunch of signatures to support my case. Then, they’ll bring it back for a vote to send to a public forum, the next step in the process.”

So Cassara has created an online petition which you can check out for details, sign if you’d like, and share with your friends and neighbors.  You can see it by clicking here.

The proposed stop signs would go at the corners of Elm Street and Park Ave. where they meet Dunning Ave.

A birthday party at the Rec with the Reverend Mother

12 Jul

Faith Bell reacts to hearing the assembled birthday party guests yell “Surprise!”

When the stooped, austere-looking nun shuffled into the Webster Recreation Center cafeteria earlier this week, you could almost hear a collective gasp from the audience.  A few people who were standing near the doorway didn’t really know how to greet her, so chose to stay silent and just stand back to let her pass. Anyone who hadn’t attended Mass in a while tried to look very inconspicuous.

But no one needed to worry. The Reverend Mother Phyl Contestable wasn’t there to hear their confessions. She was there to roast Faith Bell, the Rec Center’s senior services coordinator, on the occasion of her 80th birthday.

Actually, Faith’s official title is “Transportation Coordinator,” a term left over from the Monroe County meal program. But she does so much more than that.

Jane Laskey, the Rec Center’s Deputy Commissioner, wrote,

(Faith) handles the daily transportation needs of the seniors so they can get to and from the senior center, she plans and implements educational, support, and recreation programs, she coordinates some of the services associated with the center such as elder source, AARP taxes, blood pressure checks,  leads programs such as the poetry club, and acts as the primary liaison for families and often health care providers and the senior that attends the center.  Mostly she is an advocate for the folks that attend the senior center, a sympathetic listener and a cheerleader. … She is incredible, kind, full of Irish wit, and an amazing advocate for seniors.

A good sport as always, Faith banters with the Reverend Mother.

Earlier this week, Faith was also the butt of the Reverend Mother’s jokes. For a full half hour in front of about 100 family, friends and Webster Rec staff members, Faith endured the irreverent humor and personal jabs that only former-nun-turned-Nunsense-performer Phyl Contestable could dish out. Fortunately, any real embarrassment was smoothed over by birthday cake and friendly conversation after the performance.

Not that there was much embarrassment. True to form, Faith took the entire occasion in stride, starting when she walked through the door and heard everyone yell “Surprise!”

I couldn’t stay for the entire party, but was so pleased to be there to help celebrate with my friend. Happy birthday, Faith, and many more.



About 100 friends, family members and Webster Rec staff members attended.


Photos from the Kiddie Parade!

11 Jul

The rains threatened but never arrived for last night’s Kiddie Parade in Webster. It was, once again, an adorable and entertaining event, made better this year by the participation of the Webster High School Marching Band Kidets, who did a great job on their inaugural march.

I’m not going to say much about the parade itself, except that maybe next year I’ll FINALLY figure out what the parade route is and make sure it’s correct in my blog.  If you’d really like to see a story about the event, check out today’s D&C; they sent a reporter and a photographer last night. Click here to see the article.

But I will rely on my gallery of almost 80 photos to tell the story for me.  Click here or on any of the photos on this page to see the gallery.