Archive | November, 2017

Webster Legion surprises veteran with “new” car

30 Nov
meeting

US Army veteran Brandi Christie with her new minivan. 

When US Army veteran Brandi Christie and her children were invited to a family-friendly veterans’ event Thursday night at Webster’s Cottreall-Warner American Legion Post #942, she thought she was just going to watch her favorite band perform.

The Sons of the American Legion had a different idea. By the end of the night, Brandi had been handed the keys to a newly refurbished 2008 Nissan Quest minivan.

The donation was the culmination of a partnership between the Sons and a terrific organization called Operation Build Up. Based in Conesus, Operation Build Up is dedicated to preventing veteran homelessness and suicides.

According to Justin Cogswell, the organization’s founder, “We want to help veterans in their darkest moments. When they trip and fall, we as a country should work to help them up.”

One of the main ways Operation Build Up accomplishes that is by purchasing (or receiving in donations) used cars, fixing them up, making them road-worthy, then giving them to veterans in need. They typically rebuild three to four vehicles a month, spending upwards of $800 — and hundreds of volunteer hours — on each one.

The Sons began working with Operation Build Up about a month ago, when member Bill VerHagen invited Cogswell to one of their meetings to talk about his organization.

Sons Commander Nate Burdick remembered the meeting.

“We wrote a $1,000 check right then, then everyone went home and donated more,” he said. Immediately after that meeting, the post’s Auxiliary Unit donated another $1,000 to help with future builds.

Working hand-in-hand with Operation Build Up fits perfectly with the Sons’ mission, Burdick said.

“The Sons of the American Legion are directly trying to touch any veteran in any way we can to support them. It’s veterans doing work for veterans, It was a perfect storm for what we are trying to do.”

Thursday night’s presentation was especially timely for Brandi. A 15-year veteran of the US Army, she still serves in the Army Reserve. But her family recently lost their vehicle, so she’s been missing the required drills.

In addition to the minivan, the Sons also handed Brandi a check for $500, so she didn’t even have to worry about paying for registration and insurance.

Brandi’s four young children weren’t forgotten, either.  As they scrambled into the back seats of their spacious new minivan, her daughter and three sons each discovered a stuffed dog and stuffed Christmas stocking awaiting them.

After finally accepting that she wasn’t dreaming, Brandi had but one question when she saw her the vehicle for the first time. True to the selfless nature of all veterans, she asked through happy tears, “Is there something we can do to pay you back?”

“No, you don’t need to do anything,” Cogswell answered. “This is America right here.”

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Learn more about Operation Build Up and find out how you can help this great organization support our veterans in need. Visit www.operationbuildup.com 

 

 

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Christmas comes to Webster Saturday

28 Nov

fire truck

The holiday season officially begins this Saturday in Webster, when the village celebrates White Christmas in the Village. This annual festival features horse-drawn wagon rides, a bounce house, cookie decorating, storytelling, carolers, Santa (of course), and the always very popular Electric Parade.

Activities will begin at 3 p.m. with activities for adults and children throughout the village. The official schedule looks like this:

  • 3 to 6 p.m. — Horse-drawn wagon rides through the villagesanta
  • 3 to 6 p.m. — Bounce House on Main Street
  • 3:30 to 5 p.m. — Santa Claus at the Village Hall
  • 4 p.m. — Storytelling at Yesterday’s Muse Book Store
  • 4 p.m. — Cookie decorating
  • 4:30 p.m. — Rochester Rhapsody Carolers
  • 5 p.m. — Church of the Good Shepherd Chime Bell Choir on Main Street

The Electric Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Phillips Road and head west down Main Street. This spectacular parade features fire engines, floats and marching bands, all draped in thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. You’ll definitely want to bring the kids, but dress warm, and pack a thermos of hot chocolate, because this is a pretty long parade.

(Click here to see a gallery of photos from last year’s White Christmas celebration.)

CaptureBy the way, don’t forget to start out that morning with a hot breakfast, served up by the Chorus of the Genesee.

The Chorus will be hosting their second annual Breakfast with Santa, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Harmony House, 58 East Main Street in Webster. The menu will feature French toast sticks and sausage, coffee, juice, and milk. Cost is $5 per person, $20 maximum per family. For tickets call (585) 265-9540 or visit chorusofthegenesee.org.

This will be a good chance to visit with Santa before everyone else descends on him when he’s at Village Hall later in the day.

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storefront

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Town Hall renovations are done!

26 Nov

town hall

I received some very good news from the folks at Town Hall a few days ago: the renovations are done and all Town Hall operations will be be moving back into the building on Monday, December 4.

In preparation for the move, the temporary Town Hall (in the Van Ingen building) will be closed on Thursday, November 30 and Friday, December 1.

The Town Hall building has been closed since April as much-needed renovations were completed. The renovations included enlarging the restrooms, enhancing security inside the building during working hours, adding a lunch room for employees, upgrading the facilities inside the police department, enlarging the building department, assessment and finance areas, upgrading the interior of the building, and taking out the asbestos left in the building.

The Webster Justice Courts and the Webster Police Department will remain open to the public during the moving process.

The newly renovated Town Hall will be open for business on Monday, December 4 for regular business hours.

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Webster Saturday Mailbag

25 Nov

mailbagThe Penfield Public Library is looking for a few enthusiastic people.

The library is looking for two new members for its Board of Trustees to replace outgoing trustees whose terms have expired.

The nine board members must be strong library advocates. Board members support the library by crafting a strategic plan and vision in conjunction with library personnel, by developing and reviewing policies, by reviewing and approving the budget and financial matters, and by communicating with the community and local legislators.

The Board of Trustees meets regularly at 7 pm on the third Tuesday of each month in the Ruth Braman Room of the Penfield Public Library. Meetings usually end by 9 pm and are open to the public.

Any resident of the Town of Penfield interested in applying for the Penfield Public Library Board of Trustees should submit a letter of interest and a resume to Chris Fluit,
Personnel Committee Chairman, Penfield Public Library, 1985 Baird Rd, Penfield, NY, 14526. Applications should be received by November 30, 2017. Interviews will be scheduled for early December and the new trustees should begin their term in January 2018.

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A group of 15 Webster Schroeder High School upperclassmen shared the fruits of their fundraising efforts with Rochester families in need through a unique partnership with Mt. Hope Family Center (MHFC).

Last Monday, several MHFC vehicles arrived at Webster Schroeder’s main office, 875 Ridge Road, to pick up boxes and bags with all the fixings for Thanksgiving meals that will be provided to at-risk children and families supported by MHFC. The groceries were purchased by Webster Schroeder students who began fundraising for these Thanksgiving meals last month.

This is the sixth year students have partnered with MHFC to raise funds to supply Thanksgiving meals for those served by the organization. What makes the students’ fundraising efforts so unique is that they personally reached out to other Webster Schroeder High School clubs, sports teams, organizations, faculty, staff, and Webster businesses to raise $3,500 for the Thanksgiving meals. Extra funds raised will provide holiday gifts for children from each of the 20 families that receive a basket.

Schroeder students with Thanksgiving donation - Photo 1

15 Webster Schroeder High School juniors and seniors collected $3500 to provide Thanksgiving meals to families served by the Mt. Hope Family Center.

The Country Gardeners of Webster, Klem Road Garden Club and the Webster Arboretum will hold their annual Garden Club Holiday Sale on Saturday December 2 from 9 am to noon at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive.

This huge sale features fresh wreaths, arrangements, poinsettias, centerpieces and gifts that are created by hand by the club members for this sale.

This is always a very popular event, so you want to get there early. I stopped by at about 11:30 last year and pretty much everything was sold out.

The sale is the Country Gardeners’ annual fundraiser, so think about decorating your own home, and purchasing gifts for family, friends and holiday hostesses.

Admission is free.

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Carol Klem Day declaration packed the house

23 Nov

crowd

It was standing room only in the Community Meeting Hall for Tuesday night’s Village Board meeting, and not a one of them had come to complain about some problem they were having in the village.

No, the Board had announced that Tuesday November 21 would forever be known as Carol Klem Day, and almost 100 of Carol’s friends, family members and business owners had come to witness the official proclamation.

Trying to get the large, chatty crowd organized so they could start the meeting on time was kind of like herding cats. But eventually everyone found a seat or a spot along the wall, and Mayor Darrell Byerts called the meeting to order.

The proclamation was the first order of business. Carol Carol with proclamationjoined the board members at the podium as Mayor Byerts read the official document. There were a lot of “whereas”es and at least one “let it be known,” but the gist of the document were these paragraphs, which related to Carol’s work with the Webster Herald:

Whereas her (Village Voice) articles helped to support local organizations and businesses old and new and to promote community events all year long,

and whereas her journalistic expertise has ultimately strengthened the village and everything it stands for as a close-knit, supportive and fun community by bringing people together.

Following the presentation of the official document, several others stepped up to the podium to express their gratitude.

Village Trustee Jude Lancy, who helped pull this event together, sent along this list of thank-yous for helping make the evening’s festivities successful:

Thank you to:

  • Mayor Darrell Byerts for coming up with the the idea of Carol Klem Day, and the beautiful plaque commemorating this event.
  • Carol’s daughter MaryKay, for gathering early information on Carol’s life and bringing the family to the presentation;
  • Robyn Whitaker for the plaque presented to Carol from the Business Improvement District, in appreciation of her support;
  • Bill Horeth and Kathy Mills, representing Kittelberger Florist for the presentation of long-stemmed red roses in thanks for Carol’s contribution to the village and businesses;
  • Sharon Pratt, representing the Museum, who gave thanks for all of Carol’s contributions to the welfare of the museum;
  • Jake Swingly and Steve Small for “starring” Carol Klem on the digital billboard in front of the South Avenue fire house;
  • Dorothea Ciccarelli for showing the Village Hall’s appreciation and her own appreciation for the support given to her daughter, Lacey;
  • Maegan Lessing for her efforts in preparing the proclamation, getting everyone’s signatures and finding a suitable frame;
  • and thanks to everyone in attendance for a standing-room only gathering for our one and only Carol Klem.

Erin and CarolLater in the meeting, after most of the well-wishers had left, another notable event happened.

Mayor Byerts announced that a new columnist had been found who will be taking the Village Focus reins from Carol. The new columnist will soon be starting up the weekly column again, plus a new blog to be posted on the village website.

Then he officially introduced — and the Board officially approved — my daughter, Erin Rosenberry.

Several details have yet to be worked out.  But as soon as Erin gets an email up and running, I hope the Village of Webster will support her — as you have supported me — as she shares all the good things our community has to offer.

Carol with Village Board

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Thankful for the little things

23 Nov

thankful-heart-a_std_t_nvMost every year at Thanksgiving, I post a long-winded list of all the things I’m thankful for. It’s an exercise that forces me to pause and think about all the little things in life that I too often taken for granted.

If we’re fortunate enough to have a roof over our heads, enough money to live comfortably, and good health, that’s really all we need. But the little things — the intangibles — are what really make life worthwhile. That’s the list I’ve posted every Thanksgiving, and which I add to every year.

This is the original list, posted in 2013:

I am thankful for:

My husband, my kids, having a nice home and enough food for the table, my cats, my karate family, my job, friends at my job, good neighbors, good health, my family’s good health, my terrific in-laws, my father, my siblings, the color and crunch of autumn leaves, flowering trees in the spring, rain on the porch roof, Easter baskets, Tiny Tigers, line-dried laundry, lilacs, Christmas Eve snow, sunshine, Friday summer nights on the porch with a beer, sunsets, thunderstorms, warm summer rains, starry nights, blankets in the winter, fires in the wood stove, weekends, Christmas lights, writing my blog, hugs, leaf piles for jumping in, crisp new sheets, the summer breeze that comes in my bedroom window, daffodils, baby giggles, holding hands with my husband, memories of my mother, picnics, camping, hot soaking baths, the WOFs, fog in the valleys, puppies and kittens, spooning, Christmas trees on Christmas morning, cinnamon buns right out of the oven, my mother’s banana bread recipe, reading a good book, the sound of crickets in summer, strangers who return my smile, warm apple pie, watching Glee with my daughter, my new Barry’s family, baby snuggles, naps, after-dinner walks, sleeping in, “Caledonia,” my kids (I know that’s a repeat, but they continue to make me proud), hiking, fuzzy pajama pants, rainbows, my cat keeping me company while I write…

Three years ago, I added:

new friends, coffee and a newspaper in the morning, Friday nights at Barry’s, cool summer sheets, birds at the bird feeder, Tom, Sarah and Mike, my kids (yes, again), writing my column, all of my readers, sunrises, making people smile, the sound of crickets, wildflowers, the aroma of fresh-baked apple pie, ice cream anytime.

Two years ago, I added:

I am thankful for my new karate family; my new Tiny Tigers; my children Sean, Sara and Erin (again); my new(ish) daughter-in-law Sarah; Tom and Nick; hanging laundry out in the middle of November; my health; the ability to run; the freedom to travel; my misfit WOF family; Irish music and my Irish music friends; getting to play roadie; touch football with my pub family; my CFC friends and workouts; going to hockey games with my family; Sunday afternoons sitting at my computer and writing.

Last year I was able to add to it AGAIN:

This year, I am thankful for my Schlegel and Plank North elementary colleagues, hugs from kindergartners, a child’s innocent smile, the Barry’s Runners, my kids (again), admiring Christmas lights on a winter run, biking the Erie Canal Trail with friends, hikes in the woods, music, silence, waking up every morning with the man I love, being able to travel, Friday nights at the pub (and occasional Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays), the smell of flowering trees in the spring, the peacefulness of a pine forest.

You’d think that would just about cover it. But life gets better every day. All you have to do is sit back and notice it.

And so I would like to add the following this year:

I am thankful for a husband who cooks, being able to wear a cape to school, helping children experience the joy of reading, having a lap cat when I type, traveling with my husband, riding my bike through strange cities, running with old friends, running with new friends, thank you notes from my readers, my new fire department friends, my kids (again) and their significant others, and being able to make a difference by doing what I love to do best — write. 

Feel free to add your own. And happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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Santa Claus is coming to town

21 Nov

santaSanta obviously knows there are a lot of good little boys and girls in Webster, because he’s making our town his first stop this holiday season.

Webster’s very own Santa Claus will be spreading Christmas joy (and collecting food for the Salvation Army) on December 1 between 6 and 8 pm. at St. Martin Lutheran Church, 813 Bay Road.

This is a great opportunity to get that coveted photo with Santa without standing long lines at the mall. Bring your own camera if you’d like, but St. Martin tells me they will have a professional photo shoot set-up, complete with “a large whimsical Santa Chair, an elegant Christmas photo backdrop, everything you need to help make your Christmas photos memorable.”

Plus Santa, of course.

The kids can also have some fun with cookie decorating and board games, and can write their very own “Letter to Santa” which can be handed directly to him or deposited in his North Pole mailbox. There will be refreshments, carol singing at the piano, and later in the afternoon, Santa will read a few Christmas stories to the children.

The event is free and open to everyone.

If you come, please bring some non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army. At this time of year stuffing, gravies, boxed mashed potatoes and canned vegetables are especially appreciated. 

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CaptureIf you can’t make it on December 1, here’s your next chance to catch Santa before he gets really busy.

The Webster Lions Club will host their annual FREE Pancake Breakfast with Santa on Sunday, December 3 at the Webster East Golf Club, 440 Salt Road.

Breakfast will be served from 8:00 am until noon, and Santa will definitely be there to visit with the children. There will also be raffles, holiday prizes, gift certificates, and free vision screening for children 8 and under.

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Penfield Rec offers Elf Training Workshop

20 Nov

christmas-elf-mdGiven that this is a WEBSTER blog, I don’t often write about Penfield (even though I actually live in Penfield).  But this program being offered through the Penfield Recreation Department is just too cute.

It’s called an Elf Training Workshop, and it’s for the entire family.

Elf wannabees will meet at the Dolomite Lodge (Veterans Memorial Park) for a one-hour training session, which will teach critical skills for anyone who wants to work in Santa’s workshop. They’ll include toy construction and inspection, gift wrapping, ornament making, and more. Prospective elves will also have a one-on-one interview with Santa himself.

Elves who complete the one-hour seminar will be presented a gift bag and official certificate from the North Pole.

The workshop is scheduled for Saturday, December 9, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $5 per family, and pre-registration is required. A limited number of spots are available, so sign up soon. You can call  (585) 340-8655 or register online at www.penfieldrec.org.

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Village to honor Carol Klem

18 Nov

Carol_Klem-

(The blog below is an article I wrote for the Webster Herald about a great person and good friend who’s getting some well-deserved recognition at the Village Board meeting next Tuesday.)  

If you’ve lived in the Village of Webster for any length of time, chances are very good you know Carol Klem — or at least know about her.

It helps that for the last 12 years, as Village Focus columnist, Carol’s smiling face has appeared every two weeks on the village website and in the Webster Herald.

But even if you don’t regularly read her column, you’ve almost certainly seen Carol around town, chatting with fellow journalists at Barry’s Old School Irish or at Golden Boys, visiting with local business owners, or darting back and forth during parades, festivals and other special events, snapping photos for her column.

Basically, the name Carol Klem has become synonymous with all things good about the village of Webster. For years, she’s been the eyes and ears of Webster, like a town crier, using her column to cheer accomplishments both big and small. She has introduced us to new businesses and old businesses. She has written tender obituaries, announced births and anniversaries. She has told us about upcoming special events and charmed us with personal musings about small-town life. And every Christmas she has delighted us all with her epic holiday poem.

Next week, the village will recognize Carol’s devotion to Webster by proclaiming November 21 Carol Klem Day in the Village.

Carol was born in Rochester in 1938, the oldest of three children, and lived with her family in the Beechwood section of the city. While she was attending high school at Nazareth Academy, her parents decided to move to Webster, in a home they built on Basket Road.

At that time, Webster was very rural, and was really considered the “boondocks.” Moving from the city to farm country was a big adjustment, but it gave Carol lots of handy excuses for being late for school. One of them, her daughter Mary Kay remembers, was “the Schreiber cows were loose on Basket Road.”

Carol attended Nazareth College, where she studied English and music, and was hired at Holy Trinity School, where she taught first through third grades.

Carol was the school’s first lay teacher. “It was mom and all the nuns,” Mary Kay said. “It was really quite funny. I think she was very different from the nuns. I can’t imagine a bunch of nuns and my mom!”

It was while she was teaching at Holy Trinity that she met Gene, her husband of 57 years. They were introduced by then-pastor Fr. William Kalb in 1959, married the following year, and immediately started a family. Mary Kay was born in 1961, followed closely by Tom, Greg and Doug. Many years later, in 1978, little sister Meg joined the family.

Carol worked through her first pregnancy, then became a stay-at-home mom. It was only after all the kids had all grown and moved on that she re-entered the workforce, finding part-time work with the Webster Post, writing wedding announcements and obituaries.

At 47 years old, Carol Klem the journalist was born.

“I remember her starting with a portable typewriter,” Mary Kay said. “I couldn’t imagine she would ever be computer-literate, and Word proficient. Although she still has a knack for losing files.”

In 2005 Carol left the Post and was asked to join the Webster Herald as the Village Focus columnist. She had finally found her true calling: writing about the village she loves so dearly.

And she does love Webster dearly. In September 2015, in an interview she recorded for the non-profit Webster Together organization, Carol called the village “the heart of Webster.”

“I just love our town. I love the people in it, and I love the spirit,” she said. “I’d love to see the village definitely take off. I think that whatever happens, we have the right people to make the decisions.”

For years, Carol Klem has been Webster’s biggest cheerleader. Now the village wants to return the favor.

In recognition of everything Carol has done for our community, The Webster Village Board will officially designate Tuesday, November 21 as “Carol Klem Day” in the village of Webster.

Mayor Darrell Byerts will present the official proclamation at the regular Village Board meeting, Tuesday November 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Meeting Hall, 29 South Ave. (The meeting has been rescheduled from Thanksgiving Day). The entire Webster community is invited to attend.

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Village Band schedules annual holiday concert

17 Nov

image

The Webster Village Band will celebrate its 50th Anniversary Holiday Concert on Saturday, December 9 at 11:00 a.m. at Webster Thomas High School, 800 Five Mile Line Road in Webster.

Please  note that this is a change in venue from previous years, when the concert was held at Webster Schroeder.

Director Tom Indiano and Associate Director Sue Siegmund have selected a variety of holiday music for your listening enjoyment, both familiar favorites and some with musical variations on a theme, such as Good Swing Wencelas, Adventum featuring “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Ukrainian Bell Carol,” A Holiday Rhapsody and Fairytale of New York, to name a few.

Also, be sure to bring the children for the annual reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and for a special on-stage treat for these youngsters.

Admission is free, and light refreshments will follow the concert.

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