Archive | May, 2018

Webster’s baseball history celebrated at the Webster Museum

13 May


It’s no secret that Webster is a huge sports town. In 1985, the town was even named “Number 1 Sportstown in New York” by Sports Illustrated. What is less well known is how long ago our love for sports — and especially baseball — began.

Back in the late 1800s, adults and teenagers were playing on village ball fields and at Nine Mile Point; with hard rubber balls fast-pitched underhand; one bat for the entire team; often wearing coats and ties, and with no protective equipment.

It’s a rich baseball history, on display this month at the Webster Museum, and celebrated during a special event on Saturday May 19, called “140 Years of Webster Baseball.”

The special event is being spearheaded by Tom Pellett, president of the Webster Museum and Historical Society.  It’s been a year in the making, prompted by a comment made last May by Don Kuhn, a former Webster High School baseball player.

He recalled that back when he was playing in the early 1950s, the Webster High team went undefeated three years in a row — 1950, ’51 and ’52. The team came up with a trophy to recognize that accomplishment, which was then presented to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. So the town could have its own keepsake, a local service organization (Pellett thinks it was the Rotary) then created a plaque, which included a photo of the trophy, the letter from Cooperstown, and the names of all the players.

No one was exactly sure where that plaque had made it to, but Pellett started poking around the museum’s attic, and found it rather quickly. Shortly thereafter, Historian Lynn Barton unearthed two boxes with a treasure trove of local baseball history. Pellett started going through it all and the exhibit began to take shape.

The newly rediscovered plaque is the centerpiece of the museum’s new baseball exhibit, which also includes photos of all three undefeated teams and several other local teams, and old time uniforms and equipment. But what I found the most interesting were some of the personal stories.

One of those, dated 1878,  is considered to perhaps be the first recorded memory from a local ball game.

That story (which is part of the exhibit) tells about an adult baseball team in Ontario who had challenged the Webster team.  The Ontario team was a little bit miffed when they discovered their opponents were just teenagers. The Ontario coach approached the Webster coach and asked, “Is that all you got, these kids? He was told, ‘Well, trot your team out, we’ll see how they do.'”

At the end of the sixth inning, the score was 40-6 in favor of Webster. The Ontario team walked off the field and forfeited the game.

Obviously, players from that era are no longer around. But everyone who has played Webster baseball has a story, and Pellett hopes that baseball players and fans of all ages will attend the special event on the 19th.

As for all those Webster High School players from the undefeated teams? They’re all in their 80s now. Many have moved away, others have passed away. But several are still in town, and Pellett hopes that some of them will be able to attend, so they can visit the plaque and share some of their memories.

“140 Years of Webster Baseball” will be held on Saturday May 19, from 2-4 p.m. at the Webster Museum, 18 Lapham Park in the village of Webster.  Admission is $5, which will include the very interesting historical presentation, a hot dog, peanuts and a lemonade or water. For more information, visit the Webster Museum website or call 585-265-3308.


The commemortaive plaque is the centerpiece of the exhibit


A close-up of the names of the players on the undefeated teams


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Chorus of the Genesee announces annual show

10 May

chorusWebster’s own Chorus of the Genesee will present its annual spring show on Saturday May 19 at Penfield High School.

In addition to performances by the Chorus and its quartets Notably Yours, The Reception and ROC-in Harmony, this year’s show will feature special guests the University of Rochester YellowJackets, and The Core.

The show is called Diagnosis: Audio Delusions, and will be performed in two acts. In act one, the chorus tells the story of Charlie, a young man who hears a barbershop chorus every time he becomes emotional. As he plans a marriage proposal, his condition is exacerbated. Songs in the set include “Sweet Caroline,” “How Can I Miss You if You Won’t Go Away?” and “That’s Life.”

The second act will first feature the University of Rochester YellowJackets. Having gained national notoriety on season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing Off,” this men’s a cappella group continues to travel the world performing. Also featured in the second act is The Core, 12th place Barbershop Harmony Society International qualifiers. Members Mike Nesler, John Van Gorder, Mike Hull, and Steve Denino are traveling from the Columbus, Ohio area to join the show.

Diagnosis: Audio Delusions will take the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19 at the Penfield High School Auditorium, 25 High School Dr., Penfield. Tickets are $16 in advance, $18 at the door, and $12 for groups of 10 or more. For more information, call (585) 265-9540, or visit the Facebook event page. 

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Webster mailbag

9 May

mailbagA variety of events stuff today’s mailbag. A few of them I have mentioned before, but I want to shine some light on them again as they get very near.

This first event is extremely timely:

This Thursday (May 10), the Willink Eighth Grade Band, under the direction of Matt Osika, will perform alongside the Webster Village Band, under the direction of Thomas Indiano. Each band will perform some selections on their own before combing to perform some of John Williams’ most memorable themes in the Star Wars saga.

The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Willink Middle School cafetorium, and admission is free.

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flowersThe Webster Arboretum’s 18th Annual Plant Sale happens this Saturday May 12, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Arboretum, 1700 Schlegel Road, Webster.

The sale features perennials from standard to uncommon, annuals, dwarf conifers, geraniums, dahlias, various garden club offerings and more. Nice thing about this sale is that these plants are locally grown, so you KNOW they’re going to work in your garden.

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The First Baptist Church of Penfield will hold their last Flapjack Community Breakfast of the season on Saturday  May 19 from 8 to 10 a.m.

Guests will enjoy pancakes, pure maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, and more for just $5.00 per person. All are welcome, and the venue is handicapped accessible.

All May  proceeds will go directly to benefit the Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf: a supplemental food relief organization serving the 14526 and 14625 areas and families of children in the Penfield school district since 1997.

Donations of non-perishable foods and paper products also gratefully accepted.

The First Baptist Church of Penfield is located at 1862 Penfield Rd. For more information, call 585-586-2876.

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Lady golfers, this one is for you.

The Webster Golf Club’s Ladies Association is inviting women golfers to join the fun and sign-up to play in their annual charity golf tournament on Monday June 25, to benefit the Webster Comfort Care Home.

The event will take place on the Webster Golf Course, and will be a non-handicapped, 18-hole shotgun fun scramble.

Registration is $90 per golfer or $360 per foursome, which includes a continental breakfast, box lunch, an hors d’oeuvres reception, gifts for every player, a raffle, win pull and more.

Deadline to sign up is June 1. For more information, to sponsor the event or donate to the silent auction, contact Janet Jones-Brower, Webster Comfort Care Home Executive Director at, or Linda Dorsey at

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Historic properties to be recognized at Town Board meeting

7 May
sharon pratt

Sharon Pratt with an example of the plaques awarded every year.

The Town of Webster has a rich history, reflected in part by the many historic homes and businesses which are still standing, and in great shape.

For ten years now, the Historic Properties Committee of the Webster Museum and Historical Society has worked to recognize these buildings, and the owners who have put time and effort into maintaining them so they still retain their original charm.

Every May since 2008, the committee has presented commemorative plaques to a selection of these historic homes.

The plaque program grew out of a survey of historic properties which a small group of museum volunteers tackled about 18 years ago. They were looking especially for any homes which still had enough of their historical integrity that their original owners would still recognize them.

Museum secretary Sharon Pratt was one of those volunteers.

There were “more than we ever thought,” she said. Hundreds, even. So many that it took them a few years to compile their information, going to each house in turn, filling out a form and taking photos. In 2007 they decided take all that information and propose a commemorative plaque program to the town. It would be a great way to recognize the town’s visual history, they argued, and a way for the town to say thank you to the homeowners who are caring for that history.

The town agreed. In 2008 the committee handed out its first 10 plaques, and have continued the program with the Town’s blessing every year since.

Most of the 65 plaques that have been presented so far have gone to homes in the Town of Webster. Two years ago, however, the committee decided it was time to include the village as well. The first two village properties to be recognized were Holy Trinity Church and 135 East Main Street, a home which held the village’s first hospital.

This year, the committee will be presenting six more plaques, four to Town of Webster homes, and two to village properties.

The presentation will take place on Thursday May 17 during the regular meeting of the Webster Town Board, at 7:30 p.m. at Webster Town Hall, 1000 Ridge Road.

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Town of Webster opens its doors next weekend

6 May


Ever wonder what it looks like inside the police department? Have you ever wanted to check out the sewer treatment plant? And have you been at the Webster Library since they renovated it?

You can check out all these places and more when the Town of Webster hosts its annual open house on Saturday May 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The fun starts at Webster Town Hall, 1000 Ridge Road, where you can tour the newly remodeled Town Hall and police department, then head over to the court room and town board room in the Van Ingen Building. Buses will depart every 15 minutes to take people to the recreation center, sewer treatment plant, the library and the highway department.

Basically it’s one-stop shopping for anyone who has any questions about our town’s facilities and employees.

There’ll also be lots of other stuff going on at Town Hall for both kids and adults,  including picture IDs, emergency vehicles, community informational displays, refreshments and more.

There’s no charge for anything, so make sure to stop by for this informational, family-friendly event, Saturday May 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Spry staff members tackle Pink Ribbon Run

4 May

CaptureThere’s a wonderful bunch of lady runners at Spry Middle School who are working hard to make a difference.

Led by teacher Toni Lynn Swinson, this group of more than 40 women will be taking on the 17th Annual Pink Ribbon Walk & Run on Mother’s Day, to support the Breast Cancer Coalition.

The ladies have been working for weeks, whipping their legs in shape for the 5K, and whipping up donations for their cause.

It’s a scary fact that 1 in 8 women can expect a breast cancer diagnosis in her lifetime. The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester is a terrific local organization dedicated to fighting this terrible disease and winning. Their advocacy, research, and funds stay right here at home in Rochester, and that includes every penny raised for this race.

That’s where you come in. These  Pink Ribbon Runners need your support to help make their efforts worthwhile. They’ve already raised more than $2,000, but would like to double that — or more.

It’s easy to donate; just click here to log onto their fundraising page. Even a little bit would help.


Next year, these ladies might try to make this a One Webster event, and invite lots more staff members to take part. If that happens, you can count me in.

As for this year ladies, if you’re a runner — or even a walker — and would like to join the Spry Pink Ribbon team, drop an email to Tony Lynn Swinson at They’d love to have you.

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The Village Band is back in action

3 May


This summer’s Webster Village Band concert dates have been set, beginning with a kick-off concert in conjunction with the Willink Student Band on Thursday May 10.
Now that I have your attention, here are some details.
Concerts are held on Thursday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the band shell at Harmony Park, near the corner of Ridge and Phillips Roads. They’re held most Thursdays during the summer, but move aside for other special events like the Fireman’s Carnival.
This year’s concerts are scheduled for June and 21, July 5 and 26, and August 2, 16 and 23.

The concert at Willink precedes the regular concert schedule, and will be something quite special. This from the press release:

On Thursday, May 10, the Webster Village Band will join students at Willink Middle School, 900 Publishers Parkway in Webster, at 7 p.m. to perform a side by side concert. It will be directed by Matt Osika from Willink Middle School, Village Band director Tom Indiano, and associate director Sue Siegmund.  Each band will perform a few selections individually, and will join together to play Star Wars Saga, music by John Williams.  Included in this rendition are the Main Theme from Star Wars, The Imperial March, Han Solo and the Princess, The Jedi Steps, Rey’s Theme, Kylo Ren Arrives at the Battle, March of the Resistance, and The Throne Room (And End Title).

Admission to the concert is free.

In addition to all of these concerts, stay tuned for more information about the band’s annual appearance at the Joe Obbie Farm Market’s Christmas in July event.

The Webster Village Band is comprised of musicians who span several generations, from teens to octogenarians. They have one thing in common, though:  a passion to make music. The band is always looking for new members who want to join in the fun. If you’re interested, contact Harvey Cohen at

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Spring events have sprung

1 May


It looks like we’re finally going to get some nice spring weather this week, so perhaps it’s time to come out from hibernation and check out what’s going on around town.

meet the candidates

It’s school-budget-vote time. On May 15, district residents be asked to approve this year’s budget, and the new slate of Board of Education candidates. You can meet the candidates for yourself and pepper them with questions on Tuesday night May 2, at 7 p.m. at Spry Middle School.

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The Webster Public Library has a few fun programs coming up.

* This Thursday May 3 is Star Wars Night at the library. Stop by from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to celebrate all things Star Wars, including crafts and special activities. The whole family is invited and there’s no registration needed. All ages are welcome.


* Percy Jackson fans will want to be on hand Saturday May 5 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. for the Rick Riordan book release party, celebrating the release of Riordan’s third book in the Trials of Apollo series: The Burning Maze. The event will include crafts, games, snacks, and a special viewing of the video of Rick’s recent visit to Rochester. Costumes are welcome, so come dressed as your favorite character.

All ages are welcome, but space is limited, so click here to register.

* We’ve seen enough rain to last us for a while, but just in case more is on the way, you might want to check out the library’s Rain Barrel & Rain Garden Workshop on Tuesday, May 15 from 6 to 7 p.m.

Learn how to protect local water quality by learning about rain gardens and building a rain barrel for your home. All tools and materials will be supplied at the workshop.

Workshop fee is $40 per rain barrel. Pre-registration is required. Click here.

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Road. For more information, visit the library’s website here.

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The First Baptist Church of Penfield will host a chicken barbecue this Saturday May 5 from 2 till 6 pm, (or sold out).

Chickens will be prepared on site by Gale-Wyn Catering. Dinners are $10.50 and include a half barbecued chicken, coleslaw or macaroni salad, salt potatoes, roll and butter, plus a dessert.

The First Baptist Church of Penfield is located at 1862 Penfield Road. For more information call 585-586-2876 or visit

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