Archive | March, 2019

Webster community mailbag

20 Mar

cinderellaMeet Cinderella in person!

Today’s mailbag leads off with an exciting opportunity for you and your kids to meet Cinderella in person.

She’ll be joining Disney Princess of all ages at breakfast on Saturday March 23 at Webster Thomas High School, to help promote the school’s upcoming performance of Cinderella the following weekend.

Breakfast seatings are scheduled for 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $10 and reservations are required in advance. Click here for more details.

And don;t forget to get your tickets early for the Webster Thomas Players’ production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella scheduled for March 28 to 30. The show will feature songs from the original television version, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible,” and “Ten Minutes Ago.”

Showtimes are:

● Thursday, March 28 at 7 p.m.
● Friday, March 29 at 7 p.m.
● Saturday, March 30 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets are $12.00 at the door, and online now at Webster Thomas High School is located at 800 Five Mile Line Road.

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Don’t forget about the big model train show this weekend at the Webster Recreation Center, sponsored by the Webster Association of Senior Program Supporters, a not-for-profit senior transportation group.

Vendors and model train enthusiasts will fill the Rec Center’s gymnasium on Saturday and Sunday March 23 and 24 with displays and accessories. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and children, and free for kids under 12.

The Webster Recreation Center is located at 1350 Chiyoda Drive.

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Now that spring is finally here (thought it might not completely feel like it yet), here’s news of a spring holiday party coming up on March 30.

The Spry Middle School Builders and Elks Clubs will host a party on Saturday March 30 including an egg hunt and breakfast. Rumor has it that the Easter Bunny will also make an appearance.

Families are asked to arrive between 10 and 10:30 a.m. Saturday March 30 at Spry Middle School, 119 South Ave. in the Village of Webster. The egg hunt will take place from 10 to 10:45, followed by breakfast, which will feature pancakes, sausage and juice. (If it’s nasty out, the egg hunt will take place inside.)

Best part of all? It’s all absolutely free! But they would like to know how many people are coming, so registration is required by MARCH 21. To register or if you have any questions, call the Spry Middle School main office at (585) 216-0093.

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Webster Thomas grad in the news

18 Mar


Proud momma Maria Sutera sent me this update on one of Webster’s own, Phil Sutera, who is making his mark in the field of science.

Phil, a 2010 Webster Thomas grad, is the first author of a cancer-focused research study, which was published in the January edition of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.

Maria reported in her email that the study focused on “findings regarding stereotatic radiation therapy for oligometastic cancer (one to five metastases).” The clinical trial indicated that “a newer, more aggressive form of radiation therapy – stereotactic radiation – can extend long-term survival for some patients with stage-IV cancers while maintaining their quality of life.”

At least a half dozen news outlets have reported on the findings (you’ll see a few of those links below).  In addition to his recent publication, Phil recently received American Society of Radiation Oncology’s “Best of Astro” award for this research, chosen from more than 2,000 entries.

After graduating from Webster Thomas, Phil attended the University of Rochester, where he received dual Bachelor of Science degrees with highest distinction, in chemistry and neuroscience. He is currently studying at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and will graduate in May. Philip hopes to match into a radiation oncology residency program.

“WCSD played an important role in Philip’s success,” Maria wrote, adding,

The teachers and staff at Webster laid a strong educational foundation, helped foster his scientific curiosity, advised him regarding his educational future, reinforced strong character traits, such as the desire to aid others (staff at Willink encouraged/recognized this with their annual Make a Difference Award, circa 2005), as well as awarded him various academic scholarships, which helped alleviate some educational expenses. We are extremely grateful and fortunate Phil had his start at Webster Central.

Click here to see the whole article, “Initial Results of a Multicenter Phase 2 Trial of Stereotactic Ablative Radiation Therapy for Oligometastatic Cancer.” And here are a few links to some news reports about their findings:

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Ramping up the summertime music scene

15 Mar

village band 2

One of Webster’s most welcome harbingers of spring has returned: the Webster Village Band has announced its 2019 rehearsal and performance schedule.

village band 1The all-volunteer band is marking its 52nd year of entertaining Webster with its weekly concerts under the band shell in Harmony Park on Phillips Road. The group also performs at a few special events throughout the summer, including the Firemen’s Parade, and a joint concert with Willink Middle School. The performances themselves begin in mid-July, but the rehearsal schedule begins on March 21 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Willink.

New members are encouraged to become part of the fun by attending an upcoming rehearsal. You can visit the Webster Village Band website or email Harvey Cohen at for more information.

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It’s St. Patrick’s Week. Barry’s is SO ready.

12 Mar


It’s St. Patrick’s Week, so you know that Barry’s Old School Irish Pub in the village is gearing up big time for Sunday’s festivities.

As usual, there’s a whole slate of special activities planned all week. But I’d like to highlight one in particular, because on Thursday night Barry’s will be hosting some extra special visitors.

As part of the the 100th anniversary celebration for the Rochester Police Department’s Emerald Society, five officers from Ireland’s Garda will be in town. They’ll be stopping into a different pub every night through next Monday. This Thursday, Barry’s is the chosen pub.

The Garda visit is just another honor bestowed on our local Irish pub, which has gained a reputation of not only the premier Irish pubs in the county, but also one of the best in the country.

Here’s a rundown on everything else Danny and Jessica have planned for this week. For more details about any of these, and to keep tabs on exactly when the Garda will be there, visit Barry’s Facebook page.

Tuesday March 12:

The weekly Barry’s Runners/Walkers gathering takes off for what will be a warmer-than-recent-days run at 6:30 p.m. This would be a great evening to join the grouo, because every participant get free Guinness give-aways after the run. PLUS Guineess will be handing out free personally-etched pint glasses.

Wednesday March 13:

Barry’s weekly Trivia Night begins at 7:15 p.m.. This week it is sponsored by Guinness, and prizes will be handed out for first, second, third place and best doodle. This has become such a popular event that tjable reseverations are required. Email

Thursday March 14:

In addition to the visit by the Garda, Thursday night is Open Mic Night. Beginning at 7 p.m. musicians of all genres are invited to sign up and sing (or play) us a tune or two.

Friday March 15:

Kevin Reynolds of The Wild Geese will be on hand to perform Irish tunes. Printed lyrics will be handed out so that everyone can sing along.

Saturday March 16:

It’s Parade Day! Doors open at 8 a.m. with Irish coffee and breakfast, and won’t close until 2 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. There’s music all day, Irish dancers, whiskey tastings, and the pints will be pouring outside as well, so there should be plenty of room for

St. Patrick’s Day:

Pretty much a repeat of Saturday. You’re going to want to check the Barry’s Old School Irish Facebook page for details about both of these days.

Barry’s Old School Irish is located at 2 West Main Street in the Village of Webster.

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Some thoughts on the Tour de Cure

8 Mar


Last Tuesday night I joined a few friends at the gala kick-off event for the 2019 Tour de Cure, a day of walking, running, but mostly biking events to benefit the American Diabetes Association. It’s a huge event, drawing a few thousand participants, which has been taking place in Rochester for years.

The kick-off pep rally itself was equally huge. Organizers had to cut off registrations at 500 people, who packed the Holiday Inn Downtown ballroom. Vendors and sponsors lined the walls, offering give-aways and raffles. Balloons floated everywhere, and a fine dinner was served.

It was a party atmosphere, buoyed by the additional knowledge that Rochester’s Tour de Cure has become the largest in the nation. Last year almost 2,000 riders raised more than $1 million to fund diabetes research and help send children with diabetes to summer camp. 

But the reason I decided to write about this today is this: “Rochester’s” Tour de Cure is actually hosted in Webster.

This huge annual event begins and ends at one of the Xerox parking lots off of Chiyoda Drive. And you want to talk about a party atmosphere? The day of the ride, that lot is filled with tents and music and fire trucks and food trucks, thousands of bikes and people. Webster can be very proud to be hosting this, the biggest Tour de Cure in the whole country.

This year’s Rochester Tour de Cure is Saturday June 8. It will feature a 3.5-mile run or walk, and six different cycling routes ranging from 3.5 to 100 miles. Organizers are hoping to grow the event even bigger in 2019, aiming for 2,500 participants. There’s a distance and event for everyone — even walkers. Click here for more information. 

My friends and I will be joining the event for the very first time this year, challenging ourselves to ride 25 miles. We invite you to join us and our Amiel’s The Original Submarine Team. I met a few of my new teammates Tuesday night and can already tell it’s a great group of people.

If you can’t take part but would like to support the cause, feel free to log onto the Amiel’s team page or my personal page to make a donation. Every penny goes to support the American Diabetes Association.

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Vote for Bella’s Bumbas!

6 Mar


I only just came across news of this cool contest that could ultimately benefit Bella’s Bumbas in amazing ways.

If you read my blog regularly, you’ve heard about Bella’s Bumbas, an amazing Webster-based community organization.

If you haven’t, I won’t go into much background. But briefly, Bella’s Bumbas is a non-profit organization run by Webster residents Marty Parzynski and Rebecca Orr, dedicated to building miniature wheelchairs for children with a wide variety of mobility issues. In just their first year of operation, they shipped more than 300 “Bella’s Bumbas” around the world, often adapting the chairs for each child’s individual needs, and charging the families only for shipping. You can read more about it in this blog I wrote back in 2017, and this follow-up blog.

It’s an amazing organization run by two amazing people who are pouring their hearts and soul into helping kids around the world. This contest I just found out about is a very easy way to help them in a huge way.

It’s called the 2019 Nonprofit Truck Wrap Bracket Contest, hosted by Cellino Plumbing.

It’s being run kind of like March Madness. 64 nonprofits are chosen for the first round, and then voting continues through March until one winner remains. Round 1 is happening now, when the first 64 agencies are chosen.

The winner will receive one of Cellino Plumbing’s trucks wrapped in their branding, and 5% of the revenue from that truck for one year. That could be a lot of money.

Votes are being taken through March 11:59 p.m. Thursday, so click here to submit your vote for Bella’s Bumbas today. And then again tomorrow. The top 64 will be announced on Friday.

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Webster had a winning weekend

4 Mar

It was a busy, and very successful weekend for Webster sports and academic teams, who were participating in various local and state competitions. Seems like every hour another congratulatory message was coming across my Twitter and Facebook feeds as — one after another — the teams took home top awards.

You might have heard about some of them, or even read about a few in the paper. Here’s what I know about, but please tell me if I’m missing any team. (Although Superintendent Gumina did a pretty good job curating them all, thank you!)

thomas cheer

The Webster Thomas cheerleaders are now state champions, taking first place in the co-ed division of the state-level competition held Saturday at RIT. They are the only Section V school to bring home a title this year. Click here to read the D&C story.

The Thomas Titans track team did pretty well for themselves over the weekend as well at the New York Indoor State Championships held in Staten Island. Monique Hardy easily captured the state girls weight throw title with her toss of 60′ 4″, more than 5 feet farther than the second-place competitor. Sean Smith posted a personal best and school record 67′ 4″ in the boys’ weight throw, taking second place.

The Webster boys’ swim team, competing in Long Island, finished second in the state in the 200 free relay, posting a new Webster record of 1:26.48. The team also took third place in the medley relay, and set a new Webster boys’ record of 3:13.88 in the 400 free relay, good enough for seventh place.

The Thomas Titans hockey team took the NYS Regional championship in hockey. Next up? The state competition.

odyssey of the mind

The Klem South Odyssey of the Mind team — Cooper, Maura, Lily, Ellie, Ella, Kate and Kayleigh — took their very first ever regional title, and are now headed to the states in three weeks. They’ll be joined by the Thomas Titans Odyssey of the Mind — team — Logan, Brynn, Tegan, Ally and Kayla — who also won at regionals.

Webster’s indoor percussion team won top honors at their recent NYSCP competition.

speech and debate

And finally, the Webster Schroeder speech and debate team took second place in their national qualifier competition. Team members Luke and Katie are headed to the National Championships for Duo Interpretation.

Whew. That was a lot to pull together. Let me know if I got everything, and if I got anything wrong!  And congratulations to all of our sports, academic and music teams for a job well done.

P.S. Here’s an additional note which was recently passed on to me: Last Wednesday, the Webster Thomas varsity girls bowling team won their Class A sectionals!

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News from our neighbors to the south

3 Mar

penfield logoI’d like to pass along a few notes from Penfield, which I think will be of interest to Penfield and Webster residents alike.

First, anyone who’s been keeping tabs on the town’s purchase of the Shadow Pines property might be interested in this:

The Penfield Trails Committee will sponsor a free guided hike at the former golf course on Saturday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to noon. Participants will get a first-hand look at the current state of the hiking trail development, and survey the south end of the property.

Hikers are asked to meet at the parking lot near the Clark House off of Whalen Road. Look for the “Hike” signs. The hike is free, but participants are asked to pre-register by calling Penfield Recreation at 340-8655, option 0.

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food shelf

The Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf is gearing up for its annual Easter dinner distribution, which will be held on Saturday April 20. They’ve sent out a call for donations of certain food items to be included with the dinners.

Specifically, they’re asking for canned sliced pineapple, boxed jello mix, and brownie mix. They’ll also need 40 sliced ham steaks, 60 smaller hams, enough for 2-3 people, and 50 medium to large hams, enough to serve 4-6 people. (Local grocery stores often have sales in the few weeks prior to Easter, which would be a good time to get an extra ham.)

The smaller items are needed by Monday, April 8., and the ham drop-off is scheduled for Saturday April 20 in the parking lot of the Dolomite Lodge.

If you can help — or if you’d like more information — email

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Webster’s SparX team heads into competition season

2 Mar

Webster CSD’s SparX robotics team

Webster’s high-flying robotics team is heading to space.

The One Webster high schools 1126 SparX FIRST Robotics team has been working hard for weeks to prepare for this year’s competition season, which begins the weekend of March 14-16 with the Rochester area regionals at RIT.

This year’s theme is “Destination: Deep Space.” The goal is to use the 130-pound robots to deposit cargo (13-inch playground balls) into a rocket ship and cargo ship. Each match lasts 2-1/2 minutes, and robots can score extra points by climbing up blocks. Six robots from different teams compete for points at the same time on the same field.

Our Webster SparX team is comprised of 47 students and 21 adults, who for the last six weeks have been working together to design, build, test, and practice operating a robot capable of completing the Destination: Space challenges. Following the RIT competition, the team will travel to Cleveland’s Buckeye Regional the weekend of March 28.

All SparX events are free to attend, and these kids would love to see (and hear) some Webster fans in the crowd.

For more information about the robotics program, visit, and to learn more about our local team, visit

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