Archive | November, 2019

Webster schools welcomes Kevin Sherry — and he’s changing lives

20 Nov

Something pretty neat happened at school Wednesday which I wanted to share with you.

On Tuesday, Plank North Elementary was fortunate to host Kevin Sherry, author and illustrator of children’s books.

IMG_20191120_103417012It is hard to put into words how animated and energetic Kevin Sherry is. The three presentations he gave to the students were filled with music (he plays the guitar), puppets (he even brought a marionette), stories and much laughter. He bounded across the stage with a frenetic intensity that belied his passion for art and writing.

The kids were enthralled. Thanks in large part to the weeks of preparation by Plank North librarian Gretchen Pulver, the students were already looking forward to Sherry’s visit. But by the end of the day, most of them considered him a rock star.

But Sherry’s presentations were not just entertaining. They were inspiring. That became obvious yesterday morning.

Three third-grade boys came into the library to show Pulver a book they were working on, called Blizz at Shore. It was a graphic novel, complete with bold text and large, colorful full-page illustrations. The story line was based closely on one of Sherry’s books, The Yeti Files: Meet the Bigfeet, complete with the same lead character, Blizz the Yeti. They had started working on it shortly after their class had seen the presentation. It was impressive.

It so happened that Sherry was still in Webster, doing presentations at State Rd. Elementary. We decided that he needed to see this book. I made three copies — one for each student — and drove over to State Rd.

Sherry was amazed by the work these third graders had done. He not only signed each of the copies, but graciously wrote an individual message on each. Then, book in hand,  he posed for a photo.

Later that afternoon, Pulver and I went down to the boys’ classroom and presented the signed copies and photos to each of the boys. As you can imagine, they just beamed. When they saw the personal messages and the photos, their eyes grew as wide as their grins. Their fellow classmates applauded.

It was a heartwarming moment. Wednesday’s events will definitely be something these boys remember a long time. But I think it may go beyond that. It’s possible that Sherry’s validation of these boys’ writing, illustration and initiative might just be a pivotal point in their lives.

All because one very kind author took a moment in his busy schedule to pause and say “good job.” Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Who knows? Maybe 20 years from now, they too will be rock stars.

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I am an SRP.

19 Nov

You have to be nice to me today. It’s School-Related Professionals Recognition Day.

No, really.

SRP shirtThis is a day officially designated to “recognize and honor the school support staff who help transport, educate, feed and tend our children and keep our schools clean, safe and offices running smoothly.” Gov. Spitzer signed it into law in 2007, to be celebrated annually on the third Tuesday of November. I even have a t-shirt and a sticker this year which I can display proudly in the halls.

I suspect this came about because some of us “SRPs” were a little miffed that secretaries get a recognition day (Administrative Professionals Day) and teachers get a whole week (not that they don’t REALLY deserve it), while we teaching assistants, bus drivers, school nurses, custodians, food service workers, and teacher aides got short shrift.

So, there you have it. School-Related Professionals Recognition Day.

Now don’t get me wrong, as an SRP (doesn’t that sound important?) I will definitely take advantage of the snacks that might show up in the faculty lounge today. And I really do appreciate the effort.

But I really don’t need a Hallmark holiday to know how much I mean to the students. That feeling is renewed this year in my job at the elementary level. When I see them smile and wave as they file past the library,  when they laugh as I read them a funny story, when a kindergartner opens her arms for a hug as I walk by in the hall … that all means so much more to me than snacks.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’d love some snacks.

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Bourbon and a village Christmas preview

13 Nov

The Village of Webster’s next special event, the Bourbon Bash, returns Saturday Nov. 16, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Harmony House, 58 E. Main St.

Sample bourbons and whiskey from local distilleries and Webster Wine and Spirits, complemented by food samples from local restaurants.

Participants will be provided bottled water to enhance their sampling experience, and the opportunity to purchase a raffle ticket for a bourbon basket donated by Webster Rotary. proceeds of the event will benefit Webster Local Charities.

Tickets are $25 and will be limited. They can be purchased online here or at websterbid.com. Cash sale tickets are also available at Hegedorns.

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christmas treeThe Webster Museum is gearing up for this year’s Christmas Tree Contest. Local groups and organizations are invited to decorate a miniature Christmas tree, which will then be displayed in the museum for community voting.

In past years, Scouting troops, schools clubs, local businesses, even families and individuals have decorated trees. There are a limited number available, so anyone interested in participating needs to register ASAP. To do so, call Kathy at (585) 313-3709 and leave a message with a name and phone number for a return call.

Be prepared to supply the following information: Caller’s name, phone number and email; decorator’s name, phone number and email; date/time plan to decorate; and any special requests regarding location in the museum.

Decorating begins Nov. 30, and voting begins Dec. 7 during White Christmas in the Village.

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Speaking of White Christmas, it’s drawing near. This year’s event happens Saturday Dec. 7. I haven’t seen any details about this year yet, but in the past it’s run from 3 to 6 p.m., followed by the amazing Electric Parade.

Like previous years, there will probably be horse-drawn wagon rides, a bounce house, cookie decorating, storytelling, a bell choir, carolers, and Santa (of course).

Stay tuned for more details as I find out about them. You can also check websterbid.com for updates.

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LaLa’s been here a YEAR already?

12 Nov

IMG_9843

LaLa of Webster, located at 38 East Main St., turns one year old this weekend, and owner Lisa Schonski is celebrating all day Saturday Nov. 16 with wine, cookies, special events, vendor visits, and raffle prizes. It’s her way of thanking the Village of Webster for welcoming her so warmly and supporting her shop all year.

I remember the first time I stopped into LaLa last November, shortly after it opened. I was immediately impressed by the friendly, smiling welcome I received, how the store sparkled from head to toe with gift items and jewelry, and how great it smelled.

In the blog I wrote after my visit, I said, “It was like walking into a cloud of beautiful aromas, emanating from the array of personal care products that line the walls, shelves and counters of this gorgeous new shop.” I knew right away that it was the kind of retail establishment Webster really needs to help revitalize the village, and I’m tickled pink that it’s been successful. 

One of the best things I like about LaLa is that every time I go in there, I see something new, and usually it’s something I’ve never seen anywhere else.

That was no different last Saturday when I popped in for some updated photos, and discovered a sort of Christmas wonderland in the lower level, with a tremendous array of creative and unique gift items that just made me smile.

A great number of Lisa’s products are created by local artisans, many of whom will be on hand at the open house to talk about — and demonstrate — their crafts. Visitors will enjoy wine and cookies, and perhaps even win some outstanding raffle prizes, including an huge LaLa gift basket.

Basically, this would be a great time to pop in and check out LaLa of Webster again, or for the first time.

The shop’s located at 38 E. Main St., and will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit LaLa’s Facebook page to see some of the raffle prizes that will be given away.

Here’s a selection of photos I took Saturday:

 

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A heartfelt thank you from Harold Krieger

11 Nov

TRAIL ENTRANCE

Last month, in my East Extra column, I introduced many of you to the new Hickory Bark Trail, a 400-foot long stroll through a stand of woods located along Van Ingen Drive by the Webster Public Library.

The trail’s completion was thank in large part to the efforts of former Webster resident Ann Krieger, and her husband Harold, who championed the cause after Ann’s death in 2009. Its official introduction to the community happened at a grand opening ceremony on October 5.

I recently was copied in on an email Harold sent to Jason Poole (from the Webster Public Library) and Shari Gnolek (from the Friends of Webster Tails), expressing his gratitude to all of the organizations who helped complete the trail, and hinting at more exciting developments in the trail’s future.

I’d like to pass that email along, verbatim.

Looking back at the grand opening of the Hickory Bark Woods Trail, my son Hal and I were overwhelmed by the many volunteer groups and local organizations that were involved in its development and completion. Please thank them all for us (the Friends of Webster Trails, the Webster Library employees and volunteers, the Webster Boy Scouts, the Webster Town Board and Recreation Department, and the interested local residents); they should be very proud of what they accomplished. I won’t attempt to mention names for fear of leaving someone out. It’s such a wonderful feeling to witness your local community working together to create a real asset for Webster’s future.

Speaking of the future, I must confess that some of us (no names) have been thinking out loud about adding some side foot trails branching off from the platform on the Hickory Bark Woods Trail.

Heading east toward the athletic fields, there’s a nice creek and small pond and wildflowers along the way. Heading north, not too far from the platform, I recall a nice area of ferns. Then heading southwest near Hard Road, as I remember from many, many years ago, there were nice hickory bark trees, some beech trees, and wildflowers. There is however a poison ivy problem to contend with. Details, details…J

Oh yes, don’t forget…wildflower seedlings were planted along the trail in September and we’re hoping for good results this spring. My hope? That Hickory Bark Woods Trail becomes the Wildflower Trail of Webster. Go to the Webster Library and learn all about it.

Do not underestimate the commitment Harold Krieger has for this project, as he continues his wife’s efforts to preserve the land as an educational resource.

Stay tuned!

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“All roads lead to Barry’s”

10 Nov

staff

By all accounts, last night’s 8th anniversary party for Barry’s Old School Irish was the most memorable special event yet at our little pub.

As with every one of Barry’s special events, the place was packed to the rafters, and a good two dozen people were even braving the chilly weather on the patio. If you weren’t there, you missed a rockin’ set by Billy Herring, a bagpiper, Irish dancers, pub-wide singing, and Danny’s annual epic toast, which this year stretched to seven hand-written pages.

As one who’s been part of the Barry’s Pub family since it opened, I often look back and marvel at all the good friends I have made there. There was a time when pretty much any night of the week, I could look around and know most of the people who were sitting at the bar and tables.

That’s not the case any more, of course. Barry’s is no longer a well-kept secret, and I often whine (in jest) that Danny and Jess keep letting in new people that I don’t know.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Danny and Jess have created something unique and special. They have stayed true to their dream, and remain clearly focused on what’s most important when running a business: everyone — from the first-time visitor to one of the original “Friday night” regulars — is family, and family always comes first.

In Danny’s toast, he told the story about how when he and his family were driving around Dublin earlier this year, another car pulled up next to them and started honking the horn. The driver was wearing a Barry’s Old School Irish t-shirt.

All roads lead to Barry’s, and their loving influence is reaching around the world.

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Webster celebrates Veterans Day

9 Nov

veterans-day

Veterans and all those who love and appreciate them are invited to the Village of Webster’s Veterans Day ceremony, honoring all those who have give so much to serve and protect our country, and those who continue to fight for our freedom.

The brief ceremony, hosted by the Webster VFW and American Legion, will be held at Veterans Memorial Park on North Ave. in the village, on Monday Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.

The timing commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at 11 a.m., the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”

A luncheon for Veterans and their families will follow the ceremony at our community meeting hall at 29 South Avenue.

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Webster Thomas to host art student summit

8 Nov

So today’s blog is not about a public event, but I wanted to feature it regardless, because it is an outstanding example of the commitment our Webster CSD teachers have for our students — and it allows me to give a shout-out to a former Webster Thomas colleague.

A few weeks ago Todd Stahl, an art teacher over at Thomas, sent me an email about an exciting program he has set up for his students.

He wrote,

For a long time, a few of my fellow art teacher friends in the area and I have lamented the loss of the art community that was cultivated through the local Scholastic Art Awards show that used to happen at RIT. About 10 years ago, they stopped hosting it, and many of us have lost touch, with our hectic schedules getting in the way of connecting – both us as teachers, but also our students.

So I got thinking about a way to start to bring people back together again – and give something even more beneficial to our students. So… an idea was born.

What Stahl came up with is the first (of many, he hope) Rochester Area Art Student Summit, scheduled for Nov. 15 from 9:15 to 1:45 at Webster Thomas. Students will be able to participate in four different presentatons and workshops run by local artists, who will speak about their artwork, art making process, their career/life journey and lead the students through some sort of sketchbook activity. It will all take place while the rest of the school day continues around them.

Stahl added,

We are hoping that this will be an extremely engaging and inspiring day for all of our students, to help them further see how process is just as important as (more important than?) product, and how our work can grow and mature over our lives and careers. We will also have a table set up with information about mental health support information, run by an alumni with experience in this area.

The event is designed for senior AP art students and art college-bound juniors. More than 200 students from 11 local high schools had already signed up when he wrote two weeks ago.

This sounds like a terrific event and could be a real life-changer for our students.

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Library, Miracle Field are asking for your support

7 Nov

The very clever and very popular “Caps for Sale” fundraiser returns to the Webster Public Library later this month, to benefit the Friends of the Library.

The fundraiser is based on the popular children’s book of the same name, in which Bartholomew IMG_E9392Cubbins had 500 hats. There won’t be quite that many at this sale, but guaranteed you’ll find a beautiful selection, all hand-crafted by the Webster Library Sit and Stitch Group.

Adult hats will be sold for $10, and children’s for $5 Buy a hat for a gift, for yourself or to hang on the HOPE House’s mitten and hat tree in the lobby.

The sale is scheduled for Thursday November 14 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday November 16 from noon to 2 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Friends of the Webster Public Library and their programs.

A second fundraiser on Nov. 21 — a LuLaRoe pop-up boutique — will also benefit the Friends of the Library.

LuLaRoe sells simple, comfortable, unique clothing styles, including dresses, sweaters, leggings and t-shirts. You can shop that night and take your order home with you.

The sale will take place Thursday Nov. 21 from 3 to 6 p.m. in the library’s Community Room. At the same time, the Friends will host a meet-and-greet event, where new members and those wanting to know more about the Friends can come together at the library, share a treat and chat with other Friends.

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Road, at the back of the plaza.

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Please join us For 2An extra-special art show, featuring children and adults with physical and developmental challenges, will be held Friday and Saturday Nov. 15 and 16 at CDS Life Transitions, 860 Hard Rd.

This is a great opportunity to take home a true original, with the added advantage of knowing that all proceeds will benefit Challenger Miracle Field of Greater Rochester.

Click on the butterfly image for more information about this unique event.

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Ah, the joys of raking…

5 Nov

Pile of autumn maple colored leaves isolated on white background.

As many of you know, I’m a fairly new resident of the Village of Webster. My husband and I moved here from our North Penfield home in April, and I totally love it.

I love being only a short walk from the center of the village, and all the pubs and restaurants there. I love being able to stroll to village events without having to worry about traffic and parking. I love being so much closer to great Christmas shopping, and only eight minutes from my job at Schlegel Rd. Elementary.

But you know what I love BEST about living in the Village of Webster?

I DON’T HAVE TO BAG ANY LEAVES!!!!!!!

I’ve been tapping out this blog for more than 10 years now, and pretty much every single year I whined about how the Town of Penfield still requires its residents to bag their leaves every fall and leave them for their refuse collector. I envied my Webster neighbors over the back fence who simply pushed theirs to the curb while I raked and swept and piled and stuffed and tied bags for hours every weekend.

We had several large trees in our yard, which meant that we would typically collect more than 100 bags of leaves every fall. And since our refuse collector only allowed us to put out eight of them every week, we would be placing them at the curb well into January.

In contrast, last weekend, it took Jack and me only about 90 minutes with our rake, tarp and leaf sweeper to clear our yard and dump all the leaves at the curb for pick-up. We estimated we’ll have to do it one more time in a week or two. But then…we’ll be done.

So thank you, Village of Webster, for providing this service. My tax dollars are well worth it.

Here’s a run-down of the village and town leaf collection information, from their websites:

Webster Village

This service begins when the autumn leaves begin to accumulate on the ground and will be on a daily basis until the beginning of December, or until the first heavy snowfall, whichever comes first. The Public Works Department will traverse each Village street once a week to remove leaves from the curb. To help make leaf pickup easier for yourself and our DPW staff, we request you follow some simple guidelines:

-Do not place brush, rocks, pumpkins, wood, plastic, or other foreign material with your leaves
-Do not bag your leaves for Village curbside pickup
-Do not place leaves in roadway, or on top of drainage structures, concrete, in gutters, or drainage ditches

The village also provides brush removal one day every month. For more details about that, visit the Village of Webster website.

Town of Webster

We start on the west side of town heading east and will make as many passes through town as possible during the leaf pick-up operation, weather permitting. There is no set schedule for particular streets throughout the town. Leaf season typically runs six weeks and start and finish dates vary based on actual leaf drop.

Please be patient with us during this process, as leaves do not all fall at once, and we never know what to expect for our weather conditions.
– Make sure leaves are on the edge of the road and not in the road or gutter
– Rake only leaves (and not twigs or branches) to the road’s edge
– Placing leaves in the road or gutter significantly slows down the entire operation. It is against the law to place leaves or any debris in the road.

For more information, visit the Town of Webster website.

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