Archive | November, 2020

Here’s a shopping challenge for you

27 Nov

Perhaps it’s just the fact that “Black Friday” has turned into “Black Friday Week” because people are spending more time at home and shopping online, but it seems to me that this year’s Black Friday craziness has been a little muted.

I’d like to encourage everyone to not let that happen to Small Business Saturday, which happens tomorrow, Nov. 28.

Our small business owners need our support more than ever this year help them survive this pandemic. Especially if we’re headed to an orange designation which might throw us back into another round of retail restrictions.

So I propose this challenge: sometime this holiday season, make a commitment to purchasing at least one gift at a small business. Even if (or especially if) you just need stocking presents, step into a small shop you’ve never been in before and I guarantee you’ll find something unique and perfect.

The North Bee, for example, at 27 North Ave. This is one of my favorite shops in the village, because I can always find something fun and different for office gifts or stockings.

The North Bee is packed with products from the hive, but goes far beyond just honey. (But if you or someone you love fancies honey, there are countless varieties here.) You have to check out her beeswax Christmas ornament tree, and beeswax statuettes for example. There are candies and even soft drinks, all honeybee-based. And Amy has really begun to focus her product line on health and wellness, like natural elderberry syrup and propolis products.

The North Bee has just celebrated its second anniversary, so Amy must be doing something right.

Another one of my favorite shops is The Village Quilt Shoppe at 21 E. Main. I’m not a quilter, but I like to stop in here occasionally just to say hi to the owners, Vanetta and Monique, who are two of the nicest people I have ever met. They’ve got all sorts of sales going on right now and a chance to win a gift raffle.

This is the perfect place to find a gift — or a gift card — for that quilter on your list.

And of course I can’t sing the praises of Lala of Webster enough. This adorable shop at 38 E. Main is packed with unique and creative gifts and is a must see for anyone shopping in the village. Owner Lisa Scholnski always has something new up her sleeve. Stay tuned for news soon of a special offering for seniors that’s in the works.

These three are just my favorite village shops, but li’l old Webster has so much to offer. Here are a few highlights:

  • Know someone who would rather read than do just about anything else? Grab a gift certificate from Yesterday’s Muse booksellers, 32 W. Main.
  • Performance Hobbies, 15 W. Main, is a hobbyist’s paradise.
  • How about supporting the musician in your family with something from The Music Store, 18 E. Main?
  • Grab some beautiful hand-made holiday chocolates at The Goodie Shoppe, 83 North Ave.
  • Nest Things at 11 E. Main is kind of like an upscale Grandma’s attic, packed with “carefully rechosen items” for the home, mother-to-be, and children. Lots of surprises in here.
  • Brighten up your holiday table and home with some flowers and wreaths from Kittleberger’s Florist, 263 North Ave.

And don’t forget to save some time to enjoy a snack and beverage at one of the village’s restaurants and pubs. You should definitely stop into Barry’s Old School Irish just to see the lights they’ve strung.

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The Thanksgiving Day Parade is alive and well — at Schlegel

25 Nov

The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade might be going virtual this year, but for the staff and students at Schlegel Rd. Elementary School, it was alive and well earlier this week.

Inspired by Melissa Sweet’s picture book Balloons Over Broadway about the puppeteer who invented the parade’s signature balloons, Schlegel Rd. librarian Jamie Palmer decided she wanted to create a parade of ballons of her own.

So last week she sent home a note to parents, encouraging every child in the school to create a balloon depicting a book character. She planned to make a few of her own, and was hoping that she’d receive at least a few others.

Dog Man and Cat Kid

Last Friday, the balloons started coming in. First just a few. Then five or six more, then a dozen. By the end of the day, the library’s floor and tables were covered with balloons, so many that staff members had to watch where they walked lest they step on Dog Man or Harry Potter.

By Monday afternoon, there were 70 ballons ready to parade down the hallway outside the Schlegel library.

Students from every grade level participated, and the creativity was stunning. I was delighted by how many ways students had found to use their balloons — as wings, feet, tails, ears, eyes, noses, as separate body parts, sometimes blown up, other times deflated, sometimes twisted. One even used a long orange balloon as a scarf wrapped around Penguin from Salina Yoon’s Penguin and Pinecone series.

It took Palmer almost 7 hours to string up each balloon into three separate mini-parades. The result was stunning. And it was fun to see the reactions from teachers and students as they passed by the parades. Some teachers even brought their whole classes through for a tour.

I tried to take photos of all the parade entries, so check out these individual ones, then click through the gallery below. I think you’ll be impressed, too.

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Looking for outstanding holiday light displays

23 Nov

I decided to put up my house Christmas decorations yesterday. It was about two weeks earlier than I normally decorate every year, but of course this is far from a normal year. I rationalized that now more than ever we need something uplifting in our lives, and looking at Christmas decorations always brightens my heart.

It’s obvious I’m not the only one who’s thinking this way. On our regular walks through the neighborhood, my husband and I are seeing more and more lights and decorations going up. He likened the early displays to the rainbows everyone was chalking on their sidewalks or posting in their windows in the spring. “It helps mark the beginning of the end of this dumpster fire of a year,” was I think the way he put it (although he used a more appropriate term instead of “dumpster fire.”)

Charlie and Cora Venishel’s Penfield home is alays a winter wonderland.

I would love to help spread the happiness by highlighting some of the best holiday displays here in my blog. Perhaps it could be the “12 Days of Holiday Happiness” series or something like that.

But to do that, I need your help. If you know of a particularly nice display in your neighborhood, please drop me an email. Or perhaps you’re proud of what you’ve done at your own home. Send me an email! I’ll come out and take a photo, then tell everyone about it.

And don’t forget that the Webster Museum is looking for great holiday photos for their gallery.

They explain on their website,

What brings you joy? Do you dress up your pets? Make your own ornaments or special treats? Decorate your house or yard? Have family traditions? If it makes you happy, it will make others happy too!

Take a photo, then share it with all of Webster in one of two ways. You can email your photo to or upload them (on the website).

I sent one in, picturing my family’s unusual tradition of stripping our shoes and socks off and walking barefoot in the snow. If you’re interested in seeing that weirdness, check it out on the museum website.

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Own a business? Join Webster’s Holiday Parade of Lights!

18 Nov

Have you heard about this year’s reimagined Parade of Lights, happening Saturday Dec. 5?

This very popular event, always the highlight of the Village of Webster’s White Christmas, was cancelled because of COVID restrictions. But it’s back — albeit a little different.  

Normally, fire trucks, community and business floats, and marching bands, all covered in twinkling holiday lights, parade down Main St. past thousands of spectators. This year, the trucks and floats will be stationary, and spectators will drive past them, enjoying the lights and music from the safety and warmth of their own cars.  

More than 1,500 cars have already registered to drive through and enjoy the display. Now it’s time for more businesses and community agencies to jump on board. 

As an exhibitor, you’ll be assigned a spot where you can park your vehicle for the entire parade, where upwards of 2,000 cars will drive past to see your holiday lights display and business information. (At an average of four people per car, that’s 8,000 people.) Plus, every participating business can provide marketing material for a VIP goodie bag which will be safely handed out to spectator vehicles as they enter the parade route. 

This is an outstanding opportunity to reach out to thousands of new and existing customers, and remind everyone that you’re still in business. So get registered, grab some holiday lights, and plan to have some fun! 

The Village of Webster Holiday Parade of Lights is scheduled for Saturday Dec. 5 from 3 to 8 p.m. on San Jose Dr. rain or shine. Participation is free, but you’ll need to register so organizers know how many vehicles to expect. For more information and to register, email 2020websterparadeoflights@neqals.orgRegistration is required by Nov. 25. 

You can also find more information about the event at the 2020 Webster Parade of Lights Facebook page.

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Webster community mailbag

16 Nov

This year it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot. It’s one less disease we have to worry about as the pandemic worsens.

If you haven’t had yours yet, you can get one at the Webster Public Library this Wednesday Nov. 18, from 11 to 12:30 p.m.

There’s no cost, but you’ll probably want to bring your insurance card.

Picture the Holidays with the Webster Museum

Pooh on the pandemic. The Webster Museum is determined to continue its 20-year tradition of celebrating the holidays with our community.

This year they’re inviting everyone to share photos of what makes you happy during the holidays. Their website explains,

What brings you joy? Do you dress up your pets? Make your own ornaments or special treats? Decorate your house or yard? Have family traditions? If it makes you happy, it will make others happy too!

Take a photo, then share it with all of Webster in one of two ways. You can email your photo to or upload them (on the website).

They’ll be updating their gallery regularly. I’m going to be adding one of my own, from one of our favorite family traditions. You’ll want to check it out.

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A few pre-holiday thoughts

14 Nov

There’s Christmas music on the radio, 24/7. I believe it’s been running on not just one, but TWO stations for a few weeks now.

Now, I like Christmas music as much as the next guy, and I’ve never had any issue with radio stations jumping the gun somewhat and starting it up way early. (Although this year I think it was earlier than normal, almost like the two stations were in a race to see who could roll it out first.) And I gotta say, I think this year more than any other, we really need some jingle and joy in our lives. So you’ll find me switching on the radio in the car more often these days, searching out some Bing Crosby.

But what I DO take issue with is that these two stations apparently have not changed up their holiday music collection in five years or more.

There are thousands of holiday tunes out there. PLEASE update your repertoire. We don’t need to hear “Santa Baby” played every hour on the hour. (But you can work in Feliz Navidad more often if you want.)

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Here’s a quick reminder that the village is open for business.

I did some early Christmas shopping today, at two of my favorite village shops, Lala of Webster and the Village Quilt Shoppe, both on East Main St. When I walked into LaLa, I was delighted to see a long line of customers at the register (all properly distancing) and probably ten more still shopping.

It was wonderful to see that LaLa’s business is going so well, and more to the point, that so many new people have come to discover this unique store. It seeme like every time I walk in, I hear a first-timer ooh and aah with delight as they explore the three floors. As for me, I’ve been in lots of times but go back frequently because owner Lisa Schlonski keeps adding new merchandise.

I also popped into the Village Quilt Shoppe across the street. I’m not a quilter, but I know that they’re going to be selling off many of their samples and I really want to get my hands on one of the market bags. That sale actually starts on the 20th, so I will be back.

If you haven’t been in either of these shops before, remember that the Saturday after Thankgiving is Small Business Saturday. That would be a great opportunity to check them out, and many of the other small businesses we have here in town.

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Webster woman runs for Bella’s Bumbas

9 Nov
Kim Rosdahl with a Bella’s Bumba

Here’s a great story about a woman who took her passions and used them to benefit a very worthwhile organization.

Webster resident Kim Rosdahl is a runner, the kind who last year signed up for a 50K trail race in hilly Mendon Ponds because she thought it would be a fun challenge. Her normally packed fall racing calendar has mostly been cancelled due to the pandemic, however, so she decided to create an event of her own: a charity run to benefit Bella’s Bumbas.

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. To date they’ve shipped about 1500 chairs to children in at least 27 countries, often adapting the chairs for each child’s individual needs, and charging the families only for shipping.

Kim found out about the organization at work, where she provides early intervention services to young children. Bella’s Bumbas’ mission to offer mobility for children struck a chord with her.

If I’ve learned one thing through the past seven months of this global pandemic, it’s that running and movement in general have not only kept me physically healthy but emotionally and mentally strong at the same time. …

During my 15 years working in early intervention I’ve worked with many children who have limited to no mobility due to various health reasons. It was last year that I was introduced to the Bella’s Bumba chair and learned that it was developed and made right here in the town of Webster, where I live.

It didn’t take her long to come up with the perfect way to bring her two passions — running and her work with children — together.

She reached out to Bella’s Bumbas for permission to organize a run to raise funds and awareness. Then she spread the word to her neighbors and friends: join her as she ran for three hours around her neighborhood for Bella’s Bumbas.

Many people did. From 9 a.m. to noon yesterday morning, Kim Rosdahl ran in never-ending laps around her Tuscany Lane neighborhood. She was sometimes accompanied by friends and family, often times accompanied by children. By the end of the run, more than 20 different people ages 4 to 62 had joined her for at least one lap, and Kim estimated she’d completed more than 17 miles.

Many others who didn’t participate have donated to the Bella’s Bumbas GoFundMe page in support of Kim’s run.

After the run Kim wrote in an email,

This organization has made an impact across the globe for children who would have never had the opportunity to become more mobile and engage in play with their peers. Knowing the impact movement has made in my life and the ways it’s helped me through the past few months, I know the impact for these children is even larger!

It made me so happy to see many of the kids and families within my neighborhood join me during my 3-hour run. It makes me even happier to know that we helped to provide more opportunities for so many children both inside and outside our community, to laugh and play and engage in movement activities making life just a little bit better.

It was a wonderful day, not only because the weather was glorious. It was also an inspiring testament to the fact that one person can really make a difference in our world, especially when you follow your passion.

To find out more about Bella’s Bumbas and the difference they’re making for children all around the world, check out this YouTube video. You can also connect with them on their Facebook page. And definitely connect to Bella’s Bumbas GoFundMe page to show your support for Kim’s run!

Some of the morning’s youngest runners (L. Currier)
Kim’s neighbor friends Olivia, Abby and Ellie help her hold the finisher ribbon they made for her to break through at the end of the run.

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The Parade of Lights is back (with a twist)

6 Nov
This year’s Parade of Lights will look a bit different, but will still be awesome!

The holiday season isn’t going to be a complete bust after all.

Our local first responders have come up with a way to still enjoy Webster’s annual Parade of Lights, the sparkling climax to the Village’s annual White Christmas celebration. Even though White Christmas has been cancelled, the parade will still go on … sort of.

Instead of all the trucks and floats driving past spectators along Main Street, this year spectators will be able to stay in the warmth of their cars and drive past the trucks and floats.

Here’s how it’s going to look:

On Saturday Dec. 5, first responders (fire deparments, EMS agencies, police departments), businesses and community groups will bedeck their vehicles in lights and decorations and line up in one of the very large Xerox parking lots off of San Jose Drive.

Then, from 4 p.m. through 8 p.m., families will be invited to drive through the lot and check out the light display. A pre-event viewing time from 3 to 4 p.m. will be reserved for those with special needs and the elderly.

Spectators will be directed to approach the event via Salt Rd, turning west on to San Jose Drive. Visitors will be asked to sign up online for one of the eight 30 minute time slots to manage traffic flow. Visitors can register on the EventBrite website, searching 2020 Webster Holiday Parade of Lights or by clicking this link.

Businesses and community agencies who are interested in participating should email to get a link for on-line registration.

Details are still coming together, but organizers have started up a Facebook page where they’ll be keeping everyone up to date, so make sure to “like” the page. But in the meantime, mark yor calendar today for Dec. 5, and sign up for a time slot!

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Webster community mailbag

4 Nov

I know, I know, it’s going to feel like summer again for the next few days. BUT, rest assured, Monday’s cold and snow-showery weather will be back again very soon. So now is a good time to stock up on some good reads for the winter months.

The Friends of the Webster Library are ready to help.

Beginning this week, the Friends are hosting their Bundle ‘n Bag Sale. Just like it sounds, bundles and bags of gently used books will be for sale during regular library hours, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be a wide variety of fun and unique Bundles ‘n Bags of fiction and nonfiction books for children and adults, starting at just $1.

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Rd. All proceeds from the sale will benefit library programs.

Looks like it’s going to be a nice evening for the Friends of Webster Trails’ autumn Hot Cocoa Hike, this Saturday at Whiting Road Nature Preserve.

This has been an annual tradition for as long as I can remember, and thankfully the pandemic has not cancelled it entirely. There will, however, be a few changes.

As always, the event will be at night and your path will be guided by candle light. But there will be no gathering in the woods at the end of the trail while you enjoy your hot cocoa. Instead, you’ll pick up your hot cocoa packet which you can then enjoy at home with your family.

This year’s event will be Saturday Nov. 7 at Whiting Road Nature Preserve (on Whiting Rd. north of Shoemaker) and will be a loop of approximately two miles. Participants are asked to walk the trail between 7 and 9 p.m. Also, please click here to register so they have enough supplies.

Remember to social distance, bring a mask, dress for the weather and bring a flashlight.

Immanuel Lutheran Church in the Village of Webster will hold a Bring a Can or a Case Food Collection and Hat, Mitten and Scarf Collection on Saturday Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon.

One of Immanuel’s biggest social ministries is the Backpack Program, which provides food to more than 50 children in five Webster elementary school buildings. This drive will support the Backpack Program and the church’s Little Free Pantry.

Immanuel Lutheran Church is located at 131 W. Main St., at the corner of Daniel Drive.

Lots of news from the Webster Museum!

The Webster Museum is presently closed to the public, but there has been a buzz of activity within. Volunteers Deb Oakley, Bill Schoff, Carol Yahoodik and Diana Strassman have been inventorying the attic and found a number of duplicate items not related to Webster’s history. In September, a “Vintage Sale” of some of those items was held in the museum parking lot and sales totaled $677.

The annual Barn Sale was held in September on Jan and Andy Naujokas’ historic property, which earned another $2,900.

Now would also be a great time to become a member of the Webster Museum or renew your membership. In honor of Susan B. Anthony’s visit to Webster, the museum will be giving away a limited edition Susan B. Anthony Barbie doll, unopened and in its original box.

To enter, simply join or renew your Webster Museum membership by December 14. On December 15, one entry will be selected at random with the hope of Susan arriving at the winner’s home before Christmas.

Stay tuned for details about the museum’s online Christmas program. If you make your own ornaments, dress up your pets or decorate your yard, they’ll be looking for your photos. More details about that, and about the Susan B. Anthony doll giveaway can be found on the museum’s website.

Do you know a great teacher who deserves to get some extra special recognition? How about nominating him or her for an Oak Tree Award?

Co-Sponsored by the Webster Teachers’ Association (WTA) and the Webster Central PTSA, the Oak Tree Award recognition program is an annual award that is designed to recognize teacher excellence in Webster Central Schools.

Any Webster resident or district employee, current or former student, parent, teacher, or administrative colleague may nominate a teacher for the Elementary or Secondary Teacher of the Year Oak Tree Award.

Award nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Currently teaching in a full-time position in Webster Central School
  • Have a minimum of 5 years teaching experience in Webster Central Schools
  • Plan to continue to teach the next school year in, or retire from Webster Central Schools
  • Be a member of both the Webster Central PTSA and the Webster Teachers’ Association

Nominations must be submitted by February 1. Click here for the nomination form.

By the way, congratulations to the 2020 Oak Tree winners, Joan Bardanis in secondary and Tamara Schell in elementary.

Bardanis is a special education teacher at Thomas High School and has been a teacher in Webster for 17 of her 31 year career in education.

Schell is a 2nd grade teacher at Plank South Elememetary, and has spent all of her 23 years in education in the Webster Schools.

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Virtual costume contest winners announced

3 Nov

Congratulations to the winners of the first ever (and hopefully only) Village of Webster Virtual Costume Contest!

The village normally holds its costume contest at the beginning of the Trick or Treat in the Village event. Of course that didn’t happen this year, so instead, families were encouraged to get all dressed up and email photos to the judges at Village Hall.

Fifteen families accepted the challenge. The winners were:

  • 1st Place: Mint Chip Ice Cream
  • 2nd Place: Baby Horse Jockey
  • 3rd Place: Headless Horseman
  • 4th Place: Shark Family

Here’s a slideshow of all the other costumes as well:

The contest was sponsored by Monroe County Legislator Matthew Terp, who is providing gift cards to not just the four top winners, but to family that participated.

Hopefully next year, Trick-or-Treating in the Village will be back, along with the costume contest. But in the meantime, thank you to everyone who helped pull this together and who joined the fun.

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