Archive | March, 2021

North Bee featured in Rochester-area magazine

14 Mar

The North Bee — specifically Amy Stringer, owner of The North Bee — is getting some well-earned recognition this month. She and her adorable little bee-inspired shop on North Ave. are featured in the March/April edition of the Rochester-based magazine 55 Plus.

The three-page feature, written by John Addyman, follows Amy’s life path, beginning with her 19-year career in accounting. It was later in life that she discovered beekeeping, which ultimately led to the decision to retire and devote herself full-time to her newfound passion for all things bees.

Amy has been a regular advertiser in 55 Plus‘s sister publication, Good Health Rochester, and the sales representative she works with is a customer. It was she who realized that Amy’s story would be a perfect fit for 55 Plus which, she said, likes to write about “second act” careers.

The article has already garnered a lot of attention. It hit the newsstands on February 28, and within a week, several of her customers mentioned they had seen the article. For some, it was their first visit to The North Bee.

55 Plus can be picked up for free at 1200 locations throughout the city, including any Wegmans. But I highly recommend you stop by The North Bee in person to grab your copy, and see what all the buzz is about (sorry).

The North Bee is located at 27 North Ave., across the street from the gazebo. And when you stop by, don’t think you’ll only find honey (although the honey variety will blow you away). There’s also a surprising variety of products made from or with beeswax, including wax rounds, beard balms, mini planters, vases and cups, small sculptures, elderberry syrup and jelly, propolis, paw balm for dogs, candles, body products and much more.

The North Bee is open Tuesday 4-7 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check out the website here and Facebook page here.

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Updated BID website is a thing of beauty

12 Mar

The Village of Webster Business Improvement District (BID) website, the clearinghouse for village business, event and entertainment news, is new and improved.

The BID is the organization of small business owners who work together to support each other and the village business climate in general. They’re the ones who host many of the special village events you’ve come to know and love, including the Trick or Treat Trail, White Christmas in the Village, and the Wine Walks.

They BID has had a website for a long time, and while it did provide a lot of information about upcoming events and special business promotions, it really was nothing to write home about. Frankly, it was rather … blah.

But recently that changed. It has a new, fresh look, great images (including an impressive drone video) and much improved navigation tabs. All while still providing tons of information about what’s happening in the village.

According to BID member Tom Spoonhower, the improvements have been a year in the making. He wrote,

In early 2020, (BID chairperson Elena Bernardi) formed a marketing/communications committee and a more interactive website was one of the outcomes. She contracted with a local company, CMS Max, to incorporate our information into their template and through them an outside video company was hired to produce the video that greets you on the homepage.

Spoonhower himself has taken the lead in adding to and updating the site. That’s more difficult than you might imagine, given all of the challenges COVID has thrown into the mix. But right now, he adds, “The business listings are pretty up to date and as the weather breaks we hope to get out into the community to update even further.”

When you check out the new site (and you should), you’ll find some convenient tabs across the top where you can read more about the BID, see a listing of member businesses and get information about upcoming events. Scroll down and you’ll find even more links to things like music and entertainment and a BID newsletter sign-up (this is the best way to stay in the know). There’s even a place where you can find out more about volunteering for a special event.

Basically, the site is one-stop shopping for Village of Webster business and event news. Actually, it always was, but now it’s much prettier!

So check out th new BID website, bookmark it, sign up for the newsletter, follow the BID on Facebook … do it all and you’ll always be up to date.

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Webster family puts a puzzling twist on their Little Free Library

10 Mar

Plenty of Little Free Libraries have popped up in Webster, those mini libraries packed with books and magazines free for the taking. But I recently discovered one that’s different from any other you’ll see — maybe anywhere. That’s because it’s stuffed with puzzles, not books.

The Puzzle Exchange, located at 1440 Plank Rd., is the brainchild of Brian Roode, his wife Janine, and kids Simon and Lucy. They came up with the idea early on in the pandemic as a way to share their love of jigsaw puzzles with a larger audience.

“We were at home so much, doing puzzles,” Brian said. “We were doing a lot of trading of puzzles back and forth with a few different families. We said, why not make someplace where lots of people can enjoy the puzzles?”

So about a year ago they erected their Puzzle Exchange, basically a Little Free Library for puzzles. The library compartment is surprisingly spacious; in one photo on the Puzzle Exchange Facebook page, I counted a dozen puzzles stuffed inside. And the box is marked with a handsome flag, emblazoned with a puzzle piece, so it’s kind of hard to miss when you’re driving by on Plank Rd.

All the family members pitch in to check it regularly and keep it stocked, and over the winter everyone helped shovel snow to maintain a clear path to the street.

The Exchange has clearly been a hit. When they first put it up, they started out with just two or three puzzles. But since then, word has spread enough that the collection has populated itself quite nicely, so much so that the Roodes have had to put a large tote near the box to handle the overflow.

“There’s a few people a day that stop and hit it,” Brian said. “The puzzles usually change over pretty quickly. There’s a range of adult puzzles and kid puzzles and little kid puzzles, like 10 pieces.”

Being puzzle stewards has been so much fun for the Roode family that they’re even thinking of branching out and doing a game exchange.

Stay tuned.

The Puzzle Exchange is an officially registered Little Free Library. You’ll find it at 1440 Plank Rd., between Fairport Nine Mile Point Rd. (Rt. 250) and Harris Rd. Look for the flag! To stay up to date on the puzzles you might find inside, follow the Puzzle Exchange Facebook page.

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Webster community mailbag

9 Mar

Two opportunities to help our neighbors in today’s mailbag, and some reader memories from the ice storm of ’91.

Immanuel Lutheran Church at 131 West Main St., in the Village of Webster will hold a food and underwear drive on Saturday March 20 from from 10 a.m. to noon.

The food collected will be shared with needy families via Immanuel’s Weekend Backpack Food program and their Little Free Pantry.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Weekend Backpack Food program. It began with 16 students at one elementary school, and was just a 6-week commitment. It currently supports more than 70 students across all seven Webster elementary buildings.

In his recent email, Ed Huehn from Immanuel explained,

A referral from a teacher, school nurse or social worker and consent from a guardian/parent makes (a student) a part of the program. The food provides support to the student on the weekend. Some, but not all of the kids receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch during the week. The foods included are kid-friendly and easy to prepare. Each bag contains 4-6 food items for meals or snack. They are a supplement for the weekend and easy to prepare. …The Webster School District transports the food from the church to each building and a coordinator there distributes the bags! Many thanks to all involved in this program and their support over 10 years.

Immanuel also maintains one of the many little free pantries in the Webster area, located in the parking lot. The concept is “take what you need and leave what you can.” Some of the donations collected on the 20th will be used to restock the pantry. If you choose to bring donations at other times, please limit them to commercially prepared, non-perishable goods.

Oh, yeah! And remember they need underwear, too. Underwear is one of the most needed and least donated items in community programs. Pleease bring only new underwear and socks, in orginal packaging.


If you happen to be closer to Penfield’s four corners on that Saturday, Penfield First Baptist Church is also holding a drive-up, drop-ff food drive that day, also from 10 a.m. to noon. They’ll be set up in the church parking lot, 1862 Penfield Rd. Donations will support the Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf “feed the kids” program.


The Webster Public Library has a Puzzle Swap Shelf!

I’m actually bouncing in my chair as I write that, because I am an off-again on-again jigsaw-puzzler (when I can find the time and space) and have burned through all the ones I own. And I fear my good friend Patty will get tired of loaning me ones from her expansive collection.

So when I heard that I can take some of my old standbys (some of which I have done several times) and swap them out for new ones, I was delighted. So grab your ond ones and stop by the library for some new ones. I might just see you there!

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

Finally, I would like to share with you a few reader responses I got after my blog on the 30th anniversary of the 1991 ice storm. I invited everyone to send in their memories from that day, and I received a few. Thank you for sharing!

At that time we lived in Country Manor apartments. And we were lucky because power was restored to that complex quickly. (Xerox was busy back then and I think that our close proximity to the plant helped get the power back later that day on the 4th) But it was one heck of a night listening to the branches cracking and falling in a nearby wooded area and also seeing the flashes of the transformers blowing up. I would rate this storm as probably the worst storm that I have experienced in this area in my life. The blizzard of ’66 was wild, but we did not have the loss of power or the outright destruction that the ice storm of ’91 had. Our county looked like a war zone for sure ! — Bob B.

We were living in the Maplewood area of the city. A branch in our backyard took out our power but we were able to run a large extension cord from our neighbor’s garage for minimal power. We were low priority for the power company so didn’t get power back for a week. My sons wanted to take a walk so I made them wear football helmets because of the ice falling from trees. It was beautiful! — Karen T.

We had moved to Irondequoit by 1991. … Our ice storm experience in Irondequoit similar to yours. Had power, so Greece family moved in. Crowded but fun. Lost some trees, no house damage. Beautiful wind-chime sound of ice-laden branches moving in wind until wind picked up and turned into crashing sounds as branches and limbs fell. — Kathy T.

On a side note, it was fun to discover through these memories that Kathy and I were apparently neighbors back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, living perhaps 10 houses away from each other on the same city street.

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Win a quilt, help a family member

7 Mar

A village of Webster business is asking community members to help them support a family member in need. 

Vanessa Parshall, who with Monique Liberti owns the Village Quilt Shoppe, recently learned that her cousin, Amy Groot, has been diagnosed with lymphoma and melanoma.

Amy has been living a busy life. In addition to working full time at Paychex, she is active in her church community, and enjoys gardening and painting, all while also caring for her mother. Naturally, the news came as a devastating blow to her and her family.

To help Amy with her mounting medical bills, The Village Quilt Shoppe will be raffling off a beautiful quilt, the Equinox. The lovely wall hanging, pieced by Jean Cody and quilted by Finger Lakes quilting, measures 48″ x 48″and is valued at $450.  

Raffle tickets are $5 each and will be sold from March 9 through April 29. They’ll be available at the Village Quilt Shoppe during normal business hours. The drawing will take place on Friday, April 30.

The Village Quilt Shoppe is located at 21 E. Main Street, Webster. For more information, call (585) 626-6916. 

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Where were you during the ice storm of ’91?

4 Mar

Today, believe it or not, marks the 30th anniversary of the 1991 ice storm.

Looking south down Bedford Street

It began with rain on the afternoon of March 3. Overnight, the rain turned to ice, and many of us woke up to the gunshot sounds of limbs breaking and falling into the yards and streets. More than 200,000 homes lost power, many for as long as two weeks.

I was living in the city at the time, on Bedford Street just off of Bay. I have vivid memories of that day. Mostly I remember what a beautiful scene Mother Nature had painted, bathing everything in sparkling ice. And I remember how much devastation it brought to our street. Broken branches and fallen trees made the road impassible.

I also recall how everyone on the street came out to help clean up the mess. Several chainsaws showed up seemingly out of nowhere, and neighbors from up and down the street who rarely spoke to one another worked together to drag detritus into yards. As often happens during tragedy, community members came together without even being asked, to help one another out.

We never lost power, or even cable, that day, so we were one of the lucky ones. The following year, however, the city came by and removed a significant number of trees that had been severely damaged by the storm. Our beautiful tree-lined street looked almost bare.

I realized that day that the storm was a unique event, so I took several photos, which you see here. I wish I’d taken many more.

How about you? Were you living in Webster then? What was it like here during the ice storm of ’91? If you have any memories or photos from that day that you’d like to share, please send them along, or post a comment here or on my Facebook page.

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The village lights are still twinkling

3 Mar

Any day now, the village’s Public Works Department will be taking down the snowflakes on the light poles along Main Street and the twinkly lights in the trees. And I, for one, will be sorry to see them go.

I’m sure there’s been some grumbling about why the “Christmas” lights are still up when St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. Even I become a bit judgmental when I see reindeer and Santa still decorating the occasional front yard. But when it comes to our downtown, I’m a bit more forgiving.

The way I see it, even though these decorations go up just before the holidays, they are snowflakes, after all. So they could just as easily be winter decorations, not just holiday decorations. And as for the twinkly lights in the trees, I think they should be left up all year long. They add a special small-town charm after dark.

So one evening soon I’ll be running or walking through the village and notice that the lights are gone, and it will make my heart sad. But in the meantime I’ll enjoy and appreciate the little bit of magic they bring to the village.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

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