Archive | May, 2021

Webster community mailbag

31 May

When it comes to blog ideas, I’ve found it’s either feast or famine. As it turns out today, it’s definitely a feast. I’ve got so many things to tell you about I need to throw them all into one big mailbag so they don’t get too stale.

So here we go….

Image courtesy Town of Webster website

The Town of Webster is hosting a series of open houses for anyone interested in finding out more about plans for redeveloping Sandbar Park and upcoming REDI projects (Resiliency & Economic Development Initiative) which will include, among other projects, raising a portion of Lake Rd.

There’s going to be a lot of information presented at these meetings, so if you’d like to read up on all the projects in advance, click here for a good overview of what will be happening and why.

The open houses will be held:

  • Wednesday June 2, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive
  • Tuesday June 8, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Rec Center
  • Thursday June 10, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Rec Center
  • Saturday June 12 at the Joe Obbie’s Farmer’s Market, in the Kohl’s Plaza

The Webster Museum needs your help

Webster Museum volunteers have scoured available online resources for information about Asa Bass and his family. Museum staff members think this family may have been the first black residents of what is now Webster.

Asa (1792-1872) was born in Vermont, was a pioneer who came here in 1812 and bought at different times three different properties between the northern sections of what are now Phillips Road and Route 250.  Among his neighbors were the Foster and Wright families.

Asa and his wife Matilda Fuller Bass (1790-1866) had at least two children, Jane Bass Gould (1820-1891) and Chester Bass (1724-1873). Jane married Charles Gould and they had three children:  Anna, Nelson and Elijah. Chester married Sarah Gracen and they had at least one child, Francis Bass Vond. One of Asia’s nephews, Asa Boyd, lived with the family for many years.

The museum has many facts, but few stories about Asa and his farm and family lives. They’re hoping to hear from relatives of people who may have been friends or neighbors as well as descendants of this family.

Any information, even the smallest clue, would be greatly appreciated. Please send to Kathy at

Yee haw! Challenge your kids at this rodeo!

The Monroe County Office of Traffic Safety will host a Bicycle Skills Rodeo on Saturday June 5 at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Dr.

Children will learn, practice and demonstrate their bicycle handling skills. Make sure to bring your bicycle and helmet to participate in this family-friendly event for kids age 4-14. (There will be a few helmets available if you need one.)

The event is free, but registration is required. Visit the Webster Parks and Recreation website and look for program #201000. Four half-hour time slots are available beginning at 10 a.m.

Bri-Pen Senior Rides hosts Open House via Zoom

This note from some of our neighbors to the south.

Bri-Pen Senior Rides is hosting an open house via Zoom for those who might like more information about driving for the service.

Bri-Pen Senior Rides is a volunteer-based service that provides rides to adults 65+ in the Penfield and Brighton areas who do not have transportation to medical or other essential appointments. They are urgently seeking volunteers to drive or offer their assistance in dispatching rides to clients.    

The group will hold an Open House via Zoom on Thursday, June 10 at 4 p.m. to answer questions about how to get involved, as well as to share the history of the program.

Drivers are trained by Lifespan, and qualified drivers are offered additional umbrella insurance to drive for the service.

A link to the Zoom meeting can be found on the Penfield Recreation website calendar, or call 340-8655 for details. 

Help sustain our Webster forests

The Friends of Webster Trails is looking for a few good volunteers to help with a pressing problem.

Our treed and open space areas in Webster offer peaceful places to enjoy and explore, places that Friends of Webster Trails helps preserve for future generations. The future of our trees is threatened, however. Emerald Ash Borer. Wooly Adelgid. Oak Wilt. Beech Tree Canker. Those are just some of the challenges our green infrastructure faces.

Friends of Webster Trails is in the early stages of identifying how to address the problem, and they’re putting together a committee to work on it over the next several months.The goal is to enter 2022 with concrete plans to put into action. 

If you’re interested in joining their efforts, contact Norma Platt at

Would you like to make some beautiful music?

The Webster-based Rochester Rhapsody chorus, an organization of female a cappella singers specializing in the barbershop harmony style, is excited to report they’ll be returning to live rehearsals, which were on hold for a long time thanks to COVID.

To kick off the summer, they’ll be spreading their love for music with a grand reopening for women of all ages.

Female guests can attend Rochester Rhapsody chorus’ “A Cappella Lives!” open rehearsal on June 14 from 7 to 8:15 p.m. at Temple Beth El, 139 S. Winton Road, Rochester.

Women of all ages can enjoy an evening of music in a relaxed environment and participate in a cappella 4-part harmony, vocal skill building, singing a variety of music, and meeting with other women singers. Information about the chorus’ audition process will also be provided.

This is a great opportunity for women who love to sing but have never tried a cappella.

Registration is requested. To do so, and find out more details, visit the group’s Facebook page, email or call 585-721-8369.

What’s a mailbag without news from the library?

There’s SO MUCH COOL STUFF happening at the Webster Publc Library. Here are just a few snippets just for your kids:

  • This year’s Summer Reading Kickoff takes place at the North Ponds Park pavilion on Thursday June 24 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

There will be games and crafts, raffle baskets and book drawings, a scavenger hunt, and Star Wars costume characters! No registration is required. The event will include a 20-minute storytime with Jason at 6:15, so bring your blankets!

  • Your kids’ next craft challenge: create an animal habitat!

For the Animal Habitat Challenge, kids will use supplies provided, and/or anything else you have at home. The library will provide the animal, some fun crafting supplies and a box for your diorama.

Pick up your kits from the library between June 7 and 11 and submit a photo of the completed habitat by June 18. Voting will take place on Facebook from June 21 to 27. Click here to register.

  • Step into the magical world of Candy Land! Between June 14 and June 30, families and small groups will be able to register for time slots to make their way through a live-action version of this popular family game. Venture through the enchanted storytime room full of gumdrops, candy canes, lollipops, and so much more. Do you have what it takes to make it to King Candy’s castle first? Click here to register.

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Rd., at the back of the plaza. Make sure to check out their website for all of the great youth and adult programs they’ve put together. I’ve just scratched the surface.

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Webster’s Community Blood Drive returns

29 May

Webster’s semi-annual Community Blood Drive returns this coming Wednesday and Thursday, June 2 and 3.

The two-day drive is always one of the most popular and well-attended drives of the entire year. It might have crept up on everyone, however, because for the first time in more than 40 years it has not been heralded by the big white signs plastered all around town. Turns out that after decades of use (these drives have been going that long), the signs have worn out so much that most of them need to be replaced.

Rest assured, however, one of the most popular attractions at this drive is returning: the Bruster’s coupon for a free ice cream cone.

The coupon will be handed to every presenting donor, along with one of the coolest Red Cross t-shirts I’ve seen in a long time. Those two give-aways alone should help make it worth everyone’s while to make the trip and donate blood.

Of course, those bonus items are piled on top of the fact that your donation can save as many as three lives. Thanks to many drives being canceled or experiencing low turnout because of the pandemic, there’s a critical blood shortage right now, so please consider donating.

By the way, all donations are tested for COVID-19 antibodies, so if you’re wondering if you might have contracted COVID, this is a good way to find out. And even those donations that test positive for antibodies could provide convalescent plasma for critically ill coronavirus patients.

The two-day Webster Community Blood Drive will be held Wednesday June 2 and Thursday June 3 from noon to 7 p.m. both days at the Webster Volunteer Firemen’s Building, 172 Sanford St., right behind Firemen’s Field. To assure proper social distancing, appointments are required. Visit to set one up or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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The Village is blooming!

28 May

In anticipation of some beautiful summer weather and an influx of downtown visitors, the Village of Webster’s Main Street is looking spiffy.

Up and down the street, flower beds have been planted with hundreds of annuals which already look nice, but will be spectacular once they’ve had a chance to grow.

Things are looking especially flower-ful in front of Village Hall, where Village Clerk Heather Halstead has been coordinating several planting projects, the results of which can be seen in these photos she’s provided. Before long, some luxuriant light-pole hanging baskets will be added to the display, so the entire village will be bursting with color.

I think the effect is charming.

That charm continues into the evening as well. I love that the trees up and down Main Street still sparkle after dark. This might be the first year the Village chose not to remove the white twinkly lights after winter (I can’t remember). In any case, I love them and they give our village a very welcoming, small-town feel.

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Memorial Day ceremony is on, and extra meaningful this year

27 May

There will be no Memorial Day Parade this year in the Village of Webster, but the annual Remembrance Ceremony at Webster Rural Cemetery will still take place.

It too, however, will be a little different, thanks to COVID. A recent post from Webster Online explained what the socially distant ceremony is going to look like:

According to the American Legion Cottreall-Warner Post #942 … there will be no crosses and placing of flags and flowers by the Scouts and youth. Attendees will be asked to spread out on the grassy area, as opposed to congregating by the fence (as they have in the past). Attendees will also be expected to wear masks and social distance.

Instead of refreshments at the Elks Club following the service, Legion family and other military participants are invited to the Post Home (818 Ridge Road, Webster) for hots and soft drinks.

There will be some very meaningful additions to this year’s ceremony, however.

Six stately, 18-foot flagpoles have recently been erected at the cemetery, thanks to the efforts of Eagle Scout candidate Brennan Gallatin and a dozen or so Scout and parent helpers. 

The new poles stand in a proud semi-circle several feet from the American flag which has long anchored the memorial on the cemetery’s front lawn. They fly flags representing the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Space Force.

When Brennan needed an idea for his Eagle Scout project, doing something at the cemetery seemed perfect. “We (Scouts) go there every Memorial Day,” he said. “That area hadn’t seen a lot of change in a while.”

Completing the project before the Remembrance Ceremony was important, he added, “So the community can see it and it makes (the cemetery) look nice for the ceremony.” He and his crew worked for several hours last Saturday to make sure that would happen.

“The project was great to do,” Brennan said. “Especially when it was done, it was pretty cool to see it.” 

Honoring Webster Thomas grad Rex Daniels

In addition to the new flagpoles, this year’s ceremony will be extra meaningful in another way.

On April 16, an American flag was flown over Capitol Hill in honor of Rex Daniels, a 1968 R.L. Thomas grad who was KIA in Vietnam on that day in 1971, exactly 50 years earlier. That flag has made its way to Webster and will be flown during the Memorial Day ceremony. 

Webster’s Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony is scheduled for Monday May 31 at 10 a.m. at Webster Rural Cemetery, 1087 Ridge Rd., just west of Jackson Rd.

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Two great summer festivals are back!

25 May

You know life is beginning to get back to normal when you hear that some of our favorite Webster summer events are back on the calendar.

Specifically, the Town of Webster’s annual Summer Celebration is returning on Saturday June 12 to the Webster Recreation Center.

From 5 to 10 p.m., the whole family is invited to come out for dinner and snacks from some great food trucks (including Wraps on Wheels, Nancy’s Fried Dough, Effortlessly Healthy, Bay Vista Taqueria and Seabreeze Catering and Hot Sauce), while enjoying some great live music.

Festivities will conclude at 9:45 with a fireworks display. For more information, especially about parking for the fireworks, please visit the Webster Parks and Recreation webpage.

Then, on July 24 and 25, the Waterfront Art Festival returns to North Ponds Park. Details are still coming together, but in past years this terrific event has featured a dozens of local artists, live music, free parking, and a wine, beer and cider tasting tent, all for a reasonable admission fee.

Stay on top of the latest updates by visiting their website frequently,

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This “Little Free” location draws art lovers and book lovers alike

22 May

Certainly most everyone by now is familiar with the concept of Little Free Libraries, mini libraries installed outside homes and schools, packed with books and magazines free for the taking.

A few months ago I posted a blog about one family who turned their little library into a puzzle exchange. Recently I was delighted to discover another extremely creative twist on the Little Free Library idea: the Little Free Art Gallery. In this case, instead of books, visitors will find pocket-sized pieces of fine art neatly arranged on miniature easels inside the box. Anyone is welcome to leave a piece, take a piece or just enjoy the artwork that others have left.

Even better than learning about these whimisical, pint-sized art galleries is finding out there’s one only a few minutes east of Webster.

Julie and Jim Gocker live on Ontario Drive, about a half mile north of Lake Rd. in Ontario. About three years ago, Jim built and installed a Little Free Libray in front of their lake-side home. It was the perfect way for Julie, a retired school library teaching assistant, to share her love for books with her neighbors.

Last year, just as the pandemic started, Julie read somewhere about Little Free Art Galleries, and hatched the idea to build one of their own. Given her background and having raised a family of artists and teachers, the library expansion seemed like a natural next step.

“It’s such an important thing to appreciate, either having a book to read or a picture to look at,” Julie said. “Those are important to us, and because we live in a walking neighborhood we just thought it’d be kind of cool.”

“I have to say that the plus to the whole COVID thing is seeing kids on bikes, swimming in the lake, and walking with their parents instead of being off on the soccer field or lacrosse field,” Julie added. “They’re home doing family things and taking books. So we thought it’d be a perfect year to do our Little Free Art Gallery.”

Building the gallery kept Jim busy for a while in the depths of the pandemic. When it was done, they waited for the weather to turn, and installed it on May 1.

This was the very first piece of art submitted to the new gallery. By Emilee, future artist extraorindaire.

Julie and Jim stocked the new gallery with their own creations until other people started adding their own. Their first artist in residence was a young neighborhood girl named Emilee, who filled her canvas with a large pink, green and yellow flower.

Perhaps it’s because the gallery is fairly new, but Julie said they haven’t had a lot of submissions yet, even though they keep restocking the gallery with several blank canvases every week. “They all disappear, but nobody’s been bringing any more paintings back to us,” Julie said. “We think Emilee’s probably going to have an art show.”

Of course the Gockers would love to see more artists contribute to the gallery, but they also encourage visitors to help themselves to a pint-sized painting at any time. Most of them are only 3″ square, the perfect size for your desk at work or home. But if you just want to stop by and admire the artwork — just like you would in any art gallery — you’re perfectly welcome to do that as well.

You’ll find the Gockers’ Little Free Art Gallery at 697 Ontario Drive in Ontario. And while you’re there, how about showing some love to their Little Free Library, too? They’ve already got a good stock of adult books, but could really use some children’s books.

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Happy Bella’s Day!

21 May
Supervisor Tom Flaherty reads the proclamation as Marty Psrzynski and Rebecca Orr watch — and Bella poses.

You have seen me sing the praises of Bella’s Bumbas for several years now.

This amazing grass-roots organization was begun in March 2017 by Webster residents Rebecca Orr and Marty Parzynski. Its simple purpose: to build miniature wheelchairs for children with a wide variety of mobility issues. To date they’ve shipped almost 2000 chairs to children in at least 45 countries, charging the families only for shipping.

Last night, Bella’s Bumbas got some well-deserved recognition, when Marty and Rebecca were presented with a proclamation by the Webster Town Board recognizing their selflessness and the service they provide for children everywhere.

The Proclamation for Outstanding Community Service (which is pictured below) briefly describes (in proclamation-speak) the history of Bella’s Bumbas beginning with the first chair Marty built in 2017 for his niece Bella. You can read the whole story in this week’s Webster Town Newsletter.

But you may notice that the proclamation ends on a very high note, declaring today — Friday May 21 — “Bella’s Day” in the Town of Webster. I suggest everyone try to celebrate the day and honor this great organzation by taking a moment to read more about them, and perhaps then dropping some cash in their GoFundMe account.

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More live theater in store this weekend

20 May

The Schroeder Theater Company is gearing up to bring a live-streamed theatrical performance to the Webster community this Thursday and Friday night, May 21 and 22.

Here’s a run-down of what’s happening, taken directly from the press release I received:

The challenging year we have all endured has led to many innovative and creative solutions. From contactless delivery to holidays spent over FaceTime with loved ones, we have found ways to connect and celebrate.

As humans, that’s just what we do. Adapt. Overcome. Rise above.

Last May, we played into the novelty of Zoom and gave you an experience like you have never seen before with “Clue: On Zoom.”

This year we wanted to push the boundaries of theater, the performing arts, and storytelling even further. That is why we elected to take the cast off stage, off Zoom, and into the real world. That’s right. For the first time ever, The Schroeder Theater Company is proud to present “Our Place”: an entirely filmed, on-location production.

The show will be available via live stream on Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 each. Click here to reserve yours.

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The Class of 2021 celebrated brilliantly

18 May

Pandemic shmandemic. The Webster Schroeder PTSA, Webster Thomas PTSA, and WTA are bound and determined to make this year’s senior class feel extra special. Saturday night they found a brilliant way to do that.

It was called the Senior Luminary Walk, held at the Webster Recreation Center. Seniors and their family members were invited to stroll along the one-mile long Chiyoda Trail behind the Rec Center, which volunteers had lined with white luminary bags, each one inscribed with a senior’s name and school. There were about 700 bags in total, one for each Schroeder, Thomas and GOAL senior, placed about six feet apart so they stretched the entire length of the trail.

The event began at 7:30 p.m., well before sunset, and the scene was prety impressive then. But after dark, the illuminated bags and twinky light strings lining the trail were especially spectacular.

For the entire 90-minute event, hundreds upon hundreds of students, parents, siblings, and grandparents streamed in, filling the Rec Center’s parking lot, even overflowing into the Xerox lot across the street. They strolled along the paved trail, pausing for photos when they came to their name. At the end, each senior was handed a lawn sign to display at their home — prompting even more proud-parent photos.

Almost 20 Schroeder and Thomas teachers were posted along the trail to act as guides and cheer for the seniors as they walked past.

I heard some very touching comments from parents and students alike as they walked along the trail. Moments like these have been few and far between in the last few years, so even something as simple as a paper bag with a little electric candle inside clearly meant a lot. There were lots of photos, lots of hugs, and lots of smiles.

It was a simple, yet meaningful way to celebrate each student in the class of 2021.

A thousand thanks to Schroeder PTSA chair Stacie Peters, Thomas PTSA chairs Denise Warren and Bridget Ziskind and their army of hard-working volunteers who filled all the bags and set them up in just a matter of three or four hours Saturday afternoon. Rest assured, your efforts were greatly appreciated by all.

Here’s a slideshow of some photos from the evening:

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Webster community mailbag

16 May

The Webster Marching Band could REALLY use your returnables this year.

Due to the pandemic, the band hasn’t been able to do any of their usual fundraisers this year.  But they’re planning to at least hold their bottle and can drive, as a drop-off event.

So start saving up your bottles, then on Saturday June 5, swing by Willink Middle School on Publisher’s Parkway between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to drop them off. There will be plenty of worker-bees there to help you, so you won’t even have to get out of the car.

If you’re not able to go to Willink that Saturday, they’ll come to you. Simply call the Bottle and Can Hotline, 24/7 at 234-8684 (option 1), leave a message and they’ll call you back for details. You can also drop off their returns at any time to area bottle return companies (Can Kings, Nickleback, Upstate Bottle Return) and just tell them to credit the Webster Marching Band for the return.

The Webster Aquatic Center will host its Webster Youth Triathlon on Sunday June 6.

The event, which includes a swim, bike and run, is for children from kindergarten through age 16, and is scaled according to age. Kindergartners, for example, will swim 25 yards, bike a mile and run a 1/4 mile. Older kids will swim 150 yards, bike 4 miles and run a mile. There’s also a team relay option.

The swim will take place at the Aquatic Center, 875 Ridge Rd., and the run and bike portions on the Webster Schroeder campus.

Cost is $15, and registration begins at 8 a.m. at the Webster Aquatic Center. The first 250 participants will receive a goody bag and t-shirt.

To register and for more details, call the Webster Aquatic Center at 585-670-1087. You can also email race director Missy Whipple with questions, at

This is an interesting bit of history which I recently received from the Webster Museum, where the folks are anxiously awaiting society’s return to normal so they can share this kind of stuff with everyone in person again!


….. in 1895. That was just the beginning of a forty-year political career.

Born in Webster to farmers Chadwick and Rhonda Lewis, Merton Elmer Lewis (1861-1937) studied law with James B. Perkins. He fathered six children during his two marriages and some of his family remained in the Rochester area.

A staunch Republican, Merton would serve as Rochester mayor, delegate to the New York State Assembly and Senate, New York State Attorney General, United States Attorney and was considered by his party for nomination as a New York State gubernatorial candidate. He returned to private practice in 1919.

The Webster Museum and Historical Society thanks Frank Calandra, local political historian and collector, for introducing us to this Webster resident and to Mr. Lewis’ illustrious career.

When we can safely open, museum volunteers will return to welcome you all to stop in to “meet” other interesting Webster residents of yesteryear.

Finally, a few notes from the library, the first one well timed for this week’s beautiful weather when everyone wants to get out and start planting.

  • Small Space Gardening: A Zoom Program, Tuesday May 18, 7 p.m.

Gardening requires planning and preparation, especially if your garden is as big as a match box! This program will cover small space gardening techniques and tips to help maximize your garden’s productivity. Also covered will be site selection, vegetable varieties, soil preparation, and crop rotation to assure fresh and nutritious food for you. Presented by Jarmila Haseler, an Ag & Food Systems Educator from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County.

Registration is required. Click here to do so. The Zoom invitation will be sent the day before the program.

  • Webster Public Library is now offering the streaming service called HOOPLA for all Webster library patrons. You can use Hoopla to access music, TV shows, movies, audiobooks, ebooks, and comics/graphic novels. Just download the materials straight onto your phone or tablet, or even stream them to your TV instantly!

Click here to learn more and get started.

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