Archive | September, 2021

Porches, fairies and whimsy make our village special

23 Sep

You may remember a blog I wrote a few weeks ago about all the gardens I pass by on my regular walks through the village. The flowering bushes and shrubs in manicured rows and gardens brighten my every morning.

But the gardens are not the only charming thing I see on my walks. There are so many other things I come across that make my heart smile and given me that warm “Wow, this is a really neat village” feeling. On the top of that list: porches.

In the older neighborhoods on the east side of the village in particular, I walk by dozens of beautiful, large porches, most of which stretch along the entire front of the house. Many of them are framed by stately Greek columns, have detailed ornamentation and fretwork, or are accentuated with flowers. At night they often take on a special brilliance, tastefully lit with twinkly lights.

The porches are not only magnificent to look at, but are neighborhood gathering places. When I take my evening walks, I often see neighbors sharing comfortable chairs and conversation with their after-dinner drinks, greeting everyone who walks by. Because they know, even if you live two or three streets over, you’re still a neighbor.

It’s a very village experience, kind of a Tom Sawyer, Hannibal, MO vibe.

Here are just a few photos of some of those beautiful and happy porches. Most of them are from Park Ave., Elm Street and Dunning Ave.

And did you know there are fairies in our neigborhoods?

The photo on the left is of an entire fairy village set up on Park Ave., near the intersection with Lapham. And if you walk up Dunning, you’ll pass a house which actually has fairy doors by two or three of its trees. Earlier this summer, I didn’t see any fairies there, but there are now … so the invitation must have worked.

Two more things I’d like to share. The first is a stand of sunflowers along the sidewalk on Phillips Rd. When I first showed them to you in my gardens blog, they weren’t as spectacular. But these days, they’ve grown so magnificent that it’s like walking through a sunflower tunnel.

The second is a sign which stands in front of a house on Elm St. It makes me giggle.

Happy walking, my friends, and keep your eyes open for these — and other — village charms alonmg the way.

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An update on my Carnevale quest

21 Sep

Very few of my blogs have gotten as many comments as the one I posted a few weeks ago about James W. Carnevale. I told the story of my quest to find out who he was and why Webster named a bike route after him.

For those of you unfamiliar with that blog, my search was prompted by a sign at the Webster Museum, seen here. The Museum Ladies didn’t know who he was, so I started doing some research. Eventually — with help from many others — I found out a lot about Mr. Carnevale. Plus, we figured out where the bike route is and have a pretty good theory as to why it was named after him.

It was a really long blog, guiding my readers through the whole story of how we tracked down information, bit by bit. I wasn’t sure many people would be interested enough to read all the way to the end, but clearly many did, because I got a lot of delightful comments.

A few people recalled the bike route from when they were young. Bru B., for example, wrote

In 1968 when I was twelve, I remembered a news report (? channel 8 way back Bob Mills era) that this was one of the first bike trails as an organized function using the side roadway in New York State. It was the first time I noticed part of the road on the side just for bikes.

Back then it was special. It was more noticeable on Klem Rd because we went from Greece through Sea Breeze (after eating a Vic & Irv’s) to go to the cider mills on Five Mile Line Rd. so we used Bay to Klem to Five Mile. I remember those signs well. Some are still around as you have seen.

Cindy F. also reported that she “rode all the routes as a teenager,” and still sees the signs around town.

Others are still making local connections. Deputy Village Clerk Jo O’Neill noted that the village’s chief wastewater plant officer, John Carnevale, might be related (turns out he isn’t, though). Charlene wrote that she never knew James W., but worked with his wife Nancy at the Webster Public Library and went to school with their son Matt.

This adventure may not be over. As more people find the original blog, I might get even more comments, and more connections might be made. I’d love to hear from anyone who might know something about Mr. Carnevale, so we can continue to find more about his life and his bike route.

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The Music Store is closing, but music is not leaving the village

19 Sep

When The Music Store in the Village of Webster closes later this week, it doesn’t mean that music services will be leaving town … at least not for very long.  

John Bucci, owner of The Music Store, will be closing his doors for the last time this Thursday, Sept. 23. After 32 years running his East Main Street shop, working 10-hour days, six days a week, John has decided to move on to other challenges. (Click here to read more about John and his decision to close the shop.) 

But have no fear, music lovers, village music services will not be leaving entirely.  

Bob Storey, The Music Store’s longtime master repair technician, will be moving into the location, expanding from his 400-square-foot “office” in the building’s basement into the 3,000 square-foot storefront. Given all that extra space, he’s thinking about expanding his repair services beyond stringed instruments, and offer limited retail, including repair parts and accessories.

And even more exciting, very tentative plans are in the works to perhaps turn the front of the storefront into a coffee shop!

When Bob learned about John’s plans to close his business, it didn’t take him long to realize what he had to do.

“When John told us he was closing the store, it was a complete surprise,” he remembered. “But my brain went into overdrive. What are we going to do? Where are we going to get strings, where are we going to get picks? Where we gonna get straps?”

Then, he thought, “Wait a minute. Step up to the plate. Make it happen.” 

Like the hundreds of musicians young and old who have patronized The Music Store for decades, Bob knew how important it is to have a music store presence in the village. He knew that losing The Music Store would create a huge hole in the village music scene.

He said,

This town needs music. John can’t do it. He’s getting to a point where he’s got too much else in his life and it’s taking too much out of him…. So the cage door just opens up and he walks right out. I told him I want him to be able to pull the plug on the way out and I’ll plug it right back in after you leave. 

I want to keep music in this town. It’s too important. With all the weirdness and crap that goes on in our everyday lives, music is the one beautiful thing. We don’t even realize how important it is. It’s ubiquitous but we take it for granted. I want that to stay here.  

Bob hopes to have his new repair shop up and running by Oct. 1. If plans for the coffee shop can be worked out, he’d like to get that operating by the end of October.  

This is exciting news for the Village of Webster, but it’s still sad to see The Music Store closing. Long-time patrons are still having trouble coming to grips with the news. But I think we’re all happy to see that John is leaving on his own terms, not driven out by slow sales or the pandemic, and we wish him the best in his new endeavors.

I’m not a musician myself, so I’ve never done a whole lot of shopping there (except for gifts for my musician son). But I will especially miss seeing the beautiful decorations John put in his front window every Christmas: the shiny instruments and the model train chugging around the tracks, which reminded me of my childhood and certainly made many a memory for today’s children.

There’s still some time to catch some really good deals this week. Check out The Music Store Facebook page for details on the latest specials. And make sure to stop in this week to shake John’s hand and thank him for years of great service, great products, friendly atmosphere and support of all the musicians in our community.

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A visit with the “North Ave. Artist”

18 Sep

Brandon Schafer is not your typical artist.

Sure, like most artists, he’s passionate about his craft, and he’s quite talented. Plus, like any serious artist, he’d REALLY like to make some money from his artwork.

But what is unusual about Brandon is HOW he’s going about that “making money” part. 

Several afternoons a week, you’ll see Brandon sitting outside his North Ave. home, surrounded by a dozen or so of his original works of art. It’s his own personal art gallery, an invitation to passers-by to stop and browse, and perhaps make a purchase. 

Brandon, a 2016 Webster Schroeder grad, has been setting up his art gallery three or four days a week (weather permitting) for a year, usually by 5 p.m. to catch the after-work traffic. The idea came to him last summer, during one of his regular Saturday stints at the Public Market.

“I was originally going to the Market,” he said. “I figured, why not try in my hometown?”

His unusual marketing effort has been somewhat successful, especially in the first few weeks when it was unusual to see an art gallery set up along busy North Ave.

“I think people first started seeing it, I had, like, seven, eight, nine people stop by,” he said. Business has slowed since, but he still gets customers regularly pulling over or stopping by on their walks to check out his work. 

Brandon has been dabbling in art most of his life, but only really started painting seriously a few years ago. His chosen medium is spray paint. That might immediately make you picture the big, bold and colorful strokes of graffiti artists. But while Brandon’s art is certainly as bold and bright as graffiti, his work on much smaller canvases — anywhere from 11″ x 14″ to 36″ x 36″ — takes some special skills to perfect detail and nuance.

Those details, and the fantastical, out-of-this world subjects and landscapes that Brandon creates are what’s stopping people in their tracks.

“A lot of people ask me if I do drugs when they see my paintings,” he said. “I just have a creative imagination. I like to paint things that are different that you wouldn’t see anywhere else. Something that makes you say, ‘wow.’ … Paintings that aren’t just paintings. Something that speaks to you when you look at it.”

My art is a way to escape, per se. If I was having a bad day I would go make an art piece. It would be my way of getting my stress out. I like to also think of it as an outlet for my creativity to expand. I started with little pieces … I was originally scared to do (bigger pieces) but you have to dive into it. If you let fear get in the way that’s where you’ll fall short. 

If you’d like to learn more about Brandon Schafer and his art, or ask him about his custom work, check him out on Instagram at instagram.com/@b___soul/ or email him at elevatedarts8@gmail.com. He also sets up shop at the Public Market almost every Saturday.

And of course you can keep an eye out for him at his home, 86 North Ave. He expects to be out there at least through the end of October.

“I’ll sit there in a Carhartt jacket and sell if I have to,” he said. 

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Webster Museum excitement, and other mailbag news

17 Sep

The Village of Webster’s latest turn on the local television news stations leads today’s mailbag.

Spectrum News recently got wind that the Webster Museum has just reopened, and reporter Wendy Mills visited several days ago to find out more. She met with Museum president Tom Pellett, from whom she got a thorough tour of the facility and a great interview.

The piece aired earlier this week on Spectrum, but has also been posted to the website, You can click here to see it.

And since we’re talking about the Webster Museum, now’s a great time to remind everyone that the museum’s annual Barn Sale is taking place this weekend, Friday and Saturday Sept. 17 and 18, at 394 Phillips Rd.

This really cool sale features vintage farm goods and furniture, toys, books, holiday goods, household goods, jewelry, glassware and more. You’re sure to find something to love.

The sale will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, and everything is half price on Saturday — or you can fill a bag for $5. This is the museum’s biggest operating expense fundraiser, so stop on by, find a treasure, and help them out.


A few notes from the Town of Webster:

  • The Town’s spray parks are now closed for the season. We can hope that summer is not quite over yet, but even if it hits 90 again, the kids can’t cool off at the spray parks until next year.
  • If you’re tired of putting up with abandoned homes in your area, the Town of Webster has given you some recourse to get them taken care of. If you suspect a home in your neighborhood has been abandoned, you can report it to the Town using a link found at this website. The site will also give you more information on what actually contitutes an abandoned home.
  • The section of Lake Rd. between Shipbuilder’s Creek and Stoney Creek Run is now open again after completion of a three-month construction project. You can check the status of upcoming construction projects and road closures on the Town of Webster website.

Looking ahead to October, Rochester Challenger Miracle Field will host an Art Exhibit on Oct. 1 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at CDS Life Transitions, 860 Hard Rd. in Webster. This will be a silent auction featuring artwork created by local artists with physical and developmental challenges.

The Pride of Webster, Webster Marching Band will hold its 35th annual Autumn Fanfare on Saturday Oct. 9 from 5 to 9 p.m. This is always a spectacular display of talent from several schools in the Greater Rochester area, and if you haven’t seen one of these shows before, you should attend this year. The theme is “Unbroken,” which should conjure up all sorts of special props and effects. More info to come as the date gets closer.

Also that same evening, the Village of Webster will host its third Family Game Night and Beer Garden on West Main St. More to come about this as well, but if you can’t make it to the Autumn Fanfare, put this on your calendars.

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Get down and muddy at the Rec Center!

16 Sep

I wasn’t planning to post a blog today, but when I was out on my bike ride this morning, I came across something fun.

My ride took me on the Chiyoda Trail which wraps around the back of the Webster Recreation Center. I saw that preparations were being made for this Saturday’s first-ever Mud Run. This is going to be a non-competitive, untimed, half-mile slog through water and mud, with some challenging obstacles. What’s really neat about it is that kids and their adults can do it together. It’s only $5 per person, and there’ll be giveaways and snacks afterwards.

The Rec has long had an obstyacle/fitness course in their back yard, but this morning I saw that they were making it even more challenging. There were hay bales set up (for clambering over I suspect), some rope contraption I don’t remember seeing before, and two big mud pits.

As I came around the trail bend heading back towards the Rec Center, I saw the master architects behind it all: Jeff Janto and Josh Barnard, two Rec Center staff members who were dropping even more hay bales and wetting down the expansive field, trying to make even more mud and wetness before Saturday.

It was neat to see the preparations, but it saddened me a little; I’m not going to be in town, so I can’t crawl through the mud myself. It looks like SO MUCH FUN, and a great family opportunity to get down and dirty together. (Unfortunately, it looks like the weather will be nice. Can you IMAGINE how much MORE fun it would be in the rain?)

The Mud Run will be held this Saturday Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Dr. Registrations are still being taken. Sign up on the Parks and Rec website (program #301202).

Click here to see a little teaser video giving you an idea of what the Rec has planned, and check out the photos I took this morning:

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New veterans charity hosts open house for local heroes

15 Sep

Veterans, active-duty military, first responders and their families are invited to an open house this Saturday at Casey Park in Ontario to learn more about a brand new local organization, Heroes on the Water.  

Heroes on the Water, established in 2007, is a veterans charity which

creates alternative wellness programs to serve veterans, active-duty military personnel, first responders and their families. These experiential programs incorporate structured activities proven to improve the lives of these men and women. Each experience reduces the impact of post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury while providing much-needed camaraderie and support. (from the Heroes on the Water website)

The primary therapy utilized by the program is kayak fishing, offered at free events hosted by more than 60 volunteer-led chapters around the country.

And THAT part — the kayak fishing part — is what reeled in Webster resident Tracy Holley. 

Holley, a technology and art teacher for the GOAL program at Webster Schroeder High School, has always enjoyed fishing. Last winter, when COVID was at its peak, he discovered kayak fishing and did a lot of it (there wasn’t much else to do, after all). Somewhere along the way he heard about Heroes on the Water. When he read about their mission to provide therapy for veterans and first responders through kayak fishing, he knew he wanted to get involved. 

When he called the national organization, however, he was surprised to learn there was no New York State chapter. He pondered that situation for just a few weeks before deciding to do something about it. 

“I’m not a veteran,” he said. “Never been a first responder. (But) I love kayak fishing. I know how peaceful and relaxing it is for me. It’s one little thing I thought I could give back to the folks that give so much to us.” 

“It’s one of the only veteran organizations that also directly supports the families of vets and first responders,” he added. “Being a schoolteacher, that’s very important to me.” 

After a few phone calls, he had recruited good friends Gordon Clarke, Ned Stromfeld and Justin Erdley for his administration team. Together, they established the Genesee Valley New York Chapter of Heroes on the Water, which was formerly chartered in March. 

This Saturday’s Open House is the Genesee Valley Chapter’s first big event. It’s kind of a “get-to-know-you” opportunity, Holley explained. Being brand new, the organization doesn’t have enough equipment yet to host a large-scale kayaking and fishing event for veterans and first responders. Instead, this will be a chance to meet the administrators, ask questions, grab some information and find out about volunteer opportunities. Holley will also have a few of his fishing kayaks there to try out, and volunteers will be on the water to offer support.

Fishing kayaks, by the way, are different from other kayaks in that you sit, or stand, on top of them. They’re more stable, easier to get in and out of, and easier to adapt for special needs.  

The open house will be held Saturday, Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Casey Park, 6551 Knickerbocker Rd., Ontario. Veterans, active-duty military, first responders and their families are all invited, as well as anyone who simply wants to learn more about volunteer opportunities.   

If you can’t make it to the event and would like to find out more about Heroes on the Water and the Genesee Valley Chapter, check out their Facebook page here. You can also email them at GeneseeValley.NY@heroesonthewater.org 

Interested in donating or volunteering? The new chapter is trying to raise $8,000 to purchase their first six fishing kayaks and all the equipment they need to hold larger events starting next spring. Click here to help out. If you’re interested in volunteering, click here.

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Webster Jazz Festival returns this weekend

14 Sep

Get ready to dance in the streets this weekend, when the Webster Jazz Festival returns after a one-year break thanks to Covid.

The event will stretch over two days this Friday and Saturday, kicking off with “Jazz in the Pubs” Friday evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. Five different bands are scheduled to perform at five different village pubs and restaurants, with staggered start times, so you can visit visit several (or all) of the venues for a drink and a bite to eat, and enjoy as many bands as you like.

Here’s the schedule (click on the name to get more information about each band):

West Main Street will also be hopping that evening with the second Family Game Night and Beer Garden.

The first Family Games Night on July 30 was very well received, so this second one will feature all the same fun. From 6 to 9 p.m., West Main will be closed and filled with with activities including Dancing with Denise for the kids, sidewalk chalk, Giant Jenga, Giant Connect Four, Corn Hole, cookie decorating, food and drinks. So basically, you can pop into the pubs for some music, then out onto the street for some games. It should be a great evening for the whole family.

The music continues Saturday night when jazz takes to the street.

Beginning at 4 p.m., an outstanding lineup of musical entertainment will perform from the big West Main Street stage, featuring musicians from around Rochester and Upstate. There will be some tables and chairs set up, but they go pretty fast, so plan to bring your own, set them up in the middle of the street and enjoy music all evening long.

The schedule looks like this:

This is always a huge event, so you’ll really want to be a part of it.

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Webster community mailbag

13 Sep

Busy weekend coming up, starting with the HUGE Webster Jazz Festival, which hits the pubs and streets on Friday and Saturday. Check back here tomorrow for more details about that, but here are a few other events coming up this weekend as well which might interest you:


The Webster Museum’s annual Barn Sale takes place this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 394 Phillips Rd.

This really cool sale features vintage farm goods and furniture, toys, books, holiday goods, household goods, jewelry, glassware and more. You’re sure to find something to love.

The sale will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each of the three days, and on Saturday, everything is half price — or you can fill a bag for $5. This is the museum’s biggest operating expense fundraiser, so stop on by, find a treasure, and help them out.

ALSO, the Webster Museum’s outstanding Ward Mann exhibit, highlighting one of Webster’s most famous artists, will be closing soon.

The museum is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30, and the last day you’ll be able to see the exhibit is Saturday Sept. 25.


The Webster Public Library has a very cool poster exhibit of its own right now. It’s called “September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed The World.”

The posters are provided courtesy of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, which explains,

“This educational exhibition recounts the events of September 11, 2001, through the personal stories of those who witnessed and survived the attacks. Told across 14 posters, this exhibition includes archival photographs and images of artifacts from the Museum’s permanent collection.”

The exhibition is on display through during normal library hours. You can also download the exhibition digitally here.to see it online. The library is located at 980 Ridge Rd., at the rear of Webster Plaza.

The library, by the way, is conducting a search for a new director, and they’d like the community’s input. Click here to complete a short, three-question survey to let your voice be heard.


Here’s a reminder about a super-fun event coming up this Saturday at the Rec Center. It’s the first-ever Family Mud Run, obstacle course and fitness trail. The flyer with all the information is above, but basically, we’re talking a non-competitive, untimed, half-mile slog through water and mud, with some challenging obstacles. It’s only $5 per person, and there’ll be giveaways and snacks afterwards.

Can you imagine how delighted your kids will be if you tell them, “Hey guess what? Why don’t we all go down to the rec center, run through some mud puddles, and get super dirty…just for fun?!?!” Bonus points when they find out you’re going to do it with them.

Click here to see a little teaser video giving you an idea of what the Rec has planned.

You’ll want to register ahead of time, and choose a time slot between 10 a.m and noon. Register for program #301202 on the Parks and Rec website.


Finally, here’s a useful tidbit from our friends to the south.

Penfield Rotary and Penfield Recreation will sponsor the annual Community Bike Drop on Saturday, October 2 at Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Rd. from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Keep those old or unwanted bikes out of our landfills by donating them to a good cause. All bicycles collected will be donated to R Community Bikes, Inc. for repair and redistribution to needy children and adults in the Rochester area. All types of bikes are needed, including children’s tricycles, toddler plastic bikes and bike parts. Receipts will be available.

R Community Bikes, Inc. is a grassroots 501c3 organization that collects and repairs used bicycles for distribution, free of charge, to Rochester’s most needy children and adults. Its mission is to meet the basic transportation needs of those in the community who depend on bikes to get to work and training sessions, as well as for recreation.

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Announcing some Webster on the Web improvements

12 Sep

In an effort to make Webster on the Web an ever more valuable source of local news and information, I’ve decided to try something new.

You’ll see that at the top and in the side rail of my Webster on the Web homepage I’ve posted links to two brand new sub-pages, titled “Local Links” and “Village Directory.” (If you’re reading this on your phone, you’ll find the links in the “Menu” button on top, or all the way at the bottom of the page.)

The Local Links is separated into three sections: Local Government, Community Agencies and Churches. Each listing within these sections has a hyperlink leading straight to that organization’s website (or at least that’s what I tried to do).

On the Village Directory page, I’ve made the effort to map as many village businesses as I could. To make the maps less cluttered, I’ve separated them into three categories: Retail Shops, Professional Services, Eat and Drink and Park. When you click through to the map (using one of two links), and hover over a dot, it will tell you what the business is and its address.

I did my best to be as accurate and inclusive as possible, but after you’ve had a chance to poke around a bit, if you see anything you think I should add, please email me!

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

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