Archive | September, 2021

Webster Thomas art student lends his expertise to City of Rochester mural project

30 Sep

A young Webster artist has helped transform a plain building in Rochester’s southwest neighborhood into a magnificent work of art.

For several days recently, Webster Thomas senior Martin Carey spent many volunteer hours helping Brazilian artist Eder Muñiz create a breathtaking mural on the Montgomery Neighborhood Center on Cady St., in Rochester’s Southwest neighborhood.

The mural, which measures an impressive 15 by 30 feet, depicts a fanciful scene with a lush garden, several creatures, and a huge woman’s face partially obscured by a gigantic blue swan. It took four days to complete, from Thursday Sept. 23 to Sunday Sept. 26.

Martin decribes the finished project as,

a beautiful mesh between all the parties involved. The urban ecologists who work in the garden in front of it (are represented) in the scenes that take up most of the left side of the mural, and the swan along the woman’s face represents SWAN, which works out of the building.

The woman is a singer from Salvador, Brazil.

The project was organized by the Southwest Area Neighborhood Association (SWAN), which calls the center home. SWAN’s director, Tiffany Owens, knew Martin from his volunteer work with the agency and arranged for him to join the project.

She wrote,

Martin’s father is an amazing partner to S.W.A.N and once he gained knowledge of the mural, he asked if Martin could participate, and we jumped at the opportunity to have him meet and work with the visiting artist.

Martin came every day and worked tirelessly. As young people from the neighborhood stopped by, he demonstrated extreme patience and care in answering their questions and joining in their excitement about the process.

Martin Carey is an amazing individual with a heart of gold.

It was clearly a life-changing experience for Martin. He said,

It was a great opportunity for me to be able to hang out with such an experienced artist and really be able to learn the different techniques he used, what he used, how he used them, and actually see and go through the process with him. It was awesome. And he’s such a great guy too, super nice to me the whole time…. He gave me proper stuff to do. 

Martin is currently studying AP Art with Webster Thomas art teacher Todd Stahl. He plans to continue his art studies after graduation and is looking at several colleges, including Flinders University in Australia. (“They have a good concept art program… (It) looks like a lot of fun and I would love to travel ouside of the states.”)  

And perhaps there are more murals in his future?

I definitely want to go on to do some murals of my own at some point and this has really inspired me to start to chase after that more. Before it was kind of like, “That would be cool but it doesn’t seem possible.” Then after this, I went “Oh, this is something that’s plausible, that could happen some day.” 

Next time you’re in the area, check out the mural. It’s on the west side of the building at 10 Cady St.

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Village HandWorks is weaving its way into Village life

29 Sep

Have you had a chance to stop by the village’s newest shop yet? Village HandWorks has been open for a few weeks now at 19 E. Main St., and owner Jenn Ratcliffe has really hit the ground running.

She’s got her first two classes on the schedule already (click here to visit her website) and they look like great fun. I mean, there are TEDDY BEARS involved!!!!

The first, this Saturday Oct. 2, is a “top-down” sweater class, taught by Leslie Bronson, a regionally known knitting instructor from Georgia. For $35, participants will get a pattern and class notes, as well as a brand new teddy bear, monkey, koala or sloth from the Bearington Collection, a $30 value in itself.

Participants will first knit a sweater for the chosen creature to understand the pattern, and then cast on and start knitting a sweater for a real human creature. The class will start at 9:30 and end about 4 p.m.

Some of the available critters are on display in the shop’s front window, and there are others inside. You can also see the critters on the Village HandWorks website under the “events” tab. To register, call or email the shop, or even better, stop in. You can pick up a pamphlet about the class while you’re there, with more information about Leslie Bronson. And if you REALLY like knitting for teddy bears, pop into Nest Things just down the street at 11 E. Main, where there are several other beautiful bears awaiting adoption. (Is it too early to start thinking Christmas presents?)

Jenn promises that even knitters with just a little experience knitting can make this sweater.

Leslie Bronson will also be on hand to teach a Spinning Cotton class on October 3. Details about both classes are on the website.

While Jenn’s managing the business, she’s also keeping up on her own skills. She reports that a few weeks ago she attended some classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina to “hone her marbling skills.” (See the example at the left.) She hopes to teach a class on that in October or November.

Jenn is also planning to keep the shop open late on Saturday Oct. 9, the village’s third Family Game Night/Oktoberfest. She’ll host a “Spin-In” for anyone who wants to try the art of spinning. (We’re talking fiber spinning, not “exercise-on-a-bike” spinning, so it will be a lot easier.) She’ll demonstrate how the wool that’s grown in our area, state and region is tranformed from from fleece to yarn. Plus, there will be a display of finished goods for people to see and feel the kind of soft items that can be produced from wool, wool blends and other fibers.

So much going on at Village HandWorks! Next time you’re in the village, stop on by and say hi. She’s at 19 E. Main, right next to The Village Quilt Shoppe. Here are some images from inside the shop:

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The Trick-or-Treat Trail is back!

28 Sep

I heard some great news yesterday: this year’s Village of Webster Trick-or-Treat Trail will return this year, on Saturday, Oct. 30. Since last year’s event had to be cancelled, and things are not COMPLETELY back to normal this year, I know people have been wondering.

I probably don’t have to tell you parents what this is all about, but for those of you new to the village…. Basically, for several hours on what is usually a beautiful autumn Saturday afternoon, children and their adults can wander the village, popping in and out of businesses, trick-or-treating. Full constumes are expected of course, and not just for the children! It’s always fun to see entire families dressed up, often as a common theme. (Click here for a photo gallery from 2019.)

Final details haven’t been announced yet, but usually the day starts with a costume contest at Village Hall, followed by two or three hours of trick-or-treating. The Webster Volunteer Fire Department and the Webster Museum both plan some special activities, and it’s a great chance to check out some of our newest village businesses.

As details are announced, you’ll find them on the BID website. But for now, start planning those costumes!

Details ARE almost finalized for the village’s third Family Fun and Games Night on Saturday Oct. 16 from 5 to 9 p.m. This time around, the BID has cooked up an Oktoberfest theme, complete with a German band. So put this one on your calendar too.

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Tacos for juniors, legal assistance for seniors — the library has it all

26 Sep

A couple of great programs are coming up this Tuesday Sept. 28, sponsored by the Webster Public Library.

You might already know about the library’s Tuesday night outdoor storytimes at the Harmony Park amphitheater. But this week the program is even better. It’s TACO TUESDAY NIGHT.

Beginning at 5 p.m., the Bay Vista Taqueria food truck will be there for anyone who wants to get dinner. Plus, Webster Parks & Recreation will be setting up lots of lawn games for family fun. After dinner and games, you can settle in for storytime at 6 p.m.

The Harmony Park Amphitheater is located at 10 Foster Drive (off Phillips Road) in the Village of Webster. There’s no charge, and registration isn’t required but is requested so they know how many people to expect. So sign up here and bring the whole family!

Legal Assistance for Seniors

This great program for seniors is also happening on Tuesday Sept. 28, but earlier in the day.

From 1 to 3:30 p.m., seniors are invited to visit the library and check out the Center for Elder Law & Justice’s Mobile Legal Unit.

Following a brief presentation, participants can meet one-on-one with an attorney/paralegal team member from CELJ. It’s a free, but brief “done-in-a-day” legal consultation for seniors which may cover civil legal matters such as:

  • debt harassment and consumer billing concerns
  • obtaining and/or reviewing credit reports
  • health care proxies
  • tenant’s rights and foreclosure
  • reviewing medical bills and health insurance documents
  • financial exploitation and elder abuse

Registration is required, and participation is limited. Click here to register.

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

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First mud, now pumpkins!

24 Sep

Did you get a chance to roll around in the mud with your kids at the Mud Run last weekend at the Rec Center?

I wasn’t able to be there, but judging from the photos I’m seeing on the Webster Recreation Center Facebook page (like those below), it was a huge success. Fitness Coordinator Jay Verna confirmed that when he wrote,

Saturday was AWESOME!  We had 243 total registered and kids and families loved it so much they went through it multiple times!  We have ideas on how to make it even better for 2022 but overall, we are really happy with how thing turned out. 

If you also want to see a short fun video from the day, click here.

Fresh from their success at the Mud Run, Rec Center staffers have turned their attention to this year’s Second Annual Pumpkins on Parade, scheduled for Saturday Oct. 23.

This is an amazing, family-friendly Halloween-time event, when the Chioya Trail is lined with creative, scary, and downright funny Jack-o-lanterns. Community members and businesses are invited — no, encouraged — to carve up some pumpkins, and then bring the family that evening after dark to look for them along the mile-long trail which winds around the Rec Center. Afterwards, everyone gets free donuts and cider.

Last year’s first-ever event drew a lot of Jack-o-lanterns from the community, but the Rec Center staff had to create a bunch of their own to make sure there were plenty for the trail. This year, I’m sure they’re hoping to get A LOT MORE community submissions.

Local businesses especially are encouraged to join the fun and carve a pumpkin — or two, or five. Rec Center staff members promise that your business’ name will be posted right next to them, which is a great way to get some free promotion. And if this year’s event is as popular as last year’s was (it drew about 1,500 people), that’s some pretty great free promotion.

I’ll be blogging about this again with more details as the date nears, but check out this poster for now, and start sketching some ideas. If you’d like to read more about last year’s parade, and see some of the creative submissions, click here for the follow-up blog I wrote.

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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 or email him at 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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