Archive | November, 2021

Webster community mailbag

30 Nov

I’ll lead today’s mailbag with a tease of this weekend’s White Christmas in the Village celebration, which takes place this Saturday Dec. 4.

More details to come about this annual event, but suffice it to say, everyone is looking forward to the caroling and cookies, storytelling, visit with Santa (this year he’s in the gazebo), and of course, the parade. The festivities begin at 3 p.m., which means there’ll be plenty of time to do some shopping and sample all of the day’s special events before the parade kicks off at 6:30.

The annual Garden Club Holiday Sale is also returning this year after a one-year COVID-induced hiatus.

This very popular fundraiser, sponsored by the Country Gardeners of Webster and the Webster Arboretun Association, features fresh wreaths, centerpieces, gifts, arrangements and live plants. This is another great opportunity to pick up some unique and much appreciated Christmas gifts.

The sale will be held Saturday, Dec. 4 (same day as White Christmas) from 9 a.m. to noon at Webster Parks and Recreation, 1350 Chiyoda Drive (just off of Phillips Rd.). Admission is free. Get there early, because this event always sells out.

The Festival of Trees is up and running at the Webster Museum!

Before you head down to Main Street for White Christmas in the Village this Saturday, pop by the Webster Museum, 18 Lapham Park, to check out all of this year’s Festival of Trees competitors.

Twelve community-decorated trees have been placed throughout the museum, and await your vote for the best one. The winner will win $25, so your vote is very important!

Voting will take place this Saturday Dec. 4 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. If you happen to be there between 3 and 4:30, you’ll also be treated to some live music.

Voting continues at the museum every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 2 to 4:30 p.m., except for December 25.

You’ll have a chance to visit with Santa at White Christmas, but if you can’t make it there (or your kids were SO BAD that they need two shots at Santa this year), the Webster Recreation Center will welcome the jolly old elf on Saturday evening Dec. 11 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The event is open to all ages, is absolutely free, and desserts and hot chocolate will be served! Keep up to date on the details and the evening’s schedule at the Webster Recreation Center webite.

Webster’s next two blood donation opportunities are coming up in just a few weeks.

On Tuesday Dec. 14, St. Martin’s Lutheran Church will sponsor a drive at the church, 813 Bay Rd., from 1 to 6 p.m.

Then the next day, Wednesday Dec. 15, a drive will be held at the Webster Firemen’s Building, 172 Sanford St. (at the south end of Firemen’s Field) from 1 to 7 p.m.

The Red Cross has a great promotion going on right now, too. Donate at either one of these drives and get a $10 Amazon gift card emailed to you. Click here to make an appointment.

The need right now is urgent. I just got this message from the Red Cross:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expecting a severe flu season this year, and that could have a negative impact on the nation’s already-struggling blood supply. The American Red Cross continues to address an emergency blood and platelet shortage, and donors of all blood types – especially type O – are needed to make an appointment now to help ensure it doesn’t get worse as we move into winter.

The need for blood is constant and only volunteer donors can fulfill that need for patients in our community. Nationwide, someone needs a unit of blood every 2 to 3 seconds and most of us will need blood in our lifetime.

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Friends and fun at village beer walk

29 Nov

Hey, Webster BID: Great job on the “Hops and Stops” Beer Walk Saturday!

Fifteen businesses signed up as stops for Saturday afternoon’s walk, which guided almost two hundred beer lovers from one end of the village to the other. My husband, several of my closest friends and I were among them, traveling as a pack and popping into one shop after the other for a beer tasting and/or snacks provided by the business owners.

We picked up our sampling glasses at Finn’s Automotive shortly after the event began at 3 p.m., and I really didn’t expect we’d need the entire three hours to complete the tour. But I also didn’t expect the generous beer “samples” offered at most of the stops (the Filling Station poured pretty much an entire pint) or the frequent opportunities we took to socialize with each other and friends we met along the way. We landed at our last stop, Barry’s Old School Irish, just before 6 p.m. It turned out to be the perfect amount of time to enjoy all the afternoon had to offer: friends, beer and food. We simply had a blast.

Of course, one of the best parts of the cleverly named “Hops and Stops” was that it highlighted so many of the Village of Webster’s small businesses. It was scheduled, not coincidentally, for Small Business Saturday, and for many of the participants, it served as an introduction to many businesses which they’d never before been in, or even knew about.

Thank you to all the businesses which participated, and to the BID for another great event highlighting our beautiful village.

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New village store embraces the whimsical side of shopping

27 Nov

Today is Small Business Saturday, and there are so many cool things happening with our village merchants, you’re going to want to block off most of your day to check them all out.

The most exciting is that a brand new business, Whimsies, has opened on East Main Street. Whimsies doesn’t have a sign outside yet, but you’ll find it right next door to Lala of Webster, at 32 East Main St. (in the former Chandeliers Boutique). Whimsies is actually kind of an extension of Lala’s; or as owner Lisa Schlonski describes it, a gift shop operating under the Lala umbrella.

Lisa is still unpacking and organizing her merchandise, but really wanted to open her doors by Small Business Saturday. When everything is in place, the new store will be stocked with some of the more whimsical and “snarky” items that you can find right now at Lala’s, and will also feature a wide selection of vintage and “penny” candy.

The new shop already looks great, even though it’s not where Lisa would like it to be quite yet. You’ll definitely want to check it out today, because everything in the store (and in Lala’s) is 20% off.

Checking out the new Whimsies is just one good reason to head into the village today. Not that anyone should NEED an excuse to support the Village of Webster’s small businesses, but in honor of Small Business Saturday, you’ll find that pretty much everyone has specials going on. Here’s a sampling, from some of my favorite village shops:

Crafty Christy’s Boutique is our village’s newest small business (aside from Whimsies). At 7 West Main St., it’s kind of hidden down in the back parking lot across from the gazebo, but is getting a lot of attention. Anyone who wanders down there to check it out today will find some extra special surprises.

Christina Barnum is offering shoppers buy one/get one free Christmas earrings, and the chance to sign up for three craft classes for the price of two. Christina is also also accepting clothing donations for HOPE House, and will give a free gift to anyone who makes a donation. (Click here to see the current HOPE House wish list).

The North Bee, at 27 North Ave., is actually celebrating its 3rd anniversary today. In honor of the anniversary, you can get buy one/get one free CBD products and check the Facebook page for a 30% coupon good in store for any one item.

Village HandWorks is another fairly new business. It opened in September at 19 East Main St., next door to the Village Quilt Shoppe. Owner Jenn Ratcliffe has so many percentage-off specials that I can’t really include them here, but suffice it to say, if you’re looking for gifts for someone in your life who loves to knit or weave or appreciates hand-crafted winter-wear, you’ll want to spend some time at Village HandWorks.

Jenn, by the way, is super-dedicated to supporting — and giving back to — our town and world community. Not only does she offer products from local artisans, but she also stocks items from companies like FAZL. Their mittens, hats and socks are crafted by women in India and 30% of the profits will benefit Indian orphanages.

PLUS, if you buy anything at Village HandWorks or Nest Things (right down Main Street), you can wrap it for free at Village HandWorks.

I also heard recently from the Village Quilt Shoppe, 21 East Main, where Vanetta and Monique are offering 30% off all full-priced merchandise, and a few very tempting gift certificate specials. And Jonathan at Yesterday’s Muse bookstore, 32 West Main, emailed to tell me all about his shop’s brand new website and coupon offerings. You can see them for yourself here.

Whew. That was a lot of information, and it was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the great small businesses we have here in town that deserve our support, today and every day.

I hope you noticed — for EVERY ONE one of those businesses I wrote about today, I was able to tell you the owners’ names. That’s because the folks who choose to open businesses here in Webster are not just merchants. They are Webster residents and our neighbors. They help make up the fabric of our community. They participate in our holiday events, support our sports teams and feature products from local artisans. They do things like give back a portion of their proceeds to Indian orphanages.

You won’t find those things in any big box store.

Please show your love to small businesses today. They’re great places to find unique gifts and stocking stuffers.

As for me, I don’t know for sure how much shopping I’m going to do today, but I did stop at the bank yesterday to prepare ….

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Santa’s visit to Bella’s Bumbas workshop: a follow-up

26 Nov

You may remember a few weeks ago reading a blog about how Santa himself visited the Bella’s Bumbas workshop here in Webster to help build a Bumba for one very lucky child in Connecticut.

During his visit, Santa was assisted by several young elves, who showed him how to craft one of Bella’s Bumbas’ miniature wheelchairs from the wheels up.

I’m happy to report that the special Santa-built Bumba has been received by Tate, the young man for whom it was being built. Check out the photo below; it’s easy to see how delighted Tate is with his newfound mobility. What you can’t see is how Santa and all his elves signed it underneath the seat.

Click here to read the blog I wrote about Santa’s visit to the workshop.

While Santa was there, he also signed another Bumba, specially built for young Josué in Mexico. Josué has also received his autographed Bumba.

Bella’s Bumbas is run by Webster residents Marty Parzynski and Rebecca Orr, dedicated to building miniature wheelchairs for children with a wide variety of mobility issues. In the four years since Marty built the first Bumba for their niece Bella, they’ve shipped close to 2000 chairs to children in more than 50 countries, often adapting the chairs for each child’s individual needs, and charging the parents only for shipping.

Their efforts are changing young lives all over the world.

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The wayward GoPro story made it to TV

25 Nov

If you’re not tired yet of reading about the lost-then-found GoPro camera and how it sparked a wave of kidness, you might be interested in this. The story was picked up by Spectrum News and was finally broadcast yesterday.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, a brief summary:

On Nov. 1, DP (Don) Dunn was walking along the pier and found a GoPro washed up on the shore. He emailed me a few photos he was able to pull off the SD card. I posted a blog and within two hours the owner had been located. Ollie Bartholomew, who lives in Westchester County, had lost it in the lake while visiting some friends over the 4th of July holiday. (Click here to see the follow-up blog I wrote.)

The story didn’t end there. Don’s small kindness has spread in ways we never expected.

A few weeks ago, Andrew Freeman from Spectrum News interviewed Don, Ollie and me, and did a very nice job weaving together the many parts of the story.

It’s a heartwarming story perfect for Thanksgiving Day. Click here to check it out. Once you’ve had a chance to do so, please consider helping spread the kindness by visiting Kevin Woolever’s GoFundMe page which you’ll learn about in the video.

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Giving back on this Thanksgiving Day

25 Nov

A reader messaged me the other day, asking where she might find a neighborhood food pantry where her family could make a food donation. It got me thinking that many people out there could benefit from that information, especially at this time of year when we’re feeling so thankful for what we have, and want to help those in our community who are not so fortunate.

HOPE Ministry, housed at Holy Trinity Church, is the largest food pantry currently operating in town. The ministry has an extensive pantry, complete with fresh produce, and is open four days a week for any Webster resident who needs assistance.

Donations of food, hygiene and cleaning products are accepted during their open hours (but please no household donations). Hours are Monday 5 to 7 p.m.; Tuesday 10 a.m. to noon; Wednesday 3 to 5 p.m.; and Thursday 5 to 7 p.m.

Their current wish list includes:

  • chunky soup
  • canned cannellini beans
  • canned mixed vegetables
  • canned pineapple
  • body wash
  • aluminum foil

HOPE Ministry also has two floors of clothing for all ages and in all sizes. They’re always in need of gently used children’s clothing, toddler underwear and socks, and right now would love to get more hats and gloves (especially men’s).

HOPE Ministry is located at Holy Trinity Church, 1460 Ridge Rd., and there’s a cart outside for “contactless” donations.

Webster is also home to four “little free food pantries.” These are small, stand-alone pantries filled with non-perishable food items, where the concept is “take what you need, leave what you can.”

The pantries are hosted by the congregations of four local churches and can be found in the church parking lots. They’re at the Webster Baptist Church on South Ave, Immanuel Lutheran Church on West Main St., the United Church of Christ on Klem Rd., and St. Martin’s Church on Bay Rd.

Donations can be made at any time; just drive up, open the pantry and put in your donations. So maybe next time you head to Wegmans you pick up an extra half dozen cans of veggies, a few boxes of cereal, maybe some extra spaghetti, and swing by one of these pantries on the way home.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. May your day be filled with family and the blessings that life brings.

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Musical accompaniment for White Christmas, courtesy Chorus of the Genesee

24 Nov

A few days ago I posted details about this year’s White Christmas in the Village celebration on Dec. 4, but in that blog I neglected to include all the great events and performances the Chorus of the Genesee has planned for that day and evening.

The Chorus will be singing a few Christmas numbers at Gazebo Park that afternoon, and — along with several quartets and other musicians — will be performing at the Harmony House throughout the day and evening. There’ll even be a few community sing-alongs in which everyone is invited to participate.

Not only that, the Harmony House will host a Craft Fair and Bake Sale beginning at 2 p.m., and 30 or more vendors are expected to participate. It should be a great chance to get some Christmas shopping done.

Plan on stopping by for dinner as well. They’ll have lots of food available and a cash bar with seasonal specialty drinks, open before, during and after the parade.

Details for all of these event are still in the works, so stay tuned for more information. The Harmony House is located at 58 East Main St. in the village.

Looking ahead, the Chorus of the Genesee’s popular Soup & Caroling Night will be back this year on Tuesday Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. More details to come about that, too. This is always a fun event, and I like it because I get to sing Christmas carols, in a group that is so large and talented that no one can hear me.

Plus, there’s soup afterwards. LOTS of soup.

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In memory of a village treasure

21 Nov

On March 3, 2018, the Village of Webster lost one of its most precious people, Carol Klem.

I had known Carol for less than 10 years, but we shared a passion for local journalism, and a love for the village. When we first met — I don’t remember when or where it was, but it was probably at some village event — we immediately hit it off.  Aside from bonding over our love of writing and journalism, we recognized in each other the same determination to live life fully, not take life too seriously, and never completely grow up.

For more than ten years, Carol penned the Village Focus column in the Webster Herald, and was basically the village’s biggest cheerleader. On November 21, 2017, the Webster Village Board returned the favor. To show Carol how much her efforts were appreciated, they presented her with a proclamation and named the day after her. Every year hence, November 21 would officially be Carol Klem Day in the Village of Webster.

Given that today is Carol Klem Day 2021, I wanted to post something in memory of my friend. What follows is an article I wrote for the Webster Herald which ran the week before the proclamation.

If you’ve lived in the Village of Webster for any length of time, chances are very good you know Carol Klem — or at least know about her.

It helps that for the last 12 years, as Village Focus columnist, Carol’s smiling face has appeared every two weeks on the village website and in the Webster Herald.

But even if you don’t regularly read her column, you’ve almost certainly seen Carol around town, chatting with fellow journalists at Barry’s Old School Irish or at Golden Boys, visiting with local business owners, or darting back and forth during parades, festivals and other special events, snapping photos for her column.

Basically, the name Carol Klem has become synonymous with all things good about the Village of Webster. For years, she’s been the eyes and ears of Webster, like a town crier, using her column to cheer accomplishments both big and small. She has introduced us to new businesses and old businesses. She has written tender obituaries, announced births and anniversaries. She has told us about upcoming special events and charmed us with personal musings about small-town life. And every Christmas she has delighted us all with her epic holiday poem.

Carol was born in Rochester in 1938, the oldest of three children, and lived with her family in the Beechwood section of the city. While she was attending high school at Nazareth Academy, her parents decided to move to Webster, in a home they built on Basket Road.

At that time, Webster was very rural, and was really considered the “boondocks.” Moving from the city to farm country was a big adjustment, but it gave Carol lots of handy excuses for being late for school. One of them, her daughter Mary Kay remembers, was “the Schreiber cows were loose on Basket Road.”

Carol attended Nazareth College, where she studied English and music, and was hired at Holy Trinity School, where she taught first through third grades.

Carol was the school’s first lay teacher. “It was mom and all the nuns,” Mary Kay said. “It was really quite funny. I think she was very different from the nuns. I can’t imagine a bunch of nuns and my mom!”

It was while she was teaching at Holy Trinity that she met Gene, her husband of 57 years. They were introduced by then-pastor Fr. William Kalb in 1959, married the following year, and immediately started a family. Mary Kay was born in 1961, followed closely by Tom, Greg and Doug. Many years later, in 1978, little sister Meg joined the family.

Carol worked through her first pregnancy, then became a stay-at-home mom. It was only after all the kids had all grown and moved on that she re-entered the workforce, finding part-time work with the Webster Post, writing wedding announcements and obituaries.

At 47 years old, Carol Klem the journalist was born.

“I remember her starting with a portable typewriter,” Mary Kay said. “I couldn’t imagine she would ever be computer-literate, and Word proficient. Although she still has a knack for losing files.”

In 2005 Carol left the Post and was asked to join the Webster Herald as the Village Focus columnist. She had finally found her true calling: writing about the village she loves so dearly.

And she does love Webster dearly. In September 2015, in an interview she recorded for the non-profit Webster Together organization, Carol called the village “the heart of Webster.”

“I just love our town. I love the people in it, and I love the spirit,” she said. “I’d love to see the village definitely take off. I think that whatever happens, we have the right people to make the decisions.”

I think Carol would be happy with the direction the village is going. She’d be sad to see long-standing businesses like The Music Store close, but happy about all of the new shops that have moved into the village. And given the social butterfly she was, this COVID stuff would have driven her up a wall. I don’t think it would have slowed her down too much, though. I can picture her in a mask, swinging her little digital camera as she chronicled life getting back to normal.

I miss her ever-present smile, boundless energy and joie de vivre. I’ll be raising a glass to her today.

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Girl Scouts learn how toys and pirates go together

19 Nov

The Daisies of Webster Girl Scout Troop 60344 got an inside look at the Pirate Toy Fund warehouse recently, learning about the great ways this organization gives back to the community, and getting the chance to help their cause.

The Pirate Toy Fund is the only nonprofit organization in the country dedicated to distributing new toys year-round to children in need throughout the Greater Rochester region. It was co-founded by local children’s entertainer Gary the Happy Pirate and Dave and Lorrie Simonetti. Since 1995 it has distributed almost 400,000 toys through more than 70 program partners including camps, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and law enforcement agencies throughout Western New York.

The Daisies first got a personal tour of the warehouse from Otto Harnischfeger, the fund’s Executive Director. After the tour, they girls were given a snack and special Pirate Toy Fund pins to proudly display on their uniforms.

The Daisies were working on their “Make the World a Better Place” Daisy Petal, one of ten petals on their uniforms, each representing one line of the Girl Scout Law. Troop 60344’s Brownie was also on the tour; she was fulfilling some of the steps for her “Give Back” badge by learning about a business that gives back to the community, and supporting that mission. Every girl brought at least one new toy to donate.

Troop co-leaders Linda Meyers and Daniela Viavattine knew this would be a valuable opportunity for the young ladies. Linda said,

We thought it would be a great idea for our girls to see a wonderful Rochester-based organization that’s helping the community all throughout the year, and especially at the holidays now. Fortunately, our girls come from homes that can generally provide presents for their children, and we thought it would be great for our girls to help out for children and families that maybe aren’t able to do that.

Webster Troop 60344 has 15 Girl Scouts, 14 first-grade Daisies and one second-grade Brownie. The Daisies come from Klem North, Plank North and Dewitt elementary schools. They are Adriana Gringer, Alayna Henrichs, Alexa Weber, Avery Ganter, Charlotte Lloyd, Claire Frisk, Emerson Ganter, Harper Bozzelli, Julia Meyers, Kennedy Kleps, Lily Pettit, Mackenzie Johnston, Natalie Wigton and Penelope Patterson. Brownie Sophia Elias attends St. Kateri.

Click here to check out a great short video from the visit, posted on the Pirate Toy Fund Facebook page.

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The holidays in Webster Village: beer, shopping, Santa and a parade!

18 Nov

It’s getting cold out, but the holiday season in Webster is heating up, with a cool NEW event and some great improvements on an old favorite.

For starters, the village’s brand new “Hops and Stops” beer tasting event invites participants to not only enjoy some great craft brews, while also visiting many of our small businesses for some early Christmas shopping.

Hops and Stops will be Saturday Nov. 27 (not coincidentally Small Business Saturday). Glass pickup is at Finns Automotive, 44 East Main St, beginning at 2:45 p.m. Cost is $20 (tickets here). Please bring proper ID and you can’t pick up anyone else’s glass since they’ll also need to show an ID.

The beer walk itself runs from 3 to 6 p.m. There will be craft beer at some stops and food at others. These businesses will be participating:

  • Bernardi & Co. CPA
  • Webster Interiors
  • Woodland Silkscreen and Embroidery
  • OHHH, LORDEE! Everything Sauce
  • Village Vape or Smoke
  • The Modified Collective
  • Carl’s Pizza Kitchen
  • Crafty Christy’s Boutique
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • The Coach
  • BC’s Chicken Coop
  • The Cobblestone on Main
  • Barry’s Old School Irish
  • Lattimore Physical Therapy
  • Filling Station Pub & Grill

Kudos to the Webster BID for coming up with this great idea to get people out and shopping on Small Business Saturday!

Click here for more information and to get tickets.

White Christmas is Back!

Last year’s “reverse” Holiday Parade of Lights was fun, but I think everyone is excited to know that the REAL Parade of Lights will be returning the evening of Saturday Dec. 4. The parade is the highlight of a whole afternoon of holiday entertainment and activities planned during the Village of Webster’s White Christmas celebration.

This year’s event will feature something really fun: the gazebo in Veterans Park will be transformed into the North Pole for the day, complete with twinkling lights, elves, candy canes and much more. Santa will be there to greet the kids from 3 to 5 p.m. Kids can bring their letters and give them right to Santa or deposit them in his North Pole mailbox.

The Parade of Lights will begin at 6:30 p.m., winding its way from Phillips Rd. west down Main Street.

All of your White Christmas favorites will also be back this year, including carriage rides, hot cocoa, cookie decorating, storytime with Jason Poole from the Webster Public Library, caroling, and much more, including a “Toy Land,” for which everyone is encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate.

Put this one on your calendar, folks. (Maybe we’ll actually get some snow this year.)

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