Archive | April, 2023

Blue Star Mothers honor military families with a baby shower

30 Apr

For two hours on Sunday, 13 expectant — or brand new — military mothers were showered with gifts, sweet treats and breakfast pizza when the Blue Star Mothers Rochester Chapter NY8 (BSM NY8) held their Baby Shower for Military.

The annual event, held at the Cottreal-Warner American Legion Post, is designed to recognize and provide for young mothers and expectant mothers in local military families. The event was open to active duty, veterans and military spouses of active duty service members, who were expecting or have children up to six months old. For many of these mothers, this may be the only baby shower they get, since they’re usually stationed far away from their close relatives.

Each mother left the event with three huge IKEA bags packed to the brim with age-appropriate clothing items, toys, bottles, baby wipes, hand-made boppies, hand-crocheted sweaters, booties, hats and blankets, and lots more. A fourth bag was filled with personal care items, lotions and soaps just for Mom, and for Dad, snacks and a book to read to the baby during those midnight feedings.

I mean, they thought of everyone!

I spoke with one young mother, Kat Welch, who was enjoying the event while cradling her 6-week old daughter Evelyn. She and her husband have only lived in the area a short time, and her folks live in New Zealand. So, “I didn’t have a baby shower or anything,” she said. “We didn’t have any kind of celebration.”

Kat found out she was pregnant with Evelyn, their fifth child, last August, only two weeks before her husband was deployed to Africa for a year. They’d pretty much given up on conceiving another child, so Kat had already gotten rid of most of her baby stuff. She went home Sunday with not only the four bags of clothing and baby necessities, but also a stroller, a Diaper Genie and a brand new bassinet.

She was especially grateful for the bassinet.

“We weren’t expecting (Evelyn) to be as small as she was (only four pounds), so she’s too small to sleep in her nursery,” Kat said. “She’s currently sleeping in my bed. So it’s a huge help because she can now sleep next to me in my bedroom.”

While the annual Military Baby Shower is organized and coordinated by the Blue Star Mothers Rochester Chapter, it truly is a community effort. The group’s members have been collecting items for months in preparation, fanning out to local businesses to solicit donations of food, baby products or gift cards. Individual community members went online to the Blue Star Mothers’ Amazon wish list and purchased larger-ticket items like Diaper Genies and strollers. And at the actual baby shower on Sunday, three local small businesses — Rosy Glow Maternity, Artistic Boutique and Studio, and Karen Reyes Massage Therapy — volunteered their time to make the day even more special.

Several members of the 209th Regiment of Cadets were also on hand to help set up tables, put all the bags out, and carry items to cars when the mothers headed for home.

Blue Star Mothers are mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, foster mothers and female legal guardians who have children serving in the military, guard or reserves, or children who are veterans. The Baby Shower for Military is one of the most important service projects of the Blue Star Mothers Rochester Chapter.

Here are a few more photos from the shower:

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(posted 4/30/2023)

VOA celebrates mothers in a special way

28 Apr

It’s unusual these days for me to receive a notice about an event I’ve never heard about. But here’s one that’s been going on for 30 years, honoring some of the most important people in our lives: our mothers.

Every year for the past three decades, the Volunteers of America (VOA) have brightened Mother’s Day weekend for senior women throughout the Rochester area. It’s their “I Remember Mama Celebration,” during which they deliver hundreds of gift baskets, filled with flowers, corsages, treats and gifts, to women who have outlived their families or are separated from them.

What a great way to help ease the loneliness these women feel on Mother’s Day.

Volunteers of America works with assisted living communities and senior centers to identify elderly women who are alone. As part of the celebration this year, VOA will be delivering 50 gift baskets to residents of Cobblestone Place in Webster. Other baskets will be delivered to the Catholic Family Center, Family Services of Rochester, Montgomery Neighborhood Center, Jonathan Childs Apartments, Darnforth Towers and Jordan Health. Deliveries begin May 11 and will lead up to Mother’s Day.

VOA is asking community members for their support. With a donation of $45, individuals can sponsor a senior woman, $90 will sponsor two women, or $450 will sponsor ten ladies. Click here to learn how to support the event. Community support is a key component of making this event a success each year. 

Here are a few photos from previous deliveries:

About Volunteers of America Upstate New York: Volunteers of America Upstate New York (VOA) is a local non-profit human service organization that serves more than 6,000 men, women and children annually in Rochester and throughout Upstate New York.  The agency’s mission is to empower people to rise out of poverty, move toward self-reliance, and reach their full potential. VOA offers a wide array of programming in four key areas; early childhood education; supportive housing for homeless and low-income individuals and families, and reentry programs for individuals who are or have been incarcerated, and housing for frail seniors. Visit to learn more.

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(posted 4/28/2023)

Chorus of the Genesee, Rochester Rhapsody unite for one beautiful concert

27 Apr

Get your tickets now for what promises to be an incredible evening of music and merriment.

Two of Rochester’s premier a cappella choruses (which both hail from little ol’ Webster), the Chrous of the Genesee and Rochester Rhapsody will join forces (and voices) on Saturday May 20 for “Harmony in the House,” a musical treat featuring both choruses and several a cappella quartets. The choruses will perform together and separately, and quartets from both groups will fill your heart with a variety of musical favorites. Plus, there’ll be door prizes, raffles, a bar, snacks, and plenty of free parking.

Tickets are $18 for the 3 p.m. matinee, and $20 for the 7 p.m. show. Following the evening performance, everyone is invited to hang around for the annual “Afterglow,” a fun party with food, drinks, more singing and socializing. Click here to get your tickets, or call 315-391-4911.

“Harmony in the House” is a fundraiser for the Harmony House, a beautiful historic building constructed in 1899, which both groups call home. To that end, the groups are also looking for individual and business sponsors to support the event by purchasing an ad in the program, donating a door prize, and helping spread the word by hanging posters or even putting out a donation bucket.

For more information about buying an ad, email for details or place your ad online here. Deadline is May 2.

They’re also accepting direct donations to the Restoration/Building Improvement Fund and will be happy to publicly announce their gratitude for your donation. (If you’d rather donate anonymously, just let them know.) Click here to donate.

The Harmony House is located at 85 East Main St. in the Village of Webster.

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(posted 4/27/2023)

Oak Tree Award winners announced

26 Apr

Congratulations to this year’s Oak Tree Award winners for excellence in teaching: Diana Mee and Craig Johnville.

This year’s elementary recipient, Diana, has spent all of her 24 years in education teaching in Webster, and currently teaches instrumental music at Klem Road North Elementary School.

Craig is this year’s secondary recipient. He has taught 19 years of his 20-year career in Webster, and currently teaches special education for grades 9-11 at Webster Thomas High School.

The Oak Tree Award is co-sponsored by the Webster Teachers’ Association and the Webster Central PTSA as a way to acknowledge excellence in teaching in the Webster Central School District. This year’s committee was comprised of Rosanne Kulikowski, Jeffrey Darling, Dave Waltman, and Lisa Cook representing the WTA and Kim Kozlowski, Mike Lengle, and Laura Blair representing the PTSA. Together, they sorted through 40 nominations for this year’s Oak Tree Award. All of the nominees exemplified a high standard of teaching and commitment to the Webster education community.

Mee and Johnville will be recognized at a presentation at the Webster CSD Board of Education meeting on May 2, where they will be presented with a plaque that will hang in their building for one year. 

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(posted 4/26/2023)

Webster community mailbag

25 Apr

Today’s mailbag is packed with events coming up in the next few weeks, so grab your calendar and dig in.

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The next Friends of the Webster Public Library Spring Book Sale is here, happening Wednesday April 26 through Saturday April 29. Gently-used hardcover books will be available for only $1, paperback books will be $.50.

Members of the Friends can shop before everyone else, on Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. If you’re not a member and want a sneak peek, memberships will be available at the door or on the library website.  

The general public sale will begin Thursday April 27 from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Friday, April 28 is BYOB (bring your own bag) Bag Sale from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m, when you can fill a bag with gently used books for only $5. The bag sale continues on Saturday, April 29 but only from 10 a.m. til noon.

Proceeds from the spring book sale directly benefit library programs, book collections and other special projects.

ALSO, the Library will host a blood drive for the American Red Cross on Tuesday May 2 from noon to 5 p.m. Click here to make an appointment.

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The next St. Martin Lutheran Church’s Drive Thru Chicken BBQ will be held Saturday, April 29 beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the church, 813 Bay Road, Webster.

Dinners of a half chicken, salt potatoes, coleslaw, roll, and butter are available for $15.00 – cash or check only. The event is drive-through only, and there will be no advance sales.

Dinners will be served first come/first served. Cars will enter the parking lot, follow signs, and purchase dinners using exact payment. Cars will then proceed to the side entrance to pick up boxed dinners.

Proceeds will benefit St. Martin’s Christmas Stocking Project reaching over 500 local youth in Monroe and Wayne counties.

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The Schroeder Theater Company invites you to join them as they travel Around the World in 80 Days!

The fearless and calculated Phileas Fogg and her newly appointed, resourceful servant Passepartout race to beat the clock in this country-hopping adventure. Fogg has agreed to an outrageous wager that puts her fortune and life at risk. Together, the two set out to circle the globe in an unheard of 80 days. But their every step is dogged by a detective who thinks Fogg is a robber on the run. Can they stay on schedule as they avoid police interference, traverse exotic landscapes, endure typhoons, and more?

Performances are in the Webster Schroeder High School auditorium, 875 Ridge Road, on Thursday May 4 at 7 p.m., Friday May 5 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 6 at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased online at Ticket Spicket or at the door.

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Webster Comfort Care Home has several fundraising events coming up this summer, but you’ll want to get signed up for this one right away.

It’s the 20th (almost) annual “Chip In for Comfort Care” golf tournament, scheduled for Monday July 10 at Webster Golf Club on Salt Rd. Registration fee is $125, and includes a grab-and-go breakfast, complimentary game balls, and prizes. Plus, they’re introducing a new “knock out the gnome” game this year.

Click here for more information and to register.

You can also support Webster Comfort Care on Friday May 5 by heading to the Masonic Lodge on Orchard Street for a spaghetti dinner from 5 to 7 p.m.

Dinner includes spaghetti, choice of sauce, salad, bread and dessert. Cost is $11 for adults, $6 for children 12 and under.

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The Webster Arboretum Association, together with local growers and local garden clubs, will host the 2023 Webster Arboretum Plant Sale on Saturday May 13 from 8 a.m. to noon.

A tremendous variety of beautiful, healthy plants from standard to uncommon will be available including annuals, dwarf conifers, hostas, geraniums, tomatoes, and more. It’s a great way to celebrate spring and get some live plants perfectly suited for your garden. And don’t forget Mother’s Day!

The sale will be held at the Webster Arboretum, 1700 Schlegel Rd. Webster.

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A Craft and Vendor Sale to benefit the Webster Volunteer Fire Department will be held at the Webster Fireman’s Building, 172 Sanford Street on Saturday May 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Almost 30 vendors are expected for this show, which will be held inside and outside the building. All proceeds will benefit the Webster Volunteer Fire Department.

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Looking ahead, the 2023 St. Rita Fiesta has been scheduled for Friday and Saturday June 2 and 3. All of your favorite Fiesta activities will be returning, including carnival games, a foam dart course, mini golf course, inflatables, dunk tank, plant sale, book sale, games of chance, food, drink, lots of live entertainment, and more.

More details to come, but in the meantime you can check out the website.

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(posted 4/25/2023)

Lots accomplished at Friends of Webster Trails’ first workday

24 Apr

If you’ve lived in Webster for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard about, or perhaps even hiked, our town’s beautiful trails. The system’s almost two dozen trails already stretch from the farthest corner of northwest Webster, south to 104 and east to Phillips Rd., and more are being created every year.

We have the Friends of Webster Trails to thank for this outstanding trail system. These hard-working volunteers put in thousands of hours every summer and fall planning, creating and maintaining the trails, clearing brush and invasive plants, laying gravel, building bridges and boardwalks, and more.

Every month, many of the group’s volunteers gather for a workday, spending several hours doing what needs to be done to make sure the trails are ready for hiking. The first workday of the 2023 season happened last Saturday April 15, and attracted 25 hard-working volunteers. I got this report from FWT’s communications chair John Boettcher:

There were three projects in the mix. One involved ditching along the Hojack Trail at Hard Rd. to improve drainage. This was moderately successful and very difficult. The other two projects involved pickup of trash along the Hojack Trail from Sexton Park east to Philips Road and the Hickory Bark Trail near the Webster Library. We schedule this early in the season before the vegetation can hide the trash.

Several hundred pounds of plastic, paper, and cardboard along with tires and pallet debris were collected. In addition to the Hickory Bark Trail, the area around the library was cleaned of debris and energy level remained so high that the troops even took care of the Western border of Hickory Bark woods along Hard Road between the library parking lot and the expressway feeder. Lots done!

A huge thank-you to all of the volunteers who joined the effort that day to keep our local trails looking beautiful.

If you ever find yourself enjoying our wonderful trail system, consider joining the Friends of Webster Trails. Check out the Friends of Webster Trails website, then consider dropping $10 for a single membership or $15 for a family. Your donation will go a long way to helping these fine folks help US enjoy our town’s natural beauty for years to come. (Or better yet, sign up to join a workday!)

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(posted 4/24/2023)

The Caring Community Concerts are back!

23 Apr

The Caring Community Concert series at the United Church of Christ (570 Klem Rd.) is back, and this summer’s lineup is a great one.

These concerts benefit local nonprofit organizations through free-will donations. The first one, scheduled for Wed. July 12, will feature Allegro, and proceeds will benefit the Webster Hope Food Pantry. (See the flier below for the whole schedule.)

There’s no admission, but each week the church collects a free-will offering benefiting that week’s chosen non-profit organization.

The UCC has been sponsoring these concerts for almost 20 years now, and through free-will offerings have raised tons of money for local non-profit organizations. People are invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets and a picnic if they wish. There’s also a concession stand selling soda, hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork, and a weekly “special.”

The concerts all begin at 6:30 p.m., and food concessions begin at 6. The concerts are held on the United Church of Christ front lawn, at 570 Klem Rd. (In case of rain it’s moved indoors.) So put these concerts on your calendar now and plan to enjoy some great music for a good cause.

For more information about the concerts, click here.

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(posted 4/28/2023)

I’m going to miss Carl’s Pizza

22 Apr

After five years serving great pizza and Italian cuisine from the heart of the Village of Webster, Carl’s Pizza Kitchen is closing up shop at the end of the month.

Like many others, I learned the sad news from an announcement owner Carl Prinzing put on Facebook, which read,

It is with a heavy heart that we announce our permanent closing at the end of business Sunday April 30th 2023. It has been our honor to serve this community for the past 5 years! Due to the rising food and labor costs, combined with the decrease in annual revenue and staff shortage, there just aren’t any alternatives. From our family to yours we thank you for your business and we will miss you all.

The current state of the economy has dealt a lethal blow to many small businesses, but I’m particularly sad to see Carl’s go. Of all the pizza places in town, I’ve always liked theirs the best.

Carl told me he has no plans to open a new restaurant, but he does want to keep working in the food business somehow. For the immediate future, though, he said he’s just looking forward to landing somewhere he can make a steady paycheck, and be able to go home at the end of the day.

Thank you Carl’s Pizza Kitchen for being a valued village business for so long, and best of luck in the future.

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(posted 4/22/2023)

Thanks to all who made today’s scavenger hunt a success

22 Apr

Just a quick blog today to say THANK YOU to all of the families who came to Finn Park this morning to participate in the Family Scavenger Hunt co-sponsored by the Webster Health & Education Network, the Webster Recreation Center and the Friends of Webster Trails.

Several dozen families took advantage of some beautiful weather to have a little fun exploring the Finn Park trails. Thanks to the recent rainy weather, there were several wet and muddy spots, but that didn’t deter the 58 young participants, ages 2 through 11, from taking the half-mile or mile-long hike. (I might have encouraged most of them to splash in the mud as they went along.) The kids could choose one of three increasingly difficult scavenger hunts, each asking them to search for different natural elements along the path, like birds, moss and flowers.

The kids all returned from their quest with smiles on their faces and a real sense of accomplishment. And probably the best part of all is that the scavenger hunt raised $280 to benefit the Friends of Webster Trails, which will be put to good use improving the already terrific trail system we have in Webster.

I was particularly impressed with one family, who came armed with litter pick-up tools, and took it upon themselves to fill half a garbage bag with trash from along the trail.

Also many thanks to Julie Schillaci at Webster Parks and Recreation, Anna Taylor from the Friends of Webster Trails, and Emily Pettit for all their help pulling this event together.

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(posted 4/22/2023)

Mini-art gallery pops up on West Main

21 Apr

You never know what neat new thing you’ll find when you walk through the Village of Webster. On Friday, the neat new thing I came across was a pop-up art gallery and sale in the former Heart to Heart Bridal storefront at the village’s four corners.

The gallery features the work of 91-year old Brighton artist Natalie Schwartz, whose large, colorful canvases fill the walls in the now-empty storefront. The show is being hosted by the owners of Mod4U, the little antique shop on North Ave., just around the corner from the sale.

The works of art themselves don’t often see the light of day; normally they’re all being stored in Natalie’s small living space at St. John’s senior living community. And that’s a shame, because they’re pretty awesome. Each one, it seems, reflects a different medium and subject matter, an eclectic mix that reflects Natalie’s diverse artistic tastes.

In a biography posted on the wall next to one of her paintings, Natalie wrote that she was “born … with a pencil in my hand.” Her love of all forms of artistic expression began when she was very young. As a child, she studied ballet and piano, took painting lessons at the Memorial Art Gallery, and as an adult discovered modern dance, which she continued even into her eighties.

For a while, she worked as a fashion illustrator for McCurdy and B. Forman Co., and eventually went back to RIT to complete a BFA and MFA in painting and printmaking.

Basically, Natalie Schwartz is a life-long learner whose enthusiasm for art is now on display for everyone to see.

For the next two days, anyway. The gallery will be open on Saturday and Sunday April 22 and 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, before all of the unsold paintings get squeezed back into Natalie’s apartment. So make sure to check out the gallery today.

Here’s some of what you’ll see (click on the photo for an expanded view).

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(posted 4/21/2023)