Archive | May, 2023

A beautiful Webster Memorial Day, in photos

29 May

The weather could not have been nicer for Monday morning’s Memorial Day Parade. As it does every year, it began at Spry Middle School and would its way west through the village, ending at Webster Rural Cemetery for a remembrance ceremony.

This is always a nice little parade. Befitting the solemn occasion that it celebrates, there are no business floats or politicians, no throwing of candy or dancing to hip hop music, and the fire engines don’t blast their horns nonstop. But because many of those things were missing, it WAS a little parade.

This year and last year it has actually been quite a bit smaller than in previous years, especially pre-pandemic. Very few Scout troops participated, for example. It was nice, however, to see a few Boy Scout troops, the always awesome Webster Marching Band, and representation from both Webster Volunteer and West Webster fire departments. Ross Willink acted as Grand Marshal this year, riding proudly in one of several fine-looking old cars and trucks.

And of course it’s always an honor to see the veterans who are able to walk or ride in the parade, receiving from the crowd the applause and heartfelt thanks they duly deserve.

The ceremony at Webster Rural was probably longer in duration than the parade itself, but nonetheless meaningful. I counted about 200 community members in attendance. I was encouraged to see there are still many families out there who appreciate the meaning of the day and take the time to attend this post-parade event.

Perhaps because there were so few Scouts in attendance, this year’s annual planting-of-the-flags-by-the-crosses did not take place. I was disappointed by that. Always makes for a nice photo.

Thank you to all the groups that participated in the parade and for all of the community members who lined the streets and came to the remembrance ceremony. It would be great to see even more Webster support for this important parade next year.

Click here for more photos.

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(posted 5/29/2023)

Checking out the Michael Johnson trail

28 May

There’s a brand new trail in town, and judging from the reaction I got from the recent blog I wrote about it, people are pretty excited.

The Friends of Webster Trails have recently completed work on the new Michael A. Johnson Nature Preserve Trail, the entrance to which is about halfway between VanAlstyne Rd. and Drumm Rd. on the Hojack Trail. The Friends are planning to introduce the new trail to the community at a dedication ceremony and inaugural community hike on Saturday June 3 beginning at 9 a.m. (Participants are asked to park at Gosnell Big Woods and meet at the Hojack Trail entrance off of Drumm Rd.)

I’m not going to be able to attend that event, so on Sunday my husband and I rode our bikes over there to hike it and check it out for ourselves.

It’s really a beautiful little trail. And I say “little” because it’s actually much shorter than I thought it was, covering only .33 miles. It does connect to the John Ungar Nature Trail, which itself is .34 miles, so you can extend your hike by doing both trails at once.

As usual, the Friends have done a nice job blazing the trail, and have placed a few maps along the way to guide you. It’s an easy trail to hike; there are a few hills, but nothing too obnoxious, and I think kids could manage it quite easily. It’s far enough away from any major roads to be wonderfully peaceful, and very beautiful, filled with birdsong.

As an added bonus, hikers will get an up-close look at some of the wonderful work the Friends have been accomplishing with their ReTree Project. The trail passes about a dozen brand new trees planted recently to help keep our open space areas healthy.

I encourage everyone to check out this beautiful new trail, either at the June 3 community hike or some other time. Then consider showing how much you appreciate everything the Friends of Webster Trails volunteers do to create and maintain all of our beautiful trails, by becoming a member. It’s just $15 a year per family, $10 for an individual. Your support will go a long way to help this great group continue to do great things for Webster.

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(posted 5/28/2023)

Webster community mailbag

26 May

I’m starting off today’s mailbag with a Webster resident whose name is in the news. (Or at least in the press release I received from Centenary University.)

Equestrian Benjamin Hoban of Webster helped his Centenary University team take top honors at the 44th annual ANRC National Equitation Championships recently held in Aiken, SC. The team, which also included Caroline Mancini of Bradford, RI and Morgan Munz of Califon, NJ, won the title of National Collegiate Reserve Championship Team and the National Collegiate Individual Reserve Championship.

The competition for collegiate, junior, and adult amateur teams, sponsored by the American National Riding Commission, is judged and scored on equitation skills and sound horsemanship practices.

Centenary University’s main campus is in Hackettstown, NJ, with its equestrian facility in Washington Township.

From the Library

The Friends of the Webster Public Library have an exciting new offering for anyone who loves books. It’s their very first Vintage and Collectible Book Sale on Saturday June 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The event will offer more than 140 books in good or better condition at very attractive, fixed prices. There are lots of first editions or first printings, published anytime from the late 19th century to the previous decade of the 21st century. Books from authors in the Library of America series and from the NY Times Best Seller list will be displayed. You’ll find books about Rochester and upstate New York; a good-sized assortment of books about war and its weapons; a few Tolkien items; some juvenile fiction ranging from the Bobbsey Twins to Harry Potter; many, many books about music, art, popular culture, animals, health, business, history, biographies and more.

The sale will be held in the library’s Community Room, 980 Ridge Rd.

Also happening at the Webster Public Library is what should be a very interesting talk about the upcoming solar eclipse.

On Thursday June 1 from 6 to 8 p.m., Dan Schneiderman, the Eclipse Partnership Coordinator at the RSMC, will discuss the science and history of solar eclipses, and how to prepare for the total solar eclipse which we will experience her in Rochester on April 8, 2024.

This is going to be a very popular event, so registration is required. Click here to do so.

Time to clean out your garage

If you’re like me, you have a huge garbage bag or two of returnables hanging out in your garage, awaiting your motivation to take them back to the store. Well, the Webster Marching Band will be happy to take them off your hands.

The band’s next Bottle and Can Drive happens this Saturday June 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All you have to do is place those bags outside your house or at the end of the driveway, with a little note indicating they’re for the band, and they’ll be whisked away for a good cause.

Or, if you plan to be out and about on Saturday, you can drop them off at the collection site, Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Road, by 4 p.m.

OR, you can call the Bottle and Can Hotline (234-8684, option 1) ANYTIME to arrange a pickup at a time convenient for you.

The Market is Back!

Webster Joe Obbie’s Farmers’ Market returns for the summer on Saturday June 10, at Webster Towne Plaza, in front of Old Navy. It’ll be there every Saturday through the fall from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., with fresh fruits, vegetables, specialty food items, flowers, plants, crafts and more.

Can’t make it on Saturday? Beginning Wednesday July 19, the market will also be set up at Charles Sexton Park (formerly North Ponds) from 4 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday.

I’ll post a more detailed blog soon about the market, but make a note on your calendar now.

Celebrate Summer

The Webster Recreation Center‘s annual Summer Celebration takes place Saturday June 10 from 4 to 10 p.m.

There’s live music, family fun, food trucks, and fireworks to end the evening. There’s no admission charge, so come on down for some great family time.

The Webster Recreation Center is located at 1350 Chiyoda Drive, and there’s plenty of parking.

Caring Community Concert series returns

Here’s another reminder that the United Church of Christ’s Caring Community Concert series is returning this summer, beginning July 12.

These concerts benefit local nonprofit organizations through free-will donations. The first one will feature Allegro, and proceeds will benefit the Webster Hope Food Pantry. The rest of the summer features:

  • July 19: Ruby Shooz
  • July 26: Prime Time Brass
  • Aug. 2: Dady and Ryan
  • Aug. 9: 8 Days a Week

There’s no admission charge, 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 5/26/2023)

St. Rita Fiesta returns next weekend

25 May

St. Rita’s 68th Annual Fiesta returns to West Webster on Friday and Saturday June 2 and 3.

Festivities start on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m., and continue Saturday from 2 to 9 p.m. All of your favorite St. Rita Fiesta features will be back, including the famous Fiesta Food Tent, Fish Fry (Friday only), Chicken BBQ (Saturday only) and Sweets Booth; live music by Rugburn, Count It All Joy, and It’s a Mystery; $1.00 Carnival Games with prizes; inflatables for the kids; the money wheel, pull tabs, plant sale, book sale, corn hole competition, contests, 9-hole mini golf, and more.

There will also be a great selection of themed gift baskets along with the BIG raffle drawing for $5,000 cash. Click on the images below for more information about even more activities you’ll find. A portion of the proceeds benefits Webster HOPE ministry, which responds to the emergency needs of Webster residents.

This is a terrific family-friendly event with plenty to do for kids and adults alike. There’s lots of on-site parking, including handicap spaces. For more information, please visit the St. Rita Fiesta website or Facebook page.

St. Rita Church is located at 1008 Maple Drive in West Webster.

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(posted 5/25/2023)

Churches collaborate to feed our community

24 May

Most of us don’t realize it as we go through our daily lives, but there are a lot of adults and children in Webster who often don’t know where their next meal is coming from. A coalition of Webster churches and community agencies has come together to address that problem. Their goal is to create a community dinner calendar, a schedule where free dinners will be available at least once a week at alternating churches.

The collaboration is being spearheaded by Wendy McVeigh, Director of Family Ministries at Webster Methodist Church. She explained,

A year ago I was given the opportunity to assist a family who had recently been evicted from an apartment near our church location.  During that process, I was made aware of the increased (and often hidden) need in our community for food and housing.  I brought my concerns first to my home church, and then to other Webster churches.  I was aware that Webster Assembly of God Church had been hosting a monthly Community Dinner. I visited their dinner as well as others located outside of Webster. We then decided to host a dinner ministry at Webster Methodist and asked other churches to join the effort. …

When people are facing food insecurity, their neighbors are often also facing the same or similar challenges. It can be difficult to ask a friend or neighbor for help or advice since they may also be in need of the same type of assistance. A benefit of a Community Dinner is that all persons from our Webster Community are invited to attend. This helps to better integrate and connect our community, which can only serve to make Webster stronger. …  We hope that Webster can become known as a town where neighbors are connected and cared for.

The group has already held two meetings, which have included representatives from a dozen churches and Christian organizations including Webster Methodist, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Webster Baptist Church, United Church of Christ, Webster Christian Reformed Church, Webster Presbyterian, Blessed Hope, Immanuel Lutheran, New Life United Methodist Church, Heritage Christian Services, Webster Community Chest and Webster HOPE.

So far, four churches have committed to offering monthly dinners:

  • Webster Baptist Church, 59 South Ave., first Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m. Call (585) 265-9480 for information.
  • United Church of Christ, 570 Klem Road, second Sunday of the month at 4:30 p.m.. Call (585) 671-3757 for information.
  • Webster Methodist Church, 169 E. Main Street, third Saturday of the month at 4:30. Call (585) 309-6510 for details.
  • Webster Assembly of God, 708 Hard Road. Usually the last week of the month, but not always. Call or email for details: (585) 671-2423 or

Others are interested in hosting dinners, including St. Rita, and McVeigh hopes that ultimately there will be at least two free community dinners offered every week. Most of the dinners include children’s activities, music, and special speakers or guests. They’re intended to be family-friendly, with a restaurant-quality meal and atmosphere.  

Usually, leftovers are packed up at the end of the dinner to send home with families. So, McVeigh said, “Theoretically, if we’re offering dinner twice a week and sending leftovers home, we can feed families or elderly people every night of the week.”

McVeigh hopes the dinner program will continue to grow. Even if other churches don’t have the resources to provide a full meal, they could consider participating in other ways like hosting free food pantries (as several already do), or offering other events like coffee hours — basically, any opportunity for people to come together in friendship and form meaningful relationships.

For more information about the program or to find out how you can help, email Wendy McVeigh at

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(posted 5/24/2023)

Poetry Trail planned for the Webster Arboretum

23 May

Two of my favorite things are coming together in a beautiful way next summer: poetry and the Webster Arboretum.

The Board of Directors of the Webster Arboretum has announced a new project to create a Poetry Trail winding through the grounds. Ron Friedman, a local resident and poet, presented the idea at the board’s April meeting, where it was enthusiastically embraced.

While the project is still very early in the planning stages, many exciting ideas are already being proposed. For example, poets or all ages from throughout the Finger Lakes would be invited, including students from elementary schools through college, and members of poetry and arts groups. Another idea is to make sure the poetry represents many cultures, peoples and languages, including ASL poetry.  

Friedman wrote,

The vision now includes signage installed around the trails in the arboretum with poems printed or engraved on wood, concrete, or other varied materials that can withstand Rochester weather year round. QR codes may be included so visitors will be able to access the poets reading their own poems. The signage may appear by the tree peonies, the gazebo and twisted white pine, around the pond, near the magnolias, the lace barks, the dogwoods, at the entrances to the foot bridges as well as back along the wood trails.

Friedman sees the project as an ongoing effort spanning years, as the trail can be expanded within the Arboretum and to other Webster parks as well.   

It will be a year before the Poetry Trail is completed. For now, committees are being formed to work on fundraising, creating poetry submission guidelines, publicity and installation. For more information about how you can help out and be a part of this exciting new project, email Ron Friedman at

The Webster Arboretum at Kent Park is located at 1700 Schlegel Rd. It’s open seven days a week, sunrise to dusk, and has several beautiful, easy-to-stroll trails. Click here to learn more. (Thank you to Ron Friedman for the photos below.)

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(posted 5/23/2023)

Luminary Walk honored the class of 2023

22 May

Thousands of Webster high school students, their families and friends enjoyed spectacular weather Sunday night at the Senior Luminary Walk, held at the Webster Recreation Center.

This annual event, sponsored by the Webster Thomas PTSA, Webster Schroeder PTSA and Webster Teachers’ Association (WTA), celebrates our graduating seniors with hundreds of luminary candle bags, placed along the entire length of the Chiyoda Trail, which almost completely encircles the Recreation Center property on Chiyoda Drive. Earlier in the day, 30 volunteers worked for an hour and a half to distribute about 900 of the twinkling bags, each one labeled with the name of a graduating Webster Thomas, Webster Schroeder or GOAL student.

At the beginning of the trail, students and their family members were greeted by the Webster Schroeder and Thomas mascots (available for photo ops) before they strolled along the almost mile-long trail. Enthusiastic teachers were stationed all along the path, cheering and congratulating the students as they passed. One family after another would pause periodically for photos, and sometimes the parents’ proud smiles were even bigger than the students’.

As the students returned to the Rec Center at the end of the walk, each was handed a lawn sign to display at their home — prompting even more proud-parent photos.

Anyone who attended after dusk got an extra special treat, as the entire trail was lined with white twinkly lights leading the way.

This is the third year the PTSAs and WTA have held the Senior Luminary Walk. It began back in 2021, when we were still hip-deep in the pandemic, and special events were being cancelled one after the other. The organizations wanted to do SOMETHING to make sure our seniors felt special and celebrated for their achievements. The Luminary Walk was perfect; a creative, socially-distanced way to honor them.

Back then, organizers expected it to be a one-time event. But it proved to be so successful, it came back by popular demand in 2022, then again this year. And judging from the crowds I saw Sunday night. it’s here to stay.

Many thanks to the teachers, students and parent volunteers who worked for hours Sunday afternoon and evening to place the bags along the path, string the twinkly lights and staff the sign tables, or who were just there to cheer on the students.

And congratulations to all the graduating seniors!

Click here to see more photos from the evening.

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(posted 5/22/2023)

A new trail and great news from the Friends of Webster Trails

21 May

The Friends of Webster Trails have made two exciting announcements recently which I want to share with you today.

The first is that the Friends are introducing a brand new trail, leading into the new Michael A. Johnson Nature Preserve, which was added to Webster open space in 2022. The wooded area is adjacent to the John Ungar Nature Trail, just north of the Hojack Trail between Drumm Rd. and Van Alstyne Rd. The Dombovy family donated funds for the purchase of the land in memory of their late husband and father, Michael A. Johnson.

The new loop trail created by the Friends leads off the Hojack Trail about 1/4 mile east of Drumm Rd.

Community members are invited to help dedicate the new trail, when the Friends of Webster Trails hosts a grand-opening group hike on Saturday morning June 3 at 9 a.m. Meet at the intersection of Drumm Rd. and the Hojack Trail at 9 a.m. From there, the group will hike to the entrance of the new Michael A. Johnson Trail. The total distance will be about 2 miles.

Parking is available at the Gosnell Big Wood parking lot at the intersection of Drumm and Vosburg. From there you can walk down Drumm Rd. to the Hojack Trail entrance on Drumm. Hiking boots or good sneakers are recommended.

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The Friends of Webster Trails also recently announced that the organization has received a $1000 grant from the Rochester Birding Association for their ReTree Project.

The Friends began the ReTree Project last year to address habitat loss, with a particular focus on trees. The project has two objectives:

  • to improve the ecological resiliency of forested habitat within the Webster Open Space area, and
  • to increase public knowledge of the threats to local forest ecology and ways we can collectively mitigate these risks

The project has especially focused on planting native tree species in areas where other native species have previously been lost or are currently under threat. The supplemental plantings will increase overall canopy cover while enriching the mix of tree species, age, and physical structure, resulting in a more robust and resilient ecosystem.

The Friends plan to use the funds to clear areas overgrown with invasive plants and to purchase native trees and shrubs and browse-protection materials in the Whiting Road Nature Preserve.

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(posted 5/21/2023)

It’s time to hit the links for a good cause

20 May

‘Tis the season for golf, apparently, and for those of you who enjoy hitting the links for a good cause, there are several opportunities coming up in the near future to do that. I’d like to tell you about three of them today.

This first one has my favorite name for a golf tournament ever, the RobynPalooza, scheduled for June 16. It’s named after Robyn Whittaker, who first organized this benefit tournament 12 years ago in honor of her 50th birthday. For the last several years the Webster Rotary has been helping out, and the collaboration has had tremendous success raising money for local charities.

Robyn reports that last year was their biggest year ever, netting $17,000. She hopes to top $20,000 this year, but as the date approaches she’s afraid they might fall short. So now’s the time to step up and help out. There’s still plenty of time to pull together your foursome to play, but there are also plenty of opportunities for businesses to sponsor holes and carts, and prizes for achievements like closest to the pin and longest drive.

Sponsorships are just $100, and can be combined with your foursome registration. Registration for players is $480 per foursome, or $125 for individuals. Dinner only will cost $35.

Proceeds from this year’s RobynPalooza will benefit the Webster Library BookBox, Human Kindness Organization, Open Door Mission, Adopt a Platoon, and other causes.

The event is scheduled for Friday June 16 at Morgan’s Crossing Golf Club (Chili Country Club). Registration begins at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. For more information about the tournament and how to sign up, click on the image below.

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Next Friday May 26, the Christopher’s Challenge Golf Tournament takes place at Mill Creek Golf Club in Churchville.

Even though the tournament is just around the corner, there’s still time to sign up to play and/or sponsor a golf cart, putting green, driving range or hole. Sponsorships range from $105 to $1,000. Cost to play is $100 for individual golfers, $400 for a foursome. If you’d just like to come for dinner alone, that will cost $35.

Proceeds will benefit Christopher’s Challenge, a not-for-profit organization established in 1998 to educate about bone marrow transplants and draw awareness to become a potential bone marrow donor, as well as financially supporting patients and their families going through bone marrow transplant procedures.

Registration begins at noon with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. To register, click here or call Kathy Costello at (585) 414-5345.

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Have you ever wanted to play Oak Hill? Your chance to do that happens Monday July 24, during the CDS Wolf Foundation’s 36th annual A Salute to Veterans Golf Tournament.

This is one of Rochester’s leading and most respected charitable golf events. Sponsorships range from $7,500 to $50,000. Foursomes can sign up for $7,500 to play the East Course and $5,000 to play the West Course (with discounts applied if paid in full by May 31). Other opportunities include a driving range sign for $2,500, a tee sign for $1,000 and a dinner and concert ticket for $500.

The tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. on the East Course, and at 1:30 with shotgun starts on both the East and West courses. For more information and to register, click here.

Warrior Salute Veterans Services provides a strong, supportive community to help veterans reach their personal therapeutic, social, educational and community goals. The program strives to assist veterans in all aspects of their lives and works to provide them with the tools to live independently and productively in their community.

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(posted 5/20/2023)

The Village of Webster’s first Wine Walk is in two weeks

19 May

The first Village of Webster Wine Walk for 2023 is coming up fast. It’s scheduled for Saturday June 3 from 4 to 7:00 p.m.

This is always a great time to get together with friends and stroll the streets of the Village of Webster, popping into businesses and sampling so. much. wine. Tickets are $15 each (plus Eventbrite’s $2.85 mark-up) and available only online. You’ll need to register ahead of time (click here), then bring your digital ticket (or paper copy) to the BACK entrance of JoJo Bistro beginning at 3:30 p.m. to sign in. You’ll get a bracelet and a wine glass and a map to guide you on your tour. (Pick up your glass before 5:30.) DO NOT FORGET YOUR ID. It is REQUIRED.

Some of the stops will include Barry’s Old School Irish, Brimont Bistro, The Coach Sports Bar, Woodland Silkscreen and Embroidery/OHHH, LORDEE! Sauces, and Finns Automotive. This is a great chance to visit several of the village’s newest businesses as well!

The Wine Walks are brought to you by the Webster Business Improvement District (BID). A portion of the sales will be donated to Webster HOPE, a Social Justice Ministry.

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The Wine Walk is just the first in a whole list of great summer events the BID will be hosting. Here’s what’s in the works:

Right on the heels of the first one, a second Wine Walk will take place on Saturday July 8. Tickets will be available for that soon.

The Friday Night Gazebo Concerts begin July 7 with a performance by the Red Hot and Blue Band featuring Americana music.

Coming up at the gazebo later in the summer:

The Gazebo Concerts are held from 7 to 9 p.m. and are free.

There’s a Family Games Night tentatively scheduled for August 11, but that may change.

The Webster Jazz Fest is scheduled for August 18 and 19, with “Jazz in the Pubs” on Friday from 6 to 10 p.m., and Jazz in the Street” on Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m.

The Webster Fireman’s Field will be hopping in September, with a Fireman’s Field Evening/Coach’s ALS Fundraiser on Sept. 9; the Oktoberfest Sept. 15 to 17; the Zach Brown Tribute Band on Sept. 21; and an all-day cornhole tournament on Sept. 23 (actually, I think this national tournament will run for two weekends, but more info to come about that later).

This year’s Beer Walk is scheduled for Saturday, October 14.

Two brand new events have been added to the calendar this year as well: the Webster Village Bed Race will take over Main Street on Saturday Sept. 16, and a Health Fair is also in the works, but the date for that has not been set.

And of course, watch for blogs about the Trick or Treat Trail in October and Webster’s Winter Wonderland in December.

Whew. I hope you had your calendar out.

More information about all these events, when it becomes available, can be found at

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(posted 5/19/2023)