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Don’t miss this holiday light display

10 Dec

house

If you and your family like traveling around the neighborhoods during the holidays to see the different Christmas light displays, read on, because I want to tell you about one that you shouldn’t miss.

It’s at the home of Charlie and Cora Venishel, 100 Henderson Drive in Penfield (across from the library and Penfield Recreation Center).  For years, in addition to an incredible front and back-yard light display, the Venishels hosted a magical Christmas town inside their home, with a gingerbread house toy shop, miniature villages, hundreds of nutcrackers, electric trains, exquisitely decorated dining rooms, and more. For a small donation to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, families could enjoy the front yard decorations, tour the village, then wander out into the backyard where thousands more lights twinkled. (Click here to read the D&C column I wrote about it.)

The couple hosted the event for ten years, raising more than $30,000 for Ronald McDonald House. After the 2015 season, they decided to hand off the villages to their children. But they’ve continued to set up their amazing front yard display in the years since, and have added something new every year.

Visitors will see all varieties of Christmas trees, trumpeting angels, icicles, lighted walkways, huge “Season’s Greetings” sign on the roof, Santa’s mailbox, and an Ice Princess’ castle, all illuminated with somewhere around 25,000 twinkling lights. There are also giant candy canes and life-sized snowman, and an antique, refurbished sleigh with Santa and Mrs. Claus, led by eight reindeer (and Rudolph, of course).

Like many private home Christmas light displays, the effect is breathtaking. But what’s different is the Venishels’ continued commitment to helping others. They’re encouraging visitors to help them raise money for AutismUp, a local organization dedicated to supporting those with autism spectrum disorder. They’ve put a mailbox at the end of the driveway for anyone who might like to drop in a dollar or two for the cause.

So make sure to stop by the Venishels’ display, 100 Henderson Drive. Park for a bit and actually wander down the sidewalk to the Ice Princess’ castle. Then tuck a few bucks into the mailbox before you leave. It’s a great way to share the joy and love of the holiday season.

 

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Rec Cross has announced a severe need for blood. Here’s how you can help

24 Nov

You have an opportunity TODAY to honor a life ended too soon, while helping to save others.

A blood drive being held today (Saturday) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Webster Schroeder High School honors the memory of Schroeder graduate Colin Montesano, who passed away suddenly last year at just 21 years old.

colinColin had wanted to dedicate his life to helping others by becoming a physician and studied at the University of Pittsburgh. He was also an active community volunteer and talented athlete.

Here are the details of today’s drive:

Blood Drive in honor of Colin Montesano
Saturday, November 24, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Webster Schroeder High School
875 Ridge Road, Webster. Walk-ins are welcome.

Aside from this being a great thing to do in Colin’s memory, this is also a critical time of year for blood donations. Donations decline significantly from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day as people get busy with holiday activities, so the Red Cross really needs your help.

If you can’t make today’s drive, here are several other local opportunities coming up in the next several weeks:

  • Fairport/Webster Elks Lodge, 1066 Jackson Rd., Webster: Thursday Nov. 29, from 3 to 7 p.m.
  • St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, 813 Bay Rd., Webster: Tuesday Dec. 11 from 1 to 6 p.m.
  • Webster Knights of Columbus, 70 Barrett Drive: Wednesday Dec. 12 from 1 to 7 pm.
  • Kent Park Arboretum, 1700 Schlegel Rd., Webster: Thursday Dec. 20 from 2 to 7 p.m.
  • Visiting Nurse Service, 2180 Empire Blvd., Webster: Friday Dec. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Dunkin Donuts, 2100 Empire Blvd., Webster: Sat. Dec. 22 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Rd.: Friday Dec. 21 from 1 to 6 p.m.

Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are encouraged (and help you get in and out a little faster). Call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or log onto RedCrossBlood.org.

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Webster community mailbag

14 Nov

Santa is beginning to make his rounds!

santa St. Martin

Santa got a little story time help at last year’s St. Martin Christmas party.

Generally one of the first times we see him in Webster is at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church for their holiday party, and this year is no different.

On Friday night November 30, Santa will arrive by fire truck at St. Martin’s, 813 Bay Road in Webster, at about 6 p.m. Then he’ll settle into the church’s community room in his big Santa chair until 8 p.m. where he’ll chat with the children, read a story, and be available for photos with both children AND adults.

Other activities that evening will include cookie decorating, Christmas bingo, making a reverse Advent calendar and presentation of the Christmas Story. Free pizza nd beverages will also be provided.

There’s no charge for this great holiday event, but please bring a canned food item.

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The First Baptist Church of Penfield’s next Saturday Flapjack Breakfast is scheduled for November 17 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the church, 1862 Penfield Road.

For just $5 per person, you get all-you-can-eat pancakes, pure maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, and beverages. All are welcome, and the venue is handicapped accessible.

Proceeds this month will benefit the Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf, a supplemental food relief organization serving the 14526 and 14625 areas and families of children in the Penfield school district since 1997.

Donations of stuffing packages will be gratefully accepted for holiday meals as well. And make sure to mark your calendars for the next flapjack breakfast on December 15 — word is that a special visitor from up north might just stop in!

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Here’s a quick follow up and some adorable photos from the spaghetti fundraiser dinner held at the Webster-Fairport Elks Lodge on November 3 to benefit little Liam Goggins.

Liam, who’s just a little over one year old, has been struggling with severe health problems. On his first birthday, he stopped breathing, and was ultimately diagnosed with a congenital heart problem. Doctors inserted a mechanical valve, which will need replacement one or two more times as he grows.

The dinner, which was held to help offset his family’s medical costs, was a great success, selling 276 tickets. So many friends, family members came together to help little Liam.

The Goggins family would like to thank community members who supported the event, and the many local businesses, friends and even strangers who donated cash, goods and raffle items.

Here are a few photos from the evening, courtesy Kathy Beltrone:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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An update on CrossFit Webster

31 Aug

CFWThe news of the imminent closing of CrossFit Webster (CFW) on Ridge Road took a lot of people very, very hard.

Although many people consider CrossFit a fad — or worse yet, dangerous and unhealthy — I have seen the fitness regimen improve lives, both physically and emotionally.  The friendships that are made while sweating through high-intensity workouts can become as strong as the muscles the workouts are building. More specifically, I have seen CFW help people through some tough personal challenges, and helped others gain incredible self-confidence.

So naturally when people started hearing about how CFW was closing, there was much teeth-gnashing and inaccurate news passing back and forth. I finally got the down-low from current CFA owner Laura Rice who kindly sent me a long email detailing the reasons she and her husband Jeff had to close CFW, AND how it will be reopening in a new space just down the road.

She wrote,

It had been our plan for a long time now to find a new location for CrossFit Webster once our current lease ended. For the last five years, we have been running two gyms (the other being Flower City CrossFit) and have come to realize that trying to keep up with the needs of two businesses and two communities was taking too much of a toll on us. With that in mind, we had agreed to sell CrossFit Webster to two of our trainers who had approached us about it. We were anticipating transferring the gym to them shortly after we moved to a new location.

Around six months ago we found a great new spot for the gym and began the process of getting a new lease created and working on the plan for the transition to the new owners. At the last minute, the deal to sell the gym fell through and we were left with having to make the very difficult decision to close the gym at the end of September.

Almost immediately we were approached by one of our longtime members, Rob Coffey (a CF-L1 certified trainer), who asked us about the space we were looking at. We confirmed that it was still available and told him that if he was interested in starting a gym there, we would happily endorse his efforts and would transfer the CrossFit Webster affiliate name to him.

Last weekend, Rob signed the lease for the new space and will be, as Laura said, “carrying the CrossFit Webster banner forward into its next chapter.” Laura and her husband Jeff will now be able to focus exclusively on their other location, Flower City CrossFit in Winton Place.

Word is, the new CrossFit Webster will be located just west of Lowe’s Theater on Ridge Road.

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Schroeder teacher organizing team for Wilmot Warrior Walk

30 Aug

warrior walk

When it comes to fighting cancer, Kelly Cameron is one of those people who not only faces it head-on, but does so with a “bring it on, cancer, ’cause you’re goin’ down” attitude.

Kelly Cameron is an English teacher at Webster Schroeder High School, and I had the pleasure to work with her for many years at Webster Thomas. Kelly’s a recent breast cancer survivor; so recent that she still has one last surgery scheduled for December, which should (hopefully) take care of it for good.

So basically, Kelly Cameron has kicked cancer’s butt, so now she’s leading the way to help others do the same.

Next weekend, on Saturday Sept. 9, the University of Rochester’s Wilmot Cancer Institute will host its sixth annual Wilmot Warrior Walk — a 5K, 10K and one-mile walk — at Highland Park Bowl, to raise money for cancer research. Kelly is putting together a team of Webster CSD faculty, staff and friends to participate in that event.

But she’s doing so with a specific purpose in mind: to honor two colleagues and friends who passed from cancer.

Kelly explained her goal in a district-wide email:

Statistically speaking, every single one of us will be touched by cancer at some point in our lives. Most likely, we will experience it many times even if we aren’t personally diagnosed as well. Many in my life have fought cancer, myself included. Some have concluded that fight. With the blessings of their families, I created a team for the Wilmot Warrior Walk to honor two of our own teachers: Christine Bohannon and Chris Barnes. We lost Christine in June of 2017 and then Chris almost three weeks ago. The team and its total earnings for Wilmot are done in their honor. Your individual walk or donation can honor anyone.

Christine Bohannon was a teacher at Webster Thomas High School and passed away from B-cell Lymphoma. Chris Barnes taught at Willink Middle School and coached the Webster Thomas High School varsity girls lacrosse team. He passed away on Aug. 8 from colorectal cancer.

Kelly continued with a list of some very good reasons everyone should consider joining the team:

  • You want to honor Christine and/or Chris.
  • You want to honor a loved one who is fighting cancer.
  • You want to honor a loved one who is no longer here to continue his/her battle with cancer.
  • You are living with cancer or are a cancer survivor.
  • You are just an awesome human being who wants to support a great cause!

And she added, “if you’re unable to walk, all of the above reasons are why you should donate :)”

The one-mile walk is at Highland Park Bowl starting on Robinson Drive.  The walk is followed by finisher’s medals, an awards ceremony, and a celebration.  There will be food trucks, activities for the kids, and survivorship/wellness tent activities.  Registration is $35 per person. Participants can register online through Friday, Sept. 8 or the day of the event. To register, click here. You can also read more about the event here.

Kelly added that if you’d like to walk in support of a particular person in your life, you can wear a shirt or ribbon indicating the type of cancer that individual fought or is fighting. A list of those colors, and information about how you can help can be found here at the Bohannon/Barnes Legacy Team Link .

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Hazardous waste collection scheduled

22 Aug

Here’s a quick note from the Town of Webster, just in time for that end-of-summer garage clean-out project:

The 2018 Household Hazardous Waste Collection has been scheduled for Saturday September 15. This event is held in partnership with the Penfield Department of Public Works and will be held at their facility, 1607 Jackson Road.

Most household hazardous wastes like paint, flammables and other chemicals, are safe when used and stored properly, but should also be disposed of properly when they’re no longer needed.

The collection will take place from 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. To make sure no one has to wait in line too long, appointments are required for this event, and will be accepted through September 14. Webster residents should call 585-872-1443 (Monday through Thursday 7 am. to 3 p.m.) and Penfield residents call 585-340-8710. You can also go online here to schedule your appointment.

Waste collection is open to all Monroe County residents, but waste from businesses will not be accepted.

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5K honors the memory of Fairport man

27 Jul

Mark Callanan

As you might have gleaned from the headline, this blog is definitely not Webster-focused. But one of my a Schlegel Elementary School colleagues is helping organize this race, so it’s near and dear to my heart. I want to let as many people know about it as possible, and hopefully drum up a lot of participants.

It’s called the Mark A. Callanan Memorial Run, scheduled for Saturday August 4 in the village of Fairport.

I wrote an entire East Extra column in the Democrat and Chronicle about this race a few weeks ago, in which I shared more about the race and Mark:

Mark Callanan grew up in Fairport, graduated from Fairport High School in 2005 and attended SUNY Geneseo. He served seven years in the Marine Corps, and settled in Washington D.C. There, in June 2015 in front of the Capitol Building, he proposed to his sweetheart Kristi Altieri. They set a wedding date for the following year.

On the morning of June 7, 2016, just two months before the wedding, Mark was warming up to play basketball and collapsed with cardiac arrest. He was 28 years old.

At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Mark Callanan was a very big man. And he had a heart to match. Fellow Sigma Nu Chi fraternity brother Mark Picardo called his friend “someone who I always looked up to as a young adult at Geneseo.”

“Mark was one of the major reasons that I decided to join the fraternity,” Picardo said. “He was very welcoming, loving, charismatic. (He) held an enormous presence, physically and figuratively, in the fraternity.”

In the eulogy she wrote for the funeral, Mark’s fiance Kristi recalled that he “had a deep reverence for brotherhood and what it means to take care of the people we love.” Then she reminded everyone about his mischievous side.

“Surely the brother who fell off the Sig Nu roof no less than three times and refused to buy a towel for his first week living in the house because he preferred to ‘air dry,’ could not also be the brother who served in Iraq and went on to complete an internship at the White House,” she said. “But that truly was Mark. Larger than life, in every sense.”

Proceeds from the run will be used to create a scholarship in Mark’s name at Geneseo.

I recently received an email update about the race which has made me even more excited about it. It’s going to be an incredible community event.

Here are some details:

  • Racers will gather at Potter Memorial Park, 53 West Church Street, between 8 and 9 a.m. to pick up race bibs and t-shirts. You’ll also want to take a moment to find Mark Callanan’s brick in the Veterans’ walk there.
  • Opening remarks will take place from 9 to 9:15, after which participants will walk three blocks to the s=race start on Pleasant Street
  • The out-and-back race course will be well marked, but not timed. Feel free to turn around at any point, especially if it’s really warm and muggy.
  • After the race, around 11 a.m., everyone is encouraged to walk back to Potter Memorial Park for Gatorade, fruit and snacks. From noon to about 4, Mark’s family invites everyone to join them at the Inn on Church, 11 West Church Street, where there will be a food truck and dessert truck.
  • I’m looking forward to sharing some lovin’ that Saturday, and I hope a lot of my runner friends (or even walkers) will join me.

Cost to register for the race is $30 in advance, $35 the day of the race. For more information and to register, click here.

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Webster community mailbag

20 Jul

Well, folks, I’m back in town after a 10-day trip with my daughter through Spain (with a side trip to Lisbon, Portugal thrown in for good measure). I tried my best to auto-post some blogs while I was gone, but finally I’m back at the keyboard to blog live and in person.

And to wade through about two dozen new emails I got in my absence.

First order of business, then, is a mailbag to pass along all that news that people passed along to me while I was in sunny Spain.

First off, don’t forget about the Webster Jazz Fest, which begins tonight (Friday) with Jazz in the Pubs, and continues Saturday night with Jazz in the Streets. This event features an incredible variety of great music, and I consider it one of the best events of the entire summer. Pretty much everyone in Webster comes out.

For more details about the Fest, including who is playing and when, click here.

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santa

Also tomorrow (Saturday) July 21, grab your kids and make your way down to the Joe Obbie Farmers Market for their annual Christmas in July event, featuring (of course) Santa Claus.

The Webster Village Band will be there playing holiday music and the entire market will be decked out in holiday splendor with special treats for the kids.

The Joe Obbie Market runs every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Webster Towne Center Plaza (Kohl’s/Target Plaza) at the corner of Ridge and Holt roads.

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This is most definitely not Webster news, but it’s a great cause and you golfers out there will want to know about it.

The 23rd annual Leatherneck Open will take place on Monday July 23 at Greystone Golf Club in Walworth. Veterans, active duty and civilians are all welcome to participate in the event, which helps support Marines all across Western New York.

The event begins at 11 a.m. with a presentation of the colors in front of the Greystone club house, followed by a shotgun start. It’s not too late to register; for that matter, they’ll be taking registrations that morning at the event.

For more information, click here.

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Next weekend, July 28 and 29, the annual Waterfront Art Festival returns to North Ponds Park.

The event features artisans from all over Monroe County, who line the sidewalks with their tents, selling high-quality art and craft items. Food trucks and live entertainment will add to the fun.

Hours are Saturday July 28 and Sunday July 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Admission is $3, with children 12 and under free. North Ponds Park is located on the Rt. 104 access road between Holt Road and Rt. 250 (use the Rt. 250 exit).

For more information click here.

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More news from the village:

The last Webster Wine Walk of the year is Saturday August 11 from 4 to 7 p.m. You’ll want to be at this one for sure, even if you’ve participated in these wine walks before, because there are different venues included this time around.

At 9 p.m. Kittelbergers Florists invites everyone down to their shop for fireworks to celebrate their 90th anniversary.

For tickets to the wine walk click here.

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Finally, this is news from the Town of Webster for folks who live on or near Gravel Road.’

Beginning the week of July 23, workers will be milling and paving Gravel Road between Regina Drive and Klem Road.

According to the press release from the Town,

During construction, traffic will be maintained with daily lane closures as needed. Flaggers will be used to guide traffic around the work areas. Continuous access to driveways and side streets will be maintained, except when work is occurring directly in front of these access points. In these situations, the delay will only be for a brief time until construction personnel indicate that it is safe to cross the work zone.

The work will progress rapidly and is expected to be completed by mid August. All work will be performed during the day.

For more information and a map, click here.

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Webster community mailbag

8 Jul

mailbag iconThere’s a lot of good eating and great family fun in today’s mailbag.

The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 1130 Webster Road (at the corner of State Road) will host a drive-thru takeout chicken dinner sale on Thursday July 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. Dinners will be cooked up by Heintzelman’s BBQ Pit of Ontario. They cost $12, and include a half-side of chicken, salt potatoes, cole slaw and cornbread.

Proceeds will benefit the church’s Outreach Committee which supports local charities in the greater Rochester area.

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Here are a few fun notes from our friends at the Webster Public Library:

  • First, keep an eye out for them in the Webster Firemen’s Parade on Thursday July 12. One of the librarians will be riding the Book Bike and be giving out free books at the end of the parade. (What’s not to love?) Don’t know about the parade? Check out my previous blog.
  • Did you get a chance to see the terrific “We All Have a Story” photography exhibit at the library in May and June? The display highlighted images by local portrait photographer — and school district staff member —  Linda Hayes and was very well received.

On Thursday July 19 from 6 to 7 p.m. you can meet Linda herself as she discusses her process as a photographer. What motivates her? What inspires her? How did she get those great images!? You’ll hear about the project and her work from start to finish.

Registration is requested by visiting the Webster Library website. Date:

  • And one final note from the library: They’ll be at the Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market on Saturday July 28, and hosting a Cookbook Swap. Bring a cookbook you don’t use much anymore and you can swap it out for another one.

The Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. every Saturday through October 27, rain or shine, in Webster Towne Center (Kohl’s/Target plaza). Check out the Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market website and Facebook page for details.

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St. Martin Lutheran Church is holding a Pulled Pork Drive Thru BBQ on Saturday, July 21 from 4:30 until gone at the church on 813 Bay Road, Webster. Pull into the parking lot, place your order, and the dinner will be delivered to you in your car.

The take-out dinner includes pulled pork, roll, salt potatoes, cole slaw and cookie for $9. Proceeds support the church’s annual Christmas Stocking Project reaching over 500 children and teens in Monroe and Wayne counties.

St. Martin Lutheran Church is located at 813 Bay Road in Webster.

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Finally, the First Baptist Church of Penfield would like me to tell you about their upcoming Vacation Bible School.

This year the week has a superhero theme, with activities to help children have “super speech, fantastic conduct, to share incredible love, lightning fast faith and magnificent purity.”

The First Baptist Church of Penfield’s Vacation Bible School is August 6 to 10, form 98 a.m. to noon, and is open to children ages 4 through 11. Cost is $25 per child, or $50 per family. To register call the office at (585) 586-2876 or visit the church’s website.

The First Baptist Church of Penfield is located at 1862 Penfield Road.

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Webster mini mailbag

26 Jun

Just two quick events I want to highlight today which came across my email box recently.

art-festThe first is the third annual Webster Waterfront Art Festival, which will return to North Ponds Park on July 28 and 29.

The event features artists from all over Monroe County, food trucks, entertainment, a wine tasting booth and more.

I’ve enjoyed walking the paths these last two years, checking out the artisans, listening to music, and actually picking up a few Christmas presents along the way. It was a great day when Webster landed this event, and it has been an outstanding addition to the town’s summer events calendar. Don’t miss it if at all possible.

I’ll be posting more details in my blog in the weeks ahead, but in the meantime, you can check out the website here.

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CaptureSummer is also reunion time, and just yesterday I was informed that plans for the R.L. Thomas Class of 1978 40th reunion are under way.

You can check out the flyer to the left for the details, but here they are anyway:

  • Date: Saturday September 8
  • Time: 4 p.m.
  • Location: Ukranian Cultural Center, Jackson Road, Penfield
  • Includes: Buffet dinner, cash bar, laughs, fun times, embarrassing memories and photos.
  • Cost $28 per person.

Registration deadline is August 31. You can download the form and mail it in, but if you do that and it’s hard to read…. well, we Webster kids are smart; I’m sure you’ll figure out another way to register.

Keep up on all the latest details at the RL Thomas Class of 1978 Facebook page and make sure to spread the word!

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