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The need is critical

7 Feb

blood dropAs a regular blood donor and a firm believer that everyone who canshould donate blood, I have more than once helped the American Red Cross spread word that blood supplies are at critically low levels.

But thanks to the widespread Polar Vortex (and, locally, the big snowstorm that preceded it), things are worse than they pretty much have ever been.

The cold snap sparked power outages, work and school closings, and as a result, many blood drives had to be cancelled. Even if they weren’t, many regular donors haven’t been able to make it to their appointments, or worse, figured it was too cold to venture out.

So blood supplies took a heavy hit and donors are needed immediately to help maintain a healthy stock.

If you’ve been considering donating blood – or even if you haven’t thought of it in a while – now is the time to act. 

Two local opportunities are coming up just next week:

Monday, Feb. 11: Holy Trinity Church, 1460 Ridge Road, Webster, from 1 to 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 12: St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, 813 Bay Rd, Webster, from 1 to 6 p.m.

Can’t make those? Consider heading out to the Brighton Fire Department, 3100 East Avenue, on Saturday Feb. 16 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You’ll even get a $10 gift certificate to top merchants by mail just for coming out to help. Click here to make an appointment, or just stop in. Either way, the friendly folks there will be happy to see you!

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Teachers “Plunging” for a cause

5 Feb

polar plungeI work with some pretty crazy colleagues. Crazy dedicated to students, that is.

Several of my colleagues at Schlegel Road Elementary School — and at least two others from Schroeder and Plank North — are teaming up to participate in the Polar Plunge this coming Sunday, which takes place annually at Ontario Beach Park.

In this very, very cold event, participants raise money for Special Olympics by “plunging” into Lake Ontario. There’s no swimming skills involved; even dipping a toe in counts as a plunge.

The Rochester Polar Plunge is the largest Polar Plunge in New York and one of the largest in the entire U.S. It’s part of the Special Olympics New York Polar Plunge series. There are over 15 Polar Plunges statewide and the event serves as the signature fundraising initiative to benefit the athletes and programs of Special Olympics New York.

The first Plunge in Rochester was held in 2001 and had 75 plungers with $15,000 being raised. It has since grown tremendously, drawing 2,300 plungers in 2016, who raised more than $300,000.

Here are the current team members (maybe one of them has taught your kids):

From Schlegel: Meg Dugan, Bill Ambler, Dan DeStephano, Jill Mancini, Janet Gibson and Becky Plouffe. Joining them are Dan Crowley from Plank North and Linda Law from Schroeder.

The team members are still looking for donations to encourage their efforts. You can click this link to support one specific team member or the entire team. And if you’re not doing anything this Sunday at noon, come on down to the lake and watch your WCSD teachers take the Plunge!

(Believe it or not, I’m seriously considering joining them……)

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My blood went to Syracuse.

11 Jan

truckThe Red Cross is doing this new thing, and I kind of like it.

They sent me an email the other day, a few weeks after I donated blood at St. Martin’s Church, to tell me where my donation had been used.

The email read,

Thank you for giving blood with the American Red Cross on 12/11/2018. After first ensuring that local needs were met, your blood donation was sent to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, NY to help a patient in need. Your donation is on its way to change lives!

Now, if you’ve ever given blood, you’ve seen how many times they scan the donation materials and ask you to repeat your name, so I think that tracking information is probably accurate. And believe it or not, the news about where my pint was sent made me feel kinda good.

I’m a regular blood donor, so I don’t need an incentive like this to encourage me. But reading that email gave me a little bit of closure and confirmed what I already knew: my blood and the hour I took out of my day to donate it, were making a difference.

I hope that you recently got an email like this, thanking you for a recent donation. If not, please consider becoming a regular donor. It’s especially critical at this time of year when supplies are very low.

Your next local opportunity is on Monday Jan. 14, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Browncroft Community Church, 2530 Browncroft Blvd. And BONUS, you’ll get a $5 Dunkin gift card by email when you give blood at this drive.

Click here to make an appointment, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Or just pop in. They’d love to see you either way.

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Holiday lights benefit AutismUp — an update

7 Jan

house

Here’s a quick update this morning.

You may remember the blog I wrote a few weeks before Christmas about a tremendous holiday lights display hosted by Cora and Charlie Venishel in Penfield. This year, in addition to their twinkling spectacle of lights, the Venishels decided to also solicit donations to AutismUp from the many people who stopped by.

A1486150458holiday-thank-you-clip-art-free-clipart-images-4fter the blog — and a column I wrote in the D&C about the display — Cora and Charlie reported they definitely saw an increase in traffic. And a lot of those people chose to drop some dollars in the donation box.

Cora sent a thank you note to everyone the other day. She wrote,

On behalf of the Venishel family, we would like to express our gratitude for the donations made to Autism up during our Holiday Light display this year. Because of all of you we were able to raise $480.00. You truly did a wonderful thing. Your generosity will benefit the families afflicted with Autism

Wishing you all Happy New Year!

And an additional thank you from me as well for taking the time to read my blog and deciding to help a neighbor who’s trying to make the world a little bit better place.

Hoping your new year has been a great one so far!

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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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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

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