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A pleasant reminder of what normal looked like

11 Jul

One of the main reasons I wanted to move into the Village of Webster was the convenience of being able to walk into town for parades and festivals, and to the gazebo for concerts and other musical events.

This summer has been a bust, of course, with just about every special event you can think of being cancelled. We haven’t been able to enjoy our regular Friday nights at the gazebo at all.

Until last night.

Last night the Village of Webster welcomed comic Rudolph Valentino to the gazebo in Veterans Memorial Park, where he — and his funny friends Yolanda Smilez and Kevin Markman — offered up almost a full hour of clean stand-up comedy to an appreciative audience.

no laffing matterThe event was organized as a release show for Valentino’s new comedy album, “Ain’t No Laffing Matter.” 

The crowd wasn’t as big as I expected it to be, numbering perhaps 50 to 75 people. I expected a lot more people, like me, would jump at the opportunity to enjoy some free outside entertainment again, something we haven’t been able to do in a long time. I was disappointed for the entertainers and their staff who had clearly taken some time to also put together raffles and some concessions.

Rudolph himself, however, was not disappointed. “The crowd was great,” he wrote on the Webster Neighbors Facebook page. “Especially since we put this together in 10 days.”

That was the kind of positive attitude we saw last night from the comics and audience members alike — who all did a great job, by the way, maintaining social distancing.

It was great to pull out the quad chairs again and enjoy a summer evening at the gazebo. I look forward to more events like this to help keep us all sane this summer.

If you’d like to check out Valentino’s new album, “Ain’t No Laffing Matter,” click here.

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Webster Community Blood Drive a huge success!

5 Jun
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Local first responders gather in the Webster Recreation Center parking lot at the end of the community blood drive.  

Wow.

Just wow. That about sums up my feelings after seeing the final tallies from this week’s Webster Community Blood Drive.

This biannual drive is always a very popular one because of the raffle prizes, but even without the promise of those prizes, our Webster community came out in record numbers. Word from the Red Cross folks is that the two-day drive attracted 191 donors, who (counting double reds) donated 197 units. Both days’ goals of 85 units were blown away in what is the best Community Blood Drive in recent memory.

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Many donors also took the opportunity to write encouraging notes on posters for the first responders. 

But not only that! When the Webster community heard that this year’s drive was being held to support local businesses and first responders, they answered the call, dropping eight gift cards and more than $450 in cash into the box on the welcome table. One kind donor also included several nice notes and “Miraculous Medals.” All of the donations will be distributed to members of the North East Quadrant Advanced Life Support, the Webster Volunteer Fire Dept., and the West Webster Volunteer Fire Dept.

So THANK YOU to the Webster (and surrounding) community members who came out in support of this week’s drive by donating blood and/or cash and gift certificates. You all helped save hundreds of lives through your donations, and showed some much-need support those first responders in our community who also save lives.

A personal thank you to Monroe County Legislator Matthew Terp and Webster Deputy Supervisor Patti Cataldi for their work organizing the drive, and to Matt for manning the welcome tent in front of the Rec Center for the entire drive (except when he went inside to donate).

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Matt Terp (right) and Shirley Humphrey welcome donors at the Rec Center.

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Check out this Community Arts Day slideshow

3 Jun
penguins

These penguins, created by Melissa Pennington’s students at Klem North, are a great example of the art you’ll see in the slideshow.

I love Community Arts Day.

This all-day event, which is normally held every April at Webster Schroeder High School, is a terrific opportunity to reconnect with old friends and neighbors, and check out what’s new with many of our area non-profit agencies and organizations.

But mostly, Community Arts Day is our school district’s annual show-off day. Students from every one of our elementary, middle and high schools have artwork on display, plus there are music, dance and martial arts performances.

This year’s Community Arts Day had to be canceled, of course. But I’m happy to report that you can STILL check out some of our kids’ incredible artwork, albeit virtually.

Our district’s art teachers have each taken a selection of their students’ work and compiled photos of them in this Community Arts Day 2020 slideshow. Click through, sit back and enjoy hundreds of  stunning works of art, including sketches, paintings, sculptures, pottery and more. Every single one of our elementary and secondary schools is represented.

It’s going to blow you away. And best of all, you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas to appreciate them this year!

Here’s the link again.

drawing one

Sample pieces from students in Kate Zalewski’s Drawing One class at Webster Thomas.

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Webster Community Blood Drive returns — with a twist

28 May

The Webster Community Blood Drive is back — next Wednesday June 3 and Thursday June 4 at the Webster Recreation Center — but it’s going to look a little different this year.

You know this drive as the one advertised by those big white signs that are placed throughout town at crossroads and in front of some of the drive’s business sponsors. It’s the one where every donor is handed a bunch of raffle tickets, which can be used to try to win any of dozens of prizes.

In large part because of those raffle prizes, the two-day drive is always one of the most popular and well-attended drives of the entire year. But of course, business owners are clearly in no position to donate raffle prizes right now. So this year the drive’s organizers have decided to turn the tables.

To show appreciation for all the business owners who have so faithfully supported this annual drive, donors are encouraged to support them instead — and at the same time show some love to our first responders.

This year, donors are being asked to consider purchasing a gift certificate from a Webster business and bring it along to the drive, or make a cash donation, all of which will be collected and distributed to our local first responders as a thank you for all they’re doing.

Donation boxes will be set up outside the Recreation Center during the entire two-day drive, so even those who are unable to donate blood for any reason can still drive by and drop off their donations. Organizers will also have posters at the drop-off site, where people can write their personal messages of appreciation.

Checks may be made out to North East Quadrant Advanced Life Support, the Webster Volunteer Fire Dept., Inc., or the West Webster Volunteer Firemen’s Association.

This year’s Webster Community Blood Drive is scheduled for Wednesday June 3 and Thursday June 4, from noon to 7 p.m. at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive. Donors will need to make an appointment. To do so, visit RedCrossBlood.org and search for the sponsor code “WebsterCommunity,” or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

For more information, you can also call Monroe County Legislator Matthew Terp at (585) 753-1922.


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The PEEP Show must go on!

6 May

And, ladies and gentlemen, presenting the

2020 Greater Rochester Marshmallow Peeps Show!

087 Rochester Presbyterian Home The Big Pink Peep Photo Op MGYes, it’s still happening this year, but of course it will look a little different from years past, when it’s been held at the Webster Recreation Center, spread among several rooms.

Like everything else, the 5th annual PEEP Show, had to be postponed last month. But the show’s organizers found a creative work-around. This weekend, May 9 and 10, the Greater Rochester Marshmallow PEEPS Art Show, sponsored by the Webster Community Chest, will go virtual.

Here’s more information direct from the press release:

Although the number of entries has been reduced due to the pandemic, we still have plenty for folks to look at and many of the other features of the live show will be recreated on-line.

Our display makers have sent in photographs showing their art work in detail, and many have even sent short movies of their displays. There will be plenty of fun things to look at. Visitors need only to come to www.rochesterpeepshow.com to enjoy the fun.

In addition to all the displays, visitors can see past years’ displays, visit our craft vendors, make donations to get raffle tickets for wonderful prizes, see performances by our entertainers, learn about each of the sixteen local nonprofit agencies that benefit from donations and about the businesses that have sponsored this show.

The “make donations” part is particularly important if you stop by. This event has always been a big fundraiser for the Webster Community Chest, an organization which is needed even more during these difficult times to help support our neighbors in need.

So check out the show this May 9 and 10. Kids, make it a virtual Mother’s Day “field trip” for your mom!

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Community Arts Day postponed

17 Mar

cad

With an inevitable and understandable move announced this morning, Community Arts Day, scheduled for April 18, has been postponed.

In the email, CAD chair Jenny Hryhorenko wrote,

After discussion with the Central PTSA executive team and in review of the escalating group restrictions, we have made the decision to postpone Community Arts Day. We say postpone because we truly believe we can make this happen on a future weekend – but obviously it is too early for us to be planning for when that might be. There are a lot of moving parts to CAD but you can be sure our team is committed to working with the district, exhibitors, vendors, and performing groups to try and make CAD happen at a later date.

Registrants and sponsors : Refunds for your payments are available, or you can also choose to “hold your spot” and we can refund if the new date doesn’t work for you, or if rescheduling turns out not to be feasible.

We thank you for your patience and hope you are all hanging in there! Please direct any questions to CAD@websterptsa.org

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Peep Show postponed and other news

16 Mar

Yellow Marshmallow Chicks in RowsNo surprise here.

I received word late yesterday that the annual Greater Rochester Peep Show has been postponed to May 9 and 10.

This event draws so many more than 50 people, and as we all know, large gatherings are pretty much verboten in our current climate. So it was just a matter of time before the decision to postpone was made.

I’m glad they haven’t just canceled it, because this is one of my favorite events of the year (I know, I say that a lot, but Webster just has SO MANY COOL EVENTS). It would be great if life’s back to almost normal by early May, but I’d lay odds it might have to be moved again.

So stay tuned and also I’ll let you know if I hear anything about Community Arts Day, scheduled for April 18. So far, that is still on. But……

Webster Library closed

The Webster Public Library is officially closed, but they will be offering their drive-up service, virtual storytimes and more. I just got this email from them:

As the Coronavirus situation expands, we here at the Webster Public Library have been discussing how we could do the most good for our community at this uncertain time. How we could make a difference now, when it’s needed. We have decided the best way to make a positive impact in our society is to do our part in preventing the increased spread of the COVID-19 virus. We have decided to close our doors, for now. We would not do this if we did not think it was a truly necessary precaution. We will be closed temporarily starting Sunday, March 15.

Because we are closed does not mean we are gone. We are hard at work thinking of what services we need to provide now and creating them for our community in this time of need.

We are continuing to offer our Drive-Up, Pick-Up service between the hours of 11am and 4pm, Monday through Saturday. Give us a call and tell us what items you want, pull up out front in your car, and we will bring the items out to you. Books, movies, TV shows, magazines, audiobooks, storytime at home kits, video games, comics, and more are available to check out via this manner. Call us! (585) 872-7075. Or email at webster.reference@libraryweb.org.

We are eliminating all overdue fees during the time we remain closed. If you can’t make it here to return your materials, don’t worry about it—we understand that there are other concerns on your minds right now.

We are offering weekly virtual storytimes via our Facebook page—stay tuned for announcements. We will be uploading videos of our librarians doing rhymes, songs, books, and more.

We are answering reference questions via phone between the hours of 11am and 4pm, Monday through Saturday. Call us at (585) 872-7075 option 3, especially if you’d like help setting up your OverDrive or Libby account to access our online catalog of items. This includes ebooks, audiobook, movies, and magazines. Anyone with a Monroe County Library System card can access these!

We are planning social media posts with activities for you and building new Pinterest boards with crafts that can be done with limited supplies at home. We are rapidly rescheduling our programs, planning elaborate new ones, cleaning house here, and looking ahead.

As our community moves online, we remain a community. Your library is still here for you! We will adapt to the situation to provide for new necessities, and we will do it together. And as everything returns to usual, we will be here then too. We’ll get from here to there together.

We can’t wait to see you again soon. And until then, we’ll see you online and over the phone.

More closings and delays

I pulled this updated list of closings and delays from the channel 8 website this morning:

https://www.rochesterfirst.com/news/local-news/closings-and-delays-in-the-rochester-region/

Need your St. Patrick’s Day music fix?

Among other things, 2020 will probably come to be known as the year without a St. Patrick’s Day. If any area bars and pubs have not yet closed, they will be soon, and certainly I’m not going near one tomorrow.

So if you (like me) need a St. Patrick’s Day music fix, may I recommend this live stream by my friends Brian and Rose of House of Hamill. (They’re calling it a “Quaran-stream.”)

These two internationally-known Irish musicians are outstanding fiddle players and vocalists — and more. And since, like Irish musicians around the world, most of their gigs have been canceled, they’ve decided to share some love and provide a free online, live-stream, hour-long concert for anyone who wants to tune in.

The performance will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. tomorrow night (St. Patrick’s Day). Just click on the link above (or here). It is truly free, but they will have a virtual PayPal “tip jar” for anyone included to throw them a few bucks.  

Read more details about the event and House of Hamill here.

house of hamill

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Strike up the bands!

11 Mar

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Members of last year’s Willink Student-Parent Band warm up before a rehearsal.

Whether you like to play — or just listen to — great band music, here are two events you’ll want to know about.

The Willink Student-Parent Band will hold its annual spring concert this coming Saturday, March 14 in the Willink Middle School cafetorium, 900 Publishers Parkway.

The band is celebrating its 26th year in 2020, continuing a tradition which began in 1994, bringing students, family and community together to create music and have fun.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $2 and can be purchased either from band members or at the door.

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Our very own Webster Village Band is kicking off its season, having just released its 2020 rehearsal schedule.

Rehearsals take place on Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 pm, usually in the Willink Middle School band room. They’ll begin this Thursday March 12 and run through June 4, with a concerts scheduled pre-season concerts scheduled for April 23 at Calkins Rd. Middle School in Pittsford and May 7 at Cherry Ridge Senior Center.

The all-volunteer Webster Village Band is comprised of more than 50 members,  under the direction of Tom Indiano and Associate Director Sue Siegmund. They’re always looking for more musicians to join the group. Additional information is available from Harvey Cohen, at hcohen@rochester.rr.com. Plus, you can see more rehearsal information on their website here.

village band

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Plank Rd. schools’ staff members will play basketball for charity

5 Mar

Plank Rd. North and Plank. Rd. South elementary schools have been neighbors and close friends pretty much forever. But they have never played together.

That will change later this month when the schools host the first annual Battle of the Planks Staff Charity Basketball Game on Saturday March 28, when faculty and staff members from both schools hit the Webster Schroeder High School court for a friendly game of hoops to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital.

The idea for the game came from a conversation a few weeks ago between Plank North principal Craig Bodensteiner and physical education teacher Kevin Sayers as they monitored the bus loop.

“I’d always wanted to do something like this,” Bodensteiner said, and this spring, between the two school breaks, seemed the right time to do it.

“We’re in the middle of March Madness, so everyone is thinking about basketball. And the month of March kind of drags, so we thought this would be a good way to spice things up.” The next step was running the idea by Plank South principal Jennifer Sullivan.

“She’s a former basketball player,” Bodensteiner said, “so she’s very excited.”

We’re talking real basketball here, folks, complete with a referee, announcers, and concessions. About the only thing that might be missing in spots is actual athletic ability. But, Bodensteiner makes sure to stress, skill is not required; what is required is the desire to have fun.

“It’s a great way to bring everyone together,” he said. “Staff members at both schools will enjoy getting together in a non-work environment, and students will love the opportunity to come out to cheer on their favorite teachers, and show some school pride.”

Alumni are also being invited, adding more volume to each school’s cheering section.

It’s going to be a lot of fun and a lot of friendly competition,” Bodensteiner said. But, he added,”If Plank North can get the win, that’s a cherry on the top.”

The First Annual Battle of the Planks Staff Charity Basketball Game is scheduled for Saturday March 28 at 5:30 p.m. at Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Rd. There is no admission, but donations are encouraged, and all proceeds will benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital, a cause suggested by Plank North assistant principal Heather Balsamo.

(Big thanks to Kevin Sayers and Shawn Strege, Webster’s Director of Physical Education and Athletics, for so efficiently pulling together the details and arranging for the venue.)

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Spry Middle School to present Fiddler on the Roof this weekend

3 Mar

posterA theatrical classic will be presented this weekend by Spry Middle School when the drama club performs Fiddler on the Roof Jr. at Willink Middle School on Friday and Saturday.

You read that right. It’s this year’s Spry Middle School spring musical, but it’s being staged at Willink thanks to some rather intense renovations and construction going on right now at Spry. Among other things, the school’s cafetorium is being gutted and rebuilt, which means the musical was completely uprooted.

That by itself should be reason enough for people to want to come out and support these kids. For several months they’ve been trying to pull together the production while faced with some fairly significant hurdles. For a long time, for example, they didn’t even have a stage to rehearse on. Once the Willink stage opened up, they still had to share it with other groups, and had to be bused over there every day, a trip which took up valuable rehearsal time.

None of those difficulties will be evident,  however, when the curtain rises opening night. Audience members will just see an amazing performance presented by some amazing young actors and actresses.

Shows will take place at Willink Middle School, 900 Publisher’s Parkway, this Friday March 6 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday March 7 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 available online at this link. There might be some available at the door, but Spry shows usually sell out, so you might not want to take that chance.

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