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Neighborliness transcends town borders

11 May
Julia Meyers and Sophia Elias ready to work.

Last Saturday May 8 was the Terry Rothfuss Memorial Good Neighbor Day in Penfield. This annual event, organized by Penfield Recreation, gathers volunteers to help Penfield seniors, veterans and those who are disabled do light yard work and spring cleaning.

The event honors the memory of Terry Rothfuss, a farmer in east Penfield who was always ready and willing to help anyone at any time. After he passed away in 2014, his friends and family wanted to carry on Terry’s legacy of friendship by continuing to help their community and inspire others to do the same.

The annual event has grown every year, and I was pleased to find out recently that its influence has even spread beyond Penfield’s borders, as neighborliness should.

Webster resident Linda Meyers read about Good Neighbor Day when I posted a blog about it in early April. That same day, Linda messaged me to tell me how much she loved the idea and was going to sign up with her daughter Julia.

I was so happy to hear her say that. I’ve written about Good Neighbor Day several times in my blog and when I was writing my column for the D&C. Never did I even consider that anyone outside of Penfield would want to take part. But of course, the event is all about neighborliness and community. And when it comes to both those things, town borders mean nothing.

When she first read about the event, Linda wrote, “I was super excited because I love yard work and weeding.” She even recruited her neighbors Chris Elias, Kim Mead and their daughter Sophia to join them.

(We) went to the opening at Rothfuss Farm on Salt Road and it was awesome to see all of the volunteers and meet Sabrina (Renner) the coordinator. We got Good Neighbor T-shirts, donuts and bags for our day and it was wonderful hearing more about Terry Rothfuss from his daughter Molly.

We were assigned to a lady’s home and raked a ton of pine needles and did some weeding in a few of her back gardens. She was incredibly appreciative and even had water bottles, bagged apples and cookies as treats for us.

After all the work was done, participants were invited to Rothfuss Park for some post-event activities sponsored by Browncroft Community Church, including food trucks, mini-golf, a pitching inflatable and other games.

“Overall we had a great experience,” Linda said. “My daughter says she wants to go back to the same lady’s house next year!”


So, this is an awesome story on so many fronts.

First, we’re talking neighbors helping neighbors, just for the fun of it. Second, it’s so heartening to see kids get involved. What a great way to help them learn about compassion and giving to others. (And a little hard work never hurts, either.) And seeing the even expand beyond the Penfield borders just warms my heart and gives me renewed confidence that maybe we can all work together and keep this world running for a long time.

Finally, on a personal note, I’d love to see this event come to Webster. There are certainly residents in our town who could use this kind of help. It just so happens that our current Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, Chris Bilow, was the former director at the Penfield Rec, and oversaw Good Neighbor Day for years.

So what do you say, Chris? Can we make this happen?

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Celebrate Earth Day with the Webster Public Library

20 Apr

This Thursday, April 22 is Earth Day, and the Webster Public Library is taking the opportunity to help everyone help our Earth.

To celebrate Earth Day, the library is inviting everyone to bring in recyclable materials, which they’ll collect and turn over to the appropriate agencies. Not only will doing so keep these materials out of the landfills, but many of them can be reused almost immediately in our very own community.

The materials they’re looking for include:

  • bubble wrap and packing materials for Bella’s Bumbas
  • eyeglasses and hearing aids for the Webster Lions Club
  • ink cartridges, cell phones and tablets for the Friends of WPL fundraising program (no computers, please)
  • wrapping paper tubes, tissue paper and movie candy boxes for the WPL children’s program
  • used books for WPL book sales
  • magazines to share
  • road maps for crafts
  • seeds for the library’s seed catalog

You can drop off any of these items at the library on Earth Day, Thursday April 22, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


While you’re at the library, don’t forget to check out the Art Gallery Wall. After taking a long break during the pandemic, it’s back again, and this month features Webster resident Mary Coy. Her display, called “Two Passions,” features digital bird drawings/paintings and aluminum relief creations.

The gallery will be updated every month, featuring photography or artwork by Webster residents.

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Rd., at the back of Webster Plaza.

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More details about Schroeder Drama’s The Addams Family

17 Apr

I just got an email yesterday with some more details about Webster Schroeder’s performance of The Addams Family next weekend.

Shows are scheduled for Friday April 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday April 24 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Of course, thanks to Covid, they can’t open up the auditorium to packed audiences, so they’ve arranged to live-stream each performance, which should be just as enjoyable as the in-person experience (plus, you don’t even have to leave your living room!).

You can purchase live-stream tickets by clicking here. You won’t even have to print off a ticket. Instead, you’ll receive an email with a StreamPass code. Simply click the code link and you’re in. Tickets are $10 each.


Here’s the awesome cast:

Gomez Addams………………………………………..Brendan Mathewson
Morticia Addams……………………………………..Lauren Farrow
Uncle Fester…………………………………………….Jake Horton
Wednesday Addams………………………………..Aydan Baier
Pugsley Addams………………………………………Michael Sofia
Grandma…………………………………………………Bridget McNamara
Lurch……………………………………………………….David Lynch
Lucas Beinecke………………………………………..Zach Gibson
Mal Beinecke…………………………………………..Theo Guth
Alice Beinecke………………………………………….Sara Kidane

Ancestors:

Maggie Anderson, Aidan Jacobs, Anika Peterson, Jack Baker, Hunter Lane, Tony Pellegrino, Liam Cornish, Samantha Morgan, Georgie Prevosti, Sydney Enright, Sam Nagar, Devon Proia, Carenza Glastonbury, Andrew Painton, Maya Richards, Amelya Harris, Ryan Parody, Tyler Young and Kenzie Harris

Make it a night (or afternoon) out (so to speak). Grab a drink and some snacks, pull up a couch, and enjoy a terrific production by some very talented high school students who’ve been working very hard to bring some laughter to all of us during these difficult days.

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Traditional Irish evening of entertainment will include Barry’s this year

23 Mar

Every year, in commemoration the City of Rochester and County of Monroe’s proclamation of Irish American Heritage Month, several Rochester-area Irish cultural organizations come together to celebrate a traditional siamsa (shee-am-sah), or evening of Irish entertainment. In normal years, the event — which features a traditional Irish soda bread cooking demonstration, cultural music, dancing and historical stories — takes place at one location over a few hours.

This year, however, the annual event will be hosted in three different locations on Tuesday March 30, one of which will be the Village of Webster’s very own Barry’s Irish Pub.

Here’s the schedule:

  • 6 to 6:15 p.m., at Barry’s Old School Irish, 2 W. Main St., Webster: Soda Bread Making Demonstration. Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians member Sandy Foley will demonstrate how to make traditional Irish soda bread. Yes, there will be samples.
  • 6:15 to 6:45 p.m., at Johnny’s Irish Pub, 1382 Culver Rd., Rochester: Traditional Irish Music Session featuring Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (Irish Musician Association). Several members of the music organization will play some traditional Irish music.
  • 6:45 to 7:15 p.m., at McGinnity’s Irish Pub, 534 W. Ridge Rd., Rochester: Historical Presentation by Irish American Cultural Institute member and author Deirdre McKiernan-Hetzler. Her talk will highlight significant women in Irish and American history and their influence in the world.
  • 7:15 to 7:30 p.m. at McGinnity’s: Irish Step Dance Demonstration by Rince Na Saor’s Kathleen Whitfield.

In-person attendance at each event will be available in accordance with current guidelines. But each will also be streamed live on Zoom. Up to 500 guests will be allowed to register for the Zoom meeting. This is the Zoom link.

The program is sponsored this year by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, Irish American Cultural Institute, Rince Na Saor Irish dance, Barry’s Old School Irish Pub, Johnny’s Irish Pub, McGinnity’s Irish Pub, and the Monroe County Libraries.

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Village neighborhood hosts some Easter fun this week

19 Mar

Children — and adults — are invited to enjoy some socially-distanced Easter-themed fun this week, courtesy your Village of Webster neighbors on Curtice Park.

Curtice Park resident Jennifer Cave has designed a neighborhood scavenger hunt to celebrate the upcoming Easter holiday, give kids something fun to do, and help them get a little exercise (but don’t tell them about that part!). The idea is simple: with scavenger hunt card in hand, participants can walk up and down Curtice Park and look for different Easter pictures displayed in the houses’ front windows.

Jennifer writes that she got the scavenger hunt idea from an email she received and decided to do it in her neighborhood as well.

I thought, I want to do something fun for the kids who have had so much cancelled on them this year. With that said, I printed out pictures with a small explanation (for the neighbors) asking if they would hang a picture in their window to help make this Easter special. I wanted to respect everyone’s comfort levels, so I just put it in people’s doors and left. To my surprise there was a large turnout, over 75% of the houses put up pictures within a day or two.

On Saturday and Sunday, the first few days of the scavenger hunt, several neighbors even put some Easter treats at the end of their driveways for the kids. That idea came from one of Jennifer’s neighbors, and the idea quickly caught fire. A neighbor on a nearby street even donated some candy. But that’s the way Webster rolls.

I’ve been blown away by the support of my neighborhood and really hope to bring some joy to families. It doesn’t have to be just kids, if adults want to get some exercise and do the scavenger hunt I’d love to see that as well!

Just print off the scavenger hunt paper you see here and you’re good to go. The pictures will remain posted through Easter.

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Updated BID website is a thing of beauty

12 Mar

The Village of Webster Business Improvement District (BID) website, the clearinghouse for village business, event and entertainment news, is new and improved.

The BID is the organization of small business owners who work together to support each other and the village business climate in general. They’re the ones who host many of the special village events you’ve come to know and love, including the Trick or Treat Trail, White Christmas in the Village, and the Wine Walks.

They BID has had a website for a long time, and while it did provide a lot of information about upcoming events and special business promotions, it really was nothing to write home about. Frankly, it was rather … blah.

But recently that changed. It has a new, fresh look, great images (including an impressive drone video) and much improved navigation tabs. All while still providing tons of information about what’s happening in the village.

According to BID member Tom Spoonhower, the improvements have been a year in the making. He wrote,

In early 2020, (BID chairperson Elena Bernardi) formed a marketing/communications committee and a more interactive website was one of the outcomes. She contracted with a local company, CMS Max, to incorporate our information into their template and through them an outside video company was hired to produce the video that greets you on the homepage.

Spoonhower himself has taken the lead in adding to and updating the site. That’s more difficult than you might imagine, given all of the challenges COVID has thrown into the mix. But right now, he adds, “The business listings are pretty up to date and as the weather breaks we hope to get out into the community to update even further.”

When you check out the new site (and you should), you’ll find some convenient tabs across the top where you can read more about the BID, see a listing of member businesses and get information about upcoming events. Scroll down and you’ll find even more links to things like music and entertainment and a BID newsletter sign-up (this is the best way to stay in the know). There’s even a place where you can find out more about volunteering for a special event.

Basically, the site is one-stop shopping for Village of Webster business and event news. Actually, it always was, but now it’s much prettier!

So check out th new BID website, bookmark it, sign up for the newsletter, follow the BID on Facebook … do it all and you’ll always be up to date.

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Webster community mailbag

9 Mar

Two opportunities to help our neighbors in today’s mailbag, and some reader memories from the ice storm of ’91.

Immanuel Lutheran Church at 131 West Main St., in the Village of Webster will hold a food and underwear drive on Saturday March 20 from from 10 a.m. to noon.

The food collected will be shared with needy families via Immanuel’s Weekend Backpack Food program and their Little Free Pantry.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Weekend Backpack Food program. It began with 16 students at one elementary school, and was just a 6-week commitment. It currently supports more than 70 students across all seven Webster elementary buildings.

In his recent email, Ed Huehn from Immanuel explained,

A referral from a teacher, school nurse or social worker and consent from a guardian/parent makes (a student) a part of the program. The food provides support to the student on the weekend. Some, but not all of the kids receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch during the week. The foods included are kid-friendly and easy to prepare. Each bag contains 4-6 food items for meals or snack. They are a supplement for the weekend and easy to prepare. …The Webster School District transports the food from the church to each building and a coordinator there distributes the bags! Many thanks to all involved in this program and their support over 10 years.

Immanuel also maintains one of the many little free pantries in the Webster area, located in the parking lot. The concept is “take what you need and leave what you can.” Some of the donations collected on the 20th will be used to restock the pantry. If you choose to bring donations at other times, please limit them to commercially prepared, non-perishable goods.

Oh, yeah! And remember they need underwear, too. Underwear is one of the most needed and least donated items in community programs. Pleease bring only new underwear and socks, in orginal packaging.


If you happen to be closer to Penfield’s four corners on that Saturday, Penfield First Baptist Church is also holding a drive-up, drop-ff food drive that day, also from 10 a.m. to noon. They’ll be set up in the church parking lot, 1862 Penfield Rd. Donations will support the Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf “feed the kids” program.


The Webster Public Library has a Puzzle Swap Shelf!

I’m actually bouncing in my chair as I write that, because I am an off-again on-again jigsaw-puzzler (when I can find the time and space) and have burned through all the ones I own. And I fear my good friend Patty will get tired of loaning me ones from her expansive collection.

So when I heard that I can take some of my old standbys (some of which I have done several times) and swap them out for new ones, I was delighted. So grab your ond ones and stop by the library for some new ones. I might just see you there!

The Webster Public Library is at 980 Ridge Rd., at the back of the plaza.

Finally, I would like to share with you a few reader responses I got after my blog on the 30th anniversary of the 1991 ice storm. I invited everyone to send in their memories from that day, and I received a few. Thank you for sharing!

At that time we lived in Country Manor apartments. And we were lucky because power was restored to that complex quickly. (Xerox was busy back then and I think that our close proximity to the plant helped get the power back later that day on the 4th) But it was one heck of a night listening to the branches cracking and falling in a nearby wooded area and also seeing the flashes of the transformers blowing up. I would rate this storm as probably the worst storm that I have experienced in this area in my life. The blizzard of ’66 was wild, but we did not have the loss of power or the outright destruction that the ice storm of ’91 had. Our county looked like a war zone for sure ! — Bob B.

We were living in the Maplewood area of the city. A branch in our backyard took out our power but we were able to run a large extension cord from our neighbor’s garage for minimal power. We were low priority for the power company so didn’t get power back for a week. My sons wanted to take a walk so I made them wear football helmets because of the ice falling from trees. It was beautiful! — Karen T.

We had moved to Irondequoit by 1991. … Our ice storm experience in Irondequoit similar to yours. Had power, so Greece family moved in. Crowded but fun. Lost some trees, no house damage. Beautiful wind-chime sound of ice-laden branches moving in wind until wind picked up and turned into crashing sounds as branches and limbs fell. — Kathy T.

On a side note, it was fun to discover through these memories that Kathy and I were apparently neighbors back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, living perhaps 10 houses away from each other on the same city street.

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My updated Webster bucket list. How many can you check off?

26 Feb

A few weeks ago, I introduced you all to my Webster Bucket List. As I explained in that first blog, I first developed the list more than 10 years ago, shortly after I began this blog, and was just getting to really know Webster.

That orginal list included more than 80 items from Webster and near-Webster (Penfield). It was pretty comprehensive list, but very out of date. It decided that it desperately needed an overhaul.

I started by throwing out some of the items which were no longer possible (businesses were closed, or events no longer happen, for example). Then I added several new ones, including many reader suggestions and others I came up with myself.

The final list still includes about 80 items, three pages of Webster and near-Penfield places you really should visit, or events that you really should attend. I toyed with the idea of including some more businesses on there (like the Waffle House and the new Cobblestone on Main restaurant), but if I started doing that, it would be tough to leave any one out. And of course the list can never be complete — there’s just too much to see and do in Webster. So if you think of something I should add, drop me an email.

You can download a .pdf of the list blow. Print it off and see how many things you can check off!

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Webster community mailbag

24 Feb

I’d like to start today’s mailbag with a few items from our friends to the south.

Penfield Girl Scout Troop 60060 is holding a drive-through food drive for the Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf on March 6 from 9 a.m. to noon at 1618 Jackson Rd. Click on the image to the left to see the items they can and cannot accept.

And I received this note from the First Baptist Church of Penfield, whose monthly Flapjack Community Breakfasts I promote regularly in my blog.

Thanks to the pandemic, these events have been shelved for the time being, but the church itself is still open.

They write,

Our doors are open, and we are holding worship services via Zoom, and in person (with Covid protocols in place.) We miss seeing our community at our monthly flapjack breakfast, but we will be back in the kitchen as soon as we are able! Think of us as you flip your own pancakes, and remember our local charities. Join us Sunday mornings at 9:30, and we hope to see you soon!

First Baptist Church of Penfield is located at 1862 Penfield Rd. Call 585-586-2876.


Now here’s something fun. If you missed the Webster Public Library’s Egg Drop Challenge, which the library live-streamed last Saturday, you might want to check out the video, which has been posted to the library’s Facebook page.

Earlier this month the library challenged families to build a structure from a set of provided materials (including straws, string, twist ties, rubber bands and the like) which would protect an egg when it was dropped from the roof of the library. (Thanks to the weather, the event had to be moved inside to a tall ladder, but it all worked out.)

The final video is less than 30 minutes long, and it’s quite interesting to see all the different designs the competitors used to create their protective packaging. I’m not going to spoil the result, but I can tell you the competition came down to three designs, none of which cracked at all in the first two rounds. When they were dropped from the highest level, however, only one emerged victorious.

Click here to see all the excitement for yourself.

In other news from the library, their Seed Library will be opening again on March 1. We know everyone is looking forward to spring, so this is an excellent opportunity to get a head start by perusing the selection and borrowing some vegetable, herb and flower seeds.

Also available that day will be “take ‘n make” projects for adults and children, a table of garden books for sale selected from the Lobby Sale area, and information about local garden clubs. Feel free to bring your own seeds that you’ve been saving to donate to the Seed Library.

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Rd. in Webster, at the back of the plaza.

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More about the Thomas radio play, and a preview of the upcoming school musicals

11 Feb

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being in the very small audience for The Webster Thomas Radio Hour, a collection of short, very humorous plays written and acted by students.

Given the restrictions caused by the pandemic, not a whole lot of people could see the play live. But DO NOT DESPAIR. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you too can now enjoy this very clever walk back through memory lane.

The Webster Thomas Radio Hour is now on YouTube, and you can access it by clicking on this link.


If you love live theater, then you’ll be excited to know that all four of our secondary schools are preparing right now to stage plays this spring. Here are the details:

Students in the Spry Drama Club rehearsing Pajama Party

Spry Drama Club will be presenting its first-ever One Act Play Festival from March 18 to 20. Four plays will be performed, including “Pajama Party,” “Four Little Words,” “Goldilocks on Trial” and “Not so Grimm Tales.” Each play features between 10 and 14 cast members and accommodating them all for rehearsals has been quite a trick.

Artistic director Bill Ambler explained, “Rehearsal days coincide with the students’ cohort days. Each play has its own rehearsal day during the week. The kids have been amazing about social distancing and wearing masks while rehearsing.” Several soloists and small group ensembles will entertain the audience during the intermission.

Each play will give two performances for a intimate audience. The plays will also be streamed on the internet. More details to come about that.


Willink Middle School is preparing a Disney musical review, featuring selections from many of the shows the school has performed in previous years, with a mix of singing, acting and dancing. Shows will be scheduled for May 14 and 15. They’re hoping they can host small audiences, but even if not, the production will be shared online.


Webster Schroeder High School is currently rehearsing for their spring production of The Addams Family. They’re planning two shows, on April 23 and April 24.

They’re hoping to accommodate small audiences at these performances, but most patrons will be able to see the production live through a professional streaming service. Details about that haven’t been hammered out yet, but I’ll let you know when they do.

Some of the accommodations Schroeder Drama has made for their musical this year include a smaller cast; having no permanent on-stage set, which will allow for social distancing; and having the orchestra perform from the band room. More adjustments may have to be made if the currect restrictions aren’t lifted soon. .


The Webster Thomas Players have come up a creative way to beat the Covid: they’re taking their musical outdoors.

Webster Thomas will be presenting Cabaret at the Penfield Amphitheatre from June 17 to 19, with June 20 as a rain date. All shows will begin at 7:30 and tickets will be $12. Tickets will go on sale the beginning of May.

Director Brenda Nitsch writes,

The show will be more about the issues surrounding racism and political fanaticism and less around the unorthodox liberal lifestyles of the time. The show will be appropriate for all ages. The music is by the amazing John Kander and includes such greats as “Cabaret,” “Money Makes the World Go Around,” “Perfectly Marvelous” and “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.”

Stay tuned for more information about each one of these productions as it becomes available.

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