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Girl Scouts help spread the word about Webster’s trails

5 Apr
The builders: Martine Broikou, Leah Hurlbut and Ellie Gramowski

Just in time for warmer weather and the promise of more hikers and bikers hitting the trails, several new Friends of Webster Trails brochure boxes have been installed for nature lovers to utilize.

At the request of the Friends, Webster Girl Scout Troop 60844 built six new boxes to replace some that have been vandalized and add a few in new locations. The girls spent several hours a few weekends ago constructing the boxes, then installed four of them last Saturday morning, with help from Friends Trails Committee Chair Craig Hurlbut and Trail Steward Bud Gearhart.

The new boxes contain Friends of Webster Trails brochures, which include a detailed trail map, plus information about the Friends and how to become a member. They’ve been installed at the Hojack Trail trailhead on Van Alstyne Rd., Gosnell Big Woods Preserve, Vosburg Hollow Nature Trail and on the Chiyoda Trail.

I love the idea of having these brochures so easily available to everyone who frequents our trails. The all-volunteer Friends of Webster Trails does an amazing job developing and maintaining our town’s impressive trail system, which now includes almost 30 distinct trails stretching through more than 20 miles of natural beauty. The new brochure boxes will, hopefully, let more people learn about and appreciate these very hard-working volunteers.

If you come across one of these new boxes in your travels, make sure to grab a brochure, tear off the membership card and send it in to show your thanks and support. It only costs $10/year for one person, and just $15 per family. Or better yet, click here to go to the Friends of Webster Trails website to learn more about them and sign up as a member.

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So, what have those museum folks been up to?

31 Mar

Have you been wondering what’s been going on at the Webster Museum during shutdown? In a word … lots. The volunteers there have really been taking advantage of this time to revamp, reorganize and rethink their collections and future plans. Here’s a great report from museum volunteer Kathy Taddeo:


You might expect that your all-volunteer community museum would keep working during a pandemic. You would be correct.

When the Webster Museum reopens, you will see ample evidence that volunteers have been busy. You will notice lighting improvements inside and out. You will see exhibit spaces relocated and reorganized for better historical interpretation. You will see various surfaces painted, polished and refurbished. You will see new items from our extensive collections on display in our permanent exhibits. Just as you may have noticed that the museum’s exhibits at Hegedorns and the public library have changed regularly during closure, you will notice new rotating exhibits in the usual cases at the museum itself. You may have seen volunteers as they continued to participate in community events such as the town’s Reverse Parade, the village’s Snowman Hunt and the Community Chest’s “Peep” Show.

Important and consequential work is happening invisibly as well. Board and committee meetings continue by Zoom with consequent tasks completed at home. Our volunteer webmaster continues to add new features and update favorites to the museum’s website, including photo galleries for the community to exhibit their talents. Collection inventories and document preservation continue. Collaborative research projects, plans for reopening when we can and needed estimates for building repairs are all still happening, though in new and different ways.

And planning… soooo much planning.

The Webster Museum Board has been meeting since October 2020 to initiate, design and undergo the rigorous process of self-reflection known as Strategic Planning. This process is intended to provide an organization with a structured way to examine its current philosophies and operations and align them with contemporary culture as well as with its own mission and vision for the future.

Despite the necessity of meeting by Zoom, Board Members have completed organizational and needs assessments and surveyed its volunteers and members for suggestions. Multiple extra Zoom meetings to design the process resulted in four study groups currently at work before, during and after more extra Zoom meetings to recommend actions to enhance the museum’s contributions to the Webster community. The Webster Museum Board expects this on-going and cyclical strategic planning process to take about five years.

The work of Strategic Planning may be invisible, but the results are expected to be tangible. We look forward to more visibility when it is safe to invite you back for a visit.


Make sure to check out the Webster Museum website for the latest updates on programs and exhibits.

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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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Happy Valentines Day from the library and Chorus of the Genesee

14 Feb

Here’s a special Valentine’s Day treat from the Chorus of the Genesee, courtesy Laureen and Doreen of the Webster Public Library.

These two lovely ladies are hostesses of the library’s very informative “Let’s Explore Webster!” video series, in which they highlight local places of interest. In their most recent video, they take us inside the Harmony House, located at 58 East Main St. in the village.

In the video, Harmony House manager Brian Moore gives us a tour of this gorgeous historic building. It’s now used mostly as home to the Chorus of the Genesee and its barbershop quartets, but is often rented out by musical and dance groups for performances and other special events.

The Valentine’s treat is offered in the middle of the video, when one of the Chorus’ quartets regails us with two beautiful love songs in flawless four-part harmony. Those performances, and the entire Harmony House tour, should not be missed.

Click here to see the video on the Webster Public Library’s YouTube channel. Then spend some time taking a look at some of the other videos Laureen and Doreen have posted. (I’m even featured in one of them.) You might learn something about our town you never knew before.

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The Webster Museum has been quiet — but busy

4 Feb

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard anything from the Webster Museum. Being such a small space, there’s really been no way to safely accommodate vistors during the pandemic, so their doors have been shuttered for months.

But don’t you believe for a minute that those museum folks have just been sitting back, twiddling their thumbs. They’ve been taking advantage of this time to make the museum better than ever before. In a recent email, museum president Tom Pellett outlined more than a dozen projects that have been keeping the museum board members busy, from changing up the displays and improving signage to adding new programs and expanding their educational offerings.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Changes are being considered in some of the main exhibit areas, specifically, moving the automotive, bakery and dairy artifacts so the “Main Street” theme can be expanded. The very popular prehistoric artifacts might be consolidated to provide more room for a display on our early founders.
  • The main entryway, which you may remember looks like a barn, will be decluttered and some new items moved in.
  • Even though the museum hasn’t been able to accommodate school groups, the Education Committee continues to discuss ways to expand the programs and even offer the tours to additional grade levels — when everything gets back to normal again.
  • The Historic Properties Committee is trying to figure out a way to present the 2020 Historic Home plaques this coming May during Historic Properies Month.
  • Plans are proceeding for the popular “History and a Cup” program and annual Barn Sale and Vintage Sale. They’re also looking to host another cemetery tour and the Sunken Ship program.
  • Work continues on updating the Webster Through the Years book, originally published in 1970.
  • Discussions with the Village Board are ongoing regarding how to improve external signage to direct more visitors to the museum.

Naturally, there are still a lot of unknowns, especially when they’ll actually be able to open again. But clearly, when that happens, the Webster Museum is going to hit the ground running.

The Webster Museum is located at 18 Lapham Park, in the Village of Webster. If you haven’t stopped by their website recently, pop in to read about their new “Websterscapes” photo gallery, then submit your own favorite Webster photo.

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A few village business notes

19 Aug

Did you have a chance to stop by The Village Quilt Shoppe a little while ago for the anniversary celebration?

Owners Vanetta and Monique have a lot to celebrate, having weathered more than their share of first-year difficulties. Given what they’ve been through, it was perfectly ironic that the cake experienced its own mini-disaster on the way to the party.

So now they’re charging ahead full speed into their second year and already have tons of classes and special events on the books. They’d also like to get a handle on what their customers would really like to see in the shop. So if you have a few minutes, please help them out by filling out their on-line survey.

The Quilt Shoppe is also offering curbside pickup or postal mail if you’re not comfortable coming into the store, or you can schedule a private appointment during their off hours. Visit the shop’s webpage for more information.

The Filling Station Pub & Grill, 77 East Main, is adding a big new patio.

The beautiful new space will eventually be used for outdoor seating, adding to the existing outdoor dining space under the drive-through. But manager Wendy Antes can’t pinpoint when that might be, saying it is “a work in progress.”

Stay tuned.

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Movies in the Park are back!

29 Jul

The Village of Webster is trying its best to give our community something resembling a normal summer.

So in a few weeks, the Movies in the Gazebo Park series will return for kind of like a trial run. in Veterans Memorial Park on North Ave.

Monsters uniMonsters University will be shown on Tuesday Aug. 11, and Charlie Wilson’s War with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman on Saturday Aug. 15.

Both movies will begin around 9 p.m. To encourage social distancing, the park will be marked off with specific “family areas” spaced six feet apart in the grass. There will be plenty of room for chairs and/or blankets within each spot and facial masks must be worn when outside your family space. There will be room for about 60 family spaces and are first-come, first-served.

No popcorn will be served so feel free to bring your own snacks and drinks. For more information visit websterbid.com.

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Veterans Memorial Park will also be host to a return engagement by comic Rudolph Valentino this Friday July 31.  He’ll be joined by his co-host and funny friend Kevin Markman.

gazeboThis is a family-friendly show. There’s no admission, and water and snacks can be purchased, if this show will be anything like the last. And you’ll laugh a lot.

Bring your quad chairs and a cooler if you like, and bring a mask in case you have to sit too close to anyone or want to hit up the vendors. But it’s a spacious area, so there shouldn’t be any problem social distancing. The show is slated to start at 7 p.m. But it started late last time so don’t worry if you’re running late.

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The Webster Community Ice Rink warming shed is officially open

23 Feb

 

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Last Saturday Feb. 15 was a sunny, yet very cold, 14 degree day in Webster. But the chill temperatures did not stop several hardy souls from officially dedicating the brand new warming hut at the Webster Community Ice Rink, located at the Webster Recreation Center.

The ribbon-cutting was conducted by Webster Town Supervisor Tom Flaherty, supported by members of the Webster Parks and Recreation staff and employees as well as several members of the Webster Rotary.

In October 2018 the Webster Rotary Club donated the funds for the Parks and Rec to purchase the liner and walls for the rink, and procured additional funding in 2019 to build the changing hut for the skaters. The new shelter measures 16 ft. by 10 ft., has two benches and thick rubber flooring to prevent damage to skates. It’s enclosed on three sides and open to the ice.

The shelter was designed by Rotarian Rich Comins and constructed by the Parks and Recreation employees.

The community ice rink is located in front of the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive, off of Phillips Rd. just north of the village. It’s a nice size, 52 ft. by 104 ft., and is totally FREE for anyone to use. You don’t even have to be a member of the Rec Center. As far as I know, it’s the only outdoor public ice surface in town, and thanks to the new warming shed, it’s even better than ever.

For updated ice conditions, call 872-7103, option 3.

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The Rec Center ice rink is open — and better than ever

25 Jan

IMG_2606Good news for ice skaters! It’s finally been cold enough for long enough this winter for the Webster Recreation Center to open its ice rink.

As far as I know, it’s the only outdoor public ice surface in town, and since it opened several years ago, it’s been very popular with families and hockey players. And this season, I’m happy to report, it’s even better than ever.

Thanks to the efforts of the Webster Rotary, this season the rink — which measures 52 ft. x 104 ft. — has a brand new liner AND a spacious warming hut where skaters can sit and put on their skates while protected from the weather.

The hut itself measures 16 ft. x 10 ft. Inside are two benches and thick rubber flooring to prevent damage to skates. There’s also a window in one side which allows for what meager sunlight we get in the winter months. 

As for the new liner, Mark Yaeger, Webster’s Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, calls it a “great addition in this climate when we have a thaw.”

He explained,

In the past we would lose the water seeping into the ground and we would have to start from scratch. With the liner the water stays and refreezes within a day or two. Building the ice rink from scratch takes about 4 or 5 days. 

The Webster Rotary Club purchased the new liner and sidewalls in 2018, and last year purchased the materials for the warming hut. Rotarian Rich Comins designed the building and enlisted support from Yeager and his Parks and Rec employees to construct the building.

The Rotary and Rec Center hope to have an official grand opening ceremony for the hut in the next few weeks. Watch for news of that!

The Webster Recreation Center is located at 1350 Chiyoda Drive, just north of the Village of Webster. For updated ice conditions, call 872-7103, option 3.

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Weekend reminders and 9/11 photos

12 Sep

garlic fest logo

A couple of reminders about a few events coming up this weekend you won’t want to miss.

The first is the return of the Webster Garlic Festival — now called the Rochester Garlic Festival — on Saturday and Sunday at the Webster Recreation Center.

This is a great family-friendly event with a lot of entertainment, food, vendors and, of course, garlic. But you don’t have to like garlic to enjoy the festival, because most of the vendors are non-garlic ones.

Click here to read a column I wrote about the festival for more details, or visit their website here.

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quilt shoppe logo

This Friday and Saturday, make sure to pop into the Village Quilt Shoppe at 21 E. Main Street in the Webster, as this brand new business celebrates its grand opening.

Owners Monique Liberti and Vanetta Parshall opened their new shop in August and have already been warmly welcomed to the village by seamstresses who love having a convenient local source for quality fabrics and notions.

The grand opening is scheduled for Friday and Saturday Sept. 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with food, door prizes, gifts for everyone and scissor sharpening on Saturday.

Whether you’re a quilter or not, why not stop in and say hi.

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Last night’s Village of Webster 9/11 remembrance ceremony was a very nice affair once again. The approximately hour-long ceremony was well represented by first responders and local and regional politicians. The speeches were quite moving, and the late-summer temperatures very comfortable.

This year’s musical selections were presented by the Webster Village Band, which was a change from past ceremonies, at which the Chorus of the Genesee performed. The band did a nice job, but I was disappointed to not see some of my Chorus friends and hear their sweet harmonies.

The attendance by community members was also rather disappointing, numbering about 65. There were more musicians and official ceremony participants than there were audience members. And aside from a few little girls who had come with their firefighter father, I didn’t see any young children.

That’s too bad. I think it’s important that the younger generation know about and learn about what happened on 9/11/2001. No matter that the world it created is the only one they will ever know. They need to hear about the thousands who died, the heroic first responders, and to see how our country persevered, and became stronger.

They need to never forget, too.

Click here to see more photos.

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