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Webster community mailbag

4 Feb
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The Webster Chamber of Commerce recently honored Joseph A. Vitello (2nd from right) as their 2019 Business Person of the Year. Also pictured (l to r) are Joe’s mother and wife, Barry Howard, Webster Chamber President/CEO and Dawn Sargent, Webster Chamber Board Chair.

Congratulations to Joseph Vitello for recently being named Webster Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Business Person of the Year.

Vitello is a Senior Product Advisor for Heartland Payroll Solutions who has been an enthusiastic Chamber member for a number of years and is a familiar face at Chamber breakfasts. He’s been active in our Webster business community and many businesses know him as a leading sales professional in his company.

Vitello was recognized at the Chamber’s most recent Breakfast Before Business meeting, where was presented with a plaque by Barry Howard, President/CEO of the Webster Chamber of Commerce.

Kindergarten Orientation, Registration Set

Parents of incoming kindergarteners in the 2019-20 school year are reminded that the Webster School District’s Parent Orientation and Registration Night is Tuesday, February 26 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at your student’s school. Walk-in registration is available Wednesday through Friday, February 27 to March 1, during the school day, also at your children’s school. For more information, go to websterschools.org, then select Central Registration under the Departments tab.

February at the Library

Here’s a quick run-down of some of the fun things happening at the Webster Public Library this month:

* Wednesday Night Book Discussion

This month’s book discussion group is reading The Stranger in the Woods, the real-life adventure of Christopher Knight, who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years. The group’s next meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. All are welcome to come and no registration necessary.

Can’t make it this month? Stop by on March 6, when the group will be discussing The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict. You can pick up a copy at the circulation desk.

* The Wonders of Washington State

Lake Quinault, Quinault Rain Forest, Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, Vancouver Island, North Cascades National Park, Seattle and San Juan Island … Is it possible to visit all of these breathtaking spots in 2 weeks? Yes, it is! Experience the beauty of Washington State in a travelogue presented Tuesday Feb. 12 from 2 to 3 p.m. in the community room.

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* Love Not Loving

Do you hate hearts and flowers? Do you think Cupid is stupid? If you don’t fall for this overrated Hallmark holiday, then you’re in luck! Bring your friends and join us in celebrating Anti-Valentine’s Day with fun activities and tasty treats! Grades 6 to 12 are welcome, and registration is required. Click here for more information.

* February Break activities

Looking ahead to February break, make sure to check the library schedule for all sorts of fun and educational activities for the kids. They can test their engineering skills with the Family Egg Drop Challenge, discover what’s inside a microwave in How it Works, use everyday household items in Building Mini Launchers, learn the beginnings of coding in Offline Coding for Beginners, or build a giant castle on Boxing Day!

Visit the Webster Public Library website for more information about all these programs.

The First Baptist Church of Penfield’s next Saturday Flapjack Breakfast is scheduled for February 16 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 Resolve, an organization dedicated to intervening and preventing domestic and sexual violence against women

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Make your own essential oil sprays

25 Jan

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Just a quick note this morning to pass along news of a special event being hosted this Saturday at one of Webster’s most special new shops, Lala of Webster.

It’s called an Essential Oil Open House Make & Take Event. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., customers can stop in anytime and make your own essential oil sprays. Owner Lisa Schlonski will provide 21 different “recipes” for hand cleaners, air fresheners, body sprays, counter sprays and more, all using distilled water as a base. It’s a great way to sample several different products, using 100% therapeutic grade oils, at a much lower investment. The average cost to make one of the recipes is $2.77.

The open house is Saturday Jan. 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lala of Webster, 38 East Main Street in the village. Visit Lala’s Facebook page to learn more about this cute little shop.

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Help your daughters protect themselves

6 Jan

If you have a young daughter, please read on for information about what I think is a very important opportunity.

DK Dance in the Village of Webster will host two one-hour self-defense classes this coming Friday evening, January 11.

The classes, which will be taught by black belt instructors from Matsunami Karate, will cover simple and effective self-defense techniques to help empower young women to feel strong and safe. Skills which will be taught include basic grab, strike and defense maneuvers, break-aways, defenses against attacks from front and behind, and defenses against chokes and grabs.

Two classes will be offered. The first, designed for girls ages 5 to 9, will be held from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Th following class, held from 7:30 to 8:30, is for girls ages 10 and up. Cost is $30 per participant (or $50 for an adult and child). All proceeds will support DK Dance’s Level 6 Performance Team. You can register here, and then bring payment the night of the class.

As a martial arts instructor myself, I know the importance of becoming familiar with a variety of self-defense techniques — and it’s especially important for girls and women to learn how to protect themselves. I highly encourage everyone who has a young daughter to consider attending this very worthwhile class.

DK Dance is located at 205 North Ave. in the Village of Webster. For more information about the school, visit their webpage here.

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Webster Hots joins Spry MS to recognize students

31 Dec

Bill and Kelly Mutschler, owners of Webster Hots in the Village of Webster, have teamed up with Spry Middle School to recognize star students.

Once a month, Spry administrators will choose a CARE Student of the Month, randomly choosing from a collection of CARE cards. The cards are submitted by staff members, who use them to nominate students for the award, based on students’ exhibiting CARE behaviors (cooperation, accountability, respect and excellence).

One winner each month will be awarded a $20 gift card from Webster Hots. Here’s a video explaining the whole program:

The first honoree will be announced on Webster Hots’ Facebook page on Monday, Dec. 31. Winning students will also be posted in a special spot reserved on Webster Hots’ wall for CARE Program honorees.

Webster Hots is located at 55 East Main Street in Webster.

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Sharing Christmas joy in the village

19 Dec

The week before Christmas has become one of the most musical weeks of the entire year in the Village of Webster.

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On Monday night, Robyn Whittaker, hairdresser extraordinaire, special event organizer, village cheerleader and all around good egg, hosted her third annual Christmas Carol Debacle. Robyn provides pizza and assorted spiked and non-spiked beverages for the event, which drew a big crowd of about 20 people this year, despite the promise of bracing winter winds .

The tuneful group stopped first at Rubino’s to serenade the employees and diners there. Then they wandered through a few east-side village streets, stopping at perhaps a half dozen other houses before heading back to The Coach via Burke’s Grill and The Bistro.

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The following evening, the Chorus of the Genesee took to many of those same streets for their annual Soup and Carol Night. The group was quite a bit larger — numbering maybe 30 or more (I never got an actual count), the weather much more comfortable and the signing voices much more in tune.

The first stop, as it has been every year, was Webster Eye Care Associates, which is pretty much across the street from the Harmony House. The folks there have hosted the annual visit from the Chorus carolers for 24 years, and this year greeted the singers with doughnut holes, hot chocolate and gift bags.

A second regular stop is the Cataldi home, where there’s always hot cider for the Chorus carolers. These folks always have a holiday party that evening as well, complete with instruments, and gather on the porch to perform a carol of their own (this year it was Mele Kalikimaka, accompanied by ukuleles).

My running club, Barry’s Runners, also helped spread some holiday spirit Tuesday evening, with our third (maybe fourth) JACK Foundation Run.

The JACK Foundation, formed in memory of young Jack Heiligman who lost his life in a tragic accident in October 2016. The foundation’s goal is to remember Jack’s giving spirit by passing on random acts of kindness.

Tuesday night, the Barry’s Runners did that — literally. We collected $200 in gift cards from places like Dunkin’ Donuts, Yolickity, CVS, the Apple Store, Wegmans and of course Barry’s Old School Irish, and while we ran through the village neighborhoods, we handed them to strangers or hung them on doorknobs and mailboxes. Perhaps you were one of the lucky people to find one this morning. If so, please make sure to pass on the kindness.

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Knucklehead Craft Brewing is having a birthday!

13 Dec

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Knucklehead Craft Brewing in Webster turns four years old this weekend, and the entire beer-loving public is invited to help them celebrate.

The party takes place this Saturday Dec. 15 from 3 p.m. to midnight at the brew pub, 426 Ridge Road. And the Knuckleheads are planning quite the shindig.

For starters, there’s going to be a special food menu, and live music by Marty Roberts and Donny C. from 7:30 till 11:30 p.m. Plus, one of the pub’s most decadent beers — the Russian Imperial Stout — will make its annual return appearance, joined by the award-winning Tainted Haze IPA.

Webster’s first and only craft brewery has grown up a lot since it opened in 2014. They updated their kitchen and expanded their menu, added merchandise, more equipment to streamline their brewing process, more staff, and regular live music.

Check it all out for yourself at Knucklehead Craft Brewing’s fourth anniversary party, Saturday December 15 from 3 p.m. to midnight, and wish the Knuckleheads a happy birthday!

Knucklehead Craft Brewing is located at 426 Ridge Road in West Webster, at the corner of Bay. Check out their webpage here and their Facebook page here. They’re open Wednesday and Thursday 4 to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 3 to 11 pm, and Sunday 2 to 7 p.m., and the kitchen is open every day.

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Another anniversary in the village

6 Dec

ploty'sHot on the heels of the anniversary blog about Yesterday’s Muse which posted on Tuesday, here’s more news about yet another anniversary being celebrated in the village this week.

Ploty’s Hometown Tavern turns one year old this week, and owner Eric Plotzger has a pretty exciting anniversary celebration planned for Saturday.

Ploty’s is located at  27 West Main Street, on the lower level of shops behind The Coach and Mozzeroni’s. You may remember The Vino Lounge being there for a few years.

I met Eric the first time at a table he’d set up on Main Street during 2017’s Halloween in the Village. His new pub wasn’t even open yet, but he had a big “coming soon” sign and was handing out beer cozies. It was just after Christmas that I made arrangements to visit the newly opened tavern and meet Eric and his wife Kourtney. Here’s the blog I wrote introducing Ploty’s to the village.

Ploty’s has since become my second-favorite pub in the Village of Webster (y’all know what my favorite pub is). The people are always friendly, the service is fast, there’s a nice selection of reasonably priced beers, the bar snacks are top-notch and there are a lot of sports on the TVs, if you’re into that.

Ploty’s anniversary celebration takes place this Saturday Dec. 8. It’s officially Pajama Night, so everyone is invited to wear their finest (appropriate) PJs. Amanda Ashley will provide live entertainment beginning at 8 p.m., there will be giveaways, drink specials and a cake to celebrate both the anniversary AND Eric’s 41st birthday.  Check out their Facebook page for more details.

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Yesterday’s Muse turns 10

5 Dec

One of my favorite village businesses is turning ten years old this month, and they’re planning a big celebration to mark the occasion.

Yesterday’s Muse, purveyors of used, rare and collectible books, opened the day of the 2008 White Christmas in the Village. I was thoroughly charmed and impressed by this little shop from the first day I walk through the doors later that month met the owner, Jonathan Smalter.  The reading nerd in me geeked out at the large, well-organized and attractively priced collection of used books.

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Since that day, Jonathan has continued to grow his impressive collection of first editions, signed editions, and rare volumes, along with the more “mundane” used books more in line with my interest and price range. He has also continued to be very involved in our community, always participating in village special events like White Christmas and the Trick or Treat Trail.

But the best change of all was when Jonathan married Kristine.

On his website, Jonathan reflected on the last ten years, writing:

Ten years. In a way it seems like it came and went in a flash; in other ways, I feel like the shop has been a part of my life forever. I want to thank everyone who has supported me, encouraged me, and guided me along the way.

My reliable staff members, Robert and Holly, deserve a hearty thank you for their hard work and dedication. My wonderful wife, Kristine, deserves an abundance of credit for putting up with the demands running a small business has put on me over the years, and for teaching me to how to keep smiling, and how to be patient on those inevitable days of frustration. She even took the time to commission a painting of the shop, which now hangs on the wall here as a reminder of how far we have come together.

Without you loyal customers, my faithful friends, and supportive family members, not only would doing this not be possible, it would not be worth it. I am proud to be a part of this community, and hope to remain one for a long time. I hope you will all continue to be a part of the shop’s story.

And now, on to the details of the celebration.

Yesterday’s Muse’s 10th Anniversary Open House will be held Saturday Dec. 15 from 10 a.m. 6 p.m. There will be refreshments, a raffle, and all items priced $10 or less will be buy-one-get-one-free. Larger purchases will also be discounted through Dec. 14, including $10 off purchases $40 and over, and $25 off purchases $100 and over.

Other sales will also be in effect through the month of December. For details, sign up for the shop’s monthly newsletter on the Yesterday’s Muse website. 

Yesterday’s Muse is located at 32 W. Main Street in the Village of Webster.

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Photos from White Christmas in the Village

2 Dec

IMG_0015Once again we didn’t have a whole lot of white for Webster’s White Christmas in the Village. But I’ll wager that the thousands who came into town for the cookies, wagon rides, caroling and visits with Santa appreciated the unusually warm temperatures.

We could have done without the light rain, though, which began just as the parade started.

Still, it was another successful event. The village looked beautiful, the businesses were all decked out in their holiday finery, and several who remained open throughout the afternoon benefited from a steady flow of holiday shoppers.

Of course I took a lot of photos. Many of them didn’t come out very well because of the low light and wet conditions, but I hope you enjoy what I did manage to get:

Click here to see the gallery. 

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If you love honey (and beeswax), you’ll love the village’s newest shop

29 Nov
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The North Bee is located at 27 North Ave. 

The Village of Webster just keeps getting better.

Hot on the heels of two brand new shops opening up within the last few weeks, a third has joined the village’s small business ranks. It’s The North Bee, located at 27 North Avenue.

The North Bee is owned by Amy Stringer, a long-time Ontario resident. Amy has been a beekeeper for about three years and loves pretty much everything about bees. That includes honey, of course, but more than that, it also includes something you might not expect: beeswax.

Until you visit The North Bee, you probably really don’t have any idea how many things can be made from beeswax. When she started beekeeping, Amy didn’t know much about the stuff either, but really didn’t like the idea of throwing out all the wax her bees produced.

“At the end of my first season I had honey that I had extracted, and I had all this wax left

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Owner Amy Stringer with her tree full of beeswax ornaments

over that I didn’t know what to do with. So I came up with the idea to make ornaments and a hard lotion bar.” She gave them for Christmas gifts, sold them to friends at work, and then branched out even further by setting up a booth at the Purple Painted Lady Art Festival in Palmyra.  

She also started going into nursery schools to share her knowledge about bees and beekeeping with children. Somewhere along the way she started dreaming about having her own place where she could make and sell her products, and have a place for kids to come in and learn. 

The North Bee is the answer to that dream. Inside, shoppers will find honey, of course. But there’s also a surprising variety of products made from or with beeswax, including wax rounds, beard balms, mini planters, vases and cups, small sculptures, and body products.

Nor did Amy forget about how much she loves to work with kids. She’s created a separate room just for them, which she calls “beekeeper central.” There, kids can play a bee game, maybe try on a beekeeping suit, and examine a demonstration hive (without the bees). She hopes to start offering classes soon, where children can learn about bees and how honey is made, inspect a hive, try to find the queen, and see a real smoker in action.

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Amy introduces her bee friend to a young customer. 

What I particularly like about The North Bee is that it’s so unique. I can’t think of anywhere else you can get beeswax ornaments or mini-planters made entirely from beeswax. It’s the perfect place to find unusual gifts for those difficult-to-buy-for family members and friends.

I’ve already been there once. I stopped  by on Small Business Saturday when they first opened. I’m pretty sure, though, that I’m going to be back.

The North Bee is located at 27 North Ave., right at the entrance to the community parking lot across from the gazebo. There are three spaces in front of the shop, and plenty of parking in the adjacent community lot.

Click here to visit them on Facebook, or email Thenorthbee@gmail.com.

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